Drive Me Crazy Chapter 21: Catalyst

Beta Readers: Ine-capa and Vertorm

Important Notice: AS OF MAY 28th 2017, CHAPTERS 20 AND 21 HAVE BEEN ENTIRELY RE-WRITTEN AND ARE NOTHING LIKE THEY USED TO BE! ADDITIONALLY, CHAPTERS 1-19 HAVE ALL BEEN UPDATED WITH GRAMMAR FIXES AND OVERALL BETTER WRITING! For the earlier chapters, none of the actual events in the story were majorly changed, though there were some slight adjustments here and there. The only chapters that need to be re-read are 20 and 21. You could check out the old stuff too if you wanted to though.


Daisuke winced as warm rays of sunlight blinded him in the face through the open window above his bed, making his hangover worse. He shouldn't have felt cold on a morning like this, and yet somehow his feet were frozen. When he forced his eyes open he was unsurprised to find that his blanket was already in a heap on the floor. Well, some of it was on the floor - the rest was piled up on top of Ken.

With a groan, Daisuke got out of bed and went to go get his slippers, only to find that he was still dressed in his blue school uniform. After how late their reunion with the other Chosen had gone the previous night, Ken had decided to just stay over at Daisuke's place. Their dorm buildings weren't too far apart, but after enough alcohol the walk always seemed a lot worse than it really was.

Ken was currently majoring in Forensic Science at Tokyo University while Daisuke attended Tokyo Central Culinary College. Continuing his education wasn't something that Daisuke had ever intended to do, but with enough encouragement from Ken he'd decided to at least give it a chance. He was very thankful for it now, especially after managing to find a school that was so close to his best friend. Learning how to cook was turning out to be very fun, and his homework was all stuff that he could eat later!

There was a groan from deep beneath the blankets. Daisuke turned around to find Ken kicking off the covers with a gasp for air. His hair was in a state of chaos and his gray uniform was all twisted up. Apparently neither of them had changed into pajamas. All he could really remember was Ken pulling off the couch cushions to make a bed on the floor beside him, that way they could chat easier. That's what they always did though, so he could be remembering any old sleepover really.

"Ugh…" Ken rubbed his face with his hands. "Your blanket tried to cook me…"

Daisuke laughed and then winced from the pressure it put on his head. He went back to looking for his slippers, though he was pretty sure he'd checked everywhere now. How did he keep losing his stuff so easily? Not that he cleaned his apartment very often…

Ken sighed, "I'll have to take my clothes to the dry cleaner again."

"Hey," Daisuke grinned and conceded to just getting some socks out of his closet instead, though he'd have to step over Ken to do so. "You should just show up to class with your clothes all wrinkled one day, see what happens."

"I'd get kicked out of class is what would happen," Ken said, though the small grin on his lips was noticeable enough as Daisuke shuffled past him. Almost immediately he grimaced though. "Does your stomach feel as horrible as mine does?"

"No, but my head is probably worse than-!" Daisuke gasped as he stumbled to the side while trying to pull the first sock on. He managed to catch himself, but the sudden jerk of his body caused another pulse of pain against his skull.

"Need some help?" came Ken's sarcastic question, though a moment later he curled up and put his face in his knees with a groan.

For a moment Daisuke glared as he finished putting on the other sock, though he got over his indignance pretty quick. "You know what we need?"

Ken's response from the makeshift bed was muffled with his head down the way it was, but it came immediately, "Cheap, terrible food from that place across the street?"

"It's like you know me or something." Daisuke smiled as he began pulling clothes out of his closet. He kept a few pairs of pants and some shirts that only fit Ken just for these occasions.

It had become a strange tradition of theirs to go eat at the awful restaurant right outside of Daisuke's dorm. Of course when they weren't hungover they'd just take the train into town and get real food, but when they woke up feeling like crap, neither of them wanted to walk anywhere. It was rare that Daisuke would have any leftover food in his fridge that they could eat, as most of what he bought was for his cooking assignments. Getting delivery was sometimes an alternative, though not very often when neither of them had much money. So they settled on what was nearby.

They didn't go out drinking too much, and they almost never stayed over at Ken's place with how strict Tokyo University's non-family visitation rules were. They had to be given at least a full day's notice first, and it had to be for educational purposes. Trying to convince them that Daisuke was staying over for anything even remotely educational was just a laugh waiting to happen, so they had stopped bothering with Ken's dorm a while ago.

Of course Daisuke was still completely certain that he could sneak in, but trying to talk Ken into letting him try wasn't worth the wasted time.

Ken took the jeans and black button-up shirt that were offered to him, and then he headed into the nearby bathroom. While his friend was changing and probably fixing his hair, Daisuke quickly pulled on a red T-Shirt and khaki shorts before Ken could come back out. His apartment was just a studio, so aside from the bathroom there weren't any other rooms to change in. He liked his place a lot though.

The kitchen was probably his favorite part about the dorm, which was located to the right of his front door. It had a bar and everything, so he'd never needed to buy a dinner table! Across from it was his living space, which housed the amazing television that everyone had pitched in to get him for his last birthday. Behind the living room, and separated by a wall that the television was mounted to, was his door-less bedroom. It was out of sight from most of the apartment, which was a nice bit of privacy for when he had guests over. Across from his bedroom was the disappointingly small bathroom that no two people could easily stand in at the same time.

As expected, Ken emerged from the bathroom looking as flawless as ever. He wouldn't be caught dead in public with bed-hair and wrinkled clothing, that was for sure. He followed after Daisuke who made his way through the living room and grabbed his keys off the coffee table. Ken left his jacket hanging on the coat rack behind the door, and the two of them were off.

It was a shame that such a nice day was wasted by a hangover, but hopefully eating something would turn it around for them. The nice breeze on a hot day was a good start, but the loud cars and pedestrians quickly overshadowed it.

Once they'd finished crossing the street at the corner, trying to stay together in the tight crowd of people, Ken stopped moving and glared up at the cafe in front of them.

"Restaurant…" Ken shook his head disapprovingly at the neon red letters that were attached to the top of the building.

Daisuke laughed and rolled his eyes, "Here we go again..."

"Daisuke, it's a restaurant called Restaurant!" Ken pointed at the sign, though even he was laughing at himself now. "I can't not notice something so uncreative! Even '52nd Street Restaurant' is less lazy than this!"

Daisuke walked around behind Ken and started pushing him toward the building with a grin on his face. He supposed it wouldn't be a normal trip across the street without Ken's usual tirade!

Ken continued as expected, "It's like they asked a four year old what to name it and the kid was like 'Huh? What? Well it's a Restaurant!' You heard the kid, Daisuke! It's a Restaurant!"

"When I open my first restaurant I should name it 'Food I Guess,' just for you," Daisuke snickered as they walked into the shop. The moment they made eye contact they both had to cover their mouths to keep from making a huge laughing scene in front of everyone else inside.

As they giggled and tried to calm down, both of them still a bit tipsy from the previous night, the waitress looked over at them and gathered up a couple of menus. "Two today?" she asked with a smile.

"Y-Yeah…" Daisuke trailed off, struggling to speak normally as they were walked over to the booth in the far back. He wondered if the waitress had chosen to put them over there on purpose.

The Restaurant was homely - not too fancy or big, but nonetheless comfortable. All along the walls were windows and various potted plants. Most of the customers who ate there were college students from the dorms nearby. Sure enough, Daisuke could even see a couple of his classmates seated nearby. They hadn't noticed him yet, but that was probably for the best. Even if every other person in his class had gone there drunk after a college party at least once, Daisuke still tried to keep up a good image when he could. Maybe that was Ken's influence talking...

"Same as last time?" the waitress asked once they had sat down. She was obviously remembering them from a couple weeks back when they'd had a few too many drinks and suddenly needed food. Daisuke looked over at Ken for just a moment and then he nodded to the waitress, who smiled and walked off.

Ken groaned and covered his mouth as soon as she was out of earshot. "She remembers us!" he spoke through his fingers in dismay. "This is horrible!"

"I dunno, maybe she liked us or something?" Daisuke offered with a shrug, but even he knew that he didn't sound entirely sincere. "Maybe we, uh… made her laugh?"

"Daisuke," Ken dropped his hands and gave him a disbelieving look. "We only come here when we're drunk or hungover. I don't even remember her! Do you?"

Daisuke thought about it for a moment before answering with an awkward smile. "Nope…?"

"Oh God..." Ken put his whole face in his hands this time.

Daisuke rolled his eyes at his friend's embarrassment. "Oh come on! It's fine! We didn't get kicked out so it couldn't have been that bad, right? Don't worry about it so much." Ken had always cared way too much about his image and what other people thought of him.

Ken parted his fingers and glared at him through the gaps. "You are completely shameless and a terrible influence."

Daisuke smirked and pretended to dust off his shoulders. "What can I say, I'm pretty aweso- Wait!" he gasped and smacked his hands down on the table as an amazing idea suddenly struck him. "I got it! I'll name the restaurant FIG! It'll stand for Food I Guess, but only you and I will know! I'll have the store's icon be- hang on, listen!" Daisuke laughed and pointed accusingly at Ken, who had just laid his head down on his arms over the table. "The store's icon will be an artsy drawing of a fig! It's perfect!"

Somewhere along the line Ken had started laughing into his arms and his ears had turned red. Daisuke just shrugged and sat back in his seat with a grin on his face, relishing in the amazingness of his own idea. Man, why hadn't he thought of that sooner?!

Suddenly there was a buzzing sound from Ken's pocket. He sat back up in his seat before pulling out his phone to check his notifications. He'd been grinning at first from their previous exchange, but the way his face quickly fell told Daisuke that the message had not been good. Soon enough Ken was sighing quietly and turning off the screen.

Daisuke gave Ken a questioning look, who began tapping his fingers idly against the tabletop. He seemed to be trying to figure out what to say, so Daisuke waited quietly.

"I, uh…" Ken trailed off and looked out the window. He tapped his fingers a bit more before finally folding them up and answering the question, though he still hadn't made eye contact. "I think Miyako's gonna ask me out tonight."

Daisuke's chest immediately tightened and a cold chill filled his stomach. He felt his fists clenching, so he moved them down below the table where Ken wouldn't see them.

'Come on, you knew this could happen...' Daisuke lamented internally.

"I don't know for sure," Ken pondered out loud, still looking outside. "She wants to talk to me tonight in private. After the way she's been flirting with me, I'm sure it's something like that."

"I see…" Daisuke winced at his complete failure to sound natural, his face heating up immediately. He was blowing this! Come on, come on, get it together! "W-Well that's cool! So what are you gonna say to her if she does?"

Ken looked over at him finally and frowned. "I don't really know yet… You okay?"

"Wh-What?! Yeah, I'm fine!" Daisuke laughed and shook his head a bit too enthusiastically. "Sorry, I guess I'm still really hungover."

Ken's frown only deepened, though he seemed uncertain enough to not push it too hard yet. Daisuke was extremely thankful for that. He could only hope it would last...

"If you say so…" Ken trailed off. "What do you think I should do though?"

"About… Miyako?" Daisuke did his best to swallow down the pang of jealousy that rose up in his chest and burned like bile in his throat. He really had done his best to not hate her over the years, but it was just so hard sometimes. It was his job as Ken's Jogress partner and best friend to support him no matter what. He would protect Ken at any cost, and he would make sure that he was happy. That had always been his top priority in any matter, but of course it was a lot easier said than done.

Ken still hadn't remembered their time together in the base, nor had he shown any indicators of coming close to it. Even now it was like it had never happened. Daisuke could still see it all like it was yesterday, but in many ways he wished he couldn't. He'd already resigned himself to the possible fate of watching Ken fall in love with someone else.

It wasn't like Daisuke to give up on something out of fear like this, so he'd really been struggling with it. Fear of rejection was a petty concern in comparison to his fear of the spore. If there was even a slight chance that helping Ken recover his memories could cause it to turn back on, then he couldn't do it - not even if it meant losing Ken to someone else.

He'd talked to Koushiro about the subject extensively, though he'd never told him the more intimate details about what had happened. All Koushiro had said was that there was no way to know for sure. He doubted that it would reactivate like that, but only testing it out could give them a truly solid answer, and of course testing it out could reactivate it.

They already knew the spore shouldn't turn back on as long as Ken didn't want it to, but what would happen if Daisuke suddenly brought up a ton of painful memories all at once? The Bio Ring, the hallucinations that the spore had given him, the trauma, nearly dying in the infirmary, their past relationship… What if learning about even one of those things triggered all of them together and it was too much for him?

Ultimately Koushiro had told Daisuke that letting Ken remember everything on his own was the only real way to ensure his best friend's safety. So while Daisuke had made a few attempts here and there to help Ken remember, he'd always kept it light - small hints, indirect comments, hypothetical questions and other such things, but nothing had ever clicked.

"Daisuke?" Ken's voice suddenly snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Sorry!" Daisuke shook his head and sighed. "You wanted to know what I thought of you going out with Miyako?"

Ken shook his head, "If you don't want to talk about it that's fine, we can-"

"No, no, I'm sorry," Daisuke cut Ken off and took a deep breath to try and get his thoughts together. He didn't want to be unsupportive. "I'm listening now. I just don't think I'm the right person to help you with this because..." Daisuke looked down at his hands and tried to come up with something that was at least somewhat true. "I really don't like her at all, so I'd be pretty biased."

Ken smiled softly, "I understand. She and I get along really well, but I guess you guys never did."

"Yeah…" Daisuke's voice got quieter than he intended. He was starting to feel sick to his stomach, and not because of the hangover. "You seemed a little upset when you saw her text though," Daisuke managed to say as he looked back up. "Why's that?"

"Oh, I just have no idea how to reply," Ken said and went back to looking outside. "My parents really want me to go out with her, they've made that pretty clear by now. I don't want to say yes just for their sake though, and I really don't know how I feel about it yet. I've been avoiding the subject I guess."

"Well… do you… like her?" Daisuke dared to ask. He knew that he wasn't prepared to hear the answer yet, but he just needed to just face it anyway. There clearly wasn't any more time left.

Ken hummed a bit and seemed to think about the question. There probably wasn't too much time passing by, but for Daisuke it felt like an eternity. He was about to find out from Ken himself if he had any feelings for Miyako... If he did, then Daisuke would just have to grow up and move on. That was what a real best friend would do. He could do it!

Ken finally looked back over at him and smiled, "I think I do."

Daisuke froze and took in a deep breath to try and keep his emotions from spilling out, but the despair immediately shot up his spine. He looked back down at his hands when he felt the stinging of tears. He knew he could keep it down if he tried hard enough, but that didn't make it hurt any less.

Grow up and move on… He'd just resolved to do that, but actually hearing Ken say it for real… Damn it, no! He just had to suck it up and support him! He needed to encourage him to be happy with Miyako! This wasn't about him, this was about Ken!

He could do it… He could stand by Ken's decision - he had to! It didn't matter what he wanted anymore! Somehow he would just have to figure it out and not get emotional, because then Ken would start asking questions. He didn't need to bother him with all this drama.

Daisuke clenched his fists harder. Damn it… He just wanted to break down and cry so badly now. Suddenly the bottle of whiskey he had in his cupboards back home was feeling particularly appealing.

"Daisuke…?" Ken's voice and eyes were filled with concern. "Are you okay? I shouldn't have brought up Miyako, I'm sorry-"

"No, no!" Daisuke forced his voice to sound as natural as he could. Hearing Ken blame himself for something that wasn't his fault made it easier to sober up. "It's not like that at all, I just drank way too much last night or something. I'm not really myself right now."

Ken frowned and didn't seem to buy it. "Daisuke… You know you can tell me if something is bothering you, right? I would never tell anyone else or judge you. You're my best frie-"

Suddenly two large bowls were set down on the table in front of them, beef ramen for Daisuke and miso soup for Ken. A large pot of hot, green tea came shortly after that with two small cups beside it.

"There you go!" the waitress said with a smile. "Can I get anything else for you two?" When both of them shook their heads and thanked her, she bowed and walked back toward the kitchen.

The table was quiet as Ken picked up his spoon and started to eat instead of continuing the previous conversation. Daisuke sighed and did the same, but he could barely hold the chopsticks in his shaking hands. His heart was pounding and he felt a nervous sweat building on his forehead.

Calm down… He needed to calm down...

They ate in relative silence, and Daisuke was happy to find that putting food in his stomach was at least getting his nerves to relax a bit. He was also happy to see that Ken wasn't bringing the subject back up; he wasn't the type to start a scene in public no matter how strong his emotions were. Ken would just save the matter for the next time they were alone. Would he bring it up again once they got back to his dorm, or would he drop it now?

You know you can tell me if something is bothering you, right? Daisuke could hear Ken's words in his mind and he immediately felt guilty. I would never tell anyone else or judge you. You're my best friend. Ken was easily the better person between the two of them.

Daisuke tried to reduce his regret and paranoia enough to at least finish his food. 'Just support him being with Miyako no matter what he says.' He reminded himself firmly. 'This is about what Ken needs, not what I need, and Ken might not need me anymore.'

He winced at his own thought.

"Your head still hurting?" Ken's voice was quiet and concerned again.

"Yeah," Daisuke sighed and didn't bother to elaborate. For years he'd done a great job of keeping his feelings on this matter to himself. Leave it to Miyako to finally ruin it…

As they ate, the conversations were kept lighthearted. A good number of times Daisuke even found himself laughing as Ken brought up something completely unrelated and silly. It was almost as though he was going out of his way to try and cheer him up - and he probably was.

Soon enough Daisuke was stretching his arms above his head and basking in the warm sunlight as they stepped outside the restaurant. They'd pooled up enough money to split the bill and were now on their way back to his place.

And just like that his nerves were back. His stomach was turning, his arms were a bit shaky, and he could feel a cold shiver running up his spine even on such a warm day. Ken would probably confront him as soon as they walked inside his dorm room. This was terrible! He needed to-!

'Get it together!' Daisuke mentally pumped himself up. It was fine, he had this all under control! He just had to not make anymore stupid mistakes and then it would all be okay! If Ken asked about it, he'd just pass it off like he hated Miyako so much that he'd reacted really badly to it at first. He'd say he felt guilty for thinking so poorly of her though, and then he'd just encourage them to go out. He could do it!

"... just got all ten of them!" Ken laughed, and Daisuke realized suddenly that he had no idea what his friend had just been saying.

"Sorry, what?" Daisuke grinned awkwardly as they crossed the street at the light. "The cars were kinda loud, I couldn't hear you."

"But they…" Ken looked over at all the stopped cars waiting quietly for them to cross, and then he shook his head. "Anyway, I was saying that I wonder if Miyako really ended up getting all ten of those different computer parts yesterday. She text me saying she couldn't figure out which one would fix her mom's computer, and I didn't know either. Well apparently she got all of them and decided she'd just return the ones that didn't work." Ken laughed again and shook his head.

"Weird, I hate returning stuff," Daisuke said and looked straight ahead as they walked, keeping a forced smile on his face. 'He's talking about Miyako again… He talks about her more and more these days...'

"She's almost as indecisive as you are," Ken smiled brightly as they made their way past the different dorms. Daisuke had been lucky to get housed in the building closest to the street, though it was unluckily the farthest one from his classrooms. Being on the ground level had its pros and cons as well. He liked not having to go up any stairs, but he really hated it when drunk students would stumble around outside his window at night.

"Yeah, I guess Miyako and I have some stuff in common," Daisuke shrugged casually. He hated to admit it, but it was probably true.

"You have a ton in common!" Ken seemed to really brighten up at that, and Daisuke had to look away and focus on his dorm building instead of on the conversation. So he and Miyako had a ton in common, huh? Something about that comment didn't make him feel good at all…

Far quicker than he liked, they were walking back into his room. Daisuke shut and locked the door, and then he turned around to face Ken. If he was going to bring it back up, he'd most likely do it now…

"You okay with me borrowing these clothes for a bit?" Ken asked as he walked over to the bed to gather up his wrinkled uniform. "I'll bring them back tomorrow."

"Sure!" Daisuke breathed a massive sigh of relief as Ken folded up his stuff and placed it all inside his backpack as gently as he could. He put the hoodie he'd worn to the reunion in there as well, and then zipped it up. There was still a chance Ken could ask him about it, but he usually did it right away, so the odds were low.

"Alright, well…" Ken tapped his foot as he looked around the studio for anything else he might have left. "I guess I'll call you tomorrow? I've got some studying to do tonight before my test. I think it'll be fine, but it can't hurt to go over it again before I meet up with Miyako." Ken looked him straight in the eyes and gave him a searching look. He was definitely suspicious.

"Makes sense," Daisuke nodded as casually as he could, but something in the back of his mind started freaking out all of a sudden.

'This is your last chance to tell him! Once he leaves, that's it!'

"I'll let you know what I say to her," Ken offered, though his voice seemed a bit hesitant as he tossed his backpack over his shoulders. "If you'd like me to, that is."

'He was yours first, not Miyako's! You're just letting her win!'

"Yeah, let me know how it goes," Daisuke smiled and nodded in response to Ken's question. "Text me though, okay? I need to study too and I'll probably just use a phone call as an excuse not to."

'You're about to lose him! Don't let him go!'

Ken laughed and turned toward the doorway, "Alright, see ya!"

'STOP HIM NOW!'

"... WAIT!" Daisuke felt the words burst from his mouth before he could hold them back. Suddenly his heart pounded in his chest and it was hard to breathe. He had the urge to throw his hands over his mouth and run away, but he was too frozen to actually do so.

Ken turned around and looked at him, waiting for him to say whatever it was he needed to say. Daisuke just stared down at the floor as his thoughts swirled into a jumbled mess.

This really was it, wasn't it? Ken would probably say yes to her, they'd start dating, it would surely work out great because they got along so well, and that would be the end of it. Daisuke would never get another chance to be with him... Ken had even said he liked her...

'God, what am I doing? This is so selfish of me...'

"I'm sorry," Daisuke shook his head and looked up with the best smile he could manage. "I just wanted to say good luck. I know I've been acting really weird because of how much I don't like Miyako. It's… really not very fair of me. I just want the best for you, you know? But if that's her… then I guess I'll just have to find a way to accept it."

Ken smiled, "I know, Daisuke. I care about you too. I still don't really know what I'm going to say, but I'll figure it out. Anyway… Thanks for wishing me luck."

"Yeah," Daisuke nodded, and with that Ken left the apartment and shut the door.

Daisuke felt his strength give out the moment he couldn't hear Ken's footsteps in the hallway anymore. He dropped down to the floor and sat back, pulling his legs up to his chest. Sobs erupted from his throat as he buried his face into his knees.

It had been a very long time since he'd cried like this, but he didn't have the willpower to keep it in anymore. He'd just potentially lost Ken forever, he could feel it. It would be different if this were some random person that Ken wasn't very close to, but it was Miyako... She had quickly become his closest friend after Daisuke.

Ken had told him many times before that he didn't really like the idea of dating. In order for him to be with someone he would have to like them a lot, otherwise he didn't see the point in bothering. It was the reason why Ken had still never dated a single person before. So if he said yes to Miyako...

Daisuke had always thought he would be strong enough to support their friendship no matter what happened, but he was quickly realizing that he didn't actually know how to do it - not when it was finally happening for real. Up until now there had always been a chance that Ken could remember what they'd been through and love him again before developing feelings for someone else. But now...

Fucking Miyako! That horrible bitch! He hated her so much, he-!

Daisuke took a deep breath and tried to calm down. He didn't have the right to say that about her. She wasn't a bad person and this wasn't her fault. He knew that, and yet his hatred for her just wouldn't lessen. His jealousy was like a poison in his veins, and it was only spreading faster each day.

Daisuke wiped his eyes and forced himself back up onto his feet. He walked over to the kitchen and pulled out a small, half empty bottle of whiskey and poured a shot into a glass. After throwing the liquid into the back of his throat and swallowing it down with a wince, he made his way over to the couch. He set the alcohol down on the floor beside his feet as he choked back another sob. He'd been told by many people to never drink while upset, but he really couldn't find it in himself to give a shit.

He took a deep breath and looked over at the pile of mail sitting on the end table next to the arm of the couch. All of it was already opened and read through except for one envelope - a letter from the Worldwide Culinary Arts Institute of New York, which was a school with one of the best international cuisine programs in the world. It was taught by people with real food knowledge from different countries, ensuring that their recipes would be more genuine.

Both Mimi and Ken had suggested that he try applying there because hey, why not? He was nearly done with his program in Tokyo, and studying food in America would give him a lot more experience - plus it would look great on his resume. He didn't really think he'd be accepted, but he'd applied anyway for their sake. It was a two year program which included assistance in finding a job upon completion, but of course that offer only extended to American jobs.

Daisuke picked it up and stared down at it in his hands. He'd received it in the mail a couple days prior, but he hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. Something about it felt so finalizing now… If he was accepted and he decided to go, would he ever come back? Of course that had always been the plan; he and Ken had talked about that quite extensively. But thinking about it now, what if he got a really good job in America or something? And what if Ken and Miyako were to...

With a shaky hand, he slipped his index finger under the fold and tore the envelope open. He pulled out the paper, flipped it open, and after taking in a deep breath, he read the letter. As his eyes scanned over the words on the paper he felt his tears returning. He let the letter fall to the floor as he covered his face with his hands.

He'd been accepted.

Daisuke reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, speed-dialing Hikari's number. It only rang a few times before she answered.

"Hello!" Hikari's voice came cheerfully through the phone.

"H-Hikari…?" Daisuke managed to choke out through the fresh wave of sobs.

"Daisuke?!" Hikari gasped into the receiver. "What's wrong?!"

"I need… I need your help…" Daisuke eyed the whiskey again. "Like, really bad… Can you come over? If you're busy it's… it's okay... I can try to-"

"No, no, I'll come over," Hikari cut him off, and he could already hear her opening a door in the background. "Just stay at home and wait for me, okay?"

"Alright..." Daisuke ended the call without another word, and then he threw his phone across the living room with a growl. He didn't know how he was going to manage to not drink himself sick before she showed up, but he'd just have to try his best.