Akogare

Rumors have been spreading since the other day... Apparently, someone found Kenta and Hirokazu kissing in the park. Now, everyone at school knows.

Hirokazu and Kenta...I didn't even know we went to the same high school...It's been so many years since the Digital World. I had lost touch with everyone...Even Takato.

The guy who found them, his name was Takeshi. He's a sophomore like myself, we share a few classes. He found them in the park. Neither of them have shown up at school since the rumors started. I'm guessing they're ditching and I don't blame them, I couldn't take the embarrassment either.

I'm doing my best to mind my own business. It's lunch, I'm hungry, I don't want to talk. Good excuse, right?

Someone taps on my shoulder, I turn. "Hey, Jen, did you hear?"

"Yes, Takeshi, I heard." I reply, losing my appetite.

"I can't believe it, it's so..."

If he says sick or gross, I'm gonna punch him.

"...Gross!"

...No, don't make a scene, Jianliang, punching him would only add to these rumors going around. It might make me feel better, the but the cons outweigh the pros.

"Jen? Don't you agree?"

I just take a bite from my sandwich, ignoring him.

"Oh! I get it! You're eating, no need to talk about something so sick when eating! Sorry, man." Takeshi leaves, spreading the news to other students. He walks over to a group of girls who just give him dirty looks, one hits him over the head with a Shounen-ai doujinshi. I catch a glimpse of the cover, I think I have that one, too. The one where Satoshi and Shigeru meet in Masara town, and talk about their adventures... ...And Satoshi kisses Shigeru under an oak tree in Satoshi's front yard. It ends there, I wish it went on a little longer.

"How can you read something so SICK, Sakura!" Takeshi shouts, flipping through the doujinshi.

A low growl escapes from the girl's throat, "Keep it up, Takeshi, and you'll have to find an alternative way to have children..."

"What's *that* supposed to mean?" I hear a kick, he screams in pain.

"I think I'll take my doujin back, now."

"A...Argh..."

I smile, at least not everyone in this school thinks the way Takeshi does. The girls tend to be more open to it, for obvious "oh that's so cute" reasons.


It's been a long day, the rumors were getting weirder and more out of hand. Currently, it's rumored they were both half naked behind a bush... This is official proof that gossip rots your brains. Kenta isn't the kind of person to do that. Hirokazu, maybe, Kenta, not likely. I'd see him as making things romantic.

I decide to check out the park, hopefully I can find Hirokazu and Kenta. I feel like I should warn them that Takeshi's told just about everyone. Though, they might be glad to know that he may not be able to have children after Sakura and her friends got through with him.

I remember that Takato once told me about where they would meet, in some old playground equipment. It was something they'd been doing since the 5th grade, meeting in there and battling in digimon card game battles.

I checked out what looks like... Well, cave with a second floor, it's hard to describe something so weird, maybe the fact that it had a clock over it would help.

Sure enough, they were there. "Hey, guys."

They were sitting together, huddled near the back of the structure, probably considering this place a sanctuary, especially compared to the school. "Go away," is all Hirokazu says to me.

"Guys, I'm not here to taunt you or anything." I say, climbing into the platform inside the... at lack of a better word... Structure. The ceiling is too low. I lightly bump my head. It doesn't hurt.

Kenta gives me a relieved look. "You aren't?"

"No."

Hirokazu still looks skeptical. "Did you come alone?"

"Yes," I reply with a nod. "I'm not homophobic, I won't make fun of you two or join in Takeshi's rumors."

"Do you swear it?"

I sigh, I reach into my backpack. I have one thing that could prove it...

Here goes, Jianliang, you've been careful until now. It's high time someone found out your secret. "Don't tell ANYONE about this." I say as I hand Hirokazu a Final Fantasy VIII doujinshi...

...A yaoi Final Fantasy VIII doujinshi, the kind that includes...Well, in that one, Squall was upset about Rinoa dumping him, and Zell came by to "cheer him up," to put it that way. I have a contact at a manga shop for the stuff they wouldn't normally let me buy. They're "for my sister." I was amazed it worked.

"You... You read this?" Kenta asks as he flips through the pages, his eyes widening near the end of one page. Hirokazu looks over his shoulder, he gives Kenta a quick grin.

I look away from them, clearing my throat. "It's not my only one..."

Hirokazu looks at me in surprise. "You mean... you're...?"

"I finally admitted it to myself a few months ago. At first, I didn't want it to be true, I denied it for so long. I didn't want to..." I trail off, I'm starting to shake. I've never told this to anyone before in my life.

"It's okay, I felt the same way at first." Hirokazu puts his arm around Kenta. "I couldn't figure out how to tell Kenta, but...Well, when I sort of did tell him, he felt the same."

"When?"

"Remember when we went to the Digital World and got separated from you and Takato?" Kenta asked.

How could I forget? That was when this all started for me...

"Well, Ruki woke me up," Hirokazu blushed, "I talked back to her. She kicked me, and I landed on Kenta..." He trails off.

"...In an accidental kissing position." Kenta finishes. "N-Neither of us, actually, liked it."

"I kinda did, back then..." Hirokazu says, Kenta chuckles. He continues, "a few months ago, we were talking about the Digital World."

Kenta blushes. "Hirokazu brought up the kiss... He was using it as an ice breaker or something. I said, 'it was gross,' and he um...Took 'offense.'"

"One thing led to another," Hirokazu says, "and, after a stupid 'kiss me' dare I gave him..." He trails off. Kenta and I both laugh.

"Nothing subtle about you is there, Hirokazu?" I laugh. Good to know he hasn't changed much since before.

"What about you?" Kenta asks. "When did you realize you were 'different?'"

I swallow. Telling people this is nerve wracking, but I feel less alone than before. "Around the same time... I was with Takato and Juri. Juri was picking flowers with Leomon, asking him about them. I was talking with Takato..." I trail off.

"What happened?"

"I... asked him what he thought of Juri." I remember it like it was yesterday, "He said he liked her." I sigh, "I decided not to tell him that I... was beginning to like him. I was still denying it, for years afterwards, but being with him made it seem okay. Normal, even."

"Does he really like her?" Hirokazu asks. "When I was trying not to let Kenta suspect anything, I was talking about Ruki a lot. Or, just any girl."

I look away again. "After the Digital World, I haven't seen him much. We lost contact after a year or so."

Hirokazu and Kenta nod, sadly. "Sorry, Jen," Kenta says.

"It's all right," I say. "I doubt he would have liked me back, anyway."

Hirokazu, Kenta and I spoke a little more after that, mostly about what to do about the homophobic kids in school. I brought up what happened to Takeshi.

Kenta does his best not to laugh. "So, not only did Sakura hit him with her favorite shounen ai doujin but..." He giggles. "She prevented him from 'continuing his family line'?"

"Yeah, most of the others didn't seem to care, and most of the girls," I say, "well, they supported you and did their best to make Takeshi shut up."

"How?"

"Well, let's just say that Sakura started a trend, when it comes to Takeshi." I smile, "Will you both come to school tomorrow?"

"I guess, since it looks like no-one will... really care..." Kenta says, Hirokazu takes his hand.

"Don't worry, anyone acts like Takeshi, we'll take Sakura's advice." Hirokazu says with a grin.

I looked at my wrist watch, it was past 5:00. "Sorry, guys, I've gotta head home, my family's out of town for a while and I need to be home for my dad's 'checking in' phone call. I'll see you in school tomorrow... And if you get any trouble from Takeshi, tell me or Sakura."

The give a mock salute, "Will do!"


"Hey! Guys! Look! It's the two-"

"Takeshi, if the next word out of your mouth starts with an F, you're dead." Sakura warns him as Hirokazu and Kenta walk into the school grounds, Takeshi steps forward and faces them, they just stop and stare at him without saying a word. Hirokazu is staring him down, Kenta is...doing his best not to cower.

"You have a lot of guts to show up here," Takeshi says, glaring.

Sakura and I step up behind Takeshi, we clear our throats loudly, "Think of the children you might not have if you keep this up." Sakura comments plainly. She had more or less taken it upon herself to act as the girls' representative in this whole thing. I know her from a few classes, but we never spoke much, I do know she has a history with Takeshi... It's good to have some back up, at least.

"Shut up!" Takeshi shouts, "I'm not the sicko here!"

"Really? Look in the mirror." I say.

Takeshi turns to me with a frown, "Hey, I thought you were on MY side, Jen!"

"No, I never was on your side and I never will be," I reply, trying to sound calm. "Besides, Hirokazu and Kenta are my friends."

Takeshi is about to say something, but a glare from Sakura shuts him up, "...Fine!" He turns away and hurries off to his class. "Who needs losers like you anyway!" He shouts.

"Thank you..." Kenta says, his face an ever-so-slight shade of red.

"Hey, don't worry about it!" Sakura says, casually. "I'd have done it for anyone, and picking on Takeshi always makes my day so much brighter."

Kenta and Hirokazu laugh a little. "I can see why." Kenta says, "He gives up pretty easily."


It's lunch, Sakura, Hirokazu, Kenta and I are eating together. We've been able to avoid Takeshi since the incident this morning.

Or at least we tried to, he occasionally walks by glaring at us. We just ignore him, most of the others here were pretty supportive of Kenta and Hirokazu. The guys who weren't kept quiet, thanks to the girls. Takeshi was the most vocal of those against it.

"Did you hear we're getting our new class schedules in the next period?" Sakura asks, "I'm kinda hoping we all get a class together."

"I'm trying to make it so all of my classes are with Kenta." Hirokazu said, blushing a little, he's still getting used to being "out." I sort of envy him, not having to hide. But I prefer to keep this to myself. I like my closet, it's warm and cozy. No stares or ridicule.

Kenta smiles at Hirokazu. "Me, too, Hiro-chan."

"I had to switch my PE period," I say, "and I'm taking an English class."

"Good luck learning English," Sakura says, "I tried learning it last year, it's hard."

"How much did you learn?" Kenta asks.

"How much would you learn with a D+?"

"(I do know not, I got a C- and I will almost able speak it completely.)" Hirokazu says, in English.

"Oh, VERY funny." Sakura replies, with a laugh.


First day of the new semester... I'm sitting in my English class, the first one there. Class doesn't start for another few minutes. I decide to sit somewhere in the back.

"Hey, sit up front! I'm not going to bite!" The teacher says.

I sort of ignore him, just giving a nod. After an encounter with Takeshi after school yesterday, I haven't been in the mood to talk. He basically told me that I was sick, called me a fag (I hate that word so much), and threw some insults towards Kenta and Hirokazu. I punched him in the face, it grew into a fight. I left with a bleeding lip and a bloody nose. Takeshi had a black eye and a pretty bad nosebleed.

I didn't see him today. I may not like him, but I still want to apologize. I hate fighting.

The teacher tries to get my attention. "Hey, what's your name?"

I just sigh. Please, I'm not in the mood...

He smiles. "Okay, I'll just call off names from my role sheet until you respond to something... Takuya?" I didn't respond. "Taichi?" Nope, give it up. "Takeshi?" Oh great, I have to share a class with him. "Azusa? ...Nah, that's not you." He clears his throat. "Daisuke?" Not even close, "Takato?"

I almost gasp. I do my best not to move... ...There has to be more than one Takato in the school, right? I know five different Kensukes, twelve Yamatos, three Kasumis, the list goes on! It's gotta be another Takato!

"Huh?" The Teacher gives me an odd look when he notices that I'm beginning to sweat. "Do you know this Takato Matsuda kid?"

...Okay, so much for the 'it's another Takato' theory. I just nod.

"Does he bully you?"

I shake my head.

"What makes you so nervous?"

"...Nothing." Is all I say. I doubt he'd accept the 'he's the boy I've had a crush on for years' excuse.

The teacher gave me a skeptical look. "It's something." He said, he turns back to his desk and began to sort through papers.

I sigh, I reach into my back pack and pull out one of my favorite shounen-ai doujinshi, another Zell and Squall, third in a series. In this one, Squall, in a burst of fear after he's almost killed by Edea, tells Zell how he feels about him...In front of Seifer and Quistis. I love the emotional tension that's built up between Zell, who actually keeps his mouth shut for once, Quistis, who had a secret crush on Squall, and Seifer, who's ordered to kill Squall by Edea but he can't do it now because Zell is-

"No comics in class." The teacher says.

I put the doujinshi away.

"Good going, Kuro-sensei, things that sick shouldn't be allowed on school grounds."

I recognized that voice... ...Takeshi. Please don't tell me he was looking over my shoulder...

"I knew it!" He shouts. He has a fat lip and I guess I must have given him two black eyes, or someone else touched up my work. "You're gay! You're like Hirokazu and Kenta! I can't believe I didn't see it before!"

I say nothing, I just take out my notebook and look away.

"Hey! Don't ignore me!"

Too late, Takeshi. I begin to write down various notes. English that the teacher wrote on the board mostly.


I ignored Takeshi the rest of the period, and anyone else. Takato sat in the front of the class, I don't think he noticed me. If he did say 'hi' I probably didn't hear him. I didn't even hear the lesson from our teacher, I was too busy thinking, even during my next classes...

...Takeshi knows... And if he knows, the whole school will know in about a day or two...

...And my parents will hear about it eventually... ...And Takato. ...I don't want Takato to know, anyone else, fine, but... ...I don't want to lose what minor chance I'd ever have of being at least friends with him again.

It's lunch, I'm sitting as far away from others as possible, there's a lonely table near the back. I'm the only one there... I don't want to talk to anyone.

Hirokazu and Kenta are sitting at a table with Sakura. Takeshi is walking towards them, I can't hear what they're saying...

...But I can guess as Sakura picks up her carton of milk and pours it on Takeshi's head. He yells at her, and then stomps away.

The group of three get up, walk to my table and sit down...

"Sorry, Jen. Takeshi's telling everyone..." Sakura said, hanging her head. "And why didn't you tell me?"

"Sorry, Sakura, I know you're behind Hirokazu and Kenta and all, but..." I trail off, sighing. "It was hard enough for me to tell them, I don't really like advertising it, you know?"

Sakura nods. "You're right...I'm sorry."

"It's okay," I say, "I just hope Takato doesn't hear about it for a while..."

"He's in our PE class." Kenta says, taking a sip from his soda.

"Has he heard?" I ask.

Hirokazu looks up, "He has," he begins. "Takeshi's in the class, too. He ranted about us to him, then, well, 'Lee's a perv like them, too.'"

"Hate to say it, but the look on Takato's face was...sort of priceless," Kenta trails off. Not helping, Kenta...

I feel sick, Takato knows... I bet he hates me.

"...Anything else? Did he join Takeshi in his 'oh yeah, Jian's disgusting' rant?" I ask.

Hirokazu looks away, "Well, I'm not sure what really happened... ...But, Takeshi had to be sent to the nurse's office, and Takato to the principal. Kenta saw more than I did."

"I heard Takeshi call you a..." Kenta whispers the next word, awkwardly, "fag." He clears his throat, saying, "After that, I heard Takato scream at him. Like, the 'Takato's pissed' scream, remember that? And, well, when I looked, Takeshi was on the ground and Takato was standing over him..."

I almost choke on my food, "W-What!"

"He stood up for you, Jen," Kenta says, "maybe you should try to talk to him sometime. I mean, I haven't seen him that angry in so long. Takeshi had to hit a nerve!"

"I wish I could talk to him. He's probably going to get suspended for this."

"I dunno, Takeshi was going on one of his classic rants and Takato just got sick of it," Hirokazu explains, "It's possible that he'll just get off with a Sunday detention, and Takeshi will get in bigger trouble. He dropped the F-bomb, you know... The shorter one, I mean."

"...I hope so."


The next day went by quickly, no-one bothered me.. And Takeshi didn't show up, I'll just assume that someone hospitalized him. I almost feel bad for how badly he's been getting beaten up, even if he does deserve some of it...

I feel numb, when it comes to people knowing, I mean. Some people whisper when I walk by, but...No-one's said anything to me...

...Until I was in English...

"J-Jen?" Someone taps on my shoulder.

I turn, my eyes widen. "Takato!"

He looks away. "I heard about what Takeshi was doing-"

"Class, sit down, there's something I need to talk to you about." Our teacher tells us as he walks into the room. Takato sighs, quickly apologizes and goes to his seat.

"I have to talk to you after class." Takato whispers before he leaves.

"Class, recently, there have been.. ...rumors... going around about students at this school," He begins, scanning the class room. "I guess Takeshi isn't here, so now would be a good time to say this without interruptions."

No sooner had he said that then the door opened...

...Takeshi. This is not my day. Though, Takato really had stood up for me it looked like. He had a large bruise on his left cheek, and still had a swollen lip... ...I wonder if he still had all of his teeth. "Sorry I'm late, Kuro-sensei, I missed my bus and had to walk over here." He glares at Takato and sat in a desk between us, as if he's trying to separate us...

"Takeshi, I would appreciate it if you would keep quiet while we talked about something." Kuro-sensei began to speak.

It was about... ...Well, Hirokazu, Kenta, and I. No names given, of course. Mostly about how he doesn't want students putting each other down over things "like that," the most Takeshi got in was, 'But it's sick' which, in return, received a glare from a few students (Takato included) and the teacher telling him to be quiet.

I didn't see Takato after class, though. The discussion went well into the next period, I was late for my math class, we all got notes to our next class from Kuro-sensei because of it.

After school I decided to walk through the park I had found Hirokazu and Kenta in...

As I cut through the back to get to my apartment, I hear what sounds like crying. I scan the park for the source, I can't believe my eyes. "...Juri?" She's crying on a bench, under an old oak tree.

"You..." She looks up at me, tears run down her cheeks. Her eyes are bright red.

Juri? Crying? What happened? "Juri? What's wrong?" I hurry over to her.

"Like you don't know!" She cries, raising her fist.

"I don't!" I skid to a halt and step back, this doesn't exactly look good. "Honest!" Crap, was she with Takeshi? ...A girl on Takeshi's side?

She calms down a little. "Y-you mean... ...Takato... didn't talk to you?"

"N-not yet! He had something he wanted to mention, but, well, it's a long story, we couldn't talk to each other." I said.

She lets out a short sigh, wiping her eyes. "...Takato likes you."

I almost faint. I swear, I almost faint. "W-What?"

"...He's bi, or, well, he's not exactly sure, he said." I see tears welling in her eyes again, one starts its way down her cheek. "He liked you a lot since we were in the Digital World... And when he found out you were gay the other day. He told me...He knew, all this time, that I liked him...And then he hears about you..." She began to cry harder. "...I wanted him."

"Juri... I-I'm sorry..." I doubt that helped... I was more than glad that Takato liked me, but... ...I felt so guilty that it hurt Juri like this.

"N...No... Don't be, I-I'll be fine." She smiles, obviosuly forcing it. "I just didn't see it coming. We were close friends, and...I guess I started to think he liked me. I can see why you like him, Jen. And even if things don't work out, we can all go out and try to pick up boys together."

"I don't know all the good ones are straight." I sort of kick myself for that, I thought a joke might help, even a bad one.

She laughs, to my relief, "I thought it was the other way around. You *did* get Takato!"


I can't believe it... Takato likes me... Juri couldn't have been lying, why would she? Takato likes me... I'm excited just thinking about it, it's indescribable! I know that Takato likes me...

...I just wish he could be here to confirm it. I may be sure, but, some part of my mind says it's not true... I'm so used to expecting the worst if he ever found out. I used to play it in my mind, and...If he didn't like me back, he would always hate me. Usually, it was the latter. I guess I wanted to prepare myself in case he ever did find out.

I sigh, I'm alone in my room, I'm wondering if I should call Takato and ask him if it's true, or wait until school... I look at my calendar, it's Saturday. Meaning we *do* have the day off tomorrow... ...So I'm sure his parents would let us have a friendly meeting. Xiaochun and the rest of my family are gone for the weekend, visiting relatives back in China, they didn't have enough money for all of us to go, so I volunteered to stay at home and watch the apartment.

I reach for the phone and dial the number of Takato's Parents' bakery... I can't believe I still remember it after all these years.

One ring... I'm already starting to reconsider.

Two rings... My heart is beating faster than ever.

Three rings... I'm not going to hang up, I am NOT going to hang up...

Four rings... ...Okay, maybe they're not home.

"Moshi moshi, Matsuda Bakery, home of the famous Guilmon bread." Answers Takato's mother.

"Moshi moshi. This is Jenrya Li, I'm wondering if Takato is available to talk." I'm impressed by how casual I managed to sound, despite the heart trying its hardest to break out of my chest.

"Sure," Takato's mother says. "Hold on, he's home." I hear her calling him. I hear him take the phone.

"Jen-san?"

"Takato..." I'm a little nervous, "Um... I was just wondering if you wanted to... Come over for a bit."

"Tonight?" He askes.

"Y-yeah."

"Let me check." I hear him talking to his parents, "Sure, I'll be over there in an hour. See you then."

"See you, Takato..." I hang up. I take a deep breath and a long exhale...I can't believe I managed call him, let alone not sound like I was about to faint.

After a bit of thinking, I decided to get to work on... ...Well, it's going to sound kind of stupid but...

...A Semi-Romantic dinner? Nothing like you see in movies, with wine, candle light, and things like that. This is just going to be a nice meal, hopefully Takato will tell me how he feels and we'll be making out before dessert...

...What? I don't have hormones?

Sadly, I don't have the time or the knowledge of cooking to make a romantic dinner. So, I'm just going to make a pizza, a couple small single serving pies, and use ONE candle. Just one! I swear!

...Maybe two.

I put the pizza in the oven. From what I remember from back when we were friends, it's Takato's favorite: Olive and mushroom. I just hope he gets the hint.


I look in the dining area of my apartment...

...Okay, so I went a *little* overboard on candles, three on the table and one in each corner of the room as well as a few others might be a little much. What the hell am I thinking? I know this is stupid...

...But damn it, it's dim and kind of romantic. ...I want this night to be perfect, I want Takato to tell me how he feels, we'll have one of those kisses you see in shounen ai manga and... ...Well, we'll see what happens.

The there's a knock at the door just as I put the pizza in the center of the table. I run to the door. "Coming!" I shout. I turn the knob, I'm nervous...

...Too nervous... ...I'm frozen! I can't move! ...No, I have to do this. I know there's a very good chance that he'll like me, but... ...I still expect him to say he doesn't like me...Why?

...I finally take a deep breath and open the door.

"Hi, Jen," Takato says, smiling as he walks inside and takes off his shoes by the door. He's...rather casual. If he had invited me over, I'd be even more of a nervous wreck than I am now. Of course, he probably doesn't know I talked to Juri...

All of the lights in the apartment are off except for a light over the oven in the kitchen...

...And the, last time I checked, ten candles in the kitchen.

Takato gives me an odd look as I close the door, "What's wrong with the lights?"

"Uh..." I begin to sweat. "Let's just go into the kitchen." I say, closing the door.

We walk into the dining area...

...Takato steps back upon the sight. "C-Candles?"

"Th-the power's been weird, off and on all night! I swear!"

"...Then why's there a light on over the oven?"

Curse that light! "It's... Battery powered?" I motion for him to have a seat, hoping to change the subject to something else. I just need to think of something else...

Takato sits down, I don't think he bought the excuse but he didn't say anything at least...

We eat the pizza together, Takato makes a few jokes about the candles.

Okay, so my plan for our first kiss to be in a romantic candle lit room didn't work, but, I could have sworn he purposely brushed against me when he went to put his plate in the sink. I put out the candles once we finish the dishes.

We go into my room, I turn on the light.

"I knew the power didn't go out." He says with a slight grin.

I panic. "Errr... I was testing the light switch! I guess it's back on!" He sits on my bed as I flip the switch on and off a few times.

"Jen, the lights were on in the hall to your apartment." He says.

...Why the hell didn't I realize that would put a hole in my 'power' excuse?

"Just wondering, why did you want me to come over?" He asks.

Okay, no use trying to hide it any more. Here goes nothing... "Well, you see, I talked to Juri today..."

Takato's eyes widen. "W-What did she say?"

"It was about you..."

He turns red, glancing away. "I was afraid of that..."

"...Is it true?" I ask.

"Is what true?" He replies, trying to avoid answering my question. He's obviously trying to hide how nervous he is, and doing a bad job.

"That you're bi."

"...W-well...I-I, um..." Takato trails off, stammering. He finally says, "I-is it true that you're gay?"

"Wait, I asked first!" I say, I don't like the way he's dodging the answer. If what Juri said was true, then...

...What if she was lying...? No, no, why would she? ...Then why is Takato dodging the question so much?

...I still want to know if Takato would have a chance with me. I have to know. "...Yes." I finally say.

Takato relaxes a little. "...Same here..." He says, raising his hand slightly, looking away with an obvious blush. "...I'm...I said bi, but...I don't think it's really the case..."

I take a step closer to him. "And... Is it true that you like me? Juri said that you did."

Takato goes slightly pale, he gets up a starts to walk towards the door in a panic, I hold my hand on the knob and stand in front of him. "Takato... Please. Tell me."

"J-Jen... I... It's hard to say... I mean... It was hard enough to tell Juri... ...But, you?" He takes a deep breath and lets out a long sigh. "...When we stopped seeing each other after the Digital World, I still thought about you. Constantly." He looks up at me, our eyes meet only for a second before he looks away again. "I...I was so happy when I found out we went to the same high school, but all I could bring myself to do was watch you in the halls or at lunch. And when I heard Takeshi spreading the rumor you were gay, I was so mad that he was trying to hurt you, but...I...I wanted it to be true. I wanted it to be true so badly..." His voice cracks as he looks up at me again, he looks terrified. "...Jen, I-I love you." He blurts out. His face turns bright red and he looks away from me almost immediately. I can't believe my ears. "But I didn't think you would ever feel the same way..." He turns away, shaking ever so slightly.

I can't believe it... Even though Juri told me, it's impossible to comprehend... Takato... loves me... He said he loves me...

I walk behind him, I hug him from behind, "...I do."

His body feels limp, he almost falls back into my arms but manages to catch himself. "D-Do you mean it?"

I kiss him on the cheek as a sign of confirmation. It was quick and really awkward. We both blush, I can't believe I actually did that, but...Manga is a bad influence sometimes.

He turns around to face me, looking as nervous as when I first mentioned Juri. I put my hand on his cheek, he hugs me... We both look into each other's eyes...

...We kiss... Our first kiss... It's amazing, I never felt like this before in my life... This has to be love...

My legs feel weak, I begin to fall backwards, taking Takato with me. We land on my bed, he breaks the kiss.

"What are you trying to do?" He asks.

"N-Nothing! Really!" I laugh nervously. Really, I did lose my balance...


It's 10:00 at night... We're sitting on my bed, watching a DVD, Final Fantasy Unlimited... He's been in my arms the whole time.

I smile. "If only they'd make a Final Fantasy 8 show..."

"Yeah, I'd love to see Zell in an anime." Takato says, putting his arm around me.

"Or what about Seifer?"

"Even better, he's the best character!"

"You've got that right!" I say... ...Suddenly, I get an idea. I get up off the bed, "Hold on a second, I want to show you something." I walk over to my backpack from school and take out a Final Fantasy VIII doujinshi...

...A Seifer and Zell yaoi doujinshi. I accidentally grabbed it, I don't take the yaoi stuff to school in case someone catches me reading it. The shounen-ai is one thing, yaoi is another.

Takato looks at me in surprise, as I hand it to him, "Wow! I've been trying to find one of these, they're rare..."

"It's one of my favorites." I say, Takato begins to flip through the pages...

...Suddenly his eyes widen. "...Hello, Zell..." He grins with a laugh.

I laugh, "Great, now I'm feeling jealous of a video game character!"

Takato kisses me on the cheek. "I'd rather have you over Zell!"

"Thanks."

"...Irvine, on the other hand..." I give him a playful bop on the head as he pushes the doujinshi aside and pushes me on the bed, kissing me, and holding my wrists... ...Oh, I think I know what he's getting at, this is what happens in the doujinshi...

He breaks the kiss. "So, Zell," He jokes, "What should I do to you first?" He quotes the mad Gunblade-weilder.

"Takato-"

"Seifer Almasy, to you, Chicken Wuss!"

We both laugh as he says Seifer's famous insult to Zell... He rolls off of me.

"...Hey, Takato... Just wondering... When did you realize you...liked me?" I ask.

Takato thinks for a moment. "Remember when we first met?"

I nod.

"Well..." He begins, "Whenever I saw you, I sort of stared at you for a long time, a lot when you weren't looking. I freaked out when I realized why since that was the first time I've ever acted that way towards anyone ...But, I finally realized I liked you the day we left for the Digital World." He holds my hand, "I didn't think you'd feel the same, so I kept it to myself...I almost told you the day we were in that black and white world, but... Well, Juri was there, and then Hirokazu and Kenta showed up with Ryou."

I smile. "At least we can finally admit that we like each other..."

"I love you, Jen-chan."

"I love you, too, Takato-chan..."


It's lunchtime, on Monday. The weekend was amazing, most of what we did was talk, but, we did manage to.. ...um... It's a little embarrassing to say but...

...We kinda made out for about half an hour until the phone rang.

We're sitting next to each other, eating some sandwiches...

...Until we're surrounded by Hirokazu, Kenta and Sakura. I swallow my sandwich bite. They all just stand there, with huge grins. "Uh... Hi?"

"Yay for Jenrya and Takato!" They cheer, throwing some confetti they had in their pockets into the air.

Takato and I both turned red in embarrassment, we both laugh a little after a moment. The others sit around us at the table.

"Thanks, guys." Takato says, putting his arm around me.

"H-How did you...Know?" I ask, blushing slightly.

"You can thank me for that." Sakura says. "I came by your apartment on Sunday to ask for some notes," she grins. "On the sofa, eh?"

My eyes widen. "Wha...? N-No! We were just kissing, I swear!"

"I was only there for a few seconds, I heard you say 'Takato-chan' through the door..." Sakura says, smiling. "Congratulations, Jen! Of course, when I saw these two later..." She looks to Hirokazu and Kenta, both turn bright red.

"Look out guys, Takeshi alert," Kenta says, quickly changing the subject.

Takeshi seems to be ignoring us, fortunately, as he walks by, humming a song, "Sou, (nice to meet you, good to see you), kitto watashi no omoi anata no haato ni tonde tonde tonde yuke..." He's barely a foot away from our table when Sakura gets up and slams her hands on the table. She gets the attention of everyone nearby.

"Hold it right there Takeshi Himura!" She shouts, "I know EXACTLY where that song is from!"

Takeshi turns to face us, visibly embarrassed. The look on his face practically had the words 'Oh SHIT' written all over it.

"Card Captor Sakura, one of my personal favorite SHOUNEN AI AND SHOJOU AI animes!"

All of the cafeteria looks at Takeshi in shock... ..The most homophobic boy in school watching shoujo anime... ...Which contains shounen ai. A lot of blatant shounen-ai. It's CLAMP! What else do they make? Only thing more obvious would be Gravitation!

"I... I..." Takeshi drops his food and bolts, Sakura's not to far behind.

"I knew it! I knew you were too homophobic for your own good! You're hiding something!" She screams as she chases after him.

"It's not what you think! I...I heard it on the radio! It's stuck in my head!"

"...Is it just me or does that sort of remind me of one of those scenes where Li runs away from Yukito?" Hirokazu asks.

"I think so..." Takato replies, "Though, Yukito isn't normally screaming at him..."

"That's usually Sakura's brother." Kenta says.

We eat our lunch, the four us go to our classes... ...But, I give Takato a quick kiss on the cheek before going, a few girls giggle and start to whisper things about us. I ignore them.

...I'm not sure what will happen from this day forward, but, whatever does happen, Takato-chan will be with me.

The End

Original Author's (AKA Ori's) Notes:
I sort of wanted to avoid putting this one back up, but...Reiji mentioned it in one of his reviews and before I even read the review I got an IM from Taiki saying: "Someone mentioned Akogare! IwantitIwantitIwantit! Jenkatojenkatojenkato! Wheeeeee! LoveloveloveloveloveI'minlovewithlovelyJenkato! Tralala!" (Paraphrased)

So, I was honor-bound to reconsider my position on this fic as I had promised him regarding requests...Though I should point out that a request is "please put up Akogare" not just a mention of it, but...I'm throwing Taiki a bone here since he really liked this one

Real quick with the ending: It plays on the closeted homophobe cliche with Takeshi. I just want to say, though, 95% of the time the homophobe is not in the closet, he's really a homophobe. That whole "ultra-homopbobe = closeted gay" thing is a myth, sorry. However, Takeshi, for the sake of the fic, is in that 5%...

Three things:

1. The kiss in the Digital World Hirokazu mentions: In the Japanese version of episode 26, Ruki kicks Hirokazu in the ass, he falls forward onto Kenta in a kissing position and there's even a kissing sound effect. This was cut from the dub, obviously. But, yeah, Hirokazu and Kenta technically kissed once in the series. Neither seemed to enjoy it, but I still think they're Digimon's answer to The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

2. The Final Fantasy VIII references: I just went with something they could both be fans of and I've always been an FFVIII fan myself. Of course, given that FFVIII was released in 1999, Tamers takes places in 2000-something and this fic is set when they're in High School... ... ...Apparently Lee and Takato are retro-gamers.

3. The title: Akogare, means "to desire" or "to long for." It's also the title of a track on the Tamers Japanese OST (it's a really awesome, kind of slow jazz tune).

Oh, and I hope no-one's too offended by the use of the word fag a few times in this one. I added them when I was going over this fic before sending it Taiki. My logic was that it gave Takato a better reason to get pissed at Takeshi rather than just Takeshi saying "Lee's gay."

Hope you're happy, Taiki. You got Akogare. Now, please, no more begging for stuff after the hundred and twentieth "NO!" Don't make me send you Empty with orders to give it a complete overhaul! In fact, I think Empty should be changed to, oh I dunno, see how far you can push FFN's content restrictions for the M rating! Yeah, be a rebel, Taiki! Don't let THEM tell you what to do (let ME tell you what to do)! I'm sure you'll do a great job at turning it into a yaoiest of the yaoi! *Glare*


Taiki's Notes:

I am indeed happy! Thank you, Reiji! Ori just couldn't say no after you mentioned this one! Well actually he tried to say no repeatedly but it took only an hour or so of intense negotiating-slash-arguing to get him to relent!

And, um, E-Empty? Ori, you wouldn't! That's the Etemon and MetalSeadramon slash fic you did on a dare, right? Y-You wouldn't really make me give that one-Wait. Push the content restrictions? AUGH! NO! NO! I DID NOT NEED THAT MENTAL IMAGE! I'll be good! I'll be good! Don't do it, Ori! Don't!

Ori actually did do a fair bit of work to this one before he sent it to me, which is not the case with almost anything else in the re-upload project so I was very surprised. He told me he wanted to give Akogare "some work." It had me worried at first but, well, I think overall this is an improved version.

I do admit his use of the, um, "three-letter-F-bomb" was a very big surprise. But the shock sort of added to the scenario. I do believe this is also something that was not ever used in his works before this point.

I truly hate to ask this but please review. I really want Ori to know I'm not the only one who likes his old Jenkatos and reviews for this project have been rather slim.

-Taiki Matsuki