Date started: November 17, 2004
Date Finished: December 19, 2004
Revised: December 13, 2008

Summary: It is the aftermath of Diablomon's attack, and Hikari arrives home.


Yagami Hikari stood just outside her apartment door. It was late March, the month-long spring break just before the start of the new school year, and she was arriving home far too earlier than she had wanted. Today had been the birthday party of one of her best friends, and she had spent a wonderful time there save for the constant rude interruptions from her brother. She let out a brief sigh while she fiddled in her pockets for the apartment key; she was on her way to becoming a very responsible third-grader. Her parents had complimented her maturity after the events of the prior summer, and as such they now trusted her with her own set of house keys.

She unclasped her key, and opened the door. She could see nobody inside; just silence. She paused briefly, suddenly nervous as to the reasons her brother had called her back early.

"Mom? Dad? Is anyone home?" she called out.

Not a moment later her brother appeared on the doorframe of their room. Koushiro was right behind him. Although neither of them looked too pleased. Taichi even less so than Koushiro.

"Welcome back," her brother said, his voice uncharacteristically full of spite. "It's about time you got here."

"Hello, Koushiro-san," Hikari tried to remain polite before before she questioned their stares. "What happened that was so urgent? And where's mom?"

"Our microwave glitched," Taichi replied. "Mom mentioned something about how it almost exploded so she left to toss it out."

She moved to put away her coat, and then moved towards them. Taichi took in a deep breath and tried to relax himself before he continued, "Hikari, why didn't you come earlier?"

"Taichi-san…" Koushiro began, but Taichi waved him off.

"I couldn't just leave the party, Oniichan," Hikari said. "Oh, we had so much fun. There was cake, and milkshakes, and we played kimodameshi with Nana-chan's father, and - "

Taichi bit his lip to keep himself quiet, but the battle with Diablomon wouldn't dare to leave his memory. The image of WarGreymon floating about and barely moving was buried deep inside his thoughts. His knees almost gave away, and he involuntarily curled his hand into a fist. He didn't want to get upset, especially not like this at his little sister. Despite the attempted restraint, his frustration escaped to interrupt her. "That's enough," he managed. His cry had begun as a yell but had ended in a whimper.

Hikari quieted and recoiled on instinct.

"Taichi-san, try and calm down" Koushiro said. "It's impossible that she could have known the situation, and you couldn't have told her about it over the phone. Then everyone would have heard."

Taichi could only frown. "It's still rather upsetting that she didn't listen to me."

"Oniichan," Hikari said. Her breath nearly left her, "I'm really sorry… I just… I couldn't leave so easily. What exactly happened?"

Her brother's frown deepened, and his eyelids closed as he grimaced at the recollection. "It was a digimon," he announced. "This terribly powerful digimon called Diablomon. We nearly lost Agumon."

Hikari's eyes widened and she looked to Koushiro for confirmation.

Koushiro nodded, his voice full of regret. "We barely made it. We weren't able to reach anyone to help us except for Yamato-san and Takeru-kun."

Hikari couldn't meet her brother's gaze. Her thoughts trailed as she berated herself. That if only she hadn't been as carefree at the party then she would have been available to help as well. Then again, she knew her brother was strong, and that with his bravery he could stand up to anything and come out victorious. After all, hadn't that happened just now? She turned to look at her brother, but any bravery he might have had during the battle was unfortunately nowhere to be seen. It was only worry that he carried now.

"It started off as a virus spreading around the Internet," Taichi said, continuing where he'd left off. "But he kept growing, feeding on the data and getting more powerful. Koushiro wasn't able to keep him contained.

"Then there was a missile… we almost failed to stop it. It still landed in the harbor, but the fuse wasn't active so thankfully there wasn't an explosion."

Hikari sighed, reflecting on his words. Taichi didn't wait for her reply and left for the couch. She could tell by the strain in his voice that this topic wasn't very much to his liking and that he had very much wanted to end the conversation. Silently she followed after him with Koushiro behind her and the pair took their seats beside him.

She then asked, "What about Mimi-san, Jyou-san, or Sora-san? Weren't they able to help?"

"Hikari," Taichi said, turning to face her with disapproval. "Don't try to shift around any blame. Jyou was busy with Junior High entrance exams, I could understand that."

"What about Mimi-san and Sora-san?"

Taichi grumbled when she repeated question. "Mimi-chan left the country, and Sora hates my guts. But that's not important. And the point is that you should've come home as soon as I called. You should know that I wouldn't have interrupted your fun if it weren't an emergency."

Hikari twitched uncomfortably in her seat on the couch. When he phrased it like that, she couldn't really argue. Still she dared to ask. "So what happened with that digimon then? I mean, how did you manage to stop it?"

"Agumon and Gabumon fought it off – they fused, for lack of a better word," Koushiro answered for Taichi, "Patamon was seriously injured, and we lost contact with them after Diablomon was destroyed. We don't know the situation anymore. I hope Takeru-kun will be alright. You really should have come, if only because you would have been able to see Tailmon again."

At Hikari's downcast expression, Koushiro tried to reassuring her. "She's doing fine, if that's what you're wondering. I'm sure Gennai-san will find a way for us to see them again. The digital gate can't stay closed forever."

His words seem to stir something from within Taichi. After a moment of silence, her brother stood up, his expression firm and resolved, his fist clasped in his other hand. "That's it, then. We can't let something like this happen again."

"Oniichan?" questioned Hikari.

"We were caught unprepared," Taichi said. "And we were far too divided. We need to make sure we have a way of contacting each other when something like this comes up."

Koushiro frowned. "Taichi-san, that's a lot easier said than done."

Taichi waved off the doubt. "That shouldn't matter. Once Mimi-chan gets back, and everything settles down a bit, we'll call up a meeting and throw around some ideas. I mean, hopefully Yamato will be back by then, too, and he'll be able to bring Takeru along."

"I'm back!" the joyful voice came from the front door. Taichi turned to see his mother arriving. He fell back onto the couch as the mood immediately shifted.

His mother waved cheerfully, "Hikari, you came home early? Was Taichi bothering you? I knew he was upset that the cake didn't turn out too well, but that's no reason for you to come home."

Hikari smiled softly, "Oh, it's nothing like that. The party was nice, though I think I had spent too much time there as it was."

Taichi reached for the remote and turned on the television as his mother began to question Hikari about her friend's party. He could hear Koushiro's sigh coming from his right. Apparently neither of them were very thrilled to have their discussion about the Digital World ended so abruptly.

When the TV clicked on, a commercial was playing, and both pairs of eyes instantly became attentive towards it. The advertisement was for what looked like a small, wireless, miniature laptop – only with no touchpad for a mouse. There was only a small keyboard, as the primary function of the device was to send quick e-mails to others with computers or similar devices. It was slated for release in the early summer, and the budget price was very affordable. Taichi gawked at it.

"What do you think, Koushiro?" he turned to his friend, and noticed Izumi's eyes were just as glued to the screen as his.

Koushiro said, "Taichi-san, I think that could definitely work."

"Mom," Taichi called for her attention, a finger pointed to the television screen, "could Hikari and I each get one of those? We'll really need them."

"We will?" Hikari asked, unsure of her brother.

His mother, pausing with the maternal inspection of her daughter for a moment, briefly looked at the screen. The commercial was still playing. "Taichi, you can use the desktop computer to send e-mails."

Taichi pouted. He figured it probably looked a bit fake, but at this point he would be prepared to dish out the water works to get what he wanted. "Mom, please, this is important for us."

And as if on queue to prevent him from further embarrassment, three separate sets of consistent beeps pierced the room. The digivices of the three present Chosen had activated. Beside him Koushiro had taken his digivice out and was scanning over the message. He gasped after reading it. "It's Gennai-san."

At this point Yagami Yuuko's lively look quickly changed to one of concern. The devices told her that something important had happened, and she had missed out on what exactly that was. She looked to her son for answers, "Taichi, explain yourself. Fiddling with the computer, Hikari coming home early, technological glitches happening all day – and now those things of yours are acting up – what happened?"

The piercing shrieks from the digivice continued.

Taichi turned to Koushiro, "Go to the computer and see what's up, I'll stay here and explain what I can."

Koushiro nodded and left the room. Hikari quietly followed him, probably hoping that she would be able to see Tailmon again.

Taichi lowered the television volume before turning to his mother. He tried to grin as if sharing a tale with an old friend. His mother's stern look immediately changed his expression. He gulped, "Well, mom, it's quite the story… and I guess part of it would be why our microwave nearly blew up."

She joined him at the living room sofa and listened intently on what had occurred. She berated herself for not having noticed the panic from the two boys earlier in the day. It all seemed too obvious now when she thought back to their actions. Then again, it was easy to realize things in retrospect.

Taichi continued to speak. First of the internet virus, then of the spreading infection and of the nuclear missile that was involved. Yuuko shuddered at the last bit.

And finally, not a minute before explanations were done, Koushiro entered the living room, a glum look on his face. Hikari didn't look very thrilled, either. That quickly caught Taichi's attention. he asked, "What's wrong?"

Koushiro said, "Well, Taichi-san, I've got good news and I've got bad news."

The silence urged him on further.

"Gennai wants us to get together, very soon, and go back to the digital world for a short stay."

Taichi would have smiled in delight at those words under normal circumstances, but now he pressed further, "Okay, so what's the bad news?"

"Well, Taichi-san, just like you, Gennai isn't prepared to let something else like this happen again. He's going to be taking extreme measures to make sure nothing escapes or enters the digital world again. There are plans to set up what he calls a digital barrier."

Taichi sighed. "So that's it, it's all over. We won't be able to see our Digimon again. He's locking us out for good."

Hikari managed to speak, tears stinging her eyes, "Oniichan, it's the power of our crests that Gennai-san wants to use in order to create this barrier. He's asking us to give up our crests to seal the digital world away. We'll be locking ourselves out."

"T-t-that's suicide!" Taichi managed to choke out. "If something does manage to get through, we won't be able to fight it off! I won't do it! There's no way!"

"We have no choice," Koushiro said. "The barrier between both worlds is very weak right now due to Diablomon, and surely computer specialists from all over the world are noticing the truth behind the recent events."

"What do you mean by that, Koushiro-kun?" Mrs. Yagami questioned.

"He means they'll be trying to get into the digital world," Taichi said glumly. "So in the end we really do have no other options…"

"Taichi-san," Koushiro began, trying to comfort his friend. "It's not that bad. It's my theory that our crests should replenish after a time."

Taichi's question was short and simple. "How long?"

Hikari, too, looked over for an answer. Koushiro shook his head sadly, "I couldn't even begin to guess; it might be a matter of days or even a matter of years."

More quietly, in the hope that only Taichi would hear him, Koushiro added, "We might also suffer from some health-related issues; us Chosen and our Digimon alike, depending on the impact that giving up our crest powers has on us; essentially they are a part of us, and by giving them away..."

Koushiro stopped short, knowing he had said enough. Immediately Taichi knew of what he was implying, and he looked to his sister. He turned pale with fear, and both his sister and mother looked at him puzzled by his expression. Taichi turned back to Koushiro, silently wishing his friend would take back what he had said. No such luck.

"I'm sorry about this, Taichi-san," Koushiro said. "I really wish there was something else that could be done."

"I don't even know what to say about this anymore," Taichi shook his head solemnly.

Koushiro frowned, "We can discuss this more thoroughly when the whole group is together. Right now I'd like to go see my parents. I need to check and see that they're alright after everything that's happened today."

Taichi nodded. "Yeah, give me a call later on to tell me if everything's okay on your end."

"Will do," Koushiro made his way out the door. He paused briefly by Mrs. Yagami, and bowed slightly, "Thank you for having me over."

"Goodbye, Koushiro-kun. And do say hello to your parents for me."

With a nod, he exited the apartment and closed the door behind him. Taichi looked on, not in the best of moods. He needed a break from this. With a loud sigh, he looked to his mother, and began slumping towards his room, "Mom, I think I need some rest; excuse me for a bit."

Yuuko watched her son leave with a concerned look. She remained quiet, calmly thinking over the situation. She knew that she would be having quite the talk with her husband about this later in the evening. Hikari turned to look at her sadly, and then hurried off after Taichi, "I – I'm going to my brother."

Hikari closed the door of the room behind her, and Yuuko once again felt that she was missing out on something important between her two children. She stood alone in the family room, with only the background noise of the television keeping away the silence. The same commercial her son and Koushiro had been drawn to started to play for a second time.

With a light frown, Mrs. Yagami picked up the phone, and began dialing the ordering number for these digital terminals.

Later in the evening the day of the Diablomon incident, Hikari lay on the top bunk of her bed, and recalled the earlier events from her fellow Chosen. Koushiro had called in, reporting that his parents were slightly shaken by the news of the battle, but were overall coping very well. Jyou had also phoned in, wondering why Taichi had been looking for him earlier in the day. After realizing what had happened, a long series of apologies from Jyou had followed; Taichi was just glad to hear the entrance exam had gone well. And a short e-mail reply ended up having Sora and Taichi on good terms once again.

News for their meeting was being spread. Hikari knew that Mimi was due back from her vacation in Hawaii before the end of the week, as were Yamato and Takeru from their visit to their grandmother's country house. They would meet in the park by the tram that brought them home, and discuss the digital barrier as a whole.

Hikari moved to the ledge of her bed, and looked down at her brother. Taichi was shifting and turning in his sleep in the bunk below her. He wasn't resting easily. She desperately wanted to speak with Taichi about their crests and the digital world before the group meeting, and so she gathered her courage and spoke.

"Oniichan?" Hikari asked. Her voice wavered, and she knew it was full of uncertainty. Maybe he hadn't heard. Maybe she had mistaken and he was already asleep.

Instead Taichi replied instantly, and she nearly jumped at the sound. "What's wrong?"

"Umm… I - ," she started, unsure how to proceed, "I kind of… heard Koushiro-san."

Taichi's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"Oniichan…" Hikari said with a frown, "You're a wonderful brother, always thinking about me, always helping me, always willing to protect me… but you shouldn't worry over me ahead of everyone else."

"I worry about the others, too," he said.

"That isn't what I meant… I mean, you shouldn't let my wellbeing decide on whether or not we should create the barrier. You're too good of a brother, but I don't deserve your worry. We have to think of the digital world and everyone else first."

There was moment of silence, as Taichi tried to collect his thoughts and gather his words. "Hikari… the thought of you getting ill, it scares me. I just – let me finish – I just can't bear that. I don't want to lose you."

"You won't lose me," Hikari reassured.

"I'm not a good brother," Taichi suddenly said. He frowned deeply, almost afraid to continue. "Do you remember when we were young, Hikari? I took you out to play soccer when you were sick."

"A bit," Hikari admitted. "I remember I couldn't kick the ball very well. I felt pretty bad about that since I really wanted to play with you."

"That's just it!" Taichi cried out, a little too loudly than he would've liked. Hikari recoiled slightly from atop her bunk. He quieted, and clenched his eyes shut. "Hikari, that… that was my fault. I shouldn't have taken you outside when you were sick. You… you fainted and were hospitalized. I don't want to repeat that… I nearly lost you back then. I can't help being reminded of that day and I just can't forgive my foolishness."

"I forgive you," Hikari said.

"What?" Taichi opened his eyes, and looked upwards at his sister.

"I forgive you," she giggled briefly, flushing bright red, "You've always been a good brother to me, always took care of me when I was sick, always cleaned my sheets when I made a mess. And that time you watched out for me when that first Koromon came out of our computer. I really do love you Oniichan, and everything you've done for me. I don't want you to worry… because if I do get sick, I know you'll take care of me until I get better."

At last, Taichi smiled. "Thank you, Hikari. I'm... happy to hear that, I really am. When the group gets together, we can make our final decision. And you're right, no matter what happens, I'll always be there for you."

Hikari smiled back at her brother, and then she allowed herself to fall backwards onto her bed. "Good night, Oniichan."

"Good night, Hikari," Taichi said. With the great weight off his shoulders, he let his eyes close and relaxed lay in bed. This time, both sleep and dreams came easily.

End notes:
- Oniichan means "big brother," It's what Hikari refers to Taichi by.
- Kimodameshi is a Japanese game loosely translated as "dare," it closely resembles a scavenger hunt.
- Nana-chan is a made-up name for the girl who's party Hikari was attending.