So! Er…look, I'm really terribly sorry for the lateness of this final chapter. I know I may have alluded that (alright, promised) this chapter would be out by the end of April, but my life has been full of life-type stuff. Not bad stuff—I've been accepted to a program for gifted twits and I've cut all of my hair off and dyed it green, which is groovy—but it's stuff that takes up a lot of my time, ken? Anyway, that's no bloody excuse, and I apologize. I do thank you for staying around this long, and I'm glad to see this fic off with all of you!
I like REVIEWS. A lot, especially as this is the last you will see of IAWL.
Disclaimer: Death Note ain't mine, but this land is your land.
As the door to Primrose Confections was slammed open, the cheery little bell attached to the handle attempted to jingle itself to death.
Mello strode inside, glancing over the shelves of candy with a proprietary air. Several seconds later, Near quietly pushed the door open again and came to stand beside the blond.
"Hey, Janet," Mello barked at the worker behind the counter. Near noted that it was the same jovial old woman whom he had met upon his last visit.
Jane surveyed her newest customers. "Mello, you really should learn how to address your elders properly," she scolded. Then her gaze lit upon Near.
"Well hello there, dear! Nice to see you back here again. How did that business with the girl go?" she asked, immediately resuming her twinkling façade. Near shrugged.
"I'm not a—" Mello started furiously, then bit back his retort. "Look, Janet. Can we get some, let's see…" A tattered list was fished out of a black pocket. "Some chocolate covered pretzels, some of those chocolate-ginger candies, some Green and Black bars (dark), a couple of those peanuty cluster things, and finally some peppermint for this twit." The last was, unsurprisingly, punctuated with a gesture at Near.
Far from being offended, the smaller boy just wondered how on earth Mello managed to pronounce a parentheses.
"That's a tall order," Janet said, once more leveling a frightening gaze at Mello's smirking head. "You have the money for all of that, Mello?"
The list was exchanged for an equally-tattered handful of cash, some of it of rather dubious provenance. Mello grinned. "Yup. Hand it over."
Sighing in irritation, the plump old woman bent to slide open the doors of the display case. "You know where the chocolate bars are, you little bugger. I'll get you the rest of it." A large bag was produced from under the counter, and the woman proceeded to pick up several pieces of each candy and place them neatly in the bag.
Mello wandered away to browse through the chocolate bars, and Near stood uncomfortably before the counter. The multicolored displays of chocolate and shiny jellybeans failed to tempt him in the least, and he wished that Mello could frequent a shop that wasn't so…shiny.
"Here you are, love!" the woman declared, apparently speaking to Near. She handed him a small, separate bag filled with peppermint candies.
"Thank you," he murmured. Mello drew up beside him.
"Alright, here's the bars. you got the rest?"
"Mm-hmm," the shopkeeper replied in a rather venomous tone. "Now, let's see some payment first."
Scowling, Mello counted out two limp bills and pushed them across the counter.
"Thank you very much!" the woman replied perkily, placing the bag into Mello's hands. "Feel free to stay away for as long as you like!"
"Yeah, yeah…come on, Near, let's get out of this place."
Near thankfully followed Mello out of the shop, wincing slightly as Janet winked at him.
"Got your peppermints?" Mello asked absently as they emerged into the late afternoon sunlight. Near nodded, holding the white bag up in confirmation.
"Good. Now, come on."
"Where are we going, precisely?" Near inquired, once more trailing after Mello as the blonde darted across the street (in blatant violation of several traffic laws) and headed to the left.
"The park," Mello replied, walking at a brisk pace and casting glares at any pedestrian who dared to meet his eyes. Near followed, his steps awkward as the unfamiliar sneakers dug red lines into his ankles.
"Yes, and why are we going to the park?" Near persisted, shuffling a bit more quickly to catch up with Mello. Casting a glance at the slower boy, Mello snorted and grabbed Near's arm.
"What wrong with going to the park? I should think it's a bloody nice place to go."
"I'm sure it is. However, is there a particular meaning in this destination?" Near asked patiently, popping a peppermint into his rather dry mouth.
"I—look, you'll see when we get there. And it's going to take forever to do even that if you keep prattling on like this…"
"I have spoken exactly four sentences, Mello," Near commented. He was ignored, although the hand on his arm slid forward until Mello's elbow was linked with Near's. Uncharacteristic, but not entirely unexpected, Near noted.
After a period of walking (interspersed with the occasional unwilling dash across an intersection) Mello and Near reached the grassy strip of land that counted as Winchester's "park."
Ignoring the cheerful couples and sketchy joggers milling about the central area, Mello kept walking until an unoccupied park bench was located. He sat down abruptly, his still-linked elbow dragging Near down as well. The white-haired boy quickly drew a knee up to his chest, uncomfortable in any other position.
"So," Mello said. "We're here."
"…yes. We are indeed." Mello immediately searched his companion's face for any signs of sarcasm, but the large eyes remained innocent and unreadable.
"…Give me a peppermint," Mello demanded, holding out one slim hand. Near complied, and the small candy was tossed into Mello's waiting mouth.
Crunch, crunch, crunch. Near hated it when people insisted upon chewing hard candies.
"You were going to tell me why we are here, correct?" Near asked, when Mello showed no signs of speaking again.
"What, you haven't figured it out?"
"Not in the least," Near confessed, hands darting to his hair. "An explanation would be greatly appreciated."
Mello sighed deeply, tilting his head back and concealing the rolling of his eyes behind closed lids. "Well, what do you see here?"
Near pursed his lips. "Trees. Benches. A vagrant—" The hobo camped out on the grass several yards away waved cheerily. "—several discarded bottles, the sky—"
"There!" Mello interrupted.
Another sigh flopped heavily out of Mello's thin frame. "What is the sky doing?" he asked, in a tone that Near was quite sure qualified as patronizing.
"Currently? It is turning a slight reddish color—possibly some permutation of vermilion—and is now suffused with a yellow tint towards the horizon."
"And that's called?" Mello prompted, giving Near a flat stare.
"The sun is setting. Or rather, the Earth's orbit has drawn us away fro—"
"The sunset, Near! The sunset! That's what we're focusing on, here."
"We're…watching the sunset?" Near ventured, quite frankly amazed that Mello would be possessed to do such a peaceful thing.
"Well…yeah," Mello muttered.
"How romantic," Near said lightly, a smirk creeping over his face when Mello flushed angrily.
"It doesn't have to be romantic, you git! It's just…it's a bloody good sunset, alright!"
"I suppose that it is rather fetching, as far as sunsets go," Near replied.
"Fine!" Mello barked.
For once, Near was lost for words. "…hmmm?"
"Fine! It's a…a date, alright? We're on a damned date, get over yourself!"
"Ah…okay," Near said, nonplussed.
"Look, Near," Mello said sharply, turning to face the pale boy. "This doesn't mean that I, that I like you or some mad thing like that. You're my rival, a nasty little bugger, and you kind of look like a sheep. I mean, I suppose I'm a bit attracted to you, and you're intelligent—too damned intelligent—and you've been acting decent enough these past few days…" Mello trailed off. Near, rather bemused by the outburst, waited for the speech to conclude.
"And so, eh…whatever," Mello muttered, seizing Near's shoulders and bringing their mouths together in a violent maneuver that might just have been a kiss.
Yes, yes, it was definitely a kiss. Mello didn't beat people up with his tongue, after all.
Several passionate (and quite frankly slobbery) moments passed, and then Mello pulled away.
Near blinked. Mello coughed.
"Mello!" Near said in surprise, as the blonde boy leaned forward and clawed at his throat with both hands.
After a few desperate wheezes, something flew out of Mello's gasping mouth and landed with a sad "plop" in the grass nearby.
"Near…you bastard," Mello rasped.
"I am never…" Mello stopped to let out a harsh breath, then resumed. Near stared rather anxiously at the other boy's purple-tinted features.
"I am never buying you peppermints again!"
A/N: Now, this chapter gave me hell. I had a serious case of writer's block, and there are no less than five entirely different drafts of it littered across my desktop. However, this is not to say that I'm not entirely satisfied with this version. It's short, I know, but it's…sweet? As sweet as this fic can get! I wrote it in about two days, and I'm quite happy with it. I hope that you enjoyed it as well!
It's gonna be sad to leave this fic, but we've had our fun. My new Mello/Near fic (as yet untitled) actually should be up reasonably soon. I was going to wait and post both this and that fic at the same time, but I thought that such a thing would just be cruel at this point. :P
Thank you guys so, so much for all the positive feedback and helpful reviews. I hope to hear from you again on my next project! And sorry for the really long A/N! Se quiero Uds.!!