Title: Bakery Boys
By: Dr. Kim-chan
Author's Note: Happy VERY late Thanksgiving, everyone, and an early Christmas! Of course it should be obvious what I'm thankful for—you guys reading my stories and giving me all your encouragement! (smile) That's also my imminent Christmas present, I hope. Sorry for the delay; I have two other fics being worked on right now: "Photophobia" and "Ronin Note". Check 'em out if you want.
Anyway, I've heard your requests! Someone wanted more Mello/Matt, and someone else wanted more "obscure" characters. And after much deliberation (and realizing that a certain character's birthday came up recently) I said, "Why not both?" So here ya go! (And keep the requests flowing; they're pretty much the backbone of this fic.)
By the way, spot the inspiration for another nickname you gave me, TheRecorder!
He really shouldn't have expected anything more, Mello kept thinking to himself.
He tended to have relatively modest celebrations whenever his birthday rolled around. The day would've probably consisted of going out to another club with Matt or cause some other kind of ruckus in the city, followed by coming back home to a cake specially made by L (who then would inevitably and unwittingly eat half of it), and the next day Mello could strut around another year older.
No one said anything today. Not even Matt, who liked to kid with Mello that every birthday meant he would soon become a leather-garbed geezer waving around a gun, and wouldn't that scare children.
He didn't wake up excited, but he sure as hell expected something more from Matt than a groggy, uninterested "Oh, hi, Mel. L's been waiting for you downstairs", followed by the redhead collapsing into his mattress again in a heap.
Well, Mello was willing to shake that off. Whatever game he played yesterday must have been particularly engrossing, and once he shook himself out of his coma and realized his mistake, vengeance and presents would be his.
Smirking at the thought of Matt begging him for forgiveness bolstered his mood a little as he dressed, as did the thought of L. It was never clear whether L had any emotional attachment to them, but at the very least he had the memory of a computer. Surely he would give some sort of congratulatory remark.
Mello clomped down the stairs in his boots and was immediately met with the sight of L standing behind the counter with a receipt and three large boxes with the bakery's insignia stamped on top. The blond's spirit soared.
"Good morning, Mello. Oh, don't put on your apron just yet."
Do I get the day off?, Mello thought, shocked. This was a gracious gesture, even for him…
"I need you to make a delivery."
Mello scowled. Well, that didn't last long.
"Yotsuba called and placed an order. You know where it is, right?"
"Good. They already told their security personnel on the first floor that they're expecting someone from L's Bakery, so you shouldn't have any problem getting in. They'll tell you which floor to go to from there," L instructed.
Mello sighed deeply and grabbed his red fur-lined coat from the rack, then stomped through the kitchen towards the back door. Oblivious to the blond's bad mood, L picked up the boxes, gingerly held the receipt with his lips, and followed him out.
The alley between L's Bakery and the one next door was unique in Tokyo in that it was big enough to hold a car, a motorcycle, and a Dumpster, but nothing much roomier than that. The car, a dark red hard-top convertible, was Matt's "baby", known as the Strawberry Mobile—certainly it was the same color as the small, seeded fruit, but Matt felt it proper since it was the "official" delivery car for the bakery, though sometimes customers had second thoughts when they saw how rundown it was. Even L, who found little to complain about in life, always unleashed a lecture on Matt about the cigarette stench on the rare occasions he had to drive it.
The second vehicle (the black motorcycle) Mello coveted as his personal property, but L ordered a tiny trailer to be attached to the back in case of multiple deliveries. This worked out both ways, since one of Matt's biggest fears was the speed-crazy Mello driving his car, but in a strange, masochistic reversal, one of Matt's favorite things to do was to sit behind Mello on the motorcycle. On nights when they really felt wild, they'd squeeze onto the narrow seat and race around Tokyo as fast as the speedometer would go, the whole night a blur.
But today was a delivery, business as usual, on his birthday.
If he wasn't so pissed, he'd almost be depressed.
L loaded the boxes into the trailer and shut the latch, double checking the attachment mechanism to ensure that none of the boxes would be lost amid morning traffic, then handed Mello the receipt.
"They already paid with their account; just give them the receipt as proof of their purchase."
Grumbling, Mello stuffed the receipt in his pocket and took out the key from the other pocket, revved up the ignition, and slowly crawled out of the alley before turning on a dime and blasting off down the road. Chewing his thumb, L watched him disappear before turning back into the kitchen.
In the threshold leading out to the front counter of the bakery stood Matt, fully awake and alert.
"He seemed rather upset as he left, and there's a 91 percent chance he'll be even angrier when he returns," L mumbled. "I hope our plan works."
"How are we gonna get everything prepared in time, though?" Matt asked. "Yeah, Yotsuba's all the way on the other side of town, but the way he drives, it won't take him that long to get back."
"You'd be surprised at how time restrictions can actually bring out the best in a person's creativity, but you're right, we should start right away. If you'll take out the chocolate cupcakes, I'll take out a new canister of chocolate mousse from the freezer, and make a couple more calls…"
It was probably Yotsuba's fault they ordered so early in the morning, but traffic was terrible, even with Japan's efficient public transportation system. Usually Mello would've been able to cut through, but with the trailer behind him, he had to wait patiently like the rest of the commuters.
And so, what would've been a twenty-five minute trip turned into nearly fifty minutes of hell, and he reached Yotsuba headquarters in a worse mood than he had when he left.
The security attendant didn't help matters, either, but any other person would have sympathized with him. His superiors said to expect a deliveryman from a local bakery, and about an hour later there was a bad-tempered, leather-clad blond in his face demanding to be let into the building. If he hadn't been holding boxes that distinctly smelled of doughnuts, the security attendant would've probably tackled him right then and there.
Now he was in an elevator (mercifully by himself), headed to a boardroom, with the vague instruction from the security attendant to "talk to a Mr. Namikawa".
The bell dinged, and Mello stepped out, showing off his coordination skills as he wandered through the halls with three boxes in hand.
"That bastard never did tell me where the boardroom was. Like I've worked here before!" Mello berated under his breath.
"I take it you're the one from L's."
A smooth voice cut through Mello's raging thoughts. Whirling around, he saw a dark-haired man who looked way younger than he actually was. Two identical locks of hair trailed down his forehead, the rest flowing behind him to the nape of his neck. His immaculate three-piece suit and tie practically screamed 'important executive'.
"Hey, do you know where this Namikawa guy is?" Mello asked, not even bothering with politeness.
The man smiled broadly.
"I'm Namikawa. If you'll please follow me."
Curling the fingers of one hand, he motioned to Mello and walked away without another word. Still seething, Mello decided that he was too close to going back home to make his situation worse. He may have been hotheaded, but he was also reasonable.
"Where the hell is my motorcycle?" Mello screamed.
Where he had parked his motorcycle a few minutes ago, it was now gone. For some reason, theft immediately jumped to mind, but he wasn't exactly sure who would want it. When he obtained it a couple of years ago, it had already had quite some miles on it. One of its problems was its braking, which only made Matt's joyrides with Mello all the more potentially deadly, and was responsible for the partial wearing down of the soles of Mello's boots. It may have been old, but it was Mello's.
And Mello demanded to know where it was.
Right now the security guard was distraught. He thought he'd seen the last (and the worst) of this insane young man.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I wasn't here when your motorcycle was taken; I was called to the surveillance room to check up on last night's footage."
"Some guard you are!" Mello roared, but stepped away immediately. The last thing he needed today was to be thrown in jail for assaulting a security guard. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his cell, punching in Matt's number.
"…I'm sorry, but you just missed the Mail-man. Gimme your name and number, and I'll try to redeliver your letters."
Mello hung up, grit his teeth, then punched in L's number.
"You've reached L's voicemail. I'm sorry I'm not available at the moment, but please leave me all pertinent contact information, and I'll return your call at a time that's convenient to me."
He hung up.
"…Screw it. I'll just walk."
He was no less than three-quarters of the way from the bakery when he came across it.
The straw that broke the camel's back, the final injustice, the edge off of which he needed to be pushed in order to make this day a complete and utter hell.
Matt was strolling up next to him.
On his motorcycle.
Granted the little trailer wasn't attached to it anymore, but it was his motorcycle nonetheless.
For the first minute, all Mello could do was stand there in shock. First off, he didn't know Matt could ride a motorcycle, and secondly, he thought someone had stolen it.
"Hey, Mel. Looking for this?"
"…Yes, Matt. I was looking for it. I was hoping I wouldn't have to walk an hour back to the bakery."
No foul language, an eerily calm voice, biting sarcasm…Mello was pissed all right, Matt reckoned. And this was only Stage Two. Rarely anyone lived to see Stage Three.
But the plan was almost finished, and it had to be perfectly executed to the end.
Even if it meant his life.
"I guess you want a ride, then."
"No, I think I want my feet to blister…yes, I want a ride! It's my damn motorcycle!" Mello shouted.
"What's the magic word?" Matt taunted.
Mello took a sharp intake of breath, and Matt smirked. First sign of an imminent eruption.
"Matt, get off my motorcycle before I take your goggles and shove them so far up your ass you'll never get a perfect score on Wii Fit again."
"Well, if that's how you're gonna ask…"
The engine exploded in a cloud of exhaust, and suddenly the redhead was roaring off into the distance.
"...you'll have to catch me!" Matt yelled.
Mello's voice reverberated throughout the quaint Tokyo suburb, and then every pedestrian who happened to be on the right side of that particular road that day found themselves terrorized for a few harrowing seconds by a blond charging past them with all the fury of a stampeding bull on the dusty streets of Pamplona.
Matt actually wasn't going that fast, but he was smart enough to keep a safe enough distance between him and Mello that he wouldn't suddenly find himself hurled off the motorcycle and colliding with the pavement.
The back of L's Bakery appeared on the horizon. They were almost there…
"GET BACK HERE, MAIL!"
In a deft twist of the handlebars that would've been otherwise impressive if he wasn't running to save his life, Matt turned the corner into the alley where his car was. Hurriedly he cut the engine and jumped off, but he wasn't safe yet.
He had to get to the door…
He had to…
Before his fingertips grazed the doorknob, a hundred and fourteen pounds of angry Mello tackled him to the pavement.
"L! HELP ME!"
"L WON'T SAVE YOU THIS TIME!"
To Matt's enormous relief, the door swung open to reveal the pale, skinny genius. What immediately beheld his eyes was a mass of leather, furry vest, boots, goggles, and bruises.
He chewed his thumb patiently and sighed.
"I told you this plan would be ruinous to your health, Matt."
Matt could only gasp in response. Mello blinked again, then released his hands from Matt's throat when he heard the word 'plan' in L's sentence.
"Plan? What plan? You were in on this, too?"
"If you'll promise not to commit first-degree murder, then follow me around the front. All will be explained then."
Mello got up to his feet, dragging an exhausted Matt along with him, his rage starting to fade.
And then it vanished completely.
Leaning on the front display window, with a garish red bow on the seat, was a brand-new, blood-red motorcycle. A single strawberry, an ornate cross, and the name "Mello" etched in Gothic lettering made up the custom detailing on the paint job.
"Yotsuba never placed an order for doughnuts," L began, taking advantage of Mello's temporary loss for words. "Mr. Namikawa is a former acquaintance of mine, and I called him so that we could fabricate the delivery. Shortly after you left, I called Watari, who picked up Matt from here, dropped off the present we ordered, and followed you the whole way there. When you entered the building, Watari dropped Matt off, and he made off with your motorcycle."
"The security guard was in on it, too," Matt wheezed. "I told him it was a surprise and not to say anything."
"Apparently, Matt's plan wasn't merely to distract you. He believed that by making you angry, he could make you oblivious to what we were up to. Since we were also short on time, we made your cake a tower of decorated cupcakes instead," L added. "So, all that notwithstanding…happy birthday, Mello."
Mello closed his eyes, exhaled, turned around and smirked, which made Matt sweat.
"Um…happy birthday?" Matt squeaked out, hands up in defense.
Before anyone could blink, the blond punched Matt in the gut. Without breaking a sweat, he then whirled around and punched L in the arm before he could take his thumb out of his mouth.
Now perfectly calm, he walked up to his new motorcycle, kicked up the stand, and walked it around to the back.
"Thank you, L. Thank you, Matt."
"No problem," both of them groaned.
Yes, he really shouldn't have expected anything more from them.