I do not own Digimon, or any of the characters.
When courage first glowed in the heart of Taichi Kamiya, it was when he risked himself to save a friend. Years have passed since that moment, but it is one moment Taichi will never forget. He realized then, if it came down to either his life or his friend's life, he would give his life up, so that his friend may have the hope of living. So that Sora may have the hope of living. Even if it was with someone else.
"Stupid piece of junk."
23 year old Taichi 'Tai' Kamiya kicked the tire of his truck, glaring down at it with resentment. It was 10:30 at night, and on his way to the hotel he was staying at, having just visited his sister, his junk-y truck decided to give out. "You are lucky Greymon isn't here, or I would have him curb-stomp you so hard right now!"
Tai growled, and kicked at the truck once more, but harder this time, and it came to no surprise when Tai ended up jumping up and down on one foot, clutching the other one, pain throbbing through his toes. The big-haired digidestined glared at the piece of junk with even more hatred, and was about to unleash his fury on the inanimate object, when he was interrupted.
"Tai, is that you?"
Tai froze at the voice. Even now, after several years, he remembers that voice, how could he forget? It was this voice that he fell in love with. Slowly, Tai lowered his throbbing foot to the ground, and looked over his shoulder to see the owner of the voice, and he gave a small smile.
"Hey there Sora, long time no see."
There was no real Sora Takenouchi was walking down the streets at 10:30 at night, one second she was sharing a romantic, home-cooked meal with her fiancé, Yamato Ishida, the next she found herself near too tears for no reason, and needed fresh air. That was three hours ago, and now she was lost, but Sora didn't mind to much, she enjoyed the night air.
"What is wrong with me?" Sora muttered to herself, thinking about three hours, how she just ran off in tears, Matt yelling out her name. She wrapped her arms around herself as a cool breeze swept by her, and she shivered lightly. Sora, at the moment, was wearing just a simple t-shirt with her fiancé's band name stamped across it, and some jeans. Her orange hair fell straight to her shoulders, and then curled at the end, just like it always had.
She shivered again, and looked down at the sidewalk in front of her, hugging herself tighter. It had been a completely wonderful day; she went shopping with her mom, she met up with Mimi who was visiting Japan for two weeks, and when she got home, Matt had surprised her with a home-made meal. Her day had been wonderful, so why did she start crying?
Tears started to form again in her eyes, she knew why; she just didn't want to admit it to herself, not yet. After dinner, Matt and her curled up on the couch, and started flipping through channels, hoping to find a movie to watch and make fun of. Lucky for them, they found one; a cheesy old monster movie. They made fun of the crappy effects, and the over-acting cast who screamed their heads off. And thena scene came on when a character was riding on the monster, and Matt made a simple comment.
"Hey, that reminds me of Tai and Greymon!" Matt laughed, as he stared at the screen, but Sora didn't laugh. They hadn't seen Tai in years, nobody except Kari has in person, and Izzy occasionally video-chats with him. One day Tai just up and disappeared, leaving only a note for his friends. Everyone tried to call him, but he only answered calls from Kari or Izzy, and if someone else used their phones, he would hang up immediately.
Whenever Sora, Matt, Joe, T.K or Mimi asked Izzy or Kari why, they would just hesitantly and awkwardly answered they swore they wouldn't tell. The rest eventually accepted the fact that Tai just needed to find himself, but Sora never could. She always felt it was her fault Tai had left them; she always thought that she could have made him stay. So that's why she broke down, because Tai had left them. Had left her.
Sora closed her eyes tightly, and she tried to stop the tears. "Oh Tai…" She whispered. "Why did you go?" She swiped at her eyes, but froze when she heard someone talking ahead of her, using a very familiar voice. "Tai?" She whispered, opening her eyes and looking up. Ahead of her, she saw a man, with bushy brown hair yelling and kicking at his car.
"Tai, is that you?" She called out to him, hoping with all her heart that she was correct, and that this was Taichi. The man froze, and slowly looked back at her, and smiled. She raised her hand to her mouth, tears forming in her eyes. It was him, this was Tai. "Hey There Sora, long time no see."
Tai smiled weakly at Sora as she stared at him, and he turned his body around fully. She looked so beautiful, just like she always had. Her gentle curves, her beautifully colored hair, those gorgeous eyes, Tai had loved all of it, and even now, years later, he still loved it all.
He watched as Sora suddenly sprinted at him, and he braced himself as the girl nearly tackled him, wrapping her arms around his neck, and sobbing into his chest. "Oh Tai, it is you!" She muttured though her tears, nuzzling his chest. Tai held his hands up, as if afraid to touch her.
"Hey hey, easy with the water-works Sora."
As soon as the words left his mouth, Sora's hand met with his cheek, leaving a red mark. Tai stood there for a moment, as he processed he was just smacked, and then he found himself angry. "Well what did you do that for!?" he yelled, glaring at Sora, who had stepped away from him, but his anger left him immediately when he saw Sora glaring at him, tears rolling down her eyes, and he quickly looked away in shame.
"What was that for?" Sora seethed out, "That was for abandoning us! Abandoning me! Without even a single word, just a crappy, pathetic little note!" Tai refused to look at her, remaining silent, and Sora continued, clouds slowly rolling in above them. "And what's this I find out? That you are still in contact with Izzy. I get staying in touch with your sister, but keeping in touch with Izzy, and not the rest of us? Is it just Izzy and Kari you talk to? Because sometimes it seems like the others have been talking to you as well, they just refuse to tell me and Matt! Is that true, Taichi!?"
Tai cringed at the use of his real name, and still continued to look away from her. "I've talked to Matt…" He muttered, knowing it wasn't the smartest thing to say.
"Oh so it's just me then?" Sora growled out, her tears intensifying, "I'm the one you ran away from, is that it?" Her tone slowly became less angry, and more miserable and desperate. "Do you hate me that much Tai?" She asked in a whisper, looking down at the ground.
"I don't hate you!" Tai said, his head turning quickly to look at her, and when he met her eyes, he looked away again. "I could never hate you Sora…"
"Well then what was it then?" Sora snapped, angry again. "What's wrong, Mr. 'Crest of Courage', are you to afraid to tell me why you up and ran!?"
Tai didn't look at her, feeling ashamed of himself. As a matter of fact, he was afraid to tell her why he left. How could he tell her he left because she choose matt? How could he tell her that he left because every time he saw her and Mat holding hands or hanging off each other, a part of him died? How could he tell her he loved her? He couldn't… He wouldn't, he was too afraid of the outcome. So he just stayed silent, as Sora cried, and glared at him. He prepared to get yelled at more, but someone interrupted Sora before she had the chance to unleash her fury.
"Give me all your money."
Tai's head shot up as soon as he heard the words, and right behind Sora was a man, late 40's, pointing a gun at both of them, and staring at them with crazy eyes. Sora turned around, gasped and took a step back into Tai, shaking suddenly.
"Are you death, I said give me your money! Now!"
"Just take it easy." Tai said in a calm voice, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his wallet. "We don't want any trouble."
Tai offered his wallet to the man, who quickly grabbed it, and looked in it, finding 50 dollars worth of cash. "I said ALL your money! This can't be all of it." The man yelled, making Sora sob harder in fear, and making Tai flinch.
"I don't carry a whole lot of cold hard cash around." Tai said slowly. "I keep most of my money in the bank." The man stared at Tai, and then pointed the gun right between Sora's eyes. "And you to girl!" He said. "Money, now!"
"I don't have any with me." Sora sobbed silently. "I left it at home." Sora didn't know what was wrong with her, she faced certain death before, like when she fought Devimon, Piedmon, and worst of all, Apocalymon. All those Digimon were worse than this petty mugger, but at the same time, she was in total emotional breakdown mode, and she has never had a gun pointed at her before. It scared her.
"Don't lie to me!" The man yelled, suddenly shaking, and Sora cried even more, trying to say she wasn't lying. "Hey man, calm down." Tai said, as he stepped forward. The man turned his gun on Tai quickly. "Stay put!" he yelled, and turned the gun back on Sora. "Stop lying! Give me your money now!"
And at that moment, Sora thought the man was going to shoot her, that she would die, right then and there. She heard rumbling off in the distance, but she didn't care if she got caught in a storm. She would welcome it if she survived. Sora thankfully thought wrong, the man didn't shoot her, but something worse happened.
Tai quickly spun Sora behind him and grabbed the man's arm, forcing it up in an attempt to take the gun. The man fired a few shots, and he screamed at Tai. "TAI!" Sorry screamed, watching in fear as her friend struggled with the mugger.
"RUN SORA!" Tai screamed, as he tried to pry the gun from the man's hand. However Sora refused to leave, she had just found Tai, she didn't want to lose him again. Sora quickly dug out her phone, ready to call the police, but she didn't get the chance, because Tai was thrown to the ground at her feet. And as Sora stared down in horror at Tai, she could have sworn she saw his chest glowing, the crest of courage upon his heart.
The man composed himself, and then he aimed his gun at Sora, and Tai saw the look in the man's eyes, he knew what was going to happen next.
The shot sounded like thunder, or a minor explosion. Sora thought she would see her life flash before her eyes, like in the movies and in books, but what she saw, was Taichi Kamiya stand in front of her, holding her close. Horror pierced her heart as she felt Tai's body spasm as it took in the bullet. Her heart stopped as he began to slide down to the sidewalk, blood pouring out of his back.
She stared down at Tai, believing it to be all but a nightmare, and slowly looked back at the man. He was shaking, and he was staring wide eye at the man he just shot, but then he looked back at Sora, and she knew he would shoot her next. And she welcomed it. Before he could pull the trigger however, there was the sound of police sirens, slowly growing louder.
The man swore, and then took off, still holding Tai's wallet. Sora didn't care about the man however, she let him run, and she focused on the body at her feet. She dropped to her knees, and rolled Tai on his back, tears pouring down her eyes even more. "Tai…" She whispered. "Tai please, wake up, look at me, Tai please." He body racked with sobs as a pool of blood surrounded them. But to her amazement, Tai weakly opened his eyes, and smiled.
"Did I win?"
Sora stared down at him, and almost laughed, caressing his cheek, tears still flowing down her cheeks. "Yes, Tai."She said, voice shaking, as she leaned down and kissed his forehead. "Yes you won. He ran off like a puny numemon."
Tai grinned weakly, and Sora couldn't help but notice that the crest was still glowing on his chest, but it was dim, just like the light in Tai's eyes. "Hah… I knew it, what a wuss." Tai muttered, as he chuckled, then winced.
The sirens were getting louder, almost on them, and rain began to fall from the sky, but all Sora was focused on was Tai. "You are right Sora…" Tai said weakly, looking up into her eyes, "I was afraid… that's why I ran…. I don't deserve the crest of Courage…"
"Oh hush, I didn't mean that Tai." Sora sobbed, caressing his face. "You are the bravest man I know, you saved me so many times."
Tai didn't seem to process her words, and he continued talking. "The reason I ran… was because I love you… I have since we first got home from the Digital world…"
Sora felt her heart stop. "W-what?"
"So when you got with matt… I couldn't handle it." Tai continued, staring up at her. "I ran… and I am so sorry Sora… I am a coward."
"Don't say that Taichi!" Sora sobbed. "You are not a coward! You… you…" Sora found herself sobbing even louder now, and Tai lifted a hand up, and pressed his palm against her cheek, making Sora go silent. His hand was cold.
"Don't cry Sora…" Tai said, smiling at her. "Hey, maybe I am like a digimon, I don't really die, I will just get re-born in Primary Village. Maybe I will get to see Agumon again." Tai smiled at the thought, but Sora cried more. "Don't say that Tai… you are going to be fine, okay? The ambulance and police are just around the corner, you are going to be fine."
The rain intensified, and it was clearing up the blood, in a few moments, it would be like Tai was never shot, and in a week, she and Tai and Matt and Izzy and everyone else would just laugh about the whole thing, right?
"Promise me you will visit?"
"What?" Sora asked, still sobbing. "What do you mean?"
"You will visit right? Me and Agumon while we are at Primary Village." Tai said again, his voice has almost non-existent, and the crest of courage was almost gone now. "Promise?"
Sora stared down at Tai, and realized that he wouldn't make it. They wouldn't laugh about this later, Tai was leaving again, and he wouldn't come back. Not for her, not for Kari, not for Izzy, not for anybody. Sora grabbed his hand. "I promise tai." She sobbed. "You have my word. And I will bring the old gang to. Izzy and Mimi, Kari Matt T.K and Joe.. Even Davis and the rest will come."
Tai smiled and closed his eyes. "That sounds fun… Sora?"
"I love you."
"I love you to Tai, I always have."
After that, there was silence. And Sora stared down at Tai, suddenly being bathed in flashing lights. "Tai… Tai?" She shook his body. "Tai, oh no Tai… Don't leave yet, not yet. Please, Tai!" She sobbed loudly, and a policeman tried to pull her away.
"NO! LET GO OF ME! TAI! TAI!
But Taichi just laid there, in the pouring rain, the crest of Courage gone from his heart.