Kaori was in her room when Linda knocked on it, saying she was wanted in Roger's office again.
Gods...every other day....
She walked down to the main hallway and knocked on the office door.
“Come in,” said a familiar voice, and when she opened the door L was sitting at Roger's desk; another man was standing behind him, but Kaori had never seen him before.
Kaori walked in and sat down across from him. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes. I'm curious as to whether you've thought about the proposal I made or not,” L replied with a smile.
“Yes...I've thought about it.”
“And have you come to a decision yet?” He asked.
“...yes, I have. I've decided to accept it.”
“That's wonderful to hear, but I'll still leave the final decision waiting for you on your fifteenth birthday,” He said.
“Yes.” She nodded, and then hesitated before asking the next question. “Have you...found out who killed my parents yet?”
L was silent, but then he smiled. “We have an idea, but unfortunately the circumstances aren't in our favor. If it's alright with you, we've decided to close the case.”
Kaori looked up at him with wide, surprised eyes. “You...you're closing the case?” Just like that...?
“If you agree with it. If you would rather us keep it open, we will.”
“N-no...it's alright. You can close it if you feel that there's nothing more you can do. I...thank you for everything you've done,” Kaori replied.
The man behind L seemed as surprised as Kaori did at L's statement.
“Alright then. I'm afraid I don't have much time to stay today,” L said. “You may return to your room. I'll see you in a few days.”
Kaori nodded. “Right. Thank you.”
“Are you sure about this?” Watari asked after Kaori had left the room.
“Yes. I can't do it, Watari. I can't blame her for doing what she did.”
“If you feel it's for the best, then I won't stop you,” Watari replied.
“There's no telling how much that girl has already had to suffer.”
Kaori was standing by her window when Near opened the door to her room; the moonlight made her glow slightly, and she didn't look away as he shut the door behind him.
“I saw L today. Did he come to talk to you?” he asked.
“Yes. They've closed my parents' case.”
“Are you happy about that?”
“...yes. I am.”
“Did you give him your answer?” Near said. “About the adoption?”
“......yes. I told him I accepted it.”
“So that means you'll be leaving soon, right?”
“...yeah. In a little less than a week.”
They were both quiet for a minute, and then Kaori's voice startled Near.
“Tell me not to go.”
She turned around, and he saw that tears were streaming down her face. “Tell me not to go,” she repeated, her voice choked with tears. “Tell me not to go, and I won't!”
She threw her arms around him and cried into his shoulder. “Just ask me...ask me to stay here, and I'll say no to L and all of this! Just tell me not to go!”
Near sighed and put his arms around her. “As much as I want to do that, I can't.”
“Of course you can! Just say you don't want me to leave, and I won't go!” she cried.
He shook his head. “No...I can't tell you not to go. I love you too much to keep you here, when I know you'll have a better life if you accept his offer.”
“Wha...” She pulled away from him and looked at him with tear-filled eyes. “You...what?”
Near smiled and wiped the tears from her eyes. “I love you, Kaori. That's why I'm telling you to go.”
“What kind of love is that?” she demanded. “If you love me, you should tell me to stay with YOU!”
Near gave a small laugh. “Love is about sacrificing so that the other person will be happy. It's about doing all you can to take care of that person, and do what you know is best for them.”
He cut her off as he leaned forward and gently -ever so gently- brushed his lips with hers.
Kaori could feel herself melting in his arms as she returned the kiss, with a slight bit more force. He could sense her desperation taking over, and he stopped her. “Relax,” he whispered, kissing her again, softly and slowly.
His kiss...it's so different from Mello or Matt. He's...gentle. It's as if he can sense my weakness.... He's being so careful with me – is it because he realizes I've never been touched this way? So gently, and kindly.... He's...teaching me, I think. He's showing me the same way I showed Matt. The difference is that Near's feelings are actually sincere, and that's what he's acting on. Is this what love feels like? Can it really be as gentle as what I'm experiencing now? This is...nice. It's soft ... I never realized I liked it that way, before. I never knew it could be so soft.... I've never felt his with Mello before.... Kissing him never made me this happy. There were never any feelings involved. This...is what I've wanted to feel all along. This happiness, this completeness...this gentleness........ This kindness. It's what I've been hoping to find all along..... Near.....
He kissed her again; each brush was soft, gentle. Kaori simply allowed him to show her, over and over again. When she would start getting ahead of herself, Near would stop her; then he would kiss her again. It's as if he's slowly training me.... I don't mind....I rather like it.....He's warm...comforting.....
Maybe this is just a Sense Datum...but right now my senses are telling me that this is love. I don't have to know it, I don't have to have past experiences...because this is love enough for me. If I can be happy, then it's love. If...if I feel this way when kissing him, then I know it's love. She could feel tears come to her eyes as he kissed her again. Wha...why am I crying? This was supposed to be a happy moment.... So why am I crying?
Near noticed the tears, and looked into her eyes, concerned. “Is something wrong?”
Kaori smiled and shook her head. “No...I just...” She kissed him again. I'm not happy....this feeling it's...It's beyond happy. I can't describe it, and I can't explain it. I feel happy at the same time I'm crying.... I feel...relieved. I...I can stop searching now. It's over.... I've found it..... ...... .....I can stop searching for happiness, because it's right here....I've finally found it......
-End of chapter 25-
ATTENTION: Kaori and Near DO NOT have sex! (in case this chapter was misinterpreted)