"Scars and Thunderclaps"

Written By: thinlimitation; mellomafia

Disclaimer: I don't own it. Never did. Enough said.

Author's Notes: I love this pairing. Very few pairings have ever made me so happy as Matt/Mello. I just had to write a fanfiction about them. So, I hope you enjoy! Thanks! (This story was brought to you by early morning procrastination and Carmelldancen!)

Summary: Matt doesn't like thunderstorms. He won't admit it, but neither does Mello. Matt/Mello.

Genre: Romance/Friendship/Fluff

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I. Thunderclaps

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"Mihael...?"

It was the tiniest of whispers that escaped Matt's lips, and, having received no response, he was sure his best friend hadn't heard him over the pounding rain and deafening thunder. He gave a start when lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the curled-up form of his friend in the bed across the room. But as soon as the light came, it was gone, leaving behind a loud, rumbling crack! as darkness swallowed the room once more.

Matt trembled beneath his Super Mario Bros. bedspread. He hated storms. They were loud, scary, and they always made the power go out just as he was about to defeat a particularly challenging boss in a new videogame.

"...Mihael?" He ventured again, a little louder. Still, no response came. Matt bit his lip. They all had aliases (alili?) here at Whammy's House, and it was breaking the rules for him to call his friend by any other name other than the one he was assigned. ...But ever since the other boy had revealed to the redhead his true name, Matt had been dying to use it. Something about the way it rolled off his tongue gave him comfort, and, after another streak of lightning scarred the sky, Matt was reminded of how very much he needed that comfort at the moment.

Thinking his friend hadn't heard him, Matt was about to call out one more time, when he heard the other boy shift in his bed, heaving a very moody sigh.

"You're supposed to call me Mello, Matt. That's the name L gave me." Mihael--er--Mello said petulantly. Oh. So that's why he hadn't answered. Matt could practically hear the pout in his friend's voice, and he had to stop himself from laughing. After all, no matter how endearing he thought Mello's admiration of the emaciated detective was, it most certainly was not a good idea to incite the blonde. The redhead himself had enough bruises to know better by now, and Mello actually enjoyed his company. "What do you want?"

Matt hesitated. What if Mello laughed at him? It would hardly be the first time. Despite Mello's small stature, he was a lot braver and tougher than the other kids at Whammy's, Matt included. He looked up to the blonde, and would do anything to get his approval.

"Seriously, Matt, what is it? I'm trying to sleep." The Russian boy sounded annoyed. The wind howled like a wild beast outside, causing tree branches to scratch insidiously against the window pane. Well, Matt thought, swallowing hard, it's now or never.

"Mello, can I crawl into bed with you?" It came out all at once, in a nervous, hurried whisper. Silence reigned for a few horrific and abnormally long seconds, the only sounds coming from the storm raging outside the orphanage walls. Matt's cheeks burned, his heart raced. Why did he say it like that? Mello was most certainly ignoring him now. "It's just...the storm...and it's scary! and... I don't know," he tried to amend, his toes curling in embarrassment.

After what seemed (to Matt, anyway,) like an eternity, the sounds of rustling blankets and creaking springs reached the redhead's ears. There was bemusement in Mello's voice, and a little laughter, which only made Matt blush more profusely. "Well, if you're that scared, who am I to deny you? Should've known you'd be afraid."

Cheeks ablaze, Matt pushed back his covers and got out of bed, walking over to Mello with as much dignity as he could muster. He was halfway to the blonde's bed when a loud thunderclap roared through the room, causing Matt to yelp and practically jump into the space Mello had set aside for him on the mattress, and causing Mello to let out peels of hysterical laughter.

The blonde's insane cackling waned to an amused giggle at the expense of the trembling redhead next to him, and he shoved him gently, playfully. "You're such a wimp! It's only a little thunder and lightning. How are you going to handle being a great detective like L if an itsy-bitsy thunderstorm makes you act like a little girl?" Matt pulled the covers over his head with an embarrassed pout, defiantly not facing Mello. So what if the storm scared him? He was only ten; things like that were bound to frighten him. When he turned eleven like Mello was, he wouldn't be scared of stuff like that anymore. It wasn't like he'd be bothered by them forever. And he dearly wished that he could point out to his friend that, while he might act like a girl, the blonde was the one that looked like one (however, the fear of suffering bodily harm helped him keep these sorts of comments to himself).

But Matt had to admit (and he was loathe to admit it, he could assure you), he felt a lot better now that he was laying next to Mello. That warm, toasty feeling he always got in his stomach when the other boy was near him was warmer and toastier than ever.

The bed beside Matt shifted and he was surprised to feel thin arms circling around his waist. "I guess it's not so bad that you're a lame scaredy cat," Mello teased, snuggling closer. "At least not for me. You're warm, so I won't be cold anymore." The redhead's anger immediately dissipated, and he turned around to face his friend, awkwardly returning the embrace. Matt half-expected Mello to push him away and tell him that he was joking, call him weird and demand he return to his own bed. But instead, after a moment of shocked rigidness, Mello relaxed in the other boy's arms, sighing contentedly against Matt's neck. This caused the blush on the redhead's cheeks to increase in intensity once again. His heart was hammering and he didn't know why, but he was sure Mello could feel it, cuddled up against him as he was. They lay there in silence for a few minutes, listening to the wild storm. Matt thought his heart was going to burst, it was thundering so fast. What was this strange feeling...?

"...Mail?"

It had to be one of the oddest things Mello had ever said to him. It wasn't the word, or the fact that he was using Matt's real name instead of his alias, despite having scolded the redhead for the same thing a few minutes earlier. No, by now Matt was quite used to the Slavic boy's paradoxal nature. No, it was the way he had said it, the tone, the sound of it. Mello, for the first time in all of Matt's experiences with him, had sounded unsure, insecure...gentle, even. It made Matt's heart ache with an emotion too big to put into words (and he was genius; he knew a lot of words). He felt like he had to protect this boy, his best friend, no matter what. Something deep inside of him knew that, from this point on, he'd dedicate his life to protecting Mello, to helping him in whatever way he could, even if it meant losing his life.

There was nothing, Matt knew, that he wouldn't do if Mello asked him to.

"...What is it, Mello?" Matt finally responded, a little shaken by the magnitude of his feelings. The blonde pulled away slightly, shifting so that he could look Matt directly in the eyes. The redhead could just make out his friends features in the darkness. His green eyes looked almost grey in the dim light, his hair like white gold. His expression was more serious that Matt had ever seen on his face before.

"...Do you think he's better than me?" His voice was soft, sad, and it made Matt want to hold him tighter.

Near.

Ever since Matt had first met Mello, when he was five and Mello was six, the blonde had been in fierce competition with the pale American boy. The redhead never fully understood why winning was so important to the Russian boy, only that it was. And seeing Mello so...vulnerable... it shook Matt up. He didn't know what to say.

But it seemed his silence was misinterpreted.

"You do, don't you? You think he's better!" The blonde struggled, trying to push Matt away, all elbows and flailing limbs, but the redhead knew how to handle this, and he held fast until the other boy stopped struggling, too tired and upset to continue fighting his friend. Mello's defeated resignation only served to make Matt's heart ache all the more.

"Mello," Matt said once the smaller boy had stopped murmuring obscenities under his breath, squeezing him tight. "There's no comparison. I mean, sure, Near's really smart. Big deal. He's a creepy little recluse who probably eats legos." The blonde breathed out a small chuckle at the joke, which encouraged Matt to continue. "But you... Mello, you're like fire. You take action; you give it your all, no matter what the odds... Mello, to me..." The redhead felt his cheeks heat up once again, turning a hue that he imagined must be close to his hair, and found himself very glad for the darkness surrounding them. He hesitated for a moment before saying, in barely a whisper, "...to me, you're number one. The only number one."

Matt's heart thundered like the thunder thundered outside, embarrassed, nervous, and worried he'd said too much. Mello didn't say anything for a few long, torturous moments. When he finally did speak, his voice was soft, questioning; another first for Matt to hear. "Do you... Matt, do you mean it?" Matt nodded awkwardly, feeling silly and yet...tingly all over. It was the same feeling he had felt when Mello had caught him doing his victory dance after beating King Kupa, and had called him a dork as he affectionately poked him in the side.

"Of course I mean it. I don't lie."

Mello snorted. "Yes, you do! You lie all the time."

"No, I don't!"

"Oh yeah? Does this sound familiar? 'Oh, I'm sorry, Roger. I didn't mean to lift up Linda's skirt, honest! There was a bee that flew up it, and I was just trying to shoo it away! She's deathly allergic, you know?"

"Well, of course it sounds like a lie when you say it like that!" Matt retorted, blushing. It had been a lie, but... he had just wanted to see what all the fuss with girls was about! Not that his little skirt-lifting escapade had helped him out; he still had yet to see why all the other boys at Whammy's thought they were so great. Sure, they were pretty, but... Mello was cuter than all of the girls, anyways. He pushed that thought away, blushing more furiously.

"It sounds like a lie because it was a lie, Matt." The self-satisfied, superior tone was back in Mello's voice now that he had the upper hand once again. "And that's hardly the first lie you've told. Or need I recite your award-winning performance of 'What Really Happened to the Computer System and Why I Didn't Hack into it to Play Sim City'?"

Matt sighed wistfully at the memory. "That was a good one, wasn't it?"

"Yeah, it was..." Mello agreed, smiling right along with him for a moment before regaining his composure and pinning him a glare. "But it proves my point; you lie. You lie well, and you lie all the time."

Matt looked Mello in the eyes, blue staring into green, fixing him with a serious look. "Okay, but... I've never lied to you. I never lie to you." The redhead could've sworn that a blush spread across the blonde's cheeks before he turned his face away so that Matt couldn't see. There was a long silence that followed, until Mello broke it, his voice soft once again.

"... I know you don't," he said, his voice gruff with tiredness. He sounded so much older than he was, but at the same time, so much younger, in a way that only someone as paradoxal as Mello could manage. It made Matt hold him a little tighter.

"Good," the redhead replied, smiling nervously. He paused for a minute, before adding, "...because you're my best friend. And I'm always going to be there to back you up if you need me to. That's an honest promise."

But the other boy had already fallen asleep, snuggled against his friend. So, with a contented sigh, Matt followed his best friend into the dark, blissful oblivion of unconsciousness, and he dreamed.