Mihael scowled and glared at the guard in front of him on the boat, cussing him out in what little curses in Russian he knew. The guard ignored him.

"It's no use." A black-haired girl said, and Mihael turned to her. She spoke fluent Russian, despite being black, and Mihael wondered slightly how she knew. "He doesn't understand what you say to him."

"I know." He replied. "That's why I say it."

"SILENCE!" The guard roared at them suddenly, in English (it was one of the few words they understood), and they flew back, knowing what would happen should they not obey. He turned back, muttering curses and other words in English. Mihael only caught the key words that made his fate to him known.

"Damn slaves..."

A woman came up, looking each child over with a blank look in her eyes. Mihael watched as she walked down the line, getting closer to him, and hoped against hope that they would let him go. She paused in front of him, taking his face in her hand and tilting it in any direction she could. As she looked the rest of him over, her hand still on his face (so close to his mouth!) he resisted the urge to bite her. It would do him no good, he knew, because there was no where for him to run---he was tied by the wrist and the ankles to the kids before and after him, and biting this woman would only earn him a slap in the face. He had had enough beatings to last him a lifetime on the ship.

"Him." The woman called clearly in English. As the men came over to untie Mihael, she stood in front of him. "Boy, do you speak English?" Mihael struggled a little with the English words before answering.

"Broken English." He finally muttered, pulling his wrists out of the loosened ropes and rubbing them softly with his hands. "I was learning... Papa tried to teach me..." He stuttered over the words, and he tried to remember the meanings to make sure he didn't say anything weird. She shrugged.

"How old are you?" She asked. Mihael blinked, translating each word into Russian before answering calmly.

"I'm six." Then he scowled defiantly. "My papa brought me from Russia." He mumbled in Russian his life history. "My papa brought me from Russia to be with my mama in Africa. And I was caught by these awful people, and---"

"Let's go." She said, and Mihael watched with slight fascination as she handed a bag to one of the men that brought him over. He waved at Mihael and Mihael stuck his tongue out at him. He never like that particular guard anyway. She ignored what Mihael done, grabbing his wrist to make him keep up and pulled him to her home.

"Welcome home, Miss." A blonde woman bowed as the woman and Mihael entered. The woman nodded at her stiffly.

"And how is he?" The woman looked in the direction of the stairs and Mihael followed her gaze.

"He hasn't made a sound since you left, Ma'am, and he's still staring out the window." The other woman noticed Mihael and stared at him. "Hello, dear. Who are you?" Mihael only understood the last sentence---he didn't know what 'dear' meant.

"My name," He stuttered on 'name'. "My name is Mihael Keehl." He finished, and grinned proudly. She smiled warmly down on him.

"I'm Wedy." He stared at her.

"Wedy." Mihael tried the name and grinned when he got it right. "Wedy."

"That's right, Wedy." Wedy looked at the woman who brought Mihael in. "Ma'am?"

"He belongs to Nate." Was the reply to Wedy's unasked question. Wedy nodded and held her hand out.

"Come along, Mihael." Mihael stared at her. She continued. "It's time to meet your new master." But Mihael didn't hear the rest of her sentence.

"C-Come..." He repeated. "Come al-aloonggg... aloong... come along..." He grinned when he got it right, and grabbed Wedy's hand. "Come along, come along!" She looked at him curiously.

"He doesn't speak a lot of English. You and Aiber will have to teach him." Wedy nodded.

"Come along, Mihael." And the six-year-old followed her, happily echoing her. She pulled him upstairs and to a door, knocking on it softly.

"Come in." Said a soft, childish voice. Wedy opened the door and bowed, her hand on Mihael's neck to make him do the same.

"Nate-sama." She said, standing up and allowing Mihael to do the same. Mihael looked around her and saw a small boy by the windowsill, gazing at the blue sky, his head on the glass of the window. He saw, to his surprise, that the boy had white hair, and white pajamas on. He was pale, and it looked as if he barely left the room. The other boy turned as they entered, and his pitch-black eyes locked with Mihael's blue.

"Wedy." He mumbled, while staring at Mihael. Mihael stared back.

"Nate-sama, this is Mihael." She said, pushing Mihael to stand in front of him. The boy kept his eyes locked on Mihael's, and Mihael found he couldn't look away no matter how hard he tried. "This is Nate-sama." She crouched down to meet Mihael's eyes. "Nate-sama." Mihael finally tore his eyes away and met hers.

"N-Nate-s-sama." He stuttered out. Wedy smiled.

"Nate-sama." The other boy watched with a politely bored expression.

"Why is he here, Wedy?" He asked softly. Wedy turned to him.

"Nate-sama, he belongs to you now." Mihael frowned, confused by the English words. The other boy turned to him.

"What is his name?" He asked Mihael. Mihael sighed at the familiar words, but frowned when he noticed that while the boy was talking to him, he referred to him in third person.

"Mihael Keehl." He responded. The other boy frowned.

"M-Mi." He tried again. "M-Mi-ha-e-el. Mi-ha-el. Mihael Keehl." Mihael smiled and nodded.

"Mihael." He repeated. Then he started chattering in Russian. "I'm six, and I don't understand why I'm here. Why am I here?" He wasn't expecting anything to come out of it---nobody here could understand him, and it made Mihael wonder if he wasn't speaking Russian anymore, but the gibberish that is the universal baby-language.

"M-Miha-Mihael," The other still stumbled a little over the name, but continued nonetheless. "Is here because my mother bought him for me." Mihael blinked, understanding about half of the words presented to him, and the other continued. "Though I do understand bits and pieces of it, I do not speak Russian, so he shall need a new name. He shall be called Mello." Mihael understood that perfectly and a scowl crossed his face suddenly. Everything seemed to hit him then, why he was here, and fear and anger began to course through his system.

"YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!" He screamed angrily, running forward and grabbing the (admittedly) smaller boy. Mihael began to shake him angrily, still screaming in Russian. "YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!! MY NAME IS MIHAEL!! MIHAEL KEEHL!!!!"

"Mello is mine." And Mihael understood the meaning of the words clearly, as if the other boy had spoken in Russian instead of English. His eyes filled with angry tears and he shook him harder.

"TAKE ME HOME!!! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!!!" He screamed in Russian. Wedy rushed forwards as Mihael drew his hand back. "AND MY NAME IS MIHAEL!!! MIHAEL!!!"

"Mihael!!" She said, surprise and shock in her voice as she grabbed the blonde and pulled him away. "I apologize, Nate-sama, I really apologize!"

"Take him away, Wedy." Mihael glared at him, tears running down his face.

"I hate you." He spat out in Russian. The other merely looked at him.

It took almost two months before Mihael was finally ready to do what he was brought there for. In that time, Wedy and a man named Aiber taught him English, and he spoke in Russian only at night, when he was the most homesick and scared. It surprised Mihael that he had not gotten a worse punishment than no food for a week. Had he attempted anything like that on the ship there, he knew he would have been beaten to an inch of death, or killed.

He knew, because he saw it happen to the men stronger than him, watched as those stronger men fell to the sailors on the ships.

But here, on the weird plantation he was taken to, even the outdoor slaves seemed happy. They were always singing, and chattering away to another, some in groups as big as twelve in English and others in groups of three or four in various languages of Afrikaans. Mihael was the only one, that he knew of, that spoke Russian.

When Aiber deemed him ready (meaning, less likely to beat the crap out of their master) he sat Mihael down.

"You're here for Nate-sama." The man told him. Mihael frowned.

"Do I have to call him 'Nate-sama'?" He asked. "He doesn't have to call me Mihael." Aiber smiled.

"That's because Nate-sama's mother paid for you, and you belong to Nate-sama. Nate-sama can call you whatever he likes." Mihael let out a deep breath with a scowl. The scowl disappeared when Mihael noticed a white bundled stumbling lightly down the stairs, holding onto the railing. He watched in fascination as the other boy shuffled across the kitchen floor, pulling a plate down from the table and picking at the food on it.

"Will we be able to play outside?" Mihael asked. Aiber ruffled his hair.

"If Nate-sama says you may, then you may."

"Mello." Mello looked up from his spot by his new master, looking at him from under the tower of books that he had told him to build. It had been a week, and he was used to being called Mello.

"Near-sama." He replied. That was the only thing---he had taken to calling the other boy 'Near-sama'. Wedy had gasped, closing her eyes, when Mello first said it in front of everyone, but the other boy barely took notice, only raising an eyebrow.

"Mello, I am hungry." Mello rolled his eyes.

"Well, ya shoulda eaten with the rest of us." He said, standing up and pulling the smaller boy with him. The other boy frowned slightly and wrinkled his nose in slight disgust.

"I'm not supposed to eat with the slaves." He informed Mello, wiping his nose with his free hand as he spoke. "Mama and Papa say not to."

"Whatever." Mello stopped in the kitchen and waited as his master reached up to get his usual food.

"What the hell? Who are you?" Mello jumped about five feet and whirled around, staring up at an eight-year-old boy with amber eyes and brown hair.

"Raito, Mello. Mello, Raito." The white-haired boy said from where he was still trying to get the plate. "Raito belongs to my brother." Raito looked him over, a frown forming on his face.

"Just what we need, another kid." He muttered angrily. Mello's fists bunched up, and, with what he remembered, Mello cussed Raito out in Russian. Raito stared at him.

"Gaki." He muttered. Mello, not understanding the foreign word, scowled.

"Nii-san will need Raito to bring him his sugar." He said firmly. "Mello, come get me this plate." Both boys glared at each other a bit more before they moved to do as Near told them.