Chapter Five: Evasive Delicacies
Grasping hold of L's wrists, Light trembled, bent down on his knees. He felt so helpless, crippled, and he hated it. He hated him. Light kept his head lowered, strands of hair dropping over his face, gathered with sweat at the roots. His eyes turned to the ground, and Light looked past him, staring past the glass, but not comprehending the cityscape he saw. He clenched his fingers, digging his nails deep into L's skin. It must've hurt him, but L ignored it and remained where he was. The pain was starting to recede, but Light felt nauseated, and he knew it wasn't from the poison…
"I'll contact Watari. We can get you to a medical center."
"No, hold on. I'm fine." Light told him quietly. There were only two types of people in this world, Light found himself thinking. One was kind, high-minded and pure. The other kind pretended to look up while in fact despising. His mind drifted. Light was pulled to his feet and managed to hold his balance steady, despite the pressure of dizziness swaying him to fall.
"You're taking it well, but I wouldn't call suddenly collapsing as 'fine'," L said, "In fact, your actions have been rather unsteady lately."
Not that unsteady, Ryuuzaki.
Light was overcome with a cold feeling then, like coal tar. He bit his lip in anger. How could a man he hated so break him down like this? It was humiliating. He hated him. Hated that he made him feel this sickened.
Of all moments, Light's cellphone rang. He grabbed it, scanning over the ID.
Damn it. Not this guy again.
Light lifted the phone to his ear, but disconnected the line short, not wanting to talk.
L turned his head aside, though he still kept his eyes locked onto Light.
"Wrong number," Light said in defense. He turned back to L. "I'm sure Mogi and others would've found something unusual on those tapes by now."
"Yes," L concurred. He narrowed his eyes and tucked his hands in jeans and continued the walk towards meeting back up with the others. "You're rather desperate to find this killer."
"I don't want him on the streets anymore than you do. He needs to be stopped."
"Of course," L said, speaking. He eyed Light cautiously, but said nothing.
Once they reached the lab, Matsuda was first to greet them. As L and Light entered, he hurried towards them, addressing L promptly. "I'm glad you two are back. Did you hear about that lady, Yukiko? That reporter from NHN? Her camera man suddenly died right in front of her on live TV!"
"I know, we heard," L said.
"People are talking how this is the work of Kira. I don't know…do you think there could be another Kira out there?"
"Matsuda," Aizawa called. "Show them the pictures."
"Oh, right…take a look at these," Matsuda said, handing the stack of papers in his hands. There was a folder on top which L proceeded to open. He handed the rest of the stack to Light.
"Those images were captured last night between the hours of one AM and three," Aizawa informed, stepping towards them.
L studied the developed images. In total, there were four photos. Two of when he and Light left, and two of when they returned. Despite the blurry images, it was obvious that another was following behind. This follower stood a considerable distance away from the sidewalk, out of view from the cameras, so it wasn't evident this person supposed of shadowing them was even a suspect. Bearing in mind the time lapse from when the photos were shot, this man kept a fair distance away, L thought, possibly by a fourth a mile or more. The ground was level where L and Light had been, so this wouldn't have been too difficult a task if this person was experienced at what he did.
"Bring these images back up on the computer," L instructed, "Magnify them."
"Right away." Matsuda uploaded the requested images on screen.
L sat down, pulling his legs close to his chest. He bit his nail between his teeth. Pointing to the monitor, he said, "Do you see this?" Sitting next to him, Light leaned in. A street lamp cast the clear image of a shadow smeared alongside across the sidewalk. "Magnify the bottom left corner here..."
After three hours of other steady deductions, L continued to keep his knees pressed against the keyboard, still as focused as when he had begun. A small silver dish was balanced in his hand, topped with a half-eaten, frosted cake, decorated with a strawberry. L poked the center of the fruit and dragged it off the iced cake, deep in concentration.
Midday had already longed passed, and for the time, he and L were now alone. If Light wanted to act, he had to move quick. The poison worked slow, and Light was sure L would have noticed, but the detective kept a held fast attentiveness into the monitor.
Light felt uneasy. Another wave of extreme nausea was settling in, and he leaned back. The stand of his chair creaked back and Light heaved a sigh, breath hissing past his clenched teeth. He stroked his hand down his arm, scratching at his sleeve.
"Are you feeling all right, Light-kun?" L didn't break his eyes from the monitor.
"I'm tired, that's all."
"It's not that," L turned to face him now, "You're quiet."
Light brought his right hand around his other wrist. His heartbeat felt irregular. The symptoms were getting worse. "Can I have something to drink?" Light began steadily.
"Very well. What would you like?"
"Coffee will be fine."
"There is coffee right over on that table."
Light stood up and being forced to follow, L had no choice but to turn his back on his work.
In the corner of the room stood a round desk. A clutter of documents scoured the top, but sitting near the edge was a platter of coffee and sugar cubes Watari had brought in from earlier. Light reached down, wrapping his fingers around a teacup. The tin handle was cold and sensitive against his skin.
Since they were alone once again, L spoke up, "That was very sudden what you did earlier."
Light turned aside. Set across the near wall were drawers of file cabinets. He looked down, picked up the coffee pitcher and began pouring himself a cup. "I could say the same for you, Ryuuzaki."
L was studying him. "Why did you do it?"
Calmly, Light stepped towards the filing cabinets. He placed a hand deep into his left pocket, holding his cup of coffee in the other. "I wanted to see what you would do. You seemed surprised."
"It was something I hadn't been expecting. So it makes me wonder what led you to do it." It wasn't a question, but a demand.
"…I suppose it was to catch you off guard."
A click and snap against metal echoed across the room.
L rushed forward at the instant Light stepped back, but even as he did, L knew there was no meaning in making the effort. Allowing him to see a flicker of what was in his hand, Light turned a key around his finger, clamping the key into his fist. L was seething, seeing Light's wrists clean from any handcuffs.
It had been in the stairwell. It had been at that moment Light had stolen the key. L traced his eyes along the chain to see the opposite end of the cuff was now locked around the metal handle of the cabinets.
L had been a taken in and deceived. He was trapped. He stood a firm stance and raised his arm back, but nothing budged nor loosened. There would be no way out.
From the distance, Light watched him, accepting he had won.
"If this had happened under different circumstances, I would have presumed that you, Light-kun, were Kira himself, having reasons to resort to such tactics as this. But as you and I know, you have no additional information to kill me than you had before," L said. To spite himself, he chuckled, still horrorstruck at the thought of ever finding him, himself in such a situation, "I suppose betrayal is about learning not to idealize your external sources."
"No. I would never kill you. Kira has to be caught. We could still stop him together."
"In this current position, I highly believe there are not any chances for that," L answered.
Light watched him as he turned to leave, and L made no move futile effort to free himself. He knew for the moment, the detective had been brought to a stop. Light only hoped that time would be enough. He didn't know why, but before he closed the door, Light chose to glance back a last time.
His dark eyes were staring at him, as if he was watching his every move.
Once alone, Light made a grab for his cell, but a sudden, dull pain pounded in his arm and he flinched forward, grasping hold of a near wall. His lips were cracked and dried, and he coughed, finding it suddenly hard to breath as if the air were too heavy to fill his lungs. He reached for his cell again and began to dial.
In a faded daze, he blearily wondered if L's preventive tapping hampering still worked. For what he was about to do, he hoped to God it still did.
"Sayu…this is Light."
"Light?" she sounded relatively shocked, and Light could not be surprised. Being involved with the Japanese Task Force had cut him off all ties with his family, except perhaps his father.
"Don't tell dad about this call. No matter what you might hear about me, don't tell anyone I've just contacted you."
"I won't Light…you sound awful. Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine," he said, keeping his voice low. Light checked his watch. It would be four o'clock soon. That gave him eight hours until midnight. "Listen. Make sure all the windows and doors are locked tonight…don't open for anyone, and make sure mom doesn't either."
"Okay. Light, what's happening?"
"Don't worry about it. I just need you and mom to stay in the house tonight. I suspect dad won't be home tonight either, so don't open the door for any one of us."
Sayu was one to keep her word. He trusted it would be enough. He closed the call and stepped outside.
A call came in from his phone then and Light answered.
"You didn't want to speak to me earlier? I thought considering the circumstances, you might be eager to hear what I had to say."
"You're bothering me. If you want to play it that way, give me a number so I can contact you, or shut up."
"A tad touchy, aren't we?"
"You have my attention at the moment, so tell me what it is you want."
"There is something else I want to know beforehand, in case we do meet tonight," the other said. He stopped speaking. "How will I know it is you?"
"You already know who I am. I'm the one who has everything to lose. I am the one risking my trust in you to show myself."
"No," he said. "How will I know this is Kira?"
"I thought you already knew."
"Not good enough."
As Light spoke, he was constantly on the move. He was forced to stop before red cross light. People crowded around him, waiting to cross. "I'll prove it."
"Better…," his voice trailed thin. "How?"
"Tonight at midnight. I'll show you."
Smothered in the center, Light began suffocating. He rested a hand against his head, feeling dizzy. The cross light changed. From the wave of the crowd, Light was pushed. He allowed himself to be led blindly forward. "When we meet tonight," Light said, "I expect this antidote to be with you."
"What would be the point in smoking you out to meet like this, only to have you run away once I've handed over such a precious thing?"
"You have me curious, so I wouldn't run. But I take it my word won't be good enough."
"That's right. Now," the other stated, "Let me confer with you this hypothetical situation: What if this antidote no longer becomes an adequate bait?"
Was he bluffing?
"We're not talking about a hypothetical situation," Light said, aggravated. "This isn't theoretical – this is real. If you have this delusion I don't value my life, you're wrong."
"But does Kira value the lives of others?"
Light had been afraid of this. He humored whoever was on the ending line and decided he would take on the alias of Kira, if only to get his future points across – if he even had a future after this was done. "Kira murders only those who are unjust and defy his regime, but it's in their deaths that remains the value in the lives of the others that Kira has vowed to protect," Light told him. "Those are the lives that Kira values."
"So you don't value the lives of your enemies, or those who stand in your way," the other stated.
"No." If Light hadn't been holding up such a desperate fight against this murderer, he might have surprised himself with how natural those words came. All Light hoped was to deal himself out of blackmail. "There is value in every life, but there are still those who must be judged."
"You ought to reevaluate those lives sometimes…maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."
At first Light thought this had all been a game of crazed idolization based on the sole source of meeting Kira. No. Was this a game of revenge? Great, Light thought. For all he knew, he could be walking straight into a trap, and his choices were limited.
He found himself achingly thirsty then.
"You said you have an antidote," Light said.
"How do I know you aren't bluffing?"
"Good question. You could choose to die in less than three days, or find out tonight. So which will it be?"
Light had been plotting this out for the all the hours he had been stuck with L with the rest of the task force unit. He had an idea.
Now all he had to do was kill time till midnight.
A/N: I just wanted to say, thank you so much for all the reviews and support! However, with final exams, graduation, my summer job, and these much-being-anticipated rock concerts coming up, the next few chapters will not be updated as fast as they have been. I just wanted to give everyone the forewarning. :)
This is when the story really gets exciting, so I'll try to update soon!