Author's Note: Okay, here's the thing: I pulled out the notebook that I wrote this in, and realized that this chapter was done. Written. Finished. All I had to do was type it up. It must have been ready for a month or two now. Say it with me now, everyone: Epic fail. I apologize. I kind of have this phobia- see I've started other fics before, not under this account, but in other places, and I've abandoned every. Single. One of them. So I get nervous that as soon as I post a couple chapters of this, I'm just gonna give up on this great idea. That's where you guys come in, okay; if you like it, review. Bitch the next chapter out of me if you have to, I don't care. Thankfully, I have a very clear idea of where this story is going, so it should get finished eventually. And for anyone who reads HTA, I have NOT quit on that, I swear I'll get to work on it. Next chapter is Near, by popular demand. But this AN is far too long. So, story time!

Disclaimer: Don't own Death Note. I kidnapped Matt and Mello and keep them in my basement but…

Matt: Please help us.

Mello didn't know a world outside of Wammy's. He had lived there for as long as he could remember, longer than any of the other kids his age. The only thing that gave away that he even had a life prior to the orphanage was his rosary, which he had been wearing when he arrived, so many years ago.

For a long time, Mello had also been the smartest there, until one day a new boy turned up, a bit younger than him, and flew to the top of the ratings. Near. Jerk. He undid all Mello had worked for without breaking a sweat.

Still, Mello had a certain… seniority about him. He had been there the longest, was the second best in classes, and was just plain frightening when he was angry, which was often. He was respected. He was assigned the best seats in class, and always had his chocolate. He didn't have a roommate, unlike most of the children. This he was thankful for. He didn't like other people; didn't get along with them.

So the surprise was not a pleasant one when he walked into his room and found that a second bed had materialized, complete with a red-haired boy wearing goggles and a striped shirt sitting awkwardly on top of it., fidgeting slightly, his eyes glued to the floor.

"Hey," Mello barked, slamming the door behind him. The boy started at looked up at him. Mello gave the redhead a once over and nodded. "So I'm guessing you're my new roommate?" The boy's head bobbed up and down once in confirmation. Mello sighed. Be nice, he told himself, he didn't ask for this any more than you did. Don't screw this up too quickly. "I'm Mello. What's your name?" He stared expectantly but received only an apologetic look and a note:


We hope you'll welcome our newest prodigy, Matt. We're sorry for the lack of notification, but this was a bit of a last-minute occurrence. However, we're sure that the two of you will get along famously. There is one thing you should know about Matt- he doesn't talk. He suffers from what doctors call "selective mutism", or, at the stage Matt has it "progressive mutism", so we're counting on you to make sure that he doesn't have any difficulty fitting into the routine. Again, we apologize for not having the opportunity to tell you in advance.

-Wammy's House Staff"

Mello read and reread the note. Although it was friendly enough, there was something vaguely threatening behind its genial tone. "We're sure that the two of you fill get along famously". Yes, definitely a warning.

He leaned over and experimentally snapped the boy's- Matt's- goggles. He didn't even move.

"So you don't talk, huh?" Matt shook his head. "Ever?" He did it again.

Mello rolled his eyes. "Okay. Do you have your schedule yet?" Matt nodded and handed him a piece of paper. He glanced at it before looking back at the redhead, eyebrows raised. "Same as me."

Generally, he was pretty confident about his status as second-best at Wammy's, at least until he could achieve "best", but he had to admit, someone totally new who was deemed smart enough to go directly into all top-level classes, someone who didn't talk at that, was a potential threat.

Matt just smiled.

Mello sighed, giving the schedule back to Matt. "Well, looks like I'll be showing you around." He took out a bar of chocolate and bit off a good sized chunk. He was still less than thrilled about sharing a room with anybody, but he was smart enough to know that he had to make nice with the boy for a little while; just long enough to please Roger and to establish what his relationship with Matt would be. Would his companionship be valuable, or was Mello about to gain another rival? He remembered when Near had showed up out of nowhere and soared right past him; maybe he could catch Matt in time to clip his wings.

"How old are you?" When all he received was a startled look, he rolled his eyes again and said, "Hello? Trying to make conversation here? It's obvious we're going to be seeing a lot of each other, so we might as well introduce ourselves properly".

Matt looked at him thoughtfully, then slowly smiled and held up ten fingers, then put them down again and put up three more.

Mello nodded. "Cool. I just turned fourteen last month. When's your birthday?"

Finally sliding off the bed and crossing the room to the calendar, Matt pointed to the first of February. Just a few weeks away.

"So we're only a month and a half apart," Mello said. Matt nodded, and they sank into a rather awkward silence. God, he's only been here 20 minutes and already his lack of verbal answers is irking me. This should end well.

"Why don't you talk?" Mello asked when he couldn't bear it anymore. For a long time, Matt didn't do anything. He just stood there, slightly rigid, staring at the ground again. Just when Mello had given up on getting an answer and turned to start his homework, he heard a faint rustle behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Matt was holding out a regular yellow sticky note to him. Taking it, Mello saw that there was one word, written in the very center in black ink, in simple, neat handwriting: Can't.

"Can't? You mean you've just never been able to?" Matt wrote on a second sticky note and handed it to him. No. I used to be able to. But I can't anymore. "So you just… stopped? How does that happen?" This time, Matt just shrugged. "O…kay." Mello said slowly. "Whatever. Dinner's in ten."

IMPORTANT: As someone famous once said (who specifically varying depending on what Google result you click on), and I believe this should be the slogan for Fanfiction[dot]net: "Good authors borrow; great authors steal". Although this is my own work, it is also very loosely based on a book I read (The Weight of Silence, I forget the author but it was good). All I really took was the selective mutism. BUT. As I was typing this, Spell-Check underlined 'mutism'. So I googled it to make sure it was right, and the definitions online were VERY different from the definition in the book. I tried to fix it, y'know, throwing in that "progressive mutism" thing, which I'd never heard of before, but I've decided to stick to the description I got from the book. Sorry to anyone whose OCD about getting the facts perfectly right, but a lot of my story was built around it and changing it would have set me back. A lot.

Anyways, thanks for reading. And if you're lonely, feeling like no one cares what you think, rest assured- I DO! So review, and share your expert opinion with me ;)