A/N: OK, well I had some interesting reviews this time around. Thank you everyone! This part is short and written at 4 in the morning so, as always, don't be too harsh on any grammer/spelling mistakes. The last part was always meant to be a bit shorter. This has been a heck of a journey, but here it is: The last Chapter! Enjoy!
Matt's cell rang insistently from its place on the bedside table. Matt rolled over onto his back, groaning. Without opening his eyes, he reached out his left arm and fumbled blindly for the phone that was vibrating its way towards the edge of the table. Without bothering to check to see who was calling him, he hit the answer button and pressed the cell to his ear.
"What?" He asked groggily.
"How… Why are you answering your phone?"
"It rang…" Matt tried to clear his throat.
"But why? Does your dad know?"
"Yeah," Matt coughed when his first attempt to clear his throat didn't work. His sickness had left his throat quite sore. "Dad let me have my cell back."
"Seriously?! THAT'S GREAT!"
"Ow… too loud Tai," his sickness had also left him with a headache.
"Sorry. Man, actually it kind of bites… I wanted to leave you a message. I figured by the time you actually got your phone back it would have about a hundred messages from me. Then you would have to go one by one and delete them all…."
"Why would you do that?"
"I was bored," Tai said with a shrug. "So, when and how did you get your cell back anyway?"
"This morning. Dad said I could have it as long as I'm not on it for too long."
"But it's already four! Why didn't you call me?"
"I've been asleep most of the day."
"Oh, are you still feeling sick?"
"Not really, just tired," Matt tried clearing his throat again, but it did nothing to make his voice stronger.
"So are you coming to school tomorrow?"
"I guess so…"
"Aw, come on Matt. You've already missed three days and it is Thursday tomorrow. Thursdays are awesome."
"Why are Thursdays awesome, Tai?"
"Because… they're right next to Friday and they're perfect days to come back to school."
"…Right… Well, I don't know… I'm not really in a hurry to go back."
"Come on, Matt! School's been a lot better. It's been pretty quiet. There are no new rumors or anything. I think Sora told Mimi to stop… Plus there's a surprise waiting for you."
"What are you talking about?"
"Ha! I can't tell you. You're going to flip over it though."
"Yeah… I'm staying home tomorrow."
"Matt! It's a good surprise, I promise."
"That's what you said about the noodle incident and nobody thought that was a good surprise."
"Matt that happened three years ago."
"They called the fire department…"
"It's not like anyone died."
"You were almost expelled and you almost took me down with you."
"OK, stop talking about the noodle incident. We both agreed not to mention that ever again… and this surprise is nothing like that."
"Will you please just tell me?" Matt sighed.
"No, Izzy and I agreed, you have to see it for yourself."
"Fine, whatever." Matt would have argued more, but he felt too tired.
"Awesome. So I'll see you tomorrow."
"Stop worrying Matt, it's going to be fine. Like I said, the rumors have been a lot better. I think Sora really has been trying to put an end to them."
"You think so?"
"Sure, it's not like anyone else could have stopped Mimi."
"Yeah, maybe you're right. I'll see you tomorrow, Tai."
"Yeah! See you tomorrow!"
Matt hung up his phone and sat it back down on his bedside table. He stared at it for a moment, trying to decide something. He started to reach for it, but stopped himself. Matt took a deep breath and futilely tried to clear his throat again. He then hastily reached over and picked up the cell again. Without hesitation,n he punched in a number. He stared at the phone in his hand while it rang. It rang once… twice… Matt started to hang up, but then he heard a voice answer. Matt cautiously put the phone to his ear.
Matt was in absolutely no hurry to get to school and he was literally dragging his feet. He was almost there when he stopped walking completely. Fading rumors or not, he didn't feel like going to school. Not that that's different from how I usually feel, Matt thought to himself. He was debating on turning around and heading home for the day, but was stopped in his tracks by an all too familiar voice.
"Matt! There you are!" Matt looked up to see Tai running towards him, waving overenthusiastically. Tai stopped just short of running into Matt. He was gasping for breath, with one hand on his knee and the other grasping Matt's elbow as if he was worried Matt might try to make a run for it.
"I'm so glad I ran into you," Tai said when he caught his breath. He beamed up at Matt happily.
"What do you mean by that? Don't we usually see each other before school?" Matt asked curiously. Tai shrugged and let go of Matt's elbow.
"I was waiting for you at the corner, but then I just thought you were taking too long and I thought I should meet you before you change your mind about coming."
"I told you I was coming to school today."
"Yeah, well sometimes you… aren't always entirely truthful."
"What does that mean?"
"What were you doing right now, standing in the middle of the sidewalk? You looked like you were trying to decide something." Tai looked exceptionally smug as he pointed out his friend's indecisiveness. Matt frowned and gave Tai a glare. Sometimes Matt felt like Tai knew him too well.
"How do you know what I was thinking?" Matt pushed past Tai and began walking in the direction of their school. Tai quickly moved to match his pace.
"Because," Tai said as he trotted alongside his friend, "when you're trying to decide something, you make this face." Tai crossed his eyes and narrowed his eyebrows. Matt kicked him in his calf. "Ow! Hey!" Tai protested, but then began laughing. "I'd give you a fat lip if you didn't already have one."
Matt rolled his eyes, but he absently ran a finger over his bottom lip. "You can't really tell anymore," he said quietly.
"No, you can't," Tai reassured his friend. "Hey," Tai said, suddenly remembering something. "I tried to call your cell this morning, but you didn't answer. What's up with that?"
"Dad took my cell away again." Matt said simply. Tai looked stunned.
"What? Why? You just got it back didn't you?"
"I only could have it if I didn't spend a lot of time on it."
"You're kidding, but I didn't even talk to you for that long!"
"It wasn't because I was talking to you."
"TK?" Tai guessed.
"It's not important, Tai."
"Wait a minute, who were you talking to for so long?" Tai asked, trying to catch Matt's eyes. Matt quickened his pace without looking at Tai. Tai sped up until he was just ahead of Matt, then he whirled around and started walking backwards so that Matt would have to face him. "Why don't you want to tell me?"
"Tai don't walk backwards."
"Tell me, tell me, tell me…"
"Stop that, you're going to run into something."
"No. Tell me, tell me, please tell me…"
"You're being annoying," Matt said, obviously becoming flustered. Tai responded by crossing his eyes and narrowing his eyebrows. "Don't do that!" Matt stopped walking. Tai grinned broadly and stopped walking as well.
"Tell me, Matt tell me, please tell me Matt…" Tai was beginning to turn his chant into some sort of annoying song. Matt closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. He opened them to find Tai staring at him with his eyes crossed.
"I don't make that face."
"Yeah, you're right. You actually do this when you're deciding something." Tai suddenly turned very serious and he closed his eyes and sighed loudly. After a moment of silence, Tai opened his eyes and grinned. Matt stared at him for a moment, he had been ready to protest, but Tai had just perfectly reenacted what Matt had just been doing. "So did you decide to tell me?" Tai asked innocently.
"It was Sora. I was on the phone talking with Sora last night," Matt moved around his surprised friend and continued walking. Tai quickly gathered himself and followed Matt.
"When you say, 'talking with Sora,' do you mean you were fighting with her?"
"No, I mean we talked on the phone last night…. and then the phone got taken away."
"So… how did that go?" Tai asked trying to sound as normal as possible.
"Fine," Matt said simply.
"I'm sorry, but did I miss something? Last time I checked, she was at your house crying hysterically and TK had to kick her out."
"Yeah, we talked about that."
Tai waited for Matt to give more details, but he didn't. "So… what… is everything fine now? All that was just…" Tai waved his hand in the air; he didn't really know what to say.
"Sora has her own problems to work out," Matt stated simply.
"So…. Like… are you guys getting back together?" Tai tried to sound nonchalant.
"No… not right now anyway."
"OK," Tai tried not to show his relief. He was looking forward to having a break from any Matt-Sora drama. Tai suddenly clapped his hands. "I almost forgot! The surprise!" Tai turned to Matt excitedly. "Close your eyes Matt."
"You have to close your eyes! We're almost there!"
"How am I supposed to see where I'm going?"
"I'll lead you."
"Hell no, you'll walk me into a tree or something."
"I won't! I swear! Trust me!" Tai grabbed Matt's elbow again, "Now close your eyes."
Matt sighed, but did as he was told. "I swear if you walk me into a car…"
"…It will be just like a normal day for you."
"Very funny, Tai."
They were only walking for a short time when they turned the corner and onto the sidewalk that led up to their stop sign. Matt could hear the sounds of cars honking and some other rumbling noises that he couldn't identify right away. "Almost there, keep your eyes closed."
Matt suddenly tensed. "Tai, you're not going to try and walk me through the crosswalk are you? We'll both be killed!"
"Keep you eyes shut!" Tai demanded. "Izzy!" Tai called, "look! I found Matt!"
"We only have about two minutes before first bell," Izzy informed Tai.
"That's enough time… OK, two more steps… open your eyes slowly." Tai stepped away from Matt in order to get a better view of his facial expression. Matt's eyes remained closed however. "Matt?" Tai asked, "What are you doing? Open your eyes."
"I'm trying to decide whether I want to," Matt said.
"Just open them."
"Matt, it's really nothing bad. See for yourself." Izzy encouraged. Well, if Izzy says it's OK, it can't be anything too horrible. Matt opened his eyes, prepared for the worst. He blinked… and then blinked again. There were people at their corner…. people with orange vests and brightly colored cones. Cars were stopping to stare…
"What are they doing?" Matt asked quietly.
"They're putting in a stop light, Matt." Izzy said softly, as if the moment required some sort of reverence.
"They're putting…." Matt trailed off. He just stared blankly at the workers. Tai looked disappointed. He waved his hand in front of Matt's face.
"Are you OK? I thought you would be happy," Tai said looking at his friend with concern.
"When did they start?" Matt asked, still using a quiet tone.
"Tuesday afternoon, when you were still sick," Izzy explained.
"They're putting in a stop light," Matt mumbled under his breath. Tai gave him a worried look.
"Seriously, are you OK?" Tai looked at Izzy when Matt didn't respond. "The shock was too much for him, go get the school nurse."
Matt suddenly threw both his arms in the air. Tai and Izzy both jumped back simultaneously. "Why didn't they do this last week?! Before the hedge clippers?! Before everything! Before! Before! Why?"
"People are staring, Matt." Tai looked around in amusement. Matt ran a hand threw his hair, making it stick up more than usual. He then put his face in his palm. There was a moment of silence and then his shoulders started shaking.
"He's crying, he's finally snapped," Tai observed. Matt reached out and smacked Tai's arm.
"I'm not crying, moron." Matt was smiling at Tai… not just smiling… Matt was laughing. "Can you believe this? The week after… with the hedge clippers and I got grounded… That's awful!" Matt burst out laughing. Tai shrugged and began laughing too. The bell chimed in the background.
"If you two are finished, we're going to be late," Izzy stated bemusedly. Matt's laughter eventually stopped.
"Yeah, I'm done," Matt said with a grin.
"The cars are stopped! Let's cross!" Tai shouted. With that, he grabbed Matt and Izzy by their arms and pulled them into the street.
--Three weeks later--
"When is this stupid light going to change?" Tai was furiously pushing the button over and over again. He began tapping his foot impatiently. "Come on light! Change!"
"Just be patient Tai. It will change eventually." Izzy was looking through a travel book while they waited and Matt was standing at the very edge of the sidewalk, looking annoyed.
"This thing better hurry, we're going to be late," Matt said anxiously. He ran his now healed hand through his hair. The stitches were long gone and all that was left was a slightly pink scar that went across his palm.
"Argh, this is so annoying!" Tai groaned.
"It will only be a minute. Here, tell me again where you want to go." Izzy held the travel book out to Tai. Tai looked at it briefly.
"Not Kyoto… I want to go to the beach." Tai flipped a page in the book and pointed something out to Izzy. He tapped the book with his pointer finger. "See, that looks awesome."
"Tai, this isn't part of mainland Japan; we can't take a road trip there."
"You're always so negative," Tai looked disappointed.
"I say we just drive and we end up wherever we end up," Matt stated with his arms crossed.
"We have to have a destination in mind," Izzy said matter-of-factly.
"Why?" Tai asked.
"My parents won't let me go otherwise."
"Oh yeah, mine won't either," Tai said looking disappointed again. "Hey, Matt you're going to be ungrounded next week right?"
"On Friday, do you want to come over? We can plan our super-awesome-summer road trip." Tai said this as if it was the most persuasive idea in the world.
"I can't do it Friday, maybe Saturday."
"Why not Friday?" Tai whined.
"I told Sora we'd go out to dinner or something."
"OK, fine. Saturday will have to work then. I still want to go to the beach."
"We can go to the beach Tai, just not one that we would have to take a boat or plane to get to." Izzy said with a sigh. The school bell chimed across the street.
"This light isn't changing," Matt shouldered his bag. He met Tai's gaze and Tai gave a slight nod.
"It's probably broken. Want to make a run for it?" Tai asked.
"Wait," Izzy looked up from his book.
"I'm ready if you are," Matt said with a grin.
"OK, after this car." Tai said motioning to an oncoming car. "On the count of three…. One… two…"
"Just wait," Izzy pleaded.
"Three!" Tai grabbed Izzy by the arm and pulled him into the street as Matt took off a few steps ahead of them. "Run!" Tai yelled. With that, the three boys ran full speed through the crosswalk. Tai ended up throwing his backpack at Matt to slow him down and Matt attempted to trip Tai when he got too close. A car honked at them and they all screamed in unison and then laughed loudly at each other. When they made it to the other side they were all slightly winded. Still laughing, they began walking to class.
"I'm so glad they put in a stop light," Tai said with a grin. Matt grinned back at him.
"Yeah, me too."
A/N: 104 pages, my friends. This story was a lot longer than I thought it would be. While I was writing this part I decided not to include Sora too much. I felt like this fic started with the boys and it should end with them too.
This fic will always have a special place in my heart. It is what I was writing when my grandmother died, when my parakeet died, when I finished school and when my cat died. A lot of things died while I was writing this. Being able to write was something I will always remember, I think it actually helped me get through a lot of stuff.
Anyway, thank you all my wonderful reviewers! You are all so great and perfect. I'm deeply touched by your words and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this and putting up with me.
I have a few more Digimon fanfictions in mind. I have an idea for a one-shot and then two longer stories. All three focus around the boys and friendship. The Road Trip story is definitely going to happen; I hope you all read that one when I write it. Thank you again.