I'm nervous about finally putting up a fic, but the wonderful Tierfal read it for me and encouraged me to post it (as well as making some helpful suggestions), so… here goes. :)

Soichiro Yagami has always pictured Mello - high-ranking mafioso; kidnapper; likely killer - as a leering forty-something man who wears a suit and probably smokes expensive cigars. Old scars and merciless eyes will distinguish him as a hardened criminal, a gravelly laugh will reveal his overconfidence in himself, and a name will float in red letters above his head. That's all Soichiro needs.

Of course, if he took the time to think about it, he would realize that a boy who was fifteen just four years ago cannot possibly be a forty-year-old man now, and that he is from England, not the streets of Los Angeles, and that any associate of L's, no matter how remote, is bound to be singular. But none of that hits him until he walks through the door and finds himself face-to-face not with a sneering old man but with a wild-eyed nineteen-year-old boy.

Soichiro's heart sinks. A child. I'm going to kill a child. And it's wrong, all of it.

Mello is supposed to be rough and burly, but the boy curled catlike on the desk, Mihael Keehl floating over his head in fragile red letters, is thin and pale. Sachiko would have something to say about feeding him a decent meal. And no wonder…

Mello is supposed to smoke, but the object of addiction clutched in Mihael Keehl's left hand is a chocolate bar, the kind that Soichiro used to bring home for his children. His right clings to the detonator, one frail finger poised over the button that gives this child the power to kill and die.

Mello is supposed to be confident - overconfident, even - but every tense line of Mihael Keehl's body speaks of desperation, the panicked ferocity of a cornered animal. And in his eyes…

Mello's eyes are supposed to show nothing, but in Mihael Keehl's there is fear. It's hidden away behind the smirk and the talk and the bravado, but it's there. Not the guilty fear of a criminal in a trap, nor the calculating fear of a man in danger - it's the bewildered, bewildering, helpless fear of a child who has woken from a nightmare and doesn't know where to reach for help. It's a look Soichiro has seen on Sayu's face, and on Light's, too, when they were young and called for their parents in the middle of the night. But, of course, Mihael Keehl has never had parents to call for.

He speaks the boy's name aloud and watches the nightmares become real.

He writes the first part down and sees the beginnings of panic.

But when he tries to write the second part, he sees his own son's face, and his hand freezes.

He hears the gunfire, and he feels the bullets hit him, and as he falls, he wonders what Mihael Keehl would have been like if he'd had parents like Soichiro and Sachiko. If he'd been given hands to hold for comfort rather than bombs. If he hadn't been alone.

If he hadn't been Mello.