A/N: Hey guys, Spice here. I cannot appologize ENOUGH for this being so late, I am so, so, so so so so sorry! It's not a very good chapter either, unfortunatly. It's pretty badly written, so sorry for that too. In other news, Missy and I are doing NaNoWriMo this month, so there won't be anything new this month. But have no fear! I have the next few chapters of this written, it just needs desperate editing. I will try really, really hard to get that done for you amazing people, alright?


The metallic click of the lock turning shattered the silence of the once-white room, jolting Mello out of a fitful slumber. He bolted upright, eyes alight with a feverish terror. The blonde crossed himself as the door swung open behind him.

"Oh God, my God!" he cried. "Why have you forsaken me?!" Mello pounded his fists on the floor. "For once in your life, Near, show some compassion and kill me! For once in your life!" Bitter tears left tracks down the blonde's grimy cheeks.

"Oh, Mello!"

Mello's head snapped around to face the intruder, blue eyes widening. A woman, tall and blonde, stood on the threshold, a bundle tucked under one arm, her face the very picture of horror.

"Mello, oh my God, Mello!" Her heels clicked on the tile floor as she rushed to his side.

"…Hal?" Mello said slowly, not quite believing. "It's been awhile."

She laughed half-heartedly, wiping tears from the corners of her eyes. "Oh, what has Near done to you?" She gently inspected his wounds while making soft sobbing noises.

Mello frowned. "Why are you crying? You barely know me."

Hal licked her sleeve and wiped blood off of his forehead. "Because Near has no right to treat you this way. You're a person, Mello, not just another one of his toys. Besides, I promised your friend I'd look after you."

Mello looked up at her sharply. "Matt…" he said quietly. "He…he brought me here?"

"Yes, but only with your best intentions in mind. He thought it would be better if he didn't see you for a while." Hal unwrapped the bundle, which turned out to be his clothes, and handed it to him. "I want to help you. He loves you, Mello."

Tears dripped from blue eyes, and Mello scrubbed at his face furiously. "Enough with the goddamn tears already! I'm tired of crying."

"Don't be ashamed. You've had every reason to," Hal said quietly, helping him into his vest.

Mello's eyes burned, but he said nothing. She pressed something into his palm, and the blonde gunman gazed down at the rosary beads in his hand.

"Have faith, Mello. There is still some good in the world." Hal curled his fingers around the cross. Mello clenched it tightly, as if he would never let go. Hal helped him to his feet, and the blonde leaned against her heavily.

"Can you walk? Because I'm not carrying you."

Mello smiled for the first time in over a week.

The long, dark hall seemed never ending at their sluggish pace, but somehow they managed to make it through the crushing black unnoticed. Hal ducked out of a small back door, checking for guards. She made an 'all clear' motion, and Mello followed her out the door, to find the sun just beginning to set. He took Hal's hand, meeting her eyes.

"You must be an angel, because you saved me from hell."

Speechless, Hal could only dash tears from her eyes as Mello slipped into a shadowed alley. She turned back inside. She had to make herself useful before Near or the others noticed her absence.

---

Matt's green eyes were intensely focused on the TV screen, but his frantic button mashing was unusually half-hearted. His chest ached with loneliness, and even with the comically loud video game explosions, the apartment seemed oddly silent without Mello's usual yelling, bitching, and crunching. But really, it was better that they were separated for the time being. Both blonde and redhead needed time to cool down. Had they been confined to their tiny apartment, the resulting fights would have caused irreparable damage. There was a sudden noise from the door that caused Matt to start so violently he dropped his controller. The sounds continued, and Matt made for the door, ignoring the loud, explodey protests coming from his game. Hesitantly, the redhead turned the lock and swung open the door. It goes without saying that he was more than a little surprised when leather-clad blonde fell into his arms.

"The hell, Mello? You finally come crawling back, huh?"

Mello didn't respond, clinging to Matt with a white-knuckle grip and hiding his face in the redhead's neck. Matt frowned. Mello always rose to the bait. Always.

"Mells?"

With a choked sob, the blonde turned his face up to meet the gamer's gaze.

"Holy shit…" Matt cupped Mello's bruised and bloodied face in his hands. "Mells, what happened to you?!" Mello shook his head slowly, tears dripping down his cheeks.

"Damn tears!" he burst suddenly.

Matt wiped his face gently, carefully avoiding the broken skin. "Mello," the redhead said firmly. "What happened?"

Mello shuddered. "Near."

Matt's emerald eyes widened, his eyebrows disappearing under messy crimson bangs. "Near did this to you?"

Mello nodded after a moment's hesitation.

"Bastard!" Matt released his grip on the blonde, diving for the gun under the couch.

"Matt…" Mello said weakly, swaying dangerously now that his support had disappeared.

"You're right!" Matt dropped the gun like it was on fire and dashed back to the blonde. "We gotta take care of you first." He grabbed Mello around the waist, and the beaten gunman cried out in pain. The redhead yanked his arms back. His hands were shaking. "S-sorry, sorry. I just…I guess I'm freaking out a little." Matt looked Mello over quickly. He was in worse shape than the gamer had first thought. The blonde was barely standing, his hand clamped protectively over his side.

"Wh-what did he do to you?"

"A-a lot of th-things…" Mello stammered, not meeting Matt's worried gaze. The redhead reached a hand towards the zipper of Mello's vest.

"May I?"

If Matt hadn't known Mello as well as he did, the gamer would have called the look that flashed across the blonde's face fear. But this was Mello. Tough-talking, gun-slinging, leather-wearing, badass Mello. Mello was not afraid of anything, especially not taking his shirt off. He was sexy and he knew it. But eventually, the blonde nodded, and Matt unzipped his vest. The redhead nearly choked. Mello's smooth, tanned chest was black and blue and putrid green with bruises, and his side was torn open and crusted with dried blood. Sticky red liquid was still oozing sluggishly from the wound.

"M-Matt…" the blonde whimpered. "I'm so sorry…"

"No…Mells, no…" Matt was shaking just as badly as Mello was. "I'm the one who's sorry. I never should have…I didn't mean… Oh Mells!"

Mello's weary legs refused to hold him upright any longer, and they gave out from under him. Matt caught him as he fell, holding the broken blonde to his chest. "Oh Mells, I love you so much!"