Title: What If…?

Rating: T

Categories: Angst/Romance

Warnings: Mentions of yaoi and L's weird mind

Summary: Last night, while I lay thinking here, some Whatifs crawled inside my ear and pranced and partied all night long and sang their same old Whatif song... [LightxL]

A/N: This story was inspired by(?) Going to Marrakesh by Edmondia Dantes Redux… with or without his/her knowledge of it XD There are in fact wee bits of her story hidden inside mine, so if you read hers [peer pressure/subliminal messaging/hypnotism] then you could find them :D It's like an evil, plagiaristic scavenger hunt~ 3

Disclaimer: Much to my surprise, I've found that I don't own Death Note… Such a pity… The poem in the summary is not mine either, it belongs to a man much more talented ((and God knows funnier)) than me: Shel Silverstein!

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What If…

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L's face was curdled-milk white under the acid glow of the fluorescents, false light raking his skin with bright-sharp claws that left haggardness in their wake. The silence screamed the burning smell of paint thinner and it crept into his nose and eyes. You could be alone even when you were together. He knew this.

'What if...' L took that thought and held onto it like an oyster holds on to a grain of sand, as hot, heavy ideas slunk in and out of the forests of his thoughts (but the trees there no longer grew logical and straight: their branches and trunks were twisted and bent with the heavy burden of hypocrisy and the sweet concept of doubt, the abstract feeling of 'maybemaybewhatifI'mwrongmaybethere'sachancemaybeyesohplease') Light brought so many maybes into the equation that L thought his heart would split right down the line between yes and no.

It was lonely to observe the world through a bulletproof two-way mirror, bee-buzzing mantra of 'lookbutdon'you.' Keep everything you could get close to an arm's length (chain's length) away, give only butterfly kisses and touch in midnight-Light-kun's-sleeping-now whispers of finger pads and hair. Stuff your ears with candle-wax and hold everything as though, given the chance, it could make you fall in love.

Love. The word started with a letter, his letter, but he had been told so often that L was not the L in love that it was true. He'd often wondered if it could be, given a chance, but those thoughts never lingered, melting away like a shard of an English snowstorm caught on his tongue.

He was confused by his letter. His name. L. What did it mean? Who would have the name L? No human surely, or maybe only part of one, an abbreviation of a whole. Maybe it stood for lonely. It would make sense. L was just two straight lines that connected at a right angle. He liked the way it looked on the white screen, a letter alone, ringing with the disembodied metal-mangled voice that scraped the sky in a copper car crash. He resented its inhumanity. He didn't know what to think about it anymore. Would he have chosen the same path if he had been given a choice? Or had he really come this way by his own consent?

So many questions that he might never get the answers to and still... He was even more confused by love. Love was supposed to be happy, it was supposed to be comfortable silences, intimate knowledge, a beautiful story with pictures of happy endings scrawled in the margins, joyful reunions and tearful goodbyes, but Light had smiled when the chain had been unlocked. Smiled as the cuff clattered to the floor and rolled in a lazy, self-satisfied circle before falling on its side and sleeping (first good sleep in about four months).

L's hand was free and as the links laughed their way to the floor the curtain went up, so fast it almost pulled his feet from under him, and suddenly Kira was real again, retuning to the places just outside of his sight and the pockets of soundless black sky and he was once again left grasping at shadows and leftover scraps of a night that hadn't fallen yet and their indigo-velvet texture dissolved like bitter cotton-candy on his tongue because you could never turn up the light fast enough to see the dark.

Perhaps L was for lagan, bits and pieces of himself strewn across the bottom of the ocean, always reaching for the azure sky, the listless breeze, the sweetness of light. And forever doomed to the backbreaking weight (108.6 MPa to be exact) of his failings, water under the bridge.

Kira was the faceless, ink-black monster slithering in the closet, under the bed. Light was the radiance that chased monsters away. How could the two be connected? How could they be one-in-the-same? How much longer could they stand here clinging to each other before the rapidly crumbling world caused them both to fall? When L thought of how many lies would be necessary for his theory to be true he felt sick. Who wouldn't feel nauseous from the constantly shifting framework of falsehoods and half-truths?

Wouldn't it be easier just to tell the truth? Wasn't love about acceptance and trust? Would it really hurt that much? 'It could (would) kill us both.'

Could a relationship that mattered be created when everything was taboo? They didn't even know each other and yet... L was positive he would never care for another human being as much as Light Yagami. The boy with his wide brave eyes the same honey lacquered colour of coffin lids, spider-silk hair the colour of freshly turned graveyard dirt. This boy would be his mausoleum, his charnel house, his downfall.

L might stand for leman. Sweetheart; lover; beloved. Mistress to the golden harbinger of death... or not. Trapped in the labyrinth of emotions and tightly wound arms with eyes squeezed shut so hard that foreign colours blossomed behind them and they stung with the flavor of battery acid on his tongue. Deformed, shameful son of Minos doomed to walk within its walls forever. Imprisoned over something he had no control over… right? Was love a choice? Did one have control over who they cared for any more than their mother or father? He had long ago come to terms with the fact that he was in love with Light, and even though L certainly not represent that feeling there still came the velvet sheathed razor of an epiphany slipping behind his mask, sun hot brilliance bursting full force through the chinks in his disguise, the cracks in his smile and midnight meteor eyes, deafening him to what the all-too-perfect appearance wailed as loud as a mother pleading with God ''. L was in love with a boy who's name belayed his nature, shining and deadly, a deep sea fish, beckoning others in with a gentle glow (promises of warmth, companionship) luring you closer and closer until finally, with a sigh like a chain-link wind chime and cautious connection of lips that felt like drowning and your first breath of air all at once, you were in its mouth, knife-dripping maw and the last thing your brain registered was that once warming light staring down at you as your eyes slid shut, the thing you had moved towards before you fully understood all it was.

But really, what was light? Light was just electromagnetic radiation in the range visible to the human eye, traveling in wavelengths and straight lines. Untouchable, intangible, lukewarm brightness, seen and not heard. Light wasn't human. Light wasn't anything at all. And neither was L. Not an animal vegetable or mineral. An idea (ideal) not a person, and certainly not a place, so a thing then. Alien, cold, unfamiliar.

And (maybe) he was happy, satisfied with this relationship were every word out of their mouths was a lie one way or another and every a heartfelt apology would be used as an attempt to get under the others skin.

L wasn't even sure he would be able to sentence Light immediately if he confessed to his face. There would be a far greater likelihood that it was Kira manipulating him to appear guilty. Light wasn't going to give up his new world for anything, certainly not a letter.

What kind of case was this that even if the suspect admitted to the crime, the detective could not charge them? L was sick of this game, so fucking sick of the lies and the second guessing and needing to be looking everywhere at once because an enemy will stab you in the back but a friend will stab you in the front because you see them coming and open your arms. He was tired of the lumbering, inept steps of their dance (neither of them had been taught to accommodate a partner) He was tired of having to play by the rules, of having to lay out his reasoning like there was anything these people could say that would change his mind, like he was trying to prove himself.

He wondered if he might feel safer if they weren't who they were. If Light weren't the suspect (monster) and he weren't the detective (two faced wolf in man's clothing). Would they still have had their hands (lips) at each other's necks? Still be trying to rip the truths out from behind their faces, still be trying to vomit up words and excuses and percentages to leave the other scrabble through the mess with small, childish red hands, searching for a flaw, a hint, a weak spot. Would they still be them if they weren't?

L was trying to take off Light's mask but with each more feeble claw he felt his own begin to flake. Peeling skin as white as snow, chipped ravens-wing hair, flawed onyx eyes like moon craters, nothing betraying what was underneath. He had been wearing this mask for so long now that he forgot what he truly looked like, it had grown to become a part of him, reaching out with sugar-sticky fingers to cling to the edges of who he was… or had it always been there? One who was born on Halloween was forever wearing a mask.

"L." He said it out loud to the empty room, a letter to shatter the ironclad silence, to keep him company in the dark. "My name is… L Lawliet." Five damning words that he could only say to no one. He relished the way they rolled off his tongue like smooth river-worn stones. He said it again in English, relishing the cadence, the plodding tempo, letting the accent that he had worked so hard to erase shine through the balding patches of disuse. He realized with a start that he hadn't spoken his native tongue in nearly eleven months. Not even to Wammy… L let his eyelids fall shut, furrowing his brows and grinding the heels of his hands into his eyes until they became kaleidoscopes, and he searched every inch of those brilliant patterns and textures looking for some middle ground, some answer to the questions his heart kept asking even though his head would never understand.

L Lawliet. His comfortless lament, his two word ballad cried out into the night with only the sound of his heartbeat as accompaniment. L Lawliet, defender of the weak; L Lawliet, punisher of the wicked; L Lawliet, belonging to no one at all. It was lonely to be a letter.

'God, enough of this wretchedness!' It was already morning. The tepid night, full of dreams, anticipation, dread and dullness, had slipped into a morning. 'It's already November 5th and I haven't slept a wink.'

L must stand for lost. Lost before he even started. Chasing echoes down the corridors of memory, weaving in and out of truth and lies then stepping back to reveal a hand stitched tapestry that pointed in the right direction. A letter clinging tightly to radiant energy, something that was not even there. Two inhuman, abstract concepts bound together by six feet of love and lies and sloppy kisses and laugh attacks and birthday wishes and strawberries and cake and suspicion and pillow fights and foot massages and sparklers and chalky breath marks on winter air and midnight trips to bakeries and sex and dreams and hope and tickle wars and sugar cubes and sometimes even the occasional grain of truth.

And L just sat there, looking forward with open arms as his first ever friend ran towards him calling him by a name that was not his. L Lawliet just sat there and smiled his little half smile as the truth was obscured by something far more pleasant. Blinded by the Light.

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Authors Note: If you actually slogged through all that, then you have a great deal more patience than I do! n_n I believe a congratulations is in order!! [hands cookie]

Anywho, this being my first ever piece of Fanfiction, I would really appreciate a review :-) I don't want to sound needy, but I'd love to know what you thought! Was it too melodramatic? Too choppy? Were the paragraphs in the wrong spots? (I always have trouble with that) Did you like it? Hearing feedback will really help me out, so if you have the time, thanks!

Oh, and incase you don't wanna go read Going to Marrakesh, which is really your loss, my stolen lines to encourage you to go do that were "the acid glow of the fluorescents" and "The tepid night, full of dreams, anticipation, dread and dullness, had slipped into a morning."