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lost and found

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"'Sup, D."

The Count freezes with his hand on the door handle, halfway inside the petshop and a cake box in hand.

He knows his voice, even before his wide eyes turn to find him spread over the sofa. His sofa, very much the same as the one from the old shop back in LA, with the same stains and the single cigarette burn Leon had accidentally inflicted upon it. All the other furniture has changed, shifted with the location and time, but his sofa is still the same.

Leon can't help but feel the tiniest bit smug about it.

"Mister Detective," D greets stiffly, arranging his expression into something not so easily read; his mask. Leon can see it settle over his features with practised ease, drawing the open surprise into a cold smirk in a matter of moments. If Leon hadn't been looking for it, he wouldn't have noticed.

If he hadn't known D like he did, he'd have thought it was true.

"Been a while, hasn't it?" Leon greets, crossing his legs at the ankles. "You going to offer me any tea?"

"Usually you'd be the one bringing dessert," D says, and his false smirk grows wider, colder, crueller, like a crack spreading across a glacier. "Have you come to put me away, at last? I must say, you're terribly persistent - how you gained jurisdiction outside your area in such a short amount of time is beyond me."

"Excuse me if I didn't want to run the risk of barely missing you again for the sake of a bunch of cakes," Leon scoffs, before the rest of the words register. "Wait, what?"

The Count sets down the box with the same kind of elegance he always presented his guests with, before. With Leon it had changed over time - less theatrics, more screaming and hysterics and nagging at all hours of the day, but at least those had been genuine. The loss of it cuts at his chest even as he breathes all the better at the sight of D's dark curtain of hair, the glimpse of D's wrist beneath the silk of his cheongsam; all of it screams I'm here, I'm here, I'm alive.

"Let us not pretend, Detective. We both know why you're here."

Pretend, D says, as if his very expression isn't a study in pretence. As if he hadn't done everything and anything possible to let Leon think he hadn't cared about him or Chris, only to unravel the corners of his web when he'd dragged Leon back from Death's doors when nothing else in this world could have saved him.

D, Leon thinks, is full of shit.

"I know do," he says, glaring at D in an effort to get him to sit. "But I can't even guess at what's going through that stupid head of yours."

D joins his wrists together mockingly, wiggling them at Leon with a raised eyebrow and a jagged smile.

Leon feels like hitting him with a stick.

He takes a deep breath instead, trying to keep his voice level for once. "So let me get this straight." Hah. "You think I've been searching all over the world for you for this long to put you in prison?"

The mask remains in place, mocking and porcelain-perfect. "There's nothing else to think, Mister Detective."

"Oh yeah?" Leon challenges. "Maybe you'd think different if you had spoken to me instead of running off every time I came close, you fucker."

D's expression does not change. "There is nothing to discuss further."

"Sure," Leon says. "Not like I realized I'm fucking in love with you, asshole, right when you pushed me off that stupid ship. I've been trying to get this back to you, by the way."

There's something about D when he closes his hands blindly over the drawing, when he brings it to himself and clutches it closer despite not even knowing what it is. Something about the parting of his hair, or the set of his eyes, and it reminds Leon of that day on the ship so long ago.

Because, he realizes, the mask is cracking.

Just enough to let the tears through.

"I don't think I understood what you said, Detective-"

"I'm not a Detective anymore, D," Leon interrupts. "Kinda gave that up to chase this one asshole all over the world for a whole bunch of years. You might have heard of him: has the same name as yours and looks just like you."

D shudders. "You language hasn't gotten any better."

"You haven't been around to nag me for it," Leon offers, and nudges the air in the general direction of the drawing. "Open it. You're surprisingly soft-hearted despite everything, you know?"

His hands are reverent on the paper, the poorly-drawn crayon lines, the old, worn creases. The tears come faster, now, over his still-present smirk and dripping over silk and velvet and wood depending on where they land, but never over the drawing. D would never allow it.

"Also, I lied." Leon offers a smirk of his own. "I did bring you chocolates. What kind of confession would this be if I didn't even bring you any?"

D laughs, looking as startled as Leon when he does. But there's a warm, tingling thing unfolding across his chest, filling his veins and lungs and heart, and no barrier to keep it hidden inside.

The mask has fallen.

For once, D can't bring himself to care.