Part 01 – Light
Edited and Reposted as of 08.19.09
A/N: Hello all you lucky people! I'm back, and more quickly than usual! All your glorious reviews inspired me to post this sequel much faster than I'd been planning on. So, without further ado, I give you:
absence of any sound or noise; stillness.
absence or omission of mention, comment, or expressed concern.
the state of being forgotten; oblivion.
Light knows that he cannot expect himself to remain unchanged after three years of attempts and failures at recovering from his time in the asylum. He knows that he is nothing like he used to be—he knows that he is Light Yagami in name only, because Light Yagami died somewhere in Crowley's cells. Or, he thinks, perhaps he died even before that, when he'd picked up a thin black notebook and had decided to change the world—not because he was noble, or brave, or concerned. No, Light Yagami had just been bored.
And now, he's dead.
Light knows also that he can never reclaim what he used to be, either the young, painfully idealistic Kira he'd been at 18, or the shell of an animal he'd been three years ago.
He knows this, but still . . . Still, he tries. He is not certain, even now, what it is he is striving for. He knows only that there had been a time before the haze of pain that still fogs his view into the past during which he'd been happy. And he'll be damned if there's no longer a chance for him.
"Can I ask a question?"
"Why are you laughing?"
"Because everything's so damn funny."
Light sighs softly, irritably, as he presses his hand to his temple in an effort to relieve the dull pain of his headache.
L glances over at him, curiously, but he says nothing, which Light is grateful for—L stopped babying him months ago, after Light snapped at him that he would take care of his own damn self and L could just go fuck himself if he didn't like it.
Light knows that his comment didn't make much sense. He'd known it then, too. It didn't matter. It got his point across; his point being, of course, that while yes, thinking about the five years spent in Crowley's Institute wasn't exactly fun for him, he could handle it.
And truly, he really did seem to be handling it. Not without extensive medication of course—and at this thought, Light grimaces again. He doesn't appreciate the idea of living on pills for the rest of his life. They've tried reducing his dosage, but once they'd dropped below a certain percentage, Light's episodes came back full force. The damage from that little experiment had lasted weeks.
Dr. Toledano, Light's almost-psychiatrist (psychiatrist because he was the one who prescribed pills, almost because Light never actually talked to him), told L that trying to take Light off his medication so close to the incident was quite dangerous.
The incident. That's what they've mostly taken to calling it, partly because it's kinder to Light, and partly because it's quicker than saying hey, remember that time you convicted me of thousands of murders, which I was completely guilty of, and I was sent to this insane asylum where I was tortured to insanity and then you broke me out and I was still fucking crazy? Light's grimace twitches into something of a quiet smile at that thought. He's more or less stopped his laughter—that breathless, almost-sobbing that disturbed L so greatly. But his private smiles—at jokes that he knows L would not find amusing—have remained, and he knows that they kind of . . . creep L out.
Which is amusing, in and of itself, since L was always the sort of creepy one before.
Light gives up all pretense of working and stares out the window as his thoughts continue to spiral in a strange, twisted, and altogether amusing sort of dance. They've been brought into order for the most part, and he can make conversation, generally, if he's not having an episode or a particularly bad day, but . . .
Just because he's learned to suppress his thoughts and emotions doesn't mean they're not there.
Again, his mind returns to that briefest moment of sanity he'd had in the hospital when he'd first woken up. He had been disoriented and scared halfway to hell, sure, but that was better than this perpetual state of denying the fact that, given half a chance, he'd either give up completely, just stop taking medicine and let himself drift away, or he'd find a way to get revenge.
And then there are the times when he's actually sorry for everything he's done, and that's almost worse than the dark amusement or anger or apathy or aggression and any other words starting with the letter 'a' that he can think of. Some days, all he can feel is guilt, pressing heavy on his chest. It feels as though it takes an enormous amount of energy just to fill his lungs with air. And the feeling, deep in the pit of his stomach and all through his torso, an almost-sick, horrible feeling that immobilizes him and traps him until he feels like he'll never get out and he doesn't deserve to anyway.
And the worst part—as though any of this weren't horrible enough—is how L reacts.
Light can see it, he can tell, he's not stupid. On those days, when L will try to get him out of bed and he'll just curl tighter around himself, eyes wide open and one trembling hand covering his mouth, L will hesitate. He pauses, trying to decide what to do. Because he knows that what Light is feeling is guilt, is shame, is undiluted, uncensored anguish over his past actions. And L, the person, wants to help his friend; L, the letter, thinks that Light deserves it.
On those days, Light generally agrees with L the letter.
Most of the time, though, perhaps eighty percent of the time, Light is fine.
What a strange word, he thinks. Fine. When he says it, fine actually means I'm not about to go into the bathroom and slice my arms open this very moment. Check back later. When L says it, asks if he's fine, L is actually asking is this one of those days when you're going to be having flashbacks or guilt trips or tantrums? And when L says he's doing fine, that means that he is no better or worse than his general antisocial, paranoid, irritating self.
Light thinks that thus far, his train of thought has been quite venomous towards L. It's one of those days, then. Most of the time, he just doesn't think about the fact that he doesn't seem to be able to exist minus L's presence. Sure, he can leave the room or go on walks alone. But he always knows where L is, and that is just inside the other room, just inside the house.
Light supposes that the trouble is that he trusts L, despite the fact that he absolutely shattered the promise he made to give Light the death penalty. Light's taken a fair few psychology courses, and he knows that his dependence on L is due to the fact that he's had romantic inclinations in the past towards him, and that L miraculously appeared and tore him away from Crowley and his insanity.
Light frowns slightly when he thinks about Crowley. He asked L about him, once. He'd wanted to know what had happened to him.
"Watari shot him," L had said. Light had accepted the answer and L hadn't continued.
Watari shot him.
Shouldn't shot be replaced with killed? Or the sentence could be amended to say, Watari shot and killed him.
Unless he wasn't dead. Which would fucking suck, because Light has only been able to function and exist based on the assumption that there was no possibility that he would be put through that torture again.
His breath quickens when he thinks of the possibility that Crowley is alive, but he quickly forces himself to relax. Crowley is dead. If he weren't, L would be focused on capturing him. And either way, there was no way he could find them.
Light takes a deep breath and dispels that train of thought entirely.
Which brings him back to the fact that today was one of those days, the kind where it was going to bother him that L was there. The kind of day where anything L said or did would piss him off. Light considers trying to prevent this attitude, but it will pass soon enough, and he's always been such an independent individual . . . can't he have some days where he gets to feel cheated because his existence—his almost-happiness—is tied to the person who imprisoned him? The person who has generally caused him a great deal of agony, inadvertently or not?
Which brings him back to the fact that he has a headache and it's really actually quite irritating, because with every heartbeat the ache throbs and feels a little worse, and it's very hard to concentrate on his work.
His work isn't actually work. Well, it is for him, but it's not the same as the cold case that L is currently absorbed in.
He's studying people.
This was actually one of Light's ideas. He never goes out into society for obvious reasons—he could have an episode or a seizure, could become unnecessarily violent, or however unlikely it may be, he might be seen by someone who witnessed his trial.
But when someone like Matt or Mello came over, though they weren't the most normal of individuals, Light found himself fascinated by their interaction with each other and L, compared to with him.
He was unnerving, he knew. His eyes, which were constantly shadowed and narrow and suspicious, or occasionally disturbingly blank, threw people off.
But it was more than that. Five years was a long time to have little to no interaction with anyone besides his tormentors. And five years of torture had certainly thrown him off a bit. So yes, he now weirded people out. Or scared the shit out of them. Whichever.
Most of the time, Light doesn't think about this. He's constantly with L, who is a freak anyway, so they get along fairly well. Light is even generally comfortable with Watari, who is a constant and shadowed presence in his life.
But with other people—L's correspondents, colleagues, etc—Light is uneasy and awkward with. Even speaking electronically or over the telephone. And face-to-face encounters are even worse.
The problem lay in the fact that Light had simply grown unaccustomed to societal norms. Little things that everyone took for granted—little nuances of expression or speech patterns or gestures—were now lost to Light. It didn't help that he was now generally dealing with English and American culture, which was wholly different from Japanese. Not that he was much better with Japanese rules of etiquette anymore either.
Once Light had narrowed his problem down to this, finding a solution had seemed simple enough. If he were unused to common expressions and casual conversation, he would just have to study and practice.
He requested videos after that, anything he could get his hands on. Hollywood films, security and traffic camera footage, television shows, or anything else.
At first, studying people on film was tedious and difficult. Light was quickly bored, and everything happened so quickly that he had initially despaired of ever picking up the behavior that he had once found so simple to imitate.
At L's suggestion, he had started writing down what he didn't understand, hadn't caught, and then he'd go back and replay and play in slow motion and pause and analyze until he understood the gesture or formality or speech pattern.
And slowly, Light began integrating what he had learned—from expressions to speaking to walking—into his own behavior. He had felt awkward and stupid at first, but as he practiced, it seemed that his body and mind remembered how he used to behave—how he used to speak, manipulate, twist, smile, and lie.
L was both pleased and wary of this new development. Generally, Light didn't turn his newfound skills on L, and even when he did, they were raw and unpracticed enough that he never got away with it. But just the knowledge that Light was once more learning to deceive made L a little mistrustful.
They had only been out in public twice together. Each of those times, it had just been for a quick cup of coffee, and then they'd only walked into a café and ordered before taking the cups back to their car. Light hadn't spoken to anyone, not even L, when they were waiting for their order. But he had watched, carefully, his eyes flicking from person to person, observing them intently for a second or two before he'd moved on.
Light himself was rather pleased when he'd been able to go out in public. He knew that it wasn't exactly a success; people had stared at his blank eyes, his uncomfortable posture, his jerky gestures, and his scarred hands. Basically everything about him was wrong.
But the point was, he now knew what he was doing wrong. Before, he'd been clueless.
Now, though, as Light glances back at a video he's already watched perhaps thirty times, he is easily able to identify posture and expression and what they mean. He can tell what people are thinking and saying without even hearing the words they speak.
It is a skill he'd had before. Hell, he'd never even thought of it as a skill. It was inherent. Unpracticed. Before all this . . . before all of it, Light never had to stop and consider what a gesture or a tone could mean. But that was in his past life.
Light returns to looking out the window, his hand still pressed to his head. The headache is growing steadily worse, and he knows that it won't be long before he'll have to down a thousand milligrams of ibuprofen to keep it from tormenting him further. He decides to cut it off before it develops into a full-blown migraine.
He stands, noticing how L's eyes follow him as he walks out of the room and into the kitchen. He grabs the bottle of Advil and gets a cup of water, and then looks at the bottle for a moment. This is not nearly as difficult for him as it used to be, but his motor skills have declined and opening a childproof cap is quite a process. With trembling hands, he manages to summon the strength and coordination to pop it open, and he feels a vague sense of satisfaction as he pours the four pills out into his palm.
And then he frowns. How low Light Yagami has fallen—he's pleased over being able to open a bottle of pills all by himself. And on the first try, too!
He pushes away the thoughts, though they refuse to be completely silenced, and swallows the pills.
His mouth tastes bitter.
"Headache?" L asks when he returns to the room, and Light nods, briefly.
"Yeah," he says, remembering that a curt and unfriendly nod without any eye contact or explanation is not social and not normal. "I took some Advil."
L nods shortly before turning back to his own computer. Light gives L's back a sparing smile. L has no social skills, and it doesn't bother him one bit. Light doubts that he'll ever learn either. Light has spent months studying and practicing, and all he has to show for it are delayed reactions that are correct but too late to be effective.
Light knows that what he needs is a sort of immersion program. Much like how when one tries to learn a language, the fastest way is to go to the country and force oneself to communicate. Light knows that if he continues practicing in here, without any positive or negative reinforcement, he'll never really learn.
And he doesn't know why it's so important to him. Truly, it shouldn't be. It's not as though he's going to have to be social all of a sudden. That part of his life is gone.
But . . . he feels rather incomplete. Although he enjoys L's company, and most of the time, it's enough, Light sometimes grows frustrated at the utter lack of connections he has. At his own inability to even form such connections, if L would ever allow it.
Being social—fooling everyone who thought he was so brilliant and kind—used to fill him with a dark sense of accomplishment. Telling a successful lie—something he hasn't been able or allowed to do in years now—used to be a part of his everyday routine. He used to derive such childish enjoyment out of his own superiority and ability to manipulate.
Of course, Light has been greatly humbled by his stay in Crowley's Institute. He no longer has any delusions of saving the world, of saving anyone, of saving himself. He no longer believes that he's so much better than anyone around him—although Crowley isn't entirely to blame for that.
And when Light thinks of that—of him—he stiffens slightly. B is . . . he is at the same time everything and nothing like L. The spare, unsatisfying conversations he'd had with L's deranged successor helped shape his own insanity.
In his own way, B was brilliant. He'd told Light a little about his crimes, and Light had read further about him once he was with L. But even the way he spoke, and the way he moved belied an intelligence—a twisted intelligence—that Light couldn't ignore.
Although he generally tries to avoid thinking about B, Light now eases into memories of him.
"What the hell is so funny?"
"Everything. It's just nobody sees."
"Nobody sees what?"
B was truly insane—not the kind of crazy Light had become, the kind that could be treated with medication and an anchor. No. Light had enjoyed killing people, he had always denied it, denied it, denied it, and on the rare occasion he couldn't deny it, he'd made excuses for it. B, on the other hand, had enjoyed it and then relished in it afterwards.
"Why did you kill them?"
"Why did you kill them?"
"I've made my excuses. What are yours?"
"I don't have any. I don't need any."
"Not excuses, then. Reasons."
"I don't have any. I don't need any. I killed them because I could, because I enjoyed it."
Back then, Light, who had still been a bit glassy-eyed and deluded from his time as Kira and his trial, had condemned B and had refused to consider his words. Now, they seem like the only things that make sense sometimes.
"Nobody sees the inherent humor in every situation. Anything can be funny, with the right spin."
"Even death? Even pain?"
"Especially death and especially pain."
B's hobby was killing, like other people enjoyed cooking or swimming. He killed because he liked it, and he failed to understand why anyone should have a problem with it.
"They're going to die anyway."
"The people I kill. My so-called victims. They're going to die anyway."
"But you don't know when; they could—"
"Yes. I do."
"You do what?"
"I know when they're going to die. You of all people should understand the concept of lifespans, Kira. Since you don't have one."
Light doesn't know how B has shinigami eyes—and he'd never asked about it. B was right, though: he did understand the concept of lifespans, and finally B began to make sense to him. If they were going to die anyway, well, why shouldn't B have a little pleasure in it? As long as he didn't shorten their lifespan, as long as they died right when they should?
Of course, this reasoning is twisted beyond words, and Light himself would never follow it. But for someone like B, who seems almost timeless in his utter insanity, in his brilliance . . . well, Light is willing to make an exception.
"It's probably time we ate something." L's voice startles him out of his thoughts, and Light turns to face him.
Light hasn't told L much about what he knows of B. He mentioned him that once, about three months ago, but L had acted so damn hostile he hadn't brought up the subject again. And Light certainly didn't feel like mentioning the fact that when he thought about what B had said—I like the feeling of it. The blood on my hands and in my mouth.—he found that he absolutely agreed. Light shivers slightly at that, briefly remembering tearing at his own flesh, desperate for feeling, for taste . . .
And he doesn't exactly feel like bringing up anything else about B, either. If L hasn't discovered any of it . . . well, what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Probably.
Light flexes his fingers as he contemplates this. A quick glance up confirms that L is still waiting for him to follow. He ignores it for a moment, blinking to clear the memories that spread like thick cobwebs over his consciousness.
And then he pushes it aside and stands up to follow L to the kitchen.
"Is Light-kun all right?" L asks, sounding more curious than concerned.
Light smiles a bit—one of the new expressions he's mastered—and says, "I'm fine."
A/N: YEssssssssssssssssssss okay. I know that it's fairly short, but many of my first chapters are--and these chapters get longer, I promise. And more interesting. And they have more dialogue. And . . . well, you get the picture. This is just the beginning, that's all I'm sayin'.
I have decided that I'm reinstating my review reply policy. I just feel like it's too much of a one-sided thing. So even if I'm busy, rest assured that I'll be replying to all comments except for the "OMg liek update soone!!!1 ^-^ XD :D" Not that I don't like getting those. But unless you want me to reply back with, "Yah abslutelie, soon as I kan! *giggles*" then I don't have much to say back.
Please let me know what you thought--there are some minor changes in there, and I'm really excited to get started on this story again, since it's one of the ones I'm not actually totally finished with! Very few people out there--perhaps one or maybe two--have been told the ending, so now we're going to get some new material! YESSS!!
So, yeah, review! I'll write back! And love you forever!