Disclaimer:  I don't own Digimon…

AN:  Okay… Hello, Digimon fans!  If you've looked at my profile, you'll see this is my first Digimon fic.  It's a gift for my best friend Jen.  Any input is appreciated, especially in regards to any small mistakes I make in writing this.  On that note, could anyone please point me towards a good episode guide for seasons one and two?  I haven't seen many episodes, just the movie, really, and I'm going to be using just season one and two characters and plot lines.

This is a 'what if' sort of fic… as in, what if TK disappeared before season one?  How would the characters cope?  Yamato, his family, Kari, and Patamon?  This will be Takari, because having read many fics with many pairings, hope and light just makes sense.  Also, I was a huge fan of Kale, and therefore have been forever disposed to that pairing.  If anyone has copies of Kale's fics, by the way, could they share?  I can't find them anywhere, and I really loved them.  Sigh.

Anyway, this is, again, my first digimon fic, so please review, so I know how I'm doing…

Lady Ophelia

The Road Not Taken

Chapter One 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- 
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

                                                                        "The Road Not Taken"

                                                                                                Robert Frost

Gennai had good intentions.  The fate of two worlds was careening out of control, held in check only by the combined destinies of eight human beings.  It was a good plan… all the pieces fit, each piece essential to the completion of the whole.  Especially two pieces… Light… Hope… a heavy burden, to be sure.  Their souls were ancient; strong… the two fueled each other, and in turn, sustained the Digital World.  As long as all the pieces stayed in place, as long as everything went according to plan, victory would be theirs.

Of the Guardians, only Azulongmon, currently chained by darkness, approved of the plan.  But now the Eastern Guardian was powerless to act, and the other Guardians professed little faith in the Chosen.  They looked back, and rightfully so, on the last summoning of the digidestined, which had been less than successful.  Had the Darkness been turned back?  The answer was yes—but only barely, though Gennai was loath to admit it.  Only two crests had fully survived the final assault, and it was only through their intercession that the Digital World still remained. 

This time it would be different… the configuration was different… Friendship and Courage were much more strategically placed.  The rest of the crests would benefit from the unity of sibling bonds… and if all else failed, a second wave of destined children was also prepared, with Hope and Light as the common denominator between the two groups.  This time, it would work.  The peace that Gennai had so diligently pursued for so many long centuries would finally settle upon both worlds.

Of course, the unknown variable in this equation, as Gennai well knew, was free will.  Humans (and Digimon, when you get right down to it) had it in spades.  The Chosen Children were just that—children.  Children with parents, and emotions, and—God help him—hormones, who would not, could not, be controlled or compelled by their crests.  The crests could only guide them to a point, providing all nine virtues could work in concert without interference from the Dark Forces.  They could win… if they didn't end up eating each other alive.

"IF" is a very ugly word when you're trying to save the world.

Gennai had good intentions.

We all know what road is paved with those.

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

                                    "Fire and Ice"

                                                Robert Frost

Nancy Takaishi-Ishida's marriage was falling apart.  What was once a loving family was fragmenting into something unrecognizable before her very eyes… the chill of indifference was creeping in, cooling the warm affections that had once filled her life.  Malcolm's hours at work grew longer and longer as he distanced himself from his family… and for reasons she could not name, except with ugly labels like spite and revenge, she did the same, logging more hours at the paper in the last six months than she had in two years prior combined.  She wanted to hurt Malcolm with her absence, hurt him like he had hurt her… the first forgotten anniversary, the first missed Christmas… the beautiful dinner she had cooked sat on the table all night, as she cried herself to sleep in the bedroom and Yamato put himself to bed, hungry. 

Yamato… she sighed deeply.  She had wanted revenge, but against who?  Yamato was the one who suffered; languishing in daycares while his parents waged their own cold war.  A war of feigned affection, of icy sarcasm and venomous looks, and most of all, worst of all, a war of indifference.  Nancy felt she could have handled it if he hated her.  At the very least, hatred is something, it takes energy and thought… but indifference.  That was what really stung, what ached in her heart—or what was left of the broken pieces of it—that he could not care about her… that he could simply cease to care.  He didn't even know she had a doctors appointment today… he hadn't even noticed that she was sick. 

He wouldn't have cared anyway.

She shifted, wincing as the stiff paper she sat on crackled beneath her.  The harsh fluorescent lighting made her look haggard in the mirror on the opposite wall, and she grimaced, realizing she looked as bad as she felt.  The office was small, every inch of space utilized as economically as possible, as all offices in the immensely overpopulated city of Tokyo tended to be.  The walls were stark, bearing only a few pieces of bland, monochromatic art.  Just as Nancy swung her eyes to the ceiling to consider the make and number of its tiles to alleviate her boredom, the doctor returned.

"Ahh… Ms. Takaishi, we have the results of your tests…" said the doctor, a tiny elderly man with deep creases almost concealing his eyes and white hair pulled into a topknot.  Placing the chart on his desk, he turned and smiled serenely up at her, clasping his hands behind his back.  "To make a long story short, Ms. Takaishi, you are pregnant."  

For a long moment, Nancy gaped at the tiny man, attempting to rationalize the information.  **Pregnant?  Well… that explains the morning sickness…but how did…how could we… GOOD HEAVENS, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE DID THAT!?!?  I don't know… I don't think… Good God, it isn't his…it isn't his…it could be his…maybe it is…well, what he doesn't know can't hurt him.  A baby…a baby…a…ba…by…**

"Ms. Takaishi?  Are you all right?  You look rather faint… perhaps you should lay down…" the doctor murmured soothingly, his soft words breaking into her reverie.  He watched as she focused glazed blue eyes on him with a concentrated effort, the dazed look slowly falling away to reveal a far different gleam.  A faint light in her deep sapphire eyes, and the old man smiled in slight triumph as he recognized it.


Nancy hummed softly to herself as she paid the receptionist, filled with warmth she hadn't felt in far too long.  A baby!  Malcolm loved children!  Despite his long absences, he had doted on Yamato, and still did, come to think of it.  This would save her family… she just knew it.  Another baby!  Yamato, she thought wryly, would be less than pleased at first, but he would grow into the role of older sibling.  It would be good for him to have someone to play with, too.  He seemed such a… distant child at times, so cool, even when she cuddled him and put him to bed.  Yes, she thought joyfully, I have high hopes for this child.

The doctor smiled up at her as he entered the waiting room.  "Have a nice day, Ms. Takaishi," he said, and she grinned in response. 

"Now," he murmured, "who's next?  Ah, yes, Mrs. Kamiya, I'm ready for you now.  Just follow me please…" he said, turning back towards the examination room.  In the waiting area, a frazzled looking young brunette, obviously pregnant, heaved herself off one of the deep plaid couches with a profound groan.  She walked over the television, and tugged at a small boy adorned with wild brown hair and a deep pout.

"C'mon Taichi, Mommy's gotta see the doctor now.  I can't leave you alone out here; you'll wreck the place.  Remember, you promised to sit quietly in the doctor's office and NOT TOUCH ANYTHING while Mommy gets her checkup…come ON Taichi…"

As she passed, she and Nancy traded the weary smile that was the internationally understood to say, 'Yes, I have a three-year-old boy, too… and however bad yours is, I'd stake my life that mine's worse.'  Just as the brunette disappeared from sight, Nancy heard the boy's voice raised in query.

"Mommy, if I'm good, will I get a baby brother like Daddy said?"

Nancy and the receptionist traded knowing glances and stifled their laughter as the exasperated mother replied, "God, I hope not!"

Yamato looked doubtfully from one grinning parent to another.  The fact that they were both together, in the same room, not arguing—but actually agreeing—was enough to send him running for his security blanket.  His cool blue eyes swung between the two adults for a long moment.  A younger brother or sister… someone to eat up his parents already limited time and attention.  Someone to take… and break… his toys, someone to tag along and require his attention, someone to be more special than him.

His parents waited patiently for his reaction.

Yamato decided to frown.

Nine Months Later


"Breath, Nancy… You're doing great!  Just a little bit longer, you're doing so well…"

Malcolm wiped the sweat from his wife's forehead, ignoring the feverish glare she was shooting him.  Looking back, the last nine months had marked a renaissance in his relationship with his wife.  The news that they were going to have another child had cleaned the slate… the past became insignificant when you had the future to concentrate on.  He'd started coming home early again, spending more time with his growing family.  He had again focused on his wife, leaving her notes and surprises, finding again the spontaneous, romantic side that had somehow drowned in a sea of bitterness.  In turn, Nancy had blossomed under the attention, shedding the jealousy and the incessant demands and regaining the pure light that had characterized her personality when they had been newlyweds.  Her current understandable anger notwithstanding, of course.

Even Yamato had begun to come around in the end, the infectious joy in the house getting to him eventually, despite all his best efforts of sulking, pouting, and essentially being mad 'forever and ever.'  The recently proposed idea that, as the older sibling, he would be in charge, had appealed to him, as had the idea that he would be considered a 'grown up,' compared to the baby.  Although he had made sure to inform his father that morning that the fact that baby would be coming out Mommy's stomach was 'totally gross.'

He'd laughed then, but faced now with the staggering reality of natural childbirth, he was rather inclined to agree with his son's assessment.  It may be a miracle, but he had NO idea how his wife was doing it!


Yes, his beloved Nancy, the light of his life…



"Mr. and Mrs. Ishida, it's a beautiful baby boy!"

As the tiny bundle was placed in her arms, tears of joy coursed down Nancy's face.  "Oh, Malcolm, he looks just like Yamato did… he's so beautiful…ohhhhh… hello!  Hello little guy… I'm your mama… yes I am…" She tore her eyes away from her miracle to grin tearfully at her husband.  "He's perfect… so perfect…"

Malcolm, tears flowing down his face as well, only smirked.  " Of course he is… he looks just like you!"  She blushed and focused again on the wailing bundle in her arm as Malcolm leaned over and kissed her on her forehead.  "I love you.  I'll go get Yamato…"

He kissed the baby and then her again, before turning and heading towards the waiting room where Yamato was being watched by his addled but excited Grandmother.  Basking under the warmth of his renewed love and admiration, Nancy watched her husband go before turning back to her youngest son.

Snuggling him close to her heart, she gazed into his blue eyes, a blue that seemed different than hers or Yamato's… the same sapphire, but deeper… older.  Euphoria pushed her abstract thoughts aside, however, and she could only whisper into the tiny ear, "Thank you, Takeru, for bringing me my hopes and more…"

Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore! 
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, 
But gives that Hope to be thy blessing now. 
Hope springs eternal in the human breast…
                                                                                    "An Essay on Man"                                                                                                 Alexander Pope Three and a half years later…

"Matt… wake up… c'mon…"

Matt grumbled as small hands tugged relentlessly at the sleeve of his pajamas.  "G'way TK… there's nothin' in your closet…" 

The older boy had already checked his brother's room for any evil things that might be lurking in the closet or under the bed.  TK had been agitated all day, looking out the window fretfully as though he was expecting the sky to fall at any moment.  When he had been put to bed, he had cried and said that there was 'bad' in the room.  He hadn't been satisfied until his mother had woken Matt and had him search the room.  TK had then reluctantly allowed himself to be put back to bed, still whimpering about the 'dark thing' that he had been on about all day.  Though his parents had been skeptical, as adults tend to be, Matt had been a little disturbed by his brother's persistence.  He had noticed, far more than his parents, that his little brother, who rarely acted out in such a way, had a particular sense about certain things.  Matt couldn't really explain it; TK just seemed to know who to trust, who was deceitful, and whether or not something was wrong.  If TK kept insisting something was wrong, than Matt was willing to bet that it was.  However, there wasn't really anything he could do about it, either way.

His anxiety about his brother had already robbed him of quite a bit of sleep, and he was rather perturbed that he was about to lose more.  Matt wasn't normally patient except where his brother was concerned, but at this point even TK was pushing it.  He burrowed his head further into his pillow, hoping against hope the younger boy would give up and go away.  Not that he had known TK to give up on anything, ever, but he supposed there was a first time for everything.  As if TK had heard his thoughts, the tugging on his sleeve ceased.  Matt was about to heave a sigh of relief when a soft voice spoke.

"But the bad is here… in the sky… come look Matt! C'mon!"

Matt lifted his head to reply, but the words died on his lips as his eyes adjusted to the darkened room.  The were strange colors dancing on the wall next to his bed, and as he turned his head, he saw that the sky was flashing in a bizarre iridescent pattern that looked almost like… numbers…

Rubbing his eyes and looking again, Matt stifled a gasp as he sat up in bed.  "W-what is that...?"

Looking up at him with solemn blue eyes, TK replied in the same soft voice, "The bad is coming…"

He tugged at his brother's sleeve, guiding him out of the bed and onto the balcony.  Standing on his toes to better see over the rail, TK pointed to the sky.  "See?  It's coming…"

Shivering slightly, from cold and nerves, Matt rubbed his arms and craned his neck to get a better view of the strange phenomenon.  Looking back down at his brother, he asked, "What's bad?  What's coming?"

TK shook his head, his strangely bright eyes locked on the sky.  "It's… dark…" His eyes flickered, and the boy shivered.  He spoke again; this time his voice was soft and deep.  "It's not supposed to be here…"

Matt started, grabbing TK by the shoulders and looking deep into his eyes.  "What's wrong, TK, what is it?"  TK looked at his brother, his eyes suddenly searching, probing deep into the older boy.  When he spoke, it was again in the strange adult voice, which sounded like TK, but …not.

"We're not ready…it's not time yet…"

 Matt glanced nervously at the sky, his own instincts screaming at him to do something, anything… and TK was looking at the sky, too, but he didn't look afraid… he looked… almost… angry?  This was officially too weird for Matt, so he made the decision that any other six-year-old would have in his position. 

Turning away from the strange sky, he said, "I'm going to get Mom and Dad… Come on, TK—"

But TK refused to budge, grabbing Matt's sleeve to keep him there.  "No, Yamato, they won't see it."


TK never used Matt's full name, at least, not that Matt could remember.  It wasn't any stranger than anything else that had been happening, though.  Deep down, Matt knew that his brother was right, that their parents wouldn't be able to see what was occurring.  On the same level, he knew it was vitally important that he see it, but he didn't know why.

He looked again at the sky.  "What should we do, TK?" he asked, since TK seemed to have all the answers.  "I think—"

But he was cut off by the calm, low voice of his brother.  "Shhh… just watch…" Squirming out from his brother's grip, TK ducked back into the bedroom, returning momentarily with a pair of binoculars.  Handing them to Matt, he gestured to the city streets sprawling out beneath them.  "Look… go on, look!"

Matt obediently scanned the city, "What am I looking for…" he trailed off as he saw what appeared to be an orange dinosaur come around a corner, being ridden by a small girl in her pajamas.  Furiously adjusting the focus of the binoculars, he looked again.  Yes, it was indeed an orange dinosaur being ridden by a girl around TK's age, who was adorned in her footsie pajamas.  Feeling an odd sense of recognition flow over him, he murmured, "There it is…"

"Is that the bad thing you mean, TK?" he asked, handing the binoculars to his brother so he could look.  TK stretched up on his toes and looked out over the railing, his small hands fumbling slightly as he tried to focus the adult-size binoculars.  The image slowly came into focus, the orange blur resolving into a dinosaur like creature with something small and white on its back.  Focusing just a bit more, TK gasped as the white object resolved into a girl.

He knew her. 

No… shifting slightly on the railing, TK corrected himself.  He didn't really know her… but he recognized her.  The same way he had known that something was going to happen tonight.  The older part of him, the part that had been telling him what to say to Matt, that part of him knew her.

TK jumped as Matt spoke again.  "Is that the bad thing?  TK?" Slowly lowering the binoculars, he shook his head.  She wouldn't be with the dark.

"No…" he picked up the binoculars, and focused again on the girl.  Both she and the creature were looking at the sky… she looked worried.  TK dropped the lenses, looking up at the sky as well.  Something large and round was being formed by the numeric patterns.  It looked like an egg…

The bad feeling that had been nagging him all day increased, breaking over him with a wave of nausea.  He recognized this as well, but unlike the girl, this was far from a good thing.  He turned away from the sight, the older consciousness that had been driving his actions falling silent within him, and buried his face in his brother's shirt.

Matt automatically wrapped his arms around him, hugging him slightly as he stared at the giant egg forming in the atmosphere.  He could feel TK trembling slightly in his embrace.  The terror that the younger boy was feeling only increased his own.  The giant egg cracked open to reveal the largest, ugliest parrot Matt had ever seen.  Gazing at its beady black eyes, the blond knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was the dark thing that TK had felt coming.  Pulling his little brother closer, he began to back away from the menacing thing when a tremendous flash of orange light caught his eye.  Grabbing the binoculars, he saw that the orange creature had more than tripled its size, and a brown haired boy around his age had joined the girl beneath the colossus. 

TK turned and gazed down at the scene below, and the brothers remained silent as the creatures, with a thunderous roar, began to battle.  Debris flew through the air, raining down on buildings and cars in a storm of destruction.  However, just as TK had predicted, not a single adult seemed to notice the clamor. 

The brothers watched the battle until it ended with both creatures disappearing and the sky returning to its normal colors.  Almost as soon as the creatures disappeared, TK began to droop, the 'older self' that had been sustaining him up until that point fading into his subconscious as the creatures faded into space.  The child relaxed into his brother's lap, his eyes already sliding shut.

Matt gazed up at the icy white stars for a moment longer before half-dragging, half-carrying his brother back to bed.  As he tucked TK in, the younger boy's eyes fluttered open, focusing blearily on him. 

Whimpering slightly, TK sighed, "I don't wanna, Matt…"

Smoothing the golden bangs back from his brother's forehead, Matt asked, "Don't want to what, TK?"

TK's eyes slid shut as the boy fell into slumber.  "Don't wanna fight…  please don't make me…"