by Tari Gwaemir
A late-night conversation.
Sometimes, late at night, their eyes smarting from the glare of monitors and television screens, they would sit on the floor, back-to-back, the ever-present chain resting silently between their wrists. Raito would note each singular knob of L's long spine arched against his back and wonder why he didn't simply get up and collapse in the bed, less than a chain's length away.
"Who are you," he would whisper, in accompaniment to the static, "and what are you? You know everything about me, yet I know nothing about you."
L never responded, too occupied in the network of his own incomprehensible thoughts. Of course, it would never occur to him to move from the floor.
"It isn't fair. There is no reciprocity. We are not equals. You are a self-appointed judge, and I am forced to prove myself innocent."
The silence is implacable, Raito would think, digging his feet into the carpet. His face would twist into a scowl, and he would be surprised to find how easily his mouth contorts into an expression of hatred.
L would clear his throat and say distantly, "Am I no different from Kira in your eyes, Raito-kun?"
Raito did not answer.
"Kira and I, we must disagree on many points, but I think the most crucial distinction is this. Kira plays at empire; he is easily distracted by the prospect of rivalry and has no sense of purpose. He has a vision of the world, but forgets it as he becomes absorbed in the game. Kira's goal is not justice, but strength. He must defeat me to prove himself strong. He no longer thinks about eliminating criminals; they are merely names and faces." L paused, his eyes narrowing. "Raito-kun, I am no Napoleon, but let me assure you that were I Kira, I would not merely play at empire."
"What are you saying?" Raito would ask, frowning. "What is your vision of the world?"
"A place where I can remain nameless," L would answer and fall silent. Raito could not see his face, but he would like to punch it, once more, and make it smaller, more human. It isn't fair, he would repeat to himself, things should be different.
But the next morning, he believes in justice and remembers nothing of such hypothetical conversations.