Shades of Mystification

BY : Hellagoddess
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 20593
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.

Here's the new chapter! Less filler more actual storyline!


Chapter Twenty-Four

Raito sat in his car, absently watching people pass in the street. The morning newspaper sat on the seat next to him, neatly folded, belying the intense irritation he felt with it. Something with that much feeling directed at it should be scrunched up, at least a little bit creased on the edges, but no, it sat there, pristine as when he’d picked it up off his step before leaving for work.

At a set of lights on the way to work, the headline had caught his eye and, he’d whipped it open, eyes flicking over the cover, widening with disbelief. Cars had started to honk behind him as the lights changed and, frustrated, he set the paper down, knowing he’d finish the story when he reached the gallery.

Raito shot another look at the paper. It changed so much for him and yet nothing at the same time.

The head story featured a building, gutted by fire, obscenities scrawled on the still smoking ruins, hateful blacks and reds. The headline centered over the depressing picture, telling everyone something they already knew.

~Eight die in hate crimes committed against public servant.~

Raito couldn’t look at the page anymore and schooling his mask into place, exited the car and walked to the front steps of the gallery. He touched the cool metal of the door reverently. He may not have been an artist but he loved his job. He couldn’t imagine doing anything else. What he would give to avoid the gallery having the same fate.

Entering, he heard Misa’s shrieking tone, preparing himself as she heard the entrance door slide open.

“Yagami-san! Yagami-san! Did you hear?” She came running around the corner, short skirt flaring out, much to Matsuda’s appreciation as he followed her. He stiffened, bracing in case she decided to throw herself at him. It was a fortunate day that she stopped short, wringing her hands, eyes red with shed tears.

“Yes Misa, I saw the paper this morning.” He kept his tone cool as he walked past her. He couldn’t afford to let the tiniest bit of concern show. Perhaps it was time he gave them a holiday, he didn’t want the same thing ever happening to them. Aizawa’s wards hadn’t escaped either. They had all burned to death for a mistake their benefactor had made. Raito resolved that nothing like that would ever happen to his employees. Some days they were almost like friends.

“But… he didn’t deserve it! How could they do something like that! All those men!”

Raito turned in the door of his office, facing her sniffling face.

“No-one deserves that, Misa, but he made a mistake. He should have been smarter than that.”

Ignoring the girl’s tearful noises, he walked in and shut the door behind him, leaning against it. This whole thing hit too close to home. Such a coincidence…

Aizawa had been a friend of his father’s. He’d helped Soichiro out in his early years at the gallery, using his natural flair to make it something different. The man had remained a family friend for years and Raito had grown up calling him uncle. Then the story had come out.

Aizawa was gay. The friend he’d been living with for years was actually his lover. The public hadn’t known what to do. Here was a man who was such a help to the community, had donated to countless fundraisers, was an all-round genuinely nice guy; and yet when the news had come out, he wasn’t served in a single restaurant in the city. The building he lived in was defaced with graffiti, his car set on fire, Raito had never known that such people had such dislike dwelling in their hearts.

Soichiro had regretfully cut off contact with him, explaining the need to spare his family from the hatred that was suddenly springing up from religious and purist groups. His friend had understood and that had been the last time Raito had ever seen him.

Aizawa had retreated for a while, only to come back twice as strong, opening a shelter for people such as himself, right in the heart of the city. It had been a brave move, but a dangerous one. Raito flicked the paper open again, even though he knew the picture on the front was the Centre.

He closed it again and sat at his desk, slowly leaning back in the chair. This made the decision for him. There just wasn’t any other way. The issue of his own sexuality would have to stay a secret, for the rest of his life. Resolving himself, he dismissed scenarios in which he and L lived together, happy. He tried not to think about the tentatively-made plans in the back of his mind, half-formed and hopeful. The ones where they’d spend the occasional night at his parents for dinner, hands clasped under the table, understanding looks on his parents faces as they stared at each other adoringly. Something like that could never happen now.

Suddenly saddened, he rose to his feet, wanting to inspect the gallery, as he usually did. Walking helped him think too. Perhaps some new idea would make itself known. Perhaps he should just sell the gallery and he and L could move to Spain or New Zealand or somewhere ridiculous like that.

His footsteps echoed in the empty space, the high ceilings that usually lent him a semblance of peace now seemed a cage. He would have to be more careful in the future, already he spent too much time in the artist’s company. He was becoming lax and easygoing about the whole thing and that needed to stop. As if his train of thougt was dictating his movements he paused in stride, considering how to go about seeing less of each other but still maintaining the relationship.

He didn’t have too much time to mull it over because when he’d stopped, a crunching sound was heard underfoot and it quickly broke him from his reverie.

He looked down, still slightly puzzled and lifted his shoe to look underneath it.

‘Glass?’

Raito’s eyebrows almost met in the middle.

‘Why is there glass on the gallery floor?’

His gaze roamed slightly and he discovered more, turning towards the wall and finding the source of the scattered fragments. Someone had smashed a window.

Raito’s eyes opened wide and he finally noticed a brick lying not far from where he was standing. Someone had thrown a brick though the window. Why it hadn’t set off the alarm, Raito didn’t know. But the more interesting thing was the fact that the brick had something tied around it. A rubber band, holding a piece of paper.

He slowly walked forward and picked it up, hefting it in his hand. He quickly stripped the band off, slipping it into his pocket and he unfolded the paper attached.

There was a dull thump a few seconds later as the brick slipped out of his suddenly nerveless hand, narrowly avoiding his Italian shoes. The paper in his grasp shook as he stared at the writing on it, reading it over and over again.

~FAGGOT.~


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


“Are you okay, Raito-san?” Misa asked as he walked back towards his office. He gestured distractedly back to where he’d come from. “There’s been an accident. Could you tidy it up, Misa?”

She nodded quickly and hurried further into the gallery, shooting a concerned look after her boss.

Raito closed the door after himself softly and, his shaking legs unable to hold him up anymore, slumped into his office chair. He should have been thinking about reporting the vandalism to the police and repairing the window but instead all he could do was focus on the words, held in his trembling hand. His greatest fear had been realized.

Someone knew.

Someone knew who didn’t like him.

The fear that he’d first felt at the start of the relationship, dampened by months of comfortable secrecy came rushing back. He’d been too careless. Someone had noticed, and now that person was making their knowledge common. Images filled his head, of the papers getting a hold of the story, his parents saddened faces, his employees handing in their resignations. He dropped the paper and cradled his head in his hands. The gallery would lose all its business. Maybe they’d even attack him in the street like Aizawa. Burn his house to the ground.

The desk phone rang suddenly, his personal line. Eyes closed, he picked it up slowly and put it to his ear, praying the day wouldn’t get any worse.

“Kira gallery. Yagami Raito speaking.”

“Yagami-san.” There was a pause and Raito could hear a smug element enter the voice. “I trust you’re having a good morning?”

A spike of something dark and filled with loathing shot through him as he recognized the other voice. His hand clenched, crushing the note into a ball. Now he knew who it had been.

“Nate.” He hissed. ‘That little shit!’

“There is no need to be so rude to an old friend, for that’s what we are, am I right? After all, you don’t have many close friends. Only one that I’ve heard of so far.”

Suddenly Raito understood the whole story before the pale art-dealer could spell it out. Nate knew. Nate knew about him and L somehow, had found out. And he knew the answer to his question before he’d even asked it.

“What do you want?”

And from the low, soulless sound of amusement that answered him, he knew it would be the hardest thing he’d ever had to do.

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

He braced his forehead against the lift wall, resting his feverish brain against its cool, metal surface. He wondered briefly if the staff in the entrance hall could see that the elevator hadn’t moved from the bottom floor. He decided he didn’t care and they could stare at the unmoving number all they liked. It didn’t get him any closer to punching in his code and racing him towards the horrible conclusion to his conversation with Nate.

He’d spoken to the man a few minutes more, in a vain attempt to discover how he’d found out. The man hadn’t let slip a single thing, instead had outlined in horrible detail just what Raito had to do to keep his good name in the public eye and his sexuality out of the papers.

So here he was, in L’s lift, about to change his life. Whether for better or worse, he couldn’t tell.

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


L was pleased to see him.

Raito wasn’t surprised. He’d said the previous night when he’d left, that he had some things to take care of and probably wouldn’t be over for a few days. So after avoiding the artist’s kiss of greeting by a swift sidestep, he stood by the window seat and waited for L to settle into a chair. He couldn’t help but want to see the artist’s reaction. Look for one last little sign that he had really and truly loved him. Taking a deep breath, Raito shattered the awkward silence.

“I don’t want you anymore”

L’s eyes widened almost comically and the fork he was holding dipped in his grip till it clattered to the floor. He swallowed the mouthful of cake he had been eating and searched Raito’s face. The gallery owner abruptly couldn’t bear the gaze and turned so his hair blocked the view.

“Raito-kun should not play such hurtful games.” He whispered, unblinking.

“It’s not a game, L. It’s over. I can’t see you.” Raito had turned away completely, straining for an unemotional edge to his voice. It worked better if he couldn’t see L’s face.

“Why?”

L sounded…plaintive. Of all the reactions Raito had been hoping for, this was the one he dreaded the most. He’d wanted to come in, have a screaming argument and storm out. It would have made things so much easier to handle. Quick and relatively painless.

“Because it’s just not…” He swallowed heavily. “…working out.” His voice cracked slightly and he hated it. He knew L wouldn’t have missed something like that.

“Raito-kun. Is there something you want to tell me?”

Damn him! L always saw through anything he tried to throw up in front of him.

“No! I just, I’m not gay! I don’t like you like that any more.”

Even he had to admit it was a poor sounding excuse. And the artist knew it for what it was. Hands were suddenly turning him around and he fought their soft tugging, flailing at them in a way that would have mortified him in its femininity if he hadn’t been so upset already. But the hands kept coming and then arms were encircling him and holding him close and oh God it was everything he wanted to feel for the rest of his life and everything he hated about the situation. A hand came to rest on the back of his neck and Raito found his forehead in the familiar place of L’s shoulder.

“Raito-kun. I don’t pretend to know why you’re doing this. But whatever it is, you’re stronger than this, you have more stock than this problem you’re having.”

“It’s not a problem! I just don’t love you!” He hissed, struggling to get away again. Being in L’s arms was making him forget all of his resolutions in the lift. It would be better for them both if he just walked away. L had stiffened at his last statement and Raito could feel him shaking slightly. He thought for a second that the artist might be crying. The grip of the hands on him slackened and he wrenched himself backwards, out of their grasp.

But L wasn’t crying.

He was livid.

Raito blinked as unchecked rage slowly filled up those black pools, imagining that this was what Mikami must have felt like at the park that day.

Suddenly, the artist exploded.

“Well go on then! Run! Run like a fucking coward! Does what we have really mean nothing to you?” Raito didn’t know what he was more taken aback by. The swearing or the fact that he’d never seen L’s anger directed at him. The emotion pouring out of him was as terrifying as it was fascinating. The artist advanced quickly and fisted a hand in his shirt. Raito thought for a second that L was going to hit him and flinched. But L’s lips were on his own again, hard and insistent, reminding him again of everything he was losing. They broke apart and L was whispering against his lips, the gallery owner struggling to hear.

“You don’t want to leave. Something is making you do this.”

Raito shook his head slightly and L interrupted again.

“I never thought you would be this weak, Raito-kun, to be pushed around by something else. You’ve never been this fragile, this…pathetic.” His words made Raito suddenly angry. He wasn’t weak! He was just being blackmailed by the slimiest piece of shit in the city! He wasn’t doing this just for him! He was doing this for L too, and damn it all if the artist didn’t realize it some time down the track and thank him for it. But L was speaking again and Raito felt the rage swell up in him further.

“I never thought you were weak…but I guess I was wrong.”

Raito drew back his fist and punched him. Hard. L’s head whipped to the side before another hit struck him on the other cheek. Raito backed off, panting, his fist still clenched.

“I’m not weak!” He flushed angrily, expecting the artist to come at him, to hit him back, slightly surprised when he didn’t.

L’s eyes faintly watered as a shaking hand rose to touch the blossoming bruise on his cheek, dabbing hesitantly. He coldly examined a trace of blood left on his fingers where the skin had split. A tear, conspicuous in its solitariness, slid free of his eye and rolled down his cheek. L wiped at it with the same distant motion, rubbing the drop of moisture between his fingertips.

“I’m glad it hurt!” Raito said, hot with fury, with embarrassment, with guilt.

L’s eyes flicked to him, hands dropping back down to his sides. “That isn’t what hurts, Raito-kun.”

The gallery owner broke free of L’s gaze angrily, strode to the bathroom, found the first aid kit under the sink. He threw it at him on his way out, the guilt making him furious. “Here! That’s for your face. I can’t do anything for your heart.”

The lift door, being automatic, would not slam, but Raito kicked it with a resounding thud to achieve the same effect and leaned against the metal wall, weeping, unheard by the artist on the other side.

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

And so the new arc starts! Please don’t hate me! We’re onto the last section of this story and I hope you’ll like the coming chapters as much as you’ve liked the previous ones!

Thank you all, so much, for all your wonderful reviews! I won’t know what to do with myself when this is finally finished! Haha!

Please let me know what you thought :)


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