Rating: PG, mostly, maybe except for some language
Warning: Spoilers for Matt's real name
Notes: Because, honestly, Matt's real name's sorta funny.
He'd had a lot of nicknames, even though he hadn't even been alive that long. "Firehead" was what he was first called by the older kids at the orphanage when he was brought there at age two, not yet the jaded persona he later came to be. His hair (red, almost unnaturally so), became the theme around which the next few nicknames were centered: "Reddie" and "Fruity" being the more memorable ones. "Techie" was a popular one because he was always good with computers, and "that creepy bat kid" was another one because he so often lurked in the more dimly lit rooms to give his poor light-sensitive eyes a rest.
Then there was the one he hated the most: "Mailman." It was hard not to get a nickname like that when you were named "Mail Jeevas." Regardless of the fact that his name was to be pronounced "mile," as in the distance, rather than "mail," as in the method of communication, there was no end to the number of kids who sniggered upon hearing his name. "Mailman, mailman, do you have any letters for us today?" It always made him wonder what the hell his parents were on when they named him that.
(But he never wondered too hard. He knew better than to go searching for the motivations of parents who'd dumped him on the doorstep of an orphanage. He knew better than to go looking for information that would only hurt him, and he was perfectly satisfied with pretending that they were glorious people who'd passed on some fine genes to him.)
By the time he was ten, he had the physique of a thirteen year old and the 'attitude' of a fifteen year old.
"What is your name, young man?"
He couldn't help but wrinkle his nose at the man's question, though his disapproving squint was hidden behind the sunglasses. (He'd bought them so he could walk around like a normal person during the day, without stumbling and squinting, and the plan worked, but they had also spawned a new nickname, and not a particularly pleasant one: "Bug-Eye.")
"Mail. Mail Jeevas."
"Well then, Mail. Would you like to live in a new place?"
At first, he was wary of this "orphanage for gifted children," but then he figured that any place would be better than this playground for idiots that he was at. (He slept through most of his classes at the public school the orphanage kids attended, and still passed with flying colors; as a result, he was the object of much jealousy and hatred. Not that he cared, much.)
He was also delighted, at first, by the chance to rename himself. It puzzled him, at first, this request that he now go by some other sort of identity, but he figured that it probably served a purpose. Made it easier to handle them, or kept information confidential in case anything illegal was involved, or made it harder for other parties to interfere and find personal information. Something like that. Maybe it was a chance to start things anew with a new name.
But in the end, he couldn't really decide anything. When Rodger asked him as they got off the car at the gates of Wammy's House, and took the small bag of possessions that he owned, he shook his head.
"I'll tell you later."
"That is fine. But remember, it will be your new name, so think over it carefully."
Five minutes into some cautious exploration of the hallways, a smaller brunette bulled into him. When they were done rubbing bruised limbs and dusting off clothes and apologizing (though this last one was more of a one-sided activity), they exchanged names. Sort of.
"Hey, you're new, aren't you?"
"Awesome." A quick glance over the shoulder and towards the hallway, where the sound of footsteps was growing larger. Mostly likely a game of tag, or something like that. The yells and thumps went off in a different direction, and the boy grinned, holding out his hand. "Name's Catcher. You?"
"Huh? You didn't make a new name yet?"
"Well, you better hurry up, then. Word'll get around about any new kids, and if you don't get a new name quick, then your old name'll be what people know you as, and Rodger will just put that down as your new name."
Matt frowned a bit. At least he now had an incentive to think of a name more quickly.
Catcher cast another wary glance as the noise in the hallways grew louder.
"Oh, and you're new, so lemme warn you. Don't disturb Mello or Near."
"Mello's this blond kid, and Near's got white hair. Mello'll bite your head off if you disturb him while he's reading. I guess Near's not so bad, but he doesn't like being bothered when he's doing puzzles."
"Blond and white—"
The sound of a door being opened just down the hall, and Catcher bolted up the stairwell.
As it was a Sunday, most of the kids were outside playing soccer or tag (the game had quickly moved outside), but the bright sunlight made Matt more content with poking about the various rooms of the building, slowly drawing out a mental map of the place. (He had a good sense of direction, and was taking note of which places would be good for some quiet gaming.) In the sixth (or seventh?) room that he poked his head into, he found it occupied.
The blond was curled up on one of those roundish armchairs, a thick book propped up on his knees and a bar of half-eaten chocolate clenched in his mouth. However, at the sound of the door creaking open (it needed some oiling, and badly), he looked up, a blatant scowl on his face. "Get out."
It wasn't that Matt was unused to rough language (after all, he had learned the majority of his curse words from the older, more delinquent kids at school, as well as the proper ways to say them with flair), but those two words ground him the wrong way. Maybe it was the way they was said, or the absolutely disproving tone of voice, but, whatever it was, it elicited a frown from him.
Mello, was it? Or wait, was it Near? One was a blond, and one had white hair, but his apathy towards the issue meant that the names hadn't really stuck in his mind. It was probably Near. Whatever.
"Well, aren't you pleasant."
He was about to close the door when the voice called back at him (not any friendlier, but now with a slight tint of curiosity, if it could be called that.)
"You're new here." (It was phrased as a statement, rather than a question.)
"If I am?"
"What's your name?"
He really didn't feel like helping get his old name stabilized as his new name, so he gave a dry smile in response, leaning against the frame of the door.
"Shouldn't you say your name first?" He took a guess, it was a 50/50 chance, anyway. "…Near?"
He'd never really been all that lucky.
The speed with which the blond crossed the distance between the two of them was impressive, as was the force with which Matt found himself pushed into the wall. The grip at the neck of his shirt wasn't something to be laughed at, either.
"What did you just call me?" He had about half of the first word of his response out when the blond shook him, the voice sinking down into a furious hiss. "You better not have just called me by that albino freak's name, bug-eye."
"You better get your hearing checked, then." The sarcastic response came out despite the fact he knew it would be best to apologize, and it was then that, for once, he regretted what he'd said. Mello glared at him, and it was creepily terrifying, especially given how girly he looked with his haircut.
Matt had just readied himself for a punch in the face, or a kick, at least, when Mello snorted. The tension didn't quite vanish, but it lessened slightly. Though his eyes were still sharp, the blond let out a short, dry laugh, releasing the hold he'd had on the redhead's collar.
"You're fucking crazy."
"And stupid. I'm Mello. How the hell did you mix up two names, dumbass?"
The situation was so bizarre that he blinked, though it didn't show through his sunglasses. "Apathy works wonders."
Dangerous amusement ran abound in Mello's expression. "So, what's your name?"
"I haven't made one yet."
"You're a twat. Now get out. I'm reading."
"Mello. Call me that again, and I'll beat you."
Standing outside in the hallways, Matt gave a small laugh. 'Bite your head off', huh? Oh, right. Names. He really needed to decide, since it seemed people here were actually somewhat aware of proper etiquette (different from politeness), and inquired about names a lot.
'You're a twat.' The phrase amused him. A name, a name, a name. Mail the Twat…no, wait. Matt the Twat.
It worked, and it was easy to memorize. What was in a name, anyway? It was just four letters, Mail, Mile, Matt, and either way, it would be all too easy to make fun of it. Might as well take it with good humor.
"Well, have you decided?"
"Matt? Are you sure? You will be addressed by that name from now."
The next day, he found himself sitting in the seat just in front of Mello's in the mathematics class. The blond threw tiny pieces of torn-off eraser at his neck until he looked back. "What?"
"Got a name yet, shades?"
"Yeah." He grinned. "Matt."
"Matt." Mello rolled the single syllable around his mouth for a moment before spitting it out, looking immensely amused. "Not too good with that kinda stuff, are you? Sounds pretty dumb."
"Better than Melon."
"Not quite, Mattress."