Livin' On a Prayer

Author's Note :

I have wanted to do an actual Digimon fanfic for some time (I'm hoping to do a Takari fanfic too in time since Takari is my OTP). The idea for this story came while I was listening to Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer. If you haven't heard it yet and if you're like me and find guilty pleasures in 80's songs, I recommend it. It's an awesome song. Unlike most fanfics based on songs though, this isn't a song fic nor does it follow the plot of the song one-hundred percent. I just took the basis of the song of a young couple leaning on each other to survive in a crazy world and applied it for this fanfic. I'll also mention a few songs.

Summary : After being separated due to a personal tragedy, Tai reunites with Sora years later after Tai does something shocking. As they rely on each other to survive this crazy world, it doesn't become long before this friendship begins to blossom into something else. Perhaps this relationship can survive the challenges of a blast from Tai's past that is haunting him?

Couple(-s) : Taiora (there will most likely be more but so far that's all I got)

As mentioned, this fanfic takes place in an alternate universe, so there aren't any Digital Monsters like Agumon or Gatomon involved sadly. I still hope though I can make this enjoyable for Taiora fans. This fanfiction will be rated 'T' for some mentions of abuse, a bit of sexual content (nothing too explicit), cursing, and subjects that may make people uncomfortable.

Prologue : Not So Long Ago

Odaiba, June 1999

Eleven-year-old Taichi "Tai" Kamiya was positive there was nothing better in life than hanging out with his friends. Whether it was in the arcade where the sound of electrical boops and shouts of children filled the air or the park where they could engage in the ever-exciting battle of soccer, Tai didn't mind. It was a sunny June Saturday and Tai was thrilled to carpe diem as his jiji Noriko called it or 'seize the day'.

The first thing he did after a quick bath was scarf down the breakfast his mother made. After eating, he helped around the house, doing his assigned chores. Not his favorite thing in the world but he decided not to get too upset. After all, he had wanted to help his mom around too, knowing his mom hadn't been feeling well these past few weeks. It concerned him but whenever he asked his mother what was wrong, she would manage a smile and say everything would be alright. If things were truly alright, why did he feel like they weren't?

He gave a quick 'goodbye' to his mother and younger sister Hikari "Kari" and rushed off to the park. The sounds of laughter and merry-making could be heard, getting Tai more pumped up for this day. It was the promise of a day filled with excitement and joy.

As he stopped at the entrance, he took a quick scan at the park. On one side a birthday party was taking place with the usual of parents gossiping and children trying to sneak at the table to get some cupcakes. On another side, he could see a group of teenagers in a circle, each having a dazed expression and giggling like hyenas to Tai's confusion.

"Hmm, doesn't seem like anyone I know is here." Tai thought, raising an eyebrow. "Oh, well, I guess I can go to the arcade then." Before he could set off, Tai finally spotted someone he had been hoping to see, causing him to perk up.

"Hey, Sora!"

The redheaded girl turned around and smiled at seeing Tai. "Hey, Tai!" she chirped as she ran towards his direction. "Oh, I'm so happy to see you!" Sora exclaimed, giving a bright smile.

"So am I." Tai beamed. "I guess it's just us."

Sora asked in curiosity, "The guys aren't coming?"

Tai shook his head, "Kosei and his parents are visiting his mom's aunt in Okayama. Heiji said he wasn't feeling too good so he skipped out, you know how he gets when he's even a bit sick. And Daiko and Eri went to visit their dad's family."

Sora nodded, "Then I guess it's just us after all. Still, I'm glad to see you, Tai. You don't know how much seeing you brightened my day."

"Was it your mom again?" Tai asked, concerned. Tai knew that Sora's mom wasn't always the easiest person to hang around with from the times he had visited Sora's home and the times Sora had talked to Tai about her home life.

Sora nodded, her face becoming solemn, "Mom was trying to get me to sign up for those ikebana classes. She knows I'm not interested in those boring flowers and yet she's trying to get me to sign up. Daddy tells me that it's her way of connecting with me and I know she means well, but sometimes I feel like she doesn't listen to me...I couldn't take it anymore so that's why I ran off to the park, to clear my thoughts, y'know?"

Tai flinched before stating, "Yikes, sorry to hear about that."

Sora took a deep breath and managed a slight smile. "But enough about me and my own angst." Leave it to Sora to use a word like angst, Tai thought, slightly amused. Sora was quite the bookworm at times. Not quite as geeky as this kid Izzy that lived in Tai's apartment but she was book smart. And yet he wouldn't change that about a good friend like her.

"Sora, you're good. Really. Don't feel bad about sharing it. Sometimes, you just gotta vent." Tai explained assuringly as he and Sora sat on a bench. Vent. Another word Sora taught us. Tai thought, grinning at the memory.

"So how's your mother and sister?" Sora asked, breaking Tai out of his thoughts.

Tai explained, "Kari's fine. But mom..."

Sora looked at him, a worried expression in her expression.

"Sometimes it feels like she's getting worse." Tai admitted. "Yesterday, she wouldn't eat anything even when Kari tried to give her a piece of her dinner and she got a nosebleed for no reason. When I asked what was wrong, she tried to smile. She told me nothing was wrong. But…"

"Tai?" Sora anxiously asked.

Tai sighed, and said, "Later that night, I got really thirsty so I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. It was kind of late, like, eleven, and I noticed the lights on the living room were on. I took a quick peek and saw Mom was talking on the phone and crying. And it's not the first time she's done it."

"Weird." Sora stated, eyes widening anxiously.

"Yeah. So I wonder why she'd be like that."

"Do you think it has something to do with your dad?" Sora asked, hoping to help Tai shed some light about this strange behavior.

"Maybe but Sora, my dad's been dead ever since Kari was a baby. It's been almost eight years now. Why would she be this upset now?" Tai felt his body tensing up at the mention of his father.

"Just because it's been years since your dad died doesn't mean it hurts less. My parents and grandparents always say that losing someone can still hurt years later." Sora explained

"But then why would she get sick like this? Mom's young, well, somewhat young at least. Young people don't just get sick with grief." Tai said as his eyebrows furrowed.

"Has she been to a doctor at least?" Sora asked the chocolate-haired boy.

Tai's face softened as he tried to remember, "Well, I think she went once a few months ago because she got super worried over the fact she was vomiting a lot. But when Kari asked her what the doctor said, she tried to make it like it wasn't a big deal. At first I thought it was because well, Kari is little. But then I asked her what the doctor said, and she basically said the same thing. She's hiding something and…"

Tai's voice trailed off.

"Tai?" Sora asked in concern.

"I'm scared to find out what it is." Tai admitted, staring into space as if recounting an old memory. His face was anxious and desperate. "I mean, I want to believe that she really is okay. That I'm just crazy. But if she is, why is she like this? Why is it that she hasn't been feeling well as often for more than a year? Why is it some nights I wake up to hear my mom crying into the phone and I can't go back to sleep? I want to find out...but at the same time, I don't want to. "

"You should try asking someone else in your family, like your grandparents or aunts and uncles." Sora suggested, putting a comforting arm on Tai's shoulder. "Maybe they know. And maybe it'll be something that can be helped."

"I hope so…" Tai muttered, still not convinced.

To help ease the dark cloud that had settled, the two friends headed off to the ice cream shop. After ordering their favorites, they sat down, eating in silence for a few minutes. As they did, however, Sora began overhearing the kids next to them gushing about the presents for their father. Tai also overheard and muttered, "Can't believe I almost forgot about father's day."

"Are you and your sister going to visit his grave again?"

"That's right." Tai nodded casually, "We've been doing it for the past three years."

Sora was surprised at how casually Tai confirmed his visits to his father's grave. Then again, from what her parents had told her, Tai probably didn't have a lot of memories to feel very upset about his father's loss. And yet Kari, who was only a few months old before Mr. Kamiya had died, showed more open sadness over it than Tai had. The red-headed girl ventured, "You ever miss your dad?"

"I mean...My grandparents always talk about how cool a guy he was. I know your dad knew my dad too. I swear whenever I visit, your dad always says how much I look like my dad when he was my age and all that mushy adult stuff. ...Mom and my grandparents also say that too." Tai explained, twirling his Rocky Road ice cream with his spoon absentmindedly.

Before Sora could ask anything, Tai finally said, "But yes...sometimes I do miss not having a dad. I mean I always see how close you're with your dad and the same for the others. Sometimes I wish I could have that too. That's why I don't want to lose Mom…"

Then something interrupted Tai's statement. The chortling of immature children their age. Tai and Sora turned around to see a group of four kids that went to their school in the same grade. Sora was sure she saw one of them in her and Tai's class.

"Hanging out with your girlfriend, Tai?!" The green haired boy snickered. Sora blushed beet red in embarrassment, turning away but Tai was glaring at them.

"She's not my girlfriend. She's a friend who's a girl." Tai stated through gritted teeth. This did little to stop the teasing as the green-haired boy's comrade, a maroon-haired boy hooted, "Then why is your face red, hmm? That proves you love her."

"Tai and Sora sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" a black haired girl sang, giggling as another girl, light-haired, exclaimed, "Will you have babies later?"

"Oh...Jump off a bridge, dumbasses!" Tai exclaimed, pointing angrily at these tormentors.

"You said the "D" word!" The green haired boy gasped as his friends and Sora looked stunned. Dork. Tai thought in frustration at the tormentors. Can't even take what they dish out.

It wasn't long before it was time to return home and get ready for the evening. As the two walked down to Sora's apartment, Sora asked, ""Where did you learn that word?"

"What word?" Tai replied, shooting an innocent smile. That Who? Widdle Innocent Angel Me? smile that Tai would shoot at times when he was being impish.

"The 'D' word."

"Oh that. My neighbor said it to her boyfriend when she was kicking him out for the tenth time this year. I think he needs to break up with her. She's always yelling for some reason." Tai explained as he shrugged.

"You shouldn't be using swear words like that." Sora warned in worry. "You could get in trouble."

"Oh, don't worry. I never say them in front of mom or the adults. I always say it around kids our age."

Sora rolled her eyes. Typical Tai.

Once the two reached Sora's home, she said with a smile, "See you later!"

Tai shot back his trademark Kamiya grin, "Right back atcha!" and headed off to his home. The walk to his home from the Takenouchi residence wasn't far at all, only a fifteen minute walk. However, as Tai continued down his path, he felt a nagging gut feeling in his stomach.

Maybe I shouldn't have eaten Rocky Road… Tai thought, tsking to himself.

Once he opened the door to his apartment, he was greeted by an alarming sight. His grandparents, his mother's parents, were on the couch, looking anxious. Kari was sitting on their grandpa's lap, her eyes rimmed red like she had been crying. And Tai noticed she still was crying. His aunt Natsuki, one of his mom's younger sisters, turned around and exclaimed, "Oh Kami! Tai! Thank God."

"Aunt Natsuki, what's wrong?" Tai asked, raising an eyebrow.

His other aunt, Ayame, came out of the kitchen, explaining frantically, "Please, get some jackets for you and your sister. We've got to go to the hospital. There's been an emergency."

Tai anxiously looked around and saw something was amiss. Something, or more accurately, someone was missing.

His voice filled with desperation and anxiety, he questioned, "Where's my mom?"

I would say that I don't like Cliffhangers but then again, I just did one now. So I won't say anything. That'd be hypocritical of me. Anywho, I will say this. This is a prologue so I don't have much notes to say or references to explain for less-savvy readers.

The prologue's title "Not so Long Ago" are the second half of the first lyrics uttered in Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer". This may end up being a bookend.

I'm not sure if I'll include all the Digi-Destined there but I will make sure they at least receive a cameo.

I do not claim ownership of the characters. I am simply a fan who loves to write. Constructive criticism is welcome. Do enjoy.