Apparition

Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note or its characters.

Warning: Major spoilers for Death Note: Another Note

Chapter 1

It could barely be heard; Light had to stop typing to hear it. He could have sworn he heard footsteps on the floor above them. His eyes roamed across the room taking in the Kira Task Force until they rested on the great detective, L. He was balancing in a chair, the tips of his feet being the only thing touching it. He was crouched forward towards his computer, one hand placed idly against his bottom lip and the other picked at his sickly sweet piece of cake.

Light shook his head as a dark eye sent a curious look in his direction. L always knew when he was being watched, much to Light's dismay. "Something the matter, Light?" The words seemed friendly enough to the others, but not to Light. Everything L said had double meanings. He was always trying to convict him of something. Whether it's about him being the mass murderer Kira or stealing his snacks, there was always something.

L smiled gently, "You wanted some cake, didn't you?" Light hadn't gotten a good look at the older man all day; his eyes had been glued to the computer screen. He was shocked, somehow (if it was possible) L looked like he was getting less sleep than usual. The bags under his eyes were darker and more prominent. Maybe the stress of him being handcuffed to his prime suspect had something to do with that….

Light rolled his eyes. "Um, no thanks, Ryuzaki… I'm pretty full from dinner." He turned his concentration back on his computer screen. He scanned over lists and lists of Kira victims. There were thousands dead, and they were no closer to catching the bastard. "Actually, there is something… Is Watari here?"

L didn't bother to look away from his screen. "No, I sent him out for more toffee. Is there something you require?"

"No… I thought I heard footsteps upstairs… I must be tired. My mind is playing tricks." L was silent for a few moments as he considered Light's words.

"Yes, that must be it." The chain between them jingled as L pushed aside his chocolate cake. "Maybe we should all go to bed early. I'm feeling a little under the weather… I will wait until Watari returns." He slowly stood, "The rest of you may go home for the evening. I want you back bright and early."

Matsuda's face lit up. "Really, L? …I mean Ryuzaki…" He blushed furiously.

"Matsuda!" Soichiro Yagami glared at the younger police officer. "Alright, Ryuzaki. We will be back at 7am." He smiled fondly at his son, resting a warm hand on his shoulder. "Goodnight Light…" He gave his son's shoulder a squeeze before he left for the night.

The two geniuses sat in silence for over an hour. Light tapped his finger on the desk as he continued through the names, trying to see if there were any connections. He felt like he had been doing this for months, but it had only been a few hours. It was getting depressing.

That's when he heard it again—footsteps upstairs. Louder this time, as if the person was stomping around at the far corner of the room above.

"Watari must be back," L said softly. He pressed his microphone. "Watari, please bring me my toffee?" Silence followed. The stomping continued until it moved right over them and it stopped. Maybe someone broke in? Could it be Kira? Light shifted nervously in his seat. L didn't seem concerned that there could be someone sinister upstairs. "Watari?" He said again, sternly. They received a reply but it scared the shit out of Light. The computer screen flickered several times as a low rasping voice came through the speakers. It started as a whine and it progressed to one word, L. The sound continued for a minute and it died down to silence. The two stared at the screen. Light's heart was pounding.

"… What the hell was that?" Light's voice shook as he spoke. The sound had been so odd, it sounded like a dying animal's cry. L eyes were wide with interest; his thumb was pressed into his bottom lip.

"Curious…" Light's eyebrow lifted at the word. "I've never heard such a sound. It certainly wasn't Watari. Could have been feedback from the microphone…"

"Feedback from the microphone?" Light crossed his arms. "Is that what you honestly think, Ryuzaki? It said 'L'; I didn't know mic feedback could speak English."

"I can't say I have a reasonable explanation for that… It didn't sound like Watari…" At Watari, the door to the room opened; in walked the old man, brown bags in his hands and a bright smile on his face.

"Good evening. I brought your toffee." He placed the bag on the desk next to L and looked between the two, his smile fading. "What is it, Ryuzaki?"

L was quick to reply, "It's nothing."

L and his lies… "We heard a strange sound, that's all."

"Hmm…" Watari looked thoughtful at the two. "Maybe you two need to get some rest. Staying awake too long is not good for you."

"Maybe you should tell Ryuzaki that. I'd happily go to bed at a reasonable time."

"Three in the morning isn't reasonable?" L's lips move into a playful smirk.

"Off to bed, you two." Watari picked the bag up. "I will store this with the rest of your food." Light laughed at that. Watari considered that junk that L ate to be food? Light shut his computer down for the night; the older detective did the same next to him. Watari followed them to their room. He stopped at the door and said goodnight to them both. As Light laid under the heavy blankets his thoughts wondered back to the phantom footsteps and that weird voice. What in the world had it been? A ghost? No… it didn't make sense in any logical way, but neither does… well, a lot of things… Kira can kill with a face and a name, so why can't ghosts be real? Light shook off the thought. He was too tired for thinking tonight. He spared a glance in L's direction. He wished that L would turn to face him so he could see his eyes closed. Without those blank eyes staring into his soul (and accusing him of being a mass murderer) he might be able to be friends with him. He was surprise that L dared to turn his back on him; if he was a murderer he could easily kill him in his sleep. He suspected Watari was watching the room all night... that might make him sleep a little better.

The chain jingled loudly as L tossed back and forth several times, taking most of the blankets with him. Selfish brat. Light couldn't help but smile as his eyes slid shut.

Light shuddered as he peered at his reflection. His face… His hands moved up to touch his cheek… it was rotting. As his fingertip touched the blackened area, his skin disintegrated like ashes. He let out a loud sob as the skin disappeared into the air.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up. He was being watched. He quickly whirled around; there was nothing behind him but darkness. He called out for L, for his father, anyone.

Hot, foul air brushed against his face—it seemed to push his skin away, causing it to curl and rot. There was nothing next to him… he was standing alone in the dark.

An overwhelming sickening smell lingered in the air; it stunk of rotten meat. His hands moved to cover his nose, but a white, sharp pain at his stomach stopped him. He choked and his body fell forward, landing ungracefully on his knees, his arms curling around his abdomen.

The pain rose and rose to his throat, his hands followed. It was as if something was crawling through his body trying to escape. His nails tore at the skin of his throat, blood appeared in the small tears. He screamed in pain, he'd never experienced so much agony-

OH GOD! It was coming up his throat!

His eyes widened in terror as his mouth opened of its own accord. Scarlet and bile covered fingers emerged from his throat. Blood spilled from his mouth as he tried to scream—the fingers turned to a hand—then to an arm. He was screaming—

Light's brown eyes tried to focus. He panted heavily; a cool sheen of sweat covered his body. His hand lifted from under the blankets to touch his brow. A nightmare… he sighed, relaxing his head against the pillow. It felt so… so real. He turned to face L, who was in a similar position. His thumb was in his mouth, an odd smile on his face as he stared back.

Light gave a frustrated sigh, "A bad dream does not constitute me being Kira." L's head tilted at his words, but he remained silent. Light could see the gears in his head working to figure something out. Light finally got a good look at L's face—his dark hair was moist and in tangles… did he have a nightmare as well? He wouldn't be surprised. From what he could tell, L had seen some pretty bad stuff that would scar most people for life. "You had a nightmare too…"

L's eyes betrayed nothing; he yawned sharply and sat up. "It's almost five—we should get an early start, seeing as we went to bed earlier than we normally would have." Why did I have to wake up? Light scowled and followed L out of their bed.

X.X.X

It was two hours before the rest of the team showed up. Matsuda's eyes were half-lidded, he obviously had a rough night. They all got a good laugh out of Matsuda tripping over a chair. Well… everyone but L; he was already off in his own little world typing away. The day was otherwise uneventful. That night, on the other hand…. Was an entirely different story.

The others had left around 8pm that night. There hadn't been any breaks in the case, so there was no reason to keep them away from their families any longer. Matsuda was more than happy to leave but the others left reluctantly. Light started noticing L's depression a few weeks beforehand. Light didn't think anyone else would notice it, but he did. It was subtle things: the detective wasn't eating as much junk, he crouched more than usual, he talked less, and was less argumentative with Light. The others probably saw it as a breath of fresh air, but it annoyed the hell out of Light. How were they going to catch Kira if L wasn't working at his full potential? At this rate, they were never going to arrest them.

Other than L typing at his laptop, the room was eerily silent. Light was still looking tediously through names, but there was something… something different with these names. Some of the more recent victims of Kira were all higher-ups in competitive businesses… He scrolled down through the names and several more were showing up. There was also something else odd with the time and dates of the deaths… they were all occurring around the same time. Light let a triumphant smile cross his face. Yes! They'd finally gotten a break! He swiveled in his chair to face L.

"Ryuzaki! I found something. I've been tracking all of Kira's deaths, and within the last month, all the victims were killed on Mondays at 8pm. This breaks the pattern! The other thing I noticed was that all the people who have been killed are from businesses that—"

L's eyes had lit up. "Yes, I see…" He paused for a minute, bringing up a list on his computer, quickly taking in the information and names. "What do you know about the Yotsuba group?"

"Not much… I know that they've been doing rather well lately…."

"If you look at the list of people killed and compare them with Yotsuba's competitors…." Light leaned over L to see the list. "Not a single person from Yotsuba has been killed by Kira... and Yotsuba happens to gain from these deaths." A small smile appeared on L's pale face.

Light smiled back at his friend. "Should I call the others?"

L contemplated silently for a minute. "No, we need to double-check this information before we decide our next course of action. Light, please print what you have and I will do the same. We can line up what we have, then proceed with our investigation. If we are correct about our assumptions, we may have found a third Kira." A wide grin appeared on L's face. It had never occurred to Light that he hadn't seen the detective smile like that. He appeared truly happy, if only for a moment... The smile faded as he went back to work.

After they both printed the names and dates, they sat at a round table, the papers scattered across it.

"I have the list of people who work for Yotsuba. There's several hundred…" Light frowned. This is going to take a long time…

"We need to see who would gain the most out of these deaths. An everyday worker wouldn't necessarily be a suspect. Anyone low on the chain would have less than one percent suspicion… now… someone in management… would have more than fifty percent suspicion. They have more to gain if the competition dies. That will narrow the list down to…" The black haired man was silent as he scanned through pages and pages of names. "About fifty people." His eyes met with Light's.

"How will we find out who Kira is? That's still a lot of people. Are we going to go by personality profile, or continue with who has more to gain?"

L dropped a marshmallow into his mouth. "What do you think?"

"Hm… I think that if we go by who has more to lose on its own, there are some people who will get pulled in who aren't the type to murder. But if we go on both… we could see who would be more likely…"

"Yes, that's what I was thinking. We can also go through lists of known Kira supporters or people who associate with Kira supporters to see if we can make any type of connection."

"I don't know about you, Ryuzaki, but I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight. This is too much. We're close to catching Kira."

"I'll have Watari make us a pot of coffee." L talked to Watari over the speakers and a moment later Light and L wandered into the kitchen. Light rummaged through the sweets-filled refrigerator until he found an apple. He took an eager bite. L peered at Light with interest… or more so, the apple in his hand. "Light likes apples?" A sly smirk came to his face. "So does Kira…"

Light sighed heavily. "We've discussed this before, most people like apples, Ryuzaki. I'm surprised these are in here, considering all you eat is junk." He took a large bite of the red apple.

"Watari bought those especially for you." He ignored most of what Light said… like usual. He has very selective hearing.

L opened the refrigerator. "I've been craving that toffee Watari got yesterday…" He reached in and grabbed the box of sweets. A deep frown settled on his face as he opened it. He looked like a child who discovered Santa wasn't real. "I don't recall eating all of them…"

"You go through that junk so fast I wouldn't be surprised if you did."

"…No… I only had two pieces. I wasn't feeling well so…" He tossed the box onto the counter top, sending the wrapped toffee inside tumbling.

Light's eyebrow gently lifted. "Are you blind? The box is full."

"I have perfect vision. I could tell if there was candy in that box." He snapped at Light. He looked at the box again and it was empty. "I don't see anything."

"You don't see the silver-wrapped toffee?" Light picked one up between his fingers and showed it to L. "You don't see this?"

L shook his head. "I see your fingers appearing to hold something, but there is nothing there."

"Hold your hand out." L did so as Light dropped the candy into his hand. He felt a small weight on his hand and closed his fingers around it. The distinct sound of a plastic candy wrapper being crumpled filled the air.

He frowned and opened his fingers. "I feel something in my hand, but I can't see it. This is…" His eyebrows were drawn together in a perplexed look.

Light laughed. "I guess your lack of sleep has finally caught up with you. I'm surprised you haven't had problems until now."

"This isn't from lack of sleep." He shook his hands over the sink, dropping the candy into it. "This is something else…" He trailed off, bringing his hand to his bottom lip; he bit his nail nervously.

Watari walked silently into the room, a pleasant smile on his aged face. "The coffee is brewing." He looked between the two.

"Ryuzaki has finally gone crazy." Watari's smile turned to concern and he moved to L, gently touching his back.

"What's wrong, Ryuzaki?"

He brushed the older man off. "Nothing to be concerned with. We have work to do."

Watari persisted in a low voice. "Is this like last time?" Light's ears perked up at that. Last time…?

"I don't know… Maybe. I don't want to discus it at this time." The brunette looked between the two, flabbergasted. Another secret. Light scowled, he was sick of the secrets and lies. Couldn't he tell the truth for once in his god damned life? He'd get it out of him eventually.

X.X.X

It was quiet again. L was drinking his sugar-coma inducing coffee, using a piece of licorice as a straw. Light shook his head. For all his brains, L acted just like a child sometimes. Watari's words were still on his mind. It was annoying how L could make him feel frustrated so easily. He knew L was secretly reveling in the fact that Light was thinking about what had been said.

"You know Ryuzaki, you don't have to keep everything a secret. This isn't going to help me discover your true name. What's going on? What happened before?" L turned to face Light, his face as blank as ever.

"As I said before its noth-" There was a loud crash above them causing all the lights in the room to flicker at the same time. Light visibly jumped at the sound, his heart thumping wildly in his chest.

"What was that?" Light shouted, his eyes wide. Loud footsteps sounded above them moving towards the darkened staircase. The youngest member of the task force jogged towards the stairs, halting at the bottom, L trailed behind him.

A feathery touch of fingertips were at Light's shoulder. "Light! Don't! Stay down here. If someone is there they could kill you." Light was shocked at the amount of emotion behind his voice. It was one of the few times it ever sounded like he cared about anyone besides himself.

"If they're here to kill anyone it's probably L. Stay behind me." They'll have to go through me to get to L. Light peered up the stairs into the darkness. "Watari?" Silence followed. He slowly moved up the staircase until the chain stopped him and peered down the empty hall, with an exasperated sigh he walked back towards L. "What the hell is going on?" He angrily crossed his arms. No one was upstairs… this can't be what I think it is? ...Can it? Ghost aren't real… but it explains… well everything. L knows what's going on. It's obviously happened before, in this very building. Someone must have died when it was being built.

A high pitched whine suddenly filled the air, it started off soft and it slowly got louder. The computer screens and lights flickered wildly.

They covered their ears as the sound intensified. L was shouting something to him but the sound was so loud…

The sound started to dissipate. Light was breathing heavily. "L… tell me what the fuck is going on! NOW!" L's dark eyes met his.

"I told you before Light, there is nothing 'going on' as you would say. I have nothing to say." L's calm exterior was starting to freak Light out. How could he be this calm in such a frightening situation? Light's lips pressed into a thin line.

"Something is going on and I'm going to find out what it is." L was silent, he turned away from Light. His shoulders were slumped forward more than usual. "Ryuzaki, hey, I'm sorry I yelled at you. I'm just… I have no idea what's going on. Now, I'm not going to be able to sleep for another reason. I'm exhausted." He said softly.

"I don't know what's going on, I really don't. I don't have an answer." Light cast him a worried glance.

"We'll figure it out. It'll be a side case. We'll capture Kira and we'll figure out what's going on. If anyone can figure it out, it's you." L turned to face him, a small smile on his face. Complimenting L skills as a detective always got him in a better mood.

"Alright Light. We need to focus. Kira is our main priority." The detective took in a deep breath. "Kira is someone in the Yotsuba group."

To be continued…

AN: Thank you for reading! Special Thanks to my rad Beta JJ! Right now, I don't have my own computer so I'm pretty slow with updates.