Disclaimer: I do not own the series Digimon or any of its characters featured within this fan fiction.
A little over three months, but I'm behind on everything these days. This, as I may have mentioned before, is the last chapter I really hope everyone enjoys.
Today was the big day. It was finally happening and I was so jittery I was surprised the rest of the world wasn't shaking along with my nerves. Takeru had left me earlier in the day, quite irritated with the way I was acting. I can't blame him; I doubt anyone would be able to put up with me like this for very long. Well, maybe one person.
Taichi was coming back today.
I honestly thought people would understand my actions, but I guess it wasn't as important an event to anyone else. Well, actually, it wasn't really. I was completely wreaked, I hadn't slept last night and I couldn't eat anything. Dad had kicked me out of the house pretty early on during the day, telling me he couldn't get any work done with me moping around.
I so don't mope!
I've just been walking around since then. Caught up with Takeru for a while before he got sick of me. Saw Koushiro and chatted for a bit before Ken arrived and they left for some computer thing. Miyako was working with her parents and I thought I caught a glimpse of Daisuke out with his soccer team. It was pretty much a given that most people I knew would get fed up with me pretty quickly, so I made my way through the local area, killing time and hoping that I might catch Taichi just … wandering.
I eventually ended up in one of the group's favourite spots: the park just overlooking the river at the edge of town. We'd had many a meeting here and just hung out a lot. Taichi and I used to come here every day, back before high school when we didn't see each other in class. It was a pain having your best friend in a different school, but we managed. Dusk was the best time to come out here, we'd look out over the water and just stand in silence, the light playing over the waves and us, a warm glow settling over and filling us. Peace and contentment. I loved this place.
Making my way over to the sturdy steel railing, I folded my arms over the top bar and leant down, chin resting on my arms, to stare out over the scenery. It was probably a fool's hope, but maybe Taichi would show up here looking for me. Or even just show up, either would satisfy me. I just wanted to see him again.
"Ishida." Darn, and I'd been having such nice peaceful thoughts for a while there too. I grit my teeth. "I heard your lover-boy hasn't even come to see you yet."
Against my better judgement my eyes slid over to the figure leaning insolently against the railing beside me. Rino's hair fell into his eyes as he smirked at me. Jeez. The guy can't even be intimidating right. The twist of his lips makes him look like a simpering ponce and his appearance is way too ruffled and windblown to actually pull off the vicious cold attitude well. I just raise an eyebrow in question, finally processing his words rather than just his idiotic appearance.
"You mean Tai? I can hardly lay first claim to his life – he does have quite a number of other friends."
"Still, it's be a shame if I got to see him before you did. Oh, wait, no it wouldn't."
I unfolded myself from the railing, not bothering to hide my disgust or to soften my glare. "Listen closely, asshole," I hissed, grabbing him by the front of his shirt. "You go near Taichi and I will castrate you and string you up by your ears for crows to feed on."
He shoved my arms away, rubbing discretely at his chest as he glared back. He shoved his finger in my face and it was only with the greatest strength of mind that I didn't recoil from the disgusting protrusion. "And I'm telling you, Ishida," (he was failing miserably at the deep menacing hiss), "that it's up to Taichi to decide where and how often I will touch him. I'm sure it'll be more than he'll ever offer you."
I snorted, folding my arms. Such an amusing creature. "Don't say I didn't warn you." Despite my nonchalance, I was far too agitated to return to my previous peaceful recreation and I hardly felt like spending more time in Rino's odious presence than I had to. Shoving my hands in my pockets I sauntered off, knowing it infuriated him that I was displaying no outward expression of concern.
Later on I would wish I had never walked away.
I had never actually intended to move from that spot, I always enjoyed just standing there, even when in a bad mood. It was almost a sacred spot for us Digi-destined. Well, maybe not quite sacred, but it was familiar. I was fairly certain that Taichi would show up sometime. I should have known there was something odd going on when Rino showed up. He had to have been stalking Tai for longer than I first thought to have known exactly where to go in order to "accidentally" meet up with Taichi. That creep, once he got me out of the way he never moved. He totally stole my idea!
Those conclusions, however, came to me later, for when I finally did return my attention was immediately occupied by a sight I had never wished to witness.
Rino was still leaning against the railings, his hope for meeting Taichi before me fulfilled. That mess of brown hair was being tousled by his tanned hand, scratching awkwardly; his brown eyes were wide as Taichi stared in confusion at the boy before him. That simple glimpse of him set my heart pounding and my skin tingling. I missed him so much. I had to force myself away from falling into that familiar pit of longing and desire and concentrate on the situation at hand.
My best friend did not look happy now. Really. When you've managed to get Taichi that pissed, you really ought to back away and start looking for an undertaker. This wasn't the quick hot anger that he often displayed and all of his friends had gotten more than a taste of at one point or another. This was a deep, cold loathing. I was surprised Rino was dense enough not to notice it beneath that veneer of frozen civility – actually I wasn't surprised. Few people – or other creatures – had ever elicited such a response in Taichi. Usually those beings had done something so despicable that not even someone like Hikari or Sora could find it in their wide open hearts to forgive them. Taichi had hardly forgotten their last meeting.
Like I said, the bastard never had a chance.
Taichi was shaking his head emphatically, but Rino was moving closer. I saw red. Didn't that idiot get a hint! Rino's hand grabbed Taichi's shoulder and he tugged my smaller friend even closer. I could hear faint sounds – though not discernable words – carried over the wind to me as Taichi yelled in the other boy's face. I was on the other side of the park. Seeing Taichi struggling in Rino's tight grip was the final straw; I rushed towards them.
As it turned out though, I didn't really need to hurry.
Taichi's a brilliant soccer player. I know I focus on that a lot, but if you ever saw the way he moves out there on the field, you'd be fixated too. He has a certain grace and strength hidden beneath that gangly and wiry frame. He lets it show on the field, but rarely anywhere else. This was yet another time I've been struck dumb by the sheer beauty of Taichi's movements. Well, that and how he employed his natural grace.
With perfect aim he brought his knee up into Rino's groin. As the larger boy came down, Taichi's elbow connected with his cheek before he caught Rino behind the knees in a leg sweep that slammed him into the ground.
I grinned. Taichi's no pushover and he's never been good at playing the damsel in distress. I'm sure it's been eating at him for ages how Rino caught him at a disadvantage before. That should teach the guy something about fair play and listening when people say "no".
I continued to make my way over to the two of them, not bothering to hide my smirk as Rino scrambled to his knees, glaring at the one he'd proclaimed to ardently admire only minutes before.
"Finding it hard now that you don't have me pinned down and drunk?" He still hadn't seen me, his disgusted gaze still riveted on the pitiful sight before him. Taichi was so furious. I'm not sure he'll ever completely get over that night; I doubt anyone would ever be able to forget coming so close to such a horrible event.
"You're really going to regret that," Rino spat, wiping at his bruised face.
Taichi rolled his eyes. "Jeez, you can't come up with something better than that? 'You're going to regret that'. Oh, scary." Wow, I didn't realise how much I rubbed off on people.
Rino was about to reply when he finally caught sight of me and paled slightly. I smirked and tried my hardest not to laugh outright – it would ruin the dramatic tension. Once Taichi realised Rino wasn't paying him attention he glanced over and froze.
The anger seemed to drain away a little and his eyes widened fractionally. "Y-Yamato."
I waved. "Don't mind me. Carry on, this is far more amusing than castration, ironically more damaging though."
"This isn't your business Ishida!" Rino was red in the face and his breath was coming in heavy pants. He didn't look so well.
I shrugged and leaned up against the railing lining the bluff again. "Taichi is my best friend," I pointed out. "But I don't think he needs much help to deal with such a small problem; I'll just stand here for moral support, looking superior."
"That's not too different to how you usually look," Taichi quipped.
Relief washed through me with that single sentence. I hadn't screwed everything up. I glanced at him. He wasn't meeting my eyes, but at least he wasn't completely furious with me. I offered a smile. "Well it's the truth, why not preach it?" Feeling rather giddy, I stuck my tongue out at Rino and laughed at his expression before asking Taichi, "What are you going to do with him?"
"Got any suggestions?"
"I'm still in favour of the castration idea, but I don't have the proper tools with me at the moment. It'd be a bit messy."
"Don't think you can dismiss me just like that," Rino growled.
"Well it's not like you have anything productive to add to this discussion," I spat back at him. I turned back to Taichi, ignoring him again for the moment. "It's your call," I said softly.
He met my eyes for the briefest moment. "Thanks," he whispered. Really, something must have gotten into my food today, I was so giddy. I watched him turn and stand before Rino, that disgusted look upon his face. He just stared at the slimeball for a long time before scoffing and waving his hand disdainfully. "Just get lost; I don't want to see you again." Rino got to his feet and almost looked about to protest when Taichi cut in with, "And if you even think about touching me or any of my friends, I'll let Yama go through with his threats of castration and I'll be there to make sure it's as slow and as painful as possible. Now get out of my sight."
He turned his back on Rino, who would have jumped him had I not glared menacingly. The guy never learns. He glanced fearfully between Taichi and I before wiping at his face. Taichi must have knocked his nose as well as his cheek as a trickle of blood continued to flow down his face from his nostril. I think he decided that the pain we would inflict upon him would be far worse if he continued to harass us now and took the smart option of leaving.
Taichi stood beside me, mirroring my stance by leaning against the railing, and together we watched him until he disappeared from sight. I relaxed and Taichi let out a huge breath and a soft chuckle.
"That was harder than I thought it would be," he muttered.
"Confrontations usually are." He glanced over at me and I shuffled my feet nervously. "Wanna play on the swing set?" I asked quickly.
He blinked then grinned. "Why not. Race ya."
He beat me, like he always did, and took the good swing while I had to settle with the baby swing. I probably would have been able to squeeze into the seat – very uncomfortably – but I decided to just crouch and swing gently. Taichi kept scuffing his shoes against the gravel on the ground with each swing. Anyone could tell we had something on our minds.
After a while I just decided to get it over with.
"I missed you."
Taichi stopped swinging, then started again. "Yeah, I missed you too." I didn't mention the fact that he didn't call. For one, it would make me sound desperate, and right now I did not need that, and two, he already knew how affected I was by that. He looked a little guilty; he would have known how much I freaked out over that and he was probably wondering what exactly had happened while he was gone. He didn't ask though.
"Have you caught up with anyone else?"
"Yeah, Dai and the guys. Keru grabbed Kari as soon as we got home and I stopped by Miyako's to get a drink. Iori was there." I felt almost ridiculously relieved that he hadn't seen any of the older kids before me.
"How was your trip?"
"Dull. It rained for a bit. That sucked. Lots of time to sit and remember why I've never enjoyed nature."
"Yeah, I can imagine."
He cleared his throat. "Uh, what did you get up to then?" He was nervous. "Have any gigs?"
I shook my head and I think he was a little concerned by the way I shrunk into myself with the question. "No, nothing happened really. Well, not that I know of anyway. I spent some time with Gabumon."
"Oh." He looked rather surprised by that. "How much time?"
"A month." A stricken expression crossed his face and I sighed, sick of this already. "Tai, we've been friends long enough to cut the small talk right?"
He sighed. "Yeah. I suppose we owe it to each other."
"So then, I'm sorry." He didn't look up, or even seem that surprised by my words – which usually would have been odd as I never apologise – but I just continued on. "I never meant to fuck everything up, I just … you, I mean I don't blame you, but …" Well, so much for not beating around the bush.
"I'm sorry." Well, that was surprising. I stared at him and he seemed to shrink under my gaze. "I'm so sorry Yama if I've ruined everything."
"By not talking to you. I wanted to, but I was too scared." He laughed, his throat choked up. "Guardian of Courage my ass."
"Scared of me or you?"
"Both I guess." He hadn't looked over once. "So, I'm sorry."
"You really don't have to be. I'm fine, I can survive without you."
"Can you really?"
I swallowed. "You want the truth or a pretty lie?"
He shook his head. "I don't want things to be weird."
"A little late for that." He shut up again and I bit my lip. "Hey, Taichi," I whispered. He moved his head towards me. "Since you already know a little, do you think I could just tell you everything?" I twisted my hands around each other. "Since you are my best friend and all."
I managed to get a small smile from that. "If you think it will help at all."
"You might not like it all."
"I'll decide that."
"I mean really, judging from how things are now, it could just make things worse."
"Yamato," he growled. I glanced at him. I was still the only one that look was ever aimed at. It was that same look he gave me every time I jumped on his back in the mornings, or did something stupid and annoying to get him talking. Whenever anyone else did something similar he'd never look at them like that. It gave me strength seeing that.
"I love you." I'd dreamed of saying those words to him, but in all my dreams he was saying it back. Taichi was silent, so I continued. "You're my best friend and to someone else that might just mean the person they hang with most and tell silly little secrets to, but to me it's something quite different. I've only ever shown you exactly who I am, no one else has seen me quite like you have, I can't keep anything from you. I've only ever tried once and look how it's working out now."
He still wasn't saying anything and I was starting to get paranoid. Maybe my earlier assumptions that I hadn't screwed everything up were completely wrong. What if I had? Could I really live with that? Live without Taichi in my life? Was it even possible? I took a deep breath and continued, hoping that I'd eventually get a response from him.
"I've found you attractive for a while now, but I'm not completely sure if some of my early actions were an unconscious form of displaying that attraction. I've always loved you though and you'll always be my best friend before anything else – it's not a lie coming from me, that would completely go against my very nature. I can live without physical affection and a lover, but I can't live without you and, as stupid as it sounds, I'd rather live forever with this unrequited ache than lose you."
"You can't live without me?"
I blushed at the incredulous tone of voice even as my heart tore at the words. When I said I wanted a response, I'd hoped for a more positive one. "I know it's corny," I looked even further down, my chin almost touching my chest now. "But I'm not the guardian of Love; I don't know how it works or how to express it."
"Love's tied pretty closely with Friendship."
"Yeah, well friendship springs from love." I still couldn't tell what he was thinking.
"Was … did you … I mean," Taichi stopped, thought, and took a proper breath before asking, "When you would hug and touch me and do all those little things, was it just …" I glanced up and knew he was ashamed at the questions he was asking. "Forget it," he mumbled.
"I'll admit that, I did get a little thrill from hugging you," I told him in a quiet voice. He sucked at that, tensing up even further. "But for so long I've been confused if that was because I was attracted to you or just because it was you. No one else I've liked has given me that same feeling. It's just being around you that's so intoxicating. I see you and everything just feels so much better." I tried to chuckle at myself, but it came out as a hoarse wheeze. "Again with the cheesy lines."
"I … I've never had someone love me with intensity before," Taichi whispered.
"I like to think that I'm the only one who possibly could, but truthfully everyone else is just stupid for never seeing how amazing you are."
I growled. "Can we leave the asshole out of this?"
I caught Taichi sneaking a look at me from the corner or his eye. "Sorry. I'm just a little nervous about all this."
I sighed. "S'okay, so am I."
He smiled. "Yeah, I can see. Look, Yamato," he finally looked directly over at me, "I'm just going to bite the bullet. I don't want things to be completely fucked up between us, we were so great and I never want to ruin that, so no matter what, I just want to make sure that we're always friends."
"As if I could live any other way," I promised him.
He looked down, a slight flush to his cheeks. "Thanks." He cleared his throat. "You know I've never done anything to hurt you, not intentionally, and I've tried the best I can not to hurt you unintentionally as well … well, until recently I suppose, but this vacation was kinda screwed up for both of us, so I'm not completely sure I would have been much help even if I did try to help – "
"Taichi," I cut him off, "you're rambling."
"But I'm really nervous! I'm allowed to ramble." He huffed and scratched at his hair. "Now I forgot exactly where in my speech I was."
"Why don't you just say what you were intending to?"
"Because I wanted to explain to you first that I wasn't doing this just to make you happy, I mean it'd be a really good side-effect and kind of tied in, but I wanted to explain that I was willing too."
He wasn't saying what I though he was, was he? I wasn't sure I was breathing at that moment. Taichi was looking at his hands again, his face red and his eyes darting around. I managed to get my voice back and took a shaky breath before asking, "What?"
He swallowed and looked over at me, eyes locking onto mine and refusing to let go. "I'm not promising any miracles," he whispered. "But this summer gave me a lot of time to think and …" he trailed off, looking down again. I didn't need any more confirmation.
I got up and in a stride was bending down over him and tilting his head back to kiss him with all the passion I had, my hands grasping at his hair and my eyes locking onto his. He tentatively reached out to touch my face and as he pressed back against me, I melted, my knees buckling and my eyes sliding closed. This was far more than I had ever dreamed of having. This feeling welling up inside me was far more intense now than it ever was.
He was still grasping at my shoulders as I pulled back for air, his lips seeking out mine. I was so overwhelmed that I lost balance and fell into him, knocking us both to the ground in a rather bizarre and awkward position: me on top of his torso, his feet still on top of the swing and my knees just falling off the edge of the swing.
Taichi laughed, the rumbling of his chest against my cheek soothing and warm. "I thought I was the clumsy one here."
"And I thought you weren't promising any miracles."
"You know me, I never promise them but I pull them off anyhow."
I looked up at him and grinned. "Yet another reason why I love you."
He blushed, "Exactly how many reasons do you have?"
"I've never bothered counting, but I think the count is bordering somewhere around infinity right now." The blush only deepened and I chuckled. "Don't worry, I won't bother listing them. Truth be told, some of them are kind of embarrassing."
"Guess I know why you stare at me funny sometimes now."
This time I was the one to blush. "We should get up now, this kinda hurts."
"Changing the subject are we?"
"Shut up." I pushed myself up and rubbed at my knees when I was standing upright. I grabbed Taichi's hand and tugged him up onto the swing again.
He brushed himself off then stood up beside me. "So … dinner?"
"So long as you're not cooking," I shot at him.
He glared at me. "Just for that I'm not going to kiss you now."
"Meanie," I pouted. "I'll treat you to something nice."
"Fine." He hesitated before grabbing my hand and tugging me along the path. I couldn't help the rather silly grin that crossed my face as I felt his skin slide against my palm and I rather suspect his blush and dazed expression were caused by the very same thing. This really couldn't get any more perfect.
Taichi stopped suddenly and turned to face me. He looked so serious that my grin fell away and I was about to ask what was wrong when he leaned up a little to kiss me. It was chaste and soft, not at all like our previous kiss, but the feeling behind it was exactly the same – if not intensified.
He pulled back and murmured, "I just wanted to see what it was like if I made the first move."
It took me a while to pull myself back together again – Taichi had the most amazing ability to turn me into goo with a simple touch and a kiss only made it more powerful. "I … quite like it," I breathed. "You should do that more often."
"Definitely, but later. Food now." He tugged on my wrist again and I laughed.
This was much better than normal. I hoped it never ended.
AN: I apologise for the fluff at the end there. I know people wanted a happy ending, but I cringe a little when I read over that. They seemed a little out of character to me. Mostly Taichi, though Yama a bit too.
Still, besides that, I hope people enjoyed that chapter.