Disclaimer: Only thing I own in this chapter is Ganon. Who is cute. But not as cute as Russle, who is my kitty baby 3

A/N: First off - I'm REALLY, REALLY SORRY this took so long. I got really, really distracted by Kyo Kara Maoh - blame Dess for introducing me to it :P - and I lost all drive, pretty much. Ironically enough, it was Avatar: The Last Airbender - which Dess also got me into so I'd go see the movie with her (now I'm hooked) - that got me back into writing Death Note. Thank Sokka for reviving my sense of sarcasm XP Anyways, this chapter is made of fluff, so sorry for that too. I'm trying to get back into this.

Chapter 21: Damnation

Mello kissed me. That was about as far as my thoughts went, because my brain had short-circuited somewhere. He was kissing me. I was too astonished to even react.

I had certainly entertained some thoughts about him pretty much since I'd hit puberty, with varying degrees of guilt, and that certainly hadn't stopped when he'd left the House, but after the…incident with B, I'd done my best to put it out of my mind. Over the years they'd all come back, then I'd pushed them out of the way again when I finally found him. I hadn't wanted to scare him off by saying something stupid.

Apparently I'd misjudged something somewhere along the line.

After a few seconds Mello pulled away, giving me a look that almost dared me to say something. And who was I to disappoint? "Uh, Mello, what - ?"

Okay, not the most coherent statement I'd ever made in my life, but it was something.

Mello just waited for me to finish my question. "Um, what brought that on?"

"I told you. You're going to Hell no matter what I do, and if we're both going to Hell, then it doesn't matter anymore."

…That implied that he'd been sitting on this for a while. Perhaps a long while. How did I miss that? Although now that I thought about it, I definitely hadn't missed all of it. "…Is this what your religious crisis was about, when you refused to come out of your room?"

He didn't answer. Or at least, not with a simple answer. For all I knew he wasn't aware he was answering. "I thought I'd failed. No matter how I looked at it, I'd failed. But…I've done a lot more than I can repent for now, and I've already decided that catching Kira and beating Near is worth more to me than my immortal soul, and…if I'm going to Hell, then I might as well have someone to go there with."

I wasn't sure quite how that made me feel. On the one hand, apparently Mello wanted to spend eternity with me. On the other hand, if it weren't for his suicidal drive to beat Near into a bloody pulp, he'd be just as happy to spend his eternity without me. It gave me the strange feeling I was a rather minor character in the grand scheme of things. It stung a bit. I felt as though I should blame someone, but I didn't believe in God, and I had no idea who else might be running my life from afar. It wasn't as if someone could…I don't know, write down my entire life in a nice little book and then force me to live it, or something stupid like that.

"So, uh, how long have you been sitting on all that?" I asked after I'd sort of sorted out my feelings.

Mello didn't answer right away. He seemed to be thinking about it. "…A while."

"…A long while, or a short while?" I didn't know how to just let it go, did I?

"I don't know, okay?" he snapped.

I held up my hands in surrender. "Okay, okay, I get it. It just kinda…well, took me completely by surprise and I wanted to know how unobservant I was, that's all."

He gave me one of his special you-are-such-an-idiot stares. "So nothing has tipped you off? At all? Not me sitting on your lap eating pizza, or me forcing you to sleep and cuddling, or even me telling you what a gaping hole I'd have in my life if you died?" he demanded.

Oh yeah. That. "I guess…I didn't think of it that way." He was still staring at me. "I was too busy trying not to get hung up on how hot you are to notice?" I offered.

For a moment Mello's face was disturbingly blank. Then he burst out laughing. Which of course made me smile.

I didn't get to hear him laugh nearly often enough.

"Prrrow?" Ganon jumped up onto Mello's lap - I had to bite down my protest of "That's my spot now! Sorta..." - and looked up at him, probably wondering what the hell that noise was.

Then I remembered how we'd met Ganon in the first place and gotten stuck in the closet and burst out laughing myself.

"What's so funny?" Mello demanded, petting the cat.

I managed to stop laughing. "Remember when we got stuck in the closet?"

He nodded.

"And I started giggling for absolutely no reason?"

He nodded again, a little impatiently.

"Well, I was appreciating the irony of me being stuck in a closet. And knowing that it was just as ironic for you makes it even funnier."

"I wasn't stuck in the closet," he said, the humor going out of his eyes.

"Right." I supposed I shouldn't joke about a religious crisis. "So…what now?"

"You expect me to know?" he snapped.

I shrugged. "Well, I don't know how far your plan for this goes."

Mello said nothing, but from the look on his face, I guessed that he'd been too nervous to plan beyond kissing me.

I could work with that.

"Well, I have a plan," I announced. Before he could ask me what it was, I'd tackled him, pinning him against the couch and nearly getting a belly full of kitty claws before Ganon escaped to the floor. "I've had this plan since I was about fourteen, so I've had a lot of time to polish it up," I said, then leaned down to kiss him. And just like I had planned, he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me back.

Then he rolled over and landed on top of me on the floor, nearly giving me a concussion and definitely giving me bruises. "I think I have a plan now," he said sweetly. Because, you know, letting me execute my plan would be entirely un-Mello.

But then again, I had what I really wanted, so I wasn't about to complain. Not even about the bruise forming on my tailbone.