Hello. I'm back!XD Sorry for the wait, I have a lot of boring excuses but never mind them. I'm also sorry(if you are one of those who read my other two stories) that I return with this odd oneshot...But I promise I will work on my other stories. It might take some time but I WILL update.

Disclaimer: Own nothing. At all. I use some phrases from the original Death note,but I certainly don't own them, so don't sue me!

Warnings:Some innocent yaoi,Mellolanguage ...some characters may be OOC because they have so much feelings..I don't know. (But my excuse is that they have not been raised at Wammy's, and therefor have not been taught to suppress their feelings to think. Uh..yeah, whatever XD)AU. And, as usual, English isn't my first language so I apologize for any mistakes I may make. Spoilers for names. Character death.

The thing called life

It was a cold, clear night. The air was so chilled it made you cough and the only thing that could rival the glitter of the snow in the bright moonshine was the sparkling of the stars.

It was December the 25th in London, Christmas. The morning before the streets had been crowded with stressed people carrying home colorful presents and mountains of food but now the streets were empty.

Or almost.

Near was shaking in his thin white pajamas and his socks were wet through, his feet so cold he could barely feel them. The little boy was walking through an alley in which smoke would have lingered if it had been a movie. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Near was starting to regret his hasty takeoff. How could he be so stupid he didn't even bring a jacket or shoes? Not to mention that all his toys, except a stupid, stuffed animal he was holding, was left in his room. He hugged the stuffed cat tighter and almost sobbed.

He was so tired.

But he didn't want to go back- never again- and he was too afraid of freezing to death if he stopped and tried to sleep on the ground. Besides, since he looked so young and vulnerable the risk that someone would abuse him in some way was rather high so he couldn't stop because of that reason either. Luckily, everyone stayed inside because of their Christmas parties and the cold so he didn't have to avoid that many. Well, not everyone.

Near didn't see the man until he was right in front of him. Maybe it was because he didn't move at all or because Near was too busy looking down at his feet to make sure they didn't fall off. Whatever it was, Near felt an urge to panic when he suddenly discovered him.

The man in question didn't seem to notice the white-haired boy at all. He only stood there, his jet-black hair was a mess, his pale face was painted with moonshine and his dark eyes fixed on the stars. He had one thumb in his mouth and the other one in the pocket of his jeans. Below an unbuttoned jacket Near could see a white sweater. He was shaking slightly and didn't look too healthy. Under his distant eyes, he had dark bags that gave an impression of someone that never slept.

First, Near only stared at him like an idiot. Then he pulled himself together and was on his way to leave when the man made him change his plans. Suddenly, the dark-haired man clutched his chest and fell to his knees, and then, like in slow-motion, he kept falling forward until his face hit the snow. It was unusually much snow that year, so much it even stayed on the streets in such a big city.

For one moment, Near thought he was acting, that it was a tasteless joke or anything, but he quickly abandoned that thought and fell to his knees beside the man.

"M-mister? Are you alright?" Now, that was an intelligent question, but it was all he could think of.

What was he going to do?

With a little pushing and pulling he managed to turn the man so he could breath freely. He wasn't heavy at all but Near was a very weak person when it came to physical strength so it still took a while. His hands were also shaking because of the cold and the shock so everything seemed to take even longer time. Then he tried to check the mans pulse but couldn't feel it. He almost panicked again before he discovered something vital: the man was breathing.

So he wasn't dead. Always a relief.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Near started at the sudden question, but was still thankful that he wasn't alone with an unconscious stranger anymore. When he looked up he saw a blonde girl in a leather dress and fishnet stockings glare at him with light blue eyes surrounded by just a bit too much black make up. She was even more unwisely dressed than him in the cold.

"I d-don't know," Near stuttered. "He just collapsed. I d-didn't do anything."

"Fuck," the blonde said. She had a very dark voice to be a girl. "I so don't need this right now. Do you have a cell phone?Someone sold my phone to get his fix...oh fuck, how I hate that bastard!"

A little puzzled, Near shook his head.

"Damn," the girl continued. "It's only assholes around here. None of them will give a fuck." She glanced at the a man in the snow. "What the hell, we can't just leave him...let's take him to my apartment and call an ambulance from there."

"Then will you take care of him?" Near asked and hurried to get on his feet. He didn't trust this girl and felt that it may be smarter just to leave. It was not as if he abandoned the man. The girl seemed more comfortable with this situation than he was, so he was sure it wasn't stupid to just let her take care of everything. She didn't agree.

"Wait!" she said and like it was the easiest thing in the world, she lifted the man. With him in her arms she managed to toss her keys to Near. "You gotta open the door for me,'kay? I promise you, I won't murder or rape you. Don't be a fucking pussy. Help me out here, please?" Her(if it was a girl, her deep voice and strength made Near doubt. Also, she had no breasts.) choice of words made him blush, but he suddenly decided that he was too tired to be careful. And really, he had nothing more exciting to do than wander the black cold streets in the middle of the night, so maybe this was a better choice? Besides, if the "girl" had been a bad person "she" wouldn't have cared about the unconscious man at all, right?

"Alright," he agreed and smiled at the blonde. "But if I go with you, you will have to answer my question without getting mad."

"Sure," the girl( or not) sighed and adjusted her grip around the man as they started walking.

"What sex do you belong to?" the smaller boy said after a whiles thinking of how he was going top ask the question.

"Your some insolent little asshole, aren't you?" the blonde muttered and Near got afraid that he had been a little too rude. But then, the other started laughing. "Since I already said I wouldn't murder you, I'll just answer your question. I'm male, even if some fucked up bastard say I don't look like it." Near never mentioned that he was one of them.

It didn't take long before all three of them were in the blonde's small apartment, sharing a sofa in the wonderfully warm living room. On the way, Near had decided that he wouldn't leave until he knew if the man was going to be alright.

"I'm going to call an ambulance, "the blonde announced and gave Near a colorful blanket when he saw how he was shaking.

"No.." They both jumped as the black-haired man spoke. He had opened his eyes and gave them both a penetrating stare. "Please, do not."

"Why not?" Near wondered with a small voice, a little freaked out by the gaze. "You are obviously not feeling well."

"And you're lying on my sofa," the blonde pointed out.

"We will speak tomorrow, "the man decided without listening to any of them. "I am greatly thankful for your help, but I assure you I do not need to go to a hospital. Good night." Without knowing why, Near and the blonde only exchanged a glance and Mello put the phone down on the table again. The odd man had an authority in his voice that you couldn't argue with.

"So you're just gonna sleep here?"The blonde exclaimed and looked at the man who now had shut his eyes.

"No,"he answered. "I seldom sleep, but it would be nice if you let me rest here overnight."

"Whatever." The host shrugged and turned to his other guest. "If he's gonna fucking sleep here, I guess you could do that too. You're too small to be out on the streets this late anyway. You can call me Mello, by the way."

"Okay.." Near yawned and really didn't feel like going out in the cold again. Maybe he was stupid and reckless, but he badly wanted to sleep indoors tonight. "I'm Near. Or my real name is Nate. Near is just a nickname, but I like it better."

"Good night then, Near."

"Good night, Mello."

Soon, their breaths were the only thing that could be heard. Mello looked at the two others and felt strangely calm by their presence. The black-haired was resting with his head in Nears lap and Near slept with his head on Mellos shoulder.

Mello sighed. None of them looked rich enough to be a potential client, so why did he let them stay?

Maybe pity, because it was Christmas and none of them seemed to have anywhere else to go. Or only because he hated to be alone.

The following morning, Mello woke up at dawn and felt like he hadn't slept at all. When he opened his tired eyes the first impression he got was "white". That was because he looked down on someone with white hair, white skin and white pajamas. The boy from yesterday- Near, if he remembered it correctly- had curled up in his lap and now resembled a snowball more than a human. The black-haired man was nowhere to be seen and Mello wondered if he had left.

Gently, he tried to push Near aside but the boy only grabbed his wrist. With a death grip. He was breathing slowly, still asleep, but he refused to move and was surprisingly strong to be so small.

"What the hell..." Mello grit his teeth. What a troublesome little thing he was!

"I have made breakfast to both of you." The black-haired man suddenly appeared in the doorway to the kitchen. "As a thank you gift for letting me stay here." Mello could smell something not too pleasant and frowned. So the freak had woken up earlier than him( if he had slept at all, which it didn't look like) and decided to make breakfast in his kitchen? That guy had some nerve!

"Hey, you!..." Mello began but the man had already disappeared from the doorway. Near muttered something in his sleep and hit Mello with a stuffed cat. Then he curled up even more, looking disturbingly sweet and innocent.

"Fuck you," Mello said and shoved him off to the floor.

The breakfast was uneatable. Near and Mello discovered this at the same time, but the guilty didn't eat anything at all.

"You may call me Ryuuzaki," the dark-haired man said and Mello thought he was sucking on his thumb, but later would come to understand that he was chewing on it. His vision was even more weird in daylight and on his lips he had a more than distressing smile.

"Shut up!" Mello demanded. "What have you done to the toast? And the bacon and the eggs? You've burned fucking everything!"

"I advice you not to blame me for the poor quality of your own food," Ryuuzaki said and looked hurt. Mello felt a sudden need to harm someone with the kitchen knife in his hand.

"My food?!" he wondered loudly.

"Yes, I do not possess any expandable money," Ryuuzaki explained regretfully. "So I borrowed some supplies from your kitchen to make this breakfast. Sadly, it did not turn out as I imagined it to." He sighed.

"You mean you made a breakfast to fucking thank me using my own damn food- and ruined it?" Mello screamed and hacked the knife in the table to emphasize his words. Near calmly watched his outburst and turned to Ryuuzaki.

"What exactly happened last night?" he asked and curled his hair. "Are you ill?"

"You little creep! Don't try to change the subject!" Mello exclaimed but sounded a little calmer. That they just ignored him in that way made him feel even more angry but also so stupid he didn't want to show it.

"I am very ill, " Ryuuzaki answered serenely without caring for him. "In fact, I am dying."

"Don't lie!" Mello shouted heatedly. "Don't think I'll feel sorry for you and forgive you for this sucky breakfast!"

"It is true," Ryuuzaki persisted. "I would not lie about such a thing. And I certainly wouldn't tell you this to make you pity me." Mello decided not to care about how serious he sounded. The man was obviously mad.

"So, what's your illness?" he wondered scornfully. "Cancer? AIDS? Pestilence?"

"My heart is just not strong enough," Ryuuzaki explained and wasn't aggravated, which irritated Mello to no end. "And I myself am not privileged enough to receive a new heart in time. All I can do is wait for a donor."

"But..that's horrible," Near said silently.

"I try not to worry too much about it," Ryuuzaki said and smiled.

"But what were you doing outside in the middle of the night if you're so fucking ill?" Mello asked, still not ready to believe what the man said. He didn't really want to believe such a thing.

"Listening to the bells," Ryuuzaki answered and his thin lips curled in a barely visible smile. "I use to live in Japan but I was born here. So I came here to die." He shrugged. Mello noticed that his eyes already looked dead. "To my discontent, the bags with my money was stolen on the airport, so I could not pay for a hotel room and therefor had nowhere to spend the night. But I plan to solve that little problem today."

"Japan? Seriously..." Mello muttered because he couldn't come up with anything else to say. It was becoming more and more manifested that Ryuuzaki really was crazy, but he was also quite positive now that the lunatic told the truth. To keep the silence from becoming uncomfortable, he turned to Near. "And you?" He threw away his burnt toast and then sat down again. "Aren't you a little too small to wander alone at night?" Near played absentmindedly with the ears of his stuffed animal.

"I ran away from home," he said simply. "And I'm almost fifteen anyway." Suddenly, Mello started to laugh.

"What an impressive little team we make!" he laughed when he saw the other two look at him with almost identical, intense black eyes. "A dying maniac, a runaway and a whore."

"You are a prostitute?" Ryuuzaki wondered with wide eyes. It was the first time he looked effected by anything during their entire conversation.

"I'm the best damn slut in town," Mello smiled not without a trace of pride in his voice. Ryuuzaki unwrapped one of the many caramels he had in his seemingly infinite jeans pockets. Candy seemed to be the only thing he ate. How healthy could that be for your heart?

"Maybe I shall leave," he said, throwing the caramel in the air and catching it with his mouth."I am greatly thankful for your help. You made my winter night less cold. And about the breakfast... I apologize." Suddenly, Mello felt guilty for making such a fuss about it. He was now convinced that the man really was dying.

"What the fuck, just forget that," the blonde said and made them all three surprised when he continued. "Don't bother to find some fucking hotel either. Both of you can stay here.."

"I do not wish to trouble..." Ryuuzaki began but Mello interrupted him.

"If I didn't want you to stay I wouldn't ask, " he pointed out." Don't make everything so damn complicated." He unwrapped his morning chocolate bar and glared at them. "Seriously, it's not some fucking pity I feel either because one of you need a heart and a haircut and the other one needs a home and new clothes. Hell, you can even say that I ask you for a favor. I hate to be alone around holidays."

For a while none of them spoke but then Mello continued.

"So it's decided," he said determinedly. "You both stay."

"But I..." Near started and hugged his cat tightly.

"Shut the fuck up." Mello gave his prettiest smile so he wouldn't scare them away. "The damn discussion is over."

"So what's your real name?" Near wondered the same night. He and Mello were in the living room, looking at the flames in the fireplace who made the red wallpaper seem even warmer. It truly was a homelike room. It had a lot of green plants in the single, big window, a giant white carpet on the floor that completely swallowed every sound when you walked on it and the big brown leather sofa in the middle. Two of the walls had low wooden shelves only containing chocolate, and the sofa must have been used as a bed because it was covered with blankets and pillows in different colors. Mello, who seemed to be lost in thoughts, started.

"Huh?" He turned towards Near. "What did you say?"

"I wondered what your real name was," Near explained silently."You told me to call you Mello so I assumed that wasn't you real name." Mello shrugged. They lived together. Why not tell him?

"My real name is Mihael Keehl," he said truthfully.

"But why do you have a fake name?"Near wondered and hoped he wasn't too curious. Mellos eyes looked like ice.

"Because Mihael Keehl isn't a whore," he answered with a sudden hard tone in his voice," but Mello is."

"Ryuuzaki isn't my real name either," an emotionless voice called from the door to the kitchen and broke the uneasy silence before it even had a chance to begin. The man with the raven hair watched them with dead black eyes.

Mello felt his face turn red. He had been eavesdropping on them? That guy seriously didn't respect anything!

"What the fuck do you..." Mello exclaimed violently but was interrupted by the man whose name wasn't Ryuuzaki.

"You understand," the man said calmly, and oddly enough, one glare with his night eyes was adequate to shut Mello up," my real name is L Lawliet. Yes, L like the letter." He sat down on the carpet in a rather peculiar way, hugging his knees to his chest and resting his hands on them. "But when I moved to Japan to study Japanese (I am a linguist) I made friends with a young man who insisted I would change my name. His name was Light Yagami and he didn't like to call me L, because he was always very concerned with other peoples opinions and thought it sounded too weird."

Ryuuzaki( or L) sighed. "Of course, I refused to change my name over such a ridiculous cause, but I let him call me Ryuuzaki in public. He said that it was bad enough that I looked and acted like a freak and that he refused to socialize with me otherwise. In some odd way, I started to grove fond of the name and now I actually prefer it before my real one." For a moment, Mello thought he looked sad but it passed soon. "Because as Light-kun said,who can like someone named L?" None of the other two answered because the question was obviously not directed towards them. L himself noticed that his pointless little story had worked pretty well as a distraction- Mello seemed totally relaxed now.

"But if he's your friend," Near said a bit shyly and looked furtively at Ryuuzaki. "Why aren't you with him? Don't you want to say goodbye?"

"He does not know," Ryuuzaki explained simply.

"You should let him fucking know," Mello considered and looked about to get upset again. "Friends are damn important things!"

Ryuuzaki started chewing at his thumb in that absent-minded way that made it seem like a habit.

"Light-kun is a very busy man," he said dryly."These days he has a career within the Japanese task force and has no time for such unimportant things as friendship. If I tell him that I am dying, he will only feel sad and guilty and spend time with me because he will think he have to. I do not want that. I would rather want him to be happy."

And all of a sudden,Near just knew why L preferred the name Ryuuzaki.

"You love him, don't you?" the white-haired boy asserted and saw the insurance in Ryuuzakis eyes for just a second before he turned his head. "You love Light Yagami."

Mello raised an eyebrow at his assumption but Near was too busy staring at Ryuuzaki to care. At last, the black-haired man nodded.

"I do," he admitted. "But that is another thing he does not know." Then, in an obvious try to change the subject, he pointed at a small photograph on the windowsill. "Is that a friend of yours?"

The picture was taken in a green park and was of a pale boy in Mellos age with bright red hair, a wide smile and big goggles.

"None of your fucking business!" Mello exclaimed violently and got on his feet. Ryuuzaki looked a little startled.

"I apolog.." he began but was cut off by Mello.

"Just shut up! Don't you fucking talk about him!" the blonde screamed before he left the room.

Near and Ryuuzaki listened in silence as he tramped through the apartment and slammed the front door.

"I wonder what happened to him," Ryuuzaki said quietly and looked closer at the red-haired boy. He was pretty, but maybe a bit too skinny and pale to look healthy.

"Perhaps it is not any of our concern," Near muttered and felt guilty even though he hadn't done anything. He tried to think of something more to say but couldn't.

Mello didn't return that night. The atmosphere was really tense and they both went to bed under silence. Or more exactly, Near went to sleep on the sofa under silence and Ryuuzaki went out in the kitchen without a word.

At first, Near felt too worked-up to sleep and not even his old faithful cat helped. When he looked around the unfamiliar and at the moment a little threatening living room to make sure no monsters hid anywhere, he spotted a leather jacket on the arm of the sofa. Without knowing why, he grabbed the jacket and hugged it tightly. The scent of leather and chocolate and some heavy flower perfume -the scent of Mello- was very calming.

Within two minutes, he slept.

Five o'clock in the morning, Mello came back. Of course, Ryuuzaki was prepared for that because he had been guarding the street through the kitchen window, so the black-haired man did not jump when the blonde violently slammed the front door.

He sure does like to make himself heard,Ryuuzaki thought, but it is a common way to act for insecure people after all. He had to end his psychical evaluation when the object for it arrived in the kitchen. Mello had glowing red cheeks, messy hair and a far-away gaze in his blue eyes. The stench of alcohol made Ryuuzaki frown.

"Good morning," he saluted the blonde a little cautiously. "The comment I made was in no way meant to upset you but since it obviously did, I suppose I will apologize anyway." Mello waved his hand dismissively and staggered to a kitchen chair.

"Never mind that shit," he said and tried to focus his eyes on the other man. "It's just fuckers that apolog...apologe...say they're sorry, you know." Ryuuzaki frowned even more but let him continue. "I rael.. I know one thing now. I'm gonna tell you about Matt causes I conclu...dammit I mean, I ..where was I?"

"You were going to tell me about someone named Matt and I believe you were in the middle of explaining why," Ryuuzaki reminded him helpfully.

"Damn right!" Mello exclaimed and sounded very happy. "So yeah. You know, I deci...ded that I can tell you anything cause you're going to die soon and so...and also I did a lot of smart thinking and this is what I t...thought: since we are strangers I can tell you almost everything. If we had been friends, you would have expected a lot from me and I would have all this fucking shit to live up to and stuff. " He paused briefly and balanced on his chair, which resulted in that he almost fell off. "But since we don't, you know, know e...eascother, I am not afraid of what you're thinking about me...get it? So it doesn't matter if I'm compel...compelete...completely honest!"

"I see your point," Ryuuzaki encouraged him. "I too believe that it is easier to discuss important matters with strangers."

"Shut up and listen!" Mello demanded and waved with his hand so he knocked over a glass from the table. It broke, but he didn't seem to care or even notice. "So yeah, the guy on the picture was my friend. His name was Matt. We shared this apartment." He gesticulated with his hand again and hit his elbow in the table. "Fucking shit!...What did I just say?"

"Your friend was a guy named Matt who shared this apartment with you," Ryuuzaki repeated and smiled encouraging.

"So true." Mello smiled back but it was a sad smile. When he continued he sounded nearly sober. "Matt...was my best friend, my only friend. He was a total ass but hell, I still loved him." His azure eyes had a faraway gaze when he continued." We met when he was running from the cops, he kinda broke into my flat to hide and I let him stay here cause he payed me. Not with money- he had none, but with those damn drugs. I felt so fucking low at that time, so I accepted his offer. I would like to say that I did it out of kindness too, but the truth is, I really hated him from the beginning because the little sucker destroyed my best dress..."

He trailed off and Ryuuzaki had to pinch him to make him go back to the story. "You see, Matt was a drug dealer. I don't really get why though, cause he didn't seem to care if he was rich or poor..in fact, I don't think he cared for any fucking things, that asshole...but he said he sold drugs to earn money to his games- he was one hell of a nerd, seriously, if he ever cared for any-fucking-thing it was his damned games- and of course, he was using himself."

Mello made a pause and dried his eyes with the back of his hand. "Anyway, we became friends, or whatever you wanna call it. He would come and pick me up when one of my clients had been too violent, and I would stay up with him when he was too high to sleep. Sometimes, if I felt really bad, he would actually share his drugs with me. And then I would sleep with him for free to thank him. We only knew eas...eascother for about two years but hell... It was the best fucking years of my damn fucking life." The blonde stopped and took a deep stuttering breath.

"Still, I hate him. He was the best thing that have ever happened to me, and I cannot forgive him," he said and didn't fight when his eyes got flooded with tears." Damn how I hate that bastard!" He cried freely with his face in his hands.

"Why is that?" Ryuuzaki wondered tranquilly. Mello looked up, blue eyes cold despite the tears that didn't stop.

"He died from an overdose," he answered, shakily but a bit more calmly than before. His hands were shaking when he wiped away tears and black mascara from his pallid face." Screw him! Fuck him. Sometimes I think he didn't even care if that shit was gonna kill him. Seriously, I know this world sucks big time, but...shouldn't everyone be like ´love this fucking life, it's the only damn thing you've got´?" Ryuuzaki nodded slowly.

"You should indeed value your life," he said dryly. "No one knows this better than someone who is dying." His dark eyes were the closest to alive Mello would ever see them at that moment.

Spontaneously, the blonde got on his feet and floundered around the kitchen table to hug the black-haired man. At first, Ryuuzaki didn't know how to react, but then he relaxed and did his best to return the embrace. He still felt stupid though, when he wrapped his thin arms around the sulking boy and tried to figure out where he should place his long skeleton fingers.

After all, it was his first hug. Ever.

They quickly got used to a new routine in their daily lives. When Mello woke up, Ryuuzaki was already awake and, with very few exceptions, Near still slept. Ryuuzaki didn't seem to sleep at all which must hurt his heart but when someone pointed that out he just said that he felt great and changed the subject.

They ate breakfast once Mello had pulled Near out of the sofa. Then, Mello went shopping or cleaned the apartment or ´made contact´,which meant he made different preparations for his jobs that night. Ryuuzaki usually washed the dishes and helped their host where they could, and after that they had some spare time when Near built something and Ryuuzaki read mystery books. (He always solved the mystery correctly in the first chapters. Near thought he would be an excellent detective.)

When it was time for lunch it was Near who prepared it, because as he said ´he wanted to thank Mello in some way´and later they often had a serious conversation of some kind. It wasn't really intent to be that way from the beginning, they were just talking and then Mello started complaining about society and so it went on. They discussed politics, criminals, war and- of course- death.

"Are you afraid of dying?" Near asked shyly one time. Ryuuzaki thought a little before answering.

"No," he decided at last." I am only afraid of regretting my life when I do." And they went on to discuss if it was alright to kill killers and so on.

At last, Mello went to work in outfits that made Near stare and blush. His guests stayed at home, Ryuuzaki liked to sit on his balcony and look into the sky while eating candy and Near just tried to pass time. The white-haired boy felt deeply unhappy the nights Mello slept somewhere else without knowing,or really wanting to admit, why, and he also was overcome by a strange kind of sickness every time he imagined the blonde in the arms of one of his costumers.

So it continued for a few weeks. As time passed and Ryuuzaki seemed to be fine, the other two almost forgot the fear they had felt in the beginning.

But then, one night in the end of January, they were reminded. It all began when Near woke up from a terrible nightmare. To his own embarrassment, he screamed so loud that Mello woke up too.

"What the hell are you yelling for?" the blonde said and automatically pulled his fingers through his messy hair.

"Sorry," Near murmured and hid his face in his hands so Mello wouldn't see that his cheeks were wet with tears. Not only did he scream, he had also been crying in his sleep. Could it be more embarrassing?

Since they shared the sofa, Mello could quickly crawl over to Near. He shoved away the albinos hands with one gentle hand and lifted his head with the other so their eyes met.

"Did you dream?" he wondered softly and Near must smile at how unpredictable and fast his mood changed. And just because he had such warm, tender hands, Near wanted to tell him everything.

"I dreamed about my mother," the pale boy said and dried his eyes with the sleeves of his pajamas.

"What happened?" Mello wondered and leant closer but Near was too distracted by the sensation of his fingers under his chin and the smell of honey shampoo from his hair. Suddenly, Near noticed that Mello only had the blanket over his legs and no clothes. The younger boy looked away and was thankful that the darkness hid his blush. "What happened?" Mello repeated whispering, so close that his breath against Nears cold skin made the younger boy quiver.

Near was just about to answer when they got interrupted by the sound of something crashing against the floor in another room. They needed only to share one look before they both rushed out in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room, instinctively knowing that something was wrong. Ryuuzaki was half-standing, half-sitting leant against the wall with one hand spasmodically clutched to his chest.

Beside him the pieces of a cup and some hot coffee drying into the red carpet showed what the sound they had heard was.

"Oh,fucking shit!" Mello cried and grasped Ryuuzakis arms to support him. "Near,go call an ambulance." Ryuuzaki shook his head, his face was so pale it was almost luminous and his breath sounded forced like he had to fight the air. His voice was shaky and slow when he spoke, but very determined.

"No please, do not. It will pass."

"You're not well," Near said, "We'll have to call someone. They will be able to help you." Of some reason though, he didn't move. It was like the authoritarian power in Ryuuzakis voice had paralyzed him.

"No. They will not. There is nothing more any hospital in the world can do to help me, unless they suddenly decides to give me a new heart without wait," Ryuuzaki stated determinedly unfalteringly. "They have other patients and I do not wish to trouble them."

"Trouble them?" Mello exclaimed and stared at him in disbelief and shock. "To deal with ill people is their job, and you don't wish to fucking trouble them?! Tell you what, I'll be fucking damn troubled if you don't let us do that fucking call!" Ryuuzaki broke free from his grasp and dropped to the floor. It was still traces of pain in his voice but the worst moment seemed to have passed.

"Please. I beg you, do not overreact. This has happened before and it will happen again. It is not death-throes. Not yet." The ink-haired man shut his eyes for a moment which never happened otherwise. He must be really tired. "Do not call anyone." Despite the whole I beg you-thing, the last sentence was obviously an order.

"Are you afraid of depending on others?" Near asked straightforwardly. The ill man seemed to think a moment before answering.

"No," he said at last and put his head on one side."But it is their compassion. It hurts them, and it bores me. I can not stand people that feel sorry for me."

"But I feel sorry for you," Near said truthfully.

"You do not let that affect the way you act and talk around me," Ryuuzaki explained. "You do not treat me as if I am made of glass. You treat me as if I am still a human being." He turned that disturbing stare to Mello, who had been unusually quiet. "In fact, both of you do."

"Okay. No damned ambulance," Mello agreed with a sigh. "But then, I demand that you sleep tonight, alright?" Ryuuzaki nodded obediently.

"Is there seriously nothing we can do for you?" Mello asked humbly. "Whatever, just let me fucking know."

Then, Ryuuzaki smiled, and it was the most heartbreaking thing Mello had ever seen. The blonde wanted to cry when he spoke.

"You can let me stay here just a little longer."

The following morning, they ate breakfast in silence. Or at least, they did until Mello swallowed the last piece of his morning chocolate bar and turned to Near.

"So, what was your dream about?" he wondered curiously. "You said you dreamed about your mother. Why did you?" Near started and silently cursed Mellos good memory.

"Did I say that?" he asked in a transparent attempt to earn time. Both Ryuuzakis and Mellos eyes were on him and he squirmed uncomfortably on his chair, feeling ashamed that those two so easily talked about themselves and he didn't.

"Please?" Mello gave a puppydog-eyed look that didn't really suit him. "We don't have secrets here, do we?"

The others shared everything, it would be selfish of him to not follow their example.

So for once in his life, Near decided to open up to people.

"I dreamed that my mother died," he said silently. "She was on the other side of this wall of glass, and she screamed my name. But I couldn't go to her, and she couldn't hear me..."Without looking at them he continued as fast as possible, because if he allowed himself to take a break he would not be able to go on."She was crying and hitting on the wall and she was bleeding really, really bad. The blood started covering the glass, it was everywhere and it never stopped...I tried so hard to reach her, but the only thing that happened was that I got blood on my hands, like it was the wall itself and not her that was bleeding. And... and she died. On the other side of that wall. Alone."

"There is more to this than just a normal dream, right?" Mello said and took his hand under the table. Near smiled faintly at him and squeezed his hand.

"There is," he acknowledged. It took him long time to continue but the other two waited patiently. Every time he thought he was gonna say it and opened his mouth to let the words out they got stuck somewhere in his throat. "My mother..." he managed finally. "My mother is an alcoholic. She didn't want to get help because she thought they were going to take me away from her. I had no idea where my father was but I still lived a generally good life."

It was surprisingly easy once he had started, and he could keep a matter-of-fact tone despite the subject. "But...around holidays she drinks a lot more than usual- especially Christmas- and she vomits all over the house and never goes to the bathroom..and, and there is bottles all over the house...I just couldn't stand it. She needs help more than she needs me, so I left." He felt sick as the others just sat there in silence, trying to swallow what they had just heard. But Mello saved the situation as he leant towards the white-haired boy and kissed him on his forehead.

"How brave of you," he said earnestly, and only sounded a little ironic as he carried on. "Seems I'm living with two fucking heroes. Saving their mothers and sparing their friends from knowing they are dying. And I'm just a cheap little whore. It is an honor for me that you want to live here."

"Do not make a fool of yourself," Ryuuzaki cut in calmly. "My reasons are too selfish for a hero." After that they were quiet again but it wasn't an uncomfortable silence.

To be strangers,Mello thought,we know eachother pretty damn well.

About one week later, Near and Mello got into a serious fight. It was raining outside but it wasn't that cold. Ryuuzaki had gone down to the park nearby to feed the birds so they were alone in the apartment.

When Near entered the kitchen Mello was just making three cups of tea for them (Ryuuzakis had eleven sugar cubes).

"You look beautiful today," Near said quietly and watched his host. He had his blond hair in a ponytail, red lipstick, a silky red blouse and tight black leather pants. It was a lot less trashy than what he usually wore, so Near liked it better because it didn't make him feel so nervous.

"I know," Mello laughed and touched his hair in a vain gesture."No wonder half the rich people in this city moan Mello in their sleep."

Near looked down on his stuffed animal (He had named it Mihael,but wasn't planning on telling anyone) and blushed.

"I am too innocent for that kind of talk," he announced and was rewarded with a smile from the blonde.

"You're too fucking sweet," he said and patted Near on his head. Only that brief touch of his fingers made Near shiver. Seemingly unaware of what he did to the younger boy, Mello turned his back at him and stirred in his cup.

"Ryuuzaki wanted sixteen sugar cubes, but I don't think that's good for his health so I only gave him eleven," he mumbled. "Do you think he will notice any difference?"

"Actually, I don't care," Near responded a little bitterly and then fell silent.

"I think I'll be home tonight," Mello continued without noticing anything. "I totally deserves a break, I mean, my ass is sore. And my cock is like..."

"I don't want to hear it!" Near cut off and sounded even more upset than he meant to. And when he went on, he sounded just plain pathetic."Or...I'm sorry. Just skip the details. I am happy if you stay here with me...only one night." Mello raised an eyebrow at this when he turned around again to face Near.

"You sound really weird. Is something wrong?" he wondered and put a hand on the other boys shoulder.

Then Near, although he had never been the impulsive type, couldn't resist it any longer.

He kissed Mello. It was not a long kiss, and he only used his lips because he couldn't figure out what to do with his tongue. But that short moment, when Mellos wonderful heaven eyes widened, his velvet hair touched Nears cheek and his cold lips sent Near into an ecstasy of uncontrollable joy, was a moment the pale boy would never forget.

Sadly, Mello pulled away too soon.

"What the hell are you doing?" he screamed but seemed more surprised than angry. Just because he didn't know how to explain it, to excuse it, Near got mad. In one second his dream, yes, he had dreamed about it all too long, came true, and in the next it got shattered, and Mello was going to hate him. Afterwards, he would realize just how much he had overreacted, but at that moment he was too high on emotions to think straight.

"I'm sorry, I don't know why I did that," he said with the coldest voice he could manage. "It wasn't exactly a pleasant experience."

"Good," Mello gave back twice as coldly. "Then don't do it again."

"Do I need to pay you for a kiss?" Near asked and hugged Mihael so hard it could have killed it. Luckily, it wasn't alive.

"Yeah, why not?" Mellos eyes darkened and his voice dropped several degrees. "Didn't your alcoholic bitch of a mother leave you any money?"

Near had once broken two ribs when he fell from a tree and hit a branch on the way down, and he remembered thinking that nothing else in the world could hurt that much. Now, Mello proved him wrong.

He felt sick when he stumbled to his feet, his stomach and his chest hurt with a burning intensity that almost was physical. Without looking at Mello, he left the kitchen- why didn't the low imbecile call him back?- and he was damaged and numb and hollow all at once when he opened the front door. How could Mello say that? And how could he care so much?

He didn't react so violently because he loved Mello and he didn't miss him already, he told himself as he ran down the stairs.

And there were no tears in his eyes.

Not much later, Ryuuzaki stepped into the kitchen.

"Hello," Mello said listlessly and without looking up from his tea. Nears cup was on the table next to him as if he was waiting for the younger boy to come back. He had a bar of white chocolate, a pretty new craving of his, in his hand and was licking it absently. "Maybe you should warm your tea. I think the damn things gone cold."

"That is alright," Ryuuzaki ensured him and sat down on the other side of the table. "Cold tea does not bother me and neither is it an important subject." He took out a half-mashed strawberry from his jeans pocket and watched it with close interest. "I am more interested in your quarrel with Near-kun. I met him on the street and he was not at all happy." To emphasize the last sentence he squeezed the fruit so pink strawberry juice smudged his fingers. But as always, his sweater was spotlessly clean. It must be magic.

"In fact, he was crying," Ryuuzaki continued and dropped the fruit in his tea so the cold drink splashed over the table, "and all he said was that you had been fighting over something. Then he ran away." To illustrate that, he waved his hand and nearly knocked down Nears cup."What was your dispute about?"

"He kissed me," Mello mumbled and bit absently on a nail.

"And you disliked this act of affection?" Ryuuzaki assumed.

"No, damn it!" Mello started to bite on another nail and sipped on his cold tea. "I ...liked it, I guess. I really do like him, but it was so fucking clear in his eyes when I pulled away that he loves me...I don't know if I love him...we've only known eachother for a couple of fucking weeks. And even if I do love him...he seems so pure. I know it's idiotic, but I don't wanna dirty him. Fucking shit, why must that little creep make everything so damn complicated?"

For a while, Ryuuzaki didn't answer to his rant. He took out the strawberry from the cup and swallowed it.

"You are not a dirty person just because you sell your body," he said at last and drank some of his tea."I do not wish to discuss it. That is just the way it is." Mello opened his mouth to answer but Ryuuzaki interrupted him. "Remember that I might die any day, so do not disagree. It may be my last wish that you develop some self-confidence." Then, he made a face and appended: "I believe that you have added too few sugar cubes to my tea so please give me five more. This taste too bitter."

Near felt like an idiot when he returned to the apartment that night. Not because he needed anything from there- Mihael was the only valuable item he possessed and he had brought it with him.

No, he was there of two reasons, partly because it was too cold outside and partly because he wanted to talk to Ryuuzaki. He also hoped that if he got a few hours sleep, he would miraculously get an idea of where to go next. After all, he couldn't live with Mello forever and now seemed to be a good time to move.

When he opened the front door as carefully as possible, he prayed- or would have prayed, if he had believed in the existence of a godly force- that Mello wouldn't hear him.

Maybe because he didn't believe, Nears prayers weren't answered. He had only walked a few steps into the hall when he heard movements from the bathroom.

"What the hell.." Mellos voice said and before the white-haired boy could hide or run away(which he couldn't deny, he wanted), the blonde opened the door. His hair was a mess, he had no makeup and only wore a black, silky bathrobe, and Near couldn't help but think that he was beautiful. "Oh, it's you..." he said with an indifferent tone, probably only meant to hurt Near, and it did, and glared at him.

"I'm sorry," Near said because he really was. He began an argue over nothing and then ran away. Like a dumb little kid. "What I said was unnecessary. Can we discuss it later? Right now, I want to talk to Ryuuzaki. Is he on the balcony?"

"Who gave you the fucking right to just walk right fucking into my fucking home?" Mello wondered but without sounding angry. The indifference had vanished fast but since he had the mood-swings of a girl with PMS, it didn't make Near that surprised. Instead, he seemed worried all of a sudden. "You are gonna stay here, aren't you? You're not leaving over a little fight,huh? "

"Can I see Ryuuzaki?" Near wondered instead of answering. Just to see Mello made him waver. Maybe he shouldn't leave at all? They could work this out, and live happily ever after. But it was unfair that he stayed there like a useless parasite... He had no idea, but he figured that in some way, a talk with Ryuuzaki would solve everything.

"Okay," Mello shrugged and walked to the living room. "You know, I like to have you here. I actually liked your kiss too, I simply wasn't prepared. I think.." He trailed off as he noticed that both the room and the balcony was empty. "...He must be in the kitchen."

So Near followed him quietly through the dark corridor, carrying Mihael in his tail and avoiding the black spot from the time Ryuuzaki dropped his coffee cup. The spot didn't seem to go away, and it always made Near feel uneasy.

Ryuuzaki was indeed in the kitchen. On the floor. Beside a chair that had fallen over, breathing irregularly.

"What the..." Mello began and leant over the man but Ryuuzaki didn't see him. His eyes were open but distant, his hands seemed to grasp after nothing, and it was probably the only thing those fragile fingers could hold onto, and he was shaking so much it made Near dizzy to watch. From his lip a trail of blood mixed with saliva dripped down on his sweater, reddening the white.

"This is not a fucking good time for your idiotic fits!" Mello screamed at him. No response. Near couldn't move.

"It will pass," he said but somehow doubted it. They just stood there, frozen, waiting for Ryuuzaki to get his full consciousness back and tell them not to call anyone, not to worry.

He didn't want to trouble anyone. It would pass.

It didn't.

"I don't care what the fucker said!" Mello exclaimed suddenly and shoved Near to the side. "I'm calling an ambulance." A last look at Ryuuzaki that didn't stop him before he left the room to get the phone in the living room..

Left Near alone with a dying man.

"Ryuuzaki.." the white-haired boy managed to say when the first shock finally let go. It was the first time in his life that he had one of those famous outside-your-own-body experiences that all writers were so fond of . He really felt like he was watching himself when he fell to his knees beside the other man.

He saw a small boy with white hair and a pajamas that was to big for him, in a tiny dark kitchen let go of a threadbare stuffed cat and take the hands of a dying man.

"Ryuuzaki," the Near he was looking at repeated. "Why don't you ever sleep?"

What an odd question,the real Near thought but was interrupted when Ryuuzaki spoke.

"Because..." he said and his pitch-black eyes were already long gone. "...I am afraid I might never wake up again."It was like a dream, so unreal, when he kept talking." What is happening, Near-kun? I can not see you...Where are you?" Near didn't answer, he wanted but just couldn't.

Ryuuzaki squeezed Nears hand so hard it must hurt, but since he wasn't in his body at the moment he could not feel it.

He only felt that other pain.

"Kiss my sore ass, you fucking motherfuckers!" Mello shouted as the ambulance drove off. Of some reason that no one wanted to explain, they wouldn't let him or Near go with them to St. Michael's, the closest hospital. When he started to walk, he continued: "I'm gonna castrate you, and fuck you till you bleed and feed you your own cocks, and then I'm gonna fucking kill you!"

"I don't think they can hear you," Near said tonelessly as he followed the blonde." Let's hurry."

Mello looked around at the busy streets.

"Are we gonna walk the entire fucking way? Where's a damn taxi when you need one?" he began loudly when something truly unexpected happened.

"Shut up!" Near snapped and turned to face him with desperation in his usually so empty eyes. "Ryuuzaki is on his way to the hospital and all you can do is complain and curse. Stop think about yourself all the time and just be quiet!"

Even though he knew that Near overreacted because of the fear, Mello didn't utter a single word on the rest on the way.

He did feel guilty. This clearly wasn't an ordinary fit, that much he could tell from the faces of the ambulance workers, so he felt terrible because he didn't notice earlier that something was wrong with Ryuuzaki. Surely there must have been some sign that something wasn't right, but he had been too busy worrying about his argument with Near-thinking about himself- to see it. And now it was too late for regrets.

The streets must have been busy, with cars, with people, there must have been sounds and colours, and life, but as he looked back at that night he couldn't remember any of it. Not until he stood outside the modern, grey hospital did his senses return. That was where he realized he was crying.

They followed the signs to the emergency department, and Mello noticed absently that it was a lot of people everywhere to be in the middle of the night. Than he realized what a stupid thought it was. It wasn't as if accidents only occurred in daytime.

But on the emergency department, though, it was a lot less quiet than in the rest of the building. A woman in the mid-fifties who had tired, blue eyes and a deep frown glared at them over a cleansed counter.

"How may I help you?" She asked, sounding like they were to blame because she didn't got enough sleep.

"Our friend," Near said quietly. "He...it was something wrong with his heart. They brought him here in an ambulance, but we weren't allowed to go with him." The woman raised an eyebrow and looked extremely bored.

"You will have to wait, then," she ordered sharply. "Please sit down in the waiting room and I will tell you when we get news about your friend." Mello gave her a death glare and marched over to the said room. Near followed and then sank to the floor, looking strangely inattentive.

"Ryuuzaki was well," he said suddenly, "just this morning."

"He seemed well this afternoon too," Mello agreed vainly." So I bet he'll wake up and be just fine. But he'll get pissed because I forced him to a fucking hospital. I know he's dying, but I don't expect him to die just yet. He'll be fine and we can leave this place and go home..." He trailed off when he realized he was repeating himself and caught the hollowness of his own words.

An hour later they were still silent. Mello kept checking the watch on the wall and wondered if it was a good or a bad thing that they didn't hear anything from that bitch behind the counter. It felt bad.

And then, she stepped into the room.

"What?" Mello spit out and almost jumped to his feet. The woman, oh how he wanted to kill her right there, had changed her expression from irritated and tired to regretful and compassionate.

"I am terribly sorry," she said and tried to sound like she meant it. Mello couldn't breath, and those words didn't help. When she went on with her explanation he couldn't grasp what he heard.

"Your friends heart stopped already in the ambulance," she informed them but it was just words. Awful words, but they didn't have to mean something." I believe that they wouldn't let you ride with them because they knew how serious it was and you would only have been in the way. I really am sorry. They tried to perform CPR on him, but it was too late."

It was just words.

"Where is Ryuuzaki?" a faint voice that he barely recognized as Nears asked. The woman, that despicable, ugly bitch, looked at him and frowned even more. In any other situation, her pathetic attempts to seem like she cared would have been funny.

"Aww,honey..."she sighed and sounded so pedagogic Mello wanted to kill her with his own hands. "Your friend has left you, but I am sure he will be happy in heaven." She blinked. That heaven-comment was what finally made Mello realize that it was real.

"Cut it out!" he demanded when Near only stared blankly. "He is not five years old. He know what death is." The woman actually seemed to know her own good and fell silent.

"Death?" Near turned his eyes to Mello for conformation, empty darkness and beneath it only pain. "Are you saying Ryuuzaki has abandoned us?"

Mello looked at the stupid bitch, and she nodded.

"Yeah. The damn idiot couldn't take care of himself...so now he's dead." The blonde wanted to add something else, something like The bitch is probably lying or Ryuuzaki can be revived, miracles can happen.

But he had never believed in miracles, and he cried too hard to go on.

"Ryuuzaki is dead." Near said it slowly, like he was challenging someone to object. No one did. He and Mello stood outside the operating room where Ryuuzaki was and gathered courage to go in.

Two nurses and a doctor waited awkwardly on their next move. An ambulance worker appeared and walked over to Mello.

"Your friend wanted to tell me something," he informed him about. "But he didn't finish. He said The thing called life is..and then he was in too much pain to continue." He glanced nervously at them both."Just thought I'd tell you."

"Thank you," Near said. Mello noticed he was actually still carrying that stuffed cat of his. The white-haired boy opened the door and walked in seemingly without hesitation. Soon, Mello forced himself to follow.

The room was dark. The only light came from some machine by the side of the operating table and the window that had it's venetian blinds lowered. The stretcher stood abandoned in a corner. The walls were white. Mello just had to keep notice those unnecessary details to stop himself from losing his mind.

Ryuuzaki lay on the operating table. He was disturbingly familiar, white sweater, blue jeans, messy jet-black hair. Only he didn't move. He didn't breath.

His eyes were open and looked like they always did- dead.

Mellos eyes locked at his face and after that he couldn't turn away. He merely stood in the doorway, unable to move or speak or think properly, when Near moved silently over to Ryuuzaki. With his hands lightly shaking, he placed the stuffed animal on the black-haired man's chest, and then took his hand.

"Sleep well," he mumbled softly.

Mello thought dimly that Ryuuzaki looked cold, that you could actually see that his warmth should never return. His hand must be freezing. Like ice.

Like the opposite to Mellos hot tears.

The next thing Mello could remember, they were outside on a bench. Near had to explain to him that the hospital personnel had made them leave and that they should return as early as possible in the morning. And then, for the first time that night, the colourless boy started to cry.

"It's okay," Mello said, even though they both knew it wasn't, and put his arm around the other boys shoulders. They cried together for a while, too short but forever until Near with a trembly little sigh spoke.

"D-do you remember the time when I asked him if he was afraid of death and he said no?" he wondered and wiped away some tears. He thought of the last words Ryuuzaki had said to him.

I am afraid that I may never wake up again.

"Yeah, why?" Mello buried his head in one hand. He had the worst headache in his life.

"I think it was a lie."

Mello had to fight a sob.

"So do I."

Another moment of silence. Mello noticed what a beautiful night it was, cold and dark but with millions of stars burning above them and a full moon shining clearly. It almost felt like a mockery.

"Mello?" Near talked again.


"What do you think his last words meant? I mean those he told the ambulance worker?" Near bit his lip and watched him with dark eyes, small, fragile and beautiful in the starlight...wait, did Mello just call him beautiful? He didn't even know how to spell the word.

"You know what," the blonde said and ignored those unimportant thoughts." I don't know. Maybe he meant something really important. Some fucking wisdom like The thing called life is the most fragile in the universe. And therefor the most valuable.Or, 'cause it was Ryuuzaki, he was just screwing with us, and wanted us to think by ourselves. I kinda hope it was the last one." Much to his own surprise, he smiled faintly through the tears. "I'm cold. Should we go?"

Even though he knew their ridiculous, petty quarrel didn't matter anymore, Near still felt stupid when he said;

"I have nowhere to go." As if Mello would care!

But Mellos smile just widened, his cheeks were still wet with tears and his blue eyes looked like floating silver in the moonshine.

"You can always come home with me,"he pointed out."You'll really only be doing me a favor. I hate to be alone at any time." Then he blinked significantly."So it's decided," he determined."You stay."

"But I..." Near began because it was just a bit too hasty.

"Shut the fuck up," Mello demanded."The damn discussion is over." He got on his feet and took Nears hand."Go with me."

So Near did.

Light Yagami had had a busy day. He was tired and more irritated than a perfect person should be when he finally returned home to his empty, impersonal apartment. Sometimes, the place made him feel lonely, especially on these sort of days when his mood already was bad. It was just always so quiet. No wonder he spent more time at his work.

No,he corrected himself.I am always at my work because I have a lot of things to do. I should stop being so sentimental.

He could always pretend that the hollowness he sometimes felt was something else.

He gave up on those thoughts, it wasn't like they led to anything anyway, as he spotted an envelope on the doormat. It had no sender, but it had been sent from England.

Frowning, he brought it with him to his bedroom and opened it. Inside was solely one piece of paper with just a few words on it.

He had to read it several times to get the meaning of them into his head.

This was what it said:L Lawliet(or Ryuuzaki,if that's what you prefer) loved you, Yagami. It was signed with two letters: M and N.

Though he would never admit it to anyone, Light Yagami cried himself to sleep that night without really knowing why.

Oh,my...finally!I worked really hard on this so excuse me for begging...but please, please, please review!!XD

Say,what do you think?Was it too hasty?Too sentimental?Please let me know.