Author's Note: TeenElizabeth's Christmas fic! :D Prompt was Matt/Mello and "It's raining again." Merry Christmas!!
"It's raining again," Matt mumbled from where he was gazing out the window, his arms folded on the sill, his chin on them.
"It's L.A. in winter," Mello responded without ungluing his eyes from the computer screen. "What were you expecting, a blizzard?"
"Christmas shouldn't be wet," Matt muttered back. He itched at the strap of his goggles, and then he made an announcement. "I want a tree."
Mello glanced at him. "More power to you, Mister Lumberjack."
"A Christmas tree." Matt's face pinched a little—momentarily, but it did. "Like we used to have." He drummed his fingers on the windowsill. "I've got some ornaments and stuff."
"This place is the size of a shoebox," Mello reminded him.
"Last time I checked," Mello remarked, "trees were larger than shoeboxes."
"Maybe you just have small feet," Matt replied.
Sometimes Matt just tossed shit out like that. Mello wondered if he even realized he did it—though did he always seemed to defy eye contact and change the subject afterward, so he probably did.
"It's raining," Mello sighed, returning to the anemic light of the computer screen. "Go tomorrow."
— — — —
Matt pushed his goggles onto his forehead and stared out the window. The listless gray that bathed his face spoke volumes.
"It's still raining," he reported unnecessarily.
"We can go tomorrow, then," Mello responded.
Matt leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest, setting his jaw.
"It's Christmas Eve," he announced. "We're going today."
"We'll get soaked," Mello informed him.
"It'll be fun," Matt said.
Mello stared at him. "What did you have for breakfast?" he demanded.
Matt wrinkled his nose, which was his Thinking Face.
It was also absurdly cute, but Mello tried to ignore that detail.
"Two of those chocolate-chip Eggo waffles," Matt answered dutifully.
"So did I," Mello retorted, "so it must just be you that's insane."
Matt shrugged. "I'll drive," he decided. "You might want to wear something other than leather."
He snapped up the keys, pushed them into his pocket, and started for the stairs. Mello glared after him.
That was the problem with Matt. Insults rebounded off of him like tiny rubber balls, bouncing off into remote corners to roll around aimlessly until they ran out of momentum. Sarcasm slid off his back, and outright cruelty dissipated with his cigarette smoke.
It was extremely frustrating, and terribly admirable. Matt believed in himself, and he didn't give half a shit what anybody else thought.
"Fucker," Mello muttered.
He changed his pants, grabbed Matt's Apple logo jacket, and locked the door behind him, more out of habit than because he thought anyone in this building was stupid enough to steal from them.
— — — —
An hour later, they were standing in the hallway staring at the tree they'd dragged into (and then out of) the elevator. It was dripping avidly on the faded carpet, looking kind of limp.
"It's soaking wet," Mello observed. "I'm soaking wet. We're all fucking soaking wet. The world is a fucking puddle."
"So what?" Matt asked idly.
"So it'll short-circuit all the fucking equipment, Matty. Like your Wii."
Matt looked mournfully at his evergreen prize. "So what should we do?" he asked.
"Leave it here until it dries," Mello told him.
"But someone might steal it," Matt pointed out.
Mello stared at him. "No one," he said, "is going to steal a Christmas tree."
"It cost, like, fifty bucks, Mel," Matt protested. "There'd be quite a profit margin if you sold stolen Christmas trees on the black market."
Mello ran a hand through his soaking wet hair. "Yeah… Rod always used to talk about getting into that business someday."
Matt's vast blue eyes widened. "Really?"
"No," Mello said. "Come the fuck inside; I'm fucking freezing to death."
"You're certainly taking your time about it," Matt muttered, but he followed.
— — — —
When Mello emerged, scrubbing at his thoroughly-conditioned hair, from the hot shower that had reinvigorated his nerves (and all five of his senses, in an Orgasmic Explosion of Freesia, Jojoba, and Passion Fruit, if the back of the shampoo bottle was to be believed), he noticed two things that were amiss.
First, there was a loud humming from somewhere nearby; and second, his blow-dryer was missing from its usual place on the countertop.
He dared surmise that these two things might be connected.
Sure enough, an electrical cord was plugged into the wall next to the doorframe and trailed out into the hall, where Matt was meticulously blow-drying his Christmas tree.
"No, Matt," Mello said, feeling like he was talking to a puppy that wasn't housebroken yet. Bad Matt. On the newspaper, Matt!
"I'm almost done, Mel," Matt declared. "Don't be Grinchy."
Mello stared at him again. "'Grinchy'?" he repeated.
Matt waved the nozzle of the blow-dryer towards the base of his tree. "Or Scroogey. Your pick."
"I am neither Grinchy nor Scroogey," Mello retorted, "and you have lost your mind."
"Direct it to me if you find it," Matt rejoined distractedly. "Though be sure to mention I've been doing well enough without it."
Mello threw his hands in the air and went inside, leaving Matt to his lunacy.
Christmas brought out the crazy in everyone.
— — — —
The obituaries went on forever. There were too many guns in this town, and not enough understanding.
Blizzards… earthquakes… floods… Their little bit of rain wasn't looking so bad now.
Mello looked over the top of the newspaper as Matt dragged his Christmas tree into the living room, narrowly missing the scarred coffee table, and propped it up in the corner. He disappeared momentarily and then reappeared with a cardboard box, from which he retrieved a tree stand with the elegant simplicity of one of Wammy's designs. It might have been one of Wammy's designs.
Maybe that was why Mello heaved himself off of the couch and crossed the room to help.
When the tree was steady and mostly straight, Mello stepped back and looked at it critically where it loomed in the corner. Matt got up from where he'd knelt to adjust the supports and brushed pine needles off of his chest.
Speaking of pine needles… they were everywhere. A trail led out the door to the hall, and they were massing their forces around the tree like an ungodly green aura.
Mello frowned and set his sternest gaze on Matt.
"If you don't pick up the needles," he cautioned, "you're going to find them in your food."
"Chill," Matt advised, picking up the notepad they'd gotten in the mail as a thank-you gift from the animal charity Matt donated his spare change to. "They're like potpourri, only free."
He seemed to be appealing to the basic human affinity for free things.
Fortunately, Mello knew better than to fall for that one.
…that ploy. Not Matt. No one would be falling for Matt. Why would anyone be doing that?
"You're going to get some free potpourri in your bed pretty soon if you're not careful," Mello warned him.
Matt snorted, trying not to grin and bending lower over the notepad to hide it. "Like you've ever made a bed in your life," he replied.
"Shut your pie hole before I put your damn tree in it," Mello shot back.
"Ah," Matt murmured, adding pie to his scribbled list. "Excellent suggestion."
— — — —
Over the course of the hour and a half Matt was out, Mello spent a lot of time looking at the tree.
It was stupid and unnecessary, but maybe the world ought to have a little more stupid and unnecessary shit.
Everyone had always told Mello he was too smart for his own good.
Everyone except Matt, anyway.
Matt was too nice to say that kind of stuff.
— — — —
The stripe-shirted wonder returned, bearing a series of increasingly overflowing plastic bags. Mello peeled his butt off the couch cushion and went over to pry one from Matt's hands, peering into it.
"Christmas lights," he noted. "And tinsel. And ornaments. And gingerbread. And about eight billion candy canes." It must've been the stripes. The candy canes were Matt's distant relatives and kinsmen spirits.
Mello looked up from the loot to find Matt unloading the other bags onto the table. "Where'd you get all this?" he asked.
"Walgreens," Matt divulged absently, selecting a string of lights and crossing the room to contemplate his powerless captive, which was probably trembling in its tree stand. "I also bought an umbrella."
"Did you get chocolate?" Mello asked.
Matt started torturing his tree. Mello wondered if it would talk. Where are your Rebel friends now?
"Does Link make the world a better place?" he inquired in reply.
Mello raised an eyebrow. "Hell if I know," he said.
Matt joined another string of lights to the first and stood on his tiptoes to reach higher on his hostage. A sliver of his stomach flashed from beneath the bottom stripe, its smooth pallor interrupted by the trail of dark copper hairs heading downward from his bellybutton. He was wearing his Piranha Plant boxers.
Not that Mello kept track of his boxers or anything. That would be creepy.
"It was rhetorical," Matt said.
"You're rhetorical," Mello said.
"Your face is rhetorical," Matt said.
Mello threw tinsel at him. "Your ass is rhetorical."
Matt twitched the ass in question invitingly. "Don't be jealous, now," he recommended.
Totally turned on? …maybe.
Mello strove to ignore the shade of vermilion that was staging a coup of his face and addressed the task of ripping the Christmas ornament boxes to pieces.
— — — —
For some reason—and he honestly couldn't remember how it had come about—Mello was in the kitchen, beating up on some defenseless gingerbread men.
It was roll-out-and-bake gingerbread dough (ah, the wonders of mass-production married with capitalist consumerism), which meant that even he hadn't managed to ruin them. Matt had bought two cookie cutters, one in a girl shape and one for a boy, but Mello was only using the latter. It was way easier to make frosting-and-candy pirates and ninjas and hippies and lawyers—who got red M&M eyes—out of boy-shaped gingerbread.
And it was pure coincidence that he spent such a long time making sure the Matt one's orange M&M goggles came out right. He was just a perfectionist, was all.
All things considered, however, it was better than being in the living room, where he would have received the full brunt of Matt sashaying about his tree. Over the hum of the oven and the mutterings of the temperamental refrigerator, Mello could hear him singing softly even from in here.
"You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear… Voices singing, 'Let's be jolly—deck the halls with boughs of holly'…"
Yes, Mello was getting sentimental.
Damn. He'd thought he was immune to this stupid Christmas stuff.
He ate one of his gingerbread Santa Clause's hands off, just to make a point.
The smarmy bastard was asking for it.
Bros before ho-ho-hos, man.
— — — —
When he'd finished outfitting them, Mello brought his motley gingerbread army into the living room, where Matt had finished with the tree—which looked great, actually—and had promptly begun draping tinsel all over everything that passed for a relatively flat surface.
Mello sat down on the couch, which was virtually unrecognizable beneath all the tinsel, and which made a bit of a crinkling noise accordingly.
"Well," Mello said.
Matt flopped down next to him, a little smile darting across his lips. The varicolored lights on the tree collaborated to cast an absolutely ethereal glow on his face, and the bright gold highlights of his hair glinted wildly. He looked like a portraitist's daydream.
Mello's gingerbread rendition suddenly seemed woefully inadequate.
"I think you just won at Christmas, Matt," he remarked. "Now what are you going to do?"
Matt's smile flickered a little wider, and he folded his hands behind his head. "Order a pizza, probably," he answered. "But first I'll give you your present."
Before Mello could protest, Matt had hopped up and sauntered off into the bedroom, only to return triumphantly with a bar of chocolate that was at least a foot long.
And it wasn't shitty chocolate, either. This was the real deal.
The only downside was that Mello could no longer deny the fact that he was madly in love with the grinning young man before him.
He had to open and shut his mouth a few times before it worked.
"I… didn't get you anything," he managed.
Matt settled next to him and passed the Holy Grail of Chocolate Bars into his unworthy hands.
"That's okay," he promised. "I don't really need a present; you helped me with the deco—"
Kissing him like a maniac wasn't exactly the best Christmas gift that money could buy, but Mello thought it was pretty good for short notice.
— — — —
A few hours later, as the stars began to break the cloud cover for a better view of the world below, two boys lay on the couch, half-over each other, half-intertwined, swathed in the comforter they'd thieved from one or the other of their beds, stomachs full of pizza, gingerbread, and a staggering quantity of not-shitty chocolate.
Mello watched the Christmas lights blur as his eyelids grew heavier. It was probably a fire hazard to leave those things on all night.
Then again, it was probably a fire hazard to have two smokin' hot studs like him and Matt in the same room for a while, and they did that all the time.
Mello smirked happily into a striped-shirted chest. "Merry Christmas, Matt," he mumbled.
Matt smiled and curled his finger in Mello's hair.
"Merry Christmas, sugarplum," he replied.
Mello was going to have to break a gingerbread sumo wrestler over his head for that one.
But that could wait until morning.