Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or it's characters.

Author's Notes: This is an AU Taiora with Mimato on the side and possibly other couples. Please read and review; constructive criticism accepted.

Playlist: "Thunder," Boys Like Girls

Chapter 1. Then and Now

"You're birthday's coming up, Sky. What do you want?"

Twelve-soon to be thirteen-year old Takenouchi Sora opened her ruby colored eyes and turned on her side to be face to face with her best friend, Yagami Taichi. Before his question, the two young friends had been lying under a tree enjoying the sun; they had been in a comfortable silence for so long that Sora had nearly fallen asleep.

"I don't know. You don't have to get me anything big, Tai."

"Your soccer ball popped yesterday, right? I could get you a new one…"

She shrugged. "If you want."

She shut her eyes once again and began to drift off to sleep; this was something that was starting to become a regular occurrence for Sora. As her birthday got closer, she became more and more pale and tired, so much so that Taichi worried that she had come down with something.

Which was ridiculous considering that she had never felt better in her entire life (aside from the recent lethargy).

She was pulled out of slumber when Taichi suddenly poked her hard in the shoulder. Irritated, she glared up at his smiling face.

He asked her, "Sky, we're going to be friends forever right?"

Her glare softened. "Of course we will."


"I promise."

His wolf was outside his window again.

Seventeen-year-old Yagami Taichi stared down at his backyard, which was not that far away from the woods which surrounded his town of Odaiba, to see a wolf with rich red fur. He thought his wolf was female since he looked wolves up on his computer and she seemed to be the size of a female wolf.

His wolf looked up at him and he smiled.

For a couple years now, this particular wolf had followed him around at times. He would look out his window to see her or catch a glimpse at her when he walked home from school and soccer practice. The wolf comforted him somehow instead of scaring him so he had stared thinking of her as being his.

His wolf cocked her head to the side as though she heard something and ran off into the woods. He waved at her retreating back in farewell.

Taichi sighed as he leaned back into a booth in the dinner he worked part-time at. It had been a slow night so far and he spent it mostly sitting in his booth memorizing the new play his soccer coach had come up with, and then after that he took out his PSP and started playing games on it.

He grinned as he killed some more zombies in his game.

He loved when he could earn his wage without really doing anything.

Then the bell over the door that signaled new costumers chimed, he looked over, and groaned as he recognized both the customers and the fact that they sat in his section. He looked down at his video game longingly for a moment before grabbing some menus and putting his best fake smile on.

Of all the kids from school who could have come in, why did it have to be Tachikawa Mimi, Ishida Yamato, and Takenouchi Sora?

Tachikawa Mimi was considered the most beautiful girl in school with her long, wavy honey hair, heart shaped face, hazel eyes, soft pink lips, lithe build, and creamy skin. She was known for her easy smile, sense of humor, and the Gatsby like parties she threw every so often. Taichi had nothing against her and in fact liked her very much (but in a platonic way rather than the lustful one most boys at school had for her), but it was her two companions that he had problems with.

Ishida Yamato was probably the object of desire for most of the girls at school (despite the fact that he and Mimi had been dating for nearly three years). He was tall with shoulder length blond hair, deep blue eyes, high cheek boned face, and lean muscled build; he was also the lead singer of a rock band called the Teenage wolves which made him even more popular with the girls.

And Taichi had never gotten along with him.

He didn't even really know how their antagonism had begun. Before high school had started they weren't exactly friends but they hadn't hated each other either. Then Takenouchi Sora had stopped being friends with him and had become both Tachikawa and Ishida's new best friend.

He figured that could have been the reason but then he had no problems with Mimi. But that was because Mimi didn't glare at him coldly whenever he had tried to approach Sora…

His former best friend had become beautiful, nearly as beautiful as Mimi in fact. She was tall and lean from soccer with sun-kissed skin, just above shoulder length auburn hair, oval face, and ruby eyes. As he watched, she nervously twirled a strand of hair around her finger.

He found the movement oddly fascinating for some reason.

She stopped when he approached their table and avoided eye contact with him; Yamato starred at him impassively and Mimi beamed up at him. He took their orders and tried to get away from them as quickly as he could but he wasn't fast enough.

Sora had taken her eyes off the table and called to him tentatively, "Yagami." He turned to her and she smiled hesitantly, "Good game yesterday."

He nodded and she looked down once more.

Yamato stared pointedly at him.

"Pack kids," he muttered under his breath.

There were two kinds of students in Odaiba High. The first group, the larger of the two, was made up of the teenagers who lived in the actual town of Odaiba. They weren't rich or poor, but somewhere in the middle of the two, and usually they belonged to the normal or outcast crowds. A few were popular, most were excellent students hoping for scholarships from far away colleges, and some, like Yagami Taichi, were jocks.

Then there was the second group that made up less than half of the school: the students who lived just outside of town near the lake. All of them were rich, gorgeous, and immensely popular. They kept to themselves for the most part and the town kids had taken to calling them the Pack.

The Pack could get away with anything both in school and in town which Taichi considered horribly unfair; the year earlier he had gotten detention for fighting one of the Pack kids (the punk had insulted his little sister and Taichi could not take that lying down) while the kid got off Scot free.

Needless to say, Taichi hated the Pack kids.

Even Takenouchi Sora.

He felt the familiar bubble of pain, sadness, and anger as her face rose in his mind. She had promised to be his best friend forever and then a few months after her fourteenth birthday she had gotten sick and missed nearly two weeks from school.

Then when she came back to school after being unwell she had completely changed. She no longer had time for him and instead hung out with the Pack, especially with Tachikawa and Ishida. He felt sick at the thought especially when he remembered her saying once that even though she lived in the area the kids in the Pack lived she never wanted to be like them.

He sighed; even though he was mad as hell at Sora, he had to admit he missed her.

Her old best friend had become handsome.

True, his curly brown hair still stuck up in different directions but it made him look roughish. His skin was just as sun-kissed as hers, if not more, because he also played soccer and his face had lost its baby fat completely. He had become tall and muscular at well.

He was no longer the clumsy boy he had once been.

God, she missed him so much.

But she had to stay away from him to protect him. She was like poison and would ruin his life if she got to close to him. Tears pricked behind her eyes at the thought of him and she blinked them away.

Mimi smiled at her sympathetically and Yamato gave her a quick platonic hug.

They understood because they were in the same situation as her; she smiled at them because they would always be there for her, especially when it came to Taichi (she knew Yamato didn't like her old friend because just the thought of Taichi gave her so much pain).

Sora sighed.

Taichi was better off with her out of his life.

And she intended to keep it that way.