We Looked Like Giants
by Sakura Uchiha
A/N: I should be working on my other fics but this came to me when I was listening to deathcab. It's a good song and if you want to get a better sense of the story and the ideas behind it, look up "We Looked Like Giants" lyrics. Anyhow, please review with constructive criticism!
Summary:Taito Oneshot. Seven years ago they parted ways, and Taichi wasn't expecting this kind of reunion.
Taichi stared hard at the newspaper. The photograph was blurry but somehow the picture had managed to capture the very essence of Yamato; his entire being frozen in that tiny three by five inch picture that was fuzzy anyway. Even without looking at the description or article, he'd known who it was. He'd seen it on the secretary's desk out of the corner of his eye and he'd just known. Some things catch you like that. You'd never even notice a stupid soggy newspaper on your ditzy secretary's desk, but god or whoever controls these things, these moments, made it so that you just knew to look over.
"Yagami-san, can I get you a dry newspaper?" Mia, his boss' secretary, inquired in that singsong voice that could sometimes incite migraines. Taichi shook his head absently, totally transfixed.
Yamato was there. His shock of blonde hair, one of those black button up shirts he always wore and black jeans. He was all there. The straight bony shoulders, his angular jaw, his icy blue eyes, everything. Everything that had confused Taichi so much in high school so long ago was just sitting there in black ink. How appropriate.
Taichi dropped the newspaper back on Mia's desk and jogged to his cubicle. A guitar. He'd seen the guitar in the picture; the same one Yamato had had since high school. His fingers trembling, he searched the internet.
The first site that came up was a website for a local coffeehouse. The only word that Taichi could produce from his limited vocabulary was 'artistic' to describe the front page. An artistic picture in high contrast black and white with THE WOLVES emblazoned on the top in black. Yamato's piercing eyes that were white in the picture sent chills up Taichi's spine.
His mouth was a hard thin line that was always so definite. Yamato was never confused about anything. He always knew everything. Always. He knew the definite answer to every question that had ever been asked and would ever be asked. He was like a skinny blond buddha, so damn all-knowing. It seemed he always had the right answer to everything. The integral is y squared over two. The main character is afraid of connecting with people. Phosphates can be found in most streams in or around populated areas. Taichi could clearly remember sitting next to him in different classes and sinking slowly in his chair, pretending he wasn't there; pretending he wasn't falling in love with this genius.
Of course the picture would be in artistic high contrast black and white, Taichi thought almost bitterly that night as he fidgeted with his appearance in front of his bathroom mirror. He didn't know why he cared; in high school he'd gone around in tee shirts and jeans and it was always fine. He decided to wear his work shirt and pants and tie, so he'd look important. He wanted his outfit to say, see, I'm doing something with my life. You're just fucking around with your guitar.
The coffeehouse was crowded with other people in their mid to late twenties, but none of them dressed like forty seven year olds, Taichi noted, now feeling stupid in his work clothes. His blue and white striped pressed shirt and gray pants with the crease down the middle that he'd only just recently started getting right looked strange, mixed in with all the black leather and fishnet and silver shiny studs and dyed hair. Taichi shuffled to the back.
All of a sudden, he felt very wrong. It was stupid to come tonight; he hadn't seen Yamato in seven years, he hadn't seen him since graduation. His throat tightened at the memory. He'd still thought then that he'd be playing soccer as a professional athlete. He'd still been going out with Sora, he still didn't understand that money had to be budgeted and that marriage sounded easy until you had to go and find someone to marry you. That day, he'd kissed Yamato behind the bleachers just a week ago and still it hadn't hit him that that would be the last real moment of his life.
Yamato was on stage, his presence filled the coffeehouse and beyond. Taichi breathed shakily, strongly reminded of all those hours in school spent ignoring the teacher and instead being fascinated by Yamato and not even really knowing, just staring at the square jawline and big pale hands that could play anything on the piano and guitar and the blue eyes half obscured by tired eyelids. He was always tired, always bored, when music wasn't around. His eyes looked like the sea on a rainy day until he was sitting on the piano bench in the music room. Then they looked like the neon sign outside of that one pizza joint two blocks from school. Electric blue that beckoned in the darkness.
"Hey everybody." His voice was smooth and deeper than Taichi remembered and still sounded like he just didn't give a shit. "We're the Wolves and we're going to start off the night by playing a song I wrote back in high school for a..." He stopped, his eyes wide. Taichi wondered if he had noticed him, standing there in the back. "...an old crush." He finished, stepping back from the mic as everyone clapped. He was tuning his guitar but his hands were jumpy and shaky, just like that first time he'd played a show, back when they were all in junior high. He looked very young despite his black shirt that was only halfway buttoned and the bags under his eyes.
They played okay, Taichi thought as he left the coffeehouse. Yamato hadn't progressed much since high school. Then again, neither had Taichi. Maybe you don't progress after high school. Maybe you start dying the very day you graduate, and it's just decay for the rest of your life until finally your soul gives up and you die. Like you shrink and shrink from being this giant, full of life and thoughts and hopes and then one day it's gone, all gone, and you're left with a house that took you twenty five years to pay for and a stale job that doesn't want you anymore anyway.
"Wait!" Taichi stopped and looked over his shoulder because he could hear someone running and he still, even after all these years, hoped it was Yamato, finally chasing after him. You should know better, he chided himself as he turned around. With your relationship with Yamato, your old personality died. You're boring and you act old and out of shape now, and Yamato won't care.
It was just a guy handing him his cell phone, which he'd dropped. Taichi thanked him but felt distinctly worse now. He shoved the lump of metal and plastic into his pocket along with his hands, and trudged along the sad, gray streets of Odaiba. It was late and dark and Taichi felt like someone from a movie, except the difference was that in a movie, Yamato would run after him and find him and they'd kiss in the rain.
Taichi passed by an abandoned fielf and saw a lonely soccer ball sitting by a bench and walked over to it, kicking at it a bit. He'd played soccer obsessively in high school, then in college had made the team easily, but work coupled with something he hadn't identified until years later as depression set in, and he'd dropped out of the team, opting instead to sit in his dorm with his hands over his eyes, lying on his bed and trying not to think.
The kicked ball made a satisfying thwump of air and rubber colliding with grass that Taichi had long forgotten. Touched by rekindled love, he smiled and kicked it again, chasing after it as it flew through the chilly, damp night air. Lost in memories, he forgot that he was a twenty five year old man in a suit and tie, chasing around a soccer ball in an empty lot late at night. He forgot about his stupid job, about his stupid life, about his stupid apartment, about his stupid crush that had never quite died. For now, he was just Taichi, high school student that was sure to be going places, loved by all, feeling like he could do anything.
"Some things never change, huh." Taichi slowed to a stop, the soccer ball bouncing a few feet away and rolling under a bench. In the dim orange glow of a street lamp, Yamato stood, weight rested on one foot, arms crossed, looking slightly bored and slightly amused all at the same time. Taichi bristled at his appearance. "You left without saying hello. I take it you didn't want an autograph." He snickered, stepping forward.
"Not really." He wanted so badly to just look Yamato in his ice blue eyes and prove that he wasn't overpowered by the blond anymore; he wanted to show that things had changed and he was stronger. But his hands trembled and he only was able to meet Yamato's eyes for instances. However, he did notice that despite the cool air from Yamato, his hands too trembled, and every so often he was shifting his weight to the other foot.
"Still bitter?" Yamato chuckled dryly. Taichi rolled his eyes.
"Did you follow me here?"
"Maybe." Yamato's lips curled into a devilish smile. Taichi felt shivers run through his body. "Or, maybe I just live in that apartment there, and saw you kicking around the ball like the same idiot you were in high school." He snickered, pointing to a tall building on the edge of the small park. It was quite obviously run-down. It seemed to be crumbling before their eyes and graffiti graced the sides of it. Taichi laughed coolly.
"I can see you've been doing well." He hoped that his words would sting, but Yamato seemed unaffected.
"I can see you've been bored." He responded quickly. Taichi raised an eyebrow.
"What makes you say that?"
"Obvious. You're wearing a suit and tie. Something's wrong with that. How could Taichi Yagami possibly lock himself in an office from nine to five without being bored?"
Their eyes met head-on for the first time, and they didn't break the gaze. Taichi felt breathless; he was angry that Yamato still got to be the smarter, quicker one, even though it was clear he was just a squatter who lived off of the meager pay he earned by playing half-baked shows in coffeehouses.
"At least I'm not a failure. At least I have an apartment. At least-"
They were arguing again, stupid petty arguments just like in high school. Taichi's mind flashed to one time when they had actually broken out into a fistfight during english class one time over the pronunciation of a character's name from the Tempest. What they had said hadn't mattered; they'd scrambled out of their desks angrily after several minutes of cool, bitchy retorts that had continued to escalate until their eyes were fiery stars and their young faces were flushed with anger and something that Taichi hadn't been able to place until that afternoon behind the bleachers, when it had all of a sudden become crystal clear. What killed Taichi to this day was that Yamato had probably been right about the pronunciation. He was always so damn right.
"Yeah, yeah, suit and tie, yeah, well, whatever. You have no life. At least I've got that."
"You call that a life?" Taichi laughed again. When he saw Yamato's mouth twitch, he felt high on power. He stood taller, knowing that now, it wasn't so clear anymore who was 'on top.' Yamato just smiled and stepped forward so that he was just a breath away from Taichi. He stared into Taichi's eyes almost fearlessly and pressed his hand slowly against Taichi's crotch.
"Yep." He said, not removing his hand. Taichi struggled to not give in to the images his mind was showing him, images flashing through his head. Some were memories, other were wishes. Taichi coughed.
"Why are you doing that?" He spoke slowly, trying to keep his voice level. Yamato pulled away.
"I just was wondering." He said offhandedly. He turned around and began to walk towards his apartment.
"Wondering what?" Taichi called after him.
"If you still wanted me so bad." Came Yamato's cool voice in the darkness.
The whir of the copy machine and distant dimmed sound of Mia taking calls had become a medley of background noises that no longer irritated Taichi. Now, he barely noticed them. He rifled through the myriad faxes he'd been sent during the day; highlighting the important parts of each memo was his favorite part of the day now. He chuckled dryly to himself.
"Yagami-san, it's getting late." Mia poked her brunette head in his cubicle, gazing at him worriedly with brown eyes. Sometimes she reminded him, slightly, of his little sister Hikari. Big, sensitive eyes and a tiny, expressive mouth.
"I guess I should probably head out soon, huh." He replied, setting down the packet of faxes. Mia nodded.
"Don't take this the wrong way," She started quickly, "but you really look terrible lately. Eat a big dinner, get some sleep, eat a big breakfast, and then come back. You look so ...exhausted." She concluded, stepping into the cubicle. Her voice was too high and singsong-y, and she was an idiotic young woman, but at least her heart was in the right place. Taichi broke into a smile for her.
She smiled and they waved bye, and she left. Taichi could hear her too-high-for-her-job heels click-clacking down the stairwell and he smiled again in spite of himself.
The drive home was lonely, but then again, it always was. Taichi sighed, parking his car in the usual spot and turned towards the building. It loomed over him and suddenly, he really didn't want to go inside. Walking inside anyway, he was stopped by the doorman.
"Some guy's just waiting for you. He looked like..." the doorman paused, glancing around, and leaning forward and lowering his voice conspiratorially. "...a heroine addict." He whispered loudly. Taichi stopped short. Could it be...?
He climbed the stairs at what seemed to be the speed of light; taking the elevator was too much of a wait filled with doing nothing. Taking the stairs two at a time, still he could not keep up with his racing mind.
He found his floor, and sure enough, sitting there, was the "heroine addict." He was leaning up against the wall next to the door, looking bored and sleepy as usual. Taichi felt a pang in his heart for the other man. He looked over slowly at Taichi, who stood by the stairs panting.
"Nice building." Yamato said smoothly, straightening up from the wall to face Taichi head-on. Taichi walked tentatively over to his door, and unlocked it, hoping to appear nonchalant. Yes, his high school crush who had become his life's obsession dropping by from time to time? No big deal.
"Thanks." Taichi said without looking at him and opening the door after an embarrassing moment where he couldn't seem to get the key out of the lock after unlocking the door. "Want something to drink?" He asked over his shoulder, tossing his briefcase, keys, and coat on the couch. Yamato laughed.
"When do I not?" He replied sardonically. Taichi hid a smile and grabbed beers out of the refrigerator for them both. He opened it and glanced over at Yamato, who had been looking down. It would have given him great pleasure to see the other man uncomfortable, but for whatever reason, he just felt worse.
The silence penetrated Taichi's mind; he could not ignore it. It was too awkward and he still had no idea why Yamato was suddenly here. After all these years, and suddenly Yamato had sauntered back into his life, ruining everything that had been upheld so tediously and fragiley. It felt as though he had been a pendulous blossom, hanging, and Yamato had come across it and decided to pick it.
"Why'd you come to see me last night?" Yamato blurted out, looking surprised even at himself. Taichi choked on his beer, but set it down and wiped his mouth, regaining composure.
"Saw you in the paper." He remembered the instant shock he had gotten, seeing Yamato's face there, so clearly.
"That's not what I'm asking." Yamato snapped. He stood up, and had abandoned his beer. Something about his stance, leaned forward and looking Taichi squarely in the eyes, was distinctly predatory. Taichi shifted backwards.
"Well... I guess curiosity." Taichi admitted, attempting to make eye contact with the blond. His palms were beginning to feel sweaty and he trembled slightly, shaking like a leaf before a storm.
"Why did you let me go?"
The beer bottle dropped. It smashed into amber shards, all over the shiny hardwood floor, the liquid similar in hue to the glass splashing and thinning out, stretching out into a slippery surface all over. Taichi went red and snatched a roll of paper towels from the kitchenette. Yamato stared down at him, finally bending over to help him. He gathered the shards which sliced his fingers in the process, but both men ignored the blood. Taichi wiped up the rest of the beer and tossed the paper towels in the trash.
"Now that you don't have anything to drop, I'll ask again. Why did you let me go?"
"When?" Tai felt confused. He had never been the one letting anyone go. He felt he'd offered himself to Yamato that day behind the bleachers, so plainly, and Yamato hadn't taken it. There wasn't any 'letting go,' at least not on his own part.
"At graduation, first off. And then last night."
"..." Taichi said nothing. Instead of feeling rage at Yamato's inability to remember events correctly, he just felt exhaustion weighing down on him. He walked over to the couch and dropped onto it, gazing ahead of himself at nothing. "...You were the one letting me go."
"Um, no. Obviously not. At graduation, you acted like I didn't even exist-"
"My parents were there! And my little sister! I couldn't just come out-"
"And last night, I distinctly recall walking away." Yamato ignored Taichi's outburst and raised a dark blond eyebrow. "Besides, you wouldn't have needed to tell them you wanted in my pants." He smirked at the expression he had incited. "You could have just said, you know, that I was a friend."
"...I was scared." Taichi said timidly, looking away and out the window, across the city streets of Odaiba, stretching like ribbons outward to the dark horizon. Surprisingly, right now he would give anything to be anywhere else right now.
"Oh, that's really original." Yamato said quietly. Taichi met his eyes again, but instead of being icy blue, they just seemed like mirrors. Reflecting the past seven years for Taichi as well.
There was reverent silence as Yamato walked over to Taichi and leaned over him, resting his hands on either side of Taichi's head, on the back of the couch. Their noses brushed slightly.
"What the hell are you doing?" Taichi had meant for it to be an intimidating yell, but it tumbled out as a fearful whisper.
"Giving you one more chance."
that was difficult to know where to end. ...Oh well. PLEASE REVIEW