I always love ancient Japanese Shinto Mythology, and I finally got a nice big thing of world myths that has it. And my personal fav is the romantic festival Tanabata. So that's what this is based on! Serious Takari warning, so if you are a Daikari fan LEAVE NOW!
P.S.-From the comics I've read, I'll take it that Japanese school years last longer than American, or is cut up differently. This, however, explains not why they were celebrating the defeat of Myotismon between the beginning of the school year and Christmas.
Disclaimer:I don't own Digimon. And Tanabata, Shokujo and Kengyu are obviously not mine, but figures of Japanese Mythology. So I really don't own anything here. Feh.
"Attention. Attention, please."
The class mumbled for a bit, then quieted again. The teacher smiled at her high-school literature class, cleared her throat and began the lecture. "I know you're all impatient for the festivals tonight, but there's sill half an hour left to school, and we need to get to it." she brushed herself off, then picked up her book.
"As you all know, tonight, July 7th, is the festival of Tanabata." she began her lecture. Several girls giggled to themselves, some making goo-goo eyes at their boyfriends, and others glancing out of the corners of their eyes at various crushes. "We all know it's the festival of romance, but…" the teacher clapped her hands together. "Today we shall learn about the mythology of the story. Open your books to page 326, please."
Everyone scrambled for their books and rummaged through bags. T.K. flipped to the page showing a pretty young girl reaching for a young boy, holding a staff. They were standing over water, crossing on a bridge of magpies. The story of Tanabata.
"Now…" the teacher read from the book. "Shokujo, the daughter of the Lord of the Heavens, loved to weave cloth and did so each day. Her father was pleased with this, an allowed her to marry Kengyu, a cattle herder from across the Milky Way. However, after their marriage the two denied their work and did nothing but enjoy each other's company. This angered the Lord, who separated the two by flooding the Milky Way. But Kengyu refused to give up, running down the banks of the river for even a glimpse of his dear love. Finally, the Lord relented, but so that they may continue with their work, he only allowed them to meet one day out of the whole year. That day, today, the seventh day of the seventh month, a bridge of magpies create a pathway over the Milky Way, and Shokujo and Kengyu will be allowed to meet."
T.K. tapped his pen against the top of his head. He usually didn't pay attention in literature class, especially when they talked about mythology. Some kids like to wonder if their names ever appeared in the old stories, but his name bounced in all the time. -Takeru as an ending means brave. The only even semi-interesting mythological character to him was the warrior-prince Yamato-takeru, despite all his shortcomings (Yamato, being the name of the first warrior leaders in the country, can mean Japan or Nippon. Yamato-takeru means, quite literally, Bravest Man in all Japan)
This, however, was fascinating. Tanabata was like Valentine's Day, but the American or European version. You didn't have to go with a girl just because she gave you a box of chocolate. And it was less expensive than White Day, 'cause white chocolate doesn't come cheep, whether you got the girl or not.
Not that he had anybody he wanted to ask out. It was just that Tanabata was a festival of romance, and it was nice to dream…
Kari wasn't really listening to the lecture. She'd heard about it from Yolei dozens of times, she knew the story. But it was the romance of it all that she was caught up in…
The bell rang. Within five minutes, every kid was out the door and running. Kari met up with Yolei and a few other girls, Mina and Trista. They were talking about what to wear to the festival that evening.
"I'm wearin' that summer kimono I got on sale last week." Trista giggled. "You know, the purple-flowered one."
"My mom made mine." said Mina. "It's pure white with golden sparkles!"
"The blue one I wore last year." Kari shrugged, turning back. "Hey Yolei, what about…Yolei?"
The purple-haired girl was over by a tall bamboo. She was tying something onto one of the branches. "There we go…" she was muttering.
"What's that?" Mina suddenly appeared at Yolei's shoulder. Yolei stiffened and tried to pull it out of view, but Mina grabbed on. "Oooooh, looks like someone has a thang for Mr. Ichijouji…"
"Ichijouji?" Trista appeared. "As in Mr. Ken Ichijouji? You two know him, right?"
"We're friends." Kari shrugged.
"Looks like Yolei wants to be more than friends." Mina snickered, reading the note excitedly. "Cute, Yolei!"
"Well, don't tell me you didn't put your crush's name on a Tanabata Bamboo somewhere." Yolei shot back.
"Well, sure I did…" Mina laughed.
"Really? Who's?!" Trista asked, excited.
"Aw, come on!" Trista urged her best friend as they started off. "Spill!"
"Just a certain soccer player…" giggled Mina.
"Oh, please tell me it's not Davis!" Yolei exclaimed, and Mina blushed.
Kari paused for a moment by the bamboo. Very quickly, before anyone could notice, she pulled out her own note and tied it quickly to the tree. Then she hurried off after her friends.
Blowing in the wind, the tree's newest note read only three words in pink pen: T.K. B MINE…
The girls split up about a block from each of their houses, running home to get ready for the festival. Kari walked slowly, contemplating her own thoughts.
There was the soft ringing of a bell nearby. Kari looked up. A woman sat there, wrapped in a dark, dark purple cloak that covered her whole body, face included. The traditional guise of a wise old fortuneteller, amplified by the crystal ball she had sitting before her and the black cloth she had hanging high around her, defining her stall. There were special spell scrolls for focusing her power hanging around her, and an unlit candle to ward against the dark when it fell.
"Yes, my dear, I am talking to you." she said quietly in a deep, rich, enchanting voice, quite suitable for a fortuneteller. She pulled her hands out of the cloak, and to Kari's surprise they were young and quite beautiful. She waved at the cushion before her. "Please. Sit down."
Kari moved forward hesitantly. "I don't have any money." she stammered.
"No charge." the woman laughed. "Not on this speacial Tanabata night. Besides, my dear…" her voice took on a very catching tone. "I may be able to help you with that… special someone…"
Kari sat down. You could see the woman's smile under her cloak, and her hands moved to gently roll the crystal ball as she pulled the curtains around them. The inside seamed to swirl like smoke, and she was soon bent over her task, humming a strange tune that, when added to the increasing heat, made Kari's head light.
"I do see a young man…" the woman whispered, breaking the silence at last. "And quite a handsome one at that. Blonde hair…like golden wheat, ripe and ready for harvest. And those eyes! How beautiful! Crystal-clear and sparkling blue, like running water over smoothed stones! Well well well, I see why he makes your heart skip a beat each time you see him!"
Kari blushed a deep scarlet. The woman looked up, smiling. "Am I right?"
Kari nodded. "He is…a cutie…" she admitted slowly.
"Ah, and the sweetest little thing!" the fortuneteller crooned. "A very good friend, I see…Honest and strong, with a big heart and a love for his friends! Well, am I right?"
"You're quite…accurate…" Kari muttered, blushing again.
The woman nodded, then swirled the ball around some more in contemplation. "You treat him as a friend, right?" she muttered. "But you want more…Much more…but you're shy about something. Are you afraid he won't feel the same, after all this time?"
"It's not that…" Kari sighed. She didn't really know why, but she felt like she could tell this woman anything, anything at all about him, and it would be okay, somehow. "Well…okay, I guess it is that…But he'd never be interested in somebody like me…Not like that."
"Oh no?" the woman asked. "And why not?"
"He just doesn't…" she groaned. "How could a guy who's so…So sweet and kind and gentle and loving…How could he see anything in a girl like me?" she was quiet for a moment, then looked away. "He probably thinks I'm some kind of a player…"
The woman nodded. "Lots of boyfriends?"
"Not boyfriends, exactly." Kari started absentmindedly to twist a piece of hair around her finger. "It's just that…there're all these guys hanging all over me…I never get a chance to just have…just have him you know?"
The lady nodded. "I know." she muttered. There was silence a moment, then she spoke again. "Tell me, do you have any sort of romantic dreams with him? Anything you wish he'd do?"
"Well…" Kari was a little sheepish, looking away for a moment, but her mind spilled: "If I could just have…one walk in the park. One little walk…In the moonlight…with a clear sky full of stars…And there's that one little bench, the one that looks over the whole town. I…I want…I want to go there with him. As long as he was there…it would be perfect."
The woman gave a little chuckle and nodded. She patted Kari's arm, pulling the curtain away. "Don't you worry, my dear." she whispered. "It will be soon."
Kari stared a moment, then nodded quietly and began her way home.
~ * ~ * ~
T.K. came slowly out of the gym from basketball practice. He was on the varsity team, but it wasn't always so fun because he was the only junior on the whole squad. He didn't have a single friend in the bunch of them, and today had stunk personally.
He passed the Tanabata Bamboo, its many notes swaying in the wind. He stopped. He stared at the bamboo a moment, then glanced both ways. No one was in sight, so he carefully stepped up to the tree and posted his own letter: I, 3, Kari.
T.K. sighed, disgruntled, then stuffed his hands in his pockets and shuffled away. Another Tanabata, another unknown note…Sigh. What a day.
"You there. Young man."
There was the slight ringing from his right. He looked up in the fading light to find a fortune teller's booth, all decked out for that evening's festivities. The woman already sat crouched over her crystal ball, and was beckoning him over.
"Who, me?" he asked, looking around.
"Yes you, of course!" the woman laughed. "Don't see anyone else, do you?"
Well, no. There was nobody else around them. So he stuffed his hands back in his pockets and shuffled over. "Whaddya want?"
"To talk, of course." she laughed, motioning towards the pillow before her. "Would you like a fortune, my dear?"
"No thanks." he muttered, turning away. "I don't really believe in psychics."
"Are you sure?" the woman called as he began to leave. "I can help you get that pretty young lady on your mind."
T.K. stopped, frozen in his tracks, but the woman continued. "Beautiful, isn't she? Brown hair…and those rich auburn-brown eyes that make your heart stop. A fine young woman."
T.K. turned, very slowly, back to her booth. "What's your price?" he muttered.
"Nothing, not tonight." she said, motioning again. "Sit down, and well shall discus this further."
T.K. hesitated a moment, then sat down nervously. The old woman swirled her crystal around, humming softly until she seamed to find what she wanted, and pulled the curtain around them.
"You're comfortable around her, aren't you?" she asked quietly. "Why is it then that you do not make a move? Are you intimidated?"
"Um…kinda…" T.K. muttered. The perfume inside the curtain was making him a bit dizzy. "Not…by her, exactly…"
"She has a lot of suitors?" the woman asked, laughing a bit.
"Well…yeah…" he sighed again, confessing his real worry to her and himself. "It's just that…She's got so many guys to pick and choose from…every guy in school's after her. There's no way she'd pick a loser like me…"
"A loser?" the woman asked, curious. "Why so hard on yourself? You're a handsome young man…"
"She knows too much about me!" T.K. exclaimed. "I mean…we've been friends so long, she knows everything…All my petty jealousies and problems…I'm a total dork, and she knows it. Why'd she ever choose someone like that?"
The woman nodded, contemplating. "Tell me…Is there anything you'd really love to do with her? Any romantic daydreams?"
"Well…" T.K. hesitated, saying nothing. But his mind spoke loud and clear: "If she would just let me hold her…Just once, that's all I need…To have her in my arms, loving and kind…that would be perfect!"
"No…" he muttered. "Not really…"
The old woman nodded, smiling. "Well then…" she opened her curtain. "We're done here. And don't you worry…" he began to stand, still looking at her. "It will be soon."
T.K. gave her a strange look, but was oddly comforted as he turned and headed slowly home.
~ * ~ * ~
Kari reached her apartment door a little late that night. The sun was starting to go down, and she had to change quickly if she'd make it to the festival in time. The rest of her family had already left.
To her surprise, the was a red rose sticking half-way out of the mail slot…and the card attached had her name on it!
Carefully, so as not to be pricked, she picked the flower up and read the card. In unfamiliar writing it said simply:
Meet me outside the park gates at 7:30. Bring the rose. I'll have one too.
Kari felt her heart skip a beat. "The park…" she whispered. The daydream memory popped back up. "Could that lady have…Nah…" she shook her head.
With a happy feeling in her heart, she went back into the apartment to change into her yukata.
Half an hour later, dressed in a dark navy blue yukata, she approached the wraught iron gates that opened into the park. She glanced around, clutching the rose close. "It said 'I'll have one too'" she muttered. "So where…?"
She stopped. T.K. stood beside the gates, leaning on the stone that made the wall, dressed in the tradition green robes. He was glancing nervously around and holding an identical red rose.
"Oh god…" she thought, heart skipping a beat. "T.K. is my admirer?"
"Kari's got a rose?!" T.K. gulped in his mind. "There's no way she could be the one!"
Kari approached him awkwardly, blushing a bit. "H-Hi…T.K.…" she whispered quietly.
"Hey…" he was just as nervous and just as quiet. "You look…nice."
"Thanks…" They stood there a moment, looking each other up and down. Finally, Kari leaned forward. "And thank you…for the rose."
T.K. blinked at her. "But…But I didn't send it…" he stuttered. "I-I thought you did!"
"I didn't." Kari sighed, feeling the happy balloon that had welded up inside her puncture and deflate. There was a moment of silence, then she started to leave. "I guess…I'd better go then…"
T.K. watched her a moment, then mentally slapped himself. "What kinda idiot am I?!" he thought wildly, running after her.
"Kari, wait!" he exclaimed, grabbing her wrist. She stopped dead in her tracks, then turned to look at him. He was looking at her earnestly, but was sheepish at the same time. "While we're here, you…you wanna go for a walk or somethin' with me? I mean, if there's nothing else…"
He left off. Kari shifted nervously. "I…I'd love to…" she muttered, blushing.
The dark-robed fortuneteller watched the two heading down the street together. They couldn't see what she could, and it was obvious that they were being drawn together.
"Perfect…" she sighed. The street lamps were starting to light and the sound of wings filled her ears as she hurried on her way. "I can't be late. I can't I can't I can't.…"
The living gray-white bridge appeared before her as the veil was lifted, reveling a young woman, frozen forever at 20, long black hair flowing down her back and crystal blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight.
A young man met her in the middle, the same age and immensely handsome, with short-cropped black hair and dark, dark brown eyes.
"Shokujo!" the man exclaimed, throwing his arms open.
"Oh, Kengyu!" she sighed, being folded into his warm, soft grasp.
The stood there a moment, then Kengyu lifted his love up so he could see her sweet face. "You were later than usual, Shokujo." he whispered. "What took you?"
"Oh, you know me." the girl sighed. "I've vowed to bring at least one couple together on our special night."
"Who was your project this time?" Kengyu asked.
"See for yourself." Shokujo waved her hand off the edge of the bridge. "They're down there. Odaiba Park. I'm all done now."
Kengyu took a look. A young couple was walking through the park together, around the festivities as to enjoy some peace. There was a bench coming up, on a high hill looking over the city, but both were too awkward to let themselves make the first move.
"I don't think you're quite finished." he laughed, then reached down for a more direct method.
He took hold of the red string that tied the two together by the ankles. They couldn't see it, of course, only those of the Spirit World could detect or touch the Sky Lord's fate strings. Kengyu took it in his hand and gave it a short yank in the boy's direction.
Kari stumbled, suddenly off-balanced, and fell forward. T.K. turned at the sound of her soft cry, then was surprised to catch her in waiting arms. They fell backwards, onto the bench behind them, with her head lying on his chest and his arms around her.
T.K. sat up, carefully making sure that Kari was sitting on the bench next to him. "Are you okay?" he asked, breathless.
She nodded, looking around. "The bench…" she thought, feeling a bit excited. "I'm here…with him…"
She sighed, overcome, and put her head on his chest. "Yes…" she whispered. "I'm just fine…"
T.K. stared at her in shock, taking several deep breaths. "Oh good lord…" he thought, then a sort of peace came over him and he slipped his arm around her. "Well… Maybe it isn't so bad…"
Kengyu smiled up at his wife. "Now you're done."
Shokujo smiled at him, coming to his side. "That's good." she whispered. "Now shall our night begin?"
And as Kengyu and Shokujo crossed their bridge of magpies to their loving next on the other side, the two lovers brought together under the moonlight of Tanabata rejoiced in the festival of love…