Seven fucking thirty in the morning. This was an ungodly time to be awake. He didn't even know what his internal clock was protesting the time was, either. All he knew was that his entire body was on fire-- but it was a comfortable sort of fire, unlike what he'd experienced when he was feverish. This was... a different kind of fever.

"Cold shower, cold shower..." He mumbled over and over, trying to distract himself from a certain dream he'd had-- call it a wet dream if you would, but Matt would have to object to it actually being wet. He had been about two minutes shy. "Fuck," he grumbled, climbing out of the shower and jerking a hotel towel around his bony hips. The chorus of 'cold shower' wasn't helping the monstrous tidal wave of inappropriate thoughts he was having at the moment.

And too bad Mello was a light sleeper. Approximately at this time, the groggy elder one sat up in his spot and swiveled his gaze over to where Matt had been laying only moments ago. This spot was empty, though, owing to the fact that he seemed to have, by the looks of things, gone to the bathroom.

He slid out of the bed and stretched a bit, this task really only doing the job of waiting for Matt to come back.

By the time Mello was up and about, Matt had found a small wash cloth to gingerly press against the healing wound in his chest. With the bandages off, it had taken the opportunity to bleed a bit, but it wasn't anything to worry about. Matt looked rather mortified when he walked out of the bathroom, halting partway out the door before he decided that hew as just going to ignore Mello. But, ultimately, he'd never been good at that. "What are you doing up?" He questioned, sounding somewhat deadpan as he threw a shirt, pants, and a roll of bandages onto the bed.

Mello cocked an eyebrow.

"I could ask you the same question," he said, without missing a beat. "I was actually up because I heard you get up." Mostly because he was a light sleeper and could have never stayed under after having the bed shift under him and the shower turn on and off. Not to mention Matt's movements around the room.

"I had a weird dream," Matt answered curtly but honestly, wondering how long his aversion to lies would hold out. Somehow, he managed to wrangle on both his boxers and pants without being too indecent, sitting on the bed with a somewhat satisfied, somewhat tired sigh. It was way too early to be up.

"Oh, really?"

To be honest, Mello never would have inquired about his reasoning about being awake early, unless of course he looked to be doing something suspicious. A shower, though, wasn't too questionable, so he had previously let it slide. Now that he was bringing up the subject of a "weird" dream, he might as well ask about it, right? If it was worth bringing up, it was worth pursuing, and Mello had a naturally curious mind.

"Yeah," he answered ambiguously, sighing rather exasperatedly and looking to Mello. He looked like he'd continue even if Matt made it obvious that he didn't want to talk about it, so he decided to save them both the trouble. "It was about you, actually." He stated in a way that was conclusive-- or at least, he hoped it was. He didn't want Mello to push it, then he'd start lying.

Another eyebrow was carefully raised. Even if Mello had mind enough to reach a conclusion such as that, he probably wouldn't have brought it up anyway. He wanted to hear Matt's lie.

"Dreaming about me?" he questioned further, smiling slyly. "Is there any point in asking what you were dreaming?" If Matt denied him, then he'd get suspicious.

"No," he answered, knowing full well that Mello probably would have a hell of many things to think about if he wasn't going to answer him directly, but he didn't really care. So what if Mello guessed the truth? If he just denied it, he'd be okay. He lay back against the puffy pillows, inhaling and exhaling deeply again with a small wince of pain. One day he was going to get Mello back; this was getting pretty annoying.

"Fine." He launched into a miniscule amount of considering, thinking about the possibilities of Matt's dreams, though stopped after a moment. A flicker of dawning crossed over his eyes, a frown preceded it, but he didn't voice the possibility of what he had just realized. Instead, he went to the window and looked out it with his binoculars, searching for anything that could be of consequence. When nothing presented itself, he placed the thing back onto the side table and swiveled around toward his companion.

He watched Mello do-- as he thought was always something Mello did-- pointless things for a little while longer before he flicked the roll of bandages across the bed. "Wanna help me?" He questioned, sitting up a bit and pulling the wash cloth away from his skin. "Please?" He added on, hoping that this would help him. He didn't want to be nice to Mello at the moment, but he also didn't want to have to attempt bandaging his chest himself.

Mello, however, presently bore no ill will toward Matt, and therefore picked up the offending bandages, unrolled them, and came around to wind it tightly around the other's chest. Having done this numerous times, he considered himself a pro at it. If bandaging was an Olympic sport, he would probably take gold.

He reached to the bedside table to procure a couple of metallic clasps, holding them up for Mello to take and fasten once he finished. "Thanks," he stated rather grudgingly, appreciating at least that now this wasn't an awkward operation like it had been the first couple of times.

He finished his part with effortless ease, and then shrugged instead of the generally accepted reply of 'you're welcome'. Then again, he never was into saying that on a regular basis, though he was sure he had used this socially coined phrase once in awhile with Matt. But Matt was Matt, and an overall different story when affiliated with Mello.

The blonde strode away from the bed edgily and went to the first thing he knew would satiate him: chocolate.

Matt had long since dismissed Mello's disregard for socially acceptable courteousness for 'being Mello', rather than lacking manners. He'd known Mello for too long to think any differently. Lying back, he closed his eyes again and attempted to think of life after the Kira case. Would he and Mello still keep in contact? Or would it be like before, where they'd fall apart for years and years on end, only to call on each other when one of them was in trouble; like being blown up Much to his distaste, his thoughts kept floating back to his fingers on Mello's skin, conveying every thought, feeling, and emotion with a kiss. "Great," he muttered, his nose wrinkling for the hold that the dream still had on him. "Really fucking great..."

And, 'being Mello', he turned at the sound of cussing. It wasn't an abnormal thing. Mello just wanted to know what was up, and if it required any immediate attention. He also hoped that it didn't have anything to do with the redhead's infection so close to their plan. His plan. "What's up?" He asked loftily.

"Nothing to worry about," he immediately reassured Mello, knowing full well that Mello wouldn't be interested in hearing about his less-than-appropriate dream. Mostly, that was what he was hoping. "Just thinking." He clarified, idly picking at the bandages and further prolonging the donning of his shirt.

"Feel like sharing?" he asked, once again pressing the other for information he probably didn't want to share. Mello, for some reason, felt like he deserved to know everything that was going on in Matt's mind, especially in places where the gamer probably didn't want to divulge.

Matt had tried to decide long ago that if he didn't pry in Mello's business, Mello wouldn't pry in his-- but sadly, the self-assumed and self-accepted step in authority undermined that decision. "Not really," he answered, almost sounding annoyed, although he wasn't, really. "You wouldn't be interested."

And pry Mello would because, contrary to what Matt thought, he was interested. Hell, he was interested in anything a person deemed too personal or too negligible to share, because that lack of knowledge just made him curious.

"Try me," he dared, half of his subconscious lamed to know that he probably wouldn't try him. There was always hope, though.

"No thanks," Matt answered banally as though he really thought this would make Mello lay off. He glanced to the other, pursing his lips almost in thought for a moment before shaking his head with a sigh. "No, I think I'd have to be on my death bed to tell you." He stated decisively, partially only to mess with Mello a bit.

It didn't matter if Matt was messing with him or not; it was statements like that which got him even more interested. He bit off a piece of chocolate and strode closer to Matt, as though this would make him spill his secret.

"I'm going to find out eventually," he reminded, disregarding the fact that they would be going in to snatch Takada in a little more than forty-eight hours.

Matt shifted somewhat uncomfortably when Mello decided to come closer to him-- ordinarily he wouldn't have given a damn, but he couldn't help it this time. "No you won't," he adamantly denied. "Not if I never say anything about it and you can't make me." He pointed out in a highly childish manner. He couldn't really be bothered with being mature at the moment, though.

To hell I can't," he said defensively. Ok, he couldn't, but that had yet to be proven aloud, even if Matt seemed to think it was impossible. Guns were his usual method of persuasion, but his presence alone was a thing to be taken into consideration, since he was good at rough talk and threatening. That probably wouldn't work on Matt, so the last stage was nagging, and he thought himself pretty damn good at that, too.

Nagging, probably, was what would get to Matt the most. Mostly because he had no patience when it came to something like that, and for the most part, went out of his way to avoid being bothered about something more than twice. Probably, that was the reason why he didn't procrastinate all the work he did for Mello. "Prove it," he challenged, his nature obtrusive to his means as always.

That stipulation took Mello slightly off-guard, as he considered nagging to be a delicate and long-term means to draw information, as well as a last resort. So, he figured he'd joke his way around it and then sneak up on him later. It wasn't of utmost importance that he knew what Matt was thinking, but it was at least worth him coming back to the subject later.

"Please?" he asked, grinning and advancing forward just a little more.

Matt gritted his teeth and held his ground, he didn't want to give Mello another weapon to use against him, although he would have to say that Mello would have to be an idiot to not notice his already given signs of discomfort. "Since when do you say please?" He interrogated, although it was a serious, honest to God question. Since when did Mello say please?

And Matt's discomfort was exactly the reason why Mello had come even closer, now brushing against the bed with his knee. This simple exchange was taking his mind off of the future plans, after all.

"Since just now," he said smoothly, his grin fading, though one corner of his lip couldn't help but to stay aloft.

Matt looked like Mello was physically maiming him, and did his best to inch away just a bit. Hell, if Mello was exhibiting that he knew, Matt might as well move. "It's not becoming," he answered airily, like he thought that demeaning Mello would really help his present situation.

"What a damn shame," he said, smirk becoming a mocking look of disappointment. "And I was hoping to change my whole appearance based on that." One step back earned one step forward; Mello was now sitting on the bed, one arm propping him up. Maybe instead of nagging, he'd just make Matt incredibly nervous. It seemed to be working.

"Then if that's not good enough, what can I do to make you tell me?"

"Nothing, because it's not happening," Matt stated in order to try and stand his ground, defiantly turning his head so that he couldn't look at Mello. That might have worked in theory, but it certainly didn't work in practice. He could still feel Mello agonizingly close to him, and his mind was absolutely racing. It wasn't just a matter of an awkward sex dream-- it wasn't like he just wanted to fuck Mello and be done with it. Damn, you were one sad mother fucker when sex dreams meant something to you. Really, really sad.

Mello frowned. Damn....that usually worked. As a punishment of sorts, he inched closer, the propped up hand dragging over to rest on his knee nonchalantly.

"C'mon," he said, so that it could almost have been mistaken for a whine. "Tell me, asshole." If his usual methods of persuasion weren't working, it only made him twice as curious.

Mello had a strange knack for being pathetic but domineering all at once. Maybe it ws the explicative-- or maybe it was that Matt was just trying his very hardest to perceive Mello as sad so he could laugh it off and never tell. "Why do you want to know, huh?" He challenged in an effort to turn t his around.

This time, though, Mello had a prepared response.

"Because when you of all people put in the effort to hide something from me, I know something's up," he said, stating the truth. Matt was too lazy to keep secrets, least of all from Mello.

"Not necessarily up," he answered, although his stance was slightly weakened because Mello was completely right this time. He didn't have a very unyielding nature anyways, so it did make sense that it might be something of interest when it came to Mello. "Just... weird." He tried to excuse, at least keeping his gaze averted from directly meeting Mello's if he couldn't keep looking away.

"Up, weird." He weighed these two on either hand. "There's no difference. I want to know, and you won't tell me." What did it matter, anyway? Something being 'up' and something being 'weird' were the same in his book, especially when it referred to something he wanted--and in a sense needed--to know.

Matt sighed, deciding that this was going to end up going in circles for the next hour and end up pissing one of them off. "I had a sex dream about you," he stated dismissively, figuring that beating around the bush just wasn't going to be worth it. Even though he'd managed to get it all out in one breath, he found himself unable to say anything else afterwards. Well. This wasn't awkward in the least bit. "You wanted to know," he mumbled finally.

Mello stared for a minute, daring Matt to laugh and proclaim it all to be a joke. When he didn't, the blonde found himself rooted to the spot, but not for the reasons he may have thought.

"Was I good?" he asked, deciding to break the ice with something other than what he had been thinking of only seconds ago, something along the lines of 'yeah, i did want to know, but now I'm not so sure' or 'man, you were right'. Neither of those seemed

Matt snorted, glad that Mello had saved him some dignity with at least the semblance of a joke. "Very," he answered ambiguously, making it unknown if he was being sarcastic or not. He wasn't, though, and the way that he still wouldn't look directly at Mello made it fairly obvious. "Mostly it was weird because I wasn't... well," he paused, his ability to speak previously used up and now completely lost. "I mean, I didn't... do it just to do it, which was the weird part."

"Oh yeah?"

Mello was in his old position again, leaning back against one hand to languidly survey Matt under lidded pupils. Something about his avoidance of the elder's gaze was troublesome, irritating. "And what do you mean by that?"

"Mel', I never have sex and want it to mean something," he answered, knowing that all in all, this answer of his wasn't much of an answer, but it sufficed for the time being. "I mean... I don't know what I mean." All he knew was nothing, and he couldn't get over that. Maybe he would have told Mello right off the bat if it had been down and dirty fucking, but it wasn't, and that really got under Matt's skin.

"So you're telling me that our dream sex was different than what you had with all of those hookers in the past?" By hookers he meant girlfriends, but even Matt couldn't call most of those girls 'girlfriends' after the relationship he had with them. Even so.

"Does that mean you love me?" he asked, grinning again. This question wasn't meant to be overtly serious.

"Yeah, our dream sex was mad different," he answered scowling at Mello for the mention of his past girlfriends. He caught the reference quite well because, he, like Mello, knew that none of these girls were anyone he'd cared about. "First of all, you took it up the ass." He stabbed. Immediately after, though, he was forced to throw a pillow at Mello for the question he posed. "Hell if I know!" He answered honestly, although he did his very best to sneak a jesting tone in there. This context he could deal with, he didn't want to put a damper on the mood, not really.

Mello made a gesture with his eyebrows at this wording of 'taking it up the ass'. Not that he'd ever had sex, or even thought about it enough to discern why he was taken aback by this. For one, taking it up the ass wasn't a social norm, and so he couldn't be trusted to not react. And second, this meant that he had played the submissive role. Even in erotic dreams Mello hated being put in a subordinate position....and to Matt of all people....

"Sure, sure," he said, the grin fading to a mild smirk that was barely there, picking up the offending pillows and tossing them back in the direction from whence they came.

Well Matt wasn't going to dream about himself taking it up the ass, oh no. And he didn't think that the whole motive his sex dream seemed to have bestowed upon itself would have really been wonderfully encompassed if Mello hadn't been the bitch. Not that he thought of Mello in that particular term—he just felt like the more vulgar he was with it, the more comfortable he was. Funny how that worked out. "What, you don't believe me? You think I'm in love with you?" He challenged, fighting the pillows at least out of his way if not to do anything else with them.

"It would explain a lot," said Mello languorously, allowing the words to escape his lips in a haughty sigh. To his surprise, he found his words to be true, though he wouldn't say that aloud in fear that Matt would be offended by such a proposition. Then again, when had the blonde ever cared whether or not the other became offended? Maybe this was just a special occasion.

"Hmph," Matt snorted, clearly offended by just the suggestion, even if it did seem to be in jest this time. Maybe because Mello had actually hit a soft spot with him? It would explain a lot, a lot of things that Matt hadn't ever really been able to put a name to, like why he wanted to follow Mello around like a dog, unquestioningly doing anything he said, wanting to touch him just for the sake of touching him, kiss him just for the sake of kissing him, try to being this to some level of mutual.... Whatever. Matt was really starting to confuse himself. "I'll love you the day you don't get enough of it from yourself," Matt jabbed, his defenses a bit on the high. Just a bit.

What an odd thing to say. At least in Mello's opinion, who was clearly fascinated by this mere statement, though it really wasn't something of dire consequence. He cocked his head, wondering what the hell had changed since the day he moved in with the redhead. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing....just, weird. Confusing, maybe. Sporadic in the worst sense of the word. Opposing.

"I wonder when that'll be," he said, posing this musing to not just Matt, but himself as well.

Matt had certainly gotten more irritable, if that was to say something. Why, though, he wouldn't be able to answer. He had his theories, but like Mello, he was very adamant and particular about the things he said and the things he kept quiet. "In not too long, probably." He stated, almost in an offhand matter as he sat up a little straighter, breathing a restless sigh.

This last seemed to have settled the matter, and Mello was itching to move to the window and look out it again, just for the sake of doing so. He stood up.

"Right," he said, exhaling lowly and moving lucidly toward the sill, picking up the binoculars and gazing for a moment before turning away and deciding that he'd try and keep himself from going to look every five seconds. Maybe he'd cut down on the nervous habit.

Matt observed the other for a moment, long since having noticed that Mello was always trying to do something productive, but he didn't really say anything about it. He found it as hard for him to stop looking at the blonde, though, as he found it to stop looking out the window. Finally, he tried again at civil conversation to make Mello look his way so he'd have an excuse to stare at the ceiling. "Ever had a sex dream, Holy Virgin Mello?"

Finally addressed, and more importantly preoccupied, Mello looked to Matt and treated this inquiry with a frown. He knew, by the way it had been asked, that despite its jest, it would eventually require a serious answer.

"Sure I have," he said smoothly, unabashed. "Every male has had a wet dream." Not lately, though. His first and more likely last wet dream had been in Wammy's, since you never had time to broad on the erotic when you were battling a mass murderer.

Matt chuckled. This was true. He'd probably had many wet dreams since Wammy's and long after then-- although he couldn't remember the great deal of them and he would have to say that he considered this a good thing. Better dwell on reality than think about his fantasies. It was kind of hard, though, when one of them was standing around in the same room as him. "Oh yeah?" He commented, only to say something-- he found that his cleverly thought out plan didn't really work-- he was still looking at Mello, at least wanting to grab him and kiss him hard. Although, he could be satisfied with just a hug or something.


This last was also just a sound to fill the void, since their conversation seemed to hve slipped into oblivion again, and Matt was staring at him very carefully. In fact, it made him feel uneasy.

"What're you looking at?" he asked, knowing full well what it was that he was looking at.

"You." Matt blurted out before he could really help himself. He wasn't sure what else he would have said though, so he didn't feel too abashed by it. He eyed Mello for a while longer before closing his eyes, trying to ward away the thoughts. It wasn't like he wanted to throw Mello down and have rough sex with him, so that was the weird part. "Got a problem with it or something?" Defenses still high.

"Maybe a little bit, yeah," said Mello, though it was clear that he wasn't disconcerted in the slightest. The staring was understandable in this situation, though he knew that eventually he would get freaked out by those staring eyes that were only magnified in oddness by the giant red bug eyes that were his goggles.

To match that staring, however, combat it in a way, he stared right back, subconsciously stomping closer as he had done before.

Matt didn't break his gaze this time-- staring off in some other direction hadn't helped him figure out his situation before, so why not look at Mello? Maybe staring the other down would give him some answers.

... No such luck.

Matt found himself growling and grumbling when Mello came closer, doing his best to, once more, stand his ground again. "Well that's too bad." He stated, unable to think of anything witty. "What the hell is it about you that's driving me so fucking nuts?" He questioned out loud finally, wondering if this would do him any good at all.

Mello initially ignored this first inquiry, dismissing it because it didn't merit a response. Usually, no matter the situation, he would always have the last word, but rght now he knew that it would be meaningless to answer since it was likely that the other would speak again....and wouldn't you know it: he was right.

"I dunno," he said quietly.

It was something of a shocker to hear Mello speak quietly, but Matt was glad to hear it. It calmed him down, at least, because even though is words were level, a million thoughts at once were ricocheting in his head and he really couldn't handle that. "Well, you should." He stated, almost accusingly, having picked up the habit of blaming other people for his misfortunes. It only ever applied, though, when he couldn't figure out his own thoughts. "I can't..." He pursed his lips together, unable to string together a coherent train of thought. "I'm not so sure you really know how much I care about you." He stated, attempting to make his words scathing, but very much failing.

At last, Mello was taken aback, blinking at the words as though that simple task would banish them altogether. This attempt, of course, failed, and he was left merely standing there, staring and wondering where all of this was going.

"Oh, yeah?" he questioned, this being the usual accepted answer when you were at a lack of anything else [anything coherent, that was] to say.

"Yeah." Matt answered simply, although the thoughtful look that he was giving the sheets showed that he was using Mello's neutral answer as a stepping stone in order to try and figure out exactly where he was going with this. He needed to get it out of his head, off his chest, and then he could go play some video games or something. "And I want you to know because no matter what you say, I still feel like we're going to die. I'll believe you when you say we won't but I'll still feel it, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," said the elder dully, knowing that yes, this was true, and yes, this same feeling found itself seeping into Mello's own mind when he was left to broad on it. But he always was convinced that he would beat Near, because he wanted so badly to be first place. Matt didn't have a goal like that that he could believe he was being kept alive for. Maybe that's why he was more pessimistic about it.

Having nothing else to say, he fell silent, still watching, wondering if something else would be said despite his inherent lack of speech.

Matt considered the silence for a while, at least glad that they had a mutual understanding at some respect. "If you were going to die soon, what would you want to do?" He asked finally, keeping his question ambiguous because one: Mello hadn't said anything really, and two: he didn't want to get too sentimental here. He was already starting to sound uncharacteristically sappy.

Mello had thought about this question, believe it or not, though not in the terms that perhaps Matt was referring to. He had wanted to beat Near before he died, so he would probably do everything he could to achieve that before he died, no matter how much time he had left. Beat Near. That always had and ever would be his primary goal, because he knew nothing else.

"I'd do my best to beat Near one last time," he said, his voice hardening. "I need to accomplish that."

Matt smiled faintly. So Near took the gold again. Even if Mello did beat him, in Matt eyes, Near always had them both beat, governing Mello's goals and interests. "Of course you do." He answered candidly. "Everything's about fucking Near, isn't it?" He questioned, his tone of voice still as impartial as ever, but his rather quiet words insinuating otherwise.

"Yeah," he confirmed, almost unconcernedly. That was pretty much how his life worked, and trying to change someone's nature was almost as impossible as trying to reason with Mello at gunpoint. "At least, that's how it used to be."

Sure, his priorities still revolved mainly around the beating of Near, but ever since he moved in with Matt, he discovered that friendship that they had had almost too long ago. Of course, being their ages, they couldn't rekindle it back to the point of genuine friendship again, but Mello liked to think that it was pretty damn close.

Matt was bitter for a few moments longer until he heard Mello's closing statement. At that, he glanced up to the other with some semblance of hope, but he quickly wiped it away before he could get too mushy. "You don't say." He goaded, trying to at least get Mello to continue. He hadn't ever really wanted to change Mello, or he didn't even want Mello's final thoughts to revolve around him, he just wanted to know that he meant something worth thinking about when you, quite possibly, wouldn't ever think again. Just for a moment, a brief moment, chaster than a kiss.

"I do."

And he left it at that. Like Matt, Mello had certain boundaries as to what he would and wouldn't tell other people, even if they had gotten into a habit of telling each other nearly everything. Then again, he wanted to keep a control on his divulgences, since they seemed to get away with him sometimes.

Matt decided that this conversation wasn't going to go any further; they both seemed to have exhausted their comfort zones, and quite frankly, Matt was okay with that. It bugged him a bit because he came out with few more answers than he came in with, but at least he had something. He turned over onto his side, gazing out the window with some kind of discontent written on his features. Like many other things at the time being, he couldn't quite put his finger on it, though.

This marking the end of the conversation, at least for the time being, he strode away, performing his usual routine of making something seem like nothing, and putting himself at ease. After a time, though, this always grew tiresome, because a false occupation was a fleeting escape.

So Mello went to the chair propped up against the wall near the window and sat; like Matt he also stared out it, not to survey but to just drink in the sight below him.

After a while of silence, Matt decided that he couldn't bear the uncertainty of his own thought. It was like Wammy's after Mello left all over again-- except Mello was still there in the room with him. It was just like Mello wasn't real... or something. Maybe he was just being melodramatic, but that didn't stop him from getting up, unceremoniously stalking over to where Mello was seated, looking at him oddly for a moment and finally leaning down to kiss him. First, he made brief contact with the corner of the blonde's lips, then inched closer in. He wanted answers; he wanted Mello to be right there with him.

For the amount of times they'd kissed, you'd think they were going steady or something. Mello leaned back slightly, a natural response to Matt being right up in his face, even if he was pretty used to it by now. Once he grew familiar with the fact that the redhead was indeed kissing him, he leaned in slightly and pressed into the other with his mouth, pursuing a kind of silent conversation between them. His kiss conveyed something like 'stop being so sentimental, ass. Don't you know we're going to make it out of this alright?'

Matt was glad, to say the least, that Mello wasn't turning him away or being repulsed, or something. Not that after all the times they'd kissed he'd think that Mello would reject him so adamantly, he just... hadn't been so sure of himself. He put his fingertips gingerly at the back of Mello's neck to kepe him from going anywhere; they were at an awkward enough position, what with Matt standing and Mello sitting and all. He stopped for breath, not because they'd been going at it long, but because he hadn't any, wasting it on being worried. "I'll believe you when you believe me," he muttered before returning his lips to Mello's, his open-ended statement getting no resolution.

A muffled sound arose from the back of Mello's throat, a sound that could have been construed as a gesture of assent. He didn't know exactly what he was believing, though he wasn't exactly focused on the words as much as he was on the actions. After all, they spoke louder. That was the old saying.

The blonde craned his neck further upward, as if trying fervently to find something there. His mind floated pleasantly; he never was genuinely happy or blank before, except for when he was kissing Matt. Afterward, though, he would probably become even more aggressive than ordinary.

"This isn't exactly…" Matt stated, having pulled away just long enough to utter those words before a magnetism pulled him back to Mello's skin, at least savoring the warmth close enough to assure him that yes, Mello was there with him. Mello's thoughts, at least for now, weren't off gallivanting with Near or Kira, but they were there, with him. In the kiss, which he all too contently renewed. He could feel the reach in Mello's kiss and was satisfied to elicit something like that. "Comfortable…" he finally finished, several seconds too late. He took Mello by the elbow-- specifically chosen for its lack of intimacy-- to guide him back to the bed where at least they wouldn't have to strain to reach each other.

"Righ--" And though Mello never allowed himself to be led anywhere unless he himself had originally willed it to be so, he allowed himself to be directed. He paced backwards instead of sideways or forwards in order to lessen the time he had to take standing, since he didn't feel like he could stand and kiss at the same time.

No, his thoughts had finally wandered to where Matt's currently resided, and were content there for its moment. Like a drug, like nicotine.

Like chocolate.

Matt managed to get them both to the bed okay, managing to get them to sit down in one piece. There, he tentatively slid his fingers up to Mello's shoulders, gingerly touching him like it was a taboo. Even though he knew the truth from the things his mother used to tell him when he was a child, he still wanted to kiss Mello to find the answers. He still wanted to feel Mello's skin against his to tell the other just how much he cared. He wanted to know if he really did love Mello, and if this was the way to the answer, so be it. He kissed him again. Harder.

It was funny [or maybe not so much] how Matt could kiss him so hard yet touch him so gently, contrasting the various contact and making Mello wonder about it, like one wonders the true intentions of a whisper. But he wasn't going to let the one thing that was harsh overbear him; in fact, it was impossible for him to be unwillingly compelled. He was curious about the kissing, the touches. He was at peace within them, though there was no discernable reason why. Mello kissed back, pressing roughly as though the other would be lost if he didn't

Warmth. Mello's shoulder was a layer of leather away, but Matt didn't really care. Reassurance. Creeping over, Matt's ginger fingertips found the first coast of the other's skin, hot like fire. Rough. The scar tissue teased his feeling fingers, broken and imperfect against his skin. It hit Matt all at once, then-- he couldn't describe in words what hit him, but something did. He broke the kiss, sending Mello into oblivion if he really thought kissing Matt hard would keep him from going away. Almost lazily, he brought his lips again to Mello, but to his skin, to his smooth collar bone to follow his clavicle all the way to the shifting texture. "I do love you," he admitted to Mello's flaws. "Everything about you and your goddamned ways."

This was nothing like the kiss they had shared those weeks ago when Mello had condemned Matt to a place underneath him. Then, there was a certain restriction that kept them from discovering anything or being locked safely in the moment for too long. Now, there was nothing like that to keep the leather-clad male from leaning heavily against something that vaguely resembled Matt, but he couldn't quite tell. He did, however, hear the spoken words, his hearing having heightened do to his restricted touch.

"Fuck....Now that wasn't so hard, now was it?" Best to keep things light.

"I feel sick," Matt answered, completely honestly, too. Not so hard his ass. He'd like to hear Mello say he loved Matt and see how he felt then. He turned his head just slightly so that his words were silenced against Mello's skin, still treasuring that valuable spot where flawless turned to fire. His hand, though, decided that it would venture up Mello's neck to find what seemed to be an endless network of burns. "Geeze, you really fucked yourself up." He commented, like he hadn't been the one to bandage Mello, to take care of him when these wounds were fresh.

"Yeah, real nice, asshole," he commented, none too happy with having his scars remarked upon. He had had no choice. Death and capture resulted in the same thing: Kira and Near's victory. This seemed like a very small price to pay compared to the alternative. Not to mention that if he had not exploded the place, it would be the equivalent of giving up. He relied on chance.

Though his skin was more or less numb in the places that Matt's hand was currently tracing, he couldn't help but feel an odd pooling sensation gather in his stomach. It was the contact again.

Matt laughed lightly, content for the moment with keeping close to Mello's skin, the warmth of his body, the closeness of his words, the overall unyielding presence of the blonde sitting so close to him. He couldn't help but feel like a sentimental git, even with their joking words and insulting manner. "I know. Terrible." He muttered, a wry grin taking over his lips. He didn't really know the answers, no. He knew they'd be even farther away if he let go, though, so that was why he didn't. Even though they weren't doing anything but sitting there, he wouldn't, couldn't let go of Mello. Not yet, not when he was so close to the answer.

He fell silent for a moment, trying to figure out that weird feeling in his gut while listening to the reverberating sound of Matt's words. Mello didn't dare shift in position, knowing that the slightest movement would throw off the delicate placement they had made. Most of their placements were so rough and impenetrable, after all. It seemed a shame to destroy this one, the one that varied in feeling.

"So what's your plan of action?" he asked, suddenly discomforted by the act of sitting and doing nothing, when there was suddenly so much to be done.

Matt looked up at Mello from his somewhat curled, crouched position-- awkward, but comfortable. Strangely. "Plan of action?" He repeated, almost amused. He wasn't like Mello-- he didn't have a plan of action for everything. "I can't just sit here with you and think about how you're going to get killed without me some day?" He questioned, carefully inserting himself into Mello's life as what he'd always at least seen himself as: someone to help Mello if he ever needed it, unquestioningly, wholly.

Mello shook his head. "We're executing a kidnapping tomorrow. I don't have time for sitting and thinking." Though hell could he use it. Sitting and thinking was all well and good when the thinking involved his schemes and how to work them, but thinking about trivial things would only hurt their operation....or so he thought.

Maybe he just didn't like this whole idea of Matt caring, Matt loving him, now that his mind had room to form coherent thought processes.

It was unbelievable that they were tackling this suicide mission so soon. "That's too bad," he answered, decidedly hanging onto Mello a little tighter. He wasn't going to let Mello walk around the room, pace, and do other pointless things. He couldn't stand the sight of Mello walking back and forth like someone, something was slowly pulling away his insides. "You'll have to sit here with me."

"And what will that do for me?" he questioned, arguing further. "For us? For the whole plan? Goddamn, Matt. I wouldn't have kissed you back if I would have thought you were going to keep me here."

Honestly, he probably would have gone ahead and kissed him anyway. Matt's kissing, as he had mused before, was an intoxicating thing that kept the mind running itself into circles, an oblivious kind of euphoria. Ignorant bliss.

"Give you a chance to wind down." Matt pointed out matter-of-factly, a sly grin taking over his lips as though he knew that Mello would have kissed him anyways. Well, he knew that his kiss meant something to Mello, and that was good enough for him. His lips snuck back to the elder's, taking the initiative to gently brush across them, contrary to his kisses before, akin to his tentative touch. "So kiss me again, and maybe you'll get somewhere."

Mello's eyes followed the lips that briefly touched his own and then were gone, body rigid from something he couldn't explain. Again, he blamed it on the unfamiliar contact just to assuage his mind.

"You're a bastard," he stated loftily, softly. This was contrasted to his shove forward, nearly tackling Matt's mouth with the effort. If they were going to kiss again, he was taking the more assertive role, the role that the other had had almost every other time. And he wasn't relinquishing it.

Matt was somewhat surprised by Mello's sudden decision to be aggressive. He yielded, though, a sharp pain raicing through his chest just long enough for him to completely fall to Mello's whim. He smiled inwardly, though, knowing that this was just what he wanted. To be a bastard. To torture Mello. To make him act, motivate him. Matt tried to win back some dignity here, tried to kiss back hard enough that somehow Mello would suddenly know that Matt loved him for his rashness, for his flaws.

Mello anchored himself on either side of the other with his palms, oblivious to the intentions behind the counter move to his kiss. He was unaware of what Matt wanted, though maybe something would ignite in him if he knew. So much had changed; it just wasn't right. Wammy's to Kira to Mafia to Matt to....well, he hadn't gotten that far yet. That stage of his life was still melded with the one he had spent with Matt. The only thing that remained true through them all, really, was ambition.

He lifted one hand uncertainly, wonderingly, though his body language didn't give away the uneasiness. That hand reached up to barely shift the cloth of Matt's shirt. Still wondering.

Matt would swear that his chest stopped hurting. It didn't do much for him, but he could swear that cotton was in his ears. Was Mello as curious as he was to the answer? Did Mello have questions too? Matt had always seen Mello as someone who always knew what to do... but for once, Matt wanted to be wrong. He kissed more imposingly to encourage the other on. Go ahead. Find some answers and stop wondering.

As though in tune with exactly what the redhead was thinking, Mello's uncertain contact slipped over and up, gliding over the soft exterior that was clothing to the anchorage point that named itself 'Matt's shoulders'. He impatiently fended off the imposing kiss, battling it mercilessly. In fact, he was nearly at the point of knocking the other over, though at that point he was pretty sure that he'd ease up, for the benefit of Matt's wound.

Matt saved them both the trouble and somehow lowered their bodies to the bed, relief encompassing his somewhat wired body as he found the mattress supporting his weight better than it had before. "Finding anything?" He questioned against Mello's lips, drawing back to suck in air between those oh-so witty words. A ghost of a smirk could just barely be seen on his lips before he silenced Mello with another bruising kiss.

Against the mattress, Mello's hair began to cling to his face, blonde whipping around his features woven with intricate spindles of gold and shadows. His mind once again wrapped around the idea of the contact, and also what it meant for his self-established dominance. Hands didn't know where to go, but his mind guided them expertly. They slid down from the shoulders, finding the contours of his waist. He just needed a place for his fingertips to rest.

Matt's own fingers seemed to be frozen to the flaw, stuck like ice on flesh. His fingers, ice on flesh. He suppressed a shiver as it threatened to expose him in a moment of vulnerability, threatened to put him in Mello's mercy like he wasn't there already. His lips on Mello's made his head rush with fury, with fury that this wasn't enough any longer. He woke his fingers up from their ice age, trailing against Mello's neck to his jaw, down again to his chest, to his spine to pull him close in a strangely needy way.

Mello's pulse had quickened, leaving him to maneuver awkwardly just to draw breath. He realized it was necessary when a purple splotch blossomed in front of his face, the result of his breath catching in his throat and eventually escaping through his nose. His vision immediately corrected itself, allowing him to blink at the other through half-closed eyes. Being pulled closer to Matt, he grunted, having been quite comfortable in his numbness. Even so, he allowed himself to shift to accommodate Matt.

Satisfied that Mello was at least close to him and not going anywhere any time soon, Matt pulled back enough so that his lips were a mere fraction of an inch away from Mello's. "Kissing me done something for you yet?" He questioned, his tone almost teasing, although he didn't mean it completely in jest. He glanced up to the other beyond his goggles, his fingers eerily still now that they'd found some place to be and didn't dare move an inch further.

"Maybe it has," he said. Though he had yearned for the miracle of breath only moments before, he now sounded completely ordinary. What it had done....as for the wonderment he had possessed before....well, he knew for sure that he got that temporary release. That was a given. But had he really gotten what he wanted from it? Of course he enjoyed it, but enjoyment was....fleeting?

Matt seemed to catch on. Chastely, almost gently, he pressed his lips again against Mello's. "What do you want?" He questioned, close enough that he was still breathing Mello's air. "Besides beating Near." He kissed the blonde again, softer. "Or Kira." Just slightly harder. "Or being the best."

Yeah, he could have said the expected. He could have said that he wanted Matt, that he now wanted him as much as the other wanted him. Mello breathed again, but not of necessity. He breathed to inhale the scent of the redhead, suddenly wondering why he had never detected this flavour of the other before....

"I guess," he began, wondering what he should do or say. "I guess I want...." Nope, he couldn't say it, whatever it was.

Hearing his name would be the answer to a prayer, the answer to a fleeting hope that Matt didn't entirely believe in. He just wanted to know what Mello wanted, so he could give him what he wanted. That was how it'd been all along, wasn't it? He'd grown so used to giving everything to Mello that he didn't know how else to make him happy. And Mello happy was what he wanted, wasn't it? "See, you let them control you too much." He stated quietly, not to reprimand the other or demean him, just to show him he had yet to live.

"Matt," he said sharply, chastising these words. "My goal is to beat Near, to catch Kira. To capture L's Kira. I've been working toward that for years. My whole life, actually. I can't just meld into something new. And yet I've opened my whole fucking self up to you." He paused. "I guess you're what I've done for myself, and not just for the sake of proving a point, okay?" Mello closed his eyes, wondering if that would refresh the scene and put it into more favourable terms. No luck. "Happy now?"

He wasn't asking Mello to change, just to look past what he was so caught up in. Although, he supposed that since this was Mello, that was all about the same thing. "Happy," he answered anyways, thinking over Mello's confession long enough to find himself contently pressing his lips against the scarred side of Mello's neck again. he'd never been close enough to take advantage of their lack of distance to do that sort of thing, and now it seemed like he was making up for all the times in the past he hadn't been flush up to Mello.

"Huh," he murmured, as a half-response to both the touch and the spoken reply. Mello found his hands still straddling Matt's hips, fingernails embedded firmly into the cloth there.

To be honest, Mello never changed. You'd know he was inherently different if he locked his emotions completely away, since he was highly susceptible and swayed by them. This confession, really, wasn't anything new.


Matt had never particularly liked Mondays.

They were long, tedious, and full of work. Monday morning of January 26th was no different; he and Mello were well-equipped, ready to go. They were standing around inside despite the fact that there were two waiting rental vehicles outside -- Mello's motorbike and Matt's car, red, which made him nostalgic for his souped up one back home. His chest clenched at the possibility that he wouldn't see home, his car, his computers, his bed, his video games, his precious, but terribly old Nintendo 64.... It seemed almost stupid that he was concerned with such trivial matters, but Matt had always been one to avoid the problem.

"Ready, Mello?"

Idly, he twirled his keys around in his fingers, the weight of only one peculilarly unfamiliar. He glanced up to the blonde from behind his orange-tinted goggles, feigning a look of complete confidence, if only to make the day seem like it was going to work out. For Mello's sake.

And, without Matt's usual air of depression, which supremely got on Mello's nerves, he was in a relatively positive mood. You always did seem invincible when you had a good plan and a loaded gun. Well, the plan was as good as it was going to get; not the smartest, but would be very beneficial if it was done right.

"Right," commented the elder one. For the first time in his life, he was carrying a key, too. Well, two keys. That was a definite first, but it was necessary.

Unfortunately, a good plan and a loaded gun was all that Matt felt he had. Not a cheat code that would let him infinitely respawn, just a Mello's word and a weapon. Essentially, they were the same thing. He smirked slightly at the thought.

"Where are we meeting up, again?" He knew when, but he just wanted to make sure that Mello would remember, or something. He had a vague feeling that for one reason or another, he or Mello would spontaneously forget and they wouldn't meet up in Nagano. And then Mello would bitch at him and then they'd haul Takada across the border and go back to his apartment in the States where he would teach Takada how to play Mario Party.

Mello had an idea that Matt knew, but had asked anyway. And maybe he also knew that Mello remembered, since he wouldn't likely forget the details of a plan that was of the utmost importance. Besides, he was the one who designated the meet up point; wouldn't it be better implanted in his brain?

"Nagano," he said, not bothering to say anything more. Matt was likely to find this place, anyway, if he was being sincere and didn't already know where it was.

Matt nodded, thinking of the city and making it there in one piece. This was like a race-- a race with some pretty dangerous obstacles. He could do it. He'd created levels on Urban Ninja: Zombieworld that were harder than this. He would just have to think of this in terms of level sixteen; blowing up the embassy, stealing the resurrection diamond, and making it back to the base before the zombies destroyed the diamond and the last hopes for humanity.

... Or something.

"Well, we should get going." He stated conclusively, his bubble of distraction bursting in the instant he spoke. He felt the need to say something else, but his mind was drawing a complete blank (aside zombie-fighting urban ninjas) on the matter, so he resolved that there was nothing to do except get into the car.

"Sure thing," said Mello airily, exiting the room into the hallway beyond, and then down to the lobby and out onto the sidewalk. He spared no time for pretty much anything, which was maybe a good thing, Matt having no idea what to say anyway. And maybe that was a good thing. Talk would only be distracting, and may even lead to the discussion of things he'd rather not speak of. Namely, the negative possibilities of their mission.

Matt walked with his hands shoved in his pockets, mainly to remind himself of the lighter and the pack of cigarettes sitting in them, promising to be of immediate comfort upon going outside. He decided, though, that he would at least wait to get into the car to keep from aggravating Mello; it was the last thing that he, Mello, or the world needed at the time.

Matt sulked along to the car that he'd rented, red like his own. Damn, he couldn't wait to get back to the States. Because they were definitely going back, without a doubt. ... Yeah, Matt needed a cigarette.

He glanced up at Mello as they neared their vehicles of choice, pursing his lips into a thin line that slowly turned into an inexplicable smile.

"See you later, Mel'."

Mello threw one leg over the bike seat, leather meeting leather with a small muffled noise of satisfaction. Gloved hands, too, reached experimentally toward the handle bars. Well, at least he was comfortable.

"Yeah," he complied, looking to Matt before pulling a helmet over his blonde mane. "See you, Matt." He kicked back the kickstand with a boot-clad foot and turned on the engine, wondering vaguely as he sped off why he hadn't said anything else.

Matt started the car and followed behind, staring at Mello's back as he wove in and out of traffic. Effortlessly, Matt kept track of and followed him, ignoring the other people. He managed the car with one hand as he somehow procured a cigarette and his lighter, holding the flame up to the cigarette balanced between his lips before throwing it off to a side. Sweet release.



Breathe, drive.

He played the record over and over in his head to keep his thoughts from wandering; to keep from thinking of how satisfied he was that Mello had just said his name. It wasn't like Mello hadn't ever said it before... but just the sentiment of names made the situation seem at least honest.




Mello wasn't thinking as Matt was; it wasn't in his nature to have such thoughts mulling around in his head unless they were provoked, as they had been so many times with Matt. His thoughts were on what he was about to do, where he was going, and more importantly, what this would do to put him a step ahead of Near.

He carried himself confidently even despite his being on the motorcycle, the helmet he wore receiving the butt of the wind that was trying so desperately to catch his hair in its grasp; despite the hungry sentiment of nerves that were currently racing over every inch of his body.

Risky was his business, but this seemed just a little too dangerous. Why? The answer was obvious enough.

Maybe he would have liked the drive to have been longer, but sure enough he arrived at the scene, turning abruptly to avoid being labeled as being followed by the attacker vehicle. He swung around, just enough to catch Matt in the driver's seat of the car, the one that reminded him of the car he had driven to the convenient store not even weeks ago....


Beating, breathing, beating, breathing. His heart beat so fervently as they neared the studio that it started to hurt, possibly because he hadn't taken a pain killer in the last forty-eight hours, possibly because he was trying too hard to keep his breathing steady.

Something in the back of his head told him to look back, just once, as the motorcycle gave the tell-tale noise of moving away. He didn't. Instead, he sped up slightly as they reached the NHN studio, his window rolled down, his cigarette clamped between his teeth. A fierce determination was etched onto his features, detachment.


The blast, the smoke, the screams.

Get out.

Through the general chaos and the roaring engine of his car, he could hear someone barking out orders. Hal? Possibly. Hopefully. She would ensure that Takada went with Mello. Gritting his teeth, he could taste nicotine on his tongue, raw and unpleasant through the crushed filter. It reminded him that he was somewhat bitter over the small fact that he hadn't even looked back to see Mello go-- but it didn't matter. It wasn't like they weren't going to meet up in Nagano.

There was his cue.


Smoke spread over the scene, making it nearly impossible to see, but somehow he found his way. He slowed near Takada and Hal, reaching out his hand to his potential kidnappee. Get on the damn bike. But those weren't the words that came out; it was more polite than that, he was sure, and Hal of course allowed her charge to get on the bike. They had arranged this all before, after all.

He sped off again, this time with two hands wrapped firmly--even fearfully--around his waist. Maybe she could feel his heart thudding in its ribcage, hypnotic against the revving of the motorcycle engines, and the shouting.


Hadn't Mello told him that there would be many guards? Hadn't common sense warned him that they would swarm after him? Even with both parties telling him what he really should have known better, he wasn't expecting how many cars were speeding after him. "Shit," he muttered to himself, breathing shallow, nervous breaths as he expertly wheeled the car around a corner. He glanced up to his rear view mirror-- lost them.

Think fast.

Suddenly, speeding around the corner and the wrong way onto the lanes came a multitude of cars. Screeching. Matt swerved to avoid a high-speed, head-on collision. "Damn it, how many guards does Takada have?" He scowled at his own incompetence, pulling out his smokescreen gun again while mumbling under his breath.

Think faster.

When he looked up, he was surrounded by at least twelve cars. "... Fuck."


Mello, too, was being pursued, though he hadn't expected it as much as he had the possibility of Matt being chased. But this wasn't an impossible problem....he swerved and ditched the two following him, careening down an alley. This being, he cuffed Takada to the bike, earning a muffled expression of disbelief from her.

He chose to ignore it.

Meanwhile, he pressed onward, onward to the place where he would be getting into his second vehicle today. It wasn't parked too close, in hopes of being undetected, but it also wasn't far enough away that it would take him an outrageously long time to get there. Time was of the essence.

Instead of slowing down, he sped up when he got to his destination, changing into inconspicuous dress and setting Takada free only to murmur some fierce instructions to her. Things were going as planned....there was no way he could lose now, unless someone caught up to him, or Takada had some means to get into contact with Kira even now. That, however, was of little consequence.

He slammed the door to the back of the truck and clambered into the front. The keys turned easily in the ignition.

Likewise, his stomach churned.


Matt could feel an uncomfortable sensation growing in his stomach, welling in his chest, crawling up his throat. He wasn't going to make it. There was no fucking way. But he had to at least try-- he had to meet Mello in Nagano. They had to beat Kira, they had to win out on Near. They had to go back to the States. Mello needed to buy more chocolate. They... they had to have a rematch back in the arcade. He had to cook another dinner.

"Come on. Since when are the Japanese allowed to carry such big guns?" He smirked as he got out of the car, leaning nonchalantly on the door with his gun still in hand. His cigarette tasted vile. "Hey, I'm connected to Takada's kidnapper," he started to reason, playing the best card he had. He didn't think they would listen-- but...

God, he hoped to death this was fucking worth it.

"I've got answers. You aren't going to--"

Mello's shot, throbbing in his chest was nothing but a nip against gunshots fired with malice.


Mello was surprised at how well he could drive when he wasn't even aware that he was doing it. His mind couldn't even register the road in front of him, and his hands could have been shaking if not for the fact that he felt so numb. Sure, he was positive, positive that things were going to go well. There was no way, not after all he had put into this scheme, that they weren't going to pull it off well. They had calculated it to its fullest. Goddamnit, why was his heart beating so quickly?

To monitor what had happened, what the world thought of the kidnapping, Mello switched on the Japanese news on the television that was programmed into the car.


Even with his chest growing hot with pain, he didn't think it could end this way. No, they were supposed to meet in Nagano, they were supposed to be boarding a plane that evening. Their round-trip tickets were waiting for them. Looked like he was going somewhere else.

The gunshot rounds ceased. Silence overtook the air, but in his ears, Matt's feeble heart pounded. A will to live. He smiled just ever so faintly, his cigarette dropping from his lips in that moment. Chopper blades thundered overhead, the murmur of pedestrians sounded like slowly crashing waves. Most poignantly, though, he heard silence.


Mello didn't need him there, he could do this alone. Mello could succeed without him; take the spot of number one without owing it to anyone else. Whatever support Mello needed, he could find it in their friendship. Every heated kiss on his lips, every cigarette burn on the carpet. And maybe they wouldn't meet up in Nagano. Maybe they wouldn't go back to the States. Maybe his heart was fighting against the fire of bullets in his chest, but something told it to quiet down. It was okay, everything was okay. Calm. Let Matt think.

Maybe his round-trip ticket wouldn't be of use.

At least, not back across the ocean.


Turning on the television proved to be a stupid thing to do, as the first thing Mello saw when he switched it on was that same familiar car, only this time, instead of nostalgia, it incited something different….

Because by this scene, by the words that he could only catch glimpses of, by the sickening paint of crimson that had splashed itself across the street, he could tell what was going to happen next.

Matt wouldn't be coming back with him to the United States.

That numbness, instead of increasing, palliating the sentiments that he had suddenly developed from the time he had left Wammy's up until this moment, ceased to exist, leaving him tumbling into reality, something he had been hiding from in his 'all or nothing' routine for so long.

"I'm sorry Matt, I got you killed…."

It was ironic how these were the only words he managed to speak, eyes planted firmly on the road now. It was funny how eventually he stopped the car where he couldn't be found, just to seek a pause. Was there a point in going to Nagano anymore?

The airport, of course, that was where he needed to be….but, it would feel odd with one extra ticket.

His heart began to thud faster, faster, and faster, and for a moment, Mello only thought that this was because of what had happened, a physical side effect. Soon, however, it turned to pain, and he realized exactly what it was.

So this was how it was going to be. The blonde leaned painfully over the steering wheel, trying to keep himself aloft, but failing miserably, as he had failed all those years before. As he had failed in beating Near, the thing he raved about for so long.

Well, at least now he wouldn't have to get on the plane with one extra ticket. Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump….

He wondered what Hell would be like.

Maybe not too bad.

After all, Matt would be there.



A/N: And so it ends. You have no idea how depressed Mahri and I were (and still are) when this came to a close. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

"We can't change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." –Randy Pausch