Chapter 28: Choice
*20 March 2007*
Ken had arranged to meet two new Chosen Children in Tamachi Elementary on courtesy by the various "radar" aka Chosen Children who was implanted with the dark seed looking out for new Chosen Children in case anyone if them ended up in a path like his because they were used by the bad guys being ignorant on their own. This was a lead from Noriko, the girl who had her dark flower spout from her dark seed harvested by Oikawa four years ago.
It had been so long since he came back after graduating from the school. It was baffling by many that he did not graduate as a top student despite being known as a genius. But who would have known what happened to him. People were realistic fawning over the kids who managed to score above Ken back then.
"Genius is at his limit, isn't it? It's just temporary" Ken overheard the top student comment about him three years ago. Not that he was affected anyway. A voice interrupted his line of thought.
"Er... Are you Ichijouji Ken?" A boy asked him curiously. Ken glanced at the boy and nodded. This boy seemed familiar to him. Where had he met him?
"See, I knew it, he was the guy who came to the orphanage with a goggle boy to speak to us." The boy talked to another girl of his age.
"Don't be so arrogant, you saw his Digimon partner on his arms, Kouharu-niichan." The girl with two pony tails replied nonchalantly. Wormmon nodded in acknowledgement. Ken realize who they could be.
"May I know if both of you are Aizawa Aizuki-chan and Aizawa Kouharu-kun?" Ken asked carefully.
"Yes that's us. We are the new Chosen Children Noriko-san told you about. We are told to meet up with you." The 11 years old boy known as Kouharu replied. "The girl beside me is Ai-chan is my younger twin sister."
"Ai-chan and Kou-chan huh?" Ken smiled gently watching the siblings squabbling with trivial things. He should not be surprised that they too became Chosen Children after their "initial experience" in Diaboromon's incident.
"Taichi-san will be comforted to know that they are growing up well."
Taichi's heart monitor began to flatline when the doctor and a team of medical staff came rushing in.
Taichi was back to the orphanage covered with bruises and dirts. He had a fight with the kids in the neighbourhood teasing him about his lack of last name and claiming that he must have been abandoned by his family for being a bad boy.
Taichi felt like crying but he could not show his weakness to those who despised him.
"Had a fight with the kids out there again?" a lady in her fifties came to Taichi who was curling himself up in his room shared with a few others. The others were either out playing or in school. Taichi was new to the orphanage as he was only there for three weeks after discharging from the hospital.
"Who am I? Do I have a father and a mother? Why can't I remember anything?" Taichi raised his head asking the director of the orphanage who ruffled his hair gently like a mother would. She understood his anxiety. While others had their last name even though they were left in the orphanage, his case was just special because he lost his memory and knowledge of his family. No one was searching for him either. They assumed that he ran away from home due to an abusive parents as he was found with marks around his neck but they have no more clue after that.
"Taichi, you are not alone. There are many kids who are just like you or are even worse off. Have you noticed that a few of you actually are plagued with nightmares while you didn't?" Taichi shook his head.
"Maybe it's a blessing that you are free from all the bad memories." The director comforted the boy placing her hands on his shoulders.
"Taichi is a big boy now. Old enough to help me. Do you want to help me in a mission? To help someone like you?"
Taichi stared at her in confusion. He accepted the mission anyway.
That was when he was introduced to his new "brother" and "sister" the twins, he referred as Kou-chan and Ai-chan. They both came from abusive family. Kouharu had broken his arm which was on a cast and had a black eye and was staring at the ceiling blankly when his sister, Aizuki was trying frantically to gain her brother's attention. Taichi's eyes widened at the sight. Why could such horrible things happen to 4-years old kids?
Taichi then transferred to their room and became their roommates. He would take up the responsibilities to take good care of them. Even though there were times he was in despair, he had never shown his weak side to the orphanage again to set an example to his "younger siblings". After getting to know Ichijouji Osamu, Taichi eventually was able to help Kouharu to come out of his shell like Osamu did for him. It was like being an elder brother was natural to him.
But Taichi still let all of them down. Maybe he was really a bane to the orphanage and to his friends. He deserved to die after what he did to them. He did not even flinch when he witnessed Keramon feasting on the twins' as well as the other kids' memories. Maybe it was better off for them to lose their bad memories.
"Taichi-niichan, save me..." Taichi saw a a single tear sliding down Aizuki's cheek before she was dropped unconscious from Keramon's grip.
"Oniichan..." A voice buried deep in his distant memories was heard in his mind.
"I deserve to die after what I did to them." Tears streamed down Taichi's face as he made his decision.
*20 March 2007*
Daisuke was clenching his fist biting his lip enduring screaming from Hikari. Did he make a huge mistake? He thought he was willing to bear the consequences when Hikari came yelling at him after Koushirou had explained about his decision to let Taichi make a choice.
"How can you be so cruel to Oniichan? Daisuke-kun is no different from Ichijouji Ken. I HATE YOU!" Hikari cried in desperation.
"Hikari. Stop it." Tailmon attempted to stop her to only be stopped by Daisuke.
"Let her be. I said I'll answer for the consequence." Daisuke said. V-mon, Koushirou, Mimi and Gennai watched Daisuke worriedly as Hikari hit Daisuke on his chest weakly sobbing and kneeling down on the ground. This must be what Ken had been through. He could understand him better now. They would go through thick and thin together. They were jogress partners after all.
That was when the doctor came out from Taichi's room informing them that Taichi had woken up miraculously which excited all of them.
Their happiness, however were short-lived as the doctor discussed about Taichi's health condition to his family. Mrs. Yagami broke down in tears on her husband's arms. After so long of pining and waiting, she would still lose her son ultimately.
*1 August 2007*
It was the day after Diaboromon's alternate form, Armagemon was defeated by Imperialdramon Paladin Mode granted his new power by Omegamon with the help on the people watching by the Rainbow Bridge Bay sending all the Kuramon back to the net where Gennai and friends would take over.
Taichi had managed to seal the Digiegg of the that certain Diaboromon on his own. He took a deep breath as he watched the Digiegg faded before him.
"We could have been friends." Taichi recalled his time with Kuramon who kept him company on the hardest of time when he was led to believe that his friends had betrayed him.
"Sealing completed." He announced before he felt weak and lost his balance to be caught by Yamato on his arms.
"Are you alright, Taichi?" He asked anxiously. By right, Taichi should not even be leaving the hospital if it was not on the dire situation they were in. He would be watching out for him as his Jogress partner.
"I'm fine. I told you I'm not made of glass." Taichi looked up at his so-called best friend and nodded at his worried partner, Agumon in reassurance. Taichi just had a little trouble breathing as his heart throbbed in pain but he would not show it to worry them.
He was awaken months ago when Gennai attempted to wake him up from his four years coma with the Digicore from Qinglongmon. Taichi was grateful. At least he had a chance to tie up the loose end and join them in the gathering for this special day.
His health on the other hand, had been deteriorating. He was on the waiting list for a heart transplant as his heart function had been failing since the assault. He knew he did not have much time left despite what his friends and his family said having overheard what Dr. Kido had whispered his foster father, Professor Takenouchi about his condition when he was resting. The Yagami family was informed beforehand. It was a miracle that Taichi could even wake up from his coma.
"Keep him happy. It's the only way to help him now." Dr. Kido informed Professor Takenouchi.
Taichi was led to grassland by Yamato and Sora to meet up with the rest in blindfold.
"SURPRISE!" Taichi was surprised when Koushirou, Mimi, Jou who seemed to be sweaty, Miyako and Iori greeted him when his blindfold was removed. All of them even Koushirou, Mimi and Jou were with their Digimon partners with the exception of Daisuke and Ken who took off somewhere with their Digimon.
A pink bird Digimon jumped into her partner's arms. "Sora, long time no see."
"Piyomon, how have you been?" Sora greeted her partner hugging her lovingly.
They decided to have a picnic here since there was rarely a chance Taichi could come out with doctor's approval.
Hikari ran to her brother to check him over to see if he was sick anywhere or should they return to the hospital. Taichi shook his head.
"I'm okay Hikari." Taichi gave his sister a goofy grin patting on her head. Hikari was unwilling to let her brother out of her sight afraid that that would be the last time she saw of him. Takeru placed his hand on her shoulder comforting her. They should keep Taichi happy.
Glancing behind there was a trolley car. Taichi walked over to it, feeling his hands over the dusty metal. It was worn out due to age.
"That brings back memories. It was the trolley we rode home 8 years ago." Mimi with Palmon following behind came over to explain to Taichi who blinked in confusion. Mimi covered her mouth recalling that Taichi was the only one who did not come home with them. Taichi nodded in acknowledgement. He turned to Mimi.
"Mimi-chan, thank you for sharing with me." Taichi gave her a huge smile causing her to blush in embarrassment. He held her by her shoulder and pulled her in for a hug. "I hope you'll find your true happiness someday, princess." He whispered.
"Please don't call me princess!" Mimi was reminded of a time 8 years ago after the incident with Geckomon. It was something Taichi probably would never recall again.
"Come down, Princess! Give me your hand!" Taichi opened his arms preparing to catch the princess.
"Don't call me a princess!" Mimi pouted in dismay.
"I'm just kidding." Taichi said in response as a joke. She was feeling really embarrassed when she jumped into his arms.
Mimi was in tears when she buried her face into Taichi's shoulder.
This scene caught Miyako's attention being reminded of a certain pair in another timeline. They were already holding hands when they last met them. The girl was the one taking the initiative apparently like Sora.
"Miyako…" Poromon called her name in concern.
"I'm alright, Poromon." Miyako shook her head as she smiled hugging her knees looking at her idols.
Taichi and Agumon got on to the trolley to see Yamato and Gabumon cleaning up the trolley with Sora and Piyomon. They would have a party in here later even though it was a small area. Taichi and Agumon did not want to disturb the love birds who were working together smiling and laughing. Taichi was sure his foster sister would be happy with Yamato as they were able to understand each other.
Koushirou was sitting in the driver seat reminiscing with Tentomon on their experience 8 years ago and chatting with him.
"Wallace is officially taking on the leadership of the Chosen Children of the World, isn't it? That was supposed to be his job but Wallace had to bear it." Tentomon asked. Koushirou nodded.
"Nevertheless, we'll continue to support him like we always do." Koushirou said looking around in case he was being heard by the one who was supposed to be taking on that role Wallace was holding.
"Who else other than Wallace could be up for it, in turn he would become the Ambassador between the Real and the Digital World when he graduated from his university. Can Daisuke-kun handle? But he wanted to be a ramen shop owner. Maybe Yamato?" Koushirou confided with Tentomon while glancing around to be caught by surprise by Taichi and Agumon who was waving at them.
"I'm sorry. I must have caused everyone trouble for not doing my job." Taichi bowed to Koushirou who waved his hands frantically. Taichi was supposed to become the leader of the Chosen Children of the World as proposed as there were many Chosen Children. There was also a need to have someone with great leadership skills to lead them and become the bridge between the two worlds. Koushirou sweated hard. He was really sorry.
"Taichi-san, I should be the one apologizing. I must have given you too much undue stress asking you to contact other Chosen Children to train you for that role." Koushirou explained berating himself when he was interrupted by a smiling Taichi.
"Koushirou-kun, thank you for everything." Koushirou was bewildered. Taichi headed off after he was done to bump into Jou who wanted to check on him with Gomamon.
"Taichi-kun, are you okay? Your eyes are puffy red. Are you in pain?" Jou tried asking in detail.
"Jou-san, I'm alright, ok? Just some sand in my eyes." Taichi replied rubbing his eyes trying to show that he was alright. "Shu-san says you're going to be a great doctor and I thought so too. You really take after Dr. Kido." Taichi said causing Jou to scratching his cheek and blushed.
"That's just too much compliment. I'm not as good as you think I'm…" Before Jou could finish, he saw Taichi clutching his chest, grimacing in pain as he knelt on the ground trying to catch his breath scaring both Agumon and Gomamon.
"Taichi!" Agumon cried catching Iori and Upamon's attention as they also came into the trolley.
Jou was anxious as he kneeled before Taichi gently patting his back asking about his condition. He was about to call for ambulance to be stopped by Taichi.
"I'm kidding with you." He said grinning. "Like I say, you'll make a good doctor."
"Taichi-kun." Jou heaved a sigh of relief. He was not a full-fledged doctor at all. He would still take some years before he could finally become one. He wished Taichi would be able to see that.
"Taichi-san, you shouldn't have lied. You are scaring all of us. Everyone is worried about you. You should know your condition. What's going to happen if people thought you are joking when you have a relapse? Have you read 'The boy who cried wolf?'" Iori pointed his kendo stick at him startling Jou and Upamon. Agumon and Gomamon wanted to stop Iori as Taichi stood up with Jou's assistance.
"As expected from your successor, he is upright and sincere." Taichi exclaimed to Jou who smiled awkwardly in response. Iori was right. He would be in trouble if that happened. Taichi held his chest where his heart was throbbing in pain. He was not really lying but he did not intend to let them know as opposed to lying that he was sick when he was not.
"I'm sorry, Miyako." Ken apologised.
"You guys are really late! Where were you both? Having a date somewhere?" Miyako placed her hands on her waist reprimanding her boyfriend, Ken and Daisuke who just arrived. Poromon sweatdropped at her partner. She was so enthusiastic to scold the boys who were bowing and apologizing profusely. That was what Miyako liked to see. Poromon noticed a boy and a girl behind them.
"Who are they?" He asked catching Miyako and the boys' attention.
"They are…" Daisuke grinned glancing at his back.
"A surprise for Taichi-san." V-mon added.
"That's why we are late." Wormmon explained on Ken's behalf.
Taichi found himself sitting on a bench by the trolley at the back. He opened up the window rubbing his chest. His chest pain comes and goes. There was no telling when his ailing heart would stop functioning all the sudden and he was getting tired more lately. For now, he would just say what he needed to, to anyone he met.
"Taichi, I can smell cookies baked by Sora and Mimi's cooking." Agumon said watching as Sora and Mimi setting up the table smiling at their direction when they realized they were being watched. "We must taste it today." Agumon said trying to cheer his partner up. Taichi placed his hand on his partner's face.
"Agumon, thanks for putting up with me. I must have caused you most worry. Your life will be easier if you are partnered to someone else rather than me." Taichi said to Agumon who was tearing up at his words.
"No, Taichi, we are friends and will always be friends. I'm sorry for not being able to protect you causing you so much hurt. If only I'm stronger." Agumon looked down in shame as memories of Taichi wounded and dying before him flashed through his mind.
"Agumon is already very powerful. I'm proud of you." Taichi smiled sincerely. "It's all fated. Thank you." Taichi took him into a hug to be interrupted by the younger trio, Daisuke, Ken and Miyako who were grinning in unison at the touching sight of Taichi and Agumon.
"Sorry for interrupting. We just wanted to present Taichi-san a gift." Miyako announced excitedly. Taichi felt that Miyako was always filled with energy. He was quite surprised to hear that she and Ken became an item during the time when he was in coma. Ken was more of a quiet guy. But he had to admit both of them complement each other quite well.
As for Daisuke, he had to work harder for failing to win his sister's heart. There would certainly be someone out there for him. As for Hikari, he could see that she might have feelings for Yamato's younger brother, Takeru but he would leave it to her. The pair was chatting out in the green field. Patamon and Tailmon were laughing away.
Taichi turned back and looked Ken into his eyes who nodded. He had done a transfer of the partnership with Agumon from him. Taichi could not bear to see Agumon frozen back to sleep after he was gone.
"Taichi-san, look who we have brought along today?" Daisuke said as the trio stepped back to allow a pair of twins to come into Taichi and Agumon's view. Taichi could not believe his eyes.
"Ai-chan, Kou-chan…" Taichi stared at them in widened eyes.
"Taichi-niichan, long time no see." Kouharu waved at him. He felt a little awkward to be waving and addressing a stranger as per ordered by the leader of the Japanese Chosen Child, Motomiya Daisuke as if they knew Taichi for ages.
"We became Chosen Children recently." Aizuki introduced themselves politely. It appeared that the boy with the huge brown hair really knew them but she just could not recall how they knew him.
"You guys had grown up." Taichi exclaimed as he felt his tears beaming in his eyes. What a pleasant surprise. Deep down, Taichi knew they were just playing along with Daisuke. That was just like Daisuke who would do anything for friends. Daisuke would make a great leader than he ever could. There was no way the twins would ever remember him with their memories eaten because of his foolishness.
"I'm Yagami Taichi, a Chosen Child as well. Both of you must be Aizawa Kouharu and Aizuki." He introduced himself officially offering his hand for a handshake. Daisuke stuck his tongue out in response. As expected from Taichi who saw through his plan.
The twins paused for a moment and accepted the handshake. Taichi was really happy to be able to see them again while he was still alive. There was nothing else they should know. Taichi did not want the twins to feel sad for him when his time was up.
They had a great picnic and fun throughout the day in the trolley.
The twins decided to take their leave as they were late and they bid farewell to Taichi who was resting feeling tired for the day.
"Taichi-niichan, let's meet again." Kouharu spoke up suddenly. "I don't know why, you look familiar."
"No matter, let's just create new memories together." Aizuki decided.
"What was past is over, you can't create them but we can create all kinds of futures. Let's create new memories together!" Osamu's voice rang in his mind.
"Let's be friends." Taichi asked extending his trembling hand for a handshake.
"Sure. Let's be friends." The twins took turn to shake their hands before heading on their way. Taichi found himself sobbing as Hikari took her brother into her arms after she helped him to the seat at the back.
"It's okay, Oniichan, you'll meet them again." Hikari consoled rubbing his back. Even if there was only a tiny hope, she would not give up encouraging him.
"That's right. We can always have a picnic when we are free and we can ask them along." Takeru added. "Daisuke can make the arrangement, right?" Takeru turned to his leader who glared at him in gaped mouth. He was still feeling embarrassed for lying to Taichi.
"Daisuke-kun is a nice friend to have. He is not Yamato's successor for nothing." Taichi mumbled as he laid his head on his sister's lap resting after he was done crying.
Speaking of friends, he remembered he needed to resolve a certain dispute between her and Ken before too late. It was because of him Hikari had a grudge on Ken. He needed to help them make up.
"Hikari should stop blaming Ken-kun. Can you do this for me? It's not his fault. It was my choice and sorry for not being a good brother to you." Taichi asked her holding her hand weakly. Hikari paused a little and nodded as a drop of tear was seen falling down her cheek.
As soon as he finished, he heard a familiar voice ranging in his mind as his tired eyes widened in shock.
"Thank you for believing in me but I'm sorry I was so late. Taichi, you are my true friend! I won't let your friendship be in vain!"
With that lots of other memories seemed to be gushing through his mind all the sudden.
His memories of being slapped by his mother when he caused Hikari to almost die taking her out to play soccer when she was sick, the initial experience of witnessing the battle between Greymon and Parrotmon in Hikarigaoka, his camp with Sora and the rest, their adventure in the Digital World, the battle against Vamdemon in the Real World, the battle against the Dark Masters, his fight with Yamato, the battle between WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, Yamato, Jou and Mimi leaving the team, Taichi's struggle when Hikari fell sick and having challenges in obtaining flu medicine for her, the battle against Mugendramon, Piemon who killed him and his own darkness which led to part of his spirit trapped in the cave of darkness.
"So that is how it is, Yamato." Taichi smiled weakly struggling to focus on Yamato who was worried. Guess it was about time. He was really worn out. The throbbing pain in his heart was also numbing.
"Yamato…" Taichi extended his hand urging him to come closer. Yamato noted his request and held his hand. Taichi's hands felt cold to him and cold sweat could be felt on his palm. Since when? Yamato only realised Taichi had been feeling sick all along and he had been playing along with them not telling them. His face was ghastly pale.
"Taichi…" Yamato wanted to ask him when Taichi spoke up in an inaudible voice. Yamato had to kneel closer to hear him out.
"Remember, I told you before that I heard that people get to review the whole of their lives in their mind before they die? Thank you for everything. Thank you for defeating Piemon and keeping everyone safe. You are really a great leader to them and for guiding Daisuke and the rest." Taichi said struggling to focus his gaze at Yamato, his true best friend.
"I feel really tired. It's ok… if I leave… the rest… to you… right?"
"Taichi, you…" Yamato was shocked at his words when he noticed Taichi's hand which was holding on his fell limp on his side as he closed his eyes and breathed his last. Taichi was glad to have gone on an adventure with them. If there was a next life, he would like to go on another adventure with his friends again. He passed away with a contented smile on his face.
"Taichi?" Yamato did not want to believe it.
"Oniichan?" Hikari cupped her mouth.
Jou shook his head after checking for his pulse. Taichi had gone to a better place.
Koushirou dropped his laptop. Mimi cried hysterically on Sora's arms. Miyako did the same with Ken who was red in his eyes. Ken was guilty that Taichi sacrificed his life to save his. Daisuke looked down solemnly. Iori ran out of the trolley trying to hold his tears as he was reminded by Oikawa who disintegrated into data in the Digital World. He needed to stop crying.
Agumon was shocked that nothing happened to him. He was prepared to go back to sleep should anything happened to Taichi. He clenched his claw and cried. He knew Taichi had made plan for his future.
The other Digimon nodded to the limp body of Taichi in respect. He was after all the Chosen Child who gave his life for the peace of the Digital World. Tailmon was especially upset seeing how hard her partner cried over her brother's body. Taichi had requested her to look after Hikari after he was gone. Of course, Tailmon would do so even if he did not ask. Taichi admitted for not being a good brother to Hikari and it had been rather unfair to her. Nevertheless, he hoped his sister would find her happiness with Takeru or maybe even someone else he would not know.
Yamato tried to shake his best friend's body trying to wake him up desperately demanding him to explain to him what he was trying to tell him. Deep down, he already knew. Taichi had recalled everything before he passed away and it really hurt.
Up on the roof of the trolley car, Gennai watched on sadly. He was holding a Digicore from the last of the Four Holy Beasts who was released from the seal with the Crest of Courage returned to the Digital World. Like the Crest of Light and Hope could free Qinglongmon, the Crest of Courage and the Crest of Friendship would free another.
Until now, Gennai did not know which of them it was. That particular Holy Beast, through Qinglongmon had requested Gennai to return Taichi his memories, copied from the memory of the Crest of Courage which was now a Holy Stone, knowing that the dying boy would be able to leave this world in peace with it. The Vault was gone but the Crest had backed up his memories.
The battles against the Dark Digimon had been ongoing. Various group of Chosen Children worked together to prevent the darkness from growing and fighting in the frontline led by Daisuke and the various leaders of different countries under Wallace's command.
Ken and Wallace continued to pursue the Digiegg infected with darkness sealing them to minimize battles so that incidents which happened to Taichi would not happen again.
Everyone was working hard to preserve the peace they had while pursuing their respective dreams whether it was a ramen shop, a cook, a fashion designer or a kindergarden teacher. These dreams would certainly happen if they never lose sight of it.
"No matter what, give it all!"
"It's all about spirit!"
Takeru looked up to the sky as Angemon finished off an enemy Digimon and planned on what to write in his novel next.
No matter what he would be writing, he had already decided the ending. The battles and the adventures would never end but yet he would not lose hope for the peace.
"In people's heart, as well as in the world, there is light and darkness. They will continue to battle each other forever. However, as long as you keep the light in your heart and hold the power to realise your dream, all will be fine."