Izzy raked a hand through his dark red hair and impatiently thumped the heel of his trainer on the plush carpeted floor of the vestibule as his pretty female partner fumbled in her over-sized purse for the right ATM card. He almost sighed in relief as she magically managed to produce the right one, and slotted it into the machine on the wall opposite her. Almost immediately, the lighting in the small off-street room that sheltered the cash machines flickered, and immediately went out leaving the two of them in almost total darkness. The astonished silence was broken by a panicked Mimi.
"Was that the wrong card or something?"
"Davis please I'm trying to eat,"begged Kari, as the younger generation of Digidestined sat, stood or sprawled themselves around the large sitting room of the Motomiya residence, revelling in the unexpected freedom of no parental figures present.
"Yeah, cut it out Davis,"chimed in TK automatically. "While you're strutting around in front of Kari, we'd all like to watch the television you're blocking."
"Okay TC, don't have to flip your hat over it,"cracked Davis, smoothing back his short burgundy hair and flashing a grin at his brunette 'sweetheart' sitting on his sofa next to TK.
"Well that programme is over,"commented Cody in his quiet voice. "What shall we watch next?" he asked.
Suddenly, the lights in the apartment flickered. The seven of them looked around disconcertingly. Nothing happened for a second, then the lights cut completely, and the television died with a faint 'zup' sound and a grey oval disappearing into the middle of the screen. They looked around at each other with the dim light from the evening outside.
"So I guess we won't be watching anything then…"quipped Willis with a tilt of his blonde head.
"Will you look at her as she looks at me, she's got me thinking about her constantly…"sang Matt, loving the attention as he strummed on his electric guitar, with Tai, Sora and Joe watching him perform in the Ishida apartment. "But she don't know how I feel, and as she carries on without a doubt, I wonder if she'll figured out, that I'm crazy for this girl." Matt finished with an impressive flourish, and his friends broke into applause. Matt grinned and prodded his gelled blonde hair into place.
"Thank you, thank you! That was 'Crazy For This Girl', a song I wrote myself…inspired by my friend…"Matt stopped. Partly because Tai was giving him the death glare and he was pretty sure his hair would not escape unscathed if he chose to say more about what had inspired the lyrics to that song, but mainly because his speakers released an ear-splitting whine, then died. Everyone had jumped.
Warily, Matt strummed the strings on the guitar. Nothing came out of the speakers. A split second later, the table lamp near him, the only artificial light in the room at the time flickered madly, then went out totally. They were almost in total darkness. Joe started babbling incoherently, Sora slightly tightened her grip on Tai's arm, but Matt walked calmly across the kitchen and fumbled around until he found and lit several candles.
Walking back to the others, he grinned impishly at Tai upon seeing how close he was holding Sora, and how pleased he looked to have the opportunity to. Tai glared frantically back.
"So,"he began, laughing slightly. "Who's for Truth, Kiss or Dare?" he teased.
Mimi sat on the soft and barely trodden carpet of the vestibule, leaning her head wearily against the unmoving automatic doors that held her captive. Izzy sat on a ledge at the back of the area, swinging his legs so his heels thumped against the surface monotonously. Neither of them spoke. The only sounds was the soft rain that had started pattering outside, and the slow thump, thump, thump of Izzy's trainers. Finally, Mimi cracked.
"Izzy will you stop that!"she screeched in exasperation. Izzy's feet halted in mid-swing.
"Well sorry,"he said, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "But I was under the impression that anything was better than sitting here in the dark looking at the outline of the back of your head." Mimi pondered this for a moment.
"What's wrong with the back of my head?"Izzy sighed dramatically and ignored her. Mimi returned to staring out the rain-streaked doors, wondering for a second how much force it would take to smash the glass. Suddenly Izzy started muttering. "What are you talking about now?" she asked irritably.
"I'm just going over Einstein's Theory of Relativity,"he replied. "It keeps me amused. Actually from a young age I've always been secretly fascinated with trying to prove it wrong." There was a moment of silence between the two teens.
Mimi momentarily closed her eyes. Suddenly she whirled around and slammed her fist on the glass doors, all but screaming.
"Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp don't leave me in here with him!"she wailed as she thumped on the glass.
"How come Cody's mom has the foresight to come and pick him up?"Yolei huffed as the remaining six of them sat in the dark, with only the feeble light of a torch – the Motomiya's were not the best family at equipping for 'emergencies'.
"Cody's younger than us Yolei,"Kari said quietly from her perch on the back of Yolei's armchair, where she was braiding her friend's mauve hair. An explosion of laughter on the other side of the room called their attention; even the straight-faced Ken was, well, trying to keep a straight face. Davis had gotten hold of Yolei's hair-kerchief.
"Oh I'm Yoh-leeee!"he pronounced in a high pitched voice, strutting about on his tip-toes with the piece of material stretched over his goggles. 'I know everything, and I'm always right too! Oh Hawkmooooooon!" he mimicked. Growling, Yolei leapt from her chair and strode across the room. Davis noticed her ascent and hurriedly pulled the kerchief off his head. Yolei snatched it out of his hand and pulled his goggles back so they snapped back into his face.
"Stop showing off in front of Kari,"she growled at him between her teeth. "It makes me feel sick to my stomach." There was a hushed giggle from TK. Willis watched lazily, unperturbed; Ken watched in alarm; and Kari stood at the 'side-lines' ready to jump in. Davis glared at the taller girl, trying to think of the right thing to say.
"Jealous, Yolei?"he mocked.
"Huh in your dreams!"Yolei answered, folding her arms across her chest.
"No, not of me, but maybe you just need a boyfriend."He saw her flinch and knew he'd hit the right sore spot. He decided to keep pushing. "You've got the Digimental of Love right?" he teased. "Well where's the love Yolei?" he asked with an innocent air and upturned palms.
"I should get Halsemon to Tempest-Wing your ass,"Yolei threatened through gritted teeth. "That'll show you where the love is!" Davis just smirked, and opened his mouth to harass her further.
"Davis that's enough,"cut in Kari suddenly, as she saw Yolei wordlessly clench her fist in her anger at her letting Davis beat her down so easily.
"Yeah Davis stop it,"the normally quietest voice in the group cut in strongly. "Or else your Digimental of Friendship won't be much use," Ken half-joked, half-threatened. Faced with both Kari and Ken, Davis backed down and flopped to his seat. Yolei returned wordlessly to her chair, murmuring her thanks to Kari. From across the room she caught Ken's eye, and smiled warmly at him. He smiled back.
"Why do we have to be stuck in Matt's apartment?"Tai complained. "He never goes grocery shopping. I'm hungry…"
"Sit down Tai,"said Sora, pulling the tall brown-haired boy down to the sofa next to her. Tai grinned easily at his best [human] friend, but his eyes grew wide as she yawned and practically cuddled into his side, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Tai what's the time?"she asked quietly. She received no answer, so she looked up curiously. Tai was staring at her. "What…?" she asked uncomfortably.
"Er, nothing, nothing Sora,"Tai assured her. "Um it's about 9:30."
"Ugh no wonder I'm tired,"she muttered. "I had an early tennis match this morning." She glanced across the apartment to where Joe and Matt looked deep in conversation. "I wonder what they're talking about…"
"I wonder what they're talking about…"mused Matt, as he carefully watched Tai and Sora out of the corner of his eye. Joe flipped off his glasses and cleaned one of the lenses with the hem of his shirt.
"Not sure Matt, but from here it looks like Tai's gonna erupt!"the oldest Digidestined laughed, replacing his glasses on his nose.
"Hey, do you think that Sora likes him too?"Matt asked quietly, not quite over his unfruitful crush on her the previous winter. Joe chose his words carefully.
"I think…that they'd be a very good couple – they act like they're dating already,"he said, watched them throwing grapes up in the air for the other to catch in their mouths. This game wasn't going to well as they couldn't stop laughing, and Tai kept crashing his head into hers, then pausing to apologise in horror. Matt nodded.
"Yeah, besides, Tai's so crazy about her that it has to work…I don't know why he doesn't just ask her out already…scaredy-cat, Crest of Courage my ass,"he smirked teasingly. Joe shook his head.
"Tai's frightened that she'll say no and then their friendship will be ruined,"he mumbled. "I used to feel the same way about Mimi, but I got over it pretty quick," he blushed. "I think she likes Izzy."
"Izzy?"Matt laughed. "My, my, my…our team's become a soap opera!"
"Speaking of which,"Joe frowned. "Where are Mimi and Izzy?"
"Mimi wanted to go to the bank and Izzy went with her for…some reason…"he smirked. "They should be back by now…"
"It…can't…end…like…this…"Mimi muttered, as she pulled herself away from the doors and turned around to see Izzy perched on his ledge staring into space. It unnerved her. "I'm hungry," she whimpered, pushing back a lock of dyed strawberry hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. "And I'm cold, and I'm tired." She pronounced each of her ailments stressfully. Izzy turned one eye to her, and in one swift movement produced a small plastic cuboid from the pocket of his green shirt and threw it to the girl. She fumbled but caught it, and looked down at the thing in her hands. It was half a box of Tic-Tacs.
"Are-are these for me Izzy?"she asked quietly. Izzy blushed lightly over his nose, and concentrated on the wall opposite him.
"Well I am aware that you cannot get all the nutritional value and proteins you need from a lousy half-box of breathmints,"he answered. "But they're all I have. You can eat them all, I ate before we came."
"Well, I don't know what to say…thanks!"laughed Mimi, popping a round orange tablet into her mouth. "Palmon loves orange Tic-Tacs," she remembered fondly.
"I wish Tentomon was here…"Izzy said suddenly.
"Me too!"Mimi agreed. "He could Supershock those doors and we'd be outta here!" They both laughed, and finally fell into a conversation.
TK watched Kari. Davis was asleep, sprawled on his back over most of the sofa so for once TK could get a decent view of her. Willis watched the whole thing with high amusement. Okay it was no secret that Davis had spent the majority of the night in Kari's face, but what impressed Willis most was the fact that TK managed to stare at Kari all the times when she wasn't staring at him, so they never noticed each other. Willis found himself wondering whether it was all subconsciously synchronised or something like that.
Now with Ken and Yolei it was a whole different story. Even though to the best of his knowledge the two were good friends, Yolei having been the second person after Davis to forgive Ken after his little 'stint' as the Digimon Kaiser, but tonight the air was strained around them, and they took every opportunity not to look at each other. Willis sighed; he was the type of guy who just goes up and starts snogging a girl that he likes, so he found it difficult to understand the weird game of cat-and-mouse the Japanese Digidestined seemed to be playing with each other. Willis looked down at his empty lap and sighed; he wondered how Terriermon and Kokomon were doing in the Digital World.
"I think Ken likes you…"Kari had whispered into her ear. Yolei had frozen – she didn't understand why. It wasn't the most earth-shattering, wonderful, immense thing she'd ever heard…so why did her whole world screech to a standstill and her face glow so brightly she could have stopped traffic? "You'd better act soon Yo, you'll never get a chance like this again and our parents will be around to pick us up soon!" Kari had urged quietly.
"How about taking your own advice with Mr Takashi over there!"Yolei had whispered back haughtily, satisfied that she able to see, even in their extremely limited light, Kari's face match the hue her own was currently burning at.
"Aw man I've gotta walk over to the Motomiya's and pick up Kari,"Tai realised suddenly. "Wanna come with me Matt?" he teased. Matt looked at him in horror.
"Are you joking? June might be there!"
"Yeah but I think she likes my brother now Matt,"Joe said, cleaning the other glasses lens. Matt looked slightly put out.
"Yeah well, once a Fangirl, always a Fangirl,"he strutted. "Once you've loved 'da man, there's no turning back."
"Besides,"interrupted Joe, elbowing the blonde in the side. "I think you should walk Sora home on the way – she looks pretty tired." Sora looked at him quizzically, and Tai grinned hugely and shot a thumbs-up to the other guys, unseen by the girl next to him.
"Actually Tai, that would be…nice if it's not too much trouble,"sad Sora quietly, looking up at him with her deep amber eyes. Tai grinned, and pretended to be deep in thought about something.
"Hmmmmmm well your house is on the way, and I'm sure you must have saved me from death at least once so I guess it's the least I can do."
"Well don't put yourself out or anything!"Sora joked back.
"Nah come on then. Bye guys,"Tai replied, grabbing his and Sora's jackets as it was still drizzling outside.
"Have fun you two! Have her home by curfew!"Matt smirked, revelling in his chance of pay-back. Sora shot him a 'look' and he ducked in mock horror.
As the door swung shut behind his best friend and semi-crush, Matt stood still for a moment. Joe thumped him lightly on the shoulder.
"I guess that must have been pretty hard Matt,"he said slowly.
"Nah, it's okay. I'll get over it,"Matt smiled. "Plenty of girls out there. And besides, I only have a crush on her, and I'm no expert, but I think Tai has something that goes deeper, and as their friend I can't stand in the way." Joe nodded thoughtfully, sitting back down on the sofa. Matt stood up for a brief moment longer, humming the words to the song he wrote about his two friends.
Izzy had joined Mimi sitting by the door, and the two of them laughed as they reminisced about times past.
"Hey Izzy,"Mimi said suddenly. "Have you realised that you haven't mentioned your laptop for almost an hour!" Izzy thought about this for a minute and laughed.
"Wow!"he said. "And you haven't talked about makeup or your hair for…half an hour." She smiled, showing her perfect white teeth. Suddenly Izzy remembered why he had quickly grabbed the breath-mints off his desk and shoved them in his pocket. Red exploded on his face. Mimi looked at him curiously.
"Izzy? What's up?"
"N-nothing. Hey Mimi did you know there are databases on the Internet where you can do things like enter your hair colour and skin tone into the local memory of the server and it will choose you the perfect outfit?"Izzy babbled, the first thing that came into his head that Mimi would be half interested in. She would have been, if she had understood him. She blinked her big brown eyes and he mentally back-pedalled. "Er, never mind," he murmured.
Mimi looked at her companion carefully, the short red-headed boy who used to drive her nuts in the Digital World with his incessant talk of computers…was he flirting with her? Or at least trying to, she corrected herself, smiling. He sure had changed a lot since they were frightened little 10 year olds, forced to 'save the Digital World'. He was now almost as tall as her, if she took off her platforms.
Mind you, she was a lot different now too. Her hair had gone through God knows how many changes, and she was taller now too, and had developed an American 'street' attitude at times; Sora had made it very clear she detested this. Anyway, her chain of thought was digressing – was Izzy flirting with her? Izzy? And more importantly, did she want to retaliate? Suddenly, she smiled in the way one would when they have a secret. She set herself a challenge; she'd have his tongue down her throat tonight or her name wasn't Tachikawa Mimi! After all, it was something to do…
Yolei couldn't take it anymore. Kari was about to be picked up by her brother, Davis was asleep and snoring VERY loudly, TK had also fallen asleep and was dozing in a position on Kari he'd find very difficult to explain when the lights came back on, and Willis and Ken were talking quietly in the corner. She stood up, resisting the urge to aim a kick at Davis's sprawled form.
"I'm gonna walk home,"she announced. "See you guys later, and for God's sake someone put him out in the garden!"
"Bye Yolei,"chorused Kari and Willis. Suddenly, Ken stood up.
"I'll walk you home Yolei,"he said quietly.
"Oh no, don't bother,"Yolei assured him, secretly pleased. Kari and Willis watched the drama unfold with amusement. "It's out of your way and I'll be alright."
"Nonsense,"smiled Ken. "I wouldn't be a gentleman if I let you walk home in the dark with all the looters about. You might put one of them in hospital if they try to attack you!" he teased. Yolei smiled, amazed at the change in him – there was now long periods of time where she completely forgot he had been the cruel Digimon Kaiser…he was just Ichijoji Ken, her Digidestined friend…who apparently had a crush on her…
"Okay,"she said, simply, unable to keep a happy smile off her face. She sought out Kari and the two girls exchanged a meaningful look.
"The lifts won't be working,"Kari warned them. "And neither will the auto-doors. You'd better go down the stairs and out the back door."
Unfortunately, Kari could not give the same brilliant words of wisdom to her brother and Sora, so it took them 10 minutes of Tai pounding on the lift doors angrily before Sora persuaded him to walk down the stairs. Also unfortunately, the path from the back door of the block of apartments Matt and his father lived in was blocked with bag upon bag of rubbish. Usually, the thin alley-way was illuminated by a lamp – which of course was not working. Tai and Sora carefully picked their way through.
"Yeouch,"moaned Tai as he walked into his fourth spiky rubbish bag, and for the fourth time, Sora worriedly asked him if he was okay. "Yeah I'm fine," he lied, rubbing his shin. He could barely see her outline through the drizzle, and then suddenly, it disappeared altogether. "Sora?" he called.
"I'm okay, I just sli- ow!"Tai jumped as he realised he'd stepped on her hand. He fell to a sitting position next to her.
"Aw sorry Sora, you okay?"
"Yeah I'm fine Tai,"she assured him, reaching blindly with one hand until she grabbed on to the soft cloth around his collar. A car tore down the street just near them, and for a split second, the alley was lit up, and Tai could see just how close his face was to Sora's. He gulped. How perfect.
"Sora I-, Um, hang on, I have something I…want to tell- no wait.."Sora laughed slightly at her flustered best friend, having guessed a long time ago what he wanted to tell her.
"Actions speak louder than words Taichi,"she whispered, using his full name to show that she was serious.
"Ummmmmmm…"Tai looked at her, or at least where he saw the moonlight glinting off her eyes. He stared at her for so long that Sora thought that he'd lose his nerve, and deny what she knew he knew. Then, very slowly, he ran his index finger down her jaw to her chin, and lifted it up, as if he was thinking about what to do.
He moved closer to her, but barely; their lips still weren't touching. Their mouths were open, and he could feel her warm breath in his mouth. He sighed for no reason, and Sora felt his shoulders shudder. Suddenly, she spoke, just as he was about to reach in the final few centimetres.
"Um actually, Tai? Can we get out of the alley way?"He looked at her blankly. She blushed. "I-I just don't want our first kiss to involve me leaning up against a rubbish bag…" Tai laughed softly, not even thinking about denying the fact that was going to kiss her. Gently, he pulled Sora to her feet, and they continued their way out of the alley. Tai had never moved so fast.
Mimi was bored. Izzy wasn't taking the hints. In fact, at that very moment he was wondering why the girl was staring at him like a predator looks at its prey and was wondering whether it might be a little too early to turn to cannibalism. But nothing could have prepared him for what the girl said next.
"Izzy I'm bored. Do you want to make out?"If Izzy had been on a chair, he would have fallen out of it. If he had been standing up he would have simply fallen. But as he was already on the floor, his jaw was the only thing to drop, although he did lean just that little bit closer to the door. Something happened that was a very rare occurrence in his life. Izzy was speechless.
"…mwa?"was all he managed to muster. Mimi smiled seductively at him. His lack of speech just proved he wanted to in her eyes. She advanced closer, and suddenly Izzy found himself a lot closer to the door.
Tai and Sora practically tripped out of the alley and fell to each others lips. Acknowledging the whoops and calls from above in Matt and Joe's voices by sticking up his finger, Tai then put his hands to better use as he looped his arms around Sora's waist and pulled her so close to him it seemed to her like he wanted to pull her straight into his body. After a while, the two of them parted, and smiling happily, Sora looped her arm around his, and dragged him, mock protesting towards the Motomiya apartment.
As they walked in comfortable silence along the main road, Tai kissed the top of her head every few seconds. As they were passing the ATM vestibule, Tai suddenly stopped, and grabbed both of Sora's hands with his.
"I forgot!"he grinned. "Takenouchi Sora, will you A, be my girlfriend, B, go out with me, or C, marry me?" Sora smiled.
"All of the above."Tai cupped her face in his hands and leaned over to kiss her again, and suddenly all the streetlights flickered. And then there was light. Suddenly, there was a thump and Tai and Sora detangled themselves from each other in alarm.
On the pavement in front of them was Izzy, rubbing the back of his head where it had whacked into the pavement. Laying on top of him, looking equally dazed, was an equally familiar 'strawberry blonde beauty', the two having fallen straight through the automatic doors they had been leaning on when the electricity had returned. Guiltily, the two younger teenagers looked up at their friends, who were struggling to keep straight faces.
"I'm not even going to ask!"laughed Sora.
"I could say the same thing to you,"Mimi remarked, raising one pencilled eyebrow delicately as she saw exactly where Tai's hand had been before they had interrupted them. All four of them blushed hotly.
"Well, Mimi, Izzy have fun!"Tai half-laughed, half-babbled. "Me and Sora have gotta go pick up Kari from Davis's house…not that they're dating or anything, I mean…ack…I give up. See you guys later, come on Sora."
As the two older teens walked onwards, Izzy and Mimi slowly looked at each other.
"Tomorrow at eight? Cinema?"Mimi asked breathlessly. Izzy nodded, as he still hadn't recuperated from his speechlessness. Mimi stood up shakily, and readjusted her skirt, blushing. Flashing him her wide smile, Mimi set off towards her aunt's house, where she was staying. Izzy got to his feet, and stared after his childhood friend.
"Wow…prodigious…"he breathed. The Tic-Tacs had been a lot handier than he had expected.
"Hey Kari, I've come to take you ho- TK! Get your face away from there!"