Author's Note: Hmm. Here's another helping of Side Stories. o.o

This time, we focus on Cody…and, in particular his acquiring of the Digiegg of Reliability. Personally, that segment seemed a little too forced back then…so here's something to try and elaborate further on it.

Now…

Begin!

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Chapter 11: Fragile Body, Steady Reliability

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/TIME: DURING REVISION/

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Cody Hida had always been living up to the expectations of his father and grandfather.

His father had been a policeman, an officer of the law. His grandfather was a Kendo master, a – in all practicality – sage of life and discipline. Those two had formed the backbone of Cody's entire moral philosophy, not to mention his lifestyle. Every facet of the way he acted, thought, and behaved had been forged from their influences.

His father's death had only solidified his mannerisms. Hiroki Hida had died in the line of duty, doing what was right. He had protected his charge with his body, taking an assassin's bullet. In the face of a killer, Hiroki had surrendered his life in the pursuit of justice. It had steeled Cody's resolve to live honorably. To live a life of justice. To do right by both his father and grandfather. As a necessity, he had matured significantly. Otherwise, the pain and anguish he had felt would have overwhelmed him. And besides; he promised to never cry again. It was a promise to his father, to be strong for those he cared for. He couldn't show weakness…weakness, in body, sure. But weakness in mind, or spirit? Never.

One more factor in his quick maturity was his mother: Anna Hida. She had been devastated by the death of her husband, and now she was only a widowed mother. All she had left now were her son and father-in-law; they would both have to be strong for her. She would undoubtedly feel pressured to make sure Cody was well provided for; behaving responsibly was the least that Cody could do to make things easier.

Sure, Cody was well aware of how odd his maturity must have seemed to his fellows at school.

'Dude, you should lighten up.'

He never did manage to keep count of how many times he had heard that.

True, he did have his friends. He had only met Yolei due to the fact that he needed someone to repair his computer, and she happened to live in the same apartment complex. It was through her that he had met Izzy, then eventually Kari and Davis. As far as friends were concerned, he had few; but that was fine by him. They may have been astonished by the idea that such a little guy could be so serious, but he didn't care (that's not to say that he didn't want them to take him seriously). In any case, despite his newfound friends, he still lived up to the expectations of his father and grandfather…or, to be more precise, the code they had followed all their lives.

Then TK came along, on the very day that everything changed.

The D-3s. The Digital World. The Digimon Emperor.

It was almost overwhelming. He tried his hardest not to show it, but it really was. Another responsibility thrust onto his shoulders: protect an alien world from a tyrant. He was just a nine-year old kid! Why in the world was he getting involved with all of this? He had enough on his plate already.

But he eventually settled, relatively quickly. Armadillomon was a lovely friend, and the advice of the older Digidestined helped ease him into his new role. The presence of Shaun and his own partner (Agumon) helped as well; since Shaun never left the Digital World, he would be able to keep the Emperor off balance.

Then Ken 'The Rocket' Ichijouji was revealed to be the Emperor. Then Ken moved to the Digital World full-time, escalating their battles to a full-scale war.

That had thrown Cody for another loop. The Emperor had already tried to exploit them earlier, by trying to turn them against Shaun. Now he was going on a full-tilt offensive against the entirety of the Digital World. Why? Why? It was almost too much to bear, that a human could be so vicious. Could he be depended upon to face such a threat? He was fully aware of his limitations…both physical and mental (the former's limits being far more severe). It would be tough, but he'd soldier on. It was hard to be so mature, so young…to handle so much with such humility and silence. But he'd been a dependable guy. He could be relied upon to be a voice of reason, to be someone who could do the right thing. Despite his limitations – and his own worries about those limitations – he had proved to be quite reliable

Then…there was the incident.

The Emperor's First Base. They were being hunted by both the Terminator Units and an artificial Digimon called Alienmon. Cody and Armadillomon had been trapped in a hangar as water was rushing in.

The cold ocean water, swarming all around him.

He was going to die.

That one instant – that one realization – had slammed into him like a sledgehammer. He was just a nine-year old kid…why was this happening? Why he was going to drown at the bottom of the ocean in some madman's base?! WHY?! All of his doubts and insecurities – long suppressed by his stern, strict mentality – bubbled to the surface, consuming him with fear and dread. He just wanted to be reliable to his friends…just like he was to both his mother and grandfather. He wanted to make them proud! He wanted to be strong for them! SO WHY COULDN'T HE?!?!

How fortunate for his grandfather's teachings. How fortunate for the reassuring words of his partner.

Cody had been able to regain his cool. He knew that he had to make it out of this situation alive.

Because people were relying on him.

In the end, he had survived. The Digiegg of Reliability, found in the surging waters, enabled him to escape via Submarimon. He lived to fight another day. Despite all the pressures of being a Digidestined, he still lived according to his philosophy. It was why it had taken so long for him to forgive Ken, or even give him a second chance after the Digimon Emperor had fallen: Ken had committed many crimes. He deserved justice. Even so, the Child of Kindness had sought to repay them for his sins in the form of help, assistance, and a comrade-in-arms.

How fitting that he had obtained the Crest of Humility. Putting aside his misgivings about Ken, putting his trust in him? That had been unfathomably hard, for one who lived a life so bound to honor and virtuous duty.

It wasn't easy, acting so old and mature, but it was something that came naturally to him. Not that he didn't enjoy having fun (well, what his older friends termed as 'fun'), but he never forgot the core of what drove him. His philosophy, born from his father and grandfather's teachings.

Perhaps that was why TK was his DNA partner. TK, as the most experienced member of the New Digidestined, had a unique responsibility of his own: to provide the background and leadership needed for his fellows, to be a guide in troubled times when the newer 'recruits' (so to speak) couldn't figure out where to go next. That, and TK had his own family troubles to deal with. Responsibility, responsibility, and more responsibility. They had similar problems, come to think about it.

In any case…

Cody Hida, even following the death of his grandfather at the hands of the Gravemon, could not allow himself to cry. He did cry…but he quickly halted his tears, as if ordering them to cease and desist before they could overwhelm him. He had promised not to cry. He had promised to be strong for his mother, for those he cared for. In a way, he promised to be reliable.

He had been reliable for so long.

It was so, so hard.

But he would soldier on nonetheless.

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Author's Note: And now, I offer you one quick drabble. Try and guess who it is.

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Chapter 10.5: Apology

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/TIME: BEFORE REVISION/

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I should apologize.

He frowned as he walked down the sidewalk, eyes gazing up into the sky. It wasn't really his fault. It was stupid…he knew the material. He knew he was ready. But the STRESS! It was just overwhelming. All of Tokyo – nay, all of JAPAN – would be watching from afar. If he messed up, the results would be on the news all over, and he'd be mocked. It would betray the status he had earned.

Stupid.

Grumbling, he briefly thought about his parents. Thinking about them and what they had encouraged with their self-congratulatory and adulatory behavior…what fools. MORONS! It wasn't like he asked for these gifts.

Hmph…why should I apologize?

He had yelled at his little brother. His little brother had yelled back. Cue a shouting match, and the slamming of a door.

It wasn't right.

None of it should have happened. It was stress, pure and simple. And the little tyke had done a good job, doing all that he could to be recognized by their simpleton parents.

He would've gladly done away with all of the recognition that the world lauded upon him, if it meant that he'd have a normal family.

Eyes came down to the concrete as he began crossing the road, a small smile on his face. I really should apologize…we don't even have that much to be angry at each other for anyway. His smile grew wider. Yep. I'll tell him I'm sorry for saying all of that mean stuff. And maybe I'll even give him some pointers on how to solve problems. No biggie!

Then a gray Hyundai car rammed into his side.

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Sam Ichijouji never got to apologize to his little brother.

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To be continued…

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Author's Notes: Been reading back through Revision recently. The curse of a maturing writing style means that looking back at old works means you see things that could've gone there that…well, didn't (at least with regards to the Cody drabble). I can see thought processes and ideas where they should be, but aren't.

Thankfully, there's Side Stories.

Short of a full-fledged rewrite of earlier episodes (which I simply do NOT have the time to do), this will be my way of further elaborating on earlier works.

Toodles.

See you soon, and please review!