Title: The Intricate Art of Sugar Stacking
Word Count: 3119
Summary: Fifty themes, fifty sentences, using the delta theme from the writing comm 1sentence. All L and Light with mentions and/or cameos of a few others. Spoilers through the end of the series.
Comments: I wrote the majority of these nearly two years ago, and randomly decided to finish them up and post them because they did no one any good just sitting here. >/
A good case left L lightheaded as he stared out of the window and reevaluated all of the information, the clues, the possibilities and the suspicions, the theories and the implications; so much data to pick at and sort through gave him a buzz, and he didn't think his current case had anything to do with the height of his suite above the busy Tokyo street below.
“They’re for Light; the boy’s been going through them like candy lately,” Chief Yagami replied, and frowned when L glanced up at him curiously, eyes sharp as they darted back and forth between the grocery bag and the stack of suicide notes splayed haphazardly across the small table.
“I am justice!” Light snarled furiously, his mind already racing through a dozen strategies to draw this mysterious “L” out from behind his precious computer screen; he had dared make a fool of Kira in front of thousands of people, and though justice was blind, he knew exceptions could be made.
“You know they can see us,” L breathed when Light pulled away, a little surprised that the boy was trying this bound and chained and on display in a prison instead of alone, like L had predicted he would; Light met his eyes briefly and whispered, “I know,” before kissing him again, more needy than before, while L silently raised his mental percentage three points and carefully manipulated the situation to test just how far this suspected murderer was willing take the show.
“You’re disgusting,” Light growled, repulsed, and L glanced up to see him dangling his meticulously-taken notes between a thumb and forefinger, a dark coffee-ring staining every page; he thumbed his teeth thoughtfully, curious to see how this new not-Kira-anymore Light would handle anger, and was careful not to smile when his apologies were met with curses and insults.
A good detective would have been easy, Light thought as he watched L sip at a cup of Earl Grey; it was the contorted nature of this one—his cute, corrosive behavior and that delighted fascination with anything and everything corrupt—that made him such a threat to his work, because brilliant minds really did tend to think alike, and he sometimes wondered if L could do his job better than he could.
Information flooded him as he watched his old friend and mentor collapse against his desk, and suddenly it all made sense, it all fit snugly into place, and L could only stare helplessly as his left arm began to tingle unpleasantly, could only hope he’d laid out all of his own plans correctly, could only remind himself that he’d seen this coming and prepared for it, dammit, and that by allowing Light to win this battle he was only setting Kira up to lose the war.
“Good night, Light-kun,” he'd said, with such a dopey grin on his face that Light found himself wondering if he'd slipped up somehow despite all his careful planning; it wasn't until he laid in bed a few minutes later, devoid of that familiar warmth at his back for the first time in months, that he realized he'd closed the bedroom door to think, and cursed those handcuffs for familiarizing him with an intimacy he would never be able to pull off again in his normal state of mind.
“But it's New Year's!” Matsuda insisted, faltering only when L gave him a glare colder than the frigid air outside; he sipped from his own drink with a frown as he watched the detective stalk over to the only other unintoxicated man at the party, the chief's son, and together the two poured over notes even as the rest of the team danced around them in their own inebriated world.
Even watching the Chief’s son perform for the cameras—because no one went about their private life so pristinely, L was sure—felt no different from surveying any other suspect for any other crime, but the moment he saw the boy in person—the moment Yagami Light's shoulders tensed as their eyes met—L knew this case would be different, interesting, stimulating, and he accepted the challenge.
L’s victorious grin, still so familiar after all those years without him, was the last thing to fade as Light finally lost hold of his life, his power, and sank slowly into unfeeling oblivion; Congratulations, he thought faintly, vaguely amused; You finally won.
It wasn't that the little brat had won, Light acknowledged as his chest grew thick and heavy, so much as the the recognition that he'd only been able to do so because L had set it up that way.
Something about the feel of Light's lips against his skin invoked a fevered desire within L that he hadn’t experienced in years, and never with such mindless intensity; he soon found himself reciprocating because he had to, not because he wanted to test a new theory, and all at once the body writhing beneath him became the sole focus of his narrowed attention as his mind was filled with unorthodox uses for their handcuffs, the likes of which he hadn’t thought himself capable of imagining.
“Ouch—damn it, Light-kun, that hurts,” L snapped, and Light smirked as their eyes met in the dark; “To be honest, Ryuuzaki, I’m surprised you made it this far.”
Light’s immediate reaction was to retch—he’d never seen anyone actually die before, not like that, not so violently—but the sensation quickly passed, and the next thing he knew he was staring at the book in his hands through blurred eyes, his breathing erratic; it took him a moment to realize the feeling was euphoric, not acrid.
“I was eating that,” L growled flatly, his fork still poised over the newly emptied space between his curled knees, but Light only rolled his eyes and used their chained wrists to wheel him and his chair away from the computer console and into the rarely used kitchen; “Well I need something a little more substantial than strawberry cake and ice cream, Ryuuzaki, and—no, you idiot, the cake and ice cream cancel any nutritional value that processed garbage you call fruit might have ever had—and besides, it’s time you learned how to cook something without instructions printed on the back of the box.”
To see them curled around the tip of a gaudy chair cushion was one thing, Light thought groggily, but to see them...there, to see them...doing that, well, that was quite another, and Light soon found himself stammering an apology and swearing he could do better, could hold out longer, and there was that damn smug grin of his, half hidden behind a thumb, L's free hand busy wiping them both clean with something smooth and silky, and Light's half-formed plan of revenge was interrupted when he realized that was his shirt, dammit, his good one, and what the hell was so funny?
L was never given a final resting place on earth, Light knew, and he held this fact responsible for the increasingly difficult task of creating one in his mind; he owed the brilliant little monkey-bastard, he’d reluctantly come to realize, for teaching him things he couldn’t begin to put into words, and for showing him a side of himself that scared him when he tried.
“I always imagined you to be a very cultured person,” Light remarked casually, careful to hide his amused grin behind the steam billowing up from the dish he’d just uncovered; L grabbed hold of the chain linking their wrists together and yanked suddenly, hard enough to jerk a startled Light halfway across the table, then glared between him and the squid and growled sickly, “Most cultures don’t eat severed limbs that still move.”
“Duck,” L hissed suddenly; it was the only warning Light received before the door opened behind him, and they both realized that not only was the small living room table much too small to hide beneath, but that it was open on all sides as well.
Light had thought, after finally getting rid of L, that everything would fall into place, and that establishing his utopia was only a simple matter of time; what he hadn’t expected, though, was the utter lack of danger, of intrigue, and the boredom that now filled his days.
Tricky, that’s what Yagami Light was; a deadly mix of patience and craft, a man who would do anything to get what he wanted, who would even stoop so low as to manipulate a god in order to murder his rival-turned-companion, who had the audacity to hold him in his arms as he lay struggling for breath, who didn’t hesitate to smirk at his utter victory, because for Yagami Light winning was winning, and honor had nothing to do with it.
“I wanted you to be Kira,” L realized aloud, and it was as if a heavy fog was suddenly lifted from his mind, all the pieces of his own morose behavior sliding smoothly into place as the first smile in months tugged gently at the corners of his mouth.
“Leave this on,” Light demanded, glaring as he flipped the switch; L sulked and curled up tighter with his laptop on his side of the bed, silently reminding himself that this boy's methodical dismantling of the shadows he'd built up around himself were necessary if he wanted this experiment in handcuffs to reveal anything about anyone.
It wasn't so much that Light had finally managed to outmaneuver him, L realized as his friend and mentor fell, but that he had completely swept the chess board aside and come at him with the rooks instead; new pieces had been acquired and put into play without any adjustment to the old rules, without so much as an acknowledgment, and it was this knowledge and this knowledge alone that kept L from striking Light in the half-minute he knew he had left.
“This will make that easier,” Light suggested, holding out the the hilt of a knife for L so that the detective would stop wasting valuable time trying to fit an entire cake onto a single dinner plate; those dark eyes traced the slight curve of the blade before he took it, only briefly, but enough to force Light to remind himself that their weapons in this struggle were their minds.
They were young, but they were good, and even if they insisted on working separately, Light could tell by their individual interpretations and methods that L had trained them to do exactly the opposite.
“It's moldy,” Light scowled, tipping the entire plate into the trash before L, spoon in hand to save the frosting, at least, could stop him.
“Your son is very intelligent, Yagami-san,” L admitted softly, impressed that a seventeen-year-old could call his investigative bluff with a confidence so smug it bordered superiority; he smiled wide around his thumb, and another piece clicked into place.
L met his eyes, his expression carefully blank, and Light hid a smirk; the advantage to fighting a mental battle with a genius, he thought smugly, was that said genius’s mind did most of the fighting for him.
“You are very pretty,” L observed agreeably; Light shoved him away, annoyed, and ignored Misa's shriek of protest when the handcuff chain upset her breakfast.
The most amazing thing about rain, L mused, was its cleanliness, its astounding ability to wash away any and all evidence
of a crime; he hated the element, though, and hated the way Kira managed to duplicate it so efficiently.
It was surprisingly easy to keep his head even as it was knocked roughly up against the wall, held firmly there by a pair of smooth fingers as roving lips explored his neck without a trace of hesitation; the speculation came as easily as the little gasps and moans, the suspicion flowed together with the wanton lust, and yet again L was forced to wonder why the one man who could engage both his mind and his body so thoroughly was the one man who wouldn’t hesitate to kill him.
“They must be from Misa,” Light sighed heavily, and collapsed on the couch without examining them further, completely oblivious to the vacant stare L gave him, or to the slim-fingered hand quickly pocketing the tiny “Happy Birthday” card with the childish letters M and N signed sloppily on its surface.
Sometimes L actually closed his damn laptop and slept when Light dragged him off to bed each night, though he seemed to do that just as haphazardly as he did everything else, and it wasn’t that Light was repulsed by the solid warmth at his back—he’d learned to fully appreciate the appeal of both sexes years ago—but it was rather awkward when he awoke tangled tightly in warm chain, a foreign arm draped across his neck and his own gone completely numb beneath the bony weight of a curled body, and it made him wonder exactly when he’d started rolling over in his sleep, because lately his chained arm wasn’t always the first to respond to L's sleep-induced tug.
L's fingers were like serpents beneath Light's shirt; they seemed to have a mind of their own as they crept up and down and found all the right spots, completely independent of the lips exploring his throat, or of the curling toes doing things Light never knew toes could do.
“You’re trekking it in all over the place,” L complained miserably, perching lightly on the tip of the closest chair to keep his bare feet free of the slush; he would be glad when Yagami Light finally slipped up and he could work other investigations on his own again, without the help of people who insisted on the use of footwear.
Light awoke to find a chain wrapped loosely around his neck—nothing new, but the solid, bony bare chest he’d been using as a pillow certainly was, as were the long fingers curled almost comfortably around his shoulder.
There was nothing quite like spring in Japan, L had to admit—the cicadas made for a soothing backdrop once he got used to them, and the soft pink sakura petals made him crinkle his nose and smile as they danced around his face with a teasing delicacy; it was almost enough to make him forget why he’d ventured outside, but the sight of the straight-backed boy climbing the university stairs just ahead dragged him painfully back to reality, and he sighed as he scuffed his stuffy shoes against the concrete steps and followed.
Light had everything under control until that...that monkey showed up; now he found himself second guessing his own decisions, his rage bubbling uncomfortably close to the surface with every checked attempt to discover L's real name, and he found he couldn’t even carry out the smallest of plans without an irrepressible degree of uncertainty.
Light hadn’t expected his ultimate rival to be so...weird; a little different, yes, maybe even eccentric, but not this slouching sleep-deprived monkey-thing hugging his knees on the chair beside him, his feet bare and—was he sucking his thumb?
It was the first full season L had ever spent with anyone besides himself, and the first Light had spent entirely indoors; it was, of course, not without its ups and downs, but both found it surprisingly difficult to complain about afterwards.
“Kira,” L hissed suddenly, fiercely, and surprise cut through the thick cloud of lust in his mind like a knife; Light paused and met his dark eyes as the name struck an unfamiliar chord deep within him, his quickened breath heavy and damp against L's throat, then yanked suddenly on his end of the chain to pull L's bound wrist more tightly against the headboard; “Again,” he gasped, and L's eyes flashed as he found himself complying.
Light was everything L had never wanted to be—popular, well-dressed, rich, beautiful—and yet there was something about him, some twisted glint in his eyes, something maniacal in the way he smiled, that marred his charming features and reminded L to be wary of his pretty face.
Light’s first punch was unexpected, but the accompanying adrenaline was fast enough to shove any trace of depression from L’s mind before he hit the ground; “Once is once,” he snarled, then spun with a grimace and kicked, grunting in satisfaction as he was dragged after the stumbling boy by his arm, and then Light punched back, and L dropped to the floor and kicked back, and then they were at each others throats and oh, it felt good to be at war with him again.
“Your turn,” said L distractedly, stepping out delicately from behind the steaming bath curtain as he toweled furiously at his hair; Light found himself suddenly captivated by the sight of the wiry muscles working just under L’s pale, gleaming skin, and blushed heatedly as he stammered a hasty reply, his throat uncomfortably dry.
“There's a mat in the lobby for a reason,” L sulked from one corner of the couch, his expression sour as the policemen trekked dusty footprints all over the carpet he would now have to use a wheely chair to traverse.
Christmas was the only holiday L consistently set aside for the institute—not because he thought the birth of Christ particularly important, but because he found it easier to blend in with the thick holiday traffic to and from England; this year, though, staring out the window of a Japanese hotel room, wondering if Kira had already targeted his kids in an attempt to get back at him for his public humiliation, he had to force himself not to call, not to do anything that may give the murderer any leads, and remind himself that he could always make it up to them next year.
“It's not just a table,” Light growled back, shoving L off of him before they could scratch or stain it beyond repair; “It's walnut, and someone of your intelligence should know better.”