It was summer.
Ken Ichijouji sighed as he leaned back in his computer chair. On the desk in front of him, beside his computer, was a picture, framed, of course, because he treasured it. He picked up the picture, his lips curling into a smile.
His friends. They'd taken him in when no one else would accept him. The picture had been taken nearly a year ago, while the six of them spent the day together, celebrating the one year mark of their defeat of MaloMyotismon.
Davis Motomiya was in the middle, grinning confidently. Kari Kamiya was on his left, winking and smiling cheerfully. TK Takaishi was beside Kari, with one arm around her and the other held up giving a peace sign. And to Davis's right, there he was, Ken Ichijouji. He wore a small smile. Yolei Inoue, beaming with outstanding cheer, was clinging onto his arm, and beside her was little Cody Hida.
The picture brought back sweet memories. Ken couldn't help but be thankful for such good friends. It had been a while since the six of them had the chance to get together. He lived in Tamachi, away from the others, which posed a problem. And that along with everyone's busy schedules… It was no wonder there just wasn't any time for get-togethers like that. He missed them, in a way.
A little chime came from his computer. Surprised, Ken sat up in his chair. He placed the picture back where it was and grabbed the mouse… An e-mail. Grinning, Ken opened it:
Okay, so this is a little short notice, but… Davis, Kari, T.K., Cody, and I are going to the park for a picnic at noon. Hope you don't have anything to do, cause we'd all like you to be there! Remember- Odaiba Park at noon!
He glanced over at a nearby digital clock: 11:30. 'Short notice is right!' Ken thought to himself as he hopped up. 'If I wanna get to the park, I've got to get going!'
"Ken!" Yolei Inoue exclaimed happily. She grabbed his hand and dragged him over to the others. "Look everybody! Ken's here!"
"Hello," Cody greeted, in his usual, serious tone.
"Hey, Ken!" TK called.
"Long time no see, buddy!" Davis said cheerfully, giving Ken a gentle punch in the shoulder.
"Glad you could make it," Kari told him happily.
Ken simply smiled.
"C'mon, Ken! Sit down!" Yolei ordered him. "I got some stuff from Dad's convenience store, see? And the others pitched in too!" She sat down next to Kari, then gestured for Ken to sit beside her.
Ken nodded, seating himself beside the girl.
"Thank goodness you're finally here!" Davis exclaimed. "I'm starving! Yolei said we couldn't start eating without you, and it feels like we've been waiting forever!" He started picking out all kinds of foods from the huge spread, then suddenly halted. He looked over at Yolei, raising an eyebrow. "I can eat now, right?"
"Alright!" With that, Davis began gobbling food.
The others watched him for a while. It was amusing to see silly Davis stuffing his face. When he finally caught them watching him, Davis looked at each of them, then asked, with his mouth full, "What?"
Everyone started laughing, except for Davis, who remained clueless.
Ken, Yolei, Cody, and Davis sat under the shade of a tree. Davis had his eyes closed, nearly asleep, Cody was leaned against the tree, staring up at the sky, and Ken and Yolei sat side by side, silent. T.K. and Kari stood in front of the four of them. "Hey guys," Kari said, "we're gonna go for a walk, ok?"
Davis's eyes suddenly shot open. "I'll come too!"
TK shook his head. "Davis," he said, "we were… um… kinda planning on going by ourselves. No offense or anything. We just wanna be…"
"Alone," Davis finished for him. Disgusted and disappointed, he sighed. "Well, have fun," he forced himself to say.
"Thanks for understanding, Davis," Kari told him sweetly. With that, she and TK went on their way, walking together and chatting happily.
Yolei leaned closer to Ken. "That'll happen some day," she whispered.
Ken looked over at her. "What?" he questioned.
"TK and Kari," she explained. "I mean, just look at them. Don't you think so too?"
Ken watched as TK and Kari continued to go further away. He nodded in agreement. "Most likely."
"Most likely?" Davis asked. "You mean absolutely! T.K. and Kari practically love each other!" Davis let out another heavy sigh. "It's sad…"
"Davis is right," Yolei said. "And if they don't love each other now, they probably will in good time. Yep, that'll happen some day…"
"You and Ken shouldn't be talking," Cody snapped. "People might just be looking at you two and thinking the same thing!"
Davis perked up at this opportunity. "Yeah!" He tapped Yolei on the shoulder saying, "That'll happen someday!"
Yolei threw a cold glare at him, but it only tempted Davis further.
"What was it you kept saying to yourself two years ago?" Davis asked. "Oh yeah, I remember now! Ken and Yolei Ichoujouji! Ken and Yolei Ichijouji!"
"Cut it out!" Yolei hissed.
"Ken and Yolei Ichijouji!"
Her face was extremely red from embarrassment. "Davis, please!"
"Aw, are you blushing, Yolei?" Davis questioned.
"N-No! I… I'm not!"
"Ken and Yolei Ichijouji!"
"'I didn't say I wanted to kiss him, duh, I just wanna marry him,'" Cody quoted. "Sound familiar?"
Yolei groaned, burying her face in her hands.
Davis laughed at this. Then he looked over at Cody. Grinning, he winked and gave a thumb up.
Everyone kept quiet for a while. Davis and Cody were waiting for some kind of reaction from Ken, but all he did was simply lean back against the tree and shut his eyes. Yolei still kept her face buried in her hands, too embarrassed to say or do anything. Finally, though, she raised her head, looking to Ken. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
Ken yawned and stretched, then opened his eyes. "You shouldn't be."
"But Davis and Cody… they…"
Yolei couldn't believe it. "You don't care about what they said?"
Ken didn't answer.
"I mean, were you really even paying attention? They… They were saying that I wanted to-"
"Don't pay any attention to them."
Yolei smiled. Then, she turned to Davis and Cody and stuck out her tongue.
"Say Davis," Ken called, "can you do me a favor?"
"My family and I are leaving for a trip in a few days. A cruise. It'll last a week. Could you take care of Minomon for me?"
"Wow!" Davis exclaimed excitedly. "You're goin' on a cruise? Sweet! What is it? Like, a luxury cruise? First class? Expensive?"
Ken chuckled. "No," he answered. "Not first class, but it's not exactly cheap. But that's not the point. I need somebody to take care of Minomon for me while I'm away."
"Sure! I'll do it! I'd be more than glad to!"
The days passed swiftly, and Ken found himself before Davis, ready to leave. "Well," he said with a hint of sorrow, "take good care of him, ok?" Sadly, he handed his Digimon, Minomon, to Davis.
"No prob," Davis said.
DemiVeemon was at Davis's side. "Yeah!" he yelled. "We're gonna have a great time! Ain't that right, Minomon?"
"I guess," Minomon answered.
"What do you mean, 'I guess'?" DemiVeemon questioned, surprised. "Of course we are!"
"Ken won't be here," Minomon explained.
Ken gave his partner a pat on the head. "Make the best of it, buddy," he told him. "Just cause I won't be here doesn't mean that you can't have any fun. Think about it. You're with DemiVeemon and Davis. DemiVeemon and Davis. Those clowns will keep you entertained."
"Clowns?" Davis asked, clueless.
"Well, whatever," Davis went on. "I'll take good care of him. And we're gonna have a blast!"
"Thanks, Davis," Ken said, smiling. "I really can't stay any longer though. I've got to get going. Wouldn't wanna miss the boat, would I?"
"Nope, nope, nope!" Veemon exclaimed.
"Goodbye, everyone," Ken said. He looked to Minomon then, grinning. "I'll see you in a week, and then I'll tell you all about it! I'm sure you'll have a nice time. Bye, Minomon."
With so many things to do, the cruise kept Ken busy. The days went by swiftly. One, two, three, four… but on the morning of the fifth day, he woke up very early, and made his way up to the deck. There, he stood, hanging over the railing, staring out at the ocean. He took a deep breath, taking in the moist, salty, morning air. As he stared into that deep, blue ocean, he had a sense of longing for his friends, or anyone to spend time with. Then it hit him. He realized that, during the past four days, he had spent almost no time with his parents at all. They were busy doing things together; romantic things. He had spent those four days alone, and was too busy to realize it. But now, alone, with all the rush, excitement, and busyness gone, he knew he was alone.
Sighing, he leaned over the rail further. It was times like these- times of great loneliness- that he wished he had a sibling, or wished that he could bring back the one he lost years ago…
Tiredly, he shut his eyes and yawned. How much sleep had he gotten last night? One hour? Two? He couldn't remember, but knew it hadn't been much. As he stood there, images flashed through his mind… DemiVeemon, Davis, Minomon, TK, Kari, Cody, Yolei…
He yawned again, slowly opening his eyes. The picnic had been nice. 'It's too bad,' he thought, 'that I can't spend more time with them.' It was true. He didn't get much time with them. Someone was always busy, or away, or sick, or something.
And then… it happened so fast, he didn't even know what was going on.
The ship collided with something. What? He couldn't have possibly known. There was nothing in sight. But the collision caused him to lose his grip on the rail and flung him forward. Ken had no idea what was happening. It all happened so fast… So fast, it sent his head spinning into an aching, dizzying confusion, and his consciousness slowly slipped away. When he hit the ice cold water, everything went black…
There were voices…
Lots of them…
"Can you hear us, Ken?"
So many voices…
Voices, voices, blended all together. Talking at once, but all saying the same thing, over and over and over. It was like something tribal and ancient, like a chant. Chanting that name…
His eyes fluttered open and the boy sat up. He stared confusedly at the many people who stood before him. No one seemed familiar. Upon his awakening, they all smiled. One woman was so happy, she was crying.
"Oh, my little boy's alive!" she exclaimed. "Kenny, I almost thought all hope was lost. I thought you weren't going to make it. Oh, oh, my little boy…"
He simply stared at her in a state of total confusion. "Who are you people?" he asked then. "And why do you keep saying that name? Ken. Who is this 'Ken' anyway?"
The woman, eyes wide and filled with tears, gaped at the boy.
There was a moment of silence.
He looked around at all of the people. "What?" he questioned. "Why are all of you looking at me like that? Is it so hard to answer some questions for me? Just answer my questions. That's all I ask."
A man- he was tall, with brown hair with bits of grey in it, and was wearing glasses and a white coat- spoke up, "Before your questions can be answered, I need you to answer one for me."
"I'm going to ask you a simple question, very simple…"
"Get to it already," the boy demanded with annoyance.
"I want you to tell me who you are."
He laughed. "What? What kind of a question is that?"
"I told you it was simple, but please take it seriously. I want an answer. Who are you? What's your name?"
The boy continued laughing. "I've never heard such a stupid question! Why, I'm… I'm…" Nervously, he stopped laughing. "You know, I'm…"
The man eyed him curiously.
He looked away. There a window at his side. He stared out it, watching the clouds roll by in a clear blue sky. He was silent.
The woman began to sob uncontrollably. "Honey, don't you know? Don't you know?" she asked desperately.
The boy looked at her, frowning. "No, I… I don't know. I can't remember."
"Do you know me then?" the woman asked him. "Please tell me you remember who I am!" she pleaded.
"I don't know." The boy hung his head and shut his eyes tightly. He thought and thought, searching for even the smallest trace of memory. He thought so hard that his head began to ache. "I don't know!" he yelled. "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know! I don't know anything!"
The man in the white coat told him, "Your name is Kenneth Ichijouji."
"Me? I'm Ken?"
The man nodded.
Ken bit his bottom lip. How was it possible that he couldn't remember anything? How could he have forgotten who he was? Sadly, he looked up at the crying woman.
She said to him, "Kenny, I'm… I'm your mother. Don't you recognize me?"
Ken shook his head, wondering how he could've forgotten the face of his own mother.
There was another man in the room. He stepped forward, saying, "And I'm your father."
His loss of memory ashamed him, and Ken turned his attention back to the window.
"I'm Dr. Tsunikawa," the man in white said. "Do you feel alright, Kenneth?"
Ken glared at him. "I don't remember who I am or anything about myself!" he yelled. "Do you think I'm alright!"
"Now, now, calm down," Dr. Tsunikawa told him.
Ken turned back to the window. "How do I even know if you people aren't lying to me, huh? Is my name really Ken? And are you two really my parents? How do I know that this isn't all just a scam?"
The woman, supposedly his mother, cried harder. "Ken," she said softly, "I love you. Your father and I would never do that to you."
He looked at her. She was crying uncontrollably. 'Those tears…' he thought. 'No one could fake that. It's so sincere. And the way she said that she loved me…This can't be a lie.' He forced himself to smile. "Don't cry…" He paused for a moment, then added, "…Mom."
She looked at him in the most kind and loving way, with a big smile on her face.
Dr. Tsunikawa suddenly interrupted the moment. "Ken," he said, "do you have any idea where you are?"
He looked around. Clueless, he answered, "No."
There were other men and women in the room, all of them in white; Ken assumed them to be nurses. All of the adults started whispering.
"What should we do?" one of the nurses questioned.
Dr. Tsunikawa thought for a moment. Then he answered, "We can't just stop the ship. The best thing to do may just be to let him stay these last two days; spend time with his family. Perhaps by then he'll have recovered his memory."
"But doctor, what if this is some kind of long-term amnesia?" Mr. Ichijouji asked.
"Yes!" Mrs. Ichijouji agreed. "What if my baby never gets his memory back?"
"He'll get his memory back," the doctor assured them. "After all, the boy didn't even suffer a blow to his head. Exactly how long this amnesia will last is uncertain, but it shouldn't be too long. Just treat him as normal as possible."
"Well," Mrs. Ichijouji said, "here we are."
Those last two days of the cruise had been uneasy; not just for Ken, but for the whole family. His parents wouldn't let him out of their sight, and had a hard time answering the many questions that he bombarded them with. He demanded more and more information every minute, yet continuously told them that he didn't trust either of them. He admitted that only his "mother's" tears had won him over and that if she hadn't been crying…
But the cruise was over now, and the Ichijouji family stood outside the door to their apartment. Ken's father took a key from his pocket and unlocked the door. The three of them stepped inside.
Ken was silent. He explored this unfamiliar place; every corner, every room. His parents followed him, pointing out everything: the bathroom, their room, the kitchen… And when the three of them came to a certain room, his parents quieted.
"This is…" Mrs. Ichijouji started softly, but then she stopped suddenly. She looked at her boy, frowning. "…your room."
Ken stepped inside and wandered around his room for a moment. He stopped at a desk and picked up a picture, looked at it a while, then turned to his parents. He showed them the picture, asking, "And this is…?"
Mr. Ichijouji took the picture in his hands. He glanced over at his wife, who broke down crying. "You don't remember?" he asked.
Ken shook his head.
Sadly, his father told him, "This is your brother, Sam."
Ken looked at him in disbelief. "I have a brother? How come you didn't tell me? Where is he?"
"He's gone!" Mrs. Ichijouji blurted out. "Gone, gone, gone! He died years ago! Don't you remember, Ken? Don't you remember anything at all?"
Ken sighed. He sat on his bed and hung his head. 'Such ignorance, such stupidity,' he thought. 'Why can't I remember anything?'