This is a... I don't know what this is. Drabbles and dialogue and stuff all jumbled together? It's a present for A (for America!) because she gives good payback and is working very hard at the moment. This is some not so light relief for her. Poor twin, come back sooooon - I have withdrawal and it's not fun anymore! I put at least one shout out in there for you. Seek 'em!

So, this is linked to Cure as there's mention of Astraea and the drugging and all that, but the plot was going to go in a totally different direction to what it is now. I wrote these bits aaaaages ago (January?) and scrapped them when the plot changed. I might have plundered it for lines for published chapters of Cure so there might be some repeats - sorry about that. I can't remember if I did and if so, where. You'll have to ignore my many fails.

This is set after L sliced up Light's back in Cure. He vamoosed to England after that, dumping Light and the team. Light ends up taking on his role as head of the investigation and starts up a dialogue up with Near. Also, everyone is dead or doesn't exist; there's no Matt or V, Soichiro's dead, L, everyone. Ide's alive though. It kind of goes back to the canon in a weird way, with Light taking over from L and being linked up with Near. I hope it makes sense even though the current plot of Cure is very different now.

Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me

Last night I dreamt

That somebody loved me

Last night I felt

Real arms around me

No hope, no harm

Just another false alarm

So, tell me how long

Before the last one ?

And tell me how long

Before the right one ?

The story is old, I know

But it goes on

Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me - The Smiths

Now he was given full opportunity to go wherever he pleased at any time of day, and do whatever he liked without being interrogated about even thinking about leaving the room. Yet the pent up frustration of cabin fever evaporated like water on a hot day. There was just no motivation to go anywhere or do anything.

He phoned his mother and spoke to Sayu every few days, but it was meaningless babble, avoidance and desperation running in circles because his mother didn't want to put the phone down. She just wanted to hear his voice and harbour vain wishes of him arriving on the doorstep with a suitcase and a smile. He knew that's what she wanted but he couldn't. Wouldn't. And so they danced this dance until his eyes closed and he blotted out her voice with gauzy paper and instead imagined the even breathing of someone who had long left him.

"I'm fine."

"Where are you."

"I said I'm fine."

"Are you in a hotel?"

"No, I'm at work."

"Where are you staying?"


"That can't be right."

"It's practical."

"You could come home you know. We wouldn't hurt you, Light. We just want to see you."

"I'll try to call round this week sometime."

"Light, is this about your father?"

"No, no. Of course not."

"Because it's not your fault."




"I feel like I lost you as well. We both do. We miss you."

"I miss you too, I'm just really busy. There's nothing I can do -"

"Is that why you're staying away from us?"

"What do you mean?"

"Because of your Father."

"No. It's... I promised him. I can't let it all have been for nothing. I'm just a busy at the moment, Okaasan. I'm not actively avoiding you."

"I know but it's not a 10 day a week job. You're still in Tokyo, right? Just drop by whenever."

"I'll try."

"That means you're not going to."

A wage started being deposited into his bank account, backtracked to the day he'd been thrown into a cell, all trussed up. He couldn't remember specifying payment in any faux-L orders to be found by Wammy's House, so maybe it was a genuine parting gift from L. His money.

Every month, Light would draw out the cash from the ATM in limited batches over several days, then he would lay it out on the table in his room to study it and wallow in feeling both cheapened and overpaid. Half he would send to his Mother and Sayu, the rest he placed in neat piles like a building site in L's empty desk.

It was amazing how he never had to pay for anything.

Crime doesn't pay.

And he was crime.

Light would fall asleep breathing in the scent of a pillow which so faintly now reminded him of L. It spoke of the sugar and strawberries and whispers of sex and love which were ingrained into the fibres even after all these months. Light liked to hear his mind and his heartbeat tick through it like a clock. But he'd been careless with it once; he'd forgotten to hide it during the day. The laundress had taken it and purged it, ruthlessly cleaning the soul from it and Light lost him again. He smiled and asked the laundress her name. It took the whole day to talk himself out of writing the bitch's name in his death giving book.

Near, as Light now recognised, had an understanding of emotions but saw them as something to be exploited. He would flay people's nerves so he could root out truth like smoking out a fox from it's den. Unexpected emotions rising to the surface had been the death knell and the betrayer of many a guilty party. Near had a blasé way of discussing tender things brutally, in apparent disregard, except he was only doing his job the best way he knew how. And he was very good at it.

Thinking back to the time Near had told them of L's death, the words still cut raw. Light could still hear them. They came back, unwanted, uninvited and unbidden, and without warning.

"L's dead."

It was more than just silence. Everyone's hearts stopped in that moment. It's was lifeless.

"We've had confirmation," the voice continued after a few moments, as if to make it official.

Light was torn between heartbreak and an insane urge to laugh. The constriction of his heart and the tightness across his chest made him briefly wonder if this was the kind of pain the Death Note inflicted in the seconds before release. But then it passed as quickly as it came, leaving him with no more than tremble, a weakness in his legs and breathlessness at the realisation that there was no one to stop him now. He was free. But something had died and all the colour had drained from everything. That insufficient frame carved from the most solid of stone had always been standing between himself and victory, yet it had moved aside so quietly. And here he was being told about it by an incorporeal third party.

He promised that he wouldn't make it that easy.

Light was the first to sink into the nearest chair.

"What happened?"

Shock and hurt and love and anger were competing for dominance; shuddering through his veins and causing his hands to shake visibly. Desperately trying to regain composure and to mask the betrayal of his body, he pushed the delirious tremor of hands between his knees, forcing muscles to seize to something granite-like.

"No specifics as yet. I'm attempting to gain clearance and we're in discussions with the foreign minister at the moment to try and get details and locate the body."

The body.

"Then how is this official? How can this be confirmed?" Aizawa said to the 'n' on the screen, as if it was a real person that was standing there and not a computer screen.

"There must have been a mole within his staff. All I have heard so far is that at precisely 5 this morning your time, the building was overrun. Everyone in the building was massacred and the building burned to the ground. No survivors."

"No, L wouldn't... he wouldn't," Aizawa shook his head, emptying the words out.

"His life monitors have shown no output since 5:07am."

Light's eyes flickered over to one of his screens, in the bottom corner the tiny green dot of an icon he had placed there had turned red.

You weren't supposed to die this way.

"The priority is to find proof. Bring all remains in for ID," was Light's contribution. He was stoic, surprising himself with his cold tone and how his default setting for auto-pilot was a very efficient and practical steeliness that he and everyone else could rely on. He rose from the chair to L's computers - screens hanging over each other, sprawling like strange fruit from a tree. "L himself would not accept rumour as fact."

"But if it's true about his life monitor - " Matsuda stuttered.

"That could easily have been damaged. He could have even removed it himself. If he suspected disloyalty then of course he would have made it appear that he'd died. L would always have an escape route. You know this, we've worked with him. He was completely paranoid. He'd spent his whole life making pre-emptions for an attack on his life. No, this is not official," Light reasoned, convincing himself with his own desperate argument.

All those times his hand had held a pen dangerously close to the ivory paper but with no letters to write. He didn't even know where to start. He was going to give him a page of his own. It would be a tribute to him and a loving remembrance of the one who came closest. If anyone was going to take his life then it would be by the tender sweep of a name and if not by his own hand, then by one forced by Light. They both understood that their fates were in the hands of the other; it was silently accepted. How dare someone else come between them?

My God, I wouldn't be without you. Nothing can separate us.

"Light," Aizawa said, moving towards Light's too poker-straight form.

"This can't be broadcast. Of course whoever is responsible would love to announce the defeat of L to the world. The fact that they haven't already speaks volumes in itself," Light continued.

"Near seems pretty convinced that he's dead," Aizawa whispered.

"Well he would want to think that, wouldn't he?" Light said, the emotion suddenly bursting through his previously lifeless voice, verging on yelling. He pressed his eyelids together, the moment of black reinstated his composure. "We will of course stay in contact with you, Near. Please keep us updated and we will do the same," Light said, abruptly cutting the link before turning to face the wall of wide eyes. "It would be foolish to accept his disclosures as fact for the time being. We'll have to arrange for an assignation with Astraea to ask for confirmation. We need to get someone out there and find out what's going on," Light stated, turning back to his computer.

"Light, are you suggesting that Near has -" Aizawa started.

"I'm not suggesting, I'm stating that we cannot trust anyone outside of this room. Something I would hope that you were aware of already," Light said firmly.

Ha, Near, are you fighting for his title when you know he's mine. You fool.

"But Light, what can we do in the meantime? If L is dead," Matsuda asked.

"Then Near," Ide said in breathless astonishment.

"Near is not L's heir," Light said sharply. "How can I make that clear."

"Then it's... it's you Light," Matsuda said, rushing to grip the back of Light's chair.


"I'm not L's heir either. This conversation is unnecessary," Light said, flipping between open windows on multiple screens.

"But we should consider a plan of action should this prove to be true and L is dead," Aizawa said calmly.

L, what are you doing?

"L will have a plan of action in place. If it is true then I'm sure we will find out soon enough," Light said, typing manically to opening a communication line.

"Maybe you should hack into, maybe not. That'd make him annoyed wouldn't it," Matsuda said.

Light's face turned slightly towards Matsuda with a half smile. "Yes, that will make him very annoyed," he agreed. Grateful. "I'm going to contact Astraea now," he informed the men.

"If Near finds out that you're contacting Astraea then they will pit us against each other. If Astraea tell him that we contacted them then he will know that we don't trust him and -" Ide said, his words rushing over each other as he went on.

"These are extenuating circumstances. I'm not going to hide it from him since I don't consider Near to be unreasonable. In fact, he would probably expect this. We are L's team force while Near is merely an ally. It is for us to go to any means possible to be certain of what's happened. No action can be taken until we're sure. The status is that L is simply missing."

Light set up a link.

"Hello Mr Asahi. I've been expecting your call," said the pious and familiar voice of the Astraea foreign minister. Familiar from hearing it on the television and the radio. Not wasting time with formalities Light jumped straight in.

"We understand that the Astraea has made an attack on the life of one of our team members. I request a suspension of hostilities while we verify the situation. Will you grant us access?"

"A retrieval operation is still in progress," was the bored reply.

"Then a neutral party is present to officiate?"


"Then we have no choice then but to consider this a terrorist attack and publicly report it as such," Light countered. He hadn't thought that it would get so messy, so quickly.

"There are already plans to announce L's death."

"Then L himself will have to make a public announcement to disprove such a report," Light said, feeling Matsuda's grip on the back of his chair tense. The voice returned smoothly, obviously amused.

"That would be a feat indeed, since L was the target and was killed."

"And your proof of this?"

"Unfortunately the situation was more... unpleasant than we had anticipated."

"So you have no proof," Light breathed, the wind knocked from his lungs.

"What proof do you require? We verified that your leader was left vulnerable, being harboured in the house of a suspected dissident. This was treason and a motion was carried to dispel a threat. The house was burned to the ground with no means of escape. There were no survivors. All persons are accounted for. If you are suggesting that we have taken anyone hostage, let me refute that immediately. Astraea had no need for L to be anything other than dead. He was opposed to our great work and therefore an enemy to the people. He has been judged."

The line went dead. Light stared at the white screen in disbelief for a few moments before quickly calling Near again.


"You are aware that you are currently using L's cypher for comms?" Light ignored the question.

"How exactly did you get your information?"

Near sighed in irritation, "I have a person who has infiltrated their army core. This operation was obviously a closely guarded secret using only their special forces. It was probably done more or less on the spur of the moment even if you do take into account whatever democracy they argue was employed beforehand. My source tells me that all bodies have been located and taken to an unknown destination."

"And L?"

"There is a 97% probability that L was killed," Near replied.

"I would say that the probability is considerably less," his hackles rising at the mention of percentages.

"Then I would say that you are duping yourself," Near deflected.

"Interesting," Light said, leaning back into his chair.

"The fact is that this kind of attack was necessary because they did not know who L was, only that he was within a party staying at the house. Therefore, a massacre of this kind was enforced because only if every person in the building was dead would they be sure that L was one of them. They must have had the grounds staked out. If they were aware of his identity, they could easily had made a more targeted attack on his life rather than this indiscriminate slaughter. It would be in their interests to have an intact body, for science alone. It is doubtful that they would present it to the world because it does not fit with their regime. Morbidity of that nature is not encouraged." Matsuda shuddered at the mention of 'intact body" and 'science'. Near was losing friendly ears at an alarming rate. "Going by L's own protocol for this situation, we must wait one week before officially confirming his death. At that point, we will receive L's final orders and work from there," Near said. "I will be in touch."

Light seemed, if anything, to gain strength in his resolve as the week progressed, strangely spurred on somewhat by the fact that he was alone in his view that L was still alive. He had questioned Ryuk, who appeared grinning on the third day, congratulating Light on his victory. He said that he could only check whether L was alive or dead by visiting the Shinigami realm, which he was not interested in doing since he already had crates of apples which L had left him. Light's threats to destroy every single apple tree in existence fell on deaf ears and that chuckling, insane, pierrot face. Ryuk had not made himself known to Light since. Sometimes Light thought he saw a glimpse of an angular, ragged bin-liner of a wing in the corner of his eye. But nothing more.

Perhaps because L had been gone for a little while beforehand, somehow Light didn't feel his loss physically as much as he had anticipated. The first night, the the team dispersed once it was clear that there was nothing further they could do. Light had put off going to bed. He sat in the hallway, his head curling towards the ajar white door of their bedroom and the cold blackness beyond. On the second day, burned out, he lay on the made bed in the dark, watching with a vague interest as his eyes adjusted to the unlit surroundings and he began defining familiar objects in the violet inkiness.

And thought of nothing.

On the 7th day, at 5:07am GMT an automatic message was sent to Roger Ruvie at Wammy's House confirming L's death and emphatically stating that the apprehension of Kira was paramount. He named no heir directly, only entrusting his finances to Roger's care with a wish that his Task Force remain in his employ under the command of 'Asahi'.

Of course, Light had hacked his way through L's metropolis-like system which had become quite familiar ground by this time. He couldn't face it until the third day, by which time a certain numbed resolve had kicked in. He half pretended that L was simply asleep in the other room in a controlled drugged state. Other times Light pretended that he was just away and he'd be back soon and what did he expect Light to do if he was left alone like this? Of course he was going to crack open his computer's skull and peer and poke at the insides. If he didn't, L would be disappointed. Light was showing him how much he cared, deigning him with his interest. It was all part of the game, wasn't it? Light smiled at his mischievousness.

Because L would be angry when he found out.

Light went straight for the automatic message he had discovered previously during L's catatonic state, and found that, yes, L had changed the wording back from what Light had written, which had essentially been a recommendation for a knighthood.

L hadn't named a successor directly, but there was an insinuation that Mello and Near should share the role. Well, that wouldn't do. Delete. The worst part though, the part which stared Light in the face and remained etched into his cornea for a long time afterwards, was the brutal first line:

"Light Yagami is Kira."

Stark, sans-serif type and of such importance it had a line all to itself.

The last words of L. Light took in the screen, for a moment, contemplating the words with glazed eyes and soon it was like there were miles between himself and any emotion. Eventually he began moulding the message into something more appropriate.

L hadn't even bothered to change the majority of his access codes. Double-guessing Light, perhaps - thinking it would unnerve him, make him think that there was a backup he didn't know about, or that he was being tracked. Maybe L hadn't bothered because he'd known that it was pointless. Whatever the reason, Light was insulted.

Sighing for the lost. So you would, after everything, damn me and take me down with you anyway.

Some areas had disappeared off the map leaving a strangely sterile feeling to the system than the last time Light had access to it. L had obviously spent some time tying his system into a maze of knots, hope, promises and dead ends. Access to any information about Wammy's House and access to their server had been completely obliterated. In it's place, a text file named, 'W' which contained the solitary word, 'illicit'.

Light also discerned that L's prized casenotes had been subtly edited. There were new folders upon folders with encrypted passwords which, in full, were barbed arrows chosen from others people's pens:

'For only in destroying I find ease to my relentless thoughts.'

'Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold, And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.'

'It would be the same at the end of the journey, If you came at night like a broken king.',

'this world of fact we love is unsubstantial stuff: All the rest is silence On the other side of the wall',

'Now I resemble a sort of god, Floating through the air in my soul-shift, Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.'

Contained within this confusing mass was a text file which read, 'You crippled me.'

And these emotional cries would freeze over Light before a glow at seeing L's heart in action – haphazard, delicate, drowning. Little plunging knives in the form of paths he created within his little world which Light had assaulted. Searching for answers, he turned to great minds to understand himself, but all he found was sympathy and no hope of recovery. He took solace from the poetry which now had meaning because Light had given it life. Within golden words it all made sense. He had realised that his life began and ended the moment he saw his face and no one had the answer. No one had the cure. Light understood, and his heart ached that L would let him see, now, at this point, what he was never able to share.

The desperation of L trying to understand Kira.

"L, if I didn't know better, I'd think you had gone mad," Light whispered to his absent self.

"Well, it seems we have a quandary." Near said over the tin-silvered speakerphone. The Task Force huddled around the monotonous voice, suddenly sounding too like L's to be comfortable, but without the pleasing, deep cadence. There was something hygienic about it. It sounded practised. Light crossed his arms like the mere sound of the would-be usurper was a challenge.

First the voice and then the crown.

"And what quandary is that, Near?"

"I trust you received L's final orders?" Near asked. He wasn't one to rise to antagonism even if he recognised it. He preferred to think of everyone as imbeciles. It was easier all round and it was nearly always true.

"We received an email this morning," Light acknowledged, vaguely.

"It's the email which is automatically sent exactly one week after L's vitals remain absent on his life monitor. On receipt of that message, we can be left in no doubt that L is indeed dead," Near clarified.

"There could be other explanations."

"You mean that L is being held by Astraea? No. The life monitor is implanted, they would have to be aware that it was present on L's person and deactivate it within the 7 minutes it took for them to assault the building."

"L could have deactivated the monitor himself. A mild electronic magnetic pulse would have rendered it completely useless."

"He could have, though why he would do such a thing would be a mystery in itself. The monitor was his one reliable link with us. Through that we would have been able to track his position and locate him if he were abducted, so severance of that link would be suicide. He would have to contact us within the week as proof of life, knowing that if he failed to do so he would be declared dead. The idea that he is alive is a fairy tale."

"Yeah, Light, that doesn't really sound like L," Matsuda whispered into the shell of Light's ear.

You don't know him.

"Near, may I ask you a question?" Light said, leaning towards the microphone and exuding a charm which doubtlessly seeped through the speaker continents apart. "Have you ever personally worked on a case with L?"

"No," came the swift reply.

"Have you been in the company of L for any significant period of time?" Light inquired, the words like a dirty knife.

"Your point is?" Near said, a slight tinge of annoyance in his dullness.

"Because this task force have worked for him for over a year. Every day in the same room. I just wonder out of the two parties, who would know L better." There was a tangible tension with the silence which followed. Light could almost hear the cogs in Near's fuzzy, pretentious little brain filling up with steam – 'Cannot compute! Cannot compute!'


The audible gasp in the room confirmed it but Near carried on regardless with a faux-innocence.

"That is your name, isn't it? Yagami Light? Your alias for this case is Asahi."

"How do you know my name? That information is confidential."

"Perhaps you have a mole in your midst also. No, Yagami-san, I think you may have forgotten who you're dealing with. I am head of an SPK investigation and I am L's successor."

"Self-proclaimed successor. Or did you receive a different message to the one we did? If not, then I think that there is an inordinate amount of imaginative reading between the lines on your part," Light positively spat into the microphone. He wanted to rip the wires out of the wall and smash every microchip of the phone to molten metal.

"It is well known that L had two successors in mind – myself and Mello, who I believe you may be aware of. Mello has, with regret, apparently disappeared off the face of the earth. There is an ongoing search to locate him but until then, that would leave me."

You little shit.

"It is also well known and is actually stated in no uncertain terms that L wants the task force to continue under my command," Light reminded.

"'Wants.' You still insist on speaking about L in the present tense, despite his now officially deceased status."

"I am still not convinced."

"Because you know him so well," Near said slyly. "L may have been a lot of things, but a superhero with regenerative powers he was not. I suggest that your team take the advantage of a grief counsellor. I will be in contact in a few days time to discuss the new course of action."

"Don't insult me, and please, let's talk about it now."

"There's been too much talking today, I'm getting a headache. Oh, I must tell you one thing however, I have had a parcel expressed over containing some effects I acquired. I want you to identify them as being L's, along with some photographs. I was loathe to send over the actual item but it has been documented fully so any other reason for keeping it would been sentimental; in which case, Yagami-san, you, with your knowledge of L, should have it, should you want it. It will be with you... around about now," Near said, as if he'd just tossed it across the room to them. The task force looked at each other in the understanding that Near wasn't all there and that they should pity the poor sod.

"Please check with your reception. It is rather urgent," Near stated. Light motioned with a tilt of his head that Matsuda should go to reception. "I'll stay on the line. Don't mind me," Near said before a plastic clicking sound cracked across the open line.

Light was furious and was trying to hide it as best he could - resisting the urge to scream profanities into the speaker and fling the damn phone out the window. Near had, in a few breaths, dropped a bombshell, knew Light's real name, accused him of having an unorthodox relationship with L (which thankfully seemed to have passed the rest of the task force by if their expressions were anything to go by) and was suggesting that Light was too grief stricken to lead a pack of mice, let alone a task force. If Matsuda came back parcel-less, that would be most pleasing in one respect and Light would take great delight to let Near know in as smug a way as possible.

Matsuda came back with a parcel.

"Has it arrived?" Disembodied Near asked.

"Yes," replied Light, stringing the word out longer than he had intended. "We're opening it now. Is it really necessary that you stay on the line?"

"I'd like to hear your immediate reaction."

Jesus Christ, what the hell had he put in here? No blood seeping through the parcel. That was a good sign.

Light ripped open the cardboard strip, pulling out some an envelope and a plastic evidence bag.

"Open the bag first," Near commanded, like he was in the room with them.

Light slipped a hand tentatively inside, pulling out a fist sized ball of bubblewrap which practically sprung open once freed from the bag.

A bronze wristwatch.

"Oh God! Light, it's your watch!" Matsuda exclaimed.

"Your watch? Yagami-san? I guessed it might have been from the inscription on the base of the hidden compartment," Near's nasaly and bored tone washed across the air.

The hidden compartment?

Light stared blankly at the watch in his hand. The clock was still ticking despite the deep crack across the glass from three to seven. A ridge of black soot was ingrained between the broken halves.

"Now the envelope," Near said a little brightly, as if a birthday gift was being opened.

Light made no move, still transfixed by the watch. Matsuda made a tentative grab for the envelope from Light's lap, ripping it open with little occasion.

Photographs. Photographs of the watch; detailed shots of the dial, the links, the inscription, the clasp. Each photo pulled back a little until eventually the whole graphic nature of the scene was evident. The watch clung to a charred arm, shrunken and deformed. The fingers forever seized in a grotesque claw from the last living moments of the wracking pain of being burned alive. The brightness of the watch, ruthlessly sank in against wasted flesh.

"Fuck!" Aizawa slammed one of the photographs which he's inspected down upon the table and pressed a clenched fist to his forehead.

"Ryuzaki," Matsuda said quietly, so quietly perhaps it was only Light who heard it. He looked up from the watch in his hand to the gruesome photographic display spread upon the table.

"So I take it that that's a positive ID then?" Near's voice broke the silence. Aizawa reached forward and firmly pressed down a button on the phone base station, cutting Near off.

"I can't believe it. I mean, I knew it looked bad but..." Matsuda turned over the gory dispersal of photographs which Light was expressionlessly staring at. "Light, are you ok?" he said gently, placing a hand on Light's shoulder.

"I'll make some coffee," Aizawa said, looking somewhat relieved, having taken to pacing the room in agitation.


"Uh, yeah. Matsuda. Yeah."

"Here, Light, let's put that down," Matsuda said softly, making towards the remains of the watch clutched in Light's grip.

"No!" Light said, jerking his hands away from Matsuda's reach. As he did, his hands crushed tighter around the band of metal and glass and he winced as he felt his skin become pinched between the links. "God, I'm sorry," he said, staring down at the watch but not loosening his grip.

"It's the shock," Ide said, helpfully, patting Light encouragingly on the shoulder he he rose and went to join Aizawa in the kitchen.

"Poor lad, he's in a right state. Fucking Near, does he have no consideration for people's feelings?" Aizawa said as he leaned over a slowly boiling kettle.

"Seems not," Ide replied. "Reminds me of Ryuzaki though."

"Light," Matsuda asked, his tone had taken on a tenderness usually reserved for mothers and psychotherapists.

"Wait. Where did they get this?" Light flew out of his seat, turning the watch over in one hand, inspecting it as if it held all the answers.

"From the site, they said. The contact in the Astraea armed forces must have found where they were storing the bodies," Matsuda said helpfully but slightly alarmed.

"These are forensic photographs. And this," Light said lifting the watch clutched in his hand for a moment, "this must have been taken from the lab. How did they get this? A person in the armed core wouldn't have been able to get access to a path lab."

"I don't know, Light," Matsuda said in a calm tone as Light stretched suddenly for the phone. "Hey, hey, no. Haven't we had enough of Near for today?"

"He can't just dump this on us with no explanation. He's treating us like idiots. He's playing games with us," Light muttered, punching in numbers.

"What's going on?" Aizawa said, bringing in two mugs of coffee while trying to avert his eyes from the rising steam.

"Light's phoning Near," Matsuda explained, clearly giving up.

"And that's a good idea, why? I'm sick to death of the guy. Stuck up little pri..."

"What is it Yagami-san?" Near's voice droned, interrupting Aizawa's diatribe.

"This. Where did you get this? How did you get this," Light demanded.

"We have a contact."

"Yes, in the army core you said."

"That's correct."

"Explain to me how army core personnel managed to get this kind of evidence."

"He's very surreptitious," Near said shadily.

"I don't believe you."

"It's not pressing to me that you do. I only wanted to know if these items did indeed once belong to L."

"Did you take tissue samples?"

"From the watch? Of course."


"We have nothing to compare them with. An unfortunate necessity for those in the position of L is that they don't, for all intents and purposes, exist," Near explained.

"No dental records, nothing."

"If there ever were any, they were erased."

"Then how can you be sure that this is L?" Light said.

"The body is of a Caucasian male in his early to mid-twenties. Slight build. Official Cause of Death: Misadventure. Asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide in house fire." Near paused a moment before continuing. He seemed to like the drama. "The unofficial cause of death would be: Gunshot wound of eight mastoid penetrating brain. This injury could have resulted in death but the presence of carbon deposits in trachea and proximal left bronchi, as well as the present rigour mortis, suggests that death was not immediate and the victim was in severe pain before ultimately losing consciousness prior to death. The combination of smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation and extensive third degree burns to over 90% of the body were fatal injuries. Clinicopathlogic Correlation. Cause of death of this male is asphyxiation due to inhalation of smoke and carbon monoxide compounded by brain injury and subsequent secondary thermal burns."

Near rattled off the post mortem report with barely an intake of breath. Light wondered momentarily whether he was reciting it from memory. Matsuda and Aizawa winced at the descriptions. Aizawa, walking off half way through to have a cigarette on the balcony.

"The very fact that we can't get a match on the tissue sample suggests that this is L. We have screened it through every available database. Officially, this man doesn't exist. Strange that, because officially, neither did L." Near finished.

"If you think I'm going to be convinced by a post mortem report which is as gratuitous as it is unrevealing, then you are mistaken. I'm sorry, because you so cheerfully chose to share this with us. I feel like I should be a little more gracious than to suggest that your information is circumstantial and feeble, but we can't get away from the fact that that's exactly what it is," Light sneered. "I don't accept it."

"Yagami-san, the sooner you come to terms with L's death, the better for the investigation. There is much work to do and we have suffered an unquantifiable loss. I do not relish his death, Yagami-san. But I do not think that refusal to accept fact would be a fitting tribute to his memory and all he accomplished. Therefore, the faster we can continue with the investigation, the better. Do not forget that there is still at least one Death Note in Astraea's hands. It's imperative that we retrieve it. Once we do, we will effectively end their occupation. Now, I will contact you in a few days, as I said. We are moving position so do not anticipate being able to contact me before them."

The phone clicked with finality.

A month later. It was 2am and Near couldn't sleep and seemed reluctant to end his call. Light was suspicious that Near was attempting to ingratiate himself with him, hoping that he was more stupid that he appeared to be. Light kept his answers curt and non-committal while Near spoke in fits and starts. The gist of it was a fairly comprehensive knowledge of L's work; rambling over facts and techniques L had employed as Near was trying to work out what L would do. He couldn't better him if he didn't understand him and Light could recognise that feeling because he'd felt it himself once. Why Near wanted him on the line was a mystery... unless he thought that Light had the answers, like a direct link to L. The next best thing.

Light felt some relief in hearing L being spoken of. Being kept awake by a ravenous insomniac was a familiar and a bittersweet comfort. He listened to Near's floating voice and the shuffling of cards while he drank his father's favourite brand of sake and felt the tension in his shoulders disappear into the floor.

"Yagami-san, I have a proposition for you," Near said.

"What is it, Near?"

"It occurs to me that perhaps we should join forces in a physical sense."

"I don't think so."

"Without finding Mello, I am well aware that my claim to the title of L is tenuous. You were obviously a favourite of L's and your work since has been a testimony to his faith in you."

"You're in Japan," Light said, out of the blue. He caught on quick, even with sake dripping into his brain.


"How long have you been here?"


"I'm tired of games, Near."

"Then I suppose it doesn't matter."

"Have you been watching me?" Light said accusingly.

"Personally, no."

"I'm so used to it, I guess I just wouldn't notice anymore anyway," Light mused, swilling the sake in the glass before draining it, the liquid burning a trail down his throat like a line of fire.

"Your communications have paid off by the way. We have clearance to visit the site of Koesheyl."

"You never told me why he was there," Light wistfully thumbed the rim of the sad, empty glass.

"He never told you?"


"How strange. The question is should I respect his wishes and continue to keep you in the dark or -"

"Why start respecting his wishes now?" Light said cattily, which, by a happy coincidence also sounded like encouragement.

"I can only gather that he had found someone he'd been searching for."

"Oh, I always wondered. Stupid of him to fly himself into danger and look how it paid off. I hope they met up and had a bowl full of sugar before he was shot in the head," Light poured another glass of sake.

"Any ideas who it was he was meeting?" Near droned as if he wasn't vaguely interested and was only being polite.

"I thought you knew."

"No, I don't know that much. I have ideas, of course."

"Ha, I'd like to hear them," Light said, settling back in his chair for the show.

"I'd rather hear yours."

"Ohhh...well, I presume that it was a contact with Astraea which was worth risking his life for. Why else would he do something so stupidly foolhardy. Stupid, stupid. And he wasn't foolhardy. Not very often anyway."



"How much do you know about L, Light?"

Sometimes, if he closed his eyes, ignored the accent and imagined a handcuffed wrist, Near's voice could pass for L's.

"How is that pertia-smoo...pertinen...perti...uh, I don't know really."

"Tell me about him."

"No," Light said, pulling himself upright in the chair again with some difficulty, what with gravity having other ideas.

"Why not?"

"Because I don't want to. Tell me exactly what he said to you that last time."

"What did he look like?" Near tried a different tack.

"Ahh...he looked like a skeletal piece of porcelain with this...thing on his head." Light said, fluttering a free descriptive hand around his head for no one's benefit.

"A thing?"

"Hair. Black hair. Kinda blue sheeny like. I dunno... feathery."

"He sounds striking," Near said, unconvinced.

"He was," Light agreed with a regretful longing. Near let out a rattling sigh before giving up his secret.

"He said, 'I don't have much time. I'm taking a 3am chartered flight to Heathrow and if I don't come back, I want you to observe and learn from Light Yagami. He's in my employ on the Task Force in Japan.'"

Light felt an echo of a 3 month old 2:25am fleeting kiss on his forehead. Little gashes on his back stretched painfully as he'd pressed his face against the pillow in irritation when he should have at least opened his eyes. If he could have had that moment back again he would have crushed L's bones to his and force their hearts together until they beat in time and they would never be parted. Instead, he let him leave while the wounds on his back bled little ruby tears.

"Observe and learn from me, eh? Wait, so he suggested that he might not come back and you did nothing?" Light said, sudden outrage springing from suspicious amusement.

"It wasn't my place to question his logic. I considered that he may have been compromised into going there."

"Near, he wasn't the all seeing eye, he was fucking man doing a stupid thing and you should have pointed that out to him."

"I wonder if that's why he didn't tell you of his plans."

"I wouldn't have let him go." Ooops, that was too much and it sounded too much like the sobbing of an abandoned lover. Damn booze making brains all weird. Light aimed to put the glass of sake in the wastepaper bin beside him but dropped it on the floor instead. His aim was terrible, even at less than a metre. In his wisdom, Light decided to gloss over an outburst with a question. "So that was exactly what he said to you? That was it?"

"Those were his very words."

"And you didn't even ask why he was going to London?"

"It wa..."

"'Wasn't your place to question his logic.' I get ya," Light finished, nodding his head with every inflection.

"Roger told me that he looked like a panda."


"L. I was told that he looked like a panda. He didn't mention 'sheeny blue feathers' though." Light scrunched his face up trying to imagine L clamped to a stem of bamboo.

"I wasn't supposed to tell anyone. People think he looked like a traditional detective. I thought he might, anyway," Near elaborated.

"Like Dick Tracy or Inspector Gadget? Oooh, I know, Sherlock Holmes. Or Poirot...'very clevaaaiiiiir,'" Light spurted with renewed energy.


"To be honest he was more Miss Marple. Oh! He means the eyes. The pandy panda. Yeah, he had these sort of black rings around his eyes. More like smudged up eyeliner really but I get the panda thing. People call it 'smokey' don't they? But it wasn't, it just looked like being unconscious for a few days might have done him some good. Heh. Yeah. He never slept. I mean, he used to catnap and say he never but he did. He, um, he ate a lot of cake and he'd balance on the heels of his feet because that way he'd get all the brain benefit without the sugar coma thing."

"He'd balance on his heels?"

"Mmm...kinda like...well, like he was taking a shit in the woods, to be frank. But he wasn't, obviously. Heh," Light said, drowsily. Despite losing the sake glass, Light had found the bottle again and they were happy to be reunited.

"OK, 5 across. Dunderhead, 7 letters..."


"Ha. Not funny. I think it', sorry, my mistake, it must be halfwit."

"The answer is always the obvious one, Light-kun. I think you're making a mistake."

"Right and down..."

"Is that an offer or are you asking?" Light flicked an amber flash of mischievous eyes to L's before reasserting his attention to the crossword.

"This is a ridiculous crossword," L pouted. "Have we two, apparently the greatest minds of our age, really been reduced to doing a quick crossword?"

"It's the best we have. Stop being a child."

"Do you like the crossword more than me?"

"It talks less."

"And afterwards you can wipe your arse with it."

"You're speaking in English again."

"I thought that you liked it when I talked."

"No, that's a misunderstanding on your part."

"Oh, Light-kun, I do love our banter."

"At least one of us does," Light muttered.

"You don't mean that. You'll miss me when I'm gone," L said, crunching down on a cookie.

"What?" Light put down the paper.

"It's a turn of phrase," L explained, wide-eyed through a mouthful of dried crumbs, pebble-dashing Light's shirt in the process.

"Oh, OK," Light said, wiping his hand down his shirt rapidly, shooing off the rogue crumbs and spittle which ruined his cosmopolitan air.


"Hmmm?" Light mumbled, slowly working a biro between his lips while he contemplated 18 across.

"Let's have sex."

"Not again."

"Please?" L whined, extending delicate fingertips around and behind Light's left knee.


"Why not?"

"Because lunch is nearly over and I've just got your hair to lie flattish again."

"Nobody cares about my hair," L muttered petulantly, settling back on the edge of the bed opposite Light.

"They'd notice."

"Damn 'they' and their eyes."

"Hmmmm..." Light agreed.

"I don't see how they'd know."

"They'd know," Light said emphatically.


"Because you'd have a red face and be in a really good mood for five minutes before falling asleep with your flies undone and I'd...well, I'd probably be OK actually. I can push the conflicted feelings and self-hatred aside for the benefit of my happy atoms"

"Oh yes, all relating to Stockholm syndrome," L said, tipping his head to one side. His expression had glazed over so he was obviously accepting Light's argument to some extent.


"That's what you like to call it."

"And I think we reek of it," Light said, licking a thumb to turn a page.



"That's ridiculous," L dismissed.

"You just can't smell it because you live with it. It's like people who have dogs and they can't smell the dog. But people who don't have dogs would come into their house and think, 'wow, you live in a kennel'."

"So you're saying that because we take part in a lot of sexual activity, we can't smell it. No one else here has sex so they're hypersensitive to it, like a pig looking for truffles."

"I don't want to think about my Dad and sex in the same sentence. Actually, I don't want to think about them in the same library. And what the fuck with the truffling pig metaphor?" he said, at last looking up at L's poker-face.

"So, you're saying that they'd smell us and think, 'wow, you two live in a brothel!'" L said conclusively, thumb trapped between his lips.

"Well, since we never go out anywhere, never mind a brothel, they'd more than likely think, 'Wow, you two have just had sex on a humidifier.'" Light neatly folded up the paper.

"Is that where you were thinking, because I don't think that's a good idea," L said, gazing at the uncomfortable looking plastic object in the corner of the room.

"It just came into my head."


"You're disgusting."


"Yes, L."

"I love you. A bit."

"A bit," Light repeated.

"Mmmm..." L said, averting his eyes to the carpet and taking deep-rooted stress out upon his thumbnail.

"I don't know what to say. I'd say that I was touched by such a heartfelt remark but..." Light genuinely didn't know what to make of it.

"But I do love you," L blurted out earnestly, looking more sullen than anything. A vague watercolour wash of affection fought through an overall impression of resentfulness and concern. Light opened his mouth but it was suddenly dry. His throat felt like it had been squashed by an emotional boa constrictor.

"You don't have to say it back," L said, his eyes back upon the humidifier and waiving his free hand in dismissal - a perfect, if subconscious imitation of Light. "It's probably best you don't because it is meaningless if it just comprises of sounds forming and shooting out of your mouth," he elaborated, while beginning to mournfully pull tiny white bobbles of fluff from his sleeve cuff. "It would be the worst lie you ever told me."


"No really. It's best all round. I'm just more mature than you emotionally. Or maybe you're just a horrible person. Either way, I'm the better man and that knowledge might be more satisfying to me in the long run. I feel like reading some Tennyson and phoning up an agony aunt show on a late night radio show and –"


"Yes, Light-kun?" Light reached forward, the sudden motion causing L to recoil defensively. Light placed his two hands either sides of L's face, catching stray spikes of black hair between his fingers, framing the starless eyes. He never wanted anything more in his life.

"This is a minefield. We'll both get hurt."

Later that morning, around 6am, Light woke up and wished he hadn't. His head was full of moss and so was his mouth. Staggering into the bathroom, bouncing off walls, he stripped off and sat in the shower until the water turned cold and he felt a little more like himself again.

Light, you look dreadful!" was Matsuda's greeting.

"Thank you," Light said, holding his head, dragging most of his hair forward to hide puffy eyes.


"A world of no. Thank you Matsuda," Light said, holding back the swishing contents of his stomach at the sight of those gawdy rings of hell.

"Ok, so, what's the plan for today."

"Well, Aizawa and Ide can carry on with their...hold on," Light said, eyes widening and spinning towards the computer screen. "Near, are you still there?"

"Yes, Yagami."

"Whattheoh!" Matsuda squealed, jumping backwards.

"You've been there all night?"

"You snore, Yagami."

"Near, you said that you have clearance to go to England."

"We do, although whether it'd be a prudent offer to take up is another matter entirely."

"I'll go," Light said.

"Yagami, do you think that's wise."

"This, Near, is progress."

"Is that so?"

"I'm going to find out who L was meeting over there and who killed him."

"I don't think that's progress, Yagami."

"Yes it is, Near."

Light felt something like life in his veins. There had been something dormant. He'd been dormant. Kira had been dormant. But the thought tracing L's footsteps and the obscure notion of revenge filled him with purpose.

I don't want to be a god of a new world without you to reign over.

Mello couldn't have sounded less thrilled if he tried when he answered the phone. Near's ringtone was Chopin's Funeral March.

"Near," he sighed.

"Mello, what would you say if I took you up on your offer to visit you."

"I'd say that I didn't offer you a visit. I'd say if you were planning a visit then good luck to you but crèches are thin on the ground nowadays."

"Mello, about L."

"I don't want to talk about it Near, for Christ's sake."

"You know where he is, don't you?"

"Fuckin' 'ell, are you a degenerate or what? I said I didn't want to talk about it and I don't know what you're on about anyway. As far as I'm concerned, he's dead. Alright?"

"Are you giving him sanctuary."

"Aren't you listening? It doesn't work on me."

"Because if you are, you better tell him that Light Yagami is coming to find him, as in he's expecting to find an extremely dead body. Then I think he'll be looking for his murderer."

"Who's the fuck is Light Yagami?"

"So I suggest you better hide yourself because he likes answers."

"OK, you've lost me."

"Who did the hit, Mello?"

"I have absolutely no shitting idea what you're talking about."

"After all these years and you're still playing stupid."

"I am not stupid. You're talking out of your arse, that's all. Now excuse me but I'm bloody tired. Some of us actually have to work instead of sitting in a playpen."

"Mello, how's life with Astraea? Must be cramped in that bed with them," Near said in a sing-song voice before a equally annoying buzz strained across the phone line. Was he playing Operation or something?

"Oh no, you're are kidding me. Listen, give me a fucking break you congenital perversion," Mello spat into the phone pulling it away and staring at the contraption in a leather gloved hand like it had severely let the side down. Piece of shit.

"The more you deny it the more convinced I become," Near managed to shout through the receiver before he was cut off.

"Someone called Light Yagami is coming to find L's murderer," Mello said, peering through closed curtains to the empty streets below.

"Is he? Already?" replied a bored voice.

"Yes, and apparently he's expecting barbecued ribs. I get the impression that he's going dig up the grave and crack open your coffin like some fucked up Heathcliff."

"Don't swear, Mello. Not about about the Brontës."

"So? What are we going to do?" Mello stalked across the room.

"I'm going to wait here and see what he does."

"You're pissing me," Mello said, halted in disbelief, mid-tearing gold foil from a slate of glistening chocolate and almost smiling with the insanity of the situation.

"No. My bladder is empty."

"You're telling me that you're going to sit here and let some mad bastard roam the countryside asking for L? If he happens to get shot, and I'm not saying it'll be me doing the shooting, could just as easily be some aggravated farmer, but if he does walk into a bullet then we'll have Kira Investigation and the SPK and Astraea and the Japanese government and everyone on our arses looking for blood. He's like, Japan's X factor apparently; people will be annoyed if he winds up dead."

"It might not come to that," he replied. Mello stopped and walked towards the seated figure who was now staring intently at the one bar of Mello's gas fire which actually worked.

"Because he thinks you're dead," Mello said, over a the sound of creaking leather trousers as he crouched next to the figure. "I mean, well done and everything for the Lord Lucan re-enactment because he really does believe it now, but he's going to be very pissed off when he finds out that you're not dead after all, thank you very much, and that you might as well have been holidaying in Scarborough for 3 months."

"We'll see."

"What do you mean, 'we'll see'? Should I be worried? Is he going to turn up all full of the wrath because if he does then I'm sorry but I'll just have to blow his brains into the wall because I haven't got the patience for that kind of shit anymore," the youth said, standing up again in frustration.

"Mello, please."

"L, I'm serious."

"I'll be moving on soon."

"What are you, some travelling tinker? You're supposed to be dead. Very, very dead and I'm the one who'll have to explain why you're not and try and think up a decent excuse as to why an extremely dead man and an enemy to the state has been living in my house, eating my cupboards from the inside out without my noticing."

"I'll think of something."

It turned out that the 'clearance' Astraea had given Near was less of an invitation and more of a dare. Light took Matsuda with him because Aizawa and Ide had families and there was that undeniable fact that there was a good chance that whoever went would come back in a box, or, like L, just not come back.

Light and Matsuda boarded the plane. It started off as being a packed jet - nearly 300 people crammed on the speeding crime against nature. Planes were few and far between now. and instead of pre-Astraea direct flights, they tended to zig-zag like a bus. They stopped at many airports along the way, more and more people got off, including some raucous children who had made it their mission in life to kick the living hell out of the back of Matsuda's chair. By the time they were nearing Russia, it was more or less an empty plane. A bored and lonely air stewardess offered Light and Matsuda complementary champagne and had attempted to coerce Light into a cupboard before the flight was over.

London wasn't what they had expected.

There was a shelter of sorts running along the side of the plane which was lined with armed guards. Behind that was a wall of swirling barbed wire and a flood of people sitting in the rain gazing up at the plane with longing eyes. A gunman in full riot gear, emblazoned with Astraea imagery, marched up to Light and Matsuda and motioned them towards the tunnel. In the distance, underneath the sound of desperate pleas and sobbing for salvation and escape, was the sound of a propaganda film on repeat on a giant screen.

"Welcome to the United Federation of Astraea. Freedom against the wounds of humanity. Evil must be made to pay for their sins against our people. Do you believe with Astraea that we can, with hard work, provide final, total victory for the meek of the world? We fight for you. We fight with you. Give everything you have for victory. Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today? Now, people, rise up, and storm, break loose!"

"Light," Matsuda, gasped, grabbing at Light's shirtsleeve.

The typed but unspoken words hung suspended like threads of blood in water. The first email was so plain and so very like Light it stabbed like a knife into L's stomach.

I don't believe it.

He was both angry and hurt by it. It was like an accusation. Light didn't believe it - didn't believe his constructed plan which had fooled Astraea, the SPK - everyone who mattered. But Light didn't believe it. Then, oh, it was Light and he couldn't bear the contact; it was unexpected, like touching, and he couldn't help staring at the words on the screen and murmuring his reply, keeping his voice low.

"I knew that you wouldn't. Find me."

He deleted the message. Then, a few hours later he rushed back to his laptop and retrieved the email, saving it into a new folder.

Nothing for weeks. Time passed.

Until one day, another message arrived. It was bright and beautiful where L was; there was a light breeze and a tang of birdsong over the whirring of traffic. The email date showed that Light had written and sent it in the middle of the night Tokyo time.

Sometimes I dream about you. Sometimes I wake up and I can't face the reality that you're not there. Remember when I asked you to come back to me? I just wanted you then. I need you to come back to me now.

A week later:

I hate you for doing this to me.

That was the last email L received from Light. Each time he had to set up some complicated systematic "undelivered" reply to make it appear than L's account was inactive - as dead as he was supposed to be. It was a half-truth, he was little more than a spectre as it was.

Mello wasn't terribly observant to L's eating habits. It was no surprise really since he wasn't used to them and he didn't realise that L needed to be looked after. In turn, L was too used to Light and his silent ways of knowing when he needed to have a fuel top-up. Yes, Light was very good at that. Even when he was drugged into obscurity L would drink the tea and eat the cake left on the bedside table for him out of a physical habit than anything else. Mello was, like L, self-absorbed and not terribly well educated in being a good and considerate host. One day, out of sheer necessity, L threw on a duffle coat and walked to the shops to buy sugar and tea. He ended up walking further and further, looking skywards, remembering what Wammy had told him once - "Always look up, people miss another world of architecture above their heads." As a child, L had seen it as Wammy trying to encourage L to look upwards and straighten that bowed posture. Now, twenty years too late, he saw it for what it was.

He bought a tea from a market stand in the park. It was a mini kitchen attached to a bike with a brightly covered canopy to protect the counter from the dismal weather and it reminded L of Shanghai. He shocked the stallholder by how much sugar he poured in and it almost made him forget and almost made him smile. He gave the man a ten pound note and walked away with his polystyrene cup, leaving the man with a hefty tip. He walked for hours. It was the happiest and saddest day he'd spent for a long time.

And there were no more emails from Light.

Part of L wanted a role reversal. He wanted Light to find him. On his ill-advised walks he sometimes fully expected turn a corner and find Light standing there. No, maybe walk up behind him or be sitting a few tables back in a cafe or at a library. That would be like Light, the symbolic poetry they shared; the shock of the grand entrance and the big exit.

He was frightened, terribly frightened that Light would disappoint him. He had to remind himself that his intention was to make that big exit so that Light and everyone, but especially Light, would believe him to be dead. Indeed he went to great pains – great pains – to make himself appear so. He didn't expect Light to accept it without the firmest of evidence. But then the emails came. Talking to him at first, then with sadness, speaking to a ghost. Then they stopped and L felt forgotten.

He saved all of Light's emails in the folder and hid them under passwords that he knew Mello could break if he really, really tried as long as L left the necessary bread trail for him. He composed a draft and included it with the emails.


Light Yagami is Kira. He killed B, he killed Wammy. He's killed thousands. If you're reading this, then he has killed me also.

I'm sorry, I probably could have prevented it all. I blinded myself. I was in love with him. I think he loved me once.

You need Near in order to defeat him.


Brutal. Truthful.

He considered including clues for Mello and Near to find his casenotes about the Kira case – everything he knew. He thought about splitting the evidence up so they'd have to connect in order to puzzle piece everything together. But he couldn't. Instead he set those notes to be deleted after a week without him accessing them. If Mello or Near or anyone else got to them before that, then fair play, but L couldn't, wouldn't hand them and arm them against Light so unfairly.

Armed unfairly against a mass murderer with a Death Note?

He still couldn't do it. Besides, he reasoned, he didn't have to. The less they knew the better. They wouldn't feel the need for proof like L did - his word was enough for them to act upon. He'd given them the name and he'd damned Light. Mello certainly would need no more than that, even if Near hesitated and wanted to make a game of Kira and investigate him like an autopsy. Mello would find Light, swoop in, take him to some dark, quiet place and shoot him, just like any sane individual would. Maybe he'd just shoot him in broad daylight. Mello was surprising like that. If the opportunity came up and he had a clean shot, he probably would because he was angry enough. It was the very notion of vengeance which coursed through his veins and peeled off him like smoke over water. It was this which kept him alive.

Mello would do what L himself should be doing and should have done months ago – arrest Light and execute him. It was L's need for tangible truth which had led to this He'd taken lives, he'd taken them for money in reward for a condemnation and a game well played. He'd been merciless. He'd requested the death penalty for people. He remembered one, a man who he was positive could never be rehabilitated and would be a danger to prison staff for the rest of his days. L had requested the death penalty through a white computer screen, his initial of a cypher was a gallows to hang the man by. Why then was he so different from Kira? Because his death sentences were sanctioned by world governments? By a so-called justice system which had proved itself, time and again to be flawed?

Oh, how Light would loved to have been privy to this internal argument. Would Kira have been thrilled, or disappointed in him?

Because if L wasn't Kira's nemesis – then maybe he was nothing.


Obligatory Bibliography (try saying that, it's funny)

Propaganda. I based most of it on snippets of actual propaganda and propagandist speeches by Hitler and Goebbel's Sportpalast speech. You'll probably recognise big whole chunks I ripped off.

Koesheyl (the place where L 'died') is the original Cornish for a place called Cotehele (anglicised) and it is a real place, I kid you not. It's a Tudor manor in Cornwall and they do very nice cream teas in the restaurant.

Lotsa quotes:

'For only in destroying I find ease to my relentless thoughts.'

- Paradise Lost by John Milton. Again.

'Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold, And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks.'

- King Lear by Shakespeare.

'It would be the same at the end of the journey, If you came at night like a broken king.'

- Four Quartets, Little Gidding by T.S. Eliott

'this world of fact we love is unsubstantial stuff: All the rest is silence On the other side of the wall'

- Extract from the preface of The Sea and the Mirror by W.H Auden.

'Now I resemble a sort of god, Floating through the air in my soul-shift, Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.'

- Poem 612 (Love Letter) by Sylvia Plath.

Oh and the line, "Nothing can separate us" is from, the Max Richter track, 'Landscape with Figure (1922).' It's whispered at the beginning.