Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, likenesses, or cool things involving Digimon. In addition, I also do not own anything of or related to Cooking Mama. Oh, and Nintendo. Though I changed "Nintendo" to "Hintendo", just in case. This is just fanfiction, and it's not meant to be taken seriously.
Author's Note: Taking a break from Ukiyo because I found an old doodle of Cooking Yama...which I can apparently now attach to my story. How awesome is that? Please don't take that picture as your own, because, well, that's stealing, and I already proclaimed my disclaimer for the characters...but that doodle is mine. Thanks.
Earlier in the week the gang had decided to come over to the Ishida's apartment to talk about things that were probably very important, and Taichi and Koushiro happened to get there early. They had approached Yamato's door, which was slightly ajar; like the good friends they were, worry had overtaken them and they took the liberty of barging into the apartment to make sure Yamato was okay. The boys were greeted with a slender figure draped in a lovely pink apron. They were about to stammer out an apology, thinking it was Mrs. Takaishi, but stopped with their mouths hanging open when they realized it was Yamato. Without much time to react, a red-faced Yamato shoved them out of his apartment and shut the door, shouting something along the lines of, "You're too early! Food's not ready! Out, out, OUT!" And so they were ushered out. Not a word was spoken between the big-haired boy and the computer genius until they were well out of earshot.
They walked along the sidewalk, waiting until they were certain that no people were around them before they burst out into peals of laughter. "P-Pink apron!" huffed Taichi, battling a fit of chuckles. "Yama...pink apron...!"
"I can't believe we saw that," Koushiro said, trying to withhold a chortle of his own. "I...I knew Yamato was supposed to be a good cook, but...the overall image, well..."
"Didn't...expect...pink...apron...!" Taichi was close to tears at this point. Koushiro, usually composed, fought off the emotions but found that he had to at least crack a smile. It was certainly a strange thing to behold: Yamato, clad in black skinny jeans and a sleek black turtleneck...covered with a clean pink apron as he measured out a cup or two of rice. Surely this wasn't anything to laugh at, but considering Yamato's speedy disposal of his friends, Koushiro felt that this was a moment not meant for their eyes. Taichi could not have cared less, of course. The soccer player was now hunching over as he whooped, gasping for air and leaning on a nearby tree.
The meeting had to be cancelled for reasons that only Taichi and Koushiro found obvious. For a moment, Taichi realized that he was acting rather rude after he noticed that Koushiro didn't have much to say about the incident. The feeling of being the only laughing was usually enough to cancel out whatever was funny. It wasn't until the next day when Taichi received a phone call from the whiz kid. "Good morning, Taichi. I hope I didn't wake you. I have a strange question for you - do you happen to own a Hintendo DS?" Koushiro asked. Taichi could have sworn the boy sounded excited for some reason, but he wasn't the best person to gauge emotions, whether it was in persor or over the phone or through a computer screen. It simply was not a strong point of his. After agreeing that it was, indeed, a strange question, Taichi informed Koushiro that he did actually own the device. With that answer in mind, Koushiro thanked him, asked to come over, and hung up abruptly. Rude! thought Taichi as he put the receiver down. He knew that Koushiro wouldn't take long to visit since he lived so close, so he didn't bother taking a moment to relax.
As expected, Koushiro was at the Yagami residence in a little under seven minutes. The sun had been up for a good three hours by that point, and Taichi didn't have to do much to conceal his sleepiness. Nine in the morning was still early for him, especially since it was summer vacation. But no matter how tired Taichi looked, he could not have beat Koushiro in terms of sleep-deprived eyes. The red-haired boy looked as if he had gotten no rest since they parted the other day. Before Taichi could ask if Koushiro would like some breakfast, Koushiro asked quickly, "Where's your DS?"
"Um, right here," muttered Taichi, furrowing his brow. Koushiro was known to be rather polite, but boy, was he pushy today! The boy snatched the small machine from Taichi's hand and inserted a new game cartridge in the slot. "Jeez, if you wanted to show me a new game, you could've just waited until after noon - "
Again, Koushiro did not reply. Instead, he switched the Hintendo on and handed it to Taichi. About to ask what on earth could be so important in terms of this specific game, the opening screen left the soccer player dumbfounded. The pleasant music was familiar, along with the dancing vegetables, but there was one aspect that was very, very, different, and very, very relevant to the boys' interests.
Instead of the iconic sprite of Mama popping up on the title screen, it was a well-done pixel manipulation of a certain blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy clad in a black top and a pink apron. Only one letter was switched out from Cooking Mama: the 'M' was swapped for a 'Y', effectively reading Cooking Yama. "No...no, you didn't..." Taichi began incredulously, blinking many times as if trying to flap away his amazement. "Oh, but you did!"
Taichi Yagami was doubled over in laughter as he began to play Koushiro's modified version of Cooking Mama on his game console. The gameplay remained the same as it was when it was Cooking Mama, except of course for the pretty male lead with which Mama had been replaced. Hopping onto the sofa and motioning for Koushiro to join him, Taichi secured a comfortable spot as he selected omuraisu, his favorite breakfast dish. Chicken rice wrapped in a delicate omelet was the soccer player's idea of heaven, and he knew that no one could outdo his own recipe. What a fantastic recipe to start with!
Trying not to giggle as Yama popped up in the right corner of the top screen. Chop the onions, instructed the screen; and Taichi did so effortlessly. Koushiro cast him a curious glance, but he didn't notice, for as the timer ran out this is what echoed from the tiny speakers of the DS: "Terrific! Even bettah zan Yama!" The voice was not Mama's, of course, but it was shockingly close to their rock star pink-apron wearing friend.
At this, Taichi had to shove the DS back into Koushiro's hands. He stepped up from the couch, head down, and slowly walked to his room and shut the door. Koushiro gulped; had he offended Taichi? That was certainly not his aim, and yet that reaction - Koushiro jumped as he heard a loud guffaw from Taichi's room. It was that sort of breathless laughter one has after storing up laughter for a very long time, after someone has told a particularly hilarious joke, and for some reason they didn't feel like laughing at that moment. Koushiro imagined that Taichi was turning red and breathless from the volume and gusto of that laugh. Grinning to himself with a feeling of triumph, he sat on the Yagami's squishy couch and twiddled his thumbs together as he waited for Taichi to calm down.
Another three minutes passed by, and Taichi finally exited his room, wiping a tear or two away as he rejoined Koushiro on the couch. "Whew...that was the funniest thing I've ever seen," he proclaimed, voice sounding as if he were going through puberty again. "'S that why you look like you didn't get any sleep?"
"And to think, all this time I thought you didn't think it was funny!"
"Well, I...it was an unexpected scene, to say the least," Koushiro said sheepishly. "When we were walking home yesterday, we passed a convenience store that was advertising the newest installation to the Cooking Mama series, and, well, after seeing Yamato like that, I..."
"Obviously, you had the best idea anyone's ever had ever!" Taichi said, slapping Koushiro on the back heartily. "Ooh, I can't wait 'til Yama sees this, it's gonna be great..."
"W-Wait, Taichi, we can't possibly show this to Yamato!" stammered a wide-eyed Koushiro. "Aside from being a bit cruel, well, I can't help but think he might...well, I don't know, kill us..."
"It's exactly what he would do!" Taichi grinned. "Which is exactly why we should do it!" Koushiro believed the soccer player to be either very stupid or very courageous at times, but this was a moment where he would absolutely go with 'very stupid'. But he had no time to argue - indeed, he didn't even have time to eat breakfast that morning - as they sped over to Jyou's house. Apparently, it was a boy's-only thing for the time being, but Koushiro rolled his eyes. Surely, Jyou would be the one to stop this madness in its tracks.
Koushiro was wrong. Taichi's exuberant energy overtook both Jyou and himself. While Jyou was impressed with the graphics and argued for a moment, he was stopped in mid-sentence as Taichi flew out of his apartment and made them get on their way to Takeru's apartment, a good train ride across the city. A wicked grin was plastered over Taichi's face, and his eyes were wide with excitement. He was every bit the child with the newest game, and he was eager to show all his friends. Halfway through the train ride, Koushiro groaned to himself. Perhaps this was a bad idea after all. Along the way, Taichi was busy with his DS, muffling his grunts whenever he attained a less-than-perfect score. "Great! You gave it your best effort," sang Cooking Yama from the screen whenever he was close, but not quite there; and "Don wari - Yama will fix it," assured a firey-eyed Cooking Yama when Taichi completely failed a level. Regardless of his score, Taichi was a-giggle with delight as he uncovered recipe after recipe. Koushiro gave Jyou a helpless look, but the older boy replied with a sour look of his own. And this is why we don't humour Taichi, the look seemed to say. The redhead sighed and slumped in his seat dejectedly.
They arrived on the opposite end of Odaiba, where they hurried off to the Takaishi residence. Taichi rapped on the door incessantly, and a tired Mrs. Takaishi opened the door for them. She barely said 'hello' and 'come in' as Taichi stormed his way through, leaving Jyou and Koushiro to apologize profusely. "He's, um, a little excited," explained Jyou when Mrs. Takaishi raised a brow in surprised disappointment. "We're really sorry!"
"Hey, guys, what's up?" Takeru asked, clearly also surprised that the boys were in his apartment before noon, and without warning.
"Koushiro just made the best game ever and you need to play it," Taichi babbled, pushing his system into Takeru's hands and leading him over to a chair and sat him down. "Open this now and play it. Now. Now now now now now!"
"J-Jeez, Taichi, what could possibly be so...wh-what the? Is...is this supposed to be Yamato?" exclaimed Yamato's younger brother. He wasn't quite sure if he should be insulted or amused at the copy of Cooking Yama.
Mrs. Takaishi, curiosity piqued, looked over her youngest son's shoulder at the mention of Yamato and put her hands to her mouth as she gasped. "Oh my," was all she was able to say. Like Takeru, she was unsure of how to react to this particular video game. Taking a deep breath, she invented a reason to retreat back to her room and hope that her son would know how to handle the situation. She knew that there was no malice involved with the game. And she did not know that her elder son had an affinity for pink aprons (though she knew that her ex-husband was fond of them). What she was certain of was Yamato's sensitivity, and she was quite worried about that. But her boys were no longer the children they were before, and she felt that she lacked the authority to tell their friends off. Wouldn't that come off as more embarrassing than Yamato's apparent pink apron? What a dilemma! In the end she decided that the children would work it out for themselves. Sometimes, it was the right thing for a parent to remain as laissez-faire as possible when it came to such difficult things.
All the same, though, Mrs. Takaishi eavesdropped on the boys from her door.
"Guys, don't you think this might be a bit mean?" Takeru asked. "Yamato's not going to like this, I'm sure you know that. He doesn't wear pink aprons."
"Oh, the things you don't know, Takeru," Taichi replied impishly. "What Koushiro and I discovered yesterday was mind-blowing."
"I thought the meeting was cancelled yesterday," came Takeru's cautious reply. "You can't have seen him."
"Did you ever wonder why the meeting was cancelled?" Taichi retorted. "Hmm? How about it? What are some of the reasons your brother would halt a meeting? Especially an important one!"
Takeru hesitated. He knew he was being played; Taichi knew Yamato about as well as he did. Were he a simpler person, he would have taken the bait and replied with the truth. The truth was that Yamato would only cancel a get together for three possible reasons. One was that his hair was being unreasonably uncooperative. Two was that he had nothing to wear. And three was that something embarrassing had happened to him, and someone had already seen it. These were things that would make him lose his cool, and considering coolness was Yamato's main charm point, this was something he absolutely could not be seen losing. Though he hated assuming things and taking Taichi's words as fact, he had to at least admit the possibility of a pink apron in Yamato's possession. He knew that neither Taichi nor Kouishiro were imaginative enough to come up with a pink apron on his brother unless they had seen it with their own eyes. Takeru said none of this, and instead crossed his arms and regarded Taichi with a hard expression on his face. "Taichi," he said in a warning tone. "This is a bad idea."
"Seriously, Taichi," Jyou piped in. "You know Yamato's not going to like this. I mean, he could kill us for this, really, and that's not something I want to deal with, I've got so much homework..."
Koushiro considered the brevity of the situation and realized he had an answer that might actually change Taichi's mind. "Taichi, if you show this to Yamato, I don't think he'll make you those cupcakes you're so fond of."
The clamor in the room stopped suddenly as the sound of a person sitting down in sudden defeat was heard. It could only be Taichi. He sat at the Takaishi's dinner table, deep in thought. He did love Yamato's special cherry blossom cupcakes. And Yamato only made them when Taichi asked nicely. And when Yamato wasn't in a mood. The game would definitely put him in a mood, wouldn't it? But the game is too amazing NOT to show him... Taichi thought fervently. He could hear the gears in his head turning so fast that his head spun.
Koushiro, Jyou, and Takeru looked at each other in relief, certain that they had won this battle. Taichi loved his cupcakes, after all; there was no way he would give those up. The boys relaxed, and Takeru casually asked if any of them had eaten. "Not since Taichi dragged us out of our homes," said Jyou apologetically. "Sorry to have to make you cook."
Suddenly, Taichi stood up from his chair. An eavesdropper would not be able to hear the wild look on his face, and it was a terrible look of mischief. Takeru had just cracked some eggs into a bowl and began to whip them when Taichi exclaimed, "Terrific! Even better than Yama!"
"Oh, no," groaned Jyou. "Taichi, the cupcakes, think of the cupcakes!"
"Yama'll forgive me, no problem!" Taichi said brightly. He then regarded the group with his dark eyes and a fool's smile. "And you all know he will."
A collective sigh enveloped the room. Koushiro slapped his palm to his face. So it wasn't over, after all. Though the boys were well aware of Yamato's wrath when he was embarrassed, they were also painfully aware of the fact that he always forgave Taichi, no matter what the cause. Taichi and Yamato had gotten into near-naked fist fights in the snow and shoving matches in school. The soccer player had even dropped Yamato's guitar once, and everyone was sure that this was an unforgivable sin to the musical Yamato Ishida. But after a week, the two were fresh-faced and as refreshing as they always were: Taichi an uncontrollable ball of positive energy, and Yamato the very picture of a rebel without a cause, swoon-worthy from head to toe. They were, without a doubt, the perfect pair of best friends. (No one knew that Yamato had astutely suckered out more than enough from Taichi to pay for a new guitar, and that the process took three days and four nights. It goes without being said that no one knows exactly where the money came from, or what the two boys could ahve done for those there days and four nights.)
So it was going to happen after all. Takeru was able to calm Taichi long enough to get him to sit down and eat breakfast, but that was about as far as he could go. The rational boys fretted about Yamato's reaction. With Yamato's dignity at stake, they all knew that Taichi would not be the only one to receive some sort of punishment. They would be saddled with the responsibility to stop Taichi's evil deeds, even though Yamato himself knew that it was impossible to restrain a whirlwind of a boy like Taichi. Honestly, with those two, no amount of logic in the world could make them view the world like a rational human being. Taichi was too headstrong and Yamato was too emotional to keep calm and take a step down to see things from a different perspective.
After finishing their breakfast of, incidentally, omuraisu, the boys helped Takeru do the dishes before they headed out once more. Much negotiation was needed to keep the game from the newer kids, at the very least. They all agreed that it would be dangerous if the game fell into the hands of Daisuke, who would certainly make a show of laughing out loud in an effort to be a part of the group and then accidentally lose it. If that happened, it would only take a few moments until Jun got her hands on the thing, and things would really spin out of control. "You're right," Taichi agreed when Takeru brought this up. This, at the very least, was labelled under Taichi's brain as "very, very bad".
Another hour had passed by the time they reached Taichi's side of Odaiba, and it was almost lunchtime for everyone else. The boys were about to turn the corner past the park when Daisuke zoomed by them on his bicycle. "Whoops! Sorry, guys, didn't see ya there..." he said in his always too-loud voice. "Whatcha playin'?" asked the boy, playing with Taichi's old goggles as he hopped off his bike to look over Taichi's shoulder. Taichi closed the console shut before Daisuke could see anything.
"Just some dumb game," Taichi lied quickly. "Where are you off to?"
"Oh, some dumb...uh, game, too," Daisuke replied shakily with a nervous smile. Though he always stated he was over his starstruck nature whenever he was around Taichi, everyone else knew that this was not so. To this day, if Taichi were playing a game, Daisuke was eager to learn what it was. If it was something Taichi liked, he vowed to enjoy it as well; and of course, if it were a dumb game, he wanted to know what it was so he could bash it. "But, uh, yeah! So...what's this dumb game? I'm sure I've heard of it, and..." He reached out tentatively for the DS.
"Nothing, I said," Taichi remarked sharply, tucking the Hintendo console safely into his pocket. "Just, uh, some...some dumb game I have to take over to Hikari."
Takeru blanched as the words slipped out of Taichi's mouth. He was now sure that the big hair had to obstruct some of the thinking processes in Taichi's brain. Not only did Taichi fail to realize the epitome of his fame with Daisuke, he also managed to include Hikari into the mix. It would take a miracle to stop Daisuke now. As if on cue, the newest goggle boy asked, "H-Hey! I could...could I take it over to her? I m-mean, it's just on the way to my soccer match and it's right there and we're here and - "
Luckily, Takeru underestimated Taichi's overbearing brotherly love. In that regard, he was a lot like Yamato. "No," Taichi replied fiercely, a frighteningly dark glare on his face. "She is my sister, I'll take it to her, it's my apartment. Go on, you'll be late to your game."
The effect was immediate. Poor Daisuke looked as if he were going to cry as he ambled over to his fallen bicycle and rode off unsteadily. "Harsh," Takeru remarked. "But effective, I guess."
"Don't you see all the trouble this is getting us into?" Jyou exclaimed in a small voice. The stress was getting to him; he already had a hefty pile of biology homework waiting for him at home, and now he had to deal with this? On days like this, he knew why he felt more at ease with Koushiro than anyone else. At least he could relate to Koushiro without too many words. Alas, he was here in front of Yamato's apartment building, nervously eyeing the Hintendo DS poking out of Taichi's pocket. Experience told him that something awful but completely expected would be happening any moment now...
Thankfully, nothing of the sort occurred. The four boys made their way to the elevator, Taichi more excited than ever that he would be able to display the game. Koushiro guiltily kept his eyes on the floor. "I'm going to get the worst of it," he concluded miserably to himself. Jyou patted the shorter boy's shoulder, but said nothing of comfort. It was his fault, after all. Taichi had only laughed at it; Koushiro was the sole conspirator and creator of the modified game, and no one in the elevator could figure out why he did it in the first place.
In truth, Koushiro knew full well that he wasn't known for his sense of humour (though many a good pun had escaped from his lips before, no one seemed to get them). Yamato, well-kempt Yamato, dressed in all black and topped off with a pink apron - why, the image was so silly that he couldn't get it out of his mind! Nothing seemed more out of place and yet so perfect! Even if Jyou started donning a cape, even if Takeru decided he was going to wear suspenders for the rest of his life, even if Taichi chopped off a good portion of his hair, Koushiro was convinced that nothing was as absurd as that pink apron draped over Yamato's neck. He could keep his emotions in check better than anyone else in the group and he was proud of it. But that day, Koushiro found that it was difficult to keep such a fantastically unbelievable secret to himself, and this is what led him to create Cooking Yama. If it weren't apparent to him before, it was now painfully apparent that he should have kept the game to himself instead of showing it to the big-haired and equally big-mouthed soccer star.
Koushiro fidgeted in the elevator as he tried to come to terms with his fate, while Takeru and Jyou exchanged nervous glances for the events to come. Taichi was delightfully oblivious to it all as he clutched the deep blue game console to his chest. Jyou felt that Taichi must have gotten some sort of sadistic joy out of the situation - or perhaps masochistic, knowing that at the end of the hallway was Yamato's wrath. The tall boy shuddered as he followed their leader figure to Yamato's door. The over-optimistic knocking would surely be the last thing they would hear. All but Taichi flinched when the door opened. "What are you boys doing here so early?" came the voice of Mr. Ishida, inducing a sigh of relief from the worried boys and an impatient look from Taichi. "Let me call Yamato."
"Er, thanks, Mr. Ishida," Koushiro said, though he wasn't quite sure why he didn't say something along the lines of, Wait! No! Don't! Mr. Ishida, it's perfectly fine, sorry to bother you, we'll just be on our way now...
"He'll be out in a second," Mr. Ishida said after a short disappearance. He beckoned for Takeru, who came over with an apologetic smile, and gave him a bear hug. "How have you been, son? You seem a bit skinny...make sure your mom's feeding you enough!"
"I'm fine, dad, I've missed you too!" Takeru replied between chuckles. He lowered his voice after making sure Taichi was out of earshot. "Actually, dad, I think we've got to get out of here. As usual Taichi did something dumb, and we don't want to make Yamato mad, and..."
"Yamato? Mad? Huh! Nonsense! He can deal with anything and everything!" Mr. Ishida proclaimed loudly, making everyone jump in surprise. "Anyway, I've go to head out to work. You boys have a good time, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" With that, Mr. Ishida grabbed his coat, gave Takeru another big hug, and shouted his leave of absence to Yamato, who was still not present. This is definitely something you wouldn't do, dad... Takeru thought helplessly.
Jyou, polite and paranoid, seemed to have the function of making everyone restless. He sat on the Ishida's couch, unable to sit still, as he regarded his surroundings with fear. "He'll be here any minute," he groaned. "Why am I even here? Why did you drag me into this mess? Is it just because I live close to Koushiro? Maybe I should move...ahh, all that homework to do, and I won't even be alive to do it, why, why, why did I let you take me along..."
Taichi ignored Jyou's babbling and stood in front of Yamato's door, excitedly hopping on one foot to the other. Jyou ceased his fears for a moment to regard the strange boy, thinking that he resembled a dog that needed to go outside to relieve himself. Despite the trouble they would face in a few moments' time, Jyou began to laugh. Koushiro sat beside him, fretting over his friend's sanity. They were all starting to lose it, thanks to this madman with the Hintendo in his hand. Takeru was still at the door, silently wishing that his father would return to help restore the balance in the world; but he knew that such attempts were as futile as reasoning with Taichi. The room was so silent that the ticking of Jyou's watch could be heard, so loud that it resonated with their fervent heartbeats as they sat in agonizing suspense.
Knock, knock, knock. Taichi rapped on Yamato's bedroom door delicately. "He can't still be asleep, it's past noon," Koushiro heard him mutter.
"He likes to take his time when it comes to sleep," Takeru said from his side of the living room.
"Yeah, yeah, common knowledge," Taichi replied, tapping his foot impatiently as he waited for Yamato to open the door. "Come on, come on! Open up!" He began to knock with more emphasis.
Jyou and Koushiro cowered beneath the couch, terrified of what would happen once that door opened. Wasn't the front door enough suspense for the day? Perhaps not for an adrenaline junkie like Taichi. All but the soccer player held their breaths as the door slowly creaked open.
Yamato's blue eyes caught a tiny ray of light from the world outside of his dark bedroom, and he almost shut the door abruptly as he flinched before noticing that others were present in his apartment. He uttered a loud groan, and the sound of a closet door opening and clothes being tossed about seemed to gradually wake the room. A minute or two later, he was dressed in a black v-neck shirt and dark blue skinny jeans. Amazingly, he looked as if he had been awake for hours, though that probably wasn't the case. "Hey, guys," he said in his smooth voice. "What's up? And why are you hiding behind my couch?"
Taichi interjected before the couch bunnies could formulate an explanation. "Have we got a surprise for you, Yama!" he said, his wicked grin set to maximum. He handed the console to the slender blonde; one might note that his hands were shaking from the excitement of it all.
Takeru leapt over the couch and roared as he made his way toward his older brother, ready to wrestle the Hintendo out of Yamato's hands (luckily, it was in a sturdy case, so breakage was not a top priority). Yamato's eyes opened wide, unable to process the sudden display of madness in Takeru, and barely had time to raise his arm to protect himself. "Oh no you don't!" Taichi grumbled, tackling Yamato himself so that Takeru's jump would miss completely. Years of soccer practice had given him impeccable timing, though tackling wasn't quite a normal soccer drill.
Confusion had set in. Yamato and Taichi began to wrestle each other; apparently, Yamato thought that Takeru had gotten hold of him, as did Taichi. The familiar scene of the boys on top of one another gave Kouishiro and Jyou the distraction they needed to cart the DS away from the contenders. Takeru, Koushiro, and Jyou began to sneak out of the apartment, closing the front door behind them quietly.
"That was a close call," whispered Koushiro as the newly formed trio rushed down the stairs. "We should get rid of this thing before it gets into the wrong hands."
"Oh, hey, you three! Coming back from the Ishida apartment?" echoed a squeaky girl's voice from the stairwell. Takeru held back a curse under his breath when he realized who the voice belonged to.
The trio screeched to a halt and panicked, unsure of where to go next. They had barely gone down a full flight of stairs! To the top was the door leading to the hallway with Yamato's apartment; beneath them, Jun was ambling up like a jungle cat ready to pounce on her prey. The door to the next floor was effectively blocked thanks to Jun's sudden appearance. For better or worse, they were trapped. The immediate response was to act nonchalant. "Uh, hey, J-Jun," Jyou said as casually as possible. His voice cracked. "Fancy seeing you here. Fine day out, isn't it! Why are you here? It's windy, huh? I mean, it's not like Yamato's home or anything - "
"Ooh, he's not home? That's some great news!" squealed Jun, ready to push the boys out of her way. None of them wanted to know what she had planned if Yamato weren't home, but they knew they had to stop her. It was enough that they possessed Cooking Yama; they would be in deeper trouble if they allowed Jun to pass.
"Um, y-y'know what, I think I just saw him at the park!" Takeru said brightly. "He was, ah, going for a walk with Taichi. To watch Daisuke's soccer game."
Jun seemed to consider this for a moment. In this moment, Koushiro discreetly pulled the DS out of his pocket and opened it up so he could turn it off. Taichi had shut it mid-game when Daisuke almost ran them over. It was at this moment that Koushiro was not as discreet as he'd have liked. In Yamato's cheerfully synthesized voice, the tiny speakers managed to celebrate Taichi's latest accomplishment in the game: "Terrific! Even bettah zan Yama!" And then Jun's moment of consideration was over as she swooped over to Koushiro and daintily plucked the console from his hands.
"What is this adorable game?" Jun cried, the DS now open. The boys tried to take it back in vain as she began playing through one of the recipes. Her laughter sounded almost demonic as the fangirl within her was unleashed. Between exasperated breaths and screams, she clutched the system to her breast and looked around her feeling starry-eyed and silly. "I've got to show this to everyone! But this is mine, of course!" She dashed back down the twenty flights of stairs she had climbed only minutes ago.
"We've got to stop that rabid fangirl!" Koushiro yelped. Jyou began to bash his head against the concrete walls, moaning about how he should have stayed home, and Takeru was as pale as a sheet. Running after her would be a pointless action. When she found something she liked, she would chase it. When she gave chase, there was no stopping her. Why, she was at Yamato's apartment, wasn't she? Other tenants of the building would later claim that they only saw a blur going up and down the stairs at this hour. The trio had to come up with a strategy to stop Jun before she showed anyone their monstrous creation.
Ten minutes went by and they were at a loss. Ten minutes would have been enough time for Jun to hop onto a train, a subway, head to a park with her other friends in the Yamato fanclub, and they were ready to throw in the towel. Jyou, a mess as he was, still provided a reliable last word before they decided to give up. "We could always just tell Yamato," he said hopelessly. "He might kill us, but he's the only one who can stop that tornado of a teenager."
Takeru's blue eyes lit up. "Jyou, you're a genius!" He ran back up the stairs, threw open the door to the hallway, and bashed a series of knocks onto the Ishida's main doorway. "Yamato! Yamato, open up! It's Takeru!"
The younger blonde stood at the door and listened closely. He was able to make out the sound of what he assumed was wrestling when he first came to the door, but that stopped abruptly after his knock. Some shuffling here and there and the door finally opened. "Ta-Takeru? I...oh. So, uh...so that was Taichi," muttered a red-faced Yamato. "This whole time I thought I was getting back at you, little bro."
"Not quite," Takeru said with a timid smile. "We've got a bit of an emergency on our hands. Could you help us out?"
"Well? What is it?"
"Spit it out, Takeru."
"You have to stop Jun at all costs," Takeru finally said, looking away from his older brother's piercing eyes. "She's, well...she's got something of yours that you don't quite know about. But if she gets any further than where she is now, I can pretty much guarantee that you won't be able to sleep peacefully for the next day."
"Takeru, if you're talking about my underwear, I'm pretty sure it was her stealing it this whole time - "
Taichi joined in on the conversation, pushing Yamato aside. His clothes were messy and askew from the fighting, assumed Takeru, but his resolve seemed to glow now that he heard snippets of the Jun alert. "Takeru...you don't mean she got ahold of the...you-know-what?"
"The very one," Jyou said from behind Takeru, adjusting his glasses. "It's a pretty serious situation."
Yamato glared at each and every one around him, expecting more of an explanation on their part. He hated being the last to know, but from the worried looks on everyone's faces, he knew that the clock was ticking. Whatever was stolen was precious in some way. It was up to him to put a stop to Jun's madness. With a great sigh, he headed toward the elevator. "You all owe me a very detailed explanation after this," he growled as the elevator doors closed after him.
Koushiro, Jyou, Takeru, and Taichi wasted no time in heading to the stairwell. The group moved like a well-oiled machine as they descended the stairs, their speed rivaling that of the very girl they were giving chase to. "If he stops her in time, we can grab the game before Jun shows it to him," huffed Koushiro, cursing his short legs as he trailed behind the others. "We'll be home free!"
"Don't get your hopes up," Jyou managed to reply, only inches in front of Koushiro. "Taichi's still in the lead of our little line here. If Jun doesn't show Yamato, I think the probably of Taichi getting the honor is pretty darn high!"
"Just run, guys!" Takeru called over his shoulder. "I'll try to overtake him!" But Taichi's athletic legs gave him a head start, and the adrenaline pumping through his veins only gave him more energy and stamina to keep running.
The quartet exited the building before Yamato's elevator opened, and for a moment they were bewildered. Hadn't they just seen Jun just a minute or two ago from the stairwell? Were their worst fears confirmed? Had she really taken the nearest train out of Odaiba to show off her new toy? Luckily, a familiar squeal from some bushes nearby revealed that she hadn't gone anywhere at all. The boys split up into two groups, Taichi and Takeru climbing up a tree, and Koushiro and Jyou hiding behind the brick fencing. An orchestra of clicks from Jun's hiding spot meant that she was busy stalking Yamato, and since he had just come out of the elevator, she was busy snapping picture after picture of the high school rock star.
For a terse moment, the boys were unsure if she was going to jump Yamato or rush off to the station. The slender blonde took his time stretching; it was as if he knew he was being photographed and wanted to make sure the cameraman (or woman) was getting his best angles. Takeru rolled his eyes. How difficult it was to have a brother like Yamato! But waiting proved to be an acceptable strategy, for it seemed that Jun could no longer take it. She rolled out of the bushes and ran off toward Yamato, the DS clutched to her chest. "Ohhh Yamatooo!" she squawked as she flailed her arms in an emphatic wave. "Gooood afternoooon!"
An obviously forced smile played across Yamato's lips, but Jun either didn't notice or didn't care. She began chattering like the schoolgirl she was about this and that, and before long, Yamato's charm had gotten the best of her. "You look like you're enjoying the weather," was all Yamato had to say to sweep Jun off her feet. "What's that you've got there?"
Jun extended the DS toward the handsome musician and was about to open it, but Yamato got the feeling that something as simple as opening a game console would be the equivalent of her opening her heart to him. Before she could allow the game to play itself, he took the closed Hintendo and graced her with another painful-looking smile. "Mind if I borrow this?" he asked silkily. Thankfully, Jun was too wrapped up in the real thing to care about the digital Yamato within the Hintendo, and with tears in her eyes she uttered 'take it'. (Strangely, if one were as close in proximity as Yamato, they might have heard 'take me' instead.)
The hard part was getting rid of Jun, but the boys had already thought that part through. As she hooked her arm through Yamato's and led him toward the station to go shopping, Takeru and Taichi began talking loudly from the trees in disguised voices toward Koushiro and Jyou. "Doesn't that Yamato guy have a concert to get ready for soon?" "Yeah, I hear it's a big one. Talent scouts and everything." "Man, I really hope nothing stops him from getting there. I hear if he brings any fan girls with him, they won't even consider him." "That, my friend, would be a shame."
Poor Jun stepped back from Yamato as if she were electrocuted. "O-Ohmigosh! You have a concert today? How did I not know! Where's it going to be? I need to be there! Yamato, Yamato, I'll support you all the way through!"
Yamato simply smiled at her ruefully. "It's a private one, I'm afraid. Those talent scouts don't like to be bothered. Maybe I'll see you tomorrow," he said, feigning disappointment. "I'll see you around."
"B-Bye, Yamato! You're the best! I LOVE YOU!" she screamed. Koushiro and Jyou shuddered inwardly as they heard her continuous declarations of love for their friend. Once they were certain Jun had disappeared into the subway station, they allowed themselves a chance to breathe and domed out of their hiding spots.
Arms crossed and foot tapping, Yamato looked around at the boys, waiting for an explanation. Jyou shied away the way a child does when a mother is ready to scold. Takeru, Koushiro, and Jyou stepped back a foot, leaving Taichi in the foreground. Looking around nervously, he chuckled weakly. "Uh, so you got us!" he said in a mock tone of cheer. "Congratulations!"
"What is this all about?" Yamato asked, holding up the DS. "You needed my help because Jun stole your Hintendo? Really?"
The blonde fumbled with the device. Jyou looked away, whistling a tune despite his tone deafness. Koushiro was on the verge of passing out. Takeru just stared at the ground as his brother opened the console. "Wh...is this Cooking Mama?" Yamato asked suspiciously as he opened the DS all the way. "All this for a copy of..." His eyes widened in horror as he regarded the image on the top screen.
"Cooking Yama," Koushiro confessed with a quivering lip. "I'm so, so sorry, Yamato, this was all my fault, I'm the one who made it, I should have never shown Taichi, and we shouldn't have gone in without permission and I'm really sorry - "
Yamato held up a hand to silence the shorter boy. He furrowed his brow in a mixture of anger and frustration, as if trying to figure out who was to blame. "And what are the rest of you doing here?"
"Taichi crashed through my apartment. I'm sorry! I tried to stop him," Jyou sighed. "But that's easier said than done."
"The three of them went over to my place afterward. Mom saw it, too...sorry. She just went to her room. I thought I convinced Taichi to give up," Takeru said guiltily. "But, well, it's Taichi..."
"And what do you have to say for yourself, Taichi?"
The big-haired boy shuffled around innocently and locked eyes with Yamato. "I thought it was hilarious!" he exclaimed. "I mean, the graphics are so great, everything is so perfect, even your English, which isn't all that great! Yama, you've got to admit, it's flattery, right?"
Silence. The boys knew that a silent Yamato never amounted to any good. Again, all but Taichi took a step backward, hoping to avoid getting the worst of it. "So. I gather that, although you all played a part in it - even you, Koushiro, who made this travesty - it was really Taichi's fault in the first place," Yamato mused, pocketing the Hintendo. "And everyone but Taichi apologized. So really, it's just your fault."
"Hey, w-wait, that's not right!" Taichi stuttered, now on the defensive. "I'm not the one who made it!"
"Yes, but you're the one who wanted to show me so badly! And for what reason?"
"Because, it's an absolute work of genius!"
The boys went on like this for a while, and Jyou, Koushiro, and Takeru began to slink away from the picture. They figured that with Yamato's anger directed solely at Taichi, they could consider themselves forgiven and thus, very lucky. The last thing they heard was the voice of Yamato, who was able to strike a deal with Taichi. Punishment this time around would last a whole week. Walking into the sunset, the escapees winced inwardly. They weren't sure what sort of cruel deeds Yamato had lined up for Taichi, but they couldn't bring themselves to imagine the horrors in store for their big-haired fool of a friend.
The group heard nothing more of Cooking Yama since that day. But Taichi would never hear the end of it. For an entire week, and perhaps for decades to come, he was made to cook Yamato's meals by day, with Yamato scrutinizing his work over his shoulder.
With every dire mistake, Yamato would growl, "Don wari - Yama will fix it."
~ Fin ~