Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note, though why I have to announce it is beyond me. I mean, I don't own an Acura TSX either, and you don't see me running around telling everyone, now do you?

Edited and Reposted as of 8.30.09 (hey guys, remember the third chaper of Asylum, where I said I liked the periods better than backslashes on the dates? I figured out why--that's the same format they used on the posters for Batman: The Dark Knight, and I effing love batman. So much that if there were a possibility of slash or at least interesting romance, I'd be ALL OVER that fic category. Uh . . . the end.)


Raito knows that he has to hate L, that he has every right to despise the detective for the constant accusations and the taunting percentages and the tight, burning feeling of handcuffs against his wrist at all hours of the day and night; he knows this, but if it this is true, then why does he smile every morning when he sees that L is still there?


After a thorough examination of Raito's cellular phone, L stands and drops it out the window—they are on the seventeenth floor—and when Raito curses loudly and demands some explanation, L rationalizes, saying that Raito has doubtless memorized his home phone number, and the cell numbers of his family members, and that he didn't think Raito needed so very many names and numbers of girls he was never going to call anyway.


Raito knows that he is brilliant, but when he listens to L speak, even when L has to dumb down his explanation, Raito is impressed; he has never before had to stumble to catch up to someone before, and even when he hates the feeling, he loves it.


When Misa demands another one of her ridiculous dates, L cringes internally, and begs Raito with his eyes to deny her; when Raito calmly accepts and starts to lead L to her quarters, and Misa latches onto Raito's arm gleefully, L isn't really surprised that he accidentally trips and that his cake finds its way into Misa's adorable blonde hair.


They are both extraordinary in their own right, with brilliant, shining talents and minds too quick for ordinary humans to see clearly; together, they will sweep the world like a wind across a field, disturbing the status quo, stirring up hidden dirt and seeds of unrest, and clearing away the dust the world has left for them to clean up.


Raito remembers how he was sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the investigation room, and how his eyes were absolutely bloodshot from reading material on Yotsuba for sixteen hours straight, and how when L said his name from close by, he barely had the energy to raise his weary head. Conversely, he remembers how, afterwards, he felt a new and strange energy shudder through his veins, and he remembers thinking that he needed to pay L back for what felt like a first kiss (though it was far from) for the both of them.


L has known, from the first moment of his observation, that Raito is not a tender person; this is why it surprises him when Raito is so gentle when his fingertips caress L's face, gliding over his cheek and down his jaw with precision and affection, and then L stops being surprised and just wants it to never stop.


Raito has never considered his intelligence to be a gift—for that, he would have to believe in a higher power; he does, however, believe in using his intelligence for the betterment of mankind, but these days, he's become more concerned with using it to find ways to make L smile.


There are some days when Raito doesn't touch L; these are the days where he can't stand the fact that three months ago he believed himself invulnerable, and now he needs, actually needs this strange and antisocial pariah to be there to hold and talk to and even to fill needs that no one has ever been able to touch before, needs like challenge and comfort.


L knows that Raito watches him when he eats sweets, so he does it as explicitly as possible, curling his tongue around the saccharine luxuries (that never taste as good as Raito), licking the tops of candies, savoring flavor, and Raito cannot take his eyes off of L, even though he never says a word; but when Raito tries the same thing, licking a slice of orange before placing it delicately between his teeth and biting with slow precision, then licking the juice off the tops of his fingers, L has to take him into a spare room and press him up against the wall and reclaim that tongue.


As fair as Raito is concerned, Amazon is a god; there is no other way he'd be able to get his mother presents for her birthday—or Sayu a gift for getting an A in her accelerated mathematics course without his help; there is also no better way to get L in trouble with Watari than screwing up his browsing history with a unique combination of pornographic material and princess dress-up clothes.


L has his vices, and everyone is painfully aware of them; no one seems to realize, however, that Raito is just as susceptible to sweet things, only just when they are presented in the right manner—L discovers this, quite by accident one night, as he is putting chocolate syrup on an ice cream sundae.


Raito has never really thought much about the human body; and the anatomy classes he's taken certainly didn't prepare him for the absolutely wonderful little noises that L makes when he curls his tongue around his ear and then bites it lightly, tugging at the lobe until he groans.


Raito loves L's hands, and he has good reason to: he knows every inch of them; he's kissed the palms tenderly, sucked and bit the fingers, and, very rarely, just before falling asleep, has intertwined the fingers with his own, held it to his lips, kissed the knuckles, and kept the hand for himself while he slept.


As a general rule, Raito doesn't cry; he didn't cry when he was ten and his grandmother died; he didn't cry when he broke his ankle and played through the pain in his last tennis match; he didn't cry when he was mugged at thirteen; but when L looks at him with cold eyes and says the word Kira, and he means Raito, Raito has to turn his head away so L will not see the brightness in his eyes.


L presses Raito hard into the bed as he plunges his tongue into that hot, lying mouth of his; on one hand, it feels amazing, he never wants this to end, and on the other, he can't take one more second of the bitter taste of Raito's lies as he eagerly insists that he isn't Kira.


L has never been a lover of music, and neither has Raito, but when L hears the noises and moans Raito makes as he kisses lower and lower on his chest and then his stomach and then his hips, he thinks that it is the sweetest melody there is.


Both of them have been hating and suspecting and dancing around each other for so long, that when they finally break down and begin to kiss each other and touch and feel and god, feel, with anxious touches and too-close lips and hands and nnh hoarse whispers and moans and unsteady untrained rhythms, it is paradise for a few sweet no-thinking minutes.


They play a chess game all day long, each one trying to gain the upper hand that means they get to be in control that night; but in the end, it almost doesn't matter who has dominance, because they usually end up in a tangled mess of sheets and clothes, kisses frantic and distracting, each trying to make the other moan louder, scream first, and by the time morning arrives, neither one can truly say 'checkmate'.


Raito shines, and L is enthralled with how very bright he is; his parents are right to be insufferably proud of him, teachers are right in their excessive praise, girls are right in the object of their obsessions, because Raito surpasses them all; he is not a star, because they are too common; he is the star, the sun, and L is still surprised sometimes when he thinks that this sun belongs to him.


Sexual tension is sometimes roiling so high in the investigation headquarters, usually on days where they fought or worked too hard the night before to fit any sex in between the bickering and fistfights and analyzing and eventually, the sleeping, that sometimes they have to argue constantly about pointless things, like the Great Irish Potato Famine, and how it may have affected the Chinese silk trade, to relieve the pressing strings of tension so they don't jump each other in front of the task force.


L has never wanted anyone the way he wants Raito now, and neither has Raito, though neither of them will ever admit it out loud; they both know this could be fatal, because this isn't just attraction anymore, but they will never call it anything but because love is a weak word, meant for weak people. And they aren't that. Never could be.


L knows, if anyone saw him the way he was now, curled in bed with one arm protectively around this hard-eyed and lying suspect of his, they would say he'd gone soft; he knows also that he doesn't care.


Raito doesn't know exactly what the rain means to L, but that's okay, because L doesn't understand what it means to Raito either—how it reminds Raito of the last day of summer a dozen years ago, or of the last time he played tennis in a real match, or of the first time he realized that he was completely in love with L.


The chain is like a silver and shining collar and leash, and, regardless of whom it is attached to, Raito hates it, but not for the reasons L thinks; he doesn't hate it because it takes away his ability to move, he hates it because it is a physical manifestation of the mistrust L still has for him, and that mistrust is really the thing that binds Raito, body and soul, to the headquarters, at least until he can prove L wrong.


L loves the way the tired computers cast a white-blue glow on Raito's bare skin after hours, after they've turned out all the other lights, and after they're too tired to move to the bedroom and Raito just lays out on the cool floor, not caring about dirt, just caring about being content; L also loves that, during these times, when Raito's cell phone rings and he sees that it's Misa, he slides the phone along the floor so that it vibrates uselessly while L kisses him again and again.


When Raito was twelve-years-old, he decided that he may as well get used to being bored and unchallenged by the world around him, because it didn't look like it was going to change soon, and that is why he can never absolutely hate Kira, whomever he is; without Kira, there would be no case, without a case, L would not be here, and without L, Raito's life wouldn't be one at all.


When they aren't completely alone, Raito and L both do stupid things they know they will have to apologize for later, like L accusing Raito of being Kira, or Raito telling L how much he frustrates him; they are both speaking truths, but it is only because neither one can stand how much it hurts to need the other.


Raito and L working together are a storm of sorts, with L as lightning, the brilliant, spectacular, sometimes-deadly phenomenon, and Raito as thunder, coming only just after, still devastating in his power, rattling the windows of human emotion and tearing fear out of even stoic personalities; and watching the two together is just like watching a hurricane for the rest of the task force—they feel as though the pair are this force of nature that neither notices nor cares that they are being witnessed and found powerful.


If Raito really isn't Kira, if he remains ignorant of any involvement in murdering thousands, then L really thinks that he might keep Raito, and tells him so; Raito is polite in his reply, because the task force is within hearing; when they are alone, though, L is surprised by just how tenderly Raito kisses him as he asks him if he meant it, and when L tells him yes, yes, he meant it, Raito pulls away and his expression is more real than L has ever seen.


He's not stupid: Raito can tell the difference between the smile L give the rest of the investigation team and the one L gives him at rare moments; the first is adorable and curved but it doesn't quite reach his eyes, while the second one shows teeth, has sparks, and is, essentially, predatory and possessive. Raito quite prefers the second one.


L whispers to Raito one night that he knows that Raito was once Kira, and once wanted him dead, even if he isn't now, even if he doesn't now, and Raito goes rigid; when he finally looks at L, his eyes are shadowed and in pain, and he says that, if he ever finds that he really did wish for L's death, he would kill himself.


It is a problem, and L knows it, because while he knows everything about Raito, Raito knows next to nothing about him, his past, or even his name, for God's sake; so when Raito is falling asleep, under the pretence of soothing him after they've been fighting all day (and most of the night), L lazily traces the letters L L A W L I E T on his back, in between smooth circles even though he knows Raito won't notice.


As Raito listens to L's gentle breathing, the soft, quick intakes of breath that mean he is relaxed and probably sleeping, he stares up at the ceiling, obscured in the darkness of the room, and thinks that he would be happy here forever, even if he never went outside again; he'd be happy if this were the only sky he ever saw again.


L knows that he has too many sins on his head to really deserve any of the happiness he gets from being with Raito, so when Raito's eyes are narrow and analytical and cold after Higuchi suddenly drops dead, L is not surprised, only sad; and in the following weeks, even though he can feel death creeping close to him, he doesn't turn around to try to find it, because he had Raito for longer than he could have hoped, and now that Raito isn't Raito anymore, L doesn't much care if Kira kills him.


When Raito touches the notebook, he can feel it like a virus, spreading like lightning from his fingertips to his brain, igniting memories there; from his brain, it moves like molasses in his veins, clogging them with something heavy and dark, and he knows, in the split second before his heart stops, that it is Kira he is feeling, like a disease in his blood; and when it does reach his heart, he stops thinking like that anymore, because he is Kira.


Raito has blood on his hands, and he knows it, he knows it and it is killing him, every time he looks at L, it is killing him—he knows that he must destroy this soft spot in his chest that is still intolerably human and to do that, he knows that he has to kill L; finally, he knows that when he does, it will be the last bit of blood that he will count against himself, because no sin can be greater than that.


Raito visits home for the first time in months, after L is forced to release him from the handcuffs; he is polite to his mother and sister and even his father, before claiming fatigue and going upstairs; and the aching, pressing loneliness of his clinical bedroom almost tears a scream from his throat as he sinks to his knees and fights tears he knows are not suitable for a god.


When Raito heads back to headquarters after the short trip home, he steps out of the car to walk in and he freezes; the sun is out and he is standing directly in its rays for the first time in months; and for the first time in years, he feels real tears pricking at the edges of his eyes, because here he is, standing with all his freedom, in the heat of the rare October sun, and he cannot feel anything.


Raito is in Hell, and he knows that he deserves to burn there for what he has done; the murders are not what weigh heavy on his mind (though he can feel them, pressing between his shoulder blades, making him shiver in the early hours of the morning) but really it is the feeling, the knowledge, that he must make this angel laying next to him fall, and then the tiny, niggling voice at the base of his skull moaning and whispering no no no I can't.


Now, when Raito looks at L, it is through two sets of eyes, both Kira's and his own, and he cannot stop his warring thoughts, knowing that L must die but that it will kill him when he does; what he does not know is why it is so difficult to reconcile that idea, why it is so hard to kill the human parts of himself, when that is just what he's always wanted.


It is only when Raito truly begins arguing with himself, with separate voices inside his own head, screaming at himself to get on with it, screaming back that no, no he can't do it, how can he kill someone he loves, damn it, and then saying he doesn't love him, he can't love, he's never loved anyone before, and then he answers saying exactly never before, that Raito becomes truly afraid because he simply does not know what to do.


L stares as he watches the moon rise, knowing that this moonrise may be his last, knowing that this could be the last time he watches the stars come out; he knows this, senses that his death cannot be long now, but still, when Raito asks with a quiet and hidden voice if he's coming to bed, L immediately turns away from the window and pads away because glorious as a moonrise is, it cannot compare to Raito, even when Raito is going to kill him.


Raito stares at the sky out the windows, rubbing at his eyes (burning from a lack of sleep) as the feeble voices in his mind continue to torment him; his choice will have to be made soon, he knows that he can't keep stalling, but still he wishes that this calm before the storm could last just a little longer, that he could postpone the inevitable and keep these dark clouds at bay just a little longer.


Raito has never said it to him before, and that was fine with L, because he didn't know if he could say it back, even though he'd mean it, but when Raito says I love you a week after Higuchi's capture, it sounds so tired that L stares at him; all he sees is truth in Raito's eyes, that and a weariness and fear that frightens L so much that he cannot even think of an answer, much less say I love you too—what L sees is that Raito has bound himself to L against his own will, and L cannot figure out why.


Two weeks after Higuchi's death, a very fed-up Raito impulsively says the words I forfeit ownership of my Death Note; this time, he means them.


L thinks he must be insane and indeed he does seem to be going crazy; how can a case be finished if they never really caught the killer and, out of the three major suspects they had, one ended up dead, one ended up as his lover, and one was a stupid blonde model; L closes the case anyway, because after three months of absolutely no leads and no deaths, it would just be masochistic to continue.


With the case sort of closed, L senses that the tides are changing, and it is again time to say goodbye to his sometimes-home of Japan; for a few, glorious moments, he actually is self-indulgent enough to think about taking Raito with him, but he is L, he is Justice first and foremost, and he does not think Raito could ever live the way he has become accustomed to; Raito is just too used to the still waters of Japan, he could never swim in the dark and turbulent oceans L lives in. At least, that's what he tells himself.


When L touches his hair and says he is leaving, at first Raito remembers the promise he made, months ago, when he said he would keep him, but then he looks into L's eyes and sees the promise breaking; and when Raito gets home that night, when L is doubtless already thousands of miles away, he actually cries, for the first (and last) time he can remember, as he tries again and again to wash away the memory of L's fingertips in his hair.


During the case, Raito's world went supernova, with everything big and bright and shining, with every sense too big, every challenge monumental and every feeling too hard to contain; now he is the aftermath of that explosion, a black hole that will allow nothing through it; he is only star dust and heavy gravity now, and he has L to thank for that, L to thank for the hollow blackness he has now in the center of his stomach, and he will never forget that; but then again, neither will L.

A/N: Thought I'd post something other than a new chapter of Asylum. And can I just say how AWESOME you guys are when it comes to reviewing my stuff--again? I mean, I didn't really expect Asylum to get much notice, although it does come with shiny new dialogue. But I love that people are nice enough to tell me how much they like (or not) it again. Even if it's just a sentence or two telling me what you like about it, I really do appreciate the time--hence why I try to reply to most reviews. (Not gonna lie, if I get a review that says, "lolz!", I don't reply to it.)

Anyways, I really do get giddy with each and every review I get. I smell reviewer rewards coming up~! Or maybe I'll just update my actual stories :D We'll see :l

Thanks guys! Drop me a line if you liked--or have suggestions for improvement!