Shades of Mystification

BY : Hellagoddess
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 20595
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Shades of Mystification copyright owned by me.

Importantnote: This story is completely AU. There is NO mention of the Deathnote and Raito has never encountered it nor a Shinigami. Neither Raito nor L work for the police, nor have they ever. Raito is a gallery owner and L is an artist. Almost all other characters will be included in the story at some point but they will be relevant to the plot, not the canon story. There will be no ‘finding’ of the Deathnote either. I’ve just plucked the characters up and placed them somewhere else. Also, because Raito has never encountered the Deathnote, I’ve written him as how I feel he would have turned out.

Thanks for your interest!


Chapter One

Yagami Raito was a patient, orderly man by any stretch of the imagination. Buffeted by years of dealing with eccentric artists and their bizarre time schedules, he should have had the endurance of a saint when it came to waiting. He should have been well aware that art was not something that could be demanded by a certain time. It flowed out of the artist at its own pace, sometimes recklessly, rushing out of the fingers till they cramped, or slowly, an idle flick or two of a brush, the canvas gathering a sheen of dust as it sat unused for long periods.

He should have known all this well, and he did. But such knowledge was not of assistance when he had an opening in five days time and no paintings to display.

He checked his watch again, scowling when he realised it had been less than four minutes since he’d called the contact and left a message on his answering machine. Normally the man would call him back within an hour but today he just couldn’t wait. His finger hovered over the redial button of his cell as he wondered how rude it would be to call again straight away.

He resisted pressing it and instead flipped the phone closed, slipping it into a breast pocket. He checked his watch again and strode out of his office. The shuffle of paper greeted him as he glanced into an adjoining room, suddenly glad he’d had these additional rooms built onto the gallery.

Two people sat, folding invitations to the opening and slipping them into carefully lettered envelopes. Misa and Matsuda had agreed to come in on their day off to prepare them and as appreciative as he was, Raito suppressed twisting his lips in irritation. The invites were supposed to have gone out more than a week ago, some hold up at the usual printing company causing them to buy from a lazy, sub-standard supplier instead. He walked in, giving a murmured reply to the greetings happily directed his way, as he picked up an invitation yet to be folded.

He gave up on controlling his expression over something as little as paper and frowned, rubbing his fingers against the grain of the page. Definitely sub-standard. Next time he’d order far, far in advance to make sure they got the quality they were after.

“..ami-san?”

Raito looked up, frown still in place.

“Hm?”

“The list you wanted.”

Matsuda Tota had stood and was holding out a piece of paper towards him. Raito took it, skimming the contents briefly. This was an estimate list of who would be attending the opening and who would likely abstain.

Raito memorised the important details, irritated again that his business was used more for political byplay then it was for the appreciation of the artists it celebrated. But money was money.

His cell phone suddenly rang and he thrust the paper back at Matsuda and hurriedly answered the call.

“Moshi moshi.”

“Yagami-san. You called?”

“Yes, I did.” Raito cut right to the heart of the matter. “When are the paintings arriving? The opening is in less than a week. Why isn’t he done?”

“Yagami-san, you must understand that art is a precious thing and cannot be rushed. He is trying, but…” Here, the older man paused, as if dealing with a frustration of his own.

“But what? He shouldn’t have to try. He needs to get them done. I’ll have my man come by the usual place tomorrow.” He kept talking, overpowering the worried reply of ‘Tomorrow? But that’s not enough time!’, and hanging up as the man started to list reasons.

He repressed a sigh, calling his delivery man and instructing him to be at the usual pick up place tomorrow to collect the paintings.

////////////////////

When the man had come back empty-handed, professing that no one had turned up, Raito almost threw something. Here he was, only a few days away and the gifted artist that he was supposed to be holding the opening for refused to give up the paintings.

His hand was suddenly burning and he realized he’d crushed his cardboard coffee cup, spilling the liquid over his hand and desk. Cursing, he shook the liquid off and collected the important paperwork before it soaked up the coffee, calling for some paper towels.

Misa came running in, handing him a roll with a somewhat coquettish look. He muttered thanks and mopped up the spill, ignoring the attempts to engage him further in conversation. The vacuous Amane Misa fancied herself in love with him and even if Raito had been interested in something else other than the business he wouldn’t return the feeling. Women were troublesome, irritating and ridiculously dumb. What he found sexy about someone was their mind, not their French manicure.

He threw the towels away, calling the contact again, his lips pinched in irritation. Why he’d agreed to take over the gallery when his father retired, he had no idea.

“Watari here.”

“Watari-san, it’s Yagami Raito.”

The older man let out a sigh, the type which preceded a lengthy and complicated apology. Raito made a cutting motion with his hand in the air, despite the fact that the other man couldn’t see it.

“Don’t apologize. Just tell me he’ll deal with whatever issue he’s got and get them here on time.”

The man paused again.

“Yagami-san. That’s just the problem.”

“What is?”

“That there is no…issue.”

Raito paused, scowling, hating to ask for an explanation. Finally he caved slightly and asked tersely.

“Please elaborate.”

“L is…he is unmotivated.”

Raito almost exploded, holding in his annoyance by sheer iron will.

“Well…then get him motivated.”

“I cannot. He will gain inspiration for the strangest things. I cannot guess as to what these might be. The last showing you had of his work was inspired by cake ingredients of all things!”

Raito remembered that showing well. The artist only known as ‘L’ has mixed the ingredients in with his paints, probably ruining his brushes, but coming up with amazing textures and sheens that no one had ever used before. The paintings had almost flown off the wall in people’s haste to buy them. But the man could have been painting with his own crap and people would buy it. He was a genius. World renowned, Raito was glad to have secured his trade. As far as he knew he was the only gallery to sell L’s work and as such could demand a much higher price.

“Well…just inspire him for God’s sake! The opening is in four days time, and we need two of those days to set up the paintings and decorate the gallery according to the theme he’s painted.”

It was always the way with L’s showings. Raito never knew what the paintings would be about until he opened the crates they came in, the sides stamped with a giant ‘L’ in Old English font. But they never failed to amaze him.

He’d never spoken with the artist, as so far as he knew no one had. When he’d first been approached to display L’s work, he’d done some research of his own but after days of searching, hadn’t been able to come up with a single picture or fact about the man. For all he knew, Watari, the contact, could be the artist.

“But you see…oh you wouldn’t understand.”

“Well, make me.”

The man sighed again, and Raito was beginning to think he had some kind of respiratory problem. From what the delivery man told him, Watari was quite old.

“You see, L hasn’t left the house for sometime, there is no new experience to inspire him, to new air to breathe fresh life into his work. He can only paint what comes to him, he cannot force it.”

Raito’s brow furrowed, the solution seemingly simple.

“Well get him out of the house then!”

“He will not leave.”

“Well bring something to him then! We need those paintings and quickly!”

Watari made a noise of agreement and hung up.

Within the next two days, two crates turned up, the giant black ‘L’ on the side both mocking and life-saving.

‘The man must not sleep at all if he’s done all these in the past two days.’ Raito mused as they unpacked the art and started to lay it out around the gallery. It seemed then theme was trees this time, most notably Sakura trees, a native of Japan. There were many different versions of what seemed to be the same tree but all in different shades, some blue, some red. The cherry blossoms seemed alive on the canvas, caught in a wind he couldn’t feel. He looked closer and could see that L had, in fact, crushed some petals into the paint, giving in a rougher texture in places. Innovative.

He almost considered keeping one back for himself to purchase, drawn to a painting of a lone man, facing away from the viewer, leaning against the trunk of the tree as if desperate for the immovable support it gave him.

/////

As expected, every painting sold on the first night. There was no reason have a second showing. Raito happily sent off the cheque to the artist, taking his own profitable slice out of the night’s earnings.

Closing up the gallery and waving goodbye to Misa and Matsuda as he left, he made his way to his apartment, thinking over the painting he’d been so fixated on the previous day and wishing faintly that he’d bought it.

However he was sure Mr…, He briefly checked the page in his hand, Mr Ryuuzaki would be happy with his purchase.

***********************

Well that’s the first chapter, let me know if you’d like to read more – I’ve written about 7-8 chapters already and would love to write more but if no one’s interested in it then there’s no point making the effort to write the rest.

So please rate or review – every little bit counts!

And yes, it does get better.


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