Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A/N: Last chapter! It might be good to check back and read what Matt's bracelet says (the one he got from Tai) so the end makes sense. Now, this story can stand alone, but if you're wondering what's happened to these couples since this story then it can also be seen as a prequel to Following the Footsteps of Destiny. Please enjoy, and of course review!
My Best Friend's Girlfriend
Chapter 35: The Crest of Friendship
Tai entered the lunchroom with his arm around Sora, and the two of them headed towards the table where Yolei and Izzy were currently arguing about whether or not Matt still wanted to be his friend. Yolei looked like she was ready to hit Izzy over the head with his laptop, but her rant came to a halt when she suddenly realized the two of them were no longer alone anymore.
"Hey, Yolei!" Sora called out, waving her hand in the air and looking suspiciously innocent.
Yolei took one look at the happy smile on Sora's face and promptly leaped out of her chair in a fit of rage. "Sora Takenouchi, you get over here right now and tell me what's going on, or you're going to-"
"Nothing," Sora called back, trying desperately to keep a straight face and failing miserably.
"Really, then why are you cuddling up to Tai when you should be hanging out with Matt?"
That effectively got the attention of everyone in the cafeteria, and Tai realized he was suddenly the object of much scrutiny.
Thanks a lot, Yolei! Oh well. I guess it doesn't really matter anymore, but still. When is that girl ever going to learn how to keep her mouth shut?
"Tai, I think we should wait until Matt and Mimi get here," Sora said softly in his ear. "They'll want to hear our good news. Besides, I'm anxious to find out what's happening between them."
"Me, too, but what if they don't come to the cafeteria?"
"Are you kidding me? Both Matt and Mimi are going to want to know if you and I are together, and the most logical place to look for us is right here in the cafeteria. They'll come as soon as they're ready."
"Good, that'll give Yolei someone else to annoy, and hopefully she'll focus her attention on them instead of us!"
Tai quickly sat down in the seat across from Izzy, and Sora took the seat across from Yolei. The lavender-haired Digidestined glared at Sora and banged her fist on the table for emphasis. "Why didn't you tell me you were in love with Tai?"
"Where's Matt?" Izzy asked, interrupting Yolei before she could start ranting again.
Yolei sent the computer expert a dirty look and pointed angrily towards the cafeteria doors. "He's right there, and...is that Mimi with him?"
Tai jerked around in his seat and almost fell out of his chair at the sight of Mimi holding his best friend's hand. He had never once seen Matt look so happy in public before, and the sparkle in his friend's sapphire eyes brought a smile to his face.
I can't believe it! Matt actually listened to me for once! It's a good thing, too, because they really do make a good couple, just like Sora and I do.
"Hey, guys!" Mimi giggled, dragging Matt towards the table and coming to a stop in front of Sora.
Sora let out a shriek and leaped to her feet, nearly knocking over the table in her haste to congratulate Mimi. She threw her arms around the rosy-haired Digidestined in a tight hug, and the two of them smiled at each other. "Oh, Mimi, I'm so happy for you. I can't believe you and Matt are finally together! See? I knew there was no way he'd be able to resist you!"
"Not with the reception I got!" Matt replied, looking mighty pleased with himself.
Mimi blushed and swatted her new boyfriend's arm. "Ignore him. Um...Sora? Thanks for everything. You were the one who told me not to give up, and you were right."
"You're welcome," Sora laughed, giving the younger female a warm smile. She turned to look at Matt, and her eyebrows narrowed into a frown. "Why didn't you tell me you were in love with Mimi? I wouldn't have said anything, you know."
Matt shrugged and slid his arm around Mimi's waist. "I didn't know it myself until after I spoke to you today. Actually, I guess that's not really true. I knew I cared about her, but I didn't realize just how strong my feelings were until we met up with each other in front of the music room about twenty minutes ago."
Tai elbowed Sora in the ribs and grinned at his best friend. "Fair enough. Once again I'm right and you're wrong. You really need to catch up, buddy. The record's like twelve to zero by now!"
"Whatever," Matt snorted.
"So Mimi really was the girl you told me you thought you were in love with," Sora said quietly.
Matt gently placed his hand against Mimi's cheek and smiled at the rosy-haired Digidestined. "Like it could be anyone else."
"You should have seen my face when I found out!" Mimi giggled.
Sora laughed and gave Matt a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'm really happy for you, Matt. You deserve to be with someone as great as Mimi."
"Thanks," Matt mumbled, looking embarrassed.
Tai hesitated and placed a hand on his friend's arm. "Um...Matt? I'm really glad everything worked out for you."
Tai blinked in surprise, but Matt merely smiled at him and quickly looked away again. At first he was confused, but then he smiled because he realized no other words were needed. That was why they were best friends. He knew what the blond was thinking, even though his friend had not said very much, and Matt understood him, despite the fact that he had not had a chance to explain exactly what he had meant.
"What about you guys?" Mimi asked, glancing anxiously at her best friend.
Tai pulled Sora into a hug with a flourish and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "What do you think?"
"Mimi, you knew Tai was in love with me all along and you didn't say anything? Some friend you are!" Sora scolded, pretending to look offended.
"I couldn't tell you, and you know it! I can't believe you guys are really together. Now I have two reasons to be happy."
"So do I," Sora murmured.
"See, Tai? I was right, too!" Matt said smugly.
Tai rolled his eyes and gave Mimi a warm hug. "I guess everything worked out after all, didn't it."
"Yeah, our suffering was definitely worth it. Thanks for everything, Tai," Mimi said softly.
"Same to you."
"Hey, hands off, Kamiya!" Matt joked.
Tai punched his best friend in the stomach and motioned for everyone to sit down. "Does anyone have anything good to eat? I'm starving!"
"Get your own food!" Yolei grumbled.
Tai found himself seated between Mimi and Sora, and Matt quickly took the seat next to Izzy.
"Um...Matt? Are you and Tai friends again?" Izzy asked, tugging on the blond's sleeve to get his attention.
"When have Tai and I ever stopped being friends?" Matt snorted. "Seriously, Izzy, everything's fine, and it's all thanks to you and Willis."
Tai leaned across the table and patted his best friend's shoulder with affection. He grinned at the computer expert and gave the blond in front of him a sly smile. "Trust me, Izzy, we've never been better. Thanks for helping Matt out. He really appreciates it, even if he won't admit it."
"Tai! Would you shut up already?"
Izzy ducked his head, looking extremely embarrassed, and glanced almost shyly at Matt out of the corner of his eye. For once the computer expert was paying absolutely no attention to his laptop. "I already knew that. He told me so himself. I'm glad my advice came in handy. I'll have to remember to tell Willis what a great help he was."
Matt glared at everyone, as if daring them to laugh at him, and put an arm around Izzy's shoulders. "Make sure you thank him for me. I'd rather take advice from him than someone like...say...Yolei for instance!"
"Hey!" Yolei shouted.
Tai realized Mimi and Sora were smiling at him, and before he could ask them what was up they both turned to look at Matt. "We're so proud of you guys!" they said at the exact same time.
Tai glanced suspiciously between the two of them and crossed his arms. "Why?"
"Somehow I don't think I want to know," Matt muttered.
"Isn't it obvious? Your friendship with Matt hasn't suffered in the slightest despite what you guys have been through," Sora explained, her ruby eyes sparkling with amusement.
"Exactly!" Mimi giggled, beaming at her boyfriend.
Matt's cheeks turned bright pink, and he buried his face in his hands so he would not have to look at anyone.
"Why won't any of you tell me what's going on?" Yolei snapped, her fist coming down dangerously close to Izzy's laptop. She glared angrily at Mimi and pointed an accusing finger at the rosy-haired Digidestined. "I knew there was something wrong with you earlier! Why didn't-"
Tai looked up at the sound of his name and spotted Tomo waving madly at him from the other side of the cafeteria. He motioned for the other boy to join him, and Tomo quickly hurried over with a smile on his face. "Hey, Tai. I saw you come in with your arm around Sora. What's going on? I think I deserve to know after the way both Matt and Mimi practically assulted me on two separate occasions. Are you and Matt still friends? You better tell me because I'm not leaving this table until you do!"
Tai glanced at his best friend and smiled slightly. "I almost forgot about your conversation with Tomo."
"He helped me out, just like Joe, Izzy, and Willis did," Matt mumbled, avoiding the sandy-haired soccer player's eyes.
Tomo gave Matt a little shove and proceeded to make himself comfortable on the edge of the golden-haired Digidestined's chair. "Well? I'm waiting."
Tai quickly explained everything that had happened over the last few days, with many helpful comments from Sora, Matt, and Mimi, and when he had finished his story Izzy, Tomo, and Yolei stared at him in stunned silence.
Tomo was the first to recover, and he gave Matt an affectionate slap on the shoulder. "You guys sure know how to make life interesting! Congratulations, Matt. You're lucky to have ended up with a girl like Mimi. I'm truly envious, not that you made a bad choice with Sora either. It's not fair. Some guys get all the luck!"
"Now that's what I call a compliment!" Mimi laughed, giving Tomo a quick peck on the cheek.
Tomo studied Matt's face for a moment and raised his eyebrows. "I was right about Tai, wasn't I?"
Matt managed a weak smile and nodded. "Yeah, you were."
"I was right, too!" Yolei shouted, sending Mimi a triumphant smile. "I told you, didn't I? You and Matt do make a good couple after all. And you tried to tell me you weren't interested in him!"
"I'm sorry, Yolei, but I wasn't sure of my feelings until recently."
"That's no excuse! I hate not being in on the action! You guys had better tell me what's going on the next time something like this happens, or else!"
"Since when have any of us ever felt threatened by you?" Matt smirked.
Tai kicked his friend under the table and made a face. "Usually she saves most of her threats for Davis, so don't encourage her otherwise we'll end up being victims of her temper, too!"
"Davis takes Yolei's threats seriously!" Sora said, looking amused.
"That's because in his case she usually goes through with them!" Izzy muttered.
Tai nodded in agreement and frowned when he realized Tomo was watching him. "What?"
"I'm glad you're friends with Matt again, and it's good to see you with Sora, too. You guys are going to make a great couple."
At that moment Nori happened to walk by their table, and he came to a dead stop at the sight of Matt and Mimi holding hands across the table.
"Really, Mimi, you could do much better," the raven-haired boy smirked, his dark green eyes fixing intently on Matt's face. The golden-haired Digidestined's sapphire gaze flashed with sudden anger, but Nori pretended not to notice. He turned away from them, but before he could get very far Mimi picked up one of Izzy's textbooks and threw it at the raven-haired soccer player's back. The book hit him right between the shoulder blades, and he nearly stumbled into a group of students who were trying to find some seats.
"Good aim," Tomo commented.
Nori whirled around and glared at the rosy-haired Digidestined, his face a mask of embarrassment and fury. "Real mature, Mimi."
"You're one to talk! You'd better learn to keep your mouth shut or next time I'll give you a taste of these boots, buddy!" Mimi snapped back, raising her right foot for emphasis.
Matt glanced warily at his girlfriend and slowly shook his head. "Remind me never to make you angry!"
Yikes, she's scary sometimes!
Nori looked like he wanted to make a rude comment, but one look at Matt's face sent him scurrying away from the table as fast as his legs could carry him.
"Good riddance!" Sora said cheerfully.
That's for sure. Matt was right about him. One of these days I hope he does something stupid enough to give me an excuse to kick him off the soccer team because I've had just about enough of his attitude!
"Mimi! You should have thrown Izzy's laptop at him!" Yolei complained, interrupting his thoughts. "At least then you would've been solving two problems at once!"
"You're right. Izzy spends way too much time on that laptop. It's about time we got rid of it!"
"But, but I haven't touched it since you guys got in here!" Izzy protested, hugging his laptop protectively against his chest.
"Oh no!" Sora suddenly gasped, glancing nervously towards the cafeteria doors. "Matt, it looks like Nori's not the only one who's noticed you have a new girlfriend. You'd better watch out. Jun's heading this way, and she's definitely not in what I would call a very good mood!"
"I never knew it was possible for someone's face to get that red. She looks like she's going to explode!" Tomo snorted.
"Quick, hide me!"
"Sorry, buddy, but it's a little too late for that," Tai said, giving his friend a sympathetic pat on the arm. "She's already spotted you."
"Great, now what am I going to do?"
Tai shrugged and winced at the helpless look on Matt's face. This time he truly did feel sorry for his best friend.
"You're dating Mimi now?" Jun shouted at the top of her lungs, her voice carrying across the cafeteria.
Mimi let out a squeal of terror and leaped out of her chair before Jun could get close enough to start ripping out large quantities of her shiny pink hair. She quickly hid behind Sora for protection and buried her face between the older female's shoulder blades.
"Matt Ishida, are you planning on dating every girl in Japan before you date me?" Jun said angrily, stepping in front of the blond and putting her hands on her hips.
Matt's mouth dropped open, and he stared at her in disbelief. "Are you crazy? What kind of a person do you think I am?"
"I know! You're a womanizer!" Tai joked, taking advantage of his friend's confusion. "Seriously, Matt. You're a regular Casanova. You've got to stop encouraging the ladies all the time!"
"I don't encourge anyone!" Matt sputtered, his face turning bright red.
"You don't have to!" Yolei muttered.
Mimi peeked hesitantly over Sora's shoulder and winced at the look of outrage on Jun's face. "Um...you're not going to try and beat me up, are you? If you want to know the truth, I'm not really much of a challenge. I can give you hundreds of tips on fashion, which you could certainly use by the way, but when it comes to fighting I know absolutely nothing."
Tai snorted loudly, but Mimi ignored him and continued to gaze at Jun with an anxious expression on her face.
"I mean it," the rosy-haired Digidestined insisted. "Can you imagine me trying to take down another girl with my bare hands? I...I could break a nail doing something like that!"
Jun rolled her eyes and started to laugh at Mimi's outrageous statement. She gave the rosy-haired Digidestined a warm smile before turning her attention to the musician sitting in front of her. "Alright, fine. If that's the way you want to be then I guess I'm just going to have to show you exactly what you've missed out on!"
Before anyone could say anything she glared at Matt and stormed out of the cafeteria in a rage that sent people scurrying to get out of her way.
"Well, on that note I guess I'd better join the soccer team before Nori decides to take his anger out on Rikuto and the others," Tomo laughed, leaping up from Matt's chair and grinning at everyone. "I'm glad everything worked out for you guys. I'll see you later, okay?"
"See you, Tomo," Izzy replied.
"And, Tai? Don't forget about our soccer game next Friday!" Tomo called over his shoulder before heading towards a fuming Nori.
"I think I've had enough excitement for one day," Mimi sighed, flopping down on the edge of Sora's chair and wrapping her arms around her best friend.
Yolei beamed at them and patted Sora's shoulder. "I'm glad you two were able to work things out. Your friendship is way too important to give up."
"We know," Sora replied, giving Mimi a quick squeeze. "Don't worry. Our friendship is stronger than ever."
"Definitely," Mimi said firmly. "You know what, Tai? Yolei and I never did get much of a chance to follow you around. That was our original plan, but I ended up finding out about your feelings for Sora without a lot of extra hard work. Sometimes it pays to eavesdrop on other people!"
"Mimi!" Sora scolded.
"Well it does!"
Tai glared at the rosy-haired Digidestined, but Izzy interrupted him before he could say anything.
"What about Joe? Someone has to tell him what's going on."
"Same with T.K. He'll never stop bugging me until I give him all the details!" Matt groaned. "And I'm sure Kari will want to know, too."
"I can write Willis an e-mail, but what about the others?"
"I know!" Yolei piped up, her eyes glittering with excitement. "Why don't we round up Joe, Davis, and the rest of the younger Digidestined and head to the Digital World this afternoon? We haven't been there for over a week, and I'm sure Palmon and the others will want to hear the news. That way we can tell the rest of our friends all at once."
"Sounds good to me," Izzy replied. "What about the rest of you?"
They all nodded in agreement and groaned when the warning bell suddenly rang. Yolei wrinkled her nose and glared at Izzy as if it was his fault the bell had wrung. "I guess that's our cue to get moving. I'll see you guys after class."
Tai reluctantly climbed out of his seat and leaned over to give Sora a quick kiss on the lips. "Have fun in chemistry."
"See you later. I love you," she whispered in his ear.
"I love you, too." He felt her arms go around him in a tight hug before she hurried out of the room with Yolei. He shook his head and a small smile slipped across his face. He could still see the pink blush on her cheeks despite the fact that she was no longer in the room.
"Tai, will you stop grinning like an idiot and hurry up already? I have to go to my locker," Matt smirked, interrupting his thoughts.
He turned to look at his best friend and smiled in amusement. Matt and Mimi were hugging each other so tightly they looked like they were in danger of becoming permanently attached to one another.
"I'll see you after school, Matt," Mimi said cheerfully. She gave the musician a quick kiss on the nose and proceeded to drag Izzy (laptop, textbooks, and all) towards the cafeteria doors.
Tai was left with his best friend for company, and the two of them quickly headed towards the musician's locker. They walked in silence, but it was a comfortable one, and he used the opportunity to study his friend's face. Matt looked completely relaxed, and his sapphire eyes were sparkling with happiness.
I know exactly how he feels. I don't think I've ever been this happy before.
He still had trouble believing Sora was actually his girlfriend, but there was no denying the gift Matt had given him. Sora was everything he had ever wanted and more, and he knew he would do everything he could to make her happy. Matt was his inspiration, and he would honour his friend's wishes no matter what sort of obstacles he might face in the future.
Tai jumped at the sound of his friend's voice and blinked in surprise when he realized his friend had already gotten everything he had needed from his locker. "Are you ready to go?"
"Um...actually, I have something I want to give you."
"What is it?"
Matt's face turned pink, and he lowered his eyes to the ground. "Tai, I should have told you about my feelings for Sora right from the beginning. I'm sorry I waited till the last minute, but...I think I knew..."
"Yeah, I think you did, but it doesn't matter anymore. You love Mimi now, and I love Sora. They both got what they wanted, and so did we. Why are you apologizing for something that happened a long time ago?"
Matt stared at him in surprise and shrugged. "It wasn't that long ago."
"To me it is. Now quit trying to change the subject. What did you want to give me?"
Matt pulled something out of his pocket and held it tightly in his hand. He stared at his fingers for a moment, and after a long, thoughtful silence he let out a soft sigh. "I was going to give this to you for your next birthday, but...um...I think it'll have more meaning if I give it to you now. Here."
Matt shoved the thing into his hand before he could say anything and pulled him into a fierce hug. They clung to each other in silence, and after what seemed like less than a second Matt gently pushed him away and turned to look at the floor. "You told Sora you love her, and that makes it official. You're my best friend, Tai, and I'm never going to let you forget it. I'll meet you at your locker after school, okay?"
Tai managed a quick nod, but before he could respond Matt hurried off down the hallway and disappeared from sight.
Well, it's official. My friends are all completely crazy!
Tai frowned and gazed anxiously after his best friend. The object in his hand felt cool against his skin, and the edges of it sparkled under the fluorecent lights. He hesitated, convinced he was going to see something he did not want to see, and slowly opened his fingers. It was a silver bracelet. In fact, it looked exactly like the silver band he had given Matt not that long ago. For one horrified moment he thought the blond had given back the gift he had chosen so carefully for a birthday present, but then he realized the inscription written on the inside was different. Matt had not rejected his gift after all. This bracelet also had the symbols of courage and friendship on it, but the message was much shorter. Tai felt a sudden lump in his throat as he read it, and without hesitation he slipped it onto his left wrist and held it up to the light. At that moment he knew without a doubt Matt would always be his best friend because the message simply said:
No, thank you.