First off, I owe over half of my amazing reviewers a huge apology. I intended to post an update of Motivation a few weeks ago and began replying to reviews in preparation of that. Unfortunately just as I was about halfway through your wonderful reviews, I got very sick. And once I was well enough to get out of bed I was side tackled by midterms and a whole bunch of other real life stuff. Of course, that's on top of the fact that it's been over a year since I last updated. So I'm very sorry for getting your hopes up like that.

Still, I also owe all of my reviewers a huge thank you. Your beautiful reviews do so much to keep me inspired. Given the year I've had, you all kept me coming back to Motivation again and again despite the blocks I've been having in some parts of this story. This chapter was possible because of your continued support and interest. So I'd really like to thank all my beautiful, thoughtful and patient reviewers: Dipilidopa, kay-kw33n , The Original Gamer, Morpheme, Queen Yanna, Joker Smiles, killing u with umbrellas, Kai Turner, Moka-girl, SeraphimXII, Unknown Variable, therussetfox, Rainbowbubble, Gladioliby, xXxFluffyxXx , Insomnia-Calling, Knockoutroundabout, Keltzy, FFHelaynia, superfan8, Tallulah Grammar Songstress, DeppleICk, mehhdroopyL, Guest, Parrot Post, yumeniai, Shadowstreak, Shade O'Killer, Samael the Parselmouth, Elelith, blackwingsgreeneyes, Lazy Gaga, Sun Syndrome, Misha2011, Sincerely-Tragedy, CherryBlossomSpring, DragonOfRuby, Ize09, genta, astrakage, kains, Bri, K-Danuve, anon, lelunalebitches, Wolfwhispers, carottal, CheshireEffect, blackstarsakura13, Agent 0r4ng3, HeartKnight31320, Nonimus, Kudatsuo-chan, Chellyisback, Anonymous, ShootingStar02, AnonymousDeafMute, babydoll8901, bookfreak1317, punpunmatt, Khorale, Tsume Yuki, GoldCoast, Mahlerman, Picas Lei-Fur, Another reviewer, Night-Owl123, and Tigrislupa (x11)!

Also, this chapter would not be nearly so grammatically correct without the help my amazing betas: phantomwillow and UchidaKarasu!

Chapter 11

It was official. Yagami Raito was a bipolar freak of nature.

The day Matt agreed to stop hiding his abilities from Yagami had been good. They played a nice game of tennis (which Matt lost by a few points less than last time), had a two and half hour long discussion analyzing the personalities of world leaders in a café and parted on amicable terms. Matt went home feeling on top of the world. He finished his work for Wammy's in record time and went to bed early after indulging in some much needed gaming time.

Matt had mistakenly taken this to be the beginning of a positive trend.

He was wrong.

The next day, Yagami came to class seemingly perfect as always. But Matt could see the flaws in his façade clear as day. Yagami obviously hadn't slept which was weird because Yagami was the sort of person to always get a solid eight hours of sleep without fail. He also kept shooting Matt the strangest looks.

The worst part was that Matt had no idea what was wrong. Was Yagami sick? Had someone died? Had Matt done something wrong?

He scribbled a note to Yagami in Chinese asking these things, trying to feel out how he should respond to the teen's behavior. Yagami's expression had closed even further as he read the missive and he had refused to answer.

It was incredibly frustrating.

So much for that upward trend Matt had been anticipating.

At lunch time they went up to the roof, but before Matt could say anything Yagami took the lead almost as though he'd been waiting all morning for this conversation.

"Do you have a lunch?" Yagami asked. He seemed oddly serious considering the silly question he was asking. Matt never had a lunch.

"Do I ever?" Matt asked.

"So your host family leaves you to fend for yourself?" Yagami asked.

Matt blinked. Host family? What – Oh. Right. He thought back to the briefing the Ignoramus had given him. He probably should have paid more attention to what the man told him regarding his backstory. He was supposedly fifteen, an American, and did he have a host family?

"The onus is on me to make my own food. I just forget. Why does it matter?" Matt deflected.

Yagami frowned. "Do they know you don't eat lunch or breakfast?"

"I eat breakfast," Matt lied.

Yagami just gave him a look and Matt shrugged. It wasn't his fault he was always running late in the morning. He'd eat if he had the time. Why did Yagami care, anyway?

Instead of saying anything else on the subject, Yagami just reached into his bag and pulled out two bento boxes. "Here," the teen said as he handed one of the lunches over.

"That's really not necessary," Matt said.

"Except for the part where it is," Yagami replied easily as he took a seat on the ground.

Matt considered throwing the food out just to prove a point, but now that he had something in front of him he remembered that he was actually hungry. He reluctantly gave Yagami a point on his mental scoreboard, sat down beside the teen and dug into his meal.

He hated to admit it, but the food was actually pretty good.

Yagami was strangely quiet during their meal, but Matt let it go. He didn't mind silence, after all, and despite his currently bizarre behavior, Yagami was good company.

He was just finishing off the last bit of rice when Yagami spoke again. "Greene-kun, you never talk about your family."

Matt blinked at the non sequitur. "I don't talk about much of anything," he said blandly. After a moment he added, "You don't exactly talk about yours either."

Yagami shrugged and ignored Matt's point completely. "You're in a foreign country. Don't you miss them?"

Perhaps Yagami really was sick. He was asking the strangest things. What on earth was causing Yagami to want to know anything about Matt's family?

It was a good question, though. Of course he missed his family. He missed Mello so much it hurt. He even missed Near and all of the other orphans at the school. He missed the very air that permeated Wammy's House. Wammy's House was familiar and safe and most importantly known. There were no surprises there and he really missed that.

But the hurt was dulling with time. Matt still had hope that he would one day be able to go home, but in the meantime he was coping as well as he could. He always had been good at dealing with loss.

That aside, he was left with a serious dilemma. Should he answer truthfully or answer as Matt Greene, L's construct? Matt had agreed not to hold back intellectually, but that was different from lying to maintain his cover, wasn't it? That however raised the question of whether or not he could really achieve the equal partnership Light had offered if he had to lie all the time.

He wasn't prepared to make that choice yet. Not on such short notice. How could he –

Matt realized that he didn't actually need to lie at all. While it definitely would not be a long term solution, a lie of omission could give him time to figure out what he was going to tell Yagami about himself.

"I do," Matt said carefully. "But this is too good of an opportunity to waste my time dwelling on things I can't have, isn't it?"

Yagami looked at him searchingly and Matt couldn't help but be baffled as to what Yagami was looking for. "What's your dad like?" Yagami asked.

Matt should have expected that question. He should have, but for some reason he didn't.

It took all of his strength to stop himself from tensing as memories flared up in his mind like welts rising after a particularly terrible beating.

His father. That man. Why on earth would Yagami bring that up?

"Are you all right?" Yagami asked, but his eyes were sharp.

Matt closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I'm fine," he said after a moment. "I…It's nothing."

"Did he – " Yagami began.

Matt refused to let him finish that thought. He refused to dredge up the past when he'd just thought he'd finally managed to lay it to rest again. "It's nothing," Matt repeated more firmly.

Yagami frowned but nodded reluctantly. "If you ever want to talk – "

"I really don't," Matt said, only half paying attention to Yagami as he finished shoving that particular specter back into the neatly labeled box where it belonged.

"I'm here," Yagami said quickly. "If you change your mind."

Matt grunted and got to his feet. He headed back to the classroom without waiting to see if Yagami was following him.

So much for that upward trend.

After that Yagami's strange mood seemed to dissipate. There were no more weird questions or odd looks. They even resumed their normal in-class activities of not-bothering-to-pay-attention with the added of variant of playing mental chess.

Matt didn't believe that Yagami had really let go of whatever was troubling him, even though Yagami's acting was as flawless as usual. However, he did use the much welcomed reprieve from bizarre questions to try and figure out the source of Yagami's issues.

Yagami could just be trying to get to know Matt better, though that did not explain the other's sleeplessness and bizarre intrusive questions. Perhaps Yagami was getting suspicious about Matt's rather transparent back story? But why would that cause Yagami to act so strangely?

Matt spent the second half of the day balancing chess moves and pondering Yagami's oddities. By the time school ended he had beaten Yagami twice and lost once at chess, but for the life of him Matt could not figure out what Yagami's newest head game was.

The redhead was still pondering what to do when he and Yagami parted ways outside the classroom as Yagami headed to his pointless resume building farce of a student council meeting and Matt made his way to the exit. Matt walked with his head down, watching the bland floor tiles disappear under his feet as his mind considered and reconsidered all of the possibilities.

He was so lost in thought that he almost plowed down the three girls very stubbornly and deliberately blocking his way. Matt reluctantly looked up from the floor and blinked at the sight of the uniform clad young women in front of him. He wondered if he was going crazy.

Since when did anyone in this school but Yagami approach him?

"Greene-kun," the middle girl said earnestly. "I'm very sorry for intruding, but we, we just wanted to let you know – "

"That we're really happy you and Yagami-kun could work things out. We were rooting for you all along," the girl on the left finished with equal sincerity.

"We were so worried and it's so nice to see you getting along again," the girl on the right added with a bright smile.

"Love will always triumph!" the girl on the left exclaimed.

Matt kept his blank in the face of the strange devotion exuding from the schoolgirls and frantically tried to figure out how the hell he should respond to this. He didn't really understand girls at the best of times, especially girls who weren't geniuses, but this was even further out of his realm of experience than usual. Why was the entire world choosing today to go insane?

After a moment of thought, Matt decisively turned on his heel and began striding quickly in the other direction. Luck seemed to be on his side since the girls that were overly invested in his friendship with Yagami were apparently so shocked by his rudeness that it didn't occur to them to follow him. Still, just to be on the safe side, Matt kept walking until he found himself on the other side of school.

He congratulated himself on dodging that particular bullet and stopped to assess where he ended up. The hall was empty. There were no crazy people in sight, but that could change at any moment. Matt wondered if it was safe to find another exit or if he should expect to be accosted by another group of insane students. Just in case he decided to avoid any unnecessary social interaction and take the road less traveled.

Matt turned abruptly and opened the nearest classroom door. Upon seeing what was inside the room, he resisted the urge to slam the door shut again. Of course he'd pick this particular room at random. The nonexistent gods clearly hated him, so obviously he'd end up barging in on the student council meeting.

"Greene-kun," Yagami said looking just as surprised at Matt's arrival as his many sycophantic minions.

Matt could run away, but no, why should he run? Awkwardness aside, he wasn't actually doing anything wrong, was he?

Besides, a vindictive part of himself thought, Yagami deserved a little surreality in his life after what he'd done to Matt's positive trend line, didn't he?

"Yagami," Matt said, pointedly leaving off the honorific just to screw with the minions.

"Is something wrong?" Yagami asked and the bastard had the nerve to look concerned.

That made sense though, didn't it? Yagami wanted them to be equals somehow, didn't he? Yagami was clearly worried about the state of their agreement. But Matt felt bitter nonetheless.

"Nothing at all," Matt said blandly, shutting the door behind him with a click. He walked unhurriedly across the room toward the windows. He placidly ignored the startled murmurs of his audience as he slid the window open, removed the screen and climbed out the window. It was a tight fit, but Matt wasn't exactly a big kid. The size of the window just ensured that no one was going to follow him. Not that he expected anyone to try, of course. Who would care enough to do that?

Matt offered a little wave to the stunned student council and then headed toward the edge of the grounds, hoping he'd headed the crazies off at the pass and would escape this hellhole unscathed.

As he walked he could hear Yagami loudly calling his meeting to order.

Matt smiled triumphantly to himself and hoped he'd pissed Yagami off enough that he'd be back to normal tomorrow.

The next day Yagami seemed to be acting like himself. There were no more odd questions or weird looks. The only the proof of Yagami's previous strangeness was that the teen brought Matt lunch again that day. And the next. Yagami proceeded to bring Matt lunch every day for the rest of the week despite Matt's protests.

Matt still suspected that something was off with the guy, but he let it go. There was no point in making a fuss, not when he'd rather be discussing fascinating topics with Yagami between moves of mental chess. Besides, the lunches Yagami brought were actually pretty good.

Not that Matt would ever admit that. Of course not.

That upward trend seemed to be returning and Matt began to feel optimistic again.

That was a mistake.

Why on earth was Light acting so strange? Who were those weird girls that were bothering Matt? Why is the world out to make Matt miserable? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Or just generally let me know what you think of the story; constructive criticism is always appreciated and hearing from you guys always makes my day and reminds me why I write!

Until next time,