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Gift for: @fragileradius​
Prompt: Getting drunk together for the first time [after/while (your choice)] having life hardships. “Everything in this world sucks except for you.”
Author’s Notes: I sort of stretched the requests of these prompts a bit much. So, fragileradius, if this doesn’t meet your expectations or you’re disappointed or what not, PLEASE let me know and I’ll give it a second go. 
Another note, this is a bit longer than I had anticipated, so… I guess I apologize for having to put it all here rather than publishing it on or elsewhere.
The thing about Mello was that no matter how hard he tried, he was never quite as unpredictable as he believes himself to be. No matter how many times he tried to show up unannounced to the SPK building… Near always seemed to know when to leave the doors unlocked. It was as though Near could smell the ash and burning cinders pulled in by the winds of his approach.
Yet this time wasn’t quite the same. This time Mello finally found a way to surprise him.
He entered the command room with an air that in itself said he owned the place, the dull thud of his boots against the smooth tile the only greeting he offered. Still Near’s heartbeat picked up speed in his chest. Mello was exciting. Mello was a hurricane. Destructive and terrifying to everyone in its path except to those like Near who purposefully placed themselves in his way as a means of charting his path. He was deadly, but predictable.
He was silent for a long minute, as though if left alone Near would merely forget his existence. As though it was ever quite so simple. Yet Near found himself daring to ponder, “If tomorrow the world was going to end and this was the last night we had together… What would you say?”
“Have a drink with me.”
Perhaps Near was not as unpredictable as he’d once thought himself. For the response was sent his way without the slightest pause for consideration, as though Mello had constructed it well before his entrance to the building.
Finally, the younger genius turned to him, gazing upon the form of one he’d known his entire life, feeling as though in some way he was seeing Mello for the first time. As though he was gazing not upon the opposing figure of their lifelong competition, but rather the humanity Near had always known Mello harbored within him. It felt like Mello was entrusting him with something beyond even Near’s comprehension. Near’s look shifted just a bit, “What’s going on?”
“The world’s ending.”
“Mello.” Gray eyes shoot him a look that pleads for him to be serious; that he can’t get to the bottom of whatever is troubling him, whatever brought him here, if the question is alluded. Though he knows he should hardly expect anything else.
“Have a drink with me.”
For a moment Near considered turning away from him, continuing with the card tower he’d only just begun to construct around himself until Mello inevitably grew bored and left. But on the other hand, even he had to admit… when had he not given Mello his full attention should he merely ask for it?
Near relents. He stands upon limbs that ache and protest at the sudden movement after being stagnant for longer than he cared to remember. Each creak of his joints sounded to him like the comments Mello had once thrown at him, that if he continued treating his body the way he did that it would eventually catch up with him. Eventually… Near was always waiting for that ‘eventually.’
He leads them down a few floors, to a rarely used living space designed not only for himself but for those that worked for him. “I know Rester keeps some kind of alcohol here,” Near says to fill the silence while he rummages through the cupboards. “Conventional social culture seems to suggest that he would use it to ‘put up’ with the ‘outlandish’ requests I make of him.” Whatever that meant.
Mello sighed a bit too dramatically and finally pushed the younger out of the way to see for himself what the selection available was. He eventually pulled out a short, rounded bottle consisting of a deep amber liquid. “At least you hire people with good tastes.”
They sit across from one another at a nearby table, one shot glass shared between them. Mello takes the first shot, throwing it back like it was nothing. For a moment Near considers asking about that… about his history with alcohol. But what good would it do? What would be the end goal? And beyond that, was that a story he necessarily wanted to be told? Were those times that he really wanted to know? Was that a side of Mello he wanted to become familiar with?
The shot glass was filled, then slid across the table to him. Near eyed it like he’d been handed a loaded gun. “Why are we doing this?” Near asked quietly, looking away from his own ominously looming fate back to azure eyes that pierced the darkness surrounding them.
“You’re the one who said-”
“No.” Near interrupted. “Really. Why are we doing this?” The question was left intentionally vague, allowing Mello read anything he chose into it. Why the two of them? What event brought this on? Why drinking? Why did he seek inebriation? Why did Mello keep showing up here?
“Who else?”
“Literally anybody.”
“Maybe I just like you.” Mello leaned forward on the table, his gaze never breaking from Near, yet his lithe form shifted its weight towards him as though at any second he would snap. Near had never felt quite so much like prey. But that too was strangely exhilarating, to be chased rather than the one chasing for a change.
“Even I need a drink to be able to start unpacking the meaning behind that comment.” Near retorted, picking up the shot glass and, not wanting to be outdone by his self-proclaimed rival, placing it to his lips and tipping it back to let the liquid slip down his throat.
The liquor was strong, burning his nose and his throat on the way down. But it warmed his center and he couldn’t help feeling how strangely appropriate this all felt. Still he found himself coughing, his stomach retching at the compounding of the awful scent and taste together on his senses.
Mello’s lips pulled back as he chuckled, the sudden lightheartedness seeming enough to light the room, or perhaps just Near’s world. What exactly was going on here, what was going through Mello’s mind, and why was he seeking any of this from him? The answers, much like everything with Mello, felt just beyond his grasp. Yet that didn’t mean Near wasn’t beyond searching for them. After all, finding answers and causes was what a detective was supposed to do.
The two continued in relative silence, each slide of the shot glass from one to the other acting as an unspoken dare to the other, to match what they’d done and build upon it. Of course, neither wanted to lose. Being the best, in all manners, was sewed into their veins.
Mello ultimately broke the silence, his normally bright and fierce eyes dulled a bit by the ingestion of alcohol. “Do you ever feel like… we’ve been cheated out of a real life?”
“Cheated?” Near asked, his head lolling a bit to the side as confusion overtook his expression.
“Yeah. Cheated. We’ve spent our entire lives fighting over a title. A title which has done nothing but lead anyone who dares chase it to utter ruin.”
“I don’t think we-”
“Really?” Mello interrupted incredulously, leaning forward on the table a bit, the gold tresses of his blonde hair losing its usual haloing effect around his face. “Do you really think either of us would be like this if we hadn’t been forced into that life?”
Near was quiet, because truthfully, he couldn’t say for certain as he’d never given it much thought. Coming out on top he’d assumed had given him a unique privilege that let him escape any sort of ‘ruin’ Mello spoke of. But thinking more on it now, Mello had a point…
But the blonde spoke before he could voice that. “I have hated you for as long as I’ve known you because of the culture bred by that place. If we both hadn’t been fighting for that…” His lips pulled together into a thin line, looking away from him before continuing. “You’ll never hear me say this when I’m sober, but if it hadn’t been for that fucking place, that competition… I probably would have liked you. Hell, I do like you.” He threw back another shot of the amber liquor, then slid it over to Near.
Near regarded the empty shot glass, wondering if his fingers would cooperate enough at this point to properly pour himself another shot. But at the same time, stopping at that point felt as though he would be putting a premature stop to the secrets Mello was daring to place out into the open. Still, his words broke from between his lips before he could stop himself, “It’s funny you say that because I absolutely cannot stand you.”
“What?” Mello’s entire disposition shifted in that moment, looking as though he wanted to get up, but the alcohol in his system kept him rooted in place and at the mercy of Near’s words. “You can’t… Why the hell didn’t you just fucking tell me that, then?!”
A smirk crossed Near’s lips, glancing up to Mello with what he could only hope was a mischievous look, “Well, it wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t lead you on a little bit.”
Mello’s look narrowed on him, the silence persisting another moment before, “You know what, forget I said anything. I can’t fucking stand you. You are the worst kind of person.”
“That’s quite the insult coming from someone who worked so closely with the Mafia, dear Mello.”
Another silence passed over them, one which Near this time didn’t care to try and read, instead becoming aware of a new dizziness forming in his head. He felt himself sway back and forth, overcome in that moment by a sort of wonderment in his body’s inability to catch himself, or hold himself straight.
Through the fog he heard Mello say, “Why do you call me that?”
Near looked up to see the way Mello’s eyes watched him carefully, questioningly, his entire attention placed upon him and whatever his response would be to that question. And what was Near to say? How could he word it when he himself had never quite had the words for it? He swallowed, looking down to the table so he didn’t have to meet Mello’s stare. His words tumbled from his lips, “Because I like… I wanted you to…”
“Near?” His tone was different this time, Near noted. Concerned, rather than inquisitive.
The younger pushed himself to sit back in his seat, “I need to go. I need…” His hands shifted flat against the wood table to push himself up, “I don’t feel right.” He stood, but his legs felt numb, or perhaps he’d merely misjudged how much his head was spinning as the next thing he knew he felt himself falling to the floor.
The world swirled around him, somewhere in the distance he heard his name spoken followed shortly after by Mello appearing in front of his field of vision. “Hey, are you alright?” A warm hand was pressed to his cheek. “Near?”
He nodded, but his eyes closed, “Fine.” He said simply, the warmth of Mello’s hand seeming to transfer to his own form as he realized what had happened and immediately grew embarrassed for letting it happen in the first place. Why, he wasn’t sure. After all, Mello had been the one to instigate these actions. Therefore, this was clearly Mello’s fault. Yes, that seemed justifiable enough.
“Come on, let me help.” His tone was lower, almost begrudging, yet with a tinge of humor that made Near smile. For as much as Mello clearly disliked having his evening disrupted by this, obviously he was at least slightly humored by seeing Near out of his usual context.
“I’m fine.” Near protested as he was pulled up from the floor just enough for Mello to pick him up into his arms. He shifted, “Don’t. I’ll walk.”
“You idiot, would you just shut up, you’re light as a fucking feather. Besides, you’d just end up on the damn floor again anyway.”
Mello carried him into the bedroom, depositing him carefully onto the side of the bed. Only then did he lean forward a bit, looking him over seriously, “Are you going to be sick? Tell me now, otherwise I’ll just let you fucking drown in it later.”
A small smile creased Near’s features at Mello’s crude consideration, daring to reach out and push back the fine strands of Mello’s hair behind his ear he replied, “You wouldn’t. But no, I’ll be fine. I told you I was fine before.”
“Yeah, of course you are. Lay down before you fall again.”
Near complied, laying back and letting his eyes close, feeling the way the world spun around him. He felt the way his stomach churned at the motion and he considered redacting his previous statement.
He felt the bed beside him shift, and looked over momentarily to find Mello lying beside him. Mello shot him a look, “Shut up, I don’t want to hear it.”
So Near said nothing about it, instead turning to lay on his side facing him, his eyes closed to keep from potentially meeting that intense gaze. “I don’t dislike you, you know.” Near heard himself say.
Mello scoffed, “Convenient to say now.”
“And what I was saying before…” Near continued, “About using the phrase ‘dear Mello.’” He paused, again considering over his words as though they themselves were puzzle pieces that he couldn’t entirely figure out how to place in their right spot. “I needed a way to get your attention… a way for you to actually notice me.”
Mello was quiet again, and for a second Near considered maybe he hadn’t said any of that aloud. Perhaps he’d merely said it to himself. He was just about to repeat himself when he heard, “You’re such an idiot.”
“So you keep telling me.”
The space was silent between them again, and Near was content enough to lay beside his supposed rival, inhaling the musky scent of Mello mixed with the liquor they had shared while his entire world spun around him. He had just about drifted off into a dreamless sleep when he felt a pair of lips press a quick kiss to his forehead.
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