I am so glad I can finally post this!

Here's part 2 of my 'Return to the Digital World' Series: Turning Tides!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Digimon.

CLAIMER: I own (in order of appearance) Lexi, Mitzuki, Kyousuke, Juan, Umeko, and the two mysterious Digimon.

'Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepard. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.' ~ Nehemiah 8:10


"Lexi?" Aunt Mitzuki was rapping loudly on the guest bedroom door. "You awake?" Lexi was awake, but she didn't answer. She hadn't slept all night, and now lay on her bed with her sheets strewn all over the place. So much had happened the previous day, and it'd kept her up all night, thinking.

After getting mugged and losing her purse, she'd received a mysterious text message on her cell phone. It'd instructed her to take a train from Shibuya Station, the local train terminal. There'd only been nine other teens on board. Six of them – Takuya, Tomoki, Izumi, Junpei, and the twins Kouji and Kouichi – all told some crazy tale about monsters and another dimension they'd travelled to, supposedly. Lexi hadn't believed a word of this, until they'd arrived at their destination: the Digital World, the very same alternate dimension from the story. To make things even weirder, they'd encountered a bunch of strange creatures called Digimon that'd insisted she had to help save the universe or something. Oh, and the train could talk, too. Even after she saw Takuya, Kouji, and one of the other kids, Kyousuke, being transformed into magical warriors, she still didn't want any part of it. It just wasn't possible; it wasn't even plausible!

The other three kids' agreeing to join surprised her a little. Not so much Shinya, Takuya's little brother, but Kyousuke and Juan? She'd had Kyousuke pegged as a guy more focused on logic, not insanity. And Juan had nearly wet himself at every turn of the journey; how could he not run away from it like she had? Lexi had only come to Japan to stay with her aunt and uncle for the year. Whatever her so-called 'destiny' was, it was back home in Toronto. Not Japan, and definitely not the Digital World.

"Lexi?"

"Yeah?" she mumbled, still deep in thought.

"Come on, we're going shopping." Shopping. That woke her up. Finally, something to get her mind off this Digital World business!


"It seems that Mantimon was not strong enough to handle the Legendary Warriors. Go, my servant, hunt them down, and bring me their spirits."

A large, monstrous Digimon hissed and slipped into the water, anxious to complete her task.

"But when you have them, bring them to me alive. Then you may do what you wish."


"Lexi, what do you think of this?" This was nerve-wracking, that's what this was. Of all the boutiques in the country, why did Aunt Mitzuki have to take her to this one? Why, why, why? It wasn't that the merchandise was out of style; it was some of the cutest clothing she'd ever seen. The store's location was the problem: it was in a decent neighbourhood, sure, but it was only two blocks away, according to the road map, from a certain meeting she was trying to avoid. What if one of the guys saw her on her way there? They would probably ask if she was coming, or worse, offer to give her a lift. She had a sneaking suspicion Takuya and Junpei would be more than happy to, and the others were just too nice to let her walk all the way there. Then Aunt Mitzuki would probably say something like: "Oh, go on. Hang with your friends, Lexi." And Lexi would be stuck with all of them, making plans for some war in another dimension she wanted nothing to do with.

"Lexi?" Oh yeah. Back to the present. Aunt Mitzuki was holding a green silk skirt, her dark blue, almost black eyes sparkling.

"It's okay," Lexi commented. She would've added more, but she was too distracted right now, something Aunt Mitzuki immediately picked up on.

"What's on your mind, hon?"

"N-nothing, really. I'm just… kind of hungry." It was a total lie – she was still stuffed from breakfast – but it was better than what was really bothering her.

"Well, there's a great café next door. How about we go there?" Lexi silently nodded. Aunt Mitzuki put the skirt back on the rack and led her out. The sky was dull and grey, not exactly lightening her mood. It looked like it was going to rain soon. Lexi hoped it wouldn't; she hated getting wet. To make matters worse, a very familiar black car had pulled up in front of her.


"Let me guess, you're a friend of Izumi's?" Orimoto Umeko asked the sixth teen who'd come to the door. This one was a tall boy with sandy brown hair and eyes. At his surprised nod, she opened the door all the way. "Come on in, they're all upstairs. Just follow the voices." The boy nodded and smiled politely, then dumped his shoes on the mat with all the others and walked up the steps. Grabbing the plate of apple slices she'd prepared for the ever-growing amount of guests, Umeko followed him. She had to admit, she had an ulterior motive for going up there. She didn't like the idea of her teenaged daughter being left alone with six boys.

When she went in, an odd scene was laid out before her. Four of the boys were sitting in a circle on the floor with a map of an unfamiliar area spread out in the middle. Izumi and the boy from down the street, Miura Kyousuke, watched from the bed, lying side-by-side on their stomachs with their feet in the air. Four stuffed animals – which Umeko could almost swear had been moving – were propped up around them.

"Apple slices, anyone?" she asked. Everyone stood up, each thanking her and taking a small handful. The new arrival was held back by Kyousuke and the one who'd arrived driving a beat-up red sportscar with his little brother.

"Hey Junpei," one of the younger ones complained, "save some for the others."

"They'll survive, Tomoki," Junpei said, shrugging and popping the fruit into his mouth one piece at a time.

"Oh, there are more people coming?" Umeko asked, hoping they didn't hear the strain in her voice.

"Yeah. Kouji, Kouichi, and Lexi." Great. Two more boys. At least another girl would be joining them. Still, she was going to have a little chat with Izumi when they all went home.

The doorbell rang again, and Umeko hurried downstairs to answer it. It had to be Kouji and Kouichi, because two more teenaged guys – identical twins, by the looks of it – were waiting on the front step. She forced a smile as she pointed them upstairs. One odd thing she noticed was that as he was going up, one of them, the one with the bandana and the irritated attitude, made a sudden grabbing motion, as if he was wrestling with his backpack. His brother chuckled nervously and carefully pushed him onward. What were they hiding?


Earlier

"You sure this is the right way, Kouichi?"

"For the hundredth time, yes!" Kouichi glanced again at the directions lying beside him. He really had no idea where he was going at all. But he wasn't going to let Kouji know that. His twin was already irritated enough. He hadn't slept well (hell, he didn't get any sleep at all), and they were lost – not to mention ten minutes behind schedule.

Neemon wasn't helping one bit. He kept asking them: "Are we there yet?" Which would've been okay, if he hadn't been asking them every – single – minute. And while Kouichi was having absolutely no trouble holding his temper, effectively zoning the Digimon out by focusing on the road, he knew Kouji was about this close to losing it. "Are we there yet?" And… boom.

"No, we're not! Just stop asking! We'll get there when we get there, got it?" Yep, just like he'd predicted. Luckily Neemon was used to this sort of reaction from Bokomon, so he merely cocked his head curiously. Kouji huffed and crossed his arms. "Nii-san, please tell me we're almost there yet."

"Um…" Kouichi mumbled, "I don't really know." He braced himself for a second explosion, but Kouji just groaned in frustration and tugged his bandana over his eyes.

"Well, wake me up when we are."

A familiar figure caught Kouichi's eye. "Hey, isn't that Lexi?" The redhead was coming out of a nearby store. Twisting the wheel, he pulled up in front of her, rolling down the window.

"K-Kouichi?" she stammered, "Kouji? What are you guys doing here?" A woman with short dark brown hair wandered over.

"Lexi, who are you talking to?" she asked, glancing at the twins.

Lexi rolled her eyes. "Just some people I met yesterday, Aunt Mitzuki. I'll only be a minute, alright?" Mitzuki nodded and went into the café behind them. Lexi glared at the twins. "Look, I'm going to be very clear on this: I don't want anything to do with the stuff that happened yesterday, got it? I'm not coming to your little meeting, and nothing you two say will change my mind."

"What?" Kouichi cried. Kouji shoved his bandanna back out of his face to stare at her. "But you're one of us! This is your destiny!"

"I don't believe in destiny, Kouichi."

"Really?" Kouji interjected, "Up until yesterday, you didn't believe in alternate dimensions, did you?"

"It doesn't matter. Whatever happens in the Digital World is not my problem. If the rest of you want to put yourselves in danger for it, then that's your choice. But don't expect me to get involved." She crossed her arms and marched away.

Kouichi couldn't believe it. After what'd happened the day before, how could she not accept her destiny?

"Hey!" Kouji called after her, "Do you at least know the way? Nii-san here got us lost!"

"Oh, so we're blaming it all on me now, are we?" Kouichi commented. Kouji gave him a look that plainly said: 'Duh!' Lexi pointed in one direction over her shoulder before going inside. It was the direction the boys had just come from. Kouichi turned the car around and took a look at the street sign on the next corner. "Oh, there's Argyle Street!"Kouji felt a bit relieved when they'd finally found Izumi's house. It was easy to spot with Junpei's pickup and Takuya's car parked out front. However, he was still pretty agitated, from Neemon's whining and Kouichi getting them lost, but it was mostly Lexi that bugged him. Did she really think she could just walk away from all this?


Izumi's mom answered the door politely and pointed the twins up to Izumi's room. She nearly spotted Neemon sticking his head out of Kouji's backpack – to say hello, unbelievably – but Kouji shoved him back in quickly enough. "We are never babysitting Neemon again," he announced as he entered Izumi's room. Everyone looked up in mild surprise.

"Jeez, Kouji," Takuya commented, "Looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning."

"Actually, that's not true. I didn't even go to bed last night. Neemon kept us up all night, saying he was hungry. He even tried to sneak downstairs a couple times!" Kouichi nodded, having only gotten three hours of sleep himself. "Then on the drive here, he kept asking if we were there yet. He started before we even left the driveway!" Kouji sat down between Tomoki and Juan, who wisely scooted away. "And to top it all off, we got lost, and then we ran into Lexi, who says she's not even coming!" He took a deep breath, having finished his tirade.

"So…" Izumi began carefully, "Did Lexi say why she isn't coming?"

"She says she doesn't want any part in this whole thing," Kouichi explained, "Apparently, she doesn't believe in destiny."

"Is she serious?" Takuya asked, "Or is she just crazy? She can't just run away from all this!"

"We can talk about that later," Bokomon interrupted, "Right now, we have to discuss our plans for the future."

"Right," Shinya agreed, "We don't need her, anyway."

"I wouldn't take it that far, boy." He sighed. "You remind me of your brother when this began. Trust me, he and Kouji didn't like each other one bit."

"You got that right," Kouji added, remembering all their countless arguments.

Izumi got up off the bed and walked over to her desk, doing her best not to step on anyone. She fished around in one of the drawers until producing a sheet of stickers. "Now, I know these are a bit kiddie," she apologized, "but they'll have to do." She sat down by Bokomon's map of the Digital World. "Okay, now which one's Flame Terminal?" When Bokomon pointed it out, she stuck three happy-face stickers around the spot, red, white, and brown. "These represent the Human Spirits of Flame, Light, and Earth."

"And we found the Human Spirit of Ice in the Candlemon Gorge," Tomoki added, prodding a nearby area. Izumi placed a green smiley-face there. "The Wind Spirit was at Breezy Village, and the Thunder Spirit was at the Wind Factory." A pink sticker and a yellow one were stuck on their respective points.

"Where's the Forest Terminal again?" Kouji asked, "I remember there were three Best Spirits around the nearby cove."

"But it's so big," Junpei complained, "We don't have time to search the entire cove."

"Maybe we should just get the ones we already know about?" Juan shyly suggested, "And worry about the other Spirits later?"

"Good idea," Takuya announced, "We'll go for the closest ones to Flame Terminal first, since for all we know, that spot may be the only passage between our world and the Digital World. Now all we need to do is work out a time."

"How about now?" Junpei suggested, "I've got nothing better to do today." A chorus of agreements came up from the others.

"Then it's settled. We're going back to the Digital World!"


Just so you know, I'm not trying to portray Kouji as a guy with anger management issues. He just didn't get any sleep, and that can make even the nicest person into a total crab. I personally think this is my longest chapter - no, wait... the chapters in my 'Shadow or Light? Continuation' were longer. The story was longer, and it was only divided into three chapters instead of four.

"We must cherish our inheritance. We must preserve our nationality for the youth of our future." ~ Loius Riel.