Yo.

Forgive me for this heavy chapter, but get through this one and I promise...Chapter Nineteen will totally be worth it. If you know what I mean. *grins* Haven't I said that before? Trust me regardless.

Beta work still credited to my fabulous-lovely-awesome-spectacular-fantastic-beautiful beta (take the compliment, Skylara, take it!). It is also still dedicated to my wonderful friend SociiallyDiisoriiented.

Ja ne!
UK.


Chapter Eighteen
Introduction

31 October 2010

L Lawliet stared at Harry's bedroom door.

Half a second ago, Harry had been standing right in front of it.

Now, he was gone. The loud crack still echoing in the room was all that was left of him.

After a lifetime of complete and utter logic ruling his life, the greatest detective in the world found himself surrounded by shinigami and intimate with...with someone that just couldn't be possible.

Unsteadily, L turned and walked to Harry's rumpled, but made bed. His entire world, yet again, had been tossed upside down, his brain buzzing with questions in an intensity that made his entire body numb.

L wasn't sure if this birthday had been better or worse than his twenty-first. In an attempt to somehow trick his mind into stabilising itself, he thought about the disastrous party, and quickly convinced himself that no, that had been far worse than learning that things like...that could even exist.

L sat down on the edge, for once sitting like a normal human being. He let his toes brush the carpet absently, his hands lying in his lap almost in a proper manner, and bowed his head.

Harry had said what he was in a grave voice, and L had almost opened his mouth to ask, 'Are you out of your mind'. Before he even had a moment to take a breath, the emerald eyed man had turned on his heel and suddenly disappeared with a loud bang. Even then, he had not experienced a full heartbeat before he had been face-to-face with him, nearly causing the swivel chair to topple over backwards in L's shock.

He had vanished for a split-second, only to reappear right in front of L's face. It didn't seem achievable, or real, or reasonable. It was too much, way too much, for L's analytical mind to process in a few short minutes.

And the questions, the questions! They rumbled in his brain like a frantic blast of freight trains in a valiant attempt to take over his entire being. The questions numbered in exponents too numerous for one person to handle, even a human being like L. He felt like his head was overheating like a computer that had just received an outsourced virus, ready to break down and explode in the wake of its power.

The questions were immense, and laughingly ridiculous, but anything was possible now, wasn't it? Could he transform people into toads? Could he create something out of nothing? Could he use some strange and exotic brew to make someone break out in the flu? Could he halt aging? Could he force people to think a certain way? Could he make people tell the truth? Could he go back in time? Could he kill just by thinking about it? Could he turn invisible? Could he fly?

Could he manipulate someone's feelings and persuade them that they were infatuated with him against all possibilities?

L shuddered and finally brought his knees to his chest. This could not be happening. Maybe Harry was Kira, playing along with L's game the entire time and making L genuinely believe that Yagami Raito and Amane Misa were guilty. It would explain his near-perfect timing when running into L in Sato-Mari's, only a mere two hours after Raito and Yagami-san had been put into incarceration and four days after Amane. Maybe Harry had forced Raito to act a certain way, and maybe the Death Note was some strange—

A loud crack came in the room, and L jolted backwards, startled. Harry stood in the middle of the space, but this time he was not alone. Two people stood beside him, one male and one female, holding Harry's wrists tightly and looking slightly queasy. The male had bright red hair that brushed his collar, bright blue eyes, and a splash of freckles on his long nose. He was ridiculously tall, easily bypassing six foot, and L had to crane his neck to look at him. What really completed his look was a slightly dirty pair of jean trousers, a maroon shirt with sleeves that were rolled over his forearms, and a slightly dim-witted expression. Regardless, he grinned brightly, looking around with interest.

The woman, on the other hand, was tiny and carrying three books, which made all the difference in the world. She turned on her heels, bushy brown hair flying in a halo around her heart-shaped face, and focussed chocolate brown eyes and pale features on L's face.

"It seems as if Harry wasn't exactly untruthful," she muttered under her breath, cocking her head. She nearly lost her stack of books in her haste to give a small bow and say, "Hi! I'm Hermione Granger-Weasley, and you must be Ryuzaki. It's lovely to meet you."

Lovely?

The redhead, whom L reckoned to be the loud character named Ron, nearly tripped and said, "Oh. I'm Ron Weasley. I'm not exactly sure why we're here, but I'm sure Harry has a fantastic reason for interrupting our quality time with Dad."

"We see him every single day, Ronald. This is important! I'm going to give the greatest Muggle detective in the world a crash course in our world. This is a momentous moment in history."

"You're mad, Hermione. Not everything is based on changing history. Haven't you had enough of that? I mean, our children can't even go down to the bakery without being harassed."

"The last time we changed history we changed the world for the better; this is essentially the same thing, even though Voldemort makes Kira look like a featherless painted peacock—"

"Can we get on with it? I did not bring you here to bicker with each other. I want you to help me convince him that I'm not Kira," Harry said with exasperation, throwing his hands in the air.

The redhead named Ron laughed loudly. "If you're Kira, then I'm the Queen of England with a massive erection."

Hermione rolled her eyes and said, "Sometimes I wonder why I married you." She turned away from him with a sniff and then put the books down on the desk, facing L with a smile. It seemed genuine, but three people had just appeared out of nowhere in a highly secured compound as if taking an everyday stroll.

"Look," she finally said, "you're one of the most influential figures in the underground world of politics and law enforcement, if not the most. I've read that your safety and survival in this world is what determines how the Muggle world functions, and just by being alive you greatly increase the chance that criminals will not get away with horrendous crimes. You're a universal good, and that is very important."

L's grip on his knees tightened, and he decided to speak for the first time. "Essentially you are correct, but this has no rational point. Common logic would determine that I am L, but your existence in my secured building without tripping any sensors causes that logic to fail. Your existence completely changes that reality."

It was Harry that replied. "I think you believe that witches and wizards need to be hooked under the same category as shinigami. We're no different from you in the sense that we have laws, government, and so-forth. We suffer consequences the same as everyone else. Besides, just because I can wave a wand around and cause your skin to turn purple doesn't mean that I'm going out, manipulating people and killing on a day-to-day basis. If I was to do that, in front of a Muggle like you, I'd go to prison."

"No you wouldn't," scoffed Hermione. "If there's one person above the law, it's you." She focussed on L again and said, "But if there's one thing I know about Harry Potter it's that his mental moral compass is screwed on tight. He doesn't manipulate people except in good reason, and even though our kind does have the ability to do such acts, we can't get away with it."

"Clarify that," demanded L. Surely people like...them were above such laws. With that sort-of power, they could do anything, couldn't they?

She grinned. "Just as if you have tracing units on artillery and police enforcement, we have magical tracking and the various Auror Departments within the Ministries around the globe." She pulled out a long narrow stick with intricate designs on the wood from her pocket and pointed at L. "If I was to aim my wand at you and mutter the Obliviation charm, the spell would be tracked through the proper channels. Almost as a bullet and fingerprints can be traced back to a gun, magic can be traced back to wands. We can determine whose wand it was, who was touching it when the spell was cast, and provide the appropriate measures to put them in Azkaban." She lowered her wand-stick and began walking to the corner of the room, towards the chair behind the computer desk.

"Azkaban is a wizard prison, the most feared in our world," Harry clarified. "Aurors are like the CIA, FBI, or even you; everyone knows that you exist to take out criminals on a high-scale basis, and Aurors are on that same level only in a magical sense and much more publicity. Muggles are non-magic human beings, like you. Oh yes, and an Obliviation charm is a memory modifier. For instance, if Raito was to find out what your name was, we could use it to actually delete the memory from his brain. We could make him forget his own name and how to breathe, if we needed to."

Hermione nodded but continued, "However, there's a difference between using, say, a shaving charm against using Obliviate. As long as witches and wizards do not do magic in front of a Muggle, we can essentially use anything we need. As long as it's not harmful to Muggles, is one of the Coded spells and potions, or an Unforgivable Curse, we can use magic and alchemy in our homes without trouble."

"What does that mean?" asked L, leaning forward. Despite every fibre in his being telling him to call Wammy and chase them out, his mind was already thinking ahead. If everything was so intensely regulated, then could Harry honestly be innocent in this? His intuition had always told him that Harry wasn't Kira, and so he found himself yearning for Harry's purity in the nature of the Death Note.

Besides, Harry and these two other people were telling him all this, and Harry knew that L would try to use such abilities to his advantage. If all of these things were possible, then perhaps they could use Harry's talents to get Raito and Amane to talk.

"There are a series of spells that earn you a one-way ticket to Azkaban. Some of them are just imprisonment, and some are worth getting the Dementors Kiss over," said Hermione, sitting down in the chair with a sigh. The redhead that was silently listening journeyed over to her and wrapped his freckled arms around her neck. She smiled softly before continuing, "Dementors are the jailors of Azkaban prison, and they're the reason Azkaban's so horrid. Dementors aren't human, but instead beings that absorb all of the happiness out of a person. They're left with their worst memories, condemned to stew in despair and weakness until they serve their sentence, and most commit suicide within the first couple of years. The Dementors also provide another...service, only for the worst of criminals. There are things worse than death, and this is one of those things."

"What could be worse than death?" asked L, not convinced. Death was the end of mortality, the conclusion of life, and meant that the person would cease to exist. It was the ultimate ending that could never be taken back.

The couple watched Harry walk to L with a heavy stride, sitting down lightly on the other side of the bed. With a weighty tone, he finally answered, "Losing the people you care so deeply about is one of them. Losing loved ones makes you yearn for death in a way that would break even the strongest man. There is nothing on this Earth than can be more agonisingly profound."

"Immortality is also a horrible experience as I've heard. Forever on this world, without the relief of mortality, is taxing. People can be scared of death and wish for that horror, but even they will tell you that it is a choice that no one should make. You can never get close to a person because soon they will be gone, and despite seeing the world change and keeping your beauty through the ages, it is not worth it. That is worse than death, in my opinion," remarked Hermione quietly.

Depends on who you're asking, L thought. If I could get Harry and Wammy to live forever as well, I would quite enjoy living forever. The ability to fight for the good of mankind for an infinite amount of time would be perfect.

Ron finally spoke up. "And then there's the Kiss. All three of us have watched it being preformed, and it's...something you never forget. Dementors, to put it bluntly, suck your soul out of your mouth and ingest it into their body. The wizard lives, but barely just, in a shell of a body. You can't think, you can't feel, and you can't exist, but your body lives on mechanically."

"Imagine not being able to think, Ryuzaki," said Harry. "Imagine not having the ability to have free will, logic, or life experiences. Imagine that all of the intelligence and information you've acquired over the years was sucked through your lips and taken away from you. That's what happens when you receive the death sentence in our world."

L's entire body tensed at the idea. He honestly would rather die than have his livelihood torn away from him in such a manner. To keep his mind off the idea, he said in a hard voice, "What sort-of...abilities are illegal for you?" He didn't want to say the word, because somehow it would seem more real, and his brain was still trying to catch up to this information. He was learning about an entire world and lifestyle in a matter of moments, and he was uncommonly at a loss on how to take it all in within moments.

Harry smiled, while Hermione was the one to speak. "We have a multitude of spells, charms, and curses we can use. Be it heating charms, concoctions that can cure the common flu within seconds, or spells that cut the grass without having to mow, the variety is endless and usually very innocent and common. We cook, clean, create, and heal with magic. However, there are certain spells that are illegal, because wherever there is a good thing there's someone trying to ruin it. The curses all have their reasons for being against the rules, and for good reasons too, as most of them are harmful to Muggles and wizards alike. We have to get permission to use them, from the government, and even then it's under strict circumstances."

"They used to be subjected to a life sentence in Azkaban, but in 2000 they changed the law declaring the use of an Unforgivable to be punishable by the Kiss," said Harry. "They're the worst spells ever known to mankind, and even the accidental use of one is condemned. The Coded spells are illegal to a life-term in Azkaban, although once upon a time conjurors were just given fines. During the War, it got so bad that it was necessary to make them illegal in such a way, and when the fighting was over it was sworn into law. As for potions, they're less regulated as you could plausibly brew them in your own home, but many ingredients are illegal to buy and it makes it complicated to prepare. To get the potions already made is impossible unless you work with a hospital or a Ministry or are in an underground market, but with the amount of regulations being forced on the public, it's near impossible for that as well. Trust me, I know; Hermione's what you'd call a doctor, and she gives us all the down-low on the merchandise."

Ron laughed.

"What Harry's trying to say is that since the War, it's very hard to use spells that would help your investigation," Hermione interjected, rolling her eyes. "If he was to walk up to your suspect and perform the Imperius Curse on him, he'd be in loads of trouble. Naturally, since he's Harry Potter, he wouldn't receive the Kiss, but he'd still have to spend some time in Azkaban. Perhaps a couple of months, I'd say."

Harry snorted. "Are you kidding, Hermione? As long as I agreed to work with the Auror Department, I'd get off with no jail time. They've been trying to force me there for years."

Hermione smiled. "Yes, you're right, but what would you rather have to do, Harry: spend a couple of months in Azkaban or work with the Ministry for the rest of your life?"

"Go to Azkaban," Harry said confidently. He shared a look with Hermione that L could not read, so L asked in curiosity, "If it's a prison to be feared, why would you choose to go there instead of employing yourself in an organisation where you could bring down criminals? Why would you willingly go to prison?"

In response, Harry just laughed and said, "I'm working with an organisation now that's helping bring lawbreakers to justice, and I like it much better than the Auror department. It's called being around the detective L. Furthermore, I'd break out of the place in the first ten minutes. I've done it before and I'll do it again."

"When did you break out of Azkaban?" asked Ron, narrowing his eyes. "I don't remember that, so I must've not been there."

Hermione replied with a sly grin, "Technically we broke into Azkaban, but then we had to break out again. It was right after you were injured by that Bulgarian wizard and put into hiding and right before I joined you in Versailles—"

"And got pregnant," Harry snickered, and L felt a tiny smile tug at the corner of his lips.

"—France, and do shut up Harry James Potter or I'll jinx you into a jelly. Anyway, we fixed up a group and got Viktor and Luna out of Azkaban. Surely you remember that?"

"He was most likely too distracted by you liftin' up your skirt to concentrate on what that mouth of yours was saying. Probably thought it was you harping on him for such a bad job," Harry cackled, and very quickly Ron had pulled out his own wand-stick and waved it sharply. Disturbingly, Harry's dark hair began changing into a pastel pink colour and growing at an alarming rate, but apparently it wasn't that big of a deal because Harry nearly fell off the bed he was laughing so hard.

Please tell me this is some sort-of daydream.

Meanwhile, Hermione dead-panned, "Boys, I swear. You're probably going to give Ryuzaki a heart attack just by your immaturity. Please tone down on the pranks while attempting to have a serious conversation."

"I am not bad in bed! I'm married with six kids because I'm good in the sack, so fuck off you prat!" Ron bellowed.

"You're married with six kids because Hermione loves you despite your faults," Harry chortled, but then suddenly his mouth was moving but his vocal chords were silent. For a long moment, Harry gaped at Hermione, but she shook her head in exasperation.

"Sorry," she apologised to L. "I've used the Silencing charm because they're going to do more arguing than explaining things to you. They're both rubbish at doing spells without muttering an incantation, so we shouldn't have to worry about them anymore. And seriously Harry, I can't take you serious with that hair." She waved her wand-stick again and his hair quickly grew back into his skull, turning the proper colour in the process.

L let out a breath that he hadn't realised he had been holding.

"Look, we don't need to be talking about these spells. I've got three books here that I've tamed and it'll tell you all you need to know about them." She gathered up all the books and then stood up, asking with a cocked head, "May I sit down?"

L hesitated and then nodded once, briskly, pulling his legs closer to his body as if shielding himself. She bit her lip in concentration while putting the books down and sat cross-legged on the end of the bed, attempting to get them into some particular order. Eventually she held up a book titled The Wizarding World through the Ages, the heading written in Spanish, and said, "This book here is a history book. It's not like those dull ones back in primary school, though, but it does give information that you might find either interesting or useful. It talks about all of our customs and lifestyles, foreign populations, magical creatures like centaurs and werewolves, and mentions cities that are rich in our culture. It's a fascinating read."

She laid it to the side and picked up another, this one titled Decrees of the Ministry: a Full Study on the Law of the World, which was labelled in French. "This one is essentially a law book. It was published in early 2004 so it's very recent, and it should tell you what you can and can't get away with in your investigation without getting us into loads of trouble."

Harry held up a thumb and gave L a crooked smile. He mouthed 'It's a good one' and scooted closer, picking it up while brushing his shoulder against L's. It made a shiver go down the detective's spine, and he found himself wondering, perhaps foolishly, if Harry was going to be mute for the rest of time. L quite liked hearing him speak, and wouldn't like it if he was stuck that way forever.

"This last book is one that Harry's probably not going to like me giving to you, and I'm not even sure if it's a good idea. It's one of Rita Skeeter's abominations."

Harry shook his head violently as L's eyes narrowed. "Rita Skeeter is the woman that has pictures of Harry-san, yes?"

Hermione's nose scrunched up. "She's an infamous reporter that really doesn't like Harry, or me for that matter. She's been working with Dolores Umbridge for years, trying to find out little tidbits of information to smear us in the Daily Prophet in a horrible attempt to get back at us. I found out she was an unregistered Animagus and threatened to turn her in unless she stopped writing the stories, but that old cow Umbridge registered her and I didn't have anything else to hold her. Regardless, though, she does have a talent for writing an accurate tale, and I'm sure that you'd like to hear a precise point of view on it all. I'm sure Harry will want to tell you the story eventually, but this is objective. She did a good job, I have to reluctantly say."

"Animagus?" asked L, and Hermione's lips curved up in a smile. "Oh, sorry. An Animagus is a person who can transform into a single animal at will, but it's illegal to become one without registering with their respective Ministry. It's like owning a car, because you can't drive unless you get it insured and get plates, but even then some people break the rules despite the danger. Rita was transforming into a beetle, small enough to sneak into confidential meetings and sessions without being detected, and she'd come up with wickedly true stories because of it. When the lot of us were in our fourth year at school, she kept publishing articles about Harry having seizures all over Hogwarts."

There was too much there to question except for the obvious concern: "Harry-san was having seizures?"

Said emerald eyed man began clapping his hands with intent, trying to speak. Hermione sniffed and then said, "Fine, but if the two of you start arguing again, I'm going to retaliate."

She waved her wand-stick yet again and Harry immediately said with anger, "I was not having seizures or vying for attention, which was something she liked to say in the papers as well. My scar hurt, and anyone with half a brain knew that. She set the entire foundation for the public distrust of me during fifth year, which did not help matters either. Dementors; honestly."

"If you would've learned Occlumency like you were supposed to, you wouldn't be so bitter about that," remarked Hermione. "But I suppose the entire Triwizard Tournament wasn't your fault, and that you can freely jinx Rita for."

None of that made any sense to L whatsoever. He was starting to get a headache from the lack of sugar and the onslaught of information that was not being explained. He dug in his pockets for a second, looking for that last sucker, but then recalled that he had all but devoured it on the way back to the helicopter.

I can't think right. I need to be left alone to process. I need silence. I need strawberry cake.

Harry tilted his head, touched L's shoulder, and then stood up, giving a cheery wave before disappearing with a crack. The sound made L's fingers twitch, but he focussed his concentration on the woman, who blinked rather slowly and said, "Where d'you think he went?"

L looked at Hermione's worried expression and replied, "He can disappear and reappear from any place on the planet, or are there limitations?"

She looked at him, puzzled. "Well, except for the places that has Apparation wards. Some places have been protected with magic so people can't get in through that way, for security measures and because it's quite annoying really. Also, it's illegal to tell Muggles about our world, so it's easy to say that Apparating in front of them is off-limits. Most cities with a large population of wizards have one or more designated buildings that hide under a cover but really provide a safe place to Apparate. Why?"

L looked upwards at the ceiling and said, "He's off to get something sweet. I should've called Watari, although if he doesn't come back with tea I'm going to have to call him anyway."

Her puzzled expression eased up, and she said, "You know it's proven that you're better off to eat fish than sugar for mental capacity, right? I've read studies on it, and it's been proven that the vitamins and minerals in fish accelerate the brain's ability to think clearly and process more efficiently."

L rolled his head to glance at her. She was actually quite pretty in her own right, although quite pale. He remembered that she was fresh out of a hospital from having twins, and he wondered if persons like her had the ability to heal those wounds quickly. "Milk is also good for bone growth, but if some people drink it they develop gastrointestinal problems."

"Are you saying that you're allergic to fish? That would be dreadful; I quite like swordfish," she stated, bringing a hand up to brush a lock of bushy hair behind her ear.

"I'm just using it as a stalemate. Every human being has different reactions to different effects. Perhaps I function better on sugar and you on swordfish. Perhaps I do not like the taste of fish. Perhaps the idea of killing an animal for my own selfish health is disagreeable to me. The justifications could be endless."

"Fish is rather fishy," said Ron, scrunching his nose. L's eyes narrowed slightly at the somewhat dim-witted remark but chose not to comment on it. Moreover, he had reached out and picked up the book on Harry, fingers delicately touching the red cover, and held it in front of his face. The gold writing that said A War of Power: the Truth behind the Relationship between Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was slanted and elegant, written in German. There was a gigantic black square taking up most of the front, directly underneath the title and above the author's name.

"Like I said, I've tamed the books, so you can read them in public if you very well wanted to. Harry told us that you speak a variety of languages, and I don't think it's wise to give you books that the other members of your...team can read over your shoulder. The one on law is in French, the history one in Spanish, and that one is in German. I do hope that you can read them."

Naturally. I am an international detective. "Yes," he said in a low tone, narrowing his eyes a bit. "What do you mean by 'I've tamed the books'?" L eventually asked, flipping open the book open to read the insert description.

"In this particular book, it's just stilling the pictures. You see, our pictures aren't stationary; they move as if being filmed through a video camera. In other books, you can get cursed, jinxed, or even yelled at. I opened a book once about poltergeists and the book told me I had a spider on my nose. Unfortunately it wasn't lying—nearly gave Ron a heart attack."

L looked up. "An inanimate object spoke to you."

Hermione laughed. "It was a clever bit of magic, actually, to have paper see and speak. It reminded me of the Marauder's Map, only the Map hears and writes instead of seeing and speaking. Oh yes, and in the books, the pictures had to be blanked out. If you're reading a book with pictures of Harry in it, it'll give the rest of your group an idea. I can use magic to let you see the pictures solely, though, if you'd like. It would require me doing magic on you though."

I'm not sure about that, L thought. He glanced back down at the précis and read silently:

For sixteen years, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named terrorised the Wizarding world in the pursuit of total domination and a pure race. His feats were tragic, immense, and terrible, ripping families and friends apart with death and destruction. However, despite all his power, in one night he was thwarted by a young, one-year-old boy named Harry James Potter.

This is the truth behind the connection between the murderer of all murderers and the Boy Who Lived. Written by Rita Skeeter, this tale follows Harry Potter, who lived life in the Muggle population before returning to the Wizarding world and becoming the Chosen One, epically destroying He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in a duel that will be remembered by all left alive. The story of Harry Potter, filled with war and bloodshed, is a tragic one, but the world will always remember the name of the most famous wizard of the last three centuries and his quest to destroy the epitome of evil.

Rita Skeeter, the best-selling author of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore and reporter for the Daily Prophet, is the—

L tore his eyes away at the sound of a crack. He looked up, catching the sight of Harry looking windswept and flustered, a black-spotted feather stuck in his hair. He was carrying a large bag with three large Ws on the front, which made the redhead laugh. L took a peek to see if he could spot any sweets, but the only thing that was in the bag was more bags and two boxes. Nothing from Sato-Mari's, unfortunately. He debated on calling Wammy for some cake and tea, but he was distracted by the woman speaking again.

"What in the world happened to you?" asked Hermione with a shake of her head, while Harry sat down. She pulled the feather out of his hair and laughed, "Never mind. This quill is still wet. Did the girls jump you again and ask you to have their babies?"

L internally choked, but Harry only seemed annoyed. "You'd think they'd stop trying to attack me after all these years. I hate giving autographs, and I'm surprised they swarmed so fast. I was faster than I've ever been in those stores before."

"Yeah? Well welcome to our world, Harry," laughed Ron. "Can't even walk out the front door without someone asking for one. Mostly they ask if you'll come back home, but I never answer 'em."

The emerald eyed man rolled his eyes, but didn't comment, sitting the bag on the bed and looking sourly at the book in front of L. "I'm still not happy about that book, Hermione. He's not going to understand a lot of it without me right there, anyhow."

"He'll get the major gist of the details, Harry. You might have to explain what some of the spells and magical creatures are if he can't find them in one of the other books, but it'll give him a third-party take on the entire thing. I think it'll be mostly simple for someone of his nature anyway."

Ron snorted. "It's pretty basic, really. Harry Potter defeats You-Know-Who for the first time. Harry Potter leaves magical world. Harry Potter lives with Muggles. Harry Potter returns to magical world. Harry Potter defeats You-Know-Who for the second time. Harry Potter gets accused of opening the Chamber of Secrets. Harry Potter helps notorious mass murderer Sirius Black escape from Azkaban. Harry Potter unwillingly enters the Triwizard Tournament. Harry Potter defeats You-Know-Who for the third time. Harry Potter defeats You-Know-Who for the fourth time. Harry Potter—"

"We get the general idea, Ronald," interrupted Hermione with exasperation.

Harry said, "We don't need to be concentrating on the past. We need to be focussing on Ryuzaki. What are we going to do about Rita Skeeter, and what's the plan for dealing with the Kira issue?"

"For the next week, the sole focus needs to be on the article," said Hermione, biting her lower lip in thought. "I know you might not agree with me, but it's the main concern right now. If that editorial gets out, there won't be a secretive detective L. He'll be a whole other version of famous if it's published."

No-no-no! There has to be something Harry can do about that. Wammy and I will be useless if the article's being released in their...world.

"It won't matter much for your public appearance. People know about your affair with Malfoy, even though he was a convicted Death Eater—" Strangely, Ron's comment made Harry crumple in on himself, and Hermione even looked as if she'd been kicked in the stomach, but the redhead didn't seem to notice. "—and nearly all screamed themselves to death, so I don't think it'll get more violent than that. They might still reprimand you for not settling down with a nice witch and having a bunch of kids like what's expected from you, but for the most part it won't do much to shift open opinion of you."

Hermione recovered fast, but her voice was still a bit shaky when she said, "If they find out that he's a Muggle, there will be a general outcry at first, and it'll get worse when they find out you're going to spend your life with a man. However, I believe that they'll get over it rather quickly when you tell them that your love for him is more important than a bundle of Potter children."

L's entire brain froze at the crooked smile that began creeping up on Harry's previously distraught face.

"It's not going to matter though," continued Hermione, turning to L as if that comment hadn't just come out of her mouth. "Harry's relationship with you, especially if it's going to continue and be long-term, is going to go public eventually. I don't care how much you keep under the radar, or how much you have to bribe the various ministries or newspapers in both our worlds—it's ultimately going to be among the topics of discussion during dinner and tea breaks. It's something that is going to have to be discussed among you both, because it's an inevitable end to your situation. They are going to find out about you, and it doesn't matter how well you've hid yourself. I give it five years, with the best masking charms and cover-ups in place, before every witch and wizard in our world knows your name."

"It doesn't necessarily have to be that bad," said Harry hastily.

"This topic of conversation isn't going to go anywhere," said Hermione. "You'll just disagree with me. Nonetheless, the article is going to have to be snuffed, and the sooner the better. Trust me; hanging around you my whole life has taught me a few things about the press and damage control."

"Then what about Kira? He might attack Ryuzaki soon, and I have to be there to make sure it doesn't happen. We've been over this before, Hermione."

"Wait," said L, forcing his brain to work at the nature of that remark. "Are you saying that you can neutralise the effects of the Death Note?"

Harry and Hermione looked at each other once, intently, before Hermione grasped the book sitting in front of L. She began flipping through it, obviously not able to read German but looking for something regardless, while Harry said, "Look. The Death Note is a contract, a pact of sorts. From what I can tell, the person whose name is written in the pages has to die. It's honour bound and cannot be changed. There's nothing I can do about that. However, once they die, I believe it's safe to assume that the person, having fulfilled the contract, could be revived."

"Autopsies of the bodies proved that the amount of infarctions in the blood vessels from a Kira victim is not reversible. It can't be cleared quickly enough for a defibrillator to work without brain damage. It's medically impossible unless the victim is okay with being a vegetable for the rest of his or her life," L shot back, narrowing his eyes in scepticism. There was no way that L could get that lucky, in the sense that he could be brought back to life regardless of Kira's wishes.

"That's correct, but only in the Muggle world," Harry answered calmly. "Hermione's done research, and she believes that it can be accomplished. Not only can wizards use magic to clear up multiple blood clots in the body within seconds, but we can also use magic for revitalising dying tissue and thinning the blood. We also have the ability to shock to restart the heart. We learned this in third year, and I'm pretty confident that I can do it. Of course, I do have something else working for me, other than being a wizard."

L's brain was working in hyperdrive now, thinking about all the possibilities of such talents. However, he finally asked, "And what is that?"

Hermione smiled and handed the book out to the detective, its pages open to chapter fifteen, titled in German Master of Death.

L's jaw dropped.

Harry said in a slow voice, "I'm the holder of the Deathly Hallows. The holder of these three items that were created by Death is the conqueror of Death itself, and Rem told us herself that only one person is immune to the power of the Death Note. Fortunately, you met him in a sweet shop in downtown Tokyo and he's sort-of sitting right in front of you."

L stood up and stepped off the bed, bringing a hand to his mouth and biting his thumb nail. He began thinking out loud, the others actually listening to his thought process, while he started pacing unhurriedly. "If he finds out about this, he could use it against us, hence the reason for all the secrets. If I was to question the shinigami about Harry's standing within her rules, he could overhear by hacking into the internal hard-drives. It would be unwise to alert Raito of the existence of an entire world where such talents are feasible, as he could use it to his advantage. Perhaps he could—no, that's ridiculous, but maybe his motives wouldn't be so pure. If such a situation occurs, there's a large per-cent possibility that it will greatly affect Raito and Misa's lifespan. The shinigami said that such acts were fatal, but if even the shinigami realises that a heart attack will essentially be nothing but her own death sentence, she'd find a way around it. Jumping off a building, committing suicide via a gun...maybe that would be fatal to me universally. Yes, I'm sure that's it. The only person who could possibly find my true name would be people like Harry, other than the shinigami, so if Rem is taken out of the picture then Raito will have no way of getting my name. After that, I can find out about interrogation with—Harry-san, thank you for telling me this information. It has proven to be very helpful."

"I have a feeling that you're going to tell me I have to let you die," said Harry gloomily, and L let a small smile creep onto his face.

"You should deal with that article while I am working on a new lead for the Kira investigation. Surely there is a way to attempt to resurrect me without letting them know. I'd prefer if Raito-kun did not have any more information on you than necessary. If he was to realise the power behind people like you, he would surely take advantage of it the same as I would. I can only imagine what it would be like if he discovered those secrets."

Hermione said quickly, "He wouldn't be able to utilise them without having a following, and that's absurd. Harry is practically worshipped by our world, and even if they sympathise with Kira, they'd be at a huge disadvantage. With the entire world protecting Harry, and in effect you, it would be impossible to get close enough to hurt you. Kira can't touch Harry, and with the entire world hiding you, they wouldn't be able to find your name. It would require your existence to be publicised, but it can be done. All-in-all, the only people that would possibly help Kira would be the last of Voldemort's supporters, and since they're criminals, I don't think Kira would ask for their help."

I don't like being told that my options are going public in their world or potentially dying. That seems like a no-win situation after all I've worked for in regards to my personal life being secret. Perhaps the woman is right though, and the outcome of my existence being acknowledged is inevitable. No, surely there is a way to get around that.

Then L cringed internally. That's impossible. These people can probably read each others minds and force people to talk using their magic sticks; there's no way I will be able to defend myself against that type of ability.

"Even if he would stoop to that level, the possibility of Kira getting in touch with them is next to zero," said Ron, scratching the freckled skin below his eye. "It's near impossible for us to track them down, so the idea of a Muggle accomplishing it is extremely low. Besides, Death Eaters hate Muggles and want to exterminate the entire population, so joining forces with one is a no-no even if he's Kira. If Kira does start working with wizards, it'd be really easy to find them. I mean, Dad's Minister, and Harry's name is gold in the government. We'd be able to track down any suspicious behaviour regardless of the country."

"We need to set up a magical perimeter around this building, which will be quite the feat if it's really as big as I assume it is," observed Hermione. "If you shut off all the external cameras, including the ones looking out the front doors and possibly the roof if it's flat-topped, Ron and I could take care of this with no problem."

"We'd have to set up an Apparation point in the building," said Harry. "Probably this room, as we can say that I'm always in my room sleeping or something. We could say I'm sick, and it'd give a legitimate excuse. I can Apparate to and from this room, but the cameras will have to be shut off in here permanently. I know that Ryuzaki won't like that, so I suggest that we set up detectors in this room magically. We can know who came in this room and how long they stayed in here, and I can also come and deal with the problem if it's someone I don't approve of. I could come through the bathroom, where there are no cameras anyway, and blame the noise on dropping a bottle or the plumbing."

He's lucky I didn't put cameras in the restroom, even though the idea was tempting.

Hermione nodded and then interjected, "I'd recommend petitioning the Ministry for the right to use Legilimency on Muggle suspects in the investigation in the time you're in London, but that would require you telling them why you need to interrogate Muggles. We could let Mr. Weasley in on it, and we'd have to tell the Japanese Minister as well, but we don't have to tell them that we're involved with the detective L. You're well-known for having a hero complex, Harry, so I suspect that you getting mixed up in the Kira investigation won't alarm anyone. I'm surprised the papers haven't already mentioned it, actually. Going after a mass murdering criminal is what you're famous for."

"Ha-ha," Harry said sarcastically, but then suddenly snickered and said, "For your information, it's what the three of us together are famous for. We're not called the Golden Trio for nothing, Hermione."

"What is Legilimency?" asked L, eyeing the bag on the bed. He wondered if one of the bags had cakes or something else sweet, and if it was a treat that L had never seen or tasted before. He actually had a file on his personal computer that held L's own critiques of every single sweet item he had tasted in the past five years, and he quite enjoyed consuming new and previously unknown sugary products.

Focus.

Harry said in a tight voice, "It's probably the suckiest ability besides the Unforgivables. You'll read all about it in that book, but essentially it's where a wizard has the ability to extract feelings and memories from another person's mind."

L's eyes went wide, and he stopped mid-step. "You mean mind reading?" For once, I hope that I'm wrong about something and they can't read minds. Please let me be wrong.

Harry grinned. "As a good man once said, the mind is not a book to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of a brain. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing. However, those who have mastered this ability can probe into the minds of others under certain conditions, and interpret their findings correctly. There aren't many people who can do it though; it takes a lot of talent and skill that most of the Wizarding population can't even dream of."

Regardless of Harry's complex answer, it still seemed like mind reading to L. Perhaps unfortunately, it also appeared to be a discovery worth knowing about. He could only dare to imagine what damage could be done with a skill such as that, including finding out what L's true name was. "Interrogating suspects in such a manner will still convict a criminal, though, correct?"

"Yes, but when it comes to Muggles it can have a damaging effect. It's the same idea as Veritaserum," Hermione answered, facing towards Harry with a raised eyebrow. "Speaking of Veritaserum, how much do you have left of the potion from when you used on that one bloke?"

"Higuchi? Only a tiny bit, not enough for mass interrogation. Even with one drop per Muggle, it would still be pushing it."

"You used this serum on Higuchi?" asked L, walking towards Harry intently. "What exactly does it do, and why did you use it?"

"It's a truth serum, Ryuzaki," said Harry. Hermione added with a smile, "The most powerful in the world. Witches and wizards have magic in their brain and bloodstream, so they can combat the effects. In other words, with practise we can learn to lie without being detected. However, Muggles obviously don't have that magic, so one drop has a subject spilling his darkest secrets for twelve hours straight. It's how Harry got the confession so easily. It's ridiculously illegal, almost as bad as Legilimency, but it was necessary. Harry seemed a bit desperate when he asked for it, and I had to steal it from a highly secure storing facility. If I had been caught..."

"Do you have enough to use on Raito and Amane?" asked L with a tight feeling in his chest he acknowledged as the elation of near-success. Everything was working so perfectly because of what Harry was. Everything was going to work out with utmost precision. L's confidence in succeeding was so high at the moment that he felt weightless, because after so long of being constantly pushed down by the Kiras, it was finally looking up.

L was going to win this.

"Well, I don't have enough to really work effectively. There's enough for about one-third of a drop left in that little bottle I was given, so no, I don't have enough at the moment. Why didn't you steal more Hermione?" asked Harry, wiggling his eyebrows.

Although it was rather clear that Harry added the last bit just for a tease, but she still sighed and said, "I told you, if I would've taken any more than that I would've been found out, because we used the last of the stock on the interrogation of a few Death Eaters rounded up in Bulgaria."

Harry's nose scrunched up. "So your stocks are completely depleted?"

"Yes. Besides, I don't care how desperate you are to catch Kira; Veritaserum is deadly to Muggles if the most extreme precautions aren't taken. You were lucky that you didn't kill Higuchi when you fed it to him. Even a tiny bit more than the amount to successfully administer the potion could poison him and kill him before a confession can even take place. It's too risky, and it takes ages to brew."

"I know but I was desperate. We still have Legilimency, though," said Harry, looking at L with an earnest expression and patting the space beside him. L didn't even hesitate to sit down next to him, in his customary manner, and begin biting his thumbnail yet again.

Meanwhile, Hermione said insistently, "Legilimency isn't as dangerous to a Muggle, but it still has risks. Forcing a person's will upon another person's mind can cause the subject to go mad. Even if he or she is a wizard, Legilimency can turn a brain to mush if too intent in its extraction."

"It's also very demeaning," said Harry, "but that's beside the point."

"Again, you should've learned Occlumency and it wouldn't be a problem," scolded Hermione, poking his knee. She turned to L and said, "Oh yes, and Occlumency is the polar opposite of Legilimency, as it blocks the mind from outside mental attacks. It's like a shield around those thoughts and memories that Legilimency is trying to discover."

L opened his mouth to speak but Harry beat him to it, answering his question before a word came through his vocal chords. "Legilimency and Occlumency, when properly learned, are all about magic. It's impossible for a Muggle to learn. You could attempt to use your own will to ward off the attack, like in the beginner lessons of Occlumency, but in the end, even the weakest wizard proficient in Legilimency would tear your mind apart if he so well wishes. If it gets to the point where Kira is affiliated with wizards, you'll have to be well-protected to assure that this doesn't happen. Don't worry, though. It'll just be Hermione and me, although Ron will definitely tag along; we're pretty much all the protection you need. Hermione's one of the strongest Legilimens in Britain, and she is the strongest Occlumens," said Harry with obvious pride in his voice.

Ron grinned while Hermione blushed delicately. "Don't say that. I'm sure there are loads of other people who better than I am," she said, but it was clear she was pleased by their pride in her talents.

"She deserves the credit," proclaimed Harry, smiling widely at her while absently caressing the back of L's hand. Yet again, a shiver rolled down L's spine, but he kept his attention focussed. He needed to pay attention as Harry continued, "Like I said earlier, not very many people have the talent to accomplish one or the other, let alone both, and Hermione conquered it in two years. I mean, Ron and I are rubbish at it—we all but wear our emotions on our sleeve, so Legilimency would be practically useless anyway—but Hermione more than makes up for our shortcomings."

"Oh stop it," Hermione said, flustered. "The only reason they don't know at least Occlumency is because they never took the time to learn it. I think Snape turned them off of the idea."

"You bet he did," huffed Harry. "He spent every Monday night for months breaking into my head over and over again. I swear I felt sick for the rest of the entire year."

"Snape was a fantastic Legilimens, better than all but Dumbledore. He even hid the nature of his missions for the Order from Voldemort, which was said to be impossible. You should've been a bit more considerate about his efforts to teach you," reprimanded Hermione.

"Bollocks," Ron said with a sniff. "The only reason Snape was doing it was to torture Harry for being James Potter's son. Probably wanted to get a few more looks at his mum too, no doubt."

"Shut up Ron. Snape, despite the many times we accused him of working with Voldemort, he was never guilty. Let's drop the subject before Harry rips your head off." Hermione frowned and then looked at L. "Alright, I need to work a couple of charms on you if you don't mind. I'll fully explain them to you, and they will not in anyway be abrasive or uncomfortable."

L tensed, but Harry tentatively grasped the detective's hand and smiled. "She's the brightest witch of the age, and one of my best mates. There's no one on this planet that I'd trust more to perform magic on you, and you'll be perfectly safe. I swear it."

Despite L's mind being alarmed and intensely reluctant, he nodded. He shrunk back a bit and waited for her to pick up her wand-stick, in which she said in a soothing voice, "Okay, this first charm is so you can see the pictures in all these books. This one is completely painless, but the area around your eyes might feel a bit tingly for a moment. It won't hurt though. Are you ready?"

Again, L tensely nodded, but he unconsciously grasped Harry's hand with bone-breaking force and tightly closed his eyes. He heard her speak, something in a strange form of Latin, and waited for his body to catch fire or something equally horrific. For a long moment, he sat next to Harry in silence, and then opened one eye. "I didn't feel anything."

Harry laughed. "That means Hermione has done a wonderful job. Take a look." He gestured with his free hand at the red book and L raised his eyebrows, allowing his body to relax a bit. Replacing the black square was a picture of Harry in a full-body shot, so it showed how relatively small he was before hitting his growth spurt. He looked much younger than L had seen him before, with black, scarlet, and gold robes on, leather accessories that hid most of his lower extremities, and a strangely shaped broom in his right hand. His youthful face looked mildly uncomfortable, as if he wasn't very happy about getting his picture taken at all. He seemed to be in an open stadium of sorts, with three bubble-blower-shaped rings on the far edge.

To L's surprise, Harry's picture waved at him and gave the detective a beaming smile.

"I was thirteen when that picture was taken," said Harry with a melancholic smile. "Back then, the biggest worry I had was getting revenge on the man whom I briefly believed had betrayed my parents and dealing with Ron and Hermione's daily fights about her cat trying to eat his sneak of a rat. That was right before one of our Quidditch practises before Ron joined the team. I was the Seeker, and I really liked playing. I probably would've gone professional if it wasn't for the War and the simple fact that back in those days, being an Auror was the only thing that really made sense to me. Now...well, one of these days, perhaps when this case is over, I'll let you watch a game between our lot. You can probably watch good portions of the games in that book, although I'm not sure. Haven't read it and most certainly never will. It'll probably be more embarrassing than baby photos, because when this book was published, right before running off to Italy, Rita was told to write a book glorifying my life. There wasn't much of a market for anything else. Not only that, but there probably are baby pictures in there."

"Oh you were a cute, fat little tot," said Hermione with a grin, "but before you get all interested in the pictures, I'd like to finish up. We need to get back home and spend some quality time with Mr. Weasley. He's watching the twins for us while we're gone." Her wand-stick rose again and she said in that same gentle voice, "This time I'm going to put a monitoring charm on you. Healers like me use the same spell to apply a sensor to the skin in patients that need monitoring. About a year ago, I developed a way to programme the spell into a device that can deliver the stats from infinite distances, which is something relatively unheard of in the healing field."

"She's a genius," beamed Harry.

With a pink blush on her cheeks, Hermione continued, "Anyway, I'm going to apply it to your wrist, but it'll be invisible to the eye so you won't have to worry about looking at it. It's going to keep tabs on your pulse so I can make sure nothing happens of concern when Harry's not with you. It will feel as if you have a thin bracelet on that fits snugly, but you won't be able to see it. This way I'll be able to monitor your heart to see if you're suffering from a heart attack. I'll remove it once the mess with the Daily Prophet is dealt with, but until then you're stuck with it. We have to know immediately when your heart begins failing because we have to get there in time to save you from brain damage."

L thought about it briefly before saying, "It's no different from wearing the handcuffs for three months and getting pulled on at periodical moments. If it does not prove to be a large distraction, I shall oblige with this demand."

Hermione raised an eyebrow, but said, "It should be okay. I'll direct the current into my ring, because it's the one thing on me that never comes off, so here we go." Yet again, she quietly said a phrase in a strange dialect of Latin, but this time there was a squeeze as if he had snapped a latex glove over his wrist. It didn't hurt, but he could distinctly feel it even though he could not see it.

"That's interesting. Invisibility can be a fortunate ally in your world, it seems," L muttered to himself, and relaxed his muscles even more.

"I can feel your heartbeat in my finger," giggled Hermione, flexing her fingers. She seemed to time it before saying, "It's in a normal range. A bit higher than the average human, but I suspect that it has to do with your blood sugar. If you have a sudden heart attack like the Kira victims, your heart rate will have a brief moment of abnormal palpitations before flat-lining. With that, we should be able to get to you in time, and by we I mean Harry."

Harry said loudly to L, "Even a stampede of wild hippogriffs couldn't keep me away from you if you were hurt."

L allowed a small smile to tug at the corner of his lips, even though he had no idea what hippogriffs were.

Hermione shook her head in exasperation and stood up, waving her wand around the room. She disappeared for a few moments into the bathroom and closet, nearly walking out of the bedroom into the private living space. Thankfully, Harry had stopped her before she had opened the door, therefore saving her from being spotted by the cameras still rolling there. Wammy was probably watching the footage intently while trying to bypass the block that L had placed on the cameras. L would have to find Wammy soon or he would come barging down the door. It wouldn't do to have him worried about what was going on in the room that L didn't want Wammy to see, and it could potentially cause...problems.

Harry squeezed his hand before he said out loud, "I'll get my broomstick from the flat and do the outdoor security, alright? It'll save you from having to come back here, and I know how hard it is for you two to Apparate that far."

"It's supposed to be nearly impossible, Harry, and to have two side-along carriers with you is taxing for us. I felt like my cells were being disintegrated. Perhaps you should take us one at a time. It might be easier if you don't try to shove all three of us through that hole again."

Harry rolled his eyes and said, "Hermione, you have such a dirty mind." At Ron's snicker and Hermione's gaping expression, he grinned and said, "Is it alright with you if I take Ron first and Hermione last? Hermione will be loads less annoying than Ron with his non-stop talk about Quidditch and the horrible feats he's accomplished to repair his pride. I doubt you want to listen to him attempt to convince you that I'm a dirty liar and he's absolutely smashing in bed."

L blinked.

Ron spluttered.

"I'll take that as a yes, then. C'mon Ron. I'll take you to Grimmauld Place. I've got to pick up my broom and the cloak from there, make sure Kreacher hasn't died and attempted to have one of the suits of armour behead him, and then I'll get Hermione and bring her back when she's done here."

Harry lifted up L's hand, kissed it lightly, and then let go. The detective saw Hermione smile behind her hand, and he inwardly flinched at the idea of her feeling his pulse jump at the contact. How...humiliating, L thought, sighing silently to himself.

"Got it. See you later, Ryuzaki, and it was nice meeting you. Hope you don't die!" said Ron without an ounce of tact. Harry cringed, but then grasped Ron hard on the forearm in retaliation. "Ouch, you git!" the redhead exclaimed, and Harry winked at L once before turning on his heel and disappearing.

The second they were gone with a loud crack, Hermione lowered her wand-stick and turned to L, bowing her head a bit. Eventually, after a few seconds of silence, she said in a low voice, "I'm happy you're here." Even if L had been capable of answering that statement at the present moment, she didn't give him enough time to comment as she continued, "You'll see the pictures and read the articles, and you'll notice it just the same as everyone else did. As the years went on, and more people started dying, it was like he started dying himself. Everything he did was weighed down unless he was fighting for one of us, and out of hundreds of friends and pseudo-family members he had, every single one of them died except Teddy, Ron, and me. Ron's entire family with the exception of his father was killed, Ginny died, Draco died, and in the end, when it was all over, he just collapsed. I don't think I've seen him genuinely smile since, except with us.

"But in late July of this year, he came to see us for the first time since I had gotten pregnant with the twins. The first thing he did was smile so brightly that I thought my eyes were going to fry from the vividness of it. He started rattling off rubbish about living on some island, and then Ron fed him a few drinks and he said that he had met someone."

Hermione sighed, closed her eyes, and said, "I'm rambling on about this, but you need to understand why he's taking this the way he is. Harry's loved three people in his lifetime, unconditionally and without shame. One was a woman, despite Harry's budding sexuality, and she was a spitfire. Full of life and energy, just as easy going as her many brothers, my husband being one of them. Harry loved Ginny Weasley and probably would've spent the rest of his life with her, regardless of what his internal desires were. He couldn't though, because she was tortured and killed by Bellatrix Lestrange within the first year. Bellatrix finally got tired of Ginny's refusal to give information and...and beheaded her, sending h-her head by wizard post. He lost it, went completely mad in the head for a while. He refused to eat, to sleep, and tried his hardest to get to that monster so he could quite literally annihilate her."

L's eyes were narrowed. Not many people could commit murder, and to do something as barbaric and psychologically twisted as sending the severed head to Harry's doorstep was in a league of its own.

Hermione took a few calming breaths and said, "And then against all reason, Draco Malfoy came into the picture. Harry loved him in a different way than Ginny, as he was male and she was not. Merlin, was he a bastard, though! Proud, arrogant, and he was a convicted Death Eater that had been forced among their ranks against his will. We had known him since the beginning of our magical lives, and Harry spent more time getting into violent fights with him than acknowledging that Draco Malfoy was quite stunning in his own right. He was a Pureblood, an aristocrat of our world, and it made Harry quite honestly hate him. Yet, in spite of it all, Harry loved him, but I can say with candour that if Malfoy hadn't died, they would've either killed each other or avoided each other. During times of war, it's common to get overwhelmed by everything, and in the real world during peace, they wouldn't have made it. Frankly, Harry hated him as much as he loved him.

"In the end, Draco, ordinarily the most proud and selfish little prat one could meet, ended up stepping in front of the Killing Curse, the worst of all the Unforgivables. He was dead before a single heartbeat could sound through Harry's blood, and it happened right in front of him. Despite doing everything in his power to save the man he loved, Draco died for Harry to survive. On the 31st of October 2001, exactly three years ago at sunset, Draco Malfoy died protecting him, in the hope that Harry could bring peace to our world."

L's entire body felt weak but he refused to show it, watching Hermione's chocolate brown eyes gradually fill with tears.

"Harry looks at you the same way I look at Ron, and I can read his emotions even without using Legilimency. It radiates off him like tidal waves, thicker than syrup and harder than diamond. It's so much stronger with you than the other people he's been with by a thousand fold, and I think it has taken me a bit off-guard. The fact that you're risking your life, in a war of your own with a man that can kill just by writing a name down, is making him go batty all over again. If he was to lose you, I have no idea what it would be like. It was hard enough watching him suffer through Ginny and Draco, but it's so obvious that he's connected to you on a totally different level. It's almost...frightening in a way, because it rivals what Harry has with Ron and me, and we've been together for over a decade. The connection that Harry has with us is actually legendary, and you'll read about it extensively in that book beside you, and to feel that same sense of unquestionable love and faultless connection is astounding."

Hermione clasped her hands and rested her chin on them, elbows tucked into her chest. "Look...I know this is probably way too much to take in at one moment, and I know that a scientific person such as yourself being blindsided by shinigami and wizards has got to be a swift kick to the brain. I just don't think Harry will tell you, and you have the right to know. You have to know what's at stake so you can trust us without doubt. You, regardless of the simple fact that we don't know a lot about you including your name of all things, are one of us now. Even if you were to look in my best friend's eyes and tell him that you didn't want him around anymore, the three of us will still put our lives at risk to make sure you get out of this alive. I admit that I liked you before I even met you, because of how you helped him rekindle that flame within Harry's heart and soul that is so famous in our world. He was dead when he met you, and I can never thank you enough for that. This damned case is probably the best thing that's happened to him in years, because he met you."

There was a crack behind L, and Hermione hastily wiped her eyes with a sniffle. Harry immediately said softly, "What's wrong, Hermione?"

L supposed that was the breaking point, because the bushy haired woman burst into tears and wailed, "I'm so sick of being hormonal! I'm never having another kid even if I have to get myself sterilised!"

Harry walked to her and wrapped his arms around her petite form, burying his nose in her hair. He squeezed his eyes shut as if in pain and rocked her, shushing her as if comforting a child. L just sat there, a bit awkward. He had never been good with people when they were upset and crying. His experiences with lamenting people had been in orphanages, children sobbing in pain as they starved almost to death or nursed their bruised and beaten bodies. He had watched, curious at the idea of such an expression of melancholy as he had never experienced it himself, but had never really known what to do.

As it was a woman that L didn't know very well who was crying, he didn't make a move to say or do anything. He just watched Harry, who seemed to be internally fighting the urge to join her in breaking down. It had been difficult watching Harry lose control so violently before, and the detective didn't want the same thing to happen again. It had been unnatural to see such an outwardly happy man in tears.

By the time Hermione had calmed herself down, she said in a thick voice, "It was really great to meet you. I think we'll get along much better when I'm not being betrayed by my body's involuntary responses." She laughed wetly, and said, "When this case is over, you should come to England. We'll give you the grand tour of Wizarding London. Loads of great sweet shops filled with stuff you can't even imagine, although a fair few samples are in that bag."

Harry focussed on L's perched form and said, "I'll be right back. Don't touch that bag, okay? It might be full of those sweets she's talking about, but I still don't want you getting into it without me."

He turned in unison with Hermione and cracked out of L's immediate existence.


By the way, apparently it has come as a bit of a shock to some people that I absolutely abhor crossovers. Seriously, though, I hate them with a passion. They suck, and unless they've been recommended highly by someone or are ridiculously good, I refuse to read them. I despise crossovers.

Why in the hell am I writing one? I have absolutely no damn idea. I'm mental. 'Nuff said.

(Still love the idea, though, Smile-Evily, and I'll send you the outline...eventually. XD)

Karasu out.