Disclaimer! All fictional entities featured/ mentioned in this segment belong to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata; except Erin Blogger, who I made up for the purpose of this fan fiction.

It's too bad this couldn't be featured in the main story. My friend smearedliner asked me if I'd ever write a little oneshot where L and Erin actually kiss-kissed. On the lips. If anything like that were to happen, here's how I would imagine it to be like. May or may not have happened, but it's within the time-frame of Chapter 24.

Probably the most romantic piece I've written yet. Also, another tribute for Valentine's Day.

THIEF

As useless as wishing is, he finds a small percentage of himself—roughly ten percent—wishing it wouldn't come to this. He wishes that it never happened, he thought he was above it. Had it not been for that maybe this would be easier?

He'd known since the day he first laid eyes on Light Yagami that he was Kira, and no matter how adamantly he'd protest his innocence—and how remarkably believable his protests had been—he'd known that he would return to being Kira eventually. As was the case for Misa Amane, the Second Kira. Except up until this point, no one would side with him on the matter, which he supposed was understandable. It wasn't as if he had any substantial evidence against either of them, and this was without taking into account their attachment to the young man.

Light Yagami, the prodigious son of the Chief of the NPA, with the adoring girlfriend who'd do anything to make him love her, even going so far as to kill.

Attachment complicated things. It clouded objective thinking, muddled judgment, made you vulnerable in too many ways. It disregarded reason and left far too much room for error. One needed only to look as far as Misa or Mr. Yagami's display early in the investigation to see its effects in the negative spectrum. True justice was impartial.

He supposes then that this makes him a hypocrite from the word "go."

She's been crying herself to sleep for the past few nights since she had overheard a revealing exchange between Light and Misa, just after the killings had resumed. Besides Watari, whose faith he has always had, she's the only one who truly believes him now. Of course she'd been in tears when he'd cornered her in her room when she disclosed their every word to him, apologizing over and over almost as though this was somehow her fault that they had returned to being Kira.

He doesn't like hearing her cry, or anyone really. It's unpleasant to look at, even less pleasant to listen to. He himself hasn't shed a tear since he was a small child; he doesn't quite remember what it was over (or rather he doesn't want to), only that when he had finished he'd vowed never to personally indulge in tears again. His mind tends associates tears and sobbing with helplessness. Granted he's never thought of himself as some sort of invincible god-like being (unlike certain others), but one doesn't need to be—or aspire to be—a god to crave control. Control guaranteed accuracy, success, victory, safety. He hates to lose, he's even professed to it. He'd do anything to keep it.

His need for control is perhaps the main reason why he feels like this. Things have moved beyond it, no matter what he's already done in hopes of regaining it.

It's 4:09 a.m. when he stirs from five hours of bobbing in and out between sleep and consciousness, as indicated by the dim digital clock by the bed, the only remote source of light in her room. It's still raining, almost as hard as it had been when they had begun drifting off. He hears it clamoring against the windowpane like the chime of a heralding bell.

The bell isn't for him. Not yet.

Somehow they've managed to shift from the position they'd fallen asleep in and now she is the one holding on to him, her arms draped around his torso in a loose embrace and her feverish forehead pressed just underneath his Adam's apple. Oh, the awkwardness if she were conscious of this but she isn't. The vibration from her mouth with every snore tickles the exposed skin above his collarbone as he watches the top of her messy pillow-head, from which springs a straggle of hair sticking to the corner of her mouth that he dares to brush back behind her ear with his fingertips.

He briefly notes her scent and wonders if all girls smell this pleasant. Not that he's known very many women but all of the ones he's met smelled nice—Misora, Amane, Wedy, and now Blogger. It would usually be enhanced by a perfume or shampoo or soap but at the moment she doesn't smell very much like any of those things. Aside from the cotton of her pajamas, she doesn't smell like anything in particular. But perhaps that's what makes it pleasant to him?

He wishes that he hadn't developed feelings for the girl. It would've never happened if he could control it. But there's the problem. If he had control over it. It was like a cancer: striking when one would least expect it, growing with every passing day, every argument, every outing, every step in progress, every smile and laugh (even if he didn't actively participate in either)…and by the time he could identify it, it was already too late. It had metastasized beyond treatment.

The only option he'd had left was to ignore it, and failing that keep her oblivious (for all of her quick-wittedness, she's easy to confuse or distract with her biases and restlessness). But even then this has been a marginal success. Just lying here with her now doesn't exactly help his cause. He'd been somewhat surprised that she had allowed him to sleep here out of kindness, considering the nature of their relationship. What's even more surprising is that she's managed to fall asleep in his company. A sure sign of, if not accumulation of trust, then a loss of distrust.

That, and sheer exhaustion.

It seems that to a certain degree she's grown attached to him as well. Both good and not good.

He shifts around as quietly as possible so that he is now face to face with her. Her lips are slightly parted in sleep, her nostrils flaring and shrinking with every snore she makes, the color in her puffy face washed out by the watery dying light from outside the window. She looks soft and innocent.

She almost looks kissable.

Damned hormones.

He curls his arms up to his chest. On occasion, especially when they've fought, he's tentatively theorized about what might happen if he kissed her to shut her up. Like they do in the movies Misa enjoys so much even if he can barely tolerate them. How might she react? Would she slap him, or babble like she tends to do when she's uneasy and break out into a sweat? Would she return the gesture? That last scenario isn't terribly likely.

Until this point he hadn't deemed it a risk worth taking. If he tried it, it would only complicate things more than they already are or need to be. Especially with Light and company around, and even if they weren't.

Would it make him a coward if he tried it now, while they were alone and she would be unaware of it? What would happen if she woke up to find their lips locked? She'd already sacrificed a great chunk of her sense of personal space just to let him sleep here, let alone hold her.

Hasn't he taken enough advantage of her?

His face swims up to hers without his notice as he ponders, the tips of their noses drawing together like magnets. Before he can stop himself, their lips make contact. Apparently no.

His brush against her upper lip before drifting to linger on her lower one. Her lips feel so dry and cracked and crusty against his, probably from the tears she's shed and having her mouth hang open. Being new and clumsy at this, he's unsure as to whether he's applying too much pressure or not.

Shouldn't he be pulling away now?

About five seconds into the kiss his chest clenches when he sees her features do it first. She emits a sharp alarming "Hmmph" against his mouth, repelling him with a puff of stale morning breath.

As he pulls away making a soft smacking noise at the second of departure, he waits for her to start drilling her knuckles into his scalp and the accompanying array of bewildered curse words ("What the hell are ya doing?").

Instead Erin reaches up to rub at her lips and nose with her pajama sleeve like a fly or some other irritant has landed there, smacking her mouth all the while. Her arms retract and she sluggishly rolls over to face away from him in a slight curl, strands of her muddy-brown hair nipping at his face and neck. Apart from resuming her snoring she doesn't move again. The beast is no closer to being a prince than before the kiss.

He doesn't know if she's shared kisses with others in the past but this has been his first one on the lips, however brief and lacking. And she'll never know about it.

He's stolen it from her. Like a thief.

Because at the end of the day—or night, as it were—that's all he is. A thief, a liar and a cheater who is further away from real justice than he lets on. He is incorrigibly selfish, and no matter how close one could get to him, even going so far as to be his friend, he'd betray them one way or another.

A concept that Light and Misa should both be quite familiar with, especially now that it will soon be thrown in their faces.

On the other hand he doesn't want her to know. If she finds out anything she'll get in the way, like she always does.

There are so many things you mustn't know.

But is even that much under his control at this point?

Pulling the covers up to her shoulder, he begins to crawl out from under their warmth when he's able to will away that small obnoxious ember dimming in his stomach. The tip of his thumb finds his mouth partly to console him, partly to attempt to simulate the feel of her lips on his. He can't risk waking her up for real.

As much as he wishes that it wouldn't come to this, he knows that it's useless. Once he starts something he will see it through to the end, no matter what interference he might get.

The bell is getting louder. Perhaps a little time in the rain will help to drown it out? Maybe cleanse him of this guilt which clings to him like the funk that grows from sleeping in one's day clothes?

With the stealth of a thief, he exits her room and grants her whatever precious little time and peace he can to spend on sleep.

END