A Mimoe. So if that's not your cup of tea, leave now, and I'll hold nothing against you.
Mimi had come back from America to look around at the old place. That was basically it. She had no great sentimental reason to stay in Japan, but it was the place of her childhood, so when she got a chance, she was happy to visit.
She had not planned on developing a sentimental reason.
But there it was.
This is entirely his fault. Why couldn't he have stayed that dorky geek from three years ago? she thought crossly. Why'd he have to go and get smart and funny and calm…and cute…he's absolutely gorgeous now! Jerk.
Why had TK and Kari told the others she was back, anyway? She could have just slipped away anonymously if it weren't for them. And why had she let herself be talked into going on another picnic in the Digiworld? That first one hadn't gone so well.
Joe's voice brought her back to reality as he tapped on her open door. "Hey, Mimi. Ready to go?"
Oh, his hair… Mimi loved his new, long hair. Also, his new, chic glasses. Also, his deeper, more confident voice. Actually, she loved just about everything about him. "Yeah, sure," she said.
"You look nice today," Joe told her.
She smiled up at him. "Thanks. This is a designer blouse." She spun for him. "Is anyone else coming, or is it just us?" Flirting with Joe. She never would have believed it three years ago.
He shook his head, apparently oblivious. She didn't know whether to be relieved or upset at that. "Just us older kids. Kari and TK have no use for us, I guess, and I don't think Davis, Yolei, or Cody would care to come without them. The Digimon Emperor didn't return my calls."
Mimi laughed, but it was jokes like that that made her so mad later. How dare he become so charming?
Sora looked up as they walked in. "Good, we're all here. Let's go."
"Anxious, Sora?" Matt teased.
She grinned up at him. "Yes! Come on, Izzy!"
After a quick, undignified entry, they were in the Digiworld. They promptly split up to try and find their Digimon. Mimi found herself moving the same direction as Joe. Of course. Of course Palmon and Gomamon would be in the same place. That's just what I don't want, so what else would happen?
"Mimi, are you okay?"
She looked up at him with wide eyes. "Of course, why?"
"I don't know; you just seem kind of quiet and worried. Is there anything I can help you with?"
Ohhhh…No guy in America could compare. "No, I'm just fine. Thank you, though," she added, smiling brightly.
"Good." He hesitated, then said, "I wanted to tell you…I really like your hair. Pink…I never thought I'd like hair that wasn't a real color, but it suits you well."
He's noticed my hair…maybe he's gay? She looked up at him. "I like your hair, too," she blurted, then winced inwardly. It was one thing to flirt. But to be so obvious…
He looked surprised. "Thanks."
"You've changed so much, Joe. I can't believe it's only been three years." No, no, no! We can't be having a serious conversation with him, too! Stop it, Mimi!
He stopped and looked down at her. "Changed? How do you mean?" he asked.
Mimi was struck by how much taller he was. He'd been taller than her three years ago, but she'd never noticed. She had been so in control then—had him wrapped around her finger. He'd always slouched, too. Now, he was tall, strong, and confident; he fit his height. "Well…you seem so much surer of yourself. More assertive. And you haven't freaked out about allergies once."
He laughed. "Touché. My allergies are mostly gone now, you know."
"I guess I outgrew them."
She looked up at him suspiciously. "Are you telling me the truth?"
"Actually, I was such a hypochondriac back then, I don't know how you all stood me."
"You weren't that bad. And if you were, I wasn't much better."
He raised an eyebrow and she knew he was remembering the prison incident. "Well, that's a great comfort."
She swatted at his arm playfully. "I was ten; leave me alone!"
He grinned at her. "I never threw anyone in jail when I was ten."
"Oh, you." Mimi suddenly realized where her hand was and tried to casually move it off.
His hand came up to stop hers.
Mimi's eyes widened and she stared at him. "Joe?"
There was a trace of nervousness in his expression. "Mimi, I was wondering—"
Vines came out of nowhere to grab both of them. They were sent flying and when the world stopped spinning, Mimi found herself sprawled on top of Joe. But his arms were around her, so Mimi couldn't mind too much.
"Mimi!" Palmon jumped out of the brush. "You're back again again!" she squealed.
Mimi looked down at Joe and felt her face flush as she got to her feet. She offered him a hand up. "What did you do that for, Palmon?" Mimi asked.
Palmon looked sheepish. "I was just going to grab you both but I—I lost control. Both of you together were heavier than I expected—you've grown. Are you okay?"
I'd've been better if you'd just let us be. "Of course!" Mimi forced a bright smile. "Perfecto."
"Palmon, do you know where Gomamon might be?" Joe asked.
Without a word, Palmon went back into the thicket.
The two stared at each other. "What's with her?" asked Joe.
"I don't know. That was weird." Mimi turned back to Joe. "Thank you, for catching me."
"Well, I couldn't just let you drop, could I? Not in that designer blouse."
Courage, Mimi. "Well, thank you." And she went up on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.
However, at that moment, he'd turned to look down at her and she wound up brushing his lips with her own. Oops… she started to think, but found she couldn't concentrate as he brushed her face gently with his fingers and pulled her a little closer.
"Here he is!" Palmon announced, dragging the little sea creature mercilessly.
"Joe! You came back!" Gomamon exclaimed.
They spun around to face their respective Digimon.
"What were you doing?" Gomamon inquired.
Mimi and Joe exchanged a glance. "Erm, nothing important," Joe stumbled out.
"Yeah it was just—just a—a—you know, I'm hungry. Let's try and find everyone else and eat!" Mimi suggested.
The two Digimon agreed and appeared to forget the incident. It was about two hours later when Mimi was looking for some berries and heard Gomamon talking that she learned they hadn't.
"It was weird, they looked like they were mashing their mouths together," she heard him say as she got closer to the camp.
"Really?" she heard Agumon reply.
"Do tell," Tai said at the same time.
"There's really not much else," Gomamon finished. "When we came, they looked sort of guilty, but just said it was nothing."
"But how much 'mashing' had been going on?" Mimi heard Sora ask.
She groaned. Tai and Sora? I'm never getting out of this.
"How could I tell?" Gomamon asked.
"Well, were they clutching at each other?"
"Guys, lay off," Matt called. "Come on; that's Mimi and Joe he's talking about. How likely is that?"
"It did so happen!" Palmon protested indignantly. "And they looked like they enjoyed it, too."
Mimi spun around to see Joe behind her. "I thought they forgot about it," she muttered.
"Me, too," he agreed.
"Well, what do we do now?"
"Who says we have to do anything?"
"Yeah, you're right. There's no way we're getting out of this without a serious amount of teasing. Maybe they won't ask?" he said hopefully.
Mimi looked glum. "You know Agumon will, if Tai won't. Biyomon will, if Sora won't. Gabumon will—"
"Yeah, I get it."
"So what do we do?" Mimi repeated.
Joe thought it over. "Come here a second."
She walked over. "What?"
He pulled her against him and kissed her again. She ought to have been surprised, but it felt natural, somehow, and she tentatively ran a hand through his beautiful hair.
He pulled away with a grin. "If I'm going to be accused of kissing you, I'm going to have done it right."
Mimi just looked at him, trying to figure it out. It had been wonderful—but so shocking. It was an entirely different person than the one she had known three years ago. The old Joe would never have dared to do anything like that, despite his obvious crush on her.
His grin faded at her continued silence. "I'm sorry, Mimi. I should never have done that, I just—"
She blinked. "Oh, no, it's not that," she hastened to assure him, knowing he would never kiss her again if he thought she didn't like it. "It's not that at all." She couldn't meet his eyes. "I was just surprised. I—I liked it," she added, glancing upward through her lashes.
Now he was silent. Then, "You did?"
"Yes." I'm not sure quite how, but he's even cuter when flustered.
"Well." He blinked. "What do we do now?"
"I asked you first. Then you started with the whole kissing thing."
He grinned. "Well, now that it's out of the way, do you have any suggestions?"
She sighed. "Face them and the teasing?"
"Just what I wanted to do this afternoon."
Mimi took his hand. "Come on, now. Be brave."
He glanced down and interlocked their fingers. "How long are you staying in Japan?"
"Just another couple of days."
"Are you going to come back and visit again?"
Mimi thought back to her thoughts this morning. No sentimental reasons... "Well, I love New York, I love my life there. After this visit...I probably wasn't going to."
"But now..." She grinned up at him. "Well, now, I have sentimental reasons."
Revised and hopefully better than ever. Even though the PTBs screwed up our beloved characters, I still can't give it up.