Author's note: I'm glad I don't get as many messages about this story as Coming Undone; I don't think I could handle getting threats concerning two stories. I am sincerely sorry I have neglected this one though. My mood more accurately paralleled the moods of my other stories (original works included), and this got left by the wayside. Plus, I got distracted by a boy for a while myself... and now that boys suck again and I'm very much resembling the confused, boy-struck Miyako again, I shall return a little of my fought-for attention to this story. Plus, everyone was talking about senior prom in May (May! And they're talking dresses now!), and it got me to thinking, which leads to remembering, which I believe was followed by a low swear and "whoops!".
I don't think this is my best, but considering how long it's been since I wrote anything concerning Miyako, I'm pleased. Next chapter will be a little more...rounded, I guess the word is. I just wanted to get my mind wrapped around Miyako's thought process again before diving into anything really important.
On another note, can you please mention in a review or a PM whether or not you'd like to see this story finished? My muse comes and goes so easily, that I'd be lying if I said I haven't considered scrapping this story. But if there are enough people still interested in reading (and I do consider two or three people "enough"), then I'll press on and try to tie it all up for you guys. I might ask someone to send me some ideas for what could happen, if you'd like. I don't mind doing "requests" of sorts, as long as they work with the overall plot.
Miyako woke up in the morning with very little recollection of the previous night's events. At first, at least. It took her cleaning her glasses, brushing her teeth, rubbing sleep from her eyes and tripping over the corner of her bed looking for a pair of socks. It took her until she was getting ready to leave for school before she found herself with her first ever tardy to spot her D-3 lying on the corner of her desk, and then her eyes grew wide behind her spectacles, and she remembered that she had a date with Daisuke.
Not a date, she corrected herself with a roll of her eyes as she pulled her door shut. (Her door! She loved her sister being in uni... Not that, you know, she didn't miss her or anything.) They were just going to prom together, as friends. No big deal. It was just Daisuke.
"What the heck are you smiling about, weirdo," Mantarou demanded around bites of cereal. He was up earlier than usual; their father had asked him to cover the shop while he ran some errands. Miyako just shrugged and helped herself to a piece of toast. She didn't have time to indulge on porridge or cereal.
" Just think it's gonna be a good day," she said serenely, more to confuse him than anything else. "Don't you?" She was laughing when she left her brother alone in the apartment, staring at her as though she had sprouted an extra head overnight. It was fun to screw with your siblings,...as long as they didn't actually get hurt, she amended. She didn't like the idea, even if she had often wished horrible things upon her siblings. She never meant them, deep down. But they didn't exactly waste opportunities to make her eyes go wide either. It was kind of a game, between the lot of them. And having successfully won the first round of the day, she was ready to tackle the day with enthusiasm.
It could have been a better day, overall, she decided later as she curled up in the corner of Hikari's couch. They had declared a "girl's night" during lunch off campus, when Miyako made the mistake of casually mentioning that she had a date for prom. She wouldn't announce who (everyone was staring!), and so Hikari had sternly said that Miyako was coming over. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. But then she smiled and handed Miyako a piece of candy from her lunch ("courtesy of Nii-san", Hikari had said with a laugh), and they moved on to the next topic of conversation. Miyako shouldn't have been surprised to see Sora there as well, although Hikari promised that she hadn't invited Sora behind Miyako's back. She had been there to go over some plays with Taichi, although she had decided to stick around when Hikari kicked Taichi out of the apartment because he wasn't a girl.
"Hot chocolate," Hikari asked, holding a mug out towards Miyako. It wasn't cold out, but it was a rainy day. Hot chocolate was always good for rainy days, Miyako thought. It was nature's cure-all.
"Thanks." Miyako cupped her hands around the mug and hugged it close to her chest, careful not to spill it. Hikari handed the second mug to Sora before going back to the kitchen to fetch one for herself.
"You're quiet, Miyako," Sora observed, tilting her head to one side. She was sitting on the floor cross-legged, clad in jeans and a baggy white tee shirt with a navy blue hoodie tied around her waist.
"Long day," Miyako replied, shrugging and blowing softly on the surface of her hot chocolate. It rippled where her breath touched. "I didn't do so well on my English test."
"Distracted," Hikari asked teasingly, eyebrows raised before she giggled and sat down next to Miyako. "Gomen, couldn't resist," she insisted when Miyako glared at her. But it didn't last long; Miyako didn't know how to stay mad at Hikari.
"It's not a date date," Miyako grumbled, sipping her hot chocolate. She winced. It scalded her lip... but that didn't stop her from following it with another. But she wasn't sure if she winced because of the burn, or the word 'date'. She remembered how serious he looked, and how put out Daisuke had looked when she thought he was kidding and he thought she was turning his offer down... No. It wasn't a date. Definitely not. He just was doing something nice because she'd been upset, that was all. This was Daisuke!
Sora, however, perked up at the word date. "Come again," she asked, though she looked at Hikari for an answer instead of Miyako. Come on, this was Miyako's story to tell! Granted, there wasn't much to tell, but still! Sora must have assumed Miyako was trying to keep it a secret, which she sort of was, but not because she was embarrassed or anything. Was she? Kind of. She had a feeling that even Takeru wouldn't be able to resist teasing her.
"I don't know. She hasn't told me yet," Hikari said with a pout tugging at her lips. Both girls focused their eyes on Miyako. "But you're going to. Right, Miyako?"
Was she imagining the threat in Hikari's words, as though she would really go around asking everyone? Hikari wasn't a 'threatening' kinda person, if Miyako may be so bold. But there was a gleam in her eye that reminded her of when she had oh-so sweetly asked Takeru and Daisuke to put Iori into the escape pod when he wouldn't do it by choice. The girl had a manipulative edge that Miyako couldn't put her finger on. Maybe it came from growing up with a big brother like Taichi, who had skillfully figured out a way to confuse their mother into saying 'yes' to ordering pizza.
"Well..." Miyako sighed, and proceeded to tell them the story about running into Daisuke in the digital world and her melodramatic teenage girl moment, sobbing about not having a date to prom, which their school was hosting that year as a "tribute to western culture". It was a dance with a theme, that was all. "American prom", "Hollywood", "Samurai Japan". There was a different one every year, and this year was prom. It felt like a much bigger deal with that sort of label attached to it. Hikari's eyes were wide and Sora was stifling a smile by the time Miyako finished telling how Daisuke had offered to be her date.
"You didn't," Hikari pleaded. Daisuke had been a good friend of hers for a long time, but Miyako also knew that Daisuke's obsessive nature when he had a crush on someone drove Hikari insane, particularly considering she had been the object of his desire since they had been in the third grade. As a friend, Daisuke was alright. But Hikari thought it was a very sad situation if Miyako had resorted to Daisuke.
And oddly, Miyako felt a little defensive about it, like she owed it to him to defend his name after he had offered to help when he could have laughed and shrugged it off. He could have done anything: offered a friend, teased her mercilessly, poked fun at the fact that she cried. But he hadn't. He'd been pretty sweet about it; Miyako forgot that Daisuke could be serious when he actually wanted to, and she said so.
"Don't laugh," she warned when she was done, and Sora bit down on her lip. Sora was a sweet girl, but she had way too many guy friends, in Miyako's opinion. Unless you were genuinely upset, she had a tendency to laugh when she found situations awkward or just bizarre. Miyako didn't doubt which category her prom date with Daisuke fell into.
"We won't," Hikari promised. Then she frowned and looked at Sora with meaningful eyes. "Right?"
"Right... Right. But Daisuke, Miyako," she asked incredulously before taking another large sip of her hot chocolate. She swallowed and lowered the cup before speaking again. "The kid who thinks Taichi is a credible role model?"
"Nii-san isn't that bad," Hikari argued gently, frowning a little at Sora's comment. Sora smiled apologetically.
"Okay. The kid who has actually confessed to having Donkey Kong pajamas and taking bubble baths?"
"We're just going as friends," Miyako said, purposefully stressing the word 'friends' to get her point across. Sora was still smiling, no doubt imagining Daisuke showing up to the Inoue residence wearing Donkey Kong pj's. Honestly! He wasn't that bad. She hoped. Oh man, how she hoped. Please don't make me regret this, Daisuke, she pleaded silently. She didn't know if he heard her or not, like the wind might have thought that this was a special case and carried her thought to him or something, but she hoped so. Thinking it did made her feel better, if nothing else.
"I'm sure it'll be fine," Hikari said, although Miyako rose her eyebrows suspiciously. Was she just trying to keep the peace, pacifying Miyako into feeling better about it? Well. Miyako felt great about it; it was people reacting just as she feared they might that she felt like crap about.
"This isn't a very happy girl's night," Miyako pointed out. "No boys allowed, and we're harping about Daisuke."
"And your prom," Sora pointed out. Miyako rolled her eyes. Like she needed the reminder.
"Turn on the cartoons, will ya?"
Hikari had told her in school that they had a huge collection of old cartoons, which Taichi always said he was glad he taped because the good cartoons were never on the air anymore. It was something he was very passionate about, apparently. Hikari had giggled when telling her, although Miyako thought it sounded fun to have a cartoon marathon. Hot chocolate and good cartoons: if that couldn't make an "eh" day amazing, then she didn't know what would. Besides a new computer, but there was no way she was getting one any time soon. It had been killer just to talk her parents into getting the mediocre one they had now, although with a little help from Miyako and Koushiro it was purring like a kitten and as fast as one, too. Well, if the kitten had eaten before going off to play, anyway.
"Fine, fine. No more boy talk." Hikari was smiling, although Sora just chuckled and shook her head. Asking her about her latest date with Yamato might sober her up, but Miyako thought that might be her arsenal for later in the evening, if they tried to bring up Daisuke again. "Miyako, can you help me bring the snacks out? Nii-san bought some popcorn and candy and stuff while Mom's been at Grandma's. We can have real food," she joked. Her mother was a horrible cook, as in she tried way too hard to make healthy food that usually resulted in someone doubled over the porcelain goddess after politely swallowing it all. Hikari said they survived by feeding it to their cat, Miko. No wonder he was such a grumpy kitty.
"Candy and Twinkies and Cocoa, oh my," Miyako joked lamely as she placed her mug on the coffee table (coaster underneath because Hikari frowned disapprovingly even if she never called them out on it otherwise). She followed Hikari into the kitchen, but Hikari held her hand out when Miyako reached for one of the boxes of treats. There was a small, thoughtful frown on her face.
"Do you really want to go with Daisuke," she asked, sounding concerned. "I know you want a date, but you two... you know." She smiled sheepishly. "You guys argue a lot. I'm sure Koushiro or Takeru would go, if you asked them nicely."
"Daisuke and I are friends. And he's not as obnoxious as he used to be." Miyako frowned.
"Do you like him?" Hikari's cheeks turned faintly pink. That was abrupt and very blunt, especially by Hikari's standards. She knew it too, and was embarrassed. But she didn't apologize for the outburst either. She placed a bag of popcorn in the microwave and hit a button. Within moments, a soft electrical hum filled the kitchen.
"What?" Miyako was stunned. Where had that come from? "I mean, as friends, sure. Daisuke's saved my butt a few times."
"That's not what I mean," Hikari said, chewing nervously on her lip. "Sorry, I... I just thought you did. If you did, I mean, I'd leave you alone about it. I just thought you'd want to go with someone you got along with more... You guys argue a lot, but when you were defending him.. I don't know, you sounded different. Different than usual," she finished lamely, her cheeks growing redder by the minute. Hikari hated confrontations.
She had expected this to go differently, expected different words to come out of both of our mouths. Miyako could see that. Hikari had expected her to say "Of course I don't, but no one else asked either!" and to get upset, and Hikari would offer to help her find someone else and a way to kindly turn down Daisuke. She'd help her. But Miyako didn't want it, which surprised her in itself.
"We never give him a chance to not be a jackass," Miyako said lightly, smiling as she dumped some of the candy into one of the bowls Hikari had set on the counter. Hikari remained silent. "I think it'll be kinda fun. You aren't jealous, are ya," she joked, desperate for the conversation to lighten up, for Hikari to smile again. She looked uneasy. She depended too much on game plans, Miyako decided. She thought too much.
"What? No." Hikari made a face. She had never returned Daisuke's interest, and Miyako knew that. It had the desired affect though; Hikari looked more relaxed as she gathered one of the bowls in arm, and Miyako grabbed the other. They'd come back for the popcorn when it finished popping. "I was just worried. But I'll make sure that he doesn't have something up his sleeve," she promised. Miyako frowned, but she didn't ask because Sora called for their help with the DVD player from the sitting room. But as she sat in bed later that night, smiling as she recounted the popcorn fight and pillow war with two of her best friends, she would remember Hikari's words. And she'd wish she asked, because maybe she wouldn't have felt so nervous, and she wouldn't have asked Daisuke herself in school the next day, what he was planning. And maybe spring would have come without incident. But as it was, things didn't go quite according to plan.