Disclaimer: still don't own. Lyrics: Calling All Skeletons by Alkaline Trio.

Note: Here is the last chapter. This was not a long fic, I know, but it has got me thinking about a few things and a few concepts I might want to develop. So maybe I'll be getting some more out soon? I hope so. I've had fun with this, developing a different idea through each boy – independence and growing up with Mello, order and loneliness with Near, and now, Matt. I hope you enjoy.


The Last Best

i thought we were friends
i guess it just depends who you ask
these feelings tend to leave me
with a hole in my chest

Matt is alone.

Mello has been gone for some time now. He went in the middle of the day, for all the world to see, and no one stopped him. Near slipped away one night, quietly, and out of his window Matt watched Roger escorting him to a long black car parked outside the gates.

Every time Matt tries to get past the gates, someone manages to catch him and pull him back.

He isn't special like Near, or frightening like Mello. He isn't all that brilliant (good enough, though, he supposes, he's number three after all and Matt isn't about to let a credential like that slip past anyone) and he's never going to make the top grade, and it's never really bothered him until now. But now here he is, left with all the others below him, the last best boy in Wammy's House.

Well, bullshit to that.

Matt doesn't do well in circumstances like this. He likes having people around – better people – because Matt is good, he knows he's good, but he's so much better when he's the supplemental. When he's filling in the gaps. When's he's somebody else's second.

Mello's second, really. Matt came across the phrase 'thick as thieves' in an adventure book when he was seven. The story actually was about thieves, and the terrifying and exhilarating things they did. The cover was of the two main characters, one who was tall and willowy, and the other who was short and stout, looking back over their shoulders at a treasure room. The ceiling was caving in, and they looked scared.

But the shorter, stouter man had a strange look on his face. His lips were curled up into a half-grin, his eyes had the narrow look of a man who knows more than he's letting on. His hands clutched a caricatured swag-bag, and Matt had known, the first day he clapped eyes on that book, that the shorter thief was never going to die.

He'd read the book to the end just to find out. It left off in the middle of a huge, climactic scene – the treasure room scene – and Matt never found out if the two guys got out alive. The day after he finished the book, he met Mello.

Mello, he thought, was always going to get out alive.

Matt is a survivor. Matt is crafty, and quiet, and thoughtful, and a little bit too bulky in places. He can feel his shoulders broadening, and his hair always falls awkwardly into his eyes, and he knows he is plain. But Matt doesn't mind. Matt's always been a big believer in philosophies that start with "you are what you are" and end with "screw the rest", and so, trying to be L has never really affected him.

He misses his dad, though. Now more than ever, now Mello's gone.

He wonders what L was like. He's dead now, for sure. Everyone in the orphanage knows it. L is dead and Kira isn't and Mello and Near are gone, and what's going to happen now? Matt had determined to find out – but he was stopped, every day, at the orphanage gates.

He'll be fifteen soon enough though. This'll give him plenty of time to plan, plenty of time to get ready for the world outside. He'd always been more slow and steady, though whether or not that'll win the race here remains to be seen. But still. Nothing to do.

He sort of wishes Mello would have said goodbye, though. He knows the fate of the world's more important than their friendship, but…yeah. It would have been nice, he guesses.