Shades of Mystification

BY : Hellagoddess
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 20577
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.

Personally I don't like this chapter - but well...

Nice long chapter for you guys! Almost twice the normal amount! Sorry they’ve been so short, it certainly doesn’t feel that way when I deliberate over every single word placement – they feel like they go forever sometimes… But that should hopefully be over and done with now!

Without further grumbling, here is...

Chapter Eleven


L hadn’t shifted for the longest time.

They had remained there, one standing, one crouched upon the floor, for what seemed like an age.

Finally, L broke the silence as his thumb left his mouth with a wet noise before he stood silently and walked past Raito who was still standing half in the doorway. Their shoulders grazed as he passed and, as furious and confused as Raito was, he still noticed the accidental brushing of their bodies. Realizing he’d perceived it made him even more irate and he rounded quickly, following the artist back out into the main room.

“Aren’t you even going to answer me?!” Raito shouted, beyond angry. The least the man could do was explain himself! “Did you steal those or something? Why do you have all my client’s paintings!”

L had sat back in his favorite seat, cutting himself a generous slice of cake, making sure the strawberry on top was centered exactly in the middle of the slice. Raito fell down into the chair opposite him, glaring. L put that piece aside and cut another, taking almost as much care as the first. This slice he placed on a different plate and calmly held out to Raito with the tips of his fingers, eyes blank.

Raito flung a hand out, smacking the plate out of his grasp so that it flew across the room and landed, cake-side down, some meters away.

“Answer me goddamnit!”

L looked forlornly at the mess on the floor, his bottom lip pinching slightly, and turned to face Raito, meeting his eyes for the first time since being in the room.

“I do not have your client’s paintings. I have my paintings, Raito-kun.”

Raito shook his head slightly and closed his eyes. He could feel a headache starting to come on. “What?”

L had taken the first bite of his cake, small fork held elegantly between his fingers. Raito realized with a start that he didn’t know when he’d started thinking of the gesture as elegant rather than just plain weird. The artist swallowed quickly and Raito tried not to pay attention to the way his tongue flicked out to catch a smear of icing on his lip.

“I said-”

“I know what you said! Explain it.” Raito twitched, more angry with the artist’s blatant stalling then with whatever had happened itself.

“Yagami-kun is under the impression that those paintings belong somewhere else. He is very surprised and upset to find them in my home.” L took another bite, and Raito twitched again, wanting to lean forward and smack that plate away too so the damn man would pay attention to him.

“”Why do you have his paintings?”

“Whose paintings, Yagami-kun? I thought we’d established in this exchange that the ownership of said artworks belonged to me.”

“No they don’t! I sold those to someone else! Mr. Ryuuzaki owns those! I saw the sales dockets! I cashed his damn cheques!” Raito’s hands were clenched. So help him God if one of his clients had been fooled or pressured into returning these paintings to L…

“And he does own them.”

“What? Start talking sense!”

L suddenly seemed put-upon, as if Raito’s continuation of the argument was a chore to tolerate. He sighed and shifted his strawberry back and forth with the tip of his fork. He’d put it to the side of his plate first, before staring on the cake. He always liked to eat them last for some reason.

Again Raito surprised himself with what he remembered about the man. Sure some things were strange and so, stuck in the mind. But now he was remembering in what order the man ate pieces of cake! But fortunately L was opening his mouth and Raito didn’t have to think about it anymore.

“Mr. Ryuuzaki does own the paintings that you saw. He purchased them out of his own bank account and views them daily, despite the fact that continued examination leaves him with a feeling that he could have done them better.” He stabbed the strawberry with a sudden movement and put it in his mouth, sucking on it. Raito tried not to watch and instead focused on the confusing, vague answers the artist was giving him.

“Wait…what do you mean?”

L shot him a look, biting into the fruit and continued like there had been no interruption, talking around the fork still in his mouth.

“The nude in particular could have been done better. The longer I spend with Yagami-kun the more I can see what should be changed.”

Raito blinked rapidly. “So…hang on...Mr. Ryuuzaki is…wait…what?”

L just stared at him, the fork hanging from his mouth. Raito could see his jaw moving slightly as he rolled the bits of strawberry around in his mouth and it didn’t help him in trying to keep his thoughts straight. Suddenly something occurred to him that L had said. He shot to his feet, pointing.

“You! It’s you…and…and him! You! Him! It’s…! You’re…” Raito was speechless and L made use of the silence by sliding the fork out of his mouth and setting it on the plate next to him. He swallowed but Raito was too stunned to be entranced by the movement of his pale throat.

“If Yagami-kun is quite finished and aware that I do not have a disadvantage against personal pronouns, he may sit down while I explain. I may even give him another slice of cake to replace the one the he so callously ruined earlier.”

He shot a pointed look at the plate still on the floor and Raito had himself under control enough to feel slightly guilty. He sat slowly in his chair, taking the new plate but not eating the cake upon it. L sat for a minute and then motioned at him to start eating.

“Cake will cause the explanation to be less onerous.”

Raito complied, still quite confused. L sat back in his chair, both hands on his knees.

“I am L, as you well know. But I am also Mr. Ryuuzaki.”

Raito almost choked on his cake, even though he’d already known, to have the man just say it like it meant nothing…!

“Yagami-kun should refrain from dying. I’m sure his curiosity wouldn’t allow it.”

Raito glanced up to see the tiniest hint of s a smile on those lips before the man continued.

“Yes, I am Mr. Ryuuzaki and have been frequenting your gallery for some time now, not only to purchase my own paintings but to acquire a…knowledge of the staff there. Or rather one staff member in particular.”

Raito suddenly had a foreboding feeling, telling him he should stop this conversation and leave immediately, but he just couldn’t help himself.

“But why buy your own paintings? Why not buy someone else’s? Why not just keep them?”

“And deprive your endeavor from flourishing, Yagami-kun? Why would I execute such unsympathetic behavior?”

“But…”

“Raito-kun.” L was slipping off his seat onto the floor and Raito’s mouth hung open; both at the artist calling him by his first name and the sultry air he seemed to have suddenly donned. The artist scooted along the floor towards him, before leaning up and taking the plate away, setting it on a nearby table. He grabbed the untouched strawberry from the top and brought it up to Raito’s mouth. When the gallery owner hesitated, L gently pressed it against his lips, his voice coming out in a low murmur.

“Why would I do such a thing to someone I wish to love?”

Raito’s mouth opened of its own volition, mostly in shock, and L traced the berry along his lower lip before pushing it further in. Raito bit into it and swallowed, his eyes fixed on L’s face. He didn’t know what was happening but the artist seemed to have him riveted as he raised himself to his knees.

L was edging forward towards him, that openness coming into his face again, breathing life into him. The sight was fascinating, spellbinding, as if the man were coming alive before his very eyes. Raito felt himself responding without thinking as his hand slowly lifted and touched the side of L’s shoulder as the artist slid closer.

The brunette’s hand came up and a finger gently stroked up his neck and rested under his chin, raising his head slightly and leaving a ticklish trail in its wake that Raito felt long after the digit had gone.

And then L’s lips were on his, softly insistent and Raito was struggling to categorize just where his confusion and anger had gone, but his brain seemed to be swooning, thoughts slipping away like air.

The kiss seemed to finish as gently as it started. The artist didn’t push for more, as if knowing what a tenuous grasp Raito had on the moment. They parted slowly, Raito’s eyes gradually opening, his lips still tingling from the contact.

L had sat back slightly, his large obsidian orbs taking in every nuance of Raito’s response, hands resting on Raito’s knees, like they would normally on his own. The gallery owner opened his mouth slightly and then closed it again. He blinked a few times, quickly and L seemed to know that all the information and goings on in the last ten minutes might have been a bit much for him all at once.

The artist sat back a bit further, still keeping contact with Raito by resting a hand on his knee and tilting his head slightly towards where Raito’s hand still rested on his shoulder.

Raito stared down at the man crouched at his feet. Distantly he noted that his knees were very far apart and the artist was sitting in between them like it was an every day occurrence. He watched L lick his lips quickly, rubbing them together and then suddenly his whole body flushed.

He’d just kissed a man! And not just any man! L! He’d kissed L, for God’s sake!

Breath clawed into his lungs in one big rush, his eyes darting to anywhere but the artist’s face. His face felt like it was on fire and he struggled in the chair, trying to get further away or get out of it or just do something! He’d lost control of the situation and his heart pounded in his chest, counter-pointing the dull throb between his legs.

Oh, good God! He’d kissed L and it had been good. So good that he’d become aroused from it! Raito couldn’t take much more and in the few seconds that passed since the kiss he’d gone from blissful, to shocked, to downright frightened.

Then suddenly the artist was there, leaning up towards him, arms encircling his shaking shoulders. His head thunked down onto L’s shoulder, a firm hand behind it, cradling the base of his neck. The artist’s other hand stroked soothingly down his back, over and over. Breath whispered against him as L murmured nonsensical things, his tone enveloping the startled gallery owner and slowly soothing him.

After a while Raito felt he’d calmed enough to regain his composure but when he tried to lift his head, the hand at the back of it pressed him down again. He let it keep him there and instead wet his lips hurriedly.

“Why?’ He croaked out.

“Raito-kun is very unspecific when he is in distress. I will endeavor to attempt a reply regardless.” L sounded amused but Raito was in too much turmoil to care if he was being laughed at.

“I purchased my own paintings for reasons that I’m certain Yagami-kun will understand with some reflection on what I mentioned earlier. Ryuuzaki is a name that I use in every day life and transactions. But you are the first besides Watari to know me as both.”

Raito felt a little twist of something low in his stomach at the thought that L trusted him with this knowledge.

“So what do I call you now?” Raito mumbled against his shirt, wetting the material a little as some of it caught in his mouth. L’s hand ceased its movement for a second or two, then resumed its slow caress of his back.

“You may call me either or both. I am affiliated with whichever you choose to name me by. In the setting of my house you may call me L if you wish but in public I would prefer Ryuuzaki, lest I am recognized. But whichever you select for any occasion is fine.”

Raito was silent for a beat, trying them out in his head. L had requested, when he’d first entered into the art world, that no attempt to find out his identity be made and, happily, the world seemed to be fine with it as long as he continued to turn out such fascinating artwork. But he had no legal defense from reporters if he were somehow recognized and out in public. Wait…why would he be going anywhere in public with the man?

It was all very confusing and he took a deep breath, his hand pressing against L’s back in a comfort-gaining gesture which he barely noted. He also tried not to notice that he no longer felt uncomfortable being so close to the artist. He just felt…tired. His eyes closed and he took another deep breath but they opened again when L resumed talking in his monotone.

“As for why I intimated such a personal encounter with you, the answer ties in with why I purchased my own paintings from your gallery.”

Time to get a grip and actually think.

Raito cleared his mind stubbornly, glad he could think of many things simultaneously.

L had purchased the paintings. But Mr. Ryuuzaki had only appeared when L had started to sell through Kira Gallery exclusively. He’d never heard of the man before then. The other previous sellers would have made note of such a strong buyer and passed the information to him when L made the change. So what benefit did L gain from selling through him? There wasn’t one as far as Raito was concerned, but Raito himself certainly gained a lot. The money from L alone kept the gallery open and gave Raito a healthy lifestyle. The artworks brought prestige and patrons to the gallery that might not have come if L had not been so famous and become so exclusive to him.

Now why, out of all the galleries to make this enormous gift to did L choose Kira Gallery?

Suddenly his mind latched onto something L had said before. He hadn’t paid much attention to it because he’d been so angry and confused that his most known customer for L’s paintings was also L himself.

“But why buy your own paintings? Why not buy someone else’s? Why not just keep them?”

“And deprive your endeavor from flourishing, Yagami-kun? Why would I execute such unsympathetic behavior?”


So L had wanted his gallery to be successful. Admittedly, he had been struggling a bit before L had come along. As much as he’d studied the business before he took it over, he just wasn’t an artistic type. He had the people skills when he needed them but he didn’t have the all-consuming passion for art that made a successful gallery owner. So he’d struggled, getting by on his charm alone sometimes to win a sale. He could see now, what L had been trying to do. But why?

“Why would I do such a thing to someone I wish to love?”

Oh.

Right.

And then Raito closed his eyes again, dizzily falling into darkness.

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

So hopefully from now on chapters should be longer as I’m setting a goal at over 2000 words per chapter where as before it was round 1200. Hope you all enjoy the new length!

I’ve got a few things that I’d like to mention here for your reading enjoyment! It’s horrendously long – so you don’t have to continue if you don’t want to :)

First off is a fiction by Nilahxpiel, (who’s username I couldn’t pronounce if I tried…), and…actually, I change my mind… it’s two fictions.

The first is called Worship and you can find it here:
http://anime.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600043746
It’s a RaitoxMikami pairing and brilliant :). So far I think I’ve read it at least once a day since it’s been up. If you like the pairing and a bit of AU with your veneration then this one is for you.

The other fiction is called ‘Reigning on Heaven’. (which you can find here - http://anime.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600043034 ) It’s another AU, and brilliant. Don’t be put off by the additional characters that are in there, they all add to the overall wonderfulness of it :)

Right, if you’re still with me, there’s something else I’d like to mention! If you’re on LJ and feel the need to read some hot, new Deathnote doujinshi all of a sudden then I have the perfect community for you!

Ame’s scanalation group for Raito and L called ‘Chained Heart’.
You can visit and join it here:

http://community.livejournal.com/chainedheart_dn

Just make sure you’re above age before requesting to join!

And a reviewer reply to Gloria B – YES! I’m glad someone picked up on it! Haha, I don’t even think Duomi saw it – so congratulations! I like to sneak little references in now and then for my own amusement! For everyone else who is lost – I referenced Raito playing a game of chess in his head while waiting which plays on Duomi’s idea of games played without pieces by our two geniuses :)

Thanks for all your reviews! Keep it up!


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