Women, fame, and money. Things normal guys would enjoy. But Taichi, Takeru, Jyou and Yamato, four frustrated, desperate, clueless, and indecisive young men, are just about ready to throw in the chips. AU Sequel to 'Been There.'
Disclaimer: I don't own.
Author's Note: Completed!
Three Weeks Later
Inside a popular French restaurant, several friends have gathered to hear something they never expected of one of their own:
"A tattoo?" Miyako squeals, choking on her drink.
Mimi ducks her face behind a hand. "Can we please not talk about this?"
"No way!" Koushiro laughs. "Where? When? Where?"
She shakes her head.
Taichi is smirking, arm slung loosely across the back of her chair.
"Oh, come on," Sora whines. "Show us!"
"I can't," Mimi spits out finally.
"You can't?" Ken repeats, intrigued.
"No," she snaps, uncomfortable, "I can't." Then she pauses. "At least not in public."
There is silence.
"Hell, yeah!" Takeru laughs, clapping.
"This is way too much information," Daisuke gags, gesturing to waiter to come back and top off his drink. Sumiko wrinkles her nose, giggling at his discomfort.
"I think it's sweet," Sora says. "Albeit disturbing…."
"Where are those two?" Jyou, who's seated next to her, interrupts, changing the subject, checking the clock again.
"Hello? He just got out of that stupid cast. What do you think is keeping them—?"
"Takeru, I swear to God I will put this butter knife right between your eyes!" Taichi threatens, waving said weapon at the young blond man, who makes a face.
"Didn't I hear you saying how you thought he was good for her the other day?" Mimi inquires of her fiancé.
"Good for her or good to her?" Daisuke asks mildly, ducking when Taichi aims a saltshaker at his head.
The waiter cries out in alarm, diving to catch the crystal container just in time. Mimi nearly dies of embarrassment, face as pink as the pretty dress she wears. She slaps Taichi in back of the head once the waiter has staggered away, dazed.
"Why do I put up with you?" she demands.
"He started it!"
"Children, please," Sora groans.
"Oh, I want children," Sumiko says, turning to Daisuke, who blanches.
"Well, I'm sure she doesn't mean right now," Mimi consoles.
"Oh, God," Jyou groans with Ken, and Taichi buries his face in his hand.
Mimi's eyes double in size.
"Did you tell them—?"
"They practically dragged it out of me," he defends, knowing he's going to get murdered after the dinner party and he's left alone with his fiancée.
She sinks low into her seat. "Oh my God."
"What? What?" Daisuke wants to know, glancing between everyone's grimacing faces.
"It's not worth repeating," Ken promises, to which Takeru grins wickedly, "Oh, yes, it is."
"Say one more word and I'll take the butter knife to your throat," Mimi warns in a deadly tone.
The door opens and the long-anticipated couple stumbles inside, holding hands.
"Sorry we're late," Hikari apologizes, shaking off her coat and sitting next to Sora.
"Traffic was awful," Yamato explains, taking his place next to his girlfriend.
"I'll bet it was," Takeru mutters, winking.
Daisuke changes the subject at once as everyone gets settled and orders their respective meals. "So why are we all here again?"
"To celebrate," Mimi announces, sitting up.
She raises her glass of wine and motions for the others to do the same.
"To Iori, on completing his thesis!"
"Finally," Iori adds, turning a little red at all the attention.
"Congratulations," Jyou says.
"And to Jyou," Sora interrupts, smiling, "who's moving on to bigger and better things and has been offered a position at the World Health Organization in health missions to underprivileged countries."
Jyou sputters, "No one's supposed to know…."
"Why not?" Miyako demands. "That's great!"
"We're very proud of you," Hikari says.
"Wait—," Taichi lowers his glass, thinking, "if we're not supposed to know, then how come Sora knows?"
"Because I know everything, Taichi," Sora tries to dismiss, but when Jyou blushes even harder and Sora's ears turn pink, Mimi shrieks suddenly and covers her mouth her hand.
"Are you two—?" Daisuke stammers, jaw dropped.
"—seeing each other?" Sumiko finishes, eyes wide.
"No one's supposed to know," Jyou repeats.
Now, all the girls save a very embarrassed Sora shriek at the same time, ecstatic.
"This is so wonderful! I'm so happy for the both of you," Hikari gasps, grinning.
"Whoa…" is all her boyfriend can say, trying to process the information.
"Well, certainly, to Sora and Jyou," Koushiro says, motioning for the toast.
"To you, Koushiro," Mimi says, smiling. "For finally convincing Taichi to get a job and then helping him get one."
Koushiro smiles back, muttering something about reimbursement, to which Taichi playfully promises to give him his firstborn child. Which reminds Yamato of another toast he has planned to make.
"And to Takeru, on getting an agent for his children's book he's going to publish," he declares.
"Trying to publish," his brother corrects. "It's not as easy as you think."
"Whatever," Taichi says, waving a dismissive hand. "We all know it's going to happen."
"To Daisuke and Sumiko, and any future children," Iori adds.
"Oh, God," Daisuke groans, and Sumiko laughs, curling her fingers around her husband's reassuringly.
"You two will make great parents," Takeru remarks quietly, and for the first time, Daisuke smiles genuinely at him.
"At least we all know Sumiko will," Koushiro inserts dryly.
Everyone chuckles lightheartedly and Daisuke makes another face. He gestures with his own glass, grinning at the newlyweds across the table. "But let's not forget Ken and Miyako."
"Especially Ken," Taichi notes and the girls attack him with smacks to the head. He yelps, "Watch the hair!"
"How about to Mimi?" Sora suggests, smirking. "God knows, she's going to need it."
"And you, too, Tai," Yamato finally offers as an afterthought, teasing. "Might as well."
"You guys are too kind," Taichi says sarcastically. Mimi grins, resting her head on his shoulder. He kisses her forehead, stroking her hair, then turns to everyone and says, "To all of us, for being there for each other and with each other, day in, day out."
"Hear, hear," Iori concludes, and every one else murmurs the same, drinking from the glasses.
While the others begin to talk to each other to fill the silence, Mimi turns her head and smiles into Taichi's ear, "Should we tell them?"
He wraps his arm low about her waist, scooting towards her in the booth.
"Nah," he smirks, glancing down at the ring on her left hand. "I want to live a little bit longer before Sora and Yamato burn us at the stake."
She giggles, her breath tickling his cheek.
"My parents will beat her to it," she whispers.
He dips his chin to nip the top of her ear lightly. "My mother will beat your parents to it."
"My father will beat you," she remarks, tilting her neck to kiss his, leaving a trail with her tongue as she traces her way up to his ear.
"It will be worth it," he promises.
"Remember that thought for when we finally do tell everyone."
"We don't have to tell them anything."
She raises and eyebrow. "And what do you propose we do instead?"
He pauses, thinking, "Have a really, really, really long engagement and hope everyone forgets about the wedding that already happened."
She laughs, settling into his chest as she leans back. "How about I take a few more months to finish my accounts in London, and then sort of stretch the settlement into the next year or so? That gives us a year to think of a good way to break the news."
"I like how you think," he kisses her on the top of her head.
She watches her friends chatting happily, obliviously around her and then sighs, admitting a personal regret that only seems big when she's with family.
"It would have been nice to have real guests instead of the justice of peace's cat as a witness."
He grimaces, remembering how the feline had scratched him in the middle of the ten-minute ceremony.
"It would have been nice to have a real honeymoon," he observes wistfully.
She smiles slyly.
"As far as I can recall," she murmurs, "you need about three hundred people for a conventional wedding, but only two people for a conventional honeymoon."
"I really, really, really like how you think."
When they try a proper kiss, however, Takeru protests loudly, ordering them to either get a room or save it for the desert course. This of course incites another round of loud friendly banter, until a final, inevitable silence settles in between two of the main courses. They look at one another, thinking, remembering the good times and the bad, the hard times and easy ones, and finally coming to the conclusion that none of it could have been done without each other.
Waiting for the new dishes, each friend glances around the table, meeting each gaze and smiling, until one giggle escapes and then two, one hilarious moment is brought up and then followed by another memory, and finally they are all laughing talking loudly and carrying on, enjoying the food and the atmosphere and the well-decorated restaurant here in downtown Tokyo…
…until the manager recognizes Mimi and Taichi promptly throws them all out.
Author's Note: Don't ask me for a sequel because that will tempt me and I know I shouldn't. Truthfully, I would like to write more, but I think this is a good ending place for both parts of the story, and I can't really think of anything else, so…. That's it! Thanks for all your support and reviews. It's been amazing, and I appreciate it. Happy writing.