Calculated Risks

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, and Viz Media. I don't own them; I'm just examining all their possibilities.

Epilogue

May 31, 2010

New York City

He labeled the file 05_31_10, the icon appearing for a moment against the empty desktop before the program opened and a blank page flashed across the screen.

He stared at it for a moment, his finger finding a lock of white hair to twist in contemplation, or was that hesitation. It was best just to write the words as they came; this was just a brainstorming session on a blank field.

At last the words and the format came to him.

It could be said that I just officially solved one of my most mundane and most useless puzzles.

The subject matter is of the type that I will typically ignore unless it is its own piece in a grander puzzle of the personal interests and motivations of key players in a more significant case.

It was less a formal case and more a side, hobby project that I picked at between other cases over a three month period. In the end I was content with having partial and circumstantial conclusions, though the ultimate conclusion presented itself to me today.

Near paused for a moment, looking at the words he had just written and felt a little uncomfortable. Honesty was the best policy with himself and no one was going to read this.

That is at least the impressions I would prefer to have regarding these specific deductions. I need to admit I have much more personal and perhaps emotional interest in this "case." It could be argued that on a personal level this particular discovery could have even more significance to me than other cases or at least gave me some answers I never knew I wanted.

I do not care to dwell on sentimentality, though I cannot deny some strong feelings I have toward this puzzle. It is not just a puzzle; it is an even bigger riddle with a more hypothetical solution.

This is a brief narrative of these specific findings with conclusions saved until the end.

Two weeks after the conclusion of the Kira investigation, I ordered Lidner, Gevanni, and Rester to locate every one of Mello's hideouts aside from the two in Los Angeles that had been raided. When located they were to be thoroughly searched orders in teams of two, bringing back any paper notes, business cards, cell phones, computers, cameras, or any other data storage devices for analysis for evidence on the Kira case or any other information on current and past organized crime activities.

By the end of March of 2010, six spaces were located; four in Los Angeles, one in New York, and one in Tokyo. Upon further research, none of Mello's immediate Mafia associates were seen or traced back to any of these small apartments. These were likely spaces Mello kept for his own uses, whether for the Kira investigation or his own personal haven. Of the six of them, four had as many of Matt's personal effects as Mello's and Matt was identified by the landlady of one apartment in downtown Los Angeles to be the renter.

It was in this one apartment on West Broadway in Los Angeles that Gevanni found scraps of burnt cloth buried under the cushion of the couch. This was likely part of the clothing Mello wore the night of the raid on November 10, 2009 when his associates died on the pages of Light Yagami's Death Note and Mello sustained serious burns after destroying his own hide-out. As are no records of anyone by Mello's exact description with Mello's exact injuries at any of the hospitals, clinics, or doctors offices any where in the Los Angeles area, meaning Mello holed up in this one apartment, likely tended to by Matt.

In the apartment in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Lidner found a manila envelope containing 164 printed pages. She immediately brought it to my attention and I read it promptly.

The document was a detailed description on the Los Angeles BB Murders narrated by Mello, who said L personally told him the details of the case. The pages also contained Mello's own analysis on Beyond Birthday's motivations as well as words of clear respect and lamentation for L. It is believed Mello wrote this in Tokyo, and according to the file on the personal computer found in that apartment, he did it over eight hours on the night of January 24, 2010.

It was clear he printed out all the pages and left them to be found by someone, though I know I was the intended recipient; Mello's occasional jabs at me may as well have been gift tag. That is what made me think to inside the envelope and see a series of characters written inside with a pencil.

I cut open the envelope and turned it inside out to see what was inside. Written on it were a ten digit number and a few words scrawled in Mandarin: "You need this."

It took me five minutes to determine the significance of the number, recognizing the first three digits as a Los Angeles area code and the remaining seven digits of an American phone number. Dialing the number and receiving a recorded message from a wireless company told the number existed but was out of service.

As a cursory measure, the numbers of the five cell phones taken from all six apartments were checked and the number in the envelope matched with a phone taken from the apartment on Broadway in Los Angeles. The phone was clearly Matt's given the amount of mobile games that had been downloaded onto it and the list of dialed and received calls were all from numbers of mundane sources.

It was Rester who made a brief comment about finding a few items in the picture folder that did not seem to match what was known of Matt. I accessed the picture folder, seeing two photographs of two different paintings that looked to have the same male model: a man who looked near exactly like Liam Lawliet, the original L.

For understanding purposes, I have met my predecessor personally on two occasions. One took place in December of 2002, though I only allowed myself a brief glance and did not care to meet him personally. A year later, literally days after challenging Kira on Japanese television, he arranged a more formal meeting at Wammy's House though made it brief. I will not go into the exact details of that meeting, though it was long enough to study his facial features and basic mannerisms.

I analyzed the photos, making the conclusion that the facial features of the individual in the paintings match L's based on my own experiences and from two known and carefully hidden photographs taken of him within the years before he died. One was a photo kept on file, likely the one used by his representatives to help identify his body. The second was a photo taken in 2000 of him with his two siblings that he kept on one laptop under heavy encryption.

As soon as the "who" was cleared up, the greater puzzle of "how" presented itself. Both paintings bore the same signature at the bottom right hand corner: "T Skye 2003." It was a relatively easy match to the popular artist Trevor Skye.

After another search of the Broadway apartment, three volumes of the graphic novel "Confessions of a Psychopath" (with illustrations by Trevor Skye) were located and one of the laptops, likely Mello's, contained URL's for Skye's art and networking sites.

The date and time of the photos matched with the exact date and time of a private gallery reception for Skye at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which the guest list contained three known organized crime associates with Mello likely appearing as a guest of one of them. A more careful sifts through the contents of that apartment also revealed a business card on which Skye's name and contact information were written.

As for the remaining questions, L himself pointed us in the right direction.

Inheriting L's title meant inheriting the access codes to his files, including one folder located on a laptop that contained a series of personal observations; most related to previous cases, though several were more personal in nature.

I found one of these files dated November 1, 2003 in which L mentioned a "companion in Boston." He did not name any names, though mentioned that this individual was a stranger with which he had an affair during a weekend. The date matches with the date on the paintings and Skye's residency in Boston has been mentioned in numerous places.

The connection was strong, though not concrete. I could have had Skye contacted about the subject of the painting under the guise of an art patron or a critic, though I resisted the temptation. I believe I was satisfied with what information I had. This was not a major case, this was just side research.

However, Trevor Skye himself did provide that one missing piece and it appeared on his website just this morning.

Volume 4 of "Confessions of a Psychopath" was released on May 1. Out of curiosity, I did skim over the volumes that had been found in Mello's apartment. The story and the illustrations read like an existential urban nightmare.

I will take a moment to note the novel contains an occasional nod to criminals' fear of unknown forces with one character, a police chief, who will appear on television while wearing a mask. If only Skye knew the man he was referencing with that menacing black hood was a man he shared his bed with, though I digress.

In this universe, the main protagonist (a schizophrenic serial killer named Elijah) has visions of Heaven as a riotous biker bar called "Feather's Bar" where the patrons all have white wings.

Skye and his collaborator Stuart Faris have both said in their respective blogs that some of the "angels" in the background are loved ones who had died. If one looks close enough, Faris' father can be seen tending bar on Volume 2 and the artist Miguel Juarez, a one-time flatmate of Skye's in New York, can be seen juggling beer bottles in Volume 3.

I picked up the latest edition out of curiosity, paying close attention to the "angels" during the bar scenes. In one back corner crouched on the floor and sipping from a demitasse while talking with a few other "angels" is an individual with matted black hair wearing what looks to be jeans and a light, hooded sweatshirt, his feet are bare. A mid-size pair of feathery white wings protrude from his back.

Near suddenly looked down from the text, studying the painted buttons and circuits on one of his toy robots lying on the floor. He pulled his gaze back forward and returned his hands to the keyboard.

I made a mental note of this, though such is a typical styling and the facial features were not as specific as those of the earlier paintings.

Today, Skye posted an update showing a larger image of the "angel." Beside it was the painting of L's illuminated profile.

This is a direct cut-and-paste of the text that accompanied it:

"Feathers' Bar in the latest edition contains yet another real-life angel. He was a guy I spent some time with exactly seven years ago tonight, a stranger who became a close friend and proved to be an excellent model. I only knew him as Ben, so if anyone knows who he actually is please don't take offense to the images; they are meant purely as a tribute. I last heard from Ben over the phone on Halloween of 2003. Last year a visitor to the MOCA where I showed a few paintings of Ben, later approached me saying he knew him and told me that Ben is no longer with us; an aortic aneurism claimed him about a year after we met. Ben is among the rest of the angels now and I'm sure he's happy there."

This case is solved in my opinion. Mello and Matt were at the Museum of Contemporary Art as a guest of one of the three Mafia associates on the guest list, likely a draw for Mello as he was already somewhat of a fan. He and Matt saw the paintings, Matt taking the photos of them on his phone to keep a record.

Mello was the one who partially told Skye of the fate of the model, avoiding any mention of involvement by Kira, saying the cause of death was an aortic aneurism, a more "innocuous" heart condition compared to Kira's usual MO (perhaps a rare show of restraint on his part, or possible respect for L). This encounter could have occurred at the gallery or sometime later after Mello received Skye's business card.

I won't even speculate on Mello or Matt's reactions to seeing those paintings, though it is clear the reactions were strong. Mello wanted me to find those pictures.

I will not deny that this entire matter raises many more questions too numerous and varied to name individually. I believe that this was Mello's intention; what "you need this" was referring too.

He specifically led me to these photos knowing what I would discover about them. This could have been a personal attack of some form; telling me, as he did in his account on the L.A.B.B Murders, that I did not know L as well as he did. It could have been a complicated equivalent of an insult; an "L got laid more than you ever will" statement perhaps or something along those lines.

Perhaps he wanted to pass information about L that I would find offensive, whether to challenge my personal morals or insult me outright.

I was more surprised at what I discovered than offended. I have no opinions on anyone's personal life or business and I was hardly shocked to learn he had an affair with a man he likely met in his travels.

L's journal and a few other accounts have revealed that not only was L comfortably bisexual but frequently solicited male and female prostitutes and, on rare cases, used sex as an investigative playing card to gain information or trust.

Compared to the personal histories of many individuals in his profession, L was conservative. Even the original Eraldo Coil and Denuve had sexual histories and fetishes infinitely more involved than anything L was known to do.

How L got into that situation is not a mystery, though I am more than a little curious about how his image, which he guarded so carefully, could be captured by an artist especially in a painting of that nature.

The natural answer is Skye did the paintings from memory, remembering every detail on a man he had been intimate with during a period of a few days. However, upon closer examination of the paintings as well as the two known photos of L, there are too many exact details of his facial and body structure to look be solely from memory. The nose is the exact same shape with the same protrusions and angles as is the shape of the jaw. The scar on the side of the model also resembles the same type of incision L received to repair the internal damage sustained after being stabbed during an undercover investigation in November of 2002

Trevor Skye could possibly have a photographic artistic memory. I did send the photos of the paintings to an associate of mine with whom I have developed a small measure of trust known as Linda; a former student of Wammy's House who had achieved her own measure of artistic success. Linda told me remembering the exact details on a subject in this situation is possible, though exceedingly difficult. The probability is higher that Trevor Skye did a few sketches immediately after L left to keep the memory if such was the case.

Linda's conclusion, however, was the probability was even greater that Skye did his sketches while directly in front of L and possible did a few sketches from a few different angles. This would mean L knew he was being sketched and did not mind.

The other explanation, one that may seem less likely for L, was that he directly posed for any sketches, possibly the paintings themselves.

I do not believe this answer is entirely far-fetched. Yes L carefully guarded his image and protected himself first and foremost. L did, however, have a strong sense of self-confidence bleeding into arrogance as well as a pronounced reckless streak.

If caught in the right mood in a position like he was in with Trevor Skye, it is not hard to imagine him ripping his clothes off while giving the artist a long list of precautions and what was allowed and not allowed.

Ultimately, trying to understand all of L's motivations and moves is a futile effort. Others have destroyed their lives trying to mimic or understand him and each individual will have his or her own interpretation based on whatever face L showed that person and he had many faces.

He was many different individuals, though this is not a mental illness or a flaw of personality. It was merely how great he was. No one can say they knew him and that goes for himself.

Mello was right; he probably didn't know what name was written in the Death Note, the name that took his life. Liam Lawliet was written in every piece of official paperwork from his first arrival at Wammy's House, though the name "L Lawliet" was the one I saw written in the notebook once possessed by the Shinigami Rem.

His own mask became his true face, such is the moral of this tale; such is the ultimate lesson for his successor.

Near looked down from the screen, examining the plastic tracks of the train set that circled around him while twisting another lock of hair around his finger.

There was more to say; there had to have been more to say though the words were not coming to him.

He slowly stretched himself from the floor, coming to a stand and looking at the wide space around him. The glow of computer monitors reflected against the panoramic windows overlooking Lower Manhattan.

Rester and Gevanni were doing leg work on another case across town. Lidner was in Washington gathering some rumors from a few old CIA cohorts. Roger was in the next room, likely pouring over a large book he had recently purchased on prehistoric insects while waiting for any calls.

As arranged, Near was alone and on a two hour break from his casework to fully digest what he had written.

The past month was the official calm after the storm. Cleaning up after the Kira case was a massive project in itself all done in between setting up his own systems and connections as the new L (as well as cleaning out and analyzing everything L-Kira, a.k.a. Light Yagami, had done in the past five and a half years).

Everything was mostly settled by now; the true L had a full caseload as usual and managed to win back a strong measure of trust from world leaders and police authorities after the usurper was eliminated. There was still more work to do; there always would be more work to do though it was all part of the position.

Near walked over to a side window, his stocking feet gliding across the floor as he scooped up another robot and held it in one arm.

He leaned against the wall, looking out at the Empire State Building and seeing the corner of Rockefeller Center between a few other buildings. The city glowed under the darkness of late evening, giving off almost a calming hum.

This was the first moment of absolute quiet he had in years. Moments like this were the only times he could truly come to some understanding strong emotions he kept carefully tucked away most of the time; logic came first, emotions could be sorted out later though under recent circumstances he could not live by logic alone.

This was how he managed his grief after L's death; letting himself feel the loss for a few moments to get it out and find ways to use it to fuel his battle with Kira.

Now he needed that moment for two other people and this was the first time in four months he had that opportunity.

The images of their faces floated in his mind; the often tense memories from Wammy's House to every contact during the Kira case.

Mihael Keehl, age 20 of Munich, Germany; Mello: the number two to succeed L and Near's rival at Wammy's House, or rather his peer.

His burnt remains found in a package truck that had crashed in a church. It was likely Kiyomi Takada wrote his name on a page of the Death Note before Teru Mikami eliminated her with the fire. At least that's what Near hoped had happened.

Mail Jeevas, age 19 of Utica, New York; Matt: Mello's lackey though Near had formed some kind of understanding of him when they were kids.

He was gunned down by Takada's bodyguards following Mello's kidnapping of their queen.

Both were buried next to each other in the cemetery in Winchester a few blocks from Wammy's House. Their modest funeral was the last time Near had any moment to reflect before the long clean-up process.

He hadn't been to L's grave yet; a modest headstone in a small cemetery in Leduc, Alberta next to the grave of his parents. He would have to visit sometime soon.

Though that's what this entire side investigation had been about, hadn't it? That's what Mello's account, Matt's photos, L's journal, and Trevor Skye's blog all allowed for him.

Near pushed himself from the window, walking over to a desk on the side. His eyes fell on the two finger puppets that sat next to the computer he used most frequently; Mello's and L's plastic likenesses used mostly to illustrate the minutiae of the Kira case, though now they were his tributes.

He picked up both, sliding them gently over the tops of his first two fingers and pondered them for a moment.

They were gone, but he was here now; the ultimate survivor, the one to carry on. He was L now, though in the long run what did that mean?

The words sunk in at last.

He walked back to the laptop resting on the floor, a large letter L bouncing and rotating on the screen. Near moved the cursor and his words reappeared, his pale blue eyes looking over his last sentence.

His own mask became his true face, such is the moral of this tale; such is the ultimate lesson for his successor.

He gently peeled off the puppets, putting them beside the laptop. His fingers were back on the keyboard as the words poured from him; the ultimate solution to this puzzle.

Or at least that would be the simple conclusion, though L always left one more proverbial trick up his sleeve; one more surprise waiting, one more answer to the riddle. L never neglected a piece.

I have spent the past three months pouring over the remainder of three lives cut short; three histories, three personalities, three different stories that converged. The one who ultimately succeeded L was the one who remained; the one left to hear the tales, the one left to learn, the one to move on with those lessons.

The greatest conclusion, the greatest message from all of this is to live.

My predecessor lived a short life, but a full one. He devoted his entire existence to solving cases, though still allowed himself life experience. Ultimately, however, he was the sum of his work and it wore on him to the very end.

"The Century's Greatest Detective," Mello wrote in his account on the LABB Murders; "how great must his burden be?"

The description continues and all accurate in my mind from his physical characteristics to those pained journal entries describing a period where he was a remorseful, suicidal individual, though in the end he accepted his ultimate role.

L Lawliet was indeed who he was in the end. He was not Liam Lawliet, the orphan trying to put up a nice façade for his family, and not L, the letter on a screen and the garbled voice over a computer. He was not the sum of any of his aliases either. His true, spiritual identity was a compromise of what his existence was; the true identity that ultimately took his life, ending the story.

Now another is in his position, another story being written.

When the numbers above my head have counted down to zero or when they wiped away with whatever name is written in whatever notebook, what will be my story? Will it be of a man who stayed behind a computer for years with the shades drawn, dying alone? Will it be the story of a reckless adventurer who left a trail of chaos, wrongs righted, affairs, children, companions, and any manner of events in his wake? I suppose that story is mine to make.

That I believe is the ultimate answer to this puzzle.

Near stared at the words for a moment, letting them sink in. At last he closed the file, putting up a layer of encryption on the new folder, before shutting down the laptop.

Several cases would demand his attention tonight. So would a blanket invitation from Linda to drop by her new apartment on Fifth Avenue for tea and a few DVD's, though as past events had proven that wouldn't be the only thing on the agenda.

Near twirled a lock of hair on his finger in contemplation. He then stood up and walked over to his computer, pressing the button to reach Roger.

"Watari I have a matter I must attend to across town," he said. "Please call a cab to pick me up at 77th Street."

------------

June 1, 2010

Boston

"Now entering Orient Heights," the electronic voice said overhead, matching the words on the LED screen at the top of the car.

The train gradually slowed with a screech as a mass of blue-tiled walls came into view on one side and a steel gate separating the platform from the street was visible on the other.

Trevor grabbed the metal bar next to him and came to a stand as the train slowly stopped with a shake.

"Now entering Orient Heights," the voice said again. "Next stop Suffolk Downs."

The doors opened with a ding, followed by a crackle on the radio.

"Attention passengers, there will be a five minute delay due a minor electrical problem at Suffolk Downs Station," the female conductor said through a heavy Southie accent. "Again there will be a five minute delay due a minor electrical problem at Suffolk Downs Station."

Trevor couldn't help but smile as he walked down the car to the open door. The human element contrasted with the electronic in that one moment, what would Ben have to say about that development?

He stepped onto the platform, walking past a few teenagers scrambling for their cell phones; his eyes went to the concrete platform, almost imagining a puddle of water from two rain-soaked men flinging water at each other. He could see Ben's hair even more spiked and wild, a smug smile on his face after shaking rain out on Trevor's jacket like a dog.

Trevor smiled, walking past the teens and to the stairs leading to the street. He had been at this station countless times since that night with barely a thought, though now he was a little more sentimental.

Being back in Boston for the first time in over a year definitely played a factor in this new sense; he was getting sentimental about many things he wanted to ignore seven years ago. Gallery showings, story consultations, managing inking and coloring, countless parties, and countless hours in New York studios demanded more of his time.

Now he was back over his old turf and it felt good.

He walked down a final set of stairs before pushing through the revolving metal door onto the street. The smell of car exhaust and sea water mixed in the night air over East Boston, a light breeze going over the short, dirty-blond hair he decided not to dye for the sake of all the older family members he promised to spend time with over the next week.

Dad was coming down tomorrow with his new wife Shelly who Trevor loved to pieces. He promised mom he would meet her and Ron in Portsmouth sometime this week; she hadn't been to the colonial houses at Strawberry Banke in years and Trevor wanted some new sketching material.

Jade's barbecue was Friday night at her and her husband's new house in Saugus; he longed to see how much Mike and Caitlin, his honorary niece and nephew, had grown in the past year. His actual nephews were with mom and dad at Disney World that week, their postcard arrived yesterday.

Things almost felt normal at this moment, though Trevor never liked normal. He was giving himself a month of quiet time at his newly-rented studio on Newberry Street before going back to New York and back to the business of his artistic life.

The smell of low tide reminded Trevor that he was a few blocks from his destination. All was quiet now, just like things were when they left the MFA in an awkward silence.

Ben had been on his mind quite a bit in the past few weeks. He had spent six years as a pleasant memory that would float through Trevor's mind once every few months. That memory had grown heavy in the past year, though ever since stepping on the platform at Airport Station four days ago it was like a ghost was looming over his shoulder.

It was the date; seven years to the day when Ben came into his life for that one weekend. The illustration in the latest edition of "Confessions" was a tribute, though something more was needed for himself.

The strip of empty blackness now appeared before him, the dark interrupted by the streetlights illuminating parts of Constitution Beach and Revere Beach a mile down. The weather was a little warmer, stars fighting past the streetlights on the horizon.

He waited for a few cars to continue down Route 1A before crossing the street and walking down the stairs to the beach, a small paper bag clutched in his hand.

The wind further blew the red Hawaiian shirt he wore over a gray tank top as his blue flip-flops landed on the sand. The beach was black, though he could make out the rocks and surf a hundred feet ahead.

No one was there save for the memory of two familiar figures making out in the rain. The memory gradually faded into the shadows of the rocks as he continued forward.

That same spot of rocks and sand was now under his feet, though he was alone. The breeze blew warm now, a carpet of seaweed leading to the lapping waves. Trevor paused for a moment, breathing in the salty air and savoring the whoosh of the waves mixed with the screeching roar of an airplane flying overhead.

He lowered his legs and came to a sit on the sand, resting against the same rock Ben leaned against seven years ago. He reached inside the paper bag, pulling out a large whoopie pie he picked up at a coffee shop downtown before getting on the subway.

A ton of his more spiritually minded friends and all the pagan shopkeepers in Salem would have gladly given him a dozen different candles, herbs, and mystical words for what he was about to do though he didn't need any of it.

Trevor took a deep breath to clear his mind, the words coming to him.

"I'm probably going to look like a nutcase for talking to myself, but I really don't care," he said, feeling a bit more comfortable. "But I'm not speaking to myself. Ben, I don't know your full name and I have no idea if you could care less, but I'm talking to you."

He could see a familiar smirk in his mind, gray eyes staring at him in bemused anticipation.

Trevor gradually broke the pastry in two, putting one side on his lap as his hands dug into the sand.

"I'll share my whoopie pie with you," he said. "Unfortunately it's not from Ethyl's Perks; they closed about three years ago, though I've had better religious experiences with the espresso from other places. Though you see God everyday now, don't you; at least that's what I hope."

He put the half of the pastry in the small hole, burying it and silently hoping no cops were passing by to see him "littering." He picked up his half of the whoopie pie, toasting it to the sky and taking a luxurious bite in silence.

"I know where you are now," Trevor said. "I met this guy about a year ago who called himself Mello, this leather-clad, blond, hot as hell guy. You probably remember him from when he was a kid, so that probably sounded really creepy, but he's grown up a lot. He told me you…umm…moved on. But he told me you didn't do so because you wanted to, or at least that's what I wanted to believe."

He licked off a bit of cream, feeling the back of his throat growing heavy.

"Things are better for me now," Trevor said. "I made it, my art is my day job and I couldn't be happier. I just hope that you were happy in the time after you left Boston. I just…"

The words caught in the back of his throat and he felt his eyes welling up.

"I just want you to know that I never forgot about you," Trevor said looking at the sky. "And I will never forget about you. Both of us are in new places and I'm going forward with my head high, and I thank you for helping me be able to do that."

Trevor took a deep breath, leaning against the rock and eating the rest of the pastry in silence. He looked forward, seeing the faded image of a man with wild black hair sitting in a crouch and delicately eating his half of the whoopie pie in his memory.

Though for some reason Ben was wearing a long sleeved white t-shirt and not the sweatshirt he saw him in all weekend. Maybe it was a trick of his memory.

Trevor finished the pastry, licking off a small patch of frosting from the corner of his mouth. For a second, he swore he felt a set of soft lips join with his. He closed his eyes, savoring the feeling for a moment before it faded, leaving only a light sea breeze.

Trevor opened his eyes, seeing a mass of stars in the open horizon and smiled.

He took a second to ground his senses and clear his mind before standing, crumpling the paper bag in his hand and putting it in his jeans pocket.

Trevor gave one last look at the wide beach before him, before turning around and gradually walking back to the stairs.

THE END

Author's Note: This story was officially conceived on July 19, 2008 at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Sunday night before I had finished Chapter 58 of Death Note and was inspired to write a short story based on it called "Moment of Silence." From then on I was a DN fanatic and thought of various ideas of other stories, including a chaptered story. The idea came to me at night beside the Piscataqua River with the song "The Night" by Disturbed playing in my head and images of L on a Boston subway and later making love to a young artist floated through. I started this story a few days later.

This story was originally intended as a one-shot, then it became three chapters, then more ideas took over the further I got into the series and immediately after reading "Another Note." The story itself has been an evolution of ideas with parts added on and inspired by various things.

This fic is also my love letter to the city of Boston, which I absolutely adore and try to get to as much as I can. I know some of the descriptions of the city are not entirely accurate, but I did the best and might gradually correct a few things. I also owe scenery inspiration to Portsmouth, York Beach, Maine, and the beaches of East Boston, which I have gone past with friends on numerous occasions.

"Another Note" was huge canon inspiration and I did get some ideas from the two Death Note movies (especially the scene in the gallery). Other sources of inspiration came from "Brokeback Mountain" and the 1998 Alfonso Cuaron remake of "Great Expectations" as well as the album "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. "The Night" of course was the reoccurring theme and inspiration.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read and commented on this story on deviantArt and . When writing this, I gradually realized how risky it was to have an OC as a main character in the DN fandom and I tried my absolute best to make Trevor an interesting character and I appreciate every comment on how that turned out.

This was my first multi-chapter DN fic and I will do my best to make more. Once again thank you all.