So,

Am I the only one hyperventilating? :D

Sorry I took so long, but... yeah, the usual excuse. Well, here it is!

(To those of you who read that tiny "chapter"-note thing before: don't scroll down trying to find where you stopped reading, just reread it, please? It's really supposed to be posted in one piece anyway, so just forget that cut ever existed and enjoy this last chapter.)


Chapter 13 (the absolute final chapter)

Taichi looked up at the sound piercing through the apartment, and threw the other ones a glance. His mother was completely devoured by her book lying in her lap, his dad sat half asleep in front of the TV, and his little sister was sitting on the floor, painting her toenails. He rolled his eyes. "I guess I'll get it?"

The females grunted in response, not taking their eyes off of their respective activity. The brunet pulled himself up from the couch, attacking the phone. "Yagami's residence, prettiest Yagami speaking" he chirped, snickering as his mom and sister made faces, identically shaking their heads at him.

His smile quickly faded and he froze for a second, before escaping into his bedroom, hiding from his unobservant audience. Closing the door as quietly as he could behind him, he stood motionless, waiting to catch every word that might be spoken. For the moment, all coming from the other end was silence.

He fixed his gaze on the curtain, not even moving it to lose his focus. His eyes widened slightly as something was finally said, brain frantically trying to analyse and decide the most appropriate action. It was the usual cold and demanding tone, which in a way comforted him. Nothing was out of order; except for the fact that Yamato had actually called him. That hadn't happened in weeks, five or maybe even six…

"-over phone, come over when you can, it's important."

Taichi banged his head back against the door, barely resisting the urge of growling. Why the hell did he have to be thinking when this required his full attention! The football player forced himself to drop it, trying to decide on how to respond based on the half sentence that he'd caught. The voice sounded split, as if not able to agree on one thing –there were hesitation, desperation and then the predominant annoyance and sternness. Something told him that the order still expected an answer. Or at least affirmative. Now, the actual words: he should come over and it was important.

"Hai," he finally managed, half aware of how uncharacteristic he now sounded, especially compared to earlier. Momentarily wincing at his stupid choice of greeting, the brown-eyed boy succeeded on missing yet another few words.

"-as you can. Um, bye"

Click.

This time, he did growl.


Staring at his hand that was reached out, formed like a claw in this almost cramp-like state, the musician sighed and shook his head. 'Better get used to it.'

Facing fears is supposed to cure you.

Yamato knew that there were probably a lot of exceptions; things just aren't that easy. But he decided to pretend that it was.

After a few seconds he frowned at his hand. "Christ sake, will you just grab the phone!"

Still shaking pathetically, the hand picked up the phone and dialled the number as fast as it could.

He almost fell off the chair when Taichi himself greeted with his usual loud and immature greeting.

"Yagami's residence, prettiest Yagami speaking!"

Typical.

Faintly happy that he didn't have to care about the brunet's behaviour anymore, Yamato was about to respond, surprised when he recognized the same cold and stern voice he'd used before. "Hi."

The tall teen could practically hear Taichi's grin fall off his face.

A door slam could be heard, and knew that the other teen was listening. Probably holding his breath as well.

"I need to talk to you, but not over phone. Come over when you can, it's important"

Yamato grimaced, not believing what he was ordering him to do. This will never work.

There was a silence, and he almost started to expect the football player telling him to fuck off, when he heard a small "hai", confirming his invite.

What the hell had he turned him into?

A hand came up to rub his eyes, and he decided to get this over with. Aha-moments could wait until later. "Come as soon as you can. Um, bye"

Putting down the phone, Yamato stared at the wall in front of him.

It was highlighted with yellow sunlight that sealed through the window at the right. The last beams that were still hanging on to the wall would in just a minute slip and let the shadows take over. The dully green wall in front of him was only enlightened before noon; after that the light would slowly be dragged away like long fingers until they vanished. He was standing in the kitchen, leaning against the counter. It was afternoon; a few hours after Sora's visit. Ten minutes ago his dad had called, apparently on his way home, it had seemed. The teen had only uttered an 'oh' and suddenly Hiroaki had gotten other things to take care of, probably not returning until evening.

Yamato had a feeling it wasn't just a favour to him; his dad had probably gotten more involved in his son's mental state than he was willing to handle. He needed some time off.

The conversation had forced the blond to take the small initiative of walking into the kitchen. There he had stared at the phone, first zoning out, before abruptly forcing himself to think about things that were still such a paradox in his mind. The risk –no, the fact- that this was a permanent thing that needed to be part of his life. A part of him. A part of the different adjectives people would use when describing him.

Also, Taichi.

What should he say to him? Better yet –what was there to say? What was there to get out, to admit, to explain and inform him of? The question wasn't any longer what he could tell him, it was what there was to tell. Because Taichi should know everything. And Yamato needed to finally find out what everything was.

That, he needed to do in seven minutes.

His eyes widened when the clock came into his view. "Shit"

---------

Don't screw this up…

So many different options were running through his head; walking, taking the bike, the bus, running, taking the shortcut or the other way, stairs or elevator, knocking or ringing the doorbell.

Every choice was made after careful pondering, mind going through complicated nets of illogic. In the end the brunet knew that he could only hope for the best, but he didn't want to look back and regret not thinking carefully before making a decision. That had happened way too many times.

Knocking is the best choice, cuz then I can decide the sound of it while ringing the doorbell will make that horrible noise no matter how softly I press the button, and it also makes the visit official which it shouldn't be because it's not the right time and place, doesn't follow the rules, it's an exception that no one can know about, thus this isn't actually happening, and if this is not happening, the doorbell won't function since that's part of reality, but my finger on the other hand I can control cuz it's a part of me who isn't a part of reality; I'm part of the exception. So knocking. Two times, not three; only visitors do that, which I'm not. And by the third knock he'd have the time to get irritated.

Feeling absurdly confident, Taichi finally reached his hand out and knocked twice.

His confidence instantly ran off again when the sound reached his ears.

It felt surreal to think that he had made that noise. Even though he'd been ordered to come over, knocking on this door felt insane.

"Come in"

The voice coming from inside the apartment was muted, and hardly raised, as if he thought that Taichi had turned into a bat all of a sudden. Well, he did catch it...

Opening the door felt just as insane. He wasn't comfortable with being forced to be this active. His role in the agreement had been so extremely passive that doing anything felt dangerous.

Taichi knew how strong Yamato was; they had wrestled once over something neither could remember. It was safe to say that he could deck the blond whenever he'd feel like it. The athlete wasn't much stronger, but stronger nonetheless.

Still, Taichi would easily admit that Yamato could scare the life out of him when he was in that mood. Not that this was really about fear. It was rather a challenge. A challenge he was afraid of losing.

The dark-skinned teen opened the door, immediately hearing noises from the TV. Either it was the news or some documentary. It had that boringly serious voice, completely lacking melody that always reminded him of history class. Other than that, the apartment was very quiet and still, which it often was. Only two people lived here, and both were the quiet kind.

Yamato was sitting in the couch, looking bored. The 1,85 meter* teenage body was stretched out across the furniture in an almost bragging way; arms thrown over the backrest and legs fully stretched out over the floor. He didn't look up when Taichi entered the living room, pondering over whether he should have his hands in his pockets or not. Thanks to the lack of acknowledgement, direction or explanation, the brunet remained where he stood, growing more unsure by each second. Finally, the blond used his ability to speak.

"You can sit down if you like."

"Thanks"

He sounded more grateful than he intended to. But that couldn't be helped. The football player sat down on the couch, the same one they had sat in when Yamato had kissed him. It was the only furniture of the Ishida's that was decently cosy. Everything else was stylish and dead, Taichi thought. It was green and deep, allowing you to pull your legs up without falling off. And to pin down your best friend and force him to let go. That must've been their last casual time together outside of school.

Maybe it was the sunlight in the room, the low mumble from the TV, the bored and kind of lazy energy around Yamato, or just this different way of meeting that made him relax slightly.

"What are you watching?"

The other teen shifted slowly. "No idea."

The brunet stole a glance, discovering the indifference in the other's face. Kind of like the one he'd wear in class, or when hanging out after school, when he was tired. It was a good indifference. A complete contrast to his behaviour when they were in Yamato's bedroom. In there, everything was about time. Time and need. Almost like an emergency.

Taichi revelled in the calm atmosphere for a few seconds, before remembering why he had been asked to come here. Talk.

Not until now had he given that word a second thought. Now that he did, he seriously wondered if that really was what the boy next to him had said.

It was also important. Maybe Yamato was expecting him to say something? Maybe there'd been a secret code in their phone conversation that he had managed to miss.

Taichi started to get more and more confused, struggling between predictability and random. Even though he had found many patterns in Yamato's acting, there'd also been a few unpredictable twists. According to earlier experiences, he knew that Yamato had always made sure to get what he wanted. Like that time when Taichi misunderstood his comment about him waiting for the blond after school. When he had been ready to go home, Yamato had turned around and ordered him to follow after all.

In the end, he didn't allow Taichi's acting decide the consequences.

The brunet shifted, slightly awkward by the silence. Why isn't he saying anything?

Oddly enough his hand didn't react like the rest of his body. When the musician's lean fingers slid over the back of his hand and hooked their tips around the side, the brown-eyed boy didn't wince.

Maybe it was because of his currently paranoid condition, but having another guy doing this felt strange. He was used to small hands like his little sister, or cousins, or the long feminine hand of his mother, the huge solid hand of his dad and other men that weren't afraid of grabbing when ordering or greeting. Other male teenage hands had somehow managed to avoid him. Thinking back on their times together, he had never been very aware of Yamato's hands. Maybe the blue-eyed boy hadn't touched him that much or maybe he just hadn't noticed. Here, feeling the musician's hand moving in an rather affectionate way over the back of his, Taichi's nerve system seemed to go mad. It was a rushing, on the verge of painful sensation. Despite of how tedious and modest this action was next to everything else they had done, Taichi had never been this surprised.

He briefly noted that this must be something like Yamato felt before when Taichi would make a move on him.

The following silence was even tenser than before.

Deciding that he had been dilly long enough, the dark-skinned teen pushed himself into speaking.

"Um… you're holding my hand"

Alright Taichi! Stating the obvious is always impressive.

"I am" Yamato affirmed nonchalantly.

Great, now he had to say something more if he wanted answers…

"Why?"

Yamato merely shrugged. "Felt like it"

"Right. Um…" Taichi glanced down at their linked hands. "you're still doing it."

Yamato's eyebrows jerked slightly upwards, seemingly amused by the other's intelligent annotations. "Yeah, so?"

The football player opened his mouth, but closed it again. He didn't know how many answers he could demand.

Yamato suddenly went up and turned off the TV. Now that Taichi could take a closer look, the blond didn't seem that calm at all. He did look warmer than "usual" (usual being the way Yamato had been acting lately, in other words –weird). That could just be the light though. It really was a beautiful light this day. The brunet wished he were out running or playing football.

Yamato retook his seat next to him in the couch, half facing him. He seemed to collect his thoughts a little before turning towards him, looking straight into his eyes, leaving Taichi to wonder if he should look back or not. Automatically he did, which actually didn't seem to be a problem.

"Okay. First of all, forget the rules. You can look at me, talk, hit me, whatever."

The sentence left his mind blank. That was like saying right is wrong and up is down. All of this was based on the rules. And Taichi had learnt, he did almost everything right!

"I'm going to explain the best I can. It might be confusing but I'll try to make sure that you understand." The pale teen quietened, silently pondering. Then he looked up again. "Basically, I've tried to keep myself unbothered. I… wait, we'll do it like this. What rules have I given you? We'll take one at the time"

Taichi blinked, looking at him in disbelief. He felt sort of offended, being expected to just break the whole system. All this effort and now Yamato would just call it off?

Said person was looking at him expectantly, so he cleared his throat, grabbing one rule from the top of his head, ironically saying it out loud. "Speaking"

"Right! I didn't want you to speak, or make any sounds at all, because your voice is, um… it makes me dizzy. And distracted."

Taichi nodded, with no clue of what the musician was talking about. He jerked slightly when Yamato jumped out of the couch, running into the kitchen. Blankly staring after him, he mentally concluded that the guy had reached a whole new level of insanity.

Yamato returned seconds later, now carrying a paper and a pen.

"So," he panted lightly as he slumped down into the couch again, "there's speaking, and that includes noises as well, like for example that time when you groaned-"

"It was an accident!" Taichi blurted out, not realizing it before he had. Strangely enough, the blond didn't ignore it; he looked up from the paper, almost welcoming something more from him.

Out of all the puzzling twists and turns, Taichi had never been this confused. This must be a trap.

Yamato nodded, still holding his gaze. "I know. You didn't mean to, and I didn't listen when you wanted to explain."

Taichi narrowed his eyes. It seemed as though he wanted him to say it. Then what would he do?

What would happen if he actually complained? That wasn't even a rule –it didn't exist.

Eventually the other teen looked away, fumbling with the paper. "Anything else?" he spoke up, looking at him again. Taichi instinctively dropped his gaze. Pointing out, mouthing the rules didn't feel right. It hadn't exactly been agreed, and what if they had completely different views on it?

"Eye-contact" he muttered, still not looking up. Despite the musician's otherwise cold way of treating him, he felt deceived right now. Yamato had never turned around and treated him nicely; it had always strived towards sterner and colder. This felt like cheat.

"Right." Yamato wrote the word down. "What else?"

He wanted to protest, this had nothing to do with the original deal. But protesting didn't exist either. "Telling anyone"

The blue-eyed boy nodded, taking notes. "What else"

"Kissing" He couldn't believe that he was forced to say this. He didn't want to.

"Yeah" the blonde's voice cracked, and he cleared his throat. "Anything else? Just basically showing affection or doing something unpredictable, right?" Yamato suddenly shook his head and screwed the paper up, throwing it away with a frustrated sigh.

"Taichi, there's so much to say and explain and I just don't know where to start or how to put it because it's so damn complicated and illogic… All these rules, they've got something in common. Yeah, they make me irritated, I guess you've figured that, but the reason for my irritation is that I want it. And it makes me feel like I lose control over myself. I mean it's not only that I feel good and feel ashamed about that okay, I'm over the gay-thing, but-"

Taichi interrupted with a laugh, which was followed with a hilariously guilty face as he realised what he'd done. "I didn't mean to-"

Yamato merely shrugged, unsuccessfully hiding a snicker. "I get it. You knew before me, you tried to make me understand, right? And now I sound like I've discovered the secret of the universe."

"No, I just don't think you're over it," Taichi said, then embarrassingly looking away. He was starting to lose more and more self-discipline.

The blue-eyed male took in the comment and tilted his head, half agreeing. "Well relatively. I mean we have sex and I've made it clear that I want it. I enjoy it. That's the gay thing. But see that's not all. I mean it's one thing admitting that you want sexual release, that's human! But it's so intense… and not because it's very good-" the singer promptly quieted, regretting those words. "I mean… it's just mechanic, which on the other hand is how I like it because… jeez, this is so hard to explain..."

He rested his forehead in his palms, sighing.

Silence followed, and Taichi distractingly glanced out the window.

"It's personal. All these rules, right," the pale teen leaned forward, suddenly back on track, "it doesn't seem like such big deal right? I mean just speaking or eye contact -why should that freak me out? See, those natural things make me feel a whole lot more than I think I should. It's like meeting a celebrity; everything becomes gigantic. I feel more when you look at me, than when you're fucking me. Because it's you. I don't know, maybe that doesn't sound so strange but I guess that basically, this whole thing is more emotional than I thought it was, and than I'm ready to accept."

Rather than the actual meaning of his words, Taichi tried to read the tone in Yamato's voice, the energy he radiated, the emotions in his face and body language.

"I'm not talking about morals," the tall male added. His gaze dropped and pain crossed his face as he tried to continue. "I understand that what I've done is... crueller than anything I've ever done in my life. But what I've been so bothered about while doing it, is that I want all these things that I've found so idiotic before. And when I think about that, or when it accidentally happens, I also feel shit that I don't want to feel. It's so intense that I can't control it, and that freaks me out."

Yamato exhaled, sitting back and waiting for Taichi's blank face to respond.

It didn't.

"Do you... understand what I'm saying?"

Upon have having a question to answer, the brunet's gaze turned unsteady and he shifted, looking very unsure.

"Taichi it's alright if you don't, I'll try to explain it in another way."

The attempt at calming him only made the football player more uncomfortable. He didn't know how to take this strangely nice way Yamato was acting. It was like walking through a mine-felt that had suddenly grown pretty flowers. At least before there'd been ugly marks to go after.

When he had taken several seconds to hesitate, he decided that there was nothing else to do but guessing. Perhaps Yamato would accept failure. At least that couldn't be considered a threat.

"I don't understand." It wasn't a lie either.

As hoped, Yamato took the confession well. "Okay. I know I'm making this even harder because I want to be absolutely fair. I don't want to affect you and your decisions, I don't want to hurt you, and I don't want to keep anything from you. You deserve at least all that, and yet it's not even possible. So... I'm just gonna do my best to explain."

Taichi nodded, after noticing that Yamato had paused in wait for a reaction.

Gesturing with his hands, he blinked a few times before speaking again. "What I need to explain is," he looked up, searching for a connection. "-why I have acted this way. Right?"

"Yes," the brunet uttered immediately, for once sure of what he was supposed to do.

"These different actions that I have forbidden make me feel things very intensely, which scares the crap out of me. With me so far?"

Taichi didn't answer, seemingly waiting for something else. Yamato blinked. "Um... for example, if you take a forbidden action, like kissing me, I feel these very intense things and I want the action to stop," he explained, trying to be more concrete.

Suddenly feeling a slight ache in his insides, Taichi looked away.

The blond noticed the change of emotions the other's eyes before they averted from his, and boldly turned his face back by the jaw. "Look-" he spoke up, gaze wandering, "I'm not going to keep myself calm, but I guess I can't help that -stopping it obviously fucks everything up anyway." He stared at the brunet's jaw that was cupped by his fingers. He was already slipping. Before he fell, Yamato decided to jump.

"I like you"

Taichi blinked. Yamato blinked back.

Alright so maybe the ground wasn't that far down.

Realising that he hadn't been killed, the musician hurried to get the message through. "Don't get me wrong here though; I haven't created all this drama just because I get some bubbly feelings when I look at you alright –it's that I never know what will happen next, every little thing is so overwhelming, I feel almost trapped in this body that could just explode any second! I mean in my mind you're my best friend and just this fucking awesome person who should be appreciated for that, but this weird-ass nerve system of mine shits itself whenever you do anything to me whether it's talking or smiling or just being around. It's like The Exorcism you know? Feel!"

He grabbed Taichi's hand and pressed it against his chest where his heart was pounding. The athlete stared at his hand, pressed against the blonde's green t-shirt. It was beating as if his friend had just run a marathon.

Yamato's hands lingered as his mind drifted, almost hypnotised by his own heartbeats that seemed to become louder and louder.

He gazed up at the other boy, struck by how much he had changed. His eyes, that always had that annoying glint or at least undertone of something that made Yamato sweat drop -whether it was another crazy idea, or the warning of just what would come out of his mouth next- were right now merely surprised. The tanned boy had always been so present, often a lot quicker than the musician was. Whenever the teacher said something in class that was possible to misread, the moment Yamato turned his head to catch his friend's eye he would find that the brunet was already grinning. Taichi always caught on and responded. There was always a connection.

Abruptly letting go of his hand, Yamato sat back a little, picking at the folds in his black pants that covered his legs. "Whether you understand that or not, there's something else that can't wait much longer either, and that's my apology. Please accept it, you have to trust me on that I'm sorry for what I've done. For pushing you away, and for not telling you everything, and for always blaming you, for using you and lying to you and making you feel responsible for everything, for belittling you and hurting you like I have. You deserve it the very least, and there's no excuse for why I've done this to you." the blue-eyed boy finally looked up. "Just trust me that I'm sorry for it."

The guilt in his eyes left Taichi with no choice. The second Yamato quietened he parted his lips to respond. "I for-"

"No!" Yamato covered the other male's mouth with shock written across his face. "Jesus, don't even… just…" he sighed and hung his head, not knowing how he was supposed to do this in order to cost the least damage. "Taichi, please just accept my apology."

The brunet frowned in confusion. He didn't even know what Yamato apologised for, let alone why he couldn't forgive him. Okay, maybe he made some good points before, but the one really suffering was Yamato wasn't it? To simply have that damaged mind of his must be horrible.

Not even understanding the full meaning of Yamato's explanation and apology, Taichi ended up being the wise one nevertheless. "Yamato, forgiveness isn't a loss, alright? I don't get anything from knowing that you suffer. I appreciate that you regret all of this, though I think you exaggerate some of it, and I accept your apology."

Yamato nodded slowly, still looking pretty miserable. "It'll probably take some time to take in all of this. I'll answer every question you have, and take all the punches you want to throw," Yamato promised, looking hopeful which Taichi found completely bizarre. "And if you want to move on I don't blame you one bit. I mean it's kind of hard to just pick up where we left off."

He looked up at the brunet who seemed confused but tried to hide it. His gaze flicked when Yamato eyes lingered on him.

Taichi wasn't sure of what the blond meant, and he wasn't sure of what he should say, or where he should look. Finally, Yamato added, "continue as friends, that is."

"Oh."

"Or more," the tall teen mumbled as an afterthought, looking away as Taichi's gaze returned to his.

"I don't understand."

Yamato looked up, a bit surprised. "I told you that I like you, didn't I?"

Taichi's eyebrows furrowed immediately, and he hesitated just a second before replying, "I got the impression that what you feel is negative and you want to avoid it."

The brunet didn't look directly into eyes, but at least he was arguing. Yamato found himself staring in amazement before realising that he should answer. "Well there's a third part in this that I didn't plan on telling you, because you probably haven't fully grasped this yet and I don't want to affect your decisions." Yamato paused, rolling his eyes when his own nagging words reached his ears. "But who am I kidding right, there's no use holding back all the time, and I think I owe you this."

The singer's gaze lingered on his hands in his lap as he thought of how to continue, trying to block out the fear of sounding like a total hypocrite. "I really care about you, Taichi. I haven't regretted our friendship for one second, I treasure it now more than ever. No matter how angry I get, I always realise that you're right in the end, or at least had the right intention. You've been there for me throughout this, and even now when I've betrayed and hurt you like I have, I still have faith in that you somehow won't hold it against me. I'm happy around you, and avoiding you only makes me worse. I want you to be here, and if you're not then I want you to be happy, which I know you will because you always manage that somehow."

The blond forced himself to glance up, and the quick smile that he got made his heart jump before he realised that it was a polite one. He had confused the small, controlled motion with some sort of a coy smile, which would prove that the brunet took in his words and believed him.

Sighing, he rubbed his eyes and decided that he couldn't stop yet. "You're incredible. Before I thought you were just stupid and naïve, but I realised that you control the way you see everything, the way you choose to react to life. I always think that I protect myself when I assume the worst about everything, but I don't. And… making you act the way I do, is… I can't believe I've done that. Tai, this isn't empty words, and I won't pull them away from you, so… please, forget this sick game and… have... faith in me," he muttered, not even able to say it with conviction. 'God, I'm so fucking pathetic…'

The brunet sighed lightly. "Yamato, I'm sorry but I'm not sure what you want from me"

It was true. Taichi had accepted that the blonde's eyes were no longer grounded; they were open and desperate. The façade had been dropped, and he simply needed something from him. But what? Taichi had given forgiveness, he had listened to the explanation, and this ranting about the blonde's claimed affection. Yamato was asking him to forget the rules, and the game. Looking at the blond, brown-eyed male could see that he was still very unstable, thus he couldn't say or act whatever.

Passive behaviour seemed most suitable.

Taichi kept on nodding and smiling carefully as Yamato kept ranting. The loving and seemingly sincere words were shallowly received, but put aside before he could actually apprehend the meaning of them. His focus lay more on his own facial expression and body language, which became more and more necessary to be delicate, the closer Yamato got to the edge of breaking down.

It was when the musician suddenly decided to use physical ways of expression that Taichi's filter started to collapse.

-o-o-

Beyond tired of Taichi's small smiles and patient expression, Yamato reached his hand out, hearing the scared pessimist in him scream out in terror. He knew that his body would go ballistic. He knew it would screw everything up. That was the big rule he had followed since day one. Or at least tried to.

But at the same time, Yamato knew that he had to forget that rule; he had given it more than enough time to prove itself wrong.

Words seemed useless; saying that he cared about him and that the were no more rules when he still couldn't break them? No wonder Taichi wasn't impressed.

Yamato's fingers reached the brunet's face and brushed over his cheek. The contact made Taichi's empty eyes come alive as he stared intently into Yamato's, searching.

His hysterical heart and a creepy feeling of undertow in his gut startled the blond enough to withdraw again, the pessimist triumphantly screaming I told you so!

Noticing the other male quickly adverting his eyes made him painfully aware of what message he had given by pulling away like that. Yamato knew very well that his previous actions in their "agreement" had done the same; treating the brunet like he was something hideous with only one part on him that was useful.

Taking a deep breath, he angrily defied his nerves and brought his hand back, not very surprised when Taichi almost winced. The only thing stopping him was that stubborn self-discipline.

Yamato's palm formed against the side of the athlete's face, and to the musician's surprise, his world went quiet.

As if they were two children sitting on a huge emotional see-saw, Yamato's tension ran off him and, as their eyes locked, he noticed that Taichi helplessly received.

The taller teen barely dared to believe it as he felt a heart-lifting ease settle over him. Taichi stiffened, the former patience in his eyes nowhere to be seen. He was fighting, trying to keep the defence up, but it was already starting to seep in. Yamato could see it, and decided put in all he had.

"You affect me in ways I thought didn't exist. More than the emotions I've tried to explain earlier; it's not only a racing heart and shivers and stuttering. It's a feeling of content and… happiness, I suppose. And I mean that both as a friend and more than that. I didn't think you could see so much in just a regular human being, you know, as if you could just observe and study them forever. I want to be with you and I want to follow you for a while so that I can keep being in this… atmosphere around you." His thumb rubbed the tanned skin lightly, amazed by how smooth it was.

Glancing down at his lips, he could tell that Taichi had a hard time breathing regularly.

"You didn't just allow me to be your friend, you fought for it, and I'm finally realising what a privilege your friendship has been to me."

The brunet was still fighting, though obviously struggling with keeping Yamato's words out. But at least the polite smile was gone.

The musician decided to drop the general praising and get down to details. If he attacked one point more aggressively rather than the whole at once, maybe he'd break in. "Remember when I told you that girls would fall in love with you if they'd seen you at that moment?" he brought up, successfully distracting the brunet who automatically tried to recall that happening.

When recognition could be spotted in his eyes, the blue-eyed teen continued, "I understand why you got angry, but it was just a last-minute cover, I mean I was practically telling you that you're beautiful so I threw in girls just to keep on the safe side. Tai I really meant it, I still mean it. You're beautiful. Inside and out"

He almost laughed when he saw the incredulousness in Taichi's eyes, inaudibly screaming will you give me a break!

Yamato wouldn't. He brought another hand up to cup the other side of the brunet's face, smiling in content when the brunet's breath hitched. "And when I made that example of when you kiss me and how I want it to stop, what I meant was the strange reaction I partly get from it. Besides that, I only feel pleasure, you're a good kisser"

He smiled as Taichi closed his eyes, desperately trying to avoid Yamato's attacks. It wasn't easy, as the blonde's hands stroked along his jaw and neck. "You can kiss me as much as you like, wherever you want, and in your own way" the other boy added, voice starting to sink into a whisper. He leaned in until their foreheads touched.

"All those things that I told you to stop doing are what I like about you. When you look at me, when you touch me, when you talk to me, your voice, your smile, your crazy grin and your laughter, your hands, kissing you, touching you. I want all that, and I know I've avoided it but I'll stop hiding. I want this, I want you" Yamato smiled again as he watched Taichi's troubled face. There was so much emotion, and it felt wonderful to bring it out of him again, breaking his defence and empty happy-face by simply telling the truth.

"I want to be your friend again, and I want to go out with you"

Taichi's eyes snapped open and he stared at him, as if that last bit had nothing to do with anything.

"What?"

Yamato grinned stubbornly, ignoring the brunet's frown. "I want to try, if you're up for it. We could work something out, compromise. I'll try to get a grip over this obsession, and get used to being around you in a normal way. And at home we can… date, or whatever"

Noticing that the brown-eyed teen was about to question his statement, Yamato quickly pushed the other's shoulders away until he tipped backwards, landing on his back. He swallowed the hint of discourage he'd gotten from Taichi's disbelief, even though it was anything but blameable, and leaned over the form of his past best friend, settling his arms at each side of his head and running his fingers into the thick hair.

To his great relief he could see a flash of longing in the brown orbs before him. "I won't be proud, Tai. I'll fight this time."

His eyes wandered over the other teen's face. "You're more than worth it."

Then the boy on top leaned down and captured the other boy's lips, making him inhale sharply.

Yamato sighed inwardly as he felt the muscles underneath him flex, and it took more than a little self-control to keep his lower body still. He would take his time.

The kiss lingered for quite a while, alluring soft moans from the brunet. Yamato gripped his hair and deepened the kiss, sighing in pleasure as Taichi let him in. Starting to feel slightly dizzy, he carefully pulled back, happy to see two lust-filled eyes peer back up at him.

"Tai, you're amazing"

He looked defenceless now, left completely helpless to Yamato's devotion. Knowing that he had full access to the other's heart, the musician decided to set some things straight. He held the other's gaze firmly. "Nothing you have done is wrong. I don't care if you say weird things, or insult me at times, it doesn't change how I feel about you. You don't have to obey me, or change yourself to make me happy. What I did before was completely retarded, okay?"

"No." Taichi shook his head, as though Yamato had become Sora and tried to trash the agreement. "It makes sense, because you just wanted to be free from all the complications; you just asked for sex and nothing more."

"But I didn't," the blue-eyed boy argued. "I wanted you, and I tried to have you at same time as I tried to distance myself from you. I treated you like you're worth nothing, when you're really the one who matters to me. The one I care about. What I did is wrong, and it's not your fault." He leaned down and kissed him again, hindering any further protests. He moved on to his jaw, savouring the taste and feeling of the brunet's skin against his lips, hypnotized by the brunet's sighs. "You're not worthless, Taichi. I haven't rejected you all this time because there's something wrong with you, I've just been an idiot." He closed his eyes when he felt two pair of hands place themselves on his back, hesitant but hopeful.

For the first time in too long, Taichi gave in to the thought that Yamato actually might be his friend again, and more. For real this time.

The taller one's lips continued to his ear, sending hot breath over the skin. "You're so hot, I don't even know what to say anymore. I want to show you. I have to, I can't keep stopping myself all the time. Make love to me, Taichi"

Said boy's moan was rapidly interrupted. The second after, a noise that hadn't taken place in a scandalously long time, made its way through Taichi's mouth.

The full-blown laughter made Yamato jerk from his position at the brunet's ear (thus having his own ear right next to the other's mouth).

"Dude!"

The football player kept laughing for at least half a minute, allowing Yamato the time to go through several stages like worry, amazement, happiness, awkwardness, and more worry.

"Dude…" he finally repeated, as though he was trying to get a very important point across. "That was the fucking cheesiest thing I've ever heard!"

Yamato blinked in confusion, not really getting what he was referring to seeing as he had spent the last minutes saying a lot of things that could be found as cheesy. But the cheesiest thing ever? What could he possibly have said to deserve that accusation?

"What? What did I say?"

Still grinning uncontrollably, Taichi duplicated to refresh his memory. "''Make love to me, Taichi'?'" he repeated, receiving even more amusement when Yamato's mouth dropped open in shock.

"I said that?"

Taichi laughed again, shaking his head. "Aw, man… that's priceless."

Yamato's face, momentarily frozen in shock, broke into a painful one as he groaned. "You're never gonna let me forget that, are you?" he muttered, feeling his face turn red.

"Nope"

The musician sighed. After a while he pulled back to face the brunet again. "Done?"

What he got was a snicker, followed by quick 'sorry' as Taichi once again fell back into his roll.

Yamato shook his head. "You're supposed to say 'never' and keep laughing at me, stupid."

Taichi smiled, for once on the blonde's humour level, where he had always been before.

"Alright, so I got a little carried away," Yamato chuckled admittedly, trying to fight off the embarrassment. "I did make a good point though; I told you my vocabulary was getting empty."

Taichi snorted, but couldn't keep the mocking smile as the taller one leaned down and kissed him again.

When the blond minutes later pulled away, he was happy to see that he wasn't the only one blushing. Ready and at the same time not ready to move on, he gulped as he glanced down over the body under him.

It would be a slight exaggeration to call it the first time. However, Yamato was for the first time indeed faced with a number of things that he would, well could rather... hell, wanted to do. He was going to be a part of it, not just the dead fish he'd been the other times, or the one pulling Taichi's strings like a marionette doll. He would give and take, allow himself to do things he had hardly dared to think of before.

Just like in Mimi's theory, it was easier to simply let (or force) the brunet to do things to him. He didn't feel as responsible, it was an excellent defence; earlier when he didn't want to face the truth, the musician could actually kid himself with that Taichi had the upper hand simply because he did all the work.

Yamato knew that what he was thinking about doing would also open the door for all the weird impulses, and he wasn't even sure of what they would be. Yet, that was bound to happen anyway, unless he avoided Taichi (and perhaps men in general) for the rest of his life.

And that was out of the question. He would just have to deal with the unavoidable reality-

"I'm going to act weird."

For once the brunet seemed to take in Yamato's words. He chewed his lip thoughtfully as he puzzled taller one's stated "obsession". He hadn't noticed it before, part from behaviours that he had simply taken as paranoia and embarrassment. These intense emotions that Yamato couldn't control was definitely a greater form of said things, a lot worse than Taichi had realised. Then again, he had chosen not to analyse Yamato's psyche.

"I think stress has got a lot to do with it" he finally spoke up in all honesty.

The blond considered his suggestion, not particularly surprised by it. Stress had been a reappearing factor to most of his actions. If the brown-eyed teen was right, Yamato didn't know. Nor was he going to decide that right now.

"Whatever it is, I'm not going to allow it to stop me anymore. That doesn't work."

"You're a fast learner, Matt," Taichi commented, smiling innocently.

The unexpected tease caught Yamato slightly off guard, and he crooked a smile before recalling that the brunet had used his nickname instead of 'Yamato', which he had actually been using for quite a while now. Back when they were close friends, the football player had merely used his whole name when he was extremely pissed, or just for the effect when he was goofing around.

Lately, Matt hadn't existed since…

'"Maaaaaaaatt! Pleeeeeeease let me in… if you let me in I promise I'll fuck you"'

Looking at the blond, Taichi knew he had messed up. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so condescending-"

"It's not that." Yamato stared at the other's t-shirt, lost in thought. Hearing his nickname felt good, both in a heart-wrenching way as well as a dangerously arousing way.

"You used my nick-name." Memories of an incredibly distant time when Taichi called him Matt, when everything was normal and they just enjoyed their friendship that the brunet had created for them, ran through his mind parallelly to memories of the athlete whispering his name, reminding him of why these "sins" were so damn tempting. Actually, that last bit had been a fantasy…

"Crap. I'm sorry, I won't-"

Yamato's eyes returned to his. "I'm not angry, I just froze. See? That reminded me of sleeping with you, and so my body decided that I should become paralysed," he explained as a rehearsed line, half aware of how stupid it sounded.

Taichi looked alarmed. "Dude, if that's your reaction to all the hot things I do then we have a problem, cuz you kinda look like you want to kill me"

The blue-eyed boy blinked in surprise, not before having realised that. "Oh."

An awkward silence followed.

Yamato closed his eyes briefly, pulling himself together. "Look, this is what I've been avoiding, and honestly I don't really blame myself at the moment. But I have to face it, and hopefully it'll get better. Only thing I'm wondering now is what you want."

When the other simply shrugged his shoulders, avoiding his gaze, Yamato sighed in frustration.

"Fine. But if you ever decide, tell me. It's not too late, alright. Even if you say yes now."

Taichi nodded. The blond sat up, studying the other's torso. It was covered by that shock-yellow t-shirt that had the text 'bad-ass' printed on it. Both Sora and Yamato had stared at said garment in horror for at least five minutes the first time Taichi had walked up to them after he'd got it. Their reaction was everything the brunet had hoped for when buying it in the first place.

Ignoring the awkward clothing, Yamato looked up at the owner, trying to look confident. Or at least not like he wanted to kill him…

"I'm going to touch you now."

Taichi grinned. "Is that a warning?"

Smiling half-heartedly at the joke, Yamato focused on relaxing and allowing himself to do what felt right. His hands brushed the waistline of the brunet's jeans, and he hesitated for a few seconds before running his fingers under the fabric of the yellow t-shirt. He had imagined doing this; running his hands over his friend's chest when he was asleep and not able to judge or confront him.

Secretly.

Even though everything had already been confessed, Yamato felt his face heat up doing this right under Taichi's gaze.

The fabric started folding against his angled wrists, after a while enough so to be pulled up over the other boy's abs.

Yamato paused, gulping. Taichi's skin was burning against his palms, and even though that t-shirt was awful… 'damn, it makes is abs look good.'

He took a deep breath and lifted his gaze, finding that the tanned teen looked pretty hot and bothered.

Once again had the musician's touch made Taichi's defence break, and the see-saw effect kicked in. Yamato went up, and Taichi went down.

Encouraged, the tall teen moved his hands up over the other's chest, folding the hem of the t-shirt a few times and leaving it there. Not letting the brunet relax (in fear of regaining his own nervousness), the blond moved his fingertips all the way down his torso, making him arch like a cat being stroked along its spine.

Other than a growing libido, Yamato felt calm and stable, for once aloud to enjoy the passion rushing through him.

Grinning like a Cheshire cat, he continued to simple but oh so pleasant action of running his hands up and down Taichi's chest, "accidentally" brushing over nipples every now and then, as he watched the athlete become more and more out of breath.

Yamato's hands had never been as distinct to Taichi as they were now.

Reaching his belt, he carefully looked up at the other teen again, trying to block out the slight discomfort he got from seeing the tortured pleasure in his face.

He likes it, Matt.

It seemed almost like before, when Yamato had ordered the brunet to satisfy him. This was probably how it would've looked if Yamato had been top.

This is for real, he knows that you care about him.

He just couldn't help feeling like he was using him.

Then Taichi opened his eyes and found his. "I recognize that face"

The other felt himself tense up. "What face?"

"Shame," Taichi sighed, looking a bit woeful. "It keeps coming back." He studied Yamato, frowning in thought.

Actively learning from his mistakes, Yamato immediately admitted what he was thinking, "It's just that I'm finally sure and out with what I want and how I feel. But I don't know what you…" he trailed off, noticing that the football player's gaze had dropped.

The pale hands that were loosely gripping the brunet's belt started to fumble as Yamato read the dark eyes that were watching. The paralyzation in Taichi's gaze was the only thing keeping the blond from loosing the ounce of composure he had left.

He let his fingertips ghost the skin just above the waist of Taichi jeans and said boy shuddered almost invisibly.

Though not exactly needing an affirmation, he mumbled, "Do you want me to?"

For a moment the brunet didn't move. Then after a small eternity he lifted his gaze to meet Yamato's, gently declaring him as an idiot with eyes that the most ignorant person would've seen the will in. As if that wasn't enough, he shifted slightly, hips rising against the musician's hands.

And yet he can look so misplaced...

Feeling pretty stupid, Yamato rushed to loose the belt, opening the jeans and baring the tanned boy a bit more by dragging denim and cotton halfway down his thighs. Knowing that any further pause would be damn near cruel by now, Yamato concentrated on the brunet's vulnerability (partly made up in his head to be raised higher on the see-saw) and brought his hands up again, closing them around unfamiliar skin and moving.

Taichi hissed slightly. "Your hands are cold"

The blond abstained from meeting his eyes or replying, not because he didn't feel secure but because he wanted to keep it that way. He closed his hand around the base of the athlete's arousal, hugging the shaft with his other and jerking with firm and slow strokes. His brief attempt at seeing the gesture objectively, failed miserably as he felt the entire body under him respond to the touch.

Accepting the complete inner meltdown, he continued stroking variously, more massaging than jerking.

His hands were balmy, smooth, that weird in-the-middle size but still overgrown, strong but strangely tentative, a bit scrawny but in a graceful way, broad, long fingers and rough fingertips.

Gorgeous.

Taichi took in all the different impressions, figuring that although he might've missed out on this knowledge before, at least that was fairly made up for right now.

Still refusing to meet the other's gaze, Yamato studied the activity, dancing on the edge of insanity as he intently admired the object in his hands, feeling sparks of freedom ignite somewhere inside him for so openly following his own nature. He extended the strokes and squeezed tighter around the shaft, his other hand wandering down to embrace the sack, pulling and fondling in time with his strokes.

Groans of pleasure were trapped in the athlete's throat, not aloud to come out. What held him back were the remains of worry, pointing at the apparently still existing risk of loosing everything, and that thought had never been as horrible to him as now; being presented to everything he suddenly could have.

Out of the corner of his eyes Yamato could see the brunet's body moving as though an itch were placed somewhere he couldn't reach. The sounds coming from him were a bit strangled and, as Yamato paid closer attention, the breathing was very irregular. Unable to ignore it, he glanced up and found Taichi gritting his teeth, somehow trying to control himself. The blond sighed at the other's stubbornness, knowing very well that he was forcing him to spell it out for him.

"Breathe, Tai" he directed with a voice that didn't sound like his own. "Let it out. I want you to"

Apparently not in need for anything more than that, the football player let out the breath he was holding and began panting. Finally allowed to, he let out fervent moans as the skilful hands continued on sending intense pleasure through his body.

Eye-contact wasn't exactly required anymore to get an idea of how the brunet was doing, and Yamato couldn't do anything but hope that he'd make it to the end without either fainting or suffering from a heart attack. He twisted and turned his wrists, using both hands which allowed him to stimulate almost every inch of the brown-eyed boy's pulsing length, alternating the strokes and continuously changing movement and pressure, leaving Taichi in a blur of indefinable stimulation that rushed him closer towards orgasm. Pre-cum made the musician's hands slippery, creating a squishing sound as his hands picked up speed.

The over-whelmingly generous pleasing made the brunet cry out as he came, breathless and still in bliss as the musician milked him dry, and squirming when gentle hands kept caressing his sensitive erection, innocently teasing. The sighs tuned out slowly, leaving a comfortable silence in the room.

Yamato moved back, swung his legs over the edge of the sofa and put his head between his knees.

Taichi observed him critically. "Do you feel sick?"

"No," the blond sighed. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. "Just thought I'd faint."

The dark-eyed teen continued to watch him silently, pondering. After a while he concluded that small breaks like this were probably more effective than force-accustoming him to this kind of intimacy. Hopefully Yamato could handle it easier with no stress, shame, or guilt involved, which had been the case... well, every time. Even now.

He pulled his jeans and underwear back in place, buttoning himself up and clearing his throat awkwardly when he caught what had been spilled onto his abdomen. "Be right back," he spoke up, swinging himself up from the couch and making his way over to the kitchen.

-

Tossing the paper into the trash, he straightened out his shirt and leaned against the sink. Yamato's hands came into his mind and he closed his eyes, smiling. He hadn't bothered that train of thought before; having the blue-eyed boy willingly touch him. At the most, Taichi had allowed his imagination contain himself doing things to Yamato, and getting a little bit more feedback than he did in reality.

This was a whole unexplored territory. A dozen different images filled his mind suddenly; new possibilities that made his nails dig into the sink as he felt his jeans tighten. The brunet opened his eyes, realising what he was doing and snorted in amusement, shaking his head. He had a feeling this would be a repeated hang-up in the future.

His smile grew into a broad grin as he remembered where he was. Sitting out there in the living room was Yamato, welcoming him to be his friend again and ready to go out with him as soon as he said yes. He was in the Ishida's apartment, not used at the moment and yet not thrown out. If he left, the blond would probably miss him. He could walk right in there and put his arms around him. Stare at him. Goof around with him. Touch his hair. Kiss him.

A fact suddenly came back to the dark-eyed boy that he hadn't thought of for a while. He was the only one that Yamato could picture himself being around when he didn't actually have to. Only he could see that rare smile and warm eyes, and hear him crack jokes that weren't sarcastic or full of irony. All that, and the new fact that he could now take part of a romantic side, a sexual side and different kind of intimate and personal side that no one else could.

He had the best of two worlds.

Taichi had to take a few seconds to jump around on kitchen floor, waving his arms in air like some kind of speeded hippie, jaws pressed together to keep the victory-shout from escaping, before walking back into the living room.

He looked awkward, the pale boy sitting in the green couch, but he didn't avoid the brunet's eyes.

The yellow clothed male must've been wearing that grin still, because Yamato suddenly let out a laugh before he could stop himself. It was stress, but Taichi appreciated it nonetheless. He hadn't heard the musician laugh in a long time.

Blue eyes lost focus as the other sat down next to him, and his fingers gripped the edge of the seat unconsciously. Not before now he noticed that the TV had been turned off, reflecting two awkward teens sitting beside each other. Actually, the one on the right didn't look very awkward. He looked happy.

Yamato smiled, bracing himself and turning his head towards the dark-skinned boy.

"So-" he interrupted himself as he felt and heard his own voice shake almost hysterically.

Shutting his eyes, the blond turned his face away from the athlete beside him. There was no limit to how much he despised this unstable feeling. It felt he could involuntarily scream, laugh, cry or simply suffocate if he tried doing anything.

A shocked noise escaped his throat when Taichi's arms determinedly imprisoned him, leaning back and bringing their bodies to lying position, glued together.

He hugged his waist tighter as painful, choked noises kept coming from the blond, who sounded like he was trying to fight his way out of his own skin. Racing heartbeats pounded through fabric and against the tanned boy's chest, letting him know just how panicked the pale boy's body had become in just seconds.

"Breathe," he hummed, not letting the other's desperation influence him. "No stress. No guilt. No shame. No audience. No rules. No rumours," he slowly counted, aimfuly holding the shaking body, waiting with an unflinching determination for his own heartbeats to eventually soothe the other.

"Everything is fine. I want this, you want this, we're all alone here, we can relax now. It's okay."

"I hate this" Yamato hissed after a while, voice filled with so much frustration that Taichi almost joined him in it.

"It's not the slightest bit of weird that you feel this way, Yamato. This will fade in no time, and you'll feel stupid for ever believing that it wouldn't. You're stable, Matt. You're strong. Not a mental-case. This will pass." He stroked the musician's back slowly. "You have just let go, you've given me so much in such a short time. You have to react now, but soon you'll calm down again."

After twenty minutes of repeating comfort and silence, Yamato's heart-speed came down to linger just above Taichi's level, slower than it had been in hours. Finally limp, the blue-eyed teen -now completely exhausted- rested on top his friend. Their breaths mingled, adjusting to each other until they were completely synced.

"You know... the overdose of neurochemicals usually fades after about six months anyway," the brown-eyed teen beneath spoke up all of a sudden.

Puzzled, both over the fact that a foreign, but probably existing word had just come from his friend's lips, and over the fact that he had no clue what he was talking about, Yamato pulled back to face him. "The what?"

"The chemicals that gives you that kick in the beginning of relationships. The rush. They fade after a while, and then a soothing type of chemicals take over, and you start feeling content and safe instead of giggly and horny." Taichi smiled convincingly at Yamato's critical face.

Silence followed.

"Tai..." he started, raising an eyebrow. "Where the hell did you get all that from?"

The brunet blinked, looking surprised over the blonde's scepticism. "My first chemistry-class. The teacher talked about love and passion to get our attention. Only thing I can seem to remember." He grinned, shrugging.

The musician smiled, lost in his eyes. "Content sounds good."

He sighed deeply, reminded of his own current state, and glared mildly at the other's shoulder. "Let's hope you're right then"

The addressed one chuckled, agreeing. "Yeah, this doesn't exactly suit us, does it? Acting like two jumpy strangers."

Yamato laughed, amazed by how alike they still saw things, despite the huge drama that had been tearing them apart for so long. His intended reply ended up as a kiss.

Smiling at the sigh that Taichi let out as he slowly pulled away, Yamato planted a new one on his cheek, intense and sensual despite its innocent placing. Next one was on his temple, lips gently pressing against the soft skin. He skipped to his eyebrow, then forehead, bridge, cheekbone, jaw, neck, ear.

"Matt," the brunet sighed, though not quite in the same fashion that Yamato wanted him to. It was actually leaning towards tiresomeness. "I thought we were supposed to chill?"

"Nope." He brought his hand up to the other side of his face, letting his lips ghost over the football player's ear. The hand hindered Taichi's head from moving as the blonde's tongue reached out to experiment.

Sounds that were thrillingly close to whimpers came out from the tanned boy's mouth, rousing him to move in closer, unhinderdly grinding his body against the brown-eyed boy's wiggling one. He chuckled into his ear as the assaulted kept gasping and whining lowly, slipping his tongue further in and moaning heatedly.

A vague sound from the front door made him jerk up, staring in horror over the backrest of the sofa, for a second expecting his father to stand there, frozen in shock. The image in his mind was so clear that he backed away from the football player, intently checking the entry.

Then his eyes returned to the other teen who had pulled himself up to a sitting position as well. The blond smiled a bit awkwardly, "Not to cause a dejavu here, but it would kind of suck if dad walked in on us. We could move over to-"

He jumped as a key was shoved into the lock, staring at the door in terror. Breaking the tension, Taichi chuckled, "Nice timing. Could've turned out pretty bad if you hadn't decided to give my ear a break-"

By now the door had opened, after a few seconds of struggling with the lock (the door had been unlocked from the start) and Mr Ishida appeared in the doorway, instantly catching the two boys sitting in the living room.

Taichi waved casually and Hiroaki responded with a slight nod, pulling his coat off and inspecting his son at the Yagami-kid's side. He continued over to the kitchen, seemingly unconcerned of the young males.

For the second time in his life Yamato reached out and grabbed his friend's hand, gaze firmly fixed towards the kitchen area, ignoring the brunet's alarmed stare. "Matt," he whispered, trying to get through. He leaned closer, not receiving any response. "Matt, you don't have to do this now"

Said boy shrugged, leaning back against the backrest. "I know. But why not?" he added, face turning towards his and eyes steadily gazing into Taichi's.

Hiroaki shortly reappeared, about to head for his office when his eyes fell on the two boys' linked hands. He stopped, face completely blank.

Yamato gripped the other's hand tighter, knowing very well that his friend wanted to run for his life. But he also knew that this was strictly between him and his father. Therefore he didn't feel that mean for committing the brunet to this.

Hiroaki blinked a few times, eyes adverting from their hands as he abruptly headed for the exit, quickly leaving the apartment again.

Starting to feel like he was in a soap opera, Taichi carefully turned towards his blond companion, expecting a face of misery. Not... amusement.

As if he could sense Taichi's surprise, Yamato chuckled, shaking his head. "He certainly didn't see that coming"

At the familiar sight of the blonde's triumphant grin, Taichi rolled his eyes. 'Rebels...!'

"Matt, you shouldn't turn this into a spite, okay? I know he's hard on you at times but-"

"Honestly," the musician interrupted, the grin now replaced by a calm smile. "I always thought he wanted me to be perfect. And I think he thought so too," he looked over at the dark questioning eyes. "When I acted that composed and cold way before, I thought I was only doing him a favour, improving our interaction. But I found out that the theory was wrong, and I saw him realising that as well."

At Taichi's slightly compassionate face, Yamato shrugged. "He's shocked, I'm not saying that he isn't. But I think he has a new appreciation for me being myself, and different priorities."

The brunet couldn't decide whether to be impressed or annoyed. "I can't believe the way you can be such a drama-queen over some things and then so freakishly mature about others."

"It's called mood swings, remember? You know that word you made up for a thing I like to call my personality," he smirked as his friend laughed good-heartedly, and stretched out his legs.

Finding the other male studying him, he quirked an eyebrow. "What?"

"You're back," Taichi stated, eyes glittering with something that reminded Yamato of summers and freedom.

He smiled back, not able to stop it even if he had wanted to. "So are you."

The heavily sentimental silence that followed made the blond clear his throat, searching for something to change the subject. "Sora's a lesbian."

Surprise mixed with joy and excitement crossed the brunet's face, making him smile at the same time as gaping, which looked hilarious. "The universe does make sense!" he exclaimed, completely embracing the new knowledge. "I'm so glad, I thought she was just a bitter feminist, I thought some jerk had crushed her or something." The worry that he hadn't even realised was there suddenly ran off of him, and he couldn't wait to see her again; this was a whole new world of gay-jokes!

"Just a healthy homosexual" Yamato nodded. "Guess who she's fucking!"

"Ew." Taichi suddenly frowned darkly, drawing an invisible line without warning. "That's not funny."

Yamato rolled his eyes. "She's dating Mimi," he grinned, finding it hard to believe it himself.

Taichi's eyebrows rose and he smiled again. "No way..."

Three seconds of silence followed. Thinking the same thing, they both broke into laughter. "We're such idiots"

Hearing his own laughter mingle with his friend's chuckles, Taichi realised how much he had missed him; more than he had dared to imagine. The brunet knew this was a new beginning.

When he looked up, he was greeted with blue eyes and a smile that gave him butterflies. "She said it works. You know, dating secretly. That it's not as frustrating as it sounds. Doesn't have to be, at least." the blond looked as though he was trying to get something said, and laughed a bit when Taichi started to snicker. "So..."

"So," the athlete repeated, enjoying the other's embarrassment but knowing that he took away some of the effect by being awkward himself.

"Go out with me," the musician finally mumbled, but looked at ease, not afraid to meet his eyes.

The brunet smiled as he observed the person before him, whom had suddenly grown more than the football player had seen him do since they first met. The blue eyes were steady, completely focused on him; for once not filled with concern over what others would think about him, or what he was supposed to be according to his whole idea of normal and average. He was sure, mind made up, confident, assuring the brunet that he wouldn't back out. If Taichi let him, they'd figure out how and where to be a couple, they'd support and defend each other against every one else. He could actually lean on the pale boy if he had to; not before now had Yamato even been strong enough to stand on his own. Taichi didn't have to carry him or even himself anymore. His best friend was back, his company, his comfort and support, his savoir when he screwed up, his escape and vacation, and everyday companion.

All of that had been missing for several goddamn weeks!

Yet all the dark-eyed boy could do was to stare at him, assuming that it would sink in as time went by.

Yamato's stable gaze eventually started to flick and his smile faded slowly. "It's cool if you say no, but silence is pretty mean," he finally urged, shifting.

A laugh came from the other male as he realised that he hadn't responded (or that there'd been a question in the first place). Then he just grinned, amazed by how the other could still be frowning when he was so cherry. Clearly the musician didn't take anything for granted.

"Took you a while, didn't it" he finally replied, grinning as the blonde's stiff posture sank into a spineless heap, groaning in relief. He then pulled the brunet into a hug, warmer than Taichi had ever experienced. He closed his eyes, dipping his nose into blond hair and breathing in the scent.

As the warmth slowly started to turn into heat, he felt the own of said hair shifting. "Tai," the musician started, preparing to apologise for he was about to do.

Before he could, the addressed teen mumbled "There's so much I want to give you." At the same time he knew that it couldn't be helped at the moment, and that things would soon get better if he just waited.

"You have no idea how appealing that sounds," Yamato sighed in yearning, almost bitterly. "Just have to get used to it. Rehabilitate, if you will"

"I'll help you get used to it" Taichi perked up eagerly, earning a tired chuckle from his friend.

"Great," he reluctantly drew back, "I need to catch me breath every once in a while though, or else I think it just builds up."

The athlete nodded knowingly, prepared to cooperate, especially now when the tall teen had completely committed to him. "It's not like there's any sexual frustration at least." The brown-haired boy grinned broadly as the one in green laughed embarrassingly. "Nah, we've had our fair share of that, I guess" he met his eyes, still smiling. "'Sides, there's a lot of other things to catch up with"

The brunet nodded. "Running."

Two seconds of awkwardness followed as Yamato was hit by a not so pleasant flashback of a not so pleasant conversation, then the brunet's face told him that he meant real running. Literally.

The blond nodded agreeably. "Could need some exercise"

Now they were both nodding. "It's beautiful outside too, all sunny and I bet it's warm" Taichi added, gazing through the glass of the window to the right.

"Mm," the blue-eyed boy once again agreed. "I've been pretty lazy these last few days anyway. I'm grounded," he added as an afterthought, silently wondering if that even counted by now.

"That's a shame," the brunet sighed quite melodramatically, shaking his head. "Well, he's not here anyway, and like I said; it's a beautiful day. He'll understand"

"Yep."

They looked at each other and determinedly nodded one more time, confirming.

- o - o - o - o - o -

Rolling over to his back, the blue eyes squinted as sunlight hit them, and he blinked while panting for air. He dried sweat off his temple and ran his fingers through sticky hair, sighing contently.

His companion lay beside him, also catching his breath.

Breaking the silence, Yamato threw him a glance. "So?" he asked reluctantly, already fearing the answer; it had been sort of obvious.

The other's reply took a few seconds, as Taichi chose his words. "It was… okay"

"Okay?" the taller teen echoed, immediately betraying the disappointment he thought he'd be able to hide.

"Well what do you expect, it practically felt like taking a shit backwards!" the brunet argued defensively. At the mere silence he was given he turned his face towards the pale boy, brown eyes somewhat guilty. "But the whole… everything else was wonderful, being with you without that stress and shame, and being worshipped like that… and the principle of you being inside me, y'know, when I could actually focus on that"

Yamato cringed. "Did I hurt you?"

"Not any more than you couldn't avoid. I don't know how you managed, the way we rushed all the time."

The other just shrugged, not wanting to think of the past. His eyes returned to the dark brown orbs of his friend. "It felt good doing all those things to you," he murmured, rolling over to his side and adjusting the cover over his hip. "It's nice to express so much without words. And without suffocating."

A smile spread over the tanned boy's face and he nodded. The light cast soft shadows over his skin, and his eyes glimmered under the dark lashes. Yamato studied him silently, then the boy spoke up. "How's your leg?"

The blond snorted tiredly, shaking his head. It had surprised them both when the pale boy's nerves had taken very visible action.

His cheeks were flushed, his head was spinning, his heart was pounding, he was moaning and sighing with practically every breath, and he was harder than ever.

Still, Yamato felt cooler than ice; he was lying naked on top his friend's gorgeous body, grinding with a steady rhythm, hungrily frenching the brunet and gripping his chocolate-collared hair.

And he was still sane.

Apparently he wasn't useless at this newfound activity; the football player was moaning happily under his hands and tongue, legs moving around, chest heaving, and body responding to the grinding, enjoying the affection. The blond generously tested everything that he felt wasn't nerve-wrecking, taking the opportunity while he had it. In the meantime the brunet whispered his name, panted, and made all kind of sounds that made the musician want to purr. Everything was going smoothly until the temptation of returning got too hard for the athlete to resist.

Comparing to what the blue-eyed boy had been doing up until now, Taichi's gesture was pretty innocent; only bringing his hand up to stroke the fair skin of his friend's face, chest and back, sucking fondly at his neck. The musician was in heaven at first, but soon asked him to stop, feeling his muscles tense almost painfully. When the brunet didn't; far too happy with breaking rules and stubbornly holding him close, Yamato's leg cramped up.

Ironically, this led to the brown-eyed teen having to massage the cramp away, barely keeping from molesting the blue-eyed boy all the same.

"Better," he replied, cracking a smile. "How's your ass?"

He laughed as the brunet shoved him, rolling over to his back again and gazing at the ceiling.

"You've got some practise to do," the tanned male finally answered, also rolling to his back, putting his hands behind his neck. "It's just like running, see-"

The tall teen groaned, slapping a pillow into the other's grinning face.

"Seriously, it's a genius analogy! Careful in the beginning, and in the end you go for it-"

"Shut up"

"We should totally try out music too, create a play list right, slow seductive for the foreplay, then lots of base for the humping and then power-ballad for the climax-" He laughed loudly as his blond friend interrupted with another groan, throwing his head back into the pillow and clutching his stomach.

The nagging continued, verified with making out until Mr Ishida returned. Then they clumsily dressed, giggling like idiots and sneaked out into the hall, trying to act innocent.

When the middle-aged man addressed the brunet, Taichi almost bowed. He was beyond nervous and positive that Yamato's father was going to punish him. Add the urge to laugh, and he knew that he was screwed.

Taking advantage of his height, Hiroaki glanced down at the shorter brunet threateningly, making him shrink even more. "Since my son is his normal self again, I won't bother trying to stop you two from seeing each other. I'm too damn old for all this drama" with that he glanced at said drama queen, who smiled knowingly. "I suppose that I am just happy with you finding yourself and following your heart" he added dryly, making them both hide a snicker.

"A few rules" he continued sternly, trapping the poor brunet with his gaze. "No fucking on the couch, or anywhere else in this apartment for that matter. No funny business when I'm around. I don't want to see or hear or know about it. Use condoms. If I ever get a complaint from neighbours you won't set your foot in here ever again. And last but not least, do not have sex."

The worst part about Mr Ishida wasn't the fact that he was scary; it was his tendency of always having to challenge the football player's self discipline. The man had humour, but God help you if you ever laughed.

"Hai. And may I say that you still scare the living hell out of me."

Hiroaki narrowed his eyes. "Don't swear."

The man turned on his heel and walked over to his office. Once gone, Yamato smiled at his friend encouragingly and the brunet returned it hesitatingly, still a bit shaken. The blond walked up to him and wrapped his arms around the other's shoulders, hugging him. The closeness made the football player slightly worried, but the embrace was too nice to break. "There's always your place," the blond male piped up.

"There all home though," he sighed, resting his head against the other's neck.

"Have you told them?"

"Mm."

"Did they freak?"

He paused, blinking "Have you met my family?"

The musician grinned, hugging him tighter. "Guess I don't take that stuff for granted," he added, voice becoming serious.

Taichi rubbed his back affectionately. "Hey, he didn't kill me. I dunno 'bout you, but I was very surprised."

The taller male shrugged. "Yeah, he took it well. Could've thrown me out, or try to talk me straight. Or ignore me, or just take off," he ranted on, letting his imagination drift.

His friend was quiet for a few seconds, slightly shocked over the fact that the musician had actually considered all of this. "Have you been worrying about it?"

Another shrug. "Meh. Wasn't that much room left for more worrying you know. And I figured he wouldn't take a closer look unless I disturbed him from his daily routines."

"But he did" the other noted, smiling happily.

To his surprise, the other teen held him even closer, sighing. "I've missed you so much, Tai"

The whispered words warmed the other boy's heart, and he buried his face into the soft hair. "Me too."

"Your place then?" the blond later asked.

Taichi hesitated. "They may be open-minded, but I don't think they want to listen to us screwing"

Offended, the musician snorted dramatically, pulling away. "I meant hang out. It's pretty bad atmosphere in here now, would be nice to get away."

The other ducked his head, smiling sheepishly. "Right."

"I'll just let him know," Yamato added, jerking his thumb towards his father's office.

-

The door was slowly opened, and simultaneity knocked on as his son stuck his head in, boldly looking into his eyes.

The same old triumphant, but oh so magically honest gaze that he had actually come to miss lately. Happiness seemed to have been added, obviously having to do with that Yagami-kid currently standing in their hallway.

Him, out of all people.

The irony almost made Hiroaki smile. He looked up at his son.

"We're going to Tai's for a while."

"Very well"

The blue gaze flicked to the floor instead. "Um.. thanks for not throwing me out"

With his eyes downcast he missed his father's surprise. Blinking, the man cleared his throat, briefly reflecting his son's suspicion, that he would actually take such a drastic action. He supposed that it wasn't very blameable, though he had thought that there had at least been reliability in their relationship. Of course that was as long as nothing disturbed the routine.

Come to think of it, Hiroaki really couldn't blame him. He had never really assured his son that he would love and care about him unconditionally. That safety had never been self-evident.

Avoiding eye-contact meant that there were feelings to be hidden. A good thing.

Yamato's gaze met his once more, but moved around, not settling on anything. He seemed to be waiting for some kind of answer after all. Maybe just an of course I wouldn't or even something absurd like you're welcome.

But he might as well give him something solid, get that over with. Hiroaki had never been smooth with these things, so the sentence came out clumsily. "I do love you, Yamato-kun"

The reaction made him smile; it heavily proved that the boy was back and that he was currently completely fine.

Groaning painfully, the teen turned his face away. "Freakin' sentimental old..." the sentence died out as the door was shut, and Mr Ishida chuckled in his seat.

That kid was definitely not going to turn out like him.


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WHOHO! XD

So it's past midnight here (and school tomorrow) and I'd be lying if I said I'm completely focused X) but it hit me that the 'end-scene' that I've been nagging about was already done and here I was, struggling with the final sentences, so I thought whatever the hell my problem is, screw it, and let's make some readers happy by putting this up. :)

I'm sooo relieved with finishing this, I'm already thinking about other (much shorter) stories, and it's gonna be great starting from scratch after all this drama.

Now, if you don't review I'm gonna punch you in the face!! So do, and I'll be very happy ^_^

*I did convert it to foot and inces at first, but then I discovered that they use the meter-system in Japan too :P HAH! Another thing we have in common (other one is that in Sweden we take our shoes off indoors too). But for those who are too lazy to look it up: 1,85 meter is about 6 foot 1.

Oh, and if you want to, check out some vids of me drawing at at youtube (my username there is BornADreamer. My imagination kicks ass)

I'm woking on some animations too that I might upload as well sometime in the future.. Also have some pics at fanart-central. I dare you to guess what my username is.

Well, that's it. Thanks for reading my story! :)

G'night.