Chapter Five: Missing
Opening my eyes, the most unusual sight met me. White brightness, no windows, and a faded blue curtain. "Where…?" I started to ask. Then I realized how foolish I must seem, talking to no one. But a couple seconds later, it clicked that no one was here to witness my stupidity, which led to my ultimate plan: Get out of bed and find someone.
As I sat up, a wave of dizziness hit me hard. Passing out was imminent but I held out and waited for my vision to clear. I stood and pulled the curtains back, yelping in surprise to see Mello asleep on a chair just an inch from the curtain. His eyes instantly flew open and I suddenly felt very exposed in only a hospital gown and underwear.
"Are you okay?"
"…I don't know," I answered truthfully, my brow furrowing.
Mello let out a sigh of relief and got up. I wasn't sure what to expect, so when he hugged me, my arms hung limply at my sides in surprise. A few seconds passed before I realized I should hug him back and I did so, entirely aware of the feeling of my bare chest against his leather jacket.
"Mello?" I asked.
"What's going on?"
He pulled away and handed me a stack of clothes. "Matt picked them out. I'll let you change and then I'll try and give you a summary of what the doctor said and what's been going on around here." Smirking, he added, "You missed some pretty exciting stuff, Ever."
I groaned, disappointed, and pulled the curtains closed so I could change. It was a really awkward feeling to be naked just a few feet from Mello with simply a thin piece of material to separate us. Trying not to think of it, I put on some regular clothes, intensely impressed by Matt's choice. He had picked all my favorites and I silently thanked him in my mind.
"Done yet?" called Mello from the other side.
I pulled open the curtain and smiled as my answer. "Go for it. Tell me what happened," I pressed, desperately confused and curious.
We both took a seat and the explanation commenced. "You went to sleep about three weeks ago and had a seizure in your sleep, followed by a black-out which lasted long enough for the carbon monoxide from a gas leak to get into your system. The doctor said it's extremely rare and he hadn't seen a case yet, but sometimes carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to comas. Yours lasted about three weeks. Matt is eternally grateful that you fell asleep in his room and that it wasn't he who missed out on the Death Note drama." At the end, Mello chuckled.
I prodded him to continue. "What drama?"
"We kidnapped the NPA Director," stated Mello proudly.
"Wow, taking the initiative, huh?" I grinned. I hadn't expected him to be so forward. Normally, I'd think that he would do this sort of thing right away, but after having been around him for such a long time and no drastic actions being taken, I hadn't been anticipating anything like it.
It was clear he reveled in my praise. "Kira learned of the kidnapping and made the Director commit suicide which means that he is in the NPA," Mello went on, "so we decided to kidnap the daughter of the Deputy Director, Sayu Yagami."
"When? Where is she?"
"You just missed her," laughed Mello. Something about his progress was making him act weird. "Yesterday, the Deputy Director came and picked her up, we got the Death Note, and most of the SPK members are dead."
"SPK… The organization led by Near?" I recalled.
"That's right." Mello paused, took a bite of his chocolate, and left. "Take care."
I stared after him. Strangely, the only thing I noticed was that I hadn't seen him eat chocolate as much lately. He usually had chocolate when he was thinking or stressed, or just because he felt like it, but Mello was definitely thinking. I could see it in the way his attitude had changed, especially towards me. Mello was more focused on the Kira case than ever and I didn't like it. How long would I have to put up with this new Mello? There was no telling the amount of time it would take for him to solve the mystery…
For the next few days, Mello paced around the base, mumbling to himself and eating chocolate. I guess the constant pacing kept the weight off from all that chocolate. It was on the eighteenth that two things happened at once: first, a shinigami named Sidoh appeared. He frightened a lot of the mafia men and I had heard their yells. As I watched from the door, one by one, they were able to see the creature. Mello was the only one who didn't scream. He just sat there, looking intrigued, and struck up a deal with the thing.
Calmly, I entered the room and tried to touch the Death Note, but Mello snarled at me and told me to get out. Hurt, I snatched the notebook out of his hands and glowered at him, peripherally sizing up this thing so I wouldn't freak out like the others. Then, I turned towards it. "What's your name?" I asked fearlessly.
"What are you doing, Ever?" shouted Mello as he stood up and grabbed my hands roughly. The Note fell from my grip.
"It's Sidoh…" the shinigami said.
"Shut up!" Those brilliant blue eyes held hatred and fear and my body went limp. I stared sadly at him and when it became too much for Mello, he shook me and screamed, "What!? What are you doing?! What do you want?!"
"…I want you back," I whispered, quietly saying goodbye and wrenching my wrists from Mello. He yelled after me but I started running and didn't hear him. There was no good reason for what had just happened but it did. Now what was I supposed to do? Accept the fact that until Kira was found and killed and Mello was number one, he would not give a fuck about me? Like hell I'll accept that!
Not too long after, Mello was busy again. For hours I had been angrily storming around when I decided to try and make Mello see things my way, but he was locked in a room by himself. They told me he was making an important call and not to disturb him. I gritted my teeth and left.
Eight days later, Mello confronted me and told me to leave. As he was about to step out of my room, I caught his arm and cried, "What! You can't just barge in an tell me to get out!"
He stared me in the eyes, dead serious. "Ever, believe me. This case is dangerous. I don't expect Kira or the Japanese Task Force to sit around on their asses for too long. Not since I called the President. That was eight days ago, and that man is a coward. He should have informed them by now. We have Sidoh standing guard—we'll be fine. But…"
"You're worried about me?" I finished, surprised.
Mello gritted his teeth. "Don't look at me with those wide eyes!" he hissed, seemingly ashamed but angry—with himself. "I haven't been acting right, not towards you, and I… want to apologize. There is—"
My love towards him had become overwhelming. I stood on my tiptoes, flung my arms around his neck and kissed him with so much force that he bumped up against the wall behind him.
"—nothing worth having you die…" ended Mello, breathless. He smiled the smile I hadn't seen for all too long. "Promise me you'll get Matt and go somewhere safe?"
I frowned. "Matt? He can handle himself. Why should I take him with me?"
"On the off chance that he can't handle himself."
After a long moment of contemplation, I nodded in agreement. He placed a delicate kiss upon my lips and briskly walked out the door and away. I wondered briefly if this would be the last time I saw him, but then I thought it was a pretty okay way to part. Not as if that's to say that I'd be alright with this being the last time I saw him. With all my heart, I prayed that he'd come back to me, alive and hopefully in one piece.
Matt had booked a really nice hotel room—unfortunately, when we arrived (with our eleven bags and suitcases because of Matt's electronic equipment), it became apparent that there was only one bed that we would have to share. We looked at each other, shrugged, and started to unpack. Assuming the worst, Matt had gotten us this room for two months. I told him that was unnecessary and that Mello would come back to us in a week. With goggles off, it was clear in Matt's expression that he wasn't so sure about that.
"Oh, come on. This is Mello getting serious about Kira. How long could it take?" I protested.
Unexpectedly, Matt laughed. "Don't you know Kira by now?"
I glowered. "Way to show your faith in him."
"It's not that." Matt turned away from me. "Kira is a tricky bastard. For once, I'm worried about Mello. I'm not there to save his ass if he gets in trouble."
After that, I kept my mouth shut. Matt was right. Kira had evaded capture for several years. How could Mello find and execute him in one week? It would be impossible. Two months may really not be enough. I just hoped that I could see Mello sometime soon. I wanted to cheer him on and give him hope because no matter how much I didn't care about Kira, I cared about him winning. It wasn't as if I hated Near and I would kill the little guy if it meant Mello's win. No, of course not. This would have to be a fair game and I just happened to be a bit more supportive of Mello.
I didn't know if Mello would have time to check his email, but I decided to send a message telling him, "Good luck!" Then for the next few days, I watched movies that I had always wanted to see and ones that Matt recommended. If I fell asleep during a movie, Matt would make sure to pause it so that I could pick up where I left off in the morning. It was a nice routine, even though it probably wasn't healthy, and it kept my mind off of what trouble Mello could be getting himself in to.
But even with the nonstop movies, I found myself thinking about Mello in the middle of a really good scene and I'd have to pause it, go hug Matt, take a walk, and then start watching again. I was in a daze until I noticed Matt's smug looks. The one month mark was creeping up in two days and his prediction was beginning to prove right. During Chinese take-out that night, I looked him defiantly in the eye and told him, "Mello's alive."
He looked up at me, one eyebrow raised. "What makes you so sure?"
Suddenly, I felt sick to my stomach. My certainty was gone when I responded, "I would know. I would feel it."
Matt obviously didn't believe me due to the lack of strength my words held and he sighed. "Denial isn't gonna do you any good," he told me, starting to reach out for a hug, but I pulled away.
"What the hell, Matt?" I shouted, tears stinging my eyes. "Where did all your faith go?! Don't you believe in Mello?! You're acting like he's already dead! What the fuck!" My vision was blurry and my lip was trembling but I gritted my teeth and glowered as menacingly as I could at Mello's supposed best friend. "If he doesn't show up in the next week, fine, I'll believe you. But until then—I—I can't accept it!"
With goggles covering his eyes, Matt hung his head. A sob emitted from his mouth and I stared in shock. "It—it's hard to trust someone as stupid as Mello." His voice was shaky. "I don't want to have hope and then have it c—crushed. Ever, the amount of faith you have in him…" He took his goggles off, wiped them, and looked me in the eyes. Bloodshot and tear-stained. Had he been sleeping okay…? "The amount of faith you have in Mello is overwhelming. The amount of love you have for him is incredible. I would've long given up on him if I was in your position. But you—I admire you."
And I thought I had been the one suffering. Matt had been quietly suffering in his own while. While he had chosen a more pessimistic approach, I had insisted that Mello was alive because I knew that losing him would be hell. I had experienced loss, but Mello cured me of the sorrow. Matt—who knows, maybe he's been dealing with it all this time.
At that moment, I realized that Matt had already been the one to believe in Mello. For years, he had searched for his best friend and then went to the extent of finding him even though he had become a criminal and joined the mafia. We didn't know what he had become, but unlike me, Matt had faith. Maybe Matt feels like he failed and that when he found Mello, he should've protected Mello. Instead, the stupid Blondie went and got himself into some steep trouble and he may even be dead now.
I stepped forward and put my arms around the best gamer in the world. "Your faith in him paid off last time," I reminded him. "You searched for years, found him, and now he has our help. Can't you give him a chance?"
His arms lifted and wrapped tightly around me. "Sure, Evvy."
I kneed him.
Laughing nervously, Matt keeled over. "Nice maneuver…"
Smiling, I finished my food and we had a nice night. He stayed up playing games while I went to sleep. The next day went about normally but last night's talk had given Matt a boost of energy. It was nice seeing him happier. The depressing days were over, I was sure of it, and Mello was coming home soon.
Our good mood intensified when we got a call from Mello. It was during a relaxation period. I was upside down on the couch watching Matt play Halo when the phone rang. Picking it up, I answered, "Matt and Ever are humbly at your service." On the other end, I heard an all-too-familiar chuckle. My heart sped up to a million beats per minute. Instantly, I sat up the right way. "Mello?!"
"It's been a while, Ever," said Mello, and I could hear the smile in his voice.
Beside me, Matt had paused the game and was listening intently. "Where are you? Are you okay? What are you doing? When are you coming back? Holy shit, I fucking miss you!"
Mello laughed. He actually laughed. I was smiling like a retard and Matt had the biggest grin on his face. It was such a relief to hear him. "I'll be flying in tomorrow, so you won't have to miss me much longer. But…" Voice lowered, he continued, "Don't freak out when you see me. Please." Even quieter, he added, "I love you."
For a couple beats, my heart stopped. "You too. I—I mean, same here. I mean, you know… I do too…" Mentally, I kicked myself.
Another chuckle. "I get it. Are you two doing okay?"
Matt took the phone and said, "We're probably not being very healthy but we're doing pretty well. When will you get here?"
I could just barely make out a small sigh. "I don't know. People at the airport might give me a hard time."
Matt glanced at me like he had something to say. I frowned but respectfully got up and went to my room. As I left, Matt was asking if something was wrong. He looked concerned but I thought nothing of it because Mello was coming back. That night, sleep was easy. Knowing that Mello was returning, I had only good dreams.
The next morning, I went out in my pajama pants and tank top with morning breath and all only to find that Mello was sitting at our table. I dove into the bathroom, hoping he wouldn't noticed, but I landed so loudly that I heard him turn around. He was probably wondering why he loves and idiot like me.
I crawled into the bathroom, shut the door, and called, "Good morning!" to him on the other side. After going through all my morning routines, I was ready to face him. I took a deep breath… and turned the doorknob. Mello was already almost done with cereal so I went to the fridge to grab milk. I was acutely aware of his eyes on me as I tried to grab for the Lucky Charms which Matt had placed impossibly high.
Mello's chair scraped across the ground and he came up behind me to get it but I was jumpy and I spun around. We ended up chest-to-chest and his face was so close… I touched the left side of his face. "Mello… This scar…" A lump rose in my throat. "Oh… What happened?"
He turned away, ashamed. "I know, it's disgusting. I—"
"Mello!" I gasped. He peeked at me through the corners of his eyes. I made his face turn words me and I kissed him. "I don't care what you look like," I whispered. "I'm so happy you're alive."
The corner of his mouth curled upward. "Yeah." He hugged me tight and stayed that way until Matt groggily entered the kitchen and started on his own breakfast. Mello went up beside him and slung an arm over his best friend's shoulder. Matt jumped. "Ha ha, how's it goin', Matt?"
His goggles were probably somewhere on the floor—they always came off in his sleep—so his expression was very readable. Shock. Mello's scar was unexpected and horrifying but I could see past that flaw more easily than the idiot redhead. I ducked my head and announced that I was gonna get dressed and go out for a walk. They both knew I was leaving them to talk. Sure, I felt out of the loop, but they needed to talk just as much as me and Mello. I had no right to hog him… I waved, slipped on my boots, and went out.
Upon returning, I saw that they had left and there was a notebook on the table with something scribbled in large letters. I knew it was Mello's handwriting because I recognized Matt's to well to mistake it for anyone else's. The note read, "I have a plan. I don't want you to get involved. Everything from here on out is dangerous. Matt will help me. We'll be fine. If I ask you to do something, please don't question (an arrow was drawn pointing to the right so I flipped the page) me and just do it. It's for your safety and for the sake of the plan. You don't want to be the reason Matt and I die, right? We'll be back in a few hours. Don't wait up."
I tore the note out and crumpled it. From my pocket I pulled a lighter, lit it, and threw it out the balcony. Who cared what it burned as long as it didn't kill anyone. Sirens weren't going off so at least nothing had caught fire. My mood had gone from intensely happy to annoyed. How dare Mello do this to me? I'd been supporting him for a month when even his best friend had assumed that he was dead! I had every right to be a part of this!
But what Mello said got to me. "You don't want to be the reason Matt and I die, right?" No… I would hate myself forever if that were to happen. Mello was right. I would have to just butt out of it this time. Maybe it would make them more effective if I didn't put up a fight. Watari and Roger would be proud if they knew how rationally I was thinking. Even I noticed the change. Normally, I'd be rash and demand to know the plan and everything that was going on but maturation had caught up with me. My 18th birthday had already passed—July 17th—but I felt like 20 was hitting me hard in the face.
And my new-fangled intelligence was telling me to stay clear of the highly explosive zone Mello had created around the Capture Kira plan. If an example of cat and mouse were ever to really exist, it was Mello versus Kira. It consumed Mello's life and time and probably Kira's, too. By the time the two of them returned, I had fallen asleep playing Halo. I don't know what time it was but at four in the morning, I was jolted away by a cat and there was a blanket draped over me that wasn't there before.
The cat had come out of nowhere. It meowed in my ear, causing me to wake up, and then it jumped to the end of the couch and sat there staring at me with unnatural green eyes. They reflected the light from the street lamps that shined through the balcony's sliding door. A gust of wind made me shiver and that's when I realized that the door was open. That's how the cat had gotten in. "But we're three stories up…" The cat tilted its head, curious as to why I couldn't comprehend its presence. Or something.
It blended in so well with the night's darkness because it was black save for the line of white above its right eye. We looked at each other for a long time until I started to feel the heaviness of sleep pull at my eyelids. "Will Matt and Mello approve of you?" I asked aloud. The cat mewed. I nodded slowly. "That's right. They should approve of you. I mean, I deserve something—a companion—if they're going to be all secretive and go off without warning." I looked at the cat for a while longer and then beckoned it to come over so I could check if it was a boy or girl.
Paws silent and graceful, the cat came to my lap and rubbed its head against my head. I turned it over and while petting the belly, I discovered that this was a girl. "Should I name you?" I whispered. "Will you stay with me?" In response, she purred, causing me to smile. "Okay then. I'm going to close the door." Putting her aside, I went to the door. Her neck craned back to watch me as I stood and then she followed me. I didn't close the door but instead offered her a chance to leave if she really wanted. Happiness radiated from my sleepy self when she remained rooted to the ground. I slid the door shut and leaned down to pick her up. The cat jumped up and held on with claws which hurt but I didn't mind.
"What am I going to call you?" I laid back down on the couch, pulled the blanket around me, and the black cat sat on my stomach. "Laney?" She sneezed. "Gabby?" She sat still and looked at me. "Nala?" She scooted closer to me and laid down as well. I smiled. "Nala?" I repeated.
Nala reached out with a paw and tapped my cheek, claws sheathed. I wrapped my arms around her and easily fell asleep.
Wriggle wriggle. I shifted. Tap tap. "Who's touching my cheek?" I grumbled. Opening my eyes, a black blur was moving. After blinking a few times I realized it was Nala and it put an immediate smile on my face. "Hey, girl. You want some breakfast?" She rubbed her face against my cheek which I took as a yes. As I positioned myself to stand, Nala jumped off and pranced over to the kitchen.
Grabbing a small saucer, I poured her milk and she leaped up to the kitchen counter. It was amazing how she could jump so high. Having a cat around would definitely brighten my day and keep my mind off the boys somewhat. I petted her and then turned to the fridge to see if we had tuna or something. Surprisingly, there were about twelve cans. I readied one can for her and Nala ate it up.
"What are you doing?!"
Nala looked up and hissed.
Laughing, I patted Nala's head and raised my eyebrows at Matt. "Not a cat person?"
He shook his head. "No, that's not it." Pointing to the tuna, he frowned. "It's mine. Not his."
"Hers," I corrected. "Her name is Nala."
"And where did Nala come from?" questioned Matt, crossing his arms.
"The cat fairy," I responded with a straight face. Mello emerged from my room and for the briefest moment, I wondered if he'd gone through my panty drawer. It made me blush but I recovered and greeted him, "Good morning, Mello."
Matt turned his head and nodded towards the cat. "What do you think?"
"…it's certainly a surprise," he said slowly. Nala had finished licking the can and was low sitting with her tail hanging over the edge of the counter. It was flicking from side to side as she licked her lips and awaited approval.
"I'm keeping her," I told them, staring with defiance. Standing by Nala's side, we both made them uncomfortable.
Matt and Mello looked at each other, then at the cat, and then at me, back at the cat, and then they locked eyes. I waited. "Well…" Mello started, "if she makes you happy… Okay."
"Yeah, I guess it's okay," agreed Matt, a bit more reluctantly. Probably because his tuna would disappear faster.
Grinning widely, I hugged them both, and I kissed Mello. "Thanks guys. I'm gonna go out and get kitty litter and a litter box and cat food and a bowl and a bed and toys and—"
"Please don't go crazy with the money spending," Matt pleaded nervously. "There's a lot of stuff coming up that's going to need expensive equipment and I'm not going to get something crappy because you wasted all our money on kitty shit. Not literally."
I made a face. "Relax. I'll just get necessities."
"No bed, then. She slept fine last night, right?" Mello was clearly trying to compromise. Sighing, I nodded. "And we can use anything as a toy."
"Fine," I grumbled. "Don't let her out. I don't know if she's an outdoor cat or what."
"Duh, where did she come from?" Matt rolled his eyes as if the answer was so obvious.
"Duh, why was she out there?" I countered. "Maybe she's an indoor cat, her owners let her out, and she came to me. Think, Matt!"
He stuck his tongue out at me and I giggled.
"Alright, cut it out," Mello intervened. "Be careful, Ever. Don't do anything stupid. I'll leave another note when or if we leave, okay?"
We looked at each other for a while before I nodded. "Okay. See you." The words that had been conveyed with our eyes meant a lot. I thought him as I left the freakishly large hotel. The easy thing that had been exchanged was longing—to be together, to be in a normal situation, to just spend time with each other alone. A date would be nice. But they had so much ahead of them if they wanted to catch someone as smart as Kira… Even if it was impossible, I wanted to do everything I could to have a regular day with Mello.
The pet store completely distracted me. It was so hard to choose a toy! There were so many things that even I would play with that picking just one thing for Nala was difficult. In the end, the mouse was the best item. She would have fun batting it around. There were so many types of kitty litter that for once, I read what the bag said. Usually I went for pictures but this was for Nala and she needed to have the very best litter box. Eventually I chose the one that supposedly made the odor go away and the box was a nice dark blue. The cat food was fish-flavored and helped growth and it was healthy and everything.
Pleased, I bought everything with pride that I knew what I was doing because I had read the labels. When I returned, Nala immediately jumped and clung to my front. Matt and Mello looked grumpily over to us. Goggle-boy was lying sideways on the couch with three small scratches on his cheek and the shoulder of Mello's shirt was shredded. I burst out laughing. "What happened?"
"Matt and Nala had a tussle over tuna," grunted Mello. "I was the one who pulled them apart."
I smiled at the black cat hanging on me. "Don't worry, I got you cat food." She nuzzled me and jumped to the ground. After getting her litter box ready, I gave her some more milk and cat food. For the rest of the day, Nala slept and if I moved, she woke up and moved with me. It was adorable. Unfortunately, Matt and Nala spent every waking moment glaring at each other. I was sorry but not sorry enough to give Nala back to the wild.
Several weeks later, I came home from a morning walk to find that Nala was nowhere. I called for her and searched and put out food and cleaned the litter box in hopes that something would make her come out of her hiding place. That was when it struck me that the room was very cold. Horrified, I noticed the open door to the balcony. I ran outside and yelled, "NALA!" but to no avail. The only thing I got was stares.
Fuming, I went inside and called Matt.
"Hello?" he answered quietly.
"What the fuck is your problem?!" I screeched. He was probably holding the phone away from his ear.
"Shh, shh, shh… What's going on?" He sounded genuinely confused and a bit irritated.
"How could you leave the balcony door open when you knew that I told you not to let her out?!"
"It wasn't me!" insisted Matt. I imagined him looking over to Mello. "Was it you?" A few moments of silence. "…Ever, don't be mad, but Mello went out for some fresh air and probably left the door open by accident."
"Mello?" I cried. "Ahh, my precious Nala! Who knows what evil dog is eating her?!" In the short time that I'd spent with her, I had grown very attached to Nala. Losing her was like losing a daughter. The thought of losing a daughter made me feel even worse. "I think… I'll just have some ice cream and watch a good movie…" I muttered.
"Oh, man, Ever, I'm really sorry," apologized Matt.
"Not your fault," I sighed. "See you guys when you get back." Being in this bad mood, I nastily added, "If ever. You two are always gone. Thank god for Nala. But thanks to Mello, she's gone now."
I hung up. After an afternoon of ice cream and chick flicks, Matt and Mello finally returned. They were both quiet as I glared at the TV screen.
"Hey, E—" started Mello.
"Forget it. It happened. I'm alone again. It didn't matter to you before, so why should it be of any importance now?" I snapped.
He sighed. "Okay." For a moment, he stood there, looking at me sadly, and then he went into Matt's room. They did this every night. Sitting cooped up in one of their rooms doing stuff on the computers and they never once told me what they was going on. For all I knew, they could be gettin' their gay on. Hell, Mello had never even touched me. Maybe they were gay.
"My cat is gone and my boyfriend is gay! Argh, what the fuck!" I yelled into a pillow. Nonetheless, everyone on the third floor probably heard me.
I heard footsteps come up behind me and my face went straight into the pillow. This was not normal for me. Today had been so… gloomy. I hated it. I wasn't myself. Apologizing seemed like a nice thing to do but I just wasn't that type of person.
"I just want you to know…" began Mello, "I'm not gay…"
"Prove it," I said into the pillow.
My head was pulled upward and his lips went over mine. We kissed more passionately than ever before. Longer than ever before. With more feeling than ever before. I hadn't really believed that Mello was gay, but this—if I ever really had doubts I would just have to think back to this kiss. He started to pull away and I flung my arms around him, pulling him close. I held back tears when I told him, "I honestly wish that things weren't like this. I want to go on a date, just a regular day like a couple would have. But you guys are so busy that all I had was Nala, and now not even her. I'm sorry I can't be more supportive, but I'm really just lonely."
With that, I changed my clothes and left the house. For a long time I just wandered aimlessly, ending up on the swings in some old, abandoned park. As I went slowly back and forth, blown by the wind, I realized that the squeaky swings were not the only sound. There was barking. I looked over to the right and an insane dog was trying to jump up the tree. Its lips were foaming and it was a nasty, snarling bark. Up in the tree was no squirrel.
"Nala!" I cried. No wonder she hadn't come home! This vicious dog had been after her! Looking around for a weapon, I came upon a long, sturdy stick and ran towards the dog. My plan was nowhere to be found. I held the stick out in front of me, trying to push the dog back, and amazingly it worked. A glance upward told me that Nala was slowly making her way down. I pushed the dog back further and further until I knocked over a trash can and it got frightened, yelping and running away, tail between its legs.
Proudly, I leaned on my stick and watched the stupid, evil dog scatter.
I spun around just as Nala jumped and clung to my front. Laughter spilled from my mouth and I was giddy with relief. "Oh, thank god…" Although it was deathly cold, Nala and I played in the park. It was no surprise that the next day, we were both sick.
"How does a cat get sick?" wondered Matt.
Nala sneezed in response and moved closer to me.
"Does it matter?" My sore throat gave my voice a raspy, manly sound and it made Matt smirk. I coughed a few times and reached for a tissue. "Could you make me some more tea?"
Mello, finished with his shower, came out with a towel around his waist and offered to get it for me. I didn't answer, instead blushing and petting Nala. With Matt walking around in boxers in mornings you'd think I would be used to half-naked males, but no.
Mello's towel fell as he handed Ever the tea.
Luckily, I had quick reflexes and shut my eyes, burying my head into Nala. She mewed with concern. The brief glimpse I got of Mello's manhood stuck in my head and it wouldn't go away. I heard him set the cup down on the coffee table, pick up the towel, and hurrying back into his room. Peeking, I made sure that only Matt was in the room.
"It's safe," he snickered. Clearly, he was holding back laughter. I threw a pillow at him. Violently. He couldn't hold it back anymore. "BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, that was rich! Do it again! Hahahahahaha!" As he doubled over laughing, I felt the intense need to kick him.
Black belt in Kajukenbo here, remember? It would hurt. But today, Nala was being nice and she tapped my cheek with claws sheathed like usual. I looked down at her and side, a blush reaching my cheeks as I thought about the awkward moment that had just come to be. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and bees buzzed in my head.
"When Mello comes out…" I muttered to myself. There was no finish to the sentence. We'll just act like nothing happened, I decided.
Mello came out and declared that he and Matt were going out. Groaning, Matt stood up and stretched. "Another day of creeping on these people? So annoying… When will things get interesting?" He shot a glance at me and smirked. "I mean, more interesting." He cackled all the way down the hall. Halfway down I heard him yell in pain. Mello had probably kicked him.
I sighed. Life was certainly interesting. The tea was sitting there on the table, steaming. After grabbing some ice cubes and plopping them in, I sipped it slowly while watching a Lifetime movie. It was about these crazy wives killing their cheating husbands and plotting revenge on their mistresses. Insanity galore. I smiled at Nala and she purred as I scratched behind her ear. We went out for a walk an hour after ramen lunch and spent most of the day being lazy. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary.
I remember the date clearly this day because of what happened that night. January 25th, 2010. He came home alone, eyes red and puffy, shivering and without a jacket. Any awkwardness that would've been between us dissolved. I looked at him questioningly, stood up slowly, and went over to him. Mello's eyes would not meet mine so I tilted his head up. His eyes remained adverted.
Without a thought, I put my arms around him. "You're scaring me. What's wrong?" I asked softly.
"I know how to fix it," he mumbled. "I know how to make the world right. I know the cure. I'm sorry, Ever, I'm so sorry…"
"Mello!" Tears welled up in my eyes. I didn't know what was going on but his tone was definitely not reassuring. His words were so… final. I couldn't help but get that lump in my throat. "What's going on? Please tell me…"
Finally, his brilliant blue eyes looked into mine. So much emotion—so little was readable. He kissed me with the same passion as before, if not more. So much feeling was in that kiss that I stumbled. Mello moved us towards the bedroom. My heart sped up. I was nervous. So nervous and scared. But Mello could not be denied. He wanted this and—I couldn't lie—so did I. This was the final step. We would finally have a taste of normalcy after this.
He did it so tenderly, to be scared would be a crime. It was impossible. The passion was almost unbearable. His love radiated from his every move. "I love you, Ever, I love you so much," he whispered.
My breath was shaky. "I love you too…"
As the words left my mouth, I felt like it would bring something dangerous and unfortunate upon us. The frightened feeling came back and I pulled Mello closer to me. Our bare skin touched in infeasible intimacy. The sound of rain pelting windows finally reached my ears. Until then, I could only hear Mello's sounds. Rain in January—how dreary. But nothing about this moment was dreary. It was pure love.
When the moment finally came, I was worried about anything. Our eyes met and I just… melted. Incredible. Did everyone feel this closeness? This intense desire to love forever? To never let the one they love go?
When Mello pulled away, I felt a piece of me go missing. I longed to have it back but I could not. And even if it was over, the feelings remained in my heart. We had never been together in the same bed before but suddenly, every night without him seemed to expel this loneliness that I hadn't been aware was so strong. With Mello gone every day, it was only natural that I'd feel some degree of being alone, but now… It was like a dark rift, so much stronger than before. Mello wasn't just my lover or boyfriend. He was my other half, my soulmate.
No one knew the definition of these phrases until they spilled their feelings into one another's hearts. I felt Mello's love and I knew he felt mine.
Mello was not gone in the morning. However, I noticed that Matt was still not with us. My blonde counterpart was sitting at the edge of the bed in jeans, back facing me. He heard me sit up and he started to talk. "I want you to stay here today. Don't go out, don't panic, and just watch," he said solemnly.
The gravity of the situation had yet to hit me. "Are you kidding me? We just had the most insanely intense night of our lives and you mean to tell me you're going out but I can't leave this place?!" Anger emanated from me in waves. How come whenever something huge happened, Mello always responded by pulling away from me? He kissed me—it was my first kiss—and apologized. We make love and he tells me to stay home. What goes on in that damn idiot's head?
"Ever." There was no anger, only silent pleading. "Please. I set up the monitors. You'll understand." He turned and before I could catch a glimpse of his eyes, Mello's lips touched mine. With that kiss, he got off the bed and reached for his shirt. He put it on as he walked towards the door and there he put on his jacket and gloves.
Even though I didn't completely understand, I knew that something bad was going to happen. "I love you," I told him. My eyes were wide with fear.
He smiled sadly and crossed the room to touch my cheek and kiss me again. "I love you more than I ever imagined I could love anything. My only regret is that Kira came into existence. Despite what happened in the past, nothing with you was a mistake. Thank you for letting Matt drag you into breaking and entering the mafia's base."
I laughed quietly. "I'm glad, too… Take care…"
He nodded and left.
Nala rubbed against my leg and nudged my hand. I sat down on the floor and petted her until she was purring like a madman (madcat?). "Do you think Mello's invincible?" There was a falter in her purring. "…you're right." We both got up and I went over to the couch. Three computers were on the coffee table. They were each black.
Sighing, I watched more Lifetime drama. God, life was annoying. Boredom controlled me until around six in the afternoon when the computer screen flickered to life.
"Takada Kiyomi?" I frowned, confused.
A car pulled up and threw a bomb. Smoke bomb? Vaguely, I could make out Matt's form. Another screen showed Takada. A motorcycle screeched to a halt in front of her and my breath caught when I recognized Mello.
"What are you doing?!" I yelled, heartbeat accelerating.
The third screen showed some dark abandoned place. Mello or Matt's destination? It was unmoving. I fidgeted, hating the fact that even if I knew what to do, I probably couldn't.
Matt was surrounded. They all had guns.
"No no no no no…" I could see where this was going. "Stay in the car, Matt, stay—!"
He stepped out with hands up. Barely a word came from his mouth. The familiar cigarette fell from his mouth. He collapsed in a bloody heap.
They shot Matt.
He was dead.
Shock was the first emotion to hit me. Grief hit me next. This is the guy who had first noticed my crush on Mello, who helped me realize, who was my friend throughout the years, who ate hilariously large amounts of food and never gained weight, who could cheer me up without even trying, who allowed Mello and I to be together, who stayed with me through it all. I could not lose him. It was… It couldn't… It's wasn't…
"Ahh…" A shaky breath escaped my mouth and then the tears started rolling. "M-Matt…" No, no, no, no, no! NO. NO. Screaming havoc in my head. Biting lips on the outside. Nala could do nothing. Mello couldn't have done anything. Nothing could save me from the pain of losing Matt.
His death had not occurred yet. I shut the laptop that now froze on Matt's dead body and searched the other two for Mello. I could see the side of his face, the mini TV on the dashboard, and his hands on the wheel on one and the still picture of the abandoned, dark place on the other. He whispered something when he saw Matt's death but I didn't understand. I sniffed and wiped the tears from my cheeks but from my eyes, they kept falling.
I waited, watching him drive, and I slowly calmed down. My mind was still filled with chaos but my control had gotten better outwardly. Nala's worry didn't lessen, though, and she faithfully remained in my lap.
Time passed slowly. There was no telling when I noticed Mello's van finally arrive at the abandoned—church? He left the front seat and what happened next was a mystery. All I knew was that it didn't take longer than ten minutes. He returned to the front seat and sat there. Then—
He's sleeping, I tried to tell myself. He must be tired after all that.
Everything froze when his head hit the wheel. The look in his eyes—it was death. Pure death. The unwinding began. I wailed. I shook. I felt sick and lightheaded. If people heard, so what. Let them hear. My pain was strong. It needed to be let out.
I love him.
I loved him.
The mental transition left a scar on my heart. The night before… Mello knew this would happen. He made love to me before he died. I started to cry harder, so hard that my chest hurt. Nala made a sound akin to a whimper and backed away.
Why did he make me watch this?!
But would I have wanted to hear from the mouth of someone else? Would I have wanted to search for him, to worry and not even know the full extent of the tragedy?
To the death, Mello was always better Near. In my mind and heart, I knew this was true. He did not cheat. He sacrificed himself to catch one fucking criminal.
Eyes widening, I stared as the church burst into flame. My mental breakdown couldn't have lasted very long… How was this possible? Kira knew already. Kira killed the evidence. That cold-blooded, heartless bastard! At that moment, I understood why Mello worked so hard to catch this beast.
Fast. Everything was happening so fast. I wanted to tell the world to slow down. I wanted to tell the world to give Mello back to me. I wanted to tell the world so many things. But when the next car pulled up, I realized: Kira has to be in that car. I leaned close, zooming in on those who stepped out. One man's hair was so familiar… While going through Matt's laptop games, I had come across a file on him. Light Yagami. I deemed it uninteresting and forgot about it, but to see him at the scene where my beloved Mello died… Coincidence?
No. Mello did not die in vain. My lip quivered but I dared not cry. Using my sleeve, I dried my tears and channeled my sorrow into furious determination.
In the next few hours, I established a connection with Near. I didn't both with a voice-scrambler. "Near, Mello and Matt are dead. I can't stand back and watch while Light Yagami gets away with murder. I was at Wammy House, too. My part in this battle will not end until Kira is captured or dead."
"…I admire the strength of your feelings, Ever, but this might make you brash and unstable when you come face-to-face with Mello's killer," reasoned Near in an irritatingly calm, unrealistic voice.
"Fuck that. The Takada girl was his killer. I can handle myself," I snarled.
There was a moment of silence. "I suppose I can't keep you from involving yourself," he sighed. "It would be better if you were under my supervision so that you don't accidentally interfere with our plan. I will allow you to be a part of this on one condition."
Warily, I replied, "…what?"
"You will not follow us to the meeting place where we expose Kira."
It irritated me to no end that everyone was trying to "protect" the situation by keeping me out of it. God, I wanted to be there so bad so I could smash the mother fucker's face in. But Near was right. The intensity of my feelings would make me an unreliable addition. "Fine, whatever," I answered moodily.
We exchanged information and upon arriving, I got searched at least eight times. I sighed with relief at the last metal detector. "You'd think you suspected me of being Kira," I muttered upon entering the control room.
Near shot me a sideways glance that gave off an "are you?" vibe.
I snorted. "You've gotta be killing me. Would I really—" Mello's death would be the perfect protection against this accusation but the wound was still fresh and I didn't feel like picking at it just yet. Instead, I shook my head and grumbled, "Whatever. Just tell me how many days I have to wait until this plan goes through."
"Since it is now seven in the morning on the twenty-seventh of January, I would say a little over 29 hours."
"…I think I'll sleep until then."
Near simply nodded.
Some woman offered to show me the way. Before letting me close the door, though, she gave me an odd look. "You're the one Mello was in love with?"
I froze, trying hard to control myself.
For some reason, her smile had a sense of approval about it. "Good. It seemed like your were emotionless about the whole thing which had me worried about what kind of girl that idiot fell for," she explained. "I'm glad to see you loved him just as much.
Teary-eyed, I nodded. "Yeah."
Maybe my body knew that I was trying to sleep off the sadness because it allowed me 28 hours of rest. I was very grateful and woke up refreshed although the pain of losing my best friend and boyfriend was still incredibly powerful.
Near was practically at the door when I reentered the control room. He looked back at me with deep feelings in his eyes. His sorrow for Mello's death was nothing in comparison to mine but I knew that Mello would feel somewhat proud that he'd made an impact on his worst enemy.
"…good luck," I whispered.
The nod he gave me that time held much more meaning that the casual, uncaring nod he'd given me before. "Mello's sacrifice will not go to waste," he assured me.
I knew that I could trust Near.
Why was it that when something incredibly important is going on, I do really stupid things? Like before, I had watched Lifetime dramas and now, I was playing Snake on my phone. Stupid, stupid Ever. The world's most elusive criminal is being confronted, captured (hopefully), and possibly even killed.
No matter how imperfect the world was, killing was not an answer. There wasn't a single person who deserved to play God and decide who dies, no matter how bad that person was. Second chances—ever heard of that, Kira? My mood was a mixture of sorrow and bitterness. Goddamned Kira. Why hadn't I paid more attention? Maybe I could've been more help and I might've been able to prevent what Mello felt he had to do.
1 New Text. View Now or Later.
Surprised, I hit View Now. The first thing I noticed was the time. 2:48 PM. Had I really been so absorbed in Snake that I didn't notice how long I'd played? If anything justified the worth "pathetic," this was it. The next thing I noticed was that it was from Near. I didn't know what Near was capable of texting.
Then, finally, I read the message.
Mello has been avenged. Kira is gone. I hope you can move on now.
My heart filled with… warmth. A mere two days after Mello's death, even though my grief was unmatched, the healing process had begun. Mello—would he be proud or sad to know this? I would never know. I'd never know where he went. Heaven, Hell, or gone into nothingness. I liked the idea that he'd watch over me forever from wherever he was but… that was just wistful thinking.
In my heart, Mello would always exist. I closed my eyes and smiled, crying once more. "I miss you."
Oh. My. Lawd.
Did I really just finish it? …why yes. I believe that almost exactly a year later, Storybook has been completed. It's such a sad chapter, I actually cried when I was writing their love-making scene. I mean, you'd think I'd be turned on, but no. I was crying. xD I'm probably way too into this story. It may even be unhealthy. But that's okay. I really enjoyed this. I hope the last chapter satisfied you. I hope people are still following this story. I hope you can forgive me for taking so long! Dx