Things have been different, recently. I mean…y'know, as in really different. Ha! I can't believe I'm struggling to tell my journal something! You must think I'm pretty damn stupid. Then again…everyone else does. You'd be no different. Although you're just a notebook, I guess. You won't hold my intelligence against me. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Different. I wonder where to begin…
Yamato forced himself to stop reading here. He had to take it slowly. Grasping every bit of fact from this tiny blue book was essential if he wanted to find the cause of Tai's odd behaviour recently. He knew he was completely breaking his best friend's trust by doing this, but there was no other way. He couldn't help Tai if he didn't understand what was wrong, and he knew all too well that Tai was never going to explain it to him. He'd made that point quite clear the other day.
"Ok…" Yamato began, trying to focus his thoughts back to the task at hand. "He's resentful that people make him out to be stupid. I see where he's coming from, but surely he realises it's just a joke? Hmph…guess not. Either way, that's not the main point. Tai feels like something's different, and knows what it is, but can't quite figure out how to say it – even in a journal. Gotta be something big." He took a deep breath, before turning the page.
It was blank. Not a single word was scrawled across the page, leaving Yamato to sigh in annoyance. "He can't have given up on his journal already, he's only filled one page…" Yamato pondered to himself for a moment, before placing the book back in the top drawer of Tai's desk and getting up. He would be out of the shower soon, anyway, so it was best not to spend too much time doing detective work tonight. It wouldn't bode well for either of them if Tai found out what he was up to.
Yamato stepped out of the bedroom and walked across the hall. Normally he'd be able to hear Tai singing loudly, as he always did when he was in the shower, but that too was one of the things that had changed about him over the last month or so. Tai didn't sing anymore. It was a shame, too, as he had a beautiful voice. Not that Yamato ever told him that, of course.
"Taiii! You almost done in there?" Yamato said, knocking on the bathroom door. He received no reply, save for the sound of the shower running. "Hey…Tai?" He pressed his ear up to the door. He couldn't hear movement – not even the slight sound of someone washing themselves. It was making Yamato anxious, though he tried to hide it from his voice. "Don't screw with me Tai, I really need to pee. Open up!" He grabbed the handle and turned, opening the door enough for him to poke his head in. At first glance it seemed that no one was inside, but that assumption was soon eradicated by the stomach turning image of Tai's naked body lying crumpled at the bottom of the shower.
Tai woke up with a start; he was lying in his bed, fully dressed in his pyjamas with no memory of how he'd got there. The lights were off, his curtains were closed and the only sound came from somewhere outside of his room. The living room T.V had been left on. He sat up and noticed that there was a small chair at the end of his bed. It was unoccupied, but there was a full water bottle next to it, and a notepad sat on top. Yamato's notepad, to be precise. Tai slowly pulled himself out of bed and walked over to see if anything had been written down in it.
Hey, it's about time you woke up! Nah, I'm just kidding. You hit your head pretty bad in the shower. Don't pull that face, Tai. It's not like I've never seen you naked before! Anyway, listen. The phones are all down thanks to the storm and I'm not too sure how to handle head injuries, so I've gone to see if anyone around here has an icepack, or something…I'll hurry back. Yama.
With a moan Tai gingerly pushed his hand through his hair; as expected, a lump had already formed on the right side. "Damn it, what happened…?" He mumbled to himself as he crawled back onto his bed. The last thing he could remember was being in the shower, and then…nothing. He was here. That was that. Nothing in between. He just hoped that Yamato wouldn't think too much of the state he was in. As much as he tried to ignore it, there was no denying the fact that he'd grown incredibly skinny over the last month. He was in trouble, and had given up on caring.
A snap of thunder sounded from outside, crashing painfully against Tai's eardrums. He hated storms. Ever since he'd been caught outside in one, miles from home, he could no longer tolerate them. If Yamato hadn't spotted him from his car that day, and asked his dad to pick him up and take him home, he'd have probably ended up in hospital with hypothermia. Then again, if all that hadn't happened, he'd have never met his best friend in the first place. "Puh…" Tai spoke into a pillow, quietly. "He'd be better off without me, anyway."
"You say something, Tai?" Came a voice from behind him. Yamato had returned with an ice pack in his hand.
"No, I didn't say anything…"
"Ok, if you're sure. Not sure if you read my note but…"
"Yeah, I read it. Thanks Yama." Tai interrupted.
"Good. Anyway, I got an icepack at last. It's surprising, but no one on this floor had one." He walked over and handed it to his friend, before taking a couple of steps back. Tai placed the pack gently over the lump on his head, wincing. "Then again, maybe it would have been faster to just grab a bag of frozen peas…Listen, Tai. We need to talk." Tai already had an idea of what Yamato had in mind.
"Well, I know your parents are gone for the weekend with Kari and, well, I don't feel like leaving you here on your own after you've just hit your head." Tai was shocked for a moment; he had been expecting a lecture about how he's not taking care of himself properly.
"It's not that big a deal you know..."
"It is to me. I know you think I'm a pain, but would you mind if I spent a couple of nights here?"
"Oh, erm…yeah, sure thing Yama. You're not a pain. Didn't mean to sound like I don't want you here, or anything. Just…don't worry about me so much."
"One of us has to." Yamato retorted with a smile, brushing a few strands of bright blonde hair away from his eyes. He had considered asking Tai about the state he was in; it was obvious that he wasn't eating right, and it was Yamato's guess that he had collapsed in the shower because of it. If he was lucky, though, Yamato could feed his friend up without making it obvious. No arguments. No obstacles. No problems. "Listen, I'm gonna go cook something. I'm hungry. Try to get some rest. I left you some water in here if you get thirsty, or anything."
"I'll leave you to it, Tai." He replied as he turned to leave, before stopping to add "Oh, and sweet dreams." Yamato left, closing the door quietly behind him, and headed for the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Tai got up and pulled open the top drawer of his desk. His journal was waiting for him, as expected. He hadn't written anything in it for a week. With a small yawn he picked up a pen and poured his emotions across the page, hoping that, someday, Yamato would come across it. He knew all too well that he'd never be brave enough to express how he felt about him in person. This way, Yamato wouldn't hate him so much. "…Maybe." Tai added as an after thought, before he hid the book away again and crawled back into bed. "Either way, I'm doomed."
Pleased with how his stir-fry looked, Yamato served two remarkably large portions into bowls and cleaned up any mess that he'd made in the kitchen. People often joked about how he'd make a great househusband someday, but he disagreed. He thought he'd make an excellent househusband someday. He wanted to be a rock star that happened to be able to take care of himself. Someday he would eat well, clean up after himself and rock all day long with his band, never having to worry about anything. He would be independent. He would be cool. Most importantly, he'd be a catch. It was a shame, though; that he wouldn't be 'caught' by the one he wanted. "It doesn't matter." He thought to himself. "Tai's a crush, and that's all he is. It'll go away in time."
In all honesty, though, he knew was lying to himself. Yamato had felt this way about Tai for over a year now and, whilst he had kept himself under control most of the time, he'd occasionally broken down over it. He could call it a crush as much as he wanted. Somewhere, deep inside himself, he knew it was much more than that.
He exhaled deeply and laid the two bowls of stir-fry down on the table, before going to fetch Tai. He knew how the conversation between them would go before he got there. He'd ask Tai to come have some dinner. Tai would decline. He would pull a guilt trip. Tai would accept. That would be that. Simple.
As predicted, that's exactly how the conversation went when Yamato nudged his friend awake. "Yamaa…what do you want…?" Tai groaned, unwilling to open his eyes.
"C'mon, I've made some stir fry. Yours is all served up and waiting."
"I'm not hungry." Tai retorted, bluntly.
"C'mon, Tai! I just spent ages cooking this stuff for you…I thought you'd like it."
"I know, it's just…"
"Y'know what? Sorry, forget it. Doesn't matter anyway. I shouldn't have…" Yamato said, turning around and heading for the door.
"No! No, I'm sorry Yama. It matters. I was just half asleep, is all. Of course it matters. Thanks, I love when you cook for me." Tai stopped rambling and jumped out of bed, over taking his friend on the way to his food.
"Heh, that's what I thought." Yamato muttered, watching his friend bounce down the hallway. Tai's conscience was powerful; Yamato knew that he'd never be able to live with himself if he'd hurt his best friend's feelings. Even when he was obviously depressed, he was too kind to hurt someone else. "It's a shame he isn't gay, coz he's the nicest, cutest guy in the world." Yamato thought to himself with a cheeky smile. "Forget the dinner, I'd eat him up in an instant."
The two of them sat together and ate their meal quietly. Tai was struggling, as his stomach was objecting to the idea of food. Yamato finished his quickly, though, and assured Tai that it was ok if he couldn't eat it all. Unfortunately, that only spurred him on. By this point Yamato protested quite clearly; if Tai really hadn't been eating much recently, it might make him sick if he ate too much now. Yamato was right.
Tai sprinted out of the kitchen and into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. He really didn't want to seem vulnerable in front of Yamato, but so far tonight that's all he had been. "I'm a big, stupid, waste of space." He thought, as the door behind him opened and Yamato walked in. "I hate being so weak..." Yamato quietly sighed behind him, and asked, "Do you need any company?" He didn't wait for an answer; instead he chose to walk over and sit down next to the brunette, rubbing his back as he went past.
"Why is it always me, Yama?" Tai whined, lifting his head up from the toilet bowl to face his friend. They made eye contact for a moment, before breaking off. A blush crept across Tai's face. He was always astounded by how beautiful Yamato's deep, blue eyes were, and he could never look at them for long without going red.
"I don't know, I guess you must be getting my share of bad luck, or something." Yamato laughed quietly for a moment, before putting a hand on Tai's shoulder and looking at him affectionately. "Do you…have anything you wanna tell me yet?"
Tai kept silent for a moment, before muttering "No…I, I mean…I'm fine, Yama." He knew how feeble his excuse sounded, but wasn't ready to be interrogated just yet. Yamato must have sensed this, too, because he rapidly changed the subject onto their activities for the night. They soon decided to wrap up together in front of a film, maybe get some popcorn, and go to sleep. Something even Tai would find easy at the moment.
"What films do you have that I haven't seen?" Yamato asked. Tai hesitated for a moment, before listing them all, one by one. He was 100% correct. From his whole collection he managed to pick out the exact 27 films that Yamato had never watched – and it was a big collection. "Wow, you erm…you have a really good memory Tai. I never noticed before."
"It's not that good…"
"Honestly! I couldn't have remembered half of those. That's a really useful skill." He stopped, before remembering Tai's earlier entry and smiling. "Y'know, you're really smart in your own way. I'm so jealous of your brain sometimes." He laughed, before helping Tai to stand up and leading him out towards the living room. Tai didn't reply, but remained, instead, in shock. "He said I'm…smart?" The thought floated around his head for a while; he was very rarely complimented on much more than his soccer skills, and he wasn't sure that he'd heard Yamato correctly. Slowly, though, his lips curved into a grin. Someone out there didn't think he was stupid. Better yet, the guy he loved didn't think he was stupid. For the first time that night, Tai didn't feel like crap. "Well…it's a start, I guess."
Well, that was chapter one. I'm not sure how many there are going to be altogether…but I don't think there'll be a lot.
I deeply appreciate any reviews. Both positive and negative are useful – but don't flame me without being constructive, please. Everyone needs a self-esteem. I'd rather keep mine intact.
Anyway, THANKS! I hope you all enjoyed reading this; I certainly enjoyed writing it. =D Until next we meet *disappears in a puff of smoke*