Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note or any of it's characters.

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The cold brutal wind shook the sad building, threatening to knock it over effortlessly. Large green eyes peeked in fear from under an old chair that had been draped with material to make it look a little fancier.

"What are you cowering for?" an older woman snorted as she continued to apply thick make-up to a woman much younger. "Scared of the cold?" she cackled.

The child shook his head, the blond hair brushing his forehead softly. If anything, that old hag scared him far worse than any wind could. She was the most successful Madame in the business and she was not one to be kind or have an especially soft heart. She only allowed this illegitimate child stay in the brothel because he belonged to her best whore, but she was constantly found teasing the boy and telling him scary stories which included the fact that she ate children for breakfast when they were naughty.

"Mihael," the younger woman called softly, the Slovene words slipping past her lips softly. "Come here to Mama."

Looking around, the boy crawled out from under the chair and ran to his mother's side immediately. The blond woman patted his head fondly and pulled him on to her lap. He rested back against her bosom already feeling a lot safer. The old lady's cigarette breath made the boy wrinkle his nose in disgust, but he was already used to such things.

"Jelka, you spoil him far too much!" the old woman grumbled as she finished the last touches. "How is he supposed to grow balls if you keep protecting him like that?"

"He'll be just fine," his mother insisted as she kissed the top of his head fondly. "He's going to be one of the smart men."

The Madame laughed at that, but she didn't say much else about it.

"Get your Mama's protection, boy," she commanded as she helped Jelka into a revealing dress covered by furs to protect her from the cold.

Mihael jumped off his mother's lap and brought the last of the condoms that his mother had. He examined the packaging thoughtfully before it was pulled out of his hand by his mother. She looked almost guilty for exposing her child to such crudity at his age but she didn't have a choice. His worthless father had promised to take her away from this life and on the eve before their departure, with her eight full months along, he had gotten himself killed in a bar fight. Because he had been too stupid she was now suffering and had to continue what she was good at just to feed her child.

"He looks so much like his Mama," the Madame sneered as she ruffled his fine hair. "It would be a shame not to sell him off to the other brothels or use him in my own."

"Please no more talk of that," his mother asked sadly as she looked at her innocent son. "Mihael will be far better than his Mama ever was and will grow up to be a proper man."

The Madame cackled loudly with a few coughs interrupting it. "He's got too much of you in him, dear. He couldn't ever be a proper man even if he tried."

Jelka picked up her child and held him close as if she could protect him from the world and from everyone in it. He was her precious star, her hope for giving her family's name another chance at honor. Mihael was not like all the other stupid children, and she knew deep in her heart that he belonged somewhere else. Somewhere that would teach him to be smart and would keep him warm and full of food.

Her precious child had learned to speak so incredibly fast and he had even begun reading things that she could not by four. His large eyes were constantly trying to soak in all the information that the world could offer and she was afraid that if he stayed in the brothels too long that he would never have a chance for anything better.

"You'll be good for Mama, won't you Mihael?" she asked only to be rewarded with a sleepy nod.

"Brat, read this for us," the older woman commanded gruffly, holding out a magazine clipping that was written in English.

Even though she had plenty of bad things to say to and about the child, even the Madame could not deny the kid's intelligence. He had learned to read and speak English just from reading some old torn books that she had lying around the brothel. National Geographic had never been her thing, especially with all those fancy words, but that child had soaked it up like a piece of cloth. Now she used his skills to her advantage. Mihael rubbed his eyes before looking at the crumbled paper.

"Quillsh Wammy, famous inventor and owner of many orphanages, will be in Ljubljana on Friday night to tour the most wonderful city-"

"Ah, that's enough. Nothing important."

The woman crumpled the paper and threw it in the trash before the child could even finish translating it for them.

"Thank you, Mihael," his mother whispered into his ear before setting him down. "Now go to bed a be a good boy."

Yawning, he nodded and crawled into the single bed that he had shared with his mother since he was born. The mean old lady ruffled his hair roughly before popping another cigarette into her mouth. Both women left the room, locking it behind them to keep the child safe from robbers. A few minutes of silence passed before the boy slipped out of bed and uncrumpled the paper happily. He crawled up to the windowsill and by the flickering streetlight, he read about the famous inventor.

"Wammy, what a funny name!"

He laughed happily before he pulled himself up in front of his mother's broken vanity. Looking in the cracked mirror, he noticed just how much he looked like his beloved mother. He had her pale skin, soft lips, and even her blond hair. The only difference was the green eyes and his longer hair. It had been quite a while since either the Madame or his mother had time to cut it, so he decided that he could do it himself. Carefully pulling the heavy instrument out of the drawer, he pulled a lock of hair away from his face and snipped it off. With another glance at the mirror, he smiled and continued to cut the hair one snip at a time. Since it was hard for his small hands to use, cutting his hair took longer than he had anticipated, but when he finished, he was proud of himself. There, now he looked just like Mama did. No higher honor could he think of than making himself look like the most beautiful and nicest woman in the world.

Content, he slipped back under the thin covers and cuddled against the stained pillow. He wanted to stay up and wait for his mother to come back home, but he knew from experience that he couldn't stay awake that long. However, every morning he would wake up to have his mother bringing breakfast to him. Smiling to himself, the child fell into the happy world of dreams.

Several hours later, a loud crash made Mihael jerk awake. Looking around, he watched as the door burst open and his mother collapse inside with the pale white snow blowing in around her. Not knowing what was wrong, he jumped out of the bed and ran straight to his mother.

"Mama? What happened?!"

Hearing his panicked voice gave the young woman another surge of strength. She pushed herself off of the floor and picked up the squirming child. Blood ran down her face and between her legs as she forced herself to head towards uptown.

"Mama, you didn't close the door!" Mihael whined still scared and confused. "Madame gets mad when the door isn't closed."

"Don't worry, Mama will handle that," she comforted as she carried her small child.

He wasn't dressed for this weather and she knew that she would have to get him safe soon. Sounds of shouting men in the distance behind her made her gasp and clutch her precious gem closer to her body. Mihael could clearly hear her racing heart and he wisely remained quiet. Soon his mother was running with every ounce of strength left in her body. People laughed and cheered within the warm buildings as the mother ran in the uncaring snow, heading for the only hope her little boy had.

A fancy hotel burst into sight as Jelka rounded the corner of the street and Mihael could only gape in fascination. He had never seen such a magnificent place in his entire life, with lights shining clearly against the black sky and so many cars surrounding it. The stubborn woman continued running towards the building, completely ignoring her body's need for rest. It would all be over soon.

There was a giant party going on in the building and that's where that famous man was. She just had to get her son to him, just had to let that man see how smart her boy was and then it could be all over. Her son shivered from the cold, but his amazement with the building kept his thoughts off of the discomfort. It wasn't very long before he could actually look in the building and gape at all the people inside. They were dressed so fancily and…food. The boy's eyes widened as he saw the giant tables overflowing with all kinds of food. Specifically the table that had a fountain with warm chocolate bubbling over happily.

"Chocolate!" he exclaimed eagerly to his mother.

It wasn't uncommon for his mother's customers to buy her chocolates and other candies, but she had always given them to her wide-eyed child. He had loved chocolate so much that he had foolishly promised her that when he grew up he would eat nothing but chocolate. However, now something like that didn't seem to matter. Setting him down in the snow next to the glass door, she tried opening it. Unfortunately, it seemed to be locked. Desperation clawed at her and she began banging at the door to get any kind of attention.

"Please!" she cried out, her own blood smearing across the smooth surface. "Please open the door! Somebody!"

Mihael held himself as he shivered as he curled his bare toes in the snow, hoping that someone would let them inside. A few people inside saw them and the boy perked up thinking that they were finally going to get inside the warm building but he was disappointed when they just stood there whispering to each other. Why weren't they opening the door?

A strange man's shouts from around the corner made both the child and his mother look to see three young men running towards them. Jelka gave her baby once last glance before running off away from him. The men paused for only a second before running after her and leaving the child alone. Mihael stared as his mother rounded the corner with three men after her and he didn't even notice when someone opened the door and tried to ask him what was going on. A piercing woman's scream echoed the night, forever imprinting itself onto the boy's mind before it all went silent.

Someone's hands had pulled the child up and into the warm room and a deep older voice was commanding people to call the police, but the boy didn't notice any of this. He could see nothing but his mother running away from him. The same woman who had loved him and cared for him, who had played with him and spanked him, it was her back that he saw fading in the distance.

"Mama!" he screamed desperately with tears beginning to run down his face. "Mama don't leave me!"

"There, there," the deep voice comforted as he forced Mihael to look into his elderly face. "The police are going to take care of your Mama, but you need to warm up. My name is Quillsh, so how about we be friends?"

"Quillsh Wammy," the boy sobbed in English, remembering the article he had read. "That's a funny name…"

"Why yes it is," the old man chuckled, wiping away the child's tears. "Don't worry, your mother will be ok, so how about you tell me your name?"

"M-mihael," he replied. "Mihael Keehl."