A/N: Hello! I'm back, and once again I'm riding on uberneko-zero's coattails with a PITCH fic, this time for the kink meme. The prompt was:

"Aiber/L in the universe of the fantastic fanfic 'PITCH' by uberneko-zero. Would like it if the characters are written as close to uberneko-zero's style as possible, but not necessary. Can include Light/L and other PITCH characters if writer wishes."

I didn't consciously try to write in uberneko's style this time, but since I wanted to try and keep the characters and general tone consistent, I wound up kind of doing it anyway XD There will be a measure of RaitoxL later on, but the main focus is on AiberxL. I'm not sure if the original prompt quite counts as a "kink," but I think I've included enough kinky stuff in the fic to merit inclusion in the meme. Kinks will include such things as: mirrors, age gap, first time, shades of D/s, manipulation, and unhealthy relationships.

I'm actually a little nervous, posting this here. It seems that whenever Aiber appears in PITCH, half the reviewers say that they hope he dies, they hate him with the fire of a thousand suns, etc., so as I begin posting a long AiberxL fic set in that universe, I kind of fear for my safety. Please rest assured, PITCH fans – L will not cheat on Raito, get raped by Aiber, or fall in love with him in this story. This is more like an AU prequel than anything else. Most of it takes place before L meets Raito, and it only "happens" inside of L's head, anyway. The prologue and epilogue take place during what we may call the "lost week," the time after the motel incident in which L and Raito aren't in contact with each other and are set to perpetual angst mode.

Even if you've never read PITCH, though, please stay! I think this story can mostly stand on its own. All you really need to know is that it takes place in an AU without Kira or the Death Notes. L lives in Tokyo, where he makes a living as a private investigator and frets about his social inadequacies; Raito (of a similar age to L) is some sort of "political lobbyist." Aiber is basically Aiber, though without his canon family. He and Raito fight over L, and L gets dumped on a lot by both of them. There, now you're up to speed.

As a point of pride (maybe), and as further enticement to non-PITCH readers who like Aiber, I'll add this: when this fic is completely posted, it will be, by far, the longest DN fic on this site to list Aiber as one of the "main characters," and quite possibly the longest Aiber fic in the fandom. Also, Aiber's probably never gotten as much sex in a single fic before as he does in this story. So if you like Aiber slash at all, or even just AiberxL, I hope you will give this a try.

This fic is actually already finished, and it's really all part of a long one-shot. I'm posting it in chapters mainly because, at close to 40 000 words, it just seems too large for a single chapter. And in any case, I want to squeeze as many reviews and page views out of you all as possible XD That's what happens when you're little-known in the fandom. Anyway, what this all means is that there's no danger of the story being abandoned, and you can expect rapid updates, no more than a few days apart. The chapter breaks aren't yet set in stone, but there should be about eight chapters in total.

I hope you enjoy the story. Now on with the show!

Disclaimer: Death Note belongs to Ohba and Obata, and I can't think of a clever disclaimer.

Rated M for sex and a sprinkling of bad language.

Prologue: The Difference

L flopped onto his bed with his hand over his eyes. When had it all gone so wrong?

Suddenly, he'd somehow gone from being a man nobody could ever want to a man being savagely fought over by a pair of arrogant assholes, each one obsessed with making him his own. For the life of him, L couldn't figure out how it had happened. He hadn't changed anything about himself – in fact, it was his inability to change and open up that had led to the failed experiments at the bar. He almost wondered if he'd begun secreting some sort of pheromone that was irresistible to domineering lunatics. It would certainly explain a lot.

But perhaps there was a simpler explanation. For one thing, it was stupid to consider the events as if they'd only begun weeks ago, as if the two men had suddenly come hounding after his body out of the blue. Raito had found him because he'd tried to get out of his shell for once. Aiber, it now appeared, had been wanting him for years, unbeknownst to him. L wondered why, after years of doing nothing about this desire, Aiber had suddenly gone into stalkerish overdrive the instant Raito had come into his life. Perhaps he'd just assumed that L was untouchable, asexual, immune to seduction. Perhaps Raito's arrival on the scene had shown him how very wrong he was. Aiber seemed to feel now that the years he'd known (and desired) L gave him first dibs, and that Raito had stolen out from under him the lover that was supposed to be his. Now that the prospect of having L no longer seemed impossible, Aiber was furious at himself for having never seriously tried, thinking that if Yagami could do it, he most certainly could have. Thus the hyper-aggressiveness and the stalking. And now that Raito had such aggressive competition, it was bringing out his own psychotic tendencies.

Well, maybe that last bit was an oversimplification. Surely that business at the motel had had nothing to do with Aiber….That had been purely about control, about keeping L quite literally under lock and key until he lost the strength to resist Raito's all-consuming lust.

No. He didn't want to think about that. Thinking about Raito hurt. Rather think of anything than think of the infuriating, beautiful man that had woven his thorny vines into L's heart. At the moment, he would rather contemplate the insane curiosities of Aiber than fall back into that emotional sinkhole.

Did Aiber actually feel hurt about his rejection?, L wondered. Or was he just insulted that his object of lust had not lain meekly down before him? Perhaps it was some of both. Certain as he was lying here now, L knew that Aiber did not love him. Yet he did, at times, seem to truly like L, or at least seem to enjoy toying around with him like a cat with a mouse. Even before Aiber had known what Raito was about, he'd refused to give him information about L. But then again, did that count as protecting L from a potential enemy, or just preserving L for the sake of future cases, money and the entertainment of torturing him? Again, it was probably some of each.

Once again now L heard the last exchange between him and Aiber, the day they'd crossed paths at Raito's workplace and Aiber had once again tried to lay hands on him.

"I felt you giving in to me, L…"

"Give up on this, Aiber. You're making an enemy of me."

"You were considering it just now."

"I always consider things before dismissing them outright. If you knew me at all, you'd know that. Raito would know that, and therein lies the difference between you."

"No…the difference is that you gave him the chance to know you."

Was there any chance at all that Aiber could have gotten him into bed? It was impossible now, what with Raito in his life and his heart firmly in Raito's possession. But what about before that? He and Aiber went way back, all the way to his days as a weedy teenager just breaking into detective work. Had he really tried, Aiber would have had years and years to work on seducing him before any competition ever entered the picture. How would he have reacted to Aiber's touch, had there never been another in his bed or in his heart?

There was something sleazy about Aiber, about his open-necked shirts and scraggly hair and scratchy stubble. He certainly wasn't as good-looking as Raito, though Misa had deigned to sleep with him, and he imagined her to be very picky about her lovers' looks. In some ways, his oily brand of masculinity was more potent than Raito's version – big and brash as opposed to refined and clever. He was sure he didn't like it.

But maybe, in another life, he would have found it intoxicating.

L was sure he didn't want Aiber, not while he had Raito. Not while he had Raito. But could things actually have been different, had Aiber made his desire known before Raito had wandered into L's life and made him his?

The scenes his mind now invented flashed before his eyes with the clarity of memory – the memory of what never was, but what might have been. Reality intermixed with it, but for the most part, the movie in his mind was cut from whole cloth. A vision of what might have been…