"Master L, please re-think this foolish endeavor."
L looked up and smiled faintly, "Don't worry Watari, I shall be fine." He stood at the edge of the beach, the surf lapping at his toes as he stared out at the wide expanse of ocean. All around him people played in the sand and swam in the water, laughing and having a good time. Off to the right, a lifeguard sat in his throne-like chair, resting his chin on his fist as he scanned the ocean.
"Master L, you have not learned how to swim properly and refused any sort of floatation device—" Watari continued over L's amused snort, "—and I think you should at least try swimming at a pool first, instead of the ocean.
"It's for the experience, Watari." L reminded him, mentally calculating the tide from the height of the sun and the time of the waves. He was wearing nothing more than a simple pair of baggy blue swim trunks and a stubborn expression, though to anyone else he just appeared bored.
Watari sighed but knew a lost cause when he saw one, "Did you put on suntan lotion? You know how you burn."
L nodded, and took a step into the ocean, watching the froth wash between his toes and pull sand back into the sea, leaving behind bits of coral and shell. He then began to walk out, the water being colder and deeper with every step. Goosebumps broke out over his pale body, but he forged ahead, stumbling slightly as a larger wave rolled past him. And then he was past the breakers and standing on his tip-toes, up to his chin in ocean water. Swells rolled past him, making him loose his footing for a second before the ocean dropped back down. Finally he just gave up on standing and tread water, his ego swelling with the waves. This had been so simple, why had Watari been so worried? He knew how to swim (sort of—he'd read enough books to know the mechanics of it) and it wasn't like he hadn't been to the beach before (sort of—he'd flown over it in a helicopter during a rather intense car chase). This was so simple.
With growing confidence, L struck out, swimming towards the open water and smiling as he left behind the other amateurs in shallow water. He floated on his back, looking up at the clear, bright blue sky and sighing to himself. This was a nice treat after such intense work; the life of a world's greatest detective got rather stressful, and this was definitely a good way to unwind. He was so deep in his thoughts L didn't notice the sudden drop in temperature, or how the water sunk below him. He only looked up when he felt the ocean begin to swell underneath him. Treading water, L stared speechlessly as an enormous wave rose over him, rolling towards the detective with gaining velocity.
Then it caught him, and L was sent spinning and tumbling underwater. He fought to reach the surface but was buffered down by the water. He couldn't tell which way was up or down, and bubbles clouded his vision. He lashed out, and struck nothing, his lungs beginning to scream. L's chest tightened and he struggled in the water's grasp, his strength ebbing as his oxygen starved brain cried out desperately. Finally his body overrode him, and L opened his mouth to gasp for air. Instead, salty ocean water flooded his mouth and nose, rushing down into his lungs as the detective trashed helplessly. And then it was calm, his body floating in the ocean limply, his brain muddled and his vision hazy. L felt darkness rush towards him, and he closed his eyes.
"….alright?...is he alive?
"…—ster Ryuzaki!...Ryuzaki…wake up…"
"Back off! Everybody move away I need some room!"
Something soft touched his lips and air was pushed through L's motionless body, and then something else not so soft slammed down against his chest, and L's eyes shot open.
Rolling to the side he retched up sea water, coughing and sputtering and gasping for air. L's chest heaved as he sucked oxygen in, lying back weakly in the sand as he gazed up at his rescuer.
A young man was leaning over him, wet brown hair hanging in his face as his caramel eyes stared at L, concern and worry written all over them. Smooth, flawless, tan skin obscured the rest of L's vision, and the detective couldn't help but stare at the well toned muscle. It took him a second to realize this god-like creature was talking to him.
"—ey. Hey! Are you alright? Can you hear me?" The lifeguard light slapped the side of L's face, shaking him, "Come on now, you're ok."
"I can hear you." L said, sitting up and coughing, his mouth tasting vile. He then noticed he'd attracted quite the crowd of people. Scowling, he looked away to find the lifeguard speaking again. "I'm sorry, what?"
Sighing, he repeated himself, "I said; why the hell were you so damn stupid to swim out there? Don't you know about the swells this time of year?"
"Obviously not." L sniffed. This god like creature was starting to annoy him. Suddenly he felt a warm, soft towel being draped around his shoulders, and he looked up to see the relieved face of Watari. He smiled apologetically, hugging the towel to his shivering body, grateful for the warmth. He looked back at the lifeguard then, piecing together the events as his memories slowly returned, "You saved me, didn't you?"
"Yeah." He said bluntly, though there wasn't any arrogance in his tone.
L stood shakily, ignoring Watari's offering to help, "Thank you very much. I am in debt to you, ….?"
"Light, Light Yagami. And you don't owe me anything; I was just doing my job." Light stood and smiled suddenly, blinding the detective, "Just be more careful next time, yeah?"
"Of course." L watched him walk back to his stand, eyes glued on Light Yagami's dripping wet body.
"Ryuzaki?" Watari said, placing a hand on his shoulder, "Perhaps we should go back to the hotel now."
L glanced at all the people gawking at him and nodded, "Yes." He shot another glance at Light as they left, replaying his smile over and over again in his mind.
"Are you feeling better, L?" Watari asked, handing the detective a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
"Yes, I feel almost 100%." L sighed, sipping the cocoa. He was wrapped in a fuzzy blanket (Watari's doing) and sitting by the fire in their hotel room. This was his sixth cup of cocoa, and the taste of ocean was finally gone from his mouth. He stared into the fire, replaying the events over and over again in his mind. He remembered almost drowning, blacking out, and then being revived by Light, but what he mulled over was the revival bit. He'd questioned Watari about it, and had been told quite an interesting tale.
Watari had seen the wave before L had, and knew his charge was endangered. He'd gotten to Light just as the wave took the detective under and hurriedly pointed it out. Light had already seen it though, and leapt into action. He'd grabbed his board and raced into the water, swimming like a seal out to where L had vanished under the waves. Everyone on the beach watched with baited breath as the lifeguard dove under the water. Light had remained under for so long that even Watari had begun to fear that he might have drowned with L. But then the brunet had burst to the surface, his arms wrapped around L's unconscious body. The board had been swept away by another wave, so Light swum back while carrying L, racing against time to get to the beach and revive him. When he'd gotten there, the lifeguard had performed CPR and L had woken after a few tries, much to Watari's relief.
It made for a thrilling story, and L was mildly upset he'd been unconscious for all of it. He also, after hearing it, apologized quietly for worrying Watari.
The next cup of cocoa he got had marshmallows in it, so L knew he'd been forgiven.
Watari knew better than to ask, but he couldn't help but raise a questioning eyebrow when L told him he wanted to spend a day at the beach. He knew the detective wouldn't give him more of an answer than a mysterious little smile, so with a sigh be packed a picnic and sunscreen.
L picked out a shady spot far from the water and people, underneath a lovely palm tree and surrounded by fern plants. It was almost like a little secret space, and it was secluded enough that Watari didn't have to use L's alias—though he still did of course.
Peering out between some ferns, L smirked. Yes, he had picked the perfect spot. When he parted the ferns the detective had a clear line of sight towards the lifeguard, not more than dozen yards away, and there was nothing obstructing his vision. He turned back around as Watari unpacked the wicker basket, laying out different assortments of cakes, candies, pies, and pastries. Happily, L selected a chocolate éclair and bit into it, licking cream off his lips. If there was one thing the French did right, it was their éclairs.
The rest of the day was spent people watching, and afterwards Watari went out to buy a pair of binoculars for L.
That night, as L lay in bed, he couldn't get the lifeguard out of his mind. That tan skin that rippled every time Light Yagami moved, those deep, melting caramel eyes and burned in his brain, and those soft, sweet lips…L rolled over and stared out the window at the moon. Those lips…
Quietly, L slid out of bed and pulled on his clothes, slipping out of the hotel and walking barefoot down to the beach along a wooden boardwalk that surrounded the hotel. He had come to this place during the end of an investigation, and now that it was over he'd planned on leaving day after tomorrow. He had two days to himself before work started again, and usually such a long break would drive him insane from boredom, but now he had something to occupy his thoughts. A certain someone, to be precise.
L's feet touched the sand and he paused, staring out onto the moonlit, abandon beach. The sand looked silver and the ocean looked beautiful, though L wasn't about to try it out again anytime soon. L walked out onto the beach, relishing in the feeling of sand between his toes. He began walking aimlessly down the beach, passing the empty lifeguard chair. The detective remained lost in thought, meandering slowly and dragging his toes through the grains of sand.
"Hey! You can't be out here!" A voice called, startling L.
Turning around, L's heart almost stopped.
Walking briskly towards him, scowling, was the very person he'd been thinking about; Light Yagami.
Realizing who it was, the scowl disappeared and was replaced with a look of wonderment, "Oh! Ryuzaki-san, isn't it?"
"Yes." L said watching as Light caught up with him, "What are you doing out here?"
"I like to walk along the beach to clear my mind." Light replied, "You know you're not allowed out here, right? It's dangerous at night."
"I was 87% certain I'm not allowed." L said monotonously, "Yet since Light-kun is here too, I have nothing to worry about if it ocean decides to swallow me up again."
Light chuckled, despite himself, "Well I can't tell you to leave since I'm here too. So it's our little secret?"
A weird feeling shot through L, but the detective quickly shook it off, "I suppose so." He stuffed his hands in his jeans and began walking again, Light falling into step beside him.
"So are have you completely recovered?" Light asked after a bit, "I know almost drowning is rather unnerving, but you can't let it get to you."
"I have had more than enough experience with such things; I assure you I was not scarred for life." Truth be told, L had had a few brushes with death, though he'd never been so valiantly saved before by a complete stranger.
"Well that's good; the ocean's a magnificent thing."
"It covers two thirds of the planet's surface." L said, looking towards the glittering, dark mass of water.
"It also holds to most diverse collection of animals."
"And the most secrets."
"It has chasms that rival the Grand Canyon."
"There are volcanoes and hot water vents that reach boiling temperatures."
"The creatures at the bottom of the ocean are mostly harmless bacteria."
"They are also the oldest things on this planet and hold the most scientific secrets."
Light laughed suddenly, casting L an admiring glance, "I never met somebody who knew as much as I did about the ocean."
"Good conversation is hard to come by, isn't it?" L replied cheerfully, "And something tells me you barely shared any information with me at all."
"And the same to you." Light responded shrewdly.
L chuckled and turned to look up instead, his back straightening as his head tilted to gaze at the stars. Billions of tiny, flickering balls of gas, billions and billions of miles away shone down on the two of them. The galaxy held a number of wonders L would love to see, though knew he never would. There was something alluring about wanting something you could not have.
Light looked up too, stopping beside the detective and smiling faintly, "Makes you feel kind of small, doesn't it? Sort of puts all our petty problems into perspective…"
"Indeed." L murmured, "Did you know, outside of our galaxy, four planets have been discovered that could easily sustain life? The smallest is almost four times the size of Earth."
"Can you imagine?" Light sighed, "I wish I would be alive in the next three hundred years to see what happens to our race."
L grimaced, "They'll probably turn on themselves like wild dogs and tear each other to pieces."
"You're rather pessimistic, aren't you?"
"Almost the same thing."
They chuckled quietly and L stole a glance at Light, enchanted by the silver moon light on the lifeguard's hair. He wondered what he must look like, in Light's eyes. He knew he slouched, and had dark crescents under his eyes, and his hair had a mind of its own. Watari had a favorite saying that L thought was spot on; 'you can't control everything in life; your hair was put on top of your head to remind you of that.' And that just about summed up L's hair style. He was thin, pale, and wasn't keen on social interactions, but he was smart.
Light, on the other hand, was smart, handsome, and funny. He was obviously very confident about himself and L had not a doubt in his mind that the lifeguard had no trouble picking up anybody. That just made it more of a challenge, and a lot more interesting. L wasn't quite sure what the challenge itself was just yet, but he knew it had to do with a lot more time spent with Light Yagami.
"No need to be so formal, Light-kun. After you save somebody's life, formality seems a little redundant."
"Ryuzaki-kun, why did you come out here tonight?" Light asked, curious despite himself.
"Hmm…probably for the same reason you did." L admitted, "I don't sleep and I had a lot weighing on my mind. This just seemed like a relaxing sort of thing to do."
Light nodded thoughtfully, "I know this is a little out of the blue, but why'd you swim so far out today?"
"Ah, that. Well…" L bit his thumb as he thought back, "I guess I just lost track of where I was."
"A little tip? Just in case that happens again, don't fight against it. Just let the wave carry you and you'll end up washing up on shore."
"Thank you." L filed that away, though he was certain it would never happen again, "I have a bit of a confession, Light-kun."
"I cannot swim."
"Well," L amended, "to be more precise, I cannot swim well. I never learned and was just relying on basic instinct."
Light looked horrified, "You're lucky to be alive! Look, Ryuzaki-kun, you need to learn some time or another, or next time you might actually get hurt."
The concern in the lifeguard's voice was touching, and L smiled behind his thumb, "I do not plan on swimming anytime soon."
Light looked around the deserted beach and then back at his company, "Ok, how about this; I'll teach you to swim properly and you will pay more attention to what you do in the water. Deal?"
"How will Light-kun teach me to swim properly?" L asked, crossing his arms.
"We have the beach to ourselves and a perfectly good body of water, and I'm trained in this sort of thing." Light responded, "It's something you need to know Ryuzaki-kun."
L scowled. He did not want to go swimming, "I have not brought any swimwear."
"That's fine, we can use our boxers."
That got L's attention. Seeing this gorgeous human being in his underwear, all wet, might be worth some time swimming. "I'm not here for very long. I leave day after tomorrow. That gives us this night and tomorrow night."
"And by tomorrow night you'll be swimming like a pro." Light promised, already pulling off his shirt, "Come on now, I thought you weren't scarred for life, remember?"
Sighing, L pulled off his shirt and let it drop to the ground. His pants went next, and he stepped out of them clad in a pair of pale blue boxers. "Very well, but Light-kun better keep his promise or I'll expect a full re-fund."
"Deal." Light smiled, making L's heart stutter. He then shed his clothes, leaving him in dark red boxers. He walked out to the surf, smiling reassuringly as L followed. "Alright, we'll walk out to about mid stomach level and then start, ok?"
"Fine." L shivered as he stepped back into the water, his body remembering the wave the second his feet touched the surf. But he pushed those thoughts aside and followed Light, keeping his eyes glued on his sharp, beautiful shoulder blades bathed in moonlight. He stopped next to Light, the water sloshing around his navel. "Now what?"
"Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and get your head wet." Light instructed.
"What? But it's cold!" L complained.
"I'll do it too. And yes, it's a little cold, but you'll warm up soon." Light said, and then dunked his head.
L gritted his teeth but followed suit, sliding under the water and then immediately resurfacing, his hair in his eyes. Brushing it away impatiently, he blinked water droplets from his eyelashes as Light reemerged.
"Ok, worst is over." Light joked, "Now, the best way to swim is free style. You lie on your stomach and use your arms to move forward, kicking your feet under water. I'll show you how and then you copy, ok?"
"Observational learning, fine by me." L moved away, watching as Light swam a short distance and then turned around and came back.
"Just arch your arms over your head and keep your fingers together to act like flippers." Light said, moving beside L and taking his hand, showing him how, "Keep it slightly cupped, yes like that, and then you're good."
L stared at Light's hands around his own, "I think I'll try now." It was a simple series of movements, and soon he got the hang of it. Then Light taught him how to breathe while doing that, not to panic if water got in his mouth, and how to speed up.
They spent so much time practicing they lost track of the night, and high tide began to roll in, along with larger swells.
They hadn't been paying attention, having too much fun swimming around after each other and seeing who could hold their breath the longest (Light won that challenge). But as they were playing, a wave rolled over the two of them, not nearly as big as the one that had grabbed L before, but big enough.
L went under immediately and memories came rushing back; the crushing blackness, the burning of his lungs, not being able to see and breathe. Panic flooded his chest and he shot to the surface, arms grabbing him as he came up. He gasped and clung to Light, shuddering, his eyes wide.
"Ryuzaki?" Light said, unintentionally dropping the honorific as the wild eyed man clung to him desperately, "Hey, it's ok, you're fine, see? It was a small wave."
"I—uh—sorry." L mumbled, releasing Light, feeling shame wash over him like another powerful wave.
"No don't be, I wasn't paying attention; I'm the one who should be sorry." Light replied, touching L's arm gently.
"My end of the deal clearly stated I needed to pay more attention." L said, hoping his face wasn't as red as it felt. He might as well just sink under the waves and die of embarrassment. It hadn't been that bad at all, but there was obviously some left over trauma from the first drowning attempt. Light's hand on his arm burned, and L jerked away automatically, missing the flash of hurt in Light's eyes. "My apologies, Light-kun."
Light studied L and then shoved his hands forwards, sending a large splash of water right into L's face. He watched impassively as L sputtered and stared accusingly at him with wide, panda eyes, "We're going to try something to get you over your fear of waves." He raised a hand, cutting off L's indignant look, "Bare with me. We're going to wait for the next wave and you're going to let it carry you, alright? I'll be right here if something happens, but just let it toss you around a bit. You'll see how the ocean moves and how the swells form, and you'll be able to see which ones you need to be afraid of."
"I'm not afra—"
"You'd be a fool not to be." Light cut him off again, "Trust me on this, alright?"
Trust? L stared at Light; he barely knew the attractive lifeguard, would he really trust his life, his valuable life, in the hands of someone he just met?