A/N: Entirely Akane's fault, as I normally don't write MelloNear. I rather like how it turned out, though. Review and let me know what you think.

Puzzles

Near is a puzzle.

A living, breathing puzzle.

One he needs to solve.

Sometimes, Near wonders when he became a puzzle. He didn't used to be one, he knows, when he was a child, before his cognitive thought. But at some point, he became one, the cold, white pieces building up around his core.

Near doesn't mind, though. He's always liked puzzles.

Puzzles, to Near, are what the world is made of; just pieces and remnants scattered about. There's rarely an entire one to be seen, and when you finally get all one's pieces together in just the right way, the jigsaw becomes a whole, allowing you to see the picture it creates.

The unsolved puzzles of world taunt Near, as he tries to solve his own.

Near knows he is a puzzle; he tries to solve it every day. But his pieces are scattered, hidden, secreted, and first he must find them all.

Near has most of his pieces, he thinks, although a few of them are still missing. The pieces he has give a faint outline of his picture, hinting at what he may come to be. His picture is not complete without those pieces, though, and so Near continues to solve.

Near finds his pieces randomly, whenever they want to be found. There is one on his paper, the one with a bright red "one-hundred" at the top. There is one in Roger's hand when he congratulates him after he solves his first case, and there is one in L's smile for him, the biggest one of all.

Near tries to solve his puzzle. He tries to solve himself every day. He looks for his pieces around the house, desperate, hoping, only to rediscover that he is not so easy to solve.

The other children try to solve Near, sometimes, wondering who or what he is. They quiz and question him, picking him apart. Near knows they will never succeed in solving him. Puzzles are only solved when pieces are put together to portray a picture, not by breaking them apart..

Near waits to discover his own picture, as his puzzle starts to form.

Near is delicate, like a puzzle, full of tiny cracks. The half-done picture this tries to hide, but if you take a closer look, you can see the lines where his pieces fit together in a shallow sort of bond. The more pieces he has, the stronger he is, though never truly invincible until he is fully solved.

Near is careful with his puzzle, knowing just how delicate he truly is. He avoids the other kids to hide his cracks, hoping they do not see. On his own he tries to finish, longing to discover the picture he is to be.

Near sees that the others are puzzles, too, in various degrees of completion. He watches them solve and shatter from the shadows, where he solves himself. Near sees Linda, Matt, and Mello, their pieces different colors and shapes from his.

Mello's puzzle is never finished, Near sees, his pieces jumbled at his core. Raw and chaotic, a mess of fragments, Mello lashes out at others, for he has never learned to solve. Near hopes to help solve Mello someday, but he knows first he must solve himself, if he is ever to truly solve at all.

Near finds a piece one day when he comes in top at class, and Mello sees his smile. Later, Mello lashes out at him, yelling, screaming, throwing his own pieces at his cracks, breaking Near apart.

Mello leaves in a hot whirl of jumbled colors. Near's pieces lie on the floor in a mess; his puzzle shattered, his picture broken apart.

Quietly, Near bends down to find his pieces, to put them together once again. There are many of them, and it is a slow, methodical business, rediscovering how they came together before they were broken apart.

After Near has finished, he finds he has more pieces than he started with.

Near wonders if Mello is hiding some of his pieces, hoping he too stays incomplete. He wonders why he and Mello seem to share some pieces, and if he and Mello are meant to come together to form one picture, meant to never come apart.

Near shivers.

Some puzzles are hard to solve.


Read it? Please, review. Tell me what you thought of it. Please, review!