Because in the end, she can't find it in herself to choose.
"Teru Mikami is Kira."
Because in the end, after all she's gone through, after all she's come to realize, she can't do it. Looking into L's expectant face, watching those onyx colored eyes stare at her so serenely, and gazing at him in return with her own rose-tinted lenses - she knows she can't possibly kill him. There is simply no way - she loves him. And maybe she's weak; maybe she's a fool; maybe she's misguided and over-emotional and maybe she lacks conviction (she has never been sturdy like Light, strong like Light. She can never be Light, with his iron fist of judgment, his righteous ability to purge the world by fire), but she simply can't do it. The thought of losing L is simply too much to bare.
So instead, she tells him the truth: tells him that Teru Mikami is Kira; tells L that he was right in thinking there was another notebook out there somewhere, because there is. She reveals its location to him, pinpoints its position exactly so he can dig it up himself. She explains about the Shinigami Ryuk, about the delivery of pages in order to avoid to being caught with hard evidence. She even explains the Eyes - a trade made between Shinigami and Human - the ability to see another mortal's lifespan at the cost of half the beholder's remaining lifespan. She tells him all of this, careful to leave out all the parts that would connect Teru Mikami to Light Yagami. Because in the end, like with L, she can't bare to lose him either - her beautiful boy, her wrathful God, her first-love.
She makes it sound as though Mikami has always been operating as the original Kira, and has just been exceedingly clever about eluding suspicion. L seems to accept her explanation without skepticism - after all, these are all facts he's going to check up on later. Of course, in revealing this very concise, very elaborate plot, Misa knows that she's putting herself in danger - that she's basically admitting to them that she is the Second Kira after all. But this tiny detail is irrelevant, because she knows she has been a pawn in this, an expendable tool on both ends, from the start. Light had used her for her Eyes, and L had used her in hopes of unearthing evidence. Well, Misa has given L his evidence, and she has served Light long enough. She has outlived her use from both perspectives, and she's perfectly fine with that.
She can die happy, because L is alive and well, and will remain that way for a very long time. She can die happy, because Light is oblivious, his memories having been revoked for a second and final time - and because of it, he has been removed from responsibility, is innocent and guilt-free. Light is safe.
(Besides, even if she did kill L, Light could never be free to rule in harmony. L has a whole school of successors, clever children hell-bent on justice and righteousness. He would never stop being under suspicion. They would hunt him relentlessly until the day he died.)
There is a stunned silence following the wake of her explanation. Then L turns abruptly to Watari.
"Watari," he tells the elder man. "We need to devise a SWAT Team to go in and apprehend the suspect, as well as comb his place of living for any stray pages of the notebook - any hard evidence we can use to connect him to his crimes."
Watari pivots on his heel when Mello interrupts him, throwing out an arm to stop him.
"No," he says. "I want to go. I want to be the one to bust this asshole." He turns to L imploringly. "L? Please?"
The pale-skinned detective is silent for a moment. "Fine," he says, and Mello looks slightly taken aback, as though he didn't really expect L to comply with the request. "Watari," L says, glancing up into the wrinkled face of his older companion. "A change in plans, then. Please provide Mello with some protective gear to guard him against the Shinigami Eyes. A tinted helmet will suffice." And glancing over at Matt, he adds, "and find one for Matt as well, as I suspect he'll want to tag along." The redhead nods vigorously before beaming at Mello, who grins rakishly back. "Please take van number #4 to shuttle them to Mikami's residence."
"Meanwhile, Near and I will accompany Misa to the site she specified to unearth the notebook." He puts a hand on Misa's shoulder, steadying her shuddering form beside him. His voice is gentle, soothing. "Misa, will it be necessary to bring shovels, or any other such other digging utensils?"
"N-no," she tells him, between hiccupping sobs. "I c-can use my h-h-hands."
L nods. "Alright then. Let's go."
She is faintly surprised when L slides into the driver's seat.
"Y-you can drive?" she says, and as soon as it comes out of her mouth Misa realizes how dumb she sounds, going slightly pink in the face. She does not take the open seat behind him in the front, instead deciding to crawl into the back with the stoic, fair-haired prodigy known as Near.
"I don't have a legal driver's license in Japan," L tells her, as he turns the key in the ignition. "But I scarcely believe that it matters here, being that I am L." There is a ghost of a smile on his face, a wry smirk. He puts the car in reverse, glancing over his shoulder as he backs out of the parking space. Misa stares at him, befuddled - seeing L do something so utterly normal makes it all the more weirder. The sheer mundanity of the task seems contradictory to what L represents, seems somehow beneath him. As if the whole situation didn't seem surreal enough... Misa could have laughed, if she didn't feel so sick.
What's going to happen to me...? She thinks, as L puts it into 'drive' and pulls out of the parking structure before merging into traffic. Will he execute me? Confine me for life? Probably the former... the government wants Kira to disappear, even if the masses don't.
Even with this in mind, she doesn't regret her decision on the matter. L is safe, Light is safe, and Kira can finally be put to rest. Her boys will keep on breathing - will keep on living, even if Misa doesn't.
And that is enough, even if it doesn't bode well for her.
There is a restive moment when Misa digs up Death Note, and hands it obediently over to L. The shaggy haired detective holds it in that curious manner of his, just a scant few inches from his face, inspecting the contour of its cover critically. Then he passes it over to Near, who tucks it under his arm.
Ryuk is standing bow-legged before them, his big glassy eyes flicking from Misa to L and Near. Misa holds her breath and prays that Ryuk won't say something to give Light away.
"Shinigami Ryuk," L says pleasantly, after Near has taken in Ryuk's towering black-swathed form without so much as a blink. Misa is amazed by the albino child's steady gaze, his apparent lack of fear, his simple acceptance of such a creature's warped existence. She certainly had reacted much differently the first time she laid eyes on a Shinigami, back when her own Death Note was first dropped to Earth. She had been horror-struck, dubious, confused. But with Near, there wasn't even so much as a widening of the eyes. Remarkable. "It's nice to finally meet you."
Ryuk does not answer right away, still staring intently at them. Misa is really starting to worry now, starting to sweat a little at her brow. Please oh please oh please... she thinks desperately, worriedly. Please, Ryuk, I want to save Light!
Ryuk's gaze almost imperceptibly shifts to Misa, taking in her quaking form and her flushed face. His already enormous grin grows just that much wider, and Misa tries to shake her head discreetly, hoping fervently like she can somehow convey the severity of the situation to Ryuk. Then the shinigami throws back his head and laughs, a deep booming sound that echoes throughout the trees.
"Hyuk hyuk hyuk!"
"What's so funny?" L asks interestedly, peering up at him.
Ryuk glances at Misa, and then shrugs. "Nothing," he says in that gravelly voice of his. "You're just... really clever, you know that?"
L looks as though he's about to agree, when suddenly his phone chirps in his pocket. "Excuse me, Ryuk-san," he says politely, bowing his head slightly. "But I need to take this call."
"Kya ha, sure," Ryuk waves him off, his pointy head bobbing with the effort of his chuckling. "Be my guest."
L nods and shuffles a few steps away, his back turned to them as he flips open his cell-phone and brings it up to his ear. "Hello?" he says, and even with the effort he's put into giving himself at least some semblance of privacy, it is all very obviously in vain when Mello's jubilant voice rings out:
"L! We've got him! And guess what?! We found some papers on him with yesterday's murders written on them! It's really him!!" Mello continues to blather on excitedly and L steps a few more paces away so that he's no longer within hearing range.
Misa is fully aware of Ryuk's eyes on her, and tries her best to look nonchalant, mentally willing him to look somewhere else. It's not so much that she's afraid of Ryuk personally identifying her - after all, he can't make her look any more guilty that she already does - but she doesn't want him asking unnecessary or potentially devastating questions, like asking about Light.
Fortunately, Ryuk either senses her distress or he simply doesn't see the benefit of inquiring about the brunette, and mercifully remains silent. L returns back to the group a few seconds later, stuffing the cell-phone into the deep recesses of his jeans as he does so.
"They're bringing Mikami back to Taskforce HQ for interrogation," L says. "Naturally, I am very interested in meeting him. In a highly artificial environment, of course."
Near nods. Misa and Ryuk say nothing.
The next few weeks are tense.
Fortunately, Mikami does not break under the pressure of L's brutal methods. Light has done well in choosing him: the man is quite obviously willing to give up his life in order to protect his God's sanctity. He says nothing that alludes to another Kira; assumes all of the blame himself; insists that he has been acting independently this whole time, instead of revealing that he was a pawn, another successor in a lineage of supernatural mass murderers. By the end of the month, L seems completely convinced that Mikami is the person he's wrongfully accused Light of being this entire time - the first Kira.
Misa is immensely relieved, but she still doesn't know what this all means for her. She knows L plans to execute Mikami - has overheard him discussing it with his heirs and Watari - but has made no mention of Misa's personal fate thus far. Ever since Mikami's apprehension, L has had little to no personal contact with Misa, although he has adamantly requested that she remain under surveillance here, beneath the roof of Taskforce Headquarters.
Now that the interrogation is over, and L has been successfully converted into believing that Mikami is Kira, she begins to see him more. He mingles with the children, with Watari; makes calls to the former Taskforce members and Interpol. He arranges his fees for closing the case, sets an execution date, and makes appointments for conference calls with elected officials from all over the world. L is powering down, and although he is bland and as yeastless as ever, there is a certain degree of triumph within him that she hasn't seen before, a kind of swagger. She supposes he has reason to mentally congratulate himself on a job well done, over and over again - he has finally brought Kira to justice, has almost single-handedly solved the most intricately-woven serial murder case in history. L has won.
If Misa were a better person, she might have felt bad that she had willingly condemned Mikami to death. But she doesn't - because in sacrificing him, she can save Light's life. And Light's life is her main priority now, after L's safety has been assured. Mikami's death is a tragic, but necessary one. He knew the risks, when he assumed his role as the Stand-in Kira; if anything, he should be honored to be deemed worthy enough to die in the place of his Lord.
But Misa isn't a good person, a just person: she is selfish and wanton and Mikami's future is not her concern right now. Although to be perfectly honest, she is a little apprehensive concerning her own. For a while she's content with simply not knowing - she tries to treasure these days, knowing that they very well might be her last. The week before Mikami's scheduled execution, however, she can take living in the dark no longer. She has to know.
"L," she says urgently, seizing the detective by the shoulder as he slouches by, yanking him backwards into one of the computer chairs next to Near. The white-haired youth is currently examining the pages of Mikami's Death Note under a magnifying glass, and does not look up as the back of L's chair goes careening into the desk he is currently occupying. "Misa wants to talk to you."
"Is something amiss, Misa-san?" he asks her innocently.
"Yes, something is," Misa says tersely. "Misa can't stand not knowing anymore. Misa knows you plan on killing Mikami; but what do you plan to do with her?"
L blinks owlishly at her. "I beg your pardon?"
"Me, L, me!" Misa shrieks, shaking him violently.
L's hands gently reach out and capture her wrists, delicately removing them from his shoulders. "Please cease your throttling of me," he says demurely. "You're giving me a headache."
He arches an eyebrow at her. "I wasn't planning on doing anything, to be perfectly honest. You've been a great help here, Misa. If anything, I should thank you."
She stares at him blankly, her mouth hanging open. "What are you talking about?" she asks skeptically. "Are you insane? I mean I--"
"--Provided me with necessary information I needed in order to apprehend Kira. The notebooks have been destroyed, and the heart-attacks have ceased. That is largely thanks to your doing, Misa. Without you, I may have never been able to close this case. I may have never been able to bring Kira to justice. You have my sincerest gratitude."
Misa blinks, befuddled. "But you... I mean I..." she sputters unintelligibly. Then she shakes her head, and continues, louder this time: "But don't you get it? I'm the--"
L's voice is quiet, sincere. It's the half-pleading nature of it that causes Misa to recoil in shock, immediately lapsing into silence. She stares at L, her manner suddenly a parody of L's own: her wide-eyed gaze, her disheveled appearance. Misa's mouth moves several times, but the only thing that comes out is a strangled voice.
"Please don't say anything," L continues is a voice barely above a murmur. "You have yet to explicitly confess something to me, and I'd much rather if we kept it that way."
"But... I..." Misa tries, before L interrupts her.
"As far as I'm concerned, the Kira case is considered closed. It is beyond us now - old news, the past. So let's move beyond it, shall we?"
They stare at each other as Near continues to work diligently nearby, very pointedly ignoring the conversation taking place beside him. The youngest successor's hands smooth out the slightly yellowed pages, his fingers tracing the curve of each sweeping letter drawn between the lines. Misa doesn't know exactly what he means to achieve by doing this, but the boy's curious mannerisms are hardly her concern right now. The only thing that matters is this.
This is why I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you.
"Thank you," she whispers. "I... I owe you my life, L, how can I ever repay you?"
"And I owe you mine," L tells her. You could have killed me many times over, but you did not, he doesn't need to say, because they both know it already. "So I guess you could call us even."
Belatedly, Misa realizes she's crying, but it's a happy kind of tears. She holds out her arms helplessly to him, unsure as to whether he will accept her or not - but in the end he does, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against his chest. She kisses him over and over again, smearing some of her tears on his face as she does so, but L doesn't seem to mind.
Suddenly, the future is very bright.
It's only after Misa has left the surveillance room in order to get herself a cup of tea and some aspirin ("I have a raging headache now," she complains, but she's smiling in a relieved, pleased sort of way as she discloses the information), that Near suddenly twists in his chair to address L.
"So you're going to grant her immunity?" he immediately inquires, and slight disbelief mars his otherwise monotonous voice. His tone is slightly accusatory. Near always was so very blunt, more critical of L than the others, who were blinded by their own devotion. That is part of the reason why L considers him the most worthy successor, the most likely heir to assume his title in the end: Near understands that L is fallible, openly acknowledges his human imperfections. He is critical, he is analytical, he is severe and he is skeptical, and L appreciates that.
"Mm-hmm," is all L says, as he reaches across the desk to fish a jelly bean out of the candy bowl. He pops it into his mouth and chews.
"How can you love a monster like that?" Near wonders aloud, turning his face away. "It seems so very off-kilter, even for you."
L smiles wanly at that. He rests his hand gently on the orphan's shoulder, who looks up in vague surprise. L has never touched him before. "Not really, if you think about it," he tells the boy very seriously. "Consider this, Near: even though I work to convict criminals, I also I strike deals with criminals, in order to convict other criminals. I barter with them. I work with them. In some cases, I even rather enjoy their company." He nods fondly to himself, and Near knows that he's talking about Aiber and Wedy. "I have also been known to use any means necessary in order to bring an offender to justice, some of which methods are considered potentially unethical, and highly illegal. Bearing that in mind, you could say that I, myself, am a criminal. In which case, is it really such a stretch to think that I could love one as well?"
Near has nothing to say to that. Apparently satisfied, L moves to stand. "And now, if you'll excuse me," he says, and he actually musses Near's hair before he begins to walk away. The albino child gapes after him, disbelievingly and a little reprovingly, all in one. "I'm going to join Misa for a cup of tea downstairs."
And he goes to do exactly that.
A/N: :takes a deep breath:
And so there you have it. The entirety of Dynamism. It's been… one hell of a ride, hasn't it? I mean, seriously :blinks: I'm shocked, and a little mournful. This has been an enormous undertaking, my first foray into the Death Note fandom, and a shockingly long, multi-chaptered one at that… it has been my baby, and although I'm glad to have finished it, I'm also sad that it's done. I'm going to miss writing it.
(Although there will be an epilogue chapter, a tiny scene I cut out from this last part – I'm going to put it up after Sakura posts the first pages of the Dynamism doujinshi online – it's really just a filler so I can plug the comic itself, instead of something really all that relevant or outstanding in itself, chapter-wise. xD)
This fic was… such an enormous pain in the butt, at least behind-the-scenes. As you can see, there's still many, many grammatical errors and stupid typos. Eventually I'll get around to fixing all of them, just not right now xD I wrote myself into so many plot holes with this – like, seriously, you have no idea. Dynamism was initially supposed to end about ten different ways, but I kept finding continuity errors or some other such thing that prevented me from utilizing them. (Original ideas included: L dying, Light dying, Misa dying, everybody dying. Really. Nobody was safe from my twisted little mind, at least at one point.)
We can infer what we like from this last chapter, but we can assume that in executing Mikami, Light will be safe, because his memories have been wiped out and thus, he's oblivious and happy and innocent, just like Pre-Death-Note Light was. Whether Misa ends up going back to Light (which is likely, since he's her number 1), or whether she stays with L (also likely, since he granted her immunity and she loves him too), is entirely up to you. Although, since it's categorized as an LxMisa, I guess we should probably lean toward the latter ;)
I don't know if anyone else caught this, but I specifically made it so that L only revealed the true extent of his feelings at the very the end. In this final scene, he publically acknowledges that he loves Misa. Well, not that anyone doubted, but… yeah. It was supposed to be significant here. It was supposed to make you go "aww, what a nice ending." Dunno if I succeeded or not. xD
I've had two people ask me what "DMI" is, and I fully intended to answer it here except… I have no idea when I ever wrote DMI. You might be referring to when Matt says "TMI", which, for those of you who were wondering, means "Too much information." If this is wasn't what you were referring to, it was probably just a typo; either way, if you want to PM me and point out the specific passage to me, I'll be more than happy to clarify.
And, of course I want to tell you all how very grateful I am to all of you. Thanks to everyone who brought it upon themselves to review; thank you to everyone who so faithfully kept up with every chapter, who put me on their favorites and their alerts. Thank you for the PM's, the comic proposals (Sakurrrra xD I'm looking at yoooou), the encouragement and the praise. Extra thanks to those who pointed out the glaring grammatical errors and typos! OMG!
So… yeah. That's it, I guess? Longest A/N ever, oy. I guess I'll end it here.