Ludovico Einaudi is awesome. Check out 'I Giorni', and 'Nuvole Bianche', and then disagree with me, I dare you. Lol.

Chapter 18

His first thought upon returning to some remote semblance of consciousness, was relief at not inhaling the sterile, 'one-scourgify-too-many' atmosphere of the Hogwarts infirmary. In fact, he could smell tea.

At least he was still in Britain, then.

This didn't seem quite right though. It registered as being an odd thought, but Harry (who now remembered that he was in fact Harry) couldn't care less. He was far too busy realising that something definitely wasn't right. His thoughts were scattered, he couldn't move, and the only sense that appeared to be working was his sense of smell.

Unlike most other people who would find themselves in this situation, Harry did not panic. He merely let himself breathe, and tried to piece together what little he could.

He was currently lying on his back on a bed. It then registered in his mind that it wasn't his bed. His bed felt like a cloud, this bed felt like... a bed. So, he was in a different bed then. His head was pounding in time with his heartbeat, and as soon as he acknowledged the pain, it seemed to instantly triple in its intensity as if to remind him of its existence.

Firewhiskey? No, his magic wasn't happy.

Harry quickly began a process similar to meditation that would allow him to briefly examine his magical core. He was never able to get too close without risking getting himself lost in it for a few days, but hopefully he'd be close enough to try and figure out what had happened. It was something that he'd been taught before the Unspeakables had been willing to release him back into 'normal society'.

He noticed that both 'sides' were currently battling the Blue Beast from Hell, as he'd sort-of named it. The only time his magic felt anywhere near calm, was when it was fighting against the potion, but even then it was a tense calm. Neither his own magic or the 'taint' wanted it there, so there was a temporary truce until the Blue Beast was gone. Then it was business as usual, with Harry waiting until both sides had recovered enough wits to start fighting each other again, at which point he'd usually find some sort of release in his Duelling Room, or with the multitude of other handy little tricks he'd found. Currently there was a blue mass attempting to invade the home ground, and his two magics resented the intrusion into their personal conflict. Red and gold fought with green and black to defeat the blue.

Satisfied that he was in no immediate danger and feeling rather exhausted, Harry slipped back into unconsciousness.

-xXxXxXxXxXx-

"Ryuuzaki, if you're planning to interrogate the boy as soon as he wakes, I'm not sure that he'll be willing to co-operate with you. You might not achieve the desired results. There's also his head injury to take into account, and the bruise on his forehead that mysteriously appeared."

"On the contrary Watari, the less of a mind he has to add in his usual nonsense, the better," L stated, almost as if he was considering whether or not he should add another lump to the young man.

"L, I don't think-"

"Exactly, Watari. That's my job."

Watari sighed, and resisted the uncommon urge to give his charge a good shake.

"Well, he won't thank you for it. I advise you to be careful."

L – Who had so far neglected to remove his cloak – said nothing, and continued to stare at Harry, irritated when Watari didn't immediately leave the room and find some sort of task to occupy himself with.

"You should rest, Ryuuzaki. You've been sitting here for four hours! Staring at him will not force him to wake up any faster!"

"Yes it will."

Watari sighed, trying to ignore L's childishness. "Perhaps you could take a shower or a bath then? You should at least change your clothing! It's been days! The last time was before I went to fetch Ryuuki!"

"Go away," L mumbled around his thumb.

"L, this is ridiculous! I haven't seen you act this way in years! Are you sure you won't tell me what the matter is?"

"Positive," L stated petulantly.

Watari frowned heavily, and walked past L to approach Harry, who hadn't moved an inch since L had moved him. The icepack had been taken away hours ago, leaving a lump that would be a lot more noticeable if it wasn't for Harry's thick hair covering it. It really was amazingly similar to L's hair (he'd washed L's hair often enough to know); and with the chance to study the young man's natural face as he slept, he noticed that the shape of his mouth and the size of his ears were also quite similar. There were large differences of course, but it couldn't be denied that similarities definitely existed between the two. Watari checked his watch, before turning to leave the room.

"What is it that you wish me to tell the Task Force when they call? It won't be long now."

"Tomorrow. Something unexpected that hopefully will take no longer than a day to resolve," L muttered.

Watari nodded slowly before leaving the room, quietly closing the door. L knew he would be back soon with a fresh cart. Sure enough, a few minutes later there was a quiet knock, and Watari entered, pushing a freshly loaded dessert cart, complete with a fresh pot of tea, and three times the usual number of sugar cubes.

"Here you are then, L. Before I leave, I feel that there is something I must say."

Behind the shadows of his hood and with the knowledge that his face was completely hidden, L rolled his eyes, knowing what was coming, and already knowing his answer. The only reason Watari had prepared a cart was to have time to think about how to coax information from L, and to have an excuse to enter the room again.

"You've been away to goodness knows where, and you come back with a semi-conscious wizard with two head injuries. You refuse to say where you were, although I'm assuming that it was somewhere in England. You refuse to speak of anything that may have happened to either of you, there are mysterious power fluctuations throughout the entire street around us, and you refuse to say anything of how that may have occurred, even though I am aware that you must know something of it. I am left to assume that it is Ryuuki himself, considering the little that you have told me upon arriving. Then there is your strange behaviour! Now please tell me; what on Earth has happened?"

"I am not obligated to inform you of anything at this present time. Go away, Watari," L stated stubbornly.

"Ass'ole."

L immediately sprung to his feet and hovered over Harry, staring intently at his face. Harry's eyes were once again fluttering sluggishly, and the fingers on one hand were stroking the sheets underneath.

"B'nice t'Wat'ri... or'll... curse..."

"I want answers Ryuuki, and you're going to provide me with them!" L stated loudly.

"Ryuuzaki! He's barely conscious! He probably isn't even fully aware of what has happened, or even where he is!"

"He will figure it out soon enough."

"Ryuuzaki, this is not wise!"

"I did not ask for your opinion on the matter Watari, now leave us."

Watari sighed in resignation before leaving the room. If anything, Ryuuki would gladly speak to him about the matter at a later time, but for now he had to deter the hotel staff from entering their suite to check the television signal. It wouldn't do for them to see any of their equipment, after all.

Harry had settled, but L knew that he would likely wake up properly in a few minutes. Sure enough, it wasn't long before Harry's eyes were fluttering, and his fingers reached out to feel the materials around him once again. L sat silently and simply watched. Even if he wanted to start asking questions right away, L grudgingly admitted that Watari had a point. He watched as Harry's fingers trembled, and his face creased into an unhappy frown. He probably had a headache. Slowly, he opened his eyes, and L was glad to see that this time they immediately focussed on where L was sitting. L sucked in a breath, preparing to ask his first question, but Harry spoke first.

"Great, stuck with you lot again," Harry mumbled.

L's questions were yet again put to the side in favour of this new development. He remained silent.

"So which one of you drew the short straw? Fox? Eagle? Don't tell me, I'm lucky enough to wake up to Cougar. You'd better not be Cougar, I warned you all last time about that tramp."

Harry rubbed his eyes tiredly.

"Not Cougar then. Do I get my glasses this time? Or is there some other pointless test? You know, you people suck at communication."

Harry blinked a few times.

"Since when do Unspeakables care about modesty? I'm allowed clothes this time?" He muttered to himself. "No..."

L sensed that soon Harry would realise that he wasn't an actual Unspeakable, and so he spoke.

"Actually, you've been referring to me as 'Panda'. Your glasses are beside you on the nightstand, and I saw no need to take your clothes off."

Harry blinked. "Ah."

"Yes, 'ah'. I suppose you now remember the events that led to you being in this situation?"

"Yeah, a little bit. I don't care how much you hate Portkeys, I'm never Apparating that far with you again, ever. I know that much. I must be insane..."

L tilted his head slightly. Harry clumsily grabbed his glasses and shoved them onto his face.

"Why the hell are you still wearing that thing, anyway? Don't tell me you got attached to it. You know that it's impossible to incorporate it into your daily uniform, right? The Task Force would notice. Get it off."

"Later."

"Now."

"I said later," L stated with a tone of voice that brooked no argument.

"And I said now, so take it off, of I will force you to, and you won't be getting it back at all!" Harry argued. "You've dug yourself a deep enough hidey hole to live in without adding that bloody cloak!"

"No you won't. You could barely unlock that door when we were up on the roof," L stated comfortably, and with a barely detectable hint of smugness.

"Trust me L; I have plenty enough to get that cloak off you. One mind curse and we'll see whose willpower is really the strongest, hmmm? Of course, I'd have to submit my memory of the event to the Ministry, since I'd be using one of the Unforgivables. Considering the nature of that cloak however, it's the only choice, especially with how stubborn you are. Plus I'm your guardian; I'm supposed to stop you from pulling stupid stunts like that!"

L's eyes widened and he made an effort to leave the room. He almost bit through the skin on his thumb.

"Don't you dare! It comes off in here, right now! And we are so not done with this conversation!" Harry continued forcefully, as he struggled to sit against the headboard. With a flick of his wrist, his wand appeared and pointed straight at L, trembling slightly. "Now, cloak off, and sit!" he stated, pointing at the chair with his other hand.

"I want answers, and neither of us is leaving this room until I get them!" L retorted.

"Cloak off, and then sit down. Until then you're getting nothing but a damn good cursing from me!" Harry stated shakily and yet forcefully, with the first signs of real anger that L had ever seen from him. *Meddling with things you don't understand!* he spat in Parseltongue.

L growled low in his throat, but upon seeing no other alternative, and having been forcibly reminded of exactly who Harry was, he quickly pulled the cloak over his head, mindless of the fact that he almost removed his own shirt in the process. He dumped the cloak rudely on Harry's legs, and stamped on the armchair before crouching and glaring at the wizard.

"Damn right. Quite frankly I need to be able to see your face to know that you truly understand how much of a stupid idiot you've been!" Harry said loudly, putting his wand away and glaring at L.

"You're calling me an idiot? You almost got knocked unconscious! How would we have gotten back if you had been unconscious? If you hadn't noticed-"

"WHAT!" Harry exploded, leaning forwards, his eyes blazing in fury. "Oh, I almost got knocked out did I? Is that so? Would have been inconvenient, would it? YOU ALMOST DIED, YOU STUPID, IDIOTIC, PRAT OF A MAN! HOW IS THAT FOR INCONVENIENCE?"

A picture rattled itself off the wall, smashing as it hit the floor, and the bedside lamp flickered as it flew to the opposite wall, its base embedding itself there by a good couple of inches. Miraculously, the bulb seemed to be intact, still flickering slightly. Outside the room, Watari was frantically linking a laptop to the wireless camera he'd given L, and waiting for the earpiece he'd just placed in his ear to switch on properly.

L flinched, and his jaw hung open. He tried to figure out how to react. "But George Weasley said he used a Concussion Hex..."

L hated how small he sounded at that moment.

Harry sighed. "You almost died, L. Not physically, but mentally. The cloak would have shielded barely any of it, and chances are slim to none that you'd ever have been the same. Yes, George used a type of Concussion Hex. However he used a modified version that was specifically designed for those with a magical core, alongside high powered shields around their bodies and minds, which you don't have! It's actually one of the few spells that the cloak isn't so good with. It's designed to punch through magical shields, and the quickest way to stop it is a solid silver shield, but even then it's enough force to send a person flying a good fifteen feet. Your face would still be hidden, but your identity would have been gone."

"Surely that's not-"

"SHUT THAT BRAIN OF YOURS UP FOR FIVE BLOODY MINUTES! Stop trying to apply logic where there is NONE to be found! Not in the sense that you are used to! The person that you are was INCHES away from being killed and replaced with a damn infant! I would have had a concussion, yes, and it would have taken a week to rebuild my mental shields, but I would still be the same! The modified version that we developed is designed to take out multiple opponents in a way that prevents their buddies from simply waking them back up!"

"A simple concussion would-"

"Quickly be resolved with a simple short-term healing spell that would enable their buddies to then wake them up long enough to kill a few people and then Disapparate or Portkey away. I'm not a frigging sadist L! I don't go around modifying curses for fun! George saw two wizards, wearing wizard cloaks, both with their hoods up concealing their identities, behind a clump of bushes, right outside his parent's home! We didn't respond when he called out, which I am sure he did! Not only that, but George has also been through Auror training, and so therefore he would quickly sense that the 'two' wizards in front of him were damn powerful, and potentially dangerous! If it had hit you, with no magic and no physical or mental shields, directly on your head, it would have scrambled your brains; cloak or no cloak," Harry said tiredly. He clumsily swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and looked at L carefully.

L's eyes were wider than usual, and his pupils had shrunk slightly. He wasn't looking at Harry, and instead seemed to be staring through the carpet. His fingers shook slightly as they gripped his shins, probably tightly enough that they would leave bruises.

"Like I said," Harry continued in a gentler tone, "Yes, I would have been knocked out; but I already knew that wasn't going to happen. As soon as I saw the hex, I knew that we would be fine, and I would get you out of there on time. However," Harry added, his voice hardening, "If it hadn't been for YOU, conducting your little experiment, we wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place, would we? I trusted you! You could have asked anything you damn well wanted after we got back here and this stupid poison settled in, but you purposefully kept us behind, didn't you?"

Harry's trembling had increased to the point that it was affecting his speech, giving his words an edge that almost had L biting his lip in... shame? Sorrow? He didn't know.

"You were testing time, weren't you?"

L glanced at Harry quickly before looking back down at the carpet.

"I thought so. Time is not something to be toyed with, or tested on a mere whim! Those who do, bring misfortune upon themselves! A time traveller either goes with the flow, or ends up being removed, one way or another. You'll notice that the spell was heading for you, who attempted to thwart time, and not me, even though I'm a walking ball of magic. What the hell am I going to do with you? I don't want to treat you like an ignorant first year, and I know you'll resent me if I do, but I'll have no choice if you're going to pull stupid, thoughtless stunts like that!"

L simply nodded, not lifting his head, and taking shallow breaths through his nose, trying to ignore the fact that the first half of that last bit made little to no sense whatsoever.

"L?" Harry called quietly.

L didn't answer, and shifted his eyes to a slight pulled thread on his jeans. They would need to be thrown out, otherwise he'd be distracted by it, and probably end up picking at it and making it worse. With the Kira case, he couldn't afford to be distracted.

L saw movement and lifted his head to see that his chair was now right in front of Harry, who carefully and gently began to pull at his fingers.

"Don't," he mumbled.

"You're digging your fingers in far too hard, you'll just hurt yourself."

"It is no problem."

"I won't sit here and watch you attempt to punish yourself like a house-elf! You screwed up, you almost died, you picked a fight with time and lost, but I already shouted at you for all of that."

"I'm not punishing myself; this is just how I sit sometimes," L stated bluntly.

Harry sighed. "You feel bad, right? Digging your fingers into your legs will distract you slightly, but it won't take away the bad feelings."

L said nothing, but there was no need for him to say anything. Harry already knew by observing the way that his fingers had tightened.

"It won't work," Harry reiterated quietly. L wished he would stop.

Harry watched L quietly from his seat on the edge of the bed, and a quick peek at his surface thoughts when L glanced briefly in his direction revealed a lot more than he had bargained for. That was just a peek at the surface of his mind? That blank face hid quite a lot, it seemed.

For one, the man was truly sorry. Almost painfully sorry. Pride wouldn't let him speak the words, and yet the longer they went unsaid, the harder it would be for him to actually apologise. That L felt bad was an understatement; he was feeling awful. He was mentally and physically exhausted almost to the point of collapse; his thoughts were in turmoil over everything he had learned about magic in the last few days interspersed with his rampant thoughts on Kira, and his knee was causing him a great deal of pain. He resented Harry on some level for making him feel trapped and inferior, which Harry would never have guessed on his own. He also got the impression that L had never made a bad decision in his life. Everything was supposed to be controlled, and regulated, and not a single expression or thought was allowed to be shown without there being a purpose for it. L's sense of duty and justice was woven throughout the man's mind in such a way that it made Harry wonder if L had made a bad decision at some point, and was spending the rest of his life atoning for it, or perhaps someone had done something terrible to him or someone close to him, and he felt guilt at not being able to stop it? His mind practically screamed duty and justice.

"Come on up, I'll move over. You can have the warm bit since you're shivering. The warming charm on that cloak must have been stronger than I thought if you're that cold," Harry stated, knowing that this was likely the only way that L would even consider moving to the bed. Now he just had to convince the exhausted man to rest...

L looked as if he was going to argue, but decided against it, not wanting to explain the real reason that he was shivering. He sighed lightly before stepping from the chair to the bed, rearranging the pillows before settling into his usual crouch.

If Harry didn't know better, he'd never have guessed that L's knee was hurting him at all. Harry once again found himself wondering what kind of childhood L had survived, to be able to ignore something like that and still sit the way he did. Making a decision, Harry reached out and wrapped his arms around the other, hoping that it would help, rather than making the man feel worse. L tensed, but said nothing.

"I'm still a bit mad at you for pulling that stunt, but I'm really glad that you're alright; and..." Harry hesitated, pulling away slightly. "I meant it when I said I trusted you. I still do! The last person completely messed up and ended up pushing the 'Panic!' button after somehow managing to drop the open bottle..." Harry said absently. "Anyway, I just wish that you would trust me enough to not feel the need to do something like that... I would have tried to answer your questions," he added quietly.

L's thumb reached for his lips as Harry thankfully let him go, and sat back.

"Plus, what would Watari say if I brought you back in anything less than perfect condition? He'd kill me for sure!"

"Watari would do no such thing," L stated confidently. "He likes you."

"Yeah, but if I brought you back here as a vegetable, that liking would vanish, and quickly be replaced with the urge to slit my throat, no doubt."

"Watari is aware that I do not expect to live long. I will be truly shocked if I live to reach my twenty-sixth birthday. He knows what to do in the event that I am either killed or otherwise incapacitated."

Harry looked at L in disbelief. "You don't see it, do you?"

"That depends on what it is that I am supposed to see."

"L, Watari really cares about you."

"Well of course he does, because I can solve cases that would otherwise be left as unsolved," L stated matter-of-factly.

Harry shook his head. "That's not what I mean. I mean that he sees you as family."

"I doubt that very much."

"In that case, go and tell him that you have a headache, and see what happens."

"I do not have a headache."

Harry rolled his eyes and lay down on his side, facing L.

"Nevermind. If you look for it, hopefully you'll see the evidence for yourself eventually. You've still got boots on, by the way," Harry stated, chuckling slightly.

L quickly pulled them off and dropped them on the floor in a heap, his toes wiggling frantically in their newfound freedom, making Harry start his laughing again. L frowned slightly.

"What is amusing you?"

"You!" Harry answered, still laughing.

"Whatever I did to amuse you was not intentional."

"Oh I know that! You don't have to try though; simply doing the things that you do makes me laugh or at least smile, sort of like Dumbledore and his outrageous fashion sense. I'm no fashion expert, but magenta, orange, and forest green just does not go together, no matter what part of the world you visit... It won't last long, I have a feeling that by this time next week, you'll be kicking me for something or other, and I'll be finding new ways to irritate you."

L snorted through his nose, and Harry gasped dramatically.

"Was that almost a laugh? Quick, someone put it on a calendar! Play some trumpets! Make today a worldwide holiday!" Harry said with a silly grin, beginning to look sleepy again. He absently thought that Molly would be proud of his spontaneous hug. Maybe today should be known as 'Hug a Hermit' day or something...

"You are getting tired," L stated in reply, fighting a very small smile.

"So are you."

"I am fine."

"Please? Try to get a little sleep, it can't be good for you to stay awake for so long, and you've had an exhausting few days," Harry tried, before yawning.

L said nothing for at least five minutes, by which time the wizard had already fallen asleep. Harry was still trembling slightly, which L could feel through the soles of his feet, and there was a faint sheen of sweat on his face. His cheeks were red, which suggested illness, and that reminded him of something that Harry had said. Poison... Had he meant it in the literal sense? Give his magic something else to fight for a while, perhaps two weeks... then his magic would return to fighting itself. It fit... Except, if it was released slowly, then how...

L stopped himself. His questions could wait, since Harry wasn't going anywhere. Harry would stay with him until Kira and his weapon were neutralised, and posed no further threat to either of their worlds. He was surprised to find that thought strangely reassuring.

"I will try," L said quietly into the nearly silent room.

"And... I am sorry," he whispered a moment later, before staring intently at the sleeping wizard.

L's hand reached out and hesitated slightly, before lightly patting Harry's head like a pet dog, carefully avoiding the lump. After two pats he snatched his hand back as if it were burnt, and tucked it between his chest and his knees, before bringing his other thumb up to his mouth to nibble on. He shifted on his feet slightly, sighed quietly, and began to think.

Not even five minutes later, L's head drooped until it rested on his knees, and both were fast asleep.

-xXxXxXxXxXx-

Watari stared at the laptop. After L had voluntarily fallen asleep next to Harry (against every expectation that Watari had developed over the years), he'd rewound the entire thing, and watched it again, pausing every now and then to think on what had been said, and to check that they were both in fact still sleeping. L had placed the camera on one of the pictures on the wall, in a dark corner where it wouldn't likely be noticed, even if one chose to stare at the painting intently. Who would stare at a corner? Also, there wasn't a single reflective surface on the device. Watari would easily admit to being proud of this particular invention of his. Luckily, it hadn't been placed on the picture that had fallen to the floor.

Of course, he'd heard Harry (Ryuuki? He wasn't sure how to refer to the young man at the moment, but he settled for Harry until he was properly disguised again) shouting that L had almost died, and in fact if the suites near them had been occupied, they probably would have been able to hear him too. Luckily, they always rented out at least two if not three suites, preferably four or five. If it had been up to Watari, he'd simply allow the wizard the use of one of those suites, but he could see why L would want to keep him close by.

He wasn't an idiot, and easily gathered that L had gotten it into his head to perform one of his 'tests' again, which had almost resulted in him being hit with a nasty spell that would have left him brain damaged. This was just one of the many reasons that Watari had for electing to spend his remaining days with L; to stop him from inadvertently putting himself in danger. A lot of people would find this concept rather difficult to understand, since L was correctly considered to be a genius – if not one of the smartest men on the planet – whether people knew that they were referring to him or not. He did have a rather ridiculous number of aliases, after all. L's astounding mind had shaped the world in ways that the average person could never begin to fathom.

What a lot of people would be surprised to know is that L could be rather self-destructive at times; and inordinately stubborn about it too. If he got it in to his head to test something or someone, his mind would not rest until it was done. It was widely known that L would do whatever it took to solve a case, but people generally assumed that that didn't involve putting his own life on the line. Yes, this was the first time that he had publicly put his life on the line as L, but that didn't mean that he hadn't put his life on the line under an assumed name. Part of Watari's self-enforced duties to L included making sure that the young man didn't put himself into unnecessary danger, especially without Watari by his side. His mind was far too valuable to the world, to be lost in such a careless manner.

If Watari didn't bring L food, he would go hungry. Even then, it was a chore to encourage him to eat the minimum amount of vegetables required to sustain his body. Without Watari bringing him tea, he would stubbornly stay thirsty, refusing to waste valuable thinking time to fetch himself a drink. Without Watari, he would never shower, or change his clothes, seeing such things as nothing more than pointless tasks that were a waste of his time.

Half of the reason that Watari had for checking the live camera feed, was to ensure that he hadn't imagined L willingly going to sleep. It was practically unheard of. Usually he would force himself to stay awake until his body simply gave up and he passed out, sometimes even falling to the floor wherever he was standing; but more often than not Watari would enter the room to find L's head resting on his knees, still in his familiar crouch as he bit his thumb in his sleep as he had since the day Watari had first seen him all those years ago. If it happened during a particularly troublesome case, L would wake up in a foul temper, angry at himself for the loss of his precious thinking time.

Without Watari, it was entirely possible that L would have neglected his health to the point of being placed in an institution for his own good. Watari had found it difficult to adjust to L's needs at first, but he'd quickly grown to admire and care greatly for his small charge, not that he was so small anymore.

He rewound the video and watched again as L struggled with the concept of Watari caring for him as family, and he felt saddened. It was true that Watari considered L to be the son that he had never had, but he doubted that L would ever understand such a concept, or at least not in his lifetime. He then paused in his thoughts, and skipped through the video once more, to the part where L had reached out and patted Harry's head.

It was amazing. He couldn't remember a single time when anyone had shouted at L and actually gotten through to him, no matter the circumstance... Yet L had paid attention to Harry, and to display even a hint of care afterwards...? Even at eight years old, L the child had simply retreated into his thoughts and stared blankly, ignoring everything around him in favour of whatever question or puzzle his mind would come up with next. Watari fondly remembered Roger sputtering in rage as L had calmly walked to his desk and picked up his stapler in the middle of an angry lecture, only to fill his palm with wasted staples as he then announced to Roger to simply ignore him and to proceed with whatever it was that he had been bellowing. Predictably, Roger had launched into a fresh tirade as the boy sat crouched on the floor, linking the staples together and making a chain. When he had finished his chain, he had simply stood up and left the room, Roger's angry shouts following in his wake.

Roger had assigned him chores, which were never completed, or even attempted. Watari had followed the boy back to his room, where L had set about testing the strength of his chain, simply ignoring Watari. He had always been a rather odd child. It hadn't been long after the incident that had necessitated that particular trip to the office that Watari decided that it would be for the benefit of all concerned (and perhaps society as a whole) if he were to be the boy's handler, with Roger running the orphanage himself. Watari was positive that Roger now regretted making that agreement, especially with L's successors currently in residence. The three of them together caused almost as much trouble as L had.

Pulling himself from his wandering thoughts, he once again focussed on what he had seen and heard.

L paid attention to Harry. Harry was a puzzle, but he was also the key to a much larger puzzle. There was also the fact that Harry would always have the advantage of his magic, which L would always be on the lookout for. Just being who he was, was enough to ensure that L would pay attention to Harry. It was an advantage that not many had ever had when dealing with L, and Watari was glad that the one to have such an advantage was a good person.

Although, he mentally noted, I'll have to have a serious talk with L about the dangers and unknown consequences of experimenting with magic, and a serious talk with Harry about a few of L's more dangerous tendencies, especially if they'll be leaving to visit the magical world.

He then skipped back through the video to where L had patted Harry on the head once more, and tried to place where he'd seen that particular look in L's eyes, but he couldn't for the life of him remember.

-xXxXxXxXxXx-

Harry startled himself awake, blinking owlishly at the feet next to his face as the images from his dream faded from memory. He quickly remembered that he'd asked L to try and get some sleep, and he was surprised to see that he actually had. He'd expected that L would simply refuse again, and return to working on the Kira case.

Harry used magic to carefully lift himself from the bed without waking L, and once he'd found his glasses, he put them on and simply stared as he winced and rubbed his aching head. Watari had obviously put a blanket around his shoulders at some point, but it was plain to see that the odd man really was sleeping whilst balanced perfectly on his feet, perched on the bed like a bird and curled into an even smaller ball than usual. Not only that, but he had his thumb in his mouth.

At that moment Harry found it difficult to believe that if L stood up straight, he'd be taller than Harry by a good few inches. He looked like a little kid when he slept. He certainly looked a lot less creepy with his eyes closed.

He silently left the room, closing the door quietly behind him, and saw Watari reading a Japanese newspaper.

"Ah, I did wonder if I would be seeing you first," Watari said with a welcoming smile.

"Yeah, I'm all good now," Harry replied before yawning. "Did we sleep all day? What about the Task Force?"

"Yes, it's now approaching nine o'clock at night. I told the Task Force that it would be advisable to wait until tomorrow before returning, due to a fault with the electricity supply, which isn't far from the truth."

Harry shrugged sheepishly and looked away. "Sorry... I forgot to have L put me in my Potions Lab, since part of that's shielded anyway. So, it was bad planning on my part really."

"It's alright, things have since returned to normal. Truthfully, it was probably better that you both got some rest before they come back, so no lasting harm done. More criminals have been reported as deceased though, and no doubt L will not thank me for letting him sleep," Watari remarked with a wry smile.

"Not that he ever thanks you anyway of course," Harry said with a grin.

Watari smiled and nodded. "Are you hungry at all? I hope you don't mind me saying, but you do look rather peaky still. Here, sit yourself down."

"Really? Ah... I'm fine really. Give it a few minutes and I'll look normal again. As for food... does Japan have toast?"

Watari looked slightly uncomfortable.

"Don't worry about it... Kreacher!"

Crack.

"Master Ryuu-Harr-Ryuuki is calling Kreacher with the wrong face in the wrong place. What else can Kreacher be assisting with?"

"Huh? Oh yeah... Thanks Kreacher. Two slices of toast with butter and a pumpkin juice please!"

Kreacher grimaced. "Just butter? I could also be bringing some eggs, or fried tomatoes..."

"Ugh no Kreacher, just two slices of toast with butter and a pumpkin juice please."

"Two slices of cheese on toast, two sausages, two slices of bacon and a-"

"But I don't want any-"

"-spoonful of eggs is arriving in four minutes Master Harryuuki." Crack.

"...of that. Damn. Why do I get the crazy ones? No offence Dobby..."

Watari cleared his throat. "I'm sure that the hotel would have had something suitable."

"Yeah but all I want is toast and pumpkin juice... I hope you're hungry, he'll probably bring two platters and a whole jug of pumpkin juice."

"I... well, I wouldn't say no. Out of curiosity, do all wizards wear the same...?"

Harry looked down at himself, and his eyes widened.

"Ah... These are formal robes. Magical folk usually wear some sort of robes, but it's different from the muggle world. Muggles get hung up on fashions, and trends, but in the magical world everyone tends to live a lot longer unless a Dark Lord comes along, so it takes longer for things to change, I suppose. These robes are pretty plain compared to what some wizards prance about in. I should probably change out of these..."

Watari sat quietly and simply watched, not having had much of an opportunity to see Harry's magic firsthand. If L had been anyone else, Watari would have scoffed and said that the person was exaggerating, but he knew that L simply did not exaggerate. He still found it hard to believe something that he hadn't seen with his own eyes, and with magic he got the feeling that he still wouldn't believe half of it, even if he saw it a hundred times. He was half convinced that the whole snake episode had been a fabrication of his own mind.

Harry threw his trunk on the floor, the lid swinging open without any force having been applied to it. A wardrobe hopped out before growing to its proper size, and Harry simply waved slightly before disappearing inside it. Not even a minute later he emerged, wearing beige cargo trousers and a black woollen turtleneck, once again with the now-familiar face of Ryuuki.

"Muggles are definitely better at thinking up useful clothing. If a robe doesn't do what a wizard wants it to do, he's more likely to invent a charm to fix it than he is to redesign his robe," Harry stated, gesturing to the multitude of pockets on his trousers.

Watari nodded in understanding. "Spread throughout an entire society, that attitude would certainly hinder any progressive development."

Harry nodded in agreement, just as Kreacher returned with two full platters of food and a jug of pumpkin juice. It seemed that the old elf had decided to ignore any muggles that he came into contact with for now, which made Harry sigh in relief. Watari had enough to deal with in the form of a stubborn, cake-inhaling genius without having Kreacher's snide comments ringing in his ears.

"I told you so. At least he left me one plain slice of toast... And here I thought that house-elves weren't supposed to go against their master's wishes. Obviously whoever came up with that nonsense never met Kreacher or Dobby."

Watari opened his mouth to say that actually, Harry looked like he hadn't been eating or sleeping properly for months and could probably do with eating a bit more, but closed it again when he saw that 'Ryuuki' looked to be the picture of health, if not a little tired.

"By the way," Harry said after swallowing a mouthful of toast, "Does he always sleep like that?"

Watari nodded, smiling slightly. "Ever since I have known him, he's slept in that particular position, no matter which way up he is at the time. I'm not quite sure how he does it," he replied fondly, picking up a glass that had appeared out of thin air, and inspecting it. Since he is asleep, I should probably warn you of a few things, especially if you are both going to be disappearing without me."

"Next time you're in England, give me a shout; but I think that L made a good point when he said that it wouldn't be a good idea to bring you. Magical travel can be extremely stressful for people not used to it, and I wouldn't want to be responsible for anything bad happening to you."

"Oh it's alright. If I'm meant to visit these places someday, then I will. Otherwise, I'm happy to stay here and watch over everything. However, there are a few things that you should be aware of."

Harry looked up curiously as he munched his toast, and nodded for Watari to continue.

"I... I'm not quite sure how to say any of this without sounding like a terrible guardian, but I'm sure you understand that he is not like other people."

"That's a bit obvious, but I think I'm beginning to understand what this is all about."

Watari looked slightly relieved, yet still troubled. "Well, there is a very good reason for me to accompany him as I do, even though he is a fully grown adult in the eyes of the law. With a mind as advanced as his, he tends to see things that you and I would class as being important as nothing more than a distraction, or an annoyance. Anything that sharpens his mind, or that helps to solve whatever puzzle he is working on, is considered important; for example, sugar. It's almost impossible to convince him to eat anything that doesn't contain sugar in some form. Everything else is considered to be unimportant, or irrelevant."

"Right, so you stay with him to make sure that he doesn't run himself into the ground?"

"That is a large part of why L requires a handler. Some things you will just have to find out for yourself, but I felt that... Well, I should warn you that self-preservation means very little to him. He cares very little for his physical self."

"Then why does he spend his life hiding?"

Watari sighed, and thought carefully about how to reply without giving away too much information.

"Many reasons. First of all, who would trust someone so young to know what they are talking about?"

"Yeah, I remember you saying something about him being twelve, and I'm guessing that's not the first case he solved. Basically you've been there in the background, helping him where he needs the help, guiding him subtly where possible, and making sure that he doesn't end up doing himself a mischief. It sounds like a rather daunting task to me. Seriously though, doesn't it annoy you that he's so rude?"

Watari chuckled. "Oh no, not at all! If anything I take great pride in knowing that I am helping him, and through him, the entire world. I put it to you that if some of your friends were here at this very moment, they would understand my sentiments, and feel rather similarly about whatever they did to help you, no matter how small the task, or how large the risk. This is why I require no gratitude from L. If anything, he is a gift to the world, and I am grateful that he gives me the opportunity to help and accompany him as much as he does."

Harry sat back in his seat, slightly stunned, and with a lot to think about. Watari sipped his tea before continuing.

"I saw and heard most of what happened between you earlier, and I can't thank you enough for your quick-thinking in getting L out of there before he was seriously hurt. May I ask what happened? Perhaps I might shed some light on his reasoning."

Harry nodded, and explained after finishing his pumpkin juice.

"We left the party, and walked down the road a bit before dodging behind some bushes to go back in time a few hours. L asked about a potion I'd given him for when I would inevitably collapse. I suspected it might happen before we left, and after apparating there with him I knew that I'd definitely need it, so I explained what he needed to do. After that was when things went a bit wrong, and when I first realised that something wasn't right. He asked a rather difficult question about something that I really shouldn't have been thinking of at the time, and I told him that we really didn't have time to go into it, but he insisted. Then I told him that we really had to go, and tried to take his arm, but he's nimble when he wants to be, apparently. I... damn."

"What is it?"

"I shut my eyes. That would be one of your warnings, right? 'When outside with L, never take your eyes off him for a second'. Am I right?"

"Almost. I'd say a half-second to be sure, but even then he manages to cause trouble somehow more often than not."

"That's not good then, since in my world I'm notorious for attracting all sorts of trouble. It's not like I go looking for it!" Harry added hastily as Watari started chuckling into his hand. "Anyway, when I opened my eyes, a spell was already heading straight for his head. I'm sure you know what happened from there," Harry added, shrugging lightly. "There's an added bit where George had already told us about two suspicious looking wizards hanging around, but I'm sure L will recall it all word for word at some point. Didn't he already tell you all of this anyway?"

"As a matter of fact he didn't. He refused to take his eyes off you until you woke up, intent on interrogating you for answers," Watari said with obvious amusement. "Until then, he stubbornly refused to part with any information."

"That sneaky little... HA! I messed up his interrogation because I thought he was a real Unspeakable when I woke up, and he got curious! Oh, that's just too funny..."

Watari hurriedly waved his arms for silence, but they both heard a loud thud from the bedroom.

"Well," Watari whispered, "He either jumped down, or fell down. Either way, no doubt he is awake, and will be joining us shortly. I should fetch the cart; do thank your house-elf for the lovely meal though, Ryuuki."

"Watari, you officially have the day off from getting us food, since Molly packed us enough for a week. Honestly, I would have raided it already if I hadn't specifically wanted buttered toast, so sit down and relax for a while!"

Within a few seconds, Harry was unpacking the box of food.

"While it is indeed a tempting thought, I probably shouldn't reacquaint myself with the concept of relaxation just yet, but thank you anyway Ryuuki. However, not having to be concerned with food for the day will free up some time for me to finish a few other things, which is rather helpful. I shall fetch the tea tray... Ah."

The aforementioned tray came to a slow and steady halt in mid-air, next to the table which was now filled with plates. "Seriously, I don't mind helping out while I'm here," Harry stated sincerely, "Although, I probably shouldn't overdo it for the next few days."

The bedroom door opened and L shuffled out looking as blank as ever, until he saw the plates covering the table. His eyes widened comically.

"Ryuuki... are those the same chocolate muffins...?"

"Yes, and there's plenty more, at least a hundred. All of this is just half of the first layer," Harry replied.

"So... How many layers are in there?"

"I don't think I should tell you. In fact, I should probably put half of this back and ration it..." Harry trailed off as he noticed the look on L's face. "But obviously just because I should do something, doesn't necessarily mean that I will... So... this is really your idea of breakfast?" Harry asked as he frowned at the plates full of sugary treats.

L simply nodded before grabbing a chocolate muffin and stepping onto the nearest chair. He then pulled a plate of muffins, a plate of pastries, and a whole cake in front of himself before pouring himself half a cup of tea.

"Blimey mate, you don't do anything by half, do you? Except from pouring your tea..."

L picked up a teaspoon and stared at it for a moment, before beginning to stack sugar cubes on the rounded surface. How he held the spoon steady enough to stack eight cubes, Harry would never know, but he did. Then the eccentric man managed to move the entire stack above the half-cup of tea, and with a quick flick of his wrist, the tower of cubes plopped into the cup. Harry almost clapped, but he was slightly distracted by L reaching into the sugar bowl again and bringing out a handful of cubes, which he then dropped one after the other into the cup, until the liquid was only a few millimetres from spilling over the edge.

"What I don't understand is how you're not satisfied with Coco Pops, or Frosties, or something like that. They even have cereal that's like little choc chip cookies... Unless you have issues with milk, I suppose."

L said nothing in reply, which was probably a good thing for Harry since he had bitten off roughly a quarter of a chocolate muffin. Harry waited politely until L was finished chewing, but instead of replying, L bit off another quarter of the muffin. It was at this point that Harry realised that L looked a little bit too happy. If Harry had been a lesser man he may have even excused himself from the room to give the older man some alone time with his muffin, perhaps blushing on his way out, but as it was Harry simply noted the oddity in his mind and carried on speaking, determined to keep talking until he'd at least been acknowledged.

"Anyway, you're thin enough for Molly to think you're near death's door by the way she's packed this. I've only got two layers! The rest is pretty much sugar in disguise, although I'm guessing you won't want the honey glazed chicken. Where does it all go anyway?" Harry asked with a hint of exasperation as he gestured towards L. "By rights you should be too heavy to move!"

Harry was genuinely surprised when L actually paused before his next bite of muffin, looking first at Harry, and then shifting his gaze pointedly towards the bathroom before focussing his attention once again on the muffin in his hand.

"Well, I didn't mean it literally..."

A/N: Apologies for the lateness! However I am no longer confined to bed, so finding quiet time to think has become a rarity. Plus we have stuff lying around from moving house, and Xmas... Anyway! Enough excuses! I hope everyone likes this chapter! Hundreds of you have this story on Alert, and it would be great to hear from you!

Good? Bad? Ugly? Something else entirely? Let me know! Oh and if it's not too much to ask I'd like to know why, too! So that I know what I'm doing right, of course, and then future chapters might be better... Improvement is always a possibility...