Here Lies Justice

Chapter XI: Smiles

- - -

The first thing L realized upon waking up was that he was in pain. It wasn't to the point of excruciation, but it did hurt. As promised, Light had been far from gentle, since his anger the previous night had not yet dissipated.

L shifted position, lying on his side to avoid provoking more pain in his backside. He snuggled against the still-sleeping Light, resting his head in the crook of Light's neck. It had all been worthwhile, despite the pain. L smiled wryly as he began to fondly play with Light's hair; he would be topping next time. He refused to allow Light to pull any handcuff tricks again; even if it was rather enjoyable, L demanded his fair share.

The black-haired detective glanced through sleepy eyes at the chains now lying on the floor in a heap. Light had set him free once he was satisfied, and now L felt like he could sleep for weeks.

L sighed, continuing to gently run his fingers through Light's auburn hair. He still suspected Light of having some kind of last resort; a backup plan, or perhaps some pieces of a Death Note hidden away somewhere. It wasn't like Light to not plan ahead for the worst case situation.

"Panda-chaaan…" Light mumbled in his sleep, grasping L's arm possessively and completely interrupting the older man's thought process.

"Despite everything…" L murmured, fighting the tinge of pink threatening to flood his face, "you're quite sweet, Light-kun."

Light made a small noise somewhere between a grunt and a moan, still clinging to L's arm. Content and warm, they remained like that for around an hour or so until Light awoke.

"Nnn…" Light rubbed his eyes, stifling a yawn. "G'morning…"

"Good morning, Light-kun," L answered, sitting up with his back against his pillow, absentmindedly stroking Light's hair, seemingly fascinated by how soft, silky, and tame it was.

"How long've you been up for?" Light asked wearily, glancing up at the detective, who looked even more unkempt than usual.

"Not long." L was utterly transfixed as he stared down at his lover. "I was watching you sleep."

"…Oh."

"You called me 'Panda-chan.'" L's face remained deadpan, but his voice was dripping with amusement.

"I did?" Light looked mortified.

L nodded, leaning down to steal a kiss. Hovering a hair's breadth away from Light's lips, L whispered, gazing at Light through half-lidded eyes, "It was cute."

Light laughed weakly, placing his hands on the sides of L's face. He had to admit, despite the messy appearance, L had a weird sort of charm about him; or perhaps it was just the light filtering invasively into their room through the window, or the particular way in which the clump of tousled ebony hair was framing the detective's pale face, or perhaps it was the puzzled inflection with which L asked, "Do I really look that much like a panda, Light-kun?"

"It's your eyes." Light traced the dark semicircle beneath L's left eye with a delicate finger. "They look like panda eyes. It's probably because you don't get enough sleep."

"I remember being chained by a certain someone to a certain headboard last night," L retorted, fondly tousling Light's hair, "which severely interrupted my time for sleeping."

"Mmm, but you forgot to mention the fact that…" Light captured L's lips in a fleeting, chaste kiss, "…you enjoyed every second of it."

L mumbled something along the lines of, "Light-kun is a skillful sexual predator."

"Mmm… Maybe I am," Light whispered against L's neck, drawing a full-body shudder from the detective. "Panda-chan."

"That is a humiliating nickname…" L found it increasingly difficult to concentrate as Light placed feathery kisses on his neck. "So please…ah…don't call me…nnn…"

"I can't hear you," Light murmured, smirking as L's protests died down.

L remained silent for a moment, struggling to gather his thoughts. "Light-kun," he finally said, never drawing his eyes away from the ceiling, "promise you won't smash your head into hard things anymore?" His tone was joking, but his eyes took on a whole different persona; they were stricken with worry now that he had finally gotten back the thing most precious to him. He certainly didn't want to lose Light again. His voice dropped in pitch and now sounded more melancholy than anything else. "Promise you won't forget?"

"I won't."

"Do you promise?"

"Yes, I—hey, L, look at me."

L's eyes dropped from the ceiling and caught Light's.

"Yes, I promise," Light continued once he had L's attention.

"Are you sure?" L's voice was tinted with unease.

"I promise." Light grabbed the detective's shoulders, pulling him into a gentle kiss. Retreating slowly, Light offered a reassuring smile. "Okay?"

"This feels like a movie," L murmured thoughtfully, shoving a thumb between his lips. "Do you think we'll live happily ever after?"

"Real life isn't a fairytale, L," Light said gently, brushing stray clumps of black hair out of L's face. "We'll live as happily ever after as we can, okay?"

L remained silent, gazing at the ceiling, thumb still nestled between his lips.

"I'll build you a nice little 'happily ever after,' okay?" Light murmured, stroking L's cheek. "Would that make you happy?"

"Yes," L replied simply, placing his hand over Light's. A smile twitched at the corner of his mouth. "You do."

"You're sappy," Light whispered with a smile, softly kissing L's forehead.

L's stomach grumbled obnoxiously, signaling that the detective was overdue for breakfast.

"Let's go eat," L suggested after a hasty kiss, rising to his feet and grabbing yesterday's clothes, haphazardly throwing them on.

"But I'm not done with you yet," Light grumbled, standing up and wrapping his arms around L's slender waist. "…Panda-chan."

L cupped Light's chin in his hand, leaning in to kiss the younger man, lightly running his tongue over Light's bottom lip before retreating. "I'm hungry, Light-kun." L dropped his hand, running it over Light's bare chest. "We're going to eat now, okay?"

Heat pooled in Light's stomach at the touch, and he followed L out of the room without further complaint. Their hands were clasped tightly together as they walked down the hall, and L, grinning smugly to himself, decided not to remind Light to put on a shirt.

"What're you so happy about?" Light asked, bemused as he caught a glimpse of L's smile.

"You," L answered simply, a broader smile gracing his features.

Light melted. And it wasn't something he did often—ever, in fact. He shook his head and bit his tongue before he could blurt out something stupid (like the fact that L needed to stop being so damned cute). As if Light wasn't already having second thoughts about the Death Note piece in his watch beforehand… L was luring him in, enthralling him, and Light wished he could lock this time together up in a small glass box and keep it there forever; he wished nothing would ever change.

More importantly, he needed to destroy his trump card; he needed to get rid of the Death Note fragment in his watch before any temptation or the remnants of his Kira frame of mind struck again.

"Something wrong?" L's voice was edged with concern as they stepped into the kitchen. He turned to face Light head-on, grasping both of the younger man's hands.

"No…" Light playfully ruffled L's hair. "Let's get something to eat."

L crossed the kitchen, grabbing a box of doughnuts from the countertop and placing them on the kitchen table. From past experience, he knew Light always responded negatively when offered doughnuts for breakfast, so L asked, "What would you like?"

"Those look good," Light responded cheerfully; he was in an excellent mood, despite the overhanging guilt locked into the watch around his wrist. With a tint of amusement in his voice, he continued, "Not drugged, I presume?"

L shook his head, opening the top of the box. "You really do remember everything, don't you…"

"Mostly," Light replied, glancing into the box. Six glazed doughnuts were lined up vertically, side-by-side, and his stomach growled in anticipation; he hadn't realized how hungry he was. "I don't really remember what happened just before the accident, but everything else is pretty clear."

Light used a napkin to pick up his doughnut to avoid getting glaze on his fingers; L, however, snatched one with his bare hand, dangling it precariously in his usual fashion as he began to devour it.

Light cast a subtle glance across the table, watching L eat. The detective was halfway through his first, and Light had only taken a couple bites of his.

"You're a fast eater," Light pointed out rather obviously. Because "you're really quite adorable when you're eating, L" was hardly appropriate. Now that the setback of him being Kira had been dropped, Light knew he could say pretty much anything without consequences. They'd had sex, for god's sake; but still, Light had his dignity and would not stoop low enough to shower L with ridiculous-sounding compliments.

"Mmm, well," L mumbled between bites, "I told you I'm hungry."

They continued to eat in silence—L finishing doughnut after doughnut, eventually emptying the entire box of its contents. Light glanced interestedly across the table as L began to lick the doughnut glaze off of his fingers.

"So, now that Kira has been captured…" L wedged his index finger into his mouth, sucking on it delicately to remove the remaining glaze. "…what do you propose we do?"

"Uhmm…" Light muttered, attention straying to the action around L's mouth.

"Are you paying attention, Light-kun?" There was an air of…something—something that bordered on seductivethat clung to L's voice as he pointedly ran his tongue slowly along the length of his forefinger. Perhaps the detective actually knew what he was doing…

"Hnn…" Light picked at the crumbs of his finished doughnut, peeling his eyes away from L. "Well, if the killings stop, then—"

"If the killings stop, Light-kun?" L inquired, leaning forward in his chair with a feral look of excitement in his eyes. "What are you suggesting?"

Light sighed deeply, rolling his eyes. "When the killings stop… Then the investigation will be closed. Higuchi was Kira; that's all the investigation team knows. With Higuchi in custody and Kira disappearing simultaneously, the only logical explanation would be to say that Higuchi was the only Kira, and therefore, the case would be closed."

"The only problem is that we all know the Yotsuba Kira, Higuchi, is different than…" L cast a significant glance in Light's direction, "…the original Kira. The motives and victims of each were drastically dissimilar."

"The original Kira is dead," Light replied solemnly, gazing down at his folded hands. "We'll wait for a while, confirm the killings are over with the rest of the investigation team, and then…" He lifted his eyes to L. "What happens next?"

"Well, a certain someone promised to build me a 'happily ever after,'" L suggested, reaching across the small table and poking Light squarely in the forehead.

Light grabbed L's wrist, pulling him out of his seat so his body was stretched across the table. "Of course." He pressed his lips to L's in a soft kiss as heat surged through his arms, into his fingertips, back to his chest, and then down through his stomach.

"That's the first thing I'll do."

- - -

The day passed by in a blur, with no more recorded killings. L spun an easy lie and told the rest of the investigation team that he had locked away the Death Note they had acquired from Higuchi so that it could never be used again. This was met with murmurs of agreement regarding the level of danger attached to the notebook. Day faded into night, and as the sun rose the following morning, L awoke to another Halloween—another birthday.

His hair was more askew than usual, probably because of the amazing night he and Light had shared just a few hours ago. As L sat up, it took him a moment to realize Light was awake.

"Hey, L," Light murmured sleepily.

"Good morning, Light-kun."

"D'ya know what day it is?" Light muttered, snuggling closer to L and resting his head in the detective's lap.

"No." L gently threaded his fingers through Light's hair, gazing down at him.

"October 31st. It's Halloween."

"Is that so?" L inquired disinterestedly.

"Mmhmm."

After a long pause, L declared softly, "Today is my birthday."

Light's eyes went wide. "Really?"

"Yes," L replied simply.

"But…" Light sat up suddenly. "I haven't got any presents for you! Why didn't you tell me?"

"I don't celebrate my birthday," L replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Please don't worry about stupid things like presents." He gently ruffled Light's hair, leaning over for a kiss. "You're all I need."

"Sappy as ever, Panda-chan." Light gave a smile, thinking all the while about what he was going to do. He wasn't going to just let L's birthday go ignored.

"I thought I asked you to stop calling me that."

"Humor me," Light murmured, closing the deal with a kiss. "So what do you want to do for your birthday?"

"I have already told you that I don't—"

Before L could finish his sentence, Light had already gotten up and dashed out the door. L sighed and lay back down, gazing at the ceiling. Light was going to do something to celebrate; L decided it was wise to just stay out of the way and wait. He planned to be unpleasantly surprised; he had never liked parties of any sort.

Resigned, he slid open the drawer of the nightstand beside the bed, fixing his eyes on the Death Note sitting formidably inside.

He'd claimed to have burned the Note they had acquired from Higuchi…

But the truth was, L was a liar.

- - -

Light poked his head into the room some time later; L guessed it had been several hours, though he hadn't been paying attention to the clock.

"Come downstairs, L," Light requested cheerily, closing the distance between the bed and the door.

"I don't want to." L jerked his eyes sideways. Something white and powdery was smudged across Light's left cheek in an almost comical and downright adorable fashion. Guessing it was flour or sugar, L suddenly asked, "Have you been cooking?"

"Just come downstairs," Light insisted, grabbing L's arm and tugging the detective into a standing position. "Please, Panda-chan." His arm encircled L's waist, pulling the raven-haired detective close, bodies pressed together. "Come get Part One of your birthday present."

L groaned. "There are multiple parts?"

"Part Two…" Light murmured, capturing L's lips in a heated kiss. Drawing away and tangling his fingers into L's, he finished, "…comes much later." Noting the tint of pink creeping across L's face, Light asked with a grin, "Interested now?"

"Mildly," L replied stiffly, desperately attempting to preserve his dignity.

Light raised a brow.

Surrendering with an eyeroll, L huffed, "Extremely. Now where's this Part One you mentioned?"

Kissing L lightly atop the head, Light pulled the detective by the arm to the door. "Thank you for putting up with me, Panda-chan."

"Who's the sappy one now?" Innocent smile.

"Shut up. It's your own fault I say weird things like that. Stop being such a cute little bastard."

L stopped short, causing Light to pause and turn to face him. "Cute?"

"Mildly," Light said imitatively, a mocking edge to his voice as a grin crept across his face.

"Light-kun thinks I'm…cute?" L repeated blankly.

"I said mildly," Light corrected.

L tilted his head slightly to the side, wedging a thumb in his mouth as he pondered Light's words.

"Oh, hell." Light threw his arms into the air in surrender. "You're fucking adorable."

- - -

"You made me a cake, Light-kun?" L's eyes were wide and glazed over with longing as he took in the sight of the confection. Strawberries framed the entire outer edge of the cake, each one topped with a small amount of whipped cream. Red lettering covered the white icing in the center of the cake, spelling out, "Happy birthday, Panda-chan!" As if to add emphasis to the final word, a panda was drawn below the writing.

"Yeah, I'm not that great at baking or anything, so…" Light shrugged. "I suppose you'll eat anything with sugar in it, so hopefully you'll like it."

L, ignoring the knife and picking up only the fork, carved out a giant chunk of the cake, shoving it into his mouth. "This is very good," he remarked, obviously impressed as he shoveled another large mouthful down his throat.

Light grabbed a small wrapped box that was sitting on the other side of the table, handing it to L, who took about forever and a day to untie the ribbon due to his odd mannerisms. "You didn't have to get me anything…" L murmured, tearing off the wrapping paper and opening the little box. A small stuffed panda sat inside, drawing a smile from the detective. He opened the card, eyes scanning the brief message.

"Panda-chan—

I love you.

- Light"

L stood up, pushing back his chair as tendrils of joy crept through him. He lifted his hands, reaching out twining them into Light's hair. Pulling the brunette close, L descended upon Light's mouth, tongue begging for entry. Light complied and was swept up into the heat of the kiss, slipping his arms around L's slender waist. It tasted sweet—like cake and icing and strawberries and L, all blended into pure bliss. Pulling away, breathing heavily, they stared at each other, at a loss for words until L murmured, "Thank you, Light-kun."

Light stroked L's hair, drawing a soft, contented sigh from the detective. "Happy birthday, L."

- - -

Hours later, they lay in bed together as the best birthday L ever had was drawing to a close.

"L?" Light's voice was whisper-quiet as it broke through the thick silence. He was cradling L's head in his left arm, resting his own head on the ebony-haired detective's shoulder.

"Yes?"

After a moment of hesitation, Light whispered into L's hair, "…I really do love you."

There was a long, drawn-out pause between them. Light's heart thudded uncomfortably against his ribcage, and he feared he had misspoken and somehow upset L. He shifted nervously, debating over whether or not he should break the silence. Just as Light was about to speak up, the reply came.

"I believe you."

The statement conveyed a sense of trust, which meant more to Light than any "I love you" ever could.

- - -

Light asked the question in the morning, after a few minutes of cuddling against the warm body beside him.

"Hey, L?"

"Yes?"

"Are you ever going to tell me your real name? I mean, there's no harm in it since I don't have my Death Note anymore."

After a long pause, L said slowly, "I suppose." Another pause. "My name is L Lawliet."

He was perpetually aware of the danger in telling Light his true name. It was precisely because of this danger, in fact, that L chose to do so. After Light had gotten up and headed into the bathroom to take a shower, L pulled the Death Note out of its drawer, placing it directly on their bed. There was no way Light would be able to miss it when it was placed as such, blatantly on display.

It was there to tempt Light. It stood out in broad daylight, face-up—a challenge. But it was also more than that; L knew Light would understand.

Light emerged from the bathroom twenty minutes later, droplets of water clinging to the ends of his wet hair, spilling to the ground as he walked. Adjusting the towel wrapped around his waist, Light turned in the direction of his closet, suddenly whipping his head back in a comical double-take as his eyes fell upon the Death Note positioned welcomingly, temptingly on the bed.

He scanned the room, noting L's absence. Immediately, he knew this must be a test of sorts. He picked up the Death Note, flipping delicately through its pages. So L had been lying about burning the other Note—Light had suspected the detective of having some kind of trick up his sleeve. Smitten or not, L was far from stupid or careless.

Although, it did seem rather daring to leave the notebook out right after telling Light the name L had been keeping hidden for so long. All according to some twisted plan, Light supposed. He flexed the fingers of his right hand, recalling a time long ago when he had used them to spread his Justice, his divine judgment.

"L Lawliet." Light tasted the deliciously poisonous words on his tongue. How much power he had now—it surged through him briefly before he was reminded that his ties to everything that had been Kira were severed. And he knew that ultimately, Kira had lost to the startlingly human trump card L had unconsciously held in his pocket—Kira fell for love, and he fell hard from a hundred-story building, crushed into the pavement, facedown like the criminals he had brought to his standard of Justice.

Light understood now; this wasn't an ordinary L-versus-Kira challenge. It was L declaring his victory against Light, simultaneously extending his trust to the point of possible severe danger.

Despite losing, a sense of acceptance was finally able to settle comfortably into Light's stomach. He closed the Note, crossing the distance to the door and stepping into the hall, heading downstairs to the kitchen. For some reason, he knew L would be there.

"Good morning, Light-kun," L intoned without looking up; he had eyes only for his sugar-flooded coffee cup.

Light dropped the Death Note onto the table in front of L. The slapping sound it made upon impact with the table jerked L out of his staring contest with his coffee. His eyes flicked to Light, questioning silently. It registered vaguely in the back of his mind that Light was shirtless and dripping, only just having come out of the shower.

"Feeling up for a bonfire, Panda-chan?" Light clicked open his watch, pulling out the scrap of paper with "Higuchi Kyosuke" scrawled on it in blood. Clutching the Death Note piece delicately, he placed it on top of the face-up notebook, folding his arms across his chest when he had finished.

"You are willing to burn your murder notebook?" L asked dully, keeping a blank face.

"It's not mine." Light gently stroked L's messy hair, drawing a barely-suppressed sigh from the detective. "You dethroned me, remember?"

"Mmm." L gazed at Light through half-lidded eyes as he succumbed to the wonderful feeling of being touched. "Does this mean you're surrendering for good? Kira hates to lose, you know…"

"I suppose I did lose, but… Somehow, topping you is sufficient enough," Light murmured, pressing his lips to L's, continuing to stroke the detective's hair, invoking more blissful sighs.

"You should be in prison, you know," L whispered without a hint of guilt attached to his voice as a shudder crept through his chest at Light's touch. "Or dead…" L sighed, reaching out from his sitting position and wrapping his arms around Light's waist. "I love you too much. It impairs my judgment."

"I could say the same to you," Light replied, straightening up as a smile graced his features.

"And yet, here we are… Hnn… Ah, there." L pulled his arms away from Light's waist, watching with satisfaction as the towel fell away, fully exposing the younger man's body.

"You…" A flash of pink crossed Light's astonished face. "You horny bastard!"

L gave an uncharacteristic devilish, "you know you'll like it" grin.

Light laughed—he'd noticed he had been laughing so much more often now that he and L were together—and ruffled L's disastrous hair.

"I love you, you horny bastard…" he murmured, smiling down into L's enormous eyes.

L mirrored Light's smile—how odd it was, he subconsciously noted, that he had been smiling so much recently…

And he gave the most meaningful response Light would ever receive, more powerful than the obvious "I love you" that lingered all over L whenever he looked at Light, or touched Light, or talked to Light—

"I believe you."

And the truth was, L the liar was being perfectly honest.

Finis.

- - -

A/N: Aaand, that's a wrap! To be perfectly honest, I was getting tired of writing this fic, so I decided to bring it to a close. Happy, sappy, fluff-filled ending. D'awww. And just think—when I originally started writing this fic, it was going to end with both charries dead. XD Ahh, well, I'm sort of glad I totally switched angles. I'll write an angsty fic some other time. XD

I've been anxious to start a new fic, but I'm in desperate need of plotlineee… -siiigh- I need inspiration. XD

Also, sorry for the extremely slow update… Juggling school, track, family problems, etc. I meant to submit this last night, but FF was having problems with the login/submission area.

Hmm, I'm not really happy at all with this chapter; it's too fragmented and abrupt in places, but whatever. I know what's wrong with it so…be relatively nice with any critique? XD

Anyway, thanks so much for reading and to everyone who reviewed! :D