A/n: Just a story that came to mind. It's was sitting here for a while and I just now decided to actually work on it. Soooo. Yuppers. :3

Warning(s): There may be some slight hints of shonen-ai, if you stand on your head and squint. This is also not complet cutenessocity. There is also some pretty depressing shit mentioned here.

Disclaimer: There is no way I could ever own Death Note. Unless I got a real one, then wrote the authors name in it and had him sign ownership over to me. But really, I'm not the type to do that. :3... really.

It was raining. No, it was pouring. And Mello didn't like it. The constant tapping on the roof and window was grating his nerves. The occasional flash of white light and deep rumble of thunder made his hair stand on end. He wasn't scared of lightning. It just annoyed him. A lot of things annoyed him.

Some things more than others.

Across the room a white haired boy sat hunched over a blank puzzle, piecing it together almost robotically. Reaching over to grab a piece without looking and clicking it into place.

"Dammit Near," the blond growled, glancing over at the younger. "How am I supposed to sleep with the light on?" The albino didn't answer as he snapped another white puzzle piece down in its correct spot.

Mello growled in frustration, tossing one of his pillows at his young rival. It smacked the kid in the head before falling with a soft puffing sound on his puzzle. With a sigh, the child picked up the offending object and tossed it lightly back onto the blonde's bed, only to have it thrown roughly back at him.

"Mello," Near said patiently, "I need the light on so I can finish my puzzle."

"Why the hell do you need to work on it at eleven o'clock at night?" the older boy snapped. "I'm trying to sleep, and you're not helping at all."

Near just continued to work on the puzzle, much to the other kid's displeasure.

He'd almost worked up the will to go over, grab the puzzle board and throw it out the window, and then shove the sheepy-boy onto his bed and make him go to sleep, when suddenly a bolt of lightning flashed outside the room, followed immediately by a deafening crack of thunder. Mello jumped, tempted to dive under his blanket to safety. The thunder was starting to sound like gunshots, and it was making the blond edgy.

Not scared. Edgy.

"It looks like the storm is almost directly on top of us now," Near said calmly after a few more minutes of listening to the heavy rain.

"No shit." Mello snapped, he was about to throw something at the albino when another strike of lightning flashed simultaneously with its thunder. The small light bulb in the center of their ceiling went out in a flicker of pale yellow light.

And the world was engulfed in black.

Near tried for a few moments to continue working in the dark, but eventually abandoned his toy and crawled into bed.

Mello grinned victoriously in the darkness. It seemed nature was on his side today. He rolled over and curled up in his blankets, closing his eyes to get some sleep.

Or so he thought.

Not twenty minutes later there was a frantic knocking on his door, it sounded like someone was trying to kick it down. Mello sat up in bed, glancing over at the Near's side of the room. As far as he could tell the kid was fast asleep, so he sighed and pushed himself out of bed and onto the cold floor, padding over to the door and pulling it open harshly.

"What?" He demaned, scowling at the intruder, well, attemting to scowl at him. It was rather difficult, what with the lack of light and all.

"Mello?" A small, quiet voice asked.

"Who the hell else would it be?" He snarled, then paused, "Wait, Matt? What the hell are you doing here?" He reached out blindly and his hand collided with something cold and round, the lenses of one of his friend's goggles.

"Well... the lights went out a while ago," The kid said, pushing Mello's hand out of his face, "and the storms really close now...and.."

"Wait, stop," the blond smirked, trying not to laugh, "You're not afraid of a little storm... are you?"

"No!" Matt insisted, when suddenly another flash of lightning hit, illuminating the gamer's tear-streaked cheeks. His eyes were probably wide and terrified behind the ever-present goggles. When the thunder hit right afterwards, he crumpled to the floor, covering his head.

"Oh my god you are." Mello said, really laughing now.

Matt's face colored, "No! It's not that!" he growled, "It's just... the noise sounds a lot like an earthquake, and all the lights are off and..."

Mello stopped laughing, "Oh..." he said, staring down at where he was sure his friend was huddled on the floor shaking. Matt's last home had been flattened by an earthquake. He'd been buried alive in his room for almost three days. The blond shifted uncomfortably, feeling like a royal jackass. He quickly recovered, reaching down and finding one of Matt's shoulders, he grabbed the younger boy by the arm and pulled him fully into the room, shutting the door. "You can sleep with me if you want to. As long as Near never finds out." he offered, dragging the other kid while groping blindly for his bed. He found it and climbed in, Matt following after him.

"Thanks, Mello," the redhead said gratefully, climbing into the covers.

"Don't mention it," the chocoholic deadpanned.

"Right," Matt said, grinning.

Lightning struck a few moments later, illuminating the room and Near sitting straight up in the other bed. "Are you two still up?" He asked, after the thunder's noise had faded.

Oh crap!Mello thought frantically, kicking his still shaking friend out of the bed. So much for his moment of kindness. Matt fell onto the floor with an indignant yelp.

"Mello, what was that for?" the gamer demanded.

"Stay out of my bed," he huffed, pretending like he'd just suddenly found his friend next to him.

Lightning struck again, and Mello could see Matt looking ready to cry. His goggles were hanging loosely around his neck, making his green eyes now visible. He glared at his blond friend, hurt.

Mello rolled over and pretended to go back to sleep.

"Matt," Near said, sighing as he crawled over to the edge of his bed. "You can sleep with me tonight if you don't want to go back to your room."

The goggle-wearing kid stared in shock at the albino's side of the room, "Really?" He asked.

Near nodded slightly, but realized the other couldn't see and said, "Yeah. I don't really like the storm either. It keeps me from sleeping."

Mello stared in disbelief as he heard his friend climbing into bed with... with Near! "What? So the great Near is afraid of the storm too?" the blond scoffed, trying to save face, "My God, you two are pathetic. Am I seriously the only one here with any backbone?"

"It would appear so." the white haired boy replied calmly, shifting in his small bed to make room for his rival's friend to lay down.

"Thanks," the older boy mumbled, ignoring the blonde's comment as he crawled under the covers. "Night guys." he said.

"Good night." Mello said stiffly, "Maybe the two of you will be quiet now so I can get some sleep."

"Of course Mello," Near said, "We'll stop talking now. Sorry to have bothered you."

Wammy's number two grumbled to himself in annoyance, closing his eyes to fall asleep.

--

Mello didn't know how long he'd been lying there, listening to the storm raging outside and wishing it would just die already. How long can it stay directly above us like this? He wondered, as another gunshot was fired somewhere above his head.

No. Not gunfire.

It was just the thunder.

He could've sworn he heard his little brother screaming somewhere nearby, and had to curl up into a ball, keeping his eyes shut tight in order to keep from screaming himself.

But this wasn't really happening. It was just an illusion brought on by lack of sleep and too much violent tv.

Yeah...

Another strike of lighting and more gunfire (No! It's thunder!) and his brother's cries ceased. Mello felt something stab at his heart, and he wondered if he'd been shot as he listened to his mother crying and screaming and pleading in Russian for them to just kill her too.

Another discharge of electricity and she was shut up as well.

Mihael sat trembling under his bed (No, he's Mello and he's under the covers!) hoping that they wouldn't check his room, and find him as well. They wouldn't he had a good hiding spot. But...

Wait. What about Matt and Near?

Were they even awake? Couldn't they hear the gunshots? He looked over at their bed, and with the help of another flash of lighting and barrage of bullets, he saw that they were fast asleep.

And completely unaware of the chaos around them. The two idiots would be killed in their sleep if no one protected them. Mihael looked around fearfully, it seemed as though he was the only one left to look after the younger boys.

He slowly crawled out from his hiding space, flinching as more shots were fired. He started inching towards their bed, not making a whole lot of progress. Suddenly someone started trying to beat the door down, and he dived into the other kids bed. They were here! They were going to kill all three of them. They were... they were...

Rodger opened the door, shining a flashlight first to Mello's bed, then to Nears. "Ah! Mello, you're still awake." the old man said, staring at the blond boy.

"Y-yeah." he said, wiping away the tears that had started rolling down his cheeks. "Why are you here?"

"Matt's roommate told me he wasn't in his bed, so I came looking for him." the man said, shining the light on the mop of red hair on the other side of Near. "It seems he came to ride out the storm with you and Near then?"

Mello nodded numbly, "He thought the storm was an earthquake." he muttered.

"Right..." Rodger said sadly, "Well, are the three of you going to be okay for the night?"

The blond boy nodded again, feeling his heart rate starting to settle.

"The storm should pass in a few more hours, and the electricity will be back on by breakfast tomorrow." the elder assured, turning to leave. "And Mello?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you for protecting the younger boys from the storm. It's very brave of you." Rodger smiled, shutting the door.

Yeah... brave. Mello sighed, considering getting out of bed now that he was back to his old self. But Near suddenly turned over in his sleep, latching on to Mello's waist. The chocolate addict sighed, lying down and shifting to get comfortable. He draped on arm over Near's side, his hand resting on Matt's (still shaking) back. As long as he woke up before the other two, it should be okay. Lightning flashed again and he felt both the boys next to him jump in their sleep.

So Near really was afraid of the storm as well.

That made three of them.

At least this meant that no one would rat him out, for fear of being exposed themselves.

With a content sigh, Mello closed his eyes, preparing to go to sleep. But Rodger's last words were bugging him. 'Protecting' them? He'd never protected them! Like he ever would.

Well... Maybe Matt, if it wouldn't damage his reputation. But never Near. The day he helped that midget freak was the day he stopped eating chocolate. Or the day he kissed Kira. Or the day he stole a delivery truck and crashed himself into a church and lit himself on fire!

Yeah... he huffed to himself, falling asleep.

--Many Years Later, (During the Kira Case)--

Near was sitting in a fort made up of couch cushions and blankets draped over computer chairs. He was waiting out another violent storm, building a puzzle to occupy his time.

"Sir..." Hal Linder's slightly muffled voice said from the other side of one of the thick blankets. "Why are you hiding in there? We have work to do."

"It's not like there's much we can do with the equipment down," the albino teen pointed out, clicking another piece into place. "I'll come out when the storm passes."

"If you don't mind my asking," She said, with barely suppressed concern. Or was it annoyance? They sounded about the same through Near's ears, "Why are you afraid of thunder storms?"

"I'm not afraid," he replied, "I just don't like them."

"Well then," she sighed, "Why don't you like them?"

"Because, they're violent, loud and unpredictable." he said, "they cause fires and sometimes explosions, they're reckless, eat way to much chocolate to be healthy.."

"Uh... Near?"

"They get angry too easily, never think about the consequences of their actions, and wear too much tight leather. They're also completely clueless and can never just take a hint or accept an apology or a thank you. They never admit when they're wrong or..."

"Okay, I'm just going to go now..." Linder sighed, walking out of the room and leaving her boss to his rant. By the time he was done, the storm had been accused of being over-emotional and egocentric, with a possible split-personality and a sever insecurity complex and OCD. By the time it was over it also was 'too loyal, lazy, never takes off its goggles, never get's work done or uses its head' and several other things.

The rest of the SPK was positive that their boss had lost his mind, and should never be questioned during a thunderstorm.