Characters: Taichi, Daisuke
Summary: *First in series*. Feeling suffocated by life, Taichi's frustrations and insecurities finally get the best of him. Lost and confused, he might need someone to give him a wake up call. *Taichi, Daisuke, Friendship fic*
Yamagi Taichi wasn't exactly the most level-headed of people. However, he had an unnatural ability to make it through obstacles through sheer instinct and strength of will. Not that either of them would help at the moment, he thought wryly, as he received another heavy blow to the face.
Taichi had been walking home from a bar when he had noticed a shady scene. A young woman had been surrounded by four guys and was trying to escape, but the four of them laughed and pushed her around. Taichi had begun to move towards them as they dragged her into an alley. Now here he was, held up by two guys as their leader punched him over and over again and the last goon held the terrified woman, covering her mouth.
Taichi spit out blood as his head spun. His unfocused eyes stared the leader of the thugs, a sour-looking man with greasy black hair. The thug had barred his teeth. "Thought you'd be funny, huh? Thought you stood a chance against us?" He sunk his fist into Taichi's stomach and the Chosen of Courage gagged before slumping forward. The only thing holding him up were the two lackeys that wanted to make sure he got his punishment.
"That punch hurt," the leader was speaking again and his voice was a deadly whisper. "I'm going to make you regret that. Any last words?"
Taichi grinned a bloody grin. "Yeah, you're lucky it's 4-on-1 or I would have kicked your ass."
The thug's face burned with anger. "You think so, you little shit?" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. "You're going to see what happens to people who-"
"Mess with my friends?"
Everyone in the alley looked towards the sound of the voice. A burgundy-haired teen with goggles was standing behind the thugs holding Taichi. Everyone had been so concentrated in the beating that no one had noticed him approach.
Motomiya Daisuke's eyes were burning with anger.
"Who the hell are you?" asked the thug leader. However, he never got an answer. At that moment, the woman took advantage of the distracted thug holding her and struggled before bringing her leg back and planting it firmly between his legs. As the lackey collapsed to the floor in agony, the remaining thugs glanced at the scenario. That was all Taichi needed. He wrenched himself out of their grasp and tackled the leader to the floor, sending the man's knife spinning away as the two of them struggled. He heard the sounds of shouting and the unmistakable thuds of blows and knew Daisuke had moved into action as the woman screamed at the top of her lungs.
The leader was pinned underneath Taichi and was struggling to turn them around, but Yagami was a man possessed. Blow after blow after blow was delivered until the leader was unconscious and bloody. Taichi sprung off of him, ready to back up Daisuke, but noticed he wasn't needed. The lackeys were on the ground, out cold. Daisuke was staring at them, unharmed, as he slowly rubbed the knuckles on his right hand. Grinning, Daisuke addressed his mentor.
"You look like shit, Boss."
"What are you talking about? I always look good," Taichi responded, also grinning. He felt dizzy and was caught by Daisuke before he fell. His head continued to spin as the terrified woman approached them.
"I've already called the police. Are you guys okay?" Her eyes scanned them both and focused on Taichi.
"Don't worry, ma'am, he'll be fine," Daisuke reassured her as her eyes began to fill up with tears.
"Thank you, thank you so much..."
"Don't mention it, ma'am," Taichi mumbled. "Just happy to help."
Soon, the police arrived and surveyed the scene. The medics immediately took Taichi to the ambulance and examined him. Fortunately, he had suffered nothing too serious and he requested to be allowed home to ice his wounds. They accepted his request and, after a brief talk with the cops and the promise to file a report, he was sent on his way.
Daisuke had waited for him as his apartment was near-by. When he offered Taichi the choice to stay the night, Taichi shook his head. "No thanks, Dai. I'll just go home."
"Don't be stupid, Boss. You just got the shit kicked out of you and you're probably buzzed too. My 'rents are out for the weekend and Jun's staying at her boyfriend's tonight. You're coming with me."
Taichi sighed. "Fine."
The two of them walked and soon they were at Daisuke's apartment. Taichi immediately grabbed an ice pack from the fridge and pressed it over his face, sighing as wave after wave of chilly relief soothed his face. He stumbled to Daisuke's couched and collapsed on it, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.
"You hungry?" came Daisuke's voice from the kitchen.
"Yeah, but I doubt I'll be able to eat anything. My jaw hurts like hell," Taichi said.
"I'll make ramen then."
"Make sure not to blow up the microwave," cracked the Chosen of Courage.
"Very funny, Boss. For your information, I'm making this from scratch."
"You cook?" Taichi asked, genuinely surprised.
"Seriously, Boss, did your brain get knocked loose? How am I supposed to open up my own ramen business if I can't make ramen?"
Taichi laughed as Daisuke entered the living room and approached the couch. "Move, bum," he said and Taichi shifted to give Daisuke space to sit down. The teen grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, browsing through the channels as he waited for the water to boil.
"Where's Veemon?" Taichi asked.
"Digital World. He's got a date."
Taichi shifted. "He's finally over Gatomon, then?"
Daisuke snorted. "He's trying to be, at any rate. Patamon set him up with a blind date."
"Yeah, can't wait to see how it went."
There was a moment of silence as the two Chosen watched TV, ignoring the splattering on the windows that signified the start of a ferocious downpour. Eventually, Daisuke got up and headed back into the kitchen, yawning slightly. Taichi laid on the couch and heard his successor move around the kitchen and chuckled when he heard a hiss and a loud "Fuck!"
Eventually, Daisuke reemerged from the kitchen, holding two steaming bowls. The sight made Taichi's mouth water and the two of them seated themselves at Daisuke's table. Picking up their chopsticks, they both broke them, crying "Itadakimasu!"
Taichi quickly brought the food to himself, giving a content sigh when the broth-soaked noodles entered his mouth. "This is delicious."
"You think so?" Daisuke asked as he picked up more noodles, "I've been experimenting with different ingredients and spices. Jun and Veemon are usually my guinea pigs."
"That's a job I wouldn't mind having," Taichi replied as he continued to devour the ramen in front of him.
"Not so much," Daisuke chuckled. "We've had some pretty terrible ideas, Veemon and I. I remember once we tried mixing these different types of scallops into the ramen, some exotic things I picked up from my provider Umehara."
"Yeah, that's the guy," Daisuke confirmed. "Anyway, the result ended up being not-so-great. Disgusting, actually, and it gave you bad breath that was almost impossible to get rid of. Problem was, Jun had a date with Shuu that night."
Taichi laughed, seeing where the story was going.
"I honestly thought she was going to murder me. It was terrifying."
"How'd you escape?"
"The French Chosen, Catherine."
Taichi blinked. "I'm not following you."
"We've been talking," Daisuke said. At Taichi's raised eyebrow, he added hastily "Not like that! Her father owns this high class restaurant and has been looking to add Japanese food to the menu, ramen included. Takeru tipped me off, so we've been negotiating."
"I see," Taichi said, looking impressed. "You're really working this whole ramen thing out." Daisuke nodded, looking pleased. "But I still don't see how that helps you with Jun."
"Right," Daisuke continued. "So I had Catherine on the phone after Jun had gone off to get ready, telling her about my latest failure. She heard Jun storm into the room and threaten to strangle me to death so she tipped us off about this homemade solution. Saved my life."
Taichi smiled as he finished his meal. "Gotta love the French."
Daisuke let out a bark of laughter as he picked up their bowls and headed into the kitchen. Taichi heard the sink being turned on and listened to the rushing water as Daisuke washed everything that had been used. He had fallen into a kind of lull that was broken when Daisuke spoke, his tone a lot more serious. "Boss, I got a question for you."
The water was cut off and Daisuke re-entered the room, giving Taichi a level gaze. "What the hell were you thinking?"
Taichi blinked. "What?"
Taichi frowned in understanding. "I was saving her, obviously. I couldn't stand there and let that happen."
"Shit, Boss, neither can I. That's not my point though. I heard the woman's report while you were getting checked up."
Daisuke snorted. "Oh is right. 'Come and have a shot. Do you guys want weapons? Here, we'll take turns. I'll take the hits without fighting back for 30 seconds.' Really?"
Taichi winced. His statements, coming from the normally fiery burgundy-haired teen, sounded absolutely moronic.
"That's bullshit and we both know it," Daisuke retorted easily.
Taichi locked eyes with Daisuke and the two of them stared at each other for a long time. Finally, Taichi looked away.
"I don't know, Dai. I don't know what I was thinking."
He felt Daisuke's eyes on him and looked down at the table. And then, "Have a beer."
He looked up. "Huh?"
Daisuke got up and returned moments later with two cans. He slid one across the table and Taichi caught it, eyebrow raised, as Daisuke popped his can open and began drinking.
"I feel like I should stop this, as the responsible adult."
"Please," Daisuke said. "Not only were you a binge drinker at parties, but you weren't very responsible today Taichi-senpai."
Taichi winced. That was the first time Daisuke had ever used senpai in a mocking tone, and this told the Chosen of Courage that Daisuke was taking this conversation very seriously. However, he was not one to go down without a fight. "Don't come and lecture me about fighting, Daisuke "Three fights a day in school" Motomiya."
Daisuke burst out laughing. "Shit, maybe you are drunk. That's the lamest thing I've ever heard."
Taichi glowered. "Don't play with me, Motomiya, I heard you did Ishihara two weeks ago."
"He deserved it."
"Oh he did, did he?" Taichi snapped sarcastically.
"Yeah. He wolf-whistled Hikari in the middle of the street and said she'd look better on his bed, clothes on the floor."
"He did WHAT?" Taichi roared, standing up and knocking his can sideways. He picked it up, thankful that it was unopened.
"I know, I beat the scumbag to a pulp," Daisuke told him. Taichi sat down, grumbling. "Now, are you gonna tell me why you went out and tried to get yourself killed?"
Taichi glared at him. "I don't know," he said through gritted teeth.
"I think I do, though," Daisuke said easily. That surprised Taichi out of his anger.
"We're a lot alike, you and I, Boss. I think you have the same problem I did." Daisuke took a long swig of his can and crushed it. "You're bored."
Taichi stared at him for a second and then laughed. He threw his head back and continued to roar in laughter, howling until his throat was raw. When he had finally calmed down, he fixed his gaze on his friend. "You think I did what I did because I was bored?" He shook is head. "I was almost expecting something profound, but I forgot I was talking to you, Daisuke." He knew it was a nasty jab but for some inexplicable reason, he suddenly sought to bring about the fiery, stubborn, impulsive Daisuke he was accustomed to instead of this quiet, pensive, and oddly perceptive one. However, when Daisuke did not react but instead continued to stare at him with a knowing look in his eye, something inside Taichi snapped. "STOP LOOKING AT ME!"
Fueled by pain and anger and alcohol, Taichi began speaking and once he started, he could not stop. "Yes, I'm bored! Every fucking day, I get up and realize that I'm doing nothing! Every day it's the same shit! Get up, go to work, hit the bar, go to sleep! Always the same pattern, always!"
He took a deep breath.
"I feel trapped, confined, useless! Is that what you wanted to hear, Motomiya? That I'm pathetic?" And suddenly, he was not screaming, and his voice was breaking. "I think back to those days when I was 12 and it was just me and the others, fighting for our lives. I remember Ken and Myotismon and Daemon, and they're the only things that keep me going. Soccer lost its fun. I wasn't even excited when I was asked to play for the national team, so I quit before I began hating it like I hate everything else. And then I look at others who have partners, at the other members of our group, and they're doing just fine...
"Why are they alright? Why are they fine? The newer Digidestined, if you can even call them that, didn't go through what I went through, through what we went through, but the other members of our team did, and they're leading happy, successful lives. And sometimes I wish another villain would appear, more turmoil, and I feel disgusted. We fought so hard to keep the worlds safe, and I want them to be in danger just so I can feel alive! Am I going insane? Am I weak? Is that why everyone has adapted to a normal life and I can't?" His voice was nearly gone now and he sat there, covering his face. "I don't know. I just don't know..."
Taichi suddenly felt ancient. Daisuke had grown up too, had changed from the disrespectful child he had been during their adventures, and Taichi suddenly understood his desire to irk his protege. He wanted things back the way they used to be, when he felt useful, alive, and saw two worlds filled with endless opportunities. Now he had nothing but an internship at a local business and Agumon to keep him sane.
"You done, Boss?"
Taichi looked up and saw Daisuke grinning at him. A wave of burning anger swept through him. "Are you laughing at me?"
"No," Daisuke said. "I'm just experiencing deja vu. I was sitting in your spot down at Ken's place last year."
Taichi did not reply.
"Have you tried talking to Sora and Yamato about this? I mean, they are your best friends."
At that, Taichi couldn't help but snort. "Please. They're so caught up in each other that sometimes they forget the three of us share an apartment. It's unpleasant, coming home every night to hear the two of them going at it like rabbits." He rubbed his eyes. "I'm like a third wheel."
"You should tell them this, you know," Daisuke said quietly.
"You channeling Ken and Hikari or something?"
"I'm trying," Daisuke said, giving his idol a crooked grin.
Taichi laughed but sobered up quickly. "I'm like bipolar or something, laughing and shouting and complaining in 2 minutes."
"I'd say frustrated defines it better," Daisuke said lightly.
"When Ken confronted me," Daisuke began, "I acted worse. I broke his vase."
Taichi rolled his eyes. "You would."
"And then he said I should really focus on what I wanted to do, my noodle business. Now, that's what I put all of my energy into." He took another sip from his can. "Soccer is obviously not your calling. So, Taichi-senpai, what do you wanna do?"
What did he wanna do?
That was the question, wasn't it? What did he wanna do?
Taichi sat back and sipped his beer as he thought back to all his adventures, all of his hobbies. Soccer was still enjoyable, but it wasn't what it used to be, and there was nothing that he felt was his calling. Taichi slumped in his seat with a sight.
"I don't know, Daisuke, I just don't know."
Daisuke suddenly stood up. "Let's play soccer."
"Let's play soccer," Daisuke repeated.
Taichi raised an eyebrow. "In case you've forgotten, I got the shit kicked out of me and it's pouring outside."
Daisuke was adamant. "That didn't stop us when we were younger."
"That was when we were young and stupid," Taichi reminded him. "We could get really sick."
"I'm still young and we're both still stupid."
Taichi's eyes narrowed. "What're you trying to say?"
Daisuke gave Taichi an infuriating grin. "I'm saying that you're right, we shouldn't play soccer. I'd forgotten age had caught up to you old man."
Taichi knew Daisuke was baiting him, but a part of him convinced him to take it. "You're on."
The walk to the park was a short one, thought it did not prevent the two goggleheads to get utterly soaked. When they arrived, however, Daisuke acted like nothing was wrong and kicked the ball to the middle of the field, where he waited diligently for Taichi, waving and screaming "Hurry up senpai!"
Taichi couldn't help but smile. Daisuke seemed to have regressed to his twelve year old self and was practically bouncing with excitement. When Taichi finally made it to the middle, soaked and freezing, Daisuke cheered.
"Check this out coach!" He attempted a bicycle maneuver and failed miserably, slipping and landing on his back. Mud was sent flying everywhere and Daisuke got up, cursing and spitting out mud. Taichi was laughing so hard that he fell to his knees and soon Daisuke soon joined him. When Taichi finally regained his breath, he sent Daisuke a genuine smile. "I haven't laughed like that in ages."
Daisuke grinned. "Let's play."
It was a simple game of pass. Taichi would pass the ball to Daisuke and Daisuke would pass it back. They would switch positions while the ball was in mid-travel.
Taichi heard the sloshing underneath him as he ran from one area to another, felt the rain as it hit his skin, felt the wind as it brushed against his face, and he felt alive. Daisuke was grinning from ear to ear as he attempted complicated passes that usually ended with him covered in mud. Eventually, however, the storm grew worse and the two were forced to take cover under a small comfort station.
"How was that?" Daisuke asked.
Taichi clapped him on the shoulder. "That was the first time I've had fun playing soccer in months. Thank you Daisuke. I mean it."
Daisuke rubbed the back of his head. "Hehe, I aim to please."
Taichi glanced at the storm. "Looks like we'll be here for a long time." Suddenly, his phone began to ring. He pulled it out of his pocket and was thankful that Daisuke had suggested they put their phones in zip up bags. Otherwise, his would be destroyed. He also noticed that he had multiple missed calls from Sora and Yamato.
"Nii-chan! Where are you? Sora and Yamato were worried that you hadn't come home and you wouldn't pick up your phone!"
"It's Hikari," Taichi said to Daisuke. "Hey Hikari! I'm fine. I'm spending the night at Daisuke's place."
"Oh!" Hikari said. "Well, you should have told someone."
"Sorry. I got caught up."
"Okay. Any...way...Taichi, why does it sound like you're outside in the storm?"
"Um..." Taichi gave Daisuke a desperate glance but the boy was too busy snickering to give a response. "Well-"
"You're outside," Hikari deadpanned.
"Yeah..." Taichi closed his eyes and prepared for the worst. "We were playing soccer."
"You were WHAT!" Taichi pulled the phone away from his ear as Hikari began to shout. "This was Daisuke's idea wasn't it? I'm going to kill the both of you when I-"
Daisuke whistled. "She's going to kill you for hanging up on her."
"I think she's going to kill you first," Taichi replied.
Daisuke shrugged. "I don't mind. Hikari-chan's sexy when she's mad."
Taichi twitched. "Watch it, Motomiya."
Daisuke laughed again as Taichi placed his cellphone back in its bag.
"About what you asked me, I still don't have an answer."
Daisuke shrugged. "I just want you to think, not to give me an answer right away."
"I love Digimon," Taichi told him, "and I want to see Hikari's dream come true."
"We all want to," Daisuke answered with a smile.
"I sometimes go to the Digital World with Hikari, you know." Taichi was looking at a tree in the distance. "We tell other Digimon about how great having a partner is. Those rallies are the only time when I feel like I'm doing something with my life."
"What's wrong with that?' Daisuke asked him.
"But that's just me running away from the real world," Taichi confessed with a sigh.
Daisuke remained silent for a moment and then said slowly, "Not necessarily. I think you're doing some good."
He looked Taichi in the eyes. "When the day comes where Hikari-chan's dream comes true, it will mean that most people will have accepted Digimon to some degree. But the reverse is the same. Digimon have to learn to accept humans as well."
Taichi remained silent.
"If that's what you like to do, keep on doing it. I ain't gonna judge."
"But that's the thing," Taichi mumbled, "not even that is enough or we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place."
Daisuke looked thoughtful for a moment and then stretched. "Then let's make it enough."
Taichi shot him a confused glance.
"The thing about being a Chosen," Daisuke said with deliberation, "is that we usually have to deal with the Digital and Real Worlds mixing. It's our job to prevent things from getting messy."
Taichi looked at him with incredulity. "Are you suggesting we charge people to defend the worlds?"
Daisuke's eyes widened. "No! Jesus, Boss, the hell do you take me for?" He punched Taichi in the arm. "I'm saying that you should get more people involved."
Taichi frowned, nursing his arm. "What do you mean?"
"Think about it! There are many people out here that would love to get to know Digimon better and I'm sure there are many Digimon that would love to interact with humans. You could, I don't know, start a club or something."
Taichi glared at Daisuke. "I'm not charging people to take them to the Digital World."
Daisuke rolled his eyes and growled with irritation. "I ain't saying that you charge them."
"Then how do you expect me to organize anything? With my internship I barely have enough time to accompany Hikari!"
"Then find time. The hell do I look like, your secretary?"
"It's not that simple!"
"It is if you're truly committed!" Daisuke gave Taichi an appraising look. "Coward," he sneered.
Taichi snapped and charged at Daisuke and soon the of them were wrestling on the wet grass. Taichi found himself on top but only managed to land one punch before Daisuke kicked him off and knocked him on his back. The rain was pouring harder than ever but neither of them gave it notice as Daisuke grabbed the front of Taichi's shirt and raised a fist.
"Is this all that's left of you, huh?" He shouted. He brought his fist down and smashed it on Taichi's face. Taichi noted for a second that Daisuke usually punched much harder than that but his train of thought was interrupted as Daisuke yelled again. "Since when the fuck do you give up so easily?" The fist came crashing down again. "You're pathetic!"
Taichi struggled underneath him. "Grow the fuck up, Daisuke! We're adults now! I can't magically gain more time just because I want it!"
"You're just afraid!" Daisuke shouted. Taichi froze. "All you do is bitch but in the end you're afraid of taking action!"
Taichi snarled and broke free from Daisuke's grasp and flipped them over. "That doesn't even make sense! Do you listen to yourself talk you idiot?" He punched Daisuke.
"You've gotten complacent in your little life that you supposedly hate so much! We both know you can get a better job than that shitty internship, you're just too afraid to take a risk! That's the reason you declined playing for the national team as well!"
Taichi punched Daisuke again and got up. "You're so wrong it's not even funny. I'm done wasting my time here," he said in a cold tone.
Daisuke glared at him from the ground. "Then what's the reason, huh? The old Taichi would have found time!"
"I already told you the reason! Nothing excites me anymore! And I'm not the old Taichi, damn it! Things have changed! We've changed!"
Taichi suddenly kicked the ball, which had been lying by him, and punted it as far as he could. "
What the hell is your problem anyway? Bailing me out of a fight and taking me to play soccer in the rain and then fucking fighting with me in the middle of a fucking storm like when we were ki-" Taichi froze, realizing something. Then, his eyes hard, he looked at the grinning Daisuke and couldn't help the twitching at the corner of his mouth. "You magnificent bastard."
"Help me up, Boss." He extended a hand Taichi grasped it, pulling him up. "For all these changes, some things stay the same, huh?"
Taichi couldn't help but laugh. "I fell for it hook, line and sinker."
Daisuke scratched his nose as the storm began to die down. "Actually, I had no set plan. I just knew getting you angry would do you some good."
Taichi snorted. "You really haven't changed."
"Nope. Now go get my ball and let's get out of here."
Taichi obeyed and soon the two of them were walking in a sort of peaceful silence as the rain finally stopped. Daisuke broke it, saying "This is the part where I say some corny shit like I fanned your dying flames...or something."
"But you're right. That's the angriest and happiest I've been in a long time," Taichi admitted. "I've decided."
"Decided what?" Daisuke asked absentmindedly as he inspected a dirt-covered fingernail.
"I'm going to be the first spokesperson for the Digital World."
"Guys like us need a set goal," Taichi continued. "I'm going to put what I'm learning at my internship to good use. I'll be the ambassador for the Digital World."
"Ambassador Yamagi. Nice," Daisuke grinned. "The hair's gonna have to go though senpai."
"Keep dreaming," Taichi scoffed.
"Do you know anything about politics?"
"Not a damn thing."
Daisuke roared with laughter. "I think you'll be just fine then."
Taichi and Daisuke arrived at Daisuke's home and Taichi grasped Daisuke's shoulder. "Thank you, Daisuke. I mean it."
Daisuke flashed him a genuine smile. "What are friends for?"
Taichi looked up at the sky. 'A Digital ambassador. Ha, wait till Hikari hears that one.' Smiling, he walked forward...
And Daisuke slammed the door on his face.
"OW! Daisuke, what the fuck!"
A/N: This story wasn't supposed to go on beyond Daisuke's table but it just wrote itself. It also wasn't proof-read...Please review! Constructive criticism is always welcome.