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: Land of Confusion

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: This chapter makes me happy, though it will probably frustrate many. Everything’s going properly chaotic now, but it’s a few chapters yet before Hell starts to break itself loose.

Also, for any interested, I made a song website! It's simple, just has direct links to all of the music I've used as chapter titles in both GM and TYA. This is not to say that I condone piracy... I assume anyone interested will immediately go buy the song in question from iTunes or summat like a lovely and responsible person if they like it. (I myself am not a lovely or responsible person according to this definition of lovely responsibility, but I'm nothing if not a hypocrite, and don't at all mind urging others to do as I do not.) It's also got the fanart Gloria B. made me. (Thank you so much!!! It fills me with happiness!!! Very bewildered happiness!!!)

Site: http://www.alo-draga.com/duomi/SongPage.htm
(Please pardon the crappiness! I know nothing about html and webpage ness, so that was made looking at help pages in a few hours, so... it sucks. But is functional, so hey.)

Also! Other fanart: http://marr-marr.deviantart.com/art/for-duomi-fanart-1-82681930
The fact that anyone drew anything for my story makes me insanely pleased and totally confused. As well as the fact that anyone is still reading. So thank you for staying with me and reading with me, everyone...!

-----

Sayu Yagami clutched her purse to her side, heart in her throat as she stared up at the impossibly tall building. The windows above her reflected the overcast morning in a somber gray, making the lighting for the Sakura TV lobby warm in comparison.

The contrast didn't comfort her, however. Taking a breath, she pushed open the glass doors-- repaired since her father had crashed an armored truck into the building seven months before-- and strode inside. Going to the main desk, Sayu fished her school ID out and set it in front of the receptionist. Pressing her hands flat against the counter to hide their trembling, Sayu spoke as firmly as she could, trying for a commanding adult presence. "I'm Light Yagami's sister, and I need you to please let me on a broadcast," she informed the receptionist.

Doubt on the receptionist's part gave way to wide eyes and recognition as the young man looked from her to her identification and back to Sayu. “”Ho-- hold on.” Reaching for his phone, he hit a speed dial and waited a moment before speaking into the receiver. “Tell Demegawa-san that Sayu Yagami is here, and she wants on the air.”

---

Within minutes, Sayu was ushered into a studio and settled into a chair before a host of manned cameras. Her heart was pounding in a dizzying way and her stomach felt like it had taken up residence near her knees, leaving her head light and empty. Still, Sayu was determined.

A greasy, overweight man with a mustache and limp hair handed her a bottle of water and insisted on introducing himself to her while she sat. He said that his name was Demegawa and he was a producer for the station, and that she didn’t need to worry, he would make sure the world heard her words.

Sayu thought he looked like the sort of man who bought used girls’ panties.

The thought didn’t help with her uncertainty about choosing Sakura TV to give her message on. Still, after what Light had said the night before... she had to go through with her decision. Sayu had snuck out of the country house she and her family had been sent to when her father had resigned from the NPA, catching an early morning bus back to Tokyo as soon as she could.

A respected station like the NHN would probably need meetings and votes and a long process to decide if she should be allowed to speak. Sakura TV, on the other hand, was just as desperate as she’d hoped for. She had watched their programs before, and her father and brother had always disparaged the station for pandering to the public and showing anything to bring in ratings.

That turned out to be bad and good. Thanks to Sakura TV, her plan was a success... now she just had to work up to the fact that her message would most likely be played throughout the day worldwide as more and more stations reported on her words. Sayu sincerely hoped that she wouldn't embarrass herself by passing out at the thought.

The man behind the main camera counted down her time until she went live. She took a nervous drink of water and made herself swallow it.

Demegawa had told her that another reporter had already announced that she was in the studio and had something to say, and when her cameraman held up one last finger before pointing to her, she knew that she was on her own now.

"Niichan!" startled by her own nervous shout, Sayu blushed and took a death grip to her purse, heart pounding. She could do this. She just had to imagine that only Light could hear her-- not her friends, or her school, or her parents... That wasn't helping. "Niichan, you have to stop this," she pleaded, leaning toward the camera earnestly. He would hear her; he had to. "You aren't helping the world, you're just making everyone scared! If you want to stop criminals be like dad-- you wanted to become the head of the NPA and change things from the inside... I don't understand what happened." Her fingers were clenching her purse so tightly her knuckles stood out white against her skin, and her voice quavered on her last words. Be strong, Sayu, a voice in the back of her mind that sounded suspiciously like her mother's told her. Closing her eyes, Sayu spoke again. "I didn't believe that niichan could be the one killing criminals. I hated dad for believing it, I told mom--" she paused to take a shuddered breath, then opened her eyes again, biting her lip stubbornly against tears. "I told her dad just didn't have faith in you, that he was never around so he didn't know you like we did. Dad... isn't the same. He won't talk, or... We're trying to help him, but he blames himself for everything. I don't know what will happen," she admitted in a small voice. A tear managed to escape from the corner of one eye, but she rubbed it angrily away with the back of her hand, hating tears as much as her brother. Squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath, she looked into the camera with determination. "You need to stop killing people. Even if you can't come home... you don't have to keep doing this! I don't know how you got that power, but it's evil. You're trying to save the world, but you ruined our family, and no one knows what happened to you or whether to follow you or go against you, and they're fighting each other for it! How can you tell everyone 'enjoy your day'?" she demanded, swiping at another tear with frustration. "I love you, niichan, but you're such a jerk! When they catch you, they're going to kill you, and all you're doing is tearing the world apart!"

Hiccupping and hating herself for it, Sayu shook her head as she lost the battle with her tears. Grabbing her purse, she ran for a bathroom.

---

Watching the broadcast as it happened, Near swirled one finger repetitively through his hair, head to one side as he added this new occurrence to his puzzle pieces.

Sitting beside him, Matsuda gave an embarrassing sniff and not-so-discretely wiped at his eyes. Aizawa and Rester gave the young detective identical looks of disgusted reproach.

"Matsuda," Near began.

Matsuda jumped in a guilty way. "Wha-- yes...?"

"You should go to the station and pick Sayu up. Yagami-san will be calling any moment to see that she's fine, and if the anti-Kira catch her coming out of the station after her words, it would not be good for her."

Matsuda's mouth dropped and his eyes widened at the idea. "But-- they can't hurt her, she's Light's-- Kira's sister! He wouldn't want that."

"I agree. It seems likely that his sister is one of the only people Light might work to keep alive," Near concurred emotionlessly, eyes on the screens as Sayu's interview replayed. "Bring her here to keep her safe until her father can arrive."

Sniffing again, Matsuda nodded. "Thank you... you're worried for her too, aren't you? I knew Aizawa was wrong about you. Someone who plays with toys and cares about people can't be an emotionless robot pretending to be human...!" Giving Near a watery, proud smile, Matsuda exited headquarters. Glancing after him, Mogi lifted his ponderous bulk and followed without being asked, obviously intending to get the job done right and with a minimum of the theatrics that seemed to follow Matsuda like the plague.

There was a brief, awkward silence until Aizawa cleared his throat. "Near..." Aizawa began uncomfortably. Whether the man would have apologized or stood by his words remained a mystery as they were interrupted by Watari's voice.

"Mr. Yagami is on the line," the gentleman informed the room politely.

"Put him through," Near responded immediately. Ignoring Aizawa, he pushed his keyboard aside, curling one arm around his bent leg and using his free hand to methodically set a collection of colored tops to spinning on the desk space.

"Near," came the stiffly formal voice of Soichiro Yagami. "I trust you've heard the broadcast by now?"

"Which broadcast are you asking about?" Near asked, eyes focused on his task. The first top faltered and shot off of the desk. Not even flinching, Rester caught it with lightning reflexes, handing the top back to Near and folding his arms once more behind his back as he stood near-at-hand in his usual imitation of a protective wall.

There was a brief pause, during which Soichiro no doubt had to struggle with forcing down anger at Near's response. Near was used to having this effect on adults.

"Sayu snuck away somehow this morning," Soichiro explained stiffly. "She was just on the news. Will you..." Asking for a favor was obviously difficult for the proud man, but he relented with a defeated tone in his voice. "Will you check on her for me, and make sure she's fine until I can reach her?"

The last top was twirled into place, and Near watched the gradual entropy of the orderly little toys as their quick rotations slowed. Within seconds, the toys staggered drunkenly around the desk, and several more scattered to the floor. Near blinked.

"..." Gaze sliding to the corner of the ceiling, Near brought his fingers to his hair again. "Yagami-san," he stated abruptly.

"Yes?"

"Sayu is being brought to headquarters. Obviously, your new residence is unequipped to keep you safe."

"...I wouldn't say that," Soichiro protested, pride showing once more. "Sayu won't do anything like this again, she just..."

"It isn't safe," Near repeated stubbornly. Soichiro remained silent, apparently having understood that Near was using the point more as an argument to get at something else than as a fact in itself. "You will bring your wife to live here. That will be better for everyone involved. Of course, you don't need to rejoin the investigation..."

This time, Soichiro's silence was due to shock and an attempt to process the command. Aizawa stepped in, defending his fallen superior. "Near, that's going too far. Having to be around while we hunt down his son... and making Sayu and Sachiko stay with us...”

Aizawa’s words seemed to decide Soichiro. “...I’ll do it.” There was a forced determination to the man’s voice. “If you need me there, for whatever reason... But tell me. This isn’t for Sayu’s sake, is it...?” he asked grimly.

“Correct,” Near agreed readily. Dropping his hand, he set about lining up his toys again as Rester retrieved them. “Light is too familiar with the security here and the location of the building. It’s still ideal for headquarters, but though the cameras have been disabled and security measures changed, Light could still get into our files or, in an extreme case, turn his followers against us. Given the riots occurring around the world as we speak, that isn’t impossible. If Light is aware that we are guarding his sister and mother...”

“...You plan to use Sayu and Sachiko as a shield against my son?” Soichiro clarified.

“Exactly.” Giving up on the toys as they scattered once more, careening off of each other and clattering to the floor, Near stood and brushed past Rester to find something else to play with. “Though if it makes you feel better, I’m using them on the assumption that they won’t be harmed.”

“How would that make him feel better?” Ide muttered. Aizawa grimaced agreement, arms crossed angrily on his chest.

“I see...” Soichiro intoned.

Near paused, glancing over his shoulder and toward the screens, making sure the speakers could catch his voice. “Oh, and Yagami-san... if you decide that it would be too dangerous, please remember that Sayu has just announced herself as a hostage piece. Countries hoping for leverage against Light-Kira may decide that holding his sister and family against him is the simplest plan.”

“Countries...?” Soichiro echoed, sounding overwhelmed and confused.

“Near is trying to incite World War Three,” Aizawa explained tersely. “I’ll explain when you get here.”

“Return as soon as possible,” Near informed Soichiro, ignoring Aizawa’s words once more. “Watari will arrange for your belongings to be transferred discretely tonight. Goodbye.” The call was cut.

---

Sayu followed Matsuda into headquarters, hands wound uncertainly around the strap of her purse but chin still lifted in defiance.

The last thing she expected to see when she entered the center of Japan’s Kira investigation, however, was a collection of Lego blocks mimicking some of the main buildings in Tokyo with a fourteen-year-old albino in pajamas sitting in the middle and waving about a helicopter in pretend flight.

Stumbling slightly in shock, Sayu narrowly avoided being stepped on by Mogi as he followed her inside. “You...” Shaking her head, Sayu looked around the room in search of her sanity. “Who is this?!”

“Oh-- um...” Matsuda laughed, shrugging sheepishly with his hand at the back of his neck. “Sorry, I forgot how weird he is. We’re all used to it now. You never knew L either, huh?” At Sayu’s continued stare, Matsuda jumped slightly and lowered his head. “This is Near-- L’s successor. He’s leading the investigation now.”

Near didn’t bother looking over or acknowledging the girl.

“...That kid is leading the investigation?” Sayu demanded, eyes wide. “And why is he in his pajamas?”

“I never go outside. What would be the point in wearing uncomfortable clothes?” Near asked idly, his first words to her.

Sayu instantly blushed brightly, hand going to her mouth before she gave Matsuda an accusing stare. “You didn’t tell me he knows Japanese!” she whispered fiercely, embarrassed. Approaching Near apologetically, she bowed formally before straightening and brushing her hair back behind her ear. “I’m so sorry-- I didn’t think you could understand me. My name is Sayu Yaga--”

“Would you not have asked if I couldn’t understand you?” Near inquired in something passably close to curiosity, eyes still on his toy. “Interesting. So you share Light’s ability to act polite while hating someone.”

Jerking as though she’d been struck, Sayu stared at Near in shock. When she’d recovered, her normally cheerful and sociable face had become stiff with hurt anger. “How can you say something like that?! I was rude on accident, but that was just to be cruel.”

Near’s head tilted. “It wasn’t cruel. I was only making an observation on your similarity. You chose to take it offensively.”

“No, it was offensive-- Light doesn’t act like that! He’s polite to people because he’s a good person, even if someone is annoying him,” Sayu defended.

Matsuda pumped his fist in the air. “Yeah!” he shouted, happy to have someone agreeing with him and standing up to Near. Sayu and Near ignored him, though Aizawa took the time to call him in an idiot and properly deflate his excitement.

“Light is a liar. He hates people and finds them boring,” Near asserted without emotion. He crashed his helicopter into one of the buildings, sending the pieces flying and watching the destruction with distant interest. “He’s also egotistical, and a murderer.”

Before she could stop herself, Sayu had taken a last step and slapped Near across his face full-handed.

The boy toppled over onto his fallen pieces as the helicopter careened across the floor.

An instant later, Rester’s large hand was enclosed around Sayu’s arm and he hauled the girl away from Near. “Are you all right?” he asked Near gruffly, fury visible in the set of his jaw and tension in his body. Sayu shook in his grasp, horrified at herself and recovering from Near's words. “I’m sorry. She shouldn’t have been able to get that close.”

Righting himself slowly, Near pulled his leg back to his chest and lightly touched his cheek where a red mark now stood out vividly against his pale skin. “I’m fine. Mello always hit much harder,” he assured Rester calmly. Aizawa twitched at the name, while Matsuda appeared to still be processing the scene, mouth open.

Tears in her eyes, Sayu took a sharp breath and pulled away from Rester. Rester allowed this, but took up a defensive position close to Near. “Why do you say horrible things like that?”

Near considered this, then reached for the closest Lego blocks to rebuild his city. “I don’t see a point in useless words to hide the truth,” Near informed her frankly. “Being polite doesn’t change the facts, it’s just a defensive use of language to keep from facing reality. Matsuda is an idiot, not ’thinking outside of the box’. And your brother is a murderer. He isn’t ’good’ or ’trying to help’, he’s invented excuses to justify an attempt to control the world by killing thousands of people.”

"Being polite isn't useless, it keeps from hurting people," Sayu asserted. "Didn't your parents teach you that?"

The albino favored Sayu with his quirky smile that still couldn't reach his dark eyes. "Nope. They died before they could get around to it."

"They died...?" Sayu asked, voice small and stunned. The casual way Near had spoken the fact left her with no idea how to react. The silence in the room was sharp and awkward, as even the detectives had been blind-sided by that information.

They were saved from thinking of a way to respond by Watari announcing that Soichiro and his wife had arrived.

Minutes later, the two entered the room. Sachiko immediately rushed to Sayu’s side, enveloping her in a suffocating hug before chiding her fiercely for worrying them. Soichiro entered more slowly, movements stiff and reluctant. He nodded a curt greeting to his former colleagues, even Near.

He then fixed his daughter with a withering, serious stare. "We'll talk about your actions later," he informed her gravely. Wilting under his gaze, Sayu bit her lip and looked down. Sachiko hugged her again before stepping back to her husband's side. "Watari," Soichiro asked the room at large. "Would you show my daughter and wife to our rooms...?"

Watari's voice responded immediately. "Of course, it would be my pleasure."

Sachiko and Sayu looked toward the computers with wide eyes. "...A.I.?" Sayu ventured in amazement.

Matsuda laughed, startled from his more serious thoughts about Near by the question. "No, Watari's just an old man who helps L. Ah-- I mean, who helped L, now he helps Near... and us..." he trailed off, seeming to have confused himself a bit. "He used to bring in the tea and food too, but now that's my job."

Sayu blinked. "Your job is to get drinks and food?"

"...That's not all I do," Matsuda replied weakly.

"Well. I'll put an end to that-- fetching drinks is no job for an important detective," Sachiko asserted briskly, seeming affronted by the idea.

"You think I'm important?" asked Matsuda hopefully. Aizawa snorted.

"Sachiko..." Soichiro began, frowning reluctantly. "We'll be discussing the investigation. You would hear things you wouldn't want to if you kept coming in."

"Dad, we can't just stay in a room!" Sayu protested in distress. "Mom and I would go crazy worrying. It was bad enough in the country, but at least you were there with us..."

"Sayu," Soichiro stated in a warning tone that Sayu was only too familiar with. "I believe you've done enough for one day."

Sachiko placed a gentle hand on her husband's arm and looked up at him. "Sayu is right, dear. Light is my son, too. I want to know what will happen to him. I won't take a side against him, but I can at least make you all more comfortable while you work, and I'm sure Sayu can help me in the kitchen."

Sayu wasn't delighted by that prospect, but if it would let her have free reign of the empty hotel and not be locked in a room with nothing to do, she would take what she could get.

The door to the room opened and a self-composed gentleman still in a suit entered. He seemed incredibly aged, steps carefully measured and expression somber. "My name is Watari, and I am at your service," Watari introduced himself, bowing with his hand to his chest as though he were used to wearing a hat for the gesture.

Matsuda gaped. "Was he that old the last time we saw him...?" he whispered loudly to Aizawa. Aizawa twitched.

"I believe my age has been fairly constant," Watari responded wryly in Aizawa's place.

Embarrassed, Matsuda still carried on. "I meant, you look..." he waved his hand inarticulately about his face, then dropped his arm as Soichiro stared pointedly at him. "Um, nevermind."

"Would the ladies care to follow me?" Watari inquired, apparently having learned that sometimes, for the sake of being polite, Matsuda and his outbursts had to be ignored.

"Um..." Sayu looked hopefully to her father, waiting for his decision.

With both wife and daughter giving him similar looks, Soichiro bowed to inevitability. "Watari, please show them to our rooms, and give them a tour of the building. It seems that kitchen may finally get some use," he added dryly.

"Thanks, dad!" Sayu exclaimed, hugging her father.

Soichiro frowned at her. "You're still in trouble."

"Oh, right..." she sighed.

"This is a great idea! Usually we just use the break room or order out," Matsuda supplied brightly. "I haven't had a home-cooked meal in months..."

Ide shifted, hand thoughtfully to his chin. "It's been a while for me, too, actually. I cook bachelor meals at home."

"Then it's settled," Sachiko announced, seeming relieved to have a purpose again. "I'll start on lunch as soon as we've looked around. Does anyone have requests...?" Looking around the room, she spied Near for the first time and started slightly. "Oh, my-- Sayu, is this a friend of yours...?"

Sayu shook her head emphatically, crossing her arms on her chest. "This is Near. He's taking over for L, so he's leading the investigation now."

Sachiko's eyes widened. "He is...?" She looked to her husband in total shock. "What's the meaning of this? He should be with his parents."

Near was lying in his Lego city once more, feet slowly kicking the air as he moved tiny police figures around the streets. "Don't worry about my qualifications. I've been training to replace L..." Rolling to his side and sitting up again, Near never once met the adult's eyes. Sayu's handprint still marked his cheek. "That's my purpose."

Sachiko turned accusing eyes on Soichiro, dismissing Near's words. "He's just a child... You've been letting him lead everything?"

"Allow me to answer this, if you would," Watari interrupted delicately. Sachiko looked to him obligingly. "Near was raised in a special facility dedicated to creating a replacement for L should something happen to him. There is more to him than his age suggests-- he's more brilliant than you or I, and is ideally suited to this position. L himself chose Near to replace him when he left with your son."

"A replacement...?" Sachiko frowned slightly, maternal instincts showing. "He's barely Sayu's age. He shouldn't be 'replacing' anyone, he should be acting like a child."

"And how did your oldest child act, when he was young...?" Watari inquired in a grave tone.

Sachiko winced at the reminder of Light, but shook her head when Soichiro stepped protectively to her side. "It's fine, dear. Light was always... well, we would make sure he stopped studying sometimes, and he was always very good at making friends. A perfect child..."

"He couldn't relate to children his age for years," Soichiro interject quietly, making himself look at his memories of his son objectively. "He knew how they would react and why, but I had to teach him that it wasn't right to trick his friends into giving him their toys even if he wanted them, or to make them do things that were against the rules so that he wasn't personally responsible for the rules being broken. I think... he may have learned how to act like a child for our sake, by watching the other children. When he was left alone he preferred to be by himself... The only one anywhere near his age that he actually enjoyed the company of may have been Sayu, but then, she's always idolized him."

Blushing, Sayu frowned at the floor, missing her brother sharply. Looking sideways, she saw that Near had stopped playing with his toys, his head turned slightly toward their group and obviously listening. The idea that he might somehow use her father's words against Light caused her to shiver.

Watari nodded slowly. "I suspected as much. Near was never forced to socialize with his peers or change himself to be acceptable to others. It would benefit everyone to keep this in mind when working with him."

Rester had worn a deepening frown throughout their conversation, and he straightened now, shoulders back and hands still clasped stiffly behind himself. "Permission to speak."

"Rester, this isn't the army," Near pointed out. He picked up a soldier toy and stared at it thoughtfully.

Giving a curt nod at the reminder but unable to break the occasional habit, Rester turned his gaze intently to the Yagami family and Watari. When he spoke again, his words were clipped and controlled. "Don't talk about him like he isn't the room."

Taken aback by the man's hostility, Soichiro started to frown, but Watari spoke before him. "Of course, my apologies. Near, I didn't mean to hurt you, only explain you to keep some of the problems you've been experiencing from remaining ongoing. Of course, it's up to you whether you want to discuss your past."

Not bothering to respond to that, Near set the little soldier figure on top of his city wall. Either from indifference or dismissal, he changed the subject. "Weren't you going to show Sayu and her mother around the building? We need to return to work. This has caused a long enough interruption for one day."

Nodding acceptance, Watari quietly escorted Sayu and Sachiko from the room, leaving Soichiro to reacquaint himself with his men.

There was much to catch up on, and the six days he'd been gone seemed more like weeks.

-----

I know this chapter didn't have Light and L, I'm sorry! I started writing their part and it's at sixteen pages now and still going, so I've been trying to write it really fast so I could post two chapters to make up for the two weeks, but... I figured waiting several more days just to make up for waiting didn't make any sense! So for now you have a few pages of regular plot...? The next update should be worth it, though...! It will likely be close to twenty pages of L and Kira and has a shower scene. You will get to see L's reaction to the Kira broadcast, but hang tight. Sorry for making you wait! I'll finish it as soon as possible, I think writing sixteen pages in around a day and a half burnt me out for a day or two. (Since I've been staring at one scene for a day now, between work.)

Also, some of you are probably thinking, “Oh no, another character! Now there’ll be even less time for Light and L...!” and if I were reading I’d probably be in agreement... but I’m writing it, and I adore Sayu for some reason. I’ve been looking forward to bringing her into the story for weeks! I really wasn’t expecting her to slap Near while writing, though-- but, much as I adore him, the little bastard occasionally does deserve it.

Land of Confusion is by Genesis.

Review responses:

WM: Yay! Your reviews make me happy. I like that writing this gives me a lot to think about and has been teaching me random facts. Like the time-zone difference between Vladivostok and Japan. Actually, hell, I think it taught me the name of Vladivostok.

Lady Gaia: You replied twice on one chapter?! *laughs* Thank you, thank you. The broadcast won Kira friends and enemies, both. Near is just hoping to wrap things up quickly before L and Kira can really get settled and pose a threat. Little does he know that... *scratches ear* Nah, I haven't planned that far. I know the story until about three chapters out, when there's an event scheduled, but new ideas keep popping up and rearranging events.

Nusku: Aww, I'll try to make you a fan of Near's yet. But if not, hey, he got slapped this time! He's very useful for plot.

Lila: I looked up ChanceXIII due to that comment, and am enjoying her writing! I don't intend to do a repeat at the Yellow Box Warehouse, nope, though it may factor in at some point... dunno. I've actually made analysis of how each character who got hold of a Death Note used its powers and in what ways, and Light's really does make sense with his God complex. I'll most likely explain it within the story later (possibly quite soon), since I wrote about half a page on Light. I'm sorry to keep you waiting on another chapter for L's response!

Shadowform: The mini-essay that was your review pleased me an insane amount. *grins* It also intrigues me that you said it 'serves L right' that Light did the announcement. Most people are much more on L's side, so it's nice to know people still like Light as well. Even if it takes an appreciation of his "arrogance, malice, contemplation" etc.. L gets a very healthy dose of 'reminder' that he chose Kira's side quite soon. And nope-- L realized the Death Note was still functional when Kira kept his memories. He would have known the rule was false by the fact that Kira didn't bitch him out for nearly killing them-- which was an opportunity on Kira's part lost to anger at L messing with his Note. (I just had to reason that out backwards, btw.-- I'll try to fit that explanation as an edit on that chapter part to correct that plot-hole. Thank you! I'd been working on the bad-author assumption that L would automatically determine the note was false, not that he may have just not ruined it enough. I try to keep plot holes like that to a bare minimum, but don't notice them all, so thank you again!) The fact that neither L nor Kira actually wants to be attracted to the other or have any emotional attachment is what makes writing their interactions in this fun for me, so I'm very please you're enjoying it too.

Specimennumber1: Hah! Near on sugar never ceases to make me think of silentreaper on devArt. If you haven't seen her art-- oh, also go-devil-dante, she's there too-- go look at them immediately. Silentreaper's deviation "The Show", in two panels near the bottom, illustrates Near on sugar in a way that sticks in my mind... anything at all that go-devil-dante makes gets stuck in my head at random, though. The shower-scene might help a bit of the UST, hopefully, buuuut we'll see if I can finish it. I'm looking forward to seeing what you draw...!

Hellagoddess: I'm so glad it's easy to follow! When I try to explain it to anyone-- well, the one time I tried-- I got so lost on the explanation I just kind of flailed helplessly. So if this ever becomes totally confusing or has too much going on at once, please tell me...! I don't want to lose people. I want them to stay with me, so I can torture them... I mean write for them. *adjusts glasses in a distinctly shifty manner* Also, you saying you got lost in the chapter makes me grin hugely and feel very proud. I can't tell when they're engrossing anymore, since I usually re-read them so many times in pieces to fix the chapters, and then read it through a few more times, and usually by that point I'm sick of the chapter and don't care. Right now I think keeping a coherent timeline and making sure the constant hopping around doesn't get too baffling is a main priority. If I can make you like Near even a bit, that will make me feel accomplished, then! I loved the new chapter, are you kidding?! (I know you weren't but still! It was wonderful.) *hugs back*

Sabaku_lotus: I totally forgot you're kaith-sith on devArt! I need to make a list cross-referencing people so I'll remember. I'm glad the addict thing got across! L has this way of making Kira completely and rightfully paranoid about the fate of his Death Note if it's out of his sight or reach for a minute. Ah, I do have a thing for Rester/Near buuut it won't work in this story, sadly. Arcadia on the other hand will allow me to play around with things a bit. I can perfectly understand Near with Steven, though-- the man seems fairly intelligent and proved useful to Near in the canon, while Near is still his superior. So it's an interesting combination.

finistelluris: You didn't come off as a know-it-all at all! You more hit my radar as a useful source of information. L seems like an efficient fighter to me as well, but I suppose I can cover by saying he was showing off just a bit to remind Kira to respect him, that Kira doesn't know everything about him and can't expect things to go easily for him. That sounds good, but the main reason was that I didn't know the name of his main move, and I love how capoeira looks enough I wanted to include some fancier things too... *sheepish laugh* Interestingly, you aren't the first person to point out the theory of Near being autistic, or at least some form of autistic. I look at Near more from the perspective that he's a child with a high intelligence that separated him from socializing well with his peers at a young age, and then had the added trauma of his parents leaving/dying/whatever happened in the canon. I can empathize with him (minus the trauma or the genius brain) so his character works for me. Also! I'm editing the broadcast description so it makes more sense, several people were confused. Light only pulled back enough to show a little more of his face, but he's intelligent enough that there would be nothing recognizable in the bg if indeed anything at all showed.

Viridian Kat: I love Nightwish! Only have a few songs by them, but I enjoy those songs, so yay for other people knowing the band too. For a PWP... hmm, what fandom were you thinking, or just with random chars? Glad you liked childish!Near, he's fun to write.

Yami Bakura: Hello again! Your sudden multitude of reviews made me happy. I honestly think you accounted for a third of my comment count since the previous chapter. Thank you~! I'm glad you're liking Near, there will definitely be more of him. I'm missing Mello, personally, but he'll pop up again in two chapters if things go smoothly. You actually like Matsuda in my story? Yay! He's such a puppy, it's hard for me to hate him. I can be baffled by him and exasperated, but whenever he gets excited I just see the puppy tail and the happy ears. Which would probably make Aizawa his mildly abusive master, who cuffs him and tells him to go lie down... and that just put an image into my head we won't go into right now. *laughs*

Kiyoshi: Hi! Don't be jealous...! I can't imagine why you would be, but still, don't! I also like Tear You Apart more than Goodnight Moon, but mostly because I was just getting into writing fics again after years not doing so when I started GM, so it feels weaker to me.

Thoru: Thanks for reviewing GM...! Co college students indeed. (All answers to the Kira Question are still appreciated, even though the chapter I needed them for was posted, it's still useful to get the views of others!)


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