Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

By popular demand, 'what happened when Matt and Tai got wrecked before the Christmas trilogy' ^_^ I never planned on making any more of it, but so many people have asked, I thought 'why not?' *grins* Bear in mind I live in England, that the legal drinking age here is 18, and the guys are 14 (Izzy), 15 (Matt, Tai) and 16 (Joe) in this fic. I don't want to promote under-age drinking either, so don't do any of the events described here at home, okay? ^^

Contains mild Taito, or rather, Taito-ish scenes. That's the homosexual pairing of Matt and Tai. Want to proceed? Go ahead. Don't? Hit the 'back' button.

Stimulus

By Nanaki Lioness

"Hey, Mom…?"

Tai stood behind the couch where his mother was sitting, reading a book. He leaned over the back to catch her attention, grinning a little.

"What are you after, Tai?" His mother responded, not taking her head out of her book. Tai's grin faltered.

"What makes you think I want something? What makes you think that I don't just want to say 'hey Mom, I love you'!"

"Because you only ever say that when you want something," Mrs. Kamiya said, finally putting her book down. Tai groaned and walked round the couch to sit on it next to her.

"Well…you know you and Dad are going away to Grandma's tomorrow for the weekend…?"

Mrs. Kamiya simply stared at him, one eyebrow raised.

"And you're taking Kari with you?"

Still not a word. Tai shifted in his seat uncomfortably.

"Well, you see, I was wondering if…I could have a party, perhaps…?"

Mrs. Kamiya didn't respond. She simply picked her book back up and began to read it again. Tai sighed.

"We'll be well behaved, Mom," he reasoned. "And we'll be-"

"Tai, it's okay," his mother said suddenly. "Invite your friends to have a good time. Just, no alcohol."

"But-!"

"No alcohol, Tai. You and your friends are under-age."

"All right…" Tai relented, getting up and walking back to his bedroom. Just before he entered the door, he turned back, a sly grin on his face. "How about alcoholic punch?" He asked. Mrs. Kamiya smiled slightly.

"Okay. You can have punch. I suppose you can't get drunk on that."

"Thanks Mom!" Tai said, grinning like a madman, picking the cordless phone up from it's resting place in the telephone cradle and dashing into his room with it.

. . . . . . . . . .

"So…why do I have to be the one to do it?"

The older, male chosen children were sitting in Tai's bedroom the following day. Tai had a list of food and drink that would be needed for the party, and a reasonable allowance from all of their parents. Currently, they were all looking at Matt, who was standing with his hands on his hips, frowning at his friends.

"Because you're the blonde," Tai said as if that explained everything. "If we go to a female cashier, she'll have to serve you because you'll charm her!"

"Why can't Joe do it? He's older than me, and taller!"

"Because Joe's too scared to do something illegal," Tai said, lowering his eyelids in frustration in Joe's direction.

"I just don't think it's right to buy alcohol underage," the eldest boy said in explanation. "And if Sora were here, she'd agree with me."

"Sora's not here," Tai pointed out. "She's at a tennis tournament thing. And Izzy won't go served - no offence, Izzy," he added quickly, smiling at his red-haired friend.

"None taken."

"And," Tai continued. "I wouldn't get served because I'm short. That only leaves you, Matt!"

"I don't want to," Matt said evenly.

"Yes you do! You look old enough!" He grinned. "I'd serve you if I were the cashier."

"Tai, my Dad would kill me if I bought alcohol! Why didn't you ask your Mom to get it before she left?"

"She got me a bottle of Bacardi. A small bottle of Bacardi, to make punch with."

"Didn't your Mom say we were only allowed punch, before she left?" Joe queried. Tai rolled his eyes and glared at Joe, whilst Matt looked decidedly confused.

"Yes, Joe, but we actually want to have some fun, don't we? We can't have fun with fruit punch."

"Wait a minute," Matt said, glaring at Tai. "You're telling me, not only do you want me to buy more drinks, you want me to buy them even though you've been told you're not allowed it?!"

"Nice going, Joe," Tai muttered before turning to Matt. "Come on! You owe me!"

"Huh?!"

"Well, you must owe me something! I'm always owing you!"

"That's because you make me call your parents and tell them you're at my place when you're actually at a party or something, and because you never have any money and I do, and-"

"All right, I get the picture!" Tai said hurriedly. "So, will you do it?"

Matt looked at him, and eyebrow raised.

"What if they I.D me?" He asked eventually.

"Then... Look through your wallet, pretend like you actually have one, and then tell them 'no, sorry, I must have left it at home...'."

"And they won't serve me," Matt admonished. "Smart move, Tai."

Tai rolled his eyes. "Listen, Matt! When they say 'sorry, can't serve you', tell them that your Dad sent you out to get it for him, and… That he'll beat you if you don't take it back."

Matt's eyes widened.

"What?! I can't do that, Tai!"

"Sure you can!" The brunette re-assured him. "Just put on the waterworks and they'll serve you, no problem!"

Matt shook his head. "They won't buy it. I passed the age of crying to get my own way ten years ago, Tai."

"Ah, but you've been known to crack when people try it on you," Tai said. "Remember that girl in town? The one who said she had no money for train fare?"

Matt rolled his eyes. "That was different."

"How?" Tai asked. "She asked us for cash for her 'train fare'. When we didn't give her any to start with, she started crying and you gave her triple the amount she actually asked for."

All eyes in the room turn to look at Matt.

"Well, she genuinely seemed upset..." he began, but Tai interrupted him.

"Yes, and she seemed genuinely out of it when she came and asked us for 'train fare' two hours later. It was obvious she wanted it for drink to start with, Matt!"

"Well, I was feeling generous!" Matt protested.

"What I'm trying to say is, if all else fails, cry!" Tai said. "It worked on you, and it'll work the cashier in the supermarket. Trust me!"

"What do you think I am, a tap?!" Matt asked. "I can't just cry because you tell me to!"

"No, but you can fake it. I know you can, you've done it in school to get out of homework hundreds of times! And you and TK both did to fool Mr. Fuijiyama when we wanted to go to Highton View Terrace!"

"That's different. That's not illegal."

Tai sighed, frustrated. "Come on, Matt! If you do this, I'll let you mix the punch."

Matt grinned just a little.

"That a promise?" He asked.

Tai nodded. "Cross my heart."

Matt grinned wider. "Okay. It's a deal."

. . . . . . . . . .

"You'd better hope we've got enough money for all this," Matt said, standing to a side whilst Tai picked up various forms of alcohol, placing them in the trolley.

"We've got plenty!" Tai reassured him.

"And how are we getting it all home?"

Tai shrugged. "We carry it. Either that or 'borrow' the trolley..."

Matt rolled his eyes. "Just hurry up."

"What if we get caught?" Joe asked, worriedly looking around the supermarket.

"We won't!" Tai said, placing some more alcopop bottles into the trolley. "There, we're set. Now, we need to find a young female cashier, simply because they're likely to sympathize more."

With that, he wheeled the trolley past the check-outs, stopping at one where the cashier matched his description. He began to place all the alcohol onto the conveyor belt, motioning to Izzy and Joe to help. He nudged Matt forward as he noticed the cashier looked a little weary.

"Do you have any I.D...?" She asked Matt. Matt smiled and pulled his wallet from his pocket.

"Sure...Takara," he said casually, reading her name badge. She smiled and blushed a little as he rifled through the pockets of the wallet. He rifled through them further after a moment, frowning a little, as the cashier waited expectantly.

"It's not here," he said after a moment.

"I'm afraid I can't serve you," Takara said. "I need to see some I.D..."

"Well, I am over-age..." Matt said. "Can't you take my word for it?"

Takara shook her head. "Sorry...it's a shop policy..."

"I'm sure you could let it go..." The blonde said, smiling a little. Takara smiled back, blushing a little.

"I-I don't know..."

"Go on..." Matt cooed, leaning over the counter just a little. "I'm sure you could accept my word for it..."

Takara smiled some more but seemed to mentally snap out of it after a moment.

"I can't," she said. "This is my job on the line here. You could leave the trolley here, go home and find your I.D and then come back..."

"No, I can't," Matt said. "My Dad..." He stopped, glancing in Tai's direction.

Takara looked confused. "What about him?"

Tai leaned forward. "He beats him," he whispered. Takara's eyes flew open. "And, he likes to drink a bit, too. Matt'll get beaten tonight if he goes home empty handed..."

"That's terrible!" Takara said. "You should see someone about that..."

"No!" Matt said, looking horror-stricken. "I can't!"

"That's so awful..." Takara said softly. "I really wish I could serve you..."

"Could you?" Matt said, his eyes wide and pleading. "You'd be doing me a big favor..."

Takara sighed. "I really don't know..."

"Please....?" Matt asked again, eyes filling with tears. "I couldn't... I can't go home without it..."

He began to sob, at which point Tai stepped forward and placed an arm round his friend, making soft shushing noises and trying to calm him down. He looked at Takara, mouthing 'please' to her. She looked troubled, glancing at Matt and then all around the supermarket. They were virtually the only people in the store, seeing as it was the afternoon and most people were at work. She smiled a little, and began to put the alcohol through the check-out.

"Just don't tell anyone," she said, winking and smiling.

Matt looked up from where he was sobbing into his hands, a smile spreading across his face.

"Thank you," he said sincerely. He reached into his wallet and pulled out some money, handing it to her. "Just give the change to Izzy or Joe," he said, motioning to the two. "I'm going to sort myself out a little."

"Of course..." Takara said, smiling softly. "You really ought to see someone..."

"I know, I know, but I can't..." Matt said. "I can't talk about it..."

With that, he began to sob again.

"S-sorry!" Takara said. Matt shook his head, sobbing into his hands again, as Tai lead him away by the arm. Other cashiers who they walked past looked up, concerned, as Tai pushed Matt into the supermarket bathroom.

Once the door was shut, Matt looked up from his hands, tears stopped instantly. He glared at Tai, who was grinning.

"I never want to do anything like that again!" He hissed.

"Well, it got us served," Tai said, shrugging.

"Yes, but now that poor girl is going to think I'm getting beaten by my Dad!"

Tai shrugged again. Matt rolled his eyes, walking over to the mirror.

"It was realistic," Tai said, handing Matt some tissues. "You even had me convinced!"

"Well, I still would rather have not done it," Matt admonished.

The door to the bathroom opened, and a male member of staff walked in.

"It's come to my attention there was a problem," he said. He smiled at Matt. "Takara says you've been having some...family problems. Now, I know you don't know me, but I'm here to help. You can talk to me..."

Matt looked at him a moment before bursting into tears again.

"I'm so sorry..." the man said as Tai placed an arm round Matt again. "You really ought to seek some help..."

"Look," Tai said. "I'm sure he appreciates the concern, but could you leave us alone...? I know how to get through to him."

The man nodded and exited, looking worried.

Matt looked up as the door shut, frowning slightly.

"That's two people worried for no reason," he said. "Can we go now?!"

. . . . . . . . . .

"I can't believe you did that," Joe was saying. "First, you make a big display in the supermarket. And then, to top it all off, you steal their trolley!"

"Geez, Joe, would you lighten up a little?!" Tai said. "We're walking the back streets. No-one's going to notice we have a trolley, and if they do, what can they do? And as for making a scene, I think Matt did a great job!"

"Very convincing," Izzy added. "You should consider acting as a career, Matt."

Matt rolled his eyes. "Very funny. I never want to do that again. I'd have rather not have resorted to that."

"Well, it's done now," Tai said. "Hey, Joe, could you push the trolley for a while? I've done it the whole way so far."

"I won't be seen with it!" Joe said, recoiling in horror.

"Joe, if you want any of this stuff, push the damn trolley!" Tai said, frustrated. He stopped pushing it and jumped inside it instead. Joe took the handles, glaring down at Tai.

"I won't push it with you in it," he said. "Get out."

"Aw, come on, you won't even realize I'm here!" Tai said, smiling up at his friend.

"No."

Tai sighed and got out, almost falling over as he jumped over the edge of the trolley. He stumbled and caught himself, stopping a fall to the floor. The others laughed as he straightened himself up.

"Come on," Tai said, ignoring them. "If we want to have any time to drink this stuff, we'd better get back soon!"

. . . . . . . . . .

"Tai, aren't your parents going to find it strange when they come home and find a trolley in their bedroom?" Izzy questioned, as Tai wheeled the trolley into said room.

"I don't intend to leave it there," Tai said, pushing it in. "I intend on leaving it in the elevator tomorrow morning."

Izzy grinned at that, before resuming his set task; he was setting up the stereo system so that they could have some music. Joe was filling the fridge with the drinks and Matt was preparing food. Tai was removing anything valuable from the living room and his bedroom, using his parent's room for storage.

"Hey Tai," Matt called to his friend, who was currently carrying a rather valuable vase into his parent's room. "I don't think we're going to need all this food…"

Tai came out of his parent's room, the vase safely deposited, and looked at the food Matt had currently prepared. There was plenty enough to keep them going, he realized; more than plenty enough.

"Okay, just put the rest in the cupboard above you. We can have it tomorrow or something."

"Can I mix the punch now?" Matt asked, grinning as he picked up boxes and packets and began putting them into the cupboard.

"Huh? Who said you get the mix the punch?!" Tai asked, walking into the kitchen and jumping up to sit on the countertop next to Matt.

"You!" Matt declared, glaring at him. "You said if I bought the alcohol, I could mix the punch!"

Tai muttered something before pointing to the fridge. "You'll find strawberries, apples, grapes and fruit juice in there," he said grudgingly. "The bottle of Bacardi's in there, too."

Matt grinned and walked over to the fridge, gesturing for Joe to move for a moment as he pulled said items out and put them on the side. "Could you get me a bowl, Tai?" The blonde asked, pulling the wooden chopping board from its place on the wall and drawing a knife from the knife block. Tai jumped off the counter and reached into a cupboard, pulling a large blue bowl from it.

Matt was already cutting the fruit up, throwing it into the bowl. He gestured to the fruit juice, and Tai opened it, pouring it into the bowl. The dark, blackcurrant and apple juice immediately swallowed the few pieces of fruit in its dark clutches. Matt quickly cut the rest of the fruit and placed it in the bowl. He mixed it around a bit with a ladle before opening the bottle of Bacardi.

"What's it taste like neat…?" Izzy asked, walking into the kitchen, the sound system completely set up.

"I'd imagine it would burn your throat," Joe said. "Don't any of you try it."

Tai promptly put the bottle to his nose and smelt it, coughing on the strength of it. Shrugging, he placed it to his lips and sipped some.

Matt took the bottle from him as he gagged violently, grinning widely.

"You idiot," he admonished, grinning. "Joe told you it would burn."

Tai coughed a little, grabbing a mug and filling it with tap water. Matt shook his head, smiling slightly.

"Right," he said after Tai stopped choking. "How much of this stuff do I put in?"

Tai looked at him. "I don't know," he said. "I thought you'd know."

Matt rolled his eyes and turned to Matt and Izzy, who both gave him blank looks.

Sighing, Matt poured a small amount into the bowl and mixed it round. "Try that," he motioned to Tai.

Tai grabbed the ladle and mug and put some of the dark liquid into it. Taking a mouthful, he shook his head in disdain.

"Can't even taste it."

Matt shrugged and poured a bit more in. Tai tried it again, and shook his head again.

"We're going to get no-where fast like this," the brunette said. "Put loads in!"

Matt did as was instructed, pouring about half the bottle in before Joe pulled his hand up.

"Are you trying to give us all alcohol poisoning?!" The elder boy said in horror, whilst Matt simply looked at him, bewildered.

"What?" The younger boy protested, putting the cap back on the bottle as Tai helped himself to some of the newly rendered punch. "What did I do wrong?"

"You put far too much in, Matt!"

"Actually," Tai interrupted, the ladle in his hand and a grin on his face. "It's perfect!"

"Perfect for who?" Joe said, snatching the ladle from Tai and collecting some punch in it. He tried it and pulled a face. "For you guys, obviously. I think I'll stick to the fizzy drinks…"

Tai shrugged, taking the ladle back. "More for us, then, Joe! Though, you don't know what you're missing…"

"Yes, I do," Joe retorted. "That awful stuff."

"There's plenty of other drinks, Joe," Matt pointed out. "Besides, I don't actually remember buying any fizzy…"

Joe rolled his eyes. "I'll find a 24 hour convenience store and buy some, then."

"Won't find any of those round here," Tai said, walking into the living room to find some CDs.

"That's not very 'convenient' then, is it?" Joe sighed, following Tai to sit down. Matt picked up the punch bowl and carried in into the living room, putting it in the coffee table in front of the sofa.

Izzy placed a CD into his newly connected sound system, turning it up as loud as he thought he could- which wasn't much.

"Izzy, what's this all about?" Tai questioned, striding over to the sound system. "I can't hear it!"

With that, he turned the dial up. Loud.

"Tai!!" Izzy yelled, turning the volume down again. "There are people all around you in this apartment building!"

Tai looked a little bewildered and shrugged, turning the volume up a little again.

"A little bit of music never hurt anybody," he said, throwing himself onto the sofa, narrowly missing Matt who was already sitting where Tai wanted to be.

"So what do we intend to do tonight?" Matt questioned, moving out the way of Tai, who was determined to sit where he was.

"Have a few drinks, have a bit of fun," Tai suggested, grinning. "Combine the two and you get a drinking game."

"Oh no you don't," Joe said quickly. "I'm obviously the only responsible one here, and I say no."

"My house, I say yes," Tai said, grinning wider and picking up an alcopop. He opened it with a bottle opener that he'd taken from his parent's drinks cabinet, flicking the bottle cap in the air and catching it again as he sipped the tropical drink.

Joe didn't reply, rolling his eyes and leaning back in the chair.

"Don't sulk," Tai admonished, placing the bottle down on the coffee table. "We don't intend to get completely drunk. Right guys?"

"Right!" Matt and Izzy agreed.

. . . . . . . . . . .

A couple of hours later, the music had been turned down and the floor was littered with various objects; namely, bottles of alcohol, empty plastic cups, bottle caps, food from an impromptu food fight and more.

"Soooo… Will you do it?"

Matt giggled.

"What do I get out of it?"

Tai grinned and giggled too.

"I dunno. We get to laugh at you."

Matt seemed to think it over for a second before shrugging.

"I'm not gonna 'member it in the morning, am I…? So why not?" He stood up and almost fell over again, grabbing the sofa arm for support.

"Meikooooo!" Tai called. "Meikoooooooooooooo!"

"That's not how you do it!" Matt said, still clutching the sofa arm. He went down on his knees- or rather, fell there- and looked underneath the kitchen table from his viewpoint. "Meiko!" He called. "Here Meiko!"

"Here."

He looked up and saw Joe, clutching Meiko in his arms. He had still not bothered with the alcohol, and had been trying unsuccessfully to dissuade them from some of their ideas. Yet, it was useless, so he simply went along with them and hoped they'd come out of it unscathed in the morning.

"Thanks," Matt said, stumbling back to his feet and taking the petrified cat from his friend. Grinning to Tai, he walked to the front door and opened it best he could holding Meiko.

He half-walked, half-stumbled to the neighbour's apartment door, nodding to Tai to knock for him as his hands were full.

Tai did so, snickering as he heard footsteps approaching the door to open it.

"Hello?" The lady who answered the door asked, looking a little confused.

"Hi," Matt said. He held Meiko out. "Have you lost a cat?"

The lady looked even more confused.

"No, we don't own a cat…"

Matt looked down at Meiko, and then back at the lady.

"Why not?"

"…sorry?"

"Why don't you own a cat?"

The lady blinked a few times before answering. "Because we don't want a cat, dear. It's not ours. It looks like the Kamiya's cat, next door…"

She trailed off as she saw Tai standing behind Matt.

"Taichi? Isn't this your cat?"

Tai shook his head innocently. "My sister's," he explained.

"If it's your sisters, why are you asking if it's mine?" The lady asked, obviously confused.

Tai shrugged.

Matt looked at Meiko again, and then at the lady. He held her out again. "Sure she's not yours?" He asked again.

The lady simply stared at Matt.

"No, dear. Why don't you go back to Taichi's place? I'm sure his sister wants her cat back."

With that, she closed the door, leaving Matt looking a little bewildered. Looking round the group, he proffered Meiko back to Tai. Tai took her before walking back to his own apartment, the others in tow.

"So what now?" Tai asked round the group, letting Meiko leave his arms. No-one found it strange that she ran off to Kari's room quickly and didn't come out again.

Izzy, not really affected by the small amount he'd drunk, followed Joe to the couch to sit down. Tai and Matt were really the only ones who'd not realized their limits with the alcohol, and drunk a little more than they should have.

Matt shrugged, taking a step and almost falling over.

A lot more than they should have.

"So what are we going to do?" Tai repeated again, falling onto the sofa.

Matt leant on the back of it, prepared to answer, before leaning so far forward he fell onto it on top of Tai.

Izzy and Joe laughed as Matt seemed dazed and tried to untangle himself from Tai without success.

"Don't worry…" Tai said. "T'isn't a problem…"

"You don't mind?" Matt asked.

Tai shook his head.

"Oh."

So he stayed there for a moment before attempting to get up again.

Joe eventually pulled him off, pitying his friend for being so drunk he couldn't do it himself. He pulled him into a nearby chair and sat him down.

"Shouldn't have done that," Matt said.

"Why not?" Joe asked, sitting back down himself. "You can't tell me you enjoyed lying on top of Tai?"

"T'isn't that," Matt replied. "But I didn't mind."

Tai giggled at that, as did Matt.

Joe rolled his eyes. "So why shouldn't I have sat you down and stopped you harming yourself and others, hmm?"

"Need to pee," Matt answered, closing his eyes and leaning back in the chair.

There was a pause for a moment.

"And?" Joe asked. Matt opened his eyes again.

"Huh? Oh. I mean, 'coz now I'm sitting down, I don't wanna get up again."

Joe looked skyward, pleading with the forces beyond to help him.

"Well, you'll just have to stay there or get yourself up. I'm not helping you with that."

"Hmm," Matt replied disinterestedly, picking up another bottle of alcohol and swiftly taking the bottle cap off. Joe shook his head, sighing.

"So what shall we do now?" Tai asked for the third time. "We've already done all the fun stuff. There's nothing left to do."

"If you can call food fights and prank visits fun…" Joe muttered. Izzy grinned at that. Matt and Tai failed to notice what had been said.

"Matt?" Tai asked, glancing across at his friend who was already finishing the bottle of alcohol he'd opened.

"Hmm?"

"I... Don't remember..."

That bought another giggling fit between the two into light. Izzy picked up a nearby bottle, opening it in the hope getting as drunk as his friends would bring him a little peace.

Or, to their state of mind so he would no longer care, at least.

When they had calmed down, Matt made a half-hearted attempt to get out the chair. Within seconds he shrugged and gave up, causing everybody- even Joe- to laugh at him.

"You want a hand?" Tai offered.

"Mmm," Matt replied. Tai grinned and half-fell off the couch getting up, stumbling over to where his friend was. He held a hand out, which Matt took, and pulled him from the chair with one swift, strong tug.

Only, it was too strong, because Tai's unsteady balance caused them to fall backwards onto the coffee table, Matt once again landing on top of Tai.

They stared at each other for a moment, eyes meeting, before they started to laugh. And yet, they failed to move off of each other, and their eyes were still connected.

"I'm going to make you both a coffee," Joe said abruptly, getting up and walking to the kitchen.

"Don't you guys want to get up?" Izzy questioned.

Matt looked at Tai. Tai looked at Matt.

"No?" Tai said before dissolving into laughter.

Yet they did, Tai resetting the coffee table to its rightful position as Matt stood up shakily. He reached for another bottle of drink, but Joe placed a cup of warm coffee in his hand instead.

"You need to get more sober," he admonished. He handed a coffee to Tai, who simply looked at it, and then at Joe. "You too, Tai."

Matt shook his head, placing the mug down on the table that Tai had just replaced.

"Matt…" Joe started, but Matt shook his head, silencing the older boy.

"I need to pee," he stated again, before turning and walking in the vague direction of the bathroom. Which, in fact, turned out to be the opposite direction completely.

"Matt!" Tai said melodramatically, bounding over to his friend and grabbing his hand. "You're going the wrong way!" With that, he tightened the grip on his friend's hand and pulled him in the semi-right direction.

"There's something up with those two…" Izzy whispered to Joe as he sat down.

"Tell me about it!" Joe agreed, his eyes on the two. "If one of them were female, they'd be a couple, I swear."

"Who says one of them has to be female?" Izzy questioned. Joe looked at him, a slight smile lighting his face.

"That's true."

They looked up as they heard giggling from the two; Matt was trying to pull his hand out of Tai's, having successfully located the bathroom, but his brunette friend was having none of it.

Izzy and Joe exchanged a glance, grinning knowingly.

"Tai," Matt protested, finally pulling his hand away. "Lemme go and… I'll have a contest with you. Who can drink the most punch, yeah? Deal?"

Tai giggled. "I already let you go," he said, indicating his empty hands. "But I'll have a contest with you!"

With that he- much to the surprise of the others in the room- jumped forward and pecked Matt on the cheek before retreating to the sofa with a grin on his face.

Joe and Izzy stared at him and then at Matt, who didn't seem to have realized what Tai had done. He simply covered his cheek with his hand, smiled and headed into the bathroom.

"Tai?" Izzy questioned.

"Hmm?" Tai asked, opening up another bottle of drink.

"Why did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Kiss Matt."

Tai stared at him. "I didn't," he said after a moment. "Izzy, you've had tooooo much to drink! You're seeing things!"

They were interrupted by the telephone ringing. Tai simply stared at it. Even though it wasn't his house, Joe answered it for him, rolling his eyes.

"Hello, Kamiya residence… Oh, hello Mr. Ishida…"

Tai's eyes widened upon hearing that name; any parent's name was big trouble for the state they were in.

"Matt? No, sorry, he's in the bathroom right now… Can I take a message?"

"Mattttttttt!" Tai yelled loudly. "Your Dad's on the phoneeeeeeeeeee!"

"Tai, Matt's-" Joe began before Tai yelling again interrupted him. Matt had just stepped out of the bathroom, looking a little panic-stricken at what Tai had just said.

"Quick! Hide, Matt!!"

Joe mentally cursed Tai. "No, Mr. Ishida, I don't know why Tai's shouting that… He sounds drunk to you?"

"I ammmmmmmm!" Tai yelled. "And you know Matt has to hide, Joe! 'Coz his Dad'll hit him!"

Joe's eyes widened, and he stammered something resembling a squeak as Mr. Ishida asked what the heck was going on. Tai snatched the phone from Joe.

"Hi Matt's Dad! Huh? Drinking? Us? Nooooooo, never…"

Matt raced across the room as fast as he could, promptly falling over the coffee table he failed to notice.

Tai giggled loudly, forgetting he was holding the phone and Mr. Ishida could hear him. Joe took that opportunity to take the phone back, just in time to hear Mr. Ishida state 'I'm on my way' and hang up.

"You guys are in trouble now," Joe said, replacing the receiver. "Matt, your Dad's on his way here."

Yet, Matt wasn't listening, and neither was Tai. The competition for who could drink the most punch was now under way; Matt competing from where he had fallen on the floor and Tai from the chair behind him.

"Matt, your Dad's on his way here!" Joe repeated, louder.

Still no response.

Joe sighed and sat down, glancing at Izzy who was spinning a bottle on the coffee table disinterestedly.

"Don't let them see you do that else they'll want to play Spin the Bottle," Joe stated, stopping the bottle with his hand. Izzy nodded, leaving it alone in favor of three bottle caps. He juggled them without really paying much attention, leaving Joe to wonder how the heck he ended up in the middle of it all.

. . . . . . . . . .

No more than ten minutes later, Matt was declaring himself the winner of the punch drinking contest, despite only half of the bowl being drunk and Tai obviously winning so far anyway.

The only one who heard the knock at the front door was Joe; Izzy had since fallen asleep, and Matt and Tai were too absorbed in their 'game'.

"Here comes trouble…" Joe muttered, knowing who would be at the door.

He was correct. Mr. Ishida didn't wait to be invited in before entering.

"Matt!" He barked, causing his son to look up at him as he walked across to the living room.

"Dad?" Matt said, lowering his plastic cup back into the punch bowl. He scooped some more up and offered it to his Dad. "Want some?"

Mr. Ishida didn't reply, sitting down on the sofa as he tried to take in what was happening before his eyes.

"Where did you boys get alcohol from…?" He questioned wearily.

"The supermarket," Tai answered, not really seeing the potential danger that response would have.

"The supermarket? And how did you boys purchase alcohol underage?"

"Matt did it," Tai offered helpfully.

Matt, however, was just beginning to realize how annoyed his Dad looked, and wisely placed his plastic cup down.

"Matt?"

Matt didn't reply.

"Matt?" Mr. Ishida asked again, stronger.

"I just… bought it…" Matt said, shrugging.

"And you didn't get asked for I.D?"

Tai nodded yes whilst Matt shook his head no.

"Matt…" Mr. Ishida raised an eyebrow.

"Well, we got round that…"

"How?"

"Hmm… Don't remember…"

"How, Matt?!" Mr. Ishida snapped, rapidly losing his patience.

"Matt cried at the lady and she believed him," Tai stated, drinking some more punch. Matt had the decency to scowl at him.

"Believed what?"

"That if he went home without it, you'd beat him…"

Even as he said it, Tai eventually realized that he should have kept his mouth closed.

"Nice going Tai," Matt muttered, the enormity of the situation seemingly sobering him.

He stood up, only to fall straight back over again.

Well, sobering him a little.

"Matt!" Tai said, rolling his eyes and pulling him up again, this time neither of them falling over. "You're in trouble now!"

"I think you're both going to be in trouble…" Mr. Ishida muttered wearily. His gaze landed on Joe and Izzy.

"I've been keeping them somewhat in order," Joe said. "And Izzy… Well, he fell asleep, so he's not been much harm to anyone."

"So it's just these two, eh?" Mr. Ishida said, glancing at Matt and Tai, who were re-filling their cups with punch. "Matt!" He snapped, causing the blonde to drop his cup in fright. Tai laughed at him, the situation not affecting him at all.

"Sorry, Dad…" Matt said, lowering his gaze to the floor.

"You'd better be. Come on. I'll take you home…"

His eyes gazed at Tai, who was merrily drinking what remained of the punch.

"And we'd better bring Tai, too. Joe, wake Izzy. I'll take you home as well. I'll bring Tai back with Matt tomorrow morning and make them clean this place up…"

Joe nodded, shaking Izzy and waking him with a quick explanation.

"Am I in trouble?" Matt asked as he stumbled out of the front door, clutching Tai's hand for support.

"Too right," his Dad replied. Matt looked skyward, but almost walked into Izzy as he did so. Tai laughed and yanked him back.

"Watch where you're going, Matt!" He said, laughing. Matt giggled too.

Mr. Ishida sighed. This was going to be a long night.

. . . . . . . . . .

About half an hour later saw Joe and Izzy safely at home, and Matt and Tai back at Matt's house. Mr. Ishida wearily collapsed onto the sofa as the two boys took shaky steps towards Matt's bedroom, giggling as they went.

"Don't come crying to me when you wake up with hangovers…" he muttered as they somehow managed to open the door and fall into the room. As the door shut, he picked up the phone, set to dial his ex-wife's number. He paused for a moment, his fingers above the keys.

No. She doesn't need to know. I can deal with Matt myself; her reaction will be to tell me I'm an irresponsible as a parent… And half the local supermarket attendants believe that already, from the looks of things…

He almost replaced the receiver, but changed his mind at the last moment. He picked up Matt's phone book and flicked through until he found Tai's number.

I think I should call Tai's parents and leave a message…

. . . . . . . . . .

"Matt?"

"Mmm?"

"…Do you think we're gonna get in trouble for this?"

The two were lying on Matt's bed, facing one another, with a side lamp on next to them. The curtains weren't drawn, a window was open, and the room was a little chilly, but neither seemed to notice nor care.

"Pr'bably."

"What do you think'll happen?"

Matt shrugged as best he could. "Grounded? A lecture?"

"Dunno…"

Neither spoke for a while, both content in the quiet.

"…Matt?"

"Mmm?"

"…Didn't we just have this conversation?"

Matt grinned. "Yeah. But I think you were gonna say something different…"

"Was I?"

"I dunno. Were you?"

Tai laughed. "I think… I think I was gonna tell you I love you."

Matt laughed as well. "Nah, I don't think so…"

Tai nodded earnestly. "I think so."

"Well, do you know so?"

"…No…?"

"Well, just so you know, I love you too."

"Mmm? Really?"

Matt nodded, closing his eyes. Tai grinned.

"You know we're not gonna remember this in the morning…"

Matt shook his head sleepily. "Nuh uh…"

"Well, is that a good thing?"

Matt shrugged. "Sleepy…" He murmured.

"Hmm…" Tai agreed, closing his eyes as well.

And the lamp stayed on, the curtains remained open, and Tai gently placed his arm round Matt for warmth. He had sobered up somewhat, and he knew he would remember their conversation in the morning.

Grinning, he curled up next to Matt, happy to be stealing a sly embrace when his friend wouldn't object. And indeed, Matt subconsciously drew him closer, though whether it was from cold or whether it was from love, he didn't know.

And he didn't care, either. All he cared about was it was happening, and it was making him happy.

. . . . . . . . . .

"Boys! Wake up!"

Matt and Tai awoke to the abrupt shout, and turned to the door where Mr. Ishida was standing. Matt, who was on the edge of the bed, realized that he had an arm wrapped round Tai, and hurriedly pulled away. Doing so, however, ended up with him on the floor and Tai laughing at him.

Mr. Ishida rolled his eyes. Matt tried to sit up, but held his head in his hands and moaned instead.

"Get up, Matt."

"It's hurts…"

"Get up."

Matt sighed and shakily stood up, half-collapsing back down on the bed.

"No, up."

Tai jumped off the bed, grinning, seemingly not suffering the effects of a hangover.

"How come you're so happy this morning?" Mr. Ishida questioned, turning to Tai.

Tai shrugged. "Because I don't feel sick at all. My parents never got hangovers, so obviously I'm not one to either."

"You know they're not very happy with you, don't you?"

Tai's grin faded. "They know?"

"I left a message on their answer-phone, and you won't be very happy to know they arrived back early and their apartment still looks like a mess. And, they were wondering why there's a supermarket trolley in their bedroom."

Tai whistled and looked away.

"Don't talk so loud…" Matt muttered from the bed, pulling a pillow over his head.

Mr. Ishida grabbed it and pulled it off, dragging Matt off the bed whilst he protested.

Minutes later, they were both seated at the kitchen table. Matt was leaning across it, his head in his arms, whereas Tai was drinking a cup of coffee, still grinning.

"You really do look happy for someone whose parents are on the warpath," Mr. Ishida commented, shaking Matt and handing him a cup of water containing soluble painkillers.

"Mmm," Tai said, trying to talk past his coffee cup.

"I feel sick…" Matt uttered, his head back in his arms and the water untouched.

"Drink that water," his dad instructed. "That'll make you feel better."

Matt did as he was told, looking decidedly pale beneath the morning sun flitting through the kitchen curtains.

"How come you look so well?" Matt said, scowling at Tai.

Tai simply grinned.

You don't remember last night do you, Matt?

"I feel great, that's why!" He said, beaming from ear to ear. If only you could remember why…

Matt shook his head and laid it back down in his arms.

"Your parents are coming to pick you up in about half an hour, Tai," Mr. Ishida informed the grinning brunette. "Since you feel so well, you'll be able to tidy up the mess you made of their apartment." He glanced at his son's head. "You too, Matt."

"What?!" The head shot up out of the arms, looking pained. "But I don't feel well!"

"You should have thought of that last night. What I want to know is what you think you were doing telling the supermarket attendant that-"

"Oh God…" Matt groaned, cutting his dad off before he could say what he knew would be said. "How do you-"

"Tai not keeping his mouth shut last night," Mr. Ishida intervened, as Matt had done to him.

Matt scowled at Tai. Tai grinned at Matt.

"I was still drunk!" Tai said in defense after a moment, as he realized Matt really didn't look happy with him.

"If I wasn't so sick, I'd hit you…" Matt threatened, returning his head to his arms.

"Like I'm supposed to do to you?" Mr. Ishida said, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow.

Matt looked up at his Dad, whose expression didn't change.

"Leave me alone…!" He muttered, curling himself round the edge of the table with his hands over his sensitive ears.

"No. Get up and ready to go to Tai's. You've got a lot of tidying up to do."

"I did move all the valuables into their bedroom…" Tai interjected, feeling a little sorry for his ailing friend.

Mr. Ishida smiled, just a tiny bit.

"…Does that include the supermarket trolley, Tai?"

Author's Notes: *grins* There. That's what happened, for those who requested it. Feedback to Nanaki_Lioness@hotmail.com would be welcomed, and so would reviews below ^_^ Thanks for reading, and I hope that clears things up for you!