May I just say that there are some parts of my mind that ven I am hesitant to use? Yeah, this came from one of them. Also, Matt/Mello is officially my OTP of Death Note. Light/L is good, but so clean cut. Matt and Mello... there are so many possibilities during the time-skip. Mystery is always good us fanfictioners.

Disclaimer: I am not going to cheapen Death Note by even implying that there is any way in hell I own it.

What they have is not love. They refuse to think of it as that.

They are never gentle with each other. Matt bites Mello hard enough to taste blood, and Mello rakes his nails down Matt's back hard enough to break the skin. Each is constantly hurting the other, taking and being taken from. Nothing is ever gentle, nothing is ever sweet.

During the day, Mello is the cold Mafia boss. Matt is the genius hacker who is employed by the Mafia. During the day, Matt and Mello have never spoken to each other. Never seen each other outside of the dingy warehouse Matt keeps as a headquarters. During the night though, everything is different.

During the night, Matt takes out his anger and rage that Mello left without him out on Mello's body at night. Mello takes out his anger that Matt didn't follow him out on Matt's body. During the night, they used to be friends. Used to trust each other. But not anymore. Not since the day after L died. Now they just have anger towards the other.

Both of them make a silent promise, each morning as they get dressed, carefully covering up the bruises, the hickeys, the bite marks. Each promises that this time will be the last. This time, tonight, they aren't going to be there. They'll just disappear from the other's life, just be what they are during the day.

Every night, they come back again. They come back, because they have nowhere else to go. They come back because they are weak. They come back because they're addicts and the other is their drug. Because Mello's skin tastes like the chocolate he eats constantly during the day. Because Matt's hands are pure sin and Mello can't do without them. Every night, they come just a little closer to hating the other.

What they have is not love. It is closer to hate.

But not quite. Because Mello needs Matt. Because Matt needs Mello. Because every night, the invisible string binding them draws just a little closer around them. Because, some things, once shared can't quite be forgotten.

Because a little blond boy, only seven, and already feared by everyone else at the orphanage, stole a Gameboy from a red-haired boy, and suddenly found himself face-down in the dust, and the red-haired boy is the most feared kid at the orphanage.

Because a six-year-old red-haired boy ate the last bar of chocolate and found himself crying out in agony as his arm was twisted behind his back, and the blond was the most feared again.

Because for the next eight years, the two roommates would be trading the title of most feared back and forth as they fought with each other, and slowly became friends.

Because Matt and Mello do still have one thing in common. They both hate, and miss, who they used to be. They miss the two little boys, trading insults and punches in the orphanage yard. Each blames the other for the loss of those two little boys, just a little. And each wants them back.

In the beginning, every night that they came back, they were hoping to find just a hint of the younger boy in the other. And neither ever found it. Both of them had changed too much but too little at the same time. Every night, they punished the other for not being the little boy they remembered, for being a shift sideways, too close for comfort, but not close enough. Too wild, too free, too tamed, too human.

But by the time they realized that, it was too late. They were addicted to each other. They couldn't leave. Matt needed the feel of Mello's burning-hot skin beneath his hands. Mello needed to have Matt's ice-cold body pressed up against him. And each came closest to hating the other in that moment of realization.

What they have is not love. But they used to have love.

Not anymore. Now, they only have the sensations from the night, and their memories of a gentler, simpler time. A time when Matt could eat chocolate without imagining the young boy who was utterly addicted to it, because the boy was sitting next to him. A time when Mello didn't hate all electronics for reminding him of a dusty Gameboy, inches from his hand as a sharp pressure was applied to his neck, because it was a good memory.

And each takes a sadistic delight in bringing up mentions of that time during the day. When Mello can't scratch Matt's back to ribbons. When Matt can't sink his teeth into Mello's flesh. Because Mafia leaders and Mafia hackers don't do that. Matt delights in seeing Mello's breath hitch, just a little. Mello loves seeing Matt's eyes tear up behind orange goggles, just a little.

Each delights in the others pain, because it is a visible reminder that the other hasn't forgotten joyful laughter on a dusty summer dusk. Forgotten running through the forests on a full moon's night when they were really supposed to be asleep. Forgotten the two little boys.

Forgotten why the other hates them. Why they're bound together. Why they need each other. The only reminder of that time, when everything was planned out.

Mello was going to be the next L. Matt was going to stay with him, and they were going to always be together. Because that was the only way they could succeed. Together. And both of them knew it.

But then Kira came. Then L died. Mello ran away. Matt stayed. And each hated the other for ruining the plan.

What they have is not love. There are no words for what they have.

And then Mello goes and blows himself up. And then Matt gets a phone call asking for help in a dusty, broken voice. And then Matt realizes that maybe, just maybe, there are still signs of the boy he used to know. And so, Matt goes out to save his former best friend. The man who left him behind.

It seems to take forever to get there to Matt. Every light seems to be red, and there are always too many cars turning for him to get through. It seems a nightmare.

And then finally, finally Matt gets there. And for one dreadful moment thinks he is too late. The building is on fire, and there is absolutely no way for anyone to have survived.

But then Matt hears a dry, rasping broken cough. A cough that is all too familiar to Matt. He heard it when a young blond boy tried to build a go-cart in the woods behind the orphanage. And the blond failed. He had gotten crushed, and ended up having to explain everything, because Matt's skills weren't enough to hold Mello together long enough to heal.

Nothing else was the same. But there was fire. There was something heavy crushing the blond. The years had changed everything else, but Matt recognizes the cough. The cough that says everything that Mello is too prideful to ever say.

You were right, Matt. I was wrong. I did something stupid and got hurt. Matt, I'm hurting. Mattie, I'm scared. Please help me!

And Matt isn't a nineteen-year-old standing outside a burning house anymore. He's a ten-year-old standing in front of a twisted wreckage, and Mel is buried under. Matt reacts automatically. He doesn't remember all the years, all the hate and anger, until it is all over. Matt will never remember what happened between hearing that cough, and helping Mello onto his bike so they could get back to the apartment. And he realizes.

What they have is not love. But maybe it's closer than they thought.

The first thing that Mello feels when he opens his eyes is surprise, because last time he closed them he expected to never be able to open them again. He doesn't know why he called Matt just a little while before the bomb went off. He supposes he might have wanted to get the last word in, even if it wasn't a word at all.

Ha! I won Matt! I got the last word and the last foot up and you're never going to be able to catch up because the game ended. And I WON!

But Matt didn't want to let him end the game like that. So Matt saved him, pulled him onto his bike and saved his life. Again. Just like always. Just like Matt to interpret everything Mello does wrong and end up screwing it all up terribly and so annoying and infuriating and frustrating and...Mello is running out of synonyms and he refuses to repeat himself. The point is that Matt heard what he said wrong and completely and utterly bollocksed everything up. And Mello hates him for it.

All these thoughts pass through Mello's head in a second, a moment, a timeless instant. It is one of two that he will ever experience in his life.

The second is when he opens his eyes, and god it hurts and he can already tell that his face is bandaged and is going to scar forever and he absolutely hates the idea but knows he can't change it, but then his thoughts fall silent as he looks up and sees Matt's eyes, for once without his kill-me orange goggles, brilliant green and swimming with emotions Matt himself will never know he showed so blatantly, but are still all as clear to Mello as a sunrise.

And the second timeless moment Mello will ever experience is on him as he just stares up into those emerald green eyes that hold the world within them. And Mello realizes.

What they have is not love. But maybe, maybe, it's better.

When Mello opens his eyes, Matt can feel his heart stop. This isn't the way they're supposed to act! This is all wrong, it's daytime, and even at night they never act like this and he can't let Mello see his weakness, it'll be the end of him and Matt can feel himself panicking as he watches Mello's eyes, always too insightful, seeing straight to the center of a man, piercing through all walls the recipient of that searching gaze tries to put up, bore into his.

Then Mello blinks and Matt realizes something. What he sees in Mello's eyes isn't disgust, gloating joy, a sneer at Matt's weakness, rejection, any of the things that Matt would have expected. What he sees in Mello's eyes are the same things that he knows Mello was able to see in his. Feelings for which he had no name, but he instinctively just knew.

And Matt leans down and gently, softly, he captures Mello's lips in the first kiss they have ever shared that wasn't full of burning hot anger and simmering resentment. Because they no longer have any reason to hold onto those feelings. Those two little boys... they were looking so hard to find them that they never even noticed that they had them all along. And all it took to make them realize it was a near death experience and the near loss of the other.

And Mello responds in kind, gentle, soft, but bruising in intensity.

Neither of the two is very good with putting their feelings into words, and both know that if they were to try and phrase how they felt, they would end up pushing the other away, so they put all their feelings into that one kiss. No words are needed, and both of them know that they are quickly reaching the point of no return. Or maybe they already passed it long ago, on a day in December, when the news that the greatest detective in the world had died reached an orphanage called Wammy House.

What they have is not love. Love is a word that has been cheapened by casual use. What they have is purer, greater, stronger, more than love.

They have each other. And that is enough.

Yeah, my mind is effed up. On the other hand, I do believe that I managed to create a romance/angst story without words. Freaky.