Look at the lovers

Aren't they a picture

Dancing so fine under the moonlight

Almost as in a trance

Under the spell of the Dance

Carried away by love

Chapter Five: Forever in my Life

~*~

I wasn't sure what had happened to me. It was like a light had been turned on and suddenly I was seeing things differently for the first time. Except that, the light was turned on in a pool of muddy water, which I was currently swimming in. Where before I had simply been content in darkness, I now knew that there was something…not quite right. It was a light that filtered through the mud in a way that I did not know or understand where it was coming from, or how I was going to get to it.

Since going to the Digital World, I had been given the title of the Child of Light. I had been attacked by many creatures, all of them from another world, because they sensed I had some sort of power. But they didn't know the truth; they didn't know I was weak. Without something to ward off the impending darkness, the shadow that touched everything my light could not, I was nothing. And so that was why Takeru had been placed in my life. He was my hope; the very thing that kept me going. He could bring be back from unreachable places even when I knew I had wandered much too far. When I couldn't see, when despair gripped at me and held me in iron chains, he always came through, always broke them. And he always broke them with an ease that astonished me every time he did it.

So to see that hope faded from his eyes…I knew I had done something horrible. I knew that I had been the cause, though I so desperately tried to explain it other ways. School, lack of being around his family, his closest friends…but I knew deep down that it had only truly faded that day I had crushed him. I had rejected him before, but never so fully. Before, there had never been anyone else; no one to give him competition for my heart. Now there was. And now he was suffering because of it.

It didn't hit me, though, until that conversation I had with my boyfriend. Takeru had been avoiding me, or even sometimes just outright ignoring me. That had been far more painful than I ever could have imagined. Seeing his simple smile and the nod of his head as he walked by me; it was harder to endure than I ever could have imagined. But even then I didn't understand. Not until I realised that the plans I'd had for my summer were going to change.

We were at dinner, just over at his apartment. His roommates were out for the evening, and so we had seized the opportunity. He had cooked for me while I watched him; I don't know why, but it always fascinated me, watching people cook. Maybe it was because there was such a sufficient lack of ability within my own household that the experience was still new to me.

When he sat down across from me, I immediately knew that something was up. Nothing on his face indicated anything bad, just that something was chewing at him.

"Do you still have your heart set on me coming to your place again this summer?"

Uh oh. I knew where this was going. I knew that he wanted me to spend some time with his family, but I wasn't sure I could. It was just so difficult spending time with them. I didn't belong in that world. It was one that people like me weren't supposed to touch, and yet I had somehow found myself sucked right into it.

"Why?"

He popped a thoughtful bite into his mouth. After swallowing, he looked at me again. "Well, I've been talking to my father, and he thinks that this would be a good summer for me to start in the business, since I'm graduating."

"Right away? I thought you were going to take a little bit of time off first." That had been the original plan, hence why he would have been able to come to my home for the summer.

"He thinks that it would be too late. The summer is the best time for business, and therefore the best time for me to make my debut."

"Debut?"

He smiled at me in that way he'd recently started doing; that look a parent gave their child when they didn't understand something, and though they would explain it, they didn't expect them to. "My 'coming out', of sorts, in society. It's big among our circles, especially with those who are like my father."

I knew what he was really saying: 'It's something that you won't understand'. I could hear the underlying tone of his voice, that which said 'you're from outside, this is too much for you to handle, so just smile and do as I say.' Of course, it was in the gentlest way possible. But I couldn't help but feel like he was looking down on me from time to time.

As much as I didn't like it, though, he was right. I didn't understand why everything had to be done so formally. I didn't understand why there was such a standard to live up to, and that one would be shunned if they didn't. Everyone was exactly the same, and they were fine with that. Because, in Shinji's world, to be different meant that things would go badly. I had grown up with a group of people who couldn't be more different from each other. To go to a place where everyone was the same…to become one of them…it suddenly wasn't sitting so well with me.

"Oh. Can I think about it?"

He nodded, and our conversation moved on.

As I got back to my room that night, something wasn't settling right within me. Usually I wasn't one to brood, and Shinji hadn't given me much reason to. Not like Takeru, of course. But when I thought about it, I realised that my pining over whatever Takeru would have inflicted on me was never quite as…confusing as this. Well, not that it wasn't as confusing, it just wasn't as…unpleasant. Why that was, I had no idea.

Shinji was going home for the weekend to deal with some family business. I knew at that point that, regardless of my answer, he would be spending the summer at home. So now I had to decide whether I wanted to go with him. I also knew that my decision to go or to not go would decide the fate of our relationship. That, when I really thought about it, was very frightening. I also knew that if I went, I would be going a whole four months without seeing my family, without seeing my friends…without seeing Takeru. I would be leaving behind my opportunity to visit my friends in the Digital World again. Maybe I would be leaving that part of me, which had been so instrumental in shaping who I had become, behind forever. I shivered at the thought.

So I concluded then that I needed to see Takeru. Always he had been my constant, and though I knew things had been difficult between us lately, which was at no fault of his own, I knew he would be there for me. But calling him up and inviting him out had been much harder than I had anticipated. I had made myself seem a complete idiot in the process, but I knew he wouldn't judge me for it.

Takeru was just what I needed. I knew he knew something was up with me, but he waited. I wanted him to ask, but he was too polite for that. So I had to prompt him. He would assume that I had plans with my boyfriend for the summer, but I wanted him to know that things were changing. We were growing up; we were changing. Shinji was even talking about marriage, something that scared me now more than it ever had. With Takeru things had been seamless and simple, with Shinji they were difficult. I always told myself that it was just because Takeru and I did not have the same kind of relationship that Shinji and I had.

When I had told him, he had cracked his jokes. Takeru knew when to be serious and when the mood needed lightening, a talent which I would never understand. It was difficult to feel awkward around him, which was probably why he had so many friends. On top of that he was quite attractive, something which I had never before denied. But all of these things were helping me now, and I couldn't have been more grateful to him for it.

There was a moment of tension, though, tension which I did not fully dislike. It was strange, because I knew I had felt it before. It was the same feeling from that time when he had kissed me. I didn't know why, but there was something about the sun that managed to sneak through the leaves of the tree we were under causing his golden hair to seem radiant in spots, and the way the shadows mixed the colours in his deep, blue eyes…

It was only when he turned his head slightly that I realised where my mind had been going. I also knew that he had realised it to, hence why he had turned away. I found that I was almost even disappointed. My heart was racing in a way that it had not for quite some time now, and maybe never even had with Shinji. I didn't want to think too much about that. When I called his name I had been intending to tell him that I was suddenly unsure of my feelings. That I had lied to him back when I told him I loved Shinji, but that brief moment had flustered me and my nerve was suddenly gone.

He then reached out and grabbed my hand, a simple gesture that had my breath hitched in my throat and my heart racing once more. I knew he meant it; I knew he would be there for me. I could also see that maybe, though I had trampled on him so many times, he still had some sort of feelings for me. That very thought had me thinking that night…maybe it wasn't worth it to throw that all away. Maybe, just maybe, he had been right about it the whole time.

~*~

I was standing outside of the door to Takeru's room, tears streaking down my face. I had run over here as fast as I could, gaining a few strange looks from people as I barrelled passed them. My knocking was frantic and probably louder and more frequent than was normal; it wasn't like it was a big room. He was either there or he wasn't. If he wasn't, I didn't know what I was going to do.

The door opened, revealing a wet-haired Takeru. I suddenly realised the reason for his not answering the door right away; he probably hadn't been fully clothed when I'd come banging on it. At first his lips were going to form a smile, but when he took in my state his lips set into a frown and a concern etched itself across his features.

"What happened, Kar?"

I tried to speak, but instead my hysteria became worse. I shook my head, unable to say anything. I put my hand over my mouth and nose, as if that would help stay my tears.

The next thing I was aware of was a gentle touch at my back, followed by the softest pressure. He was bringing me into his room where my theatrics wouldn't be on display for the general public to see. He sat me down on his bed and took his place beside me, gently rubbing my back in a soothing matter. No words were said; he just let me cry. I was in too much of a state to notice the change in his room; it was a mess. I would figure this out later, though, and I would feel guilty about it as I realised the reason for the disaster. Nothing was in the place I had put it.

When my tears began to subside, I knew he would be wanting some sort of explanation. I guessed what he had deducted from this, and I knew he was wrong.

"What's the matter?" He finally asked. He couldn't hide the worry from his tone.

I tried to speak, but I needed just a few more minutes.

"Did…did he break up with you?"

A few more tears fell, and I sucked in a deep breath. "N-no. I…I broke up with him."

I didn't have to look at Takeru to know that he would be shocked.

"W-why?"

I took in a few more breaths, trying to calm myself. It was working, for the most part, but I knew my face was red and I wasn't exactly the prettiest thing on earth at this point. "I just…" I didn't know what to say to him. Closing my eyes, I let out a deep sigh. "You were right, Takeru. You were right this whole time." I was whispering now.

He was confused. "Right about what?" His voice matched my own.

"Shinji he…he wasn't…isn't…what I need. Not what I want."

A silence fell, and I knew that Takeru was thinking this over. I didn't know what was going through his mind, and I couldn't guess because I was staring intently at my hands, which were now in my lap, and not at his face. I was not oblivious to the fact that his arm had remained around me, though his hold was loose. I was almost afraid to look up to him, for I was not sure I would like what I would find on his face. The other thing was that I wasn't sure what I actually wanted to see on his face. But I knew that something might scare me if I looked.

"What do you want, then?" His voice was tentative, barely audible now.

I shook my head slowly. "I don't know."

He squeezed me gently with the arm that was around me. It happened so naturally that I didn't have time to fight it, and something told me that I didn't even want to. I leaned against him, a wave of exhaustion suddenly watching over me. He was warm and comfortable, and most of all he was safe. I realised that that was something I never really felt around Shinji. His world was for those who showed themselves off; for people who wore many different masks. It was a world where emotion was a weakness, and people would take advantage of you at any sight of it. But Takeru wasn't like that. He was part of my world too, the world that I knew now more than ever that I belonged in.

I don't know how long I spent with him that day; time seemed to blur together. Neither of us said very much, but more was communicated between us than anything in the passed couple of months. I realised that I had been starving for his presence; that I had deprived myself of him. I decided that I wouldn't be doing that any longer. When I left I knew that there was something different between us. At least, something on my end had changed. He wasn't just my best friend any longer. What he was to me now, I didn't know, but I found myself becoming less and less afraid to find out.

~*~

Somehow, though I don't know exactly when, it dawned on me. I don't know where along the lines I had confused it with mere friendship, but I had. And in doing so I had almost ruined everything that was going to happen between us. All my life, people had been telling me I was going to end up with Takeru. I think I resisted it because I didn't want to be the same. I wanted to be something different. Sora, Mimi and Miyako were all dating boys within our Digidestind group of friends, and I didn't want to find myself confined to that space. And so I had closed myself off, refusing to even consider the man who knew me better and loved me more than anyone else in this world. I had once considered him to be jaded, blinded by the fact that I was the only female he had ever really gotten close to. But how I realised it was I who had the inability to see; I was the one who had the jaded vision. I had refused to see it, had willingly blinded myself and outright rejected the notion of us being like that whenever I could. As I look back on it now, however, I know that I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and pain.

But Takeru…Takeru was ever present. He was…Takeru. That had been my excuse for not loving him before, but it was the very reason I did now. He didn't fade; he didn't make me suffer for what I had done to him. He had every right, I knew, to make me run as I had to him. He had the right and reasons to grow tired of me, to believe that I was not worth the chase. But he hadn't stopped running after me. And then, when I had run too far ahead of him, he had simply waited.

I suppose we became an official couple, though I didn't always like using the term 'boyfriend' to describe him. The word seemed so earthly…so terminal. He was so much more to me than that. And I knew that I was more to him than just a simple girlfriend to be tossed aside when things got bad, but we would have to make do with the titles that society would give us. But, as I was learning more and more, as long as I simply got to stay with him, things would be okay.

It wasn't anything formal, but if I had to pinpoint it I would put it to the train ride home. Usually we had family to come here to the university to pick us up, but no one was able to coordinate it. Before I had been dreading it; I had even wondered if I was going to make Takeru ride the train alone. But now that we were able to do it together, it wasn't so bad.

While we were waiting in line to finalise everything, I felt him take my hand in his. He laced his fingers through mine, something he had done before, but this time it sent a tingle through my body that the action hadn't caused me to feel prior to this. I felt the blush spread across my cheeks, and he smiled at me.

"Sorry you don't get your prince", he said, though I knew he wasn't sorry at all.

I pursed my lips, considering something for a moment. "I never considered him my prince, you know. Simply an honest worker."

This seemed to surprise him, but I could tell that he was delighted.

"Oh, really? Does that mean that the spot is open? Because if it is, I think I know someone just right for the job…"

I rolled my eyes at him, a reaction that was not at all unfamiliar to either of us, but I couldn't help but smile. "Really? Because I believe that it is, in fact, open. Will he take this poor village girl, sweep her off her feet and ride off into the sunset?"

His smile grew and he shuffled closer to my side; the public around us wouldn't allow for anything further. "Village girl? I don't see a village girl around here. Just a princess."

I'm pretty sure that a few people around us gagged; I probably would have myself, if I was an onlooker to such a scene. I tried to brush his rather corny words off as just that; but the blush on my face had deepened and I couldn't hide the light in my eyes at the words.

It was inevitable, the 'I told you so's and the 'it's about time's that we received when we got home. No one had been officially told anything; the two of us thought that it might be more fun to spring it on them. Between the emotional low of breaking up with Shinji, the stress of exams and working things would with Takeru, I hadn't had the time to actually tell anybody anything. As far as they knew, I was still with Shinji. So when I stepped off the train holding Takeru's hand…well, we certainly got the reaction we were going for.

~*~

That summer with Takeru was one of the best of my life. The summer before, as I look back on it, had been awkward and forced. With Shinji around we couldn't do things as normal. I couldn't exactly leave him to spend time with my old friends, as I was the reason he had come in the first place. He had taken to the 'lower society' life quite well, living in Tai's old room for the duration of the stay. But things were definitely better with Takeru. Above everything they were easier. The transition from friends to lovers had been quite smooth, so smooth that I now wondered why I had been so afraid of it in the first place. There were times that I felt so horrible for what I'd done to him, how I'd made him wait. Every time I expressed this to him he would simply smile, telling me that it didn't matter. We were together now, and anything that he had gone through before this had been worth it.

Going back to school the next fall was as easy as it had been in first year. Having him close was all I needed. As I'd done the two years before I arranged his room for him, informing him that after his little re-decorating stint he had lost all privileges of even having a say in where things went. He had gotten an apartment with a few of the guys on the basketball team, where I was just a block away with a few girls from my program. I knew that things would be better this year.

I think what amazed me the most was how things didn't really change between us. They changed, of course, but not as much as I thought they would have. We simply got closer. The times when he would kiss me caused my brain to malfunction and my knees to collapse in a way that Shinji had never done to me. Takeru stayed the same; my rock and my hope. My best friend. And he would forever be my best friend, as far as I was concerned about it. It was just that sometimes 'best friend' and 'boyfriend' were the same thing. Maybe, as people grow older, they are the same thing. Because it's very difficult to have both.

Finally we had allowed ourselves to join the dance that was going on around us; the dance that so many, Takeru included, had insisted that I join. And I wasn't going to resist it any longer. I was finally going to allow myself to fall under the spell as the dance went on around me. I was going to allow myself to get carried away by the love that has been there for me this whole time.

~*~

There was one night that Takeru called me up particularly late. I had just finished writing a particularly hard midterm exam, and I was looking forward to a nice long and stress-free sleep. But I couldn't resist seeing him; he always made me feel better. Losing sleep was nothing when I got to see him, and because of the time of year spending a lot of quality time together had been difficult. The difference in our programs had not really allowed for us to be able to study together, though we tried when the time was available. He had called me to our place on campus where we had met all those times; the tradition that had been started so long ago. We were in the midst of our third year now, both of us graduating after the following year was complete.

The tears clouded my vision as I watched him. Our relationship had bloomed, turning into something I had never even imagined possible. Every time I thought about it, I realised what a fool I had been to ever refuse him. The things I was feeling now…I could have had it so much earlier, saving myself and him much turmoil, if I had only not been so thick enough to realise it all.

So how I could ever deserve such a person, I would never really know. I'd put him through so much, and yet he still waited. I can barely remember the first time he told me he loved me; it seems like so long ago. But I was younger and naïve then, as well as oblivious to my own feelings. I thought I didn't care. But I had loved him then. Miyako had been right; I had loved him the whole time. I'd never thought myself as being a tenacious person, but I guess I'm more like my brother than I thought. He should have left; he should have run off to find someone more deserving. But he didn't. Just like he promised, Takeru waited.

And now he was kneeling before me, my left hand gently grasped between both of his. I knew what was coming. Earlier I hadn't, though I had noticed his nerves. Who would blame him? I had rejected him so many times before. And something told me that even if I did the same now still he wouldn't leave. He really would wait until there was some definitive reason for why I wasn't going to be following him. But there was nothing holding me back; not anymore.

All I could do was stand there, blubbering like a fool as he began to speak. I wanted to look away from him, but his clear blue eyes had me entranced. There was no escaping this moment.

"Yagami Hikari," he started, and my only response was to choke out another sob.

He smiled, and continued, "I've waited a long time, you know, but I'll have to say that it's been worth it. We've been through quite a bit, and I never want to have to go through anything else without you. I love you, more now than I ever have, and I would like to have the opportunity to come to love you even more."

My free hand was covering my mouth in a vain effort to contain myself. My body was rigid with anticipation, even shaking a little. I already knew what I was going to say.

Suddenly his confident demeanour faltered slightly, but I never saw anything but love in his eyes. He let go with one of his hands and reached into his pocket. The tiny, navy blue felt box that emerged with his hand almost sent me over the edge, but I managed to hold myself together. I could see that he was also shaking as he flipped the lid open, revealing a shining diamond ring. It wasn't huge, but it was something that was still quite substantial given that he was on the salary of a student. It was comprised of three diamonds, the one in the centre being the largest. I noticed some engraving on the band, and upon closer inspection I would later see the words 'Forever in my life' etched into the metal of the band in a script more elegant than I could imagine. Leave it to Takeru to make things really special.

My gaze flitted from the ring back to his face, where I met his expectant blue eyes. It would seem that he had been waiting for me yet again. He sat in silence for a few more moments, the sound of my erratic breathing the only thing permeating the silent night air. And then he smiled my favourite smile; the one that I now knew was meant only for me.

"Will you marry me, Hikari?"

I was sobbing still, but my head bobbed in an eager nod. Finally he'd gotten to it. To reaffirm my answer I threw myself down to his level, unable to get myself close enough to him. It was awkward and probably looked silly, but I didn't care and I didn't think he did either. Eventually my lips found his and I put every amount of passion I could muster into that kiss. As always he was gentle, but it was difficult to ignore the feeling in the atmosphere that had enveloped us.

Pulling away only slightly, he looked at me again. The look on his eyes and the smile on his face was nothing but pure bliss. I knew that my own expression was the same. His gaze then left mine and I looked down to see him fumbling with the navy blue box. With one hand, for the other was against the side of my neck, he managed to pull the ring from its spot. I pulled back farther still, but only to allow him room to take my left hand again. The hand that had been at my neck trailed down the length of my arm until it supported my own hand, and he silently took the other and placed the ring on my fourth finger. A perfect fit; of course it would be. This was Takeru we were talking about.

At this point we decided that it was time to get up off the ground, and he carefully helped me up from our spot. The clouds that hung overhead had threatened rain before, and I thought I felt a few drops on my arm. I didn't take too much notice to it though, and neither did he. All I was aware of was the face of my best friend; the face of the man I loved. It had taken me a long time to realise that we would still always be best friends, our bond was just now that much deeper. Our relationship would not change; just grow into something more beautiful. I don't know what it was that had me so frightened, or why I spent so many years in denial. All I knew was that I was the luckiest girl on earth to have such a man; a man that would wait forever for me. He leaned in to give me another kiss, this one much more skilled than the last. I knew now that I was glad I hadn't made him wait as long as forever, because being together with him now was much more completing than if I had spent all that time running. I realise now that maybe I even enjoyed the chase, but I wasn't going to make him pursue any longer. He had me now, and he would have me for eternity.

~*~

Calmer of the Storm: Well, there you have it, folks! I really enjoyed writing this story. It might even be my favourite so far. I'm really good at putting in plot holes and inconsistencies, so let me know. I tried really hard not to and I eliminated a couple before hand...hopefully I got them all.

It's funny I'm almost a little sad...lol. But at least I have another story to keep me going! I'll post the prologue up pretty soon. I know I'm not one to depend on reviews or anything, but that one won't be continued if there isn't a base for it. Then again, that could be another lie. Lol.

Anyways...until next week when I post that story...ciao!!