Author's note: A short one this time

Author's note: A short one this time. As usual, football is soccer and thanks to Pulsar for support and being my beta-reader! I couldn't have done it without you! And also thanks for telling me that the word 'fag' (a cigarette to British) means something totally different to you Americans ^_^;;. Saved me a lot of hassle from the Yolie fans out there!

Osamu is Sam, Ken's older brother. I would've called him Sam, but I like Osamu better.

The bit of the song Davis sings later on is 'Goggle Boy', his Japanese theme. Thanks go to megchan.com/Digimon for the translation. And yes, I am a Dai-chan fan. But you wouldn't think it the way I'm mean to him ^_^

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"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." Rabindranath Tagore

Never Forget

By Rayamon

It's a funny thing, death.

I mean, think about it. You cease to exist. Sort of. You don't actually stop existing, you just...I dunno, leave. You're there but you're not. You're everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Maybe it's impossible. Maybe it isn't. But whatever it is, I'm in it.

But how can you be dead when you can still think? I think therefore I am. And see and hear...you can't be dead. But yet I am. I know I am. I'm pretty sure I know that I died. What with the funeral and all. You don't have a funeral for a live person, do you?

It's kinda odd, looking at your own tombstone. Daisuke 'Davis' Motomiya. Aged 12. They wrote Veemon's name on it as well. That was nice. I don't think Veemon got his own grave, so mine's the next best thing. Digimon don't leave themselves behind when they die, like us. They just become data, floating around in limbo. No body left to bury. So they left his name on my gravestone. At least that way he can be remembered.

Never forget. That's what I told her. Never forget. Oh Kari, I miss you. And the rest. But mostly you. I guess that it wasn't a secret that I loved you. I always tried to make myself useful, to please you. Doing that science question you couldn't do. Comforting you when your cat Miko died. But I was always second best. TK always came before me. I knew that you two had been friends long before I was in the picture. You helped save the Digi-World together. It was obvious that the two of you were made for each other, yet...I wanted to be loved by you. But you always put me down as being dense and lovesick. I didn't do what I did because I was stupid; I did it because I loved you. When you started to cry it broke my heart. It made me wish that I hadn't done it. But it was either your life or mine, and there was no question. At least now you can be free to be with TK. Just please don't forget. I died because I loved you.

And do I regret it?

Nah.

I knew my death upset you, but it was a small price to pay for your life. Would you rather be sad for a while, or dead forever?

It was 10 years ago, yet it still plays through my mind. It was my last living memory, how could I forget? It's a wonder the Digi-Eggs didn't go off all at once.

Courage for what I did.

Friendship that made me do it.

Knowledge of what was going to happen if I didn't.

Reliability of making sure you were safe.

Hope that you were safe.

Light, making sure yours didn't go out.

Sincerity, that's what I did it in.

And Love...that's what I did it for.

Man...death has made me cheesy.

It was a little while after we defeated Ken. We were supposed to clean up the Digi-World after his whole 'I am the Emperor, bow down before me' thing. Well, it was Kari's idea actually. So of course I agreed. If she said the sky was green and the grass blue I would have agreed with her. But that wasn't entirely it. Even with Ken gone, there were still some Control Spires lurking about the place. So we had to go destroy them as well.

It's a really cool feeling, going into the Digital World. The best bit's when you get your new clothes. You feel all fuzzy, then there's a brief flash and you've got your outfit. You can only really notice when you approach the end of the ride. It only lasts a few seconds, but it's like one massive roller coaster. As you finally become computer data, you go all tingly and then whoomph, you're there. Where was I? Oh yeah.

So we were wandering around, trying the locate the nearest Control Spire. It was one of those weird Digital Forests we were walking through. They're creepier than they look. It always seems as if something was watching you. Kari of course was walking with TK. Grr...I turned round in an effort to distract them from each other and crashed headlong into a tree, sending me on my ass. Of course, everyone thought it was soooooo funny. I bet this sort of stuff never happened to Tai.

Kari grabbed TK by the hand and led him on, still giggling "Come on, let's go find that Control Spire." My heart sank at that. Why was it always him over me?

"Hey Davish...Davish! Hello!" Veemon waved his hand in front of me and broke me out of my blue funk.

"Huh, what? Oh yeah..." Veemon helped me to my feet and I tried to patch together what little dignity I had left. Veemon of course wasn't bothered at all by this. He just looked at me with that smiling little face of his, full of adoration...I wonder, are the Digimon programmed to like us, or do they actually care? I hope it's the latter...

"Davis!" I winced at the familiar sharp crack of Yolie's voice. She poked her capped head around a nearby tree and frowned at me "Get your rear into gear and get over here! We've found the Spire!" she yanked her head out of view. Nice to see you're all right too...

When I caught up with the others, they were all standing gazing out over the landscape. The forest had opened up into a wide clearing that surrounded a overhang of rock. The gang were pointing out the Control Spire, which lay a little while away in the distance. I looked down at Veemon, who nodded.

"DIGI-ARMOUR ENERGISE!!"

"Veemon Armour-Digivolve to...FLAMEDRAMON! The Fire of Courage!"

You have no idea how good it feels to have your Digimon Armour-Digivolve. You knew they couldn't have done it without you, and it sorta makes you feel proud. And after all, Flamedramon is just sooooo cool! In your face, TK!

Flamedramon didn't need telling what to do. Charge up, Fire Rocket, whee whee boom boom bye bye Control Spire, go home for ice cream. Been there, done that.

About to leap off to destroy the Spire, Flamedramon's eyes went wide; he screamed and was thrown forward by an explosion from seemingly nowhere. There was a crash as he pitched off the edge of the overhang and landed in a heap at the bottom.

"Flamedramon!" I shouted, leaping over the edge myself and skidding down the slope. My partner was struggling to his feet, his red armour tarnished by the blast. I could see in his eyes that he was in pain, and I ran over to him. "Flamedramon, are you all right??"

He groggily shook his head "I'll live."

I watched anxiously as he pulled himself upright, towering over me "What happened, Flamedramon? What was that explosion?"

As if in answer, another explosion rocked the air and Nefertimon has hurled over the edge, crashing into Flamedramon.

"Nefertimon!" I looked round to see Kari, TK and the others struggling down the slope. Kari...I turned back to the two Digimon.

"Sorry.." said Nefertimon sheepishly, leaping off Flamedramon's chest.

"...No problem." Wheezed my partner, trying once again to get to his feet.

"Davis!" cried Kari, grabbing my shoulders and skidding to a halt in front of me "We have to get out of here!"

I blinked "Eh? What for?"

Above the ridge were several more explosions, and Halsemon, Pegasusmon and Digmon were soon thrown down into the dust beside us. From above the ridge rose a large red head, adorned with stripes and spikes.

Tyrannomon.

Well, at least it wasn't a Deltamon.

Two more heads appeared.

Still not as bad as a Deltamon.

A further two Tyrannomon.

Well...

"RUN!" I shouted. The rest of the gang didn't need telling twice. As we ran as fast as we could towards the Spire, our Digimon formed a protective line behind us.

"Why are they attacking us??" wailed Yolie "Ken's not the Emperor anymore!"

"Maybe we're in their territory!" panted Kari.

"Or it's a Dark Ring!" cried Cody. The tone in his voice made us skid to a halt and look round. Lo and behold, each Tyrannomon had a Dark Ring around its arm.

"But...but how?" I spluttered "It's not possible!"

"The Tyrannomon must still be under control of the Spire! And without Ken to call them off, they're running wild!" shouted TK. Why does he have to figure everything out...

"FIRE ROCKET!"

"TEMPEST WING!"

"ROSETTA STONE!"

"GOLD RUSH!"

"STAR SHOWER!"

Our Digimon threw their attacks at the rampaging Tyrannomon as they hurtled towards us. Oh man...this is just like the time Ken sent a pack of them to attack us. Never liked Tyrannomon after that.

Flamedramon, grappling with the lead Tyrannomon, flipped him over his head and slammed him into the dirt. Yeah! Get a load of that, T...

TK wasn't paying attention at all. Just standing there with Kari laughing happily as Pegasusmon and Nefertimon used their Golden Noose to tie up two Tyrannomon. Dammit, why do their Digimon get the joint attack? Proof that once again little Daisuke isn't needed.

"Blaze Blast!" the Tyrannomon fighting Halsemon cried. The bird/lion/griffin/whatever it was was sent flying through the air and crashed into Pegasusmon, knocking both of them into the dirt. I knew I shouldn't laugh, but I couldn't help sniggering. So much for the high and mighty Pegasusmon and perfect little Takeru.

"Pegasusmon!" cried TK, running over to his Digimon. There was a cry as Nefertimon was hit by a Blaze Blast too. Man, these Tyrannomon were tough! With Flamedramon's Tyrannomon on the ropes, my partner went to help the others.

"Aim for the Rings!" shouted Cody over the din "Aim for the Rings!"

Hearing his partner, Digmon swiped down with his spiked hand at the Ring on the nearest Tyrannomon. It shattered into a thousand fragments and the dinosaur Digimon screamed as its mind was freed from the control of the Spire. It then just stood there, slightly disoriented, as the battle raged around it.

The lead Tyrannomon that Flamedramon had been fighting hauled itself to its feet and whacked its newly freed companion aside with a sweep of its tail. It glared round, trying to find a target. Then it fixed it's jaundice yellow gaze on Kari.

Sometimes you only have to look into a Digimon's eyes to know what they were thinking.

And that's when things went weird.

"BLAZE BLAST!"

Maybe things really did slow down. Or maybe my mind worked faster than it ever had in its entire life. The ball of fire heading towards Kari, slowly crawling through the air. I looked round desperately. Nefertimon was too far away to help, and TK would never make it in time. The rest, engrossed in battle, hadn't noticed yet.

It was up to me.

I ran as fast as I could through the slowed time and stood in front of Kari, arms spread wide.

In hindsight, this was a pretty stupid thing to do. But you really don't have enough time to think of any other ideas.

I had to protect her.

Strangely, I felt no fear as the fireball came towards me. I just glared at it defiantly.

Time sped up again.

The fireball crashed straight into my chest. I screamed as a wave of burning pain swept over me, then I was hurled backwards several feet into the dirt. I choked and gasped for air as my back arched from the pain. I had never been in so much agony. It was worse than the time Jun accidentally spilt some boiling coffee over my hand. Worse than being hit by a car when I was younger.

I dug my fingers into the dirt as sheer agony coursed through my body. There was an acrid smell in the air, the bitter smell of burning. I looked down at my chest and immediately wished I hadn't.

My clothes were blackened and burned from the flames, with the occasional wisp of smoke rising from the burnt fabric. What I could see of my skin was covered in burns and bleeding slightly. I screamed again and my head slumped into the dust.

"Davis! Davis!"

I forced my eyes open against the pain to see Kari's soft brown eyes gazing down. She scooped my head up in her arms and tried to soothe me. Then the pain just seemed to...vanish. It was weird. But strangely welcome.

"K....Kari" I stuttered. Why couldn't I speak right?

"Sshhh..." she shushed me "Don't say anything."

A new wave of pain began to travel up my torso and tears sprang unbidden to my eyes. I choked once again as the air refused to enter my lungs and Kari hugged me again.

Then...something changed.

I don't know what. It was like a release. The pain faded and I was beginning to feel strangely detached from myself. The difficulty of me breathing didn't seem to bother me anymore...nor did the fact that I was bleeding. It was just me and Kari, together in a sunny day in the Digital World.

"Davish! Davish!"

Veemon skidded into my blurry vision. He must have defeated the Tyrannomon then...but that didn't seem to bother me either.

The rest gathered around me. Yolie looked sick. Heh. Cody didn't look too good either. What was the matter with them? What was upsetting them?

TK was hugging Patamon, biting his lip trying not to cry. What was he so upset about? Hadn't I saved Kari?

Veemon took my gloved hand in his "Davish, don't leave me! Hang on, Davish!"

Who said I was leaving? The sky looked so blue...maybe a nap wouldn't be so bad...

I let my eyes slowly close.

SLAP.

I forced my eyelids open and, to my surprise, saw that Kari had slapped me. Wasn't she happy that I had saved her? Had she wanted TK to?

"Davis!" she was crying. Why was she crying? I thought she didn't like me "Daisuke Motomiya, don't you dare die on me!"

Die? What was she talking about? Who said anything about dying? I only wanted a rest...

My eyes slid shut again, when something wet dripped onto my face. Forcing them open again, I saw Kari's eyes brimming with so many tears.

I tired to raise myself, but my body refused to obey. Instead, I shakily raised my free arm and gently wiped away a tear, before it fell useless in the dust.

"K...Kari..." I could feel blood slowly filling my lungs. It was a strange feeling, like someone was pouring water into me "N...never...forget..."

Kari lowered her face onto my shoulder "I won't Davis, I promise I won't."

Why was she promising so soon? I hadn't finished telling her yet. All the things I wanted to...that I loved her, that I had did it for love, to look after Veemon, give my goggles back to Tai...

But then the words didn't need to be spoken. They were there, silent in the air between us.

I choked once as the blood rose to my throat. Veemon's grip tightened on my hand. Veemon...I'm only going to rest. Don't worry.

The rest were sobbing now. Why?

But then it didn't matter. I was in Kari's arms with Veemon beside me, as always. At that, I couldn't help smile.

I felt something trickle out of the corner of my mouth and dully recognised it as blood. Their grips tightened as I felt the darkness begin to gather.

I only wanted to rest.

Don't cry, you guys.

And when my eyes finally slipped closed, there was nothing to do but smile.

************************************************************

I didn't really know what to expect after that. A light at the end of the tunnel, singing angels, an afterlife...all I know is that I'm here now. And I guess that's all that matters.

I've always believed in ghosts, even when I was little. It had started when my parents took me to a Shinto shrine in the mountains, where my grandparents lived. I must have been only 5 or so at the time. I had been wandering about by myself, kicking a ball around, when I saw someone kneeling outside the shrine, head bowed in prayer. I went up to them and waited until they'd finished, then politely asked if they'd come to see grandpa. The figure stood up and turned towards me. It was a man, dressed up in priest's clothing. He just smiled down at me...then vanished. Into thin air. Grandma told me it might have been a ghost of a former priest, while grandpa put it down to my over-active imagination. But I knew what I'd seen; and I've always believed in ghosts since.

A good thing, too. I think I am one.

No one can see me. No one had hear me. I'm just a shade, wandering in a graveyard, waiting.

I didn't choose to stay here. Maybe the Powers-That-Be did. But I told her never to forget. And I guess I'm making sure she never does.

It's a funny thing, going to your own funeral. I sat in the back pew while the vicar said the sermon. It was a lovely little church, near the river. There was a nice view from the graveyard. All the Digi-Destined came, as well as their families. Well, Ken didn't turn up. What happened to that guy? But the look on the priest's face when he saw the Digimon was priceless. But nothing would have stopped them from coming.

I was disappointed when Veemon didn't show up. Part of me knew he wouldn't be here, but I didn't want to believe it...the Digimon share life forces with their Digi-Destined partners. And when mine went out, so did his...I'm sorry, Veemon. I didn't mean to end your life as well. But I hope you've found peace. Do Digimon have a heaven of their own? If they do, I'm sure you're in it. I bet you'd look cute with little angel wings and a halo.

I was surprised at how many people were crying at the funeral. I never ever thought I'd see Tai and Matt cry. Gabumon and Agumon were looking pretty mournful as well. Mimi had come all the way from America to be here. She was sobbing, head in hands, while Joe put his arm around her to try and comfort her. TK broke down halfway through the service, and ended up burying his head into Sora's shoulder. Kari...she just sat there, staring off into space, Gatomon on her knee. She didn't cry. She didn't speak. The only time I saw something change in her was when the priest was going on about what a noble sacrifice I'd made. Yeah right. Her face twitched and she looked like she might burst into tears, but she didn't. She bit her lip, kneaded her fingers together...but didn't cry. She forced herself not to. Don't feel guilty, Kari. I gave you life.

Tai, Matt, Izzy, Joe, TK and Cody bore my coffin out of the church. Cody had immense trouble because of his height, but he still insisted he was alright. Brave guy. No wonder you got the Digi-Egg of Reliability.

I stood next to them as they lowered my coffin into the grave. It was a nice resting-place, partly shaded by a tree and overlooking the river. As the service finished, it began to spot with rain, and everyone drifted away. Kari was the last. She stood there, gazing at my tombstone, not saying a word. Tai eventually led her away, yet she still glanced over her shoulder to look. But when she went, I was alone again.

She came everyday after that. She'd leave fresh flowers and talk to me. Sometimes she brought Gatomon with her, but usually she came alone. I sat on my stone and waited for her. She'd talk to me, tell me what was happening in the world. Once she started crying, saying how stupid I was for giving up my life for her, when I knew she didn't love me back. She called me lots of names, then just broke down and sobbed. She ran away, but the next day begged forgiveness. I forgave her. It wasn't her fault. Even in death, I still loved her.

Occasionally the others would stop by. TK and Tai came the most after Kari. Everyone came at some point. Sometimes the Digimon came alone, with flowers or a wreath. Once, Gatomon kneeled down in prayer at my grave, and I moved next to her. She leapt to her feet and started hissing in my general direction, hackles raised. I could see she was obviously confused, but she still didn't stop hissing. As I took a step towards her, her eyes went wide in fear and she ran off. After that, she had been extra cautious around my grave, even when she was with others. I learnt not to approach the Digimon after that. In the Real World, it's been proven that animals are more sensitive to ghosts than humans. It was probably the same with the Digimon, since they were animals. Sort of. Whatever.

I got an unusual visitor after that.

I had been sitting on my stone, waiting for Kari, when someone came slowly into the graveyard, their feet barely making a sound on the gravel path. I watched with disinterest, thinking they were coming to see someone else. But when they came towards me, I almost fell over when I saw who it was.

None other then Ken Ichijouji.

After being used to the Digimon Emperor for so long, he looked strange in his Real World outfit. He looked just like a normal kid in every way.

He cleared his throat.

"Daisuke, I..."

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a single, delicate white rose and placed it gently on my grave.

"I...this is for you. I..."

I waited patiently.

"I...I want to apologise."

Eh? Apologise?

"I'm...I'm sorry...for this." His bottom lip began to quiver "I...I..." suddenly he burst into tears and slid to his knees "This is all my fault! It's my fault you're dead!"

Whoa! Run that by me again! Ken's actually crying...over me?!?

"It's MY fault!" he sobbed, beating his fists on the earth "I should've destroyed all the Spires, I should've listened to Wormmon...I should've never been the Emperor! Then you'd still be alive!" I moved closer to Ken as he continued to sob "Why do I have to lose everyone close to me? Everyone I care for has to die, before I even realise I need them! First Osamu, then Wormmon...I can never be happy! WHY?!" he screamed up at the sky "WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME!?!??! WHY!?!?!" he then just broke down, huddling into a small ball on the cold earth, sobbing.

"Ken..." I didn't know he was such a tortured soul. I could understand Wormmon, but who was Osamu? He must have been dear to Ken. I tried to put my arm around him, but if he felt it he didn't show it. He continued to cry for what seemed like an age, before climbing back to his feet, sniffing dejectedly. His hair was mussed, his clothing stained and his eyes red from crying. And in the end, he was the same as me. Just a kid.

Before I could say or do anything, he just turned and ran out of the graveyard, leaving nothing behind to mark his presence save a single, solitary white rose that waved gently in the wind.

************************************************************

I never saw Ken after that. Whenever I was alone in that windswept graveyard, I mulled over his words. He cared for me. He cared for Wormmon and Osamu, whoever he was. Despite all he had done, he had only wanted to have someone close. A best friend. Did he really want me as a friend? I had always admired him for his football skills, his looks and of course his intelligence. I had never been the smart one. Maybe we could've become friends if things had been different.

Kari had been surprised at the rose when she saw it. Her visits had now become just weekly, every Sunday. I didn't mind, as long as she came. She'd come up, lay some flowers and talk to me. I loved it when she talked to me. She'd tell me what she and the other Digi-Destined were doing. The school holidays were coming up. Apparently she and the other guys were going on a visit to the Digital World for a while, so she wouldn't see me for a bit. I didn't mind. I'd always be here, waiting.

After that, her visits became monthly.

Then they became twice a year.

Then just once, on the anniversary of my death.

I had lost my sense of time long ago, the days blurring into each other. When you don't have life, time doesn't matter. I saw my friends change, grow older each time I saw them. As far as I know, I didn't. How could I when I didn't live? I just sat there waiting for each visit as the years went by. The cherry blossoms billowed around me, blanketing my grave in soft flower blanket. Flowers bloomed and died, the leaves turned brown and fell, carpeting the world in golds and reds. The snow came, turning the graveyard into a white canvas. Birds fled on their migrations and came back. Caterpillars became butterflies and danced on the air. Rain became sun became rain became sun. Clouds raced across the heavens and a myriad of stars shone against the phases of the moon. The passage of time slipped past me like a river, carrying everyone along in its endless course.

I saw Kari turn from a young teen to a woman. I saw Cody grow and become more reliable each day. I saw Yolie mature. And I saw TK become the guy I could never have been.

I was the first person she told. Even before Tai. The diamond ring glistening on her finger, mirroring her beauty. TK had proposed to her, and she asked if I minded. I didn't. I was happy for them. If not me, then Takeru. They made a lovely couple. Who was I to come between them?

They held the wedding at the same church as my funeral. It was beginning to get cloudy, but Kari's radiance made it seem like the blazing day. It was a beautiful white wedding, complete with bridesmaids, pageboys and bouquets. The entire gang was there, even the Digimon. I came into the church to watch the ceremony. Illuminated by the stain-glassed window behind the altar, Takeru and Hikari looked like angels. There was such love in their eyes, I knew that they'd finally found happiness.

The Digimon had held the train of her dress as they left the church. As everyone threw their confetti over the couple, I couldn't help but wish that I could give them my own blessing.

As if in answer, the clouds above parted slightly and shaft of sunlight travelled down, bathing them in their own golden ray.

I looked up at the sky and smiled.

Thank you

************************************************************

They didn't come to see me until the next year. My anniversary. They both came, laid some flowers and said a prayer. After getting a hint from Kari, TK left early, leaving Kari to talk to me. Sometimes I just wished I could show her I was listening to her every word, but perhaps she knew that I was. She stayed for a little while, then left me again, waiting for the next year to come.

She never came.

I'm sitting here now, ten years after my death, just waiting for her. She always came in the morning, but it was already afternoon. Evening was beginning to come. Where was she? I wandered to the gates of the churchyard and looked up and down the road. Nothing. Where was Kari? I paced up and down and waited some more. Had something happened to her? No, I would've known. But there was something else, something far worse.

She had forgotten me.

I told her never to forget; yet she did.

She broke her word.

She forgot me.

I would rather face the Tyrannomon and die a thousand times over then realise the truth. Kari, you said you'd never forget.

But you did.

Maybe I'm over-reacting. Perhaps she's just late.

No. It's taking too long for her to simply be late. She'd forgotten me. After she promised, she forgot me.

Then what was the point? The point of waiting, the point of promises? There was nothing.

She had forgotten.

I gazed up at the late afternoon sky, the white clouds billowing across like foam on the waves. The afternoon breeze whipped around my feet, carrying loose summer petals in its wake. Zephyrs of light mirrored the sky as the grass gently swayed beneath me.

I knew what I had to do.

For the first time in my afterlife, I left the churchyard.

************************************************************

Odaiba had changed a lot in my ten years. I gently slipped down the bustling streets, marvelling at the sights. The models of cars, the new buildings stretching into the sky seemingly to brush the clouds...and so many faces. A thousand nameless faces came and went past me, each with their own light. No one noticed the young boy with the goggles moving like a shadow among them. The one marked with those flames of courage. The one who had led the Digi-Destined. The one who gave his life for the one he loved.

The one who had been forgotten.

The streets slid beneath my feet as I wandered. Everywhere, endless answers and possibilities.

But I knew where I wanted to be.

Echoes of remembrance washed over me like a river. Treading where I had walked so long ago...the place that I had once called home.

Odaiba.

I turned the corners, the destination burned into my mind. If Kari hadn't come to me, then I'd come to Kari.

Years ago she told me that she and TK had moved into a flat together. I didn't know the exact place, but I knew the area.

And then I knew that I'd find her.

And I'd be certain that she hadn't forgot.

She couldn't have.

I crossed the road, hands in pockets and head bowed in thought. The cars whizzed past me and through me. I was nothing to these people but a shade. I did not exist. How could I, when I died so long ago?

"Davis! Davis!"

I looked round in surprise, hearing someone call my name. I smiled sadly as I saw the woman who had shouted me take a little, blond-haired boy by the hand.

"Davis, you shouldn't wander off like that! Now come on, let's get back to grandma..."

Yes Davis, go back. Go with your family and those who love you. To where people care for you and never forget.

But then, amongst the sea of faces, I recognised someone.

The dark golden hair and darker eyes. The step of someone who knows.

Sora.

She had that air of purpose and direction, and I knew where she was going. There was no other place.

To where Kari was.

I fell into step behind her as she left the crowds, turning into a side street. For the first time I noticed she was carrying a bag of somesort. Why? A present? For who? Maybe she was going to see me, and was picking up Kari to come too.

Dream on, Daisuke.

We reached the apartments after a few minutes. It was a relatively new block, complete with balconies and a garden around the bottom. It briefly reminded me of someplace long ago, where I could feel the sun and laugh with others. But that time was gone. It's just me here now.

Sora entered the apartments and took the lift up to the 11th floor. I waited beside her. I was surprised how much Sora had grown in the five years I haven't seen her. Let's see...she'd be about 24 now. I wonder what she's been doing with her life all this time...

There was a faint ping as the doors slid open as we reached our destination. Sora stepped out and I followed, as silent as a shadow. So many things had passed me by; but now, it was only me who had slipped away.

Sora stopped by a door with the number 1138 on it, and a sign outside that said 'Takaishi'. Nice.

She knocked on the door and waited.

No answer.

She knocked again, louder.

Still no answer.

Growing impatient, I slipped through the wall beside the door and into the flat. Did I mention that you can pass through things as a ghost? No? Well, I bet you figured it out anyway.

The apartment was empty. I glanced around the front room. Nothing. Kari and TK just weren't here.

I slipped back through the wall as Sora pounded the door again. It was no use knocking; they weren't home. Then where had they gone?

"Can I help you, my dear?"

Sora and I looked round in surprise at the voice. An old woman stood in the door of the apartment opposite the Takaishi's. She had that air of wisdom around her, but she seemed pretty annoyed at all the banging too.

"Um...yes." said Sora "Could you tell me where TK and Kari have gone, please?"

"You mean the young man and woman? The Takaishis?"

"Yes, that's them."

"Oh well dear, you're a bit too late, I'm afraid. Something happened and the young girl got taken off to hospital."

All the colour drained from Sora's face, and if I had blood it would have ran cold "When was this?"

"Oh, a few hours ago. In the morning. Such a palaver. That young man...TK you say?...he was running around panicking. Honestly. Young people today. Still, I hope she's alright."

Alright? All right?!?!?! Dammit woman, this is Kari we're talking about here! She HAS to be alright!!

Moving faster than I've seen, Sora pressed the bag into the woman's hands "Here, look after this for me!" Then she dashed towards the elevator, and, after unsuccessfully pounding the button with no result, raced down the eleven flights of stairs.

"Give my regards to them!" I heard the old woman cry as I set off in hot pursuit.

************************************************************

I caught up with Sora towards the third floor. She was taking the stairs three at a time and literally jumping over the banister rail. I myself shot down the stairs, my spectral feet never really touching them in my haste. Reaching the ground floor lobby, Sora ran out into the street and frantically tried to flag down a taxi. Eventually one slowed down and Sora leapt into the back, me close behind.

"Where to?" asked the driver, turning his head towards Sora.

"The hospital! As fast as you can!" cried Sora, panic on the edge of her voice. The driver seemed to pick it up and pressed his foot down hard.

As Sora kneaded her hands together, I found myself looking out the window towards the rapidly darkening sky. The Tokyo landscape of buildings and towers reflected dully on the river. A lone seagull cried mournfully as it circled the still evening air. Everywhere was at peace in the golden sunset of evening.

The driver turned a corner sharply and I found myself looking out of the front window. How much further to the hospital? A flash of light caught my gaze and I looked up.

Looking back at me in the rear view mirror was the same young goggle-headed boy that I had long since forgotten. The spiky hair, the ruffled collar and the flames clawing up his jacket, the yellow gloves resting lightly upon knees slightly bruised from endless games of football in the summer...

The boy who had died so long ago.

Daisuke 'Davis' Motomiya.

Me.

The driver glanced in the mirror but didn't see me. Nobody could, and nobody ever would. I raised my hands to my head and gently took off my goggles. Words, sang so long ago in a past that used to be my own, took life as I began to sing softly

Googuru wa shitteru ze
Tatakai to yuuki no imi
Itsu demo soba de miteta
Googuru wa akashi da ze
Ano hito kara ore e to
Watasareta taisetsu na
Monshou to onaji na no sa
Kakkoii daro...

"Yes," I breathed, brushing off imaginary dust on the lenses "Passed on from him to me, they're as precious as a Crest..." I smiled softly as I held them as if they were the most valuable and delicate thing in the world "Aren't they cool?"

My thoughts were broken as the driver slammed his foot down. Jolted back to my senses, I saw that we had arrived at the hospital. Sora fumbled with her purse and pressed several yen notes at the driver while I slipped through the door, placing my goggles back onto my head. I waited until Sora had run slightly ahead before following.

************************************************************

Sora made a beeline towards the reception desk as I gazed around in wonder. The hospital had changed so much in ten years. New floors marked with directions, signs in both Japanese and English, a massive aquarium in the waiting room, and that impeccably clean feeling most hospitals have. After so many years in the churchyard, it was almost overwhelming.

Suddenly I felt something shake me mentally, and I looked around to see Sora running down one of the corridors. Shaking myself from my wonder, I glided after her.

I almost lost her round the maze of corridors and rooms that catacombed the hospital. But if I did, then I would never find Kari. Kari, please be alright. I couldn't live with myself if you were hurt. Please, please be okay.

Sora eventually came to a waiting room by the end of another long corridor and finally stopped, panting heavily. Someone got up to her in surprise.

"Sora, you made it!"

Coming into the waiting room, I pulled up short. Sitting on the chairs or leaning against the walls were the Digi-Destined, and even their Digimon. I was surprised at that; I thought the hospital would have seen them as a health hazard or something.

Sora leaned on Tai, still struggling for breath, while Biyomon, the one who had stood up to meet her, remained closely by "How...long..."

"About three hours," said Matt, running his hand through his blond hair, leaving it mussed up. I'd never seen Matt look so anxious before.

"But don't worry!" said Gabumon, looking up from trying to soothe his partner "Joe's in there with her, and so's TK. She'll be fine."

That's a point; TK wasn't there in the waiting room. I guess Joe had finally become a doctor after all, and TK was in with her. Dammit you two, don't let her die. She's got so much more to give.

Yolie swore under her breath "I need a drag! Dammit I need a drag!"

"Yolie," said Hawkmon "We've been through all this before, no cigarettes in the hos..."

"I KNOW THAT!!" screamed Yolie, grabbing her partner and shaking him violently "BUT YOU TRY WAITING HERE FOR HOURS ON END WHILE ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS IS IN THERE!!!!" She gestured wildly at the door on the other side of the room.

"Since when did you take up smoking?" asked Cody curiously. Good point, I was wondering that too.

"Since...you know..." Yolie trailed off and there was an uncomfortable silence. Did I miss something here?

The minutes slowly dragged by as I stood in the waiting room. Each second seemed like a day, and each minute a year. Waiting on my stone for ten years was nothing compared to this. Nobody talked. Agumon left for a minute and came back with some cans of soda. I had long forgotten the taste, and I watched slightly envious as everyone enjoyed their drink. I glanced back up to the clock on the wall and to the door. Dear sweet Kari...whatever happens, know that I'll still love you. And you have my word that even if the worst happened, I'll still be with you.

I don't know how long I stood there. Tensions were running so high that even the Digimon didn't notice me. Tick followed tock followed tick followed tock...the waiting was unbearable. Tick followed tock followed tick followed tock...I felt like screaming. Tick followed tock followed tick followed...

Suddenly the doors crashed open as TK burst through, causing everyone to jump in surprise, including me. Tears were coursing down his face and I felt a twinge of fear...but then I realised it wasn't tears of sorrow, but of joy.

The rest of the gang blinked at him slightly puzzled as he gestured wildly at them to follow him, fighting to form words.

"C'mon you guys, come see!"

A mass stampede of Digimon and humans charged through the doors, passing clean through me. Barely gathering a reasonable state of mind, I followed in their wake.

The room was quite large, with medical equipment scattered about. In the far corner, washing his hands, was Joe. Man he had grown. Gomamon was beside him, and a few nurses were bustling about. The gang were all crowding around a bed on the far wall, obviously where Kari was. Gliding past, I managed to squeeze between the crowd and the wall to get a view.

TK sat on the bed beside Kari, a look of such pride on his face. Kari herself was radiant, even though she looked totally exhausted. But wait a minute, didn't you need anaesthetic for surgery?

"Come on Kari," said Gatomon, curled up beside her "Show them!"

"Yeah!" said Patamon from on top of TK's head, as usual.

Smiling, Kari shifted a bundle in her arms that I hadn't noticed before, and softly unwrapped some blankets.

Oh. My. God.

I think I'm gonna faint.

In her arms, Kari held a tiny, newborn baby.

I need to sit down.

I really think I'm gonna faint.

The rest of the Digi-Destined crowded round, all cooing and lovey-dovey around the baby.

Kari had a baby?

Oh man.

"Is it a boy or a girl?" asked Palmon, blinking up at her with those huge almond eyes.

"A boy," said TK, barely able to speak without his voice cracking through the tears.

"Whoohoo!" said Tai, punching the air "Uncle Taichi!"

"Huh!" scoffed Matt "Uncle Yamato more like. Do ya really think he'd want a guy like you as his uncle?"

"Hey!" said Tai as everyone else giggled "For all you know, he'll grow up to be just like his big uncle Tai!"

"God forbid!" laughed Joe, going over to Kari and resting his hand on TK's shoulder. "So, what are you going to call him?"

"That's easy," said Kari quietly, gently brushing a tiny flick of hair from the baby's face "He's called Daisuke. Little Daisuke."

Everyone smiled softly at her words. Daisuke? She was calling her son...Daisuke? After...after me?

"I couldn't have thought of a better name," said Joe smiling, scooping up Gomamon in his arms.

"It was only right," said TK "Today was his day, after all. And if wasn't for him...then we all wouldn't be here." He gently kissed Kari on the forehead.

No other words could be spoken as I felt silver spectral tears cascade down my face, falling slowly and silently onto the tiled floor at my feet.

************************************************************

Epilogue

The summer breeze gently blew across the earth, causing the trees outside to sway and rustle their leaves. The stars twinkled with a new life in the heavens and the moon bathed the world in silver. Far away, the waves lapped at the shores and the river wound its way through towards the sea.

I stood, watching Kari's gently breathing. Takeru lay next to her, having pulled up a temporary bed next to hers. Gatomon and Patamon lay curled up at their feet, their breaths silent on the air, nothing disturbing the tranquil of the hospital room.

Oh Kari. This was why you never turned up.

I walked towards the crib and looked down. Little Daisuke was asleep, wrapped up in his cotton blankets. He looked so tiny and fragile...a lock of dark blonde hair nestled on his head. He was so innocent and precious...not even a day old yet. Tears came unbidden to my eyes as I gazed down at the newborn. The child of Hope and Light...you were destined for many things.

Daisuke stirred in his sleep and his tiny face screwed up as he began to wake up. I panicked and looked at Kari. She needed her rest, but little Daisuke was going to wake...

"Ssh..." I hushed, stroking Daisuke's face with my hand "Ssh little Daisuke. It's all right, go back to sleep. Ssh..."

Daisuke seemed to settle down back into sleep, breathing softly. I smiled and kneeled down next to him.

"I now know what I was supposed to do, why I never moved on...what I stayed behind for." I whispered to the baby "For as long as you live, and even after, I'll be here for you, watching. I swear I'll never leave your side, not for a second. I'll be your own Guardian Angel." I moved that lock of blond hair out of his eyes "And whenever you feel sad, or alone or scared, just remember that I'll always be here for you. Always." I stood up and gently kissed Daisuke on the forehead. He stirred slightly in his sleep, and his tiny hand reached out...and latched on one of my fingers.

I stared down in wonder as he held onto my finger. Never before had someone managed to touch me...and never have I felt someone hold me. Tears welled up again and slipped off my face onto Daisuke's blankets, glittering silver in the moonlight for a moment before slowly disappearing.

I carefully undid Daisuke's grip from my hand and brushed away my own tears. Eyes still brimming, but smiling, I looked at where Kari shone beneath the moonlight.

She didn't forget.

Outside the window the shadows danced amongst the leaves.

And I guess I can forgive her for not showing up.

I gazed out the window, past the night sky and beyond the stars.

Because she never forgot.

Owari