A/N: THIS IS THE END. Thank you all for reading and caring this far.
THERE WAS A DOOR
I wish to remain nameless
And live without shame
'Cause what's in a name, oh
I still remain the same
-Remain Nameless, Florence + The Machine
Matsuda wandered through empty white hallways at the end of the world. He wondered just where all the soldiers had gone—the Kira soldiers and the people who lived there. There must have been people; he swore there were people, but they were all dead or gone missing. It was as if it wasn't even real, like someone had just sketched it out for them on a piece of paper and none of them had looked closely enough to see that shaded lines didn't make it three dimensional. Even the gunfire was so constant and yet so distant that it didn't quite seem real.
He had walked through most of it, hidden through some of it, and once most the guns were silent, he had made his way through the rest. He remembered L in those moments—not because he was supposed to find him, but because it was natural that he should remember the beginning in these halls painted with blood.
He had never seen L's face. He didn't have to; Kira made too many mistakes. Maybe it would have been better, Matsuda sometimes thought, if Kira had been smarter and things hadn't ended the way they had. Perhaps, in the better world, it was Kira who won and L who died. Some argued that it wasn't Mikami Teru's arrest and failure that doomed the world, but rather the fact that the police couldn't find the Notebook. They never found the Notebook. They still didn't know quite where it had been in the end, only that someone else had found it first.
They hadn't known how Kira killed, only that he did and that it was obvious who died. L was content with that—intent enough to get rid of Mikami and allow Adessi to slip through the cracks.
It should have lasted longer than it did; it should have been harder than it was. They found him too soon and they had lost too little. If Kira had won, or at least lasted longer, then maybe it could have been avoided. Maybe they would have found the Notebook; maybe they could have burned it…
They didn't, though.
Even during the case, in that other world that seemed so far away, L had been a symbol. L hadn't been real to any of them. He was Kira's adversary, the force of good against evil (or so they were told, and so they had forced themselves to believe at the time). To actually meet him in person was inconceivable. L couldn't be an actual person just as Kira couldn't be an actual person—even when you were hunting for them and working for them, something told you that they couldn't be real. So when L lost, it was as if an idea had been disproven, a piece of the universe had failed to operate. Nothing more or less jarring than that.
So the world had ended. And L had become failure, L had become hope, L had become the absent god that Light Yagami replaced.
Somehow, he had followed a mad god in an endless march through the wasteland, and he had found himself here, in these faceless, barren hallways. It seemed, as he walked, that the walls began to twist, to curve around him until he was walking on the ceiling. His path curved downwards toward the blood and the chaos—it was the bridge between worlds that they all had crossed. The walls were white, the rooms were empty. This was not the world of men. The sound of footsteps, the sound of the crows, and the gunshots were indistinguishable from one another. Everything else faded.
He had walked for a long time—perhaps for all eternity.
He turned the corner.
In that hallway that did not have the sound of guns, he found Light. Somehow, he wasn't surprised that Naomi no longer hung from Light's back, had been forgotten in some corner—she was no longer needed. Light had gained a new shadow of death.
Somehow, even when living, this new man looked as dead as Naomi had. He wore a bag over his head, but that didn't matter—Matsuda was staring at his chest, instead, and the letter inscribed there. He couldn't read it at first because L wasn't real, L was never real, L was dead even if he was real, but…
Light's face revealed nothing; his hands were clean (as clean as Light's ever got). Matsuda could only stare and wonder why Light had even bothered. Why would he bring something dead, something truly and irrevocably dead, back to life? Did the man write it? Did Light? Did it even make a difference?
Matsuda looked back at the man and somehow he knew that it made no difference whether he was L or not. No one would care: L wasn't real to them, either. L could be anyone. They didn't have to come looking for him.
He could only stare hopelessly as Light dragged the poor man onwards.
Light let go of the man's wrist and he stumbled. No, he looked worse than Naomi. The crows hadn't eaten Naomi; she had just looked fake, like Light. This man had been devoured by the stones and the silence. Matsuda could see his ribs—they were like stark mountains in the distance, shadowed in blue. He imagined that if he could see his face, there would be nothing there; he would truly have no face (not like everyone else who just pretended). It would be gone. Nothing would be there anymore. He'd look over at Matsuda to find that he had no eyes, no mouth, no ears, nothing.
He couldn't be L.
Matsuda looked at Light. "What did you do?" he asked in little more than a whisper.
Light did not answer, but simply regarded him.
"What did you do?" Matsuda asked again, but he knew there wouldn't be an answer. Matsuda turned to the man, the prisoner, and tried to pretend he was human by not looking directly at him. He looked to the side, at the walls that were far more substantial than the man was.
But he had to ask.
"What's your name?"
There was no answer. Matsuda was confronted again by the fact that this was a doll, Light's doll, and that dolls did not have tongues. Matsuda turned to Light, but Light wasn't looking, only smiling.
Matsuda asked again, "Do you remember your name?"
The man's hands twitched.
"You must remember something."
It was hard to see through the man's mask, a burlap sack, but Matsuda swore that the man's eyes had no irises. In that moment they seemed to cave in on themselves. The man's hands reached up and ripped off the sack.
He was on the floor, then.
Matsuda didn't know what to say, so he didn't say anything. He stepped over the body. He did not see its face.
Behind them, a piece of paper fluttered from the air.
Perhaps somewhere else in the world lay another scrap of paper dropped from the same hand. Perhaps it read Sayu Yagami, or perhaps it read Misa Amane. Perhaps it read every name, every face, every mask, every death. Perhaps somewhere lay a piece of paper that said Light Yagami. (Death promised in ink for tomorrow, decades from now, years ago—for it is only a god who could bear the weight of so many corpses.)
They did not see the shadow of death behind them, or the paper on which he wrote.
They stared at each other. Matsuda noted the each of the scars on Light's face; in his eyes, he could not see the corpse of the man on the ground, but he could see the door to which death pointed. They both stood to face this door. There weren't any more gunshots, not here—no more screaming or dying. Matsuda didn't know if it meant that they were all dead or they had decided to go home. He could no longer remember when the noise had stopped.
The door was white.
"This is him, isn't it?" Matsuda asked, watching the door, perhaps asking the door as well.
"If we open this door, we'll see him there."
"He'll be sitting at his desk and he'll look up at us. He'll be surprised because he thought he still had time. He'll have a gun in his desk, but he won't have time to pull it out. We'll use our guns first. One of us will pull the trigger, and then…"
Light smiled, but Matsuda didn't see it. All he saw was the calm, the cold, the humanity long since left. "And then everything will be like it's supposed to be, and it will be like none of this ever happened."
"It should be."
The door opened to an empty desk and an open window. The snow had begun to drift in