Notes: I'm going to be trying to keep this as short as possible with additional notes at the bottom of the chapter. If you have any questions, then please feel free to ask and I will either reply to you directly (via comment) or I'll answer in the next chapter's end notes. This is, technically, a crossover with Fatal Frame III: The Tormented and has heavy elements of an AU.
Title: Manor of Sleeping Tattoos
Pairings: L/Light ; Light-centric
Part: First Hour: Loss
Words: 2240 words
Beta: elliott ashes
Warning[s]: Major character death
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note or Fatal Frame; Death Note is the property of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata while Fatal Frame is the property of Tecmo (and others, I think).
First Hour: Loss
When he dreams, it's snowing. It's as though someone is there in the sky shaking out the entire contents of a hole-punch; he's never seen so much snow before in his life. Reaching out a hand, he catches a few of the fluffy flakes on his hand and watches as they melt.
Everything seems so real, he isn't sure if this is really just a dream. The cool air, the snow, it all seems so vivid.
Maybe this is what it means to be dead – or not, he can't be dead – but his dreams are never so vivd. He can feel everything, it feels as though he is standing out in the snow. But that can't be because it isn't winter now and he was inside, he hasn't been outside for weeks now. If this is a dream, he wishes that he wouldn't ever wake up – the real world is far too painful.
Light knows. He doesn't want to go back.
The world outside of his dreams is far too painful and lonely. He would rather stay here, in this strange dream of his.
Glancing up, a manor looms into the sky. Nearby are small shrines dotted with lit candles that offer up a small amount of light. The snow is falling and piling up in drifts, but the path leading towards the manor's gates is clear.
It feels as though it is calling to him.
His legs carry him forward, walking towards the gate. If he goes into the manor, maybe he can find what he's looking for.
– – –
His father watches him closely. Light feels his eyes boring into his back as they make preparations, but he says nothing. He feels a small amount of gratitude for it.
The others remain quiet. He finds some peace in the quiet, but it hurts him too.
Certain sounds he misses, certain actions, the weight of handcuffs around his wrists... it makes his heart ache when he thinks about what he's lost.
It makes the strange gaps in his memory feel insignificant.
What does it matter if he was Kira? What matters most to him is gone now.
– – –
Under his hands, the gates open with a soft creak. The manor has an abandoned feel to it, but the walkway is clear and the candles outside had been lit... the entrance hall doesn't seem to be too neglected. The walls aren't falling apart.
The hair on the back of his neck stands on end. Something about this place doesn't feel right, but he can't put his finger on what that is.
He can hear the rustle of what might be leaves in the wind, the sound of the house creaking in it. Light doesn't know where he is still, but it doesn't seem to bother him.
As he takes his first step, he sees a familiar silhouette at the corner.
The person disappears around the corner, walking away. He calls out to them again but gets no answer.
His feet are moving before he can think of the consequences. All he knows is that it's him, that he has to follow him because there's so much that he hasn't said, so much that he needs to...
He needs to tell him how sorry he is.
– – –
The funeral is approaching quickly. Light can feel his stomach twisting painfully inside of him, but he says nothing. He can tell the others are worried about him, but he doesn't want them to say anything. If he hears them ask if he's alright, he doesn't think he'll be able to hold it together.
He isn't alright. He doesn't think that he ever will be.
The days seem to trickle by slowly; the hours drag on and each minute – each second – seems to last for a painful eternity.
It feels like his heart died that day.
– – –
The dream doesn't stop.
Each night he finds himself in that manor, the snow falling and the night peaceful and beautiful. The candles and lanterns flicker and illuminate the exterior, giving it a strange appearance. He feels the same strange draw to it that he always does.
He wonders if he's the only one who dreams of it. Do the others see it too? Or is he alone?
It's easier to call out to him now – each time he sees him in the manor, he follows him. But he never seems to be able to catch up. All he catches are glimpses of the other disappearing down this hallway or around this corner, and each time he thinks he'll be able to reach him, hand stretched out in front of him as though he can touch him.
But his hands never do catch him, all he can grasp at is air. His heart aches.
"Where are you?" he asks the silence. "Please... wait for me."
– – –
Eventually, Misa comes to see him. The others all give her looks, knowing that the littlest thing could possibly set the brunette off. They're worried about him too, but they fear pushing him more than that. If they push too hard, he might snap and never recover.
He can't seem to get any rest; the dreams suck out his energy.
"Light should come on a date with me!"
The look he gives her could curdle milk; he doesn't have time for that sort of trivial stupidity, can't she see that? Is she so blind that she can't see that he doesn't care?
Ignoring her seems like the best solution. Light turns away from her and focuses on the documents in front of him.
His eyes are burning, but he refuses to let the tears fall. He can't show weakness; he isn't allowed to mourn. Not when it's his fault. He would blame Misa, but he feels more guilt than he does anger towards her; this is his fault, he feels.
She grabs his arm, "You need to relax Light! We'll catch Kira eventually and we'll make him pay!"
Jerking his arm out of her grip, he glares at her before storming away. He needs time alone. He heads for the stairs, tells Misa not to follow him.
She yells at him, calls him names, tells him she hates him.
He doesn't care and ignores it. Misa was never the one.
– – –
That night, when he dreams, he finds himself walking down a hallway and into one of the many rooms. It's full of boxes of kimonos and a chest of old papers and accessories. At first he thinks there's nothing of interest there, but then something catches his attention out of the corner of his eyes.
For a moment, he sees a flash of pale skin and dark hair but it's gone in an instant. Instead, he spies an old camera lying in a discarded pile of papers in the corner. Taking it into his hands, he examines it closely; there are words carved into a part of it.
Even though he doesn't know what it means, he still takes it with him. It seems like it might be important.
– – –
The others have started to notice how tired he is. There are dark circles forming under his eyes and he's finding it more difficult to get out of bed. He isn't sure why that is, but he thinks that it might have something to do with the dreams.
Light can still smell him in the sheets.
He doesn't want to lose that.
It's when he's alone, in the early hours of the morning when no one is around, that he lets himself cry. The pain is too much and it's threatening to tear him apart.
But he keeps up a strong front in front of everyone else, makes sure that they don't know his pain. Instead, he focuses on the case, driving them to keep looking, that there must be a clue somewhere that they overlooked. They'll find it eventually, they will solve this case.
Even if it kills him.
– – –
For the first time in his dreams of the manor, he sees someone.
They're not alive.
At least, he doesn't think they are.
They keep asking him questions, "Have you seen him? Where is he?"
He doesn't know the answer, he runs but suddenly the woman is in front of him, reaching for him and he can feel this burning pain in his chest.
The camera's filament glows, it seems to be telling him to use it.
When he snaps the picture of the woman, she recoils as though he shot her. It doesn't make sense but then she's behind him and lunging at him again so he takes another picture and another.
She disappears after that. The headache that her presence gave him ebbs away to nothing.
The manor seems more threatening now, but he knows that he can't turn away. He can still see him, lurking at the end of the next hallway.
It's like a game of cat and mouse; he's chasing and chasing him, but no matter how hard he tries, he can never catch him.
– – –
Since it feels as though the case has stalled, Light takes some time to do a little research of his own. His curiosity has been piqued and he feels that maybe the answers lie somewhere and he just needs to find them.
Maybe he can find what it means when he sees that manner in his sleep. It has to mean something, because everything has a meaning; sometimes you just have to look for it.
Unfortunately, he has no real place to start with the manor, so he turns instead to the old camera that he found; the Camera Obscura.
He finds some interesting articles; it's a camera that supposedly can capture the "Other World," it can capture things that normally can't be detected by the naked eye. It can reveal spirits and ghosts. According to several of the occult websites he finds, it was made by a man named Kunihiko Asou – probably in the late nineteenth or earlier twentieth centuries.
They're rare these days, the articles tell him, however many there were, few still remain. They're a highly valued collectors item.
He still doesn't understand why it's in his dream.
– – –
The Camera Obscura is his only weapon, his only defence against these spirits. He realizes that the filament glows whenever one is near.
He's still following the other deeper and deeper into the manor.
The real world seems so far away, it doesn't matter as much as it did before. What matters is that he's here and there's the chance that he can find him.
"Stay with me."
– – –
Still no clues to point them in the direction of Kira; the funeral is only hours away.
His chest feels like it's on fire, his eyes are burning but he lets none of this show. He has to be strong, that would be what Ryuuzaki – L – would want.
It has to be him who catches Kira.
Now, it doesn't matter if it is him; he would gladly throw himself off the building if it were. That would make the pain stop. He knows it's selfish and his family would be broken, but he's finding it harder and harder to care; he just wants the pain to stop.
Even Light knows that he's treading on thin ice; one wrong move and he'll snap. The burden on him is getting heavier as time ticks by.
"I don't want to see any longer."
– – –
The tattooed woman appears in his dreams.
Like the first woman he encountered, she is pale and has an ethereal feel to her. When he sees her, his head hurts terribly and he fights down the urge to vomit. Something about her is wrong – worse than the woman from before. The aura around her is heavy and full of pain and suffering and sadness. She is covered in a myriad of dark blue tattoos.
Seeing her makes the pain in his chest worse.
Slowly, she comes towards him, he fumbles with the camera and nearly drops it as he backs away. Eventually he just turns and runs.
But he can feel her coming after him, he knows that he can't escape.
Her fingers brush against the back of his neck; they're cold and clammy and make his skin crawl in response.
Pain blossoms from where her fingers touch.
He crashes through the gates of the manor, desperate to escape from her.
– – –
They haven't turned up any new clues and the dreams haven't stopped. Light keeps looking into them, branching out from the camera to see if he can find any connection to the manor that he always dreams of – the manor where L is.
He woke up the night after the dream with the woman to immense pain. It blossomed across the back of his neck and it felt as though the skin was on fire.
When he glances in the mirror, he can see the fading image of a tattoo emblazoned across the flesh.
He's afraid to know what it means.
But he's found the clue he needs to learn of the manor.
.:-o-:. .:-o-:. .:-o-:.
Fatal Frame III: The Tormented actually takes place in 1988, but... for the sake of this story, we're just going to say that it took place more recently than that. As well, this fic goes with Light not recovering his memories after the Yotsuba arc and Misa may or may have not recovered hers (it's ambiguous, you can decide on whichever scenario you like) but Rem did kill L in order to protect Misa.
Confusing, but this muse bit me and I just couldn't pass up the change to write it. Feedback is very much loved. (It's my first Death Note fic. .;)