"...Matt?"

I must be fucked in the head, Mello thought.

His redhead smiled sadly as he looked down at Mello. "Heya, Mells," he said softly.

Mello shook his head, closing his eyes. He refused to look up again. It was just a hallucination . . . just a hallucination. Nothing more. When you look up, it'll be gone. Mello slowly opened his eyes. Matt was still standing there. The blond moaned and buried his head back in his arms.

Just seeing him there felt like someone was stabbing him in the heart, over and over. And in fact, that's precisely what Mello thought - that God was just screwing with him. It couldn't be Matt. Matt died. And now . . . this was just Mello going crazy. At least, he thought.

"Just go away," he mumbled. "I don't need a hallucination making me feel like shit. Go. Away."

Mello heard nothing. But when he raised his head a little, he didn't see shoes in front of him anymore. He sighed, leaning his head back against the wall, only to spot the image sitting next to him. Mello started and jumped back. Matt smirked.

"Yeah, I didn't really think you'd believe I'm here," he said. "But anyhow, it's about time you got here; I've been waiting for hours."

"...Waiting where?" Mello's curiosity got the best of him, overpowering his common sense telling him that he was conversing with a figment of his imagination, most likely conjured by some sort of insanity. He didn't care at the moment. Though it hurt to 'see' his lover again, it was also comforting, in a way.

"Waiting here," Matt said, as if it were obvious. "I'm not really sure how I got here, but I've been here for a few days. I knew you'd get here eventually."

"Why, though? Explain, dammit," Mello grumbled, blowing a lock of hair out of his eyes. The redhead smirked again, and Mello remembered with clarity how Matt would always make fun of him for that. Well, he liked his hair a certain way, so sue him.

"You really think I know?" Matt asked, sighing, a wistful look replacing the friendly smile. "All I remember is getting shot a million times by Takada's guards, and next thing I know, I'm wandering back in this damn alley again."

"But you died!" Mello exclaimed. "You died! I was at your funeral, I remember. Your body is in the dirt back in England."

Matt flinched slightly at the blond's blatancy. "That's probably true, actually. I doubt I'm really alive right now."

Mello snorted. "Well, you're not a fricking zombie."

"No, I'm not," Matt agreed. "Mainly because people can't see me."

Mello stared, taking in the information. "So...nobody can see you?" Matt nodded. "But I can?" Another nod. "Y'know, this isn't really a cogent form of convincing me that you're actually here right know. If only I can see you, I've got to trust just you. And, well, you probably don't exist right now."

"Mells, if I'm anything, I'm a ghost," Matt said.

Mello squinted back at the image of his old friend. "Come to think of it, you do look sort of...transparent. But...no, no, ghosts don't exist. And neither do you," he said.

Matt tilted his head. To him, it sounded more like Mello was trying to convince himself rather than Matt. "Look, I probably don't know any more about this than you do, Mells."

"Stop calling me that," Mello muttered, resting his chin on his knees, which were still pulled up to his chest. He refused to look at Hallucination again, intent on watching a trashcan across the alley from him.

"But why?" Matt asked.

"Because . . . just because."

Because that's what Matt used to call me, Mello thought. Really, he knew that whatever this was, it wasn't Matt. He wasn't a psychologist or any of that shit, but he knew enough to figure out that his mind was probably either broken, or trying to cope by creating Matt again. Most likely the second one, but the first wouldn't have surprised him. This isn't Matt. He desperately wished it was, but he had enough common sense to know that Matt wasn't coming back.

Matt seemed to understand that Mello didn't want to talk about it and leaned his head back against the wall, crossing his legs at the ankles. "Well then, what do you want to know?" he asked.

Mello shook his head, wrapping his arms around his knees. "I dunno. Start from the beginning," he ordered.

The redhead sighed again. "I guess the beginning would be when you went off with Takada. You left, I remember, and her bodyguards were everywhere. I had a gun stashed on me, but before I could reach it . . . All I remember is a bunch of really, really loud bangs, a brief flash of pain all over my body, then I just don't remember anything more." Matt's eyes were glazed, trying to remember what had happened after. "I remember I was scared as shit, but I wasn't, you know? I kinda knew I was dead from the moment you left, and I was certain even before I reached for my gun. And it was like slow motion - they were slowed down, but my mind was going a mile a minute.

"I hoped you got back okay. I hoped you were all right. And I hoped you wouldn't do anything too rash once you learned I was dead," Matt said.

"How can you be so cavalier about this?" Mello asked. "You died, yet you seem pretty calm about the whole thing."

"Then you believe me?" Matt asked hopefully, turning wide emerald eyes on the blond; he looked like a little kid asking his mom for a favor he knew she'd never give on ordinary circumstances. Mello shook his head.

"No. You're a hallucination. But I can't seem to make you go away, so I figure I'll just talk to you while I can," Mello said. He looked back down, away from the hurt look the hallucination gave him. Even though it wasn't Matt, it still looked like him.

"Well, no matter. You'll believe me soon enough," Matt guessed, dejected. "But anyhow, cavalier? Well, it's over and done with, isn't it? And, in any case, I'm here again, sort of."

"Yeah, obviously only sort of," Mello reminded both of them. "You're just a hallucination, and my mind knows that, and it's making you say 'sort of' to make it still sort of realistic."

"No, Mello, I say sort of because I'm pretty much a ghost," Matt said, infinitely patient as he ever was. "Remember how I said that nobody but you can see me?"

"Technically you said that people can't see you," Mello said, holding his knees closer to his chest. "You never said anything about it being just me."

"Well, I thought that that was obvious in itself," Matt countered. "But yeah, anyhow. I knew time had passed, but I wasn't sure how much time, or where I had been during that. I just blinked and I was back here again. I was in the middle of the street, and a bus went right through me. That was pretty much when I realized that something was up. So I tested it out, I tried to talk to people and none of them even knew I was there."

"Do you know why you're here?" Mello asked curiously. He felt like he was making it worse, talking to someone who wasn't there, but what else was there to do? It'd been days, and he hadn't caught one hint of Takada. And it was getting late - not like there was much he could do now, anyway.

"Nope, I'm not sure. But I know what happened to you," Matt added. "Do you remember? What happened after you left? Reiterate from when you had Takada in the truck."

Mello's eyes narrowed and he bit his lip thoughtfully. "Uh... Well, we were in the back of his huge truck."

"Yeah, you had to make sure she didn't have a tracker on," Matt said. "I know that. After?"

"How'd you know? You were back with the guards," Mello said. He caught sight of a pigeon hopping down the alley, stopping every so often to peck at food scraps on the ground. When it caught sight of Mello, it flew away.

Matt stopped, tilting his head. "...I'm not sure," he murmured. "Whatever; go on."

"I gave her a bit of privacy, turned around, y'know. But she couldn't have gotten out; I was facing the opening to the truck, and all. But the next thing I know, it felt like my heart was stopping. It hurt like hell, too. I guess I blacked out, and when I got up again, Takada was already too far away for me to get to her."

Matt scoffed disbelievingly, shaking his head and grinning wryly. "You didn't black out," he said, like he didn't believe what he himself was saying. "You died."

Mello was silent, staring at the slightly-translucent version of Matt. "...Bullshit."

"No, Mello, not bull. You died, Takada must've had some Death Note somewhere on her," Matt explained.

"But people can see me," Mello argued. "I'm not see-through, and if I got hit by a bus, I'd probably die. I'm not a . . . ghost, or whatever you claim to be. I couldn't have died."

"You were brought back," Matt told him.

"C'mon, Hallucination, that's crap," Mello said. "We both know it, I'm totally alive. Just . . . Okay, that's enough. The moment my hallucinations start telling me that I died and for some reason I'm still here, that's when I think I need to get out." He put his hands out, as if he was pushing something away from him, stood, and backed up a couple steps, away from Hallucination.

"Mello, stop that," Matt said. "Want me to prove it?"

"Go ahead, prove it," Mello ordered him, the old spark of a good challenge in his eyes. "Prove to me that you're actually here, prove that you're not a hallucination. Do it."

Matt grinned, lightly jumped to his feet, and stepped silently in front of the blond. "Hold out your hand," he said. Mello looked hesitant. "Aw, come on, it's not poison. And anyway, if you're right, it won't be anything at all. If you're right, you won't feel anything."

"No way, we both saw A Beautiful Mind," Mello said. "I could so be like that guy, remember? He thought he could feel that dude and that other chick?"

"Mello, that was a movie."

"Based on a true story."

"Whatever, that's not the point," Matt dismissed. "Give me the hand. Now."

Usually, Mello never would have taken an order from the redhead. Never. But now, what with this being a hallucination, it was basically like he was taking an order from himself. After all, Hallucination was part of his mind, therefore, he was taking his own orders. Mello extended his hand. Matt grinned and reached into his jeans pocket, pulling something out and keeping it concealed in his fist.

Mello's black- and red-beaded rosary was dropped into the blond's hand.

Mello stared, wide-eyed. Matt smiled, only slightly tinged with sadness. His eyes answered all questions Mello had.

"Have a little faith in me."

A/N: Reviews and suggestions lovely. ^^ Oh, and I don't own A Beautiful Mind. Well, I own a DVD of it. It's a good movie.