DEATH NOTE (owns me; I don't own it)
Warnings: Spoilers for chapters 36 & 37; too much expostion.
Summary: No one can have a large part of his brain rewritten with no consequences. Raito-centric: deja vu and weird dreams ahead.
"That's it for today," L says. "You can all go home now."
He remains hunched over his laptop as he says this, which is why he doesn't see the way the investigators drag their feet when they leave. Today there was another setback to the case; defeat hangs in the air and Team Kira is unusually subdued. Raito gathers his things and leaves with the rest of them, shoulder bag held securely and eyes straight ahead all the way down the elevator, because yesterday L decided he could unlock the handcuffs, no ceremony or apologies necessary.
He didn't make a big deal out of it, so Raito didn't either. Misa was ecstatic. Raito wonders, idly, if he should call her. Supposedly they're going out now, at least according to her. More importantly, she's said she can't remember why she did certain things, which might mean she'd know something about his own situation. But Misa has also admitted she doesn't care, and this is somehow more odious to Raito than if she hadn't said anything at all.
He's been thinking back over the past few months and has found a few things off. Small things, like he can remember leaving the house and he can remember arriving at the police station and he can remember all the time in between, but somehow the memories don't match up at the edges. Or he can remember doing something but not why. He can't see himself doing it again, and this is the worst part of all, maybe: to not even be able to assign motivation in retrospect. His memories feel like someone else's, and it bothers him.
Raito is on the subway home when it hits him: this car, with its lame ads for online dating services and slightly sticky orange plastic seats, is familiar. He knows without looking that in the front there's a handhold missing, and that midway down the car the wire mesh for holding handbags is new. It is familiar and he feels the faintest stirrings of unease, as if from very far away.
Of course it is familiar- he used to ride the Yamanotesen line every Thursday in middle school, both coming from and going to the private English lessons he'd never really needed. But somehow Raito knows that this isn't where the feeling comes from because, irregular verb conjugations aside, there is nothing sinister about the English language.
The car stops at Shibuya; a few people get off but twice as many get on. As Raito stands, politely makes room for an elderly woman bent almost double with the weight of her convenience-store groceries, he remembers suddenly that it wasn't as crowded, then. There'd been spaces between people, a few empty seats- for instance there'd been Raye Penber sitting at the end of the aisle with an entire row to himself, although why this should matter is beyond him. Did he even know Penber, besides peripherally? Anyway he'd never seen him on the subway, only on the bus that one time.
There are some things you can never take back, Raito thinks, but a split second later the feeling is gone and he can't remember what he meant by it.
The next day he and L argue. Raito's face and voice reflect an absolute certainty he isn't sure he believes anymore; L is merely curious, never condemnatory. In front of them is the subject of their disagreement, a thirty second home movie repeating itself on four television screens. An excited parent's shaky hand, a girl of four or five in a hideous pink birthday dress, the train station at Shinjuku and, in the background, deceased FBI agent Raye Penber shadowed by his own personal angel of death in a hooded yellow tracksuit.
"…that's not my jacket."
"But that's you, right?"
"…I don't remember that."
"Yes, but do you remember anything different? Anything else?"
"I remember remembering something else."
L looks vaguely surprised at that, which is different from vaguely curious or vaguely annoyed or vaguely petulant or just vaguely vague although Raito isn't quite sure how; he is having trouble connecting L's responses to the gravity of the situation. But really, why does this matter? He wasn't there, he'd have remembered if he'd have been there, and if he wasn't there then this isn't him and he has nothing to worry about. Not a grave situation at all.
But he can't be sure of that because his own thoughts are as distant as L's expression and he's having trouble concentrating over the sudden violins. L's face distorts into a grinning rictus, too many teeth and blue skin but that same bug-eyed stare. Raito watches in horrified fascination as the earring appears, a skull-and-crossbones in what used to be L's left ear, and he thinks, Where are the horns? Surely there ought to be horns, or an old-fashioned yukata or at least a pair of bat wings…
That's when he wakes up, to an alarm tastefully set to Paginni the night before (which would explain the violins, at least). Raito tries to remember what he'd found so disturbing about his dream, but in the end is forced to give it up as hopeless; all he can remember is that it was disturbing. He never has nightmares, not really: his control over his own subconscious is better than that.
Something that stays with you even after it's ended, he thinks. Something that can never be entirely undone… But Raito doesn't know the answer or even, after another moment, the question.
He has stopped by headquarters on his way home from school, to see if the investigative team have any new leads. Only L is there, watching four screens at once and Raito carefully doesn't allow the shiver he feels against his spine to show.
"Anything new, Ryuzaki?" he asks, casually dropping into a chair next to the hunched man. Ryuzaki just shakes his head, eyes glued to the screens in front of him. Then he seems to remember himself and turns to look at Raito who can only look at those big bug eyes…
"No," L says, and turns back to the screen.
"Ah," says Raito. "I see." He looks as well, but doesn't see what is so fascinating. It's only security footage, some train station somewhere. He and L watch together in silence for a few moments. Eventually Raito points.
"This man," he says, pointing to a youngish foreigner in a long trench coat, his face hidden from view by the angle of the camera. "He had a suitcase when he entered the station, and now he has a suitcase and a large manilla envelope."
"I noticed that too," L says. "Raito is very perceptive." He tilts his head, consideringly. "What about this person?" he asks, pointing to the hooded jogger who is walking closely behind. "Does he look familiar?"
Raito looks closely. "No," he says, completely positive. "Although all you can see from this angle is back of the jacket. I've never seen that jacket before in my life."
"Really," L says as he turns off the screens. "That's too bad." He seems vaguely disappointed. Raito wonders idly if he hate should him, hate this strange suspicious person who is always setting arbitrary tests and traps for him. He finds that he can't- it's as if the part of him that hates L is missing.