The Creature in the Mirror
Niki "NeeP" Paradis
"Aren't you coming with us, Dad?" asked Jamie
Kido as he picked up his book bag from the table near the door.
"Sorry, Jamie. Not this time."
"Why are you staying, Joe?" asked Tadpole.
"There's just something that I have to do, guys,"
replied Joe Kido. "You can go without me."
The young boy and his gomamon partner exited the
"Are you certain about this Joe?" asked Goma as
he followed Jamie and Tadpole out the front door.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. You guys have a good
time. Stay out of trouble."
"I'll watch them, Joe."
"I was talking about you."
It was obvious that the small Digimon wasn't convinced
about how everything was okay with his partner, but he realized that there
was no point in arguing or even bringing the subject up. It was the
one subject that everyone was avoiding. He sighed and exited the
Joe watched as his family went on their way to the
library, leaving him alone in the house. He would normally join them
on their bi-weekly trip, but he felt he had to face something that he had
been avoiding for a long time. He locked the front door and went
into the bedroom. He glanced at the unmade basket-bed that belonged
to his partner, and shrugged as he had more pressing things on his mind
besides cleaning house. As it was, he was in a distracted state of
mind as he unbuttoned the collar of his cloak and threw casually behind
He walked into the bathroom. He took a casual
glance into the mirror and flinched. He spun around immediately to
face the opposite wall.
This was the moment of truth. This is when
he would finally have to accept what has happened to him. He knew
that he couldnít ignore things anymore... He took a deep breath.
"Here goes nothing..." he muttered as he spun back
to look at the mirror again at his reflection. The most curious looking
creature stared back at him.
"That can't be me," he mumbled. "That can't
possibly be me..." But the reflection mouthed the words along with
him, and copied every movement he made.
Joe had been avoiding mirrors for the last four
months like it was part of some new quasi-religion. But the truth
was that he just didn't want to acknowledge the changes in his body.
The way he figured it was that if he didn't see the changes, they couldn't
be happening. Yeah, you probably could call it denial. But
just the day before, he had been forced to look in a full-length mirror
by his friends. They made him acknowledge the changes that had happened
to him. He just didnít know what to think.
But you have to understand... Until six months
ago, Joe Kido was a slightly overweight 43-year-old divorcee with an 11-year-old
son, two Digimon and a medical practice in two worlds. That wasn't
the case anymore --wait, that's not true. All of the above applied,
except for the overweight part. --And the fact that Joe was no longer
The creature in his reflection was the same height
as Joe, and humanoid. Heck, it was pretty much human except for certain
details. It even resembled him to some degree.
Joe shook his head, silently scolding himself.
Face it Joe, that's you. Stop referring
to your reflection like it wasn't a part of you.
He faced his reflection again.
Brilliant violet eyes with long lashes peered through
a pair of glasses. Delicate blue markings were underneath each eye
on his cheeks. Slightly pointed ears poked up through blue-black
hair that was starting to grow out again. And he just had it cut
Joe sighed. His face was thinner than it used
to be, but that would be due to the weight loss that he experienced.
So now his chin was almost pointed again --like it was when he was thirteen.
All of the laugh-lines and the worry-lines around his eyes and mouth that
he had earned over the years have completely disappeared. And he
hadn't needed to shave in the last four months --which was the reason why
he hadn't bothered to look at his reflection in the mirror.
Due to a changed metabolism and increased exercise,
he had lost about six pants sizes, going from a size 44 to a size 38.
But he wasn't all skin and bone; he was in better shape too. The
exercise and weight training that Koujou prescribed helped a whole lot.
He wasn't bulky, but there was obviously muscle where there wasn't any
He slipped out of his tank top, allowing it to hang
around his waist, and looked in the mirror again. He was surprised
to discover that he had developed a bit of a six-pack.
Physically, he looked rather good, he admitted to
himself. All in all, he looked like a young man of about twenty years
But the piece de resistance was the set of large
purple and white butterfly-like wings that grew from his back. That
was what designated Joe as something other than human.
Carefully, he stretched them out as far as they
could go --which wasn't very far, since the bathroom was not a very large
room. The wings were both magnificent, and surreal. The upper
pair of wings were broader and longer than the lower pair. The deepest
purple was where his wings met flesh, then faded to violet, then a pale
lavender then white towards the wingtips with purple spots in the whitest
patches. He reached behind himself and tentatively touched an upper
wing. It felt soft, like velvet and suede combined. He still
had trouble believing that the wings were his.
Joe sighed. Pretty much everything else that
happened to him had to do with those wings. And there were a lot
A human's skeletal structure is too dense to be
supported in the air. So Joe's bone structure changed from solid,
like a mammal's to hollow, like a bird's. That was about a third
of his original weight gone.
His metabolism changed too. He also had to
eat more often and plenty more than the average human. Apparently
flying required a lot of energy. To provide the necessary energy,
he had to eat much more than he was accustomed to. At least he could
afford the food.
New wing muscles have developed as well. They
were attached from his wings to various places on his back, on his sides
and chest. They weren't obvious to the casual observer, but they
were just barely noticeable to a guy who spent most of his life studying
Joe was encouraged to build up his upper chest muscles
and increase his endurance so that he could handle the effort it would
take to fly. As an added bonus was that he managed to get into shape
while he was at it. The funny thing was it didn't even occur to him
that he was getting into shape while he was weight lifting --and he's a
doctor! But in hindsight, that might be due to his promise to the
Digital Guardian and Koujou that he would be worthy of the wings that he
But despite his muscle gain and his larger appetite,
Joe still had lost a lot of weight. Practically half of it!
He went from 86kg (190lbs) down to 44kg (97lbs). That was due mostly
to the restructuring of his skeletal mass, and the change in his metabolism
and the exercise, which burned away all of the extra fat that he was carrying.
He was still strong despite his mass. He was
no pushover. And he was stronger than he looked. Sorta like
an ant that can carry twice its bodyweight. He could pick up things
that were way more than twice his mass. It was kinda creepy.
The most uncomfortable thing about the changes that have happened was
the fact that he didn't know what he was anymore. But his human patients,
neighbours and friends all had an idea. Joe just didn't like it.
He didn't agree. Fairies were delicate little
graceful beings. Joe was taller than most people with all of the
inherent grace of an ox with wings. The term, 'fairy' could not possibly
be applied to him.
Joe sighed again as he pulled his backless tank-top back on.
The purpose of his tank top was to preserve his modesty. He slipped
his arms back into the sleeves of the skimpy black top and left the washroom,
looking around for his short cloak. He found it on his bed in his
room where he left it. He threw it over his shoulders and fastened
it around his neck. He straightened it out by tugging at the hem.
The cloak was made to protect him from the elements, like a shirt or sweater
--at least until someone could come up with a fitted shirt that would not
pinch his wings. The hem of the garment barely reached his navel
allowing Joe full arm movement, and the cream fabric helped him look a
little more professional under Joe's unique circumstances, especially since
he could no longer wear the white coat that was the traditional dress uniform
for doctors, nor the sweaters that he preferred.
He popped back into the washroom and took another
glance at the mirror, checking to see if he looked respectable enough.
The young looking being in the mirror looked presentable,
if a bit exotic looking. It would have to do, he thought. It
was just that his ability to blend into the crowd was forever gone --unless
the rest of the humans of Japan grew wings as well. He didn't think
it was too likely.
The wings were actually a gift from the Digital
Guardian, Marlise. She didn't give him a chance to refuse her gift
though. She said that it was her way of thanking him for looking
out for Joey, the Digital Child. But Joe would have helped Joey anyway.
He knew it must be hard for the boy to figure out his place within two
worlds. Joe figured that Marlise knew that too. But when he
realized what was happening to him, he begged the Guardian to remove the
wings, but Marlise refused, saying that she needed him to have them.
Joe was frustrated. He still didn't know why he needed to have the
And Koujou was no help! Kenobi Koujou was
an assistant to Izzy Izumi. He was the one who had experience in
making movie monsters and he had an education as a veterinarian.
Joe often went to him when trying to figure out how a particular Digimon
was 'put together', so that he could treat his digital patients better.
Koujou refused to just let Joe ignore the new appendages that were growing
in. He pretty much told Joe that not only was he going to be wearing
wings for the rest of his life, he was going to wear them well. So,
he designed an exercise regiment to prepare the doctor for his fate.
Well, Joe saw what the results of that exercise
program produced... Not to mention all of the mothers of his human
patients got to see as well.
Another sigh. Joe looked around his room and
noticed the calendar. He went towards it to study the notes written
According the information scribbled
on it, the coming Sunday was the Digi-Destined semi-annual get-together.
It was when the original and the second group of world savers got together,
with their kids, for food, fun and friendship --and gossip.
And, as he was told, it will be the weekend when
he will be expected to learn to fly. 'Spread his wings and soar',
as Tai put it --with a grin, no less!
Joe thought about it. Flying.
The thought scared him. And it was exciting at the same time.
No one else but the birds and some Digimon could fly.
Once he did learn, though, he will never be able
to go back to being ordinary. That was another thing that spooked
him. Joe did and did not want to be recognised. On one hand,
he always wanted to be noticed --to have people to remember him as something
other than ordinary plain Joe Kido, but not in this way. Not as a
freak, even if a nice looking one.
He shrugged to himself. Better to think of
more mundane things. Sora and Matt were coming over to take him clothes
shopping in the morning. Apparently, Sora did not trust Joe to choose
his own clothes (she had a point), and as a designer, she felt that she
had a good idea of what would suit him. For one thing, he definitely
needed pants that fit. All of the pants that he did have were too
large for him. And he needed something to learn how to fly in, like
jeans. Work clothes were probably not the best things to fall to
the ground in, and Joe had a feeling that he would be doing that a lot.
Another sigh. He felt apprehensive about the
whole shopping experience. What does a person dress a winged doctor
in? Most of his life, he had someone to pick his clothes for him.
First, it was his mother, then his ex-wife, Yukiko. They always chose
serious looking clothes in shades of brown and beige that were most suitable
for a physician. He knew that Sora will not limit herself to dressing
him in such sombre outfits.
Clothes make the man, he supposed, or whatever
he was. He stood out enough as it is --And who knows what Sora was
going to dress him in.
But shopping was for tomorrow. Today was the
day to deal with reconciling himself to his reflection, and to figure out
how his new body was going to fit in with his lifestyle. The biggest
challenge for him would be to find his new place in society.
Wings wouldn't affect his job. He needed his
hands and his skills, and those didn't change. His young human patients
will be more curious than afraid about his being different, and his Digimon
patients wouldn't care --changes are natural in the Digi-World, after all.
He then decided that he will learn how to fly.
Why not? If he was given the ability to do something that other people
couldn't, it would be a shame to waste it. And it was the practical
thing to do. Wings should not be ornamental, no matter how pretty
they may be... His friends all supported him and want to see him
in the air. Who knows? It might even be fun.
Joe smiled. The best thing that he could do
right now is to take everything one day at a time. And who knows,
maybe everything will turn out all right for the curious winged creature
that he saw in the bathroom mirror.