Tear You Apart

BY : Duomi
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 5736
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.

Chapter Title: With Cat-Like Tread

Disclaimer: Death Note isn't mine. If it were... this is pretty much what would have happened, actually.

Rating: R

Pairing: Kira/L

Comments: I'm back! Sorry, I've been a complete bastard these last weeks, and instead of keeping on top of things and working a bit each day on this like I previously did, I managed to convince myself that I'm complete crap at storytelling and the world would be better off if I stuck to things I'm more competent at, like reading or art. In the end, I decided if anyone's still willing to read, I would like to finish this story, wherever it takes me, and just work to keep it something I enjoy. Hopefully, you'll all continue to like it. Good thing about this: after taking about two months for a mental vacation, I've got ideas for chapters 12 and up...! I'd only gotten to 11 before, and I think the brick wall my brain then crashed into had some contributions to my hiatus. Thank Mello and Matt, though! This scene would not get out of my head, so they started me writing again.

As a side note, did y'all notice that the PSP wasn't released in Japan until December of 2004, and other places even later...? I completely forgot that-- it wouldn't have been around 'til what... the day before Mello's birthday? Damn. Now changing previous mention of PSPs to Game Boy...!

-----

"...two dead and twenty-seven injured in the continued Kira Riots of France, now in their third day..."

Mello watched the evening news with mild interest, snapping an occasional bite of his latest chocolate bar. Matt, on the couch beside him, kept up a muttered stream of invective at his favorite Game Boy adventure. The habit was familiar enough to Mello that it rarely irritated the volatile young man.

The news droned on.

"...would-be Senator Michal Phelps died in a hunting accident just two hours ago. The man, most known to the public for his controversial stands on subjects ranging from abortion to the rise of Kira, was also a staunch supporter of the NRA..."

With an irritated sigh, Mello collapsed into the couch cushions, a severe frown twisting his lips that even the sweet taste of chocolate couldn't erase. "Shit, this is boring. At least the riots had arson and murder, that guy was just an idiot..."

"Yeah," Matt drawled noncommittally, goggled eyes locked on his game. "It's so much more fun when people are killing each other off, right?"

Mello snorted, dragging a booted foot onto the couch and taking a decisive bite. "Like those games you're always playing are better?"

"Animated violence. It's not the same thing."

"Yeah, it's less interesting," Mello retorted. Annoying his easy-natured friend took ingenuity, but it was a hobby Mello took some pride in, though he wasn't above taking cheap-shots. Any direct insult to gaming as a whole or games Matt loved in particular was a quick way to shut the boy down and send him into a nettled silence.

This time was no different-- Matt hunched closer to his game, the line of his back telling Mello he'd scored a hit.

Smugly self-satisfied, the blond returned his attention to the television in time to see the reporter discussing a recent death.

"...young actress had received acclaim for her roles in several series, and most recently was set for a part in the latest film by Nishinaka, which would have starred popular idol Hideki Ryuga as well as Amane Misa. Due to MisaMisa's revelation as the second Kira, however, production was put on hold. Kaiou-san's body was discovered early this morning by her mother. Officials say the cause of death appears to be natural-- an aneurism of the brain that occurred during the night. This is a tragedy that hits close to the heart, and our thoughts, and prayers, are with Kaiou-san and her family." The reporter took a moment, either to recover his composure or to wait for an appropriate length of time before moving on to the sports segment.

Mello clicked the TV off, the last bite of chocolate forgotten in his mouth. Tossing the remote aside, he swallowed. "That was interesting..."

"...What, that they called it a tragedy even though the girl just died in her sleep?" Matt asked, pulled reluctantly from his pointed ignoring of his companion. "That's not that interesting, it's always a 'tragedy' when they're young. I think they have a set list of words, so they just need to fill in the news report like an ad-lib--"

"No, shut up," Mello cut in casually, dismissing Matt's words and crumpling his wrapper absently. "I meant the girl, in general. She works with Amane, then dies in her sleep after the second Kira goes missing? That's too much of a fucking coincidence."

"So then it's probably not a coincidence," Matt shrugged. His face gravitated closer to his game as it did when he was approaching a boss battle, and his tone became more distracted. "Great thinking, it'll probably give us a lead..."

When it became obvious that the other youth was going to sit on this possible lead on the Kira case and play games instead, Mello favored Matt with an appalled glare. "Matt. Matt." The red-head appeared not to hear, muttering stats to himself as his fingers furiously tapped at the handheld's buttons. "You're completely useless as a sidekick, you know that? Get off your ass and find out something about Kaiou for me."

Matt agreed with a noncommittal grunt, not moving his eyes from the game.

Mello rebounded the empty wrapper off of the other genius' hair. Matt ignored it. A punch to Matt's arm was shrugged off, and a sharp kick to the other boy's side only caused Matt to fall sideways with a curse, fingers a rapid blur as he made a narrow save. He didn't even bother to straighten himself from where he'd fallen, too absorbed by the game.

---

Cold metal touched the side of Matt's head, and his breath stopped for a moment as he froze instinctively. "M-- Mello?" His eyes slid sideways, straining to look along the blond's lithely muscled arm to the pale eyes of a natural predator.

Mello gave a slow smile.

The gun pulled smoothly away, and Mello rested his gun arm casually on the back of the couch, a smug glint in his naturally intense eyes. "That worked better than I thought."

"What the hell were you thinking?!" Matt snapped when his heart started beating again. Tearing his goggles off, he lifted onto one knee on the couch, only the thought of Mello's gun stopping him from pounding his friend's face in a real-life battle simulation. "That thing is loaded!"

"Of course it's loaded, it's for shooting people," Mello retorted. "Anyway, the safety's on."

"It's for shooting other people, not me." Letting out a breath, Matt pulled his goggles back on, keeping them on top of his head. "...Don't do that again, all right?"

A shrug was his response. "Sure, whatever."

"I mean it, Mello," Matt asserted. "Get it through your crazy head--" He realized Mello was watching him with boredom, expecting a lecture. Grimacing, he sighed and retrieved his handheld, turning it off. "Nevermind, I should have expected that. I don't even know why I'm surprised-- of course you'd threaten your friends with a gun."

"Friends?" Mello inquired drolly.

"Friend," Matt corrected. He rolled his eyes in a long-suffering way and sighed. "Why do I follow you around, anyway? I bet Near wouldn't try to shoot--" The gun returned to Matt's head, and Matt smirked this time. Ignoring the semi-auto, he pulled their small laptop over to his side of the coffee table and pulled it out of standby. "That won't work twice."

"The safety's off, this time."

Matt's eyes flew to Mello, who met his incredulous gaze with a wicked smirk. Sighing explosively, Matt glared and knocked Mello's hand away with one glove. "Crazy bloody git," the younger man muttered. Lighting up a cigarette, he took a calming drag, then set the filter to his lips to free his hands. His focus turned to the laptop and he instantly settled into his job, tapping keys faster than Mello could follow and with his eyes dulling almost to a trance.

---

Always grudgingly fascinated by his friend's skill with technology, Mello lounged on the couch, one boot resting against Matt's side. The concentration Matt put into this sort of work made his attention to video games pale in comparison, and Mello toyed with the idea of his usual hobbies when Matt had a project-- kicking him, putting ridiculous bows in his hair, or drawing on him, knowing the other man would disregard such non-essential interference until his task, whatever it had been, was complete.

Instead, he satisfied himself with watching the screen as windows flashed and disappeared, Matt slipping seamlessly through search engines, back doors and databases both government and commercial.

When the cigarette, forgotten, threatened to drop its burning ash onto the distracted genius' lap, Mello darted forward and plucked it from Matt's lips.

Eyes thoughtful and unusually serious, he rolled the filter briefly between his fingers and considered the glowing end of it before putting it out in a half-full ashtray on the table. The smoking was a habit he bitched about, but in a way, the sharp smell of the smoke had become as familiar to the mercurial young man as Matt's constant, shadowing presence.

---

After nearly an hour, Mello became bored with watching the evidence of Matt's abilities and instead resorted to balancing bits of chocolate between his teeth while seeing how quickly he could load, unload and draw his firearm from his horizontal position.

He was just finishing a draw and bringing his gun to bear when Matt emerged from the depths of the data-streams with a quick intake of air. Shaking his head to clear it, Matt blinked at Mello, saw the gun pointed square at his head, and gave Mello a look which clearly stated Mello's methods of amusing himself made his sanity come into question.

Deciding to ignore that for now, the red-head concentrated on his findings. "I've got a riddle for you. How does someone buy a one-way ticket to L.A. and die three days later in Japan?"

Mello swallowed his chocolate, idly scratching the side of his neck with the barrel of his gun. Matt winced. "She took the flight?" the blond inquired.

"The ticket was picked up," Matt confirmed.

A cruel smile spread across Mello's face, and he let out a wicked laugh, head tilting back on the arm of the couch. "No wonder we couldn't track her down from here-- the little bitch didn't go anywhere. She's got guts," he chuckled grudgingly, body languid now with self-satisfaction. "Luckily, she's also an idiot. Hey, Matt," he prompted, a rare smile still on his mouth as his pale eyes gleamed with mirth. "Want to go to Hollywood? I hear an actress we've been waiting to see might be in the area..."

Seeming slightly distracted as he watched his friend, Matt blinked and took a moment to respond. "Huh? --Yeah, Hollywood, right."

Mello's smile faded as he studied the technology addict. "What?" Instantly, his temper flared, expression darkening as he levered himself up on one elbow. "If you don't want to go, just fucking say it. I don't need you along, I just--"

"Whoa-- Mello! Calm down," Matt parried instantly, lifting his hands and obviously exasperated. "I'll go, I want to go. You just... don't usually laugh," he finished, uncomfortable. "Not since..."

"The little robot showed up and took my place?" Mello bit out. "Making the meaning of my existence pretty much fucking worthless? That?" Shrugging, Mello sat up, reaching blindly for his half-eaten chocolate bar and taking a fierce bite. "Don't worry, I'm over it."

"..." Matt regarded his companion with a frown, attempting to think of a response that wouldn't be sarcastic enough to tip Mello from pissed-off-at-the-world to must-kill-Matt. He finally settled on, "Yeah, sure," in a doubtful tone of voice and allowed the subject to drop.

A tense silence crackled between them, fading gradually over the next hour. When it seemed safe again, Matt broached the subject of plane tickets and packing, and they returned to their accustomed bickering as their plans developed.

---

One room over, Stephen Loud, alias Stephen Gevanni, sat on his bed with one hand to the headphones on his ear. Arrayed around the room was an impressive display of surveillance equipment, showing Matt and Mello from several angles as Gevanni listened in to the audio taps.

His mission had been kept a secret from the others at the Kira Headquarters, and he had slipped quietly from the consciousness of all but Near and Rester. Near was convinced that any others learning of Mello's whereabouts would spell disaster to Mello's chances at finding the second Kira-- and, from Stephen's analysis of the character traits of the other Investigation members, Stephen believed this to be an accurate conclusion.

The night after Yumi's return, Near had assigned Stephen the task of locating Mello in private. He was contacted nightly by the boy, who would receive updates on his progress from Stephen's temporary apartment within Tokyo.

In the end, it hadn't been any information gleaned from Yumi's confused recollections of the area where she'd been held that led to Stephen's discovery of Mello's whereabouts, but Mello's own addiction.

Near had provided Stephen with what information he had on Mello as far as habits and appearance were concerned. Given that Yumi, too, had corroborated with Near's account of Mello's fanaticism toward chocolate, Stephen had eventually, at his wit's end, hacked into the files for Hershey's international division on an impulse.

After much monotonous searching of account logs, he had found a breakthrough: An account, several years old, had transferred its end location from a privately owned orphanage in Winchester to a hotel in Tokyo. Boxes of plain Hershey bars were delivered regularly to the location.

A little more digging had landed Stephen the alias used by Mello in his hotel room, and Stephen had worked to book a room directly adjacent to the boys'.

For the past few days, Stephen had set up his small espionage empire in the room, installing several of his beloved subjects in Mello and Matt's residence while the two were out game-shopping and mingling with the Tokyo underworld. His time since then had been largely filled with detached observation, though he'd developed a healthy dislike of Mello's personality and found that he had a strange craving for both chocolate and video games by the second day-- habits he'd never before been inclined toward.

Humming a song from Silent Hill 4 the microphones had relayed to him earlier in the day, Stephen took another bite of his cooled dinner-- provided by room service some hour and a half before-- and a sip of cold tea, reminding himself to order something fresh before setting the drink aside and immediately forgetting again. Finally pulling his gaze from the young geniuses, the reconnaissance expert called up an email program and sent off a report to one of Near's accounts.

He received a response within minutes. The message was simple: a list of the flights from Japan to L.A. the next day, along with instructions for Stephen to pick up his reserved ticket from whichever plane Mello chose and an order to keep close watch on both subjects.

Having expected as much, Stephen sent off a quick confirmation and closed the program to bring up his cameras once more. Matt had moved to the television, and after zooming the camera in on the boy and screen, Stephen sighed. "GTA again? I never thought I'd feel nostalgic for Zelda..." he muttered.

Shaking his head, the agent settled in for another long night.

-----

Michal Phelps was gotten from seventhsanctum.com's name generator. I found it by way of Nilahxapiel, and it's incredibly useful! With Cat-Like Tread is from Pirates of Penzance. I've wanted to use this as a chapter-title since I started TYA... can't explain why, really, but it amuses me, so hey! Figured this'd be my last chance to use that for Mello, because some serious happenings are coming up in the next few chapters (few is a relative term!) and while irony is fun, naming some of the stuff I have planned something this tongue-in-cheek might be too much. Vague enough for you? Yay! Also, the situation of the song suits this chapter perfectly.

Learning from my mistakes of the last chapter, which was full of Epic Fail, I didn't make this ridiculously long and kept it to its purpose. I'll try my hardest to get the next chapter out in a reasonable period of time...!

Review responses:

WM : It's okay! I think most people haven't looked much through 13. Also, L is planning to stay, reluctantly, for now. Mostly since he has to for the shit to properly hit the fan.

shadowform: I love your reviews...! L really has accepted that Light is now pretty much Kira, and for his part, Light isn't particularly bothered being called by either name, since he's always been fairly proud (when he has his memories) of having a nickname of his own. And the "my death would be your fault" bit did refer back to the beginning...! Light's perfectly willing to use L's emotions against him. For the technicalities... I've been thinking on those a lot lately! If I get to fix up GM later, I may find a way to work some of those in as an explanation... it seems like it might work. Better, at least, than leaving everything as-is with a "whoops! My bad.". I'm glad you liked the chapter, though...! I'm unhappy with it.

Lila: Aww-- I hate the Daily Downtime! I would have loved that review, but I appreciate that you sent this one as well! I'm happy that you like the story so much. Thanks for sticking with me!

Gloria B.: Yay! Glad you liked their interactions, they're always super fun to write. Their fighting amuses me. Also, I love writing Matt and Mello... *laughs*

Nusku: Eh, I'm so used to Jpn voice actors for girly guys being females it wouldn't bother me! Usually it just amuses me.

Specimennumber1: Oh! Having notebad and bad eyesight, you poor thing! I wish you luck with continued writing, then! If nothing else, I could always beta it if I get the time. I look forward to seeing the picture, but you don't need to hire out for backgrounds. *laughs* I'm sure I'll love it either way. Thanks for reviewing!

Kitty: Sorry it annoyed you...! If something bothers you, please, point it out to me! I won't take offense, and I like to have constructive criticism. It makes me think about it and what to change, and shows you're paying attention, so that's always delightful. And as for them getting caught... *seals lips and grins* We'll definitely see. Also! I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and happy you stayed up so late to read it, even if that's bad to do! Thanks for reviewing, and I hope to see you around. (...In an internet sense, not in a stalking sense.)

Viridian Kat: Light calling L "master"?! Omg, you made Light a Renfield? That made me snicker too much. Getting back into the groove of writing is important-- it's hard to once you're out of it...! Also, I've started downloading some Nightwish, so I'll definitely listen to more. Thanks for the recommendation, and review!


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