Author's note: Well, my friend and I were having a random movie night one weekend, and somehow we started talking about what we'd do if, heaven forbid, we became orphaned. Both of us have at least one older sibling, so I figured that my oldest step- brother would probably move in and take care of me... at least for a year. Even though we're not blood related, he's the overprotective sort. Anyways, the entire conversation sort of reminded me how, when me and my step brother got closer, he always reminded me of Taichi. Whenever I cried, he was the one to run over and comfort me, he fought my battles even when I didn't want him to, and I hated seeing him upset or worried more than anything. So that entire conversation, combined with that memory, inspired probably THE MOST angst-driven thing I've ever written. Though... I feel like I might get shot for starting YET ANOTHER multichapt. Does it help if I say it's already half-written on my computer?

Shipping warnings: Takari, Taiora, Jyoumi, one-sided Daikari, Kenyako

May change as story events unfold!!

Read and Review! : Critiques, praise, suggestions...all appreciated within the realm of constructive criticism. However, flaming just because you dislike a shipping... go to hell, seriously. I respect (almost) all shippings, so I request you grow up and do the same or get outta my zone. Seriously, go write your own fluff if what I write displeases you so much. The shipping wars are just RIDICULOUS!! Aha, I'm done now.

"We'll be home in 2 hours, Tai."

Taichi sighed and nodded for what felt like the twelfth time in this one conversation. He was beginning to feel like a bobble head. His mother would say something, and he'd nod. And she'd say something else, and he'd nod some more. It was a never-ending cycle.

"We're just bringing Hikari home from her dance competition now," she explained.

"Okay." If he didn't wrap this up soon, he'd be falling asleep on the phone. Not for the first time, he wondered if she was testing him- trying to see how well he was paying attention. Maybe there'd be a pop quiz when he got home.

"Can you make dinner?"

"Sure thing." And he was sincere in that. He didn't want his mother cooking- especially after his little sister just got back from an athletic activity. The last thing he needed was for her to get food poisoning, or something stupid like that from their mother's 'experimental cooking'. Experimental indeed- if she worked for some psycho poisoner.

"Nothing with preservatives, got me," she demanded, and he groaned. Still, the brunette nodded and mumbled his understanding. He didn't think she really believed him though. He'd sneak Hikari a Yankee Doodle or something after dinner, he decided, as a congratulations. One of the first things his mother had been sure to tell him was that the dance team made the top 3. Odaiba Junior High hadn't scored so well since the year before Taichi went in. It was definitely something to boast about for a couple weeks.

"Anything else, Mom," he asked, stifling a yawn with difficulty. He all but stuffed his fist into his mouth to muffle the sound, but he was sure she heard him anyway. She sighed, and he could just picture her shaking her head hopelessly on the other line.

"No, no... The house isn't on fire or anything?"

That took Taichi aback. He actually stared at the phone as though the thing were malfunctioning before returning it to his ear, sounding offended. "Why would it be," he demanded suspiciously, raising an unseen eyebrow.

"Oh, nothing, nothing," she replied, sounding distracted. He heard his father mumble something in the background. "Stop it, I know how to drive!" Taichi winced, even if the comment wasn't for him. If they were at it again, and Hikari was stuck in the car with them for an hour... He made a mental note to give her an extra Yankee Doodle. "We'll see you soon, Tai."

"Right. Bye." He had opened his mouth to add 'love you', but she hung up before the words could get out of his mouth. Scowling, he hung up the phone and sighed, rubbing the back of his neck in thought. His dad had a bit of a drinking problem.. Maybe that was why they were bickering so much lately. It was getting a little tiring though. The fighting just got worse and worse, and he felt as though he were putting more effort into keeping Hikari in good spirits than he spent saving her from Myotismon!

Right. Well. First thing's first, he thought to himself, rubbing the palms of his hands together as if preparing himself for great task. And then he called Sora.

"Hey, Sora?" He said it questioningly- she was sounding more and more like her mother on the phone by the week. It was getting hard for even him to tell them apart, and he'd known her since childhood. He waited till she confirmed it was her before pressing on. "Er... I need some help."

"What did you do," she demanded. He sighed. Did no one have any faith in him these days? ...Besides the kind that was sure he'd screw something up?

"Nothing, nothing," he replied hastily, before she could launch herself into her Responsibility lecture. She was like his mother- but worse, because she didn't just have suspicions of the things he did when he wasn't under watchful eyes. She had first hand accounts, too. "I, um... I was given dinner duty."

"And you were told not to make something from a box, weren't you?"

"Including pizza," he sighed, nodding unseen confirmation. He heard her giggle, and hoped that was a sign that she would help. "You could stay after, help me congratulate Hikari!"

"So they did it," she asked. He could hear the scraping of wood in the background and knew she had sat herself down at the kitchen table in her own apartment. Unlike him, Sora didn't like standing when she was on the phone. She always said it made her feel awkward, staring at the wall.

Good thing she has cordless, he thought. "Yepp! Top three."

"Go them!"

"Yeah. My parents are bringing her home now." Something in the tone of his voice must have suggested something broke out again, because Sora fell silent for a moment, thinking.

"I'll bring over some ohagi I made today for her," she said. "And some meat buns. We can cook up some vegetables at your place... I know your mom has that." He could just imagine the corners of her mouth twitching upwards, trying not to appear so serious. It made Taichi grin himself.

"Thanks Sor," he said brightly. She sighed.

"One day... You're gonna starve to death without me."

"Only if the pizza man stops delivering," he assured her. Even she couldn't not laugh at that. He allowed himself a satisfied smile. Sometimes she let herself get so uptight, and it was hard to make her unwind. But that was his job, as official best friend in the entire universe. Not that he was bragging, of course.

"I'll be over soon," she promised. He thanked her again, and the dial tone sounded, informing him that she'd hung up. Taichi placed the phone back on the receiver and smiled to himself. Well, that was easy. If his mom didn't smack him upside the head for asking Sora to do his dirty work. But he wouldn't have asked if he knew she'd mind.

He took some vegetables out of the fridge and washed them quickly, setting them in a bowl for Sora to decide what to do with before heading into the living room. With nothing left to do on his end of the dinner preparations, the teen threw himself down on the sofa, glad for the last bit of down time he'd have before his parents came home and he had to do damage control. Poor Hikari. He considered texting her a little smiley to keep her upbeat, but he was already so close to going over on his phone plan. Nah, Mission: Cheer Hikari Up would have to wait

Author's note: I'm sorry if you think it's too short, but I didn't wanna rush the story too much. Besides, the rest of it seemed like a "for another time" type of... stuff. Well anyways, as is my new policy, next chapter won't be up till I get at least one or two reviews. Just to see if people are interested in my continuing. It's only fair. I spent a few days ironing this out, it's only right you should have to write a five second "well done" or "this sucks" in return.