Congratulations! You've made it to the final chapter! I'm just as surprised as you are!
Please refer to the author's note at the end for news on what's to come.
It was like waking up from a nap you didn't know you were taking. I didn't remember falling asleep, nor being asleep. There was no steady release of the floodgates allowing my senses to pour back into my conscious mind. I was just suddenly awake, as tends to happen.
I slowly blinked the sleep from my eyes, grateful that there was no bright light to hinder my amicable waking process. My hands clutched the sheets at my waist and I noticed that these weren't the sheets I was used to sleeping in whilst at the Kira Investigation Headquarters. I brushed my fingers over them again as I sought out the reason for this inconsistency.
It was then that the steady beeping in the background caught my attention. A heart monitor..? With an electrifying pulse that sent a jolt down my spine, I brought to mind the last thing I could remember. Keiton in a suit… knife… my neck…pain…
The beeping hitched, but then continued on its leisurely pace.
A heart monitor meant that I was in a hospital and being in a hospital meant I was safe. There was no need to work myself up about Keiton. I'd obviously gotten the help I needed… eventually.
I swiveled my eyes about the room, but couldn't discern any details. Another wave of gratitude washed over me. It was dark, therefore night time. I wouldn't be disturbed by blinding light that stereotypical movie patients always woke up to. This also meant that I could be left alone with my thoughts. After the night I'd had, all I really wanted was a moment to myself.
I took this moment to appreciate that steady beeping noise and the sound of my own breathing. I didn't feel like I was dying; which could possibly be attributed to the drugs that were likely in my system and the brace I now felt around my neck.
Now that the danger was passed, I was less anxious about my neck injury. Nothing more would go wrong and the doctors would have done whatever they could for me. I was being taken care of.
I was only mildly disconcerted by the late hour. To be dark, it would mean that I had been asleep for nearly a day. If it was still early morning of the night I'd been attacked, there was no way that I'd be left in this room by myself. In the very least there would be doctors coming and going incessantly.
It can't be too abnormal to sleep that long after what I've been though. My brain needs to recover from what was probably, in the very least, multiple concussions.
I debated going back to sleep. Yes, I liked the peace and quiet, but maybe what I really needed was more rest.
I had just decided to go back to sleep when to my left, there was the sound of a door opening and closing. Due to my eyes being closed, I'd unfortunately missed the chance to use the light from the entryway to scope out my room.
I found it odd that whoever entered didn't turn on the light.
"Light-kun, you're finally awake," I heard L say from my bedside.
Maybe he wouldn't find the lack of light odd or he knew that it would annoy me to have it shining in my face. However, even as I thought this, there was a nagging feeling that something was wrong.
I took a moment to try to adjust my eyes to the darkness. Maybe I was in a windowless room, because surely if there were windows I would see some moon light illuminating my room through the curtains. Looking over to where I heard the door I noticed that there wasn't any light coming through the crack between the door and the floor.
Still unable to really move my neck or head, I shifted my eyes over to where I last heard L. I tried to keep my voice from quivering when I asked, "Ryuzaki, why didn't you turn on the lights?"
All I got in response was a sharp intake of breath and the sound of the door opening once more.
"Hello, Light Yagami," said a deep voice. "I'm Haruto Maki and I will be your doctor."
Immediately, and without greeting him I asked, "Doctor, why aren't the lights turned on?"
There was the rustle of paper being shuffled by hands and then, "I don't mean to alarm you Light, but it's four in the afternoon."
The doctor continued to talk after that, but I didn't hear a single word. It wasn't the middle of the night. It wasn't dark outside- it was dark in my head.
"Light-kun," L said loudly, gripping my arm. "Maki-san says he will conduct some tests to determine whether this is permanent or not."
I looked, without seeing, over at L. "This might be temporary?"
"We won't know anything until we run some tests. It's best that we do it as soon as possible before anything can change. However, the police still want to talk to you. It will also certainly help us to know exactly what happened last night," the doctor explained.
"Yagami-san is on his way back up now," L informed me. Then to the doctor he said, "We will speak to him and relay any relevant information to you." Without another word, the doctor took his exit.
We sat there in silence for a minute, neither really knowing what to say. It was I, the one with a dozen questions, who finally broke it.
"So I've been asleep less than a day?"
"You have been asleep approximately fourteen hours. We intercepted you some time after midnight," he deadpanned. Even though I couldn't see him, I knew that he would have his thumb nail in his mouth.
The door was abruptly pushed open. "Light, you're awake," my father rasped.
Somewhere in the background I distinctly heard Matsuda yell, "I have to see him! What if he dies," before being silenced by Aizawa who told him not to put those thoughts into anyone's heads.
I hadn't thought that my life could still be in danger. I had rationalized that since I was in a hospital, I was going to be alright. As it were, things were getting worse by the minute.
My father closed the door once more and walked to sit beside L. "Light, how do you feel?"
"I'm blind, dad." It was because of this information that I couldn't feel anything. I hoped he understood the sentiment.
"I know," he whispered. "But it may only be temporary."
There was so much hope in his voice that it was painful to me. His perfect, passionate, and head-strong son was lying in front of him, on the cusp of his dreams- everything he worked for and, figuratively, he may never get out of that bed. To him, this was a cruel twist of fate. How could I help people and be a detective if I was blind?
My father didn't understand the complete irony of the situation.
"Yeah," I replied. "It may only be temporary." I wasn't getting my hopes up.
L spoke up. "It would be best for you to ask your questions now, Yagami-san. The doctor will be coming back soon to conduct some tests."
"Of course," he said, sounding more than tired.
It was really only one question; 'can you tell me what happened?' Surprisingly enough, L just sat and listened. He didn't interrupt with any of his own questions, he didn't ask for more details; he just sat quietly with rapt attention.
I started the story from what I could remember- walking out the front door of the building. I told him about being dragged from a car and being set up in a chair. Nothing I could remember was clear, it almost seemed like it had happened in a dream. I couldn't even recall the pain, which was arguably the most prominent part. The farther I went into my story, the more numb I felt. Maybe I'll wake up and this will really have just been a bad dream.
When I got to the part of the night where Keiton had held the knife to my throat, I suddenly felt as though I were experiencing it all again. This part was clear.
I was afraid. I didn't want to kill him. I desperately wanted nothing more than to be loaded into an ambulance. As I looked into his eyes I remember asking for his forgiveness for what I had to do to keep myself alive. Keiton was sick, disturbed, a complete freak yes, but I hadn't wanted to kill him. I just wanted to live. I recalled the feeling of his blood dotting my skin when I plunged the knife into his throat. I was taking the very thing keeping him alive. It was my doing- I killed him. The choice was him or me and I chose myself. That's what it felt like to kill someone, to take a life with your own hands.
Using the Death Note felt nothing like that. I wonder if dying feels the same regardless.
"Light, Light, are you okay," I heard my father ask.
I glanced in the direction of his voice.
"You were saying that Keiton was yelling…"
"Yeah, he was yelling," I muttered. "He was angry because I was better than him." I'm better than a lot of people, but none of them have ever kidnapped and threatened me.
Closing my useless eyes, I lied, "I don't remember anything else."
"That's alright, son. Ryuzaki can fill us in from here," he replied sympathetically.
Finally L spoke up. "Yagami-san, why don't you retrieve the doctor?"
There must have been a gestural reply because I heard none as the door opened and closed once more.
We sat in silence for a moment before he spoke again. "Why did you lie to your father, Light-kun?"
"I didn't want to kill him," I whispered.
I was met only by more silence.
The tests all took place in less than an hour. Or maybe it had been more, I don't know. I was too distracted to pay them much mind.
If only I had lost my vision before I had to see Keiton flailing about on the ground…
However, I knew I didn't deserve that mercy. Perhaps it would be the only image I would see for the rest of my life.
I didn't want to kill him.
But I wanted to kill all those other people didn't I?
Not at first, I reminded myself. I had been so horrified. I saw now that there had been a reason for that. I was killing people. I should have let myself feel the horror; it's what normal people would have done. They would have tossed the notebook and never looked back.
I, however, kept going. It was one thing to test it out on Kurou Otoharada; that had been curiosity- I was so sure that it was a joke. Even Takuo Shibuimaru was just another test of my skepticism. Regardless of could, I should have stopped.
But I didn't.
But I didn't.
But I didn't.
Now the choice had been made for me. I was unable to continue on my path as God of the New World. I could have all the names in the world, but I may never see another face- and the notebook needed both.
Maybe this was a sign; the universe's last ditch effort to take me off this path. If I had stopped, I would have never met L. He never would have followed me to school. Keiton would have been significantly less jealous of me. I would still be able to see.
My rational side told me there was no use lamenting what could have been. I hadn't given up the notebook, I had met L, and I was still blind. I could only figure out where to go from here.
As if I have much of a choice.
I did though, didn't I? This blindness may only be a temporary setback. It was possible that I would regain my sight in due time.
I didn't regret ending the lives of those I had written in the notebook, but after watching the life slowly ebb away from someone I had grown up with- and being the cause of it- I didn't know if I had the stomach to do it again. I watched Keiton's life slip away and it was entirely possible that someone would have to watch one of my casualties leave this world as well; not every name I wrote down belonged to someone in jail.
Maybe my run was over. Maybe I needed to do something different with my life. Or actually do what I had set out to in the first place. My goal- to save people; my pursuit of justice had a carefully mapped out plan once upon a time. I was going to be a detective. The Death Note wasn't something I could have planned for in my wildest dreams. Perhaps I had lost sight of myself along the way.
No- I had completely derailed; my vision was distorted. I had set out to bring peace to the world by ridding it of those who brought suffering to others. I was supposed to be a conduit for peace. I had wanted to be a soldier of sorts. How did that translate to becoming a God?
Somewhere down the line I began to kill those people for entirely selfish purposes. In the back of my mind I knew that it had to do with getting the recognition I felt I deserved. The Death Note put me on the fast track to not only cleaning up Japan, but cleaning up the whole world.
When I was younger, I had dreams like that, everyone does. You want to be the best you- a superhero version of yourself. I quite literally wanted to fight crime, save innocents, and lock away the villains that plagued the Earth.
I'd always had role models like that. I've looked up to my father for as long as I can remember. I can recall waiting for him to walk through the door every evening just to ask him about all the people he had helped that day. Even now, after all the bad he's seen in the world, he's the most selfless person I know. His sense of justice is pure and unwavering.
And there's L. I must have been six when he started making a name for himself. It was mystifying to hear of his endeavors- of how he was saving the world. I wanted to grow up and be a famous detective just like him and yes, in my wildest dreams, work with him. Looking back on it now, he was a kid just like me.
We both grew up in a world we felt personally responsible for.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he didn't have much in the way of a childhood. He was likely raised for the position of L. It took no stretch of the mind to imagine him working day in and day out, without regard to child labor laws. Even though I had only bared witness to the adult he became, I could see in his deadened eyes that he grew up with a jaded sense of the world, only seeing the evil he worked tirelessly to eliminate. That's no way for a child.
The weight of the world laid heavy on his shoulders, bending him. He carried himself as a person who'd never enjoyed his own product would. He faced his biased, bitter reality with artificial sweetness. He kept his candy within arm's length, but people much farther.
I couldn't imagine having no one I could really depend on. Watari could be a father to L, but he couldn't double as a friend, confidant, or even… a lover. While not necessary, a lover could be those things- I was beginning to be those things. A fucked up version, yes, but I legitimately tried.
In another universe maybe I succeeded. Maybe in another universe I wasn't Kira. Maybe I graduated from Toho University and joined my father on the police force. Maybe I became a respected and successful detective who would put cases away like a librarian shelved books. Maybe I helped so many people that L couldn't avoid hearing about me. Maybe in another universe we could have really hunted Kira together.
It was in this moment that I saw my dream clearly for the first time since I was a tween. It was my dream before I accepted the darkness of the world, when I was so sure that any evil could be conquered. This was my dream when making the world a little bit better just meant being the best me that I could. It was the pure and simple dream of making the world a better place through hard work and dedication, standing for a cause even if that meant falling for it as well.
I was so ready to throw my life away to be Kira. It had gotten to the point where everyone I cared about had a vendetta against my alter ego. Everyone I looked up to was against me. How did I fall so far? How did having them on the opposing team not stop me? I built myself from their ideals and somehow became their antithesis. The mere discrepancy should have been enough to straighten me out. Now, I couldn't understand how I'd managed to delude myself so thoroughly.
"I feel I should apologize to you, Light-kun," L said, finally breaking his day long streak of silence. He hadn't said a single thing to me since before I'd taken the tests to assess the damage to my eyes yesterday. Being silent didn't mean he wasn't around however. I always felt his presence next to me. Even when I was just sitting in my bed blankly staring toward the wall, he watched me. Maybe he thought he was watching over me. Perhaps he couldn't leave me alone and he thought his silence was the next best thing.
"Apologize for what," I inquired. Maybe he feels bad for letting Keiton kick me in the chest.
"You said yesterday that you didn't want to kill Keiton," L said cautiously.
Unable to see where this was going, I turned my body in his general direction. "I remember."
"I haven't spoken to you since this confession because I wanted to observe how you would act."
I gripped the blankets around my waist until my knuckles hurt. "You thought I was lying," I stated.
"Much the contrary; I completely believed you. I wanted to see how you would feel regarding the circumstance of his death and I was giving you time to cope with the events of the previous night," he explained. "It's why I asked for you to be mostly left alone."
I relaxed at this new information and brought my chin to my chest. "So what do you have to apologize for?"
"For not correcting your assumption that he was dead," he said simply.
I immediately became incensed again and whipped my body back to face him, incurring a slight pain in my neck from the quick action. "Keiton's alive," I yelled.
"Indeed, and in stable condition; though he is having trouble talking."
"I saw him bleed out."
"There wasn't that much blood; you just punctured his trachea," he informed me.
"I didn't kill him," I mused. Genuine relief flowed through me. "So he's really alright?"
"Hardly. He needs serious psychiatric help."
"Obviously," I scoffed. No sane person attacks someone with a pipe they got from under their sink.
"I was informed of the circumstances when his parents came to see him. He had underlying issues with stress and being rejected from the only university he had applied to didn't bode well," L explained. "Keiton redirected and took his feelings out on you- who always succeeded. A minor case of jealousy was transformed into something akin to blame."
"Why didn't he get help with his 'stress' problems?"
"The need for psychiatric help is seen as shameful in Japan, Light-kun. It's difficult to actually find good help when one needs it."
This whole situation was a mess. It was a tiring, sticky, no good mess. Just like every other thing since I picked up that notebook. I didn't know how this new information made me feel. However, I felt like it didn't change much. The grief had been real and from it I came to a real decision.
"Why didn't you say something," I murmured, exhausted.
"As I said earlier, I wanted to know how you would react to this assumption."
"Yeah, and what did you deduce from my actions?"
"It was difficult to understand what you may be thinking judging solely from your mannerisms. You were very sullen up until night time. Then you stayed absolutely still for approximately eighty minutes. When you resumed movement you looked upset once more, but then a look of determination slowly crossed your features. I have no idea what you were thinking, but you did come to some sort of conclusion."
I couldn't see him, but I knew that he must be chewing on his thumb nail. He always did that when he was trying to figure me out.
"This solitude has given me some much needed time to think," I said quietly, "I was trying to determine where I would go from here."
"Am I right to assume you have decided upon a course of action," L deadpanned.
"I know what I want to do, but I don't know if I can," I confessed. My fingers were fidgeting and I was tightly wringing the blanket.
"What course of action has caused you to lose your confidence, Light-kun?"
"After the Kira case is over-assuming it ever is… I want to solve more cases with you."
My proclamation was met with silence. It was brutal not being able to see his reaction. When he was silent I couldn't discern a single thing; I could no longer judge him by the face he wore. It was more than frustrating.
"Well, say something," I demanded. I'd rather he reject me quick if that's what he's going to do.
"You would want to? After all I've put you through," L mused. "There are dozens of people who refuse to work with me again even through a computer screen, but you would work with me in person?"
I chuckled. "What else am I supposed to do now? I've worked with you during what's probably been your toughest case. What's left for me? I go to college just to prove on paper that I can be a detective? I slowly move my way up in the ranks whilst working menial cases of little consequence? Nothing this police force can ask of me will ever be enough," I confided. "I could go back to what I was doing, but it would never be as much fun."
"You want a challenge," he deduced.
I relaxed into the bed. "That's all I've ever wanted."
"What if I want you to prove to me that you can do those things? What if I want to see you earn your way to the top?"
I smirked at him. "You would never let me waste my time with that- or yours for that matter. If you don't want me now, you never will."
"I do want you, Light-kun," he affirmed, laying one hand over mine. "If you would like to continue working with me it can be arranged."
Though he had said 'can', all I heard was 'will'.
I smirked. "Of that, I have no doubt."
My statement gave way to quiet and L let it hang for a moment before asking, "Do you believe the Kira case will ever be closed?"
There were so many questions to be read from just that one. There were so many other things he was asking me that I didn't believe for a minute that was what he really wanted to know.
Do you really want to solve cases with me?
Will I be alive for you to solve cases with?
Is Kira taking a less than temporary leave of absence?
Have I been deemed more important than Kira's cause?
With all that we'd put each other through, with all we'd come to know of and about each other, and for as long as he 'knew' me to be Kira, it would be foolish for me to believe that he didn't still carry that notion. As I would never directly confess, I hoped that he'd understand what I was trying to express.
"Kira is a petulant child. And everyone grows up," I stated simply.
With my answer, I knew we had come to an understanding.
I am not Kira.
Hot diggity damn there goes the last five years of my life! I sincerely appreciate all of you who have read this story to the end. I put so much of my time and creativity into it and I'm glad you could enjoy it. I loved reading your reviews! They were fuel to my fire and I love hearing from you guys!
As for the possibility of a sequel, because I'm sure some of you still have questions, I never planned on writing one. I, in fact, don't even like sequels. I like to wrap everything up in one go. Now that I'm finished with this story though, I find myself excited to write a sequel. I wouldn't have even considered it had an actual plot and story line not smacked me in the face this morning. Such is the life of a writer.
While this story was character driven and had no real plot- as much as I cry and loathe admitting- the sequel will be plot driven! Though I haven't written a single word of it, sans an outline, it already sounds much more exciting than this story was. I'm planning on it being a rollercoaster from start to finish. While this story delved into the developing relationship between Light and L, the sequel will fine-tune that whilst throwing them in the midst of a new case and familiar faces. ;D
There is one small favor I'd like to ask you guys. Being that I have not written even the tiniest bit of the sequel; how would you like the chapters delivered? Would you like things to stay the way they are and have me update one chapter every couple months when I get around to it? Would you like me to remain quiet for a year to write as much as possible and then upload a new chapter every two weeks or so at the end of the hiatus? I just want to know if y'all want some consistency. Please tell me what you think through review and/or the poll I have set up on my profile.