AN: Well, I had intended on posting this last night, but my brain started fizzling out half way through beta-ing it and...yes. But here it is! Today! Complete with SEXUAL TENSION! Gratuitous amounts of sexual tension!

Anyway, on you go. Read up, enjoy, scream at us for ending things were we did. x3

Cheers! (Do anyone even read this? Seriously?)

Leather and Stripes

.:Chapter 18:.

"Catching Fire"


Cherry red tail lights flashed in the darkness as Matt pulled up to the destination Matsuda texted him. Green eyes scanned the area before putting out his cigarette. "This doesn't look so bad..." he muttered to himself before turning his car off. Sliding a pair of orange goggles over his eyes, he hopped out of the car. A brief glance to his phone proved he was much earlier than Mello and he had agreed on. "What am I doing?" he asked himself; after all, it had only been two weeks after the Halle debacle. Was it really a great idea to be attending a rave with anyone, let alone Mello? Matt's heart skipped a beat at the thought of the blond. He quickly swallowed down any emotions that threatened to come to a head, shoving his arms in the back seat to grab his vest. Black and white stripped sleeves slipped into a brown fur laced vest, quickly zipping it up.

It was much colder outside than he had anticipated when picking out his rave wear, his skinny jeans not really keeping his legs very warm. Of course, he'd thank himself later while on the dance floor. He fully intended to dance until his mind went numb and he didn't have to think anymore. Dancing and music, couple that with alcohol and Mello? This could end in a very dangerous manner.

A long breath left his lips, the chilled air cold enough to show the carbon dioxide leaving his body. Maybe he did need another cigarette. He reached in to his vest, plucking out another and lighting it up. Off in the distance he could see the lights of the rave, the warehouse lit up inside. He could faintly hear the bass of a song, foot tapping absently on the dusty ground. Drawing in smoke, he leaned back onto his car. His boots weren't exactly dancing shoes, he noted, staring down at them. "What was I thinking? Buckles..?" He shrugged, his hair flipping over his goggles.

His phone vibrated dully in his pocket, a loud chirp following shortly after. He reached into his pocket, fishing out the small device and looking at the pixilated text dancing across the screen.

'Let me know when you get here.'

Green eyes widened behind orange lenses. Did that mean Mello was already there? Fumbling with his phone for a moment, Matt texted him back.

'Wait.. you're here already?'

'Yeah, I left early to make sure I could find the place. Which I did, evidently.'

Red hair met with metal as Matt bopped his forehead against the frame of his car. He needed to be brave. He could do this. Taking a deep breath, he texted the blond back and locked up his car.

'I'll be right there.'

It wasn't really a very long walk from his car to the door, however the cold air made it feel a lot longer. By the time he reached the front, the gamer was already rubbing his arms with his leather gloved hands.

"Yo," he called to the guy at the entrance, offering the man a smile as he checked his name off the guest list, strolling inside. The entire warehouse was lit up with different lights, people dancing every which way with glow sticks attached to different body parts; loud colors and animal prints accompanied barely dressed people of both genders. The red head snickered softly to himself; a lot of these people weren't at the rave for the music, it seemed. It was a bit like mating season in the building, men and women alike plagued by different levels of inebriation. Pushing through the crowd wasn't as hard as he imagined it would have been, making his way to the DJ station to let Matsuda know he had arrived.

"Matsuda, have you seen my friend Mello?" He yelled at the raven haired man.

The other grinned and motioned for Matt to follow him to the side of his stage. He crouched down, holding a hand to his ear as Matt walked up, "Who and the what now?"

"Blond guy I always hang out with. Mello? I invited him and I have no bloody clue where he is." Matt gave a random dancing girl a cheeky grin when she smiled at him, turning back to Matsuda. "You met him at my Christmas party."

"Riiiight, right, longer hair. A bit too pretty, completely unfair," Matsuda said thoughtfully, a pout tugging at his lips. "I really have no idea, kinda been concentrating."

"Don't be jealous," Matt nudged his shoulder with a wink. "Right. I suppose I'll just let him know to come to the stage then. How goes it? The whole..." he waved, "This?" After a moment he flicked out his phone and sent a message.

"It's good, but what about you and...uh, you're...lack of-?"

"Girlfriend?" Matt finished for him, shaking his head and grinning at the pretty girl again. "I'm…dealing. Hey, turn that up." Matt gestured, pulling his gloves and vest off, leaving them with Matsuda's things. "I love this song." The red head didn't really want to talk about Halle; instead, he allowed the song to flow through his body. Following the beat he began to move along, singing the words under his breath.

He really did have the moves like Jagger.

"Of course you do," he laughed, trying to ignore the sad tone Matt had had a moment earlier. "Someone's getting dance-y, aren't they."

A blond head weaved between several people, sliding up to the front of the crowd and looking up at the stage. Mello let a small smirk play on his lips at Matt's dancing, reaching out to jab at the other's leg. "Easy there, tiger."

Matt had been in the process of laughing at Matsuda's comment when he felt the jab on his leg. Tilting his head his, lips spread into a wide smile.

"Mello!" Jumping off of the stage, he landed next to the blond and shook his head to the beat a bit. "Hey! Why in the world were you here so much earlier than me... are you wearing leather again?" Thoughts officially derailed when he gave himself a moment to actually look at the blond. His mouth went dry, pushing the goggles to the top of his head. Thank God for contacts; he would be cursing any higher powers if the scene in front of him had been altered or blurred in any way.

"Felt like it. Don't really have a very extensive non-work-clothes wardrobe so..." Mello trailed off, shrugging one shoulder offhandedly. "It's the vest you got me."

"I noticed..." Matt trailed off, words slipping out of his mouth before he had a chance to stop them. "I mean, it looks good. I didn't mean to say it didn't... or... anything. Not to say leather is bad!" He found himself rambling, shifting his goggles back over his eyes. " think I need a drink."

To his credit, Mello only raised an eyebrow. "You probably do. Come on," Turning back to the rest of the crowd, the blond headed into the mass of bodies, glancing over his shoulder at Matt, "Try to keep up."

The entire room seemed like a blur; Matt needed to remind himself to stop staring at Mello's ass in those leather pants. It was very inappropriate, but it was hard not to. Even his shoulders looked really good without anything covering them, and he could swear he could see his shoulder blades against the fabric. Had he had any idea this vest would have looked this good on the blond, perhaps he would have bought something else. Aware of the other eyes watching the blond, a hot surge of possessiveness flashed through his body.

Pushing through the crowd, he managed to get ahead of Mello, snatching his hand to pull him through. It was both an innocent gesture and one to tell others to fuck off. "Hey, I think it's this way," He winked, leading Mello toward the bar. His cheeks were already flushed, his fingers trying not to squeeze the wrist in his grasp too hard.

Was Mello's skin always this… soft?

Mello let himself be pulled through the crowd, eyes trained on the back of Matt's head. Every few paces, the redhead would turn, eyes hidden behind his goggles, and Mello was afraid he was hoping too loudly that Matt was looking at him.

The outfit was probably too much. Probably.

After what seemed to be an eternity, they reached the bar. Matt ordered a rum and coke and turned to the blond, "What would you like?" He pulled out his wallet from his back pocket, which proved to be a bitch to get out. "I'll pay."

"I don't need..."

Matt's pants were awfully tight.

" Or tequila. Or something. Anything."

"Right then." Matt turned again and handed the bartender some cash, grabbing a double tequila shot and handing it to Mello. Matt took a small sip of his drink before taking one more look at Mello in the vest and drinking it all in a few gulps. "Can I get another?"

"How are you holding up?" Mello mouthed around his glass before knocking it back.

It took Matt half of his new drink before he realized Mello was talking about Halle. His lips became a thin line for a moment as he thought about what he was going to say. "I'm..." his drink hit his mouth again, gone, "dealing with it."

The blond watched the other, eyes softening, "I'm sorry, man. You don't deserve that."

"It's the story of my life, I've grown quite accustomed to it." Matt shrugged one of his stripped shoulders before turning and asking for a Midori sour with sprite. "I think I'm done." Green eyes hidden behind orange lenses flashed with emotion that no one could see. "I don't think I can handle it again..." Matt let out a sigh before leaning against the bar, "I don't know if I can trust myself anymore. My judgments are always so..." his eyes glanced at Mello, from his boots to his tight leather pants, to the vest he'd bought himself, sticking to the blond as if he were painted onto him, "...wrong."

"Well, if you don't mind me saying, you deserve better than some bitch who is just gonna use you then drop you. I know we're young and are supposed to be fucking around and enjoying life, but I don't think that that means anything if you're constantly miserable and getting...I don't want to say getting your heart broken because that sounds tacky, but it works. Especially for you. You need someone who gives a shit. Again, if you don't mind me saying," Mello leaned back against the bar, watching the people in front of him, writhing and twisting in ignorance and bliss.

"What sucks is that every single time I think they care," Matt's lips pulled downward in a hard frown as he took another swig of his drink. "I can't trust my own judgment. My gut feelings always lead me down the wrong path. I'm not even sure if I know how to make good calls anymore." Matt resisted the urge to just throw the drink across the room, drinking the rest and setting it back on the bar. "What's the bloody point anyway? I'm never going to settle down and have a normal life. I'm not the sort. I don't want children, I can't stand staying in the same spot for too long, and my work is too…" catching himself, he laughed, "You know, not a spy or anything. Not exactly sex on legs over here." He laughed bitterly before tapping his foot to the beat and stepping away from the counter. "I don't even think I care anymore."

"Let's dance."

A shocked look crossed over his features, obvious even under his goggles. "What?"

Mello was watching him; blue eyes clear despite the two other shots Matt hadn't noticed Mello down. He sighed softly to himself after a moment, "Just dance with me."

"Are you sure? There are a ton of people around..." He meant, of course, a ton of girls around that Mello could choose from, but it didn't quite come out how he wanted it to. His eyes glanced over Mello's body again, mouth even drier after the drinks than it had been before. He licked his lips before putting his best charming smile on. "I apologize ahead of time if I embarrass you." He laughed shortly before holding his hand out.

"Not a chance," Mello took the hand, pulling Matt behind him gently.

The gamer followed willingly, reminding himself to dance normally, not like the total nerd he was. Each sway of Mello's hips as he walked drove Matt's nervousness deeper. Calm down, he demanded, Mello's your best friend. He's trying to help you out, and you most definitely don't want to give in to your stupid thoughts right now.

What was he talking about earlier? About bad judgments and having terrible gut instincts? What was it about Mello that threw him for such a loop? He never looked at other guys like he did Mello. It wasn't just Mello's looks, either, since he was most definitely a man both in his mannerisms and personality.

When had he even started looking at him differently? Matt couldn't recall the moment exactly, but he knew it was well before Halle. Sure, it hurt like hell what Halle did to him, but he was sure the way he felt about Mello had something to do with pushing her away. All those mixed feelings, all those obvious moments where he lost his composure around him.

Matt wasn't gay, but he often felt he could be if Mello asked.

Knocking himself out of that thought, he found himself beyond shocked. Was that how he really felt? Was he really not only lusting over him now, but ... emotionally attached? There was more to this then just physical attraction. As he watched the blond start to move to the music, he felt his pulse quicken and his heart attempt to fly out of his chest.

Oh God.

Oh shit.

...Was he in love with his best friend..?

Love... love was a strong word. Matt tried to hide the frown threatening to pull his entire face down. There was no way it was that bad, was it? Mello suddenly moved a little closer, his hip moving dangerously near Matt's body. His stomach felt like it dropped out of his body entirely and he knew maybe it wasn't too far off from how he was feeling after all.

"Stop thinking so hard, it's distracting," Mello called over the music with a sly grin, hand briefly knocking Matt's. "Just...let go. Dance. Anything, but stop thinking."

Mello frowned inwardly at himself, going against his own advice and feeling his heart sink at the dejected look plaguing Matt's features. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe Matt just needed more time to himself to brood. She had cheated, and he had caught her cheating, and that never lead to any good thoughts about one's self.

Mello's voice caught him off guard, knocking him out of his own thoughts. "Oh, was it that obvious?" he asked with a chuckle, cheeks lighting up to a dark shade of crimson. Each time Mello accidently touched him, it felt like fire on his skin. He was suddenly hyper aware of their closeness. He needed to play it cool, dance, and just pretend he didn't care about who it was.

Just... dance.

But he did care, he cared a lot. Mello's blond hair seemed to glow under the lights; his pale skin looked flushed and heated. Matt bit his bottom lip, his eyes focusing somewhere else in the crowd. For the fifth time that night, he thanked God he wore his goggles.

"Yeah, it was." The blond took a step forward as a couple passed behind him. "Sorry, space bubbles," he muttered, cheeks glowing a bit redder under the pulsing lights.

They were close enough that Matt could feel the heat coming off his body. It felt suffocating; he found it was much harder to breathe this close. Trusting himself to not completely make a fool out of himself, he looked forward and made eye contact for the first time in a while. Mello's cheeks were flushed and his eyes were amplified by the lights. As striking as they had been before, the tint of his goggles playing off the light... it made them that much more...

"..Beautiful." The word he had spoken fell off of his tongue before he even realized it had.

Oh…. OH! Had he said that out loud? Maybe he hadn't heard him?

Matt laughed loudly to cover up his slip, "Uh, Matsuda's doing a beautiful job up there, don't you think?"

For fucks sake Matt, what?

"Sure is," the smile on Mello's lips grew slightly wider. "But if I didn't know any better I'd say you were ogling me again, Matty, and that just won't do." He moved a bit closer, hips momentarily brushing Matt's, "At least be a man about it." The blond laughed then, patting Matt on the arm, "No, no, I'm sorry, you just look"

Matt shivered at both the closeness and the use of his overly familiar nickname. Had it always sounded so good on his lips? He only ever wanted Mello to call him that. His cheeks turned a permanent crimson to match his hair. Matt felt a slight dizziness, his mind going white for a brief moment as their hips met. A shuddered breath found its way out of his mouth with one of the fakest laughs he had ever heard.

"Me..? Wh...why would you say that?" It wasn't far off from the truth, the closer Mello got, the more he just wanted to touch him.

As Matt was thinking of a very clever retort, he felt a drunk shoulder slam in to his back, forcing him forward in to Mello. His hands reflexively reached out to grab something to steady himself. Turning his head to snap at the person who was undoubtedly gone already, he realized something very soft, but firm, under his hands.

Mello's breath brushed over Matt's neck, the sudden closeness catching him off guard. He watched as Matt's head whipped around to face him, the color oddly draining from his face before instantly flaring again. All of Mello's snide comments were gone, the color in his cheeks rising. It took him a moment to don another smirk, eyes darting to the side for a moment, "And here I thought I was the one with the space issues."

Matt groaned under his breath, both a sound of frustration and something else entirely, the words once again leaving his mouth before he had a chance to filter them.

"Are my hands on your hips? They are... aren't they?"

Hips. Hips in both of his hands, skin smooth and warm. His thumbs moved on their own brushing ever so slightly over what he could only assume were his hip bones.

Oh God.

His chest seized, he was going to have some sort of aneurysm right here on the dance floor. The simple motion of moving one's hands and laughing, playing it off as a joke, seemed beyond him at this moment. Everything slowed down and became much too complicated. He noticed many things at once: his mouth seemed to suddenly find all of the moisture it had been missing the last hour; salivating, check. His cheeks seemed to pale and brighten all at once; hot flashes, check. His hands seemed to be on fire and refused to do anything but brush over Mello's hip bones again; making a total lust-driven ass out of one's self, check. Everything culminated in a play-by-play of how he would very much, at this second, love to throw the blond down onto his Transformer sheets and fuck him in to oblivion; the last shred of self respect and restraint lost, check.

Dear. God. Hips.

The blond was fighting back the warmth rising in his chest, willing it to stay buried away, hidden forever. "They are, yeah."

Mello looked at Matt then, eyes fuzzy and far away and trapped behind those stupid goggles. He reached out and pulled the plastic frames away from the redhead's eyes, hips shifting forward against his will, letting the goggles fall around the gamer's neck.

Their rhythm had slowed, their movements falling out of sync with the bass, and Mello had no idea if it was actually the bass or his heart beating wildly in his ears. He let a hand reach out hesitantly, fingers brushing over the striped fabric at Matt's side, fearful of overstepping any boundaries, and not caring if he did.

Was Mello aware of what he was doing to the gamer? Was he aware how many hit points he had just knocked off with one swift movement?

It was practically a TKO.

The world became a brighter place, a rush of cool air slamming against his eyes and face with vengeance. He could not only see better, but now he was in danger of being seen. His eyes were always a dead giveaway; too much emotion. He couldn't lie or hide anything without his glasses or something to cover them. This was one of the many reasons he had ruled out contacts. But tonight he needed them for his rave outfit. And now he was there, damning them, as his green eyes met blue.

Fear grabbed him. Could Mello read him now? Could he see the lust and want in his eyes? The struggle with the L word he was facing internally? Wetting his lips, he went to speak; nothing coming out, nothing but a sound he wasn't entirely familiar with. Had Mello just...touched him? He had. To be fair, his hands were still firmly planted on each of Mello's hips. He made a mental note to attempt to remove those soon.

He was still touching him. What Matt thought might have been a brief lucky touch had turned into Mello's hand on his side. Were they still dancing? He was pretty sure they were both moving, but he couldn't focus on that. The heat on his side from the blond's fingers felt both painful and wonderful. Matt's eyes searched Mello's for an answer, a cue, anything.

"Do you want me to move them?" He finally found his voice, though it came out low and held more to it than the question presented.

The fingers at Matt's waist tightened, and Mello's breath caught in his throat. He couldn't do this.

He needed to get away. He needed to be as far away from here as possible.


That was all it took. Every ounce of self control Mello had mustered since he met Matt was gone. Each and every calculated move he had made to get closer to the other man was fogged by the alcohol coursing through his system and was replaced with his desire to take what he needed.

A hand snaked around the back of Matt's head, pulling him forward forcefully, the blond's lips crashing into his. The hand at the redhead's waist tightened its grip, black painted nails digging into the fabric.

Matt wasn't sure what was happening. On one hand, he knew damn well what was happening, and on the other he felt like what was going on couldn't possibly be happening.

Is this real life or is this just fantasy?

No time for musical lyrics, there's a very attractive blond man's tongue in his mouth.

The redhead had no real time to figure out what his next move was. Thankfully, he let his body go on auto pilot so he could process what was happening.

His fingers on Mello's hips tightened their hold as he dipped to an angle he could kiss back harder. Hands pulled the soft flesh and leather as close to him as possible, crushing their hips together in a concoction of delicious sensations. A shiver up his spine caused a moan to fall out into the kiss, and he noted the taste of alcohol and blue-berries as he kissed back with all the confusing feelings and pent up emotions he had.

It was Mello.

It was Mello he was tasting, feeling, hearing, smelling, touching.


Not some girl who would leave him on the fly for some rich boy. Not Halle or Melissa, who both cheated on him right in front of his eyes. It was his friend, his best friend. Mixed emotions flowed from that statement. He'd crossed a line that they could never come back from, and yet, he didn't want to. Flashes of things he wanted to do in bed and how they'd make Optimus Prime and Megatron blush surged through as he pushed his fingers under the vest.

He had already jumped down the rabbit hole, what harm could it be if he drank the potion?

He brushed his fingers over the sensitive skin, dragging his nails as he licked at Mello's tongue. His mind once again attempted to jump start and make sense of it all. He had asked if Mello wanted him to remove his hands, and in response... kiss.

Did that mean..?

Mello pressed harder, spurred forward by the heat radiating off the other, and the fact that he wasn't pulling away. At all. In fact, he was moving closer, if that was even possible. Everything ached, and Mello could do little to suppress his own moan as he caught Matt's whimper in his mouth. His hand had worked its way under Matt's shirt, nails dragging over the smooth skin at his lower back, and Mello had to pull away enough to take in a deep breath, lips and whole body shuddering against Matt.

Oh it meant something alright.

It all felt too good to be true, his fingers dancing over his skin setting fire to every place he grazed. His lips leaving scorch marks on his, and that moan... God, if Matt hadn't been painfully hard before- well he couldn't call himself a man if that hadn't driven him over the edge. As Mello pulled away, it gave Matt the moment he needed to breathe and think. He was sure Mello could feel his predicament. Was this going too far?

What was going too far at this point?

His eyes met Mello's, begging for answers. Would he kiss him again? Matt wanted to be the one to engage, but he knew how bad things turned out when he jumped head first without thinking. Still close enough for their breaths to intertwine, he leaned forward and brushed his lips softly against the side of Mello's throat. It was getting harder and harder to not give into everything, his senses over loaded.

"Mello..?" He questioned close to his ear, his voice husky and dripping with want.

His fingers slipped just under the waistband of Matt's jeans, barely teasing the soft flesh as Mello fought to regain his composure. The lips at his neck were too much and not nearly enough. And then he was pressing against Matt's lips, nails scratching gingerly at the nape of the gamer's neck.

Matt found himself moaning a bit louder than he would want. Mello's fingers under his waistband were just a school boy's fantasy come true. Sadly, they stopped short of where the pain really was, way short. But the feeling of him touching that part of him, the idea that he would want to slide his hand in to his jeans at all, it was enough to send shivers to all the right places.

While in the process of wondering if he could get away with pushing Mello against the bar and having him wrap his legs around his waist, he felt the blonde's lips on his again. Matt allowed his hand to travel away from the hip, running his fingers through Mello's blond hair. He had always wondered in the back of his mind how his hair would feel. Now that he could find out, he realized it felt nicer than he had ever imagined. His nails scratched over Mello's scalp as he pressed the blonds head closer to his, crushing his lips harder.

Pushing himself more into 'what he dreamed about doing' territory, he felt his hand slip behind the blond, gripping his ass in his palm.

It was about to reach a no going back moment.

If it hadn't already.

Everything tensed as Matt's hand roamed, fingers spreading against the leather of Mello's pants. He was caught up in everything that Matt was, lips, teeth, warmth, strong hands, and-

A hiss left Mello's lips as Matt's nails scratched over his scalp and down his neck, and he fought to regain some semblance of control over the situation. The hand under Matt's shirt smoothed over his skin, fingers lightly drawing goose bumps as they traveled up his spine and back down.


Every single one of Matt's resolves and doubts broke down when Mello uttered his name. Matt's fingers left their leather discovery, the other hand softly removing itself from golden locks, both placed firmly on Mello's shoulders as he pulled away.

"My car is right outside."

His eyes weren't questioning anything; they were demanding the situation go exactly how he wanted.

Him, Mello, and his cherry red woman.

Right this second.

It was that, or he was about to do something very obscene in the middle of a couple hundred people.

He could see Matt's clear green eyes, feel his pulse leaping under his skin, keeping a beat that Mello was racing to catch up with. The blonde's lips ghosted over Matt's, hands eager to hold and take.

Pressing forward, Mello let out a deep breath he hadn't realized he was holding, eyes locked onto the question lingering in Matt's eyes. He needed this, they both did. Especially Matt, after all he'd been through with-


Mello took a step back, eyes dropping before he raised them hesitantly, slipping easily from Matt's grip, "It's late. I should get going."

Before Matt had opened his mouth, Mello had disappeared into the crowd.

It was like dying, seeing Heaven, and being dropped back to earth in the middle of a bunch of loud, sweaty, smelly ravers.

What had just happened?

Back track. Mello kissed him, he kissed back, they got pretty hot and heavy on both sides, Matt suggested moving to his car... and Mello ran.


Matt tried to push after him through the crowd; he made it outside just as he saw the lights of the blond's motorcycle speeding off into the distance. The cold air wasn't only symbolic to how his insides felt right now, cold and clenched, but also burned his heated skin.

What...had just happened?