"I'll probably live longer than you," Mello said.

As scathing as the blonde could be, the tone of his voice was neither mocking nor cruel – simply bland, stating a fact, a conclusion that he'd come to and was confident in.

"Yes," Near agreed absently, his voice very quiet. "You probably will."

Mello was silent for a while in response to this very submissive reply.

"I'm surprised you agree," he said finally.

"It's probably true," Near noted with a shrug, looking up at the ceiling.

"What makes you say that?"

"What makes you say it?"

"Because…" Mello paused, looking at the ceiling himself. "…Because you're the most like L," he finally decided, "and he's dead."

"Is that the truth?"


Near smiled faintly, still not looking at Mello.

"I don't think it is. I don't think that's why you think you'll outlive me at all."

"What?" Mello snapped, defensively, sitting up in bed and glaring at the petite pale boy. "You think I think it's because… because you're so small and weak?!"

Near looked at him, still smiling cryptically.

"It probably will be," he said. "We both know I'm not exactly the healthiest human being that's ever existed, or… well, maybe one day there will be a fire or an earthquake and I won't be able to run—"

"Oh, don't be so fucking stupid!" Mello interrupted irritably, kicking off the bed sheets and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed.

"Why do you say that?" Near asked with a small smirk, propping himself up on his elbows and watching the blonde pull his clothes on. "Because you'd come and save me, Mello?"

"As if." Mello gave a snort of disgust. "You know I'd let you burn, Near."

"That's probably why you'll live longer, then," Near mused. "Because you won't die trying to save me."

"Shut the hell up." Fully dressed, Mello crossed the small bedroom, snatching up the crutches propped up against the wall. "Come on, get up," he spat, throwing them onto the bedsheets.

He watched with folded arms and narrowed eyes as Near, forever pale-as-death and smaller than he should be for his age, got the crutches in order and put them on the floor, dragging himself upright and onto his small feet.

Mello didn't know why Near couldn't walk without them – whether it was weakness or sickness or simply because he'd never tried to walk on his own. The whole reason for Near being the way he was didn't really matter when it looked as though a friendly pat on the shoulder would shatter him into a thousand pieces.

Not that Mello gave a damn, of course.

"Get a move on, or I'll go without you," he snapped, striding off ahead across the floor to get the door.

"You know, Mello," Near replied, his smile cold and yet amused, "I really wish you'd stop treating me like I'm made of porcelain."

MelloxNear. A good pairing. I generally prefer MattxMello, but that's because dear Matty is clearly a seme and also because he and Mello have kind of a more "fun" relationship because they're buddies too – there is so much "hate" between Mello and Near…

But hey, L-heir-rival-romance-angst has its perks too. :)

The thing where Mello says he'll live longer than Near comes from How to Read 13 – apparently, according to Ohba, the lifespan shown above Mello's head when Soichiro uses the Shinigami Eyes to find out his name actually works out as more years than shown in Near's.

Not that this makes much difference for poor Mello in the end anyway…

I guess I kind of owe the creation of this fic to Narroch, who was telling me about some doujinshi she'd read where it is implied that Near, who is never shown walking in the manga/anime of Death Note, actually can't walk and instead has to use crutches.

While I do actually believe that Near can walk and usually write him as being able to do so, I thought that that was a really cool idea (and a very creative explanation for why we never get to see him walk, the lazy bum…) and I wanted to write that kind of scenario, and then Mello got tossed into the mix, and now… we have this…

My first ever MelloxNear fic. Hurrah. :D

NEAR FREEBIE: Not sure how many people actually know about this, but Obha and Obata wrote a oneshot comic for Shonen Jump set during the aftermath of Death Note, focusing on Near (practically the only particularly prominent survivor of the series, it must be said… and I know Matsuda, Aizawa, etc, were all important to the story, but they don't have weird quirks, so… no fanbase for them… unless you count the people who adore Matsuda solely for being an adorable dumbass and thus make adoring fanclubs for him on DeviantART for this reason… O.o).

Anyway, there was this whole thing where my Japanese friend told me about it and I got excited and then ranted that it had better be translated into English and then AutumnDynasty found it IN ENGLISH, so…

If you haven't read it, there is a shiny link at the top of my profile.

Share the DN-aftermath wealth. :)

RobinRocks xXx