So then, I had a reason for writing this...
Even once you set aside the obvious examples, (Ken, Owikawa, TK, Matt...) it's obvious that nobody who was ever a Digidestined is going to be entirely right in the head. Not after the experiences they've had. They're kids. Thirteen at their oldest, eight at their very youngest, and yet their daily life is interspersed with battles, violence, destruction and outright wars. Hence, this story came about – a glimpse into the minds of the 02 Digidestined. I'll try not to be too incredibly weird.
NB: I'm using the dub names. Because frankly I grew up watching the dub. I remember the dub. I do not remember the exact honorific's and original Japanese language used by every character in the series and frankly I'm not gonna try. Like it or lump it, you get dub terminology from here on out.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the fine line
between sanity and madness gotten finer?"
Cody never smiles in the Dojo.
A quiet voice inside of him tells him he's not supposed to smile. The thing in his hands is a weapon. Sure, it might be made of bamboo now but one day, when he's older, it'll be sharpened steel, and wearing a grin on your face which you're waving something like that around wreaks of Arukenimon's Chaos and Old-Ken's insanity and...
Well. It just doesn't feel appropriate, is all.
Actually the sharpened steel doesn't feel appropriate in general. Sharpened steel kills things as efficiently as a Justice Beam or a well placed kachina bomb.
Cody Hida is only eleven years old, but he already knows what it feels like to kill something. Or at least, to watch it die because he gave the instruction that allowed it. It doesn't make much difference to him. Death is death, whether or not there's a body life behind and whether or not you're dealing with something good or bad.
He tried explaining this to his grandfather and... Grandfather understood that much, because Grandfather understands that people die unfair ways. That's just the way the world is. Grandfather can see that there really isn't much difference between a body made of data and one made of flesh and bone. But Grandpa also knows a lot about honour and duty and Doing What Has To Be Done. He finds death a little bit easier to tolerate when he thinks it stands for something.
Cody figures that grandpa knows a lot of things that only old people can really comprehend.
In his memories, dad is always smiling, like in the picture above the family shrine. Cody finds it hard to imagine his father ever not wearing a cheerful, un-police-like grin. Maybe he even died that way. The dreams he has are full of images like that: of his father smiling as he falls. MarineDevimon is tearing a hospital out of the ground and swallowing it and all it's patients whole, except that Cody's father is there and he's not dying bravely and heroically like in grandfather's story: he's dying as he falls from the roof of the torn out hospital and into MarineDevimon's gaping jaws with a thousand bamboo-cane teeth, and Cody is watching him fall, unable to do anything because TK isn't here and as soon as Shakkoumon realises that, he's going to de-digivolve and send Patamon and Armadillomon tumbling into the open jaws too. Or maybe TK is there and he's just so chock full of anger that he can't look Cody in the eye and then that anger will get him killed because he'll charge into things without thinking and the first death Cody sees will be his DNA partner, lying broken in a wingless Angemon's arms. Or maybe it's Shakkoumon who's falling and his dad is already on the ground, still smiling like the photograph, data flowing where there should be blood and a bamboo sword through his ribcage...
The dreams are always vague and messed up and by the time he wakes up sweating and trying to catch his breath, Cody can't even remember who died this time. Only that somebody did, and that they were smiling the whole time.
Cody is an intelligent eleven year old. He can work out junior crosswords without a dictionary and can find his way by starlight, in both this world and the digital one. But he is an eleven year old, nonetheless, and while eleven probably doesn't seem like a great deal to an adult, it means a lot more when it's the difference between middle school and junior high. The difference between holding a sword and holding a lump of wood. The difference between calling something a bad dream and a nightmare. Experience. It all comes down to experience.
So Cody never smiles inside the dojo.
It feels too much like tempting fate.