They had all attended Wammy's, the whole group. Ryuzaki, who was a principle at Wammy's, came up with the names. He was rarely there, though---he had this guy act in his place, Watari. Watari was principal in Ryuzaki's place, and while Ryuzaki came up with the names of his students, it was Watari's place to tell them their names. Wammy's was a whole line---elementary school, middle school, and high school. There was even a college, but that wasn't in England. It was in Japan.

That's not the point.

There was a strange tradition at Wammy High School---any elementary school friendships were usually forgotten or strengthened. An example of a forgotten friendship was Backup and Ryuzaki. They had been nearly inseparable when they were in elementary school, always together (A/N: i said that twice in one When they got to high school, things changed... a lot. Backup changed his name to Beyond Birthday and went crazy, beating up and almost killing three other students. On the other hand, Wedy and Aiber, who had been close friends (almost as inseparable as Backup and Ryuzaki, if not more so) had only gotten closer when they entered high school.

That's still not the point.

Another tradition, the more important one of the story (while the top ones were important as well, just not as important) was that it was an unspoken rule that the seniors of Wammy High generally tormented the sophomores and the juniors had the freshmen to torture. Two such juniors were Mello (Keehl Mihael) and Matt (Jeevas Mail). As freshmen and sophomores, they were (of course) tormented by Yagami Raito (who had just graduated, and refused his nickname of 'Kira', using his real name at all times) and his friend Mikami Teru (who had also just graduated. He also refused his nickname). Mello and Matt, named by Ryuzaki personally, were at the top of the school, not just their grade. Mello was number one, Matt number two. Raito had been number three (something he had detested, and proved it daily) and Mikami number four.

And then the freshmen came.

Near (Rivers Nate) came with them. He had beaten Mello's entrance exam score by at least six points, and Mello was more than slightly annoyed already with the kid. So he took it upon himself to torment the freshman personally, Matt following by his side (as usual). He got irritated as he searched, because the kid was just nowhere to be found. As he searched, he got even more irritated at the fact that the name (Near, Near, Near) sounded vaguely familiar, but he couldn't place it.

Finally, Mello found Near in the library. His breath caught when he saw him, and for a moment he only stared, stirred by the sudden memory and vision of the freshman. There, in a seat by the window with a book in his lap, was the white-haired, pale-skinned, black-eyed boy who had been one of Mello's best friends in elementary school, up until Mello graduated. Behind him, Matt crashed into Mello...and died.

"Dammit, Mels. At least tell me when you're gonna stop like that." Matt whined, restarting his game. Matt's whine caught Near's attention, and he looked up slowly from his book, blinking.

"Mello." Was all he said before he went back to his book. Mello scowled and hit the black-eyed boy on the back of the head, hard. Startled, though it didn't show on his face, the albino looked up. "Did Mello need something?"

"You're the one who beat me on the exams." Mello snarled out. Near blinked and nodded. Mello's scowl deepened, and he lifted the albino out of his chair easily by his shirt, bringing their faces closer than allowed. "I'm gonna make your life hell, freshman." Near blinked.

"If Mello says so." Was all he said, waiting for Mello to put him down. Mello dropped him suddenly, and pulled Matt out with him.

Mello's junior and senior year were spent trying to beat (and being beaten by) Near. Each time he lost, Near was found with bruises on his arms, torso, and face the next day. He shrugged off any concerns about him, and that was how his freshmen and sophomore year was spent. When Near himself became a junior, he didn't think twice about ignoring everyone around him---as he had tried to do his first two years of Wammy High.

Years passed, as they're supposed to, and Mello found himself, a few years out of college, in the music business. Granted, everyone knew his name by now, but he had been called 'Mello' for so long that he insisted he be called that despite his name. Everyone figured the same for Matt; Matt just didn't care, so long as he could play his video game.

One day, about seven years after they officially graduated from Wammy's college, Mello came in and dropped a bag by the door before collapsing next to Matt. Matt didn't even look up from his game.

"Hard day?" Mello closed his eyes and groaned. Matt glanced at him, then paused his game. "Wanna go out somewhere?" Mello looked at him and grinned.

"Sure." A few days later, Matt and Mello (officially) were going out. (A/N: as much as i loathe to write that, it's essential). Mello, as a rising star, continued to perform in music videos he was assigned (for example, he told Matt about this weird video he had to perform in. Matt never remembered the video's name, and Mello never cared to talk about it afterwords).

They never cared to look back at what happened at Wammy's, or even talked about anyone (not that their talk about anyone would be friendly). Despite that, they ignored the weird looks they got whenever they (proudly) stated they were Wammy kids, and defended their school whenever someone mentioned it (a particularly memorable time was when Mello came in, covered in cuts and blood and bruises. While Matt fussed over him, Mello shrugged it off and said "You think I look bad, you should see the asshole that tried to tell me that Wammy's was an overrated, overpriced school system." Matt had laughed.)

Even so, they kept no contact with the school and so were shocked when they got a letter (after Mello had made it big in the music industry) for their ten-year reunion.

It was strange, Mello thought, walking through Wammy's halls again. It made him feel like he was 18 all over again, instead of 28. Behind him, Matt followed, making small comments about his video game.

Then it was almost like deja vu.

Mello almost ran over someone and he barely stopped in time. He had no time to shout a warning of his sudden stop to Matt, causing the red head to crash into him...and die.

"Dammit, Mels. At least tell me when you're gonna stop like that." Matt whined, restarting his game. Mello ignored him in favor of staring at the white figure in front of him, who's attention was attracted by Matt's whine.

"Mello." Near said softly.