Because everybody needs affection. Wammy's children reflect on this matter.
I don't own Death Note, or any of its characters. They belong to the fantastic and amazing Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. I'm not making any profit from this. I only wrote this for fun.
The following chapters will contain spoilers till the end of Death Note. If you haven't read/watched it all, some things might not be easy to understand.
Well my initial idea was to write a series of one-shots revolving around the stories and lives of L, Near, Mello, and Matt, but L's chapter turned out to be too long so I had to split it in two. I don't know if I'll have that situation with the rest of the characters. We'll have to wait and see. Also, this is my first DN fic ever, so reviews would be very helpful for upcoming chapters and stories.
Now, read on and hopefully enjoy :)
Chapter 1: Loneliness.
The sound of drops hitting the asphalt in that cloudy evening was starting to become an annoyance. It did nothing but splash water and make that irritating sound. The cars passing in front of his eyes were driving almost in slow motion, and so were the shadows of people that came across his vision. Eight year-old L Lawliet sat in the cold sidewalk, hugging his knees as he sheltered himself from the storm, sitting between dirty, old trash cans.
She hadn't returned…
But she had promised…
He watched every single person walking in front of him, with a glimpse of hope in his eyes, but no one turned to look back at him. Not that he cared… There was only one person that he wanted to be seen by, and she hadn't returned in, well, hours…
What in the world could have happened to her? Did she die? Did she get lost? Did she just lie to him, telling him to stay right there, that she'd be back soon, but she actually wouldn't? Logic was starting to beat hope… And he concluded that there was a 60% chance that she wouldn't return…
He decided to wait for another while. In that time, he would think of what to do if she actually didn't return. He would have to survive. He just had to. Right? Oh, this was one of those situations when trying was too hard, and it was better if he just gave up… But he couldn't afford that. He just couldn't. His mother had brought him to this world in absolute poverty, and yet she had always found a way to keep him healthy and well-fed. She always kept him warm with her body, and she kissed his forehead every night before he went to sleep. She had done everything humanly possible to keep him alive, so the least he could do was preserve his existence for at least a few more days.
He tried to change to a more comfortable position, but realized he felt fine just like that. He continued to stare at the events going in front of him: people walking, talking, smoking, waiting for the bus… The whole world was moving while he was just frozen there. And it hurt. It hurt to be the only one that wasn't truly living. It hurt being the only one that had no one to talk to, the only one that had no home to return to… And the only one waiting for someone that would never return.
L found himself sobbing like a little kid. Well, he was entitled to it, he was a little kid. His mother had either died or abandoned him. Either way, she would never return, and that made him feel lonelier than any person should ever be. He wiped the tears that started to come and mentally repeated to himself that he had to stay alive… for her. Because if she had died, it probably happened while she was looking for food, and if she had left him, he was pretty sure it was with the best intention. She had probably done so, so he had a chance to be picked by a social worker or someone that would take him to an orphanage where he would always have food and a bed.
His mother truly loved him. And he felt lucky to have met her.
Now he had to find a way to survive on his own, he needed to think of a way. While he was lost in his thoughts, wondering if there was anything he could do besides stealing food or eating from the garbage, he heard voices someplace near him.
He focused his attention on the two figures in front of him, as one of them approached him and bent right in front of him.
"Hi." The person said, a woman about 55 years old, maybe more, wearing clothes appropriate for the rain, with blonde hair and piercing green eyes, who didn't stop smiling for a while.
"Hi." L responded briefly in a soft, low voice. He was uncertain of what the woman's intentions were, approaching him so suddenly.
"What's your name, honey?" She asked him, still smiling. He thought for a moment and then made an L using his thumb and index finger, and showed it to her. L. That was his name, that's how his mother called him, while he, well, he simply called her 'mum'. Little did he know at that time how important a name was, how much relevance it would have in the rest of his life.
"L? That's your name?" He nodded. "I see. My name is Penny."
"Darling, we should head home now." The other person called. Now L could clearly see him. He was a man about the same age of the woman, with a rather notorious moustache that distracted attention from the rest of his features. His clothes matched the woman's, and he was holding an umbrella.
"Wait a second, L, I'll be right back." She got up and then walked a few steps to meet the man, presumably her husband.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm talking to the child. See? I told you there was a child between the trash cans."
"I already saw that, but I don't see what the point of talking to him is."
"What do you mean by that? That boy obviously has no relatives, and he's out in this cold night, barefoot, wearing those big clothes that I'm quite sure were not bought especially for him."
"I'm aware of that, but it's not like he's the only child in this situation. There are hundreds of children living in the streets all around London, and the world in general."
"And doesn't it break your heart?" She said in a sort of moan, like the words were causing her pain. She turned to look at L again and realized he was looking right at them, and had probably heard everything as well. And in fact, he did.
"Penny, don't start with that again… You just can't pretend that we start taking custody of every poor child of the world, it's simply humanly impossible."
"Yes, it is, but can't we just start with one?"
"Are you suggesting that we take this boy to our house?!"
"Just for this night. We'll bring him back tomorrow."
"Penelope, are you out of your mind? We have no idea where this child came from. What if he has a family that will come claim him later?"
"Just look at him, Quillsh. Does he look like he has a family that will claim him?" They both turned to look at L, and he felt overwhelmed and confused, so he just laid his head in this hands that were above his knees. What were these people talking about? Taking him to a house and then returning him a day later? Like he was some sort of dog? Well, he had to admit, he wasn't too different from a dog now…
The man sighed. "Well, if he doesn't have a family, then what will we do tomorrow? Who will we hand him to?"
"We will find a nice orphanage, or someone. We'll figure it out tomorrow." She had determination in her voice. She would not give in so easily. The man sighed again and then looked at L one more time.
She had convinced him.
L felt as two pairs of footsteps approached him this time. He looked up to meet Penny's smiley face and Quillsh looking with a certain concern.
"L, how about you come to our house tonight? You'll have dinner and a bath, and if you want, you can spend the night at our guestroom." Penny invited him. He was surprised at how straight-forward she was, how she had told him the truth, not offering him anything out of the ordinary things one would offer to a guest. His mother had instructed him not to trust anyone, but in his situation, he had to decide between staying among the trash cans and dying, or going away with strangers and see what tomorrow would bring.
He decided that he had more chances of surviving with the latter, so he simply nodded and looked at Penny.
"Marvellous! I will prepare some delicious dinner as soon as we get there." She said offering him her hand for him to stand up. He hesitantly took it and got up on his legs. He had forgotten when was the last time he had been standing up, he was sitting there for ages…
Penny kept holding his hand as they started walking, not minding at all the way he hunched his back and how he looked around with his enormous, curious, pure black eyes. Quillsh, on the other hand, seemed very surprised to see this behaviour, and kept observing him closely, as he covered them, as well as himself, with the dark blue umbrella.
After walking a few blocks, they arrived at some big house, with a little garden on the front and fancy big doors. Quillsh opened the door and allowed his wife come in with the barefoot child. As soon as he stepped into the place, his curious big eyes scanned every detail around him. He was amazed. So this was how a real house looked like in the inside.
"Make yourself at home." Quillsh said. "I'll bring you some clean towels."
The boy's hair was still dripping wet from the rain, and he had started to bite his thumb as he kept observing every detail.
"You wait for the towels here and I'll start making dinner. You can accompany me after you're finished if you want." Penny said smiling at him again, and then left for the kitchen.
Quillsh was back with the towels soon and handed them to L, who started to put them around his body. The little hunchbacked form wrapped with blankets too big for him looked simply adorable, in an odd way.
"That's not how it's done." Quillsh couldn't help to laugh a little. He then proceeded to wipe L's hair and then took the wet towels with him. "Unfortunately we have no children's clothes to offer you, but we can quickly wash and dry the ones you're wearing while you take your bath."
Not waiting for L's response, he left to leave the wet towels somewhere. L looked in his direction and thought about those last words. 'We have no children's clothes.' They had no children. Probably never had children before. After he was done looking around, he walked into the kitchen to find Penny preparing something.
As soon as she heard him come in, she turned around and saw him sitting on the floor with his knees against his chest again, biting his thumb with an excited look in his eyes. He was looking forward to eat. The poor child.
"Are you hungry, sweetie?" It was a stupid question with an obvious answer. He nodded again. He wasn't very talkative, was he? She then opened the fridge and took out a big piece of apple pie. "Well, dinner will take a while, so I guess you can eat this while you wait."
She served him a big piece on a plate, along with a fork, and gave it to him. His mother would have never let him take it. It could be poisoned. He might die. But he didn't see any reason why they would want to kill him… Of course, humans had so many motives to do so many things… But well, he just really wanted the pie, and at the end of the day he was just a hungry child. If they wanted to kill him, well, he would give them that satisfaction, but at least he'd be satisfied too.
He took the plate and started devouring the pie quickly. Damn it was delicious. It tasted like comfort, like happiness, like heaven. It was cold but it felt so warm. It was juicy and endless. It couldn't compare to anything else. He finished it in less than a second, and then he licked his fingers. Penny just stared at him and laughed a little.
"You were really hungry. I hope you have saved room."
"I have." He said. "Is there more?"
Penny laughed out loud. "No, honey, I meant you should save room for dinner, hm? Children shouldn't eat sweets until they've finished their meal, but I made an exception here. Just a little exception, alright?"
"I see… Thank you."
How incredibly sweet those two words were. What a special child was that L.
"Although… Now that I think about it…" She opened the fridge again and took out some fruits jelly. She served a little in a cup with a spoon and gave it to L. He gladly took it and started eating it again. What a hungry child. The poor baby.
She continued preparing dinner as the kid enjoyed his sweet delight. Quillsh entered the kitchen a few moments later. He saw his wife busy with dinner and the child sitting on the floor devouring some sweet substance. It was such a perfect image that it hurt.
How they had dreamed of having a family for years, but it turned out impossible since Penny was sterile. She had always remained optimistic though and focused her love and attention on plants and small animals, but she would just go so excited when seeing a baby or a little child. Now it was too late for them. They would never have any children, so he tried to stay away from the pain and tried not to care about kids, but she was always first on watching news about children dying, or wanting to save them all. It was unfair that while they couldn't have any, people who had them just gave up on them.
She had wanted to adopt, but he refused. He had said that it was too difficult, that he would feel like a hypocrite if he looked at a child in the eyes and told him he was his father. She had explained to him that it wasn't like that, but he was stubborn. For him it was too painful to raise a child that didn't come from his beloved one, that didn't grow inside of her, that didn't have her genes. It was selfish, and old-fashioned, and very much like him.
And now he had let her win. He had let her take home a child that she found on the streets, and feed him and have him share with them for one night. But now he was scared. He was scared that they wouldn't be able to return him the next day, that they didn't have the heart to, and that they'd have to raise a child at this age.
He shouldn't have let her win.
Or maybe he should, but twenty years ago.
"Boy…" He called to the figure on the floor.
"His name is L." Penny corrected him, not taking her eyes away from her food preparation process.
"L? L what?" He asked confused. L just continued to lick his fingers after finishing the jelly.
"Just L." Penny stated. Quillsh concluded that it was a little game that children had these days, or something along those lines. The thing was, the boy refused to reveal his name for some reason. But as far as L knew, that was who he was. He was L. And that was all he needed to know.
"Alright. L… I've already prepared the bath for you. You should take it while my wife finishes making dinner."
When L finished his dessert, he stood up, gave Penny the cup, and then walked to Quillsh, looking up at him from his hunchbacked position.
"Follow me." Quillsh said, guiding the boy to the bathroom. What a creepy, yet lovely child. That L was one special creature. He left L in front of the bathroom, gave him a towel and instructed him how to drain the water out of the bathtub when he was finished. Then he left and L closed the door.
A bath… how nice. The water was warm and clean and relaxing. He washed away the dirt from his body and his hair, and cleared his head. These two strangers had just decided to take custody of him for one night. With what purpose? What did they expect of him?
He felt a little unsure now, not knowing how to act in this situation. He knew he was nothing special, it was not like they had selected him for a given reason. He just happened to be around by the same time they were… But still, to receive all these benefits for nothing seemed a little suspicious.
Hmm… L stared at the walls around him while wondering what would happen now, and particularly, what would happen the next day. He couldn't tell, all that he could do was to wait. And it bothered him. People's actions weren't as predictable as they seemed.
When he had finished his bath, he drained the bathtub and put the towel around his body. He took his still dirty and wet clothes and dressed himself again. He remembered the day he had received them. Some priest had given them to his mother as a charity. He was 5 years old at the time and he looked even smaller in them. He wondered if he would ever fit in them, and if one day they would be too small for him. That would be ironic.
He looked at himself in the mirror next to the sink and stared at his own image. He didn't get the chance to look at himself too often, for he had no home and no mirrors. The only way he could do so was when he passed next to those big department stores' windows, but it was still a blurry image. Now he had a full-body view of himself. So this was how everyone else looked at him…
Penny was finally serving the dinner when little L walked to the dining room. He was wearing the same clothes and was still barefoot, but his hair was dripping water. He silently came in and stared at her, biting his thumb.
"Ah! Here you are! I was about to go get you here for dinner. How was the bath?" She excitedly asked the wet boy.
"It was nice." He answered. "Very relaxing."
"Oh, I'm glad!" She giggled. "Quillsh, dinner is served!"
Quillsh came into the room with his usual expressionless face. When he noticed the boy dripping water on the floor, he couldn't help but smile. He sat in his usual spot, right next to his wife, and motioned L to take a seat too. L wondered if more people lived there, for they had a table with about 6 places and only used two.
"Come here, sweetheart." Penny talked to the boy as she lifted him in her arms and placed him in the other spot where she had put the plate for him. "Have a nice dinner, my dear guest."
L had never experienced the ritual of having dinner. Usually he and his mother would just sit on the sidewalk and eat whatever piece of food they had been given, or had found. He had never had the chance to actually get prepared and dressed for dinner, he had never sat across his food and enjoy it with his eyes first. But he knew that it was what people did. His mother had told him about it. She had also promised him that one day they would come out of their misery and enjoy big dinners together…
She never returned. And now he would have dinner without her. No matter how big that dinner was, he couldn't share it with her…
"Is something wrong, L?" Quillsh asked him, interrupting his thoughts. L shook his head and just stared at his plate, sitting with his knees close to his chest, even on a chair.
"Maybe he doesn't like chicken?" Penny wondered out loud.
"He's a homeless child, how can he possibly reject any food?"
"Darling! That was so rude from you!"
"Nothing's wrong." L finally spoke in a low and monotone voice. He then proceeded to hold the fork with his thumb and index finger and stuck it in the piece of food. He did the same with the knife and then stared at the 'creation' in front of him. The couple exchanged looks as they observed the child's behaviour.
"Um… maybe I should help you cut it." Penny stood up from her place and proceeded to cut the chicken in many pieces in L's plate. "Like this."
When she finished her job, she went back to her seat. "Thank you." L said as he then took one piece with his hand and quickly put it in his mouth. The couple exchanged looks again. What a strange child L was. But he was cute nevertheless.
After everyone finished dinner, Penny picked up the plates and took them to the kitchen, to wash the dishes. Quillsh got up to go to the study room, but noticing that the boy was still sitting there at the table, with his knees to his chest and biting his thumb as he stared into nothingness, the man decided to invite him to go with him.
L thought about it for a few seconds. He had had a bath and dinner. Now he was invited to spend more time with these people. What exactly did they want from him? His mother always said that no one gives away free happiness. Every time somebody gave you something that you couldn't have, it was because they wanted you to give them something they couldn't have; and if you failed, they would feel betrayed. L never understood what it meant, but it made him nervous. He was nothing but an 8 year-old boy with a white sweater and a pair of blue jeans too big for him. How could he possibly reattribute what they had given him?
For now, he decided, it was better to do what they wanted him to. He jumped out of his chair and followed the grown man, and they both went to Quillsh's favourite room: one that had lamps in every corner, tons of books, tables, and all sorts of mechanical inventions. It was the room where he worked, where he had fun, where he spent most of his time. L was amazed at just how shiny and incredible everything was. He had never seen anything like that at all.
Quillsh couldn't help but smirk at L. He didn't know whether to laugh or to be a little frightened, so he settled with smirking. The little boy, still hunchbacked and barefoot, was staring at everything with his eyes open even wider than usual and his thumb in his mouth, which was half open. He looked like something indescribable. A little freak, that was the closest description he could make.
"So, L… Do you know how to read?" He asked bluntly. He didn't know where this child had come from, so anything was possible. He thought that by a simple question like this he might be able to make a conversation that would lead to finding out more about this strange, captivating child.
"I do." The boy answered, not taking his eyes away from all the amazing things that surrounded him.
"That's good. Reading is very important, and also entertaining." But L wasn't interested in the reading talk, he was staring at something far more intriguing for him, some sort of small table with little pieces of something on it, and two chairs.
"Ah, do you like my chess table?" He asked him as he got close to his favourite game. "You can come and take a good look at it if you want."
L walked to the table and stared at every single piece of the chess game, a glimpse of joy and curiosity glowing in his eyes.
"Do you know how to play this?" Quillsh asked. L shook his head in denial. "I could teach you. Pick a chair."
L gave him a deep look and then sat on one of the chairs. Quillsh sat on the other and then picked up one of the pieces to start the 'class'...
"So here you are!" Penny exclaimed when noticing both the grown man and the curious child's presence in the study room. "I was wondering where had you gone."
"You are not going to believe this. L is beating me at chess." Quillsh said to his wife.
"Ah, sure he is." She answered as she entered the room and came closer to them to watch the game. Then she noticed how L played his turn.
"Check mate." The little boy said. Both adults looked at the game and realized the undeniable truth.
"You are an incredibly fast learner." Quillsh commented. "I cannot believe you had never played before."
"I hadn't." The boy said.
"... But it's unbelievable! I just taught you today and you beat me already!"
"I bet that's because you taught him so well..." His wife replied putting a hand on his shoulder.
"You don't understand, Penny, he just learned today." He turned around to look at her, surprise visible in his eyes.
"...But you gave him an advantage, ok?" She said in a low voice, so L wouldn't hear.
"You put yourself at his level, you let him win..."
"No, I didn't." He shook his head.
"Are you telling me that he honestly beat you?" She asked and he nodded. "That's impossible, I know you, you would never play like a master if you're against a child."
"I'm telling you. His mind is quick."
"I would like to see that."
"L, how about we play another round? Would you like that?" Quillsh said to the boy out loud. "You take a seat and enjoy it, Penny."
"I told you, that child is not ordinary." Quillsh told his wife as he searched the upper drawer of their bedroom for pillows that the child would use that night.
"I can't believe it. Even if he had learned somewhere else... No, he's a child from the streets, how could he have learned somewhere else?" She answered while selecting the sheets that she would use to dress the guest room's bed.
"Well, we don't know much about where he came from..."
"That is true, but even then... His moves were too quick for someone his age..."
"I wonder how many more mysteries he hides..."
The couple then heard the bathroom door open and the sound of small feet in front of their bedroom. Penny hurried to open the door and found the little one still sucking his thumb and scratching his right leg with his left foot. She then kneeled at his height and smiled at him.
"Are you done brushing your teeth, sweetheart?" She asked him and he nodded. "Okay, time to go to your room."
Your room. He had a room of his own. He had had a bath, dinner, a match of some interesting game called chess, a new toothbrush, and now a room. All in one night. His mother would be so happy... but what could they possibly want in return?
The simple presence of a child. This kid had just arrived that same evening and he had already lit the lives of the couple. His sole presence, his big eyes, his strange behaviour and his silence. Only that was necessary for Quillsh to feel truly happy and content. And somehow he hated this feeling. He had felt the warmth of a family, but it wasn't really one. It was just him and his wife, and this child would only be here for this night, and part of the next day... right?
Wrong. He couldn't bring himself to let L go just yet. Penny was so happy, and hell, he was happy. They had brought in a little child to take care of, something they should have done many, many years ago. And that's why he hated this feeling. He had always rejected Penny's wish to adopt, and now that they didn't have as much energy as before, this child... this small and strange and interesting creature had just taken over their lives. They just couldn't return him to the cold streets without knowing what those big black eyes were hiding, without knowing where he came from, how was his life before, what was going through his mind, his quick mind...
L was a part of them now. He had stolen their hearts without even giving them his whole name. And he still hated this feeling. He hated the fact that he enjoyed it so much.
"So, L, would you like me to tell you a story before you sleep?" Penny asked the little boy, who was now comfortably under the blankets of his guest bed.
"What kind of story?" He asked her.
"Well, that depends on what kind of stories you like... Have you ever heard of Alice in Wonderland?"
"Yes, I have."
"Really? Where did you hear it?"
"My mother told me about it. About a year ago..."
"Your mother... Where is she now?" Penny went straight to the point.
"... I don't know..." L said lowering his head.
"How long have you been by yourself?" She kept pushing the matter. L started to get worried... what exactly was she expecting him to say? What use could he be for her? But well... they had given him all sorts of attention... so he should give something back... even if he wasn't sure why.
"I... I'm not sure..." He honestly didn't know how to answer. He didn't want to fail these people, but there was nothing he could give them, not even the information they requested.
"...Are you worried about her?" She asked him, noticing the awkwardness the boy was experiencing.
"No, I'm not." He answered almost inmediately. Now this was strange.
"So don't you miss her at all?"
Penny was getting tired of his short answers. She just wanted to get to know him more, but he was too reserved. He wasn't like all the other children. He wasn't outgoing, he wasn't comical, and he didn't think he was too smart, even when he was. He just seemed too mature for his age, and too quiet for a child from the streets. Who was L, exactly?
"Your mother seems to be an interesting person." She continued, sitting more comfortably in the chair next to L's bed. "Tell me about her."
"My mother..." He started, carefully meditating the words. What topics did these people exactly want to know? Why him? Why his mother? Why not any other child and any other parent? What exactly did they expect him to tell them? He turned to look at the other side of the room, where Quillsh was standing, tall and elegant as usual, also waiting for his answer. He felt uneasy and invaded, a feeling he didn't enjoy, and he had never felt before.
"My mother... She's the only person that I have ever known... She gave me my name, she taught me words, numbers, and sentences. She told me what to eat and what not to eat, she told me not to talk to strangers... but everyone else is a stranger... she made sure that all my needs were fulfilled... she was always with me, watching over me... She always answered all my questions... She taught me everything about people... so I could leave her one day and join them."
When he finished his explanation he turned to look at the woman next to him, whose eyes were now filled with heartfelt tears. L had lost his mother, somehow. She either died or abandoned him. Now he was all alone, and he was just 8. If he remained in the streets he would eventually become a thug, sooner or later. And he didn't deserve that. He was too intelligent and special for that.
"...Is she dead?" Quillsh asked him. It was the only reasonable explanation.
"I don't know..." L said bringing his knees to his chest. "There's a chance she might be."
"How about your father?" The man asked. He knew it was probably a stupid question, if he had a father he would be with him, but then again, he just wanted to get to know L better. Much to his surprise, L just stared at him with a strange expression, and tilted his head to a side, as if he had just been asked the solution to an incomprehensible formula.
"I don't have one." He answered inmediately.
"Did your mother ever mention him?" He kept asking, a little intimidated by the child's strange stare.
"No. I don't have one." He repeated. It just didn't make sense in his head. He never knew it was impossible for a woman to have a baby by herself. But he didn't seem to ponder about it much, either.
"Who did you live with then? Just you and your mother?" Penny asked.
"My mother was always with me.."
"He has no other relative..." Penny said now talking to her husband, with a knot in her throat. He closed his eyes and imagined for a moment what it must have felt like for the poor little L, who didn't even know his name. He must have felt so cold and lonely. So, so lonely. Having to rely on strangers for a little show of affection, something that every child should have, something that no child should ever have to request, something that just should be given to them, because they're children. They need love. Everyone does.
Quillsh Wammy thanked God for giving him and his wife the opportunity to find this precious little child, that it was them who found him and not someone else, not some gang who needed a new pet, not a crazy pedophile, not one of those disturbed sociopaths who thought that ending with the life of those in need would lead to a better society. Thank God he was found by an old inventor and his house devoted wife. A couple whose only intention was to make people's lives easier with Wammy's inventions, and of course, make earnings for themselves to keep on having a good life.
They had found him and now he was a part of them. Quillsh opened his eyes again and smiled. "He has us now."
The next day the couple decided they simply weren't ready to give little L away. L was a good child who woke up early and quietly sat in a corner waiting for them to wake up. He took his shower when he was asked to, he put on his same old clothes, he had his cereal for breakfast, holding the spoon in a very particular manner, and he took his time to finish it.
Then he sat in the kitchen floor while Penny washed the dishes, he just silently sat there moving his toes up and down, looking down at them thoughtful. The woman looked at him, wondering what he was thinking. What kind of thoughts could be going through his young yet precocious mind? She wished to know what was going through the head of a child from the streets, what sorts of things worried him, or entertained him. She wanted to get to know him better. And she knew how to start a conversation with a kid.
"Hey, L..." She called out to him, making him raise his head to look at her. "Would you like some cookies?"
"Yes, please." He answered quickly. He loved cookies. He wished that everytime someone offered him food it would be cookies or leftover cake. But sometimes he wasn't that lucky, and he got things like salad or fish instead. He had to eat them though, or he would have starved... but the point was, he never said no to cookies.
He watched Penny get a box of cookies, open it and serve it into a bowl. Then she walked to him and went on her knees to get closer to his own height. He watched her smile as she took one from the bowl and handed it to him. He took it with his thumb and index finger and took a small bite. Delicious. She took one for herself and gave him the whole bowl so he could eat as much as he wanted.
"Would you mind if I sit here with you?" She asked and he shook his head. He didn't mind her company. She had given him cookies. One of the things he liked the most.
She sat right next to him, watching him devour the delicious cookies with an elegant desperation. Yes, that was the only way she could call it. He was eating them one behind the other, but he wasn't making a mess, he ate them with grace and order. She couldn't help but make the observation. "You sure enjoy your cookies..."
"I do." He answered before taking another one.
"Do you like any flavour in particular?"
"No..." He said after he finished swallowing it. "Any flavour, as long as it's sweet, is welcome."
"Ah, but all cookies have sweet flavours... they don't come in soup flavour, or chicken flavour..."
"Hmm... maybe they should come up with them..." he said thoughtfully.
"Would you like it better that way?"
"No, but you would... You must like chicken a lot." He turned to stare at her. She laughed.
"Ah, I do like chicken, but I wouldn't like it in a cookie. They are supposed to be sweet..."
"I thought you liked it a lot, since you put so much effort in making it last night..." he took another one, his dark deep eyes still staring at her. "And you ate it with the same pleasure I'm eating this chocolate chip cookies."
"Oh, chicken is delicious, but I just wouldn't put it in a cookie. It wouldn't mix well."
"How can you be sure? If you like chicken, and you like cookies, then you should like them both together..."
"Not necessarily..." This conversation was starting to become absurd. Maybe the kid wasn't a genius after all. "I like chicken for food, and cookies for dessert... or for the tea time, or for moments like this, when we are just spending time chit-chatting..."
"So you don't see cookies as food?"
"No, I don't. They are dessert. They are for pleasure. They're... fun."
"I see... Does that mean that chicken is boring?"
She didn't know when this conversation had become like this, but she wasn't enjoying it. It all started with a random comment and now it was a fight between dinner and dessert. How could it have happened? How could L think that it was a serious discussion? She just expected him to answer 'yes my favorite is chocolate' or something simple like that, but he had to take every word literally. Why would he do that? What was wrong with him?
"Look, L... chicken will always be chicken, and cookies will always be cookies. You can't make a cookie soup, and you can't eat chicken with cream... they are not the same and are not meant to be the same."
"...But you still like them both..."
"Yes, but never together."
"I see..." He took another one and observed it for a moment. "I understand now why I don't like chicken. I tried candy first. And when I tried chicken it was different. Completely different. So I decided that I didn't like it, and that I wanted to have something sweet, like candy. So, everytime my mother could get me something sweet she did... but sometimes it was absolutely necessary for me to have chicken, or salad, or anything that was the opposite of sweet. My mind rejected it. So I don't like chicken... I don't like things that are different from what I know I like... So I'm very intrigued to know what a chicken cookie must taste like. Sweet and not sweet together... And yet you, who told me you liked both sweet and not sweet things... are not interested in trying this. You don't want differences to meet, you want them to stay at their place... And I want to see what would happen if they met..."
Now she was dizzy. She tried to follow, but it wasn't easy. Was it an indirect way to call her a racist or something like that? What about differences meeting? What was that with sweet and not sweet coming together? Why was it so relevant in his mind?
"L... If you don't like chicken you don't have to eat it. You should have told me you didn't want it last night."
"I couldn't have told you something like that, Mrs. Penny. You offered me an opportunity to satisfy my hunger so I took it."
She sighed. All this waste of time just to conclude that he was a regular 8 year-old child who didn't want to eat his vegetables and prefered to have apple pie and cookies instead. There was nothing deep in his message. She felt dumb for expecting something else.
Then she realized that L had already finished all the cookies while having that pointless conversation. What a strange child. Instead of thinking of toy cars or poprocks, he spent his time sitting on the floor pondering on the bittersweet flavour of a chicken cookie.
"Why hello there, mister L." Quillsh greeted as he entered the kitchen and looked at the child amused. L was so strange, he was simply fun to look at. That innocence in his eyes made him gracious, but at the same time it couldn't be mistaken for naiveté or stupidity. It was simply innocence. "I was wondering if you would like to play another chess match."
"Alright." L answered looking right into his eyes with that same fish-like stare. Then he got up and followed the man out of the kitchen. Penny smiled and followed them as well.
Again, L was fascinated will all of Wammy's inventions in progress. He stared at them with such a passion, just looking at them, longing for them, but never touching them. He wasn't just going to start breaking stuff, like a regular child. L was special. The Wammys were sure of that.
"Do you like my inventions, L?" The man asked smiling to him. L's weirdness simply made him smile.
"I do." He anwered still staring at them. "They seem so very interesting."
"They are." Penny agreed. "Quillsh is a great inventor, he can make anything."
"Anything?" The little boy asked turning to face her. "Even chicken cookies?"
She giggled and Quillsh turned to look at her with a confused expression. "Yes, even chicken cookies." She said.
That day L beat Quillsh at chess again. And the next day. And the day after that... When they realized it, L had been with them for a whole week. He was already used to the schedules of the house, the rutines and the traditions, the rules and the permissions. They were even considering to buy him shoes. As for him, he was glad he was still alive, he was glad he had food, dessert and a bed to sleep in. He could die the next day, it wouldn't matter, because his final days had been happy.
It was unusual for a child to think about death this way, but then again, he was not normal. Quillsh had decided to test L's intelligence in many different ways. He didn't just beat him at chess, he also did at solving huge puzzles, reading large books, and even learning songs quickly. He excelled at everything. He was just the kind of child an inventor needed. And the three of them knew this.
When Penny had brought the idea of keeping L, it was accepted quickly by her husband. He said they wouldn't raise him as their own child, because he wasn't willing to steal the place that belonged to his real parents, but they would do everything they could to keep him healthy and happy. They were both thrilled, although something inside of them told them it wouldn't be forever...
And that's the end of part one. If you liked it, then let me know, and I'll publish part two. I made up Penny's character because I felt that Wammy needed a little back story of his own, and I needed someone that would be the connection between the both of them. I hope you like her :) and as for L's mother, I wanted her to exist, even if she doesn't appear in the story, I wanted L to have memories of her because he couldn't have possibly grown up entirely by himself, and he needed some kind of guide in life that he could base his conception of the world upon, for the first 8 years of his life. I have some little back story for her too, but it's not included in the fic, although if you're curious, you can ask me about it n.n
Well that's all for now, please review so I know how I'm doing. See ya in the next part!