Author's Note: RIP Yagami Light...
The first dream was the worst, if only because his innocence was still mostly intact. His hand wasn't calloused, or threatening to launch into a spasm of carpal tunnel. His emotions were raw and exposed, as he hadn't practiced turning them off along with the light before he went to sleep.
The evening of this momentous nightmare, he'd been walking home, dripping wet, drenched in the blood of the man he had killed. He could see it on his palms, dripping into the crevasses, draining into his life line, staining beyond soap's scope. Crimson splatters embellished his shirt, the fabric decorated in poisoned poinsettias. He could even taste it, a nauseating swell of blood, miniature typhoons and tsunamis wreaking havoc under his tongue, the flood waters rising with every step, covering every pearly nub of tooth, waves crashing against his sealed lips, managing to leak out, sickeningly, slipping free, dripping down his chin—
No. No. It was only rainwater. Only rainwater.
However, on the off chance that he wanted to be soaked in some other metaphorical item, he would be doused in the world's sins.
And how many sins there were! Swarming, teeming, festering, fat little maggots, infecting the world on their gluttonous rampage. He was the only hope the world had, the only exterminator with an implement strong enough to completely scrub the world into a gleaming sheen. It was his duty to use this weapon. Yes! His duty. It would be morally wrong not to do it.
And then, after the world was purified, when everyone knew of their savior, he would be exalted as God of the New World.
He smiled, rather heartened by this prospect. What a dent he would make in the history books! Greece, Rome, Persia, every past empire eclipsed by his perfect reign, filled with Peace and Chivalry and Justice. War, crime, evil, unhappiness—all eradicated under his golden regime.
These lovely thoughts kept him steady as he made his way back home, stopped his teeth from chattering or his knees from shaking from anything but the cold, and gave him the incentive to call back his Yagami Light façade when he opened the front door.
"Oh, Light!" Sachiko exclaimed, rushing over as her son slipped off his sodden, squeaking shoes. "You're soaking wet!"
"Just a bit," he allowed brightly, unzipping his coat.
"This is looking a bit worn. Should I buy you another raincoat?" she fussed.
Light laughed, eyes crinkling just so. "No, it's alright, mom. This one is still good."
"Oh, of course."
"I'm going to take a hot shower now, and then I'm off to bed. Goodnight." He waved, smiling warmly, and sluiced his way up the stairs.
Up in the shower, it was easy not to remember that he'd actually killed someone. Surrounded by his pleasantly smelling soaps and shampoos and loofahs, he was able to drift into a warm, steamy daze, criminals and murders and uncleanliness all forgotten. Even though his eyes were closed, sharp 20/10 vision covered and tucked away, he could practically feel the incriminating beads of blood swirling down the drain, leaving nothing but the even tan of his toned skin.
The showerhead stopped its deluge, and the curtain whipped back, sweltering steam puffing out as Light drip-drip-dripped his way out of the shower. Plush towels carefully caught the remaining droplets and a hairdryer decimated the ones in his hair. When the whirring of the hairdryer began sounding a bit too much like screaming, Light turned it off, even though his still damp hair was going to hate him for it in the morning.
The mist on the mirror was melting.
Light sped up, ferociously scrubbing at his teeth and swishing mouthwash and pinning back his bangs and adding product to his hair, all at such a dangerous pace that he dreaded what this was going to do to his appearance.
But now the fog was fading, and drops were rolling faster and faster and faster down the slick surface, and turning red, and his face in the mirror was torn and disfigured, and he was absolutely mute, but his reflection wasn't, oh, no, it was screaming, screaming, screaming, screamscreamscreamsscreams—
Light scrabbled at the doorknob with frantic fingers that tore at the paint and caught white flecks in his nails cheeks flushed and sweat beading on his forehead, desperately gasping out into the cold, safe hallway.
Light looked down at a shocked Sayu, who was staring at him with a mixture of disbelief and disgust.
He tightened the towel around his waist and struggled to catch his breath, and then with a forced smile, greeted, "Good evening."
"What are you—?"
"No." Sayu held her hands up forcefully and shook her head violently. "Please, don't even tell me."
The gears in Light's head spun uselessly, then shifted, clicked, and he started. "No! Wait, I wasn't—"
"You're so gross, Light! What's wrong with you?"
"No, Sayu, just listen—"
"Brother, what happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom," she commanded sternly, wagging a finger. "Now shh!" And she fled back into her bedroom.
As awkward as that exchange had been, it had also been beneficial in that Light was no longer convinced that he was going to be attacked by his mutilated mirror self. Honestly, how ridiculous. He really had to grow up if he was going to be God of the New World.
Light ducked back into the bathroom, snagged his robe off the hook on the back of the door, and shrugged it on before retreating into his bedroom to get dressed. The door locked with a quick twist of his wrist, the light flashed on with another, the loose cloth of the robe was replaced by the light cotton of his pajamas, and the light was extinguished with third flick.
Out of the corner of his eye, Light saw a dark mass on the floor. He froze, terrified of facing it directly, because surely it was a reaper coming for him now, coming for his soul, crouched and ready to spring for him, to crunch at his ribs and pluck out his heart, to spill all the blood and viscera he wasn't brave enough to, and finally to consume it greedily, messily, ravenously—
It wasn't moving. Why hadn't it attacked? Why wasn't he dead by now? How was this possible?
Clutching his breath tightly in his petrified lungs, Light looked down.
It was just his robe.
Light jerked his chin up, peering down his nose contemptuously at the offensive mound of fabric and kicking it away. Stupid, unreliable peripheral vision. Trying to trick the God of the New World.
A car horn blared outside, and the God of the New World dove under his covers.
As the thick covers curled into his sweating fists, the howl of a far away siren tunneled through his ear canals, morphing, churning, grating brutally at his sanity until only shreds remained, hanging pitifully from his skull until all he could hear were the choked, unreleased screams of his victims, and the silent, scraping shrieks rattling through his skull. Light fell into fitful series of nightmares barely passing for sleep, and by morning, his pajamas were soaked right through, and he looked as physically bruised as he felt.
But he has to shove his God of the New World skeleton into the closet, and replace it with his Yagami Light one. He takes a quick shower, eats a healthy breakfast, and calls a cheerful goodbye to his mother and sister.
The moment he gets onto the street, he vomits into the bushes.
For the rest of the day, whether sitting with friends, or passing complete strangers, he can't bear to look anyone in the eye for more than a moment. It is almost as if he can see their sins, their unworthiness, virulent and infectious, and it absolutely sickens him to see how unworthy the general population is of living.
He throws out his lunch, and picks at his dinner. He smiles only tight grimaces and laughs only caustic chuckles, and feels empty whenever he breathes. He doesn't look into mirrors, and every shadow makes him jump. As the clock hands spin unceasingly and the sun slips lower into the horizon, he feels as if he is walking towards a noose; climbing into bed is slipping the rope into a taut circle around his neck, and falling asleep for the first time is as traumatic as having the floor fall out from under his feet.
On the third night, he rediscovers the Death Note in his backpack when rummaging around for a pencil; he does nothing but stare for three minutes, and then picks it up on the fourth.
It feels sickeningly smooth and suitable in his hands.
His desk supplies him all the ink he could ever need, and his computer all the names in the world. Now all he has to do is write.
So he does.
By one in the morning, one hundred hearts have stopped beating.
And so it goes.
After that, he simply stops dreaming.
Sanity is madness put to good use. – George Santayana
When Light opens his eyes, he is screaming.
L's first reaction is to comfort him, long fingers stroking soothingly through the youth's damp hair, smoothing down his rumpled shirt, mouth whispering and nipping at his ear. Light accepts the caresses as he pulls out of the nightmare, needing the human contact for reassurance that he is alive, he is with L, as safe and sound as he could ever be, considering the circumstances.
But then something clicks, and his nostrils flare as his throat goes dry, and he shoves away from his concerned lover.
"I just need to breathe," he asserts feebly as he shoves away and respires heavily, staring shakily at the all too familiar furniture in the cool blackness of the room.
L is clearly miffed at the rejection, but he gathers himself up quickly enough and crawls back over to Light, placing a hand on his trembling back. "What happened?"
"Nothing," Light gasps out, twitching away, lungs scrambling for oxygen molecules and mouth scrambling for tendrils of an excuse. "The shinigami. I just…"
L freezes, the well-oiled gears in his skull spinning madly, threatening special relativity as they approach the speed of light and then—
Light's head slams back into the pillow, his shoulders pinned down by merciless fingers and his left leg trapped beneath a pointed kneecap.
"What the hell?" Light gasps out, reeling and disoriented from both the nightmare and the unforeseen attack.
It had been hard to grasp that L wasn't as emaciated as he appeared, but through their fights and other private calorie burning activities, Light had eventually learned not to underestimate his opponent. However, he hadn't so much as imagined that L could possibly move so fast.
L catches Light's furiously burning gaze with his own appropriately chilled one. Just as he did when the handcuffs were still on and Light had perfectly normal nightmares, filled with chase scenes involving oversized lizards or anthropomorphized donuts, L asks, "Did you see how you killed them?"
Leftover beads of sweat are suddenly glaring and incriminating, guilt dripping from his brow and soaking his pajama shirt. He is all too aware of the air passing through his windpipe, and every beat of his heart is the beep of a lie detector.
L is far too close, too volatile, too dangerous, and his hands are really quite near his throat. Light must be very, very careful not to stumble into the detective's trap, coiled and taut, ready to snap at and shatter his ankles. His almost-assassin's proximity is clouding his thinking and muddying his judgment, and he needs space to just think and lie and breathe.
"Get the fuck off me," he demands, holding L's incomparable gaze steady, but not without effort.
L does not move, instead pointing out, "Your pulse is unusually rapid."
"As is common when people become frightened, such as after a nightmare."
"Or during periods of compunction."
"Compunction for what?"
L had been just waiting for him to ask this, and Light really regrets having doing so, but there's nothing he can do now. The question has already clawed its way out of his mouth, an innocently sprouting rose with all too obvious thorns.
"I should think you would know best of all, Kira-kun."
This is hitting too close to home, more closer than it ever has before, because this is Light's name, and he answers to it, because he is Kira-kun more than he was ever Yagami-kun, or Light-kun or Onii-chan, or any other warm, familiar name that now feels hollow in his ears.
The accusation is made all the worse because Light knows that it is true. He usually refuses to admit it, because God is perfect, and God of the New World is shiny and improved and even more perfect, and therefore Light does not—cannot feel compunction, especially not for something that is so utterly right. This mass string of deaths is not murder, but judgment. Light is justified in sending a flood out to sweep out the sinners, because he is God of the New World and if the survivors would only acknowledge that and become better people, their hearts would live to beat another day.
But sometimes, when the weather is tempestuous, and shadows are stretching across the floor to nip at his ankles, and Ryuk is smacking at an apple with his unnatural, lipless maw, Light can't help but worry that he isn't God after all, and he is going to spend eternity is a place worse than Hell. Sometimes he imagines himself as a shinigami, and the idea of looking so hideous, so inhuman, so perverse, with nails like knives, knotty joints jutting out, eyelids shriveled into nonexistence, teeth like stumps out of dry, shrunken gums, wings protruding out of a hunched back, sprouting, growing, wrenching, contorting, twisting—
These are the nights when Light wakes up screaming.
Light is exceptionally riled up now, and L is still staring at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. Oh, Light will give him an answer.
Hoping to catch his adversary off guard, Light jerks his free right knee up towards L's groin. But the world's three greatest detectives is prepared for anything and everything, and he twists out of the way, flexible as a ballet dancer, powerful as a martial artist. L quickly retaliates by slamming his foot into Light's own groin, as well as his forearm into his throat, just in case.
For a moment, Light can't even breathe, but then L lifts the pressure, only the slightest bit, aiming to keep his hostage alive just a little bit longer.
"Dammit," Light hisses, managing to sound ferocious through the wheezing. "I'm not your prisoner anymore. If I want to walk right out that door, you'll have to let me."
L is silent as he visibly flits through the options, imagining, Light presumes, the look on Soichiro's face if he learns of all the abuse that has occurred in this bed. He evidently comes to a dismal conclusion, as he releases Light after a moment, but not without another swift kick in the groin for good measure.
"I suppose you are correct." L's voice is drier than the Sahara desert during global warming as he clambers off of Light's battered form. "Forgive me for such impudence, Yagami-kun. I'll see you at work tomorrow morning."
Light hesitates for just a moment, hardly believing that he has been liberated so easily. Where is the fight, the obstinacy? Where the rapacious grip of his hands, the possessive dents left in Light's arm by his nails?
Slowly, he stands up, and then waits.
L is slouching on the opposite side of the bed, hands shoved petulantly in his pockets, gaze crossly averted. Icy waves of disapproval gusts off of his body, and Light shivers. He has a sudden impulse to hurry over and banish that frostiness, to warm up his form with an apologetic kiss.
Kira doesn't need to apologize, much less with a kiss. Kira doesn't need fire or passion; He has quite enough of it in His fingertips, which mercilessly command a pen to execute thousands of criminals, and in His eyes, which callously stare at the ink filling countless pages and don't care about all the cooling blood they represent. Kira doesn't feel guilt. Kira doesn't apologize. Kira is God, and God doesn't mind solitude. On the contrary, He needs it. How could God possibly degrade Himself to want the company of a mere, imperfect mortal?
While Kira imagines killing L gleefully—with a machine gun, or maybe by drowning him in the shower, or possibly even the chillingly lovely poison in his tea—Light sobs and wants to commit suicide himself; the gap between the two is growing magnificently.
Leave and don't come back to him.
Ignore him tomorrow morning. This has to stop.
But I lo—
You disgust me.
Light opens his mouth to protest, and Kira grinds His heel in his face.
"Ryuzaki," Light manages from behind Kira's gag.
Obliviously, L doesn't turn around to his lover dying. "Just leave."
Light sputters out and fades, leaving only Darkness.
Author's Note: Yagami Light died today. This is very sad. It is very late. I cannot say much more.
I spy with my little eye another Slaughterhouse Five reference. I can't help myself, it seems.
Massive thank you's are in order.
Chibi-hime123 - once again, you have swooped in with your superhero cape and saved the day with your mad betaing skills. I owe you one.
Woodlin - without you, this story would have died a terrible death a couple hundred words before it's completion. You win at life.
Good night darlings.