Author's Note: This is either post-canon and definitively AU or post-caring, like much of my work around here… Either way, just don't ask questions—even if there were answers, I don't think you would want them. XD

If you haven't heard the song, you haven't truly lived. Happy birthday, Mello!


Mello didn't know what it said on his birth certificate—which had presumably been incinerated with the rest of his Wammy's file when they'd realized he wasn't coming back—but he was pretty sure his middle name was "Badass."

At any rate, it should have been.

Matt had kicked him out of the apartment early this morning, making vociferous claims about cleaning house and how he'd enlist any slovenly individuals who didn't immediately flee the premises. Mello had been sour about it for a little while, but the lousy mood hadn't lasted long—even Mello's rages dissipated with enough time spent strutting down Hollywood Boulevard, drawing glances of horror and of admiration that he treasured equally.

Don't stop me now, 'cause I'm havin' a good time; I don't wanna stop at all

Turning heads in this town was no mean feat, and Mello basked in the attention, tossing his head to send his hair fluttering around his giant sunglasses. His shoes clicked on the pavement, a metronome beat for the song in his head.

I'm burning through the sky, two hundred degrees, that's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit—

The sun was starting to dip, however, blazing streetlamp-orange as it slipped into the sea, so he made one last circuit past the storefronts, doubling himself in the display windows, and then headed back for Matt's place.

He turned the key, jiggling it to catch the tumblers of the heat-and-age-warped lock, and pushed the door.

Like an atom bomb about to—

He stopped, frozen in place, and stared.

Matt was in the center of the room, grinning broadly, wearing tight jeans and a brown tee-shirt with Hershey's printed across the front. He was standing inside a four-walled fort made with Cadbury bars for bricks, which rose to knee height around him.

As Mello stared some more, he saw that the table had almost disappeared—Matt had arranged chocolate chips in a giant Gothic M on a piece of wax paper—and that there were at least a dozen individual truffles hanging from the ceiling by white threads.

"…the frigging hell?" was all that emerged from his open mouth.

Matt beamed. "Happy birthday, Mel," he announced.

Mello blinked. "Is it—it's—?"

"The thirteenth, brainiac," Matt told him indulgently. He placed his hands on his hips, and Mello noticed that his belt was hung with bottles of chocolate syrup.

He pointed dumbly. "What are those for?"

Matt's grin widened and deepened, twisting with a hint of a smirk.

"The part of your present that was hardest to get," he explained. He stepped out of Cadbury Tower and beckoned, unhooking one of the bottles and twirling it like a six-shooter despite the awkward shape.

Had he practiced this? Sweet Jesus.

Ducking a truffle to follow, Mello hoped bewilderedly there wasn't actually a chocolate Christ waiting. That would be taking transubstantiation a little too far.

What was waiting looked like four entire boxes of foil wrapped loosely around something… alive.

"What the fuck is that, Matt?" Mello demanded, standing a conservative distance away.

Matt skipped over and peeled the wrinkled tinfoil back.

Near was lying in the middle of it, his wrists and ankles bound with extension cords, gagged, dressed only in his white pajama pants and his trademark socks.

Mello stared.

Matt frolicked close enough to untie the strip of cloth restricting Near's mouth, freeing the boy to spit out fibers and give the redhead a death glare that would have made Kira proud.

Matt beamed back. "This little bugger's damned tough to kidnap," he remarked to Mello. "Just for your further reference."

Mello hadn't quite finished staring yet; Near was pouting industriously, then nipping at the knot of the cord around his hands.

"What the hell is he doing here?" Mello managed to ask.

Matt commenced vigorously shaking a bottle of syrup. "My favorite part of birthday parties," he said, "is decorating something you can eat."

"I hadn't realized you supported cannibalism," Near muttered.

"I meant 'eat' figuratively. Like 'eat face,' or—"

Near went one shade whiter and three shades more cynical. "I get the point."

"I don't," Mello said. "Matt, what in the hell—"

Matt knelt next to Near and, humming off-key, started squeezing syrup onto the boy's bare chest in vague spirals, Near writhing violently all the while.

"I hate you!" he cried. "That's freezing! You told me you had a toy for me in your car, you lying bastard!"

"Well," Matt replied unperturbedly, "we are playing a really fun game."

"This is not a fun game! This is a terrible game! I'm going to have you arrested; my agents will notice I've been gone too long and track you down and eviscerate you and burn you in effigy—"

There was a wild flare of pink in each of Near's cheeks now, and the foil was crinkling like mad as he wriggled, trying to escape Matt's syrup art.

"They'll probably just take video and post it on the internet," Matt reported. "Come on, Mel; join in."

"Don't you dare!" Near howled. "Mail Jeevas, you will stop this instant, and you'll let me go—"

Don't stop me now… I'm havin' such a good time; I'm havin' a ball…

Mello paused, and then he put a finger to his lips in thought.

"What?" Matt prompted, having smeared the words Eat Me among Near's ribs.

"I'm just wondering one thing," Mello said.

"Why you've employed a sex-crazed sociopath as your second-in-command?" Near supplied, scathingly. "I'm wondering the same thing."

"No," Mello said, already turning towards the door. "I'm wondering if we have any whipped cream."

"Top shelf of the fridge, on your right!" Matt chirped.

Near wailed loud enough to send all the neighbors running for the hills.

Mello wandered to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, selected a canister, and started to shake.

"If you're looking for a good time," he sang idly, "just give me a call…"