Death Note/Hikaru no Go, Psychological Advantage

Title: Psychological Advantage [Raito, L]
Fandom: Death Note
Rating/Warnings: PG for games, both intentional and otherwise.
Summary: Raito just wants to play on a damn board for once.
AN: Mousapelli’s Birthday Theme 17: Horizontal Tsuke

Psychological Advantage

“Oooh, what’s that?” Misa coos when Raito steps off the elevator with a large package in his hands.

“A goban,” he reports tersely, hunting around quickly for a spot to set the thing down, because it’s heavy as fuck and he’s just banged his elbow hard on the doorway.

“Do you play, Yagami-kun?” L inquires from the desk, then swivels his chair around to watch Raito with large eyes, chewing on the pad of his thumb.

“Yes.” Raito’s lips pull tight in something that might look like a smile if you didn’t know that he’s been playing L at Netgo for the last two and a half weeks, and has a steadily rising number of defeats to his name.

After much thought, he’d decided that the problem was the lack of a material field for Raito to consider. Without the stones slipping through the fingers and the satisfying clack of territory won, Go is an entirely different game.

Also, sitting seiza in a rolling chair is totally impossible, unless you are a complete freak.

“Want to play, then?” L asks, legs tucked under himself and hands on his knees.

L watches from his chair while Raito and Misa pull the heavy board and the gokes out of the box and set them up in an area of the floor they’ve cleared of investigation detritus. Misa giggles as she shifts fingers through the smooth stones and lets them fall back again like soft rain.

“So pretty!” she squeals. “Will Raito teach Misa to play too?”

“It involves a lot of strategy, Misa,” Raito says distractedly as he rubs at a scuff on the side of his board.

“Well, that’s no fun!” Misa pouts. “Pretty things shouldn’t make Misa think too hard.”

“How nice that we agree!” L smiles for Misa, but his eyes flicker towards Raito, deep and amused. Raito rolls his eyes and asks if L wants to nigiri.

“I will just take black, if Yagami-kun doesn’t mind,” L says, sliding from his chair down to the floor and settling in a sort of hunch across the goban from Raito.

Since he’s done the same thing online for every game they’ve played, Raito expects nothing less, and nods.

L’s opening moves are a strange and unreadable scatter, but Raito knows from the experience of weeks that the unorthodox joseki and seemingly poorly thought out stone placement often reveals a deeper brilliance much further into the game. He has to keep telling himself to concentrate, especially when the way L plucks stones from his ke between his thumb and forefinger torments Raito’s soul.

An hour or so into the game, Ryuuk drifts over to hover at Raito’s shoulder and examine the board.

“Ooh,” he croons, making that weird rattling noise that still makes the hair on the back of Raito’s neck rise, even after all this time. “Been a while since I’ve seen that pattern!”

Raito’s brow furrows in irritation, because he’s studied his fair share of joseki, and if L is making any sort of pattern, it might be a lop-sided smiley face. Or a kitty. Or something. Raito’s brow furrows a little more when Ryuuk hangs around, instead of drifting right back off like he usually does when he finds Raito playing Go.

“Ryuzaki’s stones look like a kitty!” Misa chirps, looking up from the magazine’s she’s been reading, and Raito has to put his fingertips to his forehead for a minute.

Although he can’t tell who is winning for the entirety of the midgame, Raito attacks L’s stones fiercely, choosing to rely on a strategy of blitzkrieg invasion rather than to try and shore up his own forts. He goes into the endgame feeling more confident than he has in any of their previous games, and thinks he might finally have got a lock on L’s slippery strategies as formations and patterns that are half-familiar bubble up and flow into others.

Ryuuk cackles to himself as the last stones are played, and now Raito is positive he’ll come out ahead, but appreciates why L won’t add a resignation to his untarnished record.

“Ah!” L ripples his torso to crack his spine when he finally passes. “You are an excellent player, Raito-kun. It’s been a while since I played, so I’m afraid I was a bit rusty.”

Raito’s mouth opens a little bit as L separates out the black stones with abrupt and efficient twists of his fingers, flipping them back into the goke he’s cradling in his palm, and he continues watching as L snags the back of his chair and rolls it back towards the desk.

“Perhaps I should practice before our next match?” L muses as if to himself as he drops back into his chair. Raito narrows his eyes and scoops his stones away hastily, then hops to his feet and approaches the desk, where his and L’s laptops are side by side. “Do you know of any good internet Go sites, Raito-kun?”

Raito’s mouth works wordlessly for a second as L stares up at him, eyebrow raised in genuine question, and then he twists his head to peer at his own computer, which is still logged onto Netgo from earlier this morning.

Ryuuk peers over his shoulder, making the rattling noise again as they both watch Sai sign on with a bleep. A message pops up on Raito’s screen with another electronic noise which reads, “Ready to have your ass kicked again, KiraHunter?”

“Wait,” Raito protests, whipping his head back to where L is sitting with his hands in his lap and flinging an accusing finger towards his computer, “then who the hell is that?!”

“How should I know, Raito-kun?” L asks, and Ryuuk lets out a whoop right in Raito’s ear.

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