Fifteen Minutes

This is a loose Prequel to Fifteen Days. Just what was Mello thinking as he traded his life for Near's?

When Matt died, Mello knew... The last fifteen minutes.

I don't own Death Note. Near would have cried in that scene, instead of fighting it back. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, re-read book 12. It's right after Lidner explains what happened.)

Mello felt... Something as he watched Matt die in full color on the television screen. Not regret, exactly. He couldn't bring himself to regret this, even as he watched the blood spread in a crimson puddle around his lover's still form.

It was more of a deep sadness, a sense of loss that seemed to center illogically on the shattered lens of those ridiculous orange goggles. He'd never see Matt awake and smiling that dopey smile of his again.

Never again would he get to see those goggles sitting on their bed stand while he rested with his head against Matt's naked chest, listening to his heart race.

He couldn't regret it, because it was for Near.

Matt had volunteered for this, they both had. He'd known they would never see each other again, even as they spent their last night in each other's arms. One of them was going to die, he just didn't think it would be Matt.

So no, Mello didn't feel any regret as he drove somberly through the country. He watched a horse run through an ocean of golden grass, its tail flying like a banner behind it and couldn't help the thought that crossed his mind. 'I'll be like you, soon. I'll be free.'

He wrote Near an email last night; he set it to send in fifteen days if he didn't cancel it. It was typed hastily. He'd been guessing at the details, but now he knew for sure. He was going to die too, the instant the truck stopped moving. He would get to be with Matt again, wherever they ended up.

He felt, for the first time in his life, that he was doing something right. For once in his life, it wasn't about winning or losing. This was about dying; letting someone he loved live.

When he saw the church, he knew that was where it had to be. It was falling to ruin, just like the world, and it was where he wanted to spend his last moments.

Clutching the crucifix in his gloved hand, he thought back. Near was smart, he'd figure it out. As long as Takada was out of the picture, no one could touch Near.

If he hadn't been so stubborn, things could have ended different.

He felt the pain beginning in his chest, just a twinge. He knew what to expect. Images flashed before his eyes, not of what he'd done, but what he could have done.

Holding Matt close, sipping cocoa in front of a roaring fire. Near curled against his side, watching Matt beat some unnamed game. Kissing Near softly, whispering the words he knew he should have said.

The pain got worse, Mello slumped forward against the steering wheel. The last thing he saw was Matt, holding out a hand to him. "It's over, Mello."

"Finally..." And he meant it, with every fiber of is being. He felt his heart stop, his muscles going lax. The pain, the struggle, was finally over.

Thank you to everyone who reviewed Fifteen Days, Especially Ashura5000, who asked for this.