Chapter 22.

December 8th-Two weeks later

Taichi smiled contently as he held his boyfriend's hand from underneath the table. He and two other couples were all "hanging out" at their local pizza place. Ryu and Chikao had gone off to play a couple of arcade games while they waited for their pizza to arrive at the table. Kasumi was returning with a tray of drinks and curiously looked at Ringo, who was busily chewing on a tooth pick. She passed out the drinks to the appropriate owners, and continued to watch Ringo. The light brown haired boy finally took notice of the girl watching him.

"Why have you been chewing on tooth picks so much Ringo?" she asked, taking a seat next to Taichi and in front of Ringo.

"Well, it just sort of helps me I guess," he replied. "To take the urge to start smoking again."

"You actually quit?" Taichi asked, rather surprised.

"Yeah…figured it might help me not to run out of breath so fast," Ringo shrugged.

"Oh…well you look kind of silly," Taichi smiled.

"And you're an ass," Ringo shot back. Kasumi slightly glared at Taichi then quickly stood and walked off to the pick-up window. When she returned she had a toothpick in one of her hands. She sat down once again in front of Ringo and placed the small stick in her mouth.

"There," she stated matter-of-factly. "Now you won't be the only one looking silly." Ringo stared at the girl for a moment…then cracked a smile…and then started laughing. Kasumi joined Ringo in the laughter and the two started to discuss a variety of subjects. Taichi nudged Yamato and motioned to the two of them. The blonde nodded and squeezed the other boy's hand tighter. Soon, a worker came over with their extra-large pepperoni pizza and dropped it off for the group of teenagers that no longer were just "hanging out" but on a "group date."

"Pizza!" Ryu cheered as he hobbled over on his crutches to the table. Chikao pulled a chair out for the black haired boy and waited for him to sit down. Ryu blushed and took the seat that was offered. "You know, I should be the one doing that to you."

"Well right now you're a bit of a gimp," Chikao smiled as he took the seat next to him. Ryu stuck his tongue out, which Chikao simply leaned forward and took his tongue in his mouth.

"Down boy! Down!" Taichi teased as he hit a wad of napkins over the two boy's heads. "We're in public!"

"Look who's talking," Ryu scoffed. "Mr. 'Let-me-confess-my-love-to-Yamato-and-then-suck-his-face-off-in-front-of-all-of-my-fans.'"

"Hey! It was really cute and Yama liked it!" Taichi defended. He turned to look at his boyfriend. "Right Yama?"

"Whatever you say Taichi," Yamato said. Taichi smiled.

"In other words, 'Just shut up and eat your pizza,'" Kasumi giggled. Taichi then frowned as the rest of the table, including Yamato, broke out into laughter.

"I never really got to see this side of you Kasumi," Ringo chuckled.

"Yeah," Yamato added. "You seem much more…relaxed."

"I don't know…It feels easier talking to you guys," she said….looking right at the midfielder. "Have any of you heard from Muga?"

"Probably off hiding all the knives and guns he can find away from Yuki," Ryu muttered.

"What for?" Taichi asked.

"You don't know?" Ryu asked in surprise. The brunette shook his head, as did the rest of the table. "Oh…wow…I thought that everyone heard about what happened to her…"

"Poison!" the speakers from up above sang out. Ryu perked up and started jamming out to the song.

"Yea-a-ah!" he cheered. "It's my song!"

"Ryu," Ringo sighed. "What happened?"

"Poison!" the speakers continued. Ryu joined the next part of the song with a falsetto. "You're my sweetest poison!"

"Ryu!"

"Oh fine," Ryu huffed. "You're lucky that the next part of the song is in a different language that I don't know. Well, anyways, you know that she has HIV right?"

"Yeah, she's real upset about it too," Taichi nodded.

"Yeah, but she was dealing with it. She'd go to school, avoid sex, and all that jazz you know? Well, it wasn't until recently that she just suddenly snapped."

"Really?"

"Yeah. I heard that she couldn't take the pressure anymore and is looking for a quicker way out of her misery. I heard Ren say that she's been looking at guns and knives and she keeps muttering 'It will end soon. It will end soon.'"

"That's…really creepy," Kasumi shivered. "Wow, I didn't know someone could snap like that."

"But what does Muga have to do with any of this?" Yamato asked.

"He's kind of the only one who's been able to talk to her and actually have her listen," Ryu answered. "Not even her older sister can talk to her like Muga can." The group of teenagers sat quietly…until Ryu started singing aloud to the chorus of the song.

"See the fallen angels pray!
(For my sweetest poison!)
I can take these tears away!

(You're my sweetest poison!)
I crash and I burn and I freeze in hell!
(For your poison!)
And I live in my life,
In the dark of your spell!
(You're my sweetest poison!)"

"Who would have thought that one night full of bliss could totally ruin your life," Chikao muttered sadly as he watched his boyfriend make up the lyrics to the song.

"I actually kind of feel bad for Yuki," Taichi sighed. "As much as I hate to admit it."

"You guys did have sex with one another," Yamato brought up. "It's only natural that you would have some feelings for her."

"Maybe," Taichi said, and took Yamato's face in his hands. "But they are nothing compared to the feelings I have for you." Yamato smiled and kissed the brunette gently. Once the two pulled away, Taichi grinned happily at his boyfriend, then turned his attention to the window. He stared curiously at it for a long time.

"What is it Taichi?" Yamato asked, looking at his direction.

"Uh…well…" he muttered. "Call it crazy but…I think someone was staring at us through the window."

"Really?"

"Yeah…a flash of blonde vanished from there or something."

"…no more scary movies for you." Taichi laughed and then turned his attention to the pizza slice that had been calling his name for the past fifteen minutes.

The six teenagers ate the pizza and happily chatted amongst themselves. Once most of them had finished their slices, they decided to go and play a few games before they left. Yamato and Taichi stayed at the table, because the soccer captain was finishing off his fourth piece. Yamato pulled out his phone and then sighed irritably.

"Shit, this place doesn't give me any cell phone reception," he grumbled. "Who knows if my dad called me while I was here." The blonde stood up.

"Where are you going?" Taichi asked.

"I'm just gonna step outside for a moment to see if I get any service," the blonde answered.

"Well take your jacket, it's starting to get cold out there."

"Yes sir," Yamato chuckled as he grabbed his jacket and then made his way to the exit. Taichi munch on the crust of his pizza and he watched his boyfriend fiddle around with his phone. Yamato was punching some numbers into his phone, when suddenly, someone grabbed him from behind and he vanished from the view of the window.

"Yamato!" Taichi choked as he jumped up and ran to the door. He stepped outside to the nippy December air and slipped on a patch of ice. He grunted in pain, but quickly stood and started searching frantically for his boyfriend. "Yama! Yama, where are you!" The brunette ran down one side of the street and saw nothing. He turned and ran the other way. Finally, he came upon an alley way and stopped suddenly.

Muga had a hand over Yamato's mouth and his other arm was wrapped around his neck. The blonde had fear in his eyes and so did the other boy.

"MUGA!" Taichi snarled. He sprang forward and pulled Yamato away from Muga's grasp. He punched the other boy on the jaw. "Don't you dare hurt him!"

"Shush Taichi!" Muga hissed.

"Why? So no one catches you?" He was about hit him again, but the dark haired boy seized his hand and wrestled with him. Muga threw a few kicks and punches, and Taichi returned each blow. The soccer forward grabbed Muga by the shoulders and slammed him against the brick wall. He was about to punch him once again before—

"Taichi!" Taichi snapped his head to the direction where Yamato shouted his name and froze. Yuki was there, holding a gun to Yamato's throat. Her eyes were hard and cold as her finger gently tapped the trigger. She was staring right at Muga and Taichi.

"Yuki…" Taichi gasped. "What are you—"

"You thought you were going to try and redeem yourself Muga?" Yuki hissed at the soccer defender. "By trying to save Yamato?"

"Killing him is not the answer Yuki," Muga said, taking a step forward. Yuki shoved the gun harder against Yamato's throat, and Taichi stopped Muga from moving forward anymore.

"What the hell are you doing Yuki?" Taichi asked. Her cold eyes soon turned into some that looked hopeless and lost. Her hold on the gun also loosened.

"I love you Taichi," she started. "I've always loved you…and I need you to be with me. I thought that once the fight during the park blew over that you would understand how much you needed me too." She turned angry again and pressed the gun tighter against the male blonde's throat. "But you ran off and confessed your love to this…this faggot here instead! I couldn't believe that after all we had been through, you still wanted him instead of me!"

"Yuki," Taichi tried to explain.

"You belong with me Taichi!"

"Yuki, please, I—"

"Me!"

"Yuki just calm—" Muga raced forward in attempt to get some control over Yuki. Instead, she turned the gun on him and shot him. He let out a cry of pain and fell to the ground. He laid still after that. Taichi turned to Yuki in horror.

"Is this sort of actionworthy enough to have your attention? With a gun?" she spat, returning the gun to Yamato's throat.

"You…just killed Muga!" Taichi shouted.

"Like I give a fuck about him…" Yamato let out a small whimper and he looked at his boyfriend. "Aw…is little Yamy scared? Don't worry…" She cocked the gun once again. "It will end soon…"

Taichi felt so lost. If he made any sort of move to get Yamato out of there, he risked having Yuki shot him. If he stayed put however, Yuki would shoot him. It felt like a lose-lose situation. Yamato's eyes locked on to Taichi's.

'I don't know what to do Yama!' Taichi screamed at him.

'It's gonna be ok Taichi,' Yamato replied silently.

"Yuki…please…just…" Taichi groaned in frustration and dropped his gaze. Out of the corner of his eye, he nearly jumped to see Muga slowly inching his way towards the two blondes. The dark haired boy then laid still, glared at Taichi, silently telling him not to give him away, and then continued to slowly…ever so slowly, inch his way over. Taichi understood his plan.

"You…didn't go crazy just because you had HIV," Taichi muttered. "You went crazy…because I didn't pick you."

"But you will pick me," Yuki sniffed. "I just need to get rid of your distraction."

"No…no Yuki," Taichi shook his head, as he watched Muga play dead once again. "There's no need for that."

"Huh?" Taichi sighed as he continued on with his distraction. He slowly, and carefully, started walking closer to her.

"I realize now that…you were really the only one for me. You're sweet, and caring, and sexy, and you know how to make me feel good." While Yuki started to grin with triumph, Yamato stared at his boyfriend in utter confusion. After following Taichi's gaze, the male blonde understood the plan. "I was such an idiot to ever even wasted my time on…on this guy! I mean, seriously…I don't think it would have ever worked out." He was now just a few feet away from her.

"I'm so happy to hear that come from your mouth Taichi," Yuki smiled. Her venomous eyes tore away from Taichi and went back to Yamato. "Now, to get rid of you who made our happiness a living hell!"

"Yuki, don't waste your time on him," Taichi laughed. Muga was now simply a leap away from Yuki. "He's not worth the trouble. Why not just let him go so we can start being happy." The crazy blonde thought for a moment.

"That sounds like a good idea Taichi," she smiled, slightly lowering the gun. Taichi sighed inwardly as the death stick moved away from his boyfriend's precious neck. As soon as it was lowered however, it was quickly back up pressed against his throat. "But why risk having him ruin our lives again? I say, kill him now and save the misery." Her finger started pulling the trigger.

At last, Muga leapt up and grabbed the hand that held the gun against Yamato's throat. Taichi quickly pulled Yamato away and held him tightly against him. Yuki screamed in anger as she fought furiously for control of the gun. She clawed Muga's face with her finger nails and tried desperately to pull her hand away. Muga gave Taichi a: "Why-the-hell-aren't-you-running?" look. Taichi started leading Yamato away from the fight. Yuki hit Muga hard in the gut and took aim at Yamato.

"I'm going to kill you, bastard!" she screamed in her craze. Taichi immediately threw Yamato behind him and faced Yuki with anger in his—

BANG! BANG! BANG!

"TAICHI!" Pain exploded from his chest as he clutched his chest and staggered back a few feet. Tears started to blur his vision and he felt something warm trickle down his hands. He pulled away his right hand and inspected it. Blood stained his hand. The brunette opened his mouth to say something, but instead fell to his knees in pain. Yamato followed and held Taichi tightly against him. "Oh no… No! No! No! No! No!"

"Taichi…" Yuki gasped. Taichi looked up to see Yuki hold the gun against her temple.

"Yuki! No!" Taichi shouted, but it was drowned out by the blast of the gun. The blonde fell to the ground, immediately dead. Muga stared in horror at the dead corpse and then at his injured friend. Taichi gasped in pain and held his chest tighter, hoping the pressure would relieve the pain. "Fuck, it hurts!"

"It's ok Taichi," Yamato whispered, slowly allowing Taichi to lean himself against his own body. "You're…y-you're gonna be ok!"

"Holy shit!" someone gasped. Taichi saw a group of people starting to form at the entrance of the alley. Among them, was the rest of their group from the pizza place.

"What happened?"

"Is she dead?"

"What happened to that boy over there?"

"Is he dead?"

"Don't just stand there!" Muga snapped at the crowd. "Somebody call an ambulance or something! He's going to die unless somebody does something!" Upon hearing the word "die," Yamato held Taichi closer to him.

"I'll call right away!" a man shouted out. The rest of the group started running about in trying to find ways to either help, or disappear from the gruesome scene they had witnessed.

Kasumi had buried her face in Ringo's shoulder and was crying softly. Ringo held her tightly and stared at the dead blonde on the ground. Chikao held Ryu's hand tightly, and Ryu was staring at Taichi. The black haired boy glared at Muga.

"This is your fault!" he snarled. "If it weren't for you, then none of this would have happened!"

"Ryu," Taichi grunted.

"How could you have done this to your own friend! Are you really that against homosexuals that you are willing to shoot at them? Well go ahead and take a shot at me then Muga! Because I'm in love with Chikao and I'd die for him any day!"

"Ryu! Shut up!" Taichi hissed. The group looked down at Taichi. "Muga…saved Yama…Yuki was going…to kill him!" Ryu opened his mouth and then closed it.

"Oh…" he muttered. He looked back at Muga. "Then why the fuck weren't you shot at?"

"Yuki did shoot at me. But she missed. She has terrible aim."

"Come on guys," Ringo said. "We need to try and find things to help them out!" The rest of the gang nodded and quickly ran out of sight. Soon, it was just a Taichi, Yamato and Muga in the alley way. Muga stared at the suffering soccer captain.

"I'm…sorry…Taichi," the dark haired boy muttered. "I…I should have been a better friend to you. And Yamato…I'm sorry for treating you like the way I did. You didn't deserve any of that…" Muga then added more quietly to himself, "…and neither did my father…"

"Apology…accepted," Taichi panted.

"Same here," Yamato half smiled, but it quickly fell when Taichi let out a gasp of pain. Muga flinched and looked over at the man who offered to call the ambulance.

"You! How long until they get here?" he called and then left the two alone. Taichi held Yamato's hand.

"Some date…huh?" he chuckled, which resulted in a sharp pain.

"Don't talk you idiot," Yamato muttered and kissed Taichi on the head. "Shit you're bleeding a lot…"

"It's…just…a flesh wound," Taichi offered. "Where…am I bleeding?"

"She shot you…twice on your left side," Yamato muttered. "And once near your heart…" The blonde place a hand over the bullet hole that was closer to Taichi's heart. Taichi placed his hand on top of his boyfriend's hand. His touch felt so warm compared to how he felt.

"It's…c-cold…" The brunette was starting to find it harder and harder to breath.

"Hang it there Taichi! You can make it! Just hold on a little longer."

"…M-m…sl-l-leepy…"

"Don't fall asleep Taichi! Don't you dare! You can't…you can't leave me!" Taichi smiled weakly at the blonde and nuzzled closer to him. Yamato stroked his hair with his free hand and held the injured boy tightly against him. "Please God…don't take Taichi from me…not yet…Please, please, please…" Taichi felt warm drops of water fall on his face as Yamato continued praying, and begging, to God to spare his boyfriend's life.

The pain in Taichi's body was starting to slip away from him. His eyes were drooping slightly and he felt like sleeping more than ever at that moment. He must have fallen asleep for a few minutes, because he soon felt Yamato shaking him. He opened his eyes again and it took him a moment to register that Yamato was shouting at him not to fall asleep. In the distance, he heard the siren of an ambulance.

"The ambulance is coming!" Taichi heard Muga shout out.

"Did you hear that Taichi?" Yamato smiled. "They're coming! You're going to be ok!" Taichi blinked at Yamato as the sirens got louder. He turned his head slightly and saw the ambulance pulling up to them.

Taichi knew that there was a good chance that if he submitted to his exhaustion, he could die. And he also knew that there was a good chance that he could simply just be slipping into unconsciousness from all the blood he was losing. Taichi started to wonder certain things. Like, why did this have to happen now? Now that he and Yamato were so happy? What if Yuki hadn't gone crazy and simply left them alone. What could have become of them? Suddenly, Mr. Saxton's words echoed loudly in his mind…

"If he dies, the fantasy lives. If he lives, the fantasy dies." Taichi blinked, understandingly.

"Yamato…" Taichi whispered. He looked up at the blonde. The blonde's eyes were red and filled with tears and his cheeks had some smears of blood on them. Despite all of that however, Taichi smiled at his face that looked like that of an angel's. He lifted his hand up and pulled the angel's face to his. He kissed the warm lips and gently stroked his tongue against the bottom lip. The other deepened the kiss and then reluctantly pulled away. Taichi smiled at his love. "…I love you."

"…I love you too, Taichi," Yamato choked out. Taichi smiled at him. The chattering of the paramedics seemed so distant and faint. Yamato was shouting at Taichi to stay with him. Taichi smiled up at the love of his life. He knew he should fear over the chance of losing his life, but right now…he felt content. As long as Yamato was alive and well…he didn't mind the gamble over his life.

'After all,' Taichi thought, as Yamato kissed him on the forehead. 'Yamato is like a poison…but one that I don't mind dying to.' Taichi finally decided to give in to his fatigue and slowly closed his eyes.

"TAICHI!"

'He's my sweetest poison.'

END.


Does Tai die in the end? Or simply slip into a comma because of blood loss? ...You as a reader can decide.

And with this chapter, comes the real end to "Sweetest Poison." Thank you to all of you who read this story to the end. I greatly appreciate your support and encouragement. :)

Until next time! *Blows kiss* Goodnight everybody!