Author's Notes: Okay this chapter isn't going to be too long. It's going to mostly focus on the relationships between Yamato and Mimi and Taichi and Sora. Sorry if you wanted another big action chapter.


"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means something can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up a whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a peace of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should just be friends' or 'how very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love."-Rose Walker, The Sandman


Chapter Seven
The Hedgehog's Dilemma

Yamato had awoken to the tantalizing odor of cooking food wafting in from under his door. His stomach grumbled with need and he debated whether he should go and eat breakfast with Mimi after the argument they had had the previous evening. Only after a painful ache from his stomach did he grudgingly propel his feet across the room to the door.

He paused as he pushed it open and examined himself in the mirror. His chest and feet were bare as he had chosen only to wear his jeans to bed. Did he want Mimi to see him without a shirt on? He scowled, deciding, and closed the door sharply behind him with a snap, not bothering to grab a shirt. So what if she saw him without it? It was his choice dammit!

His stomach continued to throb as he descended the staircase, following the scent, until he ended up at a door across from the main room he had been taken to when first brought him home. He pushed it open to find a small, black and white tiled kitchen with a metallic table and two chairs. A refrigerator was pushed up against the right wall and it along with the stove, sink, and dishwasher were all top of the line models.

Mimi, still wearing that mask but without the coat, stood in front of the stove, a frying pan in hand. She titled her face back as he approached her and she managed a small smile. "You're just in time."

She transferred the frying pan from over the stove to over a large plate on the counter and she piled a stack of pancakes on top of it. Without either speaking she placed the plate on the center of the table as he brought two smaller plates along with cutlery for them. She smiled again and retrieved a carton of orange juice and two glasses.

He piled a few onto his plate as she reached for her own and he dug into the meal delightedly. "Hmm…these are really good. I haven't had pancakes since I was a kid and my mom made them."

"Where's your mom now?"

His expression darkened. "Dead. My dad and brother are too." There was a heavy silence for a few moments until he asked, "What about your family?"

"I don't really know. They're probably dead by now, though."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't. It wasn't your fault."

He looked at her from over his breakfast, really looked at her for the first time, and he almost reeled back at the sadness she so desperately tried to hide. Anger, a lot of anger, bitterness, grief, and loneliness tinged her cinnamon orbs. Even without a mirror he knew he carried the same mixture of emotions in his own gaze.

She felt his stare, and cerulean bored into cinnamon, as she matched his gaze defiantly. Not breaking the eye contact he stood and walked around the table until he was right in front of her in a perfect position to kiss her if he wanted.

"I haven't been this close to someone in a long time," she spoke.

"I know. Me too." He shifted suddenly, wishing he had put that shirt on, and continued, "This could just be the loneliness talking here but I have to know something. If I kiss you is that all it will be?"

"Would you prefer a lie or the truth?"

"Lie to me," he whispered and brushed his lips against hers. She responded fully, passionately, and she snaked one slender arm around his waist.

It didn't end up as just a kiss…


Yagami Taichi whistled a tune under his breath as he passed the very bored looking receptionist and slipped inside his sister's new office. Before the door closed behind him he saw the secretary give him a flirtatious smile and he winked at her.

Taichi was ruggedly handsome with wild, untamable dark brown hair, naturally tanned skin, big chocolate eyes, and a build that was not muscular or thin. His cheeks were rough with stubble as he hadn't felt like shaving that morning and he wore a black coat, a grey shirt, dark blue jeans spattered with oil from his job as a mechanic, and black boots.

As he shut the door behind him, his sister Hikari looked up startled and asked, "What're you doing here?"

"I thought I'd take my favorite sister to lunch, today."

"Taichi, I'm your only sister."

"Which is exactly why you're my favorite," he retorted with a grin, though it soon faded as he took in how pale his sister's complexion had turned. "Is that a problem?"

"NO! I just-,"

"Hikari, the take out's here!" called a familiar voice, that still sent shivers up his spine, and a second later Sora had opened the door. "C'mon or the best food'll be-,"

She stopped short as he noticed him and he smiled grimly. "Hey, Sora. Long time no see." She continued to stare at him, only briefly nodded, and he met that cold, ruby eyed gaze evenly, not backing down. Behind them Hikari tapped her fingers on her desk nervously, looking between them worriedly.

The air was tinged with the kind of bitterness that only came from two people who had once been in love. He was about to chock on the sweet, acrid pain working its way up his throat like bile, and he bit back many hurtful words he could say to her. But that would be horrible since it was obvious to anyone, including the two involved, that they were both still very much in love with each other.

Their breakup had been the worst day of his life.

Hers too.

Before anything could be said, Sora turned on her heel and hastily fled from the room, putting as much distance between them as possible. He stared after her for a few minutes before glaring at Hikari.

"You could've warned me!"

He stormed out as she was about to answer, not wanting to hear her feeble excuses. This was not going to be a good day…


Footnotes:
The hedgehog's dilemma- The hedgehog's dilemma comes from the false idea that hedgehogs that have sharp pins on their backs will hurt each other if they get close. It states, likewise, that the closer two people come to each other, the more likely they are to hurt one another, but if they remain apart they will only feel loneliness.

The Sandman- This is one of my favorite comic books ever and is well worth a read. It's the story of Morpheus, the king of dreams, after he was held captive for seventy years by a cult trying to gain immortality. It chronicles how he must rebuild everything, bring back the nightmares and dreams that have escaped into the world, and his eventual downfall.

Would you prefer a lie or the truth? - This is a quote from V in the movie version of V for Vendetta.


Author's Notes:I'm sorry this chapter was so short, but I wanted to explain more about some of the relationships in the story. Please read and review.