Near had always hated hospitals. It wasn’t that he particularly minded death or sickness, but it was always hardest to see the affect it had on others. Slack and sullen faces, hollow eyes with sleep deprived shadows under them, their words came out in grief stricken stutters and their hands shook non-stop from the caffeine they gulped down to keep them awake. Was that how Near looked right now? He’d be lucky if he looked that good, he thought, he felt like he was merely a ghost. Perhaps a skeleton was a better description, nothing more than skin stretched over bones at this point. He had the Kira case to thank for this terrible state.
Ever since the case had ended, weeks ago by now, the rush of a high profile case faded and the guilt took over. Near was the only one to come out of the confrontation without harm. After deciding to team up, Mello had been the one to take the physical damage. Matt had died. It was classic survivor guilt. But it was slowly destroying him. While everyone else was celebrating the end of a serial killer, throwing extravagant banquets for the white haired detective, honoring him with plaques and medals, Near couldn’t stop thinking about his long time rival and short term partner. He couldn’t have done it without Mello. These thoughts were eating him alive. He hadn’t slept for days now, he hadn’t ate more than a few bites of a gas station tuna sandwich and he couldn’t work. Something had to be done.
So here Near was, walking down the sterile white halls of the hospital Mello currently resided in. It was almost pathetic that the thought to visit hadn’t occurred until it began to personally affect him. He hadn’t come to thank him, or to check up on him, he’d come to alleviate his own guilt. But they’d never really been close, Mello was more of a bully than a friend. They’d only temporarily patched their relationship in order to solve the case, and it was closed now. He was making excuses. Deep down Near new exactly what they were to each other, and what they weren’t. The door was already cracked when he arrived, so following two short knocks he peeked into the room. “Mello?”