Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note.
A/N: I know I've been doing stuff in the Sherlock fandom lately, but I have not abandoned Death Note, and I definitely have not given up on K. :)
Also, Mello asks some rhetorical questions in this fic involving various characters. My answers to these rhetorical questions are "Yes."
Sometimes, Matt would sing.
It started with him smiling, usually, before it progressed to him subtly bopping his head to whatever song was in it, then humming, then whistling (although sometimes that step was omitted if Matt was in a really good mood), then to quiet singing, then to belting at the top of his lungs, and finally belting plus dancing.
He would slide around on the tile of their tiny kitchen in his socks. He would spin and do dramatic poses, grinning at his own silliness. He would make the most absurd faces as he went for high notes, and even more outrageous ones when he went after a note too low for his voice.
The phenomenon itself was rare, but once it started it didn't stop for hours. Hours of Matt being his noisiest, singing loudly, dancing and yelling "ow!" whenever he rammed his arm into furniture from dancing too hard.
Often, Mello was in the apartment to witness this.
Almost always, Mello had something important to be doing while this went on, and it was incredibly disruptive to his work.
That being said, Mello never complained. He never even pointed it out, just pretended that he didn't even notice it was happening, never even gave a compliment because he suspected that if he ever said a word, Matt would never sing in front of him again.
And, well, Mello liked it.
Matt wasn't a particularly good singer. He wasn't actively bad— he hit most of the notes—but he wouldn't be winning any awards for being in tune. The performance wasn't, in and of itself, an incredibly pleasant experience, and Mello was no great lover of music despite the mandatory training he'd endured at Wammy's.
The thing was, though, that Matt only ever sang when he was really feeling it, really happy, and he put his whole damn heart into it every single time.
Mello kind of... loved him, maybe. So it might, possibly, have been a little bit nice to get a look into that heart of his and to get to know that, somehow, Matt was actually happy, living in a shitty apartment in LA with his psychotic, Mafioso best friend who was secretly in love with him.
Matt singing? It was about as close as Mello would ever get to being allowed to touch that heart. So it was kind of important that it didn't stop.
Not that Mello doubted that Matt loved him. Of course he did- he was Mello and this was Matt we were talking about, here. Saying that Matt didn't love Mello would be like saying that Kirk didn't love Spock, that John Watson didn't love Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, these characters could just as easily have the most platonic love of all time, just the same as Matt's love for Mello but certainly not the same as Mello's for Matt. After all, did the logical, methodical Spock love Kirk that way? And did the asexual, sociopathic Sherlock Holmes love John Watson?
Matt was singing now, just as Mello had known he would since he'd started whistling an hour ago. Mello remained on the couch, sprawled out all over it, pretending to be deeply involved in the book he was reading. If Matt had been paying attention, he would have seen that Mello's eyes weren't moving across the page and that the book was possibly upside-down. He also might have noticed the small, serene smile on his best friend's lips.
He didn't, though, because he was busy dancing around the house like a maniac, doing dishes, unabashedly singing some upbeat pop song Mello couldn't be bothered to know. And it was so, so beautiful.
And Mello... Mello really wanted to kiss him.
That wasn't fair though— it wasn't a result of Matt singing. Mello had been wanting to for nearly fifteen years, now. Wanted to kiss that grin, taste Matt's happiness, and hopefully not take any of it away. Wanted to make Matt his own without depleting any of the essential Mattness.
Dancing, unashamed, Matt trotted over to Mello and snatched the book from his hands. For anyone else that would have been a fatal course of action, but Matt could get away with anything and he knew it. Even if he didn't know that Mello loved him, he did know that his best friend would rather die than hurt him, so he liked to blatantly indulge the privilege now and then.
"What are you reading?"
"Hey!" Mello complained, more out of habit than anything else. He wasn't upset about the lack of book, he was more upset that Matt had stopped singing, but we must keep up appearances, mustn't we? "I was reading that!"
Matt carefully put the open book face-down so that Mello's page wouldn't be lost. (Nice of him, but since Mello hadn't really been reading it...)
"Why'd you take my book?" Mello demanded.
Matt laughed and grabbed Mello's hands, tugging. "Because you're gonna dance with me!"
Mello opened his mouth but no words came out. He hadn't expected this— this wasn't in his schema and he didn't know how to act. It was a delicate thing, living with your best friend, loving him, and trying not to let him know. You had to watch your behavior. Mello knew what to do if Matt sat companionably close to him, for example. He knew what to do if Matt gave him a friendly hug. He even knew what to do if Matt was upset, what behavior was appropriate for comfort and what would be crossing a line, maybe taking advantage of a friend's trust. But what was this? He didn't know the protocol for this, didn't know how to platonically dance with someone you're madly in love with. Did that mean that Matt was crossing boundaries? Was he doing it on purpose?
He stared at him. Matt looked back. After a few minutes, it turned awkward, even for the relatively oblivious Matt, and he said, "Hey, no big deal." He grinned and dropped Mello's hands.
He wanted to say something, but all he could think about, besides his confusion about dancing, was that Matt had stopped singing and about how he was so pathetic to miss it as much as he did. Before he could stop himself, Mello found himself saying, softly, pleadingly, "Don't stop."
Matt couldn't perceive the change in the room like Mello could. He couldn't see how half the lights had gone out now that Matt wasn't singing, and he also couldn't see how it was still half-lit because Matt was there, at least. With that, that smile. With that heart.
There wasn't a smile right now, though.
"Don't stop... what?" Matt replied equally quietly.
Mello wasn't sure anymore, but he knew he wanted something... more like craved something. Had he meant the hand-holding? Or the singing? Maybe smiling? Or something else entirely?
He must have been staring because Matt slowly lowered himself onto the couch next to Mello, palms carefully on his thighs, not too close and not too far. If Mello hadn't been studying at Matt so intensely, he might not have noticed Matt's eyes flicker to his lips, then quickly to the side as if he had suddenly noticed something interesting on the wall behind Mello and had not been looking at his lips in the first place
Mello recognized that. He recognized that! He'd done that, used that exact routine, from the hand placement to the glance to the fake distraction.
A million little pieces of information hit Mello all at once, then, tiny flashbacks, memories his brain had automatically catalogued but never connected before that moment because how do you notice something that is deliberately not there? Matt, looking away when Mello stretched, never, ever saying a word about the leather, his fingers never touching Mello's when handing him things. Matt, who somehow never bumped into him in this teeny-tiny apartment, who knocked before coming into the bathroom despite their decades of living together, who absolutely never, under any circumstances, came into Mello's half of their microscopic shared bedroom...
Mello was stunned. Everything he himself had done to keep appropriate distance, to not freak Matt out, a hundred tiny things that added up to being quite a lot of effort, Matt had also been doing for... eight years? Maybe nine?
Mello looked down and noticed that he was sitting just like Matt was. He knew the exact moment that Matt realized it, too.
With perfectly calculated casualness that would have fooled Mello had he not known where he'd learned it (second-year voice manipulation, Wammy's), he said, "You can kiss me. If you want to."
Mello did want to. Very much. This too must have shown on his face— since when had he become so easy to read, dammit?— because Matt only moved closer. The careful boundaries they had independently maintained... they were bending, because you can't allow yourself to sit that close to someone you're in love with if you're trying to hide it...
Mello shifted closer as well.
"I mean it. You can." Now it was a whisper, and Matt leaned in even more.
Mello figured he'd given Matt a fair chance to back out and, well, there was a reason for the rules he'd established for himself— he always knew he'd lose control if he got too close to Matt, and now here he was...
Mello hadn't been aware that Matt's voice could get any softer, but apparently it could. "Would you? Please?"
That was it, the critical value, the threshold, Mello was rightly and fully in the p area of this normal distribution and rejecting his null hypothesis and there just wasn't any turning back anymore.
So he closed the remaining space, fast, and kissed him.
It was so sudden, so forceful that Matt gasped in a breath and his hands went to Mello's head, fingers curling into his hair as Mello drew him closer.
It was bruising and wet and not at all what either of them would have imagined their first kiss to be like, had they ever allowed themselves to imagine it, but it worked. It did the job, shattered the rules, and when they pulled back Mello now knew it was okay to say something he'd been thinking for years.
"Please never stop singing."
Sometimes, they still slipped into the routine of being careful, before they realized they didn't have to be and then usually ended up in bed. Sometimes, they forgot to introduce themselves as a couple or whatever, but they figured that didn't matter too much. Sometimes, one of them crossed a line, unsure about what rules still existed and what had just been pretense (apparently Matt knocked on the bathroom door because he damn well expected Mello to do the same).
And sometimes, not all the time, of course, but still a little more often than he had before, Matt would sing.