Okay. Before you guys kill me, let me hide behind a rock. ::avoids fruits, banana peels, nuclear bombs and whatnot::
Sigh. I really have no excuse. Well, if you're upset at me, you're free to complain to me (not through e-mail, I don't like answering e-mail, but you can IM me anytime).
Someone mentioned that it's been a year and a half? Sounds about right. Well, first things first before I rant:
First-time reviewers ::deepbreath::: Alexis : Digital Survivor, KuTiExAzNxAnGeL, Angels INC, JEMak, takeru takaishi, sdg, 1[ ayumi ]1, miyawada, kari, I.N.O.A.N., ---, fosheezay, Cettie-girl, flipstahhz, icemint, metablade, blackdeath, Phalken, Ashlei Calahart, ebacusta, Tench-Sama, cherries, Zoleth, miaow227, RogueSummersLover, master man man man, Unmei no Hana, custard colored fur, Whatever, blau1310, and Couch Potato.
Thank you all, and remember. I go by names that I haven't seen, so if I messed up anywhere or something, just let me know. And, uh, the asterisks aren't showing up because of something weird FFnet does when I upload documents. If anyone can help me fix this, it would be appreciated.
Disclaimer: Digimon isn't mine. Insert humour here.
Well, first thing. I went back and read some of my previous chapter, and thought 'what the hell was I thinking?'. So in this chapter I've just about nullified my formats to italics, and reduced my Japanese vocabulary to minimal. After all, people complain about them all the time anyway. Personally, I'm not sure if I'm right or not, not being Japanese and just checking up on a dictionary.
Secondly. It has been a long time. I think my style has changed...slightly. Well, the reason that I haven't been writing was that I haven't been feeling funny enough. Really, I should put inspired, but that would just be lying. So, lacking in a sense of humour, you might find it a bit weak. = If you want to leave now, I'd understand. When going through the humour, you might find that I've decided to use less jokes that revolve around taking advantage of the cross dressing boys. So, yeah. I'll see how that works out.
Thirdly, I want to say that I'm moving on to something else after this chapter. Now, this in no way means that this will be discontinued. In fact, writing something else might help me want to write this one even more, if you see how that works. I have a lot more free time this year, so... Well, I'm not going to promise anything. But we'll see how it goes. I've been meaning to get this to you guys in the summer, but, believe it or not, I started early August. So this is my fault, really. Those of you who are in school, I hope you'll read this when you get home or something.
Well, I'll stop wasting space.
Thank you for you all who supported me, and I hope to see you again, soon. ::bow::
Episode 8: Faraway Sunshine
Yamato laid a wet towel on Taichi's face.
In Ancient China, this was a form of execution. By laying multiple layers of wet cloth on the criminal's face, he or she will be unable to breathe and suffocate.
Every bloody morning he would have to wait for Taichi to get up to go to school together. Abandoning Taichi would've seemed like a fine idea if not for the constant bitching afterwards. It has to be the estrogen, Yamato thought. But then Taichi was a bitch altogether anyway.
What was supposedly an eight-something morning wake has become a six-thirty wake for Yamato lately. It was a constant discomfort – constant alertness. His unique circumstances have caused him to be slightly paranoid in his sleep. From a morning shower (one routine he's actually happy about; the hot water when everyone wakes up is usually spent, if not the bathrooms occupied), he would spend the remainder of his time staring at himself in the mirror as drops of water would drip from his acute face to the pool of clear he had let sit for washing his face with. The slightest creak would be startling, for he had no shirt on.
All hygiene-ized and dressed (yes, complete with skirt and pigtails), Yamato sat by the bedside and watched Taichi twitch.
Taichi wouldn't die. The thought of him dying had never occurred to Yamato. Once he had gotten into a fight with someone and although his opponent had a steel pipe that had hit Taichi on the head for well over 20 times.....well, it broke in half. And the other half ended up in that guy's ass.
"Yamako-chan....." A distant female voice rang.
"What are we having today?" Yamato casually pulled out a seat and sat.
"Western today. Eggs and sausages." Sora replied without turning herself from the pan.
"Mmm." A slight tone of approval.
It was a pleasant breakfast, to say the least. The more energetic members, namely Takeru, Ken, Hikari, Miyako, and Mimi had left early.
Koushiro was lying back with his hands behind his head.
"You know. This is nice." he said simply.
Yamato nodded. It was.
"Better wake Tai-chan up. She can eat fast, but still, she'll be late if she sleeps in anymore."
"Is.....she still alive?"
Yamato blocked Sora's hand, and reached for Taichi's wrist.
"Doesn't look like she's breathing, though."
"No. Let's see how long it lasts."
"What's up with you guys?" Taichi muttered in the odd air. "You're all so silent."
Whether they had been awestruck or disturbed, even they themselves are not too sure of.
Yamato casually stared at the sky on the walk to the school building. He squinted.
It seems the clouds conglomerated into one large hand that's giving the finger.
Yamato chuckled. He had seen weirder things.
"Maybe this is god's way of telling me that I'm fucked today."
"What was that?" Koushiro walked closer to Yamato, hoping for conversation.
"Um." Yamato pointed back up at the sky, but he couldn't relocate it.
They arrived several minutes before the bell, and the classroom was already packed. There was an air of gossip. Taichi wondered about the source of the girls' energy; this current lifestyle made him lethargic every day.
"Psst. Sora-chan." Mimi waved.
"What is it?" Sora asked as she walked towards the little gathering of people in the middle of the room.
Taichi, Yamato, and Koushiro had walked a bit closer, but out of arms length, hoping to eavesdrop. Takeru and Ken, however, had already made their way shamelessly into the circle of conversation.
The boys couldn't quite get all of the discussion between most of the girls in the class, as it was mostly fragmented phrases between squeals. But, from what they gathered, the teacher was sick. The sub is a guy. Hope he is hot.
Oddly, Taichi could almost empathize with those girls if it didn't question his sexuality. The small amount of males in the school – teachers and staff – seemed almost to be hired based on how unattractive they are. Most of them are well into their 50's.
This circumstance resulted in something that was slightly uncommon: girls checking out girls. The urge to criticize and compliment would've been fulfilled on the same gender.....in good fun, of course. Although some of the girls were more genuine with their remarks.
The bell caused everyone to go to their respective seats and finish lingering last words.
Yamato sighed as he let the weight of his head rest on his hand.
I think today's the first day I finally felt a bit more normal. Even this stuff is getting routine now..... It feels weird, but so comforting at the same time. Maybe I could actually get adjusted-
Yamato's thoughts were interrupted by neat footsteps into the classroom.
"But you can all call me Kei if you want."
The class feedback was a bit more enthusiastic than usual.
Koushiro's hand grabbed his skirt in anxiety.
Something's up. I know it. He's come to fuck us over.
Already in his head are countermeasures against what possibly could happen. Kei was by no means a part-time substitute. It would be highly improbable. This surprise appearance and visit was not out of good will.
Kei, dressed in black pants and a blue shirt of which has its first few buttons undone unorthodoxly, was going through each and every single student in the class for an introduction. His impression of being having a fun potential and looking, to the least, semi-decent has been viewed as godsend for most of the girls in the class.
Meanwhile, already a pool of sweat has formed on Ken's desk.
Though Kei has always been a symbol of good will and friendliness, his unnatural appearance could only hint at some devious scheme.
Possibly something as devious as this entire 'project'.
The girls, while chosen to give a brief intro about themselves along the row, made no attempt to hide their interest in the new novelty.
"Ah, that's great..." Kei looked down at his class list. "...Mika. Anything else you'd like to add?"
"Can I have your phone number?"
A riot. In agreement.
Rather shameless. Koushiro noted.
"Haha." Kei chuckled embarrassingly. "You'll have to earn it."
Koushiro squinted. What was that supposed to mean?
Takeru looked up nervously. "Yes?"
"Anything you'd like to say about yourself?"
"Oh. Okay. Next is..."
Koushiro couldn't understand. Kei was clearly not a schoolteacher substitute. He clearly did not come here to help them, because he could do that without disguising himself by his usual radio contact.
But he did not try to make things difficult either.
Everyone in Taichi's row had shifted themselves to the right, revealing a large bush of light brown hair flatly on the table.
Sleeping in class in the morning had always been some sort of a routine for Taichi, especially since he has the ability to abuse it, sitting in the back and all.
The girl in front of Taichi leaned backwards, seeming to want to tap his shoulders.
"Shh." Kei put his index finger in front of his lips, stopping the girl.
Walking to the chalkboard, he grabbed a fresh piece of chalk, and turned around and whipped it through the air.
Zipping past through all the girls who have cleared a path, the piece of chalk flies straight at the sleeping Taichi, leaving a white smoky trail in the air.
Taichi suddenly opens his eyes and rolled out of his seat to the left.
The piece of chalk missed, and embedded itself within the wall.
Kei raised his left hand, with four pieces of chalk between his fingers, and swiftly swung those at Taichi, who just got out of his seat.
Taichi agilely avoided each of those by slightly bending his body - his after shadows defining his movements - although one had penetrated a small hole in his skirt.
Continuing his swinging movement, Kei grabbed an entire box of chalk and threw that at Taichi with one motion.
A several dozen chalk penetrate the air and is aimed straight at Taichi. The wind around the chalks seems to bend and change, and create a sharp whiz sound as it darts by.
Taichi regained his stance and stood upright, then held out his right hand, palm facing outwards. His eyes light with determination as the barrage of projectiles fly closer.
"Taiko, please try to refrain from falling asleep in class again." Kei spoke meekly.
"Yes." Taichi, uniform covered in white dust and face swollen, replies and sits back onto the desk.
Koushiro sighs with relief. What just happened was, certainly, fucked up. But there was no mystery now. His intentions were as obvious as Koushiro had predicted.
"Next...Yamako." Kei moved along. Yamato sat in the front of the leftmost row.
Yamato was certainly in no mood for his silly games.
A quick dismissal.
Suddenly, in the middle of a word, his voice dropped a couple thousand hertz. Yamato covered his mouth immediately.
"Right...moving on." Kei nervously said.
The rest of the class progressed normally. Discussions about communication between people happened. Though it's hardly grammar exercises, one could argue that it's an essential part of good Japanese.
"Alright. That's all for now. Maybe we'll pick up where we left off next time if your teacher remains sick."
The sounds of over fifty feet on the floor.
"What happened?" Koushiro walked up to Yamato.
"I don't know. My voice converter thing stopped working." Yamato whispered in Koushiro's ear.
"What did nii-san say?" Takeru jumped over a desk by holding the two adjacent desks with his hands.
"Voice changer malfunction."
"That's no good." Ken said quietly, after looking around him that none of the other girls are too close to be able to hear.
"So the voice is like as it was?" Taichi asked again to reconfirm.
"Yeah." Yamato nodded.
Taichi raised his foot far back and then kicked Yamato right in the shin.
"!!" Yamato jerked, but bit his lips, since he can't scream. Especially not in his guy voice.
"Hahaha." It was obvious Taichi had found this situation infinitely amusing. Yamato gave him a don't-fuck-with-me death stare.
Taichi pulled his leg back again.
Then Yamato threw him out the window.
"Anyway, could you guys fix this? Koushiro? Ken?" Yamato continued.
"I don't think so... I'm only good with a computer." Ken apologetically replied.
"Me neither." Koushiro added. "My experience with hardware only goes to computers and common household electronics."
"Damn it." Yamato swore.
Takeru looked down from the shattered window, only hearing incoherent shouts, and making out something along the lines of "a glass shard in my liver" and "the fall broke my arm" and the sort.
Koushiro suspiciously eyed Kei, who was having conversations with girls as they exit the classroom. Too coincidental.
Ken gave a questioning stare. Koushiro nodded. They both knew it. But it was better to keep it to themselves for now, until they're sure of what's to happen.
"Can Taiko and Sora come over for a second? Then Yamako, please."
An exchange of glances.
Takeru shouted down from the window. "Tai-chan! Sensei wants you up here."
A pained "okay".
"What's going on?" Mimi asked, as the girls are about to leave the classroom.
"I don't know." Sora frowned. "I hope I didn't do anything wrong."
"Go and see. It might be nothing." Hikari said.
"I wonder what he's up to." Koushiro thought out loud.
"Plotting something, I bet." Yamato idly said. "Something utterly random that we won't have an idea what hit us."
Koushiro thought he was probably right. That Rumiko woman was merely a producer, but Kei is probably the 'director'. If he can think up as out of line as dressing teenage guys as girls then sending them off in an all girl school, then he could think up anything.
Taichi limped through the doorway.
"What?" Taichi asked, slightly irritated. Sora stood beside Kei, puzzled as ever.
"Well, I've looked through the grades of the class." Kei stated, staying relatively in role. "You seem to be doing the worst, or in fact, the only one failing."
It wasn't much of a surprise. Taichi certainly wasn't the brightest star in the sky. In fact, if Taichi was a star, and was given his own solar system, the planets that revolved around him would be brighter.
"Huh." The teacher tone of voice didn't appeal to Taichi too much.
"So, I was hoping that you would work a bit harder. The Sakura school has fairly high standards."
Hardly something a substitute would say. Koushiro thought.
"But, you might have a bit of trouble with catching up. I was thinking that Sora might be able to help you."
"Huh?" Sora looked shocked. "Well, I..."
"You're one of the best students in the school." Kei said. "If you do this, I will give you extra credits. You don't have to, of course. It's up to you. If you don't, we could find someone else."
You're a sub. You don't have the power to do that. Koushiro accused in his mind.
"Oh, no, you don't have to give me-"
"If you don't want to, that's completely alright." Kei said before she finished.
"Oh, no, that's not what I meant." Sora quickly answered.
"Great. You two can set up the time and stuff." Kei finished, satisfied. "And Yamako?"
Getting up from his seat, Yamato walked indifferently over.
"Come. Follow me." Kei walked out the door and Yamato reluctantly followed.
"What was that all about?" Takeru wondered.
"Hmm." Ken responded.
"Was that a good hmm or bad hmm?"
"That was a thinking hmm."
"Hurry up, Sora-chan!" Miyako waved.
Yamato was getting impatient as he was led through the hallway. Certainly, he would complain. But he refrained from using his voice when surrounded by girls on both sides. Finally, through the stairs, hallways, doors, and teleport platforms, he arrived at the courtyard.
The empty, silent courtyard.
"What the fuck are we doing here?" Yamato bursted.
"Geez, keep your panties in a bunch." Kei casually retorted. He had broken out of his teacher character. "Open your mouth."
"Your voice changer. Me. Fix." Kei pointed.
"Ah." Yamato scratched his head, then obediently opened his mouth.
Kei peeked into his mouth, then pulled out a small screwdriver from under his sleeve.
"What the hell? You keep stuff like that around?" Yamato mumbled indistinctly with his mouth open.
"Never know when it comes in handy. Like now. The battery's just loose." Kei swung his arm again, and a small flashlight appeared at his sleeve, which he turns on, suspended onto his sleeve.
"Hold still now."
"Now...just move this a bit..."
"Ow! Watch where you're poking."
"Sorry. Just a bit more... Stop moving." Kei used his hands to hold Yamato's face still and looked closer.
"Look, Nanami-chan." A girl peeking from the window to the courtyard said.
Nanami curiously dashed over and looked. Then blushed.
From the angle, it seemed like the taboo teacher-student relationship was happening. Although they could only see the back of Yamato and his long hair, and the slightly taller Kei's face, which had descended into Yamato's, it seemed pretty obvious. At first there seemed to be a bit of struggle, then Yamato just seemed to accept it.
"Oh my!" Nanami was certainly excited. "Let's go tell Hinako-chan!"
"God, are you do-"
A small mechanical 'err' sound.
"-ne yet?" Yamato slowly finished, with his regained alto voice.
"Wow. It works." Yamato said, although he was slightly disappointed. He did like his guy voice, and was hoping to keep it slightly longer.
"I've got to get to my next class."
"Hinako-chan!" Nanami sprinted up to her. "You won't believe it!"
"What?" Hinako said while rearranging her textbooks.
"That girl, Yamako, that just came in recently-"
"And you know that new sub, Makimura-sensei?" Hinako continued. "Well, they-"
"-were in the courtyard together, right?" Mika said excitedly, then paused for a short while. "And they were holding each other, and then-"
"-I saw them kissing!" Rika stared away from her friends guiltily. Of course, she didn't actually see it, but a quaternary source is just as good as a primary source. "Anyway-"
"-I think there were tongues." Kagura said, resulting in a series of teenage overreaction. "Then-"
"They did it in the courtyard?!" Takeru sprayed. His juice was everywhere.
"That's what I heard." Hikari dubiously said and handed Takeru a tissue.
Takeru considered the validity of that statement. Certainly, knowing that Yamato is actually male makes it more improbable. Then again, there had been rumours about him swinging that way. Some fangirls had taken it upon themselves to write a couple shounen-ai fanfics (though some had taken it even farther) between Yamato and Hajime...and sometimes with other band members as well, or some other famous figure. The possibilities stretch.
"Er." Takeru began. "It's probably just some stupid gossip."
"You're probably right."
Takeru desperately hoped.
"Hey." Taichi ran to catch up to Yamato. They were both already in their gym shorts and white shirts. Rather than changing in the locker room and try to shoo the other girls away or try to find some hidden spot to change, they found it easier to change beforehand.
"Hey." Yamato looked back, then resumed walking.
"How was he?"
"How was what?"
"I heard that you had hot gay sex in the courtyard." Taichi nonchalantly said.
Suddenly, a spark ignited in Yamato's eyes. His rage fed him infinite amounts of energy.
"WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKK??!$!"
And the universe imploded.
Disgust struck Yamato's face.
"What's wrong?" Kei exclaimed with a fake hurt face.
"Touda-sensei is absent today too?" Yamato wondered in disbelief. "Maybe you just tied them up and locked them in a closet or something."
"Hahaha." Kei chuckled, amused. "Don't be silly."
Ms. Touda had already banged her head against the door so many times that it hurts. Defeated, she slumped against the door and sat down next to Ms. Kamiya.
"Anyway, if you've changed then go sit on the bench and wait." Kei crossed his arms.
Yamato threw an angry glare and walked away.
"What's with him?"
"Well." Taichi scratched his head and hesitated. "It's like..."
Then he whispers it into Kei's ear.
"Oh. That didn't happen."
"Really?" Taichi narrowed his eyes. Of course, Taichi, knowing Yamato, knew that it didn't happen.
"Riiiiiiight." Taichi said sarcastically, then went off to join Yamato.
Yamato found himself running tirelessly on the track. Taichi was also with him. Takeru and Ken found themselves mingling with the girls as they're running. Koushiro, although he didn't choose to be behind, lack the athletic skill to keep up. Nonetheless, they found themselves to be in another lively conversation with signature squeals.
A lot more fitter girls had already had a one lap lead on them. Oddly enough, "run 20 laps around the track" not only didn't discourage the girls, but rather encouraged them to prove themselves in front of the new sub.
It was his fifth lap, and Yamato already felt the fatigue build.
"What are you doing? You still have plenty of laps." Kei raised his head to meet Yamato on the finish line, alert from the sound of stopping rubber on the cement.
"Why don't you get off your ass and join me on the track?" Yamato said mockingly.
"Is that what you want?"
"Are you gonna do it?"
Taichi looks to the left at Yamato, then to the right at Kei.
"What the fuck is he doing?" Taichi asked.
"Don't ask me." Yamato glanced across at Kei moving smoothly along. The more he saw, the more Yamato wanted to hit himself in the head just so he could pass out.
"Hey, don't slow down." Kei shouted out from his window, then turned the steering wheel slightly as the track starts to curve.
Yamato seriously wondered why nobody notices when Kei's being such an ass.
"Taichi. Kick his car for me." Yamato said calmly.
Taichi shrugged, then ran, jumped up, and landed a spin kick right on the door, denting it in.
Kei seemed to have notice, but he didn't give any attention to it.
Taichi ran back to catch up with Yamato. "Why didn't you do it yourself?"
"Because if he wants someone to pay for it, it's going to be you."
The morning had tired Yamato out.
Fuck this. I'm just going to skip the rest of the day and stay up here.
Here, was the rooftop. It was one of the less visited places in the school. If anyone wanted to go out, they could've easily cruised around the outdoor gardens, which is almost always lovely.
Yamato sighed and then lied down, with his hands behind his head to support it. His hair clumsily folds itself along the ground.
He always found himself staring at the sky when he's here. It's the only thing to look at here. It's as if, oddly enough, the sky has brought itself closer.
The gossip had probably spread around school.
Since his dry lunch he didn't drink anything.
Flipping open his cell phone, he scrolled down to Takeru's name.
I'll just call him to get me a drink.
His thumb reached for the big button in the middle, but hesitated.
He probably can't answer his cell in front of the teacher anyway.
The little gadget installed in his mouth wasn't an option either, since it required Kei to route the connection back in who-knows-where, and he certainly isn't there.
An icy feeling fell on his forehead. He reached for the cylinder can and grabbed it.
Sora stood up, having to crouch down to hand Yamato the soda.
Yamato quickly stood up, surprised to see it was Sora, and having realized that when she stood up he was looking straight up her skirt.
"-Sora. Hey. What are you doing here?"
"To hand you a soda." Sora smiled.
"Oh." Yamato looked at the can. Lemon. Lemon had always agreed with him; it was soft and mellow tasting, in a way.
"Takeko-chan wanted to come up here, but she seemed too indulged in her conversation with Hikari-chan, so I volunteered."
"Ah." Yamato nodded. It had easily explained everything.
Yamato retreated a few steps back and then sat on the floor, resting his back against the railing.
Sora walked up beside Yamato.
"Mind if I sit here?"
Sora slowly crouched down, then pulled on her skirt to make sure that it lies on the ground and covers most of her legs when she sits.
"Don't you have to go back to class?" Yamato peered over.
"Sensei was missing today." Sora let out a small breath. "Makimura-sensei gave us a study class."
"Huh." Yamato had a small snicker. "I wonder how many grown adults you can fit into the janitor's closet."
"Oh, nothing. I was just talking to myself." Yamato popped open his soda and poured it into his mouth.
"Oh, here." Yamato reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a 100 yen coin, then placed it on Sora's hand.
"It's okay." Sora offered it back.
"Nah. I can't."
Sora nodded and closed her fist on the coin.
"Rough day?" Sora began to inquire.
"I guess." Yamato tilted his head back and stared at the sky.
"I've heard some things."
"Huh." Yamato turned his head to look at Sora. "Do you believe them?"
"I don't think Yamako-chan would do something like that. Especially not in the school." Sora responded. "You're too cool for that."
'Too cool' somehow struck out to Yamato. He began to chuckle, then it grew into amused laughter.
"What? Did I say something?" Sora cluelessly asked.
"It was nothing. Never mind."
"What are you doing up here anyway? Even during the study block the model student should be in class."
"I'm not the model student." Sora retorted, slightly offended by the idea, or perhaps the unintended implication of having her going back to class. "Besides, it's too noisy back in the classroom anyway."
"Ah." Yamato nodded. "Stay here, then."
It was more silence after. It was comforting silence, with the slight hum of the breeze. Yamato was never the best conversationalist. Nor did he want to say a word.
So he didn't.
Yamato woke up to a soft, though considerably heavy weight on his shoulder.
He turned his head, nervously expecting it to be Sora, but saw a head of blond messy hair.
"Gah!" Yamato moved his body aside.
"Dammit." Takeru rubbed his head at the spot which contacted the ground.
"Why are you here?" Yamato stared at the sky again. It seemed slightly brighter. "What time is it?"
Takeru flipped out his phone and looked at the screen. "2:45."
"That was quite a bit." Yamato looked strangely at Takeru. "Tell me why you're here again."
"Keeping you company. I saw Sora-chan run to class, so I figured you'd be alone."
Yamato rubbed Takeru's head in a very big-brother manner, then proceed to mess his hair even further.
"Then what are you doing out of class?"
"Teacher's absent again."
"Huh." Yamato said pensively. "I would think the janitor would check that closet once in a while."
"Mmm! Mmm!" The janitor, tied up and sealed with tape, mumbled as he crashed against the door again and again.
"What'd you say?"
"It was nothing."
"You better not go back down there." Takeru put on a worried face. "Not now, especially. They're all looking for you. ...Probably not later, either."
"...Don't you want to ask me what happened?"
"No, I probably know what happened." Takeru nodded sympathetically. "Kei pulled out his charms, and you couldn't resist, and-"
"Ow. Just kidding." Takeru mumbled as he pulled himself out of the cement wall part of the stairway.
"Why are people looking for me anyway?" Yamato grumbled and slammed his fist onto the railing.
"Rumours spread pretty quickly. Especially since it was over the public announcement."
"What?" Yamato said in disbelief, and covered his face with his hands. "Never mind."
Takeru tied a rope around Yamato, then enforced it with a couple knots.
"What are you doing?"
"You have to get out of here. Now." Takeru said as he struggles with the rope. "And you can't get out from downstairs either. So you'll have to get down from here."
"Isn't that a bit extreme?" Yamato scoffed.
Takeru frowned. He took out a life size Yamako doll and threw it far into the oval track below.
Takeru caught the doll's head as it flew up weakly from the explosion.
"Yeah, let's do it your way."
"There isn't anything up here I can tie this to." Takeru thought out loud as he played around with the other end of the rope. "I'll be the anchor." Takeru tied the other end to himself.
"That's too dangerous." Yamato complained, and looked around for any possible places to attach the rope.
"It'll be okay. I'll hold on to something safe, like the railing." Takeru's expression grew serious. "Go."
And Yamato flew down the building at 9.8 m/s².
Yamato grunted at the wind and air resistance tearing at his face as he tried to keep his eyes open.
A good amount of girls had already grouped right below Yamato.
Waiting readily, like piranhas.
"So, see here." Koushiro wrote down a couple more equations. "Kei's sudden appearance is a delusional escape from this school's mostly female and ugly male setting."
"I see." Ken nodded, punching in numbers in the calculator as Koushiro's pencil moves along.
"And...from what we've heard, the rumours will upset many girls. The sudden stop of their squealing must be transformed into some other form of energy, according to the conversation of energy. Now, let's call the difference in squealing energy 'delta S'."
"...And the resulting eruption of energy, delta H, will be the negative of that." Ken finished.
"Right. If we take into account of...let's estimate half of the girls at school. With their anger and rage as spark...if all their destructive energy was to be released at the same time..." Koushiro looked over to Ken as he entered the rest of the numbers into the calculator.
"My god." Ken's eyes were grave. "This could be the end of the world."
"Well, thankfully, there's very little chance that all of those girls will gather together and release all their energy at the same time."
"Haha, you're right." Ken laughed, relieved, then Koushiro joined in at the absurdity of their thoughts.
Both their eyes widened as they see Yamato flying down outside their window.
"Crap." Yamato muttered as he sees the mob below him.
The last time he saw a group of girls that eager was the last time his band had held a mini concert and he took his shirt off on stage. That time, the girls desperately wanted to rip his clothes apart.
This time, the girls want to rip him apart.
With a hard kick towards the wall, Yamato pushed himself towards the exit of the school, which meets the busy road. Streaking across the sky, Yamato found himself landing on the hood of a silver sports car.
"Get in." Kei waved.
The car speeded out of there with a tight turn around the corner, and a gang of girls chasing.
"Holy fuck." Yamato began to imagine the massacre that could've been if he had landed around those girls.
"What the hell do you think you're doing anyway?" Yamato glared angrily.
"Saving your ass?" Kei spoke casually as he rotated the steering wheel.
"Stuff like the announcement over the PA?"
"Oh yeah. My bad."
Yamato suddenly realized that they were heading towards a sharp curve at 80 km/h.
"Slow down!" Yamato shouted.
Kei just grinned.
"Dorrrrriiiiifutooo" Kei pulled quickly on the steering wheel and quickly worked the clutch and brake, with a shift in the gear.
The car slid along the curve smoothly at high speed, then travelled normally in the upcoming straight lane.
"What the hell were you thinking?" Yamato was sweating, thinking that he was almost killed.
"Don't worry. I've had practice."
"Yeah. I watch Initial D all the time."
Yamato smashed Kei's head through the windshield.
"Wait. If this is your car, then whose car was it that you drove before?"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" Mr. Yamada screamed as he saw a huge dent in the door of his car, still on lease.
"Where are we going?" Yamato eyed at Kei, slightly annoyed.
"You'll see." Kei said with a smirk. "You'll see."
Yamato sighed, and laid back on the soft leather seat, but stopped when he felt serious discomfort around his waist.
Yamato watched in shock and horror as Takeru, who was still attached on the other side of the rope, was bouncing lifelessly up and down the cement road, and occasionally dragged.
Quickly untying the rope, Yamato threw it away, and watched as Takeru's body finally settled down, lying on the road. Though not moving.
A large stream of anime tears went down Yamato's face.
I'm so sorry. I'll make it up to you somehow.
"Ugggggh." Taichi stretches his hands straight out at the ring of the bell. "Finally. What a tiring day."
Koushiro looked disapprovingly at Taichi. "You didn't even do anything today. You were just slacking the whole day because there was no teacher."
"Hey." Taichi pointed a finger at Koushiro. "Playing cards is tiring, okay?"
Koushiro placed a hand on top of Taichi's shoulder as he got up and left.
"Don't forget that you've got a date."
"So. Where are we now?"
Kei parked on the side of an unfamiliar street.
Yamato glanced to his side.
"I don't suppose you want to take me shopping." Yamato narrowed his eyes.
"Um." Taichi stumbled around each classroom, taking a short peek inside.
Sora had told Taichi the room number before, but, being horrible with numbers, each digit just seemed the same to him.
Twenty minutes late.
It seemed that everyone – students and teachers – were quite eager to leave. Barely half an hour after school ended, and the building seems deserted.
"Ah, there you are." Sora smiled, turning her face to the door from her textbook.
The closed curtains in the room cast a dim shadow on her face. She sat in the middle of the arranged seats. It was almost as if people still were there. But their images disappeared just as quickly, and only Sora was left sitting there.
Taichi stood in the doorway, dumbfounded. A blush crept up his face, but his expression showed nothing of embarrassment.
"You know." Sora said idly, half to Taichi, half to herself. "I've always liked this room. At this time of day, it feels like sunset-"
"-feels like sunset." A small girl with chin length hair in a long white dress said.
"It's not sunset yet." Taichi said, staring at the coral sun. "Almost sunset. But not sunset yet."
"I want to see the sunset." The little girl said as she crouched and cupped her face in her tiny hands.
"Next time, dear. We have to go now."
"But, 'kaa-san!" The girl pouted.
"Next time, dear. Next time."
The four of them walk along the beach. Their shadows grew slightly taller at the retreating sun. The little girl ran up to where the water and sand were separated.
"Umi-san! Taiyou-san! I'll come back next time! I promise!" She shouted through her hands, then ran back.
"Itaiiiiii." She held her ankle while sitting on the ground.
"Get on." Taichi crouched down next to her, in a piggy-back position.
Each step Taichi took was significantly heavier. He wasn't very strong yet. He held her sandals with his two fingers while trying his best not to let her fall.
"...Thank you, nii-san." She whispered and hugged Taichi a little tighter.
Taichi felt his face getting red.
"Be more careful next time, ......-chan."
"...Tai-chan? Tai-chan?" Sora repeated, raising her volume each time.
"Um...huh." Taichi recovered from his blank eyes. "Sorry."
What was that...
"Well. Let's get started." Sora patted at the seat that she moved her desk next to.
Before he knew it, dozens of different clothes were put on him.
They were clothes shopping. At an alarming rate.
"Mmm...okay." Kei nodded approvingly and spun Yamato around. Yamato stared at the mirror.
Something was significantly different. Something he couldn't quite put a hand on.
His hair was short.
His chest was flat.
Yamato stared in awe as he saw himself. His hair was the cool acute style, unlike the high maintenance long dragging-on-the-floor hair he had. His padded bra was gone. He no longer wore a skirt that forced him to reveal his legs (pretty as they were). He was wearing a thin white top which has a collar so wide that it almost spread to his shoulders. And matching black jeans.
"You-" Yamato spun back around to face Kei, then covered his mouth. His voice was back, too. The device was taken out without him knowing it.
Kei put on a knowing, kind smile.
"..." Yamato turned back to the mirror and continued to admire himself.
A thought occurred.
Kei could probably violate a woman really fast. So fast that they might not know.
"Well. Looks pretty good, doesn't it?" Kei took a few steps around Yamato and looked a bit closer.
"I'll say." Yamato analyzed his clothing intently. "The top seems a bit...slutty, though."
"Says volumes about you, doesn't it?" Kei said.
"What?" Yamato turned back around.
"Nothing, whore." Kei said quickly, then gave the girl a look. "We'll take it."
"What?!" Yamato blasted at Kei. "I can't afford this!"
"That'll be 45,000 yen." The girl politely said.
Yamato sprayed blood.
"It's okay. I'll pay for it." Kei reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wallet.
"You know, while we're at it, I've always wanted to look for a hat."
"Go wait outside."
"So, if you take this..."
"And we'll call this x, and that y..."
"And by differentiating by x..."
"We would be left with constants, x's, and dy/dx's."
"So you got what I was saying?" Sora asked, finishing a couple notes on Taichi's notebook.
"Um. Sort of." Taichi caught certain words. He found his glance would sometimes float away to Sora's face, but then regain attention. Of course, he had no idea what she was talking about, but he did hear her.
"Why don't you try it now?" Sora suggested.
"Uh." Taichi sweatdropped. "Okay."
"Try the one I just showed you."
"Alright." Taichi looked at the question. It was ridiculously complex. The amount of numbers and letters and superscripts combined together was an overload for Taichi's brain. None of them made any sense. Taichi gripped his pencil hard.
"Oh!" Taichi looked surprised. "Look over there!"
"Where?" Sora followed Taichi's pointing.
"Okay, done." Taichi hands the book back to her.
"Okay. Let's see..." Sora scanned down the paper.
"Isn't this my writing?"
"So what are we doing here?" Yamato questioned.
The dark elevator continued downwards.
"I called your band members and told them to meet you here."
"What? Why?" Yamato raised his voice. Kei's forced influence on his life was pissing him off.
"Seguchi wanted you and them to do a little gathering. Some practice. 'Music development', whatever that means." Kei went on. "So I brought you here."
"..." Yamato looked at Kei as if he was growing horns out of his head. "You made me go through all that. Just because. You wanted to bring me here."
"Well, I had to make things interesting along the way."
Kill him. Kill him. It's an elevator. There aren't any security cameras. There's no one here. It's secluded. No one will ever know.
"Here we are." Kei answered cheerfully at the elevator's ding.
Yamato looked outside the retracted doors. It was huge.
There was one big rectangular stage. And tens of thousands of seats.
Yamato's heart skipped a beat just from looking.
Only a few lights had been turned on to maintain the place, but Yamato could very well see what the place was like.
"Teenage Wolves. Summer Concert. '02." Kei said. "You'll be up there, on the stage soon."
Yamato looked up at the stage, and imagined himself on there. It almost made him not regret being forced into the contract with NG.
Kei patted Yamato on the back. "Don't worry. We'll make you famous. Everyone will know Ishida Yamato first, and Yamako-chan second."
"Any chance of them not knowing Yamako-chan at all?" Yamato peered up at Kei.
"Sorry. You know how the deal is."
Yamato, surprised and on the ground, looked at Kei.
"See you in a couple hours." Kei waved happily as the elevator doors closed shut.
Yamato looked back over his shoulders.
Three pairs of evil red eyes. Illuminated in the dark.
"Where the hell have you been..."
"Give my time back to me, give..."
Each their words were ended with a hiss.
Yamato pounded on the call elevator button.
It has been 10 minutes.
Taichi was stalling. His pencil has been hovering over the paper, and as Sora evidently being someone more patient, nothing has happened.
He, who said that he understood what she said.
She, who waits for proof.
Taichi looked down at his stomach. It has been an hour past his snack time.
An exchange of looks.
"Um. I'm gonna go buy something to eat." Taichi stood up and pointed at the door.
Sora pushed him back down.
"You stay here and finish this."
Taichi let out a great sigh and let his face fall flat on the desk.
Oh God. This is killing me. I'm never going to get this.
Taichi stretched, and jumped to the window.
Waving off the white curtains with his arm, he put his head out the window and stared.
"Help me!" Taichi screamed out the window.
Moving into the front-center of the room, Taichi gathered his energy, and reached behind him into the hyper dimension of hammerspace, and pulled out a soccer ball. He was sweating. The sheer effort for a male to even attempt to reach into hammerspace is exuberant, but to store and retrieve is a whole other level.
Taichi threw the ball up in the air excitedly and juggled it skilfully, never once letting the ball touch the ground, nor hit the ceiling. Just before the ball reached the ground, Taichi volleyed it straight into the door, which vibrated greatly as the ball bounced back, and Taichi repeated. Each shot at the door was harder than the last. Another shot.
Sora took a small jump back and swung her foot right into the incoming ball.
The ball came right back at Taichi and blew his head off. Then sent his remaining body bouncing all over the room.
Taichi regenerated his head.
"I'm so sorry!" Sora apologized. "That must've been a reflex!"
"That's okay." Taichi said, lying down, with a huge dent in his face. Eye candy was a good pain reliever.
"And I got you something to eat from the vending machine." Sora held out two colourful packs.
"Huh. A treat and sweets." Taichi mumbled to himself.
"Oh, nothing." Taichi jumped up to reach for the candy.
Sora held it behind her back.
"Let's see how you did first."
They ended with a chord. It was a slightly dissonant, slightly distorted chord, but it fitting.
"Okay. That was pretty good." Yamato said through his slightly swollen lips. The other three members had agreed to avoid the face as much as possible, but an occasional kick was misdirected.
"Great." Hajime lightly touched the strings with his hand, silencing his guitar completely. "We still need some new songs, though."
"I'm working on them." Yamato quickly said, attempting to dismiss the issue.
"Actually..." Takayuki mentioned. "Hajime and I are in the process of writing a few songs."
"Yeah." Hajime said. "They still need some work, but we'll get it all polished up soon."
"It doesn't matter." Koichi taps his drumsticks together. "Those bastards down at NG said that they'll help us find songwriters to fill in what we don't have enough of."
"They said that?" Yamato turned around, surprised.
"Yeah. They visited a few times." Takayuki adjusts his glasses.
"Well..." Yamato starts to unplug his bass guitar.
"Yo, fucker." Koichi exclaimed rather loudly. "Give us something to reach you by."
Yamato looked at him. It was a difficult request, but it was definitely something they were upset over.
"Okay." Yamato took out a piece of paper and wrote down a number. "You can reach me through this cell. But sometimes it's not me, so you have to say who you are and ask for me."
"Yamatooooo" A cheerful voice echoes through the stadium.
"Oh boy." Yamato covers his eyes in embarrassment.
Kei walked calmly down the stairs.
"It's time to go."
"Who are you?" Hajime accusingly asks.
"I'm Yamato's..." Kei puts his arms around Yamato's neck. "Gay lover."
Lifting up his bass with both hands, Yamato smashed it right in Kei's face.
"He's my uncle." Yamato corrected.
"What?! Fuck that! I'm only twenty-"
And Yamato dragged Kei off.
"Mmm." Yamato spreads his arms back.
"How was it?" Kei inquires.
"It was..." Yamato tried to think of a fitting word. "Nice."
"Well, that's good." Kei took out a bag of clothes. "You have to change back to your sailor suit now."
"What?! No!" Yamato puts his arms defensively around himself. "I'm not going back into that thing!"
"What's this?" Yamato, confused, asked. Drenched, his hair hung down with more strands, and his white top became apparently see-through.
"Who the hell do you think I am? Ranma?"
Kei did not reply to that, and simply stood there.
Yamato turned around to reply the tap on his shoulder.
A thirty-something businesswoman.
"How much for one night?"
Yamato looked down at himself again, and confirmed that, indeed, with what was revealed, he looked like an advertising whore.
Yamato glared at Kei.
"Give me the fucking bag."
"Yes, you've done it!" Sora applauded.
Taichi grinned triumphantly. This particular math problem became an obstacle that Taichi had defeated. Especially after seeing Sora do it for about a dozen times, then memorizing each of the steps she wrote down.
"Okay. Let's stop for today." She took her book and closed it up.
Taichi rose with a satisfactory smile and proceeded to the door.
"So, is Thursday good for you?"
"I said, is Thursday good for you?"
Half an hour later...
"Is Thursday a day of which you can come?"
"...Yeah." Taichi finally fell out of shock, though still stunned slightly.
Taichi did not dislike Sora at all. However, learning is absolutely against him. Learning was absorbing information. However, absorbing too much information would blow Taichi's brain. Learning to Taichi is like being pushed off a cliff along with a basket of grenades and cobras, even though the grenades would kill the cobras before they reach him.
But he was glad. Slightly.
"Hey." Yamato tilted his head lazily, keeping it rested on the headrest.
"What?" Kei said, tranquilly. It was almost as if he was stoned.
"Do me a favour."
Taichi opened the door.
They were all inside – Takeru, Ken, Koushiro. No Yamato.
All of them smitten and watching TV on the couch with Hikari, Miyako, and Mimi.
"Hey, you're back." Miyako checked over her shoulder. "Tai-chan and Sora-chan."
Hikari turned around completely on the couch. "So where were you guys?"
"Oh. Sora-chan was helping me with schoolwork and stuff."
The three boys shared a questioning look.
"Um. Tai-chan." Koushiro walked across the room to Taichi, and lifted his hand to Taichi's forehead. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." Taichi pushed his hand away. "I'm kinda tired. I'll be in my room."
Koushiro looked strangely as Taichi walked away.
His hand. Burning hot.
"Yeah." Yamato confirms as he jumps back in the car and lays back on the seat. "You know."
"Yeah?" Kei starts the car up and accelerates.
"I really like this seat." Yamato closed his eyes.
A middle aged man opens the door after he unlocked it.
"Yeah. I'll probably be able to do it tomorrow." He speaks into his cell phone as he turns on the light switch, and throws his keys onto the counter right next to the entrance.
"Are you sure? You've gone overtime for nearly everyday this week. Are you sure you want to handle this project?" The cell phone sounded back.
"..." The man squinted at the foreign piece of paper rested on the counter.
"Ishida-san? Hello? Are you there?"
"Yeah, uh. You know what, give it to Noboru or something. He seems eager."
"Oh? Well, if you insist."
"Yeah. And I'm gonna take tomorrow off too." And he ended the call with a button.
He took the piece of paper with him to the couch and sat down and turned on the TV.
I've cleaned up the place. It's a mess. I heard that you got your job back. Don't work too hard. You know how you can be, getting stressful over your job. Give yourself a break sometime. I've just came by for a quick visit. I'll be gone when you're back. And don't be a prick and give mom a call sometime.
P.S. I've confiscated your beer. You drink too much. It's bad for your liver.
"Geez, what the hell am I supposed to drink now?"
"Hmm." Gabu closed his eyes against the light spring breeze that blew in through the opening of the door. "Now's a good time for a walk."
Gabu opened the door to find a surprise.
"Gah!" Gabu cried out.
"Gah!" Yamato opened his eyes, then did the same. "Why the hell are you upside down?"
"Why the hell are you upside down?" Gabu looked at Yamato, hung from both legs.
The last I remember...I slept in Kei's car...oh fuck.
"Get someone to get me down."
"Okay." Gabu walked back in and searched for other people.
"Hurry up!" Yamato rushed.
"I have short legs."
"Oh, thank god Gabu came to get us." Mimi said as she climbs up a chair to untie Yamato. "Who did this to you?"
"A cruel and unusual being." Yamato answered.
"I got her." Taichi walked below Yamato and reached out his hands.
"Wait, let me, too." Ken ran up.
"Never mind." Taichi waved it off.
They all got up. Suddenly, the girls, except for Sora, surrounded Yamato.
"W-what?" Yamato stuttered. They seemed to be waiting some sort of answer. "Oh. It didn't happen."
They seemed relieved at the dismissal of the rumour, but even more so, Yamato read, disappointed.
"Come in. Dinner's about to be ready." Sora said from the inside.
"Okay." They chorused.
"Why are you walking like a penguin?" Taichi observed. This was true, Yamato was walking by tilting his body and moving his leg very little.
"Fucker super-glued my skirt to my legs when he hung me upside down." Yamato stated, pissed off. "So that my skirt won't hang upside down."
"Ne, Yamato." Taichi said as he shuffled around in his blanket.
"What?" Yamato responded, showing a lack of interest in his voice.
"Um." Taichi thought for a while. "You know. About Sora."
"What about Sora?"
"What if..." Taichi closed his eyes. "You know what. Never mind."
Yamato was pensive. "You like her, don't you?"
With a sigh, Yamato also closed his eyes for a sleepless night and an early morning.