Ah…This is based loosely on my latest new manga fixation. Marmalade Boy! I love that Manga so much…Well, after heavy doses of that late at night with some corny country western music and having to wake up way to early for weekend swim practice, I came up with this! Expect many strange twists…(Ideas welcome, as always!)

P.S. - I don't know the Kamiya parent's names, I just made it up.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, Marmalade Boy, Sailor Moon, Inu-Yasha, Maison Ikkaku, or any other kind of manga/anime/TV-show/books/etc. that have influenced these consecutive ideas on my strange little brain…All of the above may appear in this story, but some may not. I don't know yet.

House Matters

Chapter 1: A New Order

Tai and Kari stood awkwardly and suspiciously in the lobby of the Rain Tree restaurant. Tai was in a black suit that he only wore to church, while Kari had on a pale pink dress with white sashes and sailor's collar. Their parents were talking to the host about their reservations in this fancy place, with delicate glass decorations all around that sent colorful lights flashing wherever they were hit.

"You think mom and dad are hiding something?" Kari whispered sarcastically out of the corner of her mouth.

"Oh, I don't know." Tai cocked his head back and forth, just as sarcastically. "Maybe they just felt like dressing us up in our Sunday best on Wednesday and going to an overly-fancy restaurant."

Kari giggled a bit, looking around at the other people. They were all old rich couples, smelling like foot powder and baking soda. She sighed, glancing around. "Still…why do you think we're here?"

"Ah, yes. Here's the reservation." the host nodded, checking them off on the list. "The rest of your party has already arrived."

"'The rest'?" Tai asked. "What 'rest'?"

Kari shrugged. Their parents just gave each other knowing glances as they were lead to their seats by the waiter…

~ * ~ * ~

T.K. sat at the table, eyeing his mother and the other chairs suspiciously. He was in his Odiva High uniform, the best outfit he had since his mother got down-sized at the newspaper office. Internally he wondered how she got the money for this, but his mouth gave his external question:

"Am I meeting some new boyfriend with three kids you want me to get to know?" he asked in a low voice.

"Now why would you say that?" Nancy laughed nervously. She was wearing the navy blue dress she always wore to job interviews, and it made her look quite formal.

"Maybe because we're sitting at a table for six when there's only two of us?" T.K. sighed. "Mom, what's going on?"

"You'll see in a moment." his mother was scanning the people entering the dinning room. "They'll be here any minute now…"

"Who?" T.K. asked again, exasperated.

"There they are!" Nancy exclaimed, standing to greet them. "Jin! Yuni!"

"Nancy!" Mrs. Kamiya hugged the other woman, then allowed her to shake hands with her husband.

T.K.'s eyes widened. "Tai! Kari!"

"T.K.!" the brother/sister pair exclaimed at the same time. Three sets of eyes immediately turned questioningly to their parents.

The adults, however, refused to respond until after drinks, appetizers and dinner had been ordered. The bread and salad was set before them before any of them even opened their mouths.

Finally, T.K. said it. "What's going on here?" he demanded, putting his fork down rather loudly.

"Yeah, what's the big deal?" Kari asked.

The parents looked at each other with sideways glances, smiling secret smiles and wanting to hold it out. "Why would you think that something was happening?" Mrs. Kamiya asked with a laugh in her voice.

"Mom, we're not stupid, despite how I act." Tai muttered, leaning across the table. "Our families never get together for anything but instant noodles over lunch, and Ms. Takaishai's out of work. What's the big idea?"

"Funny that you mentioned our financial situation…" Ms. Takaishai said in a low whisper, then looked up to talk. "Well kids, you see…"

"Since Ms. Takaishai is having such a hard time with work…" Mr. Kamiya continued for her. "We've decided to…well, help out a bit."

"'Help out'?" all three kids chorused.

"Well, honey…" Ms. Takaishai took it slowly. "Since our rent is a little high, and we can't really afford it right now…"

"…We've agreed that as long as Nancy can keep the money up for the grocery bills…" Mrs. Kamiya continued.

"…That the Takaishais will be moving in with us." the father finished.

There was a stunned silence for a moment. Then T.K. faltered something out in a weak voice: "Moving…in?" he asked slowly. "With the Kamiyas?"

"Well, yes!" Nancy agreed. "It'll only be for a little while, until I find another job so we can pull rent each month."

"But…Mom…" Tai looked between them all. "We've only got one spare room, with a tiny bed. How're they gonna…?"

"Well…" Mrs. Kamiya smiled. "I thought that Nancy could sleep in that bed and T.K. could take a cot in your room, Tai."

"It sounds good to me." Nancy agreed. "T.K., what do you think?"

"Sounds…Okay…I guess." T.K. muttered, though his head was still spinning. Move in…with the Kamiyas? Stay in Tai's room? Right down the hall from…from her? He hoped he wasn't turning red at the very thought.

If he was, no one noticed. "Is it alright with you, Tai?" Mr. Kamiya asked.

"Okay by me." the older boy shrugged.

"Kari, dear." Nancy turned to the girl. "You've been very quiet. Is everything okay with you?"

"Yeah, it's fine, Ms. Takaishai." Kari sighed. "It sounds okay to me…"

~ * ~ * ~

T.K. lifted the cardboard box out of their almost-empty apartment. Their furniture had been sold already, and the only things they'd really kept were sentimental ones… His favorite things, her favorite things, family photos and various knick-knacks. Most of the stuff they'd kept had already been taken over to the Kamiyas', but he was carrying the stuff from his room himself.

"Well." he muttered to the bare walls, looking around. "This is it. I'll probably never see this place again." he sighed, then shook his head. "Oh well. It's for the best, I suppose. At least we can still eat now…"

He pushed the door open, carrying the box, then set the box down and shut the door behind him. It locked on its own, and the key was back at the main office. No one would go in there again.

"T.K.!"

He turned around and looked. Yolei and Cody were coming down the hall, looking at the box in his hands with surprise. Yolei had her backpack over one shoulder, while Cody carried his Kendo stick.

"Where're you going?" Yolei asked.

Cody looked up at the door, noticing that the Takaishai's name plate was gone. "Are you…moving?"

"Yeah." T.K. smiled pretty good-naturedly. "Mom couldn't hold up the rent anymore, so…"

"Where're you going?" Cody asked.

"Are you gonna change schools?" Yolei sounded a bit worried.

"No, I'm not gonna change schools." T.K. laughed a bit, heading for the elevator. "I'm just moving a few blocks down, that's all."

"Where are you moving?" Cody repeated as they pushed the button to summon the elevator.

T.K. shook his head, laughing just a bit. "You're not gonna believe this." he muttered under his breath. "We're moving in with the Kamiyas."

Cody and Yolei's reactions were to be expected. "The Kamiyas?" Yolei gasped. "As in, Tai and Kari?"

"Yeah…" T.K. smiled, stepping into the elevator. "Our folks made some weird deal, so we're moving in until mom gets another job…"

There was a silence. "Wow." Cody whispered quietly.

"That's…pretty cool, T.K." Yolei smiled at her friend. "So I'll take it you've got the couch?"

"Nope." T.K. grinned as the elevator clanged to the lobby, his stop. "I'm sharing Tai's room. See ya."

Then he left, leaving his two friends looking at each other in confusion.