Hallelujah, Part 3

Davis and Ken sat, a look of shock on their faces as they stared at TK. After they were silent for several moments, TK rolled his eyes and broke the silence.

"I should've known you guys would overreact." He said.

"You...and Yolei..." Davis said, his voice full of amazement. "You two...did it?"

"I'm beginning to wish I hadn't told you."

"Does Matt know?" Ken asked.

"He probably thinks we have, and that's enough for him. I'm guessing Sora's getting the details out of Yolei today herself."

"So what was it like?" Davis asked, eager for more information.

"Oh no, I'm not getting into that trap."

"You can be a real stick in the mud sometimes, VK."

"Whatever. Let's get back to the point at hand." TK said, wanting a change of topic. "How did you get Kari to change her mind about the Festival, Davis?"

"This I've got to hear." Ken added.

"Believe me, it wasn't easy. We got right down to the wire, too. It was maybe a couple days before the Festival, and I'd been trying for days to convince her..."

_ _ _ _ _

"I'll credit you with this much, Davis: you're persistent." Kari said in a mildly annoyed tone. The two were sitting in the park, talking yet again about going to the Summer Festival.

"I'm not giving up. You still haven't given me a good reason for not going, Kari." Davis replied, crossing his arms.

"You mean other than the fact that I just don't want to go?"

"Just tell me why, that's all I'm asking."

"Davis, please...I'll go anywhere else you want, just not to the Festival."

Davis sighed, leaning forward, his hands on his knees. He turned his head, looking at Kari, who was trying to avert her eyes from him. He could tell something was upsetting her, and he had a fair guess what it was.

"It's about them, isn't it? That's why you don't want to go." He said.

"And so you bring it up anyway. Thanks, Davis." Kari said, closing her eyes.

"Kari, you can't let this keep running your life! Sooner or later you've got to face them and not get all emotional."

"I know. It's just...every time I see them, I remember what I used to feel for him and..."

Kari's voice trailed off, but before she could try and recover she noticed that Davis' spirits had suddenly fallen as well. He looked like he was a mixture of angry and despondent, and she could only guess that all his emotions were directed back at himself.

"I've tried to help you put it behind you, Kari." Davis said, hanging his head again. "I guess maybe it's not enough. I'm such a failure."

"Don't say that!"

Davis suddenly felt his arm being squeezed by Kari, and looked up. She was much closer to him, her eyes looking almost desperate.

"You don't know what your support has meant to me, Davis! Without you, I'd still be at home, wallowing in sadness."

"But you're still sad, Kari. I can see it behind your eyes." Davis touched her face gently as he spoke. "I wish I knew what I could do to erase all that pain."

"Just be there for me, Davis." Kari said, leaning into his hand a little. It felt comforting to her, and comfort was something she hadn't felt for quite some time now. "I will get past this, I promise. But I don't think I can do it without you."

"You...you mean that?"

"I never thought I'd say it, but if there's someone who could take TK's place in my heart...it might just be you."

Kari finally opened her eyes, and managed a smile at Davis as she took his hand into hers, kissing his palm gently. Davis swallowed audibly at the sign of affection, which caused Kari to chuckle a bit, seeing his nervousness.

"That is, of course, if you still have a thing for me." She added with a wink.

'I always have.' Davis thought to himself as he met her perfect, brown eyes with his gaze. "I'll always be there for you, Kari. I promise."

"Well, then, since you'll be there for me, let's do this Festival thing, shall we?"

"Huh? But I thought...? Just a minute ago you...?"

"I'm a girl, Davis. I'm allowed to change my mind whenever I want." Kari said simply as she sat back again. "Besides, it means a lot to you, and all we've been doing lately are what I want to do."

"Only if you're sure."

Kari just nodded again, and then hopped up onto her feet again.

"Now come on, you've got to help me." She said.

"Help you?" Davis asked quizzically.

"Pick out what to wear! I've got to look nice for our date after all. Honestly, sometimes you can be a bit dense, Davis."

"Heh, well that's one of the reasons I like being around you, Kari. You keep me on my toes!"

Davis went to stand up, only to trip over his own feet and end up on his face. Kari gasped a bit as he fell, but he just chuckled as he looked up at her with his usual goofy grin.

"Even when I can't even stand on my own two feet!"

The two gave into a fit of laughter as Kari helped Davis back to his feet. They then headed off for downtown, to start a spot of shopping and prepare for the coming Summer Festival.

_ _ _ _ _

"Even up to the day of the Festival I tried to convince myself not to go, because I wouldn't be able to face you and TK." Kari said, looking over at Yolei as they rode back towards Odaiba in Sora's car. "But after all Davis had done for me, I wanted to do something for him in return. I convinced myself that whatever happened, I'd deal with it once and for all."

"I admire you for that, Kari. I know it must've taken a lot to decide to come to the Festival, all things considering." Yolei said as she looked over at her friend.

"So what all happened at the Festival? Matt and I missed out on it this year because he had a concert halfway across town." Sora asked, looking back at the pair as she drove.

"It's Yolei's turn to do some storytelling." Kari said, deferring to her indigo-haired friend.

"Yeah, I want to hear about your side, considering how romantic you've told us it was."

"Well, bear with me, because I might wax a bit nostalgic on you both." Yolei said, smiling as she looked out her window, remembering as if it all happened just a few moments ago. "Takeru came to pick me up to head to the Festival at about 4 or so..."

_ _ _ _ _

TK shifted about listlessly outside Yolei's front door as he waited for her. He was dressed as nicely as he ever remembered being. He wore brown slacks with dark socks and brown colored deck shoes, with a cream colored buttoned shirt and a patterned tie with a mix of brown and white shapes on it. He decided against cologne or any kind of jewelry, as that was just part of his style.

'I wonder if I'm right on my guess as to which dress she picked?' he thought as he looked up at the sky, which was already a bit more dim as the sun was just beginning to set. 'Not like it matters. She's really very pretty to me no matter what she wears.'

'Sometimes I worry that we are moving too fast, especially for our ages. But being with her...it just feels so right! I can't help but feel good whenever I see her. I really do love Yolei.'

Just then, TK heard the door open and close behind him, followed by a few footsteps as someone stepped up behind him. He inhaled deeply, his nose picking up the faint yet familiar scent of jasmine. He turned around, and was pleasantly surprised to see that his suspicions had been confirmed.

Yolei wore a dark blue, Chinese-style dress that was trimmed with white around the neck, sleeves, and on the slit that reached most of the way up her left thigh. If she was wearing makeup, it was light enough that TK couldn't tell if she was wearing any at all. Her shoulder-length indigo hair was done up in a bun at the back of her head, and held in place with a single, ornate silver chopstick. She was without her glasses, and also wore a set of silver earrings with a silver choker around her neck, all of which had been borrowed from her mother's jewelry set. Finally, she had on a pair of black shoes without heels. TK had to smile inwardly. No matter how fancy the rest of her looked, Yolei was insistent that she at least have comfortable shoes on.

"Hope I didn't keep you waiting to long." she said a bit nervously.

"For this, I would've waited any amount of time. Yolei, you look breathtaking." TK approached her as he spoke, smiling a bit sheepishly.

"You look pretty handsome yourself, Takeru."


"Well, we shouldn't hang around complimenting each other all night."

Having said that, Yolei took TK's arm and slid up close to him, causing him to blush and smile a bit more. He tensed for a moment, but then relaxed as they began to head for the Festival.

The Summer Festival was one of the heralds of the end of summer in Odaiba. It was a full-fledged Japanese festival, centered around the Shinto shrine. There would be music, shops lining the pathway, dancing, games, and all sorts of other distractions. For younger kids, it was a chance to have some real fun before school started again. TK had much more romantic things in mind for the night, however.

The main thoroughfare of the Festival was crawling with people, and at first TK and Yolei worried that they wouldn't be able to get through at all. The closer they got, though, the less crowded they realized it was and before they knew it they were strolling along, looking at all the various shops set up alongside the road.

"No plushies this time, okay?" Yolei said as TK got a gleam in his eye looking at a game.

"You'll never be able to catch up with Sora if I don't get you one." TK replied simply as he made his way over to the game.

"You're hopeless, you know?" Yolei smirked at him as she followed him over. A few moments later they were on their way again, with Yolei carrying a small hedgehog plush doll. "Any other spontaneous things you plan on doing tonight?"

"Now if I told you, they wouldn't be spontaneous would they?" TK grinned at her.

"True enough. Of course, I get to be spontaneous too, then."


Yolei smiled to herself as she bumped playfully up against TK, hugging his arm tightly to her.

"Yeah! You got a problem with that?"

"If the rest of your spontaneous ideas are like this, absolutely not."

"Good! Now then, something else spontaneous...I know! How about the sideshow?"

"Where they have all the freaky looking stuff?" TK said, somewhat warily.

"Yeah, c'mon! It'll be too cool!"

TK knew better than to try and talk Yolei out of anything once she thought it was "cool" and the pair made their way to the sideshow, much to TK's chagrin.

_ _ _ _ _

"Ah the pitfalls of a relationship. Makes me glad I'm not even looking right now." Ken said with a chuckle.

"Don't worry, Ken. The love bug will probably bite you soon enough, and probably harder than any of us." Davis told him. "Anyhow, I remember that last part because it was a very near miss for me as far as I was concerned at the time."

"How do you figure?" TK asked with a raised eyebrow at Davis. "I mean, later on that evening..."

"Whoa, don't get ahead of yourself TD. One thing at a time. See, Kari and I had been at the Festival for a while before you guys even got there..."

_ _ _ _ _

"Oh so many horrible creatures in here!" Kari said in a mock-distressed voice. "Is there no valiant knight that could save me from such peril?"

"Help is at hand, dear lady!" Davis chimed in, moving in front of Kari. "I shall lead you to your freedom!"

The two had entered the sideshow some time ago, and had enjoyed some of the weird things inside, but it had gotten a bit boring since they both had seen it all before at Festivals in prior years. So they decided to liven it up a bit with Kari acting like a damsel in distress and Davis being her shining knight. They went through the rest of the sideshow like that, at each stop Davis making like he was fighting off some horrible beast to protect Kari.

They were just beginning to reach the end when Davis happened to look towards the entrance and saw Yolei and TK making their way in.

'Oh crap! What do I do? I can't let Kari see them!' he thought in a panic.

"I can almost see the exit, sir knight, we're...whoaaaa!!!"

As Davis had begun to panic, Kari had tripped on a loose stone in the ground and went tumbling into Davis, knocking them both down. Davis recovered quickly and turned to check on Kari, deftly placing himself in her line of sight so she wouldn't see TK and Yolei.

"Are you alright, milady?" he asked, looking her over.

"Yes. Nothing hurt but my pride." she said, half-smiling at him. Davis smiled back at her, offering her his hand.

"That is something that, for you, has taken quite a beating. Perhaps I can help you recover some, though?"

"I'd like nothing better."

Kari smiled brightly again as she took his hand. Davis helped her to her feet and then began to head back out again, only to notice that Kari was still holding his hand.

"You don't mind, do you?" she asked tentatively.

"No, no! Not at all!" he replied, squeezing her hand gently. Kari nodded and the two exited the sideshow without further incident. "So, what would you like to do now?"

"Let's just walk for a bit." Kari said, looking around. Davis nodded and the two headed up towards the shring, hand in hand.

"I know I've said it about a dozen times already today, but you really look great Kari." Davis said, looking sidewise at her. She wore a simple, white sun dress with a gold heart pendant and pearl earrings. Nothing complicated, but in Davis' opinion Kari didn't need to do much to look great.

"And who knew you cleaned up so well, too? You could be a real girl magnet tonight, Davis." Kari replied, smiling back at him. Davis wore black slacks and a dark blue buttoned shirt with a matching solid color tie. Darker colors suited him well, and Kari found herself appreciating him quite a bit.

"Maybe, but I'm not here for that. I could never do something like that anyway."

"Why not? A few years from now I could see girls lining up to want to go out with you."

Davis didn't respond, not wanting to ruin the night by letting his emotions get in the way of making sure Kari had a good time.

'Your happiness is all I care about right now, Kari.' he thought. 'I wish I could say it to you, but I know you don't want to hear stuff like that right now.'

'What's it going to take to get him to say he likes me again?' Kari thought to herself. 'I think I could be ready again now to have someone in my life, and right now I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with than you, Davis. We were best buddies as little kids, then best friends before everything happened, and we still are best friends now. It's taken me so long to appreciate all you've been for me and all you've done for me, and I know you've suffered along the way...before this night is over, I'll get it out of you. And who knows? Maybe there'll be a bit of a surprise in store for you tonight to boot.'

"Hey, wanna stop and rest for a while? We've been walking around quite a bit." Davis asked after they walked for quite a ways in silence.

"Sure. I'm a bit hungry and thirsty too. Could we get some dinner?"

"Absolutely! Get whatever you want, Kari. It's my treat."

Kari smiled and squeezed Davis' hand again. The two then set to finding their dinner for the night, as well as a quiet spot where just the two of them could eat alone and be together.

_ _ _ _ _

"I couldn't believe that Davis managed to keep me from seeing you guys at the sideshow. At the time it was incredibly considerate of him, although in hindsight it was kinda silly with what ended up happening later on." Kari said as she sat up in her seat in the car a bit.

"Sounds like there was more than one romance going on that night, then." Sora noted with a smile. "So what happened next?"

"Yolei, you're at bat again." Kari said, smirking at her friend.

"Well, only one more thing I can mention, and this was the really romantic part." Yolei said in a dreamy tone. "But for this, I'll need a bit of a visual aid."

"Visual aid?" Kari and Sora said in unison. Yolei reached into her purse and pulled something out that she kept in her palm. She slid her left hand over her right and then presented her right hand, which now had a silver adornment on the ring finger.

"This is called a claddaugh* ring..." (A/N: Pronounced clad-ow)

_ _ _ _ _

"At long last, the peak!" Tk said in a relieved tone. The hike to the top of the hill, where the shrine was, was rather taxing and both he and Yolei stopped to catch their breath.

"That's a lot steeper than it looks!" Yolei said as she caught her breath.

"Yeah, but look at the view from up here!" TK said, pointing out at the horizon. Yolei looked up and gasped. The whole pathway was dotted with lights, leading back to the city, which was dark as the sunset blazed in the sky behind it. A thousand different colors played over the sky. A gentle summer breeze played by them, and Yolei instantly felt relaxed. She then felt TK's arms go around her waist as he stepped up behind her, and she smiled as she leaned back into him.

"Just when I think you couldn't be any more romantic, you go and do things like this." she said to him quietly. "Like you think you need to win me over any more than you already have."

"Oh, I'm not done yet Yolei." TK told her. "I just wanted to have the right place to give you something."

"Give me something?" Yolei repeated.

TK smiled and stepped around to face her. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out but kept his fist clenched around it. He took her hand in his and placed something in her palm, keeping his hand over hers for a moment.

"I give you this, just as I've given you my heart Yolei." he said, locking his eyes with hers. "I can only hope you like it."

TK let go of her hand and Yolei almost jumped out of her skin. There was a small, silver ring in her hand. It was an odd looking ring, though. It didn't have a jewel set into it. Instead it had a design of two hands holding a heart with a crown on it.

"It's called a claddaugh ring. Mimi told me about them once online, and she even helped me get one to give to you." TK told her. "She said it's an old Irish tradition for young women. When you wear it on your right hand with the heart facing out, it means you're looking for a boyfriend. But when the heart is facing in, it means...you're seeing someone."

"Takeru...it's-it's beautiful." Yolei said, breathtaken. "And I know just how I should be wearing it, too."

She carefully placed the ring on her right ring finger, with the heart facing inwards, and smiled at TK as a couple of tears fell down her cheeks.

"I love you, Takeru. More than I can describe."

TK stepped closer to her, and the two began to kiss, letting the rest of the world just fade away into the background. They stopped kissing after several long, seemingly unending moments.

"I'll wear it as often as I can, Takeru. Though I think my folks might freak out if they saw me wearing a ring given to me by my boyfriend." Yolei told him with a giggle.

"I can understand that. I think everyone else would freak out as well."

"But it doesn't mean I love you any less."

"Same here, love."

"Well then, shall we get going again?"


The two turned to head back down the path, only to stop dead in their tracks as they came face to face with another, very faimilar, pair.

_ _ _ _ _

"Now here's the question I'm dying to have answered." TK said, standing up and stepping in front of Davis. "Just how much of all of what happened between Yolei and I did you guys see?"

"We saw the parts that mattered." Davis said. "We had finished dinner, and Kari wanted to head up to the shrine because she figured it was secluded and we could talk alone there..."

_ _ _ _ _

Neither of them could hear what was being said, but the look on Yolei's face said it all. Kari and Davis watched intently as they saw her put what looked like a ring on her right ring finger, and then she and TK began kissing.

"TK...gave her a ring?" Kari said weakly.

"Kari...I'm sorry." Davis said, his spirits suddenly falling. "I guess I failed you again."


Kari turned and saw the despondent look in his eyes. She could sense something was weighing heavy on his heart, and she could only hope he was about to say what she thought.

"I guess I'll never be able to take TK's place in your heart." he said, looking away from her. "No matter how much I...how much I like you. Your happiness is everything to me, and seeing you suffer like this is just..."

"Davis, it's okay. Really." Kari said as she stepped up behind him. She put her hand on his shoulder and turned him to face her. Davis was amazed to see she was smiling at him. "And besides, you just said the magic words."


"Come on, let's go see the happy couple." she said, tugging on his hand.

"Are you okay, Kari?"

"Truth be told, I've never been better."

They headed back up the path and met with TK and Yolei just as they were beginning to head back down. Yolei was quick to try and cover her right hand as she saw them.

"Hey there guys. Having a bit of a romantic interlude?" Kari asked brightly. "Don't forget to invite us to the wedding, too!"

That one comment sent TK and Yolei into a fluster of trying to explain themselves. When they realized how silly they were being, all four of them broke out into raucus laughter.

"As much as we'd like to stay here and laugh along with you two and laugh, I'm sure you have places you want to be." Kari said.

"Yeah. You guys as well." TK said. "And Kari? I'm, well..."

"Don't even finish that sentence, TK." Kari told him, smiling back at him. "Everything has worked out how it was meant to."

"Can we still be friends?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way."

TK nodded at her and then took Yolei's by the hand, leading her back down the path, and bidding Davis and Kari a good night.

"Kari, I'm amazed! Does this mean you're actually...well, over it all?" Davis asked after TK and Yolei were out of earshot.

"I don't know, Davis. Part of me will always care for TK. But I know now that Yolei has his heart, and she'll treat him well. He's happy, and that's good enough by me." Kari said. She then turned to face Davis. "But you know, he's not the only one I want to be happy. Someone else I know deserves a little happiness too."

Kari sauntered up close to Davis as she spoke, smiling slyly at him. Davis felt his heart rate rise as she approached him. He felt her arms drape around his shoulders, her hands playing through his hair gently.

"He's done so much for me, helping me get back on my feet. My friend...my shining knight when I was in peril...and I think he deserves a reward right about now." she said in a hushed tone. And before Davis could speak, it happened. He was being kissed by Kari, his dream girl. He just let all his worries go and held her gently as he kissed her back, thinking how lucky he was to actually be living his dream. _ _ _ _ _

"...and the rest is history." Davis said. "Kari and I have been together since then, and we keep things mixed between having fun and being serious. And if I wasn't crazy about her before, well I definitely am now."

"Well, as enlightening and interesting as this was, I've got other ways to waste my time." Ken said, standing up and shaking his head. "Take it easy, you lovestruck fools."

"Later Ken." TK said, waving to him. "Well, let's get going. The girls will be back soon, and I promised Yolei I'd meet up with her once they got back."

"Likewise for me and Kari." Davis said, getting up and walking alongside TK. After a bit, he looked over at his friend. "Hey, can I ask you something?"


"Would you do anything differently? I mean, if you could go back and change how things happened this summer, would you?"

"Yes I would, Davis. In one way." TK said, looking at his friend. "I'd have just started seeing Yolei from the start, and wouldn't have tried to mess with others' feelings."

"I thought you might say something like that." Davis said, nodding in approval back at him.

The two friends continued to share stories from the summer as they headed to the place where they would meet their respective girlfriends, both agreeing on one thing if nothing else: for all the bad things that happened that summer, for all the hurt feelings, deception, anger and angst that they all experienced; with how things turned out in the end, they wouldn't have traded any of it for the chance to fall in love.