Disclaimer: Death Note and all related characters and materials are property of Tsugumi Ohba and Shonen Jump.
By: Nanaki BH
"This could be our last day." Mello put down his chocolate, a gloved thumb idly toying with the crinkled edge of the wrapper. "We could be dead by tomorrow. What do you think about that?"
Matt's hold on his DS weakened. Matt knew it was inevitable. Mello was bound to talk to him about the subject sometime but he never wanted it to happen. He wanted to ignore it for as long as possible. He wanted to just turn on his game and turn off his thoughts. It was stupid to fight something that was unavoidable, though. Running away from their deaths would be a losing race.
His mouth felt too dry to speak. Instead, he looked up at Mello and searched for evidence of what he could be thinking. Unfortunately, his face was devoid of any discernible emotion. It was a blank mask; none of the usual colorfully painted expressions of anger, annoyance, or melancholy. Just nothing. Nothing that Matt could recognize. His finger briefly hovered over the off switch, tempted to flick it but not wanting to give up his only respite.
"I don't know what to think. I guess it's okay."
Mello's mouth drooped at the corners and his brows turned up in a displeased knot. His candybar lay abandoned on the table and he looked away, folding his hands in his lap. A silence proceeded in which the two only sat there at their kitchen table, feeling the other's presence, gauging the other's feelings. After hardly a minute, Mello looked to be on the verge of a breakdown. At least as far as Matt could tell. It wasn't often that Mello displayed any emotional weakness aside from his insufferable attitude, so seeing him in such obvious distress had Matt immediately worried.
Lips quivering, knees shaking, Mello hung his head. His breathing hitched and he pushed away from the table, knocking his chair down to the floor as he recklessly bolted for the bathroom. Matt remained sitting until he heard the sound of retching that soon followed. He got up and found Mello hunched at the toilet looking thinner and weaker than he'd ever seen him. A part of him wanted to remain in the doorway where he could relish the sight; to know and see for himself that Mello was a real person beneath his coarse exterior. But he already knew that. He didn't need anything more to confirm that for him.
He knelt beside him and held back his hair, gently rubbing his back until he finished. Mello sat back, eyes glossy, mind dizzy. For a while, he closed his eyes and leaned back against Matt's shoulder, letting him run his fingers through his sweat-dampened hair.
"Fuck. A day. What the hell do you do when you know you've only got a few hours to go? Who's ever had to make a decision like that?"
Matt shrugged, placing his hands down firmly on Mello's shoulders. "I'm sure there've been a lot of people. Think, like, in war or whatever. I'm sure there've been guys with blown limbs and shit who were just sitting waiting to die. What do you think they did? They tried their best and died for a cause and wouldn't have had near the length of time we have left to think about what they wanted to do."
Mello tilted his head back and looked up at Matt. "I still have all my extremities, Matt. And it's not like that was a literal question. And what the hell's with you," he muttered, blowing a strand of hair from his eyes. "You sound pretty damn resolute."
"We might not die after all, you know?"
A light smack was delivered to Matt's cheek from below. "Don't you dare say that. Don't you dare."
Matt raised an eyebrow above his goggles, surprised to hear the familiar venom reenter Mello's voice.
"Don't get too attached to your life, Matt. You're dying tomorrow. Dying. As in, you won't be alive to think about stupid stuff later, okay? Dying, as in, we need to come up with what we're going to spend our last hours doing instead of puking and sitting talking about how we're not dying."
Death? Death, huh? What an unfamiliar-sounding thing to Matt. Death was always around them, surrounding them, apparent at every corner they turned. Yet there was something about it that Matt didn't understand. Death was something that only happened to videogame characters who couldn't rejoin your party once they were killed in cutscenes. Death wasn't something for Matt. But he didn't have much of a purpose anyway. He barely benefited the players. And the only way he could truly benefit them was to sacrifice himself.
He smirked. Now if only I knew how to cast Holy, he thought, both amused and strangely depressed.
"Don't frown like that," Mello said, poking at the edges of Matt's mouth. "Smile, dammit. You've had a good life, haven't you?"
"Not really." Matt wasn't aware that he wasn't smiling anymore. That smirk failed, apparently.
Mello got up and ignored that, choosing instead to wash the stale taste of vomit from his mouth. It was better than listening to Matt whine at least. Matt remained on the floor, staring up at Mello, taking notice of how the light above the sink illuminated him in an almost divine way. He decided that if that was what Mello looked like dead, then death was going to be pretty sexy. But then again, nobody really had a way of confirming what people looked like in heaven. Or if heaven existed at all.
"I want to wear a really good pair of underwear."
Mello looked over his shoulder, an eyebrow preemptively raised.
Matt fiddled with his toes, keeping himself curled between the sink and the tub. "You know that when you get to the coroner's they take off your clothes, right? I mean, I think they do, but you're going to get stripped at some point. Nobody goes to their grave in the same clothes they died in."
"Get to the point."
"I want to be wearing good underwear so when I get stripped, everybody knows I had good taste."
A low chuckle escaped Mello's lips and he turned around so he could lean against the sink top, crossing his legs at the ankles. "But you have terrible taste."
"Yeah. But they won't know that will they?"
Mello smiled. Finally, they were getting to where he'd hoped they'd go. He wanted them to find a comfortable medium where they could accept their deaths. They'd just have to go through the five stages of grief all in one day. It was looking like they were both over denial. Mello didn't think he had anything left to be angry over anymore so he considered that one taken care of. Bargaining wouldn't happen because the deal was sealed. They didn't have time to be depressed; they had better things to do. So all that was left was acceptance. Was there really enough time to truly accept death, though? Maybe once they got some things done.
"Fine. If you're wearing good underwear then I'm wearing nothing."
Matt playfully batted Mello's pant leg. "Sounds like you." He willed himself up from the floor and wrapped his arms loosely around Mello's waist, pressing his cheek to his shoulder. A sudden sort of comfort eased into Matt's heart. It could've been the way Mello smelled. It could've been just talking that made him feel more at ease. "Maybe we should write little notes or something. I'll shove one in my pocket that says: 'Bury me next to the hot blonde'. How 'bout that?"
"Then what would mine say? 'Fine. Bury me next to the stupid-looking one'?"
Pretending to be offended, Matt reeled back, holding still to Mello's shoulders. "I'm hurt! You wouldn't do that!"
Mello snickered. "Oh yes I would. But really... Do you have anything you want to do?"
Matt seemed to actually think about it finally, staring off, eyes blank, mind swirling around things he had yet to accomplish. A lot of the things on his to-do list were ridiculous, unimportant things like doing the laundry. He could care less if he did that if he had one day to live. He still had videogames he had yet to play. "I didn't play Final Fantasy XIII yet. I heard it sucks for Wii but I really wanted to play the copy I got."
"Think you can play it in a day?"
"No way. It's supposed to take over fifty hours. I could probably pull it off in forty. Think Kira can wait that long?"
Mello tapped a boot on the tiled floor. "What do you think?"
Sighing, Matt slumped his shoulders. "Fine. I'll just have to watch some cutscenes on YouTube then and spoil it for myself. That's fine, I guess." He looked up, inquiring Mello from behind his lenses. "You have anything you really want to do?"
Honestly? He hadn't prayed in a long time. He had intended to actually use his rosary for once in what felt like a million years. While Matt was sitting at his computer surfing YouTube videos he could always just do that. Yeah. It was worth a shot. He wouldn't ask God to save them from Kira. He wouldn't even ask to be saved. He only wanted God to know that what they'd done was done with good intentions. All of it. And that was all he would think about as he muttered each Hail Mary, each Our Father, each Glory Be. He wanted to feel like he could die with some of his dignity intact. Maybe he would have Matt pray too.
"Yeah," he muttered. "Yeah, I've got something."
Matt didn't bother asking. He could tell that it was something personal. "So do you want to get some new chocolate? You should get something really fucking expensive. You can't spend money when you're dead, after all."
It sounded like a fun idea but Mello wasn't sure how well his stomach would be able to handle chocolate when he was still feeling so uptight. So long as Matt was with him, things wouldn't be too bad. It would probably still taste good if Matt put an arm around his shoulder.
"Yeah. That sounds good. You? You want anything special to eat or anything?"
Matt shook his head dismissively. He hadn't thought about it but there wasn't anything he really wanted that could be called expensive. Tacos would be a bad idea as a last meal even though that sounded kind of good. Besides, it was hard to get decent Mexican in Japan. Though, no matter where you went in the world, there was always one place you could always count on for good, wholesome American food. "McDonald's."
"You've got to be kidding."
"It's American. It's what I want. You can get what you want still."
"...No, actually, I think that sounds good."
"Seriously?" Matt asked, sounding surprised. "I thought you hated it."
"It's nostalgic. I don't mind." He took hold of Matt's wrists and pulled him down against him again, this time wrapping his own arms around Matt's waist. The contact and the warmth of Matt's body made Mello a little dizzy but not enough to make him sick again. It was a pleasant sort of disarray Matt caused. "Anything else?"
"I want to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes. Or maybe two depending on how stressed I get."
"That's a lot."
"I'm dying, aren't I? I... I'll do what I want."
"You want to sleep with me before then too, right?"
Matt's eyes locked with Mello's and they held him there, entrapped. It felt so strange to think about something like that; the last night he would spend with Mello. What would it be like? Would it be just like all the other times? Would he still wake up with Mello's arm strewn across his chest and his hair in weird directions? Would he still be the one hoarding the blankets? He wanted to think about it... He really did. But it...
Matt sniffed and a tear slipped from beneath one of his frames. "Sorry," he muttered.
For a moment, Mello looked away, either offended or trying to deny what he'd seen. Tentatively, eyes still trained on the floor, he lifted a hand to casually wipe away the tear. He brought up his finger to his mouth and licked at his finger lightly, tasting the salty combination of leather and tears. It was the saddest thing he'd ever tasted. Chocolate would make him forget about it.
It was the first time Matt had ever heard Mello tell him that. It felt like the truth and he believed it. He smiled, a real one this time. The dull ache remained somewhat, paler and more tolerable though. He imagined that if he were to die the next day, that would be what he would remember right before his eyes closed for the final time. "It's fine." That would be it.
Author's Notes: Why end it there? Because any other dialog I came up with was cheesy and broke the mood apart. By the way, I purposely said FFXIII instead of XII because in Death Note time, I figured that XIII would be out for Matt to play. Anyway, I wrote this to remember Cryfest '07. And I'm still digging MelloxMatt. I hope you enjoyed reading!