Part 1: Headquarters

Rated T for violence, language, adult situations

Refresher: Ryuzaki is L, Shinigami is God of Death

3:36 AM. The digital clock on the table blinked at Light consistently, and reminded him to fake a yawn. Normally, he wouldn't be up so late, and so he had told the others that he was making a breakthrough on the Kira case, and excitement wouldn't let him sleep.

Light was seated at the main table, writing notes on a plain yellow legal pad. The Death Note still sat in its glass case in the middle of the table, and the white Shinigami Rem was standing specter-like in the shadows.

Light was extremely aware that the only other human in the room was staring at him. L, codename Ryuzaki, was sitting by the computer monitors, crouched Gollum-like in a rolling chair and nibbling on his thumb. Anyone else would have found it creepy, but Light was used to Ryuzaki's obsessive surveillance. He was practiced at controlling all of his actions, and even now, though he knew it looked like he was engrossed in writing down ideas for 'catching Kira', he was actually writing rote formulas from Linear Calculus so his mind could attend to a more important issue.

Like how tomorrow the Death Note could be en route to another country. L was sending the Death Note to America to test the 13-day rule, and Light realized that L had unknowingly forced his hand. Or maybe he was fully aware of the pressure this put on Light. Of course he did. L's suspicions still rested solely on his shoulders, and despite the lack of support from the rest of investigation team, he was coming inexorably closer to incrimination. Once the fake rule was debunked, Light would be defenseless.

Light felt that feeling of mild panic come over him again, and while his face betrayed nothing, he couldn't help glancing over at his nemesis. Did L ever sleep? The dark circled eyes confirmed that no, L the detective never slept. Light felt some satisfaction that the prospect of imminent death may have been partially responsible for the insomnia. Misa Amane had been released from custody four days ago, and Light knew that L hadn't eaten or slept since then, at least not that he had seen.

L had taken a risk when he'd visited Misa on Touou campus several months before, and knew that Misa had seen his real name with the 'eyes.' But now that he lacked enough evidence to keep her in custody, now that she had her memory back, there was nothing stopping her from killing Ryuzaki with the second Death Note.

Of course, L had no idea that Misa had actually forgotten his real name. It almost made Light roll his eyes; the idiot would forget the one thing he needed her to remember. But at least it was amusing to watch L squirm at the idea of Misa killing him, when in reality his death was approaching from another source. The closer L came to incriminating Misa, something which Light had ensured would not be difficult, the higher the chance that Rem the Shinigami would kill Ryuzaki to protect her.

If only that situation were still ideal. L bit down on his thumbnail, and Light cringed at the tiny clack. He hated that sound; it drove him to distraction. All of Ryuzaki's bizarre habits...damn him, damn everything about him. Earlier that day, L had made a simple comment that had ruined everything. He remembered the moment in photo-realistic detail, a depressive L peering up at him from the couch. You know, Light, I am not the only L. L is a group of people like me. They know everything I know. That simple comment, that damn simple comment, had reversed the checkmate.

If Ryuzaki died, the "other Ls" would pin him as prime suspect. They would catch Misa with the evidence Light had been using to bait Ryuzaki, and then they would debunk the two false rules he had planted in the Death Note. That would be all the evidence they needed to indict Light Yagami as Kira.

And to make things worse, Rem had no idea that killing L would set off this chain of events, and communicating with the Shinigami was impossible with Ryuzaki watching his every move. His anxiety level had been increasing all evening; L just had to make one flippant comment about catching Misa, and Rem might panic and take out her Death Note...

So with every moment spelling his potential downfall, he needed to make a move, and fast. He ran over the current situation one more time.

Mogi and his father had left to make arrangements with the US Embassy that evening, and Matsuda had tagged along. They were planning on sleeping in a hotel to continue negotiations in the morning. Aizawa was spending the night with his family, and the only other common resident of the building, Watari, had been absent for two days. Light didn't know of his whereabouts, but it was unlikely that he'd reappear at 3 in the morning.

So in short, he and L were the only people in headquarters, and with the Death Note possibly leaving tomorrow, now was the only time to act. But how to act?

He knew that his usual method of dramatic manipulation ran too high a risk of failure with L. The man was too suspicious and analytical, and he was willing to make leaps of logic that 'sane' men wouldn't make. If Light tried to fool him with an explanation most people found logical, L wouldn't necessarily buy it.

But L had weaknesses. Light had seen the seen the frantic eyes when the crowd had swarmed around them at the university. Even now he could see L's hunched, protective posture, and remembered the man saying that the attention of others gave him cold shivers. L struggled with a deep-rooted social phobia, though he dealt with it bravely by doing such things as attending university. And along with that phobia came hypersensitivity to stimulus. L kept himself secluded in a calm, safe place, and maintaining this world was obviously important for him. Light had a hunch that if this world were destroyed, if L was bombarded with colors, noises, emotions, sensations, and surroundings out of his control, he would become overwhelmed, maybe even panic.

And the final weakness to be exploited; emotional insecurity. The idea that Ryuzaki had emotions was humorous, especially since the other investigators seemed to think that Light was the emotional one, and L was a cold-hearted psychopath. Light almost smirked at the irony. L knew full well that if he showed a hint of emotion it could be used against him, so he hid behind a veneer of rationality and logic. Sensitive L pretending to be callous, callous Light pretending to be sensitive - they had both managed to fool everyone. Well, except each other. Light had seen L sink into a depression when he had lost his confidence, he had seen the facial ticks when Chief Soichiro had expressed anger at him. Those psychological pressure points were just waiting to be exploited.

But he couldn't do that here. L wasn't manipulable in his own element, and to get him out of it, he would have to risk an offensive.

But most of all, he knew L only had power within the confines of their game; the game where they predicted each others moves based on human behavior, personalities, and rationality. The goal was to catch the other by surprise but to do so within the realm of logic, so as to outsmart the other. But sheer behavioral aberrations could never be forseen.

Three feet to his left was the Death Note. Unprotected. Now a new strategy came to Light, one that would make his opponent's intelligence a moot point. It would break their unspoken rules, yes, but a true God didn't follow rules anyways. When the sniper rifle won't work, use the knife.

The nervous energy was almost impossible to live with now. Any minute, Rem could decide it was time to kill Ryuzaki, and then the other Ls, if they existed, would hunt him down…he had to dodge them, turn the hunters into the hunted. He realized he was jogging his leg and stopped himself.

I can't take it anymore. My move, L. Let's see if you respond how I expect you to.

Light got up calmly and seated himself by the Death Note. Taking off the glass cover, he laid the black book on the table and pretended to be double-checking something. He glanced at Ryuzaki, who had frozen with his thumb halfway to his mouth.

Try and stop me without your personal army around, you sick weirdo.

And with his mouth curling into a smug smile, Light pulled out a pen and applied it to the white notebook paper.

L understood what was happening in an instant. "Light, don't!" His suddenly vacant chair fell with a clatter, and he vaulted over a coffee table with agility that would have surprised the other investigators, but Light expected it; tennis and sporadic fistfights had given him a good idea of his opponent's strength. L was also trained in some strange martial arts, so Light stood and braced himself for the coming attack.

Come on, you bastard-

It happened fast - a denim-clad knee shot towards his stomach, but he dodged and it only hit him on the hip, spinning him sideways. He managed to grab a fistful of Ryuzaki's sleeve, but L kept his footing and used his body weight to slam Light against the table. Light grunted at the pain, but right as Ryuzaki was about to yank him forward by his shirt, he pulled his trump card. His pen was still fisted in his right hand, and pushing himself off the table, he used the momentum to plunge it into Ryuzaki's upper arm with all the strength he could muster.

He heard a choked scream as the pen penetrated L's flesh, felt the warmth of blood coming through the cotton shirt and the friction as the pen hit the bone. It felt...wonderful. L tried to pull free, but Light kept a firm grip on the front of his shirt, and as there was no need for pretenses, he let a euphoric snarl show on his face. He finally pulled the pen out and let go, and L, blinded temporarily by pain, clutched his arm and staggered away like a drunk.

With adrenaline coursing through his body, Light looked around quickly, and seized the empty box the Death Note had been kept in. He lifted it above his head and quickly approached L. Ryuzaki spun around to look at him in a dazed panic, but Light didn't allow himself to hesitate and he slammed the box down onto L's body. L cried out and fell to his knees, and Light brought the box down again with the same relish he swung baseball bats, this time hitting the rib cage with the plastic edge. L sprawled completely onto the ground, unable to keep his balance as he gripped his arm.

"Stand up, Ryuzaki! Can't you take it standing up?" He tossed the sturdy box to one side and pulled L up by his shirt. He saw Ryuzaki's horrified expression, and it thrilled him, that he could pull emotion out of this man when no one else could.

He grinned and with a yell, flung L sideways towards the table. After his opponent smashed dazedly into it, Light once again yanked him up by the shirt, and pushing him against the table edge, punched him hard in the stomach. L made a choking noise and doubled over, and Light laughed as he then almost casually pushed the man off balance. L staggered and tried to land on all fours, desperately clutching his stomach.

Light straightened and took a moment to inhale deeply, the adrenaline like a drug in his system. He chuckled strangely as he looked down at his now prone opponent. "True violence never went into your calculations, did it." Light took a step closer, and couldn't stop a full grin when Ryuzaki made an instinctive effort to drag himself away.

The usually inscrutable L now looked panicked and helplessly furious. "You bastard-"

"I take one of your rooks-" Light drew back a foot and brought it full force into L's stomach, "a bishop-" he gritted his teeth as he kicked again, "and your goddamn fucking knight." With the third kick, all the air had left L's body and all he could make was a choking noise.

Light straightened again, and sucking in unsteady breaths, stumbled back to look at what he had done. L's thin body was curled into a shaking ball, and blood was smeared on the floor and staining his white shirt. Had he really done this? It was almost surreal. Light felt a small laugh come out, which turned into full manic chuckles. The figure on the ground was either too smart or in too much pain to make eye contact.

This is what it's like to truly be in control.

To punish people from a distance was one thing, but to physically force them to recognize his supremacy with his own two hands was a thrill he had never felt before. It was pure, raw domination. He ran fingers through his hair and laughed in wonder.

"Light, you're acting strangely."

Light turned to see the hulking figure of Rem watching him. He smiled at the Shinigami, and noticed that L's pain-bleared eyes were staring up at the figure as well. "Gods tire of mortal interferences, Rem. Mind games go on forever, but this makes it much simpler. Right, Ryuzaki?"

L didn't answer, and still grinning from the adrenaline rush, Light walked back to lean against the table, propping himself up with his arms. He continued to stare in no small amount of wonder at L. He still couldn't get over how thrilling and powerful Kira's "coming out" had been. This was beating Ryuzaki in the most primal way possible.

He smiled condescendingly at the weaker man. "You acted exactly as I predicted. You tried to stop me before triggering an alarm, and now you've done neither. Let me guess." L was staring up at him in pure hatred. "You felt comfortable being alone with me because if I went for the Death Note, you would be able to stop me. A bit overconfident on your part, no? Almost egotistical."

L still didn't move, just remained curled up on the ground. Light smiled almost fondly. "I suppose you thought you had my character all figured out, thought I wouldn't use real violence to defend myself. You're dumber than I thought."

A noise of pain was all that answered him. He must have broken one of Ryuzaki's ribs, or something more serious than just knocking the air out of him. Maybe he had been kicking harder than he thought. That nagged a bit in his mind. He really had let aggression take control of him completely…he inwardly shrugged it off. He would deal with his morals later, once the situation was completely under control.

He turned around to find where the Death Note had gotten had been knocked to the ground in the struggle, and he picked it up and put it on the table, dismissively turning his back to L's humiliation. He needed to destroy the tapes in the surveillance cameras, and once that was done, he needed a gun for the road, maybe some backup cash, documents-

"You..." L's voice choked off, and Light didn't bother turning around. "Kira..."

"Yes, I'm Kira. You were right from the beginning. But you couldn't pin me down, Ryuzaki. I was too smart for that."

"You're wrong." Light froze as a tiny giggle came from L's direction. He spun around to see L propped up on one arm, smiling in understated triumph. His other arm still clutched his stomach and his teeth were stained with blood.

"What was that?" He tried to fight a surge of uncertainty as L looked at him with that smug expression.

"I said, you're wrong."

Forgetting the Death Note, Light pushed a chair out of his way and retraced his steps, grabbing the man's already abused shirt and yanking him to his feet. L tried to resist, but Light, his arms strong from sports, easily dragged him to the table and slammed his upper body back-down on the wood. L's eyes were wide as he tried to struggle, but Light felt another rage overcome him. He smashed him down again and again until the back of L's skull hit the wood, hard. Dazed, L's head lolled to one side.

Light grabbed the slack jaw and viciously forced the man to look at him. "What does that mean, I'm wrong? Are you gloating about a trap?" An unreadable stare greeted him, and Light almost choked on his panic. "You..." He lifted his fist, but on a sudden inspiration, he looked around for the bloody pen he had used earlier. It was right next to L's head, and he snatched it up in his right fist. Leaning over L's body until he could feel the ragged breathing on his skin, he dangled the pen above L's constrained face. "You want me to smart it out of you, Ryuzaki-chan? I thought I told you I'm done with mind games."

And with a manic grin, Light gripped the pen in his fist and brought it within an inch of L's eyeball. L jerked underneath him, but Light kept a firm grip on his jaw.

"Is there something that will affect me in this building? Look, you pale idiot, don't underestimate my abilities again…I'll shove this right in your eyeball." As he moved the pen even closer, he noticed that L was grasping at the front of his shirt in instinctive defense. Deciding to deal with that potential threat before interrogation, he dropped the pen out of reach and released L's face to grab his wrists. A few sharp motions and he had twisted L so that his face was shoved against the table and his arms were twisted cruelly behind him. Light felt another strange shot of euphoria, and he gave an extra little twist just for kicks.

Why he was enjoying this so was just a task that needed to be done. But he couldn't deny that L's labored breathing did add another element of excitement to the ordeal. Once again, he would deal with the morality of that at another time.

"Listen, L. I don't want any unknowns, and your snide little comment signified there might be one. Tell me what you meant. And remember, if gouging your eye out doesn't work, I can start killing people one by one." He leaned over the warmth of L's body to whisper in his ear, his mind running through the young detective's psychology as he chose his words.

"Think how easy it is to write down Watari's name, Ryuzaki," he whispered soothingly. "Just a few pen strokes, and he'd die any way I wanted." L's body, crushed and helpless under that of Light's, stayed stoically rigid, but Light detected the bony wrist in his hand give a slight jerk. He was getting through. "A heart attack would work, of course. By why bother with that, when I can be so much more creative? What about bleeding to death," Light suddenly grabbed L's elbow and shoved the arm as far out of its proper place as he could. L convulsed in a dry sob of agony. "Do you want Watari to bleed to death?"

"You're s-sick," L forced out through gritted teeth.

I'm wasting time, Light realized. Despite it being in the dead of night, he wasn't entirely sure if and when the investigators were returning. And while he could eliminate that threat by killing them all now, what if that played into the other Ls' hands? He wasn't stupid enough to sacrifice his opponent's pawns without knowing the consequences.

" can I make you talk?" Light looked down at his captive., and noticed blood was starting to pool around his head, probably from a cut on the scalp. Probably from when I threw him against the table edge.

In that instant, he suddenly saw another meaning in L's comment…had he actually triggered an alarm to alert Watari? He fought the surge of panic by remembering that L hadn't had time…he didn't doubt himself on that. But still, he'd overlooked the chance that Ryuzaki might have a hidden alarm he was just waiting to get access to, maybe in his clothes.

Light came to a decision and yanked L up from the table. L was unsteady on his own two feet, but Light kept his grip on his twisted arms and began pushing him towards the hardware closet. He made sure to keep track of both hands as they crossed the distance, but he had to release one to open the cabinet and scrabble for a pair of handcuffs.

It took a good ten seconds of swearing and feeling before he found a pair behind the radio equipment and gun rack, but as he reached to handcuff the wrist he had released, he froze - L's hand had slipped into his pocket. "You fucker!" Furious and panicked, Light ripped L's arm upwards and shoved him on the ground. Ryuzaki again tried to land on all fours, but his injured arm gave way, and Light slammed his foot on the small of his back to push him down on his stomach.

With L dazed and immobilized, he quickly cuffed L's hands behind him and turned him on his side. Just as he had feared, when he reached into Ryuzaki's pocket, he found a cell phone. Had the bastard just compromised things completely? A flash of rage overtook him, and he stood up to kick Ryuzaki in the back so hard it hurt his foot. L cried out, this time with a note of anger in his voice as well. "Light..."

Stay on target... he was wasting more time. Light forced himself to take a deep breath, and after a moment, knelt down and roughly began to search L's body for any other devices. It again occurred to him that he had never been this violent before. But he had also never been this angry before.

When his probing hands reached L's right leg, he finally noticed that L was shaking. Curious, he glanced up at his opponent's face, and knew immediately the main cause wasn't fear. Ryuzaki was every bit as stubborn as he was, and to be helpless in front of his enemy, and worse yet, to be passive, was an incredible effort. Light smiled at the idea that L knew there was no point in fighting back…his supremacy had been completely cemented.

So he was somewhat surprised when L suddenly sent a vicious kick directly towards his head. He managed to escape the worst of it, but the force still knocked him backwards a full meter. He hit the ground in a sort of crouch, and whipped around to see Ryuzaki, bloody and furious, trying to clamber to his feet.

"You still won't give up?" Light touched his head and when he brought his hand back, there was blood on it. Bastard… he surged to his feet and crossed the distant between them. Ryuzaki was too injured to strike another decent blow, and within seconds Light had him back on the ground and was kicking him, hard.

Finally, when L had simply curled up against the onslaught, Light stopped. When he resumed searching him for any technological devices, there was no attempt to fight back.

L's cell phone in hand, Light stood and glared down at L's unprotected body. "Did you contact anyone?" L's eyes were squeezed shut in pain, but he managed to shake his head. With his foot, Light pushed L out of the fetal position and onto his back, cruelly aware that exposing the stomach and throat made L feel even more vulnerable. L continued to shake, but fought the urge to curl up for protection.

"Did you successfully use the phone in any way?" L shook his head again. Light decided to take Ryuzaki's word for it. He grabbed the young man by his bloodstained and somewhat stretched-out shirt, and dragged him to a chair. L looked only semi-conscious; his gaze kept unfocusing and his head would roll to one side. He'd probably gotten a nice concussion somewhere along the long. But even so, Light wasn't taking any chances. To make sure he wouldn't make a move during re-cuffing, he grabbed a piece of camera equipment from the table and hit L on the head with it. L completely blacked out, and Light used the moment to secure his hands to slats in the chair back.

Satisfied that L now posed no threat, he left the slumped figure and returned to the table. He thought for a few moments, before dialing Misa on L's phone. His own phone was still in the safety drop box in the parking garage entrance.

Misa picked up almost immediately. "Misa? I need to ask you a question. No, I'm not L, this is Light. Uhuh. Will you please just listen? Do you have the eyes? Yes. Listen, I need you to do it again. It's the only way to destroy our enemy. You'll do it? You're amazing; you're so brave, Misa, I don't know what I'd do without you. I need you to come to L's immediately. Fifteen minutes? Fine."

Twenty minutes later, Misa's legs were dangling off the edge of the table next to Light, as he carefully wrote a draft on yellow notebook paper.

L had been conscious for at least ten minutes, and despite being in severe pain and handcuffed, he'd managed to pull his knees up to his chest. He'd been balefully watching Light destroy all the surveillance equipment, including tapes and digital recordings. He was impressed; Light knew where most of the cameras were, a sign that he'd been thinking ahead for weeks.

Misa had arrived just three minutes ago, and after fretting over the blood on the floor and Ryuzaki's captive state, she'd calmed down and whispered something into Light's ear. L had no doubt it was his name.

On the table, Misa lost interest in what Light was writing and turned to look at him.

"Wow, Ryuzaki, it looks like you got hit by a train. I never knew Light was so strong! I mean, I knew, but I never got to see it!" Misa giggled in her usual ploy at cuteness, and daintily picked up a marshmallow from the table. "Poor Ryuzaki, all tied up, and no way to get to his sweets…oops...I bet you would like this, right?" She cocked her head as she mockingly questioned him. "Yes? Well, then, Misa will bring it too you." She bounced off the table and walked over to the captive. "Ok, Ryuzaki, open your mouth!" Without waiting to see what he did, she tossed the marshmallow so it bounced off his forehead and to the ground. L blinked and flicked his eyes to look down on it. With his concussed double vision, he could see the sugar puff was bloody.

Misa leaned closer to his ear, as if sharing a secret. "Now you know what it feels like to be someone's captive. Misa can sympathize; Misa was tied up in a horrible, horrible chair for weeks, just like you are now!" Her eyes had become intelligent and venomous, and L realized he was getting a rare glimpse of the real second Kira. "Not too fun, is it? When you're a captive, they can do anything they want to you, and no matter how much you scream…they won't stop."

L didn't let himself show any reaction to her dialogue, disturbing as it was. "So then Misa has the second Death Note."

She blinked at the topic change, before turning away in a huff. "What makes you think that?"

"Because Kira keeps you around, for one."

"What?" Cute once again, she twirled around and glared. "Light loves me! I just use the book to help him!"

"Misa!" Light turned around in his chair, and Misa quailed at the realization she might have said something wrong.

"Oh, no...did I..."

"No...just watch your mouth." Light was stern, like a parent scolding a silly child. "L already knew there was another Death Note. I'll give you credit for that, Ryuzaki."

"Thank you." L turned his piercing black eyes back to Misa. "But there is something else. You can see names and Rai- I mean, Kira," he spat the words out as a mockery, "can't. That's strange."

Out of the corner of his eye, L saw Light's shoulders tense. Was this a sensitive topic? "Tell me, Misa Amane, are the eyes some sort of upgrade? Did your Shinigami give you that power?" Misa had frozen and was standing still. L, still hunched over his knees and the mass of pain that was his abdomen, looked to the empty space where he'd seen Misa cast her glance earlier. "Hey you, Shinigami! What did she do to get the eyes?"

Misa twirled around to glare at the same empty space. "Don't tell him, Ryuk! It's none of his business!"

Light could scarcely believe her stupidity. "He can't see Ryuk, Misa."

"What do you mean he can't...oh. Oops!" Misa smiled sheepishly at her lover. "Stupid point for Misa!" She thought for a moment. "Light-kun, can I show him Ryuk?"

"Yes, that's fine." Light's mind was moving quickly as he began writing the final draft onto the actual Death Note. Should he have kept the second note quiet? L had already assumed its existence, but the other investigators still had doubts. No. It was all right. If Watari or the investigators watched an existing tape, they would already know he was Kira. In that case, he didn't really care if Misa was found out as well.

Unless he could have kept her Death Note secret as a backup…there were too many unknowns, and he realized it scared him. He'd never felt so out of control before, not since L had humiliated him on live television. He forced the panic down. Attend to the task at hand. Focusing his mind, he once again returned to writing.

Behind him, Misa reached into her gothically accessorized bag and pulled out her Death Note, before leaning over and whapping Ryuzaki on the face with it. Ryuzaki winced, and then widened his eyes as the second Shinigami appeared beside Light...bug-eyed, gothic, and creepily clownish. The monster seemed to recognize that L could see him, and nodded in greeting. L nodded back.

"Light," L's eyes lit up with sudden curiosity, and the pain seemed to leave them, even though he remained tense and hunched over his injured stomach. "I assume that rule in the Note is fake, is it not? I bet you asked the Shinigami to put it in." L's head turned sideways like a curious bird. "Rem? Telling me now won't do any harm. I'll ask the same question; did Light have you put that rule in?"

"Don't answer him," Misa snapped at Rem, before glaring at L. "Don't ask more questions or we'll kill you!" Misa's voice was high and shrill, and she stamped her foot. Behind her, Light stopped writing and turned around in his chair.

L didn't let himself be cowed by the warning look Light sent him, but looked back with equal intensity. "That rule was all that kept me from incriminating you, Light." He slid his eyes back to Rem. "Tell me the truth, Rem...was it fake? That if the owner of the Death Note doesn't use the book for 13 days, they die."

Rem paused hesitantly, and glanced at Light for directions. Light ignored her as he kept writing and shrugged. "Yes, it was fake. I told Rem to put it in."

"Manipulating a Shinigami? Rem, you let a human tell you what to do?" Rem straightened visibly, and in the background Ryuk made a surprised noise and jerked his body sideways. Light tensed as well, but kept himself quiet. He could already see what L was trying to do, but he wasn't about to reward him with a reaction.

"What does he use as leverage, Shinigami? Did he threaten you?"

Ryuk started laughing, but Rem began slowly walking towards L, her eyes radiating anger. Light felt a flash of irritation at the Shinigami…by reacting, the idiot was validating L's new strategy.

"Even now, you're letting him boss you around? Rem!" L seemed to have completely forgotten his pain, and his voice was as strong as always. "Light threw you away when I put him into custody, didn't he? He told you to go find a third Kira, so he could find the Death Note again afterwards! He tossed you away, like you were a tool." L's eyes had widened in strange earnestness.

"Why would you go so low, Shinigami? You don't have to listen to him, so why do you? Is a noble creature like yourself scared of him? That's really the only logical explanation. You must be more of a coward than I thought, to be scared of a human-"

"It was for Misa!" Rem interrupted with a snarl, pushed beyond her control. "You think I was scared of him? Never."

"For Misa?" L asked, returning Rem's gaze without a hint of fear. "What do you mean by that? I would hate to think of you as a coward, but unless you explain yourself further, that's still the only explanation-"

Light spun around in his chair and glared. "Shut up, L."

All the others expected a comeback, and Rem blinked and looked closer when L actually seemed to take Light's order...and then it became apparent that something was actually wrong. His eyes had bulged out a bit and lost their focus, and in a small convulsion he pulled his knees even closer to his chest. Light closed the Death Note and calmly joined Misa and Ryuk and Rem to watch the show.

L's eyes, when he looked up at his torturer, told that he fully comprehended what was happening...he was about to die.

Light crouched in front of L with a smile. "Listen carefully, L Lawliet. Would you like to know what I wrote in the Death Note? I'll tell you if you stop your pathetic attempts to turn the Shinigami against me. Here goes; L Lawliet begins suffering severe pain at 4:17 am, today." L convulsed more intensely and they could hear the handcuffs strain against the chair as his muscles tensed. "This pain will steadily increase until he tells the person who restrained him what they want to know. Then the pain will end, and severe nerve damage will trigger a deadly relapse at a time I'm not disclosing. So. You know what I want to know, L. Start talking."

"Clever," L responded, "but not a checkmate yet." Misa squeaked and grabbed Light's arm when the man convulsed and let out a choked scream. Light watched dispassionately as the chair fell sideways and L thrashed underneath. He let him agonize for a few more moments, before grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. "Tell me what I want to know, L. You can't analyze your way out of this one. Did you set a trap if we try and leave the building? Or were you bluffing?"

L stared at him with the blankness that comes with overwhelming pain. "Come on, you anti-social freak, just tell me, and we'll both be better off." Light knew he had to hurry, that he had to uncover the trap that L might have laid for him. He wanted out of this building, out of the lair of L, and get to a place where he could truly be in control...this place made him nervous. His legs thrashing, L seemed in death throes.

Light felt another rage coming on, despite his effort to stay calm in front of Misa. "TELL ME, godamnit, just do what I say! Hurry up with it-"

Four pairs of eyes all turned to stare at the cell phone on the table, which had begun buzzing. None of them moved as it rang once, twice, three times. Finally, Light dropped L back to the floor and sprinted to the phone, checking the number. On the fourth ring, he clicked the button and held it up to his ear. "Mr. Watari? This is Light. No, L's fine. No, he's sleeping right now, he told me to answer the cell phone if he wasn't awake. Can I take a message." Light glanced over at the phone owner, who was choking down sobs of pain on the floor. "Alright, I'll tell him. Thank you. Bye."

He hung up the phone. Misa looked worried. "Mr. Watari knows now, right? Kill him! Write his name in the Death Note!"

"No, then they'll all know something is wrong, and plus, killing him might set off some kind of trap. Shit shit shit...Misa, get the car downstairs ready to go, we're getting out of here fast. We'll have to risk it."

"Yes, Kira!" Misa ran hurriedly off, Ryuk following.

Light hurried to L, who was frozen in a position of agony and biting his lip so hard it was bleeding. Light took off the handcuffs and dragged L away from the chair, refastening them again at his back. "You're coming with us."

Five minutes later, Light had successfully gotten L into the back seat of one of the spare cars. Misa was in the passenger seat, and Light opened the garage and drove calmly onto the empty four-lane road.

"Light, he's crying..." Misa looked somewhat horrified at what was happening in the back seat.

"Don't get emotional," he snapped. He took a sharp left onto a larger road, and forced himself not to speed. The last thing he needed was to draw the attention of the traffic police.

Matsuda was having a rather pleasant dream when the untimely ringing of a cell phone broke him out of it. He cracked open his eyes, and could see the shadow of Chief Soichiro fumbling for the lamp switch. On it came, and the Chief, dressed in shorts and an undershirt and grumbling like a bear, began fishing through his clothes for the phone.

They were in a top-class hotel near the US Embassy, with Mogi and Soichiro in the two beds, and Matsuda, as the youngest, sleeping on the floor.

Yagami answered the call while rubbing sleep out of his eyes. "Hello? Watari? Yes, go ahead."

Matsuda couldn't make out what was being said on the other line.

"I thought Light was there with him. Well, maybe if you allowed others to have cell-phones in headquarters, this wouldn't be a problem." Soichiro just listened for awhile, looking extremely sleepy and unhappy. "Yes, I understand. Fine. Fine. Yes, it's not a problem. Goodbye."

"Chief, is there something wrong?" Matsuda asked when Soichiro closed his phone.

"Yes. Watari says that L didn't answer his cell-phone."

From the other bed, Mogi groaned in disbelief. "He called you at 4:30 in the morning because Ryuzaki isn't answering his cell-phone? Didn't he think that he might be sleeping?"

Matsuda nodded in agreement. "He does have to sleep sometime. I mean, just because we never see it…"

The Chief stood up and grabbed his pants. "I know, I know. But Watari is two hours away, and so he can't check on L himself."

Matsuda tried to hold back a groan, and flopped back on the floor. The old man was over-reacting, and now they were stuck babysitting a grown adult-

But Soichiro was already fully awake and shoveling files into a briefcase. "Mogi, call Aizawa. I want him to meet us there."

Matsuda frowned as he tried to find his pants. "Chief, do we really need to call him? He's with his family tonight, and we're probably just going to find Ryuzaki asleep on the couch-"

Soichiro checked his watch. "Yes, we need him. I too thought Watari was being overprotective. But don't tell me you forgot about the possibility of Kira finding Ryuzaki's name."

The image of a sleeping Ryuzaki changed to an image of a dead Ryuzaki, and Matsuda's sense of urgency increased tenfold. Pants secure, he started pulling his socks on. But still…"if Kira killed L, wouldn't Light call us? Oh, unless Light is asleep…"

Mogi grunted. "That, or something may have happened to Light as well."

Mogi was already fully dressed, and dialing Aizawa's number. "Aizawa? I'm sorry to wake you, but we need you to meet us at headquarters. L isn't answering his phone, and we have no way of getting hold of Light. I know. I thought the same thing. Alright, try and hurry. Bye."

Matsuda was hopping around trying to get his shoe on. "What do you mean, 'you thought the same thing?' About Light being in trouble too?"

Mogi hesitated. "Well…not exactly. We all know that Light was-"

"Mogi, if you're about to say my son is responsible, I suggest you keep that to yourself." The Chief disappeared out the door, and Mogi stood as if slapped.

He glowered, and angrily picked up his briefcase. "Come on, Matsuda. Either Ryuzaki is dead or sleeping…and damn, I'm hoping it's the latter."

"Do you really still think Light could be Kira? I mean, the rule in the Death Note makes it impossible."

Mogi shrugged as they walked after Chief Yagami. "L suspects him, and there is evidence. But it does seem unlikely; that kid is too nice. But Matsuda, you have to learn that sometimes people aren't what they seem."