Bardock Muse: **Appearing in a fit of electric blue bubbles** Standard disclaimer applies and now this fic has a new, alternate ending. Cab felt that the old one ended far too sharply so she sat down and rewrote it on a spur-of-the-inspiration thing that’s been going on for a few days now. **Rolls his eyes and sighs** Next she’ll be rewriting all her old fics and no new ones will ever get done. I swear, sometimes she can be so-
Cabbitshivers: Sweet! Now let’s get on with reading this fic! **Shoots a glare at Bardock**
Tsunomon Temporary Muse: **Holds up a hippie-love sign and grins** Yamachi!!!
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My dad didn’t like Takayuchi from the start.
We had been going out as girlfriend and boyfriend for well over two months when I made the biggest, or perhaps the greatest depending on how you look at it now, mistake of my life.
I introduced him to my otousan.
As far as ‘tousan’s go, mine isn’t too bad. He doesn’t really set me a curfew when I go out – but that’s probably because he usually knows where I’m going, the phone number of the place, and the phone numbers, addresses, and last names of everyone I’m going with. He doesn’t make me do housework; if something’s in our way we usually just pick it up and move it to a much more convenient place – which is also usually the place it’s meant to be in anyway. Amazingly, our apartment is never dirty, but I still can’t figure out how damp towels that I swear I left on the bathroom floor always end up on my bed.
My otousan’s pretty cute, too, for an older guy. He’s quite handsome, with dark chocolate brown hair that goes astray no matter how much gel he puts in it, and deep brown eyes like puddles of liquid cocoa that always seem to be laughing. He’s the head of the Digi touring board, and also coaches the top inter-realm soccer team in his spare time.
He once told me that when he was my age he prided himself on having the largest hair in all of Odaiba.
My papa has always been fine about boyfriends in the past. He’d liked Akira, who although didn’t play soccer, certainly was very sporty, and was the best track and field athlete in our school. And he didn’t have anything against Masayuki, who was not sporty in any way but was rather a computer geek who, when he finally worked up the courage to talk, could not have a single conversation without transgressing into complex computer jargon. He’d had no problem with anyone I’d gone out with.
But one look at Takayuchi outside school that afternoon and I knew he was not pleased.
Okay, Taka may be a little off-hand, but that’s only because he’s shy. And he might look down his nose at people, but he’s the tallest boy in school and can hardly help it.
“I’m not sure about him.” Otousan said that evening as we were watching the latest martial arts action movie that had been released on DVD. “He reminds me of someone…”
“Who?” I asked, curious.
He shook his head and looked at me, smiling slightly.
“What do you see in him, Mayumi?”
I closed my gaping mouth.
He glared at me and I quickly counted to ten in my head.
Everyone was in love with Takayuchi, his body, his voice, his dreamy eyes. Couldn’t papa see that he was the embodiment of the perfect specimen of seventeen year-old manhood?
“His hair is beautiful.” I said dreamily, thinking of his long, golden blonde sun-streaked hair. “And he’s so tall and slender.”
“Emaciated is the word I’d use.” Otousan bit back, curling his lip.
I knew better than to say anything else. Since ‘kassan died twelve years ago, ‘tousan’s been quite distant from women. He’s never embarrassed me by bringing home girlfriends for me to meet. I don’t think he’s even looked at another woman – which made my situation very difficult. I wanted to tell him how I felt about Takayuchi, but I didn’t like that cynically curled lip…
“He’s asked me around to his house tomorrow,” I said, watching him glare at the television. “We’ll be listening to MP3’s.”
“And his otousan will be there so you don’t have to worry.”
“His number’s on the fridge.”
I was losing my patience. Sometimes dad can be so hardheaded!
“What does ‘Hmm’ mean?!”
“It means,” ‘Tousan said, turning to eye me coldly. “That I’ve known guys like Takayuchi before when I was a kid. And I don’t like him.”
“You don’t know him!” I flared.
“He’s arrogant and has a stick up his butt!”
“He is not and has not! ‘Tousan, how can you say such a thing!”
“I’ve seen it all before.” He said vehemently. “Those boys with the long blonde hair and sexy blue eyes – you can’t trust them. He’ll break your heart.”
Something hit me then. Otousan sounded… strange. As if he were talking from something that had happened to him personally. But ‘tousan wasn’t… He wasn’t… Was he?
‘Sexy blue eyes’?
I stared up at him, at his stoic profile cast with blue lights from the television. It would make sense, if he was. The lack of women… His disinterest…
“’Tousan?” I ask into the long silence.
There was a heavy sigh.
“His name was Yamato.” He said without looking at me. “I was… In love with him, I think.” He laughed harshly, and I had to swallow down the lump that was rising up into my throat. “It was sort of an impossible relationship. We had nothing in common, and no matter how hard we tried we always ended up yelling at each other. But we could laugh. Boy, did he laugh! I used to do the most stupidest things I could think of just to hear it.”
I couldn’t stop staring. I’d never seen papa like this, so soft and dreamy and… sad.
“I suppose we all remember our first love, though I honestly thought that Yamato would also be the last. But that all changed. Or rather, it didn’t change. Maybe that was what the problem had been. We did stupid things and said stuff we didn’t mean, and Yamato took off and found someone else.”
I felt a lump in my throat and a stab of unease.
“I’ve often wondered about what happened to Matt.” He said thoughtfully. “He was tall and thin with long blonde hair, too. And the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen. Maybe that’s why I near fell out of my shirt when I saw Takayuchi. He reminded me so much of Yamato.”
I leaned in and rested my head against his shoulder. I felt him shift slightly, and then he was stroking my hair, like he did when I was a child, scared, and missing my ‘kassan.
“What about ‘kassan?” I asked. Now that I knew about dad, I had to know the circumstances that lead to me. Was I an accident? Or worse… a rebound baby?
I felt dad sigh, and somewhere behind us I heard Augumon, my ‘tousan’s Digimon, drop something.
“I loved Sora.” ‘Tousan said quietly, “Not the way I loved Matt, but just as strong. She was my best friend, and despite how much I wished she hadn’t, I could feel when she began to fall in love with me. I didn’t want her to be unhappy, so I made sure she wasn’t.”
“But you loved her?” Maybe he could hear the fear in my voice, because he turned his head slightly and pressed his lips to my brow.
“Yes, Mayumi. Very much.”
“But I’m still not happy about him, Mayumi. Takayuchi isn’t right for you.”
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I met Takayuchi at a sweet little restaurant for lunch the next day. As we shared a bowl of hot chocolate and an ice cream sundae, we laughed while our Digimon attempted to master the use of the spoon in their own sundaes.
“This is impossible!” muttered Takayuchi’s Digimon, a Griffinmon, his declaration echoed by Naiamon, my Digimon partner.
“Are you still on for tonight?” Takayuchi asked, putting down his spoon and linking his fingers through mine. I nodded. He looked just like my father today, like he’d just fallen out of bed. His t-shirt was inside out and his hair hadn’t been brushed, and his sleepy blue eyes stared deep into mine.
“I’ll be around about seven.”
He fed me a ripe cherry from the sundae. “What did your dad think of me? He didn’t look so happy when you introduced me at school.”
“I don’t think he approved.”
“Excellent!” Takayuchi looked pleased, and I was instantly confused. “It wouldn’t be good for my image if father’s thought I was the ideal boyfriend for their daughters.”
“Will I meet your dad tonight?” I asked.
Takayuchi’s face darkened. “I hope not. He’s usually out with one of his ‘ladies’ on a Saturday.”
“How many does he have?” I asked, fascinated.
“At least your dad has a social life. Mine hasn’t looked at another ma-person since ‘kassan died.”
Takayuchi appeared to not have noticed my slip-up.
“Grandpa says my dad is lonely. So he works long hours and can’t settle at the weekend.” He turned a bit red. “I don’t suppose it’s been easy…”
Takayuchi’s ‘kassan had wordlessly left he and his otousan about three years ago. He still didn’t like to talk about her, so tactfully I changed the subject.
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The evening didn’t start as I’d expected.
For a start, my Aunt Hikari and Uncle Ken turned up for a visit, and I had to ring Takayuchi and tell him that I’d be late. Then Uncle Ken remembered that the finals results for the Human soccer champs had been posted that afternoon and would be presented on the six o’clock news, so needless to say he, dad, Augumon and Uncle Ken’s Digimon Wormon had to check them out. And by the time we waved them goodbye, it had started to rain solid sheets that bounced off the pavement in front of our apartment building.
“I’ll drive you.” Otousan said. “You could always introduce me to Takayuchi’s parents.”
“It’s just his dad.” I said, suddenly recalling that Takayuchi had said that his dad might be out.
“Separated?” he asked.
I glanced at him sideways. He was looking exceptionally handsome tonight, and exceptionally scruffy in over-baggy slacks and a half-buttoned white shirt with its tails untucked. I smiled. Funny how the scruffier the clothes dad wore, the better he looked. Even his hair, thick and shiny, knew exactly where to position its wayward spikes to the greatest effect.
I had a horrible feeling that the moment we arrived and ‘tousan realized that Takayuchi’s otousan was out on the town with one of his many lady friends, I’d be swiftly taxied home. But when we drew up outside the large, well-lit house, I sighed with relief. There was a car parked in the driveway.
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“I didn’t think you were coming.” Takayuchi said, coming out to meet me. He gave dad a polite bow and smile. “Konbanwa, Mr. Yagami.”
But he didn’t reply. He was staring, wide-eyed, at the man who’d appeared behind Takayuchi in the doorway.
He was tall and slender, like his son, his hair cropped evenly above his shoulders - a bright glowing gold; and his eyes, not sleepy and dreamy like Takayuchi’s, were sharp and brilliant blue, and currently staring at my otousan.
“I don’t…” He started, totally ignoring Takayuchi and me.
“Yamato?” Dad choked.
“Taichi!” He breathed. He swept past his son and strode out into the rain, opening his arms to meet my otousan.
I stared. Takayuchi stared. Like the audience in a theatre we were transfixed by the sight of the two main characters standing close and gazing into each other’s eyes.
“You broke my heart when you left.” ‘Tousan said, rain streaming down his face that seemed to be barely containing a smile. “I could kick your ass for that, you know.”
“I know. Sorry about that. We were eighteen and it’s only right and proper that everyone should have their heart broken once in a lifetime.”
‘Tousan’s face darkened, and with a half-hearted swipe he punched Takayuchi’s father on the arm. “Crest of Friendship, my ass!” He shouted in mock-anger. Then they both burst out laughing. They looked so comfortable with each other… My otousan… Takayuchi’s otousan.
“I missed you, Tai.” He said, still gazing down at him.
“I missed you too, Yama.” Papa replied, giving him a broad smile.
The evening certainly didn’t progress as either Takayuchi or I had expected, that was for sure. We were both invited in, of course, and it turned out that Takayuchi’s dad was actually looking forward to meeting me and wasn’t planning on going out that night at all. Taka and I did try to do our own thing, and amazingly we were not interrupted by either of our parents while we lay on his bed reading manga and listening to mp3’s for three hours. We could only presume that both of our fathers were deep in conversation, catching up on the years they’d missed. Occasionally, when loading up new data discs or hunting down the more older editions of Shounen Jump, we’d hear the slightly muffled sounds of their laughter from down in the kitchen, and I realized that ‘tousan was right – Ishida-san did have a wonderful laugh.
It was about quarter past ten when Takayuchi, our Digimon and I descended the stairs to see what time ‘tousan wanted to go home, and hopefully grab a little something to nibble on if it looked like we were going to be staying a little longer. As we passed by an open door on our way to the kitchen, I happened to glance into the room and what I saw made me stop short.
The room was the lounge, by the looks of it – I had never been to Taka’s house before so I didn’t know where any of the rooms were other than his bedroom and the toilet – it was medium-sized and painted a warm rich clay colour. There were two soft-looking blue couches arranged in a ‘V’ shape in front of a large entertainment cabinet, but it wasn’t the obvious high-tech projector screen, DVD player and Playstation™ Exodus that had made me stop so suddenly in the doorway. It was our fathers. They were sitting beside each other on one of the couches, the PS-Ex set up in front of them and one of Izumi’s DigiUNMEI games playing neglected on the screen and through the stereo system. My ‘tousan was leaning against Ishida-san, busy being slowly kissed by Takayuchi’s father, and plainly oblivious to either of us standing watching them in the doorway.
Behind me Takayuchi gasped as his eyes settled upon them, but I couldn’t tell whether it was with shock, or revulsion, because I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I was surprised, but not disgusted by the sight of Ishida-san with my otousan in his arms, and I was alarmed, but not repulsed by the kiss that they were sharing with slow care. The kiss that signalled the sudden end of Takayuchi and me.
Slowly, a small smile broke out on my face as I realized that I was happy for them. I could tell that my ‘tousan had still been in love with his childhood friend when he had told me about their history, and judging by the way that Takayuchi’s otousan was kissing mine there was something else on the other side as well. A warm feeling settled within me at the dawning of their second chance, and stepping back from the doorway I quietly shut the door. I looked at Taka, relieved to see that the same smile I felt on my own face was starting to emerge on his own.
Nudging him with my elbow, I inclined my head down the hall and he grinned at me.
“Let’s get something to eat, ne?”
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Tsunomon Temporary Muse: **Waves the hippie-love sign ecstatically** Wai! Wai!
Cabbitshivers: **Blushes at Tsunomon’s positive response** Oay, not so bad for a little writing exercise, ne? A little mushy at the end, but I suppose that’s what you get when you take a break from writing angsty Jyou strawberries. At least it ends a little less abruptly now, de gozaru.
Vegeta Muse: Speaking of that Jyou strawberry… when are you going to finish it, woman? And, now that you mention finishing… WHERE’S MY KAMI-DAMNED GOHAN HENTAI!?!
Cabbitshivers: **Sweatdrops** Oay… **Scratches the back of her head** I… thinkIbettergonow… Hai!
**Vanishes in an explosion of neon bubbles**
Vegeta Muse and Tsunomon Temporary Muse: **Sweatdrops**
Vegeta Muse: Okay… **Prods the page’s walls experimentally** So… how do we get out of here again?
Tsunomon Temporary Muse: Dunno.
Vegeta Muse: **Scowling** And you’re supposed to be digital.
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