"Mello," a voice said quietly. Its owner was a six-year old gamer standing by the side of his blond friend's bed. "Mihael," Matt said, using his friend's real name.
"Hmm?" Mello rolled over, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "What's wrong, Matt?"
"I can't sleep," Matt said, not meeting his friend's eyes.
Mello stared at his friend for a moment, taking in the small, shaking form in Tanuki Mario© pajamas and bare feet, before scooting closer to the opposite side of the bed and patting the sheets beside him. "Come on."
Matt crawled into the bed and curled into the fetal position, trying to soak up as much warmth, and as much of his best friend's presence, as he could.
Mello noticed the gamer was still shaking and asked, quietly, "Mail, are you shaking because you're cold? Or did you have another bad dream?"
"B-both," Matt stuttered, his eyes squeezed shut.
Mello sighed, before wrapping his arm around the gamer and pulling him close. "It's okay, Mattie, I'm here," he whispered into Matt's hair.
Now, Matt thought bitterly. I doubt you'll be here forever. As much as he couldn't bring himself to believe it, Mello's presence was exactly what was needed to let the gamer fall into a dreamless sleep.
Mello woke first the next morning. When he climbed out of bed to change, he was careful not to wake his friend up. He changed quickly and started packing for the day.
Matt woke a few minutes later. He sat up with a yawn and a stretch and rubbed his eyes tiredly.
"You know," Mello said as he slung his bag over his shoulder. "I'm not lying when I say I'll always be here for you."
"Mel-" Matt started, only to be cut off.
"I know that's why you're having those nightmares," Mello continued. "You think I'm going to leave you alone, but I'm not." He pulled open the door to his room. "Why can't you just believe me?" the blond said sadly.
"Mello," Matt said. "You're going to have to leave sometime. We can't be friends forever, you know."
"Who says?" the blond challenged as he pulled out a chocolate bar and took a bite. He chewed it and swallowed before speaking again. "We're best friends, aren't we?"
"Of course we are," Matt said defensively. "I'd do anything for you, even take a bullet for you if need be..."
Mello locked his eyes on the floor as the game trailed off. "Don't say that," he mumbled quietly.
"But it's true!" Matt protested.
"Mail, I would never want you to get hurt because of me!" Mello said angrily.
Matt blinked owlishly. "Mihael..."
"Now go get dressed," Mello said, still avoiding meeting the gamer's eyes. "We don't need to be late for class."
"Right," Matt mumbled before slipping past the blond and out the door.
That afternoon, Mello walked into Matt's room and sat down on his friend's bed, being careful not to disturb the gamer.
"Hey," Matt said, quietly, without looking up from his GameBoy. "Sorry."
"Why are you apologizing?" Mello asked, staring at his friend incredulously.
"You're mad at me, aren't you?"
Mello shook his head in disbelief. "How could I ever be mad?" he said, practically to himself. "I should be apologizing, Matt. I know sometimes I'm not the best person in the world to be around."
Matt snorted as he continued playing his game. That was definitely an understatement.
"What's so funny?" Mello retorted.
"Nothing," Matt assured him as he saved his game and turned it off. "So, what's up? Calculus homework being a bitch?"
Mello rolled his eyes. "Like it isn't always?"
"Want me to help you?" Matt offered.
"Would you?" Mello said hopefully.
"Go get it, and I'll see what I can do."
Mello nodded and went back to his room, bringing back his notebook and his textbook. He sat down cross-legged on the gamer's bed and pushed both textbook and notebook towards his friend with an expectant expression on his face.
Matt rolled his eyes and sighed good-naturedly. "You better damn well pay attention then, because I'm not doing a walkthrough."
"I always pay attention," Mello pouted before he crawled up to the head of the bed, behind his friend, and rested his chin on the gamer's shoulder.
Matt shook his head with a sigh and began to work out the problems. A few hours later, he shoved the book away with a yawn. God, he was tired.
Mello had long since curled up with is head on the gamer's pillow, hair fanned out over it and facing the wall with his back to his friend.
Matt shook his head tiredly. So much for paying attention. He sighed, placed the blond's notebook and textbook on the floor and curled up with his back against his friend's, falling asleep quickly.
Mello woke with a start a few minutes later and glanced at the light up display of the gamer's clock. 9:00 p.m. glowed under Kirby's warp star. "Nice," Mello muttered to himself. "An hour after lights-out. Fuck it, I'm just sleeping in here tonight."
"Huh?" Matt mumbled sleepily, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. "What're you talking about, Mel?"
"Nothing, Mattie," Mello said, crawling under the sheets as he did so. "Just go back to sleep."
"Can't if it's cold," the gamer grumbled as he burrowed under the covers. "Damn, even the sheets are freezing!"
"Well, then I guess it's a good thing I'm staying then, isn't it?" the blond said, only half-joking.
"Yeah." Matt scooted closer to his friend and closed his eyes. "Thanks."
"You don't have to thank me," Mello muttered.
"Shut up," the gamer snapped. "I want to."
"Fine," the blond muttered. They sat in silence for a few seconds before Mello joked, "God, you're so high maintenance, Mail."
"Shut up!" Matt growled, punching the blond in the stomach.
"Shit," Mello whined, rubbing his stomach. "Why ya gotta be so mean, Mattie? I was only kidding."
"Go to sleep," the gamer replied, turning his back to the blond.
"Right, right," Mello sighed, settling down. "Night, Mail."
Matt was silent for a few minutes before he finally said, "Good night, Mihael."
Over the next few years, to all appearances, the nightmares disappeared. But Matt became far more withdrawn than he had ever been before. Mello noticed it, and hated it. Three days after his twelfth birthday, the blond decided to do something about it.
Mello bit his chocolate and chewed it slowly as he watched Matt.
The gamer was sitting cross-legged in front of the TV, tongue sticking slightly out of the corner of his mouth in concentration, pressing buttons quickly on the controller.
The gamer continued staring at the screen, mashing buttons quickly.
Mello sighed. "Mail!" he said loudly.
"What?" Matt snapped, pausing the game and whirling around to face the blond.
"Whaddaya want for Christmas?" Mello asked, grinning.
Matt blinked once, glaring at his friend. "What the fuck? You interrupted me to ask me that?"
"Mail, I just wanna know," Mello said quietly.
The gamer un-paused his game and continued playing.
Mello sighed sadly. Apparently, it was no use talking to him.
"Melee," the gamer said suddenly.
"What?" the blond said in confusion, taking another bite of chocolate.
"Super Smash Bros. Melee," Matt explained. "It's supposed to come out this month." More button mashing. "I's for the Game Cube and it's set after this," the gamer finished, motioning toward the screen.
Mello nodded. "Okay," he said around the chocolate. "That's what I'll get'cha."
"Hn," Matt replied without looking away from the screen.
Mello finished his chocolate off and threw the wrapper away. He got up from where he had been sitting on the bed and settled down on the floor beside the gamer, wrapped his arms around Matt's waist and rested his chin on the gamer's shoulder.
Matt instantly stiffened and said, "Mello, what the hell are you doing?"
"I'm watchin' ya play SSB," the blond replied. "Why?
"You're laying on me. Stop it."
"We're friends, aren't we?" Mello pouted. "Don'cha like me anymore, Mattie?"
Matt sighed. "Of course I like you, Mello. You're my best friend and that'll never change."
"If we're best friends, why can't we be this close?" the blond asked. "Don't say 'cuz it's awkward."
Matt swallowed hard and reached over to turn off his game. "It's not that it's awkward," he replied. "It's simply that you get a tad too clingy."
Mello released the gamer and sighed. He put his hands in his lap and said, "Mail, something's bothering you."
Matt flushed in embarrassment and looked away, refusing to meet his friend's eyes. "N-nothing's wrong," he said stubbornly.
"Like hell there isn't!" Mello insisted, hitting his fist on the floor. "You barely talk anymore, even to me. You look like you're losing weight, and I'm worried you're ill. And all you do anymore is play those damn games. You won't even look at me for Christ's sake! What's going on? You've got me worried, Mattie. Really worried."
"I'm fine, dammit!" Matt yelled.
Mello opened his mouth to respond, to grab Matt and shake him or hug him, to plead with him, anything. But he was interrupted.
"Five minutes until lights-out," someone said, knocking on Matt's door.
"Right," Mello answered. He climbed to his feet and looked at Matt, sadly. "Night, Mattie."
Matt didn't answer.
The blond sighed and left the room.
"Dammit!" Matt growled, punching his fist against the desk. Of course, Mello would notice, but if he told the blond he was still having the nightmares... He got into bed and glared at the wall. He wouldn't be able to sleep, or, if he did, he'd wake up and get sick. The gamer closed his eyes and tried to will himself to sleep.
Mello lay there, staring into space. He watched the shadows move as moonlight sifted through his partly open curtains. Something is wrong with Mattie, he worried. Could it be the nightmares again? Oh, dear God, I hope not. Eventually, the blond slid into an uneasy sleep, still worried about the gamer. A knock woke him much later. Mello glanced at his clock. 3:00 a.m. What the hell? He rolled out of bed and shuffled to the door. Jerking it open, he snapped, "What the fu-" His voice died in his throat.
Matt was standing outside the blond's door, arms wrapped tightly around himself, shaking and looking at his feet.
"Matt," Mello said softly. He touched Matt's shoulder gently. "What's wrong?"
The gamer swallowed hard before vomiting right at their feet.
"Dammit!" Mello groaned. He pulled Matt inside before picking up his cell phone and calling one of the janitors about the mess, shutting the door and guiding his friend to the bed. Pulling Matt's arm, he got the gamer to sit down and he said, "Talk."
Matt shook his head furiously.
The blond growled softly before grabbing the gamer's shoulders and shoving him back against the headboard. "You're not gonna tell me?"
Matt shook his head again.
"Well, you can't have been sleeping well," Mello reasoned. "Our health teacher told us lack of proper sleep can make you ill. So, why haven't you been sleeping? Video games, maybe? Or did the nightmares come back?"
Matt cringed and mumbled something under his breath.
"Wait, what?" the blond asked. "I can't hear you."
"I said they never went away!" Matt cried.
Mello dropped his hands from the gamer's shoulders. "Why didn't you tell me before?"
"I couldn't," Matt whispered, pulling his knees up o his chest.
"Why ever not?" Mello said incredulously. "I told you: I'll always, always be here for you."
"I'm just scared," Matt said quietly.
"Of what? I told you I'll never leave you. Do you still not believe me?"
"Maybe not by choice, but possibly by force," the gamer replied in a voice barely above a whisper.
"Force?" the blond asked. "Matt, what the hell are you talking about?"
"You might not leave me by choice, but you may be forced to leave me."
Mello looked at his friend in shock and concern. The gamer was shaking violently with fear. Force? What could-Oh God. "Mail, what are your nightmares about?" he said quietly, reaching out and gently squeezing the gamer's hand.
Matt looked up, blinking back the tears that were threatening to spill over. His hand tightened around Mello's as he whispered, "In every one, Mihael, you die."
Mello's jaw dropped. All these years... He took a few deep breaths and said, "Mail, I...If I'd have..." The blond shook his head and pulled matt into a tight hug.
Matt whimpered softly at the impact, but buried his face into Mello's shoulder, wrapping his arms around the blond's waist forcefully. I don't wanna be that alone again...