(I think I'm getting repetitive here. XD Thank you so much for the reviews during my long absence!)

Mello entered the apartment, slamming the door against the wall so hard Matt, in the other room, swore he heard plaster crack. A few seconds later Mello slammed the door shut and a cockroach fell from the ceiling onto the keyboard of the laptop in front of Matt.

THUD. SLAM. Two steel-toed boots hit the wall, leaving black marks on the wallpaper. Mello punched the wall for good measure as he passed it.

Matt stared at him as he walked into the room and threw himself onto the couch with a snarl. The cockroach wriggled forlornly on the keyboard. "Dude, Mello," he said, "What happened?"

"'Dear Mello,'" Mello muttered, staring at the ceiling, his face contorted with fury. "'Dear fucking Mello...'"

Matt threw up his hands. "Whoa! No! I said 'Dude', Mello!' What kind of--"

Mello drew a gun and pointed it at the cockroach. Matt managed to jump up just as Mello put a bullet in the laptop.

There was no more cockroach.

Matt stared at the smoking remains of the laptop. He decided to refrain from mentioning the sixteen World of Warcraft characters Mello had just banished to oblivion and instead said cautiously, "Hey, man, is everything okay? What happened?"

In answer Mello held up a small piece of paper. Warily, Matt bent to look at it.

"A picture of you?"

Mello turned it over.

"'Dear Mello...' Ex-girlfriend find you on the street? Cuss you out in front of--"

"Near gave it to me." Mello's voice was flat. He still stared at the ceiling, gun smoking in the hand now resting in his lap.


"Yeah." Matt winced; he could hear Mello's teeth grinding from across the room. "He told me to my face--he said I--he said I'd f-f--fa--" His hand started shaking and Matt backed up, ready to dive behind the chair.

"Dude, Mello, calm down--don't shoot anything, it's not gonna help you--"

"Just. Get. Out."

Matt obeyed.

He sat in the spare bedroom, listening to Mello try to control his breathing in the next room, and sighed. He pulled his Gameboy out of his pocket and began to play absently, wishing he had some way to cheer Mello up. Unfortunately, unresearched attempts at this were rather like playing a game of Russian Roulette except with five bullets. If only Mello could be made to see that Near wasn't perfect, that he had qualities that Mello could easily surpass. He was sure Near had them. Near had to fail in some way.

Suddenly, it came to him. Grinning, he switched off the Gameboy and hurried into the other room, where Mello now lay stretched out on the couch, his hood over his eyes.

Matt bent next to him. "Hey, Mello," he said. "Guess what?"

There was a long pause. The muscles in the lower half of Mello's face clenched. "/What, Matt?"

"Near - he's really pale isn't he?"

"...Matt, if you're about to say what I think you're about to say..."

"He's pale! Like, all over! And pale rhymes with--"

"If you say it, I will shoot."

Something that felt suspiciously like a gun barrel dug into Matt's ribs. Matt hadn't even seen Mello's hand move.


Matt scurried back to the bedroom to the safety of his Gameboy, leaving Mello on the couch.

Mello held the picture up to the light. Matt's attempt to cheer him up should only have pissed him off more, but now, thinking about it, he realized he felt a little better. A second after he felt like an idiot for feeling better, but that was still better - and more productive - than feeling homicidal.

Mello let the picture fall to the floor. He owed Matt sushi for this.