Decided to write a New Years one-shot, since Game of Thrones took the spot for my Christmas related upload this year. Anyways, it feels glad to be back on American soil. Just got back from Canada, where I spend most of my holidays.

Quote of the Day:

"There was once a man who was frightened by his own shadow and scared of his own footprints, so he tried to escape them by running away." - Zhuangzi

Hiding a shiver as the cold breeze of Odaiba at nearly midnight washed over him, Yamato wasn't quite sure if the cigarette that he was smoking was actually worth it. Although he liked to think of it as sort of a romantic image, he could see how one might find the sight of him shivering while standing outside in the middle of the night as sort of depressing, or however it was that his little brother Takeru had put it. It was New Years Eve, he was nearly thirty and still smoking the same brand of cigarettes he was at seventeen, and he was sure that Mimi had some objection to him skimping out on part of her party to go have a smoke. Even so, Yamato figured that maybe some sore joints and cold bones were a fair trade for even just a moment of contemplation. As often was the case for him, there were too many thoughts on his mind.

"You know that you don't have to convince us that you're cool anymore, eh, Yamato?" A familiar voice came from behind him, along with the sound of Mimi's front door closing.

Not yet looking over at Taichi, Yamato figured that the other man would come and find him sooner rather than later, especially after the stunt he had pulled earlier that night after dinner. For a moment he couldn't help but wonder if he was the only one who saw how full of shit Taichi was. It passed after a minute though, Yamato unsure about whether or not to be happy for his two old friends.

As Taichi went to stand beside him, Yamato remained unsure of what to think of how the night had turned out so far. Sure, it was always nice to see his friends and his family around the holidays, the Chosen Children having long since had the reputation of taking any opportunity to celebrate, but tonight was different. Yes, the night had the usual moments of Miyako announcing her newest pregnancy, Koushiro babbling on about this or that scientific breakthrough, or his little brother Takeru dedicating yet another one of his books to Hikari, but tonight had changed him, even if no one other than Taichi had even noticed. He could never forget what Taichi had done. He could never forget the look on Meiko's face.

"Do you love her?" Yamato asked more to himself than to the man beside him, nonetheless glancing over at Taichi, even though he didn't exactly expect an answer.

Looking away from Yamato, it took a long time for Taichi to respond, "It's a different kind of love."

Nodding, Yamato remained silent, processing the answer in his mind. He didn't have to ask anything else to understand what Taichi actually meant. Taichi's relationship with Meiko and his upcoming marriage to her, was a different kind of love than the indescribable passion and quiet tenderness that the two men currently standing together outside in the cold Japanese night had once (and sometimes still) had for one another.

Meiko's love was security. Meiko's love was never having to bring shame upon his family, or having to look his father in the eyes to tell him who he really was. Meiko's love was finding a place in the world to fit, with a wife and kids and the chance to maybe tuck away all the parts of his life that didn't exactly meld with who society wanted him to be. What probably stung the most however was the fact that Meiko's love was Taichi's choice to spend his life with a woman who, even if he didn't love her back in the same way, was a woman he would have an eternal fondness for.

Dropping his finished cigarette, Yamato dug through his jacket pocket for his always trusty pack of death sticks. Pulling one out for himself, he offered one for Taichi, who, as Yamato had expected he would be, was reluctant to accept it. Regardless, Yamato knew that Taichi would take the damn thing, if for nothing else than old times' sake.

"You know that I don't smoke," Taichi said, grabbing a cigarette anyways.

"Tis the season, eh?" Yamato replied, lighting his cigarette as he tried to ignore the cold air of the Japanese night.

When Yamato offered over his lighter, Taichi ignored it, having never used one even the few moments of his life that he did smoke. "We need to go on another vacation together, just the two of us."

When Yamato didn't respond, Taichi continued on, "The weekend we spent in Shimane is one of my favorite memories."

Although the night was mostly an odd form of elegiac nostalgia for him, Yamato couldn't help but crack a smile at the memory. It was the weekend before they started college, so long ago that Yamato was surprised that Taichi still remembered after all this time. His grandparents were on a cruise, and because of that Yamato had thought it would be a good idea to take his boyfriend all the way to the country and spend the weekend playing house. It was a strange idea, a strange moment in both of theirs lives, and one of the fondest memories that either of them would ever have.

Even so, Yamato's smile disappeared when he remembered the ring on Meiko's finger, and the unspoken truth that both men standing out there in the cold already knew. It was one last grasp at a life that no longer belonged to them. It was a realization that came to them in the mystical moist night air.

Leaning forward to give Taichi a light, Yamato let himself dream about another weekend in Shimane, before he simply shook his head, "We can never do that again."

Leaning forward himself, Taichi let the tip of Yamato's cigarette touch his own. They were closer than was safe for either of them as they breathed in at the same time, lighting Taichi's cigarette using the dying flame from Yamato's. The cigarette kiss was a dangerous moment for the both of them, but they would never be here again.

"I love you, Yamato," Taichi said after a moment, taking longer than he should have to pull away.

Knowing that that was the last time that he would ever hear his soulmate ever say those words to him, Yamato only nodded, "I love you too."

Happy New Years!