"You sure this will work?"
"Of course it will!" Izzy retorts with an offended tone. His back is hunched over his laptop, typing furiously on the keyboard. His gaze doesn't leave the screen, and his concentration seems infinite.
It's only been a few months since us Digi-Destined, a group of eight chosen children sent to the Digital World to rid it of evil, had to leave our digimon behind after defeating Apocalymon. Ever since then, we have desperately tried to find a way to go back, if only for a few minutes. We miss our partners dearly, and the sooner we see them again, the better.
I stare at the screen beside Izzy, trying to make sense of all the letters and numbers that he's entering into the computer.
Izzy had called us all over. He claims that he has found a way to create some sort of portal that should open up to the Digital World for a while. Of course, everyone is bouncy and impatient, including me, but none of us dare to break in on Izzy in case we mess something up. So far, my comment has only begrudged the redhead.
The minutes tick by in silence. TK and Kari sit next to each other, whispering in hushed voices. I bet Mimi is thinking of better ways to improve Sora's outfit, and Joe studies a textbook for a test he's going to have. Matt is on Izzy's opposite side, just as confused as I am.
After what seems like an eternity, Izzy brightens up and shouts, "Prodigious! I think I've got it!"
We crowd around him, eager to hear of what he'll say.
"Does this mean I can see Palmon again?" Mimi asks, jumping up and down in delight. She is wearing a pink, strapless, summer dress that has silver diamonds all over it. Her hair is up in a high ponytail, and a large white hat with a pink ribbon tied around it tops it all off.
Izzy nods, gradually gaining back his old mojo.
The two younger children chatter with excitement.
"Patamon and I are gonna have so much fun!" TK exclaims. "We'll play tag and hide and seek, and if anything goes wrong, Angemon will kick their butts!"
Kari laughs. "Well, me and Gatomon will have a picnic, and I'll get to see if she still has the whistle I gave her."
I chuckle. The younger kids have such big imaginations, that they've forgotten that it will probably not be for long. However, I can't help but imagine myself. The thought of me being reunited with Agumon makes me smile.
Sora just sighs with amusement. She's always had a motherly attitude towards all of us. "Don't get ahead of yourselves. Izzy's not done yet."
"Oh, but I am!" Izzy cries cheerily.
"Already?" I yell incredulously.
Undeniably, I am the most enthusiastic out of all of us. I really want to see Agumon again, and nobody can blame me. I've had a deep love for my orange dinosaur friend ever since we met and helped defeat Kuwagamon on our first day in the Digital World.
Izzy has also gotten better at all this tech stuff since we've come back from saving the world. Clearly, Izzy has been trying to open a gate for some time now.
"Yup," he confirms. "When I press enter, I want you all to put your digivices up to the screen. The combined energy should be enough to get us to the Digital World." The group agrees, and all of the digivices are up by the time Izzy's finger pushes down on the enter key.
Everything goes black.
"Tai? Tai! Is that you?"
I open my eyes. Last thing I remember, I was heading to the Digital World in Izzy's room. Were we here already?
It was true. Agumon stares down at me from where he is perched on my belly, smiling.
"It's about time you got here!" he teases, jumping up and down. "Although, you look a little different..."
I laugh and hug my old friend, only to find out that I do (it) feel funny. Something about my body is out of place. My legs seem far too skinny and hairless to be mine, and my clothes feel baggier than they were before. Even my brown hair and eyelashes appear longer.
"Agumon?" I question, my voice trembling slightly.
"It's good to see you again," I respond, a warm fuzz creeping into my stomach.
Agumon nods, sharing another quick hug with me before I look around.
We're near a river, and the other chosen children and digimon are not far away. So far, the only other one awake is Sora, who is hugging Biyomon tightly with tears of joy. I make my way over, and poke her on the shoulder.
"Happy reunion, eh?" I say, before my ears spilt apart with Sora's scream.
"Tai!" she yells, backing up a little.
"Hmm?" Matt mumbles. He rubs his eyes before his meet Gabumon's. Just when he's about to say hello to him, I scream too.
Matt looks way different. His spiky hair is now shoulder-length. His frame is smaller, his eyes are brighter, and his face is, how do I put it, gorgeous. In short, he has become a girl.
Matt falls backwards into the river because of the shock and looks at "her" reflection. Another scream ensues, followed by another and another as both Joe and Izzy come to their senses.
Mimi joins in on the fun a little later, closely followed by Palmon, TK, and Kari.
The air fills with shouts, caterwauls, everything that can be considered as a scream, until everybody is able to calm down.
"Okay, what just happened?" Izzy demands, taking charge. Except, he doesn't look very convincing now that his messy red hair is a ruby color and he is taller than I am accustomed to. Tentomon must feel the same way, because he stares up at his partner very uncomfortably.
"I'm a girl... I'm a girl!" Joe panics, looking from his reflection, to Gomamon, and back again.
His forehead is covered in sweat, and he is obviously overly stressed. His hair reaches all the way to the beginning of her back, and her glasses seem out of place. He is even skinnier than he already had been, and no one is really bothering to calm him down. Not even his partner stops to assist; he is too busy wiping the tears of laughter out of his eyes.
"Gosh Jo Jo!" he snickers hysterically. "You're so pretty!"
"You're not helping!" Joe answers, kicking his digimon with anger. It isn't a hard kick, but the force of it sends Gomamon tumbling, who appears not to have noticed at all.
Kari is toying with T.K.'s hair, who doesn't mind all that much. He doesn't look much different after all. His hair was about the same length, and his face was still as childish as ever. Patamon sits on his head, unaware of any difference as far as he is concerned.
I'm too scared to see how I look. I don't want another scream fest on my hands; my eardrums are bleeding already.
"I don't know, but odds are, I'll look prettier than everyone combined because, face it, nobody can't say that I'm not attractive enough as a guy," I reply jokingly.
"Not funny, Tai," Matt glares. He is soaking wet, and it is pretty cold so Gabumon has to keep him in a hug till he dries.
"Whatever it was," Kari says making two little pigtails in T.K.'s hair with Gatomon supervising, "You're all very pretty."
Gomamon chuckles even harder. "See? Kari agrees with me. There's Jo Jo, Izzybella, Mattlena..."
He is distracted when he sees Joe take out a list from his pocket and a pencil and start scratching something on it.
"I'm rewriting my life plan. Marriage and kids are gone, and I have to add a sweet sixteen in there too..." he answers, sticking his tongue out the edge of his mouth in furious concentration.
"I'll help you with the party planning!" Mimi cries enthusiastically, copying Kari and starting to braid Joe's hair. Palmon joins in, accidentally tangling her fingers in the hair, causing Joe a great deal more of stress.
I stare at everyone. If someone doesn't do something soon, Joe's self-esteem will collapse, Sora's will melt with confusion, TK will grow up thinking he's always been a girl, Mimi will become a party-planner, and Matt will have hoards of boys chasing after him. It's worse enough when chicks do it.
Izzy sweat-drops and sighs. "Don't get ahead of yourself. I probably just messed up the coding at the end. I'm sure there's a way to reverse the process."
"And how, exactly?" Sora asks. Even though she isn't affected at all, she seems to be the one who is most creeped out about the whole situation.
Izzy puts his fingers up to his chin, his mind presumably whirling. "My theory is that we'll turn back once we go back home, but I can't say for sure."
"That helps a lot," Matt pointsout sarcastically. "What if we get home and nothing happens?"
"We could always ask Gennai," Tentomon suggests. "We've been keeping in touch ever since you guys left."
"Perfect! Where is he?" Joe jumps up, dragging Palmon, along behind him before she can get her claws out of his hair, with Mimi chasing him from behind.
"I think he's in the place where we were raised. I can't be positive, but I think there's a pretty good chance," Tentomon buzzed.
"Lead the way," Izzy instructed.
Tentomon nodded and flew overhead, leading us towards Gennai. While we walked, us digi-destined caught up with our digimon, telling them about the things we've done since our departure.
Izzy spends more time with his adopted parents and grows closer to them, while also focusing on opening the gate to the Digital World. Mimi speaks sadly about how she is moving to New York in a few months, and that it will be harder to visit. TK and Kari tell of childish things, and Joe is being bombarded with jokes. Sora says that she has been shopping with her mom for a while, and that they are finally starting to understand each other. Matt has thoughts of forming a band, and I keep playing soccer. That's all there is to it.
We make it to Gennai's underwater home, scanning the area in search of the old geezer. However, he's not here, and nobody can hide their disappointment.
"Don't worry, Joe," Gomamamon finally supports Joe. "We'll find some other way."
"I don't think that's necessary."
I turn to see Gennai with a few bags in his hands. My heart lifts a great deal, and Agumon and I go over and help him carry them back into the house.
"I just went out to get some food," Gennai says, giving each one of us an apple to munch on while inspecting us thoroughly. "But I can understand your urgency."
"Can you help us?" Joe asks, his apple forgotten.
"I believe all you have to do is get back to your own world before the reaction has time to settle in your bodies. I suppose I could open a gate for you all to be on your way."
We all shouted with glee. I didn't like the feeling of air in between my legs, and it was about time we got home.
"However, we must do it soon, before this becomes permanent. So say goodbye and follow me," Gennai instructs, motioning with his arm.
We sadly bid farewell to our digimon. TK manages I keep his tears intact when he lets go of Patamon, Kari takes the polite aproach, like always, and Mimi hugs Palmon desperately, worried that she won't get to see her again because she's moving. I fist pump Agumon, and after everyone is ready, Gennai leads us to a little TV in a separate room.
"When I say go, have your digivices up," he commands, preparing his gadgets to open the gate.
Digivices are up in seconds, and soon, all of us are soaring back into our dimension.
I open my eyes to see everyone crowding around me.
All of the guys are back to normal: Joe looks quite relieved to be a guy again, for he still pats his hair every once in a while to make sure it's back to its usual length. Kari is a little disappointed that she can't play with TK's hair anymore, but Mimi lets her braid her own long locks. Sora, Izzy and Matt don't stop looking at me with concern though.
"Tai?" Sora says slowly, helping me onto my feet.
She picks up a mirror that happened to be on Izzy's desk. "Maybe you should check for yourself."
And I scream again.
Most of myself went back to normal, with the exception that my extraordinarily large hair had grown to twice its size, if that was even possible. It ran all the way down to my butt, and I know now that there is no avoiding the barber's shop this time.
"Welcome home, Tai," Sora smiles.