Alcohol does weird things to one's body and mind. Certain things could be like one big blur, and other things moved so quickly it could feel like it hadn't happened. There was music. There was loud talking. There was Minori singing some song on the stage, and there was people getting along. There was dancing, even between Taiga and Ryuuji. They danced and they swung, they hugged and they kissed.
To Ryuuji and Taiga, it was a new experience all together. Being in the middle of the big crowd, being part of such a big gathering of people – moving along to the music, enjoying themselves as much as they possibly could. Ryuuji was almost angry at himself for liking it all so much. Once a song ended, Ryuuji leaned down a little to ask Taiga.
"Want me to get us another drink?" He asked loudly to make sure she heard.
"Sure!" Taiga beamed, and just as Ryuuji started turning away from her, she tugged at his sleeve. She pulled him downwards for a kiss and spoke against his lips. "Hurry back, 'kay?"
"I will," Ryuuji smiled, and then he made his way through the crowd. He went to a table where the drinks were and poured two glasses, and he met Julian there.
"How's it going, man?" The boy chuckled, patting Ryuuji's back a bit too hard. "Having fun?"
"Yeah, it's great," Ryuuji smiled, looking out at the crowd. He couldn't see Taiga. It wasn't weird, really, considering pretty much every person in there was taller than she was.
"That's good," Julian grinned, taking a huge swig from whatever it was he was drinking. The crowd was still moving, like it had been the whole time, but now enough for Taiga to be visible. She looked extremely uncomfortable, but Ryuuji didn't really know why. "Hey, that's Taiga, right?" Julian asked, pointing in her direction with a frown on his face. Ryuuji just nodded. "Isn't she like, your girlfriend?"
"She is," Ryuuji replied, and Julian looked a bit dumbfounded.
"I'm not sure you're seeing what I'm seeing." He huffed, and that's when Ryuuji saw it too. The reason why Taiga looked like she was bothered by something. There was a guy in front of her, constantly trying to lean closer to her, a smug grin on his face. Ryuuji felt a pang of concern in his chest, and he was frozen in place. "Should you maybe do something about that?" Julian asked with a laugh, as if it wasn't even a big deal.
"W-Wha…" Ryuuji stuttered. "What am I supposed to do? Just tell him to back off?"
"That could work, yeah. But I'd just punch him, if I were you." Julian shrugged. Ryuuji turned to him with big eyes. Just turning around made him realize how dizzy he was from all the alcohol.
"Punch him?! I can't do that!" Ryuuji exclaimed. The blonde boy just laughed.
"No, dude, you literally can. Yukuri has this policy for her parties. If anyone is knowingly making someone uncomfortable, or refuse to back off after being given the sign that they should… Any close third party is allowed to hit them for it."
"You're making that up," Ryuuji mumbled. But part of him really wanted to do it, even though he never resorted to violence. That wasn't like him.
"I'm actually not. If you want me to, I can have Yukuri confirm it." Julian smirked. Ryuuji shook his head.
"Conflict… resolution… that's what I'll do." He said, his words slurred and uncertain. With the two drinks in his hand, he made his way back through the crowd. It had moved again, and he could no longer see Taiga, so he wasn't even sure if that guy was still bothering her. But when he got further in, it was clear that he was.
"R-Really, I don't…" Taiga mumbled, her cheeks red and her eyes cast downwards.
"Come on," the guy said, and Ryuuji could hear just how obnoxious he sounded. "You're lookin' for a good time, aren't you? I bet I'm the guy who likes you most in here, too, so I'm the one you'd wanna aim for."
"B-But I… there's…" Taiga stuttered. She wanted to say something, she really did, but she was so scared. It was weird. Usually, when anyone was creepy towards her or her friends, she'd literally kick their asses. She wasn't afraid of boys, she never had been. She was strong and independent. But she was half drunk and didn't even know what her own body was doing to her. It would probably fail her if she even tried to attack him, that's what she thought. And seeing Taiga like that, so scared and fragile – and the source of her fear and uncertainty was right in front of him – Ryuuji felt the anger boil inside of him.
"Hey!" He shouted, even though he was practically right next to the guy now. "Leave her alone!"
"How's it your business?" The guy frowned, trying to make himself big and strong in front of Ryuuji.
"She's obviously uncomfortable, so you should step off," Ryuuji said, sounding way cooler than he usually did. Maybe it was the alcohol.
"Why would I? I'm going to be nice to her, so she's mine now, right?" The guy asked. Ryuuji couldn't even believe how stupid the boy was.
"Look, she doesn't belong to anyone but herself." He started, his fingers tightening around the plastic cups he had in his hands. "And if anyone's going to be nice to her, it's me."
"Well, who do you think she'd pick? The loser, or me?" He grinned deviously, obviously confident with himself. Ryuuji'd had enough. The guy didn't show any signs of aggression, but that didn't matter. A policy's a policy.
"Taiga, hold these, will you?" Ryuuji asked with a calm voice, and Taiga hesitantly accepted the cups. She looked at Ryuuji with big eyes, having absolutely no clue what her boyfriend was about to do. "Look, pal," Ryuuji started, but he was interrupted.
"I'm not your pal." The guy retorted, suddenly sounding more angry than he'd been.
"You're right, you're not. You're an idiot. Anyways, my point is… you asked me who she'd pick between the two of us, yeah?"
"She picked me long ago, you ass," Ryuuji said. Alcohol does things to you. Alcohol takes away your boundaries. Alcohol weakens your thoughts of consequence. That probably didn't even have anything to do with it at that time. "Stay the hell away from my girlfriend," stated Ryuuji, and then he reeled his arm back and pummeled his fist so hard into the guy's face he fell straight to the floor. Ryuuji stumbled forwards a little and struggled to stay standing. He stumbled back and shook his hand a little, and he noticed how everyone was suddenly staring at him. The music had suddenly stopped, so Ryuuji figured that whoever controlled the music had witnessed what happened too. His first party and he was already about to be thrown out.
"Well," a voice spoke over the microphone, and Ryuuji recognized it as Yukuri's. Everyone turned to look at her as she stood on her box. "IT SEEMS THE POLICY HAS BEEN UPHELD!" She suddenly shouted, and the crowd burst into a joyful roar, fists pumping into the air. The noise died down after a while, and the guy Ryuuji had hit stood up with a hand to his nose.
"This bastard just punched me! Kick him out!" He shouted. Yukuri frowned deeply and threw the microphone to Julian before hopping down from her box, making her way through the crowd. Everyone moved aside for her as she passed.
"Take your hand away," she said as she came up to the boy. "I need to see how bad it is."
The boy pulled his hand away from his face to show the trickle of blood from his nose. "I'm bleeding." He growled.
"Looks like Ryuuji here packs a good punch." She sighed, turning to Ryuuji. "It's too bad, Ryuuji. It wasn't good enough. Not for scum like this." She said, and before anyone could even blink, she sent her fist flying into his face, and once again he crashed to the floor.
"W-What was that for?!" The boy shouted from the floor, and Yukuri towered above him with the scariest look Ryuuji had ever seen on anyone's face.
"How dare you try to break what they have?" Yukuri growled, pointing sideways at Taiga and Ryuuji. "They've saved each other's lives! They love each other, and you try to ruin that?!" She shouted, and the boy started crawling backwards in fear. Yukuri was scary, that was for sure. "Furthermore, don't you think they look cute together?" She asked, and Ryuuji was surprised at how quickly she changed character. "Constantly clinging to each other…" She breathed, her cheeks red and a scarily creepy grin sneaking up on her face. "I can only imagine what they're like in the bedroom… hah… hahaha… HYAHAHAHAHA!" She hollered, whilst the boy who had been punched took that chance to run away.
"It's not like we do anything perverted in the bedroom, idiot!" Ryuuji and Taiga shouted simultaneously, fists perched up in front of them.
"I choose to give you the benefit of the doubt!" Yukuri beamed back, and yet again the crowd roared with excitement."
"My, my, Takasu-kun finally did something manly, huh? I was starting to worry you didn't have it in you ~" Ami said from behind her, making Taiga and Ryuuji turn towards her at the same time.
"There you are, stupid Chihuahua. I heard someone say you were here." Taiga giggled, and Ami took a few seconds before she grinned widely.
"You seem much more approachable when you've been drinking, you know," she teased, but they could both see that she was definitely under the influence too.
"I-It's not like I'm trying to be nice or anything," Taiga pouted, making Ami chuckle again.
"Sure you aren't. I'm gonna go speak to Yukuri, so you two better behave yourselves while I'm gone, okay?~" She grinned before she walked over to where Yukuri was talking to some other people.
"Okay, tough guy, you're coming with me," Taiga mumbled, and though Ryuuji didn't really catch what she said, she grabbed his hand and pulled him after her. He had a confused look on his face, having absolutely no idea where they were going.
"Taiga? Takasu? Where are you going?" Minori asked curiousy as they passed her. She was talking to Kitamura close to the stage, and Taiga simply told them they'd be back soon. Ryuuji couldn't help but think she looked a little pissed off. Maybe he really had gone too far punching that guy. Maybe he was being a bit possessive. He cursed himself quietly, just before Taiga started checking for something along a hallway. Damn, it was a big house, Ryuuji thought.
"Looking for something?" Tamura grinned from where he was leaning against the wall, Torya standing at the wall adjourned from him with a cup in her hand.
"I'm looking for a room," Taiga said, that angry tone still in her voice. On the other hand, she was having trouble keeping the slur from her words.
Torya turned and stared at them with big eyes before speaking. "Are you…"
"Are we what?" Taiga frowned. Torya blushed a little, but smiled nonetheless.
"Are you two… you know… getting it on?" She asked, trying to keep a straight face. Tamura could absolutely not keep himself from giggling.
"Getting what on?" Taiga sighed, and Ryuuji couldn't do anything else but to stand there and look completely dumbfounded. He still had no idea what Taiga wanted, but it probably wasn't very good.
"You know… you're drunk, you're in love… anything could happen." Torya chuckled, and that's what made Taiga's composure shatter into a million pieces.
"I-IDIOT!" She shouted, her face threatening to glow with a deep red colour. "Ryuuji's been bad, so I have to- wait, no, that doesn't sound right." She mumbled, and Tamura and Torya almost cried from laughing too hard. "I'm going to yell at him, so show me where there's a room we can use."
"Down the end of the hallway," Tamura grinned. "There's a bedroom."
"Shuddup," Taiga frowned and pulled Ryuuji down the hallway and into the room Tamura had told her about. Earlier that night, Taiga had acted as if she was mad at Ryuuji but ended up furiously kissing him. But Ryuuji was sure that wasn't the case this time. Taiga closed the door behind them and pushed Ryuuji against it, staring at him with smoke practically fuming from her ears.
"W-What?" Ryuuji gulped, trying to back up as if hoping he could pass through the door to get away. But unfortunately for him, he was not a ghost. But judging by the look on Taiga's face, he was sure he'd be one in not too long.
"You know what," Taiga scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest. Her foot tapped impatiently against the floor as she stared at Ryuuji. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
"W-Well… uhm… the guy kinda asked for it, didn't he?" Ryuuji asked nervously, his fingers curling up against the door behind him.
"So you just punched him," Taiga deadpanned. "In the face."
"Yes… Yes, I did." Ryuuji mumbled.
"Stupid!" She exclaimed, pushing her palms against Ryuuji's stomach. She didn't exactly know what she would accomplish by doing so, but Ryuuji felt as if all the alcohol in his stomach was about to come back up, but he somehow managed to keep it in. "You're not violent, Ryuuji! Never!" Taiga shouted, exasperation and worry evident in her voice. "I don't want you to be violent just because of me!"
"What else could I do?!" Ryuuji uttered, his eyes big and questioning. "He was… he was trying to take you away from me."
"Idiot, idiot, idiot!" Taiga continued, hitting her palms against Ryuuji's chest. "As if that-" she started, her slaps getting even harder, before her dizziness took over and she stumbled backwards. Ryuuji managed to grab her hand and pull her back, and she let her arms wrap around his torso. She buried her face in his chest. "As if that would ever happen," she mumbled, the slur still in her voice.
"Taiga…" Ryuuji uttered, a bit dumbfounded.
"No one else can have me, Ryuuji." She said, looking up at him from here she stood. "No one at all. And I want you to know that… I didn't pull you in here just to yell at you."
"Okay? What else?" Ryuuji asked, perching an eyebrow questioningly.
"I mean… sure, the fact that you punched someone made me freak out a bit," Taiga started, her fingers starting to trail over Ryuuji's chest. Her cheeks were still red from the alcohol. "But thinking about how far you would go just to protect me…" She mumbled, and her eyes had started shifting downwards because she didn't dare look him in the eyes. Before she could even continue speaking, Ryuuji had cupped her cheek in his hand and planted a kiss on her lips, which took her completely by surprise. It left her so dizzy that she actually stumbled backwards a bit so that she stood in the middle of the room, and Ryuuji followed her.
"Sometimes," Ryuuji said as he walked towards her. "I can just feel it when you're being needy."
"Shut up," Taiga pouted and then they were kissing again, Taiga's hand curled up against Ryuuji's chest. Her drunken kisses were close to frantic, and she was almost afraid she would lose control of herself, before someone opened the door.
"Jackpot!" Torya shouted, and the couple broke the kiss in surprise.
"Hell yeah, I got a picture," Yukuri mumbled, standing there with her phone in her hand.
"Toryuuun!" Taiga pouted, stomping the ground with her foot. "Don't go around showing that to anyone!"
"What? No, I'm keeping this for myself, I'm not insane." She laughed, seeming to be quite fond of the picture she'd taken.
"And you told us you weren't getting it on," Tamura grinned, making Ryuuji shake his fist in the air.
"It was a kiss! Just a kiss, idiot!" He exclaimed, and Torya laughed drunkenly.
"What's up with that?! Hah! Tsundere Ryuu-nyan!"
"Ugh…" Ryuuji groaned, rubbing his nose in exasperation.
"Either way, party's ending. But if you guys want, you can stay behind and we'll get rid of whatever's left of the alcohol. Maybe order pizza." Yukuri proposed. Ryuuji was about to object because of how late it was, but Taiga didn't seem to mind, so she stopped him.
"It's not like Yasuko will notice we're gone either way," Taiga smiled, grabbing his hand comfortingly.
People had started leaving the party, and it didn't take long before the group of friends was the only ones left. Maybe, Ryuuji thought, the night was starting to get old. At least older than it had been a few hours back. In a big living room sat Ryuuji, Taiga, Minori, Ami, Torya, Tamura, Julian, Yukuri, and Kitamura who had apparently joined them sometime during the party. They had passed into the late, late hours of the night, eating and drinking, talking and laughing.
"I… I am Lord Karthamar…" Ryuuji mumbled out at some point to answer a discussion of sorts. He wasn't even sure if he knew what they were talking about. "You will bow down."
"Oh, my lord," Torya swooned, falling backwards on the couch with her head landing in Tamura's lap. "I submit ~"
"Okay, here's the challenge," Yukuri said, and Ryuuji knew it couldn't be anything good. She did have her mind in some pretty indecent directions pretty much all the time. "You both have to take another shot, just for good measure… and then try to kiss each other without using your arms or hands."
"That doesn't sound too hard," Taiga giggled mischievously. She downed another drink and stood up, looking quite eager to try it out. Ryuuji did his very best to stand up straight. He cleared his throat.
"Okay, Taiga… you ready?" He asked. She nodded, and they started moving towards each other's lips. Ryuuji bent down and Taiga started tip-toeing. Her biggest mistake was closing her eyes.
"Uaaah!" Taiga yelped as she fell on her behind, her hand rubbing at the sore spot on her forehead.
Julian stood in front of them all, clearing his throat. There was a very serious look on his face as he got ready to speak, as if he had news to share with them. And that was exactly what he was going to do. "Guys," he said, his voice a bit slurred and drowsy. "I'm… I'm…" He started. "I'm gay!" He exclaimed with so much gusto that Ryuuji thought the boy would fly through the ceiling. "No, wait, that's not right," he mumbled, counting his fingers. "I'm bisexual!"
"We know," the rest of the movie club chanted in unison, and the look on Julian's face was priceless.
"Every time he gets drunk, he forgets that he's already come out of the closet," Torya whispered to Minori and Taiga, who both broke out into a fit of laughter.
"Thank you for letting us come. Really, it's been great," Ryuuji said with a smile as they stood in the door, getting ready to leave.
"No problem. You're definitely invited to the next one too," Yukuri smiled softly. She gave Ryuuji a hug. She then proceeded to give Taiga a hug. And Minori. And Kitamura. She liked hugs, it seemed.
The walk home that night felt quite unreal. "I'm going this way," Kitamura said with a big smile, pointing down a street. "See you guys in school!"
"Yeah, see you!" Minori exclaimed. Her, Taiga and Ryuuji started making their way back to Ryuuji's house, stumbling down the darkened street with as much common sense in their heads as Inko-Chan. But despite that, they managed to make it back to the house. It was 4 am, and Yasuko wasn't home yet.
"Minori-san," Ryuuji uttered, his own tongue finding it easier to say her first name. "We only have one extra futon, so I can pull that out here and you can share it with Taiga." He continued. She nodded wearily, and he went into a closet and found the extra futon. He got that and some blankets and put it in the living room. Taiga had disappeared into the bathroom, and Ryuuji figured she'd ventured into the challenge of changing pads while being drunk.
"Thanks for tonight, Takasuuuu," Minori giggled, giving his head a pat. "It was really fun! And I am… sososoooo tired…" She yawned, and then she plopped down on the futon. Ryuuji chuckled a little.
"Good night," he said, and then he returned to his room and closed the door. Since he was sleeping alone, he figured he could sleep in only his boxers. The alcohol had made him way too warm for anything else either way. He crept under the blankets and groaned a bit, shifting around in hopes of finding a good sleeping position. After quite a while of turning, he settled down, and then he heard the door to his room open. "Taiga, you're supposed to sleep out there with Minori-san… we wouldn't want her getting the wrong ide-" He stopped talking as he turned around and saw Taiga standing there, the moonlight shining on her through the window.
"She's fast asleep, and she's taken all the space," Taiga sighed. It was as if she didn't even realize why Ryuuji was shocked.
"T-Taiga, what are you…" Ryuuji mumbled. His head was fuzzy, and emotion didn't really register on the same level at the time being, but he knew what he was looking at. Taiga in pajama shorts… and only pajama shorts.
"I was warm," she replied, her hands fidgeting behind her back as she stretched a little on the tip of her toes. "I figured it wouldn't be as embarrassing now that we've been drinking… but it's still quite…" she mumbled. Her cheeks were red with embarrassment.
"Are you sure you're okay with… I mean…" Ryuuji stuttered. He had no idea what to do or say.
"You're right, this is stupid. I'm just… tiny, flat-chested and appalling." She sighed and turned to leave the room.
"Taiga," Ryuuji said. She hesitated a little and turned around to face him again. "Come here." He said, and the girl slowly walked over to him. Her face was cast down, and she looked ashamed and disappointed. Ryuuji held up the blankets, and Taiga lay down under them, her body curled up, her arms protectively pulled up in front of her chest.
"I'm sorry," she muttered. Ryuuji grabbed her arms carefully and pulled them away, making her look at him with big eyes. "R-Ryuuji," she stuttered.
"Taiga," he whispered. "You are… the most beautiful person I have ever met."
He kissed her softly, and she whimpered in the kiss, apparently not prepared for his sudden words. She draped her arm and leg over his body, her face resting on his chest. Her bare breasts pushed up against him.
"It's warm," Taiga whispered. "Like this, with our skin so close, it's… it's warm. It feels nice."
"It is." Ryuuji said, his arms wrapped lovingly around the little girl.
"I love you, Ryuuji," Taiga mumbled as she trailed kisses from his chest and up to his neck. "I love you so much."
"Me too," he said as their lips met. "I love you more than anything."
Taiga smiled sweetly against his lips and kissed him once more, and soon after, the girl had fallen asleep in the arms of the boy she would love until the end of the world.