Disclaimer: Death Note does not belong to me

Warning: Yaoi, language, and hints at noncon.

A/N: none

Because You're Gone

Mello hadn't been gone very long. In fact, he had left Wammy's House only three days prior. Since then, however, no one had seen hide nor tail of Matt. He was elusive enough when Mello had been there, just a red-haired shadow of the proud blonde, a game system of some sort always in his hand as he followed like a puppy to his master. However, the puppy's master was gone and he was lost now, scared and hiding where no one could find him. It was troubling, to say the least, when he didn't even appear for meals.

For the first day, Roger went by Matt's room every few hours. He knew how close the boys had been and he also knew their backgrounds. He worried for Matt's safety, for Matt's sanity even. He would pause, listen for signs of life and then continue on his way. The second day he stopped less. The third he didn't stop at all.

The worry went on to several other children. Mostly boys who would drag Matt from his room to play outdoors and kids who needed help with anything computer related. However, they didn't bother going so often. Just kept an ear open for gossip.

Near, surprisingly, took the most interest in Matt's sudden social isolation. He periodically questioned Roger on Matt's state and made it habit to sit outside his room and put together his puzzles in silence, ensuring that Matt tried nothing stupid while alone. One the inside of the room, it was doubtful that Matt even knew Near was out in the hall.

However, enough was enough. The boy had to eat sometime. Near took it upon himself to be sure of it. At dinner on the fourth day, Near took an extra portion, surprising many people but not feeling the need to explain himself for the increase. They really didn't need to know.

When he entered the halls, everything was silent. The children of Wammy's were all in the dinning area, eating their meals and the adults were wherever they were, some in offices, some playing as supervisors. He made his way with both his plate, filled to the point of peril, down the silent halls and up stairs to the rooms until he stood before Matt's door.

As per usual, the door was closed. From inside the sound of a video game could be very clearly heard along with a few muttered curses. At least that proved Matt was still alive.

Near balanced his plate in one hand, centering the weight with the precision of a young genius and knocked on the door in quick raps. The muttering stopped but the game continued. "Matt..." This brought the game to a halt.

There was a pregnant pause during which Near had transferred the hot plate back to both hands before the door came creaking open just wide enough for Matt to look through.

"What?" The voice was strained and sounded tired as if all this time he hadn't slept. That idea was perfectly plausible and was most likely the case.

"You haven't been to any meals since Mello left. I've brought some dinner." Near lifted the plate slightly to prove his point.

"Well I'm not hungry. Sorry to have put you through the trouble." He made a move to shut the door but Near took a step forward and just barely managed to get his foot into the doorway.

"I don't like having to resort to such a childish tactic, but you need to eat." He winced slightly at the pressure on his sock-clad feet but said nothing on it.

Matt sighed and opened the door wider. Even if he didn't like Near, although he didn't hate him as much as Mello, he didn't want the kid hurt and if he shut the door, he would definitely be hurt.

Near waited until the door was open enough and then quickly stepped in so Matt couldn't shut the door. His blank eyes scanned the room while Matt's back was turned, said boy going back to his video games and set on ignoring his all white guest.

The room was a disaster to say the least. Papers and wires and controllers littered the floor. His bed was hidden beneath shredded pillow fibers and torn blankets along with several other broken object, probably destroyed in a fit of rage on that first day. Matt himself wasn't in too good of shape either. His hair was greasy from being unwashed and his clothes were nothing but wrinkles. Under his eyes were so dark it appeared as if he had smeared make up on. He was pale and skinny and just looked sick.

Near pushed away some of the rubbish with his foot, making space to sit before doing so, the plate being carefully held. "Like I had said, I brought you some food. I can tell you haven't eaten anything since Mello left."

"Not true." Matt immediately replied, not looking up from his game. "I ate the chocolate stash I had for Mello..."

"That's not exactly nourishment." Near balanced the plate on his hand while moving some more trash and set it down. "Please eat, Matt."

Matt looked sideways at Near and then the food before turning full attention to he screen in front of him. "I told you, I'm not hungry."

"I have no plans on leaving your room until you've eaten." Near sat unblinking as Matt turned a sideways glare to him, fingers curling around a lock of hair.

Matt sighed and put his game on pause, setting the controller aside. "Fine." He reached forward and took a small piece of chicken from the plate, scrunching his nose up at the thought of food. With a grimace he ate it. "There. Now leave."

This time it was Near's turn to sigh. "That's not enough to sufficiently nourish you. You've deprived yourself of enough vitamins. If you continue as you are there's a high chance you won't live to see Mello again."

Matt scowled and crossed his arms. "Who the hell says I want to see that bastard ever again?"

"From the way you react, I would have to say you." Near barely had time to react before the punch was thrown his way, Matt's fist connecting with his jaw instead of his nose.

"Shut the fuck up Near!" Matt snarled, recreating a rather impressive impersonation of Mello. "You don't know what your talking about. Just because you're number one in this goddamned place doesn't mean you have any social skills."

Near rubbed at his jaw, otherwise unflinching at Matt's anger. "Matt, please calm down. I was only stating my observations. There's no need to get violent."

"Well keep your 'observations' to yourself." Matt folded his arms back up, fuming.

Near calmly returned to his prior position, his fingers twirling around his hair. "Now eat or I'll be forced to feed you myself."

Matt heaved another sigh and began to eat in silence, forcing the food to stay down. Over the past few days his stomach had shrunk considerably and it was constantly trying to work the food back up. Somehow he managed to eat half the plate before stopping. "Happy now?"

Near nodded. "If you don't wish to appear at any meals, I do plan on bringing them to you." He picked up the plate and stood, heading for the door. "Also, please take a shower. Personal hygiene is just as important as food."

Matt scowled up at Near. "Who are you now? Roger? Or a doting parent? Sorry to say Near, my parents were shit and you're doing a damn bad impersonation of them."

Near remained unflinching as Matt pouted. "I am just concerned for you." With that, he left the room, shutting the door behind him leaving Matt sitting there with a rather guilty expression.

--

Matt did indeed get a shower. It was around one in the morning when he took it, but he did do as Near asked. He stood under the water mostly, weakly scrubbing at his hair with shampoo and skimming over him body with some soap. The suds ran down his back and shoulders with the water, becoming a puddle by the drain before slowly being swept down. His eyes watched blankly.

"Stupid Mello."

Blindly, he let his fist fly out in front of him. It slammed into the shower wall making him grimace as pain blossomed from his knuckles. He did it again and tears sprung to his eyes, blurring his already skewed vision. On the third punch the tears spilled over and a sob tore itself from his throat.

He tried to tell himself he was only crying because his hand hurt. He wasn't crying because Mello wasn't there anymore. He wasn't crying because he was alone again with no one to tell him to stop that, everything's okay.

Slowly he slid down to his knees, falling back and sitting with his arms wrapped around his legs. He tilted his head down, letting the water from the shower head come down and hit his neck. Choked sobs, one after another, continued to rip out from his throat, tearing it raw. Each tear felt like fire, burning down his cheeks and running off in the water.

"Why'd you leave me behind?"

Above him, the water was turning to ice. It chilled his skin and left him shivering. Slowly, his crying stopped, his tears unable to continue. Vision still skewed, he reached out, twisting the shower's knobs off and sitting back, curled up and feeling sorry for himself. He could stay there a bit longer. It was only around two.

Not long after that, a knock sounded on the door making him jump. It was soft and slightly hesitant, as if they weren't sure they wanted to interrupt him but knew they had to.

It was definitely Near.

In a hushed voice Matt yelled at him. "Go the fuck away Near. Go back to bed."

There was a pause. "What if I need to use the facilities?"

Matt scoffed. "Then use a different bathroom. We only have a million of them."

Another pause. "Being alone will not help you."

Matt was on his feet and flinging open the door before he even realized he was still naked from the shower. "What the hell do you know, you little unsociable prick?!" He snarled into Near's face, picking up the action from Mello.

Near stared unblinkingly, he was too used to this from Mello. Matt really was no different. "I know it didn't help me when I first arrived here."

Matt looked taken aback. He wasn't expecting that as an answer. Stuttering, he just crossed his arms. The skin on skin contact making him realize he hadn't dressed and a bright flush lit up his face. "Can you get out so I can at least dress?"

Near didn't move. "What guarantee do I have that you'll open the door again?"

Matt sighed heavily, the blush remaining as he headed for a stack of clothes he had picked up from his closet. They were wrinkled but at least they were clean. "Fine! Watch you pervert."

Near stepped into the bathroom, closing the door behind him and stood facing the wall, his back to Matt. "I'm not a pervert."

Matt snorted. "Oh, yeah. I believe that alright." He slid his shirt over his head, straightening it before grabbing his jeans and stepping into them. He pulled them up, noting how much looser they seemed to be but thought nothing of it as he looped his belt and cinched it.

"May I turn around now?" Near asked politely, a small bit of annoyance colouring his tone.

"Yes you may," Matt said sarcastically, "pervert."

"Just because I do not trust you to open the door again, does not mean I'm a pervert." Near squeaked softly in surprise as Matt pushed him against the wall.

Matt leaned in, sneering. "You always watch people. You never interact. You never talk. You just watch. You. Are. A. Pervert." With that he smashed his lips against Near's in a desperate kiss, startling the younger boy, making him gasp. Taking advantage of that, Matt plunged his tongue in, lapping at Near's mouth.

Near weakly pushed against Matt's chest, trying to get him off, but even though Near was healthier at this point, Matt was still stronger. He whimpered, his body responding against his will.

Matt pulled back, reaching down and grabbing Near through the fabric of his pajama bottoms, eliciting a gasp. "See? You are a pervert."

Near whimpered again. "Please stop Matt. I understand you miss Mello, but this is not the way to move on."

Matt ground his teeth. "Shut up. You don't know what your talking about." He leaned back in, kissing along Near's jaw, up to his ear, nipping at the lobe and licking at the shell.

Near moaned a little before pushing Matt as hard as he could. "Please s-stop!"

Matt stumbled backwards a few steps, looking down at Near. A grin spread on his lips, one that was nothing at all like the normal Matt's. "You say that, but your body says something different." He took a step forward, pressing Near to the wall again.

"Matt, stop."

Matt just grinned wider, his smile mirroring Mello's Cheshire cat leer but with something broken in his eyes.

--

It was sometime around four that Matt took Near to the latter's room, the boy dead asleep with tears dried to his cheeks. His hands shaking, he redressed the younger boy and tucked him in to bed.

"I'm so sorry Near." Matt pressed his lips to Near's forehead, unable to think of anything other than what he had just done. "Please think it was only a dream...a bad dream..."

With that, he slipped out of Near's room, quietly closing the door behind him and heading to his own quarters. By the time he was facing his door, a plan had formed in his mind. He gathered his most beloved possessions, mostly video games, into a backpack he had laying under his bed, adding in a few changes of clothes. After figuring he had the essentials, he threw the bag over his shoulder and headed down to the kitchen where he packed some food to start out with.

He was gone before even the early risers began to stir.

Roger wasn't the least bit pleased when he found out Matt had left but he couldn't say he was surprised. He knew the level of loyalty Matt had for Mello. It was only a matter of time before the young gamer would leave to catch up with the fiery blonde. While he worried slightly for the two of them, he had an orphanage to run and he returned to his normal routine.

Near tried to return to normal. He continued with his puzzles and continued with his toys. However, unbelievably, his antisocial tendencies worsened. Internally, he flinched whenever someone came close and he hid behind his games. He told no one what had happened that night, even as it haunted his dreams to the point that he wondered if it hadn't just been a dream to begin with.

As for Matt, he spent the majority of his first few months on his own, stealing money and trying to stay alive. Eventually he had enough to rent a room at a motel. A cigarette, stolen from some guy he lifted some money from, dangled between his lips. From behind tinted goggles, his eyes darted across the computer screen, one of the things he took from Wammy's.

He searched through pages and pages of data for that one clue that would lead him to Mello. It took him a while, but eventually he found a connection. It led to America. He cursed under his breath. That was his new goal, he supposed, to get to America. He had to get back to Mello.

He took a final drag from the cigarette, breathing in the cancerous smoke and spewing it out in soft rings. Mello was going to kill him for starting smoking. The way he saw things, though, he had no choice. He needed something in his life to bring him some level of comfort.

"It's all because you're gone..." He snubbed out the cigarette, leaving behind a burn mark on his thigh, another mark to match the others. Sadly, he smiled down at them. "Because you're gone."