Disclaimer: Don't own them. Wouldn't that be fun if I did.
"TK? What are you doing?"
TK groaned. Joe. Joe caught him. Now he'd never get away. "I was…was…"
Joe didn't speak right away. He was lying on his back, looking up into the night. " 'Was'?" he finally prompted.
"I wanted to get away from Matt," TK blurted, then immediately felt awful. Matt was his big brother! How could he say such a thing? How could he be so disloyal? But deep down, TK knew it was how he truly felt. Sometimes he just wanted to get away. "I mean, you heard him yelling at me, didn't you?" he asked plaintively.
TK looked startled. "Joe?"
"Yeah, I heard him. Matt's really protective of you, isn't he?"
"What are you, new?" TK asked. Then it all came out in a rush. "I wasn't two feet away! I just happened to be behind him, where he couldn't see me, that's all! I wasn't going to get hurt."
Joe shrugged. "I know how you feel."
"You?" TK scoffed. "Matt never bosses you around."
Joe shrugged again. "Maybe not Matt, but Jim did."
Joe stretched out. "My big brother."
"You have a big brother?" TK asked in surprise, sitting next to the older boy.
"Yeah. There's not such an age difference between us, though."
"But how did Jim boss you around?"
"Every way he could," Joe answered dryly. "Of course, he was wiser, older, and more experienced than I was, and he was just looking out for me, so how could I resent his…'advice,' as they called it." It was spoken with deep sarcasm.
"But that's how I feel, too!" TK exclaimed.
Joe nodded. "Yeah, I know."
"Why doesn't Matt see it that way?"
Joe thought that over. "Well," he said slowly, actually thinking about it, "you've got to see it from his point of view, too. I never did until we got to the Digiworld. Then I sort of became everyone's big brother. You worry about people younger than you are. You try and help them from making the mistakes you did. And that's all good, it's just that if you're not careful, you run their lives."
"Yeah. That's what it feels like Matt does."
Joe nodded. "Jim did that, too, but eventually he let up. He realized I needed to live my own life and told me to follow my own path."
TK sighed. "Why can't Matt do that for me?"
"Give him some credit, TK. He just wants what's best for you. You try and protect Patamon like that, don't you?" he pointed out.
TK thought back. "I guess I do." He grinned. "Thanks, Joe," he said, yawning.
"Hey, one little brother to another. Why don't you go to bed?"
TK rubbed his eyes. "Yeah, I am kinda tired. Night." He headed back towards the camp.
The minute TK was out of sight, Matt stepped out of the shadows. "Did you mean all that, Joe?"
"Mean what, Matt?" Joe asked, completely unsurprised.
"You knew I was there, didn't you?"
"Of course." Joe tapped his glasses. "I wear these for a reason."
Matt smiled briefly. "So you were talking directly to me, weren't you?"
"Well…let's just say, I wasn't unaware that you'd hear and hopefully change your behavior. After all, Matt, I'm your 'big brother,' too, now, and I have to keep you from making mistakes."
"Am I really too overprotective?" Matt asked.
Joe shrugged. "A little, maybe, but no one blames you, not even TK We all know the Digiworld is dangerous. We all know you want what's best, but you've got to let him be a little kid, Matt." Joe grinned. "Wouldn't it be annoying if he was fifty and still came to you for approval on every action?"
"Yeah, I guess you're right. When did you get so good at the advice business?"
"It's part of the job description for Reliability," Joe answered. "I need to have an answer for everything; otherwise, what good am I?"
"Oh, I see." Matt paused, then said, "Well, I'm going back to camp."
"Okay. I'll be along."
Matt couldn't help chuckling a bit. "You know what?"
"Not if you don't tell me."
Matt paused. "Whatever. Anyway, you're not useless, otherwise."
Joe grinned. "Come on, Matt. I'm just another little brother. When you get down to it, I'm more like TK than anything else."
Matt chuckled again. "Good night, Joe."
"Good night, Matt."
See, I was watching the show and I thought to myself, Self, I sure would hate it if someone smothered me as much as Matt does to TK. I wonder how TK feels about it. So I decided to write a fic, and Joe seemed a logical choice for TK to talk to, as he is a younger brother, so he's sympathetic, but he's older than everyone else there, so he has a long view. And here it is. Please review.