Author's Note:

Well, after a major career change, two (count'em, two) computer deaths, and a surprise pregnancy, I finally have some time to write again. Even if I won't be able to reach the keyboard in a couple of months due to the amazon I'm apparently carrying around.

This piece will be a novella based loosely on Norse Mythology, an old passion of mine, and its apocalyptic battle Ragnarok. Possible warnings for this fiction in the future include violence, sexual situations, homosexuality, language, gore, and disturbing imagery. Unlike my other story, Ragnarok will be completely AU, set in a universe where there are no Death Notes or Shinigami; Light, though still the same basic personality type, will have gone down the path Ohba-sensei indicated and become a rising star in the NPA. This will also, despite the above warnings, be a little more light-hearted than my other works and a bit more ridiculous at that. This is an interpretation of how I believe Light and L's characters would have developed if left to brood in their isolation for a few more years, and L always did have an element of the absurd to him.

Obviously, I do not own Death Note or its characters. There would have been far more nudity if I did.

Prologue: From Hlidskialf

January, 2010

Far above the realm of ordinary mortals, he watched. Humanity at its worst spread before him every day; he saw their greed, their lust, their violence in excruciating detail when those few who strove for good failed in their task and called out to him in supplication. From his throne, he alone never failed to redress those wrongs and bring the guilty to swift chastisement.

He was the great detective L, and he was Justice.

He was also horribly, offensively bored. There was no case that L could not solve, no criminal he could not outwit. The secretive "Detective Wars" in which he had won his two most famous alter-aliases had provided only momentary diversion. His childhood nemesis, Beyond Birthday, had barely been a speed bump to L's dominance in the world of criminal investigation. Interpol danced to his tune, and governments gladly gave over every resource imaginable once he was contracted for a case. Even his successors, brilliant though they were, could only challenge him when all three worked in concert. L had, at the age of 31, begun to give up on the hope of finding anyone to rival him in all the world.

That thought was far too depressing for a Monday, he decided. Sugar would certainly be required to redress such bleak thoughts. Preferably in copious amounts.

"Watari?"

A subtle rustle from the main suite of the penthouse reassured L that his retainer and long-time backer was listening.

"Yes, L?" the soft voice questioned, faint disapproval apparent in the mellow baritone. "You can't possibly have solved the Coventry Murders yet, as you received the case file only twenty minutes ago".

L frowned in the blue light of his computer screens, thumb automatically drifting to his lips. Quillish had the unfortunate habit of admonishing L like a child when they were alone, shifting his role from public liaison to frustrated parent with remarkable swiftness. Though, L knew he had been extraordinarily difficult in his demands of late; his ennui was beginning to affect his work to an unacceptable degree.

"I was simply thinking that I would enjoy some sweets before developing my strategy on such a convoluted case" L replied. He paused, nibbling on his fingernail thoughtfully. "Something...syrupy, perhaps. Oh! Watari, can we get dango?"

Watari sighed heavily, folding his newspaper and dropping it onto the glass coffee table with a resigned air.

"Dango, L? We are, might I remind you, in Amsterdam, not Tokyo or London or New York. Japanese restaurants are not in abundance here, particularly those that would carry sweets of that nature".

"But..." L began petulantly, aware that whining was probably beneath him. Damn it, now that he had thought about dango, nothing else would do! Come to think of it, how long had it been since he was even in Japan? "Watari, how long..."

"Nearly two years" Watari cut in, comfortingly aware of his charge's thoughts. "Twenty-one months, to be exact".

L's frown deepened, and he spun his chair around, no mean feat with one's feet to their chest. Twenty-one months? Granted, Japan had a very low crime rate, but the longest the NPA had ever gone without calling him was fifteen months; that had only been shortly after he became active, nearly sixteen years earlier.

"Why have I not been tapped? Surely higher-level criminals have not simply fled Tokyo altogether? As a matter of fact, I recall that the yakuza had actually been gaining strength when last we took a case in Kanto" L mused. "Watari, do you-"

A thick manilla folder was thrust before his eyes, seemingly from nowhere. Really, L thought, Quillish's disarming ninja abilities should be declining with age. L opened the file in a pincer grip, delicately flipping through the first few pages. It wasn't a case file at all, but an official NPA personnel file, for one Yagami Tsuki, detective in the Major Crimes unit. L's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline.

"A personnel file?" Watari's mustache twitched at the corners at the incredulous tone of L's voice. Clearly, the old man had been keeping this file in reserve until L noticed his dearth of Japanese case work.

"Yes. This detective is the reason that you have had no cases in Japan". Another mustache twitch. "The NPA is calling him the next L. Interpol is starting to notice him as well. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to recruit him within the year".

"THE NEXT L?"

That damned mustache was outright jiggling now. L was incensed. Obviously Quillish was actually trying not to laugh. No one could compete with L, much less some Japanese woman who'd only been a detective for two years!

"Detective Yagami Light, aged twenty-four" Watari began, clearly taking pity on L. "He is the youngest member of the NPA to ever achieve detective status, at twenty-two-"

"Light?" L interrupted, "The kanji is clearly 'tsuki', a woman's name".

"Apparently" Watari returned, an edge of steel creeping into his tone. L quailed slightly. Quillish hated being interrupted and was the provider of his sugar, after all. "It is written as 'moon', pronounced as 'Light'. Or in the Japanese, 'Raito'. He is the son of NPA chief Yagami Soichiro, who you have met on previous cases".

L remembered Yagami Soichiro, a broad-shouldered man of stern countenance and even sterner ethics. He did not recall the man as having any particular brilliance, but his determination and leadership abilities were impressive, and he had quite an intimidating presence.

"Yagami-kun was the Top Student in all of Japan on both his high-school and college entrance examinations, and attended To-Oh University. He attained a degree in Criminal Justice in just two years, entering the NPA immediately. He has since earned a Master's degree in Criminal Psychology and Profiling. Apparently, Yagami-kun has been consulting on cases for the NPA since he was fourteen, and has never yet failed to solve one. His career potential is often described by the NPA higher-ups as 'stratospheric', and he has been given all the cases that would have previously been ascribed to outside consult such as yourself. He is also" Watari shifted L a significant look over his spectacles "a high school and college tennis champion and has an IQ score that rivals your own".

L's eyes widened as he devoured Yagami Light's file, listening to Watari intently all the while. Could it be possible that L had finally found a challenge? A potential kindred spirit? It was ludicrous that just when it seemed impossible to be roused from his boredom that such a man would appear, and in his own profession. To even share his hobbies? Inconceivable, really. There had to be a catch somewhere...

"!"

L's gasp was so beyond his usual restraint of emotion that Watari's expression went from fond to alarmed. "L?"

"He's..." L opened and closed his mouth repeatedly. In his trembling thumb and forefinger, L held the standard NPA identification photograph from Yagami's file.

"L?" Watari repeated, growing slightly disturbed now.

"He's beautiful" L muttered, seemingly unaware he was speaking aloud. "He certainly looks nothing like Yagami Soichiro. He doesn't even look Japanese, but for the shape of his eyes and his skin tone". L's face went from reverent to determined in a flash. Spinning his chair back to the bank of computer screens, he flicked a sequence of keys, bringing a Gothic letter "M" to one screen and an "N" to another. Flipping the switch on his microphone, L addressed his successors.

"M? N? Are you connected?"

"N is go" came a computer-altered voice immediately. L paused, waiting for a response from his ground team. Mello and Matt were his evidence-gathering unit, known to be L's "first wave" agents. Certainly they would take longer to respond than Near, who compiled strategy and data analysis for that evidence and would be in a set-up mirroring L's own.

"M? Do you read?"

Static filtered through the speakers, then the disconcerting effect of computerized giggling. The voice that responded, though still disguised, was clearly out of breath.

"M here. We were...indisposed". L categorically did not want to think about how Mello and Matt might be indisposed at one in the morning.

"I have a new target for you" L said, ignoring Watari's mumble of protest at his back.

"Sweet! Are we in on the Coventry Murders? 'Cause those are SO WRONG. I mean, that bloke is a total nutter, L, and you know how I love the psycho cases..."

"No!" L broke in quickly, before Mello could digress on his love for hunting down deranged serial killers. "This is research only. Most likely long-term, surveillance to be performed whenever I do not have you active on a case".

"L..." Watari began, only to be waved off by a pale hand.

"What is the target suspected of, if I may ask?" Near's calm voice floated through the speaker to his right. "And what sort of person are we watching? This will of course determine the nature of the surveillance and what equipment will be necessary".

L bit his thumb again, attempting to find a way to phrase his orders that did not sound ridiculous.

"L? That's too big a pause, man. What's the catch?" Damn it, that had to be Matt. He was certainly the most astute of the three when it came to people. "I suspect this will be either super-dangerous, or super-boring from the length of that pause".

L sighed. "I would like you to perform in-depth surveillance on a member of the National Police Agency in Tokyo. Specifically, a detective in the Major Crimes Unit".

Silence.

"This...isn't about a dirty cop, is it?" Damn Matt.

"I surmise that this is about competition, considering how long it has been since L has seen any casework in Japan, or delegated such to us." Damn Near, for that matter.

"I'm sending you his file. Reports to me weekly, until I tell you otherwise. L out".

L punched the "end" key and flicked off his microphone, studiously ignoring Watari's black looks in his direction.

"L, you can't just-"

"I most certainly can. You know I hate competition, Watari. I want to know what I'm dealing with, here. In addition to the surveillance, I want you to make sure that I get called in on any international case having to do with Japan".

"Of course, L".

Watari sighed heavily. He had known that L would react strongly to the knowledge of Yagami Light's existence, but he hadn't realized what ramifications that could have on someone as isolated and secretly lonely as L. He hoped, for young Yagami's sake, that an international case came up in Japan sooner rather than later; he was unsure of how circumspect Mello, Matt, and Near could manage to be with someone as brilliant as Light's file indicated.

Had Watari known what sort of case would bring his charge and the Japanese genius together, he would have retired on the spot.