Welcome to the conclusion of Familiar. This is the second alternate ending that I had decided against when writing The Devil's Agents. I hope it serves to deliver on the feels.
I want to give all of you readers a big thanks for sticking around till the end. It thrills me to know that some of you loved it enough to review! I also want to thank my fantastic beta, Vicious Ventriloquist, who has been working magic on this story since chapter 4.
If you guys like my writing and want to see more, I have a series of one-shots available titled That Kind of a Year. The plan is to post every Sunday for the remainder of 2017. If there is a particular prompt you want me to write, just leave it in the comments of that story; I am open for requests. Any and all characters are welcome.
Without further adieu, here is the final installment of Familiar. Please leave a review and tell me what you thought!
L took a deep breath. The resulting sigh was long and drawn out. Taking the gauze away from my chest, he observed the wound.
The room was getting colder and colder. Though I could partly attribute it to the weather, I knew the true cause had to be due to the gaping hole in my chest. Now, given L's cautious actions to my person, his attitude could also be added to the list of things chilling the atmosphere.
Fingering the top button on my coat, he began undo them and peel away the sticky fabric.
My heart sped up. Isn't one supposed to keep clothes on to stem the bleeding?
"This actually doesn't look that bad," L muttered.
I gasped in surprise. 'Doesn't look that bad'? "He stabbed me!"
Shaking his head, L prodded at the wound. "It probably just felt like he did. The slash wound is a bit more than superficial."
I slapped his hand away. "His knife was sticking out of my chest," I argued.
"So maybe he stabbed you a little bit," L conceded. "Your coat is rather thick, though. It likely just caught in the material."
"I couldn't breathe." In the heat of the moment I found myself defending, and even insisting upon the more grievous injury. The rational part of my mind told me I shouldn't look this particular gift horse in the mouth.
"You show all the signs of someone coming down from a panic attack," he offered dismissively. "Light-kun, this is good news," he said, taking in my expression.
I wasn't dying; we weren't in any rush…
Sucking in deep gulps of air, I nodded, almost absent to the action.
"Will you be alright if I leave you momentarily," L asked.
I continued to nod.
L's spine popped as he rose back to full height. He looked for a moment in B's direction before slowly shuffling over to his body. Perhaps, despite my heads-up, he was making sure that B was really dead.
Straining my neck, I tried to see just what L was going to do.
For a minute, he only stood over B's prone body and stared.
I wondered what he was thinking about. Did B's death mean he considered this whole ordeal a failure? My heart skipped a beat when I realized I didn't even know if either Mello or Near were alive. Perhaps he regretted sending me here in his stead. There were so many things I didn't know. All I could do was watch L and wait.
I hoped I hadn't failed him.
When he turned in my direction once more, I was careful not to look at him directly.
"Light-kun, it is not my wish to disturb you," L stated. "but I could use your assistance if you are feeling up to it."
I couldn't deny the urge to put these events behind me. If L wanted my help, I was sure going to give it to him.
Raising my hand to him, I said, "Help me, help you."
Shuffling back to my side, he kneeled. With one arm behind my back he grabbed my offered hand. Gentle could never be gentle enough; I had just been stabbed a little bit.
A pained chuckle hissed through my teeth as he helped me to a sitting position. "You sure I'm not mortally wounded?"
"I would not ask for your help if I thought you incapable of giving it," he assured me.
Holding me tight, we rose and started a steady trek to where B's corpse lied.
"Just tell me what you need me to do."
Gingerly, he set me down next to B's body and positioned himself on its other side opposite myself.
"I am going to shoot him," L said, getting straight to the point. "I need you to hold him up so that when the bullet exits his body, the spray is in a pattern that suggests he was alive."
Looking at him, I felt a surge of adoration. He was really doing this for me.
Unable to find the right words to say, I smiled and nodded. God help me if my lip quivered just the smallest bit. L would understand.
I watched as he rose to his feet before B. There must have been a whole slew of emotions he was feeling. I would be sure to ask him about it later, at a better time. I wanted to hear every detail he'd had to overcome this past day.
With a grunt, I hefted B's upper body up off the ground. I tried to hold him up with just my hands and lean him against my knee. Repulsion was shuddering through my body at the thought of being close to a corpse. I knew what needed to be done, but I was apprehensive about being any closer than I had to be.
My body was too weak to do things my way, however. With muscles still shaking from stress and trauma, I had to prop him against my left shoulder and side.
B's patchwork hair brushed my cheek and I almost retched.
"You sure I can't be the one with the gun," I joked.
"I doubt you've ever even handled a gun, Light-kun. No offense, but it is safer in my hands."
I huffed an exasperated sigh, but didn't argue. "I don't think I could even stand by myself right now." As self-depreciating as it felt, L was going to have to get us both out of here.
"I wanted to thank you, Light-kun," he told me suddenly, a solemn yet guilty look flashed across his features. "I could not have done it. I could not have finished what B and I had. I locked him up and tried to forget."
"I don't blame you," I said truthfully.
Visually, it seemed as though my words had lifted the weight of half the world off his shoulders. As for the other half…
"I'm sorry you did this for me."
"I'm not." My words were more genuine than I had anticipated. Though in hindsight, I realized I hadn't done a single thing here today for me. It was done, all of it, so that L could live.
With one last tender nod, I gave him the go ahead.
He widened his stance in preparation. There was no hesitation from the instant he drew the gun out of his waist band to when he aimed it between B's eyes. It was one fluid motion that ended with the crack of a shot echoing off of the crumbling walls.
My whole body jumped with surprise and a searing pain stung through my chest. Suddenly I was having a flashback to the time my father had pointed a gun at me in the back seat of that car.
"I'm going to kill you here and then kill myself."
Though it must have sounded funny to say, I truly didn't plan on dying after I'd given up half of my remaining lifespan.
Blood and brain matter splattered behind B's head, painting the floor and further soaking my jacket. I lost my grip on his corpse and let it slide back to the ground to rest among the mess.
Had he tricked me? I tried to understand what L had just done, because I was at a loss for words.
"Light-kun?" L's tone was quiet and concerned. Did he not know either?
I was frozen, still unable to process.
The gun slipped from his grasp and clattered to the ground. He didn't spare B's remains another glance before bolting back to my side.
Kneeling in the dust, he took hold of me and dug in his pocket for another roll of gauze. "B soaked through your jacket," he muttered, pressing fresh gauze to my soiled coat. "The police shouldn't be too much longer. Help is coming." The words he spoke seemed to be more for his benefit than mine. The emotion in his tone was plain; he was edging on panic.
I stared him in the face now. Was he an angel, or a demon? I couldn't focus on the spot just above his head. As if that would have the answer anyway…
My chest hurt. Coughing, I felt a wet substance leak down my chin.
I wish he would tell me that everything is going to be ok.
What was with this strange need to be comforted even in the worst and most hopeless of times? Where was all of that realism I so dearly embraced?
Red flecks adorned the face I stared so intently at. Though it felt like I was drifting further and further away from him, he only seemed to move closer. Two planes of existence seemed to grapple over the metaphysical state of my being.
There was a vague, fleeting sense of L pressing harder on my chest. He moved one hand into a position over my heart, pushing as though he meant to break through my ribs and cradle the organ. "Light-kun… Don't go."
Ryuk sat, still as a statue, in the corner he had been occupying for some time now. Observing these events unfold, he lamented on the fact that he was not the one to bring this entity's life to a close.
He wasn't laughing, but may it not be said that he was not amused.
A cold, quiet calm descended upon that room with no roof.
Wings pulled themselves from beyond a veil and Ryuk took to the sky.
A fitting end for a shinigami.