Thank you Brightnight003, DreamRain-Letters, and AnonymouslyStupid for your reviews on the last chapter.

Warnings: Swearing, violence, angst, shonen ai, and a heavy passionate make out session (no smut, PG-13). Also, major spoilers for the second season of Death Note!

Author's Notes:

1) I don't think Matt's age has ever been mentioned, but I always assumed he was slightly older than Mello. For the sake of this story he is a year older

2) Important, please read: This is an alternate ending to the Mello/Matt/Near story. After watching episode 37 again, I got the feeling that Near sort of provided Mello with the opportunity to kidnap Takada (which would end up seriously helping their investigation as a whole). It's just an alternate theory for the purpose of this story. Also, I've only watched the anime, so I'm not sure how much the story differs from in the manga.

3) Three lines of dialogue from the English dub is in here, but has been slightly modified to better fit with the story.

Matt sat on the couch, the room barely lit, his fingers rapidly stroking the keys of his precious Gameboy. Mello sat beside him, skimming through the details of recent killings that were likely credited to Kira. Through Matt's hacking skills he retrieved information that the police believed that there was in fact a second Kira, however different from the second Kira years ago.

Mello ran a hand over his face. Exhaustion was visible over his features. Having felt like he had aged twenty years in the past two, the ex-mafia leader stretched out his legs as he tossed the heap of papers on the coffee table. He could feel the beginning of a headache. The constant beeps and chimes coming from the game console next to him did little to fight off the acute stabs to his skull. Mello was tempted to grab and toss the Gameboy into the river, but then Matt's cries and yells would only worsen his condition.

Mello kicked the table and watched as the stack of papers was slightly scooted to the right, the individual sheets sprawling in a fan formation. That was when he noticed a slip of paper that he was certain had not been there earlier. However, with the constant piling of documents it was a miracle that anything was ever discovered after being discarded.

The blond snatched up the paper and unfolded it to reveal what appeared to be a telephone number. As far as his memory could recall, he did not acquire such information of late. Mello turned to face his boyfriend whose attention remained on his game.

"Matt!" Mello snapped.

Matt glanced up momentarily to see Mello in his usual angry mood then returned his attention to the game.

"Matt, I'm talking to you!" the blond snapped, reaching for the console.

In order to protect his game Matt lowered it to his lap, skillfully saving the game without looking, and turned it off before facing his enraged lover.

"What is it now?" Matt asked.

"What is this?" Mello barked while waving the slip of paper above his head.

Matt wore a look on his face that was a mix between boredom and confusion as he looked upon the moving white, sheet of paper. The memory dawned on him and his eyes widened behind the goggles. Mello noticed the change in Matt's appearance.

"I completely forgot about that!" Matt yelled as he reached to grab the number.

Mello moved the desired object out of Matt's reach and balled his fist about it.

"It's one of Near's lackey's numbers," Matt replied short of breath. He put a hand to his forehead. "I forgot all about her."

"Her?" Mello asked. "Tall? Blonde hair?"

Matt nodded. "You know her?" he asked, his voice showing that he was not at all surprised. Mello always seemed to know more than he was willing to share until he deemed it necessary.

Mello snatched Matt by the collar of his shirt. "Don't you think this is important?" he yelled.

"I said I forgot—sorry," Matt snapped back.

"How do you forget something this important?" Mello snarled, one hand still holding Matt in place and the other revealing the now crumpled sheet of paper. "The amount of shit you've been forgetting lately makes me want to take you to get your brain examined."

"Look, I said I'm sorry! Damn!" Matt shouted as he pushed Mello's hand from his shirt. He rolled his eyes in an irritated manner then added, "And don't you ever grab me like that again! I'm not one of your damn flunkies from the mob."

Mello stared at his boyfriend wide-eyed. No one had ever dared to speak to him in that manner. At Wammy's, even the adults watched their tone around the easily angered boy. Anyone else Mello would have shot on the spot, but Matt he could never harm.

Mello backed up with a pout. "I'm sorry, Matt," he said.

To anyone else it would have sounded like an argument ender, but to Matt, even through the anger, he could feel the sincerity behind those words. After all he was used to hearing those three words from his boyfriend's mouth. It was a part of the never-ending cycle.

"Alright," Mello said in the calmest voice he could muster. Matt could see Mello was still shaking with rage, but as far as he could tell, the stronger male was doing his best to keep control. "When did you talk to that bitch?" His temper flared up as he asked, "And what the hell was she doing talking to you?"

"After our fight yesterday," Matt replied before Mello's head exploded. "I went for a walk to cool down while you…took care of Benson." Mello cracked his knuckles at the mention of the dead doctor's name. "She found me, we talked, she gave me the number, end of story."

"You talked? What did she say?" Mello asked. For a brief moment Mello displayed a look of fear and perhaps guilt. Had Matt been paying attention he would have caught that switch in expressions. Luckily for Mello, his boyfriend was not the most observant of people.

"She wants you to call," Matt said nodding at the wad of paper in Mello's hand. "Something about useful information about the investigation."

"And you're telling me this now?" Mello asked. He jumped up and punched the wall. The pain in addition to heat tingled through his arm. Feeling somewhat relaxed Mello stretched his fingers to release the remaining sting then took a look at the paper.

Matt's eyes landed on the dent in the wall. He thanked anyone who would listen that Mello always chose to take his anger out on inanimate objects (and occasionally other people) and never once struck him. As far as Matt knew, he was the only person who had ever angered Mello and not had to feel his wrath.

Without another word to Matt, Mello reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He called the number that was neatly written on the now wrinkled paper. Mello tapped his fingers against the TV stand by the wall as he listened to the generic ringing on the other line.

After the fourth ring the other phone picked up. A female voice said in a stoic tone, "Hello, Lidner speaking."

"Enough with these games, what do you want?" Mello snapped.

There was a hesitant pause on the other line followed by a small gasp. Mello's eyes narrowed and he released a heavy breath through his nostrils.

"Mello," Halle said softly. "It feels good to hear your voice."

Mello's face lit up. He glanced behind him to see Matt once again interested in his videogame. For once he was grateful for his boyfriend's obsessive hobby.

"I was beginning to worry you wouldn't call," she said. "I can't stop thinking about you, you know."

"We can't talk about that right now," Mello said in almost a whisper.

"Oh…" Halle said before trailing off. She smiled, the emotion apparent in her voice. "Your boyfriend is in the room?"

"That's none of your business," Mello replied hotly. "And I don't appreciate you seeking him out. You want to talk to me, you come to me. Got it?"

He heard a soft chuckle then Halle replied, "If that's what you want."

Mello glanced over his shoulder to make sure Matt was not listening. He nonchalantly walked into the adjacent kitchen, checking that Matt had not followed.

"I can't see you anymore," Mello said, his mind taking him back to that moment he broke into Halle's apartment. He had intended for it only to be a mere kidnapping, but fate had other plans for them.

Even with a gun to her head, her desire for affection from her handsome captor took hold of her. Ever since hearing Near's brief warnings and mentioning of Mello, she wanted to meet him, and when their eyes met, hormones took over. The forbidden fruit was too sweet for Mello to decline.

Matt never needed to know of their bedroom activities that night. The guilt alone was enough torment without having to see the pained expression on his love's face. Though he knew it was wrong, his mind tried to rationalize the actions with the recently acquired knowledge that Matt had also engaged in intercourse with another. Each time that thought came to his brain, his heart would scold and slap him for even considering comparing Matt's selfless act of love with the dishonorable one he commited. For both of their sakes Matt could never know.

"Mello," Halle said, sounding almost hurt by Mello's statement.

"It was a mistake I'm not proud of," Mello said harsher than he intended. In a kinder, almost apologetic tone he added, "Just...forget it ever happened."

The cold words stung Halle deeper than she would have expected. In her heart she knew it was only lust that attracted her to Mello and that his love for the hacker was too great for them to ever be anything more than a onetime fling. However rejection of any kind always hurt.

"Very well," she said after that awkward pause. She was unsure how she would react were she ever to see him again, but at least over the phone she was safe from exposed humiliation. "It's probably better this way." Even though they fought for the same goal, their teams would always pose as an obstacle.

"Anyway, what do you want?" Mello asked. "Matt told me you have crucial information."

Mello returned to the living room and watched as Matt continued to click away on that console. Mello took a seat in the chair next to the one Matt occupied. Having released all the tension within, he listened as Halle revealed the information about Mikami, the man Near suspected to be X Kira, in addition to Takada's supposed relation to the two. After hearing and taking into consideration all that Near's agent supplied him with, he concluded everything sounded legit. There was no reason for Near to feed him false information, especially not if he wanted his cooperation.

Halle waited a few seconds, contemplating whether or not she should reveal the next bit, considering that they had little proof. Near wanted the theory tested and he confided in Halle that Mello would be more than willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the case if provided with the right motivation. After relaying that bit of information concerning Mello, Near only hoped that if Mello took the bait, it would not cost him his life.

"Near also suspects the possibility of a fake notebook," Halle said at last. Her swollen heart palpitated at a steady, quickened pace.

Mello held the phone close to his ear. He understood why Halle wanted him to call, why Near wanted him to call. Near would never outright ask him to put his life on the line. Near never hated him; in his ideal world they would all walk out of the investigation unscathed with Kira and all his accomplices in custody, and the notebook removed from their world. However, both Mello and Near were aware that reality rarely worked ideally.

"A fake notebook?" Mello asked.

"Yes," Halle replied. "Givanni has been closely trailing Mikami for the past few weeks and has is almost certain he is the one behind the killings."

"Then why do you think there's a fake?"

"It's just a theory that Near has. Near feels that something is off."

"And he wants it tested?" Mello asked after a beat. He gave the next thought on his mind some serious contemplation before finally asking, "What does he plan to do?"

"He needs to make X Kira panic. If that happens then he might make a mistake, and if it is a fake, then we will finally have him."

Mello processed her words. In that moment he knew what needed to be done. Near would never ask him and he would not put him in the situation to do so.

"It can be resolved by having a name written in the notebook?" Mello asked.

"That's right," Halle responded.

Mello stared down at the floor. His thoughts clashed between what was rational and what needed to be done for the greater good. If he, Mello, did not act then both him and Near would lose their possible only chance of besting Kira.

"I understand," Mello replied. He heard Halle gasp on the other line. Mello quickly added, "I know what I must do, but I'll need your help."

Once he quietly revealed to her the details of his plan she sat there in silence, doing her best to keep composed. It was unnatural for her to feel so strongly towards him.

"Mello," she said. "You don't have to do this."

Mello quickly replied, "Well then, if I don't do it..."

Halle felt a sharp sting in her heart. There was no way to talk him out of it. Near was correct when he mentioned that Mello was the most stubborn of people.

"Very well," Halle said. "I'll call you later with confirmation and details."

"I'll be waiting," Mello replied then hung up.

Mello absently tossed his phone against the vacant couch cushion. Matt looked up from his Gameboy to see Mello hunched over with his hands covering his face, his golden hairs draped over his fingers. Matt turned off his game for the second time in the five minute period.

"Mello," he said, almost afraid to confront him.

Mello looked genuinely worried about something. Anger, frustration, annoyance, sorrow, jealousy, and even occasional gentleness were emotions that usually surrounded Mello, but concern was a new one. Matt was unsure how to handle that one.

"Hey, what did she say?" Matt asked as he knelt down in front of Mello. The blue eyes peered through the hands and Matt stared into what he believed to be a great effort in hiding fear. Matt suddenly felt angry with himself for even keeping that woman's number.

Matt sat down on Mello's lap then wrapped his arms around Mello's shaking body. He gently massaged tiny circles on Mello's back and allowed the blond to lay his head on his shoulder. Matt could not stop the smile forming on his face at the thought that he was the only one in the world who could provide comfort for Mello.

"Mello, please talk to me," Matt said while brushing Mello's long tresses aside. "Even if you have to yell, just talk to me."

Air exited from Mello's nostrils and warmed the crook of Matt's neck. He let his shoulders slump and returned Matt's embrace. The reality hit him that this could be the very last time he ever held Matt. He knew the dangers the minute he laid the plan and was well aware that the chances of him coming out unscathed were impossible, and alive almost as slim. As he mentioned over the phone, somebody had to do it. If Near were every bit as crooked as him, Mello figured he would be laughing right about now, but reality was that the other young genius would rather have it any other way.

"I love you, Matt," Mello said as he pulled the mentioned closer to his body. "I love you so much."

He ran his hands through Matt's hair and yanked those goggles from the other man's face. He stared into Matt's eyes. Matt's eyes were so beautiful and reserved only for Mello to stare into. It baffled him why Matt chose to shield such beautiful orbs, but as with all Wammy kids, Matt had his quirks. Mello kissed the creased skin where the ocular object recently sat. Mello's lips caressed their way all the way down Matt's left cheek, his tongue tasting the flesh every other kiss.

Mello reached Matt's neck and bit down, not enough to hurt, but hard enough to leave a mark. Mello's mouth moved over a half inch and gave that patch of skin the same treatment. Matt moaned in pleasure and became limp in Mello's arms. The blond could not help but smirk, he knew his lover's every turn-on.

Mello placed both hands under Matt's behind and pushed him up so that he was carrying him in a sitting position. Matt's hands clamped together behind Mello's back. Mello carried Matt to the couch and pushed him down on his back. Mello gave Matt a sly smirk before climbing on top of him. He straddled his lover and moved his hands beneath Matt's back. Matt squirmed at the strong arms pulling him up. He hugged Mello's torso then lifted his lips to meet with those belonging to the other man. One hand continued to support Matt's back while the other ran itself through Matt's messy, red tresses. He inhaled Matt's glorious scent.

His tongue ran itself across Matt's lips, awaiting the invitation to enter. Matt decided to tease Mello just a bit and lifted his head so that Mello was licking his chin. Mello playfully glared at his boyfriend. Matt gave him a coy smile. The animal in Mello was released and he forcefully grabbed Matt's face and pressed his lips to the other's. Matt arched his back and Mello kissed the center of his neck with that same amount of power. Matt released a heavy moan, giving Mello the opportunity he needed to infiltrate Matt's mouth. Matt returned the favor, allowing his tongue to wrap about Mello's. The two tongues battled it out, exploring new territory with each blow.

Matt's hands crept about Mello's back. He pushed himself closer to his boyfriend with each motion of the mouth. He never wanted to part from Mello. Without realizing he began lifting Mello's leather vest. Mello helped to wiggle out of the unwanted garment. Matt broke from Mello's mouth and lowered his own to the now bare skin before him. Mello's perfect abs were begging to be kissed and Matt gave them the attention they deserved.

In between moans and heavy pants Mello said, "It's not fair that I'm the only one shirtless here."

"Yes, it's getting hot," Matt said as he removed his own vest.

The next to go was the striped shirt. Mello grabbed the hem of the shirt with his teeth and began to pull it up. Matt removed his arms from the sleeves, immediately clamping themselves around Mello's torso once more.

Mello succeeded in removing the shirt then returned his attention to the topless boy before him. He wanted to taste every inch of the flesh awaiting his touch. Though they had made out and made love countless times before, each time felt like a new experience to Mello.

The two locked eyes. In that moment all of Mello's vulnerabilities that he did a wonderful job of hiding were finally exposed. And the one to look upon those insecurities and imperfections was the only one he could trust them with and the one who did not mind them.

"I love you," Mello said. There were no hidden motives, no masks, nothing but the truth. "I love you more than anything on this earth."

Matt hushed him with his own lips. Mello shut his eyes and gently placed one hand behind Matt's head. The thoughts of the many things that could happen to him entered his mind. Matt was hired to do behind the scenes work and as long as he kept his face behind the computer and his name a secret, Kira could do him no harm. Under no circumstances would Mello allow Matt to walk into the actual battle.

Two more kisses were shared until the phone vibrated beneath Matt's legs. He jumped up into Mello, his head almost busting the blond in the mouth. Mello caught him in time bent over his side to grab the ringing device. The number was Halle's. Mello remembered her mentioning that she would call him right back.

"What does she want now?" Matt asked.

"She has bad timing," Mello muttered as he put the phone to his ear. The two discussed their plans for what was to take place two days later.

Matt pulled his shirt back over his frame as he listened to his boyfriend's side of the conversation. That same nagging twist he felt in his stomach the moment he stared upon a worried Mello suddenly returned. Those same fears of losing Mello surfaced. He particularly did not like that last sentence he spoke before hanging up.

"What's going on?" Matt asked as Mello closed the phone.

"It's nothing," Mello replied. "Just forget it." He reached for Matt's face, hoping they could resume where they left off and the redhead would just forget any exchange between him and Near's agent ever took place. However the look on Matt's face said the opposite.

"Mello, what is going on?" Matt asked in stressed syllables. He crossed his arms against his chest. "And why did you say you were going to do something if no one else would."

Mello's eyes narrowed. "You were eavesdropping."

"No," Matt responded shortly. "I overheard." His expression changed to one of pain. "I was hoping you would tell me yourself—voluntarily."

Mello sighed. His body language told the other that he would rather have each tooth forcibly removed rather than reveal what he had planned.

"I'm ready to listen when you're ready to talk," Matt said. He leaned against the arm of the couch, making it known that he was not leaving until he received the information he desired.

There was no use in hiding anything.

Mello took both of Matt's hands in his. "Matt, listen to me," Mello said. His eyes met with Matt's. Matt's heart ached for he already could tell that he would not like where this conversation was heading. "We are running out of time. We may have one shot in catching Kira."

Matt's eyes widened. "Near knows who he is?"

Mello replied, "He is almost certain. He just needs the proof to bring him in." Mello bit his bottom lip then said, "That's where I come in."

"What?" Matt asked, his voice betraying his emotions.

Mello shut his eyes tightly. He inwardly cursed Matt for his curiosity. Upon opening those eyes again he looked his lover in the face and said, "I'm going to call in a favor for someone who owes me his life." Mello slightly shuddered at the fact that Matt was originally scheduled for such a dangerous task, and had Mello asked Matt would have done it. Neverminding that fact, Mello would never put Matt in that kind of danger. "He is going to create some confusion and during that time Lidner is going to deliver Takada into my hands."

"Takada?" Matt asked. "Oh, that bitch from that show." His eyes widened. "Wait, she's a part of this?"

"Near believes her to be the source of communication between the two Kiras," Mello answered.

"Will she confess?" Matt asked.

"Perhaps," Mello replied. "But the main point is for either Kira to make a mistake."

"And then you have him?" Matt asked. Before Mello could answer the realization hit Matt. "Wait? What if Kira discovers what you're up to? What if Kira expects you to…" Matt trailed off and shook his head.

"It's a possibility," Mello answered.

"How possible?" Matt shouted as he stood, pulling his hands from Mello's. "How likely are you to die?" When Mello delayed in answering Matt got in his face and yelled again, "How likely are you to die?"

"Highly!" Mello shouted back. He stood up and added, "It's only fair you know there's very little chance that I will make it out alive."

Matt stared speechless at the younger male. "How…how can you do this? Without consulting me?"

"Matt, listen, this is our only chance…" Mello began, putting his hands upon Matt's shoulders.

Matt shook him loose. "I don't care!" he yelled. "How many more times are you going to do this?" Mello stared at Matt. "How much longer am I going to have to stand here and watch you almost blow yourself to pieces then be there to build you back up only to watch you knock on death's door and do the whole damn thing again?"

"Listen, Matt," Mello said, beginning to lose his calm.

"No, you listen!" Matt screamed, tears welling in his bottom lids. "I'm tired of being left behind with a false assurance that you're going to come back, when I don't know if you'll come back and if you do what condition you'll be in." He sniffed then said, "Last time you lost half your face and you were lucky. What if it's much worse this time? What if you've lost all your luck…what if you…"

At the thought of what fate could befall Mello, Matt could not hold back his tears any longer. He leaned forward and his shoulders shook.

"Matt," Mello said as calmly as he could. Matt glanced up from his hands with a severe glare. Mello replied in all seriousness, "When I paid Near that visit a week ago we made an arrangement…if anything ever happened to me he promised he would ensure that you're taken care of."

Matt released an inhuman shriek. "You think I give two shits about that?" he hissed. "Why do you keep having to put yourself in this kind of danger?"

"I don't have a choice," Mello snapped. "This is our only chance, when will you get it?"

"Will you shut up about that?" Matt hissed. His face had become flushed and he was trying his best to keep new tears from falling. He took a deep breath and with narrowed eyes and a slightly wrinkled nose he hissed, "When is it going to be enough?"

Mello lifted his brow at Matt's recent sentence.

"When?" Matt repeated. He threw his arms in the air and shouted, "Near is L's successor. When are you going to get over it?"

Flames broiled within Mello's heart, displayed in those cold eyes. "You better shut up right now," he said in a dangerous tone, backed with ample venom.

For once Matt was not going to give into Mello's warning.

"No," Matt replied. Mello was caught between shock and fury. Matt continued, "So what? L didn't choose you. Who gives a shit? That was seven years ago! How much longer are you going to let that control you?"

Mello clenched his fists. He wanted nothing more than to silence Matt with those very fists, but he swore that he would never harm him.

Matt was not finished. "By throwing yourself into the fire, literally, are you trying to prove to him that he made a mistake? What good will it do if you're dead?"

An intense heat built up inside Mello's chest. He inhaled sharply, trying his best to release the air slowly, but his lungs were not willing to cooperate.

Matt moved forward and grabbed Mello by his elbows. It took everything within his power not to shake him. "L is dead, Mello. He's gone. Forever." Tears spilt from Matt's eyes. "Nothing you do will bring him back." Matt gritted his teeth then added, "And I won't stand around and watch you throw your life away for that damn corpse any longer!"

"Don't you dare disrespect L!" Mello screamed. Before he knew what he was doing, adrenaline seized his hand and his palm smacked Matt sharply across the face. Mello glared at the redhead, his teeth bared and his eyes appearing as those belonging to a demon. He shakily pointed a finger at Matt. "Don't you ever speak that way about L again!"

Matt stared wide-eyed at Mello, his mouth agape, and his voice suddenly vanished. He placed his hand against the throbbing cheekbone. He winced at the painful touch.

"You—you hit me," Matt said in a choked whisper.

Reality set in and Mello stepped back, staring in horror at his partner. His gaze switched from Matt to his own cursed hand and then back to Matt. Mello shook his head, his breathing hitched.

"No, no, no, I couldn't, I never, no…I didn't," Mello said to himself, his eyes bulging. "Matt," he said shakily. "Matt, please, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He repeated that phrase several more times, hoping that if he mentioned it enough the past would rewind itself.

Mello fell to his knees, still staring at his own hand that he wanted to sever. He inhaled with a heavy sob and tears soon spilt, his face glistening as he tried to wake himself up from the nightmare he was sure he was living in.

Matt slumped against the wall. For the moment he could not bring himself to look at Mello.

"You know I've always felt bad and kind of embarrassed that I've been so jealous of a dead man," Matt said while staring at their ugly beige carpet. "I thought eventually you would realize how much I love you."

"Please, Matt, I didn't mean to," Mello begged. "I promise I'll never…I didn't mean to." He cupped his hands over his face and screamed into his palms, the very same area that just bruised the one person he loved. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

Matt inhaled deeply then glared down at the mess that was Mello. "So often I watched you walk away from me to chase a ghost. "I wanted to support you and I did, because I love you. I just wanted you to return that love."

"I do," Mello gasped. "I do love you. You have to believe me, Matt. I'm—"

"Sorry?" Matt interjected. Mello stared speechless at his boyfriend. "Yes, you're too predictable. How many more times am I going to have to hear your apologies?"

Mello averted his eyes.

Matt was not relenting. "I just wanted to feel that you loved me as much as you claimed to." His tone switched to anger. "But like always I'm still second to L. You said you love me more than anyone or anything, but is that true?"

"Yes, yes, I do," Mello pleaded.

Matt shook his head, "No, you don't," he retorted. "Your love for L is too much for me to bear anymore." Matt scoffed. "I used to think L was great too, but then I saw what he did to you. And now I can't help but hate him. I hate L, I hate him so much. I hate him for what he's done to you and us. I hate him for robbing me of the love I deserve and was promised." With pure hurt plastered on his face Matt looked at Mello and asked, "Is it so wrong to want what is mine?"

Matt moved to where Mello sat and lowered himself to his knees. Mello recoiled into himself, too afraid of what else he might do to the weaker male.

"You listen to me, Mello," Matt said placing a hand on Mello's shoulder. "I want you to understand that I'm the only person in this world who willingly loved you. Everyone else pushed you aside, chose someone else." Matt put his free palm against his chest. "I wanted you. I chose you. I gave up everything for you." He lowered both of his hands to his knees. "Aren't I enough for you?"

"Yes!" Mello cried. He clamped both hands around Matt's and brought them to his mouth. He kissed each of Matt's knuckles.

Matt pulled his hands from Mello's grasp.

"I'm tired of competing with the dead," Matt confessed. "I want you to love me with that same passion."

"I will…I do," Mello replied.

Matt shook his head. "No you don't," he retorted. "If you did then you'd understand why I'm hurting so bad. I'm tired of giving you everything then watching you bottle up your love and laying it before L." The memory of watching Mello leave the orphanage without so much as a goodbye surfaced. He did not want to relive that ever again.

"No, I don't..." Mello found himself at a loss of words, bruised as he had done to Matt's heart countless times.

He placed a hand on Mello's right cheek. "I don't want to lose you to this investigation. I don't want you to become Kira's next prey." He clamped his other hand on Mello's other cheek and stared him directly in the eyes. "I will not stand here and watch Kira kill you because you feel you need to prove L wrong. I won't pick up the pieces. Not anymore."

"What are you saying?"Mello asked.

"I'm saying you have a choice," Matt said bluntly. "Me or the investigation. Which is more important to you? Which do you love more?"

Mello glowered at Matt and jumped up, Matt mirroring his motion. "That's not fair!" he barked. "You can't ask me to give up everything I ever worked for just like that." Mello snapped his fingers to help illustrate his point.

Matt glared in return. "And you can't ask me to watch you kill yourself," he replied.

"How can you be so selfish?" Mello snapped.

"Selfish?" Matt screeched. He laughed and slapping his hand against his own chest. "I'm selfish? I'm selfish?" he cried, his voice raising an octave. "Mello, baby, you look up the word 'selfish' and you will find your pretty little picture for a definition."

"Yes, selfish. Making me choose between my work and the man I love is selfish," Mello snarled. "I know I'm no selfless saint, but that's low."

"You could have chosen to work alongside Near, but of course you listened to your pride. Everything has always been about you. What you want. How you want it. How something isn't fair to you. You, you, you!" Matt inhaled deeply, his face the color of a ripe tomato. "Always you while I was pushed aside!" Matt shouted. "You always put me second. Even now you are putting this investigation before me." Matt firmly placed both hands on Mello's shoulders. "Now! Answer me!" Matt's glare lined directly with Mello's icy eyes. "Which do you choose?"

Mello simply looked away and Matt's body began to shake. He inhaled as deeply as he could and quickly nodded in an attempt to fight off fresh tears.

"You can't decide?" Matt said, trying to keep himself composed. "Very well." He strode over to the table by the door where his car keys waited beside Mello's. He checked his jeans pocket to make sure he had his wallet which housed enough cash to put him up at a hotel for two nights.

"What are you—where are you going?" Mello asked.

Matt turned back to look at his now ex-boyfriend. His eyes displayed both pain and anger. "Since you can't decide, I'm going to decide for you." With those words he threw open the door. "I'm done."

"Matt!" Mello cried, running for him. He grabbed Matt by the arm and pulled with one, while encircling his other around Matt's torso. Matt pushed against Mello's restraints. "Please, Matt, don't leave."

Matt broke from Mello's weakened grip. He descended the staircase, ignoring Mello's pleas for him to return along with other empty promises. Matt suddenly stopped on the ninth step down.

"I'll be back tomorrow for my things," he said without making eye contact. "Try not to break anything that is mine." He continued his walk downwards. As he neared his car one final thought entered his brain. Perhaps if you can come to your senses and make up your mind, then maybe…maybe.

Mello watched with tearful eyes as Matt stepped into his car. His legs wobbled and he fell to the ground, weeping as Matt drove away in the night. Without Matt there by his side Mello found it difficult to even move. Matt's recent words seeped into Mello's consciousness and now, that it was too late, he realized his mistake.

The end. I left the ending kind of open-ended, so if you want this to eventually be a happy ending, you can imagine it so.

End Notes:

1) This is an alternate ending in which Matt doesn't die (it's not fair what happened to him).

2) I adore Mello/Matt as a couple, but I also think Mello/Halle is cute, so I included a bit of them in here. I don't think either one truly loved the other, but I think it's easy to assume that Halle did care for Mello by how she reacted upon arriving at the burning church to find him already dead.

Most of all I hope you all enjoyed this story. Thank you for reading and a special thanks to all those who reviewed and favored. I appreciate all your feedback. Have a great day, everyone!