CHAPTER 6: DAYS LONG PAST

(Author's Note: Portions of this story are written in Slovenian, followed by parentheses () with the English translations.)

December 2006. The wintery season began particularly cold in Winchester, England. The halls of Wammy's House were filled with happy sounds of children playing as Roger Ruvie gazed out a large window at the front of the orphanage.

He placed one palm on the glass, cool air meeting with his warmed hand. It's going to be really cold this winter, he thought, studying the wrinkles on the back of his hand. I think I'm getting too old for all of this…

Retracing the appendage, Roger made his way to his office, closing the door behind himself soundlessly. Pulling the rolling chair out he sat down with a light sigh. A small desktop calendar informed the man of the date: December 5th, 2006.

Really…2 years…it's already been that long? Two years to the day marked a solemn anniversary. Roger had been informed of L's Death; that same day Mello and Matt left Wammy's in order to begin their own Kira investigation.

Wrinkled fingers combed patches of white hair back against his scalp as Roger closed his eyes. I can only wonder what those boys are up to. Near said they're fine. But really…I never should have let them leave.

At the time, Mello and Matt were barely teenagers. If this were any other orphanage, Roger would have been jailed for malpractice. However, this wasn't just any other orphanage; it was Wammy's House, a secret place for talented and intelligent children. Those same children did extraordinary things. Maybe, because of their intelligence, Roger didn't have to worry so much. Perhaps they really were doing fine on their own.

Mello…Matt…and Near…what will become of all of you? Will you be ripped away just as L was? Relaxing against the office chair, Roger began to remember just how those three boys had come to live at Wammy's House more than 10 years ago.

o O o O o O o

It was a cool autumn night in October of 1991, indicating the wintery season was drawing close.

A young L Lawliet, no more than 11 years of age, lay in a small twin sized bed in his room at Wammy's House Orphanage. Curled into a fetal position, the youth pressed a thumb to his bottom lip, gazing at an alarm clock a good foot away from himself. The time read 11:01 PM.

Dark eyes looked away from the time piece as L snorted softly through his nose.

No...he thought. It's still not tomorrow...which means it's still no closer to my birthday. In less than an hour it would be exactly four days until his birthday, four days until he would be 12. Four days until he could devour as many celebratory sweets as he wanted. Images of cake, pie and chocolate flooded his mind, a small trickle of saliva escaping his lips. A damp sensation came upon his hand and he grunted, wiping the fluid away.

A low whine of L's stomach permeated his blanket. He blinked, realizing that his thoughts were making him terribly hungry.

Quietly, he moved from the confines of his room. He made his way down the hallway, through a few corridors until he made it to the kitchen. There, he climbed onto a counter and reached up as far as his toes and fingers would allow to a particularly high cabinet where the sweets were kept safe.

It was no secret that L craved sweets, so much so that Roger and the other caregivers had to store such confections out of young L's reach.

Almost there... he thought with determination, the handle to the cabinet only centimeters away from his fingertips.

A rattling, ear splitting cry assaulted his ears, breaking L's concentration and sending him careening to the floor. He lay motionless on the floor for a few seconds before realizing that he had landed on his shoulder blades with an ungraceful thud.

Getting to his knees, L sat upright and rubbed at his back with one hand.

What was that? The boy questioned, rising to his feet, shoulders slumping in pain.

That sharp cry sounded again, causing L to close his eyes in concentration, hoping to locate the source. After a few minutes he was able to determine that the sound was coming from the front door of the orphanage. Onyx eyes once again opened as the youth padded down the nearest corridor coming upon two large swinging doors. L stood before the threshold, reminded that Wammy and Roger had told them, the children, time and time again not to go outside at night.

That cry came again. A pathetic bawling called out for someone to come and investigate. L was not about to pass up a chance for some detective work and decided to ignore the warnings in his mind.

He unlocked one door and pushed it open. A cold gust of wind came over the pajama clad youth, gooseflesh rising in wake of the chill.

L peered out into the night, his gaze landing on the source of the sound: A baby; a small, white haired baby, wrapped in a blanket and tucked neatly into a basket. The child shook from side to side, large tears streaming down its face as it screamed, crying out for attention.

Eyes widened as L thought he should do something. Wammy...he thought. I should go get Wammy.

o O o O o O o

A few moments later, Quillish Wammy was led by L to the main doorway. The older man yawned once, walking out the front door. He looked down, inspecting the basket at his feet, adjusting his glasses to better assess what he saw: A baby boy, possibly a new born.

The infant stared back at the older gentleman in a break between crying fits.

"I told you," said L, pointing at the child. He turned to the basket, kneeling at its side.

Another one...thought Wammy sighing deeply, clearing his throat with a grunt. I'm sorry, little one. Sorry that your parents didn't want you anymore. He thought a few moments to himself, making a mental list of all the care this new child would require.

Swallowing his sympathy for this infant, Wammy chuckled lightly. "Yes L. You're right in that. It is a baby, very, very young if I am correct." He extended his hand to the infant, rubbing the back of his index finger against one small white hand until it responded and took hold. The older man chuckled lightly like a doting father, cooing softly at the child.

L looked to Wammy and then at the baby, thinking as he shifted his body weight from one knee to the other.

"Something wrong?" asked Quillish.

L looked up at the caregiver, staring blankly at him. "Can I keep him?"

"What?"

"He looks interesting to me. Can I have him as a birthday present?"

Wammy stared at the young L. For being a genius at such a young age, it was sometimes hard to remember that he wasn't even a teen yet; asking to keep a child as a toy as one would ask to keep a dog that had followed them home one day.

Gently, Wammy shook his head, placing a free hand on L's hair. "No L, you can't keep him. But we will take him in." Getting to his feet, the older gentlemen grabbed the baby basket by the handle and walked into the building. L padded after him, closing the door behind the two.

The pair came to the front room, a cross between a sitting room and a lobby, and sat at one of the couches. Quillish sat in the middle of the couch, placing the basket between his feet.

L followed suit, crawling onto the couch. He leaned into one of Wammy's thighs, peering down at the now calm baby. "He looks funny," said L, scrunching his face.

"Oh?" asked the man, a light chuckle in his throat. "How so? Do explain."

"It's his eyes and hair. He has white hair and big eyes. It looks funny to me."

"L, you should know better than that," he chided gently. "It does not matter what he looks like. What matters is that we are here to take care of him."

L looked to the older man for a few moments and then turned his attention back to the baby. "Ok..." The shaggy haired youth mused to himself, thumb coming to rest against his lips. "What's his name?" he asked, turning towards Quillish.

Wammy lowered his hands to the basket, searching the infants clothing, blanket and basket for an indication of a name, a note, any sort of information about this baby, coming up with nothing. "It seems he doesn't have one," He released a gentle sigh.

L sagged dejectedly, the hand which had held the thumb to his lip fell to his side as his shoulders slumped.

Wammy pat the boy on the head. "Don't look so down. That just means you will have to help me name him. It's important to pick a good name for him."

The boy's eyes turned upward as he smiled. "Ok." Climbing off his perch on the couch, L got down on hands and knees, coming face to face with the new baby.

The child, now calm and serene, shifted from right to left, hands outstretched towards L. The baby gurgled, L giggling in return.

Wammy watched the two as a proud father would look after his children, awaiting L to give an idea for a name.

After several minutes L turned towards Wammy.

"Go on," said the man. "What's your thought?"

"Frog..." answered L.

"F-Frog?" Eyes widened as Quillish ran a few fingers through his two-toned white and black hair. "Is that your idea for a name?"

L nodded, his expression revealing that he was dead serious.

"May I ask why you chose such a name?"

"Well..." L began. "I have been reading about the Nathan River Hot Spring located in Australia. The frogs there look a lot like him," he said, pointing to the baby.

L was no doubt correct in the comparison, thought Quillish. The baby had large, bugged out eyes that seemed more pronounced than other babies'. However he could not agree to such a name.

"Interesting choice," said the man. "But I don't think Frog is the best idea."

"Oh..."

"Though I think you did give me a good idea. I'll still be using your idea in some way." The older man leaned down towards the infant, tiny fingers instantly grasping the recently found toy in Quillish's index finger. "Not Nathan River per say, but Nate River." A smile came to the man's lips as the baby giggled happily, shaking the finger in his hand from side to side. "Do you like that, Nate? That is your name now."

o O o O o O o

October, 1995. The trees around Wammy's House appeared spindly and bare, the wind pushing branches about proving the fall season obvious.

L, now 16, had become a quiet, calculating teenager who possessed many odd habits he had picked up in early childhood. Nate, his little shadow, made a point to imitate each and every action performed by his mentor. Currently, the pair occupied L's bedroom. L sat at his desk while Nate was in his lap, watching L read over case files.

L had received more than an infant as a gift for his 12th birthday in Nate; he had gained a little brother. Between case work, L taught Nate all he knew. For a 4 year old, L noted, Nate was remarkably smart; he was far advanced from counting numbers and recognizing shapes.

For one thing, Nate could read. He was also able to solve basic math problems that included multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. He was still a bit shaky on fractions and decimals, but L was confident he could introduce Algebra soon. Mathematics aside, Nate was also good at speaking in complete and descriptive sentences. With L as a teacher and his home Wammy's House, it was inevitable that the child would develop so rapidly.

Sighing, L propped his elbows against the desk, rubbed at his forehead. He has only begun to solve cases in succession recently, and the stress was starting to mount. Rubbing under his eyes with a yawn, the genius began to wonder when he had slept well last. If this keeps up…I am sure I will have dark circles under my eyes…

Nate sat up, staring at the teenager. "Why are you so tired?" he asked in a soft tone.

"I have been putting all my time into these cases of late. It seems I have not been sleeping properly."

Large gray eyes blinked slowly, processing the information. "But…if you don't sleep you won't be able to work. You'll be too tired."

L smiled, patting the boy's soft white hair. "You are correct. I will have to change my habits."

Nate smiled in return. He loved the touch of his surrogate older brother. The praise made him feel useful and happy.

L picked Nate up as he stood out of his seat, placing the boy on the bed. Afterwards, he went to his closet, kneeling, picking up a recent newspaper with the tips of his thumbs and index fingers. The periodical was dated October 8th, 1995. The headline read, 'Home free: OJ Simpson found not guilty.'

It is hard to believe such crimes will go unpunished, thought L. No, I cannot dwell on the past. I have just begun solving cases, and I cannot hope to right past wrongs that were before my time. All I can do now is prevent future injustices.

"What are you looking at?" asked Nate. He wanted to jump off the bed and go to L, but he was unable to reach the floor from his perch on the bed. The distance between him and the floor seemed like looking over a cliff at a canyon below. Looking down with puffed cheeks, Nate felt a shiver run up his back. He was sure that jumping would result in a painful fall.

L chuckled as he looked at the boy. He specifically left Nate on the bed to keep him out of the closet. L wanted to protect Nate from such terrible things; and currently, he didn't want to explain anything about cases or murder adequately to a 4 year old child.

Placing the paper neatly back in the pile, L stood and sat next to the albino on the bed. "I was just looking over some papers. I am done now."

Nate looked toward the closet, trying to determine exactly what L had been looking over.

With a laugh, the dark-haired teen patted the boy on the head. "It was nothing of importance." Pausing, he thought of how to change the subject. "I am hungry now, are you?"

A head of white hair nodded vigorously.

Another smile graced L's lips. "Very well, it is after lunch time. Let's go to the kitchen." He picked up Nate, placing him on his left hip as the two left to eat.

o O o O o O o

Late November started with frigid winds. Snow was sure to fall soon, but until then the harsh air was more than enough to bear. L covered most of his face with a black and white striped scarf tucked into a charcoal pea coat as he braved the wind. Really…he thought, entering a large government-run building. I do not understand why I must be doing this work. There are many cases that require my attention. This sort of thing is better left to Wammy.

"Welcome sir," said a receptionist in the front lobby.

"Hello," said L, fishing his pocket for a card. 'Wammy's House Operative,' was at the top of the card in bold letters. He flashed it at the receptionist who directed him to the child service's office.

He entered a large room with rows of desks and employees hard at work. He made his way through the room, desk after desk of male and female workers pouring over paperwork and other mundane tasks. But in the midst of the normalcy, a small blonde-haired boy caught his attention as he found his way to the end of the room. The boy appeared about 5 or 6 years old and was surrounded by adults in the middle of the room. He sat at a desk looking at the floor while several adults spoke to him.

Paying no mind to the child, L located an office door at the end of the room and knocked. A voice inside told him to enter. "Yes, what can I do for you?" asked the man behind a desk in the room.

L blinked. Being cooped up Wammy's most of his life made him forget people outside spoke with English accents. "Hello, sir," he said. "I am with Wammy's House on Mr. Wammy's behalf. He is tending to other business today."

"Ah, yes. C'mere ahnd sit."

L sat in an arm chair before the desk. He had his rear in the seat and both hands on the arm rests. Uncomfortable…his mind whispered. Wammy had informed him that he must act proper outside of the orphanage and not to sit like he usually did. It was in the best interest of Wammy's House that their reputation remained clean.

The man spoke while looking over documents. "Sorry, I don't think I caught your name. You can call me John."

L thought a moment. It is probably best I don't give out my real name any longer. With all the work I have started, it may eventually be harmful if such information is leaked. Nodding to himself, L replied. "I am Kazuki, pleased to meet you."

"Oh, alright then." The man's eyebrows rose at the foreign name. "Well, what business are you here for today?"

"I believe Mr. Wammy comes here ever so often to see if there are children we can take off your hands."

"Oh, yes, yes! Sorry." The man stood, shoving papers into disorganized piles. "Lately, it's been pretty busy here."

L stood. He was relieved to get out of that terrible sitting position. How anyone could sit like that for long periods of time was beyond the teen's comprehension. "I can imagine."

"Let me show you the children we have now. I'm sure some would be best in your care."

The pair exited the office, heading for another room. L fell behind, intrigued by the blonde boy that caught his attention earlier. He looked over at the boy and collection of adults; it was easy to tell that the child was terribly uncomfortable around the workers surrounding him.

Pressing a thumb to his bottom lip, L went to get John's attention. "Sir…"

John stared as L removed the thumb from his lip.

L coughed; slightly irritated that he had to conform. And this is precisely why I don't like going outside. No one looks at me awkwardly back at home. "I wanted to know. What happened with that boy there?"

"Oh that. Actually, that's been the biggest problem of late. He was found in town stealing fruit the day before. When the Bobbies took him in they realized he didn't speak any English, so they left him here."

"Interesting…do you know what he speaks?"

"Ahfraid noot. It sounds Slahvic tah me, but that's ah guess at best."

L left John's company, heading toward the group surrounding the blonde child. He spoke quickly to the adults and asked if he could have a moment with the boy. Once granted, he knelt next to the child, observing him with large, curious eyes.

The child had golden blonde hair that curled to his chin and cheeks. Bangs were cropped above his large cerulean eyes. His face was round, indicating that he was about 5 or 6 years old. The clothes he wore, a black jumper and a pair of tan pants, where tattered and dirty. L took every detail of the child into consideration. He looks foreign. German perhaps?

The boy blinked at the odd teenager. "Kaj počneš?" (Slovenian: What are you doing?")

L blinked, processing the words. It definitely wasn't a Germanic language; Slavic was the best guess after all. Though it was not something L was familiar hearing. Wrinkles formed on his forehead as he ran through possible ethnicities. "Вы говорите по-русски?" (Russian: Do you speak Russian?)

The child blinked.

No, that's not right. Hm…I'm not familiar with any other Slavic languages. L turned to a nearby desk. He grabbed a pad of paper and a pen. On it he wrote a few different words in English then handed the items to the child. "I know you will not understand, but I am writing what I speak. Please write whatever you can."

As expected, the boy wrote down some words in his native language. L took the pad and handed it to one of the adults. "Find out what language this is."

It took a half an hour and 3 child service's workers to come up with an answer: Slovenian. (Author's Note: The internet was not widely used until 1997. Since the year here is 1995, it would take some time to access vital information such as the origin of a language.) L did some of his own research through Wammy's and managed to locate some common phrases of Slovenian in order to start a small conversation with the boy. He knelt down with the child, a sheet of phrases written in Slovenian in one hand. "Živjo." (Slovenian: Hello) He read off the paper slowly. "Jaz sem L. Kdo si ti?" (I am L. Who are you?)

"Mihael," answered the boy.

A small smile etched into L's features. I am getting somewhere. Delighted, he continued. "Živjo, Mihael..." (Hello, Mihael.) "Kako si?" (How are you?)

Mihael shifted uncomfortably. "Lačen sem, Rad bi jedel." (I am hungry, I want to eat.)

L released a soft snort. Speaking and understanding this language were two different things. Looking over the paper, L spoke again. "Ne razumem…" (I don't understand…)

Mihael cocked his head to the right then left. He thought a few moments before opening his mouth, pointing to his tongue. The hand fell to his stomach, rubbing in a circular motion.

Oh, he's hungry. L smiled, hoping to make Mihael feel comfortable.

The blonde-haired child gave a small smile in return.

Makes sense, he thought, looking over Mihael's clothes. I have a feeling he has been wandering by himself for a while now. He must have stole food because he was very hungry. Pressing a thumb against his bottom lip, L continued. "Od kod si?" (Where are you from?)

Mihael processed the question. "Sem iz ... svoje hiše." (I am from…my house.)

I am from… svoje hiše? Again, L was at a loss. He took the paper pad and pen from the desk, handing them to the boy.

Mihael was starting to understand that his words were not getting through to the teen. Instead of writing, he drew a small picture of a house.

A house… thought L. "Kje?" (Where?)

Mihael pointed to the picture.

L bit at his lower lip. It was quite frustrating trying to overcome the language barrier. But he wasn't about to give up. "Da, da...Ampak kje se kje je to? Kakšen je naslov?" (Yes, yes...but where is it? What is the address?)

Mihael shook his head. "Ne vem." (I don't know.)

Blinking, L frowned. A young boy like this…he drew a picture of a house, which means he knows what a house is. Because of this, he must have parents or someone capable of buying a house to live in. But he doesn't know his address. What sort of parents would not teach their child their own address? "Mihael, kakšno je tvoje polno ime?" (Mihael, what is your full name?)

The youth shifted in his seat. "Mihael Keehl."

L assumed that the hunger was starting to become troublesome. He turned and saw the adults from earlier standing around, fascinated by his work. "One of you please get something for this boy to eat. He is very hungry." Turning his attention back to the boy, L took the note pad and wrote on it. "And another one of you, please look up this name." He ripped a paper from the pad and handed it to one of the adults. "Find his parents or anyone you can. Hopefully there is still someone he can return to."

An hour passed before new information came to light about Mihael Keehl. L sat with Mihael doodling pictures on the note pad as L waited for news about the child's situation. In that time, the boy had downed several vending machine snacks.

"Duh, Duh!" (Ghost, Ghost!) said Mihael happily tugging on the teenager's arm. He had decided on the nickname of ghost to call L due to his washed-out appearance and large dark eyes. "Nariši več! Nariši več! (Draw more! Draw more!)

Really…I wish I knew more Slovenian. I want to know exactly what he is saying. L only smiled in return, continuing to doodle on the pad of paper.

"Kazuki," said John, walking up to the pair. "Please, come to my office."

L stood, looking down at the boy. "Mihael, počakaj tukaj. Kmalu se vrnem." (Mihael, wait here. I will be back soon.) Before he could move, there was a tug on his clothing.

Upon further inspection, L found Mihael had attached both hands to his coat, holding on for dear life. "Mihael?"

Tears began to stream down the boys face, cheeks reddening as he cried. "Duh ... ne odhajaj. Ne zapusti me..." (Ghost…Don't go. Don't leave me…)

L didn't need a translation to know what Mihael said. In actuality, it didn't matter what he had said, only that L's actions had upset him. The teen sat back in the chair, rubbing the blonde's head. "John, I think we will have to talk here. It shouldn't be a problem since he does not understand English."

Mihael sniffled a few times before rubbing at his eyes, his cries quieting. Though for good measure he kept a tight grasp on L's coat.

John sighed before grabbing a chair from a neighboring desk and sat next to the boys. "If you insist…" He splayed a manila folder of varied colored paper on the nearby desk, searching for one in particular. Once he found the correct document he began. "Ahm sorry to say, but we aren't able to contact the parents. We found the boy's house without much issue. The neighbors noticed that the Keehl's house has been vacant for approximately 2 weeks."

"So…" L shook his head. "What happened?"

"We're not sure. The Keehl's were a private family. Mihael here had a mother and father, but from what we can tell they vanished without a trace."

"What about extended family…and friends…?"

John shook his head. "Ah checked. There are none."

"So you're saying…he was left all alone without explanation?"

"Seems so…"

Dark eyes turned toward the small boy who had taken L's coat as hostage. I thought…I could get you back to your family. But I guess…you're just like the rest of us orphans now. A sinking feeling came over L's stomach. It was heart-wrenching to know his parents had left him this way: crying and clinging to a stranger for company.

"There are more things that we could investigate, but-"

"I would like to take him to Wammy's House."

John blinked. "W-What?"

L repeated his words in as serious a tone as he had before. "Sir, I would like to take him back with me."

John faltered. "You…but…"

"I am fully aware that there is paper work to be completed. How long will that take to finish?"

"Ah, erm, I think….about a week or so?"

L grinned. "A week it is. You have until then. In one week I will return for the boy."

John blinked as he broke into a light sweat. Why…why does this sound like a threat? "Uh, sure."

L looked down at the small hands that were bunched in the material of his coat. I'm not about to let Mihael wait around to be processed by the system. It is obvious he needs someone, and I think it is he who has already decided who he wants. "Mihael," he said softly. "Prosim, nehaj." (Please, stop.)

A soft hiccup escaped as small fingers released the material of the coat.

"Hvala," (Thank you) said L with a smile.

Mihael stared at the dark-haired teen in amazement. He has never met anyone like him before.

"Mihael," he began, standing out of his chair to kneel at the boy's feet. He took those small hands into his. "Pridem nazaj. Prosim počakajte." (I will be back. Please wait.)

Tears began to well in the corners of large blue eyes as those small hands grasped onto L's. "Ne odhajaj! Ne zapusti me!" (Don't go! Don't leave me!)

L smiled again. He could only guess that Mihael told him to stay. He managed to tear one hand away from the vice grip of the blonde and wiped a few tears away from the reddish cheek. "Bom nazaj. Prosim počakajte." (I will be back. Please wait.)

A soft sound somewhere between a hiccup and a cough came from the blonde's lips. He swallowed with a nod.

After getting to his feet, the teen pet the blonde's head. He exchanged a few words with John before heading for the exit. Looking back, he caught Mihael's gaze and gave a large smile in return. "Se vidima kmalu." (See you soon.)

o O o O o O o

L couldn't wipe the image of Mihael from his mind. The small boy dressed in dirty, tattered clothes; hungry, disoriented and heartbroken he reached out for someone, anyone to give him company.

I promise…I will make sure you are taken care of here. Rolling onto his backside, L felt a warm lump at the base of his spine. It was Nate. "When did you decide to crawl into my bed?" he asked, curling around the 4 year old.

"It was really hard to climb up here," said Nate, grabbing onto L's shirt as he was held close. He ran his fingers over the silken locks on Nate's head.

Scattered papers to L's right crinkled as one of his feet rested against them. They were documents from Mihael's case file. Before leaving, he met with John who slipped him a copy of the file on the young blonde. He was just left alone all of a sudden… I would understand better if his parents were killed or he had been kidnapped or something…any other situation works better in my mind. But this doesn't make any sense to me.

L could not wrap his brain around such a concept. How was it that two parents could potentially forget about their child? Then again…he thought, rubbing Nate's back. How could anyone want to give you up either?

Nate sighed contentedly. It was a great comfort to L. I will just have to bring him to Wammy's. I am sure he will be best here.

Plus…I want to know what he was saying. He said 'Duh' a lot. I wonder what it means… I'm sure it is nowhere near the English translation… L knew there were many things to prepare before Mihael's arrival. For now, he just wanted to curl up next to Nate and sleep.

o O o O o O o

The week to follow brought varied changes in weather. December that year began with light snow flurries that left a light dusting of snow on the ground.

Roger was in the main lobby of Wammy's seated with a child service's worker and Mihael Keehl. Once business was finished the worker left Mihael in Roger's care and exited the orphanage.

Roger sighed, looking down at the blonde child who sat on the floor, making shapes in the nap of an area rug with his fingers. "So, you don't speak any English…" asked Roger.

Mihael looked up at the middle-aged man. He could tell by the tone of voice that he had been addressed, but had no idea what was said.

Roger frowned. "Where is L when you need him? He said he was going to be here..." Scratching at his scalp, the old caregiver took Mihael by the hand and showed him around the building. By the end of the half-hour long tour the pair was back in the main lobby. Roger left Mihael on one of the couches as he went in search of L.

Mihael shook his feet back and forth against the couch. He looked around the lobby, wondering where 'Ghost' was. Remembering the promise L had made to him, he repressed the sad feeling welling inside, hoping against all odds that the teenager's words were true.

A group of three boys scampered into the lobby. Noticing Mihael alone on the couch, the children converged around him. "Hey, are you new?" asked one.

"Yeah, I think so," said another.

"What's your name?" asked the third.

Mihael pulled his legs in close to his form, hands grasping at his shins. "Ne razumem…" (I don't understand…)

Confused expressions were given in return for Mihael's words. "What's that he said?"

"I don't get it…he's weird."

"Yeah he is."

The children laughed in unison.

Go away…thought Mihael, shutting his eyes tightly. Go away, leave me alone.

"You know that's against the rules," a fourth voice uttered. This one was soft and quiet, unlike the others crowded around Mihael.

Mihael opened his eyes, looking towards the voice. His listened, watching as a short white haired boy spoke with the three children bothering him.

"It's Nate," said one.

"Yeah Mr. Know-It-All," added another with a grimace.

"Hey, you can't tell us what to do!" said the leader of the group. He was a taller boy about 10 years of age. He leered at Nate after taking a position in front of the other two boys.

Nate simply smiled. It was a creepy sort of smile; it was most unbecoming on such a young face. The albino child raised a hand, curling a tendril of platinum hair around one index finger. "Ratus," he started, grin increasing in size. "You know that Wammy wouldn't like what you're doing. L wouldn't either."

Gritting his teeth, Ratus barked back a reply. "W-Well no one asked you!"

Nate turned his attention to Mihael. He observed the blonde with large, curious eyes, much like how L did upon their first encounter.

Mihael blinked, releasing the firm grip he had on his legs. He was grateful to say the least.

"Sorry I took so long. I was busy with something important." L entered the lobby with Roger close behind.

Before any assumptions could be made, Ratus and his two friends fled the lobby.

"Hey, there's no running in the halls!" Roger went after the three boys leaving L to Mihael and Nate.

The young dark-haired detective scratched at the hair at the base of his neck. His gaze first fell upon Mihael and then to Nate. "You came here to meet Mihael?" Pressing a thumb to his lip, L allowed a small smile to grace his features.

Nate nodded closing the gap between himself and L's leg. He latched onto the faded denim while his eyes were still locked upon the blonde.

Mihael blinked as he looked at L and Nate. He could tell they were close, but wasn't sure about the details of their relationship.

"Mihael," said L. "Dobrodšel." (Welcome.)

Blue eyes went wide. It was not odd that L had spoke in Slovenian to Mihael before, but his tone and accent had changed. It seemed more like it was his native tongue. "Govoriš Slovensko?" (You speak Slovenian?)

"Da. Po najinem prvem srečanju sem videl, da bi bilo najboljše, da se naučim." (Yes. After my first meeting with you, I thought it would be best to learn.)

Mihael could hardly believe his ears. Only seven days had pasted since he had met L. Just how could he have mastered so much of a new language in such a short amount of time? It was all too much for the young blonde to believe.

"To je Nate." (This is Nate.) L said, motioning towards the albino. "Sem ga naučil malo Slovensko." (I taught him a little bit of Slovenian.) Smiling, L looked down at his leg. "Nate, please talk to him, too." One hand went to pet the white haired child, encouraging him to interact.

Nate peered up at the detective with a short nod. Releasing the denim, he came to the edge of Mihael's position on the couch. "Živjo." (Hello.)

"Živjo," (Hello,) said Mihael, visibly shaken. After leaving home it was virtually impossible to find anyone to understand him. No matter how loud he spoke, no matter what he uttered he was shooed away without a second thought. Though now, everything seemed different. There were people to understand him; people to help him through all of the new experiences awaiting him.

"Upam, da bosta oba prijazna drug z drugim." (I hope you will both be friendly with one another.) said L.

Mihael nodded without a word. Closing his eyes tightly, he fought a lump in his throat threatening to make his eyes water. An image of his mother and father flashed before his minds-eye and he wished to be home again. Being in new places was tiring. All he wanted to do was go back home to familiarity.

A light touch fell upon golden blonde hair, dispelling a fraction of the sadness churning within the boy's small form. He looked up at L who was now seated next to him. "Mihael, pri Wammy's boš dobil veliko novih izkušenj. Upam, da se boš tu sčasoma počutil kot doma. (Mihael, there are many new things you are going to experience at Wammy's. I hope in time you will think of this place as your home.)

Mihael didn't know what to say. He felt scared and uneasy. The world around him felt strange and unfamiliar and he feared this feeling would last forever. Yet here was someone willing to help him through the confusion, someone willing to try. Without another thought, Mihael decided that he would try to, answering L's words with a simple nod of the head.

L smiled. Despite knowing Mihael's native tongue, he wanted to physically reassure the youth as much as possible. "Z Nate om ti bova razkazala okolico. Sicer ti jo je že roger, ampak sem prepričan, da te je samo zmedel." (Nate and I will show you around. Roger has already, but I'm positive you were more confused by his tour.)

Deep eyes of blue focused upon L and then turned to the white haired boy, Nate, at his feet. Pangs of fear began to rattle his heart, but he wasn't going to allow such things to get the better of him. Clenching one fist, he adopted a determined expression, strengthening his resolve. "Prav!" (Ok!)

L blinked, pressing a thumb to his lip in contemplation. It seems he has already begun to cope with this ordeal well. I am glad to know he will not give up or give into weaker feelings. Content with the situation, the raven haired teen stood from the couch, shoulders slumping into his usual bad posture.

"Very well, Nate, let's go. Mihael, pojdimo." (Mihael, let's go.)

The pair of children stood next to each other at L's feet, awaiting instructions.

"Ah, Mihael. Preden pozabim, nekaj bi ti rad povedal." (Ah, Mihael. Before I forget, there is something I wanted to say.)

The blonde blinked. He looked to Nate who began to curl a lock of his hair around an index finger. Looking back towards L, he replied. "Kaj pa?" (What is it?)

"Rad bi, da veš, da je vzdevek, ki si mi ga dal, napačen." (I wanted to let you know that the nickname given to me incorrect.)

Blue eyes squinted in confusion. He could not remember what the older boy was talking about. "Kaj?" (What?)

"Nisem duh." (I am not a ghost.)

Mihael blinked. He quickly remembered having called L a ghost because of his white skin and large blackish eyes. Fearing he had offended the one and only friend he had, Mihael lowered his head. "Žal mi je…" (Sorry…)

Smiling gently L placed his hand on the crown of Mihael's head. He had expressed distaste for the name in hopes of lightening the mood and to perhaps make the boy laugh. I suppose it is still too soon to joke around… "Je že v redu. Raje bi imel kakšen drug vzdevek, prosim." (It is ok. I would prefer a different nickname, please.)

Blue eyes opened after being shut tightly. Mihael could hardly remember closing them in the first place. The touch to his head was calming, allowing the tension in his small body to be released. He looked up at L with worry, his fearful gaze returned with a smile.

" Ne skrbi, nisem jezen. Poskusi se sprostiti, to je tvoj dom!" (Do not worry. I'm not angry. Try to feel comfortable. This is your home.)

Mihael was going to believe in the kind words spoken to him. He had to hold onto the small fragment of hope left within his frightened heart, anything to keep him going. With a heavy sigh, he nodded. "Prav." (Ok.)

o O o O o O o

The last few days had proven difficult for Mihael. It was only the beginning of his transition period and already the young boy was struggling.

He woke in the morning and ate breakfast with all the other children, usually sitting next to Nate who seemed to pay him no mind. Throughout most of the day Mihael made sure he was around others, but usually kept to himself by sitting alone observing.

L watched from afar between work and rest. On his breaks he would sit in the play room watching the young blonde sit alone. Today was no exception. With a light sigh L exited the play room as he made his way down the hall.

I'm worried…he thought, turning left down another corridor. It's only been 5 days counting today, but still I cannot help but worry about Mihael.

He doesn't seem to want to be with others. But, I have also observed that he does not like to be alone either. He could stay in his room if he wanted to be alone, but he makes a point to always be near others, even if they do not bother to talk or play with him.

L smiled when he reached his destination. The smooth scent of chocolate hung in the air. Pressing a thumb to his bottom lip he smiled deeply. "I think it's done."

At the very least…he thought, as he looked for a pair of oven mitts. At the very least now…I can do this for him. Opening the oven door, he carefully pulled out two cake pans and placed them on a cooling rack upon the counter. After all, it is his special day.

o O o O o O o

"Mihael."

There was no reply.

"Mihael," said L, placing a hand upon the child's shoulder. "Prosim, zbudi se." (Please wake up.)

Mihael blinked once, rubbing his eyes vigorously with balled hands. Releasing a small gasp, he looked up to find L standing over him. "Kaj je, Veliki Brat?" (What is it, Big Brother?)

L smiled at the nickname. He didn't mind being called ghost, but he preferred this new name more. Even Nate didn't call him Big brother. "Zaspala si." (You fell asleep.) He extended a hand to Mihael who took it and stood.

Rubbing his eye with one hand, the blonde yawned.

"Si še vedno utrujen?" (Still tired?)

Mihael nodded.

"Si lačen?" (Are you hungry?)

Mihael nodded again. "Sem zamudil kosilo?" (Did I miss lunch?)

"Mislim, da ja." (Yes, I think so.)

The two were still hand in hand as L lead the boy out of the playroom down the hall.

Mihael took in a small breath, waking himself further. He looked down one end of the hall and then the other, noticing that he and L were the only ones around. "Kje so vsi?" (Where is everybody?)

"No, kosilo se je končalo nedolgo nazaj, tvoji kolegi so si najverjetneje privoščili popoldanski dremež." (Well lunch ended a little while ago. Your peers are most likely having an afternoon nap.) A small smiled graced the teen's face. "Tudi ti si si privoščil počitek. Je zalegel?" (You got your nap as well. Was it good?)

He nodded. "Hm ...Gremo v kuhinjo?" (Um…are we going to the kitchen?)

" Saj si rekel, da si lačen, kajne? (You did say you were hungry, did you not?)

"Da…" (Yes…)

Soon the two arrived in the kitchen. L released his grip on the young boy's hand and headed for the counter. Pressing a thumb to his lower lip, he chewed at his nail with a pleased expression. "Yes, it looks perfect," he said aloud.

"Kaj…?" (What?)

L went back to Mihael and grabbed him under the armpits, placing him on the counter next to what he had baked.

The blonde stared wide-eyed at the confection; it was a two-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

"Vse najboljše za tvoj 6th rojstni dan, Mihael ..." (Happy 6th Birthday Mihael…) he read, his tone almost confused.

Dark eyes blinked as L chewed his thumbnail again, however he was puzzled. "Saj je danes, 13th Decembra tvoj rojstni dan, imam prav?" (It is your birthday, is it not? The 13th of December, correct?)

The boy nodded.

L cocked his head from one side then to the other. He was thrown for a loop. "Potem pa prosim povej mi, kaj je narobe. Ne razumem." (Then please tell me what is wrong. I do not understand.) Pausing, the teenager proposed a potential answer. "Ne maraš čokolade?" (Do you dislike chocolate?)

Mihael stared at the concoction on the plate beside him, unable to look away from the lettering upon it. Each word had been carefully written in some brownish goo that was unfamiliar to him. L must have made this himself, he thought idly. His Big Brother, who, until recently, was a complete stranger to him.

Deep inside his heart, he thought that this wasn't right. It should have been his parents, his Mama and Oče (Father) who were presenting him with such a confection. He didn't like this place where he didn't know anyone; it was a place were all he knew was this person with wild black hair and a white face. Mihael was starting to grow attached to his Big Brother, but he feared that attachment. Would L eventually get bored and cast him aside just like his parents? Who was to say it wouldn't happen in time?

Mihael's form shivered as he turned to L. Tears began to stream down his flushed round cheeks. He began to speak only to choke in the process. Swallowing the lump his throat he attempted a reply. "Jaz ... Ne vem, kaj je čokolada ..." (I…I don't know what chocolate is…)

L blinked, staring wide-eyed at the youth. He doesn't know what chocolate is? It was easy to tell that Mihael wasn't crying because he didn't know what chocolate was. L contemplated a quick hypothesis and reasoned that Mihael had experienced many painful things in his short life. An event such as a birthday marked time when he was away from familiar surroundings and people. That was sure to take its toll on the boy.

The dark-haired detective was not the best authority on emotions, but he has learned enough to know that Mihael needed comfort. A brilliant thought came to mind as the teen searched one of his jean pockets. I might as well kill two birds with one stone, he thought, silently hoping his actions would bear fruit.

L presented a silver wrapper to Mihael. "Vzemi tole." (Here, take this.)

The blonde ceased crying a moment, taking the foil into his hands. He bore an awkward expression, hardly expecting the foil to hold a weight to it. Turning over the item in his small hands, Mihael saw that it was a sweet smelling brown bar. He noted that is smelled a lot like the circular brown object with lettering on the plate at his side.

Blue eyes squinted, attempting to make out what the label said, but failed. He couldn't read it. "Kaj je to?" (What is it?)

L smiled, chewing on his thumbnail again. "Mihael, to je čokolaca. V tem primeru gre za čokoladno tablico." (This is chocolate, Mihael. In this case, it's a chocolate bar.)

Mihael blinked a few times.

"Sladka je in okusna. Čokolada je ena mojih najljubših sladkarij." (It is sweet and delicious. It is one of my favorite things to eat.)

Mihael pulled the foil wrapper back, smelling the bar. It smells good…he thought, stomach growling in response to the heavenly scent.

L grinned at the growl. "Opazil sem, da kadar so ljudje žalostni, v glavnem, kadar so žalostne ženske porabijo obilne količine čokolade. V teoriji to poveča stopnjo serotonina in jih v kratkem naredi srečnejše, ampak še vedno iščem informacije, ki bi dokazale to trditev ..." (I have observed that when people are sad...mostly when females are sad, they will consume copious amounts of chocolate. Hypothetical, it will increase one's serotonin levels, in short making them happier, but I have yet to find any proven information to back up this claim…)

Mihael blinked, rubbing at his eyes with his forearm, hoping to clean away the tear stains left on his cheeks. He had been crying, but couldn't remember why. "Oh..." he said looking away. "Toda ... Saj nisem žalosten ..." (But…I'm not sad...) he grumbled softly, staring at the floor.

L smiled gently, bending forward to pat the young boy on the head. You are already showing signs of resilience. I won't stop you if that is something that keeps you going.

Mihael continued to wipe at his face until it was dry.

"Sem si mislil, da boš to rekel. Dobro, potem ..." (I thought you would say that. Very well...) he added, turning Mihael to face him. "Potem pa ga le shrani za primer, če pride tak čas." (Then you will just have to keep it for when such a time arises.)

Young Mihael pouted, looking the teenager in the eyes. "Da…" (Yes….)

"Vse Najboljše, Mihael…" (Happy Birthday, Mihael.) L smiled, rubbing the boy's head.

A sniffled escaped his nose. "Hvala…" (Thank you…)

o O o O o O o

A few weeks had passed since Mihael's 6th Birthday and already he was showing signs of improvement. L had taken the boy under his wing much like he did with Nate, tutoring the boys separately.

Mihael and L sat within the teen's bedroom; Mihael was on the edge of the bed as L sorted over papers at his desk.

"Let me see here…" said L aloud, searching for one paper in particular.

Mihael swayed his feet from side to side, waiting as patiently as a 6 year old could.

"Ah there it is." L turned in the swivel chair towards the blonde, holding up a Canterbury chocolate bar label. "Mihael, what is this?"

What is this…he thought, able to understand the English sentence perfectly. Blue eyes squinted in concentration. He observed one word upon the label that read, 'CHOCOLATE'. First he started with the 'C'. "T-Ts…"

"Ah, ne, ne. Ne izgovarjaj, kod bi bilo pozabi, da se angleščina izgovarja zelo drugače." (Ah, no, no. Don't pronounce it like it is Slovenian. Remember, English is pronounced much differently.) L pointed to the 'CH', making a 'chuh' noise with his mouth. "Zapomni si, to je glas "chuh, podobno kot Slovenski "č"." (Remember? This is a 'chuh' noise, much like the Slovenian 'č'.)

Mihael blinked, nodding. "Da." (Yes.)

"Mihael," L repeated. "What is this?"

"Cho…choco…." L…a…t…e? "Choco…lateh?"

L smiled. "Blizu." (Close.) "Chaw-ko-let." He enunciated each syllable slowly so that Mihael could understand.

"Chaw…ko…let," he mimicked.

"Ah, da, da. Zelo dobro." (Ah, yes, yes. Very good.) Turning in his chair, the dark-haired teen rifled through a few drawers on his desk.

The familiar sound of foil rattled, falling on Mihael's ears. His eyes widened as he waited with bated breath.

"I think that is all for today. Here," said L, handing the youth a chocolate bar. "Zelo dobro. Very good." (Very good.)

Mihael took the treat. He looked to L, waiting for him to slowly enunciate the English phrase.

"Veh-ree, gooh-d," said L

"Veh….ree….gooh-d?" Mihael repeated.

L smiled. "Da." (Yes.) He stood, patting Mihael on the head. "Danes si 'ver good' opravil. To je tvoja nagrada za dobro opravljeno delo." (You did 'very good' today. That is your treat for a job well done.)

Mihael smiled. "Hvala, Veliki Brat!" (Thank you, Big Brother!) It didn't take long for the youth to unwrap the chocolate bar and take a few bites. The smooth, rich taste of cocoa and milk filled his mouth, thoroughly exciting his taste buds. In only a few short moments half the bar had been devoured. Before eating more, he rewrapped the snack and placed it on the bed. "Veliki Brat?" (Big Brother?) he asked.

L had already returned to case files. Pausing, he turned to Mihael. "Da?" (Yes?)

"Zanimalo je ... ne Nate sovražijo?" (I wanted to know…does Nate hate me?)

Dark grey eyes blinked a few times, processing the statement. He stood from his chair and sat next to the 6 year old on the bed. "Ne, Nate te ne sovraži. Zakaj tako misliš?" (No, Nate does not hate you. What gave you such a thought?) He patted the smooth hair on the blonde's head, hoping to reassure the child.

"Odkar sem prišel, sva skupaj v sobi, ampak nikoli ne govori z mano ... Gotovo me sovraži." (Since I came here we room together. But he never talks to me…He must hate me.)

L chuckled. I suppose my theory was incorrect. Nate is very attached to me. He let out a soft sigh. But that will not be good for him in the future. I will not always be around for Nate to hold on to. I would like if he would make friends with his peers. And Mihael seems to want to be familiar with him. "Nate te ne sovraži, v to sem prepričan. Preprosto se ne znajde najbolje, pri socialnih interakcijah." (Nate does not hate you, rest assured. He is simply not the best when it comes to social interactions.)

"Socialne…interakcije?" (Social…interactions?)

L faltered momentarily. "Oprosti. Dovoli, da razložim. Ni najboljši pri spoznavanju prijateljev. Nekaj ga zavira pri pogovoru z drugimi njegove starosti." (Sorry. Let me explain. He is not good at making friends. Something prevents him from talking to others his own age.) This is true…Nate is not usually good with social interactions. That, in part, may be my fault. I taught him to think analytically, but I think he began to apply that to the interactions between people as well. "Hočeš, da bi bila z Nateom prijatelja?" (Do you want to be friends with Nate?)

"Da." (Yes.)

"Potem imam idejo," (Then I have an idea.) he said, as a thought came to mind. "Mihael, hočem, da to, kar ne morem." (Mihael, I want you to do what I cannot.)

"Kaj?" (What?)

"Prosim, postani Nateov prijatelj. Nauči ga, kako naj bo prijatelj. To je nekaj, česar ga jaz ne morem." (Please become friends with Nate. Teach him how to be a friend. This is something I cannot do.)

Mihael shook his head back and forth vigorously. "Ne, Ne! Ničesar ni, česar ti ne bi mogel storiti. Ti si L in vse je odvisno od tebe. Tu vedno vsi govorijo, kako super si ..." (No, no! There's nothing you can't do. You're L and everyone looks up to you. Everyone here always says how great you are…)

"Oh, to tako?" (Oh, is that so?) L chuckled. He was always amused with the things people would say about him. I am not as great as they make me out to be…

The boy nodded. "Da. Res je, ne morem narediti nečesa, česar ti ne moreš ..." (Yes. It is true. I can't do something if you can't do it…)

L placed a hand on one of Mihael's shoulder. The two locked eyes as L spoke. "Mihael, to je nekaj, česar ne morem. Samo ti lahko to storiš. Prosim ,naredi to zame." (Mihael, this is something I cannot do. Only you can do this. Please do this for me.) I want you and Nate to mature, to grow up and become great people. Clinging to me will only stunt the two of you.

"Ampak ... Kako? Še nikoli nisem imel nobenega prijatelja ..." (But…but how? I have never had any friends before…)

"A jaz nisem tvoj prijatelj?" (Am I not a friend of yours?)

Mihael nodded. "Da, ti si že moj prijatelj, ampak ti si Veliki Brat!" (Yes, you are a friend. But you're my Big Brother!)

"Je brat ne prijatelj?" (Is a brother not a friend?)

"Hm?"

"Ali je lahko oboje hkrati, Mihael?" (Can the two be one in the same, Mihael?)

Unsurely, the blonde youth nodded. "Da…" (Yes…)

"Potem prosim, da narediš enako z Nateom. Bodi njegov prijatelj, tako kot si moj." (Then please do the same with Nate. Be his friend like you are my friend.) I wonder…I do hope that the two can become friends. Before long, I will be gone from this institution, traveling the world with Wammy in order to become a great detective. I suppose… Dark eyes reflected the image of Mihael, young and fully of life. I already feel so old and worn. My work will unwittingly be my death, I am sure of that. At the very least, I can do my part by helping these two boys along. "Mihael, ali zahtevam preveč?" (Mihael, am I asking too much of you?)

"Ne…" (No…)

L smiled, patting Mihael on the back. "Ne skrbi. Prepričan sem, da bo poslušal, če boš govoril z njim." (Don't worry. I'm sure if you talk to him, he will listen.)

"Prav." (Ok.)

o O o O o O o

A few days later Mihael found himself in the play room, observing the other children as he usually did. His current focus was upon Nate who sat alone at another end of the room. He sat unusually, much like L did in a chair with his left leg bent, his left hand resting atop the kneecap. His other leg was horizontal with the floor, relaxed at his side. His right hand, which Mihael assumed was his dominant, put pieces into place onto a large rectangular puzzle board.

Deep blue eyes focused intently on Nate, watching as he quickly yet carefully completed the puzzle, dumped it back onto the floor then reconstructed it again.

I don't understand…why is he even in here if he's not gonna play with someone else? Mihael snorted. I guess he's like me then.

A bell chimed three times, signaling that it was time for lunch. In a matter of seconds, the playroom was empty, save for Mihael and Nate.

The blonde blinked, standing from his position on the floor. His attention was still upon Nate who was diligently putting puzzle pieces together. I want to talk to him…but I don't think he'll understand me… Softly, Mihael spoke. "Z-zvonec se je oglasil ..." (T-The bell rang.)

The quiet sound of cardboard pieces fastened together was the only noise in the room.

Nate didn't seem to notice Mihael's words, much less his presence.

Discouraged, but not about to give up, Mihael squeezed one hand into a fist. He repeated himself, this time with greater volume. "Z-zvonec se je oglasil ..." (The bell rang.) He said again. Mihael wasn't expecting to be understood, but at the very least he hoped to gain Nate's attention.

Nate's dominant hand ceased action as the head of white hair moved, dark eyes focused upon the source of the voice.

Mihael blushed, eyes turned away. He wanted Nate's attention, but once received he felt out of place and mortified. "Oprosti…" (Sorry…)

Nate stood exhibiting terrible posture as he gathered the remaining puzzle pieces, placing them neatly in a pile upon the board, setting it out of the way for later. With that, he exited the room.

The blonde turned back towards Nate as he heard footsteps leave the room. Mouth agape, the boy followed Nate towards the cafeteria. "Počakajte, prosim." (Wait, please.) he said, following directly behind the albino. Ah….stupid me, he thought. He's not going to understand me anyways…

Pausing in his slow stride, Nate turned to the blonde. "Zakaj?" (Why?)

Eyes went wide as Mihael stood flabbergasted by the Slovenian. He…he understood me?

"Zakaj naj počakam?" (Why should I wait?) One small index finger came to the right side of Nate's hair, curling a platinum lock thoughtfully.

"Z-Zato, ker ..." (B-Because…)

The 4 year old stood waiting, continuing to curl his hair until Mihael made his reply.

"Z-Zato, ker ... rad bi se ti zahvakik." (B-Because…I wanted to say thank you.)

"Zahvalil?" (Thank you?) Nate asked in a monotone voice.

It seemed he always spoke so gently and devoid of emotion, Mihael noted. "Da. Hotela sem, da ... se ti zahvaliti." (Yes. I wanted to…to thank you.)

"Toda zakaj? Kaj sem takega naredil?" (But why? What did I do for you?)

"Se ne spominjaš? Tistih treh, ki so me zbadali. Mislim, da je bilo enemu od njih ime Ratus ..." (Don't you remember? Those three who were bothering me before. I think one of their names was Ratus…)

Dark grey eyes widened. "Oh…" he said, a little more emotion in his voice. "Zdaj naj bi rekel 'ni za kaj', kajne?" (I'm suppose to say, 'You're welcome' right?)

"Ah…da." (Ah yes.)

Nodding, Nate spoke his words of appreciation. "Ni za kaj." (You're welcome.) He blinked several times showing great confusion.

"Kaj je narobe?" (What's wrong?)

"Samo…" (It's just…) The finger twirling those white locks worked faster than it had previously. "Še nikoli se mi ni nihče zahvalil, razen L." (No one other than L has ever thanked me before…)

"Oh ... prav. Ampak jas to res mislim." (Oh…ok. But I do mean it.) Mihael looked at his feet, his toes curling and wiggling out of uncertainty. "Hvaležen sem ti za pomoč." (I'm grateful for your help.) Looking up, Nate's expression looked even more confused than before. "Žal mi je…" (Sorry…)

"Naj ti ne bo žal ... tako delamo prijatelji, je tako?" (Don't be sorry…that's what friends do, correct?)

Mihael gasped, looking to the white-haired boy. "Kaj?" (What?)

Dark eyes narrowed as Nate looked about the hallway the two occupied, his thoughts running in circles. "Ali ne delajo prijatelji teh stvari drug za drugega? Sem narobe dojel?" (Don't friends do those things for each other? Or did I get that wrong?)

Titling his head once, then to the other side, the blonde began to laugh.

Nate pursed his lips. I guess I did get that wrong… "Zakaj se mi zdaj smejiš?" (Why are you laughing at me?)

"Oprosti ... Samo bolje se počutim." (Sorry…I just feel better.)

"Zakaj?" (Why?)

"Ker ... sem mislil, da me ne maraš." (Because…I thought you didn't like me.)

Large grey eyes blinked once. "Zakaj bi tako mislil?" (Why would you think that?)

"Ni pomembno. Zdaj sva prijatelja, kajne?" (It's not important. We're friends now, right?) Mihael smiled brightly at 4 year old.

Nate blinked several times, nodding. "Da." (Yes.)

"To je dovolj velik razlog, da se počutijo bolje." (That's reason enough to feel better.)

Nate looked to the blonde, who had a permanent smile upon his face. The corners of Nate's face moved upwards to form a smile, feeling that the expression befitted the situation.

"Želiš, da skupaj pojeva kosilo?" (Want to eat lunch together?)

The albino nodded. "Da." (Yes.)