"You didn't strike me as this type, Light-kun," L murmured.
"Hn?" Light gave a little laugh. "Too romantic?"
"Well…" L sat up, the water slopping up against the porcelain sides of the bath with the movement. "The candlelit bath? The rose petals strewn on the water? The—"
"Okay, okay." Light laughed again, sitting up too. "It's overkill. Still… it's Valentine's Day."
"That was what I meant," L mused. "I didn't think it would be in your nature to celebrate this day at all."
"It's over-commercialized, over-priced and built on foundations of emotional blackmail."
Light raised his chin a little, smirking.
"Do you really think that, Ryuzaki, or is it only because no-one has ever sent you a Valentine's card?"
"I don't want a Valentine's card, thankyou, Light-kun," L replied complacently. "The entire notion of this day is meaningless."
"Yet here we are," Light said coolly, "in the bath together. A candlelit one, with rose petals."
L glanced curiously at him through wet hair.
"Why would I have turned down such a suggestion merely because I dislike the reason for it?"
Light gave a sigh.
"Hypocritical, isn't it?"
"I suppose so." L eased himself away from him completely and went over to the other side of the bath; the whole thing was circular and quite deep, set into a raised platform of marble and, through the window, overlooking the glimmering night lights of Tokyo sprawled far below. The bathroom itself was dark but for the flickering glow of a dozen candles set around the edge of the bath like the numbers on a clock.
Light watched him fold his arms over the edge of the bath and rest his head on them, looking out over the city; crimson rose petals scattered over and stuck to his pale back, as though he was riddled with bullet wounds.
"Are you okay?" He asked softly.
"Hm?" L looked over his shoulder at him briefly. "Yes, Light-kun. I'm fine."
He looked away again, his reflection in the window shifting by the unstill smoldering of the candles.
"You seem… sort of sad," Light tried again, his voice quiet.
"I'm not." L didn't even spare him a glance this time. "I'm actually quite contented. Perhaps my happiness seems a little melancholy to you, but I am happy, Light-kun."
The detective plucked a rose petal from his wet hair and examined it in the candlelight.
"Why, does my demeanor unsettle you?" He queried blandly.
Light didn't answer him for a moment.
"I guess… I've never seen you happy before, then," he reasoned finally.
"What a peculiar thing to say, Light-kun." L said no more to this, letting the damp rose petal drop from his fingers back to the surface of the steamy water.
Watching him in silence, Light felt his resolve waver just a little, hesitating; then pulled himself together again and reached over the side of the bath, picking up the heart-shaped box of chocolates he'd brought into the bathroom while preparing this little rendezvous.
"Here, look." He crossed the bath over to L, the water swaying under the manipulation of his movement; L turned to him, apparently surprised by how close he was, just as Light slid the ribbon and the lid off the box. "I thought you'd appreciate these more than a card…"
L smiled at him through his hair; and Light distracted himself by plucking loose another few scarlet petals from the ebony tresses as L took his time selecting a chocolate.
"Thankyou, Light-kun." He put it in his mouth. "I apologize, but I have nothing for you. I didn't realize that we would be celebrating."
"That's okay." Light put the box down on the side of the bath as L leaned over it to choose another one. "You can have as many as you want."
"Don't you want one too?" L asked, glancing up at him.
"You know I don't like chocolate very much, Ryuzaki."
L ate his second one and then reached for a third; though holding it out to Light.
"But if you went to this much trouble for Valentine's Day," he reasoned, "then you have to have at least one."
"Nn." Light turned his face away. "No thanks."
L frowned, only becoming more determined as he tried to force the chocolate into Light's mouth.
"Just have one, Light-kun—"
"No!" Light snapped, smacking L's hand away; the chocolate went flying out of his atypical grasp and was lost somewhere beneath the petal-blanketed surface of the water.
Immediately losing interest in Light, L started splashing around in search of the lost sweet; until Light grasped his elbows to make him stop.
"Cut it out, there are plenty more," he bit out.
Light kissed him to shut him up, taking his shoulders; and after struggling for a moment or two, L gave up and fell into the action of it, pressing his mouth hard into Light's to vie with the boy for domination. And this kiss descended into a string of smaller kisses, their lips clashing briefly like butterflies in battle, while hands wandered and water splashed and rose petals stuck to their shimmering candlelit skin.
And then L seized up beneath Light's hands, black eyes snapping open; and he made a little sound halfway between a cough and gasp, his mouth still against Light's, though he reared away after a moment, his head dipping as he gave another cough.
Light didn't say anything; though blinked in disgust when L raised his head again to give him view of the trickle of rose-petal-red blood down his chin from his mouth.
With a groan, L put his pale fingers to his mouth; silent as he withdrew them to look at the blood. He turned his gaze on Light, his dark eyes expressionless.
"Poison," Light said softly.
L blinked once or twice at him, unable to utter a sound.
"Probably not enough to kill you," the boy went on. "You only ate two."
"Then why…?" L's voice shook uncharacteristically as he voiced the question.
"Because I have another gift for you." Hesitating for a split-second again, Light went to the edge of the bath and fished around under his discarded clothes, pulling out the slim black notebook. "You wanted to know how Kira kills? Here it is."
Staying out of L's reach, Light showed him the Death Note. L blinked at it, his reactions maybe dulled by the poison laced within the chocolates Light had given him.
"I…I don't understand," he said softly. "Any… any of this, why you… Why you're doing this now, or how, or…"
"I'll answer both of those questions," Light said quietly, "and your third."
"My third…?" L gave another cough, blood spattering on the surface of the water.
"Am I Kira?" Light gave a humorless smile. "Yes, L. I am. Is that what you want to hear?"
L looked up tiredly at him.
"Not… not under these circumstances, no… Light-kun…"
"Isn't now as good a time as any? I thought Valentine's Day was meaningless to you."
L dropped his gaze defeatedly; too slowed down by the poison raging in his system to think about pouncing forwards to grab that notebook from Light's hands.
Light carefully opened the Death Note to the page he'd prepared earlier, turning it around to show L; on the page, in his neat kanji, was written:
February 14th, 11:05pm
Suicide. Slits wrists and drowns in bath.
L stared at it in horror; could Light really force him to kill himself? Was this how he did it, was this the Death Note's terrible power…?
"There's… no name," L pointed out weakly, before coughing again and hacking loose a decent amount of blood. "You need… my name…"
"I have your name," Light replied expressionlessly, making L's head jerk up.
Without further explanation, Light slid out a pink and gold Valentine's card from between the pages of the Death Note, L watching him in macabre horror.
"This is my card from Misa," he said. "She gave it to me this morning."
"The model…" L whispered.
Light nodded, opening the card to show to L the message written in it.
His name is L Lawliet, love from Misa xxx
"You were right about her too," Light said, tossing the card across the water to L, who was staring at it in speechless devastation. "Though Misa has more power than I, in case you are wondering how she possibly could have found out your name."
L picked up the card with shaking hands, looking at Misa's giddy scrawl; before tearing it in half, and then in half again, letting the pieces drop to the water.
"That's not… my name," he said desperately, wiping blood from his mouth.
Light smirked, taking the pen that was clipped to the back cover of the Death Note and poising it above the paper.
"Indeed. Shall we see?"
"No!" With what must have been his last burst of strength, L flung himself forwards at Light, hands flailing for the notebook; though Light effortlessly shoved him backwards, sending him scraping against the side of the bath before disappearing under the rose petals.
Light quickly wrote his name down next to the prior details, then stood and got out of the bath just as L resurfaced, coughing up water and blood.
"So this… was all some sick joke…" L gasped, glaring at Light through his sodden hair.
"No. It wasn't a sick joke." Light pulled a towel around himself, throwing the Death Note to the floor. "Unless you consider Valentine's Day to be a sick joke, Ryuzaki."
L crawled across the bath over to the far side, collapsing half over the edge, then propping himself up on his elbows with great effort to look up at Light; his hair was scattered once more with rubies of rose petals, as was his skin.
"No-one… has ever given me anything… for Valentine's Day," he whispered. "No-one has ever… been so kind to me… as you have, Light-kun… yet no-one has ever… been so cruel either. Never have I had a greater… friend or enemy… than what I have in you…"
Light knelt down beside the bath and put his arms around L, who didn't resist his touch despite everything. The teenager said nothing, smoothing down L's sodden hair as he felt the detective tremble in his arms.
Quietly he reached down and picked up the kitchen knife he'd brought into the bathroom, pressing it into L's limp hand. L broke from him, gazing at him for a moment or two; but then his eyes glazed over and if he had wanted to speak, the words were no longer his to say, and his long fingers tightened around the handle of the knife.
L didn't hesitate or flinch or gasp or cry when he tore the knife vertically down first his left wrist, then switched hands and opened the right a little more clumsily; though Light looked away, unable to watch him do it so mechanically despite the fact that it had been his doing.
It was too late to regret it now, anyway.
L dropped the knife into the water with a dull splash, his gaze fixed on Light; though not really seeing him.
"I wrote every letter of your name with love, L," Light said softly; though the detective didn't answer him, too busy staining the water around him deep crimson to match the petals floating on its surface.
He held out his arms before him, hands limp, the blood pouring like crimson thread from his wrists; to paint some macabre picture of a puppeteer, with the water on his strings. Light reached across the water for him, L but didn't come; only looking at him as though he didn't recognize him.
Light withdrew his hand then, as L gave another shallow gasp and more blood welled over his bottom lip; and then he wavered and his dark eyes slid closed and he fainted, keeling over backwards into the crimson water, and Light lost sight of him beneath the blanket of rose petals.
L was still alive, he knew; it wasn't too late to reach under and pull him back above the surface, but…
What was the point? Light knew he couldn't defy the Death Note – if he saved L from drowning he'd still die from blood loss or poison or, all else failing, a heart attack.
The detective was obviously still unconscious, with no sign of movement at all eliciting from beneath water's surface; as the scarlet staining spread further and further across the bath.
Turning his back on the sight, Light toweled himself dry quickly and got dressed; and when he had done so fished out the torn pieces of the card Misa had given him from the still bath, shoving them, the Death Note and the poison-laced chocolates into his bag.
"You know, L," he said softly, taking instead from his bag a sealed crimson envelope. "…I wasn't going to kill you today. Misa's gift surprised me, but even so… I wasn't going to let the day go by unnoticed…"
He tossed the unread card onto the water's surface, where it floated in tandem with red petals and red water, and a little of the ink bled to merge with the blood.
"Happy Valentine's Day," he murmured, starting towards the door without another glance at the bath. "…I wrote every letter with love."
And he left, leaving the light of the candles to burn itself out.
You know, I confess…
I actually wrote this last year. You may have come across it before – if you have, it was on DeviantART. It was a contest entry for an LxLight Valentine-themed contest… and by the time I was free to post it elsewhere, it was WAY past Valentine's Day.
And I'd have looked like a dumbass posting it in March, so… I waited. Huzzah.
So. Yeah. Happy Valentine's Day – even if you're like me and have no significant other to celebrate it with – but if I did, my significant other would probably sit with me and complain about the trashy commoditized capitalism of this holiday, ne? :P
(Actually, I generally don't have a problem with trashy commoditized capitalism, holiday or not – Starbucks Coffee, Pizza Hut and Halloween FTW!)