By Chocolate Wolfie

"And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts, these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."

(The Gift of the Magi) O. Henry

"Dearest Mail,"

Oh geez, that was a bad start.

"It has come to my attention that for the past five years, you have thoroughly avoided returning home during any sort of Holliday. Seeing as you are now sixteen and in your second-to-last year of boarding school, I would like you to return home to spend Christmas with the family before you go to attend college."

That was even worse.

"Seeing as you blatantly disregarded our past two letters concerning Thanksgiving and Easter, I would like you to treat this as a final warning."

Psycho-mom say what?

"If you are not home by 12:00 midnight EST as December the twenty third passes to Christmas Eve, your father and I will cease paying any of your expenses."


"No food money."


"No lab fees for Auto Mechanics."


"And no spending money for those God-awful videogames."

And thus Mail Jeevas' life ended. He could barely pay attention as he read the remainder of his mother's letter.

"Enclosed is enough money for you and one friend to afford a two-way flight back to New Jersey with cab fares and a stay in a hotel (if it becomes a necessity during layover). I would very much like to meet one of the people you've been associating in your time away from home. Please bring somebody decent. Love, Mother."

"Love?" The gamer grumbled sourly, shoving the cash into the pocket of his uniform. "Does that frigid bitch even know what love means?"

The teenager bit his lip, sliding his hand into his hair to tug at it in frustration. It was the twentieth, which meant he had three days (not including this particular day) to find someone 'decent' to bring home, buy airplane tickets, possibly make reservations at a hotel, and buy half-assed presents for his beloved family.

Please note the heavy sarcasm on beloved.

Now, as you've most likely noticed, Mail Jeevas—or 'Matt' as he had dubbed himself at the age of four after one too many taunts of 'Mail Man'—was the black sheep in his otherwise prim, proper, and disgustingly rich New England family. For example: whilst his family sat quietly at their antique table eating pressed salad and politely discussing the merits of a utopian society, Matt was most likely playing Pokémon underneath said antique table, whispering "Leeeeroy Jenkinnns!" under his breath.

"Okay, Matt. Calm down. This isn't so bad. Maybe all the flights will be booked. There can't possibly be any way to get a flight to New Jersey from England this late in the season." The redhead plopped down in front of his computer station, pushing a small pyramid of diet cokes out of his way as he groped around for the mouse and began Googling.

"Mom can't possibly cut me off if there's no possible way to… get… home…" Matt trailed off lamely as a website showed two open spots on a flight to Atlantic City International Airport the next morning.

Cursing every travel website that ever existed, Matt begrudgingly purchased and printed out two tickets.

And now it was time to find who his lucky travel companion would be.


Matt pushed away from his desk and left his dorm, mentally assessing each and every one of his friend's craziness levels.

'Which one of these people is least likely to freak mom and dad out?' Matt wondered, traipsing into the common room where a collection of teenagers fussed and laughed. The gamer scoured over each of the faces, occasionally shuddering with dread at the thought of dragging home any of them.

'That Yagami kid's smart, but he can be a bit evangelical sometimes… same with Teru, but he has some pretty creepy bad habits… Misa has the IQ of a retarded kitten… OH! Yes!' Grinning proudly, Matt marched across the common room towards a gangly senior crouched in one of the many armchairs, carefully holding a children's storybook by its edges as he sucked mindlessly on a tootsie pop.

"Hey L!" Matt grinned, plopping down at the foot of the armchair, beaming up at his upperclassmen. L glanced away from the colorful pictures that he was assessing.

"Matt. Good afternoon; and happy second hour of Christmas break." L neatly folded his book closed and tossed it on the coffee table before him. "What can I do for you?"

"Actually, my fancy-pants parents wanted me to bring someone 'decent' home for Christmas. An' seeing as you're probably the least insane person here," Which was saying something; by the way L was still eying that children's story book. "I was wondering if you'd like to come with me. I already got plane tickets and everything for tomorrow morning."

"I see…" L said with a small nod. "I would love to accompany you."

Matt beamed, a small metaphysical parade of overjoyed sparkles bursting into life around him. "Aw, L! You're so awesome—the best upperclassmen ever!"

"However." The dark-haired senior cut his junior off abruptly. "I have already made prior engagements to accompany Yagami home to Japan. He seems to think it's a good idea for me to meet his parents, as we are seeing each other." L said bluntly. He paused to eye the brunette from across the room like a starving, crazed toddler would look at a piece of cake. "Maybe you would like to ask Beyond. He'd be glad to go with you as long as there was jam available."

Matt slowly turned towards L's half-brother, who stood in the middle of the room with his arms wrapped possessively around the waist of an effeminate freshmen boy. He turned slowly to grin at L and Matt upon hearing his name, red eyes gleaming strangely.

"Uh. Yeaaaa—no. That's okay." Matt mumbled, unconsciously shrinking away from Beyond, who returned to molesting the boy in front of him.

"Yes, Beyond is intelligent, but he can come off as a tad… disturbed at times." L mumbled thoughtfully. "Why not ask Near?"

He gestured towards a pale boy sitting by the fireplace, arranging small puzzle pieces into little groups.

"Yeah, I should ask Near! Thanks L!" Matt leapt up and bounded across the common room towards the painfully white teenager, leaning his face towards him thoughtfully. "Hey, Near! My parents wanted to meet one of my friends, so why don't you come home with me for Christmas tomorrow?"

Near paused in his puzzle-arranging and turned his abnormally large, dark eyes onto Matt.

"My parents bought me a limited addition five-foot-tall, fully functional replica of Optimus Prime for my Christmas present." He informed the redhead in his usual monotone. "I've been waiting six months to go home and play with it."

"Uh. Okay." Matt said slowly as Near curtly returned to his puzzle.


Oh no.


"Matt!" Said redhead was seized by one shoulder and spun forcefully around to face a breathtakingly beautiful set of blue eyes—which were far less beautiful than scary at the moment, seeing as they were narrowed in anger at him.

"What's this about taking a friend home for Christmas?" Mihael Keehl (otherwise known by the ironic nickname of 'Mello') shouted into his face. "And why are you fucking asking Near before me?" He gestured violently towards the albino, whom was surreptitiously inching away from the two, dragging his puzzle pieces with him. "I'm supposed to be your best friend!"

"W-well, yeah. But—." Matt began hastily before he was cut off.

"But what?"

"I didn't think you'd like my parents. 'Cause, uhm. They like quiet, and they're kinda really stingy so—." The gamer was mentally spiraling; not only because he was positively afraid for his life, but also because Mello had moved pinned him to the floor, straddling him. The blond senior narrowed his eyes and raised a bar of Meji chocolate to his mouth, taking a vicious bite.

"Fuck you, I'm coming."

Matt suddenly had the urge to cry. Not only because his life was ruined, but also because he was in sheer pain due to the task of attempting to hold back a raging erection.

So that's how Matt ended up sitting in a freezing cold airport terminal at six in the morning, a tall woman obnoxiously yapping into her cell phone right into his ear, Mello passed out on his lap, and three days left to get home.

"So I was telling him not to fool around with me because I'm not like those other skanks he's dated, and then he started going around telling everybody I'm some slut—HAHAH! Right! Riiiight, yeah, totally! HA!"

Matt winced and scooted as far away from the woman screeching into her cell phone as physically possible. There were reasons Matt hated leaving his cozy little dorm room, and this was one of them. The redhead gazed wearily down to where Mello was using his lap as his personal pillow, breathing deeply and softly. How he slept through all this commotion, Matt would never know. He looked so peaceful there, his face lined in the soft black plumage of his coat, mouth slack, chest rising and falling so slowly, so beautifully—

Ice blue eyes snapped open. "Shit frickity, I gotta piss like a racehorse." Mello yawned and pushed himself off of Matt's lap. "I'll be right back."

"'Kay." Matt nodded in reply. 'So much for the cliché of watching the person you secretly love sleep.'

He would just have to suffice listening to the most annoying person in the world scream about something or another into her phone until his towheaded love returned.

Meanwhile, Mello was having the time of his life inspecting the electric soap dispensers.

"Christ, can people get any more fucking lazy?" He muttered to himself, rolling his coat sleeves up to his arms and beginning to wash up. Just then, a man from airport security wondered into the bathroom, whistling softly to himself. Right when he was about to enter one of the many stalls and get his early-morning dookie on, he spotted what appeared to be a very beautiful woman scrubbing vigorously at her hands. Taking a deep breath, the security guard put on his best 'I'm a big, tough airport security guard' look and sauntered up to the lovely young lady.

"Miss, I'm sorry, but I believe you have the wrong bathroom—."

"MISS?" Mello howled in what was obviously not a woman's voice. Bits of soapy water were flung everywhere as he turned around to face the security guard. "What the FUCK? You think I'm a fucking GIRL?"

"Uh… um…" The security guard shrunk down into himself as Mello advanced on him, blue eyes flashing dangerously. "If it's any consideration, I thought you were a very pretty girl—."

To put it bluntly, by the time Mello stormed out of the bathroom, the security guard was no longer in need of a bathroom stall.

"Do I really look that feminine?" Mumbled the blond, reaching up to finger at one of his long, silky tresses.

"Well, I'd say you'd make any young man happy, even that certain one you have your eye on."

Mello whipped around towards the sound of the raspy old voice. A tall old woman lurked nearby, creating a violent juxtaposition to the advert she stood next to of a frighteningly happy family enjoying a vacation to Euro Disney. She was wrapped in an obnoxious amount of pure white shawls, with dark grey eyes peeking out from behind the blue bangs of her wig. Large, golden hoop earrings shimmered softly as she tilted her head towards Mello.

"Care you have your fortune read?" She inquired, leaning on her ivory cane.

Mello quirked an eyebrow. "And who the hell are you to say I have a guy I like?" He nearly snarled, crossing his arms over his chest. The woman removed her weight from the cane, expression serious.

"I'm a fortune teller; it's my business to know." She informed him, eyes unblinking.

"Like fuck it is. I don't believe in that kind of bullshit anyway." Mello gasped as the woman stuck her cane into his path and he threw a snarl over his shoulder at her.

"You were born in the Ukraine." The old woman informed him grimly. Mello laughed.

"Lucky guess. It's kinda obvious." He snorted, gesturing towards his sexy Aryan body. The woman glowered at him.

"That scar." She began. Mello's hand instantly flew to the bright pink patch covering half of his face and took a hesitant step backwards.

"What about it?" He whispered dangerously.

"You received it when a bomb was let off in your house. Your father was in the Mafia and had betrayed the leader, whom vowed to kill him and his entire family. He was killed while trying to shield you from the explosion." The woman rattled off nonchalantly. Mello gasped, taken aback.

"Wha… who…?" He began to back away from the woman.

"Misfortune shall befall you Mihael Keehl." The woman whispered poisonously. "Until you finally admit the truth."

Mello was silent as the woman pushed off from the wall and hobbled away to find her terminal. The teen quickly shook himself and stalked off to return to Matt, mumbling about 'creepy old ladies'.

By the time he returned, Matt looked like he was on the brink of insanity, the woman beside him now squawking loudly into her cell phone about the improving gas princes.

'SAVE ME.' The redhead mouthed desperately. Mello folded his arms over his chest and quirked an eyebrow, turning to the woman who was still gabbing away.

"Hey lady."

"—fisher. Hold on a second, Natalie, this guy's trying to pick up on me." The young woman scoffed, pressing her cell phone to her chest and turning to scowl at Mello. "Yeah?"

"First off: I'm not trying to pick up on you. Second: due to severe childhood trauma, my friend here goes into fits of uncontrollable vomiting when exposed to loud noises for long amounts of time; so could you please go somewhere else and quiet the fuck down before he barfs on us both?" Mello quickly bullshitted. The girl glared at Mello, and then glanced wearily at Matt, whom clapped a hand over his mouth and began to wretch violently.

"Ewwe, fuck! Ewwe!" The young woman leapt up from her seat and sprinted away from the pair, Jimmy Choo's clip-clopping as she went. Mello smirked in satisfaction and plopped back down in his seat, settling his head into the redhead's lap once more.

"Severe childhood trauma?" Matt asked, barely suppressing a smirk. Mello shrugged and cuddled closer to his best friend, whom made a small noise of surprise in the back of his throat.

"You went along with it." Yawned the blond. "How long do we have before the plane gets in?"

"Uh." Matt, attempting to ignore the fact that Mello's head was literally resting on his penis, looked up to the television screens where the flights were listed. "It looks like it's on time, so we should be getting called on any minute—."

"Would all passengers for flight 345 to New Jersey with tickets marked A through H and all special-needs passengers, including children below twelve traveling alone, please line up at the specified posts? I repeat: Would all passengers—."

"That's us." Matt informed Mello, handing the blond his ticket before they gathered their carry-ons.

"So… what's your family like?" Inquired the chocolate-addict, extracting a small bar of the stuff from his coat pocket. Matt sighed and shrugged as they shuffled towards the front of the line.

"Well, my mom's a frigid bitch who'd like to deny the fact that I ever came from her. My dad's an Irish lawyer with enough money to buy Disneyland, and all he ever talks about is his stocks and how I'm a failure and how my brother's going to do a much better job following in his footsteps. My older sister Amber is an even huger bitch than my mom." Matt paused and sighed, handing his ticket to the flight-attendant. "My sister Maddie's the only decent one in my immediate family 'cause she's too young to be corrupted—uhm—my aunts and uncles think I'm a drug addict. Grandpa on my mom's side is old and pissed off, and same for my Grandma."

"What about on your dad's side?" Mello asked as they entered the cabin.

"My dad's dad died when I was little, but Nana Jeevas is the most bitchin' old person ever." Matt grinned.

"Bitchin'?'" Mello echoed with a quirk of his eyebrow.

"What? It's a cool word and I want to bring it back!" Huffed the redhead, stowing his carry-on below the seat in front of him. "But yeah, Nana J is awesome. She always gives me money and tells me what a good kid I am." Matt blinked to himself, smiling sheepishly. "I think she's a little senile, though, because she seems to think I'm my dad half the time."

"Nice." Mello snorted, buckling into his seat before shifting uncomfortably.

"Is everything okay?" Matt inquired as the blond cracked his neck and cleared his throat loudly.

"Uhm. Yeah. I just… don't like take-offs." The elder boy glanced out of the window as the plane began to taxi around.

"Hello, this is your Captain speaking. This is flight 345 to New Jersey—"

"You know, I always used to chew gum when I was little. It kinda helped take my mind off of it." Matt suggested, pulling a stick of Trident out of his pocket. Mello waved his hand, taking the last bite of his fun-sized chocolate.

"N-nah, its fine. I'm fine." He grumbled.

"—several exits in case of an emergency—"

"Are you sure?"


"—after putting on your own mask. Now please sit back and enjoy the flight. Flight attendants will be coming around to take your order for a beverage as soon as we've reached an appropriate altitude."

The plane straightened out upon the runway and the engines rumbled to life. As soon as the massive machine began to roll forward, Mello yipped and slammed his hands into his arm rests, clapping one right over Matt's. The redhead blushed and looked at his usually fearless best friend, whom was uncharacteristically red, eyes scrunched closed.

"Mello, it's almost done." Matt attempted to soothe the blond, allowing their fingers to become laced. "We're almost up in the air—see? We're taking off right now."

The blond gasped as the plane left the ground, his crystal blue eyes snapping open and widening in fear. Though Matt should've felt sorry towards his best friend, he couldn't help but be turned on by the adorable fear that Mello was expressing—coupled with the wide eyes, gasps and whimpers it was almost like—

Mello suddenly relaxed, slumping into his seat and breathing heavily. Matt should've felt relieved as well, but was just getting more and more turned on by the beautiful expressions crossing his friend's face.

Suddenly, the blond looked down to assess their still-clasped hands and wrenched his back to his lap.

"Geez, Matt, you friggen faggot. Let go of my hand, why don't ya?" Mello muttered, pointedly glaring across the aisle and away from Matt.

"I did." Matt said breathlessly, still savoring the feeling of Mello's warm, calloused hand wrapped around his. Mello glanced at his friend out of the corner of his eye and scoffed, shuffling awkwardly in his seat.

"Well I'm fucking tired. Order me a hot chocolate when the stewardess comes around, okay?" He stretched his mouth into a cat-like yawn, smacked his lips several times, and was out like a light.

Seriously, how was that even physically possible?

Matt coughed to himself and began to fidget nervously in his seat. Damn the 'no electronics until the captain says so' rule. He needed something to get his mind off of this—whatever 'this' was.

The redhead sighed and attempted to summon a mental game of Pacman, wincing when the little yellow head began to devour chocolates that seemed to appear out of nowhere. The little red ghost in his mind chased the yellow head mindlessly, its goal in life to capture that Pacman and keep it for his own for ever and ever.

Needless to say, by the time the Pacman was Mello sprinting pointlessly through the maze, munching on a bar of chocolate as he went, and Matt was the red ghost, tailing him desperately, Matt was dreaming.

'Mmm. Mello devouring chocolate dicks. Yes this is good.' Matt thought sleepily to himself as he finally blinked his eyes open. He noticed something distinctly different, but decided that it was merely the lighting. He closed his eyes once more and snuggled back into his plush seat, noticing a rough blanket circling his abdomen.

'Awe, Mello covered me up; how thoughtful. I wonder if he really likes me back—weird-ass blanket, though.' Matt attempted to pull the blanket over him, finding that it was hard and taut. His fingernails scraped loudly against it. 'Geez. Are my nails really that long? I should cut—.'

Matt opened his eyes and glanced down at his nails, noticing that they now resembled tiny sets of claws poking out of a pair of auburn paws.

"What the—?" Matt squeaked in a voice that was not necessarily his own. He looked wildly around. He was still in the airplane, but it seemed to have grown to the size of one suitable for a giant— what he had thought was the rough blanket secured around his middle was actually the seatbelt, and—

"Mello!" Matt glanced up at the now-giant blond snoring softly beside him. He wigged out from his seatbelt easily and attempted to stand, his awkwardly long body trembling before he fell back own on all fours and slipped beneath the armrest and onto the chocoholic's lap. "Oh sweet Tetsuya Nomura and all that is holy, please let this be a nightmare."

He craftily crawled up the blond's shirt and Mello began to stir, swatting at him lightly.

"Stop groping me, you pervert." He grumbled.

"Mello, I'm not groping you." Matt said softly, tiny ears folding down onto his furry head and he pulled himself up to Mello's face.

"C'yah right." Light blue eyes fluttered open and then widened in horror.

"M-mello, I think something's wrong." Matt whispered, dewy black eyes trembling.

"Y-you're a—?" The elder teen gasped softly, pressing himself back into his seat. Suddenly, the image of the old woman flashed through his mind and Mello snapped. "HOLY FUCK, MATT I TURNED YOU INTO A FERRET!"

"Mello! Calm down, people will see and—!" The ferret hissed worriedly.

"OH DEAR SWEET WILLY WONKA, WHAT THE HELL AM I GONNA DO?" Screamed Mello, seizing Matt and shaking him lightly.

"Sir, is there a problem?" A flight attendant's voice floated from the back of the cabin. Mello stared at his best-friend-turned ferret before his eyes widened in horror. If they saw him with an animal on the plane, he'd be arrested, and Matt would be—!

"Sir, I—oh!" The flight attendant blushed the shade of a strawberry at the sight before her. Mello was lounged out in his seat, legs spread luxuriously to display a frightening bulge in the front of his jeans.

"Eh? Was I talking in my sleep again?" The sexy blond asked silkily, turning to face the flustered woman.

"Uh. Sir…" The flight attendant was at a loss for words, her eyes still glued to what appeared to be Mello's massive erection.

"Huh? Oh, shit!" The blond looked down between his legs and shuffled awkwardly. "Sorry, you know us teenage boys. Can't take a five-minute nap without having an erotic dream."

"Uh… huh…" The woman nodded, still staring at the impressive bulge.

"I was dreaming my lover turned into a ferret after I'd thoroughly sexed him up." Mello grinned cattily. The flight attendant gasped as the bulge suddenly twitched. "Sorry to bother you, I know you're probably pissed off."

"N-no! You can't help it, sir—uh—if you want to take care of it, I'm pretty sure the bathroom's open right now." The woman choked, finally prying her eyes away from the crotch of the handsome youth.

"Thanks." Mello smiled and winked seductively, awkwardly shuffling towards the bathroom in the back of the cabin. The flight attendant shuddered, hurrying off to her post to gossip with her fellow attendants. 'Oh God, it MOVED!' she gasped internally.

As the woman was relaying her bizarre experience with the sexual blond to her giggling co-workers, Mello was in the bathroom extracting a ferret from his pants.

"HOLY JESUS! That material doesn't breathe!" Matt gasped desperately for air as Mello zipped up. 'Oh my GOD, Mello put me down his pants. And he doesn't wear any underwear. If I wasn't a ferret right now, I think I'd die of happiness.'

"You make sacrifices when you wear leather." Mello informed him matter-of-factly. 'Oh my GOD, I just shoved Matt down my pants.'

"Mello. What did you mean when you said YOU turned me into a ferret?" Matt inquired suddenly, eyes narrowing suspiciously up at the teen as he began to fix his hair in the mirror.

"Uhm, yeah. About that." Mello crouched down to the floor, feeling considerably more comfortable now that he was closer to Matt's new height. "I insulted some creepy fortune-teller lady who, like, knew everything about me back at the airport. She said something, and I think she put a curse on you in revenge."

The tiny, auburn ferret stared up at Mello in disbelief. "Mello, haven't you watched enough television to know that INSULTING CREEPY FORTUNE-TELLERS WHO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU USUALLY ENDS UP IN CURSES?"

Mello winced at the ferret's surprisingly strong explosion before retorting. "Well I didn't know that she knew everything about me until AFTER I insulted her!"

"You kept on insulting her even after the fact, didn't you?" Matt accused. Mello opened his mouth to deny this before finding that it was perfectly true.

"…shut up."

"See, THIS is the reason that I didn't want to bring you home with me! Because whenever YOU get involved with something BAD things happen!" The ferret snarled, looking shockingly vicious for an adolescent weasel.

"Hey! I didn't know I was going to get you turned into a ferret! So just BACK THE FUCK OFF, MATT!" He yelled into his friend's face. Matt recoiled into himself, folding his ears up against his head. Mello sighed, glancing away in agitation before reaching up to scratch at the back of his head. "Just—look. We'll get to another fortune teller or something once we land in America. If one could turn you into a freaking ferret, then one will be able to turn you back."

"They'd better." Matt mumbled before Mello seized him and plopped him into his oversized hood. "Why didn't you think of that BEFORE you shoved me down your pants?"

"Oh shut up." Mello growled as he threw open the door to the bathroom where a line of horrified looking people stood waiting for a turn. Mello scowled. "What, haven't you ever heard a guy masturbate before?"

Exiting the plane was rather easy, considering how tight security usually was in airports (also keep in mind that this was all pre-TSA, so there were no strip searches involved—this does not, however, denote that this story will not include stripping, however ridiculous it may seem). The pre-Christmas cheer was so heavily potent in the air that none of the workers seemed to notice the lack of one of the passengers, writing it off as a computer malfunction or a miscount of some sort. As for the passengers, none of them remembered the disappearance of the redhead sitting beside Mello after his traumatizing, violent 'masturbation' session with his penis that he had named Matt and seemed to think was a ferret.

After stocking up on as much chocolate as ten dollars could buy in the airport gift shop (which wasn't much) and picking up their luggage, Mello went out front to flag down a cab to take them to the hotel.

"Hey." Mello said as he hopped into the back of the yellow vehicle. He extracted a piece of paper from Matt's messenger bag. "Could you take us to the Borgata Hotel and Casino?"

"Sure thing." The driver nodded.

"So it's about a two hour drive to Plainsboro?" Mello voiced softly so only Matt would be able to hear.

"What?" The cab driver inquired.

"Nothing, 'm just thinking out loud." Mello waved off the man's concern. He nodded and returned his attention to the road.

"Yeah, on a good day. With any holiday traffic, it might take awhile." Matt breathed into Mello's ear. The blond snorted suddenly, pulling away. "What?"

"Your whiskers tickle my ear." Mello giggled under his breath. If Matt weren't a ferret at the moment, he would've blushed the same shade as his hair.

'Mello's giggle.' He thought dreamily. Matt had heard Mello's callous laughter many times before; but when the blond truly giggled, so softly and femininely—well, for better lack of a cliché, it made Matt's heart warm up and flutter like a little gay butterfly in his chest.

Suddenly, a soft gurgle sounded from the pit of the new ferret's stomach. He squeaked softly in surprise and looked down at his furry belly before turning to face his companion. "Uhm. Mello, I'm hungry."

"Do you want an award?" Grumbled the teenager.

"Excuse me?" Asked the driver.

"Talking to myself." The blond informed him.


"No, Mello. I don't think you get it." Matt hissed. "I don't exactly think I can eat Micky D's when I'm like this. Do you have any idea what ferrets eat?"

A pause.

"Well, fuck. You have a point there." Mello sighed, slumping into his seat as he reached into his pocket and extracted his blackberry (for it was the dark ages before the Smartphone's regime).

"What're you doing?" The ferret asked.

"Googling ferrets." Mello explained. "And then I'm going to look for a pet shop near our hotel so I can get some stuff for you."

"What about a fortune teller to get me back to normal?" The auburn Mustelidae asked urgently.

"What was that?" The man driving the cab asked once more.

"That was my ferret." Mello said without thinking.

"Oh, I see." The cabby nodded to himself, used to his fair share of psychos in need of being carted around the city. Next the kid would be puking on himself and sharing stories of his failed participation on Chernobyl's Next Top Model.

"I'll Google that next. But first:" Mello raised the screen of the device up for Matt to properly see. "According to Wikipedia, you're a carnivore with a craving for sweets, but I can't give those to you or you'll die or something."

"Nice." Matt snorted from his perch on Mello's shoulder.

"But it looks like they sell special ferret food at some pet stores. I'll call one near the hotel up to see if they carry any." The handsome youth went back to fiddling with his blackberry as Matt rested his head wearily upon his paws.

'Well, I'd feel kinda special that Mel's treating me nice if it weren't for the fact that this is kinda sorta pretty much entirely his fault.' The animal thought sadly. 'So I better just enjoy this while it lasts.'

"—thanks for the information. I'll see you in a few, then." Mello ended the call and looked towards the driver. "Hey, down the street from the hotel, there's this pet shop called Awesome Pets. Do you think you can drop us—uh, me off there?"

"Sure thing." The cabby nodded, and rounded a corner. "It's right down here, actually."

"Perfect." Mello nodded as the cab pulled up in front of a small shop that seemed to be ready to close for the night. Slipping Matt's messenger bag over his shoulder as the ferret crawled back into his hood; Mello hopped out of the cab and paid the driver, whom helped to extract the luggage from the back.

Mello begrudgingly lugged the two suitcases into the store where a girl was tapping on the counter in boredom.

"Hey, are you the guy that called about the ferret food?" The girl inquired, shuffling around for something behind the counter.

"Yeah, that's me." Mello nodded as she placed several cans next the register.

"Cool, that'll be twenty dollars. Cash or charge?" She said nonchalantly.

"Cash." Mello said, pulling out his wallet. 'TWENTY dollars? Why don't you just tell me to drop my pants and bend over, woman?'

"Here you go." He placed the crisp twenty on the counter, and was rewarded with a bag of ferret food and a warm receipt.

"Thanks. Have a good Christmas!" The girl smiled cheerfully as Mello forced a grin back and dragged the suitcases out of the shop.

"Have a good Christmas my ass." He mocked snarkily, expression settling into a scowl.

"Hey, I thought she was nice." Matt commented, poking his head out from Mello's feathery hood.

"You're supposed to be the one depressed and freaking out, not defending the girl at the pet shop that blatantly overcharged me for your food." Snapped the blond.

"You could've used my money." The auburn ferret mumbled.

"Yeah, whatever." Mello shrugged, glancing away. Matt blinked. Was it just these eyes or was Mello blushing again? He was so enthralled that he nearly didn't hear the chocolate-addict speak again.

"We'll check into the hotel and dump this stuff off, and then I'll Google a fortune teller or a psychic or something." Mello rolled his neck with an exasperated sigh. "It's a big city, so there are bound to be a bunch of those hocus-pocus whack jobs around."

"Hey! We have to find someone credible!" Matt snapped, getting defensive. "I don't want some hobo charging three hundred dollars to change me back to normal with a 'magic banana' thank-you-very-much!"

"Okay, okay. Keep your fucking shirt, on, yeesh." Mello grumbled before looking at the ferret's pointed glare. "Oh yeah, no shirt. Well, keep your fur on, then, Matty-boy. We'll get you back to normal."

Mail Jeevas, after wolfing down a can of what was most likely the most disgusting food he'd ever eaten, being jostled around in Mello's hood, and being turned into a small ferret with only several days to return home perfectly normal in order to get his allowance from his cliché-rich-parents whom he hated with a fiery burning passion, was not in a good mood.

Needless to say, he was tired as hell, seeing as he was now a small animal that was required to sleep more than run around during the day, and was not necessarily content to sit in the lobby of a psychic at midnight.

"We're lucky she took us in this late." Mello mumbled to his friend, whom was now curled up in his lap. "So stop throwing a bitch fit 'cause you'll be back to normal in a few minutes."

Matt merely huffed and attempted to keep his eyes open.

"Mello?" A soft voice inquired. A middle-aged African-American woman slipped out from behind a cream-colored certain and smiled warmly at the blond, whom gathered Matt in his hands and stood up to greet her. "Ah, and is this your friend whom you said needed my assistance?"

"Yeah." Mello nodded as the woman beckoned him into her room. There was a table close to the ground in the very center, a set of tarot cards and crystals laid out upon the ivory tablecloth.

"Please have a seat." The woman smiled, gesturing towards one of the cushions. "Now, I would like to say that I'm not quite experienced with animals, but I believe that I'll be able to reach your little friend—."

"Miss, Matt's not a ferret." Mello sighed, reaching up to rub his temple.

"Now, what would make you say that?" The psychic inquired, leaning towards him.

"Probably the fact that I was human this morning." Matt sighed, looking up at the woman sadly. She gasped, placing a hand in front of her mouth as she stared down at the human-turned-ferret.

"Oh dear. When you said you had a problem, I didn't think it was this bad." She whispered, glancing from Matt to Mello and back.

"Yeah, I think someone put a curse on him." Mello explained.

"Why would you think that?" The psychic inquired, still looking Matt over carefully.

"Well, there was this woman at the airport we left from this morning. She said she was a fortune teller and I—well, for lack of better words, I told her she was full of shit." Mello explained. The woman winced. "Then she started telling me about all this stuff that only I would know, and she knew my real name and everything." The blond shivered. "Then she said something about how I would 'meet misfortune' and left. Then we got on the plane and fell asleep. When we woke up a few hours later, Matt was a ferret."

"I believe you are mistaken." The woman said softly.

"What?" Mello looked at her sharply as she held out one hand to stoke Matt's head.

"You said that this young man was the one whom had been cursed. Based on what you've told me, I believe the curse was set on you." She explained. Mello started, making a soft noise of disbelief. "This curse has shown itself by altering someone you hold very dear in a way that is detrimental to both of you. Now, is there anything else this fortune teller told you?"

'Well, I'd say you'd make any young man happy, even that certain one you have your eye on… misfortune shall befall you Mihael Keehl. Until you finally admit the truth.'

"No, just a bunch of weird psychic-y stuff. I don't remember exactly what she said." Mello lied quickly, already feeling his cheeks light up like a Christmas tree. The woman across from him nodded solemnly, but a small glint to her eye said she was less interested in buying Mello's bullshit than a vegan was interested in buying a pound of grade-A beef.

"Well, I believe that when you do remember exactly what this woman told you, you shall know exactly how to break this curse set upon you." The psychic explained, pushing up from where she sat. "Knowing this, I will be of no further use to you."

"What?" Mello leapt up from where he was sitting, his face contorting in anger. Matt looked from the blond to the psychic wildly, tiny eyes wide in fear.

"I won't be charging you for this session." The woman explained. "I apologize deeply, but I do believe this is up to you, Mello."

She crossed the room in silence and pushed open the curtain that led to the waiting room, smiling apologetically at the teen. Mello growled and seized Matt, storming past the woman; the ferret turned his head to face the psychic.

"Thanks for trying, though." He said, trying his best to smile at her. The woman nodded in reply.

"Don't worry, dear. Things will be made right soon enough."

She was abruptly cut off as Mello charged through the front door, slamming it behind him.

"Can you believe that shit?" He snapped, his boots clunking loudly as he made his way down the street. "All she gives me is some vague suggestions and says that things are gonna be fine! What the fuck gives?"

"Well, what were you expecting her to do?" Matt inquired as he began to shiver slightly in the cold. Mello frowned and zipped down the front of his coat, slipping the auburn ferret into the makeshift pouch and zipping it up to his neck so only Matt's head poked out below his own. The ferret yawned and cuddled up towards the blond's warm chest.

"I dunno—look into her crystal ball and zap you back to normal or some crazy shit like that?" Mello mused to himself. He jostled Matt very gently. "Hey, are you even listening?"

"Mmm hmm." Hummed the small animal in reply. Mello sighed and said something about finding somewhere warm to wait for the cab, but Matt was already dead to the world. The feint words of the psychic were the only things that resonated throughout his mind:

"This curse has shown itself by altering someone you hold very dear in a way that is detrimental to both of you."

Matt was abruptly awakened by a loud jingle and the sting of halogen lights.

"Where—?" He began sleepily, but was shoved into the depths of Mello's coat.

"Only one?" An exhausted voice asked from the world outside the coat.

"Yeah." Mello replied. Matt felt his chest rumble in correspondence with his words. "Can you make it a booth somewhere private?"

"Sure thing, kid." The waitress replied, and Mello began to move. Suddenly, Matt was squashed very close to the blond's abdomen as he sat down. "Can I get you anything to drink?"

"Yeah, um. There-fourths hot chocolate and one-forth coffee." Ordered the teen, rapping on the table slightly.

"The college student's rum'n'coke." Grunted the woman, shuffling off to the kitchen.

Moments later, Matt was freed from his stifling prison. He quickly shot out of Mello's coat and across the table to the other side of the booth. Hopping up on his hind legs, Matt braced himself against the table using his forepaws. Across the table, Mello had pulled a pen out of his pocket and was scribbling onto a napkin.

"What're you doing?" Asked Matt, craning his neck closer to see. Mello pulled the napkin away secretively.

"Just writing shit down. The psychic chick said that there was something the creepy fortune teller had said that I could use to break the curse." 'Just please don't let it be that.' Mello thought desperately. "I also had a thought."


"Well, we were only supposed to stay in the hotel one night before going back to your parents' house. We don't exactly have enough money to stay until you 'get better', and I can't necessarily march into your parents' place all like 'Hi, I'm Matt's best friend, he's a talking ferret right now, so can I use his bed?'" Mello explained.

Matt squeaked at the prospect of Mello laying in his old bed: a queen size with black-to-red reversible sheets, the gorgeous Ukrainian boy spread over them in nothing but a pair of silky black pajama pants riding dangerously how on his hips, crystal blue eyes peeking coyly out from behind his bright red pillow—

"Matt? MATT! Earth to dumbfuck!"

"Muh?" Matt looked up at Mello, whom was snarling at him urgently.


Spotting the exhausted waitress lumbering towards them, Matt quickly ducked under the table, staring at the woman's feet as she sidled up to Mello.

"Here's your hot chocolate-slash-coffee, kid." She sighed, setting the mug onto the table with an audible thunk. "And are you gonna have anything to eat?"

"Uhm, how about a bowl of chicken noodle with a side of breadsticks?"

"Sounds good to me. I'll be back with that in a few."

As soon as the woman had disappeared back into the kitchen, Matt crawled up to his original seat, glancing around furtively before setting his dewy little eyes on Mello.

"Hey, baby, come here often?" He grinned, flashing a set of pointy white teeth at the blond, whom stared back at him expressionlessly.

"Ferret or no, you're still the most idiotic person I know, Matt." Mello shook his head as Matt chortled. Suddenly, he paused. A strange sort of tick seemed to be developing within him, tightening his muscles and sending a spinning orb of energy out to each of his limbs—

"MWEE!" Matt sprang backwards through the air, hitting the padded back of the booth with a loud thwump. Slipping bonelessly to the floor, he began to flip and hop sideways, leaping back up onto the seat and then to the table where he proceeded to flip over and over for several seconds in a sheer fit of joy before he landed on his back, panting.

"What… the… fuck just happened?" The inverted image of Mello asked, looking honestly thoroughly disturbed.

"I… don't really know." Matt said slowly, rolling back onto his stomach. "When I figure it out, I think I'll tell you."

"As long as you're okay now." Sighed the chocoholic, taking a sip of his poison of choice before cattily licking a bit of whipped cream off of his lip. "I don't want to get any weasel rabies or anything."

"Hey!" The ferret squeaked defensively, glaring daggers at his best friend.

"Well, it's not my fault you look diseased." Shrugged the elder teen. He sniffed the air softly. "Or smell diseased, for that matter."

Matt scoffed loudly for effect, though it came across as more of an offended 'dook' noise. "I do not smell!"

"Ugh, trust me Matt, you smell like you haven't been bathed in days." Mello glanced up as the ferret fumed silently. "Hide. She's coming back."

Matt dejectedly slipped under the table as the woman brought Mello his midnight snack (which probably tasted a whole hell of a lot better than the shit that Matt had been previously forced to eat). Matt then decided to stay below and pretend to be pissed for another few minutes.

"Don't get your panties in a twist Matt." Mello scoffed after several moments of silence. Said ferret poked his head out from over the side of the table. "We still need to figure out a way to get money."

"Exotic dancing?" Matt threw out halfheartedly; he flinched as Mello made to throw his spoon at him before thinking better of it.

"Something that's not probably illegal." He huffed, snatching up a breadstick and waving it around thoughtfully. Matt watched it closely, little nose twitching hungrily as he attempted to remember the taste of carbohydrates. Mello grinned and waved it out in front of the ferret tauntingly. "Mmm, delicious bread! And you can't have any."

Matt slowly craned his head forward and then—


"Matt. What the hell?"

Matt greedily chewed the mouthful of breadstick, sure to savor every last crumb.

The bleak winter sunlight streamed in through a crack in the blinds, creating a strip of silvery light that fell over Matt's closed eyes, which fluttered open just moments after it touched him.

'Mmm. I don't think I've slept that well in forever.' He rolled over, warm and content, and nuzzled his face into silky soft hair, starting suddenly.

'Mello? Why am I in bed with Mello? Did we—what—?' Matt raked his mind for events the night prior, and 'dook'ed thoughtfully before releasing a dejected sigh.

"Oh yeah. Ferret. Fell asleep in Mel's coat." He mumbled to himself. "So much for any sort of romance."

'But why didn't he put me in the other bed? He couldn't have been worried about me getting cold or something?' Dewy, coal eyes fell upon Mello's face—smooth, pale, and relaxed. Dark golden lashes rested against his cheeks, showing just the barest hint of color. His lips were parted slightly, and Matt could hear his slow, steady breaths.

Before he knew what he was doing, the ferret had climbed onto his best friend's chest. He craned his head closer, careful not to awaken the peacefully sleeping blond. Matt tilted his head to one side, admiring the way that the pale light fell over Mello's creamy skin and lightly illuminated his androgynous features. Seeing Mello there, so peaceful, so beautiful, it made him want to—

Matt pressed his wet little nose to the dimple above Mello's lips, ever so gently, moving slightly so his mouth brushed against those soft, warm lips.

Suddenly, Mello stirred and Matt went rigid. The blond shuffled slightly in place and rolled over, hands wrapping around Matt and bringing him gently to his chest before he snuggled into the pillow, mumbling softly.

'Mello. Mihael Keehl. I love you.' Matt thought, burrowing his face into Mello's chest. 'You'll never know how much this means to me, even if you're only doing this out of guilt. I just wish—.'

"Mmnhhg. You stink like shit." The blond mumbled, slowly blinking open bleary blue eyes to glare at the animal in his grasp. "You needa be," He stretched open his mouth into a yawn, blowing hot, chocolate-flavored morning breath over Matt's face. He recoiled, ears pressed flat onto his head. "Bathed."

"So does your mouth." Matt mumbled, squeaking loudly as Mello tossed him to the foot of the bed. "Lavarse los dientes."

"Bathroom, ferret." Mello ordered, throwing off the covers and storming towards the WC, stripping off his black hoodie as he went. Matt's eyes widened as he slowly trailed after his friend.

"W-what're you doing?" He asked, visibly flustered. Mello shot a glare over his shoulder at his younger friend.

"I'm taking a shower, and you're getting a bath."

"That's news to me." Matt grumbled, images of a very nude Mello hovering over him in the bathtub plaguing his inner eye.

Mello grunted and began to draw a ferret-sized bath in the sink before squatting down to gather up his friend. "It's pretty pitiful when it gets to the point where I have to bathe you—."

"You're the one that says I need a bath," Matt interjected. "And my arms aren't exactly long enough to wash myself with."

"Yeah, whatever." The blond cupped a handful of lukewarm water in his palm and poured it over the ferret, using the other to keep him afloat. "Matt, after this, remind me never to get a pet ferret. You smell so fucking bad, I don't think I'd be able to keep one in my house."

"Ferret racist." Spat Matt.

"What?" Mello stared at him incredulously, lathering soap into Matt's auburn fur.

"I dunno. It seemed appropriate to say at the time." Sighed the ferret.

"Tell me, Matt: does this curse include retardation or we you this fucking stupid to begin with?" Mello asked cynically.

"I refuse to answer that question." Matt pouted. He gave a slight twitch and began to arch into Mello's touch as the blond used his fingernails to work in the soap, eliciting a series of contented 'dook's from the adolescent.

"So." The chocolate-addicted youth began conversationally as Matt began to achieve an orgasmic high from the pleasant scratching. "I was thinking about this whole deal and how we'll need money while you were passed out in my coat."

"Mmmn." Matt replied, contorting in pleasure and nearly flipping over in the sink as Mello washed him.

"I passed this place with a 'temporary help wanted' sign in the window and decided to take a peek. It looks like they pay enough per night that'll let us keep staying here comfortably—if you don't mind living off of ramen." He added in. Matt's eye twitched as he keened into the sensation of Mello's nails even further.

"Yeah." Matt whispered huskily. Suddenly, the blond stopped his ministrations. "Mel, why'd you stop—?"

The second Mello flipped him onto his back, it became agonizingly apparent:

"Matt. Are you getting a ferret boner?"

Needless to say, Mat was not treated with the hot, steamy shower-scene Mello fan service that he had expected. He would've thought that Mello would've expected this happening soon, seeing as he'd been shoved down the blond's pants, into his coat, as well as cuddled him for crap's sake.

But nooooo, obviously being sensually bathed by the world's sexiest blond was no reason to get a hard-on. Mello hadn't even questioned this experience, merely toweling Matt off and tossing him onto the bed to dry in shame. Screw turning into a ferret. Screw being shoved down pants. Screw every time he'd tripped, lost to a beginner boss in Kingdom Hearts, and laughed so hard milk came out of his nose. Having Mello see his ferret boner took first place in the contest for Matt's Most Embarrassing Experiences.

What was worse was that Mello had refused to tell Matt about the temporary job he's gotten, insisting that it was just for the night and he didn't have to worry about it. And right about now, Matt was the farthest thing from calm, seeing as Mello had handed him off to two strange women in the parking lot and asked them to "hold onto his pet during the show". It wasn't until they were inside the strange cabaret-type building that the ferret was able to recognize the girl holding onto him: it was the girl from the pet shop. Accompanying her was a girl with thick, dark brown hair glancing around warily in the dim light.

"That guy was weird. Who the fuck just comes up to a person and says 'take care of my pet'?" Said pet shop girl, hunching over lower in her seat.

"That was a guy?" Said dark-hair, her eyes widening. Matt nearly opened his mouth to angrily retort before realizing that it probably wouldn't be a very wise idea. He settled for glowering.

"Ugh, that thing looks like it wants to eat you." Pet shop girl wrinkled her nose, staring down at Matt. "It also stinks like shit."

"Its cute, though."

Matt bit back a growl—first they questioned Mello's gender, said he smelled, and then called him—a very manly man your man could smell like—cute? Only Mello was allowed to tell him he smelled and was cute. If it wasn't for his human side begging him to maintain his decency, he would've taken the HUGEST ferret dump in gift-shop girl's purse—

"Oh dear God." Dark-hair whispered, burying her face in her palm in shame. "Is she drunk?"

Matt suddenly noticed a spotlight following a wavering form through the aisles towards a small stage in the corner, away from the rest of the multi-tiered stages still shrouded in mysterious curtain. He wasn't able to get a good look at her until she plopped down on a stool awkwardly, and blinked around at the audience, nearly spilling her half-finished mimosa over her emerald evening gown. The girl brushed a dark lock of hair out of her eyes and grinned.

"Heeeey guys." She regarded the audience. "Welcome, welcome one and all to the one and only 'The Cabaret'—was the other 'the' necessary?" She stared pointedly at the dust flowing down the path of the spotlight and shook herself lightly. "Yeah, so. Uh. If you've been here before, you know that we're a bit classier than most of the other places around here, so be sure to keep your shorts and skirts on your legs at all times."

"Oh, Honey." Dark-hair groaned into her hand as the other bit back laughter.

"So, yeah! Tonight's the last night 'The Cabaret' is open before we shut down for the holidays, so we thought we'd treat you to something a little special tonight." She learned forward out of her stool and grinned brightly at the audience before throwing back her head and downing the rest of her drink. "So, let's all give a very warm welcome to Santa's Little Helpers!"

Suddenly, the classy lights dimmed and the violent beat of a piano began to pulsate along with a set of green and red strobe lights. There was a short intake of breath and what was unmistakably the drunken hostess's voice began to roar over the room.

"Now I'm of consenting age, to be forgetting you in a cabaret, somewhere downtown where a burlesque queen may even ask my name—."

Suddenly, the heavy curtains of silvery gossamer, emerald velvet, and red satin began to waft up over the tiered stages as if they were in a dream. Below them were the shapes of nearly a dozen beautiful woman and men, some sprawled over classic lounge couches, others hanging elegantly off of glass staircases. Each and every one of them was dressed in a Santa suit that just barely grazed their thighs. Boots ranging from black thigh-huggers to white go-go boots squeezed every little curve of their legs.

And in the very middle of it all, on a circular stage, spread over a dark red lounging couch, was Mello.

Suddenly, the hostess's request not to lose their pants became shockingly clear.

"And isn't this exactly where you'd like me? I'm exactly where you'd like me, you know. Praying for love in a lap dance, and paying in naïvety. Oh! Isn't this exactly where you'd like me—?"

Suddenly, Mello languidly raised a single leg from the couch and brought it to his chest before kicking it straight up into the air and slamming his boot down flat on the floor, legs spread and coaxing as he spread his fingers out on his knees and pushed forward. His entire body rolled before he raised himself off of the couch, his fingers splayed out over the buckle of his black belt.

Matt was too entranced to think of the sheer insanity of the situation. He was a ferret, Mello was a one-night stripper who was barely eighteen, and for being completely plowed and out-of-place, the hostess had some damn good vocals.

"Well I'm afraid—that I— well, I may have faked it. I wouldn't be caught dead, dead-de-dead-de-dead in this place!"

"Oh, wow." Growled dark-hair, heatedly brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. "Let's hold onto that guy's ferret every night."

"I second that." Pet shop girl nodded fervently as she gawked.

By this time, the belt had fallen to Mello's feet, and he was teasingly holding his outfit closed with one hand, rolling his ass to the beat of the song. He suddenly dropped the front of the suit and dipped down, cupping the insides of his knees before spreading them apart and rolling his ass back up. The ivory fur began to graze his shoulders, revealing his smooth neck and the pale plane of his décolleté. The women in the club began to rowdily holler at him, and even a few male voices chimed in. All the others were forgotten when sex-God Mello took center stage.

The blond stepped off of the stage with one foot, leaning over his propped knee as he let the suit sag to his elbows before turning to face his couch once more and letting the suit fall to the ground in a pile of scarlet and ivory.

'Oh sweeeeet mother of Tetris.' Matt nearly lost it as soon as Mello grasped the pole connected to his stage and wrapped a booted leg around it. He was dressed in nothing but a pair of red women's underwear and a matching pair of garters that disappeared into his knee-high black boots.

By this time the song had changed, and that damn hostess had hardly missed a beat.

"Cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder," Mello gracefully slid down the front of the poll before spinning around and gripping it over his head. "Makes me that much wiser: so thanks for making me a fighter!"

With that final kick-move before the blond snapped back into molesting the poll from the front, Matt was sure that he was not going to be able to make it.

"Never thought you'd take me seriously when I suggested exotic dancing."

"Never thought you'd get turned into a ferret."


The sun was sinking below the horizon, its reflection a wobbly orange twin in the sea. The air was chilled with the crisp bite of sea spray and warmed by the aroma of turkey legs floating from a nearby vendor. Mello grasped one in his hand, Matt gnawing on a succulent strip of meat in his lap. The thin boardwalk seemed to extend for an eternity along the coast, disappearing into a large wharf, still and grey in the winter season. The only people inhabiting the boardwalk other than Matt and Mello were the turkey vendor, a young couple admiring the sunset, and a middle-aged man offering cart rides.

"You know, this is actually nice." Mello sighed, taking a large bite out of his turkey leg. Matt glanced up at him, blinking dark eyes. Mello shrugged and gestured towards the scene before them: the sun slowly sinking beyond the thin line that separated sea from sky, tinting the clouds pink and orange. The glistening waves were rolling out a lulling sound below, lapping calmly over the pale sand.

"You know, you're right." Matt signed, tearing off another strip of moist meat. He glanced over at the old man offering cart rides, who was humming mindlessly to himself as he cleaned his glasses. "Hey, Mello. Get a few bucks out of my wallet."

"Why?" The blond inquired, ripping the last bit of meat off of the bone with his teeth.

Matt opened his mouth and closed it quickly 'I wanna take you on a cart ride.' Sounded too—romantic? Gay? Just— "Let's go on a cart ride."

"What about the talking thing?" Mello asked, recalling the incident with the cab driver the day before last.

"You can pretend to be on a Bluetooth." Matt explained as Mello set him up around his neck like an accessory, tossing the bare turkey bone into the trash. Mello marched up to the man, whom was adjusting a peddler's cap on his head of short, silvery-white hair.

"Hello there!" He greeted Mello cheerfully. "You don't happen to know any recently divorced women over forty? I'm offering free rides to them."

The blond arched an eyebrow and hopped into the cart, pulling his feather collar tighter around his neck as the man chuckled cheerfully and began to push the cart.

"Just down the boardwalk, please." Instructed the blond, shuffling awkwardly in his seat before handing the man a small wad of cash over his shoulder.

"This is a nice break from school." Matt stretched out on Mello's neck, yawning luxuriously before cuddling closer. "No work to worry about. It's also better than being at home."

"Why's that?" Mello asked, staring at the sea still rolling steadily below the horizon. The ferret rolled his eyes.

"Because my family is cray-cray. I thought we went over this." He huffed. Mello glared at him out of the corner of his eye. "Sorry." Matt mumbled. "Just—right about now my mom would be yelling at the caterers over the phone because they put her down for fish instead of ham and my sister Amber would be yelling at me for leaving my socks everywhere and Antoine would just kinda be there and my dad would be all like: 'He's going so much farther than you in life, you little failure.' And all that jazz."

"Eh, well all you get is me telling you how much you suck." Mello grinned, rolling his head to one side. "Too bad, so sad."

Matt laughed and felt heat suddenly rise to his cheeks. "You know, Mello. Even though—e-even though I may get all my privileges taken away and I can't eat ham and see my little sister and get presents from my senile grandma… I think that being here with you is more than I could ever wish for."

Mello's heart suddenly began to race like a rabbit's, the palpitations beating an indent into his ribcage as he glanced away to hide the blush, brushing a lock of hair out of his eyes. "Jesus, Matt… you queer."

Though Matt had suffered though a million of Mello's gay jokes—this one just broke his heart. Ears flat to his head, Matt looked away in shame. His chest felt like it was full of stinging-hot lead.

"Ooh, a bit of bad luck." The cart-pusher sighed, pointing straight ahead to where there was a line of bright-orange cones. "It looks like the rest of the boardwalk is being repaired. Should I take you through the park? No extra charge."

"Sure." Mello shrugged, still avoiding Matt's gaze. The man nodded and veered left down a ramp, which lead to a large park lightly populated with a number of tall, old trees. An ashy grey monument jutted out from the center of the park, casting an odd shadow in the setting sun. The silence continued as the cart-pusher circled the park several times, until the last traces of light had disappeared from the sky.

"That'll be it. Thanks." Mello said curtly, tipping the man ten dollars before hopping out of the cart.

"Thank you, too. Have a very happy Christmas!" The man nodded cheerfully before bustling down the sidewalk and down back towards the boardwalk. Mello heaved a sigh and threw himself down on a bench, glaring down at the patch of sidewalk between his feel. Matt harrumphed very quietly, jumping off of his neck and plopping down next to the blond he secretly loved.

"Whatever." He grumbled, finally beginning to feel the stress of the past few days. "But Mel, for what it's worth: thanks. I feel really grateful for all you've done for me in the time I got to be like—this." He looked down at his paws and heaved a sigh. "I mean, really! You worked at a freaking strip club! And you've been really chill about helping me around Mello. You're a great friend—but I know you're doing this out of guilt."

Suddenly, the blond started and turned to stare at the auburn ferret incredulously.

"I just want you to know that you don't have to do that. It… might be your fault, but what's happened has happened. You don't have to treat me this well out of guilt—."

"Idiot." Mello spat suddenly. Matt turned to look at him, only to find that Mello's eyes were hidden behind a sheet of blond hair. His mouth was pulled into a sneer. "Matt, you complete fucking idiot. You think I've done this all just out of guilt? You just think I've gone through all this—?" He paused to laugh to himself, blond tresses now concealing his entire face. "No, who am I kidding? I even convinced myself that I was doing this out of guilt. If I was convinced, of course you would be too, idiot."

"Mel…?" The Mustelidae began, thoroughly confused. Mello suddenly stood and turned to Matt, plucking him up off the bench and holding him to his face.

"I wouldn't have done any of this shit if I didn't care about you so damn much." He growled into Matt's face. "You fucking idiot."

"What are you saying, Mello?" Matt inquired as Mello dropped his gaze once more.

"I'm saying that I was so worried that you would hate me, because this is my fault—and you're…" He trailed off awkwardly, shaking his head. "I'm such an idiot. I can't believe—."

"Mello?" Matt whispered. Mello's head snapped up, crystal blue eyes wide and serious.

"I love you, Matt."

Matt's heart froze in his chest before squeezing, shuddering violently, and beginning to beat out a frighteningly fast rhythm.

"You… do?"

Mello glanced away, growling to himself. "I know you probably think I'm disgusting. I'm supposed to be your best friend and I'm a complete faggot—."


At the soft sound of his name, Mello glanced up and the auburn ferret began to extend his upper body towards him.

"I love you, too."

A tiny, cold nose was pressed to Mello's upper lip, Matt's mouth brushing his. Suddenly, the animal began to feel very heavy in his hands. Plush, warm lips pressed against his and a calloused hand slid into Mello's hair, caressing the back of his head while the other supported the small of his back. Mello surged foreword into the kiss, throwing his arms around Matt's neck just as a pair of combat boots touched the ground. He grabbed a handful of red hair and pulled the young man into the kiss, his tongue lapping at soft, warm, human lips.

Matt pulled back suddenly. Mello growled and attempted to yank him back down into the kiss, which had just barely started.

"Mello! I'm—!" Matt looked over his body wildly, grabbing handfuls of the fur on his vest. Mello shook himself, still dizzy from the passionate kiss, fully realizing that his best friend and true love had returned to human form. In a sheer fit of joy which was nigh unheard of for the usually sardonic blond, Mello threw his arms around the gamer.

"Matt! You're—!"

"I know, I'm—." Matt grinned and laughed to himself, looking around wildly before pulling Mello into a brief kiss and taking his hand. "Come on!"

"Where are we going?" Mello asked, grinning as well, despite himself.

"Back to the hotel to get our stuff, there's still time!"

"… that sounds so cliché."

"But there is!"

Matt and Mello tore out of the hotel, the redhead turning his head violently as he scanned the streets.

"Damn it, a cab will take much too long to get all the way to Plainsboro." Matt stopped suddenly before a violent grin split his face.

"Matt, what the hell are you—?" Mello stopped, eyes widening in realization before the redhead marched right up to a red 1989 Honda Prelude Si he wiggled his fingers under the hood and popped it open before beginning to fiddle with the wires. "Matt you're not hot-wiring a car right on the street where fuckin' anyone could drive right by and catch you?"

"Yup." Matt grinned as the engine purred to life. He slammed the hood shut. "That's exactly what I'm doing."

He reached up towards the window where the it had visibly been rolled down just a bit, and slid his hand through the crack, extending his entire arm into the cab and hooking his fingers around the push-lock. It quickly popped up before he extracted his arm and pulled open the door, grabbing the lever to pop the trunk. Mello climbed in over the driver's seat and settled into shotgun, feeling a surge of devious adrenaline attack his system. After dumping their things into the trunk, Matt snapped on his seat belt and leaned over to kiss Mello before tearing out of the parking space.

AN: Hope you enjoyed the revised version of Wish- now with 100% less lemon, 90% less elipses, and 20% more snark!