Hello everyone. It's been... what, over a year? Sorry. I hate when that happens with stories I am reading. I just got so caught up in my boyfriend situation, it really damaged my time for writing. My style of writing is probably different now, so sorry about that, too, if you take any notice. As most of you know, this is the final chapter and conclusion to The List.
I have to admit, at the start of this, I planned The List to basically have each chapter with a different piece of advice from the list that Kouji finds. It sort of evolved into its own, though (and, somewhat, a teenage drama!), and I'm glad to know so many of you readers like it. This will probably be my last Digimon fanfiction. I plan to write .hack, or maybe Fruits Basket. I don't know enough about Digimon anymore, and I really haven't since I was 10.
Thank you to all of my reviewers and any new reviewers I might get. I was very unsure of my writing at first, but now I know it's not... half as terrible as I originally thought. So thank you for giving me the confidence I needed to share my writing with others, most of which can be found on FictionPress now.
I think I'll go through and edit all these chapters as well, just to touch up the story, since I've had another year of writing experience to help improve my grammar and all.
In specific, I would like to address Cloaked Fox and Average Reviewer. Both of you were rude with your criticism, especially Average Reviewer, who said if I knew my grammar sucked, I should work on fixing it. He didn't seem to realize it was not something I could fix right away, and I am still slowly working on it. As for Cloaked Fox, I appreciate his harsh criticism now, but at the time I found it unbearable. Re-reading all my chapters, I see many mistakes now, and once again I am apologizing to Cloaked Fox, but asking him to be a little nicer to the new writers on FanFiction. Both of you need to remember that every writer must start somewhere, and that we are not born with perfection of the english language or what it takes to write a good, well-thought story (moreso Average Reviewer than Cloaked Fox).
I think I'll also change the plot from "kissing lessons", to something more realistic. Like "she mistook me for you and kissed me", but it far more detail... Yeah. I'll do that. I'm writing the chapter as if that happened, then, and I'll change it soon. Let's just say Kouji is stubborn and won't believe them.
Sorry if I get some details wrong, too. Please point this out to me if you catch any!
Disclaimer: You know the drill.
I made the chapter very long, mainly to emphasize Kouji's annoying brooding problem, and to make up for my absence! Please enjoy the final chapter. I hope it is satisfying.
Chapter 13: I Want to Hold Your Hand
Kouji opened his eyes the next morning, exhausted from Takuya and Kagura's late night stay. Those two simply did not know when it was the right time to leave...
Well, Takuya might have. But Kagura sure as hell didn't.
The last Kouji could remember, he had glanced at the clock while brushing his teeth the night previous. It had read 3:47 am. Kouji rolled over in bed now, staring at his alarm clock through the harsh light shining through the window. Damn curtains don't work.
'...Haha,' Kouji thought to himself, smiling just a little that only the most attentive of people would notice. 'Time to smo-... ngh... the dance is tonight.'
In truth, he wasn't ready to ditch Izumi and leave her alone and sad at the dance. Sure, vengeance was sweet and all, but somehow he could not bring himself to the peaceful conclusion that she deserved it for being a whore. What the hell was this relationship, anyway? It reminded Kouji of many Maury episodes... one in particular that involved an American couple, Buck and Cindy Antidisestablishmentarianism, who were having marriage troubles with Buck's drinking and Cindy's chain-smoking and bar-hopping with random men.
...Would that be Kouji someday? A sad, pathetic, lonely drunk who missed out on a school dance and ruined his chance at happiness with the one girl he could ever consider himself happy with?
He would just end up another drunk, sad guy with bad teeth and greasy hair...
Kouji closed his eyes and tried to sleep again. He rolled over after the light got to be too much, and pulled the covers over his head, deciding to lay there for as long as he could, wishing time would have stopped days ago.
Wishing he could simply relieve the evening he and Izumi had gone on their date. Every night, go out and repeat the same night.
'I don't think I can ever be happy,' he thought, sinking into a darkness that began to consume his logic. 'Maybe everyone was right. I put on this loner attitude to keep people away from me, so I can't have a chance at happiness, because I'm too afraid... afraid I might lose it... Even now, when I have a great chance of being happy with Izumi, almost a guarantee, I can't take it. Damnit, what is wrong with you, Kouji Minamoto?'
Kouji reached onto his night stand, next to the alarm clock, and picked up the crumpled paper that started it all. Kouji read the last line on the list:
No matter what happens, always be there for her.
He walked to the window and opened it. Kouji ripped the list into tiny pieces and let them float into the sky.
For the next few hours, Kouji lay in bed, pondering on his happiness. He did not know if he could be happy with Izumi, or if he should just stay as he had always been - alone and liking it. He did not know if he wanted happiness or not. He did not know, even if he wanted happiness or unhappiness, how he could get either.
Kouji stood in an infinite white room. In it, nothing existed, nothing but a television.
He noticed the large television, that was taller than he could stand. He walked up to it and turned it on, watching the images blur to life. Kouji sat onto the floor, crossing his legs, entranced by the images that appeared.
It was everything he would normally see from his perspective. He saw Kouichi and the school hallway behind him on the television. The screen bobbed when the camera moved around. It was everything he saw. Everything. He watched. He watched what he saw and heard what he said, and what others said, in a quiet volume.
He treated his friends coldly. JP, Takuya, Andy, Kagura, and everyone... he treated them badly, as if they didn't matter.
Kouji was transfixed, despite his disgust. Time felt nonexistant.
One person was missing; Izumi. He hadn't seen her yet. Where was she?
"Izumi..." he murmured, staring at the screen sadly as his body began to wave and crackle, as a television screen would when receiving a bad reception. "I don't love you, do I? I'm too young to love someone. I can't love you. Don't tell me that I do, Izumi, don't tell me that I do... Don't do that, please, stop..."
The screen cut away from its image, showing Izumi. She reached toward the screen.
"It's fine, Izumi, don't strain yourself," Kouji sounded hopeless. Completely hopeless. "Kouichi could use you more than I could right now, I bet. Go to him, don't come here, I don't love you. He does. I don't love you anymore."
Still, Izumi reached to the screen, and soon a physical hand reached through. Then an arm. Then the rest of her stepped through. Kouji's body continued to shimmer and fizzle out. Reception would be lost any second, the closer Izumi came to him.
She looked like a phantom as she stepped across the white floor in front of the television, standing in front of Kouji now. Any noise she made was nonexistant. She tried to say something, and nothing came. But she took no notice.
Izumi reached down and placed a finger on his cheek.
Before she could embrace him, as she had tried, Kouji disappeared and Izumi collapsed with nothing in her arms.
Kouji awoke again. He noticed the room was dark. Upon rolling over, his stomach growled loudly, and his bladder felt like it would burst at the slightest pressure.
The dance would be starting at 8 pm.
'Even if I wanted to go, I don't have a costume,' Kouji thought. 'Sheesh, I have to pee.'
As he stumbled and danced into the bathroom nearly wetting himself, Kouji took a moment to become lost in thought as he relieved himself. He thought of his dream, how detailed it was, but how the details were quickly slipping from his memory, and soon he would barely remember it, and probably remember it wrong. He flushed the toilet and went back to his room to put on clothing instead of wandering the house in boxers and a T-shirt.
While struggling to pull pants onto his second leg, the phone began to ring. With only one leg in his pants, Kouji stumbled and danced to the phone nearly breaking his nose, finally grabbing the phone.
"Minamoto residence," he kept his voice calm, regardless of his need to breath deeply after all that struggle.
"Hey, Kouji, are you coming to the dance or what?"
"No," Kouji nearly hung up, if not for what he caught Kouichi say with the phone a foot from his ear. "What did you say just now?"
"I was trying to tell you that I have a second costume I bought in my closet," Kouichi said. "Look, I know you're angry and all, but it was an accident, Kouji. Izumi thought I was you and tried to surprise you by kissing... but I guess she couldn't see my head to tell it wasn't you. I sort of had a door blocking her view, when I was putting my second costume into the closet... and she just kind of jumped on me. But then when you saw and she realized she was kissing me instead of you, she knew you wouldn't believe her and asked me to explain what happened, because I am your brother and all...
"So how about you stop being such a damn cry-baby, Kouji? Accept that Izumi is sorry, and that I am too, and it was all a stupid misunderstanding. Go to the dance and make Izumi and yourself happy instead of being such a stubborn dim-wit... And if you don't show up at that dance, Izumi is just going to end up enjoying herself with another guy."
Much to Kouji's surprise, before he could muster an insult to his brother, Kouichi hung up on him.
Time clicked by. Finally, the dance was starting.
And Kouji sat on the couch, flicking through the channels of his television, but finding nothing that could keep him entertained. Really, he had been wandering the house aimlessly, trying to find something that could take his mind off of that stupid Halloween dance and Izumi, but to no avail.
Still, he wouldn't admit that, and sat fooling himself into believing he was having more fun than he would admitting defeat and running to that lame-ass dance in whatever costume Kouichi left behind.
'I'm such a baby,' Kouji thought to himself, planning on continuing that thought until the phone rang for the second time that day.
With a sigh, Kouji turned off the television, surrounding himself in darkness, as he went to the phone.
"Minamoto residence," Kouji recited monotonously.
"I-Izumi, uh, hi," he wanted to run from the phone. "What's wrong?"
"You're not here yet. Kouichi told me you weren't coming."
"I'm not coming," Kouji stated. "I just said I was so you didn't have to deal with that foreigner all night."
"Oh... Well, can you still come, please? I'm sure you or Kouichi must have an old costume somewhere, or you can throw something together. Do you want me to come over and help?"
"No, Izumi," he was more forceful with his words, trying to cut her with them. "I'm not coming because I don't want to go to the damn dance with you, okay? Go dance with Kouichi - I'm sure that's what he wants, and probably what you want."
There was a knock on the door.
"I have to go," he said. "Enjoy the dance."
Kouji hung up and moved to the door now. When he opened it, he nearly fell over in surprise.
"What the hell, Andy? Why are you here? And why are you dressed like that?"
Andy smiled. "Halloween dance, I'm going as Naruto. Do you think I pulled it off?"
"I don't know," Kouji replied. "Why are you here, anyway?"
"I had a feeling you wouldn't show up, so I thought I'd come over and give you a little push to get ready and come enjoy yourself with all of us."
"No thanks," he said. "I all ready rented a ton of anime movies for the night, so just go tell them I'm not coming."
His smile fell, and then he shrugged. "Kouji, I'm sure you think I'm some stupid foreign guy who has a crush on your girl, but I'm not blind or deaf. Something's wrong with Izumi and you. And she hasn't told me what, but it seems like she's trying really hard to make things better, and you're not letting her. Do you think you could cut Izumi some slack? It sucks watching her be all sad over you. Really, I don't know what she sees in you."
"I don't either," Kouji said. "But thanks for all that, I guess. Go away now."
"If you were smart, you'd be there for her," Andy said before Kouji slammed the door shut and locked it.
No matter what happens, always be there for her.
"What the hell is this," Kouji talked to himself as he marched back into the living room like a drama queen. "Come bother the hell out of Kouji day? This is getting so annoying."
'But I wish I could forget my pride and dance with her.'
Kouji glanced over at the clock during commercials. It was now 8:42, and the dance would be well in by now. There's no way he would be expected to show up now. The dance only lasted until 10:30, after all. Everyone who would be there, would be there, by now.
A knock on the door.
Kouji fumed silently. He was sick of being bothered. He ignored it and turned the volume up on the television, hoping the person outside would hear it and get the hint. More than likely, Kouji guessed it would be Kouichi, pissed off about his encounter with Andy and what he had said on the phone to Izumi.
The knocking grew louder.
"Go away, Kouichi!" Kouji yelled, turning the volume higher.
The knocking kept going.
Fuming, Kouji turned off the television, and marched to the door. Because, truly, Kouji's walk could not be described any other way than marching like a bitchy house wife who has discovered her husband left the toilet seat up again.
He unlocked the door and threw it open, ready for battle with his twin.
But it wasn't Kouji. It was a knock-out of a sight.
"What the hell did you do to your hair?" Kouji demanded, eyeing Izumi's black hair, creepy attire, and dark make-up. "What did you do to everything on your head? And your clothes, what the hell are those? What the hell?"
"I came here so you could tell me to my face what you said on the phone," Izumi ignored Kouji's comments and disgusted look at her goth-chick costume. Her hands were on her hips, and her eyebrows raised. It was the stance only a truly determined woman could hold, but there was still hope that Kouji could escape her wrath.
"No, Izumi, go to the dance," Kouji said coldly. "Let's just drop this entire thing, and ignore each other for the rest of our lives."
She tapped her foot, making a loud thumping due to the combat boots she wore. Kouji knew it was impossile to avoid her once she got her foot tapping.
"What the hell do you want me to say?" he exclaimed, crossing his arms. "I'll repeat exactly what I said on the phone, then. I don't want to go to the dance with you. I never did. You can go dance with Kouichi and have fun with that retarded ninja."
"How many times do I have to tell you that I don't like Kouichi," Izumi's temper seized her as well, and she raised her voice as she continued. "I like you, Kouji, not your brother. It was a huge misunderstanding, and I've apologized so many times. I don't know what it is you want me to say to fix all this."
"It can't be fixed," he stated confidently. "It-"
"Then what do I do? Do I just let you go because of something stupid?"
He wanted her to go away. Slowly, she was breaking down his will, just by standing there and arguing. Kouji knew Izumi was right. It was a huge misunderstanding, and it was stupid, and he was letting it tear them apart.
"I don't like you any more," he said, but his confidence wavered as he tried to continue. "Okay, Izumi? I just lost interest. Sorry."
'But it's not true, Izumi, don't believe what I'm telling you. I'm scared of you. You have no idea how much I really do love you. No matter how much I could try to love you, it would never be enough. You really do deserve better than some anti-social idiot like me.'
Izumi's hands flew to cover her face. "All right, Kouji."
'Oh, god, why did I tell her that? Why do I have to chase her away?'
Before Kouji could take it back, she ran off.
No matter what happens, always be there for her.
Kouji pushed the door lightly. The sound of it shutting echoed through the empty house. Kouji stood there for minutes, his legs numb.
He walked upstairs, glancing at the clock on the way.
Kouji stopped in front of the closet. He took a deep breath, letting the reality sink in, that he had finally lost Izumi. He strived and chased after her, finally caught her, and then forced her to leave.
Kouji ran to the phone and called Kouichi's cell phone.
Kouichi shut the cell phone with a snap, looking down the street for Izumi. Within seconds, she slowly appeared in the distance, under a street light. She walked slowly. He chuckled lightly at her costume. The dark attire must have kept her hidden in the darkness before she stepped into the light. She was close enough now for him to see, even in the darkness.
He approached her, bored of having to wait for her to walk all the way down at such a slow pace. He noticed her make-up looked a little bit smeared under her eyes.
"Hey," Kouichi said with a half-hearted smile. "You look bummed. How'd it go?"
"Bad," she murmured, letting her head fall onto his chest, completely exhausted. "He told me he lost interest. And did you grow? You seem taller."
"The shoes give me some more height, maybe an inch, but I might just be hitting a growth spurt. So he said he lost interest, eh?"
Izumi nodded into his costume, letting her arms hang down. She sighed. Kouichi began to lightly sing a song.
"I caught me a ba-by bumble-bee," he mumbled it at first, growing louder as he went. "Won't my mommy be so proud of me? I caught me a ba-by bumble-bee... ow, it stung me!"
She laughed a little, keeping her forehead planted flat on his chest. It felt nice to have his warm skin radiate through his clothing. It was somewhat soothing on her forehead, as if it were a massage for her mind and all the stress that she was under. Not even stress, just... numbness. Complication.
"I'm smooshing up my ba-by bumble-bee!" he continued. "Won't my mommy be so proud of me? I'm smooshing up my ba-by bumble-bee... eew, what a mess!"
Izumi continued smiling. Kouichi couldn't see her smiling, but knew she was from his happy antics - a simple song about killing a baby bumble-bee.
"I'm lickin' up my ba-by bumble-bee! Won't my mommy be so proud of me? I'm lickin' up my ba-by bumble-bee... eew, I feel sick!"
"Haha," she laughed again, knowing the next part of the song by heart. It was a song Kouichi had taught her right after their experiences together in the digital world.
"I'm puking up my ba-by bumble-bee! Won't my mommy be so proud of me? I'm puking up my ba-by bumble-bee... eew, what a mess!"
The song honestly made no sense, now that Izumi was hearing him sing it to her again for the first time in years. Why would you lick up bumble-bee guts? Or smash it in your hands? Wouldn't the stinger go into your skin while smashing him?
To an extent, Izumi felt like a smashed up bumble-bee. But instead, she was a butterfly, in the hands of Kouji. Smashed.
'But definitely no further than smashed...'
"I'm mopping up my ba-by bumble-bee," he lowered his voice, nearly a whisper now. If there were even the slightest bit of wind, he would be incomprehensible. "Won't my mommy be so proud of me? I'm mopping up my ba-by bumble-bee... there, all better."
"That song is so stupid, Kouichi."
Izumi sighed again.
"This night is not going the way I had expected," she said. "I think I'll just give up on him and let him go."
"Okay," Kouichi shrugged.
Izumi backed away and looked up at his face, unable to tell if he was really serious. Normally, Kouichi would say otherwise... try to convince her to give Kouji one last shot... Sure enough, Kouichi, for once, looked dead serious.
"You had might as well stop wasting your time with him," Kouichi continued. "Give him another 15 years to grow up."
"Funny you say that now," Izumi laughed a little. "You're in a cow suit. Why are you giving me advice, Mr. Cow?"
"Moo," Kouichi smiled again. "Us cows have had lots of time to observe you hu-oo-mans... We know what it is you-oo need to know to get along."
With a tiny fist, Izumi lightly punched Kouichi in the shoulder and blushed. He laughed, placing his hands on his cow stomach and "ho-ho-ho"-ing.
"Touch my utters?"
"Fine, you're no fun," Kouichi sighed. "Can you wait here, Izumi? I don't want to lose you in the middle of that crowd inside, so do you mind if you wait here for a few minutes? I'll be right back, I just... well... I really have to pee... and I could do it here... but that's not nice to do in front of a lady, and it would just smell-"
"Okay, Kouichi," Izumi interupted. "Go, I'll wait here."
"Awesome, thanks," he replied, walking away and asking every female he passed on the way if they would like to touch his utters.
In the distance, Izumi heard one girl yell the word "sexy", assuming it probably applied to Kouichi in his cow suit with the fake rubber utters coming out of his abdomen. Of all things to wear, she should have expected it from Kouichi.
Around the school was a stone wall, about six feet tall, which prevented most students and adults at the dance from seeing where Izumi stood. If a person were to walk onto the sidewalk and turn left, however, she would be in plain sight. Izumi leaned against this wall, feeling a little lonely as she waited patiently for Kouichi to return.
Izumi didn't notice right away, until after a person had left the street lamp she previously walked under, heading in her direction. It was just a guy with his hands in his pockets, a person she didn't recognize. But the way he walked with shoulders hunched slightly, how he was built, even the way he took a step forward and then moved the other foot to do the same... it all looked familiar.
And as the man approached Izumi, she didn't say anything. He parked himself right in front of her. God, he was tall, just as Kouichi had suddenly grown taller. Izumi glanced at his shoes. They didn't seem to add extra height.
She looked up at his face, waiting calmly for whatever it was he had to say, that stupid, idiotic guy with his hair pulled into a pony tail.
"I'm a vampire," was the first thing he said, with a light smile to show his canines. "But I've gotten rid of my fangs for tonight."
Kouji's skin was pale, very pale. His eyes gleamed. He really did pull off the role of a vampire, especially with his dark, shoulder-length hair. He didn't wear any cheesy sort of vampire costume, with a cape and a red amulet. He wore a classy tuxedo with a dark blue tie. Kouji was a classy vampire.
'He looks hot,' Izumi thought to herself, looking him over. 'That hair really does the trick.'
"I thought you didn't want to come," she replied. "Why are you here, Kouji?"
He gave a short, nonchalant shrug. "I don't mean to sound all sensitive or anything, but I just stood there and thought about it, and decided that I was sick of lying, so here I am. I'm just going to make this short and simple: I really like you, and all that crap I said was a lie, okay? I'm not going to go so far as to say that I'm in love with you... but there is something there, and it's strong, and I'm not going to let it be stopped yet. We can keep trying, if you want. I'll try my best to make myself clear from now on, instead of fooling you and hurting you on purpose."
Izumi couldn't help but freeze up. It was so odd of Kouji to come to her and say all this.
"Wow," she breathed out. "You really mean it, then. All of it."
"Yep," he glanced away for a moment, then quickly turned his attention back on Izumi.
While Izumi seemed to be lost in her thoughts, with the utmost of care Kouji removed one hand from his jacket pocket and grabbed onto her index finger. The sudden contact made Izumi look into Kouji's cold, fierce eyes. He leaned down ever so gently and placed his lips on hers - careful not to go any farther than she was ready to go. She closed her eyes, enjoying how cold his lips felt, and he enjoying how warm hers felt.
He began to pull away, when suddenly she reached up with her free hand to push his lips back onto hers. They began to kiss with more passion now. Kouji allowed Izumi to do as she pleased. He had never made-out with a girl before, and he fumbled every so often with his kissing, making her smile at his innocence. Their tongues touched and danced with the same intensity that Kouji was feeling for Izumi at that moment.
Izumi removed her hand with a stroke of his pony tail. Receiving the signal, Kouji pulled away slowly, and took a deep breath. He didn't let go of her delicate little finger.
"I..." Kouji had lost all composure, becoming frustrated at his lack for words, and his brow furrowed and eyes averted from hers. "I'm sorry about all that stuff that happened, okay? Can we make out again?"
She laughed a very small, petite laugh of happiness. "Later we can, Kouji, we should go find Kouichi and tell him that you've decided to show up."
"Ugh, okay," he said. "I'd rather just say screw the dance and hang out with you."
"Not yet," she replied again. "I want you to see all the costumes. Kouichi is dressed as a cow! Did you know that?"
Kouji and her began to walk towards the entrance. "Nope."
"And JP dressed up as that guy Johnny Depp played - the pirate! It looks so funny. Oh, and Kagura and Takuya are Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, do you know that anime?"
The two went inside and met the crowd. The very large, very loud crowd.
Kouji barely felt present as Izumi tugged his along, taking him to each of their friends. It was true - Kouichi did look ridiculous, and so did JP. Kagura seemed to fit the Sailor Moon suit, and Takuya had no doubts about his Tuxedo Mask costume. A few people commented on Kouji's outfit, some were confused to know what he was, and others were happy to compliment him on his good looks that night.
As if from a far away place, Kouji would thank them, and keep all his attention on Izumi.
All that mattered was his attention on her. He focused all his energy and thoughts to her, barely hearing the rest of the people.
A slow song was playing now. One that Kouji recognized, but could not name. Izumi didn't budge from her spot, but kept her face down. She knew he didn't like to dance at all.
No matter what happens, always be there for her.
'But I really do owe it to her for all this shit I've put her through.'
With a simple tug of her hand, and a nod of his head, maybe even a small smile that only Izumi could see, he wrapped her in his arms and slowly danced with her.
He leaned into her ear and whispered, "I think I was wrong. I think I do love you."
I hope that was a satisfactory story for everyone. I tried to end it as... well... cheesy as possible, but with a Kouji attitude, and it was hard to do because Kouji's such a hard-ass. But I think I did okay, what do you all think? I beg you to review! Pleasseeee review.
And reviewers: Once again, I thank you for all your support and devotion.
After the crowd had cleared, JP stepped outside of the school, beginning his long walk home. Suddenly, a gush of wind flew past him, and something hit him in the face with a loud crinkle. JP hurriedly pulled the thing away from his face and stared at it. It was a paper in bad condition with hand-written words on it. Many pieces had been gathered and taped together to reform the paper. JP stared at it before folding it with ease and pocketing it.