"A great miracle happened there."
Jewish scripture in reference to the history of Hanukkah
A Great Miracle Happened There
Mimi Tachikawa stepped into T.K. Takaishi's apartment, her partner, Palmon, in tow. In the living room, the eleven DigiDestined and their eleven Digimon partners sat around, wondering why on Earth T.K. called them over. After all, it wasn't like there was any real danger around. With the destruction of MaloMyotismon the previous year and the induction of Noriko and the other Dark Spore carriers as DigiDestined, there was little for them to do. So the call had worried them, and they all rushed over out of fear that their young response team could not handle something. But T.K. held them all in the apartment, placing out eggnog and warm cookies. The food and holiday drink kept their mouths closed for a while, but eventually, Tai Kamiya had to ask.
"So why'd you call us all here, T.K.? I doubt it's for Christmas food."
Behind the comfort of the concealing wall, Mimi stifled a giggle. No one suspected a thing!
"Mimi, let me see!" Palmon whispered.
"Shh," she warned.
"I think it's all right to reveal the surprise now," T.K. decided. "Patamon, can you bring them over?"
"Okay, T.K.!" he replied, leaving several bewildered DigiDestined. Just what "them" were T.K. and Patamon referring to?
The tiny winged creature came over to Mimi and Palmon's hiding spot, signaling them to enter. Softly, they treaded into the living room, utterly surprising the other DigiDestined momentarily. Within five seconds of the shock, everyone seated came up and hugged her—minus Cody Hida and Ken Ichijouji: Ken because he didn't know Mimi that well, and Cody because he wasn't exactly the hugging kind.
"When did you come in?" Sora Takenouchi questioned.
"How long has T.K. been keeping this a secret?" Yolei Inoue asked.
"How bad do I have to kill my brother?" Matt Ishida added upon hearing Yolei's comment.
"I asked T.K. to keep this a secret," Mimi informed. "I wanted to surprise you all."
"You did a pretty good job," Joe Kido informed.
"Yeah, he nearly had to perform heart surgery without a license!" his partner, Gomamon, joked.
"I thought you'd figure it out sooner," Mimi answered.
"How long are you here for?" Davis Motomiya questioned.
"A week," she replied. "Just long enough for a Christmas party."
Almost all of the others burst into excited cheer. Finally, a Christmas party that would not end in a Digimon attack! After the fiasco caused with Ken's party the previous year, they'd been almost afraid to throw another.
"When will the party be?" Kari Kamiya asked.
"How 'bout right now?" Davis suggested.
"That sounds great!" Ken agreed.
"Cody, is something wrong?" Upamon checked. His human partner was looking slightly vacant and withdrawn.
"Nothing," he answered. "I just want to check out something in the Digital World right now. You can stay here with the party."
"Want me to get the portal set up for you?" Izzy Izumi asked, pulling out his ever-faithful laptop.
"No, I want to check with my mom and grandpa first," he replied.
"Do you want me to walk you home?" Yolei offered.
"No, I'll be all right." Waving off all offers of help, he walked to the elevator and went home.
Inside his own apartment, his mother was cutting a large sushi roll into smaller pieces for dinner later. His grandfather was at the table, drinking prune juice and reading the newspaper.
"Cody, I thought you were over at T.K.'s for a meeting," his mother commented. "And where's Upamon?"
"He's at their Christmas party. Is it all right if I go to the Digital World?"
"Are you sure you don't want to spend time with your friends?"
"Let him go where he wants," Grandpa instructed. "Cody's more than mature enough to make these decisions on his own. We should respect his wishes."
"Thank you, Grandpa," he answered, bowing in respect.
He walked to the computer and turned it on, pressing his D-3 against the screen. A gateway appeared for his use. With a cry of "Digiport open!" he entered.
Cody Hida had no belief in Santa Claus. He hadn't since the year his father died, and that had been when he was five or six. He was ten now, and he still didn't enjoy Christmas the way he had when he was younger. Back then he could look forward to all the special gifts left behind by Santa—each one more important to him than the last. He'd never known that his father would secretly buy the gifts early and then have them prepared for him for Christmas Day. He hadn't known until that year, 1999: the year his father died in the line of duty. He didn't remember most of his presents from that day, but he recalled that Santa had left him a kendo sword. He and his father had seen it in a shop earlier that year, before the shooting, a time when Cody first decided he wanted to take up kendo under his grandfather's tutelage. The sword had been beautiful then, but not as quite now. It was made of perfectly polished bamboo with a white rubber tip. It found its way to him on Christmas morning, and he knew that day that Santa Claus had really been his father. He could not enjoy Christmas afterwards, yet he could still enjoy kendo because of that sword. That sword was secured to his body in a belt that made his Digital World attire look a lot less bulky.
He didn't like Christmas that much. That was not to say he didn't enjoy the look of surprise on Upamon's face when "Santa" provided presents for him the previous year or the one he'd see this year. That wasn't to say that he scorned his friends' Christmas party—he'd always been an outsider among them in a way, so it really wasn't like he was avoiding their choice of holidays. In fact, he'd enjoyed himself very much at Ken's party the previous year, mainly because his longtime enemy had invited him despite the tension between them. It was on that day that he could truly see that there was no reason for him to hate the Ichijouji boy; after all, Ken didn't hate him. But the Western holiday adopted by his own culture as an unofficial day to have fun was not something he particularly chose to observe.
"Hey, get out of the way!" a female voice called from the air. Cody ducked out of the way just as an Airdramon made a very bumpy landing on the ground. A blonde twelve-year-old with gray eyes got off the Digimon's back with a blush of embarrassment. She'd obviously screamed the warning.
"Sorry about that," she apologized. "Airdramon is great with flying, but he's terrible at landing."
"Sure, rub it in," the offended Digimon muttered with a mostly New York accent. His partner turned and waved her finger warningly at him.
"It was your fault. You should apologize like I did."
"I apologize for my partner's lack of respect. I suppose that's what some people call the New York attitude," she informed. "Oddly enough, I don't have it, and neither do any other New Yorkers I know." She presented her hand in a friendly gesture. "My name's Tatum McGuire. This is Airdramon. Again, I'm sorry for what happened."
"It's all right," Cody assured, shaking her hand. "I'm Cody Hida. My partner, Upamon, is currently at a Christmas party my friends are having."
"Hmm," Tatum commented, placing one finger to her chin and cupping her elbow in her other arm. "You must be one of Mimi Tachikawa's friends. She said she was heading to Japan and hopefully having a party with her friends there, and your name sounds Japanese. You wouldn't happen to be a friend of Davis Motomiya's, would you?"
"Yes," Cody answered. "He's our leader."
"Well then, it's very nice to meet you. I met Davis when we had to get all those Digimon back here. He was pretty cool."
"Why are you here instead of at the party with your friends?" Airdramon asked.
"Airdramon!" Tatum cried. "That wasn't polite!"
"It's all right," Cody replied. "I'd prefer to be honest about it rather than avoid the subject entirely. The truth is, I don't really enjoy Christmas the way my friends do. The Digimon all look forward to Santa, and I haven't since I was very young."
"Why not?" Airdramon questioned.
"Airdramon, please keep out of this," Tatum inquired. "Whatever reasons Cody has for not enjoying Christmas are his alone, and there's no reason he should have to tell them." She then turned to her young Japanese friend. "I'm sorry. He honestly wasn't this bad when he was a Tsukaimon. Digivolving apparently caused him to lose all of his tact."
"Don't worry. My friends can be pretty blunt at times too. I'm used to it."
"Still, I wish there was something we could do," she commented, placing her finger to her chin again. "Wait, can you meet me here just before lunchtime—New York time, so we don't get too messed up—on the 26th?"
"I think my mom will let me. Why?"
Her eyes twinkled as she smiled at him. "I think I know a way to help you enjoy the holidays as much as your friends do. And come hungry."
Cody seemed pretty nervous when he rode on Airdramon's back with Tatum. She was standing atop the Digimon's skull, holding onto the horns, and not at all easing Cody's tension. He clutched onto Airdramon's mane tightly, wishing he had Upamon with him. While he didn't think for one minute that Airdramon would let him fall, he wasn't comfortable with the flying speed. Noticing this, Tatum began to engage him in small talk before they arrived at their destination.
"How long have you been a DigiDestined, Cody?"
"A year now."
"Two for me. I got Airdramon as a Tsukaimon when my family and I went on vacation to the British Isles. That's why he has a bit of an Irish accent underneath his New York one. Anyway, he digivolved when we saw Blarney Castle—something about the Blarney Stone or something did it, I guess. Most likely the Stone because he hasn't shut up since."
"Funny, Tatum," Airdramon commented. "You're pretty social yourself. And you know that you'd be bored without my constant talk."
She laughed. "Right. But I could do without your attitude."
"Here we are," he alerted, landing—and to Cody's relief, a lot more easily than the previous one—in the midst of some kind of mountain farm.
"Why are we here?" Cody questioned.
"It's just a brief stop," Tatum assured. She walked across the fields to a sign written in DigiCode. She examined the symbols in her digivice before kneeling and digging through the dirt with her hands.
She produced a small brown tuber from the soil. "Potatoes," she answered. "Every time Lou, Steve, Maria, Phil, Michael, and I have any kind of party, I bring them. So the Gotsumon set apart a fourth of their field for me to grow them. I take a little Irish soil and mix it in with this, and we end up with some of the best potatoes in the Digital World." She laughed at the sight of her dirt-covered digivice. "Of course, I can't ever remember the DigiCode, so I have to use the translator every time. Come on! Help me dig." Cody, unable to resist her oddly infectious personality quirks, knelt down and began digging through the soil. With their combined efforts, they ended up with enough potatoes to feed the Odaiba DigiDestined.
"That should be enough," Tatum decided. She took a brown burlap sack and placed the potatoes inside, and with physical strength Cody didn't expect her to have, she lifted them over her shoulder. "Come on. We've got a party to make."
Airdramon took off again, leaving Cody with some more airsickness. He decided that day that he didn't particularly like flying. But when the Champion-level Digimon touched down in a winter wonderland created by Steve Josephson's Frigimon, his disposition lightened a lot more. In a portion of lake untouched by the ice, Seadramon, partner of Michael Huntington, swam around contentedly. Tatum waved to Maria Valdez and her partner, Centarumon, who were trying to assist in cooking. Young Phil Corning was setting out straw mats beside two sets of candles while his Flarizamon was providing a makeshift oven and stove. However, one member of the New York jurisdiction of DigiDestined was not present, Cody observed.
"Did you bring the potatoes?" Maria demanded, hands on hips.
"What kind of Irish lass do you take me for?" Tatum replied. "Of course I have them."
"Yeah, 'cause you're Irish!" Steve joked.
Cody looked confused until Tatum explained, "I'm almost all Irish, so that fits in with the potatoes thing. But it's a good thing that I am, or else Steve wouldn't get any of the latkes he needs for Hanukkah."
"Yeah, Erin Go Braugh!" he replied.
"And they help with Phil's Kwanzaa," she added.
"I'm just glad this year we can celebrate them both at the same time," Phil commented.
"I'll get to work peeling them," Michael volunteering. "Oh, Cody, I didn't realize you were coming."
"I didn't either," he admitted. "Tatum kind of talked me into it."
She grinned. "My little surprise. Also makes up for Willis not being here this year; we can still have our umoja unity. Cody, can you pass this on to Davis?"
"Okay. Willis says he's sorry to all of us that he can't be at our parties because he's in Colorado this Christmas, but he's thinking of us. In fact, each time Terriermon and Kokomon hit him with ear-launched snowballs, he wishes he had Davis to be his shield." The other DigiDestined burst into laughter. Cody managed a small laugh. While the others knew what it was like to be hit with one of those rapid ear-launched snow grenades, Cody knew of Davis and Willis's odd friendship. They were very good friends, but they often tried to get the other killed or maimed.
"Okay, lass, into the kitchen," Steve ordered. "And get to work on those onions, Maria."
"You know I hate them," Maria protested. "I hate how they make me cry. Can't you make them without onions? After all, we're doing both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa here. Can't we use some of that kuumba creativity and make a new recipe?"
Steve mockingly gasped in fright. "And insult thousands of years of tradition? The souls of the Maccabees must be furious with you right now, Maria Valdez. You ignore their long fighting and cleansing of their profaned temple. And now you want to profane one of the greatest traditions of the holiday in their honor? Shame!"
"Fine," Maria answered in near-exasperation. "I'll get to peeling. And crying."
"Phil, when should I light the kinara?" Flarizamon asked.
"Uh, not sure. How about when we all sit down?"
"Is there anything I can help with?" Cody offered to the young African American.
"Sure. Can you help me arrange the fruits and vegetables?"
When everything was finally completed, the six DigiDestined sat down around the placemats while the Digimon took positions wherever they wished (of course, Flarizamon and Frigimon stayed far away from each other and the kids for safety reasons). Steve spoke a short prayer, and Phil followed with a short Kwanzaa greeting. They then passed around the Kwanzaa Unity Cup and sipped the water from it while Flarizamon lit the first candle on one of the candleholders, and Steve lit seven of eight on the other. Tatum took the opportunity to lean over and whisper the significance into Cody's ear.
"The holder with seven candles is the kinara, an important part of the Kwanzaa celebration. Steve's is the menorah, vital to the Hanukkah celebration."
"The middle black candle Flarizamon lit represents umoja—unity," Centarumon informed.
"And we certainly have that today," Maria added.
"There are eight days in Hanukkah," Seadramon provided from the water.
"Because we're in the seventh day of it, Steve lit seven candles," Michael continued.
"The menorah comes from a tale in Jewish scripture," Frigimon explained.
"I'll tell it," Steve volunteered. "Or a shortened version at least. The Maccabees—important people in relation to this holiday—managed to fight off the Romans that were desecrating their temple in Jerusalem. But when they did, they only had enough unprofaned oil to burn for one day. Yet it burned for eight, giving them enough time to make more. For this reason, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is celebrated on eight days with one light for each day."
"And Kwanzaa is a day to reaffirm African roots," Phil added. "Even though we don't share the same religion and we're not all African, we celebrate these holidays together."
"Because you're DigiDestined," Cody realized. "Bound together by a friendship that nothing can surpass."
"Now you see it!" Tatum declared.
Cody smiled. "Yeah. I do now." Christmas doesn't have to be all about Santa Claus like I thought it had to be, he reflected. It can just be a chance for us all to celebrate what makes us different from others. He rubbed the bamboo sword on his side. I only wish I'd learned that earlier.
"Hey!" Tatum called. "Cody, you know you can't be depressed today. Come on! Join the celebration!"
He nodded. We're all so different. None of us believe the same things. It all makes sense now.
Steve brought out some of his prized latkes made by Maria from Tatum's potatoes while Phil brought out the sweet potato pie Michael helped him make for Kwanzaa.
"Hey, you'd better not be insulting my heritage by bringing out sweet potatoes to compete with my potatoes!" Tatum cried. She could act so much like Yolei it was scary.
"Wouldn't think of it," Michael joked.
"Umoja, everyone," Cody reminded them. "Let's celebrate the miracles that happened in the past and those that are happening now."
"Now that's the spirit!" Tatum cried. Cody just laughed.
I am not African or Jewish, so I apologize for whatever mistakes I might have made on this. My information was based on Internet articles, so it's probably not very accurate. Information on the other New York Digis was from the Digimon Encyclopedia's Character Guide and Adventure Encyclopedia. I had to make up last names for everybody though. Tatum may seem very much like my OC Sakiko, and I am sorry if she does seem that way. But when I saw her in "Digimon World Tour, Part Two," I thought she looked very energetic. The Irish jokes were not meant to be mean-spirited—hell, I'm part Irish—but they were based on the well-meaning Movie Club jokes about our Irish member, who once received potatoes for her birthday as a joke. I unintentionally included her full name in there, so if anyone's really bored, they can try and figure out her name. The idea of the digivices acting as translators was from Chris McFeely's "Ascension." Umoja (unity) and kuumba (creativity) are two of the virtues celebrated at Kwanzaa. And for the Jewish side, some menorahs can have nine candles and some can have eight, so it's not a mistake if anyone asks. Besides, I needed an easy explanation for Cody, like I needed an easy explanation for my Frontier Christmas fic last year. Hopefully, this one will be better though. The idea of Cody's not believing in Santa was based on a conversation between my friends Krizia and Lizzy. I thought that it would be interesting for him not to believe because he's so intent on telling the truth and everything.
Well, that's about all I can squeeze out of this. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays I Forgot To Mention, or if you don't celebrate anything this time of year, Happy Month! Till the next.