Title: Confectioner's Delight
Author & Email: kuraokamiko
Fandom: Death Note
Warnings: spoilers for chapter 55ish, ooc, au and shounen-ai
Summary: At his mother's insistance, Raito makes his father some fudge and brings it to work with him. He didn't take L into account.
Pairing: L+Raito at best?
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Written On: 10/31/2009
Edited On: 11/10/2009 (reduced redundancy and some line reordering)
C&C is welcomed privately but not required.
Please request before archiving.
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All rights and privileges to Death Note belong to Ohba Tsugumi, Obata Takeshi, ShounenJump/Viz, and associated parties. The characters of this series are used without permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
All original characters are the creation of the author. All copyrighted privileges to these characters are reserved for the author and may not be used without permission.
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Raito felt torn between sighing at his mother's obvious message or smiling that, despite her normally accepting attitude, she expected him to obey her without her saying so. Working on the Kira case was tiring, and the few times he came home was more to recharge than to end the job at the end of the day. His father always said that inability to leave cases at work caused overdue stress and shortened a good cops life. Raito decided it was the difference between a detective and a cop.
Having already spend a quarter hour in a refreshing shower, Raito had merely come by the kitchen to grab a bag of chips before retiring to his room. He planned on doing nothing more strenuous than reading, until he opened the pantry doors. Ignoring his chips, Raito rested his fists on his hips, critically eyeing the powdered sugar and cocoa sitting forefront on the shelf just at eye-level. A quick glance on the kitchen table's fruit bowl found enough apples resting on top, perfectly ripened and poised. No, this was definitely as close to an order as his mother would give. He didn't doubt for a second that she had buttered him up earlier with a dinner of his favorite foods just to pull this on him before he went to bed.
The late hour made him think about leaving the 'message' for the morning, but he already knew that it would cut his rest shorter, and the confection wouldn't be properly cooled by the time he gave it to his dad. So, he rolled up his sleeves and grabbed the ingrediants that were all in easy view and reach (she had even pushed the milk and other food in the fridge back for the butter and half cream to have center stage) and sat them on the counter before hunting down the large glass bowl that had been passed down to him from his grandmother.
Losing himself in the rhythm, Raito hummed like he remembered his grandmother doing when he was a small boy. No matter how well of a cook his mother thought herself as, his fraternal grandmother, Hanko, found passing her recipes on to her a disaster. One day, after weeks of working hard at the police station, Hanko-obaa had come for a visit and insisted on making his father's favorite sweet to help him relax. It got him through teething, insomnia, break ups and breakdowns in both school and life.
Raito had stood on his tiptoes, watching his grandmother's onion-peel skinned hands working to the rhythm of her song, inhaling the bitter scent of cocoa and light cream, confection rising above it all like a puff of clouds. "Your mother will never get this right, my light beam," she had spoken while stirring the ingrediants into her large glass bowl. "She is too confined with timing and exact amounts. The best recipes, you see, are the ones you create on your own. You don't need to write them down, because you know them like you know your heartbeat." Knowing she wouldn't be around forever, his grandmother declared him capable and young enough to teach.
"Milk is far too thin and pet milk makes the fudge too grainy. Half cream is the right consistancy to make it break easily but melt in your mouth."
"Always use a glass bowl, Raito. The sugar will melt plastic."
"Extracts are a good shortcut, but nothing makes it taste better than the real thing."
After Hanko-obaa's death, Raito would often be 'asked' to make the dessert for his father during his more stressful days, and in spite of himself, Raito did enjoy it. The bowl was a strange inheritance, but Raito appreciated the thought and took exceptional care of it. Everytime he held it, he would remember all those quiet afternoons spent humming in the warm kitchen.
It was nearing midnight when he finished pouring the fudge into the greased aluminum pan, occasionally a flash of thin apple slices appearing before the chocolate covered it again. He could feel the faint layer of cocoa and confectionate sugar sticking to his skin, and, after placing a sheet of plastic wrap over the top, returned to the bathroom for a dissatisfying wipedown and then to bed. He did pause long enough, though, to write a warning on the top for Sayu. Too often he would discover chunks missing because she decided to forego actual breakfast in favor of the fudge.
* * *
Why was he not surprised that, despite the security everyone had to go through just to get to the next level of the building, sweets were readily accepted? It was probably natural, what with Watari always having something brought up to Ryuuzaki. He wondered if he should mention it to someone as a possible security risk, but decided that it might have already been taken care of and he was just not seeing it.
Using his elbow to enter the room, as the pan was too flimsy to hold one-handed, Raito cast his eyes over the few people there, either on the computer, reading files or talking on the phone. None was his father. Frowning, Raito started towards the kitchenette, wondering if Matsura would know where his father was--
"Good morning, Raito-kun," L seemed to materialize in front of the startled teen, his eyes locked on the pan in his hands with his thumb nipped between teeth.
A bit of irritation blossomed at the rude interest the detective showed, despite the polite greeting. "Good morning, Ryuuzaki. Any new information?"
L still didn't move, staring through the film to the waves of darkness inside. Raito resisted the urge to shift his feet, and wondering if he felt up to L's games today. "Ryuuza-"
L's eyes snapped up to Raito's, a grin ticking at his lips. "I did not know that Raito-kun enjoyed sweets."
He had to fight back the grimace. Making them was one thing, eating them was only done when testing if they were complete. "It's for father."
Hands off, you sweet-stealing leech, went unsaid.
If anything, L's posture seemed to worsen as he let his eyes drift back to the fudge. "That is a lot for Yagami-san to eat by himself."
And how embarrassing was that? His father adoring such sweet foods... He wanted to say that the proportion was correct, remembering how often his father would pass the pan in the past and leave with a nice-sized chunk in hand. They rarely lasted more than two days, but it wasn't L's business.
As if summoned, Soichirou appeared, papers in hand as he crossed the room nonchalantly. "Father, good morning," Raito greeted, relieved that he had an excuse to leave L's company.
Soichirou looked up, and smiled, "Raito, you're a little early."
"I didn't want Sayu eating too much," he held up the pan for emphasis.
The crows feet around his father's eyes deepened. "Your mother's insistance, I believe?"
"She can be very bullying in disconcerting ways." Raito replied, tongue in cheek as his father approached and peeled the film back. "Apple, hope you don't mind."
"You know it's my favorite." Raito smiled at his father's assurance, keeping the ironic snicker from escaping. Ryuuku's love of apples was likely only parallel with his father's. His mother and grandmother often told stories of the time Soichirou worked in a bread factory, and during breaks ate from a sack of apples he'd buy every morning before work.
"Yagami-san has a very kind wife," L's voice almost made Raito's shoulders tense. "It looks delectable."
Soichirou, already having broken off a chunk, looked up to acknowledge L. "There is no doubt about Sachiko's kindness or her skills as a cook, but Raito is our little pâtissier." There was that pride back in his father's voice, one he heard often and made him smile, but his skill in sweets wasn't something he wanted bragged about. He had made that mistake during one of the bakery sales his school held, which he explained that he made the fudge on display and not his mother. He was so glad when that school year ended and he was no longer asked and bribed to make more. He probably spent more time making fudge than he did in class that year!
"Oh?" L commented, eyes never leaving the fudge. "May I?"
His father looked surprised, almost taken aback, but offered the pan to his colleague, "Please do."
L didn't have to be told twice, fingers already breaking off some before the words finished leaving Soichirou's lips. Raito bit down on his annoyance and showed polite disinterest as L brought the piece to his lips and bit off a portion. His teeth snagged an apple slice, and it slipped out of the fudge into his mouth in a parody of a bird working a grub out of a tree.
He never realized his fudge could look so disgusting.
L's eyes drifted to the ceiling as he slowly chewed the confection, rolling it in his mouth and letting it linger before swallowing. He blinked, his mind probably processing all the data about the sweet (and, Raito groused, likely coming up with uncanny ways to how his fudge made him more likely to be Kira), before he turned his gaze back to Raito. "It is very good."
"Thank you," Raito walked over to the couches and sat the fudge on the coffee table. At least that was over-
"You are very talented to not have burnt the chocolate," L had followed him, taking another chunk to munch on as he continued speaking to Raito.
"Thank you," he repeated with reluctance. "It's harder to burn chocolate in the microwave than it is on the stove. At least, to me it is."
L's eyes widened, and not for the first time Raito had the amusing image of a panda staring at him. "Microwave?"
Raito would have shrugged, but instead he wiped his hands unnecessarily and slipped them into his pockets. It was chilly outside this time of year and the fudge hadn't aided in keeping his hands warm. "It's the only way I learned how to make it."
"Ah... half cream, actually."
"How much sugar?"
"... a whole box of confectioner's."
"And the cocoa?"
".... Hershey's......." Really, Raito knew that the detective had an unhealthy portion of his mind dedicated to sweets, but this was making him a bit uneasy.
"And you used real apples?"
Raito shifted his feet, getting tired of standing in one spot for so long. A few others had gotten permission to have some of the fudge and were getting portions by going around the two. "Most of the time. Sometimes I use freeze-dried apples that were left over from the summer. They rehydrate very well in the fudge."
L licked his fingers clean, eyes still on Raito's own gaze. "And do you use other things besides apple?"
Looking back in his mind, Raito began to list the different additions he had made to fudge before; other fruits, crushed peppermint canes, broken up dinner mints, marshmellows and peanut butter. There were times when Sayu would request it being made with pocky, candy bars, and even hot fudge. They happened rarely, and Raito, with an uncomfortable inkling, never questioned the timing of these chocolate feasts his sister desired. Really, he was surprised at what he had done to the original recipe; there really wasn't anything that couldn't be added.
A thought occured to Raito as to the origin of this line of questioning. "If you would like, I'd be happy to give Watari the recipe."
"That is very kind, Raito-kun."
As Raito used a piece of computer paper and gave the recipe to the wide-grinning sleuth, he felt himself release a terse sigh. That was the end of that.
* * *
The gods cursed him for picking up the Death Note. That curse went by the pseudonym of L. Too often in the last few weeks, he would catch L eating the fudge Watari would bring up, only to finish it without relish and stare at him as he worked. One would think by these gazes that he was suffering from wistful longing. It didn't help that sometimes Watari would ask him questions about the recipe. Intelligent questions, of course, but nothing that couldn't be answered by a little trial and error.
Then again, L didn't seem the type to appreciate trial and error.
So it wasn't with an abundance of surprise that on his way out for the night, in the middle of putting on his jacket, L walked up to him in that loaping way of his, hands in his jeans. "Raito-kun, will you make me some of your fudge?"
Raito let the question float around his mind for a few seconds before fully grasping it. "Is Watari having trouble with the recipe?"
"It simply has not tasted like Raito-kun's."
It had been a long day for Raito, and he already had a tension headache pulsing behind his eyes from staring at a computer for hours on end. "Perhaps another time."
L nodded amicably, "Very well, Raito-kun. Have a good night." Raito had finished slipping his jacket on and was already walking towards the door when L quipped, "Ah, and tell Misa-chan that I recommend the sashimi restaurant near the train station in Shibuya. She would be pleased, after waiting downstairs for Raito-kun for ten minutes now."
Raito did an about-face, taking off his jacket. "I'll need the ingrediants," He grit out. She wasn't supposed to come here today. She wasn't supposed to come here unless he agreed to it! "And it will take a while."
"I will have your apologies passed along and have someone escort her home. Far too dangerous for a pretty girl like Misa-chan to go home alone this late." L followed Raito into the kitchenette, "the ingrediants are in stock."
Times like this made Raito wonder if becoming a god was worth putting up with Misa and L. He slipped on a new apron, looking over his shoulder at L as he tied it around his waist. L smiled back, thumb resting against his lips again. Well, like the old adage claimed, nothing worth having is easy.
Of course, once he had the bowl and ingrediants in front of him, he could feel the tension escaping like vapor. He started humming as he picked up the container of cocoa, using a regular spoon to pour out the amount as based on the song. Everything was added like a concert, the well-oiled mechanics of movement and time narrowed down to the thunk the cut up butter made as it hit the powder-lined bottom of the bowl and the splash of the cream as it floated to the top. Then it was microwave, remove, stir, microwave, everything working in conundrum with the song.
The strawberries were obviously L's choice of addition, and he recalled the half cream having vanilla flavoring, but Raito made due, adding them with little thought before he slipped the bowl back into the microwave for another moment. His song ended as the microwave gave it's final beep. Using the pot holders, he removed the warm bowl and poured it into the pan that he greased earlier in the rhythm. Watching it trickle down like a lava flow, Raito felt a sense of satisfaction over his creation. He covered it with the cheap plastic lid that came with the pan and began to take off his apron.
"It will have to sit for about an hour." Raito murmured, and speaking of time, he glanced at the clock and was surprised that almost an hour had already passed. Time did seem to run at a different pace when he cooked. His body began to feel heavy as he took in how late it was.
"Raito-kun, won't you stay to try it yourself?" L asked, disgustingly alert as he eyed the fudge.
Raito felt irritation lick his temper, but took a breath to calm it down. He knew L had watched him work, and knew that nothing had been slipped in to harm L.
Despite his attempt at disguising his annoyance, L seemed to pick up on it. "I heard it was tradition for cooks to test their own cooking."
Oh, that made sense. "I normally do, but it is late, and if I taste it, the sugar will likely keep me up."
"Then how will I know that Raito-kun approves?"
Too tired to really fight the matter, Raito stuck his finger in the warm bowl and scooped up some of the lingering fudge. He put it in his mouth, feeling it cloak his tongue in a rush of sugar and chocolate, a hint of the strawberries sticking to the tip of his tongue with a comfortable weight. He let it linger before putting the bowl in the sink, filling it with lukewarm water and began to clean it. "It tastes fine."
"Why do you hum while you make it?" L asked, hovering over the fudge like a vulture waiting for it's meal to die.
"Timing," Raito turned the water off and sat the bowl out to dry on the rack, "and measurements. My grandmother taught me, and she didn't believe in the conventional ways."
L made no other repsonse. Raito walked past the other detective to pick up his coat where he draped it over the back of a chair. "If there isn't anything else, Ryuuzaki?"
"Did you teach Watari the song?" L asked, and Raito paused. He hadn't thought of that. That had been mother's hiccup with grandmother's recipes; grandmother's measurements were in her song. Each recipe had it's own beat, and Raito had found it intriguing enough to learn them. It just seemed so natural, something that went without saying. "From your silence, I take it as a no?"
Feeling unjustly persecuted, Raito slipped his jacket on with more force than necessary. "My apologies, I forgot."
"Ow," L muttered, and Raito turned to find steaming fudge on the tip of L's finger. Raito scissored the distance between them, and sensing the danger of his sweets, L slipped the finger into his mouth, not able to suppress the wince as the heat pained his tongue.
Raito grabbed L's wrist and struggled to get the finger removed, "Honestly, Ryuuzaki, for someone so smart you have amazingly stupid moments."
Finally getting the hand, Raito turned it around to examine the pink skin around the moist finger. L stayed still, thankfully, seeming to ponder something. "I think I lost sensation in my tongue."
"Serves you right," Raito didn't feel like playing nice right now. "If you can't taste anything for the next few days, that's your own fault all together."
L's face fell, and Raito had a feeling this expression only came about when his favorite pastry shop went out of business. "Raito-kun is upset."
"This needs some ointment and bandages. It shouldn't blister, but-" Raito was cut off as L swooped forward and awkwardly clashed their lips together, their noses bumping before Raito tilted his head unconsciously. For a few numbing moments, it didn't feel real, like this was some sugar-induced dream that gave him some of his craziest ideas. Then L's tongue was insistantly stroking the line where his lips met, and Raito opened them long enough to bite on the invader.
"That wasn't nice," L pulled back immediately and touched his lips.
"And what was the purpose of that?" Raito growled, resisting the childish urge to argue back, "SHOVING YOUR TONGUE INTO MY MOUTH ISN'T NICE, EITHER!"
L stuck his tongue out, as though trying to estimate the damage, then redirected his gaze to Raito's. "I think my tongue is fine."
Too bad! "Well, good for you," Raito wanted to punch the man, but felt distinctly uncomfortable with the thought of getting more physical with L tonight.
"Raito-kun is sweet," L commented, releasing his hand from Raito's suddenly frozen grip, and took a look at his burnt finger. "I think my tongue can enjoy Raito-kun's hard work without hinderance."
He was not blushing. He was NOT blushing. He- "Raito-kun, what shade of red is that?" Damn to all things, he was blushing!
Whirling toward the door, Raito threw it open, and felt a moment of spiteful glee as it hit the wall with enough force to mark the paint. "I will see you tomorrow, Ryuuzaki!"
If L made a mock-polite farewell, Raito didn't hear it, too busy with the rush of his blood through his veins and the fast beating of his heart resounding in his ears. Anger and embarrassment were forefront in his mind on his way home, anything he tried to use to overcome them easily pushed into the recesses of his mind.
He knew by now his family was asleep, and made sure to miss the creaking stair and spots on the floor where steps echoed louder to get to his bedroom and have his much needed solitude. He threw off his clothes and put them in the hamper, jumped into the shower just to not breath in any more chocolate, and threw himself on his bed when he finished dressing for the night. The man would be the death of him, he knew this even before formally meeting L. But now he could see it applying in a whole new direction. Then again, social norms didn't grace L like it did the rest of humanity...
"Inconsiderate, panda-eyed sugar-freak," Raito grumbled to himself and rolled on his side, pulling his blankets up to sleep. And damn it if his lips still tingled, it was just the sugar. Only the sugar!