DISCLAIMER - I don't own Digimon, or Star Wars. And I'm too tired to even think of some kind of witty comment to put in this damned annoying disclaimer.
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COURAGE - Part Three
By Chris McFeely
I'm hideous, Tai said, looking at his reflection in his bedroom mirror. It was Friday night, 7:15, and he
was trying to figure out what to wear. At the minute, he was decked out in a pair of pale blue slacks, a navy
T-shirt, a sky blue overshirt... and a frown.
You look fine, Kari insisted.
Tai turned his head to look at Matt, who was leaning against the wall, observing Tai's fashion crisis.
Takeru was sitting on Tai's bed. Did you have to tell him? Tai asked Matt, jerking his head at Takeru.
Ah, he wanted to know why I came over the other day, and wouldn't leave me alone until I told him,
Matt offered a shrug in apology.
What, you couldn't have made up a lie? Tai asked, tugging on his shirt sleeves.
I can tell when he's lying, Takeru said, grinning.
Tai grunted. Did you have to tell Kari, too? he inquired of Takeru.
Hey, I thought she woulda known! Takeru replied.
Kari smirked. I still can't believe it. You and Sora, Tai?
Tai glowered and adjusted the collar of his shirt. He changed the subject. Do I really look okay?
they all answered in unison.
Tai held up his hands. C'mon, quit ganging up on me! He stepped away from the mirror, and tugged
again on his shirt, trying to get comfortable. He didn't wear stuff like this very often. Kari, who had sprouted
in her teenage years, and at age fourteen now stood almost level with Tai, took his arm and guided him out
of the room. Matt and Takeru followed.
Get going, or you're going to be late! Kari ordered, smiling, as she opened the Kamiyas' apartment door.
What kind of impression would that be to make on your first date?
I'm goin', I'm goin', Tai said, stepping out into the hallway.
We won't wait up, Matt said, winking.
- - -
Just as his watch bleeped eight, Tai knocked on the front door of the Takenouchi flower shop. He waited
for a few seconds, whistling a nameless tune, until he heard the click of the door's bolt, and snapped to
attention as the door swung open. His entire body sagged as he caught sight of Sora, standing in the
doorway, and it was all he could do to prevent his jaw from hanging. The girl was wearing a plain, white
tube top, accompanied by a pair of black jeans, and a pair of those big platform shoe-things that Tai had
never care much for on girls before now. The outfit was hugging curves Tai was unaware Sora had.
I'm going out, mom! Sora called back inside the shop to her mother.
Okay, honey! came the reply. Just don't be out too late!
Sora responded, then stepped down off the raised step that she was perched on, and shut the door
Tai quickly composed himself. You... uh, you look... really nice... he complimented.
Sora said, blushing a little. You don't look so bad yourself.
Tai went beetroot red, and turned his face away so she couldn't see him. We'd, uh, we'd better get
moving, or we'll miss the movie...
The two teens began walking down the street, in the direction of the Odaiba multiplex theatre. Tai was
sweating up a storm as he stood close to Sora, and had to fight the urge to wipe his brow with his shirt sleeve, as
the pale colour of the shirt would have stained pretty visibly. There was some overly meaningless banter
shared between the two of them, until, much to Tai's relief, they finally arrived at the movie theatre. Tai
approached the ticket office.
Can I get two for Star Wars Episode Three,' please? he asked the girl sitting behind the desk, who
wasn't much older than he or Sora was. Tai reached into his pocket for the cash, when he felt Sora's hand
on his arm. He quivered just ever so slightly.
I can pay for myself, Tai, Sora said.
Tai's mind raced. What did one do in this situation? He didn't want to come off a sexist - so should he let
her pay for herself? Or should he insist, to try and come off as being a gentleman? Ah, crap, he really
should've asked Matt a few more questions. He said the first thing he thought of.
Are you sure?
Sora smiled. I never knew you were such a gentleman, Taichi Kamiya. But, seriously, I want to pay or
Tai let out the breath he had been holding, but not so Sora would notice. If you're sure.
I am, she confirmed, with a grin.
Tai took his ticket and stepped back, allowing Sora to come up to the desk. A second or two later, and
they were on their way into the building.
Tai squinted at his ticket. Theatre 17... he read off it, and began looking around for signs. Sora spotted
This way, she said. Tai darted after her, narrowly avoiding collision with other movie-goers. He stopped
when he noticed the snack counter.
You want to...? he asked, gesturing at the overpriced popcorn and sodas.
Sora studied the prices, and made a face. Maybe we could share something....
Fireworks went off inside Tai's head.
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About an hour into the movie, Tai began to run through the scenarios Matt has told him about. He reached
for a handful of popcorn from the large tub he and Sora had bought, and found himself gripping something
other than stale corn. Looking down, he saw that he and Sora had reached for the corn at the same time, and
he'd wound up holding her hand. He blushed, and withdrew immediately, as she smiled at him. He figured
her cheek muscles must be about to give up the ghost, she smiled so much.
Okay, okay, think! he said in his mind. What'd Matt say? Yawn and stretch? I thought people only did that
on TV... Tai tried to remember the precise way the move went. He put his arms behind his head, and
stretched out his back, yawning, not too loudly, but enough so that Sora could hear. He was about to stretch
out his arm and put it around Sora, when his watch strap became entangled in his unruly hair. He stifled a
yelp, and tried to work it free without Sora noticing. It was more through luck than anything else, but he
managed it. He sighed and grabbed another handful of popcorn.
- - -
At 11:00, the movie reached it's conclusion, and the patrons began to pour out of the theatre. Tai and Sora
were some of the last to go. As they walked out onto the street, Sora was humming the Star Wars theme.
Liked the movie, then? Tai asked, trying his best to maintain a positive attitude.
Oh, yeah! Sora said. This was a lot of fun. We should do it more often.
The two teens stared at each other for a few minutes, neither saying a word. Tai realised he was holding his
breath again. He took a step closer to Sora, and reached out to grasp her hand. He shut his eyes, and leant in
forward, to meet her.
she whispered back.
Time was standing still again.
...what are you doing?
Tai's eyes snapped open again, as he looked at Sora, who had taken a step back from him. She pulled her
hand out of his.
I... I... was... g... Tai stuttered. I... was... going to kiss you...
K...kiss me? Sora stammered, taking another step back. There was a look of something between fear and
bewilderment on her face... a look that broke Tai's heart.
I... I thought...
Wh... why would you... want to kiss me?
Bec... because I...
I thought w... we were just here as... friends, Tai... Sora tried to explain. She emitted that sound... that
low chuckling noise, as she added; You... thought we were... on a date?
I... I... Tai tried to find the words, but his heart was already shattered, and it's guidance was lost to him.
Tears began to form in his eyes.
But... why, Tai? Sora asked. We've been friends all our lives... why would you want to go on a date
Because.. because I... l...lo... Tai couldn't form the words. As the tears began to flow down his cheeks, he
clenched his fists again, and shut his eyes. His entire body began to shake, as he tried to force himself to say
the words he had so long wanted to.
As if the world was moving in slow motion, orange energy began to radiate from beneath Tai's shirt. A
burning orange outline was visible through the material, as wisps of amber plasma wafted in the air,
coalescing around Tai, as they surged from within him.
Sora began, pointing at his chest.
Tai's hand streaked out and grabbed Sora's. His eyelids flicked open, and she met his gaze, which was so
piercing that she found she could not look away. The orange aura surrounding Tai slowly dissolved, as the
radiant image of a sun - the emblem of the Crest of Courage - faded from Tai's chest, back to whence it had
Tai echoed Sora's question from before. Because I love you.
Sora wrenched her hand free from Tai's grip, and stepped back again. You... you what...?
I love you, Sora, Tai said again. I've always loved you. I just never realised it until the DigiWorld. But I
could never tell you until now.
I... I... it was Sora's turn to stammer. It was too much. Too sudden. How? Why? She couldn't think
straight. Then, everything went black, as Sora did the only thing she could.
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Continued in "Choices - Love, Part One" !
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Well, what'd ya think? It's stepping up a gear! Please review!
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