Disclaimer: All canon characters are
copyrighted by Akiyoshi Hongo and produced by Toei Animation, Disney,
Bandai, and TOKYOPOP. The plot, Guijarromon, and Amoebamon are the only
creations I own, and no profit is made in any way through this story.
Author's Note: This long one-shot contains a yuri (Catherine/Kari) couple and a heterosexual (Michael/Mimi) couple.
Warnings: This fanfic is rated PG-13/T for female/female romance and a small sexual innuendo.
"She's supposed to be here any minute now."
Sixteen-year-old Kari Kamiya was pacing back and forth along the bank of File Island's Dragon Eye Lake. Her five-foot three-inch frame looked very anxious as her pink sleeveless shirt and white pants started sticking to her skin. Fortunately, her feet (that were covered with white sandals) were not affected.
Springtime at File Island was a beautiful occasion. The trees' green leaves glistened in the sunlight. Sparkly ocean water glazed like a glossy toping on a cake, the sky's reflection swirling in the liquid. The island that the trolley car once sat floated in the lake, looking nothing more than a mere arid hill. A soft ocean breeze wafted across her, blowing her shoulder-length hair in the process.
A sigh escaped the teenager as she walked towards a tree nearby and leaned on the stump. She used her right hand to wipe the sweat off her face. Although it was spring, the feeling of summer surrounded the area, especially if she stood in the sun rather than under the canopy.
Kari sighed again and looked at her pink-banded watch on her left wrist. The time read 1:00, according to the positions of the arrows. "Catherine's running late," she thought, feeling a little impatient. Losing patience was a rare occurrence associated with her; it only happened whenever something imperative was scheduled. And, indeed, this was important to Kari; and she could not afford to waste any more time.
But after she let her arm dangle, panting could be heard from the forest. It was quiet at first, but the pants became louder and louder. Then, as the sound approached her, a call of "Sorry I'm late!" was heard.
Kari pushed herself off the trunk and looked at the path in front of her. Seventeen-year-old Catherine had finally arrived. Her height matched Kari's exactly, but she wore everything red and violet. Her usual red hairclip rested on the top of her waste-length blonde hair. The sleeves of her red T-shirt extended halfway down her upper arms, and the shirt's body squeezed through her curvy figure and down to her waist. A dark crimson skirt extended to her knees. Finally, black pantyhose and plum-colored shoes covered her legs and feet.
"Sorry I'm late, Kari," apologized Catherine and placed her hands on her kneecaps. "I got lost in the forest. Good thing I took out my Digivice to search for you."
Kari smiled. "It's okay, Catherine," she soothed and looked towards the ground. "Where's Floramon?"
"She decided to temporarily look after the Punimon and help construct some houses for them," explained Catherine and stood up. "She plans to stay there until tomorrow."
"Hmm, interesting," pondered Kari, her left hand on her chin.
"Well, that's Floramon," said Catherine. "She doesn't want to leave an area until a job is done."
Kari chuckled once hearing that, and Catherine followed suit with a laugh of her own.
When it died down, Catherine looked at the ground, then looked straight at Kari's face and asked, "Where's Gatomon?"
"She was too tired to come," replied Kari as she and Catherine started walking in the forest. "Besides, she doesn't like to be around Baby-leveled Digimon much."
Catherine put her right hand on her chin. "Definitely the opposite of Floramon," she observed. "She enjoys being around young Digimon."
"Looks like Floramon doesn't have that stubborn streak that Gatomon has," Kari said with a smile.
"Yet, you don't love her any other way," added Catherine.
Kari laughed. "Yeah. A stubborn, but lovable, Gatomon."
The two laughed a little more as they walked deeper in the forest.
As the two conversed, they walked down a large path that stood in the middle of the forest. The leaves of the 30-foot-tall evergreen trees sparkled in the sunlight, making the scenery gorgeous. The long limbs were coated with glistening pine needles, aiding the shining process. Still, despite the clumps of leaves, quite a bit of sunlight hit the ground, giving the path a happy environment. Then again, landscapes were known to be pleasing.
It was also very quiet… if you discount the gossip.
"So, you're taking spring break until the end of April?" asked Kari while placing her D-3 Digivice into the D-Terminal's sockets.
"Oui," replied Catherine with a nod. "I take a two-week spring break every year."
"Lucky you," said Kari. "Our schools don't have a break until the middle of the summer."
Catherine smiled slyly at Kari's remark. "Something tells me you're jealous."
Kari looked up at her comrade. "No, I'm not!" she retorted.
Catherine put her hands on her hips, giving her a stance of superiority over Kari. "Not from your actions, Kari," she observed teasingly. "As well as your voice."
Kari said nothing as she kept on programming her D-Terminal and D-3 for a map.
Catherine knew all too well. Kari was jealous, all right, she had thought. But she did comfort her by putting her left hand on Kari's right shoulder. Kari looked over and smiled, and Catherine returned with the same expression. The tension and teasing had finally ended.
Nothing more would be said as they followed the pathway to their destination. Kari had finished adjusting her D-3 Digivice and D-Terminal, and on the D-Terminal's screen was a map. It was white, with thin black lines going horizontally and vertically. The grid showed them their destination as well as the location of where they were now. According to the distance between the dots, the end of the line was only a half-mile away.
It seemed to be an easy walk, but it was actually not. While the forest was peaceful, they came across very sharp curves and hills. Not to mention, they had to make a U-Turn along the way. The point of interest was on the other side of the bank, so the walk to their destination was going to take some time.
Nevertheless, their quick pace made up for any time they could have possibly wasted. According to Kari's watch, the walk – thus far – took only 30 minutes, and they were approaching the end of the forest at a slow but steady pace.
"We're getting quite close now, Catherine," observed Kari as she looked at her map.
Catherine took a step towards her friend and peered down at the contraption. "Looks like we have ten more minutes until we reach Primary Village," she hypothesized.
"Quite likely," replied Kari before turning to Catherine. "When was the first you went to Primary Village?"
"Floramon and I first went there about a year after MaloMyotismon was destroyed," explained Catherine. "Also, Floramon started adoring baby Digimon as a result of our trip."
For a few moments, Kari's mouth looked like a lowercased "O." "So, that's why," she said at last before looking in front of her. The plains were only ten yards away from them now. Afterwards, she returned her attention towards Catherine, who looked faintly excited. "You're eager aiding Elecmon in taking care of the babies, I believe."
Catherine nodded with a giggle. "How 'bout you?"
"Well," said Kari and made a seesaw-like motion with her right hand, "I'm both excited and anxious."
Catherine hummed out of wonderment. "Why?"
Kari put her right hand back on her D-3/D-Terminal combination. "I find infant Digimon to be very cute, particularly the Baby-level ones… but they can be pretty spoiled, too."
For some reason, Kari's explanation caused Catherine to laugh. "I'm not surprised that you had to you feel anxious."
"You're not?" asked Kari.
"No, I'm not," replied Catherine with a shake of her head. "What you said actually reminded me when Mama, Papa, and I took care of Floramon when she was a Baby Digimon."
"It does?" asked Kari.
"Mm-hmm," said Catherine with a nod and was about to tell her when she noticed Kari having a look of concern on her face. "Kari, something tells me there's another emotion crawling within you."
"What do you mean?" questioned Kari.
Catherine looked up at the canopy. "Something tells me that you're worried for some reason."
Kari shook her head courteously. "I'm not worried, Catherine," she assured.
Catherine did not quite believe her, but she decided to shrug it off temporarily as she looked ahead once more.
Moments later, they exited the forest and arrived in the plains. The emerald green grass sparkled in the sunlight, and small dandelions swayed back and forth in the gentle breeze. The sky was cerulean blue, and the bright yellow sun's rays seemed to dance in the stillness. Beauty seemed to dawn upon this tranquil stretch of land, and they were going to make sure that they were part of it.
"Nice to be in the open again," sighed Catherine and sniffed the fresh air.
"It sure is," said Kari and let the breeze glide through her hair. "But the sun will be hitting me dead on again," she crossly added in thought as she grunted inwardly from the sun beaming onto her again.
Catherine had a feeling what Kari was thinking and said to her, "We'll go under the shade when we arrive."
Kari snapped out of her thoughts and turned to Catherine again. "How did you know what I was thinking?" she wondered aloud.
"Just a hunch," smiled Catherine.
Kari replied with a nod and continued to look ahead, this time, thinking if the DVDs and books of a very controversial CLAMP series got into Catherine's head.
Nothing more was said as they continued to walk across the plains. But that all changed once they arrived at a level crossing halfway in the plains.
"Now, what do we do?" asked Kari. Despite being at Primary Village only once before, she never passed the barrier.
"We now have to wait until the barriers rise," replied Catherine.
The gates were currently down, preventing anyone from passing; but that all changed once a gust of wind whistled by. Once the wind died down, the barriers rose.
"Looks like we can cross now," said Kari.
Catherine nodded without saying a word, and they both passed the level crossing.
The duo then walked down a small slope. The grass was still as green as before, the sky was still too bright for Kari, and a soft breeze flew past them.
"How much closer do we have before we arrive at Primary Village?" wondered Catherine while looking ahead.
Kari, who was also looking ahead, quickly looked at her map. The location was ahead, according to the screen. "We should be there in about a few—huh?"
Catherine heard Kari interrupt herself. "What is it?" she asked and looked at Kari.
"There's something strange in this map," Kari replied.
"Strange?" queried Catherine as she stepped closer to Kari.
The DigiDestined of Light nodded. "According to the grid, there's someone at Primary Village right now."
"If it's Elecmon, then that's normal," hypothesized Catherine while looking at the map.
"No, it's not Elecmon," interrupted Kari. "Somebody else is there, too."
Catherine blinked curiously and took a closer scan at the map. There were pink (Kari) and crimson (Catherine) dots approaching Primary Village (blipped in black). However, there was another dot, too. It was lime green, and it was in the center of Primary Village. But when she looked at the map a little more closely, she coincidentally found something else, too.
"Correction, Kari," the French DigiDestined observed. "Make that TWO people at Primary Village."
Kari took a closer look at the grid. Indeed, Catherine was right. Adjacent to the lime green blip was another dot, but in a regular green shade.
"Looks like we're going to have some company once we arrive at Primary Village," said Catherine, her right hand on her chin.
"Apparently so," said Kari, but she had something else in her mind. The shades of colors on the blips – the regular green one, specifically – reminded her of someone. She had a feeling that those color-specific blips were people she might recognize, but that would be determined once they arrived at the Primary Village.
However, while they looked at the grid, they were not watching where they were going. Catherine's left foot became tangled with Kari's right leg. They both fell forward, crashing onto the ground; but on impact, they bounced back up, and they rolled down a small hill. Yells of surprise caught the two teenagers every time they rolled, including the first fall moments ago. As if it would last forever, they stopped rolling, landing back-first on the surface.
Both DigiDestined moaned and groaned from the tumble. They felt like they were bound up and twisted, even though they were no longer tangled. But they might have back and neck pain for the next few days.
The moment the tumble stopped, Kari opened her eyes and first noticed the sky above her. However, she did not realize that. "What is that I'm seeing?" she thought. The sky looked blurry and confusing. Then, as she raised her head, she groaned and placed her left hand on her forehead. "Ow, my head," she moaned.
"Kari, are you okay?" asked a familiar female voice.
Kari widened her eyes a little more to now seeing a blonde-haired female looking at her.
"Hello?" the DigiDestined of Light questioned, still feeling dizzy from the tumble. "I don't recognize you."
"Not recognize me?" wondered Catherine. "It's me, Catherine."
Unfortunately, Kari did not catch the last part of what her friend said. Then, thoughts began swimming into her brain. Was she hallucinating? Was she seeing a ghost? Wondering what was in front of her, she reached out with her right hand. Sure enough, this was no hallucination; she was touching something alive. The girl was definitely breathing and was looking down in front of her.
If that was not enough…
Kari looked down a little bit. All of a sudden, she was no longer dizzy. She was coherent, and she no longer had her headache. After a quick yelp out of surprise, Kari was back onto her feet.
"I-I'm s-sorry for doing that, Catherine," stuttered Kari, feeling embarrassed.
Catherine got to her feet, shaking her head with a smile. "It's okay, Kari," she soothed and swiped across the right side of her own chest, as if she was knocking off dust. "It happens once in a while."
Kari decided to end the embarrassing subject. She was in no mood in talking about that.
But another thing quickly ran in her mind, now that she was able to remember everything. "Where's my D-3 and D-Terminal?"
Catherine quickly flinched from hearing that. "Well, they can't be—" She stopped in mid-sentence when she looked behind her. In the background, Kari's pink D-3 and D-terminal were lying flat on the ground. "I found them!" she said and raced to the spot. She then picked up the devices and went back to Kari. "Here you go," said the French DigiDestined and handed them to Kari.
"Thanks, Catherine," replied Kari and grabbed the devices. The next thing she did was make sure if the devices were still working. Sure enough, they were still operational.
However, after putting checking the devices, the female Kamiya child heard Catherine groan softly.
"Are you okay, Catherine?" asked Kari once she looked up.
"I hurt my left side during our tumble," winced Catherine while pressing on the left side of her waist. "However, it will feel much better as we continue walking." She then looked at Kari and smiled, as if she was no longer in pain. "At least, we're both all right."
"Thankfully," said Kari and turned to the D-Terminal, where she connected her D-3 onto it. The grid immediately showed up, and Kari searched for the "Primary Village." A quickly beep later, the location bleeped in black. Then, she realized something very interesting.
"Catherine, look at this," she exclaimed while looking at the map. Unfortunately, Catherine was not paying any attention. "Catherine?" wondered Kari again and looked up. What she saw was Catherine gazing in awe at something in front of her.
Wondering why Catherine was gawking, Kari followed her gaze and looked at it. Once she did, she gasped, as well.
The view looked fabulous. From what she remembered, it looked beautiful from within, but it was even nicer from outside.
Blocks were stacked in front of them. The colors ranged from red, to yellow, to baby blue, to pearly white. Pictures of dogs, butterflies, cats, daisies, and doves were painted on the face of each block. Some of the cubs even stood on an edge, giving an impression that they would collapse if any gust of wind blew past (although it was too sturdy for it to collapse). The tops looked like castle towers and spires. Shades of dark red, blue, and green were coated on each top. The ground below was yellow-green, and it had red stripes on it.
The ground might be colorful, but there was something else associating with it.
"The Primary Village looks very beautiful when it's right in front of you, doesn't it?" said Catherine, still observing the colorful towers.
"It definitely does," said Kari and looked down. "I'm surprised that I did not open my eyes to look at it."
"Maybe, you should gaze at nature more," suggested Catherine and faced her.
"Yeah, I better do that," answered Kari, blushing lightly and putting her devices away.
Catherine smiled and offered her right hand, making Kari minutely confused. "Just in case we tumble again," the French DigiDestined said.
Kari wondered what Catherine was talking about, but she accepted the offering and held onto her hand.
Afterwards, the duo proceeded to walk into the village, where more they noticed more and more colorful blocks surrounding them. The sight looked very breathtaking.
That was when Kari quickly remembered it all. It was about eight years ago. After defeating Apocalymon, the eight DigiDestined (Kari being one of them), Gennai, and other Digimon that aided them traveled to the Primary Village. Kari enjoyed the scenery of the special place. And it was a shame to her that she never visited the nursery since then.
It made her regret that she did not arrive here for so long.
Catherine noticed this and turned to her right. "What's wrong, Kari?" she asked concernedly.
Kari turned towards her and shook her head. "It's nothing. I'm just reminiscing the last time I visited here," she said.
"That doesn't sound like nothing, Kari," said Catherine. "So, when was the last time you visited here?"
Kari was about to tell her, when Catherine took a step too heavy: She accidentally dug her left foot into the soft green ground, and she proceeded to leap high into the air, yelping out of surprise along the way.
Kari also gave a shocked shout as she soared with her.
The fun ended quickly when they plopped softly onto the ground. Unlike their last fall, neither of them were hurt.
"Now I know why we held hands while traveling here," said Kari and got up, feeling a little cross from the accidents that occurred.
"Hey, it happens," said Catherine nonchalantly and got to her feet. From how she acted, it was like nothing ever happened.
Kari followed Catherine's movements and got up, too.
"So… now what do we go?" asked Kari.
"Well, we first find Elecmon," said Catherine, recalling a time where she was nearly thrown out for not being granted permission to feed the babies. Then, after hearing faint bawling, she added, "Then, we feed the baby Digimon."
Kari nodded, and the duo continued walking, holding hands along the way.
While carefully walking down the bright green path, Kari took out her D-3 and looked at the grid. Indeed, she noticed two dots ahead. And they were not very far away, either.
"The people are this way," said Kari and looked to her left side. They were at a junction, where one direction went right and the other went the opposite direction.
Catherine gave a quick look at the D-3, and they walked left.
The new path consisted of the usual color blocks and towers. Blocks of blue, read, yellow, and white glistened in the sun, and the towers and spires brightened in blue, green, and dark red. The squishy green path went downhill, giving an impression that they were walking downwards… again.
The small slope also made it difficult for Kari and Catherine to walk on. They had to tiptoe down the hill. The reason was simple: one heavy step, and they could be soaring high in the sky.
Fortunately, they reached the bottom of the small slope without any problems whatsoever. It was a huge relief for them. They were in no mood for any more adventures other than taking care of the babies peacefully.
"Kari, Catherine, long time, no see."
Ahead of them were two humans (a couple, to be exact) walking towards them. One was a six-foot two-inch male of nineteen years old; the other was a woman three inches shorter but at the same age as the male.
The nineteen-year-old male's blond hair glistened in the sunlight; giving an impression that hairspray was used. He donned a sea green t-shirt with four diamonds in the front. Finally, blue jeans and black sneakers covered his legs and feet.
The female next to him was the same age as him; and she looked bright and cheerful, just like the male. From her shoulder-length brown hair, to the smile on her face to her radiant brown eyes, she looked beautiful. She wore a pink shirt that went to her waist, followed by a white skirt that reached her ankles and dark green sandals.
Despite their different looks, the female's high voice was easy to recognize.
"Hi, Mimi! Hi, Michael!" exclaimed Kari as she and Catherine approached the duo.
"Hi, Kari," said Mimi as she stopped walking.
Michael, who was beside her, stopped walking, as well.
"It's been a while since we've seen you two," said Kari.
"Likewise," agreed Michael.
Indeed, it was a while since they last saw each other in person. Although they all talked to each other via telephone, text messaging, and e-mail, they did not see other eye to eye in a while. How long, they do not clearly remember, but it was definitely a while since they last saw each other.
"So, what are you doing here?" asked Kari with wonderment.
"Elecmon had asked us if we could help him take care of the babies today," explained Mimi before looking at his boyfriend on her left. "I told Michael about it, and she agreed to come along, too."
Catherine put her right hand on her chin. "You two must have a fascination for baby Digimon," she smiled.
Michael and Mimi shrugged from what Catherine said.
"And I'm safe to say that you two arrived for the same reason, right?" Michael queried, quickly changing the subject.
The subject was quickly caught on.
"That's right," said Kari and Catherine.
Speaking of Catherine, after replying to Michael's question, she looked down before looking at the American couple again. "Um, where are Betamon and Palmon?" she asked.
"They're at the Koromon Village in Server," said Mimi. "There's supposed to be a big feast with many Digimon from around the continent today, and they wanted to help them with the banquet."
"I see," said Catherine.
"Speaking of which, where are your Digimon?" wondered Michael, entering the subject.
Both Kari and Catherine told them about why Gatomon and Floramon did not participate. Afterwards, they all agreed to find Elecmon.
The search came to them, on the other hand…
"Hi there," said Elecmon good-naturedly as he walked towards the four.
"Hi, Elecmon," the humans replied, greeting the little guardian in return.
Catherine walked through the crowd and shook Elecmon's right paw. "You seem to be in a good mood today," she observed kindly.
Elecmon grinned. "Indeed I am, Catherine," he said. "Apparently, you're all here to help take care of the babies."
"That's right, Elecmon," said Kari with a nod.
Everyone nodded, too.
Elecmon chuckled form the children's minute enthusiasm, before clearing his throat seriously. "Well, I'm glad you came today, because you arrived at the right time," he said seriously.
"At the right time?" wondered Kari.
"Mm-hmm," nodded Elecmon. "I'll show you." He turned 180 degrees and walked ahead.
The four DigiDestined followed him, wondering what he was talking about.
They all soon found out.
The five turned left and noticed a very interesting sight. There were cradles all over the place! Black cradles, blue cradles, brown cradles, crimson cradles, dark green cradles – about every cradle was in a dark shade. The cradles were all in various areas on a light green plateau, and in them were hundreds of Baby-leveled Digimon. They were all crying, many of them for reasons only Elecmon knew.
When everyone saw the sobbing babies, they all gasped. Those poor babies, they thought.
"As you can hear and see, the little tikes are getting very hungry and need to be taken care of," said Elecmon sternly while looking in front of him. "If they're not taken care of soon, crying is the least of our worries."
"I see," said Kari with concern.
"It's okay, Elecmon," Michael cut in as he walked a couple of more steps and stood beside Elecmon. "We're still ready to help you."
The other DigiDestined agreed.
Elecmon turned to Michael and the others. "Are you sure?" he asked doubtfully.
"Exactly," replied Michael.
"We'll perform our best," followed up Mimi.
"We'll do whatever we can to help out," said Catherine.
"Mm-hmm," Kari nodded with a happy hum.
That was enough for Elecmon to be convinced. After all, he was the one who invited them in the first place. "All right, then," he said with a smile. "But I will tell you it's not gonna be easy."
Everyone nodded, letting him know that they understood what he said.
Although baby Digimon loved nice juicy fish from the brook nearby, they really enjoyed the milk. It tasted much better, and it gave them the ability to grow and digivolve to many future levels, preferably In-Training and Rookie; and, hopefully, Champion, Ultimate, and so on. But it would not take just a glass of the stuff that came from the digital cows; they needed a lot of it, literally. According to Elecmon's calculations, the last time a Baby-leveled Digimon that was born in Primary Village digivolved was almost five months ago. By estimation, he or she drank over twenty gallons of milk! And the Digimon ate some fifteen pounds of fish to go with it! When Digimon ate and drank, they did just that. It was a miracle that Elecmon still had a large stash of the vitamin-B liquid.
And the task was the usual: feed the baby Digimon with milk and give them fish from the river for dessert. The question was where was that stash?
Well, they had to look no further than a secret hiding place underneath the squishy grounds.
With Michael alongside, he and Elecmon walked to a cube near the cradles. The cube was sixty feet in length, width, and height each, twice as large as the other blocks. Each face was red, and they had many designs. One face had a white tricycle, two had one teddy bear on each facing, and the other had the design of a hummingbird.
Michael wondered why he and Elecmon waltzed there in the first place. It looked like any cube, discounting the size. Still, this was Elecmon. He guarded Primary Village, so he should know his way around.
The guardian of Primary Village detected the American-born DigiDestined's thoughts. For some reason, he smiled. "Don't worry, Michael," he reassured him. "This is normal for you to think like that. Have you ever been here been before?" he added before Michael could speak.
Michael looked at him questioningly. "No, I haven't been here before, so why you asked?"
Elecmon nodded. "Because this circumstance happens on a regular basis, especially to those who've never been at Primary Village before."
"Even Mimi?" wondered Michael.
"Even Mimi," replied Elecmon with a small chuckle before clearing his throat authoritatively. "I'll tell you all that a little later on. But first…" He placed his left paw on the front wheel of the tricycle design on the cube. Suddenly, the face of the cube glowed white. It was bright, but relaxing to the eyes, an oxymoron when something this bright was in front of them. It also felt warm. Not the warmth from walking underneath the sun, but more like a cozy warm. It was like sleeping under a warm quilt in a cold night. Cozy, comfortable, and tranquil. There was nothing to disturb the serenity of the warmth in front of them.
The warmth, however, quickly disappeared once the light vanished. In its place was a staircase that went downward. The hall light was on, and the walls and stairs were made out of marble and stone.
"The place where the milk is located is downstairs," said Elecmon and walked down, Michael following behind him.
In the background (and away from the cradles), Mimi, Catherine, and Kari watched the duo walk inside the cube.
"So, the place where the milk is located is in there?" asked Kari and pointed at the block with her right hand.
"That's right," nodded Catherine as the other females looked at her. "The entire stash is found at the bottom of the basement."
"He keeps it there to keep the milk fresh for an extended period of time," added Mimi.
"I see," said Kari with a nod before looking at the block again. "This place is fairly new to me."
"Why's that?" asked Mimi wonderingly.
Kari turned to Mimi on her far left. "Well, this is only the second time I've been here, the first time since you and I defeated Apocalymon nearly eight years ago."
"The first time since defeating Apocalymon?" queried Mimi, her right hand on her chin.
"Yes," said Kari with a nod.
"Oh," said Mimi and turned to the enlarged block in front of her.
Catherine gasped from the length between the times Kari was at the Primary Village. It was a surprise that she still remembered being there. "It's been nearly eight years since you were here at the Village?"
Kari nodded. "But not the first time that I've taken care of baby Digimon. I've taken care of baby Digimon a few times during my years when traveling to other nurseries in the Digital World. But…"
"But what?" wondered Catherine.
Kari found her words. "But every time I take care of the infant Digimon, I mess up somehow."
Catherine looked at Kari questioningly. "What d'ya mean 'mess up'?"
Kari looked at Mimi, who was still watching the gigantic cube that Michael and Elecmon walked into, and she turned to Catherine again. "Is it okay that we discuss this in private?" she asked. While it was innocent, it was also a small plead. She wanted to tell Catherine without having Mimi to hear it.
Catherine shrugged. "Fine by me," she answered, and the two walked away from the nursery.
The two soon arrived at a tree which there were several baby toys hanging from the branches of the trees. They walked behind the trunk and talked under the canopy.
"Okay," said Catherine. "Now, what do you want to tell me?"
Kari sighed and began her explanation. "Every time I participated in taking care of young Digimon, I sometimes make a fool of myself," she admitted and glanced at the nursery. "Sometimes, I fail to help give the Digimon a drink. On other occasions, I've cooed them, but only make them very upset. And sometimes…" these words were hard to come out for her, "…I minutely injure them, because I was being too careless." She sighed disparagingly.
Catherine sighed sadly from Kari's revelation. Now, the pieces seemed to come together, according to her. "So, that's why you're worried? Because you feel that you're just a hindrance?"
That was when Catherine felt sorry for Kari. No wonder why she felt worried in the first place. She felt that she would interfere and cause trouble. "Poor Kari," she thought sadly.
Wanting to give the DigiDestined of Light comfort, she placed her right hand around Kari's left shoulder, as if telling her that she was staying on her side. "It's okay, Kari," she soothed. "You're no hindrance when taking care of baby Digimon."
"But you've never messed up," argued Kari.
Catherine frowned. "Trust me, it was not easy for me taking care of baby Digimon, either," she reasoned. "One time, I messed up so badly, that I first thought of not taking care of babies, period."
"But you kept on practicing anyway," added Kari.
"Mm-hmm," said Catherine, sympathy evident from her calm tone. "So, it's okay if you didn't perform well in your previous attempts. You just need more practice baby-sitting Digimon, that's all." The French DigiDestined smiled kindly. "I'll watch you take care of them and give you advice if needed."
Kari gasped from what Catherine said. It was like she found relief and possibly a solution to her countless moments of bad luck. But she quickly regained her composure by keeping her emotions calm. "Thanks, Catherine. I'll be more than happy that you can help me."
"Likewise," nodded Catherine, her smile not fading the slightest. "Now, let's go back before Elecmon thinks we walked out on him."
Kari nodded with a happy hum, and they returned to the spot beside Mimi, where she was waiting for them.
"Are you two okay?" asked the Tachikawa child.
"It's okay, we're fine," said Kari dismissively.
"We just had a little talk, that's all," added Catherine and gave Kari a wink with her left eye.
Mimi looked at the duo questioningly, but decided to drop the subject, thinking that the talk was merely a way to kill some time.
Kari had a feeling what the DigiDestined of Sincerity was thinking and dropped the subject, too. Besides, she had a new thought in mind. "Has Michael returned yet?" the female Kamiya asked.
"No, not yet," replied Mimi and took out her D-Terminal. "But he did give me message, saying he should be here in a minute."
"I see," said Kari and looked at the oversized building block in front of her.
The wait would not take a minute… only a few seconds.
Because a few low grunts could be heard coming from inside the building block. The grunts were silent at first, but they quickly became louder and louder. Apparently, they were either pushing or pulling a huge supply of the milk, the trio of females thought.
Oh, were they right to what they contemplated.
Coming from inside the cube was a very heavy six-foot plastic bag. It was white, and hundreds of plastic bottles juggled from within.
Then, when the bag was halfway through the doorway, Mimi's D-Terminal (which was in her left hand) buzzed.
Mimi opened the flap, and on the screen was a message from Michael. The e-mail went as followed:
Mimi, this bag is a little heavy for us to handle. Can you help us push the rest of it up?
Mimi shook her head with a smile. "Don't worry. Help's on the way," she said to herself and closed the flap. "I'll be back in a second," she told Kari and Catherine, both of whom nodded in reply. Afterwards, the Tachikawa child left her spot in the background and ran to the bag.
The moment she was close to the sack, she walked around and peered through an opening in the doorway. What she saw were Michael and Elecmon trying to push the other end of the bag through the doorway. The milk kept dangling and rolling down to their end, making it difficult for them to push the rest of it up. "Are you two doing all right?" she asked.
"We're okay, Mimi," replied Michael, who was sweating profusely. "We just need someone to push the rest of this stubborn bag up."
"Yeah," agreed Elecmon, who was helping Michael push the slippery sack.
Mimi looked down, noticing the outline of the baby bottles dangling over a few stairs. That was when she shook her head with a smile. "Something tells me you were trying to push it up, right?"
Michael and Elecmon responded with strained nods.
Mimi sighed exasperatedly, which surprised the males. "No wonder why you're struggling. Instead of actually pushing it, just try to roll it up." She crouched and placed her right hand on the lower part of the bag while placing her other hand on top. "Like this." With ease, she started rolling the bag; and moments later, the heavy bag sat on the squishy green ground.
Michael and Elecmon were caught off-guard as to what Mimi did. It was so easy for her, but it was difficult for them. Yes, rolling it helped, but there could be something else, too. Maybe, it was that they lost a lot of energy as they approached the top. Yes, that must be a possibility, too. Well, it could be one.
But the two males were in no mood to currently think about the extra possibilities now. They were just glad that it was over with.
"Thanks, Mimi," replied Michael and wiped his forehead with his right arm. "You were a helper."
Mimi grinned widely. "It was nothing," she said cheerfully.
Both Michael and Elecmon chuckled in reply.
The two, however, would quickly calm down, and Elecmon called to Kari and Catherine, "We're ready to feed the babies now!"
Of course, Kari and Catherine had a feeling that it was close to being ready anyhow. The moment the sack finished rolling and sat completely still in front of the building block's entrance, they felt like cheering. The waiting was finally over, and they were moments away from feeding the baby Digimon, all of whom were hungry and anxious for some of that Vitamin-B liquid.
Upon hearing Elecmon's call, Kari gulped nervously. "Well… it is time," she said.
Catherine shook her head sympathetically. "It's okay," she confided. "You don't have anything to worry about."
"Yeah," said Kari, "but I can't help it."
Catherine smiled sympathetically. "It's normal that you're still nervous, Kari, especially since you've messed up in your previous attempts. But like I said before, I'll help you with feeding the babies and giving you some techniques." She then lightly held onto Kari's left hand with her own delicate right hand. "Trust me."
Kari felt comfort from Catherine holding her hand, especially since she felt like there was someone to aid her. Her nervousness started disappearing, and confidence replaced it. "Thanks, Catherine. I'm glad that you're gonna help me."
Catherine blushed lightly. "You're welcome," she said shyly.
Afterwards, the two walked towards Elecmon, Mimi, and Michael. It was time to feed the infant Digimon.
The Baby-level Digimon were very interesting little creatures.
They were some of the smallest living beings to ever roam in the entire Digital World. Small, soft digital organisms with kind, caring, feisty hearts – they had a lot of dedication and spunk for critters that tiny. They had the touch of soft, soothing gel, which felt cool and relieving. They also looked very cute from a human's perspective, especially those who had a knack for gushing over cute objects and creatures.
However, there was another side of the baby Digimon, something that gave them the reputation as some of the biggest enigmas in the Digital World. While they looked cute, happy-go-lucky, feisty, and carefree, they were sometimes bratty, spoiled, anxious, and nasty, especially if things did not go their own way. If they were not given the proper nourishment or if they were not comfortable, they would cry their eyes out and would not stop unless they were given the proper care. If they wanted something and was not going to get what they desired, they would growl contemptuously and sometimes attack. Fortunately, Elecmon had only encountered one rebellious Baby-level Digimon since Apocalymon's demise; one he wanted to forget, too.
Before the milk was being pushed up the stairway, the infant digital creatures started to cry. They were growing extremely impatient and anxious. Time was wasting, and they were starving! Where was the food, for crying out loud?
Well, that wait came to an end, thank heavens, when the bag rolled through the doorway of the underground stash and was subsequently opened. The moment the bag was untied and Elecmon and the four humans brought out some of the cold milk bottles, the baby Digimon cheered and cheered. Finally, the waiting was over, and it was time to feast.
However, they would have to take turns before they could suckle on the milk. In other words, more patience was needed for several of them; the DigiDestined and Elecmon could only give milk to two baby Digimon at a time.
The first Digimon that received the milk were some of the more common ones. Several Poyomon were given the "royal" treatment, as what Elecmon said whenever the first of the baby Digimon started drinking. Mimi and Michael bent down to a duo of cradles on the far end of the hill, and they each carefully picked up one of them. Then, the couple put their own milk bottles close to the hungry mouths of the impatient Poyomon, and they responded by latching themselves on them.
Mimi and Michael had to react on how cute the Poyomon looked as they drank the milk.
"They look very sweet like this, don't they?" asked Mimi, her left hand balancing the Poyomon and the other hand carefully holding the baby bottle.
Michael (who was doing the same action Mimi was doing) glanced at her and the Poyomon she was feeding and smiled, while keeping a side-glance on his own Poyomon, as well. "They really do," he said before paying full attention to the Digital Monster he was feeding. "It's like taking care of a little baby, don't you think?"
Mimi made a small smile. "I'm not sure, Michael, but you can say that."
A few minutes later, Mimi noticed that the Poyomon she was feeding was done drinking the milk; the little tyke was full, and he was ready for a nice nap. Mimi could tell from the frisky actions he was making; it was like he was trying to let go, but he still had the desire to remain latched onto it.
"It's okay there," she said sweetly, "you can let go."
The soft murmur convinced the Digimon as he gently pulled himself off the bottle. He then yawned widely and noisily. The effects of a full stomach could literally knock out a Digimon better than any punch to the jaw could.
Mimi placed the bottle gently on the soft green ground and gently stroked the Poyomon's forehead. "You're a cute one, Poyomon. You know that, you really do." The Poyomon blushed from Mimi's gentle murmuring, and he yawned widely once more. Afterwards, Mimi kissed his head and gently placed the Poyomon in his cradle, allowing him to have a happy snooze.
After saying "nighty-night" to the sleeping Digimon, she turned to Michael and noticed him placing his own Poyomon into an unoccupied cradle.
"He must be ready for a nap, too," Mimi whispered.
"Yeah, he just finished," whispered Michael in reply. He gave his Poyomon a gentle touch on the forehead, and he fell asleep at once.
That was Mimi thought of something. "How much milk do you have, Michael?"
Michael did not think of that, either, and said so with a flinch. He then looked at the milk bottle on the ground: After the Poyomon finished drinking, he placed it on the ground. "It's about one-quarter full," he said once he noticed the contents that remained in the bottle. He then turned to Mimi and asked, "How about you?"
Mimi picked up her own bottle with her right hand and noticed the liquids, as well. "It's about half-full," she answered. "Maybe, one of us should get another few bottles of milk, just in case."
"I'll take care of that," said Michael, and he got to his feet and walked up back to the bag to get two more bottles.
As he did that, Mimi smiled at the sleeping Poyomon that she fed, and she scurried right to another cradle, where she started feeding a hungry Botamon.
While Mimi and Michael were feeding the Poyomon a little earlier, Kari and Catherine had gathered milk bottles of their own; three for each, to be exact. They knew the babies had the abilities to drink an entire bottle in one gulp if they had to, so they thought it was better to safe and have backups if needed rather than be sorry and have to face the potential wrath of a hungry but cross infant.
It was a smart idea, too. The two Poyomon they fed had finished each of their bottles, compared to how much milk Mimi and Michael had to use. Nevertheless, they were full and were ready for a nice long sleep.
Kari placed the empty bottle down on the ground and caressed the sleepy Poyomon's forehead with her right forefinger. "Such a cute little thing, isn't she?" she whispered happily.
Once Catherine finished feeding her own Poyomon, she placed the bottle down on the ground, kissed the top of his head, and gently placed him in his cradle. She then heard Kari ask a question at her direction, and Catherine looked at her right. "They definitely are cute little Digimon," the French DigiDestined replied and peaked at the baby Digital Monster. She noticed that he was starting to become a little bit uncomfortable with Kari touching him. "I think you should put him down now; he's becoming a little bit edgy."
Kari noticed it, too. "Oh, right," she said and carefully placed him in his cradle. "Good night, sweetie," she said, and let the Poyomon fall asleep. The female Kamiya quietly sighed in relief once noticing the Digimon napping. "Thank you for telling me, Catherine."
Catherine smiled. "You're welcome," she replied as she picked up her bottles and got to her feet.
Kari followed suit by picking up the other three bottles. "I still need some practicing taking care of babies, I think," she said, feeling a little bit flustered.
"A little bit," said Catherine, "but I'm nonetheless impressed at what you did. Just be a little more careful and not make the babies uncomfortable."
Kari nodded. "I understand." And they walked a few feet north, where they noticed a couple of interesting little baby Digimon.
In the cradle closest to Kari, there was a hungry little aqua baby monster. The body was the shape of a gumdrop, and it looked quite gooey. It had three antennae on its forehead – one on each side and one more in the front. Two black eyes stood out in the aqua Digimon's physique, and a black pacifier represented the mouth.
In the cradle in front of Catherine, there was a small brown Digimon. The body was round, and it looked like a size of a pebble. The face had two small dirty yellow eyes, and it bore a large grin. In addition, the forehead had an antenna (with the end the shape of a very tiny pyramid), and it had two stubby feet.
"Hi there, little one," cooed Catherine as she crouched and carefully scooped up the mysterious Baby-level Digimon with her left arm. "You look really cute today."
The baby critter blushed bright yellow, which was unusual since most blush red. Oh, well, that was the Digital World to you – a place of excitement, but with a lack of reality.
Catherine smiled at the sight and picked up a full bottle of milk (which she put down once she crouched). "Please, say 'ah,' little one," she cooed once more.
However, the brown baby did not do that. Instead, she stammered, "Gui-Gui-Guijarromon."
Catherine blinked at the brown Digital Monster's mumbling. "Guijarromon?"
Guijarromon the brown baby Digimon nodded.
"Cute name," replied Catherine and quickly went back on track. "Can you open your mouth, please?"
Guijarromon nodded and opened his mouth widely.
Catherine then placed the tip of the bottle above Guijarromon's tongue and let the milk drip into his mouth.
The baby Digimon quickly closed his mouth and swallowed the little contents that was on his tongue. That was when he became jubilant; he liked it, he actually liked it! Heck, he liked it so much, he desired for more! The Digimon then bounced off Catherine's left arm, placed his mouth on the tip of the baby bottle, and started drinking while dangling.
The action caught Catherine by surprise, but she should not be. An infant Digimon always had the tendency to be very enthusiastic, sometimes a little overenthusiastic. Heck, enthusiasm – or the act of it – was in its nature, it was part of a baby Digimon's personality. Well, they would also occasionally acted like spoiled pushovers. Thankfully, they were all currently on their best behaviors, and were not giving any of their babysitters a difficult time handling them.
Once the Digimon's act of surprise had worn off, Catherine placed her left hand back under Guijarromon and her other hand on the bottle. After all, she would not want him to fall onto the ground, even though it felt very squishy.
"So, how are you doing, Kari?" the French female asked once she turned to Kari.
While Catherine was concentrating on Guijarromon, Kari had carefully scooped up the soft aqua infant with her left arm and placed the pacifier in the cradle. Then, she picked up one of the full bottles and placed it in the Digimon's mouth, but not until she persuaded her to do so. Despite being hungry, the Digimon was very stubborn and was not interested in having anything in her mouth except her pacifier. As a result, Kari had to regretfully tease the stubborn baby by picking up the black pacifier and hover it over her. The Digimon, called Amoebamon, jumped to get it, only to have the tip of the baby bottle inserted instead. Amoebamon was very cross at Kari for teasing her, but a kiss to the head made her forget any future vendettas, and she drank peacefully and happily.
"Well, I had some trouble feeding her," admitted Kari as she watched Amoebamon drink the milk.
"What kind of trouble?" asked Catherine.
Kari next told her what happened in sequence. "I really don't like to tease baby Digimon just to feed them," she said afterwards, feeling regretful for what she did. "I don't feel it's appropriate."
Catherine shook her head sympathetically. "You're not alone. I sometimes had to do it, too. Baby Digimon are sometimes very stubborn," she gazed slyly at Amoebamon, which Kari caught but ignored, "especially if they don't have that pacifier to suck on."
"I see," considered Kari, but any thoughts that might have occurred quickly halted when Amoebamon pulled back from the baby bottle. "That was fast," the female Kamiya thought puzzlingly, then checked the contents. It was still three-quarters full. "And she didn't drink a lot, either. It's very strange to me, but then again, not all baby Digimon drink the same amount." She should know, since the Poyomon Mimi and Michael fed drank less than what hers and Catherine's gave. Not to mention she fed other baby Digimon in the past. Unfortunately, she was not watching any of their actions except her own, so she was not going to know any of it.
Once clearing of all thoughts about the contents the Amoebamon drank, Kari placed the milk bottle down, and looked at Catherine. "So, how are you doing?"
"Pretty well," replied Catherine. "And this little Guijarromon is acting like a devil, that's for sure." She grinned following the "devil" analogy.
Kari placed the sleepy Amoebamon back in the cradle and put the pacifier back in the Digimon's mouth. "Let me guess, the Guijarromon's very feisty, wasn't he?"
Catherine sniggered. "Very feisty," she replied slyly.
Kari laughed quietly and stood up. "I'll get a few more bottles," she said.
Catherine nodded swiftly, and continued to keep her eye on the Guijarromon.
As she did so, Kari picked up the two empty bottles and walked up a hill, where the sack was located. The plastic bag was open and it was untied carefully, so it would not become too difficult to re-tie it and have any holes in it. On its right, there was another bag similar to the other one, but it was empty and currently unused. It was used to place any empty baby bottles in there, including any bottles that were no longer capable to sustain a baby Digimon's appetite.
Kari opened the bag and placed the empty baby bottles in the discard bag, before going into the other one. She slowly opened the full bag and noticed several baby bottles. They were full of milk, and they were both fresh and cold.
Mildly shivering from the coldness of the bottles, she picked up four of them (two in each hand), and her instincts were correct once more. Much like the previous ones, these bottles felt very cold, and they were making her hands very chilly. But feeding the babies was currently her priority, not finding a heater for her hands.
Kari returned to Catherine shortly afterwards, noticing that she moved to a new cradle. "You finished feeding the Guijarromon?" the DigiDestined of Light asked curiously as she walked to Catherine's left.
"Oui, I finished feeding him a little after you walked up the hill," replied Catherine while looking at the new baby Digimon that she was currently cradling in her left arm. "But this critter is a little difficult to work with."
"Difficult to work with?" puzzled Kari as she carefully picked up a Punimon and placed the bottle that was three-quarters full into the Digimon's mouth.
"Mm-hmm," nodded Catherine. "This MetalKoromon here could not open her mouth that widely, but she did have a very long tongue, so I opened the top of the bottle for her to drink it."
The MetalKoromon in Catherine's arms was a silver mouse-shaped Digimon of three inches. The face of the baby monster was big and round, while the end was skinny and pointy. She had two red eyes in the front, two lighting-shaped antennae above her eyes, and a dark gray tail at the skinny end of her body.
Indeed, the MetalKoromon had a long tongue. Not because she had a big mouth (heck, she could not open it that widely), but because MetalKoromon's mouth were always born small. Thankfully, the long white tongue helped the baby Digimon potentially quench her thirst. Well, whenever that would happen, actually.
Kari kept her eye on the Punimon in front of her. The red female Digimon was drinking the bottle slowly and quietly.
Peace and tranquility quickly filled the Primary village. No sounds were heard except the occasional quiet chattering; the low squeaks of patient, hungry baby Digimon; the gulping of milk; and a soft breeze that floated every once in a while. The quiet atmosphere felt very refreshing and everlasting. After tireless squabbling from earlier, it was about time for some peace and let everybody enjoy the serenity in this sacred place.
It also allowed Kari to concentrate on the Punimon. She looked cute drinking the milk from the bottle, and Kari would not have it any other way. Then again, like all baby Digimon she recognized, they all looked cute. Little, fragile bodies continued to give her an occasional innocent stare as they drank silently. While it made Kari slightly nervous, she was glad that she baby-sat the baby Digimon thus far. Despite a few minute slipups, everything went along smoothly. And that included the stubborn Amoebamon she crossed recently – she might not know the name of that specific Digimon, yet; but she was definitely going to remember how she looked like. Perhaps, once she returned to the Real World tonight, she could give Izzy a call or e-mail, and tell him to try to find out who that feisty Digimon was. Right now, however, her job was to eye the soft Punimon and admire how she acted and looked.
However, something else buzzed in Kari's mind, too. No, it was not about any of the Digimon, nor was it her self-doubt when it came to babysitting baby Digimon. It was something else, a new feeling, to be exact. This new emotion sparked into her mind like electricity moving through the plug that was connected into an outlet, but it was very faint; she was surprised that she was able to detect it without having it slip away and wander off into the world of forgetfulness. These new thoughts and feelings gave her comfort, but it also made her feel very strange, for she did not think about this before. Then, without knowing it, her cheeks started to become pink. Now, things were becoming very interesting. A soft pink blush seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Strange, impossible, illogical – it just could not happen out of nowhere… could it?
However, all thoughts and blushes completely vanished once she noticed the Punimon was trying to pull away from the bottle. "Here you go, little one," said Kari and carefully pulled the baby bottle from the Punimon's mouth. She then placed the bottle down on the ground and caressed the Punimon's ears with her right hand. "I believe you drank well today, didn't you, little one?"
After a nod from the Digimon, Kari continued by saying, "Well, I hope you do well with your nap." She lightly kissed the Punimon's head and placed her in the cradle. "Sweet dreams," Kari finished with a kind whisper, and the Punimon slowly drifted off to sleep.
The moment the Punimon went to sleep, Kari turned her head and noticed Catherine still feeding the MetalKoromon. She had a feeling that the silver Digimon was not even close to being full, but it never hurt to ask. "So, how's the MetalKoromon doing?"
"Even though she's been drinking in small amounts, she's been doing very well so far," replied Catherine while continuing her watch on MetalKoromon. "It's a cute little devil, isn't she?"
"It definitely is," replied Kari, thinking about how endearing the baby Digimon looked so far. That was when she noticed the MetalKoromon was no longer flicking her tongue in the milk. "I think she's finished drinking, Catherine."
Catherine was right on it before Kari told her; she gave the MetalKoromon a kiss on the head and placed her in the cradle, where she drifted off to sleep soon after.
"How much milk do you have in the bottle, Kari?" asked Catherine suddenly. It sounded very awkward, but she could not think of anything to say for the moment.
Kari was caught by surprise that Catherine asked that so out of the blue, but she quickly forgot about it and looked at the now empty bottle. "This one's just finished," she replied. "What about yours?"
Catherine closed the bottle with her left hand and looked at its contents. "It's about one-half full," she replied. "A pretty good amount for a baby Digimon to drink."
"Don't forget the Poyomon we fed," countered Kari. "They each finished a whole bottle before they got full."
"Oh, right," said Catherine, now remembering what had happened.
Both DigiDestined chuckled quietly from this. It might not sound funny, but it was still something to do while feeding the babies.
They then picked up their bottles and ambled a little south, where they encountered two hungry Yuramon; they were very tiny blue Digimon with two black eyes, two blue feathery antennae on the top of the head, and thick white hair around the mouth, backside, and head. How small were they? Let me say that they were about the size of an average eleven-year-old person's palm.
Catherine carefully picked up one of the Yuramon with her left arm and gently placed the tip of the baby bottle into his hair-covered mouth.
Kari followed suit and did the same thing as Catherine did.
The moment she started feeding her Yuramon, those strange thoughts returned. This tingling sensation swirled in her head again. They were still faint, so she could not detect exactly what those feelings and thoughts were pointing to. However, she could detect it just a little bit. These feelings were not detecting something; they were detecting someone.
These feelings were directing her to someone? This was new. She had never thought of that before. Well, not in this sense. It seemed to direct her to a certain someone, someone close to her. Unfortunately, that was all Kari could detect mentally, when her blush returned. The color was faint, but it felt warm and stiff; she was finally able to detect her flush. She knew why she did that, but she did not know where.
The kind feminine voice from Catherine snapped Kari out of her thoughts once more, and she turned to Catherine on her right. "Yes?"
Catherine looked down, and Kari followed suit. The Yuramon was struggling to release his hold on the bottle.
"Sorry, Yuramon," Kari apologized and carefully pulled the bottle away from his mouth with her right hand. "Sorry for that, Yuramon," she reiterated.
The Yuramon responded by affectionately rubbing the palm of Kari's left palm, as if he was not angry with her.
…The Yuramon sneezed, courtesy of the small ends of the thick wad of white hair that got into his tiny nose (a nose that was completely buried underneath).
"Bless you," said Kari before putting down the bottle once more and stroking the top of her Yuramon's head. "I think you're ready for a good day's nap, aren't you, Yuramon?"
The Yuramon responded by making a yawn, which he stifled.
Kari smiled and placed him in his crib, where he feel asleep moments later.
Just as she did so, Catherine had finished feeding her own Yuramon and placed him in his respective crib, where he slept not long afterwards, as well.
After watching her Yuramon fall asleep, Catherine looked at Kari, who was beginning to look very thoughtful. "Kari?" she called softly, tapping the DigiDestined of Light on the shoulder.
Kari snapped out of it and turned to Catherine. "Excuse me?"
"When I saw your expression, you seem to be thinking deeply about something. What's it about?"
When Catherine tapped her shoulder, Kari completely forgot what she was thinking about. Now that she was reminded again, the quick memories popped back up again. "It's nothing much," she said dismissively.
Catherine did not buy that. "Nothing much?" she questioned. "From how deeply thinking you acted, it sounds a lot more than 'nothing much.'" She then sighed exasperatedly. "Sorry, Kari. It's not usually me for snapping like that."
"It's okay, Catherine," soothed Kari. "It happens once in a while." She sighed herself and looked up in the sky. "Besides, you were right. I was thinking about something." The red tint on her cheeks slowly returned. "Make it someone."
"Mm-hmm," Kari replied, and the tint on her cheeks disappeared as quickly as it reappeared. "While I was feeding the Punimon earlier, I was receiving strange thoughts. I did not know why that happened, and I wanted to ignore it, but I couldn't. It was stubborn. They disappeared once I finished feeding her, but as I helped feed the Yuramon—" she pointed at the sleeping Yuramon that she fed, "—these thoughts returned, but they were a little clearer. They were telling me something, but I don't know what." She looked down and at Catherine. "I wonder what my thoughts are telling me."
Catherine placed her left hand on a strand of her blonde hair. "I don't know what it is, but it seems like you have some sort of faint crush on somebody."
Kari inadvertently flinched after the word "crush" was heard.
"Something wrong?" asked Catherine concernedly after noticing Kari jerking.
"N-Nothing's wrong," stuttered Kari. "It just caught me by surprise."
Catherine shrugged. "That's normal," she said casually, but soothingly, and placed her left hand on Kari's right shoulder. "I think you'll sooner or later figure out who you have a crush on."
"You think so?"
"Of course," said Catherine as she grabbed her bottles and stood up. "C'mon, let's find more baby Digimon to feed."
Kari picked up her own bottles and stood up, too. "I'm right behind you," she replied, and the duo walked east, where they would encounter two hungry Botamon.
"Catherine might me right. I might have a crush on someone," thought Kari as they walked to the Botamon. "If I do, I don't know who I might fancy, but I will figure it out."
Meanwhile, down the edge of the hill, Elecmon was watching Kari and Catherine walk to feed the next batch of hungry baby Digimon while feeding two babies of his own. One was a Nyokimon: She looked like a black turnip with yellow eyes and two green leaves on the top of her pointy head. The other was a small Digimon called Pupumon: He had a small white body, big black eyes, and transparent blue wings on the top of his head.
"Catherine and Kari were certainly discussing about something," he thought, puzzled. "I wonder what they were talking about." However, after hearing the Nyokimon trying to let go of the bottle, Elecmon countered his considerations. "Then again, it isn't my business, and I have my babies to protect." He carefully pulled the baby bottle off the Nyokimon's mouth and placed her in her cradle. "Here ya go," he said, and he continued feeding the other baby Digimon.
Nothing more was said, heard, or thought of afterwards as everyone continued nourishing the baby Digimon.
Since then, feeding the babies went like clockwork. For a very long time, the Baby-level Digimon were very patient and very quiet. While they were all eager, they were behaving very well. They knew that they would all be fed eventually; it was just a matter of time before their caretakers arrived at their cribs.
The humans and Elecmon were also relishing their time feeding the babies. They enjoyed gazing at the little critters sucking on a baby bottle full of milk and noticing how cute they acted. Indeed, they all loved the baby Digimon's actions. Of course, who would not love it? It was cute seeing the babies drinking while making funny sucking noises. Well, it would only not be cute if they would start becoming stubborn and attack. That was the last thing they needed, and they were in no desire to encounter the feral side of most baby Digimon.
The feeding of the babies lasted for about two hours, but it felt more like five. Sure, what they really did was watch, but they still had to keep an eye on them; and it started to feel tiresome near the end of their duties, especially for their exhausted legs. At least they all finished feeding them… for now.
After the last of the baby Digimon were fed and were placed back in their cribs, everyone walked back up the hill and placed the used bottles into the discarding bag. The humans then plopped onto the soft green ground, which felt very comfortable for their aching legs.
"Man, my feet haven't hurt this much since I walked five hours in the mall," sighed Mimi, earning a collective groan from the others.
Michael, who was sitting on Mimi's right, rolled his eyes. "Mimi, New York City doesn't have malls," he countered.
Mimi turned to her boyfriend crossly. "Midtown Manhattan has a mall, Michael," she argued while pointing at his chest with her right index finger. "And the Kings Plaza in Brooklyn is also one."
"Oh, I forgot," replied Michael, feeling a little embarrassed that he forgot about the two malls, including the Manhattan Mall. But he thought deviously; he was not going to let her have the last laugh. "Well, I wonder why you would even want to go to the Kings Plaza in the first place. It's quite a long ways from your home in Midtown Manhattan."
"Sometimes, I just like to travel and look around the plaza," said Mimi.
Michael shrugged. "Well, now I know why your feet ached last time."
Everyone chuckled from Michael's comeback, but that was quickly quelled when Elecmon cleared his throat authoritatively (although he was laughing, too).
"I'm gonna need some help with placing the milk bags back into the basement," the Digimon told them as he tied up the bag full of used bottles.
"I'll help out," said Michael and got up.
"Me, too," said Mimi and got to her feet, as well. Then, she gave Michael a very sly stare and added, "Besides, I'm not done toying with pretty boy here."
Michael rolled his eyes, although he felt a tiny bit intimidated from Mimi's gaze.
"I'll help, too, if you want," volunteered Catherine and got up, too.
"Thanks for the assistance," complimented Elecmon and made a grin that spread from one side of his cheek to the other. He next turned to Kari, who was sitting in a spot near the forest. "What about you, Kari?"
Kari, who went back to thinking after laughing with the others, heard Elecmon and turned to him. "Uh, I'll to stay here and watch the babies," she replied.
Elecmon shrugged. "Whichever's your decision," he replied before tying the other bag and hoisting it onto his back. However, despite only having a few bottles, it was still very heavy, for he wound up falling on his back.
"Maybe, you should roll it down the stairs," suggested Mimi.
Elecmon got up and looked at Mimi embarrassingly. "Sorry about that. Sometimes, I can be a little bit stubborn when it came to my habits."
"Apparently so," said Mimi with a chuckle.
"Not now, Mimi," advised Catherine.
The two females chuckled as they started helping Elecmon roll down the unused milk bottles through the doorway of the enlarged building block.
Michael was a bit disappointed that he was left alone at the top, but what the heck. The empty bottles were not that heavy, anyway.
"Well, it looks like I'm on my own now," he said, recalling his thoughts. "No matter…" He rolled the bag towards the doorway, and went downstairs with it.
That left Kari all alone on the hill; no one was around her anymore. Everyone was underground doing duties with putting the milk and the bottles away, and she was just sitting up there. It was just… lonely.
On the other hand, it also felt like it was the best not to go, either. She was still thinking about something. No, it was not about finally relaxing in the shade (although she desired it after staying under the warm sun for a couple of hours). No, it was those feelings that she thought she discovered while feeding the Yuramon and the Poyomon from earlier. They were still faint and in the background. The background of her mind was not black, not like a clear nighttime sky. Her mind was dark red, with a little light in it: Her mind was not completely cloudy – if it was, she would not be able to think, something that was not in her character.
Well, it was time. Time to do some soul-searching and find out what was going on in her mind. So, she closed her eyes and went to "see" what was going on in her head.
Her "visit inside her mind" went into a dark, swirling road, a "road" that traveled in many bumps and sharp turns. It was a long travel to her destination, but she was going to try to locate it no matter what.
The road in her brain went down a small hill, then straight ahead again. So far, it was easy, and then the path turned left sharply, followed by a quick right turn. Her thoughts then went uphill before going downhill. Man, this was becoming extremely frustrating early. Kari was not feeling patient today; in fact, these "twists and turns" only made her even more anxious. It was like her thoughts were so close to her, then they were slowly disappearing into the background, never to be discovered again. She wanted to find them and quickly. However, she immediately realized that thoughts must be "looked at" carefully, so she could not rush to find them. Otherwise, she might jump to an illogical conclusion. A little more time was needed.
The road to find her thoughts then went uphill. It was not that big of a "climb," which was fortunate for her. The hill then went up followed by an angle that slowly went downwards. It felt free and refreshing, but she had to continue thinking.
The hill then ended, and the trail went straight ahead. It felt like she was running, except she was running mentally. It felt exciting; it made her mind race even more. So, her thoughts picked up the pace, hypothetically speaking. She was starting to detect her thoughts a little more clearly, and she was sure she could detect them now. If she could just try to give herself a clearer passage towards it…
She did not have to, because those stubborn thoughts and feelings were more exposed than ever. She was now able to find out what was going on. All she had to do was think a little more.
And indeed she did, for she was receiving an image as to what her feelings were. So far, what Catherine hypothesized was correct; Kari did seem to fancy somebody, causing the DigiDestined of Light to blush. Yep, it was a crush, all right.
Enough of that, though – she must find out who she had that crush on. It was time to think deeply once again.
Her thoughts were becoming clearer to her, she was starting to figure out whom she had infatuated for a little while; and there was a very faint image for it, too. Beneath the transparent dimension of thoughts was a faint silhouette. It was walking towards the foreground, to where Kari would clearly recognize whom. The silhouette was "walking" graciously, but briskly. It would be about the same height as Kari herself. She was sure she recognized it before, but she – as of the moment – was not exactly sure.
Suddenly, she gasped. The image was becoming clearer, and it was floating in her mind right now. This was not just one person in the image, but rather two people. They were holding hands, and they seemed to be in love with each other.
The first person was the one Kari immediately recognized. It was herself, without a doubt, but there was one thing she knew she was not, and that narcissistic. It was the other person that image of Kari herself was holding. But moments later, the image of Kari turned around and kissed that mysterious person. The environment quickly became harmonious as everything slowed down. Nothing was going to bother them now.
Then, the silhouette of that other person slowly vanished. Although the face was not totally exposed, Kari could "see" some descriptions of it. The smile was big, gracious, and radiant. If this were not her mind, it would brighten the whole area of Kari's mind. It seemed to be a little older than her, but around her age.
All of a sudden, an even louder gasp was made. The silhouette had vanished both quickly and completely, and Kari could now recognize whom she was infatuated with…
Indeed, it was Catherine that image of Kari was holding and kissing. Everything about Catherine matched – the smile, the clothes, the hair, and the calm tone. Everything she pictured matched the French DigiDestined's description perfectly.
Kari opened her eyes in a snap, abruptly ending her thoughts, and she began to breath harshly.
"I have a crush on Catherine?" she thought, feeling very shocked. "How can that be? How can I have a crush on Catherine? It's impossible…" Her breathing quickly went to normal again, and she began to think a little more rationally. "Or maybe not… Maybe, I do have a crush on Catherine." That was when the blush on her cheeks reddened a little more. "Yeah, I think I do have a crush on Catherine after all."
Realizing whom her crush was made Kari relieved, but it made her a little bit uncomfortable, as well. She was going have to think a little more about this, even though she did not want to.
The doorway led them to a dark hallway inside the oversized cube. The light was on, removing as much darkness as possible, but the light only reached halfway down; the ground was still dark. The stairwell was not steep, but no handrail was on the side, so caution ought to be preceded while either walking up or down. The stairwell reached deep underground, where little to no natural light could be reached. It was now only electric light, which was just fine. The deeper they were underground, the brighter the electric lights were. Elecmon did not know why this was the case, but he was just glad that they were this bright. Otherwise, he would have to walk in the dark, something he could not do.
The DigiDestined (minus Kari) and Elecmon had walked down the stairs before reaching the ground below. They then walked straight for a small while before making a right turn, where the underground tunnel was at its brightest.
"I wonder where the stash is," said Mimi as she helped Michael carry the bag of used bottles.
"Don't worry, Mimi," said Michael, who was on Mimi's right. "We'll be there soon."
"Good thing," said Mimi and sighed from the mugginess in the tunnel. "Because I'm getting hot and hungry."
"Patience is a virtue, Mimi," advised Catherine with her back turned, unaware that she received a glare from Mimi in response.
"Catherine's right, Mimi," said Elecmon. He was carrying the heavy bag over his shoulder, and Catherine was helping him out. "Just a few of more hours, and you'll be having fish with all the baby Digimon out there. And, no, you do not have to feed them again," he added, following a small gasp from Mimi.
"Thank goodness," Mimi sighed. "The babies were cute, but they can be a bit of a hassle. No offense, Elecmon," she added hastily.
"None taken," Elecmon chuckled, his back still turned from the group. "Hey, look at me. I feed them every day, and it's very hard work." Unbeknownst to everyone (even Catherine), his smile turned wry. "Maybe, I should invite you to help me take care of the babies tomorrow, as well."
Mimi felt like she was going to faint after hearing that.
Elecmon could tell what happened, although he did not physically see it, and laughed. "I'm just kidding there! I'm only joking."
Mimi sighed in relief. "Thank heavens," she thought. Then, she sighed again – this time, with regret. "Sorry for what I said. I'm just feeling a little tired, that's all."
Elecmon turned his head a little to where he could see Mimi with his left eye. "It's okay. This happens sometimes."
Mimi nodded in reply and made a small smile. The topic was finally over.
Then, another topic began.
"We have arrived, everyone!" exclaimed Elecmon at once, and everyone stopped walking.
The DigiDestined and Elecmon put the sacks down on the ground, and Mimi and Catherine looked ahead. In front of them was a metal door. It was about twenty feet tall and fifteen feet wide, and it was made out of Chrome-Digizoid: the strongest of all the metals in the entire Digital World.
Before the two females could look further, Elecmon cleared his throat, signaling his attention. "We have arrived, everyone," the Digimon said as he looked at them.
"Where are we now?" asked Catherine confusingly.
Elecmon turned to face the door. "We're at the entrance to where my stash of milk is kept," he replied.
The two females went in shock upon hearing that.
"This is the exact place you keep all your milk?" gasped Mimi while still looking at the door.
"Mm-hmm," nodded Michael beside her. "This is a place where it's kept. Keep in mind that I was down here earlier."
"Oh," said Mimi a little embarrassingly. "I forgot."
"It doesn't matter," shrugged Michael with a small smile.
As Michael and Mimi confided, Catherine looked at the chrome door with astonishment.
"Wow," thought the French DigiDestined with wonderment. "I never knew that this door was the place where the supplies were kept." That part was true. Yes, she had been in the Primary Village before, given her familiarity with the sacred territory. And she did see Elecmon walk into the secret passageway where the supplies were stored. However, she was never ever down here; she never went in there, not even a little peak. So, this was new for her.
Then, as she moved her head down to where she would look at the floor, she noticed something very peculiar. "Elecmon, can I ask you a question?"
Elecmon turned to Catherine on his left. "Of course, Catherine. What is it?"
"Can you tell me why there is a lock on the right side of the door?" She pointed at it with her right index finger.
On the right side of the door was a single-dial combination lock that hung on the edge of the door and the frame. It was made out of Chrome-Digizoid, and there was a circular dial that ranged from numbers zero to ninety-nine.
"That lock's to protect the food supply," explained Elecmon. "I want all the security I can get."
Michael and Mimi heard the conversation and walked towards them, entering the little talk.
"Then, why didn't you have as many locks as possible?" wondered Michael.
Elecmon grumbled upon hearing it. "I should scold Andromon for that," he muttered.
No one heard him.
Elecmon, however, regained his composure, cleared his throat, and walked to the lock. "I'm gonna putting the bags away now." He then looked back. "But I can't do it while you're watching. You'll have to leave."
The three DigiDestined looked at each other confusing. Why did they have to leave the tunnel? What sense did Elecmon's instruction contain?
Then, Mimi's mind rang; why did she not think of this before? Now, it made total sense. "Oh… right," she said, now knowing why he told them to leave. Mimi then grabbed Michael by his right hand and Catherine by her left one. "C'mon, you two. We better return to the surface."
Before both Catherine and Michael could object, Mimi pulled them with her as they hurried back through the tunnel, leaving Elecmon all alone to do his work.
The three walked briskly up the light-filled path. Mimi was holding onto them as tightly as she could. It was like she was in a hurry, which confused Catherine and Michael. They did not know why Mimi was doing this, and said so.
"Mimi, what's with you acting like this?" asked Catherine concernedly, her left hand feeling a little numb from Mimi's tight grip.
"Yeah," agreed Michael. His right hand was nowhere near numb or sore, but Mimi's dragging made his shoulder uncomfortable. "You're acting very rash. What's going on?"
"Wait until we're out of Elecmon's sight," replied Mimi strictly.
Catherine and Michael looked at each other, confusion showing on their faces, but they kept quiet nonetheless.
The trio then turned left and walked a little more. Mimi looked back briefly before making a complete stop. She then loosened her grip on both Catherine's and Michael's hands and turned to them.
Just before either Catherine or Michael could complain about Mimi's rash actions, she interrupted them. "Sorry for being a little reckless, you two, but I think it was important that we leave Elecmon alone right now."
"Why's that?" asked Michael while favoring his shoulder a little. "Elecmon's not mourning or anything, right?"
"No, it's not that," replied Mimi, shaking her head. "Elecmon has a combination lock, and he doesn't want us to know what the password is."
Both Catherine and Michael now realized why Mimi did that.
"Now, we know why he told us to leave," sighed Michael before adding in thought, "And now, I understand why he told me to keep my back turned while he was getting the supplies in the first place, either." He grumbled at why he could not think of this before. "Maybe, next time, I'll think about—"
"But," said Catherine, interrupting Michael's thoughts, "the evil Digimon are no longer around. They were all destroyed several years ago."
Mimi's face became a little serious. "You should know this, Catherine," she said severely. "Despite the evil Digimon being destroyed, Elecmon's still very protective of the baby Digimon. He'll do whatever it takes to make sure they grow up without any hindrance."
"So, he's just being cautious in case something like this happens," said Catherine.
"Exactly," replied Mimi.
"I see," said Catherine and looked down with a frown. "I should've known that."
"Hey, don't be so hard on yourself," said Mimi, smiling genuinely. "You just didn't know. That's all."
Despite being subtle, the words quickly brightened Catherine's mood as she looked up and smiled once more.
"That's more like it," grinned Mimi. "C'mon. We better see what Kari's up to."
With that, they started walking slowly up the tunnel to the staircase.
During the beginning of their trod back toward the door, Catherine decided to walk a little more slowly than she usually did, allowing both Michael and Mimi to pass her. The Tachikawa child and her boyfriend gave Catherine confused looks, but they shrugged it off after believing it was nothing. However, Catherine could care less about that right now. This was important to her, and she did not want to be disturbed.
"Kari has been acting very strange lately, ever since we started feeding the Digimon," she thought curiously and walked even more slowly. "While I know that Kari may not be one of the boldest people out there, I don't recall her being so taciturn, especially during the last few years that I know her. Then again, she did not tell me about her nervousness when it came to feeding the baby Digimon.
"On the other hand, what I'm most interested about her right now is what happened during the time we fed the Yuramon and the Punimon. From my perspective, she not only seemed secretive, but also shy about something." She closed her eyes briefly before opening them again. "She did say she had a crush on someone, and the pink tint on her cheeks proved it. But I feel there's a little more to the crush than just that. I wonder…" She pondered some more before sighing inwardly. "Maybe, I'm just being a little silly. This is not really my business when it comes to somebody being infatuated with someone."
Then, all of a sudden, her face started to feel a little warm, causing Catherine herself to gasp. "What's going on? Why am I feeling warm in the face?" She placed her right hand on her right cheek. "This is strange. I wonder why I'm blushing. I don't remember falling for anybody before… do I?"
She decided to leave her thoughts alone for now, as she walked a little more briskly to keep up with Mimi and Michael. But as she arrived at the foot of the stairwell, Mimi and Michael had already exited. She had been walking a little too slow, in her opinion. Oh, well. The open was just in front of her, and it was time to walk up before they become worried. So, she ran up the stairwell and was soon outside.
However, as she arrived, only Mimi and Michael were out there.
"She's at the brook nearby," replied Michael, who sat at the spot Kari was at before walking off.
"Why's that?" wondered Catherine.
Mimi and Michael shrugged.
"We don't know," answered Mimi. "She was pretty vague when we asked her why she wanted to go: She only said that she wanted to think in private."
Catherine played with her blonde hair with her right hand. "That's odd," she thought aloud. "I don't ever recall her acting like that before."
"Me, neither," said Michael. "She's been acting really strange lately." He placed his left hand on his chin. "I wonder why she did that."
"Good question," pondered Mimi and sat down next to him.
While they were thinking as to why Kari walked off, Catherine had a logical guess. But she felt that it was best not to talk about it right now: Doing so might only upset Kari rather than help her.
Adjacent to Primary Village, a brook twisted and turned in the ground. Crystal blue water floated down the stream, the sunlight in streaks on the surface. Dark gray dirt and rocks rested on the riverbank, making the environment a little dull, but the thirty-foot trees had color on them. The bark was blue-gray, and the green bushy leaves were glistening in the light.
Kari was sitting on the riverbank, the side nearest to the Primary Village. Her legs were bent up, and her arms were on her knees. She was staring at the water with confused eyes. Her face had produced the pink tint for the umpteenth time already, and she was frowning as a result. She wanted to think, but she could not bring herself to doing so. Her mind was already racing, distracting her somewhat.
The reason why her mind was busy was rather easy…
"Why can't I stop thinking about Catherine?" she thought. "Why am I having a crush on Catherine? She's my friend, nothing more."
Oh, but she started to like her, Kari's subconscious replied. She started to like her for a while now.
"No, I don't," thought Kari in reply.
Yes, she did.
"No, I don't," Kari's mind suddenly fumed.
Ah, so she was now stubborn, huh? That was so like her, trying to keep things hidden and attempting to forget all about it.
"Again, I only like her as a friend," countered Kari's main part of her brain. "She's been a friend of mine from day one, and that's that."
Unfortunately, Kari's devious subconscious was being argumentative.
Well, what about the blush on her cheeks? Evidential that she liked Catherine more than just a friend, was it not?
Kari's main thoughts did not counter, as if confused. Then, her cheeks became slightly redder, although she did not recognize that, yet.
See! It told her, her stubborn subconscious exclaimed.
"It was only a phase," thought Kari defensively.
Not from previously, it argued back, becoming even more stubborn than earlier. She should remember from several minutes before when she thought that she actually liked Catherine.
"Oh, that," thought Kari again before touching her cheeks with her right hand. "Maybe I do have a crush on Catherine."
And, yet, she was doubtful regarding that. A pity.
Kari ignored it.
"Maybe, what I thought is true. I think I have a crush on Catherine. But… how will I face Catherine now?"
Running away was not an option, Kari's subconscious relayed. She would have to face Catherine sooner or later.
"Perhaps," thought Kari and looked at her watch. "I better head back. They're gonna be worried about me if I continue to stay out here." With that, she got to her feet and walked back into the forest.
She would be back at Primary Village about three minutes later, where the other three DigiDestined were waiting for her.
"Are you okay, Kari?" asked Mimi as she looked at her.
"I'm fine," said Kari. "I just had to clear my mind a little."
Mimi merely shrugged and did not reply to the subject.
A new one quickly followed. "Where's Elecmon?" Kari asked.
"He's still in the tunnel," replied Michael, who was still sitting down in Kari's former spot. "He must putting the milk and the bottles away, I think."
"Very likely that he's sterilizing the bottles, too," said Kari and looked at the entrance. But when she turned her head a little right, she noticed Catherine standing a few feet away, and was looking at her.
Kari began to feel a little uncomfortable after spotting her, but she had to face her shyness eventually. So, she walked towards Catherine, trying to feel a little brave and break away from her bashfulness. Then again, it was hard to break it away; it was a very normal defensive action.
But she did not have to say something to break away her timidity, because Catherine was the first to talk.
"So, did you clear your mind while at the river?" asked the French DigiDestined as Kari stopped a couple of feet away from her. For some apparent reason, she felt a little uncomfortable, also.
"W-Well… sort of," stammered Kari. "I just needed to… calm down."
"Calm down?" wondered Catherine quietly, feeling a little more awkward.
"Mm-hmm. I just n-needed to relax for a while."
Catherine smiled. "A bit of an awkward while," she teased, eyeing Kari's blush peculiarly.
Kari noticed Catherine sly look and touched her own cheeks with her left hand. "Darn it. I'm blushing again." She inwardly groaned. "I can't humiliate myself in front of her NOW."
Being shy because of her crush on Catherine? That was normal, for heaven's sake. Sometimes, she should not be so proud and not be timid when it came to small situations like this.
"Perhaps," Kari concluded in thought.
"Feeling a little scared, aren't you, Kari?" Catherine asked, both softly and kindly.
Kari expected it, so she was not caught off-guard. She looked up at Catherine and nodded a little. "A tiny bit," she replied, before seeing something very interesting. "Is it me or are you starting to blush, too?"
Catherine gasped softly from what Kari said. "I'm blushing again?" she thought and placed her right hand on her own cheeks. Sure enough, she was pink in the face once again. "Why am I blushing again? Again, I don't have a crush on anyone… Then again, that's not what I thought earlier." She sighed both inwardly and frustratingly. "This is confusing me…"
"Is everybody okay?" interrupted a male voice.
Kari and Catherine looked around and noticed Elecmon walking between them and Mimi and Michael. Over his left shoulder was a big fishing net for explanations that would be explained later.
"We're all okay, Elecmon," replied Mimi as she looked down at him. "We were just waiting for you to come up."
Elecmon nodded before turning to Kari and Catherine, where he noticed something odd coming from them. "Are you two okay? You're both pretty pink in the face."
Low gasps from Kari and Catherine responded to Elecmon's question as they faced each other briefly. They then turned away shyly, blushing even more.
Everyone looked at them awkwardly. Why were they avoiding eye contact?
Elecmon grew a little worried from their strange actions. "Is there anything wrong?"
When he received no reply, his ears drooped for a moment. Then, they immediately perked back up again. "Maybe, things will turn out all right once we get the fish for later."
Catherine kept her head down, but Kari was no longer so shy as she looked at the red Digimon. "When will that be?"
"In a few hours," replied Elecmon with a smile. "So, you can take a break a little longer. Then, we have to start cooking."
No one objected as the humans sat down on the soft green ground.
Elecmon then said, "I'll be back in a few minutes," and he took off into the forest.
The moment he left, the Primary Village became very quiet again. The sun was still high above them, and it felt very warm. There were no more occasional breezes, and the leaves and toys were no longer swinging and rustling.
Kari and Catherine had sat down just like Mimi and Michael did, but Kari and Catherine were still too shy to face each other. They did not stop blushing, and they felt very uncomfortable. A mumble or a look from either of them, and they would shy away once again.
"Something's going on with those two," murmured Michael as he whispered to Mimi.
"Yeah, I agree," Mimi responded back. "Those two seem to be avoiding each other for some reason. I wonder what."
Michael looked at both Catherine's and Kari's light pink faces. "I think I know why's that."
"Take a look at their faces," whispered Michael.
Mimi obliged to what Michael said and closely looked at both of their faces. "They're blushing for some reason. But why?"
"A few minutes ago, both Kari and Catherine looked at each other before shying away. We both saw it, correct?"
"Mm-hmm. What about it?" whispered Mimi, but before Michael responded, she caught on. "Wait. You mean they—"
"Yep," answered Michael, and he followed up with a whisper that was so low, no one but Mimi herself could hear him: "Kari and Catherine are in love with each other, but they're too shy to admit it."
"Wow," said Mimi and turned to Michael. "I didn't know they were in love with each other."
"Well, I assume that these feelings were recent: They weren't shy to each other until several minutes ago," explained Michael.
Mimi looked at the soft green ground. "And Kari's shyness might be why she went to the brook earlier."
Michael shrugged. "Either that or she was not so sure," he hypothesized.
"Possibly," remarked Mimi and looked at the duo of girls in front of her. They were both looking at the cribs, but they made no motion to look at each other. "I wonder what we should do."
Michael was way ahead of her regarding having an idea. "Maybe, we can play matchmaker and try to make sure they stay together and not shy away."
Mimi quickly grew nervous, especially when he said "matchmaker." "I'm not sure, Michael," she said and looked at him again. "I don't think it's such a good idea to try to play matchmaker. Doing so might only make them more nervous."
"Good point," said Michael and looked down, pondering any ideas. He did not have any, except one. "As a matter of fact, I think it's best that we let Kari and Catherine handle this themselves. Yes, it may be hard for them to come forward, but I think it's the right thing."
Mimi nodded, agreeing with Michael's suggestion.
"However," Michael added playfully, "there is one thing we can do now."
Mimi was about to ask what it was, but he responded by lightly – and briefly – pressing his lips onto hers. Despite being short, it felt tingly and warm, particularly in the heart.
The moment he pulled away, Mimi looked at him with a shocked expression. She certainly did not expect him to do something like that.
Michael had a feeling what Mimi was thinking and smiled. "Sometimes, my mind just needs to light the fire," he joked, referring to his boldness.
"I can tell," laughed Mimi and returned the favor by kissing him back on the lips. There was no pulling back this time around.
Although Mimi and Michael were talking as quietly as they could, that did not stop both Catherine and Kari from hearing them (especially from Mimi). Sure, they were still not making eye contact with each other, but what they heard made them feel a little bit skeptical.
For Kari, she was not expecting that. Yes, she had a crush on Catherine, no question about that; but was she in love with Catherine rather than having something that would merely go away in the future? And if she was, was Catherine in love with Kari herself? Hmm. Well, that could be the case, Kari had thought. Maybe, she was in love with Catherine. Maybe, this was not a crush, after all. If she would just ponder a little more—
…Yes. Yes, she was. Yes, Kari was in love with Catherine. This was no crush at all! Kari was indeed in love with Catherine. Now, what could she do? Maybe, she could tell Catherine right now that she was in love with her. Or, maybe, she could wait it out just a little longer and see if Catherine did indeed love her back. A quick ponder ought to follow…
Maybe, she should wait it out. Yes, that made sense. It might be a little too soon to tell her. But if she was ready, when would she tell Catherine? She would definitely have to think about that.
Catherine was just as surprised when she heard Mimi and Michael speculate it. If not, maybe even more surprised than Kari. Kari might be in love with her, but she might be in love with Kari right back? This was quite quaint to her, as she did not expect that to occur. She did not even think that could happen. This felt very unusual, not to mention a little bit awkward.
Now, she had to think about this for a moment. What if this was true? What if Kari was indeed in love with her? These actions towards Catherine herself could be the case that this was very much true. Kari felt very awkward towards Catherine. She was also secretive, timid, and bashful. So, everything could tie it down to where Kari could be in love with her. Hmm…
And what about Catherine herself falling in love with Kari? She was certainly not expecting that. She did not even recall ever fantasizing Kari at all. Not even once. She did not remember anything she did that made her— Of course! Why did she conclude things too quicky? She should have remembered this; it only happened not so long ago. She was too shy to face Kari. More so, she was actually blushing whenever she gazed at Kari. It was such foolishness that she had forgotten about that so quickly! Oh, well, now that she remembered it, it was time to think – was what she heard true? Did she love Kari back? Not as a friend, but as a potential girlfriend? Hmm… This was really strange.
Maybe, there was a possibility that she did love Kari. Maybe, she did want Kari as a girlfriend, maybe even more later in life. If Kari was in love with her, did Catherine indeed love Kari back? And if it was true, when was it time to tell her? Kari might not feel that way towards Catherine herself – not yet, at least. Perhaps, she should wait a little while and see what would happen; but when would "a little while" be? How about until it was time to eat the fish? Yes, that would be the best time to make a small move. Sure, it might be a little too quickly for both of them to realize any feelings towards each other, but Catherine felt it was the best possibility to make a small move. So, it was time to wait.
Both Kari and Catherine could wait as long as they wished, because it would take a while to both prepare the fire and cook the fish. Therefore, it would be about one to one-and-a-half hours before the fish were actually ready. And the cooking process would take place in the center of the Primary Village.
Wait a minute. It would be at the Primary Village? But there were many objects that could catch fire. What about the floor? What about the building blocks? Well, there was actually nothing to worry about. The ground might be soft and squishy, and the building blocks were made out of fabric and feathers; but this was the Digital World, where there was no such thing as logic. The fabric on the building blocks, the feathers from within, and soft green ground either contained – or was concocted with – a special substance that would not make them flammable. Elecmon – per usual – was the cause of all of this. It was all a secret, however, and he was going to tell nobody about it.
It would be several minutes before Elecmon would return from the brook. Over his right shoulder, he was dragging a heavy fishnet full of fish.
"That was a really huge catch you got, Elecmon," complimented Mimi as she looked at the net.
"Oversized catches, to be exact," teased Michael, who was looking at the net, too.
Elecmon grinned widely. "Thanks," he replied and motioned them to get up (which they did). "We better get to the campfire." He turned to Kari and Catherine and told them what he said to both Mimi and Michael moments ago.
"Right," replied both Catherine and Kari as they looked at the caretaker. They got to their feet and walked towards him.
Elecmon made a motion towards the entrance of the oversized cube, and the doorway vanished. There was no time to ask for questions about what and how he did it, however. That would have to wait for next time.
"C'mon. Let's go," said Elecmon and started walking to the right side of the oversized block.
The humans wasted no time following him.
And – what a shock? – Kari and Catherine were still not looking at each other. Perhaps, they were still thinking about things. Perhaps: that was the key word with this circumstance; a circumstance that would likely continue for a while…
They would soon arrive at the fire ring. The circle was forty feet in diameter, wide enough for about everyone to sit at. Large rocks went around the border, and tall sticks stuck straight up from within the ring.
"We have arrived, everyone," Elecmon announced, and everyone stopped walking.
Kari looked at the ring. "Wow," she gasped. "This is huge."
"It definitely is," smiled Elecmon and proceeded to untie the fishnet. "There are hundreds of sticks that are near one of the rocks, so can anyone of you can get them?"
"I'll do it," said Mimi as she walked around the campsite and subsequently noticed about 1,000 sticks as she walked halfway. "You mean these, Elecmon?" she asked as she bent down and picked them up.
Elecmon glanced at the sticks and nodded. "Yep. That's them. You can put them back down now."
Mimi obliged and placed them back at the same spot that she found them.
"Now, we're gonna need to use these sticks on these fish," said Elecmon. "Do any of you mind helping me?"
"Not at all," replied the DigiDestined.
"Thanks," said Elecmon. "Now, let's get to work."
Everyone obliged to Elecmon's request, and they each took a stick and penetrated the already dead fish with it. Then, they dug the fish-on-the-stick in between the rocks, so they would be able to cook the fish without burning the twig along the way.
After about twenty minutes, everyone had penetrated each fish with a stick, and they were all placed in between the rocks perfectly.
"Well, we're done with the fish," said Catherine and wiped the sweat off her forehead with her left arm.
"But now, we need to start a campfire," said Kari, who was still avoiding Catherine's gaze (and vice-versa).
At least, they were on speaking terms… for once.
"Like this," said Elecmon and motioned everyone to move back.
Everyone obliged to Elecmon's request, and they all walked ten feet back.
Elecmon cleared his throat and jumped high in the sky. "Super Thunder Strike!" he shouted. A golden thunderbolt shot from his fine tail feathers, plunged into the fire ring below, and the sticks from within the ring ignited. The fire crackled softly, and the fish were being cooked as a result.
"Well, that takes care of that problem," said Michael matter-of-factly. "Now, we can only wait until the fish are cooked."
And, so, they waited.
Everyone, besides Kari and Catherine (for they were walking around the Primary Village by themselves), had taken a seat near the campfire very early, for the baby Digimon would be able to smell the fish as it was being cooked. Sure enough, that was exactly what happened: A few minutes after every fish was cooking, every baby Digimon woke up with a start and sniffed heavily upon smelling the aroma. Once they realized that the fish were minutes away from being completely smoked, they all jumped out of their cradles and cheerfully raced to the campfire. Not long after, the campsite got extremely crowded. There seemed to be about 100 baby Digimon sitting anxiously around the campfire; and they were all waiting for the fish to become toast and edible.
"Well," stuttered Michael upon seeing all the eager Digimon around him and Mimi, "that was fast."
"Very fast," agreed Mimi, who was sitting on Michael's right, and stared at the babies herself. "Still, that's the baby Digimon to you."
"Ditto," muttered Michael before realizing something. "Um, Mimi, if the babies are here, then where are Kari and Catherine gonna sit?"
Mimi's eyes widened after hearing what he said. "I never thought of that."
"I can help scoot the babies over, if you want it," suggested Elecmon from Michael's left. He had been overhearing the conversation between the two, and thought it was best to enter into the talk.
"I wouldn't mind that," said Mimi, and Michael agreed, too.
Elecmon nodded and looked at his left, where numerous Poyomon, Yuramon, and Botamon were watching and waiting. "Is it okay if all of you can scoot over a little to the left? Catherine and Kari should be back any minute now, and they need a place to sit."
The baby Digimon obliged without question, and they started moving left. They scooted very slowly, but they were small and not very fast, so it would take a few moments. Either that or they were just killing the time and playing with Elecmon (after all, they could jump if they wished to). About one minute later, there was a vacant place around the edge of the campfire, and it would be big enough for both Catherine and Kari to sit.
A new conversation took place, but only Michael and Mimi could hear it: They were the ones who were talking.
Not to mention beginning a small speculation.
"Now, all we have to do now is wait," whispered Michael to Mimi.
The Tachikawa child turned to Michael with a confused look on her face. "What d'ya mean?"
"Both Kari and Catherine might be in love with each other, but they've been avoiding each other's gaze for a while," explained Michael and looked at the vacant spot over the fire. "With the space available, they won't be able to avoid it this time, so they're gonna have to look at each other eventually."
Mimi had a feeling what could happen, and she said so. "So, maybe, they'll both—"
"Not exactly," said Michael wisely, "but they'll be a lot more comfortable if they stop being shy. Additionally, I think they'll only admit their love to each other in private."
Mimi nodded and blinked once while moving her head down. "I see."
Michael was about to respond when he noticed Catherine walking toward them. "Hi, Catherine!" he called as she passed him. "How was your stroll?"
"Pretty good, Michael," replied Catherine and went to sit down in the vacant area. She then took a small sniff after smelling the fish's aroma. "Smells good. Elecmon, when will it be ready?"
"About a minute," replied Elecmon.
"Good," said Catherine enthusiastically, "because I can't wait."
"You're not alone, Catherine," laughed Michael. "We've been hungry for a while now. Mimi complained about that, remember?" He looked at Mimi teasingly.
"Michael!" exclaimed Mimi embarrassingly, and Michael laughed.
Catherine laughed, as well. Then, she looked at her left and noticed a small space. She had a very huge feeling who that spot was for, and she started blushing again. "That space is for Kari, I believe."
"Mm-hmm," replied Elecmon from her right. "She'll be sitting next to you while we eat the fish."
Catherine was right; Kari was going to sit next to her, after all. This was definitely not good, she thought. She was still too nervous and too shy to face Kari. Despite her walk, she had not stopped thinking about Kari. Although she was no longer blushing (until now), she still felt uncomfortable at the mere thought of Kari. Now, what was she going to do? She was going to have to sit next to Kari, the person she might be in love with. The atmosphere was going to be awkward very quickly. Unfortunately, it looked like she had no choice. She was going to have to break through her shyness one day… and as she thought about it, it could be coming quite soon. Sooner than possibly planned.
No sooner than after finishing her thoughts, Kari appeared on her right.
"Sorry I'm late, everyone," the female Kamiya apologized as she walked towards them, her gaze still away from Catherine. "I got lost on the way."
Elecmon shook his head with a smile as he faced her. "It's okay, Kari. On the contrary, I think you actually arrived right on time." He turned to the campfire in front of him and whispered, "In fact, the fish are just now done." Finally, he clapped his hands loudly and cleared his throat, signaling to the others to pay attention. "The fish has just finished cooking. It's time to feast!"
"YAY!" cheered the baby Digimon as they jumped up and down.
All the DigiDestined laughed from their actions.
"Sometimes, baby Digimon can be tamed," chuckled Catherine, "but once they're very excited, you can't hold them down."
Everyone had to agree with that, and the Baby-level Digimon calmed down quickly. The next that happened was simple: the feast began.
Everyone had to be very careful grabbing the fish and yanking it away from the fire. While the sticks were not burnt, the DigiDestined's and Elecmon's fingers could get burnt badly; so, they had to be very cautious regarding reaching for the cooked fish.
It was really tough for the baby Digimon; they literally had to wait until Elecmon gave the fish to the babies. Once the fish were given to them, the Digimon quickly feasted. Their appetites were relatively huge, but they had to eat in small bites, as what Elecmon instructed them to do.
Other than that, the feast started very well.
Mimi and Michael had each carefully taken two fish to start with. They were actually very quiet, which was unique, since they usually gossiped whenever they had the opportunity. But they did communicate each other with motions, like a nod, shrug, or a shake of the head. They also gave each other sly looks at one point. It was like that they might lightly kiss each other, but self-control and common sense took over right away, and they held back. Maybe, they would kiss some other time, but right now, their main priorities were enjoying their meals.
Elecmon was quiet, too. He was holding a charred fish in his hands, and he was eating the little sea creature in small bites. It might be very slow, but it was polite, for he wanted to be the best example to the baby Digimon as possible. Whenever he saw an infant either trying to swallow the fish whole or spitting out a twig, he would be giving them a shake of the head, and the babies would cooperate at once. "It's a good life at the campsite now," he thought while looking at the sun, which was officially starting to set. "But it'll be back to work tomorrow. Guess I better enjoy it when it lasts." With that, he went back to eating the fish.
Catherine and Kari were also very quiet. They were each slowly eating a fish, and they were doing it as politely as possible. It felt very peaceful for them – sitting quietly and eating their supper as the day was beginning to wane.
However, they were still avoiding each other's eyes. When Kari sat down beside Catherine, they looked at each other briefly before shying away again! They were still too embarrassed to face other. Heavens, it was several hours now, and they were continuing to not have eye contact with each other. When was this silly stubbornness going to end?
It was about to end sooner than anyone thought.
Both Catherine had just finished eating each of their fish, but they were still hungry and wanted more. In between, there was one charred fish still standing in between the rocks (Catherine had titled the fish towards them so the fire would not continue to cook it and have it completely burnt).
Both females reached down for the fish… and wound up grasping on the stick. They brought the cooked fish-on-a-stick towards them, and they looked at each other directly in the eye. There they were, staring at each other's eyes like they were preparing each other for a battle. It felt long; it felt tense. Kari and Catherine were no longer blushing nor were they shying away from each other, that was for sure. But, now, what they going to do next? Who was going to make the first move? What they were planning? Furthermore, when was the first motion going to be?
The answers were received merely one minute later, when Catherine smiled kindly and let go of the stick. "Here, Kari, you can have the fish," she said sweetly.
Kari was certainly not expecting that. Catherine… gave up the fish? Catherine gave it to her? Kari did not know what to say, except one – make that two – words. "Thanks, Catherine," she responded softly.
Catherine shook her head graciously. "You don't have to, Kari," she said. "But… you're welcome, anyway."
Kari's smile became larger as she nodded her head, letting Catherine know that she took what she said whole-heartedly. Afterwards, she moved her fish towards her mouth.
However, they were both interrupted by a vocal sigh from the crowd. They gasped out of surprise upon hearing it, looked up, and noticed everyone (the baby Digimon, Mimi, Michael, even Elecmon) gawking at them.
"What?" Kari and Catherine asked innocently.
That broke the awkward stare-down as the crowd returned to eating their fish.
Once they were minding their own businesses, both Kari and Catherine looked at each other again. This time, neither of them was shying away. Instead, they chuckled softly, their happy faces standing out in front of them. Afterwards, Kari turned to her fish and started eating it with her left hand.
Catherine smiled even more as she watched Kari gently nibbling on the side of the fish. There, she could think about things. "I must say, Kari looks extremely cute taking small bites out of that fish," she thought. "In fact, she looks cute altogether. Not only on the outside, but from the inside, too. Her personality's very warn and welcome to anyone. That's what I like about her. In fact… that's what I love about her." She would have made a gasp if she did not open her mouth.
Yes, she finally realized it. Catherine had finally realized how she felt about Kari. When she looked down and gently held Kari's unused right hand, she admitted it, although it was not said aloud. "I love you, Kari."
Upon feeling Catherine's soft hand, Kari felt like she was in Heaven.
The supper lasted for about 45 minutes, and one by one, the baby Digimon became stuffed from eating all that fish. They felt very tired and were in dire need of sleep. However, they were fighting it off as much as they could; they did not want to miss saying "good-bye" to their visitors and babysitters for today.
Elecmon was the first to finish eating, and he walked around to stretch out his stubby limbs. Sitting this long was hard on the legs. "Maybe, I should exercise more in the near future," he thought.
Following a few baby Digimon, Mimi and Michael were the next batch to finish eating. They got up, as well, and they stretched to allow the blood to circulate through their legs. It was definitely a great meal, and it sure made up from not eating earlier that day.
Catherine and Kari were the last to finish their supper. They dusted themselves off and stood up. Their dinner together was very memorable, in their opinions. They were no longer shy, and they were looking at each other again. When they looked down, they realized that they were still holding hands from several minutes… but they made no motion of letting each other go. In fact, it was like they did not want to release each other's grip; and they were sure not going to let go anytime soon. Sometimes, a small incident such as grabbing a fish could break someone out from being bashful, could it?
Once everyone had finished eating and moved away from the fire ring, Elecmon grabbed an already full bucket of water and extinguished the flames by dumping the water on the fire. After making sure the blaze was completely out, everyone walked towards the main entrance of the Primary Village, which was located near the level crossing.
"We had a very wonderful time visiting you today, Elecmon," said Mimi to the caretaker. "I want to thank you for allowing both Michael and me to come over and take care of the babies today."
"It was a very huge pleasure," grinned Elecmon, and the infants cheered in agreement.
Elecmon then turned to Kari and Catherine, who were still holding hands. "I'm more than sure that both of you had a great time, too."
"We definitely did," smiled Kari.
Catherine nodded in agreement. "We had a wonderful time," she said, stressing it out realistically. "Is it okay if we can all come back some other time?"
"Of course," replied Elecmon with a huge grin. "And I believe my babies would love to see all of you, too."
The baby Digimon cheered happily in reply.
Kari chuckled as a result of the babies' actions. "They may be full, but they still have fire in them."
The young Digimon laughed.
"I'm really glad to help you, Elecmon," said Michael. "I had a lot of fun, too."
"I'm very glad to hear it," grinned Elecmon,
"I'm sure you are," remarked Michael kindly and turned to Mimi. "Now, I think it's time for us to return to the DigiPort. We have to get back home, then go the Koromon Village and pick up our partners up."
"Oh, of course," said Elecmon. "C'mon, I'll show you two to your DigiPort." He walked past both Mimi and Michael and walked ahead.
"We're right behind you!" called Michael, as he, Mimi, and the babies followed the caretaker.
As they all faded into the distance, everyone waved at both Kari and Catherine and shouted "good-bye" and "I hope to see you two again!" many times.
"BYE!" Kari and Catherine both called back, and the crowd disappeared into the background.
Once the excitement died down, Catherine looked up at the sky, which was starting to become golden. "If we can walk quick enough, we can watch the sun set at Dragon Eye Lake," she said and turned to Kari. "That is, if you don't mind."
"Not at all," replied Kari, and they started walking towards the level crossing in the distance; and all the while, they were still holding hands.
As they made their brisk walk, they were back to their usual gossips from earlier. They had talked about what had happened during recent events, particularly school, homework, and even the long-awaited vacation that Kari yearned for. That talk resulted in a lot of laughing, not to mention a joke or two regarding their school schedules and assignments.
The next subject they talked about was, of all else, Kari's babysitting abilities. The two were in a little bit of a friendly arguing regarding how Kari babysat the Digimon today, and they talked about it as they walked into the forest.
"You said that you might've needed training?" said Catherine. "You handled them like a professional. I'm surprised why you said that."
"But I still don't trust myself regarding it," Kari told her back. "And I've slipped up a few times today."
"Don't worry about it," reasoned Catherine. "When you noticed something, you were right on it. I think it's just that you were not so confident when baby-sitting. Just trust in yourself, believe that you can baby-sit the babies." She smiled kindly. "I must say you did a very good job today."
Kari smiled shyly from Catherine's compliment. "Thanks; it made me feel better."
"You're welcome," said Catherine with a smile, and the topic ended right there.
Afterwards, they did nothing except look at the trees and admire the forest's beauty. So many trees and flowers stood out around them, and they could not help but love the beauty of the wildlife. It felt very tranquil, but alive. It was definitely the perfect spot to walk in whenever the time was right.
Their timing when it came to walking quickly paid off, because they arrived at Dragon Eye Lake in about twenty minutes, about half the time than it took them to walk from the lake to the nursery earlier today.
They decided to walk to the right and stand under a canopy of the trees while watching the sunset. The sky was red-orange, and the bottom half of the sun had already disappeared below the horizon.
"This is a very nice place to watch the sun go down, isn't it?" sighed Kari.
"Oui, it really is," replied Catherine with a smile. "I rarely see this back home."
Kari looked at her. "You do?"
"Mm-hmm," nodded Catherine. "Sometimes, I'm either so busy doing errands or finishing my homework that I don't have that much time to watch the sunset." She sighed again. "It's always refreshing watching the sun setting like this."
"I agree," agreed Kari and sighed, as well. Then, as if she wanted to do this, she placed her head on Catherine's left shoulder.
Catherine noticed this, but instead of shooing Kari off her, she smiled and let her right hand gently touch Kari's hair. "You love this place, don't you?"
"It really is," Kari replied with a content smile. "This place is really lovely. And with us all together, it makes the situation even more beautiful."
Catherine beamed. "I'm glad you think of that, Kari," she said kindly, "because I agree with everything you say."
Kari took her head off Catherine's shoulder and looked at her face. "You agree with everything?"
Catherine looked at Kari and nodded. "Everything. Because that's how I've been feeling about you for a while."
"Mm-hmm," nodded Catherine. "Since the middle of our visit at Primary Village, I started to fall in love with somebody. I wasn't sure who it was at the time, so I ignored it. Then, I started blushing whenever I faced you, and I avoided you. I became even more confused afterwards, because I wasn't so sure who I as in love with. Then, when I heard gossiping from Mimi and Michael that I was in love with you, I became even more stunned. I didn't think that was possible. Then, when I gave you the fish and held your hand, I started to realize that this was no trick in my mind. I realized that what these emotions were in my head were all true.
"In other words, what I'm trying to say is that…" she sighed and admitted it, "…I'm in love with you, Kari."
Kari's eyes widened, looking like dinner plates. Catherine had said it; she indeed loved her. "I-I-I'm stunned," she stammered. "I-I didn't know that."
"No," said Kari, shaking her head. "I did not know, either, until I heard the gossiping, too."
She began her tale. "I started falling for someone earlier today, too. I was not sure, and I thought it was a phase. Then, I saw images of me and another person kissing each other. When the images became clearer, I became shocked. I thought they weren't true, so I relaxed by the brook to do some thinking. It turned out I was falling in love with someone. I didn't know if it was true, until Mimi and Michael started gossiping. As time went by, I realized that what my mind was showing me was true, that I was in love with someone. And that person I fell in love with…" she played with one of Catherine's locks of blonde hair, "…is you."
Catherine gasped, too. Now, she realized that Kari was in love with her. There was no more actual speculation. Everything had tied together; it all made sense.
"I'm happy to hear that, Kari," said Catherine gently. "I'm glad that you're in love with me."
"And I'm glad that you're in love with me," said Kari calmly, still playing with Catherine's hair.
Both of them then stared at each other with glossy, affectionate eyes – eyes that were filled with love and passion. They could sense a deep affection for one another, and the environment felt and looked even more beautiful as a result.
Catherine then stopped touching Kari's brown hair and caressed her left cheek instead. At the same time, Kari continued to play with Catherine's blonde hair. Their romantic actions made them feel cozy, soft, and safe.
"I love you, Kari."
"I love you, too, Catherine."
They closed their eyes and kissed each other on the lips. Their muscles tensed, their breathing skipped a beat, and their bodies tingled. Their bodies felt very warm and cozy, particularly in the heart. They soon started to relax and subsequently let the tingling sensation travel through their bodies. Then, they embraced each other lovingly, feeling very safe and very comfortable. It all felt everlasting.
Afterwards, they pulled their lips away and stared at each other's eyes while they embraced. They smiled warmly and embraced each other even more. Then, they pulled each other again as they kissed once more. Their muscles were more relaxed than the previous kiss. The kiss felt even warmer and even sweeter, and they felt even more comfortable than ever before.
Finally, they pulled away once again, and they looked at each other one more time.
"I'm more than certain that we'll see each other very soon," said Catherine quietly.
"Sooner than you may think," replied Kari and kissed Catherine on the nose.
They stopped hugging, and they both walked in opposite directions towards their respective DigiPorts.
It would be about a half-hour before Catherine found her DigiPort, which was located deep in the forest. She then traveled through the portal, and she arrived back in her room moments later.
The room was similar to a lobby. It was about fifty feet in length, thirty feet in width, and twenty feet in height, her floor containing marble tiles. White paint covered the walls, the corners of the ceiling blanketed with darkness. A crystal chandelier hung in the center of the room, a rectangular prism dancing in the dim light. Ten light sockets sparked feint luminosity as it slowly swayed, its support hung from a strong steel chain and platform. Behind her was the computer that sat on a small computer desk, the printer and paper located in various cupboards below it and her computer chair beside it. The left of her was the door to the hallway, camouflaged in the darkness. On the left was a mahogany dresser. There were five columns, each split into three sections of drawers. Jewelry sat on the countertop, and a wide-screen television was suspended above it. Opposite it was a king-size bed with a fancy headboard on the wall, and the mattress and pillows were covered with a dark red quilt. Finally, a five-foot wall-to-wall window with a crimson drapery was located at the far end of the room.
Yawning, Catherine was getting minutely tired with the dim light, and she walked to the desk beside her bed, where there was a lightswitch. With her right hand, she touched it and turned it counterclockwise. The lights slowly lit even brighter, and soon the room was about as bright as a clear mid-afternoon day.
"Ah, it's great to be home," she sighed and yawned while covering her mouth with her right hand. She then took off her shoes and flopped onto the bed. The bed felt really cozy for a body as exhausting as hers. Traveling to the Digital World really tired her, especially since she had to walk to the Primary Village and aid her friends in feeding the stubborn Baby-level Digimon. Through this painstaking job, her body took its toll: Her sides ached (and not because of her tumble earlier today), her legs were stiff, and her mind was thinking "Let your body relax for the rest of the night."
On the other hand, as tiring as her agenda was, she felt it was worth it. She felt she did the right thing in helping her friends and Elecmon nurture the babies. After all, she loved to see young children grow up and become strong and caring like she was. Sure, their personalities would differ somewhat, but she she hoped it would come close to what she considered it to be.
But something else crept into her mind, and she decided to take care of the matter at once before she could be nagged about it. As a result, she rolled off the bed and trodded up to the window. With a glance to her right, she noticed the big pulley. With all her strength, she pulled the pulley down and opened the big blinds that covered her window.
A loud cry of surprise followed as the bright sunlight hit her eyes,
and she she shielded her vision with her left hand. Even with the now
bright bedroom, it still felt too bright for her, and she had a guess
as to why, too. "I must've got so stuck with watching the
sunset and feeling the aftereffects of Kari's kiss that I forgot it's still morning here," she thought after her eyesight got used to the brilliant sun.
The kiss… She could not stop thinking about it, nor could she stop thinking about it. Catherine still felt very internally warm after kissing her, and her mind was swirling with the memory of her and her love sealing their commitment and love not so long ago. This sensation was not going to disappear anytime soon. It was definitely a moment she was never going to forget.
However, as ironic as this blissful even was, she sighed sadly. No way could she be missing her already! Apparently, the curse of receiving her first kiss took over.
"I hope that I see her again," she thought before recalling what Kari said before parting ways. "No, I definitely remember her saying that we'll be seeing each other very soon. I wonder what she meant by that…"
She decided to think about it as she walked to her dresser, where she noticed her D-Terminal sitting on the countertop and underneath the television. Now, she found it! But it was over; it was found, and she quickly became curious. She grabbed it, walked to her bedside, and relaxed on the quilt-covered bed once more.
"I wonder what e-mail I have," Catherine said to herself as she opened up the flap. In her inbox was one new message, and it came from the Punimon village, according to the address bar.She selected it and read the e-mail. It was from Floramon, and on it said that she was going to be staying in the Digital World for three more days. That was if Catherine did not mind.
"Not at all," thought the French DigiDestined with a chuckle, but wondered how Floramon was able to write the e-mail to her from an area that did not have computers. She was definitely going to have to ask her soon.
Then, as she was about to close the flap, the screen flashed, and the device buzzed softly.
Catherine noticed this and looked at the inbox with a confused look on her face. "Hmm, this is odd," she thought aloud. It also came from an address she did not recognize. It could be spam, but a hypothesis regarding the e-mail address made her want to click on the message.
"I wonder who it is," she thought curiously, and she opened the e-mail. What she read was a surprise:
I really wanted to say that I had a very wonderful time being with you today. I really enjoyed it spending my time with you at the Primary Village. I will never forget it, and I really thank you for that. You helped make today one of the best days of my life, and I give all the credit to you. I mean that completely, and I thank you for that.
I think you remember that I said that we will see each other again real soon. Well, I know a very good French restaurant in the Continent of Server that we could go to. So, is it okay if we can go on a date at around 7 PM Tokyo Time tomorrow?
I love to hear from you soon. Once again, thank you for a wonderful time today. I love you, Catherine.
Love, hugs, and kisses from: Kari
Catherine gasped after reading Kari's message. It made her feel warmed and loved. She really loved what Kari's message – it made her feel extremely happy, so happy she could cry.
But she quickly calmed down and regained her control. Afterwards, she clicked the "reply" button and wrote Kari her message. It went as followed:
First off, I like to say I'm extremely happy to receive your compliments. I really enjoyed your message, and I thank you for what you wrote! I really appreciated everything that you wrote! And I would LOVE to go on a date with you tomorrow at 7 PM Tokyo Time!
I can't wait to see you again, and I love you, too, Kari.
Love: Catherine Yager
She hit the "send message" option, and the e-mail was sent to Kari's inbox.
The date was on.