Footsteps reverberated throughout the abandoned halls, lights flickering from lack of use. Surreptitiously he wandered, his mind lost within. The dust of a time once gone still covered his navy blue overcoat, his hands lining the pockets. His movements were slow, feet trudging against the cold metal of the halls. Gloved hands slid across steel rails as the floor transitioned into the slate of the control room. Sampson's heart ached as he gazed upon the most familiar, his despondent self retracting inward once again. Memories of a better time fluttered through his view, the laughs of comrades filling his ears. He sat down upon his old command chair, the dust exhaling outward.
Sampson allowed his face to fall into his hands, the dust accumulated from the rails smearing across his face. He was thankful for his reclusive situation, as he felt a single regret wipe away the dirt now fixated to his face. His heart lurched, the sheer hopelessness he felt without Kudamon taking it's toll. Deep lines creased across his forehead, his body despondent in nature. It felt like an entire part of him had been ripped away, his chair creaking beneath him as his mind stumbled upon his last memory with Kudamon.
He was allowed the silence of the room, letting his head fill only with memories. No machines beeped, and the flurry of pedicured fingers across keys that had always filled the chamber were no more. The stillness of the place only cemented the reality, that DATS was no more. There was no need for it. And yet, the building had continued to exist, caught in a time when its existence was useful. It had been rebuilt from the ground up, only to be abandoned in favor of more commonplace quarters. It stood now only as a memory of what was once a useful facility. Of what was once a team with purpose, but now was unneeded by the society that moved on without it. Of what was once unification, but now stood only as a depressing eyesore to the people that had once walked its halls every single day, with pride in their steps. It only now served to remind me them a hole that had been torn into all of their lives. Sampson was allowed the silence to reflect upon this harsh reality... until a crackling sound began to fill the command room, and one of the screens before him lit up with static, shedding light into the dark room, dispelling the commander's thought that the electricity had been cut long ago.
The ear-splitting crinkle of static broke through the silence, the light of an abandoned screen spraying across Sampson's face. Instantly he shot up, his chair falling backwards as surprise overtook him. "W-What is going on?" He demanded, voice quavering, to what had replaced the silence, the emptiness inside replaced by fright. Shadows danced upon the green walls of the DATS headquarters behind him, his voice growing as he yelled, "W-What...are you?"
The static on the screen began to dissipate, revealing what looked like a stone wall. The picture occasionally flickered,with static leaping across it, but it soon became fairly stable. "Attempting to contact DATs headquarters," came a calm, familiar voice. "We are- oh." The very serious voice suddenly fell off as two tiny white paws emerged from the bottom of the screen and began to adjust the camera.
His heart jumped. The sheer audacity of the situation was... unreal. It couldn't be. The situation was illogical in nature. "K-Kudamon?" Sampson stammered, his hands slamming down upon the control module. "What's...What's going on?" His mind immediately jumped for the worst, for surely such an event could only be heralded by an emergency of the utmost importance. "Is everything alright? Are... you okay? You're not injured are you?" he gasped, his voice trembling on the word 'injured'.
There was a quiet laugh from the other end of the line as the camera was jostled before it tilted down to reveal Kudamon's tiny white body. He sat upright like a meerkat, tucking his little paws back into his chest once the camera was tilted to his satisfaction. "I'm fine, Sampson," he answered, his ears twitching and the tail end of his long white body waving back and forth behind him. "I'm contacting you to make a request," he said as the picture wavered.
Sampson's heart, once locked with stone, fluttered with bliss. The utter relief he felt was wondrous, the entirety of his body relaxing. His hand shot up to uncovered eyes, his glasses falling to the ground. Tears of a sorrow built up inside his chest welled within his eyes, dusted gloves covering the majority of his face. Taking a moments reprieve, his posture was restored, the look of determination he once held returning to his face, a glow radiating from his eyes as he bent down to pick up his glasses. Carefully positioning them upon their rightful place, Sampson spoke. "Kudamon... I-" There was a loud buzzing sound and the screen flat-lined, darkness enveloping the room. "Kudamon!" he yelled, throwing himself against the control panels. There was no response, only the silent mockery of the blackness, taunting him. His fist pounded repeatedly against the metal, his knuckles growing raw against the linen gloves. "God... damn it."
Halfway across town, a cellphone phone rang an unfitting, upbeat tune. Cellphone charms clinked against each other as it was pulled from the pocket of shorts. Blonde hair was flipped back as the phone was flipped open, after its owner had done a brief check on the number to see who was calling. "Commander," whined Megumi's voice into the phone. "What is it? We're off-duty today. Shouldn't you be calling Yoshino?"
Blue heels clicked across bricked pavement, but her movements were stopped by the sound of "When you have to face a fight, be strong give it all your might..." emanating from her pocket. In one swift flick of the wrist, the purple haired girl spoke into the phone, "What. What is it that you want, I mean, what the hell!" Miki stamped her foot, the former DATS member furious at being interrupted while on her way to the local hot springs. "You know it is my day off and I refuse to do any dirty work, or come into wor-..." She stopped suddenly, the muscles on her face relaxing. "Oh... I'll be right over."
Several hours passed before yet another phone rang. This time, a land-line, reaching even farther across town than the first two calls. "Hello?" came the cheerful voice of the owner of the phone. She listened intently to the voice on the other end for a moment, nodding as the sound of a knife hitting a cutting board accented the caller's words and giving quiet 'mhm's, until she said, "Alright, one second." She put her hand over the receiver as she turned, and called, "Keenan! Kristy!" Still in school uniform, the tan boy with blue hair and the brunette with pigtails had soon run down the stairs and appeared in the doorway to the kitchen.
"What is it, Mrs. Daimon?" Keenan asked in his choppily accented voice. She gestured to the phone, and he hesitantly walked into the kitchen to take it from her. "Hello?"
The sweet, serenading music of the Norstein restaurant drifted over Yoshi's ears, her heart swooning as she gazed upon Thomas' figure, the dark color of his suit contrasting against his blue eyes. "You look marvelous, Yoshino." She felt her face turn hot, her eyes breaking away from his.
"T-Thanks..." It was all too much, the fancy dresses, the exquisite food, not to mention the fact that Thomas looked great all dressed up.
"Yoshi..." Thomas started, "I just want you to kno-" Cut off by his ring-tone, he slowly slid his phone out of the hidden pocket within his jacket. "It's the Commander," Thomas explained, swiping his blond hair away from his ear before bringing the phone up. "Yes... Yes, she is with me now..." Thomas' mouth dropped slightly, his face distorting from the series of emotions he was experiencing.
"Thomas? What's wrong?" Yoshino asked softly, putting her arm against the silky threads of his black suit sleeve.
"We have to go. Now."
Yoshino was practically dragged out of the restaurant, and she nearly stumbled over her heels as the blond pulled her outside without explanation. "What's going on?" she asked. Once they were outside of the fancy restaurant, her soft guise dropped like a rock and she was back to her loud outdoor voice. Thomas didn't give her an answer, but she started to put the pieces together as their quick pace soon caught them up with Keenan and Kristy, the former of which was being dragged along as well. Yoshino could relate. "What's going on?" she repeated as she broke away from Thomas' grasp and jogged up alongside Keenan after kicking off her heels in favor of holding them in her hand.
"Commander Sampson is opening the gate to the Digital World!" Keenan exclaimed.
"So, the time's finally come."
"Commander Yushima!" The group's eyes all widened as they came to a halt, the oldest DATS member standing in their path. He smiled, slinging his fishing-pole over his shoulder.
"No need to rush," he said with a laugh. "The gate isn't going to get any more closed than it is right now."
"Well then why drag us all the way out here? I was supposed to... be on a... d-date..." Yoshino demanded, stammering her way through that last part.
Thomas snickered at her response, adding, "Don't you want to be here the moment Lalamon arrives? And besides... judging from the urgency of the call, something must of happened, to call us all in like this," Thomas speculated, finishing with, "Well, Commander? What's wrong?"
"I don't know," Yushima said, shaking his head. "Apparently Sampson got a call from Kudamon and is trying to open the gate now. But Kudamon's call was cut off before he could say what was going on."
"Then it's even more important that we rush!" Keenan argued. "What if something wrong?"
"No," Thomas started, "If something is wrong, then that would be the worst thing we could do. Not only would we be ineffective, but we could make the situation worse by just being there. No, we need a plan." He glided a hand through his silky, golden locks, taking a step forward. "Let's meet up with Commander Sampson and see what he has in mind. From their we will develop the most appropriate plan for our situation."
Yushima gave an approving nod. "Exactly," he said, laughing gently. Thomas always was beyond perceptive. He led the group the rest of the way towards DATS headquarters. Seeing the building looming on the horizon brought back a lot of memories to the group, both good and bad. Despite the fact that the pace they now set was leisurely, tension was still high in each of their hearts as they all formulated different potential situations and dangers that could be waiting for them on the other side of the digital gate. The only one who seemed completely calm was Yushima, as he produced a handkerchief from his front shirt pocket and wiped the door handle clean before holding it open for the others.
The group hustled hurriedly through the door, a tensioned silence grasping the atmosphere. They tread the path Commander Sampson followed earlier, their feet clamorously clanging against the metal-clad floor. "Ah! So you have arrived," Sampson's voice echoed, the soft whisper of air escaping heard as the automatic doors opened to the control room.
Yoshino stepped forward, worry strewn across her face as she burst out, "Well? What's wrong? What's going on? Is everything alright?"
The Commander hid his concern behind a soft laugh, patting his subordinate's head. "Everything is going to be alright. Kudamon attempted to contact us... however..." His face became solemn, his mouth turning downward in the corners. "He got cut off..." Sampson sat down upon his seat, laying his head against the soft, cushioned upholstery. His gaze wandered upward, his insides churning at the thought of what might have happened.
"Commander..." Thomas spoke up, "Is... Is Marcus alright?"
Keenan's eyes glanced upwards at Thomas, who still towered above him despite how much he had grown. Somehow, he'd expected that to be one of the blond's first questions. "If Kudamon didn't have time to say what was going on, I doubt he had time to inform us of any of our comrade's whereabouts," Yushima said, as he came to stand beside Sampson's chair with his hands folded behind his back. "I think all that's left is for us to see for ourselves." He turned a knowing eye onto the back of Sampson's head, and he knew the man could feel his gaze if not see it. "Right, Commander?"
"Yes. That's right." Sampson fixed his posture, sitting up to appease Yushima, and retain his position as Commander of DATS. "We must make due with what we have got." His voice slowly regained the command it once had, his fingers moving to push his darkened shades up the bridge of his nose. "Miki. Megumi. If you would start the Digital Portal Opening Sequence. I managed to trace the coordinates of the transmission to 53, 67. It would be wise to open the portal immediately to... see what knowledge Kudamon has acquired of the situation, and then act accordingly."
"Got it!" The all-too familiar sound of fingers flying furiously across keypads suddenly filled the room. The combination of those familiar sounds, and the sounds of machines starting to boot up once more out of a four year long sleep, made the command center seem less alien, more familiar. Yoshino had abandoned her heels at the door and was now walking barefoot across the cold metal floor to watch over Megumi's shoulder. Keenan and Kristy also cautiously approached, watching as the tube that sat high on a platform at the back of the room began to spark, coupled with a loud whirring sound.
"Transfer rate thirty percent," Megumi said.
"Activate digital harmonizer."
"Unlock Digi-Gates one through seven."
"Coordinate settings... check!"
"Stabilizer adjustment complete. Rate at ninety percent..."
"Checking systems... all green!"
"Digital Gate... open!" Megumi exclaimed, as, in a flash of light, a small body appeared in the tube. It opened, and the tiny, snake-like form of Kudamon padded out on tiny paws. The little red earring on his ear clinked as he approached the commander's console, the DATS members only able to look on in surprise. They hadn't expected the Digital Gate to open so quickly, or for Kudamon to pass through as soon as it did. The little Digimon stopped in the middle of the room, lifting one of his paws and offering a salute as his greeting.
"Kudamon..." Sampson exclaimed, his voice filled with dread. Solemnity was present in his features, his movements quiet and grave. Slowly he arose, his enormous body towering over the others. Stepping down from the platform on which his seat was situated, he made his way over to his Digimon, still wearing the coat he wore while reminiscing just a little while ago. "Kudamon..." Suddenly, he dropped to one knee, his voice trembling with relief, as a smile broke out across his face. "My... shoulder has been quite cold without you..." Tears streamed from under his glasses, his face hidden from view. A heavy burden had been lifted from him, and with it a light one adorned his shoulder, Kudamon scurrying up to his rightful place.
"This time Sampson... Even though I am upon this shoulder... I don't want to be alone," Kudamon softly whispered, consoling the giant of a man.
"So what's the emergency?" Yoshino demanded, rushing over to lean over the commander's console, looking at the little Digimon now settled neatly on Sampson's shoulder. "What's wrong?"
"The condition that is plaguing the defenders of the Digital World..." Kudamon started, his tail flicking back and forth. "Is a very serious one."
"Well? Kudamon, please, stop giving us the cold shoulder!" Yoshino exclaimed, the tension inside carrying over into her voice. She forced herself back, the thought of something happening to Lalamon taxing her body. She no longer cared for her date, nor the time she spent picking out her snug red dress. She only cared for her comrades, and what may have happened to them. They were her world, and for her world she would do anything.
Kudamon made a motion with his paw for the girl to calm down as a small smirk curled across his face. "I believe it's called homesickness."
The group laughed in unison, worries uplifted from their shoulders. Each respective DATS member concerned for the sake of both their own Digimon, and that of their comrades, not to mention a certain DATS member in particular. The relief was heard throughtout their elated giggles, the tension draining from the room. Soon, however, a light flashed across the screens of Miki and Megumi, their eyes locking onto their respective screens, chairs spinning in their direction. "Digital harmonizer re-analigning!" Miki's voice rang out, her fingers sprinting across the keyboard, the respective keys lighting up at her touch. "The coordinates are locked in from the other side... We've got more coming through." Her brow furrowed in uncertainty, looking towards her commanding officer for further orders. This was a free ticket over, and they couldn't control whether what came was friend...or foe.
"Well? What are you waiting for? We should remedy this dire situation at once!" Sampson ordered between laughs, his confidence restored in his voice.
There was another spark and sizzle of the gate, and this time, two Digimon passed through. Clad in armor and holding spears, one in white and one in black. "PawnChessmon!" Megumi squealed, instantly leaping up to bolt towards her Digimon.
"Megumi, keep your post!" Kudamon called. "There's going to be more in just a moment!" The blond hesitantly sat back down, but, much to her delight, her PawnChessmon quickly shuffled over to her and took his rightful place in the seat next to her, starting to do his part in typing as the other PawnChessmon went over to his partner on the opposite side of the room and also climbed up onto his chair next to her.
The group beamed as they leaned forward in anticipation, wondering who was to come through next. "Bionic condenser, standing by." Miki spouted, having done this myriad times before, her attention cut between that of the screen and her newly arrived Digimon. The portal opened with a rush of air as a Digimon covered in white and light blue fur passed through, his Akita-esque face gleaming at Thomas.
"G-Gaomon!" Abandoning reason, he ran up to the gate, leather shoes clacking against the metal as he grabbed the Digimon by the shoulders. "I'm... so glad you're alright."
"It's great to see you in good health too, sir," Gaomon answered, grinning wolfishly, and yet sheepishly scratching at the back of his head with a gloved hand. His ears and tail shot straight up in surprise when, just as quickly, someone else passed through the portal. This time, it was the turtle-like Kamemon, who idly stepped out of the digital gate as if he was just simply walking into the room and approached Yushima, holding out his hand lethargically and giving the man a lazy handshake, which only made the Commander smile and pat the Digimon on the head.
As they stepped forward the top of the Digital Gate began to whiz around again, the purple and blonde haired girls bursting out various commands and technobabble, the rest of the group watching as a large, pink-feathered Digimon stepped through, his shrill voice calling out to the youngest of the group. "Biyomon!" Kristy sang, holding her arms out for the Digimon to run forward, embracing him.
"Kristy!" Biyomon chirped happily, rushing over to the girl and hugging her tightly. He looked up, the little curl on his head twitching as his eyes widened. "Wow, you're taller than me now! How did that happen!"
The group looked in awe as the machine started again, Sampson wondering out loud where they were going to fit all these Digimon. Pink feathers were replaced by black, yellow talons walking forward. "Keenan..." he said, his golden beak moving slowly. "You've... really grown up without me, haven't you?" he started again, tears welling up in his prudent, round eyes.
"Falcomon!" Unlike the others, there wasn't even a moment's hesitation for Keenan. He rushed forward and practically fell to his knees, grabbing up his Digimon in a chokingly tight grip. "Oh Falcomon, I missed you so much!" he cried, holding him until he realized that poor Falcomon was starting to try and wriggle free in order to get air and let him go.
A bright light flashed next to the two, the portal opening once again. This time a small pink and green plant came flying straight through, colliding with Yoshi's chest. "Lalamon!" She cried out, falling over, Digimon in arms. Pressing the digimon against her silky red dress, she continued, "I missed you so much! There's so much catching up to do!"
There was a lull in the arrivals for a moment. Everyone was so wrapped up in catching up with their partners, however, that they didn't seem to notice it at first. That was until the ever-present background noise of fingers against keys slowed and then stopped, and all eyes suddenly went over to Megumi and Miki. "No one's coming through," Megumi said, shrugging her shoulders, and her PawnChessmon gave a shrug as well.
The chatter slowly died, the all too familiar tension returning to the room. There were two missing... and no one was coming through? "How could this be?" Thomas murmured, his voice quavering a little, his arms still locked on Gaomon. "He... is coming, right?" Suddenly another flash blinded him, forcing him to lift his hand to shield his eyes. "...Marcus?" he gasped, looking onward towards the gate. Swiftly the figure hopped out, feet slowly crossing the bridge from the portal to the command consoles. Gradually the light died away, the bath of flourescent pigments dieing away, revealing the shadowed character.
"Nope, not yet!" The orange dinosaur-like Digimon snickered, walking forward.
"Agumon!" Kristy greeted him cheerily, but the others still looked concerned. What was taking Marcus so long? Again, the gate's activity died and the four manning the consoles looked over the data concernedly, waiting for something to happen. It suddenly sprang to life in a quick flash, and the nearly silently room was instantly filled with a victorious yell, and then laughing.
"Sorry about that!" From the digital gate exited the last member of the returning party, Marcus Daimon. His brown hair had gotten longer but was pulled back in its usual ponytail, and his skin had tanned a bit more from a life of living outside, even if it was under a digital sun. He was still wearing the same outfit from when he first left, but it was plain that he'd gotten stronger, simply in the fact that the black shirt and red and white vest had become sleeveless. He was cracking his knuckles as he stepped out into the command room. "Had to teach an Ogremon a lesson before I left." He grinned widely, flashing a pearly white smile, before turning his eyes on each member in turn. They stopped on Yoshino, and he narrowed his eyes as he stared at her snug dress for quite a while, looking her up and down. "You uh..." he started, snapping his fingers as he seemed to try and find the words. "You grew out your hair, huh?" he said, smirking.
Silence. It gripped the hearts of those awaiting his return, their minds consumed by similar thoughts. Her heels clicked across the floor, red dress swaying in her wake. A tender smile cracked into a frightening scowl as her hand struck across the boy's face. "How could you?" Yoshino yelled, her voice spiking. "Leaving us here, all alone... Without you. To do what? Fight Digimon? To worry all of us left behind? What is wrong with you?" Her fist pounded against his chest, her voice turning to sobs. "Why... Why couldn't you just stay with us... w-where it's safe." Her arms reached around him, pulling him tight. "H-How... could you..."
Marcus put a hand on his cheek when it was suddenly struck, and had opened his mouth to shout back at her, when he suddenly noticed that Yoshino had already broken down into tears. His surprised expression turned back into a sort of lopdied smile, and he moved the hand off of his cheek, which was now turning red, after giving it a short massage, and placed it on top of her head. "Sorry," he laughed quietly. "How about you hit me again and we call it even?"
Her hands slid across his noticably more muscled chest, her head resting against his ribs. The material was dirty, softened from one too many fights, crinkled under the pressure that Marcus most definitly put it through. Her knees wobbled beneath her, caving into each other as she held herself up by Marcus' shoulders. "I... you jerk..." she sobbed, pounding her fist against his chest.
Marcus just kept smiling and rubbed his hand on top of her head in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. Hoping to lighten the mood a bit, he looked around for a humorous observation. Jumping from Keenan and Kristy in their school uniforms, to Thomas in his suit, and back down to Yoshino in her dress, he laughed quietly and said, "Man, you guys got dressed up awfully fancy for my coming back party. I would have rented a tux or something."
Yoshino slowly lifted herself up, using his shoulder to regain her equilibrium. "A-and another... thing..." Upon Marcus finishing his sentence, Yoshino found the blood in her face drained away, biting her bottom lip.
"So! Marcus! I am sure you have tons of stories for us!" Thomas interjected, his face flushed.
"Y-Yeah... stories..." Yoshino rambled, her hip jutted to the side.
Marcus quirked a brow, but quickly stopped caring and spun around to face Thomas, pumping his fist in the air in front of him. "You bet! And I'm sure you guys have lots of stories too. What have you been doing with DATS, with the gate closed and all? Manufacturing new security systems so less bad Digimon get through when it got opened again? Doing research or paperwork or some crap like that?"
"Actually, Marcus..." Keenan started, shaking his head. "DATS hasn't been working for a long time."
Sampson pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "That's right. There has been no need to have DATS with the portal closed. Most of the team has either been assimilated into the current disciplinary establishments, or have pursued other dreams," stepping forward as he spoke. "For example, Thomas here became a doctor, and quite the note-worthy one at that."
"A doctor, huh?" Marcus said, crossing his strong arms and letting his bottle green gaze slide over to the blond, still standing awkwardly on the other side of the room. He looked almost judgingly at the other for a moment, before lowering his eyelids and grinning. "Congrats, Nerdstein."
"You... Immature, insolent, intolerable brat!" Thomas fumed, stomping his foot. "I work tremendously hard, trying to cure diseases and this is how yo-..." He brought a hand to his face, running it through his hair. "I refuse to get caught in your silly games, Marcus..." The scowl on his face turned gentler, if but for a moment, "But I'm glad you're alright."
Marcus frowned, putting his hands on his hips instead. "Hey, I said congradulations. Lighten up," he laughed. "You haven't changed much," he then proceed to comment.
"I so too have changed!" Thomas attempted to jest, laughing awkwardly. "Ahem. Anyway, Gaomon..." he turned towards his Digimon, "I'm sure you have a lot to share. And besides, I have a surprise to show you."
"A surprise, sir?" Gaomon asked curiously, his curled tail twitching.
"I really want to spend some time catching up with you too, Kristy!" Biyomon said, bouncing on his heels excitedly.
"You should all go spend some time together," Kudamon said, his own tail waving a little excitedly.
"Bet my parents are gonna be excited," Marcus said, grinning as he and Agumon joined his little sister and Keenan near the door.
Yoshino, still with Lalamon in hand, started towards the door. "Y'know what? That sounds pretty good. Besides, I have to prove to Lalamon here that I'm so much stronger with her around!" she giggled, her movements starting everyone towards the two large, automatic doors.
"Oh, and yes! Keenan! I'd love to see how you are doing in human schools! Is everything going swell with your new family?" Falcomon began, starting to make his way to the door, Keenan by his side.
"Everything is going great, Falcomon," Keenan said, grinning as he stepped out of the room. "I will tell you all about it on our way home..." He and Kristy started to lead the group out while Yoshino and Thomas hung back.
"Hey, um..." Yoshino started, falling into step with the blond, Lalamon now floating over her shoulder as she picked up her previously abandoned heels. "Maybe we should take a raincheck on that dinner... is that o-okay with you?"
Thomas stopped for a moment. He hadn't thought about it since the news of Marcus' coming home hit. "Uh... sure, Yoshi. That sounds wonderful. How does Friday night sound?" Thomas stated coolly, trying to play off his stumble in the beginning.
"That sounds great," Yoshino said, smiling.
"You guys getting food on Friday?" Marcus suddenly interjected, having somehow wound up behind them and slinging his arms over both of their shoulders. "Sounds good to me! Thomas, you're picking me up."
Yoshi shrugged off the arm, turning towards him, "Marcus... I don't think you understan-"
"Sounds good!" Thomas interjected, cutting Yoshi off. "I think it will be wonderful for us to all catch up."
"But... Thomas... You jus-"
"And ahhh, that's right. You've been in the Digital World, so you still don't have your licence. It's of no concern, I'll pick you up," Thomas continued, ignoring Yoshi.
"Alright, great," Marcus said with a grin. She turned to grab at Thomas jacket, pulling him to the side while Marcus continued ahead with Kristy.
"What gives? I thought we were supposed to be re-scheduling our date!" Yoshino argued, saddened at this recent turn of events.
"I know, I know, and for that I apoligize. But Marcus has been in their for years, and we don't know how he'll handle this. I doubt he's ever even been on a date before! For now, let's play it safe. Besides, it honestly will be a good chance to catch up..." He whispered, leaning closer to her ear, "If you play along, I'm sure it will pay off for you in the end."