Tear You Apart

BY : Duomi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 5706
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: Had Enough

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

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Kira/L

Comments: Look, a longer chapter~! Thanks go to Gloria B. and "The Source" for providing me with insight into my vast oversight on future plot things. Everything just got a whole lot more complicated, and I'm dancing with joy. (Sorry I couldn't get it up Monday! I ended up rewriting the second half...)

-----

By eight the next morning, L was curled as customary on the couch, stirring his tea with a lollipop. Extensive tips to the help had inspired the workers at the Hotel Hyundai to keep on top of procuring new sweets for the reclusive detective. Additional tips had even found Ryuk a supply of apples, and the shinigami was delightedly working his way through a small pile.

L didn't bother looking up when Kira exited the shower in a cloud of steam. Fully dressed and hair perfect, the murderer came into the room with a slight frown for Ryuk. "...I trust the two of you weren't bored in my absence?" he asked dryly.

The dark-haired detective rolled his eyes to Kira, then returned to his food. Ryuk paused before tossing the core of his apple into his mouth. He seemed to be grinning more widely than usual.

"..." Mildly annoyed but hiding it, Kira looked between the two suspiciously as he approached the couch. He stopped cold as his eyes took in the sundae dish sitting in the conspicuous hole left by his Death Note. Irrational fear gripped him for an instant as he worried that L had destroyed it-- but with the false rule to protect it, that wasn't a concern. Besides, his memories were still intact and Ryuk was there. Calming himself, he crossed his arms on his chest and gave L a Look. "What did you do with it?" he demanded harshly.

L widened his eyes at Kira. "What do you mean, Kira-kun?"

Kira glared. "You know damn well what I mean," he responded curtly. Controlling himself, he stepped closer to glare threateningly down at the unimpressed older man. "The Death Note, L. Where did you hide it?"

"...Kira-kun... logically speaking, why would I tell you?" L asked, words flat but implying sarcastic inquiry. He discarded a cherry from the top of the sundae and pulled it closer, taking a scoop.

Grimacing in annoyance, Kira turned to Ryuk. "Well? You've been in here the whole time. Where did he put it?"

"Hyuk... You're right, L, this is pretty fun," Ryuk spoke, disjointed eyes staring in opposite directions as he turned his face toward L.

"You two were discussing me?" Kira asked in clipped tones.

"Not really," L corrected, digging into his ice-cream with methodical enjoyment. "I was trying to determine how Ryuk acts and in what ways he might be useful. I found one," he added helpfully, scooping up a syrup-drenched spoonful of ice-cream.

"Obviously..." Kira replied irritably. Sighing, he surveyed the room before going to the entertainment center, looking behind it. "...Are we leaving again today? Keeping the Death Note here would be careless," he pointed out. "If some maid found it..."

"I do not believe they clean that thoroughly," L mused. "...Anyway, we must remain here at least another day. Though we've always gone disguised, there is a chance that Kira-kun will be recognized when we go into the world again."

Continuing to search that corner of the suite thoroughly, Kira finished empty-handed. Irritation turning swiftly to a deep anger as Ryuk continued to laugh at him, the brunet moved on, turning the paintings on the wall to the side just in case the Note was taped behind them somehow.

The curtains. The couch-- making L scuttle briefly from the cushion to look beneath him. Under the couch. The bedroom. Even the mini-fridge... all were searched carefully and without result.

Returning to the sofa, Kira dropped onto it with anger radiating from himself. He cast L an annoyed look as the other man slurped noisily on his spoon, sundae long-gone and a heavily sweetened cup of Earl Grey in front of him now. "Kira-kun is giving up?" he suggested.

"...Of course not," Kira scoffed, frowning. "I was only pausing to think. Besides, I haven't even eaten yet..." Standing again, he went to the room's phone and dialed the Korean restaurant attached to the hotel. He ordered and bribed one of the maids into delivering his food for him.

Vladivostok was much more appealing to Kira than Tuscany had been; not only was Russian one of the languages he'd made a point of learning, but the city's location on the Eastern coast of Russia meant that their hotel had a wide selection of Oriental cuisine. The city's pollution wasn't even a concern to him, as they wouldn't be staying long enough to risk their health and remained indoors in any case.

As he waited for the food-- a traditional Japanese breakfast of miso soup, rice and nattou-- Kira prowled the suite once more, searching any places he may have missed the first time around and crouching to glance at the underside of the coffee table L had covered in sweets. Giving up reluctantly, he cast L and his desserts a properly scathing look. L remained unaffected. "...Humans can't survive on that. I've seen you take vitamin supplements, but that won't replace real nutrition. Having an intelligent mind doesn't give you the unnatural ability to survive solely on candy and cake."

"...I drink tea as well," L remarked, sipping at the drink in question to make his point.

Ryuk chuckled. "Maybe he really is a shinigami, Light. We don't need to eat, after all..."

"And yet you act like you would die without your apples," Kira commented sardonically.

Ryuk tilted his head. "Well... apples are good! They're really, really good. I don't understand how you guys can go days without eating them..." He tossed another apple core into his mouth and gave a very human sigh of satisfaction.

Kira rolled his eyes.

A short time later there was a knock on the door. From the coffee table, Kira grabbed his current disguise for the public-- a high-quality wig and a pair of stylish false-glasses-- and adjusted them on himself with what was becoming accustomed ease. He looked down at L and L studied his appearance before reaching up to adjust the fake hair slightly. Nodding in thanks, Kira went to the door and retrieved his breakfast with a charming smile and brief chitchat with the deliverer. He slipped the young woman a few extra bills and she beamed broadly, bobbing her thanks and giving him a coy smile.

Thanking her politely and without interest, Kira shut the door and carefully moved into the room with his tray after re-locking their suite. "...You're a bad influence on them. She managed to bring a piece of cake from the café as well..." he commented sardonically. He gave the mess of plates on the table a pointed look and L sighed, reaching over after a brief staring contest to stack the empty dishes out of Kira's way. Kira suspected the detective only gave in because of the fresh, moist cake that was currently in Kira's possession.

When L reached automatically for the new sweet Kira blocked his hands and glared at him. "I should just throw it away. Or hide it from you until I get the Death Note back."

"...That would be illogical, Kira-kun," L pointed out, lower lip pouting. The expression was as familiar as it was childish, and Kira found himself sighing in exasperation and moving his arm.

An instant later, he frowned slightly and glanced at L before turning his attention to his soup as L took a reverent bite of the strawberry layer cake. Why did I do that? Such a ridiculous expression should have only made me carry through with my threats... Still, the motion had been almost instinctive.

"...Kira-kun..." L began, speaking around the fork in his mouth with his eyes closed in bliss. He swallowed, and Kira blinked to find his eyes drawn to the distinct movement of L's Adam's Apple.

When L seemed disinclined to continue, Kira stifled another burst of irritation. "Yes?" he prompted.

"..." L tilted his head, pulling the fork out and then looking to the ceiling with the tines still resting lightly against his mouth. "Kira-kun didn't argue with me," he observed in a thoughtful, curious tone. Rather, in a flat tone that Kira could, from months of exposure to the eccentric man, recognize as having those qualities.

"...It's a piece of cake, L," Kira replied flatly. He stirred his miso soup and took a sip, deciding it wasn't nearly as good as his mother could make, but was decent enough. "It wasn't worth arguing with you over. Just because you have the maturity of a five-year-old and have hidden my Death Note doesn't mean I have to stoop to your level."

"...And yet, you normally would," L argued. He took another bite, still not looking at Kira.

The younger genius grimaced faintly. "So you assume. What are you trying to get at, L? I'm tired of this already. You can't be thinking giving you a piece of cake means that I'm Kira, since that fact has already been firmly established. So?"

"...My point is that Kira does not necessarily hate me as much as he would like to," L stated calmly.

"Your deductions are sadly mistaken." Kira took a regal sip of tea. "I wouldn't 'like' to hate you, L. I don't care about you one way or another. You're an aggravation to my existence, but at the moment you're useful enough... and you do help to alleviate my boredom."

"As Kira wishes to believe," L agreed simply. He took another bite of cake, appearing content.

"..." Gritting his teeth, Kira tried to put L from his mind, concentrating on his meal. However, the attempt to not think about a thing makes it all the more impossible, and for a genius who could never simply stop thinking this was even more true. His mind turned almost immediately to adding to a long list of reasons L's company was annoying to him and he added a note to shun the man the next time L attempted to use pouting as a means to his ends.

Kira wondered absently why the other man still retained his curled up, defensive posture. He had a nagging feeling that they had discussed this subject at some point, but strangely enough, he couldn't remember. It had something to do with L's thoughts, however...

That line of reasoning was useless. Everything the detective did was because of his thoughts. The man was like Kira-- his mind wouldn't rest. Though his constant way of sitting like that always grated mildly at Kira's sense of normalcy... it had become a part of L that seemed natural, and L's occasional reversions to his pre-Kira self were still alarming and rare.

Kira froze, bowl just above his tray. Carefully, he set the dish down and stared at it. L's pose... He had checked everywhere else, and L had known the Note would be in a hiding place no maid could find. Logically, it would also be someplace Kira would be disinclined to look. The Death Note had been on the table before his shower, which made it unlikely that it was hidden in the bathroom...

There was only one place the Note could be.

He turned a slow glare on L. Sensing it, L set his fork down and gave Kira wide eyes. At the same instant Kira lunged for him, L dodged over the arm of the couch. He landed in a roll that turned smoothly into standing again, and as he straightened into his usual crouch he held delicately aloft the Death Note. Ryuk laughed in appreciation as Kira stood and advanced on L with a dangerous gleam in his honey-colored eyes. "You've been sitting with it this whole time."

"Obviously, that is correct," L agreed. He edged past the couch and into the open area between sofa and door, and his stance seemed somehow both looser and more tense than usual as he waited for Kira to rush him. "I suspected that Kira would not be so thorough as to attempt lifting my shirt and searching me."

"Next time I'll know better," Kira drawled. "It must have been uncomfortable..." As he spoke, he paced around L, attempting to back the man into the couch or some trapped corner. L, noticing this, stopped backing away and remained where he was.

"Yes, it was," L agreed. "...However, time Kira-kun is deprived of the Death Note can be measured in lives saved."

"I'll just kill them later," Kira disagreed, eyes narrowing. He gave a feint to test L, but the older detective merely ignored his move, appearing to wait calmly.

L lifted his thumb to his mouth and Kira took the opportunity to rush at him again and attempt to land a real punch.

The detective swayed from the way of the attack effortlessly. Rather than taking advantage of Kira's outstretched arm, however, he twisted out of his reach and stood a short distance away as though mocking him.

Goaded to real anger once more, Kira aimed another punch at the infuriating detective.

This time, L took the flow of his casual evasion several steps further: as he turned aside he dropped his upper body down and jumped. His feet spun up impossibly fast, catching Kira in quick succession across his chest before he landed lightly several feet away. Swaying slightly as his feet returned to the ground, L returned to his usual slouch and looked over in time to see Kira hit the carpet. The Death Note still dangled precariously from the dark-haired man's thumb and forefinger.

Stunned for the moment, Kira stared up at L with his mouth slightly open. Offended fury and wounded pride replaced the shock almost instantly and he was on his feet again. Kira attacked with renewed speed, mindful of the same attack.

L didn't dodge. Taking Kira's punch full-on, L was knocked to the floor. He controlled the fall, placing one hand flat on the ground as the other kept its hold on the Death Note. Twisting into a hand-spin, he caught Kira square in the jaw with a bony ankle.

Teeth snapping together with an audible clack, Kira was thrown through the air and into the wall.

The painting beside him crashed to the ground and Kira followed it down.

Head throbbing from the blows, Kira groaned, stirring enough after several moments to drag his hand across his mouth. His teeth had split his lower lip and red had splattered his previously pristine sweater. "Wha--" he tried. Loathe to spit out blood but finding it difficult to speak around, the youth grimaced in distaste and swallowed a salt-and-copper mouthful before coughing. He pulled himself to his feet with the help of the wall and felt gingerly at his jaw to be sure it wasn't cracked. "...What was that?"

"Parafuseta, then a piao de mao," L explained. Not even slightly winded, he rolled one shoulder and tilted his head sharply to pop his neck. "My form is possibly rusty. I should resume practicing... it has been several years."

"What's the fighting style called?" Kira clarified, glaring at L but used to his obscurities.

"...Capoeira."

One word. Kira clenched his jaw, but found that that hurt. He advanced on L with a good deal more caution this time. "And where did you learn it?" he coaxed, suspecting that at least part of the reason L offered no information on his own was simply to provoke him.

Of course, it could just as easily be because L had the sparkling social skills of a hermetic zombie.

L's expression went blank as he watched Kira approach. "Why does Kira-kun wish to know?" he asked in return.

"Curiosity," Kira replied sardonically. He frowned at L. "You just kicked me into a wall. I think I have a right to know how."

"...I was taught by Naomi Misora." L shifted on his feet, scratching his calf with the toes of his other foot. The Death Note swung temptingly in his loose grip.

No longer fooled by this display of inattention, Kira arched an eyebrow. He knew her? His surprise was easily hidden by a haughty, considering look. "Misora... really." Kira snorted for dramatic effect, smirking and running a hand through his hair. "If I'd known she met you, I might have kept her alive a little longer. She was a little too observant for her own good..." Pretending to have an insight, Kira let his smirk linger and widen. "Wait... an intelligent, attractive young woman who took the time to help you out on a case and teach a social invert like you how to defend himself? Could she have been your first love?"

L stood perfectly still, face smooth and eyes two featureless discs of black. In spite of his control, however, the detective gave away more than he intended-- his relaxed pose was undercut by a fierce tension and his hands had curled into fists. Now clenched tightly, the Death Note seemed in danger of being permanently bent on one side. "Yagami-kun..." L intoned. The name was a warning falling without emotion from his lips.

"'Yagami-kun' now?" Kira laughed. "Did I hit a nerve or two?" He stepped closer confidently, intending to break L's control and take the Note before L could remember another move. An evil smile curled his lips as he played his final card. He had been waiting for months to use it-- a slip L had made when Light had asked him about his parents, referring to them in the past tense when he'd told Light he wouldn't talk about them. "It's too bad how everyone you love seems to die." L blanched, the draining of color making him look even more inhuman.

---

Kira dove forward, all attention on the Death Note-- and so he missed the pale of L's cheeks flushing suddenly with rage and the explosion of real emotion in normally lifeless eyes. Kira's fingers closed on the Death Note's other corner at the same moment L made his final attack.

Jumping back for leverage, L never noticed the Death Note ripping as anything more than a fortunate distraction to his enemy. Springing forward with his weight angled low, he twisted with one leg flung out to knock Kira's legs from under him. As Kira fell he turned the momentum from the kick into a spinning jump that ended with both feet on Kira's chest. His intended rebound failed and he collapsed to the ground with the younger man, their legs tangling painfully.

It took several long seconds for L's breathing to slow and his sanity to fully return.

L didn't love Misora. However, she had been a good person and one that he highly respected; if he weren't L, and if she had been more ambitious, he may have chosen her as his interest. Kira's blatant disregard for her as a person and his lack of regret in killing her had offended a part of L in a way that he couldn't simply dismiss. The fact that Kira had realized this and provoked him still further was something he should have expected, and yet he had allowed himself to be pushed. L always regretted allowing his emotions to drive him into impulsive acts. Even after months and years of carefully controlling his emotions, he didn't find lashing out to be cathartic or any sort of release. It was merely tiring.

Sitting up now, L checked Kira over to make sure the younger man would be all right. Kira appeared winded and shocked, but fine overall... his eyes were staring blankly at his hand.

Following his gaze, the detective felt his heart stutter in his chest.

Half of the front cover and a handful of pages were held in Kira's numb fingers. More torn pages littered the expensive carpet, and the rest of the Death Note lay beside L like the victim of an attempted murder, mutilated edges open to the air.

If you make this note unusable by tearing it up or burning it, all the humans who have touched the note until then will die.

Seconds stretched by eternally, and L realized that he was still alive.

He blinked.

Another fake rule?

Feeling as though he'd escaped death by coincidence, L pulled himself to his feet, still unreal. His gaze dragged slowly to the shinigami, where Ryuk stood nearby with a half-eaten apple forgotten during the fight. "...The rule," L began. "The Note can be destroyed without consequence?" It was too good to be true. To get Light back, perhaps he only had to burn what was left of the Note... Then again, the rule had stated that Kira would only lose his memories if the Note were rendered unusable-- it was possible he had only been lucky.

Lost in his shock and calculations, he failed to notice Kira standing beside him. He also couldn't sense the rage seething in the younger genius' body.

He didn't even feel Kira's fist connect with his cheek. Instead, pain and a burst of light flashed through his mind as he soared through the air. Hitting the back of the couch, he was flipped over, rebounding from the cushions and slamming into the coffee table.

---

Moving cautiously around the sofa, Kira looked down at L and fought the urge to kill the other man with his own hands. The Death Note-- the instrument that would allow Kira to create his beautiful new world-- L had torn it. Desecrated it. Red tinged the edge of Kira's vision and he breathed erratically as he tried to stay in control.

When the red faded and the wrath receded, Kira looked coldly down at the older man.

L was sprawled awkwardly, feet on the couch and neck against the edge of the coffee table. His right arm was trapped behind him.

Dishes and sweets were scattered across the surface of the table, jarred by the collision of detective and furniture. Luckily for L, most of the fallen dishes had been flung to the opposite side by the force of his fall.

The dark-haired man appeared to be stunned.

Pride somewhat soothed by the other man's comical and obviously painful position, Kira crossed his arms on his chest. "Is your capoeira supposed to end that way?"

“...I became distracted...” L gritted out. Taking a breath and clenching his jaw, he pulled his feet down from the cushions and sat up, supporting himself with his left arm. The new position put him closer to Kira, and L’s gaze traveled up the other man, dark eyes impossible to read.

Recognizing the look from their fight, Kira tensed and tried to step out of range-- failed to move quickly enough and collapsed with a curse as L’s heel caught his kneecap with a precise amount of force. More angry than hurt, the brunet glared at L. “The fight was over.”

“I know,” L agreed matter-of-factly. “I was starting a new one.”

“Bad move,” Kira asserted, eyes narrowed. Lunging, he caught L’s right arm in a tight grip, not having missed the other man favoring it.

L’s eyes rolled up and he collapsed backward.

Releasing the man’s arm as he fell, Kira blinked, caught between sadistic satisfaction and mild concern. L had torn the Death Note. Sadism won. Frowning, he knelt over the detective anyway. “L?”

Eyelashes fluttered open over obsidian eyes, and L took careful, pained breaths. His gaze refocused on Kira and without warning his pointy knee caught Kira in the ribs.

Grunting in pain and losing his balance, the murderer found himself aligned along L’s body in an interesting way. Ignoring that thought in disgust, he levered himself up on an elbow. Before he could sit up, however, a strong hand slid to his lower back and balled itself into Kira’s shirt. Exasperated, Kira frowned down at L. “This is getting ridiculous--” His breath escaped in a rush as L pulled down on Kira’s back and lifted his hips into the younger man’s. “That...” he tried, but his eyes closed at the forgotten pleasure such friction could bring. Distracted by the underhanded tactic, Kira realized belatedly that he’d followed L’s hips down and had his face against the other man’s neck, mouth open as though to taste him. Shaken and alarmed, he tried to escape again.

Unfortunately for him, L’s trick proved equally effective the second time.

“Idiot-- your arm is broken...” Kira informed L. The distracted moan that appeared to be what passed for his voice at the moment was pure embarrassment. He took out his annoyance by driving his hips more sharply against L's. L caught the rhythm and Kira's thoughts began to scatter, one hand slipping into L's shirt to slide over his skin.

“Mm... Eighty-five percent likely...” L agreed. His good arm clung to Kira and his head was thrown back, but he stubbornly kept his legs from winding around Kira's to encourage him.

Kira returned his mouth to L's exposed throat, but turned the tempting urge to kiss into a vindictive bite instead. Tensing, L shuddered at the bite and arched sharply into the other man. Startled enough to lose his rhythm, Kira let out a vicious chuckle. “A masochist after all...”

L’s own lips caught onto Kira’s neck in argument, and to raise an additional point he pulled his nails up along the younger man’s spine as he bucked his hips.

Mind spinning from the persuasive combination, Kira lost his focus and moaned quietly. L’s nails dug in convulsively at the sound, and the older man attempted to push Kira to his back. The heat of the moment made him forget his arm, however, and he fell back again with a grimace of pain, sweat beading his skin. "...Ow," he remarked.

Kira snorted at him in dazed amusement. “I wouldn’t try that again. Besides... you realize how lucky you are that I’m even paying attention to you...?” he asked, licking a line along L’s jaw and suckling at point of his throat just below his chin.

Swallowing convulsively, L held Kira closer, eyes shutting on their own. “...Lucky that a self-obsessed... sociopath...” he attempted.

Finishing his mark there, Kira gave the other man an admonishing nip and shifted his hips more forcefully against L’s. Without his conscious thought, his hands slid to the detective’s jeans, tugging at the button and zipper. After a moment, he cursed and pulled away from L long enough to accomplish his task without their bodies getting in the way. “You think you’re better?” he retorted. A sharp toss of his head moved his already sweat-damp bangs from his vision as he succeeded in undoing the zipper. L’s hand hovered nearby in an attempt to help, but Kira swatted it away. Glancing up, he was unprepared to meet L’s eyes. The intensity of their focus caused a shiver down his spine and Kira felt caught. Almost against his will, he bent down again and their lips met for the first time in weeks. The open-mouthed kiss felt oddly awkward at first, and Kira wondered at the uncertain clench to his stomach and why his head felt suddenly light. Putting the useless questions from his mind, he pressed closer to L, lying along him again as their attention narrowed to their tongues sliding and twisting together.

Another low moan escaped Kira-- and above them, a familiar laugh was heard, followed by a crunch. Juice dripped onto the back of Kira's neck.

Jerking in surprise and tensing, Kira glared up at Ryuk.

The shinigami was currently standing in the middle of the coffee table to look down at them, eating an apple as if it were popcorn and the humans were a good movie.

“Ryuk. Out,” Kira snapped. As the shinigami wasn’t human, it wasn’t worth becoming embarrassed by his watching, though having anything see him like this wasn’t high on Kira’s list of favorite things. At the moment, he couldn’t care.

“Hyuk, hyuk. This is a lot more fun. You never did anything like this with Misa. I thought it was just because you were busy with the Death Note... Light’s actually acting human!” Laughing again, Ryuk tilted his head back and tossed the apple core into his mouth, shoulders shaking and earring swinging with his mirth. "I have to admit, though, this isn't really my idea of fun. I'm still a guy, after all. Misa was a lot cuter."

Kira gave Ryuk the focused glare that he was famous for and it actually had the power to stop the shinigami mid-laugh. “Did you enjoy that apple?”

Ryuk shifted, suspecting a trap. He looked from Kira to L, who was staring up at him with his flat eyes. “Of course! Why wouldn‘t I?”

“Because the next apple you get will be a year from now. Remember the taste.”

At Kira’s cold words, Ryuk dropped his jaw. “Light-- you can’t mean that-- I would go in withdrawal. It would hurt.”

"You like to feel alive, don't you? Well, feeling pain is just as effective as laughing," Kira asserted ruthlessly.

Ryuk's mask-like face stared at Kira for a moment as the shinigami processed that. Changing tactics, he turned to L. “You should talk sense into him. Having no apples would be like if he took away your cake...”

Kira’s glare intensified. “He’ll agree with me. If you ever want another apple, shut up and go into the other room.”

The shinigami seemed about to speak before reconsidering, suspecting that Kira was evil enough to withhold apples if Ryuk didn’t obey him to the letter of his command. For once, Ryuk wasn't laughing. Instead he materialized his wings to leave the room more quickly, gliding through the wall and into the bedroom without another word.

Sighing when the shinigami was gone, Kira dropped his forehead to L’s shoulder. “Why did I let Misa escape with Rem?” he asked the air. “I should have just let her die and kept the smarter shinigami to myself. Rem isn’t nearly as aggravating...”

“Perhaps we can still trade them,” L offered. “Amane-san can’t be that difficult to find...”

“That’s actually a concern,” Kira admitted wryly. “She’s good cover, but now that our identities are out she’s a liability. If I kill her off before her scheduled time to die, though, Rem will assume it was me. I don’t put it past Rem to not kill me with her bare hands.”

Reluctantly, Kira pushed himself to his elbows again and studied L. He found himself... surprisingly disappointed that Ryuk had ruined the mood. Now reality was intruding again and it was quite annoying. Which was ridiculous-- L had defaced the Death Note. Given a chance, the detective would probably burn it.

“...Kira-kun talks casually of killing someone devoted to him... Does he care for anyone?” L wondered out loud.

“Of course,” Kira replied casually. “I care for everyone... At least, everyone that’s worth saving. They deserve to be protected.” Balancing his upper body on one elbow, he reached up to nudge a plate farther from L’s head. “You’ve got cake in your hair,” he observed. “...I didn’t actually notice it was there. I must have been distracted by you cheating.”

“...Which time?” L asked.

Kira snorted, not seeing a reason to answer. He frowned at L. "...Why did you try that, anyway? I was ready to kill you for what you did to the Death Note, and you seemed to feel the same way over Misora. It isn't like you to be so..."

"...Impulsive?" finished L. Kira lifted his chin in agreement and sat up again, brushing his clothes back into order. L levered himself to rest on his good arm and pull his knees closer to himself. "Kira-kun used my emotions against me in an underhanded attempt to retrieve the Death Note. Likelihood of Kira using any and all tactics to win the Death Note back was at ninety percent. I assumed that you might try something like that, but my reaction caught me... off-guard. Still, Kira-kun was reacting to my provocation. Staying angry at him for that would be useless." L had turned his focus to his arm as he spoke, prodding it gently and without wincing. "...In any case, if I fail to retrieve the Death Note once more and destroy it now that the fake rule has been exposed, there was a forty-percent chance that if Kira got into a position where he felt he had some control and it was safe to allow his attraction to show, this situation would become more favorable..."

Having listened without comment to L's speech until the end, morbidly interested in L's dispassionate analysis of his likely broken arm, Kira abruptly stiffened. "In other words, you believed that if I were on top at first, you could trick me into sex again and switch our roles partway through?"

Finally glancing at Kira again, L kept his face carefully devoid of expression as he realized his tactical error. Biting the bullet, he nodded.

Kira's fist cracked once more into L's jaw. He shook his hand out, knowing the bruises on his knuckles would be an irritant while writing down the names of the judged. Leaving L to set his own broken arm, he stalked away to find some tape.

---

Though his plan hadn't gone entirely according to plan, the genius detective watched Kira walk away before allowing himself a smug smile. Kira-kun should learn not to let a little mention of sex make him lose control. Fake rule is confirmed, certainty: one hundred percent.

-----

I have a short list of songs that are 100% L and Kira to me. This song, by Breaking Benjamin, is on that list. Most of the others will make it into chapter titles eventually. I also have a music video of different future and current scenes of TYA that play in my head when I hear it. Capoeira moves gotten at capoeirascience.com.

Sorry this took so long! On the plus side, I have pretty much everything planned out to chapter ten now. The chars seem to change things on me sometimes, though... Like the end of this chapter. I had a lemon all planned out, then Ryuk popped up, and... well, as you see. For those rooting for kinksiness, there will be some! Eventually. Stay strong! My original plan had been for Kira to be seme for a while and L to eventually work to be an equal in his eyes, yadda yadda... Things changed, and it's a much more even playing field again. Though L having a broken arm might give Kira an unfair advantage for a few weeks... we'll see what happens!

Note: Edited all chapters in TYA for capitalization problems (chief Yagami to Chief Yagami, death note to Death Note). Would do so with GM too but it seems cruel to make people think it had a new chapter or something when it pops up as edited...

[ Additional edits dedicated to shadowform! She pointed out that L would not necessarily have been able to determine the rule was a fake just from it being a bit torn, so I edited L's realization slightly, edited part of another line and added on the end-bit from L's POV. This wasn't meant to be a confusing sneaky plot-point or anything, just a mistake on my part! Thanks again, shadowform...! ]

Review responses:

WM: I think L doesn't have any simple reason to hunt down criminals-- I think it's a mix of reasons and drives that occur depending on the case and himself. As "L" he only gets involved with large or very unusual cases, but he has identities all over the world as other detectives, and I believe to do that he would have to have at least some drive toward justice, beyond a desire to match his wits against criminals (and other detectives) and prove himself the best. At the same time, I think he's motivated by the need to stay active and interested as much as his sense of justice... Really, I think the main reason he took on the Kira case was because it met all of his guidelines-- a large, interesting case-- and he thought it would be a challenge. He does seem to care that people die, though. I'll work to explain this later!

Lady Gaia: Light doesn't have enough of a definite personality within him to take control-- it's more a strong influence at this point that's seeping into Kira's everyday interactions and aggravating him. It's fun to write. ^_^ The shinigami part is the part I don't intend to use unless I change my mind-- next chapter should be when I explain this.

Hellagoddess: *laughs at the nails-bitten-to-stumps imagery* That is horrifying! Don't mutilate yourself in wait, please! I love your description of the if-I-were-awake-I'd-be-plotting-your-death thing. Thank you! (I imagine Raito off on the side of that picture, glaring mind-daggers at L as he eats his cake...)

Lila: The cold got better, thanks! I waited a year and a half to finish the series after he died-- I only did so because I wanted to write this. It took another four months to get over my resentment at Mello and Near trying to replace L... I wonder if Ohba would have done things differently if he'd realized the reaction to L. Nope, though! L isn't remotely thinking about love. I believe he's studiously pretending not to know what that word means. The video was fun, too! I wasted at least an hour because of that sidetrack looking around at DN stuff on Youtube.

Nusku: The prettiest shinigami ever. And the smartest. A new shinigami king, perhaps-- I actually read a fic where Raito became a prince of the shinigami realm. It's over on FFnet somewhere-- pretty interesting take on things.

Specimennumber1: I do believe that the fandom can always use another stream of angst and porn. *grins* People would likely not complain. All of your writings up on AFF are Trigun, right? So it'd be interesting to see what you do with this fandom. I'll probably check out you dA account after food and before work.

Gloria B: Glad you liked the chapter! Thanks so much for talking with me, you and he have helped a lot with my focus for the story! (Wow... shortest response to one of your reviews yet!)

Sabaku_lotus: I know! I'm trying to wrap my mind around how fast this year is going. I'm better now, thanks! Mello is definitely big on drama, and the BB cases are a wonderful read. Ah! Don't mention Souichirou with Kira... it's not happening here, nope. I think that'd shock everyone into heart-attacks. Good luck being Near! Bring an ever-changing collection of toys and a rubber duck, perhaps.

Viridian Kat: "An idealist without a yardstick"... I like that! It does seem to explain Kira well. Their interaction are similar to dissociative identity disorder but not that extreme-- "Light" is more of an influence in Kira's mind that he disapproves of that has the ability to fight with him in his dreams.

Kiyoshi: I'm very flattered! I didn't think anyone liked GM to that degree, so thank you! I'm also pleased that you couldn't guess the twists-- hopefully that stays true in the sequel as well. Thanks again!


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