September 4, 2011
AN: So I have taken a bit of a break from writing this story, and it's unlikely that I'll be working on it much anytime soon (I'm returning to school on Tuesday, so I'll be very busy, but who knows – I seem to get a lot of inspiration during school… procrastination strategy, maybe?). However, because I always have more chapters written than I have posted, I decided that I should post this chapter. I also have chapter 9 written, so I'm not completely caught up with myself yet. It may be another couple months until I update, so please stick with me! I appreciate your patience!
The Ultimate Sacrifice
Kari and Davis had walked up and down the beach on the Dark Ocean probably a hundred times. They had been very excited when they'd first arrived, because they had finally reached a breakthrough of sorts, but after a couple of days they started to feel dejected.
"There's no portal to the Digital World anywhere," Kari sighed as they sat in the cave they'd discovered and currently called home.
Davis jimmied his foot as he thought. "I don't know what to do," he said. "I mean, I thought we were so close to saving Cody, but we're really no closer than we were in the real world. As long as there's no portal for us to go through…"
"Should we try to get back to the real world?" asked Kari.
Davis thought for a moment before he shook his head. "No. Because what if we can't get back here? And I'm pretty sure the portal to the Digiworld isn't sealed here… we just have to find it."
"I'm glad you said that," said Kari. "Because… well, I tried to see if I could get back to the real world, and I couldn't open the portal. So we're stuck here."
"Great," grumbled Davis. "At least we have enough food," he said gesturing to the food they'd been able to gather in the three or four days that they'd been there.
Davis and Kari hadn't talked much since arriving. They'd spent all their time searching for a portal and theorizing out loud.
Today, though, as they sat together in the dark, dreary ocean, Kari spoke up. "Do you think people are wondering where we are?"
Davis hadn't really thought about that. They had left rather suddenly. "I guess so," he said. "I'm sure our parents are looking for us."
"You didn't tell anyone where we were going, did you?" Kari asked, although it sounded like she already knew the answer.
"Who would I tell, Jun?" he scoffed.
"I didn't tell anyone either," said Kari. "I wish… I should have told Tai."
Kari glanced at him. "So they could come after us."
"Do you really think they would?" Davis asked accusatorily. "They probably just think we ran away. They don't care about Cody."
Kari shook her head. "Of course they do. That's why everyone is so depressed. It's because they do care about Cody but couldn't figure out how to help."
"Bullshit," he said. "I don't believe a second of it."
Jumping up suddenly, Kari snapped, "Well, sorry we're not all as amazing as you are, Davis! You're just so great, dedicating your life to saving Cody, and we're all pieces of shit for not being able to help you, right?"
Davis pretended to think and then nodded. "Sounds about right to me."
Kari turned on her heel and began stomping away before changing her mind and stomping right back. "You need to get off your high horse, Davis, if we're really going to find Cody!" she yelled. "Yes, we all know that you were the most honorable one of us, actually trying to find Cody. But do not pretend like the rest of us don't care about him!"
"If you did care, you wouldn't have given up!" Davis shouted, standing up.
"Maybe we weren't as strong as you!" Kari retorted, and Davis was surprised by her tears.
She sank to the ground, sniffling, and Davis stepped back uncomfortably. "Um… don't cry," he said, patting her on the shoulder awkwardly. "You're strong," he said. "You're stronger than the others, at least. It's the two of us that are here, isn't it?"
"Yeah…" Kari sputtered. "But now we don't know where to go from here. What if we're stuck here forever? In this gray world…"
"We won't be," said Davis. "I promise. We'll find a way to get out. It took us four years to get here but I'm sure it won't take another four years to leave."
Kari choked out a laugh. "Oh, God I hope not."
"Besides, maybe the others will surprise us," Davis said, but as he said it he wanted to roll his eyes. Yeah right. "Maybe they'll figure it out."
Suddenly Kari glanced up at me. "I forgot!" she gasped.
"I talked to Ken the day before we left!"
"Oh yeah!" exclaimed Davis. "I forgot, you told me that."
"Maybe he'll realize we're missing and tell the others," said Kari.
"Maybe," said Davis, but he wouldn't let his hopes be raised. They'd been crushed before by that group of people and he wouldn't let them be crushed again.
The next day, Kari and Davis were starting to get antsy. There was only so many times that they could walk the beach searching for a portal that seemingly didn't exist.
"What are we going to do?" Kari asked, starting to worry.
Davis was beginning to worry as well, but he had to stay strong for Kari. "We'll just have to keep theorizing," he said. "Try different things."
Kari sighed and walked along the beach again, staring out at the ocean. "This place is so creepy," she said. "It's hard for me to feel optimistic here."
He knew what she meant; he felt as though he had to try extra hard to keep going. It had miraculously been easier in the real world than it had been here. Well, it wasn't called the Dark Ocean for nothing, he assumed.
Suddenly they heard a noise from behind them. The two of them jumped and glanced up at the sky, where a portal like the one they'd arrived through began materializing.
"Davis, is that –" Kari stated, but she already knew what it was.
"Do you think it's to the Digiworld?" she asked as the portal grew.
"I don't know," Davis said, his heart race increasing. He reached to his belt and gripped his Digivice, but before he could point to the sky, he noticed another shape forming.
A strange silhouette was taking shape and it took Davis and Kari a moment to realize what it was – suddenly, the rest of the Digidestined, all holding on to each other, formed in the portal.
Kari and Davis were frozen as they watched, mouths agape, as their nine friends fell out of the portal and onto the beach in a heap. They were all groaning as they disentangled themselves from one another.
"Tai?" was the first thing Kari uttered.
They all looked up at Davis and Kari, not having noticed them before.
"Kari!" Tai jumped up and ran toward his sister, throwing his arms around her and spinning her around. She was stiff in the embrace – they hadn't acted like this in a very long time. "I'm so glad you're okay – and you're here –"
Davis was staring at them. "You're all… you're all here."
"How did you know where we were?" asked Kari.
"We'll tell you the whole story," said Izzy, as everyone sat down in the sand.
Kari, Davis, and Tai joined the group sitting cross-legged on the ground. Davis felt strange with them all; he had spent four years hating them and suddenly they were all together again. Well, except for Cody – then he remembered why his feelings were there.
Izzy and Ken launched into the story of how they'd figured out where Kari and Davis had gone based on Ken's conversation with Kari. They managed to recruit everyone with a couple of days and Ken had taken them all to the Dark Ocean with his Digivice.
"We were hoping you would still be here," finished Izzy. "But I guess that means you haven't been able to find a portal to the Digital World?"
Kari shook her head. "No, not yet. We've looked everywhere, it feels like."
"Well, we've made it this far," said Izzy. "I have no doubt that we'll be able to find it."
The group fell into an uncomfortable silence. They were no longer the same people they were the last time they had all been together; so much had happened and so much time had passed. There was a huge elephant in the room and it was the lack of the presence of Cody.
Slowly people started getting up and wandering around, holding their Digivices and searching for a portal. Kari stayed sitting down, looking around at everyone. No one was really talking, but they were all here, together. Her heart soared – she didn't think it would ever happen again.
She looked up and saw T.K. standing above her. She swallowed. He looked so different, so grown up. She hadn't seen him in so long. Her stomach felt like it was all knotted up.
She stood up to meet his gaze. "I… I'm glad you came," she said, avoiding his eye contact.
"Yeah." He stared at her and she wasn't sure if he wanted her to say anything more. After a few seconds, it occurred to her that he might be waiting for her to apologize – she had been mostly responsible for their falling out. She wasn't ready to do that, though. She'd been owning up to a lot of painful things lately, and she felt tired.
She turned and walked away from him, watching the others search for the portal. She couldn't help but think with a sinking feeling that they might be in vain. She and Davis hadn't been able to find it… how would they?
They spent the rest of the day combing the beach for any sign of a portal or for a clue as to how they could enter the Digital World. They eventually retired to the cave that Kari and Davis had found, empty-handed.
They slept as well as they could in a dark, damp cave, and the next day set out again. It was amazing how differently they worked together now compared to before. Years ago, they would have been talking and laughing and joking around and even bickering, but now everyone was silent, as if they wanted to get their work done as soon as possible so they could just go home.
Around lunchtime, as everyone took a break, they started to talk, but it wasn't positive. "I can't find anything," Sora said.
Mimi sat down next to her. "Me either. I don't even know what we're looking for."
Izzy sat against the cliff with his backpack next to him, thinking hard. Tai glanced over at him, also thoughtful, before a sudden idea struck him.
"Wait! Izzy!" he cried and Izzy jumped.
"What is it, Tai?"
"Did you bring your laptop with you?"
"Of course." Izzy opened his backpack and extracted the now ancient laptop that had accompanied Izzy in their very first Digimon adventure. "It's slow and big, but it works. Why?"
Tai took out his Digivice and stared at it. "Maybe we can open a portal to the Digital World through your computer."
"But Tai," said Sora, "we tried that a million times."
"Yeah, in the real world," said Tai, although his voice hinted that he was starting to doubt his idea.
"Tai's right," Mimi spoke up. "In the real world, the portal didn't work, but we're in the Dark Ocean now. We should be able to open it."
Everyone in unison pulled out their Digivices, holding them tightly but all too afraid to be the first to make a move.
"Go on, Tai," Kari said quietly and Tai looked around at her. She nodded at him. She knew that he was hesitant to take on a leadership role, but they needed him. He was their leader.
Tai glanced over at Davis, whose jaw was set but he nodded as well. "Go for it."
Sighing, Tai stood up and stepped forward. Izzy opened his laptop and pointed it towards Tai. Everyone stood around in a messy circle, watching with bated breath as Tai closed his eyes and pointed his Digivice at the laptop.
The computer abruptly lit up and Tai's Digivice activated for the first time in years. He felt his whole body start to pulsate and he was being pulled toward the computer. His body contorted and had the sensation of being squeezed through a very small space – he'd forgotten what going through the portal felt like.
A moment later he fell back onto the sand, but it wasn't the same sand of the Dark Ocean. This sand was soft and warm – the sun was in the sky. Tai blinked as he looked around; the sky, the beach, the trees – he knew where he was in. This was the Digital World.
The first thing he thought about, something that hadn't occurred to him in the furor of the last couple of days, was his Digimon partner.
"Agumon?" he yelled, although he doubted Agumon was around. He stood and walked along the beach; he wasn't sure where he was. He had been all over the Digital World but he wasn't sure if this was somewhere he'd been before or not.
A few moments later the rest of the Digidestined were transported onto the beach, with all their backpacks in tow.
"We made it," Davis said in awe as he looked around. He had been trying for so long to get back; it felt like a dream that he had actually arrived.
"Do you think our Digimon are around?" Mimi asked; now that they were here, they couldn't help but think about their friends.
"I don't know," said Izzy. He looked left and right. "Looks as if my computer is still in the Dark Ocean. Oh well, it lived a good life."
The next ten minutes were spent with them combing the beach and the forest bordering it as they searched. "Biyomon!" "Tentomon!" "Patamon!" "Hawkmon!" They yielded no results; not only did they not find their own Digimon, they couldn't seem to find any.
"Should we be suspicious?" asked Ken.
T.K. looked over at Tai. "What do you think we should do?"
Tai blinked at him and then looked at everyone else. "Um…" He sighed. "Well, if we just walk along the beach, we'll just be walking along the edge of wherever we are, so I think we should go into the forest."
"Good idea," said Mimi. "Well, let's go!" She and Izzy led the group into the forest.
Again, the talking ceased. It seemed as though no one had anything to say to each other aside from topics that had to do with the Digital World. The air was thick with tension and their footsteps sounded louder than normal.
Matt was walking at the back of the group with his hands deep in his pockets; Sora fell in step next to him. "So," she said abruptly, "you came."
They hadn't had a chance to speak since leaving the real world. Matt glanced at her. "Yes, clearly."
"What changed your mind?"
He was silent for a moment. "At the end of the day, I'm T.K.'s older brother," he said. "Even though I may still think our time here is a waste… I have to be here for my brother."
They weren't walking for much longer when Davis suddenly stopped. "I can't be here," he said sharply. Everyone turned to stare at him.
"Davis, what are you talking about?" asked T.K. "We're in the Digital World."
"I mean, I can't be here with all of you." He was looking down as he spoke and it seemed as though he were talking to himself instead of the others.
He turned to leave but Izzy called after him. "Davis, what are you doing? You can't leave!"
"Watch me!" he snapped. "You think I'm just going to hang out with you guys in the Digiworld after all that time you guys let me down?" He began to stalk away.
"Davis, don't go!" Kari yelled angrily after him. "We have to stick together!"
Davis stopped and turned back at them all, laughing harshly. "Oh, really? Then what have the last four years been?"
No one had an answer for him, so he turned to leave again.
"Wait, Davis," said Ken. "I'm coming with you."
Davis snarled at Ken, "I don't –"
"Don't argue with me," Ken cut in menacingly, which surprised Davis enough to not argue.
"Whatever." He marched away with Ken following close by.
The remaining nine glanced around at each other as Davis and Ken disappeared from view. "Should we go after them?" Sora asked.
"I don't think we'll get them to listen," Izzy said. "We can't force them into anything."
"I… I can't be here either," a small voice spoke up. They all turned around to see Yolei. She had barely spoken to anyone since arriving in the Dark Ocean and had held the same hard, angry expression the entire time. Everyone was surprised to hear her voice, as if they'd forgotten what it sounded like.
"Yolei?" said Mimi.
Yolei glared at them all. "I didn't even want to come here," she said in a low, dangerous voice. She turned on her heel and ran.
"Wait! Yolei!" Mimi ran after her.
Another silence fell. They were down four people.
"I didn't want to be the only one to leave…" Tai spoke up finally. "But I have to go, too."
"Tai," Sora said irritably, but he shook his head. She knew that he was having trouble picking up his leadership role again; he's made one executive decision since they arrived and was already bolting.
"Tai, can I… can I come with you?" Kari asked, looking suddenly like the little girl she was the very first time she came to the Digital World.
He looked down at his sister with little compassion in his face. "I'm sorry, Kari," he said, but she didn't think he sounded sorry. "I have to go alone. Please, don't come after me."
He turned and disappeared into the woods, his footsteps decreasing in sound until all was silent around them.
Izzy looked around. Their group of eleven was down to six.