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When his fist connects with the desk, Mello feels nothing. Not the pain, not the broken bones or torn skin, not even the wood under his hand. Nothing. Cold, absolute nothing. The only thing Mello understands is that L is dead. L, who always treated him like a brother, who always had a kind word, who always knew how to make a bad day better. And now that same L... is gone? It isn't right. It doesn't feel right. L doesn't die. He has close calls, yes, but those come with his work. There's nothing special about Kira. He's just a ruthless, heartless, disgusting criminal. He's just a monster for the heroes to cut down. Heroes like L. Heroes don't die. Monsters don't get to win the game. That's not how fairytales work. 

But life isn't a fairytale. Life is cold and cruel and, now that L is gone, life is lonely again. 

Mello remembers having a brother before L. Nikolai. Nikolai was older than Mello, too, and Nikolai died bloody in front of Mello's eyes. In the dead of night, Mello can still hear Nikolai's last breaths. Horrible sounds. Mello wonders if L's dying breaths sounded anything like that. 

He punches the desk again, distantly aware of the fact that he's screaming. It doesn't make sense, any of it, but he points fingers and screams and lays blame because there's nothing else he can do. When he can't scream anymore, he runs. It doesn't matter where he's going. He'll never escape this godforsaken house. He'll never get away from the sickeningly sweet scent of death and decay. Still, he runs as fast and as far as he can, into the dark and the rain. He wants to forget, even for a minute, who he is. 

Mihael, whispers the voice in Mello's head. It has always been his mother's voice. 

"Go away!" He stumbles to a stop in the middle of a deserted park. It's raining in earnest now, the pavement glistening. 


"Shut up!" He clamps his hands over his ears. "Shut up, shut up, shut up!"

Now that he's standing still, Mello is starting to feel again. Stabbing pain jolts through his hand, forcing him to let it drop to his side. He's broken something for sure. His clothes are soaked through with rainwater, his hair tangled, and his shoes covered in mud. He must look like a lunatic, he realizes. He doesn't really care. It's cold tonight, too. Mello wonders if L, wherever he's gone, is cold. Is he in some lonely morgue, locked in one of those metal drawers? Will they cut him open and take his insides out, poking and prodding until they find what killed him? How will they hide the incisions now that L can't heal? Will they try to dress him up for a viewing or will they bury him in the sort of thing he wore every day?

Sobbing, Mello falls to his knees. He can feel his heartbeat throbbing in his broken hand, steady proof that he is alive. 

Mama is dead, Papa is dead, Nikolai is dead, and now Watari and L are dead. Mihael Keehl, in his own way, is dead.

But Mello is alive. 

"Whoever you are, Kira," he whispers to the night. "Your days are numbered."