Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.
A/N: This was a request from Twisted Pancakes. Her specifications were MelloxMatt, fluff, and "a pinch of angst." I hope you like it, Twisted Pancakes! :D
My eyes were huge, and for the first time, I had no idea what to do. I was always so calm, so sure. Especially when it came to my best friend. It was really my only skill, my intelligence being overshadowed by the fact that I resent anyone who tries to make me get off my ass and work. Plus, someone has to be calm and sure, and deal with Mello, and if not me...?
But this... this I had never seen before. I'd known him for years, but I'd never, ever seen him this way. I'd seen him fight, steal, destroy things, scream, laugh, and often at the same time. I'd even seen him honestly try to kill someone (I'd talked him down). But this?
He was sitting on the dilapidated couch of our little hellhole of an apartment, his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. His hair was covering his fingers, but I could see that they were clenched into fists.
And he hadn't heard me come in. First time that had ever happened, too.
I walked up to him slowly and lowered myself onto the couch next to him. I knew he knew I was there, then, but he didn't look up. I put my hand tentatively on his upper back and rubbed it slowly, still not quite used to the way his leather and my gloves felt when in contact. Yes, we had both dressed this way for years, but after so much time together as cotton-wearing children, it always startled me initially.
He didn't say anything, but he leaned into my touch, if only a very little.
"Mello?" I called softly. I used the hand that had been rubbing his back to brush a lock of his hair behind his ear. I could see his eyes now. They were closed.
"Mello," I repeated quietly.
"I'm so tired," he whispered. His teeth clenched and his fists tightened in his hair, and I worried for a moment that he'd tear it out. But no. Mello has more control than that.
I almost had to lean in to hear. If I wasn't tuned to Mello like some kind of radio, I wouldn't have had a chance.
He didn't mean he needed a nap.
I let my fingers fall down his face, and his neck, across his shoulders, down his side, to his waist on the other side of me. My arm was around him, and he was definitely leaning into me, now.
I squeezed him gently with that one arm, my heart pounding. He never let me do this kind of thing, normally.
"I'm tired of trying," he said, almost inaudibly. "I'm tired of being a jackass. I'm tired of this leather. I'm tired of Kira. I'm tired of this scar. I'm tired of hating Near. I'm tired of hurting."
He curled his legs up to him on the couch and turned into me. He dropped his hands weakly from his face and buried the former in my shoulder.
I stroked his golden hair soothingly. I knew that it made him drowsy. He smelled like leather and cigarette smoke (between my habit and his work) and his hair was surprisingly soft.
"Everything is hard," he whispered wetly. I wondered if he was crying. He couldn't be; he would never let that happen. The last time he had cried was on his first day at Wammy's. "Why doesn't anything come easy for me? Being smart enough, being strong enough, even looking like I need to. Nothing comes easy."
I couldn't help it: I rested my head on top of his and squeezed.
"Except for you," he suddenly said at a normal volume. He didn't sit up, for which I was grateful, because holding him like this felt incredibly right. He continued thoughtfully, "You're the only thing about my life that's never been hard." He paused. "Why is that?"
I shrugged, which he felt.
"It's because you're easy to get along with," he decided. He thought for a moment before pulling away from me. He stared at me for a moment. "I'm going to kiss you," he informed me.
He didn't warn me again. He leaned right in, closing the gap between us, and pressed his lips to mine.
My brain exploded, is the long and short of it. There was urgency in that kiss, and a desperation that I didn't know he could feel. I could taste his need to be the best and for the first time ever I could understand it, really, empathy not sympathy. I could feel his anger, his hurt, his complete and utter exhaustion. Mello has very expressive lips. It's the only expressive part of him.
I could also taste something else as I parted my teeth and allowed him access.
It was... love.
And... it was old love. Love that had been there for a long time. Maybe it was a love that he hadn't known was there until now, just like it was for me. I knew it was something he would never be able to say, but that was fine. I didn't need to hear it if I could feel it like this. He all but said the words.
When he finally pulled away, my mind was spinning with the overwhelming emotions of Mello. Everyone that meets him knows he's intense, yes, but it's nothing like feeling it.
Like... like tasting it.
I smiled at him.
Then his arms were around me and I was drawn into him, straight into that turmoil of life, and held close by impossibly strong arms.
He gave me a lopsided smile back. "Sorry I'm like this."
I looked him straight in the eye and kept my face dead serious so he would know I meant it. "Don't talk about my boyfriend that way."
He made a sound like a short gasp or sob and pulled my lips to his again.
'I love you. I love you. I love you.'
It couldn't have been clearer had he said it.
When we finally parted for air, I stayed forehead to forehead with him.
"I love you, too."