Kari lay in silence, staring up at a bright, clear sky. The sun felt warm on her face, and the slightest breeze rustled her short brown hair. It was a perfect day.
"When do we get to eat?" Patamon's voice cut into her thoughts, and Kari heard T.K. laugh behind her. It never failed—Digimon were bottomless pits.
"Help me set up the blanket, Patamon, then you can have some food," T.K. insisted, setting down a picnic basket, and taking out a pale blue blanket. Patamon grabbed one edge, and together they spread it on the grass.
"I made sandwiches," Kari said, sitting up and rummaging through the basket. She came up with four sandwiches, sodas, and a batch of homemade chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. Patamon dove into his own sandwich hungrily, while Gatomon lounged on the blanket, smiling at him fondly.
"Have a sandwich, Gatomon," T.K. said, sitting beside Kari on the blanket and putting an arm around her shoulders.
Gatomon obliged, scooting closer to Patamon.
"They look so cute together," Kari whispered to T.K. as they watched their Digimon share halves of a turkey sandwich.
"They sure do," T.K. agreed. He played with the corner of his sandwich wrapper. "I'm glad that we were able to come here today—everything's been so hectic lately."
Kari nodded in understanding. "Everyone needs a day to take their mind off real life once in a while," she said, reaching up to brush flyaway hair out of his eyes. He caught her eye, and they gazed at each other for a moment, his blue eyes staring into her brown ones.
"These cookies are delicious!" Patamon chirped, his mouth full of chocolate and macadamia.
"You're getting crumbs on the blanket!" Gatomon scolded him good naturedly.
T.K. laughed. "They are good, aren't they? I think Kari even made them with Splenda," he commented, trying one of the cookies for himself.
Kari blushed. "I got the recipe from your mom," she admitted. "I'm glad you like them."
"They're my favorite," T.K. said. "Mom forgets sometimes, that I'm the one who can eat the real sugar stuff—but she's made these since I was a kid, I can't get enough of them." He grinned at her, and helped himself to another cookie.
Kari turned red again. Why did she always blush when he looked at her like that? It was so silly.
"T.K., I've been meaning to ask you—" Kari began, trying to find the right words. Before she could finish her sentence, however, they heard a shout, and a boy ran toward them, waving.
"Who is that? T.K. wondered, climbing to his feet. He knew there were other kids out there with Digimon now, but this kid seemed like he knew them.
"Kari!" The boy reached them, pausing to catch his breath. "Fancy seeing you here, I was just on my way to find some friends when I saw you come through the port." He smiled, and Kari tried hard to place him. He was fairly tall, with dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a red baseball cap. Suddenly, it hit her.
"Darryl Fujiyama?" Kari said, and the boy's face lit up.
"I knew you would remember me," Darryl grinned. He turned to T.K., who was looking confused. "Kari and I were in the same fourth grade class together. You must be T.K., I saw you on the news after the battle with Malo—Myotismon, was it?"
"Yeah," T.K. said more hostile than he had intended.
Darryl didn't seem to notice, and grabbed Kari's hand. "Wow, I have so much to ask you about being one of the Digidestined!" he exclaimed. "Is that Gatomon, your Digimon?" he wondered, glancing at her feline partner.
"Sure is, she's one of my best friends," Kari smiled, picking up Gatomon. "Who is your Digimon, Darryl?"
"Oh…I don't have one yet," Darryl said hastily, and T.K.'s eyes narrowed. Didn't have one? Then why was he in the Digital World? From what he knew, everyone who had a Digimon Partner now, met them on Earth, and only then could they visit the Digiworld.
"How did you come through the portal?" T.K. demanded, curiosity getting the better of him.
"One of my friends took me," Darryl explained.
Oh, really, T.K. thought sourly. Something wasn't right about this kid, and he was going to get to the bottom of it.
"Let's take a walk, Kari. Bring Gatomon, too," Darryl suggested, leading Kari away from the picnic site. "Tell me everything you know about Digimon! I can't wait to get one of my own…"
"They're amazing," Kari grinned. She noticed that T.K. wasn't with them, and turned around. "T.K., aren't you coming?"
"Sure," T.K. said, motioning for Patamon to follow him. He was glad for the invitation, because he didn't trust this 'Darryl' alone with Kari.
"I haven't seen you since fourth grade, Darryl, what happened to you?" Kari wondered as they walked under the eaves of a tall digital oak. Gatomon chose an inviting patch of leaves and rested in the shade with Patamon, while T.K. stood nearby, watching Darryl warily.
"My dad got a job in Kyoto, so we moved there after school ended," Darryl said. "You never got to meet my parents—they were killed in a car accident soon after I turned eleven," he told her, a hint of sadness in his voice.
"Oh, Darryl, that's horrible!" Kari gasped. "Where are you living now?"
"With a friend of mine and his family—do you know Hiroshi Arakawa?" Darryl asked. He leaned casually against the tree.
Kari looked surprised. "Isn't he one of the children who were kidnapped by Arukenimon, Mummymon, and Oikawa a year and a half ago?" she demanded, glancing at T.K. His mother had given them a list of the kids, and after the battle, they had gotten to know some of them pretty well.
'Yeah, how is Hiroshi?" T.K. wondered, genuinely interested.
"He's doing great," Darryl grinned. He grabbed Kari's hand. "I remember you used to be the fastest girl in our gym class. I'll race you to that hill over there," he challenged, pointing into the distance.
Kari grinned. "You're on."
They took off, running through the grass, legs pumping to reach their destination. Soon they disappeared over the hill. T.K. sighed, and sat in the grass beside the two Digimon. "What's wrong, T.K.?" Patamon wondered.
"I'm not sure what to think of this kid, Darryl," T.K. insisted. "Doesn't he strike you as a little odd?"
"I think he's okay," Patamon said.
Suddenly, a shrill scream cut through the air, and T.K sat upright. "That was Kari!" He jumped to his feet and bolted in the direction they had gone, Gatomon and Patamon at his heels. Once they made it over the hill, T.K. stopped dead in his tracks, taking in the scene before him. Kari was lying on the ground, Darryl standing over her. Light was emanating from Kari, into Darryl's hands. Kari was steadily becoming weaker.
"What the hell—GET AWAY FROM HER!" T.K. bellowed, lunging at Darryl and punching him square in the face. Darryl was thrown backwards by the blow, and T.K. rushed to Kari's side. "Kari, can you hear me? Are you alright?" he demanded.
"T.K…what's going on?" Kari asked faintly. "Darryl—he did something to me—he tried to take my crest power."
"I know, you're okay now," T.K. said firmly, holding her close. He heard Darryl rise to his feet behind him, and whirled around. Darryl was starting to change. His human form melted away, revealing a gruesome skull-like face, and a body shrouded in darkness.
"Who is that?" Gatomon demanded.
"You can call me Reapermon," the being said in Darryl's voice. "I've been watching you Digidestined for years, waiting for this opportunity. I disguised myself as a student, and I must say, your friend is entirely too trusting. I almost had her, until you came along. No matter—I'll destroy the both of you, and take your power." He raised his hand. "LEECH LIGHTNING!"
The air exploded, forming a dark cloud overhead; icy cold tendrils shot from the sky, bearing down on T.K. and Kari.
T.K. stepped in front of Kari, shielding her from harm. "Patamon, Digivolve, now!"
"You got it!" Patamon ran forward. "Patamon Digivolve to…Angemon!" There was a burst of light, and when it cleared, Angemon stood before them. "Reapermon, your days of manipulating people are over."
"We'll see about that," Reapermon growled, directing a tendril of darkness at Angemon.
"Hand of Fate—hyah!" Angemon blocked the attack easily. "Angel Rod!" He swung a yellow staff at Reapermon, striking him in the chest.
"No, it can't be—!" Reapermon wailed, and quickly dissolved in a swirl of data.
"T.K., you did it!" Kari gasped, climbing to her feet and hugging T.K. tightly. "If you hadn't of saved me…I wouldn't be here right now!"
"I'll always look out for you, Kari—you know I love about you," T.K. insisted.
"I love you too," Kari smiled, kissing him gently. "I'm sorry our day together didn't turn out so well."
"Kari, any day I have with you is perfect," T.K. smiled.
Angemon changed back into Patamon. "As much as I love it when you two get all sappy," he quipped, grinning up at his friends. "Can we finish eating now? I'm starving!" His stomach growled, and he turned bright red.
Gatomon groaned, nuzzling Patamon playfully, and both T.K. and Kari burst out laughing.
They wouldn't be forgetting this day anytime soon.