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Welcome To The Family
Light Kira graveyard glowing red eye
reaperlight
A/N: This is a Death Note fanfic. I don't own Death Note.
***

Matt sat at Mello’s bedside, his game beeping morosely in his hands. It was not out of callousness that he continued to play his games but because he <i>needed</i> something to keep his hands, as well as his mind, busy lest the terror and his racing thoughts drive him mad. This <i>not-knowing, </i> the uncertainty of it all was the worst. It was all so… <i>wrong. </i>

Not even Matt’s orange-tinted goggles could save him from the <i>brightness</i> of the room—the harsh florescent lights of the ceiling bearing down on him, the pristine white sheets of Mello’s hospital bed blinding him. It was just so <i>wrong</i>—all of this. Mello was never meant to lay so still, looking so weak and helpless—only the staggered rise and fall of the boy’s chest and the beeping of the machines assuring Matt that Mello wasn’t dead.

Half of Mello’s face was wrapped in bandages. The doctors were working on applying a series of skin grafts but the scarring would still be quite extensive. A clear plastic gas mask was fitted over his face helping his scorched lungs just to breathe. Seeing Mello hooked up to the machines, almost motivated Matt to want to quit smoking.

Almost.

Matt was pointedly not-looking at the I.V. drip or the spaghetti knot of wires that ran beneath the flimsy paper gown they had fitted Mello in—that too was wrong and quite an unflattering fashion for the blonde.

“For a genius you really can be such an idiot,” Matt muttered to the still form of his closest friend.

“You’ll get no argument there,” Near said casually as he sat on the floor nearby, while spontaneously constructing a dice tower on what would’ve been his chair had he chosen to sit in it.

“How is he?” Linda asked, demonstrating she had a slightly higher emotional I.Q. than Wammy’s top (true) successor to L.

“Er… not to be rude but what are you two even doing here, anyway?” Matt asked Near and Linda.

Matt found it astounding that they were even there—even though Mello regularly bullied them. They were probably just there to support him and give him the illusion of company… well, Linda maybe. Matt wasn’t so sure about Near—aside from the rather odd friendship he’d struck up with their prisoner and how he and Linda had taken to hanging out through their mutual stalking of Light, Near usually wasn’t the real social type.

<i> Maybe he’s here to gloat, Matt thought uncharitably and then grimaced to himself. …Or maybe just to keep Linda company… or himself given that he had been separated from his prisoner. </i>

At the moment Light was nowhere to be found. Matt almost snorted—did that really surprise him? Perhaps he should be worried that he didn’t know where their resident mass murderer had disappeared to but—he wasn’t. That’s right, presumably he was still under guard in quarantine… but that hardly mattered to Matt at the moment. In all honesty Matt wasn’t too concerned about whatever Light got up to. After all, he couldn’t leave, there were other students here at Wammy’s beyond just the four of them to keep an eye on Kira, and surely Roger would alert them if he tried anything. Matt honestly had other things on his mind—namely a certain rude and obnoxious blonde who had nearly gotten himself killed.

Matt again observed Near’s white bird’s nest and Linda’s black pigtails from out of the corner of his eye. In any case, he doubted that either of them had come out of any real concern for Mello even though that was a mean thing to think. Of course it was <i>possible</i> that they really did care for Mello even though he was constantly rude to him just like it was <i>possible</i> that Light really wasn’t Kira and just an innocent college student that L picked up for kicks but it really did seem to Matt that Mello had no friends… other than himself.

Matt slowly glanced up from his game to observe Near’s die stacking and Linda’s sketching and wondered if either of them had taken offense to his question. Not that it was a big loss—they really didn’t have much to talk about without it being awkward anyway.

“I just thought it would be nice to keep you company,” said Linda in answer to Matt’s question, her intense blue eyes never looking up from her sketchpad.

“Yes, it wouldn’t be fair to leave Saint Matt to suffer alone,” Near said evenly as he laid out the next floor of his dice tower.

“Will you stop that? It wasn’t funny the first time!” Matt snapped as he eyed Near distrustfully. “Why are <i>you</i> here?

“Beside the fact that, as you have clearly forgotten, that you practically forced me here?” Near asked as he released the die that he held between his fingertips so that it was placed on top of his construction—it gave a satisfying click as he released it into place. “You do realize what this is? And what we’ve been <i>trained</i> to do?”

Matt was struck with dawning realization. “A case.”

A case. This was a case—that was all “the Sheep” was interested in.

<i>Heartless bastard. </i>

“But really, how is Mello?” Near asked as he delicately picked up another die from the pile.

Matt glared at him nastily. “How do you <i>think?</i>

The younger boy’s snowy bangs fell into his face. “I’m sorry.”

Just then a sudden shock of rainbow hair appeared through the swinging plastic doors.

“Hello, kids!” greeted Nurse Sue in between snapping her bubblegum. “I’m sure you all have lots of questions about now. Well, the good news is he’s stabilized. The antidote arrived just in time…”

Matt had been too numb to even consider why the doctors even let him into quarantine—he had just barged in, not giving a damn if he was infected too—where Mello went Matt would follow just as he always had… but he shouldn’t have included Near and Linda. The redhead felt a belated pang of guilt that he hadn’t stopped the two younger children from following him into Mello’s room—not that he <i>could</i> stop them really if they had a mind to but nevertheless he was older than they were and thus responsible for them. But he hadn’t even given a thought to the other children—all superfluous thoughts being consumed by his all-consuming thoughts of Mello.

“Right now he’s in the process of purging the virus from his system. Had it come any later…” the nurse trailed off just as a man in a dark suit and glasses burst in through the swinging doors, he was panting and wheezing as he lugged in a mysterious black case, the rest of the room flinched as the strange man slammed it onto the befuddled nurse’s table.

Sue paled upon recognizing the case. “Is that… the antivirus?”

“For all the good it will do,” wheezed a second man as he entered the room behind his companion at a more sedate and defeated pace. “We’re too late, aren’t we?”

“He’s fine,” announced Dr. Caduceus as he wandered in, nose buried in his clipboard. “The patient was already administered the antivirus,” he informed them without bothering to glance up from reading over the patient’s notes.

<i>“WHAT?!”</i>

“Wait, he’s already been given the antidote?! <i>How? </i>”

One of the men in black swiftly punched in the security code into the side of the case, opening it to find it empty while the other made a quick phone call.

“There’s been a theft. The break-in must have occurred shortly before we arrived. They somehow got in without tripping any of the alarms.”

“But how would they…?”

“By helicopter?”

“All our helicopters were destroyed, remember? And obviously no one on the outside would have known nor had the inclination to help in this case.”

“Well, well, well,” Near smirked to himself. “It looks like Light came through for us after all.”

<i>“What?!” </i> Matt outright <i>gaped</i> at the smug-looking white-haired boy.

“Admittedly it was a gamble,” Near said as he took to repetitively tossing and catching a die in one hand, “I was counting on Kira’s pride, warped sense of duty, and obvious God complex when I baited him into helping us. He may be more wary of such manipulations in the future.”

“Wait a minute… are you seriously suggesting that you manipulated <i>Light</i> into helping us?”

“Yes, that’s <i>exactly</i> what I’m saying,” Near said, frowning at having to repeat himself. “I figured you were too distraught to catch how I <i>suggested</i> that he might help Mello. I don’t know how he did it but I am confident that it was Kira.”

“We found this sitting on my desk along with the antidote,” C announced as he showed them a quick and simple note written on a highly classified map of the facility:

Lugh – バス

“I didn’t ask how you got it. I only confirmed that it was the treatment my patient needed.”

“I’m sorry—I just figured that in the panic that they forgot to go through the normal chain of custody.”

“You’ve been trained better than that! You’re lucky it wasn’t poison!” sneered one of the men in black.

“Dr. C confirmed it was Lugh before I ever injected him with it!” Sue snarled, rainbow spikes becoming frizzy with anger.

“Bus?” Linda asked, peering at the cryptic writings: バス, BASU. Katakana script, Japanese derived from the English word for “bus.”

“Hey, didn’t Mello call Light “the short bus”?” Matt wondered aloud.

“Yes, but the letter is not in Light’s handwriting,” Linda observed.

Matt and Linda turned to stare in shock as Near let out a dry, humorless laugh. Neither hadn’t thought Near capable of showing <i>any</i> emotion.

“Betrayed by his accomplice, I imagine,” Near said as he laid down another row of dice. “I guess that just goes to show he should’ve known better than to trust something like a Shinigami.”

Matt snorted as he fumbled with his game. “A Shinigami? Seriously?”

“Normally I’d agree with you but given the facts of this case we can’t rule it out as a possibility. I feel that you should know that the vial came delivered coated in a suspicious fluid. A fluid which I ultimately determined to be harmless—I tested it anyway, of course—and after a quick analysis of the fluid, I determined it matched the properties of saliva.”

<i> “Ewwwww!”</i> The children chorused.

“Where it gets interesting is that this sample doesn’t match any known animal on file and contains elements never before seen in nature,” C announced excitedly. “I think it’s left enough of its DNA for me to work with. Perhaps now I can get funding for my cloning projects.”

Near accidentally knocked over his dice tower in shock. “You’re honestly thinking of cloning Shinigami?”

“Assuming it is a Shinigami and not some other extraterrestrial entity? Why not? I could even start a Theme Park!”

“Stupid geniuses!” Matt muttered, the device in his hand beeping and booping as he resumed angrily shooting velociraptors. “That’s great and all but what about Mello?”

“He’s stabilized. There’s nothing much else we can do for him at the moment but wait and keep him comfortable. As soon as his condition improves we’ll see about getting him skin grafts. Especially for his face. We can see about reconstructive surgery but I’m afraid it’s going to scar.”

“Ouch. You know how he’s going to take it. Mr. Inferiority Complex,” Near pointed out.

“Cosmetic appearance is secondary to keeping him alive,” said C.

“We know that but Mello might not see it that way,” Matt groaned as he recalled how one of the blonde’s favorite pastimes was posing in leather outfits in front of the mirror.

“We already have him booked for therapy sessions…” C announced.

Matt snorted. “Good luck getting him to go.”

“We were hoping you might help persuade him to go or even attend with him.”

Matt sighed, knowing he had about a as much chance of persuading him to go as he did of convincing Mello to give up chocolate. “Please, everyone remember to tell him that scars are manly. Knowing Mello, he’s going to need all the assurances he can get.”


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