Shadow: This was an oneshot idea, originally. And then it morphed, and grew horns and wings and a spiky tail, and became a nasty little demon with a pitchfork in the corner of my mind gleefully poking me at every available opportunity. So I caved, and started writing it.

Note: This is going to be as in-universe as I can possibly make it, and it takes information from both the original Death Note manga and anime, as well as the Death Note: Another Note novel. Obviously, there will be spoilers for key things from both abounding from the offset, so don't read if that's going to bother you.

Much love to Compy, Kelpy and 'Kari, without whom this plot would still be sort of wandering about in dejected little circles.

Disclaimer: Death Note belongs not to me (much as I wish otherwise), but to its amazing creator, Tsugumi Obha - without whom this fandom would (obviously) not exist-, and its just-as-wonderful artist, Takeshi Obata – who deserves a whole heap of credit for giving us such pretty bishōnen to squee over, love, adore, and (in some cases) molest. Credit also to the writer Nisio Isin (nice palindrome of a name, that), who wrote the Death Note: Another Note novel – which I have yet to read (-mutters-) but am taking guidance from regardless. (It's handy having a lot of friends who like DN just as much as you do. X3)

Ashes to Ashes

1. Bird of Fire

The phoenix dies in flames, and rises from ashes. When the old bird dies a new hatchling springs to life, as glorious and as wonderful as the last.

The phoenix is immortal.

There is only ever one phoenix.

"I can't take it anymore; I quit."

Carefully, Arthur Edgenson, Director of Close Haven – a mixed-gender, state-run orphanage for children up to the age of sixteen –, placed his pen down upon his desk, adopting an expression of calmness to face the flustered woman who had just burst into his office.

"Dora -"

"Don't you 'Dora', me!" Temper flaring 'Dora' stepped forwards, slamming her hands down onto polished wood. Edgenson's pen jumped into the air at the action, rattling on the oak as it came down again once more. "I've had enough!"

"Dora," Arthur adjusted his tie, forcing his eyes up to lock with the gaze of the distressed Dora, "this is the third time you've 'quit' in as many weeks."

"I mean it this time!"

Quietly: "That's what you said the other two times…"

Dora…deflated at the comment, collapsing into the chair opposite the orphanage director. "It's…" the woman searched for words, "I love working with children, you know that." Her employer nodded, wisely choosing to remain silent and let the other speak. "I love helping them, watching them grow up, loving them I suppose – and god knows the kids that come here could easily do with a bit more love -, but…but that child-!" Dora looked up, anguished. "He defies everything we throw at him – warmth, kindness, gentleness, punishment, anger…he's…oblivious to it all! Milly left a few months ago because of him and you stuck him in my care, and I just can't deal with him." When Arthur looked like he was going to utter something in her charge's defence, Dora snapped at him. "That child is a nightmare, and you know it!"

"Dora…" facing down glaring eyes, Arthur sighed. "Please don't quit. I'll call the boy in; see if we can reach some sort of compromise with him."

"Do so!"

He was an anomaly within the system. No true record of his life began until after he reached the monumental age of three-and-three-quarters – any details from before that date were sketchy, at best.

No-one was really sure of his name. His surname was 'Lawliet' from his mother – the father was unidentified. Some old women that had lived around the child's old home had said the mother, who had kept herself to herself and never offered anything to them but her last name, had been married – she had worn a ring on her finger, anyhow. No man had ever been seen entering or leaving the Lawliet house. Those same old women had been the ones to give the child his forename – 'Elle'. It was more a nickname than anything else – the mother had been French, apparently it had been easy to distinguish the foreign inflections in her accent – and, having never been personally introduced to the child up-close, most of the neighbours had assumed it was a girl due to the child's slight build, and unkempt hair.

'Elle' was French for 'she'.

The Lawliet woman was never even reported missing. Most of those around the Lawliet home had noticed that neither woman nor child had appeared for a few weeks, but everyone merely assumed that they'd simply upped and moved away. The alarm was only eventually raised after a next-door neighbour, complaining about 'a strange smell' that seeped through the thin walls of her house from the Lawliets', called in the local Council to investigate. The local Council, with their usual abysmal reactionary time, turned up another week and a half later and broke the Lawliets' front door down when no-one answered their tentative knocks.

It turned out the 'strange smell' was putrefaction setting in to the Lawliet woman's corpse. A rotting wound to the abdomen explained how the female had died; the coroner ruling the death as 'murder', there being no sign of the weapon used to inflict the wound anywhere in the house. The time of death was impossible to tell, and identification was impossible due to the extent of the decay. The murder case remained open, hanging uncomfortably over the local neighbourhood's head.

The child was discovered locked in his bedroom, curled up comatose amongst his sheets. Too weak to try and force the door open, too small to reach the window and call for help, 'Elle' had passed out from malnutrition, and dehydration. The paramedics rushing the child to hospital said it was a wonder the boy was still alive – he must've had food and liquid of some kind in his room to still be breathing, rationed and consumed within the early days of his mother's death, and his own imprisonment.

The British social services didn't know what to do with him. 'Elle', when he awoke, was understandably distraught when he was told he could not see his mother again, and screamed and kicked and clawed the nurses that tried to hold him down in the hospital where he was staying for his recovery. The toddler sobbed and cried, and refused any and all coddling offered to him. A small toy rabbit presented to him 'for comfort' was ripped to shreds, the stuffing scattered over the ward's floor and the empty skin thrown in amongst the waste in the bin. When the police came, and the social workers, he refused to speak to them, dark-eyed and sullen from under his long fringe. Child psychologists were sent in as he was clearly suffering trauma, but he yelled and threw things at them on his 'bad' days and ignored them completely on his 'good'.

He was taken into care, and sent to a local foster-family that had a good history for dealing with 'troubled' children. There…he mellowed out a little, coaxed into some semblance of calmness with cake and sweet things. There they discovered his innate intelligence, 'Elle' rushing through the family's collection of books, many of the works far beyond his supposed level. Quite stunned his foster-father bent down to try and hold a discussion with him – but 'Elle' clammed up, and refused to speak no matter what he was bribed with.

When they took him away from the foster-family, 'Elle' went silently, trailing down the garden path of the house he had stayed in for four months after the social worker who had come to fetch him.

He turned four in an orphanage, and his birthday present was a name.

It was decided 'Elle' was too feminine for a boy…but 'Elle' refused to be called anything but 'Elle' – so they changed the spelling. 'Elle' became 'L', and L Lawliet was now four, orphaned, and in a state-run institution.

He lasted there barely two months before they moved him on.

L Lawliet was five-and-a-half, and had been through seven orphanages up and down the British Isles. The longest he had ever stayed in one establishment had been five months, two weeks and a day, and the shortest had been six hours, the boy having systematically smashed four windows with large stones and pushed another child down a short set of stairs – the girl had broken her wrist. When later asked why he had done such a thing L had only turned sullenly away, small fists clenched and expression hurt.

He was moved to Close Haven, quickly gaining a reputation for himself. L was utterly, utterly unsociable. He hated playing with other children, communing with them, even talking to them – when forced, by necessity, his words were short and sharp, and usually hurtful. When other children approached him he bamboozled them by speaking in pretty, glib French he said he'd learned from his mother, taking malicious joy in the confusion on the other's face. Care-workers who overheard him tried to stop that trick, to get L to return to the English he was so proficient in as well, but L claimed it was 'only a natural instinct' to return to speaking his 'native tongue' when accosted. The workers, somewhat spooked by such large words from such a young child, tried to keep away from him.

L avoided going outdoors, if he could help it. At playtimes he camped himself in the orphanage library, pulled down a book and began to read – usually from the teenage section, or non-fiction. His scowl often sent the other children scurrying away – even the ones ten years or so his senior. L pored over newspapers, tabloids and broadsheets alike, and seemed both fascinated and repulsed with what he read and saw. While others his age watched cartoons L watched documentaries and news reports, occasionally straying into adult drama when the television had already been monopolised by someone older than himself.

Like the poor doomed rabbit he had been given some years previously L was destructive towards toys, reaching into the communal box at Close Haven and systematically taking toy after toy apart. He was sent to his room for that on more than one occasion, but the boy only shrugged and said he had been 'learning'.

Three care-workers had been placed in charge of L since he had first arrived at the orphanage, with Dora being his fourth. The first two, Lucy and Marcus, had demanded the boy be passed onto another worker, or they'd resign. The third, Milly, had actually resigned, handing in her notice a few months previously and practically running out of the door to get away from what she called 'that demon child!' And now Dora, it appeared, was doing no better at dealing with L than her predecessors.

Arthur Edgenson looked over his polished oak desk, and studied the small boy swinging his legs on the too-high chair directly opposite him. The child had dark, dark eyes, wide and round like an owl's. His fair skin only enhanced the enormity of his onyx-black gaze, the white baggy t-shirt the boy insisted on wearing practically falling off of one pale-as-milk shoulder. His hair, sooty black and all fluffed up like feathers, fell helplessly into his eyes, defying the hairbrush Edgenson knew it was routinely attacked with, much to L's dismay. The child was a strange one, but no weirder than many of the others that had come and gone before him.

"How old are you?" Arthur suddenly demanded of the boy.

L looked up at him, expression clear and seemingly innocent. "Je suis cinq et une moitié d'années, monsieur."

"In English, boy."

"Then, sir," the use of the title was slightly mocking, "I am five and a half years of age."

Edgenson felt his lips curve into a displeased frown, the vaguest lance of irritation spiking through him. No child under the age of ten should be able to pull off that tone of mocking cynicism so well, yet L did it to perfection and then some. "Then why," and the orphanage director tried for the same tone of voice in retaliation and was mildly annoyed to see the ghost of a smirk touch L's lips in response, "must you insist on acting like a two-year-old baby?" L bridled. "L, we here at Close Haven are more than aware of your intelligence – but must you constantly utilise it such a petty fashion?"

"'Petty'-?!" The careless legs stopped swinging, the five year-old sitting bolt upright in his chair in indignation. "I am not -"

"And you are violent, child." Edgenson opened the file he'd thoughtfully looked out earlier, withdrawing a sheet from near the end and handing it to L. "You were rejected within the space of a day at your last orphanage because of your actions."

The boy snatched the sheet from his hands, dark eyes scanning the damning text upon it swiftly. Looking up again: "I never pushed her."

"That isn't what -"

"I know that isn't what this says!" L snapped. "Sir, I can read!"

"Then you deny the facts in front of you?"

"No." L thrust the paper back at the orphanage director, stiff. "I deny the allegations in front of me. I did not push that girl."

"She claims you did, and she was the one injured."

"She tried to push me down the stairs." L turned away, his voice a low mutter as he hid his eyes with his hair. "Someone asked me a question and I answered it to the best of my ability and she called me a freak for using 'such big words'." The boy parodied a girl's voice that last three words, stressing the syllables to the point of ridicule. "When she tried to push me I moved out of the way – is it my fault she slipped and fell?"

Edgenson studied L contemplatively, expression thoughtful. "…Why didn't you tell anyone in authority your side of the story?"

"Because no-one ever listens to me!"

"Really, L, that is utter non-"

L glared at him. "What did I tell you? No-one listens to me – everyone took her side! Every. Single. One of them! They believed her because she was pretty and older and 'responsible', and I was the strange new freaky kid who used 'big words'." The boy's expression was angry, his voice hurt.

Edgenson found himself believing the child, much to his own surprise. "…And the windows they said you broke?"

"Oh, I broke them." L looked up at him, freely admitting his crimes.


"I didn't want to stay at the orphanage." A blink of dark eyes, as if this answer was obvious. "They were unkind there."

Flatly: "So you broke their windows."


"You -"

L cut his elder off. "It worked, didn't it?"

Edgenson found himself without anything to say.

"Don't you ever need to sleep?" Fifteen year-old Rebecca Hughes rolled over on the couch she was currently occupying in the orphanage 'TV room', staring over the sofa armrest at the small boy crouched in its shadow. It was nine-thirty in the evening, and most of the other pre-ten year-old children had been packed off to their rooms and bed.

L looked up at her from where he'd been staring at the television screen, eyes wide and innocent. "Everyone needs to sleep."

"But you," Rebecca insisted, "I've never seen you sleeping – not even dozing."

"Actually, nor have I." The girl's friend, Maria, sitting on the other end of the sofa Rebecca was hogging, chimed in. "L's always up first in the morning, and the last one to bed – when he can get away with it – at night."

"I do sleep," L replied politely, "just not very often." The boy was more inclined to be civil to the older children as long as they were civil in return – mentally, they were slightly more stimulating to talk with than Close Haven's five year-olds.

"Don't you ever get headaches, then?" A boy this time, Adam, speaking from the shadows.

"No." Slightly abrupt, this time.

"But -"

"Aw, leave him alone." The eldest in the room, sixteen year-old Nathan, swiped at Adam's head. "Can't you tell the kid doesn't like being bothered? Besides – the show's starting."

The room fell obligingly silent. It was Sunday evening, and the latest episode of Murder, She Wrote was airing. Most of the older children of the orphanage watched out of either general boredom (there being nothing better on any of the other channels) or genuine interest, some of the females aspiring to be the next Jessica Fletcher.

L, personally, found the whole series laughable. A murder-mystery-writing widow turned super-sleuth? Psh, please. It was ridiculous. That murders seemed to follow 'Jessica' wherever she went was just – it was just beyond belief. And as for the individual plotlines for each episode? Pathetic. About a quarter of the way through the episode:

"He did it."

Eight teenagers (basically everyone in the room) at once swivelled their gazes from the television, suspiciously glancing to a calm L, from where the statement had arose.

"What?" Rebecca re-adopted her position of peering over the sofa armrest, looking disbelievingly at the small boy. "How can you say that? There's nothing on him!"

"Of course there is," L sniffily replied, "it is just the protagonist has not found it yet."

"What makes you think he did it?" Nathan asked, leaning forwards in curiosity.

"He has the motive and the means – completely unlike the suspect Ms. Fletcher is interrogating right now." L tried to explain his ideas simply to the others.

"And what was his motive?" Rebecca asked dubiously, arms folded and scepticism plastered clearly on her face.

"Classic case – he was in love with her, and she rejected him for someone else." L put his thumb to his lips, biting the nail in thought. "We have already learned the victim had an obsessive stalker who hounded her in the three months leading up to her death – I am inclined to believe it is that man." He nodded to the television, and reluctantly the room turned their gazes back to stare as L's suspect paraded across the screen in his mask of innocence.

Rebecca, obligingly, scoffed, turning back to L. "You're wrong."

L only raised his eyebrows at the girl, and deliberately looked away and back to Murder, She Wrote. The show went on. The clues were found, the suspects delivered up for scrutiny, the murderer caught in a fiendishly clever situation devised entirely by the protagonist that surely could have only come from a sensationalist novel writer.

The suspect L had pointed out at least three-quarters of an hour beforehand was proven guilty.

The room turned to him, suitably irritated and impressed.

L calmly inquired what was due to be on television next.

Like the other children L attended a local primary school, and took great pleasure in vexing his teachers there. The boy fitted in nowhere – he was far too intelligent to be placed in amongst the younger children, and yet amongst the elders he stirred up resentment, ten and eleven year-olds fractious and muttering about the pale junior who monopolised the adults' attentions so, the too-smart baby who riled up everyone else because he was always right. Eventually a large fight broke out, with L set upon by a group of boys – the child squirmed away from them and ran for the relative safety of a nearby teacher. L was taken 'home' to the orphanage, and the school requested he be transferred elsewhere – they simply didn't have the facilities to deal with him.

As no other primary school in the area would have him the orphanage debated sending L to a secondary school – the boy politely declined the offer, and inquired whether Close Haven would please have him home-schooled.

"But who would teach you?" An exasperated Dora asked him, Edgenson watching the exchange with his usual absorbed expression in the background.

"Give me books," L replied, his appearance almost pleading, "papers, articles…I will learn."

"You will learn if we can get you into a good school -"

"No," Edgenson laid a hand on his employee's arm, "I agree with the boy."

"You do?" Dora looked surprised.

"You do?" L perked up, his eyes lightening with some inner, sparkling fire.

"I do," affirmed Close Haven's director, "because I see no other situation as advantageous as the one you propose."

"Monsieur – sir, I -"

"L," Edgenson cut across the boy's potential babble of thanks, "you once said no-one listened to you."

"Yes," the boy straightened as the man's gaze fell upon him, "that is correct."

"I have listened to you – now make sure you return the courtesy." Edgenson crouched down on his haunches, so that he could be on eye-level with L. "I have no doubt you can learn with no teacher but yourself – you could learn in an empty room, child. What goes on in that head of yours is fathomless; I am no genius to reason with the intellectual that you are, and am in no ways prepared for the wonder you will no doubt become." A sigh, "and yet, like the others under my employ, we have been placed in charge of you. Lawliet, I know you will do what you will do and no power on this earth will halt you should you set your mind on something, but…swear you will always take care."

L nodded once, adjusting the baggy blue t-shirt he wore so it didn't fall completely off of his shoulder. "…I swear."

A new care-worker joined the orphanage, a young woman by the name of Josephine. She was there to replace Milly, the employee L had scared off nearly half a year before. Dora, once more exasperated with L and threatening to quit, gladly handed charge of the boy to the newcomer.

Josephine didn't know what to make of the child. Their first meeting had been in the orphanage library, Josephine walking in to reshelve some books left lying around in the playroom. All the other children were at school and so Josephine had not expected someone to be sitting behind the library door, smacking the wood into L's back when she entered and sending the small child flying.

"Regardez où vous allez!"

Josephine stopped dead; looking at the black-haired boy sprawled out on the floor, glaring her way. "Oh! I'm so sorry – I never saw you there and -" She halted, suddenly catching that the child had yelled at her in French for her intrusion, "-I never knew there was a foreign child at the orphanage…"

"I'm not foreign," L snapped, getting to his feet and going to retrieve the book that had been knocked out of his hands when he had been so rudely shifted. "I'm British by birth."

Josephine frowned at him. "Then how old are you? Ten? Eleven?" The boy had had a perfect accent in both his English and French – it took a few years to learn to be so proficient, and although the child was so small –

"I'm five." L was positively glaring daggers by that point, clutching his book stiffly to his chest.

"But -" Josephine paused, vaguely remembering Edgenson's wry smile when he had excused her from his office that morning, his quiet comment of '…and you may want to watch out for L.' It had stumped her at the time but – "You're L?"

"Pourquoi vous inquiétez-vous?"

Josephine dredged up her old language skills – she never had been that fond of French; she'd taken German at school instead -, rusty cogs clicking together to translate what the clearly bridled boy in front of her had just said. "…Well, I'm new here so -"

"I noticed."

Josephine felt herself getting a little irritated. "Listen, I'm sorry I knocked you over – I honestly wasn't expecting anyone to be in the library -"

The boy, pointedly, rolled up the side of his t-shirt, revealing a lovely bruise that was just beginning to darken about his hip. "You hurt me."

"And I'm sorry, I really am." The care-worker insisted. "It was an accident. Haven't you ever done anything by accident before?" L paused, something flickering in his gaze, and Josephine drove home her temporary advantage – "Please. Let's be friends, L." She didn't want a clearly intelligent young boy hating her outright on her first day. "Come on," she extended a hand, "why don't we go to the kitchen and see if they've got any cake? I certainly feel like some and – well, the other children aren't here, are they?" Josephine smiled brightly. "What they don't know won't hurt them."

L looked at the hand doubtfully. "…Your reasoning is flawed."

"Probably." A nod. "But I overheard Dora talking about some strawberry shortcake the other day and I'm dying to try some. Have you ever had strawberry shortcake before?" L shook his head 'no', bangs flying about his face. Josephine affected mock-horror. "Blasphemy! Come," the woman seized one of the boy's hands, letting L clutch onto his book with the other as she dragged him to the kitchen, "I have great wonders to show you!"

The two sat together in the kitchen for three hours, systematically demolishing an entire strawberry shortcake between them, not to mention three cups of coffee (Josephine), one cup of hot chocolate, two glasses of lemonade (both L, in that order), and a whole bag of mini-marshmallows (again, shared between the two). By the end of it they were both stuffed to bursting, but Josephine had quickly earned L's forgiveness and the two had hit off a rapport of sorts – the woman was a childish adult, and the boy was a mature child, and over cake, coffee, marshmallows and chocolate they quickly found that even though it was perfectly awkward discussing something with someone with an age gap to you of about twenty years, you could still have a pretty decent conversation.

And L discovered he adored strawberry shortcake.

"Just so you know kid, I find this utterly, utterly morbid."

"I know, Josephine." L looked up at the care-worker tiredly, expression bored. "You have told me that six times in the past hour."

"It's still morbid though."

"Josephine!" Even at five, L could pull off irritation remarkably well. "If my subject matter disturbs you so much why don't you just go somewhere else?"

"I can't," the female protested, "what if there's a really nasty picture and you get scared?" L looked at her flatly. "…Alright, so I admit that's not a very likely situation but still! It's my job!"

"Josephine, your job is to watch over and comfort distressed and deprived children." L carefully placed down the brief he'd been reading through, looking up so his dark gaze met the woman's straight on. "Do I look distressed?"


"There you are then."

"But -"


The woman sighed, falling silent. L was going over old police files opened to the public domain, working with the reports within to try and reach a satisfactory conclusion before reading the actual result of the case. Most of the time the boy seemed to get the answer right – at least, she assumed so. L didn't speak as he scanned the files, the lists of evidence, the photographs… L was good at this sort of thing anyone with a half a brain could easily see that. And yet…urgh, it didn't matter.

Josephine just didn't have the stomach to deal with it.

L had been born on the thirty-first of October, the day most commonly known in the West as Halloween. Some of the care-workers who had been placed in charge of L over the span of his short life said it was an appropriate date for the child – the boy could be a little monster when he felt like it.

L celebrated his sixth birthday at Close Haven, and was given a giant chocolate cake by the care-workers, and a hand-crafted blank jigsaw puzzle, the only marking a small 'L' in the top-left corner. Josephine, thoughtfully, baked the boy a small strawberry shortcake for him to eat by himself, and L spent his birthday in relative happiness and solitude. He deigned to come out from his room and join in the Halloween party the orphanage threw for a little while and everyone was astonished, the boy actually smiling when another child offered him some sugar-sprinkled doughnuts to eat.

The following month, someone asked to adopt L. They were a middle-aged childless couple, kind, friendly and passing all the required security checks. They'd visited for a few weeks, looking for a little boy to call their own, and taken a liking to the reclusive L.

L politely thanked them for the offer, told them it was nothing personal, and declined. The couple was saddened, as expected, but ended up adopting another boy instead. Josephine went to L's room when they were leaving, watching from the doorway as L stood at the window, looking down on the departing family that could have been his.

"…Didn't you like them?" The woman asked gently, tentatively, unsure of what exactly was going on in L's mind.

"I liked them."

"Then…" Josephine was confused, "why didn't you want to go with them?"

"I don't like liking people." L didn't turn to look at her, still staring out of the window as his once-fellow orphan climbed happily into the car owned by his new parents. "Liking people gets you hurt."

Josephine bit her lip. "Don't you like me…?" She couldn't hide the vague note of upset in her voice.

"I don't hate you, if that's what you're asking." The car drove off, the new family drove off, and L stared blankly at a now-empty road. "Just don't ask me to care, because I won't."

"Alright…" There was a lump in Josephine's throat that wouldn't go away, her eyes pricking uncomfortably as she insistently focused them on L's stubborn, unmoving back.

The boy said nothing else to her.

Josephine eventually wandered sadly away.

On the twenty-eighth of February in the year L was to turn seven the boy was utterly silent, nose pressed to the cold glass of his room, watching the English rain pouring down outside. Thinking him ill Josephine brought him some chicken soup, and offered him a woollen blanket.

"I'm not sick." L didn't touch the soup, but accepted the blanket, wrapping himself in the brightly-coloured knit so that his slight frame nigh completely disappeared into the soft folds.

"Then what's wrong?" Josephine queried, sitting concernedly at the boy's side.

"Nothing," her young charge replied, "it just felt as if someone walked across my grave."

Arthur Edgenson stood at his office window, and watched as his youngest care-worker, Josephine, and his strangest orphan, L, played tennis in the rain.

"It'll be the death of them, I know it will." Dora folded her arms, sniffing in disapproval as she stood at her employer's shoulder. "They'll catch cold and pass it to all the children and we'll have sneezing and coughing fits for weeks."

Edgenson ignored the comment. "Did Josephine say why she suddenly felt the need to play outdoors in this weather?"

"'L seemed depressed'," Dora did a reasonable mimicry of her co-worker's voice, "and 'a bit of insanity always cheers everyone up.'"

Close Haven's director resumed watching the two playing outside, the boy and the young woman a silent movie where the rain bled out the colours and left the screen in shades of blue and grey. Both of them were soaked through to the skin, L's dark's hair plastered to his face and neck, but the boy – ah, the boy was smiling, and though the heavens stormed down upon his companion and him he didn't seem to care the slightest bit, racing around the tennis court to return the sodden ball Josephine hit his way.

"He's a strange child," Dora suddenly spoke up again, eyes following L's form curiously, "isn't he?"

"Yes," Edgenson smiled a smile to himself, nodding very slightly. "He's a strange child indeed."

L continued to happily play tennis outside in the rain, and no-one was sent out to stop him.

He had a cold for the following fortnight.

Shadow: I'm not putting translations of the French in because the entire point of L using that language is that it is unintelligible (to non-French speakers). Putting in translations would just circumvent the entire point, and render the usage pointless.

The OCs are necessary, but will get dutifully weeded out as the plot progresses, I assure you.

Murder, She Wrote was a popular television series that aired...for a pretty long time in Britain. I, personally, never sat down and watched an entire episode - I found the whole idea of it too ridiculous to even try to comprehend. Like L, I am one of those irritating individuals that sits and points out the murderer long before the episode end - I usually sit and have a debate over it with my little cousin, while my grandma flaps her hands in the background telling us to 'stop being so smart! It might not be him'. Uh-huh. xD (Just for the record? It usually is.)

If any Death Note fan among you (most notably those of you possessing the thirteenth, 'How to Read' book) doesn't get the significance of L's being-depressed date, shame on you!! x3

Tell me what you think?

"I'm not saying that we should kill a teacher everyday just so I can lose weight, I'm just saying when tragedy strikes, we have to look on the bright side."