“Goodbye,” Light breathes—can’t breathe; his breath is in his throat and there is a hole where his heart had been, just minutes before. Horror in his lungs; disgust in his stomach. His face crumples like paper and there are tears now, tears streaming from his eyes and down his nose and pooling in the corner of his lips; he purses them and tastes salt and imagines L must be tasting salt as well—salt and metal and blood like a horrible scarlet river and—
There’s a muffled sob from behind him, from L himself. Whether it’s from the pain or from Light’s words, Light doesn’t know; just knows that L’s heart is seconds away from beating for the last time. He should feel triumph. He has done it. This is the end of his battle, and Kira has won.
“Goodbye,” Light tries again, and he hates how his voice shakes. He looks down at the phone screen before him, out of place here with its familiar glow and carefully engineered graphics. He reads the name. “Ryuga. No—L. No—”
He turns around to face L Lawliet, doesn’t care that the tears are flowing freely now—L’s face is hidden in shadow, and he’s holding his chest as if he’s already dying, his breaths coming shallow and quick. Blood is pouring from an open wound at his forehead. Light begins to write. He should feel relief.
He feels nothing.
“Light,” L gasps, struggling to sit up. “Light, stop.”
He looks terrifying, like something dead brought back to life. He’s gone white, edged with green and blue in the dim light from behind them. His usually pristine clothes are smudged with blood and grime, and his face is twisted in pain.
“The notebook,” L coughs. “It’s fake.”
Light drops the thing with a pathetic splat. His pen clatters to the ground next. The sound is so small in the silence. “What?” he says.
“Fake notebook,” L says, and coughs and coughs and coughs and Light drops to his knees in shock. L is on his hands and knees, convulsing, blood splattering on the concrete, and Light forgets everything and runs to him and tucks his black hair behind his ear, away from the bloody patch on his forehead. He’s warm and real and alive and Light barely knows what to do with himself other than wrap his arms around L’s shoulders and hold him tight. L falls into Light’s arms, shuddering. He is terrible and beautiful at once, filthy and bloody and perfect.
“Call off your dogs,” L breathes. “I have the real notebook. I’ll kill you and then myself.”
“Ryuga,” Light begins dazedly.
“Do it, Light,” L rasps with such force that Light pulls out his phone again, moving as if in some horrified trance. With shaking fingers he texts Mikami. Do not make a move. Leave it to me or I will kill you. Kira.
He drops the phone and hears the screen shatter. They are alone now, truly, detective and suspect, Light and L, huddled together in the half-darkness. Light’s palms sting from where he scraped them against the ground during the fight.
“I meant what I said,” L whispers against Light’s cheek. “Every word. I wanted it to be just us. No cameras. I—I wanted to help.”
Light finds himself shaking again. Tears are coursing down his own face and dampening the ends of L’s hair.
“I am Kira,” Light shudders.
“I—I meant what I said, too,” Light whimpers, holds L a bit tighter. The detective winces and he loosens his hold. “I never wanted this—I never wanted any of this to happen—that damned notebook; I—”
L buries his face in Light’s neck. “No, Light,” he whispers, and now he’s crying too. “Our fates were always entwined, from the very beginning. You finding that notebook—that was no accident.”
Light smiles, chokes on a sob.
“You were my missing piece,” L says, his voice breaking. "I want it to be just us...just you and me in the entire world..."
Tears well in Light’s eyes. L is coughing again, doubled over against the concrete. Light rubs small circles into his back, as tenderly as he can. The words come to him and are out of his mouth before he even has the chance to register what they mean. “Run away with me,” Light says. “Let’s leave all of this behind. I—need you.”
“You mean, Kira needs me,” L says with another one of his twisted smirks.
“No,” Light says. “Light Yagami needs you. I don’t want to fight you anymore, I—”
“Light,” L whispers. “Light…”
Light kisses his forehead, barely brushing L’s skin with his lips, the same way he used to do it all those late nights in the task force room. “I love you,” he says, another echo of those nights. “I love you. I love you. I love you to the ends of the earth. I’ll love you no matter what you say…”
L looks up at him and something like a pained smile breaks across his face. It’s as if the sun has come out. Light feels his heart again, and it’s racing. A blush creeps across his face.
“I love you too,” L whispers. “I always have.”
That is all it takes and they’re both crying, entwined together. Fingers laced, foreheads resting on shoulders, arms pressed against chests…Light runs his fingers up and down L’s back and through his hair and across his sides, taking as much of him in as he can. His L, alive, warm, breathing in and out with difficulty through the pain. This is the first time Light has heard those words out of L’s mouth—and now he just keeps whispering them into Light’s shirt, dotting the fabric with saltwater and blood.
“Run away with me?” Light whispers once more.
“Yes,” L breathes, breaking the spell of I love yous. “Yes—yes—yes—”
Light stares beyond L, at the opposite wall where L had been lying, minutes before. “We’ll be invincible…you and I against the world...invincible...”
L coughs. “Not if you don’t patch me up sometime soon, Light.”
“Oh!” Light leaps up, taking in L’s wounds with fresh eyes. L closes his own eyes as he takes Light’s hand and drags him back down.
“I said soon,” he murmurs, placing his head over Light’s heart. “ Let’s just...stay a while longer.”
Light holds him tight, never wanting to let go.
"For a mass murderer, you're very accommodating," L mumbles. Light laughs a tiny laugh.
I love you, L breathes against Light’s chest once more. I love you I love you I love you I love you…
Chapter 2: the next steps
((after the fall))
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
L is in a chrysalis. Or a cocoon. Or, rather, a coma. Light has not left his side for days now, and he watches his heartbeats on the monitor and watches his breathing and tucks his hair behind his ears and whispers small nothings against his skin. Butterfly bandages across his nose; purple and yellow bruises like exotic mottled finches discoloring his cheek. Light did this. Light almost killed him, and then almost killed himself, after L collapsed as the task force arrived, blood pooling under his skin from the damage Light had inflicted. But L will wake up; his condition is stable, or so says Watari, and Light himself is hovering in purgatory now, waiting for his beautiful eyes to open.
L stirs and it’s as if he’s simply asleep, and Light squints and it’s as if the tubes and wires and bandages have vanished in the half-darkness. One tear falls on L’s cheek.
He feels a warm hand on his shoulder and whirls around, only to come face to face with Soichiro. Soichiro, in a hospital. Soichiro standing vigil over a dear partner’s unmoving figure, but this time, his son is by his side.
“It’s time for you to go home, Light,” he says.
Unconsciously, Light shakes his head. He reaches for L’s hand in the darkness and comes up with a fistful of hospital blanket.
“Any day now,” says Soichiro. “Please understand. It won’t make a difference if you’re at home or here. If something happens, we’ll let you know. You must rest, do you understand?”
Rest. He can’t. He feels himself being led out of the room, steered down a hall, and into an elevator. After that, he supposes he makes it home, but he doesn’t feel much of anything anymore.
The sheets are too cold and the pillow is too hot. Some sort of warm wind brushes his hair from his face and his eyes blink open in the darkness. The room is full of starlight, and the window’s been jimmied open. There’s—there’s someone in his room.
Light sits up in the dark and feels a cold hand clap over his mouth. He fights a scream.
“Let’s go,” says L.
There is a taxi waiting at the corner to take them to the airport. L retrieves their fake IDs and plane tickets from the glove box. He still has the butterfly bandage on his nose.
“We’re going to Los Angeles for a distant cousin’s wedding,” L tells him. “You and I are college friends.”
“Light Asahi,” Light reads off his driver’s license. “What, are you still going as Hideki Ryuga?”
L shows him his plane ticket in the pulsing lights from the highway traffic.
“Rue Ryuzaki?” Light says, stumbling over the nearly-familiar sound.
L gives him an odd half-smile, bites his thumb. He leaves his shoes in the taxi.
They have just taken off when it happens. L is trembling, breathing from the top of his lungs, his chest rising and falling much too rapidly. Light has the window seat, and he turns to his companion in mild concern.
“L?” he says.
L doesn’t move. His mouth is locked in a grimace and he seems to be staring at something miles away that Light can’t see. The sun is rising outside the window, but Light closes the shade and tentatively places his hand on L’s shoulder.
“L,” he says. Now L does turn to him, shaking visibly.
“Light—” he starts, and can’t continue.
Light has dealt with Sayu’s panic attacks before, but helping L through his will be a very different experience for both of them. He cradles L’s head, holds him against his chest, so that L’s ear is right over Light’s heart. Tiny kisses on his forehead, gentle fingers threading through his hair. L shivers and sighs into Light’s shirt.
“I don’t want us to die today,” he says. “Or ever.”
They land without incident.
They stop by the orphanage first and the children run across the lawn to L, shouting and shrieking. Light walks behind him, more than a little wary, an intruder in L's past, before L introduces him and they all flock to the newcomer and cling to his legs and he falls to the ground laughing, covered in squirming children. L watches them perch on Light's knees and gather around him in a circle on the grass and one of the bolder ones plunks a picture book down in Light’s lap.
Light reads it to the whole group, pausing at all the right places and inventing voices for all the different characters. He trips over some of the words—English, not his strongest subject—and L hovers at his shoulder, offering up the words Light can’t read.
L has Light all to himself that evening and they sit on the porch, draped over each other lazily, and watch the moon rise up out of the trees. It is the same moon he used to see in Tokyo, Light realizes, but tonight it’s different. He rests his head on L’s shoulder and feels him breathing and a surge of affection suddenly overcomes him.
They don’t get much sleep that night.
The next flight is equally uneventful. L holds Light’s hand during takeoff and landing, especially when the plane dips to one side and there is just sky out the window, as they hurtle towards the earth.
They visit a boutique as soon as they land in Los Angeles and L buys a new pair of shoes. “They look just like the last ones,” Light says.
L looks at him. “Exactly.”
The apartment is shockingly modest by L’s standards, four floors and two elevators and a spiral staircase that goes up to a rooftop balcony. “This is for us,” he tells Light, leading him into a grand octagonal palace-like room with a magnificent four-poster bed at its center. “And this is also for us,” he says, showing Light a room full of cozy chairs and worn quilts and blankets and pillows and books and tea sets. There’s a tent-like structure in the corner. L’s laptop is already plugged into the wall, next to a white spinning chair. Light thinks fondly of task force headquarters.
Light orders takeout their first night in the apartment, too tired to cook. L can’t eat. He tries; Light watches. He runs to the sink and scrubs madly at his eyeliner, as if he’ll be able to clean away the part of himself preventing him from eating. It doesn’t work.
He calls Watari later that night over video chat, who is absolutely delighted to see him. L skulks in the background, embarrassed, until Near arrives and waves and smiles. L smiles back, with only a little difficulty. Near seems to sense that something is wrong, and whispers to Light about it while L searches behind the bed for a lost button-down shirt. According to Watari, he has had difficulty eating since before the Kira case started.
Time passes, and L's cheeks are hollow and his eyes are dark underneath, not from makeup but from exhaustion.
Light buys green supplement pouches in bulk in preparation; he swears to get L eating again.
“Hold the spoon. Feel the way I stir. You see?”
L leans over the pot of rice, closes his eyes in the steam.
“You try it by yourself. Cooking is like solving crimes, you know? It takes concentration and perspective.”
“I always just went with my first assumptions,” L says warily. “They were always right.”
“Then what does your first assumption tell you about the rice? Is it safe?”
L looks into Light’s eyes, brown and earnest and glittering, not with malice, but with admiration. He puts a spoonful of rice in his mouth.
“It’s very good, Light.”
“Don’t be so modest,” says L. “I never am.”
They’re lying naked and weak in a post-coital tangle, wrapped in blankets and slick with sweat.
“L…can you teach me English?” Light huffs, thinking back to the orphanage.
“That was French,” L breathes back.
“I know,” murmurs Light, curling up close to him. “After we’re done with English you can teach me French, as well…”
He’s asleep as soon as the last mumbled words slip from his mouth. L presses his lips to Light’s temple and whispers the mantra again:
I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you
It is Christmas Eve when Near catches Kira. They’re both in bed, drinking fine wine and flipping through channels on L’s flatscreen, when they stumble across the broadcast. It’s over within minutes. Kira is finished.
They make a toast.
“All I ever wanted,” Light whispers, “was to spend my days in peace and happiness.”
“What a roundabout way to get there,” L says; laughs a small laugh. The laptop dings. It’s Near, calling for a video chat, Watari smiling in the background. Light grins and reaches for his bathrobe.
The four of them laugh for a long time.
WELL OK SO THIS ONESHOT BECAME...A TWO SHOT....LMAO
thanks to darcy (justiceforged/princedarcy) for the inspiration x)