The first time it happened it was completely unexpected.

Near was nine, laying on his white bedsheets and doing an old puzzle easily. His door opened and shut---he didn't move. He only moved after the person intruding his room settled themselves comfortably beside him. Tilting his head slightly, gray eyes widened, taking in the black long sleeved shirt and blonde hair that was found on Mello.

Mello didn't wait for him to say anything.

"I know," the blonde started hesitatingly, "I know you, of all people, have no experience in things like this." Near moved to his side to look at the blonde fully, one eyebrow raised in silent question. Mello drew his legs up and wrapped his arms around them, ignoring Near. "I find that I don't have much interest in girls." Before the eleven-year-old could say more, Near cut across him.

"It is my understanding," Near drawled quietly, "that Mello has no particular liking for my company. Is there a reason Mello finds himself in my room instead of Matt's?" Mello scowled at him.

"Yes." He snapped. Near didn't blink---he was more used to this tone than the soft one Mello had been speaking in a few seconds ago. "The reason is that I may have a crush on my best friend!" Near tilted his head.

"And what is the problem?" He asked softly. "I'm fairly sure no one would be insulted or disgusted in any way. Wammy's is a fairly open-minded institution."

"It's Matt." Mello said, distressed. Near raised an eyebrow again. "I don't know if he feels the same." Mello explained quickly. "And... How awkward would it be if he didn't? And even if he did, if we don't like each other any more, could we stay friends?"

"Why does Mello insist on asking me such things?" Near asked, glancing at his puzzle. He sighed inaudibly before returning his attention on Mello. "Surely, Matt could provide better answers than I myself can." Mello scowled again.

"I came," he hissed through clenched teeth, "because I don't want Matt to know."

"That is both foolish and unreasonable." Near shot back sharply, shaking his head. "If someone were to like another, regardless of the circumstances, simply keeping silent benefits no one."

"I'd prefer to keep my best friend, thanks." Mello snapped coldly. Near gave a half shrug.

"It is not up to me whether or not Mello tells," Near stated, "I am simply stating what I think Mello should do." With a snort, Mello launched himself off the albino's bed.

"Thanks for nothing." He muttered, slamming the door shut. With a sigh, Near returned to his puzzle.


Two years later, Near was reading a book when his door opened. Raising his eyes, an eyebrow went up when he saw the thirteen-year-old blonde leaning into the door as he shut it, biting his lip. Glancing at the clock on his bedside, Near noted that Mello was at least ten minutes earlier than he usually was.

"Mello." Near mumbled as a greeting, lowering his eyes back to his book.

"I..." Mello trailed off, making his way to Near's bed. Near moved over without looking up. "Listen, Near, I---"

"If this is about Matt again," Near interrupted calmly, "I would prefer Mello to talk to him about it, rather than come to myself for advice for the second year in a row."

"No, this is not about Matt." Mello snapped, bringing up his knees like he did the first time. Near looked at him only to find tears in the blonde's eyes. "Matt confessed, anyway."

"This is a good thing, is it not?" Near asked, feeling some confusion though he didn't show it. Mello shook his head violently.

"Not to me, dummy." Mello sniffed. "To Linda." Near grimaced slightly. Mello didn't notice.

"Linda? The...the artist?" He mumbled, placing a hand in his hair. "That was...unexpected..."

"You're telling me." Mello sniffed. "I mean, he never told me he liked her."

"Much like Mello is not telling Matt he likes him?" Near asked, turning a page in his book. Mello shrugged. Near sighed. "As I have stated countless times already, Mello---"

"Will gain nothing by being silent, I know, I know." Mello waved it off. "Doesnt seem to matter anymore, Near." Unexpectedly, Mello started shaking. Feeling slightly concerned, Near moved to look at him better. If it suprised him to find Mello with tears in his eyes, it shook him to the core when he realized Mello was crying.

Not knowing what to do, Near placed a small hand on Mello's shoulder, certain the blonde would shake it off. Mello surprised Near further by leaning into the albino's hand and crying harder.


Three years later, fourteen-year-old Near sat on his bed and looked over an old case file L sent him when the door opened.

Without looking up, he just said, "Hello, Mello. Do not forget to shut the door."

"I, uh, haha..." Near's head snapped up and locked onto emerald eyes.

"Matt." He said calmly, blinking. "I certainly did not expect---" He sighed and shook his head. "Come in, Matt." Matt entered slowly and looked around.

"So, uh, Near---"

"What is it Matt needs?" Matt shrugged and opened his mouth. Before he could say anything else, the door banged open.

"Near, can I---" Mello froze when he saw Matt, who raised an eyebrow at him. It went silent. Near sighed.

"Mello first. Matt, leave." Matt frowned.

"Are ya sure, kid?" Matt asked. "I mean, with the record---"

"Matt, leave." Blinking in confusion, Matt complied. Near turned to Mello. "Now, what does Mello need this time?" Mello took a deep breath, but stayed quiet. Silence reigned in the room. Near was about to open his mouth, when Mello beat him to it.

"I can't do this." Mello snarled suddenly. He turned and stomped out. Near tilted his head, a confused look on his face, which disappeared when Matt came in.

"What was that all about?" Matt asked. Near shrugged. "How long has Mello being coming in here?"

"That is not for me to discuss." Near stated. "What does Matt want?" Matt grinned sheepishly.

"Do you have any advice?" He asked. Near raised an eyebrow.

"Advice for what?" Near asked slowly. Matt sat cross legged on the floor.

"See, a couple months ago, I dumped Linda." Matt started. Near sighed inaudibly and looked down at his case file again.

"And...?" Near questioned. Matt flushed again.

"I think..." Matt trailed off again, turning darker. "I think I may have some---some feelings for Mello." Near blinked.

"And...?" He said again. There was a strange ache in his chest, hearing Matt say that, but he had grown used to ignoring it over the years, especially when it came to Matt.

"What do you think I should do?" Matt asked. Near sighed---what made them think that he had any experience in things like this?---but told Matt what he told Mello for five years straight.

"Simply keeping silent benefits no one." Near muttered distractedly. Before he could say more, Matt jumped up.

"Yea, you're right!" He exclaimed. Near blinked in slight surprise, but then remembered he was dealing with Matt, not Mello. Matt grinned at him. "Thanks, Near." Before Near could say anything else, Matt was gone.


It was a few days later---a few days of Mello not coming to Near's room---when Near's door opened. Near looked up and raised an eyebrow when Mello stalked in and shut the door. Stopping in front of Near's bed, the blonde pushed Near to the side and sat on his bed.

"Hello, Mello." Near said calmly, placing the transformer he had been playing with down. "What can I do for Mello today?" Mello stayed silent, and Near frowned lightly---Mello was rarely silent for long.

"You say," Mello started, not looking at him, "it benefits no one keeping silent." Near nodded. "Matt confessed to me a few days ago. Said that, he might be having feelings for me. Said that, he wanted to give us a shot." Mello took a deep breath. "Told me that you had given him advice that got him to muster up the courage to tell me."

"That is good, isn't it?" Near asked, wondering why Mello was in his room and not with Matt, and completely ignoring his last statement.

"No. Well, I mean.." Mello sighed in frustration. "How long have I come here? Five years, right?" Near nodded slowly. "Five years. And how many of those meetings were about Matt after he and Linda started going out?"

"Almost---" Near cut himself off as he realized that Mello had, especially the last two years or so, stopped talking about the red-headed video gamer.

"Exactly. So what is he thinking, coming up to me and saying stuff like that? I... I don't like him that way anymore." Mello flushed lightly. "I like someone else."

"That is good, Mello." Near murmured absently, picking up the transformer and fighting the strange and sudden urge to bit back tears.

"Is that all you gotta say?" Mello snapped. Near turned to him, raising an eyebrow.

"What does Mello want me to say?" Near asked softly. "That Mello should say something to whomever it is he likes? That keeping silent benefits no one?" Mello shrugged.


"I'm here now to listen to Mello talk, as he has the past five years." Near said simply. "Mello does not agree with my advice and continues ignoring me each time I say it."

"This is different!" Mello groaned in frustration. "This time, I'm gonna refuse to stay quiet. I'm gonna say or do something, even if it kills me."

"What---" This time Mello cut him off by leaning over and pressing his lips against Near's. Near froze for a second, long enough for Mello to get the wrong idea and pull away.

"I didn't gain much, Near, by doing something." Near blinked a bit, but managed to unfreeze and grab Mello's arm as he tried to leave.

"Perhaps, had Mello not caught me off-guard," Near said softly when Mello turned to him, "he would have gotten the response he wanted." Mello flushed a bit when Near pulled him down to his level and kissed him again, moving his hand from Mello's arm to Mello's neck, pulling him closer.


A year later, fifteen-year-old Near didn't look up from his puzzle when his door opened. It wasn't until the intruder climbed onto Near's bed, wrapping an arm around the pale boy's waist and pressing a kiss into Near's cheek that he even acknowledged the person in his room. He turned his head and caught Mello's lips with his for a second.

"What does Mello need?" Near asked softly. Mello shrugged and lay down on his stomach, arm still around Near's waist, and looked over his puzzle. Near looked at Mello briefly before rolling his eyes and leaning into Mello. It was silent for a few seconds.

"You're a bit of a hypocrite, you know." Near turned to Mello with a raised eyebrow.

"How so, Mello?" Mello put his face on his palm and looked out the window.

"You told me for five years that no one would benefit from keeping silent if they liked someone."

"Yes?" Near said slowly, slightly unsure as to where this was going. Mello looked at him.

"Regardless of the circumstances, right?" Near nodded silently this time. "How long did you stay silent about your crush on me?" Near flushed lightly.

"Since Mello's first visit." He muttered quietly. Mello smirked.

"So why didn't you say anything?" Mello asked. "Regardless of the circumstances?"

"It was a slight experiment on my part." Near admitted. "I had not wanted or wished for the feelings I had seemed to acquire for Mello, especially with the way he treated me. That first visit only reminded me that I had to rid myself of them as soon as possible."

"But...?" Mello asked, looking at Near. Near turned to him with a hint of a smile on his face.

"As Mello continued to visit me, it grew a bit harder to rid myself of these feelings."

"Why didn't you say something?" Mello asked curiously. Near shrugged.

"I enjoyed Mello's visits, even though most of them were about Matt. By the time of Mello's fourteenth birthday, I no longer wished the feelings gone." Near shrugged again. "But, as Mello had been pining over Matt, I had no plan to confess, because I did not want Mello to leave." Near paused and looked up thoughtfully. "Perhaps it was hypocritical, on my part. However," Near turned and buried his face slightly in Mello's neck, "it got me my desired result, so I figured Mello wouldn't mind too much."

"Damn robot." Mello muttered fondly, pulling Near's silver locks softly and bringing the pale boy's face up to his so he could kiss him properly. A few seconds later, Near leaned into him as he turned back to his puzzle, Mello's arm wrapped firmly around his waist.

Together, they pieced together the white puzzle with a gothic letter L in the right-hand corner.