Of course, when Daisuke woke me up this morning, her face was covered in colored glitter, so we shall, as they say, see.
And, in news even more strange than five cats not being particularly interested in tearing down a large indoor tree covered in lights and other sparkly things, I've actually got the start of a new Digimon fic.
Trust me, no one could be more surprised than myself.
And I have absolutely no idea where it is going (or even if it is going). But I've officially posted it to ff.net. Not that that should cause too much difficulty as I doubt that there is really anyone still reading digimon fanfiction there. :p
Still, for posterity:
No Work for Tinkers
Daisuke studied the man on the couch. Time had not been as kind as one might have hoped. What had been the bright blond hair of his youth had darkened, dull and brassy. He sat slouched, a rumpled suit coat tossed indifferently over the back of the seat, his tie loosened and his top button undone.
In a word, Takeru looked tired. In two words, beat down. Daisuke was worried for his friend.
After a few more moments silence, mostly spent studying his nails, Takeru finally glanced up, his eyes filled with ill-disguised worry as he said, “Hikari’s concerned about you, you know.” He offered Daisuke a small, pained smile before continuing, “She’s been after me all week to stop by here on my way home.”
“It’s only Wednesday,” Daisuke answered, his voice teasing. It seemed to work, judging by Takeru’s smirk anyway.
“Yeah, well, this is Hikari’s nagging we’re taking about,” Takeru clarified, tacking on, “You know how she can be.” He shrugged, “She thought, well, hoped, you would come Sunday.” Takeru paused again before adding softly, “We all did.”
So that was what this was about. The impromptu little Digi-destined get-together Tai had called about sometime last week. It’s not like he was purposefully snubbing his friends. It was just that something came up.
“God, yes, no, sorry!” Daisuke apologized, running his hand through the back of his wild hair, offering what he hoped was a look a genuinely chagrined contrition, “That was the plan. I mean, we were going to, but something came up.”
There was no missing Takeru’s involuntary flinch at Daisuke’s use of the word “we”. Daisuke bit back his growl of annoyance. Twenty three years later and Takeru still had not truly accepted Ken into their group of friends. After everything Ken had done. After everything that they had done together. And still, the mere referencing of Ken made Takeru uncomfortable.
“Yeah, well, truth is you didn’t miss much.” Takeru admitted, “We were stuck in Tai’s apartment after it started raining, the kids were whining and Sora and Yamato seemed to be in the middle of some sort of epic argument.” Takeru rolled his eyes at his brother’s drama, “I wish they’d just get a divorce already,” he told Daisuke, “And that they’d stay divorced this time. They like each other so much more when they aren’t married.”
Daisuke offered up his best noncommittal smile.
“Speaking of Yamato…” Takeru began slowly, trying to tread carefully, “He was wondering if you had given any more consideration to selling the apartment…” Takeru allowed the suggestion to float out into the room, watching Daisuke closely the entire time, “He says he’s serious about being able to get you twice what you paid for it…” Again the room descended into a momentary silence, “Now’s the time,” Takeru tried again, doing his best to sound enthusiastic, not failing to note the sound of his own discomfort in his voice, “Seller’s market, what not...” he waved his hand. Again, there was no response from Daisuke.
“It might do you good, to get away from here for a while,” Takeru flinched at the words before they were even fully out of his mouth. “I mean…” He could see that he had hurt his friend.
“Not that you have to, or anything. I mean, you know, you could travel. Maybe go back to America? See Mimi and Wallace?” Crap! He was starting to ramble. Hikari was going to have his head.
Not that this wasn’t her fault. Go over and talk to him, she had said, show him that his friends’ are still here for him, she said. Most of all, don’t upset him, she said. Takeru couldn’t help sneaking a quick glance towards the back hall. He couldn’t see the room from here, not that he’d want to. Surely it was shut, locked tight. Daisuke couldn’t still be using it. Not after...
“I have to leave for work in a minute.” It wasn’t mean. It wasn’t dismissive. It was just to the point. And if he was being honest with himself, Takeru was glad for the reprieve.
“I know, sorry for dropping in unannounced,” Takeru apologized, “It’s just...”
“Hikari,” Daisuke answered for him, a small smile flitting over his lips when Takeru shrugged, “I know. Sorry for not showing Saturday. Next time.”
“It’s cool,” Takeru promised, repeating, “You really didn’t miss much. Really.” He stood, snatching his suit coat off the back of the couch and muttering, “Sometimes I kinda wished I didn’t have to go.” Takeru actually made it most of the way to the door before stopping suddenly and turning back towards Daisuke, his finger up in the air as he remembered one last chore, “Oh yeah, Hikari wants you to come to dinner soon.” Takeru smiled at his old friend, “Doesn’t matter when,” he assured him, “Just show up whenever.” Takeru bent to wedge his feet into a pair of well-worn Oxfords, before standing and opening the door for himself, “And you’d better come,” Takeru smiled as if his insistent tone was intended to be joking, but Daisuke knew better, “If you don’t, I’ll be the one she blames.” Takeru gave a small shrug. “Besides,” he added, “The kids miss you.” Takeru offered him one last, sad smile, “Hell, we all do.”
Takeru waved a quick good bye, which Daisuke returned, and left, pulling the door closed behind himself, steadfastly ignoring the urge to reach back inside, storm the castle, as it were, and drag Daisuke back to his and Hikari’s apartment, back to the living, by force, if necessary.
Not that that was even really an option. Takeru’s castle storming days had long since passed with the rest of his youth and he had clearly heard the deadbolt snap into place almost as soon as he had finished shutting the door. Besides, some sick, sixth sense told him that even if he went back over to the door in question and knocked, even pounded, his old friend would not answer.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
Miyako had been right. Daisuke wasn’t Daisuke. Takeru walked over to the elevator, pressed the button and when the doors did not immediately open, turned towards the stairwell and started his slow downward march. Daisuke almost seemed like Daisuke. He was actually doing a damned fine impression of Daisuke. But he wasn’t Daisuke. Takeru finally reached to bottom floor and pushed through the frosted glass doors and into the lobby, he looked around for a pay phone before remembering that they had started disappearing a few years back as cell phones became ubiquitous.
Oh well, he thought to himself, Hikari would figure out soon enough that he had decided to go out for a drink before heading home. Maybe, if he got lucky, she’d even assume that he’d gone out with Daisuke. That’s what he wished he could do. Because then being able to talk about their feelings, trying to be emotionally supportive, all those things Hikari wanted him to be but he was utter bullshit at, wouldn’t matter. Because he and Daisuke could go out to some smelly dive and get drunk off their asses until it didn’t matter anymore.
Until it didn’t matter that Daisuke was stuck all alone in that ridiculously neat apartment even tough Daisuke had never been one for “neat”.
Until it didn’t matter that the once so happy-go-lucky Daisuke was now only a shell of himself.
Until it didn’t matter that fate had to go and take the only one among them who was genuinely kind.
Until it didn’t matter that Daisuke had had to be the one to find him lying there, almost as if he was only sleeping.
Until it didn’t matter that Ken was dead.
Ken. For the first time all afternoon Takeru allowed himself to think, actually say, if only in his own mind, Ken’s name.
Takeru didn’t know how much alcohol it would take to wipe that name from his mind, but he knew he was damn well going to try and find out.
Hikari would just have to understand.
Daisuke listened as his friend’s footsteps faded away. Maybe he should have let him stay; put him up for the night. He could easily tell that the man was exhausted, and, if the rumors flying about the digidestined were to be believed, drinking heavily.
Daisuke never would have picked him for the problem. Sure Yamato and Takeru’s father was known to enjoy a drink or two or ten on occasion, but then, whose father wasn’t? The economy had been shit in the 90s and alcohol: an easy remedy. But Takeru had always seemed so disgusted with the habit that destroyed his own parent’s marriage that Daisuke had never really considered that he might like to drink himself. And yet...
There was a soft sound from the room at back of the hall and when Daisuke went to investigate, he saw a bleary eyed Ken, feet bare, inky black hair still rumpled from sleep. Ken stretched, arms held high above his head, spine curved in pleasure, his entire body almost seeming to shake with the effort of holding the pose before releasing with a pleased sigh.
“Was someone here?” Ken asked, his voice still rough with sleep, “I thought I heard voices.”
Daisuke smiled at his lover, “Just Takeru,” he explained, “He said Hikari was worried when we didn’t go to the digidestined party last weekend.”
Ken flinched, “That was last Saturday, wasn’t it,” he remembered.
“Sunday,” Daisuke corrected with a smile. For a super genius, Ken had never been great about dates or times, “Doesn’t matter anyway,” he promised before apologizing, “I hope we didn’t wake you.”
Ken shook his head, feet softly padding down the carpeted hall as he walked over a placed a cool kiss against Daisuke’s cheek, “Nope, “ Ken explained, “I was already awake,” Ken admitted, a slow, mischievous smile spreading across his face, “I was only being lazy.” He reached down to give Daisuke’s hand a squeeze before sliding past him and walking in the direction of the kitchen.
“Do you know what you want for dinner?” Ken asked.
Daisuke smiled. So domestic. He never would have pegged the once self-styled leader of the Digital World as so naturally domestic. But then, Ken had always been full of surprises.
He followed the Digital Kaiser into the kitchen, unable to take his eyes of him even as he performed the most mundane of tasks. To Daisuke, just watching Ken survey the contents of their fridge was awe-inspiring, “I’ve got to be leaving for work soon,” Daisuke reminded Ken, taking an odd amount of pleasure in his disappointed little sigh before changing the subject, “Is your headache gone?”
Ken’s hand rose to his temple almost as if he couldn’t remember what headache Daisuke might be asking about, but then he smiled, hand dropping back down to his side, “Yeah,” Ken agreed, “All gone. I told you it was just stress. All I needed was a little sleep.”
Still, Daisuke wasn’t quite satisfied. He stepped forward, wrapping his arms around Ken’s lanky form and drawing him in close, his nose nestled in at the little cleft where the base of Ken’s neck met his shoulder and where the essence of what Ken was, what Ken meant to him seemed to be the strongest.
“All the same,” Daisuke muttered into Ken’s hair, “I wish you’d just go see a doctor.” He felt more than heard Ken’s light chuckle of bemusement.
“If wishes were horses…” Ken began.
“I know, I know,” Daisuke answered, “Beggars would ride.”
“If turnips were swords,” Ken was smiling.
“I’d wear one by my side.” Daisuke rolled his eyes.
“If ifs and ands were pots and pans,” Ken’s voice rose expectantly even as he slipped easily from Daisuke’s grasp and grabbing a wok from where it hung above the stove, turned on the heat.
Daisuke sighed, knowing he was beaten.
“There would be no work for tinkers.”