Alright, some things to note here before I continue.
Originally I wrote a multi-chaptered fic titled Yagami Taichi, Personal Helper, published around June. It was meant to be a birthday ficcy for PrincessJaded, and I was pretty proud of it if I should say so myself.
But as the chapters plodded on I found that I didn't know how to continue it. Even worse, I've been losing the motivation to continue with writing fanfiction. To be honest, I feel like I'm growing out of the fanfiction-writing phase. I like to write, but perhaps not fanfiction anymore. Besides, it's really difficult writing for a fandom that's dying.
So, with many, many apologies to Diane (with cherries and chocolate syrup on top!), I've decided to delete Yagami Taichi, Personal Helper (for I don't want it to still be unfinished when she's thirty! :P) and transform her birthday fic into this oneshot I've got here. This is basically sort of adapted from the final chapter of the aforementioned fic and is, of course, a Michi. It doesn't have a real plot; more like a nice bite-sized chunk of randomness and happiness, if you get what I mean. After this story, I'll be going into an indefinite hiatus for goodness knows how long - maybe forever, maybe a week... who knows if the interest will ever return? But for now, I present this story - super happy belated birthday, Diane! Tee hee.
Mario Bros and Unibrows
She smelt like baby shampoo. He smelt rather than saw her enter, but knew without a doubt who it was. Of course, other than the fact that they were the only two in the house at the moment - she was the only person he knew that still used baby shampoo purely because she loved the smell of it so much. She shared mega-sized bottles of the stuff with their three-year-old daughter, Yukiko. He found it amusing, really.
"What're you up to?" Tachikawa Mimi queried, peering over his shoulder and staring into the large crockpot that Yagami Taichi was standing in front of. "Wow, that's an awful lot of soup."
"We're having ramen for dinner tonight," Taichi smiled, holding up a crumpled piece of paper with scribblings all over it. "Daisuke gave me this recipe to try out. I'm sure it's trustworthy, seeing how well he's doing at the Ramen Shop."
He picked up a bowlful of raw chicken pieces and dropped them clumsily into the pot, spending water splashing over the rim.
"Watch it!" Mimi cried, jumping backward. "I just showered!"
"Of course. I could smell you from a mile away," Taichi smirked as he stirred the pot.
Mimi rolled her eyes, took a few tentative steps forward and stared at the pot for a bit longer before turning to look at him. "Aren't you supposed to defrost the chicken first before you put it in?"
Taichi stopped in mid-stir, suddenly uncertain. He had dumped the chicken in only ten minutes after taking them out of the freezer. They had still been cold to the touch and as hard as rocks. Did Daisuke normally defreeze the meat first after taking them out? Taichi had no idea. His friend had made no mention of that bit of information when he had handed the Taichi the recipe, possibly assuming that this was something that everyone should know - in other words, basic common sense.
"I'm sure it won't make a difference," Taichi said as confidently as he could. "After all, the chicken will just defreeze inside the pot. It's the same thing."
"Um, okay," Mimi replied rather doubtfully. Much as she loved Taichi and everything, she knew for a fact that most unfortunately, cooking was never his forte - he was worse than her in the kitchen, and that was saying something. She often felt guilty having their daughter eat take-out more often than usual, so whenever they could, they got a daily help to come and do the cooking. That day, though, she was at a birthday party where dinner was provided, so Mimi knew, thankfully, that she would be getting proper, healthy nutrition that day.
Speaking of mealtimes... she glanced at the clock. "It's only nearly two. Why are you cooking dinner so early?"
"Because," Taichi replied at once, delighted that he knew the answer to this question, "yummy soup needs a few hours to slowly simmer so that the flavor of the meat can be fully tasted!"
Mimi couldn't help but chuckle. No doubt Daisuke had told him this. She watched him pick up the noodles too and rolled her eyes. "You know, you don't have to cook those now. Just dump them in boiling water later, or else they'll become all mushy. Didn't Daisuke write that in the recipe?"
"Oh." Taichi felt slightly bewildered. Boiling water? He had thought he was supposed to put them in the soup. He peered at the untidy scrawlings - he was really having some trouble deciphering them - and realized Mimi was right. Oops.
Mimi let out an exasperated sigh, though she could not help but smile. "I still can't believe I've married someone more hopeless in the kitchen than I am. Even Yukiko makes better sandwiches than you do! Remember that time when you set the toaster on fire?"
Taichi laughed weakly, though he had to admit that the aforementioned memory wasn't all that pleasant to remember. Especially when his daughter had presented him with a perfectly buttered sandwich later to make up for his lack of a breakfast. "At least I'm trying, Miss. Know-it-all!" He teased.
Mimi's narrowed her eyes in mock anger, placing her hands on her hips. "Excuse me?"
Taichi laughed. "Do you really need me to repeat that again?" He plonked a greasy finger on Mimi's nose and she squealed, rushing for the sink at once.
"That's it!" Mimi gasped as she splashed her face repeatedly with icy cold water. "No way am I ever going to let you live this down, Yagami Taichi! You know I hate getting dirty after a shower!"
They had little jokey arguments like this every once in a while, and the truth was that both of them enjoyed it. To an outsider, the situation appeared worrying. Taichi still remembered vividly when they had had their first double date with his sister and her then-boyfriend, now-fiancé, Takaishi Takeru. They had had one of these quarrels over what to order for dessert, and all the while the other two had been exchanging subtle-but-in-reality-extremely-obvious worried looks. It had taken quite a bit of explaining for them to get that this was a norm for them - they were just having fun.
"And how are you going to exact this little revenge of yours, my dear?" Taichi asked with exaggerated concern, putting down his ladle and grinning mischieviously at his wife.
Mimi smirked. "Let's make a bet, shall we?"
"A bet?" If there was anything that Taichi couldn't back down from, it was a challenge - and he could see one presented to him right now. Mimi knew this about him full well. "What kind of bet?"
"There's one thing that I'm absolutely sure that you can never beat me at," Mimi informed him, tossing back her hair and throwing him a determined look.
"Oh yeah?" Now this was new. He could think of a few things that fit Mimi's description, but it wouldn't be fair to use those for a bet. "Wait. If you're talking about a manicure..."
"Oh, no." Mimi shook her head at once. "I would never dream of coming up with an unfair bet on your part!" She gestured to the living room. "You want to find out what it is? Just follow me."
"Alright," he said, folding his arms in a warrior-like stance. "You've piqued my interest. Let's see what you've got up your sleeves, sly one!"
Mimi giggled. "But," she added hurriedly as he took a step forward, "before you leave the kitchen... please wash your hands."
Mimi was kneeling against a beautiful white drawer they had bought really cheaply from Ikea just two months ago, rummaging through its contents – piles and piles of…
Taichi could only stare as he watched Mimi leaf through all the video games that he and Yukiko owned. A good part of the collection actually belonged to him, but they had taken to purchasing a few more "innocent" games for Yukiko to play with. However, Mimi hardly played video games. Sure, she often watched father and daughter engage in intense multi-player games, but never had she actually taken part in the playing process itself - except perhaps the occasional game of Dance Dance Revolution.
"Found it!" Mimi gasped finally, slamming the drawer shut with a triumphant grin on her face. Taichi stared at the video game in her hands.
He had to look a second time to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him. She couldn't be holding up a video game titled... Super Mario Bros?
"Are you kidding me?" Taichi choked, trying to keep his amusement down. "This is the bet you were talking about? You're saying that I can never beat you at this?"
"Why not?" Mimi shrugged. "It's my favourite game."
"Favourite game? You don't play video games!" Taichi stared at her, mystified, with the feeling that he had just unearthed some sort of big secret. "Have you been playing in secret?" He gestured to the games and a faint blush appeared on Mimi's face. "We've been married for more than three years! You can't just hide things from me like that!"
"I'm sorry?" Mimi burst out laughing as she picked herself off the floor. "Taichi, I think you might be exaggerating this just a leetle bit." She snaked an arm around his waist, waving the video game at him. "I've taken to playing this game recently and I've gotten really addicted. I just love the flying turtles. In fact, one could say that I've gotten really good at it!" She beamed.
"Better than me?" Taichi raised an eyebrow. "I'm the one that plays video games on a regular basis, not you."
Mimi ignored him. "I bet you an eyebrow that you won't be able to beat me at this game," she told him seriously, heading over to the television. Taichi blinked. He had half forgotten that she had even suggested a bet.
"And if I do win, you have to shave off your entire head of hair!" Taichi replied teasingly, indicating the long, lustrous locks that had to be permed every month and coloured every three. He half-expected her to blanch or even back out – this was a pretty tough deal, after all – but she simply threw back her head and laughed.
She was laughing over the idea of losing all her hair? Taichi began to feel the slightest bit unnerved. How good did Mimi think she was at this game? Honestly, he had only been joking. Mimi needed to work and meet people everyday. He couldn't possibly make her do that with a bare head.
"I was just joking, honey." Taichi flopped down onto the couch, eyeing her. "I wouldn't want you to lose your hair over something so silly."
Mimi stared at him, her expression beginning to border along something close to dangerous. "And what makes you so sure that I would lose?"
"Well, I, uh..."
It was just like Mimi to get this passionate and determined about something as small as a bet over winning a video game. This was just one of the things that Taichi loved so much about her, what set her apart from all the girls he had ever dated before. He could see that this was not something that she was going to back out easily from. Taichi sighed, wondering how Mimi could be so confident over something she can't have played often. But there was no way getting out of this now. He supposed he would just have to go easy on her, make sure that she win.
"I know you too well," Mimi sighed, shaking her head. "You're thinking that you're going to go easy on me, aren't you? Taichi... you don't need to."
"An eyebrow against a whole head of hair just sounds pretty unfair to me," he muttered, abashed.
"Overconfident, aren't you?" Mimi grinned at Taichi wickedly, the very grin that she had used so many times when she really wanted things to go her way."Well, we're just wasting time talking. Let's get started!"
She tossed him a controller and he straightened, getting himself ready for the game. So Mimi was serious about this? Well then, he would be too. She had meant it when she said she didn't want him to go easy on her. Well, that made it all the easier for him.
"Ready?" She leaned forward on her seat, hands gripping her controller, fierce concentration written all over her face. She looked all ready for battle.
Taichi chuckled. "Mimi dear… you haven't even inserted the game."
"Oops!" Looking rather flustered, she tossed her controller aside and hurried over to the television, evidently embarrassed. She fiddled around for a few minutes and then the all-too-familiar tune began playing on the screen.
She grabbed her controller and flung herself onto the couch. "Ready or not, let's begin!"
Fifteen minutes into their multi-player game, which was a Mario-style racing match of three sets, each set consisting of six rounds of race tracks to complete, Taichi started to realize that Mimi had been right.
There was absolutely no need for him to go easy on her... because he was having a hard time trying to keep up with her as it was.
Believe it or not, Taichi was currently being beaten to nothing more than a mushy pile of goo. and in Super Mario, of all games! And as if to rub it in some more: he was against an opponent who he was aware played far less video games than he ever did.
He pressed hard on the button, willing his character's car to go faster, faster and even faster... only for it to slip and spin around on an inconspicuous banana peel. Next to him, Mimi let out a silent whoop as her own character passed the finishing line smoothly.
"I only have three more rounds to go!" She cried happily, sneaking a glance at Taichi's half of the screen. She frowned slightly at the sight. "You're not letting me off easy, are you?"
"Of course not," Taichi hissed as his character's car caught fire.
He could still do it, of course. He wasn't known as the King of Video Games for nothing. Since he was a teen, he had played plenty of games and had been pretty darn good at them. How was it that he was losing so spectacularly now?
As if on cue, his half of the screen exploded with the large green words "LOSER" as Mimi's character crossed the final finishing line. Taichi groaned and tossed his controller aside.
"YESSSSSSS!" Mimi squealed, leaping up and doing a clumsy sort of jig around the room. "I won! I won! I told you I would win!" She stuck her tongue out at Taichi, giggling childishly as she did so.
Taichi smirked as he watched her, knowing he should feel annoyed about the whole thing but to his surprise… he didn't. Mimi had always had a sort of infectious enthusiasm around her. She might be dreamy or ditzy sometimes, but one thing about her that when she was happy, it didn't take long before everyone else around her were feeling happy too, without quite knowing the reason. And as he watched her bounce around as though she was sixteen and not twenty-six, Taichi felt the corners of his mouth quirk up and a sudden urge to get up and join her in her little victory dance too.
"Of course, you've got to live up to the bet, haven't you?" She said suddenly, and all pleasant thoughts immediately vanished from his mind.
"You promised," she added as he backed away. "Are you not brave enough to live up to the bet?"
"Look," Taichi laughed nervously. "I thought we were just fooling around. I mean, I never actually expected you to win..."
Oops. Wrong choice of words.
Mimi growled menacingly at him. "You guys are all such egoistic pigs. So only men are allowed to be good at video games, are they not?" She was so close to him now, he could see the colour of her eyes – the familiar creamy chocolate brown he had gotten lost in so often, a gentle colour that belied her current actions. Yanking his arm with all the determination of a fiery bull, she pulled him up and practically dragged him all the way to the bathroom.
He looked ridiculous, really he did.
Mimi had gone to put back the razor that he usually used to shave, being unable to walk properly due to her fits of laughter. As soon as she had left, he ran to the mirror at once, examining himself desperately. It was funny – he had never cared much about his eyebrows; they had seem so unimportant compared to his other features, like his eyes and his nose and whatnot… but now that one of them was gone, it felt so weird. He looked weird too – the presence of only one eyebrow on his face was terribly strange-looking. He brushed his fringe over the left side of his face, hoping to cover up his lack of eyebrow-ness.
Taichi spun around to face Mimi, looking at him impishly. How long had she been standing there, watching him fret over his appearance? Holding his head high, he walked straight past her and marched into the kitchen.
"You have to admit, that was fun," Mimi added, following him in. "Nothing like a nice game of video game to aid in rest and relaxation!"
"So you say," Taichi muttered, shaking his head resignedly. He headed over to the pot of soup, which was starting to smell really good. At least dinner would be delicious enough to help distract him from his disproportionate features.
How was he going to face his colleagues at work the next day?
"Oh, come on," Mimi said, patting him on the back. "It's not even that obvious. You really don't look that bad. Your bangs are practically long enough to cover it up!"
Taichi sighed. "Just tell me one thing, Mimi."
"What is it?"
"How long exactly have you been playing-" He sighed and spoke the last three words in disdain. "-Super Mario Bros?"
Mimi giggled. "Well, you know..." she gestured vaguely. "It started one night about a month ago, I couldn't sleep and I was insanely bored so I thought I'd try my hands at one of those. You won't believe how long it take to set everything up! But to my surprise, it was unbelievably fun and, well, let's just say I've been waking up every so often ever since for some game playing."
"Why, you sneaky little - !" Despite his previous grumpiness and annoyance, Taichi was beginning to feel really rather amused at the thought of Mimi sneaking out of bed every night in her silk pink nightgown, tiptoeing to the living room and playing a game or two of Super Mario, most likely on Silent Mode.
"Why didn't you just play in the day like any other normal human being?" He asked lightly, bumping her gently at the elbow.
"Well."She shot him a look. "Who, may I ask, hogs the controllers practically every night, Mr. Unibrow?"
"Don't call me that!" He protested.
"You had it coming, didn't you? Going on and on about how you were so sure you would win... Oh God." A giggle escaped from between Mimi's lips, followed by another. "You were looking all worried, as though you really thought that I was going to get my hair shaved off... can you imagine!"
In spite of himself, Taichi burst out laughing too. "Why can't I? I of all people should know very well that underneath all that beautiful hair you have a potato-shaped head."
She swatted him and he quirked his remaining eyebrow, setting her off into a new round of giggles.
"Fancy another game later?" She asked finally when she managed to stop laughing, forced to have to come up for air.
Taichi chuckled as he linked an arm around hers, one hand feeling unconsciously the bare skin above his left eye.
"Of course," he told her. "But this time round - no bets!"
Well, that's the end. Not much romance, I was trying to make it more humourous and random and hopefully that wasn't too boring! Diane, I'm absolutely sorry that this is so belated and I even had to delete the old fic... but I do hope you like this nevertheless!! Love ya! :)
P/S. Taichi kind of looks down on Super Mario, I know... but that is not a true reflection of how I feel about the game. *clears throat* I am a Super Mario fan, and am proud to admit it! :D