It was a stupid present and Light absolutely wasn't buying it. He'd spied it in the window of a shop he didn't pass by often, given it was a two-block diversion from the path he took home every day from To-Oh. Christmas wasn't even an occasion that was widely celebrated in Japan outside of romantically-involved people, although the chintzy decorations and colorful lights would go up around Tokyo nevertheless. Light scoffed at some of them as he took a left at the crosswalk, unconsciously drifting, lost in his thoughts, until he was standing in front of the very shop he'd been determined to avoid.
[[Look in the window]]
[[Keep on walking]]
He couldn't tear his eyes off of it--- a perfect winter world recreated in miniature, trapped inside a snowglobe. The scene wasn't unique, just a rather ordinary scene of two children having a snowball fight beneath a leafless tree where crows perched. But what charmed him was the attention to detail, and the great care and skill that had obviously gone into making it.
[[Look closer at the snowglobe]]
[[See what else is in the window]]Light forced his eyes away from the window display, letting out a sigh that the frigid air made visible.
What was he thinking that L would ever want a Christmas present from him? He should be thinking harder about how to defeat the detective. But the words, 'Light-kun is my first friend' had blanketed his thoughts like fresh snow.
He stuck his hands in his coat and kept on walking. It was thinking like this that would end with him being arrested.
Go back to: [[Walking home from School]] One of the children in particular looked how Light imagined L must have as a child, and that was what had stopped him in the street the first time. Wild black hair stuffed beneath a beanie too large, scarf in disarray and one mitten dangling from a hand pulled back and about to launch a snowball. The child was smiling, that was the main difference since L rarely did that. Light still didn't know if any of the rare smiles he'd seen from L had ever been real or were an ill-fitting accessory for his benefit. He'd never heard L talk about his childhood. The little he knew was that L was an orphan and had spent time in England. There was nothing about this scene or this child that should make him feel second-hand nostalgia.
Still, he felt like L should have it. I wonder if it plays music. I wish I could see it when the snow was swirling around. Could I even afford it? Probably not and he'd mock me for my trouble if I bought it--
"You've come by here every day this week."
[[Who's that??]]It's a curiosities and clockmaker's shop, filled with oddities and objects d'art made by the tinkerer. There's not much of a theme. Hand-painted porcelain dolls mingle with cuckoo clocks and astrolabes. The furniture used to display items is old, dark wood that might also have been handmade. Everything looks quaint and unique, but the items were obviously meticulously made and probably cost a small fortune each.
[[Look closer at the snowglobe]] Light startled from his thoughts and turned around, his stomach bottoming out at the familiar voice. And of course, it was L, hands in his pockets and wide owlish eyes boring into him.
"What are you staring at? It's unlike Light-kun to be caught unawares." L made eye contact until Light averted his gaze, then looked into the shop window. His eyes didn't alight on any particular object. The display was filled with toys and ornaments and, most prominently, clocks. "A clockmaker's shop. Did you need your watch repaired?"
[[Of course not!]]
[[Yes, now please go away.]]"No. My watch is running fine." Light stuck his hands in his coat pockets, pink tinging his cheeks that he hoped could be explained by the chill air. "I was just doing some shopping."
"Shopping usually involves entering the shop and making a purchase, Light-kun." L brought a finger to his mouth, watching Light closely.
"I--I wasn't decided on anything yet. Haven't you heard of window-shopping?"
L's eyes slid back to the display. "These things look very expensive. A Christmas gift for Amane then? I'm sure she'll be very impressed."
[[It's not for Misa.]]L didn't react outwardly to Light's snappish words, only pointeded looked at Light's perfectly-running watch. "I see. In that case, I'll see you later, Light-kun. Good luck." He walked past Light halfway down the block where a limo was idling, jumped inside, and the car sped away.
Light frowned, regretting the lie and acting so irritably. Why did L always bring that out in him? He turned from the shop and continued on home.
Say instead: [[Of course not!]] "No!" Light said it more forcefully than he'd meant to and backpedaled. Quieter, "No. Just something I liked. Forget it. I--" He trailed off as L opened the shop door and stepped inside, a tingle of bells signaling a new customer. "Ryuzaki!"
L poked his head back out, holding the door open. "Are you coming or not? I'm letting in a draft."
[[Follow him inside]]Light huffed but followed L inside the cramped shop, immediately hearing the asynchronous ticking of dozens of clocks hanging all over the walls. The dimly-lit space smelled of cedar and wood varnish, and was crammed with mismatched curio cabinets. He whispered, "What are we--"
"Feel free to look around." A muffled voice piped up from the back. "I'll be with you in a moment."
[[Look in the back room]]
[[Observe what L is doing]]An elderly man was hunched over a cluttered workbench, fiddling with the mechanism of a music box. He looked up, eyes magnified through his jewelers spectacles, and noticed Light, "No customers back here! I'll be right out."
[[Observe what L is doing]] L walked among the cabinets, stooping to peer inside at the various baubles. "What an unusual place." He drifted to the front window display and, after a moment, pointed down at the very snowglobe Light had been admiring. "Light-kun, look. That child looks just like you."
[[That's odd, it does!]]
"I think you're seeing things, Ryuzaki. It's just some generic child's face."
L smirked, grasping Light's chin and bringing it closer. "Look again. Else perhaps Light-kun is losing his lauded powers of observation?"
[[That's odd, it does!]] Light blinked but looked closely, and for the first time all week he indeed noticed that the other smiling child in the snowball fight did look like him. "That's so odd. But...you're right." The resemblance was really uncanny.
"Find something you like?" A grizzled older man stepped into the front of the shop, magnifying glasses pushed up above his brow from where he'd stepped away from his workbench.
"This snowglobe." L pointed at it again, ignoring the look Light shot him. "I'd like to see it."
The man reached in the display and carefully handed the globe to L and busied himself fiddling with the wall clocks.
L turned it over in his hands until the false snow swirled around the two figures. Light stepped closer, gazing into it too. "It looks so real, like they might just really throw those snowballs any second."
L swirled the snow around again after it had settled, staring at the faces of the children. "Was this what you were looking at all week?" He looked up to watch Light's face instead.
[[Make up some excuse.]]
"Yes." It felt like an admission of another kind, but he didn't know what. Is L smiling?
"I see." L gazed a moment longer and took the globe up to the counter, gingerly placing it there. "Shopkeep, I'd like to buy this item."
"Wait--" Light didn't want L to buy it. He'd wanted to buy it for L, even moreso now that he plainly saw that L liked it. That was rare enough, for L to show interest in anything that wasn't cake or Kira.
The shopkeeper stepped behind the antique register, moving some papers aside. "Of course. The price is 100,000 yen. Are you still interested?"
[[Intervene and try to buy it]]
[[Let L buy it]]"No, I was looking at..." Light's eyes darted around and settled on an elaborate cuckoo clock that happened to be chiming. Little birds were popping out of the carved Swiss Chalet front, marking the hour at 7 o'clock. "...this fine clock."
L snorted and rolled his eyes, clearly unconvinced. "You can barely abide it when I chew loudly and you're telling me you wanted this clock? Mmmhmm. It was the snowglobe, wasn't it..."
[[Admit it.]] "Wait a moment!" Light shot L a look of frustration, trying to stop him. "I wanted to buy that." It was supposed to be a Christmas present and this was going all wrong!
The shopkeeper turned to Light, a little smile on his lips. "My my, I never expected to see two young men fighting over a snowglobe. You may buy it, then. I have seen you here several times this week."
Light flushed, embarrassed that others had noticed his interest. But he was even more embarrassed that he had nowhere near 100,000 yen. Not on him, not anywhere. "I..." He slowly pulled his hand back from the counter, turning away from L's dark eyes. He murmured quietly, "I'm sorry. I don't have that much."
[[Let L buy it]]
Light's heart sank, knowing that he never could have afforded that. He supposed if L wanted it, the only way he'd be getting it is to buy it himself.
"Of course I would still like to purchase it." L dug in his pocket for a wad of cash, peeling bills off and heaping them on the counter.
Light sighed and stepped back outside the shop, leaning against the wall beside the doorway until L came back out, a bag in his hand. But when L held the bag out to Light in pinched fingers, Light could only gape. "I'm not carrying that for you."
"No?" L held the bag out again. "Happy Christmas, Light-kun."
The smile on L's face was as genuine as Light had ever seen, which only made him distrust it all the more. Did L go and buy it just to embarrass him on purpose? To throw his money around because he knew Light couldn't afford it?
"I can't accept such an expensive gift." Light pushed up off the wall, feeling extremely small and sorry he'd come by this way. Feeling silly that he'd thought to buy a present for L when L could have anything in the world he wanted. "But I hope you enjoy it. I wanted to buy it for you anyway." He walked towards his train in a hurry and left L there, much more upset that he thought he should be.
[[A few days later...]]The snowglobe sat on L's desk after that, and he swirled it around when he was thinking. Watari would come by occasionally and wipe sticky fingerprints off the glass and most of the team had remarked on it. It became something of the office mascot, rubbing it for good luck or just something for L to fidget with.
Turns out it did play music if you wound up a little key on the underneath side, a tinkling version of "˜In the Bleak Mid-winter.' L took to humming along and Light tried to ignore it, tried to ignore all of it.
Why was it bothering him so much?
"You don't like it anymore." L turned the key, making the music play after the others had gone home. Light was usually the last one to leave, and L assumed it was another way that Light was trying to prove his innocence and decidation. "It annoys you."
Light glowered as he left the shop, making a beeline for the subway. Why was he so upset? He'd wanted L to have it and now L would.
But he'd wanted to be the one to give it to L. Light had seen the expression on L's face, the rare delight. He'd wanted to be responsible for it. For that-- instead of annoyance, irritation, disapproval.
Stupid. He shouldn't care.
It would take longer than the train ride home to stop caring.
Go back to [[Let L buy it]] "No. It's not that."
"You did give it to me, you know." L swiveled in his chair, back and forth to the rhythm of the carol. "Just because I paid for it doesn't matter. I wouldn't have known it existed if I hadn't followed you that day." He picked it up, smiling into it. "It looks like Ryuzaki and Light-kun, doesn't it?"
This time, Light was sure, really really sure, that L was smiling because he wanted to. The difference was so clear, he couldn't believe he hadn't noticed before. Light caught himself thinking, 'He's beautiful when he smiles like that'. "And you like it despite that?"
L's smile faded as he met Light's eyes, the last few notes of the carol fading into the air between them. "Because of that." He set the globe on his desk and plopped his chin down so he was eye-level, gazing into it. He idly hummed the song in the absence of music, then sang softly, thoughtfully,
[["What can I give him as poor as I am?]]
"Yes. Isn't it a bit silly for you to--" But Light couldn't go on. He lied all the damn time about everything else, and this is what compelled honesty?
[[No]] Light laughed despite himself, "Yup, that's you. So poor."
Matter-of-fact, "There are many ways to be poor." L didn't look up, just stroked long fingers down the curvature of the glass and sang again softly, "Yet what can I give him...give him my heart."
Light's breath caught in his lungs, pooling until it burned not to open them. It was just the words to the song. That's all. Still, he scooted closer, laying his chin on his crossed arms to watch the bits of sparkly snow drift in the glass, settling on top of playful children. "It's too bad we don't really get snow in Tokyo. Not often anyway."
"Light-kun would hit me with a snowball at the first opportunity, I imagine." L had never been in a snowball fight. Watari had never allowed it, giving the excuse that he could be hurt or catch a cold.
[["Yeah, I probably would."]]
[["You'd hit me first!"]]"Pfft, probably. It's not so bad, just a little cold but you get used to it." Light turned back to the globe, shaking the snow again. "They seem to be having fun, don't they?"
"This boy is having fun." L pointed to the black-haired child about to lob the snowball. "The other one isn't."
Light had to agree that the brunette child had a different expression on his face-- it wasn't pure childhood joy but something more complicated. "Maybe he's afraid there's a rock in that snowball." His eyes lidded partially as he daydreamed, mesmerized by the swirls of white. "He doesn't trust the other child. Or maybe he did something and thinks he has it coming. He's waiting for it, but won't know until it hits him if it's snow or pain. Fun or punishment."
"Punishment? For what?" L wasn't blinking now, a thumb pressed to his bottom lip as he stared at Light.
[[Snap out of it!]]"Unlikely. I've never thrown a snowball before." L wasn't looking at the globe, Light's face was much more interesting now.
"Really? Never? I thought it snowed in England." Light turned to meet L's eyes, trying to imagine what L's childhood was like. He hoped L didn't get the wrong impression like he was probing for his identity-- he wasn't, not this time. He was just genuinely curious.
"It does, but I was never permitted to play in it." L had asked multiple times as a child and the answer had always been 'no.' So he'd content himself to watch the snow drift from the warmth of the house, imagining himself out there. "Thus, statistically, you are much more likely to throw the first snowball."
[["Yeah, I probably would."]] "Heh, I don't know. I'm just rambling." Light sat up and shook free of the daydream. It was very odd, as if he'd almost heard laughter and tasted snowflakes for a moment. "Forget it."
L frowned very slightly, and said softly, "There's no rock in there." It was important to him that there wasn't, although he didn't understand why.
There was an awkward moment of silence, but eventually Light was pulled back into gazing at the diorama. "You can't see inside a snowball, Ryuzaki. From the other kid's perspective, there could be."
"There isn't." He didn't raise his voice but the tenor of L's voice markedly changed.
[[If you say so.]]
"Why did you want me to have this? You stopped to look at it in the window for days and days. Was that a lie?" It was hard for L to imagine that Light would think of him in any other way than as a hated rival. No-- THAT was a lie-- it was easy, too easy. An ease born of wishful thinking.
Light didn't expect such a direct question, but it was his own fault. He did tell L that very thing in a moment of frustration. "I guess...the child inside reminded me of you. It made me wonder what YOU were like as a child. If you were always so serious, if you got to have fun. I can only see the man you are now, and that..." He gave L an apologetic smile, but it was good-natured. "...that only makes me wonder where he came from."
"Hmmm. So Light-kun wonders about me. Trying to find out my name, as I would expect Kira to do." L gave Light a side-ways glance, testing him.
Light winced, mumbling, "And there's the rock."
Light felt something change in the air, and pushed his desk chair back to his desk. "Fine, whatever you say." A part of him wanted to probe deeper, but shouldn't he just leave it alone and go home?
"I think we're both tired, Ryuzaki. Probably time to call it a night." Light started to gather his things, noticing L hunching down in his crouch.
"Yes, probably so. See you tomorrow, Light-kun."
Go back to: [[Snap out of it!]] "We are not children, Light-kun. This isn't a snowball fight."
Light set his jaw, scooting his chair away. "Don't you think I know that?" He turned back to his computer but the numbers in the spreadsheet seemed to swirl like snow, and he was unable to focus.
Suddenly he felt something softly pelt the side of his head. "Huh?!" Light looked down as a balled-up piece of paper rolled away. "Ryuzaki did you just--HEY!" Another wadded up paper hit him right on the nose.
[[Throw something back]]
Light broke into laughter, meeting L's deadpan expression with a sly grin. "Oh now you're in for it!" He grabbed some papers off of Matsuda's desk and balled them up (hope they weren't important), hurtling them at L while he got a rain of paper snowballs in return.
"Light-kun won't defeat me!" L only got a double-hit of paper for his trouble, but he held up a file folder as a shield as he took refuge behind a file cabinet.
"You can't hide forever, Ryuzaki!"
It only escalated, and they darted around the monitor room, snatching this paper and that as they ducked behind desks and cackled when landing a particularly good shot.
It seemed to go on forever but was over too soon, and they lay giggling on their backs in the middle of the office, surrounded by heaps of crumpled case notes and newpaper clippings and witness statements. L turned and poked Light in the side, grinning and out of breath. "See? No rocks."
Light snorted, but turned towards him as well, smiling brightly. "I saw you reaching for Aizawa's stapler."
"But I put it back didn't I?" L slowly inched closer, his eyes darting between Light's eyes and the man's lips. Softer, "Isn't that what matters?"
[[Don't kiss him]]
"Yeah..." Light's breath caught as suddently L was so near, close enough to feel his warm breath against his face.
L felt it again, that memory of waiting at the snowy window, of looking out and wishing. He heard Watari's voice in his mind telling him to stay away, that he'd catch his death of cold.
When their eyes met, Light waited for L to move, but that didn't happen. And without thinking, Light closed his eyes and leaned closer, feeling soft lips against his that didn't pull away, didn't snark or sling barbs. They met him halfway, hands fumbling in the snow to make angels and not weapons.
L smiled into the kiss, straddling Light and knocking the crumpled papers away. Watari was wrong, he'd always beeen wrong. It was warm here, so warm.
The End.Screw that, there's kissing in this fic!