Uprooted I wouldn't have written this except I somehow said I'd enter a Mimoe contest and "Power of Two" didn't quite turn out the way I'd expected it to... anyway this was actually quite easy to write. But I should stop writing fics with romance in them or I'll lose my romance-hater reputation. ^_-.

Uprooted
by Leto

Mimi had just had her thirteenth birthday. It was nearing the end of our summer vacation, and in a couple of weeks, she would be starting junior high. Me, I was fifteen and doing pretty well academically, although the school I attended, none of the other seven went to.

She had been studying for a long time. I was quite impressed. I didn't think she had it in her. She asked me for help a lot, we studied together at least two days a week. She said that things were easier to understand when I explained them. And she said she liked the sound of the junior high I went to. The reason she had been working so hard was to try to pass the exams to get into my school, you see.

I didn't mind helping her. I liked having her over. My mother hadn't been talking to me, my father was out working and then meeting with his colleagues until late every night, and Jim had gone overseas to practise medicine. When she was around, the apartment seemed less empty.

She'd come over and go from cupboard to cupboard, rifling through the fridge and making snacks for both of us. Then she'd turn the radio on - apparently it helped her study. She'd always say "food for thought" and then eat a lot, before working. And sometimes before or after we'd finished studying, we'd just talk. She taught me how to dance - although I felt pretty stupid, I'm not made for dancing I guess, we played computer games, we tried cooking dinner together and ended up almost setting the kitchen on fire.

But yeah, it was good having her over. I was looking forward to having her at my school, to be able to bump into each other more often, to be able to talk about the same teachers and... I don't know. She's my favourite person, I think. I feel happier when she's around.

And now she's left, just five minutes ago, after telling me she's leaving the country.

~*~

Ohh! My parents, I totally can't believe they'd do this to me! After all that hard work I did, it's not gonna be worth anything?! I'd been really trying for once. They said, "oh Mimi, we waited until now to tell you because we didn't want to disturb you, and you were doing so well so we waited until you had finished elementary school so it would be less of a disruption".

But I've been looking forward to going to junior high for months! I mean, Joe will be there, if I get in, and it would be so nice to see him more often. He's not like my other friends, but that's like a good thing, I think. He's quiet and kind of nice and lets me come over whenever I want to.

And now I'm moving to New York. It's weird, I mean I would have thought I'd be totally happy about that - you know, the centre of shopping, and America's the cool place to be. But my friends aren't there. I mean, who'm I gonna find there who'll let me raid their fridge and come over and tease and put up with all my stupid questions?

I just told Joe the news and he didn't say very much. I don't know what he was thinking or anything, I don't even know if he really cares. But I think he does like me. With some friends, you get the impression they're just, like, putting up with you or letting you hang around with them, or being with you 'cos they've got nothing else to do. But I've always felt, with Joe, that we do like each other a lot.

He might be all smart and everything, but you know, when it comes down to it he's another clueless guy, I don't think he has a clue that I like like him, you know?

Well, I'm leaving the country in a week. So I might not even see him again. Although... I can't really believe that. It's too weird a thought. You lose contact with some friends, but we were digidestined together. Y'know, he was the only one who stayed with me when all the violence was getting to me. And he even made me feel less stupid and selfish about that.

He's always made me feel better.

~*~

I didn't think someone like her would be friends with a person like me. I still feel kind of clumsy and awkward, but I think I'm starting to outgrow it. But even before I did, when I was still "the geek in glasses" to most people, she was happy to be seen in public with me, even. I'm not like most males my age.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do now. Forget she existed? Try to stow away in her luggage and go with her?

~*~

We've been acting normal around each other all week! It's so strange... I mean, we hardly ever talk about me leaving. I even keep studying. Maybe it's like, we figure it just won't happen. But at home we've started packing like crazy. Tomorrow we're going to leave. I don't want to go!

I remember in the digital world once, I picked a flower and put it in my hair. Palmon said it looked pretty but that I shouldn't pick flowers. She said it hurt to be uprooted, for your roots to be pulled out of the ground they're used to being in. I thought it was kind of weird she'd talk about plants feeling hurt, but then I guess she would have understood plants pretty well, being one herself and all!

Well, I really know what she means now. I'm where I belong, where everything's familiar, and my roots are in pretty deep. And now my parents are yanking me out. I know, I love them and I'll definitely go with them (do I have a choice? NO!) but even after a coupla years it feels weird to be too far away from the other digidestined.

Kind of strange... it was only a few weeks out of our lives, but so much happened and I just know we'll all be friends forever.

Or would have been...

It just totally stinks that I have to leave before I can even tell Joe I... well, I love him. I don't want to make a fool of myself. I've been trying to work out if he feels the same way, and it feels just strange for the girl to make the first move especially if it's totally out of nowhere.

~*~

We all went to the airport to see her off. I didn't want to go. Last night we went and ate ice cream in the park and watched the birds, and she started crying. It was almost a relief because she had not been talking much about the move or even looking like she cared. I almost thought she wanted to leave. I didn't want her to leave. But it was also hard because I didn't know what to do. But she said that me being there made her feel stronger.

Funny, that's kind of how she makes me feel.

She was saying how she didn't want to go, and it felt like she was being uprooted from everything she had loved, and even though she had always wanted to go to America she didn't want to LIVE there and she was going to miss all of us and me.

She looked so pretty there, with her pink hair all mussed up and her eyes red from crying. That might sound kind of weird but she's usually so breezy and cheerful and it was strange to see her insecure or scared. Usually that's me. But that she'd trust me to see her that way was good. And she did stop crying.

It hurts to think of the idea of her being GONE. She said she would send me an e-mail after she arrived in New York. But it's not the same as hearing her voice, or seeing the way she would screw up her nose when she was thinking, or the way she'd flip her hair back and swear that she should get it cut because it kept falling in her face.

~*~

They all came to the airport to see me off. They're such great friends! They brought gifts and everything! All my digidestined friends, family members, and other friends too!

After I'd said goodbye to all of them, and had about a million hugs, I walked up to the gate to leave and Joe sort of trailed after me. What was I supposed to do? All this time I had been studying so I could go to junior high with HIM. He never knew that. And he was still kind of shy. Surely he wouldn't say...

The way he was looking at me. He said once I made him feel less lonely. My parents were expecting me to go! Finally he just put a hand on my shoulder and said, in his usual calm voice, "good luck, Mimi."

I nodded, and started crying, right there in front of everyone. But it was like Joe was the only one there anyway... like he always had been, I guess. Oh, I just felt so totally awful! And he looked sad too, and then he cried a bit too, which I thought guys didn't do, but then Joe's not like most guys.

"Goodbye Joe," I whispered, not trusting myself to speak any louder. I knew my voice would have a sob in it.

"Mimi," he whispered back. And he hugged me and I hugged him back and I didn't want to let go, he was that dependable nice guy I'd known for so long.

"One more thing..." he said, his voice faltering.

"Yes?" I said. I was stupid to be hopeful, but he was looking at me so sincerely. And... well, I'd been hoping for months. Was he going to tell me...?

~*~

I wanted to tell her I loved her. Why that was hard, I don't quite understand. Maybe it's because nobody ever told me they loved me. It wasn't something I was used to saying or hearing. And I knew she wouldn't feel the same way, we were such good friends...

It was my chance, but the way she was looking at me, so hopeful... I couldn't disappoint her by saying a weird thing.

"I'll... really miss you," I said. It was embarassing because I had tears on my cheeks but I felt so awful that I didn't really care. What I said, I meant so much.

She closed her eyes and the tears ran silently for a moment. Then she swallowed, to speak, and I wished so much that she would tell me she loved me. Maybe it was a stupid thing to wish for but that is what I thought.

~*~

"I'll miss you too, Joe," I said, feeling so disappointed. If only he could have loved me, if only we could have... if only I could have somehow taken that knowledge with me... but he didn't say it and I tried to smile at him.

Why couldn't he have said something? I wish...

~*~

Why couldn't she have said something? I wish...

One minute later she had given up her plane ticket and walked through the departures gate, and she was gone.

I love you, Mimi.

~*~

I love you, Joe.