Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or anything you remotely reconize.

Author's Notes: I have to apologize for the long wait between the last chapters and this one. I had some minor writer's block on this story which was not helped by college work and mid-terms. Hopefully, I will be able to get the next chapter of the story out much faster. Thank you to everyone who reviewed last chapter.

Playlist: "When It Rains," Paramore (Taichi), "Black Hole Sun," Soundgarden (Sora)

Chapter 3. Everything is Worse Until It Gets Better

Mondays, decided fourteen year old Taichi as he truded to school in the rain, should just die.

He had three quizes that day and, on top of that, he had to turn in his first draft of an essay on a Midsummer Night's Dream (he thought his draft was crappy due to his complete dislike of the works of Shakespeare). The rain meant that he couldn't play a quick game of soccer with his friends during free period that day, or the next probably,since the meterologist on the News that morning had predicted rain until Thursday. And Sora was still home from school; his scowl, if it was humanly possible, deepened at the thought of his absent best friend.

It wasn't just the fact that Sora had been out of school for almost two weeks because of some kind of illness. He had called and e-mailed her numerous time but she would never answer any of his attempts at contact. At one point, he had gone to her home up near the lake to see her, only to be told by her mother that she was very sick and couldn't have visitors. He could understand her not being able to talk to him in person but he didn't get why she couldn't just pick up a phone or reply to an e-mail.

If he didn't know any better, he could have sworn that Sora was avoiding him.

But she would never do that to him.

His deep belief in the strength of their friendship was momentairly shaken when he pushed back the doors to the school and found Sora sitting in the hallway between Tacihikawa Mimi and Ishida Yamato. Taichi could feel his jaw drop to the floor not only because Sora was back in school and didn't tell him, but because she was sitting with the ring-leaders of the Pack kids. Despite living in the same neighborhood as the Pack, Sora hated those snobby, priveleged kids about as much as he did. It just didn't make any sense.

Maybe Sora was still sick.

But as he approached her he noticed that she looked better than she had in awhile; her hair seemed to have more of a shine, she was tanner than he remembered her being only a few weeks ago, and she seemed more grown-up to him in some way now. Her expression remained neutral as he reached her and he could feel himself start to become nervous.

Before he could speak Sora, along with Tachikawa and Ishida, rose and she nodded cooly at him.

"Yagami," she greeted without any familarity or warmth in her tone. "Nice to see you."

Then she turned on her heel and porposefully walked away from him, never once looking back. Ishida glared at him coldly before stalking off after Sora, and Tachikawa looked at him with an expression that could have been either pity or concern or both before hastily following after her friends.

Taichi felt his heart break.

Taichi was still in a bad mood during lunch, even though English class had long since been over.

It had been bad enough that he had to do some romantic scene with Takenouchi, the last girl in school that he would ever pick, but insult had been added to injury when she stopped him before he could leave the classroom. She had regarded him cooly and spoke in an authoritarian voice, "After school. Your place." She had then brushed past him as though he wasn't even there. His face burned in rememberence of it; Takenouchi was nothing more than a Pack kid who thought everyone would bend to her wishes. He couldn't believe he was ever friends with her.

"Um, is something bothering you?" asked his friend Izumi Koushirou.

Koushirou was the opposite of Taichi in many ways. Where Taichi was athletic and tan, Koushirou was pale with short red hair and a thin, but mostly unathletic build. Taichi loved sports and being outdoors in general, where as Koushirou was content to sit inside and read or explore the Internet on his computer. And the diffrences just didn't stop there; Koushirou was much more patient than Taichi and less likely to act impulsively or under the influence of emotions. He was also a good listener and could anyalize problems and come up with solutions exceedingly well.

Normally, Taichi would have no problem confiding in his friend. However, this was diffrent as it considered a member of the Pack.

Koushirou was far too interested in the Pack.

Taichi couldn't blame him really considering Koushirou had only moved to Odaiba a couple of years ago and had been completely taken aback by the priveleged teenagers who made up the Pack. Apparnetly in his old town, no one was shown the level of defference the town showed to the resdients of the lake area. As Taichi glanced at the Pack table, at the very center of the room, if he had not lived in Odaiba all his life he might find it strange that Tachikawa sat like a queen with all the other members of the Pack (except Yamato and Sora) flocked around her like courtiers.

Or he probably would have just chalked it up to being a high school thing.

Unfortunately, Koushirou had noticed his gaze slip towards the Pack and asked, with some excitement in his tone, "Is it one of them?"

Taichi mentally groaned as his friend opened his laptop to take notes; when he first moved to Odaiba, Koushirou had been midly curious about the Pack but then Taichi had made the mistake of telling him an old town legend and his friend had just become obssessed. The legend went that back when Odaiba was founded the settlers had discovered to their horror that the area was already populated by monsterous wolves who could take on human form. To combat these monsters, the six original founding familes gathered together and performed a ritual that gave members of the family the power to turn into wolves themselves They defeated the meance but not all was well in Odaiba for one of the families became power hungry and were banished by the other five.

The Pack was made up of the desendents of five of the six original families.

But the whole story was complete bunk, Taichi thought. Humans couldn't turn into wolves, it was impossible. However, Koushirou, who had been raised with TV shows like the X-Files, wasn't so sure the whole shapeshifter legend had come out of someone's imagination. It was very open-minded of him and all but Taichi wasn't going to feed into his conspiracy theories.

"No," he muttered and Koushirou closed his laptop with a disapointed sigh.

It wasn't until the lunch period was over that he realized that Takenouchi had not been sitting at her lunch table.

Sora hated rain. It brought up too many painful memories.

She leaned back in the driver's seat of her car, a vintage blue Beetle, with her eyes closed listening to what Mimi like to call her "Emo music" mixed with the sound of the rain hitting the windows of her car. Morally, she knew she shouldn't skip class (and before joining the Pack she never would have) but realisticly she knew it was a victimless crime since she was a straight-A student and the teachers would never call her out on her absence. It already had been a horrible day, with her sleeping in and being late for first period, but the thought of having to go to Taichi's house later just completely killed any hope of the day improving.

She knew she had to go to his house. There was no way certain members of her neighborhood that would never let Taichi go to her house un-tormented.

But just the thought of being in his home was killing her. It held too many memories of their friendship for her to ever be comfortable in it again and now she had to rehearse lines from Romeo and Juliet in it! She suddenly groaned as she realized that Taichi would have to kiss her in that particular scene.

Why did God hate her so?

She always had done the right thing even at the cost of her own happiness. Hadn't she ended her friendship with the boy she had been close to since pre-school just so he would be kept safe? Hadn't she experienced enough pain when she walked away from Taichi the first time to have to go through with it again? Could she even walk away from him again?

Her despondent thoughts were interupted by a tap on the passenger side window. She turned her head to see Mimi peering in at her; when Mimi realized that Sora saw her she made a hand gesture for Sora to unlock the door. A minute later a visibly grateful Mimi was sitting in the warm car and pushing wet strands of honey-colored hair out of her face. Sora waited patiently for her best friend to say something.

Mimi appraised her for a moment before saying quietly, "You know I love you right?"

Sora nodded.

"And you know I trust you with my life?"

She nodded again.

Mimi smiled softly but it didn't met her eyes. "I believe in you, Sora. I believe that you'll do the right thing because that's what you always do."

Sora could feel her bottom lip quivering. "But it's so hard. I don't know if I can be around him and not get attached."

"I know it's hard but it's what you have to do. He's not one of us."

She said nothing.

Mimi grabbed her arm and squeezed on it hard to get her attention. "Can you do this Sora? I need you to say that you won't get involved with him again." Her expression become agitated as Sora continued to not say anything. "Think of what would happen if some of the others found out that you became close to him again. He could be put in danger."

Sora nodded slowly. "I'll do it."

Mimi visibly relaxed. "Good. Remember Yama and I are always here for you if it gets to be too much."


Her tone must have been sarcastic because her friend glared at her. "I think it's just as unfair as you do. But you know how important the rule is, not just for their safety but for ours. Our secret can't get out, Sora."

"...I know."

"Be careful."

"I will. Thanks."

It was just one of those days...

Author's Note: Please read and review. Constructive critisim accepted.