This one-shot has been written up for the better part of the summer, it just needed numerous hours of editing before I could bear to post it. It'll probably be the last thing I post for a while - school is just around the corner. Once again, thanks to all of those who have reviewed my stories - you guys truly are amazing!
Disclaimer on profile.
"Okay guys, let's get started."
Today was just another day in the world of the digidestined where they got to do their favourite chore – destroy Dark Spires. However, this day was significant in itself because Tai had decided to join them. After weeks of staying on the sidelines and never getting any action, Tai had become restless and consequently demanded that he join the newer digidestined on one of their frequent trips to the Digital world.
Tagging along had its obvious perks like seeing Agumon (a rare occurrence) and getting to see the astounding sights only the data world could create. Today they were working on clearing a desert area of its Dark Spires. Since it was a Saturday, the group had risen early so that the sun wasn't at its full potential by the time they arrived in the desert. As the hours passed though, it grew hotter, sand became stuck between toes, and sweat covered bodies. Davis was the first to complain.
"Can we please go home now? I feel like I haven't showered in a month!"
Flamedramon shouted from where he stood, "You haven't showered in a month, Davis!"
"Shut up and get back to work!" Davis yelled at his partner.
The boys laughed and the girls looked disgusted. Yolei mimed throwing up and Kari laughed, completely agreeing with her.
"You're right, Yolei, that is pretty gross."
Actually, Yolei's imitation of getting sick reminded Kari that she wasn't feeling too good herself. She flinched at the thought of informing the others. Making them worry about her would slow them down, if not stop them entirely. Tai would overreact and grumble about how Joe should have come along and that they should turn around and call it a day. TK would probably back Tai up too. Not to mention Davis would have a freak out – as dramatic as possible, of course. There was no point in mentioning it whatsoever. She'd rather have a headache and be a little dizzy than have people crowding her, asking her every five seconds whether or not she was okay. Besides, Kari knew they'd be stopping soon for lunch, and she could grab some shade then. Everything would be fine; she was positive.
The Digimon demolished a few more Spires before retuning to their partners. It was time to eat, and nothing would get in their way of consuming the edible delicacies carried by their friends. They chomped through the load and left only a small pile for the humans. Each person took their share except Kari. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to keep it all down. Instead, she leaned against Nefertimon's side (the shady one) and closed her eyes. A nap never hurt anybody.
There's something wrong with Kari. Cody thought. She doesn't look too good. He considered telling Yolei about his concerns, but chose not to. If Kari didn't think it was worth letting the others know, then he would respect her decision and play along with it.
Davis scouted the area from his vantage point atop Flamedramon's shoulder. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Desert, more desert, and if he turned around, there would be even MORE desert! What a boring hunk of land, he thought to himself. If I owned this place, I'd build the BIGGEST rollercoaster EVER, and I'd make millions from the amount of drinks I'd sell! This place sure is hot. Hey, what's that?
Davis squinted his eyes to make sure he was seeing what he thought he saw.
"Hey, guys! Guess what?"
The group turned their heads toward the goggled boy.
"We don't' have to have sand in our shoes anymore! There's a road just over there!"
"Are you sure it isn't just a mirage, Davis?" Yolei questioned.
"No, I see it too." Tai declared.
Cody spoke up, "Well, then what are we waiting for? I certainly don't want sand in my shoes any longer. I'm going."
The youngest digidestined stood and walked in the direction Davis had indicated. The collection of bodies gathered their stuff mechanically, tired from the day's work, and followed.
There was, in fact, a road by which they could travel in mild comfort. The Digimon resumed their task of beating up inanimate objects. Their partners, who were in a considerably better mood now, praised them and argued with each other over whose Digimon knocked down the most Spires.
"It's obviously Flamedramon. Just look at him. He's the strongest and the fastest." Davis was very self-assured and refused to listen to opposing suggestions.
"I think you're wrong." Yolei argued. "It's about team work, not individual merit. Look at Pegasusmon and Nefertimon. They work together."
Davis ignored her and continued defending Flamedramon. TK chuckled at their childish behaviour. He didn't think it mattered who destroyed the most Spires, just that it got done. The thought of innocent Digimon being enslaved because of those tall, dark structures enraged him. They never did anything to deserve any of this cruel torture the Spires gave them. TK sighed. He could only do so much, and that angered him as well. He wished he could make all this evil disappear from the Digital world. He couldn't understand why anyone would want to change it – alter it so that it was warped and strange. TK believed that it was perfect when no one was trying to control blameless creatures. If only…
TK exhaled once again and looked around. Nothing but open road and dry desert. A memory surfaced, one that reminded him greatly of their current surroundings.
It was stifling hot, and sweat made TK's hair stick to the back of his neck and forehead. He was thinking about Matt, and wondering whether or not he was okay. He knew that it should be the other way around – Matt should be worrying about him, but he was allowed to make sure Matt was okay too, right? Suddenly, TK snapped out of his thoughts as a frantic Tai rushed by him, towards the end of their small cluster. He turned around, wanting to see what was going on, and his heart stopped. Lying there, on the sun-warmed pavement was Kari, and she wasn't moving as far as he could tell. He started to hyperventilate. Panic mode was setting in. What was wrong with her? Was she dead? Had she been attacked? TK didn't see any evil Digimon nearby. What was happening to her?
They carried her to a bench in haste. TK stood by her side, eyes wide with fright. The others said something about a fever, but TK barely heard them. Kari coughed harshly and TK cringed violently. She cracked open her eyes a tiny bit and saw him standing there, so she smiled. It took a lot of effort, and it was only a ghost of a smile, but it reassured TK greatly. She's going to be okay, he promised himself. She has to be.
Later, Tai entrusted TK with Kari's safety. He took this responsibility seriously – he wasn't going to be the one that screwed everything up. Those next few hours were nail-biting. He sat at the front window, eyes peeled for the slightest movement in the abandoned city. He eventually got his chance to be a hero, though, and was proud of himself.
Evidently, Kari survived her illness, but those hours when she had not been able to talk and soothe him had been the worst. He had almost lost her. Everyone had almost lost her – their light.
TK started breathing heavier when he recounted all this. You're overreacting, he told himself, Kari's fine. He calmed down somewhat, but his heartbeat increased in tempo when he thought back. Kari hadn't eaten anything at lunch – she had rested. TK recalled the paleness of her complexion and forced himself not to freak out. He decided to voice his impatient thoughts to Tai. It wasn't overreacting if he was simply concerned, right?
"Yeah, TK? What is it?" Tai enquired, puzzled by the tone of TK's voice.
"Does this scene look familiar to you?"
Tai thought about it for a second, and replied, "Yeah sort of. Can't think of why, though. Wait…"
TK glanced at him and said, "Kind of creepy, huh?"
Tai laughed and agreed, "Yeah… I've got goosebumps just remembering."
Yolei joined in their conversation, curious after eavesdropping. "What do you guys mean? Did something happen?"
Tai confirmed her suspicions by saying, "Yeah, something did happen. But not to worry, it's okay now."
Yolei sighed in relief. "Thank God. I was worried there for a minute… Hey, where'd Kari go?"
"Kari?" TK asked, horrified.
He turned around and realised Yolei was right. Kari wasn't where she had been a few moments ago. A quick glance in the sky at Nefertimon told TK she wasn't chatting with her Digimon either.
Tai ran full out in the direction they came from. The grip on his sneakers propelled him further, faster. She had to be around here somewhere.
And then he heard it. The most significant sound in his world – the sound of a whistle being blown. That noise always signified something to him, whether it be the start of a soccer game, or a means to wake him from his slumber. This time, it was a faint and weak sound, but Tai understood what it meant. It was a cry for help, and he would be damned if he didn't respond.
He finally found her, struggling to get up, whistle dangling from her mouth. He rushed to her side and helped her stand. She leaned on him heavily, letting him know she wasn't able to get up on her own.
"Sorry I didn't say something earlier, Tai." Kari apologised softly. "Some déjà vu, huh?"
Tai forced a smile on his face to appease her, and TK caught up to them, the rest right behind him.
"What's going on?" Davis asked.
Kari answered, "I'm not feeling well. That's all, Davis. No need to worry."
"No need to worry?" TK demanded angrily. "You can't even stand without help. We need to get you back, and get you to a hospital."
"I'm fine." she protested feebly. She pushed Tai's hands off herself and stood, wobbling only slightly. "See? All good. I really don't need a hospital. I'm feeling better now."
TK and Tai didn't believe her at all, but she started walking, so they followed.
Davis approached them saying, "See? You guys just need to chill. Look at her, she'd doing fine!"
TK and Tai rounded on Davis and shouted forcefully at the same time, "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!"
TK's pulse throbbed with outrage and he continued shouting, "She's not okay. She needs to go to the hospital, and she's going right NOW!"
Davis did not welcome being yelled at. "I don't see the big deal! She says she's fine! Why are you freaking out?"
"Because she could DIE! We've almost lost her – twice, and I will NOT let it happen a third time, Davis, you can count on that." Tai stepped into the argument, effectively ending it.
Davis stood there, dumbstruck. He had no idea it was that serious. If she was really that sick, why hadn't she said anything? Davis watched as Kari fainted, and Tai lifted her onto Nefertimon's back. He tried imagining a world without Kari, and shuddered. It wasn't a bright picture. Davis climbed onto Flamedramon's shoulder and followed the others as they searched for the nearest portal.
Cody, meanwhile, was taking himself on a mental guilt trip. If only he had mentioned something before, then all of this drama could have been avoided. If Kari died, it would be his entire fault.
Yolei finally understood what Tai and TK had meant when they said "familiar". Obviously this had happened to Kari before, and the desert reminded the two boys of the incident. It sure was coincidence that it happened again in a place so similar. Yolei checked to make sure Kari was still breathing as she remarked, Yeah… coincidence. Or just plain weird.
The hospital doors burst open as Kari was rushed in. Tai explained the situation to the nurses, and watched as his fragile sister was carted away on a gurney. He was beating himself up, like the last time it had occurred. He could remember Izzy telling him it wasn't his fault but he knew it was. Kari was his responsibility; he was the older brother, so he took care of her. It was very straightforward, but somehow he kept screwing up.
TK approached the troubled brother. "She'll be okay now, Tai. Come sit down."
TK led Tai to the dreaded waiting room and attempted to distract him. "So, did your team win the soccer game yesterday?" TK knew the answer already because of Davis, but it had been the first thing that had popped into his head. He got the feeling a distraction was pointless, though. "This isn't like last time, Tai. Last time, we didn't even have aspirin to give her. Now we have doctors looking after her. It's going to be fine."
Tai ignored TK's supposed reassuring comments. They weren't helping, as true as they were.
TK tried to distract him again. "Anyways, I've been wondering what you meant when you said twice before. What did you mean by that? Has this happened more than once?"
Tai explained to him that fateful day when she was sick and he took her to play soccer. He told TK the same story he told Izzy (minus the crying) and added at the end, "See, TK? Sometimes doctors don't always solve the problem. She almost died then, and we had plenty of doctors looking after her." He sighed, weary. "I gotta go call my mom. Stay here."
Tai returned shortly, grabbed a magazine and muttered, "And so the wait begins."
Kari pulled through thankfully. She was soon in a stabilized condition and allowed visitors. Tai was the first one to see her.
"Tai?" Kari asked as a head poked around the doorframe.
He brother walked in and drank in the sight of her, healthy and alive. She smiled, and it brought tears to his eyes. She was really going to be alright. Tai smiled back, happy at the thought of his epiphany. She was going to be okay.
I can't believe the summer is over already... it seems just like yesterday when I was posting "Party Shocker".
Anyways, let me know what you thinnk. Reviews are appreciated. Thanks.