(trying a new format)
Those present in chapter: Nat, Luigi, Lamond, Dee, Matt, Mello
Location: Nathalie's apartment
I must admit, I do know how this story ends, but it is my hope that there will be newcomers (*waives* hiya) reading our chapter discussions so, for those who have not read W1 yet, I am going to be as benign as possible, but for those who have, I am also going to include the hints that we now know are relevant for future stories and will follow through with them on our other threads. I hope ...
I know this posting is rather long. I thinks it's contents are pretty important as the set up for the rest of the story as well as Mello's thought process. So, just roll with me.
After leaving Linda's gallery opening Nat drives up to the boys and asks them to hop in the car.
"You just posted to a forum that you want to kill me and now you're asking me to get into a car that you're driving." Mello commented wryly. "Ok." His fake fur and hair looked at Luigi, but Matt pushed past and opened the back door. Green eyes narrowed slightly under raised eyebrows and Mello climbed into the backseat. Matt slid in beside him and shut the door. The car had roared off into Central London, before Mello asked, "How are you going to kill us?"
"Slowly and painfully." Nathalie smiled and winked into the rear view mirror. "Lamond and Deontic ditched the launch too. They went in the opposite direction looking for you. Luigi is texting to call off the search." She licked her lips. "I thought we would all go back to mine."
I thought this contrast was actually interesting:
Matt's head, as far as the goggles, disappeared into his jacket collar. Mello unzipped his hood until his eyes could be glimpsed, along with the lower part of his face. "Why?"
One went in (Matt) and the other came out (Mello).
While explaining to Mello why she needed his assistance, Nathalie says something that was sure to hook Mello in ...
You might have been the best of us, Mello ...
A mystery and a compliment.
"Ok. Liugi, I have four eggs, which I'll put on to boil for you. Mello, I have a packet of Penguins, it's the closest to chocolate in here. Lamond, there's a sewing basket next to the chair nearest to the television, help yourself. Deontic, I'll get you some paper. Matt, best I can do is Wii Sports, but I think there were some other games that came free when I bought the Wii. Can I get anyone a glass of wine?"
Freaks and geeks anyone?
"Please do sit down. There are chairs enough. Make yourselves at home, instead of standing around so awkwardly. Anyone would think that we aren't all basically foster brothers and sisters." She clipped across to her desk and collect reams of paper, which were deposited into Deontic's hands. "Except Mello and Matt, who probably don't want to think of each other as brothers."
Ew! Ya think? I believe that's the first time the idea of foster brothers and sisters was brought up. To this point all we have thought of was their competing for rankings, well, let me restate that, all we have heard was Mello's competition with Near, in his own mind, for rankings.
Lamond added, "Deontic's question is, why are we all freaks?" Her needle passed rapidly through the fabric in her hand. "Or, to put it another way, what did Wammy's House do to us?"
"It educated geniuses." Mello replied, blandly.
Knowing glances were exchanged between Lamond, Luigi and Deontic. Lamond asked, "Did they inject us with something? Or was it in the food?"
"Nothing like that." Mello bit into his chocolate. "We were the fourth versions of the prototype. The interesting thing now, of course, is how far Near understands the Grand Plan and, of secondary importance, who will succeed Roger as Watari.
Mello begins to explain to the others about "The Grand Plan" - a/k/a The Wammy House Generations:
Mello loudly snapped off a square of chocolate, drawing all of the attention back to himself. "The third generation had to work for it. This time there is less talk of being L's replacement, but it permeates everything anyway. These children know that the penalty for not doing well is to be sent away. It's hammered home that not being good enough is a Very Bad Thing. There's a benchmark of grades and falling below them means instantly leaving for some unknown institution. There is paranoia, but it's a personal one. The cracks soon start to show. It's the whip more than the carrot; Wammy's House is not a happy home. That generation last all of two years, most of its little cherubs already gone." He smirked. "Then along came the fourth generation. Us."
Then Dee realized as they scrolled through the names of Wammy occupants the only constants were Matt and Mello:
"I was ten when phase four began." He shrugged. "I guess me and Matt, as the original phase two kids, were chosen as much because we were very young as anything else. It's easier to condition the young than it is teenagers. B and A had been teenagers when they were brought into it. L was the original and he was only eight when he was brought in. He had many years on his own, before they joined him. So if you can get that out of an eight year old, it's only logical to try even earlier. I was four and Matt was three. I doubt that you could go any younger and still identify genius. By the time phase three kicked in, we were still outstripping our age-group and we were about the same age as L had been when he'd been placed in Wammy's care. It's reasonable to deduce that we still had potential to perform our roles as L's back-up."
I knew that I'd be rewarded with chocolate when I got high marks.
And this is where is began. A simple reward system. Now, Mello uses chocolate as a reward for himself and Matt uses it to calm his ass down.
Then his gaze slid towards Matt and he let her go. "The fourth generation was all about competition. Yes, it worked brilliantly. We all have our game-plans, even now." He fixed Nathalie with his stare again. "What did you want to be when you grew up, Nathalie?"
"Maybe. But do you even know what we were fighting for?" Mello watched their confusion, their pensiveness, their genius minds working it out. Matt had even put the laptop down on the floor. "Fifteen contenders. Fifteen clever, little shits, all slogging it out for the coveted title. No need for benchmark grades, as in phase three, because we are all raising the stakes for each other. There had never been so many of us in there. Peer pressure did it all. There was love and cuddles if we wanted them, but they stripped our identities again." He grinned. "Want to see fear? Ok." His arm extended and a finger picked out each of them in turn. "Hilde, Mail, Carl, Pek Wan, Claire..." He pointed to himself. "Mihael. Ooh! How scary was that?" All around him, all but one were suppressing the flight or fight response. "It's logical, especially since we were at the height of Kira then, but amongst ourselves? Strip an identity and you strip a mind. You can re-programme it into whatever you want. It had been done before. The programme said, 'compete with each other to be L's successor' and not one of us thought to say, 'but L's only in his mid-20s, why would he need a successor?'"
Mello's shoulders became hunched, as he sank further into his chair. "It was about the succession, but not to the man.
What happens next is so well written that every time I read it I can visualize it. It's weird, I see the anime characters acting out MRS-J's story. I see Mello getting so wrapped up in his recollection of learning of L's death that day in Roger's office with Near. Of the offer to work the Near and his refusal. "Near called it.". And how in that one quick moment those four long years His glare fixed on some point a million miles away, his expression deadly. were completely relived until Matt caught his attention, startling him so that he drew his gun. In response, as a reaction, Matt draws his and they stand there for what must have been just a split second or two. Matt raises his goggles ... why ? Anyone? The eyes - (Remember the song ... Green Eyes??) and lowers the gun and Mello is brought back to the present. Just a lovely paragraph. Of course the freaks and geeks are all freakin' and geekin' at what they do best, but still a great and necessary paragraph.
And the final summation:
Mello turned to survey the frightened people all around him. "We were supposed to surpass L. We were competing for the name. Beyond Birthday got that. He challenged L. Near got it. But he was thinking like a mathematician. He followed the formula through to the name, but stopped there. I was competing to be L the man, he was competing to be L the name. That's why he was so calm that day. He was already wondering who held the name and what would be necessary to get it back."
Matt, ever watching Mello's back:
"In that case, tell them how you caught Kira, so they can understand why you're pointing guns like a deranged arsehole."