sweetest salvation

The gun felt all wrong in Matt's hands. It didn't belong there.

A cigarette belonged there. A lighter. A videogame console. But…but not a gun. He'd done plenty of bad things before—steal, smoke, trespass. But he'd never shot anybody.

"Matt? Did you hear me? I said to move out," came a rough voice from behind him.

Matt whirled around. "Mello?" he whispered, and then cleared his throat. He was strong—he could do it. The shiny flint-black of the gun reflected off the lens of his goggles and he flinched. "Mello?"

"Yeah, what?" The Mafia leader was struggling with a motorcycle helmet, facing the other way as his friend addressed him. Matt wished they could see into each other's minds, just once, and right now. His mind was all jumbled now, all his thoughts and feelings scattered, crossing paths and disagreeing with each other, disagreeing with fate.

"…" Mello turned around to face him when he didn't say anything. His eyes were hidden under the heavy helmet. "What, Matt?" came his muffled, annoyed voice.

"I…" Matt swallowed nothing. Nothing at all. "We might die, won't we?"

Mello made a noise—not a scared noise, or one of hesitation. It was a noise that could probably fit Mello rolling his eyes. He raised one gloved hand, and it hovered there, in the recesses of the air. Then he retracted the purposeless hand and spoke, his tone calloused and cold. "Of course, Matt. There isn't a day when we have no chance of dying."

"But there's the biggest chance today, isn't there?"

Mello sighed. "I always knew the smoke would go to your head one day, Matty," he muttered, laughing under his breath.

A sudden anger splintered inside Matt, like it had been there the whole time, trapped behind a barrier. But the barrier had been toyed with, prodded with a knife, cracked. Fury, fear, and pain leaked out. "How can you laugh?" Matt demanded, clutching the gun tightly in both his hands. It rattled as he crushed its handle, squeezing with all his might; he wanted to break it. "Don't you care about dying?"

"Matt." Mello's tone was more serious now, but still hanging off exasperated. "…Are you kidding me?"

Enraged, Matt's arms snapped up and the barrel of the gun pointed at Mello, half a foot away from his helmeted face. He wanted to say something—he tried to mix in all of the commotion buzzing and going on in his head and put it into coherent and sensible words. But his nerves snapped and he panted, breath heavy, gun loaded and aimed at his best friend, empty of sentences.

"You wouldn't shoot me." It was a fact; nothing more, nothing less.

Matt faltered, but he didn't move, physically. The gun rattled and trembled and shook in his hands, still pointing at Mello. His legs were still bent, his spine sore from sleeping in an alley the other night. His head hurt.


The word broke through him like he was made of paper. He dropped his hands, dropped the gun, dropped everything. The gun clattered to the floor and Matt pulled his goggled gaze to the floor. "It's Mail," he said in a small voice.

He felt his breath catch when two hands, not very large but strong as if they were, clutch his shoulders and lift him from the ground. He was being pressed against the wall now, the figurative burn in his shoulders racing through his limbs. "What—"

He winced when his feeble whisper was interrupted by a sharp, furious scream. "Your name is Matt!" Mello hissed, and the sound was more terrible, more frightening than any shout. He shoved Matt tighter against the wall, leaning in closer until his chocolate-and-blood breath and Matt's nicotine-and-fast food one could touch and curl against each other. "I never want to hear you say that again. Do you hear me?"

Matt was unresponsive so Mello shoved closer, close enough to hear his heart crumbling in his chest. "I said, do you hear me?"


Mello's eyes widened and he shoved a hard, bony knee into Matt's stomach. It hurt—a lot. He let out a strained gasp as he felt the searing pain. "What the hell was that—"

The following slap was even more unexpected than the knee to the gut. Matt froze, still as stone, when he felt the icy aftereffect of the clout on his cheek. It was cold. Nothing but cold. His goggles, which had been loosening with each shove, finally snapped off his face, exhausted as they tumbled to the floor.

Mello released his grip instantly. Matt pressed his weight into his feet, trying not to stumble and look like an idiot. He glared at the place where his goggles had landed, and then glared where the gun had fallen, as well. He felt his heart constrict when leather brushed against his cheek and instinctively, he shoved the unfamiliar fabric away.

He looked up. Mello looked hurt. "I'm sorry," Matt whispered. And it was ridiculous, that after Mello had shoved him up against the wall, taunted him, kneed him in the stomach, and slapped him across the face that he, Matt, had been the one apologizing.


Mello's gloved hand pulled back. "We should go now, Matt," he murmured. "We don't have much time."

"R-right." He leaned over slowly and grabbed his goggles, securing them in the last moment of silence. Everyone else had gone; he and Mello were the only ones left at the base. "Mello…?"

"Yes, Matt?"

He winced, and lost the words that had been waiting in his throat. "…The smokescreen at the front of the NHN in twenty minutes, right?"

"Right." Mello began to walk away, and Matt was almost certain that he was headed for the door until he bent down and grabbed Matt's gun. His arm swung back like he was going to throw it, but then he froze and walked up to Matt, holding the weapon out.

Matt stared at the small, black object. He looked down and grabbed it by the barrel, compressing his thoughts into the smaller corner of the back of his mind, squeezing the handle again.

"Whatever happens," Matt began, his voice weaker and more strained than he wanted it to sound, "promise me you won't die."

Mello sighed. "I can't make any promises today."

"Please? Please, Mello?" He wasn't one to beg, but now was an exception. The last exception ever. Matt's eyes filled with tears, which evaded the goggles and ran down his pale cheeks.


"At least lie to me, Mihael." He winced, expecting some angry reaction, but Mello did nothing but stand there, chin down. "Lie to me for the last time and tell me you'll live, that I'll live, that we'll both be okay."

"You'll live, I'll live, and we'll both be okay," Mello repeated flatly, like he was reading the words right of a page—a page of the Death Note, he thought bitterly to himself.

"And you're going to hug me now, right?" Matt whispered, and Mello seemed to break free from his reverie. He yanked off his helmet, his corn silk hair messy and astray, to show Matt his bewildered green-blue eyes.

"Matt—" He sound irritated as the shock faded away.

"Mello, I joined the fucking Mafia to be with you, put my life on the line and held a gun to people's throats just to keep our friendship alive, and you won't even hug me?" The words were harsh, but Matt's voice cracked and he forced a twisted, unhinged grin. "Come on."

He was expecting Mello to swear at him or something, to make an annoyed comment and stomp away. Anything but comply. But he felt his breath get knocked away when Mello's arms flew around him, his body crushing against his, and his fingers on his back, clutching tightly. Like Matt was Mello's rope, and if he let go, he would fall away, drown in the raging waters below.

That was how Matt saw it, at least.

"We'll live," Mello whispered forcefully, and then pulled away and walked out the door, his helmet under one arm, a gun in the other.

Matt squeezed his own gun, burnished and black as night. "We'll live," he repeated to himself, and exited out the other door.

It was the sweetest lie he'd ever heard.

A/N: Clearly, Matt and Mello are the most amazing characters in Death Note, haha. This is my first oneshot about them, so any critique or feedback would be helpful for the future ones. Merci.