(KAI) Nyar, feck staying in one tense. I am the ghost of Christmas past!
And the sinner of present tense usage! Smite me!
...Sah, please don't mind me. --




"Nng... aah..."

Mello winced. Stupid Near was moaning in his sleep, now- now that he had finally managed to fall. He'd already ruined Mello's evening, squirming and panting with fever across the bed sheets and sweating soft little silver drops, precious and painful. He had already cried, and stared with wide, unseeing eyes as Mello made his ways in and out, and had moaned and cried again.

This was very bothersome to Mello.

Mello did not like many things; he did not like change, people, or things which deviated from what he was used to. And because Near is a very sick person, behaving very much unlike himself, Mello hates him.

But he hates him from far away.

Because the parts of him that hates is being complicated by those other things- those things, things, weird things- oh!

Slowly, Mello curled up on his bed. It was around six, he'd had some chocolate. It hadn't help. Near whimpered, mumbled. Mello cringed. Stupid Near. Couldn't he just get well again? The blonde felt far more equipped to handle the cool, soft and unnoticeable Near than this Near. Crying and shameless. Yes, later, Near would be embarrassed. Maybe ashamed.

This thought comforted Mello.

And then the most horrible guilt. Very not good and a clenching of eyes, no good no good no good...! Please be quiet!

Emotionally, Mello rolls in his blankets and because there is no choice, he faces Near. Near with the pale curls and parted lips. Inside his chest, Mello feels his heart beat and that is another very not good. Feeling his heart beat and he chewed at his finger, but stop! That was what Near sometimes did, and we should not do what Near does.

But the boy gasped and sat half the waying up, making scared little choking noises in the bed over. Mello stared. In the darklight, he could see Near's form breathing heavily, labored, and felt his heart go thud-thud-thud. There was no reason for that.

"I'm cold..." the pale face turned toward Mello balefully, tears drying, like something otherworldly, ethereal and foreign. It was as though Near was gone, and had been replaced by some wan angel, shivering and strange. Mello's heart sped, a peculiar fear spreading through his spine like a cold wildfire, and he sat up, angry.

"Go to sleep!"

Near blinked at him in the darkness, an expression lost to the growling boy one bed over. It was not really such a great distance.

When no response came, Mello jerked to his feet, a marionette of his own devices, and stumbled over. "I'll make you!" he hissed, pushing Near down without grace. The boy's eyes filled with tears, slowly, like glittering, and his hands reached up to rest on Mello's. He rasped, "I can't."

"Stop it!" the blonde hissed, ripping his hands up from the soft, almost paper thin contact.

Little tears, precious fine, and they rolled down one at a time, and Near breathed once in and then out, and made a keening noise in the back of his hot throat, seeing Mello close and far away and split into two or maybe three. "M...e...llo..."

There was something familiar, known, and not terrifying. Mello was difficult and swung and charged but he was not so bad. Not so bad as feeling the hands of death touching all across his body, raping, scary. Mello was strong, too, not so much to be afraid of, but a good shadow... a shadow to hide in and work under and use. That's what Near had always known, being the better. But now... Who was it that was here, writhing, moaning?

"I am... Mello, cold," he whispered, gasping as a wave of not-nausea went through him, and his hand went out and clawed the other boy, held onto his thin, gold in the dark wrist.

Mello gulped. There was that thud-thud-thud that certainly meant nothing again, and there was his heart doing it, and it fluttering against the cage of his ribs violently. A fine sweat, though it was not hot, and though it was rather cold, indeed. "G-Go to sleep! Do it, already!"

"Mm..." Near squeaked in pain, a shiver snapping through his spine and his heart going into palpitations so raw his head felt too light. God, and if his head floated away...!

What control?

"Lay with me," the pale-haired boy wheezed, looking away but not letting go and yet feeling the weakness which was so unnatural and pained going through him and up his arm and making his hand shake and shake and shake. "P-Please, Mello, 's cold... Mello..."

"I-I'll get sick," Mello coughed before he could say 'no' instead, and the shaking hand around his wrist began to slip even as the blonde began to wonder what tears felt like against fingertips and what Near's skin would feel like, even flushed and damp.

Even better flushed and damp...

Blushing, Mello pulled back the covers and let himself slide into them and determined to himself that this was definitely his idea, and he was in control and not Near, not shivering, wide-eyed and so very, very pretty Near.

"There," he said, pulling the blankets back and settling in a good five inches away. As though he'd somehow won.

"You're..." Near's glazed, light-colored eyes hovered nearer, settling so close Mello went stiff in the shoulders, and the other boy's hands were touching his chest, resting his wrist and then his elbow and then his whole arm across Mello's constricted chest. There the boy lays. And then, one leg pushed slowly across Mello's and Mello wishes he'd gotten comfortable before all this movement into his own personal space.

He rests his head at last and is mortified to find that it rests atop Near's and that the hair his cheek feels, although damp and clumped a bit, is somewhat soft, and the boy is so warm, too, though shivering. "I hate you." Mello reminds himself, reminds Near, and Near holds on more tightly, because Mello has his arms around him now, too.

"I love you," Near says quietly, hoping not to get hit though he vaguely is not sure what 'getting hit' would entail. "Very much."

"I hate you," Mello repeats, slowly letting his fingers drag through the other boy's hair, loosening it and finding it nice enough to scritch Near's warm skin. "I hate you."

"S'all right," Near clutches the cloth of Mello's shirt possessively. "I don't... mind."

But Mello can't think of a single thing to say.

And he cuddles closer, pressing his lips against Near's hot, fevered forehead, thinking, desperately, forever and ever and ever and ever. He hopes Near is sick forever. Or at least, he hopes this Near, warm and holding on to him, stays.

And Near, falling into a deeper, more restful sleep than in two days, hopes the same of Mello.