A Moment Between Friends
[a story by nightflame]
She smiled as she leaned into his hug. She really didn't want to be mad at him. It was a stupid little argument; it wasn't important enough to risk losing her friendship with him.
He pressed his lips against her forehead as they hugged. By now she was used to this action – it was almost becoming routine once they would stop quarreling. They would resolve their differences, hug, and he would give her a friendly kiss on the forehead. She had attributed the matter to the fact that he was just so tall, and after all, it was just a friendly thing between best friends. This time, however, was simply different. When she looked back on it later, she would attribute it to the slowness of it all, but at that moment, logic and rational thought were the furthest from her mind.
He had pressed his lips against her forehead, but this time, instead of pulling away, they lingered. Suddenly, she became excruciatingly aware of her breathing, how each breath seemed unable to go past her mouth before pulling back, shallow and quick; how their bodies were meshed together so intimately when, before, they had seemed to be two separate entities; her arms around his shoulders and oh, how broad his shoulders had suddenly become. She could feel his arms, lean but muscled from the hours of practicing basketball, and how they were tightened around her. She was unable to lift her eyes to his, which she could feel staring down at her. And the heat, this sudden unbearable heat. Where had it come from? She was vaguely aware of it having been late evening when they had met, while the sun was setting. There was no way that it could have been so blazing hot, like the noon sun was bearing down upon them. Slowly (oh why was everything moving so slowly?) she lifted her eyes, and her breath drew itself in, lodging itself in her throat.
He was looking at her in a way that she could only describe as watching, as if he was waiting for something. For the first time since she had known him, she felt lost, unsure of what his eyes were trying to say, what they were trying to decipher. His lips - and this was the first time she noticed his lips, as if they were a separate entity from his mouth - were pulled back in that half smile that he always wore, unconscious of anything else. And before she realized it, she smiled.
It wasn't a slow smile, but a fast, bright smile, one that would have been fine if someone had just told a joke, but here, it was so awkward and out of place that it felt fake. It jarred the mysterious feeling in the air that had been causing so much turmoil in her mind; as if until that moment, everything that had been spinning in her mind, preventing her from holding a single coherent thought, came to a crashing standstill at the appearance of that one painfully bright smile.
She stepped back, still smiling that smile, one that, unbeknownst to her, instantly became the one smile he despised. "Well, I'm glad that's over and done with" she blurted out, awkwardly, not even knowing where these words were coming from. What was she saying? It was if her mouth was moving on its own accord. Was she saying that she was happy that…that thing, the air was done with? Or was she speaking about of their argument? She felt so lost, but her voice belied her confusion, speaking with a confidence she didn't feel. Her hands pulled away from his shoulders and when she realized that she still holding onto him, she let go and pulled back another step, until she felt his arms loosen and drop from around her waist.
"Yea" he replied, his head drooping slightly to look at her. His voice was low and quiet, but his eyes didn't change. His eyes still watched her in a way that she didn't know how to respond.
"God, Miya, it was just…it was just…I don't know. It was something, but I have no clue how to explain it. It was as if everything was just so…so…slow. Like time had decided to take a break or something. I don't know what happened" Hikari Yagima jabbed her spoon in the milkshake with a clarity that she was unable to vocalize. "That one extra second when he kissed my forehead…it's as if he slowed down the rest of time because of it. It just makes no sense" she sighed as she pushed the punctured milkshake, spoon and all, away from her. Across from her, Miyako Inoue sighed, her elbows on the table and her chin resting on the table of hands, looking exactly like a picture of a lovesick teen. "Kari, that's just so romantic," she sighed. "It's like those movies or books. You two had a moment"
Kari blinked at her from across the table. "A moment? That wasn't a moment, it was an eternity." Kari sighed and shook her head. "You've been watching too many of those romances, Miya. Life isn't like that."
Miyako frowned. "Honestly, Kari, I'm doing my best to keep from saying, 'I told you so'. Remember last week?"
[one week earlier]
"I can't believe him," she fumed, stomping down the hallway. "The nerve! I mean…argh!" Caught up in her anger, she didn't realize where she was until someone grabbed her arm and called out her name again. "Kari!"
Kari looked up in surprise. "Miyako! What are you doing here? Don't you have computer club today?"
Miyako flipped her long purple hair over her shoulder. "I had to skip out; my parents want me to help at the store today. I had to call your name twice; what's got you so upset?"
Kari looked at her. "What are you talking about? I'm fine. I'm just getting ready to go home," she responded, defensively. Miyako snorted. "Right. That's why you passed by your locker and was about to leave school with your slippers still on." Kari blinked and looked down. She was still wearing her school shoes. "Oh…" she trailed off. "I, um…forgot." Miyako smiled at the younger girl. "I got a little time before I have to be at the store. Do you want to go get some coffee or something?"
Kari looked up at her friend. Miyako smiled down at the younger girl. "Come on. My treat"
Kari gave Miyako a wry smile. The two girls had just received their drinks, and already Miyako was looking at her, expectantly. "It's nothing," Kari muttered. "Just a little argument with TK."
"Ah," Miyako nodded. "Relationship problems…what?" she asked, noting Kari's glare.
"You make it sound like T.K. and I are dating" Kari scowled. "We're just friends, you know"
"Yeah, right," Miyako rolled her eyes. "Just friends. So what were you guys arguing about?"
"Nothing important," Kari replied dismissively. "Just complaining about how I 'lead Daisuke on' and 'shouldn't tease him like that'. I don't tease, nor lead Daisuke on, and I told him as much. I also told him how stupid and childish his idiotic rivalry with Daisuke was." she frowned. "And I don't like how you never believe me when I say that TK and I are just friends."
"Sounds like he's jealous" Miyako commented, ignoring the last part.
"Oh c'mon Miya," Kari sighed. "What's there to be jealous of? Daisuke and I are just friends, just like me and him."
"Right...so you treat Daisuke the same way you treat TK?"
"Well," the younger girl hesitated, "it's different with TK. He's my best friend. We've known each other forever, and been through so much; the friendship is just different."
"That's because it's impossible for a girl and a guy to just be best friends" was the simple reply.
"Oh c'mon Miya, I think you're being overly cynical. TK is my best friend and there's nothing romantic between us."
"You and T.K. are perfect examples" Miyako replied evenly, finishing her drink before standing up to go pay. "Repression and denial, baby, that's all it is."
Kari shook her head, before getting up herself. "Oh, please. Don't be ridiculous. TK.'s just stressed about the upcoming basketball tournament. Once he stops stressing, both of us will apologize, hug, and go back to being best friends," she stated. "You'll see."
Kari gave Miyako a slightly bitter smile. "I remember. Maybe I should blame you – you put that idea in my head, and that's why that weird moment…thing…happened."
Miyako sighed. "I think you're just being stubborn. You're afraid that I've been right all along. You and TK are just meant to be, and I think the two of you are finally starting to get it." Kari just shook her head.
"You'll see," Miyako continued. "After all, am I not one of the keepers of the crest of love?"
Kari ran toward the park as fast as she could. "Geez, who knew that stupid assignment would take so long? Now I'm late!" Right after they had made up after that stupid argument, she didn't want to do anything that could cause him to be upset with her again. She skidded to a stop in front of the park, and leaned against one of the posts at the entrance, trying to catch her breath. She quickly scanned the playground until she spotted TK. She smiled as she gulped in air. He was right were she expected him to be, if she was late. He was playing with a small child in the sandbox. It looked like they were building a castle or something.
Smiling, she headed over to a bench so she could sit down and catch her breath more easily. She watched as TK started to help the small child build a moat around his castle. "He is kind of handsome" she thought. "Just because we're best friends doesn't mean I can't acknowledge that he's really well built. And really cute. And such a great guy. I mean, after all, it's because we're best friends that I know this" she justified to herself. She smiled as she watched TK. She was just deciding to go over and play in the sandbox herself when he looked up. He turned his head toward her direction, as if he already known she was watching him. Their eyes made contact and suddenly, her mind went blank.
She watched as he stood up and strode to her, with such confidence and resolve. She could see a strange light in his eyes, one that she didn't know but at the same time recognized. She stared as he reached out and grasped her arm, pulling her to him. She watched as she put up no resistance, but instead put her free arm around him as if it was a perfectly scripted movie, and the climax of the scene was finally in motion. It was so perfect, like a dream, as her eyes fluttered shut and her head bowed slightly before drifting back up, and he leaned down, closer and closer, until his lips were less than a centimeter away…
Kari woke up with an abrupt gasp, her heart beating erratically, and suddenly being hot, too hot. She threw off her covers and placed her feet on the cool wood floor. The coolness of the wood slowly seeped up the rest of her body and her breathing slowed until her heart was beating normally again. "What…was that?" she wondered to herself. She didn't just have a dream about…that she and TK…it had to be because of that blasted moment from yesterday. It had somehow sneaked into her subconscious, in order to taunt her about what could have been. Kari shook her head and got out of bed. "It was just a dream" she told herself as she walked out onto the balcony. "Just a dream…"
The balcony was one of her favorite places in her home. Her family lived high enough to catch breezes on all but the windless of days. And even more so, their balcony overlooked the street, and if she looked down to the left of the street, she could see the entrance to a park. It was at that playground in the park that Taichi had first called all the Chosen Children to discuss the new digivices and the digimentals at the beginning of their second adventure. "That was the day that TK moved back into the neighborhood" she mused. That was the day that started a whole new chapter in her life – one in which TK played an important role.
She sighed softly as the incoming breeze caressed her face and pushed her hair back. She closed her eyes, reveling in the cool night. She could easily find herself getting lost in the wind when something compelled her to look down toward the park. She blinked. Could it be? A young blonde male was about to enter the park. "TK?" she whispered in shock. Almost as if he had heard her, he stopped and turned toward her apartment building. Hesitantly, she raised her hand in greeting, to which he responded with a hesitant wave of his own. He stood there for a second, and they looked at each other. It was just one look, but Kari knew that he was saying that he would be waiting for her in the playground. She quickly turned around and entered her bedroom, throwing on a hoodie and grabbing her shoes. Quietly she snuck out of her home and ran toward the stairs.
She ran into the park but stopped suddenly at the entrance, as the resemblance to the dream struck her. She looked to the left, immediately searching for the sandbox and TK. When she didn't see him in the playground, she found herself wondering if she was in another dream, and had simply imagined seeing TK enter. She turned to leave when she caught sight of him, leaning against one of the trees along the side. With a soft smile, she walked toward him.
"You're up late" she remarked, as she leaned against the same tree.
"Yea" he replied. "Couldn't sleep" The two stood in silence for a bit until TK asked "What about you? You're usually dead asleep right now"
"Look who's talking!" Kari laughed softly. "You would sleep through an earthquake!" They lapsed into silence again until Kari asked "Why couldn't you sleep?"
"I have a lot on my mind" he answered cryptically. He looked away as the wind blew past. Kari looked down. "I see…" She knew he was holding something back. Once again, she felt as if she could literally map the changes their friendship was taking.
Only one question remained: was she ready for those changes?
"Kari? Can I ask you something?" TK's soft voice floated gently in the quiet air. Kari looked up at him. He was still looking away, out into the night. He took a breath before continuing. "If…if I did something incredibly stupid, would you forgive me? Would you…would you be able to forget it happened and have nothing between us change?"
Kari blinked. That was a rather strange question. Could she ever truly forget? She had an excellent memory; it wasn't like she could just erase things from her mind. Then again, this was her best friend. And Kari knew, without a doubt, that'd she do anything for him. "I don't know if you could do anything that stupid, TK" He finally looked her way then, and she gave him a soft smile. "Of course I'd forgive you. That's what friends do"
TK looked at her, and Kari was confused at the emotions she saw in them. There was uncertainty in his eyes, along with hope, desire, and fear. She barely realized that TK had moved closer until he spoke again. "Are you sure?"
Something was going on and Kari felt like she knew what was happening, but her brain was just withholding the details. Her answer came out like a breath, floating out of her mouth and catching the breeze that surrounded them. "Yes"
The two of them were leaning closer to each other, both half using the tree for support, the heads unconsciously drawing closer, when Kari quietly asked "What do you want TK?" Her eyes locked with his and she saw him blink once, twice, before he responded. "This"
Kari didn't know exactly when her hand, which had been leaning on the tree, reached out to cradle TK's cheek, softly drawing him closer. She didn't know when TK's arms had slipped around her waist, pulling her closer against him. She didn't know when her body had straightened, minimizing the distance between them, or when her eyes had fluttered shut.
The only thing she was fully aware of was his lips on hers, soft, insistent, and the overwhelming knowledge that she, too, had wanted this for so very long.
A/N: The first section came to me in a dream, almost a year and half ago. I wrote out the first part (the hug scene) in 15 minutes…and it took me a year and a half to write the rest. It's how I imagine the two finally realizing their feelings. Hope you enjoyed it; please review & let me know what you think ^_^ (p.s. I hate the stupid doc editor that ruins all my formatting. gah! anyone know how to create an extra paragraph?)