Series Title: Moments Without You
Chapter Title: Demanding Answers
Timeline: Approximately five years after the defeat of BelialVamdemon.
Romance: Future Taichi x Yamato, mentions of Yamato x OC, Taichi x OC, Jyou x Sora
Notes: I edited this chapter. It does not precisely require a reread, as all I did was smooth things out and tighten them up a little.
Summary: Yamato hasn't been around for a while and Taichi wants to find out just why.
Taichi glared at the door irritably, then banged on it once again, not caring that there hadn't been a response the last four times he'd tried this. He was damned well going to get an answer, no matter how long he had to stay out here. If that meant he'd be where he was in a week or two, then he would be standing out here in a week or two. It had been far too long since he'd heard from his best friend. The last thing had been that he was going on a visit to some place with his dad for a story. The only story Taichi was interested in at the moment was the one that explained why Yamato hadn't been around for the past two weeks, and it had better be one good enough to win a Nobel Prize.
"Damn it, Yamato, open up!" Taichi also didn't care that the door wasn't at all impressed with his glaring. He shot it the most venomous scowl that he could manage yet again, in time to the imperious banging of his fist. The door still wasn't impressed, no matter how hard he pounded on it. Some part of his mind was convinced the door had somehow been crafted of Ishidas past, and they all were laughing at him now. It didn't put him into anything that resembled a better mood. "Ishida, this isn't funny any more!" It hadn't actually been funny in the first place, but the silence made it even worse.
He jerked his head around at the sound of the elevator doors opening up, expecting one of the neighbors to be there. So far they hadn't complained, but one of them would probably want to know just why he was standing out here in the hallway when whoever was inside didn't seem to want to let him in. He had no idea of how he was going to answer them. Telling them that Yamato hadn't answered his phone calls or e-mails in two weeks was probably the best bet, but his gut screamed against it. Taichi liked to listen to his gut. It made more sense than his head most of the time.
Relief didn't quite describe the way he felt when he saw the familiar figure coming towards him. Murderous rage came quite a bit closer, honestly, as he stalked over to Yamato, brown eyes narrowed angrily and fists clenching, ready to do what he had to do in the name of friendship, or just to blow off some steam. "All right, Ishida, where have you been?" It didn't matter that he now knew that he'd been banging on the door to an empty apartment. He had the person he wanted answers out of in front of him at long last. He also didn't care about being polite. This was Yamato. He'd understand, and probably reciprocate with a few good punches of his own if it became necessary. Some things didn't change, and the way the two of them settled disputes was one of them.
"Hello, Taichi." Yamato looked down at him from his slightly superior height, the hood of his blue jacket pulled up to conceal his hair so well not a single strand escaped. Taichi frowned; there hadn't been a single cloud in the sky when he'd come inside. Had a storm blown up that fast? April weather could be tricky, but he thought he would've heard something, a peal of thunder at the very least.
Then he mentally corrected himself. He had something else he wanted to yell about instead of what might be coming down out of the sky. "Don't 'hello' me! Where have you been? We've been worried sick about you! It's been two weeks! Not a phone call! Not a word! What's going on?" Part of him told himself he sounded a lot like a jealous girlfriend. He ignored that part. It didn't know what it was talking about.
"Staying for dinner?" Yamato asked, ignoring his questions as if he'd never uttered them in the first place. He unlocked the apartment and let them both in, leaving his jacket on. Taichi shook his head; Yamato had never been that rude before, and he wasn't going to let him start now. He'd get his answers, no matter how long he had to wait for them. If Yamato hadn't started to spill his guts in an hour or two, he'd drag the answers out with a hammer and chisel if he had to.
"Sure. If you make your stir fried shrimp and chicken, I might even forgive you." He closed the door behind the two of them as Yamato headed into the kitchen. Yamato obviously wasn't going to talk about whatever it was any time soon, so he went on another tactic: distract the target and let him talk when he was ready. He wasn't very good at being patient, but he could manage it sometimes. "You know, I thought it was against some kind of Ishida law to cover up your hair inside. What's with the jacket?"
"It's nothing," Yamato told his friend. The musician started to pull ingredients out of their various hiding spots, humming lightly to himself as he always did when he cooked. Taichi had heard that so many times and couldn't help the smile that touched his lips at the sound of it. Any sound that came from Yamato was beautiful, even something as tuneless as humming. Of course, Yamato never hummed tunelessly. Taichi was certain he recognized one of the songs from the Teenage Wolves' album. It was Everything To Me, wasn't it? "Dad's gone for the weekend, by the way, so it's just going to be us for dinner."
Taichi tilted his head slightly; it had been quite a while that he knew of since Yamato had been by himself for any length of time. Mr. Ishida didn't mind letting him stay home alone, but his friend had always called him over to spend a little time whenever he had. So what was going on now? And why wasn't Yamato taking his jacket off? It was spring, it wasn't all that cold, and they were inside. Something was going very oddly wrong here, and he was slowly beginning to get the idea that it had something to do with that jacket. "Are you cold?"
"Huh?" Yamato started to sort through the things he'd pulled out, long graceful hands pushing and pulling them into different assortments. His focus was so obviously more on the food than anything else that the plan that formed in Taichi's mind was almost sinfully easy. The brunet grinned mischeviously as he started to slip closer to his friend, still talking to keep Yamato distracted.
"Are you cold? You've got that jacket on. It's not that bad outside, unless some kind of weird killer storm blew up since I got inside." He moved as silently as he could, not wanting to alert Yamato to how much closer he was getting. Sometimes his friend could react pretty oddly to someone else getting into his personal space. He'd never seemed to mind Taichi, but with how strange he'd been acting recently, better safe than sorry. Yamato might be able to hear him, but with his attention on cooking, he might not realize that Taichi was closer until it was too late to do anything about it.
"It's nothing to worry about." Yamato bent over briefly, checking out the pan selection, and Taichi struck as quickly as he could.
"Careful there, if you can't see what you're doing, you're going to burn dinner!" He grabbed hold of the hood firmly and yanked it down, grinning as he did so. He expected at worst some tangled hair, or perhaps even ungelled, and a shout that he hadn't been able to get to the store to get the required hair care products. That would have been what he expected, and was ready for.
He did not expect to see what he did, and he was not ready for Yamato to turn on him, blue eyes sparking in anger, and the overhead light to gleam strangely off of a head that was as bald as an egg. There were small spots of red dotted all around, and even a couple of things that looked like slightly oozing sores. Taichi's stomach did flipflops just at the sight of it. That was not Yamato's head!
He stared, shaking his head and blinking his eyes several times to try and make certain he was seeing what he thought he was. It wasn't, but it was. He couldn't be seeing this, but he was. He really was. "Yamato...what happened?" Maybe he was mistaken and he wasn't actually awake. He could have been in one of those extremely realistic dreams where he thought he was awake but things happened that just couldn't in the waking world. That would explain so very much.
Yamato yanked the hood back into place and busied himself with cooking before he said anything. "Remember I told you I was going to that lab with my dad a couple of weeks ago, for that story of his? The one that's specializing in new hair gels, creams, stuff like that?"
"Yeah. What was up with that? You don't usually go with him." If they'd done something to him on purpose there, Taichi would make them pay for it. He could feel the adrenaline starting to pump through his veins at the very thought.
"I was bored, really." Yamato didn't look at his friend at all, just chopped, cut, diced, opened cans, and worked. Taichi knew without having to be told that it wasn't something he really wanted to be discussing, but seemed to feel he had to anyway. Probably because of Taichi yanking the hood down and exposing him to the open air and Taichi's own eyes. "It sounded a little interesting. They've got some new kinds of things coming out I thought I might want to keep an eye out for. For musicians and actors. That kind of thing." The nineteen year old's shoulders hunched just a little, and Taichi's heart spasmed lightly at the sight. Yamato had never truly been vain of his hair, but to lose it all because of curiosity...well, that was more like something that would happen to Daisuke than to the elder Child of Friendship.
"And?" He wanted to find out everything that was going on here. It would help him decide how much, if any, damage had to be done to this place. Perhaps some of the other would like to lend a hand. Mimi would definitly want in. Violation of hair was a major offense in her book.
"I wandered around some and had a little accident. Some of what they were working on got on my head. It was just a scalp infection. Kind of like an upgraded dandruff. Only a lot worse." Amusement rippled through his voice. "I've been calling it the unholy bastard child of dandruff and psoriasis. Ever since then I've had to keep it like this. They're working on something to fix it, but until they find it, I can't really grow my hair at all. They need to be able to see the scalp so they know what's going on with it."
Taichi nodded slightly. Accidents could happen to anyone, but somehow they seemed to happen to the Chosen more than to anyone else. "So why didn't you tell me...us?" He hadn't said that. He ignored the fact the word had fallen first from his lips. Yamato didn't act as if he had heard it either, which made it much, much easier to ignore.
"You think I want everyone knowing? I haven't even told the guys!" Yamato waved a hand briefly in the general direction of the window, a slightly different inflection to his voice meaning the rest of his band. Taichi smiled slightly to himself; how many people would know just what he meant by that? Not even all of the Chosen would, he thought.
"Why not?" He brought himself back to the situation at hand quickly. "Did you think we wouldn't understand or something? We are friends, you know. You should know that better than any of us."
Yamato turned slightly back to him, an amused gleam to those blue eyes that always seemed to catch Taichi by surprise every time he saw them. Even now, with that jacket keeping him from seeing the usual blond crown he was used to above them, they sparkled with inner life. "How about I shave all of your hair off and you go and tell everyone?"
Taichi covered his wild mane protectively at once. "No!" How could Yamato even suggest something like that? He shivered at the very thought of it, before doing his best to distract himself by asking something else. In the flash of a heartbeat, he understood exactly why Yamato hadn't spread the word to all the world. "Why didn't you tell me?" Now it was safe to ask that kind of a question. These things had to be done carefully.
"I...forgot?" The excuse was half-hearted at best, and Taichi wasn't believing it for a second. But if it meant that much to Yamato, he would let it go. Sometimes things didn't need to be pressed that hard.
"All right." His maniacal grin manifested itself. "Well, now we'll just have to have that Donkey Madness competition that we've been talking about for the last year. Ken's been giving me all sorts of tips for months now."
Yamato grinned just as wildly, looking amazingly incongruous with his hands working so fast to put dinner together. "So? I hope you're prepared to be creamed." His voice had dropped a good octave or so, into a nearly sinful sexy register that Taichi had always referred to as his 'game voice'. If he'd ever used that in his music, the brunet was convinced girls in other prefectures would've had spontaneous heart attacks. And probably some guys as well, and a few random Digimon.
"Like you could ever cream me!" Taichi refused to admit how much that voice affected him as well. This was his best friend. You didn't date best friends. Or at least he didn't. It could work for some people, but not for him. He'd told himself that over and over for longer than he cared to think about right now. Besides, Yamato was seeing someone, someone of the extremely female persuasion. For that matter, he was seeing someone else. It wouldn't do to forget him. Not with barely a week left until he came back.
"Are you so sure about that?" Yamato peeked briefly over his shoulder, and Taichi's hormones decided right now was a very good time to do a dance of delicious awakening. He hated his hormones. They always tried to do his thinking for him. Usually what they wanted wasn't all that bad, but this was Yamato. He couldn't want him.
"Very sure. I did get tips from the guy who beat the thing before he was twelve, you know. Not only am I going to cream you, but I'm going to rub it in your face afterwards." Double meanings began to run rampant in his mind, and he told those wayward hormones once again to quiet down. They paid him no attention. They had other things on their tiny ductless minds, things that involved Yamato and all manner of naughty little surprises. He wondered if he could persuade Ken and Koushirou to do something about them.
"We'll see about that." The temporarily bald blond bent over to check on the progress of dinner, and Taichi deliberatly turned his head to avoid seeing things that would have sent his hormones into sheer overload. He tried thinking of something other than the current topic of conversation.
Yeah, he knew something they could talk about. It might even remind his libido to behave itself. Or at least he could so fondly hope. "So since you haven't seen us, I guess you haven't been seeing Oonishi either." He frowned at the unintelligible mumble from the direction of the stove, and repeated himself quickly.
"Oh." Yamato pulled himself away from the stove and closed it carefully, dialling the temperature up a little higher at the same time. Taichi wished he'd look at him; he hated not being able to speak to Yamato face to face. There was so much more said by his eyes and his features than ever came out of his mouth. "I didn't tell you we broke up?"
"No." Taichi couldn't say he was that surprised. Oonishi Kiku hadn't exactly ranked very high on his list of people who were that great for Yamato to date. He'd been a lot happier when he and Sora had been an item. At least Sora knew how to properly treat the sensitive musician. He'd never quite gotten why the two of them had broken up, and neither of them wanted to talk about it while he was around. They were still friends, but when it came to their months of dating, they were both strangely silent. "When did that happen?"
"As soon as she saw my new hairdo." Yamato clenched his fists lightly, then unclenched them, starting to clean up the mess he'd made creating dinner. "She tried to say that we were still going to be friends, but I don't think I really want friends like that." There was a little something extra in his voice. It was something Taichi had heard only a few times in the many years he'd known him. It was usually made up of equal parts anger, regret, and a general sort of rage, and all of it was always directed at himself. Yamato hated making mistakes about people's character, especially when it came to his own love life.
"I never did see what you saw in her." Taichi did his best to sound noncommittal, no matter how much he wanted to track down Oonishi and explain to her why doing this to his best friend was one of the worst ideas in two known universes. He definitely knew some people who'd want to help out. Gabumon came to mind first and foremost. Sora and Takeru were tied for second on the list, followed by Daisuke and Ken.
Yamato glanced down a little, and Taichi caught the briefest glimpse of a deep loneliness flickering across his features. "I don't think I know either, really. After Sora and I broke up...I guess..." He shrugged a little helplessly. "Would you accept being incredibly lonely and her being very attentive at the right moments?"
Well, it was at least a plausible explanation. Taichi wished that his friend would talk to him a little bit more about his love life. Maybe he could've kept Yamato together with Sora. Of course he wasn't entirely sure about that, especially since he was also certain he'd seen Sora and Jyou having some ice cream together just a few days earlier, but at least he would know more than he did now. But for the moment, he just nodded sympathetically at his friend, then tried to figure out something else they could talk about that didn't relate to either of their love lives.
"So, I've been thinking about volunteering at the animal shelter part-time," he finally said, latching onto something that he'd seen in the paper a few days ago. It hadn't really caught his attention at the time, but now it was something they could use to fill up some empty space. Yamato agreeably chattered with him about it, cleaning up as he did so. Neither of them paid that much attention to the time, finding comfort in just being around each other for now.
That changed when Yamato suddenly squawked and jumped over to the stove. "I forgot about dinner!"
Taichi blinked; he couldn't remember Yamato ever having done that before. But it appeared there was a first time for everything. As the oven door was yanked open, curls of smoke poured out, and Yamato stared at the charred mess that was supposed to be their dinner. He pulled his attention up to look at the temperature controls, and groaned, sagging down. "I set it too high. I've never done that!" He shook his head slowly, stunned. "I burned dinner. I burned dinner."
He sounds like that's shocked him more than his hair did. Taichi grinned to himself, then whined as loudly as he could. "Yamato! I'm going to starve now!" His stomach obliged him by growling and grumbling just at that exact moment. He'd really been looking forward to Yamato's cooking, too. There was just nothing like it. But he wanted to distract the other so he wouldn't start moping about a little burned food.
He was distracted himself a moment later by Yamato heading for the phone, then looking back at him. "What kind of takeout did you want?" Yamato asked, waiting for him to answer before he dialed anyone.
"You're buying me dinner?" That was not usually Yamato's reaction to dinner falling through. Of course Taichi couldn't remember dinner falling through like this before.
Yamato shrugged casually. "It's my fault I burned dinner. I should've been paying more attention. And I don't want you to starve. So what do you want?" He grinned a little as Taichi's stomach growled yet again, demanding to be fed before it leaped out of his mouth and went in search of food on its own. "How about some chicken and rice, with wasabi sauce?"
Taichi didn't bat an eye. He wasn't going to be tricked into this. That might be his favorite food, but he'd seen how much Yamato was revolted by that combination. "I think sushi and shrimp should do. It's not what we were going to have, but it'll do." It was also something that they both liked. He watched as Yamato got in touch with the nearest takeout place with that on the menu, and smiled. There were days when he knew exactly why Yamato was both his best friend and the Chosen of Friendship. "I'll go get the game set up."
"All right. I'll be right in there, after I clean this mess up." Yamato waved a hand at the disaster that had been his kitchen, already starting to roll his sleeves up. Taichi watched him for a couple of seconds before heading on into the living room. Just another normal day for both of them.
And it would be capped off when he creamed Yamato into the ground.