Author's note: I know my profile page says my account has been abandoned, but... eh. This chapter has been written for months, and I'm on a bit of a Death Note kick, so I may end up finishing this story or even publishing some new content, depending on my free time and motivation.

"Hey, Misako?"

Misa quickly excused herself from the edge of the movie set and Ryuga Hideki's lingering eyes to take the call. "Akira! How are you? Is everything all right?"

"Remember when I said the company might be getting into a bit of trouble?"

Misa stilled halfway across the set. "...Why? What did you do?"

"You're going to need to distance yourself. You don't condone what's been done."

"What did you do?" Misa repeated, getting annoyed at Light's evasion.

The line was silent for a while, then Light asked, quietly, "Are you in a secure location?"

Misa hardly thought anyone would be eavesdropping, let alone wiretap her phone. "Yes."

"And you know that, while you have come to your own conclusions, you only have evidence that points to the fact that you were passed a message from Kira by a third party, and then were only contacted by Kira sometime later through a pre-paid phone and e-mail?"

"Akira, what did you do?"

"I've gone a step further, and it's likely that a lot of people aren't going to like it. The police might be forced to actually take action."

Misa inhaled deeply, thinking. "And you think they might question me, because of my status?"

"They would be stupid not to- and they're not stupid. You have plausible deniability."

"You're asking me to lie for you."

"It's not really lying if you can't prove your own conclusions."

Misa frowned, hoping dearly that she wouldn't have to lie to the police. She would do it if she had to, because she believed in what Light was doing, but she didn't want to. "What if they ask for the note? It's got your name and everything on it."

"I can make a copy of the note, exactly the same and with the correct contact information on it, but without my name on it. I'll send it to you through your personal mailbox, and you can burn the original."

"No!" Misa cried out automatically, then tried to recover by saying, "Uh, I mean..." she gave up trying to sound cool and unaffected. "...I want to keep the original." Misa winced guiltily as Light gave a long-suffering sigh.

"As long as you recognize how very dangerous that is, and promise to keep it in a very, very safe location."

"I promise. But, Akira, what did you do?"

"It's best that you don't find out from me. You'll find out when the news agencies contact you."

*Sparkle Sparkle*

When Misa got her hands on Light Yagami, she was going to strangle him.

She was taking care of homelessness plenty just by running Kira Kira. This painting just stepped over the line, and it had angered a lot of people. It had even turned a lot of people who were on the fence against Kira. They didn't mind when he was criticizing people who were actively doing wrong, but once he started pointing out the harm done by people's apathy, he couldn't be allowed to continue.

Which brought her, once again, to the news station.

"Kira Kira is a movement that is only inspired by Kira," Misa asserted forcefully. "We see the need in our society to be more conscious and responsible in order to work toward a better world, but we do not condone crime of any sort—including graffiti. We have adopted Kira's message, not his methods."

"But Kira's message has essentially changed," the reporter, Kouya, argued. "Before it was a caution against doing something wrong. Now it's a reprimand for what people choose not to do. Many people feel that Kira has stepped out of bounds by commenting on people's choices, and that Kira is trying to enforce his rules on everyone else."

"Kira has not stepped out of bounds by commenting on people's choices," Misa said dismissively. "Kira stepped out of bounds the moment he picked up a paint brush and put it to a wall instead of canvas. Without condoning or condemning, I have to say that if Kira's commentary, rather than his illegal graffiti, is making people angry, it's probably because they know it's true, and they can't deal with it."

"A controversial perspective. And what is your response to the people who are now urging the police to start investigating Kira in order to put a stop to his graffiti?"

"I simply hope that everything will turn out for the best. I may be trying to make a better world, but as an ordinary citizen, I must leave the law to the police, as should everyone."

"Good advice. Any parting comments?"

"No, thank you."

*Sparkle Sparkle*

L was slightly ashamed to admit that he hadn't noticed exactly what Kira was painting last night, so absorbed was he with Kira himself. He had, of course, registered the form and detail of the painting, but it wasn't until he had seen the news broadcast that he had realized the implications of what Kira had painted.


Kira was far too intelligent to think that this new development would simply be accepted with a nod and a smile. He must have known that people would turn against him.

So why do it?

True, Kira wasn't gaining anything right now anyway. He was doing all of this for, supposedly, altruistic purposes. If he truly believed in his cause, this would be the next logical step towards making a better world. If he could make people feel shame for letting evil exist in the world, then they would work harder to eradicate it.

But at what cost?

If Kira continued like this, the police would be forced to step in. How could causing a rift between the police and the public possibly serve his purposes?

L decided not to ask Kira, even as he observed him starting the beginnings of another homeless person on a wall. He would prefer to figure it out himself and irritate Kira. Or impress him with his ability to follow his train of thought. It depended on whether or not the young man felt like being cooperative.

Instead he asked, "Does Kira enjoy sweets?"

Kira's masked head swiveled in L's direction, cocked to the side in a manner that L would say could be amused or puzzled. "If this is a ploy to get me to lift my mask, it won't work. I don't take candy from strangers."

"Ah, but we're friends, remember?" L corrected. "In any case, I have no candy with me at the moment, unfortunately. I am simply curious."

Kira turned back to his work and said, "Not really."

"Not really," L repeated, slightly disbelieving. "Chocolate?"









That one got a shudder. "No. People choke on that, you know."

"All right. Kira refuses to take pleasure from sweets of any kind. What about alcohol?"

"Where are these questions even coming from, Ryuzaki?"

An internet dating site. L decided to avoid answering directly by saying, "I wish to know Kira better, as a friend, and because things like family and our pasts are not allowed, I am asking him if he imbibes."

"Makes sense," Kira said dryly. "I don't."

"I should have known," L said, nodding. "If the world was going to end tomorrow, what would Kira do?"

"Seriously?" Kira asked incredulously, then, at L's nod, said blandly, "Imbibe."

L's lips quirked up, and he shoved his hands in his pockets. "I, myself, would turn to sweets."

"I'd rather guessed that."

"What is Kira's definition of love?"

"My definition of love?"

"It is pointless to repeat my words in an attempt to bide time. I see right through the tactic."

"It's not a tactic. You're not the only one who can rattle off dictionary definitions when it suits them. Love is a warm personal attachment or deep affection."

"Hm. That sounds remarkably similar to my definition of friendship."

"Don't flatter yourself."

"Does Kira believe that friends can develop love over time?"

Kira's head jerked around again, and L dearly wished that the mask was gone, not so that he could know Kira's identity, but so he could admire the flabbergasted face that the mask was surely hiding.

"Please tell me you're not hitting on me."

"Of course not, Kira. We hardly know each other. I am asking if you think such things could develop over time." L was not seriously considering taking Kira as a partner, of course, but causing him to lose his composure was beginning to become one of L's favorite pastimes.

"Is it possible? Yes. Between us? Certainly not."

Oh, but he shouldn't have said that. That was a challenge, and the last time Kira had challenged L, albeit unknowingly, he had lost.

L crossed the distance between himself and Kira, and though Kira leaned back and away, L leaned forward to look through the small gaps in the mask for Kira's eyes. With the night and the distance, L had never actually been able to see Kira's eyes, but now he could see that they were a light honey brown, flecked with gold.

Challenge accepted.

From his position less than half a foot away, L asked, "Does Kira masturbate often?"

Kira stiffened—which was a bad idea, considering he had been leaning backwards to get away from L. He fell on his back and hit his head with a solid thunk.


"Is that what Kira prefers? Is he aggressive or passive during sex?"

"Ryuzaki!" L wished he could see the blush that he could very nearly hear in the boy's voice. "What—you- stop! Just, stop. You've completely overstepped your bounds-"

"Ah. Passive, then, since Kira is begging."

"I'll show you begging," Kira growled, launching himself off the ground and taking L down in one smooth movement. L was prepared for this, however, and used the momentum from Light's shove to roll on top of the boy, pinning him easily.

"Will you, now." L cocked his head, narrowing his dark eyes speculatively. Behind the gaps in the mask, Kira's eyes were wide and defiant. "I could remove Kira's mask right now, and end our little game. Will Kira beg me not to? Will he beg me to stop?" Making sure Kira's arms were pinned down—because he was struggling, fiercely—L lifted one hand and gently stroked the edge of the mask. "No? I suppose the pride that sparked this mission will also put an end to it..." L gripped the edge of the mask, not intending to take it off, but fully intending to see what Kira would do.

The boy bucked violently under him, arching his back. He did not manage to dislodge L, but he did manage to knock L's hand away from his mask. He also succeeded in rubbing their groins together in such a way that, had he or L been a little bit more aroused, could have been perceived as erotic. In fact, L realized, taking stock of his body's reaction, he had perceived it as erotic, and he judged that he only had a few minutes before his teasing would backfire. He would be quick, then.

"I won't make you beg," L said graciously, climbing quickly off of Kira in case he decided to punch him in the face again. "I'll leave Kira here to pick up the pieces of his pride." L ducked to leave a quick, taunting kiss on the forehead of the mask. "It is part of why I like him, after all."

And L walked away, off to continue watching Kira through a camera.

Light lay on the ground for a few minutes to regain some sense of composure after that... that...

What was that?

A defeat. That was all Light could consider it. He had been losing one battle or another ever since Ryuzaki had walked into his life. He had lost his secrecy, his composure, his temper... and several fights.

He had conceded to Ryuzaki on the friendship thing, partly because it was evident that the man never gave up, and partly because he had a point. But if Ryuzaki never gave up, then he wouldn't stop until he not only knew who Light was, but he wouldn't stop until he- what did he want? To sleep with Light?

That's certainly what it sounded like. Then again, with Ryuzaki's almost complete lack of inflection, it was difficult to tell when he was teasing or being serious or both. And there were those questions about masturbation and being active or passive during sex, and whether friends could become lovers. Obviously the friends becoming lovers bit had been referring to them, but was he teasing? Or was he seriously considering that?

It was ridiculous, of course. Neither of them knew the other's identity, and Light was even wearing a mask. It's not like they could get very far, even if it did happen. Except- except that something had happened, when Ryuzaki's body, strong and warm and taut was holding his down with ease, no matter how hard Light struggled to get up. When dark eyes peered down through the holes in his mask, evaluating, analyzing. When Light bucked upwards, back arched and groin against groin in a mocking imitation of what might be.

But it couldn't be. It wouldn't be safe for Ryuzaki to know who Light was; he was a dangerous liability just knowing him as Kira. So it didn't matter what Light or Ryuzaki wanted in the end, because Light couldn't allow it to happen.

With this resolution, Light was able to ignore the question ringing in the back of his mind: What do you want?