What are Friends For?



Chapter 1: The Favor



It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. Everything was as it should be; absolutely nothing was out of place. It was calm, peaceful … and all around boring. When a person is usually out fighting monsters and trying to save two worlds at once, normal life just seems so … blah. It wasn't that Kari didn't enjoy the little break, she actually was happy the digidestined were taking the day off. It was just that there was nothing to do.

Everyone else was busy with something; Yolei was watching her parent's store, Cody was practicing kendo, Davis was doing something with soccer (he hadn't been to clear when he told Kari what he would be doing today), T.K. was helping an older woman move out of her apartment, and all the other older kids were doing something as well.

Kari just didn't have any plans and her parents had gone out so she was left alone in the house. She lay on her bed staring up at nothing at all. Next to her, Gatomon had decided to take a catnap and had been sleeping soundly for quite some time. Just as Kari was about to try calling T.K. to see if he was done helping the older woman, her phone rang. She jumped at the sudden noise and then grabbed for the phone. Thankful that something was happening she picked up the receiver and put it to her ear.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Kari?"

Kari recognized the voice of T.K. and she felt extremely happy that he had decided to call her.

"Hey T.K.! What's up?"

"Not much. I'm glad your home, I wanted to talk to you."

"Well, I haven't been anywhere today, so I'm glad you called me. Did you help that woman move?"

"Yeah, she had a lot of heavy boxes, she was really happy that I could help her. So, Anyway, I wanted to ask a favor of you." Kari paused wondering what the favor was.

"OK, what's the favor?"

"Well, my mom just told me that she needs to go out of town tomorrow and she wants me to go with her, so I'm not going to be in school tomorrow, and I was wondering if you could come over and feed my pet." Kari paused again, Pet? She asked herself. For a minute she thought he was talking about Patamon, but then T.K. quickly added,

"Patamon's coming with me in my backpack. My pet is the one I got today. He was sort of a gift for helping the old lady move out of her apartment."

"Oh, I was wondering what you meant. What kind of pet is it T.K.?"

"Well, it's sort of a… well maybe you should just come over and see it."

"Well Ok, I guess-"

"Oh, and Kari?"

"Yeah?"

"Don't bring Gatomon, OK?"

"Why not?"

"You'll see…"



***T.K's Apartment***



Kari knocked on the door of T.K.'s apartment. There was a brief pause and then T.K. swung open the door, smiling.

"I'm glad you could make it," he said as he opened the door wider for her to step in. Kari nodded and entered the apartment.

"Where's your mom T.K.?" Kari asked noticing he seemed to be the only one there beside a sleeping Patamon on the Living room couch.

"She's at the store," T.K. answered, "come on I'll show you my new pet," T.K. said eagerly grabbing Kari's arm and leading her to his room. When they got in the room, Kari expected to see some animal, like a dog or cat come running over to her. However, when she got in the room, nothing seemed different at all. That is, until she looked over at his desk. There on T.K's desk was a small aquarium. Inside she could see a small fish swimming around. T.K. stood smiling at Kari waiting for some kind of response. When Kari didn't say anything he asked what she thought of it.

"Well, it's really nice T.K., I was just expecting something… bigger," T.K. just shrugged and walked over to the fish tank. Kari followed close behind him.

"The lady I helped moved gave him to me because she couldn't take care of him anymore. She said she was getting too old to have such responsibility and that I seemed like a nice kid, so she just let me have him." Kari took a minute to take this in.

"But, it's just a fish. How can a fish be hard to take care of?"

"That's what I thought, but then she explained it to me," T.K. said reaching over and grabbing a piece of paper with writing on it, "she gave me all the directions right here." T.K. handed the paper to Kari and she took it, but shook her head saying,

"It's just a fish, isn't it?" T.K. shook his head.

" Nope. Charles here is an award winning fancy fish, he's worth a lot." Kari inspected the fish, it was a dark red color and had flowing tails, it didn't seem that special. Then she noticed the ribbons sitting on the table next to the tank, there were dozens of them and they were all blue, with 'First Place!' written on them. Kari looked again at the tank and she noticed something engraved on the rim of the tank.

"Hey T.K., what does this say?" She asked motioning to the aquarium's rim. T.K. looked over her shoulder and said, "Oh, that's his name. Charles Adolphus Maynard the Third." Kari's mouth dropped open, but she quickly stopped and looked at T.K. with a little confusion.

"Charles Adolphus Maynard?"

"Yeah, the Third."

"That's an awful name!"

"No, it's not. He's named after his award winning father, Charles Maynard the Second. I know it's kind of long but-"

"T.K… It sounds ridiculous. Why would you name a fish something like that? Isn't it just going to die soon anyway?" T.K. looked a bit hurt but decided to answer her question.

"No, this fish is over fifteen years old. You just need to take care of it properly."

"Are you saying this fish is older than me?" T.K. nodded, and smiled happily at the fish, "I've just been calling him Charlie, I think he likes that." Kari stared bewildered at him, "T.K., It's just a fish." But he didn't hear her, he was busy tapping the glass and trying to get the thing's attention. Kari had never seen T.K. like this, but then again, T.K. had never had a pet. He seemed so strange; acting like this fish was a person almost. T.K. suddenly looked over at Kari and motioned to the paper in her hand.

"Those are the instructions on feeding him. If you can take care of him while I am gone, it would be a great help, Kari." T.K. looked at her with pleading eyes and Kari, not being able to resist, sighed and agreed to do it. T.K. smiled happily and began explaining to her what needed to be done.

"OK, You'll have to stop by before school and give him breakfast. It's just half a teaspoon of his food. Right after school you need to give him one pinch of vitamin supplement. Then, It would be good to stop over at night and give him a few flakes of his regular food, but not too much or he'll get sick. All the Fish food is up here on this shelf right above his tank."

T.K. Reached up and grabbed a small yellow bottle, "It's all right here. I'm going to give you a key so you can get in the apartment while I'm gone, OK?" Kari nodded, taking in the fact that she was going have the key to T.K.'s apartment, it felt a little weird. T.K. went on and on about his fish and Kari was glad that T.K. trusted her to take care of such a "prized" fish. While T.K. droned on, she inspected the shelf holding the fish's food. The shelf also held many pictures, and some of them were of T.K. and her when they were younger. She was going to ask about them, but T.K. was just going on and on about this Fish and Kari decided she should go.

T.K. was her best friend and all, but, quite frankly, he was beginning to scare her. So she told him she had to go home and he looked upset at first, but soon smiled and thanked her again for taking care of Charles while he went away. He then gave her the key to his apartment and reminded her to come three times a day …blah blah ..etc. Kari didn't hear much else, she just kept saying to herself, I have the spare key to T.K's apartment, I can just come into his home and right into his room, and he trusts me and everything. This is great!

So after a quick good bye she left T.K.'s house, feeling happy because this fish was a big deal to him and he was trusting her to take care of it. She walked down the street smiling carrying the key in her hand.



Chapter 2: The Accident



Kari slipped the key into the door and unlocked it. The door opened with ease and she stepped in. It was Monday morning, the first morning she was using the key and going to feed Charles. T.K. had left really early that same morning and had left a note on his door for her. It read:

Dear Kari,

I didn't feed Charlie this morning before I left; I wanted to let him rest. You can feed him now. Thanks again, you're a great friend.

Love,

T.K.

For a moment Kari dwelled on the fact he had put Love. But soon she dismissed it, thinking, he was just in a hurry and hadn't been paying attention. Kari walked into his room and spotted the Fish tank. Charlie was swimming around like any regular fish and Kari decided to hurry and feed it so she could get to school.

She uncapped the fish food and dropped what she figured was a half a teaspoon full into Charlie's tank. She sat that little bottle down and was about to give him some vitamins when she remembered she wasn't supposed to do that till later. So she sat that bottle down and reached to recap the regular food. However, when she reached toward the shelf for the bottle, she again noticed the pictures. She reached past the open bottle and outlined the picture with her finger. It was a picture of T.K. and Kari the day that they got back from the digital world.

The two young kids looked worn out and they were smiling sleepily at the camera. Kari smiled to herself remembering back to that day. Suddenly, the phone rang. Kari jumped in surprise, she quickly jerked her hand away from the picture, smacking it into the open bottle and sent it toppling over the side of the shelf. Kari stared wide eyed as it twirled, spilling its' contents, and landed with a splash into Charlie's tank. The whole tank clouded with brown fish food and Charles disappeared from sight.

"No! Charlie!" Kari yelled. She stood, with her hands out, not sure to what to do. She looked toward the phone and quickly grabbed it.

"Hello?!" She practically yelled into the phone.

"Hello?" Came a voice. It was T.K.

"T.K.? What- what are you calling here for?" Kari said trying to sound calm.

"I just wanted to see if everything was alright… Is everything alright?" Kari looked at the fish then back toward the phone. Then a crazy idea popped into her head, she could just hang up the phone and tell him it was a bad connection. Instead she just said, "uh… everything's…fi-fine. The fish…. I was just feeding the fish. Um, I have to go to school now, so I'll see you later, bye." She quickly hung up the phone and sighed. She looked back at Charles' home. Man, what am I supposed to do now?



Chapter 3: Charles Adolphus Maynard's Demise



Kari's eyes darted around the room and back to the fish tank. This is very, very, very bad, Kari thought. She stared desperately at the fish bowl, hoping she would be able to see Charles, but I was too cloudy. Kari finally reached over and plucked the bottle of fish food out of the water. Setting the bottle back on the shelf, she noticed the clock on T.K.'s wall. She was going to be late for school if she didn't leave now. She quickly shifted her gaze to the clock and back to the tank, unsure of what to do.

In the middle of her panic, she caught a glimpse of Charles. The fish was gobbling up the food like it hadn't eaten in years. "No, Charles stop!" she yelled into the fish food water. Charles however, being a fish, ignored her and kept right on gorging. Kari put a hand to her forehead; this is so very bad, she thought. What am I supposed to do? How do I even start to clean this up? Ack, I have to go to school. Why me? Kari examined the fish's home, Maybe he'll be fine. I mean, after he gets full, he'll stop eating, right? Right? Right. Yeah, I need to go. Taking one last look at the tank, Kari dashed out of the apartment.



******



School that day had been anything but good. Kari had spent the whole day worrying about the fish. First she would tell herself that 'it was just a fish,' but then she would add, 'but it was T.K.'s fish.' Which was always followed with a 'this is very bad.' After school she told the others that she wouldn't be going to the digiworld, she had something else to take care of first.

Kari had run to T.K.'s apartment as fast as she could. When she got there she was totally out of breath, but that didn't stop her from getting the door open and dashing into T.K.'s room. The first thing she noticed was that the tank had cleared up quite a bit, and she wondered if this was because the fish had eaten all the food. This thought was quickly discarded when she saw the fish. Kari slowly began walking over to the bowl. Please don't let him be dead, PLEASE, she begged to no one in particular. Kari reached the bowl and peered down into the water.

There was Charles... floating upside down and as dead as dead can be. "Noooo…" Kari moaned. "Oh, Noooo…" Kari groaned, putting her hands to her face. She plopped herself down into T.K.'s desk chair, resting her face in her hands. "What am I going to do know?" Kari sighed. As soon as the words had left her mouth, the phone rang. Kari jumped and looked to the phone. She grasped the phone with a shaky hand and put it to her ear.

"Hey Kari!" came the cheerful voice of T.K. Kari however remained silent. "Kari?" T.K.'s voice asked. Kari blinked and snapped back into the real world.

"Hey… T.K…"

"Hi, I was just calling to see how everything is. How's everything?"

"…Fine."

"That's good, how's Charlie?"

"… Fine," Kari mumbled looking at the bowl and the deceased Charles.

"Has he been eating? Did he eat his vitamins?"

"…He ate…"

"That's good. Kari I wanted to thank you, it's really great of you to take care of him while I'm gone, I'm glad I have someone like you to depend on. I wouldn't let anyone else take care of him."

"…T.K…."

"I mean; you're a great friend Kari…"

"…T.K…"

"Anyway, I'll be home tomorrow. Thanks again Kari."

"… It's just … a… fish…"

"I'll see you later, Bye!" And with that, he was gone. Kari wondered if he had heard a word she had tried to say. He was so happy to have such a dependable friend like her; he was just so grateful that he could trust her. Kari's gaze wandered over to the dearly departed fish. Why me?



*****



Kari entered her own apartment, dragging her feet along the carpeted floor. She dropped her backpack on the floor and headed to her room. Unfortunately, Tai was home and he stopped her on her way.

"Hey, Kari… whoa, what's wrong? You look like someone died." Kari froze at this and shook her head.

"I'm… fine," Kari mumbled.

"No you're not. What's going on?"

"I'm just tired, I think I'll go lie down." Just then, the phone rang. Tai gave Kari a worried look, but went to pick up the phone. Kari took the opportunity to escape to her room without any further questioning. When Kari reached the door she heard Tai say, "Oh, Hi T.K., what's up?" Kari quickly spun around and waved her arms at Tai. "Kari? Yeah, she's right…" Tai stopped, noticing Kari waving her arms wildly and mouthing NO over and over again. "… across the street… at a friend's house," Tai finished. Tai then say goodbye to T.K. and gave Kari a concerned look.

"What's going on Kari? Did you two have a fight or something?" Kari hesitated before finally answering, "No… no, nothing like that, nothing like that."

"Then what?" Tai asked. Kari wasn't sure how to explain it, she was just so tired of the whole thing. The more she thought about it, the worst she felt. She had ruined T.K.'s trust in her, whether or not he would still want to be her friend after this was questionable. Kari could feel her eyes well up with tears, but she held them back.

"I killed Charlie…" Kari managed to choke out. At this being finally said, Kari could feel the tears slip out of her eyes, which made her feel awkward, so she became even more upset and the tears began to flow more freely.

"I killed Charles…" she repeated. Tai had become more then just a little confused, but decided to comfort her, rather then question her. He slipped an arm around her shoulders and sat her down on the couch. As soon as she had clamed down, he tilted her face up, and with an encouraging smile, said, "I think you should start over from the beginning."



Chapter 4: The Return



Kari had found it difficult to sleep that night. She was only able to drift off once but was awaken by a dream in which she had watched Charles die all over again. The next day at school, she was only able to think about the dead Charles floating in his bowl. She had left him there, some what hoping that T.K. would think it died all on it's own. But she doubted it, because she remembered she had left the food bottle open. The evidence was there, food bottle open and empty, dead fish… it all said one thing: Kari was a fish murderer.

The worst part was that T.K. had been just so happy, so very happy about this fish. At the end of the day, Kari again excused herself from the digiworld. She told everyone that she wasn't feeling well, and she was pretty sure they didn't believe her, but they let her alone anyway. Gatomon had been worried, but had heard most of the story when Kari told Tai, and she decided not too ask many questions, seeing how it upset her so much.

Once Kari had walked home she said 'Hi' to Gatomon and then went for another walk, telling Tai and her Digimon that she needed some time alone to think. While she was walking along the street lost in her thoughts, she heard a voice calling her. At first, she wasn't sure who it was, but then the voice came again and Kari recognized it.

"Hey Kari!" T.K.'s voice shouted from somewhere behind her. Kari kept moving, no, no, no, no! What do I do? What do I do? No answer came to her, but when T.K. called again, her mind screamed, Ahh! RUN! It was an incredibly stupid thought, but Kari's legs found it to be a good idea, and Kari took off at a run.

She ran as fast as she could for a long time, but she could still hear T.K. calling behind her. Kari ran into a park and found a gravel path, which lead through the park. Kari took the path, but soon found this to be a bad idea, because after two steps, she slipped on the gravel landing on her hands and knees. She felt the sharp little rocks cut into her palms and kneecaps. She drew in a sharp breath of pain and carefully moved into a sitting-up position. Before she could examine her palms, she heard the crunch of gravel under the shoes of T.K.

T.K. walked slowly up to her and kneeled down by her side, out of breath. Once he had stopped desperately gasping for air, he asked Kari if she was ok and then added, "You sure run fast, maybe you should be in track… are you sure you're ok?" Kari looked at her hands, but nodded, to let T.K. know she was fine. A silence came over the two, as a soft wind rustled the trees along the path. Kari examined her palms to see that small pinpoints of blood had begun to form. They were stinging like crazy, but she said nothing about it. T.K. had noticed that she had scraped her palms and, going with his first instinct, as the young boy often did, he leaned over and gently taking one of Kari's hands he inspected the damage himself.

Kari had never felt so awkward in her life and she felt a need to break the silence. T.K. finally shattered the silence between the two.

"So, what happened?" he asked softly.

"I slipped," Kari answered promptly. T.K. furrowed his brow and shook his head.

"No, I mean…what happened?" Kari didn't need him to explain his question; she had always been able to understand T.K. and she knew he had meant what had happened with his fish. However, Kari didn't really know how to explain, even though the answer was staring her right in the face, but how could she bring herself to look into those blue eyes of his and tell him that she had broken his trust and killed his pet.

Kari decided to just tell him straight out, but she made a mistake when she looked up to tell him to his face. Her eyed locked with his and in a moment she saw, not the anger she had expected, but a deep confusion and under all the uncertainty she saw worry… worry for her. This made her feel even worse. He couldn't be mad at her like a normal person, he had to be caring and understanding even if he had been hurt in some way. She could feel her eyes tear up again, shouldn't have looked into his eyes, she thought grimly.

"I-I'm so s-sorry T-T.K." Kari choked out as the tears began traveling down her cheeks. She awkwardly tried to brush the tears off her face with her sore hand, but T.K. beat her to it. He gently wiped the tears from one cheek, but this just caused her to feel worse, she didn't know why he should be so nice to her. Kari's tears quickly turned to sobs and she let herself fall forward into her best friend's arms.

Sobbing on his shoulder, she repeated over and over again how sorry she was and that he had every right to be mad at her. She choked out the whole story of Charles Adolphus Maynard the Third's departure from this world. For a long time after, Kari continued saying how sorry she was, and how he had every right in the world to not want to speak to her again.

When she finally was worn out from apologizing, and she had calmed down quite a bit, T.K. gently pushed her away from him and looked into her eyes. The funny thing was, he was smiling worriedly at her.

"Kari, the thing is…I'm really not mad at you," T.K. said with a sigh. Kari was shocked at this, and she guessed her face showed it, because T.K.'s smile grew.

"I will admit I was upset at first, but never really mad. I didn't think you had killed my fish on purpose. And When I called over to your house and Tai said that you had gone out walking and hadn't come back yet, I was actually worried about you."

"Really?" Kari asked in disbelief. T.K. nodded.

"I know you're sorry about the fish, and I'm sorry for making a big deal out of it."

"Why should you be sorry? I'm the one that messed up," Kari cut in. T.K. shook his head.

"I never should have acted like that fish was so important that you would think our friendship was at stake." T.K. smiled, brushing the remains of Kari's tears away, "You're my best friend Kari, nothing will ever change that, and besides, it was just a fish."



THE END



A/N: Well, that's it that's all. Hope you enjoyed it. I had a real fun time writing it. I don't plan on writing any more Digimon stories, I just had this idea for this story and had to write it. Well, I'm going back to Pokemon stories, please read and review. PLEASE, I love reviews. Also I do not own Digimon… duh. Thanks for reading.