Want it. Take it. Love it. Keep it.

BY : hnm
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 1496
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:
First of all, I'm a rabid Matt/Mello fan, so this is a challenge for myself. It was written for a friend, who pointed out, reasonably so, that it does make a hell of a lot of sense. Buckets of credits go to her for also being the very best little beta ever, especially concerning L's characterization and speech patterns. He's a damn tough nut to crack. So thanks for everything my little PUPPERFISH.
Reviews are lovely, and constructive criticism is always welcome. Flames will be ignored (I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and comes to bite you in the ass).
And, we're off...


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CHAPTER 1
PRETTY

It was on Halloween, the first time L really noticed it. At least in the concious sense. Though he did not like to admit to himself that probably, subconciously, it had been there for some time, several months at least. He just couldn't think of himself as an -ahem- normal human being. He did not have time to act on the kind of instincts the majority of the human species was so often distracted by. Not to mention, socially speaking, these emotions were very, very unethical, or so he'd been told. But, ethically speaking, allowing a preteen to spend hours on the internet looking at graphic crime scene photos and reading descriptions of heinous crimes was also very wrong, yet he'd done just that.

"Mello, what /exactly/ is it that you're dressed up as?" Watari had asked upon entering the Wammy House library.

L was currently pretending to be revisiting a case file, though he had memorized every detail, name, and date therein. He smirked behind the folder held inches from his nose. Watari was most definately not going to approve.

"A mob boss, of course. Duh." Mello replied, opening a second browser window, checking for inaccuracies in his costume. He was practically a mirror image of the now imprisoned criminal he was trying to emmulate, except for that fact that he was nearly twenty years younger than the man in the picture. It had been the boss's final day in court, and he'd showed up wearing skin tight leather pants, slightly heeled black boots, and a feathered coat that fell just below his knees. The prison, which L had been mostly responsible for sending the man to, was still intercepting marriage proposals from "fans".

"Ah, yes, I remember that one. You did an excellent job assisting our L on this case. You received an 'A' in your current events studies for that work, yes?"

"Yeah, I kicked Near's sorry ass this semester."

Near, from his place on the floor, looked up from the transformer he'd been disassembling, to frown in his older classmate's direction. "Only because your assignment was much simpler. L has not even solved the case I was assigned to assist with."

"Please refrain from using that language in the building Mello." Watari scolded. Then, gesturing to the plastic gun tucked into the front of the blond's leather pants, he added, "I don't see that anywhere in the picture."

Mello scoffed, clicking back to the first picture, a fuzzy black and white image showed the man, six months prior and wearing a similar ensemble, taken by an undercover police officer. "There you go."

"It's still inaccurate." Near interjected again. "He isn't wearing that much /makeup/ in those photos either."

"Shut up Near, I don't remember anyone asking you. And at least I made an effort!" Mello picked up a handheld mirror, checking that the eyeliner he just applied hadn't smudged. "That's not a costume at all. You're an albino in pajamas all year long."

Near rummaged through his toybox nearby, finding a pair of bunny ears attached to a headband. He set them atop his mass of uncombed white hair, before returning to the task at hand - attaching a skeletal head to a decapitated transformer. He gently set his creation aside, allowing time for the glue to dry.

"Near, you're fucking twisted." Mello rolled his eyes. The teachers called /him/ a problem child. Here the little brat was, tearing the heads off his toys and exchanging body parts, like some sort of techno Doctor Frankenstein. "You should have gone as Doctor Frankenstein."

The younger boy twirled his hair, tugging at the unruly, slightly curled strands. "Perhaps that is what I am."

Mello's bright blue eyes narrowed, angry that none of his insults seemed to affect his rival. His fists clenched, imagining what he could do to the little boy. He thought, 'if only Watari and L were elsewhere'...then he was reminded of how disappointed L had looked the last time he and Watari had pulled the boys apart from a fight. And it wasn't even his fault! Near, the little instigator, had kept egging him on, until their mentors had rounded the corner. All the older men saw was Mello's fist inches from the weaker boy's terrified features. Then the younger had gone limp, looking very much like a white rabbit, caught by the wild cat. Little fucking faker.

L, from his perch across the room, was having completely different, but equally alarming, thoughts. He watched the blond taking deep, shallow breaths. Watched his delicate features twist into a terrifying sneer. The pretty almond eyes turn to slits. He sighed deeply, turning his face away from the scene in front of him. Had he really just described one of successors, a much younger boy at that, as 'pretty'? He certainly wasn't sliced strawberries on top of thick white icing, covering vanilla cake, oozing more strawberry sauce from it's center. L looked back then, to verify that Mello indeed had very little in common his the sort of things he would usually describe as 'pretty'. No, this was not a fat slice of cake. This was a student, dressed head-to-toe in black leather, very tight black leather. This was a boy sporting the same hair cut he had had since he'd first come to the institution as a toddler. This was Mello, with his intelligent blue eyes and insane smile. Mello, who could go from carefully plotting out every detail with calm determination, to being unstopable, unreasonable anger personified. Most importantly, this was a boy, who looked up to him as a mentor. Though sometimes it was hard to see how young he really was when looking over his test scores, or conversing with him about the psychology of a mass murderer as they often did late at night while indulging in their respective addictions. And it became even harder to remind himself that this was in fact, a child, when his body seemed to be developing much more quickly than most. It gave him the ability to pull off /leather/ without looking like a little boy playing dress up.

"L?" The detective suddenly realized that someone must have been calling him for a few moments now, judging from the irritated tone with which his codename was currently being uttered. "Hey, L, whose do /you/ like better? Honestly. Though I already know who you're going to pick." Mello smiled, hand resting on the butt of the fake gun still tucked into his waistband. Dangerous. Yes, that was the best word to describe Mello's appearance. Just like the thoughts he'd been having lately. Bad for him. Most likely going to get him in a great deal of trouble if he didn't stop them soon. Luckily, dangerous situations weren't something that normally fazed the world- famous detective.

L smiled, though the expression seemed wrong somehow, considering that he was currently chewing the end of his thumb. It gave the smile a lopsided, almost comical effect. He looked from one boy, to the other, feigning consideration. Yes, he knew whose costume he like better, though he decided that it would be highly inappropriate to say so, especially with Watari and Near in the room. Finally, when Mello appeared ready to cry with frustration, and when Near had gone back to the mutilation of innocent dolls, L spoke, though it was not what the child wanted to hear.

"Watari, where is my birthday cake?"



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