Mello sat on the window-seat in his room, his eyes gazing out over the grounds, not really looking at anything.
That scene in the closet was humiliating...Near is sure to use it against me later. No...he isn't mean, he wouldn't do that. He...put his arms around me. Does that mean he felt sorry for me? Those words, were they fake...or did he just know that that's what I wanted to hear? All this time I've hated him for being better than me, when really all I wanted was just someone's approval....HIS approval. I never really cared about being first, I was just always doing what father expected of me. I was only trying to please him. But father isn't here right now, is he? What reason do I have to compete against Near anymore? It's all just pointless. I was wrong about Near this whole time.
Mello was still sitting in the window when Matt came in this room later that afternoon.
“Morning,” he said, sitting down in front of him.
Sighing, Mello closed his eyes. “You mean you aren't mad at me anymore?”
“Why would I be mad at you?” Matt replied.
Mello gave a small laugh. “I guess you have a point...”
“You know...” Matt said in a teasing voice. “That scar actually makes you look more handsome.”
Mello rolled his eyes. “You just love to irritate me, don't you?”
Matt stared at Mello for a minute, unable to help himself for the most part. “Maybe I do,” he said. And he roughly grabbed Mello and captured his lips with his own. When Mello tried to separate them, Matt pushed him back against the wall, sucking the breath out of him the same way Mello had done to him the other night.
“M-Matt...ah...h...!!” Mello finally managed to shove him away. When he did, Matt was grinning in a satisfied manner. “What the HELL was that!?”
“I told you – I love making you mad.”
“You know the rules. They haven't changed since last time.”
“That doesn't mean I can't break them sometimes,” Matt replied. “Every game has its cheat codes.”
“There isn't any room for cheat codes here,” Mello said.
Matt smirked and leaned forward again. “What are you so afraid of?” he asked. “Are you scared that you might actually start to feel something for me again? Feelings that never disappeared?”
Mello hit him, hard.
Laughing, Matt sat up and wiped the blood off of his lip. “Did I hit a nerve?”
Mello pounced on him, pinning him to the floor the same way he had done Near; maybe he was just getting used to hurting people?
“You don't know what you're talking about!” Mello said angrily.
“Don't deny what you know is the truth,” Matt replied.
“SHUT...UP!” Mello said, and he pushed Matt face-down on the floor.
The other boy pushed himself up on his knees. “...you only use this as an excuse. If you really just wanted me as a release of frustration, you could just hit me. But you do this, instead. That only proves it.”
“Shut up...” Mello said again, as he began to work his way inside, panting heavily as he relaxed against Matt's body. But he's right...I do need this. I really, really need it. Releasing everything inside of him...my frustrations, my anger, my confusions...I couldn't do it with anyone but him. Kaori was only a substitute...I felt nothing on those nights with her. I could forget, but it...wasn't the same. I need Matt, and he knows this. But I'm sick of him acting like he knows me like an open book...like he can just turn things around whenever he wants. I refuse to give him pleasure from this any longer! I'll hurt him enough to where he won't come back! I have to...keep pushing him away! I can't let him do this to me!!
Mello jerked forward hard, causing Matt to cry out.
“Shut up.” He only shoved down harder at Matt's whimpers.
“Hey! ...N..nnh...Ah...hh...s-stop! M-Mello...I...AH!” he bit down on his hand to keep from making noise, and his scream was slightly drowned out. Tears were coming to his eyes. “P-please...M-Mello, I...c-can't take a-any...more...s-stop..!!” He cried out again in pain.
Mello pressed Matt down harder against the floor and shoved deep inside.
“AH! Gods...” He was crying now. “M-Mello, stop, please....ah...h...”
Suddenly, the door opened and Mello froze.
Kaori was standing wide-eyed in the doorway, her hand over her mouth. “Oh my God...” Before Mello could say anything, she turned and ran back out of the dorms.
“Try and make me angry again,” Mello challenged, pulling himself up from the floor. Matt collapsed from exhaustion and relief against the floor, and didn't move as Mello got up and went after Kaori.
Just as she opened the door to the main hallway, Mello grabbed her wrist and shoved her against a wall.
“...ow!! Mello, let go!”
“You can't tell anyone about this,” he warned.
“I wasn't planning to...” she said quietly, her face a light tint of pink. “If you want to do...that together, then it's none of my business.”
“Kaori, he doesn't mean anything to me. I just...use him as an outlet, that's all.”
“Well you need to find a new way to get over your anger,” she said, glaring at him. “I can't believe Matt is still your friend, if that's the way you treat him.”
“He knows the rules of the game. He lets me use him.”
“You're sick,” she said. “You're sick!”
“If you're forgetting, I used you the same way.”
“Yeah, but...not like that! Not...face down on the floor like a dog! You at least treated me right, Mello! What you're doing to Matt is just...cruel!”
“I don't expect you to understand.”
“No, you're wrong! I do understand! I understand perfectly well!” she was close to tears. “I understand what it's like to be treated the way you're treating him!” And she jerked out of Mello's grip and fled out the door, crying.
“Kaori...can I come in?”
Kaori looked away from her window at the sound of Matt's voice. She remained seated.
Matt sighed. “Just give me a chance to explain what you saw, okay?”
Hesitating, Kaori went to the door and opened it. “I don't see what there is to explain. You're just as bad for letting Mello use you that way.”
“He used you too,” Matt replied, sitting on her bed.
“But he was nice to me, he didn't do...that! He didn't try and control me like he was you!” She cried. “I can't believe that...he would do this to you.”
“He has his reasons for doing so,” Matt replied.
“But I don't get it...why do you still stay Mello's friend with the way he treats you? Why do you allow it?” Kaori asked bemusedly as she sat beside him.
“Because...I just want to be with him. Mello was there for me when I needed him the most. He was the only thing I lived for at a time when all I wanted to do was die.”
Kaori recalled the scars she had seen before. “What happened?”
He raised up his arm and pulled back the sleeve. “These?” Matt gave a slight laugh. “I can't tell you how many times I tried it.”
“B-but why? Why did you...?”
“Because...I deserved to die,” he said, not meeting her eyes.
“How could you think that?!” she cried. “What ever could have made you think that ---!”
“...because I killed someone.”
This time Kaori was speechless. She went over Matt's statement in her head, trying to make sense of it. “Wh-what...?”
“A year ago...before I came here.”
“Okay...” Kaori said. “Please, explain to me...because I really don't....”
Matt gave a long sigh. “Ever since I was a kid, my family had to scrape by in everything. Even when my parents worked two jobs, we still didn't make enough money...we owed bills, taxes.... My parents eventually got into debt, and we lost almost everything. They started selling drugs, just to make money. When the police arrested them, they ended up dying in prison. With no one to take care of me, I had to start stealing from others just to survive....” He took a deep breath, and his voice started quivering. “One night, I snuck into someone's place to steal jewelry. I always carried a gun, just in case I ever needed one – you know? Well, when I was digging through the place, I hear someone in the doorway...I figure it's the dad, you know? He must have heard something and decided to come and see what it was. So I...I turn around, and without thinking I – I shot it....” His voice broke.
“You shot the owner of the house?” she asked.
Matt shook his head, and tears began to streak down his face. “No...” he said, his voice a high whisper as he buried his face in his hands. “...It was the daughter! ...She couldn't have been more than five....” He started sobbing.
Kaori was at a loss for words. “Wh-what did you do after...?”
“I ran! What do you think I did, I ran! I was scared!” he sobbed. “I ran back to Mello's place... He was running away from his parents, because they were going to send him to some school.... and we decided to go together. So...we came here...”
“I couldn't live with the guilt....I...I kept wanting to die so badly. I tried, on a number of occasions...and every time, Mello stopped me. He was the only person who cared about me, and if it weren't for him, I would have....” He took another breath and tried to steady his voice. “Ever since we were kids, Mello meant everything to me. I ....”
“You loved him, didn't you?” she said softly.
“I always did. I didn't care if I had to suffer, as long as he was happy.”
“But you don't deserve the way he's treating you!” Kaori said.
“I only want to be with Mello...and if this is the only way that can happen, I don't mind,” Matt replied.
“Matt...he's treating you like a dog...”
“You don't understand...it wasn't always like this between us.”
“Then what changed?” she asked.
“Ever since we came here, Mello's been obsessed with him. He's lost so much control over everything -including most of his sanity, I'm sure- that he feels he needs to control me in order to find a balance between everything. Without me, I'm pretty sure he would go insane.”
“B-but that's still wrong, Matt!”
“...I don't expect you to understand the situation.”
“I understand more than you two think I do!” she cried, standing up from the bed. “I understand that Mello is treating you more like his bitch than his friend!”
“How would you know?!”
“Because ..!! Because my father treated me the same way!! I know how it feels to...to be bent backward every night just because you're the object of someone's anger and frustration!!”
Matt's expression froze, and Kaori's eyes stayed fixed on the floor – fighting to hold back tears.
“Kaori...what your father did...that was different...”
“Oh come on, it's the same!! He's using you, it doesn't matter if you let him or not! If you expect to get his love by letting him do this to you, it isn't going to happen! You aren't going to get what you want this way! It's not possible! What he...what he's doing to you isn't love.... Maybe he's just trying to pretend he doesn't love you, but that still doesn't mean that what he's doing is right!”
“How am I supposed to know if the way he treats me is right?!” Matt asked.
“You said that it didn't always used to be this way, right?” she said. “That he didn't always treat you this way. Think back to those times, how it felt then. It wasn't like that, was it? He wasn't forcing you face down on the floor and listening to you scream!”
Matt thought for a minute, recalling the memories that had been hidden in his mind for so long. Tears welled in his eyes and he put a hand to his mouth.
“Matt...” Kaori went over and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You know?” He said, his voice growing high-pitched. “I barely even remember how it used to feel.... He used to be so kind to me, he never...” He trailed off and shook his head.
“Matt.....” she began, and then froze. I realize now...that I was searching for the same thing he is now. He just wants Mello to love him again, the way it used to be. He thinks if he continues letting Mello use him this way, then he'll eventually get what he wants. I know that that's impossible now. Love isn't about control...or sex. What Mello and I had been doing all this time didn't mean we loved each other. He was drowning his frustrations in me the same way he had been with Matt. And I...I was just trying to find something, anything to show that there was a right way to be with someone.... Even if I'm still confused about everything else, one thing is clear. When I was with Mello...my feelings were different from before. I didn't feel dominated, or scared...the way my father always made me feel. I do have an idea of how it feels to be treated right. Mello's only abused Matt all this time...and I suppose you wouldn't expect him to realize... Kaori went over to the bed, and touched Matt's face with her hand as he started crying. “I'll remind you then,” she said. Bringing his face forward, she gently -softly- pressed their lips together. I know I don't love Matt, and maybe I'm only being selfish and just want this for me, but.... She felt Matt tense, the same way she had when Mello had first kissed her. “Just relax,” she said softly.
Kaori slowly pulled Matt down on the bed with her.
“What am I supposed to do?” he asked.
She smiled. “Just pretend I'm Mello.”
-End of Chapter 20-