… Errr, I will start of with asking for forgiveness for another long wait. -_-'
Yes, I know, my cruelty has no limits. But for the ones who are interested I the reason for my absence I will summaries as best as I can since I know you probably want the chapter more then anything.
Simply, got visa, moved out of brazil, got into university, went to a wedding, got a new computer and then started said university… that is about it.
Well now that that is done! THANK YOU FOR THE REVEIWS! I CAN'T BILIVE HOW MUCH YOU LOVE MEEEE! And for that love! I give you!...*drum roll* MY BIGGEST CHAPTER YET. It is a monster. Do not expect it all the time. He is special. I do not think (or at lest I hope) I will be able to out do him…
Important: this story is coming to a close soon. NOT very soon, don't worry, but in a few chapters. So I what to ask. Do you want a story just for L's memories? It will be longer and have more description and the main character will be L, so we will know more about him. Give me your opinion!
REVIEW MY PRETTIES!
Neon Green: Part B
What you lived through in the past is what makes you who you are today.
It was amazing really. Raito had seen his fair share of movies that had things like this. Flashback, and such. This only gave the environment a more eerie and surreal feel to it. Raito doubted he would ever be able to be sure of another thing in his life again. Because when things that you only see in movies happen in real life…well, what can you call reality anymore?
Maybe next they'll have an alien invasion. Or perhaps time travel.
And perhaps L will realize that smothering his emotions is bad for his health and be open and sensitive! And both of them will love each other and skip off to Candy Land to live in a house made of sweets! And Kira will simply not have existed!
Aliens and time travel don't sound as unlikely anymore.
He sighed. It didn't help that he was feeling the dark gray eyes of his current life's misfortune. It was discomforting, to say the least. Every time he went close to a memory he would feel their eyes sharpen on the back of his head.
But that did not stop him in the least. Oh, no. Nothing would at this point. But Raito knew that his freedom perched on a thin line that was very easily trespassed. He had the suspicion that the only reason he wasn't bound and gagged at this very moment was that the two rays of sunshine were kept occupied by the large number of emotions and the taskforce, that by chance (or maybe not quite) always seemed to demand attention whenever Raito moved to another memory bubble.
Maybe he wasn't as damned as he liked to dramatize himself to be.
He wasn't sure how much longer that would last. He was sure he was going to be pulled out or simply completely barricaded from most, if not all, of the memories. So he was making the most of it.
Never in his life did he wish to be a horrible mutation of a multi-eyed chameleon. (Because people don't normally wish that) But so much to see within such a small window of opportunity made deformation almost appealing.
Well, not really.
Something caught his eye soon enough. Most likely because it was the inside of a car and at the bottom of the screen was a glimpse of what was very certainly something L would never wear.
Which was a broad statement in itself, since all the teen ever saw the man wear were jeans and a shirt. With his interest piqued Raito gravitated towards the screen and stepped into its sound bubble.
"L, are you sure this is a good plan? I'm not-"
"Watari, I understand your perturbation but I can assure you I will be perfectly fine. We took all necessary precautions and I will keep you posted throughout it. There is nothing to be worried about."
"L, you know how I feel about you recruiting criminals."
"I do, but he has skill we just cannot overlook. Skill that will be very valuable to the team. Wedy has turned out to be such an incredible employee. I think Aiber will as well."
"Yes, she has turned out to be a very loyal employee. One of the best in my personal opinion, which is rather surprising. However, if you do remember, not all of your hirings have such a pleasing outcome. If I remember correctly, Jason-"
"Was a lack of judgment on my part. I will admit. But I must say-"
"No, L! No! He almost killed you!"
"Yet he didn't."
The old man gritted his teeth then sighed, bringing his aged hands to rub at his temples. "I just worry for your health. I almost lost you that time. I don't…"
"I understand, but Aiber possesses skills I never learned, and don't particularly think I could. Or have any real desire to. He will be a valuable asset and infinitely useful. Moreover, he is a pacifist; preferring his sharp tongue and wit over violent actions."
The old man let out a heavy breath, closing his eyes. "Very well. I trust your judgment. Just promise me you will be careful. I also want to hear from you as often as possible. And if I feel like anything is out of control I am pulling you out! And I don't want to hear a word of protest! You understand, L? Because you do know how to rub people the wrong way, my boy…"
"Yes, yes, I understand. Now let's get this over with. I feel quite foolish in this attire, and wish to get out of it as quickly as humanly possible."
The screen moved downwards. What could be seen (and Raito had trouble believing L was actually wearing such a thing) was a tight black short-sleeved shirt with some band logo on it. Underneath were a white long-sleeved shirt and skinny jeans. And on his normally bare feet were overly large skating shoes.
The screen moved back up. Watari was smiling, a rather evil smile if Raito said so himself. "Yes, you do look rather ridiculous. But if I recall correctly, your intention was to look rebellious? As well as irreconcilable? I must say you have achieved one of said goals. I would never expect to see you in anything of this nature. Ever." The man sniggered.
"You may laugh when the deed is done and I am in my preferred outfit. If we are done here, I shall begin the plan." The view rotated and the door of the car opened. The scene moved from a road and random passers-by until it stopped in front of a very elegant, very expensive looking restaurant. L pushed in through the double doors.
Immediately what had to be a waiter or receptionist stepped up. He had greased back hair, a well-pressed suit, and a rather long, large nose. The man looked down at L with said nose, obviously not thinking of him as anything more than the dirt on the sole of his shoe. "May I help you, sir?" the man asked with such fake politeness it was covering the twitching of his lip.
"Yeah you can, old man. Table for two. Reserved under Dustoguvish." L's voice came out with an apathetic tone. The perfect, spoiled, uncaring and 'stick it to the man' teenager.
The man lifted an eyebrow. "Dustoguvish you say sir?" He looked surprised, but mostly suspicious.
"Yeah, you know? Big-shot CEO with tons of cash? Do I have to spell it out for ya?"
"I'm sorry; it's just that you don't look like said CEO, sir." The man looked like he was having a hard time not sneering out his words.
"Of course I don't! Do I look like I'm some 60-year-old man? No. I'm his son, you senile old man."
The man's eye twitched. "I'll go check your reservation sir." He turned, hands fisted.
When he left, L sighed. The screen moved around. The restaurant was of very high class. Soon the screen landed on a long mirror that took up almost half of the wall as decoration. Raito almost choked when he saw L's full appearance. The man's hair, usually wild and free, was tamed and flattened. It looked oily, probably dunked in hair gel to keep it so… straight. The bags underneath L's eyes were gone, hidden under what could only be half a pound of make up. And was that a piercing on his nose? And lip? They had to be clip-ons…
L sighed again. "I will never understand fashion…"
There was a sound of someone clearing their throat. The screen turned to face the same snobby waiter. "Your registration is confirmed sir. Please follow me." The waiter then led him into the bowels of the restaurant.
Raito caught multiple people turning their heads as they went by. The screen never focused on them. Instead it kept rooming the room. It stopped when it caught sight of what only could be Aiber. He was far away, looking like he was chatting up a waiter, but it had to be Aiber.
"We are here sir. If you don't mind me asking, when will Mr. Dustoguvish be arriving?"
"He is not coming."
"My dear father likes to arrange these meetings to try and have some 'father-son' time. It is all bullshit. He never shows up. It's just something he does to keep his conscious clean; to pretend he is being a good father. I get a free meal out of it, though."
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that, sir."
"No ya not. I know you just wanna get your greedy manicured hands on his money. Don't worry, I can dip into my father's account any time. And trust me, I love to milk that bastard of every penny at every damn opportunity I get."
A glitter appeared in the waiter's eye. His interest was piqued. He bowed and moved out, a greedy smile on his face. "Someone will come for your order soon sir," he said over his shoulder.
L's hand came up and disappeared at the side of the screen. He lifted a glass with the other. "I'm in. I have established the location of the target and set the bait. On stand-by," L whispered, cup of water strategically placed. The rim could be seen on the bottom of the screen.
"Roger," came the electronic reply. L was using an earpiece.
At that moment, a smiling waitress walked over. "What would you like to drink sir?"
"Don't care. Anything sweet. And since you're here, for food I want one of everything on the dessert menu."
The waitress blinked. "I-I'm sorry sir, I don't think I understand. What will your main course be tonight?"
"What? Am I speaking in tongues here? Does this sound like Japanese to you? Because last time I checked, I was speaking plain English. I'll talk slowly then. To drink: a n y t h i n g - s w e e t, doesn't matter what. For food: o n e - o f - e a c h - o n - t h e - d e s s e r t menu. Got it now?
"Ah, of course... well… I'll be right back with your order then…sir." She left in a hurry.
From then on, L just sat quietly. The corner of the screen always had Aiber in view. At one point the snobby waiter moved to talk to the con-man. He only inclined his head in L's direction and Aiber's eyes only swiped a quick glance at L. They parted soon after.
When the order came, the screen's focus was almost completely on the food. The women did indeed look like she'd brought the whole dessert menu. She carefully parked the dessert cart next to the table. L said nothing and ate. The screen sometimes moved to where the con man sat.
By the time the third plate of sugary goodness was gone, Raito was beginning to get impatient. Luckily enough, that was exactly when Aiber appeared.
He leaned on the table, smiling down at L (who, thankfully, was sitting normally for a change.) "Hello. Is this seat taken?" he asked in such a smooth sly tone it sent shivers down Raito's spine.
Not the good kind though. For some reason he thought he wasn't going to like what was going to happen next. He suddenly felt possessive of the detective.
This Aiber was younger than the one he knew, hair shorter and face clear. Still incredibly handsome. He seemed thinner, too. Not as much muscle as the current Aiber. His suit fit perfectly within his environment, just making him more dashing.
"Do whatever you like." Aiber lifted an eyebrow, obviously not expecting such a response. But his smile never left his face. He took it as an invitation and sat.
"I'm Axel. You don't seem like the typical customer you see in a place like this."
"That's because I'm not."
Aiber didn't seem bothered when not getting a name. "Well, then why are you here? You obviously seem uncomfortable - if you don't mind me commenting."
A snort. "My father's lame attempt to try and connect with me. It would work better if he actually showed up. I don't remember the last time I saw him face to face."
"Ah, I'm sorry to hear of such a tragedy. I hope I did not upset you." The con man put in just the right amount of pity and consideration, and softened his eyes just right. A skilled con man.
"Nah. It's been the same way every two weeks for the last three years. There's nothing to be sad about. Not like there was a relationship to save. He throws a lot of money at me and expects everything to be fine. Bastard. But money is pretty much unlimited. I like to just burn it on anything I can."
"Ah." The man's eyes were shining at the mention of money, hunger brightly apparent. "Well, I still think it's terrible that you have such a bad relationship with your father. I feel just awful I brought such a terrible subject up. I wish I could make you feel better."
"Are you hitting on me?" The question seemed out of the blue and Aiber was equally startled.
"I'm sorry, is that what this is coming across as? No, I was just-"
L cut off dully. "It's cool."
"It's cool. If you're hitting on me. I swing that way."
Aiber's face was blank for a moment before a smile ten times as bright and sly sliped over it. "Ah, as a matter of fact, I was 'hitting on you'." He leaned in closer, his Persona changing at once to fit his target's preference. The man was good. "You caught my eye out of the crowd. You're just so different from the others. I couldn't help but be intoxicated."
"Wanna make out?"
This time, Aiber looked like he really did have the mat pulled from under his feet. His hand slipped slightly on the table and he just gave L a very baffled look. Raito was doing it himself, almost choking on air again. He knew this was an act (it had to be) but still…
The con man pulled himself together rather quickly. His smile was back; this time it looked more like a smirk, his gaze taking on a lusty look. Raito felt that shiver again. He was having a hard time figuring out if the man was still acting or not. "Oh my, I did find myself a true little firecracker, didn't I?" He licked his lips. "Meet me in the bathroom in ten minutes."
The moment he was out of sight and earshot L's hand moved to his ear piece again. "Target engaged. I have got him where I want. I'll be instigating the final part of the plan soon."
"Roger. Be careful."
"You worry too much."
L sat and finished as much of his food as he could. The screen soon began to move, pushing through the crowd to the back. There were three doors: ladies' room, men's room, and the kitchen.
The minute L walked through the door Aiber's face was on him. There was a muffled 'mmmph' from L. The screen was blurring around the edges at how close the con man's face was.
Ratio's open mouth was soon replaced by fury and a scowl. He felt his body lock and the blood in his veins catch fire. He wanted to claw at the screen.
Thankfully, L overcame his own surprise quite quickly and the screen was a blurr of movment once again. It ended with Aiber bent over the sink with both hands behind his back and L bringing out a pair of handcuffs.
Strangely enough, that didn't actually make Raito feel the least bit better.
There was a click of metal. Aiber was struggling. "Umm, kinky. I did pick myself quite the prize. Normally I'm on top, but I think I can make an exception for such a beautiful and feisty boy." Raito couldn't say if he was acting or if it the man actually felt that way. It didn't matter, but he felt like the next time he saw Aiber, the con man wouldn't be very happy to see him.
The screen came forward so that L's lips were incredibly close to Aiber's ear. "I'm sorry Mr. Aiber. I think I might have misled you to get you to this point. This is not quite the situation you think it is," L said in his dull monotone, having dropped the act completely.
The screen moved backwards so that Aiber's whole form could be seen: (it was a rather incriminating position) the man's entire body was stiff. His face had lost its lusty glow but that damn smile had been slipped back into place.
"Oh, are we role plying now? I'm loving this even more!" The false cheeriness and calm was palpable.
"No Mr.- , I think you still haven't quite understood your situation here. This is not a game. You may drop your persona. I have dropped mine."
The man cocked his neck into a painfull loking position to stare at L, eyes wide. Hysterical, act completely dropped. He began to thrash. "Where the fuck did you hear that name! Tell me! TELL ME!"
"Seems like I have finally gotten through to you."
L thrust Aiber down. The man grunted and coughed, but still tried to struggle. "Calm down. I very well can't speak with a hysterical man."
There was suddenly a loud squeak. (One that reminded Raito very much of Matsuda) The screen snapped to the door. A short man with glasses was standing at the entryway, eyes wide. Raito could only image what the man was thinking at seeing what Raito couldn't.
The man's cheeks went from rosy to pink to fire-truck red. He began to sweat, looking to be caught between appalled and embarrassed.
Before either the man or Aiber could utter a word L's voice cut in. "Excuse me, can you not see that my partner and I are tring to engage in homosexual intercourse at the moment?"
The man's face went from red to green. He looked a bit woozy. There was a sputtering sound from Aiber.
"No? Well, we are. So if you would please leave so we can continue? Unless, of course, you would like to join us? If so, do close the door."
The man went from green to pale puce and looked about ready to faint. The door slammed shut so harshly it made the art on the walls shake. It was like the man was never there.
"You idiot! You should have let me talk! Now he's going to call the staff on us!" The con man's face was a perfect blend of horror and outrage.
L slammed him against the counter again, the top and bottom of the screen darkening. L's eyes were narrow. "I would appreciate if you did not insult my intelligence. I think you have forgotten in just what situation you are in. Moreover, the man was so embarrassed at what he just witnessed he will not be able to look his date/companion in the eye. Much less call the authorities."
Aiber was studying him, his breathing labored. "How do you know my name - my real name? I haven't heard it in years…"
"Ah, Mr. Aiber. I know quite a few more things about you. For example, the true reason you are a con man. Starting out to pay the bills from the hospital of your sick mother. Ending up with you seeing just how easy it was to get people to do what you want. Leading an easy life after so much hardship. Or the fact that you are not some seedy criminal; having one-fifth of your con money distributed to reliable charities."
Aiber seemed to bleach, breath catching. "What the hell do you want? Where did you hear this bullshit! None of it is real!"
"I think I told you, Mr. Aiber. I know many things. And I am here to offer you a proposal."
"Yes. And if you promise me you will act civilly I will release you, so we may go over the terms."
The man's eyes closed. He evened out his breathing, then nodded. L let him straighten himself up. Then he unlocked the handcuffs. Aiber turned and rubbed his wrists. L pulled out a folded piece of paper and a pen from what seemed like thin air.
Aiber unfolded it and looked it over. Both eyebrows scaled his forehead as his eyes moved down the page.
He looked up. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"No. I can assure you it is all very real."
"Wait. Let me get this straight. You come in here, pretending to be some rich kid. Then, you get my informant to steer me here and corner me in the bathroom to propose to me that I work for L? The L? As in the rising detective: superstar, anonymous, mysterious, and ironically known world-wide?"
The man began to laugh. He doubled over and laughed, tears trickling out of his eyes. However, he soon stopped when he looked at L's face. "You're serious."
"Once again, yes."
"But I'm a criminal! Very powerful, angry people want me in prison. Even dead. Have you even read this thing? It says here that I can basically do what I want and have L back me up and protect me from the police and the government!"
"No, Mr. Aiber. What it is written there is that you will work for L. And as an employee, you have rights to do your job within your contract. In all of the jobs if you obtain money of your own accord you may keep it, as well as earn your normal salary. You will only be protected from the actions you do under the commands of L himself. Your profile will be cleaned and all charges dropped. That is, of course, only if you swear loyalty to L."
The man looked at him blankly. "So what you're saying is that I continue being a con man, just a con man with a job? Excuse me if that just doesn't sound quite right… and if I con money out of my targets it's mine as well as the money of my normal pay? And you actually expect me to accept this, congenially working for an anonymous man."
"…There has to be a catch. What happens if I refuse your offer?"
"There is no catch, Mr. Aiber. Only details to be discussed later. And if you refuse? Well, unfortunately… you will be arrested."
"WHAT? So I either accept to work under a man I have never met, this imaginary creature without a face, and do whatever he tells me to... Or I go to prison? What kind of offer is that?"
"A rather good one, if I do say so myself."
The screen moved to the sink. The tap was turned on. L whipped out all the gel from his hair. Now he looked more like himself, if not a much younger self, yet not as distinctive as he would look with the bags under his eyes. He was much more attractive with his fluffy hair. He plunked off his 'piercing'. When he was done the screen turned back to the con man - who had a thoughtful look on his face? His eyes scanned L's face. Raito didn't like the look that was crawling into the con man's eyes...
"I could just escape, you know…"
"Out of the question. I demonstrated that I have extensive knowledge on you and finding you would be simple, if not painfully effortless. By then, however, the offer would be off the table and you would simply go to prison."
"You drive a hard bargain. Nonetheless, I still don't understand what use the 'great' L would have with low ranking con man such as myself."
"You have very useful skills and an incredible potential that cannot be ignored. It would be a shame if it would go to waste in prison. It would be put into so much better use under the jurisdiction of L."
Aiber eyed him. He tapped pen against paper. Then turned, signing the contract on the sink. He handed it over to L, who scanned it. The screen focused on the paper. The signature was too pixilated to make out.
"Excellent. I knew you would come to your senses. Very well then, we are done here. You will receive a cell phone in the mail exactly two weeks from now. We will call you. It was a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Aiber." He pocketed the contract.
The screen turned to the door but suddenly snapped around. There was a thumping noise of a body hitting a wall and L was staring at Aiber again, who was too close for comfort - for L and Raito.
"We're not done yet. Aren't there more maters to discuss about the contract? I have a few questions to ask…" The screen slowly moved from Aiber's face (that was a little more than a palm's length away from L's face) down the arm next to his head. Then it focused back on Aiber.
"I can see you are determined to have some answers…."
"Will I meet L?"
"That depends, Mr. Aiber, on if you are approved. Things that shall be discussed two weeks from now…"
"Hmm, and paychecks…?"
"Deposited directly into your account."
He leaned in closer. L made a grunting noise. He sounded unhappy.
"You know, I wasn't lying when I said I liked you. You're just so different. I bet there isn't anyone else like you out there."
"Quite true. And you are currently stepping over boundaries and invading my personal space. I would appreciate if you moved."
"What if I don't want to? Go out on a date with me." He leaned in more. Raito was gritting his teeth. There was a flash on the screen and Aiber was being pushed back by L. The detective's pointer finger was pushing against the middle of the other's forehead, forcing the man's head, and body, back. He shoved a little more and Aiber stumbled back.
Aiber was rubbing at the red dot now in the middle of his forehead. "Why not?" He sounded more than a little frustrated and annoyed at being shot down.
"Because, Mr. Aiber, you are a con man who is very good at what he does. As well as a bisexual sex addict, thus mounting anything that breathes. And I do not have relations with coworkers or potential coworkers. In fact, I do not date at all."
"A pretty thing like you? What a waste."
"Empty, untruthful complements will not change my mind. Expect our call. We have much to discuss. Beginning with your addiction. I foresee problems in the future if we do not deal with it."
"Good day Mr. Aiber."
The screen quickly moved out the door and crossed the restaurant. If it was possible L was attracting more stares than before. Raito even caught sight of the man who'd burst into the bathroom previously. He seemed to cover his face and sink into his chair. His date kept questioning if he was all right.
When L reached the reception desk he stopped. The screen focused on the snobby waiter, long nose in the air.
"The gentleman who sat with me has agreed to pay for all the expenses tonight. Please give him the check when he wanders out of the restroom," L said in his normal monotone, dropping his earlier act completely. The waiter looked startled but before he could open his mouth, L was out the door.
Soon, L was in the car he'd been in when all of this started. Watari turned to him with relief written all over his wrinkles.
"I take it went well?"
"…Yes. Now we must set up the tests for Mr. Aiber's loyalty. Let's go, Watari. I really am uncomfortable in these clothes, and have maxed out all my social tolerance in one night. All I want to do now is shower, put on my normal attire and have a slice or five of cheesecake. And possibly, not to deal with society in general anymore…"
Watari smiled, turned, and started the car. "Well, L, I can get your first three demands but that last one will just not be possible."
L sighed. "Yes, I was afraid you were going to say that…"
Raito pulled out of the bubble with mixed feelings. The outcome was more pleasing (and amusing) than he'd thought it would be. Even with the many parts in which he'd felt like tearing innocent puppies to shreds. He had felt an awful lot of jealousy and possessiveness. It was unnerving.
More and more the term 'crush' didn't quite cover what he was feeling. But Raito would rather not think of other words that might describe what he felt, as was his sentiment. He just wasn't ready for that commitment yet.
He shrugged. At the moment he couldn't be bothered to launch himself into a nature-seeking, eye-opening inner monologue. It would have to wait for a more opportune moment. The prospect on his hands was too big to be wasted on something that could be done another time. He scanned the area quickly to make sure he knew where everyone was. Logic and Reason especially.
He moved rapidly. As he did he couldn't help but think of ways to ether torture Aiber subtly or dig for his feelings. He heard the man had a family, but still… A rather large leap from sex addict…
A monitor grabbed his attention soon, and all thoughts of sex and jealousy were forgotten (…well, maybe not really sex. He was a teenaged boy…)
L was shuffling through folders with small hands that strangely enough had bandages around them. Raito was trying to discover L's age through his hands.
The detective was reading profiles, screen focused on the words on paper (which Raito could only guess were Russian) when a door squeaked open and the roll of wheels on a carpet was heard.
"Thank you Watari," L said without lifting his eyes from the pages he was reading. Raito couldn't tell what it was since it really had to be Russian.
More scuffling. "L, may I speak with you?"
"Of course Watari. You may always speak with me. In fact, you are doing so right now."
Pause. L flipped through more papers.
"Do you ever feel lonely?"
L's hands froze. Slowly the screen turned to the side. Watari was placing an arrangement of deserts on the coffee table, eyes focused on the table.
"…Lonely? What do you mean by lonely? How could I be lonely, Watari, when I have you?"
The old man's face broke into a soft smile. The corner of his eyes folded over with excess skin. "Yes. Yes, you do. And I will always be at your side." His smile disappeared and he turned to L. "But I won't be here forever, my boy. As you can see I'm old, and am only getting older. I would never leave you willingly, but life does not do old men like me favors…"
The screen turned back to the files at hand. "I understand Watari. That is why you shall live forever."
Raito heard laughter, and more clinking.
"Well then. Let's say I do live forever and stay by your side. L, you do realize you are almost sixteen now, and going through puberty-"
"I am? Well then, that explains why my voice has gone down so many octaves and I have hair where before it was non-existent." The screen switched to the computer.
"L! Do not smart mouth me!"
"I'm sorry Watari. I just do not see where you are going with this conversation, and I am trying to concentrate on this case. I'm still trying to gain a good reputation worldwide."
A sigh. "L, what I'm trying to get at is that even though you will always have me for as long as I exist, there are just some things I can not do, or satisfy, for you that others your age… can…"
L's hands stopped typing at the computer. The screen slowly moved back to Watari who had finished unloading his cart. He was now looking expectantly at the young detective.
"Excuse me? Watari, are you implying I look for a… significant other…?"
"You want me to try and commence a relationship?"
"Because I want you to be happy. And solving cases for the rest of your life may be entertaining but it won't be satisfying your every need."
"You don't know that."
"Oh L, I do. I never knew how lonely I was until I met Emily. She was the light of my life. L, I only wish for you to find your own light."
"… People are hurtful. Relationships are awkward. And 77.9% of the time they end in disaster, heartbreak, and bitterness. Love is nothing but a combination of chemicals in the brain and pheromones. It is nothing but… a setback. A distraction. If anything it will hinder me, not help me." The screen moved down to focus on hands that gripped pointed knees.
"Besides, look at me Watari. I am not what society deems to be 'dating material'… most importantly, why are we even having this conversation?"
"Because you are growing up, L, and you are human. No mater how much you try to cover that fact. You cannot hide from this. People get lonely and you are no exception. Don't put yourself down like that L!"
"That may be, but I do not feel lonely. I feel quite fine, in fact. I like how my life is. I like the way I turned out. Bringing someone else into it will only complicate things. I don't exactly fit into people's expectations of what they want in their 'special' someone. And even if I did, what tools to attract a partner do I have? My devilishly good looks? My amazing social grace? Or how about my charming personality?" he snorted, voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Really now, L. You are being ridiculous. It is true, that for the most part it is hard for you to get along with people. But it is understandable with what you have been through. You just have to find someone who will understand that. The world is a very big place. You should not dismiss the possibility of a partner."
"All right Watari. For all intents and purposes let's say that I do have the ability to attract a mate without having to throw money at them or tie them down. Let's say they like me for… the person I am… what makes you think that I will be attracted to them? It is not only my charm that pushes people away. Quite frankly, there is hardly anyone who can hold my attention. Because of my IQ and job, people are just not… interesting."
"You will find someone that captures your attention. You will find someone who shares your interests. And in relation to IQ, well, I know of a house filled with quite a few little geniuses. There are people with high intelligence out there. All you have to do is look."
"Yes, but if I do find someone I hope they will be 18 years old or over," L seemed to say more to himself then Watari.
"L, in the end you are just listing excuses. Why is it so hard to see yourself in a relationship?"
"Because it is! How can I find myself attracted to creatures that-that do things like these?" The screen turned to show L's hands grabbing files and throwing them over at Watari. "All the people in whom I find any interest are criminals! How can I find a partner when I can't overcome the thoughts of gore? To know that underneath it all every person has the ability to do something like that? I try; I do, to believe there is good in people! But they just do not cooperate!"
"This is the whole point L! This just reinforces my point of being reluctant to let you solve cases at such an age! I never thought it would affect you so deeply! How can you be a good detective if all you see is what is evil in humanity? You have to see it as a whole. People can have just as much good as they have evil. You can't use that as an excuse, L! Stop trying to find excuses!"
"L! I know you are lonely! I heard you last night! You are becoming depressed again aren't you!"
The screen turned harshly to the side. "No. And you must be imagining things. Nothing happened last night."
"I'm old but not senile L! You were sobbing. You like one of the officers, don't you?"
"You just don't know how to approach them."
"No! No Watari! I don't like anyone. Why won't you believe me?"
"Because you are lying! Why can't you come to terms with it?"
"Why can't you come to terms with the fact that I am just not fit to have meaningful relationships like love or friendship?"
Watari let out a frustrated huff, bringing both hands to tug at very apparent white hair. "You're so stubborn! You can't speak like that! You know what? You're right L! I'm sorry I brought this up in the first place. You obviously have your mind made up!" He let out another huff and turned on his heel, walking briskly out of the room.
L sighed, the screen tilting back to focus on the ceiling. It stayed like that for a while, before moving to the table lined with sweets. The screen moved over to it until L's hands could be seen cutting rapidly into the cake. He then stabbed the fork rather violently into the slice. This went on at the same pace until the slice was almost gone at an alarming speed.
Raito was beginning to feel awkward, wondering if the memory was over and if he should pull out right about now. He was beginning to thing he should when there was a clatter. L had thrown the empty plate harshly on the table. The screen moved down until a thump was heard of L's forehead hitting his knees.
Then the screen shot up and began to move. First the door of the office was opened. Down a hall. More doors were opened with only flashes of the room visible before they were closed again. Clinking of pots and pans could be heard and soon the screen faced a kitchen. Watari's back was to the door. The man was scrubbing dishes with more force than necessary.
"…Watari." L's voice was small; almost shy. Like a kid who'd been scolded (and for all intents and purposes he had been…)
No reply. Just harsher scrubbing.
Hesitantly, L whispered, "I-I'm…I'm sorry…"
The pot fell into the sink with a loud, echoing noise. Watari leaned heavily onto the counter. "I know L. I am sorry as well. I shouldn't have pushed you the way I did. I know you have trouble forming relationships with people. Of any kind. I… it's just…"
"You do not want me to be alone."
Watari nodded his head. "But I won't force you to do something you are not willing to do."
"Thank you, Watari."
The old man sighed and waved him off. "Sometimes I don't know what to do with you. I really don't. You are such a difficult child. Maybe I am not fit to be a parent after all. Maybe that is why Emily and I were never able to have children…" Watari turned away, going back to scrubbing viciously at the pans.
A small hand grabbed at the tails of the old man's suit. "You are a good parent! You are! I'm sorry! Don't think like that!" He sounded so scared; so nervous - like he was expecting to be abandoned.
Aware that the boy was beginning to panic, the man quickly placed his hands affectionately on the boy's shoulders. When that didn't quite work he brought the other closer in a comforting embrace. "It's all right. You don't have to panic. I won't leave you."
"I'm not panicking…" came a muffled reply. The screen was pressed up against the older man's shirt.
Watari just shushed him.
"I'm not…" Thin hands clutched the shirt more tightly.
There was a tap on Raito's shoulder that made him jump, so great was his intensity of focus on what was happening on the screen. He turned to see Happiness there, smiling, like it was carved on his face. And since it was Happiness, maybe it was.
Wasn't it obvious? The teen pointed to the screen. The other looked at it and his face twitched. It was like another emotion flashed by it in the time span of a millisecond. But it was so quick it only came out as a facial twitch. He then turned to Raito again, smile a little more forced.
"I remember that day! Well, that would be expected, wouldn't it? It's a memory for that reason…" -insert nervous laugh here- "Uhhhh, what do you think?"
Raito blinked - was he asking for his opinion on the memory? "I'm not quite sure how to answer that." Should he really say what he was thinking?
"Heehee… I don't know. Trying to start up conversation, I guess. Just for the hell of it. Heehee." Happiness laughed again, slightly high pitched. Raito lifted an eyebrow. Was he… nervous? Honestly nervous?
He was probably having second thoughts. Maybe the heavy mood hanging around Paranoia, Fear and the twins was influencing the other emotions. They were probably second-guessing this idea. It didn't help that neither Raito nor the task force were looking for the missing emotion. He could see Aizawa standing close by. For a moment he had the urge to go see what interested the man but turned to Happiness instead.
"Are you feeling all right? You seem a bit… lost."
"Me! Oh no! I'm fine, I'm fine. Uh, could we go over there?" He started to pull Raito more to the middle of the corridor, away from the screened memories.
Happiness coughed when Raito pinned him with a look. "Okay, so I'm getting a little anxious here. Can you blame me? Not the emotion of the most trusting person here. It doesn't help that I was sitting close to Paranoia all this time as he painted a very vivid, horrible way of how all this could end up…"
"...By us seeing your memories?"
"Everything! All branching out from this. I know I shouldn't let him influence me like this but, but I can't help it! I am L; paranoia is a very big part of us…"
Raito wasn't sure what he should say to that. The personality did actually seem worried, which clashed enormously with his laid-back nature. The teen debated what he should do. Should he calm the other down? He'd better or that could stop them from going forward.
However when he was about to turn on his charm to smooth over the jittery Happiness, Sadness and Courage popped up.
"YO! What are you two talking about?"
"Really? So why are 'ya biting your thumb?" Happiness abruptly removed his thumb from between his teeth.
"Come on dude, let's go over there. Paranoia is turning you into a cocktail of runaway emotions and shot down nerves. See what I did here? I made an ironic analogy! Because you are an emotion! And your emotions are on the loose! HAHAHA! I'm so smart!" Courage pulled the jumpy Happiness away as he laughed at his own humor. Happiness looked back worriedly at Raito.
It made him feel guilty, though he didn't know why. It's not like he was going to use the information he found here against L.
Sadness suddenly appeared right in front of him. With all that sideshow happening there he had forgotten the other was there as well.
"Find anything of interest?"
"Uh, well, yes, I guess."
Sadness turned his head to the side. His face looked more drooped than what the teen remembered. He was expecting for something to happen - for the personality to start a conversation or for it to try and stop him from going away. But he just stood there. Just stood there, fighting against gravity to just stand up.
"…Do you wish for something from me? Are you not going to stop me or argue with me?"
"So do something! I can see the others are starting to cave into suspicion."
Sadness's eyes hooded so much that they might as well have been closed. He then made a move to walk away but stopped next to Raito. Shoulder to shoulder, each turned in opposite directions, neither of them spoke for a moment.
"We, as a person, have been through a fair amount of hardship," Sadness finally began. "Things that luckily you, Raito, have not had to go through. You take many things in your life for granted that I have spent nights wishing I could have. I will not stop you from looking into our past life. Not because I trust you. For there is a monster living in your subconscious which I cannot ignore, and soon neither will you. What I can hope for is that the things you see here will bring some light into your blind views. You might learn something. Perhaps give you more insight than what you wished to find. It might not be life-changing facts or view-shattering insight. But if it manages to hit you just enough to make you hesitate before you shout your opinion pieced from a sheltered life, it might be worthwhile."
They started to walk but paused. Raito didn't dare look back. "Or possibly, I just wish to share myself with someone, anyone, to make sure that at the end of my life, I'll be able to be remembered as a person and not just a letter."
And he walked away.
Raito stood where he was; frozen in place, though his body felt hot. No thoughts were in his mind but the echo of the words he'd just heard.
He felt like pulling to the side and just letting all he'd learned hit him like a skydiver with a malfunctioning parachute. Like he should actually sit and chew over this whole experience because he now felt he was letting so much slip through the cracks.
He closed his eyes. But more than anything he just wanted to move forward. For he felt like whatever realization he would have, he would like to have it when this whole experience was over and there was no one there to distract him or influence him.
So he did just that. He walked to the closest monitor and willed his brain to start thinking again. To push back whatever was trying to break free and rampage his brain.
What was on the screen was a room. Well, more like half a room. The other half was what looked to be a wall - Raito could only guess that L was at a doorway looking in, but with only half of his face doing so.
The room looked like it either belonged to a very poor hospital or some sort of institute that was trying to keep their sicker children healthy by getting hospital equipment. But not possessing enough money to do so.
The room overall was plain. And White. Plain and white. It had a very large window directly opposite from the door L was standing at. The view was not all that exciting either: a few building tops and a dull gray sky. The floor had a lot of exposed wires, which was what gave the room the 'not quite up to standard' look. The most recognizable objects were the heart monitor and the IV. The bed was ratty with not all that sterile-looking blankets, and on the bedside table there drooped wilting sunflowers. Gone from a bright yellow to a not-so-cheerful beige.
The teen on the bed was the most uplifting thing in the room. Though that wasn't saying much. It was a boy, most likely between thirteen and fifteen. The boy seemed be an unhealthy shade of grayish-yellow, with thick brown curly hair that seemed to be as droopy as its owner.
He was propped up on the bed with what had to be a sketchbook on his bent legs. He seemed very concentrated.
"You can come in, you know. I don't bite." The boy's voice was warm and friendly, lively even, contrary to his sickly appearance.
The screen jumped before only the wall was seen. L was hiding.
There was a dry chuckle. "You don't have to hide. I know you're there. You have to work on your sneaking skills to deceive me little guy."
L, knowing he was caught, walked into the room. The screen stayed focused on the floor. Small bare feet stepped carefully over wires.
"Hello there. My name is Alan." The screen moved up shyly. Alan was smiling at him. He had very dark green eyes. His face, even though very pale-yellowish, was kind. He looked like the type of child who went through a lot in his life at a very young age; becoming gentler and wise beyond his years.
L didn't say anything. Alan smiled (it looked rather exhausted) and laughed his dry laugh. "I got myself a real talker here, don't I? It's all right, you can stay as long as you like. I enjoy the company. Not many of the children here want to come into this room anyway."
L didn't say anything but got closer to the bed. The screen focused on the sketchbook.
"Ahhh, you're only interested in me because of this? Is that right? I must say I'm disappointed but not surprised…" Alan picked up the book and handed it to L. He hesitated to take the book, but after an encouraging nod from Alan, he took it. The page he was working on was of the wilting sunflowers. And though it wouldn't be acclaimed as a masterpiece, it was a very nice drawing.
L flipped through some more pages. Some were of cartoony-looking people, other were of places, things, and some couldn't even be identified at all. L stopped at one of the unidentifiable pages. It looked like a lot of blotches on paper and scribbles if you asked Raito.
"Do you like it?"
The sketch look like it was turned one way and the other. Then the book was turned upside down. The teen laughed again. "Everyone's a critic!" He took the book out of L's hands. "You don't look at it with your eyes, you look at it with your feelings."
"Ah-ha! He speaks!" The boy looked kindly at L. "I knew it! And no, it's not silly. You just want to see it differently from the way everybody else sees it." The boy coughed a bit. "Excuse me."
L's tiny hands took the book again. And again he twisted it around, still not seeing it. Tell you the truth, Raito didn't either.
"Nothing?" The screen moved from side to side.
"Okay, let's try it this way. What do you feel like when you see blue?"
"… It's blue. A color. Why should I feel anything?"
The boy sighed, but still smiled gently. "You are going to be difficult aren't you?"
"Well, you know what I feel when I see blue?"
"I feel happy. No, that's not quite right… I feel calm, serene. Do you know what serene means?" A nod. "Wow, you're smart… how old are you?"
Two small hands came up and showed 7 fingers.
"Really? You're short for your age… skinny, too. You should look after your health, you know." Ironically, he coughed at that very moment. It was raspy and seemed harsher than the first. "Excuse me."
"But why do you feel calm? It's blue."
"Don't different colors make you feel differently? Maybe blue isn't soothing to you. Come on, I know you feel something. Like the sunflowers on my bedside, why do you think they are there?"
"… Because you are fond of that particular flower? Or perhaps a nurse or an admirer gave it to you?"
The boy looked taken aback with little L's choice of words, as well as his reasoning. Then he laughed. Threw back his head and laughed. He was laughing so hard he began to cough. A strong cough that made his entire body shake, but the only thing that stopped L from panicking (and Raito as well) was the ghost of a smile on the boy's lips.
L quickly handed him some water from the jug next to the flowers. The other accepted it gratefully. Soon the coughing subsided. Only heavy breathing was in the room.
"I'm sorry. I haven't laughed like that for months. My body probably has forgotten how to do it properly." He smiled kindly, but his lips were redder. So was his face. It almost looked like he had blood on them…
"Maybe I should go…"
"No! Please don't. I'm sorry, I did not mean to insult you or frighten you. It's just… you're very young, you know. You shouldn't say things like that! Just stay, please?"
The teen lied back on the bed, still breathing heavily.
"Are you positive you're all right?"
"I'm going to be. Why don't you open the window for me? Have some fresh air in this stuffy old room."
The screen moved closer to the open window. The sky was still a gloomy gray but Raito could see the sun struggling to get through the clouds.
It seemed to the third floor they were on. And not too far away Raito got a glimpse of a church's bell tower.
L turned back to Alan when a very loud ringing was heard. It forced Alan to cover his ears. L probably did it too. Hell, even Raito was covering his ears when his bubble was filled with such a noise.
When the bell finished ringing and the boys uncovered their ears, Alan asked, "Can you tell me why they're ringing?"
At first Raito wasn't quite sure what the boy meant. The ringing in his ears, maybe? (Raito's sure were ringing.)
But when the screen moved again to the window, just between the buildings, where you could barely see, there were two figures: one in white, the other in black. They came rushing out of what Raito had said was the church.
"It's a wedding."
"Oh, thank goodness. There have been too many deaths this month. I was beginning to feel the effects of the vibrations. It's so nice to know someone found happiness."
"What do you feel when you see white?"
The teen lifted his head up and looked at L. He smiled his weak smile. "White… white is a difficult color. It can mean exactly the opposite to the other depending on the way you look at it. If you look at it as light, it is all the colors in one ray, it's all the colors. While if you see it as paint it is the absence of colors."
"But you didn't answer my question."
"I guess I didn't… I think what I'm trying to say is, it is very ambiguous and it depends on the person. If you ask me, white is a color that can be anything yet it doesn't know which one to be."
"That's a strange answer, if you could call it an answer at all…"
He laughed. "Well, it's plain, simple, yet has the potential to be whatever it wants. White is a color waiting to happen. A paper waiting to be drawn on. White is all but nothing at the same time, it all depends on the person looking at it. What do you think of white?"
"I like white."
"Oh? You like a color? Yet you feel nothing when you see them?"
"I just like white."
"There has to be a reason for it, no?" The teen coughed again. This time it sounded like he was hacking out a lung. He gasped for breath between breaks. But something was very wrong this time.
Now he had one arm around his middle and another covering his mouth. He continued to cough to the point where red liquid was coming out from between his fingers.
Blood. He was coughing up blood.
The machines began to beep. The heart monitor went insane, beeping out of control. L had no idea what to do. The screen moved from one side to the other. When it began to move to the door a group of people rushed in. Three women and a man. One of the women saw L there and quickly rushed him out. The door then slammed shut. And all left on-screen was that door with the white paint chipping off.
Raito had an overwhelming wish to see what happened to the young boy. But when he saw L's small hand place itself on the closed door, he dreaded that the boy most likely did not survive. Maybe he lived a bit longer, but what he looked to have seemed terminal.
Most likely liver failure by the color of his skin. Raito took a guess at lung cancer from the blood he'd coughed. Even if it had a treatment, wherever the boy was, it didn't look like it could do more than what it was doing.
Raito swallowed thickly. L did go through things a child should not have to go through. No wonder the man had such a hard time in social situations. He never had lasting healthy relationships with people his own age. And from what Raito was seeing so far any people he did connect to most likely abandoned him. Willingly or unwillingly.
It actually made him annoyed with himself for not making connections with people when he so easily could. But amazingly, whatever connection he made with others disappeared quickly. People were just not worthy of his time…
Well, most of them were not…
Was he really that indifferent? Did he really think that, that companionship was an unworthy waste of time? This was starting to get to him. A realization that maybe there was something wrong with him at some level. Something very wrong, and it was starting to show.
Maybe having feelings for L was a good thing. It showed he was capable of actually taking interest in others in something that was not purely for self-gain. That he was capable of caring for another in a roma-
He stopped himself. That was going a little far… but it was roman- romantic. Wasn't it?
There was a sudden loud wail. It made Raito swivel around to see what the hell was going on. He turned to see what it was that made such a noise, to find Matsuda hand covering his mouth as he watched something on his monitor. The man was crying, he was honestly crying real tears.
Raito wasn't sure if he should be suspired at the sight, or surprised that he was surprised at seeing Matsuda cry.
The wail did attract most of the attention of the others. All of the task force rushed over to him, as well as some personalities. Raito started to move to Matsuda, more out of curiosity than actual concern.
Then he stopped. He didn't feel concern? Well not really; Matsuda was 'sensitive', so his crying wasn't a cause of alarm. Yet… Raito felt like he should be concerned. His indifference had never bothered him before, but now… Now it was beginning to. Mostly for the things his indifference implied.
Matsuda was sniffing rather dramatically. Raito grinned. This was going to be fun.