Tai Kamiya was nervous. Was he as nervous as he was before the Bronze Medal match at the Beijing Olympics? Yes, he was. It was just three days after the closing ceremonies and now he was in a place where he had not expected to be—Glasgow, Scotland. The famous Celtic Football Club was signing him after playing 3 years with Kashima Antlers. Davis Motomiya and Ken Ichijouji were still playing in the J-League for Kashima Antlers and JEF United Chiba, respectively, so he was the only member of the DigiDestined to be playing in Europe. His transfer procedures were complete, and now he was in Scotland to officially join the club, despite the fact that their season had officially begun 2 days after the opening ceremonies for the Olympics. And he was amazed at how quickly the transfer had gone. Didn't these things usually take a while? Oh wait, his contract was voided after he made a mistake that forced the club to cut him. Understandably, it hurt.
But right now, he was in the pressroom at Celtic Park waiting for that other player the club had signed. Well, to be exact, he was out of sight of the cameras. His friends, Sora Takenouchi, Joe Kido, Matt Ishida (although Tai wasn't happy about it, since he felt Matt had stolen Sora from him), Tai's sister Kari and Matt's brother TK Takaishi were also there. The rest of the group couldn't be there due to previous engagements. Agumon wasn't with him, either. Considering the knowledge of the Digital World wasn't well known, the Digimon would be out of sight for now.
"Jeez, Tai, calm down," said Kari while she adjusted his necktie.
"That's easy for you to say," he replied. "You're not being signed by a major European football club!"
"Well, then just remember you're not the only one being signed," she said. "That other guy must be pretty nervous, too."
"Yeah, I guess you have a point," he replied. His appearance had changed somewhat since the days when he was out saving the world. He was now 21 years old. He was taller than he was sometime ago, but the biggest difference was his hair: It had been cut some time ago, and he decided to keep it, since he felt the big hair wouldn't look right when playing. Matt's hair was also longer, since he was dedicating more time to his band. Sora had also grown, and he felt that she was now the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen—too bad he couldn't have her.
Suddenly, they noticed someone approaching them. "It must be their new signee," said Matt. But it wasn't. It was the manager Gordon Strachan and the club's chairman Dr. John Reid MP.
"Mr. Kamiya," said Strachan in his native Scottish accent. "I look forward to seeing ye during the year."
"Thank you, sir," said Tai, his voice shaking somewhat.
"I see you're nervous," said Strachan. "I remember when I first began playing, I was pretty nervous myself. Anyone would be nervous in a situation like this."
"I guess so," said Tai. Instead of walking right into the press room, Strachan and Reid stood around for a while, as if they were waiting for someone.
"Um, excuse me," said Sora. "Are you waiting for someone?"
"Aye, yes," replied Reid. "We're waiting for our other new player."
"Makes sense," said Izzy. "Who is he?"
"You'll see," replied Dr. Reid. Just then, he said, "Ah, here he comes." He said, pointing at a figure that was approaching them. Tai tried to see who it was, but he couldn't tell. But there was a strange familiarity about him. As the figure got closer, he began to get a strange sense of déjà vu. When the figure was close enough, Tai's eyes widened in realization of who the person was. The person had brown hair, blue eyes and was built the same as Tai, as well as the same age, but his hair was slightly longer, but not much longer.
"Ah, Mr. Michaels," said Strachan. "I'm glad you could make it,"
"I appreciate it," replied Mr. Michaels. His voice was also shaking, so Tai thought he was just as nervous as he was. But his appearance as well as his last name confirmed who he was. But it seemed Mr. Michaels recognized him too.
"Don't I know you?" He said.
"Yeah, I think so," replied Tai. "Aren't you Scott Michaels for the United States team at the Olympics?"
"Yeah, I am," replied Scott. "You must be Tai Kamiya from the Japanese team."
"Ah, I see you two know each other," said Dr. Reid.
"Yeah, we played against each other in the Bronze Medal match at the Olympics," said Tai.
"Our teams met each other in that game," said Scott. "I played for the U.S., he was playing for Japan."
"Well, I hope that you don't have any conflicts while you're here," said Strachan. "Now let's get this press conference under way," He and Dr. Reid walked into the press room, and Tai and Scott followed them. Once inside, they were bombarded by the flash bulbs, which caught the two young soccer players off guard. Strachan and Reid, however, seemed unfazed, probably because they were used to the flashbulbs. Dr. Reid walked up to the podium while Tai and Scott took their seats to the left of him while Strachan sat down to the right.
"Good afternoon," said Dr. Reid. "I'm pleased to announce the signing of two young rising stars in football. To my left are Taichi Kamiya from the Odaiba district of the Minato Ward of Tokyo and previously played for Kashima Antlers, and to his left is Scott Michaels from Chicago, Illinois in the United States and who recently graduated from the University of Florida. We are excited to have these two playing for us, and I've also found out, although Mr. Strachan probably knows this, that these two played against each other in the Olympics." The press in the room laughed in response. "But we really are glad to have these two playing for us. So, without further ado, let's let them answer some questions."
The press in the room erupted in a din of voices and accents, some of the Scottish, some of them English, some Japanese, some American, and a few others. Neither Tai nor Scott could tell what to do right now. So, Tai pointed at a random reporter.
The man spoke with a Scottish accent and said, "Grant McLeod, The Herald, what made you choose Celtic? And this is for the both of ye."
Tai thought for moment and said, "I decided to come here because they have a Japanese player, so I felt that if I came here, at least there'd be another Japanese player. And besides, I've always wanted to wear a kilt!" The reporters in the room laughed at Tai's comment. "Plus, Celtic gave me the best opportunity to play."
"Well, I had some offers from MLS clubs, the decision came when a friend of mine told me he was pissed that Rangers had an American on their squad and Celtic, his favorite, did not have any so I said, why don't I play for them?"
"Ha ha ha ha ha!"
"I'm not sure if that was funny or not," Scott said to Tai.
"Well they though it was funny," he replied. The two took some more questions before Dr. Reid decided to end the press conference. But it wasn't that he thought that they were hogging the spotlight, he just wanted a photo-op.
"Well, now that we're all acquainted, what do ye say we get some pictures of them with their hoops?" Tai and Scott nodded in agreement as an employee brought out their new shirts. The shirt had on it the club's world-famous alternating green-and-white "hoops". The front of the shirt included the jersey sponsor's logo, Carling. Above the logo, on the shirt's left breast was the club's famed crest—a Green-and-white four-leaf clover on a circular field of white, which was encircled by a green outer ring that had the words "The Celtic Football Club" in white on top, with "1888", the year of the club's founding, on the bottom. A ring of black in turn, encircled it. Above the crest was a yellow star, symbolizing the Lisbon lions, the year they won their first (and so far only) European Cup in 1967. The right breast included the Nike Swoosh, since Nike manufactured the shirt. The collar was a v-neck and colored green, with yellow piping on the back, with the club name on the back of that in yellow, and a Celtic-like font. The sleeves also had thin yellow piping. The back of the shirt had Tai and Scott's last names above their number, number 16 and 5, respectively. (By the way, I suggest you google "Celtic FC 2008-09 home kit" to see what it looks like. If you already know what it looks like, then you don't need to look.) As the two were handed their shirts, they felt a great sense of accomplishment. The press took pictures of the two holding their shirts. Although the two had smiles on their faces, this belied their history.
"So Tai, you know this guy?" Asked Joe after the press conference was over.
"Well, I don't know him personally, but we have faced each other before," replied Tai. Scott listened in confusion, since Tai and his friends were conversing in Japanese, a language he did not speak.
"Um, what the hell are you talking about?" He asked.
"Didn't you hear?" Sora replied. "They faced each other in the Olympics. Didn't you?" She turned to ask Scott in English, which only confused him even more.
"You faced Tai in the Olympics, didn't you?" Scott then remembered and began laughing and said,
"Oh yeah, in the Bronze Medal match," he said.
"He scored the winning goal," said Tai, some anger evident in his voice. "Why the hell did you do it?" He asked. Really it was a stupid question.
"Why the hell are you asking that? I did what I had to do, and now you're blaming me?"
"You prevented us from winning!"
"Well I'm the opponent, what the hell do you expect I do?" He shot back.
"I don't know, miss, maybe!"
"Now why would I miss on purpose, huh? That would get me in even more trouble!"
"Tai, he's right. I know you're upset, but do you want to be a bad sport?" Kari scolded. "That's not the way and Olympian should be acting!"
Tai knew she was right. "I guess so," he said. "But I still won't be happy about it."
"I guess we can agree on that," said Scott. Just then, Strachan walked up to them.
"So, are any of ye hungry?" He said.
(A/N: I will be using both real and fictional players in this. The real players will be noted with an (R), while fictional players are noted with and (F). Scott is obviously fictional. Sadly, there are no Americans on the Celtic F.C. squad.)
A few hours later, the former DigiDestined, Scott Michaels, Gordon Strachan and several of the players from Celtic were at one of Glasgow's swankiest restaurants. At the moment, Scott (Michaels) was discussing things with Australian striker Scott McDonald (R) and Scottish midfielder Gary Boyd (F). Tai, meanwhile, was with his friends but was also being asked questions by Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc (R).
"So Scott," said Scott McDonald. "Tai has his little sister with him. Why isn't your family with you?"
"Well," said Scott. "My mom and dad are helping my little brother with college."
"Your brother's in college?" Tai asked.
"Yeah, at the University of Central Florida," he replied.
"Where's that?" Boyd asked. "I know it's in Florida, but what city?"
"It's in Orlando," replied Scott (Michaels).
"Orlando?" Kari said. "Isn't that where Disney World is?"
"Yep," he replied. "He's a freshman and he's going to be playing football there. American football, not futbol." He said.
"What position does he play?" McDonald asked.
"Quarterback," he replied.
"Why are they eager to talk to him?" Tai asked with some slight anger in his tone.
"Well, he's the new guy," replied Izzy. "Might as well get acquainted with the new guy."
"Yeah, but he's getting more attention!" That didn't last long.
"So Kamiya!" Scott McDonald shouted. "You played against Michaels in the Olympics, right?"
"Yeah, and you shouldn't mention that!" He replied.
"Oh, don't worry about it," said Robinson. "It's the competition that matters!"
"Yeah, but I still would have like to have won," Tai muttered under his breath.
"Tai, just let it go," said Sora with some annoyance in her voice. Tai simply took a sip of his beer. But he also noticed something about Matt and Sora: they were barely speaking to each other, and when they were, it seemed to be… confrontational for some reason. But Tai brushed it aside.
A few minutes later, Strachan (R, obviously) stood up and tapped on his beer glass with a spoon, making the table fall silent. "Well now, we're all silent. I'd like to make a toast to our new signees, Scott Michaels and Taichi Kamiya!" The people at the table applauded at that, including Scott (Michaels) and Tai. "I hope that they can bring good fortune to our team, and that they can be great team players." He said the last part with a hint of annoyance on his voice, as he was obviously annoyed at the seemingly growing antagonism between Tai and Scott (Michaels). The two of them seemed to get the message, since they had slight looks of embarassment on their faces. "So let use raise our pints in honor of our new players! Sláinte!"
"Sláinte!" Came the reply. Of course, Tai and the DigiDestined had no idea what that meant, so Tai Izzy asked Gary Robinson,
"What does Sláinte mean?"
"It means 'good health' in Gaelic," he replied. Just then, "Ah, the food's here!" The waiters brought in the night's main course in covered platters.
"All right!" Tai, whose excitement for the food had replaced his distrust of Scott (Michaels) by now exclaimed. The waiters placed the platters on the tables and lifted the lid revealing… something.
"Uuummm, what is this?" Asked TK, who was not alone in wondering what the hell it was. Scott (Michaels) and the rest of the DigiDestined were confused at what it was. But Strachan and some of the other Celtic players were eating it comfortably.
"Looks like my grandma's meat loaf!" Said Scott (Michaels), clearly confused at the mystery meat.
"It's haggis!" Scott Brown said(R).
"What?" TK asked.
"Haggis! It's a native dish. It's made from sheep's pluck."
"What's sheep's pluck?" Joe asked, clearly starting to get grossed out.
"It's the sheep's heart, liver and lungs," said Brown. That got the DigiDestined and Scott (Michaels) grossed out. "And it's encased in the sheep's stomach!"
Now they were really grossed out! Poor Joe, who, despite being a med student, had to rush to the bathroom so he didn't throw up right then and there. The rest of the group decided not to eat it, since they couldn't bring themselves to do so. Scott (Michaels) stared at the haggis before turning to the waiter and said, "Can I just have a cheeseburger?"
About an hour later, the group was back at the hotel they were staying at. Scott (Michaels) was at a different hotel, so he went somewhere else. Knowing the Digimon would eat anything, they brought the haggis with them.
"Oh Agumon," said Tai in a sing-song voice as he and Kari entered their room. "I have something for you."
"Really, what is it?" The small, dinosaur-like monster asked as he pooped out of a closet. Gatomon also appeared, since Kari was staying in the same room with Tai.
"It's something you'll really like," he said to try and get the Digimon excited.
"Stop wasting time and show it to us!" Gatomon asked.
"Okay, then, here it is!" He and Kari pulled out the boxes containing the delicacy for the two to see. "It's haggis!" They opened the box for the two to see, but even they, despite their appetites, were still confused.
"I don't get it," said Gatomon. "What is it?"
"It's sheep guts encased in the sheep's stomach!" Said Tai in a voice to try and get them excited. Too bad it didn't work.
"Are you kidding me?" Agumon asked. "That sounds gross!" Both Tai and Kari had looks of disbelief on their faces. They were refusing food? That's a new one. But something interrupted the moment.
"Leave me alone, Matt!" A voice came from down the hall. Tai and Kari looked at each other before peeking outside to see Sora storm down the hallway right past them. They didn't get a chance to ask Sora what was going on. The two went back into their room and Tai sat down on the bed and turned the TV on. Kari simply looked at her older brother.
"You still like her, don't you?" Kari asked.
"Don't give me that!" She snapped. "I saw the look on your face when you were watching them, you're still in love with her and you wish you hadn't let the opportunity go."
"What are you talking about Kari?" He replied. "I don't have feelings for her right now!"
"Yes you do, quit lying! You're jealous of Matt, I've seen it for years, Tai. I'm your sister, you can't fool me." Tai didn't answer. Instead, he continued watching TV. "Jeez, Tai, you're how old, 22? Quit acting like a little kid and talk!"
"I said it's none of your business, Kari!" He snapped at her.
"You feel as though you let her go, don't you? Do you regret letting her go to Matt while you sat idly by? I know you wanted for her to be happy and you didn't want to hurt your relationship with Matt, but it's obvious what it's done to you!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Tai asked. Kari sighed and said,
"Do you regret letting Sora go to Matt?"
"Yeah, I do, but-,"
"I knew it!" She exclaimed. "You do care for her!"
"What proof do you have?"
"You just said you regret letting her go to Matt."
Tai knew she was starting to hit something, so he simply said, "It's none of your business."
"Tai, like I said, you're 21 and you're going to be playing for one of the biggest soccer clubs in Europe! Are you gonna act your age or not? And I also suggest that you drop this antagonism towards Mr. Michaels, because he's your teammate now!"
"I said it's none of your business!" He said. He got up off the bed and walked out of the room, all the while saying, "I'm going for a walk."
It wasn't really a walk, but it was close enough. Tai drove his rental car around the city of Glasgow while he collected his thoughts. At one point, he drove past the stadium for Celtic's (extremely) hated rivals, Rangers, Ibrox Stadium. But he paid no heed to it. Finally, he drove to Celtic Park, the place where he will be playing from now on. As he stood in front of the stadium's red-brick façade of the main stand, he thought about whether Kari was right or not. But he also thought about his future with the club and whether he'd succeed or not.
"So humans actually eat this stuff?" Agumon asked concerning the haggis.
"Yeah, one of the players told me it's a Scottish delicacy," said Kari with a slight disinterested tone on her voice.
"Even though I've been living with them for years, I still think humans are so strange," said Gatomon. "Eating a piece of an animal—oh wait." She just remembered that cats eat mice. "But using the innards of animals just seems so wrong to me." Kari giggled slightly at Gatomon's comment, unlike her disinterested tone regarding Agumon. Suddenly, they heard a knock at the door.
"Is it room service?" Asked Agumon. "Or maybe it's Tai!"
"In any case, hide, so I can see who it is." The two Digimon hid in closet while Kari answered the door. It was…
"Sora?" She said. "How come you're here?"
"Kari, can I talk to you?" She asked her. Kari smiled, somehow knowing exactly what she was talking about.
"Sure, come on in."
Tai had not returned from his drive around Glasgow. Instead he was in a pub, just having a pint of Guinness. He'd been there for sometime and he had only touched his glass on occasion.
"Are ye havin' trouble wit' the lasses, laddie?" The bartender asked in his think Highland accent. Of course Tai, not knowing the difference between a lowland and Highland accent, simply said,
"Why do you care?"
"Och, I know that look," he replied. "I've seen lads come in with looks like that on their faces countless times. In fact, from the look of your face, it's a lass ye really had it goin' fer but ye let her go another mahn."
"You don't know what you're talking about," he replied. The bartender shook his head, and then said,
"Aren't ye that new Japanese player the Bhoys signed today?"
"Who are the Bhoys?" He asked.
"Celtic, my good mahn! 'Tis a nickname fer the team. Ah, welcome laddie!" A new person had entered the pub, and Tai looked to see who it was. It was none other than Scott Michaels.
"What are you doing here?" He asked.
"I was just about to ask you the same question," replied Tai.
"Ah, ye must be tha new American Bhoy," said the bartender.
"Sit down and have a pint on the house. In fahct, I'll let ye both have a pint on the house. So you don't have tae pay for thaht Guinness."
"Oh, thanks." Tai said.
"No problem," said the bartender. He turned to Scott and said, "So are there any good pubs were yer're from?"
"Well, there's a few good bars in Gainesville, and there's an Irish bar called Tommy Nevins in Evanston, which is a few towns over from where I live."
"Oh, so ye don't live in Chicago? What town are you from?"
"A town called Northfield."
"Ye two seem to know each other," said the bartender, suddenly changing the topic.
"Yeah, we played against each other in the Olympics," said Tai.
"He's still mad at me for scoring the winning goal in the Bronze Medal match," said Scott.
"Och, that's tae bad. Sae, what will ye hahve?"
"I'll have a Bud Light." Bad idea.
"I hate say this, but Bud Light is fer queers." Tai and Scott had surprised looks on their faces when he said this. The bartender then poured a glass of a different beer and said, "Try the house beer, it's frickin' great." (A/N: Credit to Jay Mohr for this next bit) The beer looked like something had been dredged from the bottom of a lake, though.
"What is that?" Tai asked, regarding the strange… brew.
"Looks like there's a fly in there," replied Scott.
"Are you gonna drink that?"
"Might as well, after all, it's frickin' great." He said that last part by imitating the bartender's accent. He picked up the glass and said, "Cheers."
"Cheers." Scott took a swig of the liquid and then—
"HOLY SHIT!" Scott reacted to the thick taste of the beer which he wasn't used to. "IT BURNS! IT BURNS!"
"It's frickin' great, isn't it?"
"WATER! I NEED WATER!"
"Alright, alight, I'll get ye some water. Ye pansy."
"SHUT UP AND GIMME THE WATER!" Scott gulped the water down, then coughed a little bit and collapsed. Tai watched in amused horror at the spectacle. Finally, Scott got up and said, "Just get me a Guinness."
A few days later, Tai and the rest of the DigiDestined were at Glasgow International airport, two days after Tai's Scottish Premier League debut in the year's first Old Firm—the nickname for the Celtic-Rangers rivalry. He had played the last 5 minutes of the 4-2 loss, but a debut is still a debut. And now he was seeing his friends off on their trip back to Japan. Kari, meanwhile, would stay with him. So now the group was standing in the airport terminal saying their (hopefully not) final goodbyes to Tai and kari.
"Goodbye Tai," said Izzy. "I hope you have a prodigious time here."
"Thanks, Izzy," replied Tai. "I hope you do good at MIT or wherever it is you're going to."
"Well good luck, we'll be cheering for you," said Joe. "If you have any problems, just call me."
"Thanks Joe. I knew I could count on you," he said.
"I'll make sure Davis watches your games," said TK, knowing he had a chance to have a chance to humiliate his old rival.
"Thanks, TK," he replied. He truned to Matt and said, "Well Matt, aren't you going to say anything?"
Matt just softly said, "Good luck." It was strange for Matt to be quiet like this. Tai wondered why Matt wasn't talking much.
"You've been awfully quiet Matt," he said. "Cat got your tongue?"
"Then why are you so damn quiet?"
"Lay off of him Tai," said Sora.
"Well, I guess this is goodbye," said Tai, some tears welling up in his eyes. "It'll be lonely here without you guys, even with Kari here to keep me company."
But what Kari said next shocked all of them—except Sora. "Actually Tai, I'm going back to Japan with them."
"What?" They all said in unison.
"You heard me, I'm not staying."
"But Kari, who's going to stay here with me while I get adjusted?"
"Well, you know them well," she said.
"That's not good enough Kari, who is it?"
Tai knew who said it. He turned around said, "Sora?"
"Yes Tai," she replied. "I'm staying in Scotland with you." This revelation shocked Izzy, TK, Joe and Tai, but not Matt and Kari.
"Kari, what's going on here?"
"You heard her," she replied. "She's staying with you in Scotland."
"But you didn't tell me this!"
"Because I wanted to make it a surprise!" She replied.
"But—but—but, oh forget it!" He said. "You're not changing your mind, are you?"
"Nope!" Besides, I've got another reason to got back to Japan, she thought, looking at TK. Tai just sighed.
"Oh well." He said. "Goodbye Kari," he said.
"So long, Tai." She replied, with tears welling up in her eyes. The two loving siblings gave each other one last heart-felt embrace before Kari left for Japan. "I'll miss you, Tai. I'll have mom keep in contact, okay?"
"Thanks, Kari. I'll miss you two." He said with his voice breaking somewhat. He hated to see his sister leave, but he knew that she wouldn't let him be alone.
Tai and Sora gave their final goodbyes to the group and watched them leave for their flight back to Japan in silence. When would they see them again? They did not have the answer, but they hoped it would be soon.
"Do you have any regrets staying Sora?" He asked her. She took a deep breath, and said with a confident voice that he had not heard in months,
"Not a damn one."
My first Digimon story! I promise it will be good, dammit. And what about Scott (Michaels) and Tai's antagonism? Well, that will be discussed in later chapters.
And in case you're wondering, yes, I am a Celtic fan. So I am biased somewhat. And if you're a rangers fan… then too bad, because there will be rangers bashing. MASSIVE hun bashing. MWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Reviews would be appreciated.