Kiss and Make Up
Disclaimer: Not mine, thank you.
So, here was the thing.
Takeru was sure — positive, even — that something was going on. School had ended for Spring Break, and Ken was visiting Odaiba for the week, staying at Iori's apartment. Naturally, the week had begun with a good start. There had been a get-together at Daisuke's place, which was mainly composed of talking and eating and trips down memory lane, which involved a lot of harrassment over certain incidents that involved pink aprons and whipped cream and no, Yamato did not like being reminded of it, thank you very much.
Recounted compromising positions involving his older brother aside, afterwards, Takeru had realized that Ken and Daisuke were ignoring each other. The two were never seen together, and when one approached, the other darted off. It was like a game of tag with no real It. The two didn't talk to each other, and didn't talk about each other. Normally, Daisuke would be ecstatic that his best friend was visiting, but this time, apparently not.
And so, for Takeru, it came down to the choice: help, or not help. Meddle, or not meddle. Figure things out, or let the two do it themselves. Leave their friendship in pieces, or go off to piece it up again — or at least, quicken the process.
As if the answer wasn't obvious enough.
Jumping up from his bed, Takeru started pacing, mulling over the situation. It was Saturday, and Ken would be leaving the next day, so he'd have to be quick. His first thought was to lock the two boys up in the same room together and let things take their course from there. But the chance of failure would be huge, he didn't have the right equipment, it would take persuasion and manipulation, there was the risk of damaged property, and he'd have to take the possibility of being despised for a day or ten, if things didn't go right.
Takeru loved a challenge.
He got the handcuffs from Yamato. Two pairs, actually.
He would have asked why his brother had them but then he decided he really, really didn't want to know.
Adjusting his smile, Takeru made his way down the hallway, stopping at a familiar door and knocking on it quickly. He had to wait a moment before the door opened and a boy stuck his head out.
Iori eyed him curiously, and with more than just a little suspicion, recognizing the way he just bleeded innocence as something not very innocent at all. Sensors went off in his head; he had seen the look enough times to know what it meant. Still, he smiled politely, pushing the door open further to allow himself into the doorway. "Good afternoon, Takeru-san."
"Afternoon, Iori," Takeru greeted. "Can I see Ken, please?"
Iori blinked, a flash of doubt disrupting his expression. "May I ask why?"
Takeru shrugged nonchalantly, his smile never wavering. "I was just having trouble with my homework, and since the genius is in town, I might as well take advantage of it. And besides, I decided it would be a nice opportunity to talk to him."
Iori, picking up a hint of where this would lead to, sighed. "Takeru-san, whatever you're going to do, you really shouldn't."
Though he faltered momentarily at the rejection, Takeru was quick to regain his composure. Enter: the Pout. "But you don't want to see Daisuke and Ken act like this forever, right?"
Iori winced, flinching back as if it would shield his eyes and ears from Takeru's pleading routine. Somehow, he managed to shake his head. "It doesn't matter if you have good intentions. Meddling doesn't always turn out as well as your purposes."
Takeru would have taken the time to admire the other boy's firm willpower, had it been another situation. Of course, that wasn't the case, so he merely took it up another notch. "But I won't do anything to damage their friendship any further. Pretty please, Iori-kun? You wouldn't condemn Daisuke and Ken to a life of eternal resentment towards each other, would you?"
Iori flinched as everything hit him full blast — wide eyes, sulking figure, tilted head, quivering bottom lip. He tried to avert his eyes, but depths of bright blue had him rooted to the spot. He withstood it for a long moment, far longer than anyone else, but then even Iori had to sigh in defeat. After throwing Takeru one last warning look, he turned to go fetch Ken.
A minute later and there was another boy leaning against the doorframe, watching him with dark violet eyes, eyebrows raised in a way that looked far more sophisticated than it really should have. Must have something to do with being a genius, Takeru thought, and offered a smile.
"Takeru," came his quiet greeting. Ken stepped out into the hallway and closed the door behind him. "Iori said you needed help with your homework, and that you also wanted to talk to me."
Takeru nodded, and the two of them began heading back to his apartment on the next floor of the building. "Yeah. Just a little geometry. I hope you don't mind the lack of notice."
"It's fine," was the slightly stiff reply, and Ken tugged at the sleeve of his shirt. "I wasn't really doing anything."
There was a hint of resentment in his voice, small enough that Takeru wouldn't have noticed if he hadn't been looking for it. He narrowed his eyes curiously, scanning his memory— it's Saturday, he thought, what was supposed to happen today...?
Daisuke. Daisuke was supposed to happen. They had scheduled to spend the day together, before all this... whatever it was happened.
Half worried and half pleased that something was going on, Takeru kept his smile carefully in place. "We're here," he announced, twisting open the door to the apartment.
Ken looked relieved; being occupied with geometry was good, being occupied with thoughts about his best friend was not. He followed Takeru into the apartment, memorizing an escape route to the door as they headed to the bedroom, just in case topics wandered a bit too closely to Daisuke.
Takeru didn't seem to notice, chatting about nothing in particular as he followed Ken into his room. Ken allowed himself to take a brief look around; it was an average teenage boy's room, although an amount neater than Daisuke's, but then again, Daisuke was—
Ken winced. Daisuke wasn't supposed to be thought about. With a shake of his head, he turned around and blinked when he saw Takeru rummaging around his bed. "Takeru...?"
"I'm just looking for something; I'll be with you in a second. The textbook and worksheet's on the desk. I just need some help with proofs — you know, theorems and postulates and stuff. I never know which ones to use," Takeru admitted, sounding sheepish.
Ken looked over the other boy's homework thoughtfully. "What do you need to know? How to use and apply them?" When the only reply was cold metal encompassing one of his wrists, he whirled around, panicky.
"Gotcha!" Takeru laughed, and used the second, currently unused cuff to pull the other to the bedpost before connecting him to the frame.
It was then that Ken finally realized what had happened and began struggling. But when he realized that he was fighting an unbeatable battle, he stilled and settled for glaring at Takeru instead.
"Very cute, Takeru. Think you can let me go now?"
"I think..." Takeru tapped a finger to his cheek, mock-pensive. "I will, but after you talk to Daisuke." Before the other could reply, or protest, he continued, "Because I'm sure you know you can't avoid him forever; he can't avoid you either. And since you're a genius and all, of course you're aware of the fact that you two need to get everything straightened out, and that whatever you two are arguing about, it's not worth throwing four years of friendship away over. So naturally, you know that going along with this and letting me call him over so you two can talk things over is the right thing to do. Right?"
With a defeated sigh, Ken nodded and took a seat on the bed, placing his hands, still handcuffed to the bedpost, in his lap. Takeru expressed his approval with a smile, then bounded out of his room to grab the phone. Next, Daisuke.
This would be fun.
Takeru dialed Daisuke's number with ease, fingers guided by muscle memory. The phone rang once or twice before it was picked up, and a familiar voice mumbled into the receiver, "Motomiya residence. Jun's at the mall right now, and the parents are at work. Daisuke's in a bitchy mood, and doesn't want to talk to anyone. May I ask who's calling?"
"Hey, Daisuke-who's-not-Daisuke," Takeru greeted, deciding to play along for a little while. "It's Takeru, though you wouldn't know me since you're not Daisuke."
There was a pause from the other end, and then Daisuke disguised his voice, giving it an incredibly fake European accent as he feigned ignorance. "Takeru, eh? The Gilligan-wannabe? Daisuke's mentioned you. Shall I fetch him for you?"
The blonde hummed in agreement. "Yeah, sure. If he's done being irritable."
"Of course. But if I get my head bitten off, it's your fault." There was short silence from the other end, in which Takeru was sure his friend was just covering the receiver with a hand, and then Daisuke spoke up, in his normal voice, "Hey."
Takeru plopped down onto the couch, twisting the phone cord absently. "Hey. The guy who's you-but-not-you told me you were feeling a little bitchy."
"Then he'd be right. But it doesn't really matter now; I'm okay. What's up?"
"I was wondering if you could come over. Maybe help me with the geometry worksheet."
There was a short silence before Daisuke replied, his surprise evident, "Hey, um. You never have trouble with geometry."
"Yeah, well... " Takeru winced, mind rushing for an excuse. "I guess. We could still work on it together, and you could use the help."
"Fuck you, blondie. ... Alright, I'll head over. I've been meaning to talk to you anyway."
"Great," Takeru grinned into the phone. "I'll see you soon."
Phase two, complete.
It was around fifteen minutes later when Daisuke reached Takeru's apartment. Daisuke had been about to knock on the door when it swung open, and he came face to face, or rather, fist to face, with a familiar smile that calmly ignored the hand clenched only a few centimeters from his face.
"Takeru," Daisuke said, dropped his fist, and wasn't given the time to say much more. Takeru pulled him into the apartment, barely giving him any time to close to door or take off his trademark orange sneakers. "So, math? I've got my worksheet..." he shoved his hands into his blue sweatshirt, pulling a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, "right here."
Takeru made a face at the worksheet, then shrugged. "Alright, math first then."
Daisuke found himself being just about manhandled into Takeru's room. Grumbling his protest, he stumbled through the doorway, glaring at the boy behind him. "Watch it, Takeru—" He cut himself off, biting his tongue as he he caught sight of the pale figure sitting on the bed and studying his hands, a short cascade of inky hair shielding his face
"K-ken!" And then he turned to Takeru accusingly, who merely shrugged. "You... you planned this! I knew it; I knew you'd try to get into this—"
Takeru didn't bother even listening to Daisuke rant; he grabbed him by the hands and pulled him forward, then took the handcuffs he had snatched from the bed and closed them around one of Daisuke's wrists. Daisuke struggled wildly, unlike Ken, and it was a lot harder attaching him to the other side of the bed. Still, being Takeru, he managed, even if he had to to knee the other in the gut to get the job done. Stepping back, he surveyed his work with a short nod of satisfaction, then moved to grab his homework from his desk.
"Well! That's done. You two have fun, okay?"
Ken's head snapped up; he hadn't been expecting to be alone with Daisuke. "Takeru, you can't do this!"
About the same time, Daisuke shouted, "I'm gonna kill you, Takaishi! Kill you dead!"
Takeru bit back a laugh, wiggling his fingers goodbye and calling out, "Tell me if you need me!" before slamming the door behind him and locking it from the outside.
Let the games begin.
Daisuke's struggling had stopped a little while ago. Ken shifted restlessly for the sixth time in the last five minutes, and then glanced at Daisuke for the twelfth. Outside, there was the unmistakable sound of pencil against paper. Takeru was listening.
Scowling, Daisuke finally glanced up. "I'm sorry."
Ken looked away. "I'm sorry too."
"Great." Daisuke turned to the door. "Takeru?"
"What kind of an apology was that?"
Daisuke snarled under his breath, slamming a fist into the mattress, most likely imagining it as Takeru's face. Shutting his eyes and taking a deep breath, he opened them again to focus them on Ken. "I'm sorry for punching you."
Ken tried not to wince. Looking back down at his hands, he pretended to take upmost interest in his nails. "I'm sorry I kissed you."
There was a choking sound from outside the room. Daisuke shot the door an annoyed look, then repeated, "Takeru? Now can I have out?"
"Nope. But that's a good start."
On the other side of the door, Takeru grinned, calling out teasingly, "Is that an invitation, Daisuke?"
"Only in your dreams, Takaishi."
"Choose a time and place and we can act out one of them."
A faint blush rising to his cheeks, Daisuke stuck his tongue out at the door in a most mature gesture before turning back to Ken. "Okay, let's get this over with so I can go kill Takeru later." Oh yes. Long, painful death. With lots of pain and cut off tongues.
Ken nodded but didn't say anything, still studying his hands like they held the meaning of life in their palms. Actually, Daisuke thought, Ken did have really pretty hands.
He felt like punching himself, now.
"I'm sorry," he said again, "for hitting you after you... you know. It wasn't... nice. It was completely instinctive, and I'm sorry if I hurt you."
"And I'm sorry for what I did too, and I'm sorry if I offended you."
"Now that that's settled." Daisuke turned to the door. "Ta—"
"Keep going, Daisuke."
Lots and lots of pain. Maybe a few severed limbs. Kill, death, maim. Punching the mattress until his mental image of Takeru was well beyond bruised and bloody, Daisuke finally gritted out, "So."
Ken looked up, raising an eyebrow coolly.
"So, why did you kiss me?"
Ken refrained from rolling his eyes, and sighed instead. "That's kind of what you do when you like someone, Daisuke. Besides, what about you? You could have at least heard me out instead of running into your room and slamming the door."
"But you could have tried to talk to me, instead of—" Daisuke paused as Ken's words fully registered. "Whoa, wait. Back up, rewind."
A blink. "You could have at least heard me out instead of running into your room and slamming the door...?"
"No, before that." Daisuke had mastered a wonderful impression of the classic dear-caught-in-headlights. "You said you liked me."
After a moment of silence and blank staring, Ken finally gave in to the urge and rolled his eyes. Multiple times. "Why else would I have done it? I like you and you had just come out of the shower and I'm a teenage guy with hormones. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and you're really hot when you're wet." A pause. "... oh god, did I just say that? Damnit, Takeru, let me out!"
His exaggeratedly loud humming was enough to show that Takeru wasn't ready to let the 'prisoners of love' go yet. Bastard.
Ken rubbed his temples, sighing, resisting the urge to hit his head against something hard. Or maybe, he could hit somebody else's head against something hard. Takeru seemed like a good target. "So."
"You... like me?" Daisuke repeated. It didn't seem to have registered yet.
"Yes, I like you. We've already established that fact."
"B-but... you don't... you can't..."
"I do, and I can." Oh, god, he was going to get a headache if this kept up. "Are you making me repeat it to boost your ego or something? Because this isn't funny."
Under normal circumstances, Daisuke would have glared, but this was not normal, and instead, he looked rather alarmed. "You can't like me."
"I'm sorry?" Ken hazarded, eyebrows raised. "What, am I not good enough for you?"
"Um, try it the other way around."
Ken's expression was a good enough reply without him having to say anything. He stared, eyes narrowed in confusion.
Daisuke took a deep breath and then said slowly, "You. can. not. like. me. I. am. not. good. for. you."
"I... don't understand," Ken said, and then added, "Daisuke, you're being stupid."
"No, I'm not!" Daisuke protested, attempting to throw his hands into the air in frustration before he realized he was still handcuffed to the foot of the bed, and ended up flailing awkwardly instead. "You're on a fucking pedestal, Ken! And being with me would only bring you crashing down."
Ken held up his hands as far as they could go to stop the other from continuing. "Wait. ... wait, "being with me"? I thought you didn't want..."
Daisuke bit down on the inside of his cheek, raking his unchained hand through his hair as if it would help sooth his nerves too. "Would you mind if I did a recap?" A negative. "Good." He canted his head to the side, motioning to the door. "Oi, Takeru, I'm doing a recap! Alright?"
His reply came as a faint mumble, in such an absent manner that Daisuke wondered for a moment if Takeru was even listening anymore. But, shrugging it off, he began. "Right. Enter Daisuke Motomiya, a gawky and maybe slightly egoistical eleven-year-old. Then there are his parents, who are always like, 'You're stupid, Daisuke! Blah blah blah, even your fashion sense is horrible! Blah blah, need to get better grades, blah blah, pay attention, blah blah blah.' And then there's this girl he knows, Hikari Yagami. So Daisuke thinks, if he gets Hikari to go out with him and brings home Ms. Perfect herself, his parents will finally fuck off. Thus begins operation: Get Hikari to Date Me God Damnit. But then this kid, Takeru, comes along, and Daisuke's like, fuck, because he sees how close Takeru and Hikari are, and he thinks there's something going on between them, and he doesn't have a change against Mr. Perfect. Thus begins: Takeru Is A Bastard And I Can't Stand Him Kill Death Maim Now Grr."
"Daisuke... " Takeru whined from outside. So he had been listening.
Daisuke: 1, Takeru: ... a lot more then that. But he was getting there. His self-satisfied grin faded a little once he remembered his current situation, though. Takeru was probably going to get bonus points for this. Shaking his head, he turned back to Ken, who was waited patiently. "Soon, Daisuke gives up on Hikari, cause she makes it clear that she doesn't like him in that way. But then, enter Ken Ichijouji, post-Kaiser, and he's even more perfect than Hikari or Takeru, and maybe even them combined. He's a genius, awesome friend, a great soccer player, chess player, and a thousand other things, plus he's hot. So, Daisuke decides that Ken qualifies for the next object of his affections. Besides, he could pass for a girl."
Ken didn't know whether to be flattered or offended. He settled for a soft, "hmm," instead.
Daisuke shrugged. "But there's all this shit going on with saving the world and all, and Daisuke doesn't really have time to be distracted by this... crush he has on Ken. Besides, he's not sure if Ken would appreciate him having a crush on him anyway. So he pushes it away for a bit, and everything's okay again. You know, for the time being."
He paused for dramatic effect.
"But, after the whole Digital World thing is over, Daisuke still likes Ken. But he thinks to himself, Ken can't like me. He's perfect, I'm the exact opposite. I'm not good enough. He'd be unhappy with me. I'm brash, stupid, and impulsive."
"But you're a great friend, loyal, determined, funny, and hot," Ken interrupted.
"Hey, I'm the one talking here. So anyway, Daisuke says, screw the crush. It'll go away sooner or later. But a few years later, it still hasn't gone away. Ken's visiting from Tamachi, Daisuke invites him over, and when he gets here, Daisuke's just come out of the shower. And there's a lot of weird staring, and then suddenly Ken's kissing him, and all the feelings he thought he could keep under wraps just kind of... spill out, and he panics and punches Ken, then runs into his room and slams the door, and can't sleep for the rest of the week. The end."
There was a long silence.
"So you like me."
Ken paused. "Then what's the problem?"
"You still don't get it? Look, Ken, I'm not good enough for you. You; genius, organized, patient, understanding, everything. Me; complete opposite. Someway or another, I'd fuck up, or you would get fed up with me, or something that would end really badly. Then our relationship would be ruined, and I don't want to risk that, because you're my best friend, and I don't want to put that on the line for something that most likely won't turn out well—"
Ken shook his head. "Daisuke, shut up."
"... shutting up," Daisuke agreed, and sat down. "See, this is what I'm talking about. I'm stupid."
"You're not stupid, you're just acting stupid right now. I don't care if you're not perfect. If I liked perfection, then I'd be pinning over Takeru or Hikari something." Takeru, wisely, didn't interrupt. "I like you, Daisuke, you and your faults and your good points and everything. And I want to give it a shot."
Daisuke fell silent for a moment. "It won't turn out well."
"You're making it seem like you don't want to be with me." Ken raised an eyebrow, dryly amused. "Is that it, Daisuke?"
Daisuke immediately shook his head. "It's not that. I mean, god, who could not?" Ken turned pink. Daisuke went on. "I just don't think... I mean, this might not work. And if it doesn't, it won't be the same again."
"You never know." Ken shrugged. "But whatever happens, we'll face it together, side by side."
Daisuke winced. "You do know how corny that was, right?"
"Shut up," Ken said, but smiled anyway. "It's the best I could think of. But, Daisuke? I want to take the chance. And if it doesn't turn out well, then we can stop before it gets worse. And if all else fails, we can just get Takeru to help work things out." A glance at the door. "The bastard would probably jump at the chance to interfere, anyway."
From outside of the room, Takeru laughed. "I love you too, Ken."
Daisuke didn't say anything for a while; instead, he fiddled with the handcuffs, as if thinking. He finally looked with a ghost of a smile. "I'm game."
"Good." Ken smiled softly, and not just a little relieved.
"Yeah." Daisuke drifted off, keeping his tone thoughtful even as he glanced at Ken from the corner of his eye, grin taking a sharper edge. "Besides, we could have fun with that weird fetish for whips and bondage you have."
Ken nodded on reflex, too distracted to fully comprehend what Daisuke was saying until a few seconds after, and then his eyes widened and he struggled to keep from blushing. "E-excuse me?"
Daisuke smirked. "You know it's true."
"No it's not," Ken insisted. "At least, not the bondage. That would probably be Takeru."
Daisuke spared his handcuffs a look and nodded in agreement, before adopting a thoughtful look. "Hey, you know, we could have even more fun with a three—"
Ken promptly Freaked Out, cutting off before Daisuke could finish. On the other side of the door, Takeru was choking on air and trying not to laugh, failing miserably. Recognizing the amused glitter in Daisuke's dark auburn eyes, Ken calmed slowly. "That wasn't funny."
"Yeah, it was," Daisuke said, but grinned apologetically anyway. "I wasn't kidding about the whip, though."
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Ken glared at him half-heartedly, and decided it was best to change the subject. "You know, this has got to be one of the most bizarre ways anyone has ever hooked up."
"We're bizarre people," Daisuke shrugged. "Normality is tedious."
Ken allowed himself a dry smile. "Ooh, big words."
"... Fuck y—wait, no. I'm am not saying that anymore around Takeru. Er, shut up. Yeah, that works."
Ken grinned along with him, until a bit of uncertainty flashed crossed his face, and he bit his lip. "So... what now?"
"I guess we kiss and make up," Daisuke said, with a suggestive smile that indicated he thought making out was probably necessary too. To maintain good relations and all that. Ken laughed in agreement, leaning forward simultaneously with Daisuke. ... and then stopped, cringing slightly. Daisuke blinked, confused, until a jangle politely informed him of what was wrong. Groaning, he tugged at his handcuffs, unable to get any further. "Takeruuu!"