Litanya: I don't own Digimon. This fic is in honour of all of those fics about people being partners in a project and falling in love. Although the partners are not mentioned all that much anyway.

The Project

She was so annoyed. She, Sora Takenouchi, was partnered with the one and only rock star Yamato Ishida for their Health project. Now she was going to get hundreds of fan girls calling her, trying to get her to change partners, or at the very least threatening that they will kill her if she makes a move on him. As if she was going to try the latter. He was handsome she had to admit. Perfect blond hair and gorgeous blue eyes the colour of sapphires helped to make him popular with the female populace of the world, but his attitude made her want to scream. Still, he was handsome. And their project involved pretending to be married and looking after a 'baby' (the baby in this project was a doll). She had read dozens of stories about people falling in love with their partners, and many of them had been true. Well, she wasn't going to fall for her partner. He had already told her that she was going to have to do most of the work as he had band rehearsals almost every day. That was why she was stuck with a doll in her bag. A doll. She had never played with dolls, even when she had been very young. But Yamato expected her to cart one around, pretend to feed it once every few hours, change its diaper and pretend to love it, whilst he played guitar. Ooh, she was mad.

"Hey Sor…" her best friend's voice trailed off as he saw her face. His eyes widened and he backed up a few steps. A doll was dangling from one of his arms, and his bag hung from the other. She glared at him. How dare he look after the 'baby' he was assigned to? Why didn't he make his partner do it? He followed her gaze to his doll and shrugged apologetically.

"Catherine has a modeling thing or something, so she passed this to me. It's not that bad- practically the whole school knows about the assignment, and half of our year level is carrying these things around. If you're so upset about having to carry a doll, why don't you get your partner to look after it?" she continued to glare as she stalked off without a word. He grabbed her arm, obviously wanting an answer. She almost laughed. Didn't he realise that it was stupid to press her when she was angry?

"I asked STUPID bloody Yamato- I'm-too-good-for-school Ishida to take the damn thing, but he's "busy" with his band. He practically told me that I have to do this whole thing myself!" he jumped at the venom in her voice. He started to back away, and he eyed the exit nervously.

"Now, come on Sora, it can't be that bad. I'm sure that if you just talked with Yama again, I'm sure he'll help you," he was definitely edging towards the exit. She was about to repeat that she had talked to Yamato about this already, when her doll suddenly began to cry. She had forgotten that they had put a voice chip in the things. She sighed and dropped her bag onto the floor so she could take the doll out. The crying grew louder as she pulled it out of her bag. She quickly zipped her bag back up and held the doll as her health teacher had told her. Nothing happened. The 'baby' just kept on crying.

"What does this thing want?" she cried out, exasperated as it continued to cry. Taichi, amazingly, was still standing where he had been when the thing had started to cry.

"Maybe it wants a diaper change or something?" he suggested. She glowered as she noticed that his 'baby' was silent. She thrust her bag at him and began to undress the doll, muttering under her breath about stupid teachers making impossible projects up for their students. Taichi was beginning to look very amused. Many students around them were beginning to stare at her. When she finally managed to get the doll undressed, she found that the diaper was dry (Somehow the school budget had managed to find them dolls not only with voice chips, but also able to go to the toilet and eat. Of course, it always wanted to go to the toilet about half an hour after it had been 'fed', but the students didn't need to know that.). She groaned in frustration. The thing was STILL crying!

"I give up. I can still get a good enough grade if I fail this project," she said as she grabbed her bag. She left the doll on top of a nearby locker, ignoring the laughter of the students behind her, "I have to go to tennis. Tell Yama if you see him that he can either take care of the thing or fail, I don't care." It was weird to think that Yamato had once been her friend. He couldn't be now of course- she was going to make him fail. But they had been friends, very close friends. They had both been a part of a group called the digidestined- a group of children who had saved two worlds from destruction with the help of their digimon- monsters that inhabited the Digital World. Yamato held the crest of Friendship, and she had the crest of Love. They had been close friends. They had drifted since then of course- that adventure had happened when they had been only eleven. Taichi had been among the group too- he held the crest of Courage. She shook her head to dismiss all thoughts of her friendship with Yamato. She didn't care if it failed. She was not taking care of a doll.

Taichi raised an eyebrow after her retreating back, before he turned to the source of the problem. The doll's cries were getting louder. He couldn't just leave it there. He was already getting dirty looks from people, even though it clearly wasn't his fault. He sighed and collected the doll from the top of the locker. Sora had probably hurt its feelings, leaving it stuffed in her bag, and then leaving it on a locker. She would want to apologise to it later. He froze as he realised what he had just thought. He looked down at the doll. It was dressed like a boy, with blue baby costume. She would want to apologise to it later. It took him a few seconds to register that it had stopped crying. He had only picked it up. Then again, his 'baby' hadn't even cried yet.

"Hey Taichi, have you seen Takeru?" he looked up to see his little sister standing in front of him. She was giving the dolls a puzzled look, but obviously finding Takeru was more important. He knew she was going to ask him about the dolls later though.

"No, I haven't seen him. I think the basketball team has practice though, so he could be there," she rushed off without a word. Shaking his head he began to walk towards the soccer field. He paused halfway there, wondering what he was going to do with the 'babies'. A soccer field was too dangerous for them. He could take his own with him- one of them could fit into his locker, but he had nowhere to put the other. The sound of a guitar made up his mind.

'Yama can look after it. It is his responsibility after all,' he walked happily to the music room. Sora would thank him for doing this for her. He knew that she didn't want any harm to come to her son after all.

She jumped as something slammed down onto her desk and sent her pens scattering.

"I told you to look after this, didn't I? You said that you would. This project is worth 75 of our grade, and the thing wouldn't stop crying during my band rehearsal and…" he rambled on, but it took her a moment to realise what was happening. The thing which had landed on her desk was the doll that they were supposed to take care of. It was Yamato who was yelling at her, his icy blue eyes making her feel cold. He finally stopped his tirade to take a breath and she managed to butt in.

"Hang on a second; I didn't give you the thing! I left it on a locker because it wouldn't stop crying and I had tennis. I don't care if I fail I can still- hang on, did you say 75 percent?" she could have sworn that it had said 25 percentwhen she had read the project description… unless she had mixed it up. He was not amused.

"Yes, 75 percent. I guess Taichi must have rescued the thing off the locker, because he came up to me and thrust it into my hands, muttering something about soccer. I thought that it was his as first, but he was already carrying one, and this one has our names on it. How could you be so careless? If anyone had stolen it, not only would we have failed Health, but they would have made us pay for another stupid doll. Now I don't have time to look after it for the rest of the week- I have a recording for my band- so you'll have to take care of it," he stalked off without waiting for a reply. It was just as well. What right did he have to make her do his work for him? The doll on her desk began to cry. She sighed. He probably hadn't fed it. She pulled the 'bottle' from her 'baby pack' and pressed it to the doll's lips. The crying stopped immediately. She almost jerked the bottle away in surprise. She had actually guessed what it wanted.

"Aww… see, I knew that you would apologise to him," Taichi entered the room, carrying his own doll and his Maths books. Most of the people in the classroom were holding dolls, and a couple of the dolls were crying. Her eyes swiveled back to Taichi. He actually seemed to be holding the doll properly, as though it really was alive. As a result, it looked as though he was about to drop his books. She gave him a cool look as he sat in the seat next to her.

"You took it to Yama yesterday. What did I tell you to do?" even though he had probably saved both her grade and her money, she didn't feel like thanking him. After all, he had earned her a public telling-off from the most popular guy at the school. Taichi didn't seem to notice her look.

"Well, I couldn't just leave him there. He was crying. I don't know why he was- he stopped as soon as I picked him up- but you can't just leave a crying baby on a locker. You were at tennis and I heard a guitar, so I gave him to Yama. I knew that you wanted to apologise to him, and see look, he's happy!" it was then that she knew that he had gone insane. He was talking about a doll as though it was real. She sighed. She was going to have to try to explain the difference to him.

"This," she told him as she picked up her doll, "Is a doll. It is not alive, and it has no feelings. It cries because it has a microchip in it, and it eats because there is a big hole through its center that the liquid can run down. That's why it goes to the toilet. It is not real. You can't apologise to dolls Taichi." The doll started to cry again. Why did she have such a dodgy one? She hadn't seen Taichi's cry at all. He gave her a smug, amused look, almost as if he was telling her that she had been wrong.

"If he doesn't have feelings then why is he crying when you say that? And why did he cry when he was stuffed in your bag and put on the locker? He can sense that you want to abandon him. He must be very sensitive," she stared. Did he really believe that they were real, despite what she had told him?

'What if he is right? This doll seems to be filled with some sort of spirit. It does cry if I feel like hurting it… could it be alive?' she stopped that thought quickly. Taichi was playing with her mind. Her temper flared up for the second time in two days.

"Don't be ridiculous Taichi! This thing is only a doll and it won't die if it left alone. This project is so stupid!" the class turned to stare at her. The teacher had come in whilst she had been thinking, and she had begun to teach the class. Sora's outburst had been loud and the fact that her doll was still crying didn't help.

"Go stand outside Sora. I will tell your Health teacher about your thoughts on your project, and the dolls. You will stay outside for the rest of the lesson," she turned red with mortification. Not only was she in trouble with her Maths teacher, but now she was in going to be in hot water with her Health teacher too. This was all Taichi's fault. She glared at him as she left the room, but he wasn't watching her. She had left her doll on her desk, and he had picked it up. It didn't help her temper to find that it had stopped crying the moment he had picked it up.

"…I will now reveal the ladder. The ladder ranks people from the best parents overnight to the worst. You are all ranked depending on how long the dolls cried for you. Now, this is only for last night, so the people at the bottom can still catch up. Remember, your grades will come directly from this ladder, combined with a couple of other issues, such as bill paying etc. Now, the 'couple' at the top of the ladder is Taichi and Catherine. Their doll only cried for five minutes in total, and that was on twenty different occasions… whoa… I thought that they would be last… Catherine, were you looking after it yesterday?" the lithe blond who was Taichi's partner shook her head slowly. Her blue eyes sparkled as she realised that they were first. He knew that she was going to ask him to look after it again. He sighed inwardly. He may be pretending that he thought the dolls were real babies, but it was only to make sure that he didn't forget about them. When his little sister had gotten really sick when he had been eight, he had forgotten and taken her outside. She had been hospitalized as a result, and she had almost died. That was a part of his reasons too. He wanted to make sure that he could be a good parent, just in case he had to be in the future. He was seventeen after all- he was supposed to be responsible. His trick of pretending the dolls were real was so good that sometimes he had even convinced himself that they were.

"Yeah, Taichi looked after it. He drove us crazy during soccer practice," one of the guys from his team called out. His teacher actually looked surprised. He loved Health class, but it annoyed him sometimes that his teacher thought that men were hopeless.

"Okay, so Taichi and Catherine are first. Let's see… who is last… oh, that's a surprise. Sora and Yamato are last. Their doll cried for hours last night. Yamato, I assume that you took care of it?" the blond nodded a little angrily.

"Sora was supposed to look after it, but she decided that she didn't want to. It's not my fault it wouldn't stop crying. I had band practice. We're recording this week and so I couldn't stop just to make a doll stop crying," at least he was honest, Taichi thought to himself. Yamato had been a close friend of his, but then his band had begun to get popular, and since then he had been so busy that they never got to talk. Taichi had his soccer as well, so that hadn't helped. The health teacher did not look amused.

"I know that your band is popular throughout Japan, but that does not mean that you can neglect your studies. Most rock stars become parents sooner or later- although I must admit most do sooner- and so you're going to have to learn how to handle a baby. I don't know why all of you teenagers are complaining about this project. If this had been done when I was at school I would have had so much fun. Anyway, the rest of the ladder is up the front. You can come and see it after class has finished. Now you're going to learn how to pay the bills…" Taichi groaned inwardly. Looking after a kid was so much easier than paying bills. Maybe he could get Catherine to pay them if she made him carry a doll around twenty-four seven. At least he seemed to be very good at that. He pulled out his 'bills' and his pens and set to work. At least he could try to pay them correctly this time.

She felt as though she was going to fall asleep, right then and there. She was standing outside of her Maths class for the fifth time that week. The doll had kept her up all night crying. She and Yamato were still coming last, and it irritated the Hell out of her that Taichi was coming top of the class. How did he make the stupid thing stop crying? Then again, she felt like crying herself. She still had to deal with the doll for another nine days.

"Class is over now Sora. You really need to get more sleep. You look like a zombie," she turned her gaze to Taichi, who had popped up beside her. How did he do it? His doll had only cried for five minutes every day except for one, when it had cried for ten minutes. Maybe he had figured out where the 'off' button was on the thing. No, he wouldn't do that. He still thought that they were real, and to tell the truth, she was beginning to believe him. The doll only seemed to cry when she wanted to give up and leave it somewhere, as well as when it needed feeding etc. It was only a doll. She suddenly screamed in frustration, ignoring the weird looks people were giving her.

"How do you do it Taichi? This thing is driving me nuts and yet yours barely cries. You go to soccer practice with it, whilst I never get to play tennis because it's always crying. I can't take it any longer! If this thing doesn't disappear I am going to go crazy!" it started to cry. She was about to throw it on the ground when Taichi took it from her. It stopped crying a few second after he had held it.

"Firstly, you're holding it wrong, so when you pick it up, it doesn't register that you're giving it attention. You have to hold it like this," he nodded to his arms, where he was holding it as though it was a real child, "Secondly; you're still treating it like a doll. I know that it is a doll, but it doesn't know that. If you think of it as a real baby then you are much more likely to treat it like one, and that means it won't cry as much. I know what I'm doing because I looked after Hikari when she was a baby sometimes. Well… Mum and Dad were there, and it was a long time ago, but you know what I mean. These dolls are made to irritate us. Look, I'll take him with me and Tami for the rest of the day, and I'll give him back to you then, okay? You really do need a break." If her eyebrows rose any higher, they would fall off her face. Taichi was actually giving her good advice. And he was offering to help her. She couldn't keep the relief off of her face.

"Thank you so much- Tami?" he smiled and shrugged apologetically.

"I had to name her. It helps me to think of her as being real. Why don't you name yours? It might help. I know other people have named them. It's just like having a favourite teddy when you are young- naming it makes it easier to love," that made sense too, sort of. She had never really been interested in teddy bears.

"Tristan. I've always loved that name," she looked at the doll now and realised that it was actually pretty cute, especially when it was quiet, "Thank you for offering to take i-him. I will come and find you at the end of the day, okay?" He just nodded and disappeared to go off to his other class. He looked very weird holding the two dolls, but somehow he managed to make it look… almost natural. If they had been alive, she could have sworn that he could have won father of the year.

"Where's the doll? My brother says he'll try to look after it, to see if that will help our grade," she folded her arms across her chest and just looked at him. His cheeks turned a little pink, and it surprised her. Yamato never showed any kind of emotion or embarrassment. She guessed that he was just stressed about the project and his new recording thing, "Seriously, I think that he can improve our mark."

"I thought that you didn't care about grades," she told him, trying to figure out a way to get away from him. He had backed her into a corner, literally. He was using his left arm to prop himself up against the wall and also to bar her from leaving that way. Her situation officially sucked.

"Taichi has him. He said that I looked stressed and so he took him and Tami to his classes," his face changed immediately. He looked like a thunder cloud about to erupt. She decided that it must be the record deal that was stressing him out- he had never shown emotions before.

"I see. Its Taichi is it? I thought that it could be something like that," what on Earth was he talking about?

"I just told you that that is where the doll is," he didn't seem interested in what she was saying.

"I don't care about the stupid doll. I just never thought that you liked Taichi. Mrs. Berry was going to put you with him for the project, but I asked her if I could go with you. I guess that I just haven't been a good partner. But it's a doll! And I am not very good with children anyway- I was always by myself and so I never really…" she stopped listening. She felt as though her jaw was on the floor. She wasn't exactly sure what he was talking about, but she didn't want to know where this was going. He had asked if he could be her partner. Why did he do that? She really didn't like what her sixth sense was telling her, "…It's those stupid movies that Takeru made me watch. You know the ones where the main characters have to do a project together and they fall in love whilst doing it?" He paused expectantly. She had been rolling her jaw back up, but now it dropped again. The normally cool, calm and collected Yamato Ishida was blushing and talking to her about falling in love. He had hoped to fall in love with her- or he hoped that she would fall for him- because of a project. His cheeks seemed to grow redder with each passing millisecond. She glanced around and noticed that everyone was ignoring the two of them too assiduously. In other words, they were pretending to ignore them, but they were watching everything. Alyssa for example, had been tying her shoe lace for five minutes, and Toki had been at her locker for more than ten. This was ridiculous. It must have been a weird, crazy dream.

"Umm… I guess I know the movies you're talking about. I always used to think that they were umm… interesting," Taichi had joined the group of people milling around the area. He didn't even bother to pretend he wasn't interested however. She was going to have to charge him for watching this. He looked as though he wanted to get popcorn. Yamato moved a little closer, only a millimeter or so, but that got her attention again. She could still see Taichi out of the corner of her eye however. Why wasn't he saving her?

"I know that I have kind of been a bit of an asshole during this project, but that's because I was afraid that you would hate me if I took control of everything. Besides, I really do suck at this whole 'baby' thing. But I will try if it means that you won't be mad at me," she blinked. He thought she was mad at him? He was afraid that she would hate him? What had happened to the Yamato she had come to know? He still had her trapped in the corner and she wished that Taichi would stop staring and come help her.

"I'm not mad at you. You're very busy at the moment with your record and stuff, so it's fine that you let me look after him. I've just been annoyed because I suck at this stuff. However, Taichi told me how he does it, so maybe I can get him to stop crying," she didn't know what she had said, but he suddenly moved away from her.

"It's alright. I tried," before he could walk away, she grabbed his arm.

"I don't understand. What was that conversation about?" he avoided looking at her eyes and he looked even more nervous than before. His cheeks were still a bright red. She sort of knew what he had been saying, but she wanted to clarify it.

"I uh… I like you. A lot. That's why I have been avoiding you. But you like Taichi, so I'll uh… I'll go now. It's okay; you can't help what you feel," he said this so fast that she almost didn't understand. She liked Taichi? Wait, Yamato Ishida liked her, the simple Sora Takenouchi? Weren't pop stars supposed to fall in love with models or film stars? All she knew at that moment was that she wasn't in love with Yamato. He was a dear friend, when he chose to be civil to her, but she didn't like him in that way. And she didn't like Taichi like… well she didn't admit it anyway.

"I umm… I'm sorry. I'm sure that you will find someone else. And I don't like Taichi like that," the look he gave her said that he didn't believe her. She sighed as he walked away, with a crowd of girls following after him. Taichi suddenly appeared at her side, holding out Tristan.

"Umm… I think he just went to the toilet. You can change him- I feel a little weird changing someone else's kid," she laughed as she looked up at him. He was holding Tristan out at arms length, his nose scrunched up a little. Tami was nowhere in sight.

"Where's Tami? I thought that you had her with you all of the time," he shrugged and looked a little sad. He was getting too attached to these dolls.

"Catherine took her. She told me that she hadn't been spending enough time with her. Personally I think that Catherine is just pissed that I'm so good at this and she wants to prove that she is better. I don't mind… much. Anyway, what did Yama want? You guys certainly had an audience," he actually sounded very curious- he wasn't just teasing her for the sake of it. She wanted to curse this project. It was messing with her mind, as well as with the minds of her friends. It was going to driver her insane.

"Oh… he just wanted to talk about the project. He apologised for being an asshole- his words, not mine! - And he… well, the rest doesn't matter. You could have saved me you know, instead of just watching," he actually looked surprised.

"You didn't look like you needed to be saved! You were smiling. And your cheeks were turning red. I decided it would be safer for me if I stayed away. Let me guess, he asked you out? Did you say yes?" there was an edge to his voice that she couldn't quite interpret.

"Fine, he asked me out. I said no. He is just my friend; you should know that," she didn't like the way he looked relieved for a moment after she told him about rejecting Yamato, but she was more frustrated with herself for wanting him to be relieved. This project really was messing with her head.

"Then why were your cheeks red? And why were you smiling?" she didn't know exactly how to answer. She must have started to smile once he had arrived- her jaw had been on the floor before then. Had she smiled because of him? She did remember thinking that he looked cute watching her and Yamato whilst holding Tristan. And she had wanted him to save her; she had even conjured up an image of him being her knight in shining armour. It had been a funny image. But was that the reason why se had been smiling? She decided that denial would be the best approach.

"My cheeks were not red and I wasn't smiling," they had somehow wandered into one of the classrooms next to the staffroom. He jumped up onto the teacher's desks and sat there with a knowing smirk.

"I had heard that de-nile was a long river, but I hope you're almost at the end of it," he ignored her indignant stare and started to swing his legs under the table, "Just admit it. You like the guy. There's no point in keeping your feelings a secret. You'll just end up hurting each other if you don't tell him." She wondered if there was a quick way to shut him up. He even seemed like he knew what he was talking about. She decided that it couldn't go on. She took a deep breath. There was one way of shutting him up that she had always wanted to try. It worked of course. After all, he couldn't really talk when her mouth was covering his, now could he?

"Can you just shut that stupid doll up? Bloody health teachers and their assignments!" they jumped apart at the cranky voice of their Maths teacher. She hadn't even realised that Tristan was crying. She quickly went over and picked him up, remembering what Taichi had told her about a diaper change. Taichi himself seemed to be frozen.

"So, are you free on Saturday?" he nodded numbly and she laughed. She was going to get a bad mark for her health project- leaving a 'baby' with an unchanged diaper would be disastrous normally- but she didn't care. What was a lost grade when you had someone like Taichi?

The End

Litanya: I have no idea what this was. Procrastination I guess. I am supposed to be studying for my exams, but hey, as Sora said, what's one lost grade? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this quick little fic, even though it was badly written. Please review if you want and have a good night/day/afternoon etc!