Title: Some Things Are Beyond Near
By: Dr. Kim-chan
Author's Note: Okay guys, eleven days after Halloween, we're finally at the final part! (hears groans of disappointment) Oh, don't get so down; I plan on starting more Death Note-related stuff. In fact, TheRecorder, you inspired me! "Bakery Boys"…watch out for that. (winks) Also, look out for "Death in the Shell" (a Ghost in the Shell/Death Note crossover), "MNM Is Not a Candy", "Requiem for Secondhand Smoke" (a Matt-centric fic), and the Edo-period fic that's already in progress, "Ronin Note" (though probably not in that particular order, and probably not all at once). What do you know? What started out as a little Halloween thing stimulated my creativity and my fangirl-ism! Thanks, everyone, for your reviews and kind words!
(BTW, did anyone notice that the acronym of the title of the story makes "STAB'N"? (shudders) Creepy...I SO didn't plan that, I swear!)
So I left you at the biggest cliffhanger last time. How will our favorite agents get through the night? Find out in the exciting conclusion!
Her heart pounded so loudly in her chest, the echoes of the beats reached her ears. Her adrenaline pumped through her system, her blood flowing so fast through her bloodstream she could've mistaken that as the cause for the heat of her skin. This sound, these sensations…they were nothing new to Lidner. After many close calls in her career, including her stint in the ever-stressful Secret Service, she had long since become used to the pressure she put on her body and mind.
But this was different.
Her, Gevanni, and Rester...they weren't facing down assassination plots, terrorists, or even Kira. It was something they couldn't see, and a simple adjustment of electromagnetic frequency would determine this battle in a matter of minutes.
Most importantly, they risked losing Near.
Lidner cursed herself under her breath for actually listening to him a week ago. How could a board game have caused all this?
L, Mello, and Matt had lingered long enough to get them down to the power room's respective floor, and then the scents had vanished. Shortly after, they noticed a change in the atmosphere, along with the flickering lights, designating an adjustment in the electromagnetic frequency. This left the three agents with an empty sensation in their stomachs that they've rarely felt before…
But Lidner wasn't going to give up that easily. L was counting on them to protect his protégé, and as was the maxim when he was alive, no detective or agent in their right mind let L down.
Like the armory, the power room was protected by double doors, with a console for agents' key cards and manual code input. However, when Rester tried both methods, the grating buzz of refusal and an angry red light flashed back at him.
"Henh henh henh…"
Lidner's ears perked up at the villainous laugh taunting them from behind the doors. No doubt that was Beyond, executing the final phase of his plan.
She grit her teeth.
"Get back," Lidner growled. "Gevanni, get out your taser."
While Rester stepped back, Gevanni stepped forward, taser in an outstretched hand, and on Lidner's signal they pressed their triggers. Electrodes sending 100,000 volts found their mark, briefly overwhelming the console. Lights and sparks flashed everywhere for all of five seconds before the electrodes retracted.
"Try it again."
Rester slashed his key card through again, and this time it worked. The doors barely opened wide enough before the three agents rushed in.
What met them was a discouraging maze of metal pipes, generators, wiring, and metal boxes. No sight of a white-clad young man anywhere.
"Near! Beyond!" Lidner yelled.
"Henh, henh, henh…"
"We have to shut off the power to the whole building," Rester said. "Anybody know where the master switch is?"
"Forget the switch."
Still incensed and high on adrenaline, Lidner stalked over to the nearest switchbox, threw open the door, and delivered another 50,000 volts to every key, lever, and button on the panel. A shower of white sparks greater than the first blanketed the floor, every ceiling light in both the room and out in the hallway blinking furiously.
A final dying hum, and the entire headquarters was plunged into darkness.
"Couldn't have found a safer way?" Rester growled.
"Proper procedure is the last thing on my mind right now!" Lidner shouted back. "Now split up."
Rester may have been second-in-command, but Lidner had a point; Near had to be their first priority. Besides, it wasn't too wise to further infuriate a former Secret Service agent.
The three immediately took different directions, using sharp eyes to look out for anything out of the ordinary, or if Beyond would stick around long enough to try one final attack to shake them off his trail. At the very least, the electromagnetic frequency had normalized.
The only question was if they'd come in time.
Lidner lifted her feet over a couple of bars, taser still in her clutches, when she got her answer.
Nearly tripping over her own feet trying to turn back, she and Rester stumbled through the enclosed space, following Gevanni's voice until they found him on his knees in an alcove nestled between two industrial-sized generators.
Lying in his lap was an unconscious Near.
Lidner rushed to his side as Gevanni fervently checked for a pulse, both in his neck and the boy's thin wrist.
"It's very weak. He's cold, too," he said, his voice on the verge of breaking. "He's probably been here for at least ten minutes."
Cursing vehemently under her breath, in an act of duty and desperation, Lidner leaned further in to Near's face and administered CPR, one of the most basic but vital skills someone in her line of work had to learn. Gevanni continued to hold on to Near's wrist as this went on for four minutes, with intermittent thumping on Near's chest, but with every second, his lips grew colder and colder…
Lidner lifted her head, the wild look in her eye resembling a grieving mother.
Gevanni looked down at his hand, still on the wrist, fingers twitching, face blank, until he reluctantly released it.
"Near!" Rester called, fists clenched. No answer…except…
"B has surpassed both N and L…N couldn't be L, and L couldn't be B. If you subtract the three, following logic, there is no B, but there is also no N. There will be no more Ls here, not even me, but that is exactly why I surpass L. If there is no L to surpass, B is finally free…"
"Get back here, Beyond!" Lidner screamed, shooting up to her feet.
"…Henh henh henh…henh henh henh…"
For the briefest of seconds, their noses were assaulted by the metallic scent of blood mingled with strawberries, and then it disappeared.
As suddenly as it came back, Lidner's strength finally gave out, and she dropped back to her knees, fighting back tears, her ears straining to hear a breath that never passed Near's lips.
That was the last thing she remembered before she collapsed.
The view of New York City in the autumn was no different than any other season, though the weather was an entirely separate issue.
On the roof of the SPN headquarters, Lidner surveyed the tangle of skyscrapers and streets, crossing her arms in a vain attempt to shield herself from the cold, when those memories more than a year old returned.
Yet again, Halloween was approaching, but certainly it would be a lot less eventful than what happened before.
And for once, Lidner appreciated the safety of routine.
Hearing her name being called, she turned around to find Near in a rare stance of standing, next to the open door leading to the access stairs.
"British intelligence has confirmed that the suspects in the Martins arms smuggling case have successfully entered the country and are planning to make contact with their black market buyers. Since Rester is busy, I will be going with Roger, and I am entrusting you and Gevanni with heading operations here."
Near lingered, looking as if he wanted to say something else yet again, but this time he didn't decide to act on it, instead tottering back down the stairs. At the same time, Lidner had struggled to bite her own tongue—he came out without any sort of coat or jacket, for one thing, but in the end, Near was her boss, not a son.
But was a sense of duty truly behind the range of emotions she expressed that night?
After finding Near crossing death's door in the power room, her memory was an extended period of darkness, mixed with a strange sense that her soul had been separate from her body. The next thing she remembered, both she and Near were in the infirmary.
As long and hard as she stared at the city skyline, nothing would erase that look in Near's eyes from her mind as he lay on that paper-lined bed. Whatever Near had seen in the afterlife after Beyond forced him out of his body, it had all been reflected in his eyes.
He may seem a little distant, but that is merely Near's personality…
L's words reoccurred in her mind. Near had been called many things, among them an unemotional automaton who was no better than the toy robots he played with, but it was completely untrue. That had been proven even before that Halloween night. Near showed glee when Light Yagami fell deeper into his intricate traps, anger when the world began to accept both a false god and a false L, regret and vengeance when he recalled how L had somehow died by Kira...
Now, no one spoke of that night. The Ouija board had been promptly destroyed on Near's command (a bit of a waste considering what it cost to get it, Lidner thought in hindsight, but nothing had been worth that hell), and whenever anyone asked, it was written off as an electrical glitch, a suspected infiltration, whatever they could say to make the question go away.
The only other strange incident that happened was two days later, when, as Lidner got out of the shower at her home, a note was smeared into the steam on her bathroom mirror, saying "Thank you – M, M, L". Upon further investigation, she discovered that similar cases had happened to Rester and Gevanni.
But even after all that, there still remained the greatest questions of all.
Why couldn't Lidner remember what happened after Beyond Birthday banished himself? And how did Near return, given that L, Mello, and Matt had been too weak?
Rester and Gevanni had been surprisingly tight-lipped about that, but after deep consideration Lidner stopped caring. L had said that some puzzles weren't meant to be solved, and that applied to everyone, not just Near.
Still…a name came to mind, resurfacing over and over again.
Lidner uncrossed her arms, remembering that she had to see Near off and assume command of the headquarters before he took off for Britain, and started walking towards the stairs. At the last second, however, she suddenly turned back around, looking up at the cloud-choked sky. Something had hit her on the head.
N cannot be L, and N cannot be B.
But—she couldn't help asking—exactly which N had Beyond been referring to?