Man's loneliness is but his fear of life.
So, how do I start this thing? Dear Journal?
Nah, that sounds dumb. How did I do this before? Neh, it doesn't matter, does it?
Today is August 1st. Kari said that it would be a good thing to write in my livejournal, just because I haven't been able to function properly enough to tell her verbally. So here I go, typing my soul into an online journal for any idiot to read. Pst, like they would. Now let's see…where to start…
Yamato hasn't returned my emails. At all. For the entire month of July, I haven't heard a single word from him. We were doing all right in June, sending emails back and forward, talking on MSN, any little thing that we could do to stay together. But now, that's stopped and it makes Tai sad. Yes, I just referred to myself in third person, gimme a break. I mean, why hasn't he tried contacting me? Does that mean that he's done with us? Done with me? Done with Japan? Oh my god, he can't be done yet! I'm not ready for him to be done yet!
Sorry for that minor freak-out. It was just a scary thought, that's all. What else can I report on?
Oh ya, my job at the pool's going well. Little kids cling to me a lot though. Not that I object; I love kids. But there are days that I'm really irritated by them. It's always "Taichi, help me with this" or "Tai, come play volleyball with us!" or "Tai I'm scared to go into the water!"
Yes, I understand that. Eh, I tolerate them though. Some of them are really cute kids and others are the kids from the elementary school's soccer team I used to help coach. What am I even saying? That's of no relevance!
Meh, my sister says I'm depressed. I don't really believe her though…just because I'm not as perky as she is, damn slut.
Okay I apologize! Gah, I'm in a crappy mood right now, but that…Hikari is not a slut!
Wonder if Matt became a slut…
Nah. He's my slut and my slut only. Too bad we're an ocean apart. Hey, I'm a good swimmer…that's it, Yama, I'm coming to see you!
…it's official: I'm losing my mind.
So is Daisuke. He's still pretty much obsessing over Kiseki. He says that he doesn't have a crush on him anymore, but sometimes I wonder. The stupid lying bastard still hasn't come to see him; he even stopped calling for a while. If he blows Dai off one more time, he'll have a promise from me to have a foot shoved up his ass.
Ah, crap, I gotta go get ready for work anyway. Hah, like it matters to you people in cyberland. Hah. Hah hah hah.
Forever yours, Tai teh Mad Ninja, dominator of men and women alike.
Tai had just shut down his computer when Daisuke barged into the room.
"Tai!" he shouted, bouncing across the room toward his brother.
"What?" Tai yawned, running a hand through his slightly-greasy hair.
"You have to come with me and Kari, now!" Daisuke demanded as he began to tug his brother out of the desk chair.
"Dai, I don't have time. I have to get to work," Tai began to protest. Daisuke shook his head and pointed at the clock.
"First of all, you don't have to leave for work for at least another half an hour," he stated.
"And your point is?" Tai stared at him blankly.
"Point is, look out the window!"
"Remember the old Kazaki place?"
"Daisuke, it's not that old," Tai replied as he walked around his desk and onto the balcony, looking out toward the right. Out in the street sat three moving trucks and a white fancy car sitting in the driveway. People were bustling around, moving things out of the trucks and into the house. "…who are they?" Tai asked, looking back at Daisuke.
"We don't know, that's why Kari and I wanna go over there and find out, but she said to bring you along, just in case you wanted to meet them."
"Why does Kari want to go over there so bad?" Tai raised his eyebrow and slowly came back into the house. The two boys headed out of the room and down the stairs on the hunt for their sister.
"She says it's because she wants to be nice, but I think it's because she saw that they have three boys over there," Daisuke snickered. He was soon smacked behind the head with a tennis shoe.
"That's not true, Daisuke. Besides, even if it was, shut up about it," Kari demanded and put her shoe on her foot, leading her brothers toward the front door. "Not to mention, I just think it'd be nice if we all met new people," she said innocently. Tai halted in his footsteps, being the only one to catch her double-meaning.
'She's trying to set us up with new guys so we forget about the old ones! That little sneak, who does she think she's trying to trick?' Tai glanced at Kari who happily skipped out the door, Daisuke right on her heels.
'Hmm…guess we can meet them. Doesn't mean we're going to fall for them.' He nodded firmly and followed his two siblings outside, walking around to the house next door. The two younger Yagami-Motomiya siblings were already outside, engaging in conversation with a girl who looked to be about Kari's age. Tai walked up to them and stopped, listening to them talk. Kari looked back and smiled up at Tai, gesturing towards the petite girl in front of them.
"This is Candy Kyuusai. Candy, this is our older brother, Taichi," Kari made the introductions. Candy looked up with her large green eyes and smiled.
"Hey, Taichi," she greeted him, placing her hands on her hips to get a better look at him.
"Hey, Candy. Call me Tai, everybody else does," Tai replied. Candy nodded, twirling a lock of her dark purple not quite shoulder-length hair around her finger.
"Cool, hang on, I'll go find the boys to introduce to ya," she said before bouncing off into the house. Shouting was heard and the three siblings on the front porch shared suspicious glances.
"Um…she seems nice enough?" Tai commented, unsure of what else to say.
"I like her. She's already different than my other friends," Kari replied just as the front door opened again. This time, a tall boy with dark red hair joined them on the porch, his black bangs flopping into steel-colored eyes. Candy rejoined them and poked the boy in the shoulder.
"This is Skarlott, my older bro. He's almost 17. Skar, this is Tai, Kari, and Daisuke Yagami from next door."
"Actually, those two are Yagami, I'm Motomiya," Daisuke corrected her.
"Different parents?" Skarlott asked, leaning against a pillar that held up the porch.
"Same mom, different dads," Kari filled in. Tai didn't say anything at all as he examined Skarlott closely.
'Nice build, clean hair, pretty eyes…but just not Yama.' The brunet inwardly sighed.
"It's cool to meet ya, Skarlott," he finally said aloud, just for the sake of speaking. Skarlott nodded at him and turned back to Candy.
"Where's EJ?" he asked his sister.
"I dunno," she replied with a shrug.
"Go find him! He's probably out back with Kee," Skarlott suggested. Candy nodded and ran around back to their backyard.
"So, where you guys from?" Tai questioned, sitting down on the porch and getting himself comfortable.
"Most recently Russia. Before that, England, and before that, New Zealand. My mom's in the military, so we move a lot. But since we took in my cousin, we decided to settle down. Plus I graduate this year, so I guess Mom and Dad decided it would be good for me to stay in one spot for my last year of high school," Skarlott explained, twirling a lock of his hair around his index finger.
"Wow, I wish we could travel that much," Kari said wistfully. Daisuke gave her a strange look and shook his head.
"Are you crazy, Hika? I wouldn't want to move that much," he said to his sister.
"The kid's right; it's fun for the first few times and then you get sick of it," Skarlott cut back in. Suddenly Candy came back dragging a younger skinny boy by the arm.
"Candy, let me go!" he protested, beating her on the back with his other hand.
"Blame Skar, he told me to come get you." Candy let go of her younger brother's arm. The boy rubbed it tenderly and glared at Skarlott with light brown eyes.
"Care to explain, oh brother of mine?" he asked, looking at the other three people on the porch. Skarlott pointed at them and introduced them.
"Tai, Kari, Daisuke. This is my brother, Envy Jade. He just turned 12, so forgive him if he acts like an idiot," he said with a smirk. The younger boy, Envy Jade, looked up indignantly and swept his long, mid-back length dark green hair over his shoulder. Looking at the Yagami-Motomiya siblings, he smiled and shook his head.
"It's just Jade," he corrected his brother.
"Or EJ," Candy filled in.
"But EJ is what you and Skarlott call me and it's retarded."
"Face it, Mom gave all of us stupid names."
"How is Candace a stupid name? Yours is probably the only one close to normal." Skarlott raised an eyebrow. Candy went silent for a moment, obviously thinking up an excuse.
"It just is, okay?" she huffed and blinked. "Where's Kiki?"
"Why do you call him Kiki, seriously? You know he hates that," Jade said with a roll of his eyes.
"Because I like it. But really, where is he?"
"Where is who?" a new voice questioned from the side of the house. Just then another boy vaulted himself up onto the porch and stood next to the Kyuusai clan.
"Kiseki!" Tai and Daisuke both shouted upon the realization that he was before them. The black-haired boy looked just as surprised.
"Tai? Daisuke? Hey! What are you guys doing here?" he asked them. Daisuke squeaked excitedly and tackled Kiseki, hugging him tightly.
"We live next door, but what are you doing here?" the mahogany-haired boy questioned back. Kiseki held Daisuke in his arms briefly before letting him go.
"Well, remember my plan? About moving out on my own?"
"You mean your retarded plan?" Tai raised an eyebrow, unsure of what to make of Kiseki's sudden appearance. Kiseki narrowed his eyes at the older brunet.
"It wasn't that retarded. Either way, I didn't have to go through with it because my aunt legally adopted me," he answered, bouncing on the balls of his feet excitedly.
"Wait, wait ,wait; you already know these guys?" Skarlott asked, giving his younger cousin a skeptical look.
"Well, not the chick. The other two went to that academy I used to go to."
"Um, the chick has a name," Candy said.
"And it's Hikari. Kari, actually, but same thing," Kari took over. Kiseki nodded and grinned.
"Wow, this is ironic, now isn't it?" he commented.
"Just a bit. I'd rather have you and your sorry ass living next to us than some old perverted bastards," Tai replied.
"Oh my gosh, Tai, shut up," Kari scolded him. "Besides, aren't you going to be late for work?" she reminded him. The mud-eyed boy peered down at his watch and his eyes widened.
"Oh crap, yes! Um, it was nice meeting you guys, we'll catch up later. See ya!" Tai bade them goodbye and ran back to his house. Quickly grabbing his duffel bag off of his bed, he bolted down the stairs and out the door once more, running down the block towards the public pool.
Only arriving five minutes late, Tai took his post at the life guard stand, watching over the people in his section.
'Bored, bored, bored.' He yawned, staring straight out ahead of him. Out of nowhere, a beach ball flew up and hit him square in the face.
"Hey!" he squawked, looking around for his attacker. Staring down at the base of his post, he spotted a short redhead waiting for him
"Kou, did you have to hit me?" the brunet whined, climbing down the ladder to join his friend on the ground.
"Well, I tried calling your name, but your head was too far in the clouds," Koushiro replied, fiddling with the buttons on his shirt. Tai nodded and leaned against his post, studying his fidgety friend.
"So, what's up?" he started the conversation, watching how Koushiro kept toying with his shirt.
"I-er, that is…can you-um..." the shorter boy stammered, unsure of where to begin. Tai rolled his eyes and reached out, pinching Koushiro on the arm. "Ow!" the other boy protested. Tai shook his head and grinned.
"You were rambling. Just spit it out already, I have to get up on my post again pretty soon," the brunet informed him. Koushiro nodded and continued.
"Okay, how do I go further with Mimi?" he blurted out. Tai raised both eyebrows at his friend's question.
"Excuse me?" he blinked, unsure if he had heard right. Judging by the fact that the tips of Koushiro's ears were beginning to blend with his hair, he assumed that he had heard correctly.
"Um…yeah. How do I go further?"
"Uh, why do you want to go further?"
"Because Mimi and I are at the point that we're bored with just kissing. I figured that you would have some advice since…yeah, you've had how many partners?"
"Just because I went through my slut phase…" Tai trailed off. Koushiro gave him a flat look.
"Went through? Tai, you're still going through your slut phase," he pointed out. Tai shot him an offended look and shook his head furiously.
"No! Didn't I tell you? This time I found one person to stay with!" Tai insisted. It was Koushiro's turn to raise his eyebrows.
"Really? When did this happen?"
"Um…I met him in October and we hooked up in February," Tai announced proudly.
"Wow…really?" Koushiro blinked in surprise.
"Yep. Well…I haven't seen him since like, the end of May, but I guess we're still dating…maybe…we got in some nice-looking neighbor boys…" Tai rambled on, getting off subject. "Oh, but they're not as perfect as Yama-chan."
"Yama-chan?" Koushiro repeated.
"That's his name, Yamato, actually…he's so special and pretty and perfect and lovable and fuckable and-"
"All right, I get it, shut up! How is any of that going to help me?" Koushiro asked, staring blankly at his older friend.
"It's not. I just thought I would share." Tai gave him a cheeky grin.
"…damn you're not helping. Give me advice or I'm getting you fired," Koushiro threatened, folding his arms over his chest
"What do you want me to say, Koush?"
"I don't know! Something on what I should do with Mimi!"
"Well…no, you're too young. No, you're never too young to do that…well, I mean if you're over 13 that is," Tai muttered to himself.
"That?" Koushiro tilted his head to the side.
"That…I mean, I did that when I was 13…well, the first time I did that anyway."
"…don't you think it's a little…odd to be doing that?" Koushiro felt himself blushing even more.
"Nah, it's pretty relaxing once you get the hang of it. Really fun if your partner's into it too," Tai informed him with a wink.
"Oh, uh…I don't know about that, Tai."
"Trust me, ask Mimi if she'll do it with you. See how far she wants to go," the mud-eyed boy urged him. Koushiro seemed to consider this for a moment, looking at Tai to see if he was serious. Slowly, the redhead nodded and a small grin spread over his face.
"Okay so, I guess what you're saying makes sense," he said cautiously, testing out his words. Tai nodded in agreement.
"Yep, you just have to ask her," he repeated his prior statement. Koushiro nodded confidently and grinned wider.
"Awesome, thanks, Tai! I'm going to go find her right now," he said, waving over his shoulder and running the opposite direction.
"Glad I could help! And no running near the pool!" Tai shouted after him, just to look as though he were doing his job. He climbed back up onto his post and sat still, watching over the people once more. A smug grin crossed his features and he shook his head, laughing slightly to himself.
'Man, his first blowjob…he's gonna have fun with that.' Tai watched as his friend ran down the street, heading towards Mimi's house. He sighed at Koushiro's antics and rolled his eyes, going back to work and forgetting that the conversation even took place.
It was 10pm by the time Tai returned home from work. Closing the front door quietly, he kicked off his shoes and threw his duffel bag off to the side. He was dead-tired, and nothing was going to stop him from going upstairs and heading straight to bed. Or so he thought.
He was at the top of the stairs when he first heard the noise.
'Ah! I haven't heard anything that awful since the time Daisuke tried giving Miko a bath.' Tai winced and stopped walking, listening closely. Soon the noise came again, sounding better than the first time. It was then Tai realized that it was a tune. Someone was playing a guitar somewhere in the house.
"…wait, guitar?" Tai's eyes widened in realization and burst into his room, flipping on the light switch. There sat Candy on Tai's bed, tuning the guitar that was in her lap.
'That bitch is going down.'
"Hey! What the fuck do you think you're doing?" he shouted, tackling Candy off of the bed, leaving the guitar to lie there.
"I should be asking you the same!" Candy yelled back, bringing her arms up to defend herself as Tai whacked her with a pillow.
"Who the hell said you could touch that guitar? Huh? Who the fuck said you could touch it? And more importantly, what are you doing in my room and in my house?" Tai roared, continuing to beat her over the head with a pillow. Candy rolled her eyes and kicked Tai off of her.
"Look, Tex, Kari got a phone call and said I could just entertain myself. The door to your room was open, I saw the guitar, and I decided to play a few chords. No big deal, there's no damage done to it," she explained and showed Tai the instrument.
"There better not be any damage, that's not my guitar!"
"Who's is it?" Candy blinked at the enraged brunet.
"It's my boyfriend's and if you ever touch it again, I will rip off your non-existent testicles!" Candy's green eyes widened at the word 'boyfriend'.
"Bisexual, actually," Tai huffed, yanking the guitar out of Candy's grip. She suddenly grinned widely and squealed.
"Aw, that's so adorable! Man, I totally wish I was a gay guy…wanna trade me bodies?" she asked, seeming rather serious.
"Why the hell would I want to be a straight girl?"
"I don't know."
"Well, no, I'm happy having a dick and having them shoved up my ass too, thanks."
"Hah, thanks for the image," Candy laughed and sat down on the bed again.
"Hmm, whatever," Tai sighed and sat on the floor in front of her, clutching Matt's guitar protectively. It was the only piece of his lover that he still had left.
"So…do you know how to play? Or is it just your boyfriend?" Candy questioned, laying on her stomach and watching Tai hold onto the guitar.
"It's just the boyfriend. He said he was going to teach me how to play, but then he moved," Tai replied, albeit sadly as he gently stroked the guitar.
"Where'd he move to?"
"…that's pretty far away."
"No shit," Tai snorted. Candy sighed and looked at the ceiling.
"Okay, sorry, no need to get all snappy on my ass," she said. Tai stopped playing with the guitar and looked down at the floor, biting his lip thoughtfully.
"…yeah, I know. I'm not being very nice to ya, huh?"
"Nah, but that's okay. Kari already explained what was going on," Candy replied. Tai jerked his head up and looked at the strange girl on his bed.
"What didn't my sister tell you?"
"A few things. She just gave me the gist of things. Like, that you and Daisuke go to some school for the mental, that you had a hot boyfriend, that she had an adorable boyfriend that was the hot boyfriend's brother, that they both moved back to America, and that you're depressed since you miss the hot boyfriend," Candy listed off on her fingers. The brunet male shook his head and smirked.
"Yeah, that's about my life in a nutshell," he commented dryly. "And I'm not depressed," he added as an afterthought. Candy shrugged and watched Tai again.
"You really miss him, don't you?" she questioned half-rhetorically. She was rewarded with a lopsided grin.
"Can you really tell?"
"Just a bit."
"Yeah…he stopped answering my emails."
"I don't know…we were talking during June, but then in July, he kind of stopped," Tai explained.
"Maybe something just happened?" Candy suggested.
"Nah, if it was really serious, he would have found a way to tell me. I'm afraid to think that maybe he just doesn't like me anymore." Tai frowned slightly.
"Aw, don't think like that. I bet he just got tied up with some things. A lot happens in America."
"You've lived there?"
Candy shook her head. "Nah, used to live in Canada though and it's pretty much the same. Kind of. Point is, shit happens. I bet he hasn't given up on you yet though. I mean, if you miss him this much, you guys must have been close?"
"Well yeah, he was my best friend for about five months before we actually got together. We hit a bunch of rocky spots and we even put our friendship on hold for like, a month, but we managed to work things out. Man…he was just so…perfect…wait, why am I telling you this?" he abruptly stopped and shot Candy an accusing look. She returned it with her own innocent glance.
"Because you have nobody else to tell that you haven't already told."
"Heh, yeah," she too stopped abruptly, looking at the guitar in Tai's lap. "I just got a brilliant beyond brilliant idea!" she exclaimed.
"Um…what would that be?" Tai asked her warily.
"I, Candace Kyuusai, am going to teach you, Taichi Yagami, to play the guitar!" she announced proudly.
"What for?" Tai shot back, raising an eyebrow skeptically.
"Because, it'll make you feel closer to your boyfriend, duh. Think about it. You learn his trade, you feel him. Or some stupid crap like that." Candy threw her hands in the air and looked at Tai. "So, you in, or you in?" Tai sat quietly for a minute, contemplating his options.
'I suppose she's right though…and if Yama comes home, I can woo him with my skills! Yeah! I like that plan…and then he'll kiss me and say 'Oh, Tai, I never knew you were as good as I was' and then I can be like 'Baby, that's not all I'm good at.' Yes, it's perfect!' A goofy smile wormed its way onto Tai's face.
"Um…hello in there," Candy called out softly, bopping him on the head with a book and successfully bringing him out of his trance.
"Ow, yes! Yes, I'm in!" Tai said enthusiastically, images of Matt suddenly flooding his mind. Candy grinned and got off of Tai's bed.
"Perfect. We'll start on it tomorrow," she settled the deal and walked out his bedroom door. "Just come over to my house with the guitar when you're ready," she said over her shoulder before she disappeared into Kari's room. Tai nodded and stood up, sitting down on his bed and leaning the guitar against the side of it. Looking up at the ceiling, he sighed and shook his head.
'Yama…' He closed his eyes and curled up with his pillow, shutting off the light next to him.
"Where are you?" he whispered into the dark before falling completely silent, just like the rest of the night.
The next morning, Tai found himself standing on the Kyuusai's front porch, Matt's guitar in his hand. He quickly punched in the doorbell before he lost all nerve and waited not-so-patiently for an answer. The door soon opened and Kiseki stood on the other side, dressed in a thin tank top and his boxers with an apple in his hand.
"Isn't it a bit early for you to be awake?" the black-haired boy asked, swallowing the bit of apple in his mouth.
"It's one in the afternoon," Tai pointed out.
"Exactly." Kiseki nodded. Tai sighed and looked behind Kiseki into the house.
"Is Candy awake yet?"
"She is," Candy answered for herself, popping up from behind Kiseki. "Surprisingly."
"…whatever, I'm going. Is Daisuke home, Tai?" Kiseki asked the oldest Yagami.
"Uh…yeah, he is." Tai gave him a wary glance before Kiseki ran out of the house. The mud-eyed boy opened his mouth to call out to him but Candy shook her head.
"Let him go," she said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "Come on, let's go and get started." She led him inside and up the stairs, steering him into the first door on the left. They entered a medium-sized room with peachish-orange walls. The closets had no doors on them and seemed to be a chaotic mess. A pink lava lamp bubbled in a corner of the room, giving off an eerie glow.
"Hard to believe you've only been here for one day," he commented and sat at Candy's desk. The purple-haired girl nodded and reached into a corner of her room, picking up a black and white guitar, much like the black and blue one Tai held in his arms.
"This is Gee," Candy said.
"Gee?" Tai repeated, staring at her oddly.
"Gee." She nodded. "What's that one's name?"
"…I don't know? It's Yama's. I don't know what he named it."
"Pick a name."
"Because it's cool. Now do it!" Candy ordered, staring down at Tai.
"All right, all right, jeeze," he said, pushing Candy away from him. He studied his boyfriend's guitar intently, thinking of names as he ran his fingers along the strings.
"Otamay," he finally said. Candy raised an eyebrow.
"It's better than Gee, okay?"
"Not by much…what the hell is Otamay?"
"What the hell is Gee?" Tai shot back. Candy shifted her eyes back and forward and stroked Gee protectively.
"Gee is for Gerard. Gerard is for My Chemical Romance. My Chemical Romance is for my favorite band," she explained, looking down at Gee. "It's okay, Gee, it's okay. Nobody else will find us out, now will they?" Tai stared at her for a good long while, unsure of what to say. He settled for shaking his head and snorting.
"Thanks! Anyway, what's Otamay?"
"…spell it backwards."
"Y-A-M-A-T-O…Yamato?" she blinked at him curiously.
"Hot. Anyway, I'm going to demonstrate a few things. You just sit and listen," she instructed him, pulling Gee into her lap and sitting on the bed. She started playing out a slow tune. The song itself was beautiful, although slightly depressing. Tai picked up on it right away.
"Stairway to Heaven, Zepplin," he said. Candy nodded and began to play another song, again starting out really slow and repetitive. It picked up a bit in the middle, but Tai was still clueless.
"I have no idea," he admitted. Candy grinned and nodded.
"Demolition Lovers. My Chemical Romance song," she said. "Can you read music at all?" she moved onto her next point. Suddenly she was interrupted by Kiseki, who had stuck his head into the doorway.
"I hate you both right now," he informed them, a frown planting itself on his face.
"Why?" Tai asked, shifting Otamay in his lap.
"Because neither of you told me that I wasn't wearing pants when I ran over to your house," he said, pointing down at his dark blue boxers.
"…hee," Candy giggled and shook her head.
"You're the one who ran out of here so fast," Tai reminded him. "Besides, I doubt my brother minded the view."
"Oh shut up," Kiseki growled and stormed away, slamming his door shut.
"Your cousin's a cranky little bastard," Tai commented, looking back at Candy.
"Yeah well, he has his reasons," she said and got up, walking over to her closet.
"Not important!" She threw several music sheets at the bewildered boy. "Now, we're going to be using tab, which is a shitload of a lot easier. I mean, theory's easy but it's pointless. Like…who had time to sit around and make up all of the rules and shit?" Candy rambled on. Tai waved his hand in front of her face and snapped her out of it.
"Hi, remember me?" he said. Candy smacked him on the head with the papers.
"Okay so, we're going to teach you a song that repeats itself for the most part. It's called 'Give Me Novacain'."
"By Green Day, right?"
"Yep. And even though Billie Joe's a retard and spelled novocain wrong, it's still a pretty nice song."
"He spelt novocain wrong?"
"With an A instead of an O," she said and handed Tai the right page. Taking Gee again, she held him up to demonstrate.
"Okay, so the strings are, in this order, high e, B, G, D, A, E. You follow what the music page says. Now, these stupid little slot-like things are frets. The numbers on the page are what fret you play the note in. For instance, the first note is D played in the fourth fret, see?"
"Uh, okay. Yes?"
"Do you, or do you not?"
"No, I do. Go on."
"Okay, so then, you continue the song. Read the fret numbers from left to right and play them that way. When there's a forward slash, that's a slide."
"And what do I do with that?" Tai blinked down at Otamay.
"You…slide your fingers. Anyway, are you ready to try it?"
"I guess," Tai replied and positioned Otamay on his lap, looking at the sheet of music in front of him. Slowly, he strummed the strings and followed the music, messing up right away.
"It sounds terrible!" he exclaimed. Candy looked down at his fingers and nodded.
"That's because you're not pressing down hard enough. When your fingers are in the frets, you have to press down really heard." She pushed down on his fingers. "Try that." Tai nodded and began playing again, this time satisfied with the sounds he was making.
"Of course it does. You have a pretty good teacher," she smirked.
"Oh hush it," Tai said and continued playing.
Tai left the Kyuusai household at around five that evening with two new songs under his belt, Otamay in one hand and an acoustic guitar in his other hand. Candy had said that he should practice his other song with that guitar. Lugging everything up the stairs, he opened the door to his room and threw everything inside, taking extra care to lay Matt's guitar down gently. He began to leave the room when something green on his bed caught his eye. Turning around again, he squeaked in surprise and his eyes widened.
"What's going on?" he asked loudly, bringing attention upon himself. The two boys on the bed pulled away from their liplock, Kiseki's shirt unbuttoned and Daisuke not wearing a shirt at all. Daisuke gave his brother a lopsided grin and shrugged.
"I guess this makes up for you and Matt making out on my bed, now doesn't it?" he said airily, a small smile playing on his lips. Kiseki shared the same crooked smile and got off of Tai's bed, re-buttoning his shirt correctly. With one last kiss, the black-haired boy waved and walked out the door, not saying a word as he left the house. Tai stared at his carbon-copy, stunned for the moment by what he had just seen.
"Were you…but I thought…didn't you guys break up?" he managed to spit out, watching as his brother stretched out lazily and tugged on a shirt.
"So…what was with the game of tonsil-hockey?"
"Hmm, just for old time's sake," Daisuke replied, his grin growing wider by the minute.
"You still like him, don't you?" Tai questioned, looking at his brother closely. Daisuke shrugged again and got off of Tai's bed, walking toward him.
"Maybe. I haven't decided yet," he said with a wink and walked past the taller boy, heading down the stairs for dinner. Tai shook his head and sighed loudly, heading out of his room and going into Kari's. The female Yagami was sitting at her desk, uploading pictures from her camera onto her computer. Sitting on the corner of her desk, Tai looked down at his sister and waited to be acknowledged.
"Hi, Tai," Kari greeted him, not bothering to look away from the monitor.
"…how long has Kiseki been with Daisuke in my room?" he asked. The brunette looked at her brother then, a quizzical eyebrow rising up.
"I don't know. Kiseki showed up here about 1:30ish. So I'm guessing that long." She shrugged and turned back to the computer. "Why do you ask?"
"They were making-out on my bed."
"…why?" Kari looked away from her computer again. Tai shook his head in response.
"I'm not sure. But, that's the one that used to go out with our little Suke-chan," he explained. Kari's eyes widened and she tilted her head.
"Mmhmm. That's the one."
"Does Daisuke still like him?" she asked, saving her files on her computer and standing up.
"He says no. Well actually now he's saying he's not sure. But I have my theories that he does," Tai stated confidently, following his sister out of her room and down the stairs.
"Well, it's not our business, is it?"
"No…but I'd like to keep him from being hurt, that's all," Tai replied. Kari smiled at him but shook her head.
"Tai, you know we love you right?" she asked him.
"Then don't be offended when I say this: we don't always need you protecting us. Besides, there are going to be times that you can't protect us no matter what," Kari elaborated for him, entering the kitchen and grabbing a plate.
"Doesn't mean I can't try," Tai shot back, also grabbing a plate.
"Try what?" Daisuke joined the conversation, coming up behind them both.
"Never mind, Dais," both of his older siblings replied simultaneously.
"Man, I hate it when you guys don't tell me stuff." The cinnamon-eyed boy pouted. Kari laughed and ruffled his hair.
"Maybe we'll let you in on it later," she told him and grabbed her food, heading out for the den.
"Where're Mom and Michael?" Tai inquired, grabbing his own pizza and following her once again.
"Out to dinner, I guess. They'll be back later tonight."
"In other words, I claim the pint of ice cream in the freezer," Daisuke declared. Tai shook his head and swatted the younger boy with a pillow.
"Nah, you're sharing." He set the pillow down and took a bite of his dinner. Kari gave them both a sheepish grin and a giggle.
"Actually, neither of you are getting it. Candy and I finished it off last night."
"…damn." Both boys snapped their fingers. The three siblings turned on the TV and ate their dinner in silence, watching a sitcom that really wasn't that funny.
"Tai, change the channel," Kari said to him, taking a drink from her glass of water.
"To what?" Tai reached out and picked up the remote.
"Channel 12. I want to see if Friends is on."
"Aw man, I hate that show," Daisuke whined, finishing off his can of soda.
"That's because you don't get half of what they're talking about," Kari retaliated.
"No, it's just stupid."
"Oh both of you shut up," Tai snapped and settled the channel on Friends. Kari smiled and relaxed, watching the characters on the screen. Daisuke rolled his eyes and left the room, leaving Tai with Kari. Kari looked away from the TV and back at her brother.
"So, Candy said you're learning to play the guitar?"
"Yeah, she's teaching me," Tai informed her, picking at a loose thread on his jeans.
"How's it going?"
"Not that horrible actually, other than the fact that she's a psycho."
"She is not," Kari protested.
"Kari, she talks to her guitar," Tai replied, giving his sister a look of disbelief.
"Well…she's special. Whatever, she's still nice."
"I never said she wasn't nice. She's just kind of…strange."
"Whatever, Tai. So explain why you're learning to play to begin with."
"…mostly because of Matt." Tai looked away from Kari, staring down at his socks. He knew that his sister would soon sound more sympathetic toward him.
"Really?" she asked softly. "Aw, that's so romantic." Tai's head snapped up and he looked at his sister.
"How the hell is that romantic?" he questioned her, leaning back against the arm of the couch.
"Well, you're learning to do the thing he loves to do the most, besides you," Kari philosophized. Tai couldn't help but snicker at her word choice.
"He hasn't done me though," he said to her. Kari picked up a throw pillow and threw it at her brother's face.
"Shut up, you know what I'm saying," she shouted over his laughter.
"Yeah, I know. I just couldn't resist saying it."
"Sometimes, I hate you. I try being serious, and you make a joke out of everything!" Kari ranted, bashing her brother with the pillow some more. Tai took the pillow from her hands and sat on it, looking her in the eye. His expression had sobered up and his eyes had gotten darker.
"You know why I do that, Kar? Do you?"
"No…enlighten me," Kari challenged him. Tai looked down again and his shoulders slumped in defeat.
"It's so that I don't have to really think about what's going on. It's easier to deal when you think of it all as a game."
"You think so, huh?" Kari asked him rhetorically, waiting to see what else he had to say.
"Yeah…that's about it."
"They'll come back some day, Tai," she assured him.
"We can only hope so," he replied, turning up the volume on the TV and signaling that that was the end of the conversation. Kari shook her head and returned her attention to the TV once more.
'They'll be back all right…a lot sooner than he thinks.'
There was a sound at his window. Not exactly a knock, but nothing that the wind could make either. Daisuke stirred in his bed and opened his eyes, blearily reading the clock.
"It's 2:30am…" he said to himself. He rolled over in his bed and closed his eyes, preparing himself to fall asleep again. Just then, the knocking continued. Daisuke opened his eyes again and sat upright, cautiously looking at the window. There was nothing standing on the balcony, but that didn't mean that there wasn't something below, outside of the house. He watched the window closely, waiting for another sign.
Suddenly three or four pebbles hit the glass, creating the knocking sound Daisuke had heard. Half of him was set on going over and looking out the window. The other half of him was too chicken to get out of bed. So, he settled for the next best thing.
"Tai. Tai, wake up," he called quietly to his brother, looking over at the other bed. Tai slept on, oblivious to Daisuke's callings.
"Tai…get up, stupid!" Daisuke hissed, looking toward the window again. Again, Tai continued to sleep. Before Daisuke could call his name one more time, a giant rock came hurling at the window, shattering the bottom pane of the window. That woke Tai up.
"What the hell is going on?" he asked groggily, squinting at the broken window.
"I have no idea. I was hoping you'd find out," Daisuke answered staring at the rock on the floor. Tai got out of bed and stomped over to the window, picking up the rock and leaning out of the house.
"Go to hell!" he shouted and chucked the rock to the ground.
"Tai, Mom's gonna wake up and hear you!" Daisuke whispered frantically.
"Big deal, somebody woke me up, and now I'm pissed off." Tai frowned and looked down at the street.
"Damnit, did you have to throw it back!" a new voice rose up from the street. Tai growled and scanned the dark yard below him.
"You broke our window you good-for-nothing ass!"
"Tai, shut up and let me talk to Daisuke!" Daisuke's ears perked up at the sound of his name and he joined his brother at the window with a flashlight in his hand. Tai wouldn't let him take his spot and continued yelling down at the person.
"Kiseki, if that's you, I am going to kick your sorry a-"
"It's not Kiseki, Tai," Daisuke cut him off, flicking on the flashlight to confirm his suspicions. He looked down into the yard and he trained the light on a boy standing under their window. Daisuke pushed Tai aside and leaned out the window.
"Ken?" he shouted out uncertainly. The other boy looked up at him and grinned.
"Hey, Daisuke! Let me in, will ya?"
"…go to the front door, I'll be down in a second," Daisuke hollered back, walking away from the window and out of the room.
"Daisuke, what are you-" Tai followed him but was cut off by Daisuke.
"Tai, it's Ken! Do you not remember Ken?" he exclaimed, running down the stairs as quickly but quietly as possible. He was rewarded with a blank look.
"Should I remember?"
"Tai…Ken! My best friend before I went to the academy! Ken Ichijouji!" Daisuke reached the front door and hurriedly unlocked it.
"Uh…sure." Tai shrugged and stood by the stairs, watching as his brother flung the door open and turned on the foyer light. Standing on the porch was a boy with black hair, so black to the point it was almost blue and hung just past his ears. Violet eyes twinkled in the light and an easy-going smile was on his face. His clothes were torn and patched together in various places and he looked as though he hadn't had a bath in days.
"I'm sorry about the window," was the first thing he said. Daisuke shook his head and threw himself at Ken, hugging him tightly.
"Aw man, you reek," he laughed, pulling away from Ken to study him over. "What the hell are you doing here?" Daisuke questioned the 14-year-old boy. Ken shrugged and gestured to his backpack that was still on the porch.
"I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd drop in and see how it was going."
"Bullshit, Ichijouji," Tai said from his position on the stairs, standing up and walking toward the two younger teens.
"Hey, Tai," Ken greeted the older boy, bowing slightly in respect.
"I remember you now!" Tai said proudly.
"Now that you're awake enough to function?" Daisuke asked.
"Yeah, pretty much. But the point is, what are you really doing here, Ken? You live all the way over in Tamachi," Tai said, shifting his eyes back to the pale-skinned boy. Ken sighed deeply, knowing that he was busted.
"Can I shower before I explain? It's a really long story," he said, scuffing the toe of one of his worn-out sneakers along the carpet. Daisuke nodded enthusiastically and led Ken into the den.
"Yeah, sure, Mom and Dad won't hear the water running from down here," he said and looked at Tai questioningly. The older brunet yawned and blinked sleepily.
"I'm going back to bed. Ken, you're replacing my window soon," he said as a goodnight and headed back upstairs, going into his bedroom and climbing back into bed. The two younger boys shrugged and went the rest of the way into the den.
"Do you need some clothes to change in to?" Daisuke questioned, looking at his friend curiously.
"That'd be good. I'll leave the door unlocked and you can just set them on the counter?" Ken suggested, taking off his mud-stained t-shirt.
"Yeah, sure. Go for it," Daisuke said and raced back upstairs. Grabbing the nearest set of sleepwear, he headed back into the den and set the clothes in the bathroom. He jumped onto the couch and turned on the TV, switching it on to late-night anime. Twenty minutes passed by before the water shut off and Ken emerged, rubbing his hair dry with a towel.
"Feel better?" Daisuke looked at him over the back of the couch.
"You have no idea," Ken replied and joined his friend on the couch, looking at the TV as he continued drying his hair. The two boys sat in silence watching Cowboy Bebop for a few minutes before Daisuke turned, looking at Ken closely.
"You let your hair grow out," he started off. "It used to be as short as mine."
"Hah. I just got a haircut as soon as I got into town. You should have seen it before that," Ken laughed, setting the towel in his lap for the time being. Daisuke nodded and bit his lip, unsure of how to continue.
"So…what are you really doing here?" he asked, noticing that his friend was twitching slightly. Ken toyed with the towel in his lap, not looking up to meet Daisuke's eyes.
"You really want to know?" he replied quietly, still not looking up.
"Yeah…I do," Daisuke assured him, waiting patiently for his friend's story.
"To sum it up, I got tired of sleeping outside in cardboard boxes."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Daisuke suddenly grew afraid of what he would hear next. Ken looked up and gave him a crooked little grin.
"I ran away," he simply stated, almost as calmly as if he had said "the weather's nice out today."
"Wait, what? You ran away? From home?" Daisuke stared at him in shock.
"Yep. Been on the run for the past two years." Ken nodded slowly. Daisuke continued staring at him in surprise.
"But…why?" he managed to say. It was then Ken chose to look at him.
"Because, I hated my life really. I have a few things I need to tell you, that I didn't get a chance to tell you before."
"I'm gay," Ken announced flatly.
"…oh. Well I'm-" the mahogany-haired boy started to say that he was bisexual himself, but stopped himself at the last minute. "Not surprised," he finished off cheekily.
"Hey, shut up," Ken laughed and threw his wet towel at Daisuke. Daisuke laughed with him and threw the towel on the floor.
"Continue," he said to Ken, leaning against the arm of the couch. The blue-haired boy nodded and kept talking.
"I used to have a boyfriend. My parents caught me kissing that boyfriend and I mean seriously, it wasn't like deep making-out. It was just innocent fun, fluffy stuff. Needless to say, they definitely were not pleased with my choice of lifestyle. The boyfriend moved, so we 'broke up' (and I use that term lightly because honestly, we were 11 years old. Well, almost 12.). Anyway, then my parents decided that they were going to bog me down with school work and soccer and stuff, just so I wouldn't have time to be gay. I mean, they even sent me to summer school, just so I wouldn't have time to interact with other boys. In the end, I got so burnt out and fed-up with everything that I took my money from my shoebox, packed my bag, and took off running," he ended his tale, sitting back and waiting for Daisuke's reaction.
"…and they haven't found you yet?" the younger boy asked, tilting his head curiously.
"Nope. I keep moving too fast for them to catch up. I'm going to make sure that they learn their lesson before I return to them. But somehow, I have a feeling that they've given up on even trying to find me and just proclaimed me as dead." Ken shrugged.
"That's…insane." Daisuke shook his head sadly.
"Yeah…and that's why I'm leaving first thing in the morning," Ken announced, stretching out on the couch.
"Are you kidding?" Daisuke squawked, sitting upright suddenly. Ken gave him a confused look.
"Did you think I was going to stay?" he asked his best friend.
"I…well, yeah! I don't want you running again! You were a mess! I mean, look at you…when was the last time you've eaten something decent?" Daisuke raved on and on.
"Uh, I found a chocolate bar at the bottom of my bag a few days ago."
"That doesn't count! Ken, you are not leaving tomorrow and that's that!" Daisuke decided, folding his arms over his chest stubbornly. Ken chuckled and rolled his eyes, pulling Daisuke into an unexpected hug.
"I appreciate your efforts, not to mention your roof, for tonight. But tomorrow, I'm leaving and that's that."
"But…I don't want you to leave…what if something happens to you out there?" Daisuke voiced his concerns, feeling his eyes fill up with tears.
'Don't cry, you idiot. Keep it cool. Don't cry in front of Ken or he'll…do something.' He scolded himself.
"Dai, nothing's going to happen, I promise."
"…will you at least wake me up before you go?" Daisuke whispered, subconsciously curling up closer to Ken. The older boy stroked Daisuke's hair lightly and nodded.
"Yeah, sure. But get some sleep, you're starting to talk nonsense," Ken smiled and shut off the TV.
"You're the one talking nonsense," Daisuke mumbled, involuntarily succumbing to sleep in Ken's hold.
"Good night, Dais," Ken said as a response and pulled a blanket over both of them, leaving them both to fall asleep with each other.
The sun peered in through the window and hit Daisuke's face. His nose twitched and he cracked open one eye.
"Freakin' a it's bright." That was his first observation. His second observation was that he had woken up alone. Panic settling on his mind, he scrambled out of the blankets on the couch and raced up to the main floor of the house, crashing right into his brother.
"Whoa, slow down, kiddo. What's the rush?" Tai asked him, holding him still.
"Ken lied to me!" Daisuke blurted out, feeling tears prick at the back of his eyes again. Tai raised an eyebrow and stared at him.
"How so?" he inquired. Daisuke sniffled and blinked, trying to keep his bottom lip from trembling.
"He said he'd wake me before he left…and he's gone," he whimpered. Tai rolled his eyes and laughed slightly.
"Man, you jump to conclusions too easily."
"Go look in the kitchen," Tai suggested and pushed Daisuke toward the mentioned room. Daisuke wandered into the eating space and looked around. There stood Ken at the stove, cooking breakfast for everyone.
"Morning, Dai. What kind of omelet do you want?" Ken looked over his shoulder and sent his best friend an impish grin.
"What are you doing here! I thought you said…" Daisuke trailed off, sitting at the counter and watching his friend flip eggs. "And ham and cheese is fine," he added as an afterthought.
"Well," Ken began, grabbing the ingredients for Daisuke's breakfast. "I thought about what you said last night."
"Did you really?" Daisuke gave his friend a doubtful look.
"…okay, so what really happened was that your mom found us on the couch and made me tell her the whole story. So now I have to stay here because she said to." Ken placed an omelet on a plate that had two others one it already. "Tai! Breakfast is done!"
"So wait, I tell you to stay and you say no, but my mom repeats the same thing and you say yes?" Daisuke blinked, watching as Ken began on his omelet.
"Basically, your mom can kick my ass; you can't."
"He's got a point, Dai," Tai chirped as he came back into the kitchen, grabbing his omelets and sitting next to his brother. "So how long are you staying, Ken?"
"I don't know yet…however long I can get away with, I suppose," the violet-eyed boy answered truthfully.
"Well, when it's our mom we're talking about, you'll probably end up staying here forever," Daisuke said, stealing a bite of Tai's bacon and cheese omelet.
"Again, he has a point. Get your own!" Tai cried, stabbing Daisuke in the hand with a fork.
"I didn't stab you that hard."
"Tai, be nice," Ken warned the older boy. He dished up Daisuke's omelet and handed it to the youngest boy, turning the stove off.
"Aren't you going to eat?" Daisuke asked, taking his food and beginning to eat.
"I've been up since six. I've already eaten. Twice." Ken pointed to a dirty plate and a box of Cocoa Puffs.
"So…yeah, you're living with us." Tai nodded.
"Pretty much yeah."
"Man, everybody's living in the same vicinity suddenly." Daisuke shook his head. "It's crazy."
"Oh?" Ken looked at him.
"Mmhmm, one of our friends, from the academy, he moved in next door with his cousins. And now you. So yeah."
"You'll have to introduce me to this friend of yours," Ken said as he began to clean up the kitchen.
"I will eventually."
"I'll hold you to that."
"Hey guys, does Kari know Ken's here yet?" Tai asked, putting his plate in the dishwasher.
"Yeah, she's the one who woke me up with her screaming about a hobo being on the couch with her brother." Ken smirked. "Funny, I didn't think I looked like a hobo anymore."
"Kari tends to exaggerate."
"Well, we're just glad that you're here. At least, I am," Daisuke said, handing Ken his dirty plate.
"Yeah, I'm glad to be here. I get to play maid," Ken retorted jokingly.
"Does that mean you'll wear a cute little French maid outfit for me?" Tai winked.
"Oh shut up, Tai. Maybe on a special occasion, okay?"
"Deal!" Tai replied eagerly and began laughing. The other two laughed as well, imagining the mere idea. Daisuke looked at his best friend fondly and grinned to himself.
'It's good to have you back, Ken. I just hope you stay.'
A week passed by slowly, filled with busy days and lazy summer nights. The weather was sunny for the most part, allowing all of the Yagami-Motomiya kids, plus Ken, to spend as much time outside as possible.
However, that all came to an end one Monday. It was cloudy outside, cool and a bit breezy. Tai still had to go to work at the pool, Kari still had a dance lesson, and Ken and Daisuke still played with Daisuke's soccer ball in the back yard. That is, until it started to rain. It rained all through the afternoon and continued raining past dinner into the night. Thankfully, Ami had already replaced the window Ken broke so that the rain didn't leak into the room. Despite the fact that Ken tried to offer her what little money he had left, Ami firmly said no and paid for the repairs herself.
But, that didn't explain why Tai was sitting out on the balcony, acoustic guitar in his hand and staring out at the night sky. The rain fell down around him, soaking him only slightly and barely entering the room itself, since he left the sliding glass door open. And yet, he didn't seem disturbed at all, watching the very few people below him hurry to their safe, dry homes.
Tai was one of those people whose moods were affected by the weather. He was never bothered by the snow; it made him rather childlike. The sunshine gave him lots of energy, making him the person he really was. But the rain; the rain depressed him, because the rain made him think. And when Taichi thought, he often thought about his problems.
"Like Matt. That stupid bastard still hasn't called or written or anything!" Tai sighed and strummed a few notes on Candy's acoustic. "I wonder if he even misses me…or anything…heh, I doubt it. I mean, it's America. What do I have that other Americans don't?" Tai looked out into the rain and subconsciously began playing a tune on his guitar. He recognized it as the song that Candy had given him a week ago. He picked up the tune and began singing softly to himself, if not for any other purpose but to comfort himself.
"Breathe in for luck, breathe in so deep, this air is blessed, you share with me. This night is wild, so calm and dull, these hearts they race, from self control. Your legs are smooth as they graze mine, we're doing fine, we're doing nothing at all." He quickly stroked a few notes and began to sing louder, not caring who heard him.
"My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me, so won't you kill me, so I die happy. My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or bury, or wear as jewelry, whichever you prefer." His voice went a bit quieter again, returning to the same beginning notes.
"The words are hushed let's not get busted, just lay entwined here, undiscovered. Safe in here from all the stupid questions, 'hey did you get some?' Man that is so dumb. Stay quiet, stay near, stay close they can't hear…so we can get some." He smiled despite himself and went back to the chorus of the song, singing louder than before, being dragged in to the emotion of the song.
"My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me, so won't you kill me, so I die happy. My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or bury, or wear as jewelry, whichever you prefer." He went on with his loud voice and same guitar strokes, looking up toward the sky. Tears pricked at the back of his eyes but he refused to let them go; not just yet.
"Hands down this is the best day I can ever remember, I'll always remember the sound of the stereo, the dim of the soft lights, the scent of your hair that you twirled in your fingers and the time on the clock when we realized it's so late and this walk that we shared together." Tai stopped briefly to catch his breath and bite his lip to keep from crying. Below him, shadows darted every which way, but he paid no attention to them, not even the one that didn't stop moving. He vaguely registered that his porch light flipped on, probably Kari checking to see where the music was coming from. He shook his head and started playing his guitar again and picked up where he left off.
"The streets were wet and the gate was locked so I jumped it, and let you in. And you stood at your door with your hands on my waist and you kissed me like you meant it." He heard a rustle from behind him, along with footsteps, but he didn't turn around. He just continued his song, tuning out the rest of the world to drown in the rain and his memories.
"And I knew, that you meant it, that you meant it, that you meant it, and I knew, that you meant it, that you meant it…" Tai strummed the last few notes out and stopped singing, clutching the guitar tightly. A silhouette appeared behind him and he felt a soft breeze on his neck.
"You bet I meant it," his voice breathed out and Tai turned around, taking in the most beautiful sight in the world.
Yamato Ishida with a dozen red roses.
Yep, here's the first chapter of Frozen Flame! I'm excited and I really hope you guys like it!
Thanks to my lovely beta April. I love you!
And thanks to everybody who reviewed Black Rose. This one's for you!
Oh, and for neo of course. Go read Kukachi and Headfirst for Halos, okay? Okay, good.