The Digidestined managed to flee the scene before anyone, like the reporters or the army, could reach them to ask questions that they really didn't want to try and answer. They sent the Digimon home, except for Patamon and Gatomon, who wanted to stay with Takeru and Hikari, which they understood. They explained to their parents what had happened (they were all ecstatic to have their children back safe and mostly unharmed), and Takeru made a call to his mother once he felt up to it, once his father told him he had actually told Natsuko what he thought had happened to him.
It had taken some time, but finally everything settled down. Thanks to Yamato and Takeru's father, Hiroaki, they had managed to explain how Yamato had only been mistaken when he thought Takeru and Hikari had been killed in a monster attack. Hiroaki told the press that his son and Hikari had only gotten trapped in a building and had managed to find their way out. When asked about the angel that his son flew away with, Hiroaki told them that his son had always been fascinated by angels and had thought it might have been a good monster, so he went to ask the angel for help, which the angel had agreed to.
Some people believed him. Some did not. But time is such an amazing thing. Soon there was some other breaking news story and another after that, and the world forgot once more the monster attacks that they had been plagued by once again. Eventually, people stopped asking, and the world moved on.
Yamato never thought he would find the image of his younger brother sleeping so fascinating. But he was rapidly coming to find out that believing someone you cared deeply about was dead even for less than a couple of hours had a dramatic effect on one's self once that person was found to be alive. Things had been hectic those first few days after the defeat of Daemon, but it hardly mattered to Yamato. He had Takeru back and Taichi had Hikari back. Everything else hardly mattered.
Takeru stirred in his sleep and lazily opened his eyes. When he spotted Yamato, he gave him a wry smile and sleepily asked, "You here again?"
Yamato returned his smile a little sheepishly. "I guess I'm just making sure you're still really here," he said.
Takeru sat up on his bed and wiped the sleep from his eyes. "For the fourth day in a row?" he asked, grinning teasing manner.
"I'm not as bad as Taichi," Yamato protested. "At least I let you out of the apartment."
Takeru laughed. "That's true," he said. "Hikari is getting pretty annoyed with him actually. I was going to go and rescue her today. She made it very clear what would happen if I didn't."
"And what is that?" Yamato asked curiously as Takeru dressed for the day.
"Oh, something about turning me over to Mimi and Miyako's special treatment," Takeru said. "I didn't even bother to ask what that was; just the thought of what it could be is bad enough."
"I am going out with Takeru today," Hikari said as nonchalantly as she could to Taichi over breakfast. Taichi opened his mouth, but Hikari cut him off, sensing what he was probably going to say. "No, you are not coming with me."
Taichi huffed. "But who knows what sort of trouble you could get into," he protested.
"Taichi," she said as patiently as she could. "It's over. I'm fine. Takeru's fine. Everyone's fine. Besides, Mom is starting to wonder if you're ever going back to your own apartment."
"I know," Taichi said. "I'm sorry, Hikari, but I just worry about you."
"I appreciate it and I know it's just because you care about me, but Takeru won't let anything bad happen to me," Hikari said. "You trust him, don't you?"
Taichi chuckled. "Yeah, I do," he said softly, surprising her a little. He sighed. "All right," he said, standing up. He started to gather his stuff from around the apartment. Just before he left, he stopped and placed a hand on her shoulder and said, "But you'll call me if anything happens, right?"
"I will," Hikari assured him. She stood up and hugged him. "You'll always be my big brother, Taichi. Don't ever forget that."
Sora sat down next to Yamato on the bench in the park and placed her hand on top of his as it rest on his leg. They sat like that for a few minutes, neither really needing words between them. She knew that Yamato enjoyed the peace that silence granted, and she had felt so inclined to do things for him since the aftermath of Daemon. She didn't have any siblings, so she couldn't really understand the pain he and Taichi must have gone through in those couple of hours that they thought their brother and sister were dead, but she had thought about what she might feel if it had been her mother or father, and knew she would have been devastated. It probably didn't help that Taichi and Yamato were extremely overprotective and attached to their siblings.
"Are you alright?" she asked softly.
Yamato looked down at her. "I'm fine," he said. She glared at him and he added, "Mostly. But you told me before right? It takes time, but I'll be okay. It's easier now that Takeru's okay, but I'll never forget how close we came to losing them. Or that I left him."
"Takeru doesn't blame you for that," Sora said. "You know that."
"I do," Yamato said. "I don't know if I can forgive myself, despite knowing it was meant to be or whatever."
Sora wrapped her arms around him. "I'll be here if you need me," she said.
"I know that too," he said softly, pulling her closer to him. They sat in silence again, content just to be together.
Hikari loved the snow. Takeru knew this for a fact, given how many times she had dragged him out into in the last few months (not even counting the few times she had convinced him to go with her to some of the colder regions of the Digital World in the months before it had begun to snow). It had been over half a year since the battle with Daemon, and they were now deep in the heart of winter. They had lost the ability to use their powers in the real world after that battle, for which Takeru was somewhat grateful, since it would have been harder to deny everything if he accidentally thrown up a shield sometime or Hikari shot someone with a light beam. Takeru had hated lying to everyone, but he understood why it had been necessary.
Eventually people forgot, though Hikari had confided to him that her friends had actually been more interested in the fact that she and Takeru were dating than in their supposed involvement with monster attacks.
Takeru nervously fingered the item he held in his pocket. He had been playing to give this to Hikari for about a week now, but hadn't found the right time. Now as they just watched the sunset, he felt that the time had come. "Hikari?" he asked. She looked up at him and smiled expectantly. "I have something for you," he said. Takeru handed her the little box and Hikari opened it. Inside was a ring with an opal set into it. Hikari just stared at it, saying nothing, and Takeru could feel the nervousness and anxiety grow within him. "It's a promise ring," Takeru explained hastily. When still Hikari said nothing, he continued, realizing he was rambling, but somehow unable to stop himself. "I asked Mimi's advice and she told me that the opal was the stone of hope, and it has all the colors in the spectrum of light, so I agreed that it was kind of perfect." He watched tears gather in the corner of her eyes, so he added quickly, "If you don't like it, I can always—"
Takeru didn't finish his sentence as Hikari threw her arms around him. "Don't you dare take it back," she said firmly. "I love it."
She let of him and tried to pull the ring out, but Takeru took it from her and said, "Here, allow me." He pulled the ring out and pulled off her right glove and slid the ring onto her right ring finger, fitting perfectly.
She looked up at him and smiled. "I guess this explains why Mimi asked my ring size out of the blue a few weeks ago," she said, laughing softly.
Takeru joined in her soft laughter. "Mimi never was very subtle," he remarked, remembering his apprehension of going to Mimi in the first place, wondering if she would ever be able to keep his surprise to herself.
Their laughter stopped as their eyes met. "A promise ring?" Hikari asked, leaning closer into him.
"Yeah," Takeru said, pulling her into another embrace. "A promise of forever."
"Sounds perfect," she said, smiling, which he readily returned.
Final Notes: There is a companion story for this called "The Times Between" and a sequel called "Unending Light". You can find the links from my profile. Thanks for reading!