Is This Love?

By Squirrelmaster

Chapter Two

Disclaimer: Mello is still dead…

A/N: At the time that this could have taken place, Near wouldn't really have been 15, but I'm just gonna go with that so it's not so shota rapeish. Lolz. Also this is the happy ending. If you want me to write my original idea about a completely dramatic and depressing ending involving character death, lemme know. ^^

Near was completely stretched out on his bed, mouth open, snoring. Mello was so suprized, he couldn't even laugh. His jaw had dropped and he was starring at his usually composed rival. It seemed like ages that Mello was gazing at the small genius, until he was finally snapped out of his daze.

Near shifted his weight slightly, causing light from the windows to shine on his face. In this new position, Mello could clearly see the dried tears on Near's cheeks. Mello's eyes softened and his lips formed a frown. So Near had been crying. That reality hit Mello hard and caused a pit in his stomach. 'I had no idea,' he thought. 'No idea how much he cares. All these years I've been tormenting him because I thought he hated me. What I thought to be taunting and mockery was just his way of trying to tell me.' Mello was beside himself with guilt and sadness. 'What must I have done to him?'

"Mello," Near mumbled. Mello gasped. "Mello."

'He's calling me. Should I answer? Is he even awake? Is he dreaming about me?' Once again, a million questions raced through Mello's head and he had no way of answering them, except, of course, by asking. "Near?" Mello called, leaning over Near's sleeping form. Near's eyes snapped open. Mello wasn't exactly prepared for that and so jumped back, tripping over himself, and landing on the floor. Near remained composed.

"What is Mello doing in my room?" Near asked. Mello's eye twitched in annoyance.

'There it is,' he seethed. 'That damn indifferent attitude.' Mello wasn't surprised at his sudden anger but he knew he had to control it. 'Calm down, Mihael,' he commanded himself. 'Remember what Matt said, this is just an act.' Mello closed his eyes and breathed deeply before opening them again.

Near showed no outward sign of surprise at Mello's calm disposition, however, he undoubtedly was. He sat on his bed, using one hand to grip a knee to his chest and the other to twirl a lock of his snow-white hair. Mello met Near's eyes and hesitated. "What does Mello want?" Near asked again.

"Give me a goddamned minute, will you?!" Mello screamed. Near visibly flinched. 'Damn it,' Mello thought. 'Why can't I control myself? God, I bet he can't even stand to be in the same room as me anymore.' Near was thinking just the same. His eyes seemed to lose their focus.

'Mello hates me,' he told himself. 'Then why does Mello continue to speak to me? Just to torment me? Why must someone as intelligent and beautiful as Mello be filled with so much anger?' Near was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of Mello growling.

"I didn't mean that!" Mello said loudly. He was beginning to get flustered. 'Just say it!' he screamed at himself. Near tilted his head in confusion. Mello was acting very out of character and Near wasn't sure what to make of it. Mello began to blush furiously under Near's gaze. 'What am I doing? I must look like a complete idiot!' realizing that he was still a mess of limbs on the floor, Mello jumped up, Near's eyes still following him. By this time Near was thoroughly confused. The two prodigies continued to stare at each other as the silence became more and more awkward. "You snore!" Mello blurted. He could hear his own heart beat. What had he just said? You snore? Why would he say that? But it was something at least, something to break that unbearable silence.

"Do I?" Near asked, looking away from Mello.

"Uh, yeah," Mello replied, feeling a little less awkward.

"That was not why Mello came here," Near stated. "Or perhaps," he started, staring at his feet. "Mello came to discover personal information on me that he consideres embarrassing." Near met Mello's eyes once more. "Did Mello wish to tell me that he is going to spread his discovery around the orphanage?" Mello recoiled

"No!" he screamed. 'Does he really think so low of me?' He questioned himself. 'Of course he does. Have I ever shown him any other side of me? Now that I think about it, Matt was right. I'm always to harsh when it comes to Near. Have I ever had a civil conversation with him? This is probably the most calm I've ever been around him, and look, I'm still yelling at him.'

"Mello?" Near questioned again. Had Near been trying to gain his attention?

"What?" Mello demanded. Once again, Near looked away.

"Mello is ignoring my presence even as he stands in my room," Near stated. "Does my existence bother Mello so much? That only intensifies my curiosity. At is Mello doing here?" Mello was about to aggressively deny everything the pale boy had said when he noticed fresh tears slowly making their way down Near's cheeks. Mello was completely jumbled. He had no idea how to handle his current situation.

"Why are you crying?" he asked, much more harshly than he intended. 'Stupid, stupid, stupid!" he berated himself. Near simply lifted a hand to wipe at the tears, then turned to look at his now wet fingers.

"It seems that my emotions have gotten the best of me. This must be how it feels to be Mello," Near said quietly. Mello was to angry with himself to think of a retort to Near's last statement.

'He's openly crying in front of me. What the hell do I do? How can I stop him? How can I make him feel better?' Mello's thoughts were once again cut off.

"If Mello has no reason to be here, he should leave." Near turned completely away from Mello.

'What? No!' Mello thought. "Look, I'm sorry, okay!" He shouted at Near. "It's not my fault that you piss me off so bad! And how the hell was I supposed to know that you were sincere in your offer?"

"I am always sincere with Mello," Near stated calmly. Mello just huffed.

"Well now I know that," he said, crossing his arms and looking away.

"Why is Mello apologizing to me?" Near questioned softly. Mello stared at his boots as he thought about what his answer would be.

"I never realized," he started shakily. "just how much you care about my opinion of you. All this time I've been yelling at you and putting you down, I never saw any reaction, so I never realized the effect it has on you. I didn't mean to hurt you. I came here because," he paused. "Well, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry, okay?"

"I am sorry as well," was Near's only reply.

"Eh?" Mello gasped. "What are you sorry for?"

"I upset Mello," Near said. "I'm not sure why Mello hates me. I suspect it is because Mello does not like to lose. But I cannot help but be who I am. It is not my fault that Mello is only second best." Mello clenched his fists. He wasted only a moment before leaping towards Near and grabbing the smaller boy's shirt. 'Mentioning Mello's ranking was a mistake,' he thought to himself. 'Mello will surely take his anger out on my body.' Near didn't predict what happened next.

"I don't hate you!" Mello screamed. "I've never hated you! I've always been jealous of how composed you are and how you are always the best at everything without even caring or trying. It makes me so angry to hear you gloat your superiority over me when all I've ever wanted was to be closer to you, to be more like you!" Mello was breathing hard now.

"Mello," Near started, eyes wide, mouth open. "wants to be close to me?" Mello flushed, he didn't mean it the way Near was obviously thinking. "I want to be close to Mello as well." Near leaned into Mello's grip, surprising the blonde.

"What?!" he asked, face totally red.

"I am, of course, speaking of physical closeness," Near said. "I have found Mello both physically and mental attractive for some time now." Near returned his hand to his hair and began to play with the soft locks.

"A-attractive?" Mello questioned. This wasn't what he expected to heppend when he first entered Near's room.

"Mello forgets that I am a healthy 15-year-old boy. It is only natural that I find someone as beautiful as Mello attractive. I am sure that many other children at Wammy's are attracted to Mello as well."

"Well yeah," Mello stammered. "I mean, I've been hit on a lot before, but," he trailed off. 'But you're different.'

"Have I misinterpreted Mello?" Mello considered the situation. This was definitely not what he had meant when he said he wanted to be closer to Near, but now that it was happening, would he be able to push Near away?

"How can you still want me?" Mello asked. "Even after everything I've done to you?" Near hesitated with his answer.

'Will Mello reject me?' he wondered. There was only one way to find out. "Because I love Mello."

Mello's eyes snapped wide open and he gawked at his rival. He couldn't even voice his suprize, he was so shocked. Near loves him? What a ridiculous notion. But the idea of Near trailing after him in the hallways, holding his hand under the table, clutching to his waist while on his bed, they all made Mello's heart flutter with excitement. 'What am I thinking? Not fifteen minutes ago I wanted to wring his neck. Now all I can think about is how soft his skin must feel, how beautiful his eyes are, and how I want nothing more than to hold him close to me.' Mello paused in his thoughts. 'Is that what I want?' Looking at the small boy in front of him, Mello noticed the faint blush covering Near's cheeks. 'Yes,' he answered himself. And, of course, Mello always gets what he wants.

"I love you, too, Near," he quickly stated before leaning forward and capturing Near's lips. It was the younger boy's turn to stare in shock. He had expected rejection.

"Mello is always an enigma," he said, finally leaning into the kiss.

"Shut it, whitey," Mello growled.

Near merely laughed.