Right, I feel like an idiot. I totally skipped this chapter when I put the other one up. :facepalm: Yeah, I'm still only doing bimonthly updates, but this is too grievous an error to be left festering in the back of my mind until next Friday, so I'm doing it now.

Disclaimer: Nope.

Chapter 25 - Light's Plan and Aryn's Warning
Near frowned as he pressed his hand harder into the ground, attempting to get a better feel of the residual energy of the Rip that had been there. Or at least, what they had thought was a Rip. The energy was completely different from anything Near had felt before, and he'd felt a lot of Rips. It was almost as if what Watari had used to get away from the headquarters wasn't a Rip at all... but that was impossible. Rips were the only way to get from one dimension to another, and there was no way that someone from this Realm would kidnap Light's consort. No one was that foolish.

At least, no one who had had any sort of contact with Aryn shortly after she had accepted that she had feelings for Near and claimed him as her Consort. Especially not if they'd seen what happened to the one person who decided Near was being fooled by Aryn's greater experience and that she could 'save' him. Near was fairly sure that some of her parts still hadn't been found.

But Near digressed. The point was, this didn't feel like a Rip, but judging by the function they had seen it being put to, there was no way for it to be anything but a Rip. So, now they had a paradox.

Near sighed and went back inside. One genius, who happened to be in dire need of blood (again), was simply not enough to solve a paradox like this one. Four geniuses, one succubus, two Shinigami and one normal human, one the other hand, were almost certain to be able to come up with something.

"What acts like a Rip, but cannot actually be a Rip?" Light mused as she stared at the whorls in the table, a half-empty bag of potato chips next to her. They had been trying to solve the paradoxical riddle for almost half-an-hour now, and no one was any closer to actually solving it. Light was feeling discouraged, and was therefore indulging in some good old fashioned comfort food.

"I have a question," Rem stated. All eyes turned to her. "From what has been said about these Rips, they seem to be usable only through inter-dimensional travel. If Quillsh Wammy passed through something that appears to be acting like a Rip from the outside, but cannot actually be a Rip, then is it possible that it was, in fact, a Rip, but simply had not been used for inter-dimensional travel, instead staying in the first Realm?"

Light let her head fall down to the table in shock. Yet again a crucial fact had been forgotten by them! Mythology was rife with tales of portals that allowed instantaneous travel from one place to another, within the same dimension. And all mythology had some basis in reality, no matter how glorified the ugly truth might have become over the years.

Well, there was the fact that non-Flashing instant transport within a Realm was supposed to be impossible, but until recently, it had been thought that Angels were physically incompatible with vampires, and Aryn and Near had very successfully proven that wrong. Human flight had been thought impossible until roughly a century ago. Things that had been thought impossible were being proven that they were, in fact, possible all the time. So they really should have thought of that before.

"How did we not think of that possibility?" Light asked.

Aryn shrugged. "Maybe cause we're too used to thinking inside the bigger box? The one that defines possible and impossible. Might be cause we're tired and stressed from just having captured the worst mass murderer in history? Might even be cause we just plain ain't as smart as the rest of the world thinks we are."

"Screw figuring out how we missed that!" Mello yelled suddenly, standing up. "First priority should be finding L! We don't know what Watari might have planned for him! Hell, we don't even know what faction he's working for! For all we know, he could be planning on torturing L to get information on us from him!"

Light paled. "You... you don't think he'd do something like that to L, do you?" She felt like she was about to be sick at the thought of L being tortured because of something she had done.

If I hadn't introduced L to his heritage, then...
Light thought miserably, before Kina picked up on Light's train of thought and dragged Light out of the room to have a serious conversation with her, for once acting as smart as she really was.

"No. Watari would've still been around L, and would still have been capable of kidnapping him. You might have speeded up the process, but you aren't the one who had made Watari not be the father figure that L had thought he was," Kina said. Light started, before smiling at Kina.

"You always know exactly what I'm thinking Kina, even better than Aryn. But, regarding what you said, maybe Watari wouldn't have had to kidnap L if I hadn't started lik-" Kina cut Light's sentence off.

"If you're going to recriminate yourself, at least be honest while doing it. You love him. And you're scared silly that he's been kidnapped because of you." Kina refrained from rolling her eyes. Light wasn't acting like Light right now, and needed to be snapped out of it. As a part of Light in a way no one else in the world was, Kina was the only one who could do that. But Kina would let Light wallow for a little bit longer.

Light smiled wanly. "You're right. Might as well be honest with myself. If I hadn't fallen in love with L while he was doing his damnedest to prove I was Kira."

Kina nodded her furred muzzle as she came to a decision. "Feel at least a little bit better now?"

Light nodded, surprised. "Now that you mention it, yeah, I do. Hm, always thought that everyone saying that talking about your emotions made them easier to deal with was a load of crap."

"Well, there's a difference between just any person, and a person you can trust. And there's an even bigger difference between a person you can trust, and a part of you. But, now that I've let you wallow a bit, and given you a chance to admit how you felt about L, I'm going to do something. You aren't gonna like it, Light, but I'm fairly sure it's necessary right now."

"Okaay then. Kina, I trust your judgment. If you think something is necessary, it's probably necessary."

"Not what you were saying when I was telling you to go ahead and bond with your Consort after you both acknowledged it. You more than him, but still."

"Yeah, that would've gone over real well. 'Hey, we just started a relationship today, and it'll be safer for you if we bond physically now.' Yeah right. I would've got my heart broken again in an instant."

"Have you tried just ranting at someone? Things are changing from what they've ever been before, the Courts are getting more aggressive towards us, the only Consort you have ever taken has been taken from you, and I know you. I am you. You need to talk to someone, before you snap from the pressure and the fear."

"Who'd want to listen to me, a failure who let his - her - my Consort get kidnapped from under my nose, ranting?"

Kina sighed. "Damn it, I was trying to snap you out of this. Now for drastic measures."

Light tilted her head to the side, unsure what Kina meant. Kina transformed to her more humanoid form and smacked Light sharply across the face. Light reeled back, not really able to believe that her Kina had just slapped her.

"What the hell, Kina?!"

Kina shook her head. "I told you you wouldn't like it. Light, you're not acting like the Light I know you are. You're letting your emotions take over you. You're letting yourself angst for crying out loud! Light, this isn't you. I admit that a good portion of it is that you're currently half-woman, but Light, you're not going to be able to help L of you don't get a hold of yourself! You have to focus on getting L back."

"I'm trying!" Light yelled, angry. "We don't know anything!"

"That's the point," Kina shot back."We don't know anything. You might not have a full-fledged Consort bond with L, but it's strong enough that each of you sort of know how the other is doing. You lost that because of whatever that jackass is doing to him. Now we don't have any idea. For all we know, L is dead now. There's just no way of knowing."

Light stiffened at the thought of L dead, forcing her desire to break down crying, again, to the back of her mind. Kina was right, letting herself break down crying at every piece of bad news wasn't like her. She'd thought that she'd cried herself out when she was eleven. It was time for her to dry her tears and go on a vengeful rampage. It was time for Balbdas to come out and play with the poor doomed man who had kidnapped her Consort. And the first order of business was to find out where that temporary not-Rip had led. The best chance of that lay in higher numbers, something that L-5 alone did not possess.

Kina judged that Light had understood what she was saying and taken it to heart, and turned back to her more wolfish form. She walked beside Light as Light swept out of the room, pulling off the high and mighty ruler look quite well.

"Aryn, I think that the best chance we have of getting L back is if we convene the Court and enlist them."

Aryn frowned at Light, unsure. "I dunno, Light, the Court is pretty vicious, and you know most of them don't particularly like being subservient to a bunch of teens. You remember how many times Near was nearly assassinated just after I claimed him. And the Court knew he was almost as powerful as we are. What do you think they'll do to the apparently human L?"

Light tilted her head, acknowledging a valid point. "However, there is a far greater chance that L will die if we don't enlist the Court. I might remind you that we have no idea why he has been kidnapped, and for all we know, it could be to sacrifice him. However, as long as we don't tell the Court why we're trying to find where the not-a-Rip went, it should be at least tolerably safe to use them." Light's eyes hardened. "And if they do find out why we're using them, and hurt L, then I will deal with them."

Aryn realized what was going through Light's head right now. She had dealt with Near being taken away from her for too long too recently after she had chosen him as her Consort, and knew how difficult it was for Light to be forcefully separated from L. There was really no way of stopping Light at the moment. She was on a warpath, and didn't care what happened as long as she got L back.

"If that's what you think best, Light," Aryn sighed.

"You're not seriously going to let her do that, are you?" Mello asked in disbelief after Light had left the kitchen, still with Kina by her side.

"Did you actually look at her?" Near asked. "It would have been futile to attempt to sway Light from her path, so we will simply have to attempt to minimize the damage."

Mello bristled. "Are you saying I'm an idiot?"

"Certainly not. You are the only one who brought any form of mental deficiency up."

Matt sighed. "Can you two please not start? We're kind of out of coffee, and I've used up my pre-coffee mental abilities on making sure Light wasn't hurt by turning into a girl, again. I need quiet, or I need coffee. I'm fairly sure Misa and Sayu are in the same boat, possibly worse off than me, and Ryuuk's turning himself into pretzels because, apparently, he hasn't had apples for almost a month. So, someone seriously needs to go shopping. Rem seems to be fine, but I'm sure she doesn't want to listen to you two bicker either."

"Aww... Matty, I'm sorry you don't have any coffee. Tell you what, why don't we go and get some quick, pre-made coffee for you?" Mello suggested as he steered Matt to the door.

Matt shrugged and went along with it. If it got him time alone with Mello, which God knew was in short supply around the apartment, then who was he to argue?

Aryn sighed, pulling Near up with her. "I suppose we should get going. Make sure the Court's building is on and crap. Kuromisa, Ryuuk, Rem, as new subjects of the Court, or... newly reinstated ones, in Kuromisa's case, you're going to be coming with us."

Misa followed Aryn reluctantly, not wanting to leave Sayu alone, but unwilling to offend her ruler either. Sayu, seeing Misa's distress shrugged.

"I'll be fine. There's always something to do. You go on, that sounds more important."

"If you're sure..." Misa trailed off as she turned to leave.

Aryn touched Near's sleeve. Near looked at her, and mentally groaned at the sight of the teasing grin on Aryn's face. "I'm going to be falling back a bit. I wanna give Kuromisa a piece of advice."

"Just don't mentally scar her too much. Even if she is on a path to hurt our sister," Near replied.

"Who me?" Aryn asked.

Aryn slowed down until she was walking beside Misa. "You know, Kuromisa, it's been a long time since I was as young as you are now."

Misa looked at Aryn in confusion. "I'm sorry, but I don't know what you're saying, Aryn-taichou. Aren't you younger than me?"

Aryn sighed, shaking her head in mock-disappointment. "First thing, don't add taichou onto my name until we're actually in the Court's building. Why we decided on Tokyo I forget, but I'm grateful for it at the moment. Second, you're thinking in terms of physical age. Yes, physically I've just turned eighteen, but mentally I am well over a thousand years old." She turned, and stared straight at Misa. "The point I was trying to make is that I have seen far more of life than you have, Kuromisa. Right now, you are on the rebound from Light. Even if you were the one to end the relationship, you were also the one who felt more deeply for him, even if it was overlaid by the Death Note. Wait a month, maybe two. Then we won't object, even if there is a slight age difference. It's not nearly as bad as some of the other ones that Beings deal with. But right now, if you act, be aware that we view Sayu as our sister, and sibling trumps Court. Just a little piece of advice, from one girl to the other." Aryn smiled and sped up to be walking beside Near.

Misa shivered as she watched Aryn. Was she really on the rebound? If Misa were honest with herself, probably. She had loved Light, even if it was started by that damned Note. She couldn't have gotten over that so quickly. It had been hurting Misa over the past four days, watching Light and L being so sweet and affectionate to each other, seeing how different they acted towards each other from how Light - No, Kira - had acted toward her. But she had also thought that Sayu was cute and sweet before, even overlaid by the second Death Note...

Misa was confused. She decided that it might be in her better interests to just keep her mouth shut during the upcoming meeting, or she just knew she'd have a bad case of fatal foot-in-mouth. Not that it would necessarily be fatal for her, but she didn't want to be responsible for any more deaths than she already was.

Near glanced sideways at Aryn. "So, what exactly did you tell Kuromisa? She seems slightly disturbed."

Aryn shrugged. "I just told her the truth. She's on the rebound, and if she waits maybe a month or so, we won't object to her pursuing Sayu. But at the moment, it's entirely possible that Kuromisa would discover she doesn't actually care that much for Sayu, and Sayu would be left broken-hearted."

Near sighed. "How did we get roped into being the ones to untangle the love lives of most of the upper end of the Court?"

Aryn laughed. "Cause we're just awesome like that! Plus we got over ourselves a lot quicker than anyone else did. That makes us uniquely suited to being the love advisers of the Court!"

"But you're supposed to be aloof from the rest of the Court," Near pointed out.

"That's why I always use a very-high strength glamour," Aryn explained.

"There's the building," Near exclaimed gratefully. Aryn could vacillate between insanely smart, and insanely childish and dense in a flicker of an eye, and it really tired Near out occasionally, even if he did love her. (And wasn't Near still trying to figure out how that one had happened!)

Ryuuk hopped forward next to Rem. "Ya feelin' kinda insignificant too?"

Rem looked at Ryuuk impassively. "I have no clue what you mean."

"Jus' sayin'. The Misa ya fell in love with turned out ta have been a resul' of mass memory loss, combin' with the No'. Now you're dealin' wit' a brand-new Misa, whose very name change' when she go' her mem'ries back. On top o' tha', we've been drafte' inta a serving a new 'master', this Cour', which we still know nothin' abou'. And then, as if all o' tha' weren' enough, no one's paid any attention ta us since Takahashi got bricked up. So, I'll as' again: Ya feelin' kinda insignificant too?"

Rem stared for a moment, before turning away. "When did you get so perceptive?"

Ryuuk laughed. "I've always been, I jus' prefer bein' an idio'. Bu'... It' obvious tha' this is both'rin' ya, so I jus' though' I'd let ya know that ya can talk ta me abou' all this."

Rem smiled slightly. "I think I just might take you up on that at some point. Later, when we're not heading into a meeting with a bunch of beings we don't know."

Ryuuk's already painful grin stretched further. "I wasn' askin' fer anythin' more."

Rem looked away to continue her watching of the semi-humans as they went about opening up a dusty building, apparently for a meeting of this "Court".

People less confused now? . I seriously don't know hwo that happened folks, I'm sorry.

Please review, even if it's just to tell me what an idiot I am.