Disclaimer: Death Note ain't mine, folks, and neither is The Hogfather.
Note: First 'Christmassy' fic from me then. I hope there will be more, including one where L and Mello meet. But for now - this. It's what I tend to do most, of course: rambling introspection and words that look pretty in the right light. Heavily influenced by the fact that I had just read Hogfather and it was 4am. Also influenced by thebookhobbit's beautiful new story Silence, which is even shorter than this so you have no excuse not to hurry over there and give it a read. Anyway, anyway. Little L is cold. That's pretty much the story. Oh, got my Oxford letter - rejection! I get to go to York! WOO. Merry Christmas indeed. So yeah. This. I don't know. It was a lot of fun to write, it really was. Oh, and...expect a lot of Hogfather quotes in future from me.
You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy, and yet –Death waved a hand. And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, some rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point –"
My point exactly.
Because the world is beautiful and life is what you make it
Somewhere on the edge of things, out where the finishing point of dusk brushes dew from the tips of stems of grass, a boy is sitting. It is Christmas day.
The boy has dark hair that is all a mess. It simply grows that way, with knots tied in and strands all flyaway and dry, and strange. It makes him cautious of the hairbrush. The boy shifts. Sitting does not look comfortable for him. Now, he is crouching.
It is snowing outside. Flakes cling to the strange dark hair, melt on a pink, outstretched tongue. The boy turns his face up to the sky and blinks against the water-gone-white. The darkness is receding, and most of the sky is an odd, pale colour. The boy's face is paler, and the snow paler still. But the boy and the snow and the sky are all cold, and they are all quiet.
The boy is unnamed – he does not even have a letter to call his own. He has a worn pair of jeans, that he would not allow to be taken away, and a clean white top, because he had no problems with them removing his ratty old shirt. Today, he also wears an overcoat that is many, many sizes too big for him and has been sneaked out of an under-stairs cupboard. He is swamped in it, crouched under it, sleeves pushed back so that the tips of his fingers can just be seen.
He is touching those fingers to the grass.
When they come away, they are wet. He rubs them together, frowning, curious. He is too little, too young, too unformed to know what everything in the world means. But somewhere in him, he can feel it – feel all the knowledge on Earth, feel everything that can be known waiting to be known.
He wants to know it.
It's in his bones, in his flesh – like knowing how to breathe, knowing how to turn that first, cold, shuddering breath into a rising wail. It's instinct. All the knowing in the world is bound up inside him, waiting for its strange birthing, its own first cry, and the moment where potential meets its trigger and explodes.
On Christmas day, very early in the morning, a little boy who is the smartest person in the world doesn't know that he is particularly intelligent. He doesn't know that he is special. He knows that he is cold, and that the grass is wet, and that somewhere, out in the world, beyond the skyline, everything is waiting to be known. Somehow, someway, he has to know it.
The snow is very fresh in the ground, and unmarred. The boy likes sitting under it, this soft, icy draught, and he doesn't know why. Distantly, it is six o'clock in the morning, and a clock tower is proud to declare it in six, long, booming chimes. The little boy is not the only little boy awake at this hour, on this day, but he is the only one sitting alone, outside in the snow, when he could just as easily go inside to a fire, or a bed, or a hug.
But he really likes sitting in the snow, though he doesn't know why.
Winter light is cold light. The boy lifts his head, squints out in the sun. It sparkles off the snow, turning flecks of frozen water into glinting shards of diamond, specks of salt and the shimmering of glitter on a Nativity angel's wings. The sun on the snow works strange things in the boy's head. It tells him stories, whispers him promises, stirs up something strange and fiery and desperate in the pit of his stomach, makes him want to run and feel burning in his muscles, shout and rage and achieve and know and BE.
He is still very young, and the sun on the snow is very beautiful, and L believes in magic long before he is L, and long before he is sat down and told just what magic is.
Sitting in increasingly damp clothes, the seat of his trousers soaked through with moisture from the grass and snow flicking from his eyelashes with every blink, all the knowledge in the world and all the potential in this little boy to know it means exactly nothing. The only things worth anything, right now, in the sun and the snow and the chiming of the bells, in this strange sense of being, of rightness, of harmony – of life – coursing through him. All that matters, all that counts, is that the sun is bright and the sky is cold and right here, right now, in this field not far from a church just outside Winchester –
- the world is right.
When Quillish Wammy (because he is not Watari yet, either) comes to fetch him in, the feeling stays with him. When he is set the task of reading the library start to finish, unlocking his potential at last, it stay with him, as real as fire, as tangible a stone. Eight years later, when he is asked if he would like to solve a puzzle for a policeman, it is still with him.
A long time later, in Japan, it burns brighter than ever.
And the feeling stays with him for the rest of his life. Hidden, shadowy, but there – and he searches for it, frantically, fantastically, every day and with every new problem, trying to find it again, that sense of rightness, of being. And one day, he finds it, on a rooftop, in the cold and the wet once again, and in the distance, it is six o'clock in the morning, and a clock tower is proud to declare it.
Maybe it's stupid. Maybe – but when he dies, L still believe in magic.
And the memory of sun on snow.
Because life is beautiful and the world is what you make it
Note: Do me a favour, will you? If you liked it, don't bother reviewing. Go review book's Silence, or keem's When The War Is Over, or some other equally beautiful and fantastic story. Or better yet, go and give someone a hug. And THEN, if you have time, review. But not before.