DISCLAIMER: I don't own Digimon, but these are my original ideas. If anyone would be interested in drawing a picture of Jake, please e-mail me at niceguy_cuz_i_wanna_be@hotmail.com, or you can reach me on MSN Instant Messenger with the same e-mail. If not, I will attempt to draw it myself, and you can e-mail me for a copy.

Kari found a phone booth after a few minutes the police officers left the park with Jake. She opened her purse, and withdrew her wallet. Shifting her grip on Jake's jacket, she opened her wallet and took out her calling card. She returned her wallet to her purse, and, after setting both her purse and Jake's jacket onto the ground, inserted her calling card into the proper slot in the phone. Lifting the receiver, she dialled the number for her house, and waited. After the second ring, someone picked up on the other end.

"This is Tai," her brother said.

"Hi, Tai, it's me," Kari replied.

"What's up, Kari?" he asked. Kari sighed.

"Not so good," she replied, "I need your help."

"Just name it," Tai said, "I'll do whatever I can to help." The corners of Kari's mouth rose a little bit.

"I need to return something." she began.

When Jake finally regained consciousness, he found himself sitting in a straight-backed wooden chair with his hands behind his back. When he tried to bring his arms in front of him, he felt the metal of handcuffs bite into the skin on his wrists. He waited for his eyes to adjust to the little light there was, and found himself in a blank room with nothing inside it but two chairs, one of which Jake was currently sitting in, and a table. Jake looked around the room calmly, searching for a way to escape the room. Jerking his head towards the door, he heard footsteps coming from the hallway outside the door. The door opened slowly, and a well-dressed man stepped into the room. Jake glared at him coldly.

"What am I doing here?" he asked. The man walked over to the table and sat down in the second chair.

"You're here because we need to find out what happened in that park," the man replied. Jake scoffed at the man.

"Then why am I in handcuffs?" he demanded. The man shrugged his shoulders, got up and walked around behind Jake. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a small key. Crouching down, he inserted the key into the lock of the handcuffs and, with a sharp twist, the lock clicked open. Jake jerked his hands forward, and massaged his wrists, allowing the blood to flow a little bit better. He turned around as the man rose to his feet.

"Who are you?" Jake inquired. The man smiled and extended his hand.

"My name is Detective Stephen Folk," he said, "I'm afraid I didn't catch your name." Jake accepted Detective Folk's hand.

"I'm Jake Stevens," he replied. The detective gestured towards the empty chair, and Jake sat down, hoping to get the inquisition over with as fast as possible. "What can I do for you, detective?" After the introductions, the detective seemed a little more relaxed.

"Well, for starters, you can tell me exactly what happened earlier today," he said. Jake sighed, groaning inwardly. This is going to take a while, he conceded.

In the half an hour that followed, Jake gave Detective Folk his story, but he decided to exclude Kari and the strange symbol on his chest, which seemed to pulse with an unnatural glow. The detective was silent throughout the time when Jake told his story, and when it was finished, he stood up slowly.

"You've given us a lot to think about, Jake," Folk said. He reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a business card and handed it to Jake. "Here's my card. If you remember anything else, feel free to call me." Jake took the card and nodded.

"Alright," he replied, "but the minute something happens, be it good or bad, I want you to contact me." Folk smiled and nodded.

"Will do," he said, moving to the door, "You can collect your thoughts and leave any time your ready." Jake nodded and waved Folk away. Folk walked out the door, closing it shut behind him. Jake examined the card that Detective Folk had given him, shrugged his shoulders and put it into his pocket. He moved to the door, opened it and walked into the lobby. As he walked into the room, he saw someone his age talking to one of the cops who, Jake assumed, had brought him in.

"Come on," the teenager argued, "He had to have been brought here. This is the closest station to the park, and my sister saw the crest of this department on the car." The teenager gestured back to his sister, who was sitting in one of the chairs in the waiting room, with her head bowed and something grasped tightly in her hands. For some reason, the girl seemed familiar to Jake, but how he could know her, he had no idea. As if on cue, she lifted her head, and Jake suddenly realized where he recognized her. The teenager, who noticed Jake enter the room while arguing with the cop, watched intently as Jake quickly walked through the reception area and into the waiting room. The girl's eyes widened as she saw Jake approach her. The guy who was formerly arguing with the cop, excused himself and followed Jake into the waiting room, where he was staring at the object in the girl's hands.

"My jacket," he said softly, meeting the girl's gaze, "How did you find me, Kari?" Kari smiled as she gave Jake back his jacket.

"It was actually my brother who found you," she replied, blushing. The guy, presumably Kari's brother, reached the two and smiled.

"It's a good thing you found him, Kari," he said, "I was having no luck getting anything out of that cop." On closer inspection, Jake found Kari's brother's face to be light-hearted and easy-going. He had a unique hairstyle, which spread out to both extremes. He smiled and extended his hand to Jake, who grasped it. "I've heard a lot about you from Kari," he said. The comment made Kari's face go beet red. "My name's Taichi, but you can call me Tai." Jake smiled.

"I'm Jake Stevens," Jake replied. He threw on his jacket and addressed the Kamiya siblings. "I'd like to thank you both for taking the time to find me and to return my jacket." Tai shrugged his shoulders.

"Hey, it was the least I could do," he said, "That was a good thing you did, protecting those kids." Jake shrugged.

"You probably would have done the same thing," he replied. Tai smirked and nodded.

"Yeah, you're probably right," he said. He turned to Kari, and gave her a look. Kari sighed, and nodded.

"We have to get going, Jake," she said quietly. Jake looked at his watch and nodded.

"Yeah. It's getting late," he replied, turning to Tai, "It was nice meeting you, Tai." He smiled at them both, turned and walked to the door. "Maybe I'll see you guys later," he said, giving a small wave of his hand. He opened the door, and walked out of the station. Tai glanced over at his little sister, who watched Jake walk out of the building.

"Come on, sis," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders, "We should get home." Kari nodded, and the two of them walked out the door.

Jake walked back to the hotel in silence, with only his thoughts to accompany him. I should have been there, he thought angrily, if I had been there I could have stopped what happened, but no, I had to go and "find someone to talk to". He scoffed at himself in disgust. I have to stop thinking like this, he realized. These things must have happened for a reason, but why them?

When Jake reached the hotel, he paid no attention to the cops standing outside and walked straight in without paying them any mind. He walked up to his floor, and saw the door to his room to be slightly ajar. Creeping along the wall, he silently approached the door, hoping that the reason the door was open was simply a maid who forgot to close it. When he reached the frame of the door, he was able to make out voices.

"Have you found anything?" asked a voice, who sounded like a New Yorker for some strange reason.

"I'm afraid not," replied a second voice, which sounded almost ghostly. "Master, are you sure he is the chosen one?" the first voice asked, "We've searched every inch of this room, and we haven't found a digivice or a digi- egg anywhere." Jake's eyes widened. Digivice? What could they be talking about, he wondered.

"Believe me, my pawn, he is the one," replied a muffled voice, which sounded eerily familiar to Jake, "I could see it in his eyes." Suddenly, the realization hit Jake like a ton of bricks. That voice...it's him, he realized, finally, he's going to get what he deserves. He balled his fists and prepared to enter the room. "You can be of no more use to me there," the master replied, "Return to me now." Realizing that his prey might escape, Jake leapt into the room...to find that no one was there! He methodically searched the room for any sign of the intruders, but none remained. He sighed, and entered the bathroom to take a shower before he left. The hot water felt good on his tense muscles, and he was able to loosen up for the first time all day. After he had finished, as he dried his hair facing the mirror, his hands froze. The symbol, which had been traced over his heart, was now pitch black, and eerily cold to the touch. Confused and shaken, he dressed himself, gathered up his things and returned to the lobby to check out. As he did, the woman at the counter expressed her condolences, but he wasn't interested. He had a sullen look on his face as he walked out of the hotel and went to look for somewhere to live.

Tai and Kari walked in silence from the police station to their home. As they exited from the elevator, they saw a blonde-haired guy sitting in front of their door. Tai immediately pulled Kari close to him, and motioned for her to stay behind him. As they got closer, they guy came into focus. Tai breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that the guy was TK Takaishi, one of their fellow digidestined. When he saw their approach, TK got up and moved to meet them half way. When TK reached them, Tai noticed a worried look in his eyes.

"What's up, TK?" he asked. TK glanced over at Kari.

"Kari was supposed to meet me, Davis, Ken, Yolei and Cody for lunch, but she never showed up. Davis wanted to start a full search of both this world and the digital world for her, but the rest of us managed to convince him to let me stop over at your house to see if she was here." Tai smiled as he saw the worried look in TK's eyes as he glanced at Kari.

"Don't worry, TK," he replied, "We just had to return something to a friend. I should have gotten Kari to call you to tell you the change of plans, but we were in a hurry." He waved his hands teasingly in a shooing motion. "Now get going, lover boy, it's been a long day all around. I don't know about Kari, but I could use some rest." TK blushed at the "lover boy" comment, but nodded and, with a wave to Tai and Kari, walked to the elevator and disappeared within the doors. Tai shook his head in amazement, sighed and led his sister inside the apartment. Almost immediately after entering, the phone rang. Groaning, Tai rushed over and answered the phone. "Kamiya residence, Taichi speaking," he said.

"Hi, Tai," the voice on the other end replied. Tai's face brightened.

"Hey, Izzy," he said, "What's up?"

"Oh, you know, Tai, the usual," Izzy replied, "Working on my laptop, get yet another prophecy from Gennai about how both worlds are going to be destroyed. Same old, same old." Tai's eyebrows rose.

"Another prophecy?" he asked, slumping into a chair, "I think I've had enough of Gennai and his stupid prophecies."

"So have I, Tai," Izzy said, "but we're the only hope the digital world has, so we have to take this seriously." Tai sighed.

"I know, Izzy," he replied, "Come to the park near our apartment complex. I'll call up the other digidestined and meet you there."

"Will do," Izzy said, "Bye."

"Bye," Tai replied, clicking off the phone. Before he could replace it on the charger, however, it rang yet again. Groaning in despair, he brought the phone to his ear and answered. "Kamiya residence, Taichi speaking."

"Hey, man," the voice said. Tai smirked.

"Hey, Matt," Tai replied.

"We're on our way over, but we're caught in traffic," Matt said.

"No," Tai replied.

"Excuse me?" Matt asked, obviously taken aback.

"No. Don't even bother coming over, because you'll just have to go back out again," Tai said, "Izzy just got some news from Gennai, so just meet us in the park. Call Joe and tell him to meet us there as well, and I'll gather up the younger crew."

"Alright, man, we drive right by Joe's house, so we'll pick him up," Matt replied, "See you there."

"Yeah, bye," Tai said, clicking off the phone. He walked over to Kari, who was drinking a glass of water at the kitchen table. "Kari, I need you to call the younger digidestined and tell them to meet us in the park," Tai said, smirking, "It's time they experienced they're first prophecy." Kari smiled and nodded, and ran out of the apartment before Tai could say anything else. Tai smiled, shook his head and headed down to the park.

Jake glanced at the address in the newspaper. Yeah, he thought, this is the place. He studied the place intently, taking in every detail, every nook and cranny. He walked through the parking lot to the door. Drawing in a breath, he pushed open the door and crept inside. He saw goods stacked in the warehouse from corner to corner, and it was apparent why help was needed here. Near the back of the warehouse, he saw a darkly tanned, muscular man coming his way with a load of boxes grasped in his arms.

"Can I help you?" he asked when he arrived.

"I'm looking for a job," Jake responded, "I saw your ad in the paper, and I was wondering if the position was still open." The man grunted.

"Yeah, it's still open," he replied.

"What are the rates?" Jake asked. The man scratched his head.

"Eight dollars an hour," he said.

"I don't know." Jake replied, thoughtfully.

"I'm telling you, kid, this is the best offer you're gonna get anywhere around here," the warehouse owner said. Jake frowned.

"I guess you're right," he conceded, "Do you know anywhere around here where I can live for cheap?" The man's brow furrowed in concentration for a moment before responding.

"I can let you live in the room upstairs," he said, "but that means I'll only be able to pay you minimum wage." Jake nodded.

"That's good enough for me," he replied, extending his hand, "My name is Jake Stevens, mister..." The man smiled and shook his head.

"Oh no, no, no," he said, sounding shocked, "'Mister' nothing. Just call me Victor, that's what all my employees do." Victor accepted Jake's hand warmly. "Welcome to the real world," he said.

Now that Jake's life has settled down (more or less), how will he cope with living on his own? What's Gennai's new prophecy all about? And why was someone (if you've read the previous chapter, you know who I'm talking about) searching Jake's former hotel room? This and more in the next chapter of "Digimon: A New Beginning"

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