Last week (June 25-27) I went up to Oregon City with my mom for a 3 day motorcycle class to get our endorsements. We should be getting our new licenses in 2-7 days! :D I can't wait to get the stupid printed paper one out of my wallet!

It says it in the first paragraph, but this chapter is three months after the last one. The beginning is in the few days between 'school years' when those who managed to remain change from the previous year's hall to the next one. It also takes place over a good 4-6 weeks, just a few scattered scenes.

Looking back at the beginning of this, it is kind of funny. When I started writing this over 3 years ago it was my least popular story. Now it is pretty much tied with The Cave for visitors, and has more reviews, favorites, and follows than it. The only thing The Cave has it beat on is Chapters and total page views (which kind of goes with having more chapters). So I want to take this small space here to thank everyone who has reviewed, favorited, followed, or simply just read this story, especially with how horrible I have sometimes been with updates. Without you guys, I wouldn't be able to call myself a writer. :)

Chapter length: 4418 words

I do not own Digimon :'(

Chapter 19: Trials and Tribulations

(Takuya's POV)

It was hard to believe three months had passed already. Although, with all of the poking and teasing we were receiving sometimes it felt like longer. Still it wasn't as bad as when we first got together. It had taken me nearly two weeks to gather the courage to hold his hand while we were just with our group of friends, and then Daisuke made such a big deal out of it that it took me another two weeks to try again. Luckily Ken kept him mostly shut this time, but occupying his mouth with his tongue. At least the closet jokes had stopped about a month ago.

Setting the box I was carrying down next to my bed, I walked over to my new roommate and planted a chaste kiss on his mouth. Behind me I could hear Yamato's chuckle and I couldn't keep the blush from tinting my cheeks, but today was a special occasion so I was little bolder than usual. It was the start of second year (I was also struggling to grasp that I had been here for almost eleven months, since I had arrived about a month after the first year started) and I was now moving in with Kouji. Roommate switches between years wasn't uncommon, since so many dropped out in that first twelve months, but since only mine and Daisuke's roommates had left to completely switch the arrangements like this was kind of special. Normally roommates were kept the same until around fifth year, when Squires could choose if they wanted a roommate or not, although those whose roommates had dropped out or been discharged were normally put together. Had it not been a request from the Prince I would have been booked with Daisuke instead of taking Takeru's place. And neither of them minded quite as much, since both of their partners were in different courses.

"You two aren't going to hide away in there to do that?" I heard Daisuke joke behind me, and without even turning around I knew exactly where he was pointing. Okay, so the closet jokes weren't quite entirely out yet.

We immediately broke apart and looked in different directions. "Hey, can I just sit this on your bed?" the younger blonde asked. "My back still hurts from when I slipped in the mud a week ago so I don't particularly want to bend over. And it's not like you're going to be sleeping here, right?" My face flushed an even deeper red.

"O-okay," I mumbled, scurrying towards the door to help bring in the rest of my—well our, since Kouji was moving into this room, too—stuff; the sooner we got it all in the sooner I could get all of them out.

"You guys shouldn't be so harsh on them," Ken remarked flatly, floating a box of books with his magic. "I mean, it's not like they're going to be having sex or anything. Save the teasing for when they start doing more than just sleeping."

And that is when I remembered that no one was on my side at the moment, and when I seriously thought that my boyfriend actually was going to hide away in the closet. Instead he almost knocked one of the few boxes that belonged to me out of my hands in his rush to get out the door. His eyes were downcast, but that didn't stop me from seeing that even his ears had turned red with embarrassment. Despite the fact that I wasn't in any better shape, I couldn't help but smile at how cute it was, and when he came back in and saw me still standing in the same spot with what he would later call a 'dumb look' on my face, he cracked a small smile of his own.

"Look, the lovebirds are smiling," Yamato had to coo, ruining the moment. I immediately went straight faced, and Kouji frowned as he hurried along. "Even though they always grumble about it, they actually like our teasing."

"Use your hands, not your mouth," my boyfriend grumbled, starting towards his bed again. He made it all of two steps before he nearly dropped his box on his toes.

"That's odd, isn't it normally the other way around?" Yamato asked sadistically, a truly evil grin on his face. "I know Taichi prefers mouth over hands, anyway." And that is why Kouji almost dropped the box on his feet and his face grew even brighter than it already was. I felt my own cheeks grow a little hotter, as well, and discreetly glancing around I was quite amused to see that we weren't the only ones embarrassed by Yamato's announcement. In fact, I think said blonde was only a few shades lighter red than I was, and his brother was covering his face with one hand (which most likely hid his own blush) and was slightly shaking his head (probably mentally berating his stupid brother). Taichi was grinning from ear to ear at his lover's bold remark and slung an arm over his shoulders, whispering something I couldn't see in the other Squire's ear. But based on the startled expression on Yamato's face and his return remark I had a pretty good idea what my brunette friend had suggested. Bringing a fist up and conking his boyfriend hard on the back of the head, Yamato shouted, "As if! You are going abstinent for a month for this!"

"But I wasn't even the one who said it," Taichi whined, figurative ears and tail drooping as he covered the forming lump on the back of his skull with both hands.

"It's no use arguing with him, Taichi," his little sister chuckled, bringing in one of the smaller boxes. She then turned to me and asked, "Where do you want this one, Takuya?"

Turning my attention away from my older friends, I motioned towards the corner near the closet where several other boxes had been piled. "Over there would be fine, thanks," I said, a thankful smile on my face. It would most likely need to be near the closet anyway. Judging by how easy it was for her to carry (and I'm not saying she's weak, it's just she isn't as strong as those of us who are training daily to fight in wars) it was most likely more of Kouji's clothes; sometimes I swore he had one outfit for every day of the year... well, month was more accurate.

"This is the last one," Takeru commented as he carried a large box through the door, sitting it down as gently as possible at the foot of my bed.

"Good, then you can all get out now," my boyfriend grumbled, sitting with his arms and legs crossed on his bed with his back to the door.

"I get the feeling someone wants us to leave," Daisuke stated, almost as if he was asking the rest of the people in the room if they were getting the same, strange feeling he was. And then I paled as he casually walked over to my Prince and rested his fucking arm on Kouji's shoulders and leaned onhim. I could see the killer aura rising from him, and based on the fact that Yamato and I seemed to be racing to see who could get my brunette friend off of my ravenette boyfriend I wasn't the only one who could see it.

With me taking one arm and Yamato grabbing the other, it wasn't difficult to get Daisuke off of Kouji, and the poisonous air surrounding him started to dissipate. "Why don't I show you to the door?" I asked, a hint of nervousness in my voice as I pushed on his back.

Yamato was walking beside us, grabbing his own boyfriend's wrist as he passed by. "Yeah, let's give the two lovebirds some space," he added, chuckling lightly under his breath as I sighed. "And we should probably start knocking before we enter this room now, just in case we interrupt something."

"We aren't to that point yet," I muttered under my breath for what had to be the fifth time that day. Ken taking over my role of steering the brunette out of the room, I said in a louder voice, "See you guys later!" as I closed the door.

Letting out a relieved sigh, I turned back around to Kouji. He had turned around and had his feet hanging off the end of his bed, a slight pink tint to his cheeks as he stared off just to the left of my face. "Kouichi should have defended us," he stated, both his tone and the fact that he no longer had a dark cloud hovering over his head revealing his mood had greatly improved. "At least a little bit."

A soft smile touching my lips, I walked over to the box he had nearly dropped on his toes. Stooping down to grab an item from it, I made sure to give him a quick peck on the lips as I stood. "Actually, as your brother he should be teasing us along with them," I stated quietly. "That's kind of the brother's job." I had been on the receiving end of more than a few jabs from my own brother, including ones similar to the 'we should knock before entering' one that Yamato had said not a minute before. Kouji didn't have a reply to that. Quietly walking back across the carpet, I barely made it back to the door in time.

The wood portal suddenly swung open and a spiky brunette head popped through. A large, cheesy grin on his face, Daisuke started, "Am I interruptin—Ow!" I hit him over the head with the book I had taken out of the box. "How did you know I was going to do that...?" he asked, rubbing the back of his head.

Folding my arms over my chest, I simply replied, "I've know you for almost a year now. If I honestly haven't gotten a hang on your antics yet then I would really need to have my head examined."

It was only at that point that he realized just what book I had in my hand, and he pointed an incredulous, accusing finger in my direction. "How could you hit me with that one?" he asked, mock hurt in his voice before he turned back to the door. "Ken, he hit me with the present you got him! Can you believe that?" I think I heard the young Mage chuckle, but Daisuke had already closed the door by that point so I wasn't entirely sure.

"Now that that is over…" I said, turning back to my ravenette. Closing the distance between us, I tried my best to hide my nervousness as I cupped his face in one hand as I slowly brought my mouth down to capture his. My other hand shook slightly as I ran it over the thong he used to tie his long hair at the back of his neck, accidentally on purpose snagging it on my pinky finger so that as I continued down the dark, silken strands it came with me. When I saw the agitated look in his blue eyes, though, I stopped and backed off a bit, breaking the kiss.

"Takuya, get back here…" he sighed, taking the leather thong the rest of the way out of his hair when I didn't move. Crooking one finger at me, I slowly closed the distance again, pressing our lips together hesitantly and running one hand through the silken strands of his long hair. After his eyes, which could hold so much emotion sometimes that they seemed like they might burst, I loved his hair next. It was always soft and in perfect order (although he'd tell me my hair was soft, too), while mine seemed to take 'bed head' as a daily challenge. But those thoughts were soon pushed from my mind when I felt his tongue brush against my lips. Swallowing the lump in my throat before I answered his call, I parted my lips to allow his tongue entrance. Problem is, (although previous experience told me to expect this) it didn't… Instead he flicked it just enough to touch the tip of my tongue, then withdrew back into his mouth, repeating the action several times when I didn't take the bait the first time. Swallowing the saliva that had suddenly become thick and dry, I slowly eased my tongue passed his parted lips. His mouth was becoming more familiar every time we did this, and just like every other time I explored his mouth he tasted sweet; he was a sugar addict, after all. Letting his hair fall to his shoulders, I placed both of my hands along the sides of his neck, my thumbs just in front of his ears, so I could tilt his head back a little farther and grant myself better access. My tongue slid around his, almost as if they were dancing, and drawing a quiet moan from my boyfriend. He wrapped both of his arms around my waist, and was in the process of pulling me closer when our bedroom door slammed open. In the next instant I somehow managed to get myself six feet away from him with my back against the wall and my butt connecting painfully with the floor.

"You just didn't wait long enough, Daisuke," Yamato said, a large, mischievous grin on his face.

"Come on, Takuya, you don't need to turn so red," the brunette I had previous smacked with a book grinned, appearing from behind Yamato. I just hid my face in my knees as they laughed. They might have no problems making out with their boyfriends in front of everyone, but I still wasn't quite that brave yet. And I didn't even have to look up to know that Kouji was glaring daggers at them.

"Kooooujiiii!" Izumi shouted from across the room, waving her arm exaggeratedly. I really loved the mornings that I didn't have to hear that. She strode over in her ten centimeter heels and low cut, short black dress that didn't leave much to the imagination. And she was really starting to fill that dress in more. In the last year her chest had gained another size and she had gained more of an hourglass figure, and had I been interested in girls I might have found her beautiful. That is if she had worn a bit more decent clothing and had a much better personality. But now all of her viper venom attitude and C-cup breasts were pressed against my Kouji's back as she slung her arms around his chest and rested her head on his shoulder. She planted a red lipstick kiss on his cheek, and that was almost enough to make me hurl.

Using the only defense he could without being completely rude and undignified, my ravenette turned his head as far as he could away from her, which also meant looking away from me since she had this peculiar habit of standing between us. Part of me wondered if she had figured out we were dating, but the more sensible part realized that she would not have kept quiet about it if she had, so she must just see me, as the best friend, her rival for Kouji's attention. "I can't eat with you hanging on me," he ground out with as much tact as he was able.

"Then how about I feed you?" she cooed seductively, reaching for his fork, her overgrown chest pressing more forcefully into his back.

"No thanks, I'm not hungry anymore," he growled, trying to use an elbow to dislodge her. It didn't work, and instead she just ran her manicured nails up his arm then down his chest. Leaning in to plant another kiss behind his ear, I had to look away. I hated seeing her clinging to my boyfriend, but I couldn't exactly tell her off either. At least, not without revealing some embarrassing and (mostly) private details about our relationship.

"Why don't you come with me while I slip into something more comfortable, hm?" she asked.

"Yeah, how about a straight jacket?" I murmured quiet enough that I didn't think she could hear.

"Did you say something, Kanbara?" she snapped, voice a whole lot more harsh now that she was talking to me and not trying to butter up to the Prince.

Flinching at being caught, I could see the smirk she wore out of the corner of my eye. "Only that the entire cafeteria can already see your behind so if you find something any more comfortable than that that you might as well just strip and hold up a sign saying 'free sex,'" I replied, quite pleased with myself for coming up with that on the spot.

Jaw dropping, she released Kouji and stood up as tall as she could. An angry glint in her eyes, she spat, "How dare you speak to me like that! Are you just going to let him say that, my love?"

I had figured he would do the tactful thing and just stay quiet, but to my surprise he replied with, "He was just voicing what we all were thinking." I think her jaw nearly hit the floor with that. She sputtered for a several seconds, trying to come up with some sweet lie or coy seduction that might bring things back in her favor, but Kouji beat her to the punch. "For the last time, Orimoto, I am not interested."

Dejected at the use of her last name, Izumi quickly fled the cafeteria, sobbing the entire way. The cause of her distress just simply went back to eating his meal. As much as I hoped that this was the last time she would invade our personal space, I knew without a doubt that this was not near enough to make her quit. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I was starting to worry about pissing her off…

With breakfast over we started filling out of the cafeteria towards our first classes of the day. Kouji and Takeru were several paces ahead of me talking about the work that had been given out the previous night, and Taichi trotted up to come up flush with me. Keeping his voice low so no passing ears might catch his conversation, he asked, "So has Kouji used any of the colorful language you taught us with you yet?" Not quite understanding what he was talking about, my only reply was a raised eyebrow. "You know, have you made him beg for it yet?"

"Why are bringing something like that up?" I asked, feeling the heat rise to my face.

"I was just wondering since it seemed to have backfired on Daisuke," he grinned. "Apparently when he tried to get Ken into begging for it, he was the one who got denied in the end and had to grovel. I wish I could have seen it." Snickering at his younger shadow's expense, he started, "Now Yamato on the othe—"

"Wait, you mean Daisuke and Ken have…?" I trailed off, unable to get my mouth to form the words.

"Well, they are adults(1) after all, and they've been going out for quite a while now," Taichi stated, obviously not embarrassed to talk about this kind of thing. "Now me on the other hand, I love it when Yamato starts begging for it. When he tells me to just fuck him already… it sends chills down my spine. You know how he told me I wasn't getting any for a month after we got you two moved into your new room? He barely lasted a week. So, have you gotten him to beg yet?"

"H-how many times do I have to tell you guys we aren't at that stage yet?" I yelled as loud as I dared. Face burning, I stormed off down the hall and right between my blonde friend and my boyfriend. I didn't see it, but Taichi told me later that night that the latter of the two had stared after me for a second, before turning to face him with the most confused look on his face.

(Kouji's POV)

There were some things about Takuya that really irritated me. I really loved him, and that wasn't in question at all, but there were some things that I really wished he would work on. He knew what they were, too, without me even having to tell him. And this right here was one of those things.

For once, we were alone in our room. It was a Sunday, so there were no classes to have worn us out, and since we had spent a great deal of the day hanging out with the friends who were available none of them really saw a need to stalk us back to our room. After playing several games of Soccer with Shinya and Tomoki, Hikari finished her work and came to steal our young blonde. This left Daisuke with an empty room, since he had moved in with Takeru when we became Second Years, so he quickly took the opportunity to drag his lover away. Kouichi was worn out from goofing off all day so he retired to his room early, and Sora had a project she was working on that she needed to finish. That left only the most troublesome couple, who luckily were preoccupied the entire day. After playing a practical joke on one of his teachers, Taichi was assigned chores for the entire day, and Yamato was keeping him company. So, we were all alone, in our room, and Takuya wasn't doing anything more than holding my hand!

He really wasn't a very assertive person. I had to practically force him to be dominant, which kind of defeated the purpose. Something was obviously holding him back, and if I didn't get him to just get it out then I was afraid I was going to scream. "Damnit Takuya," I growled, squeezing his hand a little tighter, "Why won't you just kiss me already."

My sapphire eyes met his chocolate ones, and the apprehension was clearly visible behind that thin layer of glass. Small tremors wracked his body from nervousness, and I could feel them where our hands, and then our lips met. And it was just a simple contact. I could feel his love through it, even though it was small, but the passion was clouded by anxiety and he didn't even try to part my lips with his tongue.

Frustrated at his indecisiveness, I jolted up off the bed and several feet away from him. "Just spit it out already," I demanded. "What the hell is wrong with you? Every time we start to get a little bit intimate you shudder away from it? If I find out that the only reason you're with me is because I want you to be—"

"That's not it!" he shouted, cutting me off. I stopped my tirade as he pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, resting his chin in the nook between them. "That's not it. I really, really want to be with you. I really do love you. It's just… All my life I was taught where my place was, how I had to act around those higher than me. Befriend you guys, all of you guys, has helped me break free of most of that. It's just… You're a Prince! The Prince. The next in line for the thrown. And I'm just a commoner, a nobody. So… is it really okay… like this? I mean, shouldn't you be the one pushing me down and doing what you want?"

Curled up in a ball like that, and looking so frail, it reminded me that my big strong Takuya was still just a human being like everyone else. This worry of his, it was deeply ingrained and not something small. His hesitation sure made sense when I put it in that light, and while it was a bit saddening I couldn't help but smile because I had learned one more thing about him. Sighing as I leaned back against the wall, I started, "And what makes you think this isn't what I want? My life hasn't really been too different from yours. I was taught where I stood, and how others should treat me. Like you said, I'm next in line for the thrown, which means I am to rule the kingdom. But the fact is, all I have ever done is what I'm told. My life was chosen for me. I may be higher than everyone else, but I never had the freedom to do what I wanted. Being with you is the first choice I made on my own. And after having been taught to stand above everyone else, I like the idea of submitting to someone. I'm not being forced to do what you want, I'm choosing to do so. My choice, my freedom. Do you understand?" He had uncurled himself by now and was resting with his elbows on his legs. Nodding to me with a shy smile on his lips, I said, "Then show me."

He crossed the room in two swift steps, using one hand to press me into the wall while the other grabbed my chin. He forced his tongue into my mouth, teasing me by doing his best to keep his tongue just a millisecond ahead of my own. The hand on me chin released and fell down to my hip, also pressing it back into the wall while he leaned forward slightly. I didn't even try to fight it as he caged me, my hands slithering up his back to grasp at his shoulders. And then he started attacking my tongue and I moaned into his mouth.

The door swung open right next to us and the two people we weren't supposed to run into today filled the open portal. "Looks like someones are enjoying themselves," Taichi snickered. Takuya immediately broke away and brushed the non-existent dust from his clothing, pink starting to tint his cheeks. And we were back to square one… Giving me a knowing smile, I let out a relieved sigh. Okay, so it wasn't quite square one. All that he would need to build his confidence was a little time.

(1) Okay, to explain the adults thing. In older times, people (mostly girls) would marry at the age of fourteen and were at that age considered adults. This is set in a time similar to that, so when boys turn 14 they are then considered adults as well. Since they are all 15 or older (minus Shinya and Tomoki) they are all technically adults.

As always, reviews are luffed appreciated.