A/N: Admittedly, I'm not really all that satisfied with what I've come up with here, but there's not much I can do to improve it other than trashing it entirely and starting from scratch. This little piece took forever just as it is, so needless to say, I'm not about to do anything so drastic as to write an entirely new story.
Please let me know what you think. I'm pretty new to the whole Death Note series, but I've tried my best to keep Light-kun as in-character as I could. Whether I was actually successful or not is entirely up to interpretation. Enjoy.
"it's not enough to hear me say you've won,
you only wanted me for havin' fun…
this isn't goodnight, this is goodbye."
- Hot Hot Heat
Light was a logical individual. He investigative, analytical; a reasonable man.
A more sensitive person would have regarded him as cool, impassive, impenetrable. They might have even opted for more colorful terms - uncaring, emotionless, despondent, even. To be perfectly honest, Light did not share these sentiments at all. He single-handedly was establishing a new world-order, restoring peace and tranquility by systematically ridding the world from evil-doers, one by one. Although methodical at times, it was a passionate endeavor. He was dedicated. He was virtuous and vigilant. How could anyone think of him as unemotional when he was diligently doing his task, day-in and day-out despite mounting opposition within the police force? (Didn't such fervor require a just a spark of color, a splash of care?) If anything, Light cared too much, taking it upon himself to wear the world upon his shoulders. If anything, they didn't give him enough credit.
He was calculating, but he was not cold. True, he dealt with things with a kind of dry, yeastless factuality - this did not make him callous. Just because he didn't waste his time weeping and wailing, screaming and shaking his fists, didn't mean he was made of ice. It just meant he didn't waste his time on pointless emotions. Instead, he invested his time and energy into things that mattered. There was a larger picture that had to be taken in, a tarnished canvas that he would have to go over with a paint brush of his very own, re-creating his own rendition of the former image as he saw fit, free of rot and decay. You had to have the greater good in mind, he thought, if you were tackle such an enormous and daunting task, such as revolutionizing the world. (Losing some of your humanity along the way was just one of those necessary sacrifices you had to make, for the Greater Good.) He had to look at people as statistics, to allow them to easily fall into the categories of 'good' and 'evil' as to decipher their end. There was no shades of gray here - there was only the pure and infected, his allies and the opposition. The imperfection - the filth - had to removed, no matter what the cost.
And so he went about erasing them, one-by-one, sometimes with the help of Misa-Misa, but mostly by himself. (It was just something I have to do – a tedious but necessary chore, like mowing the lawn, or taking out the trash.) He eradicated countless rotten individuals every night by a few simple, rapid strokes of his pen. Eliminating sickness was nothing to get upset over, nothing to get excited about. He did it all in the name of the greater good; and so lives were taken in order to create a beautiful, utopian society.
Before L, purging the world by fire had been done without complaint or resistance. And then that pesky detective had gone and changed all that, by establishing a mounting opposition that Light had infiltrated the heart of.
L inspired sensation, feeling – feelings of hate, feeling of rage; and at times, feelings of being trapped, cornered, imprisoned. No matter how hard Light tried to keep one step ahead as Kira from the police force, L was always just a short distance behind, pursuing him relentlessly. L refused to grasp the idea that Light could be innocent, despite the formidable counter-arguments Light brought to the table. (He kept me on my toes; he kept things interesting.)The rest of the Task Force was completely convinced of Light's allegiance to them; L, on the other hand, was overly-suspicious, insatiable, and entirely too clever for his own good. Light felt emotions on the rise – feelings he had done a fantastic job of suppressing since his killing spree began, thank you very much. L was a thorn in his side, a constant reminder of his own mortality – a dangerous rival that he wanted – no, needed – to be eliminated.
And then one glorious day, it happened. Shrewd planning and careful manipulation had paid off, and L lay slain at his feet. At last, the most formidable opposition had been removed. He had outwitted the cleverest, conquered the only person smart enough to pose a threat. The others would be a cakewalk compared to L. L, the nonbeliever; L, the dubious; L, his only rival.
Cradling the prone form of Ryuuzaki in his arms on the floor, Light felt a curious sensation. He expected to feel victorious, jubilant, satisfied. Maybe even alarmed or relieved, now that he had removed the detective from the scene. The others would fall like a deck of cards without L to stabilize him. Everyone would fold (they were so stupid); Light had won.
Light hadn't had such reason to celebrate since he first discovered the Death Note and had initially utilized its power. The other thousands of people he had eliminated with neat, compact hand-writing had not been nearly as satisfying as this one should have been, by comparison. The others were just necessary numbers—people who needed to be removed from the picture, in order for Justice to prevail. In destroying them, in removing them from this planet forever, there was only grim pleasure. But L—L had posed an actual threat. He had served as Light's (intellectual equal--) greatest enemy. If anything, his demise should have inspired a cataclysmic explosion of feeling, the way he inspired it in life. Rage should have turned to maniacal glee, but no such emotion was forthcoming.
Glancing down into L's blank, unseeing stare, Light was confused. He did feel something – but it wasn't what he expected it to be. It was almost… an absence of feeling, something dark and empty inside of him. It was something that Light had never experienced before; something he couldn't definitely categorize. It was like a vacuum inside of him, sucking away all his other reactions, leaving this, whatever 'this' was.
What is this feeling? He wondered bemusedly, as the others around him wailed and screamed and mourned. In death, L seemed to have an even more profound effect on Light than he did when he was still breathing, although Light couldn't tell you exactly what that effect was. The effect was… a lack of effect, maybe. It was nothingness.
With L removed from the picture, his greatest threat—and source of interest and intrigue, of malice and devious plotting—had been disposed of. Light could now ascend as the new leader of the Task Force, and lead them around in circles for the rest of his days while he continued his duties as Kira in secret. Things would be… decidedly simpler, from now on, that was for sure; and far less exciting. (I have lost my anti-thesis, my muse, my motivation for working so hard.) With L gone, there was a scarcely a challenge now. There was no need to exercise his brain, to over-exert himself. The pinnacle had been reached: it would only go downwards from here.
Is this… regret?