The Gathering

By: LMS and co-written by Rougeleadr

OK. For all you Digimon Fans out there who want to read this (I'm so honored), please read the stories LOST and A NEW INTEREST first. If you don't, you will be totally confused with this one.

"Come on, Joe. Quit day-reaming," Jim (Joe's older brother) said. "You've still got a lot of packing to do. Here," he said handing Joe a cardboard box, "start putting all that crap on your desk in here."

It was moving day. Joe had successfully completed college and was on his way to a better life in the Japanese city, Kyoto. Only 23 and he had a stable career as a profound member of Japan's House of Representatives. Although he didn't become the medical doctor like his father had insist on, he did have a very important position and his family was proud.

Joe took the large box and started to gather all the clutter from his desk. A wrinkled piece of paper fell to the floor. Mimi, Joe thought as his heart dropped. He picked up the note and opened it. Sure enough, it was the same letter Mimi left for Joe to find five years ago. The same letter that said she had to leave town for a while. The same letter that broke Joe's heart in two.

Joe looked at his hand. A blue ring wrapped around Joe's index finger. It had the inscription 2005 written across the clear sapphire glass. Joe touched it, tenderly. He had given the ring to Mimi after his graduation as a sign of their love for one another. But now, she was gone, leaving the ring and her boyfriend behind.

My love left me, Joe thought. She just got up and left…and she may never come back. All those happy memories he had of Mimi suddenly became horribly painful as if she ripped out his heart and tore it to pieces.

Mimi, come back soon. I love you. He felt his eyes and face swell up. He would break down to sobs at any moment. He slowly went over the letter again. Crossroads? he thought, referring to her explanation for leaving. Crossroads? What does she mean by that? If one road leads to me, her boyfriend, does the other road lead to another man? Joe shook his head, rather confused. At least she didn't say 'let's be friends.'

"Joe…Earth to Joe," Jim taunted. "Snap out of it, bro. What-cha got there?" he asked referring to the letter Joe held in his hands.

Joe looked over at his brother. "Remember when Mimi left town?" he asked.

Jim nodded.

"She left this note for me to find," Joe replied, rather hesitantly. "Here, you can read it if you want to." Joe handed the note to Jim. He read it quickly.

There was an odd silence between the two brothers. "Do you think she'll ever come back?" Jim asked.

"I don't know," Joe answered.

"Do you…want her to come back?" Jim asked, defining his previous question.

Joe stared at his brother, not knowing what to say. He put the box down and ran out of his room and out of his house. He couldn't face anyone. Tears streamed down his face and Joe began to cry.

The phone rang. Jim got up from the dinner table where the Kido family was gathered for dinner and answered it.

"Hello," he said. Jim paused and then looked up at Joe. "It's for you."

Joe walked over to the phone. "Hello?"

"Joe!" a familiar and perky voice answered back. "It's Tai!"

"Tai? Is it really you?" Joe said, surprised by the unexpected caller.

"Well of course it's me! Good to hear from ya buddy. What's been goin on in your life this past decade?" Tai was full of questions. He was happy to hear from his long lost Digidestined pal.

Tai and Joe continued their conversation for an hour. They talked about school, jobs, old times, jokes, relationships (although Joe didn't dare say a word about Mimi). Tai told Joe about his relationship with Sora. Although everyone in the group saw their love for each other from the beginning, it was certainly a shock to Joe when Tai told him he and Sora were married. They've been man and wife for three whole years now and have a beautiful daughter named Ania. Tai apologized to Joe for not inviting him to the wedding, Tai said they had agreed that it would be a small family get- together.

Tai told Joe about his career in the stock market and how Sora was happy being a world- renowned soccer player and part time writer. Joe told Tai of his job in Japanese politics and how he would be moving soon.

It was good to hear from his old friend.

They were about to say good-bye.

"Joe," Tai started, "Sora and I are planning a get together…a Digidestined reunion. It's been ten years since we left the Digiworld. We thought it might be nice to see everyone again. What do you say, Joe? Will you come?"

Joe hesitated. Sure, he'd love to see everyone again. He just wasn't sure if he could bear seeing Mimi.

"Yea, sure…I'll come."

Joe pulled up to the building with a banner across the door reading THE DIGIDESTINED REUNION. Joe stepped out of his car and adjusted his tuxedo. This is it, Joe, Joe thought…doomsday is here. He walked into the music-filled hall.

Everyone was there. Well, almost everyone. Tai, Sora, Matt, Izzy, TK, and Kari were all gathered in the middle of the ballroom. The parents and everyone else who took part in the Digi experience ten years ago were situated around the sides of the huge room. Mimi was nowhere to be seen.

"Joe!" Sora exclaimed over the loud music. She ran up to him and gave him a warm hug. "Guys, look who's here!" She pulled Joe over to the rest of the crowd.

"Joe!" everyone said, enthusiastically.

"I'm glad you came, Joe," Tai said. He was holding Ania in his arms, rocking his daughter gently to sleep. Now Joe did not regret coming. It was wonderful to see his old friends again. He chatted with everyone.

Matt turned out to be a professional blues player and part time model. TK and Kari admitted their love for each other after their return from their second Digiworld adventure and are currently dating. Izzy turned out to be the new CEO of Microsoft…a perfect job for his computer obsession.

"So where's Mimi?" Kari asked. "Is she coming, Tai?"

"I sent her parents and invitation," he answered. "I'm not sure if she got it or not. Has anyone heard from her?"

Joe looked at the floor. Izzy gulped.

"I was on the Internet about a year ago," Sora started, "and I was looking in the fashion index. I saw her name there as one of their consultants, but other than that I haven't heard anything."

"Look!" TK said, breaking the silence, "she's here!"

Mimi came in looking like a goddess. She was wearing a body-hugging red dress with a slit going up her right leg. Her auburn hair flowing with the long strides she took. A small child was holding her hand. The group gasped as she came close and realized Mimi had a son.

"Mimi!" Sora cried, astonished. "You…you're a mother!" The entire room fell dead silent.

Mimi looked at her and Tai, and giggled to herself. "Apparently I'm not the only one," she remarked, referring to Ania. "Guys, I want you to meet my son. His name is Link."

Izzy and Joe both stared at the small boy, their mouths wide open.

"So Mimi, who's Papa?" Matt joked.

There was an awkward silence. Mimi looked up at Izzy and Joe. Joe looked at Izzy. Izzy looked at Joe. They all looked at Link.

"Oh…my…God…" Matt said. Everyone realized what was going on…what the uneasy feeling was about. Even Joe and Izzy got the picture.

"Mimi…" Joe started with a shaky voice. He didn't need to finish his sentence.

"Everyone," Mimi started. It was time to tell them the truth. "I have something to tell you. Joe and I…we've been together, as boyfriend and girlfriend, for quite some time. I've always loved him. But," Mimi hesitated with her words, "five years ago, Izzy and I…we…" she started to cry. Everyone knew what Izzy and Mimi 'did'. "Joe…" she sniffled. "Joe, I'm so sorry."

Joe closed his eyes and bit his lip, trying to contain his rage. Now he knew why she left. Now he knew what crossroads meant. Now he knew everything.

Izzy stared wide-eyed back and forth between Mimi and Joe. He didn't know what to say, that is, if he should say anything at all.

"So…who is the father?" Tai asked Mimi. Everyone looked at her, waiting for an answer.

"I…I don't know," Mimi replied, sadly.

"Joe…" Izzy started. "I just want you to know that I had no idea…I didn't know."

"Oh, put a cork in it, Izzy!" Joe shouted out, unexpectedly and full of hatred. "Nothing every works out for me! Tai's the leader, so he of course, gets Sora whom of course is little miss perfect. Matt's got the looks so he becomes the popular model slash blue's player that everyone loves. TK and Kari, they're considered the cute ones and get adored by everyone. And you, Izzy! You get the looks, charm, and intelligence all wrapped up in a convenient little package!! And what am I?! The older geek that's afraid of everything who never gets the girl, that's who! Why the hell did she even agree to go out with me in the first place? She doesn't love me!! Apparently she never did!!!!"

"Joe, please," Mimi pleaded.

"Tell me, Mimi dearest," he said sarcastically. "Was he better than me? Huh? I bet!! Here, Izzy, you can have her!! I sure as hell don't want her!" Joe started to storm out of the room.

"Joe! Come on!" Izzy called. "You don't have to be like that!!"

Joe paused in his steps. "Like what?!"

"A total ass-hole!" Izzy snapped.

Joe turned slowly and charged at Izzy, throwing him to the floor. They rolled across the floor like two guys at a bar brawl. Joe punched Izzy in the stomach, hard. "How do you like that, boy?" Joe said, callously. "You damn bastard!!" He then rammed his elbow into Izzy's face.

"Awww!" Izzy whimpered in pain. "Damn son of bitch," Izzy sent his knee into Joe's chin. Joe fell to the ground, his head throbbing in pain. Izzy sent his fists back and forth across Joe's face and didn't see Joe uppercut him in the stomach again. Joe wiped the blood off his faced and stampeded at Izzy.

"STOP!!!" Mimi screamed, with tears in her eyes. The two worn-out and battered men looked up at the woman they each loved at one point in time. They realized that either one of them could be a father right now with their son witnessing pure violence. Joe and Izzy traded glances. They realized how foolish they had been.

"I'm sorry, Izzy," Joe said, quietly.

"I'm sorry too," said Izzy.

Joe noticed everyone's eyes were on him. "I should go," he said. He turned and walked out the room.

He walked rapidly down the empty hallway, his fists clenched, and a stolid look in his eye. What have I done? he thought. His feet moved faster and faster with every step. He couldn't believe what a total jerk he had been; how insane he had become. He had loved Mimi so much that he couldn't stand the thought of losing her to another man.

Minutes passed. Silence filled the large room. Everyone was still in awe about what had just happened.

Mimi's eyes filled with tears. "Joe!" Mimi cried out of nowhere. She ran out of the room. Mimi looked for Joe, frantically. She spotted him in the parking lot, quickly walking to his car. "Joe! Wait, don't go!"

She ran up to him. She didn't stop. She threw her fragile arms around his neck and hugged him, tight, like she always did. Slowly, Joe returned the hug, pulling her close to his warm body.

She cried into his broad shoulder. "I love you, Joe…I…I really do. I…I don't want you to go. Please…" she stuttered between sobs.

Joe, for the first time that night, released all his resentment and began to weep. "Mimi…why didn't you tell me?" he whispered, tenderly. "You didn't have to leave me. You…you didn't have to go."

"I know…I know…" she sobbed. "I'm so sorry, Joe."

Joe held her tighter and rocked her back and forth. "God, I love you so much…" he cried. "But…I can't stay," he said, quietly.

"Joe please…" she said, beginning to cry even more.

"Shhhh…" he eased, trying to calm her sorrow.

Mimi broke his embrace and looked him in his dark eyes. "Joe, I don't know who the real father is," she said, "but I do know, for sure, that I want you to raise Link. I want us to be together. I want you…" she paused. "I want you…to be Link's daddy."

Joe shut his eyes, trying to prevent the tears from pouring out. Taking a deep breath, he slowly and gently pulled her close and kissed her delicately for the last time. Looking into her deep eyes, he remembered the first time he kissed her. He remembered how much he cared for her; how he could just hold her and nothing else in the world would matter. He remembered how she was his one true love.

"I'm sorry…I have to go," he whispered, his black eyes watery and sad. "Here," he said. He placed his ring in her hand as a single tear streamed down his face. "Keep it."

Silently, he got into his car, and drove off into the night never to be seen again.


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