Chapter 19

Clash of the Worlds

((A few minutes before Takuya called up the mysterious number at the end of the battle with the SkullSatamon's))

During the last half an hour the second generation of the V2-Digidestined had been put to the test. Only a few hours after parting ways with Takuya, they and the city had come under attack by three dark servant digimon; a SkullSatamon, LadyDevimon, and MarineDevimon, which fell during the battle, forcing Davis, Ken, Yolei, and Cody, to destroy real digimon for the first time since becoming Digidestined. The fights had also yielded ImperialDramon his Fighter-mode-change, as Takuya had hoped, but at the cost of the partner digimon of the original Digidestined having to be sent back to the Digital World after giving up the lion shares of their power.

However, at the moment the losses outweighed the gains as the remaining partner digimon were left drained and tired.

"That's true, but is anyone else worried that he didn't pick up to even check on us?" Cody asked.

"Cody has a point. He could have always refused to help, but I don't see why he wouldn't answer. Maybe something happened to-" Before Ken could finish his words were cut short by a sudden hissing voice from nearby.

"I'm sure something has by now, but I'd be more concerned about yourselves at the moment," the raspy familiar voice cut in as if it had been waiting from the perfect moment to speak up.

The cruel tone sent a cold shiver down the backs of the humans and digimon alike. For the members of the older Digidestined, like Tai, Izzy, Sora, Mimi, Joe and Matt, it was a new voice, but to the members of the second generation the voice was frightfully familiar and unwanted.

"Daemon!" Davis quickly craned his neck back and traced the source of the voice back to the vile robed demon lord standing atop a six story building across the street from them.

"So good that you remember me," the outline of Daemon's fanged teeth crossed his silhouetted features, obviously taking joy in the shocked and slightly scared look on the faces of the Digidestined below. This was the fear he was used to and felt he deserved, not what that bastard from the night before had given him.

"Yeah, we remember. We remember how you got owned last night," TK wasn't going to show fear or respect to any enemy, especially a dark digimon, no matter how powerful they might have been.

"Yes…" Daemon scowled as the memory of being pinned to the road and interrogated by that strange boy made his muscles tighten with anger. "But by now my debt with him has been… settled."

Daemon smirked when he saw the confidence that had sprung up in them at the blondes mocking remark fade at his comment.

"What did you do to Takuya!?" Hikari shouted at the demon lord, beating out both Tai and Matt to the question.

"From what I've heard he's not answering his calls, and I did send nearly all of my minions after him, so you can only guess what happened," Daemon's smirk grew wider as he drew a few deep gulps of dread from some of the Digidestined as they contemplated his meaning.

"I might not like that guy a whole lot, but he doesn't seem like the type to go down so easily," Tai stepped forward and rested a hand on Hikari's shoulder, chuckling at the idea that he was now defending a guy who's ass he still might have wanted to kick.

"Considering how much trouble you had with a single SkullSatamon, granted he was the strongest one among their ranks, what chances do you think he and his partner stood against more than a dozen of them?" Daemon couldn't wait to see the looks of fear and concern spread across their faces.

There was a momentary hitch in their throats as they considered the odds Daemon had put forth. No matter which way they figured it they spelled trouble for the pair. It was hard to imagine the pair had the power to take on that many evil megas at once.

"He wouldn't lose! Not to anything you'd be able to throw at him!" Hikari interjected with a glare directed at the offending demon lord.

"So much faith and hostility for such a little girl," Daemon smirked confidently at her outburst, enjoying the wavering tone in her voice. He could tell that she might have been resisting his claim, but like the others she couldn't discount the possibility.

"Kari's right. We don't go under the assumption that one of us has been beaten, especially when that claim comes from an enemy," Tai stepped in beside his sister and glaring up at Daemon as well.

"We'll see how long that faith lasts. And when it finally breaks, then, I'll put an end to it all," Daemon cackled as she threw out his arms and spread out his black scaly wings behind him.

"Hhaaa~" Gennai let out a long sigh as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"Is something wrong, Gennai?" Azulongmon inquired with a glance towards the man seated at the base of a tree a short distance back from the cliff.

"It's nothing Lord Azulongmon… I haven't gotten much sleep lately, so I'm just tired. My minds just been too busy lately," Gennai admitted. "I just can't stop thinking about what I've learned about the universe over the last couple days, much of which worries me… Maybe I'm just letting all of my over thinking get to me."

"There is a lot of chaos in this world that needs to be managed… and controlled…" Azulongmon replied to the man's thought.

"…yes…" Gennai felt himself hesitate for a second before responding as he contemplated the dragon's words.

"Gennai, there is much t…" Azulongmon suddenly trailed off in the middle of his next statement as his eyes widened slightly and a look of surprise crossed his features.

"Lord Azulongmon, is something the matter?" Gennai jumped to his feet and stared up at the digital deity, concerned about how quickly the digimons look of surprise had shifted to deep focus.

"I'm being contacted over the Dimensional Corridor…" Azulongmon answered, his focus deepening back into the Multi-verse.

"By whom…?" Gennai questioned, but while Azulongmon sorted it out his inquiry would go unanswered.

"Davis, you all might want to get out of here," ExVeemon groaned as he tried to pick himself up off of one knee.

The fight had only been going on for a few minutes now and from the very start things had been going badly. Takuya had warned them that the demon lord was possibly very strong, but on that note he had taken him down without a fight, which had lulled the group into underestimating the dark digimons power. Now Daemon was literally spreading his wings and showing what horrors he was truly capable of by knocking around the six partner digimon, who even if they hadn't been previously exhausted and had been at full power probably still won't have stood a chance. And making everything worse was the fact that in their exhausted states they couldn't DNA digivolve, so they were all stuck in their champion and armored forms.

"He's right. This is looking like it's going to be a losing battle for us… You all need to get away from here while we can still distract him," Stingmon tiredly added to his compatriot's statement.

"We can't just abandon you all," Davis protested alongside the other members of the second generation.

"He's right! There still has to be something we can do," Yolei added, never taking her eyes off of the tired form of Halsemon as he tried to keep his head up and focused on the demon lord.

"They were already exhausted when the fight started thanks to Daemon's minions, and now they're up against the boss himself. They never stood a chance from the beginning and now he's just playing with them," Izzy remarked, unable to do anything but hope that the inevitable end Daemon spoke of wouldn't come true.

"Damn!" Tai cursed and removed the phone from his ear after another failed attempt to contact Takuya.

"Where the hell is that guy? What could he possibly be doing at a time like this? " Before Tai could express that thought himself he heard TK's annoyed tone ring out from ahead of him as the boy stared down at the screen of his own cell phone. It would seem that in the face of the present danger each one of them, even those that would have preferred not to, had resorted to frantically calling Takuya's number.

Daemon extended his hand out, palm open, and took aim at the winded partner digimon below him. "EVIL INFERNO," Daemon's clawed fingers spread a bit wider and a second later a blast of hell fire erupted from his palm and threatened to wash over the digimon.

In their champion and armored forms dodging the searing evil heat was not only difficult but necessary to avoid being destroyed by a single licking flame. However, despite the difficulty the six partners managed to dive and fly free of the attack, allowing it to splash across the asphalt and concrete, turning a large section of it into a bubbling dark goop.

"So… tired…" ExVeemon tiredly huffed as his eyes wandered across the others, taking note that they weren't in any better condition than he was. He knew that none of them were going to last much longer, a scary thought.

High above Daemon seemed to have come to the same conclusion as ExVeemon. That the partner digimon had expended what little remained of their power in their struggle to survive and fight back, and now most likely lacked what was required to manage another escape or even interest him anymore. They were finished and he knew it.

"I've grown bored of you now. It's time I fulfill the Masters wish and eliminate you thorns in our side," Daemon chuckled and aimed his open palm towards the partner digimon desperately trying to get back on their feet and into the battle once again. "It's time you die!"

"You took the words right out of my mouth," a sudden roar from the distance made Daemon flinch and turn just as large sphere of orange energy crashed into him.

"TERRA FORCE" Daemon heard the echoing cry of the attack as he tried to fight off the destructive power of it before it consumed him.

"Impossible! Why is it so strong?" Daemon growled while struggling with the attack. "Even if he were able to return somehow, which should be impossible, his attack shouldn't be this powerful. But somehow it is!"

"Wargreymon!" A unified cry of surprise went up from the digimon and Digidestined when they spotted the powerful mega digimon hovering high above Daemon. They were grateful for the save, but none of them could understand how he had suddenly reappeared less than an hour after having given up most of his power and returned to the Digital World.

"Tai, is that?" Matt questioned, not knowing what to think of the development. Wargreymon's sudden return, warp evolution without Tai's help, and if he wasn't mistaken increased attack power was on the list of things he didn't understand at the moment.

"I… I… I don't know…" Tai stared up confusingly at what could have been his partner. Normally, he wouldn't even hesitate to identify his partner, his being the only Wargreymon that he had ever heard of, beside from his darker version, but something about the one high above him just didn't feel right. It felt very, very, similar, but it still felt off in some way.

After struggling against the attack for a few seconds and almost being driven into the street, Daemon was finally able to summon up enough dark power to press down on the sides of the sphere and extinguish it.

"Is that all you've got?" Daemon taunted. He might have been able to stop the attack, but it had required a good deal more power than he had expected it would.

"Not even close," a softer angelic voice giggled before Daemon found himself fighting for his life again.

"EDEN'S JAVELIN" a piercing ray of golden light blasted across the surface of the street and crashed right into the demon lord.

"RRHHAAAGGGG!" Daemon howled in pain. He had managed to react to the attack quick enough to throw up his hands and block a direct hit to his unprotected body, but that didn't stop the searing supremacy of the powerful light attack from tearing away at his palms and threatening to overtake and kill him.

"I'm not complaining about getting some help out of this situation, but what exactly is going on here?" Nefertimon fought to make sense of the situation despite the fact that she had been left stunned at the sight of the powerful angel of light further down the street, her golden javelin still pointed towards Daemon after launching her attack.

"STOP MOCKING ME!" Daemon bellowed as he again summoned up enough power to deflect the attack by throwing up his arms and sending the cascading light into the night sky where it vanished in the twinkle of a star.

"You brought it on yourself," a deep growl came from the dark alley on Daemon's left, catching him by surprise a second before a crimson cross of energy ignited in the dark and slammed into him.

"RED CROSS" The energy attack was driven into Daemon's side at the end of a spear wielded by a winged digimon in black armor, where it exploded in a cloud of deep violet and sent the demon lord flying uncontrollably towards the opposite side of the street.

"WHO ARE-" Daemon never got to finish his cry as his back slammed into something hard.

From outside the assaults the Digidestined and digimon watched as the once seemingly invincible demon lord was thrown about by the three digimon who seemed to have come out of nowhere. They felt an almost guilty pleasure as a fourth digimon, a cybernetic wolf digimon in pristine white armor striped with blue, appeared and clotheslined Daemon from behind with an extended arm, driving him into the street. The moment Daemon hit the asphalt the white digimon removed the large sword from its back, split it into two separate blades, which he crossed over each other, and then drove two feet into the road over Daemon's neck, pinning him to the ground with the threat of decapitation.

"RELEASE ME!" Daemon bellowed as he wrapped his burned hands around the blades and attempted to pull them apart, but before he could the wolf digimon released the hilts and pointed his right arm down at him.

With a smirk the cyber wolf digimon gripped its right elbow with his left hand, holding the arm perfectly straight, as the armor on the right forearm popped up to reveal a laser blaster. The cold words, "CLEANSING LIGHT," left his lips a nanosecond before the weapon discharged a powerful blast of bright blue light directly into Daemon, instantly swallowing him and his pained scream in the roar of the energy of the attack.

The bright flash of light forced the onlookers to shield their eyes from the powerful contrast between it and the dark night, but luckily it didn't last long and soon the light faded back into the pale yellow of the street lights. When they were finally able to see the two again they found the armored wolf digimon standing victoriously over the limp, tattered, and smoking, body of Daemon.

"He's still alive, but he's definitely down and out," was all Tai could think to say after everything that had happened. He would have wished to say something of greater importance or to have asked an intelligent question, but after what had just happened in the span of less than a minute he was drawing a mental blank.

"Can… Can someone tell me what just happened…?" Davis gawked at the aftermath as the three other digimon grouped around the downed demon lord and the white digimon.

"We'll explain it to you when someone explains to us, Davis," TK replied with mild sarcasm and relief. They had just literally been pulled from the fires seconds before being burn to a crisp by one familiar digimon and three that weren't.

"It's actually quite a long and somewhat interesting story," Tai voiced.

"Tai…?" The others turned to look at Tai who seemed even more confused by his statement than them; mainly because it had been his voice, with his attitude, but he was sure it hadn't come from his mouth.

"How do you know what happened?" Matt scrutinized his best friend, wondering if they had all missed something.

"I didn't say that…" Tai stared back at them as he shifted his lower jaw and tongue around, trying to make sure that he had complete control over his own mouth and speech.

"You didn't, but in a way you kind of did," Tai's voice again sounded, this time in a more playful tone.

"…" The others just stared blankly at Tai who had somehow spoken without opening his mouth. They were sure he hadn't. They had been watching that time.

"That's so cool, Tai. When did you learn to throw your voice?" Davis gave his mentor an impressed stare and smile.

"Davis, I didn't learn any such thing," Tai gave the boy an exasperated sigh, the act buying him a few seconds away from the current issue.

"Tai, I'm sure that were all impressed with your new skill, but can you go back to what you were saying earlier? Do you know these digimon? They're with Wargreymon after all," Izzy stepped closer to him wanting answers.

"Wow… and you're supposed to be the smart one," this time the voice wasn't Tai's. Instead it was a colder, less amused, vocalization of disappointment.

The new voice was enough to pull everyone's attention away from Tai, who seemed to be focused, wide-eyed, on something on their right. Tracking his line of sight they eventually found the source of the two voices and the reason for the shock on Tai's face. Standing on the sidewalk further behind them and to the right were four teenagers; one girl and three boys.

The first of the two boys standing beside each other had to have been twins. They had the same hair and eye color to go with similar faces; however, the one on the left seemed to have a warmer personality, shown by the gentle smile on his face, while the other twin felted colder, if the cool disappointed stare he was giving them was any indication.

The girl was oddly familiar with her light brown hair, warm crimson brown eyes, and gentle features, but wrapped up in the red leather coat, the belt around the middle pulled tight to show her thin waist, it was hard to place her. Beside the girl was an older boy, the tallest member of the four and the reason why the v2-Digidestined were staring so intently in silence.

While none of them could place the girl, they could all see who the older teen reminded them off. He looked exactly like Tai standing amongst them, except for a few years and inches difference.

"Sorry about that… for the confusion and all," the older looking Tai spoke up with an apologetic look and short laugh. One could believe that he was sorry if it weren't for the slightly mischievous smile that said that he was actually enjoying the situation playing out before him.

"I… You… You…" Tai stuttered to make sense of what he was seeing before pausing for a few seconds to gather his thoughts. "You look exactly like me… is what I'm trying to say…"

"Trust me, it's not just the looks," the Tai doppelganger chuckled playfully.

"But why do you look like me?" Tai was still having trouble grasping the situation, which wasn't an easy thing to do in such a strange circumstance.

"I wonder if these are the same questions I'd be asking if the situation were reversed?" The older Tai turned and asked of the girl beside him, leaving his younger versions question unanswered. "I mean we're essentially the same person, so if I didn't know anything about Zones would I ask the same questions?"

"I'm pretty sure anyone in this situation would ask those questions, big brother," the girl gave him a curt response as if the answer should have been obvious.

"At least he's not freaking out or anything," the boy with the short black hair stepped closer to the two and added. "When Koji and I first saw each other in the Digital World our response wasn't exactly calm, and were only twins, not the same relative person… but that could have had something to do with me being possessed… and trying to kill him and the others…" he added the final part in a whisper.

"What was that about being possessed… and killing?" The older Tai seemed quite interested in the last bit he had heard.

"Takuya never told you about that. About how we first met?" Koichi gave him a slightly surprised look. He had fully expected Takuya to have told the Digidestined all about, well, everything, but it would appear that he had held back certain facts to protect his friend's image.

"No," the brother and sister responded in unison.

"I guess he wouldn't have," now that he stopped to think about it, he realized that Takuya was leaving that discussion up to him. It was his story after all.

"I really want to hear the story behind that, but I think Koji's starting to get annoyed," the girl pointed to the boy in question.

His right hand was on his temples, massaging them, while a pensive look was set on his face. It really looked like he was holding back a serious complaint.

"He is starting to look a bit agitated, isn't he?" Koichi leaned towards the girl and chuckled slightly.

"Yeah," the girl responded.

"Yeah," the older Tai responded.

"Yeah," Koichi answered back, his single word becoming the final straw.

"Are you three quite done, or is there more, because this isn't exactly going to be a short explanation?" The twin with the longer black hair did his best to hold back any indications that he was annoyed by trying to remain speaking in a calm tone; obviously having gotten over the novelty of the situations. He had found it funny for a bit, but now he felt that the back and forth dialogue had quickly become tedious.

The older Tai shrugged and smiled before he retorted, "I'm done when you're ready Koji, but you're the one who's been standing there saying nothing for the last couple of minutes."

"Whatever…" Koji sighed before turning to the younger versions and looked them over. "I'm sure that by this point Takuya's explained the whole Zone's and Runner's thing, so I won't bore you with rehashing old details, mainly because I just don't want to."

"You're friends of Takuya's?" Hikari questioned when she heard the boys name used.

"For now," Koji answered with a tone that said he might have been being serious. It seemed that he might have been angry at the boy in question for some reason.

"For now…?" Hikari questioned back. However, Koji felt no obligation to respond to her so instead he just attempted to continue on with addressing the situation.

"This has something to do with what Takuya said about there being many different Earths and Digital Worlds in the Multiverse, right?" Izzy's question was quicker than Koji's words, forcing a tired sigh from Koji.

"Yes, Izzy, but let's leave any further questions until the end, okay," Koji gave him a slightly annoyed look, telling him that he just wanted to get through his explanation.

"Okay…" Little did Izzy know that Koji already knew that he had a thousand questions waiting in the wings, hence his bothered look.

"In the Multiverse there are an uncountable amount of Zones out there, of which you'll find plenty that are similar, but slightly different from your own. Some of them may be very similar, to the point where they shared common histories, events, and even people. From one of those Zones similar to yours we picked these two up," Koji pointed his thumb towards Tai and Kari standing to his side.

"Cutting Koji's explanation short, the two of us," the older Tai pointed to himself and Kari, "come from an alternate version of your Zone." He felt like he had to jump in when he began to imagine the long detailed description Koji seemed to be heading down.

"Alternate in what way?" Izzy barely missed a beat with the follow up question. The other Digidestined had fallen silent with shock at the announcement, but Izzy's curiosity proved stronger than the surprise.

"For now it would appear that the only difference seems to be a matter of four years," Koichi looked to Izzy with a playful smile.

"And the whole super virus and evil digimon Master," Kari added as she looked the Digidestined over, reminiscing about the past and how much things had changed since then.

"Four year…" the younger Tai mumbled to himself as a sudden realization dawned on him. "So that means you're-?"

"You in a little over four years," Tai playfully stepped in and finished for him.

Seeing how much fun he was having messing with his past self, Tai couldn't help but wonder if it was the reason why Matt seemed to like to mess with him from time to time.

"Wow… so you're me in the future?" the younger Tai tried to wrap his mind around what he had just heard. His older version had had a good deal of time to get used to the idea of the Multiverse and the possibilities that existed within it, but he had just learn about the whole thing less than a day ago and now he was facing his future self.

"If your choices and events remain constant, but I doubt that's going to be the case with all the intervening Takuya's done so far. You all know way more about the Multiverse than your counterparts here did at your age," Koji corrected the last statement with a glance between the two alternates. "Not to mention whatever effect the difference between your Zones will have, since something has to have driven your two Zones down two different paths."

"Huh?" Both Tai's gave Koji's comment the same questioning stare and response.

"Think of it this way," Koichi stepped in to clear up the confusion that everyone seemed to be having. "If both of your Zones were following the same exact path than there would be no difference between them, which would mean that there would be no reason for them to be separate Zones. Something major had to have happened before now that justified your two Zones being separate entities. In one of your Zones something had to have happened or not happened that for the lack of a better word, split, your two Zones."

"For Zones that are supposed to be split, they seem pretty similar," Tai gave Koichi a shrug.

"Yeah… We're going to have to take your two's word for that," Koichi chuckled. Even from the little Takuya had told him about the history of the Digidestined and their adventures he could feel how similar things seemed to be.

"Tai has a point. He and his counterpart seem pretty similar to each other when they were the same age. When Takuya told me about Zone counterparts I assumed that from the way he talked they usually varied in noticeable ways," Kari questioned Koichi hoping to get a further explanation.

"That's normally the case, which makes this situation quite rare," Koichi replied, glad to share a bit of knowledge with the eager to learn girl.

"Which also emphasizes how well the differences in this Zone are hidden," Koji sighed as he closed his eyes in contemplation. "Which means we're missing something important…"

"The only real difference I see at this point, besides from that whole virus incident, is in the timing of our fight with Daemon. It was supposed to happen the day before," Kari answered, having the most experience with the incident.

"Time isn't a factor like that. That could just be because of Takuya's interference," Koji opened one eye long enough to look at Kari as he answered before closing it once again when he was done.

"So then, what's different about our Zones two paths?" Matt seemed to have gotten over the shock of meeting another version of Tai relatively quickly; maybe since Takuya had arrived he had learned that he was going to have to except a lot of crazy facts.

"Most likely it's destruction," Koji coldly responded.

"What!?" His comment had pulled a few surprised gasps from those gathered.

"Your Zones path was most likely to die or degraded to a point where there wouldn't be much of a difference between destruction and death," Koji added to his statement.

"…" No one could find a response.

"Try and think about it," Koji sighed coldly.

"Koji, play nice," Koichi sighed, knowing that his brother would probably never change his attitude; though, considering how he actually got along pretty well, well for him that is, with the version one Digidestined, he wondered if the hostility would last.

"Fine… I'll explain," Koji gave into his brother's request, but he decided it would only be halfheartedly since he still had his pride to think of. "Answer me this, how did you stop the virus?"

"We didn't. Takuya did," Hikari quickly answered to the chagrin of Davis and TK who were still having trouble seeing the guy as a hero.

"And why was he the one who had to do that?" Koji was obviously alluding to something so the group could only play along if they wanted to find out what it was.

"Because we had no way of knowing about it since everyone who knew about it couldn't reach us…" Izzy began to trail off as the wheels in his head began to spin at an incredible pace. He was close to an answer, but having to think about it from the perspective of the Multiverse was making it difficult.

"Yeah, if it hadn't been for Takuya the virus would have…" It was Ken's turn to trail off at the sudden realization Izzy had reached. It wasn't long before a sour look began to spread across everyone's face as they came to the same conclusion.

"I see that you're all starting to get what I was saying," Koji gave them a small smile. Maybe they weren't as clueless as he originally thought.

"Well I'm not," Davis barked at the feeling of frustration the question was bringing to his mind. He knew that the answer wasn't anything good, and that it was somehow tied to Takuya, but he just couldn't make the connection.

"Koji, again, play nice," Koichi reminded his brother with a small chuckle when he spotted an annoyed facial twitch cross his features.

"Davis," Ken looked to the boy with a depressed but friendly smile. "Think of it like this. If we didn't know about the virus. And if Takuya hadn't arrived to stop it. Who would have?"

"…no one…" Ken's carefully worded question was enough to get Davis to the answer they had all been dancing around.

"But wouldn't that be what makes our two Zones different? That Takuya showed up and stopped the virus," Izzy inquired. He knew he was missing some information that the four before him had that wasn't allowing him to make the same connections between the facts as them.

"That's not how it works. The fact that you had to face the virus and they didn't might be a splitting point," Koji nicked his head towards the siblings as he talked. "Interference from outside the Zone isn't a factor when it comes to the path of a Zone, which is why we Runners aren't protected by things like fate or destiny, and why we can change those things."

"Summing that up. That means that Takuya showing up to help wasn't meant to happen. The fate of this Zone very well might have been to be torn apart by the virus… or whatever it was really meant to do," Koichi finished for his brother.

A solemn silence fell over the V2-Digidestined as they contemplated what had just been revealed to them. One couldn't blame them for being a bit lost. It wasn't everyday that you learn that your world was supposed to fall apart around you.

"That's… kind of dark…" Kari summed it up best, but quickly tried to look on the bright side, "But at least that was avoid and now you all get to start writing your own destinies from here on out."

"I guess that's true… Yeah, you're right," Tai(v2) smiled at the still unknown to him girl.

Up until that point the identity of the girl beside his older counterpart had been a small nagging question, but after she called attention to herself with such perfect words of encouragement she became the new hot topic amongst the group.

"She's right. We survived and now we know better," Davis gave the girl a big smile, blushing a bit as he did so. Something about the girl made his skin warm and heartbeat quicken.

"Yep, you're ri… actually… you are… who are you?" Sora had wanted to praise and thank the girl's kind words, but without a name she couldn't do it.

"That has been bothering me…" the younger Tai stepped closer to the girl so he could get a better look. He couldn't shake the feeling that she was so very familiar, as if they had met before.

"Seriously…" Koji let an annoyed sigh of disbelief slip as he rubbed his temples.

"What?" Tai(v2) gave him a questioning glance in return.

"They can all pick you out to the point that they're left in confused silence, but not her?" Koji sighed again, wondering if he'd ever get used to working with this group of Destineds.

"To be fair she has changed a lot over the last couple of years," Tai smiled proudly in Kari's direction.

"What are they going on about… should we know you?" the younger of the two Tai's leaned in a bit closer, making the girl smile playfully.

"I should hope so big brother," she beamed brightly at him. "Though, I'm not sure if big brother's the right thing to say since in this timeline I'm actually a year older than you are right now."

Tai's counterpart let the last part fade away as he thought about what she had just called him. "Big brother…? KARI!" His tone suddenly swelled with surprise and grew louder in conjunction.

"That right," her smile brightened even more, taking a bit of pleasure in seeing the shocked faces of those gathered before her. She was well aware that her growth over the last couple of years had changed her greatly from her former self, but she never would have thought it would cause such stunned silence.

"Wow…" a few surprised gasps escaped the group, none more audible than the ones that slipped forth from Davis and TK's lips.

"Oh, seeing how cute Kari's going to be in the future… this'll definitely help the rivalry between Davis and TK," Mimi leaned over and whispered to Sora.

"No, this is going to make it much worse. They're going to be like two dogs fighting over a really good looking bone," Sora glared at Mimi while contemplating the interested looks the two were already giving the older version.

"Yeah, I know. It'll be so much more entertaining," she snickered in response, her smile of anticipation threatening to burst her face at any second.

"Mimi…" a depressed sigh was the proper response.

"Okay, I feel that I probably should have guessed that considering I'm standing right there," the younger Tai glanced over to his older counterpart before returning to her. "But I have to say Ka-"

A familiar voice suddenly cut in over his with the same name.


To be continued…