|As the Bell Rings
Author: Lady of Weirdness PM
AU: "Unless you see the error of your ways, as soon as this clock tower rings midnight on Christmas, you will die."Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Yamato I./Matt & Mimi T. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 57,393 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 23 - Updated: 03-24-13 - Published: 11-27-09 - id: 5540339
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As the Bell Rings
- Chapter 4: December 19 -
Yamato could not help but gaze the setting sky above his head. He squinted seeing the dark gray clouds roll in making itself comfortable in the atmosphere. Putting all the focus on the sky above him, Yamato was caught unguarded as the nippy winter wind hugged his upper neck. Yamato brought his chin down as his hands fixed his blue scarf. He pulled the soft material up to create another barrier around his neck.
He released a shiver. His warm breath mixed with the cold air to make the small warm vapor near his lips. Yamato stopped at a corner. He faced the left side, then the right. He took a moment to scratch his head.
He hated to admit it, but he was lost.
"Shit, I knew I should have written the directions down."
"And you didn't because…?"
Yamato ignored Jou's nagging question as he turned to the left. "I hope this is the right way," Yamato mumbled pushing his non-prescription glasses up.
"So who were those people back there…?" Jou started as Yamato scanned for the store, "How are you related?"
"You mean Taichi and Sora?" Yamato shoved his hands into the warmth of his pockets. Jou nodded in response. Yamato looked down and slightly kicked a rock that stood in his path, "They were my closest friends in high school. Well, actually, it's a funny story." Yamato smiled, shuffling his feet in the light layer of snow.
When Yamato took a moment to kick the familiar rock, his vision followed the small pebble roll itself into a clear paved street. Yamato quickly raised his head to see the familiar high school courtyard. The pathway filled up with the fallen cherry blossom petals. A little wind picked up the loose petals. Yamato followed the realistic beauty until his eyes caught sight of a girl who wore a school uniform.
The girl turned as the copper hair swept past her shoulder. Her light and warm eyes met with Yamato's. She cocked her head to the side and smiled, "You're in my class, right? I'm Takenouchi Sora. Nice to meet you."
"Ahhh, I see…" Jou smirked as he leaned his left arm on Yamato's still shoulder. Jou placed a hand on his hip as one foot crossed the other. "Love at first sight…" He released a chuckle. "Seems like a smooth relationship."
"Not exactly," Yamato scoffed as he turned at his heel. A tanned finger pointed immediately directly at him surprised Yamato.
"You won. Ya happy, ya punk?"
Yamato squinted seeing a familiar unruly mop of hair before him. Yamato's brows came together as a voice as low as a whisper escaped, "You're Taichi?"
"Of course you know my name," Taichi growled as the arm holding the soccer ball braced tighter, "Because I'mma kill you if you hurt her." Taichi threatened as a grip clasped Yamato's collar. "She's been my best friend since we were 4, so she's really special to me." Taichi shoved Yamato back as he released the blond's collar. Taichi made one last glare before walking passed the blond.
"Your life is full of surprises, isn't it?" Jou nudged. "You've hooked up with a pretty girl and developed a rival within a quarter of a school year. That's pretty impressive." Jou patted Yamato on the shoulder.
"It wasn't always like that." Jou glanced to the side as they saw Yamato's teenage self on the soccer field with Sora.
She was sitting on the grass with her legs in an L-formation. Her arms leaned to the right side as her hands took hold of her right foot. After staying still for half a minute, she tented her arms as her head rolled up to see Yamato finishing up his stretches.
"So let me get this straight," Sora wrinkled her face trying to grasp what her now ex-boyfriend had just said, "You want me to tell you what I think about Taichi? Why do you ask?"
Yamato shifted his lip up as he rolled his shoulders, "Don't you think he might have a…" His voice trailed off as Sora tilted her head to the side, waiting for him to continue.
She raised her brow, "A what? You're walking around something that is clearly the objective of this conversation."
"You know," Yamato scratched his head. He didn't know what was more embarrassing: having his ex-girlfriend find out that her best friend has a crush on her, or having to be the one to tell her about it.
Sora stood up on her feet as she grabbed the soccer ball. She gave him an exaggerated sigh. "Just say it! We're wasting valuable time to practice." She bounced the ball on her knees. "I have a game tomorrow and you know that. I need to practice."
"Possibly, Taichi likes you?" Sora lowered her knee as the ball softly landed on the grass. For a few moments of silence, Sora's mouth gaped open.
"So your friends ended up marrying each other…?" Jou chuckled looking at Sora's shocked expressed. "That's quite funny actually."
"Is it really that funny?" Yamato scoffed turning at Jou who took his arm off the blond.
"Well, you broke up with her because…?"
Yamato shrugged. "I don't remember."
"Bullshit." Jou spat with a smirk on his face. "You know exactly why."
"No," Yamato retorted, "I do not."
Jou paused and squinted. "Commitment issues?"
Yamato opened his mouth to make some type of comeback but quickly closed his mouth. "I was serious with the next girlfriend I had."
Jou fixed his picture and shoved his hands in his pockets. He cocked an eyebrow, "Were you?"
There was a sudden hint of cool air that whisked in front of Yamato's face. His eyes blinked several times before the shallow layer of snow on the sidewalk came into view. He quickly shook his head as his jumbled thoughts began to settle in his head.
He looked forward and saw the glowing tarp, Family Mart. Yamato released a sigh as the automatic doors slid open. He walked in no longer feeling the nippy winds. Yamato scanned for the milk, while silently thanking God for being tall enough to look over the shelves.
Yamato's vision caught one or two wondering eyes staring at him. He scoffed inwardly when he pushed his fake glasses back up the bridge of his nose, it must be this getup…
When Yamato caught sight of the milk, he began to walk towards the refrigerated area.
"So tell me…" Yamato rolled his eyes as Jou's usual voice came ringing. "Were you interested in that girlfriend of yours because she was a pretty face?"
"That's not true," Yamato took the carton in his hands. He paused as the door of the refrigerator closed, "Well, not entirely at least. She was definitely a surprise—" Yamato felt Jou raise his brow. Yamato whipped his vision to Jou who replied back with a playful grin. "Can you stop making that face?"
"So what made her different?" Jou pegged on. "Was it her smile…? Her personality…? Her body…?" Jou, for some odd reason, pegged harder on that note.
Yamato took the time to read the brand of milk, "I don't know. it's been years." He lied through grinding teeth. "Maybe she had a bright smile, a warm personality about her too…I guess." Yamato lowered his voice, "And her body wasn't bad either." Yamato caught Jou's smug face on the corner of his eye. "For someone who claims to be my conscience, you seem to have a pretty dirty mind."
"It's all based on what you said, her looks—"
"—but that's not it. She was different. She was empathetic. All her emotions are clearly across her face. She was… was…"
Yamato eyed Jou. "First, you make my flashbacks so real, almost like the point that I can tangentially feel everything. Now, you are trying to search through my memories for her face?"
"Well, I wondered if she was a brunette." Jou shrugged. "With honey eyes, creamish colored skin…?"
"How do you do that?" Yamato asked in disbelief, "Tell me… can you see her clearly implemented in my mind?"
"In your mind, no," Jou shook his head, "but there is a girl over there are fit that description."
Yamato felt his breath literally get caught in his throat. He gulped down loudly. His head slowly turned towards the shopper to his left.
A female of average height dressed in a dark green mid-thigh trench coat and red flowing skirt and matching brown boots stood in front of a small variety of eggs.
The strangest part of it all? Thought it's been ten years, it looked like she hasn't aged at all.
"I can honestly say this is the only time you've ever stopped talking to me." Jou commented, bringing a small chuckle. "You okay there?"
Yamato watched her argue with herself as she would take a carton and place it back. Her chestnut-brown hair was not long, but long enough to grace passed her shoulders. Her right hand's fingers curled around her chin as the other rested on her rested on her thigh as she leaned forward. Her plumped lips moved slightly due to her inaudible whispers before she leaned back to cross her arms.
"So is that her?" Jou raised his brow. "How do you even know?"
Yamato released a breath that could be mistaken for a quick laugh, "The omamouri charm on her bag. That's her good luck charm. I gave it to her when we had a field trip to Kyoto in high school."
Jou eyed the small pink tag hanging on a white string off the side of her shoulder bag. It looked used and slightly worn, however the stitched "find happiness" was still dark enough to read.
"Mimi…" He whispered softly. She was standing before him, ten years later. She was everything to him back then. Was this a sign? "You sent me here, didn't you?" Yamato asked looking at Jou sternly, "To this very spot, to see her? Talk to her again?"
"My job is to help you find your way," Jou made a scowl remark, "not seek out old lovers in a local convenience store." Jou eyed Yamato in his strange awkward state. "What are you waiting for?" Jou huffed giving Yamato a small push. "Talk to the damn girl."
Yamato stumbled forward, but thankfully not enough to crash into her. He fixed himself by straightening his jacket and pushing his fake glasses up further the bridge of his nose. He forced the breath of air out of his lungs before stumbling a little towards her.
"My man is doomed." Jou sighed having his fingers already massage his forehead, preparing for the disaster to come.
The petite brunette adjusted her shoulder bag as she took hold of the plastic carton from the open case fridge. Mimi eyed the 10 eggs nestled in the clear plastic container. Her wavy sunkist brown hair fell passed her shoulder as an important question came out of her mouth, "Was I supposed to get one or two?"
Yamato heard Mimi start to hum a tune as her mind contemplated on her small dilemma. He couldn't help but smile. 'It's hard to believe she still remembers…'
His feet stopped when he finally reached her right side. She stared at him with the corner of her eye. Her attention immediately focused on the stack of eggs and the bottle of green tea before her.
"Good evening," Yamato said in a low voice, adding some lingering awkwardness in the air. "You're buying eggs for dinner? Having someone special over?"
Mimi's gaze lowered. The corner of Yamato's mouth lowered. He remembered that she often received romantic advances back then. Nowadays would probably be no exception. She had been hit on plenty of times since puberty. Some, of course, were more welcoming than others. She couldn't help it if she was naturally pretty to the naked eye. Obviously, he used to be the one who warded those gadfly advancers away.
Mimi placed the carton in the small plastic basket, turned her left, and walked away. Yamato felt panic run through his veins as he tried to catch up to her. After taking not more than 5 steps, he finally had enough courage to stand before her. She looked up at him.
Yamato felt his throat close. His nervous hands were out, almost like he was ready to push her back. "Wait…" He said softly.
Catching her off guard, Mimi accidentally dropped the plastic bottle of green tea. It rolled to the base of Yamato's feet. Once it made contact, the reflective force caused the bottle roll back a small distance back. Yamato bent down and picked up the green themed bottle and handed it back to her with a small smile.
Mimi raised her arm over her chest as she leaned back, readjusting the carton and bottle on her hands. She stared intensely at his deep blue eyes through his thick rimmed glasses. 'Come on, Mimi.' Yamato cheered through his eyes, 'You remember me, don't you?'
Yamato watched Mimi try to hide all her emotions. He remembered that when her bottom lip moved a little into her mouth, lightly biting her lip, it meant she was feeling uncomfortable.
"Mimi," when Yamato released her name, his throat to dry up suddenly. It sounded as if he had to practice saying the name for a several years to get used to the feeling again. "How are you nowadays?"
He heard Mimi gulped quickly. She looked down to the ground, avoiding eye contact. "I'm in a hurry. May you please move?" She said quickly as she pushed past him.
Yamato turned around and sighed heavily. He was obviously looking for words to say. He raised his hands in frustration as a grunt escaped his lips. His feet began to advance towards the direction Mimi had run off to.
"Smooth." Yamato heard Jou scoff. "Do you have that effect on all the ladies or is she that special?"
"She doesn't remember me." Yamato said softly.
"And you expected a different reaction?"
"She has to remember me." Yamato retorted looking through every aisle. "She might be the answer to the mystery: how to save my life."
Jou stopped in his tracks as Yamato advanced forward. He released a heavy sigh and shook his head. He looked up at the blond, "Yamato…"
Yamato finally caught sight of Mimi as she placed the eggs and the bottle of green tea on the counter before putting her purse on the hard surface table. She shifted through the contents of her bag looking for wallet. Yamato released a sigh as he walked up to her and rested by her side.
The male clerk took the carton of eggs from Mimi and casted a strange look. Mimi felt the stare on her and looked up. She looked around to Yamato standing next to her. She quickly gave him a threatening glare before the clerk interrupted.
"Your total is two-hundred eighty yen." He said putting his attention to Mimi's hands as she moved the items of her bag searching for her wallet.
"Here." Yamato exclaimed whipping out some change from his jacket's pockets. After the clerk kindly took the change from Yamato's hands, Yamato's eyes met with Mimi's glare. Yamato replied with one of his 'you-did-not-want-me-to-pay-for-you?' stares.
The clerk kindly bowed as he returned the change to Yamato. Mimi took the bag of her items from the clerk without breaking her staring contest with Yamato. Her cheeks puffed a bit. "Thank you very much. Please don't consider that as payment, but as charity. I do not give my contact information to just any stranger," she said in a whisper-like tone before walking in a fast pace towards the door.
'Shit. Shit. Shit.'
Without hesitation, Yamato reached over and grabbed Mim's wrist with a grip. She sharply turned to gaze into his eyes again. "I'm just helping out a pretty lady. You told me once that chivalry shouldn't die." He said with a small smile.
"Well, my patience for you has," she grunted with her gaze focused on her wrist. She began to pull. Unfortunately, Yamato's grip was much tighter than she expected. "Let go." She hissed.
"Mimi! It's me." Yamato exclaimed, trying to keep his tone lower than a whisper through his teeth.
Mimi allowed her hand bag and plastic bag dangle from her elbow as she hunched her back down. Her eyes were closed tight as she faced away from the man. "You have the wrong person. Please, let me go."
"I know you're Tachikawa Mimi. Don't play stupid with me!" He yelled back bringing her wrist up to the height of his head. Mimi slowly gazed up, hoping if she cooperated he would leave her alone. "I know that you hate confrontations, but this is me!" He stripped the knitted hat off his head to reveal his golden locks.
A quiet gasped escaped her lips. She instantly widened her eyes. The way he stared at her made his stomach churn. His body towered her small frame with masculinity and power. He didn't know if her palms were sweaty because of the sudden embarrassing attention or because he was making her feel awkward.
Her mind finally allowed her to ask, "How do you know my name?" Before he replied, Mimi brought her head down, "Please do not follow me."
"Look at me!"
His hand gripped tighter just as his other free hand reached and pull the non-prescription glasses from the bridge of his nose, giving Mimi a better look at his face.
His blue eyes glowed with a stern honestly look. That's when he noticed that her hitched breath in her throat. She looked at him squarely in the eyes. "Ya-Yamato?"
Yamato suddenly felt relief spread throughout his body. Like a refreshing splash of water, Yamato's smile became broader as a puff of air rushed out of his mouth. Yamato confidently nodded, "Long time no see."
Yamato noticed that her mouth hung open a few moments. He observed her as she lowered her head and her eyes began to search for something. She began to breathe heavily, causing her chest to move up and down. Was there something wrong?
Before Yamato could utter another word, a pitchy voice cut through. "Is that Ishida Yamato, the one from America?"
By accident, Yamato's head moved toward the voice, with his fake prescription glasses and knitted hat off, exposing his true form to the now small collection of shoppers. They all surprisingly enough had the same twinkle in their eyes. Yamato felt his brow twitch as it was foretelling the future. When Yamato heard a pen click, he immediately held Mimi's wrist tighter.
He pulled her out of the store as the automatic door slid to the side. Although the nippy air met his face, he felt heat glowing on the palm of his head. It tingled and was a great contrast to the air surrounding it. The feeling eradicated when he felt Mimi's soft fingers wrapped around his hand.
It felt like he ran in circles around the Odaiba area. If he ever really outlined his journey, it would have been in a shape of a knotty ribbon though the streets.
He raised an arm to lean on the closest lamp-post. He rested his head on his forearm as his lungs desperately tried to catchy up with his regular breathing. "I think—" He made several gasps of air, "—we lost them."
Mimi's feet stumbled forward towards the pole as she released his hand from her grip. She was able to swing around so that she was near his body as her back rested on the post. Her eyes relaxed then closed. One hand pressed on her chest as it levitated up and down causing Yamato watched her warm breath mix into the cold air forming moisture near her shapely lips.
The lips parted slightly as a smile began to form on the lips. Despite the dark shadows that the night presented, Yamato was able to see pearly whites beaming from her mouth.
"So," she turned towards the blond between breaths, "do you normally go through that every time you go to a convenience store, or was it because you were interested in eggs?"
A strand of blond hair fell out of the hat. "Well, I can honestly say this never happened to me before." Paused to take a breather, "but I do admit that I need the exercise." He laughed between gasps.
Yamato didn't know if her laughing response was a genuine reply or the forced laughing. All he was aware of was the warm breath that condensed in the cold air. He gazed her and notice how her hair once frequently-straight-ironed hair was now natural and bouncy. The playful yet shy expression on her face was now mature and confident. Her whole stature was like a sudden, yet welcoming, change to Yamato.
Despite the several years since he has last seen her, she looked almost the same since she waved goodbye to him in the airport. She was still able to make him stare breathlessly at her.
Yamato didn't pay attention to the volume of Mimi's laughter. When she cleared her throat, Yamato's eyes followed Mimi's stare. A flushed look flashed his face when he realized that he was still holding her hand when she clearly already released his.
When his grip released hers, Mimi immediately shoved her hands into the pockets of her overcoat. Strands of her chestnut hair fell over her shoulder as she looked down at her feet, trying to think of ways to strike up conversation.
Mimi lifted her head and looked to her side. "Do..." she paused, shifting her gaze to the blond rock star. "Do you want to have a seat and… you know, talk?" Mimi pointed with her thumb, indicating the swing set nearby.
Yamato's eyes widened looking at the familiar set up. The swing set and slide looked very much like—
Yamato shook his head breaking his thinking process. He gazed at Mimi's concerned look. He quickly licked his lips to add moisture to his dry lips caused by the cold air. "Sure."
Yamato copied Mimi as she padded off the snow from earlier. She pulled her coat lower making sure that the cold seat didn't touch her skin through the layers of fabric.
"So what brings you back to Odaiba?" Mimi swung side to side as the red skirt under her followed her movements. "I haven't heard from you for a long time."
"Ha, well..." Yamato chuckled as he mimicked her actions, "I was in the neighborhood." He chuckled more. When Mimi's polite laugh ceased, Yamato hunched forward as his forearms leaned on his knees. "How have you been?"
With lady-like poise, she kept her natural-looking-stocking-covered legs pressed together as her hands gripped the chain of the swing. Mimi pushed her body with enough force to cause the swing to sway properly. "Fine, I suppose." Mimi made one complete cycle before continuing. "I've been busy lately, so I rarely have time for myself."
"You've always been busy with a lot of activities in high school." Yamato commented as he tried to recall his high school days. "That reminds me," he moved to a different topic, "were you able to have that cooking show you've always wanted?"
It was Mimi's turn to release a chuckle. "Unfortunately, no," She swung her legs to swing at a higher altitude. "Things came up and it never really took off."
"Things?" Yamato repeated as he began to swing like Mimi. "Like what?"
"You know," Mimi paused, "things." Mimi suddenly stopped and glanced at the wrist watch under her cuff. She frowned as she immediately hopped off of the swing set.
"You need to be somewhere?" Yamato asked watching her run over to the shopping bag from the convenience store.
Mimi pulled the bag up. "Sort of... I need to drop off something." She used her free hand to lightly pat her shoulder bag. She was about to run away, but politely stopped when Yamato called her name.
He stood on his feet, jogged to her, and hovered over her. "Do you... want me to walk with you?"
Mimi shook her head. "I'm a big girl. I can handle myself." She smiled. "It was nice seeing you again, Yamato. Are you going to be here for Christmas?"
"I intend to." He shrugged. "To be honest, I want to try to get in touch with the life I left behind." He paused momentarily to look into her eyes. "That includes the people I left behind too."
Mimi quickly averted her eyes. "I'm glad to hear that, but..." Mimi looked back at Yamato. "You know, time changed everything. I'm not the same girl as I was before."
Yamato's stare became more intense. "I know."
Mimi nodded. "Okay. Good. I..." she held the note as her mind tried to recollect her thoughts, "...will see you around then... hopefully." Mimi smiled as she walked around her old friend and jogged down the street.
"Hopefully," Yamato repeated. A thought suddenly came into mind. "Oi!" Yamato hollered through his cupped hands. "You have a cellphone, right?"
Mimi momentarily slowed down as she turned around and proceeded to walk backwards. "I do! But that doesn't mean I am going to tell you what my number is!" She yelled back with a smile. She quickly turned back and walked around the corner.
Yamato smiled back as he pulled his sunglasses back up.
"Awww," Yamato shifted his eyesight to Jou who mockingly batted his eyelashes. "My, my, that was awfully cute."
Yamato's smile quickly melted off. His eyes narrowed to make a beady look and glared at Jou. "Shut up." Yamato shoved his hands into his pockets as he began to walk away from the playground.
"Com'on, Yamato. What's wrong?" Jou nudged. "Was it something I said?"
"It's nothing." Yamato ebbed, "I'm not talking to you."
"Was your heart aflutter?"
Yamato stopped and glared at the blue-haired consciousness. "You." Yamato proudly stated as he pointed a finger. "You did this on purpose."
"Did what?" Jou pushed the index finger down and away from his face. "I did no such thing."
"Her! And Here! This is the place where—!" Yamato roared. He could feel the crash in his ribs. He stomped as he continued to walk down the path he already started to tread. "I can't believe this."
"Where are you going?" Jou shouted as the distance between the two steadily increased.
"Back to the apartment," Yamato curtly replied. "My ass is cold."
"But you can't!"
"But you didn't get the milk or the beef!" Jou smirked slyly as the word shit escaped Yamato's lips.
Yamato closed the door behind him. He took a moment to kick off his shoes. "I'm back," he called out. Hikari came forth with staggering feet. She quickly swiped the plastic bag from Yamato's hands.
"Welcome back." She quickly replied before disappearing into the apartment. "Look what Oji-san brought us!" She said with a singing tone as the kids responded with a cheer of their own.
Yamato sighed as he stripped off his jacket and knitted hat. He hung it in the closet next to the door of the apartment. He drew out the remaining air in his lungs before he turn towards heading the living room. He looked to his right as the kids helped set the placements on the table in the dining room.
Yamato watched as Shunsuke and Yuuto helped Hikari place the remaining ingredients and utensils on the table for sukiyaki. Shunsuke plopped the chopsticks on top of the bowls carelessly as Yuuto walked around the table aligning the eating utensils in a presentable fashion.
Yamato's vision rested on Taichi and Sora who was idly chatting with Takeru in the living room. He needed to talk to someone and they were the right choice. Before Yamato could advance a step, Nanami decided to cross his path and waddled her way to the boys holding her plush pink bird as if it was flying on her own.
"Let's go, Piyomon (7)!" She shrilled as she ran to dining room. She stopped abruptly in front of Shunsuke as he tried his best to put a plate of hakusai next to the unlit portable stove without a leaf falling off.
"Niichan!" Nanami shrilled causing the surprised Shunsuke to stumble. The plate of the leafy greens lightly toppled on the table. Shunsuke glared at the rough landing before looking at his little sister. With tiny balled up fists on his side, he towered over his shorter sibling.
"What is it?" He huffed.
"Piyomon doesn't like hakurai." She said with a low voice as she patted the plush birdie.
"It's hakusai." Shunsuke corrected. "And okaa-san said you have to learn to eat vegetables. And besides…" Shunsuke voice trailed as he moved passed his sister, "I like hakusai."
Nanami pouted as her copper blond hair bounced on her face. She turned to Yuuto who placed the last glass of water on the table. "Yuu-chaaan." She wailed to the pale boy as she hugged him tightly in a tackling form.
"Ehh…!" Yuuto groaned as Nanami's hug got tighter. He obviously didn't let to get in between siblings bickering. "Do you always have to run to me when Shun-kun gets mad?"
Yamato moved passed the scene and sat next to Takeru in the living room. Yamato felt and odd tension as the conversation between the adults suddenly halted. Unbeknownst to him, Sora glared at Taichi, as if she was trying to relay a secret message.
Taichi quickly responded with mouthing, "I do not want to."
Sora glared back at her husband. "Coming, Hikari-chan!" Sora hollered stilling glaring at her husband. "Come on, Takeru. Let's help Hikari."
"Ah, yeah." Takeru stared at the motherly woman as they both stood up, despite Taichi's silent disapproval.
Hikari, dressed in her kitchen apron and ladle in one hand, stepped out of the kitchen while her boyfriend and sister-in-law approached her. "Eh? But I didn't—"
Before she could finish her statement, Sora pushed the girl back into the kitchen as Takeru followed. Taichi, now left alone to tell Yamato, squeaked whatever was left in his voice. His attention was then focused on Yamato who looked curiously at the kitchen.
"What was that about?" Yamato asked with a brow raised.
"She's being mean to me…" Taichi sighed as he moved closer to Yamato. "So, what took you so long to come back?"
"Come again?" Yamato asked as his attention moved from the kitchen window to Taichi who was nervously fiddling his thumbs.
"You took long." Taichi repeated.
"Oh, right." Yamato coughed out. "I did. I got lost on my way back."
"Ah, I see." Taichi replied, obviously avoiding the main topic of the conversation.
"But you know who I ran into?" Yamato asked, causing Taichi to jump a bit.
"Wh-who?" Taichi stuttered as if he already knew the answer.
"Do you remember Tachikawa Mimi?" Yamato asked. Taichi gulped quietly as he slowly nodded. "I ran into her." He said with a laugh. "She is still as pretty as always. She's looks good, mature. But, for some reason, there's something different about her. You know what I mean? Almost like there's a drastic…" Yamato looked at Taichi who seemed like he was in his first job interview, nervous and a bit lost. "…change. You okay, man?"
Taichi sighed as he bounced his folded hands on the empty area between his legs. "Yamato, you're my best friend. Heck, I consider you as my brother." Taichi's smile faded a bit as he rubbed his hands together. "But there are some things that are difficult to discuss."
Taichi sighed after a momentary pause. "What I mean is…" Taichi's voice trailed off.
Yamato watched Taichi grunt out of frustration. "Tachikawa Mimi… She… she's been through a lot for the past couple of years."
"What do you—?"
Yamato paused as the sound of the doorbell chimed in. He searched Taichi's face for a reaction. Yamato opened his mouth to a say something to follow-up his unfinished question, Yuuto's voice exclaimed, "Mama!"
Yamato felt his eyes widen as Taichi's mouth that was about to answer, closed. Taichi's head faced down as a hand came up to massage his temples. Before Yamato could ask, a feminine voice chimed in response, "Yuu-chan! How are you?"
"You had an affair with someone else?" Yamato asked wide-eyed.
Taichi raised his head and smacked his lips. He shook his head.
Yamato's mouth hung for a moment, "I-I thought Yuuto is your son."
Tachi grunted as she violently scratched the back of neck out of frustration. "No, he isn't."
It suddenly made sense why Yuuto seemed a bit different from the other two. Yamato quickly turns to see the honey colored woman who held Yuuto's hand in her own hand. Now that he thought about it, he looked almost exactly like her: cream-ish skin, wavy brown-toned hair, wide stare.
Her mouth closed and gulped down the breath of air that lingered in her mouth for a moment. "I had a small feeling that you were here, Yamato."
"I cannot say that the feeling's mutual, Mimi." Yamato got up to dig his hands in his pocket.
Yuuto coughed as he raised his make shift sword that Taichi had fixed earlier. "Look, mama. Taichi-jisan fixed this for me earlier. I was playing a sword game with Shun-kun."
"Ah, that's pretty cool." Mimi smiled crouching down to Yuuto's line of vision. She examined the pretend sword. "Did you thank Taichi-jisan?"
"Yup," Yuuto nodded curtly, "Ne, Mama, have you met Yamato-jisan before?"
Mimi blinked at her son's abrupt question. She stared up at the blond before she responded her son, "Mmhmm. He is Mama's friend."
"Ah," Yuuto nodded before Mimi stood up and ruffled his hair.
Mimi couldn't help but stare at Yamato. He examined her next move almost like he was waiting for an explanation. Mimi sighed as she looked around to see that all eyes were on her. "Well," she breathed, with one arm hitting her side, "now would be a good time to go home," She paused to steal a glance at Yamato then to her son, "ne, Yuu-chan?"
"Stay for dinner." Yamato said abruptly causing Mimi to stare at him with doe-like eyes.
"I-I can't." Mimi stuttered moving back towards the door. "I just… came to drop of the eggs and pick up Yuuto." She finished with a fake smile. "I promised to make tonkatsu for dinner."
"But we're staying for dinner, Mimi-san." Shunsuke lightly pulled Mimi's skirt. "Can you and Yuuto stay a bit longer?"
"Pwease?" Nanami begged.
Mimi released a laugh, "I do not want to intrude. You might not have enough—"
"But we prepared you a bowl," Shunsuke pointed out.
Mimi followed the bushy brunette's finger and counted the placements on the table. Oddly enough, there were enough for the Yagami family, her and Yuuto, and the occupants of the apartment. Mimi looked around for an answer. She looked down at her son's expression.
"Can we, Mama?" He asked politely.
Mimi sighed and nodded.
"Sit next to me, Yuu-chan!" Nanami smiled wrapping her hand around the pale boy's hand. She dragged him to the table.
"Ehhh…?" Yuuto groaned, not realizing that Yamato-jisan and Mama stared at each other a while longer. She was first to lower her gaze before retreating to the dinner table.
The Yagamis left not too long ago and so have Mimi and her son. Yamato sighed at the thought. Mimi… and her son. He felt foolish for not seeing it earlier. Their appearances are almost uncanny.
Yamato's inner scolding came to a momentary pause as an idea hit his head. "Has things really changed that much?" He sighed to himself as he stacked the remaining bowls on the tray as he brought the bowls to the kitchen. As he was about to walk in, down the hallway, he heard Mimi's and Hikari's voices. Being as curious as he was, he peeped through the side of the wall and watched them continue their conversation.
"I'm sorry for leaving him with you in short notice." Mimi bowed. "There were some problems and I haphazardly jumped into the opportunity to work. I hope Yuuto wasn't a problem for you."
"Mimi-san, I am happy to help you out." Hikari smiled. "Besides…" Hikari giggled ruffling Yuuto's fluffy hair. "I think my little niece likes little Yuu-chan."
"Hmph." Yuuto replied. "She's just being friendly." The woman laughed before Mimi bowed once again. Yuuto, not forgetting his manners, bowed in the same fashion. "Thank you for taking care of me, Hikari-obachan."
"Don't worry." Hikari smiled waving her hand up and down in front of her face. "I'll see you tomorrow, Yuu-chan."
The boy nodded. "Good night, Hikari-obachan."
"Yup, good night." Hikari replied as the Tachikawas nodded before moving away from the apartment. Hikari smiled at the mother and son as they walked down the hall holding hands. Hikari stared at the ground before looking up at them again, then quietly closed the front door.
Yamato, in a panic, moved quickly into the kitchen as he placed the bowls in the sink. Hikari walked into the kitchen and helped Yamato clean up the remains of the meal. Yamato dared not to say a word as he began washing the bowls clean. In response, Hikari said nothing to him as she moved around the small kitchen, putting away the leftovers.
"So…" he started as he shut the faucet. "Shouldn't we escort her…" he paused, "…and her kid home? They're walking around at a late hour."
Hikari looked at Yamato. She sighed, like she was keeping things bottled up, and walked to the sink next to him. She quietly dried the bowls already laid out. "Do not worry about her. She lives only three doors down."
Yamato in embarrassment nodded as he removed the kitchen apron and hung it at its proper place in the kitchen. He was about to wish Hikari goodnight until she interrupted his thoughts.
"I know you're probably thinking about a lot of things and you'd want a lot of questions answered." Hikari spoke with her face down and her back to him. "But may I give you my opinion?"
Yamato made an affirmed sound causing Hikari to turn to face him. "A lot of things happened in the past 10 years since you were here. That means we all are not the same as we were before and we had to learn to adapt to this." Hikari commented giving Yamato a stern stare.
"Therefore," she looked down before looking into Yamato's eyes again, "do not try to change things. The way things that they are now…" Hikari stopped thinking of words to describe the situation. "It's working out for us."
Before Yamato could respond, Hikari added, "That includes Mimi and her son."
Yamato stood there, analyzing Hikari's words. What could have possibly happened that would change so much?
A sliding sound came from his left. Yamato turned to see Takeru emerge from the tatami room. "Your bed is ready."
Yamato nodded. He turned to Hikari and bowed slightly, "Good night."
"Night." Hikari replied back as Yamato began his journey to the matted room. Hikari turned back to the dry bowls. However, during such drama, she threw the dish towel down on the counter, indicating her refusal to continue drying the bowls for a while.
She rested her right elbow on her left backhand as her right hand massaged the temples of her head. She took a deep breath and sighed. "Kami-san, help us all." She whispered and then went back to putting the bowls away.
Is it weird for me to envision Nanami's voice to sound like Shaochung (Digimon Tamers)? (giggles) If you haven't done so, you have to listen to Shaochung and Terriermon's duet, Shaochung to Terriermon no Okkakekko Dexyuetto. It is one of the cutest songsever. I honestly feel like it is cuteness multiplied by 10 to the power of Google.
Anywho, I intended to end the chapter after Yamato and Mimi run from the mob, but I wanted to give the Mimato lovers out there a nice present. This story is becoming a bit longer than expected… so this story will take a while to finish too. Hopefully, you guys will still be interested in it, despite the longer story length. (smile)
Trust me, it's embarrassing enough that this Christmas story isn't finished by this Christmas. Hopefully next year...?
So… any thoughts? Feedback is welcome, as always. Notices that the more the review, the quicker the updates. (smiles) Possibly looking for a beta, anyone interested? Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy New Year (...when it happens)!
Till next time…