Author's note: I've kind of been planning this one, actually. Right now, I only have a vague idea of the plot, but worry not! I shall come up with more details and an interesting twist as the story goes on. Anyway, I'll try to keep the characters as in-character as possible. TITLE MAY CHANGE.

Warnings: Yaoi. Boy/boy. Awful writing skills.

Summary: After Near is chosen to succeed L, Mello's life is in shambles. However, a meeting with a mysterious redhead changes everything. MxM, AU.


Prologue-

One would wonder about the reason for another person to be stumbling drunkenly through a dark alleyway at three in the morning on a Wednesday.

However, one would wonder even more about the reason for another person to be stumbling drunkenly through a dark alleyway at three in the morning on a Wednesday while clothed in nothing but a pair of black boxers.

Let it be noted that it was exactly 24 degrees outside. Fahrenheit.

It could be assumed that the person had been perhaps robbed of all their clothing and had their valuables stolen. It could also be assumed that the person had lost their clothing after coming out badly in a bet, or after gambling. Yet, when the person was frantically attempting to remove their last article of clothing (the boxers), and failing miserably while cursing loudly and waving around a bottle of vodka, it was quite easy to tell that the person was simply very, very drunk.

So drunk, in fact, that the person seemed to believe that his underwear was actually a dead cat clinging stubbornly to his crotch. And that the remainder of his leather (and probably expensive) clothing had attempted to murder him, and therefore had to be executed immediately.

The above being the explanation as to why tatters of leather were scattered around on the ground and why the person was only wearing a pair of boxers, one would still be lacking the explanation of why the person was stumbling drunkenly through a dark alleyway at three in the morning on a Wednesday. Not that one would particularly care.

In any case, the explanation is, yet again, simple.

The life of the said person was in as many pieces as his clothing.

-:-

Mello eyed the piece of cloth clinging to his legs with a beady stare.

And it stared back.

Mello was never one to refuse a challenge. With an almighty battle cry (after which he proceeded to take another swig of vodka), the twenty-two-year-old man clawed at his boxers with a fury from hell.

His boxers remained, infuriatingly so, intact, prompting the thirteenth staring contest in the past ten minutes.

Mello's eyes began to water, and somewhere at the back of his muddled mind, common sense struggled up from the black depths of alcohol influence and informed him that his boxers were never going to blink. Ever. So Mello gave up and sat down. Let it be understood that he didn't sit down because he gave up- he sat down because now his boxers would be forced to suffer the horror of being squished between his ass and the ground. Ha, take that, stupid underwear.

And then it was decided that Mello was bored. The ultimate cure for boredom when one was exceedingly drunk was drinking more vodka and/or braiding hair. Fortunately, his hair brushed the tips of his shoulders, making this whole braiding process potentially easier. Unfortunately, however, Mello was far too intoxicated to understand that drinking vodka and braiding hair could not be done at the same time. Because drinking vodka required one hand, and braiding required two hands. Mello did not have three hands.

That was how he was found with a hand and a foot tangled in the mess of his blonde hair (and a bottle of vodka clutched firmly in his other hand), in a dark alley at three in the morning on a Wednesday by a couple of men in black suits. These men in black suits, like most men in black suits, worked for a quite important someone.

That quite important someone was Mello's arch rival.

Hissing obscene words, Mello attempted rip his hand and foot free from his head, and ended up taking a chunk of hair with it. He clamped a palm to his now burning scalp, hugging his alcohol for comfort. But the men in the black suits had already decided to grab Mello by the arms and forcefully drag him to their black car with the black windows. And Mello tried to struggle, he really did, but there was only so much one could do when drunk enough for twelve people.

His life. Sucked. Ass.

-:-

"I would like to know what Mello was thinking."

"I was drunk, asshole."

"Exactly. I would like to know what Mello was thinking when he decided it would be a good idea to consume that much alcohol in one sitting."

"Can we talk about this some other time-" Mello broke off and leaned over the toilet as his body continued to purge all that vodka. All that vodka. What a waste.

"No, we cannot talk about this some other time. Mello will tell me right now."

"I'm throwing up!"

"Yes, I can see that."

Mello shot a glare over the toilet lid at the albino boy sitting comfortably on the sink counter. "Near, just go die- blaarrrgh..."

Near wrinkled his nose in disgust as Mello retched for what felt like the fiftieth time. The blonde lifted his head and attempted, once again, to turn the white-haired boy to dust using his mind. Near chose not to grace him with a response and instead opted to twirl a lock of hair around his finger in silence. Twirl, twirl, twirl. Mello's right eye twitched exactly two times.

"If it's so disgusting, you can leave!"

"I did not say that it was disgusting."

"You don't find me barfing repeatedly into a toilet disgusting? You sicko."

Near heaved a great sigh, rather like a sigh one's parents would let out when completely and totally exasperated with their child. He shut his eyes and counted to ten. Mello threw up again. He counted to twenty.

"I am leaving," he declared imperiously. "When Mello finishes in here, he will please come outside and meet me. I believe that there are a few things to be discussed."

Mello simply groaned in response and rested his head upon the toilet seat, following Near's bare feet out the door with weary blue eyes. His eyes raked along his own body, pausing when they registered that he was still clad in nothing but his underwear. How embarrassing.

Mello reached up and flushed the toilet and rolled onto the comfortingly cold floor. His eyelids were heavy, starting to slip shut out of their own will. He vaguely though about Near- about how he was waiting outside, about how he expected Mello to cooperate and 'talk' afterward. The blonde cradled his head with an arm that was as heavy as his eyes. So, so tired. He was just so tired of everything. Mello decided to leave Near to go fuck himself and shut his eyes all the way, instantly giving in to much-needed, deep slumber.

"Mello is not allowed to sleep."

Ah, nuts.

-:-

It was safe to assume that Mello was upset. But, then again, anyone would have been upset after suffering through what Mello had just had the misfortune of suffering through- A lecture delivered personally by Near himself. Hallelujah. Mello chewed fiercely on his lower lip as he exited the NPA headquarters and yes, he knew fully well that blood had begun to drip down his chin. However, he just didn't care, as he was far too busy seething over his own humiliation. Not to say that the humiliation wasn't well deserved.

"I am very disappointed in Mello," Near had said.

"Oh, guess what? I don't fucking care."

"Mello's recent behavior has been extremely irresponsible."

Mello shifted uncomfortably in his chair across from the albino, more than well aware that he was still clad only in his underwear. "I don't want to hear that from someone four years younger than me." A pause. "Can I get some clothes?"

Near exhaled slowly through his nose and this time only reached five before Mello's voice snapped his concentration into little pieces.

"It gets kind of cold when you're half naked, you know." Another pause. "You know what? I bet you don't know. I bet you never get naked- even to shower."

Near waved his hand impatiently at the man in the black suit who stood stoically by the door. It took all his self control and more to prevent his eye from twitching. The man (fortunately) picked up the hint and left to fetch Mello's much-demanded clothing.

Turning back to the blonde, Near then narrowed his eyes a fraction- a rare and almost disconcerting display of emotion.

"If Mello is four years older than me, then why is it that my judgment is far more rational than his? Perhaps this is the very reason that Mello was not chosen to replace L."

...

And then everything was silent.

And that was quite understandable (for everything to be silent, that is), because the words that had just left Near's mouth were absolutely and completely taboo.

Mello's right eye twitched. He shoved aside his chair with enough force to knock it to the ground. And then he stood up and left, just like that. Near watched impassively as Mello stalked toward the door, snatching the pair of pants and the shirt that the man in the black suit had just arrived with. He didn't say a word. He simply left and did not look back.

And that was how Mello was left to walk (yes, walk) several painfully long miles in order to reach his apartment. He wiped away the blood with a crisp, white sleeve and he hoped that it would leave a permanent stain.

It was only just beginning to grow light outside, the navy sky tinged with traces of pink and orange and clouds of light blue. Wind blew from every direction, tossing Mello's hair into a hideous disarray, which he quickly proceeded to smooth down only to have it swept the other way. He then let out a long-suffering sigh as a drop of water landed on his nose. Rain. Fucking perfect. But even as the sky poured on his head, he kept walking.

And maybe, if he had been paying attention, he would have noticed the sharp gaze that followed his every move.

-:-

"What do you mean, I'm kicked off the fucking case?"

"Mello understands perfectly well what I mean."

"That's not fucking fair! You can't do that, you pompous asshole!"

"Mello will refrain from shouting-"

"MELLO WILL NOT REFRAIN FROM SHOUTING." The blonde calmly threw a lamp across his living room.

A sigh that sounded very suspiciously like "oh my god" was heard on the other line. Mello hissed.

"You put me back on the damn case right now."

"No."

Mello blinked. "What?"

"No." And then he hung up.

Mello screamed in rage and chucked his phone at the opposite wall, shattering its screen and knocking out the battery. "That stupid little son of a bitch! Who the hell does he think he is, acting all high and mighty-" His heated venting was cut short when he heard a tiny 'ping' from his laptop.

The blonde rushed toward his desk, ignoring the stack of books he knocked over in the process. "What the..." His eyes widened in horrified realization. "Fuck!"

Near was locking him out of the case files.

Mello searched almost frantically for his phone before remembering that it was broken and cursing himself. And then cursing Near. He searched through a pile of papers and rubbish and god-only-knows what else on the desk, giving a shout of victory as his hand closed around his spare phone. He had Near on speed-dail, which was something he would normally be ashamed to admit, but was grateful for in this situation. Pressing the number "2" with conviction, Mello waited impatiently for the albino to pick up.

"Yes?"

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

"I am locking Mello out of the case files, obviously."

"What-"

"Mello has been removed from the investigation due to extreme irresponsibility," Near said. "He has been too reckless and has put everyone at risk including himself. Also, he has been drinking, which usually means that he is under stress. Mello clearly cannot cope with this. It is beneficial to the case to have Mello removed."

Mello's grip on the phone tightened, leaving his knuckles white. "Near," he said in a voice that was barely audible. "You can't do this."

"But I already have. Mello will stop calling me now. Goodbye." And then there was a click followed by a dial tone.

The phone slipped out of Mello's hand. He slumped against the wall and laid his head on his knees.

Fuck. Just fuck.

Mello hated being dependent. But at the moment, that was exactly what he was- completely dependent on the younger boy whom he so loathed. Mello just loathed his whole situation, actually.

One might wonder what exactly had fucked up Mello's life so badly. The explanation was simple.

Near had been chosen to succeed L.

L had not retired yet- no, he still held the respectable position of the world's greatest detective. He did, however, after having his life put in danger, feel the need to appoint a successor in the case of his death. Out of an entire orphanage of geniuses, Mello and Near were the top two. But Near was number one. He was always number one. It was no surprise as to who was chosen. Still, Mello couldn't help but to feel betrayed and angry. It was only the natural thing to feel when one had spent their entire life working toward something, only to be shoved aside so another could take their place. Mello could still remember the day that L had personally summoned them both to tell them the news.

That was the day that Mello's life went to hell.

The blonde had left Wammy's the very next morning and bought a place of his own using the considerable sum of money left to L's potential successors.

And that was how he was left with his apartment and a rent to pay with no way to earn any income. There was only one other solution available, and that was to work under Near. It was a knee to the groin to his pride, but he was broke and had several debts to pay. So that was how he ended up working under his former arch rival. It wasn't even a permanent position; Mello was only called over to help out on difficult cases. To do the dirty work. Mello suspected that Near simply pitied him.

And he despised every second of it.

So he had to retaliate in his own way, and that was to attempt to beat Near at his own game. Mello, so far, had not actually succeeded in solving any of the cases before Near did, which was rather putting-off. However, this new case that had popped up out of seemingly nowhere- it was the perfect opportunity. Solving it would be nearly impossible, and Mello knew that the albino needed him. Without Mello and his underground connections, they didn't stand a chance, and the blonde was more than willing to take advantage of the situation. There it was. His chance to beat the one person that had bested him for so many years.

And he had let it slip away. Which led to other problems.

Mello was now almost certain that he would get evicted from his little apartment. So far, he had broken every single rule- no pets, no loud music, and even the no smoking policy. In actuality, Mello despised smokers. He had never understood the point of inhaling acrid-smelling fumes only to get lung cancer afterward. But he had done it just to spite the landlord, and how revenge was sweet. One might wonder what exactly Mello had taken revenge for. It was simple- the landlord had told him that his goldfish smelled. And it really did, but Mello didn't want to hear it. It was like telling someone that their child was ugly. He also chose to conveniently ignore the no pet policy in favor of getting pissed off.

Which was exactly how he felt at the moment. Pissed off at the world. And a little bit hopeless.

So he decided to do something about it.

Mello pushed himself up off the floor and grabbed his laptop and a chocolate bar, heading toward the couch. There he sat down once more and set to work hacking his way back into the case files. Because hell if Near was going to stop him.

-:-

Two hours and ten jumbo-sized bars of chocolate later, Mello was in.

Near, unsurprisingly, had put up layers and layers of protection that barred Mello from entering the file. Those layers and layers were actually blocking even more layers and layers that safeguarded the case files.

But Mello was in.

The albino had clearly underestimated the blonde's hacking skills. Though Mello quite frankly sucked at most things computer-related a few years ago, he was most certainly well acquainted with the basics of hacking now. Unfortunately, the basics weren't enough to hack into anywhere, so Mello used his history with the mafia to his advantage and got a few lessons on how to do the 'real stuff'. He did feel a bit guilty about going behind the backs of his colleagues and doing exactly what he had promised not to do, (i.e., using the mafia to fulfill his own selfish wants), but he had gotten over it in good time. Good time meaning a few seconds, of course.

Mello snapped off another piece of chocolate with his teeth, chewing victoriously as he browsed through the information that he hadn't been allowed to look at before.

The Kira Case, in Mello's opinion, was an extremely interesting one.

The origin of the affair had started around nine months ago, tracing back to a tiny, filthy club in a street corner. The tiny, filthy club was not in fact run by an equally tiny, filthy owner. It was, in actuality, the property of the largest chain of underground illegal businesses that there was. And all of it was owned and run by one man- Kira. Of course, 'Kira' couldn't possibly be his name; they had no way of knowing it, since he had more than enough power and money to completely erase himself. It was his alias- his way of being known worldwide, yet anonymous. Almost like L, Mello had thought. But more than L. He was like a God.

But that wasn't the reason that the Kira case was interesting. After all, it could have been anyone that was literally at the top of the criminal world.

The reason that the Kira case was interesting was because Kira had somehow managed to kill- using only heart attacks.

At first, they had suspected that some kind of poison was used, but there were no marks found on the bodies suggesting that any of them had been injected with anything, nor was any type of poison detected in their systems. Not only that, but each victim had been in fairly good health, and overall unlikely to get a heart attack.

And Mello was baffled, but that wasn't a bad thing. It was wonderful. It was something impossible to find out, impossible to solve- the mystery of Kira and his heart attacks. He'd like to see Near figure that one out in just a week. It gave him the perfect opportunity to try and solve it before the albino did, earning himself a victory and proving himself to the world.

Too bad you got kicked off.

Mello growled at the snide little voice occupying his brain and tore more viciously into the bar of chocolate. You're not helping.

It isn't my fault that you're crazy.

I'm not crazy!

You're most certainly crazy, amigo. You've got a voice in your head.

It was then that Mello decided that having a conversation with his mind was probably unhealthy. So he stopped. Instead, he browsed through the case files, giving a small 'ha!' of triumph when he found the address to the dingy little club that was previously mentioned. It was time to do some investigation of his own.

He was going drinking again.


A/N: Well. I know that this doesn't have Matt in it yet and it's also a bit depressing, but it'll get better as it goes on. Also, it isn't very long, but hey, it's only the first chapter. And it's kinda like a prologue. It's introducing all the background information and giving a little bit of insight about what's to come.

By the way, anyone notice that Mello has Near as "2" on speed dial? That's his pathetic little way of making himself feel better. D'aaaw :)

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