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Fanfic » Anime » Digimon » Endangering Forever font size: (+) : (-)
Author: Artisan of the Written Word
PG-13 - English - Romance - Reviews: 109 - Publish date: 12-25-00 - Updated: 01-29-01 storyid: 151798

ENDANGERING FOREVER PART THREE

( How to Fly Part Ten, if you're wondering)

A/N: Thank you all for the reviews. I appreciate it very much. There are some of the reviewers that thought my review-hungry author's note was a little too much, I guess. Let me explain, please, why I was doing that. I enjoy writing with a passion. It has become an obsession, however, and I feel that if I'm not writing, I'm doing nothing important. When I ask for reviews like I did, that shows that I am in desperate need of praise. I've gone through my whole life (yeah, I know. A whopping thirteen years. Big deal, right?) trying to please my mother. I have had straight A's my whole life. I'm writing a book, so that maybe one day we will not have to be in debt to somebody. I become depressed very easily. I have so many things that plague my mind that writing is my escape. Now, I play basketball and softball, you know, all that good stuff, but that's just to keep my mind off everything else. When I write, I write to get all those feelings that softball and basketball don't cover out of my system. As a result of seeking praise from my mother (and ultimately love) I now seek praise more than I should. I do not look for it all the time, however, but writing is one of the fields that I look for it in. When someone gives me a good review, it makes me feel like what I do is wanted, not pushed away. When someone flames me, I deal with it with a mature frame of mind, because I believe that what people say can actually make what I do better.

So, does that answer you, Lucky Ishida and Koneko Kamiya? I'm not being mean, but I want to explain my behavior so I can be understood.

Oh, and to the person who signed in as Takera, I'm sure you're not the only one that thinks that way. Thank you for being honest.

DEDICATION: To anyone who has had or still has a broken heart. Your hearts will mend, my friends. They will mend.

DISCLAIMER: Go to part one if you want this.

WARNING: Well, if this isn't obvious. I'm not even going to ask who doesn't know what's going on here. The only thing I need to warn you about is that I refer to Blind Love Parts 1-3 and How to Fly a lot in this one, so if you want to read them, paste this link in your browser and read them (it will take you to my author's page):

http://www.fanfiction.net/index.fic?action=Directory-AuthorProfile&UserID=25724

If you don't want to do that, you might just want to go and read the poem Bleeding Heart (it's from Blind Love Part1) on my author's page because it is referred to in here, too.

All right. Go ahead and read everybody. Enjoy.

ENDANGERING FOREVER PART THREE



"Shh, Sora. Everything will be all right," Matt whispered. Sora was still crying uncontrollably. They only had a few more minutes before they reached Sora's house, but they all wondered if she could make it. She couldn't walk straight; Matt and Mimi had to hold her up. T.K. and Kari walked in front of them. Kari was still crying. It seemed nothing T.K. could say or do was going to get her to stop, which was about the way Sora was. Izzy, Joe, and Jun walked behind them, wondering if everything would be all right again.

"No, it won't! He does that to me, and you're trying to tell me it'll be all right?!" Sora asked, trying to straighten up so she could yell at Matt, but couldn't bring herself to do it. Mimi patted her on the back.

"Come on, Sora. Calm down, n-"

"Calm down??? How can I calm down when I just caught the man I'm in love with trying to sleep with another girl?!" Sora cried. Mimi sighed.

"Sora, he's not a man if he does that. I don't know what got into him, but he's still crazy about you, or he wouldn't have tried to apologize," she consoled. Sora just burst into more tears. Kari was trying to stop crying. She knew Sora was in more pain than she was.

"I'm sure that there's an explanation. You love him more than anything," Kari whispered. Sora looked up at the younger girl and forced a smile, but it didn't last long.

"So do you. He didn't just hurt me," she said, temporarily stopping the sobs so she could speak. Kari couldn't help but let the tears fall again. T.K. hugged her closely, tears welling up in his eyes. Sora looked on with glazed eyes, showing the tears were going to fall again any second. She and Tai used to be like that. When one of them cried, the other cried with them. T.K. and Kari had wanted to be in love like Tai and Sora. 'Apparently, they are MORE in love than we used to be' she thought bitterly. Sora looked at Matt, whose face showed intense thought. He looked at her and smiled sadly.

"I'm sure everything will be okay, Sora. Something must have gotten into him," he said softly. Jun nodded.

"Kara has a way of doing things like this to people. Most of the guys she sleeps with have girlfriends or something. I suppose she didn't want to spare Tai," she said. Matt glared at her.

"Jun!"

"That's okay, Matt. She's only telling the truth. Don't be mad at her," Sora whispered. She was dimly aware that her tears had completely stopped. Matt looked back at Jun and sighed.

"I'm sorry, Jun."

"That's okay, Matt. I'm the one who should have been thinking about what I said," she said. Matt smiled at her, but then turned back to Sora, whom he had his arms wrapped protectively around her shoulders.

"We're almost to your place, Sora. Just hang on a bit, okay?" Sora nodded solemnly.

"You want me to take you home, Kari?" T.K. asked suddenly. Kari looked up at him and saw his genuine concern, but knew that all of his concern wasn't for her.

"You want to go to Sora's, too, so why don't we go there first?" she asked. T.K. nodded.

"Whatever you say. We don't have to stay too long. You need to get home," he whispered. Kari's face turned into a scowl.

"I don't want to be anywhere near my brother tonight. I just might kill him," she growled. T.K. strained not to laugh.

"But you love your brother. I know you wouldn't do that. Although, some of us that aren't related to Tai may want to kill him for you," he said softly. Kari smiled at him.

"Let's wait to use desperate measures, T.K." He nodded.

"I guess we could wait." Joe pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose and pointed in front of them to a familiar building.

"There's your apartment, Sora. Not too much longer now," he said from behind. Sora unglued her eyes from the sidewalk in front of her and looked up. There it was. Home. To think, she had been so upset to go here not even two months ago, but now, she could describe it as a sanctuary. She actually wanted to go home.

"You guys can let me go home alone, now. You all need to go home," she said. She unwrapped Matt's hands from around her shoulders and shrugged off Mimi's hand, which had been resting on her shoulder. Joe shook his head.

"No, Sora. We want to be there for you. If you do remember, we guys promised we'd always be there for you." Sora turned around and smiled at Joe.

"Yes, you did, but you have already been there for me. You guys need to go home," she said, her voice becoming stronger. 'Am I actually getting over Tai? Already?' but the tears welling up in her eyes again proved the exact opposite. 'You loved him, Sora. You still love him. There is absolutely no way that you can get over him.'

"Well, I disagree with you, Sora Takenouchi. We're going to go to your house, and we're all going to be there for you. I want to be there for you, too, even if I just met you," Jun said. Sora looked at Jun with a bewildered expression on her face.

"Well, I guess I can't stop you." Mimi smiled.

"You're damn right. I punched out a girl's lights for you. Sure, it felt good, but you still owe it to me to let me come over to your apartment!" Sora laughed. Outwardly, she was showing the signs of healing. On the inside, she was torn. She was broken. Shattered.

"All right. Let's get going." They all continued their journey silently. They got to her apartment within three minutes. Sora knocked on the door and was met by her mother's face.

"Home so soon? Is something wrong, Sora? You look like you've been crying," her mother asked worriedly. Sora couldn't hold it in anymore. She had put on so many faces, it was time that she showed her true one. She began to cry relentlessly.

"Mama!" she cried as she fell into her mother's arms.

"Sora, honey! What's wrong?" Her mother looked behind her daughter to see the other teenagers, waiting for an invitation to come inside. Her mother freed a hand from around Sora and beckoned them to come inside. They all found seats on either the couch or just stood up in the Takenouchi living room. "What's wrong, Sora? Look at me and tell me what's wrong!" Sora took her head from her mother's shoulder and looked at her mother in the eye to see that she was scared. Ms. Takenouchi, strong as steel, was scared?

"T-t-t-tai, he-he-he.." but Sora couldn't finish. The pain was just too much. She twisted her shaking body free from her mother's loving embrace and ran up the stairs to her room, crying all the way. Ms. Takenouchi looked from her fleeing daughter to the other children.

"What happened here!?" she exclaimed. Everyone looked at each other, but finally Mimi stood up.

"Well, Tai... he... Well... God... He cheated on Sora and she caught him." The look on Sora's mother's face went from worry to pure rage.

"He WHAT??" Mimi sat down quickly, not sure what was going to happen to her if she stayed standing up. "What? Was it just a kiss or something?" Ms. Takenouchi asked, a little bit more softly. Joe looked around at everybody and shook his head.

"No. He was trying to... have se- sleep with another girl," he said nervously, but felt anger growing in his own chest. Why did Tai have to do that to Sora? Hadn't they told him earlier that very day that he should take care of her? How could someone to this to Sora? Matt, Mimi, T.K., Kari, and Izzy all felt the same way. Jun was upset about Tai, but was even angrier about Kara. She had gone too far. Ms. Takenouchi looked shocked. She fell back into a chair near the sofa.

"We're sorry to tell you, Ms. Takenouchi. Sora is really upset and she just couldn't tell you," Izzy said suddenly, trying to break the almost complete silence. The only other noise that could be heard was the muffled sound of crying from Sora's bedroom. Ms. Takenouchi began to cry. The teenagers looked on, horrified that an adult would cry in their presence. She got up from her chair and slowly walked to her bedroom, her head in her hands. The silence settled again. There was the nerve-racking tick of a clock on the TV and Sora's heartbreaking cries from her room. Finally, Mimi couldn't stand it anymore.

"I'm coming, Sora!" she cried as she got up from her spot on the couch and ran to Sora's room.

"I'm right behind you!" Kari chimed as she got up and ran to Sora's room on Mimi's heels. Matt squeezed Jun's hand. She looked at him questioningly. Matt nodded toward her room. Jun shook her head.

"I don't think it's a good idea," she said quietly. Matt squeezed her hand again.

"If it wasn't for you, Sora would have never caught Tai, and Sora deserves to know when he does something like that. You're her friend now, and you need to be there for her just like the rest of us," he whispered. Jun smiled.

"Thanks for the pep-talk, Matt," she said. She got up, but turned around and kissed Matt on the cheek before she turned around and ran to Sora's room. Matt blushed.

"I thought you hated Jun, Matt. What happened?" Izzy asked. Matt smiled.

"I'm not sure, but I'm sure glad it did," he said happily. Joe, T.K., and Izzy all looked at each other with puzzled looks on their faces.

"Well, that's another surprise to add to the list this evening," T.K. murmured.

"I just can't believe Tai would do that to Sora. She's so sweet and everything. She really is a great girl to have, and he turns around and tries to sleep with that slut!" Joe said, gesturing furiously. Izzy, Matt, and T.K. looked curiously.

"Do you like Sora, Joe? Tell the truth. We're your friends," Izzy coaxed. Joe looked at him in shock.

"I told you that I love her to death as a best friend. I'm sure that's the way you guys feel about her, too." They all nodded without hesitation.

"Yeah, but right now, I think you would be a way better man for her than Tai. Unless he can figure out a way to win her back, she'll be free," T.K. said. Joe looked at the younger boy and sighed.

"But I don't want her like that. I don't want to take advantage of her, either," he said. Matt stood up and rested a hand on Joe's shoulder.

"That's exactly why you're better for her than he is right now. You don't want to take advantage of her. He did by trusting that she would take him back after he slept with another girl," he said. Joe just stared at Matt blankly.

"But she's my best friend!" Matt smiled mischievously.

"That's how she and Tai started, too." Joe shook his head in disbelief.

"Yes, but you could tell they were love at first sight! Sora and I are good friends! I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to make me like her, either. She's just a friend," he ranted, and every single last bit of what he said had been the truth.

"Maybe we should leave him alone, Matt. I mean, I think he's being sincere," T.K. said. Joe looked at him graciously.

"Thank you! Finally, somebody who's on my side!" Matt shrugged and looked at Izzy. He vaguely remembered that when he had ran up to Sora that he and Mimi had been dancing together.

"Yeah, but what about this one and Mi-mi, hmm?" Izzy began to blush uncontrollably.

"Shut up, Matt." He laughed.

"Don't get defensive. Let's go see if the girls need our help," he said as he began walking to Sora's bedroom. The other guys followed closely on his heels.

*********************************************************************************************

'How can I be so stupid! What was I thinking? Sleep with Kara so you won't disappoint Sora. What a load of crap! What the hell was I thinking? Now, I've probably lost her for good. I love her so much! How can you love somebody more than anything ever created, yet you can hurt that being so much that they shatter? How? HOW!?'

Tai continuously beat himself up on the way home. He had been so stupid! He loved Sora more than anything, but if he did, why did he do that to her?

'I broke her. She's broken inside. So fragile. I killed her. What am I saying? I think I killed myself. What did I do to deserve Sora? Nothing! That's what I did. Absolutely nothing. I want her, not Kara. What was I thinking? Just because I could have pretended that it was Sora and even call out her name doesn't mean that I was making what I was doing right! She's not the only one that's broken. I am, too. I am torn apart. She's suffering, too. I promised that I'd never hurt her, and look at what I've done. I was about to make love to another girl! Well, you only make love to those you love, so I was about have sex with her, but it's the same thing, just different wording. What have I done???'

He walked past many merry couples. All of them smiling. They were happy. That could have been Taichi Kamiya with his soon to be wife, Sora. He could have been one of the people smiling. He could have been one of the people who were actually happy. He had been so happy with Sora. Tai jammed his hands into his pockets, only to be met with two objects, one in each pocket. He took on the one in his right pocket and looked at it carefully. It was the engagement ring he had given to Sora just last night. When he could have prevented this all from happening.

'I wonder what she's thinking right now. Knowing Sora, she's probably blaming herself for what's happened, but it's all my fault! She probably thinking that she pushed me too far away. That it's her fault. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT, SORA! I'm so sorry! I'm so, so sorry!'

Tai walked along, wiping the tears from his eyes. He put the ring back into his pocket. He would never touch another girl as long as he lived. He had done something so wrong. He deserved to suffer. He deserved to die, but that would be too easy. He had to suffer for what he had done. He needed to suffer. Tai brought out what had been in his left pocket and burst into tears. It was the pocket watch that he had wanted since he was ten years old. He had confided in Sora at first, but then had told his parents and his sister that he had wanted it for Christmas. He was told continuously that the one he wanted was too expensive. Tai sighed shakily through his tears. He remembered exactly how much that watch costed now. It had been exactly $504.78, including tax. He remembered dragging Sora through the mall, wanting to show her the gift. She had gawked at the price, but had told him that maybe one day he would get it. Tai studied the watch now. He had it, but he wasn't happy. He would never be happy without Sora. He wanted to take it all back, but the damage was done. He had hurt her, and in the process, he had hurt himself by losing her. He didn't blame her. Who would? She had caught him red handed. He had been laying on top of a naked girl! How could he justify himself? He couldn't. There was just no way. Tai had touched Kara's body in a way that he hadn't ever touched Sora's. He had thought that if he had touched Kara's body, he would never forgive himself. He was right all the way.

'Read the back of the watch, Tai. Remember what it says?'

How could he forget? What it said was all the hope he had left. He had hurt Sora, but there was still a chance. He read the back of the watch with dim hope.



To Tai with all my love

on our first Christmas together

I'll never leave you

and I'll always love you

Tai and Sora forever



Tai and Sora forever. That's what the watch said, and Sora rarely said what she didn't mean. Was there still hope for Tai and Sora's forever? He had endangered it. He had made it something that was just a word. A meaningless word. Eternity, forever, infinity... all meaningless words because of a stupid mistake he made. Something that could have been avoided if he was a real man. Someone who would never do anything to hurt another person. What had happened? He had screamed at Kara, telling her that he would never cheat on Sora. What happened? What happened that caused him to change his mind? He, in truth, had never changed his mind, but had just not done what he thought was right.

'She said she'd never leave you. She said she'd always love you. Do you even remember how many times she said that? There is still hope, Tai. Prepare yourself, however. You have a difficult task ahead. Forever is a long time. But remember what you said so long ago? 'I can wait a billion eternities before you come to me. If you really meant that, you may succeed.'

"I'm so sorry, Sora. I love you," he whispered through his own tears. Broken tears. He remembered the poem that T.K. wrote for Kari not so long ago. Was his heart bleeding? Yes, it was. His heart was bleeding, and the way the blood was coming out was through his tears. He was bleeding tears, and God, it hurt. His heart ached. He was bleeding all right. He would keep bleeding until the blood stopped flowing in his veins. Bleeding those heartbroken tears. Couples that walked by stared at Taichi, but he didn't care. He was wrapped up in his own thought.

'Maybe I should bleed myself to death. Cry until it kills me. Cry until my heart can bleed no more. Cry and cry and cry and cry. Bleed myself to death by my tears. Bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed.'

"No, Taichi. You've got to gather yourself together," he said to himself. He realized that he was right in front of his apartment.

'Bleed and bleed and bleed and bleed until your tears become dry and your heart shrivels up and dies. You'll die without her, Tai. You've said that before. You were right.'

Tai remembered when he had said that to Sora.

****>FLASHBACK<****

"....My heart is aching without you," Tai said sadly, knowing that it was true, but was surprised when Sora laughed. He narrowed his eyes. "What's so funny about the truth?" Sora quickly became sober.

"It's just that I never thought of you as someone who would be so poetic, that's all. But if it makes you feel better, I know how you felt today because I felt the same way, and I still do," she whispered soothingly. Tai's sudden anger melted at the sound of her apology.

"Well, could you come over? I could die without you... and I will," he added suddenly. Sora froze. Something inside of her told her that he just might be telling the truth. What had her mother said? No boys over? T.K. had already assisted in the breaking of that rule. She hadn't said anything about Sora going over to a boy's house. No matter. If Tai had been telling the truth, there wasn't any law that could keep her from getting to him.

"You won't die, Taichi. I'm coming for you," she consoled. Tai smiled. The idea of her being with him was enough to bring a smile to his face.

"Please hurry," he said, paused to think, and then continued. "My heartbeat lessens at the passing of every second without you, Sora." He was pleased with his sudden poetic ability. Before he had told Sora his feelings, Tai had been one of the not-so-smart students of Odaiba High. Now, he could create beautiful verses off the top of his head, but he only did it for Sora.

"As does mine," Sora agreed. "I love you, Tai. I'll be right over." Tai smiled again at the thought of her loving him. It was enough to make him feel complete.

****>END FLASHBACK<****

'She didn't want you to die, and she still doesn't, Tai. She needs you just as much as you need her. If it hadn't of been for her that day, T.K. just might have died, and if T.K. had died, your sister just might have, too. T.K., Kari, and YOU owe her your lives. You owe her everything in the world. You owe her everything. Everything.'

Tai sighed heavily and shut his eyes. A sudden wind blew, causing his hair to flow behind him. He stretched out his arms, letting the cutting cold wrap around his body in a chilling blanket.

'Let the cold swallow me. Let it eat me alive. Let it kill me. Let me die. Please. I don't deserve to live.'

He tilted his head back and breathed in the cold, making him shiver.

'Yes, you deserve to live. If you died, you would be getting out too easily. You have to live. You have to suffer for what you've done. You've hurt an innocent girl.'

Tai snapped his head back to its upright position and put his arms down, but left his eyes closed. He was fighting tears.

'Innocent girl, Tai. She was an innocent girl.'

She was innocent. Actually, she still was innocent, and he had almost destroyed that twice now. Who knew what she was going to do? If she was even half as sad, angry, or devastated as he was, there was no telling what she would do. No telling what he would do, either.

'She's broken. Crushed. Shattered. Wrecked. Ruptured. Pierced. But then remember, you are, too. You are broken. You are crushed. You are shattered. You are wrecked. You are pierced in your heart. You did this to yourself. You deserve to suffer. Welcome to Hell, Taichi.

Welcome to Hell.'

**************************************************************************************************

T.K., Matt, Joe, and Izzy all had their ears pressed up to the door, trying to hear what was going on. They could hear Sora's muffled crying and the soothing voices of the other girls.

"Shh, Sora," one voice said, which could instantly be identified as Mimi. There was another girl crying, but a lot more softly. T.K.'s eyes were becoming glassy with tears. He wanted to scream to Kari, telling her that he was there for her. That he was going to be there no matter what. That he was strong enough to love her and that he was strong enough to erase all of her pain, but he remained quiet, hoping that he wouldn't have to call to her like that. Sora was in enough pain already, and he didn't want to help add to it by making everyone pay more attention to him than they should.

"Tai has made stupid mistakes before, I'm sure. He didn't sleep with her. Maybe it's a sign." Matt immediately identified that voice as Jun. The crying stopped abruptly, signaling that both girls had ceased their sobbing for the moment.

"A sign of what? That he doesn't love me?" Sora asked softly, but you could tell that she was in pain. All the guys looked at each other.

"I meant like a test or something. Maybe some higher power is testing your love for each other," Jun said, trying to clarify her statement.

"Well, we failed miserably. Or he did, one of the two," Sora moaned and suddenly began to weep again. The boys couldn't stand it any longer. Joe opened the door forcefully, and all four of them stepped inside.

"We're sorry, Sora. We couldn't help it. We want to be here for you, too. Just because we're men doesn't mean we can't be sensitive," Matt said softly. Jun looked at him and smiled quizzically. 'How sensitive are you, Matt? We all know that you aren't the person you put on to be, so who are you, Matt? Just how sensitive can you be? Who are you inside, Yamato Ishida? Who are you exactly?' she thought. 'There is so much more to you. If only you would trust me. If only.'

"He's right, Sora. It hurts us to see you cry, too," T.K. said, but glanced at Kari as he said it. She smiled, remembering the poem he had given her some time ago. 'He's telling the truth,' she thought. Sora smiled her best at the boys who had just busted into her bedroom.

"Thank you, guys. That really means a lot to me," she whispered. They all nodded.

"We meant every word," Joe said solemnly. Mimi, Izzy, T.K., and Matt all shot glances at him, making Joe feel hot under the collar. Sora just smiled. 'She's my best friend. I hope Sora doesn't think I like her or this could get bad for all of us,' Joe thought nervously.

"Thanks, Joe. You guys can have a seat if you want," Sora said through her tears, which were at least silent now. Matt sat down next to Jun on Sora's bed and held her hand. Jun leaned in closer to him and put her head on his shoulder. Matt was a little startled by her sudden show of affection, but wrapped an arm around her shoulders lovingly. He hesitated and kissed the top of her head. Sora smiled at the sight. 'Maybe they're falling in love?' She looked at Kari and T.K. and saw that he was holding Kari close to him. 'Tai used to hold me like that. I wish this never would have happened. That way, he would be holding me right now. Holding me close to him. Holding me in his secure arms. Just holding me.' Izzy sat down next to Mimi. She smiled weakly at him and reached out for his hand. He took her hand in his gently and kissed it, making Mimi blush furiously. He just smiled and continued to hold her hand. Joe just stood up, refusing to sit next to Sora. He wanted to, but that wouldn't go over well with those who thought he liked Sora for a girlfriend. 'This is ridiculous. She's my BEST FRIEND!' But, not wanting to give in to peer pressure, he just stood up and watched all the happy couples. All except him and Sora.

"Sora, will you be all right?" Kari asked suddenly. Sora looked at Kari with saddened eyes. Eyes that had been so full of hope and love were now dim, hopeless, and lost. Sora was lost in the maze of her life, and she wasn't sure she'd ever find her way out.

"I dunno. It'll take time, I guess, but I don't think I'll ever get over him," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. Kari nodded.

"I don't know if I will, either. I mean, I know he's my brother, but what he did was wrong. He shouldn't have been like that." Silence settled in the room. It seemed like eternity, but it was just a few seconds. You could hear steady breathing, but that was about it. Sora saw Joe gazing around the room. She laughed softly.

"You can look around if you want, Joe," she said. He looked at her solemnly.

"I was just looking at the decoration, that's all," he replied.

"Well, I was just offering," she said. He nodded.

"Thanks, but I'm fine as a spectator." He continued to gaze around the room. Joe smiled slightly at its tomboyish appearance. There were no bright colors. There were dark blues and greens, combined with a few shades of red. His eyes fell on the picture of Tai and Sora right after a tournament win. They were happy in that picture. 'I hope they can be happy again someday,' he thought sadly.

"Well, it's getting kind of late, Sora. We all need to head home, if you don't mind," Izzy said, interrupting the peaceful quiet.

"Okay. Go on home, you guys. I tried to tell you that earlier. Thank you for all your help. I feel a lot better," Sora said, but she actually didn't feel better at all. 'At least I can't feel any worse.' Mimi stood up, still holding Izzy's hand.

"Are you sure you're going to be all right?" she asked. Sora smiled.

"I'm sure." Mimi held out open arms to Sora and hugged her tightly.

"Be careful," Mimi whispered.

"You, too," Sora whispered back as she released her friend. "All of you need to be careful. It's really cold out there and there supposed to be another snow storm coming," she warned. All of the people in her room nodded as if she was their mother.

"We will, Sora. Do you want someone to stay with you for a while longer?" Kari asked. Sora shook her head.

"I think I need some time to myself. Be careful, Kari," she said softly. Kari nodded and hugged Sora briefly.

"You, too." With that, all of the digidestined and Jun waved good bye to Sora and began to walk toward the door. Sora laughed to herself, causing everyone to look at her.

"What's so funny?" Joe asked. Sora smiled at him with glassy eyes, showing tears would soon come.

"Merry Christmas." Instead of raising their spirits, they all felt even worse. Not only had Tai cheated on Sora, but on Christmas Day, too.

"Merry Christmas, Sora," Joe replied finally. They all said Merry Christmas and walked out of Sora's bedroom door with heavy hearts for leaving her. Sora waited until she heard the door downstairs shut until she burst into tears again. She did feel broken. She felt like she could never put herself together again.

"I love you, Tai," she cried softly. The tears kept coming. Her heart was bleeding tears, just like Tai's. Bleeding and bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. She buried her face into her pillow and silently bled her tears.

*********************************************************************************************

"I feel so sorry for Sora. She really loved Tai," Mimi said as they walked closer to the hotel she was staying in. Matt sighed.

"She still does. I just can't believe Tai would do something like that to her. I mean, he always had a thing for her, and in the last few months, all he could talk about was how much he loved her. What the heck was going through his mind when he did that?" he asked, making wild gestures with his free hand. The other was being held by none other that Jun. Izzy and Mimi were walking side by side, but Izzy made a grab for her hand, and soon they were walking along just like Jun and Matt. T.K. had his arms wrapped around Kari's shoulders, and she had her hands clasped in front of her. Joe just walked behind them all, having vague jealousy for not having someone he could love.

"He was a jerk, but more than likely, Sora will take him back," Joe said. Matt looked at him and grinned.

"Much to your disappointment," he said slyly. Joe scowled.

"Would you stop that?! I don't want her like that, and I never will. Yes, I had a crush on her, but I don't anymore, okay?" he exclaimed. Matt shrank back.

"Whoa, okay. Somebody needs to get off the caffeine." Joe just kept the scowl on his face.

"We're here, Mimi," Izzy said, gesturing with his head toward a grand hotel. Mimi sighed.

"I had a good time tonight, Izzy. Despite all the interruptions and all," she said with a slight smile, but it was sad. Izzy returned it.

"I did, too. Well.. Goodnight," he said. He suddenly leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. She blushed, let go of his hand, and waved goodnight to everybody. They all waved back.

"Well, it looks like Izzy's got a girlfriend," T.K. said, laughing a little. Izzy looked at him and smiled.

"I hope so," he whispered. "She's really nice." Matt, Joe, T.K., and Kari nodded in agreement. Jun just had a blank look on her face.

"I don't know her that well, but she did seem really nice," she said. Matt nodded.

"She's really sincere," he said, smiling brightly. Jun looked at him strangely.

"What's so funny?" He just shook his head.

"Something that goes way back. Hey, Joe! Isn't your apartment somewhere over there?" Matt asked, gesturing toward a group of apartment complexes in front of them. Joe nodded.

"Yeah. My parents left earlier today. Dad's got some big conference and my mom went with him so he wouldn't have to spend Christmas alone. Jim's the only one I've got this whole week," he said sullenly. Izzy laughed.

"Well, your brother seems really nice," he said thoughtfully.

"HA! The last time you saw him was four years ago. He's a real pain once you get to know him." Matt laughed.

"That's how you can tell they're brothers," he whispered to Jun, who started laughing. Joe's face went red.

"I heard that," he hissed. T.K. laughed.

"It's only the truth, Joe. I guess we'll see you later, huh?" Joe nodded, still a little upset with Matt's comment.

"Yeah, I guess. It was really nice getting to see you guys," he said with a wave.

"Same here, Joe. Be careful!" Kari called after him. Then, the remaining digidestined continued their journey. Izzy's house came up next and they all waved good bye to him as he walked inside, still having a smile plastered to his face. He obviously had Mimi on his mind. T.K.'s apartment was next, but he refused to go in until he saw Kari home safely. Jun's apartment was after his. Matt wondered how they were going to say good bye.

"Well," Matt started. Jun let go of his hand and looked at him with tender eyes.

"Well... This is my stop," she said quietly. Matt smiled at her. It was a soft, compassionate smile.

"I never thought I'd say this, but I had a great time with you tonight," he said, laughing a little. Jun laughed with him.

"Me, too..." They stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like hours, but only seconds. T.K. and Kari looked on with smiles on their faces. "Well, I guess I'll go," she said finally, a little bit of disappointment in her voice. She turned around and started walking toward her apartment building.

"Jun, Wait!" She turned around to face Matt, who had been reaching out for her.

"Yes?" she asked, the hope reappearing in her voice. He stuck his hands in his pockets and looked down at his feet. He kicked a rock.

"W-w-w-would you l-l-like to g-go out with m-m-me someti-time?" he mumbled.

"What?" Jun asked, honestly not understanding him. Matt looked up at her.

"Would you like to go out with me sometime?" he asked, annunciating each word. Jun smiled brightly.

"Of course." He smiled.

"Good. Would tomorrow night be okay?" Her smile widened.

"That would be great." He started blushing.

"Well, uh... Good night. I'll call you tomorrow!" he called as Jun started walking toward her apartment. She looked back at him and waved.

"Good night, Matt," she called back and disappeared inside the doors. Matt turned around with a dreamy smile and a little bit of red still in his cheeks, which was not from the cold. T.K. and Kari were smiling.

"Aw, get over it," Matt said angrily, but couldn't make the smile disappear from his face. T.K. and Kari laughed.

"Don't be worried about us. I wonder if you'll get over it," Kari said, still laughing. Matt stuck his tongue out at them and they continued on their way home. They finally got to the Kamiya apartment. Kari seemed hesitant to leave T.K.'s protective arms, but he told her that she couldn't spend the night with him and that she needed to go home. She nodded and left his arms, but not without a lengthy kiss good night, and got in the elevator. As the doors closed, Matt could have sworn she had started crying again.

"Well, I guess I had better head back, Matt," T.K. said. Matt shook his head.

"No. Come home with me and I'll get Dad to drive you home," he said solemnly. T.K. smiled.

"Great. Now I won't have to walk home. Thanks, Matt." T.K.'s older brother shrugged.

"It's Christmas." With that, they both headed for Matt's apartment, both hoping that they could get their dad to take the younger brother home.

**********************************************************************************************

Sora sat up from her bed and looked around her. She looked at the time and gasped. It was already 9:30! She'd been crying for an hour. She got up and padded toward her bathroom. She turned on the cold water and splashed it on her face. She looked into the mirror and sighed. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She hadn't been wearing any makeup. She never did in an effort to keep her tomboyish personality. Sora ran a finger over the red swollen pockets under her eyes. She splashed more cold water on her face and turned the faucet off. She padded to her closet, rummaged through, and found a pair of suitable pajamas and changed. Sadness weighed her heart down. Her mind kept floating back to Tai, no matter how much effort she put into pushing him out of her thoughts.

"I miss you already," she whispered. She felt the tears well up in her eyes again, but used shear will power to push them back. 'Sora Takenouchi, you will NOT cry. Not now, anyway,' she thought firmly. She was still totally devastated. She loved Taichi Kamiya, no matter what, but that didn't mean she had to trust him anymore.

'What really hurts is that I wanted him just last night. He tells me he couldn't for religious reasons and that he was afraid I'd get pregnant. Then what the hell was he thinking about Kara? That God would just overlook him sleeping with Kara just because she's a slut? Or that if Kara got pregnant, it wouldn't matter? She probably wouldn't know who the father was anyway, but that's not the point! How could you, Tai? I try to give you the only thing I've got left that's WORTH anything, and you turn around and try to...to... sleep with a girl that gave what I was going to give you away so long ago? Why did you do it, Tai? Why did you have to do this to me!?'

Tears were coming back. Sora shut her eyes slowly and shook her head. No. She couldn't cry now. Not now. She had cried to much for the time being. She needed to stop crying. She needed to stop bleeding. She needed to stop dying.

'You are dying, Sora. You're dying without him. Slowly, but surely. You're dying because he's not here. You're dying because he made a stupid mistake. You're hurting. Your heart is the one that's aching for him to touch you and hold you in his arms. Does he realize what he's done to you?'

No, he probably didn't.

'It's all your fault, Sora! You're the one who asked him to sleep with you! You're the one that pushed him away!'

No, that wasn't true. Sora shook her head. She had to stop thinking like this. It really wasn't healthy for her, though she didn't care about her health anymore. Apparently, Tai didn't either.

'Why don't you go get some fresh air? It'll do you some good to get out.'

Sora snorted laughter. The last time she went out, she lost her fiancee. But, then again, what could a little walk in the park do?

'Just change into something remotely fit to be seen in public, slip on your coat and shoes, and leave for a while. Think about something besides Tai.'

With that, she did what her mind had suggested. She changed again and was soon ready. Sora trampled downstairs to hear her mother's cries. She worriedly went to her mother's room and gasped. Her own mother lay on her bed, crying just as Sora had earlier. Sora felt the tears come back to her own eyes, but she willed them away again.

'How much is your heart going to bleed, Sora? How much?'

She ignored the positively horrifying question her mind was asking her and walked away from her mother's bedroom. She took a piece of paper and wrote with her delicate handwriting where she was going and about what time she would be back. Adding a 'Don't worry about me' and 'Love, Sora", she threw the note down on the table and briskly walked out the door. She slowed her stride, however, trying to enjoy what was left of Christmas.

'Tai's a jerk. He shouldn't have done that to you. If he really loved you like he said, he wouldn't have done that. All of those verses of poetry that he "invented of the top of his head" are probably taken from some poetry book. He didn't really love you, Sora. He was always a jerk. He was a risk taker, and he just took one too many.'

Sora tensed up at the last sentence that ran through her mind. He always was a risk taker. The tears began to come back, but she made no effort to stop them. What was she crying about now? Or rather, why was she bleeding? She was crying because it didn't make her feel any better to shoot Tai down, no matter what he had done to her. Her mind felt that he was a jerk, but what did her heart feel?

'Tai may make wrong decisions sometimes, but he loves you more than anything. No, he shouldn't have done that to you, but he meant every word when he said "I love you" and you know it. That poetry was from his heart, not any book that could be written. He loves you, and you love him more with the passing of every year, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, and every... single... second. Yes, he was a risk taker, but you need to forgive him, Sora. Forgive him, and you will begin to trust him again.'

Sora nodded, as if the voice of her heart was real. She temporarily removed herself from the fight of mind and soul to recognize her surroundings. She took in a sharp breath. It was the park. Where she first asked Tai to sleep, or in his words, make love to her. Trees lined both sides of the sidewalk that lead straight down the center of the park. There were intersections of other sidewalks that led to the playground. She smiled tearily as she imagined a little red haired tomboy being chased by a boy with an ego as big as his hair. The girl stopped and laughed as the little boy slipped and fell in the snow that covered the park. The little red head went over and tried to help the little boy up, but he pulled her down beside her and began to tickle her relentlessly. Sora laughed at the memory, but sighed as she walked through the images of the past, which disappeared almost as quickly as they came. They faded away. Just like everything else anymore. They just faded away. Sure, they would come back momentarily, but how many times would that happen? How many memories had she lost?

'You could have so many more memories to replace the ones long lost, Sora. Forgive Tai and you can create new ones together.'

She kept walking, taking note of the good argument her heart was making against her mind, which was now quiet. Her mind's voice was now nothing, for it had nothing good to come back with. Her heart was winning. For now, anyway. She sat down on a bench near the playground and sighed, trying to remember a time when her and Tai had been perfectly happy playing games with each other and blushing every time one of them said something nice to the other. She remembered while looking at the swings that one time she had fallen out of one of them. She watched intently as the ghostly images from her memory resurfaced. The little red-headed tomboy fell out of the swings and began to cry. The little boy had a horrified look on his face. He had been pushing the little girl when she had fallen out of the swing and felt extremely upset with himself. Sora could see the little boy bending down and trying to help the red-head up. The girl got up slowly. She showed the little boy the scrape on her cheek. The boy began to blush a deep crimson.

"I'll make it better for ya, Sora," he said softly. The teenage Sora smiled. She remembered him telling her that. She remembered the butterflies that had fluttered in her stomach as she had asked him how, and remembered the incredible feeling that came over her as he simply replied by kissing her cheek.

"Hey! Aren't you Sora?" Sora's reminiscing was cut short. She whirled on the bench around to find a young man about as old as T.K. or Davis.

"Yes... You look familiar," she said, a little stunned that someone would know her. He had black hair and was somewhat taller than Davis, but about as tall as T.K. His eyes were very sad. He looked like someone who had lost so much. He smiled.

"I should. Remember me? I'm Ken," he said. His voice was soft and gentle, not at all what he was most remembered for. Sora smiled back, but hers was a sad, depressed smile.

"Oh. Hi, Ken. I haven't seen you in a while," she said, trying to make conversation, but that's not what she wanted to do at all.

"Close to a year. So... How are you?" he asked. Ken saw her shoulders drop almost immediately.

"Fine." He nodded, but he knew it wasn't the truth.

"I heard that you made the tennis team, but that was some time ago." She nodded slowly.

"Yeah, but then I quit because of..." She paused. "..family problems, but my coach called a few days ago and asked me to rejoin." Ken nodded.

"That's good. Nothing's been going on with me lately," he said, his voice still soft. Sora looked at him with a frown on her face.

"Too much has been going on with me," she said, almost hissing it. He looked a little taken back.

"Care to talk about it?" he asked kindly. Sora glared at him. She couldn't even remember his name and he's asking her if she'd like to talk to him? Well, she could spare the details.

"You're lending me an ear?" she asked. He nodded with a slight smile.

"Sure I am. It's nice when I can be there for somebody. Everyone's always been here for me," he said, but his soft tone became a little saddened. Sora nodded.

"Well, if you insist." She took a deep breath. It couldn't hurt to talk to him. "I've been going out with this guy for a little over four months-"

"Taichi, right?" he asked. Sora nodded suspiciously.

"How did you know?"

"I heard it from Kari, I believe. I also heard something about an engagement from her." Sora smiled.

"I wonder how many others she told," she said. Ken shrugged.

"No telling with her, but you were saying?" Sora took another deep breath and told him about that night's events, shedding quite a few silent tears as she said it. Ken looked extremely worried when she finished. 'Maybe that's because I'm crying like a baby," she thought angrily. Instead of telling her to stop crying, she was surprised when Ken patted her on the back.

"He made a mistake, that's all," he said quietly. Sora just looked at him.

"You don't know how his 'mistake' makes me feel," she said angrily. Ken lifted his eyebrows and shrugged.

"I'm sure I don't. I've been through a lot, and I know how it feels to lose someone," he said slowly. Sora's eyes softened as he continued. "I know I felt like I needed to take out my revenge out someone right then and there, and unfortunately, I found a way how. But now, looking back, I realize that I could have waited it out and gone through my period of mourning without hurting someone that I love. It's a shame I realize that now, but I'll remember that lesson. I guess what I'm trying to say is-"

"Don't go out and do anything that I'll regret, right?" Sora finished for him. His sad face showed her a smile, but his eyes were still so melancholy.

"Exactly. Well, I need to get going. I just thought that I'd take a walk through the park, you know? Good luck with Hikari's brother," he said softly. Sora smiled at the mentioning of Kari's full name. It was something none of the digidestined heard very often.

"Thank you. I hope you become happy someday," she said after he got up and turned his back to her. He froze.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked, his soft voice now shaky. Sora bowed her head as he turned around to look at her. She looked back up at him to meet those eyes.

"Your eyes. You're very sad, Ken. I can tell. Hey, listen, if you ever need someone to talk to, you can call me, okay?" she said. Ken narrowed his eyes and laughed nervously. He began walking away again.

"You know, Sora. I just might take you up on that," he said as he walked away. Sora smiled. At least she could be of use to somebody.

'That kid dished out some pretty good advice, you know.'

Yes, he had. Very, very good advice. Some that she wished he had given Tai, but the past was the past.

'He also said something about revenge, Sora. Wouldn't that be nice?'

No! She couldn't do anything to get back at Tai. He was probably hurting enough.

'You could do what he almost did. You know, kind of adding insult to injury?'

No! Sora fought with herself. It was mind vs. soul again.

'Sora, just go home and go to bed. It's been a hard day, and you need your rest.'

Yes, that's what she needed. She needed sleep. Wait. She felt she needed to talk to somebody. Who could she talk to? She wasn't sure what room Mimi was in, and in that hotel, they probably wouldn't give her the room number. Jun wasn't the kind of person Sora wanted to talk to right now. Matt lived pretty far away. She didn't want a technical description of what was going on, so Izzy was out. Yolei, Cody, and Davis weren't exactly talking material. Ken had provided some kind of closure, but she needed a closer friend. Kari was out of the question. She lived too far away and she lived with Tai. T.K. was a possibility, but he probably walked Kari home. That left Old Reliable himself. Sora got up from the bench and began to walk out of the snow-covered park, where memories had been created and memories had been lost. She only hoped that she wouldn't be lost like her memories. She hoped she wouldn't fade away. But deep in her heart, she was fading away without Tai. Without him, she was lost.

Possibly forever.

**********************************************************************************************

Joe flopped down on his couch. He had gotten there over an hour and a half ago, but he hadn't done anything except get something to drink and was currently watching TV. He propped his feet up on his coffee table, something that was restricted if his parents had been home. He smiled, rejoicing in the fact that he was temporarily free from his mother and father's tyrannic rule. He had noticed almost right away that Jim wasn't home, but he couldn't find a note that said where his brother was. Joe put his cup of coke down on his table, but noticed a piece of paper that had some scribbles on it. He picked it up and began to read with great difficulty. "I've got to teach him how to write," he mumbled to himself.

Hey Joe!

Went to a party. Don't be surprised if you don't see me until morning. I'll probably just crash there tonight.

Jim

"Jim was invited to a party??? When did that happen?" Joe wondered aloud. He shrugged and threw the note aside. "I can at least spend the rest of Christmas in peace." He got up again to go to the refrigerator, yawning and stretching as he went along. He looked at the clock and gasped in surprise. "10:00! Wow. I need to take a shower." With that, Joe went to his room, gathered his sleeping clothes and a towel, and went to the bathroom to take a hot shower.

**********************************************************************************************

Sora sighed. She looked up at the tall apartment building. She knew which floor Joe was on, but otherwise had no idea. She made herself go inside, briskly walking past an older couple. She rushed to the elevator and waited for it to arrive at her floor. It dinged, opened, and Sora hopped in. She pressed the 4 button and waited for it to take her up to her friend's floor, where she would execute a lengthy method of knock-to-see-if-it's-the-right-person to find where Joe lived.

**********************************************************************************************

There was furious knocking on the Kido family's door. Joe couldn't hear it however. He was too caught up in the relaxing jet streams of his shower.

"JOE! OPEN UP! PLEASE! I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!" Joe heard that. Who couldn't? He had no idea who it could be, however. He got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his mid section. He had soap in his hair and on his back, but it sounded important.

"Coming! Hold on!" he shouted. He opened the bathroom door, allowing steam to tumble out into the hall. "I'm coming!" The furious knocking stopped for a second or two. Then it started again. Joe was becoming agitated. "WHAT?!" he screamed as he threw open the door, but was surprised to see Sora. "Oh, Sora! I'm sorry. I didn't know it was you." Sora's mouth dropped open. Joe looked down, gasped, and blushed.

"If I came at a bad time, I can lea-"

"No! It's okay. You just caught me in the shower. Come in and take a seat. I'll go finish showering, okay? I'll be right out. Is everything okay?" he asked, his face covered in concern. Sora gave him a 'what do you think?' look and he instantly felt stupid. "Okay, well, I'll go get this soap out of my hair." He ran back to the bathroom and shut the door behind him. Sora stepped into the apartment and shut the door behind her. "You can grab something to eat if you want!" he shouted from the shower. She shook her head.

"No, thanks." She began to walk around again. She admired the degrees that decorated all of the walls and smiled. Joe's family was so successful while hers... well, wasn't.

'You can have your revenge, Sora.'

Sora shook her head. No, she couldn't do that. She still loved Tai, and two wrongs don't make a right. Besides, Joe was a good friend. That was something that didn't need to be taken advantage of.

'But you and Tai started out as friends. Just think of what you and Joe could be. You could be lovers in the true sense of the word. He's a good man and he already told you that he loves you. You and he could do things that Tai was too weak to do. You and he could become one soul, Sora. He's a good person.'

Her mind did have a good point, but her heart was still torn over Tai. He was the one she wanted to become "one" with. They were soul mates, in the true sense of the word. She needed him, and nothing could change that or take his place. Suddenly, she began to lose control of her actions. It was like her mind was building walls against her. The "real" Sora was trapped behind a wall while something else took over her actions. The "new" Sora frantically began to search for Joe's room.

'NO! You love Tai! You love Tai more than anything!'

The "new" Sora paid no attention to the cries of her heart. The "real" Sora was trapped within herself. She was lost in her own mind. She was fading away. Tai wasn't there to make her strong anymore. She wasn't ever going to be strong without him. She was weak, and something that had been buried in her mind for years had taken over her with surprising and horrifying strength.

'I'm fading without you, Tai. I'm fading away. I'm lost and I'm scared. Tai, please, help me!'

But, of course, Taichi couldn't hear the silent cries from her mind. She found Joe's room and quickly shut the door behind her. Then, the "new" Sora began to undress, pushing the "real" Sora farther and farther into a world of darkness and no hope. She was lost. She was fading away. She was scared, but she could do nothing.

**********************************************************************************************

Joe jumped out of the shower and dried off quickly and put on his glasses, which were fogged up tremendously.

"Damn glasses..." he mumbled as he blindly searched for his clothes and began to put them on. All he had was an old t-shirt and some flannel boxers, but he was sure Sora wouldn't take it personally. He wiped his glasses clean again, but they fogged up again within the minute. He turned off the light and blindly began to feel his way out of the bathroom. "Sora? Where are you? I can't exactly see right now," he called.

"I'm in your room!" she called. Joe straightened up suddenly. In his room? Why was she in there? 'Get your mind out of the gutter, Joe Kido. Just get it OUT of the gutter.'

"Okay..." he said as he began to feel his way to his room. By that time, the fog on his glasses had formed into tiny beads of water and he could see a little bit more clearly. He stopped however and wiped them clean again, except this time, they stayed that way. He continued to his room and opened the door. "Now what's the mat-" He stopped abruptly and let his jaw drop.

There was Sora. On his bed. Naked.

"S-s-s-sora??? What are you doing???" he asked, perplexed by the whole situation. She got up from his bed and walked toward him. "Why are you naked, for crying out loud??" She didn't answer. She just kept walking closer to him. "What's gotten into you???" Sora walked up to him until she was so close that she could have kissed him. She pressed her body against Joe, who was beginning to hyperventilate.

"Calm down, Joe. Shh," she whispered. Joe wondered how she wanted him to calm down when there was a naked girl pressing her body against his, but he tried his best.

"What do you want, Sora?" 'Please don't let it be sex...please!'

"I want you to make love to me, Joe Kido, and I won't take 'no' for an answer," she said seductively. Joe gulped audibly.

"No." She pressed against him even more. This was almost too much for Joe, no matter how level headed he tried to be.

"Yes, you will. I want you more than anything right now," she whispered again. She released the pressure she was applying with her body and stood back from him. Thoughts began to race through his mind. She was very, VERY tempting at this point, but he had said just that night that he didn't want to take advantage of her. She was in a weak state of mind, and he would never live with himself if he did anything with her. However, this would probably be his only chance to sleep with one of the best girls he had ever met, heck, THE best girl he had ever met. Sora was so sweet, caring, charming, trusting, beautiful, compassion- HOLD UP! Wait a minute. She is trusting. Meaning that she is gullible right now. No, he couldn't do it. She trusted him with friendship, and that was worth more than any one-night stand.

"Yes, you may right now, but what about tomorrow? You won't want me then," he said. He felt a pang of sadness. Nobody ever wanted him. Nobody ever had.

"Yes, I will, Joe. You told me you loved me, remember?" Joe mentally kicked himself.

"As a best friend, Sora, not as a lover," he corrected. Sora walked forward and kissed him passionately. He didn't want to break the kiss, but he had to in the name of friendship. This hurt him. Sora was his best friend and she was one of the most beautiful, caring, and loving girls he would ever meet. She actually wanted him, Joe Kido. Manly urges filled his body, but he figured he would be more of a man to resist her than to take her.

"Please, Joe. I need this," she whispered, her eyes becoming glassy. Joe sighed shakily. Either she was being sincere, or she was a dang good actor. She hugged him, pressing her bare body against his chest. This was enough to drive a man over the edge. "Please."

"Mmmhmm. I don't know, Sora," he said slowly. Sora looked at him and stood back, revealing her naked body to him once again.

"If you can't take me like this, then who can? Am I that worthless, Joe? Am I?" she asked, gesturing to her body. He tried to fight the urge to look at her, but it became too much. He took her in with his eyes. He sighed and took a step forward and touched her hair, red as fire.

"You're not worthless, Sora. You're worth the world to me. If you want me to prove it, I'll do this, but only to prove that you are worth more than you think. You're so beautiful, Sora, but I am your friend. This will be hurting our relationship as friends more than you realize. What about Tai? You love him." Sora cringed at this statement. The "real" Sora was fighting back against her worse half. That's all it was. Not alter egos or multiple personalities, but a fight between what was right and what was wrong. Sora's "right" half was fighting back with all her might. Joe continued without her answer. "What will happen to us after this?" he asked. Sora shook her head and smiled.

"I don't know, but I'm sure it will be more than friendship," she said softly. Joe smiled back at her. He cupped his hands around her face and kissed her deeply. She kissed him back softly, almost driving him wild. He took off his shirt, and she pressed herself against him. "Do you really love me, Joe?"

"You're my best friend. I love you as that, but nothing more."

"Could you love me as something more?" Joe hesitated.

"Yes, I suppose I could. Why are you asking me this?" Sora paused. Why was she asking him this?

"I wanted to know." Joe nodded, as if accepting this, but then looked deep into her eyes and brushed her hair back from her face.

"Do you love me, Sora?" he asked slowly. Sora nodded.

"As a friend."

"Could you love me as something more?" Sora hesitated. This was a harder question for her than it had been for Joe.

"I-I-I think so," she stammered. Joe winced.

"You can't love me, can you?"

"Yes, I can. I already do."

"You know what we're about to do will either drive us apart or put us together, right?"

"Yes, I know that."

"And you're telling me that you think you can love me after we do this?" Sora sighed shakily.

"I will love you after we do this." Joe nodded hesitantly.

"Fine." With that, he began to kiss her. She let him kiss her without stopping him, but the "right" Sora was screaming inside. 'I LOVE TAI! NO! Joe, please stop! Please!' Then, the "right" Sora just did what she could to keep her sanity. She began to imagine Joe was Tai. Joe laid Sora down on his bed and continued to kiss her, but he hadn't let his hands wander yet. He wanted to give Sora a chance to stop this before he went too far. 'Please stop me, Sora. I'm hurting you and Tai. Please just say the word and I'll stop. You're worth more you'll ever realize, just please, make me stop.' She began to kiss him back.

"I love you, Tai," she whispered. Joe almost jumped for joy. He grabbed her hands, which had been making their way down his stomach to his boxers.

"What did you just say?" he asked. Sora looked confused.

"I said I loved you."

"But what did you call me?"

"Joe, of course." Joe frowned. He had wanted this whole thing to stop, but he didn't want it to stop in such a hurtful way.

"No, Sora. You called me Tai. You were pretending I was Tai, weren't you?" he asked. Suddenly, the "right" Sora crashed through the walls that the "wrong" Sora had built.

"Joe!" she cried as she hugged him. He was a bit taken back, but he wrapped his arms around her.

"Shh, Sora. I was wondering what had gotten into you," he whispered. He felt extremely sorry for her as she began to cry. 'She loves him so much.'

"Oh, Joe! I'm so sorry! One minute, all I wanted to do was talk to you, the next, I can't control what I'm doing and I'm trying to seduce you! I'm so sorry! And now I've cheated on Tai! Oh, what have I done?" she whimpered. Joe hugged her solemnly and closed his eyes. 'It's my fault, Sora. I should have never have given in.'

"Actually, Sora, I don't think it was really 'you' that tried this with me. You're in a rather... weak frame of mind. It wasn't you, Sora. I know it wasn't." Sora smiled sadly at him.

"Maybe..." He unwrapped her arms from around him and looked at her chest. She was beautiful, but she still needed to have clothes on.

"Sora, maybe you should put some clothes on," he said softly. Sora looked down and gasped.

"I'm just as bad as Kara is!" Joe abruptly put his hands on her shoulders and shook her gently. She looked him in the eye.

"Don't ever say that, Sora. You're nothing like her," he whispered. Sora nodded like a little child. "Now, I'll leave so you can get dressed, okay?" She nodded again. He stopped at the doorway and turned around, trying not to look at her. "You know, Sora. It's really late and it's kind of dangerous on the streets, so you can stay here if you want." Sora looked at him, stunned.

"After what I've done to you, Joe? Are you being serious?" Joe nodded.

"No matter what would have happened, I would have still cared for you as my best friend. I don't want you to get hurt," he said, still trying to avoid looking at her. Sora nodded.

"Thank you, Joe, but I don't have any sleeping clothes." Joe blindly pointed to a chest of drawers.

"Just go and get some out of there. You can have them once you're done with them," he said. Sora smiled.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome," he said and turned on his heels out the door. "I'm calling your mom and telling her that you're all right," Joe called.

"You don't have to, Joe. I don't think she even knows I'm gone."

"Are you sure?"

"Positive."

"Whatever." He sat down in the living room and began to watch TV again. He flipped through a couple of channels that were showing It's a Wonderful Life and decided to watch it from lack of other choices. Finally, Sora came into the living room. She was wearing a very baggy shirt from Joe's collection and some long boxers. He made a half smile at her and patted the seat beside him. She bit her bottom lip and sat down beside him.

"I'm really sorry, Joe. Now I don't know how you or Tai will forgive me," she said softly, almost starting to cry again. She buried her head into his shoulder and began to weep silently. Joe gingerly wrapped an arm around her.

"There's no need for me to forgive you, and Tai, no matter how much of a jerk he can be sometimes, will forgive you, but you have to forgive him first," he said quietly. Sora kissed Joe on the cheek, making him blush. He was amazed at the fact at how far they had just gone but a simple peck on the cheek caused him to blush like a lovesick teenager.

"You're a real friend, Joe. I do love you, but not in that way," she said. Joe nodded.

"Same here," he whispered. They both began to watch the movie. Sora, at one point in time, had buried her head into his shoulder again to cry silently. Joe didn't mind. He felt awfully guilty for what he had done to her emotionally. Though it wasn't all his doing, he still could have refused her. The movie ended soon afterward. Joe looked at Sora and smiled. She was asleep, of course. She was very beautiful when she was asleep, something that he was sure that only he and Tai knew. He ran a hand through his hair and pushed his glasses up on his nose. He strained to pick Sora up, as he wasn't very strong, and carried her to his room. He laid her down on the same bed that they had almost committed a sacred act in. He covered her up and brushed the hair from her eyes, tucking it behind her ears, smiling the whole time. He cupped her cheek sadly. 'The best girl a guy could have. You're a lucky man, Tai. A very lucky man. What could have happened if I had told her I loved her a long time ago, Tai? I could have had her. She could have been mine. But I don't like her that way anymore. She's my best friend now. How could it have been if I had you, Sora? How could it have been if I had taken you not even an hour ago? What if you were my girl, Sora? Then you wouldn't be happy because you and Tai are soul mates. I doubt if I even have one. Joe Kido, loner for life.' He ran his hand over her cheek and frowned, feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness sweep over him. Suddenly, Sora shifted in the bed. He drew back his hand quickly, but she didn't wake up. She had a sad smile on her face. She was dreaming.

"I love you, Tai," she murmured. Joe felt that sadness bear down on him even more than before. He got up and practically ran from his room. He sat down on the couch, took off his glasses, and threw them on the table in front of him. 'You're a loner, Joe. The only girl that you could have possibly wanted has her heart taken. You can't have her. You aren't doing what you want to do in life and you won't have anyone to share your misery with. Sora's taken, man. You're her best friend now, but there was a time that you liked her. Loved her, even. It's too late now. There's no one for you, Joe. There's no one for you. You're going to grow old and die alone. Sure they may be a one night stand or two with no love involved, but for the rest of your life, you're going to be alone and unloved. Alone.'

At this point, Joe put his face in his hands and began to cry.

*****************************************************************************************************

'Where am I?' Tai thought. It was night time and there were trees everywhere. There were a few birds and a lot of crickets chirping. There were flowers everywhere. 'It's our world. It's the world Sora and I created,' he realized. He began to run. He didn't know where, but he just felt like he needed to run. He ran past many, many trees until he came to a clearing. There was a huge pond that had crystal clear water in it. Right in the middle was an island with a huge weeping willow tree. Tai saw that there was a figure under it that looked remotely familiar. The person had their knees folded against their chest and seemed to be crying into folded arms.

"Sora?" he said, not sure if it was who he thought it was or not. The figure looked up and smiled.

"Tai!" Sora yelled. Her auburn hair seemed to shimmer in the moonlight. The water sparkled as a gentle breeze began to blow. The willow's branches began to sway in the breeze, creating a rippling effect in the clear water with it's gentle movements. Tai felt the breeze wrap around his body. He looked down and saw that he wasn't wearing anything, but he wasn't embarrassed. He loved Sora, and he wasn't about to let something like that keep him from her. He jumped into the pond and began to swim for the little island.

"I'm coming, Sora! I love you so much! I'm so sorry for what I did!" he panted as he swam closer and closer. Sora was reaching out for him.

"I forgive you, Tai! I love you, too!" she called, still weeping. The weeping willow seemed to be crying with her, as if it was her comfort when Tai couldn't be there. He swam and swam. The water was warm, so it wasn't like he was swimming in ice or anything, but it was still a long way there. When he looked down, he could see the bottom of the pond, which was actually big enough to account for a lake. He kept swimming until he reached the little island. He climbed up on it's banks and looked longingly at Sora. The willow branches wrapped around her body in a protective manner, as if it were her mother. She was fully clothed and he was naked. A very obvious difference. He reached down and touched the ground. Where he had touched it, a flower sprouted. It was a beautiful mix of yellow and red, the colors of their crests. He smiled, picked it, and held it out to her.

"I'm so sorry, Sora. I don't know what I was thinking. Please, take this. I want you back in my arms. I'll die without you," he whispered, feeling tears coming up to his eyes. She smiled sadly.

"I'm dying without you, too, Tai. I love you," she whispered. He held out his arms to her and felt overwhelming joy when she ran into his arms. He closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of her hair. He opened them again to find that he was in a black tux. Sora was in a beautiful dress that seemed to be made out of a blue that matched moonbeams. There was a streak of red and yellow running through it. He smiled at the sight.

"I missed you so much. I know it's only been hours, but if feels like years," he said softly. Sora smiled tearily.

"Just kiss me, Tai," she whispered back. He grinned and kissed her, softly at first, then more and more passionately as seconds ticked on. Suddenly, the figure in his arms started to change. Sora's hair became darker and darker until it was as black as night. Her dress became a matching color. When Tai opened his eyes and looked at what he was holding in his arms, he gasped. Sora didn't have ice blue eyes. Sora didn't even look like this, but there was one person that he knew of that did.

Kara Ishya.

"NOOOO!!" he cried. Kara began to cackle.

"Come on, Tai. Take me. You know you want my body more than Sora's," she teased. Tai put his hands on his head.

"No! This can't be happening! I almost had her! Please God! Please, let this be a dream! Please!" Suddenly, the ground from underneath him formed into a hole and dropped down into an abyss of his own despair, screaming the whole way down. Screaming for his lost love.

Screaming for Sora.

******************************************************************************************************

"SORA!" he screamed. He bolted upright and looked around. He was in his bedroom. "Thank you, God," he whispered, glad that someone had answered his desperate pleas for help. Though it had been a nightmare, he was still shaken. He got up from his bed and walked over to a dresser mirror that Kari used every morning to get ready. He felt so broken. He was worse that when he had gone to bed. He felt like an empty shell. He felt incomplete without knowing Sora was always with him. He walked over to his coat and reached in one of the pockets, bringing out the silver cased Timex pocket watch. He flipped it over and ran his thumb over the three lines that meant the most to him.

I'll never leave you

and I'll always love you

Tai and Sora forever

'She said she'd never leave you... You must have messed up bad, Taichi. Sora never makes a promise like that and then goes and breaks it for no reason. You hurt her badly.'

Yes, he knew he had. He felt extremely sorry for it, too. He wasn't a man if he did that to her, and he knew that now. He just wanted her back at any costs. What if she had done something to get back at him?

'Would you want her back, Tai?'

He didn't care what she did, he just wanted her back in his arms. He just wanted her back. Tai looked behind him at the top bunk and saw his sister laying there asleep. She hadn't spoken a word to him when she came in, and he hadn't expected her to. His younger sister was extremely upset with him, and he knew she would be. Hikari was always protective of her friends, and Sora was no exception. Out of curiosity, Tai decided to take a look at his wings. They were a symbol of his and Sora's relationship, and he wanted to know what kind of shape they were in. He willed them to come out of his back and almost died when he saw them in the pale moonlight. They were molting. Feathers were lying everywhere. Tai looked into the mirror and gasped. They were bent and torn. That's what he felt inside. Bent and torn. Shattered and broken. He looked down and saw some of the feathers lying at his feet. He bent over slowly and picked one of them up. He looked at it and began to cry. It was a red feather. A crimson feather. It was red with his blood. Blood from his heart. Blood from all the tears he had shed. He knew this by some instinctive knowledge. He also knew that this was not just his blood. Somehow, he knew that this was Sora's blood, too. She had been bleeding tears with him. Taichi also knew something else that was much, much more disturbing. He knew what would happen if the two soul mates didn't get back together soon.

They would bleed themselves to death.



A/N: Man, this part turned out better than I thought. What the heck was Sora thinking? The key was, she wasn't. Poor girl. I feel so sorry for her. She's so confused, but it's not like Tai's got it all figured out, either. The person I feel the worst for in this one is Joe. He thinks he'll be alone for the rest of his life because he didn't get Sora when he had the chance. Poor guy. I feel so sorry for beating him up like that. Don't worry. The next part will be better. Am I still making a good story? Is it still good? I think it's getting sort of boring, but I will not say it sucks. I think the Endangering Forever portion of the How to Fly series are the best ones so far. I dunno, maybe not, but it's just an opinion.

I guess I could ask for 15 reviews, but I don't want to seem greedy (although I'm not). I am just asking for what you, my readers, are gracious enough to give me this time. So all I will say is please review. I will not force the reviews from you. Forgive me for my non-existent "greediness" and I will be grateful for any reviews you give me.

THANKS!

Artisan of the Written Word

a.k.a.

The Writer