A/N: Hey guys! I'm sorry it took so long to get this chapter up. Life has a way of messing with your plans. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy!
Matt has a secret. It's a secret he'd never tell anyone, and it's hard enough to even have the knowledge of it in his head.
He's pretty sure he saw Mello on the street yesterday.
He can't be certain, mind. It has been five years, after all, and people change, and it was just a brief glimpse before he turned a corner but Matt's pretty sure he'd recognize those eyes anywhere.
The thing is—and this is the hardest part about this whole thing—Mello wasn't alone. He was with a woman, a very pretty woman, and they were walking close together and talking and then they disappeared.
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean anything, and it might not have even been Mello that he saw. But Matt is in a rather emotional mood, so he composes a draft that says Well she's pretty and then he gets mad at himself and L notices and he really doesn't want to talk to L about this but L can be quite forceful when he wants to be.
"I take it you're not having any relationship troubles," Matt grouses, and he immediately regrets it and tugs his goggles on tighter over his eyes, as if they can protect him from the awful verbal assault his ears are about to receive.
But L, surprisingly, doesn't launch into a detail-oriented epic about the specific things he and Matt's manager do when it's dark outside. Instead, he says, "You know, that's the first time you've referred to it as such."
"…What?" Matt asks cautiously.
"A relationship," L says simply. "I can tell you mean a romantic relationship because you immediately transposed it to Light and myself."
Well. Maybe Matt's never said as much out loud, but Mello has always been the most important person in the world to him and maybe he's always loved him a little more than he should, since he was old enough to realize what that meant.
But he's certainly not going to say as much to L. L, for his part, seems to have lost interest in the conversation, and for this, Matt is glad.
It's just past 10 in the morning, and Mello is still in bed. Objectively, this isn't a bad thing, since it's Saturday and he has nowhere to be. But it is extremely strange, since normally, he's up by 8, too adjusted to his weekday schedule to sleep any later.
To be fair, he hasn't slept more than 3 hours, despite having gone to bed at a reasonable time. His stupid overactive mind hasn't once left him alone, even during his fleeting moments of sleep. Believing that if he just stays in bed, he won't have to come to a decision on the 'contacting Matt' issue, Mello does not see himself getting up any time soon.
He's spent the whole night thinking about it, working out every possible scenario that could occur, and still he lacks a final conclusion. It's obvious that he could never really move on from this; it has been five years and Matt still takes up most of his thoughts. But if he did try to contact him…Matt probably wouldn't have the same phone number, and he'd probably be living somewhere far away, and, most devastatingly, he probably wouldn't care. He wouldn't have left in the first place if he did, right?
Sighing, Mello turns over and stares at his alarm clock. The numbers seem to taunt him. You're wasting time. You're not helping yourself. What are you even doing? To be honest, he doesn't know, but it certainly isn't productive. And then, finally, he comes to a decision. He's going to try to call Matt. Today. As soon as possible. As soon as he feels ready. But he will do it today, before he wastes another day of his monotonous life pining and feeling sorry for himself and not getting anywhere.
With the idea firmly planted in his mind, and having now soundly terrified himself with the gravity of it, he finally pulls himself out of bed and begins his morning routine. This could be the day that everything changes.
Nothing is ever going to change.
Matt can't do it. He really, really wants to; he wants to more than anything else he's ever wanted in his life. But he can't. All it would take is one press of the 'send' button; one touch of one finger one time, taking one second. But all his attempts to talk himself into it have failed.
L is wisely avoiding the issue; despite having little to no social skills, he has managed to pick up on the fact that Matt does not want to talk about it and L will even leave the room if it seems like Matt wants some time to himself. Matt would be more grateful for this if he wasn't so consistently miserable, and so acutely aware that the whole scenario was entirely his fault.
It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in a city that he has grown to love, and the summer air doesn't even feel as stifling as it usually does, and this should do something to ease Matt's sour mood, but it doesn't. He paces the streets, lost in thought, shooting fleeting glances toward random strangers, filled with some ridiculous hope, until he finds himself at the corner where he deluded himself into seeing Mello the day before.
He pauses in the middle of the sidewalk, vaguely irritating the pedestrians around him, but he doesn't care. He looks around; there's a large office building that takes up the entirety of the corner. He walks along one side until the building ends, and a little ways down, there's a coffee shop. Well. This was probably their destination, then; they were probably on a date. Or maybe they're already dating. Maybe they have been for a long time. Maybe they're even engaged, or married. Maybe Matt wants to inflict emotional damage on himself, and he certainly knows the best way to do it.
But maybe, probably, it wasn't even Mello.
And still, the unsent text messages taunt Matt. So easy. So difficult.
It's not even noon before the pacing begins. Mello is clutching his pillow and walking in circles around the tiny living area of his apartment. He's forcibly denying himself chocolate, since he's already worked through 12 bars in the short time he's been awake. He's considered calling Near, but decided that he didn't want to bother him with this after all the Matt-related ranting Mello has put him through. This had to be Mello's decision; he has to follow through on his own. It's just incredibly challenging to do so.
What would he even say, assuming that Matt actually has the same number and answers his phone? Hey, it's been a while, how are you, fancy a chat? Mello couldn't think of a single appropriate opening line. And what if all this build-up led to nothing, and Matt had changed his phone number, which was highly likely?
Mello can't remember the last time he's cried, but he would not be at all surprised if some tears of frustration and anxiety were to slip out now.
When Matt returns from his sobering journey, the first thing he sees upon entering the apartment is a pillow flying at his face.
"Whh—" he splutters as it hits him in the mouth, and he catches it on the way down, peering around it suspiciously. L is standing a few feet away, an odd expression on his face, and Matt is just about to ask what the hell is going on when L speaks.
"I did some research, and I concluded that you need to 'lighten up.' Don't think I haven't noticed your change in disposition, and don't think I'm unaware of the cause. If you are incapable of changing your situation at the present time, I believe the best thing to do is to distract you from it. Hence—" he gestures at the pillow, "—this."
Matt stares at him blankly. L may actually be right about something related to human interaction for once, and the thought almost makes Matt laugh.
"You're smiling," L says. "Good. …Correct?" He adds the last word as a bit of an afterthought, tilting his head slightly as if waiting for Matt to confirm or deny his hypothesis.
"…Good, you crazy bastard," Matt says, and he chucks the pillow back at L, who actually maybe cracks something almost like a genuine smile for once.
If Matt had known that something as childish and simple as having a pillow fight with his roommate would ease his mood, he would have engaged in one a lot sooner.
It's half past 4, and Mello has a pounding headache. The near-constant pacing certainly didn't help, and that, coupled with the fact that he's hardly eaten anything but chocolate all day, has driven him to the couch, where he lies clutching his phone and wishing he could just get this whole mess over with already.
When he equates this wanting with the wanting of a tangible object, the whole situation looks completely ridiculous. If you want an ice cream cone, you go to an ice cream shop and buy one, he reasons. If you want to talk to your friend, you get your phone and call him. It should be the same thing; it should be that simple. But it isn't, and that's extremely distressing.
Mello rolls over, groans, and buries his face in his hands. Okay. As soon as his headache goes away, he'll call. That's the deal, he tells himself. Now he just has to stick with it.
Surprisingly, spending time with L has actually made Matt feel better, as opposed to L's usual effect of making Matt feel slightly disoriented and vaguely annoyed. L has hardly even mentioned Light the entire day, which is a feat in and of itself.
It's late evening, and they're watching crappy TV. The plights of the sitcom protagonists make Matt feel better about his own situation, despite the fact that the two things are completely different, and L refrains from verbally analyzing every second of every program, so Matt decides that today was an all right day.
At a commercial break, L gets up to concoct a disgusting mixture of various sugary substances, leaving Matt alone in the living area. Bored, he pulls out his phone and vaguely clicks through some settings, determinately not looking through all his unsent texts to Mello. There is no need to ruin his current semi-contented mood.
He's halfway through downloading a new ringtone when his phone goes off, interrupting the download and flashing a message across the screen: Incoming call from Mello.
Matt's hands immediately stiffen and he grips his phone as though it's an anchor. His heart takes off like a shot, causing pounding in his ears and pulsing in his veins. No. There is no way. Someone changed their name in my phone; this is someone's idea of a joke. There is—no. No. What would happen if he answered? He has to answer. Time seems to slow to a crawl around him as his ringer continues beeping. How long before it goes to voicemail? What if he doesn't answer and the caller doesn't leave a message and what if it really is—
Very slowly, he reaches out and swipes his thumb across the screen, picking up the call. For a second he can't get his muscles working in the proper way so as to put the phone next to his ear, but it's only a temporary delay and then he's sitting there on the phone with—whoever is on the other end.
He takes a deep breath, half willing it to be a joke, half not daring to hope that it's anything else.
"H…" his voice sounds weak and thin; his hands shake so that the phone practically vibrates against his ear. "…Hello?"
The person on the other end gasps, seems to choke, and then there's a noise as if the phone is being brushed against something, and the voice is gone. After a second, it comes back, very quietly: "Matt?"
I'm sorry about the evil cliffhanger, I really am, but it's just so much fun. There's only one more part after this, and I hope you join me again for the conclusion!