Disclaimer- I don't own Death Note.
Author's Note- Info for you: This is my first Death Note story ever. I use Raito instead of Light. It's a habit, because the manga I first read used Raito instead of Light, and so do I. Sticks to the manga's canon (I never saw the anime). Warning: This has some mild yaoi and a little bit of OOC.
You should listen to Trust, by Neon Trees while you read this. Link (remove spaces): youtube. com/ watch?v=rOIjFrEvmng
This thing is sketchy as hell, written during an all-nighter (editted during one too [posted during one as well]). It has already been beta'd, which made what would probably be incoherant ramblings into an actual story, so thank you to Shaded Silvering Grey, my lovely beta and dear friend. So, enjoy this, and please review to let me know how I did with my first DN fanfic. I'll stop rambling now and finish the never-ending AN from hell. Enjoy the story and please review!
"Trust me," L said earnestly, for once dropping the bland monotone that he normally spoke in, actually putting emotion into his voice.
He didn't ask it of Kira like he normally did when he spoke to his main suspect, but of Yagami Raito, his first real friend. (Prime suspect and friend, it was quite the odd combination. And when they added trust into the mix, and it became downright baffling when it came to two people who thought on the same unusual wavelength, one that was above everyone else.)
And L, for the first time, he was regarding them as separate people, acknowledging that there was a chance that he was wrong. (He wanted to be wrong, he wanted Raito to be innocent.) He didn't ask it as L, The Best Detective in the World, but as L, who wanted to trust Raito as a friend, and wanted that same trust in return.
"Trust me," he said again, reaching out for the chain connecting them, following it up to the handcuff tight around Raito's wrist, to Raito's hand, and he laced their fingers together, the cuff on his wrist clinking against the sister cuff on Raito's.
Raito tensed at the movement, and for once, he was lost, unsure of what move to make next that would be the best in the long term. He didn't know where to go from there, didn't know how he should react when it was L holding his hand, asking for his trust, like the trust of the Kira suspect meant much.
But the way that their hands looked, linked together, Raito thought that maybe it wasn't entirely unwelcome. Neither was the warmth that L was radiating as he stood close enough for Raito to hear his quiet breathing.
L stepped closer, and Raito barely managed to resist the urge to back away. The other man was too close, too much.
"Trust me," L said once more, and took another step forward, their feet toe-to-toe.
Raito had never noticed before, they were the same height -eye-to-eye- when L wasn't hunched over as he usually was. L wasn't wearing a blank mask for once, frowning slightly even as he leaned closer to Raito, even as he pressed his lips to Raito's. (Raito had never noticed that L was surprisingly attractive.)
This isn't bad, Raito thought, and it wasn't bad. It was better than Misa, at least. No sweet, fakely flavored lipgloss - just L, lips cool and dry, it was just L.
"I trust you," Raito said quietly, and his free hand reached up to black, feathered hair that was much softer than it looked. He wrapped the hand around the back of L's neck and pulled him closer. (It wasn't a lie, it was the truth -inexplicably- he did trust L in that moment.)
Trust was something that was -for Raito- elusive. It wasn't that people didn't believe him. He didn't have any problem getting other people to trust him; they trusted him easily, automatically trusting the boy with the kind mask and friendly, fake smile. He knew what to say to get people to like him, what to do to make them trust him, and it came naturally to him. It wasn't a skill that he'd learned -although he had perfected his technique over time- just something that was a part of him. (Charming words that people believed, a face that people instinctively liked.)
But trusting other people, he struggled with that. Had trouble taking people's words for face value, was always searching for a hidden meaning. Was always looking for a smarter, better persona hidden underneath the bland, uninteresting faces that most of the people he encountered wore. Disliked when he never found one, disliked that people -for the most part- were bland, and from his point of view, less than him. And therefore unworthy of his trust.
But L was an anomaly. He managed to exceed Raito's expectations, and that never happened. He looked at things the same way, always searching for something more underneath. Wore a mask like it was second nature, which -for the two of them- it was. He was something that interested Raito, wasn't a two-dimensional figure like the other's he had met. L was just as adept at hiding as Raito was, hid the clever detective that he really was under a sloppy, sugar-loving facade.
And L smelled like strawberries and chocolate and caramel, like the sweet treats that he feasted on in the name of his intelligence. (Raito was fairly suspicious about the claim that sugar increased his reasoning capabilities to the extent that he needed to consume a candy shop's worth of sugar a week. He was almost positive that L's diet consisted of only sweets because the detective had an insane sweet tooth.) His hair smelled of cotton candy, and it was oddly... endearing.
Raito knew that in the morning, after a good night sleep, it would seem like a mistake, but that didn't matter at that moment, later on wasn't important. He could blame it on exhaustion from L's militant work schedule, or momentary insanity, or something. He'd figure out an excuse in the morning. It wasn't even a strategic move, not a move to get L to trust him - just an impulse, a whim, and Raito ignored the way that his survival instincts screamed no, and focused instead on the way that L's lips felt against his own.
And, Raito thought distractedly, L tastes like sugar.
The terror is shocking, a feeling that is completely alien to him. It's unlike anything he's felt before, zipping up his spine freezing cold, a shudder wracking his body before he can control it.
And this too, is new to him, this complete loss of the control that he had painstakingly cultivated. He can feel goosebumps rise on the back of his neck, and the room feels many degrees cooler than when he entered, but he can still feel the way that his skin is damp with a cold sweat.
He's frightened, knows that if he looked at his hands, they'd be shaking like the rest of him, and he's immobilized, fear making him freeze.
Years ago, before the Death Note and before everything, when his life was still mundane and boring, he put up a dam in his mind, pushing away his emotions. He put up the dam because he didn't want to feel the everlasting boredom and monotony that was his life. Pushed away the loneliness that being the best brought. Pretended that he was someone who could live a boring life and not go crazy.
But now the dam is breaking. Years and years of emotions piled up and pressing against the wall, splintering, breaking. It snaps under the force of the emotions that he suppressed, and they feed the fear that's shocking and new.
And the fear is overwhelming, spreading to every corner of him like liquid ice in his veins, making his body tremble while his mind stays crystal clear, as he wonders where his plan went wrong.
"What are you most afraid of, Raito?" L had asked in a whisper one night when they were still chained together, his memories were still gone and Kira was still an unknown. That he left off the honorific he was so fond of was surprising, and the question even more so.
Raito didn't answer immediately, just stared at the ceiling, and wondered if this was just one of L's many attempts at picking through his mind, trying to figure out how he worked.
The silence that followed would have been awkward and heavy with anyone else, yet seemed almost companionable, comfortable for the two. They had similar minds, always five steps ahead at any given moment, while they left the rest of the world behind. (The price to be special, Raito had always told himself. You don't need friends to be powerful.)
"What are you afraid of?" L asked again, remarkably stubborn when he wanted to be, and he wasn't going to stop without an answer.
Before he could stop himself, Raito laughed, the sound sharp and dangerous as it cut through the silence in the dark room. "Me? I'm not afraid of anything," he said. The sense of being untouchable lingered even after he'd given up his memories. He was confident, perhaps overly so, and he quickly pushed down the sour taste that the lie left on his tongue. (Fear is weakness, and weakness is failure, he reminded himself.)
Raito pushed himself up on the bed with his hands, the chain clinking quietly. He did this for the singular purpose of being able to look down at L. It was an obvious intimidation tactic, one that L undoubtedly saw through in an instant, but Raito couldn't bring himself to care about how transparent he was, L's question left him feeling unsettled.
"And Ryuuzaki, what are you afraid of?" he countered boldly. The way that he said the alias was taunting. (He could almost see the percentage of whether or not he was Kira go up in L's mind as he stared down into coal black eyes.)
And L laughed, the sound just as sharp as Raito's laughter - edged like a knife, just as loud and shocking in the silence. The tiny, empty smile on his lips made Raito want to shiver even though the room was plenty warm. The way that he was staring up at him, wide black eyes carefully blank, meeting wary caramel colored ones, it gave Raito the distinct, unnerving feeling that he was being looked down on. (He pushed away the irrational impulse he had to claw that smile off of L's face. He hated the way the detective knew just how to make him feel small.)
They didn't move, neither of them wanted to be the one to break eye contact first, a childish staring match between two people who hadn't had a child's mentality for a long time, and should have long since outgrown things like that, but hadn't. Despite their intelligence, they were prone to bouts of immaturity.
L was the first to look away, his eyes unfocusing like his mind was drifting off, miles away. "I'm afraid of failure," he admitted quietly, biting down on his thumb nervously. The answer was honest, oddly unscripted and said in a way unlike the way L normally spoke.
Raito didn't respond, didn't move even as L turned his back to the younger boy, a clear sign that the conversation was over.
He dropped back onto the bed with a thump, and frowned at the way the chain links chiming together seemed to mock him. To him; they were as loud as a bell tolling, reminding him that he was stuck with L.
"Fear is nothing to be ashamed of, Raito-kun. It's only human," L said with the tone of someone old and tired, the words spoken distantly, as though he didn't really mean to say them out loud.
Sometimes, Raito thought that he hated the way that L always knew exactly what to say to make him doubt himself.
Raito shoves away the emotions that broke through the dam that he built in his mind years ago, takes a moment to close his eyes and take a deep, calming breath to make him feel a little more steady, a little more stable. He pushes away the emotions, he knows that he needs a clear mind to find a way out of this, and the fear that's threatening to choke him with panic isn't helping at all.
He runs through a list of people in his mind, anyone that could help him, as much as he hated needing to be helped, and he goes through that list, of people he knew, people he'd known. And everyone on that list is either dead, or unable, or unwilling to help him now.
As he looks around for someone to help, for an escape route that he can use to run, for something, all that he can see is unfriendly faces full of hate - hate for him and what he's done.
But that's not the way that it was supposed to be, is it?
He is a god, they're supposed to love him, supposed to worship him. That was what he wanted, wasn't it?
Raito knows that's an impossible goal, to get everyone to love him. After L and all the problems he ran into along the way, he knows that it doesn't matter if they hate him, as long as they fear him.
But they're not scared of him. (He's scared of them.)
Sometimes he wondered if sitting on the white pedestal that he'd put himself on made him weak, if putting himself above it all, above something as human as fear and the weakness it brought, made him weak. By isolating himself from emotions, he just made himself weaker, unprepared for the day when the walls blocking off such things as empathy and other, equally human feelings, came crashing down. (Crashing, crashing down like a house of cards.)
He wondered if by isolating himself from relationships, he lost more than he gained. If by making all his kills with just a book and a pen, keeping behind the scenes, if he became weaker, more vulnerable.
But he brushed away those thoughts. He was a god. He didn't need emotions or doubts, didn't need friends, he was above that.
That was why Raito was always very careful to keep Misa at arm's length, even when she was throwing herself at him. Kept himself from getting too attached, since he didn't need anyone. (He was above them, he was better than all of them.)
He pretended that it didn't make him feel warm when L called him a friend. He pretended that he was ice, no feelings, no need for friends.
He ignored the way that there was a spike of pain in his chest when L pushed him against a wall, lips hot like the pain when L whispered, close to his ear, warm breath ruffling his hair as he spoke.
"Even I can't live completely alone, Raito-kun." So how could you ever think that you could? goes unspoken, but both of them know that it was there, words that L selected to make Raito realize that sometimes, being alone wasn't the best answer. That it was lonely when you were alone at the top. (And L would know. He had been at the very top since he was a small child.)
They were strangely suited for each other, both of them were intellectuals with varying degrees of a superiority complexe, both of them had trouble connecting with people who they decide are lesser. No patience for less-than-perfect, no patience for failure, ever.
(Perfection was an unattainable goal, one that Raito had strived for his whole life. People always told him that he was as close to perfect as anything in the mortal realm could get. Perfect family, perfect life, perfect him. And yet it wasn't enough. He was bored and he was lonely, because when you're the best, you're the only one.)
They acknowledged the other as the closest thing to an equal that either of them had stumbled on before. Someone who they could know, better than any of the people who aren't their equals, who have no chance of ever really getting to know who they really were behind the protective shells.
(But Raito denied that, denied that he felt anything for the black haired man who knew exactly what to say to crack Raito's charming shell of carefully constructed lies.)
"Raito is a good friend," L murmured breathlessly one night, leaving off the honorific as he tended to do when he was speaking seriously, unlike his normal playful banter.
(And Raito pretended that the burning hot pain that pooled in his chest was hate, instead of anything else.)
What went wrong? Raito wonders as the angry-faces approach, full of hate and ready with guns, to finally put an end to the first, real Kira. (A hunched, crouching figure with snow-white hair seems to mock him with night-black eyes that are nearly identical to another pair of eyes that always seemed to taunt him.)
This wasn't supposed to happen. I had a plan.
The addicting intoxication that god-like power brought to a person made them feel untouchable. Like a drug, it pushed away the loneliness with a strange, inhuman euphoria. Raito remembers how it felt to kill that first criminal with carefully written characters in the book, how he felt like he could be anything, do anything.
He was justice; he would make a new world and he would be god. Everyone would worship him as their savior.
He made himself untouchable, pushed everyone away because he was a god, and he didn't need anything, anyone. Put up a wall in his mind, numbed himself to all the killing by locking away emotions that were weak, feelings like sympathy and loneliness, because gods weren't weak.
But now it's starting to sink in that there are no escapes this time, no people to come and save him now. He's alone and this really is the end.
Raito hated that L never did what he was supposed to do.
That last day, those last moments of his life, L didn't do what Raito wanted him to do, what he expected L to do. (Raito was never wrong, and the way that L had an odd affinity for proving his expectations wrong -even when he was dying- made fury boil in Raito's mind.)
L wasn't scared, impossibly, he wasn't afraid to die. (He wasn't scared of dying, no, L was scared of failure, and he didn't fail, he solved the mystery of who Kira was. Even if he didn't stop Kira, in the end, he had been right.)
For Raito, it was disappointing, the way that L ended up dying. Silently, without anything to make it memorable. He'd been waiting for the chance to kill L for months, waiting for a few last moments to gloat and show L who was the superior one. He had imagined the moment in his mind countless times, and the real thing didn't live up to his expectations. It wasn't satisfying, the way that he died silently, anticlimactically and without any fear, no protests, no screaming, just a sort of quiet acceptance.
It was no use gloating over someone who wouldn't react, it wouldn't have given Raito any satisfaction. (The cruel, self-satisfied smile that twisted his pretty features felt stiff, fake, and L's eyes showed no fear, no panic. Nothing that would make his death any more satisfying for Raito.)
L died with grace, something unexpected, and Raito hated that he didn't even get a final chance to watch him die in the way he expected him to, protesting his death, begging for his life, since surely someone as smart as him would have guessed that he was dying.
(He pretended that he didn't feel a stabbing pain in his heart when L's eyes closed for the last time, and he pretended that victory really does taste bitter, just like he feels about L's death.)
Raito hated that he knew very well what his greatest fear was, and that he couldn't pretend that he was without weakness anymore.
Seeing the only person that he'd ever considered an equal to him die, made him realize that unlike the way that he felt most of the time with a Death Note in hand, ready to kill in the name of justice, he wasn't untouchable.
(And he remembered that even gods weren't infallible.)
Raito wonders why he failed. (A perfect world, he was building a perfect world and was that so bad?)
He now understands why L's greatest fear was failure. It's a bitter pill, hard to swallow, and even staring at his own death, it's hard to believe for someone like him. Failure is as unknown as fear, and it's just as all-consuming.
Even before the Death Note, he had been something of a genius; never failed once, breezed through classes, flew through life easily, gifted. People wanted to be him. And why not? He was talented, as close to perfect as anything on Earth, and he'd had his superiority drilled into his head with the never-ending praise from everyone he knew.
When he found the Death Note, the temptation of a power that immense was impossible to resist, and he singlehandedly eliminated a large number of the criminals in the world, became a world-wide household name as Kira. He was considered a god by those who supported him, a position that he adored.
He became friends -and more- with L, who had all the personality of a fish, and lacked a number of basic social skills. He stayed out of jail and kept L off his trail long enough to defeat him, and Raito did defeat L, although not directly, but he still defeated him, still got to be the last thing that L saw, Raito's face, smirking triumphantly at him. He defeated L, the so-called greatest detective in the world, and managed to be proven innocent, even though he was very guilty.
He succeeded in everything in his life before. He had been blessed by exceptionally good luck, everything coming easy to him, so easy, that he never even needed to try his hardest.
But failure, the first failure in his life, it burns.
(Burns like a moth by a flame, and that's what he is, a moth drawn to power, not noticing the way that it ruined him.)
One person's luck can only last so long, and Raito's has run out.
No more running. No more escaping.
Raito's at a dead-end now, nowhere to run, no one to help him, and while the failure burns, it doesn't hurt as much as the knowledge that his death is in front of him. (He escaped his fate for years by running and lying and pretending, but his luck has finally run out, and he has no where left to go.)
Lying, lying is something that gods are above using. When they literally have the power of life and death at their fingertips, they have no need for something as human as lying. Like emotions, and friends, gods don't need to lie. (Ryuuk never lied to him, always told the truth in a way that made him shockingly more inhuman than if his speech had been generously peppered with lies.)
Raito ignored the many, many lies that he had told throughout his life, ignored them like they never happened, and forgot about them in favor of playing god. And he was god. If he pretended that it didn't happen, then it didn't happen, right? He pushed away the doubts that he had, choosing to focus on the rush that being justice gave him, the rush of writing the name of yet another person unworthy of living in the Death Note.
("Trust me," L had said one night, and Raito wasn't lying when he said that he trusted him. He trusted that L would be the one to learn that he was Kira, and he trusted that in turn, he would be the one to defeat him. It wasn't like he had told L to trust him. He never made L any promises. Had no reason to feel remorse for his death, had no reason to miss him.)
But in the months following L's death, Raito found himself doubting his plan. (A final seed of doubt that L had planted with his death, it sprouted and began to make Raito doubt his beliefs.)
Despite being an obstacle along the way to completing his plan, L had made the loneliness that Raito felt go away. (A sacrifice to be all-powerful. The sacrifice to be a god, he tried to convince himself, but the loneliness and the sense of loss didn't go away, even when he wrote name after name in the Death Note.)
Misa made only a small fraction of the loneliness go away. However useful and easy to manipulate she was, she wasn't much good for conversation. Always agreed with anything that Raito said, she would follow him off a bridge without any protests, trusted him blindly and wholeheartedly.
Raito had practice with lying, telling L lie-after-lie, day-after-day that he wasn't Kira, which was good practice. He learned how to school his expression so that the truth didn't show through, he learned how to mask his voice so that he sounded truthful, honest. (Raito learned how to lie flawlessly to others, and learned how to lie to himself even better.)
L was less than you, he told himself. You don't miss him, he thought, taking all of the practice he had in lying to make himself sound convincing.
Misa sat next to him and babbled about some new handbag, and Raito only listened with half an ear, curling his fingers over the cover of his Death Note, holding it with a death grip, like a lifeline, contemplating the next name to write. Misa didn't notice his distraction, Shinigami eyes didn't do anything for her focus, she was still better off shopping and charming people with her bright, happy smile. Not the best person to have intelligent conversation with. (Nothing like L, he thought, and viciously tore apart the sense of loss that it brought.)
It's times like that that he thought that he might miss L, but he pretended that he didn't feel the spike in his chest twist when he thoughtlessly brushed away any human emotion he had started to feel again.
L was wrong, Raito reassured himself with another perfect lie. You don't need anyone.
Maybe it's the world getting revenge for everything that he did, all the people that he killed getting their revenge, and maybe that's why he's dying like this.
He's dying the way that L was supposed to, full of humiliation, and Raito is begging for his life, begging Ryuuk to not kill him, but even Raito knows that it's the end of the line. His time has run out, luck has run out, it's the end of the game for him.
And what would even be left for him if he managed to convince Ryuuk to let him live? A jail cell? A death sentence? An immediate death seems like the better option, it always was what he would have chosen over being caught, and he's caught, no way to escape this, he's trapped.
Even knowing that, it doesn't stop him from trying to prevent the inevitable, even as Ryuuk writes his name in the Death Note, writes it with slow, deliberate lines as if to mock him. (The betrayal cuts nearly as deep as failure. He had trusted Ryuuk.)
The pride that used to be enough to keep him standing at the face of adversity crumbles to dust as Raito begs for a chance to live, that pride thrown away, replaced with blind, terrified panic.
This was the way that L was supposed to die, humiliated, driven to begging for his life in his final moments. Maybe it's just fate wanting to be ironic that Raito is dying this way, no grace, no dignity. (The death of a killer.)
He's begging now, even though he can see his name on the pages of the Death Note - the one that used to be his, the one that he used to kill countless people, and he can practically hear the seconds that he has left ticking down on a metaphorical clock.
(Raito was lying when he told L that he wasn't scared of anything.)
He stares at the page, at his name, and he wonders once more, just where things went wrong.
(Raito is scared of dying.)
I was a god!
He thinks, and wonders how this happened, how he's been reduced from a god, to a terrified little boy, crying, and shaking, and begging for his life. (He's scared, he's so scared, he doesn't know if Ryuuk was telling the truth when he said that he wasn't going to heaven or hell, and he doesn't want to go to hell. He doesn't want to die, and he's so scared.)
Pain washes over his body, his heart seizing in his chest, and if he could, he'd scream, but he can't, no breath left in his lungs. His heart stops just seconds later, his life ending too quickly, the seconds have counted down faster than he realized, and as Raito's vision blurs, his last thought is a realization that's made much too late to make any difference. (He's run out of time.)
This is justice.
His world fades to black, to nothingness, his eyes left open and unseeing as his life fades away.
Even gods can die.