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  1. "My nose hurts."
  2.  
  3. Kid wasn't necessarily taken aback by the proclamation, but he stopped dabbing his twin—perfectly matched handkerchiefs at the younger reaper's eyes. His eyebrow rose in tandem, forming thin, black arches. One side—THE LEFT—of Ronald's face was blotchier than the other and he wanted to rub his thumb hard against the right to even out the color.
  4.  
  5. But Ronald had said something so he should probably reply. Appear interested. "It's running."
  6.  
  7. Not evening, Kid doesn't add. He's learning.
  8.  
  9. "No, it hurts. It started hurting when I started the—the… tears thing." Ronald waved one hand, indicating falling rain more than the fact he'd been crying. "The bridge—the inside. Don't you ever—doesn't it hurt for you?"
  10.  
  11. Thinking back, Death's son could recall a burning sensation along that ridge. It had never occurred to him that someone like Ronald, who'd never cried before in his entire existence, would think it *odd*. Unnatural. "It is supposed to happen, Ronald Knox."
  12.  
  13. "Oh." The hysterics were over and for that, the both of them were glad; Kid because Ronald was no longer *so* uneven and Ronald—Kid *suspected*-- because he was very new to these things and didn't like the wetness or the stinging blur or having to clean his glasses of smear-leaving saline.
  14.  
  15. "Will you tell me why you were crying, now?"
  16.  
  17. "I don't remember."
  18.  
  19. Ronald is not a good liar. Was not a good liar. Kid went back to wiping in delicate strokes underneath his eyes.
  20.  
  21. "… I came home and you were—"
  22.  
  23. "I said I don't remember. I'm speaking plain English, aren't I, sir?"
  24.  
  25. There was that word again. The Meister didn't know if it meant something or was a slip without Freudian innuendos.  Ronald had said it a few times before as if Kid had been yelling or chastising him when he'd asked what was wrong in an awkward, strained way.
  26.  
  27. *What happened?*
  28.  
  29. *I'm sorry, sir. Nothing happened.*
  30.  
  31. What was he supposed to do with that? He could imagine it was something engrained in Ronald from his version of childhood; what if he'd been a crybaby in the eve of his duty and had the urge shepherded out of him? 'Sir' denoted authority and the way he avoided eye contact even from the distance of a few inches—
  32.  
  33. "Stop looking for something," Mister Knox snapped and someone inside of Kid thought Ronald might be a better patient if he took the liberty of dislocating his jaw so he couldn't talk back.
  34.  
  35. *Simmer down, Id.* That wasn't something Kid would normally think but it's something Ronald would if Ronald hadn't been crying and Ronald wasn't clutching at his knees.
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