Memory 06 - Make a Wish
by Midori Kou
This feels uncomfortable.
To be surrounded by strangers...
To be here for a stranger...
I'm not real to them.
After all, my life is a lie.
Why are they here?
How important am I to them?
Am I forever trapped behind my own walls?
Why can't I destroy my mask? Why do I keep it?
Grabbing a black tie from the linen drawer, Takeru slipped it under his collar and wrapped it around his neck. With the common knot, he pulled the end of the tie to push up the knot close to his neck. As he gazed at the mirror, the blond was fully prepared to leave the room. Sighing, he was fixated at his reflection as it stared back at him with a smile across its face. Shaking his head, he wondered how long he would allow himself to be a carefree junior high student towards everyone else. Lies... Lies... Lies... They consumed his life for quite some time. They keep growing no matter how much he wished to erase them from his life. It's not only the facade he had created but the lies everyone else had made for him. Rumors that had became truth in one's perspective... There was plenty to go around. These people who he knew played with his identity even more so and thus the real him disappeared in the abyss of wishful thinking.
Setting aside his school attire, the Bearer of Hope took in a deep breath. He wanted to abandon his life, to destroy the Takeru Takaishi that plagued his heart. But people want him to exist, not the original Takeru. The real him slowly ebbed away from his soul and now this golden haired boy must live a life that was no longer his. Others owned his life. He was not the sole owner of his life anymore. Everyone had shaped him into the perfect being; he might just have to accept it for now.
As he reached into his folded pair of pants, he pulled out his medication and slipped them into his black slacks. He should just forget about his wants and needs. After all everyone was waiting for him. He shouldn't delay the party any further. Reaching for the doorknob, he turned it carefully as he exited his brother's room.
Stepping into the hallway, there was a loud piercing roar of screams in the apartment complex from the various girls invited, some who he had no idea of their very existence. They clustered around him with glee, asking if he had a girlfriend and telling him how handsome he was. This sort of attention wasn't the type he was hoping for, but then again, how could he escape it?
Sighing, he allowed the pack of rabid females to grab his arms and drag him away from his dark corner. Even if he refused, Takeru knew they would force to him anyway. Noticing his brother, Yamato was sitting with Ken Ichijouji, the golden haired boy glanced in their direction as a blank expression feel upon his face. It was strange. Ken hadn't been around for a while and yet, he had been approaching everyone with ease. Why couldn't he open up his emotions as easy as the raven haired boy? What clouded his judgment to not be able to? Was he so focused on keeping his facade more than exposing the truth? Was he that egotistical?
The blond bishounen realized that the Bearer of Kindness was now talking to his elder brother. For what reason, he didn't know. But something about the situation made him feel flustered. What's this odd feeling? Why do I feel offended when Ichijouji-kun is talking to someone else other than me? When he talks to me, I feel fine about it... So why? Why do I feel this way?
Takeru blinked as he snapped himself out of his thoughts. Why should he care? He should be happy that the other boy is trying to deal with his issues with everyone else's help. At least, he attempts to solve his problems unlike him. The dark haired boy wants to defeat the darkness that dwells in his heart while the blond angel falls deeper into it. He allows his problems to control his life... Control his heart of hearts.
Unconsciously gazing, the golden haired teenager's eyes drifted as he felt perplexed by the other boy's appearance. His light skin and feminine face... That slim body... Those mysterious amethyst crystal eyes... Something about them lured his mind and soul as if the raven hair boy's spirit was a siren. But why...? What about him made his stomach turn? What about him made his heart ache? He felt like his entire body was twisted into knots more and more as he continued to stare openly at him. Why did he suddenly recognize the boy's marvelous beauty? Did he feel something for this fallen angel that lives on the same Earth as him?
He hadn't thought about this until today. Strangely, it had occurred on the same day Ken had reappeared in their lives after isolating himself for days. It occurred on the same day they had first communicated to each other privately on their own. It occurred on his birthday. How ironic it was that he had experienced this on the same day of his birth. The blond teenager never knew such feelings that could overwhelm him so until now. It was strange and yet reassuring. Why though? Has God been watching him? Crying for him out of compassion...? Did He felt guilty for this lost angel wandering hopeless for his freedom?
Rubbing his temple, Takeru sighed as he tried to resist searching more into his emotions. The more he concerned himself with such matters, the more he felt his innocence gradually dying. To try to comprehend whether or not he have some intimate feelings for the Bearer of Kindness was distressing. After all, if he were to continue on that path, then it would prove that he is a sinner. To love one of the same gender... Was he capable to do such a thing? The golden haired teen shook his head in doubt. No...I can't be attracted to Ichijouji-kun. There's no way in the world I could be. We aren't even close. We aren't! So why do I feel something so strong emitting from him? How big is the gap between us? Does this gap difference even exist? What is it that disturbs me so? What is it?!
His consciousness screamed as he fell deeper into his heart. It was frustrating for him to accept such an absurd inkling. He wanted to reject its existence but it continues to envelope in his thoughts. If only he could erase any reminder of it, but it existed among him in the crowded, sweltering room. The reminder that intrigued his mind was Ken Ichijouji. As long as he was in the same room as the blond, how could he possibly forget? How could he possibly run away from it?
To run away... His soul winced. Was he such a coward to not confront his emotions? Did he want to abandon all connections to his humanity? No... He feared feeling anything. As far as he knew, when his heart grew attached to another being, he would be stricken with sadness if he were to be hurt. He was abandoned and forgotten by the ones he had cared deeply for. The golden haired angel had always believed his family would be united again, but in the end, that had no occurred. He had given up on that idea when he reached junior high. When his elder brother, Yamato had gotten strictly involved with his band, The Teenage Wolves, Takeru felt a terrible pain that ate away the love he felt. He felt as if he was thrown to the side and lost all importance to his parents and brother.
Not only that, when Hikari and Daisuke started to hang out more after the end of their relationship, he knew this was not the world for him. Family... Friends... He became a lost memory to him. Still, when he was at his worst, no one even bother coming to visit him to ask him about his condition or whether they could help in any way. No... They kept their distance. Perhaps, it was better that way. To be left alone... They can always watch him from afar, but the silence was not comforting. It cannot hold you or calm one's spirit forever. It becomes frighteningly scary to be in such isolation. Even so, the silence does not bother him with trivial discussions. It does not hurt him any way. It's just there, existing with him.
"Hey Takaishi!" A forceful tap woke him out of his trance. The Bearer of Hope blinked as he noticed Daisuke standing before him with a zestful grin.
"Oh!" was all Takeru could say at the moment. "'Sup, Daisuke-kun."
"Check you out! You're already drawing all the chicks' attention," he teased. "Aren't you some babe magnet tonight." The spiky hair teen gave a cheerful chuckle as he elbowed the blond.
"I don't do it intentionally, y'know."
"Must be something that runs in the family," Daisuke laughed.
Rubbing his head, Takeru shrugged as he played along. "Yeah, must be."
Suddenly, Hikari appeared beside the spiky hair boy as she locked her arm around his. Giggling as she leaned on him, she joined in the conversation. Her beautiful brunette hair draped over Daisuke's windbreaker like water flowing over a fall and her delicate fingers clamped over his sleeve. Their open intimacy was just another reminder what was he missing out of. "We're going to bring out the cake now!" she cheered for she had a strong love for sweets because of Daisuke making her a sugar addict.
Takeru tried to act spontaneously cheerful for what they had done for him, but his heart was not in it. Although he could appear happy all he want, he tortured him to expose his true feelings to the world. The golden hair boy had been hiding his pain and suffering for so long. It's simply amazing how long he had lasted up until now.
"Oi, Takashi! Coming or what?" Daisuke asked as he headed towards the dining area. The Bearer of Hope blinked as he nodded blankly.
"Yeah, I'm coming," he uttered in such a dull tone.
Why can't I feel happy anymore? What does it feel like? When does it occur? What makes it exist? Why do people laugh or smile? I don't remember what it was like... I don't remember it at all...!
Takeru took his place at the head of the table as everyone surrounded him. There before him was a mocha-frosted rectangular cake with sliced almonds splattered on its sides. With chocolate-tipped waffle cookies driven in its corners and coffee brown sprinkles on the edges, it was such a gorgeous birthday cake. On top were fluffy swirls of chocolate syrup and whip cream that intertwined towards center. The candles were filed in orderly fashion and last in the center said, "Happy Birthday Takeru" in his native tongue.
The boy's lips parted as he was entirely astonished by its beauty. Releasing a small laugh out of surprise, the Bearer of Hope gazed upon his friends. He didn't know what to say to them for his mixed feelings developed in his heart. Whether he could love them or not was beside the point. The point was they had gone out of their way to do this for them. Did they expect something in return? Do they want something more extravagant on their birthday? He didn't know if there was a hidden objective, but he rather not think about it. He should enjoy their presence before the day ends. He should at least appreciate it.
"Alright!" Taichi exclaimed as he raised his hand. Takeru almost forgot that the old Chosen Children were also invited to his birthday as well as Miyako and Iori.
I should thank them out of courtesy. It'll be nice to talk to them again... The blond teen nodded to himself in response to his thoughts as a tiny smile emerged over his face.
"And a-1 and a-2...!" Yamato started and in unison, everyone within the Ishida apartment room sang to the Bearer of Hope the traditional birthday song. It was heartwarming to him for some apparent reason. He had heard the song so many things, but strangely enough, this was more meaningful. Takeru didn't understand why after all that he had experienced today, but it felt wonderful.
"Make a wish, Takeru-kun!" Hikari joyfully suggested.
A wish...? What could I possibly want? What is something that I don't have that would mean the world to me? There are so many things, but I know what I really want in my life... The blond teen eyed the raven haired boy that stood beside his brother. Ken blinked as his skin crawled by the other boy's intense stare. He wanted to step back in fear and yet the angel's sapphire eyes cried out to him. They were reaching out to him and only him. As strange as it may sound, the Bearer of Kindness was too staring back unconsciously. It felt right in his heart. To be only seen by these eyes... To be only seen as the real him by these eyes... He smiled with contempt in return, which surprised Takeru mentally. Although his face did not reveal this, that boy's expression certainly caught his expression.
Shaking his head, the blond teen took a deep breath. At that moment, Takeru leaned his body over to blow out the candles. Slowly each flame was extinguished off every candle. Flickering and suddenly dying, the lights disappeared. Out of breath, he panted softly.
"What did you wish for, Takeru?" Yamato asked calmly.
"No, Yamato-san! If Takeru-kun says it out loud, then it won't come true!" Hikari blurted in rebellion. Waving his hands to calm her, he allowed his curiosity to be restricted by the chestnut haired girl.
"Hikari-chan, you certainly like to take everything to the extreme, don't you?" Daisuke pointed out.
"Only because I was influenced by you, Daisuke-kun," she accused.
Scratching his head, Daisuke looked to the side in silence and he pondered about the blame. His eyes wondered towards the floor and were focused on his shoes. When his attention returned to the Bearer of Light, a cowardly look was painted over his complexion. "Oh yeah, I did!" he admitted lightly with a chuckle afterwards.
Hikari moaned as her shoulders softened. "Oh, you're the worst, Daisuke-kun!" Pouting, her eyes gave such a stern look as her lips scrunched together. The spiky boy sighed and gave her a comforting smile.
"Gomen, gomen..." He uttered as he wrapped his arms around his angel. Kissing her temple tenderly, it made her giggle as his luscious lips brushed across her skin.
"Oh..." Hikari sighed. "But that doesn't let you off the hook for influencing me to become an extremely strict person."
"Darn!" Daisuke joked as the two laughed without care. Returning their attention to Takeru, the spiky hair boy released Hikari from his grasp. "Anyway, looks like we're not going to find out that you wished for at all, Takaishi."
"Well, if my wish is well kept, then the chances of it becoming true would be a lot higher, right?" the golden haired teenager commented.
"That's the birthday spirit!" Hikari cheered.
"Hikari-chan, you make it sound like a holiday," Daisuke added.
Shrugging, Takeru wandered to the table of presents that were spread before the sofa. As he sat down, he picked one of the gifts up and analyzed its wrapping. The entire present was glistened with metallic silver with holographic balloons and confetti and topped with a violet fabric ribbon. It wasn't that small nor was it large. On the end of the ribbon, a small card was attached to it. In the inside, it said:
I hope you have a wonderful 16th birthday. May your wishes and dreams be written upon the stars for everyone to see and for you to reach.
The blond hair boy reread the words in a daze. There was something about it that had hit the core of his soul. Before he tried to interpret the meaning behind it, Hikari and Daisuke joined him as everyone else followed. As the guests encircled the area, the Bearer of Kindness stood afar and watched the mounds of people blockading the blond teen.
"Open it!" Miyako suggested, tired of the golden hair teen being mesmerized by the gift.
"Okay, okay..." The Bearer of Hope groaned by her impatience. As he carefully tore the decorative paper off the box, the blond teen unraveled a cubic plain white box. As he opened it, Takeru pulled a glass globe-shaped paperweight. The exterior was covered with carvings of stars and whirlpools of swirls. Inside was filled with water mixed with random color tones of blue glitter and pieces of glow-in-the-dark stars.
"How pretty!" Sora admired. "Who gave that to you, Takeru-kun?"
But the Bearer of Hope did not answer for he had placed the gift aside. Silently, he grabbed the next present and repeated the same present like an automaton. As everyone continued to glare at him with concern, he finally answered as he set the gift in his hand on the table half undone. "It was Ichijouji-kun...," he simply said.
Everyone chattered by the raven haired boy's choice as a gift. Overhearing this monstrous blur of voices, Ken could only recognize his name being mentioned. The dark haired teenager was lost in the entire conversation and given up trying to follow where it lead to. The only thing he knew was that everyone else seemed to enjoy the beauty of his gift. That wasn't enough though. The glass orb was for the Bearer of Hope not for anyone else. If he did not like it, then it is worthless to him. Takeru said nothing about it nor mentioned it from that moment on.
The golden haired teen proceeded to unwrapping the rest of his birthday presents. Daisuke gave the 16-year-old a collection of poems by the boy's favorite writer, to in which surprised Takeru since Daisuke doesn't like reading Japanese literature, let alone to look at them. Miyako and Koushirou pitched in their money to buy the blond a Japanese-French-English language translator. The long hair girl threatened Takeru that he should use it well and not damage it. Of course, he had no objections against her ferocious rage. Jyou, being his precautious self, gave Takeru a first-aid kit with an army survival guide, which only cost him less than 3000 yen. Although he does not see Iori much, the youngest boy of the team managed to get the Bearer of Hope his own of kendo swords. The gentle child told Takeru that he is welcomed to learn for free from his grandfather, an offer he happily accepted.
Sora bought Takeru a black polyester trench coat for the upcoming winter season while Mimi got him the accessories that went with it, which the Bearer of Love could not afford with the amount of money she had at the time. And last, the blond teenager finally reached Yamato's present. "This is...?" he asked, hoping that his brother would fill him in on the details of the gift.
"Well, open it and find out," the older Ishida brother teased with a giddy grin. Takeru raised a brow in suspicion, hoping something terrible would not shoot out of the small, flat box. As he cleared off the wrapping, he carefully opened the case. Within it were four concert tickets and backstage passes, which were clearly labeled for the Teenage Wolves upcoming tour.
"Oh man..." his voice sounded amazed. "These are..."
"Yeah, they are. Since I'll be gone for a month or so because of this all-out Japan tour, I would not be able to spend anytime with you or be able to talk to you for that matter. By giving you these tickets and such, I'll be able to see you during the middle of the month at least when hold our concert here in Tokyo."
"Wouldn't you be able to hang out back home?" his younger brother asked.
In response, Yamato shook his head. "Sadly, no... Once the concert ends, we have only a few hours to ourselves and then we're back on the road."
Takeru was certainly depressed over the situation. He thought for sure he could stay much longer than that, but then again with stardom, there's no such thing as a personal life. He sighed gently as he nodded to his brother. "I understand... So I will see you then."
In contrast to his response to Ken's gift, Takeru had openly given his thoughts and thanks to everyone else – something the dark haired boy had yet to receive. Funny how this teenage boy could easily say whatever he wants to others and not to the Bearer of Kindness. What was it that made him different from everyone else? Why would Takeru shun him out? Did he mean less to the Angel of Hope? If only he knew the feelings and emotions had caused him to judge him this way.
"Looks like that's everyone...," said Taichi as he shut the apartment door and joined everyone at the sofa. The Chosen Children sat in all sorts of positions. From crossed-legs and sitting on the floor to reclining and slouching on a chair, they were compelled to relax after the party. The room was terribly cluttered with trash and pieces of fallen food, but they were too tired to clean it up. It just meant more chores for Yamato in the morning.
"Man, that was some party!" Daisuke remarked as he stretched his arms and laid his head on Hikari's lap. As he yawned, she softly giggled.
"Well, you kept eating all the junk food you could find, Daisuke-kun!" she tensed as she poked his cheek to show how pudgy he had gotten.
"It's not my fault the manufacturers make them taste so good." The spiky hair boy squirmed at the thought of food as he smacked his lips.
"Daisuke, the only reason they make it taste so good is to render you poor!" Ken pointed out.
"Oh, I'm so weak against temptation~!!" He dramatically swoon his head back off the brunette's legs in defeat. The others laughed by his joyful act; it was quite tasteful. As they did, Takeru was picking up all the generous presents he had received and placed them in a humongous cardboard box. He silently dragged it into the elder Ishida's room without allowing his presence to be noticed. As he did, Yamato eyed him until he returned back to the group.
"So," Yamato uttered. "How did ya like your 16th birthday, Takeru?"
"It was really something," the younger blond simply answered. "I wouldn't have thought you guys would have all out just for my birthday. It was nice for change that I didn't receive anything similar like the previous years." Releasing a light chuckle, Takeru's face scrunched up as his lips curved.
"Well, I'm glad you liked it," the older Ishida brother beamed.
"Anyway, me and Hikari should be heading home now," Taichi interrupted as he stood up. As he was cleaning his slacks off from any particles of food and such, Hikari carefully nudged Daisuke off her legs so she could get up.
"I need to as well," Iori added as he gestured.
"Well, I think everyone should be heading home now, huh?" Takeru suggested, gazing at the clock in the room. "It's really late."
The others nodded in response, picking up their belongings or any food they would like to take home. Daisuke definitely took the offer to the extreme, stashing food onto at least five large paper plates. As everyone headed out and said their goodbyes, the only people who remained in the room were Yamato, Takeru and last, Ken.
"Do you need a ride home?" The older blond asked as he prepared to get his keys.
"No, you don't need to...," the raven haired boy murmured.
Glancing at the dark hair teen, Takeru held his breath. It was already around eleven o'clock, five hours since the party had started. Although he had called his parents much earlier, he believed, with teenage gangs and active violence roaming the streets, it wouldn't be safe for anyone to walk outside. Clenching his fists, Ken should not take such a great risk at such an hour.
"Hey, Ni-san... I'll walk Ken home," the golden haired boy suggested as he grabbed the brand-new black trench coat he had received from Sora from his older sibling's room.
"You sure?" his brother inquired as he raised an eyebrow.
"Takeru, you really don't need to," the Bearer of Kindness blurted.
"You're kidding. You really haven't see Tokyo at this time of day, have you?" he questioned.
"Takeru's right. It's pretty dangerous in some areas," Yamato agreed. "Okay then, but you need to--"
"Be extra careful...," the younger Ishida completed his brother's words. "Don't worry. I will be."
"Okay, see you later," the older blond waved as the two boys exited the room and left the apartment complex.
They strolled to the train station silently. Not a single word was uttered from both of them during the whole time. The quietness certainly made Ken a tad edgy, who expected more of the situation. After all, Takeru was the one who offered to walk him home. Technically, only to the train station as far as the raven hair boy knew. Whether or not he would follow him all the way home was still up to question.
The Child of Kindness twitched as the cold suddenly took its toll on him. As he rubbed his arms to warm himself up, he noticed the golden hair boy slipping off his black coat and draped it over his shoulders. Staring at him blankly, Ken stopped walking as of that moment.
"What's wrong?" Takeru wondered.
"How can you say that so loosely?" His amethyst eyes searched the concrete ground as people passed them in a rhythmic flow.
"What do you mean?" he asked, trying to draw him away from the subject.
"Tell me, Takeru. Why do you act the way you are? I know I had asked something about this earlier. You're a lot different than how you want yourself to appear to be."
The blond blinked as the other boy had certainly hit a nerve. This raven angel could see through his transparent lies and barriers he had created to defy others. Since when? Why can a stranger see him and his flaws so easily when he himself has yet to understand who he is and find meaning of his life. Is he the only one in this world who is too blind to see what he should do?
"I am different," Takeru finally admitted to him.
Ken's eyes widen by his sudden turn of heart. He usually tries to deny it so why he accepts it so easily. "Then why?"
"I think you know... Because you have probably done the same, Ken..."
"What?" He blinked, unaware what he truly meant behind it. What had he had done that could have been similar to Takeru's actions? Not only that, the blond teenage boy was addressing by his first name, which he had never often done. Just recently, he has been using it from time to time, but not often. What is he thinking right now? "What are you saying, that I have done the same...Acting differently?"
"Perhaps... You certainly act differently around me."
The Bearer of Kindness felt his fingers twitched, discovering that this pallid angel noticed his questionable actions and quirks. He let out an inaudible sigh and gazed at him cautiously. "How?"
"You cried involuntarily and uncontrollably a couple hours ago, if I'm not mistaken. You have problems and you came to me first, not Daisuke-kun. Why?"
Ken held his breath as the golden haired angel enclosed on him like a starving hawk. He had lured him into a corner where he laid trapped by his words. He questioned his unreasonable actions himself as well and still, he could not figure out why he did what he had done. "Takeru... I..."
"I came to you because Daisuke wouldn't understand," he lied. His best friend would comprehend his issues, but had forced himself to believe that he did not. The raven haired boy felt guilty on how he approached his situation, for not admitting everything right then and there to the spiky hair teenager. Even so, hearing Daisuke's advice wouldn't have meant as much for he had not experienced his level of pain.
"Why do you believe that?"
"Because you hide your feelings as much as I do!" he noted in such a strong courageous voice. The boy's teeth gritted after he released such uproar. Breathless, Ken awaited his response.
Takeru just stared at him silently in response to his accurate accusation. He was hiding away from everyone. He wanted them to ignore his problems, but also he wanted to be seen for who was. Contradicting his passionate obligation, how can he gain the appropriate attention when he is cowardly hiding away his emotions and barricading himself from others? He wants everyone to ask how he was, but rather not have them poking around more than they should. What does he truly want from the people he had lived among for so long? Does he want their company or does he want to be abandon and left alone for all eternality?
"We both hide our feelings, huh...," Takeru echoed as his cerulean eyes became distant. "You wanna know something?"
"What?" The raven hair boy asked curiously as he looked at him blankly.
"My birthday wish was to destroy the fake me living in this world, but it seems you already knew I was a lie..."
"Why are you trying to understand me, Ichijouji-kun? Why are you so bent on finding out the truth behind my mask? Why?"
"Why? I've been asking myself that all night, but I think I had figured it out. It's because you had seen me cry...You have heard me listing out my problems... I told you almost more about what's really going on in my life than anyone else. It's because of these reasons that I want to learn more about you. Who are you, Takeru Takaishi? Just who are you to me...?"
END OF CHAPTER SIX
Well, well... This got to be one of the longest chapters of this series. The more, the merrier. XD Well, the Takeru's birthday is finally almost going to end. I didn't know how long I can keep up writing about the party so I finally allowed it to end. I got to move on to more other things in this series, especially since there's going to be a huge twist. I was going to talk about Takeru's past and how come he takes anti-depressants but I think I'll cover it when I get more in depth with Takeru and Ken's relationship.
Oh and some minor notes. The description of the cake is one of many possible French cakes you can buy. They're really good! The inside is white or yellow cake with some fruit filling. If you want to know what fruit filling was in Takeru's birthday cake, it was strawberry. : P Yeah, I really think about these things too much.
Also, the scene with Yamato, Takeru and Ken... Yamato does not own a car. He owns a slick, black, sporty motorcycle. Why a motorcycle? Well, Yama-kun doesn't get many passengers. It's always him and Takeru. :p Anyhoo, read and review, everyone and thank you for all the who have followed this series so far. You know who you are. ;)