Author's Note: BIG thank you Scaity and chibi-hime123 for all your help with this fic. Love you both!

Sorry this is so late! I wanted it to be posted on November 5, but then I didn't get around to writing it, and then I was busy working on my high school applications and recovering from my sickness and kwahhhhh. Everything just kind of exploded. :P

So here we go! Posted today in honor of Ukita's birthday. Yep. Happy birthday Ukita! :D

I am twenty five years old when I realize that even machines die. My birthday has come and gone, and now I cannot help but feel that my death day is imminent. I hear Beyond's voice in my head.

"You're going to die soon, and then you're going to regret this."

Will I regret this?

"Your faith in my longevity is astonishing."

Of course I will. I've regretted being with Light ever since I decided that I would. I saw it coming all along. It was my faith in my longevity that was astonishing. Did I really think that Light would never become Kira? That he would stay around forever, the two of us becoming the classic old bickering couple, complete with rocking chairs and crossword puzzles?

"Of course."

No. I was the fool.

Light is gone. He is with his father, playing the part of the dutiful son when I know that there is nothing in his head but the role of Kira, the misguided savior, my killer. My Kira.

I try Watari first, go to him like I haven't done since I was a small child living at Wammy's. He turns around slowly when I open the door, wise and all-knowing and quiet. "What's the matter, Ryuzaki?"

I am not Ryuzaki right now; I am Lawliet, vulnerable and dying, so I remain silent. He starts when he realizes this, and turns closer to me. He realizes what I have realized, that I am going to die, that it will be Kira—Light—who will kill me, and that I have allowed this to happen. "What will you do?"

I cannot do anything. This is my punishment. I will not run away. All I can do now is apologize.

I am questioning Rem, but it is useless. There is nothing I can learn from her. It is amazing that Light was even able to function as Kira with such a reticent shinigami to rely on.

What is more amazing, however, is that I can function as L with Light skulking several feet behind me. I call out to him by his last name—we are not alone, we are not lovers, we are colleagues, we are enemies—and politely observe that he has his freedom, but refrains from utilizing it to see his family or his girlfriend. "You should take her out on a date, you know," I mock. You are Kira now. We cannot be together anymore. Yet nothing can change between us, for that would be as good as an admission from you. What a pickle you're in.

He uses the Kira investigation as an excuse, pretending to have some sort of conscience that wouldn't allow him to leave it unfinished. "Or are you saying that my presence here is bothersome to you?" he asks, as if surprised by the concept of me finding him unsettling, of me finding my lover turned murderer unsettling.

Something icy stabs me in the gut, twisting and twisting. "You're going to die soon."

"No," I murmur, the ice spreading to my throat and numbing my tongue. I watch him out of the corner of my eye, watch as the staircase warps his appearance, his eyes off center and glowing red, a Picasso horror come to life. Beyond stares out at me. "You're going to regret this."

It is raining, even more heavily than the day I was brought to Wammy's. Over the rush of the deluge, I hear the bells. Church bells toll heavily, drifting through the raindrops and penetrating the walls of the building and the security system to haunt me. I have fallen for the devil. The price for this sin is death.

I drift out onto the roof of the building to hear the bells more clearly. They remind me of childhood, of the simplicity of my desire to become a machine. I breathe in the scent of the fresh rain, oblivious to my drenched state, and wonder if it will rain in the afterlife.

Light is watching me. Without even looking, I can feel the daggers of his gaze. I wait for him to leave, but he remains under the shelter of the overhanging, staring. I gently loll my head in his direction. He calls out to me, but I cannot hear him. The bells are too loud. I cup my hand to my ear.

"What are you doing in a place like this, Ryuzaki?" he shouts, bringing his hand to his mouth to help the sound carry. I can hear him just fine, but I want to have a little fun with him before dying, so I smile and repeat the gesture.

He blinks in irritation, perfectly aware of my little game, but comes out to meet me regardless. "What are you doing, Ryuzaki?"

"Nothing in particular," I mutter darkly. "It's just the bells…"


Has he not been paying attention to them? "Yes, the bells are really loud today."

He listens for a moment doubtfully, then pronounces, "I don't hear anything."

A little optimistic part of me vaguely wonders if this is because I am going to heaven, and he is not. Then I regain my logic and consider discarding this notion of the afterlife completely, as this new shinigami thing must have some theological implications.

"Is that right?" I murmur. "The conditions are favorable today, so you can't help but hear them." I am alluding quite directly to my death being today, just to spite him. "It's a church," I say surely. "Maybe a wedding?" That would be quite fitting, considering that it will be my lover who will kill me. Or perhaps the gods wouldn't consider our relationship as worthy of a wedding, as twisted and convoluted as it is. "Or—" I begin to muse, but Light cuts me off.

"What are you talking about, Ryuzaki?" he demands brusquely. "Don't say such useless things." I cannot tell whether all this talk of me dying is making him uncomfortable and guilty, or if he simply thinks I have finally gone insane. "Let's go back."

We can never go back. We cannot go back to being coworkers, and we cannot go back to being lovers, and we cannot even go back to being mortal enemies. I have ruined this all. It's only logical that I should die.

"I'm sorry."

"Let's go back. We're soaking wet."

Soaked in water, in tears, in blood, in lies, in all those lovely metaphorical items. At least we're soaked together, for now. Once I die, we won't be connected like this.

Till death do us part.

I cannot stand this any longer, cannot stand not being able to touch him. Even mussed by the rain and hours away from taking my life, I find myself walking down the stairs to sit at his feet.

"What are you doing, Ryuzaki?" he exclaims, starting as I take his bare feet in my towel and my hands.

"I thought I'd give you a hand," I inform him, and I am talking about more than drying him off. He has won. I will die, but at least I will die happily. He will not succeed in taking away my love for him. It is some consolation that at least I will have complete victory in that.

I wipe his feet, and he dabs at my bangs, and I realize that he truly has no idea that I'm aware of my own death.

"I'm sad," I tell him.


"I'm going to die soon, and then you're going to regret this."

"You'll understand soon."

He simply stares, jaw slack in surprise, and for a brief moment, Light, not Kira, is looking back at me.

And then my cell phone goes off, and reality snaps us into shape as a rubber band. Kira returns to Light's eyes, and I must continue being L.

There is a blackout. "Of course."

This is fitting, almost cliché, and I prepare myself to be struck down as the building has by Kira's lightning bolt.

But then, I hear a strange, choking sound coming from Watari's end. Has he realized that I am about to die? "Watari," I say quietly, soothingly. I'm ready.

But then the screens blank out, and I realize what is happening. "Watari!" I exclaim more frantically as All data deletion is seared into my retinas and I realize that Kira has killed him, that Light has killed him, that I have killed him, and that this is the most ironic death that could possibly occur to me.

Someone is muttering about the screens, and I mechanically inform them of what is going on, waiting for the shock to set in, as I know it will in a matter of seconds. They continue muttering about this unexpected event, and then I feel the shock, rippling through my bloodstream, tearing at my inside, and I gasp, "The shinigami," when I really mean, "Kira."

I have to tell them who is really at fault here. I have to tell them that the shinigami was a pawn in Kira's game, and that Kira is Light. Death has made me a coward, a caitiff, a backstabber, a traitor, and I have to tell them the truth before I die.

Frantically, I gasp out, "Everyone, the shinigami—"

Everything has stopped.

A second becomes a year, but I cannot finish my sentence even in that amount of time.

Light's gaze on my back has also changed. Desperate and ready and hopeful and Yes yes yes finally! has turned to distraught and reluctant and horrified and No no no stop!

It is somewhat flattering, and somewhat relieving, and quite gratifying all around.

But then the world is spinning and my spoon is slipping and I am tipping, even though I should have perfect balance after sitting like this for so long.

The floor is so far away and so close and so bright and looks rather painful to fall onto, and it's rushing closer and closer and clo—

And then Light is there, crashing to the ground under me, battling climactically with Kira for control.

Matsuda is yelling, but Light's eyes are burning louder, and I never realized that this whole event would be quite so painful.

My heart actually seems to be ripping in two. It's actually nice that I get to experience heart break once before I die, even if it's a whole lot less nice that Light actually did it, he actually allowed Kira to kill me, and now he is holding me in his arms and looking like he wishes he could take it all back.

"I'm dying, and now you regret this."

You're a bit late.

"Of course."

The bells are ringing, louder than Matsuda's cries, louder than Light's silent screams, louder than Kira's maniacal laughter, and everything is so bright and searing and Technicolor and real and how is this possible how can this be so vivid how can I be so alive when I am dying?

Light almost looks like he is going to cry, but then he is smiling, he is smirking, Kira blazing through his irises like the fires of hell itself and as I close my eyes, I find myself not mourning my demise, but Light's.

Light's glowing, inhuman eyes have transformed into white spots of light, and then this light fills my entire vision, and Light fills my entire vision, and if I had more energy I would smile.

My eyes are so heavy, as heavy as if I haven't slept in a hundred years, and I feel them dragging closed, sealing out everything but that bright white Light.

Perhaps God would allow to bring Light with me to heaven, and to leave Kira to terrorize the world.

It would be selfish, but I'm allowed to be selfish and human when I'm dying, even if it's taken me far too long to realize that I'm a human after all.

I am twenty five years old when I realize that I am not a machine.