Tear You Apart

BY : Duomi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 5716
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.

Chapter Title: Prologue (Perfect Now)

Disclaimer: Death Note isn't mine. If it were... this is pretty much what would have happened, actually.

Rating: PG-13 I suppose, for language?

Pairing(s?): Kira/L... I'm pondering others now, since I have more options. Hmm...

Comments: Again, this is a sequel to Goodnight Moon. If you haven't read that yet, the background on this will make no sense to you at all. Also, this will have spoilers on Near and Mello... the spoilers being, they exist. That's about it. Honestly, their pasts really aren't combed over extensively in the series, you know?

Thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter of GM so far! Your comments have proven very helpful, and I should get to the scene which will utilise them within a few chapters. This chapter is more setting up the main challenges, getting things rolling. The next chapter is already blocked out and I just need my next day off to start writing.

-----

It was a Tuesday when Quillsh Wammy arrived at the Wammy's House.

In the informal atmosphere of his second morning class, Mello was perched in total boredom on the back of one of the room's cushioned chairs. Other students were arranged in chairs identical to his own in a loose semi-circle around their teacher, listening attentively and asking questions.

The small classroom size and personal attention should have made it impossible for Mello to be doing what he was currently engaged in-- staring blankly out a window, chin on his hand and one foot resting on the arm of his chair. Teaching at the Wammy's house, however, required highly trained personnel used to the eccentric ways of their intelligent wards and individuality was encouraged. If Mello was ignoring the lecture, it was generally assumed that he was already versed in the material or that he was paying more attention than appearances allowed for.

In fact, both of those assumptions were true. Still, while half of his mind was skimming over the conversations of the others, the majority of his attention was focused inward in pure aggravation. If he'd had his way, he would be out of class entirely, torturing some of the younger students or hanging with Matt. Sitting in a class all day, even one tailored to its students like this one, was annoying as hell. If it weren't for his rivalry with Near, he was well-aware that he would be the sort of student to create inventive ways to avoid most of his lessons.

There were times, however, when being inside had its advantages. Sitting as he was, high above the other students and looking out on the grounds of the orphanage, gave him a singularly perfect view of the establishment's main gate. Focus narrowing instantly to the sleek black car as it pulled through the security checkpoint, Mello felt tension sing in his body.

Something was happening.

And he'd be damned if he was going to be stuck in a class while someone else found out what it was before him.

A minimum of energy had him out of the chair and stalking for the door. This, at least, was out of the norm, and his teacher paused in her talk to frown at the perpetually black-clothed student. "Is something the matter, Mello?"

Pausing by the door, Mello thought about telling the truth. Still, the news of Watari's arrival was bound to spread through the school as fast as the students could run and he'd prefer having a head start. "Just getting some air, Ms. Blake," he returned smoothly, predatory eyes focusing briefly on her. He had realized years ago that he unnerved the woman, and it amused him from time to time to challenge her.

Hiding her discomfort, the woman glanced to her watch to break their gaze, then nodded. "All right, but be sure to return before the class is over."

Mello shrugged, leaving without a response before she had time to raise her eyes.

---

As expected, Quillsh had disappeared into Roger's office as soon as he'd arrived. Mello wasn't the first to take up a position outside of the tall oak doors, but he was the most composed. Leaning back against the wood with his hands in his pockets, he let his eyes acknowledge Matt when the other boy finally found him.

"What's happening?" Matt asked quietly, leaning beside Mello with his shoulder against the door. Mello turned his head slightly to look down at an industrious younger student who was sprawled on the floor with a bit of mirror held to the small space beneath the door.

"They're talking," the boy informed the growing crowd hushed curiously around the office. "Something serious."

"What're they saying?" hissed a girl, quickly elbowed into silence by her peers.

"They turned their heads away, I can't... Wait, there we go..." Gaze unfocused, the boy on the floor moved his lips silently before speaking in a slow, distracted tone. "'...need to inform... the heirs. If they work... together..." He shook his head, grimacing. "Watari's talking again."

"So?" the girl demanded haughtily. She was elbowed again.

"So," Matt responded. "It's hard enough for Cody to read lips. Trying it with the face-ferret Watari calls a mustache is almost impossible."

"Roger's speaking again. He's saying--" Cody began.

Mello had already heard enough. Kicking the boy casually out of his way, he pressed the handle down and strode into the office like a storm. "Maybe instead of talking about us, you should just call us in," the blond suggested aggressively.

Jerking slightly in surprise as the door opened, Roger gave a heavy sigh, lowering his head at the straight-forward attitude of the institution's second-to-the-top student. His face, always lined and drawn as if he'd been facing the horrors of the world since childhood and found life a depressing bother, was drooping more than usual. "Mello, there you are. I assumed you'd be here soon enough... We didn't want to pull the two of you from your classes, but it seems that will no longer be a concern."

Leaning in the doorway, Matt called over lazily. "Should I go grab Near?"

Irritated at his friend's habit of being constantly helpful and efficient, Mello glared.

Watari, however, nodded solemnly. "That would be most useful, Matt. I trust you know where he is?"

Matt laughed. "Yeah. I'll just follow the trail of toys and puzzle pieces." Grinning, he gave a short wave and left. The remaining students looked in curiously, attempted to appear innocent or waving enthusiastically at Watari. Watari lowered his head slightly and gave them a stern look from beneath his bushy eyebrows. The students guiltily ducked their heads, shuffled their feet and closed the door.

---

With Near inside the room, the tension increased noticeably.

Seeming unaffected, the pale, reclusive boy sat curled on the floor twisting a strand of hair around one finger and idly playing with a toy robot while the others stood around him. This was also, Mello knew, how the young prodigy spent all of his class periods.

Clearing his throat, Roger clasped his hands before himself. "As you've already guessed, the matter we're laying before you is of the utmost seriousness. Now, the worst hasn't come to happen-- L is still alive and well to the best of our knowledge-- but the successor for L must now be chosen."

Mello started, body wound so tight he felt his focus might kill him. "Who is it?" he demanded. "Who did he choose?"

Watari stood calmly, regarding Mello with grave eyes. The aging man seemed as if he hadn't been sleeping well, and Mello frowned, wondering what was going on. "The matter of succession is not the most important matter I came here to discuss. In fact, for the last three days, L has been missing. Missing..." Watari sighed, closing his eyes. "Rather, L had determined with certainty but with imperfect evidence who the original Kira is."

Mello's breath escaped him in a hiss. "Then Kira killed him? Why else would he be missing?" His gaze hardened. "That bastard. I'll kill Kira--"

"Mello, calm yourself," Watari chided. Chastised, Mello lapsed into an impatient silence. "Kira no longer has the ability to kill L with his powers. However, when Kira was in danger of death, L escaped with Kira to safety. At that time, I allowed him three days to change his mind, and am now here. L is aware that he and Kira will now be chased by his successor. However, if the two of you were to work together..."

"Who did he choose?" Mello cut him off. Hands clenched, he found it hard to breathe steadily. Beside him, Near made his robot fly through the air, then set it down again and wiggled its arms. Mello resisted the urge to snatch the toy away and beat Near with it for being so calm.

"...According to L's thoughts and wishes as of the last time I spoke to him, L regarded Near as his logical successor," Watari stated bluntly.

Swaying on his feet, Mello took the news like a gut wound. His face drained of color as his world and all he'd been working toward for years fell down around him. Remaining upright through force of will, he searched for meaning in the words. L chose him. I've worked my ass off, always trying to catch up to Near, exceed him, doing whatever it takes, and it was all for shit. Even if Near dies now, I'll just be his replacement. I'll never be the best. Unless... Mello's fingers dug into his palms, and his nails cut unnoticed into his skin. If I catch L first, he'll have to acknowledge me. He'll know he made a mistake.

While he thought, Near had finally looked up. "Understood. I'm grateful to L, though if he did escape with Kira, there's much I need to think about. If Mello will assist me, I would be fine with that."

Mello lifted his head, and his eyes held a focus and determination that crossed the line into obsession. Watari blinked, and the blond boy realized with bitter amusement that he'd even scared Watari this time. "Who is Kira?"

"Mello, did you hear what Near said?" Roger interrupted, frowning.

Keeping his gaze on Mello, Watari studied the young man intently. They both ignored Roger. "...Kira is a young Japanese man, by the name of Raito Yagami. The character of his first name is 'tsuki', and is read as 'Light'. You should be able to find him from that. Though if you would re-evaluate your decision..."

"There's nothing to evaluate," Mello stated grimly. "I'm not working with him. We don't get along."

Roger gave another heavy sigh, supporting himself on his desk. "I take it you're leaving, then?" he told Mello.

"Of course. I'm nearly fifteen, and I've learned enough here. I'd rather make it on my own." He looked down to Near, and the younger boy met his gaze. Sensing that Near understood and accepted the challenge, he nodded once and headed for the door. "I'll be leaving as soon as I pack."

"Mello..." Watari spoke after him. When the boy paused and looked back to him, the older gentleman pulled a businesscard from his pocket and held it out. "If you need assistance, please contact me."

Scorning the card, Mello snorted and turned his back on the group. "Help the new L. I'll make it on my own." That said, he pushed from the room, letting the door close firmly on his rival.

---

In the hallway, Matt stood guarding the door to keep the gathered students from listening in as they had before. When Mello appeared, however, he abandoned his post and fell into step with his friend. "So?"

"So nothing," Mello responded shortly. "I'm leaving Wammy's House." He glanced around, waiting until they'd gone far enough down the hall to not have prying students and continuing in a more quiet voice. "Kira and L are in Japan, and L escaped with the killer to help him live. It doesn't matter why, but he picked Near as his successor before he left. So I'm going to catch them both before Near."

Considering this, Matt kept his pace matching Mello's. "So we're going to Japan?"

Mello stopped, giving his friend a look. "I'm going alone."

Matt adjusted his goggles and returned Mello's look calmly. "The fuck you are. Mello, you just became the main character. Near's a complete NPC, and you're heading off for a boss battle on a time limit. You need to collect people you trust so we can make a plan, get equipped and head out."

"We're not in one of your stupid games!" Mello snapped. "I don't need help, and I don't trust anyone."

"Except me," Matt pointed out. He started walking again, and Mello kept up with him in an aggravated way. "I'm guessing you stormed off and told Watari not to help you either, right? So you need someone at least. We'll already be behind Near and he'll be all caught up on the investigation. We're going to need an angle he doesn't have, and a way to get to Japan."

Mello rummaged in his pockets, pulling out a candybar and stripping the top edge of its wrapping to take a bite. He spoke around it in a determined way. "That's easy. We walk to Southampton, find a criminal group that's itching to do something big but that's been too afraid of Kira to try anything, and we come up with a plan to let them pull it off for a cut. We'll have plenty for plane tickets and a place to stay."

Absorbing this, Matt ran a hand through his hair thoughtfully. "Walk. To Southampton."

Mello scowled at Matt, snapping off another hunk of chocolate. "Fuck off, it's not that far. Just because you do nothing but play video games--"

"It's got to be eighteen miles!" Matt protested, eyeing his friend as if the other boy had gone more insane than usual. "No, more than that. And then where are we going to stay? I mean, while we're searching the city for a group hanging around the bloody streets with a sign saying 'criminals for hire'."

The blond raised his middle finger in a salute to his friend, who responded with the distinctly more British two-fingered V. Mello snorted, stalking ahead of him. "I didn't say you have to come. Stay here with your stupid fucking Playstation."

Matt sighed, looking after the headstrong genius for a moment before catching up to him. "...You know what would be an even better plan than inciting a bank robbery?" he asked, as though to himself. Mello determinedly ignored him. "Asking Watari for some plane tickets." He held up his hands quickly in defense when Mello rounded on him with anger flaring from him almost tangibly. "Hey! Hold on, hear me out. You wouldn't be giving in, all right? This way even though it'll take us longer to catch up on what Near knows, we'll be in the area, and we can at least find something out. If we at have money for a place to stay and travel, we can concentrate on catching up to L before he's had a month or two to hole up in a castle in Latveria or something."

They walked in tense silence for several moments while Mello struggled against his fury to think the situation through objectively. With his volatile nature, Matt was the only one close enough to him to be able to make him see reason through his moods. How difficult this task was for Matt usually depended on how close Near was to their vicinity.

Mello finally took a sharp breath and let it out in a sigh. "...Latveria?" he asked flatly, glaring at Matt with the suspicion his friend was about to say something irritating.

The redhead gave a crooked grin at Mello changing the subject for the moment instead of calling him a pussy and punching him. Apparently, being several halls away from Near and planning to leave Wammy's House behind was far enough for today. "Yeah. Doctor Doom?"

"...How did you get into Wammy's House again?" Mello asked, chewing another bite as though taking his temper out on the treat. "You're obviously a complete idiot. And isn't he from a comic?"

"He's been in games too," Matt explained, eyes showing his amusement.

"Yeah, of course he has," Mello drawled. "God, you are such a tosser."

"Brit slang now?" Matt asked.

"Shut your smart mouth, arseface," Mello retorted, glaring at his friend sidelong and pocketing what remained of his chocolate bar as they turned to the stairs leading to their rooms.

"How'd you get into Wammy's, again?" Matt mocked playfully. "You're obviously a complete idiot." Mello punched his arm, and Matt jabbed him in the side with his Game Boy before dodging out of the way of a more serious, if half-hearted, attack on Mello's part.

They lapsed into a comfortable silence this time as they ascended the stairs. "...So, what did you decide?" Matt asked quietly, glancing at Mello.

"I'd rather plan a bank robbery than ask for help," Mello asserted, frowning darkly.

"Yeah, well," Matt commiserated. "We can try it later for kicks if you're still bitching about it. We'll be bored again after we catch L. And Kira," he added in afterthought, tilting his head at the brief thought that L doing such an uncharacteristic thing as escaping with Kira had changed the focus of Near and Mello's lives from being L to being the one to capture him. "Hey, Mello. Why do you think he did it?"

"Like I should know?" Mello replied hotly, not needing to ask who 'he' was. "Watari will just bullshit Near with excuses, anyway. If he really wanted L caught he'd have just told us where he was going the first night instead of waiting three days."

"Hmm... There's another point to consider," Matt pointed out. "Does L really want you to catch him?" He opened the door to his room as he spoke, leaning against the doorway.

Stopping at the door directly to Matt's left, Mello paused before turning the knob. "He told Watari who his successor is and knew we'd be chasing him. So whatever he's doing with Kira, he must not really think it's right or he'd be going full out against us. It's been three days and Watari's still alive even though L would be able to find a picture of him and knows his name, so that's not the case." He shook his bangs from his eyes and looked to Matt sardonically. "You'll notice all of us are alive too. He could have made Kira kill any of us that would have been threat to them, but he didn't."

"Yeah... I wonder why that is," Matt mused. Lacking any evidence to form a theory, Mello shook his head in aggravation and stepped into his room to pack and get a hold of Roger before Watari left with Near.

Knowing how hard that would be for the other boy, Matt left him to swallow a piece of his pride and went into his own room to gather his own belongings and maybe beat another level.

Across the mansion, bells rang to signal the end of the last morning classes, but in their hallway the sound could barely be heard.

---

In Roger's office, Near was still curled on the floor in his pajamas. A laptop was open in front of him displaying all of the information L and Light's team had gathered over the past year. Scattered on the floor around him were folders full of hardcopy files giving information on specific details for easy access and browsing, with several toy robots and a crashed airplane adding to the scene. Rather than being messy, all of the folders were precisely arranged in a pattern spreading out from Near.

One finger twisting in his hair, Near skimmed the files as he listened to Watari's end of his brief conversation with Mello over the office phone. Watari agreed readily to Mello's no doubt angrily worded and vulgar request for plane tickets and limited funds, and Near added this information to the thoughts spinning lazily in his mind. Mello was going to Japan.

Like the theory of an oscillating universe, his thoughts would go out and out from almost nothing, and when they'd reached their end would be pulled inexorably inward to their conclusion. Near didn't yet know what that conclusion would be, or what the plan would involve. Of course, he couldn't. A few pieces were missing, and he would definitely need to speak with all of the members of the Kira investigation team in Japan.

Still, he was satisfied with this interesting new puzzle. He knew that capturing L and Kira would most likely be the hardest case of his life. That it occurred when he was only beginning his career only made it more of a challenge.

His finger never stopped twirling, and a small smile curved his mouth as he set to work on the paper files and picked up one of the robots to read the page with him.

-----

So! What did you think? This chapter didn't have as much as I was planning-- or rather, it had a good deal more of Mello and Near. I assumed I'd just pop them in for a few paragraphs for Mello to throw a fit and run off, and we'd skip on over to check on Light and L. Mello and Matt at least had very different plans, and even Near joined the game more toward the chapter's end... I'm nervous about writing them all, so I've been going over how they appear in the manga and even watching a few episodes they appeared in. I don't think it's necessarily helping. (I'm working on watching the anime now, but I've been doing it all out of order. It's interesting what changes there are between manga and anime...)

Anyway, next chapter will have Light and L again! I felt like putting them into this chapter would be like LotR ending fifty times. Due to content, I'm pretty sure next chapter will also be much longer. I've been going on the quality over quantity theory here and trying to resist the urge to cram. I'm having a lot of writing right now, though.

Tear You Apart comes from She Wants Revenge's song of the same name. I think the theme of dark, nearly psychotic attraction works pretty well with Light, and the title gives all sorts of fun possibilities to me. This chapter title is a song by Ashley Parker Angel. Titles for chapters and stories are generally me opening up winamp and scrolling through my playlist for likely sounding associations in my mind. Actually, sometimes entire chapters are made in a similar way...

Brief responses from the end of GM:

Aurora Moon, Ame no Chikara, Kitty, Spoon (wow, you wrote a lot! I'm happy!), Hellagoddess and finistelluris: thank you so much for your responses! Several of them have ideas I hadn't considered, and they're all going to be very useful.

ninetailedfoxx852 (hello again!) and Eclipses_chick: The sequel has begun! Thank you both.

Also to Hellagoddess: your review made me waaaaay too amused. You definitely won the Kira job interview, hands down.


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