A/N: This is actually an elaboration of a scene/memory from my other DN fic, but you don't need to know anything about it to understand this.
Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note.
The child woke up screaming, limbs flailing and tears gushing over his pale cheeks. He had a nightmare about his parents, but he couldn't remember what happened. The dream was already fading, and the only image he could conjure up was of a hand waving to him. What scared him the most was that he couldn't picture their faces anymore. It hadn't been that long since they left him, so why? The more he thought about it, the harder he cried.
"Hey," another child whispered. "Calm down, L. It's too early for this."
After the boy failed to respond, the older child sighed in frustration and told his other roommate to go fetch an adult.
"Don't!" L shouted through his sobs.
"No . . . "
A teenage girl walked in while rubbing at her eyes, clearly agitated. "What's going on in here? I can hear that crying from down the hall."
"L had a nightmare," he replied monotonously.
"Well, go get someone."
"He doesn't want anyone."
"So? He's five. You don't have to listen to him. And, god, he's gonna wake everyone up in this damn place."
"Yeah, I know. But what if getting an adult only makes it worse?"
She glared in response.
"Geez!" the roommate shouted. "I'll just go get someone!"
He ran out, and the girl yawned, leaving the room. Only the boy and L were left.
With a sigh, he attempted to pat the sobbing five-year-old on the head, but L immediately stood and shot off to a corner of the large room. He then curled into himself and continued his unrestrained crying. The boy scowled at L and mumbled something about being a spoiled brat. He got to his feet, covered his ears, and hurried out of their bedroom.
None of the children liked L, mainly because of the special treatment he received from the adults. He had the highest IQ out of the whole orphanage, and it was pointed out nearly everyday. What made it even worse was that L had only been there for two weeks. No one knew why he arrived at Wammy's House. Even when they tried to ask him about it, he'd just look away shyly and start biting down on his thumb. Because of this behavior, mixed with the favoritism, not one of the children had cared enough to befriend L.
The boy didn't mind this so much since he wasn't particularly fond of people. They made him feel nervous and out of place. The only person he liked being around was a man called Watari. He treated L as a normal five-year-old and snuck him candy whenever he could. The sweets were a bonus, but L truly held affection for Watari. He was the only fatherly figure the boy had since his arrival, so he clung the gentleman as much as he possibly could.
At this moment, he wished Watari was with him. He couldn't stop crying no matter how desperately he rubbed at his eyes, his throat burned from sobbing too hard, and he felt light-headed. His hands were even trembling slightly. L was beginning to wish he hadn't run away from that boy. For once, he wanted the company of one of the children.
Finally, he heard someone walk into the room. The boy didn't lift his head, though, in fear that it was Roger. The man just didn't like kids, and L saw that from the very second he met him. But when the person knelt in front of him, his violent sobs gradually became whimpers.
L knew without having to look up that it was Watari. The gentleman possessed an aura that was very soothing, and it always helped the boy calm down when in distress.
"Let me see your face, L," he said gently.
The child obeyed.
"Your eyes are terribly red. That won't do at all. Ah, I know what will make you feel better."
Then he pulled something out from behind his back. It was a slice of strawberry shortcake. An oversized strawberry adorned the top, which was covered with a thick layer of whipped cream, and the sugary, red juice was being soaked up by the cake at the bottom.
L's face brightened the second he saw it.
"I've noticed that you have a liking for strawberries," Watari said with a tender smile, "so I figured you would like to try this."
He didn't ask L why he was crying and simply watched him inhale the dessert. Watari realized that the boy was somewhat of a recluse, even for his age, but he opened up to him. The child would seek him out and say whatever was on his mind to gain a little comfort or advice. Because of this, Watari felt that if L wanted him to know the cause of his unhappiness, he'd say it.
But the cake made L forget why he was crying, and he gave his caretaker a huge grin after he finished, a smudge of whipped cream at the corner of his mouth.
Watari chuckled softly as he took a napkin and wiped the glob away. "That was your first time eating strawberry shortcake, right?"
L nodded his head fervently. "Thank you, Watari," he said as he handed the plate back.
"You're welcome. Do you think you will be able to fall back to sleep?"
The child peered over Watari's shoulder to see his roommates standing in the doorway, and they didn't look pleased. It was then that L glanced over at the clock on the his nightstand. Of course the other children were annoyed. It was 3:45 in the morning. As a reflex, he yawned and rubbed at his eyes, which were still damp.
"Uh-huh. I feel sleepy now."
"Well then, let's get you back into bed." Watari stood and held out his hand to help the child up. Once L grabbed onto it, he stated quietly, "Would you like something to drink? You must be thirsty after eating that dessert."
The boy smacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth, then nodded.
"Go back into bed, and I will come back with a warm glass of milk," Watari stated, his eyes half moons from the large grin he was giving the child.
As the gentleman left with the empty plate, L did as he was told and climbed into bed. As soon as he did so, the other children walked into the room, all of them muttering about how obnoxious the "wide-eyed brat" was. One child even stomped over to L's bed and yelled at him for causing such an uproar.
L pulled the covers up so that only his eyes were visible and said timidly, "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up."
"Yeah, well, you did! You don't have to act like a brat cuz you're so smart!"
"Hey, calm down!" another child shouted. "He's only five. I doubt he even understands why he's here."
After one final glower, the disgruntled boy stomped away to his own bed and flung the sheets over him in a huff.
It was true. L really didn't understand why he was at Wammy's House. He kept hearing how smart he was, but he didn't care about that. The boy just wanted to be left alone and be able to eat his candy. No one liked him, so why did they continue to bother him? He knew it didn't help that he was small for his age. L was the shortest five-year-old there and was fairly skinny. If it wasn't for the protection of Watari, he would have been beaten up at least four times. A lot of the kids were jealous of him, but he just couldn't understand why.
As L heard two of the boys argue about whether to shut the lights off or not, since Watari was supposed to return, he shrunk further into his bed sheets. He didn't like it there. It had only been two weeks, and he was already miserable. The only thing that kept him going was knowing that doing well on his tests made Watari happy. He enjoyed making the good-natured man cheerful. No one but L made him smile so brightly.
The child hoped that one day he would make Watari proud. Since he didn't know why he was at Wammy's House, he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do. But whatever it was, he would do it for the only person who had treated him kindly.
"Here you are," Watari said once he entered the room. "This will help you fall asleep as well."
"Thank you," the boy squeaked as his head popped out from under the covers. He ignored the groans he heard from the other side of the room as he drank the small glass of warmed milk. After L handed the glass to him, he yawned and settled back down.
"Good night, Watari."
The light flicked off.
"Good night, little one."
(As a quick side note, it's true that Roger didn't like kids. It was stated in How To Read 13. Ironic, right?)
I felt warm and fuzzy inside while writing this. Those two must have had a cute father/son relationship when L was young. Hope you enjoyed it. -smiles-