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.



Chapter Two

Raito knew someone had been in his office the minute he stepped into it. The stapler was in the wrong place and someone had moved the eraser in the shape of an apple to the other side of the desk. The eraser was a gift from his sister, who still hadn’t caught on that people out of school no longer used pencil for anything. It was probably Misa rummaging through his things again. He’d left a jacket here once by mistake and had come in earlier than usual to find her sitting in his chair, rubbing her face on it. And then there was the time that Matsuda had locked himself inside one night, setting off the alarm and getting Raito out of bed at 2am.

‘God save me from these idiots.’

He’d never realized before then just how lonely it was with no one on his intellectual level. What he wouldn’t give to have an intelligent conversation where he didn’t have to re-explain the entire thing over in layman’s terms afterwards.

He was putting everything back in its place when his phone rang and for once he was pleased to see the number flashing up.

“Moshi moshi”

“Yagami-san. Your idea was good.”

“Ah Watari-san. So what did you get him? The art was exceptional as always.”

The older man chuckled dryly and elaborated. “I bought him a bonsai.”

So that explained the tree fixation.

“Very good. I’m glad he was able to summon up the motivation, and so quickly too. The paintings all went on the first night and I was even tempted to purchase one myself. Unfortunately, the sale went to someone else. Did you receive the cheque I sent you?”

Watari made a pleased noise of agreement and they talked of the next showing in two months time for a few minutes more before ending the call.

//////

Weeks passed quickly. The gallery was becoming more proficient, word of mouth obtaining him continuing support. When his father had owned the gallery, it had remained small despite their efforts to obtain more artists. Raito had a feeling that if it hadn’t been for L’s work, he may have been struggling to gain the upper hand over his competitors, resorting to underhanded tactics like they did.

There was one that was particularly irritating. Nate River, more commonly known as ‘Near’ had a gallery over the other side of the city, managed by two of his henchmen, Matt and Mello. Raito had never gotten close enough to see them, but one drove a motorbike and the other seemed to have a gaming device permanently attached to his hand, even when dealing with customers. Not to mention the weird furry jackets, thick leather gloves and combat boots they clumped around in. Raito was glad for his own tailored dress sense. At least he wouldn’t scare the clientele away by looking like a reject from an Alice Cooper video.

His phone startled him from his thoughts of aging rockers. The number on his cell screen was unfamiliar and Raito answered with a tone of stiff formality.

“Yagami Raito speaking.”

There was silence for a few seconds before a breathy, low voice answered. It was flat, monotone and Raito thought he’d heard more life in death rattles.

Yagami-kun.”

The brunette was instantly affronted by this rude person who spoke to him as if they were close friends.

“Who is this?” He demanded. Another pause and Raito wondered if it was one of Misa’s stalkers calling to threaten him. He’d have to get his number changed again. How annoying.

“I am L.”

The irritation was immediately soothed by the sheer curiosity that he was in fact speaking to the L for once.

“What can I do for you?” Raito knew there was showing of the artist’s work in a fortnight or so and was hoping against hope that there wouldn’t be a hold up this time. He didn’t think his nerves could take it. He was already running lists absently in the back of his mind for who he could replace him with.

But then that didn’t explain why L himself was calling him, normally Watari would be the go-between for them; there was no reason for L to contact him himself. Unless something different had happened, perhaps Watari had shifted jobs and the artist had to make his own dealings now.

“I am calling to inform you that Watari has had an accident of sorts and will be unable to make the delivery for the fortnight showing.”

Raito scowled, knowing for sure that he had to organize another artist to cover the lapse. “We can attempt to delay the showing till the delivery can be made.”

“There is no reason to.”

Raito was surprised, but didn’t let it show in his voice. As far as he knew, L never dealt with the gallery people himself, always having a go-between. Raito wondered briefly what he looked like, if he had some kind of horrible disfiguration that made him wary of meeting people face-to-face.

“You will deliver them to the gallery then?’ He asked.

“No.”

There was silence of the phone for a few seconds before L explained himself. “You will pick them up from my apartment.”

“Very well. I will send someone-”

“No.”

Raito paused at the interruption. “Pardon?”

“As I stated. You will pick them up.”

Raito glanced down at his lists for the afternoon, rescheduling his appointments in his head to make room for this new development. It was acceptable, if a bit rude and demanding, and the curiosity was getting to him.

“Fine.”

‘That might be for the best actually.’ Raito thought as he took down the address. He would only really trust the job to his assistants and while Matsuda was good at what he did, he wasn’t the most level-headed guy around. And Misa…well last time he’d send her on an important errand, she’d gotten herself kidnapped by a stalker who kept insisting she was a murderer. Raito shook his head. ‘Where do I find these people?’


/////////

The studio was in a better part of town than Raito had anticipated. In all honesty it wasn’t far from his own home. The apartment building was all old architecture mixed with modern glass and tile, a combination that in some instances would have made him gag but it seemed to pull it off with an eccentric style. Expensive looking but sedate. All in despite of the fact that L was rumored to live in squalor and rarely pay attention to the outside world, the choice of location showed both intelligence and taste.

It wasn’t till he tried to enter and the doorman stopped him for ID did he realize that L, in fact, owned the entire building.

Surprised but schooling his face not to show it, he entered and was directed at the front desk to the top floor where he’d anticipated L to live. They gave him a one-use code to tap onto a pad in the lift that would access him to the top floor. The panel inside the lift gave him some pause. There were no numbers to press, only a pad to type the code in. He guessed that each floor had a separate access code rather than a designated number.

The lift up was long, Raito estimating there was something around 30 floors, and then he’d arrived, the door opening directly into the living space.

The first thing that struck him was the lack of furnishings. Where there should have been sprawling couches to take up the enormous space there were only easels with comfortable chairs in front of each one; canvases stacked, some still in their unopened state, against every available wall, brushes and palettes scattered around, some clean, some crusted with a fervor of colour. A stairwell of glass and metal led up to a loft area where he could see the bigger canvases sat.

What surprised him the most though seemed to be the complete lack of any personal effects. For a painter, there was no art of the walls, no knick-knacks pertaining to the individual that resided there, nothing to say that this was where someone lived.

The only thing he could see that wasn’t art-related was the tiny cherry-tree bonsai, placed upon a nearby windowsill. There was a cloth wrap of bonsai tools laid out next to it, all meticulously clean. It was obviously well looked after. But where was the man who cared for it?

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

(Optional reading)

Gratuitous Authornote: All I can say right now is a huge thank-you to everyone who’s reviewed this. In all my wildest imaginings I never expected for this to get such a response. I was thinking more along the lines of maybe 2-3 people with some lackluster ‘plz updayte lol kthnx’ reaction, and maybe a few ‘Why are you writing this crap that doesn’t even pertain to Deathnote GTFO!’

So, for all the people who are curious about this, yes I will continue to write it. And have done so from the very first review I received. Even if only one person wanted to see where this went, that would be enough for me.

I will be attempting to update regularly on a Tuesday, which gives me a week to write more and prepare the next chapter for uploading. Hope that’s quick enough for everyone. It was either that or more a more sporadic updating schedule. I’m sure you’ll all be far more pleased with a regular occurrence.

As for a few of the questions asked, I’m afraid I can’t answer most of them without giving some of the story away, so I must implore, be patient, all will be explained in time.

Thank you all, so very much indeed.

And please continue to review and let me know what you think, and if you’re as excited about this as I am.



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