Well, this is for Broken Angel01's "Following the Footsteps of Destiny" Challenge, so I don't own the characters. If you haven't read that story, this will make absolutely no sense! (And, hey, BA! I finally got around to writing something, what? Five months after I first said I would! lol)

Setting: Just after Chapter 84 (in other words, an hour or so since everyone has left the Motomiya house after the new digidestined tell their parents what they've been up to.)

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, FTFOD, or any of the characters. Enjoy!

My Brother's Keeper

I used to think I was a normal girl. A little excitable, sure, and kinda outspoken, but more or less normal. So how did it all change? I mean, one minute I was amusing myself by watching my cousin yell at my little brother for skipping soccer practice, and the next...chaos. Pure and utter chaos! Some little red thing comes flying out of Dai's backpack and lands in Dad's hands. First of all, let me say than anyone who thinks I have no self-control should have been inside my head when it - he - talked. I did a pretty darn good job of not freaking out, thank you very much! Especially considering the situation!

Unfortunately most of the adults more than made up for my calm reaction. Seriously, I've never seen Matt or Ryoko so mad! Or the twins, for that matter. Jeez. Who knew something as small as DemiEmbermon could put so many people on edge? Not to mention Ken and Sam freaking out, too many secrets to count (I thought we were supposed to be past that!) and a rushed explanation of what my brother and his friends have been doing that I'm pretty sure I didn't understand whatsoever. It's hard to get much out of a story when you're trying to work your way through all the terms, which, by the way, I'm positive all started with "digi". A little variety would be nice!

Dinner was understandably awkward, but obviously some people, like Dai, didn't get the message. He was talking and goofing off with Dad, Noah, and anyone else who would pay attention the entire time! Me, on the other hand? I just couldn't stop staring at him. If I got anything from the whole "Digital World" conversation, it's that my little brother puts himself in danger every time he goes there!

This whole thing just blows my mind! There's not even supposed to be other worlds, let alone one that relies on kids to protect it! Especially not kids that I know! And definitely not my parents!

I'm pretty sure it's been at least an hour since everyone left. Dai took DemiEmbermon upstairs a while ago, Mom's in the kitchen cleaning up, and Dad's shuttling trash and dirty dishes from the back yard to the kitchen. I know I should be doing homework or helping clean or something, but since collapsing on the couch, I haven't been able to convince myself to move. I must be in shock or something.

Why can't I just worry about helping my best friend tease her crush instead of worrying about whether or not our brothers are going to make it home alive! Seriously! I think I hate destiny and whoever this Gennai guy is!

...So this is why I don't bother controlling myself most of the time. Just makes it worse later...

Man, I really need to figure all this out. Like what the heck a Dark Spore is, why everyone is so worked up over the Digimon Emperor, what the crests are, and...Oh, who am I kidding? I'll just ask Miya tomorrow and see if she figured anything out. That's one good thing about having a super-smart best friend. Until then, I'll just try not to think about it.

Feeling slightly light-headed, I get up and head to my room, where a handful of stuffed animals stare at me from the corner.

"Hi, Ami!"


Well, hey! I can't be calm all the time, least of all when there's a red blur launching itself at my face!

With a thunder of running footsteps, Dad appears at my door. "Ami?" he asks breathlessly, scanning the room with wide eyes. "What's wrong? What happened!"

I fling my arm out to point an accusing finger at DemiEmbermon. "Dai's partner scared me!" I yell, fully aware that I sound like I'm whining. Dad merely stares between me and the little digimon, opening and closing his mouth like he wants to say something but doesn't quite know what. "Dad! Aren't you going to do anything!"

He finally finds his voice. "You're scared of DemiEmbermon?"

Throwing my hands up in exasperation, I spin around. "No! I-"

"Davis? What's going on?" Mom runs up, soap bubbles speckling her arms to her elbows. She, too, scans the room.

I send DemiEmbermon a glare and cross my arms. "DemiEmbermon startled me," I say pointedly. "That's it! Nothing else!"

"Are you sure?" Mom asks.


Raising his eyebrows, Dad sends Mom a meaningful look, and I can't help but wonder what they're thinking. "Well, if you say so." They hesitantly disappear together, leaving me and DemiEmbermon alone. I stare at him expectantly, trying not to go soft at his adorable green eyes; I gesture to the door.

If possible, his eyes get even bigger, shimmering in the light from the hallway. "Don't make me go, Ami!" he pleads. "Dai's in the shower and DemiVeemon's riding Shadow, so I don't have anything to do!"

Riding Shadow? I try to imagine Dai's dog letting either of the digimon ride him, but just can't. Finally, I roll my eyes and sigh. "Fine! You can stay."


"But only until Dai's out of the shower."


As I collapse onto my bed, burying my face in my hands, DemiEmbermon hops up next to me. "What's wrong?"

I part my fingers to blink incredulously at him, then drop my hands altogether. "What wrong?" I chuckle, some corner of my mind insisting I'm insane. "I just found out my entire family is, like, ultra-powerful protectors of some other world! What do you think is wrong?"

He seems confused. "Being a digidestined isn't a bad thing, Ami."

With a groan, I lay back, folding my arms under my head to serve as a pillow. "No, but not being one when your parents and little brother are is bad."

"Why's that?" Suddenly DemiEmbermon leans against my left arm so only his huge eyes and adorable ears are visible, teasing a smile out of me despite my sour mood.

"I dunno." With a clumsy shrug - seeing as I'm lying down with a digimon precariously propped against my arm - I shift my eyes back to the ceiling. "It's kinda selfish, I guess, but...I'm older than Dai, right? If anyone should be risking their life to protect, well, everything, it should be me! I guess I'm jealous of him, but I can't help it. I don't want him to get hurt."

"That doesn't sound selfish to me."

"Thanks, DemiEmbermon," I murmur. "Not that it makes me feel like less of a useless lump."

He makes the same exasperated sound Mom makes, but hearing it from him makes me giggle. His indignant reply is cut off as Shadow comes bounding into the room, DemiVeemon clinging on to the collar. When the puppy comes to an abrupt halt, Dad's partner is thrown clear -


- and lands on my abdomen. Shadow attempts to follow, but doesn't expect my leg to be in the way. He falls back to the floor, leaving a wet smear on my calf. Groaning, I raise a hand to run it through my hair. Unfortunately, I forgot about DemiEmbermon, so now the poor digimon's tumbling off my bed to a waiting Shadow, who promptly begins to sniff him. DemiVeemon, using my stomach as a trampoline, dives right in. I don't know whether they're playing with Shadow or having a tickle-fight, but there's an awful lot of laughter coming from somewhere down there.

I force myself to sit up, if only to attempt to control the damage. "Shadow," I moan, dragging him away from the digimon. "Go." I point to the door and Shadow ducks his head as he obeys.


"What?" I demand, raising my eyebrows.

DemiVeemon is the one to answer, scrambling up onto my bed with a pout on his tiny face. "We were having fun!"

"You would have destroyed my room!"

"But it would have been fun!"

I sigh. "You can't be Dad's partner. There's no way! He's always the one telling me to clean my room."

"Davish used to be a troublemaker," the little blue thing says matter-of-factly.

"Davish? Don't you mean Davis?"

"That's what I said! Davish!"

A laugh escapes me, one that borders on hysteria. "Ya know, Dai's bad enough; I don't need more things driving me crazy!"


The way DemiEmbermon says that, I know I don't want to look. Especially with the crash that follows a split-second later.

"Ooh, you're gonna get in trouble!" DemiVeemon teases.

Nope. Definitely don't want to look.

"Oh, no..."

Another crash. This is going to be bad. I know it.

And yet I look. My stacks of DVDs and CDs are scattered across the floor, mingling with a few bottles of nail polish, my lip gloss, and a stick of deodorant. Except half of that stuff was on...My dresser, where DemiEmbermon is, grinning guiltily, a CD lying nearby. I close my eyes briefly, trying not to overreact. I don't want to scare the two digimon. Well...No. I don't...Even if it would be awfully satisfying...

"You have no hands!" I finally cry with a slightly insane tone. DemiEmbermon just stares at me. "How can someone with no hands, or legs even, possibly cause this much damage!" They - wisely - stay silent and I get up to take my frustrations out on someone decidedly less adorable and innocent-looking.

"DAICHI!" I roar, pounding on the bathroom door, and note with satisfaction that there is no water running. Instead, I hear a strangled cry, a thump, and a groan.

The door opens to reveal my darling little brother, hair damp and messy, glaring at me and rubbing his arm. He's wearing his blue pajama pants, but apparently hasn't had a chance to put on a shirt yet. "What do you want, Ami?" he snaps, obviously angry for some reason or another.

"What'd you do now, Dai?" I ask, crossing my arms.

"You made me slip and hit my arm on the counter," he retorts, pointing to the sopping wet towel on the floor.

I snort. "You aren't supposed to take the towel into the shower with you, genius."

His glare intensifies and he looks about ready to slam the door in my face. "Was there a reason you yelled, or are you just being annoying?"

"Your partner is trashing my room!"

"Like I had anything to do with that!"

"Well I can't very well get mad at him, now can I?"

Rolling his eyes, Dai steps back and closes the door halfway. "He's and In-Training, for crying out loud! I'm sure you could have stopped him if you really wanted to."

When he turns to grab his shirt from the floor, I start to push the door open again. "I was too busy trying to keep an eye on your dog and DemiVee-" His back is to me and I can clearly see the large, yellowing bruises left over from BlackWidowmon's attack. Just the reminder of how much danger he's in brings tears to my eyes, and I stifle a gasp. Feeling as if I'm in a trance, I take a shaky step forward and lay my hand on Dai's back. He jumps, whirling to stare at me.

"What are you doing!" he cries, staring at me like I'm crazy. Which I probably am.

I hastily back away, blinking rapidly - I am not about to let Dai see me cry - and shake my head. "Nothing!" I say just a little to sharply; he cocks his head to the side.


"I'm fine!" I insist. "You just threw me for a loop with the whole digidestined thing and I'm not thinking straight. So hurry up and finish. I want to go to sleep, but I promised your dumb partner he could stay in my room until you were out."

"He's not dumb!" Dai snaps, but I get the distinct feeling it's out of habit rather than anger. I rush back to my bedroom, acutely aware of his perplexed stare that's still fixed on the back of my head. Once I'm out of his line of sight, I swipe at my mostly-dry cheeks and shake my head.

"What's wrong, Ami?"

I gasp, stumbling to a stop as DemiEmbermon frowns up at me from my doorway. "I-I didn't see you there," I stammer. With a nervous cough, I stride past him to sit cross-legged on my bed.


Laughing, I turn away. The little goofball is way too much like my brother. "Nothing. It's...nothing."

Two quick hops later, he's in my lap, snuggling against my limp hands and studying my face. "You don't seem like the kind of person to cry over nothing," he whispers.

"And you don't seem like the troublemaker I left in here two minutes ago," I say. At his grin, I scoop him up and hug him to my chest. "Well, I don't know if I should tell you this, since you'll only end up telling Dai later."

"I won't tell! I promise!"

DemiEmbermon's enthusiasm brings a sad smile to my face. When we were younger, Dai would always say that to get me to tell him whatever secret I was keeping from our parents. He usually tattled in the end, but I never could resist the look he gave me. The look DemiEmbermon makes ten times more effective. "Fine," I grumble, finding it amazingly hard to stay angry at him or my brother. With a deep breath, I start uncertainly. "I saw Dai's bruises, and, well, I can't stop thinking about how close he came to dying." The words sound lame even as I say them. The sympathetic emerald eyes below my face don't help, either.

"Ryoko protected him, remember?"

How could I forget? I feel a light blush tint my cheeks, but suddenly my heart sinks. "But then Ryoko was all alone. What if BlackWidowmon had gone after him instead of Gnomemon? Or what if she had stayed even after Sam and the twins ran off? Either one of them could have been killed!" Fresh tears spring to my eyes, and this time I can't manage to smother them, only squeeze my eyes shut. The weight in my hands vanishes, only to land on my shoulder and snuggle against my neck.

"Don't you trust me, Ami?" he murmurs in a voice that nearly melts my heart.

"It's not that. I know you all will watch out for him, but I like to think I know my brother! Sooner or later his stubbornness and impulsiveness are going to land him in a bad situation, alone. You can't protect him if you aren't there."

The digimon chuckles. "That's my Dai!" After a hesitation he backs away. Opening my eyes, I meet his gaze. "But do you really think Ryoko would let him do something like that?"

"So you see it, too?" I ask with a raised eyebrow. "They only pretend not to like each other."

"Like you?"

Is he talking about Dai or Ryoko? My previous blush returns full-force, and I force myself not to continue down that particular line of thought. I do not like Ryoko Ishida. Even if Miya insists I do. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You humans are weird."

Reaching up, I snatch DemiEmbermon off my shoulder and tickle him for good measure. "You digimon are weird!" There's a rustling from under my desk and DemiVeemon darts out, chocolate smeared on his face. A silvery wrapper is clutched in his hands. "Hey! That was my stash! How many..."

"All of them!" Dad's partner begins to bounce rapidly, looking around the room without seeming to really see any of it. "Where's more? Ooh! Is this candy?" He suddenly darts for the lip gloss still littering the floor.

"No, DemiVeemon!" I cry even as I lunge forward.

But the cap is off already. He licks the top several times before the taste registers and his eyes widen. "Eew! Yucky!" Then it's off to the next one, which he incredibly decides to take a bite out of...and quickly spit back out. He goes through two more and is just reaching for my deodorant before he stays still long enough for me to grab his tail. With all his squirming, I barely manage not to drop him, and eventually I have to resort to clutching him with both hands.

"That's it," I growl, standing up. "You're not allowed in my room anymore!" Another note: never give digimon sugar. But given DemiVeemon's current condition, I'm frankly terrified to voice this decision. Better to let Mom or Dad handle that.

I find both of my parents on the couch, not paying much attention to the news show they have the TV turned to. "Dad!" He jumps, turning in confusion that only increases when he sees me nearly smothering DemiVeemon. He rises halfway in time for me to shove the squirming digimon against his chest. "Your partner," I snap, "found chocolate."

At that, Dad pales almost as much as he did when DemiEmbermon first popped out of Dai's backpack. "Oh...no..."

"Yeah," I say sarcastically. "Good luck."

"Hi again, Davish!" I hear DemiVeemon chirp as I walk away. "I like sugar! We need more in the Digital World! Do you have more? I forgot how much I like it! 'Specially chocolate! It's good! And sugary!" I'm tempted to ask Dad if he was ever like that, but I figure I'll let him deal with his partner in peace for now...Well, relative peace, anyway.

The door to the bathroom opens as I walk past. I meet Dai's eyes briefly before moving on. In my room, DemiEmbermon is waiting patiently on the bed, a slight frown on his face. At least he's still calm, though. He and Dai share a look as I return to my previous position near my pillows. Finally Dai speaks up.

"What was all that noise about?"

I shake my head in answer. "Let me just say, don't ever give DemiEmbermon sugar. Ever."

"Okay..." He seems to get that I'm not about to say anything more, so he silently grabs his partner and turns to leave. At least he has his shirt on now. Not that that keeps my thoughts off those bruises. I almost let him leave without saying, but the whole situation is bugging me. So as he crosses into the hallway, I call out.

"Hey, Dai?"

He turns. "Yeah?"

"Listen..." Now that it comes down to it, I can't meet his eyes. Instead, my gaze slips to my formerly clean floor. "Don't risk too much out there. In the Digital World, I mean." Before he can reply - because I know he wants to say something - I go on. "You can only rely on your partner so much, and if you go past that line...well...We shouldn't give Mom a reason to kill us both."


I finally look up, meeting his hopelessly bewildered frown with a smirk. "What, you think I'm going to let a little thing like a Digiport keep me from charging to your rescue?"

Shaking his head, he breaks into a wide grin. "I'll hold you to that!"

As he turns again to leave, I grimace at my trashed room. "And you're going to help me clean this up, too!"

"No way!" he cries. I get up and close the door before he can continue.

"Goodnight, little brother!" His protests continue through the door, but I merely laugh as I cross back to the bed. This has certainly been a day to remember. My whole life's been turned upside down, and there's still a ton I don't understand. But this is going to be an adventure, whether or not I get to go to the Digital World like the rest of my family. I have a feeling this whole thing is going to take us - all of us - somewhere no one is expecting. The important thing is that we stick together.

...In retrospect, writing first person from the POV of someone who's had like half a chapter in her third person POV in the actual story...probably not my smartest idea ever. Oh, well. I'm satisfied with how this turned out. And in any case, I live for a challenge!

Yeah, I can't transfer my works-in-progress to my laptop yet (trying to put them in WordPad screws them up big time!) but I can do new stuff. I haven't forgotten about my other stories! I just needed to write something!

-Child of Healing