Yamato approached Koushiro's place of work trapped in the throes of something akin to complete and utter boredom.
With Taichi gone, and Takeru and Daisuke otherwise occupied, he was left to his own devices - and that started to wear thin after a while. Yamato wasn't interested in getting involved with mortals the way his partners in crime had, and since he was in a mortal realm, there wasn't much else to be done. Sitting back and watching others interact in the streets could only be entertaining for so long.
It's starting to look like I should just head back home and find something else to do besides break the rules.
And the only thing that kept him from doing just that was his desire to avoid giving Sora the satisfaction.
Maybe I'll devote some time to finding out who she planned to set me up with. That brought on a smirk. Yamato was aware that he had admirers - many of who were quite vocal about it - but judging by the way Sora had spoken, the person she had in mind this time was someone he knew. And, from the sound of it, someone he had overlooked.
That made him curious.
One thing I know I can trust about Sora is her taste. He pushed open the door to the building Taichi had pointed out to him, thoughtfully. It'll be someone I can stand to have around, at the very least.
Yamato pushed that thought aside for the moment. He'd just walked into a region of complete and utter chaos - or so it seemed. There were boxes stacked around the main entranceway, and several of the windows he could see were boarded up. Big bulky mortals with dull-eyed expressions walked in and out of the room with their arms loaded down, transporting all sorts of things through the building.
"Excuse me." Yamato stepped in front of one of the workers. "Where do I find the guy in charge of this place?"
The man stared stupidly back at him. "What do you want?"
The blond immortal raised an eyebrow. "I've got a message for him. What's it to you?"
His conversation partner scowled. "Through there," he grunted ungraciously, freeing one hand to hook a thumb over his shoulder into the next room. He secured his hold on the boxes in her arms again, and stepped around to continue on his way.
"Yeah, and you have a nice day too, huh?" Yamato let out an annoyed breath and moved to enter the next room. There probably wasn't much point to this errand anyway; unless Koushiro had been hired to lift boxes, it didn't look like he'd be doing much work.
I'd sure love to work in this place… Surrounded by idiots like that? Oh yeah. My dream job.
"No, the other brand! We can't use this one; it's against company regulations!"
Hold on a minute…
Yamato hurried through another doorway, eyes narrowing as he listened to a voice he definitely recognized. Is that…?
"We're going to have to re-order everything that just came in." A tall, dark-haired man was scribbling frantically on a clipboard while talking in a tone that came close to panicky to another dull-eyed assistant. "And this stuff" - he stopped writing to wave a hand at a large pile of boxes - "is going to have to be shipped back to the manufacturer. Hopefully we can - "
"Jyou!?" Yamato interrupted, staring incredulously at the taller man.
Jyou whirled around, eyes going wide. "Yamato? What are you doing here?" He shoved the clipboard into his surprised assistant's hands and hurried toward where the blond immortal was standing in the doorway.
"Me? What are you doing here?" Yamato frowned. "And who's taking care of administration?"
"Oh - uh - right." Jyou nervously fiddled with his glasses, blinking a little too rapidly as he stared back. "I left a list with some of the lesser pixies. But listen, I can't talk about this around here - orders, you know."
"Whatever." This was seriously starting to get annoying… "Mimi's not going to find out, unless you experience a fit of guilt and confess. So spill it already - what's going on?"
Jyou sighed. "All right… I guess I wasn't told to keep this a secret from you guys." He absently began polishing the glasses as he spoke. "Mimi gave me orders to come here a few months ahead of time and set up a fake business. I was supposed to hire a certain mortal, and make sure he stayed in the city but didn't have to actually work for me."
Yamato stared. Fake business? Then, Koushiro's job… the reason he's in the city… "Did she say why?"
"No… I didn't ask." The taller immortal set his glasses back on his nose and offered an apologetic smile. "But I sort of got the impression it was something Sora was working on. Does that help at all?"
That made even less sense. Why would Sora be interested in Koushiro? "Not really, but it might when I find out more." He was definitely getting to the bottom of this. But before that… "By the way, are you planning on hanging out here all day?"
Jyou blinked. "Well… no, not all day. I was just going to stay for the morning, in case Koushiro showed up asking about when he could get working."
"Great, because Taichi and the others ditched me for a bunch of mortals." Yamato rolled his eyes upward. "I've been bored out of my mind since yesterday. And I came here to pass on the fact that Koushiro won't be reporting in to work until Taichi's done with him, so give yourself a break and let's go for breakfast."
"Uh… breakfast? Me and you?" A slow flush was creeping up Jyou's face, just under his glasses.
Yamato raised an eyebrow, then grinned. "Something about that you don't understand?"
"A lot of things," Jyou muttered, but he offered a rueful smile in return. "Sure. Why not? Breakfast it is."
Cute, Yamato thought privately, and glanced sideways at the taller immortal as they left. His 'alone' time suddenly looked a lot less boring.
It was the sun streaming in through the tree branches that inevitably woke Koushiro up. He'd slept through most of the morning - not surprisingly - and it was somewhere close to noon by the time he drifted back into full consciousness and opened his eyes to squint up at his surroundings.
Which were not what he had remembered seeing before he'd fallen asleep the previous night. There were trees all around, and he was lying in the middle of a small circular clearing.
Taichi…? Koushiro sat up, and realized something that probably should not have surprised him. He was sitting there in the middle of the woods wearing nothing but skin.
The redhead felt his cheeks heating. What did he do with my clothes? He hadn't been paying very much attention at the moment when they'd been removed… at the time, his mind had been on other things.
Now he wished he'd been thinking coherently enough to pay closer attention.
Then again, it might not have done him much good. Koushiro took a closer look at the area around him. He was back at the place he'd met Taichi at, before being dragged into that dream world and - well… getting distracted.
That thought brought a slight smile, but it did nothing to lessen his blush. Last night… Last night was…
Absolutely, undeniably, irrefutably amazing.
And that was putting it lightly.
Koushiro looked up. Taichi's voice had seemed to come from all around him - but the immortal himself appeared to materialize out of the woods on his right. He was back in his more commonplace attire, and the wings had been concealed again. "I thought you were going to sleep all day," he said, the already brilliant smile on his face widening even more as he knelt beside his lover.
Lover. Koushiro returned the smile, trying not to seem self-conscious. "I gave it some thought," he admitted. "But I decided it would be a better idea to get dressed before someone wandered by and found some scenery they hadn't expected."
Taichi grinned at him. "I wouldn't let anyone see you, Koushiro. Trust me." He reached out to brush light fingers over the mortal's still-warm cheek - something he'd obviously found that he enjoyed doing. "That sight's just for me, right?"
"I suppose so." There wasn't much point in denying the feelings he'd discovered. They weren't going to go away, as he might have hoped before this had happened. "Can I have my clothes back anyway?"
"Oh - right." Taichi turned and picked up Koushiro's underwear and shorts from the ground beside him - even though the shorter man could've sworn they hadn't been there earlier. "I almost forgot."
"Thank you." Koushiro busied himself with re-covering his lower half. Taichi hadn't given him his shirt back, he noticed. Most likely on purpose. He decided not to make an issue of it - or the next time this happened, he might not even see his pants again.
This relationship is gong to take some getting used to.
He was up for the challenge, though. The benefits were most definitely worth it.
"Do you want anything else?" Taichi asked, watching him dress. "I could get you something more comfortable to sit on… Or how about something to eat? Whatever you want, I can get it for you. Just say the word."
"Uh… well…" Koushiro blinked, somewhat taken aback by his lover's anxiousness to fetch things for him. "I do need - "
"Something to drink?" The immortal interrupted. "You're probably thirsty, right? Did you want water? Juice? Wine? Something I haven't mentioned yet?"
Oh boy… "Actually, I need to use the bushes for a moment, if you don't mind."
"Use the… oh. Yeah, go ahead." Taichi scratched his head with a slight grin. "I'll just wait here."
"Right." Koushiro resisted the urge to laugh, and hurried out of sight.
"I have something to ask you," the taller man began, when he returned. His brown eyes were quite serious. "Do you remember me talking about taking you back home with me so I can spend the rest of my existence ravishing you?"
"Several times, as I recall." Koushiro sat down beside him again. "Why?"
Taichi's expression didn't change; it was difficult to turn away from his gaze. "How would you feel about that?"
"About going back with you?" The redhead had been anticipating that question… Hoping for it, really. He smiled back at Taichi. "I'd love it, of course. Who wouldn't?"
"Well… we'd have to leave right at the end of October," Taichi pointed out, still watching him carefully. "It won't be a big deal for me to get Mimi's permission for you - I'm pretty good at it by now - but if you won't be ready, she won't let us wait for you."
Koushiro had been thinking this over quite carefully. He'd been subject to much of Ken's research, and the 'Moving Days' were something he'd learned about. "But you move to another area of the world, right?"
"That's pretty much how it works."
"So I'd be able to keep in contact with my parents - sort of, anyway."
A slow smile was tugging its way onto Taichi's face. "Well, we're not supposed to have contact with mortals, but I've been breaking the rules so long, I'm sure I can figure something out for you."
"In that case, I don't have anything else to worry about here." Koushiro hesitantly reached over to slide his fingers through Taichi's. "I'll gladly give up the experience of attempting to find a job. After all, it does happen to be in favor of traveling the world and spending time in a virtual paradise with an immortal I'm in love with."
Taichi grinned. "I love you too, Koushiro," he replied, and leaned forward to kiss him.
Koushiro found he could receive this attention with a great deal of enthusiasm. It felt wonderful to be able to accept Taichi's affection. He felt as if he could fly, or just float away… How was it possible for one person to feel this much happiness?
Taichi took advantage of his distraction, pushing him back down into the soft grass bed. "I knew it was a waste of time for you to get dressed," he murmured, and set to work correcting that mistake.
"Hey Takeru! Wait up!"
Daisuke. The blond debated briefly with continuing to walk as if he hadn't heard anything, but decided in the end to stop and allow his friend to catch up. "Hey."
"Is that all you've got to say?" Daisuke fell into step beside him, offering a friendly punch in the shoulder. "I haven't seen you since you stopped lurking around outside Iori's apartment yesterday. What's going on with you, huh?"
He seemed more energetic than usual. I'd be willing to bet I know what went on last night… "We're back together, and I stopped hanging around outside because I was invited to hang around inside."
"Score!" Daisuke thumped him on the shoulder without any sort of surprised pause, offering a grin. "So is he going off with you, or are you staying here with him?"
Takeru blinked. "How did you know that I - ?"
"Hey, it's obvious you guys were serious." Daisuke snorted. "If you honestly think I'm that dense, then it shows how little you know me after all those centuries of friendship. So what's the deal?"
Trust Daisuke… Takeru smiled wryly. "I'm staying here."
"Hey, cool! We'll be neighbors." Daisuke dodged around someone in his path without colliding and beamed at his friend. "It'll be easier if there's two of us, huh? I was a little worried about staying here alone with all the mortals, even if I had Ken."
Takeru had to admit, that same thought had been bothering him… Knowing that Daisuke would be there eased his worries somewhat. "So you're staying, too?"
"I thought I just said that."
The taller immortal let out a breath. "One less goodbye."
"Aw, we'll see them again." Daisuke brushed that thought aside. "Mimi'll forgive us after a couple of months, I'll bet. We're her favorite troublemakers, after all - she couldn’t live without our company."
"Yeah, right." Takeru rolled his eyes, but smiled as well. "Do you have any idea what Taichi's going to do?"
Daisuke blinked. "I forgot about him…"
"We might end up having more company," the taller immortal pointed out.
"No way." Daisuke let the blond go up the stairs to Ken and Iori's apartment building ahead of him. "Koushiro won't even give him a chance - why would he stick around just for someone he can't have?"
Takeru grinned. "I'll bet Taichi will find a way to convince him," he predicted, glancing over his shoulder. "That's what he's best at. Remember when he convinced Mimi that the fight we started five or six years in Tibet was to protect our realm from being discovered by mortals?"
"As I remember it, the party they held in his honor was one to remember."
That wasn't Daisuke's voice… and it wasn't coming from behind him, either. Takeru glanced up, startled, and caught sight of a familiar girl with long hair and large glasses, sitting on the railing at the top of the stairs and smirking down at them.
"Miyako!?" Daisuke pushed past him, staring at the girl incredulously. "What are you doing here?"
"Checking out some pretty hot guys." She winked at them. "You know, for mortals, those two aren't bad at all. You guys could do a lot worse."
"Like anyone could do better!" Daisuke tossed back, with a bit of an answering smirk.
Takeru shook his head, still staring at the female immortal in bafflement. "But Ken told us you'd been living here a long time before we moved in here… how'd you manage that?"
She shrugged. "Sora arranged it for me, if you have to know."
Daisuke and Takeru glanced at each other.
"Sora?" the blond immortal ventured, after a moment.
"Who else?" Miyako hopped down off the railing gracefully. "It wasn't really necessary for me to be here, but she wanted to make sure we could keep track of everything that was going on. After all, there's a lot at stake here."
Daisuke frowned. "Huh?"
"Well, the bet, of course." She shook her head at them. "That's somebody's heart at stake there… And when it comes to the emotions of others, who better to interfere than the two of us? We make a great team."
"So this is all about Yamato's bet with Sora?" For some reason, Takeru felt he should have suspected something like that. "What's she up to, anyway?"
Miyako smiled. "That's what we're about to reveal to you two. Now." She straightened. "You guys need to head on inside, gather up your lovers, and come meet me at that café down the street."
They glanced at each other again.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Directions?" She pointed imperiously down the hallway that led to Ken's and Iori's rooms. "Go!"
Daisuke scowled. "So what do we do now?"
Takeru shrugged. "I guess we do what she says - if we want to know what's going on."
Miyako smiled sweetly in response. "That's right." After waiting until they trudged past her, she turned again and hurried down the stairs. "See you guys there!"
"I get the feeling Sora's really got something big planned this time," Takeru said thoughtfully, watching her go.
"Yeah, me too." Daisuke nodded. "She knew about Iori and Ken… What are you betting she probably knows about Koushiro, too? I think Yamato might be in for more than he was expecting, don't you?"
Takeru smiled to himself. "He's been too confident lately, anyway."
This was definitely turning out to be an interesting contest… He couldn't wait to see its conclusion. Turning toward Iori's apartment door, Takeru raised his hand to knock.
"So where to now?"
Koushiro opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by his stomach, which seemed to have taken it upon itself to handle the question. "I guess that would mean 'somewhere we can get something to eat'," he translated, setting the hand that wasn't a prisoner of Taichi's grip over his stomach as if to keep more noise from escaping.
They were just re-entering the city, after Koushiro had finally been given all of his clothes back. It was almost noon, and he hadn't eaten since the previous night… so his hunger was only natural.
"Whatever you want," Taichi agreed placidly. He was decidedly content - particularly after the morning's activities. "Got some place in mind, or just anywhere?"
"Just anywhere," Koushiro said, privately amused by the change. I should've known Taichi would be the type who could be cured of everything with sex. "But somewhere we could sit outside would be nice."
"Well then, somewhere we can sit outside it'll be." Taichi offered him that familiar infectious grin. "Nothing's too good for my mortal lover."
Koushiro rolled his eyes upward in good-natured exasperation, but made no reply.
"You know, I haven't heard what Daisuke and Takeru are planning to do," Taichi mused, leading the redhead down another street. "I wonder if Ken and Iori will be joining us."
"Daisuke and Takeru?" Koushiro repeated, frowning. "Oh… they're immortals as well, aren't they? I hadn't put that part of this together quite yet."
"Well, I didn't exactly tell you," Taichi conceded, somewhat apologetically. "And I think we've both had a lot on our minds recently. It's hard to think rationally when you're busy being deliriously happy."
Koushiro allowed a small smile in exchange for that one. "True enough."
"I'll bet at least one of them is staying," Taichi said, sounding thoughtful again. "I know Daisuke would do whatever it took to stay with Ken, and I think Takeru would give in after thinking about it for a while."
"What would happen to them if they did stay?" Not that he'd want to make Taichi stay… but he was curious, after all. "Would they still be immortal?"
Taichi shook his head, looking a bit sad. "They'd grow old and die like any other mortal. If our plane isn't their home, then they lose the ability to live forever."
Koushiro stared at him. "That's awful, though…"
"If they make that decision, then they obviously think it's worth it." Taichi tried to shrug it off. "Anyway, it's not like they'll lose everything. They'll still have their wings and most of their powers… they just won't ever be able to come home again."
That didn't help much. "I wish it didn't have to be like that."
"So do I, but I don't make the rules."
Koushiro bit back a smile. Despite the current situation, he had a feeling it was best that Taichi was not charge of making 'the rules'.
It was a beautiful morning… And not just because of his mood, which would likely have made almost any morning beautiful. The sun was bright, the air had a slight breeze that kept the heat from being stifling, and the sky was blue and free of clouds. Everything seemed to be more clear… almost lit up.
Well… perhaps that last part was just the result of his good mood.
Instinctively, Koushiro looked up as well. The blond who had been introduced to him as Yamato some time ago was sitting outside at a very familiar café, with a huge smirk on his face - and sitting across from him was…
"Jyou?" He and Taichi said it at the same time.
They glanced at each other.
"Come on." Yamato waved an arm expansively. "Join us. We just had breakfast, but I'm sure we'll be fine with watching the two of you eat." His smirk didn't lessen at all.
Taichi pulled up another chair, as Koushiro took the free seat at the table. "What are you doing here?" he asked, staring at the taller man curiously. How exactly did his employer know an immortal being?
"Yeah, I'd like to know that, too," Taichi added, sitting himself down between Koushiro and Jyou. "I didn't think Mimi allowed you to see the light of the outside world with all that work they force on you."
Mimi? Koushiro blinked, frowning slightly as he stared at the increasingly nervous-looking young man. Does that mean…?
"Er… well…" Jyou coughed slightly. "This is all sort of complicated…"
"Jyou's been stationed here as Koushiro's employer, Taichi," Yamato explained, with a bit of a shrug. "Oh, and your employer's secretly an immortal, Koushiro. Didn't you know?"
"What!?" Again, Taichi and Koushiro managed to speak in unison.
They glanced at each other a second time.
Jyou smiled sheepishly. "Sorry guys… Mimi's orders."
"Yeah, that's the part I still haven't managed to figure out." Yamato frowned. "Jyou's told me that Mimi authorized his expedition into the mortal realm, but she didn't tell him why. And he thinks it has something to do with Sora."
"Sora?" Taichi's eyes widened a little.
"Right." Yamato offered a wry smile. "I get the feeling I'm being outmaneuvered, but I haven't figured out how. Obviously, Sora knows about Koushiro - which means Mimi knows. That'll save you some explanations when you're trying to get her permission to take him along."
Taichi didn't seem surprised that Yamato had reasoned out his intentions. "But Jyou hired Koushiro before we even came to this place. I'd never even met him before. How could Sora know about him before I did?"
Yamato spread his hands. "You got me. I've told you everything I know about this."
Koushiro couldn't keep silent any more. "There's a lot going on that I don’t fully understand," he reminded them. "Could someone explain to me who Sora is? The only thing I've managed to get from your conversation is that she sent Jyou here to hire me."
"Sora's in charge of keeping us in line," Taichi explained, with a bit of an apologetic smile. "She's got a bunch of people working for her, and she only takes orders from Mimi. She's been trying to keep us out of trouble for the past century or so - and this time she's confident enough about stopping us to make a bet with Yamato."
"Bet?" Jyou blinked at Yamato. "What bet?"
"She wants to set me up." The blond shrugged. "If she wins, she's going to get the chance. She won't tell me who it is, though."
"Oh." Jyou looked a little downcast at that. Koushiro remembered his conversation with the man the night he'd drank too much, and found himself experiencing something of a revelation. So the one he wants is…
"Yamato." Taichi was frowning at his friend. "Do you remember that friend of Takeru and Daisuke's? You know… the one with the glasses?"
"Oh yeah, her." Yamato shrugged. "What about her?"
"Well, doesn't she have that cupid-meter thing?" Taichi gestured vaguely, as if he could describe it with his hands. "The thing that tells you who a person's closest soulmate is?"
Jyou's eyes had widened a bit. "You think she brought Koushiro here because she knew he was your soulmate?" he asked Taichi, a bit incredulously.
"Well… I couldn't tell you why…" Taichi spread his hands helplessly.
"This is really starting to get confusing," Koushiro muttered, rubbing at his temple.
"And it's only going to get more confusing," a new voice announced. All four pairs of eyes shot up immediately to focus on a tall, pretty girl with chestnut-brown hair and a confident little smile on her lips - who stood right by their table as if she'd been there all along.
And three of the four occupants of that table announced her name to the world at the same time.
Yamato moved his chair over reluctantly as his adversary pulled up another one. "What are you doing here?" he asked her, frowning a bit.
She shrugged. "Well, from what I heard, you guys are a bit confused. I'm here to explain."
"Explain what?" He couldn’t quite keep the wary tone out of his voice.
"Explain how I won our bet," she answered sweetly, and smiled.
"How you won?" he repeated, raising an eyebrow skeptically. "I'd like to hear how you've reasoned that conclusion out of this sorry mess."
"It's not a sorry mess." That same long-haired girl he'd seen Sora talking to at the café earlier bounced over to their table. "Sorry I'm a bit late," she apologized, pulling up another chair in between Taichi and Jyou. The table - originally built to hold just three people - was starting to get slightly crowded.
"It's all right, Miyako." Sora scooted over some more as Taichi and Koushiro made room for the new arrival. "I ordered milkshakes for all of us. Are the others coming?"
"Others?" Taichi repeated. He looked lost.
"Daisuke, Takeru, Ken, and Iori," Miyako answered him. "Did you get me a strawberry flavored shake, Sora? Strawberry's my favorite."
Koushiro seemed to be just recovering from some sort of shock. "Wait a minute…" His tone was a bit strangled. "You're an immortal, too?"
Miyako beamed in response. "Surprise!"
He blinked rapidly for a moment, then rolled his eyes upward and sighed. "Who else is in on this?"
"Probably no one else you know," Sora assured him. "Unless you haven't heard about Daisuke and Takeru yet."
"What about us?" Daisuke pulled up another couple of chairs, situating them just behind Taichi. "We brought Ken and Iori, like you said," he pointed out, looking at Miyako. "What's the deal?"
Takeru, moving over two chairs for himself and his boyfriend, raised his eyebrows at the sight of everyone at the table. "Looks like some kind of reunion," he commented.
"Let's save some time here." Miyako leaned back in her chair. "Whoever isn't immortal, please raise your hand."
Obligingly, Koushiro, Ken, and Iori all raised their hands, still looking somewhat bemused.
"Just the three of us?" Ken blinked.
Iori squirmed in his seat, and Takeru set a hand on his shoulder in case he decided to faint again.
"Thank you, Miyako." Sora smiled again. "I'll get right to the point here, everyone. I've gone to the trouble of setting all of you up. Taichi and Koushiro… Daisuke and Ken… Takeru and Iori… You can thank me that you've found each other."
"What!?" That came from all six of those mentioned. Yamato had to admit, he was feeling a bit shocked by the news himself. All along, he'd thought he was stirring up trouble by helping them along…
"Miyako has a certain way of finding a person's nearest soulmate," Sora explained. "I was having some trouble with a certain group of immortals" - at that, Daisuke, Takeru, and Taichi looked sheepish, and Yamato raised an eyebrow at her - "and since it's my job to keep everyone in line, I had to think of something that would keep them out of mischief. So I got the idea that if the four of them fell in love, they'd have less time for trouble."
"The four of us?" Yamato repeated, pointedly.
"You as well, Yamato." Sora didn't even seem phased. "Yours happened to be a certain immortal I knew had feelings for you - but I felt you needed a push of some sort to realize it, so I came up with the bet." She glanced past him at Jyou and a small, secretive smile crept onto her lips. The taller immortal flushed, shifting nervously in his seat. "But maybe that wasn't really necessary, after all."
Yamato felt heat creeping up onto his own cheeks at that.
"Wait a minute!" Takeru was still staring at Sora, his expression somewhat dazed. "How did you arrange all this? I mean… Koushiro only moved here a short while ago - and Ken just happened to come in order to research for his paper. Is that just some sort of coincidence that worked out in your favor?"
"Not hardly." Miyako grinned. "Jyou was Koushiro's employer - he was put here just for the purpose of making sure our lucky soulmate for Taichi was here, and wouldn't be leaving. Iori was here already, and as for Ken… well…" She smiled. "All we had to do was bring out a few old memories in this area, and send him an anonymous tip about them - and here he was."
"That was you?" Ken looked surprised. "But that happened almost a year ago!"
"We've been planning this for quite a while," Sora admitted, modestly.
"Aaaand I think it's about time to quiet a few worries here," Miyako added, still looking quite smug. "I know Takeru in particular has been suffering some anxiety over the location business. However, since this little expedition has Mimi's approval, we've already got permission to grant a few former mortals entrance into our happy little realm."
Yamato felt his jaw drop at that.
"But…" Takeru exchanged a quick glance with Iori. "We can't - "
"Whenever you feel like re-joining us, of course," Sora added, interrupting him. "We'll be happy to welcome you all back. Mimi especially - she's probably dying for a report on all of this by now."
Daisuke let out a whoop. "All right! Did you hear that, Ken?" He threw his arms around the taller boy, who still looked somewhat overwhelmed by the whole business. "You can finish up all your mortal stuff, and then we can go home! What'd I tell you, huh, Takeru? They're never going to let us go!"
Yamato glanced over. His brother looked absolutely stunned - and the mortal sitting beside him wore an expression remarkably like Ken's. He had to smile at that.
Guess Sora really did know what she was doing…
Miyako cleared her throat. "Looks like the milkshakes are coming," she pointed out.
"Perfect timing." Sora looked thoroughly pleased with herself, watching as the server set the tray down on their table. "I'm sure we all have time for one of these before we leave Yamato and Jyou alone for their first date." She lifted a vanilla milkshake off the tray.
Yamato glanced sideways at Jyou, and found the taller immortal studying him in turn. Mimi's chief administrator still had the remnants of a flush on his cheeks, just beneath the bottom edge of his glasses. My soulmate, huh? He could definitely do worse…
"Well, everyone…" Taichi had hooked one arm around a dazed but happy-looking Koushiro's shoulders, and used the other to raise his glass in a mock toast. "Here's to a pair of devious females, and a very happy ending."
There wasn't anyone at the table who couldn't drink to that.