Notes: This is my first fanfic. I hope you like it, and any comments would be, like, incredibly awesome. Especially if it's critique - I'm a perfectionist, so any grammar or general writing suggestions are very much appreciated. Also, please tell me if I have any canon stuff wrong other than the obvious. I don't have the books handy, and it's been awhile since I read/watched the series. Enjoy!

Warning: slight AU, spoilers for entire series, death, language

Five years after the defeat of Near, Kira's world was perfect. Kira had continued to deliver righteous judgment to criminals, until now it was hardly needed: criminals deserving the death penalty, and indeed criminals who committed any serious crime, had become rare. It was safe to walk the streets at night in major cities and all civilized parts of the world. Even grade school students were confident they would never be bullied again. The people of the world praised Kira's name, and often they worked harder in their careers and were more careful of saying unfavorable words. If they sometimes looked nervously over their shoulders or at the sky as if expecting Kira to be watching them, well, that was an unavoidable side effect. Major nations endorsed Kira, but more importantly, so did more or less every private organization and business. Resistance was practically non-existent and ignored by the common citizen. After all, the leaders of the movements all suffered heart attacks as soon as they came out of the open or made a serious physical, economic or political move. Yes, the world would always be decaying, but the rottenness had been cut away; as long as Kira lived, it would not come back.

After so much work, so many deaths, Kira had created his world to rule over as a god. The juicy irony was that Kira had discovered he was not, in fact, a god to rule over it.

Light Yagami was a human. He wasn't even a happy one, although happiness for him had a different meaning than most. He reflected on this as he walked through the city, safe because of him. Because of Kira. But wait, no, that wasn't true; this had always been the "good" part of the city. He should've remembered. Back when he had walked this way to the task force headquarters, years ago, he was never threatened by the journey. He had looked forward to it, looked forward to seeing Ryuzaki and the team, to avoid giving away his identity in a mental game that required all his acting skills and charisma. Light supposed if he had ever been happy - happiness that didn't come from righteous judgment or power - it might have been then. Or maybe it was simply nostalgia and a chance to do a final bit of gloating that directed his steps to the old headquarters.

The abandoned warehouse would have been the other obvious option, but it had been demolished shortly after the confrontation with Near and replaced with a shrine to Kira. The first, in fact - it had become a major center for Kira worshippers, one he approved of. At least, he used to. Now he…well, he was just as happy going to the old task force headquarters. Even without that gaudy shrine, a testament to the combination of arrogance and ignorance he had possessed, it brought up memories that had begun to lose their shine after the first few years.

***

"I win, Near," he had said triumphantly, smirking with the knowledge that his enemy was about to die. Just as L's stand-in, Lind L. Taylor, just as Naomi Misora, as L himself. He was even more amused to see the triumphant grin on Near's face, as if he actually expected to be alive to appreciate Light's confession.

"…40." Mikami finished with gusto. Most people later remembered the small things that occurred in their lives' most important events. Being a genius, Light remembered everything: his stray thought to dispose of Mikami and his theatrics at the first possible opportunity, and the look on the faces of all those gathered as they realized he was Kira, and therefore, they were about to die. Most of all, the silence.

There was a long pause, a waiting. The guns had been raised, shot, and both sides with the exclusion of Light and Near waited to see who would be left standing with the clearing of the smoke.

As it turned out, Light. He watched with considerable amusement as Near's agents fell around them, then the task force, a circle that touched neither of the two or Mikami. Near's face was priceless, he had thought; total shock, a complete refusal to even consider what was happening to be the truth. He had frowned, and Light could tell he was running over in his head anything that could have led to this outcome.

Being the generous God he was, Light had decided to help him along. "Mikami," he began, turning to the man who was still staring at him with more unconditional idolatry than Misa at her best. "Did you start the countdown from the Notebook, or the other?"

"The Notebook didn't work, God, just as you prophesized," Mikami said. "I had to use this." He raised the hand not still clutching a pen, bringing attention to a singular piece of paper filled with nine names, one of which was followed by a long description.

Near raised an eyebrow. Light took this as an inquiry. "I knew you had discovered Mikami and would be watching him closely." He smiled in a friendly fashion and took a step towards Near. "You are L's successor, after all. I used the piece of the Note in my watch countless times to escape capture from L. It would make sense, then, for Mikami to have a piece on him in case of an emergency - and the business with Takada and Mello would certainly count as that." He spoke as haughtily as possible, a God delivering judgment on a sinner. "When he had to change his daily schedule even slightly, he took out a page of the Note. Given that this is our final meeting, it would be the best time to use it." Light spread his hands, seemingly a gesture of defeat. "Had the circumstances been slightly different, apparently you would have been victorious. But you should have known that Kira, a God, would have a back-up plan."

There was a long silence in the warehouse. Light waited, curious to see how his enemy would take his defeat, but Near showed no signs of any emotions. "You," he said, completely passionlessly, "are not a God. You are a human with an ego complex who is borrowing the powers of a supernatural being. That is all."

Light mentally sneered. Couldn't the fool see he was about to die? He'd have to show him. "I admit," he said graciously, hiding any signs of his anger, "I'm curious as to what your plan was. If I'm no God, how were you planning on overthrowing me?"

Near simply looked at him wordlessly in passive defiance. Light sneered outwardly this time. He turned on his heel away from Near and held out a hand to his servant. Mikami had evidently been expecting this, and handed over the single piece of paper. "I also want to make completely sure there's no other surprises in store for Kira." Light held it in front of Near to be easily seen. "In case you still plan to defy me…You're about to die. I don't think you have much choice."

Nate Rivers

Heart Attack

January 28th, 2010. 3:00 p.m. Answer's Kira's questions truthfully and makes no attempts at physical violence or communication with anyone else. Does not try to escape.

***

Light was now close enough to see the headquarters. He wasn't at all surprised to find it looked the same as it ever did. After defeating Near, he'd found his own place to continue working as L. Not that it would have been less than adequate for the purpose, but the idea of unnecessarily using something old of L's bothered him - although he wouldn't admit it to himself, it wasn't just his ego that disliked that concept.

Since then, he had visited occasionally. Only long enough to make sure the security still functioned, no one had tried to break in, and to make especially certain there were no last messages from L that were somehow supposed to take effect a decade from his death. Light thought the bastard probably would've enjoyed setting up some device that would cause the building to blow up after someone entered following years of disuse.

The message was never there, however - and eventually, he stopped going back to the building at all. L was gone, and with the death of Mello and Near, so was his legacy.

As he entered the headquarters and punched in the correct numbers in the elevator, it was hard not to feel a little nostalgic. Hadn't he promised L, at some point, that he wouldn't miss him when he was gone…? Among all the insults they'd traded, it was hard to remember. But then again, he didn't miss L.

No, he was just bored.

***

"Ryuzaki, I want to go to sleep. We've been working on the case since early this morning, and it's almost midnight." Light was conscious of the amount of mild disapproval he put into his voice, but this wasn't acting. The other detective's insomnia was really beginning to get on his nerves, mainly because he expected Light to follow the same completely out-of-whack sleep schedule.

L stopped typing for a brief moment and turned in his swivel chair - in fact, he had to stop typing to accomplish that, as both his feet were firmly on the chair's edge - and looked at Light with those giant disturbing eyes. He was beginning to fear that if Ryuzaki kept attempting to keep him awake on the case, he'd develop the same dark circles. The thought was preposterous, surely, but after a few nights with less than six hours of sleep…

L finished chewing whatever sugar-ridden concoction that was probably causing his insomnia in the first place, slowly lifted the fork from his lips, and said very deliberately, "This case is very important. By all accounts, you're a genius. I'm sure you can handle a slight sleep deprivation."

Light let his face show some anger, but inwardly reminded himself to breath. In, out… "As I'm sure you know, however, I will be able to work much better with adequate sleep." he said somewhat irately. What had he done to deserve this?

L appeared to consider this for a moment, as he tilted his head and returned the fork to his mouth. "No." he said thoughtfully, twirling it. "The loss of a few hours of time is not worth the increased efficiency. Possibly in a few hours, that will be true, but… at the moment it's in the case's best interest for both of us to stay awake." He tilted his head to the other side and finished, "I apologize, Light-kun, but you must realize the necessity of sacrificing personal comfort." With that said, he returned to his typing.

Light had to stop himself from gaping. Did he honestly expect that he could bait him like this…? He had no reason to hold himself back, so he abruptly left his chair spinning behind him as he walked across the room, the chain slightly ringing against the floor. Maybe after a few (or not so few) bruises he'd be more willing to cooperate.

A few short feet from L, he raised his fist…but then he happened to notice the sugar-saturated, strawberry-covered, topped-with-whipped-cream yellow cake expediently sitting on the table, at the same time L began raising his arm to block the blow. Not his usual style, but damn was the opportunity too good to miss.

With his left hand, Light grabbed a huge piece of the cake, ducked it under L's other arm, and right into his face. For a moment, there was complete silence, other than the plop as some of the cake's numerous trappings slowly fell to the floor. Light removed his hand. L blinked. At least, he probably blinked - some of the icing on the upper part of his face moved. "…My cake," he said mournfully, staring at the almost empty plate.

Light blinked himself. Then he burst out laughing. Who wouldn't? Yes, he had more than repaid Ryuzaki for-

Splat. Had L really…? Disgusted, he started wiping cake off his own face - which conveniently distracted him from L's oncoming roundhouse kick to the stomach. Not to be distracted long, after slightly stumbling back he returned with a punch which L was easily able to avoid, dodged L's next kick, then almost landed a right cross which grazed L's face, and Light began to wonder if L had been able to fight like this all along. He made a mental note that, although he would probably be getting his sleep tonight, it was best not to involve the sweets again.

***

It had happened in the very room Light was now standing in, after the rest of the investigation had gone home. He'd been finally able to drag a very disgruntled, cake-less L back to their bedroom. L had come off slightly the worse in that exchange, which was probably why Light was woke up the next morning around five to aide Watari in cleaning the mess. L had been supposedly helping also, but if so, Light certainly didn't see how. He suspected there had been a large degree of collaboration to occur in his brief five hours of rest.

It all seemed irretrievably in the past. The chair L had used for work was neatly pushed in. Seeing it didn't bring up memories of the cake incident, or even of his death. It had spun to the side when L fell, and for the next few days everyone had moved around the chair as if Kira would kill the first person to touch it. What Light remembered was a somber Matsuda pushing the chair in, refusing to meet anyone's eyes, and that was where it had stayed.

Thinking about Matsuda. Light chuckled, thinking he must be getting sentimental in his old age. When he had been proving to the world, to himself, the existence of Kira, he hadn't been able to afford being sentimental. He hadn't been able to afford himself many emotions at all, he had realized.

***

"So, Ryuk," Light began, tossing an apple in the air while walking down an empty street. "Getting bored yet?"

Ryuk chuckled. "Yeah, a little. All of the criminals are dead, and nobody's after you. You don't even have the detective or that annoying girl to bother you anymore. I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just write your name in my notebook myself and be done with it."

The apple stopped, but Light continued walking. "Really?" he asked, showing nothing but curiosity.

"No." Ryuk had laughed - Light didn't think he had ever heard Ryuk laugh for so long. The shinigami was practically falling over itself, and he began to be mildly disturbed. Ryuk had finally stopped after a ridiculous amount of time, and although Light wasn't one for such descriptions, the look the god of death gave him had such evil, knowing amusement that it sincerely creeped him out. "There's no need," Ryuk said with a grin and a certainty that chilled him more than anything ever had during the entire reign of Kira. The shinigami had refused to give him any answers about what he meant, and although it annoyed Light, things had passed as normal between them for the next several weeks. One day, he woke up and all the apples were gone, as usual - but so was the shinigami.

***

Light pulled out L's chair and took a seat. He casually removed a notebook from his jacket, flipped it to the last page, and produced a pen.

Memories were useless. He was beginning to wonder if all of it had been.

***

The day Ryuk disappeared was when Light returned home. His mother had died several years after his father. Between his death, Light's time-consuming devotion to work, and Sayu's growing up, there didn't seem to be enough for her to get by. Sayu still lived in the old family's house, so he would visit her occasionally; she still admired him as a big brother, but both of them had moved on to very different, full lives. He had hoped it could stay that way.

But that had been shattered when Sayu, after serving tea, said in a small and breathless voice, "Please tell me you aren't Kira."

Light was shocked. True or not, he never expected her to expect him of this. "Of course not, Sayu," he said gently, with just the right amount of brotherly care tinged with the right amount of disbelief. "I've been working on the Kira case for years, and Dad died for it. I couldn't betray him like that."

She had sighed, and then looked at him bravely. "What happened to the other ones working on the case, Light?"

This wasn't good. "What do you mean?" he asked, stalling for time.

"The ones…the ones who saved me when I was kidnapped," she answered honestly.

Light responded with an expression of mild surprise, but inwardly he wondered why she couldn't just let it be. "I know that. But what do you mean, 'what happened to them?' They're still around, and they're busy working on the case like I am."

"Oh." Sayu looked into her teacup, and that was all that needed to be said. She wanted to believe him, he knew, but she didn't. She was too smart for that. She may not have been the perfect daughter, but she loved their father as much or more than he had, and for love of them both she would be yet another unbeliever trying to bring Kira to justice. She wasn't afraid to bring it up because she was trusting her big brother, Kira or not, wouldn't kill her even if she had doubts. She probably thought Misa and their father's death was entirely accidental. Or, in this case, maybe Sayu had made herself believe.

After more small talk, after he left the house he grew up in, after he wrote in the Death Note how the house would go up in flames and her with it as soon as he had an appropriate alibi which cleared him of suspicion…A few days ago, that was when he began to wonder if it was worth it.

***

Light began to lower his pen to the paper - no, the pen to his paper - but hesitated. And that decided it for him. Light Yagami never hesitated. With clean, clear strokes, and ironically the same flourish he had used for years as criminal after criminal died, he wrote that very name. Under it, he wrote "Kira." Just for the hell of it.

Forty seconds to die. Not the best way, maybe not the way he would have chosen if he knew how it would've played out, but this was the only fitting way for Kira to die. Nothing of this earth could have killed god.

Thirty-five seconds to go. But no, no, that was entirely wrong. Kira hadn't been killed, because Kira had never existed in the first place.

Thirty seconds. After so many deaths, it had lost its appeal. Light had near-ultimate power, but nothing to do with it. He had created a crime-free world for a humanity he hated. He didn't even have anything in common with them. After all of this, there was no one - Sayu's pleads for help with homework, L's staring eyes, Misa's death grip on his arm, Mikami's adoration, Near's last offer of a challenge, they were gone. Maybe they'd taken the last of Light Yagami on their way out.

Fifteen seconds. What had broken his resolve…? Sayu's death had hurt, certainly, but so had the other deaths. They shouldn't have broken him like this. He then realized they hadn't.

Ten. It was boredom. He'd become Kira out of boredom, and that was the simple, damning truth. When there was nothing left for Kira to do, he had become bored again, and that was when he realized the high and mighty ideals had been a delusion to cover his selfish lust for power and something worthwhile to do.

Seven. How appropriate. The supposed God was undone by its creator.

Six. What would the world do without him? At least it would be safer for a little while longer. It would be interesting to see if the adoration for Kira continued after his death - too bad he couldn't see it.

Three. If he were a God, he would be able to save himself. Would have been able.

Two. He wondered if he would fall out of the chair the same way L had, like a puppet with its strings cut. He half-expected him to come slouching out of some corner, claiming it was another mind game. The bastard.

one. He missed all of them. He would've liked to start over, but once you've been a God, you can't go back to being a human.

…! the pain hurt so very much, and he regretted this, the great Light Yagami, God, couldn't end like this, with so much fear for death but when had he ever had a choice? fuck that, he had always had a choice, but it hurt so much-

The pain ended, and in that so very short moment before death, Light knew better than for his last thought to be some kind of idealistic epiphany such as had occurred to a boy finding a death god's notebook. No, it was more ironic than that.

Ryuzaki…You won.