Currently editing/rewriting (just a bit) for the purpose of cross posting. I want to thank those who have read this story so far, and those who will perhaps some day read it. This story is the one I have kept coming back to throughout the years, and the one that serves as a reflection of my soul.

This is a character study of Yamato and Taichi plucked out from the setting they exist in, and thrown into a place where time sort of drifts like a dream. This is an exploration of family and love. For me, this was an experiment in writing a story about two soulmates in a world where soulmates don't exist.

Quote of the day:

I shrugged again, and smiled. "This is my life," I said. "It doesn't seem like the wrong one."

-Bobby Morrow, A Home at the End of the World

He flicked the butt of his cigarette down the balcony of the Yagami's apartment, and Yamato stared after it, watching as the dying flame vanished into the night. It was a sight that didn't last very long, as the cigarette's fire disappeared in the darkness of 2:00AM. Yamato searched the front pocket of his jacket for a pack of cigarettes that he had bought just three hours earlier, and he cursed, knowing that he only had two left.

The moment fit perfectly with the rest of his life.

"You shouldn't smoke so much, you know?" came a familiar voice from the darkness behind him.

Without saying a word, Yamato continued to stare out into that dark Odaiba sky, listening as the glass door behind him was shut. In his usual way he gave no response, or any indication that he had heard Taichi at all, and he just kept leaning on the balcony ledge, waiting until his old friend was by his side once again. Like so many other times in their lives, they were together on yet another dark and mystical night.

"Can't sleep?" Yamato asked, pulling out his two remaining cigarettes, one for himself and one for the young man now beside him.

As he lit his own cigarette, Yamato once again tasted the sweet nostalgia of his boyhood. Feeling content once again, he made a mental note to remind himself to buy more than one pack tomorrow. Yamato enjoyed his cigarette for a second or two, before he turned to Taichi and waited for a moment. He didn't bother trying to hide his smile as Taichi leaned forward so that he could light his own cigarette using the flame from Yamato's. It was a closeness that both of them had always been fond of.

"It's hard to sleep when my little sister is getting fucked down the hall," Taichi responded as he pulled away and frowned, partly from the thought of his sister and partly from the way that the smoke tasted in his mouth.

Yamato took a drag of his cigarette. "She snuck into mine and Takeru's room again?"

"Yeah," Taichi breathed out, as he tried unsuccessfully to blow rings of smoke, for no particular reason whatsoever.

"Then I guess that means that I have to bunk with you tonight?" Yamato laughed, taking another drag of his cigarette, "Takeru's greedy, he won't be done with your sister anytime soon."

It was a good enough excuse as any, Yamato being just as greedy when it came to Taichi and himself doing the same sort of things. He smirked, knowing the eventuality of what would happen later that night.

"How do my parents not know that they're having sex? They're not exactly discreet about it," Taichi grumbled, more than just a bit annoyed about the whole situation.

For some reason, even though Yamato knew that he should have been sympathizing with Taichi, he couldn't help but laugh again. It had been a long three years since he and Takeru had moved in with the Yagamis, a long three years since Hiroaki was murdered, and yet sometimes it felt as if the only time that had ever passed were these quiet moments together. They had spent so much time throughout their lives watching the familiar city before them, and there were times where both of them could forget what first brought them here. The Takaishis had vanished along their mother, the Ishidas refused to take them in after Hiroaki's death, but Yuuko and Susumu were there to offer them a home that neither Takeru or himself had any sort of claim to.

"Yuuko isn't as naive as you think she is," Yamato replied after a moment, eyes still remaining on the sky, "and if you didn't know, she's had talks with the two of them about being safe. Susumu has no clue because he doesn't want to have a clue. It' s best we keep it that way."

The flames from their cigarettes were starting to die down.

"They're too young for sex," Taichi muttered, still not being completely okay with the way his baby sister was living her life.

"We were too young for sex," Yamato countered, as his fingers twiddled his cigarette.

"We couldn't get pregnant."

"They're sixteen, and sixteen isn't as young as we think it is, Taichi."

Sighing, Taichi looked out into the night sky that Yamato had been so content to stare at in silence before he joined him. He wasn't sure if it was just his imagination or not, but for some odd reason that Taichi couldn't exactly place, the moon seemed rather bright to him, despite it not being full that night. Perhaps it was that past-midnight Japan air that had always been mystical to him, or perhaps it was Yamato whom Taichi had always felt had an odd sense of magic about him, but the moon was extra beautiful to him that night. It was almost as if the moon wanted him to stay there forever, something that Taichi wished he could give, especially if that meant that Yamato stayed there as well.

"I leave tomorrow," Taichi said quietly as he stared up at the moonlight, hoping that Yamato would follow him.

"Do you have to?" Yamato responded, the smell of cigarettes staining his clothes in the same way that the smell of lavender so often stained his memories.

Taichi took a puff of the cigarette Yamato had given him. It was a sour thought, knowing that it would be Yamato's last gift to him for a while at the least. "You know that I can't stay here. You know that you can't stay either."

Yamato ran a hand through his blond hair, noting that his other hand held a cigarette that was running dangerously close to reaching the end of it's life. "I can't leave Takeru."

"He has Hikari," Taichi offered, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Takeru would never feel alone again, "and Daisuke always seems to find his way around here too."

"He needs me," Yamato answered after a long moment, remembering the day that his mother had abandoned their family.

Taichi put out his cigarette, and released the last bit of smoke that his lungs were willing to filter that night. Although he hated smoking, there was always something about it that was romantic. Taichi smiled for a moment at the stars that almost seemed to dance in the darkness, before he glanced back over at Yamato. There had always been a melancholy about him, but the magic was forever there. The moon was beautiful that night, but it would never be as mystical as Yamato was.

"I need you," Taichi said as he rested a hand on Yamato's, not being able to stay in Odaiba, but at the same time not being able to see a future without him by his side.

He knew what Taichi wanted to say, he knew what Taichi couldn't say in this short and vulnerable moment in their lives, and Yamato felt the exact same way. All he had to do was say the words.

Instead, Yamato said nothing as he continued to stare out into the night.

He remained silent until Taichi finally pulled away and went back into the apartment, leaving Yamato alone with his thoughts. The night was cold and lonely, but even so there was still a dreary magic about it. His memories here were tinged with sadness, but they were also tinged with love.

He remembered the familiar smell of lavender, and wondered to himself just what else in his future would someday seem nostalgic? His cigarette was almost dead and Yamato tossed it off the balcony, letting the night of Japan consume it's flame with darkness.

The moment fit perfectly with the rest of his life.

This is the first step in a longer road. I'll see you sooner rather than later.