This is it. The Last Chapter. What a journey it has been. I want to thank all of you for reading.
Thanks to (long list, oh my gosh!)
ChibiDarkGirl, DCLWLOKPR44424, DigiDespairheart,Digifan23, Digigirl1995, Dunk234,DracoFighter, DragonWolfStar, ElephantMexx, Evenstar606, Fanatic28, GardeniaPearl, Genun, Houndmon, Irockandyouknowit , Kyamato666, Lovelinelivelong639, MitzvahRose, Penbrook525, ShikamaruNaraKibaNaruChunin, StraightedgeWingZero, SullyWullybunny, We May Perish in Flame, akinos, bc1922, canuck72, crestoflight3, digimonfan18, merryb, natsumefruit, plutomoon2, quickwolf, sktrgrl13, Jmeb0430, KHLostEmpress, Kyra Adelaide, Merriot, Mimi522, NightRain1077, Valechan92, devilwanab, epafrtx003, Kariyugi, plutomoon2, sunbrigate, sunlightsnow, tikitay,WildCroconaw, Lilfoc, Digidestined Ninja of Sunshine, dx1118, guest, Xanpluto, Passing Through, LilianaF, Jo, BriBri, DarkCh03, Ultimate black Ace, Natsumefruit, and Spoddedleaves1 For reviewing, following, and/or favoriting. You have made this such a wonderful experience for me- when I was at my lowest points, you were all so kind. I am glad that you have loved this story as I have. I hope you will all let me know if this chapter measures up!
I would like to dedicate this chapter- and this whole story, to CrestofLight3. You have been here since the beginning, and I love reading the comments you leave, always so thoughtful and wonderful. They make me feel so happy. So, thank you to you especially.
Disclaimer: by now you know as well as I- I don't own digimon.
Hope is a river that flows from these stone walls...
A fiddle tune I heard that has no words
Hope is the one thing we have never lost
Though we are tired from the old war
And if the river should ever run dry
Somewhere the rain will still fall
Will still fall from the sky.
Chapter 19/ Epilogue: Rivers Flow
Jim was speaking to the newly admitted Cody's mother and grandfather when he noticed, in the corner of his eye, Ms. Takaishi's computer screen started to glow.
Jim wasn't very involved in his younger brother's life, being a very busy first year doctor- but he knew some things. And one of those was that most of the parents of the other Digidestined either didn't know, or didn't approve. Not good.
T.K.'s mother thought fast. "Mrs. Hida? Mr. Hida? Why don't you join me and Matt's father for breakfast. Sitting here..." the smile she had put on faltered. "It looks like you could do with some tea?"
The Hidas looked to Jim, who nodded hurriedly. They left- and not a moment to soon- from the computer came Joe, with another boy- Jim recognized him, it was Izzy- draped across his shoulders.
"Jim," Joe panted. "I'm so glad it's you in here." He staggered to one side, and jim rushed to help settle the unconscious boy in a chair.
"What happened?" the older brother asked, looking around as a redheaded girl stumbled onto the floor- Joe helped her hobble over to another chair.
"Izzy's been unconscious for the last hour, he's dehydrated, and Sora's leg might need stitches, I wasn't sure-"
Jim darted into the hall, calling over his shoulder that he'd get an IV.
Soon, everyone but the digimon were in the crowded, two bed room. Cody lay on one bed, the curtain separating him from Matt drawn back. Morning light shone on both their peaceful, sleeping faces, and monitors of different types beeped softly. Kari looked around, still holding Gatomon's Digiegg. Only Tokomon had accompanied them to the hospital- the rest of the digimon had gone to wait at Izzy's apartment, and Sora's, to tell the parents that were aware of the Digital world what had happened. They had all wanted to come, but had agreed that all of them together appearing in the hospital might blow what little cover they had left.
They stood in silence, not sure how to start, when Jim returned, pulling an IV. As he worked, he asked again. "What happened? T.K., your parents were going crazy. Where were you all? Mom and Dad called, Joe, I said you were here, they bought it, but- and then your friend just shows up out of nowhere!"
"We couldn't think of anything else to do." Kari said quietly.
Jim sighed. "We called his family. Said that he'd been visiting and had fallen asleep in the waiting room, we didn't know he wasn't here with family, and that he got up and then collapsed." He looked at T.K. "Your mother is a great story teller, by the way. She almost had me convinced." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a stick of smelling salts. Slowly, Izzy opened his eyes, and blinked hazily.
"Izzy!" Mimi cried, beaming. "You're ok!"
"T.K. beat Devimon." Joe explained. Jim looked confused. "You're in the hospital. You passed out."
Izzy nodded. "Everyone?"
"Everyone." Tai confirmed, his heart swelling. He looked over at his travel-stained sister. "We're all here. Well, the digimon went to tell your parents. But we all made it."
Izzy smiled, then turned to look at T.K. "You did it."
T.K. looked down at Tokomon, blushing slightly.
Davis reached into his pocket and pulled out Izzy's Digivice, then handed it, almost reverently, to the older boy.
"I think we should try," he said. "You know, while it's just us."
T.K. looked around.
"Jim, where are my parents and the Hida's?"
"They saw the computer- the portal thing- and convinced the Hidas to eat breakfast with them. Upamon- that's his name, right?" Jim pointed to the lump under the cover that seemed to be snoring. "Said that they don't know about the Digital World."
"That's right." Yolei said. Her face fell. "I'm so grounded."
"Guys," Davis said impatiently. He held up his digivice.
Mimi dug hers out of Joe's pack, which she still wore over one shoulder. the other Digidestined followed suit, until they formed a lopsided circle around their friends, holding out the small, differently colored devices.
"On three." Sora said. "One."
"Two." put in Izzy
"Three," T.K. said as he willed the digivice to glow.
Light, faint in the thick beams of sunlight, filled the room. Jim looked on in awe, Upamon and Tsunomon, both deep sleepers, woke and emerged from their burrows to see all the fuss. They rejoiced to see their fiends, but dared not distract them. After a long moment, the light flickered, and faltered, and died out.
"Well?" Tokomon asked, as the others held their breaths and prayed, "Please, let us have this miracle, please, please, let it have worked!
The machines beeped steadily. Matt and Cody continued to breathe shallowly, eyes closed. It hadn't worked.
"Again, you have to try again!" Upamon squeaked, looking from face to face.
Tai nodded, looked around at everyone. "ready?" he asked, his voice trembling. What if this didn't work? It had to work- they'd beat Devimon, they had, it had to work! He closed his eyes and let his own energy flow through the device. "Glow, you stupid thing, glow! brighter! More!" He thought.
Again, the light was bright but again, it wasn't enough. Neither Matt nor Cody stirred. Yolei put her head in her hands. Him looked around. "Is there anything I can do? Please, tell me, what do you need, what is it about these..."
"Digivices." Sora said. She still sat in her hard plastic chair, looking as though she were about to cry.
Izzy shook his head. "They're keyed to us, to Digidestined. Even if there was an extra. And I don't know how they work. I've been trying to figure that out since I got mine."
Jim sighed. "It's just- I became a doctor so I could help people."
T.K. went to the small table, and found Matt's digivice, under a few purple petals from the wisteria in the vase beside it. Carefully, he opened Matt's hand and put the digivice in it. Upamon bounced down and found Cody's digivice beside the boy's keys in his jacket pocket, piled on the floor. A minute later, Cody's digivice was in his hand.
"Please let this work," Went up a silent prayer from all gathered.
This time, they forced all they had into the Light.
Tai pushed with all his might, willing his own strength into the light- "Come on, work, work, work!" He thought, thinking of Matt, his best friend, of Cody, who looked up to him- they had to wake up, they just had to.
Sora was crying- her leg hurt but this was more important. she was glad to be sitting as she breathed as deeply as she could, throwing herself in mind and soul into the light. "Wake up, Matt. You saved me from the Dark. I'm trying to do the same, reach me, please, please, please-"
Davis was exhausted. His throat was dry, his feet ached, his hands were scraped and bruised from where he'd pounded on the walls of their prison. With each heartbeat his body throbbed, but he focused as best he could- he could not be distracted, not if this was going to work. Cody, Matt, they were like Family, even if he wasn't as close to them as he was to other members of his team. "I promise I'll be nice to Jun forever. I'll never complain about math homework. Anything." He wished so badly that he was close to them. He'd spent so much time being jealous of the bond that T.K. and Kari shared, and shared with the other kids, that he hadn't even tried to build it for himself. "I'll be the best friend anyone could ask for. Just fix this, whoever's listening."
Mimi reached out one hand to Joe, who took it. With their free hands they let light pour from their digivices- it swirled up into the air and filled the room, growing brighter and brighter as they squeezed each other's hands and hoped desperately- "Third time's the charm." Joe's mind filled with memories of fighting Bakemon, and so in his mind he chanted- "Black Gears, lose your power. Black Gears, lose your power. Any time now. Black Gears lose your power."
Yolei looked at Cody, wanting to cry. They'd been friends since he could crawl, the best of friends. She'd gone to his kendo matches, and he'd cheered her on for the three years she'd been on the swim team. When his father had died, he'd spent hours in her apartment, and they'd just sat together. He had to get better. He was her best friend, even if he was three years younger than her. "Cody, If we'd all been more careful, like you...Stop it Yolei. He's going to be fine. T.K.'s plan will work. The Digivices work. Please.
Logic and emotion warred in Izzy's mind. He knew the power of the Digivices- but they'd tried before, when Matt had first been hit, and nothing had happened. True, Mimi was here now, but Cody was down. It was true that the older digivices were stronger, better equipped for this kind of thing, but still. It might not be enough. What would they do then? His head ached, his arm stung where the IV entered it, his legs still shook. But he concentrated, trying to put aside his fear and just let the light spill through his fingers.
Kari held Gatomon's Digiegg in one arm, clinging to it. Gatomon would be ok. Cody would be ok. Matt would be ok. There had been so many miracles already. Her life was full of miracles, big and small. She should have been dead, a dozen times over, but she was still breathing, her friends were still breathing. "Light," she thought, "Help us. Spirit of the Digital world, HELP THEM. We did what you wanted. T.K. beat him. we have fought everything that threatens the Digital world. We've lost- We've lost so many. She remembered the Numamon, Whamon, Piximon, Chumon...Wizardmon."Please, no more! There's peace now, for as long as it lasts. Please."
T.K.'s arm shook as he aimed his Digivice at his brother. He had used so much energy in the last 24 hours. Tokomon leaned into his chest, their heartbeats coming to quickly. T.K. was breathing hard , forcing all his energy, everything he had, into the thick bream of light. He tried to slow his heart, his breath, to be calm, but he couldn't. He saw the light, tinged with the colors of the crests, surrounding Matt and Cody in thick beams- just like...
"The dome." He thought, not daring to speak, not wanting to distract anyone. His muscles shook, he was straining so hard, but still - what if it wasn't enough? "the crest. I should have given it back to Kari. But if I made it glow before...?" More light, he noticed, was spilling from his pocket, a faint pink. T.K. couldn't help a small smile. Hope filled his heart- the Light filled him up, even though he felt like his legs were jelly.
Around him, the light started to die out. "No." he said, but he was so weak. He slumped into a chair, still focusing, but the his digivice, all the digivices, had stopped glowing.
The light remained.
It covered the hospital beds in a lacework dome, all the colors of the rainbow but most of all a thick, bright white that hurt his eyes.
"It's beautiful" Yolei whispered, tears in her eyes.
Suddenly Kari gave a cry. In her arms, the pink and paler pink egg gave a shudder, then burst, light flooding the room. The Light dome flared, then vanished- and behind them came a click.
Kari whirled, her digimon in her arms, soft as velvet. In the doorway stood-
Ms. Takaishi started to cry. T.K. felt what must have been his millionth and millionth and first tears of the day welling in his eyes, then spilling over. they dripped onto Tokomon, but the little pink digimon didn't care, he was smiling, all his pointed teeth showing.
Around him came the sound of cheers, laughter, joy. Mr. Ishida joined his ex-wife in the doorway, saw her hand pressed to her mouth, unable to contain her emotions. He looked into the room.
Matt looked around the room, his dark blue eyes confused. "Dad?
Jim looked like he was going to faint. "That was the... I don't even know. I don't think I want to know. how...? What..? I... I'll go get Dr. Hisuku. She needs to see this." He wove through the tangled knot of people, all cramming themselves around the beds, explaining and exclaiming. Cody's mother and grandfather moved past the cluster around Matt to Cody.
"Mama. Grandpa. I'm sorry I worried you." he said, cuddling Upamon.
"Don't be." his mother said, brushing away tears of her own. "I thought I'd lost you." She embraced him.
They traded hugs and handclasps, and over and over and over again various people whispered or thought, Thank the Light. Thank 're ok. They're ok. They're ok.
As T.K leaned over the bed to let Matt hug him, his brother whispered. "What happened? As soon as there's a moment, you tell me what happened. How long-" but T.K was pulled away as Tai embraced his best friend.
"You did it?" Cody asked the room at large. Though the adults did not understand, the children, and the digimon (unhappily playing stuffed) did.
It was Kari who answered, from where she'd been stroking the tiny white YukimiBotamon that cuddled into her arms.
Jim returned with the head doctor, who looked at everyone. "There aren't supposed to be this many visitors." She said, not harshly, but with a note of warning in her voice.
Jim looked at the Digidestined. "Maybe you should, uh, find some food." he said, then looked at Sora. " While they do, I'll see about your leg." He held out a shiny pair of crutches, which Sora took.
T.K. felt the chain in his pocket.
"Hey, Kari?" he asked. " Why don't we go to the cafeteria and get burgers for everyone?"
She looked at him strangely. "Don't you want to stay here, with Matt?'
"I.. I want to talk to you."
She nodded, and they split off from the group that was (unhappily) heading down to a waiting room.
They stopped in front of the stairwell, and T.K. took a deep breath.
"I went to the Dark Ocean." He said in a rush.
"What?" Kari asked, her free hand flying up to her mouth.
He nodded. "I thought.. I lost hope. When I crashed, I blacked out, and the last thing I saw was.. your light, going out. I thought that we'd lost. that it was over. When I woke up... I was in the dark Ocean, and I didn't even care. Because I'd lost everyone I care about. because... because I thought you were dead." He was shaking. Even remembering hurt.
Kari reached out, touched his arm. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault! And. It was you who got me out."
Kari titled her head.
T.k. reached into his pocket. "I don't know how. But I found this, and... and it helped. Without it, I don't think I would have gotten out of the Dark Ocean.. it... It gave me hope, again. And then, Devimon said that it was me, that I really was the small one. But it was both of us. It was your Bright Power that saved me." He held out his hand, and dangling from it, the Crest of Light.
Kari gave a little gasp and took the chain.
"Thank you." she whispered. It was all she could say. She felt the cord settle into its old place, the familiar weight of the pendant.
They descended the stairwell.
"When I thought you were gone- it was- I felt..." T.K. began.
Kari nodded. "I know. When Ken attacked, when I thought you were gone, and because of me- I... I care about you, T.K. You're my... my best friend."
"And you're mine." T.K smiled, swiping a hand over his eyes.
And suddenly Kari turned, leaned in, and kissed him on the cheek. GHer eyes danced as she tugged at his sleeve.
"Come on, let's get that food."
T.K. laughed, letting her pull him along.
Everything was all right.
As they neared the cafeteria, Kari stopped. " Do you hear that?"
It was faint, not even a whisper, just a thought in his own mind, with the palest glimmer of light. The Voice.
"Hope Child, Light Child," It was fading away, almost completely gone, just clinging to life-
"You chose your path well."
*bows head* That's it. That's the end. I'm kinda sorta totally in tears right now. This project has been my baby for over a year now. It's seen me- you've seen me- through some very hard times- and through good ones. I started it as a terrified, lonely first semester freshman. And now... everything is so changed. I am glad I got to change with you along for the ride. this has been just a wonderful experience, writing this. I really had to dive into my own past, my own emotions to write this. It was good for me.
Now I'm not done with this "universe" I have several companion fics to write and post, and I'll be keeping my mind open to ideas for more full length stories. Don't think that I'm going anywhere! I hope you'll check out my future works.
Again, thank you to all my readers. Please leave a review- how did you like how I wrapped things up? Did you have a favorite line? A favorite image? How did you like the story over all? Did I do justice to your favorite characters? I know the digimon weren't really in this chapter... but other than that?
I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.
See you soon!