Chapter 03


Chapter 03 

            It only took ten minutes for him to go in, get his fortune, and come out again.  But when he did, he had this strange, contemplative expression on his face and when he looked at me it was…considering.

            “What?”  I asked defensively.  Some insecurities don’t go away, and one of mine was being looked at as if the person was judging something about me.  “Is there something in my hair or what?”  I patted my head lightly, checking for anything out of place.

            “It’s nothing.”  Taichi shook himself out of whatever had come over him, gently but firmly pushing me to the door.  “Your turn!  Go on, Yama!  It’s not that bad!”

            I had to fight off my inclinations to dig my heels in and refuse to budge, but…for Taichi I’d do anything, particularly now when we were supposed to be having fun and making him forget about home.  So I let him push me inside.

            I looked around, somewhat curious and somewhat bored already.  And at the same time, I was kind of apprehensive.

            It was basically a shed that had been converted and decorated up to appear mysterious and eerie for the benefit of the…customers.  It was dark inside, the only light coming from the back of the room.  I could smell incense burning, and I could hear the sound of instrumental music playing quietly mixed with the sound of running water – like a waterfall, but a very small one.  I pushed my way through the gauzy, transparent coloured drapes that hung from the ceiling until I found a woman sitting at a table shuffling a deck of cards – playing cards, not tarot, as one would have expected.  There was no crystal ball or tea cups in sight, either – none of the trappings you’d expect of a carnival fortune teller.

            “Well, well.  Another one.  It seems I am quite busy today.”  The woman set aside her cards and gestured to the chair opposite her.  “Have a seat, Ishida Yamato.  I can tell you have a few questions that I can clear up for you.”

            I just stared at her.  “How do you know my name?”

            The woman – not very old, either – rolled her eyes and wiggled her fingers at me mockingly.  “Ma-gic.  Oooh…”  My frown made her point at the chair again commandingly.  “Sit!  Now.”

            I sat.

            “Good.  To answer your question, sans sarcasm, I’m psychic.  Other than that…my sister is a huge fan.  And before you ask, no this isn’t my chosen career.  I’m in university and this is my summer job, but I’m filling in for our regular fortune teller for a while, who’s off having a baby.”  The young woman tilted her head, studying me.  “Interesting that you’re much less angst-y and unapproachable in person.  I’m Lily, by the way.”

            At the risk of giving off the impression I was highly unintelligent, I blinked stupidly at her and managed to say, “Hi.” in return.

            “Okay, let’s do this since you’re obviously a skeptic who somehow got talked into doing this.”  Lily pulled out a fancy jar from under the table and set it down off to the side.  “Here’s how it works: one question, one answer, one token in the jar.  Capiçe?”

            “Uh…yeah.”  I knocked myself around a little mentally to come to my senses and figured, Alright.  I’ll play along.  Maybe I can prove you’re a hoax.  I dug out my tokens and dropped one on the jar.  “How can you tell fortunes?  You can’t just see the future can you?”

            “I’ll answer that for free, since everyone asks that.”  Lily sighed.  “I’m psychic.  I can see glimpses of the future, in a mind-boggling number of possibilities.  To tell someone’s fortune, I can give a general sort of summary of what I see for individuals – or couples.  Sometimes I see things that are very clear and those are the ones that seem to be set in stone – more or less.  The fuzzier the less certain, you see.”  She smirked and pulled out a deck of Tarot cards.  “Of course, if you prefer the trappings of a prognosticator, I can use these.”

            “Whatever. Either way, I’m not likely to believe you.”  I shrugged carelessly.

            “Then I’ll just ditch these and use my own talents.  Besides…” Lily made a face.  “These aren’t my cards and the energies are way off-balance.  They’d be inaccurate anyway.”  She folded her hands expectantly.  “Now.  What’s your first question, Yamato?”

            “Matt, please.  Just Matt.”

            “Fine.”

            I frowned thoughtfully.  Start of benign, I decided.  Then move to things she couldn’t possibly know.

            Ho boy was I off.  She blew me away before I could even get started.

            “Will I graduate high school with decent grades?”

            Lily got this faraway look in her eyes, like she was listening to something only she could hear.  It was…kind of spooky.

            “Yes.  In fact, you’ll be one of the top five in your class because you’ll finally get that extra help with your math and improve your grades to match the rest of your classes.”  She blinked and looked at me clearly again, snickering.  “Not just another pretty face who can sing and play a guitar, are you?”

            I admit I flushed a little.  My music has always been more important to me than my grades, but I’ve always done well in my classes out side the music room, too.

            “Can I ask about other people?”  I wondered.

            “It’s your token.  Ask away.”

            “Will Taichi continue playing soccer and be successful at it?”  I really was curious about that.

            “For the time he plays, yes.  He won’t be a soccer freak forever, though.”  She actually smiled softly at me.  “He’s going to have someone more important to him than soccer, and he has another calling someday – but not for another decade at least.”

            I raised an eyebrow.  “Okay.”  I dropped two more tokens into the jar.

            “Come on, Matt.  Ask me something a little more challenging and about yourself.  Whether or not you believe me doesn’t matter.  It’s all in fun.”  Lily leaned forward.  “No matter what I tell you your future holds, it isn’t set in stone.  You can change the future with every decision you make, every choice.”

            “I don’t understand.”

            “Let’s see…” Lily tapped her fingers on the tabletop thoughtfully, eyes going distant.  “Ah.  Here’s a blast from the past for you.  Interesting!  So you’re a Chosen Child.  Like the last three that came through.”

            My jaw dropped.  No way she could have known that – could she?  Well, I suppose it was possible she’d been around for the events that happened when Myotismon was in the real world looking for Kari, or seen our battles on the Internet and here in the real world with Diaboromon.

            “Okay, here’s an example.  Despite the fact that you were ‘Chosen’ to be Digidestined, you still had to make the choice to accept that destiny.  If you had decided to have no part of it, I can see two possibilities that may have occurred.  One, Myotismon would have destroyed both worlds with his evil, or two, another set of kids would have been called to take the burden of being Digidestined and fight instead of you.”  She gave me a sympathetic gaze.  “No offence, but had it been me, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to take on the responsibility you all did.”

            “I…you can see that?”  I stared in disbelief.  There were very, very few people who understood what it truly meant to be Digidestined – and even the others all over the world didn’t understand what it was to be a Chosen Child – a Bearer or Guardian of one of the Crests.  This was something that there was no way Lily could have known.  Not unless she was Chosen as well – and she wasn’t.

            Not that I was sold on her apparent psychic ability yet, mind you.

            “I see all, I know all.”  She drawled.  “Didn’t you see the sign outside the door?  Ask on, Matt.  Tempus fugit.”

            I dropped a token in the jar.  “Will I make it as a big rock star?”

            This time she laughed.  “You’re on your way to that already.  But like Taichi, it will only be for so long before you decide to settle down and follow a different calling.”

            I raised an eyebrow again.  “So I won’t be a has-been because of losing the fans interest but because I…retire?”

            “Yep.  Next?”

            Another token, another question.  “Is the Digital World going to remain safe and at peace?”

            Her expression turned serious and distant.  “Not forever, no.  But you knew that already.  However, it won’t be for a few more generations that the darkness will threaten both worlds once again, so you needn’t worry.  There will be future Digidestined who will be called and will fight as you have.”

            Oddly enough, I felt a small weight lifted at that.  She was right.  We knew the darkness would return someday.  And I think we all have a secret fear that it would come back in our lifetimes and we’d have to fight again.  I wasn’t sure I believed Lily, but I could accept her answers without believing them or her ability.

            Only time would reveal the truth of the matter, after all.

            I asked a couple more questions, about my family and friends’ lives.  According to Lily, my parents would live long and happy lives (Dad would have to quit smoking though).  Takeru and Hikari were going to do fine together (like I said before…we knew that).  Ken and Daisuke would have a rough patch of separation – and stardom – but it would make their relationship stronger and more solid when they got back together.

            Mimi would get frustrated with the fashion industry and find her true fortune in…food.  I shook my head at that, but shrugged.  And Lily said she and Joe would be just fine with their two kids.

            That I believed.

            Koushiro and Miyako would have a boat-load of children and would create some insanely high-tech super computer to study the Digital World (though Miyako would be more occupied with the kids than with the computer).

            Iori was going to be one hell of a lawyer someday, which didn’t surprise me knowing his strong sense of right, wrong, and justice.

            Sora, unlike Mimi would take the fashion industry by storm with her designs and would make her label well known all over the world.

            I didn’t ask about Sora’s romantic life.  I already knew about that, and so did she.  It was part of the reason we broke up.

            “Huh.  Well, I guess that’s it.”  I stretched and smiled.  “It was all very interesting, Lily.  No offence if I still don’t entirely believe, though.”

            “Whatever.  Being able to question is healthy.  Believing everything you’re told is a good way to get into trouble.”  Lily tilted her head at me.  “And you’re not done yet.  You haven’t asked about your love-life.”

            I blinked at her.  “I don’t have time for one right now, and there’s no one I’m particularly interested in anyway.  Why waste a token asking?”

            “Everyone wants to know about that part of their life.”  Lily scoffed, dismissing my explanation.  “You know what?  I like you, Matt.  You’re a good guy with an honest heart and soul.  So I’ll do a special fortune for you for free – just don’t tell anyone or they’ll take it out of my earnings.”  She held out her hand.  “Take my hand, Matt.  Sometimes if I’m touching the person I can get a clearer idea of things and focus better on what I’m looking for.”

            Slightly amused – and resigned, since she obviously wasn’t going to let me leave until I let her do it – I placed my hand in hers, and she gripped it loosely for a moment.

            “Hmm…well, Matt.  I see a tall, dark brunette in your future.  Marriage is not something either of you believe in – not for yourselves, at any rate.  But you’ll be together until death do you part, even if there is no ‘official’ ceremony to bind you together in the eyes of society.”

            “Oh really?”  Can I get any more skeptical?  Probably not.  “What’s she like?”

            Note to self – never assume.

            “He is someone you already know.”  Lily stressed the pronoun firmly, cracking open an eye to look at me.  “I can see quite clearly that you appreciate beauty in all things, and that’s regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, etc..  That’s good, because that open mind will give you both strength and bind you closer than white on rice.”  Lily closed her eye and continued, while I wrestled with the information that apparently I was bi-sexual and that I’d choose my own gender in the end over the opposite one.

            “You’re already close to the guy.  In fact, you probably know him best – better than anyone else, including – if not especially – his own family.  You can understand each other like no one else can, and though your interests are often radically different, you’re still the best of friends and always manage to find something to do together that you both enjoy.”  Lily paused, then grinned.  “Ah ha!  Didn’t see that with him when he was here…”

            “Huh?”  I froze, beginning to piece this all together in a strange and kind of weird conclusion.  “When he was here?”

            “Oh.  Yeah.  Sorry about that.  I was off in ‘vision mode.’  Anyway, I see kids.  Someday…way into the future…through an old, trusted friend as a surrogate mama for each of you.  It’ll all work out just fine.”  Lily opened her eyes and smiled at me, letting go of my hand.  “There you have it!”

            “Wait!  Who?”  I demanded, a tingling sensation running up and down my spine and a lump forming in my gut.

            “Sorry, Matt, but it’s my own personal policy not to give exact details like names unless the person I’m reading gives the name first.  I hate being accused of matchmaking and of using ‘suggestion’ to push people together.  I give clues – which are barely more than hints – and it’s up to you to figure it out for yourself.  I can’t tell you who to love.  Only that metaphysical muscle beating in your chest can do that.”  Lily stood up and glanced at her watch.  “It’s supper time!  And you’ve got friends waiting for you.  Better hurry.”

            Stunned and feeling a little shaky at the idea – no, it wasn’t an idea, I realized.  It was a truth that I hadn’t thought about yet or had wanted to think about.  I had put two and two together to get five.  I knew who she was hinting at.

            And as I stepped back outside, he was leaning on the lamppost waiting patiently for me, brown eyes widening at the expression I must have had on my face.

            “Yama?  Hey, man, you okay?  You look shell-shocked!”  Taichi came up and studied me in concern, a hand coming up to grasp my arm to steady me as I stumbled a little.  My knees felt like jelly and my heart was suddenly in my throat.  I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t speak.  I think I managed a strangled noise before everything went white, then black.

            I passed out.  How girly and pathetic of me.

~~~~~~~~

            “Whoa!  Yama!”  Taichi caught the blonde as he slumped suddenly.  He’d been paler than usual coming out of the booth, and Taichi had been instantly concerned.  “Geez…for someone so skinny, you weigh a ton!  Come on.  Let’s find a bench for you.”

            He looked around and spotted an empty bench not far away.  He grunted, shifting Matt’s weight, and dragged the blonde over, sitting him on the seat and propping him against the bench back.  “There we go.  Matt?  Hey, Yama!  Wake up, Ishida.”  Taichi tapped Matt on the cheeks lightly, shaking his shoulders a little.

            “Tai!  There you are!”  Izzy and Joe appeared, stopping in concern when they saw Matt.  “Uh oh…”

            “What happened, Tai?”  Joe gently – but firmly – swatted Taichi’s hands aside, picking up Matt’s wrist and proceeding to check his pulse.

            “I don’t know.  He was fine when he went into the fortune teller’s booth, but when he came out he was really pale and he just…keeled over.”

            “Uh huh.”  Joe put Matt’s wrist down and pried open his eyelids to take a look at his pupils.  “Well, I’d say it’s a combination of too much sun, not enough fluids, and I don’t remember him eating since he was sick after the rollercoaster.”

            “Well, he had a sno-cone because he wasn’t sure his stomach could handle anything greasy or heavy.”  Taichi replied.  He reached up and brushed blonde hair out of Matt’s face.  “I figured when he was done his turn in the fortune teller’s booth we’d go find the rest of you and go out for real food, but I guess it was a little late.”

            “I don’t know.”  Joe sat back on his heels and blew out a breath.  “I have a few questions to ask him, but I have to wait until he wakes up.  However,” he adjusted his glasses.  “Food is definitely a priority.”

            Izzy nodded.  “When you and Matt didn’t join us after such a long time, Joe and I volunteered to come look for you.  We had some similar ideas about eating, too.”

            “Well, I say as soon as we get Matt back on his feet, we blow this place and get some food.”  Taichi turned back to his best friend, taking his hand and clasping it between his own.

            “I’m going to go get a bottle of water for him.  I’ll be right back.”  Joe stood up.  “If he wakes up, make him relax and get his bearings back before he tries standing or anything.”

            “Sure.”  Taichi agreed.  Joe walked off and Izzy observed two of the people that mattered most to him.  He was sure that Taichi didn’t realize it, but the goggle-head was still holding Matt’s hand and was gently stroking his hair with the other hand.  These were not the gestures of friends, not even close friends as Taichi and Yamato were.  Well, the gestures were within that realm, but the way Taichi performed them was not giving off ‘friend’ and was more like ‘lover.’

            At the same time, it wasn’t surprising to Izzy.  His ever inquisitive self had long since suspected that the two boys had true feelings for each other – though they probably hadn’t acknowledged it to themselves, let alone each other, just yet.

            “Matt?  Hey, Izzy, I think he’s coming around.”  Taichi squeezed Matt’s hand encouragingly.  “Come on, Matt.  Come back to the living!”

~~~~~~~~

            “Ugh.”

            Okay.  That sucked.  And my head hurts.

            “Matt?  You okay?”  I heard Izzy’s voice, then Taichi’s, both full of concern.

            “You really know how to scare me, Ishida.  Open your eyes and talk to us, buddy.”

            “Uh…Tai?”  I felt my hand be squeezed and I sighed, squeezing back as I blinked open my eyes.  “Ah…what happened?”

            “That’s my question.”  Taichi smiled in relief.  “But it can wait.  Joe went to get you a bottle of water.  How are you feeling?”

            “Weak and shaky, and my head hurts.”  I complained, leaning back against the bench seat I sat on.  “I passed out didn’t I?”

            “Went down like a brick.”  Taichi agreed.  “Joe says you probably had too much sun and not enough food and liquids.”

            “That’s part of it, yeah.”  I sighed again.  “Sorry, guys.  Didn’t mean to worry you.”

            “It’s alright, Matt.”  Izzy glanced over to the side.  “Here comes Joe with your water.”

            “Oh good.  You’re awake.”  Joe smiled at me in relief as he approached.  “If you weren’t awake when I got back, I was going to call for an ambulance.”  He handed me the bottle of ice-cold spring water in his hand.  “Sip this slowly.  Don’t chug it.”

            I took it gratefully and obediently took a small sip.  Ooooh yeah.  That’s much better.  I felt Taichi’s hand on my back, hidden from the others’ view, rubbing in soothing circles.  I leaned into the touch unconsciously.  “Thanks, Joe.”

            “Sure.  I’ll be keeping my eye on you for the rest of the day, though.”

            I laughed a little.  Good old reliable Joe.

            “You feel up to walking around?”  Taichi asked me, hand stopping at the small of my back but not leaving.  “We should go find everyone else, and then go find a good restaurant.”

            “Yeah.  I think so.”  I slowly got up, feeling a brief moment of wooziness but it passed quickly.  Taichi was on one side of me, standing close, and holding me steady with a hand under my elbow.

            “Okay?”  He asked again.

            “Yeah.  I’m good.  Let’s go…just walk slowly, alright?”  I followed Izzy and Joe as they began to walk.  Taichi released me, letting me move on my own power, but staying close, hovering like a mother hen.

            We moved along in companionable silence, for which I was grateful.  I had remembered what Lily had told me in that booth, and I wasn’t sure if I was embarrassed, annoyed, excited, or interested.  It was all so very confusing.

            I began running through all the things about Taichi that I liked, asking myself the questions I thought one should ask about potential crushes or love interests.  I like him as a person – his personality, his physical and emotional strengths, his quirky attitude.  I admire and respect him for having goals and somehow achieving them no matter what roadblocks life put in his way, his leadership skills, his diplomatic sense of right and wrong and his ability to use it for the benefit of all.  I appreciate his sunny, courageous spirit, and strong, caring heart.  He cares about Hikari as I do Takeru – though that’s where I cease any comparison of our relationships with our siblings.  I learned that lesson long, long ago.

            He was the best, greatest friend I could ever have hoped to have.  He was always honest with me, even when he knew it wasn’t what I wanted to hear.  He didn’t hesitate with me or my emotions, didn’t pull his punches and hold back.

            I spotted the rest of our friends in the distance, gathered in a group near the amusement park’s exit gates, although it didn’t really register with me.  I was lost in thought.  The vague – and yet not-so-vague at the same time – hints Lily had given me had very much made my mind go off on a quest of self-discovery and introspection, even if I didn’t really believe in psychics or fortunes.

            Or did I?  I had believed the different prophesies Gennai had told us back in the Digital days of our younger youth.  Okay, I was young and impressionable then, but still.  Agh!  I didn’t know what to believe anymore!

~~~~~~~~

            The rest of that day and evening I found myself watching Taichi whenever I thought no one was looking.  The more I observed, the more I thought about the possibilities, the more I discovered things I had never really paid attention to before, things I began to see in a whole new light.  Interestingly, and most definitely embarrassingly, many of those things were physical and attractions, and as such it was getting difficult to separate hormones from real emotion.

            He’d accidentally brush against me while we walked, or when he reached for something on the table, or whatever, and leave that piece of me tingling and craving more solid sensations.  His voice would send sparks shimmering down my spine.

            At one point we ended up squashed together in a cab with our siblings and Sora, and Taichi was pressed right up against my side, an arm thrown around my shoulders casually so that he could be as close to me as possible to make room for Sora on his other side (with Hikari and Takeru up front with the driver).  Being snuggled up close to him, bodies sharing heat and the realization that I quite liked having his arm around me was enough to finally combine with the rest of my ‘revelations’ of the day to come to the conclusion that yep.  I was at least lusting after my best friend, if not outright becoming highly infatuated with him.

            We got out of the cap at my mom’s place.  Why the cab when we’d walked earlier?  It was dark, for one thing, and for another, Taichi didn’t want me to walk so far when I’d obviously been of ill health all day (even if I protested loudly that I was perfectly fine now, thank you!) and he was in his ‘leader’ mode.  I’d also had to promise Joe that I would come by and see him for a check-up next week.

            “I just want to make sure that it’s not something more serious than a little sunstroke, Matt.”  Joe had said in a low voice as we had stepped outside the restaurant so that the others couldn’t hear.  Well, we thought.  Taichi has annoyingly good hearing.

            “I’ll make sure of it, Joe!”  The bushy-haired brunette had exclaimed.  I had scowled as he dragged me into the cab after him.

            “Must you?”  I complained.

            Now we were trying to figure out what we were going to do next.  I pulled Taichi aside for a moment.

            “Listen, Tai, I was thinking you should grab your stuff tonight and come home with me.”  I told him in a low voice.  “You need to get out of there and spend some time away from your mom.”

            He gave me a half-grateful, half-surprised expression.  “Are you sure, Yama?  I’d really appreciate it.”

            “Of course, man.”  I slung an arm around his shoulders and gave him a hug.  “You know I wouldn’t offer otherwise.”

            Taichi smiled.  “Yeah.”  He glanced at his sister worriedly.  “Though…I don’t know if I like leaving Hikari there by herself to deal with Mom on her own.  She was going to Miyako’s tomorrow, but tonight…”

            I nodded.  “Good point.  Does she have someone she can go stay with?  At least until school starts again?”

            “I’d normally say Miayko.  Or even Mimi.  But Miya has no room for a semi-permanent guest at her place with that huge family of hers, not longer than the rest of spring break, and Mimi…”

            I laughed.  “Yeah, I know.  We lover her but she’d drive Hikari crazy after a day, no doubt.”

            “Bingo.”

            I watched Hikari and Takeru pull Sora down the sidewalk and Takeru waved to us to hurry up and follow.  “As one, Taichi and I obliged, but at a much slower pace.  I had an idea, but I wasn’t sure he’d go for it.

            “You may not like this,” I began.  It wouldn’t hurt to try.  “But what if we talked to Sora?  She and her mom have that huge apartment, and they both care about Hikari as much as we do.”

            Taichi stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets and frowned.  “I really don’t want everyone to know what’s going on, Matt.  The others…they’ll all want to help and get involved, and I just…I don’t want that.”

            “I know, Tai.  I do!”  I insisted at his skeptical look.  “Honestly, I do get it.  But Sora isn’t like the others.  She knows you and Hikari, and your parents, better than the rest of us.  And you know she can keep secrets – or at least be trusted to stay out of things you don’t want her to be involved in.  Besides, Hikari needs someone to talk to and confide in.  I know she’s probably told Takeru – those two don’t have a single thing they haven’t told each other – but I think she could use a female confident.”  I couldn’t help the mystified expression on my face.  If there’s one thing I don’t get on this planet, it’s girls.  “You know…that thing girls do that we always get death glares for intruding on.”

            Taichi snickered, nodding in agreement.  “Girl-talk.  Is that what you’re getting at?”  He sobered and seemed to think about it.  “Alright.  But only Sora, and if she can’t take Hikari, then we’ll just have to…find someone else.”

            “Agreed.”  I grabbed his hand and urged him to run alongside me to catch up to the others, squeezing reassuringly.  “It’ll be okay, Tai.  Let’s hurry and catch up.”

~~~~~~~~

Relevant Episodes:   Perhaps just the final episode of season 02, with Takeru’s spiel about what goes on in the future.  I borrowed a few things from that for the others’ fortunes.

NEXT CHAPTER:  https://kalichaos.wordpress.com/digimon-0102/fortuna/chapter-04/

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