A/N: This was written back in April as a part of the eighteen days of birthday presents for Katherine-The-Crowned. I was going to write MelloxNear romance, but I just couldn't do it. The ideas wouldn't come to me. This was the best I could do. Hope you like it.

It was the day after final exams at Wammy's, and most of the children were basking in the glow of the first day of their short, precious summer break.

But for twelve-year-old Mello, this was one of the worst days of the year. He couldn't know if he had finally beaten Near yet, and without the exam results, he didn't know what to study to get ahead of Near. So now he was left to his own devices. He ambled into the common room and found Matt on the couch, dominating the television and furiously mashing buttons. Mello plopped down beside him.

"Hey Matt, how about a game?" he asked. "I'll play you."

Matt continued punching buttons with the same energy, but spared a distracted answer for his friend.

"As much as I…would love to take…advantage…of the fact that you are actually…offering to play with me…this is a single player game, and I gotta beat this level…" He pressed a quick combinations of buttons and several opponents fell. He smiled. "Sorry Mels, maybe later." With that, he proceeded to immerse himself in the game once more.

Mello crossed his arms and glared at the redhead for a moment, then scanned the room for something else to do, grumbling when he saw Near in the corner, building a house of cards.

He stalked over to the sheep-like boy, intent on demolishing his creation, but as he approached he saw just how intricate it was. A glance at the floor revealed a sketch of a structure of which this must be the beginning. Mello picked up the paper, awed at the detail.

"Linda drew it," Near supplied. "She wanted to challenge me to build it."

"And you agreed?" Mello questioned.

"Of course," Near said simply. "Why should I back down from a challenge when I have nothing better to do?"

Mello scowled slightly at the arrogance hiding behind his calm tone, but he couldn't hold onto the anger for awe of the card house itself. Near could never finish it on his own, and as much as Mello would love to watch the little fluff-ball fail, the look on Linda's face would be priceless, and he could at least take half the credit.

He sat down on the floor beside him and picked up a few cards. They worked in silence for a bit, and as time went on they talked occasionally about the building and the exams. When they finished, Mello smiled proudly at their creation and at Near, before he seemed to catch himself.

"I only did this because I was bored, you know. It's not like I hate you any less."

Across the room, Matt smiled. Sure, Mello. You just keep telling yourself that.

A/N: So what do you think? I love you Kat! Glad this made you smile and hope it still does! Please review everyone!