Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. I never have, and I never will. Duh. I don't know why anyone would think that I owned it, but I don't want to be sued, so..

Author's Note: Okay, here's a Digimon fic. Why? Because I felt like it. I normally don't write Digimon one-shots, but I just wanted to, okay? Leave me alone.

This story is Taito friendly! So, if yaoi/shounen-ai isn't your cup of tea, feel free to leave now. Also, there's cursing. But if you don't mind yaoi, cursing shouldn't really bother you.

Other notes: I'm using all sorts of nicknames for the characters. Also, I don't really know if this is semi-AU or not. Just go with it. I won't use any Japanese words in here, except maybe -kun, -chan, and the like. Maybe. Not 'moshi moshi', 'konnichi-wa', or anything like that. That way, no one will be wondering what a word means, right? Good. Also, I like Sora. Sorry or all you Sora-haters, but, come on. She's the crest of love, for crying out loud. She can't be all bad.

ALSO- REALLY IMPORTANT!!!!!!! I'm using an American version of school. Simply put, I've never been to a Japanese school, so I don't want to mess it up with my wrong interpretations. So, the kids move from class to class, and other such stuff applies. Also, houses are similar to American houses. What can I say? I'm American. I need to write what I know.

The continuation will come at some future date. Right now, I just want to see how much interest I get in this fic. Please R&R if you like it and want more!!!!!!! Thanks a lot!!!!!!!



The Best-Kept Secrets



Life was so ordinary. It had been, for years now. Ever since they had saved the Digiworld. It had been an adventure, and perhaps they had thought that things would never change. That they would continue to travel between the two worlds, helping to keep the peace and befriending more digimon. What a shock it had been, when they had separated from their digimon companions to live in their own world, and never again travel to the digital world.

At first, no one knew what to do. The gate to the digital world was forever closed, and, despite their best attempts otherwise, would remain so.

Why were they all so eager to return? That one fateful day had started out so ordinary, yet it had changed them all so much. Was it really necessary to return? To escape from this world once again?

Yamato sighed. Perhaps the others had their own reasons for wanting to return, but he only knew his own.

A loud timer went off, interrupting Yamato's thoughts. He quickly turned off the stove and began to stir a few herbs and spices into the concoction. He stirred it for maybe five, six minutes before another timer went off. He left the original mixture alone and bent to check on the meat.

It was business as usual for him. Every day, if he wanted to eat, he had to cook. He was considered to be a good chef, but he thought it was more cause-and-effect than natural ability. Most things he knew how to do were probably from the necessity of taking care of his house. He did the laundry, cleaned the house, and went grocery shopping. It might have been considered somewhat odd for a fourteen-year-old boy to be doing such things, but he knew it was the only way things would ever get done around his house.

After all, his father was completely unable to do anything even related to housework. Not that he had much of a choice in the matter. The job he had chosen required a lot of time away from home, and the time he did come home he either spent doing extra work or sleeping.

The meal was finally complete, and Yamato set out two places on the table. Chances were good that his father would miss tonight's meal, but he always left a place set anyway. It was somehow easier thinking that he might make it this time.

There was one small lamp burning across the room. It gave just enough light to see by. Whenever he was home alone, he used as little light as possible. The darkness was comfortable, and he enjoyed basking in it. There was warmth there that just wasn't present when everything was uncovered by light.

He lifted his glass and drank some slowly. The liquid felt smooth going down his throat. He placed the glass down and tried to ignore the clink that echoed throughout the room. The knife he lifted felt cool under his fingertips, and he began to meticulously cut through the meat. He brought each individual piece up to his mouth, and ate slowly. There was no hurry. No need to rush. No one was waiting for him. No one was in some horrible situation, that only he could save them from. It didn't matter if he was here, or somewhere else. It really didn't matter.

If he tried hard enough, he could almost forget that he was alone.

The phone rang. His thoughts were immediately, thankfully, interrupted. He stood up and crossed the room.

"Hello?" His voice sounded hollow, even to him.

"Matt! Good, you're there." The voice on the other end sounded breathy, almost as if he had just been running. The sound was familiar, so much so that Yamato already knew what it would say.

"Hey, dad."

"Hey, listen, I'm really sorry, but I'm going to be late tonight. An assignment just came up, and I have to get it done before tomorrow."

"Sure. No problem."

"You sure?"

"You bet."

"Great. Thanks, Matt."

"Bye."

"See you later!"

The phone went dead in his hands. He set it back on the receiver with a click. It was not surprising that his father would be home late again. Ever since he could remember, his father would continuously be late. He would always be busy with work. It didn't really bother him. Much. Why should it bother him? His father was working to support him, after all. It would be selfish of him to ask for more. Wouldn't it?

Sitting back down at the table, he realized he had everything he could want. He had the best friends anyone could ever ask for, a father who worked day and night for him, and a little brother who looked up to him. That was all he needed, really. He could survive with just that.

The rest of the meal passed in silence.

~*~*~*~*~*~

After the dishes were done, Yamato wrapped up the leftovers and left them in the refrigerator. His father would eat them whenever he got home tonight. Or the next morning.

His eyes scrutinized the kitchen. It was completely clean, but he knew it would be dirty again tomorrow. For now, at least, the shining counters seemed to sparkle in appreciation for him. He flicked off the light and walked through the darkness into his bedroom.

Yamato's room was the only room of the house that had any personality. The walls were covered with rock and roll posters, most of which were bent or slightly torn. His window opened onto the street below, but the frayed shades were drawn tightly, preventing any view. His desk was surprisingly neat, given the rest of his room. The papers were only slightly scattered, and two or three pens were free to roll as they pleased. Pictures of Takeru, the digi-destined, his father, and Gabumon with the other digimon were arranged in a puzzling pattern just above his desk. The three biggest pictures were of Takeru and him sleeping underneath a tree together, a group shot of all of the digi-destined and their digimon (taken by his father), and Taichi and him laughing. His bed was unmade, the sheets comfortably wrinkled and worn. His sheets were dark green, which didn't match at all with the brown carpet. He had long ago forgotten what color his walls were. The spaces between the posters were various shades of blue, however, and he figured it would be somewhere in that color range. His closet was open, clothes falling out of it at every imaginable angle. His stereo was on a small table in the corner, where he could easily listen to his extensive music collection or practice his harmonica and guitar without worrying about knocking something else over.

His room was probably the only messy room in the house. He felt comfortable in it, relaxed. The rest of the house almost seemed to stifle him with its cleanliness. It felt good to be messy, sometimes.

Yamato immediately shut his door behind him and jumped on his bed. The mattress moved gently, and the soft cotton sheets welcomed him. He yawned and looked up to check the time. It was only 8:37 pm. Definitely not late enough for sleep just yet. Maybe he should do some homework. It might keep his mind off of everything else.

He stared at his book bag and narrowed his eyes. School. What a waste. It only took up time and energy. But, everyone needed to suffer through it.

His books were soon laid out on his desk. Yamato flipped through page after page of work, reading various passages and solving equations. It was a relief when the phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Matt?" The voice was cheerful, and Yamato felt himself immediately smile.

"Tai."

"What's up?"

"Just doing homework."

"Oh. Pretty lame."

"You're telling me. How about you?"

"Not much. I'm trying to not be completely bored. It's not working."

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"So, why'd you call?" Not that it was a bad thing hearing his voice. Oh, no. Not a bad thing at all.

"Just thought you might be bored."

"Yeah, well, you know."

"Hmm. Yeah. Your dad there?"

"He's still at work."

"Oh." Tai was careful about that. He never knew what to say when the subject came up, so Yamato was surprised Tai had brought it up himself. Then again, Tai really did try to understand more about him every time they talked. He guessed that's what friends did. Friends...

"It's alright. I know he's got to work. I don't care."

"Uh-huh. Sure."

"What?"

"Nothing, nothing. No offense."

"It really doesn't bother me."

"Did I say it bothered you?"

"... You were thinking it."

"What, you can read my mind now?"

"So you WERE thinking it!"

"Matt."

"What?"

"... You're crazy."

"Look who's talking."

He laughed, and it made Yamato smile even more. Tai had a great laugh.

"Hey, Matt?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna sleep over this weekend?"

"Sure."

"Cool. I've got this game on Saturday, so I was thinking we could hang out Friday night, you know, watch movies at my place or something."

"Whatever. Sounds good to me." It sounded great to him, actually.

"Awesome. I'll ask my mom later. I'm sure she'll say yes."

"She always has before."

"No one can resist my charm!"

"I'm sorry, I must have misheard you. I thought you said you had charm."

"Are you trying to imply something?"

"Yes."

"Good. Glad we got that straightened out."

Yamato had a reply, a good one, too. But his laughter came out first, and then Tai started laughing, and then they were both too far gone to care anymore.

It was nice, laughing with him. Talking with Tai always brightened his day. He made Yamato smile. At first he thought it was because Tai was such an idiot, but then he realized it was probably because Tai really did care about him. He was a good friend. Yamato was lucky to have him. They would be best friends forever. Sometimes he had to remind himself of that. Sometimes, when he became depressed, he would have to remind himself that he was friends with Tai. Nothing less than friends. Best friends. Nothing more than it, either.

It was probably wrong to want to be closer to him. To want to be there for him always, and protect him. To want to run his hands through his hair, or stare into his eyes for hours on end. Wanting those things was wrong. They were things that he could never have. It would be easier to stop wanting them, but he couldn't. Those visions were too important to him to lose.

So, they were friends. The best of friends. It would have to be enough. If it wasn't enough, he was in trouble. Because then he might lose Tai for real. If he ever told Tai even one of his thoughts, Yamato would lose him. There would be nothing left for him after that. Silence was his only option. He didn't want to lose Tai.

He couldn't lose moments like this.

The laughter stopped as eventually it must, and eventually the conversation concluded. Why must 'all good things come to an end'? He hung the phone back up with Tai's farewell lingering in his ears.

It really was getting late. Yamato would probably be tired tomorrow. However, a phone call with Tai ranked higher on his list of priorities than sleep. He changed quickly and slid in between his sheets. His bed was warm and comforting, and he sighed contentedly. Tomorrow was Thursday. He had dinner with TK planned. What should he make? Takeru tried to come over at least once a week, but his schedule was hectic. It continuously surprised Yamato that TK always found time to hang out with him.

He drifted off into sleep slowly. Blackness filled his vision, and sweet dreams of things that were never meant to be plagued his mind.

They lingered for a long while.

~*~*~*~*~*~

A loud ringing woke him. Yamato groaned and threw his hand out on his desk, searching for the culprit.

"Shut up," he moaned into his pillow. He knit his eyebrows in frustration when he couldn't find the alarm clock. Growling, he tore his covers off and yanked himself up. He quickly looked to his left and grabbed the alarm.

"I said, shut up!" The clock hit the far wall with a loud thud, gave one final, pitiful ring, and fell in defeat. It was, fortunately, used to his irrational behavior.

Yamato blinked and struggled to stay awake. Sleeping was so peaceful. He didn't have to worry about anything when he was asleep. Not about schoolwork, or what to make for dinner, or anything else that normally plagued him.

He eventually stood up and stretched his legs. They always ached after a long night. He used to wonder why, but lately he noticed he was too tall for his bed. His feet tended to hang off the edge. It would have been nice to be able to buy a new bed, but he didn't have any money. Asking his father was out of the question. Simply put, he tried to avoid asking his father for money whenever he could. He worked so hard for his money that it didn't seem fair to ask him for things that were not necessary. The bed he had was fine. If he bent his legs a little, he didn't even notice that anything was wrong. It was only when he woke up that he noticed, and he could easily ignore that. Easily.

He went over to his closet and picked out a tight, short-sleeved black tee-shirt with a pair of khaki cargo pants. He had unintentionally become somewhat fashion-conscious, and the result was a few extra minutes each morning of studying himself in a mirror. To most guys those few extra minutes might not matter, but Yamato's hair always had to be carefully styled. It was his trademark, and he was quite proud of the way it turned out. Those extra minutes meant time away from his hair. It was a compromise he had been forced into.

He showered and dressed quickly, knowing he always had only just enough time to walk to school. His father used to give him a ride, but once he turned seven his father thought he was old enough to walk to school. It never bothered him, until he started wanting to sleep in more. But, then, it really was his fault for wanting to sleep in instead of getting up early.

Yamato threw all his books into his backpack, and slung it over his shoulder. He had ten minutes before he really had to leave. Breakfast passed through his mind like a fleeting dream. He rarely had time to make a good meal, and he somehow felt wrong making something easy... like toast. Or boiled water. Besides, he was rarely hungry.

A note on the kitchen table caught his eye. He picked it up and read it briefly.

'Matt,

'Thanks a lot for the meal.

'I'll be gone for a day or two. Big story in Odiaba.

'Dad'

Not a surprise, but a disappointment nonetheless. Yamato sighed and crumpled the note up. Growling slightly, he tossed it in the trash.

Suddenly he didn't want to stay in his house anymore. He grabbed his key and opened the front door. He slammed it shut behind him and locked it. A neighbor stuck her head out of her window and looked at him.

"Could you be quiet? It's early, you know."

He ignored the woman and walked towards the building that he was trapped in for most of each day. At least he had a few classes with his friends. Not many, but enough to get him through each day without many thoughts of killing himself to end the misery. Algebra, or death? Biology, or eternal darkness? The choice seemed all too clear to him.

"Hey, Matt!"

The voice came as a welcome surprise to him. He looked up to find a certain brunette soccer player waiting for him.

"Tai." What was he doing here? Didn't he normally come to school from the other direction? "What are you doing?"

"Waiting for you."

Yamato rolled his eyes. "I can see that. But, why? This is totally out of your way."

"What, I can't walk to school with my best friend?"

He smiled. He couldn't help it. "Nope."

"Oh. Well, then, if that's how it is." Tai started to walk away, and Yamato let him. After five steps, the shorter boy turned around and said, "Well, come on! We're gonna be late."

"Who's fault is that?"

"Yours."

"Really?"

"Oh, yeah. Just how long did it take you to do your hair this morning?"

"Shut up, Tai."

Tai laughed, and Yamato's smile widened. Damn it. It was hard. It was always hard, being near him. But it was harder without him.

Yamato snorted. "Don't be jealous."

"Of you?" Tai asked, incredulous. "Not possible."

"Uh huh. Just keep telling yourself that."

"Shouldn't be too hard."

They both rolled their eyes at each other, and a comfortable silence passed between them. Yamato was aware of Tai walking beside him, and his hand almost betrayed him by reaching out to touch the other boy. He shoved both hands in his pockets after that. It was safer that way.

He stared straight ahead as he walked. Autumn was coming to a close, and winter was setting in. Thanksgiving was only two weeks away. Briefly, Yamato wondered if his father would be home for the dinner. Last year, his father had only been able to stay for an hour before he rushed off. At least he hadn't been alone the entire night. After his father had left, TK had called. They had talked for a while before their mother had intervened. She meant well, but she honestly didn't know how to handle Yamato. At least, that's what he told himself. After an... incident a few summers ago, he had limited his visits to TK's house to as little as possible. Preferably when that woman wasn't there. She was very nice to TK. But, Yamato always did something wrong. He always acted wrong when he went over there. Was that why...

But Tai was talking to him, and talking to Tai was more important than thinking about his mother.

"Sorry, what?"

Tai sighed. "You always zone out like that."

"Whatever."

"I asked you what you were making tonight?"

"Oh. I don't know yet."

Tai raised his eyebrows. "Really? Normally you've got it all planned out."

"I know, but I couldn't think of anything good."

"Excuse me? Anything GOOD? Yeah, right. Matt, everything you make is good."

"Shut up."

"No, seriously. You're, like, the god of cooking. I mean, 'Iron Chef' was made for you."

"You're cracked, man."

"Alright, so you're stuck for an idea?"

"Well, I thought of a few things, but, I don't know."

"What?"

"You know, if he'll like them or not."

Tai stared at me. "He likes everything you make. Just pick something."

"It's not that easy."

"Sure it is."

"No, it's not."

"Alphabetically, or something."

"What?"

"You know, or what has the least letters."

"That's not how you pick something."

"Works for me."

"Well, that tells me something, doesn't it?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means look at the decisions you make."

"What's wrong with them?"

"Nothing... if you like failing all your classes."

"Excuse me? I am not failing all my classes. I just happen to be passing PE, you know."

"Oh, wow, Tai. I certainly misjudged you."

"I'm beginning to feel a little unappreciated."

"Spell it."

Tai glared at him. "Shut up."

Yamato laughed, and glanced at Tai. "Anyway, how's practice going?"

Tai immediately brightened up. "Excellent. I mean, okay, we've got a few problems, like one of the defense doesn't know a thing about the game. And, a forward doesn't like teamwork. We're worried that's gonna mess with us once we start playing. But coach says we have plenty of extra people we can alternate with him, so I guess it's not that big a deal."

"Uh huh."

"Our goalie rocks. He's been playing practically forever. He always surprises the team. Last game of last year, he was called out of the box for the last fifteen minutes. One of the main players got injured, and we needed him. Anyway, he was, like, halfway across the field when he saw what the other team was planning to do. He ran across to the goal and stopped the ball just before it went in. We won thanks to that. He's an awesome guy."

"Mmm."

"Our coach is really happy that he decided to play again this year. None of the other guys who tried out had any hope of being goalie. We got one or two new guys who are really good, and a few who are okay. They still need some practice though. Come on, there's school. We'll be late if we take any longer."

"Uh huh."

"... Matt?"

"Mmm."

"Matt." Tai pushed him lightly, and he jumped.

"What?"

Tai narrowed his eyes. "You weren't listening at all, were you?"

"I was listening."

"You were zoning."

"Whatever."

"I knew it."

"Hey, Tai! Matt!"

Yamato waved in the general direction of the greeting, wanting nothing to distract him from glaring at Taichi. Tai, on the other hand, ignored Yamato completely.

"Hey! What's up, Sora?"

Sora walked up to them, a frown already forming on her face at the sight of the two of them.

"Have you been fighting again?"

"No." Both boys answered simultaneously, which made her even more suspicious.

"You're both liars. I can tell."

They continued chatting idly, walking to their lockers. Being freshmen in high school had some benefits, such as lockers in the same hallway. Of course, said hallway was in the farthest part of the school from the classrooms, which might have been the sole reason for the 'special treatment'.

At his locker, Yamato said good-bye to Sora, who he didn't see until lunch. He had four classes with Tai- second period Algebra, fifth period lunch, seventh period physical education, and eighth period English. So, he merely nodded to Tai before quickly spinning in his locker combination.

As he put back some textbooks and took others out, Yamato realized he still had come to no conclusion about what to make TK for dinner that night. His brother loved pasta. Maybe lasagna? Or fettuccini? Something Italian.

He closed his locker and turned around, walking straight into Koushiro.

"Ow," Koushiro said, taking a step back. "Matt."

"Dude, you were standing right behind me."

"Let's get to class. We'll be late if we stay here any longer."

Yamato shrugged and walked with Koushiro to their first period class, which was Biology. It was, by far, the worst class he had to deal with. Not only did he not understand the material, but also the teacher seemed to only be happy when pointing out to everyone in the class that he didn't understand what the hell was going on. It was exactly his luck to have that class first thing. What a way to start the day.

They got to class before the bell rang, and by some miracle had enough time to sit down and get out their notebooks before the teacher came in. Class was slow and boring, which was to be expected. Once again, Yamato was called on to answer a question that he knew nothing about. Once again, Koushiro saved him from utter humiliation. Koushiro was extremely intelligent. He wasn't even supposed to be in high school yet, but he had a specialized schedule to allow for him to have classes at both the high school and middle school. In Yamato's opinion, it was a seriously good thing that Koushiro was in that class with him. Otherwise, he would never have a hope of passing.

As the bell rang signaling the end of class, their teacher announced a quiz for the next day. Yamato snarled, and threw his book in his bag. Koushiro looked over at him and frowned.

"Matt, do you need some help? I can come over tonight if you want."

"Thanks, but I've got dinner with TK."

"Oh. That's right. It's Thursday, isn't it? Well, I can always come over right after school."

Yamato thought for a minute, then shrugged. "Sure. I think I'll completely fail otherwise."

"It would be beneficial for you. After all, I wouldn't get anything out of studying with you."

Yamato narrowed his eyes at Koushiro. "Gee, thanks, Koushiro."

"No, that's not what I... I mean."

Yamato shook his head and smirked. "Yeah, okay. Meet me at my locker, alright?"

"That's acceptable."

They parted ways, Koushiro heading to English while Yamato turned left for the math wing. He passed through the hallways with barely a thought, not even noticing the girls who stared and whispered as he passed. Someone had once told him that most girls thought he was good-looking, but he hardly cared. None of them had ever approached him, and he was thankful for that. He didn't want to date anyone. Except maybe...

"Hey."

Yamato set his bag down on the desk next to Tai's, and nodded. "Hey."

"How was science?"

Yamato looked at Tai, and the other boy grinned. "That bad?"

"As usual, that stupid bitch doesn't know how to teach a class."

"Now, now, Matt, that's not very nice."

"Tai, she's an idiot."

"She's a teacher."

"So?"

"So she's gotta know something you don't."

"Doesn't mean she's not an idiot." He leaned back in his chair and tilted his head up towards the ceiling. "She told us we're gonna have another quiz tomorrow."

"But that's like, what, seven? Eight? And it's only, like, two months into the year?"

"Yeah. I know. But Koushiro said he'd come over to my house after school to help me study."

If Yamato had been looking at Tai, he might have noticed his friend's eyes narrow and body tighten up. Of course, his attention was on the small pen mark on the ceiling. "Koushiro? But he's-" After a few seconds, Yamato glared at Tai. "But he's what?" ".....short," Tai finished lamely.

Yamato smirked. "Look who's talking."

Tai sat forward and said, "Why couldn't you guys go to the library or something?"

"What for? My house is comfortable enough. I've got snacks and stuff." He looked at Tai suddenly. "Why? What's with you?"

"Nothing. Nothing's with me."

"Bullshit."

"Just, you know, we study all the time, but we're always at my house."

"Yeah, well, you have a better house than me. We've been over this."

"I just thought you weren't inviting anyone over to your house."

Yamato raised his voice slightly, getting angry. "Look, if it's that big of a deal, we can study at my house next time, okay?"

"No. It's not a big deal."

"Apparently it is, since you're being so anal about it."

"I am not being anal-"

"Oh please. You've never minded before."

"Like I said-"

"Gentlemen?"

Both of them stopped at the sudden intrusion. They looked at the front of the room, and saw the entire class staring at them. Their teacher simply looked at them, then back at the blackboard.

"If you know the material so well that you feel there is no need to listen, then please, by all means come up here and finish this problem for me."

"Oh, that's alright, sir, we didn't mean-"

"Yeah, we were just-"

"Oh, no. Please. I wouldn't want the students to be deprived of such a valuable learning experience."

Grumbling, they both stood and walked to the front of the room. Tai kicked Yamato front behind him, he couldn't retaliate without being obvious. Why didn't either of them realize class had started?

The problem was too complex for either of them, and after an astoundingly long minute the teacher let them both sit back down.

"Now, will you both please pay attention?"

They nodded, and class resumed. They would normally have passed notes back and forth, but they were both still too irritated to do anything more than glare at each other threateningly.

At the end of class, Tai turned to Yamato. "Look, Matt, it really doesn't matter to me where we go. Honestly, it doesn't. I was just surprised, is all. I didn't mean to be weird about it or anything. Sorry."

"Don't worry about it."

It was that easy. It had been that easy to solve arguments for a while now. The few arguments they had that were not solved with a sentence tended to be days, or even weeks long. Neither one wanted to repeat that, so they both tried not to fight. It was getting easier with each passing day to get along. Yamato was happy about that. He had first thought that Tai wouldn't even want him around as a friend. Later, he realized they were both too stubborn to get along sometimes. It took a lot of patience to not just yell at Tai every time they disagreed. But, as Yamato was learning, it was much nicer to joke around with Tai than to fight with him. The effort was well worth it.

After Algebra, Yamato had music class. It was a nice break from his day. He was learning how to play the guitar, and normally played for half the period. The other half was spent with a mini-choir, singing random songs to improve their voices. It was relaxing, and no one was judging how good he was. Therefore, Yamato felt at ease with singing however he wanted to.

He had study hall right before lunch. Yamato always slept during study hall. It was the only thing the class was good for.

Lunch was a welcome event by that point. He sat at a table with Taichi, Sora, and Jyou. At the beginning of the year, some of Tai's friends had wanted to sit with them, and every now and again they came back. Sora had one or two friends that dropped by sometimes, and Jyou had a freshman that adored him fro some mysterious reason. Jyou had finally told the kid that he liked sitting with only two or three people, and the kid had only come around about once a week after that. There were a number of girls who felt like they had to sit near Yamato, and so the tables surrounding them were almost always full. Not that Yamato cared, or even noticed. How could he notice all of those girls, when Tai was sitting right next to him?

He walked over to an empty table on the far side of the room. He always tried to sit near the windows whenever possible. Staring out of windows was an old pastime for Yamato, and there were days when he really wasn't able to make conversation with anyone. Sometimes, it was just easier to linger on painful thoughts than try to think of cheerful things to say. He hated the way that some people put on a fa├žade of happiness. He did it himself, and it was just one more thing to dislike about himself.

Yamato dropped his book bag in a chair that faced the window. He untied the front and grabbed a few dollars out of his wallet. His father always gave him some money for school lunch. It was one thing he didn't feel guilty about asking for, since if he didn't buy lunch he would have to get up even earlier to make something.

He walked to the front of the cafeteria and got in line. There were already a number of people there, and he only barely noticed the conversations that were going on around him. He picked out the only thing that looked completely dead, and paid quickly.

Back at the table, Jyou had already sat down across from Yamato's seat. Jyou tended to bring his own lunch, since he was allergic to basically everything the school offered.

Yamato put down his tray and shoved his bag off of his chair. Jyou looked up from trying to open his carton of juice.

"Hey, Matt. How are you?" Jyou asked.

Yamato grabbed the carton out of his hands and opened it. He pushed it back towards Jyou before replying. "Fine. You?"

"Thanks."

"Not a problem. You really should get a container or something for that."

"I'll get it one of these days. How was biology?"

"A pain in the neck." Yamato rolled his eyes and leaned back. "Like always."

Jyou looked at him over the rim of his glasses. "It can be fun, you know. If you'd only-"

"Sure, Jyou."

Jyou pushed his glasses up his nose and began to cut the crust off of his sandwich. "All you need is someone to help you with it. You should be passing."

"I know that. Koushiro's coming over to my place today after school to go over some stuff. That stupid bitch is giving us a quiz tomorrow."

"Matt."

Yamato glared at him. "What? She's a bitch, okay? Either that, or I'm too stupid to get it."

"You're not stupid."

"Well, then-"

"Not like Tai."

"What happened?" The afore-mentioned brunette pulled out the chair next to Yamato and sat down. He was keenly aware of the way Tai's leg brushed his as the older boy sat down. He tried not to blush, but only blushed harder when Tai next spoke.

"Matt, what's wrong? Are you sick? Your face is all red." Tai looked so concerned that Yamato blushed even more. Tai reached out and put his hand over Yamato's forehead. "You don't feel warm..."

Yamato pulled his head away and stammered, "I-I'm fine, Tai. Just tired, I guess."

Tai narrowed his eyes, but let it drop. Yamato sighed in relief.

"Well, let me know if you feel sick."

"Fine, Tai. Whatever." Yamato took a drink before adding, "The only thing that'll make me sick is that stupid quiz tomorrow."

"Oh. The one Koushiro's helping you with, right?"

Yamato heard the change in Tai's voice and looked over to see the other boy frowning. "Just drop it already, Tai. It's no big deal. Really."

"Drop what?"

"Tai."

Jyou suddenly started coughing. His hands flailed out and he was gasping for breath. He suddenly began hitting himself in his chest until his breathing calmed down. Rotating his neck, he took a loud breath. When he looked back up, both Yamato and Taichi were staring at him.

Jyou laughed a little and cleared his throat. "Uh, sorry. A piece of bread got stuck in my throat."

Tai smiled and Yamato groaned. Before either could reply, Sora came up to them and sat down in the seat next to Jyou.

"Hey, guys."

Jyou eyed her and frowned. "You're way too happy to be in school."

She smiled and proudly held up a piece of paper. "Read it and be amazed. One hundred on my Algebra test."

Tai's mouth dropped, and he snatched the paper out of her hands. "Gimme that." He lifted it up and began to carefully scrutinize it. Scowling, he handed it back to her. "How did you get a hundred when I only got a s-"

"A what?" Yamato asked, amused. "I'm sorry, I couldn't quite hear you."

"Oh, shut up. My math teacher doesn't know how to count, anyway."

"Ah, yes, now I see why you're always so moody in math. Because our teacher can't count. Yes, why didn't I notice that before?"

"Oh, yeah? Well, I don't see you getting A's on your tests, Matt!"

"Boys, boys." Sora waved a hand about in the air, as if to command silence. "Please keep in mind that as a woman I have a distinct advantage over all of you."

"Oh please-"

"That's not-"

"Woman, my ass-"

"Excuse me, Matt? Did I just hear you imply something?" Sora looked at Yamato quizzically, batting her eyelashes.

"Yeah, I think you did."

"Well, I don't see any reason to continue this conversation." Sora stood up and pointed at Tai. "You. Come with me to get lunch."

Tai shrugged and stood up. Yamato narrowed his eyes at him. Tai looked back and said, "What?"

Yamato shook his head and watched as Tai and Sora went off to the lunch line. Or, to be more accurate, he watched Tai walk away from him. That boy always wore loose clothes, and Yamato was so fascinated by the ripples the movement caused that he didn't realize Jyou was trying to talk to him.

"Matt? Yamato? Hello?"

"Hmm?"

Jyou scowled at him. "You should pay attention when people are speaking to you, Matt."

Yamato looked at him and blinked. "Did you want something?"

"Nothing in particular."

"Well, then, thanks for interrupting me for no reason whatsoever. Really, thanks a lot."

"Don't mention it."

"Jyou. Learn the art of sarcasm."

Yamato let Jyou puzzle that one out alone while he continued to eat. He noticed when the tables around them started to fill up, and saw where the girls who normally stalked him were. Close by, as always. A few guys from Tai's team came over and looked at Yamato.

"Whatever," he said, indicating that they could there if they wanted. They took that as an affirmative, and filled up almost all of the empty seats at the table. One by one the new guys began to take out their lunches to eat, or to walk up and buy something. It didn't really bother Yamato or Jyou. Both were used to how popular Tai was, and they knew that if they were sitting at a table separate from the team, Tai would sit with them. They knew this because it had happened before. The following day, the team had waited until Tai sat down to follow him to his table. Yamato, Jyou, and Sora had a much stronger bond with Tai as Digi-destined than he had with his teammates.

Tai and Sora came back carrying trays of food, and sat down at the now-crowded table. Two of Sora's friends came up and took the empty seat next to her, and then their table was filled.

Sora began to talk with her friends about a new movie they were planning on seeing that night. The soccer team talked about strategy for their big game that weekend, a conversation which Tai eagerly joined. Yamato looked up at Jyou, but the other boy was studying some textbook that looked way too complicated.

So, Yamato contented himself with staring out the window. It had been a good thing, then, that he had chosen this table. Otherwise he would have had nothing to do all period. He finished his meal quietly and stared out at the sky. There were no clouds that day, and his eyes wandered over the blue depths of the sky as his mind wandered over the final plans for Takeru's meal that night. Linguine would probably be best. They hadn't had it in a while, and he could make two or three types of sauces. TK could just pick the one he liked the most.

He never wanted TK to not like the dinner he had made. If his little brother didn't like something, Yamato would remember to not make it again when his brother was visiting. It was very important to him to keep TK occupied and entertained. People were so easily bored when they were with him. Yamato knew and accepted that. But he didn't want TK to be bored when he came over. He wanted to be a good role model, and for TK to have fun when he visited. If he stopped having fun, he would stop visiting. There was no other reason why anyone would want to be with him. If he couldn't give them something for it, why would someone want to spend time with him? Everyone who got near him eventually stopped wanting to be near him. He just had to let TK have as much fun as he could before that happened, which would hopefully slow down the day when they would stop meeting. Hopefully.

Yamato felt a warm hand brush against his leg, and looked over quickly. Tai was still talking with his teammates, but he had let his hand drop underneath the table so that it hung next to Yamato's leg. Yamato moved his leg a little, and he felt Tai's fingers slide softly over his pants. When Tai didn't move his hand, Yamato did it again. He loved the feeling of Tai so close to him. It was intoxicating.

He didn't realize he was blushing until Tai looked over at him and frowned. "Matt?" Tai lifted his hand and touched Yamato lightly on the shoulder. "Are you sure you're feeling alright?"

Mentally cursing himself, Yamato nodded. "It's hot in here, is all. Don't worry about it."

"You were tired, now you're hot?"

"Yeah. But, it's probably just from stress." At Tai's worried look, Yamato searched his mind for a reason. Why did he have to always say things that got him deeper in trouble instead of out of it? "Ah, you know, from the quiz. Biology. Tomorrow."

One of the guys from Tai's team chuckled. "Those damn science quizzes would give anyone stress." The rest of the team laughed, and Yamato realized they had been listening to him. Damn it. Ever since the team had realized that Yamato and Tai were best friends, they started to pay attention to him. He didn't want that. It was easier to be left alone. Tai deserved to be in the spotlight, not him.

Tai nodded, but didn't look entirely convinced. "You know, you can tell me if it's something else."

No, he couldn't. He couldn't tell Tai if it was something else. At least, not this time. "Yeah, Tai, I know." He shrugged off Tai's hand, regretting the move as soon as he did it. "I'm fine. Why do you always worry about me so much?" He had meant the question rhetorically, so when Tai answered it he didn't know what to say.

"Because you need it. And I care about you. If you get sick, I'll be worried about you. You know that."

Yamato didn't really notice the silence that had descended upon the table. All he noticed was the way Tai was looking at him. His brown eyes seemed to be expressing genuine concern, and it was... different. Nice. They held each others gaze for a few moments until Yamato looked down. What was Tai doing? He was being really sweet. Why? It was confusing, and he didn't know what to do about it.

So, he nodded and looked down at the table. But Tai was still looking at him, and Yamato couldn't help but fidget under the intense scrutiny.

"Are you sure you're-"

Yamato looked up at him and let a hint of exasperation slip through in his voice. "Tai. I'm sure." He knew he was still blushing. When he imagined that even his ears had gone red, he grimaced. God, he hoped he wasn't that far gone yet.

"I don't believe you."

"Well, Tai, what do you want me to do about that?" Yamato asked, sighing. "If you don't believe me, it's just because you're too stupid to get it."

"See? You're getting defensive. You always get like that when you're hiding something."

Yamato growled. "Enough! Think what you want. I don't care."

Tai took another bite of his lunch and glared at Yamato. "Fine. I will."

"Fine by me."

"Come on now, guys," Sora said, intervening. "Don't fight. Tai's only trying to help, Matt."

"Yeah, some help he is."

Tai's face dropped at Yamato's careless words, and Sora sighed.

"Tai, don't pay attention to Matt. He's just being himself. You know he cares about you. Otherwise, he'd just ignore you." When both of them remained silent, she spoke again. "Why do you guys always fight? It's getting old."

Jyou nodded. "I agree completely. You guys are best friends, there's no reason to fight anymore. After all, aren't there better things you could be doing right now? Like studying?"

Tai snorted. "Or eating."

"Big surprise," Yamato muttered.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means you always think about food. I thought that was pretty obvious."

"Well, maybe you should take Jyou's advice. It'll save Koushiro a trip to your house."

Yamato snorted. "I can't believe you're still going on about that."

"It's your fault."

"What do you know? You're only five feet tall," Yamato replied. But he was smiling, and Tai didn't miss the change in his voice. But a good fight was still a good fight, and sometimes it was nice to throw insults at someone who wouldn't take offense.

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Besides, you play the harmonica!"

"What's wrong with that?!"

"Nothing. If you're DEAF!!"

"Idiot."

"Moron."

"Brainless."

"Blondie."

"Spike-head."

"Pretty boy."

But by now, both were laughing too much to continue. Sora smiled and continued eating, while Jyou nodded to himself. The rest of the table, however, remained confused as to what had just happened.

Tai finally stifled his laughter and looked at Yamato seriously. "I'm serious, Matt. If you ever need something, call me. I'll be there."

Yamato looked at Tai and smiled. "I know. Same here, man."

They did a complex handshake that had been invented one long Saturday afternoon last summer. That sealed their promise.

The rest of lunch passed by rather quickly, and soon Yamato found himself in sixth period art class. He wasn't much of an artist, and as a result frequently found himself making rather odd looking sculptures. The last he had made resembled a blob. Come to think of it, the one before that one had resembled a blob too. In fact, most of Yamato's sculptures resembled blobs. That might have been why the teacher never really bothered with teaching him any advanced techniques. Which was fine with him. It was more fun to try and make a sculpture of Tai, although it ended up looking like a Tai-blob.

Seventh period came too quickly. Yamato hated physical education. There was no particular reason for his hatred of the class, it just existed. The thing he really hated was getting changed in the locker room. He was very self-conscious of how thin he was.

Tai greeted him when he walked in. Their lockers were right next to each other, which Yamato alternately liked and disliked. He had to admit that it was to watch Tai change into his gym clothes. He had a wonderful body, probably from all the soccer he played. Plus, Tai didn't seem to mind having entire conversations with his shirt off. Another benefit. Of course, the downside was that Tai watched him change. Yamato was always aware that Tai would sneak a glance at him, and it made the blonde boy uncomfortable. He knew Tai was curious about how thin he really was. But the brunette had never asked, and Yamato had never felt the need to start a conversation about it. He assumed the issue would come up sooner or later. Preferably later, since he had no idea about what he would say to Tai about it. Yamato ate, but he never felt like eating a lot. It had always been that way, and he saw nothing wrong with it.

A sudden, horrible thought crossed his mind. If he and Tai ever actually got together, would Tai be turned off by him? He had never allowed himself to think of Tai and him that way before, but now that the idea was there he couldn't turn it away. Would Tai be disgusted by how thin he was? He certainly hoped not. Then again, he thought miserably, that situation would most likely never present itself to him.

"Hey, Matt? You okay?"

He had been spacing out, again, and Tai had caught on. His friend was getting quicker at catching things like that.

"Yeah. Just spacing."

"Oh. Well, you might want to finish getting changed before class starts."

He blushed when he realized that he had been standing there with his shirt off. He hurried to put his gym clothes on, and didn't notice the way Tai's eyes followed his movements, or the faint blush that crossed his cheeks soon after.

They went out to the gym together, and waited for their teacher to come out. Gym teachers tended to be flexible in when they appeared in class. You could be five minutes late to class and the teacher might not even be there yet. Of course, you could be two minutes early and the teacher might yell at you for your tardiness. It was, on the whole, better to be too early than late. Making up a late in gym generally meant running around the track a twenty times after school. No one wanted that, especially this time of year when the whether was getting colder.

Their teacher finally made an appearance, and announced they would be playing dodge ball. They had been playing it for the past week, and their teacher thought it would be fun to have a tournament of some kind. Of course, not everyone agreed with him. Yamato in particular didn't like the game at all. Tai, of course, loved it. Not as much as soccer, although he had once said that dodge ball was fun in ways that soccer wasn't. Yamato didn't really know what he meant by that. But if Tai was happy, he would suffer through it without complaining. Much.

Yamato groaned. "Again?"

Tai grinned. "Of course! The tournament's not over yet!"

Trust Tai to get excited over a dodge ball tournament in phys ed. Yamato rolled his eyes, and Tai poked him in the side.

"Aww, come on, Matt. It'll be fun!"

"Yeah. Right. Fun."

They separated into two different teams. The first day both Tai and Yamato had been on the same team, but after that the teacher had separated them. They worked too well together that it didn't seem fair to the other team. Both boys were strong, quick, and agile. Yamato, from being so thin and years of street fighting. Tai, probably from playing soccer so much as well as fighting. They also read each other too well. Even if they were on different sides of the gym, if one of them threw a ball without making any signals, the other would catch it. They could develop strategies for playing without saying so much as a whole sentence, and Tai had remarkable leadership qualities. Some people wondered where they had learned to work so well together, but both knew that without the time they had spent in the Digiworld they would still be fighting without getting anything done. After an experience like that, though, it was easy for them to tell what each other was thinking. If they had to yell to each other what they were planning to do in the middle of a battle with some strong digimon, they would have been killed. The skills they learned inevitably turned up in other action situations. Of course, since there weren't many evil beings to defeat, gym class was the next best thing.

They were put on opposing teams, and the game started soon after. It wasn't very interesting, as far as dodge ball went, except for the fact that both Yamato and Tai never got hit. They might have been able to hit each other, but since neither would ever even think of hurting the other, it was out of the question. They were, however, all over the field trying to win and tag people from the other team. By the end of the period, both were so exhausted that the teacher's whistle sounded more like a choir of angels singing than the sharp, piercing sound they were used to.

Yamato dragged himself back into the locker room and looked at the bench. He sat down heavily. Tai flopped down next to him a moment later.

"That... was rough," Tai said. He was smiling, though, and Yamato knew once again that he'd never be able to understand Tai's love of sports.

Yamato nodded agreement and ran a hand through his hair. It was lightly soaked with sweat, and he made a face. "Ugh. I need a shower."

"You're telling me," Tai said, laughing. "You're practically dripping."

"Ugh."

Yamato stood up and opened his locker, quickly changing into his school clothes. Once he was done, he looked back at Tai. The brunette was sitting on the bench, staring at him. Yamato blushed at the attention.

"What?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

Tai smiled. "Nothing."

Yamato threw his dirty shirt at him. Tai caught it and threw it back.

"Come on, get changed." Yamato took his clothes and shoved them in his backpack. He needed to put them in the laundry once he got home. "I'm not waiting for you after the bell rings."

"Alright, alright."

Once the bell rang, they walked to eighth period English together. Their teacher was nice enough, even if he was kind of... eccentric. He tended to go into detail about every aspect of a story, and then give a detailed account of one of his many memorable experiences that may or may not have anything to do with the topic. The tests were so easy that it was hard to complain, and he always managed to get the class to laugh. It was a good way to end the day, and Yamato was glad he had a nice last period class. Of course, Tai sitting next to him only added to the greatness of that class.

He sat down and took out his notebook. They were going over "Romeo and Juliet", which seemed to be standard for almost every high school freshman class. Tai had laughed at the choice. Of course, he had absolutely no interest in Shakespeare at all. Yamato, however, thought all of Shakespeare's plays were good. Even if he didn't fully understand everything all the time, he got the basic concept out of each scene. The stories were great, and the characters were realistic. Tai was just uncultured.

The teacher immediately began to discuss Act 2. They were supposed to read all of it for next week, when they would be tested on it. Yamato had finished it two days ago, and spent the class period zoning. Tai, however, had done absolutely no work whatsoever, and also spent the period zoning. The difference was sure to show up on their tests next week.

"Mr. Yagami?"

"Huh?" Tai's head jolted up when he heard his name being called. "Y-Yes?"

"What have I just said?"

"Mr. Yagami," Tai answered immediately. Yamato snorted and the rest of the class laughed.

The teacher's eyes sparkled and he smiled. "Very good. Not the answer I was looking for, but correct nonetheless. Which reminds me of my brother-in- law. Have I ever told you guys the story of how he met my sister?"

The class answered no, the teacher began his story, and Taichi was saved. Yamato kicked him in the leg, and Tai looked over. He grinned sheepishly, and Yamato rolled his eyes. The blonde scribbled something on a note, and passed it over to Tai. Tai opened it and read 'You got lucky.' He wrote back in response and handed it to Yamato. 'It's all good.'

The teacher eventually got back to his original topic, but by then there were only seven minutes left in class. They finished the review for the test, and as the last bell of the day rang the teacher reminded his class to study.

"Hallelujah!" Tai shouted as he walked to his locker. "I thought that class was never gonna end!"

"If you'd pay attention, it would go faster."

"Look who's talking."

"I already read it," Yamato informed him.

Tai looked at him incredulously. "ALL of it?"

"No, Tai. Only the first two words. I used my mental powers to beam the rest directly into my mind."

"I wish I could do that."

"I'm just talented like that. Don't be too jealous."

"Hey, Matt!"

Yamato looked ahead and saw Koushiro standing by his locker, waving. He glanced over at Tai and saw the brunette turn away slightly.

"Well, Matt, guess I'll see you later."

"Tai-"

"It's cool. Don't worry about it."

But as Tai walked away, Yamato called out, "We still on for tomorrow?"

Tai turned around and smiled. "You bet."

Yamato nodded and turned around. He took out his science book and notebook from his locker, looked at them angrily, then shoved them into his book bag. Koushiro raised his eyebrows at this, but wisely made no comment.

"You ready?" Yamato asked.

"Affirmative. I brought along my textbook and extensive notes, in case we needed them."

"Come on, then."







Author's Note pt. 2: Well, what did you think? If you liked it, I'll continue. If not, I've got lots of other stuff I could work on. Let me know, ok? Thanks a lot!!!!!!!