Just In | Directory | Columns | Ad Blocker | Dictionary     [ Find ]    Log In | Register

Fanfic » Anime » Digimon » By Unseen Forces font size: (+) : (-)
Author: Artisan of the Written Word
R - English - Romance/Action/Adventure - Reviews: 171 - Publish date: 02-14-01 - Updated: 07-18-01 storyid: 209419

BY UNSEEN FORCES

Surviving House Arrest

A/N: Well, sorry it took me so long. Couldn't get to a computer for a while. Well, here it is. The long awaited second chapter. I hope you're hooked to the story!

Special thanks to Kimaru again! If you are really enjoying this series or liked the last part of the How to Fly series, I hope you contact her and tell her thank you! She has been uploading fics for me because my CPU won't upload HTML anymore (don't ask me why, either. If any of you could help me figure out what the heck's wrong, I'd be grateful). She has been really nice to me! Sorry I keep having to ask you to load these, girl! I know it's a waste of time. I hope I don't have to make a habit out of this. If you want to get a hold of her, I have her listed under my favorite authors list.

DEDICATION: To those who are willing die for a friend... This is a tribute to you... I am one of these people and I am proud to admit it.

DISCLAIMER: Yeah! I own Digimon! If you want to write my name down, it's Queen Elizabeth II! (For really, really dense people, that means I don't own Digimon.)

Hey, you guys. I know there isn't much Romance at all, but there are major hints. I know I should have put this under Action/Adventure. I'll ask you this now. Should it stay Romance or should I switch it to Action/Adventure with the next fic? Vote in the reviews. If you decide not to vote, you give up your right to complain.

Okay, enough of that. Now on with the second chapter to

BY UNSEEN FORCES



By unseen forces: SURVIVING HOUSE ARREST

1

foot-in-mouth syndrome

"Tai... Wake up."

Tai slowly came out of his sleep, but did not open his eyes. He had been sleeping well.

"Tai... Please wake up."

Tai knit his eyebrows in confusion at the ever-so-soft voice. It was familiar voice, but he couldn't recall hearing it upon waking up before. Finally, he opened his eyes and gasped. Sora was looking down at him, her face mere inches from his. She had a smile on her face.

"What the -? Sora? What are you doing in my room?" he asked frantically. Sora giggled.

"You're in my room, Taichi," she said sweetly. Tai's facial expression became extremely confused as he sat up in bed. His bed sheets were hunter orange, not crimson. He began to look around and saw somewhat familiar objects. He suddenly remembered why he was there. He also remembered how he had gotten in the bed with Sora and blushed.

"I guess I am." Sora sat down beside him, still smiling. Tai leaned forward, bending at his waist, placing his forearms on the bed. Sora tucked a lock of auburn hair behind her ear.

"Thank you, Tai." He looked up at her and saw the truly grateful look on her face.

"For what?" he asked as he swung his legs out of bed. Sora bowed her head and looked at her hands.

"For saving me," she said as she pulled her head up to look at him. Tai was looking at her with a smile upon his face.

"I couldn't have just let you die, Sora. You know that as well as I do," he said softly. She sighed heavily.

"I'm glad I have you, Tai. Dunno what I'd do without you," she said while looking deep within his eyes. They seemed to sparkle in the early morning sunlight. He shrugged.

"I dunno what I'd do without you, either. I'm glad I have you, too." Sora's smile widened and she stood up, taking Tai's hand. He looked down at their hands, blushed, and looked back up at Sora's white face.

"Mom's gone to the flower shop. She's got the work schedule filled up so I won't have to work until she gets back. I fixed us breakfast," she said. Tai grinned.

"I am hungry." Sora nodded.

"I know. You always are. The only thing is that you need to learn table manners." He frowned at her as she began to drag him to the kitchen.

"What's wrong with my table manners?" Sora sighed deeply and shook her head.

"If you don't know, I guess it's hopeless. As long as we're on the subject, I'll just say that they're appalling." Tai smirked.

"And that's a bad thing?" Sora stopped and looked at him.

"If you're going to be like this for however long you're going to be here, you had better learn to get along with the hostess, understood?" Tai nodded and made a playful salute. Sora rolled her eyes and kept walking toward the table.

"How did you keep your mom from seeing me?" he asked. Sora let go of his hand and kept walking.

"I woke up before she came to my room to tell my goodbye. I got up and told her bye so she wouldn't come into my room. I have to admit I was a little startled to wake up with two arms wrapped around my waist, but I'm surprised you didn't wake up when I did." Tai blushed a deep crimson.

"You were really cold. I'm surprised..." he trailed off, but added mentally '...that you actually made it.'

"Surprised about what?" she asked innocently as they arrived in the kitchen.

"Never mind. Just random babbling from me." She smiled and stopped.

"Well, here's breakfast," she said, waving her arm in front of her as she presented his breakfast like Vanna White.

"Looks great, Sora!" he said cheerfully as he sat down. She sat next to him and grimaced as he began to dig into the eggs and bacon that was on his plate. Silence ensued for a while, but it wasn't complete because of Tai's chomping. He watched Sora pick up her fork to eat hers and laughed.

"What's so funny?" Tai rolled his eyes.

"Oh, like you need to put on more pounds," he said, still laughing. He had actually meant it in a playful way, but unfortunately, that's not how it sounded. Sora just looked at him blankly and lowered her fork, watching him scarf his down. Tai never saw the look on her face, but it may have been best that he hadn't. Somehow, she managed to watch him eat for a while, but she was desperately searching her mind for a way to break the silence and to get her mind off what he had said to her.

"Um, Tai?" she said quietly. He glanced at her without stopping his fork on its way to his mouth.

"Yeah?" he asked through a mouthful of egg. Sora grimaced again but tried to remain firm.

"What do They look like?" This time, Tai did stop.

"They?"

"The Demons. What do They look like?" Tai swallowed what was in his mouth and dropped his fork. He stared at Sora's questioning eyes and sighed.

"All you need to know is that They're dangerous." Sora's eyes narrowed dangerously.

"Tell me, Tai." He shook his head.

"No. I don't want you to worry more than you already are. Besides, I don't really believe that you need to know what They look like. Girls just don't go for that kind of thing." If possible, Sora's eyes narrowed even more.

"Fine." She got up from the table and pushed her chair in. "I hope you enjoy your breakfast, Tai-chi," she said, putting more accent on the last syllable in his name.

"Wait, Sora! Aren't you going to eat?"

"I'm not hungry!" she cried as she ran to her room. Tai followed her. He would kill himself if he let anything happen to her.

"Sora, wait up! Sora!" he called after her. Sora heard him but just didn't want to talk to him. "What did I say?" Sora kept walking. If he didn't realize what he said, then maybe he needed to start thinking before he spoke. She ran into her room and shut the door in Tai's face. He grabbed the door knob, but Sora had managed to lock it. Tai banged on the door with a mighty force.

"Go away!"

"I can't go away! I'm supposed to protect you!" he exclaimed angrily. He heard Sora let out an exasperated sigh.

"And you're supposed to hurt me in the process?" she shot back. Tai stood there, dumbfounded.

"What? What did I do to you?"

When are you going to realize I have feelings, Tai?

"If you don't know, then I guess it's hopeless," she said coldly. Tai scowled at the door. He began to reexamine what he had said that morning, and, as if a tribute to Tai's stupidity about some things, couldn't find anything wrong.

"Let me in, Sora."

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"Dammit, Sora! Let me in!"

"No," she said coldly. Tai felt his anger boil in his chest. He and Sora had never gotten into an argument like this where she completely shut him out. She usually understood that even though Tai said something didn't mean he knew what he had said. They had never had an argument where he got angry at her either. They had always settled it before either of them could get upset with the other.

"Then at least give me my damn clothes!" To his dismay, the door cracked open and a pair of his boxers came out. "All of them?" The door opened again and watched in building anger as his clothes tumbled out onto the hall floor.... piece by piece.

"Happy?" she asked sweetly. Tai just growled in frustration and anger.

"Not particularly, no. I'm going to take a shower and change. If you change your mind about hating me all of the sudden, let me know.... but I'm not going to leave you." He picked up a bunch of clothes, not really looking at them, and waited. Tai was hoping that Sora would come out and forgive him for whatever he did wrong, but it didn't look like that was going to happen. He rubbed a hand on his chin and began to walk towards Sora's bathroom. "I just wish I knew what you were so mad about." He sighed deeply, opened the bathroom door, and stepped inside. As soon as he shut the door behind him, Sora opened her own. She peered out into the hall, a small part of her expecting Tai to still be out there. Partly to her dismay of him giving up on her, she saw he was already gone.

"Dang." She stepped out of her room and into the hall, closing the door behind her. She looked down and saw all of Tai's clothes in the floor. Sorry, Tai. I just wasn't thinking. She scooped all of his clothes, went back into her room, and put them back into his bag neatly. She saw his Digivice in there, too. Pays to be prepared, I suppose. She went out of her room again and began to go toward the kitchen, but stopped by the bathroom door. She turned to it and put up her hand to knock. She could hear the water streaming out of the showerhead inside. Tai was taking a shower. She blushed furiously, thinking of what Tai was wearing now. Namely nothing. With sudden curiosity, she put her ear to the door, attempting to hear Tai if he was talking to himself. To her surprise, he was.

"....I don't know what's wrong with her." There was silence from him and then another series of words. "I wonder why she's become so sensitive all of the sudden." His voice was faint and covered by the sound of the water, but she could still hear him. Did I become sensitive? I think I've always been that way, but he's too stupid to notice. "What did I say this morning to make her mad, anyway?" Sora rolled her eyes and began to walk toward the kitchen again. Maybe she should tell him. It would be nice to hear the stupid explanation he would come up with. Probably the same one he always gave for insulting her. "Sorry. I forgot you're a GIRL." Was it that hard to remember her gender? Could he not tell the difference between girls and boys? If he couldn't, somebody needed to set him straight.

"Mr. Fujiyama gave him that talk a long time ago and he still doesn't get it," Sora told herself with a grin. She began to gather up the dishes on the table. She picked Tai's up with a frown. He had only eaten for about three or four minutes and he had eaten everything on his plate. If that wasn't grotesque, she didn't know what was. If I end up living with Tai for a long time, I might be able to face these Demons myself. She giggled and continued cleaning up breakfast, not really sparing another thought about the current "situation".

* * *

"Sora?" Tai called. "Sora?" he called again. "Aw, damn." He had forgotten his boxers. Of all things. "Sora? Could you help me out here?" He was still in the bathroom, but he still needed his boxers. "Sora!" he exclaimed, but was met with the faint sound of a TV. "Well, at least she's in there." He grabbed a towel, wrapped around his naked waist, took the clothes that he had taken with him, and walked out into the hall. He didn't see his clothes anywhere. He grunted. When I need them out, she puts them up. Gotta give her credit, though. He sighed and began toward Sora's room, wondering if she had put them back in his bag or had thrown them out the window.

I wonder what the heck I said anyway.

* * *

Sora listened for the sound of water. It had stopped.

Go apologize.

Yes, yes. That's exactly what she had planned on doing. No need in rushing her. She turned on the TV quickly to find a station that she could watch. It was a Saturday, but almost like all Saturdays, it was to be a boring one.

Stop stalling and go apologize!

Sora sighed deeply. With impeccable bad timing, Sora started for her room.

* * *

Taichi tried his best to dig through his bag and hold his towel at the same time, but some things he just wasn't coordinated for. With a glance down the hall, he closed the door and dropped his towel. He began to dig through the bag before Sora had a chance to come back. He knew she would just get mad at him again if he dumped out his clothes. He rummaged through and finally found a pair with frogs on them. "I had to bring these... what bad taste I have..." he murmured. He turned slightly toward the door and lifted his leg to put his foot in the pair of boxers when-

"Uh, Tai?" The door opened slowly.

"DON'T, SORA!" he yelled, but Sora's feminine curiosity got the best of her. She went ahead and opened the door the rest of the way, shocked at what she saw.

Tai had one leg in his boxers and one leg out. Sora began to feel the most embarrassed she had ever felt in her whole life. Tai's feeling was worse because he was the one being stared at.

"Oh my God! I'm so sorry, Tai!" Sora finally managed to put a hand over her crimson eyes, which had been locked onto Tai for at least five seconds. He gulped and hurriedly put on his boxers.

"No! It's my fault! I didn't, uh, tell you I was in here, so, uh... Can I get dressed now?" he asked, finally relieved that he had his boxers on and not so much of himself was revealed to her. With a hand still over her eyes, she nodded.

"I'll leave now," she said in a rush. She promptly turned around and shut the door behind her with a bang. Tai covered his face and felt how hot it was from blushing.

"That's one way to break the tension," he grumbled. He put on his yellow shirt and denim shorts quickly. He pulled on his socks, too. He ran a hand through his wet, tangled mop of hair and put his hand on the door. He shook his head and put it back down by his side. He gulped and said, "You can come in, now." Slowly, the door opened and Sora stepped into her room, but her head was bowed. Her auburn hair hung down in front of her face, hiding how much she was blushing. There was a very, VERY uncomfortable silence. Finally, Tai made the first move.

"Hey."

"H-H-Hey."

"So..." Sora looked up at him.

"So..."

"Sorry about that." If possible, Sora blushed deeper.

"It's okay, Tai. It's nothing I haven't seen in-in-in a science b-book." Tai gave her his famous lopsided grin.

"Mine's better than a science book." Actually realizing what he said, Tai blushed again, this time deeper than Sora, whose face had gone a few shades deeper again.

"M-M-Maybe," she stammered, bowing her head again. Tai took a step closer to her and shoved his hands into his pockets so he'd stop fidgeting.

"Did you want something?" he asked. With the force of pure will, Sora raised her head and looked him in the eye. His eyes seemed to be sparkling at her. It was captivating. She couldn't get herself to break away. "Uh... Hello?" Sora felt embarrassed all over again, but still couldn't break the eye contact. Finally, she broke the gaze, but her eyes went directly to her hands.

"I wanted to say I'm sorry." Tai smiled bashfully.

"I'm sorry, too." His smile slowly disappeared as about five seconds of uncomfortable silence took control of the conversation.

"You don't really know what you did wrong," Sora said finally, deciding that he was entitled to a reason that she had blown up in his face. Tai shrugged.

"It's always safe to apologize," he said with a grin. Sora laughed softly. Something about that sound in Tai's ears made him feel like grinning wider.

"You made that crack about my weight again." Tai's grin disappeared as if it had been slapped off. Sora's did, too.

"That was a joke, Sora."

"Never, ever joke to a girl about her weight, Tai. Never." Tai put up his hands in defense.

"I'm sorry, but you never seemed to get mad about it before." Sora crossed her arms over her chest, her face hard but inwardly feeling compassion for the clueless boy.

"Sometimes, it becomes too much. You know that just as much as I do." Tai nodded slowly.

"I suppose I do... Are you forgiving me?" Sora sighed and stretched out her arms to Tai, who looked at her uncertainly.

"That depends on if I'm still small enough for you to get your arms around me," she said, grinning. Tai grinned lopsidedly and met her in a hug. He squeezed her tight against his body, feeling a small part of him not wanting to let her go. Sora felt how strong his arms were and suddenly felt secure. She began to lean into him, but he saw where the hug was going, so he let go of her. Her face showed she was hurt, but she still had a grin.

"Yeah, I guess you forgave me," he said, his eyes falling to his feet to avoid the hurt look on her face. That look made him feel hurt, too. Another part of him, a larger part, didn't want to share any of her pain. He knew that if he had felt even half the pain she had felt, he wouldn't know how to deal with it. Sora had been through a lot in her life; that much was obvious. Tai remembered all the times Sora had called him... crying.... telling him to come over... she was scared.... alone... young. She had been so young and so had he. The hardest thing in Tai's life had been that his sister was on the brink of death every time he turned around. Sora's was having to watch her mother get beat down verbally and physically. Luckily, the guy that she had been willing to call "Daddy" was not so much of a bastard to hit Sora, but he still wasn't a saint. He just went after her mother. Three times a week. Like clockwork. Sometimes, Sora would see it. Those had been the times that he had seen Sora cry the most. It was like she couldn't stop the tears. It had torn him apart. He hadn't known the specific reason why. He thought it was just because they were best friends, but that was not the word for it. "Kindred souls" was better. They knew what each other was thinking 95% of the time and they loved each other more than anything. The thing that the two were becoming more and more confused about as they got older is what kind of love they had. All Tai could really remember about growing up was the Digital World, every visit to the hospital, and Sora. She had always been there, whether it had been to get away from her own family or to be near him when he needed her or just to be near him, she had always been there. Still, as close as they were, the pain that she seemed to suffer was a horrible kind of pain because Tai could feel it, too. He had no desire to feel it anymore, however. He had felt her pain and his during their childhood, and her pain seemed, if possible, to be increasing. Tai was beginning to wonder if Sora was going through depression. Or had an eating disorder. She showed signs of both. He loved her with all of his heart. She was his best friend. For this reason, he would do anything to help her. Sometimes, Tai thought that the pain both of them had deep within their hearts was the only thing keeping them from being not just best friends but lovers. In the true sense.

"I guess... What do you want to do today?" she asked, trying to change the subject. He shrugged.

"Whatever you want, I guess. You're the one that's under house arrest," he said, smiling slightly. Sora rolled her eyes.

"Don't remind-ah-ah-ah-choo!!!" Sora sneezed. Tai put up his hands in a crucifix sign.

"Don't give that stuff to me. Must be a side effect of what happened last night. Should I call Joe?" Sora shook her head.

"Nah. It's just a head cold. Let's go watch some TV?" Tai nodded. "Good... Oh, and Tai?"

"Yeah?"

"Be sure to warn me next time," she said as she turned her back to him. He started to blush.

"But you're the one who walked in on me after I said don't come in," he retorted. She blushed slightly.

"You should have gotten changed in the bathroom."

"I forgot my boxers in your room! Actually, you threw them in the floor!" he shot back. Sora smiled.

"You shouldn't make a woman mad"

"..........." Sora giggled lightly.

"I thought so. Come on. Don't wanna miss my cartoons," she said as she grabbed his hand. He rolled his eyes.

"Cartoons?" he said in mock exasperation. Sora looked at him in shock.

"Ha! You watch them more than me!"

"Do not!"

"Do to!"

"Do not!"

"Do to!"

"Do not!!"

"Whatever, Tai," Sora said, giggling at the embarrassed look on his face. There was a period of silence.

"I do not."

"I said whatever, Tai!"

"I mean, stuff like Recess and Doug count as Young Adult material." Sora giggled at the serious look on his face. It clashed so much with Tai's personality that it almost seemed hilarious.

"Whatever." Tai continued to argue with himself as he and Sora sat down to watch the Saturday morning cartoons to pass the time.



2

as the days pass by

"What do you want to do now, Tai?"

"I dunno... What do you want to do?"

"I don't really know. It's up to you."

"Nah... Your house, your rules."

"I'm giving you a choice."

"I'm telling you my choice is your choice."

"And my choice is your choice."

"So, what do you want to do, Sora?"

"Oh, I give up!" Sora yelled, throwing up her hands in agitation and frustration. Tai sat on her couch and watched her closely.

"You know, we've only been together for four days," he commented quietly. Sora looked at him with her hands on her hips, thinking back to the past four days. The second night, she had hid him in her closet until she was sure her mother wouldn't come in and see him. He had slept in the floor that night. Sora had ushered her mother out the door with a smile and a wave that day, hoping that she would live to see her again. The next two days had been monotonous. Tai and Sora had played games on her computer and played Scrabble, cards, and Paper, Rock, Scissors almost routinely. They ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner together at the same time every day like an old married couple. Tai had been relieved to find that Sora had been eating more. They had called or emailed everyone and updated them on what happened with the Demon that almost froze Sora to death. Sora had been getting sicker, probably as a result, but so far it had only reached to a point where she had frequent headaches and sneezed a lot. She also had a runny nose, but she had told Tai that she was going to be fine. Tai had no sightings of Demons and Sora had not been in any life-compromising situations. It had just been plain boring.

And it was driving Sora and Tai nuts.

"Yes, I know. And I hope not much more than that if I feel like this already. I mean, come on, Tai! I haven't been out of the house for four days and I have to be in your sight non-stop. Except for showers, but that's not much time to myself, you know."

"Well, you should be use to me being around you," Tai said, staring straight ahead. Sora sighed and fell beside him on the couch.

"I am... Just not like this, you know? The Digital World is the only time I remember you sleeping anywhere close to me... Now, you're sleeping in my floor." Tai shrugged and looked at Sora in mock lovingness.

"Don't tell me you're not enjoying it," he said, his face drawn into an almost impossibly cute smile. Sora couldn't resist a smile of her own.

"I didn't say I wasn't. At first, anyway. But I probably have to spend this whole month with you... I was planning on that part, but I wasn't planning on spending all of it inside." Tai's smile turned into a smirk.

"Like it was how I was planning mine," he said in a high, sarcastic tone. Sora ran her hand through her auburn hair. Tai looked at the color closely. Sora stared absently into space, her hand going through her hair over and over again. She was thinking about what they could do. Tai took a deep breath. "I think your hair is pretty, Sora." She snapped out of her zoned-out state and looked at Tai in bewilderment.

"Excuse me?" she asked incredulously. Tai felt a red tinge go to his cheeks.

"I said I think your hair is pretty. Is that a crime?" he asked indignantly. Sora smiled brightly and shook her head.

"No, no. Not at all. Just... caught me off-guard, I guess," she said. "Thank you." He nodded and they went back to staring into space. Sora looked at the clock, which was sitting on top of her TV.

"It's 9:30, Tai." she said. Tai looked at her.

"Already?" To Tai, the day seemed to have flown by. It was already 9:30 at night. Who woulda thought?

"Yep. Already." She stood up and immediately swayed on her feet.

"Sora, are you okay?" Tai asked, jumping up beside her. She nodded as she put her hand on her forehead. It felt burning hot to her skin, but she said nothing in an effort to keep Tai from worrying.

"I'm fine. Just got up a little too fast. Let's go to bed, okay?" Tai nodded hesitantly. He had a feeling Sora was lying to him, but what could he do about it? As much as he hated to admit it, if it hadn't of been for the extremely odd situation they were in, Sora would have been able to take care of herself without his aid. She had grown up while he wished they were still in the past. He and Sora made it to her room finally. She stretched as did Tai. She looked at the window and gasped.

"It's a full moon, Tai," she said quietly. Tai nodded.

"So?"

"So, it's beautiful." She walked over to the window and sat down in a chair that she had placed beside it a long time ago. Tai walked over and stood beside the chair. He rested his hands in his knees so he could get a better look at the sky. It was glittering with millions of shiny stars. The full moon cast its light down in gleaming shadows. Blue light engulfed all of Odaiba.

"Yeah..." he said, gazing at the stars. He opened the window to her room and felt the sudden cool summer night breeze flow in. He closed his eyes, a small smile tugging at his lips. Sora watched him and smiled.

"It kind of takes you in, doesn't it?" Tai nodded, his eyes gradually opening. "Remember when we used to go to the park at midnight and stargaze?" Tai's smile became more apparent.

"How could I forget?" Sora leaned forward in her chair and stood up.

"I remember that I used to be so sad when it was a rainy night because I missed being with you," she said ever-so-softly. Tai grinned.

"I missed you, too." Sora blushed slightly.

"That's what I wish we could do right now."

"What?"

"Go stargazing. I just wish we could do that one more time together," she said, her eyes closing slowly as another breeze came through her bedroom window, blowing her hair in waves of flame behind her head. Tai blinked. Something about Sora was taking him in. Like the stars had just a few minutes ago, becoming even closer to her was beginning to take him in.

"Maybe we will before the summer's over," he said cheerfully. Sora didn't answer. The breeze was still blowing her hair back. Her eyes were still closed. The gentle breeze was hitting her face like a lover's hand. Caressing her face with the greatest of care. Finally, the wind died and Sora's hair fell, but the feeling inside of both Tai and Sora never faded away.

"I doubt it, Tai. Thanks for trying, though." Sora turned to Tai and smiled sadly. She sniffed twice and turned toward her bed. He almost felt his heart break at the look she had given him. It wasn't just the stargazing itself that she wanted to do. She wanted to be with him and stargaze together. She wanted what they had a long time ago, too. Maybe Sora had grown up and Tai hadn't as much, but they both longed for the innocent moments that they used to have together.

"Anytime," he said finally. She climbed into bed and turned onto her side.

"Goodnight, Tai," she said softly. He walked over to her and pulled the covers up around her shoulders.

"Goodnight, Sora." With all the nerve in his body, Tai bent down and gave Sora a gentle, short kiss on the cheek, much as a father would to his daughter... he thought. The kiss had been too brief, however, for Tai to feel the burning hot temperature her body had taken on. She looked at him, a grateful and surprised look in her eyes.

"Sweet dreams," she managed to whisper. Tai nodded.

"Same to you." He got up, stretched again, and laid himself on the floor next to Sora's bed.

Are you falling for her, Tai?

Well, he wasn't exactly sure. Yes, he was becoming captivated by her, but could that be from lack of options? Sora was like a sister to him and sometimes a brother. She was one of the guys and he could never fall for one of the guys.

Could he?

Well, yes he could, because Sora wasn't technically a "guy", but that had been one way he had seen her over the years.

But he had to remember that other reason that he couldn't fall in love with her. That other, bigger reason. It was the reason that he thought of her as one of the guys. It was the reason he thought of her like a sister and almost never as a possible lover.

That pain.

Tai remembered how he had felt all of her pain as a child. When he had loved Sora for possibly something more. Those days had ended as soon as they had returned from the Digital World when they were eleven. That is when they became best friends for life. Why? Because Tai didn't want to feel the immense amount of pain she had suffered from. As a child, he had not just loved her as in "puppy love". He had loved her as in "life with you, death without you" love. When he had loved her like that, he had been happy, but he also had to feel her pain along with his. He had family problems, too, but not to the same severity. Those problems were still hard on Tai, however. As her problems had gotten worse, Tai had an increasing desire to get away from his own and hers. No, their closeness to each other hadn't changed, but the way they had loved each other had. Actually, their closeness to each other had, if possible, only grown, but the way they had loved each other was something that had changed even more dramatically.

Were Tai's feelings resurfacing?

It was entirely possible in his eyes. As children, we are foolish yet intelligent in ways beyond our time. Tai had been intelligent enough to realize he loved Sora more than the world and anything in it, but he had been foolish to give up the feeling that had surged through his body every time he had held her. He was foolish to give his love up. Like anyone, Tai didn't like to feel pain, but he could handle it. He had been foolish to give up the hope that someday the pain would be over. Tai had failed to realize that if he had stayed with Sora, someday the pain would have disappeared.

Could he be falling in love? Was Sora's name etched into his heart? Could he just be paranoid from being around Sora all the time? Could he just want something to love and Sora happened to be there? Did Sora have feelings for him? Did he love her as he could a soul mate? Were he and Sora soul mates? Could he just be setting himself up for heartbreak?

He didn't know the answer to any of the questions, so he put the whole mind vs. heart debate in the back of his mind for a while. Finally, he began to fall into a sleep-like state. His fleeting last thoughts as he dozed off was what he could do for Sora's stargazing problem.

If I could only make her happy...



3

then things get worse

"Rise and shine, Sora." Sora opened her eyes slowly and saw Tai staring down at her. He had a pleasant smile upon his lips. "Guess what?" Sora moaned and turned over, pressing her face as hard as she could into her pillow.

"What?" she groaned. She didn't want to get up at all today.

"Kari and T.K. said that they would come over and visit for a while! They said that if they could get a hold of any of the others, they'd bring them over! Isn't that great?"

"Mmmm......" Tai narrowed his eyes.

"You're usually jumping up and down when you get to see the rest of them. What's wrong?"

"I don't feel good." Tai looked at her strangely.

"Do I need to call Joe?" Sora turned back over and sat up in a flash.

"No! Don't call him! I'm not sick!" she exclaimed. Tai nodded.

"Whatever. Well, they'll be here soon so you had better get a shower and get dressed." Tai got up without waiting to hear her reply and walked out of her room. Sora put a hand on her face to rub her eyes. She felt the burning clammy feeling of her skin and gasped. I must have a fever. As if hearing her thoughts, Tai walked back into the room, a thermometer in hand. "Here. I don't like the way you look." Sora took the thermometer without protest and stuck into her mouth. They both waited for a minute or so until it started to beep. She handed it back to Tai without even glancing at it and fell back onto her pillow. She felt horrible. Then she heard Tai gasp. What's WRONG with me now?

"What does it say?" Sora asked emotionlessly.

"103.4!" Sora bolted upright and grabbed the thermometer from Tai's hands.

"Holy -!"

"I'm going to call Joe right now. You can't stop me," Tai said hurriedly as he got up. Sora shook her head slowly.

"I wasn't going to. Are you still going to let them come over?" she asked, obviously referring to T.K., Kari, and whoever else they could sucker into coming.

"Yeah, but until I know what you've got, I'm not letting them near you. This must be a side effect of that night that you almost froze to death," he called as he walked through her door. She rolled her eyes and sighed.

"I've got a phone in my room, Tai!" she called to him.

"I know you do! I'm just getting you some aspirin for the fever!" he called back. Sora nodded and laid back down. 103.4! How did that happen? I hope I'm not too sick. I can't really go to the doctor or anything... Just then, Tai came scurrying back into the room. He had a glass of water and two aspirin in hand. He had almost just gotten one, but had to remember that he wasn't dealing with his baby sister anymore. She took them willingly and smiled weakly.

"You make a terrific nurse, Tai," she said playfully. Tai just smiled and picked up her phone. He dialed Joe's phone number from memory. Finally, a male voice picked up on the other side.

"Hello?" he asked tiredly.

"Hello? Is this Jim?"

"Yes. Who are you?"

"This is Tai Kamiya. I'm calling for Joe."

"Oh, hey, Tai! Sorry, but Joe left early this morning. Something about studying for a makeup test." Tai sighed.

"Okay. Thanks."

"No problem." Tai hung up and looked at Sora.

"He went out studying. Something like a makeup test."

"I bet it's the one we made him miss when we called him last Friday," Sora said, vaguely remembering that they had had a huge meeting about the "new threat" to the Digidestined and Joe had to be called out from an anatomy test. Tai rolled his eyes.

"I think I remember his cell phone number." Tai dialed it in. "Please be right... please be right..."

"Hello?" a voice asked. Tai sighed in relief.

"Joe!"

"Tai?"

"Yeah, it's me! Sora's running a really bad fever and I don't know what to do with her."

"I bet it's the long-term effects of that freezing thing you told me about. How high is it?"

"103.4."

"103.4? That's unsafe! I'll be there as soon as I can! I just finished taking my test so I'll be there soon."

"I thought you were studying?"

"No, no. That's besides the point, anyway. I'll be there as soon as possible."

"Okay. Thanks, Joe."

"Bye." Tai hung up the phone and looked at Sora cheerfully.

"Joe said he'll be here as soon as he can." Sora smiled.

"Good ol' Reliable Joe," she murmured as she turned on her side and put her hands under her head. Tai looked at her worriedly.

"Do you think it's safe for you to go to sleep?" he asked after a long period of silence. Sora shrugged weakly.

"I don't know and don't care. I didn't want to get up at the crack of dawn today, anyway."

"Sora, it's noon." Sora's eyes shot wide open.

"Noon? Why didn't you wake me up earlier, Tai?"

"You looked like you were enjoying your rest. Plus, I didn't get up until 11:30 or so. You usually wake up at 9, though. I was getting pretty worried about you," he explained solemnly. Sora groaned.

"I guess I am sick if I'm so tired." Tai nodded.

"That's why you're not doing anything today. Let's just wait until Joe gets here before you go to sleep, though, okay?" Sora sighed and nodded. Tai sat down on the foot of her bed and watched her until Joe got there.

* * *

"Shh, Tai. I'm trying to listen to her heart," Joe scolded. He had his trusty stethoscope and was trying to listen to Sora's heart, but Tai kept voicing his concerns about her. Sora thought it was sweet of him to worry, but he was getting rather annoying.

"I'm sorry. I'm just worried about her. I don't want anything to happen to her," Tai said quietly.

"Nor do I, but some things require absolute quiet, understood?" Tai nodded and Joe went on with the examination. "Deep breath.... exhale.... deep breath.... exhale.... breathe normally.... good.... deep breath and hold it.... exhale..." Joe put down his stethoscope from Sora's chest and looked at Tai thoughtfully. "Let's check her temperature again, okay?" Tai handed him the thermometer and he put it in Sora's mouth. After a minute, it started to beep and Joe took it out of her mouth. "102.7. It's gone down from the aspirin, but I'm afraid it will go back up soon when it runs out."

"What has she got?" Tai asked impatiently. Joe stood up and unhooked the stethoscope from around his neck.

"I'd like to remind you I'm not a real doc-" A knock at the door startled him.

"I'll go get it. Don't say anything until I get back, okay?" Tai said as he darted out Sora's bedroom door. Joe looked at Sora and smiled. Sora returned it weakly and gently tucked one side of her hair behind her ear. Her face was pale and there were deep, dark circles under her eyes. Her hands were a bit shaky, but she hoped Joe hadn't noticed. She had her hands linked around her knees on her bed, waiting for Tai to come back. There was what sounded like a cheerful greeting and the shutting of the door. Three or four voices seemed to all be carrying on different conversations. Tai came back with a grin on his face. "Hey Sora. You've got company." T.K., Kari, Ken, and Matt walked into the room, all carrying smiles until they saw Sora.

"What happened to you, Sora?" Kari asked worriedly. She unconsciously squeezed T.K.'s hand, but he said nothing.

"Well, Joe was just about to tell us," Sora replied softly. Her voice was cracking and sounded strained. Joe coughed to bring everyone's attention to him.

"As I was saying, I'd like to remind you that I'm not a real doctor."

"That means that you have no idea what's wrong with her, do you?" Tai said indignantly. Joe glared at Tai.

"I tried, Tai. I couldn't have promised you more or less than that. Her breathing hitches when she takes a deep breath. Her eyes suggest whatever she has is making her very, very tired. Her hands are shaking like she has Parkinson's Disease." Sora winced. He had noticed. "Her temperature suggests that she may have pneumonia. I can't give you a 100% sure diagnosis because her symptoms can suggest millions of things. The only thing I can tell you is to try and keep her fever down with aspirin and if her breathing gets worse, call me and I'll bring you some medicine for that kind of thing. I'm sorry I can't tell you more, but I'm only in my first year of medical school and my dad's the only way I know the stuff I told you."

"She'll be alright, though?" Ken asked. Joe shrugged.

"She should be. As long as Tai takes care of her. I want you to tell me exactly what happened five days ago, though. Maybe that way I can figure out what's wrong with her." Tai nodded and began to tell Joe what he saw that night that the Demon had almost froze Sora to death. Sora submitted helpful bits of information, like the reading on the thermostat and such. "Well, I'm surprised she didn't have hypothermia or pneumonia the day after. The fact that she's sick now is rather strange." Matt laughed.

"The whole situation is strange. Can we stay and talk with her or is it contagious?" Joe sighed and pushed his glasses up on the ridge of his nose.

"I don't see any harm in it. You've already been exposed, so you're not really making it any worse. I have to go and meet my dad for lunch and tell him how I did on the test. Call me tonight and tell me if there have been any improvements, okay?" Tai nodded and stuffed his hands into his shorts' pockets, tucking the tail of his blue shirt in with them.

"Sure. Thank you for coming, Joe. I was really worried about her," he said softly. Sora smiled weakly at his concern. Matt, T.K., Ken, and Kari all gave each other knowing glances.

"No problem, Tai. I'll see you all later, okay?" Everyone nodded and waved good bye to him. The room was silent for a while after he left.

"H-How do you feel, Sora?" Ken asked finally, desperately trying to destroy the uncomfortable silence that had ensued. Sora shrugged.

"Not terrific, but I've been worse." Well, actually, Sora hadn't been worse. This was as sick as she had ever gotten and it kind of scared her. She had never had a temperature that high and had never felt this bad.

"Well, what have you and Tai been doing to pass the time? Nothing rated X, I hope," Matt said, grinning mischievously. Tai punched Matt in the arm but laughed.

"We've been trying to dig out games and stuff, but we've been kind of running out of things to do around here." Sora nodded.

"Yeah, and then I had to go and get sick. I wish I wasn't under house arrest, but you gotta take what life dishes out to you." Everyone nodded.

"We tried to get a hold of Izzy, Yolei, and Cody, but Izzy was on the Internet and Cody was taking his Kendo lessons early today, which I thought was kind of strange. Something about a summer trip he's taking and he doesn't want to fall behind on his Kendo. Yolei was working at her dad's convenience store, so she couldn't have come, either," T.K. explained. Sora nodded, but then seemed confused. She narrowed her eyes.

"What about Davis?" Kari began to look around the room innocently while T.K. rolled his eyes. Tai laughed.

"I think they were trying to ditch him, Sora. Can't say I blame them," he said, still laughing a bit. Sora laughed, too.

"Well, if they were trying to get rid of Davis, why did they come and see you?" she said, now laughing hysterically. Tai looked at her in mock anger.

"Why you little-!" He ran over to her bedside and began to tickle her relentlessly while everyone else laughed their heads off. Suddenly, Sora's cheerful laughter became a loud wheezing sound and she began to cough. Tai stopped laughing and tickling her. Everyone else stopped laughing, too. "Sora? Are you okay?" Sora managed a nod, but felt like she was coughing up her kidneys. Her face turned red and she tried to stop, but couldn't find the strength to. Every time she coughed, she could feel it way down in her legs. The hacking hurt her whole body. It felt like someone was sticking a knife into her ribs. Finally, she gradually began to stop the coughing fit. "Sora?"

"I-I-I'm fine, T-Tai," she choked out, still fighting the urges to cough.

"Maybe we should leave before we catch what you have," Matt said hesitantly. Sora's face twisted into one of sadness.

"Don't l-leave, you guys! I haven't seen anything besides Tai's face for the last five days! Don't leave when you've only been here for f-five minute-s!" she exclaimed, the urges to cough slowly disappearing. Matt and the others looked at each other.

"My face isn't that bad!" Tai told her. Sora gave him an I-was-exaggerating-for-my-benefit-so-shut-up look, so Tai shut up quickly.

"I don't know, Sora. You are pretty sick," Ken said quietly. Sora's shoulders sagged.

"But you came all this way."

"Nah. It was no trouble," T.K. said as he walked over to Sora's bedside and smiled a dazzling smile, enough to knock any girl off of her feet. T.K. definitely shared his brother's traits. "I'll tell you what. When you're better, and you will be, we'll all come see you, okay? I promise." He stuck out his hand to Sora. "Deal?" Sora looked at his hand and then his face, smiling. She took his hand and shook it once.

"Deal!" T.K. smiled even more brilliantly and walked back over beside Kari. She is so lucky to have T.K. He'll make a good husband someday. He's a great guy. Will I get someone like that someday?, Sora thought.

"Bye, Sora! I hope you get better! Take care of her, Tai!" Kari said, shaking a finger at her brother. His face lit up suddenly.

"Okay, but I need to talk to you in the hall." Kari looked puzzled, but nodded. Tai took her out into the hall while the guys that remained tried their best to strike up conversation with Sora. Finally, Kari and Tai walked back into the room with smiles. T.K., Ken, and Matt all waved good bye to Sora and Tai. Kari gave Sora a hug and told her to get well before she left.

"See you soon, Sora," Matt called. She watched as they all walked out of her room and listened as the front door opened and closed, leaving Tai and Sora all alone again.

"They stayed all of three minutes," Sora said glumly. Tai just shrugged.

"It's the thought that counts. Um, Sora?" She looked at him drowsily.

"What?" Tai sighed and sat down on her bed beside her.

"I hope you get better really soon," he said. Sora made a dazed smile.

"I hope I do, too." Tai reached over and ruffled her hair. Her smile became a little bit more prominent.

"Get some rest, kiddo." Without another word, Sora fell back onto her pillow and fell asleep almost immediately. Tai just sighed and watched her sleep, hoping that they wouldn't see any Demons anytime soon. He looked at the clock and groaned.

Only 12:00.......

* * *

While Sora was still asleep, about four hours later, a knock came at the door. Tai took one glance at Sora to make sure everything was alright and ran for the front door.

"Coming!" he called. He shuffled to the door in his socks. He opened the door. "Oh! Hey, Kari! Where's T.K.?"

"Oh, he had to go home. I'll see him later tonight, of course," she said, grinning. Tai wondered what they were going to do, but didn't think it was anything serious.

"Did you get it?" Kari nodded but looked sort of puzzled.

"Why did you want me to get this for you, Tai?" she asked as she handed him a long, flat box. Tai shook it and smiled at the rattling sound inside.

"Oh, it's for Sora. She's been kind of down lately, you know? How much do I owe you?" Kari shook her head.

"If it's for Sora, you don't owe me anything." Kari giggled. "It's really romantic, Tai." Tai's smile disappeared.

"I'm not trying to be romantic. I trying to be nice and cheer her up," he retorted angrily. Kari rolled her eyes.

"Whatever. I'm sure you two will make a good couple," she said as she turned around. Tai growled and then smiled maliciously.

"Whatever, Hikari," he said. Kari whirled around to yell at her brother for using her full name, but was met with a door in the face.

"Ugh. Whoever invented older brothers needs to be shot," she mumbled as she made her way to the elevator.

* * *

Tai looked at the box. Where could he hide it? Sora most likely wouldn't be out of her room for a while, so....

"I guess the living room is okay. She shouldn't be in there," he reasoned aloud. He put it by the couch and smiled. "I hope she likes this." With that, Tai raced up to Sora's room and did word fill-it-ins for the next 4 hours, keeping silent vigil while she slept.



4

children of the stars



Sora turned over in her bed and yawned. She opened her eyes slowly and saw Tai sitting across the room in her old reclining chair, doing a puzzle of some sort.

"Tai?" she asked. Tai jumped and looked up at her. He smiled.

"How do you feel?" he asked, getting up out of his chair and walking over to her. She groaned and turned on her stomach.

"Like I've been hit by a train..." she moaned through the pillow. Tai laughed.

"Well, that's probably better than you felt before. I'm glad you woke up because I was running out of fill-it-ins to do," he said, smiling at her. She sat up and looked at him curiously.

"Um, did I just hear you say you were doing fill-it-ins?" Tai nodded. "Tai Kamiya? Doing fill-it-ins? What? Did you mess up on them and have to find another page? You had better not have done all of them," she said as she took the book out of Tai's hands. She didn't look at his face to see the hurt look he was giving her. Sora had always seen him as dumb. Not completely stupid, but dumb. He had known that for a long time, but it just now seemed to be hurting him. "They're all done right," she said, amazed as she thumbed through the pages. He smiled again.

"Yep. Took me a while for each one, but they're done right. There should be about ten more left. What did you expect if I had done them over eight hours?" Sora looked up at him incredulously.

"That's how long I was asleep?"

"Yeah."

"8 hours?"

"8 hours."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

"Absolutely positively?" Tai nodded. Sora sighed. "I am sick..." Tai nodded again.

"Yeah, you sure are. Why don't you go ahead and take a shower, okay? When you get out, you can take your medicine and go back to bed, okay?" Sora nodded.

"Thank you... Maybe you should have been going into the medical profession instead of Joe," she said, giggling. Tai laughed.

"Nah. That's okay. I'll stick to being the soccer god, if you don't mind." This made Sora laugh harder.

"I'll go take my shower, okay?" she said after the laughter died down. She got up and went over to her dresser. She began to search through her multitude of clothes as Tai watched her. "I have no fashion sense. Mimi needs to come over more often," Sora said as she searched. She finally found some pajamas and turned around to face Tai.

"I agree. She's a really good friend. A ditz, but a really good friend." Sora sighed.

"Yeah. I wish I could go see her, but, well, of course, something had to come up," she said, gesturing wildly. Tai nodded, a bit sadly himself.

"Of course." Sora sighed and walked out of her room, looking sadder than ever. Tai waited until he heard the bathroom door latch. He smiled and ran through the house to the living room. He grabbed the long, flat box from its hiding place and rushed back to Sora's room. He was going to have to hurry if he was going to get this done. He quickly opened the box and began to work at a furious pace.

* * *

Sora stretched one leg out of the shower and sighed. She stepped out completely and grabbed a towel. She began to dry herself slowly. She didn't seem to be able to do anything fast because it made her feel dizzy. Sora looked into the foggy mirror and ran a hand across it, leaving a clear streak. She saw her auburn hair that hung down past her shoulders since it was wet. She saw her crimson eyes that were one of the most unusual colors to have for eyes. She saw her naked white body and shuddered. She had never considered herself beautiful. She had never really considered herself pretty. That's why when Tai complimented her hair, it had caught her completely off-guard. If only someone thought of her as beautiful. If only someone thought of her like that. If only.

She finished getting drying off and grabbed her clothes, putting them on hastily. Finally, gaining enough balance, Sora put on her socks while she was still on her feet. How long had she been in there? Probably forty-five minutes to an hour. It seemed that long, anyway. Tai may be worried about her by now. She smiled at the thought of her best friend caring so much for her and opened the bathroom door. As if reading her thoughts, Tai stood there, her medicine in hand.

"Doctor's orders," he said with a smile. "I just called Joe and told him you were doing better. He said to keep taking these every six hours to keep your fever down." She returned the smile and took the pills out of his hand, swallowing them without a second thought. Tai offered her water, but she didn't take it. "I may not listen in class a lot, but I do remember that you're supposed to drink plenty of fluids when you're sick," he chided. Sora rolled her eyes and took the glass of water out of his hand. She drank it all in a heartbeat. He smiled as she handed back to him. "That's better." He set the glass on the bathroom counter. "Close your eyes." Sora looked at him skeptically. "It's a surprise!" he said convincingly. Sora sighed and closed her eyes, wondering what in the world he could be wanting to show her. He took her hands in his and was surprised to feel her whole body tense up. He led her to her room and turned off the light. He grinned lopsidedly, almost bashfully, and dropped Sora's hands. "Open them." Sora opened them and gasped in surprise.

On her ceiling, she could see glow in the dark stars. Moons and shooting stars were decorated everywhere, too. There were all sorts of different things up on her ceiling now. Sora walked around her room and giggled lightly at the occasional alien spaceship. Tai walked in her footsteps as she wandered the room. Astronauts, rockets, and one huge moon were among the decorations on her ceiling now.

"Do you like it?" Tai whispered into her ear, rather unsure if she did or not. Sora turned around. Even in the dark, Tai could see how her eyes shimmered.

"I love it, Tai," she exclaimed. Tai was surprised when Sora wrapped her arms around him. "Thank you. You don't know what this means to me," she whispered into his ear, tickling him softly. He smiled and took a deep breath of her hair.

"I hope it means a lot. It's hard work putting this stuff up there. You didn't give me that much time," he said as he pulled away from her. Sora laughed.

"Well, it's not like I exactly knew you were doing this," she said, her eyes studying the stars above Tai's head. He smiled and suddenly sat down in the floor. Sora looked at him in confusion.

"Well, what are you waiting for, huh? An invitation?" he asked as he laid back with his hands behind his head. Sora smiled and got down on the floor.

"Just like the old days, huh?" she said as she mimicked Tai and put her hands behind her head as she laid back. Tai laughed.

"Yeah, except the stars didn't glow a flourescent green and we didn't see five alien spaceships," he said, still laughing a bit. Sora laughed with him.

"I guess." There was a long period of silence between the two teenagers. "Do you realize that we have only one more year in high school?" Sora asked suddenly. Tai glanced at her and sighed.

"Yeah. We'll have to leave all of our friends, you know?" Sora looked at him, her brows knit in confusion.

"We?" Tai looked at her again. He nodded.

"Yeah.... You're not going to leave me, are you?" he asked, suddenly worried that's what she was implying. Sora shook her head hesitantly.

"I should be asking you that," she said softly. Silence ensued for a while.

"Truth or truth, Sora." Sora looked at him incredulously.

"Don't you mean 'truth or dare'?" Tai looked at her with a smirk.

"You're already in enough danger without adding the dare in there. I think we'll stick to truth tonight." Sora sighed and giggled lightly.

"Truth." Tai looked up at the ceiling and sighed.

"Well, lemme see... Who do you like?" he asked, grinning mischievously. Sora blushed under the flourescent light, but it was hard to see.

"Do I have to answer?" Tai nodded. "Well, I think Matt's one of the most handsome people in the world." Tai rolled his eyes melodramatically, but said nothing. "T.K. is fine himself."

"Going for the younger men? Mothers, lock up your sons." Sora laughed and hit Tai in the shoulder. "Alright, alright. Go ahead."

"Joe has gotten better looking over the years. That kid Zac at school is really, really cute, but Matt looks better than him. Um, there's-"

"Okay, okay. I got the point. The whole dang male population in Odaiba," he said sarcastically. Sora laughed.

"No, not all, but most." Tai laughed with her. Silence came through after a bit.

"Truth or truth, Tai?"

"Um, let's see. Oh, decisions, decisions. I'll take truth." Sora sighed and began to think.

"Hmm... This isn't my question, but can we be serious?" Tai nodded hesitantly. "Okay. Tai... are you a...." Sora coughed. "..virgin?" Sora coughed again, but it wasn't from sickness. Tai blushed.

"That's kind of personal," he said. Sora looked at him, her face covered in hurt.

"We're best friends. Best friends don't keep secrets, Tai." Tai looked at her.

"I didn't say I wasn't going to answer. I just said it was personal... but we know everything personal about each other, right?" Sora nodded, but was wondering what else he was keeping from her. "Yes, but I almost wasn't." Sora studied him carefully.

"Why haven't you told me this before?" Tai turned on his side and looked at her, propping his head up with his hand.

"Are you upset with me?"

"A little."

"That's why."

"Oh."

"Truth or truth, Sora?"

"Truth."

"Are you a virgin?" Sora laughed.

"Well, duh. Like anybody would do anything like that with me." Sora turned on her side and mimicked the way Tai propped up his head.

"That's kind of a mean thing to say. Before you ask me something else, let me ask you this. How many people have you told me that they asked you out, but you turned them down for some reason or another?" Sora looked at him blankly. "You know how many of them had talked to me about you before? A lot of them were crazy about you. They would have done anything for you... or with you, for that matter." Sora blushed deeply. "But it wouldn't have been worth anything to them." She looked into his eyes.

"What do you mean by that?"

"To them, you would have just been one out of a whole bunch of girls. To you, it would have meant the world and it would have broken your heart when they left you. So, you shouldn't say anything like you did because it's wrong, but you should be glad that you haven't let anything happen." Sora looked deeper into Tai's eyes. They seemed to sparkle in the dim green glow. He was being so sincere. He actually sounded... smart. Tai was telling Sora the truth. She knew he was.

"I see..." she said finally. "Truth or truth, Tai."

"Truth."

"Have you ever been in love with anyone?" Tai fell back onto his back and put his hands back behind his head.

"I thought I was. I'm not so sure if I will fall in love again, though."

"Why?"

"Well, it hurt. Let's just leave it at that. It hurt me a lot." Sora nodded. "Truth or truth?" Sora turned onto her stomach and put her head down on the floor.

"Truth."

"Have you ever been in love?" Sora sighed and propped herself up on her elbows, allowing her to look down at Tai.

"Yes."

"Are you still in love?" he asked, looking at her now. She put propped up her head with one hand and sighed.

"I'm not sure... It's really confusing."

"For the sake of your embarrassment, I won't ask you who it is."

"Thank you. I won't ask you either."

"Thank you."

"Truth or truth, Tai?" He sighed.

"Truth."

"How did you 'almost' lose your virginity?" Tai turned onto his side again and looked at her. She returned the stare.

"One of Matt's after-concert parties or whatever you call it. A girl kept hitting on him and he sent her to me. She almost had me convinced, but I didn't go through with it. I actually want it to be with someone I love, you know? I don't want it to be from... random selection or anything like that. I have morals, believe it or not." Sora nodded, knowing that he was being truthful. Tai was a great guy at heart. "I found out later that it was a good thing because she had some sort of STD or something." Sora gasped.

"Oh, wow..."

"I mean, I'm okay because we didn't go far enough for me to get whatever it was from her, but it was kind of scary that I could have gotten it." Sora nodded. "Truth or truth?"

"Well, Tai, since you give me so many decisions..." Tai chuckled.

"Can I ask you anything, Sora?"

"Anything. I won't keep anything from you. It's kind of amazing that the game has gone as far as it has." Tai nodded in agreement.

"Yeah... Um, what happened... the night that... your dad left?" he asked, now rising to a sitting position. Sora laid there motionless. Finally, she sat up, not even looking Tai in the eye.

"I told you what happened, didn't I?" Tai shook his head.

"All you did was call me because you were upset and scared. I came over here and you didn't tell me anything. You just... cried," he said, not knowing how else to put it. Sora looked at him and sighed.

"Well, I can't say it was a happy memory. My dad... came in about an hour before I called you... He, uh... he was pretty drunk that night. I don't know why. My father was one of those people who preached against touching the stuff, you know?" Tai nodded. "My mom met him at the door and I ran in to see what was going on. I didn't know it was my dad at the time... He was talking to my mom and I could hear how all of his words were, like, slurred together and you could barely make out what he was saying. My mom told him to get out and he said no. He saw me and smiled. He always called me 'hotshot'. I think that's one of the main reasons why I was always such a tomboy because my father gave me a boy's nickname... He told me that I needed to come over and give him a hug and a kiss. I... I didn't want to be... anywhere near him." Sora looked up at the ceiling. "When I wouldn't come close to him, he started to call me names and everything. My mom just lost it. She told him to get out or she'd call the police. He didn't go, though. He just wouldn't listen. My mom grabbed something... I can't remember what... She threw it at him. It had hurt him pretty bad because he was bleeding on the side of his face." Sora looked at Tai and traced a line down the side of his face to represent what she was talking about. Tai narrowed his eyes to see what she was doing and nodded for her to go on. "I watched it all and it scared me really bad. My dad picked up something else... I'm sorry, but I can't remember what it was..."

"That's okay, Sora. Just make the best out of what you do remember." Sora nodded and tried to go on.

"Well, whatever it was, my mom dodged it and it broke at my feet. I just started crying. I couldn't handle it anymore. I think that's when my mom really had enough. She opened the door and pushed him outside. He fell outside of the door. Afterward, he just got up and left. My mom broke down and cried. That's when I called you." There was a comfortable silence. It seemed necessary, like it was needed so Sora could recover from what she had said. Tai looked up at the ceiling, a dull anger rumbling in his chest. What did she have to go through that? Why did God have to torture her like that? For what purpose did it serve? There was a short sniffing sound and Tai looked down at Sora. She was staring up at the ceiling, too. Tai felt the silence turn uncomfortable and decided to break it.

"What did he say to you, Sora?" She looked at him and folded her knees up against her chest, linking her knees around her shins.

"Do you really want to know?"

"Yes. I want to know everything about you and what's happened to you." But don't make me fall in love with you, Sora. Please. Not now. Maybe when I'm ready, but I'm not right now. Just don't make me fall in love with you. There was a period of silence before Sora spoke.

"He said that someday I'd make some bastard happy. That I'd make a good little whore someday. That I would probably be better in bed than my mother. That the little Tai boy that I always hung out with must know it, too. Things like that." She buried her head into her knees and sighed. Tai just stared at her. How could someone say that? To their own daughter? To their own daughter?

"I'm sorry, Sora," Tai said finally. Sora looked up at him.

"It's not your fault."

"I know, but I wish I could have done more." Sora shook her head.

"Don't wish the impossible. You were there when I needed you. That's worth more than anything to me." Suddenly, Sora leaned over and brushed Tai's lips gently with her own. "Thank you." She stared deep into his eyes. That had been the first kiss shared between them that involved lip contact. They had both kissed each other at least once on the cheek as small children and Tai had the night before, but nothing like this. Even thought it wasn't a major kiss, it still made them both feel mixed emotions. Tai felt his stomach flutter and his head get light, but he broke the gaze sharply, ending the magical moment. Sora was hurt. Deeply. She was about to ask him why he wouldn't let himself fall for her, but that was something that best friends don't ask best friends. Unless you knew you both wanted each other. The way Tai was acting, Sora wasn't sure if he wanted anything from her.

"I was being your friend." Sora sniffed again and put her knees back against her chest and linked her arms around her shins again. Silence fell into the conversation. "It's your turn to ask me, Sora."

"Truth or truth?"

"Tru-"

"Do you think we could ever fall in love with each other, Tai?" she asked quickly, cutting him off. Tai was startled with her aggressive behavior, but decided not to say anything about it.

"It's possible."

"Do you think it could be happening right now?" she asked, turning her spaced out gaze to his brown eyes. He sighed.

"It could."

"Then why won't you just let it happen?" Tai narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. Should he tell her his true reason? No, it would hurt her too much.

"That is one question I can't answer." Sora got up suddenly.

"Thank you for the stargazing session. It was slightly more intense that it was the last time we went out, but at least we learned more about each other." She turned around and headed toward her bed. Tai got up right after her. She was trying to change the subject quickly so her embarrassment wouldn't be dwelled on.

"Don't change the subject, Sora." She turned to look at him. "We should talk about this." She crossed her arms across her chest slowly. An eternity of silence passed in a few seconds.

"No. I don't want to ruin anything else. Forget the last part of this conversation." She turned around and took a step toward her bed.

"I can't forget it, Sora. You can't forget it when someone speaks what's written in their hearts." Sora stood stock still with her back to him.

"Are you in love with me, Tai?" He hesitated. Was he? He wasn't sure. Sora turned around and saw the troubled look on Tai's face. She decided to help him make the decision. "When I kissed you, did that mean anything at all? Did it mean anything?"

"I can't answer you and know I'm being truthful." Sora couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Then forget the last part of this conversation and we'll be fine. I don't want to lose what I have with you, Tai." He stepped closer to her.

"Are you in love with me, Sora?" Instead of stepping closer, she stepped away.

"Yes... Maybe... I don't know. I don't know anything anymore. How did this happen, Tai? How did we end up like this?" she asked, her voice full of emotions... Anger... Frustration.... Confusion.... Hurt.... Fear. She was afraid of what she might lose. So was Tai.

"I don't know. Something about the stars, maybe. Maybe it was the Digital World. Maybe it was being kids at one point in time. Maybe it's Fate. Maybe it's Destiny. I don't really know."

"Forget it," she said curtly. Tai shook his head.

"I can't forget it, Sora," he said, his own voice showing emotion. This was as close as he had ever gotten to losing her.

"Then ignore it. I don't want to lose you, Tai. I've been with you too long. You're too much a part of me. I can't lose you now, so let's forget this before we do end up losing each other." Tai sighed deeply and said nothing. "Good night, Tai. Sweet dreams." With that, Sora sat on her bed and laid down, covering herself up to the chin with her comforter.

"Good night, Sora. Sweet dreams to you, too." Without another word spoken between them, Sora began to fall asleep under the stars, trying to fight the tears. She had laid her heart out for him and he had... had... just crushed it. She wanted to cry so much, but willed herself not to. She had exposed her heart too much. Sora finally let herself cry on the inside, almost making her feel worse than if she had physically cried. She just felt heartbroken.

Tai went to the living room and sat on the couch. He fought the urge to go watch Sora sleep. She's right. Forget it so you don't end up getting in deeper than you wanted to. He put his face in his hands and tried to think, but nothing was coming to mind. Finally, he just leaned back and sighed, trying desperately to make the memory of the last part of their conversation disappear.

Trying to make words disappear.

Trying to make the past fade away.



5

the mind of a demon



Why do I have to kill the girl?

Why do I have to kill Love?

The girl stirs emotions that I have never felt. The Demon feels no emotions, however. How can it be possible that I feel them when I am with this girl? I did not want to kill her before. The boy. The boy who tried to protect her. His emotions hurt me. They tear at my soul. My mind cannot function when he is near. His courage is strong. Strong. But her love is strong. Their confusion, however, helps me. Anything that can cause chaos. Her love is causing chaos.... Both of the children are at war with their hearts. Ah, I am at the advantage here. The Good Forces are losing. I can feel it. I can get closer to the girl now, but not much. He is gone, now. Courage has submitted to the confusion. Courage is lost in his heart. Love's heart has been destroyed. Now, if only her physical body would disappear, I can stop this worthless escapade.

But why didn't I kill her before? Because of the emotions. She made me feel. I could actually feel remorse for what I was doing. I felt sudden kindness for her. I felt... alive. But I am what represents death. I am of the evil breed. I am not supposed to feel what I have felt from this girl. I tried to freeze her. I almost did. Her gentle heartbeat had almost stopped. I could have killed her sooner, however. Much sooner. I just couldn't, however. She has impaired my skills to annihilate somehow, but she won't for much longer. Because she almost died, the sickness had come. Her body is strong, however. I had to use magic from the other realm to make her body give up and let the sickness take her in, but her body is fighting back against the magic and she is almost well. She will not elude me much longer, though. As time passes, the spell she has over me will disappear. I believe it will, anyway. Courage's spell will. And Love's will, too. I will kill her soon. The Good Forces cannot fight me much longer.

Because of these feelings, confusion has been able to take over my black heart. I... I can't kill her. Not now, anyway. I am the last Demon in the real world. All of the rest have been destroyed by the Good Forces, but I remain. I am the only one left in this realm to kill her... and now I can't. I will take something from her, yes, but I will not destroy her until the Good Forces have been beaten back enough that I can ignore Courage. But for right now, I will hurt Love. Just to hurt her should be sufficient for the time being. I watch her graceful sleeping body. The green light shining down on her from the sky of her quarters. I watch her sleeping and I know that I cannot kill her. In my mind, it is enough to her hurt her right now. I walk over to her bedside and reach down to touch her pale skin. Her soft skin. The fire of her hair frames her face as an... angel. I have been sent to kill an angel. Innocence is all she is made of, but far from what she has always known. I reach down and caress her soul with my own mangled hand. With the force of magic from other realms, I take what is dear to her. What she has always needed. What she has always had.

Just to hurt her.



6

stolen away from her



Tai woke up at about 10:00 the next morning. He yawned and stretched until he heard his back crack and pop. He looked at the clock and gasped.

"Sora!" he cried. He couldn't believe he had left her. He remembered what had happened last night and knew why he had left. His own stupidity. He still felt very confused about Sora, but had believed Sora was right when she said to forget it all. He ran toward her room, feeling panic and fear flood his veins. Please be okay! He ran into her room and sighed in relief.

Sora was sleeping soundly.

Tai walked over to her bedside and put his hands on his hips. He listened carefully in the still of the morning and heard her breathing. It was normal. She was getting better, all right. He gently felt her forehead and found that the fever was still there, but it definitely wasn't as high as before. He watched her as she breathed in deeply. Don't watch her sleep. That doesn't help your situation any. But Tai couldn't help but watch as she took deep breaths. Her chest rose steadily. Her auburn hair fell around her face in a perfect frame. Her pale skin contrasted to her hair so much that it enhanced her attractiveness. Her thin figure seemed so fragile but had fought in just as many battles in the Digiworld as Tai had. He remembered when he had been at the beach and Sora had saved him. In the split second that he hadn't known who she was, he had almost lusted after her. He had thought of her as beautiful, but when he realized whom she was, the feeling had disappeared. Now, looking at her as she was, she was pretty. He would almost say... beautiful? He wasn't sure if that was the word he wanted to use though. If he was to forget what happened last night, he needed to stop feeding into his so-called "dormant" feelings.

Suddenly, Sora began to shift in her bed. Tai stepped back from the bed and put his back against the wall, as if trying to disappear. Sora opened her eyes and stretched. She rubbed her eyes sleepily. She looked around the room to examine her surroundings. Tai's heart sped up as her eyes fell upon him. She smiled sadly. She opened her mouth, but her face contorted into one of mass confusion. Tai ignored it.

"Hey, Sora. Sleep well? You look a lot better," he said in fake cheeriness. Sora smiled brightly, but it seemed as fake as his current emotion. She opened her mouth to answer him, but her face contorted into confusion and... fear? Tai's face darkened as a tempest moved in. "What? You're not even going to talk to me now?" he asked angrily. Sora shook her head, her eyes wide with fear. She waved him over to her. He came over to her bedside. "What?" She kept pointing to her throat. "What about your throat? Do I need to call Joe?" She nodded, but then shook her hands. "Well, stop playing around and tell me what's wrong!" he exclaimed. She glared at him angrily. She looked around her and grabbed a pen from her night stand. She looked around for a piece of paper, but found none. In frustration, she grabbed Tai's arm and began to scratch a message furiously. "Hey! What are-" Tai stopped when Sora stopped writing. Once he read it, he became incredibly sorry for leaving her alone the night before.

In messy but legible handwriting, it read:

I can't speak



To Be Continued.....





A/N: Well????? What do ya think? Getting kind of interesting, no? I think it is. Here. If you want to when you review, I'd like you to answer a few questions. If you want to, that is. If you just want to review, go ahead. The questions are under A/N #3

A/N 2: Okay, I have just one thing to point out. It's a plot hole in a 02 Digimon episode that has been bugging me to death. In the episode where the kids first go to the Giga house (I know the name of it, I just can't remember right now), Cody, Ken, and Davis go up against all of those cockroach Digimon on the counter, remember? Well, Cody says something like, "... they don't have black rings or gears anywhere on them." How the heck does he know what a black gear looks like? T.K. is the only one of the new Digidestined that would know anything about that. Did I miss something?

A/N 2 etc.: The Digimon are not supposed to be able to digivolve into ultimates, right? Well, in "His Masters Voice", Gatomon digivolves into Angewoman, which kind of throws the whole thing into chaos, no? I don't get another thing, either. If the 01 Digidestined gave up their crest powers (which made me really depressed because they had worked so hard for them and they were giving up a part of themselves, but anyway), how can all this evil have appeared? Like Yolei said, I think the powers are losing their grip, but why can't the 01 Digidestined get their powers back so they can help? ARGGH!!! Yes, I should know the answers to some of these questions because I read the spoilers (shame on me, I know) but some of this makes me pretty angry (ESPECIALLY the Sorato thing they've got going on in the episodes. ::shudders violently::)

A/N 3: Okay, here are my questions/ things for you to ponder. If you only want to answer certain ones, go ahead.

1. Should this series go under Action/Adventure or Romance?

2. What do you think of this series? (That means rate it. 1 star to five stars, thumbs up or down, etc, etc.)

3. What do you think of the Demon?

4. Is Tai's personal reason for not falling in love with Sora explained enough or does it need a little bit more description? I'm trying to convey the idea of what he's going through to you, but I'm not sure if I'm doing well or not.

5. Is the story line holding your attention span or is it killing you with boredom? (I hope not. I think it's pretty good.)

6. *insert your comment here* I want to hear what you really think. I can't promise I'll use any suggestions or anything you throw at me, but I'll try to do what I can to please the masses. FOR PETE'S SAKE, REVIEW SO I'LL SHUT UP!~ er, thank you. Write what you want or use the questions, I don't care.

Thanks for reading!

UNTIL NEXT TIME, THIS IS

Artisan of the Written Word

Adieu! (That's goodbye in French.)