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.


So sorry for the delay in getting this out! I went down to Wellington for all of last week and there was so much dramu with it – seriously, I wish I’d never gone… - that I pretty much plain forgot to update and then once I remembered, it was a case of finding the time to review the chapter I was posting with a clear head! So here it is, much delayed 


Chapter Twenty-three

They were going out again. After much cajoling on Raito’s part he’d finally convinced L to venture out after the dismal failure that the park had been.

Strolling towards his car in the underground parking garage in L’s building, he smiled at the artist shuffling along in front of him, glad they weren’t going to spend the afternoon holed up in the apartment. It wasn’t that Raito didn’t like the studio, he just felt that L needed some time away, and there was only so much he could take of the sickly sweet smell of L’s food mixed in with the acrid smell of paint. And they needed something else to do. Their relationship had slid back into an easy lull, but Raito couldn’t help but feel like he had something to make up to the man. He was sure L appreciated the little gifts he left lying around, not to mention the rather ingenious one he’d brought back from his trip. Raito had never seen candy underwear before, let alone considered wearing them. But they were made of exactly the same candy as the elastic bracelets L wore when he was working, and the gallery owner hadn’t been able to resist. Needless to say, the artist had been surprised and then incredibly pleased. Raito had watched as the normally blank and indifferent expression had melted into what the gallery owner could only call hungry.

It had been a rather fun afternoon.

Smiling, Raito paused, leaning down towards the door before straightening up again, a sudden reckless mood striking him with the recall of such fun memories. “Here.” He tossed the keys at L. “You can drive if you like.”

L, standing by the passenger door, watched blandly as the keys sailed past him, making absolutely no effort to catch them. He may have been an artistic genius, but international sports star he was not.

Raito rolled his eyes a bit, coming around the car to pick them up again, since he had thrown them in the first place. He jingled them towards L who made absolutely no move to take them, staring at him with a blank look on his face.

“What? You don’t want to?” Raito was surprised. He never let just anyone drive his car, and seeing how the artist didn’t have his own, he thought he would have jumped at the chance. Perhaps he just didn’t like cars in the first place.

L’s eyes shifted back down to the keys, thumb leaving his mouth briefly as he replied. “I can’t.”

Raito jingled them again. “You can’t what?”

“Drive.”

Raito blinked a few times before the artist’s words actually got through. He barked a snort of incredulous laughter. “Oh come on! If you didn’t want to drive you could have just said so.”

They both got into the car and drove for a while before the silence got to Raito. The happy atmosphere seemed to have deteriorated slightly.

“Were you serious? You really can’t?”

L turned slightly in the passenger seat and the gallery owner could feel the obsidian stare like a tangible thing. “Raito-kun seems to think that everyone has the same skill set as he does. He does not comprehend other people’s situations very well.” With that said, he sat back and stared out the window, his hands resting on his knees.

The silence had suddenly become uncomfortable and Raito sensed that L was hurt or upset about something. He shot a glance towards the artist but his face was turned away, his wild hair covering all but the tip of his nose from view. The oppressive feeling was ruining the mood slowly and making Raito want to say something, anything, to break it.

“Hey.” It came out softer than he’d intended and he swallowed quickly before leaning over slightly and resting a hand over L’s on the top of his knee. The artist turned to look at him gradually, his eyes lingering on Raito’s fingers as they slowly intertwined with his own.

“Look, I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t realize that you couldn’t drive. Honestly, it’s not a big thing.” Raito felt he was stepping on eggshells. He’d never had an issue like this with L before and was confused that it was about something so small and insignificant. So what if he couldn’t drive? But L had taken offence at something he’d said and that scared him more than he’d like to admit.

L’s fingers twisted back into his own, the artist giving him a small smile, and the day was slowly returned to its glorious ambiance.

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

The outing had gone surprisingly well. L had never been to the zoo before and Raito hadn’t been since he was very young. The artist absorbed the information ravenously at each exhibit they stopped at, drawn to the little panels proclaiming the animal’s details. He gnawed on his thumb, wide eyes sweeping over the facts before flicking up to study the creature itself, occasionally for half-hour stretches that had Raito shifting and wishing he’d worn sneakers. He seemed incredibly fascinated.

Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that when they’d returned, L had promptly ignored him for the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening, flocks of rare birds, prides of lions and troops of monkeys were created at his fingertips. Raito was still amazed just how many paintings the man could turn out in a day and the quality which each possessed.

He wandered over to where L was sitting, leaving his open laptop on the window-seat where L had first tried to kiss him all those months ago. The artist was still, critically eyeing the placement of the next stroke; before Raito’s hand gently enclosed his, the other grasping the brush from his fingertips and placing it aside. Without the tool in his hand, the artist’s eyes suddenly seemed to droop, the adventure and subsequent painting frenzy of the day had tired him, probably more than he’d realized. Raito knew that if he left him, L would stay up until he’d painted all the images he could remember from their visit.

Raito looked at what he’d been working on and was surprised to see himself. L must have been watching him from afar, as he leant down over a fence to feed an otter who had come forward to the boundary. The creature was standing up on its hind legs, tiny paws reaching for the zoo-bought biscuit he held out to it. The smile on Raito’s face was serene and giving, his hair falling forward slightly in a gentle wave.

Embarrassed at the genuine and emotional look on his painted face, he turned to comment to L but broke off, lips twisting up slightly into a mild smile. The artist had fallen asleep, his hand still entwined with Raito’s.

The gallery owner slowly untangled his fingers before slipping an arm around the artist’s thin back, the other going under his knees. He lifted him gently, smiling again as L’s arms automatically slipped up to cuddle around his neck as he walked to the artist’s bedroom.

He lay L down gently, stroking a few pieces of his hair from his face before they fell back into the same position. Slipping the artist’s clothes off with more care than he thought he’d possessed, he pulled the blankets over him, smiling as L turned on his side, nuzzling at the pillow. He gently grasped the artist’s wrist, sliding off the thin, bare elastic left from the bracelets he’d been consuming earlier and balled them up on the bedside table. Leaning down, he placed a tender kiss against the dark-haired man’s temple before straightening and turning to leave. He still had some work to do on the laptop and time to sleep wouldn’t be soon.

A pale hand flopped out and grasped firmly onto the pants material at the back of his knee.

“Don’t leave, Raito-kun.”

And with those drowsily murmured words, Raito turned back, slipped his clothes off and slid into bed, kissing L’s sleepy smile.

Work could always wait though.

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

Raito swam up slowly from the depths of unconscious. He stretched lazily, taking a deep relaxed breath before he realized that something had startled him from his dreams and he blinked his eyes open in the early morning light, orbs still hazy with sleep.

“Mmm?” His hand came up and wiped at the hair across his forehead. He was lying on his front with both arms under the pillow and his head turned to the side.

“Wait! Don’t move please!”

Raito froze, blinking his eyes a bit more and waking up. He wasn’t sure what was happening though and lifted his head slightly so he could see the rest of the room.

Ah. He suddenly understood.

L was perched nearby by an easel, brush in one hand and the other outstretched as if he could stop him from shifting further by the sheer force of his will. Once Raito made no more sudden moves, L relaxed slightly.

“Please move back to how you were previous to waking, Raito-kun.”

As strange as this all was, Raito slid his hand back to where it had been and tried to find some semblance of the position he’d been in when he’d woken. He closed his eyes, feeling a bit weird, when he heard the creak of L leaving his chair and a hand flicking bits of his hair back into place on his head. The very tip of his nose suddenly itched and he wrinkled it, letting out a noise of pleased surprise when L scratched it for him. He smiled, still with his eyes closed and heard the artist resume his position.

L had painted him so many times now that it had slowly become normal. He’d find sketches of himself around the studio so often that he’d stopped being apprehensive about it. It was just…L. He’d learned enough about the man that he painted what fascinated him and was still secretly pleased that he enthralled the artist so much after all they’d been through. He was sure the man could have just as easily painted him from memory, but something must have inspired him this morning to seek a live subject.

He apparently fell asleep again, despite his impromptu modeling, because he woke up sometime later and L was gone. He stretched and got up, wandering around to where the easel sat. He knew it would be finished. L didn’t leave a painting unfinished unless it was a dire emergency or the will to do it just ran out. Some had sat there for months and Raito knew they would never be completed. They were either done in one sitting or not concluded at all.

Combing his fingers through his hair, he glanced up to see the artwork, expecting something good, though he never really enjoyed looking at pictures of himself. His hand stopped in his hair and his mouth opened slightly.

L had painted him but he doubted he’d had wings at the time.

Raito heard the quiet tread as L came up behind him. He could feel the heat off the artist even though they weren’t touching.

”Why an angel?” He whispered.

L bit gently on his thumb, examining the painting. “Angels are messengers from heaven, Raito-kun, carrying instructions from God. Sometimes they carry out his will, or…judge the deeds of men.” He murmured quietly.

Raito was still confused but decided to drop it, turning into the artist whose thumb dropped from his mouth as both arms embraced him.

“And you are my message from God, Raito-kun.” The artist whispered against his hair, so lightly that Raito doubted he’d heard it.

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

“Would you like to learn how to drive?”

L’s head whipped around so fast that Raito thought he might have injured himself. He apparently hadn’t though, from the intense look he was given as well as the lack of reply.

“Well?” They were driving to the gallery, the truck filled with paintings following in their wake. When they arrived L would of course stay in the car. He still had an issue with too many people knowing who he was and Raito was happy to comply, knowing that part of the artist’s mystique was the fact that hardly anyone knew what he actually looked like or who he was. As dearly as he loved him and as long as that had taken to admit, he was still a businessman and therefore, protecting an asset to his business.

L was still silent, looking at him with that unblinking stare. This one, however seemed slightly different to the normal, flat gaze. This one contained inklings of emotions that Raito saw very rarely in his lover, shades of longing, splotches of excitement and an overall tone of something denied for a very, very long time. Of course no one else would have been able to see this, except maybe Watari, who had known L for far longer than Raito.

Raito quirked an eyebrow at him, silently repeating his question and querying his silence. Suddenly the breath exploded out of L in a swift, whispered reply.

“Are you certain?”

“Sure!” Raito shrugged. “When ever you’d like to learn we can go an-.”

“Can we go now?”

Raito looked slightly askance at the excitement in L’s voice. He hadn’t seen such enthusiasm since Watari had bought home an 8-tierd cake for L’s birthday. Raito had had it specially made from a wedding cake shop and asked the man to deliver it so he didn’t have to leave it in the car. The artist had jealously hoarded it in his room, giving Raito and Watari a single slice each from the top tier only. But the sheer joy on his face when he’d first seen it was some Raito would remember for a long, long time.

“If you wa-”

Again he was interrupted. Twin thumps sounded as the artist’s feet dropped to the floor or the car as L leapt over, almost falling out of his seat and wrapping his arms around the brunette. Raito swerved and the truck behind him honked loudly.

Raito smiled down at the artist who was pressing his face into his neck, making grateful noises against his skin.

“We can go after the delivery if you like.” He felt L nod enthusiastically. Well, enthusiastically for him anyway – his head barely moved.

/////////

Raito didn’t make mistakes often.

He tried to curb his impulsive decisions to a minimum and tried to think everything through before taking actions. It was why he made a good businessman. He bet on sure things and didn’t take chances where he could.

He hadn’t banked on L being completely un-teachable though.

He stood in the office of the driving school, staring out into the shopping centre car park where L and the driving instructor were still at odds. They’d left the building some hour and a half ago and had yet to leave the complex’s car park.

After the initial fifteen minutes of the man attempting to get L to sit properly which he’d only done after Raito had come out and asked him to humor the man for the meantime; the instructor had spent all of five minutes showing L the workings of the vehicle before the artist slammed into reverse and backed right out into the side of another car. After much profuse apologies from the instructor to the man of the damaged automobile, they switched to another and tried again. L bunny-hopped wildly around the car park, indifferent to people in his path or directions from the instructor, who was looking increasingly strained, clutching his seatbelt and closing his eyes every time L’s foot jarringly found the brake.

After the furious shouting, screams of terror and honking of horns had died down somewhat, they came back in. The man shakingly stamped a giant ‘FAILED’ on L’s application and handed it to them. He stalked off muttering something about needing a strong alcoholic beverage, leaving the two standing in the front office.

The artist, after staring at the bold, red lettering, turned to look at Raito, his big, blank but still emotionally-wounded, eyes pulling the gallery owner’s compassion out of him in torrents. Raito couldn’t bear it and asked L to wait in the car while he tried to sort it out, thanking God that the receptionist had been shooting him adoring looks throughout his wait. Needless to say, he emerged ten minutes later and waved L’s new driving license at him, giving him a wry smile as the artist kissed him gratefully in the car and then, noticing the sweet-bakery next door, proceeded to forget completely about the card.

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


Hope you liked it – I know it was another filler chapter – but you get them between important arcs! Please let me know what you thought! And let me know if you got the sly Kira reference in there – it was actually the particular reason for a whole scene just so I could say it!


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