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Rules is an AU Death Note Fan Fic by Lady Karai. It takes place after the Yotsuba arc but before Mello and Near arrive on the scene.

It and its sequel, Risk and Rewards, explore the bromance between a revived L, now known as Elijah McCormick, and Light Yagami. In this Alternate Universe, Light chooses to finish his degree abroad, in America. L, unhappy in Heaven, has been granted one year on Earth under a new identity to find what he was missing in life that would've made him happy in Heaven. He is adopted by a psychology professor named Julie McCormick and her husband Rich, and befriends three of her students: Ethan, Annie, and Mark. Not long afterwards, Ethan meets and befriends a newly transferred Light, who quickly (re)-introduces them. And from there, is where the story begins.

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Tropes found in this story:

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Light and Charlie.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Light is fiercely protective of Sayu. When she's badly harmed in a car accident, it takes Elijah outright threatening to kill him to stop him from going full on Knight Templar Big Brother and killing the driver responsible along with their entire family with the Death Note.
  • Birds of a Feather: Elijah and Lily.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: A gender-inverted example with Light and Charlie to get rid of Misa, complete with Fake-Out Make-Out. It's the final push needed for Light to recognize the growing attraction between them.
  • Buxom Is Better: Misa thoroughly believes this, as breasts are necessary to feed Light's babies. Light disagrees.
  • Character Development: For both Elijah and Light.
    • For Elijah, it's learning to live and be his own person. Having to live under a codename and do nothing but solve cases left him hollow inside, hence why he wasn't happy in heaven — he did what he did in life, and it never made him happy. His second life is thus filled with him making new connections and experiencing new things to see what does make him happy.
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    • For Light, it's learning to how be human again and empathize with others. His friendship with Elijah gradually allows him to relax and open up to other people. As he begins to open up, he begins to view the world from different perspectives, and thus reconsiders his role as Kira. The culmination of this Character Development results in him giving up Kira completely so Elijah can live a second life.
  • The Confidant: Light has two: Elijah and Charlie. With the former, he can be open with about his other occupation. With the latter, he confesses his fear and insecurities and finds comfort and advice in return. This heart-to-heart becomes the foundation for their romantic relationship, and they become a couple afterwards.
  • Crazy Jealous Girl: Misa, as in canon. When she meets Charlie, the hatred rolls off her in waves.
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  • Equivalent Exchange: Once it becomes clear that Light is probably going to give up the Death Note, Elijah immediately offers Misa's life to Ryuk so he won't kill Light. Light is not happy about the decision, but Elijah reasons that Misa has already lived out her natural lifespan and shouldn't be alive right now anyway. As for the guilt factor, Light will lose his memories of Kira once the Death Notes are destroyed, and thus the only person who has to live with the decision made is Elijah.
  • Everyone Can See It: Elijah and Lily. To the point that one of the reasons why Light and Charlie start getting along is because they know their best friends becoming a couple is inevitable. Ironically, this leads to them becoming a couple before their best friends do.
  • Foil: Elijah and Light, as seen in Character Development above. It even applies to their respective relationships with their love interests. Light and Charlie's relationship began as Opposites Attract Belligerent Sexual Tension, and neither of them recognized the growing attraction between them until Misa came into the picture. Elijah and Lily's relationship started as Birds of a Feather Unresolved Sexual Tension, and both were perfectly aware that Lily had feelings for him. While Elijah cared for her above all his female friends, he refused to pursue a relationship with her because he believed his feelings weren't romantic in nature — it takes Julie convincing him to give it a shot for him to finally relent.
  • Friendly Enemy: How Light views his relationship with Charlie. Whereas Light and Elijah are both best friends and Arch Enemies, him and Charlie actually dislike each other but try to get along for the sake of their friends. At least until Misa comes into the picture, and it becomes clear what was really going on between them was Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Elijah and Light, with some Vitriolic Best Buds added to the mix. The Ho Yay component of their relationship is occasionally commented on.
    • Lily and Charlie, sisters in all but blood who do everything together.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Deconstructed. Even if Light manages to clean up the criminal element present throughout the world, he can do nothing to protect Sayu from diseases or even random accidents.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Light could literally have any girl he'd want back home, from Ice Queen Kiyomi to Supermodel and Idol Misa. The girl he falls for is Charlie, the only one to have never fallen under the sway of his charms, but rather fought with him, infuriated him, talked with him, and ultimately the only one to have ever truly connected with him besides Elijah.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After Light gives up the Death Note for good, he forgets everything related to it — including the fact that Elijah is L.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: As he becomes more aware of his attraction to her, Light notes that Charlie's personality and physical features tend to soften when her hair is down.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Misa's obsession with Light has made her delusional. Even after it is made blatantly clear she and Light are over (via Boyfriend Bluff), she is thoroughly convinced Light will still come back to her after the "American whore" (Charlie) breaks his heart.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: Light and Charlie invoke this on themselves. They list all the reasons they wouldn't work out as a couple, from personality clashes, to logistics, to even future goals and dreams — and decide that none of that matters and that they're going to try for it anyway. As the epilogue indicates, it works out after all.
  • Not a Date: As part of his bucket list, Elijah wishes to go to an amusement park. Charlie immediately wants to go with him for roller coasters, Light is dragged along with so she has a riding partner, and Lily joins the fun so she can spend time with Elijah. As Ryuk comments, it looks suspiciously like a double date which both Light and Elijah immediately deny.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Elijah/L for Light. Light regards him as one of the most important people in his life and one of the few he would give his life up for, no question.
  • Oh, Crap!: Light's very understandable reaction when he finds out Misa is on campus, no doubt wanting to win him back.
  • Opposites Attract: Light and Charlie, in a deliberate contrast to Elijah and Lily.
  • Out of Focus: Ethan, Mark, and Annie get less screentime in the sequel in favor of Lily and Charlie, the love interests of Elijah and Light respectively.
  • Original Character: Several. Along with Julie McCormick and her husband Rich, there is Ethan, Annie, and Mark, who together form Elijah and Light's group of friends. The sequel introduces another pair of best friends/love interests, Lily and Charlie, who are integrated into the circle of friends in quick fashion.
  • Pet the Dog: Light asks Misa to give up the Death Note she can live a normal life. Even after he breaks up with her and she begins to make his life hell trying to get him back, he refuses to offer her life for his. Elijah, however, states that since his memories will be gone once all the notebooks are burned, the choice is officially out of his hands.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Light is Red, Elijah is Blue, which is unsurprising when you think about canon.
    • Charlie is Red, Lily is Blue.
  • Shipper on Deck: Everyone for Elijah/Lily, including their respective best friends, who hate each other.
  • Shoot the Dog: Elijah's decision to offer Misa's life to Ryuk in exchange for Light's. While callous on the surface, one has to remember that Misa shouldn't even be alive right now. Not to mention, since Light broke up with her, she wouldn't be happy — she would be constantly waiting for a man who would never take her back. At the very least, Elijah asked Ryuk to give her a quiet and peaceful death (which he did).
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The reason why Light wants to stay in America for the summer is because this is his situation in Japan (with Misa being the most foremost example). When he was back home for Christmas, he desperately missed the intelligent company of Elijah and, to a lesser extent, Ethan, and has no desire to repeat the experience.
  • True Love Is Exceptional: The one girl Light is serious about is Charlie, an independent, foul-mouthed American who frequently mocks him and refuses to give up her dreams and goals just to play homemaker like his parents would want her to. Basically, unlike every other girl he has ever dated, including Misa and Kiyomi. Unsurprisingly, Light, once he realizes his attraction to her, is absolutely head over heels for her.
  • Tsundere: Charlie. Rough-and-tumble, hard-as-nails, but she has a softer side that she shows to those close to her, as seen with her friendship with Lily and her relationship with Light.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Mark and Annie were stated have had this for a while, long before they met either Elijah or Light. It's resolved relatively early as a result.
    • Elijah and Lily.
    • As their friendship developed, the Belligerent Sexual Tension between Light and Charlie slowly morphed into this.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue of the second story is a series of emails to Elijah detailing what everyone is doing now that Light has given up the Death Note.
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