Author's Note: This fic may make you hungry. I'm sorry. It makes me hungry, too.
Light opened his eyes.
God, it was cold in here. Surely an abode so distinctly un-humble as this one could afford central heating. Shivering, Light sat up and poked at L's shoulder, which, swathed in red flannel pajama fabric, was quite visible amongst the white sheets—and quite warm.
"Ryuzaki," he prompted, "wake up. It's Christmas."
A tousled head lifted from the pillow, and bleary gray eyes regarded him as though he was a slightly hostile alien life form.
Light was fairly certain that if anyone here was an alien, it was L.
"Christmas, Light-kun?" L mumbled groggily.
"It's a relatively widely-observed holiday," Light confirmed.
L blinked and peered at him. "Justice does not observe holidays," he decided. "If someone was to be violently murdered on Christmas—"
Light hit him in the face with a pillow.
"It's Christmas," he repeated. "Take a break."
"If," L continued, undaunted, as he fought the pillow away, "a suspected serial killer went about walloping esteemed detectives with pillows on Christmas—"
Rolling his eyes and abandoning the quest to rearrange L's face by way of down feathers, Light slid to the end of the bed, chain clinking like jingle bells, and hopped off, kneeling to rummage underneath. Before L could ask, he'd found the box he was looking for.
He proffered the shining, red-paper-wrapped gift to the pale hands, which rose shyly to accept it.
"Light-kun did not have to—" their owner began sheepishly.
"I wanted to," Light insisted, grinning. "Open it."
L shook the present gently, suspending it at the ends of splayed white fingers.
"But I do not have anything for Light-kun in return," he demurred ruefully, trying to push the gift at Light. "I had forgotten the day and its significance. I am temporally disinclined…"
Light raised an eyebrow, firmly pushing the box back at L. "You lose track of days, do you mean?" he hazarded.
L's syntax was, on some occasions, a thing to behold.
L nodded confirmation, but Light didn't relent.
"That's fine," Light assured him. "I don't care. It's about giving and not receiving anyway."
He realized as he uttered the words that he actually… believed them. He honestly didn't mind coming away empty-handed—he just wanted to see the look on L's face when the damned stubborn detective discovered the contents of the box.
"Ideally, shouldn't all things entail a reciprocal relationship?" L murmured, but he set the gift in his lap, contemplated it a moment, and then clasped the silver ribbon between two fingers to tug at it uncertainly. The bow gave, and he applied his elegant fingers to the gleaming red wrapping paper instead. Soon enough, that barrier, too, succumbed to his tentative wheedling, peeled open, and revealed the plain cardboard box within. L prised off the packing tape and drew the flaps apart.
For a long moment, he just gazed mutely into the box. Then, softly, he whispered, "Oh, Light-kun."
Light had found a website that allowed an enterprising gift-giver to assemble as many selections of different kinds of candy as one wanted, which it would send, smartly arranged, in an unmarked box for ideal Santa-sanctioned surreptitiousness. In L's erstwhile-unsuspecting lap there lay a tower of truffles, a pyramid of pastilles, mints and malt balls and chocolate-covered cherries, tiny strawberries similarly dipped, and a huge bouquet of fruit-flavored candy canes encircled by a red silk ribbon.
"Merry Christmas, Ryuzaki," Light said, grinning.
L extended a finger unsteadily towards a chocolate molded into a detailed reindeer shape, then withdrew his hand as if the confection might shatter at a touch.
"This is unbelievable, Light-kun," he said softly.
Light tried not to squirm with glee and mostly succeeded. "Believe it," he suggested. "Try something, if you like."
L vacillated again, his thumb straying to his lip momentarily before he cautiously—and quite predictably—selected one of the chocolate-drizzled strawberries. The chocolate shell fragmented as he attempted to bite into the fruit, and dark shards sprinkled into his lap.
Light idly followed their trajectory and then realized where he had unthinkingly directed his eyes.
Some hasty mental backpedaling ensued, and in the meantime, L cupped his free hand under his prize before taking the next bite.
Light meticulously made sure not to notice when, once he'd finished the strawberry, L picked the pieces of wayward chocolate off of his pajamas and licked them from his fingertips.
In the interest of not getting interested, Light slipped off of the bed and stretched luxuriously. "Well, Ryuzaki?" he remarked. "Other than eating the entire box in one sitting, what would you like to do with your Christmas Day?"
L blinked at him blankly. "Does Light-kun mean that I am not permitted to eat the entire box in one sitting?" he inquired. He didn't give Light time to figure out whether or not he was serious before moving along: "And I suppose that, since it is Christmas, it would be dutiful of me to purchase Watari a new fedora to show my appreciation for his assistance."
Pausing in the ritual itching of his lower back, Light frowned. Temporally disinclined indeed.
"That isn't going to work very well, Ryuzaki," he responded. "Everything's closed on Christmas."
L set his box of candy carefully on the nightstand and climbed out of bed, the chain swinging over the rumpled sheets between them.
"What about gun shops?" he asked. "Are those closed?"
Light didn't even want to know.
"Probably," he concluded. "A whole lot more visiting relatives would get shot annually if they weren't."
L tilted his head and then shrugged, apparently conceding the point. "In that case," he announced, "I would like to go for a walk, please."
It was Light's turn to shrug, so, in the Christmas spirit of giving and goodwill, he obliged. "That could be really nice," he realized. He made a point of glancing over L's current raiment. "As much as I like those pajamas, however," he amended, "you might want to put some real clothes on."
Somewhat distractedly, L looked down at himself. "It is my belief that pajamas should be acceptable attire," was the verdict. "I am not alone in this conviction."
There wasn't an opportunity to ask what that was supposed to mean, because L ducked to the task of unbuttoning his pajama top, and Light accordingly hastened over to the window in order to become too preoccupied with what lay outside to remark upon his companion's state of dishabille.
He drew the drapes aside and then stopped to stare.
"It's snowing," he said dumbly. "Ryuzaki, it's snowing."
Flannel ceased rustling for a moment as L presumably paused. "I believe that Tokyo is situated in such a climate zone that this weather pattern is not too rare," he murmured.
"Yes, but…" Light pressed a hand to the glass, the absorbed chill nipping earnestly at his fingertips, and watched white flakes like wisps of cotton sailing towards the street. Some of them were driven wildly into the window, where they splattered their fragile momentary chill against the glass and were gone. "It's snowing on Christmas… Isn't that kind of… magical?"
At the silence, he glanced over at L, who was all the way into his jeans and slightly tangled in his tee-shirt. The chain dipped between them, and the wordless quiet danced along its links.
"What?" Light prompted, slightly defensively, sending the ballerina silence reeling tiara over toe-shoes.
"Light-kun's belief in a supernatural power is somewhat unexpe—"
"Oh, shut up," Light muttered, facing the windowpane again. "I don't mean magical-magical."
"What kind of magical do you mean?" L inquired politely. "Spiritual-magical? Merlin-magical? Disney-magical? That sort involves a great deal of fairy dust, which I have always suspected is really just glorified glit—"
Light turned again, putting his hands in his pockets more for the stability and less for the warmth.
"Haven't you ever found something inexplicable, Ryuzaki?" he asked. "Haven't you ever seen anything that you didn't even want to understand?"
L paused. "Can Light-kun offer an example?"
Light raised his shoulders. "Lightning," he supplied. "Fireworks. Fireflies."
"But all of these phenomenon have perfectly legitimate scientific explanations," L countered, pursing his lips, thumb brushing the bottom one again. "In addition, Light-kun is not properly dressed, if his theory of public pajama-wearing is to be trusted."
Light scowled and looked at him. "You're just trying to get me to take my clothes off."
Had he really said that?
He attempted to ignore both his absurd stupidity and L's somewhat bewildered amusement and went in search of something to wear.
Or was that admitting that L was right?
Forget it. He was cold anyway, though he was about to get even colder before he got warm.
The premonition was vindicated as he dropped his pajama pants, stepped out of them, and went hunting through his things for a pair of jeans. Usually he favored khakis, but any warmth he could contrive to retain today would be welcome, even if it came in the form of denim's roughness. Threading a plain belt through the loops, he sorted through his folded clothes and also donned a tee-shirt, a familiar white button-up shirt, his softest gray cashmere sweater, his black scarf, and a windbreaker. Sitting on the edge of the bed permitted him to pull on his warmest socks, and then he wiggled his toes happily, slid his feet into his shoes, tied the laces neatly, stood, and folded his navy wool pea coat over his arm.
"I'm ready," he declared.
L was frowning at him—or, more specifically, at his feet.
"I fail to understand Light-kun's obsession with socks," he commented.
Light looked pointedly at L's bare feet, which shifted under his scrutiny.
"I prefer not to get frostbite on my appendages," he noted. "Is that a crime?"
L gazed at him, eyes wide, thumb hovering at his lips, and nodded solemnly.
Light stared back for as long as he could without feeling a laugh tickle at his throat.
"All right, Ryuzaki," he sighed. "Let's go on your walk."
L apparently wasn't too fond of frostbite, as he very quietly and unobtrusively jammed his feet into a familiar pair of ratty sneakers before moving towards the door.
Light didn't move, and L reached the end of the chain, tugged, and then turned.
"What is it this time, Light-kun?" he inquired, a hint of impatience coloring his voice now.
"On second thought," Light told him, "you are not going out in the snow like that."
There was a long pause during which L resolutely refused to say "Like what?"
Light frowned, gave the dogmatic detective a scolding look that would have made Watari proud, and then moved to the dresser again. He retrieved from its depths his favorite red sweater, which he held out to L.
Predictably, L didn't take it.
"You're going to freeze," Light informed him.
"Light-kun's clothing belongs to Light-kun," L retorted stubbornly.
"I'm lending it to you in the interest of your survival."
"That's terribly charitable of you, Light-kun."
"Will you just take it?"
L glared intently at the floor. "I'm not a charity case, Light-kun," he muttered.
"There's something wrong with your wardrobe," Light shot back, "if you've been mistaken for a homeless person more than twice."
L's glare focused on him, and it was positively mutinous. "The third time," he gritted out, "absolutely did not count."
Light scoffed. "It completely c—"
"That woman's glasses were at least a quarter-inch thick," L snapped.
Light took a deep breath to rejoin, opened his mouth, and… stopped.
"It's Christmas, Ryuzaki," he said, mustering a lopsided smile and holding the soft red fabric out to L. "Humor me?"
L made a huffing noise, plucked the sweater from Light's hands, and regarded it suspiciously for a moment before struggling to draw it over his head. It caught on his bony elbows and his prominent shoulders, and his hair was even fluffier than usual by the time he'd fought the mess of cashmere and limbs into a recognizable garment.
Light, for his part, managed not to laugh. Covering a chuckle with a slightly obvious cough, he leaned forward and brushed an imaginary piece of lint from L's right sleeve.
"Aren't you warmer now?" he asked.
L mumbled something about nefarious plans into his wrists as he fought with the collar. He mumbled something else about impeded motion and basic disadvantages and returned to the box on the nightstand to retrieve one of the candy canes.
"You know that'll turn your mouth blue," Light told him, meeting L with a slate gray coat that he attempted to push into the other man's arms.
L frowned, redirecting the momentum of Light's burden safely to the left. "Good," he said. "I doubt many homeless people have blue mouths."
Considering, Light kept his own, normally-hued mouth shut for a moment—unprecedented, he knew.
That done, he swung the coat around behind L's back to drape it over his victim's shoulders, where he smoothed it unnecessarily.
"They're probably blue all over," he answered, "if they get cold enough. It's snowing. Does that mean anything to you, Ryuzaki?"
L plugged the end of the candy cane into his mouth and started for the door again. "It snows in England all the time, Light-kun," he rejoined. "And I have never lost a phalange."
Unable to keep a bit of a saunter out of his step, Light followed. "Watari makes you bundle up, doesn't he?"
"It would be terribly unfortunate," L muttered, "if someone were to push poor Light-kun into a snowdrift when he least expects it."
Light raised his hand and jingled the chain merrily. "It would be terribly unfortunate," he replied, "if Ryuzaki would indubitably be coming with me."
There weren't many people on the streets, which Light supposed was quite reasonably, given that it was just after nine AM on Christmas morning. Ice slicked the sidewalks, and the snow didn't fall so much as wander, whispering through the brittle air to splatter on the rooftops, on the pavement, on its melting brethren where little hills of them gathered together, trying not to melt.
"Mostly," Light said, attempting to ignore the frigid steel of the handcuff against his wrist and the wide eyes it coaxed out of passersby, "when I ran across that site, I had to get you a box full. It was just so perfect."
There were other things that were perfect, too, but the snow wouldn't listen, and L wouldn't understand.
"It would have been impossible to purchase a present without the luxuries of the internet," L murmured in agreement. "I might have thought of that."
Light was a bit surprised he hadn't, but he wasn't overly concerned. And even if he had been, L's blue lips would likely have proved sufficiently distracting to make him forget it.
After all that work, people were still going to think L was freezing to death.
Light watched L's hands as the thin, pale fingers manipulated the candy cane against the tongue it was currently dyeing elaborately. L's free hand was curled inside the overhang of his sleeve—since he had fed his arms through them after all once they'd emerged onto the street, a detail that Light had nobly pretended not to notice—and there was an unusual, maybe even unprecedented tinge of color in his white cheeks, his nose pink as well.
Jingle all the way from the giggling chain, and then Light found his own fingers dappling against that exquisite elfin face.
He must have been breathing, because mist was dissipating in his eyes. L's were wide as they regarded him, but not accusing—and that was why he couldn't act like this had never happened.
"You're cold," he said stupidly, because the silence was pressing.
"It is snowing," L answered slowly.
It was; it was; it was; tiny crystals touched down in the incorrigible web of dark hair before him, and he felt them on his faintly-tremulous hand.
"Ryuzaki," he said.
"Yes," L replied—not a prompt, but a confirmation.
Light drew in a prickling silver breath, leaned forward, inclined his head just slightly rightward, and let his eyes slip shut.
Lightning, fireworks, and fireflies.
Something was different when they returned, Light clutching L's hand more tightly than he probably ought to—though in his defense, first of all, it was very cold; and second, he half-feared L might pull it away—and it took Light a moment of staring to figure out what the anomaly was.
Then Matsuda giggled and jammed his finger gleefully down on a key, and Light realized that all of the computers were completely new—newer even than the pretty-damn-new models the team had been using yesterday.
Not to mention draped with gold and silver tinsel, the monitors adorned with evergreen garlands and massive red bows.
"You…" Light managed dumbly as they stood at the door, L pushing a thumb against those candy-cane-colored lips as their corners curled mischievously upward. "…lied…"
"I didn't lie, Light-kun," L replied contentedly. "I deliberately misled, particularly with some creative usage of the conditional tense."
Matsuda turned at the intrusion, beaming. "These are awes…" He blinked. "Light, your mouth is blue."
"It's really cold…" he supplied.
"Not cold-blue," Matsuda said slowly; "more like… candy-blue…"
"Light-kun has not seen his real present," L cut in, a wicked grin darting across his face at Matsuda's incredulity.
"Haven't I?" Light asked, slightly dazedly.
Right on cue, Watari arrived, bearing a thin white box adorned with a red satin ribbon tied in a bow. Light smiled uncertainly and accepted it, tugging the knot loose and opening it to discover…
…the nicest cashmere sweater he had ever seen in his life.
Expecting it to disappear when his grimy fingers touched it, he ran one hand reverently over the fabric, which was, of course, the color of ripe strawberries in summer.
"Light-kun looks particularly striking in red," L remarked innocently. "And particularly appetizing."
Light met gleaming gray eyes and grinned so hard his defrosting cheeks hurt. "Merry Christmas, Ryuzaki," he said.
Slender fingers curled in his hair and pulled him closer. "Merry Christmas, Light-kun," L murmured, breathing candy-blue against Light's lips.
The tingling in his extremities was probably not entirely due to the fact that Light was still adjusting to the temperature change. L, it seemed, had a magic all his own.
Though it didn't hurt that he had Watari for his Christmas elf.
"Oh, my," Matsuda said, sounding delighted.
"Oh, my God," Light's father corrected.
"Merry Christmas," Watari told them brightly.