Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.

A/N: Takes place when L is alive, Mello is still at Wammy's, and at some point when Kira has killed criminals that were already in jail (and so could have killed BB).

The timeline really, really should work out, but if it doesn't, pretend it's AU. :3


I don't know how it happened, but somehow, I, Matt, Number Three, was privileged enough to have about five minutes alone with The Great and All-Seeing L. It was incidental, of course- no one had planned it. It just so happened that my anti-social, hermit-like nature paid off that day, because I was the only one who stayed home and L just happened to show up for a visit.

I crossed him walking down the hallway, and we found ourselves going the same direction, walking in companionable silence. L and I always got along fine. I liked him well enough and he liked me okay, but we just never had the connection that he had with Mello and Near. That suited me all right, because I didn't feel the need to bow down and worship the ground he walked barefoot on (I'd rather do that for Mello). Not that he asked for that from anyone. It kind of just happened.

Anyway, in those moments, I got to ask him about something I had heard a few months prior. I hear a lot of things, because even Roger and Watari don't realize that playing video games doesn't make me miraculously deaf to everything around me. Especially since I play with the volume off so as not to annoy anyone too much. And, admittedly, I do it to hear what Roger and Watari say when they don't think I hear them. You can learn a lot, especially at a place like Wammy's House.

"L... I heard Roger mention two students who used to attend here. He called them A and B."

I watched his face carefully with the only skill besides technology that I really had: observation of people. He didn't seem alarmed by my statement. And if I didn't see it, the person wasn't feeling it.

"Yes, there were at one time students here codenamed A and B. Their time here briefly overlapped with your own, in fact, but you were much too small to remember."

I considered that. "What happened to them?"

L, blunt as usual and observing the 'asked and answered' full-disclosure policy in effect at Wammy's, did not even hesitate before answering.

"They were first and second ranked. A killed himself. B killed three people and I arrested him with help from a suspended officer of the FBI."

"First and second... like Near and Mello..." I mused.

L made a very small face. "An unfortunate comparison to make, but yes. Wammy's has since changed its approach to education to ensure that that type of thing will not occur again."

"Who was third?" I asked abruptly.

"He was known as C. A, B, and C, that's just how it worked out with the rankings. We did not do that on purpose, nor did the students."

"What happened to him?"

Finally L paused, regarding me closely. "He and B were close. When B left, C was never quite the same. A few years after, B presumably summoned C, and C went to Los Angeles, and helped him plan his murders, at his request." He glanced at me as we walked, then said, "C was caught years later, recently, actually, towards the beginning of the Kira case, and was arrested for accessory to murder, but the police were a bit overzealous and shot him. He died. B was killed in prison by Kira only a few hours later."


"Matt, forgive me, but I have some work I must do."

I nodded. "It's okay. I want to think about what you said for a while, anyway. One last question?"

"Of course."

"Did C love him? B, that is."

L looked at me long and hard. "Yes," he said finally. "More than anything."

I nodded again, and L gave me a very rare approving smile, then headed off in the direction of his study.

I began to head towards the room I shared with Mello. The room Matt, 'C,' shared with Mello, 'B.' Matt, who, like C, loved B. Loved Mello.

The similarities in our situations were undeniable. Second and third, both males, and I was desperately in love with him.

And it got me thinking. C, who was third, loved B, who was second. Was there some kind of second/third thing that always happened? Was it some kind of psychological thing?

Would every C love every B as much as I loved Mello?

I dismissed the theory, but part of L's story would absolutely not leave my head.

B had left the orphanage, and C had never been the same.

That was how I had known he loved him. Because, yeah, you may change if your best friend leaves, but...

Well, I knew I'd never be the same if Mello left. Especially if he left without telling me, without saying goodbye. It made my heart hurt to even think about it. And if B was anything like Mello, that would be exactly how they would do it. They'd just evaporate, and C and I would be left alone and, worse than that, so far away from the one we loved that we wouldn't be able to protect them.

Because C and I, we were B and Mello's respective other halves. Whether they loved us or not, we balanced them out, soothed the crazy a bit to show the beauty that only we saw in them in the first place.

This was all speculation, of course, in relation to C, but, well, it made a great deal of sense.

Especially the fact that B called him later, years later, and he went to him. Probably without hesitating. Probably without packing. The call- knowing Mello and assuming I understood B- probably came in the middle of the night. C probably heard the changes in B by his voice. But he went anyway, into what he knew was a dangerous situation (knew because he knew B better than anyone, even if he'd changed), because B needed him.

In other words, exactly what I would do.

And when he got there, he would not have been surprised to find that the one he loved had changed in every way; had twisted, contorted, and lost himself. And B might have cried when he saw the love still in C's eyes, because C would still love him, he would, no matter what. And together they would plan whatever B had needed him for, and the plan would definitely be illegal and would most likely be very dangerous, but C would do it anyway.

Because that's how it would happen. Because when people like C and me love someone like B or Mello, that's the only way it can happen.

B and Mello weren't meant to live long lives. Their intensity and obsession burn them up long before they hit a decent age for dying. But they knew it, and C knew he signed his own death warrant when he chose to go to him.

I paused to check my email on one of the House's computers. L had sent me some information about the case, and the murders. Yes, C had helped B plan them. I could see where sudden bits of calm logic interrupted the stream of heated brilliance. And I could see how C had subtly altered it.

At the end, B AKA 'BB' had intended to die in a blaze of glory. Literally a blaze- he had intended to set himself on fire to finally make the case unsolvable. But C had stopped it. I could tell exactly how.

See, the room B/BB had put Naomi Misora in was just not that far from the room he had tried to kill himself in. I know, the thing about the apartment numbers. But still. B would have found a way to get the FBI agent as far away as was believably possible. C got her as close as he could without B suspecting anything. He'd even made sure there was a fire extinguisher on every path she could have taken between their rooms. He probably installed some extra ones himself.

So that she'd be able to get to him faster and extinguish him. So she'd be able to save him.

Even if B's plans had to fail, if his ambitions had to be smothered, C wanted him, needed him alive. Jail was better than death. And he wouldn't be able to talk him out of the plan, or into using someone else as the fourth victim, so he'd sabotaged the whole affair.

Because he loved B more than anything.

Knowing where it would lead him, knowing that murder is the worst thing you can do to your soul, C willingly, knowingly, and happily gave it all for the one he loved. His soul, immediately; his mind, when B was taken from him and put in jail; and his life, in the end.

Would I do all that for Mello?

I pretended to think about it, but my heart was laughing at my mind's efforts.

Of course I would. I'd do it in a heartbeat. I'd do it without even looking back. I'd run to do it, and I'd kill anyone who got in my way. Nothing would stop me.

I had finally reached our room, and I was sitting on my bed. The curtains were open, allowing the moonlight to cast a gentle light on the otherwise darkened room.

I heard the door open. Mello was back.

I smiled at him as he walked into our room and I held out my arms. He rolled his eyes, but nonetheless he came and sat next to me. I wrapped my arms around him. I laid down, pulling him after me, holding him tightly. He didn't object, apparently used to my random fits of affection. On the contrary: he cuddled into me and I heard him sigh, content.

Burying my face in his hair, I inhaled his scent. Chocolate, not surprisingly. Everything about him was chocolate- his scent, his breath, his taste. Weirdo.

I squeezed him for a moment, trying to push our bodies right together, to make us one person, or at least to hold him so close that it wouldn't make a difference.

Physics held, unfortunately, and I knew I would injure him if I kept that tight a grip for too long, so I loosened my arms.

I kissed the top of his head, and then his neck. "I would do anything for you," I breathed into his ear. "Anything."

"Mello turned his head to smile at me. Our faces were so close, not even an inch apart, but neither of us closed the small distance.

His warm breath (chocolate) brushed my lips when he whispered, "I know." The he did close that distance and gave me one of his very rare but very sweet, chaste kisses.

I knew I could never tell him what I had learned from L, and I made a mental note to delete the email at the next opportunity.

Because if I knew our future and he didn't, I might be able to prevent his death. If he knew, he'd just dismiss it. He and B would never believe that they would fall so far. But C knew better, and I did too. When the day comes that he calls me, I'll do the exact same thing that C did. I won't be able to stop the one I love from trying, but maybe I'll be able to save his life.

His life, at least. I don't care if it costs a thousand other people theirs, even if those lives are all the people I've ever met besides Mello. Willingly, knowingly, and happily, I'll give it all for him.

Because in the end, I love him more than my soul or my mind or my life.

I love him more than anything.