"I'm bored, L."
It was all he'd heard for the past hour. L held back a sigh. "This is admittedly quite dull, Mello. But regardless --"
"I want to go finish my soccer game!" the voice continued to whine. "Why are we still here, even?"
"That's a question you should be asking yourself, Mello," L answered, his voice wearing thin with impatience. "Roger-san has informed us that we can leave after you've finished your carrots."
"That's not what he said." There was a pout. "Roger said we could leave after both of us had finished our carrots."
"Roger-san knows my opinion on the matter." L stared at the boy opposite him, reproaching. "This would finish up a lot more easily if you'd cooperate, Mello."
"They're not even a natural colour!" Mello ranted, and L was tempted to hang his head on the table. The only thing that stopped him was that he'd already been told off twice for that, today -- by "Roger-san", as well. "And they're a root vegetable! That's gross -- who decided 'let's pull this thing out of the ground and see what it tastes like', huh? What a freak! That's even freakier than Near!"
Privately, L agreed -- well, not with Mello's assessment of his classmate, but with the assessment of the carrots, at least. "Mello, while it's true that the colour is a little unsettling, Roger-san believes Vitamin A is necessary to your diet," he said. "You know the benefits of Vitamin A, I believe? They've been covered in Health. And Biology, and --"
"And I know we can get it just as easily from pumpkin, no matter what Roger led us to think. Bastard." Well, L had hoped that the teaching staff might have left little scraps of information out of their lessons for dinners such as these, but apparently not.
"Near ate his carrots this evening," L said as tactfully as he could, not even bothering to correct Mello's language. What did it matter? "What if I informed you that something like this was --"
"Crucial to becoming your successor? L, you're not eating your carrots." Mello stared at him smugly. "If anything, Near's lost."
L sighed in something very close to frustration. Eccentric as he might be, he didn't base his choice of successors on who ate all their vegetables. And Mello wasn't going to eat his carrots while L's remained on his plate, as well; that much was clear. "What if I were to eat my own carrots then, Mello?"
"You won't, though." Triumph: not a hint of fear. "You don't like them! I know y --"
L picked up a piece of carrot and popped it into his mouth. Mello stared.
"Holy crap." Mello looked amazed. "That's disgusting. Absolutely disgusting." There was a moment of brief hesitation, and then, "...How does it taste?"
Just as he had thought.
L managed to swallow. "I would not recommend trying it, Mello," he said, despite himself. The sick feeling was already rising in his stomach, and he knew that he looked grave, as he pushed his plate away from him. "Let's go."
"But Roger said --"
"Roger-san clearly does not have our best interests at heart," L told him. "I have some cake in my room. We will eat there."
Mello stared at him in awe for a moment. "Okay!" he agreed, and leapt up from his chair. He trotted behind L like a puppy on his heels, until they reached the door. L went for the handle, only to find --
"Roger-san," stated L flatly.
The man's eyes flickered to L briefly, and then settled on their almost-empty plates. "Neither of you," he began, "have eaten your carrots, yet."
Mello looked to L like a shield. He stared at Roger defiantly.
"Roger-san," L said, "I was prepared to eat them. Now, however, I am wondering if it was not just a ploy to harm us."
Roger didn't make any attempt to stop himself rolling his eyes. "This is ridiculous! A full-grown man --"
"I'm not eating them," L said firmly. "And I will not let you subject Mello to such things. Not in a house like this."
"They're carrots." Roger rubbed at his forehead tiredly. "They won't hurt you. You could use a little Vitamin A, as well."
"I don't like them!" Mello broke in. "They're a funny colour, and I bet they're horrendous. L said, even." He scowled. "Anyway, he is L! You can't make us eat them."
Roger looked down to him disbelievingly, as though he had forgotten Mello was there. "Are you questioning my authority in Wammy's House?"
Mello stuck out his lower lip, and answered boldly, "Yes."
And L sighed.
"You shouldn't have said that, Mello." L muttered to him five minutes later when they were both tied to their chairs. The table, and the carrots, were still in front of them. "Roger-san is evil, and Watari is a traitor."