Tear You Apart

BY : Duomi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 5728
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: Scratch

Disclaimer: Death Note isn't mine. If it were... this is pretty much what would have happened, actually.

Rating: PG-13... ish?

Pairing(s?): Kira/L

Comments: Hello again! On with the story.

-----

"MisaMisa! I'm home!"

Amane Misa lay on her stomach on a floral-printed couch, stockinged feet idly kicking the air. At the voice, she looked up with a smile. "Nori-chan! Welcome back!"

The younger actress entered her tidy apartment carrying a shopping bag. Toeing her shoes off at the door, she staggered into the room under the weight of the groceries. "I brought snacks and movies. We can have a girl's night out!"

"Nori-chan thinks of everything! We can start as soon as I'm finished," Misa told her cheerfully. Picking her pen up again, she looked back to the news and wrote another name on the notebook in front of her.

"Judging again?" Nori asked her with a sigh in her words. "Being Kira is hard work..." Shaking her head, she set the grocery bag on the floor beside the couch and settled on her knees beside the idol. "Even harder than acting?"

"Well, it's acting, too!" Misa pointed out playfully. Finishing another name, she closed the Death Note and sat up. "But it's worth it. I know that the real Kira will make the world into a paradise. I just get to help him..." Savoring this, Misa gave a soft smile, knowing that she was doing what Light wanted. Also, the news hadn't said anything about Kira being caught, so Light was safe. He must be counting on Misa, and she wouldn't let him down.

"Ahh-- MisaMisa is in looove!" Nori teased, laughing. "I'm so jealous... I wish I had someone like that. My boyfriend's a real jerk!" she added, making a face.

"Misa could kill him, too," Misa offered. She winked. "But only if he does something really bad. No one can hurt Nori-chan while Misa is here!" she struck one of her idol poses, winking at her friend, and the two fell to giggling.

Getting an idea, Nori looked up to Rem, resting her arms on the couch beside Misa. "Rem-chan, do reapers date?"

Looming silently against the wall, Rem appeared startled at the girl talking to her. "...No, we don't have feelings in the way that humans do," she responded after a moment's consideration.

"How boring!" Nori sighed dramatically. "Never falling in love... I'm going to have a huge wedding, too! MisaMisa, will you come?" she added.

Misa's smile turned sad for a moment before she made it brighten enthusiastically. "Of course! Misa wouldn't miss it. Nori-chan is helping Misa sooo much...!"

Blushing, Nori waved the words away. "I'm not really... I'm just giving you a place to stay and some things to wear. I'm happy to be helping MisaMisa... and Kira, too."

"That helps more than you know, Nori-chan," Misa informed her firmly. Sitting up, she reached over her friend to look in the bag. "Ahh! MisaMisa loves this movie!" She pulled out Battle Royale. "Shuya-kun is so cute!"

The young women gushed and chattered, putting on a movie and acting carefree. The Death Note was slid under the couch and forgotten while they had fun.

On an earlier page of the note, printed in Misa's girly hand, were the words:

Kaiou Nori
Does whatever she can to help her friend, Misa. Learns that Misa is the second Kira but still supports her. Tells no one that Misa is staying with her, or any information about Kira or the Death Note.

When Misa stops staying with Nori within twenty-three days, Nori dies two nights later in her sleep. She feels no pain.


---

The Hotel Certosa di Maggiano was called "one of the most romantic small luxury hotels in Tuscany". It lived up to its name, surrounded by scenic beauty and fully restored from the Carthusian monastery it had been almost seven centuries before. It was a place where tourists went to spend days relaxing and basking in the spirit of Italy.

Luckily, with the curtains drawn and if one never left the suite, forgetting all of that wasn't too hard.

Kira and L had traveled from Japan and across Europe for more than a week. To avoid detection, they had laid false trails and planted information with bribes or using Light's cleverness at hacking, going often in disguise and keeping to false identities. Never staying in any location for more than two nights, they'd collected money from several of L's accounts and had alternated between cheap dives and discrete establishments.

Kira was not enjoying Italy. It was fine for L, who knew more than ten languages fluently, but Kira had only seen reason to learn four. Italian was not among them. It had enough similarities to Spanish to be comprehensible, but communicating with it posed more of a problem. Being caught in a land where the dominant language wasn't one he knew felt like a trap.

Still, being himself, he hid his discomfort flawlessly. Reclined with perfect poise on one of the room's couches, the murderer watched with L as a world news report gave coverage of Kira's continued judgments. Beside him, L kept his dark eyes fixed to the screen, only moving to select another bite from the collection of confections gathered on the low table in front of him.

Being forced into close company for days in the stressful routine of constant moving and covering their tracks had not had a positive effect on their relationship. This was added to the fact that moving so often had destroyed Kira's sleep schedule and he'd started to dream again. Confronting 'Light' by night and being faced with L during the daylight hours had done nothing for his temper.

Irritated and blaming L for their need to be in hiding, Kira had taken to baiting the famous detective.

Rather than being able to relax now that it was only himself and Kira, L had maintained his bizarre defensive habits, curled on the couch as though it were natural to him. Kira suspected that this was due to the uncertainty of not yet knowing when or how his successor would make a move, but didn't see a reason to ask.

When the news turned to things of lesser import, Kira reached casually over and turned off the television before dropping the remote back to the table. "Well. At least Misa took my idea to heart-- it's surprising that she hasn't been caught yet, though. That is, if your successor ever plans to make a move," he added dryly.

Swallowing a bite of cake, L turned his blank eyes to Kira slowly. "Near is undoubtedly gathering information on us still and deciding which move to make first."

"It's been days since Watari would have told him," Kira pointed out in a condescending tone. "Delaying only makes it easier for us to escape. If he had gone to Japan immediately to pick up our trail, it may have been possible, but now..."

"Kira should not be so dismissive," L returned. "Near will act."

"So you keep repeating." Sighing silently, Kira leaned forward to lift his black coffee and take a sip, casting a glance of distaste at L's mass of sweets. As he often did of late, he let his thoughts wander over his previously brilliant plan and study it from different angles, trying again to determine what had gone wrong.

"...Kira misses the Death Note," L murmured.

The soft words drew Kira's attention and he slid his gaze to linger on the older man. "Why would you say that?"

"Kira often uses that phrase when I am right," observed L placidly. "...It must be difficult for you to remember having a god-like power and to be forced to stay in hiding now, allowing Misa to carry out your murders for you." His concentration was focused fully on Kira now, and Kira stifled an urge to look away.

"Well, anyone would miss that sort of power," Kira pointed out calmly. "But I wasn't thinking that at all. The Death Note is a means to an end and I know I'll be able to resume my path to a new world soon enough."

L nodded, gaze unwavering. Apparently changing the subject, he spoke abruptly. "Does Kira-kun even notice when he lies to himself, or is it instinctive?"

Jaw clenching briefly, Kira regained self-control and forced a quiet chuckle as he sipped from his coffee again. "Really, I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm a very honest person."

The detective's eyes widened. A very small, incredulous smile curved his mouth.

Kira's hand curled into a fist. Punching the detective was almost too hard to resist at this point, but he made himself refrain with effort. "Laugh at me if you want. When have I lied to you?"

"Almost as often as you've spoken," L replied immediately, head tilting and tone helpful. "Light-kun lied through expressions and controlling emotions. Kira-kun does that as well, but even though we are alone he tries to make himself appear better than he is. It would be interesting to get to know Kira without his affectations of sanity."

"'Affectations of sanity' is an insulting phrase, L," Kira chided sardonically. "I'm perfectly sane."

L took another bite of food, then swallowed, apparently fascinated by his cake. "...I was unaware that 'megalomaniac with aspirations at world domination' was within the definition of sanity, Kira-kun," he pronounced. "Thank you for the correction."

Kira set his coffee down carefully to avoid spilling it in his rage. Lacing his fingers tightly together, he worked to keep a hold of his anger. He would not allow L to get to him. He was Kira-- he would be a god, and he would rule the world. Allowing one cake-obsessed freak of a genius to get under his skin was beneath him. He took a calming breath and managed a smile that felt more like a baring of teeth. "That isn't megalomania, L. It's the truth. There are only a few obstacles in my way."

L took another bite of cake and set the fork down, metal clattering on ceramic. Kira's tattered nerves frayed yet more. "Of course," L agreed blandly. "Then again... Kira's last plan didn't work perfectly, did it? It's regrettable that the Death Note does not give one prescience. If Kira-kun were an actual god, he might have known what would go wrong--"

The older man was cut off by Kira grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him closer. Kira's eyes were full of barely-controlled fury, and the sunset coming through the curtained windows gave the honey-brown of his irises a red tinge. "That wasn't my plan having an imperfection. That was your fault, Ryuuzaki," he snapped, reverting to the detective's pseudonym from months of habit. "If you hadn't ignored all logic and the false rules in the note to have Misa followed..."

---

Not fighting to free himself from Kira's grasp, L instead kept his expression blank as he considered and discarded possible reactions and outcomes. In an instant he'd decided on the plan that would give him the most information from the simplest gesture.

While Kira snarled at him, L relaxed in the murderers grip. "Light-kun..." Reaching up, he trailed his fingers gently over Kira's cheek.

Kira flinched away as if the touch had burned, pupils dilating and breath going out in a rush as he shoved L away from himself. L memorized the young man's extreme response, as well as the expected flash of self-irritation that immediately crossed Kira's face as he realized that he had acted instinctively and not just ignored L's touch.

Drawing himself back into a crouch methodically, L spoke again. "Kira-kun has not been sleeping."

"We've been moving every other night," Kira replied shortly, still rebuilding his control. He wasn't in a mood for the man's non sequiturs. Even if they did always have some point.

"More than that," L continued as if Kira hadn't spoken. "When you do sleep, you wake often and seem angry. What have you been dreaming of? I assumed that Kira did not have dreams at all."

"...I don't," Kira replied in an evasive tone. "I've been..." on the edge of responding honestly, Kira appeared to catch himself. He held himself with a perfect stillness that suggested to L that he would have been fidgeting if he'd had less self-control. "A few memories have been giving me trouble when I sleep at night, that's all."

"What memories?"

Kira's jaw tightened again and he got the peculiar tense expression of one struggling against a frown. His face smoothed almost immediately into slight exasperation as he looked to L again. "Why does that matter? Speaking of sleep, however, I believe I'll go to bed now. I have been feeling more tired lately..." He stood, preparing to head to the hotel room's single bedroom. L didn't trust the other man not to leave in the middle of the night and try to make his own way if they had separate rooms. It would be vastly illogical, but Kira was a proud and stubborn young man and the possibility wasn't zero. As L didn't sleep in any case, Kira had taken to making the man stay on a chair beside the bed rather than actually in it, claiming he didn't trust L's intentions.

Not wanting Kira to leave just yet, L looked to the ceiling rather than his fellow fugitive. "...I had no footage of Amane," he stated.

"You-- what?" Kira blinked, thrown off not by the abrupt change of subject but what L's words implied. L merely looked to him, seeing no reason to repeat himself and knowing that Kira would quickly think through what his words had meant. As expected, Kira's eyes narrowed in an instant. "Explain."

"When I took you to the separate room, I was bluffing. I believed my life was in danger. Rem was unexpectedly helpful, as I believe that on your own you would have seen through my deception."

A slow, cold rage built in Kira. His hands clenched and relaxed. "You couldn't have known the thirteen day rule was false or that the misspelling rule was correct. You risked your life on a bluff?"

"Well," L temporized, head tilted back to study Kira. "I wasn't aware that Rem would try to kill me. Still, it almost worked-- if Kira hadn't freed Amane or had been frightened into giving up his memories, I would have had proof."

"And now we're stuck here, hiding from the world, because of a hunch you had that you might die," Kira clarified, voice tightly controlled. L could see the other man's desire to attack him.

The curious thing was the fact that he stopped himself.

"Yes," L agreed simply.

Kira's teeth bared in a grimace of hatred and his face flushed with his anger. He made an abortive move toward L that caused the detective to fall back in preparation to kick-- and then, abruptly, he turned and stalked to the bedroom. The door slamming was his response.

Letting out his breath slowly, L climbed back to his crouch, thumb pressed to his lips as he gave a small smile. Kira-kun was afraid to attack me. I had wondered if he was still attracted... 95 percent certainty. He can no longer be sure that we would only fight. The thought was pleasant, and L found himself uncurling a little to pop a chocolate covered strawberry into his mouth decisively.

Being on the run with Kira was starting to look less than hopeless after all.

---

At the same moment halfway around the world, the door to the Oval Office opened and two figures entered. A member of the secret service remained inside of the room, wary of the trenchcoat and concealing hat the older man wore.

The president's attention was only briefly caught by the man, whom the FBI had assured him was Watari, assistant to the famous detective L. Instead, he found himself focusing on the pale boy who wandered dreamlike in front of Watari to crawl into one of the chairs set in front of his desk. The child's eyes never met his, and with one finger constantly twirling his fluffy white hair into gravity-defying curls, he made the president wonder if he might be touched in the head. Surely this child couldn't be L...?

Clasping his hands on his desk, President Hale turned his focus back to Watari. "Good afternoon, gentlemen. My men tell me that you're Watari," he asserted, cutting straight to the point. "L has always contacted me through you, but you appearing in person is unprecedented. To what do I owe the honor?" he asked.

"L has become compromised."

It was the child who had replied, and President Hale turned to him, curious. "Compromised in what way?"

"..." Briefly, the boy's gaze dropped from the corner of the ceiling. Instead of looking to the president, however, he turned in his seat to study the secret service member.

President Hale hesitated, then shook his head. "I'm sorry, but you must understand my position. My men can be trusted explicitly, while I don't even know who you are. He has to stay."

The child gave a quiet sigh, seeming to accept this annoying fact. "I'm the successor to L," he answered in response to the president's unspoken question. His eyes had already returned to the ceiling. "You may call me Near. L developed an attachment to Kira and is currently protecting him. I need your assistance to capture him."

Eyebrows arching, President Hale's hands tightened briefly before he leaned back in deep thought. "You need my assistance... in what way? If Kira is still at large, and moreover now has the support of L, you'll see that this is very awkward for me. I could make a statement against Kira, but I've already served my eight years. My own successor has just been elected, and I have to be cautious about what I commit the country to."

"I will catch Kira on my own," Near asserted, leaving no room for argument. His finger paused in its constant circling, then resumed. "The matter I need you for is small, and your successor should also agree to it. I require at least one of your best FBI agents. No, two would be better... Three would make it seem like I don't trust the detectives I'll be working with. Two will give me people I can use and trust to do what needs to be done and to protect me." Near paused, considering, and then slowly dropped his pale eyes to meet president Hale's gaze. "Watari is also attached to L. I can not trust that he will always act in the interest of the investigation and that his will can not be compromised. With your help, I would feel more secure in my pursuit of Kira."

President Hale tensed, but hid it. The agent by the door shifted, hand settling closer to his gun, and Hale calmed again. Even if Watari were to side with L and Kira at this moment, it could do him little good against an armed guard. "It's strange that you mention that in front of Watari," he mused, keeping Watari in his vision as he watched Near. Watari had made no reaction at all to Near's announcement.

"Near is not concerned with social niceties," Watari spoke for the first time. His voice was sardonically amused and had a faint English accent. "His only focus is capturing L and bringing Kira to justice."

"I see..." President Hale steepled his fingers, gaze thoughtful.

Though getting on in years, the president made it a point to remain healthy and to stay sharp. He was a politician, but liked to think that he had the interest of the country at heart. What Near suggested was simple enough-- two agents could be easily spared. But then... President Hale sighed. "I'm sorry, but I'll have to decline. The last time the US interceded with Kira our agents were murdered. I don't want to see a repeat of that situation."

"I understand," Near replied. "You don't want negative press before the inauguration. Critics would certainly claim that this is a last attempt to raise your standing with the American public before you're forced to retire. It would be better to simply allow Kira to win." Standing, Near turned for the door. "Good day, Mr. President."

Pride and irritation straightened the president's spine. "You're out of line," he informed the child coolly.

"...As were you," Near responded. Still, he paused in his walk to the door, back to the president and face turned only partly toward him. He waited.

Clasping his hands again, President Hale bowed his head. Two lives were at stake in this decision. Still, if they were only assisting the boy, it was possible that they would stay alive. And if there was a chance the eccentric child with his unnatural intelligence could really stop Kira and save the world... He sighed heavily. "Very well. I'll grant you two agents."

Turning slightly, the albino favored Hale with a cheerful smile that couldn't seem to reach his eyes. "You made the correct decision," Near approved.

"Of course, you would say that," President Hale commented in a dry tone. His expression remained sober. "Do you believe you can catch Kira where L failed?"

"L didn't fail," Near returned. "He was just weak. He let emotions decide for him and lost to Kira because of that."

"And you don't believe that will happen to you?" asked the president.

"My emotions don't work that way." The cryptic statement was accompanied by the boy turning away. "Thank you for your support, Mr. President. I will definitely catch L now."

"You mean Kira?" President Hale clarified, not liking the sound of that. This entire situation filled him with foreboding.

"Yes, him as well," Near agreed.

To that, President Hale couldn't think of a thing to say.

-----

Scratch is by Kendall Payne. It is fairly depressing, but the lyrics work. Mostly. The sequel's title will eventually make it into a chapter, but we haven't gotten that far yet.

I'm trying to collect information on Mello, Matt and Near from any sources I can to write them better. I like the Matt in my mind but he apparently needs some work, I'm still fuzzy on Mello's char until I write him more, and I'm starting to get a hold on Near I think. General chapter notes: Hale is an original character, since Near talks to president Hoope in March 2009 and he seemed like he'd been in office for more than three months, so I assumed it was his second term... And as this is set currently in November 2004 and that was an election year, my president Hale is finishing up his last few months until Hoope takes over. This occurred to me abruptly a few days ago. Nori is not an original character, however-- she's the actress Misa traded outfits with when she was sneaking out on a date with the third Kira. I gave her a last name by asking my best friend "What would be a funny last name for a girl named Nori?".

Edit : Thanks to NightmareTears on ffnet for pointing out that Misa shouldn't have written her full name into the Death Note! Changed it to "her friend, Misa", so she wouldn't... you know... die of a heart-attack forty seconds after writing.

Comment reviews:

Shido Burrito: I'm glad you enjoyed GM! Also, there will be more sex, but not for at least a few chapters. It took a while for Light and L to get to know each other, and it will take some time for Kira and L to piss each other off enough.

Gloria B: My goodness, you replied thoroughly. Good to have you reading, and I appreciate your response. Your comment on the evidence being against the Death Note corrupting people is interesting... Maybe it's just a tool that allows their personalities to be magnified? But I might argue that while Misa and Higuchi remained themselves, it drove Light and Teru a little bit mad... No, actually, Teru was always sort of crazy. So, well, it allowed Light to take pride and boredom and turn it into a worldwide problem. Hmm... Also! I haven't read the Los Angeles B.B. murder cases yet, but you mentioning it made me order it online. You sharing my love of Aizawa is good! Aizawa comes into play starting next chapter.

Aurora Moon: Right now my spare time is going into writing when I'm not side-tracked by Shades of Mystification or Reigning on Heaven updating, but I'll read yours soon.

Riven Liether: Hiii! Good to see I'm still keeping you reading. I'm glad it's not over, too...

Kira Douji: My goodness, you weren't kidding about the wall of text. It made me quite delighted. I believe that was the most thorough review I've ever gotten! It amuses me that I trapped you into reading something so much longer than you intended, but I feel bad for keeping you awake! You comment on it seeming like I just let the chars go and see what would happen is completely accurate-- I work hard to get a feel for a character, but once it's down I like to just see what they'll do. It's frustrating when they change the plot of my story though. (Rem actually did that just slightly toward the end of GM). I'm still accepting answers on the Kira question for a bit longer since I'm just starting in on the chapter that will need them. So, very appreciated! Also, is your name referring to Kira doujinshi or something else entirely?

Hellagoddess: Your reviews send me into fits of giggling filled with adoration. If that's not creepy. Anyway. Thank you for the secret L-cookie? Also, Mello may go the rest of the fic convinced he secretly really is the main character. Poor thing.

GreatestHits: Wooow it's been a while, welcome back! The phrase 'this is the ultimate' really amuses me for some reason. I like it. Thanks!

Zannie: It would have been easier, but I'd have hated it. GM focused on Light and L, and so is a lighter story with a different focus... this is more on Kira and L, so it felt like it needed a new name and a new start. I dunno, I'm weird. Also, my manga are all scanlations, so there's usually a sort of awkward English to some of them-- the smartass stuff didn't shine through as well, so I was hobbling character profiles in my head as well I could. Thanks! I'll keep it in mind when I write. Also, I'm still not sure about other pairings...


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