"Tai, it's not that bad!" The blonde said, walking after him as they found their new lockers. Tai then began slamming his head against his when he had found the right one.
"Cut it out..." Matt said, turning the dial on the lock three lockers down and throwing his extra books inside when he had opened it. "Why are you so hung up over this?"
"Because I'm a midget..." Tai groaned, continually hitting his head against the metal.
"You're just a late bloomer."
"I'm a freak..."
"You're going to dent the locker."
Tai glared up at him with a disgruntled look plastered across his face.
"What about my head!?" He yelled.
"It's harder than the locker," Matt said.
"You don't care because you're tall and handsome and I'm not!" He cried, nearly throwing a temper tantrum and banging his fists against the locker. Matt sighed, Tai hardly ever took anything this seriously.
"It's really bothering him... Poor angel," Matt thought. He bent over then, grabbing Tai around the waist and hoisting him up over his shoulder.
"Yami, put me down!" He screamed, kicking his legs.
"We're going to be late," Matt said, holding his head high and ignoring the strange looks from their peers as he carried Tai down the hallway.
"I'm sorry I acted so stupid this morning..." Tai said later. After they had participated in the entrance ceremonies for new students, they had the last few hours of school to enjoy doing whatever they wanted. Many students were outside the gymnasium playing sports, and a lot of the girls were chatting with friends, catching up on summer events. The pair had decided to keep to themselves though, and were lying in the grass under the shade of a sakura tree. Matt leaned against the trunk with Tai's head in his lap, and stroked his hair while they talked.
"Tai-chan... I don't want to sound uncaring, but you're making this out to be a lot worse than it is," he said.
"You don't understand," he mumbled. "You've always been prettier than me or taller than me or whatever, and now that's all doubled by about 8 million."
"That made no sense," Matt said, smiling.
"I don't care, I just feel like even more of a doofus than I always have."
"You're not though," he said, tickling the back of Tai's ear and feeling him twitch slightly. "You're a great athlete, and you're outgoing and friendly, I can't think of anyone who doesn't like you."
"But I'm only good at soccer, never anything else...."
"You're good at making me happy." Tai sat up and looked into Matt's eyes when he said this. "Not very many people are good at that."
The brunette flung his arms around his boyfriend's shoulders and hugged him tightly.
"Why do you always say meaningful things when I say stupid things," he sighed. Matt decided not to answer, he just continued stroking Tai's soft hair and held him, letting the closeness of the moment do all the talking.
"It almost makes me feel ashamed for growing up," Matt said to Sora a few days later. They sat in the school newspaper room, Sora editing an article and Matt searching online for resources to use in his next music review.
"You shouldn't," she said, "but, I do too in a way. Tai's always been such a strong leader, he doesn't feel like he's good enough if he's smaller than the rest of us."
"Mm..." Matt sighed and continued clicking through different web pages while Sora scribbled red marks and corrections on the papers in front of her. Tai was in gym class at the moment. The teasing from his soccer team mates he had suffered during the first few days of school had ceased, mostly due to the presence of a wrathful blonde boyfriend waiting outside the locker room each day.
"I wish there was something I could do besides just be there for him," he remarked.
"I think I have an idea..." Sora said suddenly.
"What is it?" He looked up from his computer screen at her.
"There's a special issue of the paper coming out before our first break," she stood and gathered up the articles she had been working on, "but I'll have to tell the other girls in the Spirit Club about it."
"Wait, what about the Spirit Club?"
"See you later!" She said, winking and hurrying out the door to deliver the edited papers to their supervisor.
"And then he's like, 'Lucky you aren't goalie, Yagami, or you'd never reach the ball', so I punched him in the face!" Tai shouted through a mouthful of food. He swallowed, then finished his retelling of the previous day. "So that's why I'm suspended from the next game."
"Sometimes you're a little to quick to jump to action," Matt said, taking a sip of soda and smirking.
"Well I'm sick of those guys teasing me! It's been three weeks, you think they would have gotten over it by now," he grumbled.
School was well underway by now and the soccer season was in full swing. Unfortunately, some of the teasing from the first few days of school still survived in the less agreeable members of the team.
"Do you have to sit out on the bench?"
"Yeah..." The brunette shoved the rest of his lunch into his mouth in one huge bite and downed it angrily.
"I'll see if I can sneak down and keep you company, I'll say I'm doing a report for the paper or something."
"But you do the music section..."
"I got reassigned," he said, winking.
"Yami, why are people so dumb?" Tai sighed, once he had finished chewing the remains of his food.
"I think it's in their nature," the blonde replied, gathering up the mess on their table and tossing it in a garbage two tables away. He slid into the booth next to Tai and sat down.
"If it's not guys teasing me it's girls telling me how cute I look."
"Well, you are cute." Matt grinned widely and licked the tip of Tai's earlobe. He squeaked and covered his ears.
"Yami! You know that makes me crazy!" He scolded.
"I know..." The taller boy purred and pulled Tai's hands away, licking his ear again. Instead of jerking away he moaned softly this time, his eyes half closed contentedly while Matt went to work nibbling on his ear.
"May we interrupt this make out session?" A voice said. The pair looked up to see their own younger siblings smiling down at them.
"Wonderful timing, TK," Matt said, glaring playfully at his brother. TK and Kari sat down in the seat opposite Matt and Tai and set their trays of food on the table.
"Now I have to go to the bathroom..." Tai mumbled.
"Did I get you a bit worked up?" The blonde poked him in the side making Tai groan, before letting him up to go to the bathroom.
Kari giggled as he walked away towards the back of the diner.
"I don't think he's looked in a mirror since school started," she said.
"He doesn't even realize, does he?" TK asked.
Matt shook his head and smiled fondly. "Maybe it's not a big enough change for him to notice yet, even if everyone else does."
"He'll figure it out eventually," Kari said, popping a french fry into her mouth. "My bigger big brother!"
Tai's complaints of inferiority came less frequently as the weeks progressed. Mostly because he was too busy with school and sports to let it bother him as much. But this busy lifestyle also kept him from noticing the change that he himself was undergoing. He was growing in leaps and bounds without even realizing it. For Matt though, it was a welcome transformation, he was finally catching up. Each time he held his boyfriend in his arms he seemed more muscular and well formed. The handsome young man his little Taichi was developing into was truly astonishing.
One day while Matt and Tai were sitting on the front steps of the school studying during a free period, some girls from the Spirit Club walked up to them.
"Do you mind if we take a picture of the two of you together?" One said, holding up a digital camera.
"What for?" Matt asked.
They looked at each other and giggled a little.
"You'll find out next week," the girl with the camera said.
"It's not anything bad, is it?" Tai said suspiciously.
"Of course not!" another said. "You can just ask Sora Takenouchi about it."
"Sora, huh..." Matt remembered the day nearly two months earlier when Sora told him she was planning something having to do with the Spirit Club. After recalling this, they agreed to have their picture taken.
"Ok, now do something cute, hug each other or something," the girl with the camera said.
"Pick him up, Yamato!" A girl with pigtails suggested. After about 15 minutes of posing in different positions, the camera girl finally snapped a photo. Matt was down on one knee with Tai sitting on the other while kissing him on the cheek.
"That's perfect!" The camera girl said when the group of them looked at the picture on the LCD screen.
"So, when are we gonna find out what this is for?" Tai asked.
"Next Friday," she said, "the day before break."
"Thank you!" Said another.
"See you later!" The five girls departed and went back into the school, whispering and giggling the entire way.
"I hope Sora isn't planning something embarrassing..." Tai said, sitting back on the steps.
"I doubt it." Matt picked up the notes they had been looking over to begin studying again just as the bell rang for the end of the period.
"So much for our history test," Tai groaned, packing up his things.
"My knees and elbows have been hurting..." Tai moaned, "and I fell during soccer practice because I got a random pain in my leg."
"Growing pains," Matt said, smiling.
"Wasn't that a show?"
Tai flopped down on his bed where Matt was sitting and the blonde kissed his boyfriend on the nose, loving how he could be so oblivious to things, even changes in his own body. He supposed it was easier to see changes in the world around you than to see a gradual change in yourself.
"You didn't hurt yourself, did you?" Matt asked.
"Banged my shin up," he answered, lifting his pant leg up to show Matt a large purple bruise.
"Ouch..." He bent down and kissed Tai's leg very delicately and wrapped his arms around him. They stared at each other with their feet hanging off the edge of the bed for a long time. Matt was nearly in awe, the brunette seemed to be growing more gorgeous by the day. His eyes were still large and innocent, like milky pools of chocolate, but the roundness of his face had been replaced by the epitome of a handsome man. His skin had somehow avoided the horrors of acne in these early teen years, and was flawless and tan. The color was even darker than usual from being in the sun playing soccer nearly every afternoon. Matt brushed his shaggy but silky hair out of his eyes and the whole picture together formed the most perfect face he could have imagined.
"Beautiful..." He whispered.
"Huh?" Tai looked at Matt with a puzzled expression. He was silenced by a deep kiss before saying anything else, though. The musician's tongue plunged into his mouth and he accepted happily, rolling onto his back and allowing Matt to climb on top of him. Each flicker of Matt's tongue received a sensual moan in return.
He stopped to look down at Tai's face, which was flushed red from excitement. He panted heavily and reached up to wrap his arms around Matt.
"Why are you such a good kisser," he said breathlessly. The blonde simply kissed him again as a thank you for the compliment. He felt his zipper going down then as Matt reached into his pants and started stroking him. Matt wrapped his hand tightly around his boyfriend's manhood and he gasped and squirmed underneath him.
"He really has grown..." Matt thought.
Tai was very glad he had locked his door and thought his groin was about to explode as Matt pleasured him and began nibbling his ear and sucking at his neck.
"Y-yami...." He squeaked. His whole body was shaking mildly and he could not force himself to breathe in anything but random gasps. Matt nuzzled his neck lightly before kissing him again. He could not think of anything more enjoyable than kissing Tai, he loved the taste, the feel. He was sure his boyfriend must have the sweetest, softest lips that there were, and felt privileged knowing he was the only one who would ever have them against his own.
Tai cried out suddenly and Matt felt his hand covered with a warm liquid.
"Sorry, Yami..." The brunette whispered, still panting heavily.
"It's fine," he said, smiling with a great sense of accomplishment. Tai always climaxed so quickly, truly adorable in Matt's mind. The smaller boy clung to Matt tightly until he stopped shaking and his body relaxed again.
"I love you, Yami."
"I love you, Tai-chan."
They kissed once again for what seemed like an eternity, neither wanted to stop. Matt got up from the bed when they had broken their kiss to clean his hand off with a tissue, licking a bit off his fingertips first. Tai did not notice though, as he was still recovering from the explosion a few minutes before.
"More salty than sweet," Matt said, hopping back onto the back and poking Tai in the tummy.
"Huh?" A common word in Tai's vocabulary.
Matt laughed softly and laid back down next to him.
"Nothing... nothing at all."
"Hey!" Tai exclaimed. "Tomorrow is Friday, we finally get to find out what Sora's big secret is."
"I really hope she didn't lose her mind and decide to embarrass us in front of the whole school." Matt sighed, slipping his hand under Tai's body to pinch his booty.
"Eep! Yami!" The brunette nearly leapt off the bed.
Matt smiled widely and crawled on top of Tai once again.
"You are so cute, I could eat you..." He whispered devilishly.
"But if you eat me now, I'll never find out what the surprise is," he said.
"Ok, I'll wait until Saturday to devour you."
Tai then jabbed the boy on top of him in his ticklish spot, making him topple off the side of the bed.
"You're such a brat!" Matt yelled, diving back on top of him and biting his ear. Much playing and passion followed, and both boys got very little sleep that night.
"Vacation, finally," Tai groaned, hoisting his book bag over his shoulder at the end of the next day, thankful he had not gotten much homework over break.
A hot tongue suddenly caressed the back of his ear and he spun around to see Matt smiling behind him.
"You almost gave me a heart attack," he teased, leaning forward into his boyfriend's chest, as Matt wrapped his arms tightly around his body.
"Your mom said you could spend the weekend, right?" The blonde asked while they hugged and rocked slowly back and forth on the spot.
"Of course, I practically live at your place anyway," he said.
"My dad's leaving to do a special news report in Kyoto tomorrow," Matt told him. "He won't be back until Tuesday."
"I love your dad," Tai said, practically melted into Matt by now.
"Love my dad or the fact that he's away so much?"
Matt chuckled and they clasped hands, walking towards the exit of the school together.
"Hey... I thought we were going to find out Sora's big surprise today," Tai said.
"Yeah, but I've barely seen her all day," Matt responded, glancing around the halls, trying to catch a glimpse of their orange haired friend.
"Don't forget your paper!"
"Special vacation issue!"
Voices sounded from the front steps of the school. Several members of the newspaper staff were stationed there, handing out papers to students as they exited and headed home.
"Don't forget a paper, you two," said a sophomore girl as Matt and Tai passed by. She giggled and nearly shoved the newspaper into Matt's hand.
"Uh, thanks..." he said.
"What's so special about this issue anyway?" Tai asked as they walked down the stairs. Matt skimmed over the front page.
"Special Freshmen Superlatives Issue," the blonde said, reading the largest text on the page.
"What's a superlative?"
"Um, it's the best of stuff, like best eyes and all that," Matt answered, thumbing through the pages with Tai peeking over his shoulder.
"Yamato, Taichi!" They heard someone yell. Running towards them was the president of the Spirit Club, the girl who had taken their picture the previous week.
"So, did you find it yet?" She asked, seeing that they had a newspaper in their possession.
"Find what?" Matt asked, Tai just blinked confusedly at the girl.
"Turn to page seven!" She instructed excitedly.
Matt flipped the pages close to the end of the small booklet and opened it up.
"Cutest Freshman Couple: Yamato Ishida and Taichi Yagami," he read. There in the center of page seven was the picture that had been taken on the front steps of the school, Tai sitting on Matt's knee, planting a kiss on his cheek.
"Surprise!" The two boys looked up to see Sora walking over to them, a bundle of newspapers in her arms. She smiled widely, glancing down at the picture.
"So this is the surprise, huh?" Matt asked, grinning.
"When you're editor you have a little extra influence," she said, winking. "Not that it's a lie, you two really are the cutest couple!"
The Spirit Club president nodded in agreement. "Everyone thinks you two are adorable together, especially the girls." She chuckled.
"Yami..." Tai mumbled.
"What's the matter?" Matt turned a bit so Tai was facing him instead of looking over his shoulder.
"I look weird in this picture," the brunette said, staring hard at the paper in Matt's hands.
Matt and Sora's eyes met, apparently Tai had noticed the not-so-childish version of himself featured in the photograph.
"Tai, stand up straight," Matt said.
"What, why?" Tai asked.
"Just do it."
Tai stood up perfectly straight and held his arms at his side. Matt stepped up to his boyfriend until they were chest to chest, and looked him directly in the eyes.
"Notice anything?" The musician asked. Sora stifled a laugh when Tai cocked his head to the side, examining Matt's face carefully.
"No..." He said slowly. "Did you brush your hair different today or something?"
"Tai!" Sora shouted, giggling and stepping up beside them. "Look straight forward." Tai did as he was told. "Now, what do you see?" she asked.
"And think back, what did you see there a few months ago?"
"Matt's neck-HEY!" Tai's eyes widened suddenly and he ran off back into the school.
"Hey, where are you going!" Matt yelled.
Matt, Sora, and a slightly puzzled Spirit Club president ran off after the soccer player just as he was dashing into the girls bathroom. Three girls ran immediately out after a few squeals from within.
"You can't go in there!" The spirit club president yelled. Matt and Sora followed Tai inside quickly, and found him staring into the full body mirror beside the row of sinks. Matt stepped up behind his boyfriend, who was nearly matching his own height in their reflection.
"I haven't even bothered to take a good look at myself lately..." He said.
"Do you like what you see?" Matt asked coyly.
"Yes!" He cried, leaping up into Matt's arms and hugging him wildly. The two would have most likely toppled to the ground if Sora had not been there to balance them. The musician held him with enormous pride and satisfaction that his love had finally realized the beautiful change he had been undergoing.
"Yami, this is so cool!" He said into the shoulder of Matt's blazer. Matt squeezed him tighter and the romantic moment would have continued if it had not been for an angry 'ehem' from the door. They turned to see the principal of the school leaning in the entryway, glaring at them, half annoyed, half amused.
"Would you mind getting out of the ladies restroom now?" She asked.
Matt set Tai back down on the floor and they both blushed.
"Sorry!" They replied in unison, and hurried out the door, leaving Sora behind, smiling happily.
"Nn... I can't believe... I didn't notice..."
"Mm... shut up..."
Matt's tongue snaked into the brunette's mouth, silencing him. He had talked almost nonstop on their way home, and continued to do so as they made their way to Matt's bedroom and began undressing. Even when Matt's hands and lips were dancing their way across his body, he still continued babbling about the realization he had made that afternoon.
"But Yami..." He panted when their lips had parted.
Matt sighed and shook his head, but stayed smiling nonetheless. He slid his arms around the well toned tan body beneath him and touched the smooth skin lightly with his fingertips.
"I'm so happy," Tai said, nuzzling against the blonde's cheek, his hand resting on the pale skin of Matt's back.
"Me too, I don't have to listen to you whine anymore!" Matt teased.
"Really though... you're so handsome. All I have to do is look at you and I get turned on," he said.
"Oh, so I wasn't handsome before?" Tai said with mock offense.
"Of course you were." The lids over Matt's blue eyes lowered, and he gazed longingly at the gorgeous face beside him. "But now..."
They kissed once more, tasting each other with fevered pace, their bodies touching almost everywhere. The two held each other almost as close as they felt emotionally at that moment, but of course no physical closeness could reach an intensity such as that. Matt breathed against the boy below him, licking and toying with his ear. So perfect, so flawless, Tai was the most beautiful creature on earth in his eyes, more now than ever before.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, Yami."
The blonde leaned up on his elbows a bit to stare down into Tai's lovely brown eyes. One of the brunette's slender fingers ran up and down his spine, making goose bumps form all over his body.
"So what are we two grown men going to do alone all weekend?" Tai said.
"Heh, not quite full grown," Matt replied. He brushed Tai's bangs off his forehead, wondering how long these pubescent years would last, but not really caring, they had each other.
"Soon though," Tai sighed contentedly. "And I don't mind, now that I've finally caught up to you."
"I told you that you would."
He smiled and kissed Matt again, softly, tenderly.
"You don't have to worry, either way," Matt said. "There's nothing we can't face as long as we're together, it's always been that way. There'll be a lot of hard times ahead now that we're getting older, but I want to go through all of them with you."
They snuggled close now, relaxed and completely happy, every problem in the world was gone. Yamato and Taichi, lovers, but still rivals in a way, were finally even again, and everything was perfect as far as they were concerned. Matt draped his arm across Tai's chest, and the brunette gazed fondly at his boyfriend.
"We'll be fine," he said, "We're just in-between."