Hi, it's Tierfal and Eltea, back at it again! This time, the name of the game is Phantom of the Opera crossover, written over the course of about three days for RichelleShalark's birthday.

Oh, and... we actually love Misa. She's just so easy to make fun of that refraining would mean missing lots of humor opportunities.

"Goodbye…" L murmured. "And thank you…"

There was no answer. As usual, the voice had disappeared, leaving him alone in his corner of the little room he shared with Mello and Near, curled up on his cot. Sighing softly, he allowed himself a moment to speculate on what the mysterious voice wanted with him, why it continued to return and teach him evening after evening.

It wasn't a very long moment.

"L!" Mello burst through the door, Near shuffling after him. "Rehearsal in five minutes! You'd better hurry up or Wammy's gonna blow his stack!"

L unfolded to his feet, sliding off of the bed to join Near by the door - for Mello, of course, was already halfway up the stairs, calling plaintive "Come onnnn"s over his shoulder as he went.

Smiling a little indulgently, L trailed Mello and Near to the backstage area, where Monsieur Wammy was waiting, his bright eyes accustomed to and missing none of the chaos and commotion of the preparation for rehearsal.

"There you are," he remarked of the three slightly disheveled boys who scampered towards their places.

"Now remember!" Monsieur Ruvie was calling to all of the actors, singers, and dancers as they scrambled around getting ready to begin. "Our new sponsor is coming today, so it's our job to impress him! Don't forget, he's the one making it possible for this to happen!"

Monsieur Wammy smiled at his charges.

"I'm sure all of you will work very hard. Now, positions for the dance at the end of Act Five. All set? Ready, one, two three…"

"NO!" a voice suddenly shrilled. "I refuse to perform in that white monstrosity! I said I wanted a pink dress!"

"Misa…!" Monsieur Ruvie was pleading.

"It's not fair!" the blonde girl wept. "First I receive strange threats and suggestions that the theater is haunted, then I can't even have a pink dress? That's it! I quit!" She stomped her foot and began stalking towards the exit.

"No! Misa, please!" Monsieur Ruvie cried, trailing after her. "We need you! You are tonight's star! You—" But with a final toss of her head, the diva was gone. The disgruntled manager hung his head.

"What are we supposed to do now?" he groaned. "Without our star, tonight's show will be ruined!"

Mello cleared his throat extremely loudly.

Monsieur Ruvie sighed. "Mello," he said with what seemed to be his last tenuous threads of patience, "as much of a drama queen as you are, the song is quite out of your rang—"

"Not me," Mello scoffed. "L."

And then, of course, somehow both suddenly and utterly predictably, everyone was looking at him. L felt his face go warm.

"L?" Monsieur Ruvie demanded skeptically.

"He certainly has the voice," Near murmured.

"It's true," Monsieur Wammy agreed. "He didn't a few years ago, but he's been studying - someone brilliant has been giving him lessons."

"Who?" Monsieur Ruvie wanted to know. L shrugged and blushed.

"I don't know," he admitted quietly, fidgeting nervously. "I just hear a voice." He winced slightly, realizing how ridiculous that sounded.

"Let him sing something," Monsieur Wammy interrupted, coming to his rescue. "Trust me; you won't be disappointed."

Monsieur Ruvie nodded his grudging approval, and L licked his lips, glancing at the circle of performers in various states of preparedness who had gathered to watch. He felt surrounded.

Then again, given that performing in front of a live audience on opening night would probably be a thousand times more difficult, perhaps he would be best advised to swallow his irrational fears now.

He drew in a deep breath, swallowed, and began, softly and slightly unsteadily at first, but gaining strength and confidence as the orchestra rose in his head, as the cheers roared in his ears, as the imaginary adulation buoyed him - as it always did - "Think of me… Think of me fondly, when we've said goodbye… Remember me once in a while; please promise me you'll try…"

- - - - -

Light Yagami adjusted his cravat more because he needed something to do with his hands than because he thought it wasn't impeccably arranged already. Spotless, white, and perfectly in vogue, just like his business prospects, his life, the path towards a shining future…

Smiling graciously, he passed his ticket to the doorman and handed off his coat, resisting the urge to run a hand through his hair. That, too, was perfect; he'd seen to it.

Why was he so unsettled?

Everything was in place, and he knew it was. The show would be a roaring success, everyone would have a lovely time, and everything would be just as he'd planned.

Light put no stock in superstitions. He shook himself inwardly and strolled along the route to his seat in the uppermost booth, stopping to greet this dignitary and that businessman as he went. He kissed wives' hands and complimented pocket watches and flashed his most genial smile until at last he reached the plush, velvet chair that had long since been reserved for him. Gratefully he settled in it, wanting, for some reason, to clench his fingers around the armrests.

What was wrong with him tonight?

As the lights dimmed, though, and the chatter in the room began to die down, he felt excited. He loved the moment when the curtain rose and the show started, when everyone in the room was suddenly transported to another world. He lived for it.

The orchestra began, quietly at first and then more loudly, the first strains of the overture, and Light sat up a little bit more. The music swelled, building, and then finally the deep, rich red curtains began parted, revealing a stage alive with color and motion…

Light realized he'd been holding his breath and exhaled slowly, chiding himself with a bit of amused chagrin. Next thing he knew, he'd be gasping every time a dancer executed a particularly graceful move, and once he'd started down that slope, who was to say… that…

In the fading final notes of the overture, the dancers in their glinting, glimmering costumes twirled out of the way, opening the stage for a solitary, slender young man dressed resplendently in white and silver, the lights playing gleefully on thick, burnished black hair brushed to fall like silk almost to its owner's narrow shoulders. Something was remarkably familiar—

The boy looked up, offering the audience a tentative smile, and Light saw wide gray eyes peeking out from behind the shining black bangs.

It couldn't be.

His mind drifted back, back to a time years ago when his family had spent the summer at the seashore… and one day, he'd gone down to the beach to find a thin black-haired boy playing in the sand, a boy who'd introduced himself with a single letter. Over the course of the summer, the two of them had become close friends (and maybe a little more - Light, at least, recalled harboring the soft, tender, innocent infatuation of a child for his quiet companion), but at the end of the summer, they'd parted ways, and he hadn't seen his mysterious friend since.

Surely that strange, scruffy, wild-eyed little boy couldn't be the same graceful, enchanting beauty that stood before him now?

Then L - for it couldn't be any other, could it? That hair, those eyes, the curve of that cheek and the delicate point of that chin; the long, elegant fingers and the slightly hesitant stance; those couldn't belong to anyone else - obeyed the understated urgings of the orchestra and began, softly and sweetly and so beautifully that Light's heart twisted itself almost to pieces, to sing.

There had been a few moments in Light Yagami's life that he'd wished he could freeze and capture, to take into his hands, to hold tightly to his chest and own forever. One had been the last evening by the sea, with the foamy waves nibbling, weary with the day's crashings, at their bare toes, with the sun subsiding beyond the distant horizon, with the heartbreaking grandeur of the drastically colored clouds. The rosy glow of it on L's face, the way he let his eyes slide shut and tilted his head back just slightly, just so, bathing in the cooling air and the quiet companionship.

In the moment before Light fell asleep every night afterwards, that was the picture he conjured in his mind.

And now. This moment. With L smiling shyly, with a voice like an angel's rising from the slight form perched on the center of the stage - Light wanted to keep this one as long as he lived.

He was barely aware of how long the performance lasted - forgot to think about the time passing. It didn't matter. He'd collected enough moments to stretch out into an eternity of imagination, to keep him warm every night for the rest of his life.

At last, the curtain closed, and he leapt to his feet and applauded with the rest of the audience. His elation flickered slightly as he worried that L would disappear again, then leapt up into his chest as he remembered that he was now connected to this theater. And L was connected to this theater. So they were connected to each other, and they would be able to see each other again.

"Bravo!" he shouted, his voice lost amongst a sea of its brothers and the rustling ocean of hands meeting hands. It didn't matter. All of a sudden, his life didn't feel so dismal anymore.

He'd found L.