Author's Notes: A big thank you to my two betas (PrincessJaded and Potgenie). I was going to work on some of Potgenie's suggestions more, but I never really had the time, and I don't think I'll have any until Christmas break (university life is FINALLY catching up to me). So before I completely forget about this story, here it is.
I also neglected to mention that it was a challenge, from the "most fantastical person ever born, PrincessJaded" (in her own words). And who could be even more fantastical if she updates Lockdown *coughcough*
Research notes… check.
Enough clothes for two months… check.
Yamato sighed. Two months in the endless void. It wasn't that Yamato disliked going into space. Far from it; there was just something mysterious about the universe – the vastness, the secrecy – that interested Yamato. It was why – to the shock of his friends and family – he went into aerospace engineering, and why he joined the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency almost immediately after graduation. Since then, he had flown countless missions, including an accidental one to Mars. (To this day, no human or digimon had been able to explain where the extra power or fuel came from, since they were only equipped with enough resources to go to the moon.) And it was why Yamato, after much thought, volunteered to lead a crew to the International Space Station for two months, where they would install an entirely new wing dedicated to researching the future of life in space.
No, it wasn't that Yamato disliked space. It was what he didn't want to leave behind.
Yamato glanced around the darkened room. The blinds were pulled shut, slightly obscuring the king-sized bed he shared with his wife, Sora. His eyes settled on a picture propped up on the headboard; Yamato strode over and picked it up, tears forming in his eyes. Sora and himself, ten years younger, stared back at him with beaming smiles. He set the photo down and resumed his packing. Sora wasn't home, but she had promised to be at the launch site with the kids when they finished school. Still, the thought of two months without Sora made him want to pick up the phone and cancel the whole mission, or at least demand that he could bring his family along.
The thought of his son and daughter in cute little astronaut outfits made him chuckle. His daughter would probably like that; she had dressed up as an astronaut for Halloween for the past two years. But of course, that wasn't possible. They weren't physically fit to handle the rigors of space travel – yet. Yamato hoped that research conducted in this new wing would herald widespread development leading to more accessible space travel. But sacrifices had to be made to achieve that goal. He just wished he didn't have to be the one to make those sacrifices.
Yamato looked up at the ceiling, his mouth tightening. What if something happened during the two months? What if he returns to Earth just to find his wife and children dead to some freak accident? Even if it wasn't something quite so serious, Yamato felt that he could never forgive himself if he wasn't there should Sora or the kids need him. Yamato knew he was worrying too much; Sora was a strong woman, and they had close friends they could count on to be there in the unlikely event something happens. But still…
An angelic voice reverberated through the darkened room, a luscious mezzo soprano, except it was laced with a hint of worry. Yamato turned towards the sound and saw Sora standing in the doorway. Squinting through the darkness, Yamato could make out a small frown marring her beautiful visage. He crossed the room in quick steps and pulled her towards him.
"I thought you were still at work," he said.
Sora tilted her head to look into his cerulean gaze. "How can I work knowing that my husband is leaving for two months?" she asked through a small grin.
Yamato forced a smile. "I'm sorry, having to make you take care of the kids while I'm gone, and…"
Sora cut her husband off with a finger to his lips. "It's part of your job. Besides, one day we'll all be able to go up there with you. Like you said, somebody has to sacrifice their time for this, and I'd rather it not be anyone else."
Yamato hugged Sora fiercely, not wanting to let go. He desperately wished for time to stop and freeze them in this eternal moment. Standing here with Sora in his arms, yet knowing he had to leave broke Yamato's heart. Once again, Yamato found himself having to fight the urge to just cancel the whole launch. "I don't want to lose you, Sora," he confided. "I'm afraid, that if something happens…"
"…if something does happen, it'll be beyond your control. Besides, we can take care of ourselves," Sora finished gently. Her eyes belied her kind words, however, shining with scarlet flame. Immediately, Yamato regretted doubting Sora. He opened his mouth to say something, but Sora spoke first.
"Don't worry, Yamato. You do your job and we'll do ours. Two months will pass by like a flash. You'll see."
Yamato grinned. "I'm such a worrier, aren't I?" he said. "Heck, I might be as bad as Jyou is."
Sora laughed in response. "Someone has to do the worrying, I guess. I'm just glad it's not me." She turned slightly in Yamato's embrace. "Don't worry, though. Jyou still worries more than you."
Sora looked over at Yamato's suitcase. "You finished packing yet?"
Yamato nodded. "Mostly. You know, if we hurry, we can have one last lunch together before the kids get out of school."
"Don't be so dramatic, Yamato," Sora chided. "You sound as if you're about to face a firing squad or something." She chuckled. "But lunch does sound good."
Sora raised her head, and instinctively Yamato lowered his. Just before they met in a kiss, Yamato glanced at the alarm clock. Crimson numbers proudly told Yamato it was just past two o' clock.
Three hours until the launch.
Safety mechanisms… check.
Yamato ran through the pre-flight checklist. This was it. In a scant ten minutes, he and five other men, women, and digimon would be leaving the civilized world for two months. Although he still had some regret about leaving his family (save for Gabumon, who was coming with him) behind, the familiar feeling of excitement and anticipation now coursed throughout his body and pumped adrenaline through his veins. This was what Yamato lived for; even the thrill of performing on stage was nothing compared to this.
Yamato glanced out the small window in the shuttle, and spied his wife and children in the VIP section along with his brother and the other crewmember's families. Sora stood, dry-eyed despite the thought of being separated with him. Yamato's heart flooded with pride, and tears swam towards his eyes again. He loved this woman's strength. Heck, he loved this woman – period. His daughter and son played near their mother, jumping around with uncontrollable excitement. His son accidentally bumped into "Uncle T.K." causing his brother stumble forward and Sora to scold the boy.
Someday, Yamato thought, taking in the joyful sight. Someday I'll bring you all up there with me. I promise.
"Commander," his second-in-command's voice pulled Yamato from his reverie. The man's deep bass rumbled beside Yamato.
"So beautiful…– " Yamato murmured.
His team mate chuckled. "Daydreaming about your wife, hm? Don't blame you; my family's down there too cheering me on."
Yamato nodded slowly, and then, snapping back to reality, finally addressed the man. "What's up?"
"Oh, yeah. I was just going to tell you that we're ready to launch. Mission control has just given us the thumbs up."
"Alright," Yamato said. "Let's do this."
See you in two months, Sora.