Warnings: Sexual content, angst, lots of introspection, second-person POV.
Rating: Hard R
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Summary: He is an accomplice in this game of cat and mouse, good and evil, hope and despair.
Comments: Woah. Been a while since I’ve written Death Note fic, and I’ve missed it quite a lot—especially writing Mello/Near. XD Title mostly stolen from Marilyn Manson’s ‘Are You the Rabbit?’. Heavy spoilers in general, especially for the last few episodes of the anime. This fic focuses on an encounter (that didn’t take place, obviously) between Mello and Near just after Mello has made the decision to kidnap Takada. If you haven’t seen/read that far, then don’t read this. I hope you all enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed writing this. It was so much fun. :)
You’ve committed the sound of his footsteps – at times soft and almost soothing in some odd way, and at other times, heavy and disconcerting (he’s almost always been terrible at hiding emotion) – to memory, and you know he’s there before you even turn around to look. You know it’s him, even though his footsteps are different tonight—some mix of quiet, secretive urgency that throws you off just a little bit. He is different tonight, but then again, encounters with him are never repeats (he’s always different), no matter how similar your actions are each time you meet.
He’s breathing differently, too—not the slow, easy breathing of the unworried or the uncertain, erratic breathing of those close to panic, but somewhere in-between. He’s trying to hide it, and you know he is. You can always tell, because he’s never this reserved unless he’s trying to hide something.
His attempt is both a success and a failure, because you know that something is wrong, although at this point, you have absolutely no idea what could be wrong. He hasn’t spoken yet, which means he is afraid that if he speaks, his tenuous hold on self-control will falter. You will not ask him to speak. Not yet, at least.
You turn to look at him and you see the worry, the fear in his eyes (which are always so expressive) before he hides them behind a mask that doesn’t quite fit him—this isn’t his style, it’s yours. He’s never been the type to hide. As far as you know, he’s never wanted to hide. Ever since you were children, he’s always been very expressive, and now it is like he is trying to be the exact opposite.
One of the things you’ve always loved (yes, loved—you can admit this to yourself now) about him is the fact that he is so very unlike you when it comes to emotions.
Your hand lifts reflexively, without thought, fingers finding your hair and twirling a few strands; it is habit, nothing more.
He watches you and you watch him, study him—you try to figure out what’s going on behind those almost-icy blue eyes of his. You know that there is fear there, and you know that there is self-doubt. You know that he is probably wondering, too, if being here right now is a wise option.
You welcome the intrusion (that isn’t an intrusion at all anymore, but a greatly looked-forward-to visit—he is an accomplice in this game of cat and mouse, good and evil, hope and despair) with a slight smile and a nod of the head. Come closer, you say, without actually saying it, because words aren’t needed sometimes, and one thing that the two of you have in common is that both of you believe that silence is sometimes very useful, and also sometimes pivotal.
He takes a couple more of those not-quiet-but-not-loud steps and stops, and you watch his Adam’s apple bob a little as he swallows. He doesn’t speak and neither do you. You focus on his face again, looking for clues—something, anything at all.
Figuring him out is not always easy. Just because he is usually ridiculously expressive doesn’t mean that finding the underlying cause to his grief or his pain or his anger or his joy is an easy task. He is both like and unlike a puzzle, because you still have to put the pieces together (and sometimes that is very time-consuming and near-impossible and beyond frustrating), but his myriad of emotions manages to somehow make things more difficult. His emotions are brilliant color, all bright blues and oranges and almost-neon greens, blinding yellows and fiery reds. So very like him, all of these colors.
The rest of you begs to differ when some small part of you points out that it’s often more difficult to piece together a puzzle of single color (and you remember that old one that you’d had as a child—you’d been putting it together the day you’d learned L had died) as opposed to a puzzle of several different colors.
Things have never been in black-and-white terms, not with him. He’s always been too vibrant and alive for that. You are well-suited to the singular, dull colors: white, black, grey. You don’t shine like he does.
You’ve been studying him since the moment you saw that first spark of hatred (you don’t see that anymore, and haven’t for months) in his eyes all those years ago. You know that if you’ve been doing something long enough, it gets easier with time. That isn’t the case with him. Some days are a little easier and some days are a lot more complicated than you’d like to admit.
Tonight, your impression of him falls into the latter category—it’s not going to be easy to figure out what’s eating at him, because he’s trying to hide it from you, and he doesn’t hide from you. It’s difficult enough to piece together the puzzle that is him, his reasons, without this attempt at secrecy in the way. This blurs everything, and you don’t like it, but you don’t tell him that. You let him come closer, you let him reach for you. You let him touch your face with gloved fingers and you let him see your lashes flutter—you let him see the effect that even small, chaste touches have upon you.
There is a hint of light in his eyes then—acknowledgement, pleasure at your reaction, before it is gone, too, swept up in the lies that haven’t been spoken but don’t need to be, because he’s trying too hard, over-compensating, making everything jumble together; ‘everything’ being all of his beautiful emotions and his odd way (that isn’t even his way at all because suppression has never been his way) of trying to hide them.
Stop, you want to say. Stop hiding. You’ve never really played hide-and-go-seek as a child, and you don’t want to start now—not with him, and especially not when it’s emotions – something intangible – that’s being hidden. He doesn’t hide those from you, never has, before.
You don’t ask (or tell) him to stop, though. You demand nothing verbally, but you demand with your eyes and your hands—you demand answers and you demand more touches.
He gives you the latter but not the former (not just yet, you think, because he’ll tell you before he leaves tonight—you’ll make sure of that), trailing fingers along your jaw and then your neck, dipping them into the ‘V’ of your too-large pajama top before moving back up and around, cupping the back of your head gently as he leans in for a kiss.
He’s the only one that’s ever kissed you; you’d had no desire for such intimacies, you’d thought, before the first time his lips had met yours five years ago, before he’d left Wammy’s. He’d been angry then, and the kiss had been somewhat awkward and brief and harsh. There are times when he still kisses you like that, with anger, whether it’s directed at you or not. Then there are times when he kisses you with acceptance, with recognition, with familiarity and lust and longing and need and love (and it’s the very last one that makes you ache in ways you can’t describe because you’ve never ached like this before him, if you’ve ever ached at all).
It isn’t fair to say that you’ve gotten used to his kisses, because no matter how much you tell yourself that you’re prepared for them, every single time, you find that you are incorrect. Tonight, you’re almost expecting him to be a little harsh, because he’s hiding and clearly confused (and he can’t hide that), and you’re searching and you’re confused too. However, he surprises you yet again (and you aren’t keeping score but you’re fairly sure he’s surprised you a lot more than you’ve surprised him over the years): His lips are soft and gentle and sweet, melding perfectly against yours before you feel that first tentative swipe of his tongue and you surrender just like that, your own lips parting and letting him explore even though he’s not being fair at all because he’s still trying to be elusive. Eyes closed, he’s not letting you see.
His tongue tangles warmly and wetly with yours, and when you whimper against his mouth, he echoes the sound, though at a slightly lower pitch. His hands are pushing your pajama top upwards now, and cool leather on your belly is a shocking contrast to the heat you’re feeling on your lips, in your mouth. You think it would just be easier for him to undo the buttons and shove the shirt off and onto the floor, but he will always be himself, and will always want to do things his way. If he wants to shove your shirt up to touch your skin, then so be it.
The kiss changes soon enough—becomes a little desperate, a little frantic, his tongue moving against yours in ways that make your legs nearly tremble, his gloved hands brushing over your nipples (lightly at first and then firmer, until you’re groaning and pressing yourself closer to him, feeling his sharp angles and soft skin underneath all of the leather. Your hands move too, running down his sides before clutching at his hips, keeping them still as you move restlessly against them, already wanting more, wanting all he’ll give, and you note (with some concern and lots of interest) that his hands are trembling minutely as he places them firmly on your chest, pushing you back, back towards the bed. You take the steps backwards, not once opening your eyes, trusting him to not let you do something silly, like get tangled up in your own feet and go tumbling right onto the floor.
You reach the bed and land without grace, sprawled and heavy-lidded and wanting, but still searching, too—searching for whatever hint he’ll give you, but you find none in his eyes at the present. They are only dark and burning, like you know your own are.
So you reach for him and he comes to you, hands in your hair, pulling tight as he trails kisses and little nibbles along your neck. He stops at the juncture of neck and shoulder, and there he really bites down, hard enough to leave a mark, you know, and you don’t try to make him stop. In truth, you like it when he marks you, too—you like every single reminder that he leaves you (not that you really need them because nights with him will always be in your memory): every bruise, every bite mark, every scratch, every little ache where he’s pulled or pressed or pushed a little too hard. You even love the ache you feel after he’s taken you a little too quickly, a little too roughly, not enough prep but plenty of scattered kisses and sweet and filthy promises uttered against your over-heated skin to make up for it.
You don’t mind that he tears buttons off your pajama top in his hurry to get it off of you (you can buy another one), nor do you mind that he can’t seem to get your pajama bottoms and your briefs off fast enough. You’re moving a little slower than him, helping him undress with careful precision, fingers finding the rough skin of scars and brushing gently over them, making him shudder because the skin there is overly-sensitive. Even the scar on his face is still sensitive, but he doesn’t tell you to stop. He doesn’t move away from your touch.
There’s something to be said for tangled, sweaty limbs and irregular heartbeats and heavy breaths. There’s something to be said for low moans and soft whimpers and gentle touches here and rougher touches there. There’s something to be said for the perfection of the moments when you’re together like this, and it’s not about the game (the competition); it’s not about silly childhood rivalry, and it’s not even about Kira. It’s something much greater than all of that, and you’re not sure if you’ll ever be able to fully wrap your head around it, in spite of your skill with logistics.
You’re gazing up at him through your lashes as he finally slides his fingers into you, and you’re wriggling and impatient (as you always seem to be), hips moving restlessly with each slow push and slide of gloved fingers in and out of your body. You’re aware that you’re not making it easy for him, but he doesn’t seem to mind much, if the hunger in his eyes is any indicator.
Your moan isn’t as soft as you’d intended for it to be when he finds your prostate, and he glides over that spot with his fingers again and again until you’re panting, pleading, falling apart and saying words that you aren’t sure are actually words at all, but the meaning behind them is clear—you know he understands that much. You want him, always have since you’ve known what it means to want someone like this. It’s always been only him.
He pulls his fingers out and you do and do not miss them at once, because you know that he will be inside of you next, and that’s enough to make your muscles clench involuntarily, even before the tip of him has pressed against you.
His lube-slicked length slides against yours for a moment and you groan, pushing up, wanting more. Wanting everything. “Please,” you whisper shamelessly. “Mello, please.”
“No,” he whispers in reply, eyes staring into yours, and your movements halt instantly while you gaze up at him, trying to determine what he means. Your heart is pounding a little faster now, and you bite down on your lip, suddenly wanting to play with your hair again but you’re touching him and you don’t want to move your hands.
“What?” you breathe, and your brow furrows as you start searching again, and there’s something in his eyes that you can’t quite grasp—something that looks almost like sorrow, and your carefully-constructed composure crumbles almost completely as you pull him close again, suddenly grasping some small inkling of what this means. What he means.
“Mihael,” you correct yourself, and if your voice catches a little, then so be it.
He trembles above you, closes his eyes, and kisses you (in that order), and you realize when his lips meet yours again that he’s not quite as good at hiding with his eyes closed as he is with his eyes open. You can taste it, now: you can taste his desperation and his fear and his sadness and even a little anger, and you realize that you’ve tasted all of these emotions on his tongue once before, years ago, just before he left Wammy’s.
A critical piece of the puzzle falls into place then, and your concentration is torn between this new knowledge you’ve obtained and how delicious it feels when he slides into you. You hold onto him and you hold on tightly, because you feel that it’s all you can do—hold on.
The only time his kiss had ever tasted like this had been the night he’d left Wammy’s, and it makes more sense now, even though you don’t want to accept it.
He rocks his hips against yours, presses deeper into you, and he whispers three words against your lips as he’s kissing you—words that he doesn’t say often, because they aren’t really needed (both of you know already, anyway).
It feels a lot like finality, and you don’t want that. You aren’t ready to let go yet. You aren’t ready to let go again.
(In truth, you aren’t sure if you’ll ever be ready for that—for letting him go).
So you hold on all the tighter, hoping that that’ll make him stay, though you already know (from past experience) that it won’t.
He’s always been incredibly perceptive, even more so when it comes to you. He can see right through you even on your best days, and you’ve (almost) always hated that. You’ve tried to hate him for it, too, but you gave up on that somewhere between leaving Wammy’s and re-entering his life once more (or perhaps it’s him who stepped back into your life, if he ever really left it at all), a whirlwind of too much emotion in the middle of calm acceptance. He’s never been prone to outbursts—not like you. Always calm and collected, except for the times when he’s beneath you and he’s whimpering and begging for anything that you’ll give him.
Now is an exception, too, because he’s looking at you, eyes dark with knowledge – he knows, he knows - and buried deeply beneath that is the fear. The uncertainty.
Still trembling from his release, he watches you with careful eyes, seeing every movement you make (and every one you don’t make, too—you should be gone by now but you aren’t, and that means something, doesn’t it? Not that you have time to think about that, not really).
You reach for a cigarette and change your mind (because that is only your third-greatest addiction), searching instead for your second-greatest addiction—a chocolate bar, and you always make sure to keep one with you at all times, but not tonight. Not tonight. You curse under your breath, brushing long blonde hair – damp with sweat now – away from your face and sitting up a little more in the bed, wondering why in the hell you had to slip up and forget on a night like this.
“You’re planning something,” he whispers, and you turn to look at your greatest addiction (not that you’ll ever tell him), and you nod. He’s too smart for his own good, anyway—not like you never expected him to figure it out on his own, without you having to breathe a word about it.
“What are you going to do?” he asks, and he makes it sound perfectly casual (he’s forced himself to do this for years, you know—forced himself to sound nothing but calm when he’s anything but, and you’ve learned with time to not begrudge him for it), like he’s asking about the weather. His voice gives away no emotion, but his eyes belie the nearly-flawless imitation of nonchalance.
You take off one glove and then the other, running your fingers over his perfect, porcelain skin, and he reminds you of a child when he looks up at you like this, like he’s lost and afraid and hurting. You know how fragile he really is; you know you could break him if you tried – if you really tried, but that isn’t your objective. It will be an undesirable consequence, however, and you know that, too. You know he’ll break, and it will (indirectly) be your fault. Once upon a time, that might have given you some sense of satisfaction. Now, it doesn’t.
Now all you want to do is make that look in his eyes go away.
You shrug, matching his careful indifference (which is only a mask, and yes, sometimes you can see through him, too) as you reply, “What I’ve been trying to do all along. Capture Kira. All part of the game, right?”
He shakes his head, whispers your name again – your name, the real one – and reaches for you. You answer the unspoken plea, bending to capture his mouth with yours once more, tasting him, feeling as he surrenders beneath your hands, skin-on-skin this time, without the leather in the way.
You take him again, reveling in his soft cries and breathless moans, in the eager press and push of his hips against yours. You leave bruises where your fingers grip a little to hard, half-moon imprints as well, where blunt nails have dug in, red lines where they’ve raked along pale, smooth skin. He doesn’t protest—he only clings to you all the tighter (like he is the desperate one now), wrapping arms and legs around you, tangling slender fingers into your hair as if that will be enough to keep you here.
It isn’t, of course, but you let him hold on for the time being, and you hold on too. No harm in a little illusion, a little bit of trickery, for a handful of moments.
Not like either of you is truly fooled, anyway. Both of you know better than to ever fall for that smoke and mirrors bullshit.
But it feels nice, right now, while you’re inside of him. It feels nice to pretend that this doesn’t have to change.
Even after the second time, when the two of you are still trying to catch your breath, he can’t let it go. “It’s suicide, you know.” His voice wavers just the tiniest bit on the word ‘suicide’, and that in itself nearly makes you want to forget what you know has to be done. You’ve already made up your mind, and there are no take-backs now.
You’re still careful, still indifferent (or trying to be—you’ve never been good at imitating a lack of emotion, not like him). “Maybe not,” you say, even though you know that there is a very good chance that you won’t come out of this alive. It’s dangerous and it’s reckless, which is just your style. He knows this, too.
“But,” he begins, as though he is trying to make you see reason, “it doesn’t--”
“But it does,” you interject swiftly, careful now to not look at him. It does have to be this way. “At any rate, you’ll ultimately be the winner, right?” And this isn’t admitting defeat—it’s accepting reality. Or, rather, accepting what is certain to be reality. “You’ll be number one, just like always.” For an instant, it’s like acid being poured into that old wound, and there’s that nagging voice that tells you that you were never quite good enough and that you’ll never be good enough, and then he touches your shoulder and it’s gone, fleeing like so many other things you’ve tried to hold onto since childhood: faith, hatred (for him, of course), innocence.
Things aren’t as clear-cut and dry as they used to be anymore, after all. Back when you were children, it was simple. You could hate him without reason—or hate him for being better than you. Now, you’ve stumbled into adulthood, and into this jumbled, confusing, tangled web of emotions and desires and it isn’t about who wins and who loses anymore. It’s much larger than that, and your only real regret is that you’re pretty sure you won’t be able to stick around long enough to see this through—to watch it grow to its full potential.
The desperation is gone now, or perhaps not. Perhaps its just a different flavor now, a different shade. Something a little calmer, like the grey of his eyes.
“That isn’t the point anymore,” he says, and then he’s close again, curly hair soft against your chest, and you don’t try to move away from him even though you know you should have been gone hours ago. You shouldn’t have come in the first place. But when it comes to him, the line between ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ gets blurred a lot, perhaps even erased.
You don’t tell him that this is only a game, and that you’re not losing (not really), because both of you know better. This is life and death and you’re toeing that line between the two, leaning closer to the latter rather than the former.
You don’t speak much after this—words aren’t really needed, after all, and you somehow come to some silent agreement that you’ll stay until it’s almost daylight. He doesn’t ask you to, but you know he wants you to stay, and so you do.
(You want to stay too, but that is beside the point, isn’t it?)
Dawn’s first rays are peeking into the window when you slip out of the bed, oh so careful not to wake him, and you get dressed quietly, praying to a god that you aren’t sure you even believe in anymore that he will not wake up.
He doesn’t, and you nearly breathe out a sigh of relief.
You gaze down at his sleeping face, and there, you can see all that the two of you are (together)—all that you have been and all that you could (but will never) be, and that makes something tighten painfully inside of you, makes it hard to breathe for a second.
And then determination sets in: You have to do the right thing, for this case, and for all concerned, and if that gets you killed, then so be it. You’ve already made your peace with the very real possibility that you might die.
You find the rosary that you still wear - out of habit - and your fingers brush against it as you whisper, words barely even audible to your own ears, “I’ll be waiting.” They are an echo of the not-so-distant past, filled with meaning that hadn’t been there when you’d said them before.
After this, it’ll all be in his hands, won’t it?
Don’t disappoint me, you almost say on your way out the door, but you don’t, because you know that he won’t—he isn’t capable of that.
That knowledge is enough to get you out the door and down the hall and out more doors, and then down the street and into the car and back to your place, where you and Matt go over the plan again and again, because you can’t afford to fuck it up.
It’s enough to get you through the adrenaline rush when you kidnap that stupid wench that doesn’t even realize she’s a puppet, a tool, nothing more. It’s enough to get you through Matt’s death (though that’s a hard blow, and you’re sure that you won’t deal with it gracefully later if you actually live through this).
It’s enough to get you through that searing, stabbing pain (it only lasts a second, really), and as everything slows (and it’s peaceful, not as bad as you thought it’d be, not some huge fucking blaze of glory) and evens out and darkens, you think through the haze, Okay, I’ve done this much; we’ve gotten this far, and the rest is up to you, and, Don’t mourn, Don’t be afraid, because you aren’t, not anymore, and it’s okay to let go, because you know that he’ll take care of everything, and—
I’ll be waiting, Nate.
--And somehow, you know (it is your last semi-conscious thought) that he’ll be waiting, too.
So, even though I didn’t really mention names except for twice, I hope it was easy enough to determine which part was Near’s and which part was Mello’s early on. XD I don’t know why I wanted to write ‘you’ for this one, instead of actual names, but it seems to fit this piece, and so I’m leaving it as it is.
I wrote the last part – Mello’s part – first, because I’ve always been able to write from Mello’s POV better than Near’s, perhaps because I can relate to him a little more. It was really difficult to get those first few sentences out, when it came to writing Near’s part, but when I just stopped trying so hard, it got a lot easier and just… flowed well, you know?
I’ve missed writing these two!