It's the Cookies!
Before you even ask, yes, this is episode 38…a.k.a. "The Christmas Episode which is Either Good News for Sorato-shippers or Bad News for Everyone Else." And yes, seeing as how 98% of the time I'm pro-Sorato, it's (you guessed it) Sorato! And indeed, there are cookies for everyone!
Sora stared miserably at her wallet, the billfold yawning at her, completely bare. She opened every pocket, checked every inner compartment, flipped the whole thing upside-down and shook it, but not a single yen fell to the ground.
"I can't be broke! I just can't be!" she moaned, hanging her head in disgust.
Takenouchi Haruhiko, her father, glanced up from his newspaper. He was home, for once, and not spending his Christmas abroad or teaching in Kyoto.
"I told you, Sora, those shipping charges always get you in the end."
Sora nodded miserably, recalling the hefty fee it had taken for her to mail her Christmas present to New York. "But what am I gonna do now, Daddy? I was going to get somebody something really nice for Christmas and now I'm broke! That is, unless the best father in the world wants to give his only daughter a little holiday loan…"
"No dice, Sora. I already have to pay the bills from your shopping excursions as it is."
Mrs. Takenouchi stuck her head out through the doorway between the kitchen and the living room, a pot and a dishtowel in her hands.
"Haru, I thought I told you not to look at those bills!" she scolded. "Sora, what is it you need to buy so desperately?"
Sora took a deep breath, blowing into the wispy scarlet locks of hair falling over her forehead.
"Well, you see, there's this guy and…"
Mrs. Takenouchi grinned. "Haru, it's for a guy."
"Quiet, you're supposed to be on my side! Go on, Sora."
"Yeah, so, I really like this guy and I wanted to get him something extra-special for Christmas, something he's wanted for a really, really long time, and I was going to get it for him but I spent all my money sending that ridiculously big box of Pocky and rice-balls to Mimi."
Haruhiko grumbled, digging into his wallet, much to his chagrin, and pulling out some denomination of yen and reluctantly forking it over to his daughter.
"I expect you to pay me back, you know," he muttered as she hugged him tightly, threw on her fuchsia scarf and headed out the door.
Sora booked it down the icy sidewalk, ignoring the cold and her unbuttoned coat. She had a mission, and she'd be damned if anything stood in her way. She grinned, anticipating the reaction of her gift's recipient. She'd had a crush on him since they had met, nearly four years ago, but it had only just recently turned into full-blown infatuation. He was in the same grade as she, only slightly older, and never failed to walk her to a class. He was the epitome of the word 'bishounen,' both physically and emotionally.
"Only trouble is, every other girl in Japan thinks so," she grumbled, kicking a pebble with her shoe.
But you see Ishida for Ishida, not for 'Ishida Yamato, Superstar,' a voice chided in her head. That's what separates you from them.
"Hey yeah, that's right!" Sora said to herself.
You know you're the only girl he can come to with his problems, right? Because you're the only one that doesn't corner him against the track equipment.
"It took me half an hour to untangle him from those javelins," she grumbled.
But he appreciated it. And what'd he say? Wasn't it, "Thanks Sora, you're the best?"
"He did, didn't he? Everybody else calls me Takenouchi. It was sweet of him to call me by my real name…oh, why am I talking to myself anyways? I'll never get there at this rate!"
She slid to a stop outside of her destination, a street front bookstore she loved dearly. The book she had seen in the window display was gone, and panic seized her.
"No, no, no. Oh no," she muttered, swinging the door open. Imamura Mamoru was behind the counter, manning the ever-ringing cash register.
"Mr. Imamura!" Sora cried, sidestepping a group of shoppers. "Mr. Imamura!"
"Konnichiwa, Sora. How are you this fine Christmas Eve?"
"You haven't sold out of those music books, have you?"
The balding man shoved his round glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Just sold the last one, that black one in the window. We'll be getting a new shipment next week, though."
Sora shook her head. "Thanks anyways, Mr. Imamura, but next week will be too late. I was hoping to give it for a Christmas present."
He nodded. "Ah. Well, you know what my wife says, don't you? 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach,' she says. I bet you a bestseller that your musician friend will appreciate homemade cookies just the same as he would a book of sheet music."
Sora could feel her ears turning red as she blushed. She swore the aging bookkeeper was psychic.
"Thanks for the advice, Mr. Imamura. Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas to you too, Sora!"
She trudged out of the bookstore, wondering what her plan of action would be. With little time left and not a lot of cash, she decided to follow Imamura's advice.
"Only problem is, I can't cook!" she moaned, stepping out into the cold December air once more. She nearly ran into Motomiya Jun and Inoue Momoe, the elder sisters of Digidestined Motomiya Daisuke and Inoue Miyako. Jun clutched a paper shopping bag to her chest, squeezing the life out of it.
"Momoe, tonight's our night! This present is my ticket to that gorgeous boy's heart!"
"I know. Chizuru told me that's the only thing he wanted for Christmas, and you got it!"
Sora tried to sidestep the two squealing girls and ended up bumping Jun.
"Hey, watch where you're going, you snotty little underclassman!" she barked.
"Sorry," Sora mumbled, hurrying down the sidewalk before the big-haired girl could chew her out further.
"Thank you for shopping at Ai-Mart, please come again!" Miyako said for the thousandth time. She and her other sister, Chizuru, had been manning the cash registers all morning at their family's convenience store, and it was getting hectic. Last-minute shoppers were stocking up on their eggnog and gingerbread mix. There were also teenagers picking up those fluid-filled Glow Sticks, to wave around at the concert scheduled for that evening.
"C'mon, Chiz, you should come! It's gonna be the greatest thing ever!"
The bespectacled Inoue shook her head. "Can't, Koji. Momoe is going with Jun and Miyako is going to a Christmas party. Dad needs me to run the store with my brother while everybody's gone," the middle of the Inoue girls said to her friend as he purchased several lighters.
Miyako nodded, turning her attention to her customer. "Will that be cash, or charge…Sora?!"
The redheaded young woman waved a little, dropping bags of flour, sugar, and various baking supplies on the counter.
"Cash…the last of it I'll have for a while," she sighed.
"Making Christmas cookies?" the violet-haired girl inquired, ringing up the purchases.
"I'm sure gonna try. I have to come up with a perfect batch before the concert."
Miyako nodded. "Giving them to a special somebody for Christmas?"
"I thought you and Hikari were up on all the gossip!" Sora laughed, fishing her money out of her wallet.
"Oh, we are, I just didn't know if it was that somebody you were thinking about."
Sora blushed. "Yeah, it is."
"Well, I'm sure he'll like them. Oh, and stop by the beach before you go to the concert. We…um, the other Digidestined and I…have a Christmas present for you."
"Kay. Thanks, Miyako. I'll tell you how the cookies turn out."
Sora was halfway back to her apartment when she had yet another near-collision on the sidewalks. Almost losing her bags, she started spouting a litany of apologies for not watching where she was going.
"Hey, it's my fault. Gotta keep my head outta the clouds and back down here where it belongs…oh, hey Sora. Almost didn't recognize you without your uniform."
The redheaded girl grinned. "Shows how long we've been in school, eh, Ishida?"
"Right. I'd stay and talk, but between Akira and myself we've just snapped half a guitar's worth of strings and if I don't get them replaced there'll be no concert tonight," Yamato said quickly, shoving locks of his golden-blonde hair out of his wonderfully blue eyes.
"Can't wait to see it," Sora told him, hoping he couldn't hear how loud her heart was beating.
"Yeah, well, I'll be looking for you in the audience. Try and keep Taichi under control…I heard he's going to heckle me through a bullhorn."
"I can't promise anything, Yamato. You know as well as I do trying to keep Taichi under control is like a digimon on a diet."
"…Impossible, I know. See ya tonight!" he grinned, sprinting down the sidewalks.
She waited until he was out of sight, then gave a shuddery gasp.
"Ooh, I love him so much!" she giggled, hugging her groceries and practically skipping home.
Another dozen absolutely inedible cookies fell into the garbage can as Sora slammed the sheet down on the counter.
"I'm hopeless!" she moaned, quite ready to throw in the towel. "I can't cook to save my life and I'm flat out broke! This has got to be the worst Christmas ever!"
Haruhiko was trying to watch a movie, trying being the operative word. Between his daughter's complaining and the rustling of his wife wrapping presents in their bedroom, he couldn't hear anything.
"Sora, what are you attempting, other than to set fire to my house?"
She trudged into the living room, throwing her oven mitt onto the coffee table.
"I was making cookies, or trying to, but they're all wrong! The first three batches got burnt, this last one tasted weird, I don't know what I'm doing wrong but I can't seem to make cookies. I don't even think Yamato will like them."
Haruhiko sighed, pressing the mute button on his remote.
"Why don't you take a break and go for a walk? Maybe by the time you come back your mother will be done with her wrapping and she can help you."
"Sounds like a plan, Dad. Besides, I'm supposed to be meeting friends…right now?! Gotta run, Dad!"
And with that, Sora was out the door again.
Sora dashed down to the deserted beach, where the younger Digidestined were waiting. Taichi, Yamato, Koushiro and Jyou were all standing around, looking slightly annoyed.
"Takeru, this better be worth interrupting my practice for," Yamato growled. His younger brother grinned.
"Of course it is, Yamato!"
Taichi tapped his foot. "Daisuke, we're waiting…"
The goggle-wearing boy was whispering something to a very large present in front of him.
"Shhh, you'll ruin the surprise. Now!"
The bags rustled, then burst open as the partner digimon of the five older Digidestined sprang from them, glomping their humans.
"I think they like their presents!" Chibimon squealed.
"Just call me Daisuke Claus!"
Sora glanced up from hugging Piyomon. "It's just what I wanted. How did you know?"
"A little Birdramon told us," Miyako stated nonchalantly.
"This is nice," Iori said, "Christmas is a time for everyone to be together."
Piyomon watched closely as Sora tried once again to create an edible batch of Christmas cookies. She sat at the kitchen table, her little yellow feet swinging under the chair.
"So Sora, who are you making these cookies for?"
Sora blushed, dumping a cup of flour into her mixing bowl. "A friend."
Her ruby eyes shot a dark glance at her magenta friend. "A friend, Piyomon."
"A guy friend?"
Sora sighed in defeat, throwing a teaspoon of peppermint extract into the porcelain bowl as well.
"Yes, Piyomon, a guy friend."
The pink bird giggled. "Somebody you lo-ove?"
"May-be," she replied in the same singsong voice.
Sora was stirring up the batter when Piyomon dropped the bomb. "Is it Ya-ma-to?"
"Wha?! How'd you know?" she squawked, nearly dropping the heavy bowl to the ground.
"Well, I'm not supposed to say…"
"Piyomon, if you don't tell me how you knew I liked Yamato I'll pull your tail feathers out!"
"I didn't! I guessed…based on things I've heard around the Digital World."
"Like what?" Sora growled, fire dancing in her eyes.
"Gabumon told me that he heard from Tailmon who heard from Patamon who heard from Takeru who heard it straight from Yamato that he likes you!"
"Get out! Are you serious?"
"Gabumon's never lied to me before. He said Takeru was poking around in Yamato's room, stumbled across journal entries written on the back of sheet music saying all kinds of stuff about you and how he likes you. And Yamato admitted it when Takeru told him he was acting like a lovesick Tokomon!"
"Well then I better make these cookies extra special, huh?"
Having Piyomon around helped Sora a lot, in some way or another. Maybe having her friend sitting there calmed her nerves, so eggshell didn't fall into the batter and there wasn't a tablespoon of salt rather than a teaspoon. So when she pulled the metal sheet out of the oven ten minutes later, there weren't charred lumps of blackness, but a dozen flawless red-and-white peppermint cookies.
"Sora, they look great! Yamato will love them, and he'll love you for making them, and everything will be perfect!" Piyomon tittered.
They stood outside the backstage door, Sora visibly shaking. She had deposited her cookies in a box, which she had wrapped before primping in front of the mirror and heading out the door. She was certainly glad she wasn't standing in the line out front, which was snaking down around the block. Her hands trembled as she clutched the red-and-green box, Piyomon staring up at her as she stared at the door.
Please let Yamato like them! Sora thought, biting her lip.
"Isn't this exciting, Sora? All of these people lined up to see Yamato!" Piyomon chirped.
"And I know he'll like those cookies. Now hurry up and go give them to him!"
A/N: I absolutely HATE the dubbed dialogue for this portion of the episode and I forgot to hunt down the literal translation. So, I'm taking matters into my own sweaty palms.
Sora turned, finding Taichi and Agumon approaching her.
She did her best to hide the gift box, but Taichi, contrary to some beliefs, isn't stupid.
"What's in the box, Sora? A present for somebody?" Agumon asked.
The door opened, and Gabumon leaned out. "Hello, everyone. Yamato says he can hear you down the hall, so shut up. Sora, if that's for Yamato, I can take it to him."
Piyomon frowned. "Oh no, Sora's giving Yamato these cookies herself because she likes him."
"Piyomon!" Sora gasped. "You're not supposed to say those sorts of things!"
Taichi looked crushed for a moment. "Is that true, Sora?"
Sora blushed. "Maybe."
Her friend since elementary school put a hand on her shoulder. "Go on."
"Go on, Sora! If you like him, then tell him! You two are my best friends, and I want what's best for the both of you. If you want to date Yamato, then that's cool with me."
He started shoving her towards the open door. Sora turned back, still looking rather nervous.
"Are you sure?"
Agumon threw up his claws in aggravation. "Would you just go already? What are you waiting for, a written invitation? Now get going or I'm eating those cookies!"
"All right, all right. And Taichi? I'll have to make a special batch for you guys."
"Go for it, Sora."
Gabumon paused outside one of the dressing rooms, an ear pressed to the door.
"Hang on, the others are in there with him right now."
Sora drew a slow, shuddering breath, her heart beating rapidly. She smiled, hearing Yamato talking to the other (less important) members of the Teenage Wolves.
"So Yamato, how many girls do you think will throw their lingerie at us this time?"
"Don't even suggest it, Yutaka. It's a sickening thought."
"You're no fun, Ishida. All business, no pleasure."
"Lay off him, Takashi, he's got every right to be serious at a time like this. We've got fifteen minutes before curtain."
"Thanks, Akira. Now clear out, all of you! It's gonna take me the next fifteen minutes to get my hair under control, darn stylists."
The young men laughed, filing out of the dressing room, never once batting an eyelash at the digimon standing there.
"Hey Gabumon?" Yamato called. "Can you come help me?"
"Help you do what? You're the one with hands!"
"I just need you to read something. I'm thinking about doing that song I told you about…the one for…Sora! Hey, didn't see you! Stop hanging around my hallway, Takenouchi, and get in here!"
Was that song he was talking about for me? Please let it have been!
"Merry Christmas, Yamato!" Piyomon cried.
"Same to you, Piyomon. And Merry Christmas, Sora."
Sora blushed. "I, um, I got you…"
The blonde young man panicked. "That's not who I think it is, is it?"
Jun came barreling into the room, knocking Sora out of the way as she threw herself at her idol.
"I got you this Christmas present, Yamato-kun! I knew how much you wanted it, and so I got the very last one just for you!"
Yamato was about to protest his displeasure at being called "kun" by somebody he really couldn't stand when he finished unwrapping Jun's gift.
"Jun…this is that music book from Imamura's. I…I don't know what to say."
Piyomon glanced up at Sora. She was told all about the sheet music book, the one that Sora intended to buy for Yamato, the same one Jun just gave him.
"Say you'll go out with me!" she squealed, clenching her fingers around his arm.
Sora was seeing red. No, no, and more no. If I have to sic Birdramon on her just to get her away from Yamato I will!
"…I…I…" he stammered, caught between a rock and a fangirl.
"Hey! Do you have a pass?" a beefy security guard barked, coming around the corner.
Jun blanched, picking up her pompoms and high-tailing it. Yamato breathed a sigh of relief.
The guard jerked his thumb at Sora. "Whaddabout this one, Ishida-sama?"
"She's with me."
The portly man nodded, tipping his hat and heading back down the hall on his patrol.
"I believe that's what they call a 'deus ex machina,'" Gabumon mentioned, nudging Sora back into the dressing room.
"So, where were we?" Yamato asked casually, sipping at a bottle of carbonated water.
"Sora's Christmas present to you!" Piyomon supplied.
Sora bit her lip, handing over the box. "It's not as nice as that book. I, um, made them myself."
Yamato peeled back the paper with caution, sliding the lid off the box.
"Sora…you made these for me?"
She nodded. "Took me a while to get it right. I guess I'll never be a master chef or anything."
Maybe it was stage makeup, but Sora thought she caught her blonde friend blushing.
"Wow. I feel so guilty that I didn't get you anything," he admitted.
"Yamato, you didn't even get anything for Takeru, so don't you start!" Gabumon piped up.
He laughed. "Right, right. Looks like I owe you one, huh Sora?"
"Nah. Just your company, and knowing that you'll be the only girl out in the audience tonight not screaming proposals or throwing sequined thongs at me."
"If you want her to…" Piyomon started.
"Piyomon!" Sora gasped, her ruby eyes widening.
Yamato laughed harder, clutching the table for support. "No, no!"
"Five minutes, Ishida!" Akira shouted, going down the hallway with his guitar slung low over his shoulder.
Gabumon glanced at his partner. "Ah, Yamato, I believe you might have a present for Sora?"
His blue eyes shone quizzical for a moment, and then filled with understanding.
Yamato scribbled something down hastily in the black leather music book, then tore out the pages.
"I, um, wrote this with you in mind. I guess you could call it a Christmas present. I've got to get going, Sora. Maybe we could…I dunno, hang out after the concert or something? Get a coffee?"
Sora flashed him a winning smile. "I'd like that."
She, Piyomon and Gabumon headed to their seats, up in the nosebleed section with Taichi, Jyou and Koushiro. Actually, Yamato had recommended their seating, away from the deranged fangirls. Well, not all the deranged fangirls, seeing as how Jun and Momoe were right there. While they waited for the concert to start, Sora glanced down at what Yamato had written.
"What is it, Sora?" Piyomon inquired, trying to read Yamato's rather messy handwriting.
"It's a song, Piyomon. 'Tobira.' And I think it might be a love song, maybe."
She smiled at the lyrics, and the little message he had scribbled at the bottom.
"Hey, Merry Christmas Sora. The cookies mean a lot to me, kinda like you. You know, it's kinda funny. I never realized how well our crests went together until now, right? I mean, Friendship and Love. They're just sorta right for each other…I'm hoping you feel the same way about us. Always your friend (and maybe something else?!) Yamato."
We quite know what happened next…for the most part. Yamato and his band started their performance, and about halfway through all the equipment started to malfunction. This, as we know, was caused by Archnemon and her Dark Tower. Taichi, still being in command for the most part, ordered his team to scatter. In the hustle of thousands fleeing the concert hall, Sora got separated from the group, nearly trampled by the screaming masses.
"Taichi?! Koushiro?! Piyomon!" she cried, coughing as debris started falling in dirty clouds. A huge slab of concrete broke free of the roof, falling towards her.
"Sora, watch out!"
Yamato shoved her out of the way just as the hunk of rock slammed to the ground, causing the floor to shudder. Sora clutched his arm for support, violently shaking as he half-carried her out of the collapsing building.
"Yamato, you saved me."
He shot her a lopsided grin, trying to find the rest of the Digidestined. "Yeah, unfortunately I couldn't save the cookies. But you're more important than that, Sora."
He gently cuffed her shoulder. "Sora! I'd fight Devimon, the Dark Masters, the lot of them single-handedly if I had to just to make sure you were safe. I care a lot about you, Sora. I might even dare to go as far as to say I love you."
His deep sapphire eyes seemed to shine in the darkness, eerie and ethereal. "Sora?"
"Hey! Would you two get over here already? We're in a whole lot of trouble and all you can do is stand around and talk!" Gomamon scolded, wrinkling his nonexistent nose in disdain.
"We're not much good until Daisuke and the others get here, so keep your flippers on!" Jyou retorted. "But really, you guys had us worried for a minute."
"Can't kill us off that easily, Kido. You should know that by now!" Yamato said with his usual wry grin. "Now, what were you saying before we were so rudely interrupted?"
Sora smiled. "I love you too."
She kissed him softly, a spark of static electricity passing between them.
"Now come on, Ishida. We have a city to save, again."
"And so the Digidestined hurried off on another adventure, wrought with peril and close calls. After that night, things were never really the same. Not for the lives of anyone in either Mortal or Digital World, and especially not for the Bearers of Friendship and Love. That Christmas, they found in each other kindred spirits, souls that were destined to be together. And I suppose you could say they lived happily ever after. But you already knew that."
Megami Ishida smiled sleepily, drawing the covers tight across her throat. "Yeah."
"That didn't really happen, did it, Mommy?" her brother, Kitsune, asked.
A tall figure appeared in the doorway, leaning against the frame, his arms folded across his chest.
"You're not saying your mother's a liar, are you?" he asked, smiling.
"I don't know, Uncle Takeru said you were on your hands and knees begging Mommy to go out with you," Meg pointed out, her big blue eyes narrowed in youthful suspicion.
"Uncle Takeru is an idiot."
"Sora, he's a romance novelist, he's always making up things like that!"
She grinned at her husband. "You're not much better, O Great and Wonderful Musician."
"Whatever. Now go to bed, the both of you. Tomorrow's Christmas. And if you even think about waking me up before seven, I'll have Santa take all your presents back."
The two Ishida children nodded, Sora kissing them both and backing out of their room, hitting the lights as she went. Yamato crashed on the couch, flicking on the television.
"So did we live happily ever after?" he asked.
Sora shook her head. "Of course we did, Yamato. Of course we did."
"You know, you never ended up replacing those cookies that got lost in the concert crash."
"Remind me again why I married you?"
Yamato grinned, running his fingers through his hair. "Another story for another day, my dear. It's late, and we have much to do tomorrow."
"Indeed. Merry Christmas, Yamato."
"Merry Christmas, Sora."
I know, it's a day late! My daddy made me go to bed before I could finish it yesterday!
And then we went to the movies all today. I'm never sitting six hours in a theater again.
And I'm gonna go get my learner's permit, so clear the roads! Whee!
Meri Kurisumasu, minna-san!
That's Merry Christmas, everybody! And an anime-filled New Year!