Disclaimer: I still don't own Death Note. The lyrics are Racing Rats by The Editors.

Note: ...hi, everyone. So I'm trying to get a handle on fanfic again. I'm going to start with what I'm good at: seconds out of time. This will be a three part fanfic about Mello, Matt and Near, after L's death, as they leave Wammy's House. Each will be between 400 and 600 words long, roughly. I hope you enjoy.

x

Chapter 1

The Chaos of Angels

standing at the edge of your town
with the skylight in your eyes
reaching out to gods
the sun says its goodbyes


The sun is low when Mello leaves.

He has a kit bag slung over his shoulder and is wearing shoes. They pinch uncomfortably on his feet (too used to the freedom of plush carpets and hardwood floors polished to perfection) and he squints up into the dying of the light.

This day's been a long time coming, he thinks. Goodbye to soft landings (it's out into the real world now, to gravel and mud and youth hostels in Greater London).

The sky is gold and rose and it is perhaps about half past four in the afternoon. The winter yields this one bright day, this one sliver of warmth, and Mello thinks how fucking out of place it all is; the crisp snow setting against the gates, the heavy red-brick of the orphanage, and L is dead.

Nothing is ever going to be the same now.

It isn't a nice thing to know, Mello reflects. He's always been the chaos in amongst the angels, the sudden shattering of un-sound, but it is different, this, somehow. It is different – the trouble you cause, and the trouble you face. And Mello would not, could not, have ever caused a trouble like this.

He pauses at the gates. They are big things of cast iron – ornate, and once upon a time they were painted. But the paint had been cheap, and had flaked off into the tacky green of old park railings. The gates were mostly bare metal now, tarnished by snow and glinting. When he was young he used to run out these gates, right up to them, and stand and stare at the world beyond. One day, he would think, one day. That day came long ago, when he stopped listening to Roger's warnings, and wove his way into town. He ran and ran, never daring to look back, never daring to stop.

That was the day he found the cathedral. They were banned from religion, the children of the red-brick orphanage at the edge of town. They had been taught when they were very young that if the arm of flesh did fail them, it was a long way down. But when Mello found himself in the splendour of God's house, a child amongst high stone arches and stained glass, it felt like coming home.

So Mello pauses at the gates. He looks back, and he looks forward, and he marks this moment. This is the moment of stepping over – the moment of putting away childish things and turning towards the world. He stands there, in the silence of sun, in winter light and winter ice, and the frost on the branches dances and refracts the rays into a hundred different shapes. There is quiet all about him, and he discovers he is holding his breath, invisible in the moment.

He could stay here forever.

But the air in his lungs feels stale and old, and his bones ache for adventure. There's a cool, low pit of rebellion in his stomach, and there's the fiery scent of revenge upon the wind. Mello lifts his chin and stands defiant in the sunlight, silhouetted against the fast-fading of the past.

He takes one step past the gates, and it's done.

Can't go back now.