-

Disclaimer: "Digimon", its characters, plot, etc. is not owned by me and is only being borrowed in non-profitable fiction.
Author's Note: Set after "Digimon Adventure 02". I'm sorry for the mistakes scattered here and there in the text. I've changed the character names to their Japanese originals; and I hope that I've managed to catch all of them. If you see anymore mistakes, please feel free to inform me in a review. Happy reading.

Love Knows No Bounds
Bind 1: Shattered Hope

-

"But I love you, Hikari--"

"I'm sorry, Takeru, but I--I can't return your feelings," a young lady whispered quietly, almost regretfully. She pulled away chestnut strands from her scarlet eyes as a warm wind blew past. Standing in a wild flower field near Primary Village, Takeru and Hikari gazed at one another uneasily.

An awkward silence thickened the atmosphere; a breeze created large waves in the tall grass, with fiery-orange flower petals flying in the air. The day was pleasant and quiet, something extremely rare in the Digital World. Takeru and Hikari would have enjoyed a moment of peace in their lives, but now was not the time for peace and the deafening silence only made their situation worse.

"So I'm nothing?" Takeru quietly asked, his gentle voice slightly wavering. Pain was evident. "Am I nothing to you, Hikari?" The young man tried remaining under control; he tried to fight the sudden rage he was feeling towards Hikari and himself.

"No, I--It's just--I--I don't share the same feelings as you do, Takeru," Hikari replied, searching for the right words to say. Although, could she say anything worthwhile to ease her friend's pain? Another awkward silence passed between the two Chosen Children, and Hikari could not bear the tension between them.

"I'm sorry, Takeru. I like you and care for you, but I can't care for you the way you want." Young Takeru, who looked to the ground, did not reply. Silence was the only reply he could give to Hikari right now. The boy felt an aching pain surge through his body and soul. What was this feeling he was feeling? Was this rejection?

'But this can't be rejection,' Takeru thought. 'I've felt rejection before, and I didn't hurt like this, not this hard--Why does my soul pain so much?

"Takeru, please forgive me," Hikari apologized again. She felt so much remorse for her friend, but Takeru could not hear or sense her sympathy. He would not hear her sympathy or pity.

"I--I thought--" Takeru wanted to say something, but he thought better of it. His agonized heart did not need more pain. Takeru glanced upwards, hot tears and fierce anger his cerulean eyes. A storm raged in Takeru's crystal-aquarium pools, and Hikari gasped in fear of the tempest. Lightning and fire burned in his eyes, yet Takeru's face was a sorry and sad expression.

Takeru opened his mouth, but instead of speaking, he closed it, turned around, and ran away. He had no words left to say to Hikari. Nothing left in his heart was for her. "Takeru wait!" Hikari yelled after him, "Wait! Takeru! Please wait!"

The blonde lad continued running, not caring what Hikari wanted to say to him. Nothing Hikari said would make him return. In the background, Hikari's anxious voice rang out in the Digital World like a loud bell. "Takeru! Wait! Takeru!"

"No."

"TAKERU!"

"NOOO!"

Jumping up in his bed, Takaishi Takeru awoke from his unresting sleep. His clammy pajamas stuck to his shaky, thin body as cold droplets of sweat dripped from his tired, strained face. The young man looked at his digital clock, which flashed 6:45 a.m. His dream--his nightmare had been haunting him for a long while now; and if Takeru remembered the horrid experience correctly, the scene had happened differently. He would do anything to forget that moment. 'Come on, Takeru! Get a grip! Three weeks--Get over it! It was three weeks ago, so forgive, forget, and live on with your life!'

Lying back down, Takeru tiredly stared at his ceiling. He no longer desired sleep as long as his memories continually haunted him. And with his present rate, Takeru believed he would never sleep again; but his pain seeped further than his dreams. 'Why does it hurt so much?' Takeru groaned inwardly. 'Why does my heart ache as if it had been torn out of my very body and mind?'

Closing his tired eyes and trying to capture some rest, Takeru tried easing his pain with his lonesome thoughts. 'Why do I feel so incomplete?'

'Why am I so alone?'

-

That morning walking to school, Takeru felt as lonely and desolate as he had in his dream. When he eventually reached the high school gates, young Takaishi saw Yagami Hikari and Motomiya Daisuke walking together to school. The three caught each other's eyes and looked at one another awkwardly. The air felt heavy and thick enough to cut with a large blade. Takeru smiled at his friends, slicing away a piece of discomfort.

'I can't show them my weakness.'

"How have you two been doing?" Takeru cheerfully greeted, casually walking up to Hikari and Daisuke.

"I'm doing fine," Hikari replied cheerily, forcing a smile. "Thank you for asking, Takeru. I hope you're doing well too." Daisuke, wanting to relieve the situation, also forced himself to smile and gave a small greeting. The painful confrontation between Hikari and Takeru was no secret, and all the Chosen Children felt the discomfort between the Children of Hope and Light. Everyone was sensitive to Takeru and Hikari's present delicate relationship, and Daisuke, although callous at times, was no exception.

"I'm doing all right, thanks," Takeru said, grinning his famous smile at the two of them. "Well, we better hurry or we'll be late for class. I don't know about you, but I don't want extra afternoon cleaning duty." Hikari and Daisuke nodded in agreement, and the three of them ran into the school before the tardy bell rang.

-

After school, Takeru walked home, the young man once more alone. Takeru's heart heavy with sadness and shadows, Darkness steadily conquered his thoughts. 'I will always be alone--I'll always be alone in the Darkness. What's the point? Why should I keep fighting? Darkness always comes back--like an insect, a cockroach that'll never die. I should just give up. Light has rejected me, so why not join its opposite?'

As Takeru formed these dark thoughts, he disappeared into the air, into a Dark ripple in space.

-

The time was 8:00 p.m., and Yagami Taichi reclined on the couch, his brunettehead propped on an elbow and a remote controller conveniently in hid hand. The young adult flipped through the television, searching for a source of entertainment. 'I really do have to find a new job soon,' Taichi pouted. 'Living like this won't do.'

Suddenly, the phone rang. The Yagami jumped up, surprised by the sudden noise. After regaining his wits, Taichi hurriedly answered the devilish ringing device. "Hello? Yagami residence."

"Taichi, it's me."

-