Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.

Light had been under the impression that, just for once, he had the upper hand.

It was his forte. It was his skill. It was his game, or at least one of the many that he never had the displeasure of losing.

Light was sure that this round, he had won. It would be the deciding factor of who triumphed in the seemingly interminable battle of L versus Kira. And even though he had proven to have rock-solid aegis that didn't let anything faze him, Light knew all too well that all men had a soft spot. L the Detective was known for having tricks up his sleeve, down his sock, and probably in that mass of his shaggy hair as well, but was it possible to defend against the unexpected?

Especially when Light knew that this would be easiest, fastest, and most predictable combat simply because L was inept. Untouched and unloved, there was nothing easier to manipulate than an inexperienced lover. A title that was an unspoken fact among the task force when it came to the detective.

It was unfair, it was bordering on boring considering how risk-less it was, and it screamed Light Yagami from every side like a diabolical three-way mirror.

But perhaps it had all been an illusion.

A delusion that his arrogance and unbeatable ego had created, convincing Light that it was all about skill and talent, all about his knowledge, all about experience, all about foul play, all about succeeding in nothing but winning, all about the fact that he was God. And when you were God, there was no room for sympathy or uncertainty. And he had been under the misimpression that he had the skills in seduction to win control over L.

For the first time in his life, Light Yagami wasn't sure if he was right or wrong anymore.

An emotion he had never experienced before when pressing limbs against a wall and ravishing a pallid neck with his tongue.

It was shockingly pleasant.

Despite his emaciated figure and bug-like eyes, disheveled appearance and lack of human emotions, L was, in one word only as description, delectable.

All that sugar had practically indented itself on L's tongue and was almost like a default taste loitering on the roof of his mouth. And all of those cherry stems and pretty strawberries, knotted and licked so infallibly, it was no surprise that he had a talented tongue.

With Light's fingers absent-mindedly stroking his scalp and cupping his cheek, it was hard not to forget the reasons behind his more than enjoyable seduction.

He thought he was winning.

Light didn't know just how foolish he was.

In one word, one forbidden name uttered from L's sweet lips, even a moan sidling up with it, and Light felt his scheme and a healthy part of his ego smash to an unforgiving ground.

"Beyond," said L, and once again right after that, "oh."

The words running through Light's numb mind like a broken record, a torrent of did he just say that, don't tell me he said that being contemplated on into overdrive, Light pulled away slowly. Almost as if slow motion was pushing on him gingerly, defying the magnetic gravity that screamed for him to pull back, Light removed his tightly-wound arms from L's torso and stared in silence at the still breathless raven.

A bruised and carmine lip pinned in between his teeth, his hair disheveled and breath coming out in short pants, L closed his eyes as though to block Light out.



Light felt the name silently slip from his lips, the taste of it bitter on his tongue. But along with the tautological chant of that sharooshing name in the back of his mind was a confession Light didn't want to admit.

I've lost this game too.

Up until then he was unaware that there were two games to play in the first place. And what else did he really have left? His trump card, his lottery ticket, had been snapped in half. He had the wrong numbers all along.

He had assumed that L had been untouched. Never loved. That only he could love that mess of ebony hair, owlish onyx eyes, and pallid skin that shone like porcelain in the light. What other humans did he even have contact with?


Beyond, whoever he was, had.

Light tried to imagine him. An equally socially-stunted man, unkempt red hair that stuck in odd places just like L's. Dull green eyes that laid disinterestedly at half-mast as default position, much like L's yet again. A few stray freckles littered over his complexion. A pointy nose, a strong jaw, a long neck. Vivid imagery of Beyond flitted through Light's brain, plaguing it.

Who was Beyond?

His identity, however, wasn't Light's priority in his mind. Someone like L, so emotionless, so ineffable, how was he able to love? How was he able to abandon justice and distract himself to infatuation? It wasn't like the man Light knew and watched obsessively at all. Light was positive that nothing could break the iron armor that L had built for himself. But then again, he had yet to meet an L that hadn't been forced into being an anti-social hermit.

Perhaps it had been Beyond who had morphed him into what he was.

A fleeting image of L, perhaps even carrying his real name freely, without aliases and crime wearing him down, the faceless Beyond on his arm and both of them letting out carefree laughter in torrents, fell straight into Light's already overworked mind. L, smiling just to smile, laughing just to laugh, and loving just to love.

Light was sorry to confess that he wished he knew that L, the L that wasn't a detective without any shed of humanity left to give.

If L could love, why was it that he couldn't love Light?

"I'm sorry, Light-kun." L's soft voice breathing out an apology, a meaningless apology, broke the younger man from his intense trance of thoughts. Light was almost surprised to hear it escaping L's lips, for the detective was never one to speak unnecessarily or give sympathy when he was bluffing. Even mollifying when he wasn't fibbing wasn't very common of L.

Despite his better judgment, screaming at him because he was Light Yagami and a man like him didn't need this, he furled a hand around the nape of the raven's neck. The soft, threadlike hairs there tickled Light's fingertips as he timidly pressed his palm against L's skin, his flesh astonishingly warm. They slowly crept up, his knuckles disappearing into the unshorn muddle of L's dark curls. His mind, the Kira in him, it immediately told him to not harp on a lost battle or attempt to struggle up a flag that had fallen years ago. It told him that he was better than L, that this game, it had been almost too easy, too good to be true. Being God of the new world would never come as swiftly as a lick up L's neck and a hand down his pants.

But he ignored the roaring Kira, setting it at bay as he shuffled closer and let his rattling breath ghost over L's still parted lips.

"…Beyond." Light parroted, right onto L's mouth, "who, who is he?"

He didn't even want L to reply, he was still grasping onto a smidgen of control and didn't want it to fall from his grip for fear of losing a healthy chunk of his narcissism. Without that, without his strong sense of self-adoration, he didn't know what to do. Light wasn't used to working for things he wanted, he was used to being good enough to deserve them effortlessly. So in an effort to not receive an answer from L, he distracted the detective and let his free hand wander up to touch his chin.

L flinched.

He was mortified.

Light's mouth fell open into a small 'o', letting out his suppressed sigh of defeat. He pulled back from L, wrapping his arms around himself and standing in silence as he watched L's tremors subside and his eyes open. The cold sting of rejection hit him hard as he came to the realization that he would never hold L again.

"I can't."

L was gone the next second.

Light couldn't bring himself to move.

The whole affair, the late night kisses, the risky touches under the desks while the other members of the task force were nearby, the smallest hint of emotion that seemed to finally be released from L's unreadable and impassive form, it was all an illusion. And Light realized, all too bitterly, that he had been nothing but a replacement.

All of the small smiles, the little waves of aberrant warmth, even the moans of pleasure, were all meant for someone else. All of the emotion that he had assumed he was finally pulling out of L, one string at a time, weren't emotions, but suppressed memories. He didn't have any control over L at all.

The only time when the stoic man even had the ability to be controlled was gone and nothing but a fading opportunity. So Light relied on his what-ifs to save his ego, because it was the only way he could assure himself that it wasn't his fault that he couldn't grab hold of something he truly desired for once. Perhaps he had been too late. Perhaps he had been too cruel. Perhaps he had forced too much humanity from L. Or perhaps, he just wasn't Beyond.

He had assumed at the time that the control over L would be worth the loss of control over himself.

L wasn't in the position to love him. He wasn't in the position to be seduced. He wasn't in the position to give up Beyond.

Which was why, it was quite unfortunate, that Light had fallen for his own plan more than L had.

AN: Very short. I wish it could have been longer, but I think it would have lost meaning had it been lengthier... Meh :\