Part 2. This is significantly happier than part 1, and this is as close to a good ending as I can give these two. If you haven't noticed by now, I'm really intrigued with the thought of there being more on these characters, more than the anime conveys. These characters are powerful to me, too powerful to fade away in death. This part was made purposefully longer to convey more depth in three different scenarios that lead up to the conclusion of the "play" I keep mentioning.

This part takes place in an alternate universe, without the notebook and Kira, in a place where both L and Light can have a place in one another's lives without worrying about who's playing who and simply, be together. Rated for mature romantic themes but nothing as bad as what I conveyed last time with scary beyond-the-grave L.

Analgesic-a remedy that allays all pain

I own nothing - aside from the way my muses are somewhat content with me for this part of the story.


'Less shame,' my master said to me, 'makes clean far greater fault than yours has been. And so cast off the weight of all your misery. Consider well. I'm always by your side."-Dante's Inferno, Virgil to Dante, Canto 30

The first time they met one another was under very ordinary circumstances. Best-friends always spoke of how they met each other at a playground, swinging one another high on swing-sets and racing in the grass, laughing and getting into mischief in the golden years. It was the easiest way to get to know someone.

For Light, that was how he had come to know the one who called himself by a letter. It was the first month of second grade, and classes had just been released for the break between lunch and the next math lesson. The need to soak up the sunlight and bask in the fresh-air was strong, and with his group of friends, the time seemed endless.

That was until he happened to notice the boy who was reading against the brick wall. In the midst of the bedlam of rushing bodies that ran for the basketball hoops, the jump-ropes, and the plethora of chalk-sticks, there was one boy who remained immobile, impassive and uncaring of the chaos around him. Light couldn't see the color of his hair, or make out his features from across the playground. All he saw was a pair of pressed flannel pants, the tan color of the school-uniform, and leather loafers that the book-worm kept shifting his feet in, as if he was uncomfortable with having them on.

"What a weirdo, reading like that," one of Light's friends commented. Light turned to face his group of friends, knowing what he would say would first be shot-down, but then be celebrated later with the thought of a new play-mate.

"Let's invite him over." Moans of protest about how a book-worm would look stupid hanging on their group died when Light narrowed his eyes. These friends of his were his neighbors and class-mates, and all of their mothers knew one another, and somewhere along the road of their friendship, he was appointed as their leader. "I mean it. How would you feel if you were all alone without friends, stuck with a big book for company? It's just not right to leave someone all alone like that."

Insults meant in jest were hurled at him, but Light countered them with retorts of his own, and the promise that if the book-worm didn't want to come over, he didn't have to and that would be the end of that. His friends agreed, but Light was already halfway across the asphalt to speak with the boy who hid behind the book.

He waved to a few of the pretty girls who shyly called out to him, and before long, there were no obstacles between him and the young boy who he had been so intent on making his friend. Shyness was never a quality he possessed, nor was cowardice.

"Hey there." Light crouched to the boy's level, and he was met with swirling gray-eyes that contrasted against the white of the pages of the book said boy was reading. A shock of black hair that spilled up and over the boy's head was seen and within moments, the book was dropped on the reader's lap.

"Hello." That was it, the only word out of the boy. Light's father always told him to be polite, and when Light's father was polite and meeting new people, he extended his hand for a firm-handshake. Light would do the same.

"I'm Light Yagami from Shiratori-sensei's class, it's a pleasure to meet you." Light stuck out his hand and gave a genuine smile, finding the boy interesting. From his wide-eyed look to the unkempt way his shirt was buttoned, Light found him unique at a full first glance. The book-worm with the unwavering eyes looked at the hand, almost as if he expected for small little mouths with teeth to form where his finger-tips were and gobble him whole. Then, the boy's entire expression changed. It was as if all of the tension that was held inside the boy's body evaporated and Light was left exchanging casual pleasantries with just another student.

The boy shook his hand, and his grip was firm and strong, which reminded Light of the way his father shook his hand sometimes. "I'm Lawliet but call me L, everyone does. Even my teacher, Yamaguchi-sensei calls me L." That was one of the strangest things Light had ever heard. And he loved it. Everyone's name around this school was very inventive, filled with meanings and parents who took the time to name their child something ideal. But for this boy, for the one he had christened as "book-worm" before he even knew his name, he was a little different. Differences were beautiful his mother always told him, and making a difference was even more beautiful.

"L. I like that, it suits you." Light exchanged a genuine smile with the boy and helped him to his feet. "Well L, why are you all by yourself over here? My friends and I were wondering if you wanted to come play with us, or something." L blinked a few times, gripped his book in one hand, and glanced around the playground. There were children scrambling over the iron jungle-gym, girls who were screaming and running from boys who brought rubber-snakes outside with them, and all around them was noise, noise and voices.

But from here, from the way L chose to position himself against the brick wall, there was a little pocket of peace among the chaos of the playground. In other schools, students who didn't want to be around others didn't necessarily have to. But in this school, Light knew why L didn't remain inside: the rule of recess. For at least half an hour, the students had to be with their class-mates in the open-air, mingling with others in a physical camaraderie. It was exercise and no one was exempt from it, unless the student was sick or needed to make-up an exam. Though they had only just met, Light had a feeling that L wasn't the sort of person to lie about an illness just to avoid other people. No, the boy seemed braver than that.

"Sure. I'd like to meet your friends." There was no mistaking the courage in that voice, nor was there any question about the hesitation in those gray-eyes. L more than likely thought that he was plotting something, that he was just a typical run-of-the-mill bully who loved to prey on students who he'd never met before. There was no collusion, no evil scheme to beat him up behind the jungle-gym; Light just wanted, in earnest, to befriend the boy.

"L, I'm not going to try anything. If my friends bother you, leave them to me, alright? They listen to me for some reason." They began the steady walk back to the playground, all the while L brought his book in tow.

L said something that Light couldn't quite catch, and he asked him to repeat his statement. "I said, they listen to you because they like you. You're a leader, a pied-piper among your friends." Light blinked a few times, vaguely remembering the legend of the flute-playing young man who played a merry-tune and gathered up his mice friends.

"Thanks. I just need to make my own rules sometimes." The introductions were awkward, but once a game of groundies was suggested, any implication of rocky-starts was smoothed over by the mid-morning sunlight. With the game groundies, the boys pretended that the ground beneath them was off-limits by a stretch of their imagination: there was a massive hole underneath them, shifting-lava, or perhaps, monsters in the gravel. The counter was exempt from this rule however, and they had to count to fifty and walk around the small area of the playground, searching for their play-mates. L was chosen to count during the fourth round and despite Light's flawless hiding place - flawless at the time - L found him first within a few minutes.

Light had managed to balance his entire body on the monkey-bars, and he lay sprawled on his stomach, gripping the frame-work. He was unconcerned with any trouble he might get into for he knew that unless he was dangling off the edge, balanced by only one foot, he would walk away unscathed by any thought of suspension and detention. Of course, when L spun around and tilted his head back like a blood-hound who had caught a scent, any thought of emerging the victor in the game crashed to splinters.

L walked over to the monkey-bars, guided by his hand. He gripped the bars and walked ever-forward, his eyes narrowing beneath the lids with intense concentration. Light held his breath, not daring himself to move, to do anything but gaze through the bars as if his very life depended on it. The point of the game was that if so much as a finger touched you of the one who sought the others, that person was automatically out.

Shakily, Light released a breath, wondering if L would notice. L stopped in his tracks then, looked up at him with closed eyes and suddenly, jumped up and grasped the monkey-bars. His finger-tips grazed Light's forearms and L opened his eyes, blinking to refocus them. Light almost felt disappointed in his hiding place, but the moment his eyes locked with those wide, gray-eyes and he saw the way that L beamed up at him, all thoughts of anger dissipated on his volition to make the boy his friend.

"I don't get it," Light commented, all the while swinging down from the jungle-gym "How'd you find me?" L scratched the back of his his head and after a moment, answered his question.

"I heard you. You took a deep breath, and I just knew someone was above me. That's all." Light shrugged and clapped L on the back a few times. That was what he had seen his father do for his male-friends at his work when they deserved praise. L bristled under the touch and tensed, almost flinching away. Instantly, Light took back his hand. He wasn't sure why L didn't like contact, but he would keep that in mind.

"Sorry, I just thought you deserved a congratulations." L blinked a few times and the confusion on his face was curious, thought-inspiring. Light figured it had something to do with the fact that he had included him in the game, but it was more than that. If anything, it was about the very nature of celebrating victory.

"A congratulations?" Light nodded.

"Yeah, yeah for finding me. I'm usually pretty good at this game. I'm the hardest to catch, right guys?" An echo of replies thundered back at Light's ears and they made his new friend's lips twitch in a partial smile. That was all Light needed for reassurance, for the reassurance that L felt welcome in their group.

llllll

The second time that they ran into each other was in passing, years later. L couldn't even believe that he remembered the name of the boy, much less a minor memory that they had shared, eight years previously.

There was no mistaking it: Light Yagami was stuck in traffic not ten feet away from him, the Light Yagami from all those years ago.

The young boy who radiated self-confidence and a natural born leadership was still there, emulating off of the now young man in the driver's seat of what looked like a very nice car. L was certain that if he touched the window of his limousine that he would retract his hand just as soon as it brushed the glass, for he would sense some of the young man's charisma even through the metal and leather.

L honestly couldn't believe he had remembered the young boy. No, that was wrong. He couldn't believe he had forgotten about him. He prided himself on his sharp reflexes, on the way he tackled himself into his pre-college essays and books with ease. But above all, he never forgot a face, or the memory that came with it.

Somewhere in the midst of the years, in the cloistering of physics and his philosophies, he had forgotten about the genuine kindness of a young boy who approached him at a school's playground. For a full year L had attended a prestigious private school in Japan, one that was said to have excellent education and a brilliant gathering of teachers to sculpt the young minds into the world's next leaders. Granted, that wasn't in the pamphlets for the parents, but this school was for intelligent young children, those who had placed into the school by means of a challenging entrance exam. The exam had only taken him half an hour, and afterwards, the Dean of the school himself came to shake Watari's hand to congratulate him on how brilliant his grandson was.

L had never been into making friends, or staying around people for long periods of time. It wasn't that the other students were mean to him, or that he was being bullied; he just didn't like spending a lot of time with people. People only complicated matters and kept him from his books, from reading on his favorite subjects: history, science, and above all, laws. He liked the thought of there being men out there who were taking the means to make the world a better place, men in suits and ties with leather briefcases who would go to any lengths to prove that the accused was guilty, or not guilty. The world of books was his own, and he reveled in it whenever he had the chance.

For a full three weeks he had managed to stay on a different side of the playground, away from all of the screaming girls with jump-ropes and the boys with their loud basketballs. On a certain Monday of the fourth week however, all of that changed. The spot that he was normally in, a small little crevice that held basketballs was filled with iron-cages that were used for the afternoon sports for P.E class for the older children. There was no place for him there, no place for a small boy with a big book to squeeze in and lose himself in the pages.

So he took his chances against the brick wall. On any other day he would have searched and searched for a place to be, a place that wasn't so noisy and filled with so many moving bodies. but on this day he didn't feel the need to hide or inconvenience his own comforts for the sake of his surroundings. He simply propped his book onto his lap, flipped open to a current page, and began reading.

Not five minutes after his decision he was sharing introductions with a boy he had never seen before. Instead of being annoyed at the disturbance, L found himself strangely drawn to the boy. It was as if the entirety of the stranger's being radiated warmth, a light that made all who surrounded him gravitate towards him unconsciously. However, it all could've been an act, a nice-guy bravado that revealed a darker intent of bullying and name-calling. Just because L had been lucky this far at his new school didn't mean that the luck would continue.

Almost as if the boy, this Light Yagami from Shiratori-sensei's class could hear his thoughts, Light reassured him that there was no such plot. He just earnestly wanted to talk to him, to get to know him for a bit of playground camaraderie before class resumed. L had never really enjoyed recess, not because he had no one to play with, but because of the obligation of the rule of playing. He wanted to be the one to decide to jump in with others; it couldn't be decided for him.

L agreed and he found himself fifteen minutes later ambling about, searching for his new comrades in a game of blindness and sensory filtering. Hearing was important, for it would determine the crunching of gravel beneath polished loafers, the bated breath of exhilaration. He hated to lose even trivial games of checkers, much less in front of strangers who were watching his every move. Even at ten-years-old, L knew who he would remain for the rest of his life: a winner in the craft of friendly games.

Still, he had no idea how he had managed to find Light so quick. There was darkness all around his eyelids and sunlight filtered through the edges of his eyes, creating blooming spots of red and yellow every so often. He found himself gripping the edge of the monkey-bars and he waited, listening for any sign that one of his playmates was on the infrastructure.

He heard a sharp intake of breath and the sound seemed to become an echo in his mind. That breath tumbled over and over his aural cavity, back into his brain-stem, and it caused his body to simply react. L stopped in his tracks, bent his knees and jumped up at the monkey-bars. His fingers glided over smooth skin and he opened his eyes, knowing he was victorious.

Instead of being a sore-loser about it, Light simply congratulated him by patting him on the back. No matter the cause of Light's benign personality, he still didn't like to be touched. It was as if others were invading his own personal space, coming into a place where they weren't welcome. That sensation of intrusion was magnified if it was a stranger touching him. Instantly Light retracted his hand and the innocent-vibe came back into the day, made all the more perfect with the next few recesses.

A year passed and he told his friends that he was moving to England, to a school there that wanted him. All of his friends in Light's group were disappointed but he knew the one most affected was Light. Since Light had found him first and was the first to include him, he was the one who took it the hardest. L promised that he'd write to him or call him when he could, but then Light shook his head.

"No, it's alright. This is going to sound stupid but if we see each other later on, at a school or something, then we'll have a lot to catch up on. If we're meant to stay friends, we will, okay?" L knew that Light was being completely genuine with his speech, no matter if it had been said in private at the expense of his pride and leadership with his friends. Light wasn't trying to opt out of the friendship they shared, though it would've seemed that way at first if anyone was within earshot. No, this was about something far deeper than that. This move was a test of their friendship, to see if time would permit them to see one another again, at another place.

The words were poignant and heartfelt as well as the truth: if they were meant to see one another again, it would happen. L didn't believe in fate and he knew that Light didn't either. But whatever force fueled the universe, be it ever-moving atoms in space or flitting matter that coalesced into the ripple of time, it was out of their hands now.

That seemed very, very silly right then, as L watched Light from the back seat of his limousine. Watari was at the wheel and he had reported that the traffic was backed up for a mile east due to a terrible car-crash that had taken place. The estimate was fifteen more minutes and there would be movement on the road. They were taking one of the many highways in Japan to get home, for L had a lot of packing to do. He had become accepted at Harvard University and in a month's time, he would be attending school there for four full years, or six to eight depending on the depth of his ambition.

L wondered, with the barrier of glass and iron that separated him from Light right then, what his plans were for life. Was he still a leader with those who loyally followed his direction and guidance? Had he become jaded at some point in his life, bitter to the point of being unable to smile? Or perhaps tragedy had befallen him, an accident with his parents or his younger sister whom L found pure-hearted? There were a lot of questions to ask, and the only way he would find answers was to physically find out.

"Watari, Light Yagami's to the right of us." His grandfather looked to the immediate right and gave a small smile.

"Well I'll be, Light Yagami. That young boy from all those years ago. Your first friend." First friend indeed. Those two words had not been spoken in a lie, on a tongue that was used to fabricating stories for the sake of making others feel better about themselves. He had nothing to gain from lying to the one who was the first to show him earnest kindness in a place where he was nothing but a stranger.

People like that, those with good intentions were hard to find in this world. Granted, such emotions, kindness and benign acts were everywhere and yet no where that the eye could discern.

He owed it to Light to speak with him. L rolled down his window, cleared his throat, and then began waving madly to get Light's attention. It took several minutes of making a fool of himself before Light finally turned his gaze towards L's direction. Light turned his head to the left and with the bands of sunlight that fell on the road in a scattering of gold ribbons, he looked ever the leader. His eyes were the same light-hazel, a honey-color that clashed brilliantly with his naturally highlighted hair. From this space it was hard to make out what his old friend was wearing, but L knew that it was a suit of some kind and more than likely, flawless.

Light appeared to be chuckling as he rolled down his window. "L from Yamaguchi-sensei's class?"

"Light Yagami from Shiratori-sensei's class?" Both exchanged a nod and the smiles they exchanged were genuine.

"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Light glanced at the unmoving flow of traffic and then made the motion of unbuckling his seat-belt. "Ten years this coming September?"

"Yes, ten years. How have you been?" L shifted his sitting position to where he was leaning forward on his knees, just so that he could get a better look at Light. Yes, Light was indeed dressed in a suit the color of darkened mahogany and his tie was scarlet against a tan work-shirt.

"I've been well. I'm the top of my class in Japan and I'm attending college in the fall. I was just taking my father's car back from an internship I'm a part of." Light's entire demeanor changed then, all of a sudden. The natural confidence seemed to drain out of him with the sagging of his shoulders. "L, about what I said when I was a kid...that was stupid of me. I missed you and I constantly kicked myself for not getting your phone number, or your address. My mom probably would have let me visit you." The sheepish grin that came to Light's lips made L realize two things: one, they would meet again, and two, Light was correct on their choice they made as children.

"Don't be too concerned. We were children and mistakes were made, things were said. Besides, I don't believe in fate. You're here with me right now and that's what I know." They talked about trivial things for the remaining fifteen minutes and Light revealed that he would be going to a business school in Japan, one that was top-notch and would open doors for him later on in his life. L revealed how in England he had graduated early and had spent the remainder of his senior year touring colleges in his thirst for academic greatness.

"Harvard? That's terrific L! I actually might go there, once I hear back from them." If they came across each other through university, then there was no mistaking the thought of a rekindling of friendship.

Quickly, Light jotted something down on a scrap piece of paper, and there was no missing the excitement that permeated off the young man, almost as if his delight in seeing L had made his entire day. Though L knew his own personal happiness on seeing his childhood friend wasn't seen on his face by outside eyes, he knew that Light didn't miss his contentment.

"Call me, alright? I'd love to hear from you." Light reached out the window and dangled the piece of paper out towards him, reaching in the most ungraceful manner L had ever seen. For a moment Light was unperfect, a human being who was confident and spoke well yes, but was willing to stick his hand out the window and bend his body in unnatural positions for the sake of exchanging numbers. "Or...don't." L gripped the paper and felt his left eyebrow raise of its own volition. "This is going to sound crazy, but if we're meant to remain friends, we will."

L looked down at the piece of paper, met Light's eyes, and shredded the information into strips. He tossed them out the window and the light breeze made the pieces dance, as if in a parallel time, there was a celebration taking place, filled with confetti and laughter.

"Yes, we are crazy. See you soon?"

"Yeah, see you soon L. It might be sooner than you think."

llllll

Two years later, in one of the most mentally stimulating classes Light had ever attended, he thought he had met his match in a battle of minds. It was his first semester at Harvard University for Law and he was right in the middle of a debate class, one in which the professor insisted on admitting cold-calls to all those who were unsuspecting. Cold-calls were a constant challenge in which a student at random was called on to explain the lesson that the professor was attempting to teach the students. Several times Light was picked, and several times he had been given fierce acknowledgment from all those in the room. He knew his material and he was among others who loved learning and justice as much as him.

But on this day the professor decided to do something a little differently, without warning anyone. The students filtered into the lecture hall and found the entirety of the room divided by a large black sheet that tumbled down from the rafters, looking very much like a curtain on a stage, dividing the audience to the members of a play. Through the means of loud-speakers over an intercom system, the rules were explained. Light found himself in the middle of a two hour long experiment that would change the way he thought about justice, about the world entire. Or, so the professor's voice claimed through a safe distance away. He was more than likely sipping hot coffee and enjoying the way his students were caught off-guard Light surmised, for he would be doing the same thing had he been the professor. What better way to teach a lesson than making students live through it?

The experiment was simple: on the left side of the room, the side Light found himself a part of, he was for the case that would be presented. On the right side of the room the students were fiercely against the presented case. Neither had a say in whether or not they approved or disapproved with the sides that had been chosen for them; they had to wrap their mind around a specific frame of thought, another perspective.

Everyone had a seat, and the imaginary scenario was revealed and it was just that: imaginary. The case was this: if you happened across a notebook, one that could kill the name of a person by writing their first and last name in the pages, all the while having their name in mind, would they do it? Said person -the one that Light had no choice but to be in favor of - was called Kira by the world, and this being would use the notebook as means of scrutinizing and implicating firm and uncompromising judgment to all. If said person was a criminal, Kira would write their name in a notebook and they would fall victim to a heart-attack.

Everyone on Light's side of the room was floored by the scenario presented. Once the trill of the professor's voice died down, they were left to freely discuss amongst themselves the best way to argue in favor of this Kira person, this imaginary being that believed himself to be a god. Light had no idea why he thought that a man was capable of committing such heinous acts, but that was the first thing that came to his mind. Women were just as willing to cause crimes, but Light simply pictured a man, one that was well dressed, all the while gripping a black notebook in his hand. He continued to picture said man towering over a building, looking down on the world with a sneer, as if he couldn't believe that his own self-perfection had been born into a world so...rotted.

Light always prided himself on his imagination, but that mental imagery sent him reeling back a few mental steps. Now was not the time to get carried away with extended metaphors; now was the time to craft an argument.

For the next hour, Light and his colleagues came up with a debate on why this being chose to do what he did. All the causes rang true and the argument had all of the main points, along with justification through means of psychology and family history. Light wasn't about pitying a being that he found to be inarguably guilty of crimes that were worthy of a life sentence in prison, but for now, he had to remain effusive on the matter. Technically, this man could have been temporarily insane, overwrought with the power of the notebook. Power corrupted man, especially when it lent them the powers that not even gods could maintain.

The over-head speakers came on, and both sides gave their argument with their loudest voices, Light being the last to speak in his team. He stated that the being was attempting to make the world a better place with his methods, no matter how dire they might have been, and that temporary insanity definitely could have played a huge factor with the man known as Kira.

The most quipping statement that uprooted any thought of Light's team winning the argument was what everyone was thinking in the room, what all those on Light's side dared not to say: at the heart of this mission was murder. Taking lives was and always would continue to be illegal until the court systems changed, but there was no mistaking the moral and ethical reasoning: passing judgment and killing others based on how cruel their intentions were in life was a vigilante killing, the latter word being the cause of interest. Death was death, murder was murder, and that was all there was to it.

At the end of the exercise, the professor announced that both sides had won and that there would be no class the following day, due to the severity and intensity of the exercise. The lot of Light's classmates left the room shaking their heads, all the while gripping their belongings with trembling fingertips.

It was then that Light noticed that in the room, clear across the other side of the lecture hall, was L. He was there, speaking among a few classmates with earnest interest, looking like one of the disciples of Socrates midst the desks and carpeted stairs. Light didn't believe in fate, but this was certainly one hell of a day to reunite with an old friend.

They exchanged pleasantries and walked out together, all the while talking in animated tones about what they had been up to. L was thinking about going into investigative journalism, especially for the sake of court reporting. Something about the courtroom, the gavel and the visceral energy of justice was enough to make him a happy man. For Light, he revealed that he wished to be a lawyer and defend clients and make sure that justice saw through to the end.

And then the exercise was brought up. L and Light were on the same side, completely against the imaginary character known to the world as Kira. L couldn't believe how monstrous the character was, a being that thought himself a god that could freely pass judgment on mankind. Light agreed with him...until the mental image flashed in his mind once again, behind his eyelids. He stated that he understood where Kira was coming from: the mission to right wrongs and to make criminals vanish with the blessing of death.

"Kira sounds like an anti-hero to me, someone who you could read about in a comic book or something, a character you could relate with and sympathize for. I don't know L, if I saw such a book in a store, I'd probably buy it." The horror that flashed through his friend's face was enough to make Light realize that he had said something that was very, very against L's code of morals, the very fiber of who he was in his entirety. Though Light had said only his opinion and the final part in jest, it was as if he had physically slapped L across the face.

From then on in that debate class, they did everything they could to make themselves rivals in academia. If Light chose to side in favor of the case, L went against him with every mental rebuke, every implicit backlash that could be spoken. The professor encouraged this with his students, but Light knew that their teacher had no idea how deep this friendly challenge ran.

During the middle of the semester, Light chose to end the rivalry, for he was sick of constantly being scrutinized in such a way by someone that had used to be his friend. He had no idea why L was taking this so seriously, this imaginary character and the scenario involved months previous, but he'd had enough.

In the middle of a debate when L was all but holding the classroom in awe of both his way of speaking and the way that he staged his argument, Light chose to agree with him. He felt his cheeks burn with the chagrin of spoken mistakes, and his tongue felt swollen in his throat, as if his entire mouth was swathed with cotton. But still, he admitted to the entire room that L was right and then he politely packed up his things, leaving the classroom for the day. The professor had a rule that stated that if a student felt too compelled to ease themselves into the argument and they couldn't restrain themselves from acting out, be it verbally or physically, they could leave the room.

Light wasn't feeling in the least bit interested in tackling L to the ground and rearranging his face; he was just tired of what their friendship had become. It seemed as if there was a ceaseless charade of competition that was masking itself as classroom rivalry. He had tapped into an unknown facet of L's personality, a part of him that hated the thought of tarnished justice, even in a made-up sense.

Later on that week, L confronted him after class, though the confrontation was only for apologetic terms. Light never thought that he would get so much as a passing glance from L again, much less a genuine show of guilt and deterrence. This was the first time that L looked so unbound in public, showing emotion in front of the other students in the hallways.

L had caught up to him as he was walking up the steps, and he asked him if he would speak with him quickly, if he had a moment. Light checked his watch: he had a full thirty minutes before his next class, and L had a full hour. He agreed and they found themselves walking side by side, attempting to make conversation to fill the silence. Light had no idea why L was acting so out of sorts, but he was determined to find out, and to uncover the answers on why he had become so baleful in the classroom. It was as if he was taking personal jabs at who Light was as a person.

"So, can you explain to me what the past months have been about? I mean, I didn't exactly expect for you to be so hostile to me for the sake of a grade. We're both ambitious and we strive for the best, but there's something beneath all that, isn't there?" L nodded and the words that tumbled out of L's mouth came from quivering lips, from a shaking form.

"You're going to think I'm a little crazy." Beside himself, Light laughed. Quickly he clapped L on the back, set his books on the ground, and leaned against the wall.

"Try me. I don't care if you're crazy; I just want to know what's up with you." Light had no idea what he was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this.

"For the past few months, far before I knew that you attended this school, I began having strange dreams that centered around you." Gray-eyes locked onto inquiring hazel, and L continued. "In these dreams, they all begin the same way. We're working on a case together, I as a detective and you as my partner. We're investigating Kira, a man who has a plan to rid the world of evil by means of a killer notebook, and a creature that comes from the netherworld to help him. We become close friends, very close." There was no disguising the way that L's breath quickened all of a sudden, nor did it help that a hint of color splashed over his cheekbones. L had dreamed they were lovers. "We began a relationship in secrecy, one that other members of our investigation never knew of. Ours was not a loving relationship, built on a foundation of truth: we were manipulating the other, for in a twist, you were Kira, Light Yagami." L placed his thumbnail on his lower lip, and he began nibbling it every so often, as if deep in thought. "We wound up killing one another, and at the very end of the dream, I came back to haunt you on your deathbed. I dragged you to a place that was not hell nor heaven, but somewhere vacuous yet filled, endless and yet closed off, an ether filled with nothing."

Light blinked a few times and was about to laugh the whole story off when he noticed something: the dark circles under L's eyes. In the entire time that he had known L, L had always gotten plenty of rest, no matter how intriguing his books proved to be. That meant that something was keeping him up, something awful and thought provoking.

In that moment, Light instantly forgave everything that had transpired between them. He realized that L's rivalry with him had been based on fear, based on a re-occurring dream that was affecting his performance in every aspect of his life. Fear could do terrible things to the body.

"Hey, look at me. When's the last time you had a full night's sleep?" L shrugged and looked up at him through half-lidded eyes. "Well come on then. Forget your classes for now. I think by admitting your fear to me, you'll find that you'll sleep better. I'm no psychiatrist, but I'm sure opening up to me counts for a lot."

Somehow or another, Light talked himself into staying in L's dorm with him, just until L fell asleep. Somehow, Light found himself sitting on L's bed, and then next to L's drowsy form, and then finally, wrapping his arms around the thin frame that was to his left. And somehow, later on in the night when there was no sign of L's roommate, their mouths met in a clashing of lips and tongue, of heat and pulsing energy.

The door was locked, clothing was shed, and there was nothing superficial about the way that they made love. With the way that their bodies glided together, meshing like gears that would serve a higher function, they knew completion. Lips met a panting mouth, fingertips caressed what would never go untouched again, and there was nothing silent about the way they lost themselves to the physical poignancy of making love for the first time. This was not about coming together out of comfort, out of some carnal and primal need for intimacy or connection. This was about past exoneration that caught up to the both of them, deep underneath sleep-tossed covers and the faint moonlight from the window. For, as they tasted one another's lips, breathed one another's names, and closed their eyes to the building passions, they knew what they had done before to each other and they were determined never to repeat it. Sadly however, that volition was lost upon the waking hour, along with any hint of memory.

There was nothing awkward about the morning after, the month after, or the two years afterwards. In that entire time, both L and Light stayed together, uncaring of any consequence that would be the cause of it. Light told his parents and weeks later, Watari was informed. Instead of the typical anger and disgust that they both expected, after a lot of struggling to cope, both found themselves welcome to be together freely, without having to sneak around or rent motel rooms for the evening. A higher power was keeping them together, of that the both of them were certain of. If they had managed to meet twice before, the third time would not only be the charm, but the very stitching that kept them together.

However, there was always something strange about the times that they chose to make love. It only happened a few times, but neither could recall that it actually happened, or that they were in their right frame of mind. In their moments of shared intimacy and confession, both of them felt that they were being watched. Not by cameras or by hidden pairs of eyes in the walls, but by something else, by something more Divine and judgmental. Their eyes were not on God, but the shadows, watching with scrutiny as they exchanged pillow-talk.

There seemed to be something in the room with them, and often times, many somethings. Sometimes it felt like an audience was judging them as they paraded around a stage, speaking and going about their lives as they normally would. The scrutiny of this audience was many a terrible thing.

Once, when L was fast asleep on Light's neck, Light nearly sat bolt upright in bed when he glimpsed a pair of red, glittering eyes across the room. Just as quickly as it came, the vision was gone and with it the horrific after image: a clown-face, bereft of a nose and the biggest mouth Light had ever bore witness to.

Later on, Light told L about what he had seen - or thought he had seen - and L looked up at him, almost as if he were in shock. For a moment, it was as if L had remembered something important, something that was as significant as life or death. It was the look they sometimes shared in bed, memories so intense, that they felt as if they came from another place and time, if not another life. The spark of recollection died down, and a calm settled over his lover's features.

"It was just a dream. It won't hurt us."

And dream they did. Sometimes, L found himself trembling with a cold sweat, recalling fragments of what his mind conjured up. He saw himself standing over a bloodied Light, a Light that was thrown against a stair-way, all the while endless laughter poured from his lips. He always woke up from such visions and wondered just where they were coming from, just why his mind was plagued with such senseless imagery. He had read every book and even enlisted the help of a therapist to soothe his nerves. It was always the same theory: a loss of control, a need to gain control over some aspect of his life, a part of his subconscious trying to attach itself to a new idea...on and on, over and over.

Light also experienced something similar, something that was nowhere near as troubling, but still scared him all the same. Light felt a phantom ache in his hands, one that was a tingling sensation of a yearning to write, of fingertips that itched for paper to scrawl on, of fingers that needed the weight of a writing utensil. It happened in both of his hands, a burning that traveled all the way up his arms, leaving him panting into the night, all the while gripping the sheets, and then his lover's reassuring hands. They both had to work through something, something that was beyond their control.

There was a truth that they faced later on, one that both frightened them to no end and reaffirmed their love for one another: there was no longer any doubt that they had met before, in another place and time. Uncaring of physics, of faith and any religion, they believed this to be fact. They didn't believe in rebirth, in reincarnation and all of the insanity that came with it. What they did know was, that there were memories that were beginning to reveal themselves, facets of each other that were starting to come to light like the glittering of a diamond against whittled coal, and that there was no keeping the other from the truth. Both were responsible, in some form and shape, for the other's misery in their past life, in their "other state" as L had called it.

It was as if a back-drop of a play had changed suddenly, and every part had been changed, from the costumes to the lighting. Once, they were cast into a tragedy. This time, they promised themselves things would be better, they promised each other that the outcome would be different, no matter past sins and seemingly unbearable crimes.

"Let's remedy the situation," Light breathed into L's ear one morning. "I'll do my best to make it better."

And it did become better, after all. Light became one of the best lawyers in the whole of Japan and L's suspicious nature went to good use. He became one of the top investigative journalists and always revealed the truth, by his gathering of evidence and the persistence to get to the truth.

Their different line of work should have separated them, diverging them from being at one another's sides. But it didn't. No natter how busy they were, they always gravitated towards each other. L told him excitedly about the numerous clues, all the while massaging Light's back after a long day in the courtroom, and Light always carried L to their shared bedroom when he passed out amidst a mountain of his own work.

They slept peacefully together and after a few years, the nightmares and strange visions went away altogether. They had won.

A sound always managed to bleed through into the pocket of their dreams, a sound that came close to rousing them from slumber: the sound of applause. It was loud and thundering, all for their lives and performance.

In a different world, L had been wrong about one thing: the thought of a second chance. In this world, L smiled at that fact, deep in his sleep, as he shared a lucid night with Light, vindicated from what had once become of their lives.

It was no dance of deceit any longer, a frantic symbiosis that fooled everyone but those involved. And because of that truth, the applause rang out, and roses rained from the skies, hitting the polished wooden boards of the stage.

From this point, the curtain could now close after the final act.

The End