Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note.
A/N: Hello! This is my first multi-chaptered Death Note fic. Up until now, I've only been doing one shots, as you may or may not know. But, I decided to try my hand at this. It's AU, you know. That's in the summary. XD
Songs For a Kingdom Now Lost.
Near came in April like the frequent thunderstorms and rain showers during that time. The Irai Academy campus was soaking wet and people fell on the slick pavement. Most of the students stayed in their dorm rooms when classes weren't scheduled and the outside classes for sculpting and photography were either held inside or postponed altogether. Even most of the professors got lazy during the days that the rain fell. Some of the students whiled away hours in the hallways with their friends, rebuking the rain for spoiling their creativity while a few others went out to play in it and others called them sophomoric.
But the third thunderstorm that month fell on a Saturday and most of the classes were cancelled then anyway so students had free time. Maybe that was why there were so many people in the hallways and even in the dreary courtyard, Near noted as he walked by them. Everyone stared at him and Near thought it was only partially because he was only about five feet two inches, with pale hair and even paler skin, barefooted, in pajamas and had a light pink bunny clasped to his breastbone. The other reason must've been because his suitcases which were filled mostly with Legos and other stuffed toys that Near had saw fit to take along were all being carried by two men and a woman that followed him down the corridors.
He heard whispers:
"Who is that kid? Is he new?"
"Is he old enough to be here?"
"… Is that a rabbit?"
He ignored them by holding the bunny closer and shuffling a little faster. The sooner he got to his new rooms, the better. He was tired of traveling and the plane ride to Japan still had him shaking a little, even though Hal had warmed him up with a hug in the car. His feet were wet from walking in the rain even though the rest of him was dry from Lester's umbrella. Near had taken special care of the bunny by hiding him within his pajamas until they got into the hallways. The corridors of the Sophomore dorms were winding and the lights were bright, making Near feel a little light-headed. Earlier, Gevanni had offered to carry him but Near declined, wanting to make it by himself.
They came up to the second floor and stopped in front of the door that read 2-19. Near looked down at a little card he had tucked behind the bunny's left ear.
"This is it," he remarked to the adults behind him and he slid the keycard on the light pad. The door unlocked and Near stepped aside, allowing for the other three to go in and unload his things.
Just before Near went in himself, a crash on the other side of the hallway caught his attention. He whirled his head around and blinked at the closed door across from him.
Gevanni poked his head out into the hallway and looked down at Near. "Could you tell me where you'd like… You alright?"
"Yes…" He stared at the closed door.
The crash came again from inside and then some music began to play loudly. Near and Gevanni tilted their heads in unison and Near glanced down the hallway, watching as others rolled their eyes at the door. Some shouts then. Another crash. Near hesitated but timidly came over to the door and pushed his ear up to it.
"Um, Near, maybe you should back up…"
"Sounds like someone is being hurt," Near mused.
The loudest crash then and Near heard faintly someone yelling, "Matt! Look what you did!"
Near blinked and backed up. He walked back into his new dorm and Gevanni sent a wry glare towards those noisy neighbors. He was not liking the idea of leaving Near by himself at this school especially with all these questionable people about. And for what? For art? It hardly seemed worth the risk of having something happen to the boy. Another crash and more yelling and Gevanni decided to let it go, closing the door behind himself.
Mello was in one of his moods. And the strangest thing was that, in Matt's honest opinion, he'd done nothing to trigger it. Mello had just come out of the shower (and was still in his towel, even now) and then just started going off about one thing or another. At first, Matt found it pretty funny, his roommate dripping wet in the middle of the room and scowling like a pissed off cat. But then Mello started throwing things and that wasn't so funny.
"Ah! God, Mello, what the fuck is your problem?" Matt shouted, climbing over the couch and ducking as one of his DS games went whizzing overhead.
"You left a Pokemon Diamond cartridge in the bottom of the tub!"
Matt lifted his head, peeking up. "Shit, really? Is it ruined?"
"Yeah, probably! Because I slipped on it!" Mello raised his elbow to show the redhead and Matt saw where it was raw and red. "It really hurt!"
"Well I'm sorry, but maybe you ought to check before you frolic around in the shower from now on."
Mello gasped disgustedly. "Frolic? I ought to cut you! You leave your stupid toys everywhere and I'm always getting hurt because of it! It wouldn't bother me as much if you were the one breaking your neck over the damn things."
"So you want me to apologize for not being as careless as you?"
"Yes! I-I mean no!" Mello frowned, shaking his fist at Matt who seemed to have a hard time controlling his giggles. Mello groaned, signaling he'd given up. It was rare for Mello to ever give up on anything but he very often gave up on Matt.
Matt, sensing no immediate danger, hopped out from his hiding place and plopped down on one of the couch cushions. The couch squeaked under his weight and it was probably not because he was heavy but because the couch itself was about to break down any day. The two of them had gone half-and-half on the furniture expenses since all dorm rooms came bare. But they'd had little money to spend on such frivolities, the both of them there on scholarships, and thus bought things cheap and sparingly, which was the reason they decided to one full-size bed instead of two twin sized beds. Nevertheless, they had grown accustomed. Matt tilted his head towards Mello and gave the blond a sly grin, patting the cushion next to him.
Mello rolled his eyes but came over anyway and sat down, wetting his half of the couch.
"So," Matt said conversationally, bending down to pick up one of his discarded games. "Are my messy habits the only reason you're so grumpy?"
Mello frowned. "I dunno. I guess I'm just in a rut."
"Yeah, I noticed. Haven't seen you painting in a week."
"Lost your mojo?"
"Nah…" He thought and then shrugged. "Well, I hope not. I might be kicked out if that happened."
Matt was silent. He sighed, "Yeah… wouldn't want that to happen… It'd be bad for me."
Mello blinked. "You sayin' you'd be lonely?"
"No, I mean, I'd have to go through the roommate lottery and might get a real freak."
"Well, it doesn't matter. Everyone has these dry spells, the board knows that. Teachers, too…" He leaned back some. "Actually, I've been running out of steam lately too. Been boring lately… nothing interesting to take pictures of."
"It's rained a lot lately."
"Yeah. But then, everyone and their grandma does photography when it rains. Who wants to follow the crowd? Especially into the rain."
"I guess so…"
"Don't worry. Things'll pick up."
Mello looked unbelieving. "You're so optimistic," he said dryly.
"One of us has to be."
Mello nodded absently. He looked ahead and saw that through the window, the rain was still coming down, pounding on the pavement and the lawns as hard as ever. He saw that, as Matt had said, the redhead's photography colleagues were out in the rain with their water-proof housing on their cameras, snapping like crazy. He was sort of proud of Matt for not following the crowd. But either way, he hoped Matt was right about things turning around.
"Thank you, everyone."
Near was sitting on the floor, one knee drawn up to his chest and the other leg sprawled out randomly to his side. He looked around with a look of satisfaction at the places of everything. All his important playthings were in places easy to reach and not very far from his bed in the corner. With Lester, Gevanni and Hal working together to get his room set up, it had been an easy and quick job. Also, Near was at peace now that his neighbors across the hall had seemingly settled down.
"We stocked the fridge and cabinets for you, Near. Everything is right where it would be if you were home," Hal said. She was already standing and looked down on Near sympathetically and with a little bit of regret. None of them were too happy he'd decided to live on campus. But what could be done?
"Thank you," he repeated, immersed now in a game with two robots.
"We'll be going now," Lester said. He headed for the door, his hand already on the knob.
"Yes…" Gevanni followed. "We'll be back to check on you soon."
"Please don't worry," Near said, not looking up. "It is an art school where students can study and I know my work will flourish here. What could happen?"
Gevanni groaned. "Please don't ask that question."
Hal shook her head. "Don't be so superstitious."
Near held one robot up in the air and made a 'whoosh' sound to go along with it.
Lester took the hint and motioned for the other two to head out. "Goodbye."
"Goodbye," Near responded but he did it to a closed door. In the silence with the rain as a soft soundtrack, Near thought that, yes, this would be a good place for him to paint. He could find inspiration here instead of being cooped up at home. He was sure he could learn from the professors and other students, too. Yes, this place had a lot to offer. He only hoped his neighbors would not be so loud at night.
to be continued.
A/N: Well, the other chapters will be longer. But you know how first chapters are. Did you like it or what? Tell me in a review! Thanks and see you later.