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Near Me Always

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Marriage was utter bliss and L wondered what the fuck everybody meant when they said it was an awful trap to beware of. In his opinion, this was the best decision he’d ever made. They rented a crappy apartment above the crappy office space L leased for his private investigator business. It wasn’t exactly a money maker, but between both of them working, the bills got paid. They had nothing and yet had such happiness between them. They danced in their tiny living room and ate at their coffee table. Unable to afford takeout often, they took turns cooking, L struggling to do much better than soup and sandwiches, usually.

It was more likely due to L’s lack of social skills that caused him to struggle in his business than anything else. His skill set was superb, and he solved cases efficiently. But he was difficult to deal with and customers who required good bedside manner went elsewhere. He shrugged it off, however. His wife loved him bad manners and all, and that was enough. 

She had long curly hair that she kept died a lovely plum color that L loved. She had emerald eyes and a smile that could light up the darkest places. She was beautiful in every sense of the word. They’d met in college and somehow his less than charming way of speaking did not deter her. It was hard to tell what she saw in the insomniac with bedhead and bad posture, but she quickly fell in love.  

If L were ever to speak an honest word, he'd say he fell in love with her immediately. That's why two weeks into dating he bought a ring. He had to live on ramen noodles for a while after because he blew an entire paycheck on it. He didn't give it to her right away, however. He might've been an asshole but he wasn't stupid. L waited a few months, letting their connection deepen and their commitment to each other grow stronger.  

When she said yes, that's when L realized he was truly happy. It hadn't been easy for him, growing up in an orphanage. That kind of childhood can make you rough, hard to deal with. But his wife never took his shortcomings personally. Never lost her temper or let him get to her. No, she always handled him with this perfect grace that defied logic.

Roughly a year into their dream life living in that shitty apartment, Rayna looked at L thoughtfully over dinner and said, “Let's have a baby.”

The noodles hung limp in his mouth for a moment. “A baby?”

“Yeah.”

“Like a human baby.”

“What other kind is there, L?”

Good point. “You sure you don't want to get a puppy instead? See how it goes?”

She laughed. “No. I want a baby. You'd be a wonderful father, L.”

“While I appreciate what you're saying, I see through your attempt to win me over with lies.” He said it with humor, a laugh on his tongue as he watched his wife sit back in her chair and cross her arms. “Alright, I concede. Just one baby, though.”

“Deal!” Rayna stood and walked to her husband, hugging his head so his face was pressed against her breasts. He didn't mind. She stepped away and unbuttoned her blouse, revealing the black lace bra beneath. L gulped. It seemed dinner was over.

What neither of them knew then was that she was already pregnant. Broken condoms weren't always obvious, and sometimes life had a fun way of surprising you. It certainly surprised them when the first pregnancy test she took came back positive. L felt dizzy and unprepared. He certainly thought it would take a lot longer to conceive. Rayna literally jumped in the air and danced around over the news.

With a sigh and a smile, L watched her twirl in happiness. If doing the most terrifying thing in the world meant she was happy, that's all that mattered. They had less than nine months to prepare, but something told L it would be more fun than stressful. With the way Rayna hugged him and smiled, L knew this would be a good adventure for them.

They made doctors appointments and began looking at bigger apartments. For now, the baby could share their room but as he or she grew older, they'd need their own space. Rayna laughed at him as he frustratingly attempted to put together the crib with unreadable instructions. This was what they got for buying the cheapest one they could find.

One day, L received a letter in the mail from his father in England. “Rayna! Come here!” She waddled in, holding her stomach as L began reading out loud, “My dearest Lawliet's, I am so excited to hear the news that I will soon be a grandfather. I regret that I cannot make it to your baby shower at this time, but I am hoping to make the birth or arrive soon after. I hope the gift I have enclosed is enough to help give your family a good start. I am so proud of you both. With love, Quillish.”

L passed her the check enclosed, “Oh my God.” She covered her mouth as tears sprang to her eyes. L and his father were very close, and being so far away from each other had been difficult for them. Quillish had been struggling with his health as of late, so they understood why he couldn't travel.

“I know,” L smiled, “We can move to that bigger apartment across town and afford a car.”

L's father had gifted them $75,000. It was more than they both made combined in a year. L had only known living with wealth from the age of 13 to 18, when Quillish adopted him. Nobody ever adopted teenagers, and at first L didn't trust him. Over time he began to realize the man was genuinely good and genuinely loved him. 

Wanting to make something of himself, L would only accept limited help from his father when he left for University. Quillish paid for his schooling, but L provided his own place to live and groceries. He never asked his father for more. This gift which was thrust upon them was clever on his father's part. He knew that if done in person, L would refuse. He also knew that with a baby on the way, they could really use the money. New York City prices weren't getting cheaper. And their apartment leaked and the heat didn't really work.

“I guess we should start packing,” Rayna smiled.

L kissed her, “Yes. I'll make a deposit on the apartment tomorrow. Would you like to go car shopping this weekend?”

She nodded, embracing her husband and burying her face in his chest. She breathed in his warm scent of vanilla and closed her eyes. They would be alright, she knew. This money solved so many problems for them.

***

The happy couple found themselves packing up their newly purchased crossover SUV with what little they owned and driving it across town. They'd live on takeout and eat on the floor as they sat surrounded by half unpacked boxes. The first thing L unpacked was the coffee maker. Rayna tore a box apart in search of toilet paper. Her bladder wasn’t what it used to be thanks to the baby.

Their new place was double the size of their old one, which still wasn’t very big. It was newly renovated with hardwood floors and new kitchen appliances. The heat worked and the ceiling didn't leak. Even better, the baby would be getting their very own room. “Let's paint it green,” Rayna suggested. L shrugged. Whatever she wanted, he'd do.

It took a few weeks, but their boxes all were unpacked and the baby’s room was freshly painted. They exchanged the cheap crib for a better one, too. All was well and Rayna was ready to have her baby out. Walking was difficult and she was sore all the time. Napping was constant, and working became difficult.

“L?” She said, leaning a hand against their table as she held her stomach with the other.

He turned from where he was making dinner in the kitchen, “Yes?”

“I think it's time,” she said, eyes wide.

“Oh. Oh shit,” panicked, L cut off the stove and grabbed his coat and keys. It was time to go to the hospital.

Chapter Text

It would take several hours for the world to meet the tiny, wrinkly pale mess of a son they'd created together. Shock settled in L as he held him, a tiny tuft of white hair atop his head. Rayna giggled quietly to herself as she watched her husband stare at their baby in awe struck wonder. His eyes had never been so huge. 

“Your name is Nathan. Did you know that?” L whispered to him as he walked around the hospital room. “I think I'll call you Nate for short.”

Eventually L had to give up his bundle of joy so Rayna could feed him. He joked about having to share her breasts, and they both laughed. It was impossible to look away. L was a father, he had a son. It was overwhelming to consider for him. He wondered if he'd ever get used to it. 

They made their way home, the short Hospital stay uneventful. Quillish would be flying in the next day and staying at the hotel nextdoor. He couldn't wait to meet his grandson. L couldn't wait to see his father again. Like a child the night before Christmas, L didn't sleep a wink. He stayed up all night checking on baby Nathan, holding him when he cried and rocking him back to sleep. Rayna awoke sometime in the night to feed him, and L thought his heart might burst at the sight of mother and son.

“I love you so much Rayna,” L said, admiring the glow of the moon against her flawless skin as it shined through the window.

“I love you too.”

L thought about the many lies he believed regarding Parenthood. It seemed the same lot who told him not to marry also warned of the trap of having children. It was his experience that this was all hogwash. Having children was awesome! Maybe they could have more. 

Quillish arrived with gifts and love and a particular rosy cheeked smile over the grandson he finally got to hold. An exhausted Rayna excused herself for a nap while the men drank hot tea and conversed. L was so glad the old man was here. He could see his pride in those glossy old eyes. L had made something of himself, and his father was proud of him. 

“I know you like to be independent, L. But please, never hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Part of my joy as your father is in being able to help you. You'll see that yourself as this little one grows.”

“I will dad. I promise.”

Quillish made the tired parents dinner and straightened up the house. It couldn't be helped; the old man had a strong instinct to care for others. It was what finally drove him to adopt a child when he and his wife could not conceive. She died shortly after L was adopted, and Quillish learned he needed L as much as L needed him back then. 

Soon enough the old man had to travel back to England. He didn't want to overstay his welcome, though in L's opinion he never could. They promised to visit England soon. They wanted Nate to see where his dad was from and teach him all about his heritage.

When Nate was two, the family decided he was old enough to behave on a flight. Probably. If they were lucky. He was a bright toddler who already showed a knack for solving puzzles like his father. Rayna and L had been saving since he was born to afford a special private school for their son, and seeing how brilliant he was at such a young age motivated them further. 

Flights were purchased and bags were packed. L was locking the door when he heard a sound like something crashing to the ground. Nate was crying. “Rayna!” L ran to her, falling to his knees and lifting her in his arms. “Rayna wake up!”

The flights were cancelled. The bags placed back in the apartment. L followed the ambulance in his car, Nate finally calm in the back seat. “it'll be ok,” he assured, knowing deep down that probably wasn’t true.

A battery of tests would reveal late stage cancer. How had there been no symptoms? It was too late for treatment, the doctor said. The rest was a blur that L couldn't recollect. Rayna was dying. The love of his life was dying. He looked at Nate. How could he do this without her?

Rayna’s decline was swift, L waking one morning to find she was gone. For a moment he pretended it wasn't true. When he pulled her lifeless body into his chest, he choked on the sob he couldn't hold back. Tangled fingers in her wild hair, he kissed the top of her head as tears lost themselves among the strands. “I love you so much,” he whispered into her hair, squeezing his eyes shut.

Quillish flew in for the funeral that blurred on by for L. Looking at his son dressed in that tiny black suit, L thought to burn it afterwards. He never wanted to see it again. Quillish stayed with L after the funeral, occupying his couch. Once L slid beneath the covers of his lonely bed, he did not get back up. His sobs could be heard from the kitchen where his father prepared a meal for Nate. “It's going to be alright, little one,” he assured as he snapped the toddler into his high chair.

“L, your son has lost one parent. Do not make him lose two,” Quillish stood in his doorway, having had enough of L's incapacitation after a week of enduring it. 

He knew his father was right. Pushing himself up on the bed, he turned red, swollen eyes to the man, “I don't know how to do this without her.”

“You'll take it a day at a time.” Quillish brought over the coffee he’d made for L. “A moment at a time if you must.”

L accepted the mug and sipped. This was the first moment of many he’d focus on getting through. The next moment was getting a shower, then eating something. Paying his son the attention he denied him for two weeks. “I will not be a bad father,” he told himself.

“I know you won't. Nate knows it too,” Quillish said. In truth his heart was broken for his son. He would've never wished this fate upon him. Nobody knew the grief of losing a spouse like L's father did, and Quillish knew there was life after death if L could just hang on.

The days went by slowly, a minute at a time. There were moments L felt like he couldn't breathe, times he broke down into hysterical crying fits. As time went on, however, he got better and better at keeping it together. Better and better at getting through the day.

“Sh, the baby is sleeping,” he whispered when a potential customer walked into his tiny office. The place was a wreck, but then again so was he.

“Oh,” he raised his brows and peered over the counter L stood behind. Nate was wrapped in a blanket with his thumb in his mouth, sound asleep. “You take your little guy to work with you? How sweet.”

The truth was L couldn't afford child care. He had to take Nate with him to work. He was a quiet kid and never caused problems, so it worked out. Besides, having him there was a conversation starter and L was finding it easier to get clients with him there. L desperately needed the business too. The medical bills from his wife's illness were piling up.

“Yeah, he's a good kid. What can I help you with?” L asked. The stranger was beautiful. He had long, straight black hair and dark blue eyes that almost looked purple. A wicked grin was set among chiseled features. 

His voice was like dark velvet, “I wanted to inquire about pricing on behalf of a friend. She thinks her husband is cheating.”

“Well I'm sorry to hear that, but I would be glad to help out. Here, let me get you a rates list,” L said, fumbling through stacks of papers on the shelving behind his counter. Wishing he was more organized, L popped up with a sheet of paper and have it to the man.

“Thank you,” he said as he looked it over. “Your rates are quite reasonable. I'll bring this to her and let you know.”

“Ok,” L smiled a little as the stranger walked back out. “I sure hope he comes back,” L said to himself. He was beautiful. Even if he didn't hire L, he wanted to see the mystery man again. 

Behind him, Nate began crying softly. “Oh, baby. It's ok,” L turned and scooped him up, rocking his little one against his chest. “I bet you're hungry.”

Chapter Text

“Say Nate. That's your name. Nate,” L smiled as he bounced his happy toddler on his lap. Nate would cry, giggle, and sigh, but L was concerned that at two years old his child hadn’t said any words yet. Maybe he's mute? The pediatrician suggested talking to him more often and leaving the TV or radio on all the time. L was trying that with no success. I'm kind of a quiet person. Maybe he comes by it honestly. “Say Nate and I'll give you candy!”

Nate giggled cheerfully as he bounced, “Near!” He announced.

L stopped moving, stunned. “Good job, baby! Say it again. Nate!”

“Near!”

“Nate.”

“Near!”

“Near it is. Come on, let's have some celebratory candy.” L hoisted Nate up and made his way to the kitchen where he kept mini MnM’s for just such occasions as this. They smiled at each other as they munched. A reward for Nate was a reward for L. “I love you, buddy,” L said through his chocolate filled mouth. Nate laughed and clapped his hands. Leaning forward, he kissed L's cheek, smearing melted chocolate on his face with his little hand. “Thanks, buddy,” L sighed. They were both messes.

Too excited to keep the news of Nate's progress to himself, L called his father, “He said his first word!”
They talked and somehow ended the conversation with L agreeing to bring Nate to England on Holiday. Quillish would be footing the bill, of course, but the old man missed his two favorite boys and insisted. “Guess we're going to England, little dude,” L smiled. Nate clapped his hands together, tiny animal puppets decorating each finger. “You're a trip, you know that?”

L opened his cupboards to make them both lunch only to find it bare. “Welp, looks like we're eating out today and grocery shopping.” Turning to his son who was still on the floor, “Wanna go run errands with me?”

Nate was busy trying to eat his puzzle pieces. L rolled his eyes and pulled the cardboard from his son's mouth. “Don’t act like you're starving. That's rude.” 

L bundled the both of them up, Nate looking adorable in his heavy coat and little white scarf. They braved the cold and L buckled Nate in his car seat with a kiss. There was a kid friendly Café next to the grocery store that served a decent lunch. They could go there, he decided.

“What do you think, Near? Do you want the filet mignon?” L joked as he glanced at the menu. A server came over with a bright smile, “What can I get you two?”

“He’ll have the kids chicken nugget meal with Mac and cheese and I'll have your all American burger,” L said.

She smiled wide, “You have such a lovely accent! Where are y'all from?”

“England,” L smiled back. 

“I've always wanted to go there. Maybe one day! Alright, let me put in your orders,” she said with a wink as she walked off.

“I think she likes me,” L whispered to Nate, who giggled, “Don't laugh at me. It could happen.”

When the food arrived, L let Nate have his noodles while he cut the chicken up for him. “I think your food looks better than mine,” L said. “I have food envy.”

As they ate, an elderly couple walked past on their way out. The woman stopped. She was short and stout but probably a looker when she was young. Her little hat had a flower on it that matched her coat. “I've been watching you two and I must say it's so nice to see such a lovely father and son pair,” she smiled, “your boy is so well behaved. I thought I would tell you how lovely it was to see.”

L was caught off guard, but smiled, “Oh, thank you so much!” He blushed a bit and Nate giggled at him. The old lady said something about getting out of his hair so he could eat, and L smiled wide as she left.“Apparently I'm quite the ladies man today,” he whispered to his son.

The server wound up leaving him her number on his receipt, and while he was certainly flattered, L knew he wasn't ready to date again. One day, maybe. It was tough because there really was no getting over Rayna. He wondered if he'd changed as well. Would he be insecure in a new relationship? Fear they would die all the time? He couldn't live like that.

They made their way to the grocery store, where Nate somehow managed to sneak a candy bar into the cart. “Only if you share,” L said. He didn't have the budget he wanted for food. Not even close. His focus was more on the essentials for Nate. He could live on ramen noodles and eggs like it was college again.

At home, Nate played with his puppets and puzzles as L put everything away. With a stretch and a yawn, L decided a nap was in order. Grocery shopping was such demanding work. “Do you want to have a sleep with Daddy?”

Nate smiled and clapped his hands, which always meant yes. L scooped him up and brought him into the bedroom, casting an arm over the toddler who snuggled for warmth against his chest. It wasn't long before they were both sound asleep.

L woke up first and decided to go start dinner. Nate remained undisturbed as L slid from the bed. He’d leave the door open so he could hear him from the kitchen. Nate didn't always have good dreams. Sometimes he woke up in a fit.

As L boiled water for his noodles, he could hear a loud cry from his bedroom. With a sigh, he left the stove, “I'm coming buddy!” Nate was a sobbing mess on the bed with his little balled fists rubbing his eyes. “Oh Near Near, did you have a bad dream?”

Nate reached up for him and L gathered his son in his arms and held him tight. He couldn't help but smile at the shuddering breaths Nate took as he laid his head on his dad's shoulder and started to calm down. L walked them back out to the kitchen, where he held Nate with one hand as he cooked dinner for them with the other. Food always made L feel better and he figured it was much the same for his son.

“One day I'll be a famous detective and we'll be able to afford all kinds of fancy food,” L said as he piled rice and steamed carrot slices onto Nate's high chair plate. Thankfully the kid wasn’t a picky eater. L watched him stuff his face as he slurped his noodles. One day, he thought. He wanted to be able to give Near everything. A good education, a better place to live, a car when he was old enough. Nate deserved the world.

Chapter Text

Nate was enjoying the challenge of a new, more advanced puzzle on the scratched and stained hardwoods of L's office when a familiar face walked in. L looked up from the catalogue of things he could never afford and smiled, “Oh, it's you,” he blushed a bit. “Sorry, I didn't get your name last time.”

“Call me B.” That smooth voice carried a chill over to L and he shivered inside. This man was beautiful. 

“Alright, B. I've never met another person with a letter name before. I thought I was the only one,” L smiled.

B laughed a bit, nearly a smoky hiss under his breath, “Nah, I'm sure the whole alphabet is out there somewhere.”

L nodded, “So what brings you in today? Your friend decide she needs an investigator?”

“No, actually. She caught him in the act.” 

“Oh, too bad.”

“Yeah,” B placed his elbow against the counter top and leaned in a bit, spotting Nate, “So he's awake this time! Hey there little guy.” Nate waved shyly at the stranger, and B smiled, turning his eyes up to L. “I'm actually here for more of a personal reason.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a card, “I hope you're not offended, but I’d like to take you out sometime. Bring your son of you'd like.” He slid the card to L, who picked it up in wonder. “Just think about it.”

With that, B turned to go. L looked from the card to him and back again. “Wait.” What am I doing? “I would love to go out sometime.”

“Great. Tomorrow? Dinner?”

“Sure.” L smiled and B winked as he walked out, satisfied in his triumph. L turned to Nate, “You're not going to like this, buddy, but you'll be needing a baby sitter.” 

Nate just stared up at his dad and L wondered how much the kid actually understood. L decided it was wise to start assuming he understood everything. It would be his luck that Nate would decide to start talking one day and repeat all the horrible things L said on a regular basis. He was going to turn 3 soon, so it seemed reasonable to L that his son would start talking soon. At least, that's what he hoped.

L bought him a small chocolate cake to celebrate with. Without Rayna, it was difficult to do much else. Birthdays, like everything, were bittersweet at best. It would just be the two of them over the weekend, wishing it were three of them to celebrate. L knew he wouldn't be up for much else but he still wanted Nate to have a good time. 

Date night rolled around and L had managed to secure a babysitter. She was young but professional and sweet. Her background check was good too. Of course he checked; he was a detective. “I might not be home until morning, depending on how things go. Feel free to sleep in my room and help yourself to whatever food I have. If Nate has a nightmare he may sneak in to sleep with you.”

She smiled sweetly, “That all sounds just fine. I'll call you if there's any trouble.”

With that, L hugged and kissed Nate and walked out the door. He'd never left Nate before. In three years, they'd never been apart. They even slept together most nights. It made L feel strange, and as he drove, he kept checking his rear view half expecting to see his son in the back seat. 

At the restaurant, he had to stop himself from opening the passenger door like he was used to. This was going to take some getting used to. Spitting his date waiting for him in the curb, L smiled and waved. B waved back, “The wait is only ten minutes,” he said once L was within ear shot.

“Great,” he smiled. They only had to wait about half that time before they were called in. The restaurant was busy but seemed efficiently run. A charming hostess seated them and took their drink orders. The moment she walked away, L's phone rang. “Oh no. I'm sorry, it's the babysitter.”

B watched on as he answered and L's face dropped. “Mr. Lawliet I'm so sorry, I've tried everything I can think of to calm him down, but he's been screaming since you left. He made himself throw up from crying. He's in the bath now but I don't think he's going to calm down without you.”

L could hear his son hyperventilating in the background. His heart sank, “I'm on my way.” He looked to B, apologetic, “I'm so sorry, I have to go. Nate made himself sick crying for me.”

“Oh, poor fella,” B tossed some money on the table and walked L out. “Why don't I put in a to go order and meet you at your place?”

L smiled as they approached his car, “I would love that.”

“What do you want?”

“That chicken marsala was calling my name,” L smiled.

“Alright. Text me your address. I'll meet you there as soon as I can.”

While L was exceedingly grateful for such an understanding date, his anxiety was out of control as he raced home. Typically he was a careful driver but tonight he ran a red light and rolled through a stop sign. Thankfully no cops saw him. P

“Nate!” He called upon opening the door and hearing his son wailing. 

Natasha, the babysitter, carried him out of the bathroom in his dinosaur pajamas and handed him to L. “Daddy! Oh, Daddy.” Nate sighed and sniffled his relief as he wrapped his arms around L's neck.

The poor girl looked so frazzled. “Here,” L said as he reached for his wallet. He paid her extra for her time. “I'm so sorry about this.”

“It happens. No worries. Thank you,” she said with a smile before slipping out.

L lifted Nate off his neck and looked at his red puffy face, “I think it's bed time for you,” he said.

Nate simply sniffled and nodded slightly. He was calming down and seemed exhausted. L supposed screaming for an hour straight might do that to you. He walked Nate upstairs and held him until he fell asleep. Gently placing him in his bed, he pulled the covers over him and kissed him good night. L turned on his fan and night light. “I love you little man.”

Back out in the living room, L selected a movie on Netflix he thought both he and B might enjoy. The doorbell rang and he jumped off the couch excitedly. A pretty man bringing him food? There was nothing better. “Please excuse the mess,” L said.

As B stepped in and scanned the apartment, he smiled. Aside from a few kid toys scattered about, the place was clean. “I got you a dessert as well. I remember you saying something about loving sweets.”

“You're my hero,” L could've kissed him right then, but didn't. He wasn't sure about it. 

They enjoyed Finding Nemo with their food, dessert a delicious chocolate mousse cake. B thought he would introduce L to the world of movies made for grown ups one day soon, but at the moment he felt compelled to reach for a kiss. He'd reached up to wipe a smidge of mousse from L's face and the look he gave said 'come get me’. So, he did. B leaned in and pressed his open mouth to L's, seeking entry with his wanting tongue, which L gave. The kiss became heated as they took turns sucking on each other's tongues, hands exploring beneath clothing.

L found himself reclining against the couch, pants coming undone. It had been so long since he was touched like this. It was heaven. B ground their hips together, alternating between hands that explored and hips that rocked sinfully against his own. B was reaching into the front of L's pants to unleash his neglected erection when they were both disturbed by the tiniest of voices.

“Daddy, I had a nightmare.” 

L accidently kneed B in the groin on his way to correcting his scandalous position. As B doubled over in pain, L stuffed himself back in his pants and zipped them. Reaching for a pouting Nate, he said, “It's ok, buddy. It's over now.” 

Casting a mournful look to B, L stood and carried Nate back to his room. It would take a while to get him back to sleep. L hoped it didn't completely kill the mood. Out in the living room, B recovered enough to put their leftovers away. When L came back out, it looked like B was ready to go home. “I'm really sorry about that.”

“Don’t be. He's adorable, and you’re a good dad,” B kissed him as he spoke, “I've got kind of an early morning tomorrow. I should be going.”

“Thank you for everything,” L said, slightly disappointed, “I'll be weaning Nate onto the idea of a babysitter. Maybe next time we can try this at your place?”

B ran long fingers through L's dark hair, “That sounds great.”

L would be lying if he said he wasn't disappointed that the night hadn't ended in sex. But there was always next time. After B left, L made his way to the bedroom where Nate hogged the covers, thumb still in his mouth as he slept. What a turkey. L couldn't even be mad. He cuddled up with his son and fell asleep quickly.

Chapter Text

As the seasons exchanged ice for blossoms, the opportunity to take Nate to the playground and make friends presented itself. Surrounded mainly by moms, L found he was the popular single dad all the ladies seemed to like gossiping about. When he finally brought his boyfriend with him one day, the disappointment in the air was palpable. 

They still hadn't successfully had full penetrative sex, which was frustrating. But they did do anything they could get away with doing quickly. Nate still wasn't Keen on babysitters and the best L could get was a blow job in the car. It was like they were teenagers sneaking around, which was fun in a way.

The only way Nate stayed with someone else and didn't scream for his dad the entire time was at a play date. At first, L stayed the entire time, but as time went on he found Nate played with his friend Sam the entire time and never came looking for him. He asked Sam’s mother Maya if he could experiment with leaving Nate and she agreed. They had a mutual understanding that sometimes L would take both kids and give her a break as well.

L was beside himself with excitement when he disappeared for two hours and Nate didn't even ask where he was. L returned to the children eating peanut butter sandwiches, happy as can be. Nate actually pitched a bit of a fit when L told him they were leaving, and L finally felt like he'd solved his problem. 

Maya didn't mind exchanging babysitting with L one bit. They both got a free babysitter they trusted out of the deal, so it worked out great. B was quite delighted at the resolution as well, and told L to prepare for a long, romantic night in that Saturday. 
B brought over take out which always included dessert, a nice red wine, and plenty of lube. Not much of a drinker, L's low tolerance gave way to feeling frisky right after dinner. He found himself in B's lap, straddling the man as he kneaded L's ass. L pushed his hips forward, dragging his clothed erection across B's. He growled low as he nipped at L's neck in response. “To the bedroom?”

L nodded and slid off B's lap. Nervous excitement filled the dark room as L lit a few candles to create just the right ambiance. Warm hands encircled his waist and played with the waist band of his pants, begging entry. L shuddered as long fingers undid the zipper, allowing his pants to fall to the floor. B wasted no time digging his hands into L's underwear and grabbing his cock, L choking out a gasp as he did. B lathed him in kisses up and down his spine and neck, walking him toward the bed. “I want to fuck you so bad,” he whispered in that velvety smooth voice.

“Oh, God,” L whined, thinking he may come just from the way B spoke to him.

“Are you alright with dirty language?” B asked.“sometimes I like to be nasty.”

L writhed in the man's grip, “Sounds hot.”

Pulling L's underwear halfway down his thighs, B pressed on his back until he was on his hands and knees on the bed. L yelped when he felt a wet, warm tongue in his ass. He might have experimented in college, but he certainly never experienced this. “You want it, don't you, my little slut?”

L shivered as B demeaned him. It was far hotter than he thought it’d be. “Yes, yes I want it.”

“Admit you're a whore for my cock.”

Fuck. “I am! I'm a dirty whore!”

B rewarded him by licking down his crack, parting his cheeks with both hands and darting his tongue in and out of L's entrance. L moaned and shook as the pleasure built, his needy, neglected cock dripping precome on the bed. “I'm going to finger you open now. I want you to beg for my cock.”

“Ok,” L panted as he felt the first lube slicked finger enter him. “Oh, yes. Yes. That feels good. Please give it to me. Please.”

“Not yet, but keep asking so nicely and I will,” B said as he slipped in a second finger. With expert precision, he reached for the prostate, reducing L to utter shambles.

“I'm coming! Oh God I'm coming!” L screamed as he shot all over the bed, shaking and shivering and ready to collapse. B wasn’t finished yet, and he smiled wickedly as a third finger impaled L and finished stretching him open.

“Do you still want my cock? You've gotten awful quiet.”

“Yes, please put it in me. I need it. I'm desperate for your cock!” L almost couldn't believe what he was shouting. He had never been this desperate for someone to fuck him before. B was some kind of magical sex God. Things were so intense and he wasn't even inside L yet.

But when he did sink in, oh it was heaven. L groaned into the covers as B took his time, allowing L to adjust little by little as he slowly slid his raging cock in and out of that perfect, tight body. “Mmm, so good L. Such a good slut for me.”

“Ah, yes. I need it.” L was nearly dizzy with pressure from the stretch, the intensity building until he felt he couldn’t take it anymore. B built up his thrusts from gentle and slow to fast and demanding. He panted and moaned so sexily that L thought he'd never heard something so damn hot in his life.

He reached around and began stroking L back to full attention. L didn't think he'd be getting hard again so soon, but here he was, dying of absolute bliss. He couldn't think, couldn't speak a string of words that would make any sense at all. B pounded inside him, fucking him fast and hard while he stroked him vigorously. “Come for me, L. Come for me like a good little whore.” 

“Yes, I, oh, God, I,” L stuttered and stammered nonsensically. He shot into B's fist, coating his hand. 

B spread his fingers and lifted his hand, “Lick it off.”

“What?”

“Be a good little whore and eat it.” B shoved his fingers in L's mouth and shuddered as L choked on them. Once he regained composure, he sucked and licked every last bit of come off B's hand, B shuddering and groaning as he went. “Oh, I'm coming. Holy shit!” B said as he exploded inside L with a jolt, hips stuttering and jaw slack as his head flew back.

Once he'd finished pumping himself inside L, he slid back onto the bed, breathing fast and heavy. L sat and turned to him, feeling the come seep out of him. “I need a shower. And I guess I need to change the bedding too.”

B smiled, a quiet laugh escaping him, “It wasn’t too much, was it?”

“No, I liked it.”

B pulled him into his chest and kissed him, the slightest taste of come still lingering there. “I think the world of you. If it's ever too much, tell me.”

“I will. Would you like to join me in the shower?”

How could he turn that down? “Sounds hot.” He followed L into the bathroom, unable to help himself when it came to slapping that white ass bright red. L jumped and yelped and offered a devilish stare. The shower would provide a wonderfully hot and steamy place to make out, their tired bodies perfectly ready for bed afterwards.

Snuggling down on clean sheets, B wrapped his arms around L. They'd only been seeing each other a few months, but he was really falling for the detective. He wanted to tell him he loved him, whisper it in his ear. He didn't, however. Instead he held back, unsure, letting sleep take over instead.

Chapter Text

L's cell phone woke him a little after midnight from a dead sleep. B grumbled as L answered, “Hello? Yes. Oh, no. I'm sorry. I'm on my way.”  

“What is it?” A tired sounding B mumbled.  

“Nate woke up from a night terror and won't calm down. I'm going to pick him up.”  

“Want me to come with you?” B asked as he watched L get up and pull on his clothes.  

“Nah. Go back to sleep.” L leaned in for a kiss, “I'll be back soon.”  

“Mmm, ok. I'll be here waiting for you.”  

With a satisfied smile, L made his way out. He couldn't even be mad. Nate made it almost all night and L got laid for the first time in over a year. He apologized profusely but Maya was understanding. Nate settled down as soon as he saw L and fell asleep on the ride home. That made it easy for L to carry him in and put him in his own bed. Of course, he'd find the little stinker curled up next to him in the morning. 

The three of them spent all day Sunday together, B winning Nate over with cotton candy and ice cream. They went to a petting zoo, where L and B laughed at Nate as he ran from the goats in utter terror. He wouldn't ride the pony either, and the dogs doing Frisbee catching demonstrations traumatized him. “I guess she's not really an animal lover,” L said, carrying his passed out toddler on his shoulder. Nate still had sticky sweet bits of cotton candy on his sweet face. B was quickly growing quite fond of the quiet child.  

“L, have you thought that maybe he doesn't speak much because he doesn't hear well?”  

L hadn't thought of that. He'd been checked as a baby, but maybe something happened or didn't develop right. “He has a check up tomorrow, I'll ask the doctor. That's a really good point and could be why the things he does say sound funny.”  

“Won't hurt to ask,” B said, ruffling the kids fluffy white hair. B wondered where that came from as well. As far as he knew, Rayna had dark hair as well.  

The boys slept soundly Sunday night after their adventure, B returning home to tend to his house plants. Nate’s check up was first thing in the morning, and neither one of them were morning people. As L hit his alarm clock, he wondered why he didn't schedule an afternoon appointment.  

Nate fell back asleep in his car seat on the ride to the doctor’s office. L stopped for a coffee along the way, envious of his sons ability to sleep anywhere. Once they arrived, Nate woke up and came to life, playing happily with the toys in the waiting room.   

When they were finally called back, L voiced his concerns about his son to the nurse, who took notes. Nate cried a little when she went to take his temperature in his ear. L let her do it to him first to prove it didn't hurt. With promises of lollipops and stickers, Near let her take his temperature. L threw his hands in the air and cheered, Nate laughing at his triumph.  

They waited patiently for the doctor, both sitting side by side on the bed with the paper sheet across it. “You’re doing great, little man,” L said, “Maybe we can get ice cream after this.”  

Nate just smiled at him and now that L thought about it, Nate often did that when L whispered or spoke in a low tone. It made him wonder if B was right and Nate couldn't hear him after all.   

A knock on the door followed by the doctor entering caught L's attention. “Good morning! I'm Dr. Kodak. How are you two?”  

“Good. Just here for his annual and I have a question about his hearing. He still isn't saying much, and what he does say he often mispronounces,” L explained, “Could he be having trouble hearing?”  

Dr. Kodak smiled and nodded, listening intently. She was blond and pet and younger than L thought a doctor would be. “He could certainly have some hearing impairment or even a processing problem. We can do a basic screening, but I'll refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.”  

“Ok, great,” L smiled.  

Dr. Kodak flashed a light in his ears then had him open his mouth and stick out his tongue, which Nate thought was great fun. “ Funny,” she said as she sat back at the computer, “His chart doesn't list his albinism diagnosis.”  

“His what?”  

Albinism.”  

“He doesn't have albinism,” L said, looking rather confused.  

We can do a genetic test to confirm, but Mr. Lawliet your son most certainly has a form of albinism. His eyes don't present like a typical albino, but I still recommend getting him checked by an optometrist. Often eye problems accompany it.”  

This was news to L. His son was rarely sick but they'd been coming for yearly check ups since he was born. How had nobody diagnosed him sooner? “How can this be? No other doctor ever said anything about it.”  

She sighed, “Well, that's a shame because it can cause problems. I'm sorry for the incompetence you've been dealing with. Would you like to do a test?”  

“No, it's not necessary. Unless you think it is.”  

She shook her head. “No. No matter what variation he has, treatment is the same. Lots of sunscreen when going outside and regular vision screenings.”  

“Thank you, doctor,” L said. Dr. Kodak had them stay in the room as she excused herself. A nurse would bring in the hearing test. If Nate failed it, he would need to see a specialist.  

L was a bit beside himself. His son was albino? He couldn't wrap his head around it. Not that it mattered. Nate was still his perfect, adorable little boy. Nothing could ever change that.   

The nurse walked in with head phones , a toy car, and a little box . She explained that different sounds would play and Nate had to move the car when he heard a sound. Nate grinned, excited to play with the toy car. L watched as the nurse made notes and Nate pushed the car a few times. Once it was over, she collected the head phones , toy, and box. “Well, how did he do?”  

She smiled, “He missed a few. But because of his age, he simply might have gotten distracted. The doctor will refer you to an excellent pediatric specialist. They're the best.”  

Despite her attempts at being encouraging, L felt dismayed. It was blow after blow at this appointment. He thanked her and held Nate's hand as they walked out. Today he found out his son was a hearing impaired albino who might also have eye trouble. Why did this make him feel like a shit father? He texted B for comfort and immediately got it.  

This is good news, L. You can do something about hearing loss and eye issues. It would be worse not knowing. You're a great dad. Stop doubting yourself.  

L loved that man. He could turn any bad situation around. With new resolve, L took Nate to get ice cream and made calls to book appointments for Nate as they ate. L looked at his son and thought he'd be rather cute with glasses. Even if he needed a hearing aid or something, it wouldn't be so bad. They'd deal with it.  

L decided to text B back. We're going to England to visit my dad this Summer. Why don't you come?  

B: Wow. Meeting your dad already?   

L: Oh stop. But yes you’d meet him because we're staying at his Manor.  

B: Manor?   

L: Yes. Unlike me, the man knows how to make money.  

B: You should take some tips from him.  

L: You’re an ass. I'm uninviting you. 😉  

B: Too late, I'm committed now. Even got him a present.  

L: You're ridiculous 😂  

L was honestly excited for his father to meet B. His father knew L wasn't particular about gender when it came to romance, so bringing home a man shouldn't bother him. He’d be proud that L was moving on, getting better. B did a lot to help him through his loss of Rayna. Probably more than he even realized.  

 

Chapter Text

“Well, everything seems to be working like it should,” the specialist said as he handed Nate a green lollipop for being so well behaved during his tests. “The only thing left to consider is auditory processing, but he's too young to have that tested yet. When he's 7, if he's still having these issues, get him tested.”  

“Thank you doctor,” it was good news but L hated the thought of having to wait four years before knowing what was wrong or being able to do something about it. At least the optometrist said Nate's vision was perfect. Something had gone right for a change. “Come on buddy. Let's go home and pack. We're gonna visit Grandpa Watari in England! You'll get to see where I grew up!”  

Nate clapped his hands and smiled around his sucker. L lifted him from the exam table and carried him out of the office. They would be leaving for England in the morning, and L was really looking forward to the trip. It would be the first time he travelled with B, and they'd be taking a step forward in their relationship by meeting his family. 

B greeted him with a kiss and a candy bar for both him and Near. “You sure know the way to our hearts,” L smiled. B made it easy to love him, and L found himself falling for him more every day. He was beautiful, kind, treated both him and his son well, made great money in sales, and was an excellent lay. L couldn't really ask for more.  

The flight was long and boring, but Near was excellent for it. B, not so much. L had to swat his hands away multiple times and insist he wasn't interested in joining the 'mile high club’ nearly the entire trip. L promised him a blow job in their room if he behaved himself, but not even that worked. “Fine,” L conceded with a whisper as he let down his tray to cover his lap. B's hand found its way to his flaccid cock and began raising it from the dead. Despite trying desperately to keep his composure, L squirmed and his face twisted. He decided the only way to get through this was to get B back, so he lowered B's tray and undid his pants. B was already pretty hard, so half the work was already done for L.    

“Mmm, you dirty boy,” B whispered in L's ear.   

L didn't say anything for fear he'd be far too loud. He panted and closed his eyes as he felt his stomach knot. Quite conveniently, the buckle seatbelts sign came on and a female voice announced, “Please put your trays in the upright position.” 

L and B exchanged wide eyed glances. “ We need to hurry up and finish!” L whispered urgently. They began jerking each other off as fast as they could, losing composure to the point they were almost certain their neighbors could tell what was going on.  

They both came within seconds of each other, moments before the flight attendant made her way to their seats to check that everything was alright. They took some leftover napkins from lunch and wiped up their mess and stuffed themselves back in their pants just in time for the flight attendant to stop and say, “Trays up, please. We’ll be landing soon.”  

“Oh, right. Yes, sorry.” L nodded and pushed his tray up, a glob of come stuck to the bottom of it. B snickered as he quickly wiped it away. Thankfully the flight attendant had already moved on.  

Once in the airport, L was not in the mood for anymore shenanigans. “We almost got caught!”  

Half the fun, if you ask me.”  

“You're insane,” L smiled. He wouldn't tell B this, but it really was great fun.  

Quillish had sent a car for them and they were grateful they didn't have to drive there 45 minutes to the manor themselves. The trip had been quite exhausting so far and L fell asleep almost as soon as they left airport grounds.  Near fell asleep as well, which left a wide awake B sitting between them. He smiled. This was his little family, and when the time was right, he was going to ask L to move in with him.  

***  

Meeting the old man was pretty much everything B expected it to be. He was poised, regal, stuffy. The only surprise was how he didn’t bat an eye regarding his son being in a homosexual relationship. The last time L was in a serious relationship it was with a woman, and they were married with a child. After dinner, they were unpacking in their room and B just had to know, “So, you and your dad are close, huh?”  

“Yeah, we’re pretty close. Why?” L asked as he folded shirts and put them in the drawers.  

“I don’t know, he just seems really cool with you bringing home another dude.”  

L laughed, “Well, I, uh... brought home lots of different people when I was a teenager. I went through kind of a slutty phase starting my junior year in high school through college. The old man has seen a lot.”  

B nodded as he listened, “I see. So what’s your number?”  

“My number?”  

“Yeah, you know. How many people have you slept with?”  

L swatted at him, “I am not telling you that!”  

B pulled him into a hug and kissed him sweetly, “What if I promise you a blow job?”  

L pressed his thumb to his bottom lip and smiled coyly, “Well, since you put it that way...over 100...”  

“Holy shit, L!” B was genuinely surprised. “Kind of a slutty phase?”  

“Don’t shame me!”  

B laughed, kissing L again, “I’m not shaming you. Although I have to admit, my number is far lower than yours.”    

“Oh yeah, what’s your number?”  

“Probably about half that.” B shrugged and walked him to the bed, “Guess I owe you a blow job, babe.”