“What the hell was I thinking back then?” wailed Miyako, “These trousers are awful! And red too! They clash with my hair; wait, everything clashes, I'm just one big walking clash-bomb!”
“I know what you mean,” said Hikari, “these shorts are horrendous. The waist is so high, I think I'm experiencing the negative side of 'legs up to your armpits.'”
“You guys think you have it bad, I had to go back to the worst haircut of my life,” said Iori, feeling mournful of his more recent spiky do. Not one of them said otherwise, or could even bring themselves to console him, the Shell really was that bad.
“Yeah, well, this hat is still the stupidest item of clothing that ever existed,” complained Takeru.
“I'll admit I was pretty glad you eventually got rid of it, I liked to think of it as your fisherman's phase – without the the actual fishing,” Hikari told him, with many others nodding in agreement.
“Sora and Mimi's choice of headwear is a little more questionable though,” Ken pointed out, whilst gesturing to the two girls. Sora, having lost the original 'Lucky Helmet,' had only managed to find a replacement that was too big for her. The helmet kept falling over her eyes, making her bump into more than a few strangers in the crowd. Mimi, meanwhile, was having trouble manoeuvring her way through the Digimon fans without knocking them out with her pink hat's large sides.
They were quite a sight. A danger to the public, yes, but a funny one.
Mimi and Sora eventually gave up on trying to push their way to a good spot in the main standing area, retiring instead to the surrounding stands; they would probably be able to get some sorted of VIP seating, being the original flavour and all. They were quickly followed by Jyou and Koushiro, who complained about the possibility of germ exposure and not being to use laptops safely in the standing area, respectively.
“Those guys don't know how to have fun!”
“Well, not everyone shares your idea of 'fun,' Taichi,” Yamato responded.
“Aw, you're upset I managed to convince you to cut your hair.”
“It was the perfect length! It's going to take ages to grow back.”
“Well, at least you look a bit less like a girl.”
“I never looked like a girl!” defended Yamato, giving Taichi a soft punch on the arm, making them both laugh.
“Hey, guys, do you feel like trying to get closer to the stage with us?” asked Davis, as he came towards them, followed by Ken.
“Sure, we'd love too,” Taichi answered for both them, before Yamato could give a negative reply.
“Awesome, come on!” cried Daisuke enthusiastically, as he grabbed Ken by the arm and dived into the thicker parts of the crowd. Taichi followed suit by grabbing Yamato by the arm and following them in.
“Hey, watch it!” called the girl Taichi bumped into.
“Oh, excuse me, I'm- Wait, Sora?” The girl was dressed in the same outfit Sora had been earlier: a recreation of the one she wore during their first adventures in the Digital World, and she looked just like her -save the darker eyes. And her facial expression, Sora could never look so mean and scary.
“Well, duh, who does it look like I'm cosplaying as, you idiot?”
“Sorry, miss,” interjected Yamato before Taichi could get them into any trouble, “I'll take him off your hands.”
They only received a faint “whatever” in response, and Taichi found his eternal gratitude for Yamato always getting him out of such tight spots resurfacing once again.
“I don't know what I'd do without you, man,” he told his best friend.
“Good to know,” answered Yamato, with a small smile. He then cast a quick glance around them, “Uh, Taichi, do you notice anything strange?”
Taichi took a good look at the people that surrounded them. They weren't too far from the stage and in what was probably one of the densest parts of the crowd. It also seemed to be the part with the biggest Digimon fans.
How could he tell? Well, everywhere he looked there were cosplayers. Every single person he saw was dressed up as either one of the more famous Chosen or as a Digimon. It was incredible, incredibly insane, that is.
“Yamato? Tell me I'm seeing things.”
“I wish we both were, I really do,” said Yamato, as he cringed at the sight of seeing a fan who had decided to dress as a female version of his little brother, a very saucy female version.
They were pushing their way through the crowd, trying to get to the spot they had seen Ken and Daisuke aim for without much success, when they came across what could only be described as a herd of Taichis.
There were so many of them, and in all shapes and sizes. There was a Taichi over six feet tall, a Taichi who couldn't have been more than five years old, a blond Taichi, a Taichi with an armful of Agumon plushies, a Taichi with breasts, a Taichi with at least four pairs of goggles on his head, and so many more!
The original Taichi found himself completely overwhelmed, all of these people who liked just like him! Well, almost, there was always a small difference, especially regarding the Taichis with breasts.
For instance, that guy had blue eyes instead of brown, that one had red goggles, that one had the wrong sneakers... Wait a minute, what if he was supposed to have blue eyes? And have red goggles? And those were actually the right shoes? What if he was the one who'd gotten it all wrong? That would mean...
That would mean he wasn't the real Taichi!
So which was it? Was he the real Taichi that had worked himself up into a state of panic or was he just some crazy cosplayer who was taking himself too seriously?
Okay, deep breaths, he needed to calm down and breathing was good for you – or, at least, he thought he might have read something like that once, somewhere or other.
Yamato would know what to do, Yamato always knew in these situations, but where was he?
Taichi searched through the people surrounding him frantically and threw himself onto the closest blond in a green turtle-neck.
“Yamato, you've got to help me! Who am I? Tell me, who I am?”
The poor boy was being shaken so hard that he couldn't speak, let alone tell a crazed Taichi that, actually, his name was Hideki – he really hadn't thought his costume was that good! – and that he had no idea what was going on.
Meanwhile, only a few feet away, the real Yamato had seen that Taichi looked distressed and had been about go to him and see what was wrong, when his friend had thrown himself onto a Yamato cosplayer.
A better looking one, Yamato noted sourly. Taichi was looking increasingly worried – as he wasn't receiving the reassurance he desperately craved, most likely. As the shaking eased up, the stranger began trying to comfort Taichi, laying a tentative hand on his shoulder and speaking with a soothing tone.
Yamato felt awful; he could never do that for Taichi. Their methods for comforting each other were somewhat less conventional. They usually involved playful arguing and teasing until all troubles were forgotten.
Yamato had thought that method worked well, but maybe Taichi was tired of it, maybe he wanted something else. Maybe he wanted interactions that were a bit more normal with his – Yamato gasped as he realised – new best friend.
Yamato couldn't believe it: after all these years, after all the ways he'd proved himself, and after all the efforts he'd made, he was being traded in for a newer, shinier, younger model.
He had to admit, the kid had class, at least. The ripped jeans were a nice creative touch, and did fit his image rather well, as did the heavy combat boots. The floppy fringe of his hair was longer than Yamato's, as were a few strands of hair all around; it looked rather nice, a little softer, perhaps, than what Yamato was used to. He was also pretty sure he would look equally good – if not better! – with an earring in one ear; maybe he should see about getting one... Wait a minute, were those roots? Taichi was choosing a fake blond over him?
Taichi hated hair dye, he knew that for a fact, he'd gone ballistic when Hikari had decided a few highlights would be a good idea. The colours she'd chosen had been rather, for lack of a better word, interesting, but still.
Yamato couldn't believe Taichi was abandoning him. Him, Taichi's true best friend, with real blond hair! What made this guy a better best friend? What did he have that Yamato didn't? Should Yamato have been a little nicer over the years? Should he have let Taichi take the bed and volunteer to sleep on the couch? Should he not have laughed in Taichi's face when the latter confessed to having a crush on that girl who lived in his building? Should he have made an effort to play soccer more often? Should he have offered Taichi the last biscuit yesterday, instead of grabbing it for himself?
Life was full of 'what ifs' and Yamato recognized that his were getting rather ridiculous. He was all set on drowning himself in his own misery, when Ken and Daisuke appeared on either side of him.
“Are you OK, Yamato?” asked Ken, “You seem a little strange.”
“I'm all right,” he replied, “You know, considering my best friend just traded me in for a new one,” he finished, his tone a little bitter.
“Er, what?” asked Daisuke, looking to Ken for answers. The latter's expression indicated that he had no idea what was happening either.
Instead he said, “Never mind, now let's go get Taichi, he seems to be causing trouble for that kid.” This became all the more apparent as Taichi knelt down in front of the Yamato cosplayer and began shouting something unintelligible; he really was making a scene.
Daisuke walked up behind Taichi and pulled him to his feet.
“Come on, we need to get back to the others.”
“Daisuke, how did you know it was me?”
“I'd recognize you anywhere, now hurry up.”
Taichi turned to the cosplayer behind him, and finally realized the truth, “You're not Yamato!”
“No, my name's Hideki, I'm a big fan of Yamato's though,” he said, looking awfully embarrassed with the whole ordeal, then added with haste, “And a big fan of yours too.”
“Oh, well, that's... nice,” answered Taichi, he felt mortified and just wanted to be as far away from there as possible.
Fortunately Yamato came to his rescue – not that Taichi would ever admit that out loud; being the damsel in distress had never really done anything for him – he apologized to the kid as he ushered Taichi away and out of the thick crowd of
“You know what, Yamato?” Taichi said once they were seated in a quiet spot with some lunch.
“Maybe you were right,” – Yamato promptly snorted; Taichi ignored him, – “Cosplaying is pretty insane. Well, the cosplayers are anyway.”
“You were the crazy one today.”
“Yeah, but...” Taichi's arms flailed as he tried to come up with an argument. “Look, don't tell me that doesn't freak you out a little!” he cried , pointing at two cosplayers not too far from them.
Yamato's eyes widened at the sight: the two girls were dressed as him and Taichi and were currently making out rather, er, enthusiastically.
“There is no way in hell I ever needed to see that!” he cried covering his eyes.
“And it's such a waste, I can't even enjoy watching two girls kiss because the whole thing's too weird,” Taichi complained.
Yamato gave his friend an odd look, but decided not too comment. After all that had happened today, he was pretty sure he wanted to let something like that slide. For,now.
Besides he'd definitely get the opportunity to interrogate his best friend sooner or later, and today would provide some good emotional blackmail.