Well, I am making this my last update of 2008. That's scary – where has the year gone? It doesn't seem like a full year since New Year's Eve 2007. O.o
Gyah, never mind. It's not like there's someplace you can go and demand your year back because you feel like you were ripped off…
Stolen Away is, I guess, one of my little successes of 2008. I didn't think it would be so popular! Thankyou all so much for reading! This is the final chapter of what has become a "mini-fic", so I hope you all are satisfied by it.
I got a few reviews asking why this said "Complete" when it wasn't finished. Eh, I kept meaning to do change it to "In Progress", but I forgot. :) Never mind, that is now an accurate description!
Happy New Year, everybody, and enjoy the final chapter of Stolen Away!
Stolen Away: III
He had never previously experienced this situation, but now that he had, Detective Light Yagami could thus very thoroughly conclude that it was difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep properly on the wooden bench of a Police Nationale overnight cell.
He'd been arrested immediately following the team of detectives he'd been guarding the fake Crown Le St. Aubert Bijou with breaking into his hotel room and finding the real Crown Le St. Aubert Bijou gleaming on his dresser; it was obvious to him that L had foreseen not getting his own way with Light, and so had set him up beforehand as premeditated revenge.
He had to hand it to the sneaky bastard – he got the full 10/10 for Effort.
…Which nonetheless didn't make Light like or respect him any better – he was currently at -10/10 in the Winning Personality stakes.
The French police surely couldn't hold him for very long, and they certainly couldn't convict him of theft. He'd told the truth, said that it had been L, told them all about the thief's switching of the real crown with the fake one he'd previously stolen. He'd been so annoyed that he'd completely thrown his secretive not-telling-anyone-about-the-fact-that-he'd-met-L out of the window and described him as accurately as he could so the police could go hunting for him. All in all, he was innocent of the theft, and even though L had set him up, he was certain that the French police would be forced to let him go.
The thought was his only consolation as he lay, suspended in an uncomfortable half-sleep, with his jacket folded up as a pillow, on the bench (which creaked loudly and moved more than slightly if he wriggled about too much).
So, needless to say, when L showed up, bordering on perhaps 3:30am, Light wasn't very pleased to see him.
"You know, I'm very excited," the thief said drolly, winding his slender arms around the bars. "This is the first time I've ever been inside a police station. What is it like to be in a cell, Light-kun? I thought I would ask you, since you seem to know quite a bit about it."
Light was up and over at the bars in moments – L swiftly stepped back out of his reach to avoid being strangled.
"You slimy, backstabbing little rat!" Light hissed venomously. "You're the one who should be locked up in here, not me!"
L smiled sweetly at him.
"Be that as it may," he replied pleasantly, "I think it's unfair to call me "backstabbing". That implies that I'm too cowardly to stab you from the front. I think I should inform you that that's not true. Besides…" His smile twisted. "There is no pretence of us being on the same side, Light-kun. I think you have made that perfectly clear."
"Well," Light said, ignoring him and sweetening his own tone, "if you really want to know what it's like to be locked up in here, why don't you go and get the keys and we can swap places. It can be like a game."
"Now why do I think that Light-kun wouldn't play fair at that game? Why do I think that Light-kun wouldn't let me out again once I had grown tired of the experience?"
"Because you belong in here!" Light snapped, losing his temper.
L simply shot him a cute-but-insolent little smile and said nothing.
"They're going to catch you, you know," Light said finally.
"You sound awfully sure of yourself."
"For good reason." Now it was Light's turn to smirk. "I gave a very good description of you, they drew a composite sketch, and I'm sorry, but you're so freaky-looking that they're bound to find you very soon."
"Oh, yes." L fished into his pocket and pulled out the crumpled pencil drawing of which Light spoke; he glanced at it. "I have to admit, it's a pretty good likeness. You certainly must have given a very accurate description indeed. Can it be that the brilliant Light Yagami has a photographic memory, or is it just that you think about me so often that I'm as clear in your mind as I am standing right before you?"
Light stared at him, speechless; watching him fold the drawing again non-too-carefully and jamming it back into the pocket of his jeans.
"Well?" the thief prompted, wide-eyed as he glanced back up at Light.
"Why are you constantly following me around, ruining my life?" Light finally asked, not answering his question. "What have I done that fascinates you so much that it captures almost all of your attention?"
"You're interesting," L replied airily. "You're clever, you're a very talented detective in addition to being very good at other things, you seem like a very nice person, and you're very attractive. All those qualities in one person are extremely rare – and you know how much I like rare treasures."
"That's silly." Light shook his head as he said it. "I don't know how I can make you understand this, but you can't base your opinion of me on… well, on a few brief meetings, I mean, it's just—"
"Isn't that what people do when they go on dates?"
"We're not on a date!"
"I know that. But isn't it the same thing?"
"E-even if it is," Light pressed impatiently, "you say someone like me is rare, so… so that's the only reason you chase me like this? That's so shallow."
"Light-kun, I'm a thief who steals shiny objects," L said dryly. "Of course I'm shallow."
"But you shouldn't be, at least not when it comes to other people. I'm not a crown or a gold ring or whatever. You should like me for who I am, not because of how I appear, but I don't see how you can like me for who I am, because you don't know me!"
"I know that I like you."
Light heaved a frustrated sigh and said nothing more, turning his back on L and leaning up against the bars.
"Well, if it makes you feel any better," L said at length, "I'm not going to steal the crown again. The whole situation has gotten a little tiresome now. I know where it is, and could easily take it if I wanted it, but I just think that after all this, I really don't want to look at it again."
"How noble of you."
L gave a snort.
"I thought you might have more to say about it than that," he said, sounding a little put out.
"What, you think I should be proud of you, for deciding not to re-steal a priceless French crown, of which your previous theft landed me in here?" Light gave an icy little laugh. "Sorry, but I'm not your mother. It's not my job to encourage you even though you're such a screw-up."
"That's unkind, Light-kun."
"That's a bit rich coming from you, don't you think?" Light spat. "You're hardly the Epitome of Saintliness yourself."
"At least I don't pretend that I am."
Light bit his bottom lip to keep from lowering himself to L's level and firing back.
"Maybe I'll have something to say if you give up your life of crime altogether," he said primly.
"I don't see that happening, Light-kun."
"Me neither." Light heaved another sigh. "Now why don't you go away and leave me alone so I can try to get some sleep?"
"Actually, I came to let you out." L pulled the keys from his pocket with a cheerful jingle. "You're right, you don't belong in there. I did, after all, take the liberty of setting you up to take the fall. This is my repayment." He put the key into the lock and turned it – the bars swung open with a neat click. "Come on, Light-kun. I can easily get us out of here."
But Light simply shot him an icy look and walked away from the open door, over towards the bench again, where he sat down.
"I'm in enough trouble already, courtesy of you, and now you want me to escape from jail and become a fugitive?" he spat.
"Being a fugitive isn't that bad, Light-kun."
"Forget it – there is no way in Hell I'm coming with you." Light folded him arms. "I expect the French police will let me go in the morning, so until then, I'll just do the honest thing and wait here for them to realise that I'm innocent. Running away will just make it worse – then it really will look like I was guilty."
"You're no fun," L sulked. "I thought you might at least accompany me back to Japan. It's such a long, boring trip to take by oneself."
"Not happening, L. Sorry."
"I could just steal you again."
"I'm sure you could," Light replied pleasantly.
"Well…" Seeing that the threat wasn't working, L floundered for a moment. "…I'll just leave the door open, in case you change your mind. It's always good to leave your options open."
Light got up, stormed over to the open cell door and slammed it shut in L's face.
"I am not coming with you!" he spat furiously, gripping hold of the bars with white, shaking hands. "Get it through that thick skull of yours! I don't like you, I don't want to hang out with you, I don't want to be friends, acquaintances or even we-have-to-stop-meeting-like-this buddies with you! All I want is to have you thrown into some dank little cell for the rest of your life, and for me to have the key so that I can personally throw it into the Sea of Japan!"
L looked extremely hurt for a moment or two; then the smile came back to his face and he leaned towards Light.
"Ah, but you didn't say you didn't want to be lovers," he said brightly, and he kissed the young detective fleetingly on the mouth and then sauntered cheerily away, hearing only the echo of Light's angry, frustrated wail.
By morning Detective Light Yagami was a free man. The French police, having found the composite sketch missing, correctly presumed that L had been behind its disappearance, but having noted that Light was still locked in his cell, and more importantly, did not have the drawing on him, concluded that he could not have been behind both this theft and one significant other:
Every single jewel once set within the real Crown Le St. Aubert Bijou had been removed very carefully, leaving no trace of them whatsoever.
Light, incidentally, was now even less impressed by L's restraint in vowing that he would not steal the crown a second time.
Although he was very tired on arriving back in Japan, both jetlagged and aching all over from his night in that Police Nationale cell, Light was restless, severely irritated by L's shenanigans in France, and after freshening himself up at home, headed straight down to the NPA headquarters. He just needed some boring, easy work to do to get his mind off his pointless trip, unfair arrest and L.
In Japan, several hours ahead of France, it was already the afternoon of the day after he'd left Europe – L had even stolen an entire day from him, the bastard…
Pulling off his coat as he entered the office, Light tiredly greeted his colleagues, hoping to make straight for his desk; but was seized by Matsuda.
"So, France, huh?" he asked gleefully. "How was it? Anything kinky or scandalous to relate? Hook up with any gorgeous French women?"
"No," Light replied, unwinding Matsuda's arm from around his neck. "It was just work."
"You weren't gone very long," Light's father observed. "I thought perhaps you might not come back until the weekend."
"Pity." Soichiro Yagami stood up. "By the way, we had a transfer into the department yesterday."
Light blinked, halfway through settling down at his desk.
"Yes. I admit I was surprised, it was the first I'd heard of it, but he came with a letter from the Commissioner, so there was nothing I could say about it." Soichiro thumbed absently at the door. "He's just gone with Aizawa down to the Forensics Department to pick up some data from the lab."
"Oh, okay." Light started to rummage in his drawer in search of his notebook; well, he should hardly complain about having another pair of hands on deck, especially with L still on the loose.
It was another ten or fifteen minutes later before Aizawa reappeared with the new fish in tow; Light glanced up absently as Matsuda ranted about how long it had taken them to pick up one little envelope.
He almost had a heart attack.
L was standing right beside Aizawa. L, cleaned up a little, in black suit trousers, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and a black tie – but his hair was still wild and his eyes still gleaming, with those sleepless shadows smudged beneath them.
Light stood up and slammed his hands down on his desk in absolute fury – but was too stunned to speak.
"Oh, Light, welcome back," Aizawa said cheerily; he gestured to L. "No doubt the chief told you about the newbie – this is Detective Ryuga Hideki."
"He has the same name as that pop star!" Matsuda chirped. "Isn't that so cool?!"
But still Light said nothing, his voice jammed like a stuck record – only able to stare at L in utter disbelief. How could anyone be so arrogant…?
"Hello, Light-kun," L greeted him pleasantly, giving him a friendly little wave.
"Hello," Light finally forced out, his voice faint; he had to sink back down into his chair.
Soichiro shook his head.
"Look at you, Light – you're a mess from all that travelling. You should have rested today and come in tomorrow."
Light could only nod, not really listening to his father – too transfixed by L, who gave him a knowing little smile before taking the envelope from Aizawa and giving it to Soichiro.
"If you want to know what took us so long," Aizawa said, "this is why." He held up a packaged box. "This arrived at the front desk this morning by post."
"For our department?" Matsuda asked curiously.
"No. It's for Light." Aizawa brought it over to Light's desk, setting it down gently. "It's been checked over by the scanners. They're not sure what it is, but it's not a bomb or gas or anything, so… I guess you'll just have to open it."
"Yes, Light, open it!" Matsuda cried excitedly, bounding over to the desk. "Maybe it's a clue to one of the cases we're trying to crack, or a gift from a secret admirer, or—"
"Well," Light interrupted; but he said nothing more, pulling the box towards him. Yes, there was his name, department and the Tokyo NPA branch's address – there was no sender's address, however.
He was extremely hesitant to open it.
"Perhaps Light-kun feels uncomfortable having us as spectators," L said mildly, "and would prefer to open it at home."
Light's eyes darted up towards him venomously; and that cinched it. L was hinting that he should open it at home.
So he was opening it right here, right now, in front of everyone.
Light tore the tape off the box and roughly opened the flaps, peering inside it; then made a sound of frustrated disgust and shoved it away from him, sending it sliding across the desk and off the edge of it. It hit the office floor and the contents scattered across the carpet.
The small, precious, brightly-coloured contents, which gleamed on the grey office floor as they each respectively rolled to a halt.
"Secret admirer?" Matsuda asked weakly, picking up one of the jewels and holding it up to the window to see the clear, deep blue better.
Light couldn't hold himself back any longer – he stood again, murderous gaze fixated on L.
"I can't believe you would—" he spluttered furiously. "I mean, it's one thing to steal the thing, but then to…?! Are you serious?!"
"Whoa, hold up." Aizawa looked at Light to L and then back again. "You know him, Light?"
"Of course I do!" Light spat. "He's L!"
The silence that ensued was punctuated only by Light's angry exhalation and the sound of Matsuda dropping the jewel again.
"L?" Soichiro asked finally, casting a disbelieving glance in the new detective's direction. "Light, how can you… I mean, you've never met—"
"You said you'd never met L," Aizawa interrupted sharply. "That you'd never even seen him."
"I lied, okay?" Light snapped irritably, still glaring at L. "We've met before – how do you think I got the Earth's Eye back? And he was in France, and I—those jewels, they're from the French crown he was going to steal, well, he stole, and now he's sent them here, though I don't why, but… ugh, just ask him!"
He jabbed his finger repeatedly at L, who blinked innocently at him.
"But Light," his father said patiently, "he was transferred here yesterday, and all the paperwork was perfectly in order, and he has a license, and the number on it checks out—"
"It's all fake!" Light cried in frustration. "He has this helper, some kind of butler—"
"So, wait." Mogi, who had said nothing until this point, suddenly spoke up. "You're saying that you have actually met L even though you denied having done so, and that L… is standing right here – that L is, in fact, Detective Ryuga Hideki."
"Yes." Light nodded fervently. "That's exactly what I'm saying."
There was another long bout of silence, during which all eyes were turned upon L again.
"Well," he said, after giving the impression of having carefully considered his answer, "they do say that everyone is known to have a double somewhere in the world that's completely unrelated to them—"
"Oh, don't be so ridiculous!" Light blazed.
L blinked at him.
"You really think that I am L, Light-kun? L, the greatest thief in the entire world?"
"I know that you're L!" Light screeched. "How dare you do this to me, showing up like some—"
"Alright, Light," Soichiro Yagami sighed, rubbing at his temples. "Please don't be offended by this, but you're not yourself at the moment. You're very tired, your body clock is disorientated, and I understand that you're very frustrated that your lead turned out to be a dead end, but I simply can't have you accusing members of your own department of such crimes with no proof whatsoever. Furthermore I think we can all agree that it is extremely unlikely that Detective Hideki is L, and it is probably the aforementioned factors which lend themselves to your confusion."
"…What?" Light blinked a few times, stunned – why wasn't L in handcuffs already? "No, dad… Listen, I know it sounds crazy, but he is L, I swear! You have to believe me—"
"Light, please go home and get some rest," Soichiro Yagami said tiredly, going back to his desk. "I'm not going to discuss the matter any further."
"Aizawa, Mogi – please box all those jewels back up and send them down to Forensics."
"Light, go home."
For a long moment, Light didn't move; L presently appeared beside him.
"I'll accompany him, Yagami-san," he said, addressing Light's father. "To make sure he doesn't get on the wrong train or anything. Besides, we seem to have gotten off very much on the wrong foot – I'd like to meet your son properly, if we're going to be working together from now on."
Soichiro gave a nod.
"Alright, both of you get out of here."
L took Light – who had gone into some kind of state of shock – by his upper arm and led him out of the office while Matsuda complained loudly about how unfair it was that they got the rest of the day off while he had to rot here filing paperwork.
"I told you that you could never prove that I am L," L murmured wickedly in Light's ear as the office door swung shut behind them.
"What's the matter, Light-kun?" L asked from across the table. "Don't you like your cappuccino?"
Light didn't reply; still apparently in very deep shock. He was simply staring at the coils of steam rising from the pretty cup on its saucer before him.
They were in a café that L seemed to know very well, situated down a little street on the outskirts of the city of Tokyo; Light had offered no resistance to being dragged in here. L had asked him what cake he wanted – he had mumbled that he wasn't hungry. L had asked him what he wanted to drink – he had mumbled that he wasn't thirsty.
L had ordered him a cappuccino and a slice of caramel cheesecake anyway, saying that he was paying as compensation for giving him such a shock earlier. Light had taken only one small sip of his coffee so far, and hadn't complained when L, who had eaten his own slice of strawberry shortcake very quickly, at length spirited the untouched cheesecake away over to his side of the table.
Right now he was halfway through demolishing it, though paused to tilt his head at Light.
"Light-kun?" he asked again. "What's wrong? You're usually much more talkative than this."
Light shrugged in reply.
"Well, I'm concerned." L chewed thoughtfully on a mouthful of cake. "I hope I haven't upset you. Are you really that displeased to see me?"
Light glanced up him a little, his eyes narrowed.
"Are you getting that vibe?" he hissed.
"A little, yes."
Light dropped his gaze again.
"How did you do it?" he whispered.
"Get transferred into our department?!"
"Oh, that." L smiled. "Well, you partially sussed it out. The online information, confirmation for my license number as being active and transfer papers are all fake, courtesy of Watari. However… the license isn't."
"You even stole a police license?" Light asked in disgust.
"No." L fished into the pocket of his jacket, pulling out his wallet and taking out a small white card, which he pushed across the table towards Light.
Light took it and held it up so that he could examine it.
"Rank of Detective Chief Superintendent… Scotland Yard…" Light blinked at the licence. "This is yours."
L nodded with a wry smile.
"I've also worked for MI5 in Britain and the FBI in the United States. Oh, and the Police Nationale, very briefly.
"Detective Chief Superintendent … That's a very high rank."
"Why did you quit, then?"
"I didn't quit. I went Missing In Action." L grinned. "Isn't that tragic?"
"I don't understand."
L folded his hands and rested his chin on them.
"Quite simply, Light-kun, as I have told you before… I bore easily. And eventually, I got bored of being a detective. The criminals I was catching just weren't offering me any kind of challenge, and no-one I worked with had an ability to match my own. You might think that delighted me, but it didn't. It was lonely and in the end I stopped getting any pleasure out of my work. So I decided to switch sides – to show the criminals how it should be done, and to see if there was anyone, anywhere in the world, who was capable of catching me." He smiled happily and picked up his coffee, taking a sip. "But as you can see, I am still a free man."
"Yes, I can certainly see that," Light replied stiffly.
"Well, now you know why I'm so good at what I do," L said complacently. "A knowledge of how to get caught – and therefore how to avoid getting caught – and a little sleight of hand combined… That's really all there is to 'L', you know."
"Why are you telling me all this?" Light asked bitterly, giving him license back. "Because you know – and just proved – that I can't out you as L?"
"Partly." L finished the last bite of his cheesecake. "But either way, it doesn't really matter anymore."
"Why do you say that?" Light asked suspiciously.
"Because, as of two days ago, I am officially retired."
"You've completely given up stealing?"
Light clenched his fists.
"Oh, and you think that makes it alright, do you?" he spat. "You were one of the word's most wanted criminals, but now that you've renounced your wicked ways, it's okay for you to just… to just turn up here, get yourself transferred in my police department, and start over again in the police, as though L never existed?!"
"I was hoping for it to go something like that, yes."
"You arrogant jerk!" Light snapped. "You can't just pretend that you haven't stolen all those things! And you have no right to be chasing me about like this! It's called stalking, and it's a crime."
"Oh, Light-kun, I'm hardly stalking you. I have yet to break into your house while you're sleeping or steal your underwear from your washing line."
"Don't just laugh this off! I really hate this game you're playing with me, L!"
"Please don't call me 'L' anymore, Light-kun. You can just call me Ryuga now – or Ryuzaki, if you prefer." L looked at him blandly. "And by the way, the other night, when you said that you would "maybe have something to say" if I completely gave up my life of crime… I have to admit that this wasn't exactly what I had expected. You throwing such a hissy fit, I mean."
Light grabbed his cappuccino, threw it in L's face, snatched up his jacket and stormed out of the café.
L, who had barely blinked, wiped some of his wet hair out of his eyes and watched Light go; then gave an amused little sigh.
So the chase was on yet again.
Light decided that he would have a shower to cool off – he was still fuming about L the Renounced Sinner and the blasé fashion in which he supposed he could simply cast off his Thieving Scum persona, and more annoyed still by the absolute nerve of him, turning up like that in Light's own NPA department, whipping out his old Metropolitan Police license when he saw fit to. The way L saw and used the law as nothing more than a line step back and forth over for only his own amusement made Light feel slightly sick.
He had a nice long, hot shower, which soothed his aching muscles and cleared his head, pulled on some comfortable clothes, towel-dried his hair, and went into his bedroom.
L was sprawled on his bed, leafing through one of his books with great interest.
Light dropped the towel he had been using to dry his hair without realising it, staring at L in appalled shock.
"…How the fuck did you get in here?" he forced out eventually.
L glanced up at him.
"Oh, hello, Light-kun. I hoped you wouldn't be long. This is very nice room you have here."
"How did you get in?!" Light shrieked, near-hysterical.
L thumbed at the window.
"I suppose you'd call it Breaking and Entering," he mused. "Although I was very, very careful. I didn't scratch your windowsill or anything."
"Get out." Light pointed at the bedroom door to accentuate his point. "I didn't invite you in here, you bastard."
"Well, I'm not a vampire, Light-kun – I can enter places that I'm not invited into. How else would I have been such a successful thief?" L blinked. "Oh, but don't worry. I haven't stolen anything from your room. I was just looking at this book while waiting for you to come out of the shower." He held it up – it was a small paperback print of The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. "How lovely it is to soak up a little of Japan's rich history and culture."
"I told you to get out!" Light yelled, storming over to the bed. "Stop following me around! I'm not your friend!"
L put the book down and knelt up – he'd obviously gone home and changed out of his cappuccino-stained clothes before coming here, for he'd traded his shirt-and-tie combo for the plain white top and faded blue jeans he'd been wearing when Light had first met him. His hair and face were also expensive Italian coffee-free too.
"Light-kun, I appreciate that I annoy you quite a bit," he said patiently, "but to be perfectly honest, you have not even tried to be friends with me."
"Why the hell would I do that?!" Light snapped. "You're a criminal!"
"The fact that you've "given up" stealing doesn't mean that you're exempt from all your previous crimes!" Light exploded.
"Oh, Light-kun," L sighed wearily, "don't you get tired of being so angry and uptight all the time? Being so straight-laced must take quite a bit out of you."
"That's none of your business – and it doesn't change anything that you've done! I could be the most laid-back person in the entire world, not give a damn about anything at all, but you would still be a thief."
"…Well, I suppose I can't argue with that."
"Good." Light pointed at the door again. "Now will you please leave."
L gave a forlorn sigh.
"You really don't like me, do you?"
"No, I don't. I hate your guts. Now get out."
L lay down again, flopping on to his side.
"No," he said simply.
Light gave a frustrated moan, clutching at handfuls of his hair.
"Why are you doing this to me?" he asked wearily. "Why won't you just leave me alone, L?"
"Because I like you very much, Light-kun."
"You have a very strange way of showing it," Light muttered blackly, sinking down onto the bed himself and burying his face in his hands.
"How else do you suppose that a thief earns the affections of a detective?" L gave a haughty sigh. "I even gave up being L for you, since you seem to have such a problem with my stealing things – but even that isn't good enough. I was a thief for a long time before I even knew you existed, so what other way did I have of approaching you? There is no other circumstance under which we would ever meet, if not for the battlefield that you like to call Justice."
"You didn't give up being L for me," Light said icily. "You gave up because you were bored of it. No-one had ever caught you, or even come close."
"I don't think that's true," L said, making Light look up at him. "I think that you could have caught me, or at least come close to it – and even without my revealing myself to you as L."
"Flattery doesn't work on me."
"I don't flatter – I only tell the truth." L smirked. "Except for when I'm lying."
"Well…" L shifted closer to Light. "As you know, I don't ask for things that I want. Ever. When I see something I want, I just take it. That's what being a thief is all about. And I have to tell you something, Light-kun – I've never wanted anything that I've ever seen as much as I want you. You're worth far more than any of those pointless vases or gaudy sceptres – you're rarer than any of those things, because you're my equal, and more to the point, you're the only one I've ever come across."
"That doesn't mean you can – or should – possess me," Light replied coldly.
"I know." L gave a shrug. "Not that that matters anymore. I gave up being a thief, remember?"
"Oh, of course."
"So it follows that I have thus given up taking the things I want without asking."
"…And what do you want?" Light asked warily.
"I want you to be my friend."
"I can't be friends with you."
"Because I don't like you."
L only smiled.
"I'm sure I'll grow on you. After all, we're going to be working together from now on."
"Don't remind me…" Light heaved a sigh and fell back onto the bed himself, closing his amber eyes. He felt L lean over him but kept his eyes shut, steadfastly pretending not to notice.
"Light-kun, can I ask you for something else?"
"Depends what it is."
"Well, to tell you that, I would have to ask the question. But you would still be within your rights to refuse, of course." L sighed wistfully. "That's the difference between asking for something and just taking it – I'm in constant danger of not getting what I want."
"Welcome to Planet Earth, you idiot."
"How kind. Well, what I wanted to ask was… if I would be allowed to kiss you?"
Light gave a snort.
"If you say please, I might consider it," he said dryly.
"You're enjoying this."
"Of course. Only the other night you were practically molesting me, and now you're humbling yourself by asking for my permission?"
"Very well then. Please might I be allowed to kiss you, Light-kun?" L rattled off dutifully.
Light opened one eye to glance up at L.
"You do realise that friends don't kiss each other, right?"
L smirked deviously again.
"Perhaps I may have gotten my wording a little mixed up…"
"Now why don't I believe that…?" Light gave a sigh and let his eye slide closed again. "Alright, but just a little kiss."
L was still smirking as he leaned in towards him; Light pushed himself up on his elbows to meet him, touching their mouths together. It was a little kiss – sweet, almost tentative, just the pressure of their lips and nothing else. It was ironic that L was now far less invasive and aggressive now that he had Light's permission.
"Was that acceptable, Light-kun?" L asked, pulling back from him a little.
"Yeah, that was okay."
"Good." He knelt up a little more and brushed away Light's fringe so that he could kiss his forehead. "You're right, really," he breathed. "You can never truly own someone else – even if you posses their body, you don't necessarily possess their mind. I could chain myself to you, so that you could never escape me, but I still wouldn't own you. And that… drives me mad. I know I must seem like a spoiled brat, always wanting something, never satisfied with what I have… But no matter their monetary or historical value, material possessions are, in truth, worthless. So my wanting of you is in a completely different league, Light-kun – you are worth more than everything I have ever stolen put together, and yet you are the one thing that can never be mine. That's another part of the reason why I have decided to give up being L: Because I have been defeated. I have found something that I desperately want and yet cannot steal."
Light gazed up at him for a long moment. He had a terrible feeling that L was simply talking sweet to manipulate him, but despite his suspicion, he was falling for it, hook, line and sinker.
"You came into my department because you want to be with me?" he asked softly.
"Why else? I've since realised that stealing you away won't make you mine – it's not as easy as breaking into a bank or a museum."
"…So you have another idea?"
He leaned down towards Light again, kissing him a little more passionately this time; Light hesitated for a moment, then reached up and wrapped his arms around L's slender chest to hold him closer.
For all his talk of being defeated, it was clear to Light that L had won, and that they both knew it – and that L was savouring his victory very much, kissing down Light's throat carefully, nipping at the jugular to make him give an odd, high little sound and turn his head aside.
L unbuttoned Light's shirt very meticulously, loosening each button with that dainty touch of his, and kissed down his chest and over his belly; Light's own hands flailed slightly, since he wasn't sure quite what he should do with them, or where he should put them. He didn't know if L wanted him to touch him in return, or if he simply wanted him to lie there and be the recipient of his affections. In the end, L raised his head, took up Light's right hand and kissed it – wrist, heel, palm, every fingertip, very gently, and if it was mock-affection, then L was a better actor than even Light had supposed.
The same could be said about it all, really – after chasing him so tirelessly, impressing his designs upon him so insistently, even lecherously, Light was surprised by how gentle L was with him now that he was willingly within his grasp. He was as careful with him as he was with any of those priceless paintings and artefacts, perhaps even more so, and seemed to admire him more, too. Light had seen L praise the beauty of both the Earth's Eye and the Crown Le St. Aubert Bijou, and yet despite his words, his admiration had seemed to Light to be rather blasé, almost detached, as though he felt himself obliged to admire them because he had gone to the trouble of stealing them.
But there was nothing blasé or fake about his admiration of Light Yagami. He said that he was beautiful when he undressed him, and whether or not it was true, and although Light had heard him say it several times before, for the first time, he found himself believing him.
Did L treat any of the priceless artefacts he stole with this much care? He traced his fingers over Light's skin as though he was almost afraid of marking or breaking him, swept his hair back from his eyes very gently, and although his contact with the younger man beneath him was far from chaste, it was still altogether very cautious and methodical. Light wasn't really sure if he should be flattered or offended by this paranoia of leaving a single scratch upon him.
Then again, maybe he shouldn't have been surprised. He wasn't exactly certain if he'd really been expecting L to be rough with him once he got his own way, but considering the strange, delicate way that he held things, and the way in which he himself was of such slight form, perhaps it wasn't altogether too bizarre to suppose that L behaved this way with all of his sexual partners.
If he'd ever had one before.
(Or maybe it was simply a peculiar personification of the way in which L saw Light as something far more precious than a priceless skull-sized diamond.)
Light was beneath, sprawled on his back; his knees resting at L's hips, his lower legs tangled around the older man's waist, and with his arms around his neck and shoulders, clutching tightly at him. Neither of them said anything – Light cried and gasped and moaned, all very quietly, and L made no noise at all, probably the way he did while in the act of stealing something; seemingly preferring to listen to Light and all the pretty little sounds that he made.
Light barely opened his eyes; they fluttered open, tiredly, contentedly at half-mast, in the aftermath of his orgasm, and he saw that L hadn't taken his own gaze off him the entire time, and again he wasn't sure whether he should be pleased or unnerved.
But the expression in L's black eyes was neither smug, greedy nor discontented; it was wistful, even a little sad. He held Light's gaze for a long moment, then nuzzled against his throat. He didn't make a sound when he hit his peak – Light wished that he would whisper his name, but if he did, it was to himself, within the confines of his own mind, so that it could not be stolen away from him, the way he heartlessly stole from everybody else.
Light awoke alone. He wasn't surprised, but a little ticked all the same that L had scarpered the moment he'd gotten what he wanted out of him.
But, still, he supposed that he couldn't be surprised. That was what thieves did, wasn't it? Took what they wanted and then legged it?
He pulled the covers over his head and snuggled down into the warm darkness – his brain still wasn't functioning properly and he was perfectly happy to let it stay that way for now, so that he didn't have to think about—
He heard L's voice and peeked out from beneath the sheets again; the older man, looking even more dishevelled than usual, was dressed and standing over him, holding two cups of steaming coffee.
"I thought you gave up stealing?" Light said grouchily, surfacing and lying back against the headboard.
"I did. What do you mean? I haven't stolen anything from you, Light-kun."
"Isn't that my coffee?"
L shot him a scathing look.
"Fine, I'll just go and tip it down the sink," he replied acidly, turning away.
"No, no, I want it!" Light made a grab for one of the cups.
L snorted and gave him one, sinking onto the edge of the bed with his own.
"Really," he sighed. "And I was trying to be hospitable, making you some coffee—"
"Hospitable? This is my house!"
"And it's just lovely." L beamed at him over his coffee.
"I'm surprised you're still here," Light muttered, sipping at the hot bitter liquid.
"Hm? You thought I'd just run out on you after I got what I wanted?"
"I do seem like that kind of person, don't I?" L mused in agreement. "But on the contrary, you can see that I am in fact still here."
"Yes, I can see that very well."
"You act as though you're annoyed that I stuck around."
Light opened his mouth, realised that he had no answer, so clammed up again and drank his coffee very attentively.
"Well, you needn't worry," L said. "I'm not going to hold this as a victory over you – even though it is that. I hope you don't think any less of me for it. After all, I do like you very much, Light-kun. I hope we can still be friends."
Light gave an incredulous little snort.
L's mouth twitched into a smile.
"Perhaps I got my wording a little mixed up…"
Light raised an eyebrow.
"Your hair is a spectacular mess, Light-kun."
"Of course it is, genius," Light muttered scathingly.
"Well, don't worry." L reached into his pocket and pulled out a black comb. "Here."
Light didn't reply; simply glanced at him with hooded eyes.
"What?" L asked finally, looking at the comb, as though he thought there was something stuck to it.
Light just sighed.
"L… That's my comb."
Three weeks later
Light was the first to awaken that morning, which made a change. He sat up and looked down at L, who was peacefully asleep on his side, turned away from Light, his raven hair stark against the pillow and his thumbnail pressed against his bottom lip.
Light smiled and brushed some of L's hair away from his pale cheek, taking care not to wake him. Then he reached for the remote at the bedside and flipped on the small TV that sat on the chest of drawers, turning down the sound and hopping channels until he came to the news station.
Something about a postal strike. Light stifled a yawn, feeling L turn over and nuzzle up to him; he laid a hand on the older man's bare shoulder, stroking him affectionately.
The news story changed. The anchor shuffled her papers and behind her, on a small screen, appeared something on a white background. Two things. Two black, gothic, English alphabet-shaped things.
M and N, respectively.
Light turned up the sound to catch what the anchor was saying:
"—And in worldwide news, while there have been no reported or documented thefts by what many experts call the "super-thief", L, for almost a month, it now seems that L has either specially-trained successors or copycats, calling themselves 'M' and 'N', the two letters in the European alphabet which come after 'L'. Last night saw the duo strike in Russia, sending a typical L-style message to Moscow authorities before stealing the newly-displayed Royal Tsarina Sceptre—"
"Ouch!" L cried, sitting bolt upright and dislodging Light's nails from his shoulder with some difficultly. "Light-kun, there was really no need to awaken me like that. Look at my shoulder." He gestured to the skin, where Light had left several angry red half-moons welted into his pale skin.
"What do you know about this?" Light snapped in reply, completely ignoring his complaints in favour of gesturing wildly towards the TV, on which a correspondent in Moscow itself was filling in a few more of the details of the theft.
L tilted his head, studying the screen for a long moment. Then he smiled.
"Well, I have to say I'm surprised," he said, arching an eyebrow.
"Surprised at what?!" Light demanded. "You do know something about this, don't you? M and N?"
"Of course. It's Mello and Near."
L nodded even as Light trailed off.
"There are my heirs – successors, I suppose. Watari took the liberty of training them up to follow me, should I be caught, or… Well, I have to admit that I'm surprised they've become active already, but—"
"You trained up master thieves?!"
"Not me. Watari."
"As if that makes a difference!" Light seethed. "You were in on it! "M and N" certainly aren't news to you!"
"Well, I can't deny that…"
"Oh, I don't believe this," Light groaned, putting his hands over his eyes.
"Cheer up, Light-kun. This will make things more interesting for us."
"Get fucked, L," Light muttered, sinking back onto the mattress.
"I don't know if that's such a good idea, Light-kun – surely, after last night, you—"
"Oh, get out!" Light snapped; he pulled his pillow over his face to sulk.
"Very well," L replied complacently. He got up and Light heard him pull his clothes back on, before he picked up the sounding of something rustling. "I'm going to go and have a shower," L went on, leaning over and placing something made of paper on Light's chest. "I'll just leave this here for you."
He padded away to the bathroom; Light waited until he heard the gush of water start up before he lifted the pillow from his head and picked up what L had left for him to have a look at it. It was an envelope inside a folded newspaper cutting; putting the envelope aside, Light carefully smoothed out the cutting so that he could read it.
He found that he couldn't – it was from either a German or Dutch newspaper, he couldn't quite tell. In the centre of the piece, however, was a colour photograph of an ornate box, made from what looked like platinum, and encrusted with gleaming jewels. Finding this strange, he put the cutting aside and picked up the envelope, shaking out the contents. Two plane tickets fell out onto the sheets – Light snatched one up to examine it, determining by this that the newspaper clipping was German:
The ticket was for a flight leaving that afternoon from Tokyo International Airport, its destination being Munich, Germany.
Light tucked the tickets carefully back into their envelope and went to bang on the bathroom door. At length L shut off the shower and opened the door, leaning out in just a towel.
"Yes, Light-kun?" he asked politely, pushing his wet hair from his eyes.
"What game are you playing here, L?" Light spat. "Munich? M and N, are they going to…? I mean, how do you know?"
"Just call it a hunch."
"Or prior knowledge."
"You may call it that, if you choose."
"L, I don't like this game any more than I did when you were the one I was chasing."
"I know that. But still, Light-kun, I think this will be a nice little change of pace. It makes things more interesting, don't you agree?"
Light folded his arms crossly.
"And what if I refuse to accompany you to Germany?" he asked coolly. "What then, Almighty L?"
L grinned at him.
"Then, Light-kun," he replied airily, "I just steal you away again."
He stuck out his tongue at the indignant young detective.
To be perfectly honest, I could very easily turn this into a very long multi-chaptered storyline simply by taking Light and L to France and having them face off against Mello and Near, who knows, maybe even bring people like Misa, Mikami and B into it, yadda yadda…
BUT I'm going to leave it here. This was never intended to be a long story – only a one-shot, originally, so…
Yeah. As far as the LxLight dynamic goes, L got Light into bed in the end, so essentially that's all the loose ends wrapped up nicely. You know, apart from the fact that Mello and Near are running riot in Munich. O.o Oh well, at least they're not trying to kill each other. Watari should be damned proud…
Thankyou all for reading! I hope this satisfied you as much as possible!
As for Light-o, as long as he knows where his wallet is at all times, I'm sure he and L will be just fine. :)
See y'allz in 2009!