Title: The Lion, The Lamb, and The Wolves
Rating: PG (for slight profanity)
Genre: General/Drama (maybe subtle romance? A bit?)
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, nor any of the named characters in this fanfic. No infringement intended.
Description: Mimi Tachikawa—Odaiba Princess, Gekomon Princess, Miss Popular and Pretty in Pink, whatever you want to call her. She's just moved from Japan to New York, and the culture shock is having a hard time wearing off. Living in America isn't quite anything like she expected.
Author's Note: I think this is the first story I've put up here in maybe a year or two. Makes me a bit nervous, but in a good way! I'm excited to know that people could read this and (maybe? Just a bit?) like it. Before you read, I just want to apologize for two things: if it gets a bit dark/whiny... I figure that it's Mimi, so it was a little bit in-character... but, never fear! The whole entire story is not just her whining, I promise. There is a light beyond the darkness. :) And, secondly, I apologize if there are tense changes. My beta and I read this over several times and we caught as many of them as we could. If you find any, please tell me so that I can correct it! Thank you and enjoy.
The Lion, The Lamb, and The Wolves
It took me a while to adjust to life in New York. Going from Japan to America was strange (you know, going from one part of the planet to practically the opposite side is always going to be a little strange)—but my parents wanted to run away from the things I wanted to run toward; they were afraid, and maybe in some small way, I was, too. Just in a small way. So, I agreed to go with them without a peep.
Often times, I'd think about my friends—I would wonder what Shimi was doing at that moment, or if Tenko missed me, or if Yuki was holding a party this weekend. I loved to party, and I loved my friends, even the non-Destined ones. Maybe even especially the non-Destined ones, since they were the ones I spent most of my time with, who opened up to me, who I opened up to. They were the very definition of normality, which by this point I was lacking. Then again, I didn't get to know the real them like I got to know the real Destined. I didn't know who I truly missed most.
Yes, I thought about the Destined especially. I missed Taichi's horrible hairdo, Sora's inability to be a girl for even a second; I missed the sound of Yamato's harmonica and Koushiro's big words that I, half of the time, didn't even understand; I wanted to see Jou spaz about my sprained ankles or see Takeru's innocent smile; I wanted to watch Hikari grow into the lady I knew she'd be, so that there'd be at least one girly Destined for me to bond better with. I guess Sora turned out a bit girly in the end, and I loved her like a sister nonetheless (tomboy or not), but it wouldn't be the same as talking to a pink-loving lady.
Above all, I wanted to talk to Palmon. I couldn't, though—she was in the Digital World, probably having the time of her life, and I hadn't seen her in years. The ache of my heart and the ache of my bones—the sting of my eyes—because I wanted to see her never went away, though. Odaiba was the only—only—link I had left to her, and in there were people that brought even a fraction of the warmth I felt with her around.
The Destined brought her memory back to me and I loved her memory, even if I couldn't see her again. Aside from that, the Destined and I shared something other than our past: we shared the desire to see our partners again, and the many sad days when we thought we never would see them again. Odaiba was my home, my one last link with the abnormality I wanted, yet at the same time, loathed. We had a slightly dysfunctional relationship, me and reality.
How could I explain that to my parents? How could I explain the bonds I didn't want to lose—the bonds I couldn't lose? I'm such an airhead, you know? They probably wouldn't understand how serious I was about it, anyway, since we're a family of airheads. Don't get me wrong—I love my parents. Love them almost as much as I love myself. But sometimes they just don't understand, or at least that's how I feel. They probably do, and I'm sure that just about every other teenager says that at least one time in their life. Even if teens think their parents don't understand, half the time they do. However, I really had to question the merit of my argument.
They wouldn't take me seriously. I knew it. That's why I couldn't explain to them that I needed the other Destined just about as much as I needed air. Regardless, I moved away from my friends, from the Destined, from the bonds that tied me to Palmon, from the home I'd known my whole life. I love to travel, but I wouldn't like to live where I travel.
So, I moved to New York. Thought it'd be a blast once I settled down and got into school. Everyone would just die for my hair, I'd become homecoming queen with a stud on my arm, and everything would be almost right with the world. I knew I'd never get rid of the ache and the pain, but hopefully, over time, it'd lessen with the new clothes I'd buy, the new friends I met, and my newfound popularity.
For a girl who loved normality when she could reach it, I was surely not living in it. School started and I sat in homeroom, chin up, happy-looking, glad to be there. Then I heard whispers; whispers behind my back, and that was new to me, you know? I was used to being the whisperer. Not that I was big on spreading rumors (especially after my adventures with the other Destined and discovering my Crest of Sincerity), but sometimes I was weak. I guess it was karma—and I don't think, after this, I'd ever spread another rumor again.
"Who is that girl?" a girl with dazzling blue eyes had said.
"She's new," said another girl, this one with brunette hair and brown eyes. "
Looks kind of funny, doesn't she?"
"What kind of fashion sense is that?"
"I heard she came all the way from Japan."
"Ha—you're serious? I wonder if she's into that anime crap."
Americans were strange creatures. "Anime crap"? I'd grown out of anime by then, but still, I had a lot of warm memories that came from anime. Certain anime was like Looney Tunes or Mighty Max or Gargoyles to me. But I wasn't too offended by it—it's not like it was that big of a deal. I thought a lot of American culture was weird, too, like their foods, their entertainment, meals (or lack thereof), fashion, et cetera.
Nonetheless, I managed to pick up the pieces of my poor shattered ego (and such a big ego I had! So many pieces!) and attempt to make friends with the girls who'd made fun of me. After all, they seemed like the kind of girls I hung out with in Japan —popular, pretty, a different boyfriend every week. I wasn't always quite like my friends in Japan, but I was still part of their clique, and I made just about as many friends as any of them. But this was different. This was a completely different culture.
When I introduced myself and tried to make with the nice, I heard other things whispered in the hallways—
"Oh wow. Did you hear the new girl?"
New girl? I'm Mimi Tachikawa. Don't call me "new girl"—I have a name.
"I can't understand what the heck she's trying to say."
"She speak engrish, ha!"
"Engrish"? What the hell was that? I spoke engLish, thank you! ...Or maybe not. I wasn't quite as accustomed to the english language as I thought. As good as I thought I was at speaking their language, there was always someone correcting me, always someone giggling at it, always this and that and this and that. I wasn't used to it. I was MIMI TACHIKAWA, dammit! I was a star! I was a princess! I was the Odaiba Princess! People loved me and loved my fashion-sense, and they would kill to be me! Gekomon and Otamamon would bow down and call me "Princess Mimi" every time they saw me, what made them think I was anything else but a beauty queen?!
I wasn't as perfect as I thought I was. Granted, I learned a lot of things about myself in the Digital World, and I changed for the better, but there was nothing like this. Ever. I'd never had people judge me like this. Yeah, in Japan, naturally there were haters, but those people were just jealous or, to sound less conceited, weren't into my personality. They went their way and I went mine. I didn't try to convince them that I was cool, and they didn't try to convince me that I was a horrible monster. I didn't care about their opinions because they didn't matter to me—just as my opinion didn't matter to them.
Here, where I had no friends, no security blanket, no Destined to bring back the warm memories of my partner, I was alone. Here, I was "different"—I was "abnormal". No one had ever called me abnormal before. No one! Granted, I lived an abnormal life, but I hid it away like a dirty little secret. I had to so that the men in white wouldn't chase me with a straitjacket.
I, Mimi Tachikawa, Odaiba Princess, beauty queen, most popular girl in several cities, was weird. Whoa. That might not sound strange to you, and I might sound like I'm whining, but that was a huge change for me. I was a perfect role model one day, and a scumbag the next. People pretended to know me and dislike me personally just so that they had an excuse as to why the teacher couldn't pair them up with me (we wouldn't work well together); people moved—no, ran—away in the hallway when I tried to speak to them; people were spreading nasty rumors that weren't even near the truth all over school.
It hurt really bad, you know? To be disliked so vehemently... to have even people considered "lower on the social ladder" flee the scene when I was around made me feel like I'd just had my heart wrenched out. I would've been glad to make friends with them, regardless of what social status they had, just so long as they didn't run away. But they did. Mostly everyone did.
Never before had I wanted to see Palmon so bad. To know that I had one friend in the world who remembered me just as well as I remembered her. I wanted the Destined. I wanted my friends in Japan. I wanted so much.
Eventually, I hadn't seen the Destined in such a long time that their faces began to blur in my mind—and if their faces blurred, so had Palmon's. I never thought that'd happen, but it did. I stayed up many nights just wondering how the hell I could forget such an important detail like that. How could I forget her wide smile, her big eyes? How could I forget that the flower atop her head was a certain, vibrant shade of pink, not merely "pink"? I used to know every color by heart, and I knew all of Palmon's colors by heart, too.
The world didn't need saving. I needed saving. But that was me, just plain, pitiful me, and the fates wouldn't be kind to me like that.
And that's when I began to wonder—why did these Americans hate me so bad? I saw other exchange students (all the way from China, Japan, Afghanistan, India, Britain, yadda, yadda, yadda) that sat at the "cool table" everyday. I tried to talk to one of the Japanese kids one time, thinking we had at least one thing in common (we both even spoke "engrish"!), but she ran away, too. She didn't even sit at the cool table. She sat at the average table, where people who weren't popular but not unpopular sat. And she—she glared at me and ran.
Who did these people think they were? Martha freakin' Stuart? Guess what, people! Even Martha isn't perfect! Or maybe they thought they were Rachael Ray. Well guess what! They weren't! They weren't ANY better than me, just as I wasn't any better than them!
Why did they hate me?
Why was I treated like I wasn't even human, even though I was no different than any other kid who grew up in a different country?
Then it hit me.
I was a Destined. I was a Destined, and that was something so powerful, so divine, so "abnormal" that any who met me could almost feel—smell—taste how different I was from them. I both frightened and amazed people with just a glance. No one in Japan really noticed it as much because I grew up there. People already knew me, even before I became a Destined—and by the time I was chosen, I was so popular that it didn't matter. People wanted to be my friend just so that they could get a taste of what I had, even if they could sense that something about me was off. People ignored it.
But here, I didn't know anyone. I had an aura about me that they didn't even realize I had, they could just feel it when I was by. They could sense it, too, just as people in Japan could, but they didn't have any past to go by—they could judge me because they didn't know me, because I hadn't grown up there, because I wasn't popular there. They didn't know what was off about me, but they knew that there was something there that wasn't right, and they went with instinct. I was bad, I was evil, I was stupid and icky and abnormal.
It didn't matter that I adjusted to the American lifestyle and started to follow their fashions. It didn't matter that I had the best, prettiest hair out of anyone in my whole school. It didn't matter that I was new, starting fresh, and a lonely girl growing up in a new world she didn't understand. It didn't matter that I needed a friend more than anything.
I was different. Weird. Abnormal. I was a Destined, and my destiny was to save both worlds. Because of that destiny, in the social department, I was screwed.
I accepted this truth because, in reality, I was different. Sure, I could bleed and cough and want and feel lonely like the rest of humanity, and no matter how much I poked and preened myself every morning before the mirror to look as beautiful and normal as I am, I wasn't like them. I wasn't like every other human. And only Palmon and the Destined could understand that, because we weren't like every other human, either.
We were heroes. We saved lives.
We saved the lives of criminals, jerks, the grim, the hateful, the mean, the insincere. We also saved the pure, the innocent, the kind, the happy, the loving, the leaders of the new generation. We saved many people. We saved these people, who hated me for a reason that not even they knew. They hated the person who saved their lives, and for that reason, maybe I began to hate them, too.
I shouldn't have—they didn't know that I (and the other Destined) saved them. But I couldn't stop it; everyday, I went to school, and they'd be watching my every move, waiting for me to do something wrong. It was entertainment for them. And when I wasn't doing anything wrong, they'd stick a foot out so I tripped. They made sure I heard all the nasty things they had to say about me. They "accidentally" spilled their food on my lap, or made fun of the fact that I didn't know english slang (yet). It was all so new, and I was so naïve, and they were so judging.
I hated them. I hated them, every single one who ever sneered my way, or whispered about me when I walked by, or joked behind my back. I sat alone at lunch every single solitary day, wondering for the longest time why they didn't like me, why no one liked me, not even the ones people considered as "nice people". They hated me because I saved their lives not once, not twice, not thrice, not even four times. For every villain we defeated, from Devimon to Apocalymon to the time we had to go back to seal the portals, their lives were in danger and we saved them.
Was I risking my neck for people who didn't even care? Who couldn't even get over the individual air about me?
No, it's only human instinct to fear what we don't know. It's only human... and because they were human, because they were scared of me, they were doing crap like that everyday just so they could make sure that I wasn't a threat. But I wasn't a threat! I wasn't! I stopped the threats! I would break every single one of my nails just so that the threats would disappear! Hell, screw the nails, I would die for these people! I'd be scared, and I'd probably cry, but I would do it!
So screw 'em! What'd they ever do for me?
Then, one day, things changed. Changed a lot. Why? How?
Someone sat with me during lunch. I didn't know his name, but he was, well, actually pretty cute. Blond hair that curled at the ends, blue eyes that gleamed when he looked at me and asked me if anyone was sitting beside me, and soft skin. I remember because he shook my hand when he introduced himself.
"Hey, good afternoon, miss. My name is Michael," he said.
I'd seen him a few times in the hallway before then. He was one of the few that hadn't sneered every time I walked by, and he wasn't one of the guys who ran away every time I was walking in his direction. I'd never talked to him before because, well, it never really occurred to me. He kind of faded in the background with all the other dirty looks, even though I'd sometimes catch him staring at me. At first, I thought he was one of those people who pretended to be nice, but would just rip me apart the second I was out of earshot—but was he? You know what they say about assuming. It makes an ass out of u and me.
A few girls at a nearby table watched us with sneers, whispering about why he was sitting with me, the new weird girl, when there were plenty of other cute girls, who weren't weird, to sit by (please, someone gag me with a spoon). That was when the rumors started to turn more vicious, but now that I had a friend—an acquaintance—it didn't seem to matter as much anymore.
From that day on, every single day, Michael sat with me at lunch. He'd tell me about his life—how his father was a famous actor, and how the publicity really intimidated him; how he hated all the eyes constantly staring at him like he was some sort of rich piece of meat. Granted, I loved that feeling (oh baby, shed me some more of that spotlight!), but he made me understand that it wasn't something everyone wanted—and the spotlight I was already getting wasn't really the kind I liked.
I was quiet at first. I was afraid that if I started talking, my strange aura would grow and I'd scare him away because he'd sense how strange I was, too. But then he started asking questions about me: why I moved, why a pretty girl like me was sitting alone everyday for lunch (though he knew why, he was just being polite—I had no doubts that he heard many of the rumors spread about me), how I was able to adjust to the American lifestyle so quickly.
He treated me like I was human... I was human, despite who I was chosen to become, forced to become, wanted to become, I was human and he was treating me like one.
In a world of wolves, I'd met a lamb who was just as vulnerable and scared as I was. In this land of wolves, I had to be a lion, and even through the mockery and through the hard times, I had to bear my claws and roar. Michael was a lamb, yes, who showed me that I had to be a lion—but this lion wasn't interested in lamb-meat. Hella no, this lion was changing her diet to wolf-meat because, after the lamb made friends with the lion, the damn wolves were gritting their fangs at the both of them.
Humans are weak. We get afraid or angry, and say things we don't mean. We do things we shouldn't do. We follow our instincts which, even if half the time are right, aren't applied with logic. To follow our instincts with a logical approach would mean that we had one less flaw to deal with, but most humans aren't like that. Most humans will never be like that. They, most of the time, either follow the logical approach, denying themselves another reality, or follow their instincts, indulging themselves in unwanted consequences. Sorry if I just reminded you of Koushiro.
These people knew no better. Granted, they were immature, but they still didn't know who I was or why they had such strange feelings around me. Aside from that, I mean, seriously, they're teenagers. I couldn't expect them to grow up and all of a sudden realize that they're being stupid. No. They were teenagers; humans; normal humans, who followed their instincts and pounced like the pack of ravenous wolves they are. Why hate them for doing something they thought was right?
Make them understand why they were wrong. It's hard, and most of them will never see, never want to see, but I could still try to reach someone—because I know that if Michael had been like me, hating everyone who didn't understand who or what I was, he wouldn't have tried to talk to me. I wouldn't have gained even one acquaintance, one confidant, one friend.
As time went on and Michael and I got closer, we began to reveal such funny secrets to each other. I told him some of the most embarrassing things—stuff I didn't even dare tell my friends back in Odaiba. But I had dozens and dozens of friends in Odaiba. I only had one in New York. Besides, he did the same, and not once did we scare each other! He didn't run away. He listened. He cared. He wanted me to feel welcomed, to feel loved, to know that no matter what anyone said, I was human and I deserved to be treated as one.
When Michael became my friend, I wonder if people noticed a change because I started to gain more friends. More people cared to talk to me, to be nice to me. Most of the time, there were still the cowards who would spread rumors and treat me like I was nothing, but I got back at them just as bad. Cold shoulder, maybe, sometimes—if I cared to—but come on, people, it's me, Mimi Tachikawa.
I wasn't quiet, and I didn't take anything lying down. Any beotch who wanted to start something would get a hell of a lot more than they were bargaining for, and yeah, I found out that I really knew how to bargain. There was a while when I did lie down because I wanted to make friends, wanted to be accepted, wanted so many things—I was insincere to myself.
But now I didn't hold back. I was Mimi again, and the people who messed with me messed with the lion—they messed with a side of me that I didn't even realize was there; a side that probably wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for Leomon, himself, who taught me so many things during my adventures in the Digital World. Leomon's spirit guided me through the hard times; Palmon's memories kept me sane; the Destined never let me forget myself again; my friends in Japan allowed me to always remember what I had and what I still have.
Now I have a few friends. I'm not as popular as I want to be, and I'm not nearly as popular as I was in Odaiba, but it's alright now. And the best part?
Michael's also a Destined. Bet you didn't know that, did you? He told me one day, just randomly, that he had a partner. He told me he missed his partner since the two parted a few years ago. He told me he was in a team of DigiDestined at one time, and that they helped saved the Digital World.
Destined? Other than the seven in Japan and myself? It blew my mind.
I eagerly told him everything that happened to me in the Digital World. It was a bit ironic, actually. We met and became friends without knowing that we'd been chosen for the same goal!
I had a friend. I had a confidant. And I had a Destined friend. Heh, now if I needed to remember Palmon, I could look at him, too—though it'd never be the same. Her face was still fuzzy, especially since it wasn't with Michael that I'd built such fond memories of the Digital World, but he was still there to remind me of what I lost; to remind me of the best thing that ever happened to me. Reminded me that more had yet to come. I didn't want to forget the good times, and I don't think he did, either. Maybe I reminded him of his own adventures, too.
After revealing his deepest secret, and I revealed my own, everything changed. Everything. Sometimes I could just sense it when he was in the same room, or I could feel his lingering gaze. I knew everything he wanted to hear, and he knew everything I wanted to say. Half the time, all we needed to do was watch each other without saying a word, yet a thousand words would be said. Michael was cool. He was my best friend in New York, and sometimes my only friend.
By the time the whispers calmed and people stopped tripping me everywhere I went, I didn't even care anymore because there was only one person I needed to make things alright, and that was Michael.
Little did I know that in a few years, everything would change yet again. And it wouldn't be me that changed. No, it wouldn't, it'd be the whole world that changed. Everyone would get a partner, everyone would have at least one friend. I wasn't the only outcaste in the world—there were many other people out there who didn't have a friend in the world. People who weren't as pretty as me, who didn't have a good life, who had no one to talk to but themselves—people much, much more worse off than me, and they'd all get a partner. They'd be able to experience the things I experienced when Michael sat by me at my lunch table for the first time.
No one would have to feel lonely ever again—and that strange "aura" around me? It wouldn't be so abnormal anymore. Not that I cared at that point, but still. It's the thought that counts! And when the world changed for the better, I made a lot more friends, too. It wasn't only Michael who sat at my lunch table. I made friends with the people who hated me. I made friends with the people I didn't know; the people who ran from me. I made friends with cowards and with lions; with lambs and with wolves. They felt sorry for everything, just as I felt sorry for hating them.
I would never lose my homesickness for Odaiba, but I knew that if I moved back there, I would never lose my homesickness for New York, either. I'd never forget Michael, or the day that everyone got a friend. It's bittersweet, yeah, but I can live with it now.
I could live as a normal human being. I didn't have to keep this "crazy secret" to myself anymore--I didn't have to feel alone because only eight other people knew my deepest secret. Everyone got to experience the love and care of a partner; a love and care that only a few did beforehand. No one would ever be lonely again. That's a joy I'd never, ever forget. I had dignity, I had humanity, I had sincerity, and people who I care about and people who care about me. I had a world to save.
I've got to be a lion. I've got to be a hero. And I realize that I am a lion and I am a hero, and that'll never change. I'll never have to be afraid of anything again like I was when I moved here because I'm no longer one of the few Destined out there. It's because I know myself, and know that if I change, I'll change for the better. Maybe I was afraid of change; of losing my comfort zone. But now I know that I had to shed that to become who I am today, and I had to shed that to become a hero.
Strange thing? I never wanted to be a lion so badly. Thank you, Michael. Thank you for giving me a chance.