Okay, this is a "What if?" fic. As in… what if the kids didn't find the eighth child? What if Gatomon only pretended to serve Myotismon? What if Kari disappeared before season one? How would everyone cope? What would Taichi do? That sort of thing.

Why am I writing this? Well, I got bored and decided to write my own "What if" fic. Yes, it is greatly influenced by Lady Ophelia's "The Road Not Taken" fic and I recommend it to anyone and everyone! Rather, I would if she hadn't discontinued it… It was so good, too. Oh well. That's life. I'm making up the parents' names because I have no idea what they might be. You have been warned.

Disclaimer: If I owned Digimon, I would have more than… five cents to my name. And all I have is five cents. So do I own Digimon? No, I don't!

The Digidestined Minus One

Chapter One

"Taichi!" Yagami Lily shouted. "Are you picking on your sister again?"

"No, Mom, I'm not," the six-year-old brunette with spiky hair called to his mother in the kitchen. His little sister, Hikari, had actually been picking on him. But when he had pinched her in retaliation, his mother had caught them and had grounded him.

Kari, of course, had gotten off scot-free. She'd tried to ease the punishment by saying it was her fault Tai had pinched her, but their mother had run for the oven, which was setting the fire alarm off, not hearing them.

Lily pulled the pan out, smoke rising from the blackened mess that was supposed to be their dinner. With a sigh, she turned the pan upside down and shook it. Nothing. The mess didn't even budge.

With a mischievous glance at the hopeful looks on the faces of her children in the living room, she dumped the food, pan and all, into the trash can.

"Who's up for pizza?" she asked.

Her children cheered.

"Extra cheese!" Kari shouted.

"No! Pepperoni!" her brother retaliated.

"Stupid Tai! Cheese!"

"Pepperoni!"

"Cheese!"

"How about we get half-and-half?" Lily suggested, intervening before the argument could get out of hand.

"YAY!" they shouted before hugging their mother and retreating to their shared room.

"How do I do it?" she murmured to herself as she pulled out the phone book. "Mother, chef, chief diplomat…?"

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"Yama," a little voice whispered as a hand tugged on the blonde's shirt.

"What is it, TK?" Ishida Matt asked, rubbing sleep out of his tired eyes.

"The bad's coming," the younger blonde whimpered. "The bad's coming, Yama." Something was wrong. TK only called him 'Yama' when he was really, really, really scared.

"What's the bad?" Matt mumbled, blinking in the harsh light of the light bulb little Takeru had just flicked on over his head. They had gone to bed about an hour before, Matt checking the closet and the rest of the room for any evil things that might be hiding there.

"I don't know," TK whispered, burying himself in his brother's arms. "But it's scary and it's bad and it's not supposed to be here yet. Not supposed to be here for a long time." The last sentence was not spoken by TK, Matt's baby brother, but by using TK almost as a puppet. It was not TK's voice that came out, not really. It sounded like him, but it was older, more mature… almost ancient.

And that voice scared Matt more than anything else in the world right now.

TK tugged Matt out onto the balcony, where they saw something spreading across the sky, something that looked almost like… numbers? How was that possible? Why were there numbers in the sky?

Then the hugest, ugliest parrot Matt had ever seen in his life took his attention off the sky. It had landed on the street and proceeded to screech loudly and wreck anything and everything in its way.

"How don't the adults hear this?" he murmured to himself as he got a pair of binoculars for himself and TK to use to see better.

"They are being blocked," the ancient persona inside TK explained. "They are closing off their minds and refuse to believe what their eyes see. So they can't see or hear any of this."

"You're scaring me," Matt informed the person inside his brother flatly.

"I'm sorry, Yama," TK whispered, hugging him. "I'm not trying to scare you. But there's someone inside me, wanting me to let it say what it needs to say. I'm letting it because it's strong and it's important."

Matt was about to reply when a giant dinosaur crashed through a nearby parking garage and headed toward the giant parrot.

"Is that the bad?" he demanded of his little brother.

TK took the binoculars and, after adjusting them so he could see, said, "No. The dinosaur's not with the dark." It was Takeru's voice speaking, not the voice deep inside him, though that voice did agree with his assessment. The little girl in pink footsie pajamas riding the large dinosaur would never be with the dark. Ever. "The parrot's with the dark," he said as the dinosaur and the parrot began to battle it out.

TK and Matt soon discovered the little girl and the boy with goggles who had followed her were nowhere to be seen, though that was not from lack of trying.

The battle was fought out, the voice inside TK wanting to know what had happened to the little girl, but TK unable to answer. Finally, the battle was finished and the monsters left. Then the other essence inside Takeru that had been keeping him awake quieted.

As Matt continued to watch the world around him, TK leaned into his brother's embrace and fell asleep there.

When the dirty blonde looked down and saw his sleeping baby brother, he gave a laugh. "Time for bed, TK," he whispered, half-awakening the slumbering child.

"I don't wanna," TK mumbled as Matt drew the covers over him. "Don't make me, Matt."

"Don't make you what?" Matt asked his brother kindly. "What don't you want to do?"

"Don't wanna fight," the smaller blonde mumbled in reply. "Please don't make me."

"You won't be fighting anytime soon, TK," the older boy assured him. "Just sleep right now." Then he climbed back into his own bed and hit the pillow, fast asleep himself.

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"We need the child and we need her now!" a voice shouted in the dark room. The crash of something fragile shattering followed soon after. "They are vulnerable without their Light. Hope will be distracted, looking for Light, and will be an easy target. Get her for me NOW!"

"As you wish, Lord Myotismon," Gatomon replied, kneeling at the foot of his throne. Not if I can help it, she snapped silently. I'll never let you have one of the Chosen Children as a slave as long as I live.

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The next morning was marked by many changes.

TK told his mother and father about the 'monsters fighting in the street.' They didn't believe him. Matt just thought his baby brother was confusing what was real with what was fantasy. He didn't remember much of the adventure from the night before and considered it merely a dream.

At the Yagami home, Lily walked through the apartment in a daze and finally concluded that Tai and Kari were simply not capable of this sort of damage by themselves. She was also amazed that neither she nor her husband had heard the crashing of the wall or anything else. So the kids were not punished, especially as the news soon blamed it on some terrorist attack.

All families in Heighten View Terrace freaked out, of course, and refused to let their children outside unless a parent was with them, just in case something else happened.

AN: That's it for chapter one. Yes, I know there was little action and we already know about all this from the show, but I needed to do it for… background reasons. I intend to really start the "What if?" part next chapter. If this seems like Lady Ophelia's "The Road Not Taken," then I apologize. I suppose it will, at least a little, because my mind was greatly influenced by her story, but I intend for this to be original, not a copy.

QUESTIONS:

1) Are there lockers in Japanese schools?

2) Can anyone point me toward an accurate and in-depth episode guide of all the seasons?

3) What's Takato's teacher's name? (No, this last one has nothing to do with this story, I just really need to know.)