Nicotine by blackdragonflower

Summary: Inhale. Exhale. Smoke. Nicotine. Memories. Lost then found. After five years he's just there, standing in the doorway, and it's as if he'd never left. November 27th, 2009. Smoke twirls away, ash falls. Bitter and sweet. Matt-Mello friendship.

Disclaimers: Characters belong to Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Song One More Time Matt's ringtone belongs to its owner

Warning: Some swearing.

--

Inhale. Exhale. Smoke rises and he sighs deeply.

"Hey ya want to try some?"

"..."

"He looks like he'd like some... Hell looks like he could use one... Give him a stick..." The older kids shoved a cigarette into the squirming Matt's mouth, already lit. The redhead inhales, chokes on the smoke. He's hooked, just like that, the nicotine staining his lips.

"Haha! You're funny kid... Tried taking too much at once."

"Go slow. Enjoy!" The redhead stares down at the cigarette between his lips. He frowns and looks away but doesn't take it from his mouth. It's not like it mattered if he smoked. It wasn't as if anyone cared about him since Mello left. The gamer took a smaller breath putting his hands in his pockets. He could possibly get use to the bitter taste.

"You know where I can get more of these?" Quiet.

They two, a boy and a girl laughed loudly, obnoxiously. "Yeah kid. We can get you some. We'll leave 'em right here in this loose brick see?" The boy pulled out a brick with a grin smoke floating around his face. "We'll stick the pack in there and cover it back up. We'll leave you a pack per day."

"Aw he's such a cute little thing." The girl pinched his cheek then laughed again. "Too bad he's too young for me."

"Dude you're such a slut."

"Eh! Shut up!" The girl stopped fighting with the boy and glanced back at Matt. "Hey kid what's your name?"

"Matt."

"Matt. Kay. Got it." She tossed him a half used pack of cigarettes and one of her spare lighters. "Later!" She waved and walked off with her friend leaving the fourteen year old alone. He looked at the box in his hands. He yelped. Matt had forgotten the cigarette in his mouth and it had burned to its end.

The redhead looked up into the sky, five years since that day, five years since he'd begun smoking. It was days just like this that reminded him of his days back at Wammys, memories that made him numb and forget the rest of the world. A drop of rain splattered onto his cheek. Matt ducked into his apartment building cursing. 'What's up with all the rain? It's depressing.' He climbed the back stairway not bothering to even try the elevator. Knowing his luck it was probably being repaired, plus it was old. The redhead was always nervous he'd get stuck in the middle of the shaft while he was in it. That'd be a whole lot of fun.

Once he got to his door he shoved the key in the lock. Flicking on the lights he kicked the door shut. Outside the rain was beginning its attempt to drown the citizens of New York City. Matt walked over and watched out the window a moment. He rolled his eyes behind the orange lenses of his goggles before yanking the curtains shut in disgust.

'One more time, we're gonna celebrate. Oh yeah, all right! Don't stop the dancing!' The techno ringtone chimed vibrating in the pocket of the redhead's jeans as he lounged on the couch enjoying a good round of videogames and a drag from his cigarette, his one companion. Matt rolled his eyes, pulled the phone out, game paused, and answered. "Yello?"

"Matt?"

"... Near?" Matt would recognize the voice anywhere. Hell, he relived it just as much as his blonde best friend's voice.

"... Is there anyone with you?"

"No."

"I'm calling to tell you that you might be contacted by some people from the NPA, the Japanese police force. These people, if they contact you, will try to get information out of you about Mello and I. Please refrain from giving them any information."

"Information huh? How'd you get my number? I listed under a different name..."

"Well... I have my ways Matt. By the way, has Mello tried contacting you?"

"Why would he contact me?" Matt pouted blowing smoke from his nostrils.

"You are still Mello's friend are you not? If Mello was to contact anyone from his past it would most likely be you of all people since he trusts you the most."

"..."

"I don't need to waste your time any more. If Mello gets in contact with you please call me at the number listed on your caller id. It will be forwarded to the real number. Goodbye."

"Wait Near!" The line clicked off. Matt cussed and rubbed his temple. Mello contacting him? Fat chance. The redhead snuffed the cigarette in the ashtray and pulled out his pack. He growled, empty. That was the second pack that day. He shouldn't be bothered by Mello anymore, it'd been years. So why wouldn't he just leave? Matt placed the cell on the table. He picked the controller from his lap then threw it. It clattered to the floor. 'Why the hell can't I just forget you?! Leave me the hell alone!' Matt buried his face into his hands trying to regain composure, just like he was taught at Wammy House. He glared at the empty pack of cigarettes. He knew why he couldn't forget Mello. The pack laying on the table was why. They were the habit started right after the blue-eyed blonde had left, his reminder that his friend was gone without a trace. Every time he inhaled some of the nicotine smoke, lit the paper up, it triggered a subconscious memory of Wammy House, when he was age fourteen. The year Mello had left him by himself, with no one to lean upon.

Matt flopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. He snuffed out his cigarette and reached into his pants for the pack. Three left in the box, if he continued at the rate he was going then he'd finish two complete boxes and a half. This would be his second pack smoked today. He pulled one out and lit up. Smoke danced in joyous thrill of being set free from its prison of paper. 'Forget all the stupid memories Mail... they just upset you... Just play a videogame and get your mind away from Wammy's, from Near, from Mello. They're gone, it's just me.'

Before Matt could get up to turn on his videogames there was a knock on his door the same time as his phone ringing. Matt's eyebrows furrowed. He pushed the goggles onto his head and swiped the phone from his pocket. Walking towards the door he put the phone to his ear. As he was about to touch the doorknob a voice taunted through the receiver,

"Hello Mail. Been a long time. Remember me?" Matt threw open the door his eyes widening at the sight.

"Mello..." The phone lowered to Matt's side and the two stared at one another. Mello was dripping wet, hair plastered against the side of his face. The left half of his face was burnt to a crisp the skin a different shade from the rest. "...What... What happened to you?"

"Can I come in? I'm going to look like a jackass just standing in the hall." Matt stood to the side and the blonde walked in sliding out of his coat and threw it on the arm of the couch. The gamer was still trying to recover from shock. "I need your help Matt. It's really important..." Mello looked around the place with a swift smirk on the side of his lips.

Matt closed the door, looking at the floor. "Mello... where have you been for five damn years?"

"Pursuing Kira what else? I have to beat Near after all, and avenge L."

"..."

"You started smoking... when'd that happen? I always thought you of all people wouldn't start that stuff." The blue-eyed male dug through his coat pockets and pulled out a chocolate bar. He took a bite, a string of caramel hanging from between the candy and his mouth. He wrapped his tongue around the string and cut it from the candy.

"I started... when you left." The blonde looked sad a moment. He sat on the arm of the couch and took another bite of his chocolate-caramel bar.

"If it makes you happy... So... what do you say? Will you help me catch Kira Matt?"

"..." Matt looked up into Mello's crystal blue eyes and laughed. "You got some nerve coming here ya know that! I should kick your ass for what you did to me!"

The blonde's eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"I should kick your ass because you left me all alone at Wammys with those weirdoes! Do you know how much your fucking skinny ass comes back to haunt me?"

"... Skinny ass? Are you calling me anorexic?! I am not anorexic Matt! How many times do I have to tell you!" Mello yelled vexed taking an angry bite from his candy.

Matt surprised the blonde with a bone-crushing hug. "I don't care if you're anorexic, a porn model, or a mass murderer, it's good to have you back!" The redhead pulled away with a amused smirk. "I didn't think you'd acquire such a... fashionable taste in clothes though."

"What are you talking about? Leather is sexy! You just wish you could pull it off."

"Ya got me." Matt snorted. He tapped ash into the ashtray. "So what's with the face? What happened?"

"Let's just say that... in my quest to find and destroy Kira I had to blow something up."

Matt fell onto the couch laughing. "No way! You blew something up! What did you blow up?!"

"The mafia base."

"You were in, the mafia?!"

"Yeah..." Mello rolled his eyes. "You of all people should know the lengths I would go to in order to get what I want."

"Yeah... but the mafia? I don't believe you."

"I don't care if you believe me or not..." Mello huffed licking the edge of his chocolate showing he was pleased. "I'm wondering if you'll join me in catching Kira. I need your help."

"You must be desperate if you're asking me for help!"

"Oh shut up you twit!"

"Hey! I thought that was the name you reserved only for Near!" Matt whined punching Mello in the arm. Mello growled.

"Is it a yes or no Matt!?"

"Yeah I'll help you catch Kira."

"You know it's dangerous."

"Yup."

"And that you could die?"

"I'll die someday."

"Must be why you're smoking those cancer sticks." Matt blew smoke in Mello's face. The blonde stuck out his tongue in disgust after coughing.

"Nah. Just because an insensitive prick left me all by my lonesome!"

Mello rolled his eyes. "Ya know I'm about to kill you."

"Hey should I call Near and tell him you contacted me? I'm sure he'd love to hear from you!"

"No! You're not calling Near idiot!"

"So where are you staying right now?"

"Nowhere... Can I crash at your place?"

"Why does this seem like something you would do?" Matt whined.

"Because I did."

"Fine. If you're staying here there's going to be some rules in place." A blonde eyebrow raised. "First no hounding me about cleaning up the place, it's still my apartment. Two, I can smoke whenever, wherever I want. Third, you help pay rent."

Mello nibbled the edge of his chocolate bar. "Fine. Whatever. Just so ya know... I have the Japanese police after me and they believe I killed the president of the United States."

"Did you?"

"No."

"Then it's fine with me."

"Near's looking for me too huh?"

"Yup. He thought you'd try to contact me because I'm the only one you got along with at Wammys."

"That brat's too smart for his own good." Mello smirked. "He's a worthy adversary..."

"You're funny Mells just coming here out of nowhere, then demanding all this crap out of me."

"I ain't demanding nothin. Go open a window... I'm starting to suffocate on your fumes. Why the hell do you smoke anyways exactly? What do you get from it?"

And that answer was simple and plain. Just like he'd always enjoyed the somewhat tinge of bitter zing of his friendship with Mello, Matt liked the bitter taste of nicotine.