A/N: Ooo, first post in forever! *sparkles* Present for Sexiness-personified and all the other yaoi-lovers I just know are hiding out there. ^__^ Besides, this fandom needs shounen ai, dangit. Actually, what it REALLY needs is some down-and- dirty yaoi sex, but I settled for heavily-implied shounen ai this time.

Goro's POV. Timeline? What timeline?



"Liquor Cabinet"



"Cellophane friend, I can see through you

Cellophane friend, I thought I knew you."

~ Alex Mack



I remember . . .

Dark hair, smug grin.

God, he was gorgeous. I'm used to gorgeous, but not like his. Not like the kind that splashes in your eyes and dazzles you blind because it comes from the inside and just can't be held there. The kind of gorgeous that spills out when you speak, like freshly uncorked champagne, but a thousands times brighter, a thousand times easier to get drunk off of.

I've never seen anyone quite like him. Kairi.

Sae- she's spilling over too, but with sour vinegar, and Momo's peach brandy and Toji's vodka- colorless and pale. And any of them could make me dizzy, whether with lies or tears or punches, but not like Kairi.

Never like Kairi.

So I watch him from my car, and try not to be any more conspicuous than necessary. He's smiling, like usual, and the longer I look at him the drunker I feel. I can't help but wonder why I keep doing this, day after day.

Goro's list of "Things To Do Before I Die": I want to apologize to Momo. I want to get in a hit on Toji, who seems to be my kindred spirit in unfortunate ways. I want to show Sae that I'm not as stupid as she thought.

And I want to talk to Kairi- a real conversation. We've never really had one, though I've wished for it.

So instead I'm watching him from the car: always here when he goes to school, always here when he comes back out. Always the same; never anything new. I like it this way.

But today . . .

Today he notices me.

I don't know if he really never saw me before, all the weeks I've been coming here and watching him, but today he reacts, he looks at me, he meets my eyes.

So, so drunk.

There are girls with him- there always are- and they follow him as he approaches my car. Then they recognize me and simultaneously stop dead in shock. One of them says his name uncertainly, and it lingers in the air for a long moment, hopelessly confused, as I relish those sacred syllables. He just flashes her a grin and leaves the three of them there.

Kairi stops when he reaches me, his smile slightly exasperated. He does not speak, but leans on the car door, eyes curious and catty, but not quite in the way Sae's so often are.

"Did you have a good day at school?" I inquire, because it seems like the only logical thing to say. He bursts into laughter, and then suddenly clambers in over my lap and claims the passenger seat as his own.

"Hi," he chirps, grinning wildly.

"Hi," I reply softly, my own lips twitching slightly in sympathy.

"So, where are we going?" Kairi asks, idly swinging his legs over the side of the door.

"Nowhere until you sit up straight and buckle yourself in," I inform him dryly. He complies, still grinning. "Now then- where would you like me to take you?"

"Anywhere but a hotel," he says, suddenly solemn and looking over at me with dark eyes. I wince at the cautionary reminder of the Momo fiasco, and mentally remind myself that he is younger than me despite this abrupt, cynical maturity.

Easier to forget that with Sae, who became so confident. Who was so deceptive and so sly. But that makes no sense, because he is not wholly unlike her: similar hair, similar confidence and desires and sly tricks- but somehow so much better, because he knows when to stop.

It's odd that such a small talent would be important, but really, I can't deny what it means. It's the difference between finishing a thing and mastering an art.

"No hotels," I agree quietly, and start the car. Kairi's smile returns, and for the first time I see it as what it is: bright and brittle and so, so lonely.

He was in love with Momo, wasn't he? I think Sae said something about that once. A long time ago, when I was still drinking vinegar and calling it wine because I'd never known the difference.

"I'll buy you a cake," I decide finally as I pull onto the road, Kairi's friends looking after us for a moment, then returning to their own conversations.

He smiles again, and this time it's real. "I'm not gonna stop you," he says with a laugh.

I see Sae in my rearview mirror, talking up a small group of girls, but she registers nothing of my presence. And I resist the urge to spit, because I can taste vinegar on my tongue.

"What kind of cake?" Kairi asks suddenly, and I blink in surprise and forget her.

"Um, chocolate?" I guess hastily.

"A man after my own heart," he says with a laugh.

I meet his eyes and say, with complete sincerity, "That was the plan."



* owari *



. : review if you want kairi back in misao's dress : . ^_~