This fic is from Matt's POV.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Nothing at all.
Mello apologizes in his sleep. It's odd. I know there are people who talk in their sleep , but Mello never talks. He just apologizes, over and over again, until I can barely stand to listen to it. I pull the pillow over my ears and turn towards the wall to block out the sound of his unconscious regret. But even then, I still imagine I can hear his voice through it all.
I used to wonder who he saw in his dreams. Who he was so desperately remorseful towards. For awhile I thought it was L. I thought maybe he was sorry for not being number one; for not being able to beat Near in the constant battle to catch Kira. But I don't know.
Maybe he sees the people he's killed. He rarely talks about it, but I know it kills him inside. We've been best friends our entire lives. When something is wrong for him, I feel it too, as strongly as if it were happening to me. I doubt he'll ever truly make peace with the things he's done. Maybe that is what drives him to these midnight confessions.
A particularly loud 'I'm sorry' from Mello's side of the room distracted me from my thoughts. I glanced over at the alarm clock on my bedside table. It's 6 am. Early. Too early to get up and properly do something, but I can't take Mello's contrition for even a few more minutes.
Not wanting to wake him, I quietly got out of my bed and searched for a pair of jeans and a shirt in the dark. I patted the back packet of my jeans, checking for the half-empty pack of cigarettes and lighter I knew should be in there. They were, so I tiptoed across our crappy little apartment and out into the cold morning.
I didn't want to go back inside and listen to Mello's agonized sleep. But it was too cold to just stand in the stairwell, especially because I couldn't find my shoes so I opted to just go out barefoot. I sighed and saw my breath frost in the morning air. Fuck, it was cold. I decided I would go sit in my car. It was a crappy little hatchback. No one in their right mind would want to steal the thing, so I never locked it. Since I didn't have my keys on me, I wouldn't be able to turn on the heater, but at least I would have a little shelter from the wind.
I ran down the stairs and across the parking lot to my car. The chill from the cement radiated up through my feet and by the time I shut myself in the car, I was shivering a little. The car was only slightly warmer than the outside. I pulled out a cigarette and my lighter and lit up.
As I took the first delicious drag, I stared out the window. It was still fairly dark. The sun wouldn't rise for another hour or so. It was just as well, the neighbors probably would like us even less if they saw me, skulking out front in my car in the early hours of the morning.
I sat in the car for while, the freezing cold of the car seat seeping up through the worn butt of my jeans. It was one of those morning where the smell of cold was overpowering. Mello always told me I was ridiculous for saying that.
'You can't smell cold Matt. You can feel it freeze your ass off, but you certainly can't smell it.'
But I could. It smelled like dark, and sleep, and a million other little things. And today I could smell something else along with the cold. Hopelessness. Yes, that was what I smelled.
Cold. Hopeless. How depressing.
I took one last drag on the cigarette, burning it down to the filter. I opened the car door and threw the rest onto the ground, before stepping out myself and grinding it into the pavement. I glanced up at our apartment. Maybe Mello was awake by now. He never slept very late. Guilt will do that to you.
I hurried back up to our place, and opening the door quietly, peered inside. Mello had woken up at some point. He had somehow made it from his bed to the couch, and was currently in a little ball on one end. He was asleep again. I made my way silently to the couch and sat lightly next to him. He shifted in his sleep, and his head moved closer to me, but thank god he didn't start apologizing again.
He was lying on his right side, so his scar was clearly visible. I stared, fascinated by it. I couldn't do this when he was awake. He detested anyone staring at his scar. But I was drawn to it.
It wasn't fully healed yet, the skin was still pink and a little bit raw looking. Right after he got it, he told me he thought it made him look like a monster. I disagreed and argued with him about that statement. I told him he looked like himself, just a little different. I never told him what I really thought about.
I thought it made him look scary. But not in the way he thought. I never once thought he looked monstrous, or disgusting. Instead, I saw his scar as a mark of power. A clear sign to the world that he was not someone to toyed with. He was… powerful. Yes, that was the right word. It made him powerful. And I was in awe of him for it.
He told me once that if he was strong, he wouldn't feel the guilt he felt for killing people. He never said anything else about it, but that one sentence stuck with me. I don't think he was right. It takes strength, an incredible amount of strength, to feel remorse. A weak person would waive away the emotions. But Mello… he felt them all. And he didn't complain. To feel the weight of those lives on your shoulders and not let it crush you. That's true strength.
I know that I could not be the person he is. If our situations were reversed, I would sink under the burden he bears. I would not apologize quietly in my sleep, but would scream it in a constant breakdown. It would crush me. Break me. Drown me slowly.
I watched him as his brow furrowed in his sleep. He began again. Another endless round of penance. I truly wished I knew what he apologized for. I felt like, if I knew, maybe I could help him.
"I'm sorry, Mihael."
I froze, and looked down at his troubled face again. Something in my brain clicked, and suddenly I understood. I knew why he apologized constantly. I knew why his scar was more than just a point of vanity. I knew.
How could I have not seen it before? Mello wasn't apologizing to L, or to the people he'd killed, or even to me.
He was apologizing to Mihael. To himself.
It made sense. With his actions, Mello had obliterated the person he used to be. The person he was born as, Mihael, no longer existed.
And for that, Mello was sorry.
The means to which he had sunk to beat Near, to succeed L, to catch Kira; they weighed heavily on his heart. He knew that to be successful he would need to feel nothing. And he didn't…almost. Only in those hours between waking did he allow his true emotions room to grow. But that was not enough to sustain the person he had been. Not enough at all.
And his true self, his old self, had died. And Mello was all that was left. And I knew he was scared that he wouldn't be able to pull off his cold, calculating mask for much longer. Soon enough he would drown. Mello would drown. And unlike before, with the death of Mihael, there would be no one left this time. Mello would become a shell of a person. A killer with nothing left inside.
I hesitantly reached a hand down to stroke his blonde hair. He was my best friend, and regardless of who he was, or what he had done, my mind had been made up from the moment I realized the reason behind his regret.
"Don't worry," I whispered. "I won't let you drown, Mello."
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Beta-ed by: Josephine Falnor