Insert Disclaimer here: I do not own Matt or Mello from Death Note any more than I own the 2-chlorovinylarsonous dichloride. I just use the latter to torture the former...

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"… Matt…"

Matt let out a long sigh and flicked the butt of his cigarette into the dirty yellow water below. His head was still pounding. He turned on the tap, submerging his hands in a sink full of cold water and bleach. No matter how many times he'd done this, they still felt as though they were on fire.

"…I'm coming, Mello."

He shook his hands dry and pulled on a pair of long leather gloves before making his way into the bedroom he and his partner shared. If this was only a mild burn, he thought to himself, then Mello's pain must have been almost unbearable.

"Matt… where are you, Matt…?" Mello groaned weakly. His whole body shivered.

"I'm here. I'm here."

It had been six, maybe eight, hours since news of the massive explosion in the warehouse district broke. The radio listed off the survivors - several police agents, though one died in the hospital not long after. As far as the mafia was concerned, all reporters knew was that the body of their suspected leader, the one who actually caused the blast, was still nowhere to be found. It was good, Matt thought to himself. They just didn't know where to look.

"I… I can't see you…"

"Your left eye's still swollen shut." Matt pulled a chair across the floor, and sat by the side of the bed. Mello had curled up as tightly as his thin body could manage. He heard the chair and started to roll over, but Matt stopped him. "You don't need to see me now. Just listen, okay? I need to check the bandages."

"Okay…" Mello dug his fingernails into his arms as Matt slowly pulled the tape off his skin.

Matt cringed. The erythema was starting to blister. It didn't look nearly this bad the first time around. But then again, the first time around, Matt also had other things on his mind besides second-degree burns and skin lesions.

It all happened so fast. Everything about the rescue was a blur - sirens of nearby squad cars, the lingering smell of smoke and geraniums, the lump of panic sticking in the back of his throat. Matt was still impressed at how quickly he managed to navigate the burning compound, find Mello, and pull him to safety. He just lifted the other boy up, supporting him with his bare hands. Mello didn't even collapse until they were about a three blocks away. And it wasn't until then that Matt realized how much damage had already been done.

"Is it… bad?" Mello winced through a hoarse cough. His throat was burning.

"No one makes a clean get-away with a dirty bomb. You tell me…"

The fact that Mello had survived this long on what little treatment Matt was able to provide was a feat by itself. But it wasn't over yet. They both knew how bad this was.

The explosion shattered the glass on the gas mask. The chemical agents Mello used had contaminated his skin, his eye… maybe even his entire body. There was no way of knowing exactly how much had been absorbed. If he did make it through the next couple of days, much of the scarring would be permanent and Matt estimated a fifty percent chance he'd be completely blind in that eye. But it seemed a small price to pay for his life…

"It was fitting, though." Mello managed a smirk. "The Kira case blown wide open again by L. Near wouldn't have thought of that… not in a million years."

"L. Lewisite. Yeah, I get it. You might want to hold onto that sense of humor." Matt warned. "I'm going to have to break these blisters before I can irrigate them again. And it's going to hurt real bad."

Mello just braced himself as Matt sterilized the pocketknife over his cigarette lighter. He put his hand on Mello's arm and the blond twitched.

"Since… since when do you wear gloves, Matt…"

Matt let out an uneasy sigh. Mello didn't need to know everything right now. He had enough of a fight ahead of him. There was still too great of a chance of shock, pulmonary edema, intravascular fluid loss, hepatic necrosis… death, to put it simply.

"… Since today." He answered quietly, forcing a small smile. "I told you already. We're in this together…"

The hot blade made contact with Mello's face; his curiosity was lost in a painful scream.