Warnings: Some sexual content, language, fluff, kinda AU.
Characters/Pairings: Mello/Near, Matt
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Summary: He wakes to the sound of the ocean and wants to wake to the sound of his voice.
Comments: I wanted to write genuinely happy!Mello/Near for a change. There’s so much angst and angst-potential there that I decided fluff might be good every now and again too. XD Takes place after the fall of Kira, and dances around in the land of AU, I suppose, because here, Mello and Matt are still very much alive. General spoilers. Dedicated to jenwryn, because her fluffy Mello/Near fics make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. :D
He wakes to the sound of the ocean and the sound of his cell phone beeping incessantly. He doesn’t know how long he’s been asleep, but he knows it’s been too long, because he wakes up feeling groggy and his cell phone sounds too loud. It’s mid-morning, judging by the sun’s position in the sky (it’s too bright, too bright, and he has never had alcohol in his life but he’s pretty sure that this feels somewhat similar to a hangover—he doesn’t remember the last time he’s slept this much, if he ever has).
He finds it strange that he slept through the phone ringing, but he chalks it up to having been sleeping too hard at the time. He knows who has called, and the fact that he missed speaking directly to Mello makes him feel disappointed and makes the beach house seem even emptier than it really is.
Near has everything set up, though, to welcome Mello when he returns, and he will be back soon. He made a promise, after all.
Near hadn’t questioned Mello when the blonde had told him that he and Matt were planning on going to Japan for a little while to ‘tie up loose ends’. No-one else had questioned him, either. “Part of the perks of saving the world,” Matt had explained cheerfully, nudging both Mello and Near in the ribs, which had earned him eyerolls and soft snorts.
Mello and Near had known better. They hadn’t saved the world—evil had not been fully extinguished by any means, but they had been long overdue for a vacation.
“You should come with us,” Mello had invited, fingers running gently through Near’s pale locks. “You can help me keep an eye on Matt and make sure he stays out of trouble.”
Near had snickered quietly at that, knowing that it would pretty much be the other way around—Matt would be the one keeping an eye on Mello (nothing would ever change the blonde’s reckless ways), and Near had made sure of that before they had purchased plane tickets.
Near had stayed behind, of course, being more of the type for puzzles and logic rather than gun-slinging and whatever else Mello and Matt had – and still have – on their agenda. Instead, he’d pulled a few strings of his own and had purchased a generous amount of land—a good, private stretch of beach in Los Angeles. Mello had always liked the ocean, which had been part of his reason for purchasing the land in the first place.
The other reason had been for the peace and quiet. Neither of them had really had much of that their whole lives.
He’s been here for five days now, and Mello has been gone for eight. This place is already starting to grow on him, and he knows, without fail, that Mello will love it, too.
Near rubs at his eyes, though that doesn’t really help make them less blurry. He reaches for his phone, eager to hear Mello’s voice, even if it’s only a message he’d left possibly hours ago.
“I don’t know how in the hell you can sleep through the phone ringing.”
Near can tell that Mello had been trying to sound annoyed, but he can hear the amusement in the other man’s voice. It makes him smile a little.
“I wish you’d tell me where the hell you are, too, but I know, I know. It’s a surprise. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I’m fine. Matt’s still alive, believe it or not, and… I really miss you.”
Near can hear Matt making kissy noises in the background, can hear Mello yelling something that is slightly muffled, and it doesn’t sound nice, and then Mello’s voice again: “I really hate these time zone differences. But anyway, I hope to talk to you soon.”
Near calls Mello back, and isn’t at all surprised when Mello doesn’t answer; he’s probably fast asleep by now.
He does leave him a message, though: “I miss you more.”
And then he places his cell phone back on his nightstand and he closes his eyes, listening to the ocean. It has a very calming effect.
This all seems very foreign to him—he is not used to staying in bed so late. He is not used to his days not being filled with worry that something is somehow going to go horribly wrong (back then, the slightest glitch could have ruined everything); he is not used to being away from SPK headquarters. He is not used to waking up without the thoughts of how best to capture a serial killer on his mind.
He is not used to waking up feeling lighthearted (and yet a little heartsick at the same time because Mello isn’t here with him, though he will be—he will be, and that is enough). He is not used to this thing called ‘hope’; nor is he used to this thing called ‘happiness’.
However, both of them are here, inside of him.
If Mello were here with him right now, he’d say, “It’s about damn time, Nate.”
He swears he can hear that voice and those words all too well in his mind and in his heart, though, and that only gives him another reason to smile.
He’s not used to that, either, but he thinks he’s capable of warming up to it pretty quickly.
Everything has changed now, after all, and he knows that he is changing as well.
Maybe some changes aren’t so bad, though.
He wakes to the sound of the ocean and the sound of his phone buzzing on the nightstand. He doesn’t remember switching it to vibrate, which tells him that he must have been half-asleep last night before he did it.
He’s slept late again, but that’s okay. It’s not like he has anything else any better to do—it’s not like there are any demands placed on him here. He is alone, and here, he makes his own rules, even though one part of him (the part that is used to order and being up early and obsessively watching the news for any word about Kira) is dissatisfied with his laziness. He feels more like a child now that he ever has—more carefree, less worried about the state of the world now that one major flaw has been removed from it.
Of course, there will always be more criminals, more murderers and thieves and rapists, and he knows that his and Mello’s career has not let them go for forever. Together, they caught Kira, and they are L now. They have a responsibility that cannot be ignored for very long.
A few months—that’s all Near is asking for. Just a few months that he and Mello can spend, away from the rest of the world. It’s not too much to ask for, right?
This time, he closes his eyes when he listens to Mello’s message, and he imagines the disgruntled look on Mello’s face at once again hearing Near’s voicemail instead of his actual voice.
“Looks like I’m never going to get in touch with you, huh?” he hears Mello huff, and the blonde does sound a little annoyed. Near can’t really blame him. “And you won’t tell me where you are, still, and you left me a message saying that you miss me more? Now, you know that that’s a challenge, right? And you know that I don’t turn those down, especially when you’re the one issuing them.”
It’s funny how Near can still feel a thrill at competing with Mello (it’s what they’ve always done), even though the makeshift ‘competition’ is over nothing more than who misses who most.
“Mello and Near sitting in a tree~!” Near hears Matt in the background again, singing out of tune, but it doesn’t annoy him. Matt’s always been a little silly. “K-I-oomph!”
“Matt might get himself killed, by me, before this little trip is over.” Near knows better, though—knows Mello would never do such a thing. He and Matt had been partners, and they’re friends. No… Near doesn’t see Matt going anywhere. He’ll be around to tease them when all of them are old and grey-headed.
“Anyway, just checking up on you, as usual. Talk to you soon.”
The message that Near leaves him in reply (it goes straight to Mello’s voicemail—he’s either turned his cell phone off or let the battery die, and knowing Mello, it’s the latter) goes a little something like this: “Maybe when you get back, you’ll see just how correct I am, about missing you more. You’ve always been ridiculously stubborn, though, so I have a feeling it’s going to take some convincing. As for the ‘challenge’, you’re on.”
And he gives Mello the number to the house phone, thinking that they certainly won’t miss each other next time.
When he crawls out of bed later, he considers going outside—considers letting his feet touch the sand, but changes his mind and decides to save it for another day. Instead, he tugs the blinds up in every room in the cozy little house, letting the sunlight in (he likes the sun, really—always has). He drags out one of his more challenging puzzles—one that is made up of 5,000 pieces and is colored in vibrant greens and pretty reds and the purest color of all: white. Christmas colors, and it’s too early for that, he knows. He really should be piecing together puzzles of beaches and palm trees and oceans, but he has the ocean right now, and doesn’t need to see it on the table when he can see it by looking out the window.
If Mello were here with him right now, he would probably chuckle, slide his arms around him, and say: “Silly. Trying to rush things a bit, aren’t you? You’ve got this all backwards. Out of season.”
But Near’s always gone against the grain, too, in his own way, and so it seems oddly fitting.
He works on the puzzle all day and nearly all night (Mello’s always said that he’s stubborn and persistent), and he’s finished just before three in the morning.
Bleary-eyed and not willing to drag himself up the flight of stairs to the bedroom, he curls up and falls asleep on the couch instead.
He wakes to the sound of the ocean and the sound of seagulls off in the distance. His stomach rumbles and he realizes it’s probably because he hadn’t eaten much last night.
His back is a little sore—the couch was not exactly kind to it, he supposes, but that’s okay. A sore back isn’t really much of a problem. He’s more concerned as to why the house phone didn’t ring, or, if it did, why he did not wake up in time to answer it (or to answer either of them, really—there’s one upstairs and one in the living room).
Upon inspection of the one in the living room, he learns the root of his trouble: the ringer is turned off. He mentally facepalms (he could kick himself for not checking), and turns the ringer on high. Then he presses play on the answering machine, for Mello has unsurprisingly left him a message.
“I think the fates are against us. Either that, or you’re sleeping again and you’re one hell of a hard sleeper. I don’t remember you not waking up to the slightest noise.” A pause. “It seems like it’s been a long time since I heard your voice, even though I hear it every time I listen to my voicemail. Wipe the smirk off your face.”
Mello knows him far too well, but that only makes him smile all the more.
“It’s not the same, anyway. I’ll try your cell. Hopefully I’ll get you that way, but considering the pattern we’ve had lately, I doubt I will. Should I hold my breath?”
Near then makes his way upstairs and back into the bedroom (where he stupidly left his cell phone). Not only does he find that he has a new voicemail message, but the phoneline up here has been unplugged. He is more frustrated with himself than ever as he listens to Mello’s next message.
“I’m not surprised. You suck.”
“Does he do a good job of it?”
Near finds himself blushing at Matt’s crude (though teasing, as is typical of Matt) remark, and thinks that he wouldn’t really mind if Mello decided to put him out of his misery, after all (he doesn’t mean that, either, though—it’s just a fleeting thought in response to a too-personal comment).
Mello’s response makes his blush intensify: “He does, not that it’s your business. Don’t make me point this gun at you.”
Then he hears what sounds like the slamming of a door—obviously, Mello felt that he needed to go elsewhere so that he could have a little privacy.
“As for the challenge, seems like I’m going to have to re-teach you a few things when I get back, not that I mind. You’ve always been a good student.” His voice is husky and if Near were the type to fumble and stutter, he’d be doing both right now, and possibly falling all over his own feet.
He is not the type to fumble and stutter, though, and he is sitting down. No worries about tripping over his own feet.
“How about actually trying to answer one of the phones next time?” His voice is light and teasing again, and doesn’t make Near feel incredibly hot all over, nor does it make him forget to breathe for a moment.
It makes him grin crookedly, though.
“Maybe I’ll talk to you soon?” And, right at the end, he tacks on, “Miss you more,” before then the message is over, and Near finds himself (perhaps pathetically, but he doesn’t really care—it’s not like there are witnesses to attest to it) replaying it just to hear Mello’s voice again.
He waits until after he has breakfast to call Mello back, thinking that perhaps he’ll answer, but the seemingly-endless game of phone-tag continues, one message after another after another after another, and so forth.
“I know it’s stupid but one phone had the ringer turned off and the other had been unplugged and I didn’t bother to check before giving you the home phone number. If you rub it in my face, I’ll….” He trails off, at a loss. “Anyway, good to hear that Matt is being his usual self, and I think it’s ridiculous that we’re being so childish about this whole fake competition.”
(So says the man who still dresses in oversized pajamas and plays with toys).
“And I miss you more times infinity and that’s it.”
He ends the message here, feeling a tiny bit victorious even though he knows he has not won this war.
That afternoon, he goes out to the shore, discovering that he rather likes the feel of the wet sand between his bare toes. Sunlight glitters like diamonds on the water, and Near feels the urge to go deep into the water to see if he can catch some of those diamonds (which are an illusion), but he lingers, letting the waves lap at only his feet and nothing more.
He knows that the ocean can be a killer—a destroyer of homes and of lives. He knows that waves can get too high, too powerful, and knows that professional surfers and swimmers have drowned while out in the ocean. He knows that tsunamis and hurricanes have wreaked havoc upon the earth—upon towns and cities, and knows that they have caused a lot of damage, both physical and emotional.
Mello – his beautiful, reckless, irresponsible Mello – would dive right in and take to the water like a fish, he knows.
While Near himself would stay behind and watch, keeping a bit of a safe distance between himself and the larger waves.
Because, out of the two of them, someone has to be rational instead of reckless, right?
Near takes a breath, and wades into the cool water, pausing when it’s a tiny bit above his knees.
Because, out of the two of them, someone has to be rational instead of reckless, right?
He figures that maybe sometimes it’s okay to be somewhere in-between.
He wakes to the sound of the ocean and his phone vibrating loudly in the pocket of his oversized button-up shirt. There’s also a quieter, more subtle sound that his sensitive ears detect, and when he glances down, he finds a small crab scuttling away from him, kicking up bits of sand in its wake.
Near looks at the tide from where he’s sitting on his towel, and realizes that he’s been asleep for a while—the waves are edging closer and closer to his towel, and he knows he’d been further away from the water when he’d decided to sit here in the first place.
Good thing the phone—Ah, the phone!
He fishes it out of his pocket with usually-nimble fingers that have gone all shaky with anticipation. The only person who could possibly be calling him right now was….
“It’s very late there,” he says smoothly as he flips his cell phone open, seeing Mello’s name and feeling his heart thrill with the knowledge of it. As ever, he sounds as cool as a cucumber, which belies what he’s truly feeling right now. Old habits tend to die hard.
“Or very early,” Mello returns just as smoothly, no hesitation, just a mild argument for argument’s sake because this is their nature, and old habits die hard for him, too.
It’s nearly overwhelming to hear his voice in real-time instead of as a recording—insomuch that Near can’t quite remember – for the span of several seconds – what it is that they are supposed to be arguing about to begin with, and then he tries to shove those silly sentimental words (that are suddenly on the tip of his tongue) away, along with the tangled, twisted web of emotions that go along with them.
Because, in his world of practicality and justice and solving puzzles and righting wrongs, there is no room for these emotions which are threatening to swallow him whole (correction: they’ve already swallowed him whole and he knows it).
At least, there hadn’t been room for them, until Mello had come back into his life and had turned everything upside down yet again.
And now there is plenty of room—there has to be, because the feelings are there whether Near wants them or not, not that he regrets a single second of this, of what they have. Of what they’ve built between them, together.
“It’s so good to hear your voice,” he blurts, the words spilling out in spite of his efforts to stop them. Not that it matters anyway, because it isn’t like he hasn’t been spouting out sappy stuff in the voicemails he’s been leaving for Mello.
“It’s good to hear yours, too.” There’s sincerity in that deep voice, and it makes Near tingle all over, in ways that only Mello’s ever been able to do. He can’t explain it, really (or maybe he can, and the only difficulty is that it can’t be explained with mathematical equations or clever deductions about a suspect in a murder case—no, this is something entirely different altogether, and it’s been frightening from the beginning but it’s wonderful too, and Near wants it to stay).
“I miss you,” Near confides, whispers it like it’s some secret that he doesn’t want anyone but Mello to know, when he’s said it over a dozen times in voice messages—it’s just different now, saying it while Mello is breathing on the other end of the line, listening to every word that Near says.
Mello is smiling—Near doesn’t have to be able to see him to know it as the blonde replies, “I miss you more,” and their playful argument starts all over again, though neither of them really wins (neither of them will ever with, Near knows, because this is an argument that both of them could continue until the end of time). Instead, they agree to a temporary stalemate, and then Mello says, “I hear something, over on your side. Where are you?”
Near smirks, remembering that he hasn’t given Mello even the slightest hint as to where he is, even after days of Mello leaving that very question on his answering machine and his voicemail. “You already tried the phonebook, I’m guessing. And you’ve looked online, too.”
“Yes, you sneaky little bastard,” Mello retorts, and Near lets the insult slide right off his back because he knows Mello doesn’t mean it. “It’s an unlisted number. The only conclusion I can come to at this point is that you’re somewhere in California. I recognize the area code.”
“Oooh, smart boy,” Near all but purrs, reaching up with his free hand to twirl strands of grey around his index finger (a habit that will never ever die, he suspects). “Should I be nice to Mello and give another hint?”
“You didn’t really give me a hint to begin with,” Mello grumbles, and Near can perfectly picture him rolling his gorgeous blue eyes. “I kinda remembered that much by myself.”
“But I did give you the number,” Near points out. “Without that, you wouldn’t have been able to recognize that it’s a California number.”
Mello growls softly then, no doubt realizing he’s been one-upped, and the sound of that low growl sends a pleasant shiver down Near’s spine. He remembers times when Mello has growled into his ear like that without several miles between them. Without any distance between them, and without anything at all between them, except their own frantic hands, shoving at clothing in their hurry.
“Okay,” Near relents, letting Mello have a small victory of his own, “I’ll give you another hint, but you’d better listen carefully.”
And then he walks towards the ocean again, stopping only when the waves are lapping at his feet once more, tickling his toes and making him smile a little. He stays very quiet, holding his breath until Mello says, without any hint of uncertainty: “You’re near the ocean.”
Near really does smile this time—a full smile, not just the hint of one. “Bingo. Should I give you a reward for guessing correctly?”
“Oh, don’t worry.” Mello’s voice is that raw, low rumble again, and it makes things low in Near’s belly clench with need and desire. “You’ll be rewarding me plenty when I get back.”
Near swallows, once again momentarily at a loss for words. “… You’re plotting something.”
“It’s nothing you won’t enjoy,” Mello replies, and Near knows it’s meant to be a reassurance even though he doesn’t need reassuring. If Mello’s the one surprising him, of course he’s going to enjoy it. “Just a little surprise of my own, for you.”
Near can hear Matt making fake-gagging sounds in the background, and he almost laughs at Mello’s barked, “Shut the fuck up!” before he asks the blonde, “A surprise, huh? What is it?”
“Well,” Mello drawls, “it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if I told you, now, would it?”
Of course, he doesn’t expect the blonde ex-Mafioso to give in so easily.
Mello wouldn’t be the Mello he loves – yes, loves – if he simply cracked and told him.
This is how their relationship works: They are constantly challenging one another, each drawing the other in. When Near pushes, Mello pushes back. They balance each other—complete each other.
And Near wouldn’t have it any other way.
He wakes to the sound of the ocean and the sound of the bed creaking, ever so slightly, and before he can open his eyes, there’s the sound of Mello’s voice, right next to his ear—low and sweet, and it’s the best sound he’s ever heard.
“Mihael,” he whispers, eyes still closed as he breathes in the other’s scent: cigarettes and chocolate and that girly strawberry-smelling shampoo that Mello would never admit to using (though Near knows he uses it anyway—the fact goes unspoken between them). Near curls closer, thinking it’s somehow all a dream, even when he feels Mello’s fingers brush gently through his hair.
“Nate,” Mello whispers in answer, and Near feels him lean in, feels him press his lips to the top of his head, and Mello is warm and alive and here, and Near doesn’t know how but knows that he is, and that is what makes him open his eyes.
He blinks away the sleepiness, eyes adjusting to the light, and then he sees Mello’s face and Mello is smiling. Near can’t help but smile too, until he remembers and asks, “How did you even get here? You never told me you were leaving Japan, and I never told you where I was--”
Mello places a finger over his lips to silence him and answers mysteriously, “I can pull strings too, you know.”
Which tells Near next to absolutely nothing, and so Near adds another point to Mello’s side of the imaginary board in his head, and then parts his lips, drawing that finger into his mouth and sucking softly, tongue playing along the sensitive pad of the blonde’s finger.
Mello inhales sharply, and Near almost smirks as he draws back, letting Mello’s finger go with a soft, wet popping sound. He mentally adds a point to his side of the board too.
“You’re here,” Near says after a moment, reaching out to touch Mello’s cheek, as though he still can’t quite believe it even though he knows it’s true.
“Yes.” Mello grins that crooked little grin of his and mirrors Near, touching his cheek, too.
“Closer,” Near demands, though quietly, and maybe there’s just an edge of pleading to it. If Mello notices (and Near is sure he does—he doesn’t miss much, if anything at all, when they’re together like this), he doesn’t comment on it. He simply does as Near desires, and moves closer to him on the bed.
Mello holds him like it’s been a few years instead of a few days (a little over a week), kisses him like they have no time at all and like they have forever, and Near eagerly reciprocates, fingers carefully tracing over his face (he’s even more careful when he reaches the scar—a constant reminder of what he almost lost) and his neck, and Mello is careful too, even though he doesn’t have to be.
Their clothes are gotten rid of rather quickly, scattered on the bed and on the floor—for a few moments, they’re frantic and overly-eager, like fumbling teenagers (and Near supposes that might be appropriate) going through these motions for the very first time, even though this is nowhere near the first time for them.
And then things slow down again, and they’re no longer fumbling and frantic but slow and easy, like the gentle movement of the tide meeting with the shore. Near can hear it outside, and he moves against Mello’s body to the rhythm of the ocean. Mello realizes this – finds the rhythm that Near is creating – with his fingers inside of Near, curling and scissoring, brushing over that one spot that makes Near’s toes curl and makes him forget his own name and makes him feel detached from everything except Mello.
But that’s okay—he likes it this way.
Mello is inside of him in the next moment, but other than the hesitant press inside, there is no break in the rhythm: they pick it right back up again and move together in sync, in perfect harmony, listening to the waves and their own soft moans of pleasure.
They keep that rhythm until they can’t anymore—until their bodies demand more, but even then they try to stave off the inevitable; they slow down twice, and then they can’t anymore, and they come undone together, Near’s nails digging deep into Mello’s back and Mello’s teeth sinking deep into the juncture of Near’s neck and shoulder.
Much later (after leaving the bed for food and other such necessities only to come back and begin all over again), they watch the sun set together, secure in each others arms. They watch as the sky changes from light blue to blue-gold to orange-and-pink-and-purple, and then, finally, a deeper blue that Near is certain cannot be recreated. It’s beautiful, and even more beautiful with Mello beside him. He’s never really been able to appreciate little things like this before.
“This is the perfect place,” Mello whispers, voice close to Near’s ear.
Tomorrow, Near will be able to wake to the sound of Mello’s voice and to the feel of Mello’s arms around him. The thought makes him smile, and he turns his head, kissing Mello’s cheek. He corrects the blonde’s statement: “It’s perfect now.”
And it is.
So there you have it! Happy Mello/Near fic! XD Even though it veers off-course and doesn’t follow canon, exactly. >_> But hey, in order for this to work and to be happy, Mello had to still be around.
I hope all of you liked it! <3333