Disclaimer: don't own DN, no money. Song lyrics are 'Despite What You've Been Told' by Two Gallants.

Note: originally written as a songfic so excuse the massive amount of lyrics in this one. I shuffled them out of the way so you can avoid reading them, but written for a contest and specifically based off that song, so I'd recommend giving it a listen. Anyway, Mello/Halle - bad language and sexual scenes ahead.

x

In Spite of Shadows

well i'm just a kid of ill repute
and the skin i wear is my only suit
and you you're just a substitute
for the one that i hold dear

Lidner's apartment is dark and quiet. Though, Mello thinks, perhaps it is not quite right to think of her as Lidner right now. In this moment, trapped between layers of shadow and heat and skin, he breathes 'Halle' into her neck.

She groans up against him. She is flashes of a blonde that's nearly white; she is the shine of swirls of sweat against the cream of her skin. He smudges her lips with violent kisses, and trails scarlet paint along her cheeks. He brings a hand up to grope at her throat, harsh and possessive, and everything blurs into a shuddering explosion of wildness and lust and rebellion.

Both of them are here because they want this, but neither of them because they care.


It's some time after eleven when the knock comes at Halle's door. She's almost ready for bed, dressed down in soft linen and a dressing gown after another endless day of computers and machinations. The grind has cut her off from everyone she once knew, and so, really, she knows who it is outside before she even lifts the latch.

Mello forces himself through the door as soon as she opens it. He pushes it shut, pulls the locks down, and turns on her. His eyes are the same clear cerulean she's become discomfortingly accustomed to, but tonight they are laced with fire and frustration and some kind of frantic desire.

She recognises it a second before he presses her back against the door, and brings his mouth threateningly close to hers. He hesitates, just for a second, before leaning forward into a crushing kiss. It's all passion and lust, and still somehow completely empty, but Halle isn't thinking about that.

Halle is thinking about the hesitation. Halle is thinking about how this boy, this half-faced wild man of leather and gold, paused. After burning down buildings, after death and destruction and abominations, he stopped to see if she was alright with him starting this.

It's things like this – the impossibly small moments, the gasps between good and evil – that make her question him. They are the things that keep her doing this, keep her running through this dangerous maze with Mello one way, Near the other. She does it because she's seen him, she's seen him broken down and burning and weeping and devastated and alone, and she has seen the fact that he is a little boy who will never, ever win.

And then his hand finds the cord of her dressing gown and tugs it free, and Halle stops thinking.


It is an odd thing that has developed between them. She never knows where to find him, or how to contact him, and when he comes to her, he is always the one with the gun. He is younger, inexperienced, awkward – he is rushed with untraceable anger and teenage arousal. And even though she's everything he's not, it just takes the brush of the rough skin of his hands, or the heat of his breath, to drive her to frenzy.

He comes when he has had a bad pain day. More often than not, those coincide with the longest days with the SPK, the hardest drive, the slowest hours. He is an escape, a release – he is every single thing that has been marked as wrong and bad and forbidden. He is the enemy. He is a criminal. He is barely more than a child.

And – though he thinks she does not notice – he is in love with someone else.

He comes to Halle that night because he has hit a wall. There's a decision to be made – an impossible one, a terrible one where there is only a single viable outcome and it's the one you wanted to avoid at any cost. He comes to her to lose himself in fucking her, to drown himself in heat and sweat and sex. And it's Halle for so many reasons – perhaps first, because Halle isn't Matt.

It's Halle because Halle is Near. Halle is elegant and pale and refined, and all the things she isn't supposed to be. Fucking her this way – and it is fucking; brutal and full of abandon – is a triumph over Near, a feral and carnal taking of something that belongs to him.

She will sleep with him, here, with his warped skin casting mottled shadows over her breasts, she will pass him information, and when the inevitability of it all kills him, she'll probably mourn his passing. But Mello knows that deep down, in her heart, in her honest moments that slip away when the sun comes up, she will always, always belong to Near.

Perhaps it is the paradox of him, he muses, when he has time to muse anything at all. Perhaps it's all of his brilliance and absence combined in white pyjamas and uncombed hair. But the thing is, Near is changing. Mello's seen him, he's seen him young, and he's seen him now, too, and he's seen how the planes of him are spreading, how he's not going to be able to cower and hide behind card castles for very much longer.

Near is growing up.

He supposes they all are, in their own ways. He can feel changes spreading through him every day, can feel any last shreds of innocence and childhood still clinging to him withering and falling away. It is discomforting to know that soon there will be nothing left of the boy he was, and he thinks that perhaps that's the reason for his uncertainty now.

He should call Matt. He needs the help, and he knows Matt will come, even after four years of barely any contact. He knows it as surely as he knows Halle will always be Near's, first and foremost, because Mello, for all his faults and his failings, has a little understanding when it comes to love.

But he's afraid. He is afraid of the changes that have been wrought upon his little boy body – the new broadness, the new scars. He is afraid of facing Matt and telling him all the things he has done.

And, more than anything, he's afraid of what will happen if he fails. Because he can't. He can't do that to Matt. It's a suicide game, this, and he's dancing on a fucking knife blade, and he cannot bring Matt into this just to die.

But there are days when the thought of dying alone snake through his mind, and Mello, he thinks he knows what he's going to decide.


When they are spent, they simply lie for a while. There is no tenderness in this space. They catch their breath, they study the ceiling, and in those spare few seconds of downtime, those single moments out of every day where they can shut off and think clearly, everything is obvious.

It's an act of rebellion and anger. It's a burning off of frustrations, it's acting out. It's Mello striking out against Near, and it's Halle gaining some shred of control back from Mello. It's a breakaway from the monotony that's sneaking slippery tendrils all around them, from the pain and from the complacency. It's because Mello can't face Matt if he isn't sure about him. It's because Halle can't face Near if she thinks that this is all there is.

They part ways with no goodbyes and little sorrow. They tell themselves it means nothing, but both know there is a splinter of it that does. It's a sort of mutual desperation, a kinship born in the absence of love. They have their own demons to face when the sun comes up, and they go back into the world, alone.

In the end, it won't come to anything, and it won't save either of them from what's coming. But it helps them get by, day by day, and in wars like this, that's enough.

but despite what you've been told
i once had a soul
left somewhere behind
a former friend of mine

and i hate to speak so free
but you mean nothing to me
so if the streetlights they shine bright

i'll be home tonight

and yes, I guess I made this bed
but i'll take the sidewalk instead
that's how we deal with boys with me

and I hate to sound so true
but I mean nothing to you
so with the streetlights they shine bright
i'll be home tonight