Disclaimer: I don't own Death Note or any skills of prioritisation. Lyrics line is The Killers
Note: Yes I know I should be updating Passages and writing War Paint and not oneshots, and failing that, doing homework, but you know me. Irrelevancy and all that. I'll try for a Passages update tonight. Anyway, this. Yeah. I like Mello/Sayu, but I like Matt, too, so we get this. The title is completely thanks to Volital, who left the suggestion in a review a little while ago. Totally used it, love ya Vol. Also Matt and Sayu conversing is semi-stolen from keem's Heterodox but I didn't copy it, I promise. IN FACT WHY NOT GO READ IT (but first you'll have to read Duality and you won't ever regret that, ever) to prove that I didn't?
You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy
To save you from your old ways
Matt had never understood that Mello didn't have a thing for blondes. He had tried to reason to himself, once, that perhaps it was because Mello was blond, and he spent so much time around the hair colour he simply didn't find it attractive any more.
The idea was madness, of course, but it was all Matt could logically think of putting down to. Then Mello went and did something - anything - and it reminded Matt that Mello didn't really do the whole 'logic' thing that well.
Mello had, even back in the orphanage, been the one who'd been more comfortable around girls, and in the year he'd spent with him while he was with the mafia (Mello had eventually ordered Matt to 'bugger off' before he shot him; Matt had been surprised that Mello cared enough about him to get him out of danger's way) he'd always managed to pull twice as much as Matt did.
Still, though, Sayu had to be the first girl he'd literally picked up - like, right off the street, into a truck, plane, mob hideout. Matt had wondered idly if that technique would work for him, but had shrugged it off when he realised he couldn't be arsed to plan it out. Mello was much better with things like that, which was why his kidnapping victim was sleeping with him, and not reporting him to the police.
There were other reasons, he conceded, like the way Mello drew people to him, forced you to go along with things by not caring if you did or didn't. Magnetic, Matt had said, that's what you are, and Mello had looked at him like Matt had just confessed his desire for a sex change. Mad, he had replied, that's what you are.
Matt couldn't argue with that, so the conversation had moved on.
"Uh…Sayu?" he called, bending down to the fridge. "You like beer?"
"I don't drink," a voice answered, drifting through the open doorway. Thin, unpractised. Mello had told him what had happened to her after the kidnapping.
"Oh, yeah, forgot." He pulled out a can for himself, and a lemonade for Sayu. Lemonade. They were chasing Kira, for Christ's sake, not setting up summer stalls, why did they have lemonade in their fridge?
Matt tossed the bottle to her and slumped onto the bed next to her. "So anyway," he said, continuing a conversation they'd never started.
Sayu looked over at him, perplexed. Matt shot her a grin and slid his goggles down. He pulled himself up and cracked open his beer. "So anyway," he said again, and this time he actually had somewhere to go with it. "Sorry about turning up at two in the morning and dragging you out of the house. I know you don't really know me and all and even though he sent me, Mello will probably still be angry that you were 'careless enough to go off in the middle of the night with a stranger who just claimed he knew your boyfriend'…" Matt trailed off and scratched his chin. Actually, yeah, Mello probably hadn't thought that through well enough.
Sayu looked a little anxious. "Angry?"
"Nah. Not really, probably. He likes you, you know. Well, what am I saying, of course you know. But you know what I mean. You know?"
Sayu tilted her head, confused. Okay, so perhaps that sentence hadn't really translated well into Japanese.
Matt let out a long, melodramatic sigh and leant back onto the bed, setting his beer down on the bedside table. "So tell me - because this question has kind of been something I've been looking for an answer on for years - what is it about Mello, huh?"
Folding her legs under her, she turned to face him. "What do you mean?"
"Well, let's look at the facts here. He kidnapped you. He was, indirectly, responsible for the death of your father." The muscles on Sayu's face tightened even as the words left his mouth, but he'd said it now so he bulldozed onwards. "Then he appears out of nowhere, a month later, half his face melted clean off, and the next thing I here he wants me to bring you here and treat you nice because 'you're involved'. I mean, I know he's a looker and all, but that's a bit of a jump."
She bit her lip. Her forehead creased, and she sipped the lemonade. "I suppose…" she started, and stopped. Matt didn't blame her. He guessed she probably hadn't given it much thought before. "Mello is different," she said at length.
"Yes." She still looked uncertain, as if her inability to give a better answer frustrated her. She spoke slowly, selecting her words carefully, obviously out of practice. Matt felt a twinge of guilt every time he noticed her fumbling over phonetics, and couldn't help but feel it was, almost indirectly, a little bit his fault. Not that he honestly thought, even if he'd been there, he could have exercised any control over Mello to make him stop this.
Matt stretched languidly, like a cat. He realised he hadn't taken his boots off, and had left dirt crumbled up the sheets. Mello wouldn't be happy, but then again, maybe he wouldn't notice. "Different how?"
"Different…" Sayu searched for words. "He does not conform. No, I suppose a lot of people don't conform. He doesn't…care? He is explosive. Like a…a firework?"
Matt almost laughed. He couldn't believe he hadn't seen it before, but that was a perfect description for the blond. Sparks and colour and volatility and absolutely gorgeous unless you get too close, and it blows up in your face. He voiced the thought to Sayu, and she actually did laugh, and said that it was a very good interpretation of what she'd said.
"Still, that doesn't really explain it," Matt said. "Bloody good description, doesn't explain why you like him."
Sayu thought about it again. "I have never met anyone like him."
"Few people have."
"Yes. I think that's part of it. He is so alive, so wild, and so sharp with it…"
Sayu frowned. "I think that's what I mean. I'm not sure." Her hair fell out from where she had tucked it behind her ear. She raised pale, slender fingers and folded it back, elegant ebony strands falling through the gaps.
She really was pretty, Matt conceded. He could see what Mello saw in her.
"Another part of it," Sayu was saying, and her voice had dropped, and become more uncertain. "Another part of it is…we were both second."
It was Matt's turn to frown. Sayu sipped at her lemonade again, and continued.
"He was second place to…I think he said he is called Near? And I have always been second place to my brother." She turned her head, looking out of the small motel room window. It faced out over a car park, lines of cars made monochrome by darkness, with the light from streetlamps arcing over the bonnets. "Neither of us are…Well, Mello certainly is not second to any body. I cannot imagine him…bound by a title like that. So he doesn't conform, he's not so streamlined and perfect as Light is. I think…I think I was like that too." She ducked her head. "That sounds very arrogant of me, to compare myself to him."
But Matt didn't think it sounded arrogant at all. He pulled himself up and studied her, as she reached to push her hair out of the way again. In fact, it sounded…like sense. Mello was about as much like Near as he was like a donkey, and Sayu…from what he'd seen and heard, especially about before the kidnapping, she hadn't been anything like Light. He rubbed his chin - kindred spirits, then?
"Anyway, that's it, I think. That's why I like him."
"I hoped so."
For a couple of minutes, a semi-thoughtful silence surrounded them, punctuated with the crackle of tin cans as they were picked up and put down. After a time, Sayu said, "What about you?"
Matt was taken aback by the question. He tilted the can and finished off the last of the beer, before failing to crush the can and lobbing it, only slightly dented, to the corner of the room. "What about me?"
"What do you see in him?" Sayu's eyes were very big and very brown. Matt didn't think he could avoid answering. "The both of you - Matt, I think this is true - you're almost definitely going to die doing this." Sayu's voice was low and sad, but she didn't speak like she was trying to change their minds. "And I can understand Mello's reasons for it, but…you don't care about beating Near. I don't even know how much you care about catching Kira. And your life is a very big thing to risk."
Matt blinked, and pushed his goggles off his eyes. "Yeah. I guess it is."
He hadn't really thought about it that way before. When Mello turned up, burnt and broken, at his door a few weeks ago, following him on whatever escapades he had dreamt up seemed the only course of action to take. He hadn't questioned it, hadn't tried to rationalise it. He'd tried to rationalise everything else, from why Mello chose to do things the way he did, to why he didn't like blondes and how he got girls, but he hadn't, not even once, sat down and thought about what he was doing chasing after him.
They weren't fourteen anymore. This wasn't playing a prank on Roger - this was Kira.
What did Matt see in him?
"I - I guess I just -"
A key scraped in the lock, and the door banged open. Mello stood there, framed in the fluorescent light cascading against his back from the streetlights. Never one for subtlety, Matt thought.
Sayu smiled and slid off the bed. "Hello," she replied, almost shyly. She seemed about to say something else, maybe apologising for following after a stranger, maybe letting him know Matt had done as Mello asked him, but before she could Mello had taken the three paces necessary to cross the space between them, and wrapped an arm tightly around her, pulling her lips to his.
Matt let them have five seconds before he made a gagging noise. Mello looked up.
Then, he was muttering something to Sayu, and she nodded. He kissed her cheek and she smiled up at him, laying a finger against his scar.
"I'm going to go out with Sayu for a bit." Mello had his motorcycle helmet under his arm, and was reaching for the spare on top of the cheap television set.
"Okay…you're sure it's safe?" Matt didn't even know why he was checking. No, it wasn't safe, and no, that wouldn't slow Mello down a jot.
Sure enough, Mello shrugged. "See you later, don't blow anything up."
Matt held up his hands in mock protest. "Would I do that?"
Then the door was falling shut, the lock was clicking, a motorbike was starting…and they were gone.
Matt leaned back on the bed and studied the ceiling. It was a boring ceiling, whitewashed with cracks running across it at certain points. Unsafe, probably, and very, very boring. If he counted the cracks, though, he could put off thinking about Sayu's question for - oh, a good minute, at least.
A minute wouldn't be long enough, though, and Matt could already guess the kind of conclusions he was going to come up with. Meeting Sayu - listening to her, looking at her - had helped him understand why Mello didn't go for blondes. Matt, though - Matt was pretty sure that he, at least, always would.