Chapter 1

"I always hate having to put them on a plane," L was saying as they drove away from the airport after seeing the trio off a few days after returning from vacation, "And yet I look forward to a quiet apartment." Light nodded his agreement.

"I completely understand. I'm sorry to see them go, but I'm not sorry they won't be there when we get home either." They both laughed and Light leaned over and kissed L softly.

"So, finally alone again what will we do?" L smiled at him and then sighed.

"Well, as much as I enjoy your train of thought, unfortunately…" It was Light's turn to sigh.

"Okay, I thought as much but I hoped that maybe I could sneak a little fun in." L reached up and ran his fingers through Light's hair.

"I'm sorry. I promise to make it as early as I can but there are several hot cases," he told him and Light nodded.

"I understand. But remember I only have two more days before I have to get back to work too and I would like to spend as much of that time with you as possible." L nodded and captured Light's mouth with his.

"I know, and I want that too."

"Well, I'm sure I can keep myself busy while you work," Light said, his eyes moving up into the rearview mirror and finding Watari's eyes looking back at him with a smile.

Once arriving back home, before he let L close himself up behind that office door, Light took him into his arms and kissed him deeply, making L moan into the kiss.

"Keep thinking about that while you're working," Light told him, "Maybe it'll help you get through it faster." L laughed as he backed away.

"If I keep thinking about it I won't get anything done. I love you and I promise not to pull an all nighter." He walked into the office and closed the door behind him. Light sighed and then left their apartment, going to Watari's.

When Watari had first asked him to learn what it was he did almost a week ago, Light's mind went in a million different directions at once within a few moments. Shock at first at the idea that Watari was planning for what would happen after his death, or if he just decided to stop being Watari. He couldn't imagine L without Watari, any more than he could imagine himself without L. Light knew it was Watari's love for L that made him think of preparing someone to replace him when it became necessary; knowing L couldn't function properly without someone with him; at least not as he did now.

The next thoughts he had involved excitement at being able to do this for L. He was thrilled that Watari had that much faith in him; and thrilled at the prospect of being able to help L this way in the future. He knew he wouldn't be doing this full time any time soon; Watari certainly was as healthy and as vigorous as he always had been so there would be no immediate conflict with what he wanted to accomplish at the NPA in the near future.

Then he was actually excited at learning some of Watari's secrets. He knew almost nothing about the man himself, and definitely nothing about what he had created to help L in his work.

All of those thoughts and more were swirling in his mind as he knocked on Watari's apartment door.

"Come in Light," he heard and opened the door and walked in. No matter how many times he saw it, he was always amazed at the screens and keyboards, and the other beeping and working machinery in Watari's apartment. He smiled when he found the screen that was trained on L's office, watching the detective as he studied one of his own screens.

"I don't know Watari, I don't think I can ever get the hang of all of this," he said as he continued to watch L.

"Not all at once, of course not," Watari said standing from his desk, "But we'll take it step by step and you'll be surprised at how quickly you'll get everything. You're brilliant Light, much more brilliant than I so it should not take you half the time you believe it will."

"Have you told L yet?" Light asked and Watari shook his head.

"I'm planning on that this evening when I bring his coffee and snack," he said and Light nodded, "I wanted to wait until the boys were gone so there would be no distractions."

"Am I going to have to provide all his sweets like you do?" he asked with a grin and Watari laughed.

"Of course, L can't work without his constant influx of sweets. That shouldn't be a problem for you, you already dote on him. But you don't have to do it the same way I do, but that's something that can be worked out later. There will have to be adjustments made, but there is more than enough time to deal with that. First you must become acquainted with the equipment, please sit down." Light did so and readied his mind.

L barely looked up when he heard his office door open, knowing full well who it was.

"Watari, did you get further information on the jewelry case? It seems to be at a stalemate," he said as Watari walked in.

"Indeed, it is at a bit of a stalemate," Watari answered as he placed a large slice of cake on L's desk, "I have not heard from our connection there; I'm hoping that doesn't bode ill for him." L frowned as Watari poured a fresh cup of tea for him before moving the trolley to the table and placing several more slices and some fruit for later.

"That would be ridiculously amateurish of him if he did get caught, there's no excuse for that," he complained and Watari nodded.

"Although that is true, on occasion surprises do happen," he said and L looked up at him.

"They are trained not to let that happen," he said crossly , "He's jeopardizing months of work, not to mention his own life."

"Would you like me to send someone in to trace his steps and see if he can be found?" Watari asked and L shook his head.

"Not yet, no point in risking another life at this point. I will wait an additional

72 hours, and if nothing is heard at that time we will look into that possibility."

"Very good, 72 hours it is then," Watari answered and then decided this was as good as any time to begin the discussion. "Might I have a word with you about a matter of some importance?" he asked and L turned to look at him.

"Is something wrong?" he asked and Watari shook his head.

"No, nothing is amiss. But there is something that I wish to speak with you about, and I am not sure of your reaction to the news."

"What is it?" L asked, a trace of worry crossing his features. Watari poured himself a cup of tea and sat down next to L.

"As you might have noticed, I am not getting any younger," he began, "And it has come to my attention that perhaps some type of provision for my eventual…retirement may be in order." L stared at him as if Watari had been speaking in a different language.

"What do you mean?" he asked, "What are you talking about? Retirement? Watari I don't understand…are you ill?"

"No, L I am not ill, I'm in perfect health." He answered and L smiled and then turned back to his screen.

"Of course you are. Then I don't understand why you're even entertaining the idea of retirement. You're not going anywhere, you have always been with me, you will always be with me."

"L, while it is true that as long as there is breath in my body I will be here for you, there will come a point where I will not be able to assist you as I do now, you must realize this. Or, perhaps I will need to take some time away from you for some unknown reason, and you cannot stop your work simply because I am not available." L turned back to face his father figure, a stab of fear assaulting him

"What exactly are you saying?" he said in almost a whisper.

"Just as you have the trio to stand in for you as they have done admirably, and are poised to take over for you if the need arises, I too have someone to do the same for me." L shook his head almost violently.

"No! There is no one else who could do what you do, be what you are to me. This is out of the question!" he said and Watari smiled.

"L, be reasonable. If for some reason I could not assist you as I've always done, what would you do? Stop being L? Give up on all you have done and worked so hard to create, simply because I am no longer available? That would be ridiculous." L was surprised to feel tears building up in his eyes, as the thought of not having Watari with him truly terrified him.

"Wammy…I can't even imagine my life and work without you, why are you even discussing this?" he asked. For a moment Watari was almost sorry he had to have this conversation, seeing how much it was hurting his ward but he pressed on.

"I understand, nor can I imagine my life without you and this work we do, but L, the reality is that one day I may not be able to do this. I have to make sure you will be taken care of properly, that there will be someone to do what I do. I am happy to say that there is someone who can do this." L was shaking his head again and turning back to his desk.

"There is no such person to take your place Wammy, no one…"

"What about Light? Of course he would not take my place in your life, but he could do for you what I do. You already trust him with your life, why could you not trust him to be your assistant?" L's head shot up quickly and he turned back to Watari.

"Light? You want Light to be you? That's impossible, I hold you two in different places, I could never combine the two…"

"L, if the time comes, I am sure you two could work very well together without it interfering with your personal life. I am both your assistant and, for lack of a better word, your father; there is no reason why Light cannot be both your boyfriend and your assistant. I am not saying that it would not have it's difficulties at first, but you have already shown that you can separate the two when you work with him through the NPA. It would be the same, but what's most important, you know he can do it. You know you can trust him to do what would be right for you, he loves you. Differently than I do of course, but he does love you, and he knows you almost as well as I do," he smiled, "Think about it L, it is the only logical course of action."

"Light has his own career, I couldn't even get him to quit to be one of my contacts, he didn't want to be under my jurisdiction and had things he wanted to accomplish at the NPA and now you think he would quit to tackle what you do? He would still be working for me, somehow I don't think he'd wish that."

"He has already accepted the offer, L. He knows it isn't something he's going to have to tackle on a full time basis for quite a while as I am in perfect health and have no intentions of quitting any time soon. He knows he doesn't have to give up the NPA to learn what I do. I'd even say he was very excited and pleased that I thought he could do it. If you truly think about it L, there is no one better I could ever trust with your care than someone who loves you as much as he does."

L knew logically that what Watari was saying made perfect sense; but all this meant that he had to face a reality he didn't want to, and never thought about; life without Watari, life without the only father he had ever known. The week he was away from him while on vacation was difficult enough, he couldn't imagine what it would be like if…

"L…" Watari moved closer to him, seeing the young man's internal struggle, putting his hands on his shoulders, "You know this is the best way to deal with the inevitable. Believe me, I found no joy in planning for others to take up for you if something should happen to you, so I know exactly how you feel. But what you and I have created together has to continue even if we are no longer part of it. You do understand?" L looked up at him and smiled even as one tear escaped and slid down his face.

"I understand that you must do what you feel you must, even though it is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. You have always been with me and you always will be Wammy, I won't have it any other way." He turned from the older man and went back to his screens, reaching for his cup with one hand and his cake with the other. Watari watched him for a moment, finished his tea and stood up.

"You are correct of course, I will be at your side always L," he said and ruffled the detective's hair as he walked out of the office. He knew that even though L had understood, he just chose not to deal with it in any way.

Light was standing when Watari came back into his office, a look of concern on his face.

"I don't know whether I should have or not, but the screen was on in L's office so I heard and saw everything," he said, "I'm not sure exactly what L thinks about this."

"I know what he's thinking, and it's only because I've known him almost all of his life that I do," Watari said sitting down at his desk, "He has accepted the logic, and the reality, but he does not wish to deal with it. He will allow it to happen in the background, but he doesn't want to acknowledge it. He did this when we first put the successor program into play; he let it happen but didn't deal with it. That way of handling it did not go over well with our original choices of successors at the time and he learned he had to be more hands on, more accepting of the situation. I'm sure he will remember that this time as well, especially if you help him with it."

"Me? How am I going to make him accept the possibility of your not being with him, when I'm not even sure I can accept it? You are family to me now, Watari. It's only because I love L and I wouldn't trust anyone else doing this for him that I even entertained doing it." Light told him and Watari smiled.

"I understand, but you will help him deal because you know he has to, just as he had to accept the idea of successors for himself. The difference this time is he already knows, loves and trusts you, there is no stranger he must get to know. It is merely the idea of the possibility of my not being with him that scares him. You must get him past that Light, or he will never accept it completely and that could make things difficult for you. You have already proven that you can handle this type of thing with him after what happened in Florida, so I have complete faith in you. Now I think we've made an excellent start, but you need to go and prepare for what you're going to say to L when he's finished working." Light sighed and then nodded, standing up and moving away from the desk with one last look at L through the screen.

"I love him Watari, but boy is he a handful," he said and Watari laughed.

"Indeed, but you never dealt with him as a child," he said and Light rolled his eyes as he went for the door, "Watari, you mentioned earlier successors that didn't work well. What happened…" he stopped as Watari raised both hands and shook his head.

"That is a story that I will leave to L to tell when he's ready, it was quite a painful situation for both of us, especially for him." Light could see in Watari's face that whatever that situation was, it was something he really wasn't happy discussing. He nodded and went out of the door.

L finished his coffee with the last bite of cake, trying to keep his mind from going over the conversation he had with Watari. The mere thought of Watari not being with him, of being…he couldn't even say the word. He couldn't say it about Light and he couldn't say it about Watari. He honestly didn't know what he would do if he lost Light, but losing Watari was something different. Light had become his world, but Watari was more than that, Watari was his father, the person who knew everything about him, so much so that he'd know what L needed five minutes before L knew it himself. He depended on him so much that he no longer thought of it as dependence, it just….was.

He stood from his desk and walked over to the coffee urn, then decided he didn't want any more coffee and he didn't want to work; he didn't want anything except to pretend that Watari had never mentioned anything to him.

Light walked back into the apartment and thought about the best way to approach this situation and was surprised to see L coming out of his office into the living room.

"Hey," he said closing the door behind him, "You're finished already?" he asked and was startled by the sharp look he received before L's eyes looked away quickly.

"I found it difficult to concentrate," he answered sitting on the couch. Light nodded and walked towards the bar.

"And I think I know why," he said as he approached it, "I'm going to have a glass of wine before bed, would you like one or would you like me to make me one of your drinks?" he was gratified to see L nod slowly.

"I believe I would like one of my drinks, if you don't mind," he answered a little more coolly than Light would have liked. Watari had been right, apparently the situation was not sitting well with L and he was reacting taking it out on him.

He waited until he'd made L's drink before pouring his wine, and brought them both to the living room, handing L his with a smile.

"Let's talk about this," he said and watched as L's eyes rolled from the drink to his face and bank again.

"Talk about what, exactly?" L asked with a slight sneer and Light sighed.

"For once, let's not play games with each other okay?" he asked as L took his first sip.

"Games? I'm sure I don't understand," he answered. Light tried not to lose his patience and waited a moment before going on.

"I know you're not happy with what Watari told you L, there's no reason to be silly about it. I know how you feel thinking about the possibility of Watari not being with you in the future but…" L waved his hand at him in dismissal.

"There is nothing to feel any way about, except the fact that you seem to think you need to learn Watari's job for some unknown reason."

"It's not for some unknown reason, L and you know that. Watari is only worried about you, and wants to prepare for the future…"

"He needn't bother, nothing's going to change," L said stubbornly sucking noisily on his straw.

"No, nothing's going to change probably for a long time, but eventually…"

"Eventually you will give up on this tired conversation and let me enjoy my drink," L finished for him and Light took a deep breath and tried another tactic. He took another sip of his wine and then put the glass down on the table, leaning closer to L and smiling warmly.

"L, please understand that I know how you feel, but you have to realize that this is necessary in order to make sure you're provided for and all your needs met with your work if…"

"If? If what, Light? If Wammy dies? You have no idea how I feel!" L snapped suddenly, "How could you possibly understand how I feel about the idea of someone, anyone having to replace Wammy? About how much I care about him and need him in my life?"

Light stared at him open mouthed for a few moments before answering. He reached for his glass and sipped his wine and counting to ten, trying to suppress the desire to punch him.

"Yes, if he should die, or if he just wants to retire and live on a fucking island or something. And what do you mean how could I possibly understand? I love the trio, but it doesn't take away from the fact that when I look at them I know I'm looking at replacements for you if something should happen to you! It's not even to help someone like I want to do with you, it's to keep the stupid "L" mythos from falling apart. You want to know how much I fucking care about the "L" mythos? Nothing! Not one damn thing and especially if I lose you to it. I only care about you, not what the world thinks of L, but you. You know how much I love you, how I can't even imagine my life without you, and yet every time I deal with those three boys I have to deal with that reality. Don't you dare suggest that I don't know what you're feeling!"

L stared back at him for a moment in surprise. He hadn't put the two together, that Light dealt with similar feelings when it came to him. But still, this was different.

"Perhaps you do have an idea," he conceded, "But how dare you think you can replace him? There is no one who can replace what Wammy is to me, always has been to me and always will be. I love you Light, but you could never be Wammy."

"I'm not trying to be Wammy, I'm trying to learn how to be your assistant and be able to help you when you'll need it! There's no way in hell I could replace Wammy in your life, he's you're damned father, I can't be your father! And what do you mean how dare I? It was his idea not mine; I would have never even assumed the possibility if he hadn't asked me. Do you think I like the idea of him not being around either? Don't you think I love Wammy as well?" he stopped, suddenly feeling his throat tighten in emotion, "All I want is to be able to help you when you need it. You can't do all of it alone and you'll need someone you know loves you and that you know you can trust. Why can't you understand that?"

L stared back at him, his large eyes shining with tears. He put his glass down and wrapped his arms around his legs, his head falling forward onto his knees.

"Because if I do, it means I have to accept the possibility of Wammy's death, I can't do that Light, any more than I could accept yours; I just can't." he said miserably. Light sighed and wrapped his arms around L's shoulders, kissing his face softly.

"I know, and it's okay. I don't accept the idea of the possibility of your death either. To me the boys are your brothers, and are there to take over when we want to get away like we just did, not to replace you even though I know the real reason they were trained. I don't hold that against them, I love them for who they are. I just don't want you to hold what I'm doing against me either. If I have to make a choice between you and Wammy…" L shook his head and raised up to face Light.

"If I have to deal with this, then you're the only one who could help me get through it, and help me afterwards, Wammy is correct in that."

"That's all I want L, I know I can't replace him, I just want to be able to help you. I love you." Light told him and moved his hands to L's face, held it and kissed him deeply. L unfolded his body and wrapped his arms around Light's neck, holding him tightly.

"How about another drink you can bring to bed with you?" Light suggested once he'd released him. L smiled and nodded.

"That sounds agreeable," he said, "I am suddenly feeling very tired," he added.

"I bet," Light answered as he stood and went to get the blender, "It occurred to me earlier that we still haven't given Matsuda and Suki their gifts from Florida," he added as he refilled L's glass, eager to change the subject, "How about I call Matsuda tomorrow and invite him and Suki to dinner tomorrow night? We could go to that crepe place you like so much."

"I think that's an excellent idea Light," L agreed as he stood up from the couch. He took the refilled glass from Light. They both headed for the bedroom when L suddenly stopped.

"Something wrong?" Light asked and L shook his head.

"No, but I have to do something. Would you take my glass for me, I'll join you in a few minutes." Light looked confused for a few moments but then smiled and nodded.

"Of course. Take your time, I'll read until you come back. Tell him I said good-night." He said taking the glass and kissed L softly before heading into the bedroom. L watched him go in, then turned and went out of the door and headed for Wammy's.