Chapter 27 – Listless
AN: Welcome to chapter 27! Um...I don't have much to say here, except that I lived up to the promise not to make you wait a month and a half for the next chapter this time! XD; Enjoy, LOL.
Disclaimer: Death Note belongs to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
"This ought to be a damned good story." Gevanni's narrowed eyes challenged him to come up with any explanation for a week of radio silence that could possibly be acceptable. Near began to twist a lock of his hair uncomfortably, remembering how Rester's expression had done a 180 from anger to concern when he'd said what he'd called to say.
The anger Near had expected—he'd really dropped the ball, utterly forgetting about both of the cases he was working for the past week. But sympathy was something he didn't know how to deal with; it was strange enough having Mello of all people act concerned for him, but telling Rester had made him become so...well, "fatherly" wasn't a word he would've associated with the big man before, but it applied. It made Near feel strange to know that Rester cared about his well-being beyond a professional relationship; after all, he'd never thought of Rester as anything but another professional that he was working with...
And now, with Gevanni glaring him down like Near had shot him in the arm or something, the white-haired boy had to steel himself before pushing on to the explanation. He took a deep breath. Just say it and be done.
"It's very simple," he said evenly, "I was hospitalized, and then I was kidnapped from the hospital. That's why I haven't been in contact with you."
Much to Near's relief, Gevanni didn't suddenly look concerned. He did look startled, though; his eyes got wide, and his brows furrowed like he was trying hard not to raise his voice.
"What?!" He hissed, as if someone might be listening in on the conversation.
"I was hospitalized and then kidnapped," Near repeated flatly, looking down at the desk. Once the surprise wears off, he will probably start behaving like Commander Rester did. Perhaps this is because they think of me as a child, like Matt and Dr. Lidner and those nurses did... Did everyone think of him as a child? L and Mello were the only people he could think of who treated him like...and even the latter was slipping up lately. Seeing me cry probably did it... He still wasn't happy about Mello seeing him in such a state at all, but he figured that dwelling on it didn't help anything. His only consolation was that Matt hadn't been there at the same time.
"Sir..." Gevanni's voice interrupted his thoughts. Glancing up, Near confirmed that he looked concerned now. "Wow...I'm sorry. Since you don't usually leave home, I didn't consider something like that happening to you even a possibility..." The black-haired man glanced sideways a bit awkwardly, adding, "You okay? You're back in your house to be on the phone, so..."
"I will be fine, yes," the white-haired boy sighed. At least he is being calmer about it than Commander Rester. Rester had immediately asked who kidnapped him, why, and how he'd been recovered. Near hadn't felt like explaining it then, and he didn't feel any more like explaining it again now. "Thank you for continuing to work to the best of your ability without me directing you."
"It's my job, sir," Gevanni said somewhat stiffly, understanding the unsaid message: 'Getting back to normal is what I want. Don't make a fuss.' "Speaking of the case--"
"Yes, about that," Near interrupted, "Both cases—yours and Commander Rester's—will be passed on to L. Please inform him of any new developments, and don't bother to explain any of it to me—my opinion about this doesn't matter anymore."
"What?! But, sir," Gevanni stammered, taken aback. "With all due respect, you seem perfectly fine—why aren't you going to finish these cases up yourself?" You are telling me, Near thought glumly. He'd wanted to get right back to work—to get back to normal--but L had insisted that he not work for awhile, saying that he needed to rest and regain his strength before he took on the stress of high-profile murder investigations again. No matter how many times Near tried to reassure everyone that he felt fine, no one, not even L, seemed to believe it.
In the end, he'd decided to respect his mentor and agreed to turning the cases over to him. I will prove to him that I am well enough to go back to work through my actions...somehow.
"This is L's decision, not mine," he said flatly, "And as my mentor and guardian, L has the final word upon what cases I am working. Therefore, please contact him about the case you are working from now on. He will inform you when I am back to working. Understood?"
Gevanni frowned, nodding.
Again, Near got the impression that he understood what was unspoken—that this wasn't a decision Near agreed with. Gevanni's job involved observing people, but Near didn't like the idea that he was easy to read, even by a professional. Perhaps I've been spending too much time with Mello lately, to be so obviously read, he thought, a bit bemused.
"Thank you. Goodbye for now, Gevanni," he said, closing the video chat connection without waiting for any other response. Glancing around the quiet computer room, the white-haired boy realized abruptly that he had nothing left to do now.
Nothing except to "rest"... He frowned, climbing off of the computer chair. How much rest would it take before L and the others stopped worrying about him?
Matt rolled over a little, dangling his good arm off the side of the couch. It's so quiet here...
Mello had been gone for a good hour by now. Near had finished his discussion about the incident with L twenty minutes ago, and had promptly went into the communications room when he'd left the great detective's office. The house had been entirely still and silent since then; L was still in his office, more likely musing about Near's memory gap than typing up the report he was supposed to give to the police department, and Near was probably making calls to Gevanni and Rester since he'd been out of contact with them for quite awhile.
All of this information drifted through Matt's head, his mind rehashing what he already knew. It didn't matter if he understood what was going on...he was pretty sure that there wasn't anything he could do to help the situation at the moment.
The redhead stared up at the ceiling glumly. Mell seemed pretty sure that Near was lying about the memory gap thing. But I was listening in, too—Near actually sounded surprised when he said it, like he'd just realized it himself. He doesn't usually sound surprised even when he is, so...to sound surprised, he must have been really surprised. If he really does have a memory gap...
He bit his lip. Anything could have happened in that space of time, couldn't it? He said he doesn't remember from the car trunk thing to when he woke up in the apartment. There's no way to be positive of how big the gap is, but if somebody checked the time Near called Mello with Mikami's phone, I'm willing to bet it was hours after he got kidnapped.
It was frustrating trying to recount the incident, as he'd spent half of it either unconscious or relying on Mello and L to keep him from getting hysterical. Some great detective I'd make, he thought glumly, closing his eyes.
Back to more important things.
I was knocked out for awhile after Mikami shot me—at least half an hour, 'cause that's how long ago Mell said L arrived before I woke up. Then after I woke up, Mello and I sat around in the hospital for awhile longer before Near called Mello's phone. Near said he called pretty much as soon as he woke up and went out into the room, so...he can't remember any of the time before that?! That's practically a day's worth of memories gone!
This wasn't good.
Behind him and the couch, there was the soft sound of a door opening and closing. Very light footsteps padding across the carpet told him that it must be Near.
"Matt..." The redhead opened his eyes and saw that he was right; the white-haired boy was leaning over the arm of the couch, appearing upside-down as he looked down at Matt. He looked very tired, and rather put-out, but calm enough. He's still one of the strongest people I know...if all of this had happened to me, I'd probably be a real mess right now.
"Yeah?" He asked, smiling sheepishly at being caught lying around on the couch; usually he always kept his hands and mind busy, most often with gaming, but right now he just didn't feel like it. No game sounded fun...he knew that he wouldn't be able to become absorbed in it. Probably I'd just lose 'cause I was distracted...eheh.
"May I...sit with you for awhile?" Near asked quietly. He looked uncertain as he said it, like he wasn't even sure why he was doing so. Matt realized that he probably was feeling the sudden stillness of the household, too, and trying to remedy it by talking. Well, I'm not gonna be the one to discourage him from actually being social for once...especially since he's been too tired to talk to people much the last few days. I wonder if he wants to talk to me about anything that's bugging him...
Grabbing the back of the couch with his good arm, he pulled himself into a sitting position, "Anytime." Deciding to take the initiative and get a conversation started, he added, "Did you call Rester and Gevanni in there?" He nodded toward the comm room.
Near climbed onto the couch, letting both legs dangle off of the side, and nodded.
Getting back to normal, that's good! Probably best for him...but, I wonder why he's not in there working on the cases, then? Missing a week's tough to catch up...maybe it's daunting to look at when you're so tired. "How are the cases going? I'll bet Gevanni wasn't in the best mood ever," he prodded, trying to lighten the mood.
Near glanced at him without even a hint of a smile in return and said, "He wasn't." He paused, bringing a hand up to twist at a lock of his hair, and looked down at the carpet. "As for the cases...I wouldn't know. L had me pass both of them on to him."
"Huh?" Matt blinked, "Wait...he doesn't think you're ready to work again yet? Now that you're back home, you could work 'em just fine! I mean, it's not your fault you were gone for a week, and L knows that...why would he...?" That doesn't make sense at all! L must know if Near can't work then he won't have anything to think of except this stupid Mikami incident! Unless...
Maybe that was the idea.
Maybe L figured if Near didn't have any distracting outside things to worry about, he would think about the incident enough that the memories in the gap would return to him.
If L even believes the whole memory loss thing. I don't know...if Near was faking us out, L would definitely be able to tell the difference. He's known us all since we were little kids... His voice when Matt and Mello had eavesdropped earlier certainly hadn't revealed much about his reaction either way (although it had sounded a bit muffled, probably by something L was eating at the time.)
"Yes, I gave both cases to L at his request," Near repeated, sighing. It certainly wasn't my idea. "He told me that he thinks I need to rest before working on cases again so soon. I tried to explain that I am fine, but he doesn't seem to believe me." He tugged on the piece of hair he'd been twisting, frowning to himself.
"Well...L knows what he's doing," Matt answered, sounding a bit uncertain despite his words. "We've gotta trust him and do what he says."
"I know," Near murmured. It's true...and I trust that he has a reason for this. However, that doesn't change the fact that now I don't really know what to do with myself. I have nothing to think about. If I had a case, at least I would have problems to solve, details to think about... "Matt." He turned to the older boy, who was pushing his goggles up onto his forehead. The motion swept his long bangs into a disheveled shock of red that covered his forehead, but also revealed vivid blue eyes. Near couldn't help but look at such bright points of color; it was odd every time he saw them to reconfirm that Matt's eyes were blue, when usually he didn't associate blue with the redhead at all.
Warm colors, red, yellow, those were the kind of colors that made him think of Matt. And stripes, of course—he never wears anything except for stripes, does he?
"Yeah?" The subject of his thoughts asked, draping his good arm across the back of the couch. The other was still in the sling across his chest. I wonder how his wound is doing...it must be difficult to get dressed without being able to move your arm much. At the moment Matt had a red and black shirt—striped, of course--on, when last Near had seen him at the hospital he had been shirtless, so the smaller boy concluded that either he had managed to dress himself just fine, or maybe Mello had helped him.
Look at me, getting lost in completely trivial thoughts. It was kind of irritating to realize that his mind could become preoccupied something as pointless as how Matt put on his shirt. What point was there in knowing the answer to that, anyway?
"What do you do when you aren't on a case? Besides gaming, I mean," Near said, trying to keep his attention on the conversation. At least it has some point... Distracted as he was, he really didn't mean for the question to come out so plaintively. He really was at a loss for what to do now, though; nobody else seemed able to let go of this Mikami incident and admit that it was finally over except for him.
For that matter, no one else seemed about to accept that he was pretty much back to normal now, and it felt as if the whole household had come to a standstill to wait for a resolution that he knew had already come and gone. Thus we are waiting for nothing...how long will they wait before L will allow me to go back to my usual routine? I suppose I will have to tolerate it for a few days, at least, until I can prove by my actions that I am not going to have some breakdown.
He didn't blame the others for being concerned—in fact, it was kind of touching that they cared about him enough to be concerned—but except for that troubling memory gap thing and some aches and pains, he didn't feel any differently than he had before all of this had happened. And as for the memory gap, he wasn't sure what to think of it, so--
"Play games, usually."
Matt's answer startled him so much that he jumped a little, yanking on the lock of hair he was still gripping. He'd been so absorbed in his thoughts that he'd forgotten he was talking to the redhead, Near realized sheepishly.
Rubbing the new aching spot on his head, he asked pointedly, "Why aren't you doing that right now? You don't have any cases that you are working on, do you?" If you were gaming, I could watch the game, perhaps.
Good question, I guess...
"I dunno, I just don't feel like it right now," Matt answered honestly. "...Besides, I couldn't hold the controller with this thing on," he smiled, nodding down at the sling. Near glanced at it, too, but he wasn't smiling.
"I am sorry he shot you, Matt," he said quietly, rubbing his hair with the back of one hand. I think he yanked on his hair one time too many and gave himself scalp ache, Matt thought, amused.
"Eh, don't apologize," he waved his good hand, shrugging a little, "Not your fault, and I kind of provoked him, really..." Recalling the shouting fight he'd gotten into with the nurse, he sweatdropped. If I knew he had a gun on him I never would've brought Near anywhere near him! Thinking about it too much drained all humor out of the situation, though; he decided to focus on the present instead. This is the first time Near and I have had a chat as friends about something casual and normal, now that I think of it.
"Where is Mello?" Near looked troubled again. "When he leaves for hours, usually he is angry about something; did he manage to get angry since last I saw him?" Matt was a bit surprised at the hesitant tone; glancing at Near out of the corner of his eye, he observed the unhappy tug at the corners of his mouth and realized that there had been an unspoken sentence on the end of the questions: 'Is it me he's angry at?'
He shrugged with his good shoulder, "He went for a ride on his motorcycle. Don't tell him I said this, but...I don't think he knows what to say to you now that you guys are friends." He smiled, but Near didn't seem to be in a very good mood; for the second time, he didn't respond in kind.
Instead, he brought a hand up to his face. Matt figured it was the absent hair-twisting habit that he had—so he was surprised when the white-haired boy instead pressed the back of his hand to his forehead, closing his eyes.
"You okay?" The redhead asked, watching him worriedly. Does he have a fever? It'd suck to get sick after all of the other crap he's been through, but the antibiotics from the surgery probably did weaken his immune system, so it's not impossible...
"Yes...I am. Almost..." Near sighed, admitting, "I am still tired, that's all."
Matt bit his lip. Yeah, that and you have a memory gap. Or at least that's what you told L... He didn't think that Near would lie to L; he knew that he wouldn't, himself. If whatever had happened was bad enough, though, perhaps Near wanted to say he forgot it until he really did...perhaps he was trying to convince himself that he really didn't remember. Or there's the more obvious answer: he really doesn't remember. Only one way to find out...I hope Mell doesn't get mad at me for this...
"Near, I've gotta tell you something," he began unhappily, looking at the silent tv. The 52-inch flat screen was dark now, no games or cheerful music coming from it to lighten the mood. "I, uh...listened in when you were talking to L."
Near frowned a bit. He...did?
"Really," he said flatly, trying not to sound as surprised as he was. He and Mello must really believe in their theory to eavesdrop on us and everything. Why are they so certain that I am lying? Am I behaving like I am lying...?
"Y-yeah," Matt mumbled, looking at the tv uncomfortably. Near glanced at the tv, too. He would rather watch a blank tv screen than look me in the eye? This can't bode well.
"And why are you admitting it to me?" He asked as nonchalantly as he could, twisting a piece of his hair once again. He glanced at Matt sidelong when he glimpsed the redhead looking his way. He sincerely looked concerned...a bit apprehensive, too. He is probably afraid that I'll be angry at him for the eavesdropping. I don't really care that much, although it's frustrating that he and Mello don't seem to believe me.
"Near," he said worriedly, "Do you really have a memory gap from during the kidnapping?"
I see...so that's what this is about, is it?
"Yes," the white-haired boy replied frankly, frowning. "Is that difficult to believe because you can't find any reason why it would have happened, or because you are set in believing that something happened that I remember perfectly well but don't want to talk about?" The words were rather sharp, but his tone only contained the barest hint of irritation. It wasn't really that he was angry with Matt...he just didn't understand why he and Mello were so set in this idea of theirs. There wasn't even any evidence to support it!
Do they trust my word so little? I thought that friends trusted each other. I really don't remember what happened during that time... He let go of the lock of hair he'd been twisting, bringing that hand up to rub at his forehead; a slight throb was developing there.
"Sorry," Matt practically cringed at his reply; Near decided he'd been anticipating a more Mello-like reaction, because in his opinion he hadn't said anything cringe-worthy. "I wanna believe you—I'm not trying to call you a liar, okay? It's just...I-I'm worried about you. Mello is, too, but he's not gonna admit it again."
"...I really can't remember," Near sighed, looking up at him glumly. "I understand, no one is going to treat me normally again for awhile, but please at least believe me. When I say something to L, I mean it." He had this odd feeling he should be more irritated than he was, but it was too tiring to muster up much of a reaction right now. Besides that, Matt seemed to take it particularly hard if Mello got angry at him; Near suspected the reaction would be the same for him. He is only telling me this because he is worried about me...I have to remember that.
"I'm really sorry...y-you're right, you'd never lie to L. I know 'cause I wouldn't either," Matt said quietly, looking at the silent tv again. That went horribly--way to put my foot in my mouth! But, he sounds like he really can't remember. If that's the case, maybe I...
No. No, that would be a bit too impulsive just yet. He decided to wait and see what Near wanted to do.
He glanced at Near, who looked tired and maybe a little bit sad, and said, "Hey...you don't have to deal with this alone, okay? Me and Mell and L are here for ya." He patted the smaller boy's shoulder lightly with his good hand. I hope you're not mad that I eavesdropped—I was just worried about you...
"I expected no less from you and Mello," Near said tiredly, closing his eyes. "And don't deny that Mello was listening, too—I am willing to bet that he is the one who started it." Matt sweatdropped, nodding. I guess he pays more attention to how Mello acts than he lets on...eheheh...
"Let's talk about something else, okay?" He suggested, trying to smile and change the subject. "Wanna try one of my games? I can't hold the controller right now, but I could show you how to play if you want..."
Near glanced at the tv, waiting so quietly, and opened his mouth to reply, but just then there was the slamming of the front door. Both boys glanced at the doorway as Mello came inside, his blonde hair windblown and several plastic shopping bags slung over one shoulder so that they hung down his back.
"Hi, Mell," Matt smiled uneasily, wondering if Near would confront him about the eavesdropping too. "Did you go shopping?" We didn't really need anything; I wonder what he bought?
"Just a few things," Mello said, sounding a lot less strained than when he'd left earlier. "And no, cigarettes aren't one of the things I got."
"Aww," Matt feigned a hurt tone at this, relieved to be joking again with anybody. No one had joked much at all this week, and it was good to break the tension in the air.
"I did get this, though..." Mello came over to the couch, swinging the bags forward to rummage in one. After a moment, he fished out something brownish-green and...plastic. Hey...! Matt smiled at the sight—a toy stegosaurus, the plates on its back rounded and its eyes small round dots, as the item that Mello had pulled out of the bag. Unceremoniously, he held the toy out to Near. "Here, it's for you."
Near blinked, a bit startled to find a toy stegosaurus suddenly dangling in front of his nose.
Slowly, he reached up and gripped it with both hands; peering over the top at Mello, he asked curiously, "Why...?" Mello further surprised him with a playful grin, reaching out and ruffling his hair.
"You know me—I can't let Matt upstage me for long!" Turning on his heel with the bags still in hand, he marched off in the direction of L's office without a backward glance. Near glanced at Matt, who glanced back and smiled, raising an eyebrow.
"Congratulations?" He said dubiously.
Near placed the stegosaurus on his lap, examining it thoughtfully. This is meant to match the dinosaur that Matt gave to me, I think. I suppose...this makes our friendship official. He wasn't sure when, but he and Matt and now Mello seemed to equate his first dinosaur toy with friendship...and now there was another dinosaur to befriend the first.
"Thank you," he murmured, smiling faintly in return—a genuine one this time. That's right—I got so irritated by their worrying that I forgot why they care--they are worried about me because they are my friends.
He hadn't planned on mentioning the memory gap to Mello or Matt, figuring it would only make them more suspicious of his account of the incident, but he realized now that that was the wrong decision. Hiding things from each other and lying isn't what friends do, is it? I am so new to this... Thank goodness Matt had been honest enough to admit to eavesdropping about the memory gap. He'd taken the first step by being honest, and Near resolved to follow suit.
If he was honest with Mello and Matt, he decided, they would be honest with him in return. I hope.
The sudden sound of the door opening startled L; he clicked the close button on the video as if he'd been caught watching something naughty.
Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Mello closing the door behind him, a couple of plastic shopping bags clutched in one hand. I guess he went out for awhile, the great detective thought absently; his mind was still analyzing the video he'd just watched, a recording of Mikami that had been taken earlier that evening. In it, quite calmly and in a polite tone, the man had asked to speak with Near.
"Hey, I went out and when I saw these I thought of you...hope it's okay." L tried his best not to frown at his thoughts, in case Mello mistook the expression for a rejection of whatever he'd brought, and looked up.
The blonde had a small box in his hand, brightly-colored squares adorning the surface. "Petite Fours," the top read in elegant lettering. Curiously, L looked from it to Mello's face; the teen looked back at him, smiling a bit. It seems he's trying to lighten the mood of the household...maybe?
It was certainly an improvement from that morning, when L had had to get Mello's account of what he'd witnessed of the incident. He'd been so angry at some points that he'd spoken through gritted teeth, and had made it clear that he'd never seen Near in a more compromising position in his life. That and Mikami's persistent requests to see the white-haired boy gave L a bad feeling that this incident wasn't over yet...
Accepting the box, he told himself that he'd figure it out—he always did.
"How thoughtful...thank you, I certainly can't complain about something like this," he told Mello, placing the box onto the desk beside him. Sliding the lid off, he pressed a thumb to his bottom lip as he surveyed the tiny frosted cakes inside, adding, "How is everyone doing...? I feel like I've been in here for hours." I wonder if this has anything to do with Near's memory gap...Mikami asking to see him suddenly...
"That's because you have," Mello pointed out, coming over and plunking down into the computer chair to the left of L's. "What are you doing, anyway? Don't tell me it took you this long to write out what Near told you in half an hour..."
"Not particularly," L admitted, selecting a mint green cake with a flower sculpted in frosting on the top. "But you didn't answer my question—how is everyone? You seem to be feeling much better, which I'm glad to see."
"I'm fine," Mello replied, frowning as he remembered their conversation that morning. I didn't mean to make him worry about me—it's Near he should be worried about. Something's wrong, dammit—I can feel it. Can't anybody else feel it? "...And Matt's keeping Near company; they were talking about something when I got here, and Near looks really tired still."
He sighed, glancing at the floor and tapping the toe of one of his boots on it idly. "L...I know you taught us to base our conclusions on evidence, so this goes against it, but...I've got this really horrible feeling. I feel like something's wrong here...don't you?" He didn't really want to see L's reaction as he said it. He'll probably tell me it's nothing like Near did...I wonder if he believes Near's story about the "memory gap" from before.
The soft, one-word answer took a moment to sink in. Mello looked up and into wide, dark eyes; L was staring at him intently, an unhappy furrow to his brows. "Yes," he repeated, troubled, "I know what you're talking about...and I have a bad feeling, too."
"Y-you...do?" Mello asked, startled. L doesn't operate on instinct or gut feelings, though. If he's thinking something's wrong-- "You've got evidence of some sort, don't you?" He demanded, sitting up in his chair.
"Not enough to even call it that," the great detective sighed, plucking the petals off of the frosting flower on the petite four he had selected earlier, "But enough to make me...concerned...about what occurred during the time that Near was alone with Mikami. Please don't mention this to Near; I'll explain it myself."
Mello sat back, frowning distantly at the door to the living room. On one hand, he was glad that L was listening to his side of the story...but the fact that he was considering it meant that there really was a valid concern. So it's not just me being "overprotective" or suspicious...dammit.
He'd really been hoping, more than anything, that L would prove him wrong.
--End Chapter 27
AN: The title sure applies this time; everybody's tired and listless! I hope this chapter was interesting to read regardless; it was a transition chapter, really, but did have some character development and even a few advances to the plot inside! Next chapter's gonna really rock the boat—watch out, Wammys!
Thanks for reading—see you next chapter! :)
In Charge Akugi! Volume 27
Gevanni: "This ought to be a damned good story."
Near: "A-hem: Once upon a time, one of my organs exploded, so Matt took me to the hospital. There I was abducted by my psychotic, homicidal, possessive and possibly-pedophiliac nurse (who happened to be Japanese), and he shot Matt in the process. Mello saved me from the nurse, Matt lived after all, and L arrived at some point, so we all went home, where I called you and hopefully survived through this lecture to live happily ever after..."
Gevanni: (Sarcastic applause) "Okay, SERIOUSLY, you got distracted by playing with Tinkertoys for a week and forgot to call me, right? ...Right?"
Narrator: His voice when Matt and Mello had eavesdropped earlier certainly hadn't revealed much about his reaction either way (although it had sounded a bit muffled, probably by something L was eating at the time.)
L: (Picks up bowl of marshmallows and pours it into his mouth)
Near: (Dubiously) "Are you even listening to what I am saying...?"
Matt: "Hi, Mell. Did you go shopping?"
Mello: "Just a few things. And no, cigarettes aren't one of the things I got."
Matt: (Hopefully) "Explosives?"
Narrator: The sudden sound of the door opening startled L; he clicked the close button on the video as if he'd been caught watching something naughty.
L: Not true—I was only listening to it while I worked! (Hides hentai DVD case as an afterthought)