A/N: Hi there! Welcome to AoD! Please, come in, don't be shy. Have a look around, and if you see something you like, let me know. :D
Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note. I only own a few OCs, sprinkles for my pancakes, and the plot.
Well, to all my past readers who have happened to look back to the first chapter, yep. I'm revising. To all my new readers, yeah, I didn't like how it flowed the first time around, but you'll never know how if flew, will you?
The Art of Drowning
Past Meets Present
Detective Arthur Miller stepped gingerly over the mutilated corpse of a young woman. He tried not to look at her face, but in the end, he couldn't stop himself. Terrified, blank eyes regarded him unseeing. He shuddered, looking away. Arthur couldn't even breath properly. The air was thick with the smell of blood, and it was making his stomach turn uncomfortably.
He started when a flash of light briefly brightened the dim bedroom, but scolded himself almost immediately. He should have expected it. Pictures were being taken of the crime scene. The small apartment that him and his partner had been called to was crawling with CSI.
Arthur stiffened when he felt a hand on his shoulder, his mind flashing to the mutilated corpse just behind him.
"Well, hey there, Miller. I was wondering when you were going to show up."
The man must have felt Arthur's tensed muscles. His partner, Jack Byron, turned his gaze to the staring corpse behind them, and chuckled.
"Relax, Miller. Don't be so jumpy. She's dead. Not much she can do to you now," teased his partner. Arthur pursed his lips, embarrassed that he had been seen through so easily.
"Shut up, Byron," Arthur muttered, shaking off his partner's heavy hand.
"It's okay, Miller. This is your first murder scene to call on. For all intents and purposes, you're still just a rookie when it comes to this shit. I guarantee you a few more murder scenes like this, and you won't even bat an eye! Everyone eventually gets used to it," assured Byron.
But Arthur didn't want to see anymore murder scenes like this, and he sure as hell didn't want to become used to this sort of thing. It wasn't natural to look death in the eye and feel nothing.
"Have you checked out the male yet?" asked Bryon, changing the subject. The way he said it, so casual like, seemed inappropriate. It was as if he was discussing the weather.
Arthur shook his head. "If it's anything like this victim here, I don't think I want to."
Byron shook his head. "Nope, nothing like her. He's worse. He was partially decapitated. Horrible way to die, decapitation. I don't know why it was so popular among the monarchy there a few centuries ago. You'd think the aristocratic type would prefer something a bit more dignified."
"Bloody hell, Byron," muttered Arthur under his breath. Byron just shrugged him off.
Arthur was slightly unsettled at how easily Byron linked a brutal murder to the cold history of the British monarchy. Did this sort of thing honestly not affect his partner to the extent that it did Arthur? Sure, Byron had been a detective for a year or so longer than Arthur himself, but could Byron really have become so desensitized that this sort of thing didn't bother him anymore?
Arthur honestly couldn't fathom it.
"Well, at least the kid's alive," said Byron, inspecting an opened box full of cigars. "Hey, these are imported! Must have cost pretty penny."
"Have they dusted for prints here yet?" asked Arthur pointedly, knowing his partner's penchant for cigars.
Byron shrugged. "I wasn't going to touch them."
Suddenly, Arthur remembered what Bryon had said. He had been too busy making sure his partner kept his hands to himself to realize what Byron was saying.
"A kid?" questioned Arthur, horrified to think that there was a dead child somewhere in the small home.
"Yeah. Little kid, too. Or, well, more like a baby, if I had to guess. Couldn't be older than two. They got him to the hospital pretty fast. Poor thing was covered in blood," explained Byron.
"His blood?" asked Arthur, almost afraid to know the answer.
"A little bit of his and the mother's, I think. Apparently the landlady in the flat below us got the police over here fast enough that the killer didn't get to the kid. They found the baby close to the mother's body, injured but still alive."
"That's horrible," said Arthur.
Byron nodded. "Yeah, but it happens. Everyday."
"Was it a girl or a boy?" asked Arthur, curious.
"Boy. Weird name too. Bright? No, no, Light! Yeah, Light."
"Light? Do you know what's going to happen to him?" asked Arthur, his mind mulling over the boy's name. It was a bit unorthodox.
Byron ran a hand through messy hair. "Beats me. If there aren't any other relatives for the boy to go to, then he'll go to an orphanage, I'm sure."
"Shame," said Arthur, his spirits, if possible given the circumstances, lowering even further. The kid would never know his parents. Arthur had never known his father, but at least he had had his mother. This poor boy wouldn't have any parents.
"Yeah, it is," replied Byron, his attention once again on the expensive cigars. Arthur repressed a sigh. His partner was incorrigible, and even though Byron was five years his senior, the other man didn't act like it.
"So was it the work of Fortune? Has anyone found a cookie?" asked Arthur, calling Byron's attention back to him.
Byron shook his head. "No, there hasn't been one found yet. My guess is as good as yours, but since the murderer didn't have enough time to kill the kid, then he mustn't have had enough time to leave his calling card. But the murder fits his pattern - young interracial couples with young children. But, hey, that's what we're here for, right? To find out?"
Arthur nodded, distracted, as he mulled over the chances of this murder being the work of the serial killer, Fortune, who had been terrorizing the streets of London for nearly three months now. If this was the work of Fortune, so named because of the fortune cookie he'd leave behind at each murder, then it would be the nineth family murdered. That boy was the only survivor.
Byron grumbled as he spotted a few of their coworkers walk through the door. "I think we're going to be here a few hours. Maybe I should run and get us some coffee from that gas station down the street."
Arthur nodded absently. "Will they put the boy in protective custody? If it's Fortune, there's a chance the serial killer could want to finish the job."
"Hey, I never thought of it that way. I'll mention something to the cheif. Now, do you want sugar or cream?"
"It's not that I don't want to take the boy! It's that I can't take the boy! This place is overflowing as it is! There's no room for him," exclaimed Martha Wallace.
She paused, listening the voice in the receiver, her expression growing more exasperated.
"Well, what am I supposed to do about it? When I say we have no room, I mean we have no room! I'm not trying to be bloody funny about it!" she yelled into the phone.
She glared at the clock hanging on the wall across from her, simply because she had no one and nothing else to glare at.
"What do you mean there's no other options! There's always options!"
She gripped the phone.
"You mean to tell me that I should be expecting more phone calls like this?!" she asked, incredulous.
"Double up?" she gasped.
How could these people expect her orphanage to double up?
The man continued, explaining exactly why and how he expected Martha's orphanage to double up.
Martha sighed, aggravated and ill tempered. There wasn't really anything she could do about it at this point.
Her state funded orphanage, which she had been the overseer for over twenty years, should have been the last resort for the state to place an orphaned baby. There were no beds left. However, it seemed as if her orphanage was one of the least crowded. She hadn't even been aware that it had gotten so bad. She should write a letter to the Prime Minister. New orphanages needed building, and the existing ones needed more funding.
"Seeing as my hands are tied, I guess I don't have much of a choice," she conceded, her voice tight with anger.
"Tomorrow? Fine. Yes, goodbye."
She hung up the phone with a defeated sigh, the anger draining out of her. Really, she might as well get used to it.
Almost immediately her fax machine buzzed on. She reached out, plucking the papers from the machine. Adjusting her reading glasses, she studied the documents.
Light Layfield. Thirteen months old. 24 pounds. Brown Eyes, brown/auburn hair. Distinguishing features include birthmark, and large mole on left thigh. Parents -
Martha frowned as she read over the circumstances leading to his becoming an orphan.
"Poor child," she tutted.
Now she'd have to find a bed for the boy. She grimaced when she remembered that there would be more children like Light coming to her orphanage. Well, if they would have to be doubling up the children to sleep two to a bed, she might as well make sure that it was organized right from the start.
She swiveled in her chair, bending low to pull open a file cabinet that contained all of the files of children three and under who were currently residing in the orphanage.
Lake, Lamb, Langham, Lathem, Larmon, Lawliet. Lawliet. It was the last child in the L's, the one before where Layfield's file would inevitably be placed besides as her files were painstakingly filed in alphabetical order. She pulled his file.
"Hmm, yes. Good, good. Not too far apart in age. L? What an odd first name. Almost as odd as Light. Well, no matter," she muttered to herself.
The rummaged through her drawer in search of a new manila folder. She needed to go ahead and set up the boy's file, and even though she wasn't excited about her orphanage growing any larger, she was satisfied with her foresight in organizing things straight from the start.
She glanced at the picture of L Lawliet that was paperclipped inside his file, smiling soflty at the dark haired child. She hoped the two would get along
Japan, Kira Investigation Headquarters, 2004
Stunned silence greeted Light's question, but the reaction was immediate. L slammed his foot into Light's head, causing Light's neck to snap back. Light was too dazed, too shocked to fight back, and failed to block the second kick, which left him on the floor, head swimming, and darkness creeping slowly across his vision.
The last thing Light saw was feet, L's feet, and then he knew no more.
L gazed at the unconscious man lying on the floor, his mind in turmoil. No one knew his name - no one. And despite all of his work at keeping his identity a well hidden secret, this man, the man who L was slightly over 95% sure was Kira, knew L's face and now his name.
It was then that L realized, with a detached sort of horror, that he was as good as dead.
His cell phone vibrated.
"I understand you saw the exchange?" asked L upon answering. His voice did not betray the panic slowly rising within him.
"Yes. How did he find out?" came the tense reply.
"I haven't a clue, Watari."
"Well, what do you suggest we do with him? He's the main suspect in the Kira case, and he now knows both your face and your name."
"Yes, thank you for reminding me, Watari," said L somewhat ruefully. As if he didn't know what that meant for him. "We will have to put him back in confinement until I can think of something else. He needs to be monitored around the clock. And restrained. Definitely restrained . . ."
L trailed off, biting desperately at his thumb.
He came back to himself. "I'm here. Watari, I will need your help in getting him down to the observation room and properly secured."
"I'll get the camera's back online in that room."
"Yes, please do. I'll have much to discuss with Yagami when he awakens, and I would like to review the interrogation tapes later."
It was dark. He couldn't see a thing, but . . .
He could hear.
He could hear . . . laughter?
"Lawli 1,894 to Light 1,883."
"Hey! That's no fair, Lawli! You cheated!"
"Just because I happen to know more about the mating rituals of Galapagos tortoises -"
"That's not what I meant! You were distracting me on purpose! How was I-"
"I think Light is just a sore loser."
"I'm not a sore loser!"
"Oh, you're not? Then what kind of loser are you?"
A tired sigh.
"You drive me insane, Lawli. I swear you'll be the death of me one day."
"And if I'm not the death of you, you'll get mad, won't you? Because you can't stand to be wrong. Even about the silly things."
"Oh hardy harr harr. We'll probably just end up killing each other anyways."
"Oh really? And how do you propose we'll do that, Light?"
A shrug. Then -
"I not sure I can see myself drag racing, Light."
"Oh, you'll drag race with me one day, Lawli. I know you. Your pride won't let you say no if it's a challenge."
"I still don't know how this is supposed to kill us."
"Oh come on! Just think about it, Lawli! We both hate to lose. So in our overzealousness in winning, we'll accidentally crash our cars into each other, leaving this life in a burning blaze of glory!"
"You say that like it's a good thing. But Light, I don't really want to die in a burning blaze of glory. Hey, is overzealousness a word?"
"Pfft. This coming from the guy who makes up his own words to just annoy me? Shut up. You're getting me off topic. And, well, you might be right about the fire. Burning alive probably isn't very pleasant. Or quick. We'll just have to make sure that we're going fast enough to die when we impact, I suppose."
"Lawli 1,895 to Light 1,883."
"Because, Light. You just told me I was right."
"I said that you might be right!"
"Nonetheless, you referred to myself and being right in the same sentence. It counts."
"Come over here, and I'll show you sore!"
And then the voices bled away, the childish rings of laughter merging and melting into the quiet of his brain.
The darkness was replaced by a sudden light.
White, blinding light.
His eyelids fluttered against the brightness. He was on the ground, his hands and feet tied, squinting up at the the bright light on the ceiling. For a moment, he was confused. He wasn't sure where he was or how he had gotten there. But then a name flashed through his mind, and along with that came the vestiges of a memory.
Lawli . . . was alive.
Lawli was alive!
A cold realization settled into his stomach. The implications were . . . unfathomable.
Lawli was L. And Light was Kira. They were mortal enemies. Bitter rivals. L was the one major obstacle standing between Kira and his perfect world, and Kira wanted L to die.
So did that mean . . . Light wanted Lawli . . . to . . . .die?
It was too much. Way too much. Light felt as if his brain was overloading. The realization that Ryuuzkaki or L was truly L Lawliet was causing sharp pains to stab at his heart. How could he have spent so much time with the man, but only saw the truth now? Right before his plan was to come to fruition?
His plan - to kill L.
Light groaned, turning his head away from the peircing light in horror and dismay. Light was Kira. Lawli was L. And Light had almost, almost murdered Lawli. Kira would still murder Lawli, if given the opportunity.
Light couldn't be Kira. He wouldn't be Kira! Not when Kira's desire for Lawli's blood, no matter who he had been to Light in the past, ran so strong within him. How could Light kill the man who had once upon a time meant more to him than anything else in this world? Kira's greatest desire took the form of a world in which he was God. Light's greatest desire took the form of a small dark eyed boy.
Now who's will was stronger?
Light just wanted Lawli. He had always just wanted Lawli. Lawli had been Light's special person - his best friend and only family. His only real family, at least. And all Light wanted now was his family - Lawli. He wanted Lawli, and the desire to cling to the other man was childish and desperate, but Light didn't see the point in trying to quell the feelings.
The name burned in his heart.
The man was alive. He had never died. But how? Why?
And he was L.
Was L still Lawli? Was he still the boy that Light had known nearly a decade ago? Or was he someone else now?
And suddenly Light felt as if he were drowning.
Angry tears filled his eyes, and he wasn't strong enough. He wasn't fucking strong enough to stop them! His mind was a raging maelstrom. He was Kira. He was Light. He wanted L dead. He wanted L alive.
Light didn't despise the world with quite the gusto that Kira did. There were some good people out there - not all of them were rotten. Not all of them deserved to die. Soichirou and Sachiko were good people. The taskforce was made up of good people. Lawli . . . Lawli was another good person. Perhaps the most important one.
But, no! He was Kira! Light didn't have a place in Kira's world! There was no use for doubt or pathetic emotions or family! He had a duty to cleanse the rotting world of the scum that suffocated its streets! Someone had to see that Justice was brought to this world, and who better than him?
But . . .
Light slammed his head back against the concrete flooring with a strangled cry.
Why should he be subject to such base, human emotions! It was pathetic! He was pathetic! Why wasn't he strong enough? Wasn't he a god? Weren't gods above humans? So why was Light suddenly feeling?! Why?! Why couldn't he just go back to the nothingness? It was easier when all he felt was nothing. When all he had been was the logical, cooly calculating creature known as Kira.
Light gritted his teeth against a sob. He had never felt so torn in his life.
Fucking Lawli . . . Light had done everything in his power to forget about the boy. And now - this.
In the past, if something had reminded Light of Lawli, then the only thing Light would ever allow himself to feel in response was the need for revenge - for justice - against the murderer who had taken his best friend away from him and had never been caught. But Lawli hadn't been murdered like Light had believed.
Lawli was alive . . . and he was L.
Who Kira wanted dead above all else. It always came back to that, no matter what Light felt on the matter.
Light cried out once again. It was too much. All of these feelings. All of these emotions. He felt lost.
He slammed his head against the floor again, and the pain helped him focus.
Light had shut himself down when Lawli had died. He had kept himself unfeeling, emotionless, unattached - everything that he was not at the moment. Attachment led to pain and sorrow and loss, but revenge would ultimately lead to justice. Justice for Lawli, and justice for Light. Revenge was the only emotion-driven thing he had ever allowed him to feel after Lawli's death because of this.
But Lawli wasn't dead anymore. What happened to justice when justice wasn't needed?
What was he supposed to do? His dream of a perfect world in which he could rule as God was greatly fueled by revenge and justice for someone who wasn't dead anymore. What did that matter now that Lawli was alive? Did Light even really care about the world now that Lawli was back?
And who was he now? Light? Kira? Raito? Yagami? Layfield?
Who was he, and why did he feel like this? Like he was drowning? Like he couldn't even catch his breath?
Feelings of grief were suddenly making themselves known after nearly a decade of suppression, and they left Light grasping at not only reality, but his identity as well.
He didn't know who he was anymore. He didn't know what to do anymore.
And Light did something he hadn't done in years - he let go.
It was four in the morning, and Raito had yet to awaken, so L was in the kitchen, slowly and methodically eating his way through a sixteen piece cheesecake. It could have tasted like cardboard, for all L knew.
He had been watching the still form of Yagami Raito through the monitors for hours. The pot of tea that Watari had provided him had disappeared within minutes, and soon enough his body demanded something more.
He took another bite, rolling the cake around in his mouth absently.
Yagami Raito knew his name, but how did he figure it out? L was deeply unsettled by this turn of events. He was almost positive that Yagami Raito was Kira. The only thing that L truly lacked was enough evidence to convict the younger man.
He was 67% sure that Raito had no recollection of his time as the first Kira, but that percentage had already dropped significantly during the past week since Higuchi's death. He was becoming more and more certain that Light had regained his memories.
L brought another fork full of cheesecake to his mouth, chewing mechanically, his eyes unfocused.
He would have to explain the situation to the team. They wouldn't be happy in the least, but even if Yagami Raito wasn't Kira, which he probably was, L still wouldn't let him leave confinement until he was absolutely certain that Raito was not Kira, which more than likely wouldn't be soon.
He growled to himself, shoving another bite of cake into his mouth.
Whether it led back to Yagami or not, L couldn't have his number one suspect running about with his name.
Unless . . .
Could he chain Raito back to himself? What was riskier? Keeping Raito chained to himself all the time or leaving him alone in a monitored room? What could L catch that the cameras couldn't, and vice versa?
His phone vibrated. L stared at the screen, and briefly entertained the thought of ignoring the call. With a resigned sigh, L flipped open his phone.
"Has there been a change, Watari?" he asked, eyeing a forkful of cake.
"You need to see this," came the shocked voice on the other end.
L put the fork down. "What? What is it?"
"Just come down here at once, L. There's something wrong with Yagami."
"Wrong? Fine, I'll be there momentarily," he conceded, closing his phone.
L gazed longingly at the rest of the cheesecake, but turned away from it.
Once he reached the right floor, L let his bare feet reluctantly carry him to the room down the hall. He was honestly upset about this whole ordeal. After all, Raito-kun was his very first friend, and L did not make friends easily. Well, actually, L did not make friends at all. It wouldn't say much about L if the only man who he had ever befriended murdered him.
L's musings were shattered by a piercing scream.
His heart seizing in fear, L sprinted the rest of the way down the hall.
A/N: I love this story. I really really do. And I love going back and revising. Oh, le sigh, such good memories. :D
Okay people, lemme hear from ya!