Can't Tell

BY : chelzi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 1036
Disclaimer: I do not own Death Note, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

arg. i screwed up the warnings when i tried to fix the summary. oneshot, complete, yaoi, noncon, angst, abuse, lime, humil, language, anal, oral okay. before you start the fic, i'd like to point out some things: 1. i don't own matt, mello, l, near, roger, watari, or the wammy house. 2. i wrote this in one sitting. 3. it's fifteen pages. 4. i think it's the best of this type of fic i've ever written. 5. i didn't know what was going to happen until matt told me. 6. matt forced me to try a new style. i don't know if i like it. 7. i worried about matt's in-character-ness. tell me what you think. 8. 'dinner' is lunch. i don't know why. it just is. 9. it starts at about 6 a.m. 10. enjoy! ~


October 5, 2008

Can’t Tell

            Where were you last night?  Nosiness.

            Nowhere.  Noncommittal.

            Don’t lie to me.  Where the hell were you?  Demanding.

            It’s none of your business.  Annoyed.

            I’m your roommate and best fucking friend!  Your business is my business!  Angry.

            Well, it doesn’t matter.  Unconvincing.

            Yes it does!  Now tell me!  Very pissed.  May be best to tell.

            No it doesn’t.  Lemme sleep, okay?  Hoping…

            Answer me, damn it!  Hopes dashed.

            I don’t want to share.  Exhausted.

            I don’t give a shit what you don’t want!  Already knew that.

            Leave me alone.  Please.  Begging.  Finally shove past and lie down.

            An exasperated noise.  You are so difficult!  Right on the head.  Footsteps and door slamming.  Giving up?  Good.

            Eyes stinging.  Hand rubbing at them.  Stomach crying out.  Arm wrapping around abdomen.  Face wet.  Rub harder.  Chest heaving.  Holding breath.  It escapes in chokes anyway.  Hope the door’s locked.  Legs curling up towards body.  So much pain for so little damage.  So stupid.

            Wishing for sleep.  Memories come instead.  Questions.  How?  Why?  Wishing for death.  Why not?  What now?  Begging sleep or death to come.

            Wish one, granted.


            Noises.  What now?  Roll over.  See him.  Memories again.  Turn away to hide.

            Matt?  He noticed.

            Hmm?  Have to answer.

            Are you gonna tell me where you were?  Not so demanding.  Just wondering.

            No.  Truth, hopefully.

            Why?  So damn curious.

            You don’t need to know.  Wishing to go back to unconsciousness.

            …Fine.  Don’t believe him.  Dinner is in ten.

            Okay.  Not hungry.

            Where’re your stupid games?  Just noticing.

            Put away.  Smashed.

            Why?  Trying to corner me.

            Sleeping, Mel.  Didn’t listen.

            You should have them out by this part of the conversation.  True.

            Still tired.  Also true.

            Wouldn’t stop you.  Again, true.

            …Shut up.  Nothing else to say.

            Would you at least look at me?  Offended.

            No.  Honest.

            Why not?  Upset.

            Because.  You’ll see.

            Because why, you idiot?  Insults for response.  Usually work but not now.

            Because I don’t want to.  Simple.

            Well, you’re pissin’ me off.  Obvious.

            Don’t care.  Lie.

            …Whatever.  Lets it go.  Time drags by.  He sits, staring.  It’s time for dinner.

            You go.  Not hungry.

            You have to eat.  Basic need.

            Not hungry.  Nauseous.

            You haven’t eaten since yesterday.  Disbelieving.

            So?  Just go away.  Silence.

            What’s wrong?  Concerned?

            Nothing.  Pain.

            Don’t lie to me!  More anger.  No response.  Growling.  I hate it when you lie to me.

            Just go to dinner, Mello.  Please.

            Not unless you’re coming with me!  Ultimatum.

            No.  Flat refusal.

            Why not?  Hates it.

            I’m not fucking hungry!  Yelling.  Surprise to us both.

            Matt…  Cautious.

            Just go fucking eat, Mihael!  Shouting.  Water gathering.  Please get mad enough to go.  More silence.

            Did you just use my real name?  Shock.  Nod.  Who the fucking hell do you think you are?  Screeching.  Answer me right now!  Can’t.

            Shirt grabbed.  Forcefully turned.  Hissing, spitting, shouting.  Answer me, you fuck- He stops.  Why?  Anger slips to confusion.

            What happened to your face?  Worry?  Blinking.

            I don’t know.  True.

            You’re bruised.  It’s all black and blue.  Oh.

            …Must’ve walked into a door.  He’d hit me.  The memory comes back now.

            The hell you did.  You’re not a klutz.  Accusing.

            Always playing them ‘damn games’.  Not paying attention.  False.

            You can see where you’re going when you play.  Don’t lie to me, Matt.  I hate it.  Venom.

            I’m not.  Tempting fate.  Thrown to the bed.  He climbs over me.  Freeze, then relax by force.

            Don’t lie to me!  I’m not stupid!  Duh.  Touching my cheek.  These are finger marks, Matt.  Who hit you?

            No one.  Can’t tell.

            Matt!  Tell me!  Pleading.

            Nobody!  Can’t tell.

            Matt!  How the hell am I supposed to kill them if you don’t tell me?  Only half joking.

            You won’t.  Can’t tell!

            Yes I will!  Tell me!  Needs to know.

            It doesn’t matter!  Can’t tell!

            How dare you say that?  They hurt you and I’m going to kill them!  Convincing.

            It’s true!  Can’t tell!  Lifted and shoved back down.

            I would fucking hit you if you weren’t already hurt.  Stop being an idiot and tell me!  Serious.

            I can’t!  Eyes shut tight, water slipping past.  Stomach burning where he’s sitting.  Arms trying to comfort.

            Why not?  Furious.

            You won’t believe me…  Defeated.

            The hell I won’t!  Defiant.

            L.  Lie.

            I said I would believe you when you told me, not blatant lies.  L’s hands are much bigger than this.  Observant.

            Roger.  Another lie.

            Matt, just tell me!  He can read me.

            No.  Won’t tell.

            Why?  Growling again.

            Because.  You’ll be mad.

            That’s not a fucking reason!  Contradictory.

            You use it every day.  Evidence of contradiction.

            That’s different.  This is something important!  Slip of the tongue?  Something besides him is important?

            No it’s not.  Doesn’t matter.

            Yes you fucking are, Mail!  Now tell me, please!!  Water splashes on my cheeks.  His.  Crying?

            Why?  Starting to feel ill again.

            You’re my best friend, too, y’know!  I would kill for you, Matt!  Now who fucking did this?  Voice cracking.  Nose running and water covering my face.  Nausea floods my senses.

            Let me up.  Choked out.

            Not until you tell me.  Glaring.  Gagging.

            Please…  Need to move.

            Tell me!  Still demanding.  Can’t hold back.  Manage to turn.  A bucket’s worth of vomit lands on the floor.  Shit!  Are you okay?  Scrambling off.  Nod.  Pulled to my feet.  Led to the bathroom.  Mouth rinsed and questions asked.  No answers.  Shirt pulled off.  He gasps.  Look down.  More bruising.  Expected that.  What happened?

            Got beat.  Simple, truthful, easy.

            By who?  Fire in those blue eyes.

            ’M so tired, Mel…  Mumbled.

            Just tell me.  Soft, gentle.

            Can’t…  Unconsciousness takes over.


            Warm.  Eyes stay shut.  Don’t wanna wake.  Arms wrap around warmth.  What is it?  Doesn’t matter.  It’s good.  Face buries against it.  Sigh in satisfaction.  Smells like Mello.  Remember argument.  Remember reason of argument.  Wish to die.  Cling to warmth harder.

            Matt…  Whispered.  Love you too, but you’re crushing me.  Eyes fly open.  Warmth is Mello.  Let go and scoot back.  Didn’t mean to spook ya.  Smiling.  Swallow.  Hungry?

            No.  Starving.

            Okay.  Tell me when you are.  Wanna share what happened?  Encouraging.

            No.  Yes.

            Okay.  Tell me when you do.  Friendly.

            Won’t.  Shaking head.

            Why not?  Propping self on elbow.

            Can’t.  Looking down.

            Says who?  Staring.

            No one.  Whispered.

            Then why?  Serious.

            Just can’t.  Don’t understand.

            Why, Matt?  Wants to understand.

            I don’t know.  Desperate.

            Try.  Try to figure out why you can’t.  Prompting.  Trying to help.  Silence.

            Scared…  Murmured.

            Of what?  Helping.

            …You.  Mild surprise.

            Me?  More than mild.  Nod.  Why?

            You’ll be angry.  Nervous.

            At who?  Uncertain.

            Me.  Ashamed.

            No I won’t!  Reassuring.

            Yes you will.  It’s my fault.  Convinced.

            Matt, this isn’t your fault.  Somebody beat you up!  I’m sure you didn’t ask them to.  Certain.

            Mello…  Scared.  Looks at me.  Teeth biting lip.  Staring.  Taste copper.

            Matt, stop.  Admonishing.  Tends new injury.

            I’m sorry.  Earnest.

            It’s not your fault.  Now who did it?  Eye-catching gaze.  Can’t escape.  Staring.  Ocean swallowing dull grass.  Matt!

            N-Near.  Escapes without notice.

            What?  Glowering.  Wince and look away.  Knew it.

            I’m sorry.  Whispered.

            Stop apologizing!  Why didn’t you tell me ten hours ago when you walked in?  Shouted.

            I’m sorry.  Holding back tears of shame.

            Why are you sorry?  He’s gonna be sorry!  Fury.

            I should have been with you instead.  Confused.  Why isn’t he mad at me?

            What all did he do?  Ignoring my answer.  Swallow.

            Nothing.  Can’t tell.  Rolls eyes.

            Matt, don’t do this.  I don’t have time if I’m going to beat him to a pulp today.  Annoyed.  Shaking my head.  He beat you, right?  Nod.  Did he do anything else?  Pause.  Matt?  Force a nod.  What?  Swallow again.

            My games.  He…smashed some of them.  Least of the damage.

            Why?  Incredulous.  Shrug.

            Didn’t listen.  Afraid to listen.

            What did he tell you?  Deadly serious.  Eyes close.  Can’t tell.  Shake head.  Matt, what did he want you to do?

            Nothing.  Whispered.  Weak.

            Don’t lie to me.  What happened?  Hands on my shoulders.  Jerk away from touch.  Matt?  Confused.  Eyes wide.  Head shaking.

            I’m sorry, Mello.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry.  Repeating.  Choking through tears.  Can’t stop.  Need him to know.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

            Matt, what did he do?  Tell me!  Keep repeating.  Head still shaking.  Matt!  Damn it Matt, snap out of it!  What did he fucking do to you?  Can’t tell.  Shaking head.  Repeating the mantra.  MATT!  Shut up for a second and listen to me!  Smacks the bedside table.  Freeze.  Stare at him.  What.  Did.  He.  Do?


            DON’T FUCKING LIE!  Extremely pissed.  Should tell.  Can’t tell.  He’ll never forgive.  Must forget.  Can’t tell.  Not real.  Shake head.  Tell me so I can kill him fittingly!  Hissing.

            I can’t!  I’m sorry!  Mello, I’m so sorry, so sorry, so sor-

            Stop it!  Just tell me!  Desperate.  Matt, you have to tell me, or I can’t help!  Stop, blinking.  He wants to help?  Matt, don’t give me that look.  I already told you, you’re my best friend.  You think I’m going to let you stew in this shit for the rest of your life?  Waiting for an answer.  Nod.  Only response capable of.  No!  Damn it, you’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a family, and probably always will be.  I can’t just leave you.  Now.  What happened?

            Swallow.  Blinking at tears.  Eyes sore.  Stomach sore.  Throat sore.  Flinch at memories.  Stare at him.  How to tell?  Don’t know how.  Shake head again.

            Matt!  Frustrated.

            I don’t know how.  Breathed.  He catches it.  Blinks.

            How can you not know how to tell me something?  Matt, you use words.  You string them together to form sentences.  These sentences form the story of what the fuck happened.  Simple, right?  Condescending.

            I can’t!  I can’t say it, Mello!  Stressed.

            Why not?  Angry.

            I just can’t!  Terrified!

            Yes you can.  I know you can.  Just do it.  Confident.

            I’m afraid.  Confessing.

            Why?  Blinking.

            It’ll be real.  Looking down.

            Matt, it is real, but I can’t fix it if you don’t tell me.  Protective.  After he smashed your stuff for not listening, did you listen?  Nod.  What did he tell you to do?  Swallow.

            Try to speak.  Throat dry.  Sore.  Flinch again.  Pat the bed.  His eyebrows come together.  He asked you to sit on his bed?  Shake head.  Pat again and point to him.  To lie on the bed?  Nod.  Then what?  Don’t know how to show.  Long pause.  Matt?  Lean forward and grab at his shirt.  Point to the ground.  Eyes go wide.  He told you to take off your shirt?  Nod.  Anything else?  Nod.  Everything?  Nod.  Matt…  Pause, swallowing.  Matt, did he…rape you?  Flinch at the word.  Can’t admit it.  Can’t use the word.  Not true if it’s not admitted.  Hands cover ears.  Eyes shut.  Knees draw up.  Body rocks.

            Didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen.  Keep saying it.  Say it enough and it becomes truth.

            Matt, why?  Why would he do that?  Why didn’t you fight him off?  Anger.  Accusation.  Pity.  Hurt.

            Didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen.  Can’t stop.  Weight shifts on bed.  Lean away from him.  Didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen.  Weight leaves the bed.  Didn’t happen, didn’t happen.  Footsteps.  Didn’t happen, didn’t happen.  Door slams.  Didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen, didn’t happen.

            Hours pass.  Don’t notice.  Still repeating.  Speech slows down.  Exhaustion takes over.  Slip to sleep with ears covered and knees against chest.


            Door opens.  Snap awake.  Roger enters.  Swallow.  Smiles.

            How are you, Matt?  Pleasantry.  Can’t answer.  There’s been some fighting, and it appears you’re at the center of it.  Would you like to fill me in?  Shake head furiously.  Pause.  Are you all right?  Nod.  Matt, I would appreciate being told why Mello beat Near black and blue, attacked him with a kitchen knife, and tried to strangle him.  Eyes widen.  He did that?  Hands drop, forgotten.  He blinks.

            Matt, have you been in a fight?  Shake head.  What happened to your face?

            Ask Mello.  Quiet, confidant.

            Did Mello do it?  Misinterpreted.  Shake head forcefully.

            No, but I…  Pause.  Swallow.  I told him.

            Is this why Mello was fighting?  Piercing look.  Shrug.

            Maybe.  True.  Look down.

            Matt, if you know something, you should tell me.  Authoritative.

            What’s Mello said?  Curious.

            He told both Watari and myself that it was none of our ‘damn business what’ he does and to ‘butt out of it’ before his attentions were turned towards us.  Amusement.

            What about Near?  Frightened.

            He claimed not to know what provoked the other.  Sympathy.  He favors Near.  Better behaved.  L has offered to speak to them each, but I’m not sure what even he’ll be able to get from them.  Pause.  Matt, I haven’t seen you at a meal since supper yesterday.  Are you feeling all right?  Nod.  Well, then, I just leave you to yourself for now.  Leaves.  Blinking.  Alone.  Thinking.


            Filthy.  Haven’t showered since…after.  Used Near’s bathroom.  He offered.  Couldn’t wait.  Had to get clean.  Get up.  Need to be clean.  Look at reflection.  Disgusting.  Purple bruise, ugly eyes, disheveled hair.  Tainted.  Lock door.  Start water.  Hot.  Rip clothes off.  Test water.  Not enough.  Turn it further.  Get in.  Stand under the water.  Grab soap.  Start scrubbing.

            Feet, washed red.  Legs, rubbed raw.  Chest, scratch marks from nails digging out filth.  Neck, scrubbed sore.  Back, hard to reach.  Use Mello’s brush.  Ran back and forth for every microbe.  Face, attacked by soap and hands, especially the lips.  The traitorous lips.  Penis.  Held in one hand, scrubbed until it may bleed.  Feet.  Legs.  Chest.  Neck.  Back.  Face.  Lips.  Penis.  Feet, legs.  Chest, neck.  Face, lips.  Penis.  Feet, legs, chest, neck, face, lips, penis.  Feetlegschestneckfacelipspenis.

            Three bars of soap, gone.  Scalding water becoming tepid.  Still not clean!  Turn water higher.  Mouth.  Still dirty.  Liquid soap.  Squirted in mouth.  Water added.  Gargled.  Again.  Again.  Again.  Still not clean!  Water becoming cold.  Shivering.  Must get out.  Still dirty.

            Dry off.  Glare at bruises in mirror.  Go to bedroom for clothes.  Freeze.  Why is he here?

            Hi Matt.  Come sit.  Innocent.  Shake head.  I said, ‘come sit’.  Commanding.  Must obey.  Did you tell Mello about last night?  Shake head.  Are you sure?  Nod.  Then why does he know?

            Figured it out…  Undertone.

            What, Matt?  Controlling.

            H-he figured it out.  Nervous.

            Matt, I think that’s the same as you telling him.  Intimidating.  Shrug.  Maybe I ought to teach you what ‘don’t tell’ means.  Eyes wide.  Head shaking.

            No, please.  I’ll be good!  I won’t tell!  Promises.  Leans in.

            Are you sure you can be trusted?  Nod.  Hit.  Liar.  We both know you can’t.  You’ll tell or ‘let’ Mello figure it out.  So I have to teach you not to.  Leans closer.  Swallow.

            Mello’s words.  ‘Why didn’t you fight him off?’  Can see bruises on him from Mello.  Fingers on his neck.  Blotches on his face.  Probably under his clothes.  Have to try.

            Push away.  Anger flashes.  Hit.  Hit again.  Cowering.  Wrist grabbed.  Pulled to him.  Lips captured.  Traitorous lips kiss back.  Stupid lips.  Bite him, please.  Bite him!

            Bite.  Hard.  Blood drawn.  His.  Hit again.  You know you like it, just admit it!  Slapped.  Pain.

            No!  Strong.  Surprising.  Leave me alone!  Final.  Pushed down.  Crawled over.  Touched.  Shout.  Stop it!  More touching.  Traitorous body.  Aroused.

            See, Matt?  You like it.  Smirking.  Takes off pants.

            No.  Weak.  Eyes close.  Stop, Near.  I don’t wan-  Mounted.  Sickened.  Get off!  Moan in response.  Moves.  Incredible feeling, but no!  Make it stop.  Please let it stop.  Chanting.  Make it stop, make it stop make it stop make it stop.  Involuntary moans of pleasure.  Horrifying.  Hate.  Sick.  Stupid.  Traitorous body.  Hate it!  Please hate it.  Please don’t cum this time.  Please.  Orgasm building.  Humiliating.  Tears building.  Moaning above me.  Make it stop, make it stop make it stop.  Cum squirting across my chest.  Tight walls collapsing.  Orgasm hits.  Make it stooooooooop!  Embarrassing.  Humiliating.  Came again.  Stupid.  Traitorous.

            See?  Leering.  Looming over, hands on shoulders.  Told you you like it.  Eyes closed.  Lips caught.  Don’t kiss back.  Bitten.  Kiss feebly.  Hate.  Hate him.  Hate me.  Hate life.  Hate this.

            No.  Forced out between kisses.

            What?  Dangerous.

            I hate it.  Daring.

            Liar.  You came.  You liked it.  …True.  No answer.  Smirks.  Now, no one finds out, or we’ll have to play again.  Okay?  Nod.  Gets off.  Showers.  Lie on the bed.  Stare at the ceiling.  Hate everything.  Another shower when Near’s done.  Just like before.  Still not clean.


            Walking out to get clothes.  Freeze.  Again.  Why is he here?

            Hello, Matt.  Monotone.  May we speak?  Shrug.  Continue for clothes.  Ignore his eyes.

            What is it?  Impolite.  Too drained to care.

            Mello and Near had a fight today.  Conversational.

            I heard.  Don’t care.

            Near claims to have no idea why and Mello says it’s not our business.  Already knew.

            Then I guess it’s not.  Snotty.  Why?

            Well, I don’t believe this is true.  I believe it is our business, and I believe it has to do with you.  Deductive sounding.

            Roger knew that much.  Rude.

            I am aware.  Unconcerned.  However, he gained his knowledge by hearing Mello screaming your name while beating Near.  My information comes from my interviews with the boys.  Roll eyes.

            What did you find?  Face him.

            Near was clearly lying when saying he didn’t know what caused the fight, and seemed uncomfortable when asked why he thought your name was brought into the argument.  Stony-faced.  Snort.  Uncomfortable meaning ‘he twitched in some way’.  Mello was adamant that he would not tell me why, but it was obvious he was getting some sort of payback for you.  Having seen the bruises on your chest and face, I believe that may be the cause of the need.  If you would fill me in on the part I can’t draw from either boy without further interviews, I can pass the information on to Watari and Roger to dole out proper punishment.  Blink.

            Tell?  Can’t tell.  It’ll happen again.  Or…tell and he’ll be stopped.  Or not be believed.  Dilemma.  Panic.  Can’t breathe.  Fall to knees.  He steps over.

            Matt?  Concern.  Like Mello.  Trust.  Tell.  Please tell.  Swallow.  Matt, breathe.  Right.  Basic need.  Focus on air.  Lungs fill.  Look up.  Dark eyes.  Concerned.  Must tell.  But…  Matt, can you tell me what happened?  Shake head.  Why?  Shake again.  Too nervous to speak.  Did nothing happen?  Shake very hard.  Did it happen to you?  Nod.  Continue leading.  Did Near do it?  Nod.  Did it cause those bruises?  Nod.  Any other injuries?  Pause.  Uncertain.  Physical?  Shake.  Mental?  Shrug.  Emotional?  Slowly nod.  Probably.  Add a shrug.  Eyes reading me.  Pain from the gaze.  Matt, you must tell me what Near did.  Shake.  When did it happen?

            Last night.  Whispered.  And then…  And then after their fight.  While you were talking to Mello, probably.  Nervous again.

            He hurt you after I spoke to him?  Anger.  Nod.

            He was mad.  Cause Mello found out.  He told me not to tell or he’d do it again.  Holding back tears.  Please don’t let him do it again!  I hate it!  Mello must hate me for it.  I hate me for it.  I’m older and bigger.  I should’ve been able to stop him, right?  Tears break through.  Falling.  Soaking L’s shirt.  When did he get that close?

            Matt, I won’t let him hurt you again.  But you have to tell me what he did.  Fatherly.  Brotherly.  Protective.  Loving.  Safe.  Still scared.  Gain control.

            He…  L, I can’t.  Afraid.  Don’t want to use words.

            Start at the beginning.  Encouraging.

            Deep breath.  I went to ask him for help on some homework.  Mello was busy; I didn’t want to bother him.  Normally I don’t bother with schoolwork, but this was interesting and I wanted to know the answers.  While there, he…  Well, he teased me for needing help.  Then threatened to tell Mello I’d gone to him.  I didn’t want Mello to be mad at me.  Near p-promised not to tell if I did everything he said.  I was scared and didn’t want to, but he smashed up some of my games.  He told me to…  Can’t go on.  Sob.  Strong hands patting my back.

            Take your time, Matt.  Soft.  Comforting.  Breathe.  Hold tightly to his shirt.  Strength.

            He told me to lie down.  On his bed.  Then I had to t-take off my…  My clothes.  I didn’t want to, but he had already hit me and broken my stuff and he was going to ruin my friendship with Mello.  I didn’t have a choice!  Please don’t be mad, L!  Fear.  Panic.  Rising.  Held tighter.

            Go on, Matt.  I’m listening.  I will hold nothing against you.  Quiet.  Deadly air.  Anger.

            Are you mad?  Frightened.

            Not at you, Matt.  Finish, please.  Soothing.

            He put himself in my mouth.  He…touched me and made me excited and…  Stop.  Can’t.  Can’t use the word.  No other word.  Can’t use the word.  What other word?  He…  We…  There was sex.  I didn’t want to, but he wouldn’t get off.  Kept kissing, made me…  Sob against his shoulder.  Clinging tightly.  Arms tighten around me.  He made me cum, and then let me take a shower in his room!  Can’t go on.  Sobbing too hard.

            He did this again?  This evening?  Nod against him, crying.  And Mello knows?  Nod again.  I understand.  Can’t stop crying.  He’s obviously done listening.  Doesn’t let go.  Let it out, Matt.  This is healthy.  Cry harder.  He’s not stopping me.  Relief.  Pulled close and lifted.  Sit back.  He stands, still holding me.

            L?  Confused.

            We’re going to Roger and Watari.  Simply.

            No!  Panic.  His face is unsure.  Not like this!  He’ll see.  He’ll know.  He’ll do it again.  Crying still.  He nods.  Sits on my bed.  Holds me.

            I can’t leave you alone.  We’ll walk when you’re able.  Considerate.  Hug.  Cry.


            Walking.  To Roger’s office.  Scared.  Near can’t know.  Grab his hand.  Comfort.  Feel anger flowing.  L.  Angry.  Not a sign on his face.  Running through his veins though.  Feel it.

            Doesn’t knock.  Walks in.  Follow.  Door slammed shut by L.  Surprised.  Turns to Roger.  Get Watari in here.  Threatening.  No ‘please’.  No ‘thank you’.  No ‘sorry to disturb you this late in the evening’.  Clock.  Nearly eleven.  Everything had started twenty-three hours before.  With the question: ‘could you explain the science homework?’

            L, what is-  Uncertain.

            Get Watari!  Shouting.  Frightened.  L doesn’t shout.  Shrink back.  Drops ungracefully into a chair.  Pulls up only one leg.  Bites thumb.  Roger stares.  Now, Roger.  Snapped.  Very angry.

            Calls Watari.  Walks in a minute later.  L?

            Near needs to be punished.  Final.

            L, for what-  Watari.  Stopped.

            Severely.  Angry.  Old men exchange a glance.

            What did he do?  Worried.  L gestures.  Shrink back more.

            Matt, take off your shirt, please.  Calmer voice.  Relax.  Anger not directed at me.  Obey.  Gasps.

            Near did this?  Dubious.

            And more.  Low.  Growl.

            What more?  Afraid to learn.  Obsidian bores into ugly green.

            Can you?  Thoughtful.  Shake.  Not again.  Had to mime to Mello.  Not again.  May I?  Nod.  Thank you.  Turns from me.  Sit.  Confused looks for him.  Lowered voices.  A few seconds.  Then:

            No!  Why?  Together.  Hushed again.  Tuck legs up in chair.  Rest head on knees.  Drifting off.

            YES!  Shout.  Awake.  He needs to be taken care of quickly.  He cannot stay here.  He’s a danger to the other children, particularly Matt.  Protecting.

            But what evidence have you been given?  Doubting.  Hurts.

            The bruises!  His shattered sense of safety!  I held him for an hour Roger!  An hour of solid sobbing!  He wouldn’t let me bring him until he was under control because he was afraid of Near knowing!  What more do you want?  Defending.  So much uncharacteristic emotion.

            Physical evidence, L.  I don’t distrust you, but…  Glances.  Voices lower again.  Not for long.

            How dare you!  He’s perfectly reliable!  What reason would he have?  Roger thinks it’s a lie.

            What reason would Near have?  Defending Near.  Don’t understand.

            Pain.  Bruises hurting.  Look down.  Arms.  Dirty.  Everything.  Dirty.  Need a shower.  Picking.  Dig out the filth.  Water welling.  Roger doesn’t believe.  Near will find out.  It’ll happen again.  Pick harder.  Get rid of filth.  Tears dripping.  Splash on arm.  Keep picking.  Must.  Get.  Clean.  Eyes swimming.  Can’t see arm clearly.  Still picking.  Hurts a little, but must keep picking.  Crying harder.  Why won’t it come clean?  Swearing quietly.  Come clean!  Please!  Tears land on the spot.  Burn.  Still not clean.  Maybe more tears?  Rub in tears while picking.  Very sticky.  Burning.  Keep picking.

            Matt!  Distress.  Look up.  L.  Staring.  Blink.

            What?  Confused.

            What are you doing?  Worry.  Comes over.  Takes arm.  Stop, you’re bleeding.  Look down.  Eyes clear now.  Oh.  That explains the stickiness and burning.  It’s everywhere.  The floor.  The chair.  My clothes.  What were you doing?  Starts tending it.

            Cleaning.  I’m dirty.  I need another shower, but it won’t help.  Obviously.

            How many have you had today?  Wondering.

            Three.  I’ve used ten bars of soap.  Simple facts.

            Ten bars of soap?  In one day?  Roger.  Nod.  Stares at the wound.  The uncleanness.  Matt…  I’m sorry.  Convinced?

            You promise Near won’t hurt me?  Turned to L.  Nods.

            I promise.  Sincere.

            Thank you.  Gracious.

            I’ll take you back to bed and then we’ll decide what will be done.  Informing.  Allowing me to understand.  Nod.


            Were’ve you been?  Labored.

            With L.  Turn to bed.  Memory.  Shudder.  Can’t sleep there.  Sit on Mello’s.

            Doing what?  Curious.

            Convincing Roger I’m not a pathological liar.  Cynical.  Nice change.

            Did you tell?  Nod.  Hug from behind.  Good.  Now he’ll be taken care of.  Turn around.

            Thanks.  Nervous.

            For what?  Unaware.

            For beating him up.  And making me tell.  Saving me.

            Oh.  You’re welcome.  Oblivious.  You can stay in my bed if you’d like…  If you’re uncomfortable, I understand. 

            Not now.  Need a shower.  Stand up.  Can’t let Mello be dirty.

            Don’t care.  Get in bed.  You smell fine.  Grabs my hand.

            But…  Dirty.  So dirty.  Can’t infect Mello.

            Fine.  Take your shower.  Reluctant.  Go.  Shower.  Scrub.  Harsh.  Still dirty.  Walk out.  Now get in bed.  It’s after one.  Surprised.

            Still dirty, Mello.  Forlorn.

            How can you still be dirty?  You’ve been in there for over an hour!  Now get in bed!  Demanding.  Smile.  Lie down with him.

            Thank you.  Nervous, but relax.  Remember:  Mello, not Near.  Friend, not foe.  Comfort, not terror.  Sleep aide, not deterrent.  Need to tell him everything.  Not now.  When safe.


            Breakfast.  Dragged by Mello.  Near’s not there.  L says he’s gone on a ‘trip’.  Wants to speak with me.  Fills me in after breakfast.

            Near is in police custody and facing a trial.  This may require you to testify.  Could you?  Caring.  Nod.  Try.  Smiles.  Good.


            Near goes away.  For a long time.  L is the best detective.  Ever.  Found evidence, convincing presentation, authoritative grasp on the audience.  Amazing.

            Therapy happens.  Slowly working through it.  Hard but helping.  Mello helps.  Lots.

            Sharing his bed often.  Mine is tainted.  Holds me.  Anchors me.  Chases away fleeting bad thoughts.  Gives happiness.  Glad to have Mello.  Isn’t angry.  Doesn’t care about homework help.  So happy.

            Sometimes there are nightmares.  Near is here.  Angry.  Hurting.  Thrashing and shouting.  Wake Mello.  Wakes me.  Holds me.  Cry.  Cries with me.

            L protects me when Mello can’t.  So brotherly.  Love it.  Mello might be something deeper.  Won’t go into it now.  Wait until better.  Maybe something more.

            Still take scalding showers.  Hour at a time.  Mostly on the anniversary.  Scolded by Mello.  Then held.  Reward, really.  Tempted to do it more.  But it hurts him.  So, no.

            Considered suicide and cutting.  Therapy and Mello said ‘no’.  Agreed.

            Was depressed.  No gaming.  No eating.  No talking.  Just sleeping and showering.  Mello tried to help.  Very difficult.  On pills now.  Games are interesting.  Food tastes good.  Talking is fun.

            On the road to recovery, but a long way to go.  Hope to get off the pills.  Hope to get a new game.  Hope to have steak tonight.  Hope to talk to L. Hope to find Mello’s feelings.



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