A/N: Alright, kiddies, this is the co-author I had been mentioning for a while, which is being hosted by me and co-authored by the lovely Atreyl! If you haven't checked out her stuff, you really should. I'll be doing Mello's POV, and her Matt's POV. Our updating might be a little slow, but bear with us, we're busy writers, darlings. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and that I can keep up with Atreyl's writing skillz .a.

Love you all ~Holli

Disclaimer: We do not own Death Note or the characters in it, we only own the AU plot. Also, we don't own Godiva, Justice, Starbucks, or horrible Disney channel music (thank god).

Mello's POV

"Well fuck this! I'm gone, you ass-hat! I don't want to work here anyway!"

The door slammed rather loudly behind me as I took off down the sidewalk, the customer-alert bell ringing obnoxiously in my ear. I made a point of paying no attention to the staring customers eyeing me from inside the windows of the coffee shop, nor the Hispanic woman I had just shoved rather roughly past on my way towards my apartment building.

You can't blame me for being bitchy. I had every right to be in a bad mood, you see. I had a very, very good reason.

A prostitute stole my job today.

I'm guessing that not many people out there can say that, but actually, it's true. A prostitute seriously stole my job. Not even a former prostitute - I know for a fact that woman is still selling herself for money, even if she denies it. I mean really, who goes home with a different creepy old man every night? I'll tell you - only prostitutes.

Really I guess it's my own fault. If I hadn't called her out on it, I suppose I wouldn't have gotten in a full out fight with her. Originally, being the good guy that I am (ha-ha, that was a joke) I had been trying to help, putting my hand on her shoulder and telling her, quote, "she really shouldn't keep being a whore." Apparently she took it the wrong way, though (I suppose, in retrospect, that hadn't been a very good way to word it…) and ended up slugging me in the nose. Let me tell you, prostitutes sure aren't wimps - she put up quite the fight, and damn me if I admit it, it hurt like hell. Not nearly as much as it hurt her when I slugged her in the jaw, probably, but still. We ended up tangled in a squirming, hair-pulling, punching, clawing mass in isle 4 before some little girl turned the corner and started shrieking, causing that damn manager to find us. I had to smirk at the thought of it, even if it pissed me off… and got me fired.

Apparently the manager decided I was the only one at fault in the situation (even though the bitch started it, as I told him) and was fired. Well, more specifically, I quit, but he would have fired me anyway. She should have been fired too, but she batted her eyelashes and fake-cried, so she got out of it. He totally went along with it too. "Sexist bastard," I muttered aloud a bit too loudly as I stalked down the street, causing a random dark-haired man to my left to flinch and give me wide, horrified eyes. I only shot him a glare and kept walking until I reached my apartment, where I promptly kicked the door open (it doesn't have a lock, it's seriously that shitty) and flopped face-first down on my bed, which proceeded to creak angrily in protest. Ignoring it's complaints I screamed into my pillow, noting all the same that I was acting like a teenage girl, and pounded my fists into the wildly uncomfortable mattress.

I finally calmed down after a few minutes of this, left as simply a cold lump of a self sitting on my bed, staring blankly at the white sheets. I didn't have any blankets, since I got too hot and sweaty every night even without blankets (nightmares, I guess. I can never remember them). It occurred to me, in the back of my mind, that this was very bad.

See, I'm a student. I go to a very good, very high-class university, quite proudly in fact, seeing as I'm the number… two… student there (might as well be number one, seeing as Near is a shit-head who no one even cares about except maybe Gevanni, that weird - but cute - kid who always partners with him in group stuff) but because this is a pretty full-time thing, I don't really have time to make a lot of money, and…

Well, to put it frankly, I'm fucking broke. Meaning I needed a new job.

Just as I was preparing myself to flop on the bed and procrastinate for a few hours, though, my cell phone rang, the tune to What's Up People (shut up, I fucking love that song) blaring from it's shitty phone-speakers. Snatching the device rather clumsily out of my pants (yes, my pants - leather has no pockets, and hey, it prevents theft!) I quickly flipped it open and pressed it to my ear.

"What the fuck do you want?" I asked automatically, as this is actually my generic phone-answering phrase.

There was a brief pause before the monotonous voice answered my question. "You have been fired again," the person said. It wasn't a question. I sighed heavily, flopping backwards against the rather flat pillow of my bed, eyebrow twitching in irritation when it offered nearly no comfort.

"It wasn't my fault this time, it was that whore that works with me, bitch punched me in the nose," I told him dryly, letting out a groan. "How'd you find out this time?"

"I am L," L explained bluntly, as if this explained everything. It kind of did, if you knew him - he was a pretty smart guy, and even after knowing him for years and years after his grandfather Mr. Wammy helped me out of my teenage rut (don't ask) I've long since given up even trying to figure him out. "And you, Mello, get fired quite a lot," he added, the barest hint of humor tainting his voice. It was the kind of emotion that he only showed to people he knew well and cared for - not that anyone who didn't know him well would even catch that it was there.

I rolled my eyes, despite knowing he couldn't see me. "Whatever, it's not my fault I attract trouble," I replied angrily, kicking my boot off and wincing slightly when they hit the wall in front of me, probably leaving a dent. Oh well, the walls were dented and stained when I first rented the place, so I wasn't worried about the owner noticing.

On the other line, L scoffed. "If you were quieter you would cause less, though," he reminded me in that I-am-smarter-than-you voice that he has. He had a right to have it - I was a genius, if I do say so myself, but he was a prodigy well beyond his time. He was still socially retarded, though.

"What, and be a social reject like you? No thanks," I half-teased, letting out a long, irritated sigh as I looked up at the ceiling, which was still stained from where there had been yet another leakage a few nights before. I almost started inwardly complaining about how much my apartment sucked, but then it occurred to me that the way things were going lately I probably couldn't even afford this for too much longer.

Well, shit.

"Why do you not just come and work for me?" L inquired, changing the subject without any apparent second thought. "I can give you good pay, and I wouldn't fire you as long as you didn't break any major laws…"

I frowned deeply, letting out a bitter laugh. "Work for you? At prissy tween-bitch paradise? Uh, no, thanks though," I retorted, wrinkling my nose at the thought.

I could practically feel L glaring at me through the phone, the hate-vibes hitting me full-force in the ear despite his monotonous-as-ever voice. "Mello," he began in a reprimanding-father kind of voice. "I am the manager of the store, and I would know for a fact that it is a respectable establishment, and is not to be made fun of. You shouldn't-"

"Lawli, you're the manager if Justice," I reminded him blandly, letting out a snicker. "A tween girl store. There's really nothing respectable about that." It was pretty much true. L only started working for the store because of it's name - Justice - since he had always had a fascination with the topic of just and what not, but it ended u going much further than just a little side-job to pass the time, him getting the manager job and all. He was quite dedicated to it.

"There's nothing wrong with Justice," L muttered lamely.

"It's basically the most un-manly thing ever, L," I retorted, rolling my eyes.

I saw his retort coming before I heard it, and mentally face palmed myself. "You're the most un-manly thing ever, so the job would fit you," he replied bluntly. I moved the phone from my ear for a moment to scowl at it, glancing instinctively at the mirror afterwards. I wasn't that un-manly. I mean, I had longer hair and a semi-feminine figure, but you could still tell I was a dude. Sheesh.

"Besides…" L continued after a few moments, seeming to be thoughtful if only for effect, since I knew he had already figured what he was saying in his mind even though he had paused. "Mello does not get hired by many easily."

I glare at the broken lamp beside my bed, wishing death upon it. "You mean because I'm gay?" I growled, my voice becoming hushed instinctively. The idea was infuriating; I mean, I knew I was gay. I was very, very gay. But the idea that prejudice would go so far as to not hire an intelligent man because of his sexuality…

"I was referring to your personality, Mello," L replied kindly. "You're kind of an asshole."

"Gee, thanks," I muttered, not all that upset by the accusation.

"Any time. Now, I'll see you at the mall at six tomorrow - you have the job," L suddenly stated, very quickly and precisely, causing me to gasp in irritation. But L suddenly hung up before I could make a retort, apparently deeming the conversation over without another thought. I sighed, rubbing my temple with one hand in effort to banish my headache and violently chucking the handheld at the wall with the other, watching with dim interest as the already-broken End Call button finally just popped off. Figures.

"Does nobody say goodbye anymore?" I asked nobody in an annoyed tone, sitting up and resting my face in my palms.

Working at Justice was not something I wanted to do. I've never denied the fact that I'm a very egotistical person. Despite my supposed feministic traits, working at a pre-teen girl store was not something that was high on my list of "cool things". And while I don't generally care about what others think of me (unless of course they think they're better than me, in which I will happily prove them wrong and/or shove something sharp up their asses) it's still a pretty humiliating idea to me, for several reasons.

First of all, I hate children. Hate them. I mean, I was a child once, so I know how bad they are. Preppy little girls are the worst, the kind that always sneer at people and giggle about nothing, the kind that point and smirk and flip their hair like they're all that. And the entire time watching these girls I just want to take them by the shoulders, shake them harshly, and scream "YOU ARE ELLEVEN YEARS OLD, NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK!" but of course I can't, because there's always that ever-hovering parent-squad watching from a small distance away. I also hate parents, but that's a different story entirely.

Second, Justice is freakin' girly. I get mistaken for a girl on a regular basis - working at a girl's clothing store will only make the 'fag' comments worse, as well as the 'transvestite?' questions. I am not a transvestite, if you were wondering, and anyone who dares to ask that usually ends up with a broken jaw. I don't even fucking act girly, for Christ sakes…

Third, that place smells like every cheap, girly perfume product available on the market, and then some. Normally this wouldn't be a deal breaker, but walking around town smelling like that would be rather humiliating.

And fourth, and more-or-so the most important of the options, L was a shitty boss. I know this because I once worked with him on a school project, at the University we once both went to (he graduated), and he was bossy. Very, very bossy. He didn't even know that he was, I think - he just told you what to do and expected you do it, and if you didn't, he acted very surprised, as if what he told you was completely reasonable even though it probably wasn't. He didn't accept lateness, either - if you were a minute late for whatever meeting you had, he would act very irritated for a while (at least, as irritated as you can tell with him). I knew it would only get worse if it as for Justice, which for one reason or another he was obscenely dedicated to.

But then again… I needed a job. And as much as I didn't want to admit it, getting another job this fast and this easy again wasn't likely. I didn't really have enough money to stay in this apartment for too much longer without it, what with University fees and the fact that I never had any money in the first place. And I so didn't want to sleep on the streets, for any amount of time, ever again. I'd experienced that, and I assure you, it's not fun.

So, I had two options here. Risk homelessness and don't take the job, or take the job and work at fucking Justice. Christ… did I even have a choice?

I cursed under my breath when I realized that, really, I didn't.


I headed to the mall after a few hours of moping, decked in leather as usual as I strolled my way over (it was in walking distance from my apartment, which you'd think would be nice until you found yourself awake all night due to the traffic outside your window every night). From what L said I wasn't going to be working until tomorrow, if I even took the damn job, but I figured I'd head over now to get a general lay of the land and what not. Perhaps note some escape routes for if (when) I needed to escape the horrors of Justice.

On my way through the winding mall, which I didn't frequent in the least, I made a point of charting out the nearest Starbucks (I need my chocolate mochas, dammit, need them), book store (I like books; plus, it's quiet in there, and mostly free of preppy tween girls, who I've found generally do not read) and Godiva chocolate store (no explanation necessary for this piece of awesomeness). I'm glad to report I managed to find all three. It was crowded at the mall today, though, much to my annoyance, and I found myself having to shove through gaggles of people that are annoyingly just standing around in the walkway, as if it's some sort of rest area. I'll tell you - it isn't. You don't just stand in the mall walkway - thus, walkway. Lazy fuckers…

Besides that annoying factor, though, I managed to slip through the mall without being molested, punched, kicked in the shins, screeched at, or flirted with the entire way to the area where Justice was located, which believe it or not is kind of a rare occurrence. I always tend to cause trouble and attract attention, which is probably my fault what with the hair and the leather and temperamental attitude and what not. But still.

Blessing aside, just looking at the store kind of made me want to barf. Inside the doors, even at a glance, I could tell very well that there was absolutely nothing leather or even completely black located in that store, packed in with everything from sparkly headbands, short skirts, shirts with glitter-print, nail polish, fuzzy-cover diaries, and pounding crap Disney-pop music emanating from the doorway. Even the freaking sign on the top of the store was pink and loopy, even going to the point of the "i" being dotted with a heart. A heart. And not just a heart. A heart with shiny lines. Yes, you heard me correctly - shiny lines.

I frowned deeply as a cluster of girls, both looking about ten to twelve, rushed past me, wasting no manners on going around me and instead shoving me rudely out of the way. Everything in me wanted to just pound their heads into the cement and watch their heads crack open like watermelo-

I could not work here. There was no way.

Still, I found myself wandering up to the window of the store, ignoring the weird looks I was getting as I peered in the window. Nearly everything in the room looked completely unappealing.

Note: nearly.

But for a second as I glanced over I found my eyes wandering to a rack of jackets with too many buttons to find an employee, who happened to at that point of time struggling to fasten one of them back onto it's pink hanger. I couldn't see his face, but I can see his back, and see the crazy red head of hair and the weird striped shirt, right along with a weird furry jacket and skinny jeans. I find myself staring at him - not his ridiculous outfit, but him.

He had a nice ass.

No, no - I shake my head in effort to clear my thoughts as I look at him. That wasn't the point in this situation. It was that, lo and behold, there was actually another guy there. Not only that but an attractive guy. Sure, he looked like a bit of a nerd even from behind, but…

Damn, he had a nice ass. Oh, shit, there I go again…

"Um, sir?" someone behind me inquired. I turned around to see a petite black woman staring at me with narrowed eyes, scowling at me as if I had done her some great harm.

I scowled right back. "What do you want?" I snapped, irritated by her sudden uninvited appearance in my life which was distracting me from staring at the random redhead with the nice ass inside the window. Her frown immediately deepened, causing the wrinkles around her eyes to become more noticeable. Before she can speak again, I shrug her off, going back to looking in the window. To my great annoyance, Nice-Ass (which is what I'm officially calling him until I figure out the boys goddamn name) is no where to be found, seemingly vanished from his place and replaced by a trio of giggling beach-babe type girls. Dammit.

The woman storms off in a huff of annoyance behind me at being ignored, but I only continue to do so, trying my best to peer around the store without actually entering the facility. But alas, Nice-Ass is gone. Again I say, dammit.

But despite this, I have a new found hope, a tiny spark in the back of my mind. This job could have pluses. This job had redheads with nice asses. I hadn't even seen the boy's face, but I knew just by spotting him that he was something unique if anything, what with the bright red hair and odd (but not altogether unattractive) outfit. He, whoever he was, could be my outlet, could become some source of… I tried to find the right word as I wandered back away from the window, tapping my finger to my lips. Then I smiled. Ah, yes - entertainment.

As this thought slides through my mind my phone suddenly vibrates, sending a buzz from my back pocket. I set off in a fast-walk away from the store as I pick it up, pressing the cold metal device to my ear. "What is it, jackass?"

A tiny 'hah' of a snicker comes from the other line, and I immediately recognize the voice. "Good to see you haven't lost your personality," L said cheerlessly, though I could still hear the taint of humor there. It vanishes immediately after those words, though, and he adds monotonously, "I called to remind you that your shift starts at seven."

"Seven, huh?" I inquire aimlessly, glancing back at the store and letting loose a tiny involuntary shudder. So much pink… so early in the morning… but I needed money. Plus… Nice-Ass popped into my head again, the back of his head more specifically, not his nether regions. So I sigh and shake my head, letting a tiny smirk fall onto my lips.

"I'll be there."

A/N: Much of this chapter was just an excuse to make Mello say "ass hat", really. Well, and to set the mood, but whatever, details details… anyway, how do you like my first chapter? Mello's a bit of a bitch in this one, ain't he? Not fond of little girls either… though he took quite the liking to Matty's ass, hmm…? Anyway the next chapter will be the splendid Atryel (as soon as she gets her ass back from Atlantic City, that is -lol-) so look forward to that! : ) Oh, and I'd like to point out that I mean nothing against people who shop at Justice, I used to as well before I grew out of the clothes, but Mello, as I said before, is a bitch in this and is not terribly fond of young girls (or girls in general, for that matter, hence his gayness). And, for future reference, anything else Mello hates on or discriminates against or whatever has nothing to do with my own opinion (probably) so please don't get offended. You can take your complaints to Mello's office, but I doubt he'll answer XD

Love y'all, R&R if you find the time! ~Holli (with Atryel)