“Ryuuzaki, why can’t you just believe me? I am not Kira!”
The chain rattles against Light’s arms for what feels like the hundredth time that day. It rattles his nerves, fraying the edges of his sanity, reminding him that he is trapped here, bound like an animal to his captor; he can do nothing. Light squashes down his rising rage. Who is L to lock up the God of the New World?!
L is pensive as he considers how to reply and Light barely manages to restrain his temper. He has no time for this! He needs to move on with his plan. L needs to die.
“I’m sorry Raito-Kun, but I’m now 85% sure that you are Kira.”
Damn that Ryuuzaki!
“Listen Ryuuzaki, you have to hear me out! I’ve been set up. It’s the only explanation. You said so yourself, there‘s no evidence to prove that I am actually Kira, because I’m not! If I was Kira you would’ve seen proof of it in the last few months I’ve been bunked up here with you.” Light pauses to drive the point home. “We’re wasting time! Every second we spend here could be better spent searching for the real Kira!”
“And that is where you are wrong.”
The whole room goes silent as L lets that thought hang in mid air, as if it were nothing more than a daily observation about the weather. He brings his thumb to rest up against his lip as he observes the reactions of all those in headquarters. Light watches impassively, trying to understand what’s going through L’s head right now. What did he miss? Damn it! Just one oversight, that’s all it would take.
Matsuda is the first to speak up. “Gee, what do you mean Ryuuzaki?”
L looks up at Light for the first time that day. There is something tragic etched in his usual passive expression. Light wants nothing more than to look away, but he knows he will give himself away if he does. He’s walking on a tightrope, and if he’s not careful he will slip and fall to his death. But he is God, he cannot die. He needs to remain one step ahead.
So instead he holds L’s gaze, drinking in the pity that is there deep in his sleep-deprived eyes. He wishes for nothing more than to wrap his hands around L’s neck and squeeze that look out of him, until he is begging on his knees for repentance. Light grows heady with the thought of that power, of finally having the upper hand over his one and only enemy. L is a threat to his new kingdom, and that threat needs to be eliminated.
Light decides to push for closure. That shouldn’t be enough to raise L’s suspicions in and of itself. Any innocent person would act exactly the same way. “Ryuuzaki, what do you mean?”
When L just sits there, staring up at him still with that pathetic look on his face, Light’s patience finally runs out. “Ryuuzaki, tell us! How am I supposed to prove to you that I’m not Kira when you seem set upon finding evidence where there is none? It’s almost like you want me to be Kira!”
“Raito-San has a point, Ryuuzaki. It does seem like that’s what you are doing,” Matsuda interjects.
“Perhaps you are right, the both of you,” L replies, “however, it’s too late for me to take it back now.”
Light speaks up first. His eyes dance around agitated, before finally settling back onto L. “Take what back? What have you done?”
L picks up the Death Note lying across from him on the desk and examines it for a few moments before looking up at the Shinigami on the opposite side of the room. “Shinigami, are you bound to protect the owner of a Death Note?”
Rem forms her answer slowly and a thick fog of dread settles over Light’s mind. He has a queasy feeling about this. “No. No Shinigami is bound to protect their owner. Not unless they have fallen in love with them.” Her eyes briefly flicker over towards Light and Light is sure that L noticed. He doesn’t think that L will understand the implications of that statement, but either way, what the hell does Rem think she’s doing by handing out information like that?!
“I see. Thank you.”
L drops the Death Note back onto the desk and pulls out his phone from his pocket. He flips the receiver open and pushes a number on speed dial before raising it to his ear. “Watari, please let them in now.”
Closing and pocketing the phone, L looks back up at the investigation team as armed men come rushing into the room. Their faces are covered by helmets and they have “SAT” printed in bold white on black Kevlar vests. They secure a perimeter around the room before filling up the stairs towards Misa’s room.
“Ryuuzaki! What is the meaning of this?! Why are the Special Assault Team here?” Cries Chief Yagami.
“Amane Misa-San has been found guilty of being the second Kira. I’ve already presented all the evidence to the high court and a trial was held in private yesterday. She is sentenced to death. I’m sorry.”
Light freezes. No no no no no! This will ruin all his plans! His mind works furiously and his eyes scan the room until they come to rest upon Rem. She doesn’t look pleased by what’s happening. He remembers Rem telling him that if he ever let anything happen to Misa then she would kill him. And chained as he is to L, Light can do nothing to save Misa. Fuck! Not only that but he needs Misa’s Shinigami eyes so that he can find out L’s true name and kill him. Light tries to reassure himself. Maybe he can somehow prevent Rem from killing him and find another way to find out L’s real name.
Light regains his senses to find the room in an uproar. He looks over at L who is still crouched down on his chair and watching the proceedings with calm interest. “Ryuuzaki! What are you doing?! They can’t just take Misa away and e-execute her!” He thinks he expresses just the right amount of horror in his voice to fool L.
“I’m afraid they can.”
The room falls quiet for one long second before the Assault Team return with a thrashing Misa. She is bound in chains and has a blindfold tied over her eyes.
“Let me go you perverts!” She shrieks
“Ryuuzaki?” She stops struggling. “What’s going on? Why am I blindfolded? Let me go!”
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Misa, but you’ve been charged with mass murder and for being the second Kira.” L lowers his voice solemnly. “Your execution is at midnight.” He nods at the waiting assult team. “Take her away.”
Misa starts screaming again, trying her hardest to escape, but to no avail. The assault team drags her away, leaving the sound of her screams echoing in the once again silent room as Light and the rest of the investigation team stare at L in disbelief.
“Ryuuzaki…” Chief Yagami starts first. “What is the meaning of this?” He raises his voice slightly. “Don’t you think you should’ve warned us? How are we supposed to be of any use to you when you don’t inform us of your decisions? And this no less.. What were you thinking?”
L raises his thumb to his lip again as he stares ahead blindly, mind whirling with thoughts. Light is once again struck by an incredible surge of hatred. That image of L on his knees before him begging for his life pervades his mind again. He pushes it away. Irrationality will solve nothing. He needs to make a plan. He has until midnight to think of something before Rem will kill him.
“I believe that Misa’s execution is vital to catching the first Kira. If she is in league with the first Kira like we assume her to be, then it stands to reason that the first Kira will try to save her. She has the Shinigami eyes. The first Kira needs that and we will use it to draw him out. Precautions have been set up at her execution site to ensure that he does not succeed.”
“But Ryuuzaki,” Light tries, “The first Kira is bound to realize what you’re up to. What if he doesn’t show? Then you would’ve executed Misa for nothing!”
L continues to gaze ahead unseeingly. “I think you’re forgetting, Raito-Kun, that Amane Misa-San is now a convicted murderer.”
L turns his gaze towards him, and Light is brought up short.
“This is another one of your tests, isn’t it?” Light starts pacing back and forth as far as the chain connecting himself and L would allow.
Chief Yagami jumps in. “I can’t believe you are still accusing my son of being Kira!”
“Come on Ryuuzaki! This is madness! Of course I am not Kira! I just think.. Executing Misa like this is not like you! Not just! She needs a proper trial!”
L’s eyes glint in the light. “I am justice. And Misa’s execution remains. I’m sorry Raito-Kun. I know how much this must upset you.”
With that L removes himself from his chair and starts walking up the stairs, dragging Light behind him.
Light narrows his eyes as he reluctantly goes after him. L has no idea how much this is upsetting him. And he has no idea how sorry he will be one day; Light hopes that day is soon. Perhaps he can use this situation to his advantage. He needs to be careful not to give himself away the way L is so obviously hoping for.
“Ryuuzaki, where are you going?” Matsuda asks.
L replies without turning around or stopping. “I have business to attend to. You’re free to continue the Kira investigation in my absence. I may be gone for a while.”
Light grits his teeth as he follows behind, resigning himself to the fact that for now, he is unable to do anything.
“Ryuuzaki! Slow down! Where are you going?”
L stops in a deserted corridor, allowing Light time to catch up with him and face his rival.
“I’m sorry things had to turn out this way, Raito-Kun.”
“What are you talking about? And why do you keep saying sorry? Cut it out!”
Light’s eyes lock onto L’s and.. is that regret he sees flickering in those depths?
“You’ve been a good friend to me, and I’m glad I met you, even if you are Kira.”
Friend? What is he talking about? It almost sounds as if he’s giving up. Light pushes the thought to the back of his mind and decides to consider the implications of that later. Right now he needs to try and set the record straight. L’s conviction of him being the first Kira is growing stronger by the minute, and if Light doesn’t do something, anything, then.. No. He won’t think about that.
“We’ve been over this! I am not Kira! But I guess it doesn’t matter what I say anyway. You’re not bound to listen to your own suspect, after all.”
“You’d be surprised.”
Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?
“What are you hoping to accomplish out of proving me to be the first Kira? Do you get off on this? Sentencing people to death?” Light snaps.
“I’m afraid I haven’t been completely honest with you. There’s something I forgot to mention to you at headquarters.”
Light snorts. “Why am I not surprised. That figures coming from someone who can’t even answer a single question straight.”
“Perhaps. But this is what I think. You’re chained to me and as such you’re incapable of going anywhere. The first Kira is bound to save Amane Misa-San because she has the Shinigami eyes. Therefore, it makes sense that if Misa is not able to be saved and her execution carries though, you are undoubtedly the first Kira.”
Fuck! Why hadn’t Light thought of that? If he goes out of his way to save Misa then in the current state of things he’s most likely to be caught, and yet if he doesn’t save her, even if he does find a way to prevent Rem from avenging him, he’ll be deemed guilty of being Kira anyway! Light feels for the first time in a long time as if his hands are tied and he starts to panic.
“You can’t be serious! So what if Kira just happens to let her die? Then I’ll be convicted of being the first Kira and there’ll be nothing to prove my innocence!”
“Kira will not let her die, I assure you. In order to find out my real name and kill me he needs her eyes, and as we have already seen, he is unwilling to make the deal for the Shinigami eyes himself. He needs Misa. He will save her. Unless of course, he is unable because he is bound here to me.”
The last sentence hangs in mid air and fury blazes in Light’s eyes as he considers using the chain to strangle L, just like he’s dreamed about so many times. But no, he can’t be rash about this. L is stronger than he looks and can hold his own if the situation ever came to that. Not only that, but there are cameras set up all around the complex which would be witness to his being Kira. No. It would have to be done as a last resort. Light will find another way out of this mess, he has to. He is God, of course he will!
However, he doesn’t hold back his rage as he towers over L, slamming his hand against the cold plastered wall beside him in protest. L slowly backs against the wall as Light closes the distance between them, trying to drive the point home. Let L see just how angry his God is. Light turns his face towards L, shifting his other hand to lay flat against the wall, effectively trapping him. It takes all his self-control to not bring his hands up to L’s neck and snuff his life force out once and for all.
“But I’m innocent!” He growls.
“And that’s what saddens me. You are innocent. But Kira is not. Yet it seems one cannot survive without the other.”
L’s eyes glaze over and Light is sure that if it were possible for someone so apathetic to do so, L would be crying. Light is infuriated by L’s weakness. There’s no place for someone like this in Kira’s New World. He thinks that maybe, just maybe, he could’ve saved L, if only L had let him. But no. It was much too late for that now.
“And I always wondered why you have no friends. Because you execute them all to death, that’s it isn’t it?”
“No. This may come as a shock to you, Raito, but I never had friends. Not until I met my equal. Not until I met you.”
“You are not my equal!” Light yells, and his fists clench tightly against the wall.
Dammit! He’s acting on impulse! Not thinking straight! In no way is L his equal, but he shouldn’t have just given that away! Light supposes it can’t be helped. It’s always been this way with L. There’s just something about him that gets under his skin. The same thing that enables L to see inside Light’s mind. The thing that so aggravates him, that reminds him to be careful.
“You are not my equal,” he mutters, reluctantly letting his arms drop back to their sides. “You’re not my equal because you’re so much more than that.”
Light’s lips quiver from the amount of will it takes him to refrain from saying the truth, and he thinks that he sounds hollow even to his own ears.
L’s eyes bore sadly into Light’s own. “That would be a compliment if you were telling the truth. But because we both know that you’re not, I’m going to offer you a choice. Give this up now, Kira, and I may still be able to help you. If you continue down this path, I will have no other choice but to be ‘so much more than that’, as you so eloquently put it.” L pauses almost melodramatically. “I’ve never once lost a case, but this.. You may be my one exception.”
Just who is L to think Light needs saving? Light is not the one in the wrong here. God cannot be wrong. No, L is blinded by his own hypocrisy. L is the one who needs saving by Light, needs saving from himself. L must die. And that goal is so much more easily achievable now that L seems to be giving up. His true equal would never be so fragile.
Light is almost afraid to ask. “What the hell are you talking about? A-are you admitting defeat? Just think about what you’re saying here for a moment! Listen to yourself, Ryuuzaki!”
“I hear the words of someone who believes themselves to be human, no matter how opposite from the truth that may be. Fragility is not a curse. I understand that much now. It’s not something to be feared. It’s almost – a blessing. It’s something to cling onto when all hope seems lost.”
What the fuck is L talking about?
“It will surely be dark without you here, Raito-Kun.” L heaves a sigh. It is languorous in nature and screams of morbid acceptance. Light’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. Is this a new trick L’s trying or is he truly resigning himself to his inevitable fate?
“Listen to me carefully,” L suddenly urges. “This is important. I’m going to tell you my real name.”
Light just gawks. “You’re going to.. What?” He’s not sure he heard L properly. “Why would you do something like that? Are you trying to get yourself killed?!”
Please do, Light thinks. It will make his job so much easier. There has to be a catch though, there always is. It can’t just be this easy. L would never take such a risk if he wasn’t sure that he would come out the other end as the winner. Light needs to stay on his guard.
L’s next statement reaffirms Light’s suspicions. “No. I am going to officially prove that you are Kira.”
Despite that, however, Light still can’t understand what’s happening. One minute L is talking like a man who’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the next he’s planning to reveal his true name in order to try and outsmart him?
Light takes a weary step back. Just what the hell is going on here?
L cuts him off. “My real name is L Lawliet.”
L turns around and begins walking again, although this time in a more contemplative state. Light follows behind, caught in a trance. Why would L do this? It has to be a trap, and yet, it seems to be Light’s only chance of escape. All he’d have to do is write L’s real name – L Lawliet – down in his death note. And once L was dead, once his rival was finally dead, Light could say that Kira was somehow watching the live camera feed, thereby witnessing the revelation of L’s real name. As long as Light was careful to avoid the camera’s line of view, he could get away undetected as the real perpetrator. Once that was done, the others on the investigation team would automatically regard Light as L’s worthy replacement. All Light would have to do then is to exercise his new-found influence and call off Misa’s execution.
Simple in theory. Light can’t help but think though that it’s not as easy as all that. Surely it has to be a trap. But he has no other available options. He has to take the chance. As God he cannot fail. The mere idea is inconceivable.
I, Kira, God of this New Word,will kill you, L Lawliet. And justice shall finally prevail.
Out of the corner of his eye, Light takes note of all the cameras. He’s been down this corridor a few times before and if he times it just right, he can kill L, with no evidence linking it back to him.
He continues walking in silence behind L. The corridors are dirty white and as Light’s planning comes to a close, he fast approaches a blind spot within the camera system. His heart is pounding heavily at the prospect of what’s about to happen. L , his enemy, dead. He feels ecstatic as power envelops his senses, and he represses a giggle. No, he can’t give himself away yet. He just needs to wait a little longer.
They finally reach the blind spot and Light only has a few seconds to spare. Quickly, he pushes the crown of his watch in and out three times. There’s a small click and the watch reveals a secret compartment, hiding within it a spare piece of paper from the death note – and a needle. Carefully drawing the needle from where it’s nestled, Light uses one hand to prick the skin covering his palm. A small pool of blood coalesces around the wound and he dips the needle in the frothy red liquid. He then uses the blood to write ‘L Lawliet’ on the paper, before donning the needle back to its hiding place, and resealing the watch and the paper within it.
Forty seconds and Light will know whether L was really telling the truth or not about his name. Just another forty seconds and then Light will be free to rule as God of the New World.
Light watches L from behind with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. Any moment now and L will drop dead from a heart attack. Light checks his watch. Thirty seconds left to go.
L turns around suddenly, causing Light to be brought up short for the second time that day.
“You know Raito-Kun, I am sorry to have to say again, although it has probably occurred to you by now, but I lied to you.”
L… Lied? About his name? Light’s heart sinks. Fuck! It was all just an elaborate test after all then. Light realizes his emotions must have shown on his face, because what L says next completely disavows that theory.
“No, you misunderstand me. I didn’t lie about my name. I lied when I said that Amane Misa-San would die. You see, only you can provide that evidence.”
Twenty seconds remaining. “What are you talking about, Ryuuzaki?” Light doesn’t care much for conversation anymore, but he needs to keep his cover until he knows for sure.
“I decided to try out the Death Note for myself. If I die now, then it only stands to reason that you must be the culprit. Therefore, Misa will die as the second Kira through association with you being the first Kira. And if Misa dies, then how are you to stop the avenging hand of a God of Death? Tell me this, Raito.” L brings his thumb to his lip and studies Light. “Of course, if I don’t die then both you and Misa are free to go. Either way, justice shall prevail.”
That bastard! How dare he!
Ten seconds remaining.
And anyway, how did L know that Rem had threatened Light?! Light racks his brains, wondering if he previously slipped up elsewhere. No.. That’s not of any importance right now. He’s totally fucked! He has to do something! L can’t just get away with this!
But once a name has been written in the Death Note it can’t be unwritten. Light can’t take back what he wrote. He.. He’s going to die!
Light opens his mouth to reply. He needs to do, say anything. This can’t be happening! But he finds the words are stuck in his throat. He… He’s been defeated. L- L wins..
Horror consumes him.
Five seconds remaining. L offers a slight, cheerless smile, as if knowing exactly what’s about to pass.
Four, three, two..
Light gazes into the eyes of his enemy for what he knows will be the last time. He feels his own eyes swelling with tears. So this is how it ends.
L falls to his knees in front of him in quiet acceptance. Light feels his stomach clench in terror as all at once his greatest realization and his greatest fear both come to pass.
“Misa.” Light utters her name as if it were his lifeline, disregarding the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. Right now she is having a heart attack, Light knows, and that heart attack will be his death.
Then it happens.
His chest feels as if thousands of knives are tearing through it, and he buckles to the floor after L, screaming in pain, denial overwhelming his senses.
“NO! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE! IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO END THIS WAY! I YOU CAN’T JUST DO THIS!”
Light struggles to fight the overwhelming dread that’s gripped his mind. Tears stain his cheeks and his heart clenches painfully trying its hardest to hold onto life, trying to win a losing battle. He sees something move out the corner of his eye and he turns around to see Rem holding the Death Note.
“YOU TRAITOR!” He screams at her. “You know I wouldn’t hurt Misa.. Please!”
“I warned you, Yagami Raito, that if anything were ever to happen to her, I would avenge you myself.”
Light turns back around on L in waning frustration. His hands grasp out frantically in front of him and tighten themselves around L’s neck. If they’re both going to die here together, then Light might as well have the satisfaction of killing L himself.
“You’re going with me,” he grits out to L, his breath almost completely having left him now. The pain is slowly disappearing from his chest and his world is going dark. This is what the end must feel like.
Light thinks that L slowly leans over him and brushes his lips against his own. He thinks that L’s lips are wet and taste salty, but he thinks that maybe that’s just the taste of his own tears.
Light’s life flashes before his eyes and he feels a twinge of regret. Maybe if had met L just a few years earlier, he would’ve genuinely liked L. After all, he reluctantly admits to himself, they only ever wanted the same thing – Justice.
But none of that matters anymore. L has won and Kira is dead. Nothing matters anymore.
L barely manages to gasp past the tightness around his neck and the fire ripping through his own heart. “I know,” he wheezes. “This is the Light I’m clinging onto..”
And that is the last thing Light Yagami knew.