AN: When I concluded Tinted Gold late last year I was very happy with the result. I thought that I had left it open ended, so you could finish the story however you wanted. (I joked that I liked to imagine they came back to the apartment, found Mello's note together and laughed.) The general consensus, however, seemed to be people thinking that they had died. While that was a definite possibility, I never said that definitively. Recently Living in a Fantasy (an amazing Matt/Mello author who you should check out) and I bribed one another with a writing exchange of sorts. This is my part of the bargain, so you can thank her for this impromptu continuation. =) She requested a happy ending for Matt and Mello. If you are content with how Tinted Gold ended, you don't need to read on. For those of you who always wanted them to live happily ever after (because certainly the deserve it,) I hope this does them justice. Please enjoy.

I stumble through the door, leaving it open behind me. I lean down slowly, so slowly, and start to unfasten my boots. The laces slip through my trembling fingers, but I manage to yank off either of the boots, leaving my feet in only socks. I'd just limped four blocks—I was suddenly thankful for our apartment's location. If we'd been in a better part of town, I wouldn't have been close enough to walk. Or run. (Which I had managed with some effort.)

I shuffle over to the TV, pressing the on button with my thumb and sinking down to the floor just a foot in front of it. The television sits on a short table pressed against the wall so I have to tilt my head up a little to watch the images flashing across the screen. I hear a short laugh come from my lips and the sound startles me. The TV is on the Food Network channel; Mello made lasagna last night for dinner. Mello never cooks, but he had last night. I press my pointer finger against the down button and slowly click through the channels. I don't know why I didn't just pick up the remote. I find the local news and stop, sitting at strict attention, my back rigid.

A woman reporter stands in a distance in front of a burning building. "The church here in Nagano has been abandoned for almost forty years and there were plans to refurbish the building as a historical landmark. The fire started late this afternoon and firefighters are still struggling to put out the flames. It has been contained to this area and we expect no damage to come to buildings in this area. Fire chief Fuyu made a statement earlier today saying, and I quote, 'We expect the fire is an act of arson and the—"

I press the mute button, not wanting to hear anymore. I rest my head down in my hands, silent for a long while. I'm blinking rapidly behind my goggles when I raise my head again. I have a headache. I fumble for my cigarettes and lighter, and soon I'm dragging on my addiction. It should make me feel better but it doesn't. I draw my knees up to my chest, rocking gently there on the floor in front of the television.

I still remember Mello's last minute instructions. "If you're being pursued," He'd said, "Get out of the car and run. Run like hell." My poor Camaro. I'd skidded to a stop right in the middle of an intersection—in the middle of a red light—and it only took a second before a car hit me on the passenger side. I guess I was lucky for small favors. That had efficiently blocked the intersection, and I jumped out of my car and ran. Those fanatics who'd been following me either hit my poor car or were forced to stop. I ran for several blocks before slowing to a walk. My right leg is kind of screwed up, I think my knee banged into the underside of the dashboard in the initial collision. My face is probably all scratched up from the broken glass, but it doesn't matter.

Mello had gone over the plan with me at least twice, maybe three times. I don't really remember. But I do specifically remember Nagano. You know, the place that's on fire. Well, not all of Nagano, just the church Mello had scoped out. I lift up my goggles and put them on my forehead, hair mussed by the strap. I rub my eyes with my fist, dragging on my quickly disappearing cigarette.

I manage to gather my legs beneath me and get to my feet, the cigarette dangling listlessly between my lips. I wonder if there is any lasagna left over in the kitchen. I don't know why I wonder, but Mello made it and I have my heart set on having some. Just as I'm heading for the fridge a folded paper catches my eye. My name is scrawled on the letter, and with shaking hands I unfold it. As I read silent tears fill my eyes, spilling down my cheeks. As I come to end a soft sob slips from my lips, and I cover my mouth with one hand. It can't be over. I can't live without him, I won't.

Somehow I make it to the bedroom, collapsing on the bed. I drop my cigarette in the dish on the bedside table. A part of me wants to just set the bed on fire, but I'm too mentally and physically exhausted to do that just yet. I draw my knees up in the fetal position, tears leaking from my eyes and soaking into the pillow. It smells like Mello. I cry myself into a dreamless sleep, Mello's letter still clutched in my hand.

I come to slow awareness, feeling the faint touch of lips against my forehead, either of my eyelids, then that light touch against my lips. A soft sigh escapes me, and I feel a shift on the bed. Those chapped lips touch mine again, firmer this time, and I taste minty toothpaste, soot and Mello.

My eyes flutter open on their own accord and my breath lodges in my throat. Cerulean eyes stare back down at me. "Mello," I say hoarsely.

He reaches up, pulling my goggles off of my forehead and tossing them to the floor. He smiled a little, and such a simple expression on his face makes my heart skip a beat. "Matt." He responds, pressing our lips together again.

Suddenly my fingers are fisting tightly into his hair, fresh tears filling my eyes. I'm laughing against his lips; my heart feels whole again. He rolls us over so I'm situated on his chest and I kiss along his jawline, then his neck and shoulder and anywhere I can reach.

"I'm sorry I scared you like that." He whispers, but I'm barely paying attention to his words. All I hear is his voice again, God how I love that voice.

"You're here," I murmur, snuggling down into him when I feel a pair of arms snake around my waist and pull me in close. "How are you here?" It doesn't even matter, because he's here and it's over, but a part of me still wants to know.

Mello chuckles softly. He leans over—although I still stay on him—and I watch as he pulls open the bedside drawer and withdraws a piece of paper. He hands it to me, and leaning to one side I slowly unfold it. I just stare down in shock, feeling warmth spread through my chest. "You—" I start to say around the lump in my throat, blinking back fresh tears. "You changed your name." I whisper. "That-that worked?"

Mello chuckled softly. "I had my doubts as well. But I thought it couldn't hurt to die Mihael Jeevas."

Then I'm laughing again, kissing him again and again. He's laughing too, and it's the most wonderful sound in the world. I can't even explain the joy I'm feeling.

"Let's leave." Mello says suddenly, a smile on his lips. For the first time in a while he looks totally relaxed and happy. "Let's go somewhere—anywhere. Just get up and go, what do you say?"

All I can do is smile in return. "I'll go anywhere with you."

So I did, and left the world of Kira behind. A world without Kira doesn't need to be tinted with gold; it's full of Mello, and that's far better than anything my goggles can give me.

AN (2): I hope you've enjoyed this little dose of fluff, and don't mind that I tacked it onto the end of TG. Please review letting me know what you think. =) This second author's note is because I wanted to mention a new Matt/Mello story I'll be starting within the next few days. It will be an AU entitled 'For Hire'. Please keep a look out, and add me to your author alert if you haven't already! Thanks for being so awesome! Once again I just have to say that Tinted Gold has been an amazing experience. I'm so lucky to have met so many great people! Thank you again for reading and reviewing!