Part 23 – Truce
Long-ass A/N at the end of this re: my disappearance. But first, I present to you, the next chapter of Silence:
It is quiet when Light wakes up, and for a brief, merciful moment, he can't remember why he's so surprised that it should be quiet.
Then he remembers, and he groans quietly.
I can't do this. I cannot keep doing this.
He sits up a bit and cranes his head over his shoulder. L must have fallen asleep holding him, because he's still in jeans and a t-shirt, his arm draped loosely around Light and his face peaceful.
As carefully as he can, Light extricates himself from L's arms and sits up fully, rubbing a hand over his face.
He's . . . tired. He is exhausted, he is aching, he is irritable and a little shaky and a little sick. But he is also still here. And he feels . . . sane.
The irony is not lost on him, and he smiles, bitterly, as he runs a hand through his hair; grimacing, he realizes he'd fallen asleep in a cold sweat and feels grimy because of it.
Quietly, he eases himself off the bed and crosses the hallway into the bathroom. He isn't completely sure why he's going to such lengths to be sneaky—it isn't as though L didn't know what was going on, it isn't as though he was planning on doing anything deviant—except that he wants to avoid the awkwardness and discomfort of L waking up and looking at him with omniscient eyes while Kira goes on the defensive.
The thing is . . . he is okay when he's on his own. That's what L doesn't—can't—understand. When he isn't talking to Matt or L or even Ryuuk, when he isn't planning or thinking, when he's just . . . there, he is okay.
It isn't as though Kira torments him nonsensically. And it isn't as though . . . well, he is Kira. Sort of. Light isn't totally sure how this is supposed to work.
He bends over to test the water temperature and then grabs a towel from the cupboard, strips, and gets in the shower.
He lets the hot water cascade over his head and shoulders, not forgetting to be so glad that he isn't stuck in Chicago or Near's fortress or Japan or anywhere that's cold and unfriendly and frightening. He's here, at L's home in Wherever, England, where his freedom is challenged, but not much else.
It's too bad that autonomy has always been one of the most valuable commodities in Light Yagami's life.
And what would L's demands be, now that his suspicions had been confirmed? Would he hold Light's freedom hostage further until he had the Death Note? (Light's lips pull back into a silent snarl at that, for one moment completely agreeing with Kira.) Would he search for the Note himself, to destroy it? Or keep Light under constant supervision? Light has a brief image of himself and L attached by those god-forsaken handcuffs again and laughs, quietly. That would be something, to have L forcibly within 4 feet of himself at all times again.
And what are Light's demands, exactly? Or Kira's? As Light rinses shampoo from his hair, he wonders . . . he won't give up the Death Note—it's his consolation prize at the end of his nightmare with B (prize because he'd been searching for it, consolation because it's a nightmare all by itself). But he doesn't know what he plans on doing with it.
I don't actually want to kill anyone, he thinks.
You don't not want to kill anyone, Kira reminds him.
Ah, there he is. It's been awfully quiet, the past twenty minutes. Light doesn't bother responding to that; he has no reason to kill criminals, seeing as how he is one, and he doesn't fancy falling back into self-delusion and crushing guilt. And he doesn't have anyone else to kill, either. And, really, that's all the Death Note's good for.
How about your memories?
All right, so it is good for one other thing. He frowns. Just how much of me are you? he wonders at Kira.
All of you.
That's not true. Light thinks back to the night before, memories flashing behind his closed eyes. They'd fought—he and Kira—bitterly, so they couldn't be exactly the same. But it also isn't as though Kira is all the bad things and Light's all the good things in his personality; or that Kira is a completely separate personality. It's more . . .
That I'm all of the dark things you wouldn't—or couldn't—think, or do?
Maybe. What does that make me?
. . . What do you want?
What do you want?
I want . . . I want to stop being afraid, and to stop being hurt, and to stop being overwhelmed by memories.
Sounds like you want freedom. I can give you that.
You'd give me guilt, which is not the same. Besides, if I left here, where would I go?
I'm not suggesting you leave here, although that's certainly an option. I suggesting gaining the upper hand over L. Even you can't say that's not fair, seeing as he's had it for about a decade.
I don't want to be in charge of L.
And I think that's a contemptible lie.
Light's quiet, and then jumps when he sees something move out of the corner of his eye.
It's L, of course, leaning on the bathroom counter and watching him through the glass of the shower cubicle. He has a look on his face that Light can't quite define. He doesn't seem angry or afraid or anxious, or . . .
Dear god, has Light been talking out loud? Light rakes through his memories frantically, pulling his gaze back to the front of the shower as he turns off the water. He grabs his towel, shoulders relaxing as he finally determines that he hasn't spoken anything aloud.
He passes the towel over his body and hair before wrapping it around his waist and stepping out the shower.
"Morning," he says to L. He walks over to the sink beside L and reaches for his toothbrush.
L is quiet. Light tries again. "How'd you sleep?"
Light's brushing his teeth at this point, so he just shrugs. "Okay," he ways, once he can speak again.
L doesn't say anything else and Light, feeling something strange between the two of them, doesn't either. He turns and leans back against the counter as well, and watches L.
L's looking straight ahead, teeth idly nipping at his thumbnail, which is quite short. Light sees that the dark circles under his eyes, which had disappeared over the past few years, are back in full force. He is perhaps even thinner than before, which sparks a twinge of worry and guilt in Light.
Kira is silent, which also worries Light a bit, especially when there is still no reaction from him when Light reaches out and places a tentative hand on L's shoulder, fingers curling slightly around the base of his neck.
"What is it?" Light asks, when there is still no reaction from L.
Finally, L turns to look at him. "I was . . . worried," he says. "When I woke up and you weren't there."
"Oh," Light says, understanding. L doesn't know how long ago Light left him, and what he's done in that time. "Sorry," he adds. "I barely woke up myself."
L looks like he isn't sure if he believes him or not.
"Really," Light says, a little irritated. He laughs humorlessly and drops his hand from L's shoulder. "You can check your cameras if you really think I'd lie about something that trivial, L," he says acidly, pushing off the counter and starting to walk out of the room.
L grabs his hand and pulls him back, and suddenly Light is leaning back against the countertop again, L in front of him now; and just as suddenly, Light realizes what the strangeness of L's expression is.
L wants him. Bad, if his expression is any indication.
Light supposes that L has just watched him shower—something he's been shy about in the past—and that he is still wearing nothing but a towel.
Swallowing a grin that tries to force its way onto his lips, Light reaches up one of his hands and curls it around the back of L's neck again. His fingers play with the hair that hangs there, and he sees L swallow.
"Something wrong?" Light asks, and although he doesn't meant to sound so smug, it certainly comes out that way.
L's eyes, which have rapidly been losing focus as Light's other hand slides under his shirt to wrap around his waist, sharpen again and meet Light's.
"You're acting awfully impudent for someone who's not wearing any clothes," L says, leaning in to grip the counter behind Light.
Light moves closer, brushing his lips along L's jawline. "You're acting awfully impersonal for someone who's hoping to get some," he murmurs in L's ear. He presses his lips to the patch of skin just under his ear and moves down L's throat.
L's hands are trembling now, barely noticeable to Light as he uses the arm wrapped around L's waist to bring him closer. God, this feels good—why hasn't he done this before? He supposes he's just been . . . afraid, before.
Well, fuck that.
As Light presses barely-there kisses to the hollow of his throat and collarbone, he hears L mutter something above him, but quietly enough that he doesn't quite catch it. He lifts his head and meets L's eyes. "Hmm?" he prompts.
"This is still cheating," L repeats, louder this time.
Light thinks about that for a moment; then, with a sly smile, he begins to withdraw the arm from around L's waist. "Well, if that's how you feel," he says, pressing indifference into his tone.
He doesn't get far; L sinks his fingers into his damp hair and pulls him forward for a bruising kiss.
Light wants to smile, he wants to grin at this victory, but L presses up against him, turning them and pushing his back against the wall, and suddenly it's so much hotter than before and all he manages to do is groan softly. Light feels like it's almost too much, L's hands and mouth on him and their hips pressed together, and at the same time, it's not enough, not nearly enough. His hand moves up, threading into L's hair and turning his head slightly to get a better angle, and L makes a soft, pleased sound deep in his throat when Light's tongue flicks at his open mouth.
Light reaches between them with his other hand, and palms the front of L's jeans; L groans at that and his hips jerk forward slightly as Light continues to move his hand, gently pressing, knowing it can't be nearly enough to satisfy him.
"Light," L breathes, and there's a plea in his voice, a question or a concern; something Light is glad to answer in the affirmative.
"Bed," Light says, pressing harder.
L follows him without protest, pausing only to draw him in again for another hot, hard kiss, and Light almost just gives up on the bed entirely, but he manages to get the two of them into their room and falls back on the bed.
With L on top of him, between his legs, kissing him and reaching underneath the towel, Light can hardly think. He lifts his hips to allow the towel to be dragged from underneath him and then, thinking hazily, He has on way more clothes than I do and that's just not fair, Light works at the zipper on L's jeans.
L is starting to make him forget everything, burning away his worrying and his planning and everything until there is only one thing left bothering him, one of the things that's been bothering him for weeks now. He needs the memory of B - of B hurting him, touching him, fucking him - exorcised.
He reaches up tugs L down until his lips are pressed to his ear. "I want you," he whispers, hardly able to get the words out as L starts to stroke him.
"You have me," L says.
"No, not just – nngh – not just like this," Light manages to say. "Inside me, L." He reaches down, slips his fingers under the waistband of L's boxers and L inhales sharply as he brushes his fingers softly over his arousal.
"Are you – sure?" L asks, and Light doesn't know if he's more irritated or touched at L's concern.
"Yes," Light says, although it comes out as a groan since L takes that moment to grind their hips together again. "Oh god, do that again."
L complies—it hardly seems that he needs any instruction on the matter—and Light closes his eyes, panting.
"I don't have any . . . anything," L says, and it takes Light a second to get it, since all the blood that's supposed to be up in his brain has long since vacated the premises.
"Lotion," he manages, when he does understand.
L's never done this before, and Light barely manages to give instructions, sometimes just managing to gasp and nod in approval; it isn't very long at all until L is inside of him, moving so slowly, so hesitantly that Light thinks he would kill him if he didn't need this so bad.
"Fuck, L, move," Light groans, shifting his hips in encouragement.
L seems to be at a loss for words for a long moment, eyes glazed and breaths coming fast and shallow, then he swallows and leans down to kiss Light. "I don't want . . . to hurt you," he breathes.
"I'm – ahh – going to hurt you, if you don't start moving."
L does, but tentatively, still not enough, still so much gentler than Light is used to; he wants L to fill him, choke him with this pleasure, needs him to blind him with it, make him feel like he's burning up. He wants to forget, damn it, and L's being so gentle and kind that he can't stand it.
Light reaches up and tugs L down for a kiss, keeping them both from breathing for a few long seconds. "More, L," he says, nipping at his ear. "Please."
Light doesn't know if it's the please or the fact that he jerks his hips up so L slides fully inside him, but L suddenly seems to stop thinking and just moves. Light focuses on that movement; his world narrows down to sensation and sound as he closes his eyes and digs his fingers into L's back, panting and gasping for air that's too thin, too spare to keep up with this heady feeling.
And just when it seems like he can't feel anything else, L reaches down and runs his fingers first over his thighs and abs and then in between, stroking him harder than before, in time with his thrusts. Light has about 5 seconds to be impressed with L's powers of concentration before L fills him again, completely, and he comes, breath catching and his head falling back as he goes. L does too, moments later, and they're caught up in the sensation together, moving feverishly, riding out orgasm until they're both finally spent.
Light doesn't exactly fall asleep after—it's more that he's in a bit of a daze, laying next to L, their legs tangled together, eyes on the ceiling as he runs his fingers distractedly down L's back.
After a few minutes of that, their breathing goes back to normal, and L seems to come back to himself. He turns his head and presses warm lips to Light's neck—skin damp from the shower before, now damp from sweat.
Light lets his eyes slip shut as he languidly turns his head to the side, exposing more of his throat to L. He sighs contentedly as L lazily trails his lips down to the juncture of his neck and shoulder and begins to suck at the skin there, drawing it into his mouth, worrying it between his teeth, sucking until Light is sure there's going to be an impressive bruise. The thought makes him grin.
After a while, L seems to lose interest in that activity, and he props himself up a little, running curious fingers down Light's torso. Light shivers when his nails catch on the scarred skin there, and when that happens, L glosses a sympathetic palm over the area.
Light is so content, so warm and satisfied, that when Kira's voice echoes in his mind, it's like plunging headfirst into ice-cold water.
Seems like you enjoyed yourself. He sounds so goddamn smug that Light nearly snarls.
No. I've been quiet long enough.
Although Light is focused on this sort-of-conversation, Light does notice when L pulls back and sits up, watching him closely. Damn him and his discerning gaze.
"What?" Light asks, doing his best to keep his voice level and soft. He's noticed you talking to yourself, of course.
So stop. Talking.
"What's he saying?" L asked, and although his voice holds nothing but quiet curiosity, Light still flinches a little and sits up, running fingers through his hair. He notices the trembling in his fingers is back and he clenches his hands to stop it.
Finally, he sighs and looks over at L. "Nothing of importance," he says.
L raises his thumb and begins to worry it with his teeth. He's thinking, considering Light like he's a specimen and Light really is not in the mood for this right now.
Light presses his palms into his closed eyes and tries to force Kira from his mind. "For god's sake, L," he mutters. As Kira starts to laugh, he snaps, Shut. Up. I will talk to you later but right now I have absolutely no patience.
Is that supposed to intimidate me?
It's supposed to deter you until a later time.
I am not accustomed to waiting on anyone else's pleasure, Light.
"What does he want?" L asks, and for a brief flash, Light is angry at L, wants to hurt him, but just as quickly recognizes Kira's influence and shakes his head to dispel the feeling.
"Please just . . . don't," Light says tiredly. L considers him for a moment more, then stands and begins getting dressed. Light sighs. "L, what's wrong?" he asks.
L doesn't say anything for a moment. He's half dressed, with his jeans pulled on and his shirt in his hands; a look Light finds quite appealing.
"This . . . this may not have been the right time to do this," L begins, and Light's eyes narrow.
"This was exactly the right time to do this," Light snaps back. "If you mean to wait until you can be certain of my intentions, you'll likely be waiting a long time."
L raises his eyebrows and looks a little cagey.
"I just mean," Light continues, "that I'm happy to tell you, in excruciating detail, why this was an excellent idea, but I don't know that you'll believe a word I say."
L's lips twist into a half smile. "Can I believe what you say?" he asks.
Frustrated, feeling exposed, Light stands and pulls on his own boxers, and then walks around the bed and approaches L. "L, stop thinking, stop complicating everything, you're driving me crazy."
L pulls back from him (not that they were very close to begin with) and Light rolls his eyes, well and truly irritated now. "Why are you doing this?" L asks. "What could you possibly hope to gain?"
And Light can't even respond to that properly; he just makes a wordless sound of supreme frustration and paces away from L. After a few more moments of pacing, he feels calm enough to respond, and he turns suddenly to face L. "What could I gain from this?" he asks, folding his arms across his scarred chest. "Is it so impossible to believe that I'm did this because I wanted to?"
L shoves his hands in his pockets and studies the floor. He is silent.
Light takes a deep breath and approaches L, slowly this time. "L, I have wanted to do this for an obscene amount of time."
"Why didn't you?" L asks.
Damn it, L's going to make him say it.
"I . . . couldn't," Light forces out, looking down and away. "I felt like I shouldn't," Light manages to add, feeling so much more exposed than he did just a few moments ago. "I didn't deserve it."
L's eyes are concerned and guarded and it really is just too much for Light right now.
"Damn it, L, I'm not doing this to hurt you!" Light snaps. "I have done dozens—hundreds—of things with the intention of hurting you, and you know about all of those things, but this is not one of them."
"How can I be sure?" L asks, shifting from foot to foot.
Light laughs, bitterly. "And when has certainty ever factored into our relationship? Neither of us can be sure of anything when it comes to the other, can we? You can't be sure why I'm doing this—or if it's even me doing it, if it's Kira trying to manipulate you for God-knows-what reason; and I can't be sure why you'd let me do this, especially when you obviously regret it. Was it out of desperation, manipulation, pity, what?"
L looks startled at his sudden outburst and bites at his nail again. "I . . . I don't pity you, Light," he finally says.
"Well, that's news to me," Light snaps, he and Kira in agreement for once. "Why else—besides guilt—would you do all this? Why else would you follow me in what turned out to be more or less a full circle around the earth, trying to get me back from a serial killer, who I most likely had more in common with than I do you?"
L blinks, and looks hurt, but Light isn't finished yet. Every fear, every insecurity, every inconsistency is coming out of him, Kira pushing him further into this black mood as L watches in apprehension.
"You think you know me, L, you say you love me, but how can you when you don't seem to understand anything I do? When you think that I'd use sex as a tool to manipulate you, or that I'm so much weaker than Kira that he'd be able to overwhelm me completely, to the point that you wouldn't know who you were dealing with?"
"I do love you, Light," L says softly, trying to cut through Light's red tirade, but Light just laughs.
"You love me, sure," Light says bitterly, "you just don't trust me."
"And when have you given me a reason to trust you?" L is speaking quietly, calm in the face of Light's anger, and the simple words make Light flinch and bite the inside of his cheek to keep from snapping back. "You did leave with B, you did have the intention of killing Crowley and recovering the Death Note, you do feel bitter towards me and the way I've kept you imprisoned here, you murdered thousands of people, Light, you tried to keep the Death Note and Kira's reemergence from me, and you slept with B, just the same as you just had sex with me, and God knows if it meant anything more to you than when you were with him!"
By the time L is finished, he is nearly shouting, and Light finds himself sitting on the edge of the bed, out of breath and his chest tight and angry and desperate from what L has been saying.
It is so, so quiet in the room after that. They just stare at each other, and for once, no one looks away in guilt or anger or fear.
Kira is laughing softly in the back of Light's mind, and he flinches and presses cool fingers to his warm temple in an effort to prevent the headache he can feel coming from a mile away. "You . . . you mean something to me, L," he says, quietly. L's expression does not waver. "B didn't mean anything."
"You would not have left if he didn't," L says coldly.
"Fine," Light snarls. He gets to his feet again. "B meant freedom, L, he meant escape, he meant a chance for me to stop feeling desperate and confused and angry, and I was wrong to leave, I was wrong to give myself to him." Light shuts his mouth with a snap, suddenly, as Kira's presence starts to overwhelm him in his anger, and he struggles for a moment until he's back in control. L watches him, warily and sadly, and Light turns away, angrier than ever.
"You don't know," Light says softly, venomously. "You don't know what it's like to wake up and not understand where you are or how you got there. You don't know what's it like to not know, not be able to understand your own mind or what's happening to you. You don't know what's it's like to relive the worst moments of your life over and over until you are insane and humiliated."
"You don't have a corner on suffering, Light," L snaps, cutting cleanly through Light's anger. "I don't pretend to understand what you have been made to suffer, but that doesn't mean that I am immune to pain and loss and humiliation myself. It doesn't mean that I haven't lost things as well."
"If you're talking about your pride, then join the club-"
"I'm talking about my name, Light! I'm talking about my profession! You don't know—you never bothered to ask how I got you away from Near, or how I found you, or what I had to do to ensure your safety and B's capture!"
"What are you-"
"Near demanded that I give up my title as 'L'. He would not release you to my care otherwise, and I had nothing to bargain with besides my name," L says, and Light can hear real pain behind his words.
"How can he take away your name?" Light asks, bewildered and a little afraid.
"I had to declare the detective 'L' dead when he returned you to me. I drafted the email and sent it out to the major detective and police agencies before he even let me see you."
Another long pause, and this time L doesn't look at Light, can't look at him. "I . . . I helped B escape from a Japanese prison cell so I could follow his trail to find you. I risked all of those officers' lives, I dragged Matt and Mello and Wammy into all this, I overlooked Amane's death and the fire at the hotel in Tokyo—which killed about a dozen people, by the way—and the murder of a Japanese officer so I could focus on finding you. I-" and here L's voice finally falters- "I killed someone, Light, I killed Crowley, wrote his name in the Death Note when I realized that B must be leading you to him, when I understood that was why B had kept you alive, because he had promised your death to someone else."
At this point, L comes and sits down on the bed next to Light, who is looking at him like he is seeing him for the first time. He is lying- Kira starts, but Shut the fuck up, Light says, with such vehemence that it actually happens.
"I buried B," L continues. "I buried him and didn't I didn't look back, didn't ask you what had happened, let you have your space, waited for you to come to me when you needed me. I realized that Kira must be back and I didn't look for the Death Note, didn't demand that you hand it over to me, didn't demand that you give it up and lose your memories and his influence. I didn't burn the house down to destroy the Death Note inside. And all of those things occurred to me, Light, don't think that they didn't.
"But I waited—foolishly, perhaps—for you to trust me, to confide in me, and now you have the gall to say that I don't trust you? You have cut yourself off from me, and not just recently—in the past several years, you have become more distant, you have not bothered to confide in me although I have done everything I can to make you comfortable, to assuage your guilt and ease your conscience. It is you who doesn't trust me, Light, and even though there is nothing I want more in this world than your trust, I still don't have it."
Finally, Light thinks that he might understand. He sits on the bed, mouth slightly open, and takes a deep breath. He wants to apologize, but he knows L doesn't want his apology. He wants to kiss him, but he knows that L doesn't want his comfort. And after a long moment, he can't take it anymore and stands up and leaves.
L watches him go, his stomach twisted into anxious, horrible knots. His breath is coming fast and short, and he feels like he cannot get enough air. So this is what comes of finally telling the truth? Physical pain and Light running away? This is what he gets for being honest, for finally losing his temper and just saying everything that's been building inside of him for days and weeks and months and years? He can't even groan, can't even sob, or cry, he just leans over and presses his forehead onto his knees and closes his horribly dry eyes against the awful feeling of despair that he thinks might not ever go away.
He doesn't know how long he stays like that—how long he is bent over with his thoughts swirling as he thinks of everything and nothing with his heart pounding and his head aching—but however long it is, it ends when he hears Light's soft footsteps on their bedroom's carpet once more.
He knows it is Light; knows him so well by now he could tell just by hearing him breathe, just by his step, or his sighs. And God, he wants to keep him. But if Light doesn't trust him, if he still doesn't, after all this time and all he's done . . . he never will. And L might as well just let him go.
Light stops just a few steps away from him and waits, but L is in no mood to speak to him now, so after a few more moments, Light comes up to him and kneels on the bed next to him, touches his shoulder.
L forces himself to raise his head, even though it feels like it weighs at least 50 pounds, forces himself to look into Light's face, into his beautiful eyes. He feels like he's drowning, and wonders if Light feels like this all the time.
He feels so awful it takes him a moment to realize that Light is trying to say something, to hand him something, and without thinking, he lifts his hand to take it; but after a moment, and with a shock, he looks down and sees that he is holding a slim black notebook.
A/N: Oh, uh, hey guys.
I know, I know, it's been forever. And I've basically been totally silent. But please know that although I haven't often had access to a computer, I have read everyone's reviews and PM's and everything, and it has really inspired me to keep going.
I appreciate everyone's patience and concern. I don't really want to go into much detail, but I will say that I've been in and out of the hospital for the last year or so. I had a bit of a breakdown last November and I had to leave school and start on some serious medication. I don't know if anyone's ever been on a lot of medicine for mental illness, but it completely dulls any creativity I have. If anyone has any questions or anything, I'd be happy to answer them in a PM. I'm not ashamed or anything, just . . . it's kinda private, I guess.
Anyway, this story is just about wrapped up (hooray!) and L and Light finally got together (HOORAY!). I have finally been reunited with my faithful laptop, and I'll be starting school again soon; I am currently writing the next chapter of Disorder, and I'm working on Ceteris Paribus. I have a few chapters of that written, but not the very next one, so I need to work on that.
Thank you, thank you to anyone who's still reading. I am really grateful to have people who care about my writing. If you'd like, I'd love to hear from you. I can't promise anything, because Lord knows how I'll be feeling in the next couple of days, but I will try to respond to reviews, and I'll definitely respond to PMs.