Traffic in Tokyo

They're carefully avoiding saying anything permanent, anything that will mean anything, because soon enough nothing will mean anything anymore. (mild Matt x Mello, swearing, episode 35 spoilers)

--

Traffic in Tokyo is never predictable. If it would, things would be too easy. As it is, Matt has fifteen minutes to get to the designated spot. It's six o'clock, he's been on the road for about forty-five minutes, and he's two and a half blocks away. His cell phone rings. The number is unlisted.

"Hey, Mello."

"Where are you?"

Of course Mello wouldn't say hello. Matt permits himself a bittersweet smile. "Two blocks away. Don't worry, I'm getting there."

He can almost hear Mello's impatience through the bad reception. "I'm already here. The police blockade was fucking easy to pass."

"Can they see you?"

"Of course not, dumbass." Matt rolls his eyes. "Have you moved yet?"

"Me? Uh..." He peers through the windshield, trying to catch a glimpse of the traffic light. "Not yet. I think. The light could be green."

"Fuck."

"Chill, Mels. I'll make it in time, I promise." He drums his fingers against the steering wheel as the line of traffic inches forward. The phone is hot against his ear. The car vents are blasting warm air into his face. He turns off the heat and cracks a window, letting in cold January air, heavy with the scent of exhaust. "I thought the Japanese weren't supposed to have traffic jams."

"Funny, Matt."

The redhead frowns. "I wasn't joking."

"Whatever." There's a pause and a sigh - or at least Matt thinks it's a sigh. It comes through the phone as a rush of static. "Talk to me, Matt."

Matt flicks on the radio. A Japanese talk show host is babbling something about Kira. He turns it off again. "About what?"

He wonders what Mello is doing as he answers. "Anything. Just... talk."

"Okay, um... I'm moving, now." As soon as he says that, the light turns red again and they come to a stop.

"How fast?"

"How fast is the world moving?"

"Too fast."

"Damn right." Matt spares a smile for Mello's immediate response, and realizes it's been a long while since he's actually had something to smile about. The awareness fills him with an inexplicable sadness. "I'm tired," he tells Mello, and as he says the words he grasps how true they are.

"Tired of what?"

Now it's his turn to sigh, and Mello's turn to receive an earful of static. "Tired of... always having stuff to do. Never being able to relax." He thinks for a moment. "Hell. I'm tired of being tired." And now that he acknowledges it, the exhaustion flows over him in waves. His eyes are gritty and all he wants to do is curl up in a corner somewhere and sleep. To give the world the finger, close his eyes, and forget everything.

"You sleep all the time, though."

"I haven't slept for two days." Just lay down and closed his eyes, too full of anxiety to actually get some rest.

Mello's laugh is bitter, maybe even regretful. "Hell, then we could have just spent all night talking." So he hasn't been sleeping, either. Matt doesn't find that surprising. "You know, your eyes get darker when you're tired," the blonde tells him.

"Really? They do?" The car has come to a stop again, directly in front of the traffic light, and so Matt sits up, lifts up a goggle, and peers into the mirror. His eyes are the same blue gray color they've always been. "You sure?"

"Just take my word for it." Matt does. He always does. "...I'm tired too."

The redhead is slightly surprised at Mello's confession, but takes it in stride. They've been more open with each other lately. It's been nice. "We're like a couple of old men," he replies. "Like Roger. Remember how he always used to yell at us for climbing out the windows?"

Mello sounds almost like he's surprised that he's laughing. "Yeah, and we'd always run and hide in the laundry room."

"It was funny how he'd never look for us there."

There's a pause, and Mello makes another confession. "Matt?"

"Yeah?"

"I miss that. Back then."

"Yeah... I- Me too."

"Afterwards, after all this shit - let's go back, okay? Just once."

Somewhere, deep down, Matt knows there isn't going to be an afterwards. This is the end, the end of the end, and he's so tired that the oblivion will almost be welcome. But he's still afraid, and so he tries to hang on to Mello's words. "Yeah," he replies, and the NHN studio building looms over him. "Definitely."

Matt hopes Mello is smiling. He wishes he could see it one last time. And since this is the time for confessions - "I wish you were here. With me."

"Shut up, Matt," Mello says gruffly, but Matt knows he doesn't really mean it. "We'll see each other soon enough."

"Right," Matt replies, and pulls into the side street where he can wait for Takada and Mello's signal. "I'm in position."

"Took you long enough."

"Hey, blame the traffic, not me." They're carefully avoiding saying anything permanent, anything that will mean anything, because soon enough nothing will mean anything anymore. The sinking feeling in Matt's stomach doubles, and he lifts his goggles and rubs his eyes, lights a cigarette even though he promised himself he wouldn't until the very end.

The smoke isn't as soothing as it used to be. Mello still hasn't hung up.

"Hey... Matt?"

"I'm right here."

"I- I'll- See you."

Matt gives the phone a fond smile and thinks, at least he and Mello are going to go out with a bang. "See ya."

--

Reviews? Constructive criticism is appreciated.