Title: Put It In The Ground.
Fandom: Death Note [manga.
Rating: PG.
Genre: Tragedy, humour (yeah), mild fluff.
Summary: Ide goes to a funeral. A twisted sort of hurt-comfort.
Warnings: Mondo spoilers for up to That Part in volume 7. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't read this.
Pairings/Characters: Ide/Matsuda (oh, shut up).
Author's Note: Copious thankees to Twitch, who helped with honourifics, even though I didn't end up using them ('cause I HATE THEM), and who agreed with my opinion as to the . . . extent of Ide and Matsuda's relationship. I doubt I would have posted this without her vote of confidence. So hurrah, for she is fancy. And knows about ellipses. And the following is her fault. HA.
Disclaimer: Death Note is the genius brainfruit product of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. I am neither Tsugumi Ohba nor Takeshi Obata. Therefore, 't'ain't mine. Truly, this is reasoning worthy of L himself. shifty eyes Additionally, the title is taken from "Funeral Song" by Sleater-Kinney, from the album One Beat. Which everyone loves. No arguing.

---

PUT IT IN THE GROUND.

---

Anything can happen when the phone rings. It might be your mother, or news of her death. You might have won the lottery, or your best friend might have just lost your life savings in a blackjack marathon. Your child might have broken a vase, or his leg, or he might be worried that you're lonely, all by yourself in that big office building you spend so much time at.

It might be news of a funeral.

Ide's phone rings, breaking the silence like a hammer. He winces--car chases, he has found, give him splitting headaches, and to top it off, he didn't get a wink of sleep--but, resolute and hard-working even in the absence of painkillers, he answers. "National Police Agency, Intelligence and Information Bureau, Ide Hideki speaking."

"Ide." It's Matsuda. His voice is flat and dull, nowhere near his usual optimistic chirp, but Ide, still hung over from victory, doesn't notice.

"Matsuda," he replies, a grin tickling the corners of his mouth. "What's going--"

"Ryuuzaki's dead." There is a pause; Ide hears Matsuda swallow tightly. "Kira got him. The funeral is Friday. You're welcome to come; Light says Ryuuzaki would have wanted you there."

"Right," says Ide's mouth, while the rest of him fades out into utter, blind panic. "I'll be there."

"Right." The phone clicks in his ear as Matsuda hangs up. Ide stares at the phone for a moment, held loosely in his left hand because his right is holding a pen; and then he drops them both as if they burn.

---

The graveyard is miles outside the city, in an small, easily forgettable town. Ide arrives late, partially because he doesn't wish to disturb those who had been closer to L, but mostly because he got lost. By the time he reaches Ryuuzaki's grave, Aizawa and Mogi are gone, and Light and the chief are leaving. They nod solemnly to Ide, who responds in kind.

Matsuda is sitting cross-legged on the bare ground by the grave, running his fingers absentmindedly through the loosened soil. The fresh creases in his dress pants are brown and slightly damp from the dirt.

Ide regards him for a moment. Then he remarks, "I hope that suit wasn't too expensive, because you seem to have ruined it."

Matsuda looks up, startled. "Oh. Hello," he says, giving a weak half-smile as Ide strolls over and squats down next to him. "I'm glad you could," he swallows, "could make it. . . ."

And with no further warning, Matsuda bursts into tears.

"Oh, for--" Ide fishes around in his breast pocket impatiently until he finds a paper tissue, and waves it in Matsuda's face. He looks away pointedly as Matsuda sobs for several minutes and then proceeds to blow his noise noisily.

"Thank you," Matsuda says damply, sniffling. "Here." He gestures towards Ide with the crumpled tissue.

"Er." Ide eyes the soggy paper warily. "That's. That's all right, you . . . you keep that."

"Oh," says Matsuda. "Thanks." He sighs, gazes up at the clouds. "Look," he says blankly, pointing. "A coffin."

Shielding his eyes, Ide squints at the sky. "Looks like a cloud to me," he says after a moment.

Matsuda cocks his head quizzically. "Well, maybe it's more of a camel," he allows.

He sighs again. "This is crazy," he mutters, shaking his head and leaning his chin on his arms. "I don't--I just don't know what we're going to do."

To Ide's horror, tears are welling up in Matsuda's eyes again. Thinking fast, he declares, "You need lunch. Lunch will help."

Matsuda perks up immediately. "I like lunch. Can we go get ramen?"

"Ra--well, sure, I guess--"

"Yay!" Matsuda hops up happily and skips towards the gate. Ide follows at a significant distance. He can already tell he's going to regret this.

---

"Stop slurping," Ide snaps, prodding at his limp ramen.

"I'm not slurping!"

"Yes, you are. Now stop it, you're embarrassing me."

Pause.

"I am NOT SLURPING."

Ide massages his temples; his headache is coming back. At least Matsuda isn't crying anymore, he tells himself. Thank goodness for small favours. Then he realises that his elbow is wet. He glances at Matsuda.

Oh. Well. Matsuda wasn't crying, anyway.

Matsuda is glowering fiercely at his ramen. "I am NOT SLURPING," he repeats flatly.

"No, right now you're dripping," says Ide, trying to discreetly dry his shirtsleeve on a napkin.

"No, I'm--! Oh. Sorry." Matsuda blinks owlishly at him, then offers up his own napkin.

"Thank you," Ide says. "But really, Matsuda," he continues, gesturing with it, "you need to get a grip. You knew what you were getting into when you started working with L. You can't honestly say you weren't expecting this."

Matsuda frowns at him, wiping his eyes on his shirtsleeve. Ide stares at him.

"You really didn't expect--?" He rolls his eyes exasperatedly. "Come on, Matsuda, he was Kira's prime target! He'd been baiting Kira for months! Use your head!"

"No-one else thought it would happen," Matsuda says stubbornly. "Not even Light or L. We all thought L would beat him."

"Matsuda." Ide is trying very hard to keep the impatience out of his voice, but it's becoming increasingly difficult. "In any war, there will be casualties. It was ridiculous for you to assume that one person could get rid of Kira all by himself, don't you understand that?"

"You're acting like it was just me, and it wasn't! The chief was sure L would bring Kira down, and so did Aizawa, even though he didn't like L's methods! Even Mogi believed in L . . . at least I think he did. . . ."

"Even so, Matsuda, I . . ." Ide studies Matsuda's face for a moment, then sighs. "Never mind. Eat your ramen."

For a few moments there's no noise but the clink of bowls and the shouted orders of the cooks, echoing out from the kitchen. Then:

"You knew him. I didn't." He's almost unaware he's saying it, just conscious enough to acknowledge his own words and take responsibility for them. "You understand what you're talking about. I don't."

"I just . . ." Matsuda's fingers twitch. "I just never thought," he continues quietly, so quietly that Ide has to lean in close to hear him over the noise of the bar, "that Ryuuzaki could actually die."

Oh, damn. Ide glances around furtively, then leans over and pats Matsuda on the shoulder with considerable awkwardness. "It's okay," he says in an undertone, though he knows it's definitely not.

"I know," Matsuda mutters, though he won't meet Ide's eyes. He clears his throat, rubs at his eyes, getting his cheeks wet. Ide studies his glass of water intently. It is, he decides after a long moment of brow-furrowed study, wet.

Suddenly Matsuda starts, looks at his watch. "Oh, no--I have to go home, Ide, I forgot!"

"Forgot what? What's happening?"

"The newest episode of my favourite television programme is coming on in half an hour!" Matsuda gathers up his coat, drops it, picks it up, shakes it out, puts it on again.

Ide blinks. "Your favourite . . . television programme," he says.

Matsuda nods seriously, still struggling with his coat. He is, Ide notices, attempting to put it on upside-down.

"Okay. Fine." Ide sighs. This is painful to watch. "Matsuda, take the damn thing off and start over."

"Oh--" Matsuda grins at him. "Right." He untangles himself and puts the jacket on again. Now the buttons are uneven, but Ide doesn't say anything. At some point you just have to give up.

"Come on," he says. "You can still drive, yeah?"

"Mm-hmm!"

"Let's go, then." Ide cocks his head in the direction of the door, tosses down enough money to more than cover their meal, and rolls his eyes in response to the various people giving him sympathetic looks.

As they walk to their cars, there are a few moments of blessed silence, during which Ide, hands in his pockets, allows his mind to wander. What he comes to in the end are the clouds. The one just above him looks bizarrely like a teddy bear. Of course, Ide doesn't have teddy bears. Of course not.

"We're going to have to do that now, you know," Matsuda says sadly.

"Hmm?" Ide replies, head still in the clouds.

"We have to start over," Matsuda says. Glancing at him, Ide sees that he looks worried, an expression not at home on a face that is normally so obnoxiously cheerful. "L was wrong. Now we don't have an L. . . . I don't know how we're going to proceed from here."

"Well, you'll have to," Ide replies, shrugging. "The NPA is back on the Kira case full time, so you're getting paid now, at least."

"I'd want to continue anyway, even if the whole world was against us!" Matsuda replies fiercely; then, more tentatively, "At least I think I would. But anyway," he continues, "Light won't stop 'til Kira's caught. I know he won't. I have a responsibility to help him."

Ide nods, unlocks his car, turns to open it, but Matsuda taps him on the shoulder.

"What about you, Ide?" he says. "Are you going to rejoin the Kira case?"

Ide stares at him blankly for a moment before he speaks. "Matsuda," he says, "I've been on the Kira case this whole time--against the will of the NPA at times, I might add. There's no way I'm dropping the case now."

The subsequent grin threatens to split Matsuda's face in half. "Good," he says. "We need you. Mogi never talks."

"Right," says Ide. The teddy bear, he notices, seems to have morphed into either a dog or a pig with very odd ears.

"Right," Matsuda parrots, still smiling. "Well . . . 'bye, Ide. Thank you for your help. Oh, and for the ramen, too." He says it like he's remembering his mother teaching him about manners and magic words. But he probably means it.

"Don't worry about it," replies Ide stiffly. He holds out his hand to shake, and Matsuda--

And Matsuda is hugging him around the middle, having apparently misinterpreted his outstretched hand to mean "please squeeze the living soul out through my mouth," which is exactly what seems to be happening; at least, something is trying to come out of his mouth, something unformed and weird, which might well be his soul, he wouldn't know, what has he done to warrant this treatment, it's very unkind and not at all like Matsuda, and Matsuda, Matsuda smells like apples and chopped nuts, and now Ide's finally managed to free his hands and they want something to do--

He grabs Matsuda by the shoulders, pushes him away, and glares at him. "Matsuda," he says flatly, "you are one hundred percent socially incompetent."

"I'm sorry," says Matsuda cheerfully, but Ide can tell that he doesn't understand, and it's not worth it to try to explain.

Not that it matters. He's always known that Matsuda's an idiot.

---

So as Touta Matsuda waves happily and stomps his way over to his car, Hideki Ide frowns at the clouds, which have changed yet again. He won't bother with the clouds anymore, Ide decides; no matter how he pins them down, the damn things won't stay.

So two car doors slam, two motors start, two cars pull out, going in opposite directions (for the moment). Touta Matsuda will miss the first five minutes of his television programme; he will be a bit more upset than the situation requires (but then he's Matsuda). Hideki Ide will read exactly twenty-five pages of the most up-to-date NPA manual, then take a nap.

Tonight, Touta Matsuda will have nightmares, which, by tomorrow, he'll have forgotten.

Tomorrow, Hideki Ide will have the worst headache of his life to date, because tonight, he won't be able to sleep.