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 about the late update - Honestly, I completely forgot that it was Tuesday, ergo I update! Thanks AGAIN to all the horrendously wonderful people who've reviewed!! Seriously, it makes my FREAKING day when someone reviews!

Chapter Three


“Black, thirteen percent.” A low, distracted murmuring came from around the sectioned wall in front of him. Raito, recognizing the voice from the phone call, walked forward, unsure if he should call out or not. He might startle the man in the midst of some important detail.

“Red, forty-five percent. Yellow, thirty-two percent.”

A man was sitting there, or rather crouched upon a chair in front of an easel, facing away. Raito assumed that this must be L and stepped forward somewhat hastily. In his slight excitement at finally meeting the renowned artist who less than a handful of people had ever seen, he jostled a small table on his way to where the man was sitting. Putting down a hand to steady himself, he wrinkled his nose at the table’s contents. Two uneaten cakes, jars of candy and lollipops adorned the surface, along with strings of candy bracelets and a stack of chocolate bars.

Now that he actually thought about it and looked around, almost every easel had a small table bedecked like this next to it, some varied but the overall theme was high in sugar.

He glanced at the one next to L, surprised to see a china tea set balanced precariously on top of an empty cake tier. An enormous sugar bowl sat next to the almost full cup of tea and, as Raito watched, a pale hand reached out absently and dropped four or five cubes of sugar in, then picked up a lollipop to stir it with. A sip was taken and the cup set back down.

Raito stepped forward, still not sure if the man knew he was there. He could only see the back of his head and L hadn’t turned around since he’d come round the corner. Perhaps the disfiguration he’d suspected would be evident. He edged forward again, enough to bring the man into slight profile, faintly let down that he had what appeared to be a normal face under his riotous mess of black hair, if a little pale and pointy.

“Excuse me. Pleased to meet you. I am the owner of Kira Gallery, Yagami Raito. He held out his hand to be shaken, not really expecting the man to take it. The best artists were always a strange bunch and this one didn’t seem much different. He wasn’t even looked at, and his offered handshake dropped away with only a little insult.

L held up a hand, stalling any further introduction, his other hand clasping an uncapped tube of paint between his index finger and thumb, edging the opposable joint along to slowly squeeze the liquid from it.

“White.” He murmured in the same unfocused tone. “Ten percent.”

Dropping the tube to the floor where it rolled slightly, still uncapped, he selected a thin, flat wooden stick from amongst the sweets next to him. Holding it only between his thumb and forefinger again, as if it might dirty him, he lowered it towards the splotches of paint.

Raito looked on, faintly bemused at his behavior but not really surprised.

He mixed quickly, still not looking at his guest, as a violent, burnt shade of orange smeared itself across his palette. Then he was done mixing and set everything down. L turned slowly in the seat, finally facing his guest, his hands resting on his knees as he remained in that odd hunched position, eyes unblinking.

“I am L.”

Raito held out his hand again, repeating his own name. L’s grip was bony and stronger than he’d expected, his wrist sinewy and thin, bedecked as it was by colourful candy bracelets. The reason for them became apparent when, after dropping Raito’s hand, L turned back to the painting, one hand selecting a brush and the other picking up his palette. A pause and then he dipped his head, lifting his wrist and chewed a few sweets off the bracelet before starting.

“I’m here to pick up the paintings like we arranged.”

L made a noise of confirmation then promptly ignored him.

Raito studied the man’s profile as he worked. Pale and thin, L’s complexion spoke easily about his lifestyle, dark circles underneath his eyes belied the many long nights awake that some artists were prone too. Raito wondered at the man’s weight if all he ate all day were cakes and sweets. Surely he’d be huge, but the baggy white sweater clung to a back bony and slender, the wrists and fingers poking out, deftly working at the canvas, were almost skeletal in their circumference. Of all the things he’d expected the infamous man to be, what he saw before him was not it. And the fact that he was just ignoring him was beginning to get on Raito’s nerves. He had better things to do than watch someone paint all day! He checked his watch quickly, wanting to interrupt but not wanting to be as rude as the other man had been.

But suddenly the section he was working on was done and L set down his tools before standing slowly, as if stiff. Raito wasn’t surprised if he sat that way all the time. He was tempted to ask but the artist shuffled forward, back hunched as his hands slipped into the pockets of his loose jeans.

“They’re down on the second basement floor. Art bay.” He shambled forward, looking like an extra from a horror film that had somehow ended up down the wrong end of town.

Raito walked beside him as they traversed the living space, inquiring about Watari’s health. Not that he actually cared but it was a polite courtesy.

L murmured that he would be back soon without elaborating, casting a longing glance at a plate of chocolate-coated strawberries on a table they passed. Raito was about to reply when suddenly the artist stopped, did an about face, walked back to the table and picked up the plate. He turned back to Raito, walking, his hand automatically selecting a fruit and biting into it as he waited in the lift. After tapping in a code absently, he finished the entire plate on the way down and set it in a corner, leaving it there when the time came to exit.

When the doors opened, the place seemed enormous. A giant windowless warehouse with a garage-style door at one end, most likely for the delivery trucks to pass through. There were stacks and stacks of finished canvases, some taller than Raito and broader than he could reach with both arms. He briefly wondered why L just hadn’t sent some of these for the showing when he’d felt uninspired. They would have sold just as well.

Then they’d arrived at the crates. Several sat there, collected into various groups, the giant L on the side, huge and black in the half darkness. Raito wondered how he would actually get them out of the warehouse and into the gallery. He had been told not to bring a truck to transport them. L, it seemed, was fixing the issue.

He slid a cell phone out of his pocket and flipped it open, holding it again in that odd two fingered grip he seemed so fond of. Raito’s brow furrowed and he considered that L might be concerned about germs or the like. It certainly looked like he thought everything he handled was dirty. Raito looked away and found himself smiling slightly. It was a strange but amusing image.

L punched in a number with the very tip of his finger then spoke quietly into the phone. He finished the conversation and turned to Raito.

“A man will be arriving soon to load the crates you need. If you so desire, drive the truck to your gallery with him. He will unload them and bring you back here for your vehicle.”

Raito was suddenly confused. If he had a man with a truck who was happy to drive to the gallery, then couldn’t they have avoided this whole scenario and just had him drop them off? He was opening his mouth to ask when L interrupted him in that low, monotone of his.

“Do you have a girlfriend, Yagami-kun?” He suddenly asked, shocking Raito into actually answering the off-topic question. The gallery owner glanced at L while he did so but the artist wasn’t even looking it him, hands in his pockets, idly scuffing his bare foot against the flooring.

“No, no I do not. I don’t have time for such-.” He was cut off as L interjected again, looking up this time, his head tilted slightly to one side. Honestly, the man had no social manners whatsoever.

“A boyfriend then?”

Raito stared at him as the artist calmly stared back. In less than 10 minutes of knowing him, L had managed to insult him, anger him, make him smile and divulge one of his deepest secrets that he even denied himself. He’d dated girls sporadically in high school, mostly just for the social norm, because people might think it odd that all he thought about was school. But overall he found them to be frivolous, unintelligent beings who struggled to keep up with him at his lowest level. So far in his life, he’d never found an intellectual equal. It didn’t matter if they were male or female, but all the girls he’d met so far were idiotic.

“Are these the ones?” Raito gestured and turned towards the stack nearest the door, trying to get away from that flat, obsidian gaze that seemed to know everything and reflect none of that knowledge back to him.

“Is Yagami-kun uncomfortable with my question?” L asked, still in that annoying even tone. It didn’t even lilt at the end, making it seem more like a statement than an inquiry.

Raito schooled his face to an impassive mask quickly. “No. I just didn’t deem it worthy of a reply.”

L gave him a flat, lifeless look, which Raito was determined not to squirm under as it went on and on with neither of them saying anything. Suddenly L glanced at the crates next to Raito. “Yes, those are them.”

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

Ooh so they’ve met. What did people think of L? I’ve tried to keep him as true as possible to how I recall him. I’m pleased people like my Raito as well.

And please review, it lets me know that people are still enjoying it! Or if you don't have time, just rate it, I count a rating as a 'I'm too busy to review but here's what I think!' kinda thing! :)


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