He never got the chance to love him.
He watched the other turn with a half step and a broken word. Burgundy red hair falling over hurt green eyes, a face concealed by a mask of stone. Matt was sure, Matt was strong as iron, Matt was everything that Mello would never be.
Mello wanted to run to him. To bury himself in a warm embrace, to forget about chocolate and war and the stupid fight he was getting himself into.
He wanted something strong and certain, or at least stronger than he was.
He wanted to let Matt know.
He never got to get ahead.
Even while Near was right there, all crisp whites and soft blues, he was too far out of reach and no matter how Mello stretched, he could never touch that.
Near was something perfect. Soft-spoken and gentle, quiet where Mello was loud, subtle where Mello was vibrant and in-the-open. Near was Mello's opposite, and yet they were the same.
Mello was better, he tried to tell himself, stronger and…
He was reaching, for what, he wasn't sure. For an enemy, for a friend, for that one chance to be on top.
Out of shadow.
He never got the chance to be better.
Near shouldn't have mattered; he should have settled for being second best and turned to what was really important. Mello's voice was sharp even when he didn't want it to be, and Matt's response was always that same half-caring smirk.
The hurt tone of his voice made Mello flinch. Any amount of physical violence couldn't compare to the years of accumulated emotional abuse that Mello gave.
Abusive, angry, manipulative and mean.
Years of believing he simply wasn't good enough to be noticed, compared to Near.
And Matt couldn't understand how Mello tried.
They never got the chance to be friends.
On first sight, Mello hated him. The perfect curls of his snow-white hair, the wide emptiness of his eyes that reminded him so much of L.
Maybe it was because Near was the obvious choice for a decision like this – cold, calculating, vacant.
And Mello couldn't compare to that.
Or maybe it was the irritating flurry of butterflies every time Near reached to fix a blond hair out-of-place on Mello's head.
A friendship was impossible now. They couldn't have moments alone without Mello's screaming, without hatred.
They couldn't have each other now.
He never got the chance to say goodbye.
Matt's face was vacant by the time Mello let him go, with only a shove to the shoulder and a cold smirk. Why was he like this, uncaring and cruel?
A demand. The tainting of what was once friendship… Mello wasn't sure what it was anymore.
And then he'd watched from the safety of a car as Matt fell, and red had flooded his vision.
And in those few moments when the power of the Death Note overwhelmed him, he thought he saw his friend – lover – one last time.
It's not him.