In Charge

Chapter 1 – Unlikely

By Threshie

AN: First off, the important stuff: Death Note, and its cast of interesting characters, belongs to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, not me. This is a work of fanfiction—I'm doing it for fun, and I make no profit.

This fic is Alternate Universe; for a longer description, see the author's note at the end of this chapter. I tried not to make the AU too obvious, as this is a fic that focuses on character interaction—namely, interaction between Matt and Near.

Also, please note that this fic is NON-YAOI. If you want to interpret it as shounen-ai, go ahead, but I wrote it with friendship in mind. I'm not offended by yaoi or anything, I'm just not really into that.

Without further ado!

Matt was bored.

It wasn't an unusual state of mind for him—he was often bored. Usually he would alleviate this boredom with video games or smoking—often both—but today, he'd beaten the game he had on hand too many times for it to be fun anymore. Smoking alone wasn't exactly stimulating to the mind...

And so, Matt was bored.

I wish Mello didn't leave with L, he thought, stretching a bit—he'd been sitting in the same pose for so long that his limbs were getting stiff. I mean, c'mon, the only company I have here is Near—Near barely even talks. He sighed...maybe the Gameboy again. He had every aspect of the game memorized—and it hadn't been that hard to beat in the first place—but it was better than sitting around doing nothing.

And it has to be better than talking to Near—which pretty much is doing nothing. He watched the all-too-familiar start screen pop up on the Gameboy's screen and sighed heavily. Man, I seriously need some new games...before I lose my mind.

A soft "thunk!" from the other room made him pause before he'd gotten around to loading the oh-so-boring first level and start playing through it again for the umpteenth time. The redhead blinked, glancing over at the door. That's where Near is—decoding some sort of threat letter that was written in riddles, right? Something like that...

He couldn't imagine what Near would have dropped that would be big enough to make a crash like that. Maybe one of those toy robots of his...those are pretty big, and he knocks them over sometimes... He waited, listening for some other sound that might give him a hint of what was going on in the other room.


Jeez, Matt, you really are bored, he told himself drolly. He glanced down at the game's start screen, then back at the door. Even watching Near play with his toys had to be more interesting than this...

Sighing, he tossed the Gameboy onto the couch and made a beeline for the other room, hoping Mello got back soon. Why couldn't he take me with him? Oh, right—then Near would be here all by himself. Like a guy like that needs babysitting or something...sheesh.

Near felt sick.

It wasn't something that he was accustomed to—like L, he was often fatigued due to staying awake for long amounts of time, but he rarely actually felt ill.

The white-haired boy has been re-reading the riddles he'd been decoding for the last time—just one more check to be sure that he'd annotated them all thoroughly enough, as he was sure of his solution by now—when he'd been interrupted. The irritating stomach ache that he'd had all morning had abruptly escalated into an intense pain in his side. It had caught him off-guard, and he'd barely been able to give a tiny gasp before he'd fallen backward right off of his chair.

He'd been thinking, he should have known better than to think without sitting on the floor first, his mind deduced, even while his body seemed to be doing its best to melt from the inside out. The pain isn't over my heart—not a heart attack, he reasoned, trying his best to sit up. His body refused to respond—he felt heavy, so heavy that he was pressed to the floor, and the throbbing agony in his side was only getting worse.

What was happening to him...?

On top of that, he was now feeling very ill—not just in pain, but downright sick. Rester and Gevanni are both...out working on what I sent them to do. L and Mello are gone...who is still here...?

Matt casually opened the door without bothering to knock. Knowing Near, he wouldn't notice even if the other boy did...

"Hey, Near, are you throwing stuff around again?" He asked, stepping inside. He froze, though, as soon as he saw the white-haired boy.

Near was sprawled on his back on the floor. This wasn't that odd, as he would sometimes play with his toys while lying down, but his chair was on its side next to him—he'd fallen off. Not only that, but he was clutching his stomach.

"Near...?" Matt came over and knelt beside the younger boy, touching his shoulder, "H-hey, Near, what's wrong?"

The white-haired boy's face was ashen; it was like all color had been drained from his features. He had a strained frown on his face, and was trembling badly.

"M...Matt...?" His voice sounded very small and faint.

"It's me," the redhead said quickly; he was beginning to get the impression that he should be panicking. He can barely talk...

Near winced, squeezing his eyes closed tightly, and gasped out, "H...h-hospital...hurry..."

The hospital? Matt's eyes widened, Is he sure?

Looking down at the smaller boy's pale face, he knew that he didn't have a choice. There's no time—I don't even know what's wrong with him, he could die if I hesitate!

Steeling himself, he nodded.

"The hospital? No problem."

Near was starting to feel cold. He still felt very heavy when Matt scooped him up in his arms, and couldn't help his head lulling against the redhead's chest. All the while, his mind worked at this new puzzle.

These...symptoms...signs of...poison? Have I been...poisoned...? His thoughts whirled dizzily; the world seemed to blur by, incomprehensible. Colors were too bright...or not bright enough. He couldn't be sure—they kept shifting whenever Matt moved.

The trip to the garage seemed to take hours.

Matt had never ran while carrying someone before; it would have been difficult, if not for the fact that Near was so small. The white-haired boy was very light. He felt fragile. It seemed like if Matt shook him around too much, he might break into pieces, like glass...

They reached the garage very shortly. The motorycle was there, but Mello probably had the key on him. That's no good; the car, then. The redhead hurried over to his classic red Chevy Camaro, opened the passenger door, and sat Near as gently as he could into the shotgun seat. I hope the seat belt doesn't press on his side too much, he thought, strapping the white-haired boy in. Near's side seemed to be where the pain was coming from; he had been pressing on it with one hand since Matt had first found him on the floor.

He closed the door, hurried around to the driver's side and jumped into his own seat through the open window, not bothering with the door. A twist of the keys and the engine roared to life. Determined, the redhead punched the remote button that opened the garage door and floored it, zooming out into the street. No time to worry about closing the garage...if Mello's bike disappears, he can kill me later, the redhead told himself dismissively.

Right now, all that he could think of was getting Near to the hospital.

Near kept a hand pressed tightly to his side, letting himself slump forward in his seat. He knew that pressing wouldn't help the pain any—it must be something internal, as there was no outward injury—but it seemed natural to do so. Perhaps human instinct made people do things like this, even when they knew that they were useless actions...

He tried to focus on this perplexity instead of the fact that breathing hurt.

The car roared to life not even a minute after he was strapped into the front passenger seat; Matt obviously understood the urgency of the situation. What Near hoped was that he understood that being pulled over for speeding wasn't going to be helpful now of all times...although the police would likely make an exception because it was a medical emergency. Crashing would most certainly compound the situation, though.

"Mello and I ride by the hospital all the time on our bikes," he heard Matt say; his voice sounded distant, but gave Near something to focus on besides the fact that the pain was spreading to his whole abdomen. "We'll be there in less than ten minutes."

A brief pause; the white-haired boy felt the car swerve slightly, something that would have been unnerving if he wasn't already distracted by feeling terribly ill. "Near...? Y-you gonna make it?" The redhead sounded a bit plaintive...he needed to hear a reply before he could focus on the task at hand, Near decided defeatedly.

Mustering up enough willpower to speak, he winced out, "Just...h-hurry...please."

"Right!" Matt seemed to be focusing on his driving again, because the slight swerving that Near felt each time the redhead talked to him didn't come this time. He must not have...looked at me? Yes... Even Near's thoughts were jumbled; he couldn't fight the overwhelming feeling that his mind and body were trying to shut down., it makes no sense...unless I was poisoned...

He couldn't do much to reassure himself about that, short of the fact that he trusted everyone he lived with, so that left no one with a motive to poison him...not even Mello. Bitter as the blonde often seemed toward him, Near knew that Mello wanted to beat him in a competition. That would be rather difficult if he eliminated the competition before the contest began...

In a dreamy, unreal way, he realized that the car had stopped a moment ago. Did I...pass out...? Similarly, he didn't remember being unstrapped from his seat belt; the next thing he knew, he was cradled in Matt's arms again, surrounded by the smell of astringent cleansers, rubber and plastic...

The hospital.

--End Chapter 1

AN: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of In Charge. Things are just getting started...stay tuned for chapter 2!

Additional Disclaimer: Gameboy belongs to Nintendo and Camaros belong to Chevrolet--I don't own them any more than I own Death Note.

Regarding the AU setting: As you've probably noticed from this chapter, this fic takes place in a slightly different setting, one in which L, Near, Mello and Matt live together and the latter three are basically L's apprentices in detective work instead of living at Whammy's House (they grew up there, but now are helping L solve more and more cases at once.)

Basic character relationships are still intact—Mello and Near still are at odds with each other, Matt still hangs around Mello a lot, and Gevanni and Rester work for Near like Watari does for L, going out and doing the in-person things that Near can't do for his cases since he doesn't go out in public.

I chose to place this in an AU setting because I didn't want to write about Light, Death Notes, Kira, Misa or Shinigami. The story I want to tell has to do with Matt, Near, L and Mello, so I wanted to cast the focus entirely on them. I hope it's not too disconcerting while reading, and I apologize if you were hoping those characters would appear in this fic. Maybe next time. (Sweatdrop)

Thanks for reading!


In Charge Akugi! Volume 1

Akugi #1

Matt: (Hears "thunk!" from the other room) "...?" (Yawns and turns on Gameboy) "Near's probably just throwing his toys around again." (Doesn't go to investigate)

Near: x.x Am I going to die...?

Akugi #2

Narrator: Matt casually opened the door without bothering to knock. Knowing Near, he wouldn't notice even if the other boy did...

Matt: "Hey, Near, are you throwing stuff around again?" (Steps inside--and on Near)

Near: (Squeak)

Akugi #3

Narrator: He still felt very heavy when Matt scooped him up in his arms, and couldn't help his head lulling against the redhead's chest.

Near: So...whatever has happened to me, the person who caused it is a shounen-ai fangirl...

Akugi #4

Matt: "Near...? Y-you gonna make it?"

Near: "No, I am going to die." (Attempt at sarcasm turns out deadpan)

Matt: (Sweatdrop) "Uh...then can we go back for my Gameboy?"

Near: "..." Now I see what is really important to a person like him...