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By the California Beachside

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"Piyo... Piyo..." Piyomon said as she hopped along the beach. At the end of her trail was Sora carefully applying suntan lotion as she sat on her towel under the sun umbrella. Mimi stood nearby, Palmon by her feet. She held onto her hat to keep the strong wind from carrying it away. "Sora!" she called.

The sound of waves seemed louder than Sora had remembered from her previous beach trips, or perhaps just the recent storm made them even louder. Sora had to squint as she looked over at Mimi, and then past her at the surf. Yes, the sea did appear unusually violent. The waves looked tall and dangerous. Sora spied a look toward the water and continued to apply her suntan lotion, the strongest that had been available at local store... Or at least she hoped she'd read that right.

"Sora!" Mimi called again.

"Yes?" Sora said.

"Don't just waste the day away under there. We came all this way to go to the beach, so let's start swimming!"

"Mimi... I'm not sure we picked the right day to come here," Sora said. Or the right location, she thought to herself. Why had they come to California, again? Wasn't New York, where Mimi lived, also along a coast? And Hawaii was at least closer to Japan, and there were plenty of nice beaches over there.

"What do you mean? It's warm and sunny," Mimi said. "Now hurry up, You have plenty of that SPF junk on."

"Well, you see..." Sora drawled.

"Come on, Palmon. We'll just leave Sora here and have fun by ourselves."

"I don't know Mimi, I don't think that water's very good for me. It's all salty, and kind of polluted," Palmon said.

"Hmmm..." Mimi fumed. "Fine. I won't let you spoil my own good time. I'm just going in by myself."

Sora looked around, and noticed that others were staring at them. Why would that be, she wondered. A while ago she might have gotten a bit self-conscious, but the Sora of now could think of a lot of good reasons why they might stare. They might recognize them as chosen children. Not likely, as there were many chosen children, and they didn't really get that much attention. Well, a girl looking over at them had a Tanemon, and of course Palmon was the evolved form. But it wasn't just them staring... The different language? More than likely.

Or maybe it was just Mimi. Mimi demanded attention just by being herself everywhere they went. It used to bother Sora, but not anymore. She was older and had gotten used to it. Besides, though Sora couldn't really understand how casually she accepted it, Mimi did deserve the attention. Not only was she amiable, but also beautiful, and did look especially nice today. Sora noted this with a smile, enjoying the view as Mimi walked toward the ocean.

"Umm... You both know that there's a riptide warning right now, right?" a boy asked her, speaking in Japanese, easily understandable even with the accent.

"What?!" Sora said. Just as Piyomon hopped back, asking what that meant, Sora ran over toward Mimi, grabbing her hand. "Mimi, you can't go in."

"Finally decide to come join me?" Mimi asked happily.

"No, it's just you can't go in."

"The riptide, right? Don't worry, I'm really not headed in. Just wanted to get you by yourself," Mimi said, squeezing Sora's hand and pulling her closer. She smiled slyly. "Of course I've known all along how Palmon doesn't really swimming in the ocean..."

"Pretty sneaky," Sora said, looking again toward the sea.

"Don't worry, it won't get us just standing by the dry sand," Mimi said with a wink.

"Right. And we did come all this way," Sora said, moving close to Mimi, then flicking one of her curls as she grinned.

"Mmm hmm," Mimi said, and then kissed her.

Sora blushed, but felt more elation at the action than embarrassment. Their first kiss this trip, she realized.

"Let's go for a walk," Mimi said.

"Sure, we just have to tell-"

"Palmon and Piyomon? I think they got the message," Mimi motioned toward where their Digimon stood, by the blanket and sun umbrella. Piyomon smiled, and Palmon held her vine-covered hand over her mouth, looking surprised but still quite pleased.

"You're probably right," Sora said, and took her first step forward, still holding onto Mimi's hand. That's right, she remembered. She'd always pick up a little of that casualness, even when being watched in public, just from being around Mimi. And what a rush it was, just having fun with much care. The stress of travel melted, and Sora considered that although the California beach might not be as close as some other places, but it was just the kind of break that she needed.