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: Downfall

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

Rating: R

Pairing: Kira/L

Comments: This was only supposed to be a few pages long. Light and L had other ideas, apparently. Mello and Matt should be making a comeback in the next chapter, along with a little more of Sayu and Near.

Clarification: Time zones are a bitch, so to keep confusion to a minimum, this chapter begins on the 20th, the night before Sayu got onto Sakura TV. Due to time zone differences, her message, which would have broadcast sometime close to 10 a.m. on the 21st in Japan, isn't seen by L until quite early on the 21st in their new hideout. (10 a.m. in Tokyo is 2 a.m. in Spain, and since Sakura TV is a local station in Japan, it'd take a bit for the world to catch wind of the event and re-broadcast it.) I figured that would need clarification because trying to figure this shit out to write it took me a half-dozen websites and several sheets of scrap paper. I'd like to thank the World Time Clock for making the chapter possible.

Thank you all for your patience! I know I made you wait a while for this.

-----

Dead on his feet and looking less than his usual perfect self after the eighteen hour flight from Vladivostok to Madrid, Kira staggered into their room at the Hotel Atlantico as soon as L had opened the door. Hiding his amusement at this, L pulled in the last of their bags and left them near one wall.

Due to a quirk of the Earth's rotation, L and Kira had left Vladivostok a little past one in the afternoon on November twentieth, and after the nearly day-long flight had then arrived in Madrid at ten-thirty that same night. After collecting baggage and travel to their hotel, it was nearing eleven-thirty now.

Luckily, the hotel had allowed the incognito fugitives to check in to their room in spite of the late hour. Had they not, L suspected Kira might have attempted writing the names of the hotel staff into his Death Note in order to ensure his swift access to a bed and shower.

Single-minded in his goal after the long flight, Kira made straight for the bathroom, obviously intent on taking a hot shower as soon as humanly possible.

Not as affected, L took from his own bags the most important items-- his laptop, an assortment of sweets to last him until the restaurants and bakeries would open for the morning, and an apple for their resident shinigami.

Ryuk had the apple devoured before L had time to set his own snacks at the room's desk. Placing his laptop there as well, L let it load as he shuffled across the softly gleaming wooden floors to the floor-to-ceiling windows and drew the cloth curtains down over the decorative gauze beneath.

"Why do you always close the curtains?" Ryuk wondered out loud, watching L with his usual dagger-toothed grin.

L looked to Ryuk blankly. "Having strangers see Light-kun would lead to our arrest." Task completed, he crossed the room as the sounds of Kira's shower became audible. Hopping into the delicate-seeming chair placed before the desk, L used his un-injured left hand to navigate the keyboard, intending to check what news he'd missed during their taxi and plain rides. Lifting the remote for the room's television, he turned it onto a news broadcast and allowed it to run as background noise.

Ears picking up the word 'riot', L blinked, turning his head to peer up at the screen. The news anchor had footage playing from New York, and when that clip was over, more were shown-- brief images of a riot in Tokyo, and one just north of Paris in France that was threatening to spread to the capital. The anchor then went on to report that the protest in Germany had only recently ended.

Returning his attention to the laptop, L looked into this interesting development. It appeared that anti-Kira in Germany had launched a full-scale protest, lining up in the streets with signs and slogans comparing Kira to Hitler and announcing that the world didn't need another dictator. Several signs simply printed the suspected death toll thus far between the three Kira. Though Kira supporters had shown up to protest the protestors, the scene had remained heated but restrained.

The riots in Tokyo and New York seemed to be in response to something that had happened hours before in the news. France's rioting appeared to have been sparked from the other two, and showed no sign of stopping soon.

L hoped that the riots were merely vents, letting off some of the pressure and fear Kira had caused the world. If not, the riots would spread swiftly, and the worst-case scenario wasn't a pleasant one.

Searching over the world news reports, L quickly found several mentions of Kira's broadcast. Tensing, he went to a website that listed both the English and Japanese versions as a media file and streamed them, watching with his expression carefully void of emotion and the thumb of his left hand pressed to pale lips, sweets temporarily abandoned.

When the broadcasts were over, he played them through once more, noting that Kira had at least been careful enough to show nothing of their previous surroundings and had pulled back only enough to reveal the bruise that had spread from his jaw and up his cheek.

Ryuk's laughter behind him was an irritant, but L set it from his mind and methodically checked all other news stories, noting the criminals killed by Kira himself.

Finished, he closed the cover of his laptop and stared into space as his mind worked.

---

When Kira exited the bathroom half an hour later with his towel around his waist in search of clothing and saw L crouched stonily before his laptop, he paused. "Find anything interesting?" he asked dryly.

L refused to look at him. He'd accuse the other man of pouting, but he had seen L pouting, and this silence had an air to it of angry accusation.

For the first time in his memory, Kira felt a twinge of guilt.

Uneasily, he knelt to open his clothing bag, dismissing the feeling. He rested his Death Note beside him, having taken to keeping it under his clothes at all times when in the public, and close at hand even when alone with L. Ridiculous. What do I have to be guilty about...? I warned him that I would begin judging again once I had the Death Note.

Still, he kept L in the corner of his vision-- which wasn't hard, with the man crouched in pointed silence not six feet from him. Distracted by L's presence and Ryuk's constant laughter in the background, Kira finally stopped with his bag open and one hand resting on the material inside. He sighed and closed his eyes. ...I actually forgot what I was looking for. Night clothes. How could I forget something that simple? the genius asked himself in frustration. Recalling more than a month before when he'd been so distracted after pulling away from L's embrace that he'd had difficulty in dressing himself properly, Kira tilted his head. ...It isn't the same. That was after we had... Images and sensations came instantly to the murderer: L's muscled back beneath his nails, the other man's lips on his throat, L's erratic thrusts as his control was finally broken by their pleasure...

Heart pounding from the strength of the memory, Light licked lips that had become strangely dry and ran a hand through his still-damp hair.

There was more than one reason he tried not to think about that night.

A prickling at the back of his neck, and Kira knew that L was watching him now. The man's gaze always had a weight to it, but at the moment Kira didn't particularly want to meet his eyes. Assuming that L could tell what he'd been thinking just by looking at him was nothing but paranoia... but still, it was L. The detective had always been willing to jump to unsavory conclusions about Kira and his thoughts.

"So you'll look at me now?" he asked. "I actually thought you'd be more angry with me than that." Opening his eyes, he turned his head to meet L's stare with a wry expression, carefully hiding his concerns.

"...Yagami-kun is behaving in an uncharacteristic way. Is he feeling guilty...?" L asked him. The man was sitting with obvious tension in his frame, banked fury making his black eyes even more intense than usual.

"Yagami-kun again..." Kira mused. "You remember my name at the most unusual times."

"You evaded my question, implying I assumed correctly."

"I ignored your question," Kira corrected. "Implying it was ridiculous."

Looking back to his bag, Kira found his night clothes neatly folded and drew them out, along with a pair of boxer briefs.

"...Have you ever felt regret for the people you've killed?" L asked seriously, voice soft and without real intonation.

Kira's hand lingered on his clothing, and he remembered his first days after using the Death Note-- sleepless nights haunted by the realization of what he'd done and what he would have to do in order to rid the world of evil.

He shrugged. "Why would I regret anything, L?" he inquired. "Everything I've done is necessary. I'm creating a new world, and losses are to be expected." He glanced sidelong at L. "Do you regret any of the men you've sent to death row or urged the death penalty on?"

Nothing changed in L's expression that Kira could pinpoint exactly, but the older man seemed suddenly weary, lips thinning in reaction to stress and the fingers of his left hand clenching his knee. "Yes."

Startled by the admission, Kira widened his eyes and turned toward L, balancing himself on one knee where he remained kneeling before his bag. "Why?" Annoyed by his instinctive response and assuming correctly that L would use it to decide that Kira might have more respect for his skills as a detective than Kira let on, the murderer composed himself strictly and continued in a tone of mild exasperation. "They were necessary deaths, L. I have no doubt that they were all guilty."

"They were," L confirmed, no uncertainty in his tone. "But they were still deaths due to my involvement, and I hold that responsibility. I remember every name and case... do you?"

Blinking, Kira favored L with a frown. "Of course," he replied. "Since the very first. Honestly, at some point there may be enough names that I'll begin to forget them, but I've only had a year."

"Hyuk, hyuk... That's really something, Light!" Ryuk praised, standing near the foot of the room's red-striped Queen-sized bed. "You've written a lot of names. I can barely remember any names I've written," he confided, mouth open in his amusement.

Kira cast his shinigami a mild look. "My memory is also better than yours. I assume Rem would remember the names she's written," he added.

Missing the barb, Ryuk laughed agreement. "Yeah, she might. Rem's pretty impressive, huh?"

"For a shinigami, apparently so..." Kira replied sardonically. Tensing his legs to stand, Kira noticed that L's gaze had traveled distinctly south of the younger man's eyes. Looking down, it wasn't hard to realize why.

When Kira had knelt and turned, the towel at his waist had come partially unwound to accommodate the movement. This had left his left leg bared almost to the point of indecency and his manhood barely covered.

Twitching the towel closed, Kira stood, clean clothes and Death Note in the hand not securely holding his towel. "Try to occasionally stay focused on our fights," he chided. "If you end all of them trying to ogle or molest me it will become too easy to win."

L shook his head, though whether this was from denial or to clear his thoughts of perverted images, Kira didn't want to know. "Don't worry, Yagami-kun. That should not remain a problem much longer."

Kira waited a moment for L to continue. When the detective neglected to do so, the younger man sighed. "Why, L?" he prompted obligingly.

"Several reasons. With Kira-kun's... announcement, he has made it significantly more difficult for us to stay undetected and safe."

"They knew my face before," Kira pointed out in argument, shifting his weight impatiently. "Why would my message change that?"

L gave him a pointed, patient look that held more than an edge of condescension. Irritated, Kira lifted his chin. Uncurling from his crouch, L sat gingerly in the chair, mindful of his sling and ignoring Kira's offended pride. "You're now known to have me on your side. I appreciate the compliments you gave me on your broadcast, even if you were lying, but I was on the top of the world governments' wanted lists before you turned ten." His dark eyes caught and held Kira's. "It would be best for both of us if we part ways from now on. I don't agree with your methods or ethics, and you seem barely able to stand me. If we separate, I can soothe the fears of the agencies that are no doubt coming after us even now."

Clothes forgotten, Kira stood motionless, processing this.

L wanted to leave.

Gradually, the meaning of the words became real. With L gone, Kira's life would become both more difficult and easier. A lone man with his skills and the money he felt sure L would leave him would be able to travel more easily and hide without issue, and he may even find a hideout where he could settle and cease their constant moving. He would be able to judge criminals in peace without L's disapproving presence threatening his memories and Death Note.

His eyes strayed slowly, reluctantly, to Ryuk.

He would be alone, with only the idiot shinigami for conversation. There would be no more stimulating arguments, moral debates, games of Genius Chess or logic problems to engage his days. He would never wake with the irritating but perversely reassuring knowledge that L had watched over him while he slept, and that if any danger had arisen the older man would have woken him and helped him escape.

It was a displeasing shock to realize that he'd come to depend on L more than he would like to admit.

In the back of his mind, Kira mulled over the realization, as well as L's explanation for staying with Kira in spite of his better judgment. To L, a world without Kira was less interesting.

Reluctantly, Kira decided that the reverse might also be true.

If that really were the case, then it was in his best interests to convince L to stay with him. He had a feeling that any of the more obvious methods of persuasion would fail-- lying and saying either that he would give up on his plans to use the Death Note, or that he'd realized that L was really a fine friend and should stick around, would only arouse L's suspicions. An even more apparent method to keep L with him would be simple seduction, but the thought was abhorrent to Kira.

If he were going to get L to stay with him, it would be on his own terms.

Narrowing his honey-colored eyes, Kira focused an arch look on his irritating companion and gave L a condescending stare of his own, head tilted slightly to allow his bangs to fall into his eyes and frame his face. Even holding his clothes and wrapped in a towel, he was confident in his attractiveness to L. He wasn't about to seduce the other man, but there was no point in not using a weapon that was easily on hand.

"Do you really think that splitting us up is the most intelligent idea, L?" Kira inquired, lacing his words with a mocking undercurrent. "You're already too involved with me to allow you to escape the law. Even if your successor feels some sympathy for you-- which he may, given that he hasn't put up a sketch or photo of you yet-- you would be punished when they caught you. I believe our two minds together are much better than either of us alone, if we work to go on the offensive or to at least find a place where we can hide safely and create a base of operations."

If L was distracted by Kira's pose, he managed not to show it, keeping his expression blank. "Near has not withheld my photo out of sympathy," the detective corrected flatly. "Instead, there is a sixty... no, seventy-eight percent likelihood that he is trying to lure me into betraying you in the hopes of saving my own life, and allowing me my anonymity as both bait and blackmail. Having my face connected to the title of L would make it... difficult for me to live as I had become accustomed to before you received the Death Note."

Kira was grudgingly intrigued. "Having your face known would make it difficult... because you would travel to hotels investigating cases, or because you became personally involved with some of your cases?"

L's face was at its most blank. "In general, my life would become more difficult," he evaded.

"...L, really. What does it matter what I know about your past?" Kira asked, frowning at the dark-haired man and temporarily distracted from his goal. "Whether you want to admit it or not, I've already changed the world. That change is still in its natal stage, but it's growing, and in any case the life you lived before will be affected. If it would even be possible for you to get it back," he pointed out dryly.

"Should I thank Kira-kun for that?" L asked, voice and eyes a challenge.

Kira snorted. "I was stating a fact, L."

"You were asserting your own ego in the form of a fact, in an attempt to pry into my secrets," L corrected bluntly.

"That--" Annoyance flared within Kira, and he wondered why he was even bothering to try keeping L around. The man was always getting under his skin in the most aggravating ways. Reigning in his temper to control his voice, Kira affected an appearance of tolerant exasperation. "L. That wasn't an 'assertion of my ego', I've killed thousands of people. I'm known around the world, and some worship me already. That's a change, you can't argue that."

"Hyuk, I bet he can," Ryuk chuckled to himself, obviously enjoying the show. Kira almost crossed his arms over his chest in irritation, but was stopped by the knowledge that he would almost certainly flash L if he attempted that.

Which would probably win him the argument, but he didn't feel he needed that sort of help just yet.

"As Kira believes," L stated drolly. "We can discuss this after I am finished with my shower..." The underweight man pulled himself up and shuffled toward Kira.

Kira remained solidly in his way, glaring. "No. I've told you before, you can't walk off in the middle of an argument. This isn't 'as I believe', and unless all of that sugar has addled your brain, you'll agree. How can you deny that I've changed the world?"

Stopping before Kira, L met-- and kept-- Kira's gaze with his black eyes. Some unreadable thought flickered in the blank orbs, and Kira felt that he had truly drawn L's interest once more. "...However prominent the subject of Kira is to the world right now, if Kira were to die soon, it would become old news within years-- an event that seemed to have great import only to those directly affected. Crime and war would resume immediately. You might earn a chapter in the children's history books... but then again, you might not. Perhaps only a few pages. Your method of killing as well as your purported reasons for the murders would remain in discussion-- mostly among philosophers-- but the reasoning of mass murderers is always an interesting topic to some. The changes you've made are transient. Your pride and ambition blinds you... Light-kun. And that is a dangerous thing."

Body tense and hands clenched, Kira only knew his teeth were ground together from the ache in his jaw and the blood in his temples pounding in time to the liquid fury that seemed to have invaded his veins. "I'm not the blind one, L. Do you really think you've stayed with me for your own entertainment? That you gave up your way of life and are risking death, staying with a man whose morals and methods you don't even agree with, only because the world isn't as interesting if I die?" Kira snorted disparagingly. "Or even if you've deluded yourself into believing that it's only because of the version of me that you like to remember, innocent and trusting you to believe in me, not your own conviction of my guilt. You would burn the Death Note if you could get a hold of it, but it wouldn't be as easy as you think."

L's face had closed off again, walls dropping firmly into place as Kira spoke. In the pause while Kira waited for him to respond to the baited question, the detective merely stared, and Kira resumed his speech after a moment with his anger flashing in his eyes.

"It wouldn't be easy for you," Kira repeated. "Because you would miss me if you made me lose my memories again. The battle would be over, and you would be left with how I used to be. That isn't winning, that's a forfeit-- that would be admitting that you've given up, and that my will was stronger than yours."

"This is not about winning or losing, Light-kun," L asserted quietly.

Kira stared at the other man for a heartbeat, and then, unexpectedly... he laughed, barely believing L had just said that. "It's always about winning with us, L," he pointed out. "If you're telling yourself differently it's just another lie. Do you really think you'd be happy or satisfied if I lost my memories...? I think you'd be left with the feeling that you missed a play you could have made, that somehow you could have made me change my ways or found a way to make me harmless without destroying the Death Note. We've been playing a game all along, but you keep convincing yourself that pushing the pieces off of the board is the same as winning."

"...We don't play with pieces," the detective remarked. Still, he appeared to be really listening to Kira's words now. His expressionless eyes had a tension around them as if he would be frowning if his control weren't better, and his lower lip was dangerously close to pouting.

Knowing he had won that round had put Kira into a much better mood. He affected a sympathetic, coaxing look. He would have put his hand to L's shoulder for the look to really work, but it would have required dropping either the Death Note or his towel, and neither of those options were really desirable. "You don't want to leave, do you? If we work together, no one can catch us."

L's face went blank once more, and Kira knew that it was the other man's way of saying that Kira's ploy had been recognized. "I don't believe that I should work with you, Kira-kun. It would be better if you were caught."

Kira arched his eyebrows. "Ahh," he murmured. "Now I see. This isn't about safety at all-- you're feeling guilty for helping me. You weren't sure you could take the Death Note from me, so you decided to remove your help and see if I got captured. Not directly going against me, so my death wouldn't really be your fault..." Kira snorted. "Mildly clever, but also a completely stupid plan. Why don't you just go against me, then? Hide yourself in some hole and give out information to Near, or tell him where I am and escape at the last minute?" He studied L's face, then shook his head slightly. "You don't really know what you want, do you? Leaving wouldn't condemn me to death, but it would make it more likely for me to be captured. You don't want me to die, you just think I should, because you see me as a criminal. L..." Kira leaned closer to the other man confidentially, meeting his gaze directly. "You saved my life. Have continued to save it for the past several weeks. If I'm a criminal, you're guilty as well." Straightening again, he shrugged. "Isn't it easier to just accept that I have the powers of a god, and am judging for the good of the world? You're a just man, and you would have a place in my kingdom."

"..." L gave a slow blink. "...Kira-kun almost had me, before he reminded me of his god-complex."

"Fine, then." Kira stepped aside to let L pass. "Wash your own hair. Don't worry-- in the time it takes you to shower with that arm, I should only be able to judge... a few hundred more criminals."

Even with a genius mind, that appeared to floor L. He blinked, then blinked again, attempting to process conflicting information. "...Kira-kun is... trying to bribe me into staying?" he suggested. "You don't seem to be feeling guilt for breaking my arm."

Kira snorted. "Why would I feel guilty for something that was your own fault? If you hadn't stolen the Death Note-- and then torn it-- I wouldn't have had to break your arm."

---

L studied Kira for several moments, slouching once more and bringing his thumb to his lips as he considered his options.

On the one hand, Kira really was an unpleasant person, and his murders showed no signs of stopping... also, L agreed that remaining with Kira would make him culpable, an ally to the other man's crimes even if he himself did nothing.

On the other hand... Kira had just offered to shower with him.

Even if, as he suspected, Kira intended it strictly as a way to torture L in payback for implying that Kira was not as perfect and powerful as he believed... it was still a shared shower.

"...Was Kira-kun's offer serious?" he asked, looking to the ceiling in thought.

"What happened to 'Light-kun'?" Kira asked wryly. "And yes, it was. I'd be wearing my briefs, of course, but I would help you wash."

"...Why?"

Kira sighed. "Haven't you already determined that? You're the world's three greatest detectives, aren't you?"

"...Not anymore." L tilted his head, then returned his eyes to Light. "There's an eighty-five percent chance that your offer of a shower is intended as revenge against me for accusing you of having a god-complex and for stating that Kira-kun would be worthy of only a few pages in a history book for children."

Kira gave L a look of offended irritation that, L was certain, was entirely contrived. "That isn't my plan, L," he lied. "I simply hate inefficiency. Imagining what it must be like for you to shower annoys me." That was also a lie. L suspected that Kira felt nothing but vengeful amusement for L's current handicap. Pointing any of these facts out would be ultimately useless, however.

"...Kira-kun imagines me in the shower?" L asked instead, widening his eyes.

Real irritation now. "L, shut up. If you talk to me again before we reach the bathroom, the offer is off."

L nodded once to show his understanding. When he started for the bathroom, however, Kira didn't follow. Looking back and seeing Kira setting his clothes and Death Note on the bed and lifting his briefs, L lingered.

Without looking around, Kira spoke in a threatening tone. "Keep walking, L. I'll be in in a moment."

Disappointed, L did so. As he opened the bathroom door, he heard Kira warning Ryuk to stay in the bedroom or lose his apple privileges.

---

When Kira entered the bathroom, L had already removed his makeshift splint and sling and was working on his shirt.

Rather than helping, Kira crossed his arms on his chest and leaned against the doorway, watching with obvious curiosity as the older man set his teeth to his left sleeve, pulling his arm free from it. After that, he twisted the shirt over his head. By a series of careful, patient movements, he finally freed his injured right arm of the shirt, wincing whenever his fingers twitched or his arm was bumped by the material. When he was finished, he leaned against the sink counter to recover, right arm close to his stomach.

"You're lucky you wear such loose clothes," Kira commented. "If you dressed like a normal person that would have caused you to pass out."

"I would advise against you breaking your arm, then," L responded flatly.

Snorting amusement, Kira stepped around the other man to turn on the water and adjust the temperature. He could feel L's eyes lingering on his backside as he bent down, but he gritted his teeth and tried to ignore it, cheeks warming slightly. "Pervert," he accused L.

"Light-kun is convinced of his own perfection, is he not?" L asked idly. "It would make sense for him to be admired. In any case, I've never made it a secret that I desire you. Would you have looked if it were me bending down...?"

Kira gave L a mild glance over his shoulder. "Yes, I would have. I'm endlessly disturbed by the fact that a person who eats as much junk as you do is actually underweight. Your skin is also an unhealthy color, and when you crouch like this your spine sticks out. It's an eye-catching sight." With practiced ease, Kira neglected to mention the fact that he had on more than one occasion had to suppress a desire to run his fingers over L's back just to see what it would feel like when the man was in his usual bizarre sitting position.

He finished adjusting the water and stood, brushing at his hands as though the faucets might have had dirt on them. With a sweeping gesture and arch of his eyebrow, he invited L into the shower.

"...Light-kun does not paint a very flattering picture of me," L observed. Straightening, he let his baggy pants and boxers drop to the floor unceremoniously, stepping over them to reach the shower.

Grimacing, Kira stooped once more, picking L's dirty clothes up and setting them aside, now neatly folded. They would be bundled together later, and when enough were dirty the two would find a laundromat and clean them.

"Just be thankful that I haven't killed you yet," Kira replied, washing his hands after touching the clothes.

"The notebook would not work..." L reminded, standing in the shower's spray and glancing at Kira with what the murderer suspected to be hidden amusement.

"I meant with my bare hands."

"Ah. It seems that Light-kun would not want to get hands dirty," L observed, dark eyes staring pointedly at Kira's hands beneath the faucet.

Kira arched an eyebrow, shaking his hands dry in the sink on the assumption that they'd only be getting more water on them in a moment. "Says the man who holds everything as though it might contaminate him," he reminded L sardonically.

L tilted his head in a silent, 'touché'. "Will Light-kun be stepping into the shower and getting his briefs wet, or will he be sensible and discard them? If he plans to stand outside of the shower to help me, he will still become wet."

"..." Kira frowned. Getting into the shower with L and no clothes seemed like a very bad idea.

Standing under a shower head in his briefs, however, seemed appalling.

Aggravated by the small defeat, Kira hooked his thumbs into his boxer-briefs and slipped them off, projecting an air of nonchalance. Though he'd stepped from a shower with L in the room before and knew also that the man had previously been prone to videotaping him while he bathed, it was somewhat more awkward knowing that L was watching him and thinking perverted things.

Folding his briefs, he set them aside and stepped back into the shower behind L, sliding the glass door closed.

"...Kira-kun folds his underwear?"

Kira narrowed his eyes. "L, don't start."

"...I was only curious. I had never noticed this habit of Light-kun's before."
"I've had it since I was a child. Now get your hair wet and shut up, or I'm leaving you to wash yourself one-handed," Kira commanded, arms crossed in annoyance over his chest.

Sighing, L obliged, ducking his head at last under the water's spray.

Kira's eyes followed the water as it soaked through the older man's hair and streamed down his back. Noticing the dark bruises marring L's pale skin from the other man's collision with the coffee table the day before, the murderer frowned to himself and placed his fingers lightly on the bruises.

L went completely still under his touch, even his breathing stopping for a moment. Kira immediately pulled his hand back and crossed his arms. "I hadn't seen the bruise before," he explained unnecessarily. Immediately, he cursed himself for the inane comment.

"Light-kun does not need to make excuses for wanting to touch me," L replied quietly. Drawing his hand through his hair to push the dark locks out of his way, L glanced over his shoulder and fixed Kira with his gaze.

Unaccountably nervous, Kira covered, as he usually did when uncertainty very rarely struck, with arrogance and annoyance. Using his search for the small hotel-supplied shampoo bottles as an excuse to break eye-contact, he poured a decent amount of the scented substance onto his hand before re-capping the bottle and setting it aside. Grateful that L was still facing away from himself and that the other man wasn't taller, he reached up to begin.

Shampooing someone else's hair was an entirely different experience, Kira found. It was disturbingly intimate. Surprisingly, L kept himself quiet as the younger man adeptly worked his thick hair into a lather. When he reached around to make sure he'd caught L's bangs as well, Kira spied a tiny trail of soapy water trickling down from L's hair. Without thinking, he nudged his lather-free wrist against the other man's forehead before the shampoo could reach the detective's eye.

If he kept his mind off of the fact that he was cleaning the hair of an irritating genius he'd had sex with a month before, Kira could almost delude himself into thinking this situation was like when he had been years younger and helping his little sister take her baths.

He frowned slightly. Of course, cleaning Sayu wasn't really anything like this. Sayu is family, helping her was expected. This is just... domestic. That thought, in itself, was disgusting.

"...Did I do something to make Light-kun angry with me?" L inquired, voice passive.

"What? No, why did you ask?" Kira responded. Realizing he'd been angrily kneading the shampoo into L's scalp when his thoughts had turned, Kira stilled his fingers and pulled them free with a wince at his slip in control. "...I was thinking about something else, I didn't notice."

L nodded. "If Light-kun would refrain from thinking about whatever upset you while helping me, it would be appreciated," the man deadpanned.

Snorting at that, Kira gave L a light shove toward the water. "Rinse."

"...Do I need to remind Light-kun that he is not, in fact, God?" L queried.

"Do I need to remind you that this assisted-shower is a privilege, not a right?" Kira drawled in response. "Rinse."

Obliging this time in a slightly mutinous way, L stepped back under the shower's spray and did as told. Rinsing his hands in the water that escaped around the detective's bony frame, Kira ran a hand through his hair and breathed deeply, disliking how the muggy, heated air stuck to his skin and tongue. The sliding doors of their shower had already fogged completely, in spite of the bathroom fan.

"Done," L announced flatly, pushing his hair back again.

"I can see that," Kira observed dryly. Finding the conditioner and pouring some of that out as well, he glanced sidelong at the older man. ...Wasn't I supposed to be torturing him? he wondered at himself. Shaking his head, he worked the conditioner into L's hair as well.

When the other man immediately moved to rinse himself, Kira stopped him with a firm hand on his good arm. "What are you doing?"

"...Rinsing." L blinked at him. "Do I have to wait for a command?"

Ignoring that, Kira gave L a stern look. "Do you always rinse out the conditioner as soon as it's in your hair?"

L simply stared at Kira, waiting for the point and not giving the obvious answer. His thumb lifted slowly to his lips.

"No wonder your hair always looks like that," Kira muttered, shaking his head. "L. You leave conditioner in, and it can actually condition. It will leave your hair... why are you smiling?"

Apparently in spite of L's control, one corner of the detective's mouth twitched up, and then the other. "Do all murderers worry about hair that often?"

Kira glared. "We're in a shower, now. I could shove you, and you would crack open your head, and no one could catch me."

L's smile twitched slightly wider before fading to general amusement in his black eyes. "Showering is simply a way to stay clean. Normally, I don't bother with conditioner at all. Likewise, clothing is simply to keep oneself covered for social reasons."

Arching a wry eyebrow, Kira snorted. "Which explains why you don't wear socks-- no one sees them...?"

"No." L shrugged, looking away and rubbing the bottom of one foot against his leg absently. Kira found the gesture somehow amusing when the other man was naked. "I hate socks. They're too confining. Loose shoes are okay, but they're clumsy. They make walking less efficient. I prefer bare feet."

"Knowing you makes me constantly thankful that being a genius didn't make me insane, too," Kira commented. Reaching for a washcloth, he found the hotel's bar of body soap and began to lather it.

"That is entirely debatable, Kira-kun," L argued. "You are, in fact, a near-sociopath bent on ruling the world." Glancing casually to Kira, L froze again. "...I can wash myself," he asserted, voice empty of emotion.

Kira felt a smirk curling his mouth. "I don't think you can. You need to rest that arm or it will never heal," he countered.

"I really think it would be best if Kira-kun handed the washcloth to me..." L tried again.

"L. Be logical," Kira prodded. "You stated yourself that the idea of this shower is to torture you. Washing your hair wasn't torture, was it...?"

"When Kira-kun became angry while washing my hair, it could have qualified as..." L trailed off as Kira placed the washcloth to his back and began to scrub, mindful of the bruises. Swallowing audibly, L finished quietly. "Torture."

Kira's smirk widened smugly. Not bothering to respond, he set about running the cloth in a leisurely manner across L's shoulders and back. Urging L out of the spray of water and to face him, Kira paused, arching an eyebrow in surprise. "Well. It actually takes some of the fun out of it if you're that easy to turn on," he mentioned.

"This is a scene I've thought about before, Light-kun," L mentioned, tone reluctant. Kira paused with the washcloth resting against L's chest, thinking that he probably didn't want to hear this. "...Admittedly, my arm was not broken when I was thinking how it could play out."

Abruptly wanting to be anywhere but trapped in a shower with the lustful detective, Kira made to open the sliding door and escape. L caught him by the wrist with his good hand, holding it firmly.

And, though he could have easily deterred the injured man with one punch in the confined space, Kira again let himself be stopped.

The look Kira turned on L projected annoyance. "What?"

"...I need a question to keep Light-kun from leaving the shower?" L inquired. Kira continued to watch the older man in an unfriendly way until L relented. "...Light-kun is being very difficult right now," he commented.

"Actually, L, I'm being very restrained. You draw out the anger in people," Kira responded acerbically.

L indicated his broken arm with a nod of his head. "I had noticed that already, Kira-kun."

Glancing instinctively where L motioned, Kira couldn't quite stop his gaze from dropping past L's arm to a significantly more interesting appendage. Aggravation at himself and embarrassment made him turn his eyes away, but not before L noticed.

"...Kira-kun has glanced at that particular part of my anatomy several times tonight," L observed in a quiet tone. "Perhaps he is more interested than he would like to admit?"

"L..." Kira warned.

"If you would like a closer look, feel free to--"

The detective was abruptly cut off by Kira's hand over his mouth, the younger genius' honeyed eyes blazing inches from his face.

"I swear to God, L, if you do not shut up, I'm feeding you to Ryuk."

L's eyes widened slightly. Kira slowly removed his hand.

"...Do shinigami really eat peop-- mmf..."

This time, the deterrent from speech was Kira's mouth on his. L apparently didn't mind, as his good arm wrapped itself around Kira's waist to pull him closer. Kira resisted for a moment, hand against L's chest to keep their distance. L's shower-warmed and water-slicked skin proved too enticing, however, and he slowly slid his arm around the detective's shoulders instead.

As their tongues touched and entwined, Kira guided L against the wall of the shower, pressing against him instinctively.

---

L's nails dug sharply into Kira's back and the back of his head hit the wall.

Kira's stomach against his lower harm had caused the world to flash white, and spots still marred his vision when he could open his eyes around the throbbing bursts of pain. Thankfully, the younger man had realized the cause quickly enough to pull back.

Even with his sight distorted he could tell Kira was about to leave again. As that was completely out of the question, L locked his arm at Kira's back, fingers gripping skin firmly and pulling Kira closer.

"Idiot, you'll hurt yourself," the other man warned in exasperation.

Though that seemed very likely, L chose to ignore Kira's words in favor of dipping his head under Light's jaw to nip at his throat. The other man swallowed a startled noise and retaliated by setting to work marking L's neck with his mouth.

L allowed himself to enjoy the feeling for a moment, until Kira slowly pulled his mouth away. Blinking open his eyes, L followed the younger genius' gaze to where Kira's hand still held the soapy washcloth. Not following why Light had stopped, he turned his dark eyes back to him for a clue.

Kira's head was tilted, eyes narrowed in a calculating manner as he apparently weighed options. "...Light-kun--" L finally attempted, giving the other man's back an encouraging tug with his arm around Kira's back.

"Shh," Kira commanded absently. Meeting L's gaze, he reached a decision, smirking as he lowered the washcloth deliberately between them. Catching his intention, L widened his eyes.

Keeping his left hand on the tiled wall above L's shoulder, Kira draped the water-heavy cloth over L's engorged member, covering that with his slender fingers and giving a leisurely stroke. "This is still a shower, L," he reminded, voice sadistic.

Finding his thoughts suddenly difficult to grasp, the detective tilted his head back, mouth opening to gulp for air in the humid heat of the shower.

Kira's skilled fingers continued to work at L through the cloth, and pleasure sent blood pounding through his veins. The pressing warmth of the steam had combined with the pulsing blood and pain was stabbing into his skull in sharp counterpoint to the delicious feeling of rough washcloth on sensitive skin. "Too... hot..." he panted. L suspected he might pass out soon from the combination.

---

L's words startled Kira out of the fascination he'd been taking watching the great detective gasping against a wall under his hand. Realizing that it was becoming dizzyingly warm, Light stepped briefly away to turn the water off and crack the stall door open. The rush of cooler air caused him to shiver, and he returned to the other man's side. "Better?"

Dark eyes slid open, and Kira could feel the man wondering why he'd bothered to help instead of turning the heat on higher. Kira snorted. "L, I was in the water, too. It was giving me a headache."

"Ah." Curiosity satisfied, L reached up to pull Kira close again.

Kira let him. "...I'm not always a sadist," he defended himself, frowning slightly as his hand returned to its task.

L made a noise that mixed pleasure with disbelief. "Kira-kun... may believe what he wishes," he asserted, eyes closing again.

Tightening his fingers around L's length, Kira gave the other man few harsher strokes in irritation and bit his neck. To his surprise, L gripped Kira's shoulder fiercely and jerked his hips to meet Kira's hand, groaning.

"..." Annoyance sliding back into smug amusement, Kira licked at the teeth marks on L's neck. "I forgot. You like pain."

Licking his lips, L forced his eyes open again. "Not all pain, just... certain kinds..." L denied.

"Like..." Curious in spite of himself, the younger genius experimented. Another bite to the neck caused L to stiffen against reacting, so Light stepped the game up. Lowering his head, he scraped his teeth over one of the pale detective's nipples.

L gasped, skull thudding against the tiles again as his nails tore into Kira's skin. Hissing slightly at the pain but finding himself undeniably turned on by the other man's reactions, Kira gave in to an impulse to claim another kiss.

The detective met the challenge in his tongue readily, swallowing a pleased murmur he'd made as L's fingers wound fiercely into his hair to hold him in the kiss.

Bringing his hips closer to L's without further injuring the man's fracture was a difficult task with his thoughts sliding away, but Light managed. A twitch of the washcloth set it sliding over both their lengths, erections rubbing slickly together with each pump of Light's hand or straining thrust of the men against each other.

L's hand dropped from Light's hair in an attempt to help him, but did little more than grip Light's hand or get in its way. Breaking from the kiss with a hiss of frustration, Light slapped the detective's assistance away. "Stop that, I'm better at this."

Black eyes blinked distinctly. "...My arm is broken," L pointed out flatly, a slight frown on his kiss-swollen lips.

Kira snorted, left arm pressed against the wall as he did a standing push-up and leaned closer for a kiss that was more of a bite. "Even if it weren't, I'd be better," he asserted. Smirking, he kissed L again, though a part of him regretted the fractured arm. L was more interesting when baiting him came with a risk of being kicked across the room.

L accepted the kiss silently, but a certain mutiny remained in his stiff posture. It relaxed suddenly, and his hand came up to rest against Light's back.

Murmuring encouragement, Light kept control of the kiss and returned to working the washcloth over their lengths.

He didn't register the steady downward path of L's hand. When the first finger slid into the cleft of his ass, he froze and broke the kiss. "L--" he warned.

Too late.

The finger slid teasingly home, and Kira jerked slightly, clenching his teeth against the discomfort. His words came out as something dangerously close to a growl. "Move your hand."

L widened his eyes. "Of course, Light-kun." As though obliging, he took Kira at his most literal-- his hand spread out over the firm muscles beneath it, and another finger wiggled in to join the first, stroking soothingly at Light's passage. Heat from the shower had helped to relax Kira's muscles, and the discomfort Kira would otherwise feel was overwhelmed by an onslaught of memory that closed his eyes.

Against his will, he felt his hips twitch forward, the fingers an inadequate reminder of their only time together. Kira clenched his fist against their trapped members, but the movement only bowed his head against L's shoulder with a gasp of pleasure. "I should... kill you," he panted, gritting his teeth angrily as the strokes of his hand fell into rhythm with the plunge of the older man's fingers into his body.

"Now Kira... knows my thoughts exactly," L agreed, voice tense to maintain its control.

Kira bared his teeth in a fierce smile. Gripping the tiles to keep from crushing L's arm, the murderer closed his eyes and gave up on words for the moment, concentrating instead on the slippery heat of L's flesh pressed against his own beneath a hotel washcloth, the detective's own pants hot against his neck coming slightly slower than the man's fingers working inside of him.

Overcome in moments, Kira bit down on L's shoulder to stifle a groan of pleasure as he found his release. His hips continued to jerk as the seed poured from him, and shortly after L's body tightened against Kira's as the other man came without a sound.

Pulling away to rest against the shower wall and recover, Kira kept his head tilted back and caught his breath, limbs heavy with endorphins. The washcloth fell from his hand to smack against the floor.

When he could open his eyes, he found L watching him as always. He quirked an eyebrow in a silent question at the older man.

"...Can I rinse out the conditioner now?" L inquired.

Caught between a laugh and the urge to punch L's fracture, Kira settled for a mild glare.

---

When the two were rinsed, cleaned and dry, they made their way to bed. Light pulled on his night clothes as always, while L bothered only with a pair of pajama pants and his sling.

L clambered to his claimed side of the bed, perching on the scarlet-striped covers and bringing his thumb to his mouth as he studied the still-laughing Ryuk, who had apparently stuck his head into the bathroom to ask for an apple when the two had been inside of the shower. Neither had heard him, and he'd returned to the room in disappointment until they returned.

"Ryuk..." L inquired, intense eyes pinning the shinigami as effectively as a human.

Ryuk shifted, finishing his third apple in a row. "Huh?"

"Do shinigami eat humans?"

"..." Ryuk stared in L's general direction, eyes on opposite corners of the ceiling. "...I don't see why we would, but I guess we could. Humans are probably salty, though. I prefer apples."

Kira made an annoyed sound, crawling into the covers and turning his back to L to sleep. "You thought I was really serious?"

"It was a possibility. I had only seen Ryuk eat previously, as Rem showed no interest in food, but there was a forty-eight percent chance at least that a shinigami might exist who would prefer to eat humans."

Ryuk chuckled. "We're not supposed to kill humans directly, but I don't know if there's a rule about eating you if we kill you first by writing your name. I'll ask Kinddara later-- if there's a way to eat you, she'd probably know it."

"Kinddara... how many shinigami are there, Ryuk?" L asked.

Ryuk scratched his chin, looking up. "I can't really tell you that... Anyway, I mostly stay in my area when I'm not in the human world. I could be wrong." Shrugging, he turned away to look at the television set in the corner. "Can we put on cartoons?" Hopefully, he looked back to Kira, then to L.

L met his gaze. "I intend to watch the news while Light-kun sleeps. If you want, you can watch it as well."

The shinigami gave a heavy sigh, the feather collar at his neck seeming to droop in disappointment. "Yeah, I guess..."

With the television on silent, L remained crouched on the bed as Light fell quickly asleep.

---

The peaceful scene lasted only a few hours.

"Hey... isn't that Light's sister? She's looking pretty pissed...! Hyuk, hyuk."

L's body gave a spasm, head snapping up as he nearly lost his balance. Myoclonic twitch, he registered as his mind cleared. Which meant that he'd been asleep-- or nearly so. Shifting carefully in his crouch, L looked around himself, mind still slightly muddled by his shock and wondering what had woken him.

Seeing the shinigami, the detective rubbed his face and followed the monster's gaze to the TV. "..." He watched as Sayu pleaded with the camera. Reading her lips easily enough to imagine the girl's voice, he pressed his thumb to his lips, hard.

Crawling one-armed across the bed, L unplugged his laptop and brought it to the covers. A little quick typing brought up a copy of the video, and L reached over to shake Kira awake.

"Mmn... visceral reaction to the stimulus of touch..." Kira murmured vaguely as he stirred. His brow furrowed, and his next words were clear and sharp with annoyance. "Why the hell are you shaking me?"

"...Was Kira-kun analyzing our shower encounter in his sleep?" L inquired, distracted from his news by the thought.

"...No," Kira lied, not quite awake or prepared enough to think of a better cover.

"I think you were," L disagreed.

"Is that why you woke me up?" the irritated murderer snapped.

Expression sobering, L pulled the laptop to turn the screen toward Light. Hiding a yawn, Kira gave the detective a mild look for the lack of an actual response. Sitting up reluctantly, he nodded for L to play the video.

---

By the time his sister ran from the screen, obviously in tears, Light's annoyance had vanished. Instead, he watched in regretful silence. "Sayu..." he murmured. "You don't understand..."

"...It is a difficult thing to accept," L reminded quietly. He was in his serious pose again, one knee raised as he stared calmly at Kira.

"She's an innocent. She's one of the people I'm judging for-- the world as it is isn't safe for her to live in," Kira asserted grandly, casting a frown at L. "She should know that I'm doing it for her."

"...There is an eighty percent chance that realizing that would horrify her."

Kira frowned. "She's always been a fan of mine. She should trust that I know what's best."

"It is easier to manipulate people when they don't think for themselves," L agreed blandly.

Ryuk laughed. Much less amused, Kira gave L a superior frown. "You wouldn't understand-- you don't have a family. They've always supported me."

"Light-kun is forgetting part of his sentence. They've always supported you... until you became a mass-murderer."

"That isn't the point."

"I believe it is."

A brief stand-off as Kira frowned and L stared impassively.

Unable to win a staring contest against a man who rarely felt the need to blink in the first place, Kira looked away in irritation.

"Two points to L," Ryuk observed with a chuckle. "You're not doing so well, huh, Light?"

Kira ignored the shinigami, and, after a moment, met L's gaze again. "You aren't still planning to leave, are you?"

"..." L's shields returned, face expressionless. "It would be the best plan, Light-kun. Near will show a sketch or picture of me eventually. My appearance is... more difficult to hide than yours."

"That would just mean we need a better disguise, or to find a place where we can stay more permanently before that happens," Kira disagreed.

"And before we manage that, I could wear a mask?" L suggested flatly.

There was a moment of intense scrutiny from Kira. "Actually... Well, it might help with your appearance," he observed. "It would hide the bags under your eyes at least."

L's mouth twitched minutely as he resisted a smile. "Does Kira-kun always give handjobs in the shower to men he finds repulsive?"

"No-- I'm certain it was a one-time occurrence," Light returned easily. "So there's no need to concern yourself, L."

Ryuk laughed again, and this time Kira let a smirk grace his mouth.

L brought his thumb to his lips in thought. "...Regardless, it would be best if I leave."

"That subject is getting old," Kira pointed out unpleasantly.

Obsidian eyes rested on hazel. "...Is Kira-kun so desperate for my company he would risk being caught by being in my presence?"

"...You're exaggerating," Kira avoided, frowning. "Having you at my side is less of a hassle for me. You have access to more money and have more shady contacts and access to things like new identification and passports than I would have alone. It's common sense for me to want to have your assistance."

"And my company," L insisted.

A sigh. "Is that what you want? If I tell you that I would be bored without you and that I for some reason have grown used to having you to fight with and talk to, would you be willing to stay? That's insecure of you, L."

"But true."

Kira lay down again, back to the detective. "Believe whatever you want. I'm only staying with you as long as I can use you."

"...Light-kun is not very good at begging," L observed.

A snorted laugh was his response. "I've never begged, L. In any case, once you're gone I'll have unfettered access to my Death Note..." he added. Said note was currently kept close to his stomach, tied in place with a strip of cloth to keep L from slipping it from his grasp in the night. Kira's hand stole unconsciously to it, resting against the reassuring stiffness of the otherworldly notebook kept close to his skin. "I should be able to begin my offensive immediately. Killing a hundred a day should get the public's attention again."

"...Kira-kun has the attention of the public," L murmured. "While we were in-flight, riots began around the world as your supporters fought against your enemies. In France, it's still going. Germany, also, recently enacted a large-scale protest against you."

"Riots..." Kira sighed, rolling to his back in thought and curling his hands beneath his head. "That isn't good. If the Kira supporters are seen engaging in that sort of violence, it will only give me a bad name and give the disbelievers more to fight with. I'll need to get that under control immediately-- the last thing I need is some misguided supporter taking matters into his own hand against a rioter and getting someone killed-- or supporters doing the rioting."

"It's good to see that Kira-kun cares about the innocents who would be injured."

"That was almost like sarcasm, L. Have you been practicing normal speech? You'll be putting emotion in your voice next and showing expressions," Kira predicted dryly. "Of course I care about innocents being hurt. They're the reason I'm trying to create a better world-- people like Sayu and my mother, who should be able to live without being afraid of riots, or war, or criminals. If you spoke with my supporters, you would understand what I'm doing-- there are people who believe in what I'm working for. I've saved lives, L, even if you believe I'm nothing but a murderer with delusions of godhood."

"..." L was silent for a long moment, then looked to the ceiling. "...Kira-kun is wrong," he uttered quietly, tone final. "I can never agree with you, or understand your supporters. Any good you do is fallout, a lateral effect of murder. My life has been dedicated to keeping criminals from hurting the public, by putting them in jail or, in extreme cases, urging the death penalty. Your methods are too extreme, and you have no chance of creating a better world this way..." His black eyes returned to Kira, but his face held no hint of human emotion. "If there was a small percent of hope that your way could succeed, a part of me would want to help you. You're going to be killed, and I don't want to see that happen."

"..." Turning his head enough to meet L's gaze, Kira watched the other man in silent consideration. "If you want me to live, then help me. It's your fault that we're on the run and that my identity as Kira was discovered in the first place. My death would be on your hands," he stated. "If that isn't what you want, don't avoid it and complain that you couldn't do anything but leave, work with me and make a move of your own."

L's thumb pressed slowly closer to his lips as the detective thought. After a long moment he blinked slowly, lowering his head with sinking shoulders as though accepting a heavy burden. "...If we move quickly to a safe location, Near revealing my identity will be a useless tactic," he spoke, voice low and nearly silent. "There are still things I will not do to help you. And if I can get to your Note, I intend to burn it. Whether I would regret your memories disappearing or not, it would be better for the world if Kira is killed... in one way or another."

Tension leaving his body, Kira smiled at his victory, though one hand still dropped again to the Death Note beneath his night shirt. Shifting foot to foot, the shinigami at the end of the bed laughed in anticipation. L's eyes turned slowly to him, regretful.

-----

Parts of this I like, and parts I'm less satisfied with-- but it's about 24 pages of solid writing, which is one of the longest chapters I've written in general....! Also, I had to actually try L's little getting-naked dance with a loose long-sleeved shirt I had on-hand. It really is possible to get out of the thing with one hand and your teeth, but he's lucky he dresses so lazily. Keeping the "broken" arm from bumping anything didn't work. If you noticed, I started putting "Light" rather than "Kira" occasionally. He's finally starting to accept himself, and also... it's just annoying me to always write "Kira". *laughs*

I fixed a few points in earlier chapters, but nothing major enough to affect to the story, I don't believe. People who suggested changes needed are credited for the edits in those chapters, though for things like trying to clarify that Kira didn't show the background or much of himself in the video, several different people were confused...! Sorry about that, I tried to make it a little more clear. Two edits were slightly major, with Shadowform helping me out by showing I'd jumped to a conclusion I shouldn't have with L's reasoning on the fake rule (hopefully I fixed that! It took a few tweaks in some different paragraphs of that chapter, and an addendum paragraph from L's POV at the end of the chapter.), and also with NightmareTears, who observed that by Misa writing down her name in the Death Note, even for the purpose of directing Nori's actions, she'd be stone dead. I mis-remembered something somewhere that had made me think Misa's words would be okay, but on review decided I'd simply overlooked the most basic fact of the Death Note! Not something I'm proud of, but I'm grateful it was pointed out so I could fix it. Continuity and clarity are hard to manage alone.

I still haven't decided how to fix my largest blunder: my initial ignorance of the full meaning of the "misspelling rule". L writing his own name down intentionally would mean that he, also, would be very much dead. The closest I can get to explaining it thus far is to say that in this story, the use of that rule is very literal, and it doesn't work in the way mentioned in How To Read. I really, really detest a lame excuse like that, but the plot point's become mildly integral to the story now. I grit my teeth whenever I think of it...! With the time I put into the story trying to keep things in order, I hate that I messed up on something so important.

Kinddara is a shinigami mentioned in How to Read, who's listed as being very violent and having a high kill list. I figured if anyone would know if you can eat a human, it'd be her. And, as a side-note, L's arm isn't really broken. It's fractured, so it'll be a while before it heals, but not as bad as it could be. He just doesn't want to go to a hospital for an x-ray.

Downfall is by Matchbox Twenty. Heard it at work and scrabbled for a pen to get the lyrics down.

Review Responses:

Lady Gaia: Oh! I didn't mean you posted one review twice, but that you were my second reviewer on that chapter, and then reviewed again about a week later. It pleased me. If it was accidental, I'm keeping both reviews anyway...! I have plans for at least one person dying, but I'm not sure what'll happen because of it yet, or how soon that will be! Thanks for replying!

WM: Sayu amuses me too, I wish she'd had more of a role in the canon. I can never tell if Light actually loves her or not, either...! But for the purpose of the story he does. And DN: How to Read claims that he loves Sayu... but it's still a toss-up to me. Light's pretty damn crazy after the Death Note gets to him.

Hellagoddess: I somehow avoid reading the Ryuk/Sayu porn! I think I'll continue avoiding it. *laughs* Thank you thank you! I'm glad you liked the young!Light description and that people weren't mad at me taking liberties. (*giggles more at the Mikami insertion*) Even a picture of a painting would be wonderful! I'd be terrified of the hardcopy being hurt in transit too.

Viridian Kat: I'll look into that! What I've heard of Nightwish is wonderful, but the songs I have wouldn't work for the story unless something really bizarre happened. (I only have Nemo and Wish I Had an Angel so far.) It is sad when reading takes over writing, but it happens! I go through phases for months where writing's an effort, and I'd rather draw or read. I'm trying not to though! I think a DN vampire fic would be brilliant, I would definitely read that. Your friend's char sounds lovely, and lots of fun! A blunt hacker fits perfectly into the DNverse... As for uke!Light, I have no idea even as I'm writing! But I have more fun with Kira's insanity. He may end up on the bottom again at some point though, but I don't know how adorable that will be. *grins*

Nusku: Thank you! I haven't heard his English VA yet, but that's easily enough remedied.

Gloria B: I think I replied to part of this in email, but can't remember! I do remember telling you that I'd had to hide Sayu's appearance from you so you'd still be surprised. Surprise! She hasn't made it a personal vendetta to stop Light yet, she just wants to hit him. She got Near instead, though! Near/Sayu really is a weird idea, but I'm wondering if it would work... Rester's protectiveness is quite fun to write too, since the man's hard to read. Joie to you too!

Specimennumber1: Thanks for reviewing, lateness is no problem! I'm glad you got computer-access back, though. I finally read the Mary Sue bit, but it's 4 a.m. now, so I need to post this and get sleep. Will respond later!

Sabaku_lotus: This is your favorite DN story?! Thank you...! That makes me nervous but happy! Sayu disappearing the way that she did really was ridiculous-- not as much so to me, though, as how wonderful and interesting Naomi Misora was before she died about the time she popped up. That makes me tear at my hair! I had to reread the part where Mello died three times just because I sincerely couldn't believe he'd gotten killed that easily, thrown in like an afterthought. And really, it was letting Takada keep her bra that killed him-- otherwise he'd have had her piece of Death Note. It frustrates me...! Anyway. You made a picture?! I'm shaking with energy...! I want to see it, whenever you can scan it! Thank you for replying, and staying with me this far...!


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