Word Count: chapter: 2,901||story: 46,884
It feels so strange to be walking this way without anyone but Tailmon. Everyone else had to get home for dinner and homework, just like me, so I don't really feel lonely. I don't know what to think about what I feel. Just that this is wrong, somehow.
But the more I think about it, the more I know what's wrong. It's the fact Daisuke's in the hospital, and no matter how stupid it is, I can't help but feel a little guilty. There's no reason I should be. I didn't have anything to do with it; it was just an accident. It could've happened to anyone. It could've even happened to me.
That doesn't make the guilt go away, though. I think it even makes it stronger.
“Hikari?” Tailmon looks up at me as we walk and I look back at her. “I’m really sorry. I should’ve went with you this morning.” Her ears are drooping and her tail is almost dragging the ground.
“Tailmon?” I don’t get it. She was fine sleeping in. How could anyone have known something like this would happen. “What do you mean?”
“If I’d went with you, I would’ve reminded you about your D-Terminal. Maybe we could’ve gotten help for him faster. He might not be there now…”
I shake my head. This is not good for either of us. “Don’t worry about it, Tailmon. It wasn’t your fault. And the way he was hurt, he would’ve had to go to the hospital anyway.” At least I’m pretty sure about that.
“Maybe…” She’s still drooping, and I feel like doing some drooping myself. We need something to cheer us both up. “What do you think about getting some ice cream before we get home and watch some television before I get started on my homework?” I’ll be pushing it, doing that, but I might still be able to get everything finished before I have to go to bed. But if it means Tailmon will have cheered up, that’s fine with me.
She looks just a little happier and I start to turn down to where the closest store to our building is. We barely take a good ten steps when I hear a very familiar voice calling out to us. I turn around and see Agumon and Taichi running towards us.
“Hikari! Have you been to the hospital? How’s Daisuke? Is he going to be all right?”
When he wants to, Taichi can talk as fast as Miyako can. But I’m used to it, so I can understand him. Not everyone could. “He’s going to be fine. They’re just keeping him overnight for observation.” I list off the injuries he had, and Taichi looks just a little more relaxed.
“Always knew he had a hard head.” Taichi grins some when he says that. “So, are you going home?”
I shake my head some. “Not right away. Tailmon and I want to get some ice cream first.” I glance a bit down towards my partner, and Taichi looks too. He obviously picks up on the signs of her being upset, since he doesn’t say anything else about that.
“Well, I’ll see you there, then. I just wanted to see if you knew anything about him yet. I would’ve e-mailed you, but since you didn’t have your D-Terminal with you…” he shrugs a little. He’s right, without that I’m pretty much cut off. I really need to pick it up again. You never know when something could jump out of nowhere and try to eat your face off. Sure, I’ve got Tailmon with me, but even she can be overwhelmed. I don’t want to think about it, but it’s possible.
Then he grins some more. “You guys are still on for your date, right?” I don’t think I like that tone in his voice. He’s more teasing than anything, but…this is my big brother. I’ve been trying so hard not to need to be just like him, but he still likes to be overprotective now and then. I guess it’s one of those big brother things.
“Yes, we are. Why don’t you see if you can take Chizuru out that night?” I say it as sweetly as I can, but I hope he picks up on the fact I’d really rather not have an extra shadow or two hanging around.
Agumon tugs on Taichi’s pants leg and grins up at him. “That would be fun, Taichi! Muysamon and I could do some sparring together!” He and Chizuru’s partner get along pretty well, almost as well as Patamon and Tailmon do. I think I have a secret ally. I like that.
Taichi looks a little confused for a moment. I don’t think he’d ever thought that we’d work him into a corner, even one that’s this small and easy to get out of. “Yeah, maybe I could,” is all he says, and I’m all but jumping up and down inside. I don’t know if he was trying to figure out a way to sneak along after us Saturday night or not, but if he was, that just foxed it. I know he’s not going to try anything with Chizuru around. She’s not the type that likes to track her siblings’ every little move.
Agumon gives out a little cheer, probably looking forward more to the thought of sparring with Muysamon than anything else. They’re not quite the same kind of fighting team that Agumon and Gabumon are, but they do work together really well. Chizuru’s gotten herself involves in a couple of our fights, which is only to be expected when you’re dating one Chosen Child and your younger sister is another one. Muysamon’s really been a big help, too.
“Well, there’s ice cream waiting for us. We’ll save you some, if you’re really good!” I tease him as we start to go along to the store again. “Did you want anything while we’re there?”
“Nah, I’m good.” Taichi waves some and turns to start back home, Agumon babbling about all the practice he’s been putting in and how shocked Muysamon’s going to be when they spar this time. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard that coming from Agumon. He never gets tired of it. Even when it’s so peaceful, Digimon are still inclined to fight, if only to see who is the strongest. As much as I wish they didn’t have to, that’s what they do. It’s what we do, too, when we do have to.
Maybe that world of eternal peace, with all humans and all Digimon getting along, isn’t really possible to have. It would be nice if it was, but it just isn’t. There are people who don’t want to get along with each other. There are Digimon who don’t want to get along with each other. There are humans and Digimon who don’t want to get along with the others.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying for that kind of peaceful world. What good’s a dream if you don’t work for it, right? And you’re not going to get anything if you don’t try.
At any rate, the call of ice cream was starting to be a lot more interesting than the call of internal philosophy, so I open up the door to the store and let Tailmon in first. The clerks and the store owner here don’t all have Digimon, but a couple of their kids do, so no one objects when she comes in. Maybe a first step towards that peaceful world would just be people accepting that Digimon can go anywhere that a human can. Maybe if Iori ever becomes a lawyer, like he’s been talking about, he can help with that somehow. We’ll see, I guess.
“Hello, Hikari!” Endo, the clerk currently at the counter, waves at me as we come in, and I wave back. I think I might consider calling her by her first name, if I even knew it, but she’s never told me. Maybe she doesn’t like it. I’ve seen that happen before. “Looking for anything in particular?”
“We just want some ice cream.” I tell her, smiling some at her. She nods and motions to the freezer section. I’ve come in here before, so I already know where it is, but that’s just what Endo does when I tell her what I want. It’s probably just one of those working habits by now. “Thanks!”
“So, what kind do you want?” Tailmon speaks for the first time in what feels like ages when we get over there. She didn’t even rouse herself enough to say hi to Taichi and Agumon. I really hope this helps her get out of the dumps.
I look at all the available options, wondering just which ones to pick. There’s so many different ones, and a couple of new flavors they’ve just put out too. “Let’s each get one,” I suggest. That way we’d both have something that we liked.
Tailmon nods some, and then jumps up to my shoulder so she can have a better look at everything. I steady her with one hand, glad at least that she doesn’t grow while in her Adult form. If she grew like a regular cat did, then I don’t know if I could keep on holding her like this. If she evolved, she wouldn’t need to climb on me at all.
I know she’s going to one day. One day I’ll have Angewomon with me all the time. That’s a little strange to think about. If I have my own apartment one day, where would she sleep? Obviously in a bed, but even a one bedroom place can be expensive. A two bedroom would be even worse. It’s something I’ll have to think about someday. But that’s not today.
It doesn’t take very long before we’ve both picked out our ice creams, and a couple of cold sodas to go with them. Tailmon doesn’t drink that very often, since she prefers water, but I suppose this is a special occasion.
That’s exactly what Endo asks when we get up to the counter to pay as well. “Something special going on?”
“You could say that.” I don’t really want to tell all the details. It feels as if this should be private, at least as private as we can given that I’m very sure the incident’s going to be in the newspaper, if it isn’t already. I haven’t looked at any of the evening papers yet to see. It’ll be in tomorrow’s for sure, somewhere. And on the news. When one of the Chosen Children gets hurt, it makes news. I’m surprised that no one had snuck into Daisuke’s hospital room to ask him questions about it. Maybe that nurse with the Digimon kept them out.
We pay for everything and then are on our way to home. I carry the bag, of course, while Tailmon bounds along next to me. She’s perking up some, and that’s good. It really wasn’t her fault at all. I don’t like seeing her so unhappy.
“What do you think you and V-mon will do Saturday night?” I ask curiously. I know that V-mon has been seeing Palmon, kind of, sort of. I don’t know if that’s even the right way to say it. But the times I’ve seen them together, they do look really friendly.
“I don’t know.” Tailmon shrugs some. “He might want to see if Palmon’s doing anything.” There’s no hint of envy there. That’s good, at least.
“Tailmon…” I hesitate a little on this. I don’t know quite how to ask the question. But I think I should. “Have you ever really liked someone? I mean…like Taichi and Chizuru like each other? Or Yamato and Sora?”
From the way she jumps and looks at me, that’s a question no one has ever asked her before. “I…not really.” She isn’t quite looking at me. I don’t get the feeling that she’s lying. She just doesn’t want to say something about it to me.
That’s all right with me, though. She deserves her privacy just like anyone else. “Well, if you ever do, let me know, okay?” I laugh, wanting her to know that I’m not going to pry at her about it. “I have to make sure they’re good enough for my partner, you know!”
And she laughs back, and nods. “I’ll do that.” I think I see a hint of sadness in her eyes, but it’s gone so quickly that I could have just mistaken a gleam of sunlight for that. It could have been regret, if it were anything. She did grow up with Vamdemon, and despite how light and cheerful and happy she is now, there are still moments that remind her of that time.
A quick ride up in the elevator, and we’re finally home. Taichi would have already told Mom and Dad where we were, and they do trust me quite a bit, so I’m not met with anything but a wave and a reminder that all ice cream must be eaten after dinner instead of before it.
“Yes, Mom,” I tell her, putting the ice cream in the freezer. I suspected that anyway. It’s not that much longer til dinner. I think we stayed longer at the hospital than I thought we had anyway. So once that’s done, we can have the ice cream, watch something mindless, and then get around to the homework. If all of that doesn’t cheer Tailmon up, then nothing will.
Mom’s already putting the finishing touches on dinner as I close the freezer door. “How is Daisuke?”
“He’ll be going home tomorrow,” I tell her, checking to see what she’s making. It all looks so good I can hardly believe it. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to cook like she can. From the faces Taichi is making at the sight and smell, even he’s a little surprised. I’m not sure what it takes to surprise him, but Mom cooking a good dinner really shouldn’t be it.
“Good. He’s such a nice boy.” After the last day or so, I almost wonder if my mom is happier than I am about this date with Daisuke. It’s a little unnerving. Aren’t parents supposed to disapprove of every boy that their daughter dates?
Regardless, I start to set the table. That’s usually Taichi’s job, but as soon as I look at him, he’s off, and before I get the first stack of plates, I can hear him babbling to someone. It’s Chizuru; I can hear him saying her name a few seconds later. What a surprise. I wonder if I should tell her that he only called her to get out of setting the table. Typical guy.
He’s also going to be doing the dishes by himself tonight for this. That’s the rule. Whoever doesn’t set the table does the dishes. Just because he’s seventeen doesn’t mean he gets out of doing chores. Mom and Dad made it plain a long time ago: as long as we live in the apartment, we help out with the chores. That’s all they ask, and it’s not that much. Taichi really helps more than he doesn’t, even when he tries to pretend that saving the world should exempt him from it. If that’s so, then I shouldn’t have to do them either, since I’ve helped as much as he has.
He can’t talk to her as much as I’m sure he’d like to, since almost as soon as I have the table set, Mom starts to bring in the dishes, and dinner’s on. I can almost hear the regret in his voice when he hangs up and comes in there.
“Mom, Chizuru and I are going out Saturday night,” he says as he sits down. “We’re going to see that new horror movie and grab something to eat.”
The look Mom gives him is very amused, and he’d all but fidgeting in his seat. “Does this have anything to do with Hikari having a date Saturday night as well?”
“No!” Taichi shakes his head, and Agumon, Tailmon, and I all have to stop ourselves from laughing. Agumon doesn’t do a very good job of it, and Taichi tries to give him a dirty look that would come off so much better if my brother weren’t blushing as deeply as he possibly could. “What makes you think that?”
“Because we know you, son,” Dad says as he comes in to take his seat. “Just behave yourself.” If he’s talking about the date with Chizuru or whatever things Taichi might have in mind about my date with Daisuke, I can’t be certain. Maybe it’s both. Dads are like that sometimes. I’m glad that I’ll never be one.
Taichi grumbles some as Mom serves up the food, and I shoot a quick look at Tailmon. She’s smiling, just a little, and I know that we’re going to have a good time after dinner with the ice cream and just relaxing for a little while. Daisuke will be home tomorrow, and then we’ll have clear sailing for the rest of the week, until Saturday. There’s just soccer practice and that recital of Ken’s to work through, and I can’t think of anything that could happen then that shouldn’t.
Of course I didn’t think anything could go wrong with walking to school this morning, either.
To Be Continued