CHAPTER TWO: Just Deserts

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What is it about writing? There are lots of other things I like and no one has a problem with them. Fashion, singing, drinking soda and watching TV. But it's like I can't talk about anything important, except in here. I know the others notice. But they don't ask me why.

They talk about me sometimes though. There she goes again. Do you think Mimi hears the same things we hear? I'm honestly not sure anymore. Well, Joe and Matt, I heard you talking about me! Does that count? But I don't blame people for thinking that.

Mimi was back in business. She borrowed a new pen from Sora a few days ago, although she had to fib about it. "Heyyy, you know what this trip is missing? A cuteness list! I'll write down all the Digimon we meet and rate them on a cuteness scale." Sora thought it sounded so funny that she had to see it later, so Mimi had to actually do it…

…But it gave her an excuse to write around everyone! And none of them ever looked! Especially not the boys. She had never felt so free—or so vulnerable. But what was it that olden-time American guy once said about freedom and security? Well, something.

At the moment she was sitting in the desert by a pyramid—the Digiworld version anyway—while the others tried to assess the situation. Etemon was finally defeated, never to pollute the realm with his awful singing again. It should have been a time to celebrate except that Tai and Agumon (Metalgreymon as they last saw him) had vanished. If that was the price of rubbing out an egotistical monkey, Mimi thought, it was a poor trade.

Just bring Tai back already, it's not funny anymore! The old floating weirdo better do something about this. But I don't know what we're going to do until then. Matt will want to move on without him, but I bet Sora and T.K. won't. Izzy will try to email him or something like that. Joe won't know what to do. But neither do I, I'm just writing because it's better than freaking out.

And while I'm thinking about it…Etemon and his new body? Zero on the cute scale. Minus zero.

So if she were caught in a space-time anomaly with a giant yellow dinosaur, where would she go? That one drew a blank. Where would she want to go? "Home," she muttered. It wasn't perfect, but she missed it all the same. Well, if Tai was home now, his parents were in for a shock.

Two of her friends were arguing about something. Mimi's eyebrow twitched in irritation.

Yep, Sora and Matt are at it already. It's weird how it is with them. Tai and Sora will argue all day long, but they're still "two peas in a pod" like my grandma would say…and Matt's a different vegetable. Sora won't let him just take over if Tai is gone.

I don't think I would like that either. Can't we all just sit down and talk about this? Look at us, we're already falling apart like fake designer clothes.

"Look at us…?" Who was she supposed to be writing to? Oh, well…

"Mimi…" a voice growled. She jumped. Matt was standing about five feet away, red-faced from frustration. "You're writing your stupid list now? At a time like this? Give me that thing!" He reached down to snatch away the notebook.

"No!" Mimi's blood boiled. She wrenched it away from him and held it close, scrambling back on her heels. Her hat fell off and rolled somewhere, unnoticed.

Matt stood there open-mouthed. He'd never seen her like this. Amber eyes narrowed, gloves clenched into fists—she looked ready to fight him.

"It's none of your business, Matt," she cried. "So you…you just leave me alone!"

His own anger had given way to shock. He held up his hands and spoke gently. "Hey, what's wrong with you? Look, I think you should just put the notebook down for a while and talk to us. Maybe if—"

"Is that a fact? Well, you're not in charge here. Stop trying to be Tai!"

Matt turned away from her as if he'd been struck. He stood still for the longest moment, breathing hard, and then stomped off through the sand.

Mimi stared after him defiantly. She had hurt him, and meant to. Sora, Joe and Gomamon were close enough to see the argument. Joe and his partner were speechless for once; Sora offered a weak "that wasn't nice, Mimi." She ignored them all and walked off a few paces, before they could see her guilt setting in.

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She stood and watched the sun for a while as it faded to the west. She wished she were going with it. They both could hide their faces from the world, and not come back until the time was right…

"Mimi?" a familiar squeaky, scratchy voice came from behind her. She turned and looked at Palmon, unable to force a smile this time. The Digimon stretched her vine-fingers to hold out Mimi's lost hat. She took it with a weary nod of thanks. "Are you okay now?"

"Think so," Mimi shrugged. "Matt was being icky, Tai picked a bad time for a vacation…I guess I kinda freaked out back there."

"It wasn't just Matt and Tai, though." So she had seen it, too.

"Nope." Mimi turned back to the horizon, shifting her bag to the other shoulder. Palmon's eyes followed it briefly and came back to her.

"Mimi, I'm your friend. Don't you trust me?"

It's not you, Mimi thought but couldn't say. I can't trust anyone. Don't bother them with your problems. Blind them with pink. Make them deaf with girl talk. Kill them with kindness. And never let them in.

So far she never had. But if she shut out her best friend now…things might never be the same. Mimi took a deep breath and looked up. "I…"

Palmon was walking away.

Fear ran like ice through her veins. "Wait! Palmon…" Her partner turned. "I'm sorry! Listen. I…I'll let you…carry the bag for a while."

It was no revelation, but it was the best she could do right now—to trust her around the notebook. Behind Mimi's eyes, her parents gave her strange looks and the third-grade girls pointed and laughed. She ignored it all.

The Digimon seemed to understand her. "Good. You're too hard on yourself with that thing." Her meaning was also clear. Mimi offered the bag; her vines snaked out to accept it.

A moment later, the desert came apart. The ground rumbled and fractured as entire drifts were jolted loose. Mimi lost her grip on the bag, and it hung weightless in the air for a moment before plummeting into a crack. Palmon's vines snatched it up at the last second, but she didn't see the sand exploding beneath her partner's feet.

"Don't move!" Biyomon swooped down and carried Mimi to safer ground. In a moment of courage, Joe lifted a frightened T.K. onto his shoulders and waded waist-deep through sand to Matt and Gabumon.

As Sora slipped down a crumbling dune towards another fissure, Mimi rushed after her and grabbed her arm. "Hang on, Sora! We've got you!"

The flying Digimon took over, and soon everyone was safe at the edge of the desert.

A breathless Matt turned to make sure everyone was all right. "Now what's happening? Did Etemon do this too?"

"Sorry, Matt, it was me," Mimi joked. "My hissy fits cause earthquakes."

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That seemed like a good place to end this chapter…hope you guys like it so far!

-Sacred Dust