Goodnight Moon

BY : Duomi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 9783
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter Title: Mindgames



Disclaimer: Death Note =/= mine. Volume 7 would have gone a liiittle bit differently.



Rating: PG (13?)



Pairing: L / Light



Warning(s): Contains spoilers for manga 1 - some-number-lower-than-7 but still including the Yotsuba arc, and however that relates to the anime. This is also only faintly slashy, so that kind of earns a warning, and also makes me sad at myself.



---



Pulled into the command center by Ryuuzaki's shuffling, determined stride, Light stifled a yawn. He knew that on the surface he appeared nothing less than bright-eyed and alert, ready for whatever the day might bring.



In fact, Light assured himself confidently, he was-- after all, he'd become used to getting less sleep since becoming chained to Ryuuzaki. Any slips he may have had the previous night were just water under the very high bridge of his own abilities.



Heading automatically for the row of computers, Light was startled to find the chain drawn taut between himself and Ryuuzaki. He looked to the other man for an explanation as to why the detective had stopped by the couches against the far wall.



Rather than meeting Light's eyes for one of their moments of sub-verbal understanding, Ryuuzaki was standing still, hands shoved in his pockets as always as he slouched with his hair over his eyes. "Matsuda-san, Mogi-san."



Just as surprised, the two detectives glanced at each other before standing and striding over. Aizawa, from his post at the terminals, looked over with a frown at being excluded.



"Do Matsuda-san and Mogi-san know the rules of a game called poker...?" Ryuuzaki asked, correctly assuming that Light would have at least a general knowledge of the game.



Bemused, Mogi and Matsuda agreed, and Light's brows drew together.



"...As a child, my mentor taught me a memory game following the rules of poker. This information will not assist you in determining my identity," Ryuuzaki commented offhandedly, slanting a glance at Light through his bangs. "If Light-kun and the rest of you agree, I would like to play with you."



"But-- shouldn't we be working on the case...?" Matsuda offered hesitantly, while Mogi nodded firm agreement.



Ryuuzaki lifted one foot to scratch the opposite ankle. "Aizawa-san will inform us if any new information arises," he asserted easily.



"That's irresponsible," Light protested, irritation needling at him. "We shouldn't leave Aizawa-san to work alone while we play on one of your whims."



"...That is true, but this is not my whim, Light-kun," Ryuuzaki dissented. "Light-kun pointed out last night that my methods and personality are often eccentric and difficult to appreciate." Light tightened his lips, but resisted the urge to quote what he'd actually told the older man. "I realized that this could cause trouble within our group, when we need trust and the ability to work together smoothly."



"Because nothing shows group solidarity like regularly accusing one of the members of being a homicidal sociopath," Light muttered at Ryuuzaki, drifting closer to ease the discomfort of the chain and to allow himself to be heard by only the other genius. He noticed the corner of Ryuuzaki's mouth twitch almost too faintly for the eye to see, and realized with surprise that he'd made the older man smile.



Apparently ignoring the comment, Ryuuzaki lifted his head enough to overtly study the detectives while keeping Light in his peripheral vision. "Do you agree to play?"



"Well-- yeah, I'm curious, but-- we don't have cards..." Matsuda protested uncertainly.



"I'm sure Watari has a set," Light commented, though he wondered how that could help with memory.



"...Light-kun assumes wrongly," Ryuuzaki murmured, turning his full gaze on Light for an instant before heading to the couch assuredly. Following to avoid being pulled, Light frowned again. "I am the deck, and the dealer. I will tell each of you the cards you receive, and you will have the responsibility of keeping track. If you lose your place, you may ask me."



"But-- wouldn't everyone hear our cards?" Matsuda queried.



"Would you be able to keep track of everyone else's hand?" Light chuckled. "I think you should concentrate on your own first." In spite of himself, he was intrigued by the idea.



"I will, of course, keep the hands confidential. Only the holder will hear me," Ryuuzaki contradicted, hopping to a perch on one end of the couch. Choosing the seat beside him, Light placed himself in a careful pose of collected ease, while Matsuda came to rest nervously on the couch opposite Light. Mogi settled onto the other side of Matsuda's couch much like a boulder lowered carefully by a crane.



"There is of course the problem of your own integrity," Light observed, smiling to make the insult less obvious to the others in the room.



"Light-kun doubts my honesty?" Ryuuzaki asked, turning his head slightly toward the brunet. "I will deal the cards purely randomly, picking ones not yet used. If a reshuffle is required, I also have the ability to reorder the list in my mind. There aren't so many cards in a deck, Light-kun," he reminded.



"I don't know, it impresses me!" Matsuda laughed, rubbing his neck. "I don't even know if I can keep track of my hand!" Mogi had a look of intense concentration as he watched the scene.



"Still, we only have your word that you won't deal a winning hand to someone..." Light mused.



"Light-kun is worried that he will lose," Ryuuzaki clarified, nodding agreement.



Feeling his smile tighten, Light glared at Ryuuzaki, caught himself and returned his expression to one of skepticism. "Of course not, but relying only on you..."



"I believe we've wasted enough time," Ryuuzaki interrupted. "If Light-kun does not trust me, he may choose not to play."



Gritting his teeth, Light shrugged. "I suppose it doesn't matter, anyway. Deal."



---



Half an hour later, Chief Yagami entered the command center to the strange sight of the bulk of his investigative force gathered on a set of couches. Matsuda and Mogi held their hands before themselves as though holding some sort of imaginary books, and even Light seemed to be focusing hard in spite of his casual pose. Ryuuzaki was curled up on the couch, apparently using all of his significant powers of concentration in creating a game of chocolate Jenga on the coffee table.



Bewildered, the chief walked closer. "What is the meaning of this...?"



Jumping, Matsuda looked up at his chief with an embarrassed smile. "We're playing Invisible Poker!" he exclaimed. "You can only play it with a genius for your dealer." Mogi, unruffled, nodded.



"Ryuuzaki is attempting to be more friendly so we can get along better as a group," Light explained wryly, looking up at his father as though to show his doubts of the statement.



"...Is this really necessary, Ryuuzaki?" Chief Yagami asked with a faint frown.



"I believe it is," Ryuuzaki stated, turning his head to stare at the chief with his unsettlingly dark eyes. Privately, Chief Yagami was embarrassed to find himself occasionally comparing the genius detective to a very flexible zombie from an American film.



"Well... Carry on, then," the chief allowed, obviously not knowing quite how to handle this situation.



"Hit me," Light murmured, and Ryuuzaki leaned over to whisper disturbingly close to his son's ear. Light nodded once and then made a show of giving a slight yawn. Sometimes, the chief reflected with a deep bafflement, genius was a very odd thing. He sent a silent prayer of thanks that his own son lacked the stranger traits of the famous detective.



"I-- uh, Ryuuzaki-san..." Matsuda began sheepishly.



"Matsuda-san?" Ryuuzaki inquired.



"I forgot my cards again," Matsuda stated, hanging his head in shame. Chief Yagami found himself pitying the man before he reminded himself that all of his detectives were a vital asset to his team, and Matsuda was no less than the others. No less at all.



Ryuuzaki nodded, shuffling over to Matsuda to whisper his hand to him, and the game continued.



---



After winning two out of their three games-- Mogi had unexpectedly won the last-- Light declared that they'd spent enough time working on group dynamics and had best return to the Kira case. L had agreed without complaint, and only Matsuda appeared disappointed as the detectives and Light returned to their work.



---



As L re-secured the handcuff to Light's wrist after allowing him to change into clean night clothes under his supervision, Light adjusted the handcuff in a casual habit. The cuff, kept so close to his skin, always retained the warmth of his body and in truth he no longer noticed the slight weight of the chain unless L was being a hindrance-- or one of the colder chain links brushed him in his sleep.



The fidget was useful, though, in giving him a moment to stall before they would have to climb into bed. This wasn't a conversation Light felt like having while lying in the dark with the unusual man.



"After I fell asleep..." Light murmured musingly. L's slow shuffle to the bed-- holding his damned notebook, Light noticed with tired disgust-- immediately stilled. This was an interesting reaction, and Light focused sharply on the dark-haired detective. Was there, perhaps, something he had missed in his own statement? Discarding the idea as unlikely and not particularly useful at the moment, Light continued with his original line of reasoning. "I continued to think upon your accusations on the quality of my character. The main question that comes to mind, Ryuuzaki, is: if you believe me to be some sort of amoral monster capable of using the emotions of the people around me so easily, what does that make you, that you still consider me to be your only friend?" Lifting his chin slightly in challenge, Light kept his expression clear, wondering how Ryuuzaki would escape that trap.



Ryuuzaki's shoulders slumped briefly, as though a blow he'd expected had failed to land. Rolling his head to fix Light with his dark stare, he finally blinked. "...Light-kun believes he makes a good point," he observed. "But he has also already claimed that I am 'frustratingly bizarre and eccentric'. Obviously, that sort of person would find making friends difficult... And if Light-kun is Kira, then his ability to fool even those who know him well makes him an exceptionable person. That sort of person would not be bad to befriend, if you did not trust them..." The lanky man lifted his thumb to his lips and bit it gently in a thoughtful way. "...And I do not fool myself into believing that Light-kun returns my regard."



"..." Light frowned, then snorted. They were both aware that if Light had really wanted to pretend to be the other's friend he had had many opportunities. "You're very good at turning compliments into back-handed accusations," he praised instead, voice dry. "I almost believed you'd manage to reply without comparing me to Kira. I don't know why I continue to expect you to see reason..."



Dropping his hand, Ryuuzaki turned toward the bed and continued his interrupted journey, apparently considering the conversation no longer worth his full attention. Light stepped to the edge of the bed, familiar enough with Ryuuzaki's habits to know the other man would scramble across the bed to his side with alarming alacrity, apparently uncomfortable with remaining in a vulnerable crawl for more than a second. Once in his usual hunched up position the detective arranged the notebook on the covers and opened it, apparently no longer remembering the other human in the room.



Giving up on a response, Light finally relented, slipping beneath the covers on his own side of the bed and arranging himself in a relaxed manner on his back.



"...Does Light-kun deny even the slightest possibility that he is Kira, then?"



Tensing but not permitting himself to jump, Light still drew his brows together slightly. He forced himself to respond as though the other hadn't managed to startle him. "Of course. We determined that Kira would be self-aware, and I am only aware of myself as Light Yagami." Opening his eyes, he made his voice logical and persuasive, the candy-coated tone he used when convincing people they actually wanted to believe his viewpoint-- that it was not only sensible, but desirable. "If you were Kira, you would know, wouldn't you-- L?"



---



Waiting for his notebook to boot up, Ryuuzaki remained crouched above the covers. Lacking his cameras, he had to turn his head slightly to study his subject. He recognized Light's speaking tactic for what it was, but still felt some admiration for the boy's prideful conviction that it would work on the older detective. "Does Light-kun believe that I am Kira?"



Light made a sound that was somehow the condensation of a quietly mocking laugh. "That isn't the point, Ryuuzaki. We're arguing hypothetically."



"Of course..." Ryuuzaki shifted, hands tightening briefly on his knees. "...I am certain that I am not Kira. Several criminals have been murdered before they were brought to my awareness, and the pattern of the original Kira killings is not to my personality. As Light-kun pointed out, only an idealistic mind, most likely young, would kill with the misguided intention to create a better world."



There was silence for a moment, and Ryuuzaki's notebook finished loading in that time. The detective immediately logged into the room's cameras, closing one in on Light's face. Part of his mind catalogued the fact that the boy seemed younger in moonlight, and the illogical thought that a serial killer with the ability to kill through some sort of psychic ability shouldn't appear so... serene.



"L..." Light's voice drifted into the room, quiet and somehow closer than it should be. Deciding not to argue with the name for the moment, Ryuuzaki let his silence answer for him. Understanding that he had the dark-haired man's attention, Light continued in a soft voice, almost as though to himself. "You said the pattern wasn't to your personality. If you had Kira's powers, who would you kill?"



For nearly a minute, Ryuuzaki didn't respond as he considered the question. He had, of course, asked it of himself before-- but discussing something so close to his own way of looking at the world seemed questionable when dealing with his prime suspect. "...That could be taken as a commendation of Kira's actions."



"Hmm..." Seeming affected by the close air of the room and the late hour, Light still spoke in a way that seemed oddly personal for the normally close-handed boy. Or perhaps he was just nearer to sleep than his words would suggest... "But you kill people, too. Through your actions, you've solved many crimes, and in several of those cases you've pushed for the death penalty. Therefore, through your direct actions you helped others to die, who would otherwise have lived. In a way... you needed their identities before you could kill them. You may not kill as quickly as Kira, but you're still an instrument of... death." For an instant, Ryuuzaki had expected Light to say 'justice' instead, but either the boy had remembered himself or Ryuuzaki had merely been jumping to a conclusion based on his analysis of Kira.



"...Yagami-kun makes a good argument for Kira," Ryuuzaki praised, realizing a moment later that he'd been chewing his thumb again. He dismissed this as unimportant. "Now Kira seems equal with the police, only with a more consistent death penalty. But, Yagami-kun... in my situation, the criminals are most certainly guilty. All evidence has been examined by myself, and justice has been agreed upon by all involved, and delivered legally. Does Yagami-kun really believe that all those convicted of a crime are truly guilty of it...? Kira allows no trial, no analysis of evidence. I wonder how many murderers went free due to a mistaken identity..." He allowed his voice to trail off innocently, but kept his gaze fixed fiercely on Light's shadowed form.



---



For an instant, Light felt an offended fury grip him. Shaken by the unexpectedness of that, Light brushed the feeling off with some confusion and attributed the emotion to his indignation at Ryuuzaki childishly turning his words, so casually put to disarm the detective into honesty, into a supposed justification of Kira's actions. "I can't know Kira's reasoning, L," he replied evenly, his anger apparent but kept to mere frustration in his tone. "Obviously, I agree that his actions were rash-- even the current Kira doesn't give the justice system proper time to determine guilt."



"Of course..."



Light frowned, opening his eyes to look at Ryuuzaki. "Are you really disappointed? You sound as if you expected something different."



"Kira is a very selfish person. There was a 30% possibility that Kira would be unable to resist a direct challenge to his motives, and would show obvious distress." The tactless explanation caused Light to open his mouth slightly in shock.



"You said that just to see how badly it would annoy me?" Light clarified. Ryuuzaki blinked in agreement, apparently seeing nothing wrong with this. Eyes narrowing, the younger man sat up, kneeling with one hand on the bed for balance and jerking Ryuuzaki closer with his free hand fisted around the detective's collar. "If you try that again, I'll show you how annoyed I can really get. Stop accusing me of being Kira just for your own perverted amusement! We're working together to find Kira. Do you know what that means?" he hissed, aware that his control was slipping but ignoring it as he closed the slight distance between them by inches. Ryuuzaki merely studied Light with slightly wide eyes, hands still on his own knees.



"Yagami-kun's enthusiasm in catching the murderer has never been questioned," Ryuuzaki replied evenly, tone slightly flatter than normal. "May I have my shirt back now?"



"No!" Light burst out. "Not until you understand what I'm trying to tell you. I. Am. Not. Kira. I don't kill people, I don't have delusions of godhood, I'm not that damn naive!" Pushing Ryuuzaki back with disgust and noticing with some disgruntlement that the other man merely swayed and didn't fall, he dropped heavily back to his side of the bed with his back to Ryuuzaki. "Now turn your notebook off and sleep like a human!"



"...I was not aware that Light-kun believed I wasn't human--"



"Not another word, Ryuuzaki," Light growled.



---



That was easier said than done. Light's reaction to Ryuuzaki's taunt had certainly been informative, but Ryuuzaki knew that the eight hours Light would prefer to sleep would be nearly unendurable without the notebook. Deciding he could just be more quiet than normal, Ryuuzaki waited until Light's breathing evened into sleep before beginning to type again.



He froze when a slender hand shot from the covers and gripped his wrist with alarming strength.



"I said to turn that off," Light asserted, voice cold and clipped.



"...Light-kun caught me," Ryuuzaki hazarded, blinking. "But wasting so many hours--"



"Ryuuzaki, I told you not to speak," Light reminded dangerously.



"..." Ryuuzaki studied him blankly, then turned his gaze back to the notebook and began typing with his free hand. Light dug in his nails.



So Ryuuzaki lifted his arm-- with Light's hand still attached--



And bit him.



---



Yelping in surprise, Light released him, holding his injured hand close to his chest and watching Ryuuzaki with a look of complete disbelief. Ryuuzaki had time to swiftly close his notebook and move it from harm's way before Light's fist connected with his face. Flowing with the blow, he righted himself smoothly and turned the momentum into a kick aimed for Light's mid-section.



Light collapsed himself over Ryuuzaki's feet, tangling them with the blanket and taking advantage of the hindrance to grapple Ryuuzaki to the bed. There was an awkward pause as Light narrowed his eyes, trying to think how best to attack Ryuuzaki in his current position, but when he relaxed his grip minutely the detective kicked off the bed with his legs. Light abruptly found himself on his back in the same situation his adversary had just vacated, but with the chain draped across his chest from Ryuuzaki's right wrist. Trying to pull free for another punch proved counter-productive as the dark-haired detective simply tightened his grip on Light's wrists and collapsed his weight on the younger boy.



Anger flaring at the feeling of being trapped, Light bared his teeth in a snarl and tensed against the useless urge to thrash. Preparing to smash his head into Ryuuzaki's if need be, Light focused on the other man-- then widened his eyes.



A subtle shift of posture and something about the tilt of Ryuuzaki's head had alerted him, as black eyes that had held the determination of the fight now seemed unfocused, lids half-lowered and lips parted. His face lowered toward Light's as though in a trance.



"R-- Ryuuzaki!" Light snapped, jerking his head to the side and staring at the wall as his heartrate jumped alarmingly. Probably due to the adrenaline, he felt his cheeks warm slightly.



"..." Ryuuzaki's weight left him suddenly as the detective rolled away, resuming his crouched position, though closer to Light's side of the bed now. "Did Light-kun want something?"



The flat tone of the detective's tone only served to further incriminate him in Light's mind. Gritting his teeth, Light sat up and edged away from the other man. "An explanation would be good. I know you're socially inept and inclined to misread situations, but this--"



"What situations does Light-kun refer to?" Ryuuzaki asked blandly, nibbling his thumb and not quite meeting Light's eyes, head tilted as though only mildly curious.



"--That's not the point, Ryuuzaki. You almost--" Light sighed uncomfortably, rubbing the back of his neck. "You're not used to people, and maybe being chained to me for so long has put some sort of weird ideas into your head, but you can't go around kissing people. Especially not people who have to sleep in the same bed with you," he lectured irritably.



"I have no idea what Light-kun is referring to," Ryuuzaki asserted, keeping his eyes innocently wide. "I was merely fighting with him, and assumed the same position of entrapment that he had previously..."



"Please don't speak to me as if I lack basic powers of observation," Light demanded, shooting a dark look at the detective. "Even if you pretend not to understand, you're listening, so I'm warning you now that if you try what you just tried again, I'll break something of yours."



"..." Ryuuzaki gnawed his thumb in furious thought, then blinked. "...Light-kun is resorting to threats of physical violence. This--"



"So help me," Light spoke softly in a voice that most resembled a growl. "If you try to compare me to Kira right now, you're sleeping on the floor. I never said the threat was of physical damage to you, Ryuuzaki-- I can just as easily break your notebook. And every other one Watari brings as a replacement." Ryuuzaki's eyelids slid closed, then opened again as he processed this and tried to determine a response. Light smirked tightly. "I'm glad you understand me now." Moving cautiously, he maneuvered himself around Ryuuzaki and retreated once more under the covers. This time, however, he lay on his side facing the dark-haired man warily. Ryuuzaki remained exactly as he was, though he'd turned his head to study Light and continued to chew the pad of his thumb. After a moment, a calculating look surfaced in Light's eyes, and the young man gave a slow, satisfied smile. "Actually, Ryuuzaki... L..." Ryuuzaki paused briefly in his fidgeting to give Light his full attention. "I don't think I'll let you off that easily. Since you tried to kiss me, you owe me-- a piece of information about yourself. It doesn't have to be something that can give me a lead on your identity, but..."



Staring blankly at Light for a moment, Ryuuzaki lifted his mouth away from his thumb to turn his gaze to the ceiling. "...Information excuses unforgivable acts. So if I were to give Light-kun important information, I could kiss--"



"Ryuuzaki!" Light hissed, satisfaction gone in a rush of almost embarrassed annoyance. "I'm allowing you to repay me for the psychological discomfort you caused me, not giving you a way to claim favors from me. Misa was right, you really are a pervert..." he admitted in disgust, scowling.



"...Unfortunately, I can not allow that repayment. Giving Kira any information which could lead him to the identity of myself or others close to me would be an obvious error," Ryuuzaki finally stated, dropping his head back down and resting it on his knees while he watched Light intently.



"Then perhaps I should tell the others what you tried to do to me," Light offered, eyes reflecting his anger.



"Light-kun would not tell anyone his theories on my alleged actions," Ryuuzaki asserted easily. "He would find it... awkward. Besides," he added. "Light-kun has assured me that he does not use the feelings of those who like him."



"..." Frowning faintly at that, Light studied the chain between them in aggravation, too controlled to allow himself to fidget uncomfortably. The innocent object had now become just another point in the conspiracy of things forcing him to endure the eccentric man's company. Recognizing the utter illogic of that thought, Light dismissed it. Though he had realized that forced confinement with another man could lead to many different psychological reactions, he hadn't allowed attraction to be an option he had actually considered. After all, socially reclusive or not, Ryuuzaki was a genius, a famous detective-- and Light was his only suspect for the role of supernatural serial killer. Sighing and rolling to his back, Light ran his hand through his hair until it hit the pillow, then rested it there. "You have seriously weird tastes-- you still think I'm Kira, but you risk trying that with me? You can't even claim that as a test, because me killing you with my hands for trying to molest me doesn't prove anything."



"...Light-kun seems very fixed on his idea of what happened," Ryuuzaki commented.



"If you weren't guilty, you would have argued with me, Ryuuzaki," Light informed him shortly. "And you'd have done a better job than pretending ignorance and then trying to trade information for a make-out session."



"If Light-kun believes that to be so, I'm sure it is true." Though his tone clearly suggested otherwise, Ryuuzaki betrayed none of his thoughts with his expression. Instead, he finally shifted enough to pull the covers at least over his feet, not moving from his habitual crouch. "Remaining on this subject, however, decreases Light-kun's time to sleep. Since he normally becomes angry if I interrupt his rest, I must wonder if he wouldn't mind me using the notebook now--"



"Not a chance," Light interrupted immediately, turning away from Ryuuzaki and deciding to ignore him. "And I expect to be allowed access to the tapes of our room tomorrow, to make certain you don't try anything while I'm sleeping."



"...As Light-kun wishes," Ryuuzaki acquiesced.



"'Light-kun' does," Light agreed flatly. "Good night, Ryuuzaki."



---



Wriggling his toes a bit, Ryuuzaki closed his eyes, deciding to meditate if he could do nothing else. He wished wistfully that he could contact Watari to request a supply of sweets-- there was no reason to let the capacity of his mind decrease just because he couldn't actively work on the Kira case. "Enjoy your rest, Light-kun." The younger man gave a snort in response, and Ryuuzaki retreated from the physical world, returning to the pure logic he was most familiar with and spending the next several hours trying to determine how he'd slipped in such a serious manner as to nearly kiss his fellow genius. By the time dawn's light broke into the room, he had analyzed every thought and action he'd had since meeting Light and was still no closer to his answer.





-----



So! I apparently wrote a second part... I still have no idea where I'm going with this, if anywhere at all. I just started this one because the idea of Genius Poker's been bouncing around my head for a while now, and then I kind of just kept writing. I really like writing Chief Yagami, though, I want him to pop up more if I add on to this. His live-action actor's the same as the chairman in Iron Chef though-- isn't that fun? I keep picturing Light's dad biting into a pepper with a sense of deep and dramatic satisfaction now. It's a little distracting...


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