Me: First and foremost... I'd like to apologize to every single person who's read or been reading this sorry excuse for a fan fiction...

CP::reads off list:: Scheree, Kiina, LuxLucisAnima, SilveryKitsune, Rumi-Chan, russel, Arashi Doragon, Hades of Hades, Whitedog (now Whitedog2), Hioki, Ms Hobgoblin and Wildfox to name to those that left reviews at any point.

Me: Thank you CP... as I said, I'd like to apologize... FOR TAKING SO BLOODY LONG. ::breaks down and cries:: I'm sorry, I was supposed to have finished this thing over the summer, and here it's almost the end of the first quarter and I finally finish. I've dragged this god forsaken piece on for seven months! counting since my beginning of Ch. 1 in March and I finally have to finish it. ::sniffles:: I did a pretty crappy job of ending it too, so sorry.

Brigs::uneasy:: Umm... warnings and disclaimers same as all previous chapters.

Tala: Song is 'My December' un-mixed version and is copyright to Linkin Park.

Me::still very emotional:: Okay, for anyone who might possibly still be holding hope that this story will be completed, here ya go ::hands final chapter::

- 0 -

My December, Chapter Four

By Angevar

(Sunday, September 05, 2004)

Snow fell gently to the ground, tiny crystalline flakes clustering on fence rails and tree branches, dazzling and sparkly white, tinted slightly indigo in the pale, pre-dawn light.

-This is my december

This is my time of the year

This is my december

This all so clear-

Takao Kinomiya crept silently down the stairs from his room, it wasn't something he had to think about (having been raised in a dojo and all) but he didn't want to wake anyone. If they woke up, they'd try and get him to eat, or rest, or have fun... he'd much rather they just stayed asleep for now.

He got to the front door, slipped into his shoes and jacket and exited the dojo, coming out into the strange, anti-twilight of the early morning; when the sky is a shade of washed out indigo just starting to turn pinkish yellow towards the east.

It was 5:42 am, Dec 21st, three days till Christmas.

Takao sighed and gazed up at the softly clouded sky, it wasn't snowing right now, but the clouds had that odd, heavy look that signifies them to be heavy with frozen ice crystals. It would probably start snowing lightly again sometime later today.

Takao stuck his hands in his jacket pockets, more out of habit than any discomfort brought on by the cold, and started walking.

He didn't really know what he was doing, walking around Bakuten at quarter to six in the morning, he had woken up a while earlier and had jus felt that he should go outside. So he had put on a pair of long pants, a warm shirt and a pair of socks before going downstairs. It was like this a lot more often recently, some part of him just felt like going outside, and so he went, not bothering to question himself and knowing that he couldn't find an answer.

It was very early for anyone to even be awake this time of year, maybe that had something to do with wanting to go outside. Takao knew that he used to love being around people, but now... now they were just... people; nothing special. And they always tried to make him feel better... sometimes they did, but most times they didn't. These days Takao preferred to avoid people, the only thing he really enjoyed to any extent at all was going out, just wandering around, letting his mind drift in a kind of limbo, similar to how he was when he lay awake at night, only different.

Alone, strange to think that one of the most sociable of people could prefer the peaceful solitude offered by a blank emptiness than be in the company of those he had once considered friends.

Takao's deep, mesmerizing blue eyes closed sadly as he started down the sidewalk. Of course, they hadn't done anything at all to make them any less friends than they had been, it was just that he treated almost everyone like strangers now...

As Takao walked aimlessly, his thoughts wandered; his brain trusting his feet not to trip up. He thought about a lot of things, how pretty the snow from last night was before being broken. How it was like a giant, never ending silk carpet, draped elegantly over anything and everything, but still showing what was beneath.

'I wish we could be like that...' he thought absent-mindedly, 'Just throw something over us to hide the ragged edges... but you still know what's beneath if you know where to look...'

'But people are not as simple as snow' his reason replied.

"No..." a soft cloud formed as he breathed the word out "We're not..."

A single, tiny snowflake fell, floating slowly down from the clouds above to land on Takao's gloved hand. He brought his hand up and casually observed the small white speck. People said that each and every individual snowflake was different from every other one ever formed in all of history. Each had its own unique shape of hexagonal spikes that grew to form a miniscule crystalline network.

But that something so small and delicate could be crushed and melted by even a breath of slightly warmer air...

-This is my december

This is my snow covered hole

This is my december

This is me alone-

When you were alone, you couldn't hurt anyone...

And... no-one could hurt you...

Takao continued walking, feet slow and almost dragging in the packed snow of the sidewalk, untouched, uncaring any more of what the world around him even was...

- 0 -

Kai stepped out the door of his mansion and looked up at the sky. It was covered in heavy, dark grey clouds, like thunderheads, only less menacing. An occasional snowflake fell here and there, adding to the expanse left the night before, but not visibly. Kai walked towards and out of the gate and kept going on the sidewalk.

At the end of the street was an old sakura tree, wind bent and gnarled looking, with tiny drifts of snow on top of each winter-barren branch. Kai paused and looked at it for a moment, wondering why he'd never noticed it before. The branches seemed to reach up towards the sky, like long, delicate fingers reaching towards something far too long denied.

He shook his head, clearing it of thoughts. He wasn't out here to think about snow, he was out here for another reason.

'But...' he thought to himself, 'What if... I can't help?'

'Then so be it,' a part of him replied coldly. 'It is not your concern anyways, why do you bother with it?'

'Because...' Kai walked on, passing beneath the old sakura tree, feet leaving sharp indentations in the snow on the sidewalk.

'Because what?'

'Because... it's my fault.'

-And I...

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed.

And I...

Take back all the things I said to make you feel like that-

"It's my fault... and I'm the one who needs to fix it." he spoke the last sentence out loud, as if to reassure himself of its validity. His breath misted before him, becoming a tiny cloud of crystallized water, twisting around itself in the light breeze caused by his movement. He kept going forward, still trying to convince himself of his reasons.

'If it is your fault... why didn't you fix it sooner?'

Kai didn't have an answer for that... he hadn't cared about it.

He thought about why he hadn't cared, and began to feel a strange constriction around his chest, a mixture of anger, disgust worry and ...fear.

The former two were both almost certainly directed at himself. Anger for what he'd put others and himself through; disgust for his stubbornness in not seeing it; worry that he might not be able to mend the damage done and... fear... of what might be if he couldn't.

God how he wished he could be sure that he could fix things!

-And I...

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed.

And I...

Take back all the things I said to you-

- 0 -

It took Kai Hiwatari ten minutes to reach the Kinomiya dojo, it took him less than ten seconds to ring the doorbell and it took about forty-five seconds for Max Mizuhara to answer.

"Is he here?" Kai asked quietly. Max's eyes opened in surprise at seeing the Hiwatari heir in the doorway, but he was even more surprised at the soft, almost apologetic tone of voice he used in that question.

"No..." Kai looked past Max to see Rei walk up behind the younger blonde.


"He's not here Hiwatari," Rei stated coldly, still feeling an intense antipathy for his former team captain. The only reason he was keeping himself civil was the small, broken shard of hope that the crimson eyed Russian held for his friend. "He's not in his room, I haven't seen him since last night when I came back."

Kai felt the sharp antipathy in Rei's voice and lowered his head towards the Chinese man as a kind of unconscious apology. "Do you know where he might be?"

"No," Rei responded. "But he won't be around people..."

Kai closed his eyes softly and turned to leave. He got almost to the sidewalk before Rei called after him.

"He saw you last night... at the park." Kai turned around to stare at the raven haired Chinese man.

Rei stepped towards him, leaving Max standing in the doorway. "He saw you... he said you looked different..." Kai continued staring at him. "It was the most he's said in two weeks, Kai. Maybe you should look for him there."

Kai nodded slightly and exited the grounds, leaving Rei standing halfway between the door and the gate, as lonely snowflakes fell to the ground.

"I think he'll be there," Max said, causing Rei to turn and look at him. "If he's to be found anywhere right now, he'll be there." He walked up and hugged Rei, inclining his head to look at the older former member of the BladeBreakers team.

"I think so too Maxie, but... I just don't know if Kai will really help, even if he wants to."

Max smiled up at Rei, "He will... I know it."

Rei smiled down at his boyfriend and they walked back into the dojo.

- 0 -

-And I'd...

Give it all away

Just to have somewhere to go to

Give it all away

To have someone to come home to-

- 0 -

Takao looked down at the surface of the water, melancholy sapphire eyes reflecting the cold, evenly black water. It was snowing more now, and as each snowflake landed o the surface, it lasted a few seconds before melting into the icy water.

Takao wondered how cold the water would have to be for the snowflakes not to melt. It would have to be as cold or colder.

...but then it would be frozen solid, and the snowflakes would just pile up on top.

A slight breeze passed, making the snow dance in small flurries, twirling around in circles and spirals like miniature tornadoes.

He smiled softly, no matter what, he still loved coming outside, being away from people.

Being around people just hurt too much now.

-This is my december

These are my snow-covered trees

This is me pretending

This is all I need-

He sat there, on the railing of the bridge, lightly clad legs hanging over the cold, black surface of the fish pond. His eyes stared vacantly off into space, snowflakes landing lightly on unmoving eyelashes.

How simple life would be if people could just stop being people.

He sighed, people were always people. No matter how much they tried to change, they'd always be people. And people had a strange quality of destroying themselves and those around them. That's what Takao didn't like about them, they made their own worlds fall apart, and then blamed it on other things. They tried to fix things when they were the ones who broke them.

He closed his eyes softly, dark lashes intermeshing over sapphire eyes, and stood up on the narrow surface atop the railing.

'How simple it could be...' he thought to himself.

He dropped down onto the bridge again, but found he didn't want to leave. And so, he sat down, back resting against one of the railing supports, eyes closed, allowing the growing downfall of snow drift over him in the early morning light.

- 0 -

Kai wanted to hurry, but was afraid of what he'd find if he did. He didn't want to not be able to do anything, didn't want to be wrong about something...

-And I...

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed-

He wanted desperately to know he wasn't too late to fix things, but he kept on feeling like he already was...

-And I...

Take back all the things I said to make you feel like that -

He wanted to know he was capable of bringing things back to something resembling the way they had been before he had lashed out the way he had...

-And I...

Just wish that I didn't feel like there was something I missed -

But he could not shake the feeling that things were long since past fixing. He could not help but fear he had broken Takao beyond repair...

-And I...

Take back all the things I said to you-

- 0 -

-And I'd...-

Takao sat silently on the bridge, in almost exactly the same spot as when he had last spoken a single word to Kai Hiwatari. The snow was now almost piled an even two inches over him, except his face as it was tilted forwards slightly.

The snow had been falling thicker for some time. He opened his eyes the barest slit and guessed that the roads would be covered by noon if it kept up. Mid afternoon and it would be difficult to drive, evening and the town would be snowed in.

He blinked once, shedding a few stray crystals from his eyelashes.

It was so cold out... he wanted to feel warm again.

He closed his eyes tightly as a brief trickle of hot moisture escaped his eyes.

-Give it all away

Just to have somewhere to go to-

God, how he wished he felt like he belonged somewhere! For a long time now, Takao had felt a sense of disconnectedness towards other people, as if they were all part of their own, special world and he was the stranger in the cold, looking in.

They welcomed him in, but he could not join them. There was just something that kept him out in the cold.

But god how he wanted to be on the inside again. He had been once, before Kai had dragged him away...

And now... he had been dragged outside, and could not find the door back in.

-Give it all away-

Takao curled up tighter, bringing his body into a cold, shivering ball, just wishing that things could be different, but not knowing how.

-To have someone to come home to-

- 0 -

Kai passed under a tree in the park near Takao's house. It had taken him a while to get here, but neither he nor his feet had felt any want to hurry. And even now, when he knew himself to be so close to the spot where he knew he would find Takao if he was anywhere in this universe to be found... he stopped.

He was afraid... of what he might find if he allowed his feet to continue walking.

It had been such a long time since he had really allowed himself to feel, allowed himself to live... he simply did not know what to do anymore, if he ever had.

'Just what am I doing?' he asked himself. 'Just why am I feeling so helpless right now?'

He did not find an answer for himself, but his feet moved of their own accord.

This is my december

This is my time of the year-

Kai paused, and stared ahead of him. On the bridge, leaning against one of the railing posts, was a figure, seated on the ground, almost completely covered by snow...

He had never seen a single sight in his entire life that struck him the way that did. Maybe it was that he knew on some basic level that it was or had to be Takao, maybe it was something else. In any case, any and all uncertainties he had had... were somehow no longer there.

He walked along the snow covered path, allowing his feet to guide themselves. He stepped lightly onto the bridge and approached the hunched figure that he knew to be Takao. Slowly, without any sounds or unnecessary noises, he removed his own jacket and, brushing excess snow from Takao's shoulders, placed it over and around the younger man.

And Takao opened his eyes and looked at him.

-This is my december-

Takao blinked large, perfectly stormy blue eyes in wonder as Kai settled himself next to him, leaning back against the cold, snow covered railings of the bridge, eyes closed. Takao noticed that he was only wearing a grey, long sleeved t-shirt that looked far too thin for the weather and then noticed something else...

Kai had placed his own jacket around Takao's shoulders.

And Kai was shivering.

And then... something in Takao that had been out of place for a long time was suddenly snapped back into place. It's hard to explain, or even to know just why that small realization had the effect that thousands and thousands of words of comfort and encouragement had failed to achieve, but Takao forgot even how he had felt before that moment.

He had been a stranger looking in, but now there was company out in the cold.

And he didn't feel so alone now.

-This all so clear-

Takao, without even thinking about it, pulled the jacket off his shoulders and reached over, settling it again around Kai. His former team captain glanced up at him...

And their eyes met.

Not for very long, maybe a second, maybe less. But in whatever amount of time passed when they looked at each other, an eon of understanding was passed between them. Takao got up, rising stiffly to his feet and tucking one arm in whilst offering the other to assist Kai. The Hiwatari heir rose, resettling the jacket round his shoulders and cast his eyes downward slightly.

"I'm sorry... Takao."

A soft smile, the first in a long time on a face that had grown unused to smiling..

"Don't be."

Mutual nods of understanding, and Kai wrapped his arms around Takao as he noticed the cold was getting to the younger man, being dressed much more lightly than Kai himself.

"I think Rei was worried about you..." Kai said as they started walking back towards the Kinomiya dojo.

"He was..." Takao replied, enjoying the feeling of closeness with Kai. "He was the one who made you come find me right?"

Kai nodded.

Takao didn't say anything more, he didn't feel like he needed to, and Kai didn't either. So they walked, in a comfortable silence, letting their feet take them home.

- 0 -

Me: Yup, that's all folks.

Brigs: You were right, lame ending.

Me::bops him with coffee pot of doom:: I'd like to see you do any better.

Brigs: I'm sorry, it just doesn't feel very... tyka-ending-ish...

Me: -; I finally finish it and you complain?

Tala: Well... it was kinda...

Me::glares at him:: Not you too! CP! Back me up here!

CP: It sucked!

Me::growls:: Okay, fine then! ::starts typing again::

All: ...she's pissed now.

- 0 -


(Sorta... ;)

Takao sighed contentedly as he leaned back against Kai as they all sat around the living room, four days after he and Kai had arrived back at the dojo. It somehow felt like much less than four days, just as all the time before then had left like so much longer.

"You okay, Ta-kun?" Kai tilted his head around from talking with Max as the blonde began the serious task of deciding which of the multitude of paper-wrapped boxes under the ornamental pine tree to distribute first.

"Yeah, I'm fine Kai," Takao replied, smiling up at the ruby eyed man. "You don't have to worry so much anymore."

Kai smiled down at him and hugged him briefly.

Rei, sitting on the other side of the room, was privately amazed at the changes that had overcome both of them since they had come back to the dojo that morning less than a week ago. True, he didn't think Takao would ever be quite as open as he had been before, but he was almost back to normal, albeit, a good deal quieter, and his smiles seemed much softer than before. And Kai...

Kai was hardly even the person he had been before. He wasn't exactly sociable, but if anything, he was open, and softer with other than he had been before, especially Takao. Come to think of it, Rei thought, he barely ever even lets Takao out of his sight, and Takao seems under no inclination to wander away.

Rei smiled to himself and watched as Max picked a box from the fair sized pile and presented it with much ado to Kenny, who was sitting in an armchair with Dizzi open in his lap. To see Takao smile so freely at something so simple...

Kai glanced across to Rei, and noted the raven-haired Chinese teen's look of contentment. He smiled to himself and hugged Takao closer again as said teen laughed at the fuss Max was making in presenting Kenny with the gift-wrapped parcel.

Kenny finally threw up his hands and snatched the decorated box, yanking the wrapping paper off and promptly whopping with delight at the packet of new software he'd received. Max grinned cheekily before selecting another box from the pile and shoving it into Takao's hands.

"Open it!" Max urged, cerulean eyes dancing. "I know you'll like it. Trust me."

Takao grinned at his friend and made a great show of pulling off the wrapping paper to reveal a fairly plain looking white box, about six inches long or so.

"Open the box," Max prompted, fidgeting and obviously waiting to see Takao's reaction.

Takao did so, and smiled brightly at Max. "Man, you knew I liked it, but you didn't have to buy it for me!"

Max shrugged. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"You liked what?" Kai craned his neck to see what Takao was holding... and a pair of tiny, garnet eyes glared back up at him. He had to laugh lightly as Takao passed the figurine over to him.

"Max and I saw it in a shop a while ago..." Takao said, grinning as Kai looked it over. "I shoulda known he bought it."

Kai held the pewter figure at arms length and smirked. "Not bad," he appraised, looking down at Takao "Pretty decent knock off of the real thing."

Takao grinned back and snatched the statue away. "Yeah, I think I wanna get a little scarf for it."


"You know... a scarf. Like that one you're always wearing."

"Why you..."

Max, Rei and Kenny laughed as Kai and Takao argued amiably about the statue's resemblance to Kai.

Takao turned to mock-glare at them, "What's so funny?"

"Nothing," Kenny replied truthfully. "It's just good to see you acting like yourself again."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Takao asked.

"Ignore him, Taka-kun," Kai said, Takao pouted.

"But that's no fun!"

"How 'bout stealing their presents?"

"That, on the other hand is fun."


Kai smirked, and watched as Takao grabbed three or four of the various presents and led Max, Rei and Kenny on a chase around and under the various pieces of furniture. Sometimes, he reflected, life does let you have happy endings.

- 0 -

Me::victory smirk:: Happy now?

Brigs: - I likes!

Tala: ¬¬ You're a sucker for fluff aren't you?

Brigs: ; Guilty.

CP::to readers:: Review, and please be gentle...

Me::huggles pillow:: Reviewers will receive... huggling pillows. :huggles pillow again:

Brigs: Until next update of any sort (which may not be for a ridiculously long while), Ja minna!