Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. Truer words have never been spoken.
Summary: Two days from leaving for their freshman year of college, Davis and the gang head to the Digital World for a little camping trip. It's all fun and games until they actually stop to think about what the future means to them as friends and digidestined. Oneshot.
Author's Note: Written for the Secret Bunnies Fic Exchange 2014 for Higuchimon. This is approximately 10 days late from the due date. Getting this written and rewritten was quite a challenge, but I hope it was worth it. Considering the time of year, I figure a lot of people are thinking about their future, so I decided to write this. Graduating, heading off to college, that strange transition from teenager to adult... I've been there, done that, and this is a little piece of me. I hope you...
Kari woke up from her sleep hungry.
She blinked groggily, groaning into the darkness of her tent. Her cropped hair was sticking up in all directions, and she struggled with her sleeping bag for a moment before finally kicking it off of her. She reached for her D-3 snuggled between her backpack and shoes to check the time before groaning again.
It was 2 AM.
She knew she would never be able to get back to sleep hungry, especially when her stomach chose that exact moment to growl as a sign that it was time for a little-past-midnight snack. There was nothing wrong with getting up in the middle of the night for something to eat. The other five digidestined would be asleep anyway, and as long as Kari wasn't too loud, she figured she could make it out of her tent, to the coolers, and back with something appealing in less than five minutes without disturbing the rest of them.
So, mustering up the willpower and effort, she moved to stand, carefully avoiding the tangled mess that her sleeping bag now happened to be. She stood, crouched, as she tiptoed to the entrance of her tent.
"Kari?" The sudden voice very nearly made Kari fall over in shock as she spun toward it only to find Gatomon peering up at her curiously through the darkness. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing, Gatomon," she answered quietly. "Go back to sleep."
"Not a chance."
Kari smiled affectionately. "I'm just a little hungry."
"Ooh, can we get some fish?" Gatomon asked hopefully, prancing over to join her.
"Doubtful," Kari said with a light laugh.
She reached for the zipper on her tent and moved to unzip it. Today was a special trip that she, Davis, TK, Yolei, Ken, and Cody had taken to the Digital World. It was their last trip as a group before all of them – excluding Cody – would be leaving for college in just a few days. Kari couldn't help the rising anxiety and worry that was starting to come over her. The rest of the digidestined seemed absolutely fine, but Kari was seriously starting to doubt whether or not she could do this.
This would be the first time in four years since the Digimon World Tour that they would be completely separated, scattered across Japan at their various chosen schools. By Saturday, unless she backed out, she would be in Nagasaki, all alone, without even her brother around for comfort. The weight of what was to come next was just starting to hit her, and Kari had started to have trouble sleeping at nights because of the thoughts that plagued her. Not even Gatomon would be around to help her if things got overwhelming…
She shook her head. She had no idea how Tai, Sora, and the rest of the older digidestined had managed to get through heading to college and starting the next part of their lives. And Joe – he had been the first to leave out of all of them… How had he not driven himself insane with worries and fears?
"Kari?" Gatomon asked.
The amber-eyed girl shot Gatomon a reassuring smile. Silly her had gotten distracted with her thoughts and had been crouching there with her hand on the zipper for several minutes. She pushed aside the entrance of her tent and stepped out into the night air with only the sounds of nightlife stirring around her. The darkness of the night and the shining stars accompanied her. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the forest air. It was so peaceful and calm out here. It was almost enough to make her forget her worries.
She turned and headed toward the picnic area that they had set up the day before, Gatomon trailing behind her. She didn't expect anyone else to be up this late; they had all turned in hours before after a long night of laughing and roasting marshmallows. So, imagine her surprise when she saw the campfire roaring steady and quiet voices coming from the clearing behind a group of trees. She rounded the bend and blinked at all who she saw sitting there.
Veemon and Wormmon were frozen in the middle of tearing through the last of the marshmallows while Yolei, Ken, Cody, Armadillomon, and Hawkmon sat at the picnic table eating a rolled omelet each. Then there was Davis, in the background at the portable stove with a pink apron on (a joke maybe?) and trying to roll another omelet.
They stared at her in as much surprise as she felt at seeing them all. Finally, they all simultaneously grinned.
"Hey, Kari!" Davis grinned. "Care to join us for breakfast?"
Veemon spoke at the same time: "Hey, Gatomon! Want a marshmallow?"
Kari smiled at them all and slid into a seat at the picnic table. Gatomon eyed the marshmallow with interest but didn't take it right away as she tried to keep her dignity. "Breakfast?" Kari asked. "It's not even morning yet. And Veemon and Wormmon are eating marshmallows."
"There's nothing wrong with marshmallows," Wormmon said with a pout. "They could be a breakfast food… Right, Ken?"
Ken laughed. "I don't think so, Wormmon. I'm not even sure if they're technically considered food."
Wormmon's pout grew. "But… I love marshmallows…"
"Me too!" Veemon announced before popping several into his mouth at once.
Davis groaned. "Ugh, dude, c'mon! You know those things make you gassy!"
Veemon went red. "Do not…"
"Do too! And I should know. I live with you!"
Yolei glared over at Davis. "We really didn't need to know that, Davis!"
"But it's true," Davis said, clueless.
"Maybe we should talk about something other than Veemon's digestion habits," Hawkmon offered, trying to come to his partner's rescue. Yolei was starting to look a bit green at the idea.
"So!" Davis said happily. "Yes, we're having breakfast. Do you want a rolled omelet, Kari? I'm getting good at making them."
Cody nodded. "It's true. The first few tasted awful, and I'm not sure if they even constituted as being called food… Now, they're actually edible. And even quite delicious."
Davis rolled his eyes. "Thanks, Cody. You really know how to make me feel complimented, dude."
Ken laughed. "It's kind of true, though, Davis. I could hardly eat them."
"Same with me," Armadillomon piped up, "and I can eat almost anything when I'm hungry."
"True," Cody nodded, knowingly.
"How would you know, Armadillomon?" Davis asked him. "You didn't even eat the first ones because they didn't have prunes in it." Davis looked over at Kari. "Did you know that Armadillomon doesn't eat anything without prunes?"
"That's not true," Cody jumped to his partner's defense before Kari could answer, earning an amused look from her. "He eats things without prunes, but it's just that ever since Grandpa passed away, he's been eating things with prunes in his honor. It's his way of honoring him." He paused and looked back at Armadillomon. "Right?"
"That's right!" Armadillomon said. "Anything can be solved with a little bit of prune juice!"
Cody gave his partner a strange look. "Maybe I let him spend a little too much time with Grandpa…"
Davis snorted. "You think?"
Armadillomon continued, ignoring them both, "And I can eat things without prunes, but when there's an option, why not go with the best?"
Davis made a face as if the thought disgusted him before he shrugged. "Well, you're wolfing the omelets down now. What is that, you're tenth?"
Armadillomon held up his paws to try to count. "Uhhh…"
"Eleventh," Cody answered for him, laughing all the while.
"I'm a growing digimon!" Armadillomon protested. "I need all the food I can get."
"And then some!" Veemon added.
"Veemon, you'd know about that," Davis quipped.
"Like you're one to talk!" Veemon protested.
"I don't eat nearly as much as you," he said.
Veemon scoffed. "That's because you eat three times more than me!"
Everybody burst out laughing while Davis sputtered, looking for a good comeback. "Do not!" Davis finally managed, which only made the group laugh more.
"Sorry," Ken said grinning. "I think you've lost this one."
"Yeah, don't forget that we've seen you eat, Davis!" Cody said through his laughter.
"To be fair, I think Davis and Veemon eat about the same," Hawkmon said, but his tone was light, making it clear that he was teasing along with the rest of them. "Which is bucket loads more than the rest of us combined!"
"Gee, thanks, Hawkmon," Davis and Veemon pouted.
Kari grinned, liking the banter between them all. With everything that had been going on during the last year, it had been far too long since all of them had gotten together to hang out like normal teenagers (and digimon). So this was nice… even if it was accidental.
Her smile faltered when she realized the only one who wasn't there was TK. She was about to stand up, opening her mouth to say that she was going to go get him and Patamon (they wouldn't appreciate being left out, even though TK would try not to make a big deal out of it) when she heard a twig snap behind her. She turned and saw the devil – or angel might have been a more apt description – himself standing there in his pajamas, yawning. Sitting on top of his head was Patamon who looked about as groggy as his partner. They both blinked as the scene in front of them slowly started to come together.
They all smiled at the sleepy duo.
"Hey, TK," Yolei said. "About time!"
"Good very early morning, Patamon," Armadillomon said.
"Sup, dude?" Davis called out.
Kari scooted over on the picnic table bench to make room for TK as she gave him a little wave. "Hey, Sleepyhead."
He glanced down at her and smiled before looking at the rest of the digidestined and digimon. "Was there some weird secret meeting at two hours past midnight that I forgot about?" he asked.
Kari shook her head, smiling. "I came here about ten minutes ago because I was hungry and found them all here."
"I woke Wormmon up when I got up to go to the bathroom, and he ended up having a marshmallow craving," Ken supplied. "When we came down here, we found Davis, Yolei, Cody, Veemon, Hawkmon, and Armadillomon already here."
"A marshmallow craving?" TK asked amused. "At," he checked his watch, "nearly three o'clock in the morning?"
Wormmon looked sheepish. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"What's wrong with marshmallows in the middle of the night?" Veemon asked. "It's food!"
"That's debatable," Cody said.
Davis grinned. "Veemon had snuck out of our tent with the exact same idea, so I went looking for him," he said. "Found these two," he continued gesturing to Cody and Yolei, "looking for something to eat. So, I decided to join them."
Yolei huffed. "I was hungry!" she protested.
"And extremely loud," Hawkmon said.
"And clumsy," Cody added. He turned to TK. "She fell into my tent. Woke me and Armadillomon up."
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" Armadillomon said.
No other explanation was needed. Everybody knew how Yolei got when she was hungry; the girl wouldn't stop whining until she finally got some food.
"So, why are you here, TB?" Davis asked before looking up in alarm. "Not that you're not welcome, dude. Just wondering."
TK grinned and sat down next to Kari at the picnic table. "Couldn't sleep. Decided that maybe food would be a good distraction." He smiled at them all. "Glad to know I wasn't the only one."
"And that you didn't leave me behind!" Patamon said through a mouthful of marshmallows. He had made his way over to the bag with Veemon and Wormmon and, much like his two fellow digimon, was in the middle of seeing how much marshmallows they could stuff into their mouth.
Gatomon rolled her eyes. "Teenage boys and food."
"To be fair," Hawkmon said, "Yolei was hungry too."
"I originally wanted ice cream!" Yolei said.
Kari grinned. "And that's completely different. Ice cream's more than food. It's a way of life."
"Is ice cream food?" Davis asked suddenly. "I always wondered. I mean, it's not exactly solid, is it? Like, it melts and stuff. So, is it a solid or liquid?" Several weird looks were thrown Davis's way, and he grinned bashfully. "What? I thought everybody wondered."
The table cracked up.
Ken shook his head. "Davis," he sighed. "Ice cream is a solid. When it melts, it's a liquid."
"And to think, he's headed off to culinary school!" TK said.
"Even I knew that!" Veemon announced.
Davis raised an eyebrow at him in disbelief as he put his hands on his hips. "Really?"
Veemon's eyes widened, and he looked around at everybody, as if expecting them to jump to is defense. When he realized they were all looking at him surprised, he adopted a somewhat embarrassed grin. "Okay, so maybe I didn't," he said. "But I was smart enough not to say it out loud!"
TK pointed at him. "Good point," he said with a grin.
Veemon grinned back.
"So, Davis, am I getting an omelet anytime soon?" Kari asked him.
"Right!" Davis spun around. "One omelet coming right up. You want one, TJ?"
"Sure," TK said. "How bad are they?" he asked in a mock whisper to the others at the table. "On a scale of bad to awful?"
The cook-in-training rolled his eyes. "I can hear you, dude."
"Really?" TK asked in mock surprised. "Oh, I'm sorry."
Davis grinned back at the Child of Hope. "It's cool," he said. "I'll just make sure to add extra prunes into your omelet."
TK's jaw dropped in shock. "You wouldn't," he said.
Kari giggled alongside Yolei. "Boys, boys," she said in a fake mother-hen voice. "Settle down."
"Yes, Mom," both boys said at the same time before looking at each other and bursting out laughing.
"Two year olds," Cody muttered. "They're both two year olds…"
Ken grinned. "Give them a little credit, Cody. Davis is at least around five."
"Yeah," Yolei nodded, completely serious. "And TK's six."
There were two seconds of silence before everyone in the clearing started laughing.
After the laughter died down there was silence, but it was a comfortable silence. Davis slid TK and Kari over each a plate with an omelet on it. TK gave his an experimental taste.
"When did you get so good at making omelets?" he asked.
Davis looked affronted. "I'll have you know," he said in a fake arrogant voice. "I am one of the most renowned rolled omelet makers in the world, thank you very much."
"Ooh, renowned," Gatomon teased. "Big word."
"Davis knows a lot of big words!" Veemon protested.
Davis smiled at his partner proudly. "Yeah, it just comes naturally to a smart, well-spoken guy like me."
"Right," Cody said. "This coming from the guy who didn't know that supercalifragilisticexpialidocious isn't actually a real word a day ago."
"In my defense, it's from an English musical, and it sounds like it should be some sort of crazy disease!" Davis said as everybody else chuckled.
"It does sound like some weird disease," Patamon said with wide eyes.
"I thought it was a type of sushi roll," Armadillomon admitted.
Everybody laughed again.
"Okay," TK said, "we probably shouldn't count knowledge in the English language as a sign of Davis's literary skills."
"Yeah, I got into college!" Davis said without thinking. "That has to count for something!"
After that, there was silence. Veemon stared at a marshmallow in his claw. Gatomon sat, frozen, staring at Davis like she had just been told her worst nightmare. Yolei and Cody looked at each other uncomfortably. Ken let out a breath, looking up toward the night sky like he wished he was anywhere but there. Kari poked at her omelet as it started to go cold.
TK just dropped his fork onto his plate, studiously not meeting anyone's eyes. "Right," he said, obviously trying to lighten the tension. "Either that or the admission officers weren't quite right in the head to begin with."
He glanced around the clearing, watching for their reactions, but Kari could see that nobody was amused. His joke fell flat, and he sighed. Yolei forced a smile, but it was fake, and the look in her eyes was sad and worried. Davis coughed and turned back around, cooking the next omelet, while Veemon stuffed another two marshmallows into his mouth.
"Is anybody else not looking forward to it?" Ken asked suddenly. "Or… is it just me?" All eyes shot to him, and he shrunk down a bit. "About leaving, I mean," he said quietly. "I know college is supposed to be this great thing, but…"
Silence fell over the group again, and Yolei patted Ken's hand comfortingly before Kari spoke. "Yeah," she said just as quietly. "It just seems all so sudden even though it's… not."
TK cracked a weak grin. "Even after everything we've done and what we've been through… I'm kind of worried."
"You're smart, TK. You'll be fine," Cody reassured him. "All of you will. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all of you gone, but… I mean, Yolei did it, so I know the rest of you will be fine, too."
"Yeah, I did it, and I figured it out," Yolei offered weakly.
But her words sounded a little hollow with everybody watching Cody worriedly. His words had brought up a new worry that Kari hadn't even considered. Cody was going to be the only one of them left in Odaiba as he still had two years left of high school. She couldn't imagine being the only one left behind, and she wished that there was something that she could say to reassure him.
"Of course we're worried," TK said. "It's the beginning of a new adventure, and this time we won't have our digimon with us. But we'll figure it out, just like we always have. We'll figure out the new tests and the new professors and the new friends that we make… And yeah, all of you will be hours away from me, but I know that I'll be able to call or email any of you whenever I need… Or just take a nice trip to the Digital World. And if things ever get hard, I know I have five great friends who are around to help me out."
Davis smiled slightly before saying, "I'm not worried exactly, but… What if when we come back we're all completely different?" His voice caught a bit at the end as he wrung his hands nervously, his knuckles turning white from the pressure.
"Davis," TK said quietly. "We are going to be different. But… that's not necessarily a bad thing."
"Yeah," Patamon piped up, "it just means you're growing up."
"I don't think I'll ever do that," Davis joked, but it sounded forced.
"Sure you will," Armadillomon said. "You already have!"
"I remember the kid who accidentally fell into the Digital World the first day we met," Gatomon said with a small smirk. "He wasn't exactly Digidestined Leader material."
"Hey!" Davis protested.
"But that changed," Kari said quietly with a proud smile. "As did a lot of things."
"And us digimon change all the time," Wormmon reminded him. "But we all fundamentally stay the same. Humans aren't so different from us after all."
"Except for the whole turning back into a baby when we're tired part," Yolei said.
Hawkmon raised a feathery eyebrow. "I don't know, Yolei. Sometimes when you're tired, you do get rather cranky…"
"Hawkmon!" Yolei snapped.
"Hawkmon," Wormmon said. "How do you deal with it? With Yolei being gone for so long?"
The bird digimon blinked at the question before answering, "Well… I just do."
"It's easier knowing that this will not be the last time we see our partners," Gatomon said. "Even if it takes Kari days or weeks or months to come visit, I know she will, and I know we'll pick right back up where we left off when she does."
"You'll be sad for the first day or two," Patamon said, "but then you'll realize how silly you're being, because it's not a goodbye. It's just a see you later!"
TK smiled at his partner before turning to Davis. "Saying goodbye is going to be hard, but you know it won't be the last you hear from us."
Davis gave a sudden shudder, as if the word goodbye frightened him. Veemon stood abruptly. Kari had completely forgotten he was there, due to how uncharacteristically quiet he had been since Ken had brought up the subject of college. And, looking at the rest of the digidestined faces, so had they. Except Davis. He watched his partner with something close to regret. Veemon didn't look at anyone. He shuffled back toward the tents, stopping only for a second when Davis spoke softly, "Veemon…" But he didn't turn around. He just kept walking.
Apparently, Kari wasn't the only one confused as Yolei and Cody exchanged surprised glances. She watched Ken and TK share a look before Patamon broke the suddenly very awkward silence.
"What just happened?"
Everyone looked at Davis, sure that he would know and explain, but he didn't say a word. He carefully removed the pan from the burner and removed the ridiculous apron he was wearing.
"I'm not really hungry anymore," he said quietly before walking off towards the direction of the lake, opposite of the tents.
Kari looked toward Ken who let out a small sigh. "Ken?" she asked him, hoping for some insight.
He shook his head. "I don't know," he admitted, though he sounded as if he had a small idea that he just wasn't willing to share at the moment.
TK stood suddenly. "I'm going to go talk to Davis," he said. "I'll see you in the morning."
And with that, he also left the picnic area.
Kari looked at Gatomon, Wormmon looked at Patamon, Ken looked at Cody, Armadillomon looked at Hawkmon, and Yolei sighed.
"Well," the lavender-girl said after a bit. "I think we should all do this again sometime."
Maybe just without the fear of everybody leaving hanging over all of them. Yeah, that would be nice.
x X x
The word bounced around Davis's head, and he let out a frustrated breath, staring out across the dark lake. He hadn't been paying much attention to where he was going; he hadn't really paid attention to anything, really. Goosebumps rose up on his arms, but he didn't notice. Worries filled his thoughts. In two days, Davis would be taking a forty-four minute subway ride right into the heart of Katsushika, and then his childhood would be behind him forever…
He brought his knees up to his chest and rested his chin on the hard bone, watching the sky and water. The silence calmed him slightly, the only sounds to be found were the hum of the crickets and nightlife that wandered around the Digital World. He had been trying not to think of saying goodbye ever since he submitted his application months ago, but he knew the thought had been on Veemon's mind. Every time his parents or sister would blatantly ask him about it, Veemon would get very quiet, but Davis didn't know what to tell him.
He couldn't exactly bring Veemon to college. What would the other students say? His professors? Yeah, that'd be a laugh.
Davis wondered, not being able to stop the thoughts raging in his head, if Veemon would forget him? He knew, logically, that he wouldn't, but what of the other digidestined? Would they realize that they could get by without him as a friend? Would he grow out of being a digidestined himself?
Could one grow out of being a digidestined?
Davis didn't know what he would do if he did. Being a digidestined was his identity, so deeply ingrained in him that he couldn't really remember a time when he hadn't naturally carried his D-3 on his belt. He thought of Tai and the other older kids. They pretty much never carried their digivices with them anymore, shoving it into a drawer so that it didn't get broken or lost, but could still be possibly forgotten…
Would that be Davis in a few months? Years?
He took a deep breath. He knew TK hadn't been trying to say anything to set them off. In fact, TK probably knew what he was talking about more than any of them – well, with the exception of Kari – since he knew what it was like to say goodbye to his digimon. Not goodbye, he reminded himself fiercely. See you later. Somehow, that didn't make him feel any better.
He sighed again, releasing his pent up fear and the turmoil inside of him.
"He won't forget you, you know." TK's voice cut through the whistling of the wind from behind, and Davis found himself tensing, his mind automatically shielding itself from the false hope that the words attempted to bring him.
"Don't—" he started before trying to cover up his insecurities, "I know that."
But he didn't, and that's what scared him the most. What if Veemon woke up one day and completely forgot that Davis had ever been his partner? Or what if Davis woke up and forgot about being a digidestined? Four years was a long time to be apart from someone, and sure, there would be the summer, but summers were so short comparatively.
A lot of seconds existed between now and graduation, a lot of seconds where the memory of being a digidestined could fade.
Davis shook his head. He couldn't blame Veemon for being so afraid of Davis leaving in just a few days, because his fear was pretty pronounced too. He couldn't be mad at the way that Veemon kept shutting down on him when he would try to talk about his college plans with him. Davis could never stay at mad at Veemon for long.
"Do you?" TK asked. Skepticism laced his words, a tone that Davis didn't like one bit and immediately grew defensive at. "It's the truth."
Davis bit his tongue to stop himself from saying something, anything, to make TK turn right back around and leave him alone. It would most likely be something that he would regret, and he didn't feel like making someone else upset with him right at the moment. He didn't want to fight with TK. To be honest, it was the last thing he needed right now.
"Veemon went back to the tents?" he asked, changing the subject. He already knew the answer, having watched Veemon's solemn walk out of the clearing and back up the hill where they had made camp, but it was the first thing that popped into his head.
He wondered how all of the other digimon were taking their impending departure so well. Armadillomon didn't have to worry about that for another two years, and Hawkmon had dealt with saying goodbye last year. But Patamon and Gatomon seemed as cool as could be. Sure, they had already dealt with saying the g-word to TK and Kari once before, but this was different, right? This was… scary.
He wondered if they were just that confident in their partners, or were they just better at hiding their fears than Wormmon and – obviously – his own very dramatic partner?
"Yeah, from what I could tell," TK answered. He sounded thoughtful as he moved to sit down along the shore next to him. "He seemed upset."
Davis nodded, having seen that for himself, thanks. He supposed that the conversation that they needed to have about his leaving was long overdue, but a part of him had hoped that it would never actually happen.
"How'd you deal with it?" Davis said after a bit of silence.
"Saying goodbye the first time?" TK asked for clarification.
Davis looked over at the Child of Hope, expecting him to be grinning at the obvious joke, but he was surprised to find that TK looked deadly serious. TK turned, sensing Davis's gaze, and a small smile finally formed.
"Don't look so surprised. I love Patamon. Being separated from him is… hard."
He didn't say it to freak Davis out, but the gogglehead still closed his eyes against the words and turned back toward the lake. "Yeah…" he said. "I can imagine."
And soon he wouldn't have to imagine it; it would be reality. Davis hugged his knees closer.
"It got easier," TK offered after an uncertain silence. "Not because I forgot about him or because I suddenly stopped missing him, but I just knew in my heart that we would be reunited. So, I just started to look forward to when we would meet again."
"And you were right," Davis said.
TK shrugged. "I usually am."
Davis rolled his eyes and reached over to shove him. TK chuckled as he lost balance and fell over onto his side. He didn't bother to pick himself back up and instead stretched out on the sand to watch the stars overhead.
TK's eyes clouded over with something as he nodded. "And I'll be right this time too."
Davis nodded slowly and looked out at the water before turning his eyes back to TK. "But aren't you worried?"
TK pressed his lips together. "About what exactly?"
"Patamon forgetting you…? You forgetting him…?" Davis asked.
TK met Davis's eyes, fear burning in his own. "Always," TK said quietly. "I'll never not be worried about Patamon… about losing him… whatever the reason. That's just part of being a digidestined. Our digimon are a part of us, but that's why I know that I'll never forget him or lose him. And that's why he'll never forget me or lose me." TK swallowed. "And us," he said after a pause, his voice slightly quieter than before. "We're connected, too. All twelve of us."
Davis frowned. "But aren't you worried?"
"Yeah," TK repeated. "Even with all of that knowledge, it's kind of impossible not to be. But it's not just because we're digidestined. This? College? It's… so big and scary compared to what we've done so far, because it is so different, and we'll be…"
"Alone," Davis finished.
"No," TK shook his head. "Never alone."
"But none of us are going to same college."
"That's true," TK said. "But we're not going to be alone."
"I wasn't talking about the other students," Davis said.
"Neither am I."
Davis didn't answer as he just frowned in thought. TK didn't interrupt him. They just watched each other in silence, both lost in their own thoughts, and both knowing that they understood completely where the other was coming from.
"I refuse to lose touch with any of you," Davis said suddenly, determined. "I'm going to call and email all of you every day."
TK grinned at him. "Good. I'm going to hold you to that."
Davis glanced up. "Maybe we can do weekend trips to the Digital World still. Or every other weekend or something."
TK laughed. "Maybe we should wait to see how difficult the classes are before we start planning on blowing off studying every other weekend." He met Davis's eyes. "Even if we don't get to go on one trip between now until next summer to see each other again or our digimon… We're going to be okay," he told the inheritor of Friendship and Courage. "I promise, the next time we see each other, it'll be like we were never apart."
"But I don't know about this growing up bit," Davis said after a bit. "Do you feel very grown up? I don't feel very grown up." Davis grinned at him. "Can you imagine me going all adult on some kids? Scary."
TK laughed. "Davis, you're never going to grow up, so I think you can stop worrying about that right now."
Davis grinned wider. "Maybe I'll turn into one of those grumpy old men that's always telling the youngsters to get off my lawn. And I'll inevitably end up living next to my sister who will have about fifty cats, and she'll always be yelling out her window at me to stop being so lazy."
"You stop being so lazy?" TK said. "Matt had a record deal when he was my age! I feel like I'm years behind!"
"Wanna trade?" Davis said. "I can handle living in Matt's shadow as long as you don't mind Jun screeching at you every five minutes."
TK grinned. "I'm not sure if Matt or Jun would like that."
Davis grinned mischievously back. "You're probably right. And your parents would never want you back after they had a son as great as me."
They laughed, the previous tension finally dissipating into the night as they just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. After their laughter died down, Davis turned back to the lake, wondering if Matt or even Jun had ever had a similar conversation to this before they headed off to college.
"You're right," he said finally. "We'll still be friends when all of this is over. We have to be. We've been through too much."
TK looked over at him, an easy but understanding smile on his face. "Plus, you're like a fungus," he said. "You kind of grew on me."
"Watch it, TV," Davis said, narrowing his eyes. "I know where you're sleeping tonight."
"TV?" TK repeated. "I am loving these nicknames you come up with for me."
"One of the many things you love about me, of course," Davis said with a grin before he let out a long breath and reached over to clap TK on the back. "I think it's probably about time that I talk to Veemon."
TK watched him. "He'll be okay. Palmon reacted pretty similar to Veemon the first time we had to say goodbye, but she came around. So will Veemon."
"I hope so," Davis said quietly.
TK climbed to his feet, stretching his arms over his head. "I should go too," he said. "I need to sleep. I have a lot of packing to do tomorrow."
"We all do," Davis said as they walked back toward the clearing that led toward the tents. The clearing was empty of the other digidestined and digimon who had presumably all headed to bed already. He grimaced. "Not looking forward to it."
"Matt's coming over to help me figure out what I need to take," TK said before hesitating. "Not that I'm even going to the same university as Matt let alone going into the same major, but… he has some experience."
"My parents were just going to help me," Davis said. "Like Jun would ever take time out of her day to offer a little assistance." He rolled his eyes before faltering suddenly at the look on TK's face. "But… your mom didn't help Matt pack, so… Right."
TK nodded awkwardly. "Anyway," TK said, letting out a small laugh before he turned to Davis with a gentle smile. "I know you're worried about more than just saying goodbye to Veemon and us, so… if you ever need any help, we're all here. We'll be in different places, but we'll still here for you. With all of us keeping in touch and helping each other out, I know we'll be okay. We're actually a pretty formidable team, especially our fearless leader."
Davis cracked a grin. "Yeah, I am pretty fearless, aren't I?"
"And full of yourself," TK laughed.
Davis's smile fell. "But I kind of ruined that image tonight, huh?"
TK shook his head. "Not even a little bit." He nodded toward Davis's tent. "Now, go show Veemon how fearless you are."
"Thanks, TK," Davis said. "I'll see ya."
"Yeah," TK said smiling. "Night, Davis."
They went their opposite ways, TK to his own tent, and Davis standing outside his own where Veemon was probably waiting for him inside.
Here it goes, he thought, taking a deep breath to prepare himself.
x X x
"Veemon?" Davis asked as he stepped into the unlit tent.
He zipped up the tent flap before he turned back to the shadows in front of him where he received no answer.
"Veemon, you better speak up before I step on you!" he tried instead.
Still no answer, but this time Davis saw from the dim light of the moon seeping through the slightly translucent tent walls a lump that shifted near his sleeping bag that could only be his digimon partner. He sighed and walked over to the lump, sitting down cross-legged on his sleeping bag. He lifted a hand to put on Veemon's shoulder as the little guy rolled over to face away from him. "Veemon."
"So this is goodbye then?" he asked him.
Davis shook his head before he realized that Veemon couldn't see him. "No," he said. "More like a… see you later."
Veemon moved his head, almost in a nod, but Davis could tell that he didn't really seem to believe those words, especially from the shaky breath he heard coming from the blue dinosaur.
"Well, it's been nice knowing you, had a good time being your partner," Veemon said after a moment of silence.
He sighed. He had been plagued with the same worries himself, so he wasn't surprised at the confirmation that Veemon was feeling the same way, but as he heard the words actually leave his partner's lips, he couldn't help but notice how silly they sounded. No wonder TK had been so certain that they would get through this new part of their lives still completely intact. Was there any other option?
"Yeah," he said, staring at him. "It has been nice, and it'll continue being nice until I'm old and gray, and you're fetching me my meds."
Davis saw Veemon's eyes shut. "Yeah, that could be nice, I guess," he murmured. "But who says I'll be fetching you your meds, huh? Or that I'll even want to be your friend when you're old and gray and no fun?"
Davis smiled, catching the teasing tone in Veemon's voice that reassured him more than anything. "And who says you have a choice?"
Finally, finally, Veemon rolled over to face him, red eyes staring up at him with an intense hope shining in them. "Do you really think we'll still be friends when you get that old?"
Davis smiled without any hesitation. "I have no doubt."
And it was, despite his uncertainties earlier, the complete and utter truth.
Davis held open his arms toward him, and Veemon only hesitated for half a second before he scrambled up to give Davis a big hug. He just held onto his digimon partner for a while, thinking about every adventure the two of them had shared since he lifted the Digiegg of Courage, every battle, every prank. Even if they parted, their friendship could never fall apart because it was ingrained in both of them like breathing or speaking. Even if they didn't see each other for the next ten years, they wouldn't forget each other or this connection because it was something that they would never be able to live without.
He tried to convey all of that into the hug, not able to eloquently think of words to explain how much Veemon meant to him, how much all of the digidestined meant to him. He would not be the person he was today if he had never been granted this destiny. He hoped Veemon – he hoped all of them – realized just how much of a part of him they were.
And you can't live without a part of yourself. You can't live brokenly.
That's why his life would always come back to this, because without it, he would be fractured, incomplete.
"I love you, Veemon," he said, not caring how sappy he sounded. "You're my best friend, and you're going to be my best friend until I'm too senile to remember what best friend means, and even then, you'll still be my best friend." He grinned, ignoring his own tears as he felt something wet hit his shoulder. "This isn't goodbye."
Veemon pulled back with a sniffle. "It's a see you later," he whispered.