Part One


1


L breathed out slowly.

What was this darkness?

His mouth was completely dry. He pushed the surface of his tongue against the roof of his mouth and it was as if he could feel every taste bud slide against the rubber-like surface. A sugar and coffee after taste absorbed his senses. It tasted old in his mouth, hours and hours ago old.

His shoulders felt his sore, his arms numb.

It reminded him of the time when he was twelve on his school's playground before his parents died. When his biggest fear was the impending doom of Edwin Michaels who would beat him into another black and blue sleep. He ran to the monkey bars: a known weakness for the far larger and squatter Edwin. He climbed directly to the middle and hung there for a solid thirty minutes until the other boy grew tired of screaming his name and reaching for him.

Where was he?

He tried to open his eyes, but only darkness and something scratchy against his cheeks greeted him.

His heart skipped a beat in his chest and he breathed out again, slowly.

He tried to bring his hands to his eyes, but was met with strong resistance.

It wasn't like him to be this slow: where was he? Think, Lawliet, think. Use that brain.

"Come on, Ellie. Use that great big brain of yours. Isn't the answer obvious?" His red eyes flickered with mirth and hate and something much darker. Darker than anything he could understand, "Come on, Ellie."

It was a black spirit inside, resting in his eyes and shooting the words off his tongue.

He knew the answer, but he didn't want the simple truth to be the end of his deductions just yet. No, some other answer must be there. He wanted this to be a test. He wanted this to be him, playing with his mind like only he could. He wanted this to be him just trying to test him, see if he thought he was as evil as everyone else thought he was.

But it wasn't.

It was the simple and hateful truth.

He looked into those red eyes: "The answer's obvious..." He said it with just the smallest bit of dread escaping from his mouth and tinging his words. He held back his personal feelings as much as humanly possible and then some because he was L. And L was not human.

This was rule.

This was law.

"It was you."

He bit his thumb and looked away, back to his computer screen.

There was silence.

Maybe he'd wanted a more dramatic reveal. That had always been him. He wanted a touch of theatric in everything he did and in every investigation. And L knew this. And L didn't give in.

This was rule.

This was law.

L fought against his restraints a little harder. Yes, it was obvious by this point that these were restraints keeping him from moving. At the very least, he needed to get his brain out of the current dream state it was resting in.

Distantly, there was noise and words that he could barely make out, but they were there. It was proof of human life. But this could prove to be either vital or detrimental. He paused his efforts and let his heart and breathing match before focusing on slowing them down again.

He hadn't even realized his breath had become labored and that his heart had escalated to an almost alarming rate until he heard the sharp beeping noise in his right ear. He recognized it as a heart monitor instantly. Could it be that he was in a hospital? Maybe he was restrained in a bed?

No, unlikely. He was sitting up after all.

It could be medications though, he reasoned, making his thoughts clouded. And that could possibly contribute to a sense of vertigo making him only feel as though he was sitting upright.

He gave it a five percent chance.

His body felt weak, his senses were numbed and his surrounding were a mystery. He was beginning to dislike the situation more and more and a sliver of panic rose inside him but he killed it with cold logic quickly: panic wouldn't benefit him.

Calm.

A heart monitor meant someone cared. Whether he was in a hospital, drugged and out of his mind, or somehow was kidnapped and being held captive, somebody cared enough to attach a heart monitor to him.

There was of course, the slim chance they were the type to feel a source of gain from inflicting pain and they liked to have a source of affirmation. A heart monitor would work perfectly in this case. Fear, pain, anger: it'd all be captured by the heart monitor.

That was a fifteen percent chance.

But more importantly, he knew that the restraints he'd previously been battling against were not going to break or release from around his wrists. He breathed slowly again, drawing in smoky breaths and releasing dry ones.

"Ryuzaki? Are you awake?"

L's head shot up towards the noise. Clearing from the fog around his brain, he strained to focus on the voice. Though he recognized the it, he couldn't pick out a name from his bank of words.

"Who is it?"

"It's Soichiro Yagami. Ryuzaki, are you alright?"

"I...believe so." L paused at the raggedness in his voice, "Yes, I'm fine. Where are we?"

"Ryuzaki...we're doing all we can to find you." Chief Yagami replied quickly after a brief pause, the words were urgent as though this would somehow further reassure him.

L remained silent.

"They must've thrown out your belt, because Watari's really having a hard time finding you." Matsuda spoke up this time, worry tied to every word.

L recognized the voice and paired it with the correct name instantly. His brain was catching up, the fog was beginning to lift.

"You're...not here..." L whispered.

"No. We're not." Chief Yagami relented.

"However, " Light begun, "Ryuzaki, they sent us a live feed. Whoever it is doing this wants us to have contact with you. We just can't figure out why. Do you have any ideas of who'd do this? ...We should start there."

L didn't even need to think. Could he think of anyone who'd want to do this to him if they could find him? Oh yes. Hundreds. But he'd always done the best money could buy when it came to vanishing, covering his steps, locking away personal files, burning his identity and burying all information.

Always.

"Ryuzaki?"

"It's possible this could be related to the Kira case...however, I have my doubts..." L begun, taking a breath to begin his next sentence but was caught with a dryness consuming his entire throat.

He coughed. A deep, guttural, sand-like cough.

He attempted to catch his breath and found himself coughing again. He resulted to holding his breath, swallowing again and again until the coughing fit subsided. He sucked in a couple quick breaths.

"Ryuzaki, are you alr-?"

"Demographically..." He swallowed, "...someone after Kira's powers would prove to have a low income and...little education. They wouldn't have the resources to find my location ..." He strained as he willed his salivary glands to work, "...or bypass my security systems. This is someone who knows what they're doing...and this would take considerable planning." His voice was beginning to lose itself.

He cleared his throat and swallowed a couple times, but he found his saliva production was decreasing exponentially minute by minute.

"They don't want information on Kira...And besides that, the fact they have me blindfolded is another question. Either they don't want me to see them or they don't want me to see where I am. So I must be familiar with one...of them..." L bowed his head slightly, "...Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with many places in Japan."

"So...what are you saying, Ryuzaki?" Matsuda spoke slowly, hoping he wasn't the only one slightly lost in the smoke left from L's train of thought.

"Unless my surroundings would give me a sufficient amount of clues to deduce where I am, which is unlikely, then I'm no longer in Japan." L paused, "Or, of course, like I said before, I could be blindfolded to prevent me from seeing my c-..." He choked on his voice again and dry-swallowed three times before opening his mouth again, "...captor."

He sucked in a breath, his energy was dwindling quickly. He felt exhausted from the effort it took to hold his head up and look vaguely in the direction of the light that the screen, he guessed, was producing.

"But, you have to have some idea of who would do this, Ryuzaki." Light replied desperately, "If you could give us anything then we'd be able to-"

"Too many.." L shook his head, "..Given the right resources, there's thousands who'd jump at the chance to do this. No-...hundreds. Most would probably have killed me by now. I'd say a range between two to three hundred men and women are capable of doing this and would do it given the chance. But I don't know how they got past the security or found my location- Is Watari looking into that?"

"Yes, Ryuzaki. Let's just worry about getting you out of there. We'll try and figure out how they did this later. Alright?" Light took control with a softer voice, he could hear the scathing dryness in his throat and the lethargy beginning to set in. The exhaustion was evident enough in his slumping shoulders, "How're you feeling, Ryuzaki? Are you hurt?"

"No. Light: describe my location."

"It's... too dark to describe. There's a light next to you, but it's from a monitor. I think it's a heart monitor but there's a glare."

"It is a heart monitor." L confirmed, "I heard it go off earlier."

"I thought I heard it." Soichiro added, "But it was faint." Then, as if to explain this phenomenon, he added, "The sound wasn't working properly then, Ryuzaki."

L felt his hands against the chair. Wood. He felt his wrists against the straps. Leather. He attempted to feel the flooring:...

"Shoes. I have shoes on...why would they put shoes on me...?"

He moved to pull one off with the opposite foot but quickly found his feet were also strapped down: to the chair's legs. He pulled his legs against them but found they were just as unyielding as the wrist straps.

The temperature was beginning to drop. Down to an icy chill. He felt his skin prickle against the A/C that kicked on just above him. The breeze flooded down the neck of his shirt and his brow furrowed.

Who?

He begun to run names through a quick mental test: Capability, means, motive. He was pushing dozens of criminals through this test with every beat of his escalating heart. He was beginning to grow anxious.

Why was he left unattended for so long? Where was he? Or she? Though he put the chances of it being a female at a slim twenty percent, he left the possibility open. He felt exhaustion beginning to weigh heavy on him. He felt drugged. He battled the effects as long as he could, but it was now, that he felt it might be a battle he'd have to admit defeat to.

It was on the verge of sleep and twilight that he heard Light's voice at the same time he felt a shocking rain of ice cold water rush down his body. He gasped and his head shot up, eyes bulged beneath the black material to be met with utter darkness. His pupils constricted to pin points and his hands shook. His back arched in pain and his entire body was left trembling against the freezing air and the ice water.

"I need you awake." The voice said flatly. It was rough like he was choking on phlegm and bark. He put it around forty-five. A smoker. And completely unfamiliar. It set off no alarms in his brain. His every neuron focused on the voice, checking it against every person he'd ever known. But nothing came to mind.

Absolutely nothing.

"To the concerned party on the screen: Remain silent. I'll be explaining very soon. I'm not here to perform unnecessary torture. I promise that." He paused and the sound of something hard and heavy dragging met L's ears, "I'll be asking some questions.." He paused, placing the object where he wanted, "...and if I get my answers, you'll be unharmed. Understand?"

"And if I don't answer?" L fought against the freeze spreading across his body and the pounding headache racking his brain, trying to focus on the voice and nothing but that voice.

" Let me put it this way...answer me now, or answer me later. It's your choice how much pain you want to go through first. None, would be my suggestion. But you will be answering them."

"It really depends on what you want to know..."

"First of all, Ryuzaki, I'm unconvinced you're the man I'm looking for. I'm looking for a man who goes by L. Can you prove you're L?"

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Because if you're not L, I don't have any use for you and therefore..." He paused, "...expendable."

"...Then how do you want me to prove it?"

"I know L's cases. Inside and out. Tell me about the case before the Kira case."

L debated answering the question. On one hand, he wanted to test and see how he would react. On the other hand, he saw no harm in telling this information. He opened his mouth-

"What's the meaning of this?" Soichiro yelled out, his hand slamming into a desk, "You kidnapped him before you even knew who he was?"

The man released a heavy breath from his chest.

"Ryuzaki, if you care about your own well-being, I'd ask your friends to be quiet." Ryuzaki felt him move beside him and listened to each individual footstep. One...two...three...four...five...six...seven...eight...nine...ten footsteps. And a limp. He flipped a switch, and through the blindfold he could see the lights had turned on. There was a low deep hum and a cold air stopped behind him. A hand suddenly grabbed him by his still dripping hair and pulled his head backwards. A towel was on his face before he could take a breath and the same ice cold water poured across his face.

It felt as if he was drowning. Suffocating beneath an ice cap.

He tried to gasp for air but water entered instead and there was nothing but a hard burning in his sinuses. He coughed against it as it trickled down his throat and choked.

His head was beneath the water before he could take in a breath. He felt his lungs burning within seconds.

He was drowning. Actually drowning.

Black spotted his vision, darkness tinged his eyesight.

Fourteen and he quickly came to the decision it'd be better to just give in rather than fight against it. The boys holding him under was eight times stronger than him, maybe even more. There was no getting out of this one. For once, brute force would match his sharp wit. He'd calculated a way to get out of this and it was impossible. He knew this.

Two boys held his legs, two held his arms and another was pushing against his neck. And all he could do was breath in the lake water and watch the algae float around his face.

Here was death.

The water stopped, the rag pulled from his face and he took in a gasp of air. His chest heaved in the oxygen, spasming with relief. His hands twitched, his legs jerked uncontrollably.

"Tell me the case before the kira case."

L weighed the consequences and couldn't think of any. He wasn't at his full deducing power at the moment. There were shoes on his feet, he was sitting 'normally' and he was quite possibly drugged. However, he decided he was sound enough to make this decision.

"L.A...The BB Murder Cases." He said it calmly, though mostly out of breath, without any urgency in his voice and it came as almost a surprise to the shaken task force watching in silence.

It was as though L was, truly, an unshakable force.

"Victims."

"Believe Bridesmaid...Quarter Queen...Backyard Bottomslash." L replied and then quickly sputtered out a few more and took in one last large breath before settling back to his previous breathing habits.

"This is easier. Right? Let's keep this up, Ryuzaki. Who was the killer?"

"Beyond Birthday."

"Strange names, aren't they?"

"Aliases. Most of them..." L murmured, leaning back into the chair slowly.

"Like Ryuzaki?" The man joked back, but it sounded like anything but a joke, "So we've established you're L. We'll continue."

"That shouldn't be sufficient proof..." L replied, "You should be asking me more...but then...you knew I was L." L reflexively attempted to bring his thumb to his mouth, but finding the restraints were still tight, he settled for a curious expression, "Didn't you?"

"I'm asking the questions." He said it like he was teaching a child the sky was blue and that life was nothing but pain.

Nothing but miserable pain.

"Continue, then. Please."

L looked ahead blankly, suppressing the shivers that wracked his body as best as possible, waiting for that voice to come back again: a voice that sounded like it'd seen all the pain the world had to offer and had ate it hungrily. Consumed every piece of hate and anger thrown his way until it had become a part of him, and he'd grown an immunity to all feeling left in the world.

"Your name." He paused only for a second, waiting for the start of any reply, and after a second, decided to follow with, "In full."

L closed his eyes.

"This is only the beginning." The man begun, "And what I did before? That wasn't exactly what I consider torture, L...Torture is an art form. Interrogation is for the weak. But you're strong, aren't you? Strong minded. Yes. Of course you are. Breaking you, like they call it, will be difficult. But...not impossible."

He was close now.

L could feel it.

He silently prepared himself.