Author's Notes:


I can't believe that so many folks actually reviewed the first chapter. I
thought that this was going to be a flop, but I guess that I was mistaken. ^_^
Yes, I know that this is also an over-used plot, but my brain can only come up
with so much, until it shuts down completely you know. I know that's a cruddy
excuse, but it's the truth! Umm, before I forget, I tried to make this from
Tai's perspective, but as I was writing, it seemed that some of my muses wanted
some attention as well.

I want to also apologize for the lateness of this chapter, but real life and
writer's block intruded on this little piece of fanfiction. Hopefully it won't
happen again, but if it does, then you know the reason why.

I would like to dedicate this chapter to Empress of Eclipse and Ashna, because
if it weren't for them, I would have never started writing in the Digimon
fandom. So thanx!! ^_^


Disclaimer: C'mon people! Would I have to do this, if I actually owned Digimon?
Don't think so ^_~


~thoughts~
"dialogue"


Title: Time To Step Up - Chapter 2
Author: Dream-chan
Rating: PG-13 ( a couple of swear words)
Editor: anna-chan ^_^
Email: dream_chan@hotmail.com





***Daisuke***



BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.


Damn. Is it morning already? I don't even remember anything from last night.
That must have been one hell of a party then, cause the last thing I remember is
kicking that goal and then looking up to see my friends in the stands cheering
me on…and seeing Taichi.


Now that was a surprise. Very nice surprise.


Feeling a dull ache in my head, my body feels like it's been sleeping on a hard
rock all night.


BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.


Where is that dumb-ass alarm clock?!? It never lets me sleep in when I want to.

Groaning, I lift my hand and try to smack the loud thing off the night table
beside my bed, when I realize that I'm swiping at nothing.


A little out of sorts, I open my eyes a bit more and take in my surroundings.
All I could see was white. The walls, the floor, the ceiling. It was everywhere.
With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I took a deep breath and noticed the
disinfectant odor that seemed to cling in the air. There was no denying I was
in the most hated place on earth. Well to me anyway.


The hospital.


To some, my hatred of hospitals might seem a bit extreme, but you wouldn't like
as much if you had to spend as much time as I had in this place. The poking,
the smell, not to mention the horrible food. I could already feel the hot tears
filling my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. This could only mean one thing.



It was back.

I didn't need any tests to tell me this. I had known for some time now, but I
didn't want to admit it. You know the old method of ignoring something and
hopefully it will go away. Besides, I didn't want to say anything, for to voice
my suspicions would make me realize that it could very well be real.

Hmm. They've probably called my parents by now. When my parents find out they are going to
flip…Jun too. Well there goes any freedom that you fought for Daisuke. There goes your life,
once again at the mercy of an IV needle, and nurses that love to pinch cheeks.


Shit.


It all this damn sickness fault! I thought that I had finally beaten it the
last time. At least that's what the doctor said. I wasn't supposed to go
through this again…stupid prick. I wonder how he graduated medical school. I
bet Jyou is better than him.


Sighing, I closed my eyes, hoping to get a good nap in before the poking and
prodding process begins. I hated it then and I damn sure will hate it now.


Closing my eyes against the light, I settle in and relax, praying that whatever
I dream about would be better than my reality.




***Taichi***


Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Look down hallway.


Turn.


This is the routine that I've set up since rushing here, frantic about Daisuke.


What is taking so long for the doctor to come out and tell us what's wrong with
him? So far, the only thing that funky old nurse will tell us is that he is
being examined right now.


~ Like that tells me anything. ~


Taking a seat, I look around noticing the others in the uncomfortable chairs
that seem to occupy all hospital waiting rooms. Koushiro is holding my imouto-
chan, trying to reassure her that things will be fine. Sora and Miyako were
sitting together, hands tight on the coffee cups they held in their hands.
Yamato, Takeru and Iori were talking in hushed tones as to not interrupt anyone
else.

Hearing footsteps approaching, I look up into the intense violet gaze of
Ichijouji Ken.

"Is anyone sitting here?" he asks, pointing to the chair next to me.

"Nope, be my guest," I replied with a slight smile, trying not to let my
surprise show.

Don't get me wrong. I'd forgiven Ken long time ago for that nasty business with
Agumon, but we still didn't spend that much time with each other besides Chosen
meetings and maybe if I was on an outing with Daisuke. So we sat there for a
while in strained silence, each waiting for the other to speak. Well imagine my
surprise when just as I was about to start a friendly conversation on soccer, he
beat me to it, by asking me something I would never expect.


"So, how long have you been in love with my best friend?" he asks softly, trying
not to draw attention to our now 'interesting' conversation.

~How the hell does he know?~

I was all set up to float down that river called 'Denial', but then figured if
he was smart enough to piece things together, then there wouldn't be any use. He
was a genius after all. Letting out the breath I was holding, I answered
truthfully. "For awhile now." I told him, looking for any signs that this could
lead to something ugly.

Giving me a knowing grin, he seemed happy to explain. "I have always suspected,
but after the little display on the field today, I see that my suspicions are
correct. So the next question is...why haven't you told him yet?"

"Rejection, I guess. Besides, Daisuke was so in love with my sister, I don't
think that he swings that way."

At this, he starts to laugh, and not just any normal laugh but one that seems to
almost cause him to bust his gut wide open. I am really not happy with this
reaction.

"You don't have a problem with this?" I stuttered, not believing what this meant
for me.


"Is there a reason I should?" he grins mischievously, one eyebrow raised.


"Well, I thought that…you know…" I say quietly, stumbling over my words in light
of this new development.


"That I had feelings for Dai-kun you mean?" he asks, tilting his head to one
side. All I could do was nod in agreement.


Wiping the hair out of his eyes, he continues casually "Well, maybe a long time
that could have been true, but I've come to realize that I have a certain
preference for blondes who also happen to be of the male persuasion," he tells
me slyly, laughter shining in his eyes.


The only thing that I could do is sit there and marvel in the transformation in
the young man sitting next to me. I mean, here is Ken Ichijouji, former child
genius, laughing at me and making witty comments about his lifestyle.


Talk about change.


I was about to ask him whom he had his eye on when in came the Motomiyas,
rushing through the automatic doors. It seemed that all of them were a bit on
edge about what had happened to Daisuke, and when Jun passed me, I could
distinctly hear her mutter..."Not again...oh kami, not again!"


Hearing Jun's words, I tuned out Ken and became really concerned. ~Not again?
What in the world does that mean? ~


"Where is he?! Where is my son?? I want to see him NOW!" Mrs. Motomiya was
shouting at the nurse, while her husband was doing his best to calm her down.

Giving me a small smile, Ken got up and made his way over to them before they
scared the frazzled nurse any further.

I just looked on as Ken went over to the family and told them what happened at
the game. Once he was done, it seemed that their faces became resigned with
grief, which really worried me.

One thing that I do know about the Motomiyas is that they're not the type to
have public displays of emotion. I mean, don't get me wrong. The times that
I've visited Daisuke, you could tell that his family cared for him. They just
tended to show it in a more private domain. So seeing Mrs. Motomiya going off
the deep end and Jun pretty close to hysterics herself, told me that something
was definitely wrong.


"Are the parents of Motomiya Daisuke here?" a doctor asked as he whisked into
the waiting room.

"Yes! Please doctor…will my son be alright?" Mrs. Motomiya asked, desperation
clearly evident in her voice.

"Please follow me and I will answer all your questions" was all he said, as he
turned around, Dai's parents and Jun following closely.


I watched as his family walks through the big white double doors, Ken tagging
along for the ride. My first impulse was to follow through those doors and to
get all my questions answered as well, but if maturing has taught me one thing
it is when the time is right, I will know.


Doesn't mean I have to like it.


Sitting back down, I rest my head in my hands, still in shock over what
happened. I just don't understand how this could happen. I mean, Daisuke is one
of the healthiest people I know. Did he know that he was sick? Is this the
reason for him pulling away from everyone?


I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't know someone was sitting next to me
until I felt a hand gently clasp my shoulder.


"How are you holding up?" he asks, him being the one of the few to know my true
feelings for our sick friend.


"Not great Yama, but I'll be fine once I find out what's going on" I sigh,
rubbing my hands across my face once more.



"So, what did you and Ken talk about? " he probes, curiosity evident in his
tone.


"Well, it seems that Ichijouji figured out my secret crush…" I whispered, trying
to keep this conversation strictly between us.


"Really? So, did he try to warn you off or something?" he asked bluntly,
wanting to know if there was anything that he could do.


"Actually, the opposite. If I didn't know any better, I would have said that he
was almost encouraging me to tell Daisuke how I feel." I told him, a small grin
telling him that everything was fine.


"Hmm… I always thought that he might have had feelings for Dai, seeing how close
they are and everything," he murmured, more to himself than to me.


"Me too, but I guess that's not the case."


"Well good for you. So, are you going to do it?" he asks excitedly, smelling
the chance to play matchmaker.


"Do what?" I responded cautiously, already seeing the wheels turning frantically
for matchmaking schemes.


Damn his Crest of Friendship.


"Tell him goggle head!" he said, throwing his hands up in exasperation.

"Ah...I," I stammered, looking for a way out of this situation.

Gripping my shoulder, he looked at me, giving me a small smile. "Tai, I think
now would be a good time to do it. I mean, after what happened on the field
tonight, you never know…" he trailed off, not really wanting to finish that
statement.


"I'll do it when I feel the time is right." I reply in a tone telling him to let
things be.


"When will that be? When your back in your dorm room in Nagano?" he shoots
back, sarcasm evident in his tone.

"Maybe…" I pout, not appreciating how pushy he was being.


"Whatever. All I'm going to say is that you need to give Dai a lot more credit.
Sure, he used to be your mini-me, but I think that he has come into his own.
Think about that, promise?"


"Yeah Rockstar, thanks for the advice."


"Yeah yeah. Just make sure you keep your end of the bargain" he says seriously,
holding out a pinky.


Nodding, I intertwined my pinky with his and sealed the promise with the most
powerful of oaths. The pinky swear.

"Deal."


This is one of those times when I am happy that I have a friend such as Yamato.
Time passed more quickly as the two of us sat there, exchanging insults, when I
hear the doors open to see Ken walking towards us...by himself.


It seems that I'm not the only one that spotted him, because as soon as Ken was
near us, he is bombarded with questions, the majority of them being from me.
Holding up a hand, he asks us to calm down. He tells us that right now Dai is
fine and resting.


"I convinced the doctor to let us see him for a few minutes, while his family is
filling out paperwork. Besides, he said that he should be waking up soon. So
do you want to see him?" Ken asks, already knowing the answer to the question.



"Of course! Do you think that we've been sitting here for the last four hours
for nothing?!?" Miyako exclaimed, in her usual direct manner.

"Miyako!" Sora reprimanded, falling into her role as the mother figure of the
rest of us Chosen.


"Gomen. I'm just a little anxious I guess," she says twisting her hands in
nervousness.

Some people would be surprised to see Miyako so concerned over Daisuke since
they bicker constantly, but that is only because they are so much alike.
Underneath it all, they are really close, and if someone messes with the other,
there will be hell to pay.

Nodding, Ken accepts her apology. "No problem Miya. Now let's go" he says, a
bit too cheerfully, as he walked over to the bank of elevators.


At that moment, I knew he was lying. Call it instinct, but I knew that something
was wrong...very wrong and he wasn't going to tell us, but I won't press that
now. Seeing Daisuke was my first priority.


"Hey Yagami, you comin' or what? We don't have all day for you to finish
thinking…" Yamato yelled out, giving me that smirk that drove me up the wall.


"Hold your horses Ishida!" I yelled back, hurrying over to the elevators,
pushing myself in before the door shut.






***Ken***


Quietly opening the door, I looked in on my best friend, and almost lost it
right there. It hurt, physically hurt to see Daisuke hooked up to all those
machines, trying to keep him alive. Out of all the Chosen, I had always thought
that Daisuke was the strongest in body and will. Apparently, that was another
assumption I had to throw out the window.



Wouldn't be anything new when concerning Daisuke.



Noticing that he was asleep, I turned around motioning for everyone to be quiet,
so as not to disturb him. His parents and sister were down in the cafeteria
right now, trying to calm down before coming to visit him. They didn't want to
upset him even further. When I found out, what the problem was, I just couldn't
believe it. I never knew one word could create such fear, anxiety, and
helplessness.


Relapse.



I never even knew that he had been sick. It hurt a little that he never told
me, but I couldn't be selfish right now. I had to be here for Daisuke. He is
what's important.

Silently, we walked into the room, making our way to his bedside, with Taichi
and I the closest. For the first time I noticed purple smudges underneath his
eyes and the little stress lines that had appeared in the last few weeks.



~Where did those come from? Better yet, why did I not notice sooner?~


Looking around, I could see that everyone else was taking in the drastic change
in our friend. Taking a glance across, I could see that Taichi was just as bad
off as me. Hearing a groan come from below me [A/N: not like that all you
hentais!] my attention centered on the body lying in the bed. After a few
moments, I was greeted by cinnamon eyes that I knew so well.



"How are you feeling Dai?" I asked, hoping that he couldn't see the worry in
mine.


"Like total crap, but hey I'll be back to good as new in no time." He grunted,
trying to raise himself a bit.


"How long?" I ask quietly, looking at him for reaction. The one I got was
something I should have expected.


"I've been knocked out you mean? I dunno, but did we win the game?" Daisuke
asked, making an attempt to change the subject. Glancing behind me, he sat up a
little and smiled a bit as he recognized who was in the room with me.


"Hey guys" he says, displaying a miniature of his familiar smile.

I was shoved out the way as several bodies rushed up to hug, kiss, or do
whatever to make sure that he was alright. After about ten minutes, everyone
moved back to give him a little breathing room.


"So, are my parents here yet?" he asks, his brow furrowing a bit, an indication
that he is worried.


~I wonder if he knows already…~


"Yeah. They were really worked up over it." Takeru offers, coming a little
closer to the bed.


"What do you mean 'worked up'?" he says, turning his attention to the young
blond.


"Your dad and Jun had a rough time of calming your mom down." Yamato added from
beside Takeru.


"Not surprising. She's is going to really be down my back now..." Dai groaned,
running a tanned hand through unruly burgundy locks, until the IV needle stuck
in his hand stopped him.


"OW!" he exclaimed, as the needle pulled, not having anymore slack.



"Careful Dai." Taichi said softly, as he began to gently rub the sore spot on
his hand.


"Thanks Tai," Dai said gratefully, a slight blush playing on his cheeks.


"I don't understand. I was always given the impression that you could do pretty
much what you wanted as long as it wasn't illegal." Koushiro piped up from the
chair he was sitting in, his arms holding Hikari to him.


"That's what I wanted everyone to think. I mean, who wants parents hovering
over them 24/7?" he says as if that is the most logical explanation.

A general consensus of the room agreed with him on that one.

After that, we all talked for a bit, each person getting a chance to say
something about the game and promising to visit soon.


"That would be great. By the way, can you sneak me in some food, say chocolate
chip cookies?" he asked Yamato, giving him the patented puppy dog eyes.

"Sure thing. I can't let my successor suffer, can I?" he says playfully,
ruffling his hair gently.


"No we can't," Taichi added on, giving Daisuke a warm smile. "You just
concentrate on getting better, okay? I still want to see if you can finally
beat me."


"You know it," Dai replied, yawning in the process.

"I think that it's time for us to go guys." Iori said, glancing at the clock to
indicate the late hour.


"Seeing Dai-kun's tonsils was enough of a cue for me." Miyako teased, glad that
everything seemed to be back to business as usual.


"Yeah right Miya-chan. You know that you want to see more…" he responded with a
leer, getting chuckles out of everyone, although Taichi was more subdued in his
response.


Laughing, she walked over and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Just get better you
baka, or I won't have anyone to argue with."

"Don't worry, I will," he told her giving her a victory sign.

Shortly after, everyone started to leave, wishing Dai well. Taichi was the
last one to go. I felt bad for him because I could see the intense concern and
the worry in his eyes, but he was trying to keep up a happy front in front of
Dai. Right before he left, he looked as if he wanted to say more to Daisuke, but
decided against it. With a reassurance that he would visit, he left as well,
closing the door quietly behind him.


Then it was just he and I.

"Ken, is there something wrong?" he asks, sounding a bit anxious as if he could
sense that I was angry with him.
I knew it wasn't the right time to do this, but it had to be done. One thing
about being a Chosen Child is that once you have a secret, eventually everyone
will know about it sooner or later.


"How long have you been sick Dai-kun, and don't try to change the subject this
time," I retorted lightly looking him dead in the eyes. I could feel the
other's glances on me, but I couldn't drop it. Not when his life was at stake.


He looked at me in amazement, his eyes doubling in size. "Ken...can we talk
about this later?" he pleaded, not wanting to confront this.

Seeing him look so miserable made me realize how selfish I was being once again.


Some Child of Kindness I am.



Looking at him once more, I relented. "Okay, I won't press this now, but I have
just one question. Why didn't you tell us? At least of all me, huh? I thought
that I was your best friend," I said, wincing at the whiny tone that pervaded my
voice.




"You are Ken, but I didn't want to put that type of burden on you, since you
have so many of your own, ya know?" he replied, his tone serious.


Trust Dai not to want to be a burden.



Giving him a small smile, I grabbed his hand and gave it a small squeeze. "You
can be such a baka at times Dai-kun. Of course I would have understood. Don't
you know how worried I was when I didn't know what was going on with you?" I
asked, hoping my voice wouldn't betray the terror I felt in the stands when I
watched him fall.



"Yeah, I guess you are right. I just didn't want to be treated any different
you know. I mean I actually felt normal for once. I didn't want to screw that
up" he finished with a sheepish grin on his face.


"Whatever Dai." I said, glad to see some of the light back in his eyes. "So,
what's going to happen now?" I asked, trying to get more information.


"Well, they are going to keep me in here for a few days to run some tests, and
after that they'll see, but I already know what they're going to say." He
whispers in a defeated tone that I've never heard from him before.



I never thought that I would be in a position to reassure Dai...it's always been
the other way around.


"You can't just give up like that. C'mon Daisuke...snap out of it. If you could
help to save two worlds, I'm sure that you can get through this," I told him
earnestly, becoming alarmed at the mood that Dai seemed to be in.


"What if I don't get the chance?" he said in a resigned tone, almost as if he as
giving up already.


At those words I could just feel the hopelessness and fear that he felt, but I
had a very different reaction. Anger…pure and undiluted. I don't know where it
came from but at that point I was pissed. Pissed at Daisuke, who seemed to be
giving up and at the illness for making him feel this way.

Getting as close I could, I looked him dead in the eye, wanting to get my point
across loud and clear.

"Ken…" he asked warily, before I cut him off.

"Motomiya, if you ever say something along those lines again, I will throw you
over my shoulder so hard that you'll be seeing stars for a week, you hear
me?!?!" I was so upset that it took all I had not to smack some sense into that
thick head of his. Who did he think he was? He was not going anywhere soon.


I'll be damned if I lose someone close to me again.


He looked at me, shocked at the vehemence and tone. Very rarely have I raised my
voice since my downfall as the Digimon Kaiser. To tell the truth, I think I
shocked myself more than him.


"Ken, you don't have to go all Kaiserish on me! I'm just trying to be realistic
about this thing," he said peevishly, turning away from me.

"Gomen Dai-kun. I didn't mean to yell at you." I said, giving his hair an
affectionate ruffle.

"Anyway, I just wanted to be treated like a normal kid. The treating Daisuke as
a baby bit just grating on my nerves, ya know?"

"Yeah I do, Dais." I said, glancing at the clock about his bed. "Speaking of
which, if I don't get home soon, my mom will call out the National Guard. I'll
see you tomorrow, ok?"

"Thanks Ken. By the way, can you bring Chibi-" was all he could get out before
we were interrupted by the door being thrown open. In the doorway stood his
family, all with various degrees of worry etched on their faces. Seeing that
Daisuke was awake, his mother rushed over, almost knocking me over in the
process.


"Oh my baby! Are you okay?" his mother said, rushing over to his side to see for
herself.


"I'm fine mom," he replied, trying to struggle out of the tight hug his mother
had him in. "Wait Ken!!" he yelled before I could leave the room.


"Yeah?"


"Will you…" he asks, not really needing to finish the question.


"Already done. Ja ne Dai." I waved, as I walked out the door, allowing the
Motomiya to be alone.


"Ja," was all he said, before his mom smothered him again.


The subway ride home went much quicker than it usual, I guess that came from
Seeing my apartment building in view, I sped up the pace, feeling the need to
see Minomon. If there was anyone that could give me comfort, besides Daisuke,
it was my Digimon partner. Taking the steps, I began to think of other
things?such as the feelings that Taichi has for my best friend. I could see it
in the way that he rushed down to the field, the way he held him as we waited
for help, and the concern that in his eyes while we were waiting to hear about
Daisuke. When I asked him, I really didn't expect for him to confirm my
suspicions, but even geniuses can slip once or twice. I wonder how he would
feel if his feelings were returned...


Getting my keys out my pockets, I notice that there is someone right outside my
door, as if they are about to knock. As I got closer, I saw a familiar bush of
chestnut hair. Smiling, I hurried the last few steps, curious as to why the
original goggle boy was at my doorstep.


"Taichi-senpai?" I whispered, wondering why he was camped outside my door.



"So what's really going on?" he asked me bluntly, his eyes in hooded from view.


"Nani?" was all I could think to say, shocked by his question. Did he overhear
me talking to Dais earlier? If so, this is going to be harder than I thought.


"Don't play stupid with me Ken. There is something really wrong with Daisuke and
I want to know what.", he says bitingly, his eyes gleaming with an almost feral
light.


"I really don't think-" I began, before I was forcefully cut off.



"I didn't ask you to think! I asked you to tell me what's wrong with Dai-chan!"
he bit out, stalking a bit closer to me.


An angry Taichi is not something I want to face right now.


"Taichi-senpai, I don't think it's my place to tell you. I won't betray his
confidence." I reply in a firm tone, letting him know that I will not be swayed
from me position.


"Please Ken, I need to know…I just want to help him…" he says softly, the anger
leaving him just as quickly as it appeared.


Leaning against the doorway, "Look if you care for him as much as you say you
do, you will let him tell you in his own time. We can't think about what we
want right now…it has to be about Daisuke right now." I said firmly, hoping that
he would understand what I was trying to get at.



"You're right. Look, I'm sorry for blowing up with you. It's just that-" he
tried to explain, his eyes downcast.



"I know Taichi-senpai. I love him too. Look, it's late and I have to go. How
about I you meet me here and we can go see Dai tomorrow?" I offered, hoping that
he would accept. I figured I might as well get to know him, since I had a
feeling that we would be spending more time in each other's company.


Composing himself once more, he gives me a small smile and nods. "Sounds good.
Well, I guess I'll be going now. Um, I'll see you tomorrow then…"


"Hai. Good night, Taichi-san"


"Good night…and by the way, just call me Tai"


"Alright then, bye Tai."


"See ya Ken", he says, giving me a jaunty wave before walking towards the
stairwell.

Watching Taichi disappear from sight, I leaned against the door smiling. One
would think that there wasn't that much to smile about, seeing how I had just
found out that my best friend was very ill, but I guess I was looking on the
bright side of things for once.


Yep, they are gonna make a great couple one day…even if I had to speed things up
a little.






tbc…


I really liked doing this chapter, because now I have Ken and Yama playing
matchmaker! Who would have thunk it?!??!? Anyway, please read and review and I
promise that next chapter will have a bit more of Taisuke goodness in it!!!!
^_^