This job is way better than kitchen duty! Daisuke practically skipped down the deserted hallway through the nobles' quarters. I might get to meet Hikari. An image of dark hair and violet eyes slid through Daisuke's mind, and, too distracted to notice that it wasn't Hikari, he sighed happily. And we can be together!
The sound of hurried footsteps to one side of him silenced that thought. Daisuke turned, in time to see a flash of filmy, light pink silk sliding around the corner -- like the trail from a Lady's dress. But Miyako had been wearing blue...
Daisuke felt his heart start to pound. Forgetting the reason he was up there, he turned and raced off after his dream girl. Her and me, all alone together in a dark hallway... It'll be perfect!
He caught a glimpse of the back of an elaborate pink and white gown and followed as best he could without her noticing. Don't worry, Hikari, we'll be together soon enough...
"You made it."
Daisuke stopped at the sound of Takeru's voice. What's he doing here?
"Sorry if I'm a bit late." That was definitely Hikari's voice. Hearing it brought back a flood of Daisuke's old childhood dreams. "I met up with Miyako along the way. That girl can certainly talk!"
Takeru chuckled. "Well, you're here now, and that's what's important. I really need to talk to you, Kari."
The sound of the familiar nickname was almost like a shock to Daisuke.
"Is it about the wedding?"
"Yes." Takeru sounded serious. "Hikari, I know you were afraid that your brother might disrupt it, but I would really like Yamato to be present."
Hikari sighed. "I know."
"I think we should invite them." Takeru's voice was rushed. "No, don't argue with me yet. Taichi's as much as given us his blessing, Hikari. And I'm certain that my brother approves. If nothing else, he could keep Taichi under control."
"I don't know..." Hikari began hesitantly. "Takeru, you know my brother will try to do whatever he thinks is best for me. If he doesn't agree to the wedding, then he'll try to stop it any way he can."
"Hikari, trust me." Takeru's voice was quiet and passionate. "I know my brother would never allow anything to happen that would interfere with our happiness. He'll keep Taichi from destroying this. Please."
A moment of silence. Then... "All right," Hikari agreed, finally. "I'll trust you, Takeru." She let out a sigh. "It's so very easy for me to trust you... I just know this is meant to be."
"Hikari..." No more words were spoken.
Daisuke backed away, slowly. The way they'd spoken of the wedding... It seemed to all point in one direction, to lead to that inevitable conclusion that would be so painful to come to...
No way! Daisuke's mind rejected the idea, even as he moved back through the hallway to return to his job. There's got to be another explaination. I mean, come on! Hikari and I are meant to be... Right?
Again he saw in his mind the image of those enchanting violet eyes. Meant to be... It was so confusing! He didn't get any of this!
Well, Daisuke thought, shrugging to himself, maybe I'll understand it all better when I finally meet Hikari!
Miyako was talking with Iori. Ken paused only long enough to be sure that they were deep in conversation, then turned in the opposite direction, breathing a sigh of relief. A little time to myself at last... I don't think I can even remember when I last had some!
He wandered through the hall idly, not really thinking about anything much. Except Daisuke, of course. Ken smiled to himself. And now that I'm feeling a little more confident -- and Miyako's not around -- maybe I could actually have a real conversation with him. That is, if he's anywhere around... The vivid image of tanned skin, brown-red hair, and deep brown eyes that seemed to be branded on the back of his eyelids played agin in front of him. God, why does he have to be so damned gorgeous?
It was almost criminal.
Well, maybe if I can find him... Ken felt his smile broaden, and his heart rate go up. The idea of talking alone with Daisuke was enormously appealing. I wonder how he feels about me. This place seems to invite unrequited affection with Miyako around... I don't want to be as foolish as she's being, certainly. I'll have to ease into it.
That decided, Ken went on a focussed search for the young servant.
He found Daisuke just as the red-head was coming out of Miyako's room, with his arms full of the previous night's bedsheets. There was a thoughtful-looking frown on that beautiful tanned face. Wonder what he's thinking about...
Well, no matter. "Daisuke?"
The boy looked up, startled. "My Lord?"
"Don't bother with that." Ken smiled, feeling far more confident now that he wasn't making an idiot of himself. "Just plain 'Ken' is fine. But we seem to have started off on the wrong foot since you got here. Care to start over?"
Daisuke met his eyes; that gaze was very open. "Sure, I guess."
Ken gave him his best charming smile, the one that always made Miyako swoon. "Don't let me keep you from your chore, though -- I'll walk with you, and we can talk. Fair enough?"
"Sounds good!" Daisuke gave him a half-smile. Ken was certain he saw a definite interest and attraction in that look. Yes! he thought, falling in beside the servant boy.
"So what do you think of my estate, Daisuke?" he asked conversationally.
"It's great!" He could tell that the enthusiasm wasn't faked. "I mean, it's at least as big as Taichi's, and there's a lot of really neat stuff here."
"Well, there is now," Ken corrected him, boldly admiring Daisuke as they walked. He was rewarded by the faint reddish tinge coloring those browned cheeks. "Do you believe that you can feel a connection to someone before you've even really met?" he asked casually.
Daisuke looked at him with some amazement. "Yeah! I've felt that way! I mean, I feel like just having that one person could complete all my dreams."
Ken frowned slightly. Who is he talking about? "Sometimes it seems like just a glance could make you fall in love, right? And you can't get their face out of your head..."
"Hey, that sounds a lot like what I've been going through." Daisuke looked at him and smiled. "I'v had this image in my head ever since last night. It's... wow."
Last night! That has to be me, right? Unless it's Miyako... Ken decided to be cautious. "Well, here's the laundry room," he pointed out.
"Oh, right. Just let me drop off these sheets," Daisuke said, walking in. Ken followed him, thoughts busy. I should try. It's worth a shot. Or maybe I can get him to go for it... He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Daisuke was certainly acting interested, responding to his looks and his words... All right, then!
"You know," be began casually, leaning against the wall beside Daisuke. "When you feel something that strongly, it's usually best to just go for it. Right?" He stared directly into Daisuke's soft brown eyes, smiling in the most appealing way he knew how to. "I mean, you never know when they might feel the same way."
Daisuke blinked. "That is actually a good idea..."
Yes! Ken looked at him in anticipation.
"I'll have to try it!" Daisuke beamed. "Thanks, Ken!"
And then he was out the door, and gone.
Ken stood there for a moment, staring after him blankly. What... just happened?
For some reason, Daisuke felt as if his head was spinning from Ken's words. 'It's best to just go for it...' Yeah, so I should go find Hikari. Right? If that was the case, why did it feel like he shoud've stayed?
Violet eyes... dark hair... pale skin... The image was painfully beautiful. Why didn't he see Hikari's brown hair and eyes when he thought of her? Or did Hikari have the violet eyes? It didn't make any sense at all. He could hear the sound of Ken's voice saying his name -- Daisuke... Daisuke... Hikari had never once said his name; she didn't even know he existed. Well, not yet. But his dreams were all pinned on her. So why did he keep hearing Ken's voice? Daisuke...
He looked up.
Iori was standing near where he'd stopped to rest against the wall, looking concerned. "Are you... feeling all right? You look like you're having some kind of problem."
"Not really. I was just thinking about Hikari, that's all." Daisuke smiled dreamily.
Iori looked startled. "Hikari?"
"Yeah. I mean, she's so beautiful and kind and sweet." Daisuke sighed, losing himself in that familiar daydream. "Who wouldn't want to think about her? She's perfect. I can't stop thinking about those gorgeous violet eyes..."
"Uh..." Iori gave him a perplexed look. "Daisuke?"
"Hikari's eyes are brown."
"They are?" Daisuke's own eyes widened slightly, and he felt confused. He couldn't get those eyes out of his head... So they had to be Hikari's... right? "Well, then, uh, who... has the violet eyes? I thought... Hikari..." It was too confusing!
"Daisuke, are you okay?"
"I'm fine." He scratched his head. "Just a little confused, that's all."
Iori raised an eyebrow. "You're telling me. Daisuke, do you have a crush on Hikari?"
Daisuke felt his face burning. A crush? They would call destiny a crush? "Well... maybe a little one," he admitted, somewhat sheepishly.
"But you know..." Iori looked at Daisuke's face for a moment, then grimanced. "Never mind. You don't know, do you?"
"Nothing." Iori sighed. "She doesn't have violet eyes, though. I'd remember that if you ever wanted to write her some poetry."
"Poetry..." Daisuke felt inspiration strike. "That's a great idea! Then I can go for what I want, just like Ken said to do!"
Iori looked up. "Ken said...?"
"Yeah, he and I had a talk about it," Daisuke told him. "See, he wanted to talk with me while I was carrying sheets to the laundry room -- and we started talking about when you feel like you have a connection with someone you've never met. And then he said if I felt like that, I should just go for it."
The look on Iori's face was almost comical, it was so incredulous. "And you didn't do anything?" he asked, sounding astonished.
"Well, duh." Daisuke grinned. "I'd have to find Hikari to do something, right?"
Iori slapped a hand to his face and shook his head. "Daisuke, you idiot."
"Huh?" He blinked, then his face flushed as he caught that. "Hey! What'd you say that for? I didn't do anything to you!"
"No..." Iori sighed. "Never mind, Daisuke," he said, giving him a pat on the arm. "I'm sure you'll figure it out. The answer's right under your nose, after all."
"Hmm." Daisuke watched as Iori walked away. That's what Koushiro said. Wonder if Iori knows him or something. He shrugged. Oh well. Better get working on that poetry. Now... what rhymes with 'violet'...?
Ken frowned to himself. Why didn't he do anything? I could tell he was attracted to me... At least a little bit! So, when I said he should go for it... He sighed, feeling confused. Daisuke was such a mystery... He didn't think he'd ever figure it out.
"Maybe if I could talk to him again..." Ken peered around the hall, looking for where Daisuke might be. I should take my own advice and just go for it!
"... criolet... biolet... miolet..."
Ken turned at the voice. Speak of the devil... He started off towards it. Daisuke was walking down the hallway with one arm full of clean sheets, repeating words with an 'iolet' sound in them to himself. Trying to write poetry? Ken raised an eyebrow.
Well, now or never... He walked out into the open toward Daisuke.
The red-haired boy stopped reciting 'iolet' words when he spotted him, and looked up with a smile. "Hey Ken. How's it going?"
Ken didn't trust himself to answer, but just kept walking toward him.
Daisuke stopped altogether. "Ken?"
The young lord finally reached his destination. Go for it! Now! Taking a deep breath and trying to still his fast-beating heart, he took hold of Daisuke's face in both of his hands and kissed him.
Heaven... That was the first thought that came through in Ken's wildly swirling mind. He's soft... and warm... and... God, I can't stop kissing him! He's perfect! Seemingly shocked, Daisuke remained locked in place, his heartbeat sounding loud and very rapid so near to Ken's own. Then, slowly, hesitantly, he started to relax -- to melt against the dark-haired lord, his hands tentatively resting on Ken's shoulders as the sheets fell to the ground...
Both boys jerked away violently at the loud, shrill voice, breathing heavily. Miyako stood near an open door, one hand to her mouth, eyes so wide that there was white showing all around the pupils. "You..." She barely whispered the word, shocked. "You..."
Ken graced her with a sheepish little smile. Two birds with one stone -- wow...
Daisuke looked stunned; he put a hand to the wall to steady himself. "I didn't think about that with Hikari..." he murmured, his other hand reaching up to brush his lips.
Ken frowned. Hikari...?
"I can't believe you!" Miyako was screaming -- not at Ken, but at the oblivious Daisuke. "How could you take advantage of Ken like that?"
"What!?" Ken could hardly believe his ears. "He didn't -- "
"No!" Miyako covered her ears. "He had to! You couldn't have done that of your own free will, because you love me! Me!" Her voice was shrill and desperate.
"I do no -- "
"So what would Hikari -- ?"
"Ken, you're not -- "
"But, Daisuke, I want -- "
"Hikari -- "
"Ken -- "
"Daisuke -- "
"Would you all just shut up!" All three of them went totally quiet as a fuming Iori stomped on into the chaos. "I can't believe how much denial the three of you are in together! It's the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life!" He took a deep breath. "I'll just have to set you straight myself."
He whirled on Miyako. "You are kidding yourself! You're trying too hard for something you don't even need, and you can't have Ken anyway since he's madly in love with Daisuke!" He turned next to the goggle-eyed Daisuke. "And you might as well pursue that since Hikari's not going to fall for you when she's getting married to Takeru in just two weeks!"
Ken looked at Daisuke, and felt his heart smash to pieces. Hikari. He wanted Hikari. Not me. He backed away from the group slowly. "I need to go!" he finally choked out, and ran off, feeling a lump in his throat that was nearly large enough to choke him.
Daisuke stared after Ken, feeling a strange sort of hurting feeling forming in his chest. "H-Hikari...?" he murmured, too confused to think of anything but the name from his childhood dreams. She's getting married, his mind told him, but he just couldn't grasp that. Somehow, it didn't seem like a big deal at all.
Iori sighed in frustration. "That is Ken, Daisuke," he said firmly, "not Hikari. Ken. The violet eyes are Ken's. Not Hikari's. Ken's. Do you understand?" He gazed up at the red-haired boy, who was biting his lip with indecision. "Daisuke, you're not really in love with Hikari, you know. You're in love with the idea of being with someone like Hikari."
Daisuke stared back at him, finally starting to understand what had been going through his head. I wanted to be with someone kind and beautiful, so I latched on to Hikari... And then I saw Ken and got confused... He remembered the way those violet eyes had played through his mind ever since then. I like Ken. I like Ken.
Iori had turned away from him, probably seeing that comprehension dawning in his eyes. "Miyako..." he began.
"I know." She slumped against the wall and sighed. "Ken doesn't really like me. I just... I always thought..." Her voice trailed off and she looked at the floor. Then she looked up again, at Daisuke, and the expression on her face was determined. "But he does like you," she told him. "And if you don't take advantage of that, I'm going to have to box your ears for insulting my taste in men, mister!"
Daisuke half-smiled. "Don't worry. I'm going after him right now," he promised, then ran off down the hallway in search of a certain dark-haired lord.
He's gotta be around here somewhere. Daisuke stopped as he came nearer to Ken's room and saw that the door was open. Trying to be quiet, he moved closer and peered in.
Ken was standing with one hand braced on his bedside table, and he was shaking with suppressed emotion. His back was to Daisuke, but the red-head could still hear the muttered words, "Stupid, stupid, stupid. Of course he doesn't want me -- he wants her. God, I'm just so stupid..."
He didn't get another word out because Daisuke stepped into the room and put a hand on his shoulder. The violet eyes he'd admired so much were astonished as Ken turned to look at him. "I guess we started this off on the wrong foot," he said softly, smiling. "Care to start over?"
A hesitant smile started on Ken's face, and then he suddenly had an armful of Daisuke, and warm lips meeting his own in a far more enthusiastic kiss than they'd shared earlier.
Independent thought for both of them vanished completely at that point.
"You may now kiss the bride."
A chorus of cheers erupted through the large room as Takeru leaned down and pressed his lips against those of his radiant bride. The ceremony had gone off without a hitch. Taichi had even led his sister down the isle to give her away.
Ken snaked an arm around Daisuke's waist and grinned up at him. "I'm surprised you didn't jump up and go running down the isle when they asked who took this woman to be their lawful wedded wife," he teased.
"Ha ha, very funny." The red-head slung his arm around his lover's shoulders all the same. "And I'm surprised Miyako didn't jump on you instead of being Hikari's Maid of Honor!"
Ken laughed. "Well, I'd like to think she's grown up a little too much for that," he said, glancing at where Miyako was chatting with Mimi and Sora.
"What, and you don't think I have?" Ken wasn't given the chance to answer that, because Daisuke spotted Koushiro congratulating Hikari and Takeru, and bounded over to give his old friend an enthusiastic bear hug.
Ken shook his head, smiling. Some things just didn't change.
"OK, everyone!" Taichi waved his free arm -- the other being hooked around Yamato's shoulders -- to get the attention of everybody in the room. "Sorry to steal the spotlight, Hikari," he began, grinning at his sister, who rolled her eyes in good-natured exasperration. "But since everyone is here anyway, I want to take this opportunity to announce another wedding that's going to take place in a few more months."
"A double wedding, actually," Yamato added, his arm tightening around Taichi's shoulders. "You see, since Sora and I decided not to get married to each other, we thought it only fair that we should still share that special day."
"So we're getting married together," Sora finished, quickly kissing Mimi's cheek. "Myself to Mimi, and Yamato to Taichi. Hopefully, you can all come to it."
"We'll send formal invitations a little later on," Mimi added, squeezing her lover's hand. "But we wanted to tell you all in person."
"Of course we can come!" Hikari laughed an hugged her brother tightly. "Congratulations to all of you!" The others -- those who weren't getting married -- joined in congratulating them.
Ken glanced over at Daisuke, and found his lover giving him a speculative look. "Oh, no," he said firmly. "No way. We've only been together for two weeks!"
Daisuke grinned mischievously and flung his arms around Ken's neck. "Hey, Ken, weren't you the one whose advice was to just 'go for it'?" he asked teasingly, and kissed him soundly on the lips.
Maybe marriage wasn't that bad an idea, after all...