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Cocktail

By Splash

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TITLE: Cocktail

AUTHOR: Splash

EMAIL: Yes (email)

DISCLAIMER: Digimon and its characters do not belong to me. Digimon belongs to Toei.

WARNINGS: Taichi/Yamato Shounen-ai, language

A/N: (the following)

Hmmm, Spiral is such a lovely Anime (SUZUMURA KENICHI! I IDOLIZE THEE!), but when I took a look at the full lyrics to the ending song, I screamed out "TAITO!" o.o; Now for some song Spiral -Suiri no Kizuna-: Kakuteru (cocktail)

Etou, this is another 2027-ish fic, meaning it "follows" the ending of Digimon Adventure 02. -shudder- But if you know anything about style, you'll know that I can't hold angst out forever. XD This combines the Japanese and American versions. Cultures are mixed in and out of this. Examples being carrying pictures, the overal Japanese formality of conversations... they're both a little warped in this fic. You'll see. \

Meh, just to be politically correct, I'll switch the blonde's to blond for this fic. It started to annoy me.. sorry for any inconveniences! 3

Edit 4/29/05

For whatever reason behind FF.N's boggled mind, I'm not allowed to post the lyrics anymore. Go to my account for the correct formatted version of this fic, since this version just doesn't have the lyrics posted on them.

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This is the fourth time this week I've been to this bar, knowing he'd be there. Of course, he always sits in the same spot every time he's there. It's always the dimly lit corner spot, deep into the realm of the social cavern, where no one could pay heed to his conversations without being noticed. His back is always facing me, and even though I can tell he's never concentrating on what's ahead of him, he doesn't have the will to let his eyes wander. He always keeps his back facing the rest of the place. It's almost as if... he's afraid to turn around and see what's behind him. I'm almost certain it's because of what's in front of him. Che'. Did the songs he sung during high school not mean anything to him?

I find myself mumbling the tune softly to myself when the bartender arrives at my tall-chair. Over the years, I managed to hone some of my singing abilities... because of him. He always made fun of my singing, little realizing how personally I took it. Without his notice, I took several singing classes during my free time before entering high school. I never got to show him how much I improved until it was too late. I didn't exactly idolize him since... well... he was my best friend. No matter how popular he got, I was still his best friend... or at least I hope I was. Especially now, I wonder if he had thought otherwise during those times.

" Taichi... I'm shocked."

Nostalgia won't leave me alone, but I welcome it anyway. " I had no idea you could sing that well. What happened to the squeaky vocal chords from all those years back?"

Yamato's trademark dry humor cuts me every time. I remember being really pissed at him for those comments... I almost punched the lights out of him, but something stopped me. His smile...

Even under the glaring lights at the center of the bar, I haven't attracted his attention. He probably doesn't even recognize me anymore. I don't know if I've changed in appearance so much, but he seems to be keeping his hair a shorter length than how it was many years ago. Tainted in the romantic lighting, his hair's radiance still entices me today.

The bartender gives me a strange look, as if complying with my thoughts. However, I soon realize he was referring to my singing, so I lightly blush and take the glass he places next to me without an extra word. I watch his face as he leaves to tend to other customers. I had seen him working at the bar before, but tonight was the first time he had served me. The bartender glances back at me, giving a split-second smirk before heading toward the juicemaker. He probably has a gidst of what my intentions are, since I keep a rather low profile. My suitcase is on the ground at my side, my feet dangling above it.

I love tall chairs that spin, like the one I'm sitting on. Usually, I'm in the mood to abuse them like no tomorrow, but... everything is draining me lately. The document I have in front of me becomes blurry under my eyesight, so I give up on it for the moment. The document is a blanket for the black folder beneath it, of which its contents I never open to the public eye.

My gaze switches back to the blond in the corner of the bar once more, feeling the old jealously run through me. SHE's still there, talking with him. Then again, she always is. I hate myself for this feeling, but it can't be helped. But it doesn't mean I can't do something about it. Quickly, I take a large drink of the liquid in my glass before forcefully setting it back down, almost causing the lemon slice to fall off.

It seems like a timely routine now, this coming to the bar to let myself wash away with my drinks. This time will be no different from the last; I don't try to sense her absence like I tried in the past anymore. I go inside, keeping my face low and instinctively heading for the center. The bartender is the same one who had heard my singing the other night. He has the strange habit of winking at me when he passes by. It's almost unnerving... I had the intention of being a complete stranger in this bar, after all.

...That sounds like a thing Yamato would do. In chasing him, I've started to become like him, but never to the extent where I lose myself. My husband said it himself: "You have too much energy, you're too bombastic," to put it shortly. " You'll never lose those qualities." I know Yamato is nothing of the sort, that he can also tell me what kind of person I am... or can he? I wonder if he's lost his touch over the years. For some reason, I want to find out what kind of person HE is now. I can't tell that through the news reports, the magazine articles, or any other crap the media lends to the public. Then again, I suppose I can thank the media for informing me of his return to his hometown. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here today.

After receiving my usual cocktail, I look at the corner spot where my recent habit has led me. I catch the blond's face for a moment before focusing on my drink. I bring the glass to my lips and almost choke. He's looking straight at me!

I can't help but mumble a simple "Shit," as I notice his gaze. Despite the dim settings, I can see him quite clearly. Media coverage could never catch a glimpse of what I see. He's still beautiful...

Another thing I notice... SHE's gone. She isn't sitting in her spot across from Yamato anymore. My mind must be playing tricks on me. I'll blink, and she'll reappear, and Yamato will still be facing the opposite direction. I'll be back to my old, emptied self, I just know it. These kinds of situations never work out for me.

It doesn't happen. I blink, and he's still there. I feel my eyes bug out, my lips forming a surprised frown. I still can't believe what's happening, but I'm freaking out. I try to ignore him and concentrate on my drink, but to no avail. I can still sense his stare, as if he has a laser gun pointed at me with those eyes. Perhaps I'm just as ready to die.

A movement out of the corner of my sight disturbs my concentration. He's getting out of his seat... he's coming this way! I need to get out of here!

Quickly, I start packing my belongings, stuffing the documents I had laid out into my black folder. The papers decide to not cooperate with me at that moment to my misfortune. Realizing that I was giving myself away from my haste, I surrender and leave the papers peeping out of the folder. I slouch on my chair, closing my eyes for what is to come.

I hear him sit on a tall chair next to me without a single word. What does he intend to do? It's really making me nervous... I try not to shake as my hands move to my knees, hoping he didn't see them busy with the folder before. Reluctantly, I gain the courage to peer at him. He's... drinking my cocktail.

" You little fuck!" I shout, taking the half-empty glass straight out of his hands. " Those are expensive!"

" That's why you get them often, isn't it?"

I glare at him, forgetting my past worries. Man, he pisses me off when he uses those remarks... it makes me wonder sometimes... why do I go after him? Why do I bother coming here, anyway?

" That's not any of your damn business."

Well, guess what? I don't need you anymore. I've established my career, I've found someone else to love, I'm living out my dream without you... my dream...

My surreal dream.

" Gese, you're still an immature, swearing block-head, too!" his stinging voice retorts. My teeth clench, and my fist starts to shake. I haven't had any physical stress relief in a while... maybe I can send it out on him. The option seems liable, since he's conveniently right in front of me. I raise my fist, and a huge wave of déjà-vu blasts me into a stupefied stillness. He's smiling at me.

Damn.

" Hey, how do you know I get these often?"

Yamato crossed his arms on the table, his gaze still fixed on me. " I didn't. I was just guessing. You're not into alcohol?"

I blink several times before I'm able to figure out what he means. " They don't serve alcoholic cocktails here," I say as I discreetly organize the papers in my folder.

" Wow, talk about a clean bar," Yamato notes.

" You're the one who's been here more often than I have." I pick up the suitcase at my side and stuff the folder inside, then set it back down. Even so, I've discovered a lot about this bar during my trips here. On weekend nights, free-for-all Karaoke is available in the far corner of the bar. The bar itself is a very cozy place for the locals... all conversation in the bar stays within the bar. It's the perfect place for a private chat.

" I only go here because Sora dragged me here for our 'talks,'" Yamato says flippantly.

I stare back at him for a few seconds before raising the glass to my lips. At least I can get a conversation going now. " How's life treating you? Aren't you married to Sora?"

The skin between the blond's eyebrows wrinkles. At first, I think he's aware of the possibility of the tension in this subject. I used to know Sora quite well before she started focusing on her future. " It's over. You watched it, I thought... since you just admitted to coming here most nights."

" I watched what?" I say, sincerely confused.

He sighs and turns his head to face the busy bartenders. " If you heard the news, I came back a few months ago."

I nod at him. At most times, I want to question why he chose his current occupation. He had a lot going with him for music...

I already went through this thought before. Just like Yamato's parents, who couldn't keep their dedication for each other, he stumbles just like them. He wasn't able to keep his dedication to his music, and now this... There was one major difference, however. Yamato's music was practically his GOD. He breathed it, he dreamed it (I still remember when we used to have hourly chats about what his dreams meant), he practically dated it. His room was covered in music fantasies; Posters of bands he idolized, his guitar-shaped clock, clippings of musician quotes littering the floor... the works were all in there. I know for certain he never got anywhere NEAR that obsessed with Sora...

Ahh, the thought itself gives me a headache. I have nothing against Sora, though... no, she was a good friend of mine. I only lost contact with her, ever so slowly... after Yamato... Meh. Why am I dwelling on that now? We just got busy like most people do during high school. She got involved with Yamato, and Yamato broke off as well. They were busy together, I guess... combined with the band and school, why would they continue to make time for me when they had each other? They were a happy couple, and I felt it would be completely intrusive of me to say anything against them... and... I'm blubbering like a nutcase.

They were simply who they were. Are they still like that? Many things change in a few years time... Are you the same person I first learned love from?

Suddenly, I realize that I've been staring blankly at him the entire time.

" We lost the passion. I don't think there was much in the first place."

With the many years gone by, I suddenly feel more open to Yamato. He feels more like a stranger than usual, someone I can confide with without the risk of developingpersonal grudges. I temporarily forgot my long-time best friend and asked the question I had been holding back for so long. " Why was it Sora?"

Yamato looks at me for several minutes, completely unnerving me. He seems to be figuring out a way to say everything.

" I've spent more than a decade thinking of the answer to that."

Now THAT puzzles me. He senses this and explains.

" High school made me get caught up about my future and making a living. I saw Sora and her enthusiasm to continue her mother's work." He sighs a shameful breathe of air. " I fell in love with her potential. She was an attractive female with athletic, artistic and academic abilities."

" Dude, you like alliterations, don't you?"

" Uh... I didn't mean to do that on purpose."

" Right..."

" You notice the weirdest things, Taichi," he says, smirking in mid-sentence, " I fell in love with that."

I blink again.

He flusters, to my curiousity, but I let him continue." With Sora's potential, I mean. I was just looking for something more inside of her to fall in love with, and spent an entire decade upon the belief that I would find it."

Seeing the solemn look on his face brings many old memories into my mind. I bring a hand onto his shoulder, which he welcomes silently. It's so nice being with him like this... I miss it...

" I never found it. It wasn't until I had a lot of time to myself on the trip to Mars that I discovered that the void had never been filled. In fact, I felt worse after high school. That trip to Mars made me realize how boring my life was, how superficial everything seemed. I talked to Gabumon often during the trip. He kept telling me to do what was in my heart, even when I asked him about his personal thoughts about my life. He's too supportive sometimes."

" I'll follow you no matter what you do, Yamato!" I suddenly chirp, imitating the general cuteness of a Digimon. Well, SOMEone has to lighten up the mood once in a while!

But I'm not exactly the model happiness-bringer. I keep a lot of my feelings to myself, despite what people think. Most of them believe that I don't have a care in the world with the way I tend to control things. Yamato was the first person I ever met to think otherwise. That quality in him brought us together as great friends when we were young.

What happened to the days when we were like twin siblings, never wanting to disappear from each other's sight? They seem to be so long ago even though it's barely past a decade.

There is always hope to bring them back, however...

" I really will, Yama."

He looks at me, surprised with the sudden changes in the atmosphere. He gives me a smile... a tainted one-- but nonetheless, a smile-- before letting his lips fall back into its wilted frown.

Yamato's sullen expression continues as he peers back at me. " How have you been holding up, Taichi?"

His tone is suddenly calm and serious. I know what's coming up...

" Do you know anything about that without me telling you?" I ask curiously.

He thinks for a moment, breathing in and out once as if he had been holding it back. " You're establishing a position as the ambassador of the Digital World as far as I can recall."

" You've got a memory," I say, mock gasping. Yamato simply grins, peering at my cocktail drink tentatively. " I'm... I'm living with someone."

He glances at me, somewhat surprised.

" I mean, it's a household arrangement, he and I," I couldn't possibly tell him I had a husband... but I could cover it up. I wasn't telling a lie, after all. Not anymore...

I don't feel shameful for covering this fact to anyone anymore. I don't feel that he's my husband, even... perhaps I married him for the same reason as Yamato. Actually, ever since I agreed to the marriage, I knew this. It felt like a pre-arranged marriage amongst royalty, where financial duty came first and love could be discovered afterwards. My family was concerned about my future, and these concerns affect my decisions greatly, now that I think about it.

My husband had a job while I was still in law school, so I had no time to make an income for myself. His income was barely enough to keep both of us fed, but I was still grateful for it. What empty times they were...

During these several years in law school, people discovered more about the Digital World. Eventually, protests began between the people. Some firmly believed that the Digital World threatened our world and had no right to exist. I stepped up to prove that the beings in the Digital World were sentient and that they deserved to be recognized with the same rights as humans. It certainly was NOT a short process, as it took me several yeras to get where I am currently at.

I quit law school to fight for the Digital World through politics. Agumon really helped me back then, gaining the popularity of a political party simply by being who he is... the loud, hungry, crazy talking dinosaur. I made sure he didn't get provoked to Digivolving, which would certainly scare off any potential peace-maker. We traveled all around the world and all around the Digital World, coordinating peace between all nations and the Digimon. At this time, my husband travelled with me, since our sponsors paid the expenses for such vacations. I thought little of it back then; it was nice touring the world with someone, finding souvenirs and having a good time.

My efforts during our tour paid off. The United Nations recognized the Digital World as a nation, and the Digital World agreed that Agumon and I should represent them. It relieved me so much that a war between the Digital World and our world didn't occur.

" I know, Taichi. I know," Yamato says, cutting me off as I tell him this story. He lowers his head on his crossed arms on the table. " You don't know there's been a lot of media coverage about you, too, do you?"

" Huh?"

" Before I went up to Mars... you were always in the news. News reporters everywhere would be highlighting events in the Digital World peace process. Didn't you notice all the cameras on you? Didn't you get offers for interviews and such?"

" ...I turned down interviews. But the cameras... I never noticed." This was the truth. I grew accustomed to cameras long ago.

" How could you not notice, Taichi?" Yamato abruptly turns very serious. He must be recollecting unpleasant memories. He never got used to the cameras...He shakes his head slightly, then looks back at me. " But I'm proud of you. Seeing you take action like that... it was great. You must have a wonderful life now..."

He slumps again, defeat in his stance. He doesn't deserve to be in such an unpleasant mood...

" So, who else is in your life?" I ask nervously, trying to change the subject. I then realize the sadness behind that question...

" My children..."

I lightly bite my bottom lip at that. I feel like a horrible person for thinking this way, but it disgusts me that two people I knew very well would have children together. I've learned to hold back such provoking thoughts from reaching my mouth, however. " How old are they?" I ask instead.

" One of them is 6 and the other is 4..." he twists to reach for his back pocket and takes out a wallet. " Do you want to see the younger one?"

" You carry pictures with you?" I say quizzically.

" Unusual, isn't it? Sora insisted that I keep one of this child..." he slides the small picture to my side of the counter.

As I stare into the picture, I can't help but notice how Yamato uses "this child" instead of his name. The child has the same dirty orange color hair as Sora.

" What about you, Taichi?" Yamato asks quietly, as if he's afraid of other people listening in to our conversation.

" I have a child... he looks just like me," I say simply. Yamato's depressed mood is contagious. I can feel it building within myself. " But he's so quiet..."

At one of the corners of the bar, a woman takes a seat on a small stage. She's dressed in a glossy purple sleeveless dress, the V-neck piled in layers. The soft Karaoke music plays in the background as she begins to sing. Her voice is very moderate and soothing, but not soothing enough for Yamato... he frowns in the silence, contemplating something.

I don't like seeing Yamato like this, naturally. I stretch my neck to one side during the following silence. Yamato drinks the rest of my cocktail and orders another one for me. The winking bartender winks at Yamato before leaving. I take the cocktail straight out of his hands (desperately ignoring the spark that runs through me as our skins makes contact for the first time in over a decade) and take my share in one slew. The depression hits me with that wash of the glass, and words pop out of my mouth...

" My life's not nearly as wonderful as it sounds, at least not with the person I'm living with, Yama."

I have a well-paid, steady government job, but my husband took this opportunity to free his life. All he does is indulge in food and media. I've been okay with it for a couple years... but this third one is starting to get out of hand. For example, he insists that I should hire a maid for our household care, but I don't want to use MY money for something that he uses more than I do. He freely eats out of my refrigerator, lounges on my couch, uses the Internet that I pay for. It's true that I owe him for taking care of me during the several years in college and law school, but at least I was still doing something productive with my life.

As I tell this to Yamato, he simply looks back. When I finish, he takes a slow sip out of the cocktail. " You've changed, Taichi. I thought you didn't for a while, but now I realize that you actually have."

I watch him wearily, solace in my speech. " No one stays the same forever."

I think back on my husband's comments, saying that I would never lose certain qualities. " Maybe it was for the better. I changed because of you, Yamato."

He pauses, cocktail in hand. " Me...?"

I stretch my neck again, this time facing away from him before fixing my posture. " Ever since high school..."

Yamato looks at me confused, waiting for me to continue. It makes me wonder... how could he not have seen it? How could he not have seen how much I withdrew myself during high school? How I spent less time with him, joked with him less often, approached him with insecurities... Could he really be that blind? I won't believe it...

I don't want to argue with him on this... I'm tired of it. I'm not going to waste my efforts by fighting what I don't want to fight. I'd rather embrace him and mutter sweet sounds of love in his ear... Just thinking about it hollows my stomach with a terrifying pain.

" This still isn't like you, Taichi," he finally says. " If you didn't like something I was doing, you would tell me straight out. Why do you hold back now?"

" Maybe because I've matured a bit."

" Maybe your circumstances are just forcing you to act like this. I wouldn't call holding back your personal feelings 'mature,' Taichi."

" Well, maybe that's what I believe! You know, I don't know why I still give a shit about what you think."

We stare at each other in a desolate silence after that. Yamato suddenly smiles again, but his eyes don't look so happy.

" Can't let go of me..." Yamato says softly, causing me to gawk slightly. Does he know...? " I'm in the same situation."

I try to ignore what he implies and carry on. " You mean Sora?"

A flash of... something... goes through his eyes. " You idiot," he says, bringing a hand across to rest on my cheek. A sudden rush of heat escapes me as I turn in his direction.

" You... It's always been you."

My breathing becomes erratic, unsteady as my mind. Is he actually coming onto me?

" I thought about you so much..." he mumbles, his voice fading in the white noise of the other conversations in the bar. And there's still something flashing in his eyes...

I can't believe what's happening right now, even if the scene has played itself in my dreams hundreds of times. My mind is probably still playing a game on me... a very nasty game.

" Yamato." I manage to say. My vocal chords fail at anything beyond that. To have him suddenly showing emotion like this... it's too much. I begin to feel lightheaded, so I back out of my chair, out of his soft touch...

I hear him calling for me, but I ignore it. I need to get out of this fantasy. I couldn't possibly deserve such happiness. All I deserve is my deadbeat husband and endpoint job... I'll wake up, see my husband and Agumon sleeping on the couch, then fall onto my lonely bed...

My suitcase clangs at my side roughly as I step out of the bar and into the windy weather outside. I hug my coat closer, then slump against the wall until I end up sitting back against it. I drop my suitcase, gazing blankly at the darkness in the sky. The stars hide themselves behind the mist of clouds high above.

Without the sounds of the bar, I feel terribly empty right now. There are no other people in the streets, no vehicles... only the streetlight at the corner of the sidewalk. There aren't even idle insect noises to disturb the pure silence out here.

I let my mind clear, as if trying to wash my memories of the night away. My agaped mouth channels a small cloud into the chilly air, a dark pair of pants disturbs it. Without hesitation, Yamato kneels down in front of me, his breath mixing in with my own. He doesn't say anything as I avoid his gaze, but I can feel his piercing stare on me.

After several more minutes of stark silence, Yamato shatters the atmosphere with his words. " Do you remember the first time we played soccer together, Taichi?"

I sigh, then try to glance at him casually. Who knows if it worked. " Of course. I remember it as if it happened this morning."

" This morning?" he gives me a funny look, then chuckles. " Brick-head, it happened at night... a night like this one."

We both observe our surroundings in response to the comment, when I realize...

" The moon was the only thing shining in the sky," Yamato notes, reading my thoughts.

Caught in nostalgia once more, I can hardly remember how I felt that night. Like most people I've met in my life, I never know how influential someone will be to my life at first glance. The following meetings are a completely different story, however.

" If it ever comes to this situation, a slide tackle is the best choice."

" Taichi, I'm not going to be able to remember any of this blabbing by watching you show off."

" Then have it your way. Here, try to take the ball from me."

" Just take the ball?"

" Without using your hands, obviously."

" I mean... you don't want me to try scoring a goal or something?"

" No... I think it's better if I show you what you're up against. Try and steal the ball."

I blush as I remember the events. We had casually slung our arms around each other waists that night, laughing mischievously as young people do.

" Yamato, Concentrate on the ball if you want to steal it... not me."

" But I can't help it!"

So many comments that could be taken in a different direction are gone to the past. All that's left is what happens now.

What happens now...

I look at the figure before me. What I see in front of me shifts from the realm of uncertainty to the present. I reach out slightly to reach Yamato's face, which is quite cold from the wind.

The image doesn't fade away. The feelings are still there. They're not going anywhere... they're staying.

The blond blinks, then softens his expression. " Your hand is warm."

We share one lasting look at each other before we both stand up. Yamato looks at my suitcase as I pick it up, and by some mutual understanding, we start walking past the bar where I had confined so many feelings.

I understand now that this situation wasn't completely about my horrendous past lifestyle. It was about myself, what I had become. My husband insisted that I would never lose my bombastic personality, but I had no idea I could hide it within myself, unwilling to bring it out to the world.

My behavior affects everyone around me... my love, my living... Only Yamato has the ability to bring my true character to the surface. That's the simple brilliance. I want to be myself. I don't want to follow the bearings of other people anymore, and I don't have to. I know that I have Yamato's belief in me.

My past, my present, and my future are in better hands now.

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End

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Where are they going? Let your imagination run wild.

7/15/2003 note: For this fic, Taichi's child is either from an adoption or a previous relationship, whichever you prefer. XD

Fangirl note: I couldn't help but add some of those suggestive comments in the fic... AHAHAHA. XD

Splash

gottaito.