Notes: a gift giving fic, just a smidgen late for the holidays! Fun! This one should be done soon. Free Fall already got another chapter. Blood & Bone was supposed to be a one-shot, but has now wound up with an entire follow-up series. That's it for now… I think…
Warnings: if you've reached chapter 5 without knowing, that's just sad.
Disclaimer: don't own the characters.
The tenderness in Ken's voice stretched across time and space. All the way into Daisuke's heart. Enough so, to make him smile as a reflection to his Jogress partner without even realizing it.
"Hey," Ken's quiet voice filled the space between them. "I was going to call you earlier but Miyako and Hikari found me before I could. You know how those two are once they latch onto a victim."
Daisuke laughed. It was so easy to talk to him. Even the mere dulcet sounds of Ken's voice soothed him. The nervousness he had felt while dialing disappeared. "Yeah, I know. Sounds like you've escaped their clutches though."
Ken sighed. "For now, it looks like. So, what's up?"
This was it. Time to take the big plunge. Coughing to clear his throat, Dai forced the words before he could chicken out. "What're you up to tonight? If you're busy with Mai, I understand, but there's something…"
"I'm not busy, Dai," Ken's reply was gentle. "I'm never too busy for you." At least, he was going to make damn sure he never was again. "Mai and I broke it off anyway. That's why I was going to call you. There are some things…"
Daisuke froze. Ken knew. At least it sounded that way. Fending off apprehension, he asked his next question anyway. "What things?" He was amazed that his voice didn't squeak.
Fighting off a squeak himself, Ken pushed his nerves aside. "Just some things we need to talk about, Daisuke. It's been a while since we've really talked."
Heart hammering in his chest, Dai agreed as they chose to meet at his family's apartment in two hours. After a few lingering words, they hung up. The artist felt his nerves jumping and moving like lightning in his stomach. But there was no turning back. He had to tell Ken, he just had to. And it seemed like the Child of Kindness was more than happy to at least rekindle their friendship. Blushing, Daisuke thought about how tender and affectionate Ken had sounded on the phone.
Giving a dreamy sigh, he cleared his head and started cleaning up his studio. Two hours to confrontation and he still had to wrap Ken's gift and find a simple meal to cook that would seduce the genius. Hmmm… maybe he could just order out…
Ken rejoined the others in Sora's living room with an elated smile plastered on his face. And if he hadn't looked like he was high as a kite, Taichi probably could have kept his mouth shut. As it was…
"So, was that Daisuke?" The older brunette smirked at Ken's subsequent blush and slow nod.
"Tai," Sora chided, "perhaps it would be best to give him some space for a minute."
A pair of delicious chocolate eyes rolled skyward. "Why? So that you can pry all the dirt out of him before I can? I don't think so, honey."
Yamato snickered behind his hand while Koushiro looked equal parts amused and lost. When the blond could control his own amusement, he turned to Ken. "So, you did figure out what you want from him?"
"Yes." The response was quiet, unsure.
"And that would be…?" Maybe if he could bait him well enough he could pry the answer out.
However, as a genius, Ken was aware of such tricks. Raising an eyebrow at the elder Chosen he shook his head. "That's none of your business." With that he stood to let himself out. "You'll all know soon enough anyway." Dodging past both Tai and Sora he darted for the door and was gone before the others had a chance to process (nevermind protest) what he'd said.
Once the dust Ken had kicked up settled once more, Taichi huffed in irritation. "Keeping secrets! Of all the things…" He continued mumbling while the others stared at him. Obviously, he had to be insane. Although all sets of eyes that were observing the scene glowed with affection.
Eventually, Tai's ranting slowed, then stopped altogether. As the words died away, the other three in the room looked at him with wide eyes. His own eyes had a certain twinkle and a devilish smile began to curl his lips. Before speaking he reached for the phone, ready to dial at a moment's notice. "Oh Sora…" The name was dragged out, teasing.
Unfortunately for Taichi, the Keeper of Love knew the face he wore all too well. "Don't even try it," she said flatly. "And no, don't try pouting at me either! Those damn puppy eyes won't work on me anymore! Put the phone down too, you won't accomplish anything with that."
Despite the Death Glare he was receiving, Tai smiled. "You think I won't leave him messages saying how you're too embarrassed to tell him your true feelings so you came to me? For shame! I am not above such lowly measures. So you might as well tell me." He tapped the phone and pretended to think. "Now which is it? Speedial two or three?"
Normally, Yamato would have stepped in at that point. Largely because Tai was being an ass and because of the smack he had received earlier. However, by then, the blond knew the score and was just as eager to see if Taichi's tricks would work as the brunette was.
For his part, Koushiro heaved a sigh and rolled his eyes. "Taichi, you're like a little kid."
In reply, said "little kid" stuck out his tongue at the redhead. "It's part of my charm. It's why you love me so much."
Off to the side, Yamato struggled to hide his chuckling. "I don't know about that, Tai. Love may be a bit extreme." Eyeing the brunette, he smirked when there was another flash of tongue. "Cute."
"Speaking of love, though," Tai turned back to Sora. He gave the Puppy Eyes one more try, putting every last drop of sparkle and abandonment he could muster into it. With a certain satisfaction he watched as her left eye twitched. She was going to crack.
"Fine! Fine I'll tell you! Just stop it with the damn eyes, okay?" Completely irritated that Taichi had won, Sora shook her head in disgust. As she was about to tell all, another voice piped up to save her- for the moment.
"Honestly, Sora," Koushiro was half chiding and half amused. "I've already told him Jyou's in class right now and I have a key to his place. All you would have had to do was ask me to erase the messages and I would have."
"Oooh, defeated for nothing!" A gloating Tai was an annoying thing.
Anything Sora could say to the trio was summed up quite nicely: "I hope you all die."
Having finally broken apart from being joined at the lips, Miyako and Iori were simply staring at each other. It was completely surreal. And there's a scale to measure things like that- The Dali Meter. From one, being a day when Hikari's hair had turned orange from a bad dye job and Mimi had announced she was going to grad school on full scholarship for academic achievement, to ten… which had no real comparison. However, suddenly kissing one of your oldest and closest friends and finding complete passion and love from out of the blue? That clocked in at about an eleven from Miyako. Iori chalked it up to a seven or eight for himself as he'd been nurturing an infatuation with his friend for some time.
Even Miyako, the Keeper of the Biggest, Loudest Mouth this side of the Meridian, was stunned into silence. And then complete stupidity. "You just kissed me!"
Feeling his lips quirk, the Inheritor of Knowledge and Faith couldn't help his dry comeback. "So glad you noticed."
"But, but… you kissed me!" She touched her lips wondering if they were showing the burn she could feel on them. That kiss had been hot. Eyes blinking rapidly behind her glasses, Miyako tried to process. After several moments she felt her heart melting and she smiled. "Do it again?" For the first time ever, her voice was soft, unsure.
Also, for the first time ever, Iori had unparalleled confidence, if not a little extra prowess. "Of course." He smiled and moved closer to Miyako again, kissing her with the weight of a longtime crush behind him.
Apart from them, Kari coughed. "This is great, and congratulations!" There was genuine happiness her voice for the new couple. "But break it up, guys." When they complied she grabbed Miyako's arm. "We still have a mission to complete."
"Hmm? Oh, yeah." Instead of her usual capture and conquer attitude, there was genuine regret in Miyako's voice. Still, a sly smile crept across her face. "Well, Iori didn't know anything and Takeru's at work." She was counting off on her fingers, looking quite pleased at her brilliant distraction. "Daisuke is… who the hell knows where. Ken ditched us-"
"No, he didn't. He's right there," Iori cut in. Pointing to the figure walking not twenty feet away, he sighed. Damn interference. He was just starting to get somewhere too.
"Oh," Miyako looked disappointed. "Damn."
Hikari rolled her eyes and grabbed both of her friends. "Come on you two, you can make out later. Ken! Over here!"
At first, the Chosen of Kindness panicked. Then he noticed something peculiar- a completely subdued Miyako. His interest immediately piqued, he wandered over towards the two females and noticed they had gained a new cohort. Thankfully, Iori was known for being grounded and sane, as it were, so Ken felt no current threat. "Wow. I've never seen her like this before." To test he poked Miyako's glasses, then her nose. She put an abrupt halt to the activities with a tremendous swat at Ken's hand. "Well, it was fun while it lasted."
With lightning speed, the Keeper of Love and Sincerity grabbed Ken's wrist. "Don't think you're getting away for one minute, bright boy," she hissed. "You ditched us and must therefore pay the price."
Ken was completely averse to hitting girls. But he was rapidly starting to rethink the policy. Even a simple twist, or a throw and he could get free. Before he could move, though, Hikari spoke up.
"Watch it, Miya. He's got the running look in his eyes. I think he just might toss you into the air." The Child of Light snickered when Ken fixed a glare at her.
Damn, two women to deal with…
"So, Ken, you looked like you were headed somewhere," Iori stepped up. "Going someplace special?" That boy was a savior. The next Messiah.
Smiling in pure relief, Ken nodded. "Yeah," his voice was quiet, tender. "I'm going to meet up with Daisuke." He was shocked when Miyako completely let him go.
"Oh, well then, if that's the case- off you go! Can't keep him waiting after all." She laughed viciously and winked when the Child of Kindness blushed a perfect tomato red. With the tension broken, she calmed a bit and tilted her head as she scrutinized the young man. "You seem different, like you've come to some sort of realization." Grinning like the gossip predator she was, Miyako gripped Ken again making it clear he wouldn't escape. "Do tell…"
A dishing Miyako was a scary, scary thing. However, Ken had experience with her and knew just the kind of bait to throw her way. Twisting out her hold with easy grace, he stepped back from the group and winked. "You'll know soon enough."
Before Miyako could go after her target again, Iori made himself useful and distracted her with another kiss. It distracted Ken as well and he stood gaping and stunned for a few moments before the green-eyed boy broke for air and shooed him off. "Go! Run while you can." The words were rushed so that he could get back to… distracting Miyako.
Glancing at Kari, Ken waved. "You'll never catch me and if you make me late to meet up with Dai I'll tell your brother all the nasty things you have planned for him." Grinning, he took off.
Kari's whine of, "Vindictive bastard," chased Ken as he left the group behind.
Daisuke was freaking out. As in nerves twisting in his stomach, sweating bullets, shaking (but trying to be manly about it), and pacing kind of freaking out. "Food," he muttered to himself. "Food, food- gotta find food. Something easy to cook that'll taste good." He was sorting through the contents of the kitchen, pantry, and anywhere else in his family's apartment that he could think of.
Ken's gift stood on the table in the kitchen, wrapped with utmost care. Pausing in his search, Dai traced an idle hand over the lines of the wrapping. He had changed his clothes a few times already out of nervousness as well attempting a little light cleaning too. Anything to impress Ken. Sighing, Daisuke shook himself out of his little trance. Well, it looked like he was going to have to do this the usual Motomiya way- improvise.
Besides, it was Ken after all. And Ken knew how Daisuke really was. Sloppy, unprepared, exuberant… and desperately in love with his best friend. At that thought, the redhead deflated a little. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Even though Ken had to be nice about it… rejection would still suck.
Still, Ken had sounded really genuine and, well, loving on the phone. Maybe, just maybe, there was a chance after all. Despite the constant string of girls the Keeper of Kindness had gone through. Not to mention the consistent line of ladies-in-waiting clamoring for his attention. Dammit.
"Too late now," Dai said to himself. Settling in for another hour of waiting, he jumped when there was a knock at the front door. Nervous? Nonsense! Totally prepared to get rid of whoever it was, Daisuke was surprised when he opened the door and he looked straight into two shining indigo eyes.
Ken knew his face was flushed from rushing, but he hoped it wasn't too noticeable. "Hey, Dai."
Daisuke all but glowed at the beautifully, perfectly gentle smile on his friend's face. "You're early," was all he said as he opened the door further.
Stepping inside, Ken took a relaxing breath. He was insanely tense. "Yeah," he finally replied. "I didn't really have anything else do to kill another hour of time, so I came over here. It's not a problem is it?"
Shaking his head, Dai fought off a fine tremor of nerves. "Of course not. I just didn't get a chance to make any dinner or anything for us yet. My parents are visiting one of my aunts and Jun's at school, which you knew, and hey that almost kinda rhymes-" A hand was firmly placed over his mouth.
"You're babbling," Ken said as he hushed his friend. The touch was burning through his fingers, making him even more nervous about things. "You don't babble unless something is bothering you. What is it, Daisuke?" Withdrawing his hand, he smiled again feeling his heart flutter at the wide, sparkling cinnamon eyes that stared at him.
He had touched him. Ken the perfect, Ken the beautiful, Ken the amazing, had touched him. Of course, in the back of Daisuke's mind he rationalized that Ken always touched him. Or at least, he had… up until two weeks ago. Since then, Ken had seemed vaguely distant. Eyebrows furrowed in confusion, Dai thought over the revelation. "You know, I haven't seen you since Takeru's party two weeks ago. I nearly forgot until just now. Guess I figured you were busy with Mai or whoever else."
"I told you earlier, I'm never too busy for you," Ken frowned. This was taking a bit of a detour.
"Yeah." Finally shaking free of his sugar-honey-fluff cocoon, Daisuke felt his head clear a bit from the Ken haze. "You broke up with her? Why? I thought you liked her." Motioning for his friend to follow him, he moved towards the kitchen without really thinking about it.
"Not really," Ken said, absent-mindedly. Back on track, a bit. All he really had to do was put things in serious motion by speaking up. "Things with her were really dull, and then I heard about something at that party…" his voice died as the duo reached the kitchen. Eyes glued to the wrapped package on the table, Ken had to wonder what it was and who it was for.
Still not even thinking about it, Daisuke opened the refrigerator to get some orange juice. "Oh yeah?" That was interesting. "What did you hear that made you change your mind about her? You didn't hear that Takeru rumor did you? Because I only said that to get back at him for something." He moved about the small kitchen, getting a glass, pouring the juice, and putting the carton back while speaking. Oblivious to Ken's complete silence.
The mention of the blond caught Ken's brain. "Takeru rumor? What Takeru rumor?"
Glancing over his shoulder, Dai saw his friend's confusion. "Uh, nothing! It's nothing. But, if it wasn't that, what the hell did you hear about?" Raising an eyebrow, he turned completely to figure out what Ken's gaze was so fixated on.
Studying the gift on the table, Ken concluded it was probably something important. But it had definitely been wrapped by Daisuke. The excessive amounts of tape were a dead giveaway. "I just heard about someone's feelings for me, that's all." Then he stopped. That was not how he had intended to broach the subject. Oops.
Dai choked on his juice. Coughing to try and cover- in that lame kind of way- he managed to regain his composure. Trying to speak between coughs, he asked, "Why would that change how things… ow… I mean, why would that change things with Mai?"
"It just did." That gift was really distracting. Like a good mystery or a puzzle, and Ken loved solving things. "What's that on the table?" But, there were times when his patience for solving simply ran out.
Do or die time. For his part, Daisuke tried to feign complete coolness. "Open it," he said softly, looking down into his glass. "It's for you. Just something I made." He shrugged as though hadn't spent hours trying to perfect the gift.
Ken looked at his friend. There were obvious clues in the scene, but as befuddled as he was, the genius was being completely dumb about putting two and two together- his brain kept coming up with three. "You made something for me?" In all actuality, he was a little shocked and touched by the idea.
"Well, yeah," Daisuke shrugged again. "We are friends, and I like making projects for my friends." Swigging the last of his orange juice he licked his lips. "You know that almost better than anyone."
Despite his blatant blindness towards other things, Ken did catch what Daisuke said. "Almost?" If he had been anyone else, if he had not been schooled to control his face so well, Ken would have been pouting.
Rolling his eyes, Dai turned to rinse out his glass. "Just open it."
There it was- The Moment of Truth. Ken was cautiously moving towards the table and the gift. So carefully as though something might shatter. Long, slender fingers began ripping away the paper… and the yards of tape used to hold everything together. After a few minutes of unwrapping, Ken finally saw what it was that Daisuke had created for him. The sight of it stole his breath.
Wrapped so painstakingly in paper and tissue was a glass statue. Two figures- one standing, one kneeling, facing each other, the standing figure had elegantly carved wings, the kneeling figure was looking up at the other and crying- tears etched in glass to forever capture the gleaming crystals they were. Two figures, obviously in love, and obviously aching to be with one another. The standing angel was Ken, the kneeling worshipper- Daisuke.
Blinking back real tears, Ken turned to his friend. "Daisuke, are you…? I mean, is this…" Emotion made his throat catch on the words. As he moved closer to the redhead, Ken tripped and suddenly found himself kneeling in front of Daisuke. He looked up, tears falling from his eyes, and whispered, "Shouldn't you have wings for this?"
Dai simply laughed through tears of his own before leaning down to kiss Ken, only find that Ken had risen to meet him halfway.
Awww… fluffity, fluff, fluff, fluff! Originally, I wasn't going to put in the description of the statue or the kiss, they were going to be in the next chapter. But I couldn't help it. Fluffiness abounds! This is going to be finished too- with a separate follow-up story for the Trio. For the next chapter though: more mushy romance with Daisuke & Ken, more Miyako and Iori being all cute, maybe TK and Kari will figure their nonsense out, and Sora will deal with the Trio… before dragging Jyou into things. Because everybody loves Jyou.