I went outside once.

I remember, I was 10, and the other kids bothered me everyday about why I wouldn't go outside and play with them.

I thought about telling them I had some disease, but I didn't want to have to keep the lie consistent, and I didn't want to have to endure their looks of pity at my "life threatening illness." And it would be bad if Roger found out.

So, when ever they ask, I just ignored them. It's the easiest thing to do. Then they'd usually say something insulting and walk away.

But if he ever asked me, I know I would say yes and go with him. I'm not sure why, but it's just something I know would happen. If that blonde boy came up to me, smiled that smile of his and said "Hey Near, do you want to play kick ball with us?" I would push aside whatever I was doing and get up and play kick ball, although I've never played it before.

I will never forget the day that did happen. I was working on a puzzle of 3 cats in a bush (I didn't really want to be doing it, I just randomly grabbed it), and noticed that a shadow had fallen over me.

"Hey Near," the shadow said, "do you want to play kick ball with us?"

I didn't have to look up to know who was talking to me. It was him. His voice made my heart beat faster.

I was silent.

"aw, come on Mello! He's never going to come out, so just leave him alone."

The shadow turned to face the girl that was called him. "No! If he doesn't come out then I'm going to stay in here with him!"

"fine then, suit yourself." the girl replied and walked off.

Mello turned back to face me.

"Come on, just for today. You'll never have to do it again."

I looked up at him. He was a little older than me, but not by much. Although sitting there on the floor, he was towering above me, and looking quite menacing.

Well, he would have been quite menacing if he didn't look so kind and hopeful.

I didn't know what to say, so I just stared at him, staring at me. Finally I muttered "Would you really stay in here with me?"

He looked a little shocked by that statement, I don't know why. But then he smiled warmly, (I had to turn away so he wouldn't see me blushing), and said "Yep. If you want to stay in a work on a puzzle, then I'll stay in with you."

He sat down and grabbed one of the scattered pieces and pushed it into place, proving his point. Then I, quiet shy little me, stood up, head bowed.

"lets go outside and play kick ball."

Mello's amber eyes lit up and he jumped to his feet. He reached for my hand, or so I thought, which sent a jolt through my body, but instead he grabbed onto my wrist and began to drag me outside.

He was explaining the rules of kick ball as we made our way to the field. I was trying to pay attention, but found it harder than I imagined. Some of the other kids were staring at me, and I was staring at him, and he was talking so fast that could barely keep up with his words.

We stopped on the outskirts of the field and he waved.

"Look who joined us?" he yelled, laughing.

I thought the other would go into shock and die.

They just stared at me and Mello, who was still holding onto my arm, with wide eyes and their mouths slightly open. Then they smiled and laughed and congratulated Mello.

"Here," he said, looking down at me, "We'll just watch for a bit so you can see how it works." I nodded and turned to watch it.

I almost instantly got what the object of the game was: kick the ball, run like hell and hope you don't get hit with the ball while running. Simple enough.

The pitcher rolled the large red ball towards a boy standing on the plate. He kicked the ball hard and it went sailing. He began to run the bases. There was a lot of yelling and shouting and commotion. He was running second base when he tripped over the girl who was desperately trying to get the ball to "tag him out."

They both fell and she began to cry. Mello looked at me.

"Are you ready to play."

I nodded, a nervous jitter forming in my stomach. "I... think so."

Mello seemed to catch onto my nervousness and patted me on the shoulder. "Don't worry Near, it's just a game. Nobody is going to laugh at you if you don't get it right the first time."

For some reason, I believed this boy. I nodded again, to let him know I understood.

He smiled and told the others he'd man second base. He ran over to take his place as I walked onto home plate.

He rolled the ball. It was coming at me quickly. I pulled back my leg and kicked the ball as far as I could, my eyes tightly shut.

I heard a collective chorus of "wows" and "oh my" rise around me. I cracked one eye open and looked around.

Mello's voice was yelling at me.

"Run Near!" he shouted, "run!!"

So I did.

And boy did I run.

I thought that the shouting and running around would distract me, would scare me.

But I had to prove myself.

I had to make Mello like me.

And if excelling at this sport would do it, then god damn it, I would try.

I was nearing second base. He was smiling at me. But there was something different about his smile, about his eyes.

I was almost at the base now. He stepped off of it, to give me room I thought. He held out his hand. That smile was still on his face. That smile I couldn't identify. I felt his hand on my shoulder.

How odd, I thought, why was he touching me?

Why was he... pushing me?

I felt him push hard on my shoulder, throwing me off balance. It seemed like time had stopped as I began to fall. I remember a distinct pain in my ankle.

I thought to myself, I'll just hit the ground. Nothing to bad.

But I was shocked when the ground was wet and cold and sloshed up to meet my body.

I had forgotten that it had rained last night.

Most of the field was dry.

Except for the mud puddle next to second base.

I hit the water with a splash, thick brown water stained my clothes. Mud stuck to my skin and hair.

I was soaked to the bone.

I looked up at Mello. His was laughing, his eyes narrowed. The other kids were laughing. I didn't turn to look at them, I only stared up at Mello, my bottom lip quivering as my eyes brimmed with crystal tears, threatening to overflow.

Upon seeing my hurt look, I saw a flash of emotion flit across Mello's eyes. Pity. Shame. Sadness of some sort. I'm not sure. But I do know, for that one split second, he felt bad for hurting me. And upon seeing that flicker of guilt, I felt like hitting him. If he was going to humiliate me, then he better be sure it's what he wants. There is to be no second thoughts after
he pushes me into the mud.

My anger, my pain, and my sadness condensed in the form of tears, now beginning to escape and roll down my cheek. I turn away. He mustn't see me cry.

I got to my feet, even though my left ankle was obviously twisted, and decided to walk away calmly and coolly. To not show that I was, indeed, broken by this. But I made the mistake of glancing at Mello before I left. That one look threw off my whole plan and before I knew it, I was running as fast as I could to get away from them. All of them. Especially him.

When I got back inside, I showered, the mud rolling off my body in rivulets, and got my ankle examined. At dinner that evening, even though some kids pointed and whispered, giggles bursting out randomly throughout the cafeteria, I ignored them. I really hoped they noticed my limp as I tried to keep my weight off of my left ankle. I hoped they felt bad for me, but not bad enough to confront me. I just wanted them to think about it. To think if it was really that funny.

And thus, years ago when I was ten years old and my crush pushed me into a mud puddle changed my whole life.

It's funny how the littlest things have the biggest impacts.

Wow. Ok. My first MxN fic. Sincere apologies of they're OOC. I was changing today when this idea randomly popped into my head. I wrote half of it at my Grandma's house before Thanksgiving dinner. Excuse the crappy title. I couldn't think of anything. I hope you liked it, and please tell me how to improve my writing, characterization, anything that I'm currently lacking, but don't be to harsh. It is my first M/N fic.