Chapter Four: Blood
Summary: Everyone knows that 'L' is the greatest detective known––which is exactly why he is called on to solve another mass murder. The death of an entire clan, numbering well over a hundred people, were killed in one night, with only three survivors. Two of the survivor's locations are unknown––the third is a boy named Uchiha Sasuke. Not only is L dealing with an another case that could possibly lead to 'Kira', but now, he is held back by an eight-year-old boy who is just beginning to learn the grief of being an orphan.
Author's Note: Ahahaha I forgot about this story people. Sorry. I tried to read Death Note over again and I got to the fiftieth chapter, but then I found some more Pokémon manga so I read that. Then I kind of lost the mood for a murder/crime/mystery story. I think Sasuke is turning into a bigger wuss than I would have liked. Also, just for the record, the movie stars Kojitan and Musarina are not a pathetic shallow allusion to Kojiro and Musarina. Or as we Americans would call them... JESSIE AND JAMES. Not, mind you.
"Did you hear that, Kojitan?" the woman whispered frantically, curling her fingers into the ironed sleeve of her husband's jacket. Her eyes widened as the ominous rustling sound grew louder and more pronounced, clearly audible even through the pounding racket of music in the background.
"It's nothing, Musarina," the man assured, though his voice trembled slightly. He glanced suspiciously into the distance, his expression clouded by suppressed worry. Rather than allowing his anxiety to be noticeable, he comfortingly patted his wife's hand, but his movements were slowed and distracted.
It was at that moment that the wind chose to spit a strong gust over the midnight-shadowed park. Leaves skittered over the paved sidewalk, and the weather vane that stood lonesomely in the center of the community garden began to twirl wildly, creaking and groaning with effort.
The man swallowed nervously, and with a curt nod, urged his wife to follow him. The flat soles of his Oxford loafers and the pointed heels of her pumps clicked and smacked against the walkway, echoing eerily in the late evening. The icy wind plucked at their hair, pulling tauntingly at their coattails as they shoved against the gale.
Neither Kojitan nor Musarina noticed the figure that darted behind them. The stranger's own bulky jacket was bundled around him, and a battered felt hat rode low on his crown, shading his face and hiding his features from view. But though his face was covered by the darkness, the dimly flickering light of a single streetlamp sent a chilling glint glaring from the blade of the knife that he gripped tightly, squeezing its hilt to assure himself of its capability. He crept skillfully behind the man and woman, boasting the talent of an elite hitman as he brandished the knife above his head.
The instant he jerked the blade down, tearing through the shoulder of Kojitan's coat before he was even given the opportunity to yelp, the entire scene became engulfed in a relentless blackness.
L sighed in a display of boredom, his finger lingering on the protruding red button of the television remote control. His large eyes were glazed with a glassy film, and the purple lines that sagged beneath his eyelids seemed more enhanced in the soft orange glow of the nightlight.
"Why'd you turn off that show?" Sasuke demanded, wrenching around to squint in disbelief at L's nonchalance. "I want to see what happens to the pretty lady! What if the hitman kills her?"
L scoffed at the very prospect. "I don't like watching these cheaply made, foolish programs. Honestly... if Kojitan is supposedly the detective of Nibi City, why in the world would he put himself in a position like that? And if he was on a case to find the hitman, why was he strolling through the park with his wife, having no idea what was about to happen whatsoever, even though he knew exactly that all the murders had happened at night in that park? Furthermore, there were so many signs of the hitman's presence that I stopped counting. Kojitan is no detective," he finished confidently.
Sasuke frowned, a crease forming in his smooth brow as he attempted to find a purpose in L's speech. He shortly abandoned the pursuit of an answer and simply leaned back into the overstuffed pillow, hugging the plush dinosaur against the curve of his neck. He was not keen on the thick silence, wishing to have at least some manner of noise in the small apartment to distract him. The steady buzz of the heating unit was too gentle to focus on, and the clicking sound of L gnawing at his thumbnail was little more than obnoxious.
Exhaling sleepily against the side of his dinosaur, Sasuke wriggled further back into the warmth of the pillow and let himself relax in the feeling of clean-smelling, crisply cool sheets. He distinctly remember the soothing clatter made by the bamboo wind chimes outside his bedroom window at the Uchiha mansion, and he lusted after the calming noise. But rather than keep awake and bemoan the dull quietness of his environment, he decided to fall asleep as soon as L left the room. It made him uncomfortable to consider being vulnerable under L's unwavering scrutiny––even knowing that he was being carefully watched at present caused a certain uneasiness to swell in his stomach. He remained motionless, scarcely daring to let his chest rise and fall as he breathed.
"I'd like you to sleep well tonight, Sasuke-chan," L finally announced, startling Sasuke into full awareness. "We need to get an early start in the morning, and if you are not rested, it'll be a chore bringing you along. You and I both need to be alert and ready to pick apart each piece of this predicament that we can. So get under the covers, and if you need anything, I'll be in my office. Good night," he stiffly concluded, and before Sasuke could reply, L lightly stood from his perch on the arm of the sofa.
"You... you, um, aren't going to leave before I wake up, are you, Ryuzaki-san?" Sasuke timidly wondered. He wrinkled the hem of his baggy nightdress with his fingers, staring down at the worn cotton fabric as L knelt beside the wall to turn off the small lamp.
"I said I'll be in my office, and that's where I'll be until the morning," L promised, though his tone suggested that he was both annoyed and surprised at Sasuke's shy question. Standing up, barely visible in the blue light that radiated from the computer system in the next room, he padded to the window and adjusted the plastic shade. The cold air pressed against L's hands, and after a moment's pondering, he crouched to twist the knob of the clumsy heating unit. The machine sputtered before sending out a pleasant wave of warmth, and without another word, L ambled into the chilled confines of his office, closing the door behind him.
Perplexed by this behavior, Sasuke continued to stare at the rumpled curtains that fluttered in the blowing breeze of the heater. His cheeks flushed as an unanticipated current of indignation slid through his chest, but he quickly turned from the confusing emotion. He felt groggy, despite the time being only a half hour later than he normally was put to bed; rolling to rest on his side, he exhaled into the crumpled pillow and let weariness prod his mind into dullness.
If L could think fluidly and accurately in the noisy, humming, clouded atmosphere of a crowded restaurant, then his intelligence easily quadrupled in quantity when he settled comfortably in the swivel desk chair inside his office. He lifted his legs over the cushioned seat, gratefully pressing his palms to his knees and hooking his toes over the edge of the seat.
Eagerly, he leaned over the cluttered desk, pushing aside a hefty stack of manila envelopes to gain access to the small microphone that protruded from the side of his thin laptop computer. His practiced fingers effortlessly found the switch to activate the instrument, and with a soft buzz, the computer screen flashed to life. A blank whiteness spread over the display, and a large, fancy 'W' pixellated into view.
"Watari," L murmured, drawing the bud of the microphone closer to his mouth and lowering his voice. "Watari, I'm alone. I'd like to hear whatever information you've uncovered on the surviving members of the Uchiha family."
"Excellent timing, Ryuzaki," Watari commented, his own voice rattling clearly from the miniature box speaker. "I just finished printing out the lists. I successfully discovered quite a bit of information about the people of the clan and the clan itself. Its history with Konoha and the rest of Japan is quite interesting––I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty to do a bit of sleuthing myself."
L immediately detected the trace of humor in Watari's tone. "Of course I don't mind. Could you explain the situation to me while you fax the lists?"
L impatiently pressed his thumb to his lips, watching the fax machine with a steely, unwavering gaze. It took only moments before the device whirred, a green light blinking to alert an incoming message. Slowly, a sheet of paper began to peel from the machine, and L hastened to stretch over the back of his chair, nimbly plucking the paper free.
"Okay, I've received them," he announced, twisting back into his former position. His eyes became glazed with concentration as he studied, the reflection of the computer screen glistening in the blackness of his pupils.
"Good. Now, as for what I've learned..." There was a barely audible shuffling sound, and L knew that Watari was shifting through his belongings in search of some detailed graph or chart.
"Here it is––I had paid a visit to the genetic research center, and I managed to arrest a copy that has the names of every Uchiha registered by the government. After carefully combining the total deaths and subtracting each one from the list, it is confirmed that there are only three Uchiha in existence, as had been suspected."
"Can you tell me the names?" L requested, scanning his duplicate of the Uchiha registrations.
Watari cleared his throat before replying, signaling that he was preparing for a lengthy discussion on this particular subject. "The first, as Matsuda-san has told you earlier, is an elderly gentleman by the name of Uchiha Madara. He first went missing at the age of twenty, and has not been seen since then. His brother is deceased, and if I'm correct, it seems that Madara had something to do with the founding of Konoha itself."
"Hm," L grunted, too enthralled in processing this data to give an answer of any substance. "Continue."
"The next-youngest survivor is one fourteen year old teenager, named Itachi. From what I know, he was considered to be a prodigy, especially in the supernatural abilities that the Uchiha were famed for. He had already obtained the Sharingan at the age of eight."
"Sharingan?" L echoed curiously.
"I did a quick study on the Jutsu Arts that the Uchiha delved in," Watari informed. "They were all naturally adept at using fire in odd ways. Using Chak'ra––their name for some strange supernatural force––they were capable of even projecting flames from inside their bodies. That all ties in with the Sharingan––once an Uchiha reached a certain age, they awakened a sort of talent that allowed them to see and predict several seconds or even minutes into the future, and also to manipulate the senses of others in illusions and distortions of reality. All Uchiha had that trait, so it was a kind of mark that proved their bloodline."
"So these Uchiha were really into dark arts and magic?" L assumed.
"It appears that way," Watari confirmed. "But in the time of Ninja, when the Uchiha clan was first established, that was not unusual. As long as one chose to become a Ninja, he was trained into being skillful with magic spells of all sorts."
"That's something that I've heard before," L admitted, "but I had never gone into depth in reading about it. That information is not irrelevant, though––if the Uchiha are able to use dark arts and distort reality, then that would aid them greatly in large-scale murders."
"Ryuzaki...," Watari began slowly. "Are you considering that one of the Uchiha may have been the murderer?"
"Of course I don't immediately think that," L protested calmly. "But indeed there is always a chance of the highly unlikely happening. There is still much to learn about this case before I make any solid assumptions, though."
"I know I shouldn't wonder about this just yet," Watari cautiously started to ask, "but, Ryuzaki, is there any chance of the massacre having been done by Kira?"
At this unanticipated question, L frowned, the bridge of his nose crinkling as his eyes squinted. He silently pondered, his mind fluently processing everything that he had just heard. But little made true sense to him just yet.
"There is no way to know for sure," L finally said, digging his teeth into his fingernail. "It would be difficult to accuse anyone now. If the only survivors are either missing, a teenager, or a little child, then there's no way... but please, Watari, give me what you know about Uchiha Sasuke."
Accustomed to the frequent sudden changes in L's moods, Watari obeyed, the sound of his bent, withered fingers riffling through papers crackling through the speakers.
"Uchiha Sasuke," the man read dutifully. "Turned eight years old last July. Apparently he lived with his mother, father, and older brother––and the brother's name was Itachi."
"The survivor?" L quickly asked.
"Yes," Watari confirmed. "And Sasuke was also talented with using fire arts, as his brother was. But looking at the records of his grade school work, it seems that he was at the bottom of his class. He had high potential, but never applied himself to anything except fire magic. He was, though, the head of the rookie class in the Konoha Ninja Academy. And it also seems that one of his greatest ambitions was to join in the police force following his father's career choice."
"His father was a policeman?" L sharply interjected.
And just through analyzing that simple tart statement, Watari knew exactly why Yagami Soichiro thought of L as being cold toward Sasuke. Was it possible that the young Uchiha reminded L of his deceased Kira suspect, Light? Even though Sasuke's personality had barely shown, he already presented himself as a living image of Yagami Light to L. Watari couldn't figure out how, but he had been acquainted with L for long enough to be certain of some aspects of his character.
"Ryuzaki, are you sure that you don't want to place the boy in a home nearby?" Watari carefully suggested. "That way you won't be saddled with the responsibility of caring for him, but he will be close to your hotels if you need him."
"Of course I couldn't do that," L brusquely answered. "Sasuke-chan has already showed that he is clingy. Before I turned off the nightlight, he told me that he was afraid I would be gone in the morning, leaving him alone."
"It's only natural," Watari assured gently. "And no one is expecting you to suddenly know how to interact with children. But please, and this all depends on the case––make sure you're kind to him."
"Why are you so interested in Sasuke-chan so suddenly?" L dourly inquired. He had contacted Watari solely for the purpose of obtaining information, not to have a conversation about a mere orphan.
"Ryuzaki, why don't you listen," Watari kindly offered. "You know that, for a long time, I dealt with children at Wammy's House. Exceptional children, and smart enough to hide most of their feelings from their authorities. But there was always someone who was lonely enough to tell you. And it was pitiful––I've heard many stories about children who witnessed the death of their parents. Some were given up. And you, Ryuzaki, must know just as well as they do how lonesome it is being without a family."
L stared emptily down at his desk, idly resting his chin on the shelf of his knees. He remained that way for several long minutes, listening to his own steady inhales and exhales. At last, he spoke, and in an apologetic tone.
"I'm sorry, Watari."
"You needn't be," the elder soothed, and L was instantly comforted. "Nobody expects you to be a parent figure. I don't think you should be, anyhow. But look, now––this may sound like something from a cheap movie, but I will tell you anyway. Sasuke isn't counting on you, Ryuzaki."
"Pardon?" L could scarcely believe that Watari had said so. After so much discussion, Watari was meaning to tell him that Sasuke was not dependent on him?
"That's right. Sasuke doesn't know you, Ryuzaki, but even though he does know that you are the greatest chance for solving this case, he can't get himself to admit it. He doesn't want you to be his only hope. You're good at digging into minds, so put yourself in Sasuke's mind. He's a little boy, and suddenly, his friends and family are gone. He can't figure out what happened to them, and all he can get is that he is in a new home, with new people, and trying to settle into a whole different routine.
"That's stressful for anyone, and even more so for a child. So... Ryuzaki, I'm not asking you this as your elder, but as your trusted guide. Love Sasuke while you can. It will do you good."
Author's Note: My brain is dead. L and Sasuke. Father and son. Kind of. No homo. Expect some JimShipping from me next time. Just a warning.