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.

Thank you all so much for your reviews! Every single one makes my day :) Thank you all for sticking with me so long - and to people who've only just started, thanks for liking it enough to want to read the new chapter :) Why do I suddenly feel like I'm doing some kind of welcoming speech? Sorry, it's very, very late and I'm rambling... Oh! Though for those that asked - life is super special awesome :)

I'll shut up now! Here's your new chapter!


Chapter Twenty-Six

Raito had, of course, been able to give an accurate description of his attacker to the policemen that arrived but he remained nervous and jumpy when, two days later, they still hadn’t caught his assailant They had requisitioned the hospital records from where Mikami had gotten to get his hand dressed, not to mentioned blood cultures from the prints on the door.

The personal hospital notes also told of another injury to the same hand that looked to be less than a year old. Apparently all his fingers on that hand been broken, bent backwards till the snapped. Slow pressure force. The policeman interviewing the gallery owner had winced as he recounted the story to Raito, speculating aloud how it had happened. Raito didn’t divulge that he’d known the man who had done it and why it had been done.

They had gotten a very good lead, had his name and address as well from Raito’s sale records, but just as they were closing in, Mikami’s trail had disappeared like smoke. Documents had gone missing, files from the city’s law computers deleted and everyone seemed to be blaming someone else.

A picture and som details of the attack had been printed in the paper a few days previous and the police suspected that it may have caused the man to somehow sabotage their investigation and leave the city. But they couldn’t be one hundred percent sure that he was gone or just laying low.

It made Raito uneasy and jumpy and when the night of the Taiko concert arrived, he no longer wanted to go.

It was only because of Misa and Matsuda’s insistence that they would accompany him there and then escort him home again afterwards that he even still considered it. The babysitting was a blow to his pride but the sheer terror of what might happen if the man actually got a hold of him kept him from being too upset about it. He could almost pretend like it was himself who’d suggested such a thing.

Dressing slowly in an effort to stay in his house longer, Raito examined himself in the mirror. A plain pair of dark brown trousers with a lighter fawn jacket over his white shirt would have looked strange on anyone else, but he knew it suited him. Knowing he had to look a little more professional he added a red silk tie and collected his wallet from where it was sitting on his bed.

Taking the lift down to the ground floor, he got into the back of the car that was idling there, making sure to look in the front for Matsuda before he got in. He was well aware he was being paranoid but he didn’t want to take any chances at all.

Pulling up at the theater, he saw Misa standing outside, for once in clothing that didn’t draw gratuitous attention to herself. He stepped out of the car and she came forward to greet him quickly.

He noted the exact moment that his ‘care’ seemed to transfer from one to the other and resisted a bemused smile at the way the two of them were acting like it was a top secret mission. He was just going to a concert, there was no need for the communication headsets and alarm-belts that Matsuda had wanted to buy.

His assistant had instead settled for a walkie-talkie set that he’d purchased himself from a children's store. Raito watched as Misa spoke into it, drawing more attention as they walked as people stopped to stare at a somewhat grown women speaking into a giant purple box with a sparkly antenna on the top. Raito pushed ahead a little and Misa ran to catch up and show him where his seat was.

They climbed the stairs together and she gestured to the curtained off area after sticking her head in to make sure no one was there. Raito began to slide between the curtains when she stopped him and pressed the purple box into his hand.

“Take this. Call us if you need to. We’ll be just outside the building.” Glancing around, he took it with a poorly covered look of embarrassment and nodded, murmuring that he would use it if he had to.

She had a serious look on her face that made Raito forget his discomfiture and feel suddenly grateful that he had such loyalty from his employees. They were here on a night off so he could go to some kind of leisure activity. He was sure that waiting in the car for a two hour concert wasn’t quite what they’d had in their minds but he was grateful none the less.

Misa must have seen the look on his face because, ever the opportunist, she chanced a quick hug and got under the inevitable warding off of his arms. Gleefully she wrapped her arms around his middle and gave him a quick, fervent squeeze. Raito pried her off methodically and she gave him a sheepish look before snapping a quick, ridiculous looking salute that Matsuda had probably taught her and left.

He settled back into his assigned box, trying and failing not to notice that it was the exact same one he’d booked when he’d attended with L. Despite the fact that they’d only been there once together, he seemed to be able to easily close his eyes and imagine the other man sitting there, next to him. His hand dipped into his pocket again, feeling for the ring. He brought it out and watched the broken links fall through his fingers, glinting in the low light.

The announcer came on stage but Raito barely heard him, consumed with regret as he was. Silence reigned at the lights went down and people shuffled restlessly. Every passing moment seemed weigh heavier, heaping on ‘what if’ situations, till Raito felt the heavy prick of tears. Blinking, Raito glanced at a sudden murmuring from the crowd made, wanting to see what was causing such a stir.

A thin, barefoot man was crossing the stage towards the Taiko drum, dressed in only a pair of loose fitting grey pants, no symbol of rank or group on him anywhere. He wasn’t even wearing traditional materials.

Raito squinted, then his eyes shot wide as the breath suddenly stopped in his chest. His heart lurched and he couldn’t stop the noise of surprise that fought it’s way up his frozen throat. He’d recognize that awkward, shambling gait anywhere.

His hands gripped the fine wood of the railing as he leaned forward, intent, watching as L took up his sticks and set himself before the drum. A silent tension settled over the moment as the artist remained motionless, held still in his beginning pose before he swung the stick up over his head and brought it down.

Raito stared, entranced as L played, the fine muscles in his back shown off by his shirtlessness and the sheen of sweat that soon covered his form. Assistants brought on other drums and L switched to them seamlessly, never stopping in his audio imprisonment of the crowd.

His slender arms swung with a power and force that Raito never knew he had, he turned from drum to drum with the entrancing grace of a trained dancer. Raito belatedly remembered that the flyer had stated that all the songs L was playing he had written himself. And that he’d only been playing for less than four months! How was such mastery and elegance obtained in such a short while?

The song finished abruptly and Raito sucked in a breath and squinted eyes gummy from lack of blinking. L bowed passively to the crowd, hardly having to dip his head from his usual posture and left the stage to thunderous applause. Raito leaned over the balcony and watched as every single person rose to their feet in awe of the performance.

Leaning back in his seat he sunk into thought. It must have been L that had sent the ticket. There was no possible chance available for him to be here on the one night he would perform and have someone else invite him. Now that he’d actually seen the man and was aware that, just like last time, it was the artist who was bridging the gap between them by making that first contact, he felt unsure.

And then suddenly terrified.

What if Nate saw him here? What if the art dealer himself had attended?! The white-haired man’s obvious covetous nature where L was concerned certainly wouldn’t rule out such a thing from happening. Of course he would have come to see him. And these sorts of events were brilliant for obtaining additional business, Raito could attest to that fact himself.

He remained in his seat, suddenly petrified to look over the balcony in case Nate was there and happened to look up and see him. Not to mention that his stalker could still be lurking somewhere nearby, though he’d refrained from mentioning to anyone other than his employees where he was going tonight.

But still…

The curtain shifted behind him and Raito instantly froze, thinking of Mikami. He immediately chided himself, knowing it was probably Misa, concerned about how long he’d lingered.

But it was L, now clothed in a loose white shirt and pants. The alarmed feeling intensified as the artist stepped up onto the seat next to him and crouched down to sit.

They remained in silence till Raito cleared his throat to break it and L turned his head to look at him. Raito clenched his jaw and reluctantly met his gaze. There were no sudden bursts of apology, though a part of Raito wanted to. Just the two of them, the faint sounds as the last of the people left, filtering through the heavy curtains.

Raito swallowed and looked away, unable to meet the blank look on the artist’s face any longer.

What could he say that would make amends for all the hurt he’d caused this man?

“I would like it, if Raito-kun would also enjoy such an outing, if we could retire for a meal presently. Raito-kun is looking under-nourished and I am somewhat hungry after my performance.”

Taking the gallery owner’s silence for what it was; reluctance, L continued.

“We can use the back door. No one will see us leave together if that is still an issue you are having trouble dealing with.”

Raito was still hesitant and as usual, L got right to the heart of the matter.

“I think that if Raito-kun were up to date on the more recent current events in circulation, he would not hesitate so. If you are tentative to be seen with me for reasons other than those your originally gave, then be rest assured that those problems have been…dealt with.”

Raito’s mind raced. What was L referring to? Did this mean he had spoken to Nate about their relationship? Raito couldn’t think of anything more mortifying. The artist wouldn’t have minced his words at all, if that was indeed the case. But Nate would never ignore the two of them being together. No, the pale-haired man must assume that they were no longer interested in one another for this whole situation to work out in their favor.

But when the artist has spoken, he’d said it with such conviction, his eyes boring into Raito’s, seemingly trying to impart a hidden message. Perhaps it would be safe. Just this once, to go and…talk.

With that resolved, Raito’s caution lifted and L nodded imperceptibly at the change.

Still unable to speak and no longer fearing a surprise meeting with Nate, Raito nodded back and rose from his seat. The plastic box, forgotten till now, slid off his lap and landed on the thick carpet with a muffled thump. He bent quickly, to pick it up, knowing that Matsuda would mope around the gallery if he broke it by accident.

L shot an inquiring glance at the fluro child’s walkie-talkie in his hand before Raito remembered that Misa and Matsuda would probably be waiting for him outside. Mortified, he lifted it to his lips and spoke one of the phrases that Matsuda had drilled them all on before leaving.

“ Red Apple to Orange, Red Apple to Orange, come in Orange.”

The cheap plastic crackled briefly before Matsuda’s too-serious voice cut in. The man was pretending like they were secret agents or something. Perhaps he felt cool because of it. It just made Raito feel like an idiot. He refused to look L in the eye, turning his back slightly, as though if he couldn’t see the other man, then this whole situation wasn’t happening.

“Orange here. What is the situation and your position?”

“The…” God, this was embarrassing. “The…Apple no longer needs to be juiced. Repeat, no juicing is needed. A...” He paused here, trying to figure out what to say and trying to ignore the incredulous look that L was sure to be giving him. “A…bottle of juice has already arrived.”

“What?” Matsuda sounded just as confused as he felt. His patience snapped a bit.

“Look just…for God’s sake. I’m getting a lift with someone else.” Before Matsuda could cut in, he kept going. “And no it’s not the crazy guy. Just…thanks but go home you two.”

He heard Misa’s indignant shout in the background as Matsuda called back a fruity affirmative.

L held open the edge of the curtain to pass through.

“Let’s go Raito-kun. I think we need to converse.”

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

I wasn’t sure whether to upload this chapter now or let myself have another day to work on it – but I really like parts of this chapter and other parts just didn’t work.

Let me know what you thought – favorite bits and all that haha :)

Also, does anyone live in NZ? If so, did you go to Doujin2008? I cosplayed the ultimate Kira fangirl and went as Misa (only cause Raito looks awful with boobs :S ) – for a fuller version of the day, go here - http://hellagoddess.livejournal.com/ - and to see my ridiculous photos also :) Very fun day though!

Edit: My computer recieved a virus recently so has been in the shop for some time - on it's way to being courierd back to me it has gone missing - and that was AFTER they sent it back without the hard-drive! Hopefully will be back shortly - so sorry to leave you guys hanging like this! But I'm not sure how long it's going to take!


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