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.

I think there may have been some slight confusion given a word that I used – A car boot is the trunk of a car, the bit behind the back seats where you put your spare tyre and luggage and things like that. In New Zealand we call it a boot but American’s call it a trunk…I think…

Chapter Twenty

Still lying where L had freed him, Raito worked the kinks out of his aching mouth; wincing as he licked his chapped lips and caught the corners where the cloth had rubbed the skin raw. He tasted a hint of blood on his tongue and grimaced. It probably looked awful.

‘How unattractive.’ He suddenly thought, rubbing his wrists to get some circulation back in his hands.

As he climbed out of the car boot, assisted by L who had tucked the small knife away somewhere, Raito’s eyes darted around, surprised. They hadn’t even left the parking garage! His car was still in the same place it had been, the one he was climbing out of - apparently Mikami’s - parked closely to it. Speaking of which…

“Where is he? Is he coming back? Have you called the police?!” He felt like shaking L when the artist’s only response was a slight, puzzled tilt to his head and the inevitable unwrapping of a lollipop. Raito opened his mouth to curse but L’s blunt monotone cut in.

“There is no need for an enforcement officer, Raito-kun. I have…extracted a promise from your assailant that he will not seek to harm your person ever again. He has signed…this…” A furl of paper was unrolled and handed to the stunned gallery owner. “…as a gesture of goodwill.” Raito blinked, and took the paper, feeling surreal. Where the hell had he gotten the document from? Things weren’t adding up in that weird way that always happened around L. It seemed too convenient for him to just have this typed piece of paper on his person for his attacker to sign, on the day that he just happened to be kidnapped.

L continued absently sucking his sweet with a hint of distaste. Taking note of the expression, Raito absently remembered that he hadn’t had the opportunity to buy the new ones yet. For L to be starting on the inferior brand meant he must have suffered a shock of epic proportions and needed the sudden sugar buzz that the emergency-lollipop would provide. He suddenly felt slightly flattered that it was his attack that had triggered such an event.

The artist opened his mouth, talking around the stick and gestured expressionlessly at the paper. “Fortunately for him, his writing hand was…unaffected from our encounter.”

Raito looked up at that, reading between the lines. That meant that L had done something to the other hand, something that would have made it very…unusable. Swallowing heavily at the implied violence, he concentrated on the document in hand. It looked very legally-binding and, as he read further down, was a signed statement that the affected parties, namely him, would never be approached in an unbefitting manner by the assailant in either lifetime. Immediately Raito could see loopholes. This document didn’t provide him any protection at all. Eyeing the whorls and sharp points that made up his attackers signature, he asked what had become of him.

L pulled the sucker out of his mouth and replied. “I had one of the building’s staff drive him to the hospital. They did not mind the blood on their upholstery so much. I have given them adequate compensation for dry cleaning.”

As if that were the only concern, L put the lollipop back in his mouth and slowly shut the trunk of the car with his fingertips. He took Raito’s hand in his, clasping it as though the other man were suddenly going to wrench the grip away, and started forward.

“There is no need to file a report with the law enforcement. He will not approach you again.” He droned over his shoulder, apparently attempting in his own bizarre way to reassure the gallery owner.

Still apprehensive, with grocery shopping forgotten for the meantime, Raito followed the shuffling artist back up towards the lifts, silent but full of questions. Blood? What had L done to the other man? He’d already realized that the noises and the rocking of the car had been caused by their fight but things still weren’t clear and Raito hated being vague about something. But the artist wasn’t even looking at him as he pressed the very tip of a finger to the buttons on the wall, inputting his code for the lift. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore.

“How long was I in there for? How did you know I was there and more importantly, how on earth did you know I was being attacked.”

L took a deep breath and let it out slowly, giving the air of someone being pestered by a small, irritating child. A sound that implied that these questions were something unimportant and therefore not worth his time.

“I have cameras in the garage.” He finally stated, His hand clenched once, twice, almost reflexively, before relaxing in Raito’s grip.

‘Ah, so that explains why he was able to see me.’ However, it still didn’t really explain anything. L had an annoying habit of circumventing and talking in circles when all Raito wanted was a straight answer. It was one of the mans more irritating mannerisms. “But who was watching? It couldn’t have been you. Weren’t you in the shower when I left?”

They had reached L’s floor and they both stepped out, moving into the kitchen. Raito sat down in the chair he’d used for breakfast while L reluctantly let go of his hand and fussily began to made tea, sliding the knife out of his pocket and putting it back in the drawer.

“I was showering when Raito-kun left the studio, but also available to watch the footage as he was summarily assaulted.” The first of many sugar cubes landed in the cup with a wet-sounding plunk.

Something else wasn’t adding up here.

“So, the security men were watching the footage and alerted you?” As soon as he’d said it Raito knew that wasn’t what had happened. The security men would have informed L and then rescued him themselves. They would have called the police and Raito would have been in an ambulance right now, going to the hospital for shock, while his assailant rode in the back of a van to the nearest police station.

So L had to have been watching the cameras himself. But from where? Raito glanced around, to serve his memory correctly. There were no monitors in the room, only Raito’s laptop for work and a small television that didn’t appear to work. Though it sat on a table of its own, L seemed to use its top as just another place to put his sweets. And the one time Raito had attempted to turn it on, nothing had happened. He eyed it warily now, uncertain, before his gaze returned to L’s frame.

The artist still hadn’t answered him and from the sudden stiffness to his back, Raito could tell he was onto something that the other man didn’t want him to know about. One of those weird things that he’d kept hidden, like the fact that he’d arranged for them to meet in the first place, had practically stalked Raito, but in a much nicer way than his current obsessive fan-boy. But it still made him feel a little uneasy that L had felt the need to watch him as he walked to his car. Sure the man was protective and now he was rather thankful for that, but it was still a bit strange.

Suddenly his eyes narrowed. “Where were you watching me from?”

L dropped another cube from where he’d been holding it above the tea, and slowly took a sip before adding another two. He still hadn’t turned around.

“Answer me!” Raito felt himself suddenly becoming angry. He’d been smacked in the head, forced into unconsciousness and stuffed in the trunk of a car. For any normal person that was cause enough to get a bit upset and it was a reasonable question. Why the man was suddenly being so difficult to deal with, Raito had no idea.

L set his tea down and looked at Raito over his shoulder. The gallery owner had stood suddenly, the backs of his knees pushing his chair out, hands splayed on the table.

“If Raito-kun will follow me, I have something that may answer a few of his questions.” Throwing a glance at the still-hot tea, as if to say ‘I haven’t forgotten about you’, he shuffled forward, hands in pockets out into the main room, turning towards where the bedroom was. Raito was striding after him but slowed when he saw where he was heading towards. Furious, he stormed ahead of the man and turned around to face him. He put both hands on his shoulders and leant down so he was at eye level with the slouching man.

“Sex isn’t going to fix this, Ryuuzaki! I want you to talk to me for once!”

There was a brief silence in which they only stared at one another till L’s hand slowly slipped out of his pocket and rested lightly on the nearby door handle. Raito turned his head, watching. He hadn’t realized that they were standing next to one of the other rooms. The second room that L had never shown him. He’d never seen the man in there and when he’d asked what it was for, the man had skillfully avoided the question and Raito hadn’t thought much of it since. Sure he’d been inquisitive but after the last shock he gotten when he’d entered the painting storage room, he’d learned not to go where he was uninvited,

But it appeared that was all about to change.

For all the suddenly ominous, curious tension in the air, the door didn’t creak as L slowly pushed it open. Raito almost felt disappointed.

However, let-down feelings aside, he didn’t have any room in his head for anything other than shock when he saw what filled the room.

An entire wall of monitors glared brightly at him, blinding in the darkness till L flicked the switch next to the door. A single chair positioned in front of them didn’t eclipse the sheer size and number of screens, a larger one centering them all

Raito’s eyes flicked from image to image, startled. From the desk downstairs, to the pavement outside the door, to the parking garage. L had every important angle pretty much covered. With a sudden confused noise, he noticed L’s living room, his eyes darting to the monitor next to it – the bedroom – and further on the kitchen and bathro-…

Wait.

Raito leant forward in alarm as he noted the angle of the camera, shining straight down into the shower. He fuzzily recalled his initial ‘friendly’ visit to L and the tea-spilling incident. He’d showered, in that very cubicle…

But L hadn’t been in here when he’d come out, he’d been in the main room, playing with that…

…that fake TV, or whatever the hell it was out there.

Outrage filled him slowly, like a simmering pot of water not yet at boiling point. He turned to L, noting that the artist wasn’t even looking at him, didn’t even care that Raito now knew he’d been watching. Before they were even… It made him furious.

To say Raito exploded would be putting it mildly.

“You…you bastard!”

L’s head snapped up as Raito stalked over to him. The gallery owner stopped short, hands clenching at his sides, teeth gritted.

“How dare you! What gives you the right to…to…!” Raito was so angry and embarrassed and weirded-out that he couldn’t even speak.

“I am curious as to why a row of television monitors has caused Raito-kun the need to question my parentage.” L tilted his head to the side and for the first time, Raito wanted to actually hit him.

“It’s got nothing do with…! God damnitt why are you so strange?! I mean, the sweets I can take, you sit funny, that’s fine too! You’ve got awful style and I never see you out of those clothes unless I’ve forced you! That’s all great and I love you for it but…!” Raito’s gaze darted around, trying to find the words for all the frustration welling up in him. “What’s wrong with you?! Why the hell do you have all these?!” He gestured with a wide, sweeping motion at the flickering wall, eyes harsh and demanding an answer.

L just stared back at him, his unblinking eyes blank and emotionless as per usual. He was completely silent, and after the day that Raito had had, it was the last straw. He scrubbed a hand through his hair, for once not caring about how it looked afterwards and looked away,

“I just…I need a break. I’m leaving.” He strode out of the room and straight to the elevator, ignoring any belongings he may be leaving behind. They could sit there until he was ready to come back for them.

Once down in the garage again, he swallowed down any residual fear from his earlier encounter and made his way to his car, keeping alert. He only really had L’s word to go on that the man was gone. He’d make sure to buy some mace at the first opportunity and wouldn’t hesitate to spray the bastard on sight.

He patted his pockets for his keys on the way before he saw them lying on the ground next to the car. Attempting to find the door key on the ring, he saw that it had been snapped off in the lock already, probably during the initial attack. Reaching for his cell-phone to call for a ride, he realized it was gone, dropped somewhere or just taken away by freaky stalker guy.

Swearing loudly, he kicked the tyre of his car and stalked back to the lift, stopping at the front desk to use the phone. Taking the cab home, he suddenly realized that L had never come after him. He’d still been in the building for a good fifteen minutes after he’d left and the man hadn’t even made the attempt.

Trying not to admit how much that suddenly hurt, he stared at his hands, resting in his lap. The glint of the puzzle ring caught his eye and he turned it slowly, contemplating. He began to slide it off before a tiny voice whispered in his mind, that maybe he was a bit freaked out right now and just needed a few days to calm down and relax. Maybe it wasn’t the end. He silently agreed with the voice, but looking out the car window, he tried to pretend that the heavy feeling in his throat wasn’t the start of tears, that the clenching of his hands around the ring wasn’t desperation. One thought circled over and over in his head, making his head ache with each reiteration.

‘He didn’t try. Even after everything between us, he didn’t try to stop me from leaving.’

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

So sorry about the delay guys – and even sorrier about the sub-standard chapter. This is what happens when I try writing things out in longhand while being pumped up on painkillers and terrified that I’ve got a kidney disease :S

I wanted to thank you all so much for your well wishes to my grandmother – I’m happy to say she’s doing a bit better, however my mother had caught whatever virus she had and then almost passed it on to me! So we all spent some time in hospital over the last two weeks, which wasn’t pleasant really. Hence why this chapter may seem a little wishy-washy or jumpy or something. Personally I think it’s the worst thing I’ve written so far but felt you guys deserved something (even if it’s slightly sub-standard) for all your patience!

Don't feel you have to review this chapter, I'm aware it's not my best work...


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