Disclaimer: Geez, at this point do I need to say it?

At long last, the FINAL chapter!!! I have things I really to say, but I'll save all the sentimental (yeah, right) crap for the end of this chapter. Well, there's nothing else to say, but...read on!



From Courage To Love - Epilogue



Tai squinted his eyes, but it was difficult to see anything since this blinding mist totally enveloped him, shortly after he entered the Digital World. As he grew more and more confused, he could swear he heard voices around him. These voices belonged to various digimon (who had just seemed to appear out of nowhere), walking back and forth through this mysterious forest. Tai tried in vain to communicate with them.

"Excuse me, I need...help..."

But none of the creatures seemed to acknowledge his presence, or listen to his words. They appeared to be too wrapped up I their own thoughts. Where am I?!?, Tai wondered curiously.

Nevertheless, Tai continued to wander further, and almost ended up walking into a tree twice. As he tried to deal with the realization of where he was, and whether or not he could leave this place, something interrupted his thoughts. Two different voices seemed to be arguing, and Tai couldn't help but mildly eavesdrop. At this point, he couldn't exactly figure out whom the voices belonged to, but he felt an overwhelming need to discover who it was. Using his ears to guide himself, he made his way to the source of the talking. Coming closer and closer, his eyes began to see two figures talking to each other. Still shrouded in mist, he continued to have trouble making out what they were saying or what they looked like. Neither of the figures took notice of the fact that Tai was approaching until-

*CRACKLE*

Tai accidentally stepped on a twig, breaking it loud enough to catch someone's attention. The two figures jerked their heads up and Tai nervously kept moving forward, the faint dialogue now starting to come in loud and clear.

"Huh, what was that?" asked on of the voices, which was starting to sound a little too familiar to Tai.

The second voice joined in.

"I told you, I don't have all the answers to...oh you meant that," the second voice commented, pointing towards Tai, who decided that enough was enough. By now, he was pretty sure who knew who was talking, but his guess was impossible...wasn't it? He stepped forward one more time, to confirm his suspicions.

Tai was flabbergasted to come face to face with a seemingly real eleven- year old Matt and his Gabumon!

Matt, equally shocked, asked, "No, it can't be! How???"

"I see it, but I don't believe it!" Gabumon said, astounded.

All Matt could do now was look on, completely stunned. And both him and Tai felt the exact same words coming on.

"It's...it's..."

"IT'S YOU!!!" they both shouted simultaneously at each other.

"Matt?!?"

"Tai?!?"

"You're young!"

"You're old!"

Gabumon, however, managed to quickly figure out what was going on, and rushed in between them.

"Matt, Tai...calm down! I can explain."

The two boys sat down n a nearby log. Tai (tried to) explained how he was from four years in the future, then Gabumon explained to Tai about this "Forest of Lost Thought" and how creatures from many, many different time periods can cross paths here (including humans, apparently).

"Well, that makes sense," Tai said, letting everything Gabumon said sink in. "When I came here to the Digital World, I felt so lonely and confused. And before I knew it, I ended up here."

"That's the same with me," Matt began. "We were wandering around the woods...away from Puppetmon, but then suddenly, this blinding mist appeared around us, and here we are."

"Remember what I said, Matt?" Gabumon asked. "Time and space have no meaning here, so it's possible that 'Tai' could very well be from the future."

MAJOR weird, Matt thought.

"So, uh...what exactly are you two doing out here?" Tai asked. "Shouldn't you be with the others?"

Gabumon then tried to explain about the influence that Puppetmon and Cherrymon tried to put over them. It took Tai a second to remember that dreadful incident, causing him to shudder. Then Matt took over the talking.

"...so then I left to "look for myself", y'know? But you should know that, if you really are from the future," Matt said, shooting Tai a suspicious look.

Tai nodded, but maybe for the first time ever, he began to speak as if he were an older, mature adult.

"I can understand, Matt. Really. But you can't just run away from 'our' friends...especially when they need all the help they can get. In other...they need you. Whenever people need me, I try to be there for them whenever I can."

Matt was ready to shout at him. He was ready to Tai that he couldn't possibly know how he, himself, was feeling. But as Matt glanced into Tai's eyes, he could tell that somehow, Tai was telling the truth.

"Look, Matt...I'm not gonna order around, but you should go back and help the others," Tai said. It seemed kind of weird to say what he said, though, since (he THOUGHT) Matt rejoined the accord. But maybe he could help hurry up things a little.

"That seems to be the official theme today," Matt grunted. "Hey, why are you here anyway?"

"Believe me, it's a long and complicated story. Basically, I just have some...issues to work out with Sora...and you."

"Whaddya mean?"

"Forget it...I probably shouldn't even tell you that much. Listen, man...you can do whatever you want. But in the end, you'll be the one to live with the consequences," said Tai firmly, standing up. He felt his head starting to clear up a bit.

Matt slowly and reluctantly nodded. Gabumon put a reassuring hand (paw?) on Matt's shoulder. Matt looked at digimon partner and smiled, for the first time in a while.

"Thanks, Tai," said Matt.

Even though neither Matt nor Gabumon were quite able to see it, Tai swore he saw a "hole" open up in the mist, leading the way out for him.

"Well, I guess this is where I split. Remember what I said, Matt. See ya in the future!"

"Uh, right...later!" Matt replied, still amazed by what just happened.

"Do whatever you want, Matt!" Tai called as he disappeared into the mist.

Something about the encounter struck a chord in Matt. Then he arose, signaling Gabumon to follow him.

"C'mon, Gabumon. We're going back."

"Going back to the others?" Gabumon asked, his hopes up.

"Well, sorta..." Matt said. "Tai's just helped me make a decision...I'm gonna help bring Puppetmon down."

"There you go! That's the spirit!"

"BUT...I'm not quite ready to permanently rejoin them yet."



"Do whatever you want."



Those words kept echoing through Matt's head.

I won't forget what you said Tai, Matt thought.

"I promise."

As Matt walked on, he vowed that somehow he would repay Tai for a this. He wasn't sure how or when he would do it, but it would be done. He also knew it wouldn't be a good idea to leave his friends alone to fight Puppetmon. He was too crafty, tricky, and sly. If Matt couldn't save himself, at least he could try to save the others.

Matt began to look deeper into his thoughts, and wondered why (at the time) he didn't find it odd when Tai said that he had some issues to sort out with himself and Sora. That didn't make sense. Tai and Sora were supposed to be best friends. Himself, he could understand, since him and Tai were constantly butting heads. But Sora? That was something he wasn't expecting Tai to say. Whatever the problem, he hoped that they could work it out. And maybe someday...Courage, Love, and Friendship might be able to simultaneously exist together...in perfect harmony.



(NEVER) THE END

Well, that's it! That's finally the end of this fic! Please keep reviewing my stories! Tell me what you think, especially this one! I wasn't planning to release it so soon, but kay sera, sera! Anyway, I got plenty more fics to work on, so sit tight! I'm going to be working on another Taiora in the far (maybe) future, and just for you Taiora lovers, that one will have MUCH more Taiora mush! And that's a promise! If I go back on my word, then hold my head under water until I stop struggling, okay? Btw, here's a list of upcoming projects...



COMING SOON...

An Alphabet Digi-Crisis (a very SHORT humor fic)

Kari's Missing Hope (a long Takari)

Second Chances For Sora (a long Taiora)

Nothing At All (a short Taiora songfic)



"IFFY" PROJECTS...

Another Song Title Romance (not sure of the coupling for this one...)

Jealous Friends (a Taiora AND Mimato)

Puppy Love (yep, another Taiora)

Return To Digiworld (action/adventure fic)

The Emperor Strikes Back (yeah, another action/adventure fic...maybe)



Phew, there's the list for ya! Tell me if (any of) the titles interest you! Well, once again, thank you for all your reviews and support! I'll see you all in the funny pages! Ciao!