"Hey, Mels? What's heaven like?"

"Dunno, but Roger says that it's your favorite place and you get to stay there forever. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, huh Mattie?"

The question had seemed so fucking trivial at the time; just one kid asking another some stupid question that had nothing to do with whatever the hell they were talking about before. I s'pose that as his older best friend, it was my job and mine alone to answer every damn question he asked; not that I necessarily minded, he was my friend.

Heh, friend. I guess even in later years he still considered me his 'best friend,' but for me something had changed, a change that frankly scared the living shit out of me. You see, boundaries have been crossed when you suddenly want nothing more than to jump your very hot, very molestable, very male best friend at some nondescript time during the day. It didn't help that we were roommates, a lifestyle we never grew out of when we actually left the orphanage, so yes, I did get to enjoy his many strip shows in the bedroom without it being suspicious, but it was also hard as fuck to get him out of my mind.

A few years after we left the orphanage and found an apartment in the city (two-bedroom, much to my chagrin), everything we did was just normal, everyday shit that normal, everyday people like doing with their everyday, normal lives, like going grocery shopping, cleaning the house, buying cigarettes for your nicotine-addicted asshole of a roommate, and general all-around hanging out with your 'boy.'

Then, of fucking course, the shit decides to get on up and hit the fan.

"Yo, how may I help you?"

"Good afternoon, I'm Detective Gomez with the LAPD. I understand this is the residence in which a Mr. Mail Jeevas lives?"

"Yeah, what'd that idiot do this time? Does he need me to bail him out of jail again?"

"No, he was found stabbed to death in an alleyway not too far from here, the victim of an apparent robbery. Do you know how we could contact his family?"

Matt… "N-no, he doesn't have any family. We both grew up orphans, so I guess you could say I'm the only family he has."

"Well, in that case, I'll need you to come with me to identify that the victim is indeed Mail Jeevas and to collect his belongings."

As soon as I saw him, saw that cold, unmoving body covered to the neck in a pure white sheet, saw that shock of auburn hair I had grown to love, saw those green, green eyes forever closed, never to open again, I broke; my insides felt like they were being ripped out, piece by piece by fucking piece. Mail Jeevas, Matt, my Matt, my buddy, my friend, my love, was dead, taken from the world, from me.

I cried.

I, Mihael Keehl, leather-clad, gun-toting, loudmouthed bastard and epitome of all things badass, cried. I cried like a little girl lost in the supermarket, like a young boy who's just had his favorite toy snatched away, like someone who just lost the love of their life. I cried when they asked me if I'd like them to cover him, and through my tears shook my head deftly. I cried and cried and cried, and from behind me I heard a familiar laugh, a bark of sorts, but my turnaround was in vain; Matt wasn't there.

I only wished he had been.

Detective Gomez drove me home and held the door while I entered our—my apartment. My apartment…it didn't sound right. It didn't feel right. It wasn't right, at all. I was alone before I met Matt, complete when I was with him, and I was all alone again. I set the box full of Matt's things on the kitchen table and walked into my bedroom, stopping at the dresser to pick up a photo of two boys, one a blond with a bar of chocolate shoved in his mouth and the other a redhead completely entranced in his DS. I remembered it so clearly; it was taken soon after we'd met.

"Freaking door! Stuck again…" I grunted, pushing all my seven-year-old weight into the offending barricade, stumbling forward as it opened unexpectedly. Some kid, maybe about five, with red hair was sitting on the floor, playing a Gameboy. I stared at him. "Who the heck are you?"

He looked up at me, goggles covering his eyes, and cocked his head to the left. "Matt," he answered, smiling at me with that goofy grin of his. "I'm your new roommate."

My eyes widened and the right started to twitch. "What." It was more of a statement than a question, and 'Matt' wrinkled his nose at my reaction.

"I like you," he chirped, going back to his game.

"I don't like you."

Setting the frame down delicately, I smiled sadly and sat down on my bed, face in my hands. "It's all my fault, Mattie, all my fault," I whispered, tears falling warm and wet on my hands. "It's all my fault. If I'd gone with you, just gotten off my lazy ass and went with you, this wouldn't have happened. You'd still be alive, I wouldn't be so damn alone, and maybe, just maybe, I could've told you how I felt. But that's impossible now, thanks to me."

Don't do it, dammit, my conscious warned me as I reached for my gun; it sounded like Matt.

"I have to," I replied out loud, cocking the gun and holding it next to my temple.

It doesn't have to be this way, Mels. Mels. That's what Mattie always called me. No good can come of this, you selfish bastard. The voice seemed louder…

Suddenly there was a hand on mine, carefully moving the weapon away from me before fully taking it and setting it on the nightstand. I opened my eyes to meet a pair of emerald jewels, shining with youthful laughter, and an outstretched hand. The redhead smiled, taking my hand and pulling me up into a hug, rubbing my back and running his fingers through my hair as I cried on his shoulder. "Mattie…"

"I'm here, Mels," he assured me, burying his nose into the top of my head, "I'm here to stay."

"But, but you're…dead," I sniffled, squeezing the gamer tighter.

He chuckled: a pure, sweet sound. "Silly Mello, don't you remember what you said all those years ago? About what heaven was like?"

"Hey, Mels? What's heaven like?"

"Dunno, but Roger says that it's your favorite place and you get to stay there forever. I guess we'll just have to wait and see, huh Mattie?"

"Well, it appears that Roger was pretty damn smart. It just so happens that my favorite place is where I always was, where I felt safe. Do you know where that is, Mels?" Matt let go of me, cupping my wet cheek with a leather-gloved hand; I grabbed his wrist to keep his hand in place. "My favorite place…is by your side."

"By…my…side?" I repeated, astonished by what I was just told. "Are you serious?"

"'Course. Now cheer the fuck up and live the rest of your life for me."


Author's Note: OH, THE ANGST. IT BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURNS!