Chapter 1: 1 Ruined Childhood
Light goes to the mall for some Christmas shopping. L incites an existential crisis.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
One Ruined Childhood
"I don't want to!" L whined.
Light tugged at the chain, absolutely done with L's bullshit.
"I have to go Christmas shopping! It's a tradition."
L's eyes hardened. He could never understand the big love for the holidays. To him, they were just an excuse for stores to rip off the general consumer. The detective jangled the handcuffs in front of Light's face.
"Well I'm not removing them," he growled decisively.
"I guess you're coming with me, then."
L blanched. A large mall filled with hundreds of people? Light blinked. How was it possible for the detective to go paler than he already was?
"Like Hell I am," L snapped.
Light's brow twitched. He rubbed it, groaning. Out of all the immature-
"I can just have Watari buy presents for them," L tried, waving the teen's scowl off.
"They'll know it wasn't from me," Light sighed, shaking his head, "besides, that's not really in tune with the Holiday Spirit."
L's teeth ground. Oh, no... the teen was giving him those puppy-dog eyes he did so well. The puppy-dog eyes of a coldblooded murderer. He had the whimper of one too. He pretended as if the eyes weren't having an effect on him, leading to the other's sad expression. Victory!
But L sighed, hanging his head in resignation.
"Fine... but I have demands..."
Light grunted as he pushed the cart. L was in the basket, his knees pulled beneath his chin. Surrounding him were things Light had bought for his mother and sister, stacked like a little castle. With a self-satisfied grin, he licked the candy cane in his hand. They were getting so many turned heads, so many confused and blank stares... Light smiled apologetically, his skin beaded with sweat.
"This is so degrading," he growled.
"We could always go home," L drawled, blinking innocently.
Light's teeth gritted. Now quiet, he just continued pushing all the gifts and the detective. Breathing heavily, he stopped the cart between the Mall-Santa and a makeup store.
"This is the last stop," he grinned.
L rolled his eyes. He'd agreed to undo the handcuffs for stores simply to avoid going in. There were many things in this life he needed, but eager employees and a heavy cloud of perfume was not one of them.
While Light stepped in, he waited, twirling his candy cane lazily.
He stopped twirling the candy.
Peering over the side of the basket, he saw a boy about six or seven years old. The detective's brow rose quizzically. Slowly, his gaze went to the Mall-Santa. There was a man struggling to get a two year old to stay still on Santa's lap while he tried taking a picture. Probably the boy's father. L tried his best to smile, but he was sure it looked... creepy... his bags and complexion had never really contributed to an inviting smile.
"Hello... child... what do you want?"
He blinked, cocking his head.
"Why are you sitting in the cart like a kid? You don't look like a kid."
L slowly put the cane back in his mouth, his eyes narrowing.
"I'm a kid at heart."
The boy's eyes lit up.
"Does that mean you get to sit on Santa's lap? Daddy told me grown-ups can't!"
The detective drummed his fingers on his knees. This conversation was getting old quickly.
"No. I can't. Can you go away now?"
"Then how can you be a kid?" He asked, confused.
L sucked on his sweet. Maybe if he just ignored him, the kid would go away... suddenly the boy threw himself into a long rant about how great it was to be a kid. He glanced at the store anxiously, never having wanted to see Light more than ever before.
After a solid thirty seconds, L snapped his attention back to the kid when he said "but if you can't sit on Santa's lap, your life must be really sad and lonely!" L had never been one for introspection, but he was lonely, always locked away in his investigations. But his own flaws were not what came to mind. His eyes narrowed to small slits as he glared at the boy.
My life, sad? You little asshole! I own five buildings, have millions more than you will ever see in your life, solve the world's hardest cases, and I absolutely fucking rock bedhead. Name someone else who hasn't slept in days and looks this good, I'll wait! You think you got something on me? I'm mother-fucking L Lawliet, world's greatest detective and I have the best life, okay?! Fuck you...
"Santa's not real."
Light staggered out of the store, burdened by about four bags.
"Santa's not real."
The detective said it deadpan, glaring at the child. Light was so surprised, he froze, watching in a fascinated horror. The boy's eyes widened.
"Wh-what? Of course he's real!"
"No. Your parents lied to you and Christmas is just a way for us to fill that empty void that the death and depression of winter brings... because everyone's going to die at some point. Everyone."
Light gaped. The boy's eyes teared, his lip quivering. Tipping his head back, the kid ripped out a wail. L stared at him, uninterested, crunching down on his candy cane. Jumping, Light rushed forward, shoving the cart into motion. L continued eating on as if he hadn't noticed Light.
"Crying's not going to change the fact you'll die someday," he called over his shoulder.
Light winced, trying to avoid the shocked and indignant expressions surrounding him.
"What the fuck was that!?" Light's voice cracked.
Behind them, they could still hear the boy crying loudly. The father had rushed over and was yelling obscenities at them. They rolled off L's shoulders, none of them very intimidating. Twisting his body, the detective gave a light wave towards the father with a lopsided smile. The man's face went a bright red. He looked ready to chase them, but opted to console his son. L finished his sweet with a pout, waving off Light's scowl.
"He has to learn eventually."
"Jesus, Ryuzaki! I was in the store for like 3 minutes! How the Hell did you manage to ruin a child's Christmas in that time?!"
"At least I didn't go over the birds and the bees," he gave a wry grin.
Light paused the cart, staring at him. Slowly, he hung his head. As much as he didn't want to, there was a laughter bubbling up in his chest, from deep within his stomach. It physically hurt not to laugh loudly, but he'd be damned if he gave L the satisfaction.
"You're an asshole," he managed, his breath strained from his silent wheezing.
L didn't respond, his brow quirking. Did Light really find it so funny? He rubbed his palms against his shirt, confused why they were suddenly so sweaty.
"Come on. Let's go before a mob of angry parents tear us apart."
The detective shrugged, leaning against the cart's wire as Light pushed. But L was smirking. Was this the Christmas Spirit Light had been going on about? The greatest joy? To psychologically destroy a child? Hm... maybe there was more to this Christmas than he thought. But L kept his expression neutral. No way he'd let Light know how he felt.
Chapter 2: 2 Gingerbread Houses
L finds out he can actually interact with a kid without making them cry! Huzzah
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
2 gingerbread houses...
"Great! Yeah, I'll see you then," Light chirped.
L was busy on the computer, not paying mind to Light. When he hung up, he glanced at the detective warily.
"Today I'm going to be making a gingerbread house with Sayu... please don't make her question her own mortality."
"Say what you will, I made that boy's holidays much more interesting."
Light stiffened, eyes narrowing.
"Just don't be yourself."
Sayu was bubbly, her eyes bright. She stared at L, waving wildly and introducing herself. The detective gave a shaky smile. She held out a hand, her grin dazzling.
"Hey! Why don't you join us? You're cool!"
Light straightened, looking between the two of them. Watari stood off to the side, watching L intently. L was about to decline. He'd give anything to get rid of the handcuffs, slink into his room and be on his beautiful computers, but he received a text from Watari. Not immediately answering her, he opened the text.
W: Just spend time with people, it's good for you.
Still not looking directly at Sayu, L texted back.
L: My clients are people. Why can't I spend time with them?
W: Because they'd probably kill you for a cookie?
L: Give me a little more credit than that... I'm worth at least a slice of cake.
L sighed heavily. He didn't appreciate all this 'looking out for his wellbeing' business. He held his breath, glancing at Light. The teen's brow was furrowed in worry, but he slowly nodded.
"Yeah... L. You can join us if you want," he added under his breath, "as long as you're not depressing."
The detective met Watari's eyes. He gave a nod of encouragement, walking off to prepare some hot chocolate for the three of them. Sagging a bit, L agreed.
To his surprise, Light and Sayu always made the houses from scratch. He should've guessed. Everything else about Light was perfect... everything about Light's life, Light's life... not Light himself... L's cheeks flushed. For some reason, an image of Light naked flashed through his mind and he panicked, trying to hack at the daydream with an imaginary axe. Was it just him... or were those thoughts getting more common? Are they? Yes. Will I continue being in denial? What thoughts!?
To L's shock, he actually enjoyed Sayu's company. She was energetic, sure, but she knew how to keep an interesting conversation. As they talked, she slowly but surely seemed to slide away from her shared gingerbread house with Light, marveling at L's. Light watched, his jaw tense as prickles of jealousy stabbed at his mind.
"How'd you do that?!" Sayu exclaimed.
L gave a shy smile as he explained the intricacies of the house. Light tapped his spoon against the table. I don't feel left out... she's the one who's missing out on all this gingerbread house goodness!
"Do you like gingerbread cookies?" Sayu asked the detective curiously.
He couldn't help but smile. She was nothing like the kid at the mall. He spoke softly, but with a joyful glean in his irises.
"Of course! I love anything with sugar."
Light cleared his throat.
"Hey, Sayu! Check this out! I installed a spinning platform so the figure can dance!" Light called.
Her eyes popped, bouncing over to see the little cookie figurine they'd made spinning in the living room.
"That's awesome," she breathed, "have you seen L's though? He's got working lights and everything!"
Damn... that's pretty cool...
L scratched the back of his neck sheepishly as she rushed towards him, hitting the button. Instantly, small lights all over the house's roof lit up, making it look like genuine Christmas decorations. Light bit his lip. Hell no. This was not over.
He got to work building up the house until it was three stories with a gelatin pool and a waterslide.
"Whoa!" Sayu squeaked.
L cocked his head. The challenge wasn't lost on him. Sayu twirled to face him, beaming. Light pouted.
"What else can you do?"
The detective tapped his chin playfully, grabbing for more walls. He shot Light a competitive smirk, and just like that, the game was on.
"You want to help me make a model of the tower?" He rumbled excitedly, handing her a handful of candy. Light straightened.
"O-oh, yeah!? That's child's play!" He barked.
L opened his mouth to argue, but Sayu stepped in, her eyes shining mischievously.
"Maybe you two should have a competition? And I'll get to judge!" She declared, throwing herself into a chair. Not realizing the can of worms she'd opened.
Light and L exchanged looks, their brows furrowing in determination. Sayu was so anxious, she scooted forward in her chair. Challengingly, they each reached for more material.
I'll destroy him, they both thought at the same time.
Sayu was chewing her nails nervously, watching the men work.
L had created a fifteen-story scale model of the tower, complete with lights in every single room and a mini-ld television acting as the main monitor in the investigation room. He'd created gingerbread men versions of everyone, decorated almost professionally. Having designed the building, L knew it inside out, and was able to recreate everything... down to using sour belts for the pipes running along the basement.
Light had decided to go for a more Santa workshop theme. He'd made sugar-glass and created a stained-glass aesthetic. Inside were a bunch of machines from candy and even several pieces of taffy molded to look like presents. Santa's figurine sat in his office, surrounded by miniature cookies and elves, all attached to spinning platforms to make it look like they were dancing.
Sayu looked between the two of them, clutching her hair in distress.
"I can't decide! They're so amazing!"
The two men stopped to examine their creations. With a sly smirk though, Light leaned forward.
"Well, my workshop has something I know you'll love."
She blinked expectantly. Light dug into creation, pulling out three catapults and giant jawbreakers. Sayu gasped, a look of gleeful bloodlust on her face. Light met L's face smugly, sticking out his tongue. The corners of L's lips tugged up. Oh, he'd be mad... if he hadn't made an array of cannons... Light audibly gasped as the detective dramatically revealed his arsenal.
"If Sayu can't decide," the detective rumbled thoughtfully, "I suggest the victory go to the last house standing."
"Oh I will be," Light growled.
Sayu nodded, crossing over to L's side. He rose an eyebrow, trying to hide his smile. Light huffed.
"Traitor," he chuckled.
"Not everyday I get to destroy something of yours."
With a battle cry, L let forth a round. Chocolate truffles shot out, smashing into Light's sugar-glass windows. Yelling, Light released the jawbreakers. They crashed into the tower's walls, cracking the hard gingerbread. L yelped, holding out a hand.
"Second-in-command! We need more ammo!"
She scrambled to gather as many of the truffles as possible.
"Come, Second-in-command! Let's destroy him!"
"Not if I obliterate your tower first!"
Watari walked in. He knew how anti-social L was, so he was expecting cute little houses and a satisfied child...
He froze, his eyes scanning the carnage before him.
Both houses had completely splintered, the once-pristine kitchen an absolute mess. All three were covered in frosting and chocolate and crumbs. But L and Light were still at it though, slinging globs of icing with their bare hands. Sayu giggled shrilly, falling back as Light accidentally pelted her in the face.
"No! I will avenge you!" L cried, his truffles leaving a chocolate stain on Light's shirt.
Watari stood, not sure what to say or do.
He opted to slowly walk backwards out of the room.
They collapsed, all of them exhausted. Sayu rose to a sitting position, beaming at L.
"We should do this again next year!"
Silence. There was an icy tension that hadn't been there before. Sayu shrank, confused if she said something wrong. Light sighed, moving forward to ruffle her hair.
"Why don't you go eat whatever can be salvaged? Isn't that the reason you came in the first place?"
She snickered, scampering away. Light and L sat next to each other. L couldn't explain why, but the thought of spending next Christmas with Light and Sayu sent his stomach feeling...weird. Light gave the detective a sideways glance.
"Once you realize I'm not Kira... we could do this next year."
But you are. L bit his thumb. Even if Light wasn't Kira now, there was no telling if the power would return to him... L stood, trying to brush off the crumbs from his shirt. He gave the other a slightly sad smile, but nodded his head.
"If you're not Kira...I would like that..."