Teardrop


When Jen called me and told me Takato was in the hospital, I nearly joined him because my heart almost went out. Jen was shocked by how worried I was...I told him, "My friend is in the hospital, why aren't you freaking out, too? What happened? Is he going to live?"

Jen told me the story - Takato broke his leg and it's all Hirokazu's fault. Well, okay, it was a complete accident but...Hirokazu being involved generally means he was, at the very least, a contributing factor to the injury.

About six months ago, Hirokazu got into skateboarding. He's actually pretty good at it, he can't do any of the advanced tricks the pros do but...He wants to. He, Jen and Takato were at the park. Hirokazu was showing off some tricks and...There was a collision, let's say.

...The fact Hirokazu got out of it with just some bruising, cuts and scrapes is a miracle and the fact that Takato ended up breaking his leg is... ...Well, Hirokazu's luck tends to have that effect on those around him - You'd think he'd be more of a danger to himself most of the time but, no, he's not...

...Hirokazu Shiota is the eye of the storm and everything around him is what gets hit.

I ran down to Shinjuku General to see Takato as soon as I was off the phone with Jen. Takato was sleeping in a hospital room - Some painkillers they gave him knocked him out. He had a black eye and some bruises from when Hirokazu crashed into him but, aside from the leg cast, he looked...Very good for another victim of Hirokazu's stupidity.

Hirokazu's been having a guilt trip ever since, he even gave Takato a good chunk of his card and video game collection as an apology...Takato gave them back, saying he knew it was an accident. The Matsudas have forgiven him, too, but...

...Well, Hirokazu does actually care a lot about his friends, as much as he doesn't like to admit it. So the fact he's responsible for Takato's injury...I'm keeping him on seppuku-watch...Of course, Hirokazu's definition of seppuku is "delete all my Digimon World saves (except the back ups) to repent."

...Usually. Hirokazu is taking his insanely hard.

Of course, the timing of Takato's leg is pretty bad...For one, it happened just as spring break started, so Takato's not missing school for a while, just vacation days.

And two: The Matsudas were planning a trip to visit family in Okinawa and...Well, Takato can't really move around with his cast and the stairs, he's stuck upstairs in the bakery, pretty much. And they do not want to try taking him to Okinawa, even though their tickets are non-refundable at this point, so if they don't go they're out a ton of money. Even with just Takato not going, they're losing a bit of cash on Takato's plane ticket.

When I heard about the situation with Takato's parents, money and the trip I made an offer to take care of him while they were gone. I'd be Nurse Kenta, pretty much. Jen and Hirokazu joined in, though Hirokazu asked me to tell the Matsudas he'd help, too, and come by later. He's having trouble facing them...They're surprisingly cool about it. But so is Takato...

...Granted, he's sort of...in a better mood than usual and finds things funny as hell at times. Why? Two words: Pain. Meds. Takato's a lightweight with everything, which works out good for him this time around. I personally think they have something to do with why Takato is being so forgiving to Hirokazu.

Jen and I are in front of the bakery as the Matsuda parents are packing their car. "Takato's pretty much going to stay in bed, so...Just hang out with him and, because the kitchen is downstairs, you'll need to either cook for him or order out," Mr. Matsuda says as he picks up a suitcase. "He can't use the stairs, don't let him even try." Takato's having a little trouble being cooped up in his room all this time, according to what I've heard from Jen. Jen's spent a lot of time with him to make him feel better after he got out of the hospital.

We nod, we got here just a few minutes ago. Hirokazu is actually in the back alley right now, hiding and...Um..."Clearing sand or some crap out of his eyes." Long story.

"There's a wheelchair by his bed, just unfold it if he needs to go somewhere like the bathroom or wherever upstairs. He can just use the crutches for short distances or to maneuver in the bathroom. And...That's really about it. Thanks again for watching him, we would have had to cancel this trip otherwise," Mr. Matsuda says. "Then we'd be really mad at Hirokazu."

I nod. "We're glad to help. Is he doing all right?"

Mrs. Matsuda nods with a smile, "He's upstairs in bed. Just be careful with his pain medication...He's, well...You know Takato."

"How weird does it make him?" I ask, trying not to grin. This is going to be very interesting.

"The doctors said to give him two pills as needed, he's fine on just one or even a half." Mrs. Matsuda says. "He's...a little out of it when he takes more than that."

"We'll be careful, Mrs. Matsuda. And...Hirokazu will be here soon. He's really sorry, but...You know that already," Jen says.

"Tell him we forgive him...We were mad at first but when Takato told us how he reacted when he realized what happened...Well, we had to forgive him. Takato also insisted on it. I'm actually a little proud of him for that. I think he even felt bad for how upset Hirokazu was," Mrs. Matsuda says. Yeah, um...Hirokazu...

When Hirokazu realized what he'd done, um...Well, Jen called an ambulance and Hirokazu... ...Jen was trying to make Takato as comfortable as possible until the ambulance got there while Hirokazu was crying his eyes out and begging Takato to forgive him, he's still apologizing to him! He even smashed his skateboard! I'm not kidding! Takato had to confirm the story for me to believe it! I've never heard of Hirokazu crying like that or doing something like smashing his precious skateboard to repent. ...He's...

...Like I said: Seppuku-watch!

"Tell him not to beat himself up, accidents like this happen. I've broken a few bones when I was his age...Granted, they were my bones, but..." Mr. Matsuda sighs. "I...I couldn't believe how upset he was at the hospital. He was...acting more like Takato would in a situation like that and, even then, Takato'd hold back a lot more than he did."

I didn't see Hirokazu at the hospital, he was apologizing to the Matsudas when I got there and I went straight to see Takato and left after Jen got me out of the room to tell me what happened. I figured it would be best not to disturb him while he was sleeping through the worst of it, Jen said he'd tell him I stopped by.

Jen nods. "We'll let him know."

The Matsudas finish loading their car and give us some emergency numbers to call if anything goes wrong. After they leave, Hirokazu finally comes around to the front of the bakery.

"...Hey, guys..." Hirokazu lets out a quiet sigh as we walk inside and lock the front door.

"Hirokazu, stop beating yourself up...The Matsudas forgive you," Jen says. "It was an accident."

"...I know, but..." Hirokazu just lets out another sigh. "It should have been me in the hospital, not Takato." ...No argument there, but I won't voice it. Seriously, I've seen what Hirokazu attempts and I've seen him hurt himself on that thing - And he's yet to break a bone!

"I can't believe you smashed your skateboard like that," Jen says. "I mean...Hirokazu..."

"I...Just felt really bad about what happened... And it was because I just had to show off on that stupid thing!" Hirokazu lets out another sigh.

I start to the back of the bakery, saying, "Well, let's go check on Takato. Let him know his parents just left and we're officially babysitting him for a week."

Jen laughs, "Takato, eat all your vegetables or no TV after dinner..."

We both laugh, I glance at Hirokazu...Yeah, that joke wasn't going to snap him out of this. Not even a chuckle or a grin...I'm actually getting kinda worried.

"I'll...wait in the hall," Hirokazu says as we near Takato's room. "Let me know how he is and if he wants to see me-"

"Hirokazu-kun, I'm not mad," Takato calls from his room. "And, Jen-kun, I hate peas, I'll gladly sacrifice television if it means no peas-Wait, is Xros Wars on tonight?"

Jen laughs as we step into Takato's room, "I take it you heard us."

Takato's sitting in bed with a book, he's wearing a T-shirt and shorts with the right leg almost completely cut off to accommodate the cast. The cast goes up past his right knee and almost all the way up the rest of his leg. Hirokazu did a hell of a job on him. He's smiling, though...Takato's really taking the whole thing well, despite all the screaming Jen told me about when the incident occurred.

Next to him is a wheelchair, folded and between his bed and nightstand. Behind the wheelchair, against the wall, is a pair of crutches. Also a huge bottle of pain pills next to some bottled water and sodas.

Takato nods with a laugh. "Yeah. Take good care of me, Mr. Babysitter."

Hirokazu finally walks into the room with his head hung. "...Hey, Takato."

"...Hirokazu, it was an accident. Please stop beating yourself up over this," Takato says. "I mean it."

"Exactly what happened?" I ask. "I just heard Hirokazu lost control and crashed into you."

"Yeah, Hirokazu was doing um...I don't know what it's called," Jen begins, I hear Hirokazu let out a quiet groan. "He wanted to show us how he could make the skateboard flip under him a couple times as he...'Grinded' along the sidewalk or something...Anyway, he landed wrong, lost control and fell into Takato at that set of stairs going down the hill at the park...You know the ones I'm talking about?"

I wince. "Ouch!" Takato, how'd you break just your leg on those? "Did you make it to the bottom or just halfway?"

"To the bottom. Hirokazu was okay 'cause I was his cushion," Takato says with a laugh. He stops immediately as Hirokazu lets out a whimper and looks like he's about to cry. "Hi-Hirokazu, I was joking...Really, calm down! I'm not mad at you! I promise!"

"Really, Hirokazu, I've never seen you like this...And you've almost killed me on numerous occasions!" I say. It's true, I've never broken anything but Hirokazu... He's dangerous at times!

"...I never hospitalized you, Kenta," Hirokazu lets out a sigh. "Takato, I'm...so sorry..."

"Hirokazu, I'll forgive you if you do one thing, okay?"

"What is it? Anything!" Hirokazu raises his head.

"Joke around like before, please. You're making us all depressed," Takato says with a smile. He's good at making anyone feel better, even if they're as upset as Hirokazu is right now. I know this from experience - Takato's great at cheering people up.

"...I-I'll try," Hirokazu nods. "...So, um...How are you feeling right now? Need anything?"

Takato shakes his head. "No, I just took a pill so my leg won't hurt for a while and...Well, what do you guys want to do? We've got a week."

I shrug, looking around Takato's room. His parents brought a television up and set it up in front of his bed with his video games. "Wanna watch a movie?"

"All right, you pick," Takato nods.


We watched a couple movies with Takato. Hirokazu felt a little better after the first movie and, well, Takato's Takato so of course he'd forgive Hirokazu. He just had to remind him a couple times.

Both movies were comedies to help both of them feel better.

Takato's cell phone went off at the end of the second movie. He had to take a pain pill for his leg: "Two" every four hours as needed, Takato only took a half. It's enough for him, he says. Hirokazu insisted he take the full dose (two pills) when Takato was obviously in pain when he shifted his leg at one point, but Takato told him it doesn't hurt if he doesn't move it.

Jen looks to his cell phone to as Takato drinks some ramune with his half a pill. "It's close to dinner time...What do you want, Takato?"

"Oh, um, just something easy...I feel kinda bad with you guys are cooking for me and-"

"Dude, I'll make you anything you want!" Hirokazu says, getting up. "Just name it!"

"You'll make it?" I ask. "Takato, it's a trap! Hirokazu really is trying to kill you!"

"...Kenta..." Hirokazu groans, again looking guilty as hell.

"Sorry, couldn't resist," I chuckle a little, Jen and Takato both laugh.

Takato thinks for a second, then says, "Um, there's some instant ramen-"

"Takato, you've got a broken leg. As your friends we are required by law to actually take care of you, especially since your parents are paying us two dollars an hour, three past nine, and two popsicles out of the freezer to babysit you," Jen jokes. The only payment we have is the money Mr. Matsuda left in the kitchen for take-out. He left a good amount though so we might order some pizzas later.

"Yeah, Takato, just name it!" Hirokazu says. "I'll do my best to make it."

"Um...Whatever you guys want to make, I'm really not all that hungry," Takato shrugs.

Hirokazu is obviously feeling a little better since Takato made his "joke around and I'll forgive you" request. He proudly shouts, "Gentlemen! To the kitchen!" He marches off. "We'll make a feast fit for a goggled king!"

"...Can Hirokazu cook?" Takato asks, looking to me.

"In the sense that all the food in your house will, technically, be cooked as the surrounding area goes up in flames...Yes, Hirokazu can cook." Just not very well.

"I'll keep an eye on him, you stay with Takato, Kenta," Jen says, hurrying after Hirokazu.

After Jen leaves, I sit next to Takato's bed on the floor. "You're really not mad at Hirokazu? At all?"

Takato shakes his head. "It really was an accident and...Hirokazu obviously feels guilty enough. I can't stay mad at one of my oldest friends."

"I freaked out when I heard about it. Jen called me, I ran over to the hospital but you were asleep. I didn't want to wake you."

"Jen told me. Thanks for visiting," Takato smiles. He looks forward, saying, "I feel sort of bad Hirokazu destroyed his skateboard. He loved that thing..."

"...I can't believe he did that. How?" Seriously, Hirokazu really got into skateboarding and tricks. He does them all the time whenever Jen, Takato and I are with him.

"Jen says he took it to the this raised cement part of the staircase and...BAM!" Takato makes the motion of slamming something down with both hands. "About three strikes or so and it was history...Then he...Just couldn't stop crying."

"...Yeah, I heard he...was more or less you on some serious anti-anti-depressants," I shrug.

"That's an understatement..."

"Hear from Juri or Ruki or anyone else?" I ask.

"Juri sent me some get-well-soon candy," Takato says. "And Ruki offered to break both of Hirokazu's legs for me if I wanted...She sounded frighteningly serious."

"She always does."

"I'm really amazed by how you're not even a little mad at Hirokazu," I say. "Takato, you're sort of amazing that way, you know?" I'm not kidding. Takato...He's almost too nice sometimes.

Takato laughs, "It's just really easy for me to forgive Hirokazu-kun. You know?"


Hirokazu and Jen came back after about an hour while Takato and I talked. They made some manju (those steamed buns Jen's Mom makes - They're delicious!). Jen knows the recipe and being in a bakery gave him access to all the ingredients for the dough. Hirokazu made the filling, something with chicken, herbs and some vegetables. It came out really good, especially for something Hirokazu had a hand in.

At one point Takato had to go to the bathroom, Hirokazu helped him into the wheelchair and...

...Offered to help him onto the toilet, actually. He was worried when Takato almost lost his balance on the crutches outside of the bathroom. Takato told him he could handle it with crutches. Though, taking a bath might require some help with his cast (he can't get it wet)...We'll draw straws when we come to that, though.

When it was finally time for bed, Jen and Hirokazu slept in the living room while I slept on the floor by Takato's bed. We're going to take turns doing that in case he needs anything at night.

The next day was spent playing video games, Hirokazu was definitely in a better mood. He kicked Jen's ass at Digimon World...But let Takato beat the crap out of him, as hard as he tried to not make it look obvious.

"Hirokazu, you can beat me in video games..." Takato laughs. "Don't lose on purpose, I know how much you hate losing."

"I...just wouldn't feel right." Hirokazu shrugs.

"Hiro-kun..." Takato shakes his head. "What did I say about forgiving you?"

"...I know, I...just..."

"You need to forgive yourself first, right?" Jen asks.

"Yeah, sorta..." Hirokazu sighs. He's starting to be depressing again.

Again, I'm amazed by how he's acting...I mean, I've gotten some scrapes, cuts and bruises from being friends with Hirokazu and he's usually telling me to walk it off or joking about it. Never really apologizing (well, he does apologize in his own way, usually by giving me something or treating me to some junk food, but...), the fact he's acting like this...I know this is worse than anything he's ever done to me physically, but...Gods, Hirokazu, this seems beyond extreme, even for this!

Seriously, Hirokazu took it upon himself to make Takato's breakfast - Some bacon and eggs...And, shockingly, I was the one who got the egg shells and I made my own breakfast. Takato appreciates what Hirokazu's doing when he's not trying to get Hirokazu to calm down...

...Even Jen is getting worried about him. Jen told me on our way to the bakery the other day that, until he saw Hirokazu break down, he thought Hirokazu would try to find some way to get out of the blame for this. He didn't think he'd accept full responsibility and then some!

I'll say it: I'm worried he hit his head on the way down those stairs with Takato! But Jen said he was wearing a helmet, Hirokazu's not that stupid...

After our game tournament and lunch, we made a couple bags of microwave popcorn and decided to watch movies again. More comedies, laughter's the best medicine and all.

Hirokazu and I are sitting on each side of Takato's nightstand with our bag of popcorn on the floor between us. Hirokazu takes a huge handful every now and then and shoves it all in his mouth, I stick to a handful in a napkin on my lap that I eat slowly. Jen and Takato are splitting a bag on his bed, Jen's on the wheelchair.

Takato's cell phone goes off. "...Time for a pill," he says. "I might take a whole one, my leg hurts a little more than usual..." He says, I hear him reaching for the bottle and a soda above me. "Crap!"

An orange bottle and dozens of little white pills fall on my head. "Augh!" I cautiously move forward, trying to catch whatever landed in my hair.

"Sorry, Kenta-kun, my hand slipped after I took the cap off," Takato says. "...Crap..."

I reach for the remote and pause the movie. "No big deal, we'll clean 'em up. Five second rule applies to pain killers, right?"

"More like five minute rule with those," Jen says.

Jen and Hirokazu help me pick up the pills and put them back in Takato's bottle. We check under his bed to make sure we didn't miss any...Not that Takato's going to run out any time soon. There's almost two hundred of the things and the doctors wrote it expecting him to take two at a time, not halves.

We go back to the movie, signified by Hirokazu wolfing down a huge handful of popcorn and turning it back on. "This movie'd better get funny..." He mutters after swallowing his popcorn.

"Yeah, sorry, I heard it was a lot better than this..." Jen shrugs. "Last time I take movie suggestions from Lianjie."

We're watching a Chinese martial arts comedy, Aiya HAIYA! It's one of those "unorthodox schools of Kung Fu" type of films. In fact, a lot of this reminds me of Ranma 1\2 to where I'm expecting the main character to turn into a girl after being splashed with cold water...It's not all that good, especially for a Ranma rip-off. I'm wondering if we should have just turned it off when we paused it a while ago to pick up Takato's pills. We're all bored with it at this point...

...Except one of us...

"Hehe...Hehehe...!" Hirokazu starts chuckling. "H-Holy crap...That's GOLD!" ...He's giggling like a schoolgirl...

...What the hell...?

"...What? He...just got kicked by a horse," Jen says. "That's...funny?" In some comedies, yes, but not this one!

"I-I know, it's...THE LOOK ON HIS FACE!" Hirokazu shouts. "I-I...I love this movie...!"

"...Twenty minutes ago you said you hated it..." Takato says. "I thought you were going to change it after we paused it, actually."

"I-I don't know why, but...It's a lot funnier now! Hehehehe..." Well, at least he's not beating himself up anymore. That's a good thing for all of us.

I grab a handful of popcorn and put it in the napkin on my lap. Hirokazu's still giggling like crazy...Even during the boring dialogue. I toss a couple pieces of popcorn in my mouth, glancing to Hirokazu. "...Hiro-kun, seriously, there's...nothing happening. And even if this was one of the 'funny' parts..." I trail off, eating some more popco-AUGH! WHAT THE HELL'S IN THIS?

I accidentally swallow something that tastes terrible! Ugh! What the hell was that? It tasted like crap... "Blech! What's in this-...Oh, shit..." ...I spit a piece of a pill into my hand. I look at the popcorn in my lap, Jen and Takato are already looking over the bed.

There's two more pills in my lap, mixed in with the popcorn...Some must have fallen into the bag when the bottle spilled-...Wait...

...Suddenly, I think I know why Hirokazu finds this movie so funny...

All eyes are on Hirokazu, he's still laughing it up at the stupid movie...

"...This...can't be good..." Jen says, eyes wide.

I take the bag of popcorn from Hirokazu before he reaches for another handful, he seems oblivious to what we've discovered. He doesn't even realize I took the popcorn, he's just staring at the television with this...endless giggle. I put my napkin on the floor and shake out the contents onto it and look through the buttery mess for more pills...

...Six pills total, plus the half I ate and...I don't know how many Hirokazu accidentally ate!

"...Okay, before we...figure out what to do...Anything that happens does not leave this room," Takato says, eyes wide. "I...don't think any of us want our parents hearing about this."

"Agreed," I nod.

"What? What's wrong?" Hirokazu looks to us with a stupid grin on his face.

"Hirokazu, um...Don't freak out, but...You may have just ingested a large amount of vicodin. Like...We don't know how many but, you're stoned right now."

"...Oh," Hirokazu stares forward blankly...

...And promptly falls onto his side, laughing.

"...Kenta-kun, did you eat any besides that half of one?" Jen asks.

"I...don't think so..." I put the...More quarter of a pill on Takato's nightstand. "Uh...Should we induce vomiting or something...?" I motion to the giggling idiot on the floor.

"I can't feel my face...!" Hirokazu shouts with a laugh.

"Crap, don't tell me he ODed or something..." Jen mutters. "I think we should call a doctor."

"I-I'm fine, I'm fne...I'm not even sick..." Hirokazu chuckles. "So-Sorry, Takato...I-I swear, I had no idea they were in there!"

"I believe you. ...Um...Have a fun trip, I guess," Takato shrugs with a nervous chuckle. "I'll count them, if there's a ton missing, we'll worry...But it's been long enough to where whatever he took is in effect. So if he's okay now..." 'Okay' being a relative term, right, Takato...? He takes his pill bottle and counts them out with Jen's help.

Hirokazu goes back to his movie...And thus proves that Aiya HAIYA can only be enjoyed while stoned. I'll keep that in mind since I've got more than half of one of those things in me...

After a few minutes, Takato says Hirokazu probably only took two or three: He did the math of how many he's taken from the day it was filled and how many were missing. And we found two he was sitting on from the spill, so we're not worried that Hirokazu accidentally overdosed...

...He's just weird as hell right now.

"...They so should have made a Digimon Tamers series," Hirokazu says. "Think about it! We went to the Digital World just as Adventure ends, we have a true Digimon story! Why the hell did they go from Digimon Adventure to Digimon Frontier of all things when they could have had Digimon Tamers instead! Or at least between the two series! We'd be awesome as anime characters!" Hirokazu rants as we watch a Xros Wars DVD. "Toei so should have asked us for our stories...Takato, you could have been bigger than Daisuke and Taichi! ...Or at least Takuya...And Jen'd be, like, your version of Yamato or Ken or something!"

"Uh, yeah..." Takato nods slowly.

"Takato's version of Ken?" Jen asks. "...Are you saying I'm cut out to be The Digimon Kaiser...?"

...Digimon Kaiser Jen... ...That's crazy enough to work! Except instead of kicking Terriermon around, he'd just hand him over to Shiuchon and say "have fu~un" ominously.

As for me, with what I ended up swallowing, I'm just feeling light headed and my mouth is a little dry. Jen likes to point out he's currently the only sane one in the room because everyone else is on drugs! ...By accident, though.

Actually, I kinda raised the point of how trusting Takato's parents are: They left four teenagers alone with a big bottle of pain killers...Granted, not one of us even considered the idea of getting stoned on Takato's pain meds, but...Takato has insanely trusting parents!

...Of course, their son is Takato, after all.

"I dunno if we'd like it that much," I say. "If they based it on us and we were the stars of that season, um...I just have one word: Taito." I look to Jen and Takato. "Or, in this case: Jenkato."

Jen and Takato both laugh, Hirokazu laughs even harder.

"Taito, ha ha ha! Yeah, it's everywhere in the show! Like when they held hands when VenomVamdemon showed up," Hirokazu chuckles. "O-Or, like, how close they are in 02, too, y'know? And, y'know, the fact that, like, all the new kids get the Digimentals of the most popular slash pairings, I kinda thought they were hinting at that, y'know? Like, Daisuke is Taito, Iori's Jyoushirou and Miyako's Mira or...Somi or...Whatever! And then there was the whole jogress thing...I mean, come on! They were so hinting at things with that! Especially with Daisuke and Ken! I mean, it's so obvious! Ken had a thing for Daisuke as the Kaiser, too, I think..."

"...You...keep track of that...?" I ask. ...Not that I disagree, in fact...I'm amazed I had the courage to make a Taito joke in front of the others... ...I so blame that damn pill!

"Kinda," Hirokazu shrugs with a grin. He looks to Takato. "Leg doing better? You hungry? We can make dinner...Food sounds good. Delicious kinda, you know? Let's make, uh...Food! Good food!"

"...Um, I-I'm good," Takato says. "You don't...have to make anything for me, Hiro-kun. Really.".

"Please?"

"Um...You have the munchies, I take it?" Takato asks.

Hirokazu shakes his head. "No, it's...Takato, I..." Hirokazu gets up and stumbles over to Takato. He sits next to him on the floor by his bed, sighing. "...I'm really sorry...I just...I...want to do anything to make this up to you...I'm so freakin' sorry, Takato-kun... I wanna take care of you 'til you're better since this is...all my fault..."

"Hiro-kun, no, it's okay," Takato says. Last thing we need is Hirokazu rambling on about how sorry he is when he's..."like this," let's say. It's bad enough when he's sober.

"I-I just...Takato, I wanted to kinda impress you with that trick, y'know? I thought, 'Takato'll think this is awesome!' And...Then...I'm so, so sorry..." He sniffs. "I mean it, I...I hate myself for this, I was such an idiot! I hate that stupid skateboard and everything! ...I'm sorry, Takato-kun...I'm so sorry..."

"Hiro-kun," Takato sits up and puts a hand on Hirokazu's shoulder. "I forgive you. For the hundred millionth time, I forgive you."

"...Th-Thanks for not hating me...You're really the best, Takato-kun. I mean, you're so freakin' nice to everyone, even an asshole like me...And...You're just amazing, y'know? Like in the Digital World and how you became Dukemon and all..." Hirokazu's...starting to cry. I-I can't believe this...

"Hiro-kun," I stand. "Come with me, let's...make some tea. It'll make you feel better, okay?" I say. I'll give Jen and Takato a break from him, he's been rambling on and on about the most random stuff for a while now. And to start on his guilt trip again is not something they want to hear, I just know it.

"What...kinda tea?" Hirokazu asks.

"Any tea you want," I reply. "I'll...help you down the stairs." I wave to Jen and Takato as I take Hirokazu into the hall. While Hirokazu's back is turned, Takato gives me a thankful nod while Jen claps his hands together and bows in thanks.

I take Hirokazu downstairs to the dining room. He rambles on about how sorry he still is the entire way and while I'm making tea. When I finish making the tea, he's talking about that trick he tried to do...

"So, like I said, Kenta...I-I really wanted to impress him with that trick, y'know?" Hirokazu says.

I nod, pouring tea. It's a green mint tea I know Hirokazu likes. I sit down next to him. "I'm sure you'd have impressed Jen and Takato a lot if you pulled it off."

"Nah, I just...wanted to impress Takato...Takato's awesome!" ...Wha?

"...Oh, um...Why...just Takato?"

Hirokazu repeats, a little louder, "Takato's awesome!"

"...I know, but..." I shake my head. "Never mind." Why am I trying to make sense of Hirokazu while he's stoned off his ass? ...I can't believe this happened... At least I'm mostly 'here' right now, Hirokazu is...He's in Hirokazuland. Probably riding the tea cup ride.

"I...I just...I can't believe I did this to Takato..." Hirokazu sighs, leaning forward and burying his head in his arms...He's crying now.

"Hiro-kun, I...I know this really upsets you but...You're taking this guilt trip beyond any guilt trip I've ever seen...Is there any kind of reason this is tearing you up so much?" Seriously, Hirokazu has cried more times today than I've seen him in all the years I've known him before the accident.

"...Kinda." Hirokazu sniffs, lifting his head. Hirokazu's crying...Again, this is a rare sight, reserved only for when Hirokazu is at rock bottom emotionally. Or, at least, it used to be if we haven't seen it at least once a day since the accident.

"What is it?"

"...Takato's awesome," Hirokazu sighs.

"...Yeah, and...?"

"...He's really awesome."

I nod. "Yeah, Takato's awesome...so...what...?" ...The bright red blush on Hirokazu's cheeks tells me...

...Takato's awesome...

...I-I...I can't believe it...

"...Exactly how awesome is...Takato...?" I ask. This can't be what I think it is!

"Really awesome!" Hirokazu replies, smiling a little.

...Okay, unless this is an unusual side-effect to vicodin...

...Hirokazu might...N-No way, he is...He's not...I mean, he's Hirokazu! ...Though, that Digimon slash rant he just gave us...

...Holy shit.

"Um...Okay..." I pour some more tea into my cup. "Um, Hirokazu, uh...What you said earlier about...02 and all... What's your favorite pairing?" That should clear things up.

Then again, Hirokazu may be stoned, but he's not stoned enough to say-"Daiken!"-Never mind!

"...Daiken...?" I ask.

Hirokazu nods with a huge smile, then suddenly looks panicked. "Wait...Di-Did I really just sa-say that?"

I'd nod or say "yes," but the look on my face should give him the answer he needs.

"...Shit..."

"...Hiro-kun, you're...?"

"Uh, ca-can...Can we, um, never speak of, um, this...talk again? Please?" Again, the look on my face gives him his answer: No. After a few moments of me staring at him, he quietly and nervously says, "Maybe...Kinda...A little... Please don't tell anyone..."

"I wouldn't, it's not a problem, trust me, but... ...You?"

Hirokazu sighs, "...Stupid pills..."

"So, the reason this has been more or less destroying you is...?" I trail off.

"Do not tell...Takato..." Hirokazu looks at me, he's trying to look serious but...His eyes are screaming: Please don't out me, please don't out me, please don't out me, Takato's cute, please don't out me, please, please, PLEASE don't out me!

"...I won't, Hirokazu. Trust me, I...I wouldn't out someone. Ever." I say. "But...If Takato liked you back...?"

"...I-I...I know he doesn't, Kenta," Hirokazu shakes his head. "And...I don't deserve-"

"Hiro-kun, I'm this close to smashing that tea pot over your head if you start down the 'I'm so sorry' road again," I warn.

Hirokazu gives me a slow, cautious nod. "...I don't want, uh...people to know, either. And I don't want to risk, um...ri-risk...things!" Hirokazu's vocabulary is only half there right now, I think. He's also zoning in and out as he speaks. The fact he's talking about it this much, I think, has more to do with the pills than Hirokazu wanting to talk. In all honesty, he looks scared to death right now.

"'Risk things?'"

"Dude, it's...not something I want, um, people...knowing about. Especially if they...sorta, um, don't really, uh...like guys who like other guys."

"...Hiro-kun, I doubt Takato is homophobic." ...I doubt Takato's straight sometimes. Not that I've inquired, but...Takato scores really low on the 'manliness scale of heterosexuality' at times. Not saying he's, y'know, obvious or flaming or anything but...I just sometimes wonder about him.

"Can...Can we please not talk about this, Kenta? I...I don't like to think about it. I really, really don't..." Hirokazu sighs. "Please forget we talked about this."

"Talked about what?" I say with a, hopefully, reassuring smile.

"The whole liking Takato thing." Hirokazu frowns. "Seriously, Kenta!"

"...Talked. About. What?" ...Hirokazu, you're joking, right?

"What I just said! The whole...Me liking Takato...thing...and all that! Forget we talked about it! PLEASE!"

I groan. "...Forgetting as we speak."

"Thanks!"

I'd chalk that up to the vicodin, but...

...I am talking to Hirokazu.


Jen stayed in Takato's room that night. It was supposed to be Hirokazu, but after our tea the pills put him to sleep after I brought him back up to Takato's room. He actually slept on the floor near Jen but was out cold until well into the next morning. I put a blanket on him and a pillow under his head, he didn't wake up for it. Or when Jen had to slide him one hundred eighty degrees so Takato could be wheeled out to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

"...You all right...?" I ask as Hirokazu finally starts waking up. He sits up and stretches, yawning.

"What happened last night?" Hirokazu moans.

"Uh, you don't remember?" Takato asks.

"I remember being weird as hell," Hirokazu shrugs. "Why? What'd I miss?"

"Takato spilled his pain meds and a couple ended up in your popcorn, you took some without realizing it," Jen says.

"Oh, crap! Sorry, Takato! I...I didn't...Oh, CRAP!" The apologetic look on Hirokazu's face makes me hope this doesn't turn into a second guilt trip for him...

"It's okay, I'm just glad you weren't sick," Takato says. "Really, I'd be more upset if you got sick or overdosed or something. You only took a couple, I counted what I had left."

"You were weird," Jen says. "You kept talking non-stop about the most random things, like Toei making a 'Digimon Tamers' series and," Jen laughs, "the implied slash themes in 02."

Hirokazu goes pale. "I...talked...about...WHAT?"

Takato laughs, "It was funny, Hiro-kun. Kenta helped you sober up and feel better after you started on your guilt trip again after that, too."

Hirokazu gives a slow, worried nod. "...Did I...talk about anything else...weird?" He looks to each of us, trying not to look scared...I'm taking that as a sign he doesn't remember our talk.

"Better question is if you said anything normal," Jen shrugs. "Kenta accidentally ate a half, that's how we found out they were in there. He was normal. After he took you downstairs for a little while, you came back up and passed out."

Hirokazu lays back on the floor, spreading his arms out and groaning. "...You guys eat breakfast yet?"

"Hours ago, it's almost noon," Takato says.

"...What?"

"That stuff really knocked you out," Jen says. "I kept an eye on you and Takato last night."

"Oh...Well..." Hirokazu gets up. "Takato, want anything for like an early lunch or something? I'm going to make some breakfast, so I'll make you anything you want if you're hungry! Really, anything! Just ask!" I have to admit, it is sort of funny seeing Hirokazu volunteering to be Takato's butler.

"I'm okay, Hiro-kun," Takato smiles. "Take your time, we'll play some games until you get back and then watch a movie."

"Thanks," Hirokazu gets up and starts down the hall.

"I'll help him," I say. "Just in case some of that stuff is still in his system." I want to know if he remembers what he told me last night.

I follow Hirokazu down to the kitchen, he goes to make himself a bowl of cereal. "...Hiro-kun, um, do you remember when you and I had tea last night?"

Hirokazu looks to me. "...We had tea?"

"Seriously, Hiro-kun, do you remember?" I ask.

Hirokazu shakes his head. "I really don't."

"It was one of those 'never speak of this again' type of conversations," I say. "I just want to know if you really don't remember."

"...Kenta, what did we talk about?" Hirokazu sits at the dining room table with his cereal, the sudden look of panic on his face tells me he really doesn't remember. But I know what he's afraid he let slip.

I sit down. "...I'll help you be with Takato if you want." I say.

"Ke-Kenta, that...That was just the stupid vicodin talking...! I'm not...!" Again, Hirokazu's eyes say otherwise, this time it's: Oh crap, Kenta knows! Oh crap, Kenta knows! Oh crap, Kenta knows! Takato is SO cute! Oh crap, Kenta knows! OH CRAP, KENTA KNOWS I'M GAY!

"If I told you...I 'understand,' would you feel better?" I ask.

"Ke-Kenta, you don't understand... I mean, this is...I-I'm scared out of my mind and-"

"No, Hirokazu, I do. Really." I say. "I get it."

"Kenta...It's not something you can just 'get!' I...I spent a damned year trying to 'get it' about myself...I-I was so-"

"I. Under. Stand." I say, firmly. How are you not getting this?

"No, Kenta...You...really can't-"

"Hirokazu. Listen to me." I say, taking Hirokazu's shoulders and looking him in the eye. "I. Understand. Your. Situation. Com. Plete. Ly." ...Hirokazu, given the fact Ruki has always had me pegged as 'the gayest being on Earth with the gayest partner in the Digital World,' are you telling me you never suspected me? Even I know some of the others at least have 'a theory' about me!

"Kenta, I appreciate the support but...You don't understand what this is like..." Hirokazu sighs. "It's...freakin' scary. Scarier than...Anything I've ever..." He's starting to hyperventilate, looking to me. "I-I mean...Just...The whole realization you think...a guy...is...'cute' or something is...I-I was freaking out! Or the 'oh, crap, I am not being turned on by this' realization...Kenta, I-I..." He stammers. He looks terrified to admit to this.

"...I'm gay, you idiot." I say, rolling my eyes. I should be less subtle when it comes to Hirokazu, I really should.

"...Oh. Then, you...do...understand..." ...I know, I shouldn't be so upset by how shocked he looks but...

...I think this might also say something about just how deep Hirokazu is in the closet.

"Last night, while you were out of it, I took you down here for some tea to help calm you down and...You told me you liked Takato. It sort of slipped, when you said you did that trick to impress 'just Takato and not Jen.'"

"...I-I...told you all that...?"

"Yeah, and don't worry, Jen and Takato don't know," I say. "And, Hirokazu, I want to help you. Okay?"

"He-Help me? How...?"

"I promise, I won't out you, let me do the talking." I ask. "Just act natural, all right?."

I thought about it last night before I went to sleep in the living room...Hirokazu is Hirokazu - He would never confess to Takato (not unless we can slip him some more vicodin and show him the infamous VenomVamdemon episodes of Adventure - But I doubt Takato would like that) because, well, I doubt he's all that thrilled about liking Takato. But if there's a chance he could be happy with Takato, who I doubt would disapprove even if he couldn't like him back, I want my friend to be happy.

And it might be enough to take Hirokazu off seppuku-watch.

"...You...really would help me...be with Takato?" Hirokazu whispers. "I...I don't know, Kenta-kun..."

"You're my best friend, Hiro-kun, I want to help. And you two would look so cute together," I grin. That was fun to say. At the very least, knowing Hirokazu is gay, too, means I have someone to talk to about guys with. I plan to take full advantage of that after we're done watching Takato.

"...Thanks, Kenta," Hirokazu smiles ever-so-slightly. I think that's a lot, given how freaked he is about this.

"How'd you realize it?" I ask. "For me, well, it was...just the fact I thought Ryou was really cute." Ryou, in a kind and just universe, people who look as good as you would be bisexual - We'd all have a chance. Not just your fan girls in this cold, uncaring, Kenta-despising universe.

"Um, kinda the same for me..." Hirokazu glances away. "He's...um... ...You know."

"Hot?" I ask, still grinning.

Hirokazu just blushes and nods, still looking away. "...Very." He whispers.

...As much fun as this is, I have to admit: I never in a million years thought I'd ever talk guys with Hirokazu Shiota.

Hirokazu finishes eating and we go back upstairs, Takato and Jen are playing games.

"Any suggestions for a movie?" Takato asks. "Sorry this is sort of boring, just...watching movies and playing games."

"Takato-kun, trust me, after last night this is not boring," Jen turns to Takato from his spot on the floor, laughing a little. Takato joins in. I glance to Hirokazu, he looks really embarrassed.

"Actually, would it be okay if I went out and rented some movies?" I ask. "My treat, I know some good comedies you don't have."

Takato nods. "If you want to, Kenta-kun. I have some money..." He reaches for a drawer on his night stand.

"No, Takato, this is my treat," I say with a smile. "I'll go run out right now and bring back some lunch. Lotteria sound good?"

"Don't spend so much, Kenta-kun," Takato shakes his head. "I feel bad enough you guys have to take care of me like this."

"I'm the one to blame for that, Takato, so..." Hirokazu reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet. "Kenta-kun, get extra food on me, okay? And a huge strawberry milkshake for Takato!"

"Hi-Hirokazu-" Takato stammers.

"Please, dude? I wanna treat you guys to...help make up for all this," Hirokazu hands me a couple thousand yen notes.

"...If you insist," I take only a thousand yen. "See you guys in a little bit. Feel better, Takato-kun."

"Thanks again, Kenta...You, too, Hirokazu-kun," Takato smiles, he looks a little embarrassed by this...I sort of see why Hirokazu likes him so much...

...And I won't lie: Takato's as adorable as Ryou is hot. I only like Takato as a friend, though...

...Ryou Akiyama on the other hand...

...Or Jenrya Li. Jen's second to Ryou in my book in terms of looks, but...Not gonna happen, I know. Just as much chance as I have with Ryou. Well, okay, maybe slightly better...

...In sense it's ninety-nine billion to one instead of one hundred billion to one.


My plan to help Hirokazu starts with, well... ...I should have put more thought into how this would impact me first but it's too late to back out, now. I got the movies.

I'm going to come out. Sort of.

I rented a couple gay comedies. One's a Chinese film about a gay couple, one of them pretends to marry his boyfriend's sister to make his parents happy. The other is a dubbed American comedy about two gay club owners' son getting married.

First, I see how Jen and Takato react to gays in film...Then I come out when it's obvious they won't have a problem. And, really, these days...It's not a big deal, if I was with someone I'd have come out to the others. I just...don't talk about dating that much so it's never come up...

...Actually, neither do Jen and Takato. Hirokazu, of course, talks about girls all the time, which I now think was either out of denial or to make sure no-one would suspect him. Or both, probably both.

Aside fom the movies, I also bought a ton of burgers and fries from Lotteria. It's our favorite fast food place, we all like the food on their 'hundred yen or less' menu. I did get Takato that huge strawberry shake Hirokazu wanted him to have, his favorite. I also got chocolate shakes for the rest of us.

I get back to the bakery and go upstairs. "Lunch is here!" I say, going straight to Takato to give him his shake. I'm worried it might've melted a little.

"Thanks again, Kenta-kun," Takato says. "I'll pay you and Hirokazu back when I can walk again."

"Takato, you've got a broken leg and we're your friends, you don't have to pay us back," I laugh. Takato really feels weird about being waited on by us. We don't mind, especially since we know Takato would do the same for us without question.

I pass out shakes to Hirokazu and Jen, then give Takato a bag with a few burgers and some fries for him and put two more bags on the floor (one with just burgers, one with just fries) for the rest of us. "More burgers and fries in this bag, Takato, I just got all I could afford so go nuts."

Takato laughs. "I might, I'm pretty hungry right now."

"Thanks for lunch," Jen says, taking a burger. "What movies did you get?"

"A Chinese comedy called The Wedding and an American comedy called The Birdcage."

"The Wedding?" Jen asks, I nod. "Great!"

"You've...seen it?" I ask.

Jen nods. "It's one of my favorites, I wish I knew you wanted to see it, I have a copy at home."

I shrug. "No big deal." Great! Jen likes gay comedies-...Wait, Jen likes gay comedies...?

"How is it?" Takato asks, looking to Jen.

"Really funny," Jen says. "The Birdcage, too. I love that one, too. It's one of my favorite foreign films of all time!"

"...You've seen The Birdcage, too?"

Jen nods. "Yeah, I actually have both of these. Interesting theme, Kenta-kun." He laughs. "But I like it." ...You like it...?

"Theme?" Takato asks.

"They're both about gay couples. Kenta, are you telling us something...?" Jen jokes, taking the bag with the DVDs. "I haven't seen either in a while, this'll be great!"

I glance to Hirokazu, he's...looking a little pale. Relax, Hiro-kun, they won't suspect you-Well, they might with the look on your face right now. I try to give him a look that says 'calm down,' but...He just looks even worse. Thankfully, Jen and Takato don't notice as Jen shows Takato the two DVD boxes.

No use hiding it. "Actually, Jen, since you asked...I am saying something." I clear my throat and say (surprisingly proudly), "I'm gay, guys!"

"You are?" Takato asks. "I...had no idea, Kenta-kun, but...Cool!" ...Cool? That's...not what I was expecting, but I won't complain! That's one of the rare times I've ever been associated with the word 'cool,' actually...

...I'm here, I'm queer and I'm cool! I should've come out a long time ago!

"What made you decide to tell us, though?" Jen asks.

"Ye-Yeah, Kenta-kun...Why?" Hirokazu says, nervously. Hirokazu, I came out, not you. You're safe!

"Hirokazu-kun...?" Takato gives Hirokazu a worried glance before turning back to me.

I shrug. "I've...just been tired of hiding it, I guess. I thought some gay comedies might help break the ice, too, so I rented them."

"They're both really funny," Jen looks to Hirokazu. "You'll like them, Hiro-kun! Really!"

"What? Wh-Why?" Hirokazu asks.

"'Cause they're...funny...?" Jen shrugs. I'm surprised he isn't commenting on how nervous Hirokazu looks right now. I mean, it either screams 'I'm gay, too' or 'Kenta's gay? GROSS!'

I put in The Birdcage first, Jen said it's the funniest of the two in his opinion. And Jen played a trick on Hirokazu and Takato with the beginning of The Birdcage...

The movie opens with these women singing on stage at the nightclub. I knew what he was doing so I didn't comment on it and played along, but... Jen kept saying things like, "Takato, she's so cute isn't she? I'd love to go out with her sometime... What do you think, Hirokazu? Is she sexy or what?"

And, to protect his secret, Hirokazu was extra enthusiastic about how hot those women were. "Yeah! The leader singer especially...Damn, she's got a nice rack! I get dibs on her, guys! She's mine!"

...Cue the scene backstage where we find out they're actually men in drag. The look on Hirokazu's face was priceless! Takato thought it was hysterical, too. Jen and I had to pause the movie because we were laughing so hard.

"D-Dude! Not...Not cool!" Hirokazu shouts, staring at the paused screen of the leader singer with a 'nice rack' changing his shirt, revealing the non-existence of said 'rack.'

"So-Sorry, I...I couldn't resist! Ha ha ha!" Jen tries his best to stop laughing as he talks. I...I can't say a thing. That was great, Jen!

"I-I...I can't believe this..." Hirokazu groans. "She was...hot."

"Now he's hot," Jen jokes. ...I'm starting to wonder about Jen, actually.

"Hirokazu-kun, relax," Takato chuckles. "I fell for it, too. Don't be so upset..."

"I still think they're hot," I joke, Takato and Jen laugh.

"It's...It's just...I..." Hirokazu stammers. ...I guess he's worried Jen and Takato suspect something, now.

"Hirokazu, are you all right...?" Takato asks. "You're not...upset about this, are you? Kenta, I mean."

"N-No, no way in hell!" Hirokazu shakes his head. "Trust me, Kenta's always gonna be my friend! I...I just...I-I dunno, keep the movie going. Sorry, I'm just...I-I...I dunno..." He stammers, nervously.

"...Okay," Takato gives a slow nod and starts the movie again, he looks back to Hirokazu a few seconds after the movie starts up again.


We watched both movies. We didn't even eat half of the food I brought. Jen and I volunteered to put everything away for tomorrow's lunch while Hirokazu and Takato play games upstairs.

Hirokazu's calmed down a little since the second movie. He's still nervous but he's not as freaked out. Takato still asked him a few times if he was really okay with everything, though.

Jen puts the fries in a plastic bag as I put burgers in the fridge, saying, "Kenta, um, I didn't want to say this in front of Takato and, especially, Hirokazu but..."

I turn to Jen. "...But...?"

"Hirokazu's gay, too," Jen says.

"Wh-What?" ...He knew?

"Well, I'm not completely sure but...Ryou told me a while ago."

"Ryou?"

"Ryou says that he's caught Hirokazu checking him out enough times to where he's convinced Hirokazu has a thing for him," Jen shrugs. "I'm...just saying, if you're looking for someone..." ...Ryou caught Hirokazu checking him out? Crap, I wonder how many times he's known I've been checking him out those million and one times...

...Especially at the beach last summer. I love the beach! Well, actually, I love the beach when Ryou's there.

"Jen, this...doesn't bother you at all, right?" I ask. I'm amazed by how Jen is...unfazed by all this! Seriously, he's not really reacting.

Jen shakes his head. "Of course not. You did rent two of my favorite movies, remember?" I still can't believe that.

"Okay, do not tell Hirokazu I told you this but...Last night, while he was out of it, Hirokazu let it slip why he did that trick the other day," I begin. "He did it to impress Takato. And only Takato. ...Because, as he put it, 'Takato's awesome.'"

"...Se-Seriously?" Jen asks. "Hirokazu...likes Takato?" I'm glad to see there is something that would surprise Jen in all this.

I nod. "The reason I rented those movies was to see how you and Takato would react if I came out. And, if I came out, I was hoping I could find out if there's a chance that Takato might like Hirokazu back."

"That's...noble of you, Kenta," Jen says. "I mean, you came out for Hirokazu. I can't imagine how scary that was to even think about..."

"Considering that just before I came out I found out I rented two of one of my best friend's favorite gay comedies, I wasn't too scared," I say. "Think there's a chance Takato might...?"

"Um...Don't tell Takato I said this, but...I've sort of suspected him as gay for a while now," Jen shrugs. "He's..." Jen trails off, probably thinking of a tactful way to describe what he wants to say.

"...Takato." I finish. "Yeah, that's the other reason coming out to you two was sort of easy: Takato."

"I know, for a fact, Takato would not be upset if he knew," Jen says. "I...don't know if he'd like Hirokazu back or anything, but..."

"What do you think we should do? I mean, this is why Hirokazu is taking this so hard. And I've never seen Hirokazu cry so much. Ever."

"Yeah, this is a side of Hirokazu I never thought existed," Jen shrugs. "I'm glad you're trying to help him, though. That's really...You're a great friend, Kenta-kun, let's just say that. How's it feel to be out, though?"

"I honestly expected it to feel a lot more different than...Well, nothing seems all that different," I shrug. "Think if I hit on Takato it might help?"

"Wha?" Jen gives me a confused look. Yeah, I probably should have worded that better.

"I mean, find out how he'd react to another guy having a thing for him. If that goes over well then...What's Hirokazu got to lose?"

"His image as a super-manly heterosexual that knows no fear?"

"Given all the crying he's done, he'd just lose the 'heterosexual' part of that image. The rest is long gone." I say, Jen laughs. Hell, if you ask Ruki, that image never even existed in the first place...

We go back upstairs, Hirokazu and Takato are playing games and Hirokazu doesn't look to be losing intentionally anymore...Good sign for him forgiving himself.

We sit and play games for a while, a mini-tournament of Digimon World 7 versus mode. We all brought our saves on flash drives. When I'm up against Takato, I decide to put my plan into action.

"I'm warning you, Kenta-kun, I put a ton into my Guilmon..." Takato grins. "And I won't go easy, even on MarineAngemon."

"Don't mock MarineAngemon's greatness," I joke. "Wanna bet? For real?"

"A bet...? What kind? For money?"

"Nah, not money. If you win, I...I dunno, what do you want?" I shrug.

"Hm...If I win, you have to admit Guilmon's the best Digimon ever. maybe?" Takato shrugs. "And if you win, I say the same about MarineAngemon?

"Nah, more than that," I shake my head. "Come on."

"How about if Takato wins, Kenta has to make a huge batch of sugar cookies downstairs," Jen suggests.

"I could do that," I say. Good thinking, Jen, Takato would never think of anything even remotely 'interesting' if he won. "And if I win...I want a kiss on the cheek from you."

"Wh-What?" Takato stammers, his eyes wide.

"Sorry, Takato but...I have to say this: You're really cute," I smile. "Pleeeaaase...?" I love that blush on his face right now. It really is cute.

"...Okay, a kiss on the cheek." Takato says after a moment, nodding once. Wha-What? For real?

"Wh-Whoah...Wait...You'd really...?" Hirokazu looks to Takato in shock. I'm surprised he went for it, too, I was just expecting him to say 'no' and I'd go down to a hug or something...

"Kenta did help buy lunch and did say I was really cute...It's just on the cheek," Takato's blushing profusely as he says this. "If it was the lips, I'd say 'no,' though..."

"Saving that first kiss for anyone in particular...?" I trail off with a smirk.

"...Maybe, but I won't say who," Takato replies.

"Okay, bet's on, then..." Now I have to win! I really want that kiss now!

The battle arena loads, MarineAngemon vs Dukemon! It's a fight to the finish! Takato starts the battle underestimating how strong my MarineAngemon is. I mean, yeah, MarineAngemon isn't one of the strongest megas in real life but...

...Video games are different. I raised him better than any other Digimon on my save file! He's my strongest by far! Even my Venom, Belial and Regular Vamdemon team can't beat him!

"Ke-Kenta...I can't believe you taught him that attack...!" Takato's jaw drops as MarineAngemon uses MetalSeadramon's Ultimate Stream attack, blasting Dukemon to critical health.

"I made sure he got that attack just for occasions like this..." I smile. And one Ocean Smile attack later, Dukemon is down!

"...Wow, I...I was not expecting that..." Takato looks to me, blushing. "...Okay, one kiss..." Wow... I was expecting him to try to back out if he lost...

...Hirokazu, I really think you have a shot now.

"You...really have no problem doing this, Takato?" Jen asks. "I mean..."

Takato shakes his head. "Like I said, as long as it's not on the lips..."

I shift closer to Takato, he leans forward and gives me a kiss on the cheek...

...I glance over to Hirokazu. He's...stunned! And looks a little jealous...

"...Dude, Takato...I can't...I can't believe you..." Hirokazu takes a deep breath, then exhales slowly. "...Takato, um... Can...Can I talk to you? Alone?" He looks to Jen and I. "Please?" Hirokazu, are you going to confess? I wasn't expecting that either.

"Is...something wrong, Hirokazu-kun?" Takato asks. "You've been acting weird since, um, 'lunch.'" I think he's actually worried Hirokazu might be homophobic...I mean, if you didn't know he was gay, the way he's acting really hints at it.

"...Sorta, but...I-I...I gotta do this, now," Hirokazu sighs. "Can we...have a few minutes, guys? I'll text you or something when we're done."

I nod, getting up. Jen leaves first, I pass by Hirokazu, putting a hand on his shoulder and whispering, "Good luck, Hiro-kun."

"Thanks, Kenta-kun," Hirokazu whispers back. I look to Takato, he looks really confused and worried.

I pat Hirokazu on the back and close the door behind me as I go downstairs with Jen. He's making a pot of tea. "I didn't expect that." I say.

"The kiss or...?"

"The kiss and Hirokazu confessing," I say. "I think he might still lose his nerve, but..."

"I'll be honest, Kenta-kun, I was going to just tell Takato when Hirokazu left the room," Jen says. "Takato would not have a problem with Hirokazu liking him, it's just a matter of whether or not he could like him back."

"Yeah," I sit down, Jen pours tea for me. "Jen, I have to know...Why do you like gay comedies so much?" Please be the reason I'm hoping for...

"No reason, I just think they're funny," Jen replies. "Are you wondering if...?" He has an amused smile on his face, thankfully. I don't want to offend him.

I nod. "Sorry, just..." Like I said: Ninety-nine billion to one in a cold, uncaring, Kenta-despising universe.

"I know, I get the jokes from Lianjie all the time when I watch them," Jen says. "You have to see The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

"...Jen, I know you just said you're not gay but...Are you bisexual?" Seriously, Jen, you like Priscilla? ...PRISCILLA? Three drag queens driving across the Australian Outback to the songs of FREAKIN' ABBA? You like that kind of movie and girls...?

WHY, UNIVERSE? WHY?

Jen laughs.

We sit and drink tea for a while, talking about our favorite "cinema of a homosexually comedic nature." About ten minutes into the conversation, we check our cell phones for text messages or calls.

After twenty minutes, we're getting a little worried. We don't want to disturb them but...Well, it is possible Hirokazu is still trying to find a way to utter the words "I'm gay" to a clueless Takato but...

...This taking so long could be good or bad.

"...Screw it, I'm sending him a text message," I say, flipping my phone open. "It's been almost half an hour..."

Jen nods. "Agreed, I'm getting worried, too."

I type up a quick text: Hiro-kun, what's going on? Everything OK?

I send the message and wait with Jen. "You don't think...Takato's upset at all, do you?" I ask.

"He kissed you on the cheek...That was really bold, Kenta," Jen says with a chuckle.

"I really didn't mean it, I just wanted to hint that I liked him and, maybe, get a hug out of it...That..."

"...Was definitely a good sign for Hirokazu." Jen says. "I was so mad at him at first when I realized how bad Takato was hurt but...When I saw how beyond apologetic and sad he was I couldn't stay mad. I realized how much he cared about Takato...Which is apparently a lot more than I thought at the time."

"Did Takato ever say anything about why he was so quick to forgive Hirokazu?" I ask.

"He did, actually, the first time I saw him after he left the hospital. I asked him if he'd ever speak to Hirokazu again, he told me, 'Of course, Hiro-kun's my friend. I can't be mad at Hiro-kun.' He wasn't angry at all, he smiled when he said it...I asked him how much vicodin he'd taken. I really thought he'd never want to speak to him again."

I laugh, "I'd have asked the same-" My cell phone beeps, I got a reply from Hirokazu. I flip open my phone.

"What'd he say?"

It takes me a few moments to be able to speak. I can't believe what I'm reading. "...'Can't talk, making out.'"

"No, really, what'd he say?"

"That's...what he typed," I pass my phone to Jen.

Jen's expression tells me he's having just as much trouble believing it. "...Wow. Mind if I type a reply?"

"What?"

"'Congratulations.'"


A little after Jen sent his text to Hirokazu, we got a reply saying we could come back. We found Hirokazu sitting on Takato's bed, holding his hand and...Grinning like he just won the National Digimon Card Tournament.

We both asked if Hirokazu's text was serious, Takato confirmed it by kissing Hirokazu on the cheek. That was why Takato couldn't be mad at Hirokazu for what he did. He liked Hirokazu, too. He was...amazingly comfortable telling us he liked Hirokazu, even though Hirokazu was a little nervous. I guess my coming out before helped, I even told Takato that was why I did it and asked for that kiss...He thanked me with a hug.

Our friends are happy together. Jen made a special "love manju" for dessert after dinner, heart-shaped sweet dough with a strawberry custard filling. I helped him make the filling while Hirokazu and Takato stayed upstairs...They played Digimon World 7 with "Kenta Rules" in play. Loser kisses winner...On the lips, this time.

The week went by quickly after that, Hirokazu stopped moping and was his old self again. It helped that a kiss from Takato helped remind him that he was forgiven for the accident, it worked so much better than when he could only try to talk him out of feeling bad.

Jen and I even took a day off and left them alone together for a day. Actually, it was less a dy off and more a few hours off, we wanted to make sure Takato was in good hands (which is usually not Hirokazu's hands). We just went out to lunch and rented some more gay comedies...

...Jen has really good taste in gay comedy movies. Some of them I'd never even heard of but they were great! I was a little shocked when the subject of manga came up and Jen said he and I should trade.

I wondered if he knew exactly what kind of manga I was talking about.

After the Matsudas came home, Hirokazu still stayed with Takato and helped take care of him until the cast came off. Takato's cousin, Kai, also showed up for a couple weeks along with Takato's parents. The Matsudas found a way to transfer the plane ticket Takato would have used over to Kai for a flight to Shinjuku and back (Takato's Dad was so happy that money wouldn't go to waste). Takato was happy to see his cousin and Kai was glad to see Takato (not so much Hirokazu, Takato had to talk Kai into forgiving him)...

...And, yes, Kai did walk in on Hirokazu and Takato making out. He was cool with it, thankfully. He even set up a pseudo-romantic dinner for them: Take out (seafood, Kai knows his seafood), a table and chair (wheelchair for Takato), an old bottle of wine filled with grape juice and a lit candle in Takato's room while Kai played "romantic" music on a sanshin (an instrument from Okinawa - kind of a three stringed banjo). They thanked Kai a lot for it.

Kai left about three weeks before the cast came off. In fact, the cast came off close to Hirokazu's birthday. Takato, to show he really forgave Hirokazu, got him a new skateboard. Takato's Dad asked him if he had a death wish, of course, and made Takato promise to keep his distance from Hirokazu whenever he was riding it...

...And within two weeks of Hirokazu getting that new skateboard...

"...I'm telling you, Daisuke and Ken were made for each other! Screw that stupid ending, they were on acid when they came up with it! The real ending ended with Daisuke and Ken getting married and going on more adventures in The Digital World with their kids and their kids' partners! I dunno how they have kids, probably adopted or they had Jyou do some sort of freaky experiment combining their DNA, but...They had kids! And they still should've done that Digimon Tamers series! It'd be a great way to follow Adventure! And they'd have to let Takato and me be the main couple! Sorry, Jen, I'm his Ken or Yamato or Kouji or whatever! You get to be...I dunno...Takeru or something! Yeah, Digimon Tamers would be awesome! Takato'd be the goggle boy, of course, since he's got the goggles and everything, I'd be his main love interest-slash-rival, Kenta'd be the smart one, like Jyou or Koushirou..."

...No, Hirokazu didn't dip into Takato's vicodin. He's taking his own for a broken arm. This is Hirokazu on ONE pill! Gods help us all if he takes two!

"Takato-chan, we so have to write to Toei and tell them to make Digimon Tamers a reality!" Hirokazu says, turning to Takato with a huge grin. His left arm is in a cast, we all signed it. I glance over to Ruki's signature, it's a message that says: Serves you right, you idiotic klutz! -Ruki

Yeah, Hirokazu did another trick to impress Takato (making sure Takato was at least ten yards away at all times) and, well...Let's just say Hirokazu did not complete the trick.

The reason for the accident, according to Hirokazu, was because a tree jumped out of nowhere and into his path. Hirokazu could not stop in time.

Jen, Takato, Hirokazu and I are at the park right now, since Hirokazu's driving his family insane with his rambling after every dose of his pain medication. He can't shut up. At all. In fact, he accidentally outted himself to his parents during one of said rants after he a full dose of two pills. This was before we learned that Hirokazu is as much of an opiate lightweight as Takato.

His Mom told me he went on a long rant about how awesome Takato was. In the middle of it they said, "You obviously like your friend a lot, Hirokazu." They meant it in a friendship sort of way and hoped it would shut him up.

His reply? "I LOVE TAKATO-CHAN!" At. The. Top. Of. His. LUNGS! This announcement was followed by a rant about how much he loves Takato and how happy he is that they're together...

...I so wish I could have seen the look on his parents' faces...

...They took it well and are happy Hirokazu's with "someone so forgiving." And, like when he told me about his thing for Takato, Hirokazu didn't remember telling them. Not until he left the house to see Takato and they said, "Tell your boyfriend we said 'hi.'" ...I also wish I could have seen the look on Hirokazu's face when they said that.

"Hiro-chan...I...don't know if Toei would let us be a couple in the show," Takato laughs.

"They'd have to! It's based on a true story, so you gotta have real romance! I so wanna see a gay kiss in Digimon someday, just so they acknowledge the yaoi fans! And Tamers should be that season, I don't care if they even kiss by accident like in the first couple episodes of Naruto or something! I wanna see it!"

Jen and I exchange glances. "...Right..." We both say, Takato chuckles.

Hirokazu continues on his rant and Takato listens and jokes along with him. Takato's actually enjoying this a little...Hirokazu is pretty funny sometimes with his rants about what would happen in "Digimon Tamers."

I'm glad they're together, especially since Hirokazu is really happy now (at least, when he's not stoned, he's really happy - When he's stoned he's...Mega-Happy). I'm glad things were so easy for them, too...The most "difficult" part of Hirokazu's confession, Takato says, was his sudden inability to say the word "gay." But other than that...

...They lost track of time making out, that's why Jen and I waited so long. Hirokazu's very proud of that fact. And the fact he was that someone Takato was saving that first kiss for...And Takato was his.

As for me, I'm out with the other Tamers. I wish I could say I found someone as easily as Hirokazu and Takato did, but...

"...Oh and Jen, are you and Kenta gonna be free tomorrow night? Takato-chan and I are gonna watch my new Savers DVDs! We could double date! That'd be AWESOME! A Double-Digimon-Date! We'll get pizza, too! Lotsa pizza! DOUBLE-DIGI-PIZZA-DATE!"

Jen takes my hand, smiling, "Sounds like fun."

...It took Jen a while to admit the other reason those movies were his favorites.

~Owari~


Ori's Notes:
I've been having a lot trouble focusing on writing , I've got like...Fifty things I started and never got more than two paragraphs done. I've just been really distracted with something going on in real life lately. Sorry if this one wasn't all that good because of it. I wrote it mostly because...I really needed a distraction at the time and this managed to be that distraction...Unlike everything else. Long story.

A lot of this one is...I dunno, I just had fun writing it. Especially with Hirokazu getting stoned. Though Hirokazu finding everything funny and giggling like crazy was a little exagerrated (and credited to..."something else," usually), I could see Hirokazu reacting like that.

On that note: Show of hands! Who bought my fake build up that hinted that it'd be Takato who'd get stoned and let something slip? Be honest! I wanna know if I'm being predictably unpredictable here!

Same goes for the pairing: Who thought it was another Kenta\Takato or Jen\Takato? I wanted to try something new, pretty much. Originally, Kenta and Jen weren't going to be paired but...I felt a little bad for Kenta since I was pairing the two Tamers I usually pair him with, so he gets Jen this time. I'm surprised by how long the fic turned out to be, though...Damn! Seriously, this is the first fic I've been able to actually write more than a paragraph to in a while.

Also, if you have not seen them: I highly recommend both The Birdcage and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! They're both great comedies and two of my all time favorite movies! Also, the joke Jen plays on Takato and Hirokazu with the opening: I played the same joke on my cousin the first time he saw The Birdcage. The look on his face was so funny! I wish I had a camera at the time!

Finally, the title...Since vicodin played a role in the plot, the title is a reference to House. Teardrop (by Massive Attack) is the opening theme. It also kinda fit with Hirokazu's guilt trip throughout the fic...Kinda.

Hope you at least got a chuckle out of it!

Anyway, I owe a quick apology to Taiki and some others: Sorry I disappeared from the internet for a while. I've just been dealing with some...let's just say "very not good" real life issues currently and...The internet was really low on my priority list at the time. I won't bore you with the details, though. Sorry about that, Twerp-chan. I just...haven't been feeling up to the internet or fics for a while. I'll see if I can get some more done later, they're a good distraction when I can actually write them.


Taiki's Notes:

Ori more or less disappeared on me for a bit, that's why he's apologetic in his notes. He gave me some details on what's going on and all I can say is that I understand completely. Ori, do not worry about vanishing or writing, I'm simply glad to finally hear from you. Just do what you have to, all right?

Regarding the fic, I did not expect this to be Hirokazu\Takato! And especially not Jen\Kenta! That was indeed a surprise! I did enjoy it though I felt so bad for Takato being injured like that. Ouch! Ori, will you ever be nice to Takato? Granted, you didn't make him cry in this fic. Hirokazu did that for him.

Honestly, just look at how he treats Takato in some of his fics! And this how Ori treats the characters he likes!

And, yes, Ori: I bought the fake build up you mentioned! Ha ha ha, I really liked that.

-Taiki Matsuki