Prompt: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.”
Warnings: Angst, spoilers.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Summary: They aren’t quite as different as they’d like to think.
Notes: Just when I thought I’d completely run out of ideas for these two… XD It isn’t much, and there’s no porn, but I hope you all enjoy it anyway. Takes place just before Mello leaves Wammy’s. Spoilers for up to episode 26 of the anime. Prompt is courtesy of Ani Difranco. Enjoy!
They stand facing each other—dark and light, yin and yang, perfectly balanced and yet completely unstable. They are pieces of a puzzle that could fit, but don’t, for one reason or another.
“L is dead,” Mello says for the third time in less than a week. His voice is off a little and his eyes are red; he’s been crying, but that comes as no surprise, because he’s always been the one ruled by his emotions. For all his tears, he cannot bring L back, and both of them know this, but it doesn’t stop Mello from crying and Near chooses not to comment on it.
“Yes,” Near agrees, voice soft and carefully – deliberately – as empty as he can make it sound. It isn’t that he doesn’t care, because L’s death affects him too; it’s just that he has always relied more on logic than on emotions (emotions can and will lead you astray; logic will not). It is one of the key differences between them.
“You know that Roger wants us to work together.” There’s bitterness in his voice now, along with barely-contained rage. “He seems to think that we’d make a good team, and that together, we’d be able to do what L couldn’t do.”
“Yes,” Near reiterates as he twirls a strand of his hair around his index finger. He knows that he should tread carefully right now because Mello – beautiful, trembling Mello – is angry and afraid and still devastated and his actions are being driven by nothing but pure emotion, as always, because this is Mello. Ever the same, but different somehow—different because he’s lost something precious and different because they’ve been given what feels to be an impossible task.
“It’s stupid.” Mello says those two words in the voice of a petulant child, though he isn’t exactly a child anymore. Neither of them has the luxury of being children, and they haven’t for a long time, given what they are and whom they are meant to follow after. “I’m leaving. You can stay here. Start your search however you see fit. I won’t have any part in it. I don’t care.”
But Mello always cares, in one fashion or another.
Near pauses in his hair-twirling, his eyes darting away towards the closed door, and then back to Mello. “It’s your decision,” he says simply, no weight to the words though he does feel that weight elsewhere and he doesn’t understand it. “Do what you will.”
“You don’t even--” Mello stops mid-sentence, and the sound of something cracking inside of him is nearly audible. He clenches his fists at his sides and then storms over to Near (‘storms’ fits perfectly—he’s just like a whirlwind, a flurry of fury and too many other things that Near can and cannot identify), grabbing him by the collar and jerking him close. Near thinks that Mello might hit him, but what he does not think is that Mello will kiss him.
He is proven wrong, because in the next instant, Mello’s lips are roughly pressing against his own, and Near is completely frozen in place. He’s never been kissed before, and he has no clue how to go about doing it, or how to even react to it—to Mello’s kiss that is full of heated anger and venom and something that just might be desperation.
Near doesn’t have to worry long about how he should react, because the kiss ends as abruptly as it began, and the taste of bitterness and salt (from Mello’s tears) lingers on his lips.
Mello releases him and takes a step back. “That,” he hisses, “is why, Near. Why I can’t—not with you.” He smiles then, and it is as bitter as the taste that remains on Near’s lips. “There’s no room for you and me at the finish line. No room for us to be there together.”
There could be, Near thinks, if you’d allow it. He almost says it, but he doesn’t; instead, he goes back to twirling his hair and watching Mello as though nothing out of the ordinary has occurred.
They stare at one another, and the air around them is thick with tension and confusion and words left unsaid. Perhaps neither of them knows how to say those words, or perhaps neither of them wants to bother trying. Too complicated.
One of the things that they have in common is the fact that they are both proud. Proud and stubborn. So when Mello turns and walks away because he is too proud to go back on his word, Near stands in place, motionless, because he’s too proud to go after Mello, much less ask him to stay.
And for all their differences, it’s their undeniable similarities that continue to drive them further and further apart.
So, in my head, this fit the prompt. *nods rapidly* Even in all of the chaos, there can be a moment of understanding, even though neither of them is willing to acknowledge it. They’re both young and confused and Mello is full of rage and so many other things that Near can’t quite grasp.
It’s sad, but I hope you all saw the beauty in this, too. I tried, anyway. XD