A/N: Hello! For anyone who has previously read my stories or think they has, this is a rewritten version of a story that I wrote a few years ago and deleted. Just in case anything seems strangely familiar :P Also, another story by a different fanfiction author was placed up here awhile ago and there are many similarities between my story and hers. Originally I had permission from her to use the same elements in my story, and if a fan of hers or the author herself has any concerns please contact me. I have kept the story name the same so hopefully any fans of this story from a few years ago will recognize it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. If I did Sora and Tai would be married with children.
Chapter 1: Fear
The boy before her looked like Takuya but she knew it couldn't be him. For one his hair looked as if it hadn't been cut in years. It stuck up in the air in all directions like a very large, chocolate brown bird's nest. For another, he wasn't wearing goggles.
She knew she had to be dreaming because not only was she floating in midair but she was floating between the Digital World and her own, in the strip of darkness that separated the two dimensions, and the boy with the large hair was holding them apart. He had one hand placed on the edge of the Digital World and the other on Earth, each the size of beach balls, as if he were Atlas, the Greek Titan who was sentenced to holding the ground and the sky apart, forever.
The only difference was that the boy didn't seem to be in any pain. He acted as if holding the two worlds apart was like holding the door open for a stranger.
Suddenly the boy spoke, his voice tearing through the darkness and reaching Zoe even though she had to be a hundred feet away from him.
"Are you Zoe Ishida?" the boy said, and that was when Zoe realized that he wasn't a boy at all but a man.
She drifted closer to him and confirmed her suspicions. His face was young and unwrinkled, but his voice was deep and Zoe could tell that he was far older than he appeared.
She nodded, unconsciously answering his question.
"Great! I was wondering when one of you new kids would be visiting me. My name's Taichi Kamiya, but you can call me Tai."
The man had a grin like a four year old. Zoe couldn't help but notice the resemblance between him and Takuya. They had the same color hair and eyes. The same sun browned skin. The same crooked smile. She had to shake her head to get herself to concentrate on what the man was saying.
"Mr. Tai?" she asked warily, "Where am I?"
"Just Tai is fine, and I thought that much would be obvious," he glanced left and right at the two different worlds, "We're between dimensions."
It all seemed so cartoonish to Zoe because she knew that the worlds didn't really look like that. Otherwise she would be able to see the Digital World floating in the sky above her head everyday, and Mr. Tai would be a humongous monster in the clouds holding their worlds apart.
"This can't be real," she whispered.
"Of course it is," Tai grinned, although Zoe couldn't comprehend how he had heard her, being so far away, "Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean that it isn't real."
Suddenly Zoe felt a tugging in her chest as if something - or someone - had wrapped their hands around her soul as was dragging her back to reality. She looked up at Mr. Tai and he was farther away than he had been before and growing farther away still.
Just as her dream faded in to nothingness she heard his playful voice singing in to oblivion, "Come back soon!"
"Z, wake up!" Takuya said softly, nudging her shoulder.
It was eight in the morning and they had school soon, but the gang always made a point of it to get together before and after classes. Just because they mostly went to different schools didn't mean that they could never see each other.
Zoe groaned and sat up, she had fallen asleep on a bench next to Takuya, her head cushioned by her backpack and Takuya's sweater. The others were sprawled on the ground playing cards, JP leading them in a rousing game of BS.
"I'm not playing anymore," Koji announced, throwing his cards on the ground. "JP you can't always win. Its not fun at all."
"It's not my fault you suck at BS," JP snickered and then began protesting as Koichi and Tommy their hands in as well.
"We don't suck, you're cheating," Tommy insisted.
Koichi nodded in agreement.
As their argument began to turn heads in the park Takuya looked away from Zoe, who was trying to explain her dream to him and fixed them all with a stern look that caused them all go silent.
"What was his name again?" Takuya asked Zoe.
"Taichi Kamiya, I believe," Zoe said, biting her lip, "But he said I could call him Tai."
"Man, that's a weird dream," Takuya observed, "Sounds really real. Freaky."
As hard as it was to believe, in the few months since they had returned from the Digital World, Takuya had remained the unspoken leader of the kids. All of them relied on his advice even more than when they had been trapped in the Digital Dimension because in the Digital World they had all found a niche, something they were good at, but on Earth they were all still having trouble fitting in.
Takuya had never had trouble fitting in. He had always been bored and constantly searching for something exciting but he had never had any trouble making friends. He was easy going and funny and people in his classes flocked to him, always giving him more attention than he knew what to do with. Especially since he had returned home. His stories and rambunctious nature had increased ten fold and he was more popular in his class than all of his friends combined. Still, he was grateful that he had real friends like Zoe, JP, Koji, Koichi and Tommy because none of those kids at school understood the real him at all. None of the kids at school could comprehend that Takuya Kanbara's craziness had only increased because he was yearning for something exciting to happen and was secretly hoping that some rogue Digimon would amble by and blow up his entire school just to give him an excuse to go searching for another adventure.
"Takuya?" Zoe said, interrupting his daydream of a Greymon setting fire to his Homeroom.
"I asked if you'll be alright going to school alone today?"
Takuya looked at all of friends faces in confusion, "But, won't Koji and Koichi be coming with me? We do go to the same school after all."
"No, goggle head." Koji droned, "Today's the day we're visiting JP and Zoe's school because our parents are moving again in to a different district. So we'll be closer as a family."
"Oh," Takuya said, he had forgotten, "I remember now, yeah, I'll be fine. You guys better get going or you'll be late."
His friends picked up their stuff and waved goodbye to Takuya who sat on the bench a bit longer. Tommy left last and followed behind the others because his school was right across the street from Zoe and JP's. He glanced back at Takuya every few seconds until he was out of sight.
"Zoe?" Tommy asked, pulling on her purple sweater, "Will Takuya be alright by himself? You know he's been wanting to go back to Digiworld. Its all he talks about."
Zoe glanced behind them but Takuya was no longer visible, they were too far ahead.
"He'll be fine," Zoe said confidently, "Its Takuya we're talking about. I don't think he'd ever actually be stupid enough to try and go back. Especially after all the trouble we went through getting out."
Koji looked over at her, his headphones were in his ears so Zoe hadn't thought he was listening but he met her eyes and grimaced, "Maybe goggle head isn't stupid enough to go back in to the Digital World but I wouldn't put it past any Digimon to find a way over here, and I wouldn't put it past Takuya to attract unwanted attention."
Takuya was lying in a field. The breeze felt nice and the sunshine was perfect, warm but not overbearingly hot. He rubbed his hands through the billowing grass feeling at ease. Everything was quiet, peaceful, serene.
Suddenly Takuya lurched upright. His eyes darted across the field and over the endless sea of green grass.
He had no idea where he was.
He stood and his legs felt stiff as if he hadn't moved in days. He stretched them feeling the sudden ominous presence of something - or someone - watching him. The only problem was that no one was there.
He walked a bit, on and on through fields of grass until he couldn't walk any more. He sat down and stared. There was no end to it.
He sat there for a long time and barely stirred until something rumbled underneath his feet. He jumped up and hurled himself out of the way just as the ground where he had been sitting exploded sending chunks of dirt and rock cascading toward him. He covered his face with his hands and peered through the gathering smoke trying to catch a glimpse of what had caused the explosion.
The dust was too thick. He couldn't see but he could hear.
"Give it to me!" a voice growled right by his ear.
He darted out the way, running through the smoke, but just as the field never ended neither did the thick dark smog that surrounded him. It burned his eyes and made him want to itch his throat. He'd breathed too much in.
"Give it to me!" the same voice shouted, inches from his face. This time though he stood his ground.
"What? What do you want?" he demanded.
"The key! Give it to me if you value your life," it threatened and Takuya shivered as he felt warm breath cover his entire body as if the creature before him had a mouth the precise size to swallow him whole. He cursed, wishing he could see more than an inch in front of his face.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Takuya said, fumbling in his pockets. He wished he had his Detector. Even though Agunimon was no longer inside and it had been transformed back in to his cruddy cell phone he still felt safe when he held it.
He put his arms up, hoping that dying wouldn't hurt so bad when suddenly he was falling. The smoke was gone but the voice was still there, echoing through his ears, "Give me the key. The key. The key," until he was clawing at his head, trying to stop the noise.
"Hey, hey, kid stop screaming. Yer gonna be late," a stern voice said in his ear and Takuya sat up so fast that he barely missed the man's head.
Nimbly the man had avoided him and was now giving him a curious look. He had short frizzy red hair and a laptop case, and although he was dressed plainly he held himself in a way that Takuya could tell he was important.
Takuya then realized he was still on the park bench in the park. He must have fallen asleep.
The man pointed a finger at the school just through the trees, the bell was ringing shrilly though the crisp morning air.
"That your school?" the man asked.
Takuya lurched off the bench, grabbed his bag and dashed through the park, hardly remembering to say thank you to the red haired man before he made a wild sprint toward the school gates in order not to be caught late.
The man stared at Takuya as he ran away and shook his head, a slow smile forming on his lips.
"Just like his father," he muttered.
It always horrified Takuya to see kids actually happy to get to school. Especially when they were so happy that they sprinted up the front steps and walked through the corridors giggling and happy like they were on a playground instead of locked in a cold brick building for eight hours a day. To him it almost seemed like they were happily walking in to a prison.
However, he did sympathize with those, like himself, who had to sprint to school in order not to be caught late and forced to endure an extra hour of detention.
If Takuya was lucky he would have made it inside the building. In fact he was halfway up the steps before a tall, thin girl slammed in to him.
He went hurtling up the steps, his face banging in to the cement, and when he turned around to yell at the girl he found the words caught in his throat.
She was beautiful. Probably the most beautiful middle schooler Takuya had ever laid eyes on, with long smooth caramel colored hair that practically reached her waist and large blue eyes. She stared down at him apologetically, her blue eyes wide with concern.
"Are you alright?" she asked, reaching for his hand.
Takuya drew away, sure that if he took her hand his would be too sweaty or dirty and he would scare her off.
"Yeah I'm fine-"
"Takuya Kanbara!" the teacher on duty snapped as the late bell went off. Takuya groaned, "That's another detention," she sighed, handing him the slip, "And whose this?"
"Chie Takaishi, ma'am. It's my first day."
"Well, in that case I'll let it slide. But be sure not to make a habit of being late Miss Takaishi," the teacher said, her hand itching for her slips as if she had wanted an excuse to write up another one.
Luckily she found her excuse as another student ambled up behind them and Takuya and Chie took the opportunity to slip past her as she encircled her latest victim.
"What's your homeroom?" Takuya asked as they walked silently toward the Main Office so Chie could get her schedule.
"3C, I believe. They sent me a sample schedule in the mail," Chie said cheerily, holding her sample class list up to him.
"Wow, mine too," he said taking her list from her, his eyes widening, "This is crazy, I think we have all of our classes together!"
"I sure hope so," Chie whispered.
"What was that?" Takuya asked, looking up her.
"Nothing!" she smiled.
Zoe sat in cooking class with Koji and Koichi, and she was lecturing them.
"You can't come to this school," she said, shaking her head as she shoved a tray of cookies in the oven. "You cannot leave Takuya all by himself on the other side of town."
"Z its hardly the other side of town," Koji corrected.
"We wouldn't if we had a choice," Koichi said, elbowing his brother. "This is what's best for our family. This is the only area that mom and dad can both afford living in while still being close to their jobs. This way we can live on the same street. We can actually be together."
Zoe sighed, they were just making her feel worse, "I know… but you know how Takuya is. I just can't see him being by himself all day and not causing some kind of huge disaster!"
JP's stomach growled from where he sat next to the oven, watching the cookies slowly melt and harden, "I say we eat first and then worry about Takky."
"I think Z's more worried than the rest of us," Koji observed.
"I wonder why that is," Koichi teased leaning back on the counter.
Zoe whirled on them, her cheeks reddening, "You better not be saying what I think you're saying. I would have to be some sort of-of idiot to like that goggle head! Che ne pensate io sono? Uno stupido?"
"Calm down Z," Koichi said, laughing as almost everyone in the class turned to look at her, "That's not what we were saying at all."
"Oh," she said perplexed, her face as red as an apple, she turned away from them and looked out the window, "Well it's still not true."
"Of course not Z," Koji snickered.
"Cookies are done!" JP announced, opening the oven. But they weren't done. JP just really wanted a cookie and Koji and Koichi spent three whole minutes persuading him to put them back in the oven while Z stared out the window toward the direction of Takuya's school.
It's not true, she thought, I don't like him.
Then she glanced at the clock, it was still a few hours until school would be over and then they could see each other again. She shook her head, clearing the confusing, strange thoughts of Takuya that had been cluttering her head lately. Ever since they had returned from the Digiworld Takuya had been different.
He had been showing signs of it back in Digiworld but now she could see that he really had matured. He was still goofy and weird but underneath it all he was much calmer now as if he knew more about the world than other people. Which was true. Even though they were only in middle school.
For some reason she was only calm when she was with him. She stared in the direction of his school, longing for the bell to ring so she could leave cooking class. There was way too much time to think when she was here.
Takuya was staring out the window. One more hour of school and then it would be over. He still had detention but sometimes he could get of it. He'd just have to distract the teacher on duty somehow, and he usually could.
He glanced in the direction of Zoe's school, wishing that the bell would ring. He wanted to sit in the park with her again. Her and the others, he meant, of course. He couldn't even imagine why he had been thinking of just him and Zoe in the park alone.
He shook his head and at the front of the class the teacher snapped her ruler against the chalkboard.
"Mr. Kanbara?" she yelled, snapping Takuya's focus to the front of the classroom, "What did I just say?"
Takuya stared at the blackboard. Speechless, but not because of his teacher. There was something being written across the top of the board. No one was writing it but it still appeared in all caps and neat handwriting and no one reacted. It was as if only Takuya could see it.
'GIVE ME THE KEY.'
Takuya shivered. Suddenly feeling very unwell.
Takuya opened his mouth to say something smart when a girl at the back of the class who had been staring out the window screamed and jumped from her seat. All of the students whirled around just in time to see a strange black object hurtling towards the school.
"Bomb!" someone screamed as all of the children ran from the classroom.
But it wasn't a bomb. Takuya would know that creature anywhere. It was too swift and fast to be anything manmade. It was a Digimon.
Takuya threw himself over his teachers desk just as the Digimon crashed through the window, glass shattering everywhere. The force of it slammed the desk in to the wall, dragging Takuya with it and it took him a moment to catch his breath.
"Come out, come out, little boy." the Digimon cooed, as if throwing yourself through the third floor of a building was as easy as jumping in to a pond. "Come out and play."
Takuya crawled out from underneath the desk and faced the Digimon.
He opened his mouth, prepared to say something witty when he noticed someone standing in the back of the classroom holding a pair of nun chucks that appeared to be made from digital matter.
"What are you doing here?" Takuya spluttered instead.
Chie Takaishi grinned, "Saving your ass."
Zoe was watching the clock, there were only a few minutes left of school.
She scribbled some more notes that their teacher had continued writing, oblivious to the time and the significance of the last class of the day.
She anxiously glanced out the window toward Takuya's school and her breath caught in her throat.
From the third floor of the school building a thick black column of smoke was rising in to the air like an omen of death.
Tommy sat on a bench across from Zoe's school. He was younger than the others so his classes got out earlier than theirs. Still, he waited patiently for the bell to ring so they could all go get Takuya and hang out in the park. Sometimes if he was in a good mood, and he had money, Takuya would buy him ice cream.
Tommy had a good feeling that today was going to be an ice cream day, so when he looked up at the clear blue sky and saw the plume of smoke drifting toward him his eyes widened in alarm.
He feared it wasn't going to be an ice cream day after all.
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