• Yuki sneezed and everyone looked at her. This was probably because of HOW she sneezed really. Yuki sneezes really cutely. REALLY cutely.
    Hanayuki, Yuki because no one could figure out her real name and only knew her hacker one, was about 5'0, a cute height for a 18 year old girl, with shoulder length snow white hair and light blue-silver eyes. She looked like a child for the most part, wearing her old school uniform not out of need but rather disguise. As previously noted, Yuki was a hacker, a high class hacker that only a few in the Underworld knew of, but she wasn't like the others.
    She sneezed again and the boy sitting next to her asked her if she was okay. Yuki looked at him and smiled softly, "I'm fine thank you."
    The boy, seeming surprised by her sweetness nodded slowly and went back to what he had been doing. Yuki closed her eyes, reviewing why she was even on the train in her uniform instead at home playing with her abnormally large Lego collection......

    "Lady Yuki," the voice had said over her computer screen.
    Yuki had been building a mini city, wearing instead of the school uniform her favorite light blue pajamas without shoes or socks despite the cold tile under her feet, when the laptop had reawakened and the voice came, a female voice at that, followed by a strange letter, a Roman letter, an L. She had no want nor could find any need to answer, so she went back to building, until the voice repeated itself, "Hanayuki, answer me."
    "Your manners are aplorable," Yuki had said, unemotional as she fitted a long red block to the top of what appeared to be the mini fire department.
    "So are yours."
    Yuki pouted, though she knew it made no difference, "State your business, I was playing."
    She could hear the voice sigh then say, "I hear you're the best hacker there is."
    "No to whatever you want. I don't work with meanies." her childish nature had a way of keeping her from work. Good work too.
    Another voice came over, this one male. He sounded like he was only a little older than she was. Four years...no, five years older, she thought to herself as he spoke, "You are Hanayuki, aren't you?"
    "Obviously," Yuki said, "Your female companion said so herself."
    "Well, Misa can be an idiot."
    A loud yell of disagreement. Yuki smiled to herself, then said, "What do you want, Mr. famous detective L?"
    "How did you know that?" He sounded genuinely confused.
    "I might be a shut-in, but I'm not an idiot. L, also known as Ryuzaki, also known as Ryuuga Hideki, real name Lawliet, currently deceased. Taken over by one Light Yagami, 23 years old, son of Soichiro Yagami, older brother to Sayu Yagami. Your compainion is Misa Amane the idol, am i correct?"
    "You know the answer to that."
    "So what do you want?"
    "I want you to help me find a certain person."
    "What's their name? And why can't YOU do it? You are L right?"
    Silence rot with annoyance then an irritated reply, "He's one of the first L's successors."
    "Which one? One or two?" Yuki knew of the three teens chosen to be L's successors, but of course L only knew of two, Mello and Near. She wasn't the type to devalge information.
    "The one known as Near. Can you do it?"
    Yuki smiled to herself and put one of her dolls, this one dressed like a fireman, into the firehouse, "Sure."


    The train stopped and people began to get off. Yuki looked up, watching them leave. She hadn't been on a train by herself before, she didn't know that was her stop. A vision of a certain blonde 19 year old (Alex from Guns, Games and Chocolate) yelling at her about how useless she was and a certain black haired 16 year old(Sabrina from the Kira of Hearts) smiling and holding out her hand for Yuki, telling her it was normal, came to mind.
    "Isn't this your stop?" She turned her head to look at a strange man. He definitely wasn't Japanese, he looked too American...or was it European. He blinked watching, waiting as she smiled, "I guess it is. You must be one of SPK members."
    "And you must be the young female prodigy Hanayuki Kinamito," he replied, not about to smile when she did.
    "Please call me Yuki," Yuki said getting up from her seat.
    "Alright Yuki, shall I take you to Near then?"
    She nodded and the man walked off the train, Yuki following right behind. Her plan had worked so far it would seem.......

    Yuki made a face as she looked at her wardrobe. Because of her status as a hikikomori,someone who basically never went outside, she had very few clothes outside of her pjs, just enough to cover half of her bed frighteningly enough. There was an old school uniform from when she lived in Shinjuku and was forced to go, a dress that probably still fit, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with the letters GFA written in black with black wings and a halo on them.
    She'd taken this job because she loved a challenge, but she hadn't expected it to force her outside of all places. Yuki looked at her hands, hands that spend all day and night playing with toys or typing, hands that no longer were covered with cuts and scratches and hadn't been for seven years. A feeling of familar dread filled her stomach and she closed her eyes before her laptop began to beep. She turned sharply and walked over to the moniter that lay upon the ground, steping over Lego buildings and other toys.
    She typed something in and a screen appeared, black as night with the exception of the strange crescent with wings in its middle. She smiled, "Hi Zwillinge."
    Zwillinge, one of the two great hackers who made up the notorious Twilight,a pair that had never been caught and of whom Hanayuki knew very well answered back with a gargled voice, 'Hello Hanayuki, I heard you took the L job."
    "You knew?...Of course you did," Yuki said before turning around, "You're Zwillinge, you know everything."
    "Condenscending tones won't help you, my friend."
    "So? What's up?"
    "I was going to tell you I hacked into the American Embassy for you."
    "Why? Why to make you seem like a normal 18 year old genius coming from Japan to America to help a certain other genius with finding evidence of L's role as Kira."
    Yuki blinked then nodded, "Thank you Zwillinge, I appreciate it, really....."
    There was something like a laugh on the other end then a "You're welcome" before the screen went back to normal and Zwillinge had disappeared.

    Now, about a week later Yuki was almost to the part where she could complete her mission. The man brought her to a building I can't devulge the location of to you and the two together went in, going into a dark part of the building after getting onto an elevator. She looked around but could see nothing. Yuki sighed internally, How boring.
    Finally they seemed to get to a real destination, a set of closed doors. The man turned to her, "Wait here, Near wasn't too....happy with the presidents orders...."
    She nodded and he went in. Through the crack in the door she could hear their conversation;
    "Near? The girl has arrived."
    'Who?" Near sounded abotu her age, which was a bit of a shock to her. She had heard and known of L's protegees but she didn't know what they looked like or how old they were before now. Interesting, she thought to herself.
    "You know, the one from Japan, the one that the president had sent over to help in the investigation."
    "I don't want outsider help."
    "Yes but I saw her profile, Near and...."
    "And what?" The familar sound of Lego's being locked together made her smile.
    "She's very smart, her IQ is estimated at at least 210. The profile says she's a master of all sorts of technological things, trained by the government since age 2 to not only infiltrate but to fight as well. She's a black- belt in at least three martial arts and--"
    "If she's so impressive, why haven't I heard of her before?"
    Yuki decided to come in then, not only to explain for herself, but because she wanted to play with the Legos, "Because I'm a hikikomori, a shut-in, and have been for over seven years now."
    The room before her looked remarkablely like what hers would look like with multiple computer screens, down to the action figures and Legos and MegaBlocks scattered on the floor. Sitting on the ground, holding one such figure, was a boy, about her age which made ehr immediately think he must be the Near who spoke before, with short curly white hair, the same snow white as Yuki's, and blackish-gray eyes. He wore pjs, which made Yuki think about her own room once again and how much she wanted to be home playing with her toys and sleeping maybe. The man who had brought her here, probably not thinking before hand about how much the two were similar, looked from one to the other in confusion.
    The boy, Near, spoke, "You're Hanayuki Kinamito, correct?"
    "Yes, but I go by Yuki," Yuki asnwered, "You are Near, right?"
    He nodded then spoke again, "You don't look much like a shut-in, especially with that silly uniform."
    "I have very few clothes outside my pjs. It was eiher this, a dress or a t-shirt and jeans. I went with this instead."
    "Hm." Near said before turning to play with his action figure. Yuki walked over and leaned down, "That's an Series X, number 00529, Guriman."
    He looked at her and for a moment there was silence, and then, "Jason, you can leave now."
    The man Jason nodded and walked out. Once he was gone Near spoke to her again, "You're a very strange person, Hanayuki."
    "Or so they say," she answered, pulling some Lego's towards her. Within a few seconds she reconstructed the whole building, just minature. She smiled and looked at him, who just seemed a bit mesmerised by it, "But being strange can have it's advantages...."


    A week passed by in a flash. Near and Hanayuki spent most of their time together, playing games or building things with legos. The other SPK members watched them with fascination, finding the two childlike prodigies rather strange but even more so when they had their usual intellictual conversations while playing with toys. The only time they were separated was the strangely timed naps Hanayuki had, which always happened when it was time for Near and L to talk.

    That day the two had decided to play a game of chess, a very normal thing for smart people to play. But this wasn't with chess pieces. Oh no, this was played with stuffed animals(Hanayuki's pieces) and action figures (Near's pieces). It was Near's turn.
    He stared at his situation; Yuki had two of his pieces, a red robot and a blue, plus was only a few turns away from taking his king, a green Mighty Morphing Power Ranger of all things, with her queen, being of course her prized black bunny Damarecius. His blue Power Ranger, a knight, was too close for an attack and all his other pieces were in bad positions except.......his Kira lego man, also known as his queen (me: yes Light is a girl), was only a single move from taking her queen. He'd only have to move a little bit but..
    He looked up at the girl in question, who was hugging her king, a large panda bear that she had more than once had fallen asleep with. He didn't want nor intend to lose this game, but he knew how much she loved Damarecius.

    After she had finished building the model of the building, she grabbed her bag as if suddenly remembering something. she reached inside, saying once, "I'm sorry, Damarecius, I almost forgot you!”
    He stared at her, confused, "What are you doing?”
    Hanayuki seemed to ignore him until she pulled a rather strange homemade black rabbit. It had two mismatched buttons for eyes and a stitched cross for a mouth. Its head fell back and Near could feel it staring at him. She smiled and hugged it, “Dama-chan.”

    “Dama....chan?” Near was frankly afraid of Damarecius, which considering it was a toy and he was the king of toys was really weird.
    “Damarecius,” Hanayuki said looking at Near with the rabbits head right below hers, "An old friend made him for me a long time ago.”
    “Really? Who?”
    She looked saddened by it and hugged the bunny even tighter before muttering a name; "Kuroyuki.”

    Kuroyuki, he thought before looking from Yuki to the bunny; Black Snow, like her name, Flower Snow.
    “Hey, Near-kun?” Her voice brought him out of his thoughts so he looked up at her as she went on, “It's your turn. Ryuu-chan,” meaning the panda in her arms, “and the rest of us are waiting.”
    “Yes, of course,” he said blinking at her before looking back at the “board”.
    Now or never, he thought as he grabbed Kira and was about to attack and take Damarecius when.....
    The monitors turned on and buzzed. The two turned immediately to look as the all-too familiar insignia of L appeared on them.
    “Hello L,” Near said, looking at the screens but not letting the Lego go, surprised though by the detectives sudden call.
    “Hello N,” L answered.
    Hanayuki looked at her bunny then spoke up, "Good morning, you must be the world-famous detective L.”
    Near was even more surprised that the normally shy girl, who didn't even like talking to other the SPK members that much, spoke to L so easily. L seemed fine though, "A new friend?” The tinge of interest in the voice made Near annoyed for some reason.
    “My name is Hanayuki,” Yuki said.
    “As in the hacker elite and genius of IQ 213?”
    The fact that L knew of Hanayuki made Near uneasy so he intercepted the conversation between the two before it could get too far; he didn't like the idea of L knowing anymore about her, not if he really was connected to Kira, "Do you have business with me, L, or do you only wish to chat because i am busy."
    "I wanted to know if you have collected any more information about Kira."
    Near sighed, "If I did have more information, you know very well I would not tell you."
    Hanayuki drew Ryuu-chan's head over her face to hide her smile as she silently laughed. L seemed a bit annoyed, "You and I see on the same side, we should work together."
    "Yes, but trust is key in teamwork," Hanayuki said, looking up from over the panda's head, her silver-blue eyes glowing so slightly, "And N doesn't trust L, that's why M stands between them."
    Near couldn't help but chuckle at her alphabet reference and L sounded taken back, "What a childish thing to say."
    "yes, but you must agree we have no real evidence supporting a reason to trust you," she said, a bit more serious now.
    "Agreed, now tell me, is that all?" Near said, staring at the L on the screens.
    There was silence then a degrudging "no" before L logged out. The two stayed as they were for a moment before she spoke, again looking at him from over the panda's head, "it's still your turn, Near."
    He looked at her and nodded, his face feeling a bit hot as he then stared down at Damarecius, ready to attack. He was silent and did not move until..... He took her cat knight instead. Never, I guess, he thought as he pulled then to let her move. He spoke, "so what are your thoughts on L?"
    "He's very narcissistic," she said, moving Damarecius to take his pink robot rook.
    "How so?" a pawn, one of the many little baby chicks of Yuki's, was taken.
    "He spoke in a very self-important manner and made it seem as if we are wrong not to trust him even though he is likely either Kira or connected to him. He's not very intelligent, not like the original L, he seems to be relying much too much on others to get information he himself should be able to easily acquire." The attacker of the pawns, Superman of all things, was taken next.
    Near thought on that, twirling a strand of his curly hair between his fingers, a bit stick on her reference to there being an original L, "How did you know he's not the original?" he took another pawn.
    "Obvious if you take into consideration his ways. He doesn't act like the first, plus the speech patterns are different," Yuki commented, closing her eyes as she accessed her vast knowledge, "not the words so much garbled, though they are different too. Subtle differences, I can pick those up quite easily. After all technology can only go so far and I've not only had contact with the original," she took his last rook, a giant monster duck made of Legos, "I also have perfect pitch."
    He stared at her, amazed that she had yet another talent, then noticed; one move and she'd have checkmate on him. He blinked then smiled, "You have another move for checkmate."
    "I know but you still have another turn left," she replied, returning the smile, "Maybe you can think up a way to stop me."
    Near looked over the "board", analyzing the whole thing. There was no escape, she had all the pieces that could have saved him and his queen was left in a knight position to hers, making it virtually useless. Hanayuki was good, very good; she'd outplayed a boy who loved games and toys more than human contact, she had to be good.
    Instead of moving he toppled his green Mighty Morpher, picked up Damarecius and handed him to Yuki, "i lost five moves ago, the moment I spared your Damarecius."
    She put Ryuu-chan onto the floor then took the rabbit, the two's hands brushing each other in the exchange. He felt his heart skip a best and she went a bit red before hugging Damarecius to her, mumbling, "thank you."
    The two albinos quickly moved to pick up their toys then, neither aware of the others confusion over their own reactions to that momentary touch. They didn't yet know their own feelings.


    After cleaning up their toys and things, Near sat down, his heart still racing a bit from that momentary touch, twirling strands of his hair between two fingers. She looked at him, holding Damarecius to her chest tight, watching him when the doors opened suddenly and both turned to look at the man standing there. He seemed frozen for a moment, as if not expecting them to not be playing games as they usually did, but then awoke from this confusion and spoke, “Near the meeting is, um, starting.”
    Near nodded, “Alright, we'll be right there.”
    The man nodded as well then left, leaving the two alone once more. Near sighed, standing up, “Well, we better go then.”
    “Um, Near? Would it be alright if you go on ahead without me? I need to check something on my laptop,” Hanayuki said in a whisper-soft voice but still audible.
    “Can't you check it during the meeting?”
    She smiled sweetly, “That would be unbelievably rude, Near, and I do not wish to be rude.”
    He looked at her for a moment, as if contemplating that then sighed before walking towards the doors, “Alright, Yuki, but please hurry.”
    She nodded and he left. Hanayuki waited a few minutes, making sure he wasn't going to come back in, and then walked over to where her laptop lay in her bag. She grabbed the whole thing and walked to the least toy-covered spot in the room; the bed. She sat down, setting Damarecius in her lap as she extracted the laptop and placed it before her and Dama. She started it up.
    “Name?" spoke the computers voice.
    “Tasegare Hanayuki,” Hanayuki replied.
    “Accepted. Password?
    “A child of winter and spring, born both in the snow and among the flowers.”
    “Accepted. Voice print confirmed. Welcome back.”
    Her symbol returned to the screen as the background as half a dozen little files and programs appeared as well. She opened two of them; the e-mail program and a mysterious one called the Tasegare Hacker Network.
    She had two new mails; one from L/Light, probably asking for her information on Near which she'd ignore for now. Forever maybe. It was the second one that caught her eye, sent from an all-too-familiar name; Artemis. To anyone else that name probably brought up images of a pale dark haired boy genius(1) or the moon or hunting(2), but to her it was much more; it was an old friend.
    Hanayuki opened it and read the messages;
    “Good afternoon you albino freak!(Hanayuki felt the upbeat, almost melodious tone so it didn't offend her) how are you? Me, I'm currently sitting in the park with a headache strong enough to kill twelve elephants and still have time to kill me. ^^; It's ungodly I do so swear. It's also sunny out here, which to a albino hikikomori probably doesn't matter, but it does to me! My eyes. My beautiful golden eyes! They're burning!
    Okay, serious now, I've got a quest for you; could you pretty please send me EVERYTHING you've got on two boys, one named Mello, I call him Willy Wonka, and another named Matt, he smokes but is pretty cute. They told me they were friends with that panda Sabrina had feelings for, L I think, so you should have a least three quarters of their life stories in your laptop. Send it over the Network though, in that really impossible chance that someone not on our side is reading this mail and thus got past our laptops of ultimate power. I'll be waiting from now, about 11 am, to about 4 pm when I gotta go see the boys in question. Until then little mouse!”
    It had no name on the bottom, no need really since she knew who it was, just the crescent moon with bow and arrow mark of the hacker named Tasegare Artemis. Hanayuki sighed, then closed the mail window; she traded it for a new document on Word where she copied and pasted all her information on Mihael “Mello” Keehl and Mail “Matt” Jeevas, second and third respectively successors to the first and true L. She glanced at the doors in cause Near walked in and saw, oh god she couldn't take him seeing her activities, then returned to her monitor, saving the document and closing it. Now for the dangerous part the real thing that would cause trouble if Near saw; logging into the Tasegare Hacking Network. She brought up the window for it and it covered the whole screen, turning it dark blue with two boxes; one for username and the other for password. She typed in both then watched as it now turned a softer blue and asked “Who do you wish to connect to?”
    “Connect to Tasegare Artemis,” she commanded softly.
    The computer beeped then the whole screen went black, then white, then black again with a white version of Artemis' symbol.
    “Hello Artemis,” Hanayuki said.
    “Hi Hanayuki, how's my favorite albino?” The voice was female but tomboyish with an underlying melodiousness to it.
    Hanayuki smiled, "Good Alexandria. Do you want that information now?”
    A sigh. "Don't call me Alexandria, its either Alex or Artemis. And of course I do! Send it along Albino!”
    “Hanayuki?” She jumped then turned her head to see Near standing there in the doorway. She blinked, nearly closing her laptop, “N-N-Near.”
    “Who are you talking to?” he asked a bit startled by her being startled.
    “Just a contact of mine Near; why aren't you in the meeting?”
    “I was worried because you were taking so long.” There was this sadness in his voice that made her heart hurt.
    She smiled, hoping he didn't come towards her and see the hacking network still up, “I'll be right there, don't worry.”
    He returned the smile meekly then left again, but not before saying “Please hurry; it's boring in there without you.”
    She blushed deeply, frozen for a moment then shook herself, waking up. She looked at the monitor, still a bit lost in thought then typed at a remarkable sped, sending the information off to Artemis/Alex/Alexandria. There was silence then a laughing thank you and the screen returned to normal. Hanayuki breathed a sigh of relief and logged off, not even contemplating answering L/Light. She put her laptop away in the bag, grabbed Damarecius in her arms and walked into the meeting room where most of the SPK were. Near sat at one seat, knees to his chest and smiled seeing her, motioning her over to sit in the chair beside him.
    She returned the smile happily and walked over to him just as happily until she noticed the others. Almost all of them were watching her with a look that scared her, ones she'd seen only so long ago it made her heart hurt; it made her hold her bunny ever closer and ever tighter. She arrived at Near's side and sat down, looking at the floor like a wounded puppy who didn't know what she'd done; it angered Near quite a bit. He looked at the others with the same emotionless look, thought now it was tinged with irritation, “Well? On with your reports.”
    A few agents stopped their glaring and staring at Hanayuki and spoke one by one, slightly startled by Near's irritation, telling him all sorts of Kira-related information. She kept her gaze down until Near tapped her shoulder and handed her a cup of tea; she looked at him, smiled weakly then took the cup, taking a sip. Now Near watched her though his look was not of contempt; it was more sympathy and worry and something else, something neither quite understood but both felt. Hanayuki glanced over at him again and he looked away quickly, red in face as he blushed; she giggled softly, a smile spread on his face hearing it though, and the meeting went on with her in a much better mood. Their glares couldn't scare her if Near was there by her side.
    After about an hour or so the meeting ended and the agents left with new orders; Near stood up as Hanayuki set down her tea then he suddenly grabbed her hand, making her blush as well now. Not that he didn't go even redder when he did that.
    “Come on,” he urged softly but stern, pulling her to her feet then impatiently into the computer/toy room.
    He let go of her only once inside and Hanayuki watched as Near closed and locked the doors then turned to look at her; once more there was his look, and it made her heart feel a bit light. She tried to speak but he beat her to it, “Hanayuki, I'm sorry.”
    “For what, Near?” she asked a bit confused.
    “For the others, for their glares and coldness; I tried to tell them but they wouldn't believe me, “ he said then gave a small but angry laugh, “To think you're a spy, they're ridiculous really.”
    Her heart now froze and he continued to walk towards her again, “I mean, you are a bit strange and sure you never let me see your laptop or any of the information you keep there but you're a hacker, one of if not the best, trust is something you can't just earn in a week of knowing each other. I know though that you'd never betray me or them or anyone you didn't think totally deserved it. They wouldn't trust me though on this one thing.”
    Near looked so sure of his words, as if she was too good, too pure, too kind to do that; it killed her inside. She wanted so much to tell him now, to spill everything to him but she couldn't; he'd stop smiling at her and she didn't want that. Plus she hadn't told Light anything yet anyway; she'd been having too much fun with near. She instead smiled, “Of course Near, you're my friend, my closest friend probably anywhere in this world; I'd never hurt you like that.”
    Oh how badly she wanted that to be true. He had watched her as she talked, the way her lips moved the sweetness of her voice, the way her hair seemed to give off a tiny glow as she did. Near blinked, staring even as she went on, "they're just trying to protect you, you are-“
    “Hana?” She stopped, mostly because he only ever called her Yuki or Hanayuki, and almost immediately when she did he leaned towards her and did something he'd never done, not to her, not to anyone; he kissed her. It was soft and gentle and kind; it was a perfect kiss in so many ways. Her heart sped again and her eyes were wide, her face red, before slowly she closed her eyes and she returned that kiss of innocence, now surprising Near as well. He hadn't expected her to, but it wasn't a bad surprise.
    After about a minute or two the two broke apart and both stepped back away from each other; Near looked away with a very deep blush and Hanayuki continued to stare. She tried to speak but all that came out was a softly squeaked “Why?'
    “Because I-“ Near didn't get to finish that sentence; once more the computers activated and it would seem L/Light had interrupted yet another interaction with Near and Hanayuki.

    (1) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
    (2) The greek goddess of the moon and the hunt Artemis

    (end of part one; next few chapters to come sooner or later)