Reunion: Part Three (Layla)

By: 7 of 11

Taichi looked down at Hikari. "We know what we’re doing, Hikari. Now stay out of this!"

Hikari pulled back, stunned by her brother’s harsh words. As he and Yamato went outside to have their fight, a lone tear trickled down her face. "No...Taichi...Yamato..."     Jyou and Koushiro, meanwhile, were squaring off. Jyou took off his U.S. Navy officer’s hat and turned to place it on the table next to him. He turned back and Koushiro’s fist connected squarely with his nose. He felt the cartilage crumple under the force of the punch. As scarlet fluid trickled down his face, staining his immaculate white dress uniform, Jyou raised his arms in the style of fighting that his self-defense instructor had taught him.

Koushiro prepared another punch, but as he swung forward, he felt Jyou grabbing his arm and using the momentum to throw Koushiro like a slingshot. The next thing Koushiro knew, he was flat on his back on the floor, Jyou pressing two fingers into the side of his neck, at a pressure point. "I didn’t want to have to do this, Koushiro. But you made me. I’m sorry." Then Jyou applied force to his fingers, and Koushiro felt his world swim, then it went dark.     Yamato and Taichi glared at each other, fists raised up high. Taichi attacked first, driving his fist in a powerful right hook that hit Yamato, who couldn’t react in time. The blond man stumbled backwards. Taichi immediately pressed the advantage, and punched Yamato again, this time in the stomach. Yamato doubled over in pain. "Sora’s mine, I tell you, mine!"

"Sure, you go on and believe that, Taichi!" Yamato headbutted Taichi in the chest. Taichi took a step backwards, and then his world exploded in a red haze of pain as Yamato connected in an uppercut to his jaw.     Koushiro’s vision swirled around as he came to again. He blinked twice to restore clarity to his world, and then looked up above him. There was a very beautiful woman leaning over him. "Professor Izumi? Are you hurt?" She asked, worried. He nodded weakly. "Oh, that’s good." She helped him to his feet.

"Thank you." He brushed dirt off his lapel and turned to her. Suddenly his sight went foggy again, he didn’t know why. Everything seemed to be distorted, but he was feeling okay. The woman appeared to be glowing. This was very unusual.

"Oh you’re welcome. Professor Izumi, I happen to be interested in quantum particle theory,"

He gazed at her, and he felt his tongue tie in a knot. "Uhh...really?" he asked, at a loss for words. What was happening to him?

She smiled. "Oh yes. Now if you’ll come with me, I’d like to talk with you about your First Theory..." she guided him onto the dance floor, and he followed blindly. She WAS very nice, after all. Nice, and beautiful, and smart...

  Mimi took Jyou’s hands. "Oh, Jyou!" she kissed him. "I really love you...but did you have to hurt Koushiro? Is he all right?"

A motion on the dance floor caught Jyou’s eye, and he looked past Mimi. Koushiro was dancing with some lady, and he seemed to be enjoying it...well, it looked like he had found someone, at least. Now he didn’t feel as guilty. "Oh, he’s fine." Jyou looked at Mimi. "You realize, that if we were to pursue a relationship, I would be away for weeks at a time, don’t you?"

Mimi nodded and smiled. "Yes, I do. But I know that the wait, no matter how long, will be worth it, as long as I get to see you again." Reassured, Jyou leaned over, and they shared a long kiss.       Taichi threw a punch at Yamato, but the taller man dodged the blow. Yamato swung around in a devastating roundhouse kick, and Taichi reeled backwards. The former leader of the Digidestined collided with the gigantic sculpted marble fountain, and fell in, splashing water all over the place.

Taichi got up sopping wet, expecting to see Yamato ready to continue the fight. But what he saw made him stop in his tracks, his expensive suit dripping water. Yamato was staring at his hands, holding a small object. Taichi couldn’t tell what it was, at this distance. He slowly approached his former friend. "What’s wrong? Why did you stop?"

Yamato didn’t respond, his gaze affixed on the item. After a long while, he spoke. "As a doctor...I took the Hippocratic Oath. I promised to do no harm. These hands," he shook his gloved fists for emphasis. "These hands are supposed to help others, not hurt them. Least of all hurt you, Taichi."

Slowly, Yamato turned his hand, and Taichi saw what he had been clutching. At first glance, no one would have suspected it was anything more than a simple pendant, with an odd symbol inscribed in it—probably one of those things that ‘younger people’ were in to. But Taichi knew what it was, he had one of his own. It was a tag, and a Crest. Yamato’s Crest of Friendship. "So you kept it, after all these years." Taichi whispered. Yamato nodded.

As Yamato spoke again, tears began to well up in his eyes. "You, although I many not act like I believe this sometimes, are my friend. I can’t fight you, Taichi. I WON’T fight you. Because you ARE my friend, and friends shouldn’t fight."

"It’s obvious that you really love Sora," Yamato choked out. "I hope you are happy with her." He turned and began to walk away, out towards the bay, which was sparkling in the moonlight.

"Yamato...wait..." Taichi whispered, but Yamato didn’t hear.

He turned, and he saw Sora. "Sora..." he began, but she stopped him.

"I heard, Taichi." She walked over to him, and ignoring his being soaked with water, held him. He held her in return. "Taichi..."

They looked deep into each other’s eyes. Deep, past the exterior, that everyone saw. Past the interior, which they themselves wanted to believe. All the way to the innermost thoughts. And as they stood there, they felt the relentless march of Time begin to slow, then halt. And then the clocks began to turn back. They were young again, in the Digital World.

Sora saw Taichi, leading the group. She knew his desperation, his worry. If he made a wrong decision, all the Digidestined could be hurt, or worse…She saw his inner desires, his outer conflicts. And she saw how much he loved her. His longing, his pain. Every time he had been about to tell her, his mind stopped him. Tears began to trickle down her face.

As Taichi gazed into Sora’s tearstreaked face, he saw the young girl, aching for approval, wanting to be accepted by her mother. He realized that she, the holder of the Crest of Love, needed that more than anything in the world. Yet, she also held love. For everyone in the group, and Taichi understood at last why she had tried to keep the group together every time they fought. And he understood her despair when they split. He felt another flame of love burning in her…and then he knew. "You love him more, don’t you?"

Sora forced herself to meet Taichi’s glance, as if this were hard for her to say. "Oh, Taichi…" she began, but stopped.

Taichi gently caressed her face. "It’s okay, Sora."

She looked at him. "Taichi, you’re wrong. I love you both with all my heart. But…Taichi, I love you like a brother. You’ve always been there for me, you’ve supported me, and you’ve loved me. I am grateful for that, and I understand how you felt when I didn’t return your love. But now you know that I DO love you Taichi…but you’re not the one I want to spend my life with. Yamato is."

As his eyes grew misty, Taichi looked at the person who he loved. "I want you to be happy, Sora. No matter what happens, if you’re happy, I will be too."

Sora stood up on the tips of her toes, and, ever so gently, brushed her lips across his. She said more with that one kiss than she could ever have put into words. "Thank you for being there for me, Taichi." And she was gone. Taichi felt his barrier of indifference that he had needed to become the CEO of his company break down, and he started to cry.     Yamato looked at the bay, sparkling in the moonlight. It struck him as the total antithesis of how he was feeling. It was so serene, so calm. Nothing troubled the glasslike, placid, waters. The exact opposite of the seething emotional storm within.

A whisper of fabric sounded, and Sora sat down next to him. Neither looked at the other. "A long time ago," Yamato hushed. "I don’t remember when, but I think it was the Digiworld…someone told me that change wasn’t always pleasant. He was right; I know that for a fact now. I always thought that you loved me…but all of that’s changed."

Sora turned her sweet eyes to him. "No, change isn’t always pleasant," she agreed. "But I think that it’s always for the better, no matter what happens. We’ve all changed. You used to be so aloof; you didn’t seem as if you cared about anything. And now look at you! A doctor! Takeru and Hikari have matured a lot, they’ve lost their innocence, true, but they’ve gained something as well. Each other. And Taichi…" she trailed off.

"I hope you’re happy with him, Sora." Yamato choked back tears.

"That’s why I came to talk to you, Yamato. Like I told him, I love him like a brother. But that’s nothing compared to how I feel towards you, Yamato." She turned his face to her, and kissed him passionately. Yamato stared at her with wide eyes, and then he kissed her back. "Oh Yamato…" Sora sighed, and the two embraced.     From inside, Takeru and Hikari watched Sora and Yamato. "They resolved it…and they’ve found love…" Takeru said. "Finally."

As Hikari watched the two kiss, she felt a pang of nostalgia tighten her stomach. The group was together again, at long last. "Finally…" she echoed, and her stomach tightened again. When another contraction arrived, she started. It wasn’t her stomach that was tightening…she put a hand on Takeru’s shoulder. "Takeru!" she breathed. "We have to get to the hospital, quickly!"

"What?" There was an unspoken query in his glance, and she nodded. A mixture of wonder, excitement, and joy started to spread over his face. "I’ll be right back! I need to tell Yamato and the others!" he ran off. Hikari sat down to rest. She would need her strength for tonight.     Nine hours later, Takeru sat by his wife’s bedside, holding her hand. She was asleep, after her long ordeal. And the fruit of her labor was sleeping in her arms. Their daughter, Kana. Kana Takaishi. Takeru said the name over and over. It felt right, somehow. And as he looked at the little red face scrunched up from crying, he felt a sense of pride. This was THEIR daughter.

He looked out the window, where a storm was brewing. Even the gloom outside couldn’t penetrate to the pure ecstasy indoors. Takeru turned back to his sleeping wife, and kissed her on the forehead, then kissed the newborn baby in the same manner. "Sleep tight, both of you."     If Takeru had been gazing out the window for a scant few seconds longer, he would have seen two figures outside. Two very familiar figures, in fact. The seraphim looking down on the happy, if tired family had shared adventures in the past, and would do so in the future as well. "The bonds between the Digidestined have grown stronger in the past few hours, and especially with these two." remarked Angemon.

Angewomon nodded. "Yes, and not a moment to soon. For the Digidestined can only bring peace to the worlds if they are together. Never divided. And while the barrier between worlds is holding, the forces of Darkness are mustering for a final assault. One, that if not stopped, could mean the doom of both worlds…"

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