"I hate being lonely," he moaned again. His father was away for the week, just like he had been so many times before, and the city was asleep. Asleep except for security guards and paramedics and donut makers and other crazy people that were awake at three o'clock in the morning. Crazy indeed, did that make him crazy too?
He had developed the bad habit of coming home from school, passing out, and then rising some time during the late evening to eat and do his homework. Then of course he would stay awake all night by himself. Usually he kept himself entertained by watching TV or playing music or sometimes even chatting over the internet in broken English with insane American fangirls who had the hots for Japanese boys. That was always fun.
But tonight there were no fangirls online, nothing on TV, and his bass and guitar laid unused somewhere in his room. To top it all off, his dad was gone, so the house was empty. Of course, what would they talk about anyway? It was not as if he hated his father, they got along well enough. When it came to in-depth conversation or personal problems, however, they kept to themselves, related but not family.
The only person he really considered family besides his brother would be asleep right now. Sound asleep, in fact, lying in his underwear, his mouth wide open, snoring loudly with drool dripping off his lips, most likely. They messy haired boy was probably the most ungraceful sleeper that had ever touched a mattress, but sleeping habits were irrelevant.
Yagami Taichi was the boy in question, best friend of the depressed musician who lay wide awake in his bed. Ishida Yamato, the self proclaimed cool one, was not feeling very cool at all. If he was all that cool, he wouldn't be lying all alone like a loser in the middle of the night with nothing to do.
Instead of carrying on with the self loathing that was sure to ensure, he got up once more to check the TV. Maybe he would catch a good movie to watch until morning, but after clicking through at least fifty channels, he found nothing on. He trudged back to his room, pulled a pillow into his lap and hugged it tightly in the center of the bed.
"I really hate being alone..." He clenched and unclenched his teeth and scowled. "Hate it, hate it, hate it!" He punched the pillow with each outburst before flinging it across the room.
"I'm just going to call Tai," he said, reaching across the bed to pick up the phone. "Tomorrow's Sunday anyway, he won't care that much if I wake him up." He selected the first number on the speed dial and waited patiently while the phone rang on the other end.
"Ugn... Moshi moshi..." He heard someone groan after at least eight rings.
"Hey Tai, I'm guessing I woke you up?"
"Ya think?" The brunette yawned loudly. "Is this Matt?"
"No, it's Satan, I'm calling for your immortal soul," he answered, rolling his eyes.
"Sure, you can have it in the morning," another yawn, "What do you want, it's the middle of the night."
"Just to talk, there's nothing to do."
"Why don't you go to sleep like I was just doing before you woke me up?"
"I'm not tired..."
"Well I am!" Tai whined. "I'm going back to sleep, Matt."
"No! Why don't you... come over or something?"
"Now? Matt, I'm too tired to come over right now."
"You can sleep here, please..." Although Matt hated to beg, he didn't see how he would make it through another lonely night without falling into a completely bad mood the following day. "I just need someone to talk to..."
Tai sighed heavily into the phone.
"Ok, Matt, I'll be over in a few minutes, kay?"
"Thanks Tai." Matt smiled fondly. Tai never seemed able to turn him down if he knew the matter was really important. "I'll meet you outside."
"You'd better have food ready when I get there," Tai said. If he couldn't sleep, he would eat, since he enjoyed both thoroughly.
"Sure, I'll heat up the rest of my supper for you."
"See you in a minute."
"Ok, see ya," Matt said as Tai hung up the phone. The blonde rose from his bed and entered the small kitchen. He hadn't even bothered changing into pajamas, since he knew he would get no sleep tonight. Removing the remnants of his supper from the fridge, he placed them in a bowl to warm for his guest. He also set a kettle of water on the stove to boil, knowing Tai loved hot tea. When the food was hot, he walked to the door and slipped on his shoes and a coat, then proceeded quietly down the stairs of his apartment building to wait for Tai.
After only a few minutes, he spotted the brown eyed boy making his way slowly down the sidewalk, rubbing his eyes. His coat was unzipped and his shoelaces were untied, along with his hair being a complete mess.
"Hey Tai," he said, grinning, when his friend had reached the door to the building.
"You're gonna make me a really good breakfast in the morning after all this, Matt," Tai said, glaring. Matt laughed softly and opened the door for him.
They made their way upstairs, Tai stumbling over every other step, until the reached apartment 202. Matt had left the door unlocked and the lights on.
"Why does it smell... funny?" Tai asked, sniffing the air when they entered and began taking their shoes off. Matt looked around for a moment and heard a sizzling sound coming from the kitchen.
"Oh shit!" He hurried down the hall with one shoe still on and quickly turned the gas off on the stove. The water in the teakettle had boiled over, leaving a mess all over the stovetop and water dripping into the burner.
"So much for your tea..." He said, removing the kettle from the stove.
"Uh oh... Need help cleaning up?" Tai asked when he had walked into the kitchen.
"Yeah, let me just take my other shoe and coat off. Your food's on the counter if you want to start eating." Matt walked back down the hallway to the front door, leaving Tai to examine the small disaster that had taken place on the stove.
"I wish he wouldn't stay up all night," Tai said to himself while grabbing a towel. "He always seems so worn out at school, we never have fun anymore." He bent down and started wiping up the water that had dripped off the stove and onto the floor.
"Tai, you don't have to do that, your food is going to get cold," Matt said when he reentered the kitchen.
"Yeah, but if I eat my food you're just going to clean it all up yourself."
"It's my fault.... You don't really have to help, you know."
"Blah blah." Tai stood and started rinsing off the grime from the floor that had collected on the towel. Matt just shook his head and began drying off the area around the stove burner where the water had collected. Tai grabbed the tea kettle after hanging the wet towel up to dry and filled it.
"Try again?" He said, handing the kettle to Matt, who had just tossed a handful of paper towels into the trash can.
"Thanks." Matt took the full kettle and put it back on the stove, which was now dry and looking slightly cleaner than before.
"What is this?" Tai asked, looking into the bowl Matt had heated up for him, which was only lukewarm by now.
"Just some stew crap I made with leftovers since my dad is too stupid to go shopping." They both sat down at the table, the blonde keeping a watchful eye on the kettle sitting on the stove. "I'll have to pick up some stuff tomorrow if he left me enough money."
"Mmmm, this is good, Matt. Even though I'm kind of scared to know what's in it," Tai giggled, taking another huge bite of his food.
"Heh, it's safe, at least I think so."
"I'll go shopping with you tomorrow if you want," Tai said through a mouthful of stew. He was much changed from the groggy boy who had answered the floor earlier. Tai never seemed to remain angry or depressed about anything, and was always best at cheering someone up when they needed it, Matt especially.
"You want to go shopping?" Matt said, leaning his chin on his hand, his elbow on the table. "It's not exactly a fun day out."
"We'll make it fun," Tai replied, and burped loudly. He had already polished his bowl of stew and was now sucking any remaining flavor off the spoon. The kettle on the stove started to whistle suddenly, and Matt rose to finish preparing the tea.
The brunette looked around the messy apartment, the spoon still in his mouth. It was tiny, barely decorated, items scattered all over the floor and shabby furniture. Tai supposed it looked just like what it was, a bachelor pad. Since Matt kept his own room relatively clean, Tai wondered by he didn't bother straightening up the rest of the house.
"Well no wonder, he's asleep all day so nobody ever comes over," he thought.
"Here you go," Matt said, placing a full cup of tea in front of his friend. Tai took a sip as Matt sat down with his own cup of tea in the other chair.
"Matt, you have to get back on a normal sleeping schedule."
"I've tried, it's just not happening," the blond sighed.
"But I never see you anymore.... This is the first time I've been to your house in weeks," he said sadly.
"Well, you're here now."
"So what do you want to do now that I'm here in the middle of the night?" Tai asked, taking a few gulps of tea after blowing to cool it off.
"I don't know, play video games?"
"I'm too tired, I'll mess up and you'll beat me."
"That's exactly the idea," Matt said, winking.
"Let's watch TV," Tai suggested.
"There's nothing on, I already checked."
"There's got to be something on." Tai stood and grabbed the remote which he had spotted lying on the floor and started flipping through the channels. Matt calmly swirled his tea around in his cup, fairly sure that Tai would find nothing interesting to watch.
"Woah..." The brunette said after a few minutes.
"Woah what, TAI!" Matt's eyes opened wide when he looked at the screen. "That's a porno!"
"Yeah... an all guy porno," Tai said, tipping his head to the side, his eyes locked on the screen.
"Turn it off!" Matt yelled.
"Why does your dad get this channel anyway?" Tai's gaze was still transfixed to the screen.
"He gets all the weird channels, he just ordered everything," Matt said, reaching for the remote, but Tai pulled it away before he could grab it. "Now turn it off!" He yelled again, completely embarrassed by what he was being forced to witness. Three hot young men, totally naked, were doing who knows what to each other in the middle of a huge canopy bed. How could something like that interest Tai!?
"Wow, I didn't even know people could do that!" Tai said, pointing at the television.
"Come on, do you really want to watch gay porn?" Matt blurted out.
Tai finally looked away from the TV to glare at him. "I bet you wouldn't say anything if it was lesbian porn."
"What? Th-that's not what I meant!" Matt stuttered. "Why do you want to watch porn anyway!?"
"Fine, turn it off if it's so offensive to see two guys doing it!" Tai shouted. He threw the remote at Matt and stormed out of the room, the blonde could hear him slamming the door to the bathroom and locking himself in once he had disappeared from sight.
"What was that all about...?" Matt said, turning off the TV. Tai had even left his tea unfinished. "Since when is he defensive about gay people anyway?" Out of the two of them, he had figured Tai would be the one to care the least about something like that.
Matt sighed deeply and walked down the hall, knocking on the bathroom door.
"Tai, can I come in?"
"It's locked..." He heard a small voice from inside.
"Well, could you unlock it?"
He heard Tai shuffle across the floor and saw the lock turn. He opened the door slowly to find the brunette sitting on the floor with his knees to his chest.
"Hey, what's wrong?" The blonde said, sitting down next to his slightly smaller best friend.
"Then why are you freaking out because I told you to turn off some porno?" He asked.
"Maybe I wanted to watch it..." Tai said through his sleeves, since his face was buried against his arms.
"But, why would you want to see something like that?"
"See!?" Tai said, looking up suddenly and shooting Matt a death glare. "There you go again!"
"Go again what!?" Matt asked.
"With your 'something like that'," he mumbled.
"Wait, Tai..." Matt wrapped his arm around Tai's body. "Is this about the gay thing...?"
Tai didn't answer. He hid his face down between his knees again and his body started to shake slightly. Matt was surprised then to hear faint sobs, Tai was trying to keep from crying.
"Why is that upsetting you so much?"
"Maybe there are things even you don't know about me, Matt..."
Matt's blue eyes opened wider and he lifted his arm off of Tai, staring at him.
"You mean you're..."
"Not like you'd know anyway, you're always sleeping," he growled. "You complain about being lonely at night, well I'm lonely too, you're never around anymore.... That's the only reason I came over to your dumb house in the middle of the night, I missed you."
"But, woah, wait a second, are you saying you're gay, Tai!?" Matt sputtered, taken completely off guard and not knowing what to do.
Tai sat up, wiped small traces of tears from his eyes and swallowed. He stayed silent for a second, apparently trying to even out his breathing.
"No, I'm not gay, Matt... that's stupid."
Matt raised one blonde eyebrow and watched him closely. Tai swirled his finger around on the tiled floor and twitched his nose slightly. The musician was nearly positive Tai was lying, but that was so unlike him. Tai didn't lie about anything, and never to him, they were best friends after all. Of course, he was not being entirely truthful about his recent insomnia, he admitted sadly to himself.
"Then what's up with the crazy mood swing, you're starting to act like me," he said, attempting to make a joke and lighten the somber atmosphere.
"I dunno," Tai said. He stood, trying not to make eye contact with the boy still sitting on the floor and left the room. Matt followed, looking after Tai while he collapsed onto his own unmade bed in the next room.
"I'm gonna try to get some sleep or something," he said, curling up in a ball. "Can you wake me up when breakfast is ready?"
"Hey, I invited you over to keep me company, I'll try to sleep too." Matt turned off all the lights and fumbled towards the bed, flopping down on it beside Tai.
"Forget it, I'm not tired anymore," Tai said, immediately getting up as soon as Matt hit the covers. The blonde sat up, trying to make his friend out in the darkness, and wondering what could have made him suddenly start acting so unlike himself.
"Taichi..." Matt rose and walked carefully across the room. He reached down and found Tai's hand, moving backwards to pull him back onto the bed. They sat, and Matt could just barely see Tai's face, his brow was furrowed and his chocolate eyes seemed full of worry. Taichi, worry? Those words didn't seem to go well together in Matt's mind. How could the normally carefree boy who had entered his apartment less than an hour before have turned into this brooding person, so much like... like himself. The way Tai was acting now, he himself seemed to feel that way far too much. Especially on the long lonely nights he had condemned himself to recently.
At first, the idea of staying up all night seemed great, he would have time to write music, get his school work done in peace, simply have time to himself. But hours alone gave him a bit too much time to think. He had began mulling things over, mostly concerning his own problems and feelings. For a person who had also tried so hard to tuck his feelings safely away, being stuck with them for so long was very uncomfortable. Was he punishing himself? Maybe, but he suddenly realized that he had desperately needed to go through this ordeal. The sleepless nights had given him time to figure things out that had been ignored for far too long.
Of course, the time spent thinking was so lonely. But now, perhaps, the loneliness could finally come to an end. Sitting right next to him was someone who might be able to share it with him.
"Hey, Tai.... Can I tell you a secret?" He said, after studying the brunette's expression long and hard.
"What?" Tai looked up at him, finally making eye contact again.
"Well, the reason I've been staying up nights lately is... I kind of had some stuff to think about, and, yeah.... I guess I didn't really want to talk to anybody so I'd just go right to sleep after school."
"Think about what," the brown eyed boy asked, focused intently on him now.
"Well, you said before that there was stuff I didn't know about you, and... same here."
"Same here what?" Tai blinked.
Making a heartfelt confession to your best friend could be difficult when he was extremely dense. Matt bit his bottom lip and thought over what he was trying to say again.
"The loneliness just really got to me, I mean, and I wanted to talk about it with somebody and at the same time I didn't want to talk to anyone." Matt ran his finger through his hair, this wasn't going anywhere....
"Ok... How about before telling you my secret... you tell me yours," he suggested, buying himself a few more minutes to think over what had been going through his mind night after night.
"Who said I had a secret," Tai said.
"Something has been bothering you ever since you saw that stupid porno," he reached down and grabbed a hold of Tai's hand, feeling slight resistance at first, but didn't let go. "Are you, uh... questioning something about yourself?"
Matt breathed in deeply and looked to the other side of the room. Beating around the bush was very frustrating for him, especially when he was actively participating in holding things back. It had been like this at night too, every time he laid down to think, or tried to actually sleep, he would toss and turn until he eventually just got up to do something else. He was the type of person who just told it like it was, to himself and everyone around him. When he got to a point where that was not happening, though, problems started. Mental problems, relationship problems, it didn't matter. Lying to himself or anyone he cared for always led to immediate trouble and heart ache.
"I can't do this anymore, I'm sick of staying up all night," he said, almost angrily. He was squeezing Tai's hand harder before.
"But, wait, Matt..." Tai didn't get a chance to say anything else. His breath was suddenly taken away, Matt had placed his palm gently against his tan face.
Matt moved closer, Tai's large brown eyes gazed back at him in wonder. Then Matt's lips were against his. He nearly pushed the taller boy away, but could not....
Matt closed his eyes, Tai's chapped lips felt rough against his own. He could taste the hint of tea still on Tai's tongue from earlier. For some reason, it tasted so good. All the nights alone felt worth it somehow, like some amazing moment of triumph had just taken place, and he knew the reason for spending so many long lonely hours in the dark.
The blonde finally leaned back, releasing Tai from the kiss. The huge brown orbs that were his eyes had been wide open the entire time, and now he blinked, staring back at Matt.
"What... was that...?" He said breathlessly.
"That secret I was going to tell you, well... that was basically it," Matt answered. He was startled then, to have Tai's arms suddenly swing around him, and the soccer player was in his lap crying loudly.
"I was lying Matt, you didn't wake me up, I was just dozing, I couldn't sleep either, I've been thinking about you every night, I'm sorry!" He wailed.
"Wait, you... like me?" Matt said, surprised. "I only kissed you to confess the feelings I had been hiding by sleeping all day. I thought this would be a good time, because after that whole thing with the porno I thought that maybe you... were hiding the same thing. But I didn't think you... I mean...."
Tai looked up at Matt in horror, tears streaming down his face.
"You mean... You just like boys, but... not me?" Tai sobbed.
"Well until tonight I had no idea that you would be interested, you know..."
Tai slid out of Matt's lap and looked at the floor. Tear drops continued to roll off his cheeks, he looked like someone had just slapped him terribly hard.
"I never though of it that way," he whispered. "I never thought I was gay or anything, I just wanted you..."
"Oh, Tai..." Matt slid over and wrapped his arms around his sobbing best friend. He nuzzled lightly against his hair and rubbed his shoulders. "Please don't cry..."
He had thought that this moment would be an amazing relief, but now he felt horrible. Had he just inadvertently broken his best friend's heart? During all those many nights thinking things over, having fantasies and then denying them later, Tai had never been an option. He had been off limits, until this very second. And now, instead of the simple coming out Matt had hoped for, he had discovered that Tai had been suffering the same sleepless nights, in love with him....
So now what would he do, his friend was in hysterics, having just confessed his love, thinking Matt returned it. On second thought though, was that such a strange assumption to make? They were so close already, often mistaken for a couple. There was nothing he enjoyed more than the time they spent together, that's why he had invited him over, after all. Did he like Tai...? Well, why not, he was handsome after all, everything was out in the open, Tai wanted to be with him. And Matt needed a boyfriend, someone to look forward to seeing in the morning and actually go to sleep each night for. That person was now sitting right there in his arms, the person he was already closest to, who he already loved. Now he had a chance to love him even more, and as Matt thought about the situation further, why was he feeling horrible? No, he should feel great. The endless nights were over, right here was someone to wish sweet dreams to and greet with a kiss each morning. How wonderful that would be...
"Well stop dreaming about it, make it happen," he thought.
"Taichi... go out with me," Matt said.
"What?" Tai looked up at him and sniffled.
"I just asked you to go out with me, so what's your answer?"
"But, Matt, you just said..."
"Well forget what I just said, I'm asking you to be my boyfriend now."
"Matt..." Tai sighed and leaned his forehead on Matt's shoulder staring blindly into the shadows. "You're just saying that to make me feel better."
"I'm saying it because I want to be with you."
"That's not what you said a minute ago, make up your mind!" He said, glaring into Matt's eyes.
"I'm sorry, I'm so confused by all this, aren't you?"
"Of course I am..." the brunette sighed, clutching Matt's shirt tightly. "Matt, you have to answer me truthfully, and please don't try to spare my feelings or something, just tell me... Do you love me?"
"You know I love you, you're my best friend," he said.
"No, are you IN love with me. Yamato, are you in love with me?" He asked directly.
A cloud moved out from in front of the moon, and they could see each other clearly. Tai's face was a mess, tearstained, puffy eyes, but suddenly... he looked so beautiful. Matt had never imagined himself in a perfect moment such as this. So totally overcome with emotion, being asked to answer a question, which up until that instant in time, he had never even asked himself before. But now, he did ask himself, and he got an answer. Those sleepless nights weren't because he was wrestling over his sexuality, he was in love, how blonde could he be to not realize that? It had taken staring into Tai's lovely eyes which sparkled in the light of the moon to see it.
"Yes..." He said. Now he was the one who was crying. He always felt like such a fool when he cried, Tai was one of the only ones who had seen him shed a tear since he was a little boy. This time, though... it felt good to cry. It had never felt so good to let loose before.
In an explosion of passion, they kissed again, the most wonderful kiss ever, Tai's first besides the one from moments before, and for Matt, the only one that mattered.
"I'm sorry I've left you alone all these nights, I just needed to get over things by myself," Matt said, touching Tai's lips lightly with his thumb.
"You don't always have to do things on your own, that never works," the brunette said.
"I think I'm pretty selfish sometimes..." Matt said. He thought back on the past weeks, all the complaining he had done about being lonely all night with nothing to do, he had never stopped to ask Tai how HE felt.
"You're not selfish," Tai said. He placed his finger on the tip of Matt's nose and grinned widely. "Just blonde."
"Oh thanks, brat..." Matt laughed softly and pushed Tai down on the bed, leaving his hand in the middle of the athlete's chest.
"You know... We've still got the rest of the night to ourselves, we could make good use of it... Maybe take a few ideas from that porno...?" he teased, rubbing up and down Tai's torso.
"Matt... I'm a virgin," he said, blushing deeply.
"I'm just kidding."
Tai cuddled up against the taller boy and closed his eyes. Matt ran his fingers through Tai's wild but silky hair. Who would have thought that he'd find himself so content, when at this same time yesterday, he was impatiently waiting for the sun to come up so his torture would end. He never wanted this night to end, now.
"So, I guess you're my boyfriend now," he said.
"You have no idea how good it is to hear you say that," Tai said softly, moving close to Matt's chest, listening to his heart beat.
"How about tomorrow, we spend all day together, and by the time we come home, I'll be so tired that you'll have cured my insomnia, and we'll sleep all night."
"Together..." Tai added.
"I love you."
Matt looked outside at the stars, even though he had spent so many nights awake recently, he had never stopped to admire them. They were so beautiful, especially with this warm body in his arms to make him whole. No more lonely nights....
"I love you, too."