Odaiba Memorial Day- 20 Years Later
Chapter Fifteen- Reunion (Part Three)
August was approaching yet again. And Cody Hida… could not care less. Of course, why should he? It seemed that nobody else did the year before. He tried to bring eleven childhood friends together, only to have it blow up in his face. The reunion was a complete and utter failure. Cody put his heart and soul into making sure everything was perfect. He made sure everybody arrived, made sure the facility was appropriate, and made sure that no expense was spared. All that remained was a diminished spirit and an empty wallet. Cody wasn’t concerned about the wallet. He’d find a way to recover from any financial difficulties. But the diminished spirit still remained a year later.
Cody was living perfectly normally before the reunion. On a steady career course, earning modest wages, and enjoying life. But after Odaiba Memorial Day of that year, Cody went into a mild depression. He was still on the steady career course, and he was still earning modest wages, but how could he enjoy life anymore? After his plans for a grand reunion backfired in his face? After he learned that the biggest contribution he made in his childhood had been tarnished and forgotten? It wasn’t possible.
At least he was smart enough to learn from his mistakes. He didn’t even consider another reunion. He wasn’t even considering Odaiba Memorial Day a holiday. It was just another day in 365 to be lived and forgotten about. On this particular forgettable day, Cody was walking in with the mail. Same old, same old. Except for the small envelope seemingly from Tai Kamiya. The adulterer himself. Cody was obviously confused, but wasn’t expecting much. At the very least, maybe an apology. But not this. Not an invitation. It was supposed to be over. Yet, here it was, in Cody’s hands, an invitation for a digi-destined reunion, set for Odaiba Memorial Day.
Cody was obviously confused. Why would Tai do this? Didn’t he see the disaster last year? Of course he did, he was part of the reason last year was such a disaster. He quickly checked the back of the invitation. Maybe a few of the digi-destined, like Sora or Matt, weren’t on there to avoid problems. Actually, the opposite was true- there were more names on it. Cody’s idea of getting digi-destined from around the world together hadn’t come to pass, but there were still about seventeen names on the list. Some Cody recognized from the reunion. Some he didn't. Either way, Cody wasn’t sure what was going on… but he’d be sure to be there anyway.
It was a sharp contrast to last year’s reunion. A bright, sunny day- almost blinding. In all, great weather to spend a day at the park. By the looks of it, that was the plan. Cody was apparently one of the first to arrive, as the only ones he could see where Ken and Tai, kicking around a soccer ball on a field nearby. Of course, that didn’t last long.
"Ow! Cramp!" Tai had lifted his leg, trying to avoid putting too much pressure on it. Ken meanwhile, spotted Cody.
"Hey, Cody!" Ken started running towards Cody, then turned back to Tai, "You coming?"
"Just a sec… I’m getting too old for this." Tai wasn’t concerned about Cody. He was busy trying to restore his leg to a level of productivity. Therefore Ken was the first to greet Cody.
"Hey there… how’ve you been doing?" Ken was smiling. He seemed to be in a very good mood. Cody wasn’t sure how he wanted to respond. At the reunion, Ken was far from cheerful, even if he wasn’t the most depressed one out there. Perhaps Ken was actually living quite happily, but simply not wanting anything to with his old friends?
"Not bad. So what’s going on here? I would never have thought that anybody would be crazy enough to try one of these again."
"Neither did I, but Tai and Kintaro were able to arrange everything, so Tai’s the one you should be talking to." Tai was limping up to Cody.
"Sorry about that. I really should exercise more." Tai was still wearing a smile.
"Tai, you did all this? I thought you said that…"
"Cody, trust me- I know what I’m doing."
"But last year…"
"You should’ve stayed longer. You’d be surprised what a little motivation can do to a person. Especially me." Tai seemed to be getting at something, but before he could delve further, Ken interrupted.
"Hey, Tai- I see a taxi coming." Ken held a hand above his eyes to get a better look, "Looks like Matt and them. Oh shoot- What was her name again?" Ken shot a look at Tai, "I don’t want to forget."
"Heather." Tai answered.
"Who’s Heather?" Cody was really puzzled now. It’s like he was among strangers now. Whoever Heather was, she was on the guest list. As soon as the cab stopped, Matt got out and ran up to the group. Despite the drastic change in attitude Matt went through the year before, he was smiling again, ready to start another one off right. He shook hands with Ken, and gave Tai a friendly hug. Tai was all smiles too. Matt even hugged Cody, making Cody even more confused.
"Um. Hi Matt. How are you doing?" Cody was thinking that something good had happened to the band.
"You know. The usual." Matt didn’t answer anything.
"So is the band doing any better?" Tai must have been thinking along the same lines as Cody.
"Nope. Still has-beens." Matt was surprisingly cheery when he said it. And when Cody looked back over to the cab and saw Joe getting out of it as well, he was more than just confused… he was starting to get creeped out as well.
It was like a homecoming for Mimi. In the strictest sense of the word- Matt’s giant San Diego house was Mimi’s home for two of the most exciting years of her life. She hadn’t been back in so long that just walking through the house and reminiscing was worth the cross-country trip.
"I still love this house Matt." Mimi was nostalgic, and it felt great to relive all the good memories of her career at the top, without them being marred by the bad stuff.
"How did you come to own a place like this?" Joe was amazed by the size of the place. It wasn’t even the largest house on the block, but Joe’s little number in upstate New York paled in comparison to this monstrosity.
"Actually, Mimi came across this one. Who told you about this place?" Matt passed the question to Mimi.
"Well, I had a friend who was in real estate and she was trying to close this property. And she just wasn’t finding any buyers. So we were talking once and she just went into her sales pitch." Mimi couldn’t help but blush at this part, "She said this place was perfect for two young lovers such as Matt and me, and we ended up getting a great deal on the property."
"Oh…" Joe wasn’t sure what to make of that story, "Anyway, Matt, I’m sure you didn’t invite us over here just to show the place off." He wanted to get to business. Joe couldn’t say that he was in the best of moods. The settlement had finally been agreed on, with $20,000 as the final amount Joe had to pay. He wasn’t particularly happy about that, but knew that it could have been a lot worse. Despite a few minor sacrifices around the household, he and Mimi would be able to cover it. In the end, it wasn’t about the money, it just left Joe yearning to escape from the life he’d been living.
"Actually yes I did. Especially since Mimi does still own fifty percent of it." Matt stated.
"I do?" Mimi was surprised.
"Yeah. You never formally turned your half over to me when you left."
"I didn’t? Whoa… do I like owe taxes on this place or something?"
"Don’t worry about it. I’ve just been paying your half along with mine. As long as they get the money, they don’t care." Matt shrugged and continued, "Of course, since the band isn’t turning much profit anymore, it’s getting harder and harder to keep this place up. I’m just saying that Mimi’s idea of you two moving in works really good for me right now. This place is definitely big enough, I could use the help with the expenses… and Mimi owns half of it anyway. I think it’s a great idea." Joe had silently dismissed Mimi’s proposal of moving to California, thinking there was no way it could be done. But with Matt opening this door, it suddenly turned into a reality. This would definitely increase the quality of Joe’s living arrangements, and without the pesky neighbors as well. Unfortunately, Joe and Mimi had made other plans to try to increase their happiness. Ones that Matt wasn’t aware of.
"Well, the only problem I can see is with our… um… future plans." Joe looked at Mimi. She smiled and explained it to Matt in English.
"We’re um… we’re thinking of trying for a baby." Joe had to admit he admired Chi. Chi was able to change Joe’s perception of children. And given the bond Chi had with Tareshi, an addition in the family would be another person to share Joe’s success with. One that was welcome and wanted.
"I, uh, guess I can work with that. I don’t know quite how that would work out, but from what I hear, this is a good place to raise children. I’m sure you’ll want to check out what kind of schools are here, and Joe, I’m sure you’ll want to look around to see what business opportunities there are. I’m just saying I’m cool with all this. It’s up to you two." Matt was offering a change in Joe’s life at a reduced cost. Joe was obviously going to have to get more information on the location, but it was an opportunity, and one to seriously consider.
In the end, the situation was prime for the move. The house in New York was sold, Joe withdrew his original investment from his clinic, and Mimi and Joe were bound for California. It wasn’t necessarily a better life that they headed into. But it was different. People acted a little differently, things moved a little faster, and it was the change of pace that made everything so appealing. Joe found work in no time, and once settled in, the house was a great place to live in. Matt had his side of the house, and Mimi and Joe had theirs. They weren’t too close to make things uncomfortable, yet Matt was always available to do something on a rainy day. Once little Heather was born, Joe found even more happiness… and unpredictability. Again, Matt was available to take care of her when necessary… despite Matt’s objections. Strange as it was, it was mutually beneficial to all three of them, and they were all very happy about it.
Although Cody was still trying to take all this in, there was more in store for him than just that. Cody wasn’t the only one heading out to greet Mimi and Heather. TK and Kari had arrived as well, and both very excited to see Joe and Mimi’s daughter. They too seemed to be doing a lot better. TK caught sight of Cody.
"Cody! How’s it going?"
"Fine, I guess. It looks like you’re doing better." Considering how depressed TK was the year before, it was a gross understatement on Cody’s part.
"You bet." TK had definitely come a long ways. That inside dirt on the new bookstore was a major opportunity for TK and Kari. As soon as they put down Izzy’s name as a reference, the positions were theirs. The store itself was designed to be quiet and peaceful, and TK and Kari’s friendly faces contributed to that environment. With TK as the store’s manager, the two were pretty much in charge of the place. They ran it effectively, successfully, and since the bulk of the work was simply making friends with customers, it was enjoyable, especially for Kari. With two incomes in the house, money was never a problem, and for the first time in ten years, things finally started looking up for the Takaishi’s.
"Thanks Cody." Kari knew who was responsible for part of this newly found success. Sure TK and Kari earned their jobs honestly. But they wouldn’t have heard about them if it weren’t for Izzy. But he wouldn’t have told them about the offer if Tai hadn’t broken him the way he did. But what it all came down to was that none of this would have happened if Cody hadn’t taken the initiative and brought everybody together.
"Say, where’s Davis?" Given their proximity to each other, Cody surmised that Davis would share transportation again with TK and Kari. Kari caught sight of Davis getting out of another cab.
"I’ll um… go see how Tai’s doing." TK quickly walked off as Davis arrived. Davis immediately thanked Cody. Cody still didn’t understand what these thanks were all for, but he accepted them politely. He was also amazed at how healthy Davis looked.
"So where’s um…" Kari immediately chimed in. Davis smiled.
"She’s just, uh… telling off the cab driver." Davis laughed at the thought. It was so like her. He looked back down, to see her finish her work.
"…and if you keep this attitude up, you’ll be driving cabs ten years after you’re dead!" The driver just struck one of Mitsune’s nerves, and she had to get it out of her system. She wanted to be in a good mood for Davis’s little reunion thingy. If it wasn’t for the reunion last year, she may never have gathered up the courage to do what she did.
Davis had been far from serious about the relationship with Yolei up to this point. It was mostly just talking, especially since they lived a good distance away. Things moved slowly, but move they did, and Davis invited her over… just so she could see the place. Davis surmised that it was as good a reason as any. With Yolei able to keep Davis’s mind off of other matters, combined with the occasional therapy session paid in part by Izumi Enterprises, Davis was recovering quickly from his illness. And now nothing was standing in his way. He and Yolei started kissing… when somebody knocked on the door. Davis had no choice but to go answer.
"If it’s TK I’m gonna kill him." Davis didn’t have to be happy about answering it though. But in the doorway was not TK, but Mitsune.
"Hey Davis, I was in the neighborhood and just thought I’d drop by." Davis looked back at Yolei. Mitsune would understand, right?
"Oh, um, Mitzy. Sorry but this is kind of a bad time." Davis couldn’t figure out any other way to put it.
"Davis? Who is it?" Yolei was just wondering who it was. Davis looked back at Yolei.
"Oh, uh… don’t worry about it." Davis shut the door and went back inside.
How was Mitsune supposed to react to that? She leaned against the door, trying to think straight. How could she? The door had literally been slammed in her face. She wasn’t used to situations like that. Of course, after meeting Davis, her life had been full of situations she wasn't used to. The idea was to learn from him, figure out how the company wanted things run, and hopefully surpass him. She had never counted on falling head over heels for the guy. And while she was always in charge of her life, and ready to seize control of anything, she couldn’t say how she felt. She was scared of all the possible ramifications of saying it. For her friendship, for her job, and for her life in general- there was so much at stake. But she couldn’t deny it any longer. This was too much for her to take, and she could not let herself get beaten by whoever was inside Davis’s apartment. Mitsune refused to lose, and she was going to have to fight. She composed herself, and knocked again. After a few seconds, Davis answered again. He looked annoyed at first, then surprised when he saw that it was Mitsune again.
"What is it?" It was do or die time. No fear…
"I love you. That’s what." There. She said it. But for some reason, nothing was changing. Davis was confused.
"W… what was that?"
"I… love you. I just… can’t hold it any longer." Mitsune started off strong, but just couldn’t keep the momentum going.
"Who is it this time?" Again, Yolei looked in.
"I’m sorry…" Mitsune couldn’t stay. Not now. Her friendship with Davis was officially terminated. So she ran.
"Mitzy!!" Davis wasn’t sure whether she should chase after her or not. He was still confounded by what she said to him. Mitzy did mean a lot to Davis. But he didn’t love her… did he? Years marred by headaches and the plaguing infatuation for Kari distorted the issue. He didn’t know if he liked Mitsune that much. Either way, Yolei was there, and Davis wasn’t going to just take off on her.
"Did she just say…" Yolei couldn’t believe what she thought she heard.
"Yeah." To be honest, Davis couldn’t either. Yolei thought for a second, came to a conclusion, and sighed.
"Aren’t you going to go after her?"
"What? But what about you and me?" Yolei looked to the side and shook her head.
"You and her have been friends for awhile right? I don’t know, we’re just throwing ourselves into this. If she really feels that way about you… I don’t want to force you into anything, especially if it ruins your friendship with her." It was a bold statement, but Yolei was definitely not as serious about Davis as she was with Ken or Izzy. Davis was simply there for relief. A way to get back into the thick of things. Someone to make her feel less lonely. And really, she didn’t need any sort of significant other if it was only for company. She had plenty of company- friends like Naoko, and the rest of the digi-destined were always there for her.
Davis looked at Yolei and smiled. She was probably right. He and Mitzy had been friends for a long time, and he couldn’t throw it away that easily. All the romantic feelings and stuff would have to be sorted out later, but he knew, and it seemed that Yolei knew, that Mitsune was an important part of Davis’s life, and that had to remain intact no matter what. Davis quickly kissed Yolei on the cheek and ran after Mitsune.
Yolei sat down in Davis’s apartment by the window. She happened to look outside and see Davis as he finally caught up to Mitsune. She figured she was going to watch the drama unfold, but someone else knocked on the door.
"Davis! Yolei! Anybody home?" TK was surprised that the door was left open. He was even more surprised to see Yolei alone, "Where’s Davis?"
"Um… something came up. He had to run." Yolei glanced outside as Davis and Mitsune started to talk.
"Oh… well Kari and I figured that since you were in town, we might as well have you and Davis over for dinner. But since Davis isn’t here…"
"More for us!" Yolei quietly laughed. Compared to what she’d been through before, this wasn’t even close to painful. With TK and Kari right their to offer their company, it barely even hurt.
"Mitzy… this isn’t like you. You don’t usually act like this. What’s going on?" Davis was very serious. She was very rarely this sad. Only when Davis was in serious pain was she letting the waterworks run.
"You. You’re what’s going on. I just… it’s you. You just drive me crazy. And for some reason I love it." Davis couldn’t give her the clear yes that she was looking for. But he couldn’t give her a clear no. He wasn’t about to break her heart like that. She had done so much for him, and she meant so much to him, that he wasn’t going to leave her in tears. He embraced her. He may not have been able to give her a clear answer either way, but he could at least let her know that he wasn’t going to forget about her.
"It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I hate seeing you like this. So come on, cheer up. I’m not going to do anything to hurt you." Mitsune felt a little better, and slowly released herself from the hug, "Let’s get our minds off of all this. Ya hungry?" Mitsune nodded, and they headed off, to what would become their first official date. On the way, Mitsune silently took Davis’s hand. Davis still had some things to straighten out regarding his feelings for her, but it didn’t matter- he didn’t want to let go.
It didn’t take long for Davis to realize what he had with Mitsune. And by the look of the two at the reunion, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a doubt about the way they felt about each other. Mitsune greeted Davis with a kiss. She wasn’t sure what exactly happened at these digi-destined reunions, but she was ready for anything. She did have one thing to ask Davis though.
"Um… I don’t have to pretend I like Takaishi, do I?" Davis laughed.
"Heh, no, but you have to pretend you don’t hate him. Can you handle that?" True, Mitsune and TK still hated each other. First impressions were hard to shake. But for the sake of the moment, maybe Mitzy would lay off him… just a little bit.
"Okay. I can manage that."
"Um… so where’s Yolei?" Ken couldn’t help but wonder what happened to his old flame.
"Is that the girl hanging with Takaishi and those other two guys?" Mitsune said. The others looked over the distance. Their jaws practically dropped.
"Yolei, I told you a thousand times what happened. What am I supposed to do to get you to stop hating me?" Tai was adamant. Ever since Yolei slapped him, this was an issue to him. Not as big as others, but he couldn’t understand why Yolei was so unforgiving about his affair with Sora. Yolei shook her head. She just lost all respect for him, and was having trouble getting it back. Still, as an arm went around her shoulder, she knew that she’d have to forgive Tai, at least for today. Kintaro was going to make sure of that.
"Hey, come on Yolei. Give him another chance. He’s the leader!" Yolei smiled. Kintaro too had lost respect for Tai because of the affair, but there was no way anybody could have known that by looking at him.
"Kintaro… I still refuse to believe this is a serious relationship." Tai had to smile at the sight of them together. It was still a shock to him when things progressed the way they did. After the reunion, Kintaro had a strange desire to stop being quite as wild. Yolei was coming off the incident with Davis, and things starting to click. But what was most surprising was that it was a slow relationship. Kintaro didn’t seem to want to rush into anything, which was very unusual for him. Yolei wasn’t going to bounce into another wild relationship either. Yet Kintaro frequently told Tai that this slower relationship seemed more fulfilling than all the ones he had just bounced in and out of. Tai also was starting to develop this same feeling… but things were very different for him.
"I’m not even going to ask about this." TK was even more confounded than Tai.
"Oh boy… Izzy’s here. Now things are picking up." Izzy had his own car. There was no doubt that it was him pulling into the park.
It had been a long drive back for Izzy. After dropping off Ken, he made the trip back alone. Thinking about everything. After finally realizing the person he had become, Izzy knew that he wasn't going to be able to live without himself unless he changed. Unfortunately, "Koushiro" had come a long ways, and it wasn't going to be easy for Izzy to stop being a heartless bastard while staying in the swing of things. That became evident when Izzy arrived back at his house. His big, dark, and empty house.
Well, almost empty. Although Shimura had been given a couple days off, she was inside. She was obviously tired, and obviously overworked.
"Shimura? Didn't I give you today off?"
"Oh, Mr. Izumi, as soon as you left, the plumbing went completely haywire. It took forever to get everything fixed and cleaned up. But I'm happy to report that it is no longer a problem." Shimura forced a smile. Izzy did not.
"You look like a wreck."
"I know you like things efficient, sir. You know that I'd gladly work overtime to keep things up to your standards." Izzy shook his head. He did have some pretty rigid demands on his employees. Ken convinced him not to do anything drastic with his money, but perhaps he could start with the little things.
"Why don't you sit down, you look like you've had a long day."
"Yes, sir." Shimura did. Izzy too had just wrapped up a long day, and also plopped down on a chair nearby as she started, "So was your digi-destined event fun?" Izzy eyed Shimura. It was definitely not fun, but it was probably a good thing that he went.
"It was certainly an eye-opener." Izzy changed the subject, "So how about you, did you get any time off?"
"Well no, this was a major task..."
"I see. I suppose it's only fair that I give you the next couple days off then."
"It's not a problem, Koushiro. I can..."
"No, seriously. You deserve it." Izzy felt a little better, "And, uh... you can call me Izzy." Shimura gave Izzy a strange look. Perhaps he was rushing the whole "name" thing again. Again, he changed the subject, "So what have your kids been up to?" The strange look continued, but Shimura slowly accepted it and smiled.
"What haven't they been up to?" Izzy nodded. And of all the things that occurred that day, the innocent conversation with Shimura was finally what did it, as Izzy cracked a smile as Shimura started into her story.
He was still smiling as he walked up to the group. For Izzy, it wasn't about things changing. It was about maintaining a different attitude about everything. It was mostly the little things that changed. He was just nicer. He still played hardball in the business world. Elsewhere, however, he tried to not act quite as high-and-mighty. The most important difference, of course, was his treatment of his fellow digi-destined. Besides helping TK and Kari get their cushy jobs at the bookstore and helping Davis with his therapy, he also restored his friendship with Ken. This was quite evident at the reunion, as Kari and Davis immediately thanked Izzy for the help.
Again, Cody could not believe what was going on before his eyes. As Yolei, TK, Tai, and Kintaro came up, he noticed that things were still not perfect. Yolei had forgiven Izzy, but that was about it. Again, it was Kintaro that tried to lighten the mood.
"So I suppose spin the bottle's out for this party, right?" That got a good laugh, especially from Tai.
"Actually, we did that for the, uh... fifth or sixth year."
"And after the way TK laid one on Sora, we aren't doing that again!" Matt's addition caused his brother to blush.
Slowly, Cody began to accept what was going on. Somehow, they had managed to recover. The digi-destined were united again, and in many ways, Cody did succeed in his original mission. Seeing the way they were a year ago, and seeing the way they were now was unbelievable. And really, it was all because of Cody. The thought made him smile. But that quickly vanished as soon as Mimi started talking.
"So where's Sora?" Cody forgot about her. She was one of the worst. Considering what she had been through, it was doubtful that she was going to be able to turn around.
"I think we passed them in the cab." Davis began, "They were walking, so they should be here in a couple minutes." Tai looked off in the distance. Sure enough, they were approaching. Sora, Chi... and her loving husband Tareshi. Sora and Tareshi were walking hand in hand, proof of Sora's decision. Tai had been informed beforehand that Sora was going to stay with her husband. Still, the sight of it was a little disappointing. But no matter what, Tai was going to have to grin and bear it. Just like he did before.
Chi ran ahead, as usual. He ran towards Davis and Joe though, both happy to see him again. While Joe introduced Chi to Heather, the next of Chi's generation of digi-destined, Tareshi and Sora came up to greet the others. As usual, Tareshi wore a smile as he greeted everybody. Sora's smile was a minor one. A friendly one that couldn't compare to Tareshi's. Tai resigned himself from the group. It was still difficult for him to deal with. It was more than Sora's decision that he found depressing, it was the realization of how difficult it would be for Sora and Tai to restore their friendship after all that had happened.
Although Tai had quietly drifted off while Sora talked with TK and Kari, Tareshi had no intention of letting Tai get away. As Tareshi approached Tai, the smile wore off. It was rare to see Tareshi with a straight face. But then again, it was rare to see a situation like this.
"Mind if I, uh... talk to you for a second?" It was clear that Tareshi wasn't comfortable, but it was something he had to do. Tai and Tareshi headed away from the group in order to talk privately.
"I take it Sora told you about..." Tai was as solemn as possible.
"Yes." Tareshi interrupted, "I still can't believe it. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever pictured Sora doing something like that. I was devastated." Tai sighed.
"But you got through it?"
"Eventually. It was hard. I mean I trusted her with you and... you just..." Tareshi didn't want to complete the rest. Tai didn't want to hear the rest. So they dropped it.
"I'm sorry. I know things like that don't just happen, but I couldn't stop myself. Sora couldn't stop herself. I don't know what you could call it."
"I almost called it unforgivable. I was very close to leaving her. Especially after she said that stuff about Chi. But..." Tareshi paused. He wasn't sure how he should explain it.
"But?" Tai had to know, and didn't want to wait.
"I just... I just couldn't stop loving her. Even after what she did, I really had no choice but to forgive her. It seemed like she regretted it. We've still been working things out, but it looks like we'll live through this." Tai was still solemn. He nodded. Why did Tai even think he had a chance?
"I guess I don't really know what to say. I mean, I'm not going to pretend that I don't love her. I do, but I understand that she loves you more than she loves me. I'm just going to have to live with that. What's really sad is that I lost a really good friend in all this. I don't know if I can be friends with Sora again. We've gone too far, and there's no way we can go back." It was Tareshi's turn to nod.
"That will be hard to deal with. Given everything you've gone through before, it would be a shame if you and Sora weren't able to make up. I know about all the stuff you and her and the rest of the group went through as kids, and I definitely wouldn't want to prevent you two from being friends again." Tareshi shook his head. This was the part he really didn't want to go into, but he closed his eyes and started, "Especially since we still have to deal with the matter of your son." Tai's eyes shot from the ground up to Tareshi. Tai wasn't ready for that.
"Y... you mean?" Tareshi was obviously still affected by the test results.
"That's the biggest problem in all this. I can forgive Sora. I can forgive you. But none of that changes the fact that I am not Chi's father. You are."
"I'm sorry. I'm sure it's tough." Tai was sincerely sorry. Without Sora, Tai would rather have Chi's father be Tareshi. It would have been much neater, as the affair could be completely forgotten and lost in time. But now the affair would be forever etched in history. Chi was the child of Sora Takoto and Tai Kamiya. Tai wasn't sure he wanted to deal with that. He felt like he took something away from Tareshi. Something that he couldn't give back.
"That's going to be the hardest thing to get through at that point. Do you know how hard it is now to look at Chi and know that he's not really my son? To hear him when he calls out for his dad. It feels like I'm lying to him every time I answer." Tai shook his head. Truth or not, Tai didn't look at himself as Chi's dad. There was no reason for Tareshi to feel the same way.
"Look, what's important is that you've taken care of him. You've raised him for nine years and bonded with him just like you were his dad. It's not like it's your fault you didn't know. Biological or not, he is your son." That seemed to help Tareshi a little bit. It didn't help Tai much. It would take a while for him to fully grasp the idea that he and Sora bore a child together.
"I suppose that works for now. I can live with that. But one of these days, we're going to have to tell Chi the truth. It's not right for him to not know." Tai nodded. He agreed with that.
"So when do you plan on doing that?"
"When he's ready. He's not ready now. He probably won't be for a few years." Again, Tai understood. After what Izzy went through because of the issue with his parents, Tai knew that it would take some time for Chi to be emotionally capable of handling the news, not to mention the new view he may have of his mother as a result. Tareshi continued, "Although one thing is clear- Sora and I talked about it, and we both agreed that it would be best for Chi to get to know you a little more before he hears about it. We want him to be familiar with who you are, and all the things you, his mother, and the digi-destined did before. We think it would be easier for him to understand the situation if his real father was a friend of the family rather than some complete stranger." Tai understood what Tareshi was getting at. And Tai was more than willing to make this commitment. It would give him a chance to restore things with Sora, and if Tai really did have a son, he would want to be as close to him as possible.
"That makes sense. The only question is whether or not I really would be a friend of the family." Tai also didn't want to pretend to be nice and friendly with Sora and Tareshi. He wanted to eliminate the tense moments as much as possible, and concentrate on sharing good times with the Takoto family. All three members of it.
"Of course. I would love nothing more than to put as much of this behind us as possible. It'll be difficult, but for Chi's sake... and for the sake of the digi-destined... it's something we have to do." Tareshi and Tai shook hands. It was an indication that things would slowly get better. As Tareshi said, for the digi-destined's sake, they had to.
With Sora's entrance officially recognized, the entire group headed down to where Tai and Tareshi had been talking... which was where most of the festivities were to take place anyway. Tai was keeping it simple again, but with a much more casual nature. It was basically lunch at the park, with maybe a friendly soccer game later. Most of the group couldn't wait to get started.
"Alright! I haven't eaten since we left the country!" Mimi was eager to get the meal served.
"Didn't you eat on the plane?" Matt asked.
"Hell no! Joe didn't even keep his down!" Joe smiled. He too was looking forward to a good meal. So was Izzy and Ken, as well as two of the happy couples- TK & Kari and Yolei & Kintaro. Davis, however, still had a certain matter to cover with Chi.
"Hey, you know you forgot your goggles." Davis sounded friendly as he took them out of a sack.
"Did I? I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it. As long as you have them now, there's no problem!" Davis handed them over to Chi, who promptly put them on and ran to show Tareshi.
"Hey, Dad, I got the goggles back from Davis!" Tareshi forced a smile. Tai probably should have resigned himself, in order to avoid saying something harmful, but figured that now was the best time to start. He kneeled down and looked at Chi. With the goggles on, it was hard to believe that there was a doubt who the father was.
"They look good on you. Davis picked the right person to give them to. I'm sure you'll do him proud... Davis certainly did me proud." Tai was very careful to get the meaning of the statement right.
"Are you...?" Chi was somewhat in awe. He heard about some of the other digi-destined before. But he never met the leader.
"Tai Kamiya." Tai smiled and extended a friendly hand.
"Chi Takoto!" Tareshi nodded as Chi shook the hand. It would take some getting used to, but it was something that had to be done.
"Um... goggles?" To say that Mitsune was confused at the scene was an understatement. Davis wrapped an arm around her shoulder and laughed.
"Heh heh... it's a digi-destined thing. You'll get used to it." Davis didn't quite understand the whole goggles thing when he first developed his admiration for Tai, but quickly grew to accept the tradition. He figured Mitsune could as well.
Tareshi and Chi had gone to join the rest of the group. It left Tai alone, until Sora joined him. What was there to say?
"I guess you made the right decision." Tai conceded.
"I know it was the right decision." Sora made it perfectly clear, although she didn't appear happy about saying it, "I couldn't do it to him. He didn't do anything wrong, and I still love Tareshi very much. For the longest time I was trying to figure out who I loved more. And I honestly couldn't decide. But then I realized that it wouldn't be right to leave him. I wasn't going to throw my life away. I know that you may not have liked some of the things that I changed about myself, or some of the decisions I made, but they are my decisions. Right or wrong, I'm not going to go back on them. I'm sorry." Tai understood. Maybe in some other world, he and Sora could have been together, but it would have been a world where things had happened differently, and where Tai had made different decisions as well. Both Tai and Sora could sit and dream forever, but what was important was the reality: Sora was happily married, and despite the tense situation regarding Tareshi discovering the truth, she would continue to be happily married. Sora was perfectly content with that, and Tai had no choice but to be content with that.
"I understand. Besides, Taresh' is a nice guy. He didn't punch me in the face." Tai smiled. What else was there to do but move on? Sora smiled as well. Of course, Chi still had to be addressed before doing so, "So Chi really is my son..." Tai started. Sora dropped the smile, but nodded.
"Yeah. We took test a few months ago. I hope you aren't happy about that."
"No... of course not. I think maybe at first I thought it would have been kinda cool. But now... now I just feel bad for Tareshi. I mean, I told him how he still raised Chi and is still sort of his father. But I understand why he'd still be a little disappointed. It means he doesn't have somebody to continue the Takoto bloodline. That's hard to deal with." Despite the tone of Tai's voice, Sora smiled.
"Oh, that won't be an issue in about... seven months." Tai looked over at her.
"I haven't told him yet. I'll announce it later today. I want everybody to hear it together." With that Sora headed down to greet the others. Tai chuckled at the thought- hopefully nobody was planning on proposing or announcing an SNL gig today. Tai followed Sora as the twelve digi-destined and company enjoyed lunch together. But he was intercepted by Cody.
"Cody? What's up?"
"I'm... shocked. I can't believe what happened to everybody. Did they just turn everything around on their own?"
"What's so surprising about that? You said yourself that we all turned against each other on our own. Who said we couldn't fix everything on our own too?"
"I don't know... I just never thought it was possible. I had almost lost hope. They seriously fixed all their problems on their own?"
"Well... not really. There was one thing that really helped us all out. Probably more than we can ever really imagine."
"And what would that be?" Tai smiled. Cody still didn't quite get it.
"That would be you. And the reunion." Tai put a hand on Cody's back as they started to head down, "Sure Mimi might say that I helped her and Matt solve their problems. And okay- Yolei might credit Davis for helping Izzy get back into shape. Likewise, TK and Kari might like to think that Izzy was the biggest contributor towards their happiness. They're all probably right. But you have to ask yourself- who brought them all together?" For the first time that day, Cody felt completely satisfied. Everything was as it should be. The digi-destined were completely together again, and there was no way they were going to be torn apart again.
As Tai and Cody reached the rest of the group, Tai had to step back and take a look at everything. With everybody else in such a good mood, it was hard to say who was the happiest. Tai knew that it probably wasn't himself. He did still feel bad about Sora, even if he knew it was coming. He was also still uncomfortable with the idea of Kintaro and Yolei together, especially given Yolei's apparent lack of respect for Tai. But they were happy. Even if the relationship wouldn't last, they'd still be happy- Kintaro proved that he could sustain a long-term relationship and Yolei knew that she could recover from anything as long as she still had support from her friends. Strangely enough, despite what Tai had been going through, he felt very good about himself. It was probably due to the energy of everybody else present. TK and Kari had each other, and finally got the success they deserved. Davis had the success, and finally found the special somebody that he deserved. Izzy had been able to stop ignoring his past, while Ken was able to return to happier days. Matt found a way to make his life more palatable, while Joe found a new life altogether. Mimi was experiencing the joys of raising a child with her husband, while Sora knew that someday she would be raising a child that her husband could honestly call his. But to answer the question of who was happiest- given the smile on Cody's face, the answer was obvious.
Well, there you have it. Takari, Mimoe... as well as Daitzy, Tarora, and of course Kinyako. I said before that at least one of the original characters ends up with a digi-destined- there's always the possibility for more! It's kind of sad to see it all over with, but I hope the conclusion was sufficient. Just like in gymnastics, as tough as the twisting and turning is, it's equally difficult to nail that landing. I definitely wanted to avoid anything predictable, or something that left everybody perfectly happy. There are still a few problems- TK and Mitzy still hate each other, Yolei still doesn't respect Tai, and you can only imagine the conversation Tareshi will have with Chi a few years down the road. Hopefully this is a happy ending that doesn't turn into a sappy ending.
Okay, a few of the specifics. I'd just like to give a big "Fooled You!!" to all the people expecting a Taiora ending. I must admit that I was planning on a Taiora ending when I started out. But after writing chapter six, specifically the first scene with Tareshi, I found it increasingly hard to justify Sora leaving Tareshi. I simply couldn't. I obviously could have added something stupid like turning Tareshi into some creep in disguise, but that doesn't make for a good plot twist. Again, I am a staunch Taiora fan, but given this story- it just doesn't work. Simple as that. I'm not going to bend the story to fit the couples I want, and hey- I know a lot of you out there became Tarora fans anyway! I must admit that I did too. Many may have noticed that I wrote the reunion chapters in order to set up a Taiora ending. That was done in order to make the ending less obvious, and to demonstrate that Sora really did have a major decision to make. It didn't become obvious to her at first, even if she made the right decision in the end. Again- yes, it was no accident that the first two reunion chapters were written to suggest Taiora.
I said after the Yolei chapter that a lot of major plot points were developed on the spot, and that Mitsune's character was one of those. Also remember that I had that whole list of couples in the very first chapter that I'd promise I'd cover. Many correctly surmised that Daiyako would surface at the reunion. Of course, this was planned before Mitsune was written in! Similar to Tarora, it was natural progression of the story for Davis and Mitsune to eventually hook up (i.e. I wasn't going to turn Dakari on ya!). Instead of the original plan to have a Daiyako ending (which I had mixed reactions to anyway), I used Daiyako as a transition to Daitzy (gotta love the name!), which seems to work better anyway. Although I would like to go on record by saying that yes, I am a Daiyako fan. I dunno- they got kind of a Naru/Keitaro thing going... although with Naru and Keitaro, Mitsune's the one trying to bring them together. Whatever.
Next up- Kinyako... the freak couple. Why do I get the funny feeling I'm going to get flamed for this one? Kinyako is the abnormality. The "not all is right with the world" plot twist that keeps this thing from being dry. There is a lot of logic behind the pairing if you read closely enough, but this was done to illustrate part of the "lesson" with Yolei's chapter- that it doesn't really matter how bad it gets, you can always pick yourself back up with the right friends. Naoko is a surprisingly important character in this regard- she is symbolic of Yolei's resolve to keep working despite what happened between her and Izzy. Point is, Yolei is still fighting for her happiness, and it's a winning battle. All that sudden character development with Kintaro gets involved as well, but who cares? But on the subject of symbolism, note the symbolism in stuff like the wheelchair, the names "Izzy" and "Koushiro," and Sora's love for Tareshi vs. Sora's love for Tai.
The name Heather isn't a reference to anything, simply an homage to the girl at my campus's anime night that first introduced me to Kodomo no Omocha. If it weren't for her, I would not know the wonder that is Sana-chan.