Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon, its characters, or the original plot.
For Love and Dreams
By: Tyson Granger
Time wound down in the National Championship game between the Red Dragons of Shibuya University and the White Tigers of Odaiba College, and like all classic soccer matches, the score was tied 2-2. The capacity crowd at University Stadium was screaming wildly and pulling for their favorite team, save a few suited men in the upper level of the stadium who were holding clipboards and conversing quietly as they took notes on each of the competing players. On this field, there was surely some of the greatest soccer talent in all of Japan gathered, but as fate would have it, the eyes of the suited men were all focused on a single young man in red. The name of the young man…
"Takuya! You can do it, Takuya! C'mon!" a young woman with blonde hair called out from the seats directly behind the Shibuya bench. This girl, Izumi "Zoë" Orimoto, was not just any girl, but the roommate and best friend of Shibuya U's star striker, Takuya Kanbara. Zoë smiled as Takuya managed to steal the ball from one of the White Tiger attackers, and turned to give a high five to another one of her friends, a black haired young man named Kouichi Kimura, who was also cheering hard for his former Digidestined companion, Takuya. She smiled brightly, the former bearer of the Spirit of the Wind's face lighting up proudly. "Takuya's got it in the bag, Kouichi. He's got that look in his eyes again, you see? It's just like before he went to fight Cherubimon, you remember, don't you?"
The former carrier of the Spirit of Darkness nodded slowly, a smirk forming on his face as the words left Zoë's mouth. "I remember that. I also remember a certain promise you made to him right before that fight, too. By the way, did Takuya ever get his date?" Kouichi laughed lightly, teasing the girl a bit without pushing too hard. Zoë blushed a bit, but managed a giggle herself. She nodded slowly, remembering the date in question fondly. It had not been much, but with Takuya, it hardly mattered what they were doing. She loved being with him, and that day was no exception. If not for JP…who knows what might have happened between them.
3 years ago
"Hey, Zoë! Sorry I'm late! What's up?" Takuya stopped in front of the girl in the purple and white striped shirt, panting for breath. The goggles on his signature brown hat nearly fell off as he leaned over, causing him to fumble about trying to catch them and fall over onto his butt. One would have never thought this clumsy, nervous boy would soon become one of the greatest college soccer stars Japan had ever seen. Zoë covered her mouth, stifling a giggle as the goggle head rubbed his backside, muttering about how the grass should have padded his fall.
"Well, Takuya, if you're done playing clown for the day, I suppose I can tell you," she joked, finally stopping the giggles for a bit to get serious. The gogglehead nodded mutely, aware of the change in his friend's demeanor. "Good, well…I…uh…do you remember what I told you before you went to battle Cherubimon?" Zoë asked nervously, chewing her nail unconsciously.
Takuya smirked, "Of course I remember, Z. You promised to go on a date with us if we defeated him. Why'd ya' bring it up now? Finally ready to live up to your promise?" Takuya watched as Zoë continued to bite her fingernails, wondering what was going through the blonde's head. 'Zoë, I can't believe that after all this time, I might finally get to take you on a date! I've been waiting for so long…'
Snapping from her temporary trance, Zoë turned and smiled down at Takuya before kicking him lightly in the side. "Wipe that smirk off your face Kanbara, I'm only living up to my promise, so don't get any ideas," she warned him, but the brunette noted that the threat was about as empty as Ranamon's old fan club is now. Takuya agreed with a silent nod, and inside, the young Orimoto was jumping for joy. 'Yes! I knew this was the perfect excuse to get you to take me out, Takuya! I like you so much, Takuya…I think I'm falling in love with you.'
Takuya leapt from his seat on the ground and took her hand hesitantly, "All right then, Zoë. Where should we go?" After a short deliberation, the two finally decided on some ice cream and a walk in the park, neither one bold enough to try anything more romantic this early. Besides, they had all day…
So it was, that as the day drew to a close and the sun began to fall in the west, their walk in the park drew to a close in the same spot it had begun. Takuya and Zoë sat together under a tree in the center of Shibuya park watching the sunset and talking idly about their days in the Digital World. All in all, the day had been a huge success…at least in Takuya's opinion. But as the young brunette removed his goggles and hat, then laid down on the cool grass, and Zoë sat, legs crossed against the tree while she placed his head comfortably in her lap, the night promised so much more.
'This is just like my dream…when I was fighting Cherubimon,' Takuya thought as Zoë stroked his hair softly, humming an unknown tune into the soft breeze of the night air. Both would have to go home soon, but neither seemed to notice. 'This is so perfect…everything is just right,' he sighed softly, snuggling a little closer to Zoë's warm, smooth legs. The blonde noted this and smiled.
'Today was so romantic, and it's not over yet…I have the feeling that tonight is the night. Nothing could ruin this…I love you, Takuya…I just have to tell you so…' the young Orimoto moved her hand from the elder Kanbara sibling's hair to cup his cheek. Takuya's head lazily turned to look up at the beautiful face of the blonde-haired beauty above him, and instantly a warmth enveloped him as he noted the sweet, peaceful look upon her perfect features. "Takuya…" she whispered quietly, as if she had said his name louder, he might run away.
At the soft sound of his name on her lips, the former leader of the Legendary Warriors rolled to his side and got up to his knees so that he was leaning slightly forward, facing her. She reached out and placed her palm on his cheek again, and he quickly covered it with his own, softly holding it in place. "Zoë?" he whispered just as softly, hoping for all he was worth that this was going where he thought it was. And as the young Kanbara unconsciously leaned even further forward, their faces silently drew nearer and nearer to one another. No more words were spoken before their eyes fluttered closed and the soft brushing of their lips together sent a shockwave throughout their young bodies. A smile lit up Zoë's beautiful face as she pulled back, ready to show Takuya her true skill in the art of kissing, and Takuya was equally as eager to share his feelings with the girl before him. But apparently, it was not to be…
"Hey, Zoë! Zoë! There you are!" the loud voice of the former bearer of the Spirit of Thunder, Junpei "JP" Shibuyama broke the purity of the moment and caused both Zoë and Takuya to jump away from each other, blushing. The older boy was red-faced and panting heavily, having obviously been running and/or looking very hard for the purple-clad Orimoto girl for quite some time. "I've been looking all over for you, and this is where you've been? With some other guy? Who the hell is he?" He turned to see that none other than his old leader Takuya was the guy in question. "Oh, hey Taki. Fancy seeing you here with Zoë, how ya been?"
Takuya resisted the urge to tell the older boy to just leave Zoë alone, but he knew that if Zoë wanted to continue what they had started, she would tell him so…right? Instead, he smiled his trademark, lopsided smile and opted for the high road, "Not bad. It's good to see you JP, it's been a while hasn't it?" The red-head nodded, but turned back to Zoë, ignoring him completely. 'Damn it…I thought Zoë and I had something there…and now this.'
Little did he know, Zoë was thinking the same thing, 'Oh no, just when I was sure Takuya and I were about to kiss! Fate just is not on my side today…' nevertheless, she smiled and put on a friendly face for her overbearing friend…besides, if Takuya really wanted to be alone with her, he'd just tell him to leave…right? "Um…hey JP, what do you need?" JP smirked at her question and proceeded to ask her on a date.
Zoë nearly laughed at the ridiculousness of his question! Interrupting her date with Takuya to ask if she wanted to go on a date with him? Not that JP was a bad guy or anything, but it should have been pretty obvious just whom she wanted to date as long ago as the Digital World. But she guessed his tenacity is what makes him JP. She sighed, she wouldn't be able to get rid of him now, even if she wanted to. "Well, um…I was actually in the middle of something with Takuya, here, but I guess you can stay if you want," she relented sadly, her mood dropping even further when the elder Shibuyama immediately dropped to his backside on the ground between her and Takuya and pulled out a piece of chocolate to eat. 'My date with Takuya…ruined…damn it, how will I ever get a chance like this again?'
On the other side of their now-munching friend, Takuya was hurt by Zoë's inclusion of JP in their date. He knew she must have just being nice, but…no, he was just being jealous, he could never blame her…'but it was supposed to be our night…' he thought sadly as he stood from his seated position. In spite of his disappointment, he turned to Zoë and smiled, "Well, I should be getting home anyway, I guess I'll see you later Zoë." he lied. He wasn't due home for at least a few more hours, but he could not sit next to the blonde-haired girl any longer wondering what might have been had JP not shown up.
'I may never get another excuse like that to take her on a date again…damn it…it's just not fair,' he vented as he picked up his hat and goggles from the ground beside the tree, 'and I never even got the chance to tell her how I feel…' Nonetheless, he smiled as he took off into the distance, waving one last time to Zoë as he ran down the path.
She watched as he ran, wondering if she should stop him. She could leave JP here and go with him…after all, it was their date…their night. Quickly making up her mind, she jumped from her seated position and ran to the edge of the park to catch him, but when she got there, he was already gone. "Takuya! Takuya don't go!" she called out into the darkness, but to no avail. He never heard he call out for him to wait.
"Takuya! Go Takuya!" she cried out from the bleachers of University Stadium, cheering wildly for the brown-haired object of her affections. Yes, she still had feelings for the young gogglehead, but as it was, he was still that same boy fading off into the darkness…and she was still trying to catch him. Pushing the memory aside, the young Orimoto decided to place her full attention on the game at hand. Kouichi, however, did not fail to notice the clouded glaze that covered her eyes at the mention of that date.
She never mentioned it to anyone in the group, but everyone knew that something happened between them. For the life of him, Kouichi could not understand why the two were not together. He knew they liked each other…well, Zoë had told him she did, and he had a hunch about Takuya…but for some reason, they were still beating around the bush. 'If they want to be together though, I hope it is soon. I have the feeling something big is going to happen soon,' he thought to himself, and the dark-haired Kimura had learned quickly to trust his instincts. He only hoped his friends would come around. Shaking his head clear of such thoughts, he turned his attention back to the game as Zoë had moments ago. 'Crap, it's almost over! I better start paying attention.'
Sure enough, the scoreless match had carried over into stoppage time after the 90th minute, and it was only a few seconds before time would be called and a shootout would decide the National Champion of Japanese Soccer. But Takuya Kanbara, it seemed, had other plans.
Down on the field, Takuya was dribbling the ball up the field at a rocket's pace, putting on the occasional ball move to shake an incoming defender as he neared the opponents' goal. The defense had been blanketing him all day, but somehow he'd managed to split the defense for a goal and an assist already. If he had his way, this one would be his third point of the game. A slick stop-and-go move later to get past the front defenseman, and it was him and the back defensemen one-on-one. The look in the brown-haired Kanbara's eyes said it all…and the defender's eyes widened as he realized he was beat.
Takuya fired a missile of a shot past the stumbling defender towards the top-right corner of the goal…the only spot in-net he knew that the White Tiger's All-Japanese Team goalie was weak in defending from studying tape. Jyou Akimura, Odaiba College's all-star goalie, dove to knock the ball away…but as the ball sailed just out of his reach and brushed net, he knew that it was over. Takuya Kanbara, Freshman sensation of the Shibuya University Red Dragons, had won the National Championship with a masterful display of ball-handling and shooting skills! The crowd erupted as the young Kanbara was lifted from the grass onto the shoulders of his ecstatic teammates and carried to the sidelines as the referee blew the final whistle to end the game.
The Shibuya Red Dragons, National Champions of College Soccer in Japan, left the field together, entering the locker room for the post-game celebration with their star on their shoulders. It seemed that everyone in attendance…the team, the parents, and the Red Dragon faithful were all set to for a party to celebrate…everyone, that is, except that same star, Takuya Kanbara. After a short celebration in which he had hooted and cheered just as loudly as the rest of his team, the goggle-headed soccer player exited the locker room quietly…just as he always did.
Takuya was a great player; everybody knew it, and that was the problem for him. He loved to be a leader…in the Digital World, and on the soccer field…but he hated all the publicity that came with it. He had always simply done what he thought was right…necessary…he did what every person in his position would have and should have done. What was so special about that? Sure, he had talent, but it certainly was not something to make such a big deal over. He would much rather walk home quietly with Zoë than stay and listen to everyone talk about how wonderful he was and all…the attention practically made him sick.
Speaking of Zoë, there she was, waiting outside the stadium to walk home with him as she always did. The young brunette smiled before walking up and placing his arms around her petite form and pulling her into a tight hug. He had never been able to fully express himself to her after that fateful night in the park…he'd always either been too shy, or too busy to do so…he never hesitated to try and show her how much she meant to him through actions. She sighed against his shoulder, and he released her slowly, pulling back to look into her bright green eyes. Yeah, he'd take her over the cameras any day.
"You were great tonight Takuya," she said softly the same thing he had been loathe to hearing all night, but coming from her, it did not bother him to hear so. He smiled, wrapping his long arm around her shoulder and began the short walk to their small Shibuya duplex that they shared with the dark-haired twins, Kouichi and his brother Kouji Minimoto. Both of them tried not to blush at the closeness…
"Thanks Z," Takuya replied after a few seconds, earning a strange look from his female companion. Catching the look, he decided to continue, "I was glad you decided to come tonight. I know you're not a big soccer fan, but you came anyway. So thanks." Zoë felt flushed from head-to-toe, and suddenly wished that she and Takuya were not so close…surely he could feel her blush. Apparently he did not, however, and merely kept walking, his arm securing her to his side.
Although they might not have been boyfriend and girlfriend, the two had always been very comfortable with the closeness of their friendship…it was almost as if…as if they were dating. They liked that, even if they both knew they could not be with each other. So it was that together, Zoë Orimoto and Takuya Kanbara made their way through the back parking lot, avoiding all the cameras and fan-types who might have been waiting for him out front and slipping out unnoticed…well, almost unnoticed.
Just as Takuya was about to break the uncomfortable silence that had fallen over them, a blonde-haired man in dark sunglasses nearly twice as tall as either Takuya or Zoë stepped out in front of them, hand extended. Takuya quickly pushed Zoë behind him and narrowed his eyes menacingly. To this, the suited man laughed, and pulled a clipboard from his jacket before looking it over and placing it back inside his coat. "Takuya Kanbara, I presume?" Takuya noted that his deep voice was not threatening, but different…friendly? Perhaps he had overreacted a bit.
"That's right, but if you want an interview, I'm sorry. I'm walking my girlfriend home right now, and as much as I'd like to, I don't have time to speak to the media. So if you'll excuse us…" Takuya attempted to step around the man, but the suited man merely laughed and stepped in front of him, blocking his path.
"I assure you, I am not from the media, and I am certainly after no interview. I only wish to tell you that the soccer club I work for was very impressed with your performance tonight and all season, and that you may be receiving a letter very soon from myself or one of my superiors about securing your services for our team. I had no intention of interrupting your walk home with your lovely young girlfriend, but seeing as you have a tendency to avoid the media, I had to find another means of contacting you. I'll be going now, and once again, I am sorry for disturbing you. Good evening," the suited man gave a small salute and began to cross the street silently.
'What the hell just happened?' Takuya wondered silently, 'he didn't even tell me his name so I know who to expect to be contacted by.' "Wait!" the young Legendary Warrior called as Zoë cautiously attached herself to his side once more. The blonde man stopped in the middle of the road and turned his head back to listen. "Who are you? You know, so I know what to look for in the mail and all?"
The man smirked. Surely if he did not know any better, he would have thought it an evil smirk, but as it was, he brushed it off as his professional nature. "Yamaki…Yuri Yamaki. See ya round, kid," and with that, the scout was off into the night once more, leaving two very confused Legendary Warriors standing on the sidewalk. The two merely stood staring into the spot where the odd scout vanished for a few seconds longer before a tug on Takuya's yellow shirt beneath his red vest reminded him that he was not alone.
"Hey, Takuya…what was up with that man? He seemed weird…scary, kind of," Zoë said warily, obviously concerned for him. Takuya shook his head clear. Were all scouts that weird?
'Probably,' he decided, 'I bet he does it so that we remember him and his team first before all other scouts and teams…or…uh…something like that.' Unconsciously, he scratched the back of his head, and he laughed uneasily at letting such a wild thought as an evil scout cross his mind. Snaking his arm around Zoë once more, he smiled as his chocolate-kissed eyes met her shimmering green ones. "Ah…I'm sure it's just part of the pitch. Don't worry about a thing, Zoë," he assured her, squeezing her shoulder comfortingly.
Still, Zoë wasn't entirely convinced…this man was after something, and it was something she was sure she did not want to give up. "What do you think about that guy's offer? Are you gonna do it?" She found instantly that her heart was begging him to say no. 'Why? It could be a great opportunity for him…I should be happy for him.'
Takuya shrugged and made some incomprehensible noise. "I don't know Zoë, it'd have to be something really big for me to leave Shibuya. Besides, he was probably from some semi-pro club or something, and I'm pretty sure I don't want any part of that. Doesn't pay very well…besides, that'd probably explain why he was so weird…not to mention the cheap suit," he added jokingly, easing both his own and his companion's minds with a good bout of laughter.
Suddenly, a thought crossed you beautiful Orimoto's mind, and she smiled. "Hey Takuya, you called me your girlfriend back there…what was that all about, huh?" she joked, poking his ribs teasingly…although she wished with all her heart that he had not been kidding when he'd said that.
Caught off guard, Takuya blushed madly as he tried to come up with a reason for why he had done that. "Uh…well, uh…Zoë, I just figured that it'd be easier to…uh, get away from him that way," he let out a breath, convinced he'd come up with a good lie. Regaining his composure, he smirked, "Why? You don't mind do you?" Zoë smiled sweetly and shook her head, and they both blushed and chuckled once more…she would never mind hearing his name linked with her own in such a fashion.
Then, as they stood together recovering from their shared chuckle, their faces alight in the glow of a lonely street lamp, something stirred within the two companions as they suddenly found it hard to tear their eyes from one another. Takuya, for once, took initiative this time and slid his hand from Zoë's shoulder to her waist, pulling her even closer into a warm embrace. 'Well, she's not pulling away…maybe this time I'll be able to say it…'
Coincidentally, Zoë was thinking along those same lines, 'Oh my, he's actually doing it…or does he just think I need comfort because I was scared. Damn, I wish I knew…oh, Takuya, I'm not going to pull away. Don't you leave me…' she sighed, snuggling against his warm chest. Even if it was only for comfort, Zoë found that she neither wanted to nor would she pull away from the goggle head's embrace.
Silence filled the air as the two youths held each other on this chilly Shibuya night. The smell of flowers reached Takuya's nose and he inhaled it slowly, taking in the beautiful scent of Zoë's hair. "Zoë…" he whispered softly, his voice husky and uneven. Their eyes met once more, and time, it seemed, had slowed as their faces inched nearer to one another.
But fate has a cruel way of intervening at the worst times, as once again, Izumi Orimoto would discover. So, even as her eyes fluttered closed and the hot breath of her soccer playing partner warmed her anxious lips, the call of none other than Kouji Minimoto broke Zoë from the near-lip-lock. "Hey, Zoë, Takuya? What're you two doing out here all alone?" Just as it was years ago, the two separated quickly, trying desperately to hide just how much they had wanted that moment, but blushing all the same. A nervous laugh left Takuya's lips as the elder twin pulled up beside them in his recently bought car. "Hop in, I'll give you a lift back to the 'plex." Reluctantly, Zoë and Takuya noted the gathering clouds above and accepted the offered ride from the Legendary Warrior of Light.
The ride home was short, but it seemed to last forever as Takuya Kanbara and Zoë Orimoto were left pondering what might have been had their moment not been shattered.
'Things were just getting interesting when Kouji had to show up,' Zoë lamented as she stared out the window as the rain began to fall. She sighed, 'Another chance to tell him how I feel lost…fate is so cruel! I love him so much…if only I had the guts to tell him.' Little did she know, things were very much the same in the mind of the other passenger of the car.
'Damn, if only I'd have told Zoë sooner…bah, another chance to tell her I love her down the drain. I know…I could have sworn she was going to let me kiss her. If only I had the guts to tell her…but I don't want things to get weird…after all, we do live together.' The young Kanbara sighed as he chatted idly with the black-haired driver of the car. Fate was just too cruel sometimes.
Meanwhile, the driver of the car was taking note of the wistful expressions on his passengers' faces and the obvious attempts at not looking at the other. It all pointed to a fact that only he and his brother Kouichi were currently aware of…and only because the two brothers were abnormally perceptive when it came to their friends. 'They've got it bad…I just hope that one of them will come out and say it before it's too late. I don't know why, but I have a bad feeling that something big is going to happen between those two soon…'
Had he been present in the parking lot earlier in the evening, he might have known he was right.