Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. If I did, having a partner digimon would still be a very special and powerful thing.
Summary: When a basketball game ends with a trip to the hospital for TK, the digidestined are faced with more than they could have ever bargained for when a normal injury takes an unexpected turn as they are reminded they cannot escape destiny. Or their demons.
Author's Note: As a birthday present to myself, I present the first chapter of this story. The second chapter will not be published until C&W is finished, which is right around the corner. Some quick notes: Masato is in honor of one of my favorite authors and best friends on this site, Broken Angel01, and Kira is in honor of another one of my favorite authors and best friends, RoyalKnightX. I use the dub names for the story, but I do try to keep the location obviously in Japan. The setting is as followed: 3 years after the destruction of MaloMyotismon; Joe, Tai, Matt, Sora, and Mimi are all in college, Izzy, Yolei, TK, Kari, Davis, and Ken are all in high school, and Cody is still in middle school. Thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement while writing this story!
"I don't understand this game!" Mimi cried loudly, throwing her hands up in the air.
Joe, her boyfriend of three months who sat on her left, gave a quiet chuckle in an obvious 'don't look at me' manner. He was definitely not the person to go to when it came to explaining the finer points of basketball. On her other side sat Ken, Yolei's boyfriend. Actually, the majority of an entire row of the bleachers in the high school gymnasium was being taken up by the digidestined with the last few precious spots going to family members who had wanted to see the game. The only person not present was Kari, TK's best friend (and possibly more though neither verified her suspicious claims), who was standing down on the gymnasium floor on the sidelines. She was wearing her dance uniform as she would be performing during halftime with the rest of the dance team, though she seemed more interested in watching the game at the moment.
Even now, Mimi could hear her screaming all the way up from her spot on the bleachers, "Go TK!"
But that was mostly put to shame by Davis's scream from somewhere to Mimi's right: "YOU CAN DO IT, TA! KICK THEIR BUTTS!"
The pink-haired girl felt a little hypocritical for snapping at anyone for being loud and obnoxious, so she nudged Joe to do it for her. Leave it to the neurotic future doctor to deal with it. Brilliant plan, really.
"Would someone care to explain to me what just happened?" she whined, looking on either side of her, hoping that someone would come to her rescue.
Going down the bleachers to her left, on Joe's other side sat Cody with Upamon in his lap and Izzy, both of whom were managing to enjoy the game in a slightly quieter fashion. In complete contrast was Davis with DemiVeemon who sat on Izzy's other side. Next to him was his sister Jun who seemed to switch between screaming her head off with her brother and sending longing looks over at Matt who sat at the other end of the bleachers (this seating arrangement was not on accident).
To Mimi's right, Ken and Minomon sat with Yolei and Poromon by his side. Yolei was obviously trying to compete with Davis for being the loudest in the bleachers, but she didn't grate on Mimi's ears nearly as bad as Davis did. Sora sat next to the rather excited girl with her hand in Tai's who had a very attentive Gatomon in his lap. The human couple was wearing identical looks of excitement as their eyes followed the ball, never missing a movement. Mimi was of the belief that neither had blinked since the game started. Next to Tai sat his best friend and TK's older brother, Matt, who was holding Patamon. Though he wasn't the loudest, the usually calm and collected blonde definitely had the most school spirit out of all of the digidestined present. It just screamed my brother is playing! Even Patamon was in on the action, foregoing the need to be a stuffed animal so that he could cheer for his partner with the rest of the humans. Luckily, no one seemed to notice. TK and Matt's parents, who sat on their other side, were no better. The Ishida/Takaishi family was all decked out in green and white, the school colors.
For all of Mimi's lack of understanding, this was a very fun outing for the longtime friends. Though nearly half of the former digidestined had long since graduated, almost every single one of them had attended the high school at one point (including Mimi who had a late start after moving back to Japan). Izzy was just finishing up his last year of high school while Cody was the only one who hadn't yet attended the school at all and that would be changing in two years. Now, the younger generation was ruling the halls with two of them being impressive sports stars; Ken dominated the soccer field while TK took control of basketball. At least, that's what she was told. She didn't understand either sport or the rules as seen by the aforementioned question.
Davis was also on the soccer team, though an injury at the beginning of the school year was keeping him benched at the moment until he was at 100% again. Luckily, this did nothing to hinder his spirit. From what Mimi had heard, though, his first few games had been more than just a little impressive.
TK was relatively easy to pick out on the floor of the gymnasium. Other than being the only blonde amongst all of the players (making his golden locks stand out even more than usual), he was also the smallest person on the court. Even though TK easily towered over many of the digidestined already, his height was nothing compared to the other basketball players that Mimi secretly swore all had to be some form of mutants. It didn't help that TK was also two years younger than most of the players either being the only sophomore who had made it onto the team. And though she spotted him with the ball a lot, and she had figured out that this was a good thing, she still couldn't say exactly what was going on half the time.
"That was a three-point field goal," Ken spoke up, knocking Mimi out of her thoughts. She had nearly completely forgotten that she had asked for help in the first place. The former genius had a thoughtful look on his face as he tried to come up with a way to explain things in a way that the pink-haired girl would understand. Maybe. "What that means is that…"
"Oh, Ken," Sora said with a grin as she looked over Yolei to stare at them both. "Don't even bother. We've tried to explain the finer points of sports to her several times before. She's never going to get it." Mimi huffed in response and the redhead looked at her with a grin. "All you need to know is that when someone in green has the ball that's a good thing, and sometimes that someone is TK. When our team manages to get the ball through one of the hoops, we get points, and when the buzzer sounds at the end of the game, whoever has the most points wins."
Mimi stuck her tongue out at her childhood friend and earned a light laugh for her effort. Ken, much to the pink-haired girl's pleasure, ignored Sora's warning and continued to try to explain the game to her with Minomon's help. Most of it went over her head, but she did try to soak up some of the information he was feeding her. He spent extra amount of time explaining the positions of point guard and shooting guard, since those were the two positions that TK would take when they were trying to score. He also took care to explain why TK kept ending up with several boys in purple (the other team's colors) trying to block him and push him to the ground.
Everywhere around her, people were screaming and cheering, and Mimi noticed that the cheering seemed to get particularly louder when TK managed to take (or "steal" as Ken explained was the correct term) the ball from the other team. In particular, there was a group of three girls two rows in front of them that kept screaming TK's name at the top of their lungs. Luckily, they were mostly drowned out by the roars of the rest of the crowd. It seemed that even though TK was the youngest and smallest person on the team, that in no way discounted him as a player. In fact, that just meant that he was a very good player.
Nearly every pass he made hit its mark, every steal was done from a surprising low point that led to success, and every "three-point field goal" that the blonde dared to attempt landed with perfect accuracy. Ken explained that TK had managed to make four 3-pointers so far in the game and had stolen the ball no less than six times, which was probably making the other team very unhappy and ready to get him off of the court.
Mimi nodded, having only understood half of what Ken explained about fouls, scoring, rebounding, shooting, etc. But half was better than nothing, and she felt quite good about the amount of useful information she had managed to acquire. In the meantime, the other team had scored and then the home team had received control of the ball and managed to score as well. Now, the other team had possession of the ball, which was quickly changed when it was stolen out from under them by TK once again putting them back in control.
"So, that's a good thing!" she announced more than asked.
Joe laughed. "Yes, that's a good thing."
"If you ever get confused, Mimi, just check the scoreboard," Ken offered, pointing up toward it.
"Yeah, we're winning," Minomon announced, squirming in Ken's lap happily.
"We're winning in large part to TK!" Tai announced brightly.
"You'd think he'd raised TK himself," Gatomon said dryly.
"Hey!" Matt said, nudging his friend in the side. "That's my brother." If possible, the pride in the rocker's voice was even brighter than Tai's.
"And that's my partner! Go TK!" Patamon cheered loudly, but luckily no one even seemed to notice the little digimon.
Matt gave a sudden whoop that was echoed by his overly excited parents and his brother's partner as TK made another flawless pass to a teammate who managed to earn the team another two points. Mimi couldn't help but laugh at the usually reserved blonde, but even she cheered with the rest of the crowd. The energy and excitement was contagious.
The buzzer sounded, announcing the end of the first quarter, and she watched as the team trotted over to the sidelines to converse with their coach and benched players. She watched as several of the teammates patted TK on the back as he joined them and grabbed his water bottle. He glanced toward the bleachers and gave a wave in their general direction even though Mimi knew that he probably couldn't see them amongst the lights and crowd. Even so, Mimi waved back, knowing that it was the thought that counted.
"TK's playing really well today," Cody said, his eyes intently watching his DNA Digivolving partner.
Upamon looked up at him. "Isn't he supposed to?" he asked. He seemed to understand even less of what was going on than Mimi, which was quite the feat.
"He plays well every game," Izzy immediately responded, but then he paused and added, "but he does seem to be really shining tonight. But it might be because of the lack of coordination on the other team."
"Yeah, that's because the other team sucks!" Davis yelled, though luckily his voice didn't travel as far as it would have otherwise as Jun had seen it acceptable to elbow him suddenly rather painfully in the stomach.
"Don't embarrass me!" she snapped.
"You're crazy!" Davis whined, clutching his sides.
"Maybe you shouldn't say such mean things so loudly, Davish," DemiVeemon suggested as he sent wary looks toward Jun.
"You might want to keep your voice down, Davis," Joe said calmly, though the way his lips were twitching showed how truly amused he felt. "Most of the other team looks like they could snap you in half."
"They look like they could snap TB in half, and he's creaming them!" Davis protested.
"That's because he has something called skill," Matt offered with a wide grin, and Mimi knew that no one, not even TK's own parents, could possibly feel prouder.
x X x
"You could have made the shot," Shinji said blandly to TK from the bench.
Shinji was a senior and had been a starting player the year before when TK had still been in middle school, but ever since the blonde had joined the team, he had been benched. The only thing that salvaged their tenuous relationship was the fact that TK was helping them to win games, which meant that Shinji might actually see a championship in his last year of high school.
"Nice pass, TK," Kira said, rolling his eyes at Shinji's words. "That was a good call. Number 37 was just waiting for you to try to make the score yourself, so you really threw them off their game. Keep this up, and we'll win for sure."
TK beamed up at the captain of the team and refrained from commenting on the rather snide remark. He wasn't someone that reveled in conflict. He didn't join the team to boot someone to the bench; it just turned out that way.
"Thanks, Kira," he said as he quickly took a drink from his water bottle before putting it back down.
The break was short before the second quarter was ready to start again and he was jogging back out onto the court. Masato, small forward of the team and another one of the starting players, clapped a hand on TK's shoulder as he passed and tossed him a reassuring smile. He was a junior and one of TK's real friends on the team, a friendship that had carried over from two years ago when they had been on the same basketball team in middle school.
"Ignore Shinji," he said lowly, tossing an annoyed glare over his shoulder for emphasis. "He's just jealous because all he's good for is warming the bench."
"I could probably get Yolei to explain to him how it's all done," TK said lightly. "She says it's all physics; I just go off of instinct."
"Don't give her any ideas!" Yoshio, the starting power forward, said with a startled look on her face. "I don't want to get stuck with another hour long lecture."
"It's your own fault for spilling your drink on her last week," Nobuto, who played center and was easily the tallest player on the team even if he wasn't the tallest player on the court at the moment, said with a smirk. "Maybe you should watch where you're going."
Yoshio made a face while Masato and Nobuto laughed and ran off to go get into position.
From somewhere to TK's left, he heard someone scream, "Go TK!" and he felt his heart leap up into his throat. He allowed his blue eyes to avert from the referee who was about to throw the ball back onto the court so that he could see the chestnut haired girl that was cheering for him on the sidelines. Kari caught him looking and gave an eager wave that he met with a wide grin of his own. The sound of a whistle blowing made his eyes snap back into focus as the game was off once again.
TK never really saw himself as popular. He tended to leave titles like that up to his rockstar brother Matt, but he knew he was well-liked. He knew a large part of people liking him had to do with his talent on the court as well. Soccer was the more popular sport at the high school; it was only natural with the legacy that Tai Kamiya had left behind. But ever since TK had started playing (and the team had started winning), the bleachers of the gymnasium had gotten subsequently more and more full with each game.
But in all reality, he didn't fully care about any of that. As long as his family and friends were present, he could care less if the rest of the bleachers were as empty as could be. Every so often, he would hear a shout that he just knew was one of them, and it would encourage him to try a little harder and do a little better. And when he could identify the cheering as Kari? Well, honestly, it made him a little flustered, but it was in a good way. It kept him on his toes.
The length of each quarter (a mere eight minutes) wasn't really that long, but when TK was on the court, it always felt like so much longer. He knew that if they entered halftime with more than 25 points ahead, they would be in excellent shape to win the game. He was spending most of his time dodging around the opposing team members to swipe the ball out from under them before dribbling it back to the opposite end of the court where he would pass it off, acting as point guard while Kira took on the role of shooting guard for the quarter.
As they scored again thanks to Masato's quick shooting, TK allowed himself a moment to look up in the stands. Finding his brother was easy, even in the sea of green on the home team's side. His bright blonde hair stuck out as badly as TK's own, but in this moment, the 15-year-old found himself glad for that fact. He shot two thumbs up toward him with an excited smile before he was tearing off after the opposing team's Number 17 who was in possession of the ball.
A quick glance toward the clock revealed that there was less than half a minute left of the quarter. This would be the last play.
Number 17 passed the ball over to Number 8 who attempted to score and missed, sending the ball bouncing off of the backboard. TK was right there, swiping the ball from the air before it ever even landed on the ground, and then he was taking off across the court, racing back toward the other hoop. Using his height to his advantage, TK dodged around Number 21 who attempted to steal the ball back from him and managed to get to the other side before he was blocked by Number 76.
He faked a pass toward Masato that sent Number 76 stumbling to the right before he threw the ball to Kira who caught it easily. All TK needed to see was the ball sailing through the air toward the hoop as the buzzer sounded to know that they had ended halftime right where they wanted to. The gymnasium exploded with cheers, and TK gave a mental "whoop" as the ball sailed through the net, putting three more points onto their score.
…And then something slammed into TK's side like a truck. The air was pushed out of his lungs and his feet were whipped out clean from under him. He vaguely heard – or was it felt? – something snap from where he crashed into the ground. Maybe it was more than one snap, but all he knew was pain in the moment before his head slammed into the ground hard. The gymnasium overhead lights swam into focus for a moment as he wondered idly if they would get a free throw for that foul before everything went black.