"Tall, blonde, pretty – you'd probably like her," Mello said, biting off a hunk of chocolate and looking at Matt out of the corner of his eye.

"If she's all that, why the hell didn't you have sex with her? Or did you?" Matt was sprawled awkwardly across their couch, cigarette in his mouth and PSP in his hands.

Mello shrugged. "I was using her. It wouldn't have been right."

"And yet you slept with Near." Matt shook his head in disbelief. "You really are a raging homo, man."

His words provoked the reaction he was half-hoping for. Mello stood up and dropped onto the couch next to him, pulled the cigarette from his mouth and tossed it away before kissing him fiercely, his hands squeezing his ass, wandering his body, toying with the waistband of his jeans. When Matt was panting for him, he stopped, stood up, and gave him a grin. "You don't seem to be complaining about it now." He walked off into the bedroom and Matt followed, a grin of his own on his face.

Later, it was nearly dark in their apartment, the last of the sun's rays streaking the carpet in stripes of gold and dusk, and Matt had been drinking, which might have been why he had the nerve (or maybe just the foolish stubborness) to ask again.

"Really, why did you sleep with Near? Weren't you using him, too?"

Mello scowled at him. "Let it go, Matt. You don't want to have this conversation."

Matt drank more beer and squinted at him. "Maybe I do. I want to know. Do you love Near?" Mello didn't answer. Maybe he was just ignoring him, but Matt didn't think that was it. He listened to the crinkle of the chocolate wrapper, the sound of chewing, in growing frustration. "Shit, you do, don't you?" He lit a cigarette, the flame a bright spot in the dimness, and inhaled. Mello had been right; he didn't want to have this conversation.

"You know so much, you tell me." Oh yeah, he was angry now. He hadn't wanted Matt to know, probably didn't want to admit it to himself.

"So if you love him, why'd you leave?" Even in the growing dark, he could tell Mello was looking at him as if he were an idiot. "Right. Stupid question." And it was; he knew the answer, had always known it, really. Because Mello was an idiot, really, not that that was how he would have said it. Too proud to stay, too resentful of the past, still too hurt to accept anything else but winning. He didn't bother to ask if he'd told Near how he felt; he already knew the answer: of course not.

Well. Matt supposed it was none of his business if Mello wanted to make himself and Near miserable. Assuming the little brat cared at all. "So what about me?"

He couldn't see Mello's face at all anymore, just a pale blur in the dark, but he didn't reach to turn on any lights. "What about you?" He sounded tired, frustrated.

Matt put out the cigarette, turned in his direction. "You're just using me, aren't you? So why am I different? Or is it just women you don't treat that way?"

Mello sighed, came over to sit next to him on the bed, turned on the lamp and looked into his eyes. "That's not it. I'm not just using you."

His laugh was cynical, bitter. "Sure about that? What, is the sex meant to be payment for my help?"

He sighed again, kissed him far more gently than usual, his hands cupping Matt's face. "Shit, I don't know. I just wanted to, so I did. Isn't that enough?" He rubbed his temples tiredly, like he had a headache, until Matt reached for him, urged him to turn around and lean against his chest. It was easy enough that he knew Mello really was tired and unhappy. He took over rubbing his temples and along his jawline, soothing clenched and knotted muscles in silence.

"I guess it'll have to be." He wrapped himself around him, hugging him with his whole body, giving Mello the comfort he would never ask for and that he could never deny him anyway.