There was a big stink when Scott Pilgrim died.

There were months spent in court, Gideon's lawyers pulling every string they could to prove that Scott agreed to this, that he was ready and willing to die in the face of this challenge, and that it was a contest among men (and women, Roxie muttered with a scowl from the witness stand when it was her turn to testify). Legal and everything. He'd given his word. Even Ramona had to agree, and that gave Gideon the greatest satisfaction of all.

For Lucas, who was on trial, it wasn't anything to really get worked up over. He freely admitted that he'd killed Scott, but the story was that it was either Scott or Lucas, and there were enough screaming fans in the lobby of the courthouse to convince the judge and jury to speed things along as much as possible. There were only about six or seven screaming Scott Pilgrim supporters on the prosecution's side of the courtroom, and even those weren't screaming all that loud. Most of them were just staring straight ahead, knowing and accepting that Scott had gotten himself into this and it had been his own goddamn fault.

When Lucas had to testify, he just leaned close to the microphone on the stand and murmured that Scott Pilgrim was a murderer, and he'd deserved the death he'd gotten. The prosecutor asked him if he meant that, literally. Lucas looked him dead in the eyes and said yes, he meant it just as he'd said it. Then there were pictures thrown everywhere of the mess of teeth and blood and brains that Scott Pilgrim's head had been when the police had shown up to the scene of the "duel". They held up the bloodsoaked boots that Lucas had been wearing that day. Lucas asked when he was getting those back, by the way: they were nice boots. People laughed nervously. The prosecutor asked Lucas a bunch of questions about Scott's family and how they must have felt: questions that he waved off and responded to by asking the prosecutor how Matthew Patel's mother must have felt when she'd gotten the news that her only son had been killed.

That threw them for a loop. Even Gideon seemed startled by that.

Every day, after court, for as long as the trial went on, Lucas would take a five-foot-three Delhi-ite woman with four feet of braided black hair out to lunch with him, listening to her quietly talk about the trial and how glad she was that her son had such a brave and loving friend to defend his honor. Almost every day, she would start crying, and he would gently hold her hand under the table.

Gideon's lawyers worked their magic, of course. Lucas was freed, set loose on the world to go back to work. Ramona Flowers disappeared into the void again, and slowly, the world forgot about Scott Pilgrim. They'd certainly forgotten about Matthew Patel.

Months after the trial, Lucas would visit Matthew's mother in a house he'd bought for her close to his own mother's home in Los Angeles, and she would complain about how hot it was, and he would turn the air conditioning up and tell her that it was because she was wearing so many layers of clothing. Sometimes he was certain that she cranked the heat up in her house just so he would come over and sit with her until the temperature cooled down, again. Not that he minded doing that.

And after he visited her, he would always go to the cemetery where he'd had a little commemorative headstone put in, inscribed with everything Lucas could think of to put on it.

Matthew Sankil Patel
1980-2004
Beloved son and friend

Words weren't exactly his strong suit.

In the earth by the headstone, $2.10 Canadian was buried. A gracious man working at a Toronto subway station had helped Lucas find the exact coins he'd wanted.