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A Roll of Dice

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“Mr Yagami… if I die within the next few days, your son is Kira,” L addressed the task force as he looked through the evidence from the Kira tapes. Getting an expected – albeit rather exaggerated – reaction, he continued “if anything happens to me I’ve asked Watari to make himself available to you so I’m counting on the team.”

“Ryuzaki, you said he was almost cleared and now this?” Souichirou challenged. “How much do you suspect my son?”

“The truth is, I don’t even know what to think any more,” L chose to answer vaguely. Contrary to Watari’s frequent scolding, he was not all that fond of lying – but twisting the truth was not beyond him. This was, after all, not really a lie. At this point he was almost certain that Light Yagami must be Kira; he fit the profile perfectly and had the intellect to evade capture for this long. The trouble was more disconcerting than that. L had been thinking for some time before he had chosen to speak, and concluded that whether Light was Kira or not, he would be more useful to keep around than to execute. Too bad then, that the inevitable consequence of losing would be that Kira would kill L, and L’s victory would be Light’s death. “I’ve never been in a situation like this. If Kira and the second Kira are working together right now, things are not looking good for me.”

When it had only been Light-Kira he had to contend with, this game had been both more fun – he had rather enjoyed trying to find the evidence to support his confidence that his primary suspect was Kira – and more interesting. Light-Kira was a worthy opponent, something that was a rare find for L. This second Kira… they were sloppy, simple and not at all special. It was only a matter of time before they would be caught. And yet it seemed that their abilities could surpass those of Light-Kira. They seemed to be able to kill by just seeing a face. L was certain that if Light-Kira was capable of this he would already be dead. The balance between the level of threat and interest had tipped, leaving L rather unsettled.

Also, when it had only been Light-Kira, L had been wondering if there might be a chance of changing Light’s sense of justice from murder to something more… useful, perhaps, certainly less illegal. A part of him (perhaps 2%?) had started to think that Light-Kira might even to be convinced to help him in his investigations. However, with a second Kira out there. No. Light clearly had a bit of a God complex to act as Kira in the first place. The existence of a follower with his (still unexplained – and that bothered L too) powers who seemed to worship him would be an almost insurmountable barrier.

“Given that, I may not be thinking as clearly as I normally do,” L allowed, “so I may be wrong.”

Of course, he knew he was not wrong, but it would help keep the officer on his side for now.

“Maybe I only consider him a suspect because we don’t have anyone else,” another twist to the truth. A push to the task force – look harder, find the second Kira! If the second Kira could be caught, perhaps Light-Kira could still be brought back to a better path. “But still, if I do happen to be killed soon, please know your son is Kira.”

This was all a wager now; L hated having to rely on chance.

 


 

 

Explaining to Kira why he was at the college, and more importantly, why it would be a bad plan to kill him so soon – was simple but effective. No matter how well Light-Kira tried to mask his reactions his eyes usually betrayed him to L. It wasn’t much – a tiny crease in the corners – but it broke the perfect mask and betrayed his Kira suspect.

L was torn – he didn’t like doing anything without a complete plan, and he usually never showed his face. However, he had very little choice now – he had to make a move, for better or worse. He was quite sure he would die soon if he didn’t. However, he found he was actually enjoying this. Unsettling Light-Kira felt like an achievement greater than solving any of his former cases.

It was very disappointing for a moment when the bimbo surprised and interrupted them – Misa, a model he recognised vaguely from a magazine he flicked through once when making himself appear disinterested in a conversation (when he had run out of sweets). Her arrival would have been nothing – a fly on the windscreen, just another female doting on Light, the perfect and popular student. But then Light inserted himself between L and Misa, and L’s calculations began.

Before a moment had passed the message was sent to Watari without removing his phone from his pocket, and Misa’s phone was none too subtly removed from her person for good measure.

He calculated the probability that Misa was the second Kira at about 60%. They would need the physical evidence from the tapes to confirm this, but that was taking far too long for L, who had no doubt that if he didn’t act now he would be dead by the end of the day. Besides, he was sure it would back up his expectations – 60%, for L, was as good as certain for anyone else.

At the same time he contemplated Light-Kira’s actions. Why would he place himself between Misa and him? Could it be that there was some part of Light-Kira that did not want him dead? There was the warning he had given earlier, that if he was found dead in the next few days then Light would be confirmed to be Kira. Could it really be that simple? It was clear that the second Kira could kill from just a face – maybe Light-Kira knew he would have to at least wait before he could kill him. The numbers were not exactly helpful – there was a 10% chance that he was wrong and that the movement was purely chance. 85% that it was due to the threat, and maybe 2% that Light didn’t actually want him dead for another reason. 3% that there was a motive L hadn’t considered – not a category he would normally allow a percentage for, but this was Light-Kira, and if L was to consider him a worthy opponent, he should award him that courtesy.

If this phone rings, then Light IS Kira. 100%. L concluded, awaiting the phone’s ring at any moment.

The phone did ring, and L was momentarily torn between the satisfaction of being proved right and the disappointment that Light truly was Kira and therefore far more likely to kill him than join his investigations.

L explained to Light-Kira, half expecting his heart to stop at any moment, that Misa was taken into custody as the second Kira.

 


 

Three days passed. Misa would not speak. L did not die. Light avoided the task force headquarters, leaving the excuse with his father that he was uncomfortable with being complicit in Misa’s confinement.

It was a stalemate, L knew. Both Kira suspects were right there and yet he had no evidence to prove to anyone else that they were the real thing. Misa-Kira was the clear weak link in the chain, but even she had not revealed any useful information that he needed to prove the case solved.

L poked angrily at the strawberry cheesecake in front of him, weighing his next move. How to break this stalemate without himself being thrown into checkmate? If he died now, no doubt the taskforce were doubting him enough that Light-Kira would get away. Besides, he would prefer if he didn’t have to die to prove the case when he was so close. The best he could hope for was to discover how Kira – either Kira – was capable of killing. He just had to find a way to do it that didn’t involve dying himself.

“She’s talking!” Matsuda called, snapping him out of his thoughts.

Indeed Misa was talking, making it seem like she was addressing the investigators, but she was so transparent. She responded to his questions, in a way, but mainly just asked for them to kill her. But… that didn’t make logical sense. The task force would obviously not kill her, not unless she was proved to be Kira and sentenced to death through the court of law. It was almost as if she was addressing someone else, another presence in the room.

A Shinigami?

Of course not. It was impossible, surely. But then, Misa had been searched for electronics on the way to the cell, and nothing had been found. Could she have managed to conceal something? Perhaps L should have done the search himself – he wouldn’t have missed anything, but then the idea really didn’t appeal to him, and not just because Misa might have the ability to kill him on sight. Was it possible that she could communicate with Light-Kira without need for electronic communication? No, of course, if she could do that why would she bother with the television broadcasts? L also refused to believe that Light-Kira would be able to tolerate Misa-Kira chatting away to him at all hours of the day and night either.

Misa finally stopped talking, having given them no new substantive information that would be permitted into a court room, several hours later. From the manner in which she stopped, L mused to himself that no matter how impossible it should be, he really should add at least 3% more to the likelihood of supernatural intervention and Shinigami existence and interference with his Kira suspects.

The next morning, and contrary to L’s expectations (and wasn’t that a new and unsettling-delightful experience) Light walking into the headquarters. He even had the courtesy to look flustered – L noticed two creases beside his eyes this time.

“Don’t you think this must be some sort of human rights violation?” Light-Kira began, incensed, looking to the screens and focused on Misa. “Even if she was the second Kira surely this would still be wrong!”

Why would you come here now, Light-Kira? This isn’t like you. L made a point of keeping his focus on licking the sugar off his donuts, though he did allow a small grunt of acknowledgement.

“He’s right, Ryuzaki,” Matsuda chipped in. The other investigators seemed to share similar opinions, but they were unimportant right now so L ignored them.

“Tell me then, Light,” L’s tone was sharper than usual. He didn’t like not knowing why his favourite Kira suspect was acting like this, and it put him on edge. “What would you do, right now, if you were in my place?”

The room stilled, recognising the unfamiliar bite in L’s tone. Even the most foolish recognised the trap – there was no answer that would help make Light look innocent at this point. However, Light didn’t make any attempt to answer, instead seeming to glare at the screens, his hands clenching into white-knuckled fists.

“Ryuzaki!” Matsuda shrieked, realising before anyone else what had drawn Light’s attention. “Misa stopped breathing! We have to help her…”

L didn’t look away from Light-Kira. Was this his doing? He looked more angry than anything, and perhaps even a little trapped…

A thud sounded on the table beside L’s cheesecake, breaking both their focus momentarily.

A notebook – that had most definitely not been on the table before – had planted itself beside the plate of sugary treat. It meant nothing to L… but Light – flinched!

L’s eyes somehow widened even more than their usual panda gaze. Light-Kira didn’t just flinch. Never. This was important.

L snatched up the notebook – of course he wanted this if it would make his Kira suspect react so strongly – only to reel backwards from his perch and tumble over the back of the chair at the sight of a huge, skeletal, angry looking creature hovering threateningly over Light-Kira.

Behind the chair, L quickly picked himself back up into his perched pose, listening to the one sided and highly heated argument this creature (could it actually be a Shinigami?) was having. From what he could ascertain, the creature seemed to be debating whether Light or L should be the one to die.

L took a single steadying breath, snatched a lint-covered jelly strawberry from his pocket and considered the facts, swiftly re-writing his views on the world and the entire premise of his investigation thus far.

Shinigami were real.

The notebook was important – maybe the murder weapon? (he flicked open the notebook in his hands, finding three of the pages to be filled with names)

Misa was dead.

The Shinigami seemed to think it might be his fault.

The notebook had been placed within his reach – deliberately?

There had to be at least one other Shinigami in the room that he couldn’t see, whom this Shinigami was arguing with.

Light was absolutely still Kira.

He was almost certainly about to die.

This sweet must be very old and tasted foul.

L stood from his crouch behind the chair, waiting for a moment when the Shinigami was quiet to speak.

“Put Light into a cell,” L hated how his voice betrayed a slight tremor. He wasn’t afraid – wouldn’t be scared even of a Shinigami. The result was the same – alive or dead. “Search him for a book like this – or any loose paper!”

“Ryuzaki…”

“No.” L refused to acknowledge the investigator’s complaints. “I promise I can explain everything, but if we wait I won’t have the chance. Just get him into a cell. Now!”

Okay, maybe he was panicking a little. But there was an actual, honest to goodness Shinigami in the room with them, so surely he was allowed just a few minutes to adjust his entire world view, damn it.

The Shinigami herself (was it a her? The voice was sort of female at least. How would he tell?) had fallen silent and was grinning at him in a subtle but rather dark way as the investigators finally decided to move in on Light.

“If you resist this, Light Yagami, I will write your name,” the Shinigami spoke coolly now, her voice sounding all the more dangerous for it. “It is your fault that Misa was caught, and it is your fault that she is now dead. You deserve this.”

“Take his watch,” L added quickly, noticing both the heavy base and the way Light’s eyes flickered to it as an investigator’s hand closed over it. One of the investigators passed it across to L, his hand passing rather unnervingly through the abdomen of the Shinigami figure that still hovered close to Light-Kira. That settled it; he needed cake. Fortunately the cheesecake was still intact, so L returned to his previous perch to think and eat the sugary treat.

Light-Kira did not resist as he was taken away to a cell. L didn’t blame him, with the Shinigami watching the move to the door. Behind L, the cameras switched from Misa’s cell to a currently empty cell, soon to hold Light-Kira.

“Watari,” L sighed heavily once all the investigators were out of the room, “can I rely on you to deal with Misa?”

“If you wish,” Watari agreed hesitantly. It wasn’t like L to leave something so important to someone else – not that anyone had ever died on his watch before, but he hated to admit if an investigation had made a misstep, and would usually prefer to deal with such a thing himself.

“Shinigami,” L began, jolting Watari. “If others were to touch the notebook like I did, would they be able to see you too?”

“That is right, L Lawliet,” the Shinigami answered, her voice maintaining that tone of quiet threat that almost sent a chill down his spine. “But as you were the one who first held it after Misa, it belongs to you now, and I will stay with you. You can call me Rem.”

“Thank you Rem,” L was unused to being courteous, but it seemed sensible to be polite to a Shinigami that only moments ago seemed to have decided not to kill him. “Watari, this will make far more sense if you should touch this notebook.”

Watari knew L too well to truly doubt him, so did as instructed. L began to fiddle with the watch whilst Watari actually engaged Rem in a brief conversation before moving to attend to Misa and make arrangements for how to deal with her death, briefly checking with L that it would be acceptable to use the truth that she was the second Kira and had been killed by Light-Kira. L agreed to the former but paused at the latter.

“Rem, who did kill Misa?” he queried.

“I did,” Rem confirmed his suspicion. “She begged me to, and I could see no other way once Light refused to help her.”

“Then it would not be right to say she was killed by the first Kira…”

“Make no mistake, L Lawliet,” Rem interrupted. L refused to be cowed by the very deliberate repetition of his name – a clear threat. “Light Yagami is the reason that Misa is dead. If she had not been so devoted to Kira, she could still have been alive now.”

“Still,” L advised Watari, “it would be better for our purposes to tell the public that the second Kira’s powers backfired on her. It would help discourage others from trying to use a notebook, should another ever reach another person.”

“As you wish,” Watari left to complete his task, letting in the other investigators in the process. On the screens, Light had curled into himself in the cell, talking in the direction of the bed.

L clicked the watch buttons through one final sequence before a secret compartment finally popped open. A slip of paper and a needle were hidden inside, and if L was right, this would be extremely helpful. He pressed a single index finger tip to the page, looking around the room and to the cameras.

There was the absolute, irrefutable proof that Light was Kira – as if he had needed any more. A Shinigami, darker but less imposing than Rem in a way, was lounged casually on the bed, gesturing with its large hands as it conversed back to Light-Kira.

L looked back to the investigators, only to see their expectant and angry gaze. Oh, of course, he had promised them an explanation.

“Pass this notebook around,” he instructed, holding it out to Matsudo. “Rem, if you wouldn’t mind stepping out until they’ve all touched it?”

Rem complied without a word. L took the chance to hop over the back of his chair and speak through the coms system to Light-Kira.

“Kira,” he began. Light glared back, breaking his conversation with the other Shinigami. “a confession wouldn’t do you any harm at this point, you know.”

Light just glared.

“None of this is proof,” Souichirou argued with L in defence of his son. “Why are you so determined that it has to be Light?”

“Rem,” L called, “you can come back in now.”

Chapter Text

“Kira,” L called through the coms system in the middle of the night, almost a month later. It was the first time he had spoken to Light-Kira in a week, and the other man still refused to be startled. “Are you ready to tell me the story yet?”

“Fuck off L,” Light snarled from where he was again curled in a corner of the small cell. As usual, Ryuk had claimed the bed, sprawled over it looking tremendously bored. A pile of apples was the only other adornment in the room, part of a bargain with the darker Shinigami to tolerate Light’s current imprisonment without writing his name in the Death Note.

L shovelled more of his devil’s food cake to his mouth, counting as he chewed. Only once he reached 100 did he respond. “I’m bored.”

“How the fuck is that my problem?” Light snapped. It seemed imprisonment hadn’t broken him, but it had made him more vulgar.

“I figure you must be bored by now too,” L taunted in a sing – song voice.

“Congratulations, Sherlock,” Light huffed.

L turned Rem’s notebook over in his hands – when had he picked that up again? He set it down firmly on the table, glaring at it, and scooped up more of his cake.

“I have another case,” L began, doing his best to entirely ignore the skeletal Shinigami behind him as she chuckled darkly.

“It’s only a matter of time,” she had told him a week ago, triggering the pause in communication between L and Light. “No human resists the temptation to write in the Note for very long. Hold on to it for long enough and you will, too.”

L had considered getting the book locked away at that moment. He couldn’t give up ownership, as Rem had explained, as she could easily take the notebook and give it to another human, a new potential Kira. What was worse, L would forget about the Shinigami if he did give up the book, which would make the task of catching another Kira all the harder. No, he couldn’t let go of the Note now it was in his protection.

Light still hadn’t responded, not that L had really expected him to.

“We have your notebook,” L continued. Light-Kira did tense slightly at that. “It would probably be enough evidence to convict you in a favourable courtroom, you know.”

“Maybe,” Light looked straight into L’s camera, seeming to make eye contact even through the electronics. A smirk curled his lips. “A list of all Kira’s victims? However, the fact that I was one of the investigators on the Kira case – why would I not be keeping a list? Hell, you would only get a solid conviction at this point if you proved the power of the Note or the existence of the Shinigami.”

Good. Light-Kira didn’t seem to have given up – that would be boring. He was still giving this some thought, still scheming even now from within the cell.

“That would cause mass panic,” L agreed.

“Utter chaos,” Light nodded.

“And that would probably be bad?”

“Very. So, you see, you can’t convict me.”

“Even though you are Kira,” L pressed.

“A confession wouldn’t necessarily be enough to convict someone either,” Light sulked. “Especially since people didn’t stop dying when I was put in this cell.”

“A confession and the notebook together could work.”

“Maybe,” Light allowed. “But even then, it would not be guaranteed. There are enough people out there in favour of Kira that would vote against conviction on a jury, even if they thought it was true.”

“Good thing the government has given me the authority to pass sentence if necessary to stop Kira then,” L finally admitted.

“Ooh,” Ryuk sat up from his slump on the bed with a wide, razor toothed grin. “Interesting.”

“Then why the fuck am I still alive?” Light looked angry again.

“Hmmm… well, Rem doesn’t want you to take the easy way out,” L offered the Shinigami a gummy bear as he spoke. She took it, very reluctantly, even though it was an orange gummy bear which L knew was her favourite flavour. “Not to mention, you are a highly intelligent man who would, in different circumstances, have no doubt made a very talented detective with a strong sense of justice. To be honest, you are just a bit too familiar.”

“Aww,” Light crooned sarcastically. “Ryuzaki, I didn’t know you cared.”

“You know,” L slapped the note back down on the table again and snatched up more sweets. His hands had never liked to be idle, but the way they were repeatedly drawn to the note was definitely not normal. Even for him. “An argument could be made that the note has a very bad influence on human actions. It almost… wants to be used.”

“Ooh,” Ryuk laughed. “You used it yet?”

“No,” L snapped at the Shinigami before taking a breath, a sweet, and continuing. “It does have a certain… influence. Wouldn’t you agree, Light?”

If I was Kira,” Light spoke slowly, measuring his words, “and the note made a person want to kill…”

“Played on the darkest parts of your very being,” L continued when Light paused.

If that were true, it wouldn’t be right to blame me for actions that I couldn’t control.”

“It wouldn’t be safe just to let you go either,” L amended. “The note would just start to influence you again.”

“And if I were Kira, and influenced by the note, I would refuse to give it up,” Light pointed out. “I’d refuse to give up being Kira.”

“Light,” L glanced over his cake and sweets at the pile of case notes from his latest challenge, shifting the Death Note under the pile out of the way. “Do you know, hundreds of people try to hack into the FBI computer system every single day?”

“Obviously.”

“Of course very few of them ever manage to actually succeed,” L shrugged. “But do you know what happens to the ones that do?”

“They go to prison,” Light sounded bored.

“Some,” L agreed. “But the very best – the cream of the crop as it were – they offer them jobs. Highly supervised, of course, and on probation – but paid well, and they don’t lock them away in prison forever.”

“When I take on a case, it is only as a last resort,” L flicked through the case notes one last time, deciding that the probability his suspect was the killer was indeed 100%. “I am given complete jurisdiction of the case, and unlimited resources to complete the investigation. I am justice, Light Yagami, and I believe there was probably a time when you thought you were, too.”

“Are you offering me a job, Ryuzaki?”

“You can call me L. And yes, I think I am.”

Rem laughed darkly behind him as L set down his pen on the desk beside the pile of case notes. The Death Note sat open beside them, a single name scratched in a loose scrawl on the otherwise blank page.

L closed the case file, marking it as closed.

“I promise, it won’t be boring.”