"This is totally not my fault," Daisuke asserted, face set stubbornly. His brown eyes met Miyako's squarely and without the sort of eager-to-please-fall-all-over-himself nervousness they'd always held when he'd been in love with Hikari.
No wonder she'd missed this.
Miyako sighed. "Like it matters now," she reminded him, and gave his clothing a tug. "Come on, let's get off the floor. People are trying to dance." She paused, and then added, "People with dates who they actually want to dance with."
"You want to dance with me, don't you? Hey!" Daisuke stumbled a bit as she grabbed his wrist and kept going without stopping to answer him. "Aw, c'mon, Miyako, don't be like that!"
"Oh, be quiet, Daisuke." She gave him an irritated glance - one more born of her confusion than anything else. Ten minutes ago, she could've sworn she loved only Koushiro and that Daisuke never would've turned from Hikari. And now...
Now she didn't know what.
"Okay, okay, just don't yank my arm out of the socket, all right?" He quickly squirmed around a few people to keep up. "Whatever I did, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. I mean, I never meant for anything to turn out like this. I really just didn't know."
Miyako came to a sudden halt, nearly causing Daisuke to run into her, and turned. The eyes that met hers were both sincere and serious, darkened by the dim lights to a brown that bordered on black but didn't quite make it. A familiar something stirred in her stomach - a feeling she'd had a few times but without satisfactory return.
Oh, for crying out loud... I really don't know what's going on in my head any more, do I?
"It's not your fault." That almost made her laugh - she'd been so convinced it was Daisuke's fault in the beginning, and now here she was telling him it wasn't. And believing it. "At least, not totally."
Okay, maybe she hadn't completely forgiven him. Yet.
"Yeah, well..." He squirmed, and met her gaze with uncharacteristic hesitance. "I did it for the right reasons. Honestly."
"Of course you did - good old Daisuke, heart always in the right place." Miyako shook her head and smiled a bit. "Don't worry about it - no one blames you." Not completely, anyway.
It had just turned into a bit of a mess, that was all.
Hikari almost wished she had the nerve to follow Iori into the men's washroom, just in case she might be able to say something that could make some kind of difference. The music had started up, and he was already out of sight in the crowd, so there was no chance of catching him before he made it there - and that was surely his destination.
People were moving around them, rushing onto the floor or dancing already, but there was still a pocket of space where they were standing. Takeru at least seemed rooted to the spot, staring after Iori in mute astonishment.
Oh, why doesn't he go after him? Hikari felt an ache of sympathy as she imagined what the youngest member of their group must be going through. She wasn't sure if suggesting that Takeru go talk to him would be best, but at least it would be something. Still...
Miyako took the initiative before she could, stepping forward and giving the blond a sharp poke. "Well?" she demanded - almost a shout, to be heard over the music.
Takeru started, and turned to blink at her. "Well... what?" Hikari almost couldn't hear the words.
"Well, aren't you going to go after him?" Miyako demanded, and crossed her arms almost imperiously. "Come on, the least you could do is talk to him. Just because you're not interested doesn't mean you can't suck it up and go say it to him in person!"
"I - I don't know!" Takeru looked more than a little overwhelmed - he held up his hands as if to ward her off. "I don't even know if I'm not interested, okay? I just found out he liked me - give me a break here! I haven't had time to think it over!"
The defensive tone caught Hikari more than anything else - this was certainly a surprise! She hadn't thought of Takeru possibly being interested in return...
Although there's no reason it's not possible. It's only a 2-year age difference.
It had just seemed... weird.
Miyako looked more than a little shell-shocked by that - as if the revelation of Daisuke's new crush hadn't already done that. "What do you mean you don't know you're not interested? Does that mean you could be?"
"I don't know!" Takeru was starting to look panicky - his eyes were a bit wild, and his voice had risen. "I need time to think about it! This came out of nowhere!"
Hikari began to feel just a little sorry for him at that point.
"Dude, you either like him or you don't." Another of Daisuke's rare pearls of wisdom. When everyone turned to look at him next, he shrugged and grinned. "Just go find him, and say whatever you feel like. It'll turn out okay, trust me."
Takeru looked doubtful. "I don't know..."
"You sound like a broken record." Miyako gave him a slightly irritated look. "I thought you liked Hikari - when did that change?"
Hikari blinked. That was news to her...
Apparently it was news to Takeru too - he gave Miyako an odd look. "I never liked Hikari - what gave you that idea?"
Miyako made a bit of a 'hmph' noise, and shrugged a bit, looking away uncomfortably. "I... Well, I wasn't exactly snooping, but I kind of... maybe... found a picture of her in your drawer."
Hikari's skin prickled a bit.
Takeru looked puzzled. "A picture of her...? I don't remember - "
Daisuke let out a sudden, loud guffaw. "If you weren't snooping, what were you doing going through his drawers, hm?"
He got a glare in return. "Nothing!"
"Oh yeah, sure it was..."
"Shut up before I shut you up, Motomiya!"
"Oh, right! Now I remember!" Takeru suddenly snapped his fingers, face brightening. "That was the picture I found in Ken's textbook!"
That got him everyone's immediate attention.
The look on Takeru's face had abruptly switched to something very close to horrified. "I mean..." He stuttered a bit, glancing from face to face. "I-I... that is... it was..."
Hikari felt her breath catch, and turned her head sharply to the boy beside her. Ken's face had gone white - his whole body was stiff, and he didn't seem to want to dare look at her. "Excuse me," he got out, much like Iori had, and then he turned and hurried away through the crowd.
Ken... Hikari's heart pounded. It couldn't be - she hadn't thought... No. No way. It's not -
"Dude, not another one!" Daisuke looked like he wasn't sure whether to be surprised or exasperrated. "Way to do it again, Takaishi - that's two of us you've chased off tonight. Ready to try for three, or are you done dropping bombshells on us?"
Takeru's head dropped; Hikari could barely see his face, but she immediately felt bad for him. It's really been an awful night for him, hasn't it? "Why don't you go talk to Iori, Takeru?" she suggested, and was a little surprised to hear the way her voice shook. Surely she wasn't that shaken up, was she?
Well, maybe a little. It really had been unexpected...
But not, a voice at the back of her head reminded her, as a warm, shivery feeling started to form in her stomach, unwelcome.
Takeru gave her a quick, startled sideways glance. "But - "
"Oh, just go already!" Miyako had apparently lost patience; she grabbed the blond by the shoulders, turned him forcefully in the direction Iori had gone, and gave him a shove for good measure. "Tell Iori we said hi," she added, in a deceptively sweet tone.
Takeru was smart enough to keep moving.
Miyako's gaze slid almost menacingly towards Hikari - causing the girl to freeze for a moment. "Now you," she said, still in that deliberate sugary voice, and smiled brightly. "Go!"
Hikari couldn't help smiling to herself as well as she turned to do just that.
"So..." Daisuke was obviously making an attempt to be casual, but it was spoiled by the way his feet shifted impatiently. He did manage a pretty sincere grin. "Are you gonna dance with me or what?"
Miyako felt that she was starting to get used to this. "I'll think about it." First things first, though. "Hikari and I ran into your sister, you know."
"Huh? Jun?" That didn't seem to register - and then... "Oh." His eyes widened a bit, and the grin faltered.
A sure sign of guilt if she'd ever seen one. Miyako narrowed her eyes, leaning forward a bit to seem more threatening. "She had some very interesting things to say. Very interesting."
Daisuke squirmed. "Oh yeah?" The words were obviously intended not to sound panicky.
"Like the fact that she's dating Taichi."
She could see him swallow. "Really? She is? Wow, now that is news to me. Definitely news to - "
Miyako cut him off. "And the fact that you asked her to do you a favor and date Jyou."
Daisuke blinked at her, and offered a weak smile. "I did?"
"Answer me this, Motomiya." Miyako thrust a finger directly in front of her helpless victim's nose. "Did you or did you not set Koushiro up with Mimi just to sabatoge my plan to score a date with him?"
"Um..." Daisuke seemed to lose heart then; he broke away from her gaze, staring off into the crowd somewhere. "Okay, I sorta did, but - "
"But," Miyako interrupted, jabbing him in the forehead as she did to draw his eyes back. "You decided to be incredibly selfish about it and take advantage of an old crush of Koushiro's so he'd fall in with your scheme and make the way totally clear for you. Messing up your friends in the process. Am I right?"
He was meeting her gaze, but his eyes had gotten huge and remorseful. "Yeah... I know, I'm really - "
"This," she cut in again, facing him down with one raised eyebrow, "has got to be the stupidest, most idiotic thing you've ever done." Leaning in closer - and noting the fact that he didn't back away, even though he blinked a few times in rapid succession - she added, "I love it."
And, before he could do much more than widen his eyes and gape at her, she closed what distance was left, grabbed him by the front of his shirt, and pulled him in for a kiss.
Figuring the rest of it out could wait.