Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.
A/N: Wanted to try something different from what I usually do. I think this is pretty different. XD This idea came to me in the middle of the night.
Light has never been an expert on close, interpersonal relationships- intimacy is something he has never allowed himself- so he's no expert, but he's pretty sure that, most times, calling someone 'pet' is a term of endearment.
Usually, it's a fluffy, tender thing to say. It implies sweetness and affection. Sometimes it's annoying, and in certain social situations it could probably be offensive. But again, Light has exactly no experience with romance beyond physical gratification. Also, English isn't his first language, so it was definitely possible that he was confused about 'pet' being a nice thing to say.
Light doesn't know. There are two things, however, he does know, because they are things that transcend his probable ignorance and his possible collision with the language barrier.
The first thing Light knows is that he's never been this cold, this passively, bone-deep cold, in his entire life, but that's fairly irrelevant to the discussion of the term 'pet,' after all, and acknowledging this physical discomfort to himself helped exactly not at all.
The second thing Light knows is that every time the word drips off of L's lips, 'pet,' the world's three greatest detectives means it completely literally.
At this point, however, that's about all Light knows.
There are no windows, and the lights have been off for long enough that Light now hasn't the slightest clue what day it is or how long he's been in here, let alone what time it is. The food that is occasionally brought in for him seems to be delivered at the most deliberately random times.
As for water, he was generously provided with a hamster-style water bottle, which he occasionally stumbles over to. It added to the 'pet' effect in an impressively degrading way. That, and it's hard as hell to actually get a good drink of water out of the thing.
The first time Light was in confinement, it wasn't this bad. Well, that was a lie. It was terrible. L, as it turned out, wasn't and isn't above torture, and no one can say that torture is an enjoyable experience. Light could confirm it first-hand. However, it had been tolerable, because at least then he had done it willingly, as part of a means to a significantly grander end. Then, for the rest of it, he had given up his memories, so he had sat there, innocent... or, rather, blissfully ignorant of the fact that he would never, ever be innocent again... holding onto the thought that criminals would keep dying, because he wasn't Kira. And that he would be free.
Well. Everyone Light is 'close' to knows how that turned out.
His father cried when he came to visit Light here, the one and only time he did. Light doesn't blame him and actually, he doesn't particularly mind that Soichiro has never come back again. He had always respected his father for his unwavering loyalty, for his sense of Justice, but as a person he was just a pain. There was no one else who would come for him- Sayu and Sachiko had been told that Light had been killed fighting Kira.
Light guesses that to some extent that's probably true.
Maybe Misa would have come to see him, but there's no way L would let the second Kira get that close to the first Kira, even if he can't prove that's what Misa is. For that, Light is actively thankful. One distinct advantage of being in this place is that Misa is far, far away, and he'll never have to hear her voice again.
Anyway, being alone was never something that had bothered Light, and it doesn't bother him now.
And he plans to keep telling himself that until he believes it.
The only problem is, with so much time alone, surrounded by darkness... Light is... actually starting to rethink some things.
This time, in this confinement, there isn't hope, never will be, and there is no plan. Not like the first time.
Oh, he's not rethinking everything. To some extent, he still believes in the punishment of criminals. He is still convinced that his initial plan was right on the money.
But his methods, maybe, were wrong. Or at the very least, they could have been better. Maybe trying to place himself at the head of this new world was the wrong way to go about it. Had he had... however long he has been in this place... to think about it then, Light is sure that he would have made some better choices. More innocents, for example, died than was his original intention.
L had come in one day and told him that calculations had been done and that Kira had single-handedly killed more people than Hitler. If Misa and Mikami's work is added in, more than Stalin.
Light still doesn't know how he feel about that, but he knows that he's not a huge fan of being compared to Hitler, even if he's a little bit flattered at the same time. After all, Hitler was an evil bastard, but he kind of did things on an impressive scale.
Maybe Light made a few mistakes. Maybe he killed more people than he strictly needed to, and he is almost sure, at this point, that trying to rule the world himself was a conflict of interests that may or may not have been his fatal flaw. Every tragic hero has a fatal flaw, right? Light's is hubris.
But, dammit, people kept calling Kira a god. There's only so many times you can hear that before it starts to get to your head, and Light has never claimed to be immune... or even resistant... to flattery, nor has he ever been so mistaken as to believe that he isn't one of the most arrogant sons of bitches to ever walk the earth.
He and L.
L, the reason he is here now. Light thinks that he hates L, but he's not sure of that anymore, either. Because L is nice to him... or at least he takes care of him. Maybe it's Stockholm's syndrome or maybe he's just lost his mind, but in reality L is the only one that ever comes into Light's little cage. He cleans it out, sometimes, changes the straw when it gets too disgusting. He's the one that brings in food. Light gets the treatment of a mouse in a cage, but compared to the sentence he had received... and by all means deserves...
L saved him from execution, then. The court case was no more than a formality so that L could claim to still be Justice. Then, sentenced to death (killing the criminal who killed criminals, and yet those jury members to this day don't realize they're hypocrites), L had taken him away.
Faked Light's death brilliantly, and then taken him away.
Light sometimes wonders if even Watari knows that Light is still alive.
Still alive, in some godforsaken basement or warehouse or whatever the fuck else this place could be where it was always so, so dark, kept in a cage by a man who, Light realized shortly after the first few laps around his cage, has completely lost his mind.
It's a little bit satisfying to know that he, Light, is the reason for that last bit there. Small pleasures.
L is a better actor than Light is, sadly, and he always has been but he's gotten even better recently. Light thinks that if he had been as good as L is now, L never would have been able to catch him. Then again, L always could see through Light's lies so it probably wouldn't have mattered how good Light was at it.
L manages to convince the outside world that the Kira case didn't turn him just as batshit, wacked-out, psycho-crazy as it turned Light, and Light will always be impressed by that. L is still out there, solving dozens of cases a day, wracking up renown and money, and even though he has totally lost it, completely lost his Justice now, because of Light, he has managed to make sure that no one has a clue. To the victor go the spoils, after all, and L is most certainly the victor here. L won. Kira lost. End of story.
The door to Light's cage shrieks open, and if Light wasn't so used to the sound by now, it would be as agonizing as it was in the first... what... weeks? months? that he had been here.
The door, followed by the familiar clatter of plastic food container meeting cement floor, is enough for Light to know that it's L, because it can't be anyone else. No one else would come to see him, and even though he loves to be alone, sometimes... sometimes... he does want a little contact with other people.
Light sits down. He mentally mapped out his cage a long time ago, designating the dead center of it as his sitting area. It's where he keeps his second biggest pile of straw, the first being the corner he uses as a bed, and it is where he always sits when L comes into the cage. He isn't sure why, but L seems to approve, and that's important.
He feels soft fingers on his hair.
The caress is gentle, and even though Light knows that L is unpredictable, unstable when he's around Light, he allows the touch. He even leans into it, because this is the only touch he's had in... days? weeks? the last time L was here... and he misses the sensation. He closes his eyes and rests his head on L's thigh, the familiar scent of the man who was once his enemy and who is now... what, his friend? Hardly. His only means of survival? His mast-
The cool, bony fingers move lazily down Light's face, tracing every feature, and Light vaguely remembers that, at one time, he would have pulled away. He also remembers that a long time ago, a long, long time ago, now, he would have been free to touch L the same way, and more.
Now, though, Light's hands stay at his sides and he simply allows L to take what he wants, fingers running everywhere, stroking, touching, and Light contrives some kind of pleasure of his own from it.
Then L's hands are gone, and Light misses them. He turns his head and presses his nose into L's leg, inhaling deeply again.
It's true that the sense of smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory, and Light can recall all of it. The denim. Sweat, because L never washed his clothes before and probably doesn't now. Coffee where he spilled it on himself and didn't bother cleaning up. Sickly sweetness.
It's all particularly strong to him because it's the only scent Light gets now other than straw, food, and his own filth.
L doesn't shove him away like Light worried he might. The older man is unpredictable like that, and Light never knows when he'll push it too far in his search for enough. Or where 'too far' even is today.
So, he takes the chance and presses his entire side against L's leg, blind, burrowing his face deeper into the denim.
L allows it, and Light knows that it's not another one of those days where L simply brings food and leaves.
"Do you wonder why I don't kill you, Pet? Or do you know?"
Light doesn't know, and shivers at the name. L had made sure long ago that Light associated the word with many, many different sensations. Agonizing pain. Staggering pleasure. Starvation. Relief. Being beaten, and being caressed.
Basically, with L himself.
Even if Light escapes someday, that is not something he will ever be able to overcome. Not all the therapy and post-traumatic stress treatment in the world will be able to disassociate L, "Pet," and any sensation Light is capable of besides boredom. L has simply taken it all.
And Light is kind of okay with that, in a way.
"It's because you are very... very beautiful."
Beautiful? Light doesn't think so. At least, he doesn't think he's beautiful now. Before, Light would have agreed completely and then proven that besides being beautiful, he was deadly brilliant and more seductive, more dangerous, than any other creature on Earth. Now, though, after being in here for who knows how long, he would disagree. He's lost weight from starvation and muscle tone from his now-sedentary lifestyle. He probably has bags under his eyes. He hasn't had a haircut or a change of clothes since he got here, and that might have been years ago. He reeks of sweat and dirt and straw because, not surprisingly, there isn't such a thing as 'shower time'... Only times L comes and sponges him off. Brushes his hair.
Grooms his pet.
"But you are, even when you are like this... no. More, when you are like this. Very, very beautiful."
Light isn't sure how L has come to believe that. Certainly, 'beauty' isn't what he is now- small, broken, and more than halfway to mad. 'Beauty' can't be the young man who sits in a cage and presses into his captor's leg for warmth and touch, as he is still doing now. 'Beauty' can't be the one who has nothing to say, nothing to think about, who can't hold a conversation if his life depended on it, anymore. And 'beauty' most certainly can't be the wraith that he has become, sitting in this cage.
"I knew from the first time I saw you in confinement that this is what fits you best."
L has pushed him onto his back, and then the touches start again. L's fingers trace Light's cheekbones, down the bridge of his nose, across his lips, along his jawbone. The fingers, always so cold, followed by lips, so hot, glide down Light's neck, and the hot stays there and the cold moves on. L graces his hands over Light's Adam's apple and down, over the clavicles, and Light shivers because, as L knows, that has always been his weak point.
As such, L lingers there for a while, making Light whimper and twitch. Then he moves on, over every inch and crevice of Light's skin until what happens next is so natural that Light doesn't think anything of it. He doesn't fight, doesn't even want to fight, and L presses Light into the cement and holds him there, takes him hard, reminds him who he is as if Light has even begun to forget.
And when Light comes on command, he receives a hiss in his ear.
Light vaguely remembers that, at one time, his mother had said things like that to him. And that he himself had said it to the dog they had babysat for a few weeks.
Light sits up when L's weight is removed, stands when he hears L back up a few steps. He reaches out, finds the shirt and wraps its fabric around his fingers. Keep the touch as long as possible. He's fairly close to his bed corner, now. He can feel the thickness of the straw under his feet.
L allows this too, at least for a while.
Light sits and then the hand is in his hair again, so Light presses up against L's leg. Again. He can almost see it, and if he pretends that he really can see it, then it's the first thing Light has seen in... damn. The last thing he ever saw was L locking the door to this cage.
"Far too beautiful to kill."
The touch is gone, the voice is now across the cage. Light hears the doors close with an equally-loud shriek, like some animal dying in agony.
"I will see you later, Light."
Then he's alone, and Light is silent for a long, long time. Hours, days, it didn't matter.
When he is sure that L is out of the vicinity, although it doesn't really matter and there are probably cameras anyway if he knows L at all, Light stands up and walks back to the center of his cage.
His voice cracks with disuse.