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Dear Mello

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Never in a million years did Mello think he would be in this situation. Ever.

Near is a solid weight on top of him, kissing him with a ferocity that Mello is excited to match. He runs his hands across Near's chest and up through his hair to pull him even closer.

Damn, he could do this all night.

Near sits up for a moment and slides off of him. Mello frowns, ready to protest, when Near motions for him to flip over. Mello's mind stutters to a halt.

He shifts to his stomach slowly, on all fours with his ass in the air. A lump lodges itself in the back of his throat, and he rests his forehead against his wrists.

He feels Near shift behind him and lay one cool hand on his lower back. "Dear Mello," he murmurs, slowly rubbing his hand down the curve of his ass.

Mello doesn't say anything, merely clenches his eyes shut. He hears Near fumbling around in his bedside table. He hears the click of the lube as Near flicks open the bottle. He smells it, sharp and burning in his nose. He feels Near lift his hand off of him, and he hears the squelching as he coats his fingers.

The bed creaks as Near moves behind him. Other than that, he doesn't say a word as he brings his hand back up to Mello's ass. The lube is cold, and Mello winces as Near slowly presses one finger in. There's a little bit of pain, and Mello grits his teeth, but Near moves carefully in and out, obviously waiting for Mello to loosen up.

It doesn't feel bad, really. Mello's not a virgin, but this is his first time doing... this. He assumes the same about Near. Though, hell, sometimes the freak surprises him.

"Two?" Near asks behind him. It doesn't hurt anymore, so Mello nods, and a second finger joins the first. Mello grunts at the pain again, and Near slows his movements.

This is so... humiliating.

Not only is he playing bitch, he's playing bitch for Near. The freak he's been competing against his whole life, the one he's always been second-rate next to.

He knows he shouldn't think like that. It's been almost two years since they took down Kira - together. Two years of acting as L - together. Hell, even a couple of months of this weird-ass, undefined relationship of theirs. But it's hard to undo almost twenty years of thinking, and all he can focus on is the rush of blood roaring in his ears and the heat in his cheeks as he imagines what all the others would be saying about him if they could see him now.

Inferior. Near's bitch. Second-rate. Second-best.

He blinks, vision growing blurry and hot, and shame curdles in his belly. He can't help it when a few hot tears splash down onto his arms, and he blinks rapidly to clear his eyes, only feeling his embarrassment grow.

"Mello?" Near says. Mello doesn't look at him, keeping his eyes focused on the sheets. Near lays one slick hand on his shoulder, and Mello jerks violently back, stumbling back onto his ass and away from Near.

Near doesn't move, hand still outstretched. Mello meets his gaze through blurry eyes. Calm grey eyes stare back at him. There's a little furrow between his eyes that is the only sign he's concerned.

"Are you-?"

"Shut up!" Mello spits. Near slowly lowers his hand and tilts his head to the side, no doubt scrutinizing every minor detail on his face. Mello swipes his eyes quickly. "Just shut up!"

"Did I-?"

"Shut. Up!" Suddenly, Mello's no longer embarrassed, he's fucking furious. He stumbles back off the bed and starts yanking on his jeans.

"Mello," Near says again, a touch of genuine concern in his voice. Mello turns his back on him and shrugs on his shirt and vest.

"Leave me alone." He turns and gives Near one final once-over. Even at twenty-one, naked and covered in lube, Near still gives off an air of childlike innocence. Mello feels his lip curl back into a sneer, and he gives Near his best and most chilling glare. Without another word, he stomps off and slams the door behind him.

---

Mello bangs on the door to Matt's apartment. He waits for a moment, and bangs on it again. "Matt!" he yells, not caring that it's too damn early in the morning to be yelling.

He lifts his fist to bang again when the door swings open, revealing a scowling Matt.

"What the fuck, Mello? Do you know what time it is?" he says. He rubs at his eyes and casts a surveying glance over him.

"Aw, come on," Mello says, giving him a sheepish grin, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I knew you sure as hell weren't sleeping."

Matt gives him a side-eyed look and rubs at his bloodshot eyes. "I was about to beat my game," he says. "I guess you can come in."

Mello pushes past him and flops down into the couch. The TV is still lit up with some flashy game, and Mello rubs at his eyes, not able to stop a tiny smile. At least some things never change.

Matt shuts and locks the door behind him and sits down next to him. He picks up his controller and unpauses his game, eyes focused back on the screen. "I thought you were with Near tonight?"

Mello's slowly improving mood is gone in a flash, but he grunts his assent. Matt doesn't say anything else, just eyeballs Mello out of the corner of his eye.

"You want the bed or the couch tonight?"

"Couch."

"You sure? I wanna finish this game."

"Yeah. I just wanna take a shower. I feel disgusting."

"You know where it is." Matt waves a hand, dismissing him towards the bathroom. Mello goes, gathers up a spare pair of sweats and a t-shirt from Matt's closet and locks himself in the shower. He strips, steps into the shower, and cranks up the water as hot as it'll go.

He scrubs every last inch of his body, wiping off the slick glide of the lube and the lingering impressions of Near's hands on his backside. He pictures Near, sitting alone on the bed where he left him, and hits the shower wall with his fist.

The tension slowly bleeds out of him, and instead, he feels the shame grow in its place. He slides a hand down the side of his face. He really, really doesn't want to think about this shit right now.

He cuts the water off and climbs out, drying off and getting dressed. He pads back out to the living room to the couch, toweling his hair. Grabbing a blanket and a pillow out of the hall closet, he flops back down next to Matt, who still hasn't moved a muscle since he left.

It's silent for a few minutes. Mello stretches out on the couch and puts his feet on the cushion behind Matt. It's easy to start drifting off, the sounds of Matt's game reminiscent of when they were roommates at Wammy's.

Matt's avatar goes up in flames on the screen, and he curses as GAME OVER flashes. Matt sets his controller aside and stretches, grunting when his back pops.

Mello makes a face at him. "You're gross," he says.

Matt rolls his eyes and turns to face him. "You ready to talk about Near?" he finally says.

"No."

"Did he hurt you?" Matt asks, completely and utterly serious. "Because I'll kill him if he did. Even Rester can't stop me if he did."

"Ugh, Matt, no!" Mello scowls.

"Then what exactly's the problem?" Matt says evenly.

"Weren't you just bitching at me that it was late?"

"That was before you came crashing in to my place." He meets Mello's gaze with one eyebrow raised, waiting on an explanation.

Mello grumbles. God knows he's the stubborn one, but when Matt gets something in his head like that theres no dissuading him. "Near and I were about to have sex," he says.

Matt purses his lips. "And how exactly is that a problem? You like sex."

"I know I like sex," Mello snaps. "That's not the issue." He coughs, watching Matt carefully. "I was gonna be the bottom."

Matt's expression does not change in the slightest. "And? I still don't see what the problem is."

Mello can feel his cheeks begin to burn. "What do you mean, you don't see what the problem is? I was going to be Near's bitch!"

"Seriously?" Matt looks at him, unimpressed. "You're twenty-two. Grow up."

"Shut the fuck up," Mello retorts, but without any bite. "What do you know about anything?"

"I'm serious, Mels. Don't think I don't know about your whole rivalry with Near. Hell, I probably know it better than anyone, because I've heard you bitch about it for fifteen years!" He shakes his head, huffing out a laugh. "I thought you were past that. You two have literally been L together for years."

"It's more complicated than that, asshole," Mello mutters.

"How? What, are you worried about what people will think? That's dumb as shit, Mello. You don't even talk to anyone from Wammy's anymore, besides yours truly, and I could genuinely not give two fucks about your sex life."

"You just pried into my sex life!" Mello's frustration spikes. Matt doesn't truly get it. "I don't want to be second-rate to him!"

Matt rolls his eyes. "Get over yourself. Just because you're the bottom doesn't mean you're second-rate to anything. And just because you receive it once doesn't mean you'll do it every time! Damn, Mello, did you even talk this over with Near?"

Mello doesn't deign that question with a response, and Matt throws his hands up in the air.

"What the fuck! You just ran out on him?" Matt groans and runs a hand down the side of his face. "That doesn't surprise me. Jeez. I don't say this often, but poor Near. How he puts up with your dramatic ass I'll never understand."

"Shut up," Mello says, forcing as much venom into his voice as he can.

Matt lets out a deep breath. "Listen to me. Do you like him?"

An image of Near softly smiling at him over a tower of cards pops into his head, and Mello feels his willpower start to break down. "What, do I need to tell you all of my inner thoughts like a girl?"

Matt gives him a bitchy expression.

"Yeah," Mello mutters.

"Was that so hard?" Matt says sarcastically, and Mello flips him off. "Do you want to have sex with him?"

Images of all the things he and Near had done over the last year pops into his head. Matt must be able to tell by the look on his face, because he wrinkles his nose for a moment.

"There's your answer. Don't be so damn selfish. Talk to Near, see what he says," Matt says. "Hell, you may not even have to tell him, he probably already knows."

Mello doesn't say anything. Matt probably wasn't wrong - maybe Near had even bugged Matt's apartment. He cast a suspicious eye over the nearby shelves.

Matt yawned. "I'm getting tired. Go to bed; I'm kicking you out in the morning." Conversation over, he picks up the controller and starts a new game.

"Thought you were tired?" Mello says, still frustrated and itching for a fight.

Matt waves a hand dismissively. "Gotta clear my head after a conversation like that." He smirks at Mello, who rolls his eyes and kicks the pillow behind Matt, sending his fingers jerkily over the controller.

Matt curses, and Mello bites back a smile, rolling over to face the back of his couch and closing his eyes. Serves Matt right. Stubborn asshole. Stubborn, right asshole.

Pompous, arrogant Near. Literally the bane of his existence for years. But also his sort-of, kind-of boyfriend and partner (besides Matt). He would trust him with his life. Has before, actually, when outsmarting Kira not too long ago.

He can picture him now - dressed again, probably fiddling with some action figure on the ground, furrow between his eyebrows that was the only sign he was overanalyzing that night's events.

Great. Now he feels guilty. Which, he probably deserves. Definitely deserves.

The shame still hasn't quite left him yet, but guilt slowly starts to form deep in the pit of his belly.

Mello sighs and burrows down into his blanket more. He'll deal with it tomorrow. He falls asleep to the sound of Matt's game and doesn't dream at all.

---

When he wakes up, it's to the bitter smell of coffee. He groans, rolling over to look at the clock, where thankfully it's only mid-morning.

"Here," Matt says behind him, and Mello sits up and turns to see him holding out a chipped coffee mug.

He mutters his thanks and takes it. He's kind of hungry too, and he pats his pants only to remember he's in Matt's clothes.

Matt clears his throat and tosses a chocolate bar into his lap.

"You know me so well," Mello says, ripping into it with his teeth. Matt grins at him over the rim of his own coffee mug.

"I know. You have ten minutes to get out of my house," he says cheerfully.

Sure enough, Matt is shoving him out the front door in just under ten minutes, throwing his jacket out after him.

"Don't come back until you two talk it out like adults!" he says, voice muffled through the door.

Mello scowls at the door. He flips it off after he shrugs on his jacket. He knows he doesn't really have any other place to go besides back to Near's, but a strange sense of nervousness bubbles in his belly.

He's not quite sure what Near's going to say. Hell, he's not even sure what he's gonna say to Near.

Fuck it. He'll wing it. He blinks and finds himself already at his motorcycle. He swings his leg over the seat and sits, pushing his bangs to the side and putting on his helmet. He sighs and cranks the engine, kicking off and turning in the direction of Near's place.

There's no escaping it now.

It's only a short ten-minute drive to Near's, which, is good or bad depending on the day. Good, because if he and Matt get called in for a case, they can be there in minutes. Bad, because it means Mello's anxiety spikes sharply the closer and closer he gets.

Near's tower rises along the edge of the horizon. It's no longer the home of the SPK, but of L's headquarters in America, under the guise of some random LLC. Near upped the security when Mello moved in and even gave him a whole floor to himself, right over Rester's quarters. It's the biggest and nicest place Mello has ever lived in, especially when compared to his days in the mafia.

Shit, he was literally in the mafia. This conversation should be nothing to worry about. The queasiness in his stomach says differently.

Cutting through the side-alley to access the hidden entrance, Mello slows his speed as the garage opens automatically for him. Near's probably watching him on the cameras right now, and he glances up at the nearest one as he parks and disembarks. He takes off his helmet and shakes out his hair.

He heads to the first set of gates, where he stands impatiently while he is sprayed with some cleaning agent, scanned, and then sprayed again. At the next set of gates, he scans his handprint, and at the third gate turns his good eye towards the retinal scanner. It would be easy for Near to just buzz him in through the security, but he must be purposefully avoiding doing so. Mello scowls at the camera.

The elevator moves slowly up to Near's observation room. At this time of morning, Mello would bet that Near was already up and working on cases. As well as ignoring him through the surveillance feed.

As he gets closer and closer to the top floor, his stomach starts twisting with nerves again. He wishes he still smoked, just to have a cigarette take the edge off, and instead he fidgets with his clothes and hair, straightening up and trying to make it look like he didn't sleep cramped on Matt's couch all night.

The elevator slows and the doors open with a dull ding. Mello can see Near sitting on the floor amongst his toys, back facing him. Sure enough, the garage surveillance cameras are playing in front of him.

Mello swallows and steps out of the elevator. He walks over to Near and stands several feet behind him, hesitating.

"Did Mello sleep well on Matt's couch last night?" Near's tone is deadly even, and he doesn't bother to turn around to look at Mello.

Mello can't help but feel like Near is mocking him, and he feels his lip begin to curl back over his teeth.

"Look," he says stiffly, jaw clenched. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

He hears Matt's voice in his head, Is that all you got?

Mello sighs, forcing himself to relax his face and shoulders. He clears his throat, and Near stills in front of him, placing his toy on the floor. "You didn't do anything wrong. I got caught up in my own head."

"Mello can always tell me no," Near says abruptly, cutting off the end of his sentence.

"...What?"

"If Mello doesn't want to do something, all he has to do is say no."

Mello blinks and processes this thought for a moment. "You think I didn't want to have sex at all?!"

Near grumbles under his breath, almost too faint for him to hear. "Mello did run away."

Mello can't help but let but snort. "Okay, first of all, I didn't run away."

Near turns around and raises an eyebrow.

"That was a tactical retreat," Mello continues lamely. He crosses his arms defensively. "And you know you're an asshole, right?"

Near gives him an unimpressed look. He starts to turn back to his action figure, and Mello stretches out a hand.

"Wait, I want to say something else." He waits until Near fully turns back toward him and steels himself. "I did, I mean, I do want to have sex. With you."

Damn, Mello, come on. You literally led the mafia, he thinks to himself. Step the fuck up.

"We've talked before about Wammy's, about the competition and the pressure and all that shit. I know you remember. The other kids - they used to mock me about you, about being second-best. About playing as your bitch."

Understanding flashes in Near's eyes, but he doesn't say anything.

Mello swallows and continues. "It got in my head. Hell, it's always there, even when we're just working together and not doing... whatever this is. But I don't regret this. Working with you." He scratches the back of his head, wishing for once Near would show a flash of emotion, anything so he could get a read on him besides cool indifference. "I shouldn't have run out."

He doesn't know what else to say. He feels icky and gross, like someone ripped him open and showed off all of his innermost organs, leaving him fully on display. Discretely, he wipes his clammy hands on his pants.

Damn, he hates apologizing. And emotions. And shitty situations like these. Just another thing to blame on Wammy's. If you don't walk out emotionally constipated, you're doing it wrong.

Near's just slowly eyeing him, and Mello starts getting antsy.

"What? Aren't you going to say anything? Like 'damn, Mello, here you go fucking everything up again. Just as usual.'" He tightens his arms around himself, feeling his self-loathing grow just a little bit more.

"That's not what I think," Near says calmly. He sets his toy down and stands, breaching the distance between him and Mello.

Mello stiffens as Near comes closer, pausing just in front of him. Near stares up at, a strange glint in his eyes.

"The environment we were raised in was not, is not, and has never been conducive to positive mental health," he says.

Mello can't argue with that one.

Near continues. "I think Mello needs therapy." As Mello opens his mouth to protest, Near holds up a hand. "This is nonnegotiable. For the good of our partnership as L, as well as the success of our future cases."

"Fine." Mello grits his teeth. He can try anything once, even if he'd rather rip out his own hair than lay on a couch and talk about his feelings with a shrink for an hour.

"Mello had never been lesser. Regardless of what he may think. Regardless of what our instructors may have told us when we were children. That has never been the case. Mello is strong. Mello shows initiative when others are prone to inactivity. Mello is strong-willed at the best of times, and he is bull-headed at the worst. It is one of his strongest characteristics."

Mello looks away, unable to take the full, intense force of Near's gaze. There's a lump in his throat that no matter how many times he swallows will not go away.

Near hesitates for a moment and steps even closer, until they're almost touching. Slowly, as if preparing for Mello to bolt again, he puts a hand on Mello's crossed arms.

"Mello is my equal," Near declares. "There is no other that I would want by my side as L. Regardless of your position in sex, that does not change."

Is it forgiveness? Maybe. It's not a declaration of love. Or, hell, maybe it is. If Mello is emotionally stunted, then Near is emotionally dead. Mello wouldn't know what Near thinks about that. He's not good with words.

So, he does the next best thing. He reaches forward and kisses him, eyes clenched tightly shut so he can't see Near's reaction.

Near must've seen this coming, because Mello feels him kiss back. Near's hands come up to tangle in his hair, and Mello can feel some of the tension in his shoulders fall away. He slowly relaxes his pose and puts his arms around Near.

It's nice to know he didn't fuck everything up, after all. Matt would be proud.

Wait, ugh, he doesn't want to think about Matt right now.

As if knowing that Mello is getting distracted, Near pulls back and gives him a tiny, satisfied smirk.

"I hope Mello keeps in mind that I have no issue with being the receiving partner."

Mello smirks back and grabs his wrist, ready to drag him down the hall to Near's bedroom. "Maybe we can try this again."

No, Mello never thought this would've happened. Never in a million years.