Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. There's not even a speck in the sky now. It's perfect weather, a nice cool breeze blowing gently, ruffling my fur slightly.
We look at each other.
It is goodbye. For real.
They're really gone. They'd been wanting to go home for so long. They didn't want to have to come back here... but they didn't want to leave either. I didn't want HIM to leave. He grinned as he got taken away, but... it wasn't a real smile... I guess it's the sort of smile that I'm wearing now.
We made a good team.
It was true what Joe said a while ago, about us just getting in the way if I couldn't fully digivolve. I always really wanted to be strong, I wanted to fight a lot, beat the bad guys. But my partner turned out to be the sort who didn't want to fight at ALL, at least at first. And as long as I couldn't turn Mega, I could never really be useful.
I used to kinda wish I could have had a different partner. Before the kids came, when we were all waiting, I used to dream of what it'd be like once my partner came. I didn't know much about him except his name, and what he looked like. He was tall, and the oldest. Good signs; I thought maybe he'd be the leader, or really strong, kind of gung-ho. I guess that's what I *wanted*.
I'd dream about him, make up stories about him. That's not weird; we all did. We knew, somehow, that the only reason we existed was to be the friends and partners of these kids. That somehow we'd draw power from each other, and they'd bring meaning to our lives. We waited for so many years, with no purpose but to meet them. We used to play games together in the day where we'd pretend we were with our digidestined. We invented personalities for them, bad habits, interests, taste in food, ways of speaking. Everything. We knew so little, just somehow had a clear picture of them in our mind, and had that since we were born.
Maybe it wasn't good for us to 'make' the kids real in our own minds. When they finally did appear it was like we already knew them, but we had to be careful. One of the worst things was that none of them had known we existed. For years we'd done nothing but wait for them and think about them, and to them, meeting us was a total shock, like they hadn't known us.
But the real thing was, we'd all made up what we wanted our partners to be like and some of them weren't. I know Tentomon sure didn't imagine that he wouldn't be able to understand half the stuff Izzy said, or that he'd be more rapt in his computer than his friends. Gabumon thought Matt would be more open and friendly, even kind of like me, to help set him at ease or something. And Palmon definitely wasn't expecting someone who would actually care what Palmon looked like.
And most of all, I wasn't expecting someone who would be AFRAID of me.
But it was all really interesting to finally find out what the people we'd fantasised about were *really like*. Yet...
None of the *other* digidestined got on their partners' nerves. Everyone else seemed to get along fine. They were all kind of similar in personality to their friend. Was this some sorta joke? Felt like Tai and I were on the same plane... used to envy Agumon... never said anything. Why rock the boat? Why fuss about things you can't change?
Still... I knew I couldn't afford to mess up, couldn't ruin the chance I had. I had to work with Joe. Even if he wasn't what I expected, I had to deal with it. Life turns out the way you work it.
After a while, I got kinda... used to him. Even felt a little sorry for him. Life can't be a lot of fun when you look on the downside all the time. Since I was supposed to be protecting him anyway, I thought I might try to help him cheer up, feel better about himself, make more of an effort.
I don't know if it ever really worked but I know he changed. And it's weird but he turned out to be - in my totally unbiased opinion of course - the bravest of them all. Because I knew how scared he was. So, when I saw him trying, maybe I did kind of develop a soft spot for him.
And then, after those first few days, suddenly I saw him differently. It was that bond between partners, I think. Whatever it was, suddenly it was really there. It was like we were used to each other, like we'd always known each other. And I did see flashes of the Joe I had imagined. I felt his power - calm, dependable and strong - running through me each time I digivolved. That was his real self. I wanted to bring that out.
I wanted to work with him until he was his real self all the time. So that when he went back to his world he could take his strength with him. I don't know if I did a good enough job. I don't know if we had long enough.
There are lots of things he wouldn't talk about. Lots of things I wanted to ask him. Lots of things we coulda done but didn't do.
Who will I whine at, whose food will I steal, who will I tell to look on the bright side, who will I splash with water, whose glasses will I run off with, who will I tease, whose stomach will I sleep on, who will I walk beside? He wasn't the big hero I envisioned. He wasn't some macho guy who ran into every battle, not the Joe I'd pictured swimming strongly alongside me. He couldn't even swim! He wasn't the Joe I'd imagined.
He was better. He was my best, best friend.
And now he's flown off into the sky, away from me, away from the digital world, and I can't go with him. I can't protect him any more. I can't bicker with him or swim with him sitting on my head like he belongs there.
All the other Digimon are standing around, looking kinda sad. Maybe they're reflecting too. No wonder. We've all lost part of ourselves, maybe forever.
I used to kind of envy the others, though I wouldn't ever say so... but now all we Digimon are in the same boat - none of us can be useful without our friends, none of us can be powerful. Even as a Rookie I wasn't very strong... had an attack I could hardly ever use, and flippers instead of legs which made walking a pain. But power's hardly an issue at this level.
And you know, I guess we've all had our chance to be useful. Now we have to depend on each other and use our abilities besides power. And I know *my* place for sure!
"Heyyy, guys!" I shout, "don't look so glum! What're we moping around for? We saved the digital world! Time to party!"
"Party?" says Agumon, "we just lost our best friends!"
"We've lost our purpose for existing," says Gatomon sadly.
"So, there are lots of things we can do while we wait for them to come back!" I say. I'm not sure they'll come back but hey, why think like that?
"Such as?" asks Palmon, sniffling and wiping tears away with a strand of ivy.
"Well, we can go swimming!" I say, doing a sort of clumsy backflip into the water. Everyone gets splashed and most of them don't look too thrilled about it. I can't help laughing. "There are no Mega Digimon in the digital world now so we can feel safe! We can still help Digimon in need if we want, still go 'round having adventures! Maybe then we can digivolve on our own!"
"I wouldn't even want to digivolve on my own," says Biyomon, "it wouldn't feel the same without Sora helping me."
"Fine!" I say. It might be harder work to cheer them up than I thought. "You don't have to digivolve if you don't want to! But we should still stick together! Go build our own tram so we can go visit our friends! Help Elecmon at Primary Village with all the new baby Digimon! Go bug Ogremon, visit Gennai, look all around File Island and see how things have changed. You know, we're one-of-a-kind Digimon! I bet we're, like, famous in the digiworld!"
"It might be nice to be famous," says Biyomon carefully.
"I love baby Digimon!" says Patamon.
"I guess the whole digiworld got reconfigured," says Agumon.
"Maybe Gennai can tell us more about how we were chosen in the first place," says Tentomon.
"I wonder what Ogremon *is* going to do now that Leomon's being reborn," says Palmon.
"Kari said we'd see each other again soon," says Gatomon.
"Do you really think we could visit the humans' world?" says Gabumon.
"Why not!" I say, "we did it before, right! When there's a will, there's a way!"
Everyone is starting to look more interested, starting to listen to me, starting to talk. Perfect! There's still a future for us, I bet. Even if the job we were created for is done... we'll make a new destiny.
Now everyone is stirring, showing signs of life. That's my job. Even if I can't turn Mega, even if I can't digivolve on my own, I still gotta voice. Just like Agumon's the one with the fighting prowess, Biyomon's the one who cares about everyone, Palmon's the one who'll do any job that needs doing, Gatomon's so experienced and wise, Gabumon's got his intuition, Tentomon's the best at finding things and Patamon's the one who makes us realise what's important... yup, we've all got our attributes, that's what makes us Digimon.
And I've got my own. The encourager. It's easy for me. I can make myself believe good things, shut out the bad. Mostly. Even this is too strong for me to shut out completely, but...
"Let's have a HUGE digi-party!" I say again, my voice perfectly bright and cheerful, "no more Devimon, Etemon, Myotismon or Dark Masters! MARCHING FISHES!"
I can feel the water rippling around me and soon all my old friends are around me. The water is twittering, and I can understand it. Nobody else can but to me it all makes sense. They're comforting me, they know me that well. My own personal protectors, just like I'm Joe's. I tell them we're going to celebrate, that we did our job and saved the world, and the air is suddenly full of flying fish, jumping around excitedly and splashing back down into the water.
It's good to have friends. My friends on the shore are looking a little happier too. But I know that, even if we've got extra strengths in Rookie forms, and got more to do with ourselves, we're back to the way we were In-training. Waiting. Waiting for people we aren't sure will come.
But there are some things that can be counted on. Like each other. And my friends appearing when I call them.
Maybe my attack isn't so strong but it sure is nice to have your friends come to you whenever you want. I really shouldn't have complained! A ball of fire or streams of ivy can't give you any companionship.
It reminds me again of my role in our little team. Friendship, support, encouragement, whatever. Not like me to even be this serious in all the thinking but you know, I'm no idiot. You gotta be smart to save the world, and to get Joe to do things he doesn't wanna do!
I'll do my job, but it's still hard to take.
Because... even cheerful ones aren't exempt... when part of you dies, all I know how to do is celebrate.
I miss my best friend.