Y/N: The story is over…It was a really looooooong journey to write it too…I hope you all enjoyed the journey as much as I did. It's kind of bitter-sweet, finally reaching the end…
U/N: YAY that was fun. The end is here. It kind of sad huh? I almost don't even know what I'm going to do with myself now that this one is over. Only. I do. I'm lying MWAHAHAHA! Please review or a crazy wrath of giant evil lava snakes will eat each of your unborn children. But not really… that would be crazy! There will be no lava involved… not so say that the giant evil snake thing still won't happen.
Title: Digimon Adventure 03
By: Urazamay and Yukira King
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or its characters.
Part 5: Apocolymon's Spell
Chapter 54: Passed the Storm
The bright light of the digi-portal shone in front of us and then widened as it tossed us out of the computer and into a strange old, musty cabin. This was the very last time we'd ever be leaving the digital world—I wasn't really sure if I wanted to cry, or just accept it... Betamon was gone—forever. I decided that I just wouldn't think about it. I stood up, pulling myself out of the jumbled mess that was all of the bodies of my friends. I looked back to the old prehistoric computer that sat on a rickety old desk, and the screen was on the familiar page that showed us the digital gate. There was a flashing green light that flashed three more times before turning red.
I turned away from the computer, a strange feeling rising up inside of me. I looked around to the others who were all now standing in different groups, silently staring toward the closed-for-good digital gate. I took a deep breath and then headed outside of the cabin, unable to stand seeing them all being so consumed with sadness... I was sad too—but right now I wanted to just look past all of this and pretend everything was alright...
The first thing I saw was a strange man walking toward me, an angry look on his face. Where was I? Was I not supposed to be here? Why were there so many children around here?
"What are you doing here?" The man asked as he crossed a game of the children's soccer. He was talking to me clearly and I just stepped forward, "I don't recognize you—are you here for your brother or sister? It's a bit early for them to be leaving the camp. They aren't scheduled to leave for another month. You should have called ahead—aren't you going to say anything?"
I shook my head, "No..."
"Hi!" A strange girl chimed in running toward me and the man, "Mr Fujiama! This is my... brother!"
Mr Fujiama looked from her to me and then rolled his eyes. "He's American Noriko."
"I was adopted!" She insisted. "He's my brother! Trust me."
Mr Fujiama just spun on the spot and stormed off, muttering under his breath about lying. I looked toward the girl who seemed both confused and angry at me. I wanted to thank her for helping me out there, but she didn't seem in the mood to accept an apology so I let her glare at me.
"Well?" She asked, "What are you doing here? Who are you?"
"My name is Michael." I told her, "I... was..."
"Digiworld?" She asked.
I nodded, "As I thought. Are the others back?" I nodded, "Why are you all back so early? You were all supposed to be there for the whole summer! What happened?"
I thought about responding but I just shrugged my shoulders and tried to walk away.
"Not so fast Mister Michael!" she said, jumping in front of me, "What happened?"
"We're not allowed back." I said, choking on a lump in my throat.
"What do you mean? Did you break the law or something?" She asked.
"No." I said slowly, "We're... the gate is closed forever."
"What are you talking about?" She asked, "I have my digivice right here—I'll open it for you." I knew it was stupid to get my hopes up about it, but I couldn't help it. My heart beat quickly as she reached into her pocket and searched. Slowly she pulled her hand out, there was only a little bit of change, a Kleenex and a button. "W-where did it go?" I didn't answer her at first. "Answer me! Where is my digivice? What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything—it's just how it had to happen." I explained.
"What about Impmon?" She asked. I shook my head slowly and panic spread across her face as she took off at a run toward the cabin behind me. I spun around and watched as she ran inside. I followed her.
As I entered the cabin I saw that she was pushing people out of the way to get toward one of the beds in the cabin. She ripped the covers off of it in a hurry and then fell to the ground and looked underneath the bed. Slowly she stood back up and turned toward us. "Where is Impmon?" She asked, keeping her cool.
"Noriko—" Iori said, stepping forward, "I—"
Noriko pushed past him and then ran out the cabin door.
Everyone watched her run and no one followed, no one moved a muscle. We all just stood silently in the small rustic cabin that was apparently some sort of camp cabin.
"So..." Daisuke said slowly, "What now?"
"We could all go home..." Takeru suggested slowly, "that seems logical—we can't stay on the camp grounds for too long—we're not even supposed to be here at all."
"Takeru's right..." Miyako said, "Let's roll..." Her usual catch phrase was much less enthusiastic than usual.
"I live in New York guys..." Willis said, "I can't just walk home."
"Same!" Mimi added, "It's not just around the corner you know..."
"My dad could pick us up." I said quickly, "He won't mind... Should I call him?"
"Oh yes!" Mimi smiled, "That would be great Michael!"
I reached into my pocket quickly, without looking away from Mimi, grinning back at her. I pulled out my cell phone and flipped it open as I began to dial someone began speaking.
I looked up and saw that everyone was looking into a corner of the cabin.
"Why haven't any of you said anything yet?" The voice asked, "Aren't you super happy that we're here?"
No one said anything. I moved forward and pushed past the shocked digidestined and stood on my toes to look over top of Jou's head. My eyes widened as I stared down upon the small jester child holding tightly to the small violet tadpole.
"Meiyomon? Otamamon?" I gasped, "W-What are you two doing here?" there was a murmur from the surrounding crowd as everyone waited for them to answer.
"We wanted to come along!" Otamamon said, "We didn't want to be left behind. We weren't needed in the digital world..."
"Because we didn't posses a crest like the others—like each of your digimon partners—" Meiyomon continued.
"But you heard what Gennai said!" Koushiro said stepping forward, "The two world must forever stay as two separate entities or else—"
"Yeah—but we're just two little digimon, what could possibly go wrong?" Meiyomon questioned.
"If you drop a single drop of coloured water into a glass of pure water," Koushiro said, "then that little drop will slowly but surely taint the glass as a hole."
"What are you saying?" Otamamon asked.
"What am I saying?" Koushiro yelled out, "I'm saying that—"
"He's saying that you need to go home." Jou said, cutting across Koushiro and shortening the rant.
"But why?" Otamamon whined, "I don't wanna—"
"How did they even get here?" Yamato asked, "They should have been dragged back to the digital world."
"Well Gennai said that he took all the digimon back. And then we left through his portal—before you guys left... we... did too." Otamamon said.
"You need to go back." Taichi said, agreeing with Koushiro.
"It's not that we don't like you guys..." Sora said, "But—"
"They can't go back." Takeru said quickly.
"The portal is closed." Hikari reminded us, "And without our digivices... we can't open them again."
"So it's settled." Ken smiled, "They stay?"
"No!" Koushiro cried out, "They can't! You both have to go back now!"
"Koushiro calm down!" Sora said quickly, "There's nothing we can do..."
"Except hope beyond all odds that they won't bring too much imbalance to the worlds..." Taichi said.
"There is another option." Daisuke said smiling, "We could kill them."
Otamamon burst out into crazed laughter, "You're so funny! I want to live with you!"
"What are you talking about?" Daisuke asked.
"Well I need somewhere to live—I choose to live with you." Otamamon said. "You're funny and charming, and rather brave. And I like you."
"Shucks..." Daisuke said slowly, "Yeah ok. You can live with me."
"NO!" Koushiro said, panicked, "We must send them home!"
"Can we settle this later?" Willis asked, looking out the window. "A very angry looking man is coming our way... perhaps we should leave."
"Good idea..." Taichi said, stepping forward and leading us out of the cabin.
"Yagami?" Mr Fujiama said curiously. Slowly we all filed out behind Taichi, and the teacher's expression changed to that of a very confused, and angry man. "Takenouchi? Izumi? Kido? Is that you...? Tachikawa?"
"Hi sir..." Mimi said slowly.
"What are you all doing here?" he asked.
"Uh..." Mimi said slowly, backing up.
"We are here because..." Taichi threw his arm around Mr Fujiama and went into a long explination as to why we were here at this camp even though we weren't really attending it. Mimi slid back to stand near me.
"Mimi..." I said slowly, "Can I talk to you?"
She looked up and smiled. "Of course Michael."
"Uhm..." I said awkwardly, "Privately?"
She nodded, "After you." She motioned for me to lead the way. I smiled and started walking. I us to the other side of the cabin, and then stopped abruptly.
"What's up?" She asked me, still smiling.
"I know Michael." She said, her smile faltering slightly, "You don't exactly hide your feelings well."
"I know... I just thought I should let you know." I said, my heart plummeting, she clearly didn't... feel the same way about me, for if she had she would have said something about it already.
"I'm flattered Michael. Really I am..." She said slowly.
And then we stood in silence for a while, staring at each other, and then finally she spoke up.
"You're a really good friend Michael. I'm going to miss you..." She said, stepping forward and hugging me.
"I'm gonna miss you too Mimi..." I said slowly, "Wait what?"
"What do you mean?" She asked pulling away from the hug.
I stared at her. What was she talking about? Missing me? Was she leaving me? She couldn't do that—not now. Not right after Betamon and I were separated—she couldn't leave me... I really had no other friends—she was it. My best friend... and if she left me... I just... don't know what I would do without her.
"Why are we going to miss each other...?" I asked slowly, hoping against all odds that she was going to respond in a way that I wanted her to... but she didn't say anything, her face turned to shock as if she hadn't meant to say anything, but now she had to, she couldn't hide whatever it was any longer...
"I'm moving back to Japan Michael..."
And then my heart fell... one could say that it shattered...
We watched Taichi and the strange man, apparently named Mr Fujiama speak as Taichi attempted to justify our reasons for being here, he wasn't doing a good job at all really, but I was pleased that he was trying at least... no one else seemed to be willing to do so.
"And that is why the alien's told us to stay at this camp." Taichi concluded.
"You're insane." Mr Fujiama said slowly, "Come with me. All of you. I'm going to go talk to the supervisor about whether or not we will be charging you."
Taichi looked slowly over his shoulder at us.
"BOOM!" Meiyomon screamed as the ground near the cabin exploded, Mr Fujiama fell over in surprise. "BOOM BOOM BOOM!" The ground exploded again and again until finally Meiyomon stepped forward. All around us children were now screaming and crying and running in circles.
"He is telling the truth." He said, "I, one of these aliens that the boy speaks of, am here to keep an eye on these children. To keep them here. Safe with me. Forever."
Mr Fujiama stared in shock and confusion at the small digimon as Meiyomon, still holding tightly to Otamamon, soon Meiyomon was standing right next to the man. Otamamon leapt out of his arms and yelled "BOO!"
"AHHHH!" Mr Fujiama screamed, scrambling to his feet and taking off at a run.
Everyone looked toward Meiyomon.
"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Daisuke cheered before roaring with laughter.
"That was not ok." Hikari said turning toward Meiyomon. "You can't just blow things up now that you're here in the human world."
"But it's fun." He said slowly.
"I'm sure it is, but you have to pretend to be a toy or something—that's what we did with all of our digimon when we brought them to the human world." Hikari said quickly.
"I am no toy!" Meiyomon bellowed, "I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL—"
"He looks kind of human..." Miyako said cutting him off. "He could pretend to be a little boy."
"You think that would be ok?" Sora asked.
"I think so as well..." Ken said causing Miyako to roll her eyes at him.
"He can be my little brother! We both share the crest of Honour—or... well... we both once had the crest of honour." She seemed slightly put off by the fact that she no longer had her crest. And really...I couldn't blame her. I may have just recently received the crests, but losing them made me feel empty... useless—and to top that off... I had lost my two best friends... I missed them already and I could only imagine that it would be worse as time went on...
"So... I have a sister now?" Meiyomon asked. Miyako nodded, smiling.
"Hurray!" he smiled, "that's so exciting! What if your parents aren't ok with having two children?"
"Well that won't be a problem!" Miyako smiled, "there's already four of us!"
"Oh..." Meiyomon said, thinking, "Well I suppose we'll be brother and sister then!"
"Well that's all wonderful and such," Sora said, "But Hikari's point still stands. You can't just go around blowing things up."
"He shouldn't even be here..." Koushiro groaned, "Send him back!"
"We can't—" Ken said.
"We'll find a way!" Koushiro sighed, "We have to..."
"Well we can't do that Koushiro." Ken continued, "It's too late so we're just all going to have to live with them here."
"I don't like it either." Ken said, turning toward the two digimon, "No offense."
"None taken." Meiyomon said.
"A lot taken!" Otamamon said at the same time.
"I don't think it's fair that all the digidestined around the world have had to give up their digimon and then two others without partners are allowed to be here without any chance of us fixing it, but there's no way to change what has happened now that Gennai has taken our digivices so we'll just have to deal with it."
Everyone was silent for a moment until Koushiro muttered something under his breath and then looked up to Ken. "You're right. I'm sorry..." I was shocked to see Koushiro give up his opinion—to change it to something so different. I had known him for a long time and I had never seen him do anything of the sort... something must have changed in his brain during this last trip to the digital world. Whatever it was I'm sure it must have been an incredibly powerful and influential force that either brainwashed him or inspired him greatly.
"So what did we miss?" Mimi asked walking back to the group, Michael linked to her arm, frowning.
"N-nothing much." Koushiro said slowly. "Nothing..."
"Oh... that's boring." Mimi said smiling, "What are we planning on doing?"
"Well I don't think we have to leave in any hurry..." Taichi said looking toward Meiyomon and grinning widely, "So we just... hang out here for a while and then... we go home."
"Home..." Mimi said looking from Michael to the rest of us. "I see..."
"Who wants to play soccer?" Daisuke asked. "There's a soccer field—and there's a ball—and those kids... are... crying. So we can just play around them."
"I'll play..." Taichi said.
"Me too..." Yamato chimed in smiling at Taichi.
And then soon Daisuke, Taichi, Yamato, Takeru, Sora, Ken, Michael and even Koushiro were playing soccer while Mimi, and Miyako stood on the sidelines cheering for opposing teams. Iori was sitting off by himself staring off into space, I started to walk toward him to help him out, to see why he was sad, but Jou beat me there, sitting next to him and talking with him. I settled on watching the soccer game... I would have played too, but the teams were even and I wasn't really in the mood to be playing games... and I figured the others were just playing to take their minds off of their lost friends. But I didn't want to take my mind off of my sadness... I never wanted to. That would include forgetting about them as well... forgetting about the bond that the three of us had. And I could never forgive myself if I forgot that...
I turned around and saw Hikari standing next to me, a look of sadness on her face. She slowly reached for my shoulder, but stopped herself and then looked away.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"I came to ask you the same question." She said.
"I asked first." I said attempting, and failing, to smile.
"Well I'm sad because my best friend is forever going to be a full world apart from me. But you must feel the same way." She said.
"I do indeed." I said slowly, "I literally can't remember a time without them. I was six years old when they first came into my life... it's been ten years since then."
"Ten years?" Hikari asked, "Wow... I've only known Gatomon for seven years..."
"The amount of time you've known her does not define the relationship the two of you had." Willis said, "It's the bonds the two of you shared that will affect your feelings—your sadness at leaving her behind."
"We were best friends..." She said looking to her feet.
"I thought so..." I said, placing my hand on her shoulder. "Terriermon and Lopmon were my best friends as well."
She nodded, "I remember... before I met Gatomon... my only friend was Miko—my cat."
I chuckled slightly, "No friends from school?"
"I had to be home schooled..." She said slowly, "I was always so sick."
"Sick?" I asked.
She nodded, "Always sick... my mother never told me what illness I had, but I was sick... up until I met Gatomon... And now..." She trailed off.
"You're scared that you're going to be sick again?" I asked.
"Because you think that Gatomon was the reason you were healed?" I asked.
She shook her head this time. "I think... that just maybe... the digital world was the reason that I was better—but now... without... the digital world I might be sick again..." She trailed off again, and then after a full minute of silence she said, "Do you... think that I will be?"
"No." I said, "And if you are—we will all be here for you. To help you get better."
She smiled and threw her arms around me. "Thank you Willis... for making me feel better... you're a really good friend."
I awkwardly hugged her back and smiled, unsure of what to say. "Is there anything I'm not good at?" I asked sarcastically. I rolled my eyes at my words. Usually I had such a way with words... why did I say that?
She giggled and pulled away, "Maybe humility? You should get a lesson from Daisuke, I think he's got a good grip on it finally."
"I was kidding..."
"I know." She smiled.
"I'm bad at a lot of things." I said slowly, "Like... everything really."
"Don't say that!" She said, "I'm sure you're good at a lot of things!"
"Oh sure..." I scoffed, "Terriermon and Lopmon did everything for me. Literally everything... they made my sandwiches for me... they did all of my chores... they—"
"Stop." Hikari said quickly, cutting me off, "You're smart—"
"And that's enough to get me by?" I asked.
"Koushiro manages." She said seriously.
We stared at each other for a moment and then began laughing loudly.
The two of us sat down in the grass and began talking about all the funny, happy, or sad memories of our digimon... things they had done that had made us mad or upset... things they did that made our day or changed our lives...
And then we just stopped. We could have gone on for days—there were endless stories about our friends that we could tell... but there was something else I wanted to say...
"Hikari..." I said slowly.
"Yes Willis?" She asked laying back in the grass around us.
I laid down next to her and sighed, "I—"
"That cloud!" She smiled, "it looks like a rabbit!"
I laughed and spotted the cloud she was referring to and shook my head. "You're insane—it looks so much more like a cat." I said, "The ears are much too short for it to be a rabbit."
"But it doesn't really look like a cat either! I think its head is much more rabbit shaped." She insisted.
"I suppose we'll be agreeing to disagree." I smiled, and there was a long moment of silence in which I sat up and looked down at her. "I need to tell you something."
"Yeah?" She asked, sitting up and staring at me. "What is it?"
"I just wanted to say that—" I stopped talking as a striking pain spread across the side of my face. "Ow!" I yelled out turning toward the ball that had bounced off of my face.
"Sorry." Daisuke said running over and scooping up the ball. He didn't sound sorry at all. "My bad."
I glared at him and sighed.
"Let's call it a game." Taichi said loudly. "I win."
"We." Yamato said, "We win."
"You're right Yamato." Taichi laughed, "We win."
I turned to Hikari and smiled, "As I was saying," I said smiling, "I really—"
"Hey guys, what are you talking about?" Takeru said smiling and sittind down next to Hikari. He was genuinely curious—he wasn't trying to break the conversation as Daisuke had been.
"Willis was going to say something." Hikari said. "What was it Willis?"
I shook my head. "It was nothing."
If these interruptions weren't an indication that I wasn't supposed to bring up this fact then I don't know what would have been. Maybe my feelings were completely absurd... maybe they weren't important... maybe I wasn't supposed to be with Hikari—or maybe I wasn't supposed to say anything yet... and the future would be the time I should bring them up...
She looked to Takeru and smiled... he smiled back.
But for now, the two of them were meant to be together as friends... or more... either way... I wasn't involved in this love story. Not yet anyway.
Once Taichi led Mr. Fujiami away, I looked towards the lake, where I'd noticed Noriko sitting. My stomach churned, with a mix of nerves and sadness. Armadillomon was gone, and I should be telling everyone that I forgive them, and ask for forgiveness in return, just like he made me promise. But I made another promise to a digimon too…
I made up my mind and walked over to her. "I'm sorry."
"Was it your fault?" she asked me without turning away from the lake.
"Not entirely, no," I admitted.
"But it was partially?" she asked. I saw her eyes narrow into a glare, still staring at the water.
"Only because I was there to recharge the crest of forgiveness," I told her.
"You got a crest?" she scoffed.
"Yes," I told her, a little hurt that she didn't believe me.
"Forgiveness and you? You don't exactly go together, you know?" she said with a laugh.
"I wouldn't have thought so either," I told her. "You aren't mad at me are you?"
"No," she said with a sigh. "I just don't see why you would have got to say goodbye and I couldn't. Why did Impmon have to get taken from me?"
"That's the way of the Digital World," I said bitterly. "Showing you perfection, and then taking it away from you with no warning."
"You and Forgiveness?" she questioned raising an eyebrow and looking at me for the first time. I'll be honest and admit to the nervous fluttering my stomach seemed to be occupied with.
"I know," I said. "I'm working on it. Um, actually, there's something I promised to talk about…"
"Hi!" she said suddenly, taking her eyes off of me and looking behind me. A guy that was a more than a few inches taller than me walked up to her, and she hugged him around the middle. He pressed a kiss on her cheek, and she giggled. "Iori, you remember my boyfriend, Hiroshi Shibata don't you? He was a dark spore child like me."
Boyfriend? She did not have a boyfriend when I went into the Digital World. It had only been a couple of days! The fluttering stopped at least…it was a little unfortunate that my stomach had turned to lead instead though. It seemed to drop to the ground, and my tongue got heavy. I couldn't form any words. I was barely able to keep myself from glaring at him.
I nodded at her.
"What was it you promised to talk about?" she asked me.
"What?" I asked. "Oh that. Armadillomon made me swear to get rid of all of my grudges, no matter how trivial."
"You have a grudge with me?" she asked.
"Both of you actually," I said honestly. I was already hurt by Armadillomon's absence, why did I have to go through this at the same time? "But I'm letting it go, I'm forgiving you."
"Thanks," she said awkwardly. Hiroshi sat beside her and I turned, leaving it behind. It should have felt pretty good to let that pain go, but it didn't. It still hurt. I tried very hard not stomp across the lawn, but I don't think I managed it…
I flung myself onto the ground and stared down at the grass. The blades were growing in every direction, and I let everything crash down on me. I gave up my best friend, I failed my promise to Betamon and my first crush broke my heart… So far life without the Digital World sucked.
"Hey Iori," Jou said sitting down next to me. "He'd want you to be happy, you know."
"It's not just that," I said. "I don't want to talk about it."
But Armadillomon told me I had to open up to people; I couldn't let what happened to me without him happen again. I couldn't turn my back on people because they annoyed me, or hurt me, or insulted me. I had to forgive and forget…
"Okay," I told him. "It's like this…"
Iori and Jou were talking over in the grass, and Miyako was running around with Meiyomon planning their next few days, now that she was his big sister. I couldn't decide which of these two scenes I wanted to be a part of. I knew I needed to get through to Miyako, because our relationship—if you can even call it that—was really rocky right then, and I wanted to fix that before my mom found out, but at the same time, I had managed to make a breakthrough with Iori in that white world, and he needed help right now.
Jou was a great guy and all, but I was sure his year at university might have done a number on his memory of what it was like to be a twelve year old…thirteen year old. Iori was thirteen. I should have remembered that…
And just like that, it was decided for me. I needed to get to know Iori better. He needed a friend he could confide in, and Jou was six years older than him. I knew from experience with my mom and even reporters, that confiding in someone a lot older than you was difficult and sometimes awkward. They'd already been through what you're going through, so it doesn't seem like a big deal to them anymore. It probably wasn't so bad with Jou, because he's cooler than my mom.
I headed over to the pair of them, only to hear the end of Iori's latest rant.
"—and Armadillomon made me swear to forgive and forget everything. How am I supposed to do that? I can't. And I hate Noriko now, even though that goes against the lesson I'd just learned…"
"I'm sure it will work out," Jou said somewhat reassuringly. "Your first crush is always the hardest, but they get easier."
"Oh, it'll be easier, because I won't let myself like anyone like that again," Iori concluded.
"Maybe you just need to wait for the right girl to take that chance," I said coming up behind them.
"Hello Ken," Iori and Jou said.
"How are you holding up?" I asked Iori.
"Good I guess," he said rolling his eyes. "I just want Armadillomon so much right now. I talked to him about everything. He'd be able to help me. But I'm going be alone again. I was always alone before I met him, and now I'm going to be that way again."
"You have us though," I said.
"Yeah," Jou agreed.
"It's not the same," he mumbled.
"I have to go talk to Miyako," I said, a plan suddenly forming in my mind. "I'll be right back."
And I ran off to find her. If I could convince her, Iori wouldn't have to be alone at all.
"I don't know how mom and dad are going to feel about having another kid, but Mantarou and Chizuru are already off at university, and Momoe's heading out next year. And Mantarou has his own apartment, so you could have his old room, if Momoe and Chizuru are willing to share with me during the summer holidays anyway…" I continued. Meiyomon was looking a little less thrilled with every additional point, but I was just trying to fill him in on all of the rules of my home.
"Miyako!" Ken called to me, running over quite quickly.
"What's up?" I asked him looking at him suspiciously.
"I have a question for you," he said. He looked at me, as if judging how angry I still was at him. I wasn't angry at all of course, but it was still fun to see. "Two questions."
"Fire away," I said.
"I was wondering first, if you know, since Iori is alone a lot, and you've got so many siblings, if you'd mind too terribly if Meiyomon went to live with him?" he asked carefully
"I'm going there!" Meiyomon shouted happily. "I don't want to go to her house now. There won't be any room for me there…" He took off at Iori at a run.
"But," I said half-heartedly. Ken was trying so hard to get Iori to like him, and without noticing it, I think he had started to really like Iori in return. They were on their way to being great friends, and if Meiyomon would help Iori—who did look incredibly depressed when I checked—then I guess I could deal with it. He did only live a few doors down after all. "Fine…"
"You're amazing," Ken said happily.
"I know," I agreed with a laugh. "What was that second thing?"
"Oh, I wanted to know, if you wanted to go on that date we'd planned before the trip? Unless you're still mad at me?" he asked. He had a cute, hopeful smile, and I couldn't help but smile in return.
"I'm not mad at you," I said. "I can't stay mad at you."
"Now I know that," he said with a laugh, and I playfully hit his shoulder.
"We should probably tell people where we're going…" I commented.
"You want to go right now?" he asked, his eyes lighting up.
"Sure thing," I said happily. I didn't want to walk over to the others, so I just took in a deep breath and yelled out loudly. "We're leaving now for a date! We'll see you all later."
"I'll talk to you tomorrow Iori!" Ken added. Iori gave a quick nod and looked around embarrassed at being called out. I laughed and took Ken's hand. Hawkmon may be gone, but things were starting to look up between Ken and me. I decided to take Hawkmon's advice, and put the past in the past, where I can look back on it and laugh, and press on into the future.
It was weird, being back in the real world, being surrounded by people that had no idea what we'd just been through. They didn't know we'd nearly been killed loads of times, and that a lot of us had gotten injured both physically and emotionally. That we'd been torn from our best friends. The world kind of seemed dull without the knowledge that we could leave it for the Digital World. The impossible was not possible here like it was there.
I looked up and saw that Hikari was coming toward me, I smiled at her, and noticed that she was walking away from Takeru and Willis—she chose to talk to me over them. I smiled wider at that thought.
"Hey there," Hikari said.
"Hi," I replied. "Just doing some hard thinking."
"That doesn't sound like you," she commented.
"No, it doesn't," I agreed. "But everything seems too different now."
"It does," she said simply. "But it's not as different as you think."
"Hikari," I started. "You know how earlier, I told you that I love you…"
"Yes, I do," she said. "But I don't think you really do. Not yet at least."
"I guess," I said. It was odd how when she said it, it made perfect sense. I'd thought I loved her, but maybe it was just an infatuation that needed a little more fuel to make it…but I actually couldn't see that happening. It seemed much more likely that it would fade away…
"I can't say I return those feelings anyway," she said. "I've thought about it, about trying I mean, but I just can't see it happening."
"Me either," I said honestly. "I've tried just about everything under the sun, and nothings worked yet."
"You'll find your girl," she told me. "She's just not me…okay?"
"Maybe," I said. "Then again, maybe not."
"You're not just going to give up, are you?" she said in defeat.
"Not on your life," I said with a grin.
"Hikari, Daisuke," Taichi called to us. "Yamato's dad and Koushiro's mom are here to take us home! Let's get going."
"Okay!" we called together. And as we walked off, I couldn't help but think I was turning a new leaf and starting a new chapter.
"No!" Yamato sighed, "We won't all fit! It just can't work!"
"We can squeeze!" Taichi insisted.
"That's illegal." Yamato pointed out.
"I suppose that's true…" Taichi laughed. "Well what if Hikari, Takeru and I go with you and your dad in his van…"
"Iori lives in the same building as me." I pointed out, "He could come too."
"I have an attachment now though." Iori said, motioning to Meiyomon.
"Well let's bring Daisuke too then…" Taichi said and then paused, "Wait—where is Mimi staying? And Willis and Michael?"
"I think Willis has arranged to stay with Koushiro." Sora said from next to Yamato, "And Mimi can stay with me if she wants to?"
"That would be perfect!" Mimi smiled.
We were all crowded around the two vehicles other than Hikari, Daisuke, Miyako and Ken the latter two had disappeared saying something about a date. Hikari and Daisuke were coming nearer now.
"Where am I staying then?" Michael asked.
"The streets?" Koushiro suggested. Everyone glared at him, "of course I am kidding though… I would never dream of sending the boy to the streets!" Then quietly he muttered, "Nineteen…"
"Nineteen?" Iori gasped, and then he muttered the words, "must catch up…" he looked to Koushiro and smiled, "Is that you offering to take Michael in as your own temporary brother Koushiro? I am sure he would really enjoy that." He began counting on his fingers and let out a triumphant "Twenty three!"
"No I—" Koushiro tried.
"You two are confusing me." Taichi sighed, "is anyone offering to have Michael stay with them?"
"I will!" Daisuke smiled, "I could use a brother for now…"
Michael smiled at him and gave him a high five. It was weird how they were both seemingly so happy about this situation. We shouldn't have had to figure these problems out. We should still be sleeping in the digital world, picnicking with our friends and having a good time for the remainder of the summer… but stupid Gennai wouldn't let us…
"So now we need to take Michael too." Yamato sighed deeply.
"Willis…" Koushiro said, "Get in my mom's car—Mimi and Sora can come too. That's all that can fit."
"Everyone else…" Yamato sighed, "Just get in."
Everyone crammed into the van. I ended up squeezed between Daisuke and Iori in the back, each of them had a digimon in their lap.
I noticed that Yamato was still out of the car. I checked the rear view mirror and saw him hug Sora tightly and then he hurried toward the front seat and jumped in. "Let's just go." Yamato said sadly.
"Wait!" Taichi said loudly, "Where's Hikari?"
"I'm here!" She called out I saw her hand stick up from next to Jou in the middle of the van. Michael had a seat to himself but Hikari and Jou had crammed together as Tai and Daisuke had done next to Iori and I.
"So where to first?" Dad asked.
"My house!" Daisuke yelled out, "Please!"
Dad laughed and did as he was told. Daisuke instructed him along the way.
"So… what's everyone planning for the rest of the summer?" Hikari asked.
"I think I'll sleep a lot." Daisuke said.
"We should get together!" Jou said quickly, "Like a picnic?" It seemed like a good idea, but I didn't really feel up to the plan. I didn't want to see everyone else so soon—it would just be more of a reminder that we had just left the digital world for the last time… after all… the only times all of us had gotten together was to celebrate going to the digital world, or to actually go there.
"I don't like picnics." Otamamon said loudly, "too many ants."
"You have too many aunts?" Meiyomon asked.
"Ants… like the bugs." Otamamon corrected.
"WHERE?" Meiyomon panicked snapping his fingers and sending strange sparks all over the car to kill the bugs.
"Put the sparks out!" Iori demanded. "Now!"
"I don't like bugs!" Meiyomon screamed.
"I DON'T LIKE EXLODING!" Iori yelled over Meiyomon's yelling.
"Explosions? Ok!" Meiyomon cheered clapping his hands.
"NO!" Everyone yelled as one.
"There are no ants!" Taichi yelled out.
"Sorry…" Meiyomon sighd, sinking down into Iori's lap. "My bad…"
"We're here…" Dad said, both confused and a little shocked.
"Oh thank God!" Daisuke cheered jumping to his feet and heading for the door of the van. Otamamon fell to the floor and then jumped up onto my lap.
"You're forgetting me you jerk!" Otamamon yelled.
"Bye Otamamon! It was nice meeting you!" Meiyomon smiled.
"You too!" Otamamon cheered, and then he turned to me, "Thanks for saving me Takeru…"
"You're welcome…" I said awkwardly as he leapt toward Jou and then followed Michael out of the van.
"Bye Michael! Bye Daisuke! Bye Otamamon!" everyone called out as Jou moved to Michael's seat and Hikari closed the door allowing Dad to keep driving.
"Now where?" Dad asked.
"My house isn't far…" Jou said.
And then soon Jou was getting out of the car and we were waving goodbye to him and then finally we were pulling up to Taichi and Hikari's house.
Taichi climbed out of the van after Hikari and closed the door.
"Why aren't you getting out?" Dad asked me.
"I don't live here…" I pointed out.
"I know that—just walk her to the door!" He insisted.
"Why? Taichi is doing that…" I was really confused now.
"Just go!" Meiyomon cheered.
I groaned and hopped out of the car and then ran to catch up to Hikari. Taichi had already run on ahead to get inside and see his parents.
"Oh—hey Takeru—" Hikari said.
"Dad asked me to walk you to the door." I smiled.
"He's such a gentleman." Hikari giggled.
"So… how are you doing?" I asked, "I didn't really get a chance to ask you with Willis right there…"
"I'm alright… I talked to Willis and he made me feel better… I think I'm going to be ok." She smiled.
I smiled back at her. "Sounds like someone has a crush on Willis." I laughed… I could see them together—they seemed cute… it was a perfect couple.
"Well… can I tell you something?" Hikari asked as she led the way up the stairs to her apartment.
"Yeah, please do," I smiled at her.
"I think Willis does like me." She said.
And then I was angry—I couldn't explain it… it wasn't like… actual anger—perhaps jealousy? I couldn't be sure. I didn't want him to like her… I couldn't quite place it though.
"And how… do you feel about him?" I asked her.
"I don't know. He… seems nice." Hikari said, furrowing her brow, "But I don't want to like anyone just yet… I don't want a relationship."
"You like him." I said slowly.
"I think so…" She said, "But there's someone else too…" We were at the door now and she grabbed the door knob.
"Well, here we are…" I said awkwardly.
"Tell your dad that he's really sweet for sending his son to walk with me." She laughed.
"Goodbye, Takeru…" She said opening the door.
"Bye…" I said, "Hikari…" there was no doubt in my mind as the door closed behind her. Terriermon was right—everyone was right—and I was wrong. Hikari was not just my friend… I was in love with her.
Two days later:
It had been a couple days since we had left the digital world and I had finally gotten over the major shock. I was still sad of course—who wouldn't be? I missed Gatomon, and I wanted her back with me, but there wasn't much I could do now... I could only hold onto the memories I had of her and just hope that she'd also remember me.
I had been staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror for a while, examining my face, trying to mask the sadness and also trying to decide if I wanted to cut my hair again. I settled on no, and that I'd let it grow out... I turned and walked from the bathroom and ran into my father.
"Hey there sprout!" He said, "You feeling better?"
He was of course referring to the intense sadness I had been feeling and spreading around the house and my family. I smiled feebly and nodded. "A bit." I managed to say.
"Mom's cooked some breakfast up if you'd like some..." He said patting me on the shoulder, "Cheer up Hikari... it'll be ok."
I let the feeble attempt at a smile fall as he snuck around me and into the washroom. He didn't understand what I was going through... but I had to admit, this was a lot better than the drunken father I had grown up with. I smiled at that and then headed down stairs to find Taichi and my mother sitting at the kitchen table.
"Good morning dear!" Mom said standing up and rushing toward me. She placed her hand on my shoulder and led me toward the table.
"I'm not crippled mother." I said, "I can find my way to the table."
"Right—I'm sorry." She said.
"No—I'm sorry." I said, "I'm sorry I just snapped at you—I'm sorry I have been snapping at you—I'm sorry I haven't been myself, and I'm sorry that I have been moping around bringing everyone down."
I reached toward my chair and pulled it out.
Taichi looked toward me and smiled. "Huh..." he said, "I keep forgetting that chair is still there..."
"What?" I asked, quite confused.
"Nothing—don't worry about it." He said.
I shook my head and looked at the table smiling. There was an omelette drowned in ketchup on my plate... This was the exact meal that Taichi had made for me... every single time he tried to cook. It made me happy to remember the times that we had spent together.
I looked toward him and he seemed to know exactly what it was that I was thinking, he smiled at me and then winked.
"Do you want to go for a walk after breakfast?" he asked me slowly, "I was thinking about going over to visit Yamato..."
"Yamato and I aren't really very close Taichi—" I tried to explain.
"Well Takeru will be there as well." Taichi said, "Apparently his mom went for a two month vacation because Takeru was supposed to be in the digital world all summer..."
"Yeah—that's right..." Mom said, "Why did you guys come back so early?"
"Long story mom..." I said, then to Taichi, "yes... I'd love to."
"Great!" he smiled.
Sure I wanted to go see Takeru—he was my best friend after all. I looked to the omelette and realized that I wasn't really very hungry. I tried to stand up but my head spun quickly and I fell back into my chair.
"You alright?" Taichi asked, his mouth full of food.
I nodded, "Just light headed." I said slowly. I turned toward my food deciding that maybe the food would help the light headedness and I grabbed my fork and knife, cutting off a small piece of the egg. I brought it near my mouth but suddenly dropped the fork and began coughing.
"Are you alright darling?" Mom asked very hurriedly as she rushed to my side. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine!" I managed to call out between coughs. "Really." I grabbed a glass of orange juice Mom had set out for me and I drank it all in one go, setting the glass down quietly. "I guess I'm just not feeling well."
Mom looked more than upset about this. Her face was pale and her eyes were filled with an immense amount of worry and despair. "Perhaps you should rest for the day? Maybe you shouldn't go out with Taichi?"
"I want to though." I said slowly, "I'll just go to bed early tonight Mom. It's just a little cough. It's not a big deal."
"Are you sure?" Mom asked, not breaking eye contact.
I stared at her for a moment, no I wasn't sure. I was pretty sure I was sick—like I had told Willis, but it might also have been just me being so sure that I would be sick, that I actually became sick. Mental illness...? I nodded, "Yep, I'm sure." I said, but I knew she knew that I was lying. But if I really was sick, then this could be my last chance to get out of the house for a while... and I was going to take that.
"Well..." Taichi said, "Are you ready?"
I nodded and stood up. I almost fell over again but I managed to catch myself and I was pretty sure no one noticed. I took a step toward Taichi and smiled, "Let's go." I said.
He nodded and led the way toward the front door.
"Wear a coat dear!" Mom called, "Maybe sunscreen?"
"I'm fine Mother..." I said as Taichi opened the door. "Really I am."
"If you say so..." She said, "Bye Taichi! Bye Hikari! Have fun—be safe and—"
Taichi slammed the door. "C'mon." He smiled, "Let's go."
I giggled and followed him, "So how are you doing?" I asked him. I knew I wouldn't have to specify what I was talking about, there wasn't much else on my mind right now and I had a feeling he would be feeling the same.
"Pretty good actually..." He said, "I mean, I'm really sad—heartbroken—that I won't be seeing Agumon anymore... but I had a feeling this day would come... and so I kind of prepared myself for it... you know?"
"Yeah... no." I said, "No, I don't, but as long as you are alright."
"Well... I'll live." He said, "I miss him though..." The two of us walked down the sidewalk together, the hot, summer sun beating down on us harshly. It almost made me want to turn around, but I hadn't had the chance to talk with Taichi yet and I was pretty excited to be able to do this. "How are you doing?"
"Awfully." I said honestly, "The only reason I'm not crying right now is because I've run out of tears, I'm getting really sick again and—"
"You are?" He asked hurriedly, "maybe we should—"
"Taichi." I said flatly. "I'm old enough to make my own decisions. I'm going to visit my friends."
"I'm sorry..." he said slowly, "I just... feel like you still need me to be your big brother you know? Maybe I'm wrong... and I'm sorry If I'm a bit pushy Hikari... but I love you and I don't want to lose you as a friend."
I smiled at him and grabbed his arm. Partially to show affection, and partially because I was pretty sure I was about to fall over.
"I love you Taichi. You will always be my friend—and I do need you to be there for me. I'll be there for you too... But this is different. If I feel like I'm going to pass out... I'll let you know."
He chuckled, "I suppose that seems fair."
"I thought so." I smiled.
The two of us walked in silence for a while, cutting through the park to get to Yamato's house faster. Soon though I was growing tired and I couldn't help it...
"Are we there yet?" I whined.
Taichi laughed, "Not yet Hikari." He said, "Do you want to take a break? There's a bench right there in the shade if you'd like to rest..."
I paused and then nodded, "That would be smart." I said quietly and allowed Taichi to lead me toward the bench.
I fell back into the bench and smiled. It felt so much better to be sitting in the shade than walking under the hot sun. Taichi sat beside me and sighed.
"What?" I asked him.
"I think the last time we were here together..." he said slowly, "Was when I hospitalized you by bringing you outside when I knew you weren't going to be ok..."
I laughed at him, "I think you're right... kind of silly now that you look back on it, huh?"
"Is it?" He asked, "We're doing the same thing right now Hikari... I know you're sick, and... here we are. Sitting in this park together..."
"This time it's my choice Taichi."
"But I should be protecting you despite your choices." He said.
"I don't want you to though." I said, "I want to be here."
"But you're sick, it could be really bad for you to be out here..." He said.
"Relax Taichi!" I growled, "I'm fine."
"You didn't seem fine when you almost fell over at breakfast this morning..." He said.
"I was light headed—"
"Because you are sick."
"Look, we're not going to agree here so let's talk about something different?" I suggested.
He nodded, "Good idea..." He said slowly, "Like what?"
"I don't really know..." I said, "You graduated high school!" I said coming to a topic quickly. "What are you doing next year?"
"Haven't I told you?" He asked.
I shook my head, "You were ignoring me for the better part of this year. Remember?" I reminded simply.
"Huh... you're right." He said, "Sorry about that by the way."
"Don't worry about it." I smiled.
"Well..." He said slowly, "Yamato and I got together a while ago to pick courses for the Universities that we got into..."
"You didn't have a plan already mapped out?"
He laughed, "Nope." I rolled my eyes as he continued, "Anyway... we couldn't really decide what classes to take and so we just picked random classes for each other."
"You think that was wise...?" I asked him slowly.
He shrugged his shoulders, "It'll be an adventure anyway." He smiled and then hopped to his feet. "Come on, I'm gonna carry you."
"You will do no such thing!" I laughed.
"Watch me." He smirked, turning around. "You can do this the easy way, or the hard way. Get on my back, or I will carry you over my shoulder."
I, once again, rolled my eyes at him but smiled and stood up on the bench and then hopped onto his back. I wasn't really too excited about the whole piggy back in public thing—but I didn't care so much... this was the real Taichi... the one who had been hidden for so long. I was happy to have my brother back.
"Do you think it's a good idea for me to be here?" Sora asked, "If Taichi's coming over... maybe I should leave. I did leave Mimi alone at my house…"
I shook my head. "Don't worry about it Sora." I said to her smiling. "I think he's ok with it. He seems ok with it."
"It?" She asked.
"As in you and me." I confirmed.
"I'm not so much worried about that as much as—he's terrified I'm going to destroy him or something." She explained. I laughed, but her face remained calm and serious.
"Uh—right..." I said, my laughing fading. "Well he's going to have to get over it eventually."
"You're right..." she said smiling, "But... so soon? I should go."
"Sora." I insisted. "Don't worry about it."
Sora had been at my house since late the night before. The two of us sat at the kitchen table and talked. All night long. My dad continuously came into the kitchen to "get a snack" but really I think he was just checking to make sure that the two of us were still there and not doing anything... else. Takeru had fallen asleep before Sora arrived and was still sleeping. I thought about waking him up a couple times but I didn't bother. After breakfast Sora and I had finally moved from the uncomfortable chairs at the table to the couch in the living room. It was messy, but a lot more comfortable. It felt weird to have Sora here considering that just a little more than a week ago she had been dating Taichi and sitting in his room with him for the better part of every... single day.
"Are you two still hungry?" Dad asked, "I can... maybe make some food?"
"I'd rather eat Takeru's cooking." I said flatly.
"He's the worst chef—"
"I know." I clarified. "I know dad... I know."
He nodded slowly and smiled, "Well let me know if you need anything." And then he was gone from the living room again.
"So Sora..." I said smiling, "What are you going to be doing once the summer is over?"
"I'm... going to school on my tennis scholarship. Didn't Taichi tell you?"
I laughed, "No—he wouldn't tell me anything about you. He was so scared that I'd end up stealing you from him... Which... I did."
"You didn't steal me from him!" She insisted, "Our relationship wasn't really working—and I love you." She smiled up at me with her eyes blinking sweetly.
"You're right..." I smiled, "I love you too." There was a moment of silence and then, "So a tennis scholarship? Shouldn't you be doing something a little more..."
"Girly?" Sora scoffed, "Mom wants me to run the flower shop, but dad finally talked her into letting me do what I want. But I'm not sure Tennis is really my thing... but for now—it is."
"Fair enough," I smiled.
She looked toward me and leaned in to kiss me, and I awkwardly attempted to reciprocate the action.
Sora screamed and jumped back before we could kiss and I rounded on Takeru who was on his knees behind the couch we were sitting on.
"You're such a child!" I laughed.
"At least I'm not kissing Sora." Takeru smiled.
"And neither am I thanks to you." I pointed out.
"You still love me." Takeru smiled.
"You're walking on thin ice." I smirked.
There was a knock on the door.
"Hey Takeru, go get that."
"No." He said, "I don't want to come back to the two of you making out. Sora—go get the door."
"Takeru—" I said, but Sora had already stood up, "I'll get it Sora really,"
"I can do it Yamato." She smiled, "I'm capable."
I turned to Takeru and scowled.
"What?" He asked.
"So what's for breakfast?"
"There's some chocolate cake—"
"Mine." Takeru said jumping to his feet and running toward the fridge. I knew that would be what he wanted so I suggested it quickly to get him off my case.
"Yamato!" Sora called, "Taichi and Hikari are here!"
I jumped to my feet and made my way to the door trying to make Taichi and Sora's reunion a little less awkward. I was met by Sora's thankful stare, Taichi's slightly displeased one, and Hikari looked like she was dead...
"Is she ok?" I asked, pointing to the girl on Taichi's back.
"I'm wonderful." Hikari said sarcastically.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I'm sick." She said flatly.
"I don't wanna catch this—" I said.
"You won't." Taichi said, "I never did. She's not contagious."
"Alright—Takeru!" I called out, "Hikari is here!"
"Oh?" he asked, poking his head out of the kitchen. His mouth was full of cake. He nodded and then retracted into the kitchen. A couple seconds later the fridge slammed and he was walking quickly toward us with a glass of milk in his hand, pouring it down his throat.
I rolled my eyes.
"Am I gonna carry you too?" he joked to Hikari as he finished his milk.
She laughed, "Nope... I think I can walk again—Taichi just wouldn't let me."
"But...?" Taichi asked.
"But it was more fun this way..." Hikari sighed finishing their, clearly rehearsed, conversation.
"Exactly!" Taichi smiled letting Hikari slide off of his back. He straightened out his shirt and smiled, "So... what are we gonna do?"
Hikari smiled at Takeru and grabbed his arm. "Let's... go somewhere." She said smiling. "Shade. I like shade."
"So you wanna go outside?" Takeru asked, looking to Taichi for confirmation. Taichi nodded, allowing them to go.
"I do." She said, "Let's go..."
Takeru smiled and took her outside.
"So..." Taichi said, "Sora.."
"Hello Taichi..." Sora said, "How are you?"
"That's good." Sora said moving her hand toward Taichi's shoulder. He flinched. "This is getting ridiculous! I'm not a scary person Taichi! Your dream sequence might have been scary but I, Sora Takenouchi am not a scary person! So you will get over your fear of me so we can be friends again! That's final! Is that clear?" She paused, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"
"Calm down..." I said slowly, "You're not being less scary."
Sora paused and thought back to what she had just done and then turned to Taichi and hugged him, "I'm so sorry!" She cried out, "I didn't mean to... and—"
"It's ok Sora." Taichi said, "I'm not scared of you anymore.
I was glad that Sora realized it wasn't really her that I was afraid of anymore. It was more what she represented, but I was putting that in my past now, because she was with Yamato now, and I was able to look after Hikari like I should have done before. I wasn't in any rush to at jealous or get angry. I was in no way ready for a relationship anyway. I doubt I was really ready for one when Sora and I started dating in the first place.
"Hey Taichi," Sora said. "Thanks. For not being scared of me anymore. It was really weird having you avoiding me so much."
"I know. I was a little scared," I said. "Okay, a lot scared. Now though, I'm more focused on making sure Hikari really does exist. I don't want to hurt her like that again. I spent a bit of time believing that she wasn't real. You had a craft room, and we didn't share a room, and it was confusing."
"She exists Taichi," Sora said. "And we made sure to keep her that way. With the gate sealed off, they can't get her either."
"But now that the gates closed, she's been getting sick. She's worse than when she was little. I'm afraid that it's going to keep getting worse, and that I won't be able to help her at all," I said.
"Don't worry too much, Taichi. She'll tell you if it gets to be too much," she said. "Hikari's a smart girl. She knows her limits."
"Maybe I should check on her…"
"Not yet," she said with a laugh. "Takeru is with her anyway."
"Here's breakfast," Yamato announced, emerging from the kitchen with two plates of eggs and toast. "Are you sure you don't want anything, Taichi?"
"I ate before I came," I told him for the third time. I was pretty sure he, like Sora, was trying to make it up to me that the two of them were dating.
"Right," he said. "You've said that."
"I have…" I said.
"I'm sorry," he blurted out.
"I took Sora from you," he explained. "You two might have been heading towards a breakup anyway, but I helped speed it along. And for that I apologize."
"You helped me remember that Sora wasn't the only person in the world, Yamato," I said awkwardly. "I should probably be thanking you."
"Well, that's nice," Sora said with a laugh.
"I really should be checking on Hikari," I told them. "I let her faint on my watch before, I'm not about to do it again."
"Go on then," Sora said rolling her eyes.
"Yeah," Yamato agreed. He looked a little relieved. I hoped it would be too awkward between us for too long. I missed my two human best friends, and I couldn't let them go like I had to with Agumon.
I headed out the apartment's door, down the hallway towards the elevator. I was actually thrilled when I'd seen that thing. I couldn't imagine having to lug Hikari up the stairs. I probably would have exhausted myself or I could have slipped and dropped her down the stairs. Elevators rock when it comes to heavy lifting—not that Hikari is heavy…
Anyway, I was just reaching the elevator, when I realized there was a girl stuck in the door. She was sitting in a wheelchair, but couldn't get the back wheels over the lip of the door. The doors were trying to close on her, but kept bouncing back open.
"Do you need a hand?" I asked her.
She looked up in surprise. Her eyes were a bright brown, and her dark reddish hair flung about her shoulders. "Thanks," she said in a soft soprano. "I can't get out. I've been trying for a few minutes now."
"It's not a problem. I'm Taichi by the way, Taichi Yagami," I said, tugging on the armrests, pulling the wheels loose.
"I'm Rei Saiba," she said stretching out her hand to me, which I shook instantly. "It's nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too," I said smiling widely. "Maybe I'll see you around sometime? I've got to go check on my sister. See if she's dead or not."
"Is she in the hospital?" she asked, her eyes promptly turning sad.
"No, just outside," I said lamely. "She's just feeling off, and I want to make sure she's fine. I don't want to lose her or anything."
"I understand. Thanks again for your help," she said.
I stepped into the elevator compartment, and pressed the button for the ground floor. Against my better judgment, I had to ask, "Do you need any help getting to your apartment?"
"No. I live three doors down," she said pointing to the apartment across from Yamato's.
"Good to know," I said with a smile. "My friend's right next door. I'll probably see you around then."
"I might like that," she said starting to wheel her way towards her apartment. "Go take care of that sister of yours!"
"I will," I called back as the elevator door closed in front of me.
Five days later:
I stepped up onto the hill overlooking the lake in the park and smiled. It was really quite the pretty site. The sun was high in the sky and reflecting on the water sending the light all around. The breeze was light and warm. I sat down underneath the tall tree that sat upon the top of the hill and cast a shadow across most of the hill itself to keep us in the shade. Jou had finally convinced us all to join him in a picnic after a full week of pestering us. Now seemed like the perfect time with Mimi and the other Americans leaving soon.
I was early though, and I didn't mind at all as I leaned back against the trunk of the tree and closed my eyes. This reminded me of the first time we had gone to the digital world—that summer was perfect... just the right temperature—until of course it had begun to snow...
I opened my eyes to see if anyone had arrived yet after a while of thinking and found myself alone, and starting to regret allowing Mimi to go shopping with Jou, it would have been nice to have some company as I was starting to get bored.
"I don't see anyone." A familiar voice said.
"Well that sucks—go home then?" Iori's voice suggested.
"But I wanna stay too!" Meiyomon cried out.
"Fine..." Iori sighed.
I looked around the tree and smiled.
"Sora?" Iori asked. He was wearing a light purple t-shirt and a pair of dark purple shorts. His hair was a mess and he looked like he hadn't slept in a week—which could very well have been true. I hoped I didn't look as tired or out of it as he did. I looked at my clothing, which seemed rather organized, and I knew my hair was in place... I could only hope that staying up all night with Mimi hadn't made me look too... dead.
"Hey Iori," I smiled at him as he and Meiyomon, still wearing his same jester outfit reached the top of the hill.
"You're here early..." Iori said, shooting a bothered glance at Meiyomon.
"See? There are people here!" Meiyomon smiled, "I can stay!"
Iori sighed and rolled his eyes. "Fine," he said, "Just give me the basket."
Meiyomon handed Iori a wicker basket that I hadn't noticed before. Iori walked past me and placed it in the grass. "I know Jou said that he wanted to get the food, but my mother thought it would be too unfair to leave it all to him, and so she made some food for us." He explained.
I nodded, "That seems fair." I found it very awkward to be alone with Iori—I mean, Meiyomon was there too, but that was different. It seemed really weird to me to have a conversation alone with Iori—after all I couldn't say that I had ever done so.
Thankfully it wasn't too long before Miyako showed up with Ken hanging from her arm. They looked really cute together, and both happy for the first time since the trip started. I smiled at them and Miyako waved excitedly to me.
"Hi Sora!" She called out merrily. She was wearing a rather frilly sundress and it surprised me... it didn't seem like a very Miyako style of clothing, but she looked really pretty. "Hey there Iori, Meiyomon!"
"Hi Miyako!" Meiyomon smiled, "And boyfriend of Miyako who's name I am constantly forgetting."
"Hi Ken..." Iori said shyly.
Ken smiled at him and sat down next to him as Miyako skipped toward me and sat down, "Is no one else here yet?"
"Not yet—" I started.
"I'm here now!" Daisuke's voice bellowed, "You may all bow before me,"
"I thought we went over this whole humility concept." Ken sighed, looking behind me. "You'll never get it."
"It was a joke!" Daisuke said running past me, his hair as messy as it always was, he seemed panicked as he called out, "Really it was!"
"So wasn't..." Michael said following Daisuke up the hill. Michael was the exact opposite of Daisuke, his hair was neat, his clothes were clean and he walked with a strange amount of grace.
Daisuke sent Michael a glare and then noticed Miyako and I and smiled at us. Iori stood up with a box in his hand that he had pulled from the basket. "My mom... um... made these." He said coming toward me and sitting down. He pulled out a cookie in the shape of a heart that had my crest drawn on it with icing. I smiled, these were like the ones I had made for the trip. He pulled a diamond shaped one out for Miyako, "this is yours..." And then he stood up and ran off to give Michael, Ken and Daisuke their cookies.
"Thank your mom for me," I told him smiling as I took a bite of the cookie.
"I will—" He started.
"Hang on..." Miyako said, "How does your mother know what our crests look like?"
"What—Oh..." Iori said, "I told her—"
"I think you made them." Miyako smiled.
"I—er... N-no!" Iori stuttered.
"Thanks Iori," Miyako smiled, "They're really great!"
"Do I get a cookie?" Takeru asked excitedly, zooming past me. He was always right on top of the game when it came to anything unhealthy. "Please Iori? Please?" Takeru was bouncing up and down excitedly. He wasn't wearing his hat which was the first thing that got my attention and then my attention was drawn to the blond haired boy walking up the hill after his brother wearing a leather jacket. His hair was in place—perfectly in place. He looked at me with his blue eyes and grinned broadly. I beamed back at him and jumped to my feet.
He was close enough to me that I didn't have to run dramatically toward him and hug him, making myself look like an idiot, so I ended up practically falling into his arms, unfortunately still making myself look like an idiot. I looked up at him smiling embarrassed and then he kissed me, catching me off guard completely.
"Why do you have to do that?" Takeru asked his face completely flat as he inhaled the cookie Iori had made him. He swallowed hard as the two of us looked awkwardly to the crowd of people watching us.
Slowly Takeru turned to Iori and smiled, "That was the best cookie I have ever had! Can I have Jou's? He's diabetic..."
"No." Iori said simply.
"Mimi vowed to never eat eggs again—there are eggs in cookies. Can I have Mimi's?" Takeru asked.
Iori shook his head again, "No."
"Do I get a cookie?" Meiyomon asked.
"Uh—" Iori froze.
"You can share mine!" Miyako smiled, "it is honour!"
Meiyomon smiled broadly and ran toward Miyako.
"You brought him along?" Daisuke asked plopping down into the grass next to Iori's picnic basket. "I didn't even think to bring Otamamon along..."
"Well to be honest I didn't actually intend to bring Meiyomon at all." Iori sighed, "He just won't leave me alone—all night long he just keeps waking me up to ask me questions about the human world." That would explain the bags under his eyes. I couldn't help but smile though, Iori seemed to be out of that funk he had put himself into and was now being a bit more sociable.
And then I heard more voices from behind me and without looking I knew who they were... The only words I could catch were "Quantum Physics," and the rest was all a series of mangled words trying to take shape in my brain. Koushiro and Willis, two geniuses were clearly not the people I would need to converse with.
"Koushiro!" Takeru called out, "Do you like cookies?"
"Why of course I enjoy cookies." Koushiro said, looking toward Takeru, "Who doesn't?"
"I was hoping you..." Takeru sighed, he looked to Willis as if he wanted to ask him as well but then gritted his teeth and looked away uncomfortably. I wanted eagerly to find out what had him so uptight about Willis but I just let it go for now.
Iori ran over to Koushiro and Willis and handed Koushiro his purple coated cookie and then pulled out a rather large cookie and handed it to Willis.
"Why is his so big?" Takeru asked exasperated.
"Because he has two crests..." Iori shrugged. "Sorry..."
"Can I have another crest?" Takeru asked, "Taichi! He doesn't need courage anymore—I'm so brave that I deserve a cookie!"
Iori laughed at him and held the box of cookies tightly. "No Takeru."
"Awww!" Takeru groaned.
"Give it up Takeru!" Miyako laughed, "No more cookies for you!"
Iori turned around and smiled, "Hi Taichi!"
I turned around and saw Taichi standing there, his hair even messier than Daisuke's. He was wearing a simple t-shirt and shorts. Then I noticed that something I had at first thought to be a pink scarf was actually Hikari's arms crossed over Taichi's chest—he was giving her another piggyback ride. He set her down gently next to the tree and smiled at her. She was wearing a long sleeved pink dress. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail which surprised me, I had never seen Hikari with hair long enough to do that. It looked nice though.
"I have cookies for you!" Iori smiled jumping forward and handing the orange, sun shaped cookie to Taichi and the pink flower shaped cookie to Hikari. He put the lid back on the box and brought it back to the basket, but as he passed me I heard something clunking around inside the box. There was another cookie. I saw Iori glance at Takeru nervously before leaving that cookie unattended.
"Hey Hikari," Takeru and Willis said at the same time, and, as one, moved to sit next to her.
Taichi stood next to Yamato and sighed, "It's really tiring getting that girl from place to place..."
"I have the same problem with Takeru—only... it's different." Yamato smiled.
"What do you mean?" Taichi and I asked him.
"Every store we pass he has to look in just in case there's junk food." He smirked.
Taichi and I started laughing.
"So is everyone here?" Michael asked looking around. I was shocked to find out that Michael hadn't immediately known that Mimi wasn't there.
"Mimi and Jou aren't here." Ken pointed out to him so no one else would have to.
"Wasn't this Jou's idea in the first place?" Daisuke asked.
"I think so..." Willis said from behind me.
"Then where is he?" Hikari asked.
It had been exactly one week since we had been taken out of the digital world now... and... For the most part I felt pretty good. Mimi and I had been spending a lot of time together and she was actually opening up to me... which she had never done before. Not even when we had been alone, just the two of us when she had gone on that no fighting escapade seven years ago.
"So he's just being stupid." She concluded her third rant about Koushiro the same way she usually did. "You know?"
"I know." I smiled, "You've mentioned it... a few times."
She giggled, "Do we want these?" She asked, holding up a carton of eggs. We were in Miyako's convenience store once again, buying food for a picnic that we were having later the very same day. We hadn't really had a chance to have a picnic in the digital world because of everything that had happened... and so I had suggested that we have one today because Mimi and the other Americans were going to be heading back to New York the next day, so this would be our only chance.
I shook my head. "No eggs. No more eggs. Never."
She laughed, "That's exactly what I was thinking." She led me down the aisles, beginning a rant about how Japanese clothing and American clothing just don't mix into the perfect outfit like she thought they would.
"I'm really excited to move back to Japan." Mimi said, cutting into her own rant, clearly seeing that I wasn't overly interested.
"I'm really excited for it too." I smiled at her.
She smiled at me and patted me on the head. I rolled my eyes at her. She'd been doing that a lot lately—I wasn't a dog—in fact, if I was a dog... I'd die. I was allergic to fur.
"Hey Mimi—grab that!" I pointed toward a container of sliced fruit.
"Mimi?" A voice asked. "Mimi?" I turned around and groaned. Momoe was working again today like she had been the day of our trip when Yamato and I were in here shopping.
"Yes Momoe, this is Mimi." I said, "Mimi... Momoe."
"Miyako's mother?" She asked.
"Sister." I blurted quickly.
Mimi's face flushed, "Yes—of course—that's exactly what I meant to say—sister—you don't look a day over thirty—twenty! Eighteen even!"
"You're cheating on my sister with... this twat?" Momoe asked.
"I'm not cheating on your sister with Mimi. You know why?" I asked. Momoe shook her head. "I am not dating your sister! That's why!"
"If you say so." Momoe said. "So what are you doing later today Jou?"
"Going on a picnic with Mimi and the others." I said, "Why?"
"Oh no reason..." Momoe said slowly, "Never mind."
"She's asking you out." Mimi hissed quietly.
"Maybe some other time?" I asked before I even knew what I was saying.
"Really?" Momoe asked excitedly. "That'd be great! How about this Friday? We could go watch a movie—or go to the arcade or—"
"I'd love to Momoe..." I said awkwardly. "Really I would."
"But...?" Momoe asked.
"No buts" I said, "I'll be here. Friday at eight."
"DIGI-YAY!" Momoe squealed running off excitedly. I rolled my eyes.
I took a deep breath and turned to Mimi.
"Anyway," I said slowly.
Mimi burst out into laughter, "You're such a guy!"
I laughed with her... it felt good to be Mimi's friend... and for some reason I had a feeling that I was going to miss her. She said she was moving back to Japan—but... something was off. But for now I didn't care. People were staring at the two of us weird. But I didn't care. Mimi and I were laughing together in the middle of the store... over something that was not funny... I was happy.
"And that is why you should not wear a bow tie on your date with Momoe," I finished.
"Mimi, not to say I'm not appreciating all of this instruction, but we do need to get this food to the picnic. We're already running behind," Jou told me.
"Fine," I said. "You know maybe I should just plan what you're going to wear…"
"Or maybe," he said. "I could pick what I wear on my own?"
"Don't be ridiculous," I said, loading the grocery bags in the basket on his motorized scooter. He took a seat, and I slipped in behind him.
It was a short ride to the park, where we found absolutely everybody waiting for us.
"The food is here!" Daisuke cheered.
"Finally," Takeru added. "I hope there's some good junk food to make up for the wait…"
"There's a bag of chocolate balls," Jou said staring at him awkwardly. "And some liquorice, but we leaned towards a healthier menu."
"No eggs?" Michael asked.
"No way," we said with a smile.
"I must admit, that is quite a relief," Koushiro said. "By the way, Iori, I believe that gets me to forty-two now."
Iori just glared at him. I just shrugged. Koushiro was always weird, and I didn't really know Iori that well, so maybe he was just as naturally weird as Koushiro.
"I have cookies for the two of you," Iori said taking a quick glance at Takeru, before thrusting a tin into my hands. "One for each."
"Thank you," I said slowly, pulling up a round cookie that was simply coated in black icing. "However, I don't make a habit of eating melted tar…"
"That's not yours," he said quickly, taking the cookie and the tin back from me. "This one is."
He handed me a cookie version of my crest, and proceeded to do the same for Jou.
"Thank you very much," I said happily taking a bite of it.
"Here's the rest of the food," Jou said, but before he even took the bags out of the basket of the scooter, Daisuke, Taichi and Takeru had got to them. They were passing out the food, pausing only long enough to hand me some lettuce. I mean seriously? I allow myself to eat more than just plain lettuce…I needed some dressing at least…
"Yamato," I said. "I couldn't help but notice your very well put together outfit. I believe you will be able to help Jou with his lack of fashion sense while I'm in America. He's going on a date with this girl, and since it's their first date, I thought he should put some effort into it."
"You don't have to go spreading it around, Mimi," Jou said rolling his eyes.
"Jou's got a date?" Sora asked excitedly.
"Who's the lucky girl?" Yamato teased good naturedly.
"When did this happen?" Miyako asked.
"About ten minutes ago at your parent's convenience store," I told her. "He and your sister really hit it off…though she was saying some pretty crazy things, like 'Digi-Yay'."
"Momoe?" she asked excitedly.
"Oh no," Yamato said. "I'm not helping with that."
"You have to," I said. "I can't because I'll be in America."
"What about when you come back," Michael said a little bitterly.
"Three years is a long time to wait Michael," I told him.
"What?" Koushiro, Jou and Michael said at once.
"I'm waiting until I graduate high school, and I checked online at Sora's, and there is this culinary program I'd really like to take before coming back to Japan. I want to come here so badly, but I think it would be best if I waited. I need to be sure before I take that step," I explained.
I was prepared for the look of jubilation on Michael's face, and the understanding on the other's, but what surprised me was the look of disappointment on Jou and Koushiro's faces. I understood that Jou was losing a really great friend—if I do say so myself—but Koushiro and I weren't that close…I mean, he chose his laptop over me after all… but I'd be lying if I wasn't kind of excited by the idea of him being disappointed that I was leaving…
Mimi was going back to America then…and I probably wouldn't see her again during those next three years. I briefly entertained the thought that she'd perhaps forget to come back to Japan, but quickly banished it from my mind. I couldn't understand why exactly I was so disappointed. I simply knew I was.
Taichi added to that disappointment, when he flung a package of something at me.
"This is something my mom would take on a picnic. Koushiro, you like her cooking, you eat it," he said. I looked down and realized it was a package of anchovies.
"Think fast, Koushiro," Daisuke shouted, before flinging a yellow bottle at me.
"Anchovies and mustard?" I asked them. In what world did this really consist of a picnic lunch?
"You bought anchovies Jou?" Yamato asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No," he said confused.
"I picked them out," Mimi said. "I love them."
"You do?" Yamato and Jou asked.
"Of course," she said, moving to be beside me. I ignored the annoying flutter in my stomach and offered her some of the salty fish.
"Eat all you like," I said awkwardly. I couldn't help but add, "Forty-nine."
"I don't need forty-nine of them," she said with a smile. "Look, we can combine them. Put the anchovies with the lettuce and use the mustard as a dressing. The oil in the anchovies will mix with it, and then it will even act like a dressing is supposed to."
"Sure it will," I said. Of course, I was known for eating all of Mrs. Yagami's odd recipes, so I knew I couldn't back out of eating Mimi's. "Fifty-Two."
"Sixty-seven," Iori called out loudly. I sent him a glare, before trying to converse with Mimi again. But I couldn't bring myself to say anything. She was too wrapped up in making her salad. I simply watched her as she worked. It was strange, thinking that it was almost graceful, the way she worked.
"Guys," Takeru said. "You know, it's a lot different now."
"It is," Hikari said, before breaking off into a coughing fit.
"Are you alright?" Meiyomon asked her, nearly jumping into her lap.
"I'll be fine," she said. "I was just thinking about how we didn't even realize that the sovereign were taking over the Digital World. How did we miss that? Why didn't we know before we got there I mean?"
"I suppose that would be the genius of their master," I commented. "Sixty-Two."
"What do you mean?" Mimi asked.
"The sovereign answered to their master. They followed his orders. Seventy-Two. They were following a very carefully laid plan, so that no suspicions would arise," I surmised. "Eighty-Six."
"Apocolymon was their master though, right?" Daisuke asked. "And I guess that means Kurayami was their real master?"
"No," Sora said. "Their master's name was Fanglongmon…"
"I've never heard of him," Taichi said.
"That is due to the fact that we have not seen him," I said. "Ninety-Eight."
"So, Koushiro, it appears as though you are suggesting that due to the fact that we have not seen him that he was in fact not destroyed when we left?" Iori said. The conniving teen seemed to be packing as many words into his sentence as possible. "Ninety-Seven," he added with a smirk.
"No, he's still alive," I finished. "One Hundred and Two."
"Enough of this depressing talk," Mimi said, tossing a paper plate with some anchovy and mustard salad in my direction. "We're here to enjoy each other's company before we go our separate ways."
I sighed and started eating the salad. It wasn't until I was four bites in, that I realized that this was not a very good combination…
"Blegh!" Mimi said sticking her tongue out. "Not a good idea, Mimi!"
I laughed, but looked around to notice that there was now no other food…
"Koushiro," she said. "I'm sorry about that."
"It's alright," I said. "One Hundred and Four."
"I should make it up to you," she said. She placed her hand on my arm, and I had to try very hard to ignore those flutters now, because they were stronger now. I still wasn't entirely sure what they meant, nor was I sure whether I liked them or not.
"Hmm?" I mumbled. I couldn't even count that as a word.
"I saw a place that sold milkshakes while Jou and I were on our way here," she suggested. "Would you like to come with me to get one of those?"
"Yes," I said immediately without much thought. I puzzled over that occurrence, while she cheered.
"This is going to be fun," she said. "But you're leaving your laptop with Willis. Willis!"
"Yes?" he said.
"Catch!" she shouted, tossing my most prized possession at the American genius.
"No!" I gasped. But he caught it. My hands were almost shaking.
"What's this for?" Willis questioned.
"Koushiro and I are going for a quick walk," she said. "He doesn't need that while we're gone. Keep it safe for him, okay?"
I wanted to go and collect it, but she grabbed my arm, and started to drag me away. I didn't put up too much of a fight though…
"Grandpa… could you excuse me?" I asked the old man sitting in the black wheelchair. I had gotten back to New York merely a week ago and my mother had already sent me back to Japan to visit my Grandfather who was really sick while I was gone and was scared he'd never see me again. He was pleased to see me, and I had to admit… seeing his smile at my presence really made me happy.
"Yes dear, by all means." He smiled at me, "I'll just… stay here…" I smiled back at him. We were sitting in the park nearby his house and he was finding it impossible to move his wheelchair through the grass and dirt, so he couldn't move anyway.
"I won't be long…" I said slowly. I hurried up the hill; I could have sworn I heard a familiar voice. As I reached the top of the hill at first I saw nothing, just a large tree, but as I took a step to the right and looked past the tree I saw what I thought I had heard. All of the digidestined were there… the ones I had just tried to kill—all of them having a wonderful time, besides that Mimi girl and that smart kid… Koushiro was it? They were nowhere to be found. I spotted Hikari, smiling, but looking rather sick at the base of the tree next to me, but I was in the shadows and no one seemed to notice me.
I thought about thanking her—giving her another hug… but I decided against that and I turned to leave.
A hand grabbed my shoulder though as I was walking down the hill. "Kurayami?"
I turned around slowly. It was Daisuke, he was smiling.
"It is you!" he cheered, "I didn't recognize you without the eerily ominous dark cloak." He smiled. I looked down and examined the red dress I was wearing, "How are you?"
"I'm doing ok… thank you." I said awkwardly to him.
"Do you want me to get Hikari?" Daisuke asked me.
I shook my head, "No thank you," I said slowly, "I should get back to my Grandfather.
"Wait right here!" Daisuke smiled, "Iori made something for you!"
I froze as he ran off. Why had Iori made something for me? From what I knew of that boy he wasn't much of a forgiver—and I had literally tried to destroy them… it didn't seem like something I would forgive—so why had he?
Daisuke came back with a small box and he handed it to me. "Look inside…"
I took the box and looked over his shoulder. Iori waved to me awkwardly and then sat down next to Ken. Slowly I looked down into the box and smiled at the cookie. "It's… food."
"Your crest though." Daisuke smiled. "It's your crest."
My smile fell as I pulled the cookie out of the box. "Thank him for me."
"Why don't you thank him yourself?" Daisuke asked. "Join us?"
"I really have to get back to my grandfather—" I said, motioning back to my grandfather who was still in his wheelchair over where I had left him.
"He can come too!" Daisuke insisted.
"I really should get going… but thanks for the offer." I said. I took a small step backwards but Daisuke stopped me.
"Knock, knock!" he called out suddenly.
I looked over my shoulder and quietly said, "Who's there…?"
"Digi…" Daisuke said, his smile growing.
"Digi, who?" I asked him slowly.
"Digi have to go so soon?" He burst out laughing.
I stopped moving entirely and then slowly began laughing. And then I found myself unable to stop at all. Perhaps the darkness really was behind me. I looked down at the cookie, still laughing, and smiled.
Next Time On Digimon Adventure 04: So… that is the end… of Digimon Adventure 03… and I'm glad you all seemed to enjoy it… but the end had to come. Fortunately… this isn't really the end. In a couple days we should have a small six chapter story being updated about the summer following this story… and then… on March 16th we'll be starting something that we have dubbed "Digimon Adventure 04"! Yay! Isn't that exciting? I think that's pretty darned exciting… I think we might post a chapter here that just tells you that we have the first chapters uploaded for everyone who has subscribed so you know when the next ones are up… anyway… HURRAY!