Dear Waking Up,

It has been awhile. I've missed you. Have an update.

"Okay," Matt muttered to himself. "You can do this. He's just a person. Nothing to freak yourself out over. You can do this." He shot a quick, longing glance back towards the parking lot and the relative safety of his waiting car. "Or you could get back in your car, drive back to your crappy little apartment and spend the rest of your life alone and miserable except for your thirty thousand cats. And good luck with that because you're allergic to cats."

He took a deep, fortifying breath and stared at his finger, which was wavering hesitantly over the doorbell, and willed it to move. "Oh god, damnit," he cursed before pressing down on the button. He heard the faint echo of the bell from inside Mello's apartment, but when a few minutes passed without answering footsteps, his breath hitched nervously in his chest.

What if Mello wasn't home? Or worse, what if Mello was home but knew it was Matt outside and didn't want to answer the door? Damnit, why had he talked himself into this stupid idea? It had taken nearly a week of staring at the address L had given him to convince himself to go. And now here was to what? Cry? Plead? Beg for Mello's attention? Not that any of that even mattered when apparently no one was home.

No sooner had the thought formed in Matt's mind, then the door swung silently open. "Yes?" The voice was deadened, monotonous, and all too creepily familiar.

"Oh, hi Near," Matt said uncertainly. "I was just looking for… I mean, I came by because-," He stopped abruptly as the white-haired boy walked back into the depths of the apartment without a word, leaving the door wide open. As the smaller boy settled himself on the floor with a robot toy in hand, Matt hesitantly let himself in. "I'll just shut this then?" He gestured towards the door and, receiving no response, nudged it closed softly.

"So..." He swayed awkwardly on the balls of his feet, looking around the apartment without really seeing it. "I know it's sort of late, but I figured nine 'o' clock maybe might not be too late, you know…"

Fabulous. Now he was babbling. "Is um…" He swallowed thickly. "… Mello here? I was wondering if I could talk to him? We got into sort of- well I don't know if you would call it a fight… but I don't know. And I mean, I don't know if maybe you two talk about this kind of stuff or not, you know, since you live together and all but-" He stopped as Near shook his head slowly. "He's not? Oh…," Matt thought for a moment and quickly made a decision. "Do you think I could wait for him here? I mean, if it's a problem-"

He stopped again as Near lifted a single, slender finger, the sleeve of his overly large, white pajama top falling over his hand as he did so, and pointed to a door off the main room. Just in time too, Matt thought. He didn't know why something as simple as a visit to Mello or a ten-second conversation with the strange, silent Near had turned into such an incoherent idiot.

For a moment, his eagerness to get away from Near overpowered his trepidation and he hurried to the door. The hallway it opened to was short, and had two doors leading off of it, one on either side. A quick glance into the one on the right showed stacks of children's toys and tidy bed with a gray coverlet. Definitely not, Matt thought, going into the door on the left instead.

The room in which he found himself was the polar opposite of the previous. A red blanket had been hung over the window, blocking the little light trickling in from the street lamps outside and tingeing the room a dim red-black as Matt closed the door behind him with a soft click, not bothering to turn on the lights. It felt rude somehow, like he was disturbing the sanctity of someone else's dwelling place. Clothes that just screamed Mello- all black, leather, and dangerous- were strewn on floor and furniture alike, and several rosaries were draped over the corner of a large mirror above the dresser. The scent of old incense hung heavily in the air.

Matt spied some expensive-looking stereo equipment occupying one corner of the room, and his fingers itched to examine it even as he reminded himself that it was probably best not to touch anything.

He lowered himself gingerly onto the edge of the unmade bed, running a hand over the rumpled black comforter. He sat still and thinking for a long time, occasionally glancing at his watch and wishing he had thought to bring his DS as the minute hand crept steadily forward. Ten 'o' clock… eleven… midnight. His eyes grew bleary and he had to blink rapidly to stay awake. His sleep had been unfitful the past couple of nights and the lingering incense was having a soporific effect on him. He blinked again heavily, wondering not for the first time that night, when Mello would be back and whether or not coming here had been a very stupid idea.

The minute hand counted down another tick towards one in the morning. His eyes were very dry. I'll just close them for a second, he thought.


Matt's eyes flew open as a familiar voice yelled his name. Seconds later, his ears were assailed by a pounding, bass-driven techno mix- turned on at max volume, it seemed. He practically threw himself off the bed, his sleep-heavy limbs tangling and getting in his way as he stood. "Mello. I was just-," He almost had to shout to be heard over the music. He squinted to see Mello in the dark room.

"Matt!" the blonde said again loudly. Matt had just a second for his eyes to adjust and catch sight of him, hair and clothes mussed, a wide, unnaccustomary grin splashed across his face, before he was knocked backwards onto the bed. Mello's knees were on either side of his hips, his hands resting on either side of Matt's head. He grunted in surprise as Mello's face came into view directly above his.

"Mello, I-" Matt began again. The smell of cigarettes and cheap liquor rolled off the blonde and enveloped him, obliterating the comforting smell of incense.

"I knew you'd come crawling back, Matt."

"What?" Matt finally spit out a full thought.

"I knew you'd come track me down eventually," Mello replied. At this proximity, Matt could hear every word, the throbbing bass of the stereo notwithstanding. "They always do. Can't stay away, can you?" He looked manic. Matt's eyes raked over Mello's face. Strands of Mello's messy blonde hair hung down like a curtain, casting him into shadow and tickling Matt's face. The pupils of his eyes were huge, almost comically so; the black nearly obscuring the ice-blue irises. Eyes you could easily drown in.

Matt shuddered at the sudden thought. "What are you on?" he asked quietly. He was stupid. It really shouldn't have surprised him.

Mello laughed, more of his hair brushing over Matt's cheeks before look him dead in the eyes. Matt couldn't tear his gaze away from Mello's, which was full to the brim of- what? Planning? Malice? He didn't know.

"What does it matter?" Mello said, lowering his face so close to Matt's that he could very nearly count each of Mello's individual eyelashes.

"Huh?" He was having trouble thinking properly with Mello's face so close to his.

"What does it matter what I'm on?" Mello repeated gleefully. "It doesn't change a thing. It doesn't change you what came here for, does it?"

"It-," Matt began, and then stopped. Did it change anything? No. Not a damn thing. "No," he said.

"See!" Mello said loudly, sitting up. "I knew you'd end up here. You're with me, right Matt? The whole damn world's against me. So tell me Matt, are you with the world? Or are you with me?"

"I'm with you," Matt answered, propping himself up on his elbows and looking up at Mello.

"Good choice Matty," said Mello and he held out his hand. Resting in his palm was a small, chalky-blue pill. Matt took a deep breath. No more time for thinking about how stupid he was. No more time for rational, mature decisions. He knew the minute he had gotten in his car and driven over here what his decision was. Perhaps he had even known when he had gone to L for information. Was it the right decision? Probably not, but it was the one he had made all the same. He couldn't lose Mello.

In one fluid motion he plucked the tab from Mello's outstretched hand and swallowed it. Mello's grin stretched even wider. "We're gonna have some fun tonight, Matty."

Things are getting serious? Possibly. Who doesn't love some good old drug-rambling, not making sense Mello?

Don't do drugs, kids. Do reviews. Reviews have literally no side effects and they make the world a better place.

Should I bump the rating on this story up?