Disclaimer: The Maiden of Autumn owns nothing.

"Well, Light, this is an interesting situation…"

"Shut up, L."

Silence reigned as the two men sat back to back on the dry soil of the shinigami realm, listening to the slight breeze winding its way through the forgotten bones and dead, crumbling canyons.

However, the two men's moods were totally different at the moment. L had been waiting there for quite some time; the waiting and boredom had been something he had forced himself to become accustomed to. The monotonousness of the shinigami realm now had a somewhat soothing quality to it; no more was his mind constantly whirling, hyped up on sugar and caffeine, processing mind-breakingly large amounts of facts and information at once.

For the first time in his life-or afterlife- L. Lawliet was completely and totally at peace. Kira had been caught- his successor had proven himself worthy of the title of L, and everything had turned out right in the end. Well, except the fact that he had lost, but what use was there agonizing over it in his death?

Truly, death was better than living and so L sat peacefully, content with listening silently to the breeze and feeling the solid warmth of Light's back against his own. It was nice to not be so alone anymore; really, having Light here had made his being here quite perfect. And so L was content, closing his eyes and simply dozing slightly, for once being able to completely still his mind and let his body relax, thumb comfortably situated in mouth.

He didn't even think about the lethargy that filled him, left him with wanting to do nothing more than sit and perhaps ponder this desolate wasteland a bit more. Perhaps not even that; maybe for once, he'd just think of nothing. And oddly, this did not worry him.

Light, on the other hand was seething. Fucking Near; and Matsuda! Had he really been killed by that idiot?!

And now, there was fucking L in his afterlife, just sitting there peacefully, so un-L-like, and it pissed him off! Where was the gloating, the -so-you-were-Kira-and-you-lost's? No, the man was just sitting there after greeting him with his damnably large black eyes and a small smile, saying "Hello, Light," and then plopping down and bringing his knees up to his chest, staring out blankly at the shinigami realm.

Where the fuck had the real L gone?!

If he was to be stuck with-of all people- L, in his afterlife, he wanted the real L, the interesting L, the infuriating, annoying-endearing- blasted L!

And that was what really pissed him off. That in his afterlife, he was stuck with his rival, the one that had been the beginning of his downfall as Kira, the God of the New Realm! He would have been happy with Mu, with nothing, but to be stuck here with his rival that wasn't even acting like his old rival…

Might as well just throw him in hell; the torments he was being put through would be the same.

A sudden sigh from the former detective sitting behind him, back-to-back, diverted his attention from his seething for a moment.

"Say, Light…"

"What is it, L?"

"You don't still believe that you are God, do you?"

That shocked Light for a moment, while simultaneously making a small spark of hope flicker inside his chest, which he immediately tamped down. He would not be happy about L suddenly becoming more L-like; he simply refused. "Why do you ask, L?"

Not being evasive or anything, but Light didn't really want to say yes or no. It didn't matter if he was Kira anymore; they both knew he was, but right here, right now, there was nothing Kira could do.

L scratched his toe in the dry sand idly, before responding. "It's just… if you were God, you could get us out of here… no, if you were really God, you wouldn't even be here, would you Light?" There was no smugness or gloating in the statement, only matter-of-factness.

Still, for some reason, the words pissed Light off more than he already was, pushed him past his limit.

So he stood up, walked around to face L, and punched him in the face.

L fell backwards onto his elbows, clutching his suddenly aching jaw and stared up at the angry-looking Light emotionlessly. "What was that for, Light?" he asked mildly.

What was that for-?!

"You just don't get it, L!" Light shouted, suddenly desperate to do anything-say anything, to vent his anger at the whole situation-and L. "Everything's been fucked up! You're dead, I'm dead, we're stuck together in this god-forsaken desert, my plans were ruined, and-Jesus, L, look at yourself! You're not even L anymore- you're pathetic! The L I knew would be gloating about me, Kira, being brought down, and doing everything in his power to irritate and annoy the absolute fuck out of me! You're just like the shinigami who do nothing…but sit and… do nothing…" Light trailed off as realization dawned; the shinigami realm was the realm of death, death taking on
a physical location.

Nothing mattered in death, and so nothing mattered in the realm of death. Therefore, the sense of carelessness that the realm of death pervaded upon the senses of its inhabitants, imbruing them with a sense of carelessness and sense that nothing mattered. For in death, it truly didn't.

And so, stunned by this realization, Light watched L with a mild sense of horror as he saw proof of the shinigami realm's power in L's listless, almost careless movements and empty, hollow eyes. This was why L had not gloated about Light's death; this was why L was not trying to solve who had killed Light; it was why he was doing nothing: he simply did not care anymore.

Sitting up, L pulled himself into his old crouch, looking up at Light through his bangs. "I see… so you do not consider yourself God anymore… I find that is a shame…"

"No, I don't consider myself-wait, what?" Light asked, suddenly confused. L through it was…bad that he didn't consider himself God anymore? How could he? Gods didn't die, after all, and he obviously had.

L then stood up, shoving his hands in his pockets as he regarded Light. He looked almost… lost; a baggy-clothes clad, hunched figure looking at him with large, bottomless eyes of obsidian, hollowed out by death. "Because if you still thought you were God… perhaps I could have been convinced of it, too."

Light stood, stunned at L's uncharacteristic words as L looked down, studying the ground contemplatively. "Your words… you are right. This peaceful monotony… It is quite unlike me. I fear it has to do with where and what we are now, Light. Soon, you'll find yourself, little by little, not caring about things anymore, much like I've already started to. Death has no purpose; so neither do the dead. Therefore, we continue to simply be, until we fade away like the Shinigami have."

L looked up once more, large eyes suddenly seeming…sad. Light was glad to see any emotion in the previously dead eyes, and remembering them, Light shuddered to think that once he had been here as long as L had, that he would become lethargic and listless too, fading away little by little into the dead, dry sand that littered this lifeless place. But the fact that L had finally figured out what the shinigami realm actually did to its inhabitants was a good sign, a sign that the detective was finally thinking again, using his brilliant brain Light had once admired so greatly, before he had become Kira and desired to become like the detective rather than kill him.

"If you still believed you were God, Light… perhaps it would have given me hope that we could get out of here. Now though…what are two dead souls able to do?" L asked desolately.

And with that, he plopped down again, uncaring of his sitting position, staring out over the dead world.

Light was stunned at L's words. L had…given up hope. It was so uncharacteristically bleak, so unlike the detective, who always had another plan, another solution, another option to get around any kind of work thrown in the spanner, that this sudden giving up made Light worry a split second before determination settled in.

L's words ran true, he knew. Light could already start to feel the anger at his situation ebb away, replaced by a little voice saying, "You're dead. You don't need to care anymore." Ruthlessly, he pushed it away, focusing on L's
slumped figure. He knew it was the shinigami realms' influence talking, and as such, he was able to ignore it, instead bolstering himself with determination to get out of here.

He had never seen L looking this hopeless, and it infuriated him. Death was trying to take away L; he would not allow this to happen. As much as he hated-loved- L, L was his, his rival, and would not allow something like death to try to take away the detective.

Striding over to L, he stood in front of the detective, waiting until the black spikes shifted and obsidian eyes peered up at him questioningly. Not saying a word, Light reached down, grabbing ahold of L's hand and yanking the other man to his feet.

"Light, what are-"

"L." The detective was cut off by the sound of his name on Light's lips, and then his hand was raised, Light's head bent to brush a small, soft kiss over the fingers.

And Light smiled as the detective regarded him through owlish eyes, shocked into wide orbs, and it felt as if something fell into place, something right. Perhaps this was the way it was meant to be- not hate.

"I know that I'm not God- I can't do anything supernatural or especially exciting- I can't-don't even know how to get us out of here. But we can try- can't that give you enough hope to come with me?"

L blinked, confused at the sudden change in Light's demeanor, but then a small smile tugged at his lips, making him seem so much younger, happier. Tugging his hand out of Light's, he turned his back and started walking, hands stuffed in pockets and hunched over, as usual.

Light stared after L, suddenly feeling left behind, heart rising up in his throat, until L stopped a few meters away. "I do believe your words have given me hope. I'd be willing to go with you, if you're willing to try to find a way
out of here," L called, not looking back.

Grinning, Light ran to catch up to L, who reached out and snagged his hand in his own, Light slowing down to accommodate him, gaining ground in front to lead L along.

"So you wish to lead? Does that mean you would be willing to take the lead in other things as well?"

"L, what are you talking about?"

"You do not know? But that kiss you gave was rather suggestive…"


"Yes, Light?"

Light turned around, simultaneously tugging L in closer, until their chests were brushing. He leaned forwards, giving the detective a soft kiss upon the lips. Pulling back, he whispered, lips still brushing softly against the other's, "I'll be willing to lead as long as you're willing to follow."

There was a moment of silence before L nodded. "I do believe I should like that, Light. After all, we do have all of eternity, do we not?"

Light simply smiled, leaning in to kiss L again. "Of course."

L let himself be kissed, then broke away, tugging on Light's hand. "Then, I suppose that we should work on finding a way out of here for starters, wouldn't you agree, Light?"

Nodding, Light started walking, L allowing himself to be led, not far behind, but still allowing Light to take the lead. L felt it was best; already, he could feel the urge to sit down, not move and just sit, be unbothered by anything.

Light had not been here as long as he had; he still had energy, a sense of purpose. And that purpose was going to lead them out of here.

So, with a small smile tugging on his pale lips, L allowed himself to be tugged across the dry sand, watching Light stride across the desert with determination in his bearing, his hand never losing its firm grip on his own.
And little by little, L felt that some of Light's determination was transferring over to him; he basked in the feeling of doing something, something worthwhile for the first time since he had arrived here that long time ago.

And when Light looked back and smiled, a knowing smile that seemed as if he knew exactly how L was feeling, he couldn't help but smile back, the first real one since he was young.

And he knew, just knew, that while perhaps Light couldn't become the God that he had wanted, the God of the new world, perhaps...

…he could become L's own personal God, his own ray of Light in the darkness.

Edited version uploaded 4/6/13