DISCLAIMER: Digimon don't belong to me.

This is just a l'il continuation to Balance Of Power - enjoy!

Mimi sighed, tilting her head back to fully enjoy the warmth of the sun on her upturned face. >Spending these last few days by the river was the best move we ever made,_she mused, eyes closed.

" Darn it!"

Eyes opening, Mimi looked up quickly at the sound of Tai's voice. He sounded like he was in pain. Standing, she walked around the boulder by the river that blocked him from her view and came upon a site she knew she soon wouldn't forget. Tai was half in, and half out of his blue shirt, struggling to gingerly fit it over the bulky bandaging Joe and Sora had packed on his chest. She clamped her fingers over her mouth in an effort to keep the giggles at bay. Tai's muffled voice erupted from within the depths of the shirt.

" Ow!"

Mimi couldn't help it; she burst out laughing, clutching her stomach as she doubled over. Tai abruptly straightened at the sound, the sudden movement eliciting another "Ouch!" from him as he did.

" Who's there?" he demanded.

" Just me!" she giggled, walking over to him. She latched on to the collar of his shirt and with a firm yank, pulled it down over his head. Tai's red face appeared and he blushed rather spectacularly as she finished tugging it around the bandages.

" Much better."

" Thanks," he mumbled, a bit shame-facedly. Mimi waggled a stern finger at him.

" And what are you doing up to start with?" she asked him, planting both hands on her hips. " Sora and Matt will string you up by your thumbs!"

" Where'd ya hear that one?" Tai asked, impressed. Mimi shrugged.

" That's what Izzy and Joe were saying they were gonna do when they catch you!"

Tai groaned.

" Those two are worse then parents!" he groused.

" They just want to see you get better - we all do," Mimi said, shrugging her shoulders.

" But I'm fine!" Tai protested, spreading his arms to prove it. Then he gasped as pain radiated up from the wounds on his chest, shortness of breath overtaking him and pushing him to his knees. Mimi grabbed his arm to steady him.

" Oh yeah, you're just fine!" she smirked. Agumon appeared behind them.

" Is Tai moving again?" he asked Mimi, who nodded solemnly, masking her smile with great effort. Agumon then turned to his best friend. " You're supposed to be resting."

" Chill Agumon - I'm just stretching my legs! I'm tired of being flat on my back for three days!" Tai controlled his anger - he knew his friends were only being careful. After all, it had only been three days ago when he'd jumped in front of an energy beam that had been about to fry Matt. Reflecting back on the event, Tai knew he'd do it again in a heartbeat, but he prayed ferverently that such a sacrifice would never again be necessary. It was too painful. He fingered the bandages lightly. _Very painful._

Agumon and Mimi exchanged a glance.

" Let Sora deal with it," Mimi shrugged, before waving her fingers in a form of goodbye, off to find Palmon and get back to the arduous task of developing the perfect tan. Tai looked at Agumon a bit guiltily, but his digi-friend seemed to read his mind.

" You didn't hurt my feelings Tai - you're just not used to being inactive." Agumon smiled a toothy grin, revealing the sharp canines and inscisors that made him a force to be reckoned with.

" Well, he's gonna have to learn," Sora's voice put in, making the two jump. Tai swore under his breath as his muscles moved again, and Sora looked at him with a practise eye. " Lie down Tai."

" 'Lie down Tai' " Tai mimicked before scowling at her. " I've 'lied down' enough. Besides, I thought I was the leader?"

" Our temporarily indisposed leader," Sora corrected. " Until you've fully recovered, you're not leading anything."

Tai bit back the sharp retort (remember - they want to help you) and instead, allowed himself to be resettled in the bed they had constructed for him out of spare bits of clothing, branches and lots of plants whose large soft petals made for a surprisingly comfortable mattress. He felt himself slowly drift off again, the pain receeding from his mind. Sora smiled as Tai's breath evened out and he was once again free, from the pain. Matt stepped forward from where he'd been watching.

" How's he doing?" he asked quietly. Sora flashed him an amused grin.

" He'll be fine,"" she scoffed." As soon as we can get him to relax!"

Matt smiled finally, feeling as though a huge weight had been lifted from him.

" Good."

Matt opened his eyes at the sound of Tai's movements, subtle as they were.

" What do you think you're doing?" he asked lazily, cracking his eyes open. He blinked at the lack of intense light and realized that he had dozed off in the sun. Darkness had settled across the digi-world like a vast canopy, twinkling dots of light peering down at them from high above. Tai growled at him.

" I'm TRYING to get up!" he seethed. Matt pushed himself up and studied his friend intently.

" To do what, exactly?"

" Nature calls."

" You're on your own," Matt held up his hands and settled himself back down next to TK. Lifting one of the paws that decorated Gabumon's ornamental fur, he arranged it beneath his head as a substitute for a pillow. He watched Tai limp out of the campsite and return moments later. But instead of returning to bed, Tai made his way to the remains of the campfire and sat down gingerly. Matt sat up again.

" Uh Tai? Your bed is that way," Matt said, pointing to where Agumon lay curled up.

" I'm well aware of that," Tai said huffily.

" And I thought I had an attitude!" Matt chuckled. Tai finally grinned at him.

" I'm just tired of you guys treating me like I'm made of glass, or something."

" Can you blame us?" Matt asked suddenly. " That was the first time ANY of us had been seriously hurt here - we're not as invulnerable as we thought."

It was a sobering thought and the two boys pondered that for a while before finally going back to sleep.

Before giving in to the sandman however, Tai spoke.

" I'm grateful - don't get me wrong. But I'll be VERY glad when this is all just a bad memory."

Izzy stretched and turned to his laptop, eager to continue his evaluation on their digimon with the new programs Gennai had given him. He hadn't yet finished checking everything the wierd little man had installed, but what he'd discovered looked intriguing.

" And there's no time like the present," he murmered to himself.

" I couldn't agree more."

Izzy blinked as Tai's voice penetrated his thoughts.

" Tai?"

" That's my name, don't wear it out." Tai was making his way over slowly. Izzy stood in alarm.

" You're supposed to be-"

" Resting," Tai said wryly. " I know. Don't worry Izzy - I won't tell Sora you flunked Tai Babysitting 101."

" That's not humorous. It is imperative that you receive adequate rest for complete recuperation to take place."

" Yeah, well, I was hungry." Tai began rummaging through Joe's bag of snacks.

" You know, had you asked, I COULD have brought the food to you." Izzy said sarcastically, folding his arms. Tai was beginnning to feel like the younger of the two and he didn't like that feeling one bit.

" Well, I didn't, so you couldn't, so there." Tai found something that looked edible, unwrapped it, and bit into it. Izzy motioned towards the freshly wrapped bandage.

" Sora?"

" An' Joe," mumbled Tai around a mouthful of food. He swallowed and continued. " The more bandages they wrap, the happier they are." He thumped his chest lightly, only a faint grimace crossing his face.

" Feels like I'm wearing a kevlar vest."

" It is not thick enough to warrant a comparison to kevlar," said Tentomon alighting next to them. Tai made a face at him.

" Teachiing Tentomon comedy, Izzy?"

" I'll have you know I came up with that one myself," said Tentomon, slightly miffed.

" TAI!" A loud shout startled all of them.

" Oh boy," Tai sighed as he turned, preparing himself for the wrath of Sora.

" What a day!" Tai groused that night. " Being watched like a hawk and yelled at for flinching is really getting on my nerves!" He sat there on his pallet, watching as the others prepared the camp for nightfall. Joe and Gomamon were fishing for the group's dinner, Biyomon and Agumon, under Sora's directions, were using their powers to cut a fresh supply of firewood, and TK and Patamon were watching the proceedings, childish delight written on their faces. Matt and Izzy were carving fresh sticks to use for roasting the fish, and the other digimon were getting their own dinners. But Tai was barely registering them anymore. He was so absorbed in his thoughts that he was startled when Mimi sat down next to him.

" What's the matter with you?" she said abruptly.

" Huh?" Tai couldn't switch gears fast enough. Mimi sighed with impatience.

" I mean, really. Here you are, you don't have to work, you have the whole group waiting on you hand and foot and you're STILL complaining!"

" It's not my style," Tai protested. " I LIKE being independant."

" I noticed. " Mimi shrugged. " So what?"

" What do you mean?"

" Oh come on Tai - you can't be that slow!" Mimi giggled. " I mean, if you want your independance back, give them what they want!"

" Which would be..."

" Let them wait on you." Mimi took off her hat and shook her long hair, fingercombing it once before replacing the pink head covering and giving him a devilish grin. " Make the most of it."

" How's that gonna win me back my freedom from the mommy patrol?" Ta asked, jerking his thumb towards Sora, Matt and Joe.

" Oh they'll be sick of you, they won't be able to WAIT to leave you alone!"

Did that makes sense? Tai didn't quite think so but the logic was there. He gave Mimi a big smile.

" How do you figure that?"

Mimi shrugged again, shoulders gracefully rising and falling as she raised her chin in a fashion that would have seemed haughty except for the twinkle dancing in her brown eyes.

" You learn a lot when you're a 'spoiled princess'," she said, using the nickname they had given her when they had first met. Tai chuckled and impulsively leaned over to give her a hug.

" Thanks Mimi."

" Anytime," she said, hugging back. Tai stifled a gasp and she drew back in concern.

" Ooops!"

" That's it!" Joe seethed as he stomped back to the fire. Sora raised an eyebrow.

" Now what?"

" He didn't like the fruit I brought him. Wants new fruit. I'll give him fruit!" Joe shouted, raising his fists in Tai's general direction.

" Yeah," added Gomamon. " He's getting real picky lately."

" Tell me about it," scoffed Matt. " He had me and Izzy carry him to the river today - said his chest hurt too much to consider walking!"

" He's surprisingly heavy for someone of his apparent size," Izzy chimed in, rubbing his aching arm muscles.

" Just wait guys," Sora soothed them. " He'll be back to full health in no time at all and then all will return to normal." Her eyes flashed. " Or else I'LL kill him!"

" Get in line!" Joe growled. Mimi chuckled to herself as she picked up her makeshift pate and went over to where Tai sat, contentedly munching his fish on a stick.

" How's it going?"

" Working like a charm," Tai swallowed a piece of fish and moved over, making room for her to sit. " You give pretty good advice."

" I know!" Mimi winked at him and they sat there in silence, eating their dinner. Then:

" So how long before they begin shouting at me to get stuff myself?"

" At this rate?" Mimi pretended to think about it. " Tomorrow morning!

" Good!"

The rest of the digi-destined never did find out what caused the peals of laughter coming from the two of them.

The End!