Can you imagine Death Note's L at 36? That is the age the Wammy detective would have been today according to the dates given in the manga.
Of course, fiction's great shame is that he never made it. Nevertheless, his life was lived in our imagination. His death too. We can imagine him whole and living still.
So what would he have been by now? How might he have appeared? Tidied up and far less slovenly, or slumped further yet under the burden of a mind the size of several large planets? Etched permanently into the public spotlight of fame? Or yet more a hermit than he was at 25, when he shuffled off this mortal coil courtesy of the Shinigami Rem?
Come on - what does the head canon say?
Thoughts on an AU Death Note L
It's often played bordering upon arrogance. Criminal arrogance at that, when we factor in his propensity to order the televised death of one prisoner (Lind L Taylor) and torture of others (Light Yagami and Misa Amane).
Also in Another Note, Mello implies that L was responsible for the demise of several private investigators - not only the trio named, but hundreds casually collated as a number - as he took their detective codes. Am I the only one who read that as physical killing? Or otherwise causing to stop breathing?
Add eleven years more to that mindset and I can see only one of two options - either L's confidence crumbled under the rigours of life and perspective, or it grew into yet more terrible proportions. There was always little difference between himself and Kira, with regard to their worldly outlook and serial killer tendencies, which is what made the battle between them so intriguing.
How Might L Look at 36 Years Old?
What Might Be AU Death Note L's Life on his 36th Birthday?
Yet success in that case couldn't have been easy. I'm not talking about the clash of minds itself, as L appeared to be thoroughly enjoying that, right up until Kira cheated via deployment of a suicidal shinigami. I'm talking about the terrible cost of succeeding in such circumstances.
L would have had a taste of meeting a mind akin to his own. Then losing it. What happens after that?
All kind of directions open up then. He might take refuge in simplicity. Becoming a doorman like Christopher Langan - US man estimated to have an IQ as high as 210, thus too clever to tie up his time doing a job that denied him time to think upon his own current interests.
L might sink under cynicism. Seeking something and finding nothing to the point when the pressure causes his psyche to collapse under its own negative perceptions. Whole plot bunnies here in L becoming a parody of Beyond Birthday's own dark parody of L himself.
Or he could strike off in another avenue of inquiry and become a brilliant scientist, theologian, philosopher or emulate Wammy as an inventor. Any number of possibilities here, limited only by his imagination, as delineated by the fan fiction writer.
But whichever way he turns, trouble is being stored up in the background.
Death Note's Wammy's House When L is Thirty-Six
Particularly when they have the intellect to potentially hold the L title in their own right.
We have a precedent in reaching adulthood as a Wammy kid, being told that your only reason to be is to wait in line as L's back up. Beyond Birthday turned serial killer in an attempt to lure L out. A took his own life.
So what of those remaining at Wammy's House in this alternative Death Note universe, wherein L didn't die and therefore Near, Mello and Matt emerged to take over the Kira case?
It ended badly for A and Beyond Birthday, but they were both working alone. Near and Mello have already shown that they can 'surpass L', if they join forces. They just have to mature enough to put aside their manufactured rivalry as a distraction from their own enforced position on the detective code conveyor belt. Mello and Matt have already proven that they can work together.
Whether singly, in pairs, groups or en masse, surely L is going to suffer an onslaught of grown up Wammy kids rebelling against their childhood rendition and expected adult position; stepping out of the fold, or else buying into it and seeking him out with the succession in mind. Regardless of whether their predecessor still occupies the position into which they've been raised to succeed.
After all, L's own benchmark was to take the code, no matter what and - if the implications in Another Note hold true - those Wammy heirs have been tutored from childhood to consider cheating and/or murder a valid avenue to winning. The back up(s) are coming to bite him in the precedent.
Those are my musings. What do you think L and his world would look like, if he had lived long enough to celebrate his 36th birthday today?