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The first time it happens, they’re fighting. It happens all too often since they’re chained together. L supposes it was predictable – as time goes by, it just becomes more and more clear; Light snaps a lot, and he’s easily angered. That much was expected to begin with, but not for the reasons L had guessed. Light never snaps because he has to be chained to L, or because he’s under surveillance, instead he picks petty fights over the most irrelevant things – or, at least L thinks they’re inconsequential.

“You used all the hot water again!”

“If I ever wake up to your laptop screen blinding me again, I’m taking it for a little trip through the window, I swear to god…”

Please stop bringing food into bed! I have crumbles stuck in places they definitely shouldn’t be.”

“You touch my hair with sticky fingers one more time, Ryuzaki, one more time…”

And so on. This wasn’t particularly any different, either.

“Light, would you please stop?” L sighs, slowly growing tired of slapping Light’s hand away from his keyboard every second minute.

“You’re doing it wrong!” Light presses on, refusing to move back to his own computer.

L frowns. Part of him wants to laugh, actually laugh, because it’s been so long since he’d heard that from someone regarding to his work, and the other, proud part of him is slightly offended, perhaps because of the same reason. “What exactly,” he begins, turning to face Light, voice as calm as ever, “is wrong about it?”

Light doesn’t bother to look at him, he just sternly points towards the monitor. “The whole report! I could write you a much better one.”

Wow, aren’t you going a little overboard?

L involuntarily snorts, and that’s when Light finally looks back at him, almost sulky. “I’m just trying to help you.”

“You’re interfering with my work, is what you’re doing.”

“I’m just saying I could help –”

“I really doubt that, somehow –”

“Ryuzaki, you know I could help you. And I’m not trying to flatter myself here. Why are you being so unreasonable?” There he is, snapping again.

L sighs. “I’m not being unreasonable, Light-kun, I just simply don’t need your help, especially when you’re acting like a child.”

“…Excuse me?” Light’s voice falters like he’s in early adolescence again, and judging by the rapidity of his ears turning red, he’s not happy about it.

And oh dear Heavens, did he practice that offended expression in front of a mirror?

I’m acting like a child?” Light asks, incredulous, his momentarily embarrassment already forgotten, “Out of the two of us… You call me childish.”

“I never said I wasn’t childish.” L corrects, meeting Light’s unappreciative gaze. “But right now you’re really setting the bar high.”

“Because I offered help?”

L examines the way Light’s eyebrow rises up in an elegant angle. “Mmm. Because you don’t accept no for an answer, for one.”

“Oh, there’s more than one?” Light suddenly seems amused, if anything.

“Ah, yes. I’m sorry, Light, but you can be really… annoying sometimes.”

L expects a lot of things after saying that. Light bursting out laughing is not one of them.

And yet there he is, laughing like it’s been knocked out of him. L furrows his brows and makes a mental note on a lot of things at once; Light laughs loudly, and wholeheartedly. This is honest. This is new. He does it with closed eyes. It’s… not a bad sight. In fact…

He must’ve furrowed his brows even more, because when Light finally recovers, he talks like he owes him an explanation. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I never thought I’d hear that coming from you.”

L half-heartedly nods, still not quite over Light’s positive outburst. “Sure, because I’m annoying, too.”

Light smirks. “Oh, extremely.”

“Indeed. Multiply that amount with five, and I’ll almost be on the same level with you, then.” L responds, nonplussed, glancing over at Light to see just how pissed off he is yet.

Light’s gaze hardens for only a second, and then it softens again – much to L’s annoyance. He intended to keep up the bickering a little longer, once Light started it. The thing is, Light can pick as many fights as he wants, L successfully silences him 70% of the time. It’s always a game between them, one way or other, but it just doesn’t work unless Light is at least mildly annoyed.

And Light doesn’t seem to be annoyed at all now. His eyes are searching L’s face like he’s looking for something, and when L frowns, possibly looking like he’s the one sulking now, Light smirks again. He probably finds L’s expression entertaining, and that’s just not allowed.

“What is it?” L asks then, feeling his curiosity and frustration grow, then amber meets silver as Light looks him in the eyes… and then it’s all down to four seconds.

One

Light leans forward, and L is still equally confused.

Two

Light touches his chin with one finger, lifting it up, making L suddenly very aware of personal space, which never happened before.

Three

Light moves even closer and L is alarmed.

Four

Light’s lips brushes against his… and stays there.

..

.

And then time freezes – everything fucking stops, except L’s heart, which suddenly starts beating so fast L can physically feel it hitting his chest. He’s no longer frowning, his eyebrows shoot up completely in surprise, and his eyes feel like they keep widening.

Light’s eyes are closed. L’s unable to do the same. Despite being completely frozen, despite the complete shock, his mind is still working, calculating even now, and part of it warns him not to close his eyes, because that’d make him vulnerable, and he can’t afford it, he just can’t.

His mind is silent and loud at the same time; it’s like he can’t hear anything, only the sound of his own heart in his ears, the soft buzzing of the computers in the room, the sound of Light’s slow breathing through his nose – and yet his mind is louder than anything, creating a vortex of sounds and thoughts that fight for dominance.

Oh my God!

What the…?

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod

What is happening?

Is this a trap?

Is this a trick?

Is he sick?

Could it be that he really…? – No!

Why is he doing this?

What is this?

This is absurd! This is wrong! Everything about this is wrong.

I should pull away. I should push him away.

…I forgot how to move.

This is wrong, this is… so nice.

The voices in his head fade after the last thought, for some reason. The storm inside his mind grows silent, then disappears completely.

Good, L thinks, now I can actually concentrate.

Though it seemed like Light kissed him forever ago, L is quick to remember that it couldn’t have been more than four seconds yet.

The first thing he notes is that Light’s finger is still holding up his chin, right before he thinks about the lips pressed against his own. Light’s lips are really soft. It surprises L, because he’d have expected them to be a bit more rough, to fit his personality. The third is that it’s barely even a kiss. It’s just Light’s lips against his own…

Light’s lips. Against his own.

The sheer reality of it is enough to send a shiver down his spine. Out of disgust, or excitement, L doesn’t know – and that doesn’t happen often.

In the next second, it’s over; Light’s mouth leaves his own, he opens his eyes, pulls back, still close enough, but they’re no longer touching in any way, and he stares at L with an unreadable expression.

And L just… doesn’t understand, and it makes him feel uneasy. He knows for fact he’s still staring at Light with wide eyes, knows that Light is probably aware he didn’t even close his eyes in the first place, but he can’t bring himself to care. So, he waits. It’s Light’s turn to talk. He has to explain.

Please talk. Tell the truth, tell a lie, say anything, just explain yourself somehow.

However, when Light does talk, it’s not what L expects to hear at all;

“Your lips taste like strawberries.”

It’s barely above a whisper. The sentence floats in the air between them, and L doesn’t know what to do with it. Well, of course they are. That’s only natural, considering he just ate a considerable amount of them, covered heavily in sugar, only a few minutes before. That’s not the point!

Don’t give me facts I already know, Light, give me the reasons!

But he’s not going to ask for them. He’s not going to lose. If this is just a game, too… He’s not going to fail by asking questions. And yet, somehow, the way Light said that…

Why do I feel… funny?

Light looks at him a moment longer, then smiles, imperceptibly, and turns to go back to his computer.

And that’s it, L realizes, he’s not going to say anything about it.

*

It turns out L was right. Three weeks later, Light still didn’t mention the incident, and L found himself not minding it one bit.

Things continued the same way, seemingly nothing changed between them, and as puzzled as L was at first, he made sure not to even think about it anymore. It worked so well he started pretending it didn’t even happen. He’d rather erase it from his memory than having to lose and give in by asking unnecessary questions. Besides, while dealing with research and solving the case, it didn’t even seem important.

Everything was the same, they still kept bickering, and it was fine. That’s how it should be.

That’s how it should stay.

*

And it stays like that, for a whole other two weeks. Then it happens again.

The second time it happens, they aren’t fighting. It’s the middle of the night, and Light wakes with a jolt, terrified, exhausted from the restless sleep. L sets his laptop aside and tries to help him calm down. None of it is unusual; Light has nightmares relatively often. Whenever he has them, he wakes up with symptoms similar to a panic attack, and L tries to soothe him, as much as he can. L doesn’t really think too much of it; he can’t focus on his work while Light is distraught, after all, so he sticks with trying to help. It more or less works.

“Why don’t you ever talk about it?” He asks Light in a soft tone, once he calmed down a bit. L’s lying on the bed, facing Light, dark eyes searching amber in the dim light, but it seems like Light is still far away.

“I don’t… I can’t.”

L examines Light’s face a bit more thoroughly. He’s really pale after his nightmares. His eyes are glossy, wider, and more honest. Light always seems the most honest after a nightmare, and it intrigues L. This is the only time Light isn’t collected, when he’s not keeping up some sort of façade, when he seems… vulnerable, even. L doesn’t even have to be a genius to realize that Light probably hates it.

“I sometimes have nightmares, too.” He says then, without really thinking about it, but it works; Light looks at him, and his eyes finally focus. „Do you want to know how I deal with them?”

“Oh, let me guess,” Light says, weakly grinning a bit, “by hardly sleeping at all?”

L hums and smiles, too. “You know you’re better when you start mocking me.”

Something wavers in Light’s eyes, but yet again, L can’t quite pinpoint what that something is. It’s so frustrating.

“I assume you’re right,” Light says, slowly.

Oh… he’s surprised?

“But, I still want to know how ‘the world’s greatest detective’ gets over his nightmares,” Light continues with a smug smile, moving slightly closer.

“You’re doing it again,” L says, surprised, realizing that Light is constantly taunting him.

Light averts his gaze – quite dramatically, - and then just nods towards L expectantly, as if to say, well, go on, then.

“You just have to remember that it’s not real,” L says simply.

Light blinks, and he looks so tired, so L quickly continues; “Even if it feels real, or if it was real at one point, you need to keep in mind that reality is right here and right now. I know this isn’t really a big help, but I –“

“No,” Light says, cutting him off, “Thank you.”

And Light means it. Perhaps it wasn’t a big help, but Light is really thankful – that much is obvious when he slides closer to L; closer, until L can feel Light’s breath against his cheek.

Closer, until their noses touch.

Closer, until Light’s lips are on his again.

This time, L’s mind isn’t as loud; but Light’s lips are just as soft.

L is still confused, but somehow he’s calmer. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

This time, L closes his eyes by the fourth second, and allows himself to… allow it.

He isn’t sure why it feels a little different. Nothing is different, except for the fact that Light is tired and freshly comforted. The kiss feels comforting, too, even though it’s still nothing more than a gentle touch of their lips.

By the next second, it’s over. Light breaks the kiss that’s barely a kiss, but he doesn’t move too far away, and he doesn’t open his eyes. He stays close to L, and tries to go back to sleep. And L just stares, wondering.

 

Light doesn’t have another nightmare that night - he sleeps peacefully.

This time, though L still has questions, he doesn’t want an explanation – he figures it doesn’t really matter.

*

Only a week passes before the third time it happens.

It doesn’t happen after a fight, or after another nightmare, and perhaps that is why L is incredibly confused again; he can’t find any logical reason behind it.

One minute they’re both busy with work, and in the next one Light rolls over next to him, grabs L’s chair and turns him around to face him, then leans forward, and it’s happening again.

It’s so spontaneous, so sudden and out of the blue that L almost pulls away just to ask; “Light, what are you doing?” Almost.

Instead, he closes his eyes the second he feels Light’s – now almost familiar – lips brush against his, trying to puzzle out the whys desperately. Why does Light do this? What purpose does it serve? Why does L let him do this?

And then he remembers that it feels nice, and curses both Light and himself. He’s not going to lose. If Light wants to keep kissing him, then so be it, whatever the reason is. Perhaps he’s bored. Perhaps he’s lonely. Maybe curious, or he’s losing his mind. Maybe it’s hormones. Maybe this is entirely just a trap, set by Kira.

“Keep your enemies closer…” The thought makes L dig his fingernails deep into the side of his knees, almost hard enough to hurt, before relaxing them completely.

No, that can’t be it. If the plan were to make L potentially fall in love with him, Light would explain the kisses. He’d not only explain them, but he’d probably also try to sweet-talk him – L had seen Light using his charm; it’s very effective. But this is not the case now.

Light slowly pulls away, and L opens his eyes.

Nearly seven seconds…

They’re becoming longer, L muses.

“Today it’s caramel.” Light says mildly, and L frowns.

…What?

And then it clicks in. Oh… Oh!

He’s referring to the taste of his lips again. L’s eyes flicker to the empty bag of caramelized sweets on his desk, and then back to Light, his confusion growing stronger.

And just what does he think I am? A living taste-test?

“Light-kun, if you wanted some, you could’ve just asked,” L informs him, only half-joking, “I’m sure there’s more where it came from. I could always ask Watari to get you some.”

Light smiles, then turns, walking back to his computer, “Thanks, but that won’t be necessary.”

And L decides there and then that he’s not going to waste any more energy on trying to understand Yagami Light – or at least, not in this matter.

*

Three days pass uneventfully, and on the fourth one, L decides that if Light is allowed to lose his mind sometimes without explanation, then so can he – or, at least he can try.

Despite his plans of not trying to understand Light, L can’t help, or even hide the fact; Light intrigues him greatly. He finds Light interesting ever since he’s first heard of him, so why would this situation be any different? Light is precisely like a mystery to be uncovered, and L loves mysteries, almost as much as he loves solving them.

He keeps telling himself that the only reason he even considers doing this is because he wants to see how Light would react. He wants to catch him off guard, too, and see where it takes him. Perhaps with this, he can be the one with the advantage, and maybe he’ll understand more. And that is why L decides to put his plan into action that night.

They’re still working on the case, but it’s late, so they moved the research to the bedroom.

It should work, L thinks, chewing on his thumb.

He takes a sideway glance at Light and then gently tugs on the chain of the handcuff to get his attention. Light looks up from his laptop with a questioning look, and L takes this as his chance to attack.

Before Light even has the chance to ask anything, L surges forward, pushes the laptop aside and captures Light’s lips with his own. It’s easy; he just has to do what Light did, after all.

It’s a piece of cake.

However, Light only seems to be stunned for a whole two seconds before he surprises L all over again; he’s responsive.

He moves his lips, softly, and L freezes. This never happened before. This is new. The alarm goes off in his head all over again, making him want to pull away, but then Light’s hand is suddenly on his cheek, caressing it gently with his thumb, as if to say “It’s okay.”

And L is conflicted. He’s fairly certain that none of this is okay, and that this – whatever this is - is different from the previous three times. L, based purely on logic, can’t help but think about the possibility that Light was previously just testing the waters, and now that L initiated it, he’s more… what? Brave? That doesn’t sound like Light at all, so L dismisses the thought as quickly as it came. The idea of Light having feelings for him is absurd enough.

No. This is something else…

This is probably just a game.

Maybe it comes in handy. If I make him believe that I like him that way, I’ll still be the one with the advantage.

So L, slowly, experimentally kisses him back, and Light responds immediately, smiling into it a bit.

It’s just… a game.
Only a game…

L’s thoughts fade with every passing second, along with his determination, until he can’t think of anything else but Light’s touch, self-hatred, Light’s lips, self-hatred, and the taste of Light’s lips. His breath is cool and minty, which is not what L would usually prefer; he could be a little sweeter, but for some reason L doesn’t actually mind. ‘Sweet’ doesn’t exactly go well with Light, anyway.

They might be kissing for ten seconds, but maybe for minutes. Time turns into a haze as it gets more heated. It seems desperate, almost needy, kind of like they’re battling again, kind of like they’re more equal than ever, and L doesn’t know when and how exactly did he end up in Light’s lap – he might’ve been pulled there, but that doesn’t explain his arms around Light’s neck, or his fingers brushing through his hair – how is it so soft?!

Light is holding him close as the kiss slowly turns into little pecks, and as it stops completely. Their forehead is touching, Light is breathing a little heavily, and L silently waits to be released. For some reason he doesn’t want to talk, he doesn’t even want to think, he just wants to process.

After a few more seconds, he tries to move away, but Light holds onto him more tightly, pulling him back, so L stares at him, stunned.

“Just… wait a second, please,” Light mumbles without looking at him, and for the first time, L thinks he understands, at least a little bit. He obeys, rests his forehead against Light’s again, and allows himself to relax.

They sit like that, holding onto each other in silence for what feels like hours. L knows they won’t talk about it later. Perhaps these moments are like fractals; they only exist in the moment. They will get up, let go, continue with the bickering, and never talk about these moments. They’ll continue to act like they never even happened.

They’ll continue to pretend that there are no emotions involved...