Litanya: Firstly and most importantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY STEPH! This fic is dedicated completely to you =). Thank you for being so supportive of everything I've done over the years (yes, including Friday night lol). Enjoy being 21... It's a lot of fun =).
I don't own Digimon. The title of this fic comes from the song that inspired it, Untitled by Simple Plan, which I don't own either.
Chapter One: Homecoming
"You know, I've missed this," Hikari looked up at Yamato, who was looking around the room, a small smile on his face. He looked content. She knew the reason why. Around her sat six of her closest friends, half of whom she hadn't seen in a few months. This was the first time in those months that the six of them had been together. She had missed them, and it wasn't hard to make the connection that they all felt the same.
Yamato was not the only one looking around the room with a contented smile. Takeru, Hikari's fiancé and Yamato's younger brother, was grinning, his eyes sparkling. He had missed his brother very much over the past few months- Yamato had been on tour with his band and had only been able to drop by to visit a few times- and so she knew that he was happy now his brother was home.
Mimi and her husband Jyou had been chatting away with their best friend Koushiro for the better part of the afternoon. Koushiro had been very busy travelling around the world, making international ties for his computer company. His company was growing so fast that it made Hikari dizzy whenever he tried to show her the countries he had built offices in.
Sora was the only one who didn't seem to be totally relaxed. Hikari had an idea why. Sora had never really looked at ease with the group for years, ever since Hikari's older brother Taichi had left. Taichi had been Sora's best friend since forever.
Before, whenever the eight friends had met up, they had always split into three groups. Hikari and Takeru were one group, Mimi, Jyou and Koushiro were another and Sora, Taichi and Yamato had made up the other group. But then Yamato and Sora had started dating, and Taichi had started to act a little strangely, distancing himself away from everyone. Sora hadn't noticed until after high school had finished, when Taichi had announced that he was going to be studying overseas. Hikari was the only one who received any letters, e-mails or phone calls from him after he left. That was when Sora started to blame herself for him leaving.
Yamato and Sora had broken up around a year after Taichi had left, and that only seemed to make it worse. When Yamato and Sora had been together, then Sora at least still felt comfortable there. But she and Yamato hadn't exactly broken up on the best of terms, and even though they now got along very well, Hikari knew that Sora would never really feel at ease in the group for a long time. Sora still talked and joked with everyone, it was just that she seemed to feel as though the group wasn't complete, and that it was her fault that it wasn't.
"Yeah, I think we've all missed this," Hikari was pulled out of her thoughts by Koushiro's comment.
"It feels like old times again, you know, when we all used to get together after school and catch up and complain about homework you know," Mimi beamed as if she could see back in time.
"Have you heard from Taichi lately Hikari?" Yamato asked. He knew that Mimi could pretend that this was like when they were back at high school, with them all meeting up, but every time he thought back to that time, it hurt. Taichi had been his best friend throughout high school and Sora had been his girlfriend for the last year of it. Those were some of the best days of his life. He loved his band and his current girlfriend of two years, but he always missed Taichi and Sora at times like this. Yes, he and Sora were back on speaking terms again, but she was always so careful about what she said around him that they would never be as close as best friends again. It really hurt him whenever he thought about it.
"He actually called me the other day. He's going pretty well," Hikari kept it vague.
Taichi had made it pretty clear that he didn't want her to tell everyone about his life, and though she disagreed with his reasons, she had to honour his wishes. Her brother had had a hard time during high school. She still didn't know all of the details, but something had happened to him that had sent him spiralling into depression and he had never been quite the same since. Her parents had never told her what had happened, but she knew that it had been very serious. Yamato, Sora and the others hadn't seemed to notice. Her brother was a very good actor, but Hikari knew that it was the fact that his so-called best friends hadn't noticed his change in behaviour that had made her brother leave.
"Why doesn't he want to talk to us?" Sora asked, her suddenly intense stare aimed at the younger girl. Hikari shifted a little guiltily. It was hard to believe, having been seven years since her brother had left, that this was the first time anyone other than Takeru had asked her that. Takeru knew everything Hikari knew now- he was the only one that Taichi had allowed her to tell everything to.
Hikari jumped as her phone suddenly started to vibrate in her pocket. She wrestled it out of her pocket, smiling apologetically at the others. The timing of the phone call could not have been better as far as she was concerned. It had gotten her out of answering a tough question.
"Sorry, I'm expecting a call from my boss," but even as she said the words, she knew that it wasn't her boss who was calling, "Hello," she said into her phone.
"Hello this is Toki Sato from Odaiba General Hospital. I'm looking for a Hikari Kamiya. Do I have the right number?" Hikari froze for a second at the word hospital. Why would they be looking for her? As far as she knew, her brother and niece were in Australia and the only other people she was close to were in the room with her. She decided that it was probably about some left over paperwork from when her grandmother had died the year before, or something like that. They would have called her because her parents were on a round-the-world tour and couldn't be contacted. It wasn't anything she should be worried about.
"Yeah, this is her. What can I help you with?" there was a short pause on the other end. It reminded her a little of the time when she had gotten the call about her grandmother passing away. It sounded like whoever was on the other end was gearing up to give out bad news.
"I'm really sorry to inform you that your brother Taichi and your niece Tamika have been involved in a car accident. Your niece has sustained only minor injuries and will be released today. Your brother is listed as being in surgery," Hikari didn't really hear anything after the word accident. They must have gotten the wrong person. Taichi was overseas...why would a hospital in Odaiba be calling her about something like this?
"Uh... which hospital are they at?" this comment got her the attention of everyone in the room, who had been having a quiet conversation during the phone call. Takeru immediately could tell that something was wrong, just by how pale his fiancée had become.
"Odaiba General Hospital," was the steady reply. Hikari shook her head.
"No, no you must have the wrong person. My brother has been overseas for the past seven years. I talked to him two days ago and he was still in Australia. He can't be in Odaiba," but her voice was shaking because she knew that it wasn't impossible for him to have come to Japan. He had mentioned the other day that he would have to come and surprise her with a visit sometime soon. It was quite possible that he had already planned to surprise her with a visit this week. But she really, really didn't want to believe it at this moment.
"Oh... okay. The Taichi Kamiya we have here is listed to have a younger sister Hikari who is twenty-two, and both his parents, Susumu and Yuuko, are away overseas. Tamika, Taichi's daughter, is five years old and from the information we have here, she was born in Melbourne, Australia. I know that we may have the wrong person, but we got your number directly from Taichi's mobile phone and I'm really sorry about all of this, but we'll need you to come down to the hospital anyway just to make sure," the hospital receptionist seemed to be very nervous, but Hikari wasn't really paying much attention. All of the information the receptionist had given described her brother. The fact that they had gotten her number off of his phone only seemed to make it concrete. Her brother was in hospital.
"I-I'll be right there," she hung up the phone without realising and stared at it for a few moments.
"Hikari, is everything alright?" Takeru asked her quietly, drawing her attention away from her phone. She stood up suddenly, needing to move. The hospital. She had to get to the hospital, "Hikari?" He was definitely worried.
"You know how Taichi said he'd have to come out here and surprise us one day soon? Well, he must have decided to do that," she was babbling, she knew that she was, but she couldn't seem to stop herself, "We have to go to the hospital. Apparently he and Tami were in an accident and Tami isn't really injured but Taichi's in surgery and I don't know how injured he is because they wouldn't tell me and we really need to go so then we can stay with Tami and... We really need to go!" Takeru was already hurriedly pulling his keys from his pocket, having deciphered the rapid babbling.
"Taichi's in hospital?" Yamato asked, after a beat, having finally realised what Hikari was so upset about. Hikari glanced at him quickly before grabbing her bag and her coat.
"We'll see you guys later. Sorry for rushing out," and before anyone could say anything else, Hikari and Takeru had gone.
When Hikari and Takeru arrived at the hospital, they were directed to wait while the doctor treating Hikari's niece was paged. Hikari couldn't stop moving. Takeru had made her sit down so she couldn't pace, so instead she played with her fingers until he grabbed her hands. Then she had to settle for jiggling her leg.
"Miss Kamiya?" a young female doctor with long blond hair hanging to her shoulders called from the door to the small waiting area. Hikari jumped up immediately, with Takeru a step behind her. The doctor motioned for them to follow her down a short corridor and they stopped outside of a small room, "I'm Dr. Sasaki. I looked after Tamika when she came in after the accident." The doctor held out her hand.
"I'm Hikari and this is my fiancé Takeru. Is my niece okay?" Hikari shook the doctor's hand, aware that it would be impolite not to.
"Tamika only sustained cuts and bruises in the accident. She was strapped into her child seat correctly and that saved her from serious injury. Whilst she is okay physically however, she appears to be very quiet and withdrawn. Is this normal behaviour for her?" Hikari sighed in relief when she heard that Tami was okay, but she had no idea what Tami's 'normal' behaviour was.
Hikari had never actually met her niece in person. Taichi had been so busy trying to finish university and find a job to support Tami that he had never really had time to come back to Japan, and Hikari had never been able to afford to go over to Australia and see them. Her parents had gone over a couple of times, and she had been planning to go with them one day, but she had had university and work both times her parents had managed to get tickets. She had felt really bad about not visiting him, so she had made sure that they stayed in close contact via the phone. She had talked to Tami practically once a week since Tami had turned three, but she was in no position to guess at what Tami's normal behaviour was.
"I've never actually seen Tami in person... my brother has lived in Australia for the past seven years and I wasn't able to get to visit him for various reasons. He told me a couple of days ago that one of these days he was going to fly back home and surprise me but I didn't know that he was planning to come out here now... Can I see Tami now? Maybe she is just nervous around strangers or something?" She felt Takeru squeeze her hand and she had never been so happy to have him standing beside her. She knew that if the worst happened she could count on him to help her through this.
"Alright, she's just in here. She's been very quiet. We're not really sure whether it is because as strangers we are scaring her or if she has been traumatised due to the accident. It was a fairly serious accident and according to the paramedics she was calling out for her father when they arrived. He was unconscious at the scene and so was unable to answer her. That is extremely distressing for a child and so it is very likely that her withdrawn state is a way that her mind is trying to protect her from what is happening," Dr. Sasaki paused as Hikari seemed to lose the little colour she had maintained.
"Taichi... my brother. Do you know how my brother is?" hearing that he had been unconscious and unable to respond to Tami had reminded her that her brother was seriously injured. Takeru put his spare hand on her elbow, as if ready to grab her if she lost her balance. She had to admit that that was definitely a possibility.
"I'm sorry but I don't have the details. I do know that he is in surgery but other than that I have no news on his condition. I will get his doctor to come here with any news as soon as he can. You and Tamika can stay here until we have news for you and then I will check Tami out before signing her out. If you have any questions just ask someone at the desk to page me and I will come as soon as possible," Hikari forced herself to take a deep breath and forced a weak smile.
"Thank you for your help," Dr. Sasaki nodded once before she turned and left down the corridor. She didn't want to interrupt the family reunion. Hikari closed her eyes for a second before opening the door.
The room was painted white, like most hospitals, but there were a few pictures of cartoon animals on the wall. Hikari guessed that this room was one that children were brought into to try to keep them calm. There were two beds in the room, but one lay unoccupied, the covers undisturbed. The girl that Hikari guessed had to be Tami was lying on the bed closest to the window. Hikari was torn between emotions. She was really happy that she finally got to meet her niece, but she really wished that it could have been under different circumstances. She was worried about Taichi and she was also curious as to why they had been in Odaiba. In short, she was feeling way too many different emotions and she wished fervently that she could turn back time and stop the accident from happening.
Tami looked tiny on the bed. She had long, straight brown hair which seemed almost red in the light from the window. She was facing the window so Hikari couldn't see her face, but her skin was deeply tanned and freckles were spotted all over her arms. There was a particularly red looking area on her left arm which Hikari assumed was from the crash. It would probably turn into a deep bruise. The little girl didn't seem to notice their entrance.
"Tami?" at the sound of her name the girl whirled around, her hazel eyes wide with surprise.
"Aunty 'Kari! Uncle 'Keru!" Tami flung herself off the bed and raced to her aunt, her arms wide. Hikari barely had time to open her own arms before the girl wrapped her in an overly-enthusiastic hug that almost knocked her over. Hikari tightened her arms around Tami and closed her eyes, overcome by the conflicting emotions she was feeling. Tami pulled away after a few minutes and opened her arms towards Takeru, who obediently accepted the little girl's hug.
"How are you feeling Tam-Tam?" he asked, noticing that his fiancée needed a minute or two before she could speak.
Tami surprised him by burying her head in between his shoulder and his neck, her shoulders shuddering. A few seconds later he could feel her tears. He carefully wrapped his arms around her and stood up slowly until he was carrying her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and continued to cry, her tears almost silent. He felt a little helpless. Two of the most important females in his life were really upset and there was nothing he could do to fix it. He bowed his head so that his forehead was touching the top of Tami's head and closed his eyes.
"It's going to be okay Tami. Shh... It'll be okay," he knew better than to promise the girl that Taichi would be fine. He had no idea how severe his future brother-in-law's injuries were and things could go wrong. He didn't want the first thing he said to his future niece in person to be a lie. Hikari finally seemed to snap out of whatever gloom her thoughts had fallen into. She straightened and watched Takeru comfort Tami for a moment before reaching over to stroke Tami's hair. Her mother had done that whenever she had been upset as a young girl, and she knew that it was very calming. Tami's tears seemed to be slowing down and her breathing was evening out as though she was about to fall asleep.
"Are you alright to hold her for a little while longer?" Hikari asked Takeru, knowing that he hadn't had much experience with holding young children. He opened his eyes and lifted his head. She could see the tears in his eyes as surely as she knew that there were tears in her own.
"I'll be fine. When she's asleep I'll put her on the bed. How are you holding up?" the concern for her in his voice almost made the tears in her eyes fall. She was so lucky that she had such a great fiancé. He really understood her.
"I just want to know that Taichi is going to be okay. Or, better yet, I want someone to jump through the door laughing, telling me that this is all one big joke. I mean, Taichi has had a hard enough time as it is, without this happening. He just wanted to come home for a visit and he has to be in an accident? Doesn't that sound just a little unfair to you? Why couldn't this have happened to someone who deserved to be hurt, instead of my brother? Taichi hasn't done anything to anyone and yet he always ends up hurt. I just want him to be okay and for something to go right for him for once!" she put her head on the shoulder Tami wasn't occupying and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. Tami had fallen quiet now except for her deep breathing, signifying that she was asleep, but Takeru didn't want to put her down. Instead he moved so that he was sitting on the edge of Tami's bed, with Tami in his lap and Hikari on his right.
"It'll be okay Hikari. I know this is really unfair, but we'll get through this. We have to believe that," she didn't reply, but she reached out and stroked Tami's hair as they continued to wait for word on Taichi's condition.
To be continued...
Litanya: I must confess that I haven't written in a long time before recently, so I hope this flows and makes sense. I hope you enjoyed it and happy birthday again Steph. Thanks for being a great friend over these long years. Friday was really fun and I hope you had a great night. I will hopefully post the next chapter soon =)