Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. Toei Animation does.
Matt thought his interview with the journalist from Bishounen Bromance would have gone better if he hadn't arrived late to the Teenage Wolves' band practice wearing Tai's shirt the morning after sleeping over at his friend's place. It totally wasn't his fault that the alarm clock was broken. Tai and technology had never mixed well. He was in a hurry and he had just grabbed the shirt without looking and rushed out. His dad had set up an appointment with a person from the magazine to do an interview and take pictures of the band for their next big debut.
He hadn't even noticed he had put on the wrong shirt until Tai had waltzed in unexpectedly half an hour later, mid-interview, with his bushy hair and stupid grin all sunshine and laughter, and had opened his big mouth, "Hey, Matt, I know you love me, dude, but I need my shirt back. Coach will skin alive if I come to practice without my uniform!"
And Matt had glanced down numbly to see that it wasn't just Tai's shirt he was wearing, it was the top half of his freaking soccer outfit.
"Practice starts in fifteen minutes and I need to catch the next monorail!" Tai called out impatiently. "Look, I'll switch with you!" Then he flung open his coat wide so everyone could see the black turtleneck that Matt usually wore fitted nice and snug to his body.
Snap, went the bright flash of light from the interviewer's camera capturing Matt's mortified expression at that exact moment.
Matt glowered sullenly at the cover. At least the magazine had the decency to actually put a picture of the whole band together on the front. What he was glaring at was the large text in the bottom left corner: Insight to Ishida's love-life, pg 17.
Flipping the issue open angrily, he stopped at the picture of him and Tai that took up the half of the page. They were outside of the front of the band's studio and it had been snowing. After the completely embarrassing shirt swap debacle had been resolved, (they had changed in the restroom and Matt had not looked at Tai's toned abs as he had pulled the turtleneck over his head—ok he hadn't looked for more than three seconds), Tai had the audacity to laugh at the text he had just received from his coach.
"Would you look at that? It looks like it's snowing out! Practice is canceled!" Tai had whooped rushing to exit door and throwing it open, letting in a cold breeze and a storm of snow flurries. "I'll wait for you outside! We can go back to your place tonight!"
Matt had tried to stall the interview as long as possible, hoping that Tai would head off without him. However that turned out to be a mistake as the interviewer, a young woman in her mid twenties whose nametag read Ishihara Ami, kept persisting on questions revolving around his personal life. Being in the entertainment business, Matt understood that half of his task was not just the music he put out; that his fans loved finding out simple, little ordinary things about him they could relate to: his favorite color, his favorite food, his favorite books, his hobbies, etc. Matt knew this, but he still got uncomfortable when talking about his parents' divorce.
This woman seemed more interested in getting him to talk about Tai. Her pen practically flew over her notepad when he revealed they were childhood friends and hadn't always gotten along. In the end, he managed to cut the interview short and give her the slip when his dad had showed up to discuss some management details over how the magazine was going to represent the Teenage Wolves' image.
The snow was about an inch and half deep. Tai was loitering about on the sidewalk, sending up a spray of snow into the air like he was kicking an imaginary soccer ball. His cheeks and nose flushed red from the cold.
"Matt!" Tai waved when he spotted him and rushed over, pulling out a red umbrella to shield them from the snow that had started to fall faster. "Tomorrow's Sunday, isn't that great! We can stay up all night and you can cook us that curry you made last time I was there!"
"Ishida-san, you can cook?" came an enthusiastic voice from behind and Matt groaned inwardly as he turned to see that Ishihara Ami had followed him. She was currently jotting down this tidbit she had been unaware of before in that thrice-accursed notebook.
Pushing the glasses back up on the bridge of her nose, the woman zeroed in on Tai like a hawk (or a harpy Matt thought). "Kamiya-san," she began.
"Tai," Tai interrupted her beaming widely.
"T-Tai," Ishihara squeaked, biting her lower lip as she scribbled something down in a hurry; probably something like, Kamiya-san takes shameless familiarity with strangers.
Maybe that was a good thing, Matt thought. Maybe she would take the hint that Tai was always this bold and not just with his friends. Maybe this would dissuade her from whatever opinion she had formed from the Great Shirt Fiasco.
"Do you and Ishida-san spend a lot of nights at each other's houses?" she asked point-blank.
"Every weekend!" Tai chirped. "We're like roommates practically! I guess we're preparing for college."
"Oh, so you and Ishida-san intend to live together in the future then?" Ishihara asked, her face taking on an expression like she had just struck gold.
Ok, that was it. Tai obviously had no idea how vindictive the media could be at twisting a person's words. He was going to be eaten alive at this rate.
"Tai is my friend, my best friend," Matt emphasized. "We've been together through rough times, seen each other at our worst. I trust him with my life and I know I can depend on him no matter what the situation, no matter what personal feelings come between us. We'll always be there to support each other even in the face of adversity. We've come too far to be torn apart from some petty misunderstanding or misrepresentation," he finished curtly, narrowing his eyes at Ishihara. Hopefully now she would get the message he wouldn't take too kindly for her or the magazine she worked for to start slandering the friendship that he and Tai shared. Not without repercussions on their end at least.
Ishihara was staring at him wide-eyed, her cheeks slightly flushed, and her mouth hanging ajar. "Ka-Kamiya-san," she finally croaked out, forgetting to use the first name basis he had allowed her. "What do you have to say to that?" Her handheld microphone was thrust inches away from Tai's face.
That was when Matt first caught sight of Tai's deer-in-headlights expression, like someone had just slung a snowball at the back of his head. He looked dumb-founded, confused and touched all at once. Matt tried to remember what exactly he had just said to make his friend's face look that way, but he everything had come out so fast he hadn't even thought about the words when he was speaking them.
"Kamiya-san? Tai?" Ishihara prompted while fiddling with something in her right coat pocket and mumbling her breath, "Shit, I hope I recorded all that."
No, Matt couldn't remember what he had said, but the words Tai spoke next would be forever etched in his memory.
Ishihara's camera had captured the moment of the next several seconds that followed after Tai had turned with a deadpan expression and opened his mouth to declare in a deadly serious voice, "Shout out to Jun Motomiya. I call dibs. I saw him first."
The picture of Matt burying his flaming face behind his hand as he had realized whatever he had said had been interpreted the wrong way by the wrong person had been immortalized in all its honor in Bishounen Bromance. Tai was smiling quite cheerily in it and underneath the photo, a caption with his italicized words read, "Well, I would have been fine with the whole BFFS thing, but if this is how Matt really feels… you know this is actually cool. Now I don't have to feel guilty about secretly checking out his ass when he bends over."
A shadow fell over him and Matt looked up from the magazine to see Tai in the flesh standing in front of him rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. "Again, I'm really sorry about that. I think it was the part where you said 'no matter what personal feelings come between us'. I thought you meant we could still be friends even if the feelings ran deeper."
"I meant if we have another fight, like we always do, that I know you'll still be there if I need you no matter how angry we are at each other!" Matt snapped.
"Like we're having one now?" Tai chuckled nervously as Matt glared at him. "But really… you said all those things for my sake and I botched it up anyway, I'm sorry."
"It's fine," Matt sighed throwing the magazine down. "Ishihara would have probably schemed up something more scandalous than this to put in there anyway. At least this way people will think twice about it once they realize you're my friend and the media likes to make a circus out of those types of relationships. So…" Matt trailed off and raised an eyebrow. "You like to check out my ass, do you?"
Tai laughed heartedly at that, apparently not ashamed at all by this fact. "Shut up, Matt, I know you were eyeballing all this," he ran his hands down his chest and stomach smoothly, "when we were changing shirts!"
Matt didn't understand why he seemed to be the only one getting flustered. "You know this entire chapter of my life could have been avoided if you had just gone to your soccer practice with my shirt on in the first place!" Or if Tai had been a bit slower getting to the studio and the snow had fallen on his way there.
"No," Tai corrected holding a finger up. "This could have been avoided if you had just put on the right shirt this morning. But hey," he said a tiny smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth, "I understand if you like the scent of me so much you—"
"I will punch you," Matt warned him, "so hard if you finish that sentence."
What made it ten times more embarrassing is that none of the Digidestined or his band mates had thought anything was strange about him wearing Tai's shirt in the first place. There had been no immediate phone calls or emails from any of their family or friends when the issue of Bishounen Bromance had hit the shelves. Matt had prepared a full and clear explanation which he never got the chance to use. T.K. had only glanced at the magazine article, looked at up at his big brother who was sweating bullets by then, clapped him on the shoulder and said, "I am proud of you for making your true intentions known. I wish I had half your courage."
Then Matt had been too busy wondering over what exactly T.K. had meant by that to worry about explaining things to anyone. If it was any consolation though, Tai had told him that his mom and sister had baked him a cake to celebrate which he had been forced to eat, and thus he was violently ill the entire next day. He also had said something about "T.K. is going to be eating a lot of take-out", but then there had been sounds of gagging and Tai had hung up the phone. That was the end of that conversation and Matt had been rather pleased at how swift karma could be.
"You know the magazine wants to do a photo-shoot of the band when the sakura are in bloom," Matt said off-handedly. "They keep dropping hints about me inviting all my friends. I know a set up when I see one. But Dad likes the sakura idea, says it will make a good album cover. So please do me a favor and go visit the digi-world on that particular day."
"You want me to willingly leave you alone under a cherry blossom tree?" Tai asked mock-gasping in horror. "No, no, I must come! We'll confess how we're fated rivals locked in an ever-going struggle to outshine the other—ow!" Tai yelped as Matt smacked him across the forehead. "I'm serious! It'll sweep this flimsy bromance affair thing under the rug! We'll make the St. White Day edition!"
"All people will see is us staring googly-eyed at each other as drifting cherry blossoms fall in the wind!"
"Pffftttt, Matt, the way you said that—how many light novels do you read?"
"Shut up and stay away, I mean it!"
"You know what really sell the whole rival image? We should both wear yukatas and carry bamboo stick swords!"
"You glory-hound, you just want your picture in the magazine, don't you!"
They bickered for hours. In some distant corner of Matt's brain, he knew neither of them was approaching the real issue at stake: how they felt about each other. He realized both of them were fine with subtly flirting with each other—he noticed they did that quite a lot. Learning that they both snuck glances at the other's bodies was new. After Matt's initial embarrassment wore off, he found he was quite comfortable with this and so was Tai it seemed.
When he truly thought about it, what made him so tense and annoyed wasn't the notion that Tai might want to be more than just friends with him. It was that the magazine had forced something to open between them before it had time to do so naturally, and had made it public for all to witness.
So let us not talk about it, Matt decided. Let them both take small steps across this shaky ground let whatever may be come to pass on its own. So if Tai's hand lingered a little too long on his shoulder, he didn't shrug it off. And if his heart may have skipped a beat when Tai yawned and stretched his arms above his head, exposing the barest flash of skin from beneath his shirt, Matt didn't immediately dismiss the feeling as absurd.
All these little motions, all their banter, they were just snapshots that led up to much larger picture.
A/N: I wrote this as a drabble inspired by meme going around on tumblr of a couple being interviewed. There's the mic and a red umbrella and one person is smiling and the other is embarrassed at whatever is being said. Someone drew Taito fanart of this. I found it adorable. This was originally only 300 words. Then it just kept going and going because I cannot resist to flesh out prompts. And I can't write short fics to save my life. Take this as an early Valentines present. I didn't even plan to write this. I just saw the pic, pulled up Word and this came out.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. It's a bit less crack-ish than the rest of my Taitos. I guess I was going for more realistic this time. I'd love if you review and share your thoughts.