Rain pattered against the window. The water streaked down the glass, and every drop that hit it seemed to echo through the empty apartment. Eventually, the sound of the rain pierced Davis' sleep, and forced him to wake up from his midday nap. He hadn't left Yamato's house or even thought about going back to school yet, and no one visited until the afternoon, so he spent the morning asleep in hopes that it would help him recover. Today, however, the rain was just too loud, so he sat up, the blankets that had been covering him pooling around his waist and exposing his bandage covered torso. Yamato kept changing the bandages, but he said they wouldn't be off for a long while. Davis' brown eyes glanced over at DemiVeemon, who was curled up next to where his head had been on the pillow. He smiled slightly, but then looked down at the bandages and gave a sigh. Glimpses of his own memory had been slipping back to him in dreams, but he still couldn't put together much of what had happened to him. He remembered the words the Kaiser had said to him that very first night he was gone, but he couldn't remember where they were or even why the talk had even started. He just remembered the Kaiser's words, his voice. He heard those words in his head with no visuals to couple them, except for the occasional glimpse of a triumphant, twisted smile. Davis grit his teeth as he recalled the words. The Kaiser said he'd be his friend, Davis remembered that the clearest. He said he'd be his friend because Davis had no other friends. Was it a lucky guess? The boy wished his thoughts didn't always wander to this after he woke up. He leaned forward on his knees and stared down at the sheets with a tired sigh.
TK was fumbling for the key to his dad and brother's apartment while trying to not let the umbrella get blown over the railing. On top of all the rain, there were powerful gusts of wind as well. He wasn't even going to let Patamon try flying. The small Digimon would get blown miles away in a minute. Finally he pushed the door open with his shoulder and stumbled inside. The umbrella hadn't done a whole lot of good as his shorts were dripping on the floor and soaked socks slipped from his shoes. "Davis?" Mr. Ishida worked so often that it didn't matter they were harboring the boy in the apartment. Yamato usually had band practice or dates with Tai, so TK always made sure to come visit him. "Man, it is pouring outside," TK commented as he went to fetch a towel.
At first, Davis didn't respond. The apartment was silent as TK dried off himself and Patamon. The Digimon's big orange ears twitched, listening carefully to the sounds of the apartment. But he couldn't hear much over the rain beating against the windows, or with the towel wrapped around him. "Maybe he's still asleep," the little Digimon offered.
"Maybe." TK nodded. "But I have to make sure he's had something to eat today." The young blond went into his brother's room where Davis was staying. He was surprised to see the boy already sitting up and wide awake. "Davis?" he said with a frown. "Didn't you hear me come in?"
Davis seemed to have been lost in his thoughts until TK spoke his name. His eyes glanced over at the doorway and he seemed surprised to see the blond standing there. "Huh? Oh, no, I didn't. Sorry," he said quickly, lifting his hand to rub at the side of his head.
TK came in to sit next to Davis. "You okay?" he asked while inspecting the bandages for blood marks. "Have you had anything to drink the past few hours? You need to stay hydrated."
Davis shook his head. "Just thinking. And no, I just got up..." he said, letting out a breath as he shifted a bit, not really liking TK inspecting his bandages like that. "I'm fine, though."
Despite those words, TK went to the kitchen and got them both a glass of water. He came back and resumed his place on the floor, handing the drink over. "Davis, are you okay?" he asked again, but with a different inflection in his tone.
"I'm fine," Davis repeated, looking down into the glass of water. He watched the water move slightly when his hands shifted along its outside before taking a drink, and then his eyes went back to the shakily held glass. "Really, I was just thinking about a dream I had, that's all."
TK tilted his head slightly. "Wanna talk about it?"
"It was just the same as they have been," Davis said with a shrug. "I dreamt about what happened. Well, what I remember of what happened. Y'know."
"Stuff he said?" TK asked carefully.
"Yeah," Davis said quietly with a nod, rubbing his fingers along the outside of the glass. "I don't really remember what happened, just the... stuff he said."
"Which you know..." TK went on, still carefully, "wasn't at all true." Davis glanced over at TK at that, but just let out a quick exhale and took another drink from his water. He didn't answer. "Davis. Davis, you know none of it was true. He lied to you so he could trick you," TK insisted. "Why would you believe anything that dirt bag said?"
Davis was quiet for a moment, before he looked over at the other boy. "When I was a kid... well, I am a kid, but when I was littler than now," he started in a sort of fumbling manner. "Anyway, I was pretty popular, y'know? I had a lot of friends." He bit his lip slightly, looking at the ceiling. "I mean, I thought I did."
TK looked back into Davis' tan face. "Well, it's not like that hasn't changed. You've got all of us now. I'd say that's a nice group of friends, right?" He tried to offer a smile. "Plus some of the soccer team players must be buddies with you. You've got a great personality, Davis. I don't see how anyone wouldn't be drawn to you."
Davis just shook his head at that, glancing back upwards. "I overheard them talking one day. I realized that they all said terrible things about me behind my back, but acted like my friends when I was actually around." He offered TK a sort of sad smile. "I don't think you guys do that, but... I always wonder now if people dislike me but just don't say it."
The blond frowned. "That just makes them sucky people, Davis. You're better off without them. I can promise you that none of us ever say that kind of stuff. If we ever talk about it, it's because we miss you and wish you were around to make us laugh." TK smiled again and touched Davis' shoulder. "I said this to my brother, but I want to tell you too. You remind me a lot of Taichi, Davis. You have so much energy and optimism. It's your loud obnoxious humor that keeps a smile on our faces. Sure, sometimes you can be annoying, but so was Tai. Everyone gets on everyone's nerves sometimes, but that doesn't mean we stop liking each other. Davis, to be honest, I don't know where we would be without you."
Davis smiled, nodding slightly. "Thanks, TK. I believe you, really, and it really helps to hear you say that. But it's... not really about that." He shrugged his shoulders, looking back into his glass. "It's a fear, y'know? You can't have it explained away like that. It happened when I was little, and no matter how many times people tell me it isn't true, it's just lodged in my brain and I can't get it out. Even if you tell me I have friends, it's just... always there to haunt me."
TK nodded. "I understand. I think we've all been there, one way or another. When I was little, I had this big scare that Yamato had left me all alone and that he wouldn't be my big brother anymore. I found out later it was a lie, but it put the thought in my head. Now there's a little part of me that's always afraid Yamato won't want anything to do with me anymore. He always insists it isn't true, but... A fear is a fear." He squeezed Davis' shoulder. "Just know... We aren't going anywhere, okay?"
Davis finally looked back at the blond and nodded, a grin reappearing on his face that finally looked like an expression Davis should be wearing instead of the sullen look he'd had on. "Yeah, okay," he said with a laugh. "Sorry about that, TK. It just... got to me."
"Hey, don't worry about it. It's okay to feel that way sometimes. Just talk to somebody. I'm always here, and so is Kari. Cody might be kind of young, and I'm sure Yolei could give good advice in a pinch. We're all here for you Davis, because we know you're there for us too." Soon TK's grin was matching his friend's. "I think my bro might have some ice cream in the freezer. You want some?"
"Yeah, that sounds good!" Davis said with a laugh as he tried to dispel the heavy feeling that had hung in the air just moments before. He obviously did not like being too deep or caught up in his emotions for very long. Davis just didn't function like that.
TK laughed as well. "Okay. I'll be right back."
DemiVeemon had stirred awake when Davis laughed so loudly. He rubbed at his big red eyes with his tiny blue paws, and then he looked up at his boy. "You look a lot better, Davis," he squeaked happily.
Davis looked down at the Digimon, grinning and picking him up. "Yeah, much better. I guess all that rest was what I needed." He gingerly touched the healing scratches that crossed his face, but shook his head and instead started scratching behind his Digimon's ear. "How about you, how're you doing?"
"I'm doing really good now that you're better," DemiVeemon answered as he turned his head into the scratching.
"You're the best, DemiVeemon," Davis said, before he smirked and ran his hand down to the Digimon's white belly, tickling him.
DemiVeemon squealed in delight, falling back and wriggling while he laughed. TK could be heard chuckling as he walked into the room. He had two small white bowls with two scoops of chocolate vanilla swirl in each. "It's good to see DemiVeemon smiling again."
Davis laughed when his Digimon did, finally letting up when DemiVeemon needed to catch his breath. "Yeah," he agreed, as he took his bowl from TK. "I felt really bad seeing him so sad these past couple of days. I felt bad for worrying all you guys, actually," he added, as he promptly scooped a big spoonful of ice cream into his mouth. "How long did you say I was gone?" he asked with his mouth full and the spoon still held between his lips. "Two weeks?"
TK nodded. "Yeah, give or take a day. We had a problem giving your parents an excuse this time." He got some ice cream on his spoon and then let Patamon suck on the dairy treat. "I told them the soccer team had gone on a field retreat out at some special camp. I even wrote fake letters and put them in your parents' mailbox."
"I can't thank you enough," Davis sighed, the spoon making a gentle clinking sound as he still neglected to remove it from his mouth while he talked. "If you didn't do that, they would have flipped out. The last thing I need to do is try to explain all of this to my parents."
"We didn't tell our parents at first either. We worked really hard to keep our Digimon a secret for the short time we were at home. Soon enough the Digital World met the real world, though. There was so much chaos going on that I don't think our parents had time to think about us being involved in all of it. No one freaked out or got mad. Some of our parents were sad when we left again, but mostly they were proud of us." TK laughed. "How can you punish your kid for saving the world twice, right?"
"Yeah, good point," Davis said, laughing slightly as finally took another scoop of the ice cream. He also put the bowl down so Chibimon could have some. "It must have been pretty freaky for you guys... to be in the Digital World without being able to leave," Davis said after a moment, sounding pensive as the words left his lips. "I can't imagine what it'd be like to live there all the time, for such a long time... it probably put you guys on edge, huh?"
TK nodded his head from side to side. "Well... Yes and no. It was overwhelming to be in a place we knew nothing about, but once we got used to it... It was almost kind of fun. Nothing was what we expected. It was sometimes frustrating when something wasn't what it appeared to be, like phonebooths that told you recipies for cupcakes rather than make actual phone calls. But then there were the times when cool stuff happened, like streets signs growing from trees, or finding chocolate bars in mailboxes in the middle of the woods. Really, what it came down to, was you had to learn to enjoy it, or the Digital World would drive you insane."
"Insane... yeah," Davis said with a nod, leaning back on his hands. "It's a pretty crazy place. I'm pretty glad we can work the Digital Gate and go back and forth..." he smirked slightly, covering up the pensive look he'd had a moment ago. "I mean, I'm sure I could have handled being stuck there, but I dunno about Cody and Yolei."
"People can surprise you," TK insisted. "No one thought Kari or I could survive the Digital World, and we were even younger than Cody at the time. Joe started off being scared of everything, but he braved up as time went on. Mimi was really spoiled and not at all the working type, but even she managed to pull her own weight." The blond boy smiled. "See... the Digital World has a way of bringing all this strength out of you that you didn't know you had. It changes you. All of us grew and became better people thanks to our adventure there. We started off as seven random kids from summer camp, and then came out as one of the closest group of friends you'll ever find. That's why you shouldn't worry so much either, Davis. No one else knows what it's like for you now. The four of us are the only ones who really understand. We need each other to get through this." TK laughed next. "We'll be so close, you'll be sick of us."
Davis listened intently to what the blond had to say, until he also laughed at the end. He opened his mouth to say something, when he suddenly hissed and put his hand over the bandages on his stomach. "Oh, man..." he groaned. "I've been laughing too much today," he joked quietly as he moved his hand away to expose a blood stain that was soaking through the white bandages.
Blue eyes widened slightly. "Oh... Oh man." As TK scrambled through the first-aid kit, DemiVeemon was in Davis's lap and fretting over the bleeding. He rubbed his tiny paws on the boy's hand trying to get the blood off. "Okay. I think I know what to do," TK said. He unwrapped the bandages that were there and put them to the side. Next he took up a square piece of thick gauze and pressed it to Davis's stomach, the other hand on his back. "We have to get it to stop before putting new bandages on or else they'll just soak through, too."
"Right," Davis agreed quietly, groaning when the blond pressed against the reopened wound. While the thin ones on his back had healed up very quickly, though leaving the promise of scars, this one had seemed to refuse to heal. The place where the glass shard had been jammed into his stomach reopened every time he spent too much time talking or laughing or doing much of anything. But still, the only bandages that had never been soaked through were the ones on one of his arms, and he didn't even remember what kind of wound was hidden under them. Finally, the bleeding stopped, and Davis let out a small sigh as TK began to rewrap his stomach in bandages.
TK was silent as he worked. He wrapped Davis carefully and meticulously, like he'd seen his brother do. Band-aids he was good with on his own, but actual bandages were harder. Yamato had instructed TK to not remove the bandage on Davis' arm. The older blond only unwrapped it at night when Davis was sleeping to apply a burn salve. It was working well and hopefully the scar would fade into almost nothing. The kid had enough other markings on him that he didn't need to worry about a spiral shaped burn. After tucking the end into the seam, TK sighed and said very quietly, "I'm sorry, Davis."
"Don't apologize, it's not your fault," Davis said, grinning again for TK. "I mean, it happens sometimes," he said, resisting the urge to pick at the bandages, which he often did sometimes, much to Yamato's annoyance. "I'd rather have a good time and need to put on new bandages than just, like, not laugh or talk or anything."
He shook his head. "No... I don't mean that. I mean... I mean all of this."
"Hm?" Davis hummed, looking confused. "Why're you sorry?"
"I feel like I let you down," TK admitted guiltily. "My brother was always there to take care of Tai. If Tai got hurt, Yamato was there to fix him. If Tai was in trouble, Yamato was there to help him. Even save him a couple of times. I can't even protect you from some kid our own age." He sighed, not looking up, but rather tugging on a thread on his shorts. "I know the relationship you and I have isn't the same as theirs, but I still feel like I could do a better job of being there for you. My brother can do it, so why can't I? I should have done more. I mean, I don't know what I could have done, but... I still should have done it. You're my friend, Davis. I shouldn't have let this happen."
"You couldn't have helped it, TK," Davis said, shaking his head. "You know that there's nothing you could have done, and... the Kaiser's really different than anything you guys have faced before. You said it yourself." He reached out, and now it was his turn to clap a hand on TK's shoulder. "I just appreciate you and your brother taking care of me like this. You couldn't have stopped it, but if it weren't for you, I'd probably still be lost in the Digital World."
TK glanced up at Davis. "Yeah?"
"'Course," Davis responded with a grin. "You're a great friend, TK." He hesitated for a moment, but seemed to gather up his resolve and nod affirmatively. "A great friend. Thanks."
TK smiled in return. "No problem." He went back to his ice cream only to find the bowl licked clean and Patamon with a brown and white melted mess all over his face. "Patamon! You ate all of that by yourself? You'll get a bellyache!"
"My tummy already hurts," DemiVeemon moaned, lying on his back with paws on his stuffed belly, ice cream also on his face.
"Sorry, TK," Patamon apologized with his ears pressed against his head. "But it was really, really good!"
Davis smiled slightly, prodding DemiVeemon's stomach with one finger. "That's what you get for stealing my ice cream."
The prodding earned Davis a squeak of a burp. DemiVeemon moaned and tried to roll away from the teasing finger. TK just shook his head, smiling. "I'm gonna get more, but you two can't have any. You've had more than enough already."
Suddenly, Davis lifted his hand up and touched TK's shoulder again. "None for me," he said suddenly. "I'm actually feeling kinda light headed."
"Well that probably means you should at least eat something," TK replied, looking slightly concerned. "I'll get you a banana instead. Try to drink the rest of your water." With that he was on his feet and hurrying out to the kitchen. TK knew Davis was probably getting tired again, but he needed food and liquids just as much as he needed rest to get better.
Davis downed what was left of his water, and when TK returned, he managed half of his banana before he made the mistake of laying down, and was quickly off to sleep. Patamon crawled over to him and shook his shoulder with his small paw, but Davis was done. "Well, he was up a lot longer than last time we were here," the Digimon observed quietly.
"Yeah, that means he's getting stronger," said TK. DemiVeemon crawled up beside his boy, curling up and tucking himself beneath Davis's chin before going to sleep as well. With a stomach full of ice cream, it was no wonder. "C'mon, Patamon. Let's let them rest. Besides, I've got homework to do."