the nature of light and sound, and the duality of ambition versus desire.
The room is filled with a heavy mechanical buzzing, a soft murmur and whir that never quite fades, even after Mello falls asleep – it drifts on into his dreams, a backdrop, all around him. Cameras and audio recording devices aside, he's pretty sure that every fucking instrument in the room does not need to be on all the time – that the endless patches of blue and green lights, minute rectangles of color in a sea of silver and gray hardware, are wholly unnecessary. For God's sake, no one can play five video games on five separate platforms at the same time, and after the fifth night he's absolutely certain that it's just a preference Mat has: like there's some kind of itch deep down behind his elbows or at the small of his back that he can't let alone unless he has electric music at his fingers, unless there's a perpetual vibration against his bones.
Even in bed, his handheld is on the nightstand next to his cigarettes, sleep mode, battery draining steadily because /he won't turn the fucking thing off/, like he's got to have something right next to his head pumping out radiation and electromagnetic waves, all night, straight into his brain.
Occasionally, Mello wonders if it's why he's always got his sunglasses on – because of the lights, the soft glow of half a dozen screens. Even when they're fucking, he doesn't take them off.
Even now, with Mat beneath him, inside of him, he can't even tell if the other boy is looking at him or the ceiling or what. It's frustrating, because he hates it when the stakes aren't even – when he can't read the face of his opponent. But Mat has his hands on his waist, bucks his hips up slowly, deliberately, and keeps this soft rhythm as Mello gasps, just a little, hardly able to stand it. But it doesn't empty his mind, because a small part of him wonders if it shouldn't be him with the sunglasses, with a mask to cover up the scar that is half his face – Mat is the beautiful one, after all, and though it's hard to tell when he's always hooked up to something, when he never says anything, Mello thinks that he's also loyal, and past the point of self-sacrifice; it's just a feeling he gets.
But feelings aren't facts, and everything circles back to the sunglasses, all over again, because Mello tries to meet Mat's eyes and can't. There's a small, mercurial smile that flutters on his mouth and Mello leans down to put his teeth against it, drags his dry lips over a dark nipple on the way before covering the soft moan it creates, and he figures if Mat isn't even looking at him, who the fuck cares about his face – the lights aren't even on, just the glow of computers, like a tiny city built all around them.
Just as they finish, Mat takes Mello's face in his warm hands and kisses him, slow and deep and in time with the last shuddering movements of their bodies.
If Mello was the kind of person who could understand the subtle nuances of unstructured emotion, he would know all about Mat – truths, and reasons, and what it means to kiss someone during sex, when sex is all it's supposed to be, even if you're friends; to stretch your arms out, hook yourself around them (protectively: preemptively) until they fall asleep.
How to communicate without words, because there comes a point in time when they aren't necessary.
Mello isn't this kind of person, though – he needs people to talk about what they're thinking in order to know it. He still views emotions as thoughts; it is only in this way that they are comprehensible to him.
Mat, however, is exactly this kind of person. It goes without saying that he understands Mello implicitly, and perhaps unconsciously. They have been friends for a long time, and when you're fourth in line for the throne and you have a god right in front of you, any scrap of ambition falls away like water, useless. He has gone into this with no expectations, only a vague and fundamental desire to see Mello succeed – or, at the very least, to see Mello happy.
But Mello's own ambition sparks and smolders and explodes like a solar flare, and Mat thinks with resignation that, for him, the two would go hand-in-hand.
He also thinks that, quite probably, Mello will never be happy. Mat does what he can, however – and, squinting across the pillow at the pale, sleeping face next to his own, he hopes that, at the very least, the light won't go out of him while he's still alive.
Hopes that he'll be able to live even if it does.
When Mat dies, Mello backs up the data, cleans out the apartment, and pawns off all the superfluous mechanical equipment until he's left with one adequate desktop and a video surveillance contact on the off chance he might need another espionage expert in the future.
When Mat dies, Mello focuses all his energy on this one, singular goal and enfolds his body in the newfound isolation until his desire is the only thing real to him; he works ceaselessly, without sleep, until the shadows are long beneath his eyes and his subordinates, while cautious with their words to begin with, will now only speak when spoken to. He tells himself that Mat's death threw the facts into perspective, that he really isn't any closer to proving Raito is Kira, that he needs to get his ass in gear or everything he's done, Near's done, and even that L has done, will be worthless.
When Mat dies, Mello takes three days to figure out that it's the silence keeping him awake.