Hey everybody! I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope you guys like it! This is for the absolutely awesome and amazing LanieBaby because she requested it! :D And let this be inspiration to you all: don't be afraid to request something! I'd be delighted to read it! And don't forget to check out Miranda-chan's stories! I'm her beta, and I have to say that her stories are so much fun! ;P Please read and review!
I don't own Naruto or Death Note...but I do in my dreams. Does that count?
"Come on, Near! Play with us!"
"No thank you..."
He frowned, his nose beginning to scrunch up. Something ugly swirled in Mello's chest. Rage? Jealousy, maybe? He wasn't sure. All Mello knew was that he hated Near.
Near was always the one with the best scores. Near was always the one that was admired. Near was always the one with the attention. Near always got everything.
Mello clenched his fists. It just wasn't fair! Why did Near get everything, while he got nothing? Why did no one ever ask him to play or congratulate him on his scores?
Mello's eyes narrowed, and he glared at the floor beneath his feet.
He was always third. No one paid any attention to him just because he was third-best. Near was always the best, and he always outshone him.
"Aw, why not, Near?"
Mello blinked slowly, his expression smoothing out. It took him a second to realize that merely a single moment had passed while he was thinking. He turned, almost cautiously, towards Near.
"Please?" the girl asked. Mello recognized her as being named Linda. Near didn't look up from the puzzle he was working.
"I appreciate the offer, but I must decline," the white-haired boy murmured quietly, sliding another piece into its correct position.
"Come on, Linda," another boy said, tugging in her arm. "Let's go. Jamie's waiting."
She smiled brightly. "Sure!"
The two ran off towards a girl with dark brown hair and matching eyes, laughing loudly and smiling. Mello brushed off the urge to huff.
The blond-haired boy stiffened, his entire body and mind shutting down. He couldn't move. Mello felt the breath fly from his lungs, and he was unable to regain it. He was completely and utterly frozen.
Mello felt as if his throat was attempting to choke itself as a girl ran up to him, a pretty smile stretched across her features. It was her.
Sakura was always neck-and-neck with Near, sometimes even surpassing him. The two alternated who came in first and who came in second. But, if Mello's calculations were correct, Sakura had been first twenty-six times since she arrived while Near had been twenty-four.
And why did he care? Why did it matter to him? Why did he bother keeping score between Sakura and Near?
Mello had tried telling himself that he was simply monitoring Near's scores in an attempt to bring his own higher. No matter how many times he entertained that thought, however, he knew it wasn't true.
Mello had been at Whammy's House for more years than he cared to count, but Sakura had arrived only two years ago. Even in that short time, she had caught his interest.
Mello often found himself thinking about her. He wondered about her past, and had many times thought of asking her to help him study for their bi-monthly exams. But each time, he had decided against it.
At Whammy's House, they had two exams a month to determine their IQ levels. The previous day, their second exam of the month was given, and Sakura had achieved first. In total, Sakura had taken fifty exams, which – now that Mello thought about it – meant that she had been there for two years and one month.
And yet, she still managed to capture him completely unknowingly.
The blond-haired boy snapped out of his daze, glancing carefully down at her. Mello had turned fifteen four months previous on December the 13th. Sakura had turned fifteen on March 28th, but the top of her head only reached Mello's chin.
"...yeah?" he choked out, hoping his face didn't betray how nervous he was.
"Are you feeling alright?" Sakura asked innocently, a concerned frown tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"I'm fine," Mello responded automatically, inwardly wincing at how obvious it sounded. Just perfect. Great, Mello.
Sakura tilted her head slightly as if to study him more closely. "Are you sure?" she questioned, reaching out a small hand to feel his forehead. "Because if you have a fever–"
"It's nothing," Mello interrupted her, his face paling a bit as Sakura hand brushed his forehead. "I'm fine."
Sakura's mint-green eyes stared into his for a moment longer before they closed, a gentle smile accompanying them. Mello's breath hitched, and he was sure Sakura could hear his heart pounding against his rib cage. For the first time in his entire life, he was grateful for something as simple as bones.
Mello would never admit it, but he was deeply attached to the pink-haired girl at his side. He had tried convincing himself that it was merely interest that pertained to her unnaturally high intelligence level, but he knew that it, too, was a lie.
"Come with me, Mello," she said suddenly, snapping him out of his muses. Mello's ears – but thankfully nothing else – went red as she took his hand. "I want to show you something!"
Mello felt little more than a blob of Jell-O as she led him to the large, curtain-sheathed window. Near glanced up from his puzzle momentarily to watch the two.
The white-haired boy was every bit as intelligent as Sakura, and he also felt a natural curiosity towards her. He and Mello had been rivals – even if Mello had practically decided that by himself – for a long time, but when one girl showed up, suddenly their whole cycle was shattered.
Near wasn't stupid; he was far from it. He knew about the crush Mello had developed, and it had caught his interest. Mello had never shown any appreciation whatsoever towards the female species; in fact, he frequently had voiced his opinion. But when Sakura appeared...everything had changed.
He studied them both quietly, measuring the bond between them. Near may have been a genius, but Sakura was completely unreadable. He doubted that even L himself would be able to decipher the inner workings of her mind. She bordered on the edge on out-there-ness.
With a confident smile, Sakura drew back the heavy maroon curtains, revealing the dark night sky. The curtains were always closed at sunset, seeing as many of the children preferred to use actual lights. The rosette flipped off both light switches, effectively sending the large room into near-utter darkness.
There were no complaints about the lack of light, but Sakura didn't expect any. She, Mello, and Near were the only ones in the room. The other children had relocated to a larger, more suitable area for playing.
Sakura grinned and turned back to Mello.
"Near, won't you join us?" she asked, her voice cheerful and open.
Mello's hand tensed slightly in hers, but he said nothing. Sakura glanced at him for a moment before refocusing on Near. He was quiet.
A stifling moment of absolute silence passed in which Sakura looked at Near, Near studied Mello, and Mello focused entirely on Sakura. It was a few minutes before any of them moved, Near being the one to initiate it.
He stood up wordlessly and padded to the pair, his steps barely making a soft 'tap' against the wooden floor. He settled himself into a sitting position, one leg pulled against his chest and the other spread out. Sakura smiled widely, drawing both legs against her chest and raising slightly off the floor in a very L-like fashion. Mello couldn't help but be impressed. That position couldn't be too terribly comfortable.
After another few seconds of non-talking, Mello spoke up.
"...what did you want to show me?"
Sakura beamed at him. "Tonight is the meteor shower!"
Mello blinked in surprise. He had forgotten about that; in fact, he had planned on asking Sakura to watch it with him. Apparently, Near was thinking along the same lines.
"Oh, yes," the white-haired thirteen-year-old mumbled, twisting a lock of his curly hair around a finger. "That is tonight, isn't it? I wonder if anyone else remembered..."
"Probably not," Sakura replied, even though he hadn't been asking her. "In fact, it's a ninety-six percent chance that everyone else forgot. This window has the best view of the meteor shower from the entire house. It's also the only point that will allow us to see the first meteor appear across the sky." Her smile widened, and Mello's heart leapt to his throat as pale light from the crescent moon lit up her hair and eyes. "If my calculations are correct, the meteor shower should begin about...now."
No sooner than Sakura had spoken the last word, a small flash of bright light blazed across the nighttime sky, leaving a glowing trail amongst the stars. Sakura's excited grin seemed to be contagious; a small smile flickered on Mello's face as he watched her from the corner of his eye. He turned his attention to the sky just in time to see two more stream by. And just like that, the meteor shower had begun.
Even though he found the event to be amazing and greatly enjoyable, Mello couldn't keep his attention on the sky. He felt his eyes slide over to Sakura's position on his right, taking in how close she was to him. The look of absolute wonder on her face stole the breath right out of Mello's lungs, but it was oddly satisfying. The way the light glittered against Sakura's eyes made them appear to be jade fire, burning deeply in her soul. With a start, Mello realized that was exactly what they were. Sakura's fiery, yet kind personality hinted at brightly-shining soul, one that could only be compared to fire.
He couldn't take it.
Mello shifted his hand closer, sliding his fingers through Sakura's. She looked at him in surprise, and his heart thudded. Here it came. The moment when she would finally understand.
And suddenly a lovely smile curved her lips.
Sakura twined her fingers with his, rubbing the back of his hand with her thumb. She leaned gently against his side, rested her head on his shoulder. Mello sat in a state of shock for a long moment, his heart having nearly stopped. And then, a slow timid smile spread across his face.
Sakura knew. She knew that he had feelings for her...and she didn't reject him. She had accepted him. Mello felt a burst of warmth swell in his chest, and he settled for watching the rest of the meteor shower together with Sakura.
He liked the sound of that.
For once, Mello didn't care that he was beside someone more intelligent than himself. It didn't matter. All that mattered was that Sakura was beside him. Nothing else.
And also for once, Mello forgot completely that Near was sitting right next to him.
Even if he did vow to himself to study for the next bi-monthly exam with her so he could rub it in that jerk's face.