Aizawa was the first, suddenly choking on his lukewarm coffee with a grunt and knocking over an end-table as he collapsed to his knees. His colleagues jumped to their feet in concern, one name resounding through all of their minds—Matsuda barely got out half a sentence; "Aizawa, are you—" for he was the second, stumbling and falling to a slump on Aizawa's cooling corpse. Mogi followed; his fists hit the table with a roar, one of half pain and half fury—they'd come so far, so close…

One by one they fall.

Soichiro Yagami took one step back, two—then he whirled, fearful eyes seeking out the only truth he'd yet to find, the only truth that mattered in this very moment. He met the gaze of his son through a red haze, suddenly staggering with the penultimate agony that electrified his entire being, choking on a sob.

Light looked back at him, hands clasped demurely in his lap. His eyes were grim and—perhaps?—remorseful as he did his father the final honor of watching him die.

And then it was over, and the room fell to a ringing and horrified silence. L's eyes were wide and unblinking, fingers clenched like vices on the arms of his chair as his blank gaze twitched from one prone figure to another, half frozen in shock and half awaiting his own, unbidden, death.

It did not come, and the buzzing of his forgotten computer screens—incuding the one newly-cracked laptop half lodged under Mogi's oddly-stretched arm—suddenly grew to a preposterous roar, resounding in his skull like the shreking of a million wasps angered out of their holes. In one fluid movement, his eyes slid to the only other living occupant in the room.

Light had laid his head to the back of his chair and let it roll awkwardly over one shoulder to look at him. His hands had slipped casually into his pockets, and the smile on his face was the most terrifying thing L had ever seen. It stripped him, suddenly; of his ability to think, ability to breathe… made his vision go dark around the edges, as if the light was suddenly being drained from the world. Light. Light, who'd thrown pillows at him when he typed too loud in the morning, who'd gotten into ridiculous fights over the nutritional value of soda crackers, who'd matched L's every intellect blow for blow; beautiful Light. Just, gentle Light. Light. Light.

"Kira," he hissed, or tried to; it came out as more of a broken, shuddering breath. He'd known. From the first day, the first hour he'd spoken to the Yagami boy he'd known, with the dreadful clutching certainty that defied all odds and dismissed all percentages yet felt so much more real than the numbers ever had. Light rose out of his seat, hands still defiantly in his pockets.

He'd changed completely within those few moments. He curve of his shoulders, the length of his stride; even the faint tightness around his eyes as they glittered and grinned with venom at the dead men on the floor. He ignored the body of his father—some twisted way of respect, L supposed—but nudged Matsuda's shoulder with the tip of one shoe. Only then did he return his gaze to the detective, nightmare smile sliding back into his lips.

"In the flesh." It was almost a purr, a seductive poison in his murderous voice. He nodded mildly toward the monolith computer at L's back. "Your butler appears to be dead as well. All data deletion," he mused over it carelessly, the words foreign on his quicksilver tongue. "I suppose that means all communication channels are closed as well," as if he'd only just thought of it, "that's a pity. I suppose you can't very well call for help. And Rem will have died by now…"

L's mind worked at breakneck speed, racing him through scenario after impossible scenario. Light was Kira. Kira was standing before him. The investigations team was all dead. Quillish was most certainly dead. Light was Kira. L would soon be dead too. Light was Kira.

He wondered only once if he was dreaming. It passed.

Kira had been pacing casually around the headquarter room, gazing with casual disinterest at everything as if he'd never seen it before (like another man seeing the world through Light's eyes—perhaps—an insanity plea—Light was Kira—). Now he changed course, looming over L with the same hellish sunshine smile, one hand on each chair arm, leaning in close. L didn't breathe.

"I win."

X.

.X.

.X.

.X.

.X.

.X.

"You'll be dead either way," Light had told Rem offhandedly, almost a warning, but more a taunt. His arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the shiny metal of Ryuuzaki's hallway, a doorframe away from the rest of the investigation team. She'd looked at him, endless obsidian eyes reflecting nothing, but she hated him.

"You will die soon as well, Yagami Light."

He'd smiled lightly, all goodwill. "Is that what my lifespan tells you? I wonder." He shook his head. "But when I die, Misa will write her own name in her Note. I'm sure she's told you that."

The Shinigami had said nothing, gaze drifting away. Light knew she had turned this over and over in her mind— but for a mighty god of death, Rem wasn't a very bright creature. She'd never think of a way to save Misa without submitting to Light. This was too easy, he'd thought to himself. Too easy.

So he'd left her, sliding the door open with one last command. "Remember—all but L. Leave him, and I promise Misa will be spared." He smiled dangerously at the damned god, blood-eyes dancing with pleasure.

"L is mine.

.X.

.X.

.X.

.X.

.X.

.X.


Introductionish: GAWD do I hate posting stand-alone prologues. I don't know why I'm doing it other than that I'm tired of staring at this thing and wondering if it's good enough to be my first addition into the revered Death Note fandom. Anyway, chapter one is about half done, so the wait shouldn't be too long. But don't expect the special treatment to last. -shakefist-

Annnnyway. This is, I've realized, probably going to turn out to be one of the darkest things I've ever written. Sooo if that floats you, glad to be of service. Thing is... I'm really more of a reader than a writer, and I've noticed that a lot of longer DN slashfics have kind of similar plots. And this little black duck has a bit of an obsession with not writing the norm, so be prepared for such treats as totally-off-the-deep-end!Light and tortured!L and suchlike.

But in the meantime, Happy Humbug, be well. All I want for Christmas is a review...