LOSER

by Nehan Shinzui Second ever fanfic! yea!zies! Two in a row! I'm on a roll here, people!

He didn't want to be a loser. If he failed there would be retribution. Some way, some how, there would be punishment so brutal that once he fell into the void there'd be no return. Emotions were obstacles that must be beaten, things that got in the way of acheivement.

...If you cannot solve the puzzle, if you cannot win the game than you are just a loser...

He did not want to be a loser. The warden's games were little more than sadistic experiments--ways to show that he was in control--to make sure that no one ever escaped.

The man had finally cracked...weeks of looking through the labyrinth every turn promising victory...every step revealing only imminent disappointment. " My family..I was supposed to leave by now...they promised me..."

Emotions...tears...frustration... these were simply things that let the enemy know that they had won. Ways that they could get inside of you and tear you apart.

The screams rang through the hall. The sound of a motor mixed in with the sound, until the scream finally shorted out. Nate listened to them and shuddered. But he musn't let the warden see the tears... He would not be pleased not at all....

He didn't let anyone see...he was very close to breaking if not for his toys...he remembered when his mother had cared...she used to act out her feelings to him. The puzzles and toys...they helped clear his mind...of other things...

" See here boy," the warden told him once. He pointed to the men below the overpass. They pushed and shoved to get to the meager amount of food being offered...bony claws pulling...snatching... "This is what happens when you lose...it's all a game really...'catch me if you can!' Most are too slow, too weak...they make idiot choices--'maybe I'll stay here...She still loves me I can hide out here for a while'-- based on the feelings they have for a certain location. Trivial things like anger, bitterness, sadness--don't ever let these things get in your way boy...because I can show you how a man can break..."

He mustn't be like the experiments in the warden's games..."--anger, bitterness, sadness,--don't ever let these things get in your way..." The warden had shown him a broken man...just as he'd said he could. The warden was one to put fact to everything.

The man lay strapped to the table in the dark room, eyes sunken in, face gaunt,you could count all of his ribs, his head had been shaved to keep away lice, but in all honesty it made no difference. The warden had the boy examine the man who lay moaning, his eyes closed. He whispered a name-" Tsubaki...?" The warden laughed. "What you've got to do is...you've got to turn these 'emotions' against them--pride, arrogance, hope--they're just puzzle pieces...toys

that are part of the game... a game that you must never lose Nate. "After all you are highly intelligent. You should be a natural at this..." But Nate didn't feel intelligent-he just felt sick.

Mello had lost the game...he had let emotions interfere...but at least he had been able to keep a part of himself... a part that allowed him to have friends...But he wouldn't have had to face the punishment that haunted Near whenever he let a minute of emotion leak out. Even after they told him he was away from the warden forever...because you could trust no one when it came down to it. But he couldn't let anyone see how he felt--

"If you cannot solve the puzzle, if you cannot win the game, then you are just a loser, boy. I thought you understood that--" the warden said. There was nothing in his voice. But his eyes--as ever--were cold and black with boy was shaking, sobs torn from his chest. There was blood all over the walls staining his feet. Maggots crawled all over the bodies that were on the floor, large piles of flesh on the floor. "They lost...they could not solve the puzzle--so they were eliminated. I found them obsolete. Surely...surely...you can understand--" He was cut off by Nate's sobs. " But I guess you are a loser as well," he continued. " You couldn't even make to the starting line..." The warden straightened, walking towards the heavy steel doors. " I wanted to show you what happens...I wanted you to understand as I do..." he sighed and shook his head. " I wanted you to resemble me...in ways that could've been used outside of this place..." He frowned. He looked back at the boy and paused. Nate was huddled into the corner.

The outside made him nervous--too many things that could end up possesing him--things he could get attached to. Toys...puzzles...these could easily be forgotten. Dispensed...not like people... " Come outside Near! " Linda said. She smiled. "We could play together--"

"No."

Playing outside meant he could be friends with her...but he couldn't get close to her...not when she'd be taken away when--if--he became the new L. Sadness would confuse him. "But thank you anyway."

He had to make sure he didn't get too close to anyone. They'd just get disappointed anyway. But..he supposed Rester was okay...he was helpful. Toys were nice; replacements for what he could've had.

The warden's eyes lingered for a second and he opened his mouth as if to say something more to the boy. Then he simply turned around. Letting the cool air enter the room, he walked out and whispered " I guess we're all losers in the end."

Near stacked the dice. He had beaten Kira. He had solved the case that those many years older than him had begun to think impossible to crack. He had succeeded the world's greatest detective. He had kept all of his emotions inside and in check. He had won the game. He was not a loser. But he wished his father could have seen him prove it.

A/N: My second fic. If you don't get it Near's father was the warden of a prison where he conducts psychological experiments on the prisoners. The warden sees emotions as a pointless weakness and teaches this to his son. But it backfired, when Near started crying at the site of a slaughter house his father had and his dad abandoned him. As for his feelings for the warden he knows his dad is evil but he's been raised like that for so long it was put into his personality. Instead of experimenting though he solves cases. Cha. Hope you liked. Constructive critiscm is highly valued--please review also though it is not required.

Nehan Shinzui