Title: Discordant Harmony
Chapter One: Back to the Basics
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Yagami Raito's eye twitched as the clock hanging on the wall of the small cafe he was residing in mocked him cruelly by continuing to count the minutes by.
1:38 p.m. it read.
His manager was supposed to be here by 1:15. Damn ass-hole had the audacity to actually be late! I mean, who kept Raito, one of the newest up and coming 1st class artists of Japan, waiting for almost 20 minutes?! And without any calls to notify him of the tardiness, no less!
Oh, this guy was going to hear the bitching of his life.
"I'm so sorry I'm late!" An anxious cry cut through the 23 year old's thoughts as a dark haired man in his mid to late twenties ran into the dim cafe, maneuvering his way through waiter's and patrons, finally making his way to where Raito sat down. A precarious smile sat on Matsuda Touta's face as he plopped a case on the table and hunkered down on a chair across from the simmering younger man. "Before you get mad, Yagami-kun, you have to listen to this. After you hear this news, I can say, with utmost confidence, that you will love me unconditionally."
A dubious expression settled over Raito's features as Matsuda's grin dropped a fraction.
"How about for the next five minutes?" Matsuda uselessly bargained.
Still not happening, if the look on Raito's face was any indication. Disgust had a way of making itself known, whether the owner wanted it to or not. In this case, Raito didn't really give a damn.
"Are you going to tell me this 'great news,' of am I going to have to fire you, Matsuda?" Raito reclined back comfortably on his chair as the slightly older man began to panic in earnest. "Of course not, Yagami-kun! It's just, the reason I was late was..."
Matsuda grinned as he then began to give himself a drum roll on the table, as local bystanders stared at the odd, strangely cheerful manager. Raito's blood pressure began to rise, steadily but surely, as Matsuda began to add vocal sound effects to said banging.
"Matsuda!" Raito yelled in both embarrassment and aggravation. "Just tell me what's got you so damned excited already!"
A huge grin spread across the man's cheeks as he then exploded with the 'great news.' "I got you a spot on the latest exhibition in the Tokyo National Museum!" Matsuda exclaimed loudly. Several people stopped what they were doing once again, this time staring at Raito awe-struck. Raito would have enjoyed it, if not for the overwhelming shock that had inhabited his body and mind.
"You... you... you..." Raito could barely even speak, and that was an injustice in itself.
Matsuda grinned cheesily as he nodded eagerly. Raito was silent for a moment, allowing his mind to finally process just what Matsuda had just told him. The exhibit... the same exhibit that began in just two weeks?!
"But, how did... Two weeks, that's just not enough time to-"
"Raito, everything has been taken care of." Matsuda began, knowing enough about the man's meticulous planning to see just what it was he was freaking out about. "A friend of mine has some ties with the head of the art department, and managed to get the head honcho to take a look at your latest series. He was so impressed with it, that he wanted to get his hands on it as soon as possible. After some well placed digging, I managed to get you a spot within the new exhibit opening up. All we have to do is bring in all your latest sensations and instruct where to set them up. For all the work you usually do, this'll be a piece of cake!"
Raito thought through this, knowing that this could be his official 'break' into the artisan's community. This was a big exhibit, and if he managed to gather enough attention...
"Matsuda," Raito began shakily. "If you weren't such a dork, I'd kiss you right now."
Matsuda pouted before hanging his head in shame.
Yagami Raito was a charmed young man. Good looks, high I.Q., full of so much talent and potential; who wouldn't want to be him? He was on a pedestal, praised by many and admired by many more. Not just that, Raito was also steadily gaining success, bringing much attention to his ideals his paintings heavily incorporated.
The fame and fortune was just an added bonus.
Yet, with all this going on, Raito's main ambition, even if he tried to cover it up with sugar coated words and sweet, humble smiles, was to be the best. Anything less was completely unsatisfactory.
The boy had finished high school two years before his other classmates, all with the highest grade point average his school had ever seen. All of his professors and counselors had tried to shove so many potential careers down his throat; detective, professor, lawyer... they were all careers he did find interesting, yes, but none of them were really his true passion.
At the end of the day, painting was what called to him, and it helped that he was damned good at it as well.
Yes, Raito had always been the best at everything, and had even managed to reach out for his dream, but... he yearned for something more. There was an emptiness inside the 23-year-old aching to be filled, and Raito didn't quite know what it was.
At least, not yet.
Sepia eyes closed as Raito crashed onto his black leather couch, the colorful atmosphere of his apartment soothing his frayed nerves. Both he and Matsuda had been setting up the final touches of his portion of the exhibit, since Raito refused to have anyone else set up his pieces. They were connected together in such a way that you had to look deeper than what was just painted on the portraits, and Raito doubted they would get it right. His scheme was a merry-go-round of perfection, but it worked, and if it wasn't broken, he didn't see the need to fix it.
The short notice did nothing to help the poor man, but he had managed to finish his display with two days left to spare. Raito was nothing, if not a perfectionist.
Everyone would love it, and if they did not...
Well, what the hell did they know about art, anyway?
Yet, as he thought back on his day, Raito remembered the various paintings that had caught his eye in the farthest corner of the gallery...
God, they had been both beautiful and disturbing all at once.
'I must go see those paintings the next time I go to the gallery...' Raito longingly thought. 'They were simply on another plain of genius that I have yet to have seen! Who could have painted such master pieces?'
Before Raito could contemplate the pictures further, a hellish sound resonated from his jacket pocket, which hung innocently by the door...
"A few times I've been around that track, so it's not just gonna happen like that, 'cause I ain't no hollaback girl; I ain't no hollaback girl!"
On the other side of the room.
It seemed getting up was inevitable, unless he wanted to listen to the song from hell for the next three hours.
"Let me hear you say: this shit is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! This shit is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"
"God damn it, Sayu!"
"Again! This shit is Bananas! B-A-N-A-!"
It seemed the little brat had once again tampered with his cell phone; how, he would never know. Fucking Gwen Stefani. If only there was a way to kill her by just writing down her name somewhere, preferably by heart attack! But that was just a ridiculous.
A killer notebook. Try that one on for size, Stephen King.
"Sayu? What the hell do you want?" Raito finally get to the cell, answering as pissed as he could sound. Not that it would faze the 19-year-old.
The girl was perpetually cheerful ALL THE TIME!
"Ah, I can feel the broodiness already, and it hasn't even been three seconds! How is my angsty, artistic older brother in all his conformity-hating glory?" Sayu's voice tinkled like soft bells, her playful tone managing to pull a small smile on the disgruntled artist's face.
"Picking on your insanely handsome, innocent big brother already, Sayu-chan? Now that's just low for you, sis. Now why did you call me? I doubt it was to try to find some underlying, non-existent insecurity."
Raito could almost see the pout on the young woman's face, as her attempts at subtlety failed.
"Onii-chaaaaaan... I love you. Why would you just assume that every time I call, it's just for-"
"Sayu. What do you want?" Raito interrupted without a thought. There was only so much fluff he could take.
Raito knew that wasn't going to last very long.
"Can I get a ticket to your new exhibit? Please, please, please, please onii-chan?! I'll love you forever and ever and ever!" Sayu's high pitched begging almost destroyed the 23-year-old's ear drums as Raito held the phone away from his ear. "Onii-chan? Are you there? Huh?"
Raito faltered for only the slightest of moments.
Sister Plus Exhibit Equaled Most Probable Mayhem
A picture of Sayu's crushed face came to mind, beating his morally-conscious conscience to submission.
"Sayu? I'll... see what I can do."
A high pitched squeal crackled through the phone line as Raito's eyebrow twitched in agitation. The girl knew she had just been guaranteed a ticket.
Damn, he was a softie.
"Thank you, onii-chan!"
"Yeah, whatever. You're appreciative. Lovely. I've got to go now, if it isn't too much to ask?" Raito's sarcasm covered up his embarrassment rather nicely. Praise was all well and good, but the regret he knew he was going to feel later on smothered that nice feeling rather quickly.
Sayu had a way of... livening up any occasion with her perky disposition and equally blunt approach.
Oh, what did he just walk himself into?
"Ok, onii-chan. Call me when you get the tickets! I'll see ya later; love you muchly! Bysies!" Sayu's energetic voice cut off as a small beep signaled the end of the conversation. Raito sighed as he stared at the cell phone in his hand before reluctantly dialing his manager's phone number.
Yay. Dim wit number two, come on down.
"Hey, Yagami-kun!" Cried a joyous Matsuda.
"Hey Matsuda." Raito sighed once more, knowing he was going to regret these next series of wordsthat were about to out of his mouth. "I need a favor."
Hell had just frozen over, and oceans all over the world were splitting open as Raito narrowed his eyes in irritation.
He now officially owed his manager a favor.
"Damn it, Sayu, don't you dare embarrass me." Chocolate brown met chocolate brown as Raito glared down at his younger sibling, daring her to contradict him.
Sayu smiled innocently as she grabbed onto her brother's hand and ignored the rapidly increasing blush on the handsome man's face. "Well, come on then! Show me around, Picasso!"
The frazzled 23-year-old shook his head as they both handed their tickets to the man in front of the gallery gate and entered the prestigious exhibit. Sayu's face immediately brightened even further, which Raito didn't even know was possible, as the myriad of colors bombarded them all at once.
Raito pulled them forward as he ignored the multitude of stares directed their way. He was used to it at this point, and it wasn't very often that he actually got to share his artistic successes with members of his family. His father thought this was all a waste of time and often asked him when he would go back to school to become an officer like himself, and his mother, though supportive, never actually came to any of Raito's events.
Sayu was all he had when it came to these things, and really, that was enough.
"So what do you want to see first? Now, take your time. I know it takes you awhile to process these things..." Raito smirked at his little sister as the hyperactive girl ignored her brother's comments and simply pulled him forward, gushing over and pointing at the attractions that seemingly caught her eye in particular.
If the other snobbish patrons hadn't been staring before, they definitely were now.
And Sayu hadn't even reached halfway to full capacity of hyperness yet. Raito sighed and whispered a prayer to his poor feet.
'Forgive me, darlings.'
Sayu began talking in high speed, the words almost coming out in gibberish nonsense. Raito smiled while trailing behind the incredibly bubbly teen, knowing that this kind of excitement was genuine, even if a bit terrifying.
For the next hour and a half, both Raito and Sayu looked at the pieces with a critical eye, (or at least Raito did) and gave their opinions on each painting and sculpture that caught their attentions.
"It looks like something vomited all over the canvas."
"It's called surrealism, smart ass. Look at it from a different perspective."
"My perspective's fine, it's the painting that's crappy."
Obviously, they did not agree very often, and tended not to be quiet about it.
"Oh, look at that, Raito!"
"Is that... what I think it is?"
Sayu sweat dropped.
"... ... maybe."
"Ok, moving on!"
"Please tell me that's not a huge unicorn in the middle of the gallery."
"What's the big deal? You've already seen it, haven't you?"
"I must have blanked it from my memory the last time I was here. Oh God... Nothing that horrendous should ever meet my gaze... and I mean EVER."
"Yes, I'm anti-unicorn and proud of it. Suck on that, girlie-girl."
"Whatever! You're just jealous cuz I'm prettier than you!"
"... ... are not"
"You suck on that, Mr.I'mtoosexy."
Raito rolled his eyes as Sayu finally let go of his hand (and the inappropriate gesture) and began to study a random painting in front of them. The aggravated brunette sighed once again as he allowed his eyes to roam, a familiar dark corner capturing his attention at once.
Dark, decrepit colors morbidly twisted together as bodies hung off the canvas, almost draping off the wooden slate. His feet moved forward, as Sayu's ramblings were pushed to the back of his head. The realism in the paintings was extraordinary, making Raito feel that if he just reached forward, the cold dead skin would be there to touch...
"Strange, isn't it?"
Raito blinked as he turned to his side, a low baritone voice breaking through his internal musings. He noticed he was by himself in the virtually isolated corner, except for the person who had spoken to him... which by the way...
A shaggy, dark-haired man bordering on anorexic-thin stood next to him, back hunched over as he watched Raito with dark, almost completely black eyes. A thumb nestled itself on the man's lower lip, a blank look enveloping his pale face. Raito glanced back at the painting, tilting his head to the side.
"No... not weird. Society's rotting from the outside, in. I think the painting perfectly describes that. Over dramatic, maybe, but not weird." The other man regarded Raito strangely, covering his impression of the young man quietly. "Really? Now how did you come to the conclusion that this painting was about society, never the less rotting..."
"The open sores on their bodies look as if something has eaten through the skin, hence the rotting over, and none of the bodies hold any similarities to the other. It's almost like a collage of different races and sexes... I'm guessing they all signify the different parts of the world. Not just that, look at how gruesome the bodies look... all the wounds look self inflicted, though." Raito explained all of this calmly without the frustration he usually felt when explaining himself. There was something about this man that screamed that he knew more than he actually let on; something that Raito did not.
It was almost... exciting. Not many people could make Raito feel anxious, if anything.
"Do you know who painted this piece of work?" Raito asked the man, as he looked for a signature, but came up short. The man slyly smiled back at the naive artist, noting the curiosity in the boy's mahogany depths.
"The rumor going around is that L painted this piece, but you know just how rumors are. Never reliable." The man then began to nibble on the digit next to his mouth, carefully eyeing Raito's reaction to the news.
Raito's eyes widened almost comically.
L? As in the world famous artist who no one knew anything about?! The artist that had inspired Raito to paint with amazing pieces and outstanding prestige? That L?!
"This is... L's work?" Raito asked awestruck. A gleam sparkled in the dark haired man's eye as he nodded nonchalantly. "No way!"
"So they say." The enigmatic man pushed his hands inside his jean pockets as he pulled his thumb away from his mouth. He simply stared at Raito while the artist continued to gaze at the painting, star struck.
"Raito!" A sharp screech shocked Raito back into reality as Sayu appeared by his side, looking disgruntled with her older brother. A strange look over came the other man's face as his murky eyes narrowed slightly, regarding Sayu with an iciness that shocked the off-kilter 23-year-old. "Onii-chan left me by myself, and almost ditched me!"
Was it just Raito, or when Sayu had called him onii-chan did the other man look almost... relieved?
He was probably just imagining things.
"Sorry Sayu. I was just-"
"No sorrys! Say goodbye to your new friend, and let's go! We don't have much more time to see the rest of the exhibit, especially your stuff!" Before Raito could say anything to the other nameless man, Sayu pulled him away, leaving him to glance back at the strange fellow. Their gazes met for one more instant before Raito turned forward and walked on.
Obsidian eyes trailed after the handsome young man, a smile still playing on his pale lips. He tilted his head to the side, committing the man's backside to memory. This would not be a chance encounter, he would definitely make sure of it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note nor do I own the Song "Holler Back Girl" by Gwen Stefani. Nor would I want to. ((Shivers))
For those who pushed for this story: congratulations. For those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, go read my other story; "Che Sara, Sara." Once you see the monster that is the artist au, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Expect weekly updates. I'll try to keep you guys 'in the know' on that. So, enjoyment abounds? I hope so...