Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note, I'm making no money from this. Quote line is Samuel Beckett. Lyrics, in order: Don't Look Back Into The Sun, by The Libertines; So Contagious, by Acceptance; The 59 Sound, by The Gaslight Anthem; Dr Jones, by Aqua, Drive, by The Gaslight Anthem. Final quote lines are John B Hood and Ralph Waldo Emerson, respectively.

Note: Five disjointed little stories about moments that didn't happen. If you enjoy this at all, the credit goes to phollie, because I've been reading her stuff and frankly you should as well because if you want to see how writing is done, how it's really done, that girl can show you. If you don't enjoy this, then go read her stuff to remind yourself that some people can still produce quality.

Spoilers for series end. Mogi's bit: the death order is taken from the numbers Mikami sees over everyone's heads in Yellowbox. I went with the lower the number, the shorter the time left. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I hope you enjoy.

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The Brave Ones

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"You're on earth. There's no cure for that."

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don't look back into the sun
now you know that the time is come
and they said it would never come for you

-

Matt is sitting in a corridor of the orphanage on his own. It is a beautiful day in May, and the sunlight is bright and clean – not the heavy honey of August, or the icy glints of January. It is spring light, fresh and dazzling and warm, comfort and peace and protection as it filters, in thin beams, through the high windows. Dust dances lazily in the streams of gold, and the air is very still, and the sleeves of Matt's jersey are too long, and cover his hands. He is alone and full of Sunday lunch and his feet are covered in clean red socks, the plushy kind that mean you never get cold.

And somewhere in the world he knows Near is surrounded by computers and wires and people much older than him with stern faces and impassive eyes.

And somewhere in the world, he knows Mello is surrounded by loneliness and anger and frustration and all the danger he could find.

And somewhere in the world, he knows L is not.

And Matt is here, in a sun lit corridor shut away from the world, protected by strong walls and watchful, paternal stares, and he is locked away from them, they who have been cast out too young into that cold world outside, where people are dying and things are rotting and nothing is ever going to be the same.

He is fifteen tomorrow and he has never been more scared in his life.

-

oh no this couldn't be more unexpected
and i can tell that i've been moving in so slow

oh...when i'm around you i'm predictable

-

Ide is watching Aizawa watching Matsuda. Aizawa's face is drawn, and his brow is furrowed, and there is a depth of concern and pain behind his eyes. He is focusing in on Matsuda, just on Matsuda, on making sure he is alright, because that is how Aizawa has always operated. When things are bad, when the fallout is too much to bear, when you feel as if your brain is about to explode – stop. Step back. Focus on the thing that is going to fall apart quickest, and stop it. And then you will be alright.

The reason Ide is watching Aizawa is because watching Matsuda makes him feel as if nothing in the world is worth anything and nothing they did had any purpose because at the end of it all, when they have won, Matsuda is standing there shaking and looking like this.

Once upon a time Ide walked away from this case. He turned his back and put it from his mind. Oh, sure, he still followed leads up here and there. He provided Aizawa with all the help he needed from inside the police force, after the others started shunning the taskforce, after they started saying L's name in hushed breaths or with sneers on their lips. But he had walked away. There was a barrier, as invisible as it was impenetrable, between him and all the pain, the suffering, the terror that came with that case.

And then one day the barrier was gone.

Once upon a time, Ide could have got here, to this point, with Light sprawled on the ground like Christ crucified, and he could have turned away. He could have felt sick, he could have felt sad, he could have felt fooled and angry and tired and relieved and any number of things a police officer feels in this kind of situation.

Once upon a time, he could have turned away. But now, today, here, in the dying embers of the sun and the low syrupy glow of evening, the blood-soaked streets and the rust of the hinges on the doors of a warehouse, Matsuda is shaking like a leaf and he looks pale and thin and like everything in his world is crashing down against him, and Ide still can't look at him straight.

And Ide, he knows full well that he can't turn away. Not anymore.

-

and i wonder which song they're gonna play when we go
i hope it's something quiet and minor and peaceful and slow

i hope we don't hear marley's chains we've forged in life
cos i've been hearing those chains now for most of my life

-

L is quite prepared for anything this world sends at him, even death.

Light Yagami is Kira, that much is certain. He is also relatively certain that Light has, somehow, lost his memories – or forfeited them, he thinks, oho, this Yagami, this bright little boy, there is nothing he has not planned for, there are no accidents in this story – and that is why he seemed so different for a while.

He is back now, of course, that old Light, that real Light, that cultured, graceful young man with all the self-possession of a man and all the beautiful youth and simplicity of a boy. This is the Light with the hooded gaze, the calculative, concerned eyes, and the shadow behind them, a shadow so pale in the noonday sun of his brilliance that sometimes, you cannot even be sure it is there.

But L can see it. He can see it as he tonelessly informs Light that he will remove the handcuffs, as he turns the key in the lock, as the chains clatter to the floor. Even in the noise of the room, the whir of the computers, Matsuda's chatter, for that moment, everything seems silent. For L, there is only the sound of the click of the key, the release of metal from metal, the sound of weight cutting through air and the heavy clang as it hits the ground.

It sounds a lot like jail cells, L thinks, and he's heard enough of those in his time to be sure.

He's been around long enough to know that the door isn't closing on Light, either.

The moment those chains hit the floor, the hourglass was turned over for the final time. They have been passing it between them, he and Light, each keeping pace with the dance, fighting to get one step ahead long enough to turn the sands in their favour. Time has been slipping, slipping, slipping away for them both and it has been a battle, ferocious and silent, to keep it on his side.

L can feel the fight running out of him. L has been fighting this battle every day since its start, and Light – Light has just got his second wind. That little break from the scheming, that little episode of memory loss – planned, planned, he's sure of it, and if he just knew the slightest bit more about these damned Death Notes – that's given him just the chance he needed to gain ground. The hill is lost, and Light has the advantage.

It is the final turn of the hourglass, and he can feel it in his every bone, his every fibre, in every half-formed theory and loosely-worded question, in every memory of orphaned children and flash of red eyes in a face that was a hair's breadth from being his own.

He is so, so tired.

My name is L Lawliet and I am going to die.

-

all i think of is you
and all of the things we had

-

Misa is patient and she is in love and she will wait forever for Light to come home.

She has started sewing. Embroidery. It's pretty and it keeps her busy. She is glad she isn't acting still. She doesn't know if she could concentrate on it. And she would much rather be a good wife to Light. Maybe...and a little smile crosses her face when she thinks of it, even though she shouldn't, even though it's only getting her hopes up like she always does...maybe even, one day, a good mother.

She embroiders pillows and sometimes, when they're good enough, she likes to make a gift out of them. Matsuda visits her on Wednesday afternoons, and last week she presented him proudly with a HOME SWEET HOME pillow for his apartment. It was blue and he blushed terribly and stuttered and didn't meet her gaze.

He was sweet and he was handsome, in his own way, but he wasn't Light. No one could be.

She asked about her fiancé (fiancé! It still excited her to think it, even after all this time) frequently, but Matsuda never knew anything. He really was quite useless, but he was very cute.

None of the others took her phone calls or were there when she went to visit the NPA offices.

If Misa didn't know better, she'd say something was up.

But Misa isn't stupid and suspicious and paranoid (like Takada, she thinks, with girlish spitefulness, and regrets it when she remembers poor Taki is dead and that isn't fair, no matter who you are), so she gets on with her day, and waits for Light.

And she waits and waits until one day, she is not waiting any more, and it has always been too late for them to save her.

-

and the only thing we know
is it's getting dark, and we'd better go

and if you're too tired, go to sleep, my brothers,
I'm alright to drive

-

Mogi is there at the end of it.

He survives them all, in the end. Him, the only one who never really had a place in any of it, who was always just the slow, steady extra pair of hands, the muscle and the stoic silence. He is there, when the curtain is down and all of it has been locked away and forgotten, and he is the only one left who knows the truth of any of it.

Ide went first. He heard, somewhere, that he didn't, that the man Rester from the SPK had been the first of them to die, in a terrorist bombing incident in Florida. But Ide, he was the first that mattered to Mogi. Cancer, of all things, of all the blasted, disgusting things to happen to a man as good, as strong as he was.

He was the only reason Matsuda had survived it, the only reason there had been anything left of him to salvage.

Aizawa had gone next, in the line of duty, as Mogi had always really known he would. And then, inevitably, Near, who died a young man's anonymous death. They all attended the funeral, those of them that were left, and vowed to keep better contact, now that the numbers were thinning.

That was how he came to know of Halle Lidner's death, and her husband's not soon after. Gevanni, he heard, had died of a broken heart.

And then it had simply been him, and Matsuda, left at the end.

It made him laugh. The mute and the fool, two of the caricatures of the whole thing, and they had outlived them. Here they were, after it all, growing old, listening to people talk of Kira is post-modern, punk-rock terms, exchanging knowing glances and half smiles, because enough time had passed that they could remember it as it was – horrible, life-altering, devastatingly cruel, and ultimately, something they had beaten. Something they had survived.

And then Matsuda went, quietly, peacefully, in his sleep one night after a good dinner and a better nightcap. He had lived well, in the end, despite it all, despite everything trying to stop him from doing so.

And now, here he is. The last of the soldiers of that great war. Here, on his own, at the final bow. He is alone on the stage and the theatre is dark and quiet.

And Mogi, he is tired, and he is ready to go.

It wasn't so bad, in the end.

Not really.

-

And tonight for the first time, it felt good to be alive again.

-

"I knew that if the feat was accomplished it must be at a most fearful sacrifice of as brave and gallant soldiers as ever engaged in battle."

-

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."

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