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 Boys Don't Cry

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Light has cried, of course. He cried fairly often, when he was a child. He started resisting the tears sooner than most, naturally – they were juvenile and undignified, a concept he grasped before he knew the words, and they made him feel weak and ineffective. So, past about kindergarten, tears rarely made an appearance in his life. Not when he fell from the top of the jungle gym once, when he wanted to see what the entire schoolyard looked like from above, and broke his collarbone. Not in fifth grade, when a student behind him copied the final he'd been studying for all year, and both their grades were entered as zeroes.

Of course, as an adult, he's cried at times. There are points in every life when tears are a sign of nothing but humanity. When L died in his arms, he sobbed and raged at Kira. When his own father died in front of him, he did the same. Nobody would think less of him for it.

Kira, though? Kira doesn't cry. Tears might sometimes indicate humanity, not weakness, but Kira isn't human, so Kira doesn't cry. Kira may smile at a victory, or curse at a defeat, but cry? No.

L has been dead for almost seven months now, and Light's errand today took him past the graveyard, and without thinking about it, he steps in to look at his old enemy's burial marker.

This is the first time it reaches him, on more than an intellectual level, that L is really gone. He always thought of this as a victory, not a killing. Always thought of it with the satisfaction of a job well done: I won and L lost. Not L is gone. But the latter is undeniable. The battle of wits is over. The flash of fear and panic and determination is gone; the full-out searching and straining for new ideas won't be necessary. He will never have to clench his fists and avoid punching the smug bastard again, will never glare at a nauseatingly saccharine pile as L devours it, will never have his hand dragged sideways across the keyboard because the other man forgot he'd chained someone to him, will never wake in the middle of the night to discover every scrap of fabric on the bed is currently covering the shaggy-haired detective. The man is just plain really gone.

It's a bitterly windy day, he notes distantly, and swipes briefly at his eyes, which are stinging from the dust. It's been bothering him since he left headquarters.


The detective does his best to act inscrutable. In the normal course of things, when the supernatural is not invading on his life, the only way to tell whether something bothers him is to check his sweet intake. None of the task force members seem to have noticed that indicator yet, and he is not sure whether he should disdain them for not noticing or admire them for focusing on the goal. No matter how much that goal is frustrating him, or how far out of reach a solution seems, he doesn't let it show.

Late at night, when Light has almost passed out on the keyboard next to him and L concedes to the need for sleep, if the day has been particularly frustrating he remembers his first murder case. Back then his voice cracked more often than not, so he made Watari speak for him, and back then he agonized over every single victim. On that case, after the fifth victim he couldn't save, he stood up without a word and left the computer. When Watari found him, he'd been curled up by the window sobbing like… well, like a child, and Watari hadn't said a word, just pulled him into his lap and rocked him until he calmed down. L wonders if he's cried since then, but doesn't particularly care to remember.

He thinks this is the most he's ever been frustrated by a case since that one. Sometimes, when he's sugar-deprived and on the edge of sleep, he wishes Light were not Kira, so he could let his frustration slip. He wonders what a normal, well-adjusted boy would do if he saw one of his peers crying. Pat him awkwardly on the shoulder or something, perhaps. Well, it is irrelevant, because Light is Kira – one of the Kiras, at least – and L isn't going to show that kind of vulnerability in front of him.


Watari is nothing if not dignified. He tries to act the perfect elderly gentleman – calm, unflappable, always competent. This isn't for his own sake, whatever people believe. It isn't for the sake of his family, or of the dignity of the law, or even for L's sake.

He does his best to behave calmly for the benefit of L Lawliet, the little boy who he took care of for a while and then destroyed to create the L he knows today. He does his best to stay calm always because underneath everything, Lawliet is not quite gone, and while L today is more cynical, to that boy he is still the parent who was always in control. The last thing he wants is to put any stress on his creation's few weak points, so he does his best to avoid letting himself break down.

He feels Kira get to him late one night, and as he struggles for the button he realizes he is crying – but, again, not for himself. The detective will act like it doesn't matter, but L will be alone.

He wishes, irrationally, he could see that boy again. He also realizes that illogically, that that is how he has always thought of him.


Sachiko holds him, rubs his back comfortingly while silently he weeps into the pillow late at night, ashamed of himself. Ashamed of himself for crying, but also ashamed that any of this has happened to his family. Sayu is nervous sometimes, quieter than normal; the only mercy Soichiro has is that he doesn't know what will come to her. Sachiko has aged, she looks tired, and he is so, so sorry that she could lose so much so easily. And Light… Light is not even out of college and he is suspected of atrocities, imprisoned, his life crumbling to pieces. His poor, brilliant son. Light is in way over his head now, and lost, and Soichiro thinks it would be worth a lifetime without the police work that has meant so much to him, if only he could have given his son a halfway normal life.


It's too much for a guy to take in one day. Just too much. One of the orphanage girls interrupts his gaming to explain to him. Normally he'd be pissed – he'd almost beaten that boss – but then she tells him what she came to say.

L, their idol, the man they all wanted to be someday, he's dead.

And Mello, his friend, the one he wanted to help be L, he's gone. He left. Without a single damn word.

He snaps at the girl, voice humiliatingly thin, until she leaves, and then he pulls his knees up to his face and rests his head on them, and lets the tears soak the badly animated explosion under his face. He wishes Mello had told him himself, he wishes he'd known earlier. He'd have gone with him – he doesn't really want to be alone, and he doesn't want Mello to be alone either. He's a bastard, but it won't be the same without him, and without Matt, the other boy will blow himself up or dive into something he can't handle, out there on his own. Well, maybe that won't happen, but it might, and Matt wants to be there with him, to be useful. It seems unfair, really – he was never that ambitious, never liked the idea of being at the top; he was always happy enough to be a notch below Mello, and help him out. In the world of Wammy's, wanting to be someone's supporter is very little to ask and a great deal to offer, and as he cries, he wonders why Mello couldn't take him.

Later he'll discover Mello did at least give him a note to say goodbye, and it will take a supreme effort of will to stop that from getting him going again. Now, though, he just cries, for a lost idol, a tarnished pedestal, and a friend who has given up on too much.


Every other miscalculation, every other loss, has made him throw things at the wall, or scream, or grit his teeth and savage chocolate.

So he doesn't know whether it's that this was one defeat too many, or that this wasn't a defeat from any stroke of genius from his enemies but a simple miscalculation on his own part, or maybe it's what he's lost – who he's lost. But this time, as he stares at the thin, crumpled thing on the screen that used to be Matt, all he feels is emptiness. Except, paradoxically, he's choking on guilt, and he feels weak, and fragile. All he can do is whisper to his only friend, to the one bastard who's stuck with him all the way since they both were…God, he doesn't even know how young they were. Since Mello honestly believed that he would be good enough that when he died he'd be picked up by God into a Heaven filled with clouds. That was when they started being friends, and no matter what he got himself into, Matt has backed him up ever since, and every single time they separated it's been Mello who walked away.

Now Matt is gone, and Mello realizes his eyes are burning up and damp at the same time, which feels like it should be some kind of contradiction. He swipes at them and discovers leather isn't really absorbent, which of course he knew already, and hunts around with one hand for something he can wipe his face on on. All he can say is, "Matt… I'm sorry."
He's lost the ability to think of 'god' as anything but a crazed killer, but he hopes faintly that there is a real God out there who is in charge of an actual afterlife, not just sending people into it. He hopes that Matt is somewhere peaceful, or if he isn't, that Mello will be able to see him again once he dies. Because Mello knows damn well that he isn't going to live much longer. He thinks he'd like to thank his comrade for helping all this time.

It's funny, in a way, he thinks as he gives up and wipes his eyes on the back of his hand. He's never been the kind of person he thought someone might die for.


Near has never been one for sentiment. It is a useless waste of time and effort, and it could have a debilitating effect. The closest he allows himself to sentiment is his toys, which help him think. They also have a soothing effect, which is also logical if you apply a basic understanding of the human psyche, since they subconsciously trigger memories of a more peaceful point in his life, when he was a child. He exploits this with the toys' presence to reduce stress and increase his effectiveness. It is logical. Everything he does is logical.

So he cannot explain why, exactly, it is so important to him to hold a memorial service for Mello.

It is foolish. It is a waste of time, effort and expense. Mello was a bad man in the more recent part of his life, although it cannot be denied that his end was a benefit to the world for more reasons than his removal, and even if he had been a great and noble man during his existence, all that remains now are the charred ashes of a corpse, which surely have no bearing on anything.

But Near knows Mello, being emotional and irrational, would not have seen it that way. He knows Mello does not think like that. He knows that, if Mello's consciousness somehow remained, he would not appreciate having no reminder of his presence left on earth. He also knows Mello did indeed believe that death is not the end. Near does not understand this perspective, but he feels that out of respect for Mello's memory, something ought to be done. After all, he did die doing Near and the world a kindness.

So Mello, and Matt, will have a memorial service. It is not an ostentatious event, but Near takes time to return to Wammy's while it is being held. A surprising number of the Wammy's children who remember the dead two choose to attend, shrouded in whatever dark clothes they have and carrying tattered flowers to set on the stones. Some of them are here for Matt, who was indeed well liked for being quiet, for causing no trouble, and for not gloating, but a surprising number seem to have attended for a bitter, temperamental boy who always smelled like chocolate. Near wonders if, perhaps, Mello had a side he never knew about. It is not impossible that Mello was different, kinder, when he was off duty, when he wasn't consumed with being the most important. It irks Near slightly that he can never know this.
The others are gone before he is done thinking, and Near nods to Roger to leave him alone for a moment. He kneels by the stone. Near is not and never has been given to sentiment or to idle musings, but he thinks that he would have liked to have been friends with Mello. Not many people from Wammy's House have friends. He thinks that Matt and Mello were friends, and he realizes he is jealous that they at least had that much in their lives.

It seems unfair to him, the fate of these two. It is unfair that they had to die so young. It is unfair that they had to die for him to catch Kira. It is unfair that Kira would never feel sorry for what he did. It is unfair that Mello wasted his life trying to be better than someone else, instead of using his own formidable intelligence for his own goals. It is very unfair that he never had the chance to grow any wiser. It is very, very unfair that so many lives had to be wasted this way.

Near settles by the grave and digs into his pockets, fishing through the toys he'd left in their depths. Matt was never really interested in toys that had no relation to a video game, and Mello was never particularly fond of toys in general, but it is all Near has to leave them at the moment. He sets a small figure with a sword on Matt's grave, because a number of Matt's games involved people with swords, and after a moment of further thought he sets a small toy gun he was always rather fond of on top of Mello's headstone. He doesn't know what Mello would have done with it, but he thinks that it seems right to give Mello something that he, Near, treasures.

He notices a strange, unfamiliar discomfort around his eyes, and raising a finger to inspect this and see if he can alleviate it a bit, he discovers a faint dampness. He supposes that this must be what it is like to cry. Illogical, but for once he does not really mind.