Author's note: I'M SORRY. I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY. Writer's block is a horrible, horrible thing. My first excuse was that I had exams, but those are long over. Long, long over. Dear lord I don't even know how long I spent writing this. It was like two sentences at a time and then I would stop. But today I sort of went "ENOUGH OF THIS HIATUS!" and sat down and wrote another two thousand words. So um... I replaced that author's note thing I left after chapter two with this. I hope that it's long enough and has enough going on and that you're all satisfied.

On another note, I've been doing some story planning for each chapter. I think I've finally established a solid plot. Or not. I don't know.

Warnings: Yaoi. Boy/boy.

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.


"Oh my god!" Matt was leaning over him, looking absolutely horrified. "Oh my god, are you okay? Holy shit that fucking car, oh my god your head, you're bleeding! Oh fuck, what do I do?"

Mello blinked at him.

"Say something, for fuck's sake!"

"Ow," Mello said and promptly passed out.

Chapter 2—

When Mello opened his eyes, he only knew that his head hurt like a bitch and that he had no idea where he was.

His attempt at sitting up went badly, as the moment he propped himself up using his elbows, a pain from hell shot through his ribs and skull. Cursing the infernal bastard who invented hurt, he flopped back onto the pillows in defeat.

He blinked. Pillows? Pillows. No blanket. Grope, grope. Not a bed, perhaps a sofa. He looked around. Yes, definitely a sofa. A green sofa. His eyes traveled up. A tall ceiling—the room was enormous. Left, right, and below—walls of a lighter green than the sofa, a hardwood floor, a coffee table on top of a carpet rug, also green (the carpet, not the table), a partially closed door that led into a hallway.

Mello, quite intelligently, concluded that he was indoors.

Indoors, but where indoors? His eyes flitted around the room once more. He still had no clue as to where he was. Mello vainly struggled to recall what had happened, or whom he had been with, dishearteningly coming up with nothing. He (painfully) lifted his arm and patted his pocket, making sure he still had his gun.

Nothing.

He patted his pocket again, this time more urgently.

Still nothing.

His heart jumped to his throat and he shot up in a panic, only to cry out in pain as his back gave out and he hit the pillows once more.

Mello clenched his teeth, pressing his hands to his ribcage in agony. What the fuck had happened?

"What the hell are you doing?" The door was forcefully flung open all the way, and a man with flaming red hair and goggles burst in, cursing loudly.

Mello's eyes shot upward and fixed themselves on the man's face. Without a pause, everything came hurtling back to him in a whirling rush, making him clutch his head at the sheer intensity of it. He remembered, he remembered—a car had shot at him from out of nowhere, catching him in the ribs before he could completely dodge out of the way. While he was unconscious (Mello assumed that he had hit his head), he had been taken home by the stupid dumbass that refused to leave him alone. Just fucking brilliant.

"Oi," Matt said, his voice breaking through Mello's thoughts, "I asked you a question."

"Where is my gun?" Mello rasped, the panic returning as the redhead reminded him of the loss of his security blanket.

"It's on the table next to your head. Maybe if you had actually looked, you would have noticed."

Mello frowned at his tone, slightly wounded. "And what the fuck is up your ass?"

Matt let his hand slide down his face in what Mello assumed was exasperation. "You were just hit by a car! Don't you have enough sense as to not sit up that fast?"

"Speaking of being hit by a car, why aren't I in a hospital?" An eyebrow raised in suspicion.

"Oh..." Matt's expression shifted quickly from angry to nervous. "Look, I panicked, okay?"

Mello glared. Matt had the decency to stare at his toes. "Did you get the license plate number?"

Matt shook his head dumbly.

There was a pause.

"Who the hell," Mello screeched, "Not only doesn't have the sense to take me to the hospital after I get hit by a freaking car, but also can't even get a license plate number to report the bastard!"

Matt cringed. "I told you—I panicked!"

"That is not an excuse, you fucking stupid—" Mello cut his rant short with a deep breath. Do not be angry, he told himself. Do not yell at this poor, mentally handicapped, protozoan-brained man. He changed the topic before his mouth could spew out anything else unpleasant.

"Hey, what did people say when they saw you dragging off my bloody carcass?"

The redhead raised an eyebrow at the blonde's rapid change in demeanor, but chose not to comment. "That's not the word choice I would pick, but hey, it works... I guess." Matt glimpsed Mello's darkening expression and hastily continued. "I told them that you hadn't eaten anything all day—which, judging by how skinny you are, is probably true—and that you passed out and I was going to carry you home."

"First of all, I am not fucking skinny. And they believed you? How would they have known that you're not some kind of... I dunno, deranged psychopathic serial killer?" Mello chose not to inform him that this could in fact be true.

"Thank you for your high opinion of me," Matt rolled his eyes. "In case you haven't realized by now, they didn't see you get hit by the car." He paused, looking apprehensive, "And... I told them you were my boyfriend."

Another pause.

"You said what?"

"Look, it was the only way I could get them to stop asking questions, don't take it personally—"

"You don't even know me!"

"Oh, come on, yes I do—"

"You don't even know my name—"

"Then maybe you should tell me!"

Mello flinched, not expecting the sudden attack on his unreasonable secrecy, but quickly composed himself and glared up at the man leaning over him. "I'm not obliged to give away anything to someone that I've just met. Don't assume that you're my friend just because you fucking smile at me."

Matt looked at him for a long moment and gave up, letting out a sigh and sitting down on the coffee table. "You're really messed up, did you know that?"

"How so?" Mello decided not to voice that yes, he did in fact know that he was very messed up. He wondered if he ought to get some help about that.

"It's like you don't want anyone to get close to you." Matt paused, analyzing the blonde's disarmed expression. "And judging from the look on your face, I hit the problem dead-on, didn't I?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," sneered Mello, easily rearranging his features into one of contempt.

"Really, now?" Matt snorted. "Of course, you refusing to tell me your name clearly couldn't be an indicator. I must be imagining things."

"Yes, you must be," said Mello and stubbornly glared at the wall.

"..." Matt remained silent in response, and after another six full minutes, he seemed to realize that discussing Mello's mental health was a lost cause. Feeling immensely sorry for any therapist Mello was to encounter in the future, he rose abruptly, causing the blonde to look up.

"Well, seeing as you're too pigheaded to admit you've got a problem, I'm going to go make a phone call."

"You do that," said Mello nastily.

The door slammed shut leaving both men to fume in silence.

-:-

Near was furious.

He had never in his entire life ever been this humiliated. Ever.

He wasn't just being childish because he lost either—Near was fairly sure that anyone would feel indignant if put in his position.

Bound and gagged. He had been left on the floor, bound and gagged. If it was within the law, he would have killed someone. Chewing threw the gag had proven to be futile, seeing that it was made of cloth. The only thing he had accomplished in that aspect was an uncomfortably painful feeling in his tongue where he had accidentally bit down on it. As for the ropes binding his wrists and ankles, he had made slight progress. Worming in an unsightly manner across the floor, he had managed to drag himself to where he was sure Lidner had dropped her nail file a few days prior. After what felt like a good half-an-hour of groping around behind his back, Near had managed to locate the sharp piece of metal, grateful that he had not bothered to return it.

Unfortunately, Near was a bit inexperienced at cutting through ropes, not having really paid attention to the movies the other children had watched in the orphanage in which a captured character used a nail file to escape. He cursed under his breath as the file slipped in his slightly sweaty palm, cutting his finger. Twisting his head around, he saw that it was bleeding.

Near mentally sighed, wiping his finger on the back of his shirt, and relocated the nail file, preparing himself for another round of trying to saw through the rope.

As he worked, he could faintly hear shouting coming from downstairs, muffled by the closed and locked door. They seemed not to have noticed that Near had just been attacked and shot at. Of course, they must have known about the intruder in the building, since the alarms had gone off, (Near didn't think that the alarms were very useful, as they had only begun to go off after Misa had fled), but didn't bother to think about if she had reached Near. He had half a mind to fire everyone.

Suddenly, voices appeared at what sounded like the end of the hallway, where the stairs were. Near desperately wanted to shout for help, but was prevented from doing so by the piece of black cloth in his mouth. He struggled silently as footsteps echoed down the hall, nearing his door.

He repeatedly hit the floor as noisily as he could manage with his hands, praying that they could hear him. (Near couldn't believe that he was actually begging)—

Please, please, please, please—

It was as if the sun had shone down on him in the middle of a storm—the footsteps that had almost passed the door slowed.

Near gave a muffled shout and hit the floor harder.

The doorknob gave a rattle but didn't open.

"It's locked," Near heard from outside the door. He recognized the voice to be of Rester.

"Do you have a key?" said the voice of Lidner.

"Yes, I think so, hang on..."

And within a moment, the unlocked door swung open, revealing the rather harassed looking faces of his subordinates.

"Near, what...?" Rester hastened forward, stepping over the piles of fallen tarot cards and the remains of Near's cellphone. The albino boy just fixed him with the meanest look he could muster, daring him to ask any more questions. The man furrowed his brow but didn't speak again, and instead set to cutting through the ropes. Unlike Near, he managed the get them loose in mere seconds.

"Near, what the hell happened—"

"Mmf."

"Oh right—" Rester pulled out the gag and Near immediately licked his cracked lips, drawing in a great gulp of air. Then, instead of replying to the confused man, he pushed himself up and walked to the computers, moving faster than he had in a very long time.

Lidner was seated at the desk, typing rapidly.

"The security has been breached," she said before Near could open his mouth. "Everything has been deleted."

"..." Near sunk into the chair next to her, drawing one knee to his chest. "Chance of recovery?"

"Zero percent."

Near's heart plummeted, but he took care not to show it, instead reaching up and agitatedly twirling a lock of hair. This network was the only one that contained the files on the Kira case. (Now that Near looked back on it, it was an extremely stupid decision—security reasons, he had assured himself as he had transferred all the files onto the single computer, in case the files needed to be destroyed—Now look where it had landed him.) Everything had been wiped, and there was no way to get it back.

"Well?" Came Rester's voice from behind them. "Are you going to explain any of this?"

Near shook his head. "I am afraid that there is nothing to explain. The intruder rendered me incapable of movement and hacked into the computer, most likely stole the files and deleted everything." And there went his pride.

Lidner frowned. "And you're sure that Mello wouldn't have anything?"

"I have locked Mello out of the files, he should not have been able to access them." But even as he said it, a part of Near was thinking hard—maybe, hopefully, Mello had gotten in somehow, maybe he had managed to get a copy... But would he oblige when asked for it? After all that Near had put him through, it seemed unlikely.

The albino vaguely registered that someone else was talking. He cut across them.

"I think," Near said slowly, "We will have to speak to Mello."

"But you just said—"

"It is the only chance we have," Near said, the truth of the words weighing on his shoulders. "I propose we take it."

"R-Right."

Near turned back to the screens, his mind racing a million miles a minute.

Things were going to get complicated.

-:-

"What the hell were you thinking?" Matt hissed into his cellphone.

"What a polite way to greet someone," answered a cool, male voice on the other line.

"Don't act like you care about pleasantries!"

"On the contrary. They are essential to function in everyday society, are they not?"

Matt swore and sat down heavily on his kitchen table. "Stop avoiding the question."

"I'm not avoiding anything, as far as I can tell. I'm merely commenting on your less than kind greeting—"

"Mikami."

The man scoffed. "What, do you wish for me to explain myself to you?"

"Well, obviously!"

"And you expect me to obey you? You, who can't even get a single job done properly?"

Matt's lips drew back in a snarl. "Stop acting all high and mighty. You and I both know that it isn't my job to kill him."

"Oh?" Mikami sneered. "Then what is your job, pray tell?"

"You know what my job is."

"To infiltrate, yes, so I've been told. But you weren't doing a very good job, were you? I was simply helping-"

"Hitting him with a car is not helping!" Matt's face met with his palm in a gesture of absolute irritation. "What in the world made you think that was helping?"

"I secured you an excuse to take him home," Mikami said lightly, the tone of his voice giving no indication that he believed hitting someone with a car was in any way unacceptable.

"He has two cracked ribs and he very nearly broke his skull," Matt ground out through clenched teeth. "You could have killed him."

"But I didn't, did I? Not to mention it would only make your job easier if I did."

Matt, at this point, was fighting the rapidly rising urge to scream very loudly. "In case you don't remember, I'm not supposed to kill him! I'm supposed to use him to kill L! How the fuck do you expect me to gather information from a dead body?"

Mikami snorted derisively. "Is that compassion you're showing? And I thought you were supposed to be an assassin."

"Yes," Matt stressed, on the verge of tearing out copious amounts of his own hair, "I am an assassin, but I was only assigned to kill one specific person, who, may I mention, is exceedingly difficult to get to! It makes sense not to kill off my easy way in!"

"Really now. And I suppose you being a bit... taken by your new find has nothing to do with it?" drawled Mikami, an infuriating smugness slipping into his silky voice.

Matt opened his mouth to fire off an angry retort, but stopped himself, seizing another and surely more effective tactic. "You seem rather uninformed for someone who claims to be so high in the ranks."

A short silence was all the redhead needed to know that he had gained the upper hand.

"...What do you mean?"

"I mean," Matt smirked, "That for someone who says that he's so close to the boss, you really don't seem to know what you're talking about."

Mikami bristled. "I know exactly what I'm talking about, thank you. You are simply finding an escape from admitting that you've got a little crush on your target—"

"First of all," Matt cut him off, "My target is L as I've explained to you several times now." Mikami growled and Matt silently cheered. "And has your beloved boss ever once told you anything of the plan?"

"Wha—Of course he has!" blustered Mikami. "I am his—his most trusted—"

"Well clearly he hasn't been telling you anything if you continue to make such ludicrous accusations."

"Accusations?" Mikami hissed. "I'm speaking the truth!"

Matt let out a cruel laugh. "Truth, you say? Let me remind you of the plan then: To get close to L through his successor, and then to kill him."

"Yes, I know—"

"Then how do you propose I get close to his successor, hmm?"

"..." Mikami didn't respond.

And Matt's victory had been secured. He smirked in triumph, sliding off his kitchen table and pacing to the window.

"Mikami?"

"..."

"Nothing to say?" Matt sneered. "You had plenty to say before didn't you?"

"...Don't you fucking mock me." Teru Mikami's voice filtered through the line hard and fast, spoken in a deadly whisper. "You may claim it is all part of the plan, but you've been known to get attached to your victims, to show unnecessary kindness." He let out a bark of laughter, sounding quite demented. "I'll be watching you and waiting for the moment you fuck up and I will find you. Do not think you will be able to escape. And remember, the boss won't let you off so easily this time."

A resounding click was followed by a dial tone.

Matt snorted to disguise his rising unease. Well fuck, Teru Mikami was a psycho after all. Matt had always had a nagging suspicion that he had always been a bit insane—one would have to be to follow after the boss that loyally. Yet, for some reason, (most likely to maintain his own sanity), the redhead had managed to convince himself that no, Mikami was not psycho, he was simply... strange. And perhaps a little disturbed. And now, after the tiny bout of maniacal laughter plus the barely veiled threat, Matt was forced to conclude that Mikami had probably been one of those kids that killed small animals for fun, and was now turning his attentions to Matt.

He silently wished that he hadn't been such an asshole. Now dwelling on it, Matt realized that half the shitty situations he had gotten into were the results of his assholey-ness. Perhaps he ought to work on that.

Actually, fuck that, he was hungry.

He placed the phone on the table and grabbed an apple.

-:-

Mello wasn't really sure why he was so upset.

Really now, he had always been the toughest no matter where he went, be it Wammy's house or even the mafia. Yet this insignificant little jibe at his mental health had him reeling. He couldn't understand it for the life of him.

In fact, the more he though about it, the more that nasty little comment Matt dropped seemed to be true, and Mello knew it couldn't be. He was perfectly sane, voices in his head and intimacy issues aside. Perfectly. Fucking. Sane.

"Ugh," he said to himself. "Screw it." With great care, he pushed himself up with one arm, wary of moving too quickly lest he aggravate his wounds. With the other, he grasped the top of the couch, hauling himself up into a sitting position. He eyed his gun sitting on the nearby table and snatched it, inserting into his back pocket before standing up slowly.

Nothing hurts…yet, he reasoned, and headed toward the exit. He reached toward the doorknob, turning it—

—only to find Matt standing right outside, his hand extended.

"Um…" he began, raising an eyebrow. "May I be so bold to ask as to where you think you're going?"

"Home," Mello bit out angrily. "Where else?" He shoved past the redhead into the hallway.

Matt exhaled. "At least let me drive you back."

"I'm fine, I can walk," Mello hissed, only to wince in obvious pain when Matt poked his side.

"I can see that," said Matt skeptically.

"You know what—ow! Will you stop poking me?"

"Why don't you just let me drive you?" sighed Matt wearily. "Consider it an apology for being an ass earlier."

Mello gave him the eye as he turned this offer over in his head. True, he was sore everywhere and it would be hell to walk home, not to mention he was tired and hungry. But then again, this was the annoying shit who couldn't shut his mouth. Being talked to death or dying of starvation and fatigue: which was the lesser evil?

"I'll walk," he decided haughtily, pushing Matt out of the way and stalking toward the door.

"Seriously?" Matt exclaimed, exasperated. "I said I was sorry!"

"That means nothing."

"Look," he said, once again blocking the blonde's path, "I really feel bad. How about treat you to some food on the way?"

"I'm not hu—" the blonde began, only to cut off as his stomach let out a loud gurgle. "…Okay."

"Thanks," Matt said, and smiled.

"Whatever."

"Will you tell me your name now?"

"Don't push it."

"Okay, okay! Don't hit me!"

-:-

Mello wasn't quite sure what to think when they parked in front of his apartment building and all his furniture lay in a heap outside the entrance.

Before Matt could say or do anything, Mello had thrown open the car door and was clambering up the stairs to his apartment. On his door stuck a piece of paper that proudly declared:

Eviction Notice.

Mello's mouth fell open.

"Hey, are you okay—wait, what's that?"

Mello ignored him and threw open the door, tearing off the notice and stomping inside.

It was completely empty.

Hands shaking, he dashed to his bedroom—empty—the kitchen—empty—everything was empty. Gone. Every piece of furniture, his computer, his clothes, his phone, his chocolate, his files, his everything. All gone.

He crumpled up the paper and chucked it at the wall before sitting down heavily on the floor.

"Um…" the redhead said from behind him. "A-Are you okay?"

Mello let out a little whimper and put his face in his hands. Fuck my life. Fuck my life. Fuck my life.

"Excuse me, but I'm afraid you'll have to leave."

Mello turned his head sharply, flinching as the movement sparked pain in the back of his head. The ache, however, was forgotten as he realized that the man standing in the doorway was his landlord. "You!" He was on his feet and stalking toward the landlord within a matter of seconds. "You damn bastard—"

The landlord let out a terrified squeak and made a mad dash for the door.

"Oh no you don't!" Mello snarled, grabbing the back of the man's jacket before he could escape. "What is the meaning of this?" He gestured at the vacant rooms.

The landlord, apparently summoning courage from the depths of his soul, drew himself up, squaring his shoulders. "It means, sir, that you have been evicted! You've broken one too many rules!"

"What rules have I broken exactly—"

"Not to mention, you haven't been paying the rent! Why should I let you stay here when there are others in line for this place? In fact, just the other day a respectable young man telephoned me asking for your apartment, what was his name? Ma—"

Mello cut across him. "Don't you give me that crap, you little—" The blonde's response was cut short by a hand on his shoulder. He turned on the redhead, teeth bared. "What do you think you're doing?"

Matt ignored him. "I'm so sorry, don't mind him. He's just a little upset—"

"What—Of course I'm upset—!"

"—and I'm sure he doesn't mean any of it—"

"—what shit are you spouting, I meant all of it—"

"—so sorry for the inconvenience, we'll be leaving now—"

"—no, we most certainly will not!"

But Matt had already begun to steer the struggling blonde out the door, all while apologizing profusely to the landlord, who looked vaguely relieved at the idea of Mello leaving.

-:-

The moment they were outside, Mello punched Matt in the face.

"I guess I deserved that," he groaned, rubbing his jaw.

"Yes, yes you did!" Mello was, quite justly, furious. "Why the hell did you do that?"

Well," Matt reasoned, "I was just using my common sense. You knew he wouldn't have given you your apartment back."

"You could at least have let me hit him for dumping my stuff!"

"And give him a reason to call the police?"

"Ugh," Mello threw up his hands in exasperation. "I hate you."

"Do you really?"

"That's it, I'm done." He stomped heatedly away toward the pile of furniture and appliances, bending down and picking up a scuffed laptop. "Bastard," he muttered, running his fingers over the scratches.

Matt watched him silently, hands in the pockets of his jacket and his breath forming little clouds in the chill air as Mello gathered as many things as he could into his arms, occasionally dropping something and cursing.

"Need any help with that?" he asked, his eyebrows raised.

"No!" Mello snapped angrily, swearing as he dropped a coffee maker.

"Oh honestly," Matt sighed, stooping to pick up the appliance. "You're so stubborn." The files didn't say he was this difficult. "Will you stop being an idiot and just let me help you?"

"I don't want help from a stranger!" He snatched the coffee maker, only to drop a lamp. "Shit!"

Matt rolled his eyes. "Okay, I have a proposition for you." Mello eyed him warily. "How about we stop being strangers? How about we be friends?"

Mello snorted. "Give me one reason why I would want to do that."

"Well for starters…" Matt paused for effect.

Mello glared at him. "Get on with it."

"…If we were friends, I'd let you live with me."

Mello's eyes bugged. "What?"

"You heard me," Matt said with a smirk. "You need a place to go, right?"

"B-But… We barely know each other. Why would you be willing to let me live with you?" Mello's brow creased in bemusement.

Matt smiled. "Not everyone has intimacy issues like you, sweetheart."

"I don't have—don't call me that." Mello dragged a hand down his face.

"Okay then. Let's start off our wonderful friendship with telling each other our names. My name is Matt."

"This is stupid."

"And what's your name?" He shot the blonde a pointed look.

"I'm not playing this game."

"And what's your name, dear friend with whom I will be sharing my house?"

A sigh. "My name is Mello."

A brilliant smile. "Mello, huh? It doesn't suit you very well, does it?"

"Nah," Mello said quietly. "It doesn't. Now shut up and help my load my shit into your car."

"Sure thing, sweetheart."

"Don't call me that!"


A/N: OH DEAR LORD. GUHHH. That is all I can say. So did anyone guess who called the landlord to take Mello's apartment, and for what reason? Either way, I'll have it explained in the next chapter. Hopefully.

Mikami is butthurt. ALL THE TIME FOREVER. Poor little guy.

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