A/N: So, this is my little thesis-fic for the fangirl's world I live in: Matt/MelloxNear, where the MelloxNear never actually happens. I apologize for any OOC-ness? Mello seems kinda OOC to me....... hm.

Coping

They sat in Mello's bedroom one night, snacking on pocky. Matt had taken a seat in the chair, facing backwards with his arms draped over the back, while Mello had flung himself over the bed and was now bellyaching about Near. The door was closed and securely locked with a wooden device handmade by the pair expressly for this purpose, so it was relatively safe for Mello to spill his secrets to his best friend in the dark of night.

"Why, Matt? That's all I want to do," the blond was saying. Matt bit the tip of the snack stick off.

"I thought all you wanted to do was to beat Near?"

"Well, yes- ostensibly. It's just- he never- feels anything- I…" Mello colored, and shut his mouth before any more gibberish could come out. He stared at the ceiling, thinking (how do you express something like this verbally?), and chewed on his chocolate. "He almost smiled today- I swear, he almost did- and I had nothing to do with it." Matt was quiet. "I can't beat Near, I can't make him smile, I can't make him cry, I can't make him angry, I can't do anything!"

"Believe it or not, but there are things in the world outside of Near."

"Yeah, but they don't matter," Mello whined, rolling over and draping his arm across his eyes. It was overdramatic, and Matt knew it was dissent for the sake of dissent. Presently, Mello uncovered his eyes and looked at Matt. "Okay, I lied. But… when he's blank like that… it makes me feel so useless… and out of control."

Matt scoffed under his breath. "No kidding." Mello shot him a look. Matt smiled sheepishly, and Mello took another bite of pocky, nibbling it away. They stared pensively for a while, Matt at Mello and Mello at the wall.

"Hey…" Matt said finally. Mello grunted in response, mouth full. "How do you know you like Near, anyway?" Mello sat up on one elbow indignantly.

"Are you discounting my feelings?"

"No, I'm just wondering… how do you know you like a guy?"

"I dunno. How do you know you like a girl?" Matt held up his hands in surrender, giving his question over. Mello went back to eating pocky and staring at the wall.

"You know, getting pissed at Near isn't the best way to get him to like you." Mello sighed.

"I know… But he's not receptive to people being nice, either, if you haven't noticed. I thought making him mad would be the first step to making him more human, but apparently that doesn't work either."

"I dunno. What if he likes you already?" Mello gimmicked.

"Are you insane?"

"No, think about it- all you show him is hate, because you're afraid that he'll find out that you like him. Right? And so maybe Near is showing you nothing because he's afraid that if he feels something, you'll find out that he likes you, and he thinks you hate him." Mello chewed his lip, mulling Matt's words over.

"You're crazy. Near doesn't feel a thing. Not a goddamn thing…" They sat in silence for a moment.

"You know what I think?" Mello turned to him with a look that seemed to say "You? Think?" Matt waved him off. "Humor me for a minute."

"Alright. What?" Matt twirled a stick of pocky between his fingers distantly before speaking.

"I think you do both like each other. And you're reacting to each other- just in all the wrong ways. You know?" Mello munched his chocolate, not meeting Matt's eyes.

"… You're crazy."