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Ghost in the Machine

By moonphase9


Ghost in the Machine

They say that clothes reflect your personality, which for the longest time seemed an inane theory, considering the fickle nature of fashion and trends.

However, as the years went by, he had to wonder... maybe there was some truth in that...

Mello always wore black, sort of like the darkness that reigned supreme inside his slim body, then there was Matt who was colourful and sarcastic; life for Matt, unlike most of the occupants of Whammy's institute, was fun and frivolous.

Near predicted an early death for both of them.

There was himself of course. Near felt nothing; his soul was just a cold expanse. He always imagined it as a desolate landscape covered in snow and ice; like the desolate wilderness in Siberia or the vat plains of the North Pole, where the whiteness of the sky and the whiteness of the earth would blind travellers.

Nothing but nothingness.

Holding his hand above his head, Near inspected the almost translucent skin that revealed his blue veins; sometimes, a times like these when he held his hand up to the light he swore that he could see his thin birdlike bones.

The hand dropped down.

That was stupid. Illogical thoughts like that were a waste of energy and of time. It was the sort of senseless thing normal children did in their spare time.

But then, was he being hypocritical? That was a sign of unrighteousness, was it not?

Hypocrisy: bane of fools who fancied themselves wise.

He smiled internally.

So he was a fool also? Because Near did think about irrational things, (or, at least one irrational thing) almost all the time.

In Nears world of washed out colours that Being stood out like a shadow on snow.

If Nears element was snow, then Mello's was certainly fire. The boy had a 'artistic' temperament. He often left in his wake a trail of destruction and desolation. He was so angry, so hot-tempered that almost all the children, beside the ever frivolous Matt, were deeply frightened of him.

However, more than any of these things, Mello was beautiful- to Near at least.

Near never really paid attention to physical looks, it meant little who was 'pretty' and who was 'ugly' to him. Aesthetics in humans were all a matter of one's own perception of beauty, which was subject to change and manipulation of outside sources. Near knew and accepted the social opinions of attractiveness to the point where it was prudent to do so, bit he took it no further. It was illogical and unnecessary. Had anyone asked what Near thought of his own physical attractiveness, he would not answer, for he genuinely never thought about it.

No, Mello was beautiful to Near because he was the only human in all of Nears short and lonely life who had managed to crash through that colourless wall Near had built around him. He was also beautiful because he was all the things Near was not and would experience all the things that Near could only analyse.

On the rare occasion that Near allowed himself to daydream, he would try and imagine what it would be like to be Mello for just one day. Mello reminded him of a pagan demi-god; he was young and handsome and golden; arrogant and proud and loved. But the part about Mello that truly affected Near was that with his strength of mind and his sheer will, Mello could make himself happy. He could still, even with all the badness in the world, stretch out his hand and touch another person; he could still talk; he could still make friends and connections with other people.

To Near, that was nothing short of miraculous. But Mello had achieved it; His Dear Mello.

Lying flat on his stomach, the minute boy reached his arm forward and stroked a blond finger doll, his representation of his Mello. The little thing had become his idol of sorts.

Near would never be able to touch anyone, to make that connection. He had tried, but he just could not do it, in the same way he could not reach out and connect to one of Roger's insects or fall in love with one of Linda's drawings. It was because Near never really lived in the same world as everyone else. He was like a ghost passing through. Near always believed that when he did die, that it would be the same as before he were born; the world would continue unknowing and uncaring...


... Nate River would be nonexistent. His soul dashed out and lost into the ether. For what was Near but a clever brain? When people talked of an afterlife they never mentioned the mind. The mind was nothing more than a machine created to help one function while alive. It was the soul that mattered. It was the soul that defined you and made you everlasting.

Near was still soulless, an empty shell devoid of colour.

But not Mello.

Something of Mello's inner being would last on; in the memories of all who knew him, maybe even in a spiritual way. The same with Matt and Linda...but Near could not really see them. They were just more vague colours and shapes in his whitewashed world.

Mello was the only one that caused Near to react. Mello did not know this of course, but it was true. Near melted a little every time the boy interacted with him. Even if it was violent, even if it were full of spite and frustration. Near loved that interaction because it was all he had. He clung to it. Even as he lay there amongst his toys, at the thought of Mello, Near felt his knees weaken, his head fall further down so that his chin rested above his chest.

Snow and Fire.

Mello hated Near. Of course he did. No one cared about Near, he was a machine. They all just put up with him if they were connected to him (such as his colleagues) or ignored him if they did not have to have interaction (unlike Mello who made anyone react to him.) The only person who felt something towards Near was Mello. And Mello felt hatred.

Near accepted this; the idea that anyone could love a creature such as himself was ludicrous for what was there to love? Near had been intrigued by Mello's feelings and did everything in his power to keep Mello's hate burning. He kept pushing him in subtle ways, he made pains to remain the number one successor of L. He made a show of wanting to beat Mello in any competition, even though really he did not care.

In fact, Near was often quite jealous of L. Even though he had not met his successor, and Mello claimed to have not done so, Near hated the fact that Mello loved L so much. Near had tried being like L; everyone knew he loved sweets and was quite eccentric, but Near had no palate for bright candies and wasn't eccentric as he was genuinely anti-social. His attempts of mimicking L's strangeness did nothing more than anger his rival. If positive feelings was something Near could not achieve from Mello, then negative would be a good enough consolation. At least it was some sort of feeling from someone.

If Near had any fear, it would be that Mello forgot about him or became indifferent; if that were to happen, Nears landscape would return to being all white and, as discussed earlier, that could only lead to insanity.

Mello would die young, just as Near predicted. The blond was like a flame lit in the rain; shooting up in the dark but then dying away within a moment. However, in that short time, the whole world was a little brighter.

Near, on the other hand, would live right up until his early thirties, outliving the prestigious and famed Detective L Lawliet. Near would never be happy and convinced himself he was not sad. He dreaded death but only because he feared he would be gone and nothing would exist, or if he did go to Mu, he would be alone.

Mello had Matt.

He did not know anyone else, including his successor. After Mello was gone, no one affected Near and he affected no one else.

He simply existed.

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