Disclaimer: HAHAHAHAHAHA—wait. It's not funny…

Author's Note: So here's the thing—I don't really like LxMisa. Mostly I ship L with other men, and if he WAS to find himself with a woman, my first vote would be given to Naomi.

That said, I absolutely love to try and come up with situations where LxMisa would be feasible. Because for the most part, I see it as a crack pairing (as canon!Misa is totally infatuated with Light), and I relish the challenge of making 'crack' realistic.

This is not, of course, a knock on LxMisa fans; I hear it's a harder pairing to find fics/art/doujinshi for, and as an avid LxNear shipper, I can understand the pains of that. Not to mention I'm writing this fic up in the first place

But I digress.

In any case, please enjoy— AND PLEASE REVIEW! (But don't flame. Flames will be used to burn spare Death Notes, which L and I will then make s'mores over. X3)

Timeline: This takes place in the blip of time between which Light regains his memories and L kicks the bucket. The last scene occurs right before Misa leaves HQ after being officially released. (As for Misa saying L's name, I imagine she subconsciously remembers it in the throes of passion. Like one of those things you remember when you think you're not thinking about it, but you really ARE thinking about it… yeah, okay, shutting up now…)

PS. L's description of Misa comes directly from "How to Read 13."

PSS. I know this isn't my best work ever, but I like the idea, so here we go.

Dedication: For Keem-san, the only LxMisa shipper I know. XD;;;

XXX

Puzzle Piece

XXX

"It's not going to work, Amane-san."

Understandably startled, Misa paused on the last of the sterile glass steps, hand clasped to her chest and tongue between her teeth. Had it been anyone else, she would have been frightened: it was like a magic trick, the way he could name his current company without ever having to turn from his computer… But then, this was Ryuuzaki—he had probably been keeping an eye on her since the moment she woke up that morning. No doubt he'd merely watched her walk down the stairs on his monitor.

No need to panic; keep calm, keep calm. The young woman willed her racing heart to slow down, even as her painted lips pulled back in the smallest of coy smiles.

"What's not going to work?" she asked through her grin, hopping to the ground and slowly swaying closer, hands laced innocuously behind her back.

L didn't bother acknowledging her visually. Instead, his fingers continued their mad dance across the nearest keyboard, never faltering despite the rapid movements he employed. "Your little plan," he answered as he worked, his voice stuck in its usual monotonous drawl. One hand lifted from the keys to flutter through a binder of notes; the other continued its hunting and pecking with unusual ease.

For some reason, this annoyed Misa. Not his initial lack of attention—she had expected that, in all honesty— rather, the way he just kept typing, typing, typing… even as he spoke and read. Like he was showing off how multi-talented he was, or something.

It did seem to be his goal to make her feel as stupid as possible whenever he could.

Despite herself, the blonde felt her demure smile twitch in response to this, becoming more of a grimace. For all of her acting skills, she really couldn't contain herself around this freak…

"I'm not planning anything."

Perhaps it was the evident irritation in her tone; the way her back teeth seemed to grind. Maybe he was still watching her via camera, and had caught sight of the scowl on her face. Whatever the reason, the detective abruptly paused. Then he rotated in his chair to face his visitor, his frog-like face absolutely expressionless.

Misa flushed. "…okay, so there may be a plan," she admitted a moment later, albeit begrudgingly. And damn him, he looked all the more smug as the words left her mouth; it was more than enough incentive to quickly tack on: "But you can't know it won't work until you know what it is, and you can't possibly know what it is!"

Ryuuzaki leveled the girl a second flat glance, as if unable to believe the idiotic things that fell from those pretty pink lips. "I know."

"How?" she challenged, crossing her arms over her chest in an obvious pout.

L, forever bored, twirled back to face his computer, returning to work even as he answered. "Your current state of dress—" a brief pause; an exasperated sigh— "or undress, as it were…. is a rather pertinent indicator."

As if terribly surprised, Misa feigned confusion as she perused her own body: slim, manicured fingers catching on the draping gown of sheer ebony gossamer that did nothing to hide her bra and panties. Which, like her nails, were also sin-black… and, for the occasion, covered in a decorative array of double-stemmed cherries.

When she was done with this self-examination, she jutted a hip and tilted her head, rolling her eyes as if Ryuuzaki had suffered some sort of overreaction. "I have no idea what you're talking about," Misa huffed snootily, flicking a stray blonde lock over her shoulder. "I dress like this all of the time. Ask Light."

L's first response to this noted fact was not a 'response' at all. Rather—to Misa's great surprise—the renowned detective chuckled. It was a soft sound, almost inaudible… but not quite. She knew what she had heard. "Granted," Ryuuzaki quietly conceded, the faintest hint of a smirk touching his thin, chapped lips. "Then let's say it's because I know you."

"Do not," she automatically quipped. An instantaneous reaction; she'd never been stellar at oration or debate, unlike her boyfriend and captor. As such, she didn't have much in her arsenal of arguments except for childish retorts and demands. But they'd always worked for her in the past… if only she could bring the detective down to her level.

But L wasn't biting. "Yes, I do," he returned calmly, as if explaining that 2 and 2 made 4 to a very slow child. "Amane Misa has the psyche of a typical young girl, despite her bloodied past and the fame that follows her in the present. She is incredibly strong-willed… perhaps to the point of being obnoxious, overbearing, or annoying… and enthusiastically passionate. Particularly with those whom she develops romantic feelings for; she will be loyal to the end. Unfortunately, this eagerness occasionally manifests itself in less desirable traits, such as jealousy, possessiveness, and an eagerness to help Kira kill people. At the same time, this is counterbalanced by a genuine, almost semi-permanent cheerfulness, an open demeanor, and an ability to charm almost anyone… which makes it unsurprising that she is so good at her job."

Misa blinked five times, rapidly.

L helped himself to an unwrapped piece of toffee.

"…you still don't know specifically what I'm planning, then," the blonde eventually grumbled, looking vaguely put-out. Stupid detective and his observational skills…

"Oh, but I do," Ryuuzaki countered, unperturbed as he sucked on his candy. "You plan to seduce me, either in some vain attempt to follow directions given to you by Light-kun, or in an individual effort to make Light-kun love you more, as you assume sexual intercourse will somehow drag from me the secrets of my past, or better yet, my name. Make me lower my defenses— or whatnot— before you strike. However, I can assure you this will not be the case, and so, to save us all a great deal of time and effort, I repeat: it isn't going to work."

Silence. L chewed and swallowed; Misa stood, shamed and frustrated and pink in the face, in the middle of the shadowed room. Had he already beaten her? Had she already lost this twisted challenge? Her brain reeled, trying to find some way to salvage what was left of her dignity, as well as her plans. But she was undeniably shaken: never before had a man purposely sidestepped her advances. Didn't Ryuuzaki find her appealing? Wait—she already knew the answer to that question…

"…you said once," Misa began cautiously, not about to underestimate the (apparently) hormone-less detective again, "that you might fall for me."

"I lied," L droned in return. He popped another toffee into his mouth, a hint of sarcasm coloring his tone. "I'm sure that's a concept you're familiar with, having been an associate of Light-kun's for so long…"

She decided to overlook that cruel and unfounded remark on Light's character; arguing about her boyfriend wouldn't help her cause. "Okay then, forget that," Misa said flippantly, her voice increasing in pitch and speed as her enthusiasm kicked back in. "That was a long time ago. But just now you said that I could charm anything. And even if you say you were just lying again, I know it's true. And I also know that I could charm you—turn that old 'lie' of yours into a truth."

"But what would that get you?" L responded dully, scooting his chair an inch to the left as Misa crept closer to his right, the glow of the multiple computer screens casting a dark likeness of her lithe figure onto the cold linoleum floor. "Certainly not the approval you seek, as I will not be revealing anything. Besides, you have no desire to be with me: you don't want a one night stand. You don't even want a boyfriend. You just want someone to love you."

Here he paused, licked the tip of a spidery finger… then leaned to the side, as if about to reveal some sort of secret. "A bit of friendly advice," he whispered, almost conspiratorially; Misa had to bend forward, and he had to crane is neck upward, but soon he was breathing into her ear: "that person will not be Yagami Light."

Misa's fingers clenched atop her knees. Even still, she managed a teasing smirk as L pulled away, her nose brushing against his own. "You think it will be you?" she purred, lashes fluttering and half-lowered…

But L evaded her grasp, jumping out of his chair and moving to collect his teacup. "No," he declared coldly, in a voice that seemed altogether too loud after the murmurs of the minute before. "No matter what you try, that person will never be me."

The girl glowered, straightened. Marched after. Her high-heels clacked ominously through the empty room. "Sounds like a lie," she accused, pointing a sharp finger at the older man's slouched back.

If it was anyone else, Misa would have called the sound Ryuuzaki then made a 'snort.' "I promise you, it is not."

"But you just finished telling me that you lied to me once before," the girl pointed out, waggling a smug finger. She was clearly pleased with herself for realizing all of this… "So I have no reason to trust what you say now—you're just a liar."

"And you're just annoying," L countered dully, grabbing his drink and turning to shuffle back towards his computer. Unfortunately, he found a scantily clad girl in his way… His black eyes narrowed in growing irritation. "Please move, Amane-san."

Misa ignored this. "I'll make you love me," she proclaimed instead, fully confident of her own abilities.

"I'd rather make you shut up," the detective forced through gnashed teeth, any pretense of politeness gone.

Her eyes narrowed in challenge. "Then do it."

For a moment, the pair said nothing, did nothing: eyes locked and mouths curled back as if in some sort of feral challenge.

Then the air between them erupted—exploded with the sound of shattered porcelain. Lips, teeth, tongue, arms; everything was suddenly a tangled, indistinguishable mess. Who had moved first was a mystery, as was what each future action might entail, or bring about. In the span of seconds, Misa's entire world was reduced from the HQ building, to this room, to a scant few inches in front of her; her awareness was limited to the computer desk that was sawing into her lower back, and the ten filed nails that were grinding into the flesh of her hips. And even the distinctness of those sensations was fading fast: the longer they kissed, the hazier her mind became. Soon sights and sounds and smells and tastes and touches were reduced to useless nothingness, and in their place raged pure, undiluted sensation.

Ironically, she was not silent for long.

X

She had to admit, there was a sense of déjà vu in this.

"Ah, Amane Misa." His back was facing her; the girl's gaze slid casually over his rumpled hair, his tireless fingers, the black eyes that neither blinked nor turned away from the computer screen. Again, she couldn't suppress the initial awe she felt at the way he just knew it was her—but then, this was L, and she was the only one in the house who wore footwear as noisy as high-heels. Hand on her hip, she paused on the last glass step, waiting to see if the great detective might 'grace her' with further attention. He opened a new window on his computer, flicked it a brief glance, then continued typing. "No lingerie today?"

Must have been a camera. Misa glowered. But she swallowed back the insults that rose within her, steeling her resolve as she stared at the damnably casual detective.

"I'm leaving soon," she told him instead. She knew it was unnecessary, but out of politeness, the girl had thought—

He waved an uninterested hand. "As I'm the one who arranged it, I am well aware. Goodbye, Amane-san."

Misa waited another long moment, fingers clenching and unclenching at her sides. He had to have more to say than that… after all, he thought she was the second Kira, didn't he? And she had…

She swallowed. "…aren't you worried that you'll die?"

"Hm?" Pausing in his work long enough to take a bite of cake, L's gaze rolled to the ceiling in a condescending show of over-exaggerated thought. "No more so than usual."

The young girl offered him the briefest of bemused glances. "But I—"

"How long has it been, Amane-san?" the detective interrupted, swiveling around in his spindly chair with a poorly-suppressed sigh. He slid downward, feet slipping out from underneath him; he slouched unnaturally low, neck supported by the padded back of his seat as his arms fell to rest against his middle.

Misa jolted, startled into making eye contact. "What?"

"How long has it been?" L repeated, sounding faintly impatient as he toyed with a long strand of hair.

She couldn't help but remember how silky and smooth that hair had felt between her fing— "Since when?" Misa mumbled, stopping her thoughts before they could drift into dangerous waters. Besides, at this point, it didn't seem like L was going to bring it u—

"Since we engaged in the act of sexual intercourse."

Misa figured she shouldn't be surprised, anymore, at being proven horribly wrong. But still, his bluntness made her straighten in an embarrassed sort of shock. "I… um…" she hesitated, clearing her throat as her cheeks turned pink. "A week…?"

"Six days, 12 hours, and 36 minutes," her companion corrected automatically, voice cool and casual and forever stuck in that annoying monotone of his.

Her blue eyes narrowed in mild irritation. "…what does that have to do with anything?"

"If you recall," L continued, one set of long fingers slipping through his bangs to cradle his chin, "about seven minutes into our third round, you called out a name. It was not a name that I have ever supplied you with, nor is it a name that I would ever like to hear aloud again. However, the fact that this name came out of your mouth at all means that you somehow learned it… and the fact that I am still alive means that you did not share this information with Yagami Light. Why?"

"I…" Misa swallowed, teeth clamping down on her bottom lip. His obsidian eyes unnerved her; she allowed her gaze to dart to the side, thereby avoiding the countenance of the detective, his encompassing silhouette, and that soul-piercing stare of his. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't you?" the man retorted quietly, unfazed by his companion's nervous— and highly suspicious— mannerisms. "That is unfortunate. I had been hoping that you would be able to shine some light on the situation for me. As— I must admit— I am annoyed: you have surprised me. That is to say, you are extremely loyal to those whom you love…"

His voice trailed off, muffled by the thumb tip he jammed into his mouth.

Misa regarded L and his cryptic, incomplete accusations with an arched eyebrow. Perhaps she'd been worried for nothing…? "That's right," she told him bluntly. "I am loyal to the one's I love. I'd die for Light."

"But not kill for Light-kun?"

L's words were quick, soft— like a snake poised to bite, he leaned inquisitively forward; Misa's porcelain face turned waxen. "After all," the detective continued wryly, eyes ever-widening as he watched for the blonde's reaction, "you didn't supply him with my name."

The blonde's tongue flicked briefly over her dry, red lips. "I don't like what you're implying…"

"I know that you are the second Kira," Ryuuzaki reminded, leaping to his feet so abruptly that Misa jolted, jumped back… She continued inching away as the detective slouched closer; a paradoxical reverse of their last meeting. "And you, Amane-san, know my name, as well as my face. In truth, I did not expect you to kill me, but only because I assumed that you would want Light-kun to have the satisfaction."

"Maybe that's it," the young woman interjected, trying for a sneer and instead affecting some strange, teary-eyed glower. "All of your assumptions are wrong—including the ones you made about my character."

L scoffed, lashing out a hand as if swatting a fly. Misa flinched, even though the exasperated gesture came no-where near her person. "No, that's not it," the dark-locked adult corrected, his voice low and swift in his growing aggravation. "If one piece doesn't fit in the puzzle, you don't trash the entire puzzle: you trash the piece. After all, it's not the puzzle that's incorrect…"

His words softened suddenly in understanding; his onyx-gaze did likewise. And for a short-lived spell, the blonde felt herself being sucked into those twin voids: deep and dark like the farthest reaches of space. "…I've just tried to fit the wrong piece into its place."

Neither was surprised that Misa had very little idea what L was going on about. But Misa had the sinking suspicion that she could have followed that metaphor if she had tried; instead, she was attempting to feign her usual ignorance… attempting to ignore reality until the last possible moment… "What are you saying?" she breathlessly demanded, wrapping her arms around her torso as if trying to protect herself. But from what? From L? From his words? From the truth…?

Timid and suddenly unsure, the girl looked slowly upward: focusing on the face that now loomed silently above her. And L, unfazed by his companion's trembles, returned her quivering glance with an empty stare. All emotion had been eradicated from his face, his tone, his eyes…

"I said it before," he told her calmly, voice never once drifting from a level drawl. "You are incredibly loyal to the ones you love."

And no matter what she tried, Misa could not pretend she didn't understand the subtext of this statement.

She gulped down a shaky breath. "…are you saying that I love you?" Misa quietly demanded, blue eyes icy even as she quaked with insuppressible quivers. What was it about this man that so infuriated her? That got under her skin? That left her remembering every jib, every insult, every kiss and touch that made her knees weak?

As if to incite her growing rage, the detective offered Misa an innocent double-blink, cocking his head to the right. "Am I?" he questioned, as if pondering aloud. He then tilted his face in the opposite direction, prompting an answer.

But damn it all, Misa could unstick no words from the back of her throat. Not a protest; not a sound. All she could do was stand there, teeth grinding, eyes flashing, nails biting into the flesh of her palms as she willed herself not to cry.

L's naive air faded away; it was replaced by his usual aura of indifference. "I suggest that you never play cards," he droned, reaching out as if to poke the girl's cheek. "You have a terrible poker face."

Misa's upper lip curled in disgust. Snarling with a ferocity that she hadn't known humans could possess, she smacked the spidery hand away before it could make contact with her flesh. "Don't touch me!" she snapped, ignoring the way her fingers tingled where they'd touched his skin.

L remained unaffected. About everything. "As you wish," he said evenly.

And without another word, he turned away.

Silence.

Misa gawked, her hand—face—eyes—burning as if scalded by the fires of hell as she watched the slouching man return to his computer, to his work, without paying her so much as a second glance. She couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe him. How dare he—?!

The sound of his keyboard woke her from her seething paralysis.

"…is this some kind of game to you?" Misa demanded in a whisper, small fists shaking as her nails punctured skin. Soon, they would be decorated with a red that was not polish.

L, as was his wont, didn't even bother turning around. "What? A game? Why would you think that?" he asked dryly, and Misa was suddenly, brutally aware that this was probably one big joke to him. "Because I compared your psyche to a puzzle, or because of the emotional detachment I'm showing you now?"

"Both!" the girl shrieked, her already high voice breaking with a squeak of frustration as fury took its painful toll. "How can you act this way? How can you possibly face a girl who you've kissed, and held—who's hair you've smelt and who's skin you've tasted—who you've made mewl and scream as you fucked her into the floor, and all but tell her that she means nothing to you?!"

For an instant, the vehemence-laced words echoed through the high-ceilinged room. And in the wake of their reverberation, it took the girl a minute to realize how loudly she was panting, how still the detective was sitting, and how she could no longer hear the click-clacking of computer keys.

L's spindly chair creaked softly as he spun slowly around, leveling the distraught teenager a cool, one-eyed glance.

"…despite what your movie scripts and song writers tell you, Amane-san, one does not need to 'feel' anything in order to engage in sexual intercourse. You were willing, I consented. That is all there is to it."

Misa said nothing. It took all of her inner strength to just keep breathing… to keep her tears from spilling down her cheeks… God-be-damned if she gave that bastard the satisfaction of seeing her fall apart—!

With a cool flick of bagged eyes, the detective perused the girl one last time. Aloof and scientific. "I told you once before," he then reminded—sounding almost bored— as he began clicking through computer files again, "you wish for someone to love you. That person will not be me."

The conversation was over.

But as Misa—heart aching, insides burning, head spinning—slowly made her way towards the door, focusing every bit of energy she possessed on that grueling task, a stray thought drifted through her fog-filled mind. And that unexpected insight made her pause, falter—cling briefly to the doorframe as she shot Ryuuzaki a final, ephemeral glance.

"…that may be true," Misa announced, forcing a strange and knowing sort of authority into her wavering tone. "All of that stuff you said: about my personality, about my motives. Even what you said about your name and my telling Light. All true… But the fact that you knew that, that you even had proof, and that you've still not had me rearrested for being the second Kira… that means you must feel something for me, as well, Lawliet."

The door closed with a slam; the resonant clatter of heels on linoleum faded into the unseen distance.

Before his glowing monitor, the detective L sat frozen.

"…you are much more astute than most give you credit for, Amane Misa."

XXX