Last...chapter...

I can't believe I'm done with this story...I think I'll be missing it soon. In fact, I may do some rereading, which may lead to editing and possibly adding/subtracting little segments. If you ever want to reread this story yourself, feel free. It might be a little bit different than you remember.


Epilogue

The beach wasn't at the top of the list of desired party spots for the Digidestined, but there were times when the days were so bright and the weather so nice, they didn't resist the temptation to spend some time at the seaside park. No one regretted it, at least, most of the time. The children who didn't encounter the Dark World did their best to make sure the other six enjoyed themselves at the beach.

This particular occasion turned out to be quite pleasant, Matt decided to himself. He sat on a lone rock, bare-chested, with the waters lapping at his feet and the wind playing with his hair. He observed the others playing in the water. Davis and Tai were making fools of themselves in front of Kari, Yolei, and Sora, while Ken swam nearby to make sure one didn't hurt the other. Matt wondered at the strange water games the two goggle-heads made up on the spot. Izzy and Cody stood nearby in knee-deep water, conversing casually. The scene was peaceful, giving almost no hint to the conflict half the Digidestined went through nearly a year prior. Ken, Kari, and Yolei's countenances were as bright as ever. Sora's shin had healed nicely, leaving no trace of a scar, as did Matt's shoulder. He glanced over to look down at where Puppetmon's bullet had grazed him, but there was no mark.

Lifting his eyes, Matt spotted his brother, sitting on the sand a metre or two above the waterline. TK was the only one of the boys with his shirt still on, and only six of the children knew why. The rest of the Digidestined just shrugged it off and didn't take it into account.

It never failed to sadden Matt when he remembered TK's injury. MagnaAngemon may have used his Antidote to cleanse the wound, but Gennai warned them that the scars would remain for life, being that the injury was inflicted by the Touch of Evil. It would never fully heal. It was hard watching TK bear that kind of burden, especially when he chose not to reveal it to anyone. He had assured Matt that someday the others would find out, but as time went by, the older brother noticed the younger was becoming more protective of his secret.

Matt noticed Davis had dragged himself out of the water, and began trudging his way up the beach towards TK. He watched the two younger boys closely, listening in on their exchange, as were the rest of the teenagers.

"Scared of water much, TA?" Davis teased.

The blond smirked up at him calmly. "Maybe I am a little."

"Aw, come on! Once you get the feel of it, it's fine," the brunet tried to reassure. "And besides, we need someone to try and beat Tai at wrestling. Ken won't do it. I'm not even going to try and ask the girls. I know Cody and Izzy won't, and neither would Matt, probably."

Matt smirked. He probably would, actually, but he would wait until Davis asks him. TK smiled again.

"And who does that leave?"

"Um, you!"

TK applauded. Davis huffed and folded his arms.

"Seriously now, come on!"

The blond ignored him and began toying with his hat in his lap. Of a sudden Davis reached out and grabbed one of the blond's wrists, and pulled him up. Matt's smirk at their previous exchange disappeared when he saw the barely discernible grimace on TK's expression. He jumped off the rock and would have separated the two if his brother hadn't turned suddenly stoic as he wrenched his arm free. The group of Digidestined went quiet, watching the two rivals.

"I'm not fighting Tai." TK said quietly.

"Since when are you against wrestling?" Davis retaliated, folding his arms again.

"Oh, I'm not against that. I just don't want to get beat up by Tai as much as you do."

"So," Davis said slowly. "You'd fight me?"

TK narrowed his eyes in thought. "Well…actually yes."

The blond dove forward abruptly, tackling Davis off his feet and carrying the both of them clear into the water. Matt sighed in relief, but couldn't help but worry that his brother would overexert himself. TK had the element of surprise, and used it efficiently. Barely a minute passed before Davis was crying uncle. The blond gladly released him, laughing.

"What did I tell you? I can wrestle."

"But that wasn't fair!" The goggle-head whined.

Tai cut in, "Uh, Davis. I gave you a head start and you still lost."

Growling, the defeated brunet sank low into the water. "Fine."

The atmosphere relaxed, and the children returned to their party. Matt waded into the water to stand by TK as Davis and Tai resumed their noisy splashing.

"You okay?"

"Yeah."

"He didn't hurt you?"

"Who, Davis?" TK asked with a smile. "Nah."

Seeing Matt's incredulous look, the younger boy turned sombre. "No worse than getting out of bed every morning. It's not bad."

"It is bad," Matt countered, trying hard to keep his voice down. He knew that his little brother had to live with pain now, but he had never realized everyday things had turned into such a chore. "Normal, maybe. But still bad."

TK nodded in understanding, turning to look at the early evening sun stretching above the bay waters.

Davis' voice called to them. "Uh, hey, Matt?"

Sighing and preparing himself, Matt turned to the speaker. "Yeah?"

The goggle-head jerked a thumb towards Tai, who was poised to fight, with a grin on his face.

"You up to it?" Davis asked for Tai.

Matt sighed again and began turning to look at Rainbow Bridge, but stopped himself as a thought came to mind. He faced Tai again and advanced.

"Oh alright. It can't be much worse than wrestling Daemon."

The two goggle-heads took the bait, and their eyes grew wide. Tai suddenly held his hands up, palms outward, and began backing away. "You…and you're still…alive?"

Matt smiled smugly. It was enough to convince his friend.

"Okay! I give up already!"

Chuckling, Matt replied. "Yeah, you have no idea."

That was the end of the wrestling debate. Matt was elected winner without a fight. No one really dared challenge him; not even the ones who knew the truth of the matter.

Once more, Matt found himself next to TK. "You should have told Davis you fought Devimon."

A small smile played on the younger brother's face. "There's more truth in that than you saying you wrestled Daemon. But honestly, I wanted to pick a fight right about then. Just a little outlet. I'm glad Davis gave up before it got really bad."

Matt laughed as he turned to wade out of the water with the others. "Same here."

TK didn't respond. The older brother glanced back at him. For the longest time, Matt only stared. It was evening by now, and the horizon was slowly turning red with the coming sunset. The soft light played along the surface of the bay, dying it a colour to match the sun. TK was one of the only Digidestined still in the water, and was still gazing at the skyline and the landscape beyond. His white t-shirt was washed in the glow of the evening, while the sun glinted off of his dirty blond hair. His entire figure was outlined in gold; a pale gold that deepened in colour as the sun sank lower. Slowly, a smile crept upon Matt's face. His brother, the person he held most dear in his life, stood there in the ocean, but not bound to it. It was true that evil will never be defeated, but it can still be kept at bay. The defeat of Daemon and Dragomon was a terrible blow to the powers of darkness, and that was one less thing to fear. It may have been a year, but Matt never failed to remember, and be grateful that Kari was free. Ken was free. TK was free.

They had been victims of darkness, but darkness was not their victor.

And as Matt stood there quietly, watching the scene, time seemed to slow to a stop, and he wouldn't care if it never started again.


Well...that's it. I'm done with this one. Did it end too soon? Too late? Just right?

Anyway, I want to give a huge thanks to all you great reviewers! You guys were a great motivation to keep this story going, with special thanks to AUehara, DigiDespairHeart, Fiito, IRockAndYouKnowIt (i do know it), Spottedleaves1, heyitsmeXD, Ultimate Black Ace, and Sweet Cari (thanks for sticking with me since the prequel)!

I have plenty more story ideas on scratch paper, so if you're interested please subscribe!

See you next story. _LJ_