Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. Toei Animation does.

Summary: Matt's first meeting with Tai and Sora. Pre-Season 01. Chibi-cuteness.

A/N: Please note that Matt, Tai and Sora are all seven in this fic.

Three's Company

Matt was being glared at in open hostility by two reddish-brown eyes under a short, scraggly mane of coppery hair which lay in sweaty clumps against the owner's forehead, set upon a pale face spattered with a multitude of freckles.

He stared at the now trodden, mutilated remains of wet, brown earth under his feet and knew it held some significance as to why he was being sent death rays, but didn't understand.

He never should have gone outside. He should have stayed at home. He was worried about T.K. anyway. His little brother had a cold and was only four so it was more dangerous in one so young—he had overheard his mother and their doctor discussing on the phone. He had planned to spend the whole day at T.K.'s bedside, but his mom had all but pushed him through the door and told him to go and play, that he couldn't do anything to help and would only get in the way.

Matt had sulked for a couple of minutes before trudging down the stairwell, leaving the apartment complex and aimlessly wandering about, not really watching where he was going until he had heard the shrill cry of outrage and looked down to see the disheveled pile of dirt he was standing in and the small copper-headed figure smoldering in fury at him.

"You wrecked my mud castle!" the accusing exclamation rang out.

"Um… sorry?" Matt said, taking a step backwards so he could see the damage.

It looked more like a misshapen ant-hill to him, but he saw the bucket and shovel nearby that had been used for constructing it before he had walked into it. Now his new shoes were dirty—Mom wouldn't like that.

He was still being glared at. The apology hadn't worked like grown-ups had said it would.

"I could help you build another one," he offered not really wanting to. By the looks of it, playing in the mud was messy as proof by the other kid's smudged t-shirt, shorts and scuffed hands. Unlike most children, Matt rather liked being clean.

"Just go away!" the copper-head screamed angrily, leaping up and brandishing the plastic shovel at him threateningly.

Then Matt blinked and took a good long look beneath all the grime and realized…

"You're a girl!" he blurted out in surprise.

That seemed to only infuriate his potential assailant even further.

"OF COURSE, I'M A GIRL!" she shrieked and before Matt knew what had happened, she had snatched up her bucket from the ground and smashed it over his head, giving him several sound whacks to the outside with her shovel like striking a gong.

"Stop!" Matt shouted staggering around blindly, reaching up his hands and trying to rip the bucket off.

And because he couldn't see, he had no sense of direction and managed to crash straight into his attacker, causing them to topple over straight into mud pit.

The bucket went sailing off Matt's head at the impact and the girl yowled like a wronged cat whose fur had been ruffled the wrong way, ready to pounce. Luckily, before any limbs were severed, the volatile situation was adverted by a new voice piping up.

"You guys mud-wrestling?"

Matt looked up dizzily, spots dancing before his vision, and saw a boy about their age bending over them, watching with avid interest with wide brown eyes. Matt's attention was drawn to the boy's hair which spiked out bushily in all directions and held up by a bright blue headband.

"Whose winning? You or him?" the newcomer asked, meeting his gaze.

"I'M NOT A GUY!" the girl shrieked, rising up from the mud, brown sludge dripping off her so that she eerily resembled the creature from the Black Lagoon. Her red-brown eyes were practically flinging sparks out.

"Sora, is that you?" the boy asked gaping at her. Obviously the two knew each other. "You look awful."

Matt knew the storm that was coming before it hit. He was just glad that the bucket was now lying a very safe, far distance away. So the only thing he had to worry about was ducking the flying mud pies the girl was decking at them both. But he had decided he was tired of just being a sitting target and had had enough, so gathering up a large pile of mud himself, he launched his own counter-attack back, dimly aware of the other boy joining in the fray.

In the end, after much mud and energy had been spent in battle, the victor was still undecided: the three children lay sprawled out, their true forms barely visible under their thick coating and the sun above slowly baking the mud into clay.

The boy with the wild, bushy hair—which was now drooping due to the weight of the mud and the heat—spoke up first.

"So what'd you do to get Sora so upset?" he asked Matt.

"I didn't call her awful," Matt replied snappily feeling annoyed at the whole day in general.

"I'm not a boy!" the girl—Sora—declared testily for the third time. "You know that, Tai!"

"Hey, I didn't know it was you without your hat!" Tai protested.

"The hat that I wasn't wearing because someone threw up in it!" Sora yelled, blasting her glare at him.

"Ehehehe," Tai laughed nervously. "Sorry. I ate some of Mrs. Tachikawa's shrimp-fried rice with strawberries and whipped cream that she had brought over earlier. I didn't know her food was as bad as my mom's. Now they're exchanging recipes."

Sora's angry expression melted away for a few seconds to be replaced by one of horror and fear.

Tai nodded glumly. "We're doomed."

Matt tried to crawl away as discreetly as possible while the girl's attention was distracted from him. He got as far as three span lengths before his ankle was snagged by a firm hand.

"It's not polite to sneak off without telling your name first, especially after playing with us," Tai said.

The mud battle had been playing? Was he serious? Matt thought he had been fighting for his life and that if he lost, he would be forced to wear the bucket over his head for all eternity as punishment.

But the boy was smiling at him friendly and the girl was pointedly ignoring him, but that was better than screaming and yelling at him, so perhaps she wasn't as angry about her ruined mud castle as before.

"Matt," he said, giving his name hesitantly.

"I'm Tai and that's Sora—she's a girl," Tai supplied too late for this information to avert disaster.

"Yeah, I got that," Matt said, now his turn to glare at the boy sideways.

"You live at Highton View Terrace too?" Tai asked.

"Second floor," Matt said, yanking his ankle free.

"Fourth floor," Tai said pointing to himself. "And Sora lives on the third. Hey, this is great! We all live only one floor apart! We can see a lot of each other easier that way!"

Matt really didn't want to see these two again though. He was feeling grubby all over and bit petrified now that he recalled how fast things had happened. He has just been minding his own business one minute and engaged in a war the next. If all playing with them entailed of buckets and shovels and mud, he was never setting foot outside again no matter what his mother said.

The girl obviously shared his displeasure at the idea. Pursing her lips in a pout, she turned her back on him and proceeded to brush the caked mud out of her hair.

"Don't mind Sora," Tai whispered to him. "You just made her mad. She's usually really nice."

Matt cocked a disbelieving eyebrow.

"Watch," Tai stated, holding up a finger in demonstration. Then to Matt's shock, pressed it to the ground where he promptly stomped on it harshly with his own foot.

"Oooooow!" Tai moaned in pain and when Sora whirled around to see what the matter was, the boy was rolling about in the dirt, clutching his injured appendage.

Matt saw a transformation take place. Where before the girl had been all dagger-like glares and scrunched, scowling features, her posture stiff with tension, now she rushed over to Tai hurriedly, all traits negative having vanished.

"Tai, what's wrong?" she questioned in concern, her red-brown eyes wide and searching, her face like an open book and Matt realized suddenly that despite the tom-boyish flair about her, she was quite pretty.

"My finger," Tai groaned. "I think I hurt it throwing mud pies. Owowow!"

"Let me see," Sora said, taking Tai's finger in her hand to look at it. It was bruising a horrible purplish-blue. Then bending over, she pressed her lips to it in a soft kiss. "There," she declared, straightening up and gracing her audience with a beautiful smile. "Mama says a kiss always makes it better."

A pink hue had spread itself across Tai's cheeks and he gave Matt a smug grin when she got up and turned around.

"See?" he said. "Nice."

Matt stared at the girl with short, scraggly copper hair caked with mud from head to foot, the girl who he couldn't recognize from the one earlier who had glared, screamed, and whacked him over the head, the girl who was humming a happy tune as she gathered up her bucket and shovel, her eyes shining brightly.

Then he abruptly rammed his elbow into the side of the brick wall of the building they were in front of.

"OOOOOOOOW!" he howled in the loudest, most painful voice he could muster.

Needless to say, the warm, fluttery sensation in his stomach that occurred when the girl kissed his own injury more than made up for any real pain.

He supposed it wouldn't be altogether that bad to play with them again some time.

The End

A/N: Hehehe, I hope I slayed you all with THE CUTENESS! X3 Muwahahaha! Can't you imagine this happening?^^ Really, FF net ought to have a Fluff category. Please review; it's the only reward a fanfic author gets! Thank you, I hope you enjoyed reading!