Disclaimer: I do not own or make money off of Death Note or any of its characters.
When Hell Freezes Over
"Hmm?" he grumbled, feeling Mello inch closer next to him until he was up against Matt's back, his arms around him.
"Mmm," he responded half-heartedly. But as his consciousness gradually came back to him, it did feel unnaturally cold, like their bedroom had turned into a freezer overnight. "Go check the furnace," he mumbled into his pillow, tugging the covers up a little closer around his neck.
"No…you. I don't feel well…" Mello said against Matt's bare shoulder, and the redhead let out a sigh, deciding not to argue about it. He braced himself for the cold and pulled from Mello's grasp, hoisting himself out of bed.
He rushed to find clothes in the frigid air that had invaded their bedroom, feeling as if he might as well be standing outside in the snow in only his boxer shorts. The hardwood floors felt like ice under his feet and the frozen temperature brought goosebumps to his skin. He pulled on the pair of jeans he'd discarded on the floor the night before and yanked a shirt on over his head, adding a hoodie and a pair of socks for the trek downstairs.
He heard Mello start coughing as he opened the door and shook his head. Mello was really trying to sell it. Matt was already out of bed, dressed, and on his way downstairs; there was no reason for Mello to maintain the façade of his excuse.
He messed around with the thermostat in the hall to no avail and continued down the stairs to the first floor of their large two story Colonial style home, wishing he'd put on a few more layers for the journey. It was times like these that he wished they had just sold the damn house to begin with. They could have gotten a nice apartment somewhere and then they wouldn't have to deal with things like furnaces and shoveling in the winter and yard work and air conditioning in the summer; if they had moved into an apartment, that would all be the landlord's problem, not theirs.
Instead, after the Kira affair had died down, Mello had advocated moving into the house in southeast Michigan that Matt's parents had left him in their will. Matt had been against it at first. He had no sentimental attachment to the house and really had no desire to go back—he'd been shipped off to Wammy's at the age of five after his parents died and could barely remember anything about the house he'd spent the first few years of his life in. But Mello argued that it was a free house that was essentially move-in ready and already in Matt's name. It had made sense to move there, at least for a little while until they got things sorted out.
That had been three years ago.
Matt flicked on the light switch at the top of the stairs to the basement. At least they still had electricity, which meant they'd have hot water.
He rubbed his hands together, trying to keep them warm, and shoved them into his pockets, taking the stairs two at a time. He could see his breath in the cold air as he checked the furnace, not entirely sure what he was looking for. It was definitely on, and it was definitely not working. And on the coldest day they'd had yet all winter.
Matt let out a sigh. He really did hate winter.
• • •
"I called someone to fix the furnace. They said they'd be here within the hour," Matt said, pulling the covers up to climb back into bed with Mello.
"Good…" the blond mumbled, starting to cough again.
Matt hesitated, still holding the edge of the covers, looking down at the lump of blankets Mello was under. "Are you getting sick?"
"I told you…I don't feel very good." Maybe Mello hadn't been faking after all…
Matt dropped the covers and opted to pull on another hoodie, hoping against hope that Mello wasn't really sick for both their sakes. Matt didn't need another problem to deal with today.
If Mello was demanding when he was healthy, he was impossible when he was sick. And whiny. And Matt didn't want to have to cater to his every command while he was also trying to deal with the furnace repair guy.
"Yeah?" he returned hesitantly.
"Can you make chocolate chip pancakes?"
"Sure," he said, turned to head back down to the kitchen before Mello could ask for anything else.
Dammit. He hadn't been quick enough. "Yes?"
"Can you make that soup with the vegetables and roasted chicken later?"
"Mello, that takes a really long time to make… I don't even know if we have everything for it…" he said wearily. Mello pulled the covers down slightly so he could shoot a withering look at Matt, sneezing suddenly. He certainly didn't look very well, his skin pasty and his eyes a bit puffy. Alright, so he definitely wasn't faking. "I'll see what I can do…" Matt said, and resigned himself to the kitchen to make breakfast, remembering when Mello had gotten sick during his time with the Mafia.
Big bad Mafia boss Mello had been incapacitated by a simple cold, and no one had been allowed to know about it. Except Matt, of course, who had essentially been kidnapped and brought to the Mafia hideout under Mello's orders for the sole purpose of taking care of him while he was sick. He'd been more than a little miffed when he found out he was meant to be the personal slave of his once best friend whom he hadn't seen in years. Mello had always been an arrogant prick, but that had been at an entirely different level, even for him.
Matt supposed it had worked out in the end though, even it if it had eventually led to him once again taking care of his now boyfriend, this time in their frozen house, which was feeling more and more like the ice world of Hoth. He would make Mello pancakes and soup and whatever else, but he hoped it wouldn't come to cutting open a tauntaun and stuffing Mello inside to keep warm like Han Solo had to do for Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
A smile came to Matt's face as he pulled the pancake mix out of the cupboard. That would make him Han Solo who was arguably way more attractive than Luke Skywalker. He could live with being Han Solo.
• • •
Matt could only imagine what the furnace repair guy thought when he answered the door wearing three hoodies and wrapped in a blanket. He hoped it was something like 'I better hurry up before this poor guy freezes to death.' But by the way the repair man leisurely inspected the furnace, clearly in no hurry, Matt assumed it to be more like 'I wonder how many more blankets I can get him to wear if I take long enough.'
"So what's wrong with it?" Matt asked impatiently.
"Dunno yet," the man said. Of course you fucking don't. You're moving about as fast as a snail.
Matt's phone vibrated in his pocket, and he pulled it out with numb fingers. New text from Mello: "Make me hot chocolate." Matt rolled his eyes and was about to text back when he received a second text. "The good kind with little marshmallows."
"Busy with the furnace guy."
"But I want hot chocolate. It's so cold." Matt looked down at his phone in disbelief. He was working on it, wasn't he? He couldn't make the stupid repair man work any faster. He was about to tell Mello so, but his phone vibrated again before he got the chance to. "My throat hurts."
Matt sighed. It was going to be a long day.
• • •
Matt pulled the thermometer from under Mello's tongue and looked down at the reading. 102° F. "You have a fever," he said. Mello coughed in response, looking up at him miserably, shivering. "I'm gonna go see if I can find something to bring it down."
"Matt, when is the furnace gonna be fixed?" Mello asked. It sounded like his nose was stuffy.
"I don't know. He said he had to go get some part to fix it," he said, turning towards the door, only for Mello to stop him again.
"Matt…my throat hurts, and I can breathe…"
"Looks like you can breathe. You haven't died yet," Matt said with a wry smile, but Mello didn't seem to find him amusing.
He pulled the covers up around his chin. "I feel like I'm dying…" he grumbled.
"You'll be fine. I promise," Matt said softly, leaning down to kiss the top of Mello's head.
• • •
Matt may have been certain that Mello would be fine, but he was starting to have some serious doubts about himself. If he made it to the store and back alive, he would happily renounce driving for the rest of his life.
He'd left Mello in bed, having given him some Tylenol to bring his fever down and a cup of tea with honey to help with his throat. However, he hadn't been able to find cold medicine or anything of the sort in the house.
He'd left to go get some, thinking it couldn't possibly be any colder outside than it already was in the house, to find that he had been terribly mistaken. The weather report said it was -5° F with the wind chill, and while he wasn't sure exactly what temperature the interior of their home had dropped to, at least there was no wind.
But it wasn't the wind that was his problem. He'd headed out in his Camaro, turned the heater on full blast, and hadn't thought much about temperature outside. At least not until the car in front of him sprayed the slushy salt-snow mixture up onto his windshield.
Attempt 1: use windshield wipers to clear view. Result: spread salt mixture over the windshield, making it about ten times harder to see.
Attempt 2: use windshield washer fluid to clean off windshield. Result: discover that it is so cold that your windshield washer fluid has actually frozen, and you are now fucked.
Matt slouched down in his seat, leaning his head to the left so he could see out the two inch square section of his windshield that wasn't covered in the white-grey layer of salt. He took a drag off his cigarette, cursing himself for not remembering to switch to a winter grade solvent last fall.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he finally managed to pull into the Wal-Mart parking lot. He purposely picked a spot next to the mound of snow that had been left to the east side of the parking lot after it had been plowed. He got out of his car and threw some of the cleaner looking snow up onto his windshield, wiping it around with his gloves to try to clear off the glass. A woman carrying a couple plastic bags back to her car walked past, giving him a weird look. He did his best to ignore her. If he wanted to see on the drive back, he needed something to get the salt off his windshield, and the only water he had available was from the snow. It wasn't like he was doing this because he wanted to play in the snow.
When it looked at least moderately translucent, he tossed his now soaked gloves back in the car and locked the doors, jogging across the parking lot to the front of the store, cigarette still firmly between his lips.
Hell had finally frozen over, and it looked a lot like the Wal-Mart parking lot.
• • •
Matt looked in on Mello, a small smile coming to his lips; the blond was sleeping peacefully under the mass of blankets.
He didn't mind taking care of Mello when he was sick, not really. Sure, Mello could be whiny and demanding and an all-around pain in Matt's ass when he was sick…but was it really that much different than normal?
It was just about a hundred times worse when Mello was sick.
Matt pulled the door shut and headed down to the living room. The soup was cooking on the stove for dinner, the repair man had just left after installing the new part—a something or other that Matt still wasn't entirely sure what it did but certainly had cost a lot of money—and the house was slowly returning to a livable temperature. For the first time all day, he felt like he could take a second to relax.
He turned his Xbox 360 on and flopped down on the couch, lighting a cigarette. Time to play some Call of Duty.
• • •
"Matt, I'm sorry I don't have anything for you…" Mello said, looking at him regretfully as Matt took his now empty soup bowl.
"Are you…supposed to have something for me?" he asked, confused. "Just as long as you don't give me the flu, I'm good."
"Well, I was gonna bake you a cake…maybe go out to dinner someplace nice…"
Matt sat the bowl down on the bedside table, pressing the back of his hand to Mello's forehead. He'd thought Mello's fever had gone down since he'd taken some Tylenol, but maybe it was back. He was clearly delusional. Why the hell would he be baking Matt a cake when he'd been sick all day?
"What are you doing?" Mello asked, looking up at him skeptically.
"Doesn't feel like you have a fever…" Matt mumbled.
"And nothing," he shrugged. "I was just checking."
"Alright…" Mello said, sounding confused. "Well…there's some ice cream in the freezer if you want some. I got it a couple days ago."
If he wanted some? Was this supposed to be Mello's 'polite' way of asking for Matt to get him ice cream? "Sounds good," Matt said, going along with it. "And I suppose you want some too?"
Matt nodded, picking the bowl up again. Right. Sure. Since Matt was getting some for himself anyway, Mello might as well have some too.
He returned a few minutes later with two bowls of ice cream, which he'd been surprised to find was cookie dough ice cream when he'd pulled it out of the freezer. Normally if Mello was left to buy such things, he would get something composed primarily of chocolate, certainly not Matt's favorite, cookie dough.
He handed one bowl to Mello and sat down at the foot of the bed. "I'm sorry if I ruined your birthday," Mello said quickly, looking down at his ice cream.
Matt looked to him in surprise. His birthday? Was it his birthday? He'd completely forgotten…
But that wasn't the most surprising thing that Mello had said. "You're…sorry? Are you actually apologizing?" Maybe Hell had frozen over. "Wow, you must be sicker than I thought."
"Yes, Matt, I'm apologizing. Take it or fucking leave it."
Matt couldn't help but smile. There was the Mello he knew. "Thanks, but I don't think you sabotaged the furnace or got sick on purpose."
"You don't know that. I could've been planning this for weeks. How can I make Matt's birthday awful…?"
"Thanks, Mello," he laughed. "I love you too."
It hadn't been the most relaxing birthday he'd ever had, but it could've been worst. At least he hadn't had to rip open any tauntauns.