Title: Four Years' Worth of Tries
Summary: Four years is a long time, but Yamato and Sora are still struggling. A one-shot Sorato.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Akiyoshi Hongo, creator of the Digimon concept, as well as various broadcasting networks. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: First, a huge thanks to Trisha for checking over this drabble-turned-short-story for me. Second, I think I should mention that, as an American, I'm not familiar with the Japanese honorifics. Rather than butchering them and possibly making a fool of myself, I dropped them altogether; I hope it doesn't bother too much. That said: please read, enjoy, and, if you're feeling particularly generous, leave a review. Thank you!
Four Years' Worth of Tries
The faint light of the sun seeped in through the thick cotton shades, gradually spilling across the polished wooden floor. Sora rolled over onto her side with a soft sigh, blinking blearily to push aside the heavy hold of sleep as a ray of light crept into her eyes. She rubbed her eyes with a free hand as she pushed herself off of the mattress.
What time is it? she wondered.
Sora glanced at the clock, and her body relaxed slightly when she remembered that it was only Sunday morning. She wouldn't be needed at the design studio today, which meant that she could just enjoy the day ahead of her. Pleased at the prospect of a free day, Sora turned to the other side of the bed and saw that Yamato was still sound asleep. Normally, he would be awake by now - Yamato was an early riser and woke with the sun by habit - but it wasn't surprising that he hadn't woken up yet. They both had been completely exhausted by the time they had come back home last night from Takeru's birthday party.
She lay back down next to him and touched Yamato's face gently, tracing the familiar contours of her husband's face. His face was pressed into the pillow, and his lashes cast half moon shadows under his eyes. His lips were parted slightly as he breathed. His usually carefully styled blond hair was mussed up in disarray. Sora smiled. Though it had been a long time since they were newlyweds, she still felt that she would never tire of waking up next to him every morning.
Yamato began to stir then, and Sora's attention was brought away from her musings and back to him. He opened his dark blue eyes and slowly blinked, adjusting to the light. When his gaze settled on hers, his features softened just perceptibly enough for her to notice the change. "Hey," Sora said quietly.
His hand reached up to cover hers, pressing her palm against his cheek. "Good morning," Yamato replied after suppressing a yawn. His thumb absentmindedly grazed the back of her hand as he looked at her. "How did you sleep?"
"I slept well." Sora hesitated. She wet her lips slightly before asking, "What about you? You sounded like you were having a hard time sleeping."
Yamato's thumb paused in its lazy path on her hand. "What makes you say that?" he asked lightly.
Had Sora been anyone else, someone who wasn't as close to Yamato as she was, she wouldn't have been able to tell that his response was a touch too nonchalant to be genuinely curious. As it was, however, Sora knew well that there was something more behind his words. She pressed the issue further. "You were tossing and turning all night."
Yamato's gaze intensified as he regarded her, but Sora looked calmly back at him. Having known him since their childhood, it had been years since she had felt uncomfortable under his scrutiny. "Come here," he said finally instead of answering, opening his arms to her. Sora slid closer to him, and Yamato enveloped her in his arms, stroking her hair.
He was warm; the feel and smell of his skin was familiar and comforting. But his body was tense, not at all like his usual relaxed self. "Yamato? Is something wrong?" Sora asked him at length, her voice muffled quietly from where she was pressed against the curve of his neck and shoulder. Yamato didn't answer. He silently fingered the straps of her nightgown for a moment before reaching down to pull her even closer to him. She was tempted to ask him again, but brushed the notion off. If Yamato wanted to talk, he wouldn't do it right away. She'd learned that a long time ago.
Instead, Sora listened to the sound of his breathing, the reassuring steadiness of his heartbeat through his chest. She watched the way the ray of sunlight that peeked through the curtains brought out the lightest shades in his hair. She had thought that Yamato had fallen asleep again when his fingers started to brush over her skin with exquisite gentleness - as if she were a delicate china doll that he was afraid would shatter if he wasn't careful - before coming to rest on the slope of her hip.
So that's what was upsetting him, Sora thought, understanding dawning on her. She tilted her head up at him and realized that his features had become despondent, disheartened. Her throat became dry. "Yamato?" she managed to say. "It's okay."
"I know," he said, but his tone was doubtful. And Sora couldn't help but feel the same way, no matter how much she tried to reason with herself.
No one could tell them what the problem was. They'd seen countless doctors. Together, they'd taken any test asked of them, and underwent any procedure that could help them figure out what was going wrong. But that was just the thing. There was nothing wrong with either one of them.
It just wasn't happening.
And, despite all the evidence that proved otherwise, Yamato took all responsibility for their failure on himself.
It was times like these that Sora mentally blamed Hiroaki and Natsuko for allowing their son to grow up and believe that it would always be his fault when things couldn't turn out right. That he was incompetent at protecting his loved ones from suffering.
Instinctively, Sora reached out for Yamato. She didn't know what she was going to do, but she had to try to do something, anything, that would be able to erase the anguished look on his face. She kissed his cheek and laced her fingers with his. "It'll work out eventually, Yamato. You'll see," Sora said, trying to encourage him. Normally, she would have grimaced at the forced cheeriness in her words, but she pushed on anyway. "These things - they take time -"
Without warning, Yamato abruptly pulled his hand away and jerked back roughly. Sora stopped mid-sentence, taken by surprise at the swift change in his demeanor. His gaze became stormy, and he sat up, raking his hand through his hair in an agitated manner. "But how much more time are we supposed to wait, Sora?" Yamato's voice shook slightly as he spoke. Sora struggled momentarily to untangle her legs from the bed sheets so that she could sit up next to him. He dropped his hands to tighten on a handful of blanket over his lap. "We've been trying for four years, now. We tried the hormone treatments, AIH. And now, we're trying IVF...." Yamato trailed off with a nearly undetectable shiver, but Sora saw it. She can't help but wince at the unpleasant memories either.
"Well, we just started IVF," Sora reasoned after a moment of gathering her thoughts together. "Remember what the doctor said? We can't expect it to work right away. There's bound to be failures before things can get better."
"But what if it doesn't? What then?" His voice was strained. Yamato finally turned to look at her, and instead of the anger that Sora had anticipated, his eyes were tired and weary again. Meeting his gaze, Sora stayed quiet. She had no ready answer that would satisfy him, and he knew it. Yamato looked down at his lap with a shake of his head.
Sora drew her legs up to her body and drew her fingers down his arm. "Please, Yamato. Don't get like this," she murmured at last. "We can't give up hope."
His shoulders sagged. "I know. It's just everyone else - none of them are having trouble conceiving." Yamato's tone turned bitter. "Taichi and Catherine had an 'accident', and now she's pregnant. Takeru and Hikari are just announced last night that they're expecting their second child." He picked at a loose thread in the blanket and pulled at it rather hard. "But none of them realize just how lucky they are."
They sat in an uneasy silence, Yamato tugging at the thread and Sora hugging her knees to her chest. She closed her eyes and tried to think of the best way to diffuse the tension in the room. The last thing she wanted was for Yamato to drown in his depression; she didn't know if she was strong enough to bring him back if he did.
"Actually," she said softly, opening her eyes to look at him, "I think we're pretty lucky too, in our own way."
Yamato stopped tugging at blanket and didn't answer.
"I mean, how many other couples get to conceive their child in the romantic atmosphere of an IVF laboratory?"
He made the smallest noise of disbelief in his throat, almost like a scoff. He probably knew that she was up to something, but Sora continued regardless.
She rested her hands behind her so that she could lean back leisurely. "Think about it. Stainless steel, fluorescent lights, a sterilized environment.... What's not to like?"
Out of the corner of Sora's eye, she saw that Yamato was turning to look at her, but she kept her gaze on the ceiling.
"I've always thought that the whole silk sheets and roses thing was kind of overdone," she added, almost as an afterthought.
Sora saw Yamato raise an eyebrow at her train of thought, but before he could remark on it, Sora pushed the blankets away from her and began to crawl to the edge of the bed.
"I should call the lab now and ask them if we can schedule an earlier appointment. There's no way we're waiting until next month," Sora said with mock dissatisfaction. "Can I use your cell - ?"
Just as she stuck one leg off the bed, Yamato grabbed Sora by the wrist and tugged her toward him. Knocked breathless by surprise, she fell back on the bed with him as he pulled her down on top of him. A strand of Sora's hair fell on his face, and Yamato tucked it carefully behind her ear. The innocent gesture created a tingle that trailed down Sora's spine. When Yamato skimmed his hands around her hips, urging her even closer to him, she obliged and their lips met in a kiss. It was gentle and sweet, both an apology and a promise.
"Sora," Yamato began to say when they broke apart, one of his hands entwined in her hair, the other pressed against the small of her back.
She leaned forward and kissed his forehead before he could continue. "I know."
Yamato responded by wrapping his arms tightly around her, his breath warm against the side of her neck. "I'm just glad that I have you," he whispered finally into her ear. "That we have each other."
Sora breathed in deeply and smiled. "I am too."