There's a song that's inside of my soul
It's the one that I've tried to write
Over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold
But you sing to me over and over
And over again...
The young, dark-haired genius put down his book with delicate fingers and tilted his head to one side, ears alert to the faint strain of music that had just floated past him. Somewhere, a floor down and several rooms and corridors over, someone was playing the school piano. He immediately knew who it was; but as he glanced up at the ticking clock, his brow furrowed slightly.
It was 3 AM in the morning. A normal time for hopeless insomniacs like him to be awake, but why would she be up at this hour?
Stepping lightly down from his perch on the armchair, he padded across the carpet and slipped from the dim room with noiseless, barefoot steps, boredom and vague curiosity egging him on. Sherlock Holmes could wait.
He wandered down the stairs and through the long hallways with hands stuffed in the deep pockets of his blue jeans. Any other boy would've easily gotten lost in this place; Whammy's House was an impossible maze of corridors, especially at night. But he'd lived here long, and the shadowy halls were old friends to him now. Everything was utterly dark and utterly silent, save for the soft echoes of the piano and the occasional windows that cast patches of moonlight on the floor. He quickened his pace as the melody grew closer; and soon, he was standing in the doorway of the music hall.
Sure enough, there she was - a tiny figure bent over the keys of the gleaming instrument, spinning golden threads of sound with dancing fingers, completely oblivious to the late...or rather, early hour. Or anything else.
He began to quietly make his way across the floor, not wanting to startle her or interrupt the song. Something twinged inside him as he listened. It was soft and plaintive, like pale winter sunlight; rising and falling in minor arpeggios, shifting in and out of lighter, major chords...and it was filled with a strange sadness that he'd never felt in her music before.
But before he had a chance to mull it over, the melody trailed off into nothing and the little girl sucked in a sharp breath. He stopped in his tracks. Her face was hidden in the shadows, but he could see how her fingers flinched and caught desperately at the keys. Something was wrong.
She hesitated, then attempted to play a few more bars...and again, the music dwindled into silence.
And she burst into tears.
Torn between confusion and awkward pity, the boy crossed the last few feet of floor between them and cautiously sat next to her on the black bench, staring down at his toes as she cried. He'd never seen her this upset before and he wasn't sure what to make of it. She normally seemed so...carefree, so joyous, like nothing dark could touch her. And yet here she sat, sobs shaking her thin frame, a heavy and unknown grief bowing her shoulders.
What did people usually do to make other people feel better? Didn't they give hugs or something? Or was it pats on the back? Or both? His social skills certainly weren't the best.
But nevertheless, he lifted a tentative arm and put it around her shoulders.
This only seemed to make her cry harder, but she leaned into the uncertain embrace and buried her face in his shirt. He took this as an indication that he was doing it right.
"L," she choked, "I can't get it right! I can't remember! I have to remember..."
He lifted his other arm and pulled her into a hug, saying nothing.
"I have to remember," she repeated, her tearful voice muffled in the white fabric. "Otherwise, I'll lose...he won't..." She trailed off, gave one more hiccuping sob and fell silent, sniffing back the remaining tears.
"What will you lose?" he finally asked.
"Daddy's song," the girl whispered.
"Your father?" Mild concern flashed across L's face and he pulled away to search her eyes for an answer. "Fae, what's going on?"
"Me and Daddy. We were playing a song."
"Was it a dream?"
"Y-yes." She wiped her nose on her hand. "There was warm light everywhere and he...he smiled and looked at me, and he was showing me how to play this song. But I woke up. And I knew I had to remember that song, I had to, or else I'd lose a piece of him. So I ran downstairs and tried to catch it, and I got some of it, but I couldn't...r-remember the rest."
So that was it. She was afraid to let go of her father.
L frowned. He'd never had trouble letting go of his parents; after all, it was him who had run away from home in the first place. Parents were nothing to him. But Fae...she never had a choice when they left her world.
What was it like, to lose someone close to you? How much did it hurt? How hard was it to carry that kind of pain at only six years of age? He could only guess.
"You really loved him, didn't you?" he murmured, tasting the idea. "You...miss him."
Her small voice trembled. "Yes, very much."
"And did he love you?"
Fae nodded several fervent times and wiped at her nose again, staring miserably at the piano keys in front of her.
L gazed at nothing for a moment, turning over these facts in his head, trying to piece together a solution for her sadness. The hint of a thoughtful smile finally ghosted across his lips.
"I don't think you need to remember the rest of the song," he said slowly. "Maybe you need to take the part you already have and make a new song out of it instead."
The girl turned and looked at him with anguished grey-blue eyes, and he laid a reassuring hand on her head.
"Continue it with your own melody, Fae. And don't be afraid to. I'm certain that's what your father would have wanted."
Her little eyebrows knit together as his words sunk in...and at last, a tiny spark of hope rekindled her tear-stained face. The grief was still there, but now it was tempered with assurance and courage. She lifted her chin and managed a shaky half-smile.
"I always am," L replied in a dry tone, slipping off the bench. "Now come on." He offered her a slender hand. Fae stifled a yawn and sleepily took it, and they began the long walk back to their rooms.
"Sing me something," she commanded as they reached the top of the stairs.
The boy raised his faint eyebrows. "You want me to...sing?"
"Yes. For bedtime. Please," she added quickly. L blinked in mild surprise, bemusement flickering in his dark eyes, but he squeezed her hand and continued walking with her. A few moments of silence passed as he tried to think of something. Knowing Fae, it had to be a good one.
Ahhh, he knew the perfect song for her.
Smiling, he hummed a few notes to refresh his memory; then he opened his mouth and sang in a soft, low tone:
Sing to me of the song of the stars
Of your galaxy dancing and laughing
And laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans
That you have for me over again...