Disclaimer: Digimon is owned by other people, some young, some old, none me.

A/N - I suddenly felt inspired, so I wrote this in an hour. Usual shout outs to Dreamer4, Dark Gamer, EeyoreP, Izzychick, and Fallen angel of Hope. Special dedication to logan, who is a fabulous writer. I read so much of his work that I finally got inspired past my perpetual writer's block. I just hope this isn't too like his stories. I don't know how it turned out; I didn't read it. I know that's a bad idea, but I couldn't. I wanted other people to tell me how it was, without my own opinion marring the way. I'd appreciate if you reviewed and told me how it was.

By Your Side

By: Hopeful Writer

Tiny hands brushed golden hair from Takeru's eyes. He relished in the thought of kissing this chestnut-haired angel, but he contented himself with planting a mock kiss on her hand, something he'd done before, something that wasn't new. She smiled shyly at him, a small creeping into her cheeks like always before. Her heart yearned to press on, show him her true feelings, but her head and body resisted temptation.

"Takeru," she whispered softly, unintentionally running her fingers through his flaxen locks. That was it. Just his name.

Takeru waited for her to say more, but it never came. He finally gave in to the fight. He pressed his lips gently against hers, earning wide eyes from his crush. His love. His best friend. "Hikari," he whispered back, sounding more like a moan, low and deep, in her lips.

Hikari found herself not resisting the kiss. She found herself leaning in more, deepening the bond that linked the two souls. When they reluctantly broke apart, both were taking air in rather quickly, but neither was blushing. Takeru ran his fingers through Hikari's soft mane, pulling her into his muscular arms. The boy had quit basketball to move on to something far more unexpected: boxing. 'His muscles are worth the bruises he comes home with,' Hikari thought, then condemned the thought. 'If he ever gets really hurt, though, those muscles won't be able to save him from me.' She smirked at the idea, earning a confused look from Takeru.

"What's so funny?" he wondered, cradling her softly.

"I was just wondering if those muscles would be able to stop me if you got hurt," she answered sincerely, wrapping her slender arms around his waist as Takeru pulled her onto his lap.

He smiled innocently. "I'd never hurt you, Hikari Kamiya, and you know it. You are my weakness, my life, my love." He felt the blood flow quickly to his cheeks as the realization of that phrase hit home.

Hikari, too, found herself blushing when she registered what had been said. "Takeru," she murmured, trying to sort out her feelings.

Takeru interrupted, feeling the need to clarify his outburst. "I love you, Hikari. I always have, and I always will. All those times that I held you, those times that I gave you my trust and, in return, took yours, those were all acts of love, though they came across as those of a good friend. A best friend. That's all we've ever been, Hikari, but I hope someday we will be more. I love you with my heart, soul, and body, but I give you the choice. I want you to be happy, Hikari. I've never wanted anything different. Let your heart decide. I'll be at your side when you choose."

His speech finished, Takeru released Hikari and backed away, fully prepared to go home and let her make her decision. A frightened cry erupted from her mouth, though, spinning Takeru around and forcing him to run to where she stood. However, she was no longer alone.

A big boy with long, jet-black hair held her in his arms. Takeru's breath caught in his throat, and a sneer of disgust played upon his lips. The sight of her harmless best friend staring at her attacker like that scared Hikari, but she could not escape her foe's rough hands.

"Dominic," Takeru breathed loosely, his voice strained somehow.

"Takaishi," the boy spat angrily. Then he smirked, an expression so comfortable on his plump face that Hikari felt it must be a regular. "This your girl?" he asked sarcastically.

But Takeru was at a loss for words. 'Not really,' he thought, but his heart, seemingly united to Hikari's, told him differently. 'Tell him she is,' it said silently, making its presence known. 'If you love Hikari, you should save her.'

"Yeah, she's my girl," Takeru responded casually. Hikari's eyes widened, and Takeru felt all hope was doomed. What he didn't know was that Hikari was only surprised that he could read her mind so perfectly.

"Let's fight for her." Alex Dominic was confident in his own abilities. Too confident. It was to be his unfortunate downfall, yet his cocky smile told Takeru differently.

Takeru was scared. Alex was the only young man to ever beat the blond in a boxing match. Four time champion, Alex had dominated every competition. Takeru was merely his runner-up. But Alex had never seen Takeru have anything to fight for.

"I… I'm not going to fight for Hikari. It's her decision what she wants to do. She's not a possession that I can own and give away. I don't have the right to do that, and you can't just take her like she's a few dollars in a second grader's pocket." Takeru's voice started out loud and shaky, then grew deadly cold and quiet with his increasing faith.

Hikari stared at Takeru with sudden fear. Was he going to just leave her there, in the hands of this… this… this monster? If only she could move Alex's hand enough to speak.

She bit the black-haired boy as hard as her jaw would allow her. He pulled one hand away, but was careful to hold her still in the other. "Takeru, fight him, please," she begged, silenced only by the broad palm of Alex Dominic again.

But Takeru had heard enough. "Leave her alone, Dominic, or I'll knock you on your butt so fast you won't know what happened. Just put her down and we'll pretend none of this ever happen."

Alex was not a very bright boy, or he would have heard the murdering seriousness in Takeru's voice. What Takeru failed to notice, though, was Alex take one hand from Hikari and pull a small revolver from his coat pocket. It was not a big gun, only big enough for one bullet. The shot had to be perfect. Unfortunately for Takeru, Alex was a trained sharpshooter, a master of the younger generation. He sneered at the younger boy, then pulled Hikari into a sloppy kiss, one she thoroughly loathed.

Takeru snapped. Something in his blood boiled over and he charged at the 210 pounds of muscle. It didn't matter that he was merely second best, Takeru was enraged. He socked the Alex in the jaw, freeing Hikari. "Run," he ordered through clenched teeth. His aqua eyes remained locked on his foe, but his focus was on Hikari. Alex saw his weakness and took the opportunity to aim his gun and fire, sending Takeru rearing backwards before darkness enveloped his mind.

He awoke to the sound of a female voice, husky with tears. "Wake up," was the silent plea. It was all he heard for a moment before assorted noises flooded his brain. His eyelids flicked open to reveal a young woman kneeling before him, her eyes closed in prayer.

"Am I in heaven?" he mumbled, just loud enough for her to hear.

"Takeru!" Hikari shrieked, wrapping her arms around him. She sobbed into his shoulder, taking only a moment to kiss his lips passionately.

His mind was reeling. His breathing was more rapid than usual. "Where am I?" he wondered, trying to look beyond her beautiful face at his surroundings.

"At your house," she answered promptly, looking concerned. "You've been out for two days. The hospital let you out yesterday and said you'd be fine. They treated the wound."

"Where?" Takeru didn't feel any pain. Hikari rested her hand on his shoulder, and he removed his shirt instinctively to see the mark. There was a perfectly circular scar where the bullet had seared his flesh. He didn't notice Hikari's blush right away, though.

"Takeru?" she whispered. His eyes met hers curiously. "Thank you. You saved my life, you know. He would have killed me."

Takeru smiled. "I told you I'd always be by your side."

"Takeru, I… I love you." The words flowed so easily from her lips that she didn't feel any regret from saying them. And when Takeru kissed her gently, she felt their souls bond. This was real love, not the impostor that befriended the teenagers who smoked in the girls' room at school and told stories about their sex life to the younger kids.

"You're an amazing woman, Hikari," he murmured through their kisses. He pulled her onto the bed, never letting his lips leave hers. His hands ran up and down her back, finally sliding under the back of her shirt. Immediately Hikari stiffened, and Takeru pulled back, not wanting to push her into anything she wasn't ready for.

"Not yet, Takeru," she told him, pushing his hands away. "I'm not ready."

"Okay," he replied without hesitation. "We can still kiss, right?" For a moment, his hopeful eyes were those of a small child's, not a very mature seventeen-year-old.

Hikari couldn't answer in words. She let her lips meet her true love's, and they remained together until morning.

'Sweet Hikari,' Takeru thought numbly as he drifted into sleep, 'I'll never let you go. I'll always be here, right by your side.'

A/N - The end. Please review. Flames allowed, criticism appreciated, and compliments worshipped. I hope you enjoyed it.