A/N: Yes, another Taito. What can I say? The ideas keep flowing so my hands start flowing too. Don't worry, I'm still working on my other fics and I don't intend on forgetting about 'em. I've revised and reposted this story to gain more interest. This version is MUCH better in my opinion.

Special thanks goes to Neo-chan for her undying friendship, beautiful Beta-ing skills and credit for the title of this fic. Love you babe!

Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon in any way shape and/or form.

Warnings: This fic is bound to have cursing in it. I mean come on, they are high schoolers. The more romantic...physical..things.. will happen in later chapters. For now, enjoy!

Summary/Intro: No one at Mount Vernon High deserves a second glance, they're all conformers. But on the first day of school a newcomer ruins my chance to stay the same with one huge grin and a warm gesture... M rating for language, AU, shounen ai/yaoi, Taito.

Struck a Nerve

Chapter 1: Women's Intuition

By: CA

I walked to school like I did the year before, wearing the same clothes as I did the year before and my attitude certainly hadn't changed since then. I still hated it/them, all of them, with the same passionate hate I had held for years. Mount Vernon high school to me was an infestation of conformers and losers all trying to be like each other so much that they just sucked themselves down in the system. Truthfully, my ideal school would be one with no one in it. Except my only friend, Sora of course. She was the only other student with a soul and definitely the only other student who understood me. I liked her and no one else, for obvious reasons.

There was only one small thing that changed over the summer. I ceased being a freshmen and was now a sophomore. Great. Three more years of the same shit. I already knew, after years of schooling, all the teachers had to tell me. But since I never rose my hand, only my test scores could prove to the teachers that I was better than the little terriers trotting around with their tongues lolling out. Unfortunately, I didn't give a fuck. It was too troublesome to put effort into answering the multiple choice run-around questions handed to me on paper. So I didn't. And they never got the memo. Oh well?

As I entered the school, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, I noticed another something new poking at the edges of the crusted walls. Right next to my locker, where I expected the fat chick from last year to be, there was someone new. He reminded me of all the other conformer jocks dotting the hallways, for the most part at least. But this one was different. Instead of looking my way and smirking like an asshole, my first impression of him was a thousand watt smile. At first I thought the spotlight grin was directed at someone behind me, but after glancing for anyone else I realized he had to be looking at me.

I found my way up to locker #3012, as usual, without a sideways look towards the grinning newcomer. I could feel the warmth from his body and smile hitting my side, even from a few feet away. It was uncomfortable, but at least he seemed genuine so far and possibly (dare I say it?) different/better than whoever else was surrounding me.

I finally managed to pry open my ghetto locker, with a few kicks to boot. Inside I deposited my things, only needing a notebook and pen for the first day of classes. Unfortunately, as I turned away from the stare boreing into the back of my head, I dropped both items. Idiot, I know. But lo and behold, Captain of the Boy Scouts bent down and grabbed them for me, even before I noticed I dropped them. Fast reflexes if I do say so myself.

I turned to him and unknowingly glared. It was a habit by then.

"Something wrong?" I snapped out of it as soon as he spoke. His voice was really interesting to me, kind of like a mix of raspy and smooth tones. I liked it.

I retorted as soon as I found my voice. "Uh, thanks? You want a medal or something?" He seemed unfazed by the sarcasm, much like Sora was all the time. I guessed that he was either really dumb and ignorant, or smart and persistent. In any case, he didn't take offense.

"Yeah, sure. I'm dumb, right? You must be thinking I'm dumb. No kid picks up someone else's shit, right? Guess I do deserve a medal." Whoa, scratch dumb and add psychic.

He continued. "Really, I'm an asshole for helping you out because I didn't do it for nothing." Oh, an ulterior motive? "I sorta need directions? To my first class, that is. I'm obviously new, heh." Duh.

"You talk a lot. Here, gimme your schedule." I grabbed the pink slip tucked in his hand and read his first class to myself. "Oh. Shut up and follow me then. We're in the same class. After that, fuck off."

Without another word he tagged along next to me towards English Lit. I guess he took the talking too much part to heart because he didn't say anything else during the short walk.

I forgot how unusual it was for me to be walking with someone and it only dawned on me when I entered the class. It was the first day of school and already the regulars were giving me strange looks. Shit. I had to get away from this kid a.s.a.p. or parts of my reputation would be at risk.

Without a goodbye, fuck of, or anything else I rushed past him as he admired the shitty classroom and found a seat at the back. I purposefully trained my eyes on my desk then, hoping he'd forget about me or at least get the memo that I didn't want him around. It worked like a charm. He didn't disturb me or talk to me after that.

I few minutes later I looked up briefly and caught sight of him, sitting alone in a random corner of the room. Of course he was alone! It was his first day at a new school. In later periods other jocks were bound to talk to him, but everyone was still way too tired in first period to pay any attention to the newcomer. And for some reason I felt horrible, seeing his puppy face scrunched up sadly as he sat down like a whipped dog. A cute one at that. Maybe I did hurt has feelings by ignoring him? I mean, to a certain degree it was his lack of judgment that got him into this situation in the first place. What was he thinking, trying to talk to the most detached, unemotional person in the school? He didn't know anyone obviously, but I looked anything but approachable compared to everyone else.

Black clothing and chains usually write signs for themselves saying: 'Here to learn, not to socialize. Fuck off.' But in any case, I still felt a pang of guilt hitting me for leaving him alone in a room full of thirty strangers. I was his only shaky link into the social world even if I was the worst one. If nothing else, I wouldn't be surprised if he never talked to me again considering I pushed him away effectively, as was in my nature to do. Really, if he talked to me again I'd be surprised. Maybe not surprised, but definitely interested.

From then on, the day sucked. I sat through first period quietly and I felt like shit. I didn't listen to a word the teacher said and all I could think of was him. By the time first period ended, I was hoping I hadn't pushed him away totally and that he'd keep persisting. I couldn't change who I was, but I wanted to talk to him again, especially to get him off my mind so I could feel normal again. I guess that's what happens when I don't learn anything new in class. My mind fills the gap with it's own thoughts and I don't have anything to drown them out with. For those six and a half hours, I was at the mercy of my ever-moving mind and because of that, I was at the mercy of whatever he did next.

Finally after a day of cruddy classes the last bell rang, signaling the end of the first day of school. Woo hoo. All it signaled to me was that I had one more chance to talk to him again or at least to go home and drown out my thoughts with T.V. But as I found my locker, he wasn't there grinning at me like he had been in the morning. It sucked to have to think about him more, but what could I do? He wasn't there and that was it. There was always tomorrow? I would say that it didn't matter at all and that it was just a morning crush to pass the time... but something about my thoughts throughout the day made that seem unreal. This newcomer was really interesting to me, in everything he did. I found myself feeling very eager to talk to him again or even to feel his smile again. It was an entirely weird feeling and the energy in my body was quickly fading. Really, I just needed to sleep more because the crazy things my brain fabricated when I didn't were enough to agitate me forever. He was going to the agitate me forever if I didn't talk to him. I liked him at least a little bit, that was for sure. And for any gay kid at a hick/jock straight republican high school... that was bad news. Nice to think about, but overall bad news.

I just had to not overreact. Right. Add that to my list of things to do, along with flying to the Moon and inventing a new language. It was just... fuck. Not good.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bring Bring.

Phones... Need I say more?

I lifted my head from the pillow in the same manner I would if it was an alarm clock... Slowly and with a disgusted sigh. Reaching around with my hand I blindly found the cordless devil and pushed the Talk button.

"...Hello...?"

"Oh come on Matt for christssakes it's only 6:00 at night!" Sora.

"Y'know... I... Nap." I fell back against my pillow, barely holding on to the piece of plastic currently blasting Sora's voice into my ear. Sighing, I finally came up with a better response. She always did that, pulling the silent phone treatment until I said more.

"What? I'm," yawn. "tired..." I heard a slight chuckle in the distance of my sleepy reality.

"Uh, whatever floats your boat Insomnio."

"Nice."

"I just wanted to tell you why I didn't come to your locker today after school. Didn't you notice I was gone at all?"

"No." Hey, I was telling the truth. My mind was so preoccupied with the newcomer that I didn't notice Sora's absence.

"You dork! Well, I skipped school is all. This cute shop in the mall had a piercing special until noon and my wallet pulled me into it. I mean, come on, FIVE DOLLARS for an eyebrow piercing! That's unheard of!" It certainly was. In fact, I didn't hear a word she said which was a habit I formed after many one-sided phone calls. Her voice was like a TV program you never pay attention to because it blends into the background.

"...Matt. Matt! YAMATO ISHIDA!" Oops, I did it again.

"Yeah... piercings, great. Listen, I'd love to hear you babble on, but I'm kinda tired. Go call one of your woman friends if you wanna talk Barbie dress-up."

"You are one of my woman friends." A gay joke. Wonderful.

"Yes Sora, my gapping vagina and full breasts gave me away. Damn." That produced some laughter. Just what someone trying to go back to sleep needed.

"Oh, I see. Your sarcasm is like 30 higher today... What happened?" What the hell?

"What the hell?"

"Oh come on little buddy! You know I know you. You're only tired when you've been thinking and your only extra sarcastic when you're mad at yourself." I had to hand it to her, Sora's woman's intuition levels were through the roof today.

"Ugh... You're gonna beat it out of me eventually, so I'll talk."

"Good."

"But then I get to sleep, right?"

"Deal." Ok, that was a blatant lie.

"Ok... So today was the first day of school right?" Silence. "At my locker I bumped into some new guy, god knows where he came from, and we had a little run in."

"What the hell does 'a little run in' mean? Spill!"

"I dropped my shit 'cause I'm dumb and he helped me pick it up." That wasn't gonna fly.

"Wait, so you're telling me that you're depressed because a nice guy helped you pick up some papers? Are you retarded?" Yes.

"No no no, just listen. God. He started talking to me and it was just... weird. We had a conversation that lasted more than two words long."

"So you didn't immediately tell him to fuck off?"

"I did eventually, but all he wanted were directions to his first period class, which was the same class as mine. So we walked there together—er, he forced me to and yeah... it was just weird." Maybe that was enough?

"So lemme paraphrase. Nice guy. Easy question. No attachments. What made it weird exactly? From what I can see, all he wanted were some directions and to give a helping hand." She just put into words why I felt like an asshole.

"And I was a fucking dick to him because of it."

"Dumbass."

"I know! And the worst part is... I dunno."

"The worst part is, he's cute and different from everyone else at our school?" Women's what? Intuition I tell you!

"Get out of my head." More laughter.

"Ok, I see your point now... So why didn't you tell me about this in fourth period? In fact, you didn't talk to me all period long, you ass." Two reasons why I'm an asshole in one day. What else could a guy ask for?

"Too busy thinking. Surprised?"

"Not really. Well, I'll let you get back to your lazy routine. Call me if you need to talk." Good. Time to sleep.

"Kay. Later."

"Bye love!"

Click.

I threw the phone across the room and pulled the pillow over my head... tighter. All I needed to do was sleep forever, then I'd stop being so fickle and easy to impress. When it came down to it, that was the real reason why the newcomer got to me. He was simple and I liked things to be uncomplicated. But he wasn't simple in a bad or dumb way. He was simple in the way where he could take a really confusing situation and make sense of it, or simplify the craziest thought into something easy to digest. Strangely, I got all that just from one little meeting, if you could call it that. So what else would I discover if I continued to talk to him? Would I find out too much, like what I originally though of him was wrong and he really was an asshole? Or even worse, would I be too impressed and hate myself more for losing my chance to make a friend?

Obviously, sleep evaded me after that and my brain was too... awake to let me. It sucked trying to make my over-thinking mind calm down. It was basically like trying to topple over an elephant with a toothpick plus it was one of those love/hate relationships, except this one was with my brain. I love him a lot, but damn could the fucker work overtime.

Instead of laying around counting lines on my ceiling, I moved to the living room downstairs, hoping to maybe find some trashy television to drown out my thoughts with. But as usually, I couldn't walk two feet without an encounter with the 'silent but deadly dad'. That man could appear from around corners like a fucking shadow, never failing to scare the shit out of me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate my dad—a lot. He just had a way of being... detached, like he had no clue how to read my moods and talk to me accordingly. So with the same cold, simple and professional voice he used with his clients he stopped me in my tracks.

"Yamato Ishida." That's my name, don't wear it out chief.

"Yes... sir." Don't ask. It was tradition in my family to treat others—elders, with undying respect and eloquence. Of course, being that my father was Japanese that type of upbringing was only natural. And no, seeing me on the street, no one would guess I'm Japanese. My mother was to blame for that, considering she had all the same white looks I do and then some even. Hell, look at me and all you'll see is a pasty white kid with all the features a Hitler Child should have, including blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. Duh.

My father walked closer to me and put a business-like hand on my shoulder. "Son, I am counting on you to look after your brother tonight. It is your responsibility to be a good role-model for him while I'm gone and I will not tolerate any horse-play from either of you. Do not fill his head with non-sense and make sure his is in bed promptly at 8:00, is that understood?"

"Yes sir." truthfully, the guy was full of shit. TK, my brother, was 13 and even if I forced him into bed he wouldn't fall asleep until well after 10:00. It reminded me of my upbringing, except I had horrible babysitters added to the equation. But there was no use talking back to Mr. Cold Pants; he was like a rock, so I kept nodding in the affirmative to all of his requests.

He smiled curtly. "Good man. I have left my contact number on the fridge, along with emergency numbers. Take messages for me and I will be back at 12:00. Goodnight son." With that he turned heel and with nothing else to add he left. Classic show, good form you old bastard! Luckily babysitting TK was no different than not babysitting him. He was great and we had an understanding that as long as he didn't fuck with me, he could do whatever he wanted and that was that. So, with nothing left to entertain me I pulled out the remote and flipped on the plasma screen to drown myself in re-runs of Pimp My Ride and shitty music videos until my brain calmed down for bed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I woke up the next morning with my headphones bending uncomfortably against my ears. I faintly remembered putting on my Atreyu album to sleep to and the damned thing was now imprinted into the side of my face.

Fucking alarms! Could the little bastard beep any louder if it tried? Now I remembered, that was the thing that just woke me up. And for no reason I ripped the red-lighted black demon from my bed-side table and tossed it against the wall... Unfortunately, it was still beeping, so all I got out of it was a nice new dent. And to add to the headache mounting in my brain the phone started having a seizure. Great. Who the fuck would call at 6:30 in the morning?

"What?"

"Good morning to you too, sunshine!" Sora.

"Well, my wall is turning into the Moon and I feel like shit. Now, whaddya want before I hang up?" She chuckled in that sing-song voice of hers.

"Weeell, I just wanted to ask what you plan to do about the new guy?" And she can't ask this question at school when I'm I'm fully awake? Ugh.

"Like I said last night, I haven't seen the guy since. Leave me alone now until I've had my coffee."

Click.

I turned off the phone then. I'm sure she was hurt deeply by the gesture. Whatever. After that, though I was wide awake and ready to not eat and get the hell out of there. I took a shower the night before so all I had to do was grab my shit and wake up my younger brat before I headed out.

I slammed into his room, with a cheery morning greeting. I get crazy in the morning and usually say random, totally peculiar things to TK when I wake him up. He's used to it by now.

"I hope you aren't having a morning wank you little brat, 'cause heeeeres Matt! Hey, that rhymed." I bolted in, only to find him laying half off the bed, still asleep and drooling. Damn, even his blaring alarm clock and my morning hello didn't wake the boy up. I swear, he could sleep through a roller coaster and be fine and then a fly would land on him and he'd bolt up, going crazy. The little weirdo. As usual I grabbed the spare stick he had laying by is bed and ticked his nose.

"Wha... Wha—WHAT!"

"Wake up, you crazy little shit. I'll make you some pop-tarts so be downstairs pronto, 'cause I'm not waking you up again." He glared—or tried to anyways, at me and fell back down on his pillow. I warned him! And he did know the consequences dad had for tardiness, so that would wake him up eventually, it always did.

School was normal again that morning and much like the day before, the newcomer didn't show up at his locker when I got there. I was pretty disappointed, but some kind of intuition told me not to worry, so I just went to first period and took my seat as usual, with a glare in place. I'd have a chance to talk to Sora in fourth period, so that was enough to keep my mood neutral.

The intuition didn't fail me, though and about ten minutes into the period the newcomer came blasting into the room, looking like the Tasmanian Devil. He definitely just woke up; it was obvious even with the cheeky grin hiding it on his features. With a tossed apology to the teacher, the boy dragged himself to a seat... in front of me. Didn't the teachers normally assign seats? Er—must be beginning of the school year forgetfulness. Either way, his tired, slouchy form was right in-fucking front of me all period long. When he first got there he waved a small hello to me and sat—rather, fell into his seat like we'd only just met. Was he not mad at me anymore? God, could the kid bounce back quickly.

Since the day before it was established in my mind that I didn't hate him, but the old feeling started creeping back in all period long. It was almost like when he liked me, I didn't like him and visa versa. Fuckin' annoying really. At the end of the period I grabbed my notebook and shrugged past him before he even noticed the bell ringing. I thought it better to ignore him and maybe whatever was developing between would die in it's early stages. I knew the futility of ignoring the kid, like it was a premonition deep in my mind that I couldn't. But I decided to go through the motions anyway and just let time pull everything along on it's own schedule. What use was it doing anything different? Like I said, I'm not one to make changes willingly and that kid represented a change so eerie in my future that I decided to forget about it... for now.

In fourth period I was barraged with the usual physical touches and greetings trademarked to Sora. She seemed extra bubbly today, obviously in light of the stupid little inconsequential situation with me and the new kid. She was a girl, so no doubt she'd make it out to be more than it was.

"So, you gonna marry him yet?" Ok, so she came on a little stronger than I thought.

"You're an idiot." Really, she was just over-active.

"Of course I am! But who cares when wittle Yama's gonna get married?"

"Yes, because I definitely gave you reason to say that..." She only slapped me on the shoulder for that.

"Yeah, well you be careful or I'll tell your children naughty things."

"I'm a guy. No womb. No kids. You fuck." Why did my sarcasm do nothing but make her laugh more? The least I could do would be to remember to just be serious.

"Ok, ok but down to business. I want to know what's going on. Did ya talk to him again today yet?" I rolled my eyes comically. I was going to have to give her something or she'd stab at me all period long.

"Truthfully? I don't know what's going on. Nothing, for all I care. It's just some new guy who talked to me once. No big deal." Buy it, please buy it!

"I'm not buyin' it." Shit.

"Ok, fine! I thought he was cute. Jesus. But whatever! We aren't friends and I don't even know his name yet."

"Kay, I get it. But I could help you out with that one, you know." She probably could. Sora knew almost everyone at Mount Vernon, being the #2 gossip queen, only under her other friend Mimi.

"I'd rather not."

"Fine then... Moody much?"

"Nosy much?" With that I splayed myself across the science desk until class started, with Sora sitting next to me.

School ended that day with no other hitches besides a goodbye from Sora after fourth period. I strolled up to my locker then, not really in any mood and just ready to go home and vegetate.

He was there.

I looked up from the ground and he was there, grabbing his books from his locker innocently. I decided again to try and ignore him and maybe put my things away without a word between us. That didn't seem likely, though as he looked my way and smiled that love/hate devilish grin of his.

"Yo."

"Hey."

I opened my locker and hid behind it, hoping he'd disappear in the time it took me to grab my stuff. When I clicked it shut, though he was still looking my way intently, almost like a dog looking longingly at a treat. But who was I kidding... Gay didn't come to mind at all when I saw him, so I guess just the dog part would suffice. A cute dog.

Then he spoke again. "I've talked to you twice now, and I don't know your name. I mean, even an acquaintance is an acquaintance by name, right?" Very philosophical of him. Almost like a pick up line, if i didn't know any better. He's probably one of those flirty types, who don't realize when they say leading things.

"Yeah, whatever. I'm Yamato. Call me Matt." His smile added two hundred more watts to itself at that.

"Are you part Japanese?" Observant and a good listener.

"Yeah, my dad is. And before you say anything, I know I look nothing like it."

"I wasn't going to say that. I'm part Japanese too. The name's Tai." He held out a hand for me to shake, which was surprisingly warm and rough—but kind of smooth too. Time was going faster than I expected her to, that was for sure. Just letting things happening was making things move faster than ever.

I reacted quickly, feeling all of the sudden very self-conscious after that. "I gotta go... Tai. Later." He smiled again and held up a hand in goodbye at my retreating form.

Shit. I didn't dislike him. In fact, I liked his hands? That was fucking weird. Actually, the last few days were weird and just... different. A new year, new feelings I supposed. But what was all of that? I had always dreamed of falling in love with a nice Hardcore kid who actually knew the difference between Metal and Metalcore... That kind of guy would catch my eye and we'd form a band and live like lovers should. But yeah, that was an ideal obviously. And Tai didn't fit into any part of that ideal in any way shape or form. So why the hell was I attracted to him? He had a spark about him, I couldn't deny that, but beyond that what was left to like? He looked like a conformer and nothing so far gave me reason to believe he wasn't.

Well, I didn't know him at all, so thinking like that was just unfair. But really, how the hell was I gonna get any sleep with all this shit stewing in the back of my head? I was leaving it up to time, yes, but time wasn't working fast enough, damnit! Besides actually talking to him, everything felt like it was going too slow and my mind was even making up a personality for him since I didn't have one established. That was never a good thing, taking into account how crazy my mind could be. It was sick to even let myself think! I mean, come on, I was already working against the grain and making him out to be an asshole when I didn't know the guy at all! Shit, I only just learned his his name and I was already calling him a conformer?

Idiot, Matt. Idiot.

I rushed home after that for no reason other than to call Sora. Even if she was annoying at times, she was my only friend and therefore my only source for advice. And besides having great intuition women seemed to have good advice to go along with it.

"Takenouchi residence." It was her mom.

"Uh, hey Ms. Takenouchi. Is Sora home?"

"Oh hello there Yamato! Yes, one moment please." There was a long pause and lots of crashes before a very winded Sora answered the phone.

"Sora speaking."

"What's up, Ms. Formal Phone-operator." She chuckled, as expected.

"Are you joking? Let me go get the camera, wow! Yamato Ishida is actually calling me?" Oh boy, I knew she'd say something about that.

"Yeah, well don't get used to it. I just wanted to... update you? I guess?"

"Update me? Uhh, odd. But go ahead then." No better buffer than that...

"You're a girl I think? So you understand to some degree how to read people. I'm not the type to ask advice--"

"You just did."

"Shut up. But really, I can't understand why someone who looks so much like a conformer can act so much... different than one. My brain has been over-thinking that one a lot recently." There was no pause before she replied.

"Stop being so dramatic and listen to yourself. You just answered your own question, dufus, if you could call it that. He may look like any other asshole, but is he? No. Not yet at least. And until he is, give the poor guy a break and a chance to prove he's cool." Why was such a simple answer so lost to me? The King of over-thinking simple things struck again! He gave me no reason to think he was an ass and it wasn't really a 'guilty until proven innocent' situation at all. All I had to do was chill out and let life go on and if he kept crossing paths with me, so what? Sora was right, there was no point in thinking about it too much.

"Oh. Well... Yeah."

"You know I'm right. Here, just get some sleep and think about naked Calvin Klein men fucking like bunnies in a cologne add... or whatever it is about men that turns you on." How articulate she could be at the wrong time amazed me. Girls like her amazed me, really.

"I'll do that... weirdo."

"Cock-sucker."

"Tit-licker!"

"Boy-raper!"

"Cunt-fuck!"

"Dick-tease!"

"Lesbo!"

"Fag!"

"I know I am, but what are you? Oh, right, a dyke."

"HA! But gay jokes only work when I say 'em, buddy. And I'm done owning you now so admit it, I am the verbal queen!"

"Yeah, whatever. Point is, you solved my problem. Thanks." I think I felt her hug me over the phone then. Strange. At least that ended the cute little name-calling war.

"No problem-o me amigo."

"Shut up, Sanchez. Just take the compliment like a man." I was already sick of calling her a lesbian. I never liked talking about her sexuality in the first place, and definitely using the words "Cunt-fuck" weren't—er—prominent with me.

"Taking it like a man? Isn't that your job?" Oh, another low-blow. Time to settle the score once and for all.

"You probably know more about being a man than I do." That one got her. I could tell by the momentary silence on the other end of the line.

"You dick!"

"I love you too."

"Yeah, well, don't expect any more favors from me for a long time, buddy! The information desk is closed!" That was another lie. Sora couldn't ignore me if she tried. Besides, I was the only one who knew her little secret and visa versa, so she sorta needed me. And visa versa.

She clicked off then without saying goodbye and I sat there at the kitchen table, still clutching the dull beeping phone, almost in a good mood. I took that opportunity, after I got my bearings, to work out the kinks on my little sleep problem and found my way up to my room to rest... Hopefully until morning.

When my eyelids started to droop and my head cleared itself, that's when my father knocked twice on my door. Man, even his knock sounded professional.

"Yamato, I am entering." Without any further warning he swung the door open and looked in at my half-dead body, strewn across my bed like a friggin' rug. His slightly disapproving look afterwards made my sleeping position feel uncomforable Yes, the way I slept made me self-conscious around my father. It's impossible to describe the amount of intolerance he had for anything less than the straight and narrow and my tired eyes and exhausted stance probably spoke novels to him about how useless I was.

Needless to say, I bolted up immediately, trying my hardest to look normal and blank.

"Hi, dad—er, sir."

"Good evening, Yamato. Are you feeling up to par? You look less than yourself." Understatement of the century. "Actually, I can't let you sleep just yet. You seemed to have forgotten to take out the trash and recycling. Please complete that task before you rest. And don't forget to brush your teeth." That was his polite way of saying "I caught your ass, so do your chores and primp up your sorry looking state before you sleep in my house or you're in deep shit." I learned to translate his language as soon as I learned to hold a broom and dust-bin in my hands. But if that was the price for living, I guess it was worth it?

I took my time pulling together the trash and recycling, trying to ignore TK sitting on the couch watching a movie absently while I was busy slaving away. Though he got his fair share of chores, my responsibilities easily outweighed his tenfold. But I loved TK enough that any jealousy I felt was unimportant and moot point. Plus he was sensitive to the fact that I got verbally fucked by father every day and treated me nicely because of it. He also was the only other person besides Sora to know the secret of my sexuality, only because it was so obvious to him. I think he figured it out before even I did, so telling him was simpler than saying my ABCs. But regardless of all the things he did do for me, he was still a thirteen year old boy with an older brother. In other words, the little shit could press my buttons faster than anyone else and unfortunately he decided then was a good time.

"So, dad gave you the 'promptly do the recycling' speech, huh?" I cringed as I dropped an old can while he said that.

"Yeah, I'd rather get this done and forget about it, so just... ignore me."

"Why? It's so fun to watch to you being pissed off."

"Y'know, I thought my mood was enough to tell you not to fuck with me. But here, read my lips and fuck off for a bit, ok? Sarcasm from you will just... god, nevermind. Just shut up." He laughed lightly and patted my shoulder.

"It's okay chief, chill. I'll help you if you want me to?"

"No thanks. Just leave me alone, ok?" He pulled back with a quizzical look about him.

"Wait, so you don't want help carrying all this stuff out to the curb? What's wrong with you 'Mato? You've been acting more—extreme? Lately and really only after school started. What's your deal?" I clutched an empty Gatorade bottle tightly until it caved in. I had no good answer for him, so I just took the easy way out.

"Which question do you want me to answer first? Oh wait, here's one that will answer them all. Fuck off for now, shrimp! Thanks for the offer but no, I got it." He shook his head and scratched it with an exaggerated sigh before turning to leave.

"Ok then... Just, yeah, talk to me if you feel like it. I'm not your little bro for nothing, you know. And not to mention I'm fuckin' bored." He exited the room then, leaving me to haul it all outside on my own. I really did appreciate the offer—both offers, but Sora was right, I really just needed my sleep to feel better.

Throwing the rest of the crap on the curb, I stopped for a second to admire the night. That was the only part of doing that chore I liked—the night was beautiful. Tonight especially, with the cold air and warm breeze curling around me and rustling our oak trees. Really, moments like these were what I enjoyed most in life. The moon was non-existent and only a million stars were there to turn the dark sky into a deep, purple/blue hue. I was lucky I could see them from in the city and I only had the privilege to because we lived in a sleepy, rich suburbia high on the hilly parts of the out city limits. It was calm and simple at night there, just like I liked things to be, with only a few dogs barking in the distance to break the silence. I sat outside for a few more minutes contemplating nothing before going back in to sleep like a dead-weight. I needed it.