Custody, if a sealed limousine with police officers could be referred to as such, was not a situation Kaiba was particularly accustomed to. Then again, he was not particularly accustomed to accusations of murder from elderly gentlemen either. Usually just certain adolescents with grudges and a penchant for mumbo jumbo and emotional whining. With an irritated sigh he observed his companion of circumstance. The windows were bullet proof and opaque, leaving his location to be a vague estimate within his mind of calculations of approximate speed and direction over carefully monitored time.
Watari was driving carefully while kindly giving the impression he was NOT in fact observing the fuming teenager. The third occupant had no such reservations for his dignity. After bombarding the youth with incredulous exclamations Matsuda had eventually settled down into an unabashedly curious stare which went as ignored as his previous questions had. All would be explained eventually and this time would be better put to use planning to salvage his company's reputation rather than telling a story he'd only have to repeat.
Meanwhile Watari took advantage of his distraction to tap a small device inside his starched collar, calling L to provide an update. A master of sub vocalization, it appeared to the world as if he were silently concentrating on the road ahead. His words were barely loud enough within his closed lips for the microphone to pick up his response.
"Incoming in ten. Resentful but reasonable. Gloria not intended. Low patience. Easily provoked. Brother is key. Condones Kira. Other targets named."
"Very well, bring him to the forth floor. Framed or not we need to keep him in our sight."
L cleared his throat to get the room's attention. Without Matsuda and Watari the task force was down to himself, Light, Mr. Yagami, and Mogi. With Misa's constant presence that brought the number up to four more people who would need to be informed about their "guest". "The common link between the recently deceased is the mutual animosity between themselves and a certain Mr. Seto Kaiba who is currently being retrieved by Watari. In return for his cooperation in this investigation we will be searching for the whereabouts of his younger brother, Mokuba Kaiba."
Their reactions were immediate, though some more pronounced than others. Mr. Yagami gave a professional nod though his comprehension showed clearly. Mogi blinked slowly before adding a simple "Kaiba Corp's Seto Kaiba?"
Light's reaction, or lack thereof, was of the most interest to L. After coming out of a 53 day lock down to prove his innocence in the matter, Light had thrown himself into the investigation with a naïve zeal L might have encouraged or even admired in normal circumstances. However, these were not normal circumstances, and seeing his rival in the games of wit reduced to an optimistic, though admittedly still brilliant, child had been extremely frustrating. Where was the competition? The thrill that had come to associate with his closest friend and adversary? At first it was easy to deem an act, the next level of their game of cat and mouse, but recently it was fading into a predictable and friendly acquaintance, losing the spirit it once held.
He had changed, and as much as it galled L to admit even to himself, it was becoming increasingly clear that Light is not Kira. He clung to the idea of selective amnesia or a dissociated identity or something, anything to prevent being flat out wrong. The facts all pointed in his direction, but in light of recent evidence... He could not hold it in good conscience. L glanced again at Light's expression, mentally chastising himself for desiring an outcome before collecting all data first. Light still shone with a hopeful and determined visage, looking excited at the prospect of coming closer to catching the infamous 'god of death'. L was disappointed.
As suspiciously innocent as Light appeared, L would have been glad to know his obsession was well founded, if not for the explanations he had considered. Ever an actor, Light gave no outward sign of his unease though inside he was fuming as he plotted. Someone was using his notebook to take out business associates? How... utterly selfish! Whether he killed them himself or is being framed, someone is tainting the name of Kira with common greed, this is not the justice he had worked towards!
Rem had been given the notebook and explicit instructions to find someone to use it, but if they were too easy to catch or recklessly emotional L would never buy it and he would have his work cut out for him shifting the blame into this new player.
Light smiled broadly, snickering inwardly at L's almost imperceptible grimace. This persona hadn't always been an act, but ever since his memories returned it was easier to play along as if nothing had changed than alert the man of his cunning. "That's great! So let's find out his connection to Kira and bring justice for the murders. It's been a while since we've had so many clues. Soon we might be able to wrap this up and protect the world!"
This is not a competition, Seto reminded himself. Even so, he refused to look away from the dark, probing stare. It was unnerving, and Seto Kaiba was not one to be unnerved. Ever since he had entered the room there had been an uneasy silence perpetuating between them until it had turned into some juvenile game of seeing who would give in and break the silence first. He clenched his jaw and crossed his legs, daring the other to comment. This was ridiculous, an utter waste of their time. It wasn't even as though they were alone! Their contest had an audience, Watari and Matsuda from the limo as well as three others: a textbook cop, a serious one, and a teenager. All five looked increasingly uncomfortable from what he could see from the corner of his eye, but the one in front of him appeared completely unconcerned.
The game ended not because he gave up, for Seto Kaiba never lost (despite certain murmurings referring to his rivalry with the king of games), but because he chose to be the more mature one and take the higher road, thus proving his moral superiority in being more humble since he allowed the other the chance to 'win'. Not that he really lost, of course. "As fascinating as I'm sure I must be to you, surely we have more productive matters to apply ourselves to." At this he stood and turned his back to his annoyance, greeting the born-to-be-a-cop with a professional handshake. "Seto Kaiba, SEO and president of KaibaCorp and world champion duelist."
"8.9 minutes." The black haired observer unfurled from his position perching on the chair and cocked his head to the side. "What are your priorities?"
Mr. Yagami shifted uncomfortably as he realized L was being ignored until his response was given. "Chief Director of Police Yagami, and this is my son, Light and Mogi. It appears as though you know Matsuda and Watari already. This is-"
"L I would assume."
"Ryuzaki. We are the task force appointed to end Kira's reign of tyranny and save the Japanese populace from the fear of this serial killer."
"That's nice. I was kidnapped here and told you could find my brother."
"I believe you mean 'arrested'. You were wanted for your connection with the one currently killing off businessmen in your name."
"I meant what I said. I am not a murderer and have none employed amongst my staff. As for the connection, the ostentatious display points so blatantly it should be obvious the killer is no friend of mine. It requires only minimal intelligence to see this as the set up it is and calling it an arrest of playing along with their game. What do you mean 'currently'?"
"We believe this is someone new, a different Kira from those who had been acting previously."
"So this is the second? That implies the method used can be applied by more than one individual... ability or artifact?"
"Third actually. The Second seemed to specialize in pop culture variety shows and obeyed the First's orders explicitly."
"What makes this a third and not a change in tactics?"
"The recent actions change more than targets. The First Kira's motivations stem entirely from a misplaced sense of justice in ridding the world of criminals, those he sees as deserving of death in the cases the current justice system in unable to act on. The Second is a follower, supporting the First by killing criminals as well as police officers who go after Kira and FBI agents, protecting the First though they were not originally working together. This Third seems to be much less calculating than the First and without guidance, acting in the heat of the moment for personal gain or revenge. Furthermore, in the past week not a single death has been reported from unnatural heart attacks rather than your enemies."
"And because this Third is so... personal you think I am acquainted with him."
"It would fit the psyche profile. Do you have any enemies yet among the living? Any deranged fans with magic powers?"
With a condescending smirk he answered "It would be easier to give you a list of friends than enemies, I have made far too many through my success."
"More likely his personality..." Matsuda mumbled under his breath.
"As for 'deranged fans' I'll see which ones have been released back into society recently." After an odd moment of silence he clarified. "Sarcasm. I hope."
Once again I'd like to thank fakescorpion for the review, I'll try to put in more L for you later as it goes on. I hope this answered your questions about the timeline, but to make it clear this takes place a week after Light is released from custody with his father and Misa, before when in the books the Yotsuba company would have started killing off their competitors with the death note. Also, if anyone is interested in being a beta for this story, mostly for plot and character ideas, let me know.