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.

This chapter isn't really seriously beta-ed - so if there's a few glaring mistakes, I'm very sorry. I just wanted to get it out ASAP! Hope you enjoy it!


Chapter Twenty One


Raito shuffled papers on his desk, knowing that he was delaying the inevitable but procrastinating regardless. It took a surprising amount of effort to look like you were busy when you actually had nothing to do but Raito had it down to a fine art. In the last few weeks he’d had more than enough opportunity to practice.

He’d never realized until now, just how much the artist had consumed his time. With his days freed up from the relationship, the hours seemed to stretch ahead with not enough jobs to fill them up. Everything for his impending trip away had already been organized weeks ago and both Matsuda and Misa had seemed to fit into their roles surprisingly well.

He glanced down at his carefully arrayed desk, noting its cleared state and symmetrical state, down to the pens sitting half an inch apart. There was absolutely nothing that had to be done today. What little mail correspondence had come in, Misa had taken care of. Matsuda had already eagerly confiscated the gallery cell phone, so any business calls went straight to him. It made Raito feel slightly unwanted, surplus to requirements. He immediately bolstered his waning self regard by reminding himself that they wouldn’t have known what to do unless he’d told them.

Rising from his desk, he tapped his knuckles thoughtfully against the wood surface, ignoring the click of the ring on his finger. It had become a part of his life, ignoring that little circle of metal, just as much as trying not to think about the man that had given it to him was. There was too much confusion and anger and…fear associated with those thoughts, so he’d just put them aside to examine at a later date. When the whole situation didn’t make him feel so helpless.

The usual anger rose at the idea he was weak, powerless to hold out against his emotions. Tapping the ring again, he brought his other hand up, tips of his fingers on the band, as though he were about to remove it. After a few seconds pause he sighed and they slid along the fine metal instead, rubbing the back of his hand. He wrestled the feeling back down again. He couldn’t do it. The situation in the shower this morning should have proved that already.

As embarrassing as it had been to admit, during the relationship his body had become used to regular sex, and when that was suddenly withheld, his hormones hadn’t known what to do with themselves. He abruptly seemed intensely horny at the slightest provocation and the warm water of this morning’s shower hadn’t helped his usual daybreak erection at all.

Raito flushed with shame as he recalled the overwhelming urge to touch himself intimately, to recapture some of that feeling he’d had only a few short weeks ago, even if it was only by his own hand.

So he had. Palm slick with soap, leaning against the shower tile, head tilted back into the spray, Raito had touched himself for the first time in what seemed like months. The pleasure had sparked through him, clearing his mind of all thoughts bar one.

But something had happened.

He’d gotten to a certain point and then just couldn’t continue. Confused, he’d looked down, hand dropping away, staring at his erection. He certainly seemed hard enough, the feeling deep in the pit of his stomach circling lazily, heart hammering in his chest. He seemed ready, but why couldn’t he come?

‘Maybe, it’s not enough’? He considered, immediately feeling perverted as the thought crossed his mind. There was only one other thing that he could really do to help, that he could accomplish on his own.

But he didn’t want to do that. It made him feel like he was cheating himself, cheating L. The artist had been the only one to ever touch him there and it felt almost like he was depriving the man if he did it himself. But that still didn’t help the situation.

Frustrated he had slammed a fist into the shower tile, mouth hanging open as he swore profusely and cradled his injured fist. For some reason, repeating ‘ow’ over and over seemed to make the pain lessen somewhat and, as he had examined his hand, he noted that the source of pain emanated from the ring around his finger.

Suddenly pissed off beyond belief, he’d grabbed the edge of the ring and begun to wrench it off his finger. The digits had swollen slightly in the heat and the ring was tight, his hands still slippery with soap.

He’d finally been able to hook his blunt nails under the edge and began to slide it off. Despite the loudness of the shower, he heard the clink from the ring as the first link started to come undone from the others. He paused abruptly, still standing under the spray, indecisive.

Irritated, he shoved the ring back on and washed the soap off, stepping out of the shower and ignoring his raging erection. He yanked his pants on over his still wet legs and, in his aggravated state, slipped up on the wet floor and fell on his ass in a wet footprint puddle, knocking his hand again. Raito made up a few new words and remembered some from when he was younger. He just couldn’t deal with this crap right now. Maybe later, when he could think straight.


///////////


His travel case sat by the door to his office, where he’d left it earlier. Raito picked it up now and strode to the door, followed by Misa and Matsuda who were wishing him well and pressing good luck and safe trip tokens into his hand. He took the symbolic bits of carved wood with little thought and only to make the two of them happy. He never believed in that kind of crap anyway.

Stepping out onto the pavement, he turned to hold the door open for Misa. She smiled at him and looked like she was leaning in for a hug, or at least some kind of close body contact. Trying to avoid it, he let the door go and stepped away, letting Matsuda scramble for it if he didn’t want Misa to get squashed.

While they struggled with the heavy door, he turned back to the car that was waiting, surprised that it wasn’t the usual colour for a cab. A sleek, black sedan sat there, tinted windows, motor idling. The driver got out, a shorter, older man, glimpses of graying hair around the edge of the cap he kept low on his face. He took the bags, loading them into the trunk, before returning to the car and waiting for him.

Raito turned to give last minute instructions but not fast enough to evade the Hug ‘o Doom that came his way from Misa. Damn, for someone so loud, she sure was sneaky when she wanted to be. Trying to fend her off, he ended up unwittingly shaking Matsuda’s hand goodbye at the same time. Shaking Misa off, he stepped back, brushing at his jacket.

“I’ll be back in three week or so. Call if you need me.” He nodded at the two of them and opened the door, sliding into the seat and giving them a thin smile out of the window as the car made to pull away. The man had already been informed of their destination when the car was ordered.

Giving into a polite display, Raito waved out the window, in a somewhat lackluster manner compared to Misa’s tearfully spastic jerking of her hand in the air. Matsuda put a comforting arm around her, a solemn yet encouraging look on his face as he stared at Raito through the glass while the car turned into the traffic. Raito suddenly felt like a teenager going off to university far, far away and was somewhat disturbed by the thought of these two as his parents. And God, look, Misa was wriggling out of Matsuda’s secretly delighted grip and running into the road, after the car, waving her hands in the air. Raito didn’t want to seem encouraging and turned to sit back in his seat properly.

“I came to see you off, Raito-kun.”

Raito’s head whipped around and his mouth hung open at the other occupant of the car. L’s blank eyes stared at the glass divider, separating them from the driver, his bare toes clenching on the fabric of the car seat he crouched on. His pale hands, fingers idle and lacking something to eat, rested limply against his knees. He looked thinner than usual, his insomnia circles deeper and more startling.

“What are you doing here?” Raito surprised himself with how calm his voice sounded. He really should have checked that this was the right car before he got into it. He hoped they were going to the airport or else he’d miss his flight. All that aside, he hadn’t really decided how to feel just yet about the artist or their whole situation and didn’t enjoy the feeling of being forced into a confrontation he wasn’t sure he was ready for. He was automatically on the defensive.

L turned huge, sad eyes on him and Raito almost flinched. In all his anger and frustration towards the other man, he’d almost forgotten that he’s been the one to run out and leave. That the older man was the wronged party, it didn’t matter how much Raito had freaked out. This whole time he hadn’t even considered what effect that would have had on L himself. He’d given no indication that he was coming back when he’d stormed out of the building.

Slight guilt welled up at all the things he’d called him, what he’d said. In hindsight, sure the room had been odd, but the artist had done weirder things than have surveillance equipment around his house. Normal people sometimes had cameras in their houses, even if it wasn’t quite to the same extent.

But the man hadn’t called him or contacted him either! Hadn’t he said it was just a break? Surely he understood that he’d just needed some time to think. It was an easy enough concept, wasn’t it?

The look in L’s eyes said he hadn’t understood at all and Raito’s hands clenched into useless fists while he pressed his lips together, willing the man to talk, so he didn’t have to.

“As I stated just now. I came to see you off. Raito-kun is…leaving the country and I…I…” He stumbled on his words and fell silent, his breath unsteady. L was looking away and Raito stared, equally entranced and horrified as the artist swallowed hard and squeezed his eyes shut, hands gripping his knees. L who was never unsure of what to say, who always knew what was going on. The sight of the other man coming apart, even if only slightly, shocked Raito. That he had caused this suddenly seemed sickening.

He turned away and looked out of the window, trying to collect his thoughts. When he thought about it now, all those things he didn’t want to examine in the last few weeks had already been decided. Why he hadn’t acted on them already was beyond him. His stubborn pride had insisted that the man come to him, that L bridge the gap, that he be the one to bend.

Now, looking at how much he’d upset him, Raito felt disgusted with his behavior. It hadn’t been a big thing but he’d been too full of himself to realize just how much he’d wounded the artist. He’d only thought of his own circumstances. He turned back, noting how the artist seemed huddled further down on the seat, hunched over as though expecting a blow for his audacity. Suddenly, he realized what this must have cost the other man, to take such a huge leap in complete blind faith that Raito wouldn’t turn on him or callously toss him out of the car.

All this realization was very humbling. Raito lifted his hand and, after a few tentative moments, rested it on L’s shoulder. The man’s head came up, eyes wide as he stared at Raito. The gallery owner gave him a wry smile and lifted his hand to stroke a finger across his cheek. L leaned into the touch and closed his eyes, cementing the moment.

“Thank you.” He whispered, even though he doubted the driver, whom he assumed to be Watari, could hear them through the glass.

The artist’s skin was cool to the touch, and smooth. It instantly recalled to Raito, days spent in bed, that same skin warmed from his own body heat. The way it tasted, smelt. Raito swallowed, unable to keep his sudden desire from intensifying.

It must have shown on his face, because L’s eyes opened again and before he knew what was happening, the artist was across his side of the car and kissing him.

Surprisingly though, L wasn’t pressing hard. His hands didn’t clutch at Raito’s hair nor his clothes. Instead they slid up his neck, stroked his face with all the tenderness he had ever shown and eased into his hair like he was something precious to be treasured. L didn’t plunder his mouth, he settled there lightly, teasingly, the tip of his tongue lapping at Raito’s lips till he parted them.

The gallery owner’s hands slid around L’s waist to get them into a slightly more comfortable position and banged his head against the window as they slid down too quickly, breaking the kiss to curse and rub his head. Okay, it wasn’t all roses and soft music, just the two of them, light touches and whispered apologies. Raito couldn’t have thought of a better way to make up.


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


A tap came on the window and Raito raised his head from where he’d been ravishing L’s collarbone. He squinted through the tinted glass at Watari’s smiling face before hurriedly sitting up and yanking L up with him. How embarrassing to be caught like a couple of teenagers in the backseat of a car. L didn’t seem to mind at all though and only adjusted his shirt almost as an afterthought, partially covering the marks of hasty passion that Raito’s mouth had left there.

Raito made to get out of the car before L grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him into another kiss. Not knowing how long they’d been idling in the car park before Watari had gotten up the nerve to tap on the window and knowing he was going to miss his flight if he waited any longer, Raito reluctantly pulled away.
L let him go and, also realizing the artist didn’t want to get out of the car, Raito gently brushed his lips against the older man’s one last time.

“I’ll be back in three week or so. We can…talk so more then.”

L’s hand had squeezed his before slowly letting it go.

Walking through the terminal, Raito reflected on his words. They hadn’t got much actual talking done this time either. He’d have to make sure to head the artist off when he got back. The man could distract him like nothing else on earth.

Settling back into the uncomfortable airplane seat, he glanced out the window, preparing himself for a long, tedious flight. Checking the in-flight entertainment, he was glad to see they had a Japanese movie playing for the flight out, something about a group of school children abandoned on an island. Apparently it was some kind of government game or conspiracy or something. Raito had been hoping for something a little more light-hearted but doubted he’d watch it anyway.

“Yagami-san?” A hostess was leaning down towards him, the blinding and ultimately fake smile on her face making Raito thank God he was now officially gay.

“Yes.”

“I have your order here.”

“But I didn’t -.”

She had already turned back to the cart that she’d been pushing a long and lifted a large plate off of it, setting it on the tray in front of him. Raito gaped at the array of sliced fruit and sweet sauces to dip them in. It looked freshly prepared and not at all what he’d expected to be served on a plane. As grateful as he was, he couldn’t just take it without having paid. He caught the hostesses attention as he checked the over head lockers.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t order this. There must have been some mistake.”

She checked a slip of paper in her pocket. I have the order right here. It has your passenger and seat number right here. Called in yesterday. See?” She leaned down, pointing to his details. His gaze quickly flicked up to the name of the person on the credit card slip.

Hideki Ryuuga.

He resisted the urge to smile and nodded his understanding. Another of L’s many names.

“Ah I see now. Sorry about that. An…associate had ordered this for me and forgotten to mention it.”

The hostess gave him an odd look and smiled her pretend smile again before moving away. He only realized what the look was about when he examined the plate closer.

Everything had been cut into little hearts.

So much for an associate ordering it for him.

Uncaring for once, he popped a strawberry into his mouth and smiled, looking out the window at the cloud canopy below. One day he’d have to ask, just how L did the things he did. He couldn’t wait to come home again and find out.


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Thanks so much for all your kind words and reviews – I just wasn’t very happy with the last chapter and when I’m not happy with something I’m creating = self-depreciating :(
I liked the second half of this chapter – the first half is too wishy-washy for me. I couldn’t imagine how Raito was feeling accurately and it showed a bit, but I quite like the second part. I’m more comfortable with humor than I am with angst I think.
Please let me know what you thought!




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