L is dead. Light knows L is dead because he held him in his arms as he took his last, defeated breath.
L is finally dead and Light should be happy. He just defeated his nemesis and Light should be elated.
Finally, there won’t be a pale detective whispering percentages in his ear and watching him with hollow bright dark eyes, waiting for him to slip, to make a mistake.
As if the god of the new world would ever make a mistake. Light almost wants to laugh.
And then he is laughing. And laughing. And laughing. And then he can’t stop and then somehow he’s crying and choking on sobs and a shinigami is laughing with him with that awful, cracking, deranged laugh of his and they are both somehow looking down at L’s grave and then Light is on the ground on top of it and why can’t he stop laughing?
Light finds himself on the roof with Ryuk by his side like always. Light finds himself on the roof of the old task force headquarters. The very same roof where on that last day, he and L had that strange conversation. When L, even when he could hear his death knoll, was able to cut him to the quick with sharp words and a barbed tongue.
Have you ever told the truth at any point since you were born?
I’ve been careful not to tell lies that hurt others.
For a brief moment, Light stares out across the city and contemplates stepping off the edge of the roof. Maybe for the few seconds of free fall he would be able to shake off the ennui that has returned to settle as a cloak around his shoulders, sunk deeply into his bones.
And then Ryuk asks him if the fun is over. And Light-
Light doesn’t want to die. Light doesn’t want the fun to end just as much as Ryuk doesn’t so he remembers how to shake off the lassitude and clothe himself in victory, in justice.
Light doesn’t want to die so he becomes Kira once more and puts his mind to a new task.
He can only be the god of a new world if he can recreate the world himself. And so he gets to work.
It’s too easy without his adversary.
God he’s bored.
The men on the task force are almost laughably easy to manipulate now that L’s not there to cast any suspicion on him. All it takes is a few carefully placed words here and there and they give him everything he could ever want.
It’s so easy. He glances over to L–where L used to sit–to make sure that this isn’t some elaborate plot of his.
For a short second, Light sees him out of the corner of his eye, sitting like the monster he claimed to be in the same outfit that he wore the entire time Light knew him. The vision is so vivid he can almost hear L saying, “ 89%, Kira ”
But then he blinks and Light is alone in a room full of people eating out of the palm of his hand once more.
He doesn’t think victory is supposed to feel this hollow.
Misa is fanatical in her devotion to him. Misa has killed and killed and killed and shredded her lifespan for him. Misa will die for him.
Misa Amane is smarter than everyone thinks and was able to leverage all the power she had to ensure that she would be seated at his right hand when the world is reborn.
When L dies Misa is smart enough not to bring up his name in front of Light. She’s smart enough to act overly enthusiastic when Light announces that they could move in together–though he’s not sure how much of her act is an act. She’s not quite smart enough to know that she can’t ask for his fidelity but smart enough not to expect it.
Light expects that somewhere deep inside of her, Misa knows that she never had Light’s heart, but Misa’s smart enough to convince herself that it’s enough anyway.
Light has to act victorious around her. Has to always be her god.
Some nights, after Misa is asleep in their bed and Ryuk has gone off to wherever he goes when he’s not with Light, he stumbles away from the bedroom in their new apartment and into an empty closet where he allows himself to shake apart for an hour or so. After his hour is up, Light puts himself back together and resolutely does not think about the bone-crushing loneliness that has returned.
It’s two in the morning when he imagines that he sees L next to him. For a moment, Light feels perversely relieved. Of course it was all an elaborate trap. Finally, his adversary is back and they can go back to their never ending game. But as L raises his head to speak, Light accidentally blinks and when he opens his eyes, he’s alone in a dark closet in an apartment L had never stepped foot in.
After the resulting panic attack, Light resolves to remove this weakness in him, cut it out of himself like he’s removing a malign, cancerous tumor. This sort of behavior is unbecoming of a god.
The next day, he wakes up next to Misa and kisses her with a passion that surprises both of them. What follows is some of the best sex Light has ever had with Misa. She comes in record time.
After, Misa bounces into the shower, more lively than she’s been in weeks. Light makes a mental note to pay more attention to her moods, it would be a disaster if it all came tumbling down because Misa felt slighted. The fact that he hadn’t even noticed anything was wrong is inexcusable.
After Misa comes out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her, Light prepares to do some damage control and apologize for his behavior when she turns to him and hugs him. She’s still warm and slightly damp from the shower and he has to make a concerted effort not to shove her away when her hair starts dripping on his bare skin.
In her sweet voice that Light can never quite tell if it is real, she says, “I’m glad that Light is feeling better.”
Light opens his mouth to reassure her, but she cuts him off with a quick kiss on the lips before continuing, “Misa understands if Light is sad about his friend–even if he won.”
She moves off of him and gets dressed. Soon she’s out the door and Light is left contemplating the particular weight she had put in the word friend and thinks that perhaps Misa is smarter than anyone had thought.
That week twice as many criminals fall to Kira’s justice than before and Light makes his peace with how hollow his ascendancy feels.
A few weeks later, an imposter dressed up in a dead man’s skin appears and accuses Light of being Kira and suddenly the chase is on and Light should be angry, he should be livid , that this boy is trying to topple his new kingdom, but instead he finds that he’s much angrier about the fact that this child is claiming to be his rival. As if he was worthy. As if anyone but Light is worthy enough to take his name. Light thinks about what he learned–later–about L’s favorite pseudonym, thinks about spoils after a victory, thinks about how he earned His name fair and square and this creature in all white with his American entourage doesn’t deserve it, hasn’t killed for it and ripped his soul out for it and sacrificed the only person he-
Well it doesn’t matter what happened, all that matters is that Light is the only true successor, not any of these children suddenly running around.
This rage finally burns away all of the lassitude that had crept into his bones like fog or like the way that rain does when its cold and windy and no amount of clothing can protect you from just getting drenched (and he resolutely does not think about the rooftop). But the rage is no longer a source of focus like it was with Him.
Instead he’s distracted. He keeps seeing the silent, observant dead man wherever he goes and late at night, laying beside Misa or Takada or Mikami or whoever else he’s decided he needs to seduce that day, he thinks of kisses that tasted like spun sugar and felt like bruises on his skin even if they never left any marks and wonders why even in his anger he can’t seem to forget.
But during the day, his schemes and ambitions and half truths and untruths wrap themselves around him like his tailored suit and life goes on, as it must, and he puts aside His ghost and continues building his new world.
At the warehouse it all comes crashing down.
He hasn’t slept in three days (and he hasn’t slept through the night in far longer if he is being honest, which he isn’t, not even now), and he underestimated the three child pretenders, and he was betrayed (and that surprise was certainly a nasty one, Light definitely regretted sleeping with him now that it seems that it was an unnecessary move).
And his tower is falling as he loses his deck one card at a time and all he can do is clutch his masks and lies and meticulously constructed personae tighter around himself like a child with his blanket, irrationally afraid of the dark and death and the possibility of his father never coming home.
Finally, he just breaks and there’s two bullets fired from Matsuda’s gun (of all people!) and then he’s left alone to drown in a pool of his own blood and he can almost feel the strokes of the shinigami’s pen on that fucking paper and right before he finally kicks it, there He is.
And it seems like a curse that even now he can’t see his face but it feels fitting that of all people to appear in this moment when he has been stripped of all his lies and feeling more naked than he felt even undressed, it would be L, who had never had time for his masks anyway.
He was always naked with him in a way.
He feels like he should be thinking of other people in this moment, like Misa or his Father or sister or mother, but finds that he barely has the energy to think of himself, and really he never cared about anyone else anyway.
Maybe just Him, but Light can see Him right now, so he doesn’t have to worry about that.
Besides, they were both equally selfish, even if they dressed it up in the same pretty packaging.
“I am Justice.” Ha. What a riot. Look at where justice left the two of them. Maybe everyone should just succumb to the rot and ennui and lassitude.
Justice is dead. Justice remains dead. And they have killed him (and he has killed him and he has killed Him).
How shall they comfort themselves, murderers of all murderers?
In the last seconds of his life, Light doesn’t know. He doesn’t know if he cares much either.
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley