Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.
A/N: This was originally in Shorts and Sweets but I was informed by a reliable source that it should be a stand-alone fic. So here it is! A slightly extended version.
Light never hated L more than in the moment his father had a heart attack.
Of course, Light always hated L. How could he not? As L, he was the most prominent, visible and yet incorporeal enemy of Kira's New World. Realistically, he was the only one who actually posed a threat. Then, of course, there was his infuriating personality and sickening lack of hygiene- his habits had caused Light to throw up on more than one occasion in the time they were handcuffed together. There was his nauseating diet. His annoying need to constantly satiate his oral fixation. The way he stacked anything that was stackable. The fact that he refused to wear socks, even when he was wearing shoes. The fact that he wouldn't run a comb through his damn mane of hair.
Yes, Light reviled L for those things. Detested him. When you're so different from someone- when there are that many irreconcilable differences- it's not hard to imagine that you would hate them. Light was very happy to inwardly acknowledge (and regularly express, in fact, to anyone who he could get to listen) that he hated L for the ways in which they were so, so very opposite.
But more, and much more secretly, in the dark places of his mind that he never, ever let surface for any reason, Light Yagami hated L Lawliet because they were exactly, unerringly, irrefutably the same.
They were identical, mirror images, reflecting each other infinitely, and the Light that Light saw in L was everything he didn't want to be.
L was childish. Petulant. Self-possessed. He was arrogant and superior and lonely and most of all, L was bored out of his skull to the point that he'd do anything to assuage it, no matter the consequences for other people. And yet, somehow, it seemed that everyone thought he was the incarnation of Good itself- even the people that hated him.
On good days, Light liked to pretend that it was those things that really made him hate L- that it was those things he so resented having in common with the man he detested.
But it wasn't, and Light knew it. On days that weren't so good, he did not bother to deny that those were not the things that made him hate L (and, of course, himself). They simply were too 'old news' to be that influential in his feelings. After all, Light had been aware for quite a long time that he wasn't the best person; Hell, you can't be society's definition of 'normal' and still come up with the idea that, yeah, you should definitely kill thousands of people.
So it wasn't really all those things.
The event that made him truly realize how much he hated L- the event that brought it all home- was the moment in the café when both their cell phones rang at the same time, and when L, for just a breath, wasn't acting.
"Light, it's your-"
In that moment, L thought of his own distant, long-buried parents. Light could see the emotions flicker through his usually blank, coal-pit eyes. Compassion. Empathy. In that moment, L was everything that Light didn't want to be, everything he pretended not to be, but if L was, then Light was smart enough to know that he was, too, and that no matter how hard he tried, he always would be.