Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon or Bandai but if I did you could rest assured more episodes would feature Tai ^_^
"Ugh." Tai fumbled around in the darkness, slamming his fist down onto the alarm clock until its incessant beeping stopped. His head was throbbing.
He groaned and dragged himself through the dark hallway into the bathroom, shivering - the house was colder than it usually was in the morning. He'd have to turn up the thermostat before he went to school. He flicked on the bathroom light and squinted, somehow it seemed brighter this morning as well. He groaned a second time as he looked at his reflection in the mirror. That couldn't have been him.
His normally bright, chocolate brown eyes stared back at him - lethargic and glazed over, rimmed with dark circles. His skin was paler than usual and had a waxy, sallow look to it, while his lips were dry and cracked. What a day to be sick. He had a major physics test in second period that was worth ten percent of their mark. He couldn't afford to miss it. If his average dropped below eighty his mom had threatened to take him out of soccer. And on the subject of soccer, college scouts were coming to watch tonight's game for some of the older boys. Sure, he didn't have to worry about it for two more years, but it was never too early to make a good impression. He wondered what they would think of him if he just crawled up under the bench and slept. Not much, probably.
Tai turned the taps on in the shower and stripped, waiting for the water to heat up. Stepping inside, the steaming liquid running down his body, he began to work the shampoo through his hair and yawned loudly. He loved having the shower first in the morning. If he happened to get stuck after Kari or his mom the water was always freezing. He didn't understand what could possibly take women so long in the bathroom, it wasn't like they really had more to wash or something. Oh well, just another mystery of the female of the species he would never solve. He rinsed out the shampoo and closed his eyes, allowing the bubbles to slide soothing over him.
Tai turned off the taps and stepped out of the shower, shaking his head like a dog. The water scattered in tiny beads across the linoleum floor, shimmering in the light. He pulled on a pair of boxer and his pants for school, then opened the medicine cabinet and dry swallowed two tylenols. God praise the man who invented that drug.
"Tai, get out of the shower! The rest of us have to use it too, you know!" yelled his sister, knocking on the door. She was her usual, `chipper' morning self. Anyone who thought she was sweet and nice all the time had definitely not seen her before she fully woke up.
"Why? It's not going to help the way you look no matter how many showers you take," he replied. Kari semi-growled from the other side on the door. It wasn't that he didn't love his sister, she could just be annoying sometimes. Especially lately, since she had begun to make little aww noises every time Sora called for homework, or if he called her. Kari didn't seem to understand that they were just friends - like they had always been and always would be. Tai left the shower and walked back to his room to finish changing.
Kari slammed the bathroom door indignantly and he couldn't help but smile. She would forgive him before she was done in the shower, she always did.
"Kari, we're going to be late!"
His sister came bounding down the stairs and checked her hair one last time in the mirror. He hated the fact that she was growing up. She was his little sister, she wasn't supposed to be trying to look good for guys yet. Half the time he had a hidden urge to strangle both T.K. and Davis, especially since he knew what was probably running through their heads. If they were thinking /that/ about his sister he'd . . .
"Alright, let's go." She grabbed her backpack and smiled at Tai. At least she had forgiven him. The smile faded from her face as she looked at him more closely, "Are you okay? You don't look very good."
"Nah, I'm fine. Just a little tired." He'd forgotten just how perceptive she could be.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, come on. We're honestly going to be late if we don't hurry." Tai really didn't feel like walking this morning but he had no other choice. His mom had to go into work at ten so he couldn't take the car.
When they had walked about halfway to school, a red convertible pulled up beside himself and Kari on the empty street.
"Hey Tai," cooed the blonde girl sitting in the passenger seat. The driver waved at him and winked. They were both cheerleaders - senior cheerleaders.
"Hi Missy, Victoria. What's up?"
"Nothing really. We were just admiring the hot guy walking down the street." She smiled suggestively at him. Kari rolled her eyes. "You playing tonight?"
"Great, we'll see you there. Hey, do you want a ride to school? We're sort of short on seats but I could always sit on your lap."
Tai could feel his cheeks heating up. He really wanted to go but he couldn't just leave Kari to walk alone. "Maybe another time, Missy," he said, flashing her his trademark lopsided grin.
"Another time then." She and Victoria drove off, leaving him and Kari alone on the street once again. His sister sighed.
"What happened Tai? You look like shit."
"Good morning to you too, Sora. You always have such a pleasant way of greeting me."
"Sorry, force of habit. Honestly though, what's wrong?" Sora grabbed some books out of her locker as she spoke, brushing a stray strand of hair from her face. Did she even realize how numbingly and devastatingly beautiful she looked? Sure, she would always be a tomboy and she swore like a sailor (as the expression went), but she was undeniably pretty. Maybe it was her apathetic view towards classic feminine behavior that made her so appealing. She wasn't constantly babbling about her clothes and hair like most of the girls he knew. Or maybe it was the way she looked in a tennis skirt . . .
WHAT was wrong with him? She was his best friend, he shouldn't have been thinking about her like that! "Oh, I'm just tired."
She cocked her right eyebrow, a sure sign that she didn't believe him. As he bent down to pick up his physics and trigonometry binder from the bottom of his locker, she placed a cool, gentle hand on his forehead. A worried look darkened her amber eyes, "Tired, huh?" she scoffed. Her voice dropped into a softer tone, "Tai, you're burning up. You should have really stayed home today."
"Thank you for your expert opinion, Dr. Takenouchi, but I'll be fine."
"Are you sure?" She sounded just like Kari. It was like having two extra mothers.
"Positive." He watched as she carefully placed her books in her bag and smiled to himself at how much she had grown up in the last three years, "I'm feeling better already."
The bell rang, signifying the end of period two. Tai tossed his test on the top of the pile and hurried up two flights of stairs to his next class, parenting. Okay, he admitted it, he only took the class for three reasons - one, it was a bird course; two, it was a great way to meet girls; and three, Home Ec was full - but it was actually pretty fun. Today they were going to be split into partners and have to take care of a kid (actually stuffed toys with sensors in them) for a night. His overnight bag was already packed in his locker. Man, he hoped he got Carli Walker. She was the hottest girl in the tenth grade and he definitely wouldn't mind if he got to sleep over at her house.
"Tai, hold up," called a voice from behind him. Sora was standing in the stairwell about four steps below him, having just come from her calculus class. She hurried up the steps and joined him on his left side, smiling, "So, how are you feeling?"
"Better." To be honest, he was still a little cold, but it was nothing to worry about.
"That's good. How did the physics test go."
"Not bad. I think I got the section on vector and scalar quantities messed up, though."
"I'm sure you did fine." They entered the already full classroom, reverberating with student chatter.
"Probably." He set his backpack down on the chair with a thump. As he did, their teacher entered the room carrying a box of stuffed, fuzzy white balls that - to Tai's surprise - resembled the digimon in their `in training' forms.
"Oh, I forgot we get our kids today. They look a lot like the . . ."
"Yeah, I know. I hope they don't cry to much."
"I just hope I don't get stuck with someone who won't do any work. That's always my luck with these kinds of projects," she exclaimed, taking her seat.
"Alright class, settle down!" yelled Ms. Yokayama over their chitchat which instantly died down. She was not a teacher you crossed. She held up one of the dolls and began to talk, "Today you will be divided into pairs and given one of these, your children. It is your responsibility to feed them, change them, and generally look after their well being for the next twenty-four hours as you would for any infant. The chip and sensor inside will allow me to monitor the amount of attention the child was given, so yes, I will know if you leave it in your locker overnight. Are there any questions?"
"Who are our partners?" asked a girl Tai didn't know.
"You will each pick a number out of the pile on my desk, boys on the right and girls on the left. Whoever your number matches is your partner and that way we will avoid discrepancies over whether or not the partnering is fair."
Tai groaned along with the rest of the class and prayed he would get someone halfway decent. He took it as a good sign when he pulled out number seven, the number on his soccer jersey, and went to find who he was paired with. He noticed Carli was looking around for hers as well.
"So Carli, what number do you have?" he asked nonchalantly, grinning at her.
"Oh Tai, please tell me you have number four. I don't want to be stuck with some loser."
He grimaced. "Sorry, I'm number seven."
"Seven? Damn. I was hoping I would get some time to get to know you better," she pouted coyly.
"I guess we'll have to make time then." She smiled and walked away, looking for whoever was lucky enough to have picked the number four.
"Gag," came Sora's response from behind him. She had just walked up. "You are an absolutely sickening flirter, do you know that?"
"I try." He smiled at her teasingly. "So, who's lucky enough to have you for a wife?"
"I don't have a clue. I've asked almost everybody but no one's got my number."
"Which is what?"
Tai practically choked.
"Look Tai. I took the thing all afternoon, the least you could do is look after it during my tennis match," fumed Sora, opening her locker with a violent jerk.
"I can't, I'm busy." He was not about to take that little ball of fuzz out onto the soccer field.
"Doing what? You have a big date with Carli or something?"
"No," he replied angrily, beginning to feel very frustrated, "I have soccer."
"You always have soccer!"
"And you always have tennis," he reminded her, trying desperately to keep his voice down. Students were starting to stare at them. He gritted his teeth, "Come on, you know what it's like on a soccer field. It's loud and rough and . . ."
"A place where no one will notice if it cries. Tai, you come on, you know how quiet tennis courts are. They'd kick me out if it started making noise. You have to take it, there's nothing I can do."
She was right, he hated when she was. "Alright, fine, I'll take the thing. You know," he said, hoping to lighten the subject, "maybe we should stop calling it "It" and "The Thing," it needs a name."
"Like . . .?"
"How about Taiora?" he suggested. She grinned at him amusedly. She had obviously forgiven him.
"How come your name gets to come first?"
Large drops of rain pelted down on the soccer field from the black sky just as half time was called. Tai pulled on his royal blue windbreaker and ran with the rest of the team and spectators to wait under the overhang of the school during the ten minute break. He pulled his arms around his chest, it was starting to get cold.
That was when he heard it, the unmistakable cry of a baby. "Oh shit," he cursed under his breath. He had left Taiora under the bench and if he didn't hurry it was going to get soaked. Sora was going to kill him if she found out he had left it out in the rain. It was already a bit wet when he got there but it didn't look as if any permanent damage had been done. He wrapped it in his jacket and hurried back to the overhang, but to his horror it wouldn't stop crying.
"Hey Kamiya, shut that damn thing up!" bitched his teammate, a senior named Yamazaki, irritably.
Tai rocked it back and forth, rubbed its back, and walked around, but nothing seemed to be working. There was only one more thing he could think of doing, but it was definitely a last resort.
"Either you shut that thing up, or next time we go out on the field we'll be using a little white fluffy ball, kid."
Last resort time. He remembered hearing his mom singing to Kari when she used to cry but he didn't know very many slow songs and he wasn't about to sing a lullaby in front of his friends. As he watched the rain he was suddenly hit with inspiration. It was a song he always put on when he was feeling . . . well, angsty. It described how he felt.
The dolls crying subsided just as the referee called the end of halftime. It was still pouring. Tai left his jacket wrapped around Taiora as he took his place as forward. It didn't matter if he got a little wet.
*~*~*~* End Of Tai's Chapter *~*~*~*
- Tai Luva
A/N: What was the song Tai was singing? Will he and Sora pass the project? What surprises does this rainy night hold in store for these two? I know you don't really care but if you want to find out, check out the next chapter. Luv and Peace ^_^
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