A.N- I do not know what brought this on. I'm supposed to be finishing the third chapter of Eden. I guess I just fancied writing about Near. Bit of onesided!NearXMello. Not fluffy in the slightest. Kind of a Dark!fic.
They say Near is without faults, and they are mistaken. Near is every bit as flawed as anyone else.
He is the child genius that curls up in armchairs with heavy leather-bound books in the shadows. He won't go play outside; he politely declines the daily offers. His room is as plain, as sterile, as his hair; puzzles and toys he molds between his fingers are stacked on the shelves in a subconscious cryptic order; his bed is always made and looks unused. His window has blue curtains. On the floor are scattered, some broken, crayons for paper but no one knows what he draws, if he draws.
He is as cold hearted as they say, cold like Norwegian wind, like English Frost, cold like Russian winter. His eyes contain an endless depth to them which will cause the foolishly brave to stare too long, sink into pools of apocryphal black ink and never return. His eyes look like soft silk but it is really tar, thick and heavy, so that it is with a struggle, a battle no one witnesses, he pulls his eyes from the floor to ever look anyone in the face. Not many are given the honor of that struggle; Near lifts his head for a select few.
He is unbound by morals. He knows them all, and he knows conventional right and wrong, but he chooses to ignore them when he sees fit. Empathy is forced for him, his deductions for why he should not care for things is too fast and his arguments unmatched. Near cannot be made to feel by demand alone. He sees the world in base colors but he sees the shades much more obviously. To Near, it's all puzzles and politics. There's a barren emptiness in his heart he fills with thinking, electrical thinking, stimulation he gets from the complexity of the adult world not even its creators can run. But Near could.
The halls of Whammy's are his, and he walks them all as their rightful master. It annoys him when others run down them, hammer against the old wood floors and slam into the walls and into a mass of giggling fits. The ignorance and stupidity of the world, including the miserable existence of everyone within it, have carved him a mask of misleading indifference to wear at all times. It had already become a part of his face, soon it will become a part of his mind.
Near surpasses all, and it is not even in his nature to be competitive. Near wouldn't have to work for anything if his brain was purely in control of his mismatched body hidden behind large white pajamas, clothes he wants to melt into and hide away his betraying physic. He is not small and meek, he will grow tall and he will broaden. His hands will get larger and thicker, and possibly even, he dreads the thought, clumsier.
Like the robots whose joints ache with the thumping and twisting of the blunt neglected clogs, Near's body contains machinery, his organs twist and rattle with the pained thumps of his heart, a heart people assume Near does not have. He never cries or moans, complains or tantrums, and he never fights back.
Near is not himself. He doesn't know himself, but he suspects that this deviation from the normal is an indication of such. He sees a fellow student shouting at the teacher from the other side of the classroom and his heart shudders in his chest. His mind, body and heart are a unit until his eyes glance at the other boy, and then suddenly they are rivals. His heart needs warmth and he hates it. He is learning to avoid the blonde haired uncouth youth, to keep his head low and his eyes down.
"What do you mean, second again?" cries the student.
He is an exception to Near's every rule.
He defies the very logic that governs Nears self. Near lives in an isolated existence, impenetrable social bleakness, no one wants anything to do with him and he has learnt to live with it. They accept without question his position in Whammy's. He wants nothing to do with them, and if he had ever thought differently, once upon a time, he had forgotten long ago. There is nothing Near cannot get on demand. He always wants to be left alone and so he is. He asks for toys and he receives them. His every whim is attended for, and Near lives according to that rule.
It is just… this boy… this boy refuses him everything.
No one is allowed to fight Near, he is too special, too smart, too invaluable. His mind rivals that of the great L. No one has ever tried, except this boy with a temper like the jaws of a crocodile, stagnant until provoked. His boy will not accept Near as the top student or number one.
Near has never had a rival before. He doesn't know what to make of it. He can feel the boy glaring at him from across the classroom. There is an intense hatred which try as he might Near cannot compete with. He has never had a good enough reason to hate anything, just as he has never had a good reason to love it either. The scorn from the other boy itches the back of Nears neck and alarms him. It's unusual and uncomfortable.
Near places a piece of the jigsaw down into a space, and horrifies himself when he realizes it doesn't fit.
Near transcended humanity. He is nothing like the average, needy children he is categorized among; he is a supernatural entity in (almost) every way. He walks on clouds high, high above where no one can match him but when this blond boy looks at him it's like he's thrown off his cloud and is tumbling to the ground a hundred miles a second.
"You!" It's the blond boy, and everyone in the classroom has their heads snapped up to attention at the command of Mello. Even the teacher is unable to control this unruly child, and Near is… sort of… entertained by that. The silence is not unusual, but the boy is watching Near with the intensity of a hawk and… it's off-putting. It's a confrontation. He needs to calculate but he has lost the ability to think properly. He has been challenged and in front of classroom full of students. He will be expected to say something and he does not know what to say.
Number two is his existence and that's how it should always be. Near comes first, then Mello. Alias are just a formality, there should never be interaction between them… it would only hinder Near. No, them both.
"How did you get more than me?" that voice roars.
There is a cold indifference in his voice which has never before betrayed him. Near feels nothing for his fellow students and nothing for his guardians. Near speaks to them all in the same controlled toneless manner, never praising and never insulting. He has never needed to use any other tone. He doesn't know any other tone.
"Perhaps you should study more."
Only what comes out his mouth bares a quality which surprises even Near. He didn't know he was capable of it. There's a challenge at the end of his words, a question at the start, and a condemnation in the middle. Advice, insult and rivalry all at once, and that is just what he noticed. Mello's face twists with rage but Near stays focused on the puzzle on his desk in front of him. Near cannot award Mello with any sort of reaction or he will lose everything; he will cease to be everything that he knows. That he thinks he knows.
"Mello, sit down!" commands the teacher. Mello splutters and curses under his breath but he does as he is told, and Near feels grateful. He was running out of ways to distract himself.
When Near returns to his room that evening, he feels a strong dislike towards all his robots and dolls. He needs to redecorate. He wants black curtains, not blue, and he wants everything with a humanoid appearance out until he is left with only blank puzzles and books.
He thinks he might have made a mistake. Near is not social. He is polite, indifferent, and everyone else gets by. He has never needed companionship of any sort and so he has never treated anyone as otherwise, he even pushes them away when they attempt a friendship with him. He realizes now that he cannot treat Mello like all the others, a mere buzzing in his ear and a body in his way. There's an intelligent mind he just challenged to a life long game because his composure slipped. If he had just ignored the boy…
That hadn't seemed like an option at the time. There were no options.
His entire existence has been solely to replace L. Near attends all his classes and does all his homework and extra studying because he has simply nothing else to do and he cannot fill his time playing games completely. He had before no desire to form human attachment but it's the only rational explanation to his previous behavior, and he hates it. There is a humanity to Near he doesn't want to admit is there, an animalistic baseness which he and everyone else shares, but which Mello has made it is duty to reveal. Not intentionally, completely subconsciously. Mello wants to be number one for his own reasons. Near finds that sad, but he likes sadness. It's very easy to switch off.
By the morning Near will have calmed down and rationally talked his way out of distress. By the morning Near will be as coldhearted as they say, solitary as normal, his mask will become one with his face and then, when it is one with his mind, he will learn to shape it. He will be in control.
"Look at that little brat smiling… he fucking knows this is all a big joke…"
"Calm down, Mels, he's probably not evening thinking about you."
Contrary to the red-headed exception to every Mello's rule, Near was thinking about him. But he wasn't smiling. At least, he hopes he wasn't.
"That test was rigged. I got question twenty one correct. They're just lying for his sake!"
"Wait… no you got it wrong. See, you put 'y' there when it's actually the 'x'. You were just in too much of a hurry to hand your test in first."
He cannot resist. "An easy mistake." Near says as he walks past their table. He can feel the heat from Mello fuming even as he exits the room.
Near is not the perfect child anyone wants him to be. The contrasting desires of his guardians have made him all the things they did and did not want in L's successor. They wanted him to be good with people but they raised him in a world full of bad examples. They wanted him to care about society, but they taught that caring achieved nothing. They wanted him to be independent but now he is beyond their reach. Near is young, but he is learning to take control. His mind is off limits to persuasion; he decides what he does and doesn't. No one can tell him to feel things he doesn't feel, do thing he sees no reason for doing. He hears whispers from the staff as he goes into the kitchen late at night, urgent and concerned about that cold, heartless child with only a basic sense of moral righteousness and no responsibility to act upon it. They discuss his perfect grades but inability to socialize and it is only because Near is curious that he bothers to listen. Their words have no effect upon him. He is past that, if he was ever there. His eyes are proof enough. His eyes are so large that should anyone look into them they will drown.
Eventually they will freeze over so all anyone will ever see is their own curious, pathetic reflection in Near's black pupils, and never beyond them, never into the depths of his cruel and brilliant mind. They will be struck with their own unspeakable truths and he will be victorious. Near counts each day down for his eyes to freeze over completely. Winter is coming soon.
Winter came and left. They said the boy was damned, yet Near might have suggested saved.
It was a cold day on a cold month when the children of the orphanage were made to dress in mourning and walk with the staff onto the haunted English fields which surrounded their establishment. They walked in silence beneath the morning blue sky. They could see their breath in front of them, as though it was their very souls escaping.
They reached the memorial, a grey cross gravestone beaten by all the elements. No name. No real markings. Only memories to declare that beneath the frosted ground beside the brook on the edge of the forest was the finest student Whammy's ever had, the finest successor to L in existence.
Although, such a title had rivals. At least two.
One by one the students laid down their offerings to the gravestone. Near had a lily in his hands. He put the flower down and walked away.
Alone he stood above on the hill before the brook to watch everyone else act respectful. Most had never known the person whose grave they stepped on to place dying flowers. Such a quaint little tradition. Such a needless expression of pretend sorrow. Was his rival the same? Near watched Mello curiously. He moved very slowly, taking his time before the grave, and Near knew from the clench of his fist and raised chin that he was vowing never to become like A. A failure. Not even Near believed victims were synonymous with failures.
He had to move. They all did. It was a swift congregation and there was no time for prayers. The next student moved along, put down some flowers, and left. Near watched the conveyer belt of sacrifices take their turns before the grave.
His trance was broken by the one student who came up the hill to join him, the one exception to everything. Mello stood beside Near in silence. Why me? A slight breeze picked at their skin but neither flinched. Mello could face the cold, and Near could not feel it.
"That is the fate that awaits us both." Near said. "An unmarked grave where strangers might place flowers. Aliases. Memories to be lost. That is all we will become. If you are truly prepared to be the next successor, you must accept this."
Indeed, why Near? Why thislittle boy who could have been made from ice from every continent and fitted with a mechanical heart? Why Mello, child of the volcanoes, deep sea and air?
"I accepted that a long time ago," Mello replied, "Unlike you, I have never wondered otherwise."
"That is irrelevant…" Near answered, but explained no more.
Eventually a red head climbs upon the hill towards them and stands beside Mello. They glance at each other for a moment then look back towards the grave. Near looks as well because there is nothing else worth looking at. He doesn't find it amusing anymore, he finds it sad. He liked sad, because it was easy to switch off. It is suddenly rather hard.
If he could hate, he would hate this feeling. Contempt is not quite the same.
The ceremony ends and the children of the orphanage are lead back over the fields towards Whammy's. Three remain behind just a moment longer. Then it will be back to their routines for the next year, and the years after that, a vindictive current only the vicious win by swimming with it. Near will go to his room to play, and he will read the library books, and he will watch the other children playing sports from his place behind the windows, and he will age.
His pace starts to slow.
With it slows Mello's, and Matt's. They turn to face him patiently as the rest of his house keeps walking forwards over the fields into the known nothingness. It shocks him. His eyes bore directly into Mello's and what shocks him even more is that Mello has not plunged, rather, Mello has burned straight through them and will set him alight from the inside.
It doesn't have to be this way.
"Are you going to take all day?" Mello snaps, crossing his arms and scowling. But he does not leave.
He does not leave.
Slowly, cautiously, Near bends down to brush invisible dust from his legs. He does so to disguise his smile.
A.N- I am a sucker for that red head I don't care how much screen time he had.
This was inspired by Lady of the House of Love, by Angela Carter. I'm thinking about writing some short stories similar, maybe parodying hers using the Death Note characters. I do like her writing style. Thank you for reading! Your thoughts are always welcome. I'm always looking for constructive feedback so please comment on any errors I've made or ways I need to improve.