Light x L
L is a reclusive detective who takes his job seriously. Too seriously, in fact. Once he takes note of how neglected and stagnant his life truly is, he decides to make some changes. Challenges arise through an unanticipated meeting. AU
A/N: Happy Holidays to you all!
Disclaimer: (See part 1 for full disclaimer.)
A substance commonly utilized to bind materials in construction... Tar pitch appears solid, and can be shattered with a hard impact, but it is actually fluid. Pitch flows at room temperature, but extremely slowly. To attain maximum fluidity, to be used, it must be exposed to heat.
Minds are like pitch. To reveal their full potential, they must be exposed to environs that apply stress. They must be challenged.
Part 32: (For the Best)
Dawn had begun seeping through the windows when Celia awoke the next morning well before Watari would be roused from sleep. It was usually this way; the man tended to sleep quite deeply for many more hours than she herself needed. She smiled to herself as she bustled around the room silently, combing her hair, donning her robe, and making her side of the bed.
He really is a dear man, she thought as she stopped to look down upon him in repose. He was indeed horribly overprotective over L-kun, but his caring for the boy was one of the things that had drawn her to him. Just like any proud parent, his face changed as he'd spoken of him and showed a capacity for selflessness and love that was not commonplace in just anyone.
It's a shame we didn't meet a few years earlier. How nice might that have been to know you had your whole life ahead of you with someone you fancied at your side?
She bent over to peck his cheek and saw his mustache swish as his lips formed a fleeting smile.
Not wishing to further rouse him, she crept quietly from the room to see how her guests were getting on. L-kun, she knew, did not sleep more than a wink. He at least should be awake by now and probably itching for something to do. She should have offered him the use of Quillish's laptop last night, at least, but she hadn't thought of it at the time. Of Raito-kun, she wasn't sure, but he might very well be asleep, so she eased the door open without knocking and called out softly, "L-kun? Are you awake, dear?"
Silence met her gentle query. They couldn't bothbe asleep, could they? "L-kun?" she called again, a touch louder.
Still, there was no response.
She decided to take a peek into the room to make sure everything was ok.
When the door had swung open enough for her to pop her head in around it, she was taken aback by what she saw. She certainly hadn't been expecting this.
On the bed, which was both empty and tidily made up once more, was a slip of paper. The bedding she'd lain out for Raito the night previous was folded neatly in a stack upon the floor.
She moved into the room with a worried frown on her face and picked up the perplexing piece of parchment paper. It was a page from one of her notebooks she had lying about the apartment. It read:
Thank you again for inviting us into your home, and for a lovely evening.
The way it was written sounded more like Raito-kun than L-kun. Had the brunet penned the note, then?
We apologize for taking our leave prior to your waking, but felt it was for the best.
Watari can be stubborn and set in his ways, as you surely know by now.
That part sounded like L-kun...
But he is a good man whom you make very happy.
Please tell him to take good care of you, and to find a place to live which suits you both.
(P.S. Germany is lovely this time of year.)
At the end was an intricate, gothic style 'L' perfectly drawn in with black ink.
Celia took the note and folded it gently, tucking it into the pocket of her robe. "Oh, dear," she said to herself, feeling a touch scattered. "Oh, dear. Quillish, I do believe they may have just eloped."
She drifted into the kitchen, determined to find something stunning to make for breakfast which might help her break the news. Pancakes were probably not going to cut it.
L stared fixedly at the road, his expression tight with concentration. His eyes flicked over to the car's other occupant now and then. "Raito, are you certain that now is really the best time for this?"
"Of course. You didn't want to be there when they woke up, did you?"
"I'm not referring to that," he said impatiently. "Or the note," he added.
L gave Raito a long-suffering look. It was brief, however, as his eyes invariably gravitated back to the road. Raito was currently tapping out a message on his phone. L knew it was the email to Misa, which he himself had requested, but he couldn't be properly happy about it given the time and place. "You know, I'd be glad to do that for you, and let you drive unimpeded."
"Don't be ridiculous, you're doing fine. And there are hardly any cars out at this time anyway."
L grit his teeth and gripped the steering wheel tighter, the object feeling foreign beneath his hands. Raito had the strangest sense of timing. All of a sudden, he insisted that he needed to send the email to Misa at that very moment and that it should be a simple matter for someone of L's caliber to steer a car for but a few moments until he was done. L found, however, that Raito was taking his time on the email and this, in fact, had become his introduction in learning to drive. Raito had no intention of taking over the wheel again.
"Well, here is one concession," Raito said, "You are a much quicker study at this than cooking."
"And yet, it is almost as nerve-wracking." L wasn't sold on Raito's 'sink-or-swim' style of driving instruction. All he'd really done is point out the mirrors, help him put the car in gear, and tell him to avoid hitting anyone.
Raito waved the comment off. "So, Germany, is it?"
"Watari liked it there. And I think Celia might as well."
"And you're sure you don't want to go with them if that is what they decide to do?"
L frowned slightly, fielding the question even as he maneuvered in front of a large blue truck. "It's not that I don't want to." He paused, searching for words. "But I think that a separation is best. We need to establish the delineation between our lives. He needs to focus on building one with Celia, and I need to focus on surviving you."
"I'll do my best to ensure you need every scrap of mental fortitude you possess to accomplish it."
"Bastard," L muttered without real malice. He chewed distractedly at the inside of his lip as he studied the patterns of traffic which were thickening around them.
Raito had stopped typing and was lounging in the passenger seat, looking out the window in a relaxed fashion. L suspected that he had finished composing the email to his ex-fiancee and was merely withholding that information. He certainly seemed set on L completing this journey on his own. Actually sending the mail and thus finalizing his break with Misa was L's carrot - his motivation (aside from not getting killed) for keeping this car on the road and pointed the proper way.
"Have you decided whether or not you are going to find your own place to live?" Raito asked.
"Oh, I see."
L glanced at Raito and saw no change in his demeanor, but he knew full well what the brunet was getting at. It was apparent in his careful questioning over Watari, Celia, and living abroad. What he really wanted to know is if L was willing to live with him.
"Your new place is small," L said.
Raito glanced at him in surprise. "You think so?"
L nodded, eyes on the road.
"It's comparable to my previous residence," Raito trailed. "Though it lacks some of the amenities."
"How long are you tied into your lease?"
"That depends on what I'm willing to pay to break it, and if I'd have any help in re-packing and moving all those boxes we just unpacked."
L cursed under his breath. "I'll make you a deal."
Raito raised a brow. "This ought to be good."
"I'll pay for you to break your lease, if you pay for a mover to pack all of your things and move them." L paused. "And unpack them again."
"And where might I tell them to bring these boxes, Oh Lazy Detective?" Raito's lightly mocking voice sounded pleased.
"How am I supposed to know? We'll have to find a place, right?"
"House shopping already?" Now L could detect a smirk in Raito's tone. Oh yes, he was quite pleased. "Are we to pick out curtains next?"
"Not advisable in a moving vehicle, Lawliet," he teased. "You'd be surprised at the statistics on how many cars have run off the road or become embroiled in accidents due to just such circumstances."
"What do you think the statistics are on two highly intellectual people not killing each other during cohabitation?"
"Very low, unless they are sleeping together."
"Oh, how convenient for us, then."
L let a few moments pass in silence before saying accusingly, "You have an answer for everything, don't you?"
"Well, I don't like to brag..." Raito trailed in a jokingly self-important tone.
They passed the next half hour or so pretty easily, with only one or two near-collisions, both of which L insisted were not his fault.
"Raito, it comes to mind that you are forcing me to learn to drive as some sort of attempt to show willingness on your part to let me be independent."
"You've seen through me," Raito said drolly. "And?"
"And, while I appreciate the gesture, I also do not feel I would be rejecting the overture by preferring never to do it again..."
"You're asking me if I would be offended if you chose never to drive again?"
"Er..." L said. "In short, yes?"
"Come on, it isn't that bad, is it?" Raito said placatingly. "The semi was obviously in the wrong on that last one."
"I don't think that would have made the car any less susceptible to folding like an aluminum can," L pointed out. "From what I have seen thus far on the road, Might Makes Right. It's deplorable. I don't want to be part of it."
"Hmm," Raito said. "What I shame then that the whole world operates on that principle as well."
"No, it doesn't." L was emphatic.
"Doesn't it?" Raito countered.
"There are such things as justice in the world."
"If you look hard enough, I suppose," Raito ceded.
"Once again, I think your world view is alarmingly pessimistic and dark."
"It's realism, Lawliet. I've been living in the thick of things for some time now, whereas you - and I know this will irk you to hear - have been living an exceedingly sheltered life."
"Either that, or you have been choosing to live in the underbelly of society, and thus have a skewed view of things," L suggested flippantly. Raito was right, being called 'sheltered' irked him.
L watched Raito rake a hand through his shiny hair in a gesture of agitation. There were times that this could be taken to mean they were on the precipice of a fight.
Raito picked his phone up again, which had been resting on his knee, and pressed a few buttons. The sound that indicated a message had just been sent sounded and he said, "For the sake of peace, for now let's just agree to disagree."
L shrugged and agreed, surprised at such a diplomatic approach from the brunet.
"You know what, Raito?" L said. "I think this is going to work."
A/N:And there you have it! A positive note for the DN boys to end on, and hopefully a happy enough ending for everyone to find acceptable. I left some things somewhat unresolved, as neat and tidy endings irk me a bit, and I feel it lets you imagine a few details on your own as to how certain things may turn out.
A friend of mine pointed out the other day that my 'attempt at a short story' (PITCH was supposed to be a short story originally) was an epic failure, emphasis on EPIC. Because it is just as long, if not longer than A Balm For Social Failure! (omg.)
If anyone is into Supernatural, you might give my new fic Asylum a try. (It is yaoi/slash.) I will be posting it soon.
I hope you enjoyed the story.
Thanks to all who reviewed!