Playing This Game, a vignette by Senshi'sBard

Spoilers: Everything, pretty much.

Setting: After the last episode of the anime.

Disclaimer: Oh, fine then, I guess you can have these two back. But only once I'm through. :D

Ryuk wrote his name in his Death Note, and Light Yagami died.

The various gunshot wounds did help him along, though.


"That looks like it hurt," said L.

Light glanced over his bullet-riddled body. "What, getting shot a thousand times?"

L nodded solemnly, gnawing on his thumb.

"Yeah," said Light. "Yeah, it did."

"So do heart attacks," said L. His free hand traveled up to his chest, where it curled into a fist. "Ba-DUM. Ba-DUM."

Light blinked.

"It's painful," said L.


Ryuk stared at his Death Note. It read Light Yagami.

He wondered what would happen if he wrote Kira, just to be safe.

But it wasn't his job to keep anyone at bay.


The human who uses this notebook can go to neither Heaven nor Hell.


He didn't have to open his eyes because he hadn't had time to close them. He'd only barely settled himself on the steps of the warehouse when it had happened.

He'd died.

First there was nothing. Then his eyes began to see, because there was light, somehow, and also darkness, surrounding it.

His hand reached out in front of his face. It glowed moon-white. His right thumbnail was missing; he didn't remember that happening, but being blown half to pieces had most likely distracted him.

And then he frowned, because the light was coming from him.

If there was a god, he thought idly, He must have a terrible sense of irony. Perhaps he had been fated to be named Light, to become Kira, just so some higher power could mock him by turning him into a human firefly - after he had died, of course.

For the first time in his life, it pained Light to think. But then he groaned, because that didn't make sense, because he was dead.

So he revised the thought.

For the first time in his death, Light Yagami realized that his brain might not be the greatest weapon if he was now in a world he could not manipulate.


"What are you doing here?" Light groaned, trying not to cry out with the horrible burning of his bullet wounds.

"Me?" asked L. His wide black eyes blinked once. "Just dropping by."

Light glared at him.

"When Light-kun says 'here', he implies that we are physically located in a particular quantifiable area."

"I'm not allowed to go to heaven," said Light. "I'm not allowed to go to Hell. So where the fuck am I, purgatory?"

A small smile settled over L's lips. He shuffled, still crouched, nearer to Light - if nearer was even a concept in the reference frame where they were currently, for lack of a better term, existing. "Kira-kun has always considered himself a god, and yet he finds himself in purgatory, hm? The irony is delicious, isn't it?" From seemingly nowhere, L pulled out a strawberry and began to nibble on it delicately. "Pardon me for eating in front of you, Light-kun, but I imagine you would refuse a bite even if I offered it."

As usual, L was right. "So because I acted in ways that only shinigami can, I'm not allowed a human death. I get that. I just - Do you mind?"

L halted in his loud slurping and peered blankly at Light over the strawberry. "I was listening to everything Light-kun was saying. His powers of deduction have decreased considerably due to his death, haven't they?"

Light moaned quietly in a failed attempt to sit up. He hated giving L the higher ground, and it irked him that L could sit - or rather, squat - while Light lay there, bleeding helplessly. "Can you blame me for being confused?" he asked through gritted teeth.

L pinched his chin thoughtfully. "No, I suppose I can't."


"What are you doing here?" Light asked.

"Light-kun is dead. I am dead." L's head tilted to one side. "Does Light-kun have another question?"

"But I -" He struggled through the haze of blinding pain to push himself upright. "This can't be death."

"What are Light-kun's objections?"

"It just -" He examined his clothes - tattered, bloodstained. He examined his wounds - horrific, unbelievably painful. He examined L. "It's too... physically intact. Can I - touch you?"

"Light-kun has to ask?" said L.

They stared at each other for a moment. Light reached out tentatively and brushed L's toe with a fingertip.

It felt - real.

"It doesn't make sense!" Light cried with all the volume he could muster.

"Forgive me for saying so, but Light-kun has always been slow to adjust to new surroundings."

"What are you doing here?" Light roared once more.

L's eyes were darker than the blank depths surrounding them, swallowing them. "Waiting for Light-kun to make up his mind."


"Can I - touch you?"

L shuffled closer. "Why does Light-kun ask?"

"To see if you're real," Light whispered.

"When Light-kun says 'real', he implies that -"

L's words were cut off abruptly when Light seized him around the neck and kissed him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

Light had seen L unsettled a few times when they were both alive, but that was nothing compared to the glimmer deep in L's eyes now - unsettled, yes, but - hurt.

"What do you hope to gain," L murmured, "by playing these games even after death?"

Wordlessly, Light shook his head. "I - "

"Light-kun cannot try to fool me anymore. There is nothing he can gain from beguiling me with his charms."

"Charms?" Light echoed, deadpan.

"Did not Light-kun just kiss me?"

"I - well, yeah, but I wasn't trying to -"

"Ah. Therein lies the problem. You see, I cannot trust a word you say. Is it Kira speaking, or Light Yagami? It all depends, Light-kun. Your fate depends on whom you really are, on whom you decide you were, on whom you choose to be."

A hand moved up and covered Light's face. "I'm sorry," he repeated. "I'm sorry I - I killed you, L. It was me. I killed you. Kira killed you."

"Yet here we sit," said L.


"To see if you're real," Light whispered.

"When Light-kun says 'real' - "

Light's lips gently closed the rest of the sentence and lingered there, perfectly still, over L's. "I don't want any of your logic shit now, Ryuuzaki," he murmured, his words tickling L's lips.

And, to Light's amazement, L kissed him back. "Light-kun is being intentionally ironic," he growled softly, winding his skeletal fingers into Light's hair.

His arms slipping around L's neck, Light hummed dry laughter into the kiss. "How so?"

L's nose drifted gently against Light's and suddenly his dark-moon eyes were blinding Light's vision. "Light-kun lived for his 'logic shit'."


"I am waiting for Light-kun to make up his mind."

"I hate to disappoint, Ryuuzaki," said Light, "but I don't exactly follow you."

A corner of L's mouth twitched up. "For that," he said, "I can forgive Light-kun." He pressed his thin fingertips together and absorbed himself in the intricacy of their interlocking. "The matter is simply this: if Light-kun died as Kira, then Kira is dead, and, being dead, Kira must remain here for eternity. If Light-kun died simply as Light Yagami, then he is free to pass on into another life. So Light-kun must decide."

"Another life?"

"Whatever it is that truly lies beyond death," L said, as a means of clarification. "As Light-kun might have guessed, his current situation is not precisely the norm."

It took Light less than a heartbeat to relive the flash of emotion in which he had died: fury, horror, rage, denial, wrath - fury, rage, wrath... He had died as Kira.

"If Kira is me, and I'm dead," said Light slowly, "then when did the rest of me die?"

L gazed serenely at his hands. "Does Light-kun truly have to ask?"

Still confused, Light narrowed his eyes.

L's eyes lifted and floated sadly before Light. "Why do you think that I, of all people, am with you now?"

A different pain, internal and grating, welled up inside of him. "I died with you," Light whispered. "I died when you died." He bit his lip. "I lo-"

"I know," L interrupted him. "I know, Kira."

Light smirked. "Of course you do."


"I died as Kira."

L nodded.

"So then what happens? I'm damned to wait here for eternity and never quite bleed myself into a real death?"

"More or less," said L testily, "although - if Light-kun were willing…"

"What?" Light demanded immediately.

"If Light-kun were willing to try again… to try to die as himself, instead of as Kira…"

"Another chance at life?" Light whispered.

L nodded.

"Another chance with you?"

L nodded.

"I might not change."

"You might never change," L agreed.

"I might kill you again and again."

"You might."

"I want to try," said Light.

"I know," said L.


Light tried again.

Ryuk wrote his name in the Death Note.


"I'm sorry, Ryuuzaki, I'm so sorry…"

"Hush, Light-kun." L awkwardly wrapped his bony arms around the sobbing, bleeding boy. "I know."

"I hurt you…"

"I know."

"I failed you…"

"I know."

"I'm sorry!"

"I know."

"One more chance, L. I'll try, I promise. I'll try."


Light tried again.



"Light-kun holds much animosity towards me," said L blandly. "He blames me for his mistakes and his death."

"If you hadn't trained that little scumbag -"

"I never 'trained' Near." L wrinkled his nose in mild disgust. "He is entirely responsible for his own actions, as is Light-kun."

"He ruined me! You ruined me!"

L shrugged a shoulder and nipped at his thumb. "Kira-kun was a mass murderer. Someone had to stop him."

Bitter tears of hatred, of remorse, of failure slipped out of Light's eyes. "I…" His hand curled into a taut fist. "I lost…"

"Yes," L agreed, "Kira-kun lost this round."

A faint glimmer of hope pricked honey-brown irises. "This round?"


Light tried again.


"What if I never manage it, Ryuuzaki?"

L smiled. The smile grew. And L - laughed. Once, low, more of a bark than anything else - but a laugh nonetheless.

Light stared.

"Does Light-kun no longer comprehend the meaning of eternity?" The smile was still present - curious, amused, and strangely sympathetic.

"How do you mean?"

"One moment of success," L said thoughtfully, his eyes raised, searching for some sun in their black hole, "over a limitless amount of time. If that's all you need… the odds are stacked almost entirely in your favor."

"But what if I'm sick of it?" Light pled. "I don't want to have to go back and start over; I'm sick of playing this game…"

L leaned in and slowly pressed his lips to Light's forehead. "But even I must admit, it's what Light-kun is best at."


Light tried again.


"It could take a thousand tries."

L nodded.

"It could take a million."

L nodded.

"It could take -"

"Potentially up to… infinity minus one," L mused. "Unfortunately, that's not really a calculable number…"

"Is there any chance that Ryuk would never drop the Death Note at all? That Kira might never exist?"

"Hm," said L. "An interesting theory. Care to give it a try?"


Light tried again.


"So what you're saying," said Light slowly, "is that I could be living millions of alternate lives right now?"

"Light-kun is too specific when it comes to concepts of infinite proportions," L said. "There is a potential that at some point in time and space, we were together. That is all."

"Fuck that," Light muttered.

L raised an eyebrow.

"Why can't I be there, instead of here?" he whined, as a means of explanation.

"You are," said L bluntly.

Light's mouth hung open slightly. "I don't get it."

L shook his head; his hair wagged. "Nor do I, Light-kun. It's not something we're used to, is it? Not understanding."

"If we understood," said Light, "I guess we would be God. Together."

"Which would be dangerous," L pointed out, "considering one of us is Kira."

"Sure would be interesting, though." Light sounded almost wistful.

"If Light-kun and I were gods…" L chuckled to himself. "Interesting, indeed. A constant battle."

"Call me perverted, Ryuuzaki, but I liked that part the best. I kind of wished I hadn't had to kill you off." Light grinned contemplatively.

"I wish that too, Light-kun. It kind of hurt." L made a fist and pressed it against his heart. "Ba-DUM. Ba-DUM."

Light stared.

"It was painful," said L.

"Sorry," Light muttered, color flushing his cheeks.

"I think it is safe to say that Light-kun was not exactly… himself."

"Could you forgive me?"

L reached out tentatively and brushed his fingers against Light's cheek. "I can forgive you," he said quietly, and he kissed Light's cheek - "and Kira" - he kissed the other cheek - "as many times as it takes."


Light tried again.


"Can you forgive me, Ryuuzaki?"

"You," L mused through his thumb. "Light-kun, I can forgive. Kira… never."


Ryuk wrote his name in the Death Note, but Kira lived on.

And so Light tried again. After all, playing this game was what he was best at.

Confused? Me. Too. Writing this thing gave me a headache. Too many repetitions and alterations and... stuff. (I'm so eloquent.)

So if you have any concrit, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to make this a little better! Thanks for reviews!!