Light made a beautiful martyr.

Months of solitary confinement had done nothing to diminish his looks. If anything, the golden-brown hair that had grown out during sentencing made him look perversely angelic even while strapped to an execution table.

The fact that he had stopped speaking months ago only added to his air of mystery. While some might argue that was a by-product of his isolation and the beginning of madness…

L knew better. Light was cementing his image as a victim dying on the altar of his cause; his machinations didn't even end at his death.

L pressed his fingers to the two-way mirror while he flexed bare toes inside the hard leather of his new shoes. After today, they would join this equally-new suit in the back corner of his closet, eventually forgotten. There wouldn't be an event of this magnitude to warrant wearing them ever again.

The hushed twittering of members of the ICPO, several world leaders, and journalists alike filled the small room; Light's remaining family was conspicuously absent. A tiny part of L wanted them all to shut up and witness Kira's final defiant act in silence, but that would only give it an air of reverence.

Hanging Kira would have been so much more fitting. Regrettably public beheading was no longer an option either. Kira didn't deserve the tranquil calm of an injection, but the international media had blown the paltry details they had out of proportion when the fastest death sentence ever was delivered. The public outcry had forced the court to execute him outside Japan in order to assure a 'more humane' method of executing him.

L let his eyes go out of focus since the view behind the glass didn't change, and he refocused on the specks of dust that clung to the window. Disgusted, he pulled a hand inside his sleeve and wiped at the area that was in front of his chair. Satisfied that it was cleaner, he took his front-row seat to the sounds of the other men and women seating themselves behind him.

The technicians on the other side of the mirror removed sterilized needles from their packages and inserted them, checking the lines they connected and the heart monitor and a host of other things L didn't care about.

What could compare to Kira's so-called reign? No investigation would ever come close to the thrill and the terror of true gods of death and a misguided genius with supernatural killing powers that had ended the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands. L's life had never been threatened by a case, and never before had he thought that he might die before solving one.

L would chase after the ghost of this particular case for the rest of his life and never find its equal.

… And never find his equal.

The bitterness of gall stung his mouth.

L blinked out of his reverie at the sound of someone asking Light if he had any final words.

When Light lifted his head, L unconsciously sat straighter in his chair, forgoing the hunch that he normally adopted as part of 'Ryuzaki's' public personality. Those clear brown eyes seemed to find L's, impossible though it was through the mirror.

"You're a coward for being here at the end yet not before, Ryuzaki." Light said in English with a smile.

With that gesture, the sociopath and mass murderer vanished, replaced by a 20-year-old supermodel chained to a table. The incongruity startled more than one hushed, frantic comment out of the journalists behind L.

"This is Kira? He's only a boy!"

"Why did they rush the trial? He was barely an adult when this all started."

"Who's he talking to?"

L grimaced; Light's power to charm and manipulate had no limits, it seemed.

"I know you're there." Light continued. His eyes fell to half-mast, projecting a look that was equal parts seductive and patronizing.

As only he could.

L crushed the response Light might have gotten out of him in the past ruthlessly. Light had merely gambled on L being there and was baiting him; Light would never know if he had been wrong.

"I just wondered, after everything you said, how you couldn't even bother to speak to me." Light paused and the room took a collective breath at the prospect of new information in such a secretive case. L revealed nothing; let this audience wonder to whom Light was speaking. "Not so secure in your victory, are you? You shouldn't be."

Light put his head back down and swept his gaze across the glass, encompassing the entire darkened room hidden from his sight before he made his final statement.

"There will be more to carry on what I started."

Light's eyes went back up to the ceiling as all but the medical examiner left the room. As always, he knew exactly how much he could say here without being taken for delusional. His tone and delivery were quiet, assured, and he left them all feeling like they were crucifying the wrong man.

L felt his mouth trying to pull into a frown as he watched the liquids running their course through the tubes. Light knew nothing; he was trying to anger L with his parting shot. It was the only weapon he had left, and it was a pathetic one.

'Victory' was watching Kira's eyelids fall shut as the sedative pulled him under. 'Victory' was the sight of Kira's chest no longer rising and falling. 'Victory' was the erratic beep of the heart monitor before its prolonged tone.

In which 'victory' was L not secure?

Kira was dead, head lolling to the side with his mouth slightly open. He looked like a pitiful dead mortal, not a self-styled god or a savior or a shining example of justice.

Kira was nothing and Light was less than nothing. What an arrogant fool to think his final words would be interpreted as anything other than the last desperate gasp of a doomed man?

The murmurs of the people around him went unheard as L left the room. His long stride was out of character again, but he wanted out of this building and that pack of impressionable fools. The sunlight seared his eyes after the darkness inside and he had to blink repeatedly in order to be able to see. The other spectators streamed out around him in little clusters, but L walked alone to the fence where his helicopter sat on the other side.

He waved his pilot away and took the controls himself, wanting to do the flying for a little while to clear his head. Not that he needed it, but he had always enjoyed piloting the chopper and it was only a short trip back to his private jet.

The helicopter ride, the long flight back to the United Kingdom, and the drive from the airfield to Wammy House were conducted in silence on L's part. L bypassed the curious looks and questions sent his way at the orphanage and headed directly for his suite.

He snatched medications for his migraines and his chronic insomnia from the bathroom. Both bottles were still nearly full even a year after their prescription; he had detested taking them since it took the edge from his deductive reasoning. He didn't pause before shaking out what constituted a dose, more or less, and chasing the pills with a glass of water. Not even the siren song of his laptop was enough to keep him from crawling into his bed rather than using the sofa.

The frantic pounding on his door woke him almost ten hours later.

"L! You need to see this now!" Mello's voice was especially grating when he was shrill.

L groaned in disgust before kicking the covers off and donning his pants. The drugs made him frustratingly slow first thing in the morning.

"What's wrong?" He said around a yawn before unlocking the door.

His own face in black and white met L's gaze when he blinked the sleep from his eyes.

He had one moment to think "What an accurate likeness" before it registered that this was the front page of a national newspaper, not a photo and not one of Mello's drawings.

Ripping the paper from Mello's grasp, he scanned the headline that took up nearly a third of the page along with his portrait.

L had known that Light was an amazing artist, but to produce a sketch this detailed after over a year in solitary? He was far better than L had given him credit for. The headline practically shouted in bold text:


Kira's final testimony identifies the reclusive investigator that solved the Kira case

As he skimmed the article itself, his breaths grew rapid and shallow. Here was information about Light's incarceration without evidence, the mock execution, the implicit torture, the names of L's alter egos, and every sordid detail of his chained attachment to L, both real and fabricated. Even his father's suicide was somehow pinned on L.

Now Light's thinly-veiled threat made perfect sense. His final opportunity to see a priest had not been spent with a man of God at all; he had planned to have a journalist there instead.

The paper tore as his fists clenched. L should have pulled the trigger all those months ago and blown Light's brains out rather than letting the police handle this.

The bile that surged in his throat nearly choked him and Mello grabbed his shoulder to get his attention. Mello's mouth moved but the words weren't audible over the ringing in his ears.

L's clawed fingers dropped the paper and he covered his ears so he couldn't hear all that screaming.



A/N - We're snowed in and it's lovely. Now if only I could make myself update something more significant. I had every intention of editing this but... that didn't happen. Thanks, recipe for insanity, for letting me inflict yet another fic on you. XD