Author's Note: So… when my computer was getting eaten by that virus just after Christmas, I actually sat down and read a book Those of you who know Atwood will realize why she got me itching to write something. :) …and why it turned out like this. XD

Um... this won't make much sense if you haven't read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I think my geek is showing. XD


PORTIA

It's the ides, which is appropriate. It's a good day for thick red misery.

She'd always thought Portia was one of the bravest women in the world. Portia would have given her life for her lord in a moment and would have found it a fair trade. She subsisted on his love, and to see him crumbling rent her soul. She would have offered anything to repair the break, to shore him up, to hold him together.

Misa Misa always cries when Brutus dies.

She doesn't know how she knew Light when she saw him, doesn't remember—but she did, and she does, and that's enough. That should be enough. It's Providence, isn't it? It must be.

She probably looks like L, curled like a child, like a cat, like a baby on the bed—all bent over with her knees here and her feet beyond, no socks, pink toenails taunting her, beacons of a cheer that tastes fake and sour now that the frosting has worn away.

She tries too hard, doesn't she? Maybe that's why she can see it; maybe that's why she knows. He doesn't even know, she thinks. He doesn't want to.

Unfold to me, yourself, your half.

He won't; he thinks she wouldn't understand.

She can't eat, and sleep won't come. Her head throbs, hollow, hollow, with the lull of the Ls and the sigh of the H and the W groan. The Ls are the problem; they're the part where the hope lies.

Her abdomen is the opposite, coiled, its slow-burning tightness wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine. She'll feel better tomorrow; if she didn't believe it, she'd lose her mind.

They have seen on a fisheye monitor, and they enter, quietly, the only fanfare the silver jingle and the pat of his shoes on the carpet as if to make sure it stays in place. He doesn't ask, and she remembers that he has a sister, cute thing; and the other would never ask anyway, because he would rather conclude than confirm. His thoughts are truths; it is strange that no one's dead yet.

Light touches her hair, and L touches her feet. She is suspended between the two of them, where they all hang from gleaming spider's threads, dew gathering plump over their heads where they can't see. They'll all fall, one day. The order is all that's undecided.

Light smoothes a lock of damp yellow behind her ear, and L slides a finger along her foot, encapsulating in it all that absentminded intensity, and traces towards her heel. She wonders what it is about him and feet. She imagines him standing shoeless in the moist soil of someone's vegetable garden, somewhere safe and far away, smiling as though he hasn't forgotten how. She imagines his toes smeared with brown earth, and she imagines hers, and Light's fingers. What might the three of them grow there, where it's safe?

She would ask, but her voice is tangled in the muddled everywhere-ache.

She opens her eyes to look at Light's face. She thinks his eyes are bigger than they used to be, wider, brighter, but that makes no sense, so she files it away with the other observations of its kind. Light smiles, an angel's smile, not the smile of a man who loves her.

A man who loves, but not her.

She smiles back, a little; she's an actress, after all; and she settles under his touch.

L asks her if she would like some chocolate, and she would, except that to get it, they would have to leave, so she shakes her head, and Light's fingernails graze her scalp.

She peers at L through her eyelashes and sees what Light must see, sees a strange and ethereal beauty in the sharp angles and curved lines of the crouched-curled creature with its shining eyes and its feral mannerisms.

She doesn't have to like it, but she understands.

She understands, too, that it cannot end this way. She wonders whether L is Cassius or Caesar.

She recalls that Portia lives long enough to find out.