Pairings: Matt x Near (yes, you read that right), hints of Mello x Near
Authors notes: Oh yeah, I dared it. I'm not the first, however. I've read a few of them, including one that I think is in my favorites list! My reasons? Well, not only is it ADORABLE, but its been stuck in my head for about two weeks now.
Detention was not something that Matt liked. Then again, to say you liked detention was to sin against mankind. Despite the fact that it was almost exactly like class, except one on one, he avoided it at all costs. Usually, the other students did the same, especially Mello.
So when Mello came up to him after classes, red-faced, mumbling something about having detention for talking back to a teacher, Matt couldn't help but laugh.
Laughing at Mello was not something that the blonde liked, so it was no surprise when he forcefully told Matt to shut up and smacked the ever-present game boy from his hands. It hit the floor, the back flying off and the batteries inside bursting out like they had waited their whole lives to do so. In fact, it may have been Matt's imagination, but he could have sworn he heard 'I'm free!' from the tiny objects.
When one of the two rolled past them and into the nearly empty playroom, Mello let out a spiteful giggle and gave Matt the kind of smile a crack addict rapist might give their victim. He shouted a high 'good luck with that!' before stalking off to serve his detention time.
Now, if he were Mello, he would avoid that room like a plague and run around the orphanage like a chicken with its head cut off looking for a spare battery. However, Matt was not Mello. So, without a care in the world, he scooped up the lone battery and stalked into the playroom, unafraid.
As he reached the boy seated at the other end, the head of nearly white blonde hair turned in his general direction slowly. Matt spotted his battery beside one socked foot, probably thinking that it was safe beside the crouched boy, taking cover in Mello's rival's presence.
But Near was Mello's rival. Not Matt's.
"Hey, Near," Matt greeted like talking to an old friend. "My battery rolled in here and it's by your foot. Can I have it back?"
Near turned completely around, and Mello caught sight of what the strange boy was playing with. It appeared as if he had a Lego village set up, amongst them he could see the little plastic men with their paint torn off and re-done. There was a blonde in all black, a redhead with goggles, and a man whose entire body was painted black. The blonde, probably Mello, was behind the black man, while the redhead, possibly Matt himself, was holding up a little plastic light saber and fighting the black man.
He spotted a single Lego man on Near's other side, all white with white hair. It had a light saber sticking out behind his arm, like children do to pretend they had stabbed each other.
"What'cha playin'?" Matt asked without really thinking, catching Near's almost surprised eyes. No one really cared what Near played, as long as they left him alone. "Is that you?" He pointed to the white Lego in question.
"Yes," Near replied, eyes moving to the toy before turning back to Matt.
"How come you're dead?" Matt inquired, for a moment forgetting all about his battery.
"You killed me," Near said, plain as day. He missed the shocked look on Matt's face as he pointed to the Legos. "You had to save Mello, and I was in the way."
"I had to…" Matt didn't know what to say. He stared at the dead Lego Near, laying on its back with the light saber sticking out.
"Here." Near's voice and a battery sticking in his face brought Matt back to reality. He looked down at the albino boy, holding the battery up to him with his head turned away.
Matt cleared his throat and thanked Near, taking the battery and leaving the room. For some reason, he couldn't get those words out of his head.
'You killed me.'
Weekends were both welcome and unwelcome in the Wammy house, especially during the fall when it rained more often then not, trapping the children inside. It was only on rainy days that they dared enter the playroom, as it was only on rainy days that the one child who usually occupied it was nowhere to be found.
It was an unspoken agreement between Near and the other kids of the orphanage – When the sun was out, the playroom was his sanctuary. When it rained, they had free run of it.
Even when it rained, Matt and Mello did not dare go near the playroom. Mello 'would claim it was because they were 'to old' and 'mature' to play with toys, but everyone knew the real reasons.
Before yesterday, Matt had never wondered what Near did during rainy days. He was always preoccupied with Mello, his best friend, and trying to stay entertained without going outside. Despite his love of videogames, there was only so many he could play against Mello in one day without going crazy. Especially since he had to let Mello win, or the blonde would throw a fit.
Today, however, Matt was distracted. He couldn't help but wonder what Near was doing, and where he was. He also wondered if Near ever felt lonely… after all, everyone in the orphanage had someone close to them. Or at least as far as Matt knew. He had Mello, and Mello had him… they were inseparable. Did Near ever wish he had someone like that?
"What's got you all distracted?" Mello's voice cut into Matt's train of thought. "Don't tell me. You've got a crush."
"A crush?" Matt repeated, inwardly laughing at what Mello was suggesting. A crush on Near? Mello would have a heart attack and die.
"Yeah." Mello raised a fine eyebrow past his long bangs. "'Cuz you haven't pressed a button in the last five minuets. I've been beating you senseless and you haven't even noticed. Usually, that would mean you're thinking hard, and since you don't have the brain power to do so, I'm assuming you have a crush."
"You're assuming wrong, then," Matt informed, placing his controller down and stretching. "I'm just thinking."
"About?" Mello asked, not even taking to account that Matt might not want to share.
Humming, Matt thought about the right way to word it. He knew Mello would over-react, and probably not talk to him for a few days, but it was fine by him.
Finally he asked, "Do you ever think we're too hard on Near?"
Mello's face was priceless. It looked as if Matt had dared to ask him, 'Why do you like chocolate?' He appeared dumb-founded, but at the same time anger was rising in his eyes.
"He's an arrogant bastard!" Mello nearly shrieked. "He acts like he's better than me just because he gets a better score! He's always acting so… perfect! Of course we're not too hard on him! He's a jerk!"
Despite the fact that Matt had never seen Near act like he was better then Mello or be rude, he let the blonde rant before calmly asking. "Do you think you'd ever kill him?"
Mello calmed down, staring at Matt with wide eyes. Sure, he hated Near, but the proposal of killing him was completely insane.
"What the hell are you on?" Mello finally asked. "At least keep it down to one completely crazy question a day."
Matt gave him a simple 'answer the damn question' look and Mello sighed melodramatically. No pun intended.
"I wouldn't kill anyone," Mello answered simply. When Matt didn't lighten his look, he added, "Even though I hate Near, I don't hate him enough to want him dead. Satisfied, or do I have to confess a secret love obsession about him as well?"
"I don't know, do you have one?" Matt inquired, raising an eyebrow. The response was a pillow to the head. "Should I take that as a yes?"
He was tackled and hit numerous times with a pillow, laughing all the while as he cried out, 'You do! You do!' just to annoy the blonde.
They quit when the bell for lunch rang, heading to the cafeteria as they chattered loudly.
When they entered the room, Matt couldn't help but look for Near. It was something he had never done before, yet it came almost automatically.
"Hey, Mello," he mused as they stood in line. "Does Near always skip lunch?"
"What's with this sudden interest in Near?" Mello responded as the cook plopped some strange food onto his plate. Matt giggled as he stuck out his tongue in disgust. "Usually you pretend like he doesn't exist."
"I know," Matt responded, the cook placing the same slop onto his plate. "I guess I just kinda realized I never really noticed him, and took interest."
"Well stop." Matt glanced at Mello in question. "I don't wanna hear about Near all the time. I know you, you get obsessive over random things and then you talk and talk and talk about them. Then you buy the videogame. Well, there is no Near videogame, so give it a rest."
"That's what you think," Matt informed. "But actually, there's a secret organization who kidnapped Near and read his brain and made a videogame off of it, and they called it, 'Near 2205! Destroy Mello!'. It's a huge hit."
"Matt, shut the hell up," Mello stated, before turning to go to his usual seat.
"I'm serious!" Matt retorted, following the blonde. "You try to take over the world, so they send out this Near-robot in order to stop you, but the Near-robot still has Near's feelings and it thinks its really human, so it doesn't want to kill you because you're like, the only person it really cares about. So the two of you end up fighting against the company that makes him, only to find out he's really a robot and the real Near is in danger and you gotta save him!"
"Will you shut up about Near already?" Mello hissed, slamming his plate down onto the table. "If you say his name one more time…"
"Near," Matt instantly said, sitting beside Mello.
Mello growled and scooped up a handful of slop from his plate, before shoving it into Matt's face.
"Food-fight!" Someone screamed, and the kids were off.
"Great, thanks Matt," Mello hissed, mop in hand, slop dripping from his usually neat and clean hair. "Now we're stuck cleaning up. Just what I want to be doing on a Saturday afternoon."
"Hey, its not my fault you freaked out just because I said his name," Matt responded as he scrubbed something brown off of one of the many messy tables. "I mean, you completely overreacted."
"Well, it doesn't help that you've suddenly become obsessed with him," Mello snapped back angrily. "You know I hate him. You just had to push my buttons."
"Why hate him, anyway?" Matt asked, pouting slightly. "I mean, can you actually prove that he rubs it in your face, or is it just something you think he does? I've never seen him do it, and I'm almost always with you. He just congratulates you on your good scores."
"Which is his way of rubbing it in!" Mello cried, gripping the mop tightly. "He congratulates me on my good scores, but his are better!"
"Are you sure he's not just trying to be nice?" Matt asked.
"Have you seen him ever be nice?" Mello snapped.
"Have you seen him ever be mean?" Matt retorted.
"The lovers are having a spat?" Came an annoying voice from the doorway.
Both boys looked to see a tall, jock-looking kid standing there, scowl on his face. "What do you want, Jay?" Mello asked, glaring harshly.
"A stupid albino birdie told Roger I was the one who shouted 'food fight', and he decided I should take over cleaning duty," Jay hissed. "You two can do. But if you see Near, tell him his ass is mine."
"Near wasn't even in the cafeteria," Matt responded, shoving the sponge he held into Jay's hands.
"Uh, yeah he was," Jay snapped, sneering at Matt. "He sits in the back, dumbass. Its where he always sits. Alone. 'Cuz the loser has no friends."
"Just like you," Mello responded, shoving the mop into Jay. "So shut the hell up." He grabbed Matt's wrist before the redhead could say anything, and dragged him from the room.
"God, he's such an ass," Mello mumbled as he and Matt headed back to the back area of the orphanage, where the bedrooms were.
"I thought you didn't care when people make fun of Near?" Matt asked.
"I do," Mello growled. "Near is mine to make fun of. No one else can match up to our level, therefore they don't have the right to pick on him."
Matt said nothing, but his mind worked over what Mello said. Near was his. His to make fun of, but still his. That sounded a bit less like rivalry and a bit more like obsession on Mello's part.
Mello hated going to bed at night. The reason was most likely the room he shared with Near, forced by Roger being sick of their fights. He told Matt that by the time he went to bed, Near was usually fast asleep, but that didn't stop him from despising even entering the room.
Near and Mello kept their sides of the room almost exactly opposite. Mello's was a mess of clothes, books, papers, and homework thrown all over the place. One would do a double take when he was referred to as a 'Genius.' Near's side, however, was neat and clean almost to the point of OCD. His bed was always made, his toys always stacked perfectly along the walls, and his desk always neat and clean. The two were about as similar as fire and ice would be – the only thing they had in common was the fact that they were both smarter then average.
Matt never cared much to look to Near's side of the room. He supposed it was kind of lame, but he never really realized that Near existed past Mello's dramatic rants of hatred toward the white haired boy. He wondered what Near was really like… what he thought about when he was alone, what he dreamed about at night… he wondered if Near ever wanted any friends, but was thrown into the chaos of the orphanage and forced into the back.
Matt was the unluckiest of people when it came to his roommate. He would take anyone over Jay. The bastard was loud when he was awake, and snored while he was asleep. Half the time, Matt had to sleep out in the hallway to actually get some shut-eye.
Sighing after a third hour of sleeplessness, Matt got up from his bed and headed down the hallway. He entered the boy's bathroom, intent on splashing his face, or perhaps fall asleep on the floor. He was caught a bit off-guard when he entered the room to find Near against the back wall, one leg pulled up his chest and his face buried in his arms.
"Near?" He asked, causing the albino to jump in surprise. That in itself was strange – Near was rarely, if ever, caught off-guard. "What are you doing in here?"
Near stared at him for a moment, as if wondering if Matt was actually talking to him. After a moment of silence, he responded, "I had a nightmare. I didn't want to wake Mello, so I came in here."
"Wake Mello?" Matt inquired, slowly walking over. "What do you mean? Do you have nightmares a lot, and Mello helps you or something?"
Near watched as Matt sat next to him. "I have them almost every night…" He stopped, hesitance in his voice obvious. He wasn't used to being open to anyone, save for L. L knew everything about him, and L welcomed it all without judgment.
Matt hummed, sensing the unease as he sat beside Near, legs spread out and hands behind his head. "You know…" he mused, turning his head to look at the younger boy. "I may be Mello's best friend, Near, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go blab everything I hear to him."
Near was silent for a moment, before he let out a small sigh and continued. "I have them almost every night. Sometimes, I guess I wake up screaming and it wakes up Mello. He doesn't get mad or anything, but I feel bad waking him up all the time. I try to avoid it when I can."
Matt watched Near for a moment before he dared to ask, "What are the nightmares about?"
Near looked to him, appearing almost surprised. That was the second time Matt had done what no one else did – ask him how he felt about something. He was so used to being ignored and in the background, but Matt kept catching him off-guard. It was… odd.
"I don't remember," he finally said, honestly. "I always wake up terrified, but I never remember why."
A moment of silence passed between the two, before Matt stated, "I'm sorry, Near." Before the other could question him, he continued, "I'm sorry for all the times I helped Mello pick on you. I guess I was… naïve. I didn't realize you were human under all that quietness."
"It's fine," Near told him, slightly confused. "But… why, all of the sudden…?"
"I bet you twenty bucks Mello is thinking the same thing," Matt laughed. "He got all pissy earlier 'cuz I asked him why he picks on you so much. Man, he threw a hissy fit!"
Something shocking happened then, something Matt never knew existed. Near raised a hand to his mouth, closed his eyes, and giggled. The sound was unlike anything Matt had ever heard… it could silence anyone in an instant. He found himself wishing he could hear more of it, like an addiction. So when Near's giggle calmed down and he looked toward Matt, the redhead schemed.
Near's eyes widened and he turned, trying to get away, but not fast enough. The squeal he let out when Matt's fingers attacked and began dancing under his shirt and across his ribs was like music to the redhead's ears. Near squealed and giggled in a way Matt never knew existed, grabbing the redhead's arms in an attempt to make him stop.
When he'd had his fill of the addicting sound, Matt removed his hands and let Near breathe. Near collapsed against him, still giggling every so often as he gasped for air. Matt couldn't help but smile softly. This side of Near was so… different. But he welcomed it.
"Why did you do that?" Near asked once he could breath again, lifting his eyes up to Matt's. There was no emotion on his face, per usual, but his eyes sparked curiosity.
"I wanted to hear you laugh," Matt answered, the answer obvious to him. "I like the sound. I wanted to hear more of it. You should do it more often."
Near blinked, surprised by the words. He stared at Matt for a long while, their eyes connecting in the dimly lit bathroom. After a few moments had passed he turned his head away and cleared his throat. "I should… get back to my room."
Matt, who had forgotten where he was, lifted up his watch and lit it. A digital "5:30 AM" shone into his eyes, catching him off-guard. Was it really that late… or rather, early?
"Me too," he stated after a moment, standing slowly. He held out his hand toward Near, his heart skipping a beat when a soft pale hand met his. Pulling Near to his feet, Matt was sad when their hands departed. Without another word he and Near walked back to their rooms, both of them knowing they wouldn't get any sleep that night.
To be continued
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