All I've got say is sorry for the delay. Check this, I actually was pretty sure I uploaded Chapter 9 2 days ago, but my computer must have not processed it onto the story, so I saw it today and I was like, WTF?! :p Enjoy.

--

He's right...as it stands, I'm alone.

L was always somewhat of a loner during his detective years. The only time he had ever given up that life of solitude was on the Kira case, and that only resulted in his death. For one reason or another though, the fact that he was human was stuck in his mind.

Humans needed companions.

As he walked through the Kazahana streets, he knew this was true. Solitude had been his thing, but he knew that alone, the result of the Law case would be similar to those of Kira case. Whether he liked it or not, as was the Kira case, Law was going to be a case that he simply couldn't face head-on. Not without help.

--

"Excuse me? You claim to want to see Near?"

L's meeting with Soji, who claimed to be the brother of Nate River, one of L's disciples at the Wammy House, reminded him of the possibility that Nate was still alive. Simply walking into the SPK building may have been dangerous those years ago, but the fact of that matter was that L was thought to be dead for year. To most, his name meant nothing.

"Yes, kind sir."

"The relocation of Near to this building is classified info...exactly how did you come across something so confidential?"

"I have my ways." His hair was still covering all view of his face in order to conceal his identity from the public. As if it mattered, though, seeing as nobody would probably recognize the man anyway.

"Hmm..." Reaching under the desk, the man pressed a red buttton. "Operator...patch me in with Room 643 on Floor Q."

After the sound of a whirring rain fade passes, the words 'Hello' are spoken through the speaker.

"Yes...Near, I have somebody who requests a meeting with you." As this man speaks, a few security guards surround the desk, just in case L was prepared to try anything.

'Someone to see me?' A somewhat annoyed sigh was distinctable through the fade. 'Does he have this obnoxious attitude?' It was clear that Near suspected Soji to be the visitor.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, Near, but this isn't your brother." L said aloud, an equal amount of emphasis put in each of the words spoken.

'...Who is this?'

"It's...Ryuuzaki. It's also been a while, Near."

'Bring him up to my private room.' It was an abrupt ending to a short and confusing conversation. The rain fade continued after he hang up.

"So, will I be receiving a special escort?" L muttered, chuckling.

--

And there they stood.

In front of the door to the room of Nate River, better known as Near, L and the guards stood. It was a few seconds before the door slowly creaked open, Nate standing in shock at the sight. Well, his emotions were that of shock, but his composure would not allow anyone to guess that it was so.

"Ryuuzaki..." Near stared at his long lost mentor in awe. Although Near was never truly fond of L as a person, the fact that everything he knew, he learned from him was able to warm his heart somewhat.

"We'll be waiting right outside the door, just in ca..."

"That...won't be necessary." Near muttered. "I fully trust this man, I'm assure you that no harm will fall upon me."

"Um...yes sir."

Just as L walked into the room, the guards closed the door behind him and took their leave from the hall.

"L..."

L sat down in his usual position, giving Nate an almost creepy smile. "Good to see you, Nate."

"L...so, you really are alive..."

Heh, Soji...looks like you actually came through this time. This time, you did.

"How have you been these past years? It's been almost a decade since I've seen you, correct? And that's not even counting in the years I was...gone."

"Yes, it has. You were dead for quite some time, I didn't think the day would come that I'd see your face again."

L slowly lifted the hair from over his face. "Well, I apologize for not staying dead." He joked.

"Oh, I didn't mean it like that, if I offended you. It's just that..." Thoughts of the Life Note, and how the world actually had an advantage, as well as a fighting chance, over and against Law. "Tell me...do you know how you returned to this world, L?"

"Soji Ikara." L muttered flatly.

So...he's already met Soji? But Soji had just come by about 12 hours ago...

"Guessing from your silence, I conclude that he wasn't lying when he said that you were his brother, was he?"

"Where did you meet him?" His words came fast.

"The streets. After being revived, there wasn't much for me to do other than what I did. It was pure luck that your brother had stumbled upon me."

"We're not related by blood, Soji and I. I'm an adopted child, truthfully."

"Adopted by their family, then again by Watari, you say? It's strange, you never told me of this...although it doesn't suprise me. The you're are almost nothing alike, you and Soji."

"Soji is...different. The way he thinks...the way he acts...they're a lot like your own methods, L, in a sense that neither of them are clearly understandable by the normal person. He may not look it, nor act it, but he is, by no means, simple."

"Him and I are alike, in a way?"

"L...seeing as you met Soji, I assume that you've already acquired information from him about the Life Note, correct?"

Silence.

"The Life Note...heh, the Life Note...a wondorous item indeed, wouldn't you say, Nate?"

"Soji brought to life because he respected your abilities as a detective and wanted your help. I would only see it fit that you show him more respect in return, L."

"I, in no way, said that I do not have respect for Soji Ikara. I just feel that the Life Note is one of the few things that Soji Ikara can do to aid in this case...I'm trying to save as many lives from Law as I can. Soji can use the Life Note, that's one of the only things I feel he can do that will help this case. He won't be of much use, other than that."

"We won' t make much progress in this case if we don't learn to make sacrifices, L! You know that better than anyone, seeing as you made more of a sacrifice than any of us ever did." It was clear that Near was quickly growing tired of L's attitude toward the subject.

L chuckled, smiling at his pupil. "Very well done, Nate. I've been gone for quite a while, and I wanted to make sure that you hadn't lost that courage that made me so interested in you as a disciple. Though I highly doubt your lack of initiative has altered much, it makes me happy to see you devoted in such a case."

"Are you saying that that attitude you just had..."

"Simply part of a test...to see if I could rely on you to work with me on this case."

"Hmm...I can't say that I approve of your methods of testing me...but..." As he spoke, he began fondling with a few action figures scattered across the floor. "...Their effective." He looked up to his mentor with a smile, handing him a toy.

"What's this?"

"I thought you'd like to know what happened in the Kira case, L. Quite a few people who took part in the case are no longer with us...maybe playing with the toy while I explain everything to you will easy your mind?"

L was quick to hand the figure back to Near. "I'll pass...although, if you happen to have anything sugary stashed here, I wouldn't refuse an offer."

--

Soji walked through the streets of Kazahana, his destination unknown to even him. He was just walking. After what had happened to him, walking was the only way he could get rid of the compiling stress that he seemed to be put under ever since he found the Life Note.

"Shit...look at my ass, tellin' L that he's got nowhere else to go, no other options, alone in this world...what the hell do I got, huh?!" He yelled. "I mean...I lost my job. It was really a downer on me, but at least if I was on the force still, when I told somebody I brought L back to life they'd believe me. Besides, I don't want all that unnecessary attention targeted towards me anyway."

"That woman? What, Mrs. Onaki?"

"Oh, you mean Shiei? What about her?"

"She seemed to have faith in you, AND the powers of the Life Note. You said that she was still on the force as well, so wouldn't she be the obvious 1st choice to tell all of this to?"

"Yeah, yeah, for she tell the whole fuckin' JDF? Wouldn't be suprised if she already did though, after I told her that the Life Note was real..."

"But you didn't think she'd believe you! You said it yourself, you two aren't on good terms."

"Yeah, I did...but that doesn't matter. Bottom line is that she's got quotes from me, that's all she really needs for the JDF to listen to her. Besides, she's one of the highest ranked people on the force, so it's not like they were just going to dismiss her case in the first place."

"So, basically..." Sora said, awaiting Soji to finish the sentence.

"I'm screwed." He said bluntly.

"Oh...sorry to hear that."

Soji's eyes shoot toward Sora, the glare attacking her like daggers. "If you weren't so...intangible, I'd murder you!"

"I highly doubt that you would. Remember, if you ever commit any truly evil acts before your 5 pure revivals have been fulfilled, hell well be your one and only future."

"Oh...oh yeah...I remember that rule...5 pure revivals, heh? How many am I up?"

"Well, you've got 4 left."

"F-four?! I've only revived two people with the Life Note, and that was that Kiki Shiori woman, and L. Which one of those counted as one?!"

"Kiki."

"So...L wasn't a pure revival?! B-b-but I-I did it to stop Law!"

"Bringing L back to life, in general, would have counted towards your pure revival count if it weren't for the actions you tried to take. You almost broke a rule of both the Life and Death Notes. Remember, the one of how the notes don't have the power to make a person perform an act that they would do themselves? The notes' power had to truly kick in to stop L from performing that act, so, well...you fail."

"This entire thing is just a pain in th..." An eerie feeling fell upon Soji before he was able to finish his sentence.

This feeling was new to him. The chill that came with it slowly ran down his spine, stopping him in his tracks. "Sora...is there someone following us?"

"Huh?"

"I just...I get the feeling that somebody is behind me, that's all..."

"Ooo-ooo-ooo, lemme go check!" Before Soji declined that offer, she had already flown back, scoping out the perimeter.

As Soji continued his walk, his eyes scanned what was ahead of him, and he saw a dark alley just up to the right. Damn it...

Sora returned to Soji's side, leaning in toward his ear. "Turns out that you were right, you do have stalkers! Good ear!"

"StalkerS?" Emphasis on the 2nd S.

"Yes, they're about 3 men wearing all black, seemed to be armed with guns somewhere on them, considering the bulges in their clothing.

"Guns? Somebodies trying to take me out?!" He made sure that even though technically he was still yelling, it was a soft yell.

"Ok, what I would do in a situation like this, is stay calm, maybe enter a store or something. They can't do anything in public, it was be cause for attention."

"How 'bout we try my plan instead?"

Instantly after saying that, Soji was off. He dashed into the alley up ahead, the men quickly chasing after him. When he reached the end of the alley, he turned around to his pursuers.

"What the hell's up with you 3? Who hates me enough that they'd send for me to be killed?"

"We're not...going to kill you, Soji Ikara. As a matter of fact, we won't even have to shoot you if you cooperate in full with this operation."

"...Who are you from?"

"The JDF."

"Oh, well that's all I needed to know right there!" Soji leaped backward, onto the all behind him, before thrusting himself off of it and into the air, grabbing a ladder attached to the left wall.

After realizing his actions, the men opened fire and Soji. One blast had shot the top of the ladder, causing it to completely break from the building.

"Urgh, shit!" Soji muttered under his breath as he took one more step onto the ladder before leaping into the air, grabbing onto the ledge of the building and quickly climbing up.

As he got to the top of the building, suprise suprise, 2 more of those black-dressed men were awaiting him.

"Soji Ikara, if you want to secure your safety in this situation, I suggest you not resist us." One of the men said, pointing his gun toward Soji.

"Ya know, I was never all that good at takin' suggestions...sorry." Soji turned around and leaped toward the ledge of the other building, grabbing another ladder that held it up.

Sora watched in despair as the men began to take fire upon Soji once more. Knowing that she was unable to aid her companion only worsened the matter. "Soji!"

Boom.

It all happened so quickly. Blood sprayed through the air in the alley, raining over the men. Soji's grip on the ladder was quickly lost, as his body fell 15 feet, slamming against the ground.

"SOJI!" Sora yelled, in despair.

A loud thud was heard when his body hit the floor. The blood from the wound flowed onto the ground, running like a small puddle. The men began surrounding the body.

"Heh...nice aim."

"I'm sure Mr. Amana will be happy to hear that he's been retreived...we should return to the JDF Headquarters right now. Should we confiscate the Life Note?"

"Life Note...a bunch 'a bullshit, if you ask me."

"Who's to say?"

As the men finished their conversation, one of them threw Soji across his back, covering his body up with a large cloth that he pulled from a bag on his waist.

"We've got you...Soji Ikara."