Chapter The Last: Sympathy for the Devil

Disclaimer: Death Note =/= mine. Volume 7 would have gone a liiittle bit differently.

Rating: R

Pairings: Kira / L

Warning(s): Contains spoilers for the manga through chapter 7, and some characters beyond that.

Comment: Thanks for staying with me this far! Here's the epilogue with all its shortness, and then we're zooming along to the sequel.

Kira woke slowly, cataloguing his surroundings with his eyes closed. The sheets on the mattress beneath him were unfamiliar and there was a throbbing pain in his temple. On top of that, there was some naggingly familiar sensation that was irritating him in the back of his mind.

He opened his eyes slowly, wincing at the lights in the room spiking agony through his skull. He imagined this must be something close to the symptoms of a hangover, if hangovers could be caused by an elderly man bashing the butt of a gun into your skull. Why Watari had chosen to do that when he'd already agreed to come along with the man was a mystery that Kira hoped to resolve soon.

From what he could see by stubbornly wincing his eyes open, he must be in a hotel room- it lacked the clean lines of L's building, and there were the generic prints on the visible wall and re-circulated scent of every hotel he'd ever been to.

Turning his head slightly, he discovered without much surprise that L was crouched on the bed beside him, watching. That explained the irritation he'd been experiencing at least; Light had woken too many mornings to that to not be sensitized to the detective's gaze. He glared at the older man, expecting answers.

"Ah. Good, Kira-kun is awake," L commented blandly. "I was worried. Catching our flight would be more difficult if Kira-kun were still unconscious."

Kira cautiously lifted a hand to probe at his temple, nearly blacking out again and breathing carefully through the pain. Well, that could have been planned better, he decided wryly. "Flight? Where are we going? This doesn't seem like the situation that would lead to a trial, or me being executed..." he trailed off in a frown at a more pressing question. "Why did Watari knock me unconscious?"

"...Hmm... that would be..." L studied the decidedly uninteresting ceiling. "Most likely, because he expected I would be doing what I am doing now. It would have been easier to simply threaten you and push you in front of him, but perhaps knocking you out was more satisfying?" he mused. "You have killed thousands."

Attention sharpening at L's words, Kira narrowed his eyes at L. "And what are you doing now...?"

"...Saving Kira's life..." L admitted. He hunched in on himself a bit more, chin lying against his knees and hands curled defensively in the material of his loose jeans. His dark eyes betrayed nothing, but Light had been with L for too long not to be able to read the tension and uncertainty in the detective. Was L regretting his decision, or...? It felt like he was missing a crucial piece of information.

Kira probed the bruise at his temple again and found he could bear the pain with preparation. Very cautiously, he leaned up on one elbow. "And why," he asked shortly, "would you want to do that?" He controlled his breathing and ignored his mild waves of nausea. What was L thinking? If he'd gotten a concussion from this...

"...Kira-kun asks a very good question," L responded softly. The tone brought Kira's eyes to him again and Kira frowned slightly at a flicker of what had seemed like misery in the man's black gaze.

"Explain," Kira commanded, not liking this situation at all. There was too much uncertainty in it and he couldn't tell if he was still being monitored by the other detectives or not. What game is he playing at now?

"If Kira-kun doesn't know why I would save his life, why would I?" L asked, and beneath his flat tone was some emotion Kira couldn't quite discern. Bitterness? Self-disgust? Or just the usual mockery? He wondered what had happened to have L acting so... human.

Kira snorted, sitting up fully and getting a good look at the room for the first time. The hotel didn't seem to be as high-class as L's normal tastes and Kira considered the possible reasons. They had left in a hurry, and L was acting on limited funds? Or he simply wanted to keep a low profile, using this as a temporary location to rest before they caught their flight? He frowned at that. "Ryuuzaki, where are we flying to? And why? Misa and her notebook are gone, and your evidence isn't directly against me. I was trying to save her life, but I still protest you calling me Kira. I'd rather take my chances with a trial than whatever you're planning."

"...Kira-kun can call me L, now," L stated. Noticing Kira studying the room and apparently guessing at his thoughts, L curled his toes. "Upon my assertion that Light-kun is indeed Kira but that you had once more avoided having evidence against you, Yagami-san came to the decision to kill Kira and, possibly, himself. I was not thinking as clearly as normal, but ordered Watari to take you to the roof, where I planned to fly you to safety in the helicopter."

"Safety far enough away to require a plane flight?" Kira asked wryly. "You're still not making any sense, Ryuu-... L. This seems more like one of your attempts to get me to confess to being Kira. Why would you try to save me for a few hours, knowing that if I'm convicted of being Kira I'll receive a death sentence?"

"...I also wondered that, on my way to the roof. I decided that... I did not want Light-kun to die, even if it meant allowing the murderer, Kira, to live. And the only way to allow Kira to live would be to travel with you and take you to safety. Having assisted your escape, I would already be breaking the law and risking my own standing."

Beginning to worry that L was serious, Kira let his hand drop from his temple to study the older man. "...You're lying to yourself, L," he pointed out. L blinked at him. "You don't only want me to live. You find Kira interesting as well. Saving the one you think of as Kira means that, if you're not approving of Kira's murders, you're still accepting that Kira's life means more to you than thousands of normal citizens. I didn't think you were that sort of person..." he observed, arching an eyebrow at the detective and standing cautiously. "I can't picture you being moved by something like emotions, but winning our game just by allowing my father to kill me would be boring, wouldn't it?"

L turned his head to watch Kira more easily. "'Our game'... Light-kun admits to being Kira, now?"

"...This situation doesn't add up," Kira evaded, looking to the curtained windows. "I am beginning to believe you. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't continue to build evidence against me in case you regretted your change in sides later and wanted to keep an escape open. And this hotel room... Why hasn't Watari arranged everything for us already? We shouldn't be waiting in a cheap room, we should be on some private flight, escaping, until I can find a way to get away from you. That would be your thinking, correct?"

"Life will be harder for Light-kun if he escapes," L commented mildly. "...In three days' time, Watari will inform my successor, trained for years to follow me, and they will have Watari's assistance in capturing us both. I have no doubt that they will release information on Kira and on Amane-san to the media at that time, or soon after."

Kira turned on L in aggravation, glaring. "You left them Watari? You can't be that stupid- he has footage of both of us, all of the Kira investigation notes, and our names. Do we even have money, places to stay...?" He snorted. "Honestly, I'd have been better off risking my father."

"Kira is welcome to go back if he believes that," L deadpanned. "I have many bank accounts, and we will collect the funds from several over the next three days. I do not wish to leave L's position lacking in funds, and Watari's assets will be untouched."

Realizing he'd allowed his brow to furrow and his face to twist in annoyance, Kira took a breath to calm himself. He dropped into one of the room's chairs with a conscious grace, not liking the thought of sitting on the bed with his enemy and questionable ally. "You're giving us too many ridiculous rules, L," he accused. "If they're our enemies now, we should act while we can to secure our own positions and unbalance theirs. We have three days' head start on them; I should think two of the most intelligent minds in the world can at least create a working plan for our future."

"I also believe this," L agreed. "However, my rules stay." He paused, and his dark eyes bored into Kira. "...Kira-kun, I need an honest answer. What happened to Amane-san's notebook?"

Kira arched an eyebrow. "You expect me to admit to something like that? I still don't trust you. Besides, Rem's notebook was Misa's. I simply found a way for Rem to return to her and for them both to escape. If Misa is smart enough, she might even be able to stay alive for a while, which should provide us with some distraction and confusion when the new L chases us. Do you know who your successor is?" he asked off-handedly. At any moment, Ryuk could find him, and if he could get a name and picture on their tracker they wouldn't have any concerns.

"I believe that Watari, according to my wishes, will choose a boy called Near to follow me. You will find no information nor pictures on him, if that is what you are after."

"A boy?" Kira asked, sitting up straight. "You're that concerned about a half-trained child?" he asked, working to keep the derision from his tone. He frowned. "If someone like you is concerned, he must be remarkable, but even so..."

"If Near works together with my second option, I believe that together they could equal at least one of us in thinking," L responded evenly. "They are still learning, but Near is impressive, and together they will pose us a challenge. Not to mention, they will have the assets and connections of Watari, and will be working with the NPA and with your father and his detectives against us. We will have to move often and remain in low profile."

"That goes without saying, of course..." Kira frowned slightly, steepling his fingers and resting his chin on them as his gaze unfocused. He still didn't believe that even L's successors could prove a terrible challenge to the both of them, but they could certainly get in his way. Especially with the assets the two new players would have at their disposal, while Kira and L were being forced to flee. The whole idea was frustrating. His plans had been perfectly laid; if L hadn't experimented by writing his own name in the death note none of this would be a concern right now.

"...Kira-kun is upset that his plans fell apart, and that I am still alive," L hazarded.

Gaze flicking to the detective quickly, Kira schooled his expression too late to completely hide his surprise. "Why would you say that?"

"This situation is troublesome for Kira-kun. If I had died, you would have had a much easier path in ruling the world."

"...What's strange is that you realize that, yet you still saved me," Kira commented, studying the bizarre man across from him. The idea that he might have someone with whom he could discuss being Kira openly was one he would approach with caution. L would still become one of his pieces to move, but he was much more self-aware of his place in the game than Misa had been; getting the man to make the moves Kira wanted to save them both might be tricky.

"..." L kept his focus on the carpet rather than on Kira and spoke without inflection. "In the end, I couldn't bear for Light-kun or Kira-kun to die. When faced with a world that would not hold him in it, I found it to be less interesting. Even if it means that Kira won for now, I decided that it would be better to save his life." He turned his head to gaze at Kira. "...I can still renounce my decision at a later time and give you up to the police if I regret my choice."

Kira's eyes gleamed at this revelation and he sat back with satisfaction. Poised on the drab hotel chair like a king on his throne, he smirked at the world famous detective curled on the bed as his piece fell into place. I can't kill him with my death note if he disobeys, but threats probably wouldn't work on L in any case. Still, there are many ways to control others, and he's proven himself to have emotions and to want me alive. I can use that. "You're wrong, L. My victory won't be temporary, and there's no way that you'll turn on me. My luck has always gone this way... I will become the god of a new world, and you'll be at my side to see it through."

L's thin fingers gripped his knees tightly while his face remained blank. In his eyes was the knowledge of the airplane tickets he had purchased and the fact that in a few days there really would be no turning back.

Sympathy for the Devil is by the Rolling Stones. I love that song.

The sequel is called Tear You Apart; I'll be putting it up starting in the next two days as per usual. I've got five chapters on it, so you're all safe for at least ten days!

Comment responses:

Wow! Fifteen people replied to the last chapter! I'm very happy.

Impervious Marr: Very soon, don't worry!

MiaoShou: I've been having a hard time thinking of a happy ending myself! I'm five chapters into the sequel and still don't really know what I'm doing yet. I'm working on it, though... Thank you! L would hate being called 'romantic' I think.

LiathRain: Thanks! Will try.

SoraXNamine: Did so! I need to have L and Watari talk again later at some point, hmm...

SonokoTao: "Oh snap yes!" cracked me up, I love that phrase. (Mostly because Dr. House used it at one point...) You know, I tried and tried to imagine them working together- I have one event that would make them actually do it. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not. Yay for unpredictability and flying Misa! I get the feeling those police officers needed therapy afterward...

Deliciously Tormented: Hmm... I'm trying to remember in the series the last time Light ever showed that he even had senses to come back to... maybe in the first chapter of the manga? Kira's stubborness is fun, but with he and L, man...! Finding an ending is hard.

Lady AliPotter: You're welcome! I don't think Kira went truly evil until the end of the manga, by which point he was totally nutballs. Thank you so much though! I'm glad you've enjoyed the story so far.

Amorpheous: You made me giggle. I didn't mean to explode your brain! This chapter really doesn't help with suspense, hmm... In this fic, they pretty much are- they blur at the edges now though, and Light wouldn't be able to take over Kira's body or anything. He more just acts as the focus of Kira's subconscious trying to needle Kira to act like he has an emotional center and not just focus on the domination of the world thing.

dreamsofpalmtrees: Thanks!

lil bishi hunter: Wow, that's quite a compliment! Thank you very much. I think my writing got better toward the end, but I'm enjoying my sequel more- some of the writing in this arc makes me wince a little... hmm. Anyway, thank you again!

Bob Da Peach: I'm trying! Let me know if the sequel sucks...

Shadowsole: Glad you like it! I think I threw everyone a little off-balance with it...!

Azh Hikari: I usually post on AFF first, and they rarely reply, so the response here makes me very happy...! It feels like a lot of reviews to me. Thank you, though!

mjhjhji: Aww, I like my summary. More like I can't think what else to say. "Keeps mostly to canon with a little gay sex and then blows up your brain"? See, doesn't work. Thanks, though! Honestly, I wouldn't know what else to say...

mornir-brightflame: Thanks for your review! I love when people mention specific things they like. I usually like Chief Yagami, just because he's... about the only morally upstanding character in the series, so that interests me. His trying to take matters into his own hands could be irritating, but just makes me roll my eyes at him. He tries so hard... And yes, I was talking about the afro! I love Aizawa's hair in the later arc, after L's death, but in the beginning...! Yeesh, it didn't suit his head. Thanks again!

yellowrose87: Ah! I had all the responses typed and then you commented. Thank you though! I messed the rule up worse than that- if you misspell a name four times deliberately, you're killed. So L'd technically be dead... Guh. I didn't know it at the time of writing it though, and I'm still stumped about how to fix it. I might revise the last chapter later if I can come up with some likely BS. I suppose in this universe of the story, the rule works the way I read it first, for now... I'm dissatisfied with my answer, I'm sorry!