Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met - or never parted --
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)
Quote from Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns.
SPOILERS: up to episode 25 anime/chapter 58 manga
DISCLAIMER: Death Note and its characters are not mine. Only this story is mine.
Why are you here again? Up on the roof, alone. The rain's pouring down, but you don't seem to mind or even notice it. You haven't been alone for a long time, perhaps that's it. Maybe you're enjoying the solitude after being chained to me for so much time. I know you've got something on your mind. The last few days you've been distant, unapproachable. Your birthday came and went without much change in your mood and our bedtime activities have been short-lived, leaving me feeling as though you're not quite there with me.
Perhaps this is the opportunity I need to put things right with you, to fix whatever's gone wrong. Since for once I've found you away from everyone and we have nothing else to do to take our attention. I call out to you, but you don't hear me. I try it louder, but you cup your hand behind your ear and give me a goofy smile. You want me to get wet, is that it? I sigh and make my way across the flooded rooftop toward you, trying vainly to shelter myself from the storm with my hand.
"What are you doing, Ryuuzaki?"
"Nothing, really," you say. "It's just the bells."
"They're really loud today."
I glance around, straining my ears to hear what you do. "I don't hear anything?"
"Really?" you seem surprised. "The conditions are so good today – you can't help but hear them. It's a church. A wedding perhaps. Or –"
"What are you talking about, Ryuuzaki?" I break in, not wanting you to finish that sentence. I have a shivering feeling running up my spine, nothing to do with the coldness of the rain. "It sounds like nonsense. Come inside with me."
"I'm sorry." You glance at me, then turn away. "I'm not good at having relationships with people. I'm distant, I know. I don't trust anyone."
I sigh, watching you. You look so sad, wet and cold like an abandoned child. I want to hold you, but I sense you wouldn't welcome it. I feel you have more to say, but it doesn't seem to want to happen.
"That's true, Ryuuzaki," I agree with you, hoping to prompt you to tell me what's really wrong. "I know you've never wanted to be in a relationship. You've always felt it's wrong for you. That you shouldn't – nobody knows that better than I do."
"Yes, Raito-kun, that's how it is." Your tone is inexpressibly sad as you go on. "But you're the same as me."
"What do you mean?" I ask, preparing myself for another round of speculation on the motivations for my behaviour.
"Have you ever told the truth once in your life? Since the moment you were born?" you demand instead.
"What are you saying, Ryuuzaki?" I ask you, uncomfortable with this line of thought. It's not as if I've actually lied to you. Well, I have. But I didn't know it was a lie – since I became Kira again, you've never actually come straight out and asked me if I am, so I haven't had to lie. I realise then, what's wrong. You know. You know and you don't want to ask me about it. What would I say if you did? "Of course I lie sometimes," I go on. "Show me somebody that doesn't. Nobody's perfect. You know I won't tell lies that would hurt someone that I love."
"I suppose that's why you're so popular," you say quite bitterly and I wonder what that's supposed to mean. Are you comparing us? Do you think it's your deceitful nature that alienates you from the rest of humanity? That's too simplistic for you – you must know it's more than that. How different you are – how different we both are. Then it crosses my mind that perhaps you mean you lie to those you love – lie to me. But what about?
I want to get to the bottom of this black mood of yours, but not out here in the rain. The state of you – dripping with water... it's quite attractive actually, and for a brief moment I wonder what it'd be like to strip you naked, out here and hold your chilled, wet skin against mine, with the rain pouring over us. Then the moment is offset by my concern that you might catch a cold.
"Let's go back inside," I suggest. "You're wet and so am I."
"Yes," you mutter, following me into the building.
We head for the nearest bathroom, dripping everywhere, searching for towels. I take mine out into the corridor, slump down on the stairs, cold and more than a little puzzled over what might be going through your mind.
"We're both soaked," you murmur, coming back with a towel draped over your head.
"It's your fault," I grumble. "Standing out in the rain like that."
"That's true," you murmur. "I'm sorry."
I say nothing, lost in my thoughts, my plans, until I suddenly feel your hands on me. On my feet.
"What are you doing, Ryuuzaki?" I exclaim.
"Helping you get dry." You look up at me, kneeling at the bottom of the stairs, at my feet.
"You don't need to do that." I'm strangely embarrassed by the circumstances. I almost laugh, aware that before I was confined – before I was chained to you and came to love you – this symbolism would have given me the greatest of pleasure.
"I'll massage your feet," you decide. "I'm quite good at it. It's the least I can do."
I wonder what you mean by that. You do a lot more for me than massage my feet, why does this matter to you? And why the hell do you still look so unhappy?
"Do what you want," I tell you, knowing that you will whatever I say.
It tickles at first and I find it hard to keep still. You haven't dried yourself and I watch the drops collect on the ends of your hair and fall down onto my foot as you cradle it in your hands.
"You're still wet," I murmur, reaching out with my towel to blot away the dampness.
"I'm sorry," you say again, but for what, I don't know.
We sit quietly together for some time after that. I'm thinking about my plan, about the best way to handle the situation so that everyone gets what they want out of it. I should say, so that everyone gets enough out of it so that they leave you and I alone. I'm also enjoying the feel of your hands on me, but that's a given.
"I'm sad," you say, breaking the silence.
"Huh?" I return to reality. Are you going to tell me what's bothering you?
"You'll understand soon," you say. No, apparently you're not going to tell me. What a frustrating man you are at times. I'm about to demand an explanation, when your phone rings.
"Hello?" you say. "Yes. I understand. I'll be there soon."
"Let's go, Raito-kun." you say, not looking at me. "Maybe things will turn out well after all."
You're on your way before I can ask you what you mean and I get to my feet and follow you. Your strange behavior has determined me to corner Rem today and make sure my plan's unravelled. Then I can deal with your problems, whatever they are. Maybe I'll have to confess to you. I feel I can do that – after all, you care for me, don't you? Perhaps knowing for certain will put your mind at rest and then we can move on.
We hurry to the elevator, get in, you press to go down.
"What's so urgent, Ryuuzaki?" I ask, leaving my plans aside, ready to deal with the current emergency, whatever it may be. "What's happening?"
"Proof," you mutter, not looking at me, staring at the floor. "In a few moments, I plan to set in motion events that will finally give me proof."
"Proof of what, Ryuu?"
"That you're Kira."
The world seems to stop for me. I feel as if I dived in icy water and my heart gave up beating. With no conscious decision, I reach out and press the stop button on the elevator panel.
"Do you plan to start a fight with me, Yagami-kun?" you say, now looking up at me, your eyes guarded. "Because you know that I will win."
"Eru-chan –" I begin.
"Don't call me that," you say.
"But you – you and I, Ryuuzaki –"
"There is no you and I," you say.
"What are you saying, Ryuuzaki!" I hear my voice, desperate and pleading. "We love each other! How could you do this?"
"I don't love you," you state.
I just stare at you while the world breaks up around me and the shards fly.
"I felt desire for you," you clarify. "You're attractive. Intelligent. But desire passes. You're a murderer, Yagami Raito and I am L. I am Justice. How could I love someone like you?"
"But I love you," I say. "And – Ryuuzaki, this isn't true. You do love me. I know you do – the way you look at me, the things you say, the way you touch me –"
"I don't love you," you reiterate. "You were right all the time, Raito, when you said you thought I was lying to you, manipulating you. That's what I did. I knew you were attracted to me, how could I be the world's three best detectives and not be aware of what people are feeling around me? What they want and desire? So I let you think I felt the same way about you. I played the innocent because I knew that would appeal to your protective instincts, bond you even closer to me. I let you think you were leading me into a relationship, when in fact, I was leading you."
"But – but –" I'm snatching at straws. "Why – when I confessed to you – I mean, when I said I would confess – when I didn't know –"
"It wasn't enough," you explain. "I need proof. I need something that will convince the world, not just myself. And now I'm going to have it. You will be arrested, Yagami Raito and when you are put to death I will be there to see it."
"Ryuu –" I reach out for you, but you slip to one side, evading me.
"We weren't even friends, Yagami Raito," you say. "I told you we were when you were Kira the first time, it was part of the game and I still don't understand why you persisted in believing it when you lost your memories."
I look down, not wanting you to see my face. My eyes are stinging and I don't want you to see my weakness. "I wanted to believe you, Ryuuzaki. I wanted us to be friends. I was innocent and I cared for you, how could you use me like that?"
"I was doing my job, nothing more," you reply. "Nothing. No friendship, no love, it was all a lie."
"Don't call me that!" you say, angrily, reaching for the panel, setting the elevator moving again. "You don't love me either, Yagami, you never did. You're not capable of it, you're a sociopath and a killer!"
"You're wrong," I say, raising my head, not caring any more if you see the tears. "I loved you. And I love you now. Kill me if you can, but I will love you until my last moment. No matter how you try to justify what you're doing, you can't make that into a lie."
You look into my eyes and I see something in yours. Guilt? Fear? What have you to be afraid of? You don't know my plan – the plan I meant to dismantle, to warn you about. You don't know what will happen if you go ahead with what I think you mean to do. I would have stopped the progression of events earlier, distracted Rem with something else, but I never thought you'd do this. I didn't know if you loved me, but I thought you wanted me enough to let things lie, to give up on the case and move on.
The elevator doors open and you throw yourself away from me, into the investigation room, where I can't talk to you.
The team are in uproar and I can't make out what the hell's going on. Matsuda's complaining about testing the notebook – no! You can't do this – it's too soon. I should have – I've been distracted, thinking of you, being with you. I shouldn't have left things so long. I can't let you do this!
"Ryuuzaki, what are you doing?" I exclaim, trying to buy time.
"I plan to test the notebook and see what happens for myself." You pick up a spoon to stir your ever-present cup of tea.
The team start up again, objecting, shouting, but I don't say anything. It's as I thought. You'll test the Death Note and Rem will kill you. My plan. My god damned, infernal plan. I barely listen as you outline your scheme to have a criminal test the book.
I see you, then, pausing, stricken, silent. The first overwhelming spasm of pain jolting through you. Then falling, falling, beyond hope, beyond redemption. I dive for you, catch you before you hit the floor. One last time, held in my arms. You stare up at me, your features clouded with pain. I didn't want to hurt you, Eru-chan. I swear, I didn't... but that doesn't matter now, does it?
Your eyes are glazing, but you still see me, I know that. And I can give you one last thing. I let the Kira part of me take over, here, with my back to the room so nobody else can see. I think only of how I've won, how I defeated my rival. I feel the smile curl across my face, evil and triumphant.
You sigh. Vindicated. In different circumstances, I could smile at your childish need to be right.
"So," you murmur, so low I can hardly hear you. "I was not wrong..."
As if my thoughts were real, I gasp, almost overwhelmed by the vivid image. I step forward without even thinking about it.
"No! L – don't!" Rem pauses on her way out of the room and I wave to her, halt her departure.
"What?" You turn to look at me, your eyes expressionless.
"If you do this, if you test the rule, you'll die."
I hear the outbreak of gasps and protests from the other team members as I finish speaking. It's as though they're on the other side of a glass wall. There's nothing but you and me, your eyes on me, my defeat.
"Would Yagami-kun care to explain himself?" you ask, tonelessly.
"I'll explain everything, but you must leave Misa out of this," I say hurriedly, glancing at Rem, who's giving me her usual unreadable stare. "She's the reason why you'll die. Rem will kill you if you threaten Misa, if you prove she's the second Kira."
"Very well," you agree. "I'm concerned only with stopping the first Kira, as he is doubtless the motivating force behind Amane's actions. If she can be neutralized, I have no further interest in her."
"I never loved her," I say, turning to Rem. "I never could. She wouldn't be happy with me. But, alive, she has the chance to find someone else to make her happy."
The Shinigami stares at me for a long moment. I clench my hands and wish I had something to pray to. Even in this moment of agonizing uncertainty, the black, humorous thought crosses my mind that that's an odd thing for a god to wish for. Then she inclines her head and I let the held breath fall from my lips in a sigh of relief.
I turn back to you, where you sit, crouched and beautiful on your chair. Examining me and no doubt, despising me.
"Tell me, Yagami-kun," you invite me.
I straighten up and stare back at you, defiantly. I won't let you see what you've done to me. My pride is all I have left and it's not enough, but it'll have to do.
"I am Kira," I say.
"No!" It's my father. He grabs my shoulders, shaking me, demanding I retract the words. I stare into his eyes, wordlessly; eventually he realises, sees for himself what you've seen all along. He steps back from me, his face masked with horror, pain and worst of all, disappointment.
"I never believed you." I turn to you, ignoring everyone else. They don't matter to me. They never did. "All the time, you thought you had me fooled, but I never believed you. It was too good to be true. I wanted it, hoped for it, needed it, but I never believed it."
"I don't know what you mean, Yagami-kun." You get up from your chair, facing me like an enemy, your eyes challenge me to explain what I mean. Do you think I won't, now, when I have nothing left to lose?
"And you know why?" I continue, staring at you, angry with you now. "Because you never said you loved me, baka! Why couldn't you tell that one lie when you told so many others? Why..."
I can't go on. I put my hands over my face, I won't let you see me cry. Not again. You've won almost everything, I won't give you that. You don't deserve it.
I remember your words in the elevator. The emphatic way you spoke, trying to convince me. Or to convince yourself? Did you – did you lie to me then? You always lie – how can I ever know? Did you love me and lie to me and give me up because you were afraid? Or because you thought it was the right thing to do? You said I didn't love you – there was no way you could truly believe that when I'd proved over and over to you that I did, that there was nothing I wouldn't do for you, give to you. Was it just what you wanted to believe?
I remember the night we were together after we regained the Death Note. Even as Kira, I've never been anything but gentle with you, held you like a precious porcelain doll, loved you slowly, sweetly, pleasure not pain. But that night, you were so eager, begging me, demanding domination, almost as if you wanted to elicit my aggression. Would the rough sex you seemed to seek have helped you? Given you another reason to convince yourself I didn't care, that I was using you? Somehow, I regain control of myself and look up at you.
"If you lied to me, Eru, if you loved me and you lied when you said you didn't – that was foolish." I sigh, knowing it's hopeless, like speaking to a stone. "I would have given this all up for you. Renounced being Kira. Been only Yagami Raito and your lover."
"Yagami-kun is making no sense." You look down, not meeting my eyes. "He is obviously distraught, having confessed his crimes and is –"
"I would have given it up for you!" I take a step forward, hiss into your face. "Are you so stupid, you couldn't see that? I would have given you everything – anything – why couldn't you tell me you loved me, Eru? Is it because it was true? Or because it wasn't?"
I gaze into your face, see you for once lost for words, searching for something to say to me but unable to find it.
"What will you do without me?" I ask you finally, throwing your own words back at you. "Who do you think you could find to replace me? Do you really want to be alone?"
You stare at me, eyes unreadable and I can't deal with it. I reach out, grab your arms and pull you into mine, pressing my lips to yours, ignoring the scandalized gasps of the others.
Your eyes close and you stand limply in my embrace, neither kissing nor refusing to be kissed, for a long minute as I try to wake you, warm you, bring you back to me. Then you push me away, sending me staggering back into the hands that wait to arrest me.
"Take him away," you dismiss me, turning your back on me. "I'll question him later."
"You promised me –" I say as they lead me, handcuffed, from the room. "L – you promised me – you said I could end it myself."
"I lied," you tell me. That's enough. I let myself be taken away, silent and submissive, or so I hope you'll think.
I make them bring me paper and a pen to my cell. Matsuda brings it. I tell him I want to make notes, get my thoughts in order for my confession. He thinks that's reasonable, poor man. He looks like he's about to cry and I've no comfort to give him.
I stare down at the paper. Pick up the pen. The irony doesn't escape me, as I remember the times I sat in my room with a pen in my hand like this, performing the act that would eventually bring me here.
I write. Despite my assurances to Matsuda, I don't need to make notes, temporize, or think about what I want to say. Every event in the sequence is quite clear in my mind, it's just a case of explaining them. When I've finished, I sign it. Then I take another sheet of paper and look down at its blankness in confusion.
What would I say to you? I told you I loved you and I have nothing more to add to that. I'm not going to apologise for something that I don't think was wrong. Being Kira... being with you... neither of those things were wrong in my opinion. So what would I say to you?
I find I no longer have the mental resources to justify my actions, even to myself. Right or wrong, I don't care about proving it any more, I don't care if anyone believes me or believes in me. I'm numb, exhausted, chilled with the fallout from your coldness to me. But I know this almost blissful feeling of uninvolvement won't last. It's too good to be true, just like your lies. I need to act before I'm paralyzed by the pain I feel waiting to envelop me. The denial – the refusal to accept that I'll never see you again, never speak to you, never touch you. I know it's true. I believe it. But I disbelieve it just as strongly, because it's impossible. That you and I should not be together... I can't accept it. I loved you and you betrayed me and I can't, I don't know how to deal with it.
I decide I've nothing more to say to you and put down the pen. I never want to pick up another. You promised me I could have the option to kill myself if I confessed, yet here I am, locked in a cell, waiting for your interrogation, my judgment and my eventual execution. You've taken away my choices. Or at least you think you have.
I lean my head on my hands and take a moment to remember you. In the park. In the bath. On the roof. In our bed. With me, every moment, my constant companion. The chain, the surveillance, was supposed to be for your benefit, so you could watch me. But I gained so much more from it than you ever could – I would have let you hang chains all over me, until they weighed me down to the floor, if only it meant I could be with you.
Already, I'm missing you, though I know you're watching me. There's a camera in the corner of the room and I can feel your eyes, your presence. I think about what you said to me after we were on the roof. That things might turn out well after all. That hurts more than anything else. That you'd think me being dead meant things had turned out as you wanted them.
Not a word of what you said to me was true, but I find I don't care about that either. I'd have you back now, just as you are, lying to me. If you were here – if I could hold you... kiss you... but I'm just another prisoner to you. Another case you've won. In your power, at your disposal. Or so you'd like to think.
I turn to the camera that watches me, its blank eye revealing me to yours.
"I'm sorry," I mutter, then my voice gains strength as I find I do have something to say to you after all. "I'm not sorry that I'm Kira. I was right. And I'm not sorry that I loved you. Though I'm tempted to admit now, that perhaps you don't deserve it. I'm sorry that you're so afraid of me that you can't accept what I offered you. What I wanted to give you. What I have given you. And I hope –" I falter, suddenly and horribly aware that I'm never going to see you again. Never. I swallow back the pain and continue. "I hope that you never come to regret this. Although I think you will."
Then, before you can react, before you can send someone to see what I mean by my words, I stand, my hand lifting to my chest in anticipation, though you might take it as the dramatic gesture of a rejected lover. I have one choice left.
"Ryuk!" I say. "It's over."