Compy: How this idea was spawned while in the middle of a Naruto RP, I don't know. Enjoy it anyway.
Everyone in Wammy's House had their own little quirks. It was to be expected, almost even required. You weren't "normal" by society's standards, or else you wouldn't be here, so why should you have normal habits?
L had his sweets, and that peculiar way of sitting that had all the children, upon first seeing it, instinctively holding their breaths, half expecting him to fall. But he didn't, because L didn't fall. He was L. Even to the gifted minds of Wammy's children, this simple, childish thought was absolute.
Near had his toys, so much of them that there was a special place in the Entertainment Room set aside just for him, filled with puzzles and robots and cards and dice. The children learned quickly that that area of the room was Near's and Near's alone, because if anyone tried to touch the toys inside, Near would stare at them, and those big, gray eyes would be as cold as ice when he told you to get away from his toys, please. Near was a quiet child, but he had more than enough big sticks to make up for it.
Mello had his chocolate, bars upon bars, and he had the second biggest sweet tooth in Wammy's, the first being held by L himself. The other children would often wonder how he could seemingly eat nothing but chocolate bars and chocolate fudge and even chocolate pizza and still have all his pearly white teeth, but Matt knew better. Mello had the biggest dental care collection of everyone in the House, and brushing and flossing was a strict ritual for him. Not that Matt would ever tell anyone.
And Matt, well, Matt had his games. He had every game system known to man, and just about every game to go along with it. He was the king of fighting games, the champion of racing, a legend of Guitar Hero. He was even scarier than Near because when Matt was trying to beat a level, he looked like a demon possessed, and wouldn't eat or sleep for days until he'd won (or passed out).
Matt also had his goggles. The orange goggles that he'd wear every single day, sometimes even to bed, and that was one quirk that none of the children, not even Mello, could explain. Oh they'd ask about it, sure, but Matt would just grin and tell them it was a secret, and to the children, that was that. Because if they were going to become like L, they all needed to have their own secrets. It added to the mystery, y'know?
Because no one had bothered to pry, they did know that the real reason Matt wore his goggles was because his eyes were very sensitive to light. Matt didn't know why his eyes were like that; his parents had died in a drive-by shooting when he was three years old, so he hadn't had anyone to explain this stuff to him. Matt came to Wammy's House at night, and when he woke up in his room, the light spilling from the window onto his bed made him almost scream. When Roger came in to find Matt huddled under the covers, shaking, he chalked it up to a child's fear of waking up in an unfamiliar place. And when the boy stayed in the shadows constantly after coming out of his room, well, he wasn't the only anti-social child to stay at the orphanage.
Matt picked up right away that you were at Wammy's because you were special, and trying to become a man who seemed to have no faults meant that you couldn't have faults either. Your ranking in the House depended on the test scores, on the performance grades, on the abilities and the quirks, and for a while, Matt was at the bottom of the food chain because he had no friends, no quirks, and he stayed in the shadows all the time, like a wierd little ghost.
One day, when Matt was seven, L came to visit. All the children gathered around him, and Matt saw from his place in the darkness that two boys - a white haired boy and a blond - seemed to be closest to him. Matt had heard of them - Near and Mello, only six and seven but so much brighter than all the other children, so much more potential. They were in the main hall, where sunlight from the large bay windows covered the room with a glaring brightness, and Matt wanted to see L, really he did, but L had no faults, and Matt did. He didn't want to drive that home.
L looked up, then, and his eyes locked with Matt's. Matt gasped as L tilted his head, curiosity written all over his face as he looked at the one boy who hadn't moved from the bottom of the stairs. L's gaze drew others, and soon all the children were staring at him, and some were whispering. Matt gulped, knowing he couldn't stay there, but he couldn't run, either. He took a deep breath, stepped into the light, and immediately squinted hard enough to close his eyes. The boys snickered, the girls whispered, and Matt stood where he was, hands shielding his burning eyes while L still looked at him curiously. Matt tried to stammer out an apology, but his mouth wouldn't move, and when he felt Roger's hand on his shoulder he dashed behind the older man's legs, burying his face in the comforting black of his pants while he heard the caretaker say, "Please forgive Matt, he's one of the new ones, very shy." L looked at the redheaded boy for another minute before the - flawless - children got impatient and his attention was directed elsewhere.
Matt locked himself in his room the entire time L was there, blinds closed and crying into his pillow, because there was nothing special about him at all.
L's next visit was six months later, in December. Christmas was still weeks away, but L had to fly to France the next day for a case, and wanted to give the children their presents now. Matt stayed away from the room where Watari and Roger were handing out the presents, away from the squeals and the laughter because happiness was pretty bright too. He walked through the hallways, on his way to the kitchen. There should be some gingerbread cookies left…
Matt nearly jumped out of his skin and whirled around. Behind him stood L, hands in his pockets and slouched over, staring at Matt with the same curiosity he'd shown six months ago. Matt felt himself blushing.
"You're Matt, right? I don't believe we've been properly introduced." L held a hand forward. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm L."
Matt stared but remembered to shake L's hand, because he was at Wammy's and they were better than normal children. "Please to meet you too. Um, I'm sorry about the last time." He looked down at his feet, ashamed.
"I think it is I who should be apologizing. I was quite rude the first time I saw you; stares aren't the most friendly of greetings."
"It's okay…really. I don't blame you, or anything like that."
L titled his head to the side, and brought one hand out of his pocket to nibble on the thumb. "Why aren't you with the other children? There is a present for you, you know."
Like any young boy, Matt jerked to attention at the words "present for you", but the memory of all that light, and the laughter of the special children made him hang back. "I just…don't feel like it." He was too afraid to tell L he didn't want to because Roger had brought in all those candles along with the electric lights, and the other children would laugh at him again, and didn't L know he was only this calm because it was dark in the hallway?
"Hm…that is a pity. Well, I certainly can't blame you for not wanting to interact with people - I'd be a hypocrite if I did, and there are far too many of those in the world. Still though," his hand rummaged through his other pocket. "I'd once again be quite a rude person if I didn't leave without giving you a gift. So here," he held out a long, thing box covered in red and green paper. "Merry Christmas."
Speechless, Matt took the present and ripped off the paper, boyish excitement overriding L's presence. The detective watched in amusement as Matt dropped the slashed wrappings and the bow, opened the box and gaped.
Inside was a pair of large goggles, lenses orange and tinted. Matt lifted them out of the box in near reverence, as if he was afraid they'd disappear if he held them too hard.
"I saw your reaction to the sunlight the last time I came. I figured these would solve the problem," said L. "Go ahead. Try them on." Matt blinked, and scrambled to pull the goggles over his face, tugging at the strap to adjust the size.
They fell right over his face and pooled around his neck.
Matt's look of utter bewilderment sent L into soft chuckles, and the detective moved forward, coming to stand behind Matt. "They're still too loose," he said, pulling the goggles over Matt's eyes and adjusting the strap from behind. "I intentionally bought a bigger size, so you can grow into them."
Matt barely heard him, his fingers were too busy tracing over the edge of the goggles, the rubber strap, the orange lenses. His vision didn't feel any better, and the hallway just seemed darker now, but Matt felt…different. Special.
"By the way," said L, like an afterthought. "Your other present is with the other children. I can have Roger give it to you later, if you--"
Matt was already running down the hall, skidding down the corner with enough speed to nearly send him into the wall. The goggles took up nearly his whole face, jiggling dangerously with every step, but Matt was smiling, smiling so hard his face hurt, and when he burst into the main room, the light hit him full force. He didn't even flinch, and he nearly laughed at how orange everyone was, and how the overhead lights seemed to cast soft, warm light on everything, so much different than the burning glare from before. If Roger was surprised when shy, softspoken little Matt bounded over to him, asking eagerly which present was his, the older man didn't comment on it.
Matt's present was a Nintendo Gamecube, the newest system that wasn't due to appear in stores for another two days. Included was Mario Kart Double Dash. Matt grinned wildly, and when the blond boy named Mello walked up to him, eating a chocolate bar bigger than his head, saying, "Those goggles look really weird on you, kid," Matt just smirked at him and held up a second controller.
"Half that chocolate bar says they look awesome."
Three days, half a chocolate bar, and a new friendship later, Matt overheard Roger telling his assistant something. To keep things fair, every orphan in the House had gotten one gift for Christmas. Just one. Matt was the only child who had gotten two presents.
"Sir, do you think L favors this boy over the other children? Is he a potential succe--"
"Near and Mello's scores are far beyond his, Emily."
"I know that, sir, but…maybe it's not all about the test scores. Maybe L thinks that Matt's just…I don't know, special."
Matt adjusted his goggles and grinned, continuing his journey to Mello's room, walking in every patch of light he saw. Special.
Years later, Matt had risen to become the third in line to succeed L. He and Mello were thicker than thieves, and he was well on his way to owning every game system and game known to man. Whenever L came to visit, Matt was always at the front of the group, smiling and hugging and asking questions and bragging about his test scores just like the other children.
Matt wore the goggles until the day he died. To this day, only two people know why
Compy: Not a bad job for 4:30 in the morning, eh? xD Not even tired, nope. (This is what summer does to you, kiddies.)
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