Title: Lament

Theme: Tears

Words: 433

Rating: K

Warnings: One Curse Word, a line that could be construed as a biblical allusion? Oh, and depressing subject matter. Oh, and Rouge/Roger which I guess doesn't really need to be mentioned cuz it's canon but whatever.

Notes: This is a crappy fic, man...

Summary: If Roger couldn't cry, then Rayleigh would do it for him.

As Roger's first mate and oldest friend, Rayleigh had seen him cry many times. In good times, as when a friend thought dead returned alive, and bad times, when a friend did not return at all. He'd seen him cry from laughing too much, and a few times he didn't care to think about, he'd seen him cry from physical pain. And, though he would never tell anyone of this, would carry this secret to the grave, he had seen his captain cry every time he had to say goodbye to Rouge.

So when Roger returned to the captain's quarters after this particular visit, Rayleigh was sure to be there, to be the comfort his captain needed. He was expecting to find him teary-eyed and saying some bullshit about sinuses or spicy food or something.

Instead, he found Roger sitting completely dry eyed in his chair, staring out the porthole as the island shrank away into the distance. He didn't speak for a long time, and Rayleigh waited patiently, without speaking.

Finally, Roger said, "I'll never see her again, Rayleigh. That was it."

Rayleigh only nodded, but didn't speak.

"I don't regret it, though," he continued, a ghost of a grin on his face. "I'm going to die, anyway; might as well give 'em all something to talk about!"

Rayleigh smiled a little at this as well. "Sure. That was your plan, wasn't it?"

Roger barked out a laugh, then fell quiet for a moment again, staring back out the porthole.

And then he said something, something that froze Rayleigh to his core.

He knew then. Knew why Roger wasn't crying. This… this was beyond tears. No human display of emotion could accurately show this sorrow. It was desolate, and it was hopeless, too, because Roger was as good as dead anyway and there was nothing he could do.

Rayleigh left the cabin then, left because he suddenly couldn't stand it. Roger couldn't cry, but Rayleigh could.

He walked past the crew, what was left on the Oro Jackson, anyway, and went into the crew's cabin. No one was in there now, so he locked the door and sat in the empty room, and thought about his captain's news. A legacy that he had wanted to leave behind for a new generation suddenly was being left, in a way he had never expected. In a way that was horrible, and could leave to nothing but tragedy. In a way that Roger should have been there for, but would now never get a chance to know, or to love.

"She's pregnant, Rayleigh."

Rayleigh wept.