L caught up with Matt and they walked with him through the airport until a sudden bark of laughter from Matt stopped him in his tracks. He looked in the direction Matt was looking and had to grin himself. Standing in the doorway of the airport stood Mello, holding up a sign, which read “Car for Ryuzaki Rue and Some Red Head” and wearing a chauffeur’s cap. They walked over to him and L shook his head; whenever he thought about his heirs he always saw them as youngsters in his mind. It always surprised him when he actually saw them and realized that was no longer the case. Mello seemed to be taller than the last time he’d seen him, his long, blonde hair pulled back into a pony td he could see his favorite leather pants below the coat he was wearing. He watched as Matt walked up to him and pulled off the hat.
“You’re an idiot,” he chuckled before giving Mello a quick kiss.
“This is the thanks I get for making sure you get a comfy ride back?” Mello complained as L walked up to him.
“I think the look suits you,” he said with a grin, “A little servitude definitely works with you for a change; makes you humble.” Matt laughed and took Mello’s hand.
“Yea, maybe you should bottom more often,” he offered and L rolled his eyes.
“Definitely not what I was alluding to, let’s go,” he said striding past them and out of the door.
The ride from the airport to Wammy’s made L realize just how exhausted he was; not only from the long flight, but also from everything. He was emotionally and mentally spent, and for the first time since all of this had happened he allowed himself to just accept that he was. He sat in the back seat by himself as Matt sat in front with Mello, talking mostly about the flight and much fun he had flying the “L Jet” as he called it.
L slumped back against the seat and reached for his phone, he promised Light he’d call him as soon as he landed no matter what time it was. The phone barely rang before Light answered it.
“You made it in one piece,” he heard the relief in Light ‘s voice.
“Of course I did, did you even doubt that I would?” he asked trying to keep it light, and ignoring the lump of guilt that was building up in his throat.
“No, not really I have great faith in your abilities,” Light chuckled, “Maybe not so much in all of your choices.” L sighed heavily, raising a hand to his eyes.
“I know, I can’t…I’m so sorry,” he said quietly, “I don’t mean to hurt you...” Light shushed him.
“I understand, I hate the fuck out of it, but I understand,” he answered surprising L with his language, “But now that you’ve arrived, it’s closer to the time you leave and come home. That’s how I look it at, how I have to look at it. I love you L, just work it through and come home.”
“As quickly as I can, I promise you,” he murmured, “I love you too.” He looked up to see the building he once called home coming into view, “I have to go, we’re arriving at the house. I’ll call you when I get settled in and I will try to call at least once a day but I can’t promise that.” He heard Light sigh.
“Okay. Remember all I have right now is looking forward to your calls, so try not to space them out too far. You wouldn’t want me to get bored.” They both laughed and immediately felt the air lift a bit, in spite of what the joke referred to.
“No, no you are quite formidable when you ‘re bored,” L answered, “Good-bye Light, I love you.” He said again.
“Sayonara, boku no koibito,” Light whispered into the phone, making L close the call before he lost himself. He looked up when the door opened next to him and had to chuckle when he saw Mello bowing to him.
“We have arrived sir,” he said not knowing just how grateful L was for the distraction.
“Matt’s right, you are an idiot,” he said as he climbed out of the car. He looked around the grounds, children were sprinkled around the grounds engaged in various activities and paid little to no mind to them as they walked towards the entrance.
“I imagine you are living in what used to be my apartment,” he mentioned as they entered the building.
“Yes, but we can…” Matt began and L shook his head.
“No, it’s your place now,” he answered, “I’ll stay in Watari’s old apartment.” Matt and Mello exchanged looks before answering.
“That’s where Near lives now,” Matt answered, “All the equipment in there keeps him connected, he’s more into that than we are.” L nodded. He hadn’t been back since they had graduated and moved, he hadn’t really thought about what the living arrangements had to have been before he decided to come here.
He suddenly felt as if he’d made a horrible mistake. He had hoped for the cocoon of familiarity at Wammy’s to help him through this, but it was obvious that he no longer had a place here. His home was with Light, and he couldn’t go back there either, at least not yet. He felt lost for a few moments, feeling he had nowhere to go to center himself. He quickly reminded himself that there was a time that he needed only himself and his work to center himself; right now he had to find that place again, and that was the main reason he was here in the first place.
“L…are you okay?” Mello asked when the detective had been quieter for longer than he expected.
“Yes, I’m fine,” L answered, his dark eyes seeming to look through him, “Are there any of the student rooms empty right now?”
“There’s practically an entire wing empty right now,” Matt answered, “Not too many girls here recently, so the B girls area is empty. But…”
“One of those rooms will be fine,” L answered, “I only require a little space and a bed, and hopefully I won’t be here for very long anyway.” He turned and headed for the specified section. Matt watched him walk away for a few moments before turning to Mello.
“Why don’t you go make sure he’s got coffee and snacks, tell Near he’s here. I don’t want to leave him alone right now, at least not for a while.” Mello nodded his agreement and left, as Matt sprinted to catch up with L.
“You should take the one in the center of the hall,” Matt suggested as he caught up with him, “It has the best view and is right across from the bathroom and showers.” L smiled.
“I remember,” he answered, “I don’t need a chaperone, I know where I’m going.”
“I know, but let’s just say I want to make sure you ‘re settled in and comfy,” the red head answered, “Mello’s gone to get you some coffee and snacks and when that’s all set, we’ll leave you alone to…figure out whatever it is you have to figure out. Not that one of us won’t be checking up on you every now and then, you have to expect that.” L sighed in resignation, not having the energy to argue the situation anyway, and opened the door to the room.
He looked around; remembering the first time Watari brought him to a room like this so many years before. Having come from a rather shabby, over crowded orphanage, he had thought at the time the bunk beds and desk and chair, were the grandest pieces of furniture he’d ever seen, the idea of only two beds in the room amazing. Now it was simply someplace to escape to, to try and fix what was wrong. He walked in and placed his suitcase on the floor, his laptop on the desk and immediately began to set it up.
“Why don’t you just relax for a while L,” Matt suggested as he sat on the bed, “It’s been a long flight, you‘ve gotta be exhausted.”
“I am exhausted,” L admitted, “But I don’t have time to relax. I need to set everything up, be ready to start working immediately, there are cases I have let slide because of…what happened and I can’t let them wait any longer.”
“I get that,” Matt said standing up and walking over to him, “But the first thing you need in order to work is a clear mind and right now your mind is exhausted”. He frowned, as it seemed that L was ignoring him and he reached out and put a hand on the detective’s shoulder, “L…stop being stubborn and just sleep now, tomorrow is soon enough to get started with all of this.” L felt his anger rise and turned to Matt to ask him whom did he think he was talking to; but when he did turn around he found the same stubbornness on Matt’s face that he was sure was on his own, along with obvious concern. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair and nodded.
“Of course you’re right,” he said and walked over to the bottom bunk, “Stubbornness is my downfall anyway isn’t it? All right, I’ll wait for Mello to bring whatever it is he’s bringing and then I’ll rest, would that be agreeable?” Matt smiled and nodded himself.
“I’ll wait with you, and yes, that is agreeable,” he answered and sat next to him on the bed, “You’re going to work this out L, and I’m sure you‘ll work it out quickly. You’re L after all, figuring out difficult puzzles is your thing.” There was a knock at the door and Matt got up to answer it, knowing it had to be Mello.
“Here’s a pot full of coffee with plenty of cream and sugar, and some pastries,” the blond said as he brought a tray in and placed it on the desk. L murmured his thanks and walked over to the tray, preparing his coffee. Matt nodded, got up and joined Mello.
“We’ll go now and let you rest,” he said, “If you need anything just call.” L nodded again and then looked at them.
“Thank you both,” he said then turned back towards the bunk and sat down. They watched him for a moment, then turned and left the room. Matt sighed heavily and reached into his back pocket for his cigarettes.
“I need a smoke,” he said heading towards the main door and Mello followed him.
“You need to take a nap yourself,” he suggested as he followed him out. Matt nodded as he lit up as soon as he stepped outside.
“Yea, I know, and I will. We have to keep up with him and leave him alone at the same time,” he said with a sigh, “What a bitch that’s going to be.” Mello chuckled and then sighed himself.
“Should we tell him we’re planning to move out of Wammy’s? Do you think that’ll upset him or will he even care at this point?” Matt shrugged as he took a deep drag.
“I don’t know, maybe tomorrow after he’s had some rest. I don’t think it should upset him, he couldn’t expect that we’re the type to live here the rest of our lives, so I don’t think he’ll be overly surprised.”
“If he hadn’t met Light he’d still be here,” Mello reminded him, “So he might just think we’re supposed to do the same thing.” Matt finished his cigarette, dropping it to the ground and stepping on it.
“Maybe, but let’s deal with one problem at a time okay?” he said and yawned, “Nap time.” Mello nodded and took his hand as they walked back into the building.
After having a couple of pastries and finishing his coffee, L undressed and climbed into the bed. He reached for his phone and called Light; he had promised he’d call when he was settled and he was about as settled as he was going to get.
“I’m in bed now, and I wanted to say good-night,” he said when he Light answered, “It must be about three a.m. there, I’m sorry to wake you.”
“I couldn’t sleep until I heard from you anyway,” Light answered, “You must be exhausted.”
“I am, but now that I’m here I can rest, or at least try to. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in bed alone.”
“I know, but at least being in bed alone means you don’t have to worry about being molested and you CAN rest.” Light answered and was glad to hear L chuckle.
“This is true,” he answered and then sighed, “I love you Light, good-night.”
“I love you too, good-night,” Light answered and waited to hear the click of L’s hanging up before he did the same.
L held the phone in his hand as he closed his eyes, exhaustion finally overtaking him.
Light slept poorly after talking to L, unable to shake the fear that his next call would be to tell him that he wasn’t coming home. He knew rationally that wouldn’t happen, but he couldn’t shake it completely. He gave up after a while and showered, made coffee and waited until time to go to his office, telling Watari he didn’t need anything for breakfast he’d get something while he was out.
As he made his way out of the building he heard his name being called and he immediately recognized the voice. He stopped and turned to see Matsuda leaning out of his car and waving at him.
“Hey Light!! Jump in, I came to pick you up and grab something before work!” he called out. Light sighed and ran a hand through his hair; he knew Matsuda meant well but…
“Thanks Matsuda, that would be nice,” he finally said and made his way over to his partner’s car, “But you know, you don’t have to keep up with me, I’m fine.” He said as he got into the car.
“I promised L I’d keep up with you and I would anyway under the circumstances,” Matsuda said as he pulled out into traffic, “I know this isn’t easy for you, I just want to make sure you know I’m here for you.”
“Don’t worry, I know,” Light said with a smirk, “And when I talk to L I’ll be sure to tell him how well you’re doing.”
“No, that’s okay you don’t have to do that, I’d do it even if he hadn’t asked me to,” Matsuda told him. “Oh and Suki says don’t worry about dinner tonight she’s cooking so you have to come home with me tonight.”
“Are you going to tuck me into bed afterwards?” Light asked a little more tersely than he meant it to be, and he could see it’s effects on Matsuda’s face. “I’m sorry Touta, I didn’t mean that the way it sounded I’m just…”
“It’s okay Light, maybe I’m trying too hard, you know how I get carried away,” Matsuda explained, “But Suki’s worried about you too.”
“I understand, but I’m going to be fine,” he smiled at him, ‘And dinner tonight sounds great, thank you.” Matsuda smiled again and nodded happily and began to talk about what Suki was planning to make. Light nodded at the appropriate places as Matsuda prattled on, while his mind thought only of what L was doing.