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Death Note - G vs. E. I loved that show.

So there's this "what state are you from? See if you match the stereotypes!" meme here that falxumbra posted. And I match New Jersey's, far too well. ><; Dammit, this is why I went out of state for college! So that I'd no longer be a victim of childhood geography!

This fic is 'cuz Leareth wrote something here about Raito's God-complex. This is the compainion piece for L and his... well, you'll see. I am in no way claiming to be half the writer that Leareth is, because she is awesome and I loved her Yami no Matsuei fics so much and really I don't write all that well which is OK because I'm a physics major, right? Not even really an English major.

The fanfiction in question:

Good vs. Evil

It was only after cracking his head on the makeshift desk for the fourth time in as many minutes that Matsuda thought to check his watch. Already half past two and still three whole stacks of criminal reports to go through; it looked to be another long night. He glanced over at L, hunched over his laptop as always, and wondered how he did it: how did he stay awake and how did he manage to maintain the scrunched posture of a domestic abuse victim?

“I’m heading out for coffee,” Matsuda said into the silence. The hotel’s rich upholstery swallowed his words, spoken quietly for a quiet room. It must cost a fortune to rent a soundproof room so good you couldn’t even hear the traffic outside. “I’ll be back in ten minutes. Ok, Ryuzaki?”

There was no answer and Matsuda noticed, for the first time, that the detective’s customary clacking, the quick drumming of nimble fingers across a keyboard, was absent. L’s back was to him, and while he looked alert enough – the same as he always did – appearances could be deceiving. This was especially true of L, Matsuda had learned.

“Ryuzaki? Are you awake? Ryuzaki?”

Still no answer. Matsuda shrugged to himself, gathered his coat and wallet, and prepared to leave the room. It was actually reassuring when L showed these little weaknesses, as they were the only things that really made him human. It might only have been the way he kept comparing himself to Kira, but Matsuda often thought there was something unnerving about the way L’s mind worked. It was too logical, maybe, or else too intuitive. In any case he thought in ways most people didn’t.

Matsuda was halfway out the door before L stopped him.

“Don’t leave the room. Your face could be caught on the surveillance cameras.”

“Oh,” said Matsuda. “I forgot. Sorry.”

L turned to look at him, his spine stretching oddly. “It’s fine,” he said. “I’ll make sure the cameras are off when you go, but it’s too much work to turn them off and then on again. If you are having trouble concentrating, you can always order coffee from room service. Just tell them to leave it by the door.”

“Uh, sure. Thank you,” Matsuda said. “It’s a good thing you weren’t really asleep, huh?” He laughed, nervously. He berated himself for his mistake - although, in his own defense, it had been a long night.

“I was asleep,” L said, startling him. “I was dreaming. But I woke up when you called me.”

“Ah. If you don’t mind me asking… what were you dreaming about?”

“Something pointless,” L said. “It has to do with my juvenile mind.”

Matsuda was beginning to realize that his time with L would most likely be spent in a perpetual state of astonishment. Still, it never hurt to try. He cleared his throat. “You keep saying that. You keep saying you’ve got the same way of thinking as Kira. And, um, excuse me if this is out of line, but I’ve never understood what you meant.”

L blinked. “Didn’t I explain? It’s because even though it is common knowledge that the world is a really complicated place, Kira and I both have a stupidly simple way of viewing it. We divide it into good and evil. Everyone who agrees with us is ‘good’ and everyone who disagrees is ‘evil’.”

“What?” Matsuda said. “Are you sure? Kira does do that, but… when have you ever…?” He’d never actually considered that Kira might think simplistically. Kira's schemes were always so devious. How could anyone instigate such complicated plans from as simple a premise? It didn’t make sense, was completely counterintuitive.

“I do it all the time,” L said. “My methods might be complex, but my motivation is fairly straightforward. Didn’t I tell you the first time we met? I’m Justice. Justice will prevail.” He turned back to his computer without waiting for Matsuda’s reaction.

“Ah,” said Matsuda. He couldn’t think of anything to say to that. Because while it was true that he remembered L saying something similar, and while he trusted L completely and even agreed with him somewhat, it was unsettling.

He couldn’t tell his boss it was weird to work under someone who openly confessed a likeness to Kira, the mass murderer they were desperately trying to capture, could he? And he certainly couldn’t admit that no matter how it was explained, he still didn’t understand the kind of duality that allowed L possess a juvenile mind and, at the same time, the sophistication to understand that he possessed a juvenile mind.

He needed coffee. Leave the genius-work to the geniuses; he’d settle for a half-working brain and a smaller pile of reports. He picked up the phone and hunted around for the piece of laminated plastic that would tell him the number for room service. He was surprised, again, when L handed it to him.

“Get me the strawberry shortcake, would you?” he asked.


He stood atop a large bluff, his footing firm despite gale-force winds. He looked out over the black, still surface of Tokyo Bay (a logical impossibility as the same wind buffeting him should also have disturbed the surface of the water. In that same remote corner of his mind, he noted that there were no cliffs surrounding the Bay).

A conglomerate of cities glittered below him, the myriad lights of the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area distinctly dividing dark land from darker sea. The moon was full but shone only on him, its single beam illuminating his muscular form. His cape rippled in the wind as he stood proudly surveying his new domain.

‘I shall be victorious,’ L’s dream self thought. ‘These people have entrusted themselves to me, and I shall never betray that trust. I shall protect the righteous and banish the wicked. I shall prevail, even over the vile and nefarious evildoer Kira.’

He struck a pose as a particularly dramatic gust of wind swept his hair forward and caused his cape to billow madly around him. ‘I am L. I am Justice.’

Matsuda woke him just as he was leaping from the cliff, arms outstretched.


And a Death Note-related question, because it's been bugging me:

What makes one name any more "real" than any other? What if the name you were given at birth, the one you are legally recognized by in the present day, and the name you think of yourself by are all different? How can any metaphysical device relying on the "true name" of the victim operate under such conditions?

What if, for example, L doesn't think of himself by the name he was born with, but as L? Like Bruce Wayne doesn't think of himself as a "Bruce" but as a "Batman"?


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 25th, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC)
I don't think it matters what name they think of themselves by. What matters is their legal, given name.
Even if Bruce Wayne thinks of himself as Batman, he still has to sign his contracts with 'Bruce Wayne'.
I agree with you that the 'reality' of a name can be argued, but the name on your birth certificate, on your ID etc is what society refers to as your 'real' name. You don't get an ID without a birth certificate, and without an ID there's little you get that runs on name.
At least it's that way here, I know it's probably a little easier in the US and I have no idea whatsoever what it's like in Japan.
That's why I was always wondering however L got into university with a fake name AND noone knowing who he really was, because the only possibility there would seem that he explains the situation to someone who can admit him.
Anyway, that was a nice read. ^^;
Aug. 25th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)
Well, if you have the money and connections that L seems to have, faking a background is not a problem.

I've seen in lots of cultures, real and fictional, there is a mystical significance applied to the name you are given at birth (or at other significant points in your life). I've always thought that if it ever fits into any world I'm building for comics, stories, whatever, then I'm going to have whatever name you get called develop into your "real" name as you get used to it (like I'm now comfortable answering to 'Telophase' as well as 'Stephanie', but I've never felt 'Steph' or, god forbid, 'Stephie', to be me). So if you're having issues with magic tied to your name, you're going to want to move around and change it as much as possible. :)
Aug. 26th, 2004 02:12 am (UTC)
Because what happens when you change your legal name? I can just see it: Raito races to get away from the investigators so he can write down L's name, L tells city hall to hurry up with the paperwork so he can live... And what about dual citizens with more than one legal name?

Of course, telophase's solution has problems for suffers of MPD. I can only imagine what it'd be like to kill one personality but not the others. XDDD, but I'd really like to see a world like that. Cool idea :)

Birth-name it is, then. Process of elimination. Yes, and thanks seal7 ^^.
Aug. 26th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)
Re: Agreed
Well, in my potential scenario that has nothing to do with Death Note, when you change your name legally outside of marriage or trying to escape the law, it's usually because you *don't* feel at home with your original name and you're changing it to a name that you *do* feel comfy with, so it would have been your "real" name for some time already. Changing names at marriage, unless you hated your original and already feel like the new name, would mean the name-magic wouldn't catch up to you until you got over the stage of forgetting and automatically signing your old name to checks and the like.

Speaking of MPD, I think that if the killing method involved the destruction of the body, then the other personalities would be affected, too, but essentially as innocent bystanders. If the killing method involved some sort of psychological death, then that personality would die. (Which means if the person ever integrated, then s/he'd probably have a sort of hole in their personality...)

I think the interesting question there is: does the personality die if it's not dominant at the time the spell is cast/the Death Note is written/whatever?
Aug. 26th, 2004 02:59 am (UTC)
Re: Agreed
... and if the submerged personality is left alive, what happens if it's the innocent one? From a certain perspective, the "criminal" has died and so there's no need for further punishment *is intrigued*.
Aug. 26th, 2004 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: Agreed
True. As long as the spell/note/whatever has, essentially, one bang for the buck, since someone's died, it should have shot its wad, leaving the submerged personality alive. Unless it's the sort of thing tha tlies in wait, waiting for its target. :)

Arg, I need to work on my L picture instead of speculating madly online...
Feb. 20th, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
! But
But what about the rule that it can't result in other peoples death?
If for example, we viewed a MPD with 3 personality's through death note's eyes as three people, what would happen?
If you have them shot themselves then that would kill the other two, but since the rule of
'if it can't fulfilled they have a heart-attack' would *still* kill the other two, what would happen?

Rather clean if you know they are MPD, but what if you did not?
{which is quite possible considering when Kira gets the info,
which would tend to be when they are first announced as suspects.
[and I could point out how flawed Kira's logic here is, but another time :) ]}
Aug. 25th, 2004 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. Love this. Maybe it's just because strictly L or strictly Raito POV fics are so prominent in this fandom, but I love seeing the main characters from the eyes of an outsider. (Or, er, quasi-outsider. Poor Matsuda! Always feeling awkward around the geniuses.) I thought your L was especially spot-on, from that clipped, distant speech to the sweet tooth. BUT EW L WHY STRAWBERRY, EVERYONE KNOWS CHOCOLATE IS BEST.

And the dream? Dude. Wonderful.

More? :))
Aug. 26th, 2004 02:42 am (UTC)
BECAUSE VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE. And anyway chocolate is the food of the devil, while strawberry shortcake is the food of goodness and light and angelic choirs singing Hosannas. Symbolism (No, not really).

Yay! Thanks muchly! And dude, you wrote L POV! This is something I have never seen before for absolutely no discernable reason (isn't it a shame?), and yours rocked. A lot. So, I'm friending you (if that's OK). Go snark!

Er, and I also wrote something from Misa's POV and something else from the perspective of a complete outsider. I can't say they're all that great - I tend to repeat myself and other bad things - but they are already written. New fics might be slow since I was in the middle of one (a Raito/L semi-gag) when this thing came up and I... sort of intellectually plundered myself. Ah ha ha, now I have nothing new to write about ^^;;.
Aug. 26th, 2004 01:47 am (UTC)
Wow, L's dream is so great. XP He thinks of himself as the savior of the people. Raito thinks of himself that way, too. It's very interesting.

I think your legal name is what counts. Which makes me wonder if L's real name was found out, would he go change it to something else?

Wonderful fic, by the way. ^^
Aug. 26th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! I was worried about the dream - how over-the-top is too over-the-top? - so it's good to know someone liked it.

As for the name thing... see above. The real world is indeed a complicated place XD.
Aug. 26th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC)
Hey, I liked this! There's nothing much to criticise, except a few technical things that's just nit-picky than anything else. I love it when minor characters see the protagonists/antagonists through their eyes ^^

As for the name thing, my personal view would that the name would have to be the name the person thinks of himself/herself as. Legal name doesn't matter -- that can be faked, and since most of the world goes by the name they ere given at birth which was put down on their birth certificate works perfectly fine. For the number of people out there in the world who think of themselves as one name and life their life with another (a name they put it down on their credit card, all legal official papers, get called by that), as long as they consciously know it's fake and 'This is me' writing the fake down in the Book I don't think would work.

... and I know I could write a more coherent argument, but I just rolled out of bed >.>
Aug. 26th, 2004 04:17 am (UTC)
Thaaannkkk yoooouuu! Ah, I am content. Would've been content with criticisms too, even serious ones. Am just content in general. Aaahhhh. *wonders about techincalities* *goes to check*

Legal names. Pah, who needs 'em. And are you by any chance another summer-schedule bum? Because, well, I can sympathize.
Aug. 26th, 2004 12:39 pm (UTC)
Actually, since I live in the southern hermisphere, it's winter at the moment and I can't be a bum because I'm at university XD
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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