Author's Note: Extra thanks go out to Eltea for helping immensely with this version of the ending—and with Mello-approved insults!

It's my birthday. How 'bout a pony?

No? Perhaps a review, then? 8D

V. Diplomacy

It was fortunate that Mello had thought to leave his glass of chocolate milk behind, because he ended up sitting in the park pouting until the sun went down.

The park in question was pretty unimpressive. The paint on the benches was peeling, the playground equipment was decaying rather precipitously, and the grass was dying, presumably from some combination of drought and neglect. The whole scene seemed tired, somehow—worn out. Worn down.

Stupid fucking Matt.

"I hate you," Mello muttered.

A woman on the other side of the street glanced at him, alarmed, and he glared at her until she ducked her head and hurried off.

After that, he sat quietly, elbows on his knees, looking at his hands. It was time to step back and evaluate. To be calm. Equable. Impartial. Like Mr. Rogers. All he needed was a wool sweater, and he'd be set.

Of course, wool sweaters were the nastiest thing this side of nasty.

In any case… Question One: What exactly had he done?

Answer: Gotten sloshed, slept with his best friend, attempted to deny it, and then implied that he hadn't enjoyed it.

Which obviously he hadn't. At all. Not even a little.


Time for Question Two: How was he going to fix this?

Answer: Chocolate.



Hell no.


Damn it.

Question Three: How was he going to get Matt to take off his shirt again, and soon?

Answer: Who the fuck was writing these questions?

Mello rubbed his face, groaning. It was getting dark, and this was an unkind part of town, particularly for slender boys with long hair who waltzed around dressed in form-fitting leather.

Mello was stupid, but he wasn't naïve.

He heaved himself up and started back towards the apartment complex in which Matt's sad little world spun on its sad little axis, his feet heavy, his heart heavier still.

Matt was sitting on the bed, which was once again possessed of sheets, and tapping away at his handheld, another cigarette between his lips. Mello reprised his position in the doorway.

"I want to talk to you," he informed Goggle Boy.

"So talk," Matt muttered.

Mello drew a deep breath. "I… am…"



Really fucking stupid.

Totally and irreversibly in love with you, you stupid piece of shit.



Matt snorted. "So go make yourself another sandwich."

God damn it.

Fuck sandwiches; Mello needed chocolate—stat. Intravenously, if possible.

"Sorry for trying," he muttered, turning on his heel. He went to the cupboard, flung it open, and stole the top off of his chocolate-bar pyramid. The wrapper apparently valued its life, as it yielded to his scrabbling fingers immediately.

Reeking of his moodiness, he sat down at the table, folded his arms, and snapped off squares of chocolate, glaring at the tabletop as if it, too, had personally offended him in a variety of ways, most of which didn't really bear thinking about.

Matt came in just before half the chocolate was gone, hands buried in his pockets, the weight of them pushing his pants just a little bit lower.

Mello was developing quite the love-hate relationship with those pants.

"Hey, so…" Matt glanced at the fridge, at the floor, and at just about everything except Mello's face. "I… am… sorry… too."

The struggle fell somewhere between admirable and absurd.

"I've been kind of a dick," Matt went on.

Guy sure knew how to pick a word.

"And… yeah. Guess we should sit down and talk about this like adults or something."

Mello set his toe against the seat of the other chair and pushed it out. "Or something," he agreed.

Matt took the offered chair, but he quickly proceeded to focus exclusively on a lone napkin stranded in a cemetery of crumbs.

Accordingly, Mello shoved his own chair back, got up, and went to the fridge for some milk.

"Question for you," Mello mumbled.

"Shoot," Matt murmured back, eyelashes dipping onto his cheeks.

God damn it. This was a minefield if he'd ever seen one.

"I, um… was wondering something."

"Mm… what?"

"D'you—well—is this for fun, and shit, or d'you—love me?"

Matt laughed softly. "That's a stupid-ass question, Mello."

Anger flared hotly in Mello's chest. "Well, you got a stupid-ass answer, or what?"

"Relax, Mello." The gentle calm of Matt's voice made his extremities tingle. "I've loved you since… I dunno. Ever."

"Y—you have? But why…?"

The laugh again—an unobtrusive sound, but so extravagantly precious that Mello strained desperately to hear it. "How the hell could I not?"

Mello wasn't exactly unaccustomed to drunken lies—or drunken exaggerations, perhaps.

This one hurt, though. This one stabbed the red-hot fire poker of betrayed indignity straight through his eye.

Or perhaps not straight through, given the circumstances.

He poured himself a tall glass of milk and then replaced the carton in the refrigerator door.

Chair legs squealed on old linoleum as Matt stood. Mello ignored him and indulged the inimitable combination that was milk and chocolate.

"Mello," Matt gritted out, "knock it off."

Mello spared him a glance. "Your head? You wouldn't be able to afford my rates, I'm afraid."

Matt's eyes narrowed, and his hands curled into fists like flowers closing as the sun went down. "Stop being a smarmy bitch."

Anger sparked again. The kindling was set, and the branches were laid; all it took was for one of those embers to catch—

Mello smirked, set his milk down, and licked a fleck of chocolate from his upper lip. "Well, if you weren't such an unabashed little slut," he remarked, "that might be easi—"

"Piece of shit!" Matt howled.

Half of a chocolate bar soared in a graceful arc across the room as they dove at each other and collided like warring storm fronts. Mello had taken a set of knuckles to the eye and a knee to the gut before he'd had time to process the situation. Fortunately, Matt had forgotten that Mello's size afforded him something of uncanny speed, to the effect that Mello darted out of his opponent's grip, shoved him onto the floor, and planted a firm hand on either of his shoulders.

He smiled innocently down at the seething boy beneath him. "Are you finished?" he inquired sweetly.

Matt gave a growl that started low in his chest. Then he twisted hard rightward, sending Mello slamming into the nearest table leg. That done, he snagged his fingers in Mello's hair and yanked forcefully, intending to grind his opponent's face into the flooring.

But Mello was ready for that.

He landed a blow of his own on Matt's cheekbone, disregarding the thin, burning dribble of blood meandering down his temple, pinned his unabashed little slut again, clutched two hefty fistfuls of Queen T-shirt, and crushed his mouth to its owner's.

Abruptly, Matt ceased thrashing. His fingers were still twined in Mello's hair, and everything tasted gloriously of chocolate.

Mello was nursing a black eye by the next morning—and a few smaller bruises besides, the acquisition of which had proved much more pleasant.

All told, it was probably the best conclusion to an inebriated one-night stand in recorded history.