Wait, What?


Part Nine


"I guess it worked out okay..." Miyako frowned a bit, then added, "It still would've been better if I'd planned it myself, of course, but it turned out all right for a situation born of almost complete chaos."

Hikari smiled. That one is best left alone. "I think it was relatively mild for our group."

"You might have something there. Still!" Miyako leaned back on the bed to rest on her elbows, eyes suddenly gazing off somewhere far away. "I got a really cute boyfriend out of it, and he's not too smart to worship the ground I walk on!" Something of a satisfied smile was settling on her face, with more than a hint of 'dreamy' to it. "There's just something about Daisuke, it's like..."

"Sincere?" Hikari supplied helpfully, when it didn't seem that the sentence was about to be finished.

"Something like that." Miyako sighed - a contented sort of sound. "I always figured I'd want to be swept off my feet with beautiful compliments, but you know, there's something really nice about someone who says exactly what's on his mind, too."

"Mm," Hikari returned, agreeably, and smiled to herself, a private sort of inner joy capturing her heart at the thought of her own recent romantic progress. Ken's smile and Ken's eyes and Ken's soft kisses, so gentle and passionate all at once...

It really was wonderful. She just couldn't stop feeling happy. In fact, it seemed that she had never been this happy before in her life. There was something utterly fulfilling about the situation that filled her heart and made her think the worst kind of sappy thoughts. Not that she minded those.

"It's just those two!" Miyako said suddenly, in an exasperrated tone, jolting the moment out of its tracelike state. Hikari glanced at her friend, and saw a familiar petulant expression. "They should be smacked or something - maybe that'd knock some sense into them."

No question who she was talking about. Hikari had been briefed on the situation already, during a short, private conversation with Takeru himself. "It's what they feel is best for them," she pointed out, hoping to mollify her friend.

Truthfully, she wasn't sure herself... but Takeru seemed resolved, so she would put her support behind him.

"It's just so... so stupid!" Miyako blurted out, and slid her arms out so that she was lying on her back. "Why can't they just be like us and work things out so that they're happy in love and everything's wonderful?"

Hikari smiled again, a small one this time. "Not everything works like that, I guess."

Miyako's answering huff of a breath was an annoyed one. "Well, it should."

Maybe. But then again... *Maybe this is more of a special case.*




Takeru's voice trailed off after that one syllable, leaving Iori to fill in the blank before the moment got too awkward. "So," he agreed, pulling up his legs to sit cross-legged on the bench just outside the dance hall. It was a beautiful night, crisp and clear and just bright enough to see other people.

One of those nights made for romance. Which made Iori thankful they hadn't run into random couples making out just outside the building. I guess they're waiting for later.

Takeru cleared his throat uncomfortably when nothing further was offered by way of conversation. "I'm sorry, Iori - I don't know what I'm supposed to say now," he admitted, and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

At least he's honest. Iori wasn't at all sure what either of them were going to say at this point, himself. He hadn't actually been expecting to be given even this slight chance, and it was more difficult than usual to push back the hope that rose up at the back of his throat, threatening to take over his heart completely. He swallowed, and ventured, "I can't help you. This isn't what I'd been anticipating."

"Oh man..." Takeru slouched back against the bench, staring almost deliberately out into the darkness, as if meeting Iori's gaze would just be too awkward, and let out a long breath. "Me neither. I'm so confused - you have no idea. I mean - I like you. Seriously. I just don't know if it's really only a 'friends' like or - yeah. Well."

'Yeah. Well.' That summed it up pretty good. Iori had to swallow again around another painful lump. This is becoming way too complicated. "Perhaps it's best to leave things as they are." As disappointing as that felt... "No sense in making things difficult."

"I guess... maybe." Takeru sounded doubtful; he did glance at Iori for a moment then, blue eyes full of sincerity. There was something about that look - that was the reason Iori had fallen for him in the first place, although the fact that he was tall, blond, and more than a little handsome hadn't hurt much either. But the kindness and the honesty and that sense of the truly genuine that hung about him...

It was irresistable. And it made Iori's heart hurt to see it now. He turned away, unable to properly focus without his eyes starting to blur. "Well, that's it, then - it's good that we talked it out like that." The end. Case closed - no more dreaming. This had to be the closure he was looking for.

"That's it..." Takeru echoed, sounding even more bemused. As Iori risked a glance, he saw the older boy's mouth curve into a sudden frown. His brow furrowed as if he were puzzled by something. "No. No, wait - that can't be it."

So now they were dragging out the inevitable, were they? Iori mentally sighed. "It can't?" he prompted, resigning himself.

"No." Takeru was shaking his head - when he finished with that, he actually did meet Iori's eyes, something of a desperation in his own. "No. That wouldn't work. I mean, maybe it's selfish or something, or maybe I just can't let go of an idea once it's in my head... Anyway." He shrugged, as if trying to knock loose the faint bewilderment that still hovered over him. "Let's not just go back to being friends, okay?"

Iori was too busy being surprised to answer that properly. "I - "

"I mean, no reason to give it up without at least trying, right?" Takeru was now studying him earnestly, obviously waiting for a reaction. "What do you say? We could just... see how things go? Then we can talk about it after that."

Iori felt his eyes widen. The sudden spark of excitement that stirred up at the pit of his stomach felt impossible to squish. "Try it for a while? You mean - ?" He bit his lip, feeling as if he'd said to much. Surely he couldn't dare to hope... but Takeru had said it, and what else could he be implying?

"I mean, well..." Takeru shrugged again, a bit awkward, and smiled - a warm, sincere sort of smile despite the tension in the moment. He reached out hesitantly to pick up the closest of Iori's hands, which prickled at the contact, and held it lightly in his own. "Try it. This. Us. You know?"

Every single one of his nerves seemed to be tingling; Iori found it difficult to focus on his surroundings, although the image of Takeru in front of him looked clear and unshaken. It had to be a dream - his imagination - his hope playing tricks on him, summoning up some kind of hallucination... He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came.

He wants to try it. Try it. Try being with me. Him with me. The two of us.

It felt so unbelievable.

"If things don't work out, then..." Takeru looked a bit guilty at that, but he didn't turn his eyes away. "I guess we'll deal with it then. I'm not going to lie to you, Iori - I really don't know what's going to happen. But if this does work... if something comes of it..." The smile returned, warmer than ever. "It could be a chance at something amazing. I just feel like I can't miss out on even the possibility of that."

Iori's head was reeling - he couldn't even stop the happiness from rising any more, as tempered as it was with uncertainty. It might not work, but we can give it a chance. It might. And I get to - I get to be with -  "Takeru..."

"So, what do you say?" The older boy leaned forward, his eyes somehow bright and eager. "Are you okay with it?"

There was only one possible answer. And Iori felt the smile building bursting free before he even opened his mouth to give it.



"Arrrrgh." Miyako raised her arms to bury her fingers in her hair, looking thoroughly disgruntled. "Those two are so slow! Why can't they just admit they love each other and be ridiculously happy? What's with this 'we'll try it and see if it works out' business? It's like they think a relationship is a new car they're thinking about buying!"

Hikari couldn't help an amused smile at that. "It does almost seem that way, doesn't it?" She didn't exactly approve - there was a lot of potential for disaster - but something about the way Takeru had explained it to her calmed her fears. His expression had been optimistic.

And you had to admit, Iori had never seemed happier.

"Stupid men. What do they know?" Miyako let her arms flop down again, and then snorted, dismissing the topic, and raised herself up again. "Oh, I finally got hold of Mimi, by the way."

"Really?" Hikari had been trying, herself, since the dance. Somehow now that she was - fully and completely - immersed in romance, the question of love for her friends had seemed more important. "Where was she yesterday?"

"She wouldn't say. But I think I can guess." Miyako rolled her eyes upward in a completely good-natured way. "At least if I couldn't have Koushiro, he ended up with someone who had enough good sense to snatch him up when given the chance."

That was about as close to conceding as she was likely to get, too. Hikari smiled again. "That's good to hear."

Daisuke and Miyako... Taichi and Jun... Koushiro and Mimi... Takeru and Iori (sort of)... and then herself and Ken. It wasn't what she would have imagined before all of this started (or even while it was happening), but somehow... Hikari felt good inside.

Somehow it just seemed to have worked out perfect.



The End