Disclaimer: Don't own Death Note, no money being made.

Note: I would like to dedicate this story to Sonar, because I know how much she likes Ide. I don't think I've written much at length about Ide, so here's a go at it. I like this pairing, I really do, though I couldn't explain why. It just fits to me. I've made Ide a divorcee here. Sometimes that really does fit in my head, too, and sometimes it doesn't. Ignore those sentences if you like. This is a oneshot, and I can't continue it. I really can't. I want to, though. It would end tragically but beautifully and be glorious but I have neither the writing ability nor the sitckability. Anyway, enjoy! Feedback, as always, is simply adored.


In Quiet Times


Ide isn't sure when it begins. He remembers how, though - uncomfortable stirrings, an occasional, lingering glance, stuttering, a flush at the back of his neck. He's had crushes before. He knows what's happening.

He wishes he could say he just woke up one morning and noticed him, new and fresh, but that isn't what happened. He really wishes it was like that, though, because he's had those crushes before - the ones that rush on suddenly, take you by surprise, get you looking at someone as if you've never seen them before. They're brutal, and they take no prisoners, those types - they rage through you and make you act ridiculously and then they burn themselves out and you feel even more foolish, looking, in the cold light of day, at the person you were so head over heels for.

The first time Ide fell for a guy, it was this kind of crush. It passed in eighteen days, and for the longest time he thought he was just crazy.

This, though, this thing for Matsuda - it isn't like that. It's slow burning and much, much more powerful, but unpredictable - some days, he'll just feel pleasantly warm when Matsuda grins at him, or claps his shoulder; other days, the sudden sound of his voice with knock the wind out of him, and make his stomach drop right through every floor of the building they work in. It's a bad way to live, Ide thinks, an irrational one, and as much as he tries to ignore it, Matsuda is always there, waiting and willing to join him for a beer or a jog or a late night watching movies, when this thing finally catches up to him.

Ide doesn't know how it happened. It grew up slowly, one symptom at a time, confusing and unexpected. By the time Ide realised why being around Matsuda was making his palms sweat, it was far too late to do a damn thing about it. It's the first time it's happened, though. Feeling like this. For a guy. In fact, the only time he'd ever felt anything close to this was for his ex-wife, years back, and he remembered all too clearly how that ended.

In short: not well. He'd had to move - not just out of the state, but out of the province. He doesn't want that to happen here. Not with Matsuda.

It's in his nature to over-analyse things like this. Sit, think it out, toss it back and forth, and never do a thing about it. The conclusion he arrives at is even if Matsuda felt exactly the same as he did, even if Matsuda was…gay (which, even in his pessimism, careful studies of the young man's behaviour won't let Ide rule out as a possibility) then there would still be no possibility of a relationship with him. They'd be friends first, and if things ended badly, that'd be gone forever. And things probably would end badly, with Ide involved. Matsuda was always the first to point out Ide's ineptitude in romantic affairs.

Sometimes Ide wonders if that isn't, a little bit, Matsuda's fault. This thing may have been going on longer than he realises. Somewhere, some part of him, even faced with the dull realism that he and Matsuda will never 'be together', doesn't want Matsuda to ever see him 'attached'. Ide thinks of that part of him as the 'verging-on-delusionally optimistic' part.

One day he sits back in his chair and just watches the man for a few minutes. He tries to work out what the hell it is he likes so much about him. He's young, but youth has never meant all that much to Ide. He's handsome enough, but Ide's pretty sure that if he really set his soul on a homosexual relationship with a younger man, he could find a better candidate than Touta Matsuda within the space of a few bars. After a couple of minutes of careful study, Ide begins to forget the purpose of his observation, and starts just looking at him. He's more than young. It's innocence, naivety, a kind of joie de vivre that's alive in his every action, every expression. Matsuda reminds him of a kid finding out about the world for the first time, and even after they've done something once, it's still endlessly fascinating. Only, Matsuda, he's been through a helluva lot more than most kids have, and he's still got it, that weird vitality, like nothing can wear him down.

Ide's seen him, though. Seen him worn down. He's seen him broken and crying his soul out, face and shirt streaked with tears, eyes raw and red. He's seen him jolt awake, gasping like he's been choked, staring down at trembling hands. Ide has seen Matsuda desperate and strung out and - once - detoxing, all shivers, and pale glances, and vomiting.

Every time it has torn his heart in two. When he sees Matsuda like that, it feels like nothing is going to patch the man back together again, but Ide manages, somehow - somehow they both manage it, pullling miracles out of old movies, midnight talk shows and thin air. And when Matsuda falls asleep, Ide won't be able to bear looking at him: the gentle rise and fall of his chest, the sleekness of his contours - barely muscular and lean, a young man's physique, pent-up energy and worn-down exhaustion both at once. Matsuda, to him, is impossible, impossible to imagine, impossible to watch, impossible to be close to. He's all emotion and laughter and passion and clumsiness, and Ide…

Ide thinks he's probably far too into this thing to fake resistance by cutting of the thought there and then. The word 'love' dances through his mind but he throws it out, violently enough to give anyone peeking in there enough evidence to raise their eyebrows and quote, "Methinks he doth protest too much". But he can't face that. Not yet. Not today.

He's still looking at Matsuda when Aizawa appears behind him. Ide doesn't know what expression he's got plastered across his face but he knows whatever it is, Aizawa has seen it before and will probably know exactly what it means.

It takes Aizawa four seconds. The first two are spent looking at Ide, then one looking at Matsuda, and then back to Ide. He grimaces.

"Come for a drink after work," he tells him, in a tone that leaves Ide in no confusion as to what the topic of conversation is going to be.

"Sure," he says, rather heavily. Aizawa pats his shoulder.

"And in the meantime, get back to work."

"You got it, boss," Ide replies, and Aizawa doesn't miss the fact that 'boss' is laden with sarcasm, and clips them round the ear.

"Don't make me sue," he warns

"Don't make me kick your ass," Aizawa shoots back.

"Who's getting their ass kicked?" Matsuda asks, appearing at Aizawa's elbow, holding a photocopy of some form with a photograph attached.

"Lazy bastards who spend all day staring and not working." Aizawa takes the paper. "I'll leave you two alone."

Anyone else but Matsuda wouldn't have missed the obvious tone of meaning in his voice. Ide knows that's the only reason his friend would ever be that loose.

"Why do we need to be alone?" Matsuda asks, true to form.

Ide shrugs. Matsuda frowns a little bit, and then gives up.

"You want to hang out tonight?" he asks, brightening up at the idea.

His heart skips a little. Nothing I'd like more he thinks, but out loud he says. "Can't. Just made plans with Aizawa."

Matsuda's face falls and Ide's pretty sure his heart lost rhythm there for a second. "Oh. Sorry."

"You can come over after if you like," Ide says quickly. He knows he shouldn't. He knows it's dangerous. He knows that after his conversation with Aizawa and a few drinks he's going to be feeling reckless and if Matsuda drinks as much as he usually does, he's going to end up sleeping on his couch, and this can only end badly -

Matsuda's already nodding enthusiastically. "Great! Definitely! Give me a call, okay?" He gives him a final grin, and then seems to remember he should be working. He's gone as quickly as he came.

Ide resists the urge to watch him go. He looks at the clock, and the small calendar on his desk. His stomach is hopping, and the collar of his shirt is damp with sweat. And all he can think of his Matsuda's smile.

Ide is doomed, and he knows it.