At last, the grand finale..

College Buds: Chapter Sixteen

He loves me, he loves me not, Sora thought wryly, picking the petals off a sunflower in the park. Tai had suggested a friendly game of soccer before the dance and everyone had agreed. Even Mimi. Sora's eyes brightened as they followed the brown haired boy on the field. She plucked the last yellow petal off. He loves me.

"Sora! You ready to play now?" yelled Tai, stopping the ball.

Matt came up from behind him, huffing and puffing all the way. He was the only one that was still on the grass. Everyone else was resting under the shade of some trees. "Stop moving so fast....I'm not like you. I don't have batteries installed in my body."

"Too bad," smirked Tai. "They can come real handy sometimes."

Sora walked up to them. "I'll take your place, Matt," she volunteered. "You look like you need a break." She grinned. "Besides, it's about time Tai has a worthy opponent."

Matt raised his eyebrows indignantly but he retired at one of the picnic tables. "I sure hope you know what you're doing, Sora. He's like the Energizer bunny. Going and going..."

"He doesn't scare me," said Sora confidently. "I'll wipe the floor with him."

"Oh really? You're getting a little too cocky, girly," scowled Tai, using the hated name the coach had bestowed on her.

"Hey, only the great Hiroshima monster can call me that," drawled Sora. "Better take that back, boy."

"Make me," challenged Tai.

"If you insist." Sora shrugged and suddenly kicked the ball away from under his foot. She sprinted gracefully across the field in no time. Tai was right behind her but he wasn't able to stop her from scoring. She gave a loud, victorious whoop and raised her arms in the air triumphantly. She turned to Tai and smiled sweetly. "I think your batteries just ran out. You're free to quit whenever you want. I'll understand."

"Are you kidding?" replied Tai. He reached over and brushed a strand of Sora's hair out of her face. She shivered at his touch. Tai grinned. "Sorry sweetie, but I'm just getting started."


"Tired yet?" asked Sora, eyeing the ball with intense concentration.

"Hardly," said Tai. He tried to manuever around her but was blocked everytime.

"Well, we are!" complained Mimi. "You two have been at it for hours. Let's go home!"

Kari checked her watch. "The dance is only two hours away."

"Party poopers," sulked Tai. But he picked up the ball. "Nice playing with you, Takenouchi." He extended his hand playfully and Sora took it.

"The pleasure was all mine, Kamiya," she replied. Their hands touched and electricity it seemed, flowed between them. They jerked away and blushed.

The group began the trip back to the house. Mimi stared at the ground, wondering once more about Izzy. Joe checked his beeper to see if he got any calls and Matt fingered the cords on an invisible guitar. Kari and T.K smiled secretively as they gazed at each other adoringly.

In the meantime, Sora was busy thinking about Tai and Tai was busy thinking about Sora. The two best friends walked to the Kamiya home with their minds on each other and it was only when they got to the door that it dawned on them: they had been holding hands the whole way.


Sora stepped out of the closet and spun around. She was wearing a sphagetti strap red dress with a long slit that went up to just above her knee. Her hair was in an elegant bun and there were small touches of make-up on her face. Sora giggled. Tai would never recognize her in this outfit. Heck, she didn't even recognize herself. She put on her mask-a silky, scarlet thing that was edged with pearls.

Mimi's cheerful voice came from in the hall. "Kari. Sora. You guys can come out now. They're gone." To make things interesting, Mimi had suggested that the boys leave first followed later by the girls. That way, they could spend the night trying to guess who was who.

Sora opened the door slowly and stepped out, feeling self conscious. "How do I look?" she asked nervously.

Mimi gaped a bit before smiling. "You're a knock out. Go get him, wild thang!"

"Get who?" Sora asked innocently as she put on her jacket.

"Get who?" mimicked the pink haired girl. "As if you don't know.." She shook her head disapprovingly. "It's about time you face your feelings, Sora. I know you like him."

"I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about," declared Sora, turning red. "Kari! You ready?"

"Coming!" said Kari. She came into view in the dress Mimi had bought her. Her eyes sparkled with excitement.

Sora opened the door and went out with Kari behind her. "Bye, Mimi!" they called together.

"Have fun with T.K, Kari!" Mimi shouted, waving furiously.

"I will!"

"Tell Tai you like him, Sora!"

"I still have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!"

But Mimi noticed with satisfaction that her friend's ears had turned pink. The pink haired girl shut the door and was instantly aware of the quiet. She was all alone. If only.... "No. Don't even think about him," she instructed herself. She wandered into the living room and plopped herself onto the couch. After a while, she closed her eyes and, despite herself, her mind drifted to the image of an adorable redheaded man. Loud noises snapped her out of her daydream. It was the sound of shattering glass and footsteps. She listened for a moment further and then sat up, scared. Somebody was inside the house.


The soft music wafted through the air. Tai looked over the shoulder of the girl he was dancing with at the gym entrance. Sora still hadn't arrived. He sighed and excused himself to the refreshment table. He poured himself a drink and retreated to the bleachers. It just wasn't any fun without her.

Tai sipped his punch and nearly choked as she came into view. He set his cup aside and began to hurry over. He pushed his way through dancers and, just as he was about to reach her, he tripped over his shoelaces and fell at her feet.

Sora smiled, amused. "Sneakers?"

Tai got up, blushing and scowling at the same time. "I didn't have any other shoes to wear." He reached for her hand. "Care to dance with a stranger?"

"I'd love to, TAI," Sora replied, eyes twinkling.

"You recognize me?" said Tai, pretending to be surprised. He took off his blue mask and grinned. "I guess I don't need this anymore then. Why don't you take yours off, too, SORA?"

Sora complied with his request. "I was hoping you didn't know it was me," she said disappointedly.

Tai drew her onto the dance floor. He put his left arm around her waist and took her right hand with his own. They began swaying softly to the music. "I could tell it was you from the moment I saw you," he declared.

"How so?" murmured Sora. She put her head on his shoulder.

"It's simple. Noone else could look as beautiful."


Mimi held her breath as she began to tiptoed toward the door. Home free, she thought with relief as her hand touched the knob. But before she could open it, she stiffened. Someone was touching her hair.

"So soft," crooned a voice. "You're such a pretty girl...maybe I'll let you live."

"Leave me alone! Get out of here!" Mimi shrieked, trying to jerk her head out of his grasp. She kicked him in the shin and felt herself being thrown onto the floor. The intruder stood over her. In the dim moonlight coming from the window, she saw the glint of a blade.

"Now, now," he whispered maliciously. "No need for violence." He advanced slowly toward her.

"Oh God," Mimi whispered, paralyzed in fright. She could feel the tears well up in her eyes. "I'm too young to die..."

The man flashed a twisted, crazy smile. "Noone's too young, sweetheart. Here, I'll prove it to you."


"Look where we've stopped," said Tai, grinning like an eager schoolboy. He held Sora close. They had been dancing for two hours straight.

Sora lifted her eyes to the green mistletoe above her. "I should have known not to let you lead." She pecked him on the cheek. "Happy?"

"No," sulked Tai. "I was hoping for something more like this." He leaned his face down toward hers. But before he could kiss her, she wrenched herself out of his grasp.

"I need some...uh...punch," she said nervously. "Be back in a sec." She disappeared through the crowd of dancers before Tai could even open his mouth.


Mimi climbed up the stairs as fast as she could. She could hear his footsteps behind her. Desperate, she ran into a bedroom and slammed the door behind her, locking it. She saw a telephone and filled with joy. But when she picked it up, she discovered the lines had been cut. There wasn't any dial tone.

She sank to the ground in defeat, sobbing hysterically. The guy was kicking the door. Within minutes, he would break it open and then.... She didn't want to think about it. She looked around the room for something to defend herself. She grabbed a baseball bat, even though she knew it wouldn't be enough.

"I don't wanna die," Mimi whispered. She held the bat defensively in front of her. The door fell onto the floor.


"Did you see where'd she go?" asked Tai, frustrated. For the last hour, he had been searching for Sora. She was nowhere to be found. "Well?"

Matt handed him a letter. "She gave me this after she left. Told me to give it to you."

Tai tore it open and proceeded to read:

-Dear Tai,

It's hard for me to write this to someone who's been my best friend my whole life, but I think I'm in love with you.

Tai whooped loudly, causing some heads to turn. "I KNEW IT!"

How could I not be? You're cute, funny, brave, and, most importantly, someone I can't count on. My feelings run deep.

Tai smirked, incredibly pleased with himself.

But do yours? Do you really know me? How do I know it's not just some temporary infatuation? So by the time you've read this letter, I'll be gone. Find me and prove how much you really care. I'll be waiting at our special spot. Please don't let me down. Love, Sora-

"Get back," Mimi threatened nervously. "Don't get any closer or I'll bash your brains out!" The guy looked amused and paid no mind to her warning.

Mimi quivered violently. She steadied herself and gritted her teeth. She aimed for his head and swung the bat with all her might. Surprised, the man tried to leap out of the way and the bat slammed into his back. There was a grunt of pain as he fell onto the ground. Trembling, Mimi edged quickly toward the door.

Then it happened. The sound of the click of a trigger and Mimi found herself staggering blindly. She dropped to the floor and gazed in shock at the redness that was pouring out of her chest. Blood. She glanced at the man who held the gun in his hands. He was smiling.

He was speaking smugly now but she couldn't hear him. He sounded too far away. Mimi blinked confusedly. Since when did she start needing glasses? Everything was so blurry. The man had gotten up and was standing over her. He reached his hand toward her and she closed her eyes.

The man stroked Mimi's pink hair in regret. "So soft," he remarked. It was then he realized her lips were moving. He leaned closer to hear her say a name. She murmured it softly, almost joyfully, "Izzy..."


Tai sat on a bench in the park, pondering the letter over in his mind. Special spot? Where was it? Well, it sure wasn't the place where they had first met. He glanced at the empty soccer field. His mind thought back to all the moments he had shared with Sora:


Scared, Tai glanced at the gravestones around him. "Sora, tell me why are we here again?"

"Well, I'M here to visit my dad's grave," replied Sora placidly, holding a bouquet of red roses. "YOU just decided to tag along. Why did you come anyways?"

The truth was that he was worried about her coming to the cemetery all alone. But Tai was starting to have a thing for telling white lies around his best friend. He tried to shrug nonchalantly. "I thought it would be cool visiting the cemetery at midnight. You know, to see some ghosts."

Of course, those white lies never worked. "Yeah, right," Sora said sarcastically. She continued to wander around, looking for father's headstone. Tai followed her, not wanting to be by himself in this creepy place.

"Brrr. It's so cold. Why don't you just come during the daytime?" Tai zipped up his jacket and began rubbing his hands together.

"I'm not allowed to," Sora smiled bitterly. "Since my mom doesn't come anymore, I can't either. She says it's time to move on. So I just wait until she's asleep."

"Oh. What was your father like?" Tai asked curiously. She had never talked about that. Not even to him.

"He was nice," answered Sora, a bit offhandedly.

But Tai could see through white lies, too. "Come on. He's got to have been more than nice for you to come all the wa-"

"All right. He was really nice," interrupted Sora. The expression on her face was enough to make any guy shut up.

Then again, Tai always was a bit clueless. "Did you love him? How'd he die?"

Sora stiffened and glared at him coldly. "None of your business, Taichi Kamiya. I think maybe it's time for you to leave. I don't need you around to watch me."

Her icy tone made him angry. "Well, if you weren't so stupid as to come here at midnight, then maybe I wouldn't have to act like your babysitter," Tai retorted.

"At least I'm not scared. Unlike some stupid idiot who-"

"Well, at least I have a dad who's ALIVE," interrupted Tai. The moment the words came out of his mouth, he knew he had made a big mistake. Sora's fist came slamming toward his face, knocking him to the grass.

"I hate you," she said in a low voice. She threw down the bouquet at his head and ran away with tears streaming down her face.

"Sora, wait! I'm sorry! I didn't mean it!" Tai called out to her. She ignored him. Tai leaped upright and chased after her. "Come back! I said I was sorry!" Eventually, being the faster runner, he caught up to her. In a burst of energy, Tai tackled her to the ground and pinned down her shoulders.

"Go away!" Sora sobbed. "Leave me alone!"

Tai didn't budge. He waited until she had calmed down before speaking. "Sora, what I said back there was really...awful. Can you ever forgive me?"

She gazed at him with sorrow-filled eyes. To Tai, they looked almost pretty as they sparkled in the moonlight. "Yeah. But I'm sorry, too," she said regretfully. "I don't hate you."

Tai smiled. "I know."

"Can you get off me now?"

"Oops." Tai blushed and stood up, helping Sora to her feet as well. He noticed she was grinning at him. "What's so funny?"

She reached up and plucked something out of his hair. "This." She held out a red rose to Tai. "Want it?"

"No," Tai refused gently. "You keep it...for your dad." He glanced over Sora's shoulder. "By any chance, was his name David Takenouchi?"

"How'd you know?" Sora said, astonished.

Tai pointed at a headstone. "Cause he's buried right there."

Sora didn't say anything. She just smiled her gratitude to Tai for helping her find the object of her search. Tai watched as she kneeled in front of the gray stone made of granite. Her mouth moved but he couldn't hear the words that she was speaking. She bent her head and clasped her hands together as if in prayer. When she was finished, she stood up and walked back to Tai. He saw that she was weeping.

"It's ok," he soothed, patting her on the shoulder. Tai grabbed her hand and they walked toward the nearest tree. He sat down and leaned against the trunk. Unthinking, he pulled her into his arms. "Need a hug?"

"Thanks," came Sora's muffled voice. She put her arms loosely around his neck and they sat together holding each other. A few moments passed in silence.

"Hey, you didn't give him the flower," said Tai, eyeing the rose in her hand.

"Well, I'm starting to think my mother's right. I've been coming one day for every month for every year since third grade and I'm in eighth grade now. Maybe it is time to move on." Sora took Tai's hand and put the flower in it. "You can have it." She shifted around to face her father's grave.

Tai brushed away a strand of her auburn hair that was tickling him on the nose and allowed his arms to wrap around her protectively. "Are you sure you want me to keep this?" He fingered the petals gently. "A red rose usually means-"

"Love?" finished Sora. She leaned back into his embrace, enjoying his warmth. "I know."

Flashback Ends

Tai stared at the full moon and began walking. His destination: the cemetery.


Dark. Everything was so dark. Mimi felt frightened. She had no idea where she was. Had she died? Was this hell?

"To your questions, almost and no. You are almost dead but this is not hell."

Mimi gasped as a young, black-haired man manifested in front of her. He wore a black hood and cloak and there was a charming, yet strangely mysterious, aura around him. "Who are you?" she questioned.

"In ten words or less, I am Death."

"What do you want?" Mimi breathed in dread.

"I hold your life in my hands. Literally." A bright, pink sphere hung suspended above his open palm. Death continued, "It is my decision whether you live or die. Right now, your body is leaning toward the latter. You are exactly thirty minutes and four seconds from departing the human world. Someone is on their way to rescue you but he will not make it in time."

"The ambulance?" suggested Mimi, perplexed at his last sentence. "Tai? Joe? Matt? TK? Iz-" She stopped and choked back a sob. Izzy was too far away. He didn't know what had happened and she would probably never see him again.

Death ignored her and his mouth twisted into a sardonic grin. "However, you may save yourself."

"How?" Mimi felt hope rise in her chest.

"Simple. Give me five truthful reasons why I should let you live."


"Sora, where are you?" sighed Tai. She wasn't in the cemetery. She wasn't in the flower shop. She wasn't in the movie theater. He strolled quietly down the sidewalk, feeling angry at himself. "I'm such an idiot. I"ll never find her and I-" He stopped as a billboard sign caught his attention. It was advertising make-up and featured a beautiful model. But that wasn't what caught his attention. The lettering in big block letters spelled out the sentence: SHE'S OUT OF THIS WORLD. Tai felt as if a lightbulb had been turned on in his head and set off immediately on a run. He knew where Sora was.


"Well, my parents would be devastated," began Mimi.

Death nodded and held up one finger. The malicious glint in his eyes never left. They always say that one, he thought, amused.

"And my friends would be, too."

"No." Death shook his head. "You may not use that reason twice just by substituting other people."

"All right then," Mimi snapped. She narrowed her eyes. "How 'bout I want to be able to get married and have a family?"

Death held up two fingers. "No more future ambitions as reasons."

"I haven't done enough good deeds in the world for God yet."

Death considered this for a minute before putting up a third finger.

"I want to watch my brother grow up into a man." Mimi watched in satisfaction as Death reluctantly put up a fourth finger. Only one more to go. "I...I..." She tried to think and found that, in the worst moment possible, her mind had gone blank. "I........."

Death smirked. It was always the last reason that they faltered on. He waved his hand and a clock appeared in front of Mimi. "Did I mention you only have fifteen minutes left?"



Sora stared in pure pleasure at the waterfall cascading down mountain. She breathed in the minty scent of the green, lush trees. "This is so beautiful," she said aloud.

Tai smiled from the boulder he was sitting on. "Do you like it?"

"Definitely!" exclaimed Sora, dipping her hand beneath the water. "How come you didn't tell the others?"

"I....didn't feel like it. Besides, can't a guy spend some time alone with his best friend?"

"I guess." Sora frowned. "But it's dangerous by ourselves. Biyomon and Agumon aren't here and who knows what evil digimon will attac-"

"Geez, can't you stop worrying for a second? You don't have to act like you're the queen of the fun police all the time," Tai broke in.

"What's that supposed to mean?" said Sora, a bit flustered.

"Well, you always act like you're my mother. Why can't you relax and have some fun?"

"I'll tell you why." Sora's eyes hardened. "We're a bunch of eleven-years-old stuck in a world where death can happen in a minute. You're too busy trying to defeat the Dark Masters that you don't even care what happens to the rest of us. I'm sorry if you don't like it but not all of us have ice in our veins." She echoed Matt's line with deliberate scorn.

"What's that supposed to mean?" demanded Tai, using her words. He stood up and clenched his fist. Her words had hit home and she knew it.

"I'll tell you what it means," snapped Sora. "I'm tired of watching you ignore us in your little quest. It's time you start thinking about other people besides yourself!"

"I think you've worn out your welcome," growled Tai.

"Fine. I was just about to leave anyways," spat Sora. She turned around and disappeared through the bushes.

In a bad mood, Tai resumed his spot on the boulder. "Evil digimon...HA!" he fumed. "Who does she think she is anyw-"

"Evil digimon? Did someone request an evil digimon?"

Tai felt his blood ran cold at the sound of Piedmon's voice.

"Lookie here, I've found a digidestined," mocked the jester, hovering in midair. "Without his digimon, too. How delightful."

Tai searched frantically for a weapon of some sort. He picked up a rock. He stared threateningly up at the Dark Master. "Go away or I'll-"

"You'll what? Throw a pebble at me?" Piedmon laughed harshly. "Pathetic. Trump Sword!"

Tai leaped out of the way and the attack struck the boulder, demolishing it to bits. He gulped nervously. Uh-oh. Piedmon was out of sight. Tai searched the sky for the clown digimon when suddenly something slammed into his back, knocking him painfully against the trunk of tree that was several yards away. Dizzy, Tai stumbled back on his feet just in time to see Piedmon raise his hands for another attack.

"Clown tri-"

"TAI!" Sora shouted in fear as she ran toward him. She had returned.

"No, get back," Tai said weakly. He collapsed.

Piedmon paused and turned his head. He sneered. "Well, well. Another defenseless digidestined."

"Defenseless? I don't think so," Sora scoffed, trying to sound brave. She jumped out of the way as the clown digimon sent an attack her way. Her digivice came loose as she fell to the ground. It landed in front of her face. She grabbed it and raised her arm, hoping her idea would work. Aiming, she threw her digivice directly at the evil digimon.

The Dark Master caught it easily. He jeered, "Fool, do you think this wil-" He was cut short as the digivice began to glow. Soon, the light engulfed him. He screamed as if in torture and dropped it toward the ground. The light vanished, leaving a considerably weakened Piedmon.

By that time, Sora had reached Tai and was ready to throw his digivice as well. "How's that for defenseless?" she smirked.

Piedmon glared at her. "I'll be back." He vanished.

Sora let out a sigh of relief. She kneeled and shook Tai gently. "Hey, are you ok? Anything broken?"

Tai groaned. "No. But I don't think I can move for awhile. My whole body feels sore." He smiled. "Thanks for the help." It was his way of saying sorry.

Sora grinned back at him. "It was no biggie."

Tai winced. "Ow, I think my head's lying on a rock."

Sora moved closer and cradled his head on her lap. "Better?"

"Much," replied Tai, gazing into her eyes. "Not that I care or anything, but why aren't you calling the others?"

"I guess I...don't feel like it," said Sora, uncomfortably. "Besides, can't a girl spend some time alone with her best friend? Let's just call this place our special spot." She leaned down and gave Tai a friendly butterfly kiss on his forehead.

Tai blushed wildly. "Fine by me."

Flashback Ends

Seven years later, in a tuxedo, Taichi Kamiya stared at the closed gate of Odaiba Elementary. He climbed over it with ease and proceeded without hestitation toward the computer room.


"I...I...," stuttered Mimi. What was wrong with her? She had more than four reasons for living...didn't she?

"Ooh. That's an interesting question," sneered Death. "Does Mimi Tachikawa have more than four reasons for life?" He held the clock in front of her mockingly. "Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Ti-"

Mimi ignored him and tried to focus. Immense pain struck her. She gasped in horror as her feet vanished from view. "What's happening?"

"Your time's running out," said Death in delight. "It seems like you have only five minutes left." He turned serious. "What's your fifth reason?"

"I...I..." She stared in despair as the rest of her began to disappear. "I don't know."

"Oh, come on," taunted Death. "Are you telling me that you lived for only four reasons? Four measly reasons?"

Mimi didn't reply. She was gazing at something in the distance. It is true, she mused. Your whole life does flash before your eyes. She was seeing the day her brother was borned, the day she went to the digital world, the day she started high school, the day she first kissed Izzy and the day he left...

"One minute," Death told her.

This is the end, Mimi thought ruefully. She would never be able to do the things she wanted to do. She would never start a career or have her own family. She would never see her friends or her family again. And most importantly, she would never see Izzy. Mimi sobbed weakly. She really was going to die.

"Fifty seconds..."

Thank you, Izzy...

"Forty seconds..."

...for being such a good friend...

"Thirty seconds..."

...for making me feel special...

"Twenty seconds..."

...for being there when I need you...


...and for needing me, too. Mimi closed her eyes, finally ready to accept her fate.

But Death had stopped his countdown. He smiled geniunely for the first time as he read her last thought and slowly, he lifted up a fifth finger.


Tai cursed at the computer screen. He had turned it on and the digiport was still there. But had could he get in? He didn't have his digivice with him. He scowled and shoved his hands into his pockets. "You lousy piece of jun-hey!" His fingers had touched something. Something metal and square...

"YES!" exclaimed Tai, triumphant as he pulled out the digivice from his pocket. He examined it closely. It wasn't his, it was Matt's. Matt had probably slipped it into his pocket when he was reading the letter or something. Tai held it up to the computer screen with determination in his eyes. "Digi-port open!" A flash of light and he was gone.


"Her heartbeat is getting stronger," said the nurse in relief. "Young man, you brought her here just in time. If you had been even one minute late..."

"I know, I know," replied Izzy impatiently. "Can I see her?"

"I suppose so bu-" The nurse never got the chance to finish. Izzy turned the knob and entered the room where Mimi laid.

"Izzy?" questioned Mimi. She blinked repeatedly and muttered to herself, "I must be hallucinating or something. I mean, they didn't give me THAT much morphine." But then again, there were flying pigs outside the window so maybe they did.

"I'm here," choked Izzy. "I brought you to the hospital." He walked up and took her hand. She was surprised to see that he was crying. "When I went to the house and saw you lying there in a pile of blood, I thought I would lose you. I almost did, too," he explained. "You lost almost two to three gallons of blood an-"

"Shut up, Izzy, and kiss me," Mimi interrupted. He agreed readily and pressed his lips to her. His tears dropped down to her face.

"Don't cry, Izzy."

"I can't help it. When I think of how close I was to never seeing you again..."

"Then don't think." Mimi frowned. "Did you come all the way down from the university to bring me here?"



"You needed me."

"How'd you know I was in trouble?"

Izzy hestitated, not knowing what to say. "Heart's intuition," he answered finally, shrugging.

Mimi smiled peacefully. "One more thing...when were you going to tell me you have a twin?"

Izzy blinked. "Huh?" He glanced closer at her face. Her eyes were clouded and hazy. Most likely it was an effect caused by the morphine. "Mimi, do you want to go to sleep?"

"Ye-I mean, no." Mimi struggled to keep her eyelids from closing. "I don't want you to go while I'm resting."

"I won't go," swore Izzy. I will never, ever leave you again. "You have my word." Reassured, Mimi drifted away to dreamland. Izzy watched his angel tenderly, thanking God for every breath she took. He would be stay here all night and he would be there when Mimi waked up in the morning. In fact, he would do his best to be there with her forever. Why? The answer was simple: he needed her.


Tai raced on unceasingly, pushing through bushes and occasionally glancing at Matt's digivice for guidance. When he finally stopped, it was behind the thick trunk of a tree. Someone was up ahead.

"Love is on the way.
Time is turning the pages.
I don't know when
But love will find me again..."

Sora stopped singing as she realized someone was watching her. "Who's there?" she called out. No answer. "Tai?" she asked, almost fearfully. "Is that you?"

Stepping out into view, Tai smirked. "Who else could it be?" He held the letter up and grew somber. "I found you."

"I knew you would," Sora said quietly. She ducked her head and gazed at the ground. When she looked back up, Tai saw that there were tears sliding down her cheeks. He moved forward and offered his hand shyly. No words needed to be spoken.

Sora wiped away her tears and smiled. She took his hand and they clung together in a graceful waltz. Softly, she began to sing again and her voice was sweet and charming.

"I am not afraid
Of the mystery of tomorrow.
I have found the faith deep within.
There's a promise I have made.
There's a dream I'm gonna follow.
There's another chance to begin...
And It's coming as sure as the heavens.
I can feel it right here in my heart.
Love is on the way
On wings of angels.
I know it's true, I feel it coming through.
Love is on the way..."

Sora paused as she stared into Tai's mischievious face. He was holding something above their heads. Mistletoe.

"Now look what I've don-" Tai began innocently. He was cut off as Sora kissed him. Not the little friendly peck on the cheek, but the passionate, steamy kiss only seen in the movies. Tai wrapped his arms around his best friend and the next couple of hours passed by in bliss. At the end, they were both lying on the cool, green grass. Tai was propped up on his side by his elbows while Sora was on her back smiling at his boyish face.

"Sing for me again, will you?" begged Tai. "I never knew you had such talent."

"And I never knew you were such a good kisser," teased Sora. But she relented. "All right. Here goes nothing:

"Love is on the way.
Time is turning the pages.
I don't know when
But love will find me again..."

Sora's voice filled the air as Tai ran his fingers gently through her soft, auburn hair. She was so beautiful. So smart. So nice. So..perfect. For some reason, he couldn't imagine a life without her.

"I am not afraid
Of the mystery of tomorrow.
I have found the faith deep within.
There's a promise I have made.
There's a dream I'm gonna follow.
There's another chance to begin..."

Sora let the last note die away. She was silent for a moment. "Promise me we'll-"

"-be there for each other?" finished Tai. "Always. For the rest of your life, you will always be able to count on me...because you know what?"


"I think I love you, Sora." He gave her a soul-searing kiss that rocked her to the core and left her breathless.

Head spinning, Sora took Tai's hand and held it to her chest. "For the rest of your life, I'll always be there whenever you need me...," she promised, "...because you know what?"


"I think I love you, too."


Joe held the microphone close to his mouth. His voice vibrated against the gym walls and the crowd of highschoolers cheered.

"Anytime you need a friend, you can count on me.
Anytime you're having doubts, you know I will believe.
Even through thick and thin, no matter where or when,
On me you can depend.
We are best friends."

Matt sang, making the words vibrate with feeling and emotion-things that were once foreign to the young rebel.

"Whenever there is something that is trying to knock you down,
Remember you can call me and we'll get your feet on solid ground.
You'll never have to worry, don't you ever walk in fear
'Cause through it all you'll have someone who's always standing near."

In the hospital, Izzy gazed, mesmerized, at his pink-haired sweetheart. All the universities in the world and all the scolding nurses couldn't draw him away.

"Right by your side,
If you need my strength, you can tell me.
There's nothing to hide."

"Anytime you need a friend, you can count on me.
Anytime you're having doubts, you know I will believe.
Even through thick and thin, no matter where or when,
On me you can depend.
We are best friends."

Kari sighed in happiness as she danced with T.K. She leaned her head on his shoulder, feeling contented just having his arms around her. He was her boyfriend, her confidante, her soulmate.

"You understand the battles we must go through every day.
If ever I am lost, I know that you will help me find my way.
I still remember all those times when I was feeling low.
You picked me up and said there's something I think you should know."

In the digital world, Sora and Tai were safe within each other's embrace. To them, love had finally found a way.

"You're not on your own, whatever you're facing,
You don't have to face it alone."

"Anytime you need a friend, you can count on me.
Anytime you're having doubts, you know I will believe.
Even through thick and thin, no matter where or when,
On me you can depend.
We are best friends."

Matt and Joe sang the last few stanzas together in perfect harmony.

"As long as we're together, there's no mountain that we can't climb.
Through the good and the bad, happy or sad,
This friendship we have will last for all time."

"Anytime you need a friend, you can count on me.
Anytime you're having doubts, you know I will believe.
Even through thick and thin, no matter where or when,
On me you can depend.
We are best friends."

The music faded away. Joe and Matt took a well-deserved bow. "Thank you, thank you," said the new blue-haired superstar. "I know dedications are supposed to be in the beginning but I guess I forgot." He smiled sheepishly. "Anyways, Mat-oomph!" Joe grunted in pain as Matt elbowed him in the stomach.

"You will not tell screaming highschool girls, who are willing to hunt me down once they know my identity, my real name. Understood?" the blonde growled.

Glowering at him, Joe nodded. "Anyways, like I was saying before, we would like to dedicate the song we sang to some very special people by the names of Tai, Sora, Kari, T.K, Izzy, and Mimi. Thank you guys for being brave, loving..sincere, smart..hopeful, reliable..friendly...and for being the bright light that guides us." Kari sniffled and wiped at her eyes.

Joe continued, "You guys cared when noone else cared and you guys best college buds anyone could have!" The crowd erupted into applause. I never knew I had a talent for speeches, Joe thought smugly.

Matt walked over and patted him on the back. "Man, that was beautiful."

"But I'm not finished." Joe smiled wickedly. He turned to the audience, who became attentive at once. Revenge was going to be so sweet. "One more thing, and this is to all those girl fans of the famous rockstar, Yamato Ishida. You'll never guess who's here..."