Author's note: Hello all! Here is a brief update, just to let you know the story is not dead ... just a very long time in coming! I don't want to end this cheaply by portraying the characters in a way that I myself don't find believable, and so it is taking me a very long time to work out just how everything needs to procede. Getting closer ... enjoy!
The sun is setting over distant Tokyo; behind the brisk outline of buildings the sky flares bright orange and pink. The train bullets along, shuddering with speed, and through his dim reflection in the dusty window Yamato absently watches the yellow-tinted landscape fly by.
This morning he'd awoken to the sound of a harsh wind howling through the trees outside his house. Above its high shriek he could hear leaves fluttering and branches crashing. The resulting cacophony had struck him as terrifyingly beautiful, a musical masterpiece of sorts, a symphony of chaos, and he had laid in bed listening intently to it until Gabumon came in with his breakfast.
Later, he had plugged his guitar into an amp and a synthesizer and attempted to recreate the dark energy he'd felt. He'd built up a wonderful dissonance of chords by layering recordings over each other in a heavy and powerful swell of emotions when Gabumon came in with his paws over his ears to ask what the terrible din was about.
"No one appreciates my genius," Yamato had retorted, but he'd put the guitar down and gone into the kitchen to help Gabumon with lunch.
Things are coming together, he thinks, they really are. He spends his days in a state of quiet introspection rather than sullen despondency, and he feels as if he is getting back to his roots, to the things that really matter - his music, mainly, but more than that, simpler things like cooking and joking around with Gabumon and organizing his CDs alphabetically and making his bed in the morning. He writes his father emails every morning, and he talks on the phone with Takeru at least once a week.
Yamato smiles at the thought of his brother, who is in the process of publishing his first book. On the phone, Takeru's voice is a mix of anxiety and excitement as he talks too rapidly for Yamato to follow, detailing the latest changes his editor is pushing and the constant battle over choosing a cover.
"It's based on Hikari's photo," Takeru says almost every time Yamato talks to him. "I just don't understand why they want to put some underdressed hipster girl on the front instead. I swear my publicists don't know the first thing about literature!"
Yamato always laughs briefly at this. "Just don't sell out, Takeru. That's what I did with the Wolves' first album and it set me back years."
"I'm not selling out," Takeru replies grumpily. "It's just the cover."
The Shimane house is looking better every day, thanks in part to Gabumon. The summer months are always beautiful in Shimane, and Yamato and Gabumon have taken up some mild gardening. In the front, they have planted ginkaku-ji azaleas and white irises next to a tiny pond. One sunny spring afternoon, after hours of planting iris bulbs and with dirt under his fingernails and smeared down his arms, Yamato had been sitting next to the pond with Gabumon, and had been struck with an idea.
"Be right back," he had told Gabumon, jumping up. He had raced inside and grabbed the tiny glass bowl that Kagututi, his beta fish, lived in. Then he'd gone back outside, more slowly now, clutching the bowl between both hands and gazing thoughtfully at the morose-looking fish.
"You're not going to let him go, are you, Yamato?" Gabumon had asked warily as he'd seen Yamato's reapproach. "I don't think that fish will survive in this pond."
"Maybe not," Yamato had replied, undaunted, "but I at least have to let him try."
And lo and behold, the fish had survived. To this day, Kagututi darted jauntily to and fro in the pond, looking happier and more satisfied than he ever had in his bowl. Even his fishy scowl seemed to have lightened.
"It's because he's free," Yamato had told Gabumon matter-of-factly. "Free to express his fishness in the type of environment truly befitting a fish."
"Sometimes, my friend," Gabumon had answered, his voice grave, "I truly fear for your sanity."
In the backyard, they had planted a vegetable garden, including traditional vegetables such as cucumber, radish, eggplant and cabbage, as well as more Western vegetables such as tomatoes, garlic, onions and Yamato's favorite, a strange type of lettuce known as dinosaur kale. They had even planted a cherry tree and an apple tree.
With such a bountiful garden returning such strange combinations of food, Yamato had been forced back into the kitchen, where he had to find ways to put, for example, sweet potato, bamboo shoots and spinach into the same entree. Culinary creativity, he had thusly decided, was born out of whatever was lying about in the kitchen at any given time.
If your next album doesn't sell, Yamato's father had written in one of his emails after hearing about this, you should start a restaurant for the adventurous gastronomer. Call it SomeFood I Had Lying Around.
In fact, Yamato's next album, his first solo album, is almost completely finished. He had converted half of the bathhouse out back into a recording studio, a brilliant move, he thought, considering the unusually sonorous acoustics of most bathing rooms. He'd sent some of the recordings to his producer in Tokyo, who had immediately started marketing the album and set a release date for later this summer.
"Brilliant," he had told Yamato forcefully, "just brilliant. Ponderous, wandering, pontificous - I love it. It'll sell like hotcakes."
Of course, Yamato isn't happy with it quite yet himself. There are some great tracks, sure, but it's missing something a little more high energy - like the stuff he recorded this morning. And the whole album doesn''t flow from one track to the next yet, either. Worse, however, is the prospect of facing his disappointed fans who, expecting another Teenage Wolves album, will probably be shocked at the change in tone on this one.
Oh well, he thinks. Who wants fans who can't understand a little bit of a different style anyway.
There is only one thing in Yamato's life that he hasn't quite made sense of yet.
Yamato hasn't spoken to him since, well, since the event , and has managed to avoid thinking about it almost entirely. Every time Taichi's face rises unbidden to his mind, he studiously begins thinking about something else - rutabagas, rutabagas, I wonder how rutabagas would taste with ginger and cardamom? - until the face fades.
Yamato realizes that this is not healthy. This is why he's on a train to Tokyo, to visit Takeru and Hikari and talk to them about it, and, just maybe, go see Taichi afterwards.
Well, and to check out his father's fancy new office on the executive floor of the TV Tokyo building, and to investigate the possibility of having Koushiro set up a transport link between Shimane and Tokyo by passing through the Digiworld. And to pick up some yakitori at his favorite stand downtown. But that's all beside the point. Which is -
Taichi, Yamato reminds himself, and sighs moodily. It's obvious enough to Yamato that he misses his best friend something desperate. That was made clear two months ago, when he had felt it so necessary to barge into Taichi's apartment demanding explanations. Now he's got the explanation, all right, but he doesn't know what to do with it. His mind can't seem to find the edges of the problem in order to fully grasp it, as if an endless undulating blanket of blankness has crept steadily over his brain. He feels fuzzy and confused, lost in a labyrinth of half-formed questions and far-away feelings that flit away nervously whenever he tries to take a closer look.
Outside the window, the train has reached the edges of the Shinagawa district. Glittering high-rises whip past, splinters of the sea dancing into view for split seconds between buildings. The train begins to slow, and Yamato, seeing the familiar urban landscape and bustling crowds of people, allows himself a distant half-smile.
Sleeping somewhere in this city, he thinks, in the echoes of his past or the whispers of his future, is the answer to his problem with Taichi. And he will not leave again until he finds it.