Strips of Villainy
Summary: Martyrs are thought to have evolved from a different cloth than us simpletons. They are heroic, selfless, and kind. Martyrs are, essentially, viewed with the reverence befitting of a mild Deity. But what happened to the man? What was he really like? This story is a take on L. Lawliet's life before he became L.
Chapter 1: Mentally Disturbed
Empty black eyes stared blankly forward as he squatted, knees locked tightly against his chest; his tiny hands were wrapped loosely around his legs. He didn't flinch even when the door of the closet that he was currently hiding in rattled dangerously. Lawliet's head tilted to the side as the yelling and screaming grew even louder…
"Dear god, what is the matter with you? He's our son! You can't possibly-"
…and sighed softly. His parents were arguing about him again; more precisely, arguing what they were going to do with him. Mentally disturbed, they had declared. Lawliet closed his eyes. A year ago, he had officially diagnosed with Agoraphobia, a type of a mental disorder. And though his parents had been horrified at the discovery, he had privately felt…relieved.
"He needs to be institutionalized! The boy isn't right in the head."
For the first time in his 5 years of living…he understood why it was that he was different. Why it was that he hated going out in public and interacting with his fellow classmates. Why he felt the need to have at least three escape routes planned out "just in case" for each and every situation. Lawliet chewed his lip when he heard his mother throw some pottery at her husband.
"How dare you! Lawliet is a sweet child and you know it! Just because he's different now doesn't give you the right to judge him," she snapped. "There's nothing wrong with him that we can't help him get over."
Lawliet shuffled over to the corner of the closet and unearthed a box of sweets that he'd hidden precisely for such an occasion. His small hands trembled as he nibbled on the edge of a single extra sugary cookie. His hair fell over his eyes, making his face look particularly dark and shadowed.
"You don't understand. His…situation cannot be changed. You heard what the doctors said," he stated in exasperation. "Lawliet will never be able to fit to live in our world." He paused, choosing his words carefully. "Don't you agree it'd be more of a mercy to let him go? Let him go before he fully comprehends how different he is?"
Lawliet bit so hard through the cookie that his teeth grazed his lip, drawing blood. Their opinion of him hurt. It hurt so much. And though he'd previously resolved to not cry after the first time, he couldn't help but feel his heart being torn to shreds. His thin arms tightened around his legs, as he tried yet failed to ignore the conversation going on right outside the closet.
"No." His mother said resolutely. "He's not going to an asylum and that's final."
He closed his eyes tiredly, shoulders slumping in relief. Lawliet knew what asylums were. He had heard tales, and even true stories, of how the staff treated the…patients. He repressed a shudder, thanking the gods that his mother wouldn't give in. And with luck, she never will.
Unfortunately, Lawliet had no idea what little weight his mother's opinions would carry in the future.
His mother was very sick.
Lawliet leaned forward, his shadowed eyes narrowing on the woman's sweaty, dazed expression. He climbed onto the bed and squatted on the edge of the bed, balancing precarious upon the mattress and the metal bar.
"Mother?" he whispered, leaning forward so his face was only a few inches away from his mother's. The woman muttered something intelligible, before rolling on her side…nearly knocking Lawliet off his perch.
"Who are you?" she hissed, eyes bright from the fever. "Where's my son? Where's my husband?" A hint of fear entered her eyes. "Tell me..."
"I order you!"
Lawliet stared at her uncomprehending. "Mother…you're suffering from delusions," he explained, trying to make his voice warmer in hopes that the woman would recognize him. "I'm your son. Your Lawliet…"
The woman shook her head in denial. "You're lying," she said hysterically. "You're not my baby."
"Mother…" He reached out to touch her shoulder, but drew back abruptly when she flinched and tears began to form in her eyes. He dropped his hand to his side. "I…I'm sorry," he whispered. Though he knew objectively that his mother didn't mean a thing that she was saying, Lawliet couldn't stop the tears from welling up in his eyes. So thus, with a heavy heart, Lawliet walked away determined to visit again once his mother overcame the fever.
Unfortunately, she never did.
Lawliet stood beside his father as the priest murmured prayers for his long deceased mother. His tiny hands tightened into a fist to resist the urge to reach out and hold his father's hand. He knew that nothing good would come from indulging upon such a whim. So he held back, clenching his fist tighter and tighter. But even so, it didn't stop him from longing for some comfort.
Not only did he loathe being in public, it…frightened him to be the focus of attention.
He licked his dry lips discreetly, staring resolutely at the coffin a couple of feet away. It's the least I can do. Lawliet forcefully pushed aside a blinding wave of panic. He couldn't break down here. Not at his mother's funeral.
So he stood.
He straightened his back, refusing to fall into his usual slouch.
And he watched, without a word…without a tear, as she was slowly carted away. They set her on a pry and ceremoniously set the coffin on fire. He watched, his dark eyes wide with emotion, as the fire sparked and flames began licking the mahogany wood.
Lawliet looked up and stared at his father's face. It was twisted grotesquely with grief and pain. The man released a hoarse cry as the fire rose and the coffin was enveloped in flames.
….it was humbling. To see those flames dance about, licking, slithering about the wood. It reminded him of a dance. A ritual of sorts. It made him feel pure…
His chest clenched painfully.
That should be me there.
Tainted as I am.
So he stood there.
Stood…until there was nothing but ash left.
Weeks later, his father dropped him off in front of a desolate gated building. The man handed him a small bag with some money and his possessions, before promptly signing him into the institution. His father had then given him an uncomfortable look as he met the man's ebony black eyes.
"Good luck, Lawliet," he said stiffly.
Lawliet stared blankly at him. He had known, logically, that this was the most probable action that his father would take, but his heart had protested. He reached down and picked up the small bag, feeling the hard texture beneath his fingers.
And he turned away without a word…
No goodbyes. No apologies. No promises.
And with his hand shaking uncontrollably, Lawliet began trudging towards the gray building, The Westbrooke Institution. He knew that his childhood was over. He knew, objectively, that from now on he was going to be residing in an asylum.
And…Lawliet was only six years old.
A/N: First, I'm going to refer to L and Lawliet even though I'm aware that his real name is . And to clarify, just because Lawliet has a mental illness it does not mean he is retarded by far. He is a genius still but one who is stunted socially. All in all, this is my take on why L is so weird in the Death Note series and how he became the sugar-loving, handcuff obsessed, investigator that we all know and love. SO REVIEW PLEASE! If you guys like this story enough, I'll continue updating.