An answer for 'since when does Yusuke care what the toddler thinks': He's making up excuses so he doesn't have to admit to himself that he's worried about Keiko's safety. Hey, he's never been the brightest bulb in the box, but he manages to survive somehow…

And as for the Spirit-Energy-Not-Affecting-Digimon thing…I explain it in this chapter. It's my theory, my story, and it all works out in the end. So there.

Any ideas are greatly welcome! Especially for fight scenes…those are hard…

Disclaimer: You all know I don't own this stuff. Why should I restate myself?

Digimon Hakusho

Chapter 4: Joining Forces (Reluctantly)

"Whattya mean the thing I fought wasn't a demon?!"

T.K. regained consciousness to that yell. His vision blurred a moment, the re-focused with a blink to reveal that he was lying in a green-clothed bed, in the middle of a neatly kept bedroom. There was a window open to one side, and a door to the other, so he could hear the commotion going on down-stairs.

He sat up, groaning, then groped at the wound he was sure had been in his left shoulder. To his surprise, it was completely gone, with barely a scar. The only remnants of it was a dull ache, as though he had been in pain moments ago.

"Just like I said, Yusuke." an unfamiliar female voice floated up as he stumbled out of bed. "It may sound strange, but the creature that went after you and Keiko wasn't a demon. It was…oh, how do I explain this…"

"My Spirit Gun barely made a dent in the thing!" the one identified as Yusuke was shouting at the top of his lungs. "It just kept coming, how the hell does that happen?"

"The creature you fought was on a completely different wave-length than your Spirit Gun!" the girl snapped. "It just slid off it! That's how it works!"

T.K. managed to make his way to the open door, and was now standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at the noise-makers. The two that were yelling at each other were the black-haired-street-punk from the other day, and an unfamiliar blue-haired girl dressed in a blue sailor-school-girl uniform. Scattered around the room were the other three from the ally, including that red-haired boy.

It was he who spoke now, addressing the blue-haired girl. "Botan…The creatures that attacked me were both obviously of demon origin. I felt it, caught its sent…If what Yusuke fought wasn't a demon, what was it?"

The girl…Botan, T.K. guessed, brushed her hair back. "It's…well, to be perfectly blunt, it's a computer program."

T.K. stiffened a bit, steadying himself against the banister as the orange-haired boy sat up. "A computer? You're joking!"

"Completely serious." Botan sighed, dropping into a chair.

The blue-haired ferry girl eyed her companions a moment before she continued. "It's hard to explain. Originally, these things were data left over from the creation of the internet in the 1970s-1980s. Something about their information let them group together and create beings of artificial intelligence called…called Di…Digimon, I believe."

"'Digimon'?" Yusuke asked incredulously.

"It's supposed to be short for 'Digital Monsters', and that's quite literally what they are. This program that created them has even made a whole other dimension in the mainframe of the internet." Botan checked her notes. "I believe that would be where they've taken Keiko and that other girl."

"Wait a sec!" Kuwabara interrupted. "If this is all some computer program, how can Keiko be inside it? That's impossible!"

"I don't know how to explain it!" Botan snapped, the stress starting to wear on her. "The program has somehow taken on the solid form of a completely different dimension, a whole other world, populated by creatures as powerful as demons! Some of them are pretty pathetic, the lower 'levels' are mostly the strength of an E-superior, but the highest ones, those that cause the most trouble, could be as strong as A-inferiors, or more powerful than that!"

"And how're we supposed to fight these things if Spirit Energy simply moves away from them?" Kurama asked, and Hiei 'hn'ed in agreement.

"When you enter their world, your energy will change to the same wavelength as their digital data." Botan sighed. "Only in their…'Digital World'…can you harm them with any human or demon tactics. So we need to find a way to go there."

"How?" Yusuke asked, sitting down. "Is there some password?"

"……I don't know." Botan admitted. Yusuke sagged into his chair. "There are supposed to be a group of people that travel freely between this world and theirs. A sort of…connection, I guess. I'm assuming that Kari girl is one of them, but how they get in, I don't know…"

"I do."

The group snapped their heads up. The blonde-haired boy was standing at the foot of the stairs, holding on to the banister. He looked like he'd just woken up, and was rather dizzy.

"You…heard all that?" Botan got blue in the face.

"Kinda hard not too." Yusuke admitted, jumping up. "But never mind that, what did you say about having a way to get there?"

The blonde boy reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a small, green-and-white plastic toy. He held it out for them to see. "This." he finally stated. "Is how to get in."

"That little thing?!" Kuwabara cried. "You have GOT to be KIDDING!! There's no way somethin' that small could…"

"It opens the gate." the blonde one explained quietly. "You open the gate, you can get to the Digital World."

Botan reached forward. "If you'll just let us borrow it for a while…"

He snatched his hand up. "They only work for one person." he muttered seriously. "And this one only works for me."

Yusuke smirked, stepping up to the guy. Although T.K. was tall for his age, Yusuke was a couple of years older than he was, and quite a bit more intimidating.

"I get it." Yusuke chuckled. "You're looking for a way to get back 'in' with that little girlfriend of yours, aren'cha? So you go in for a knight and shining armor routine, but you can't manage it all on your own…"

"Shut up!" T.K. snapped, glaring at him. "Do you want my help or not?"

The five in the room glanced at each other a moment, then Kurama shrugged. "Okay. It looks like you'll have to come along. But don't say we didn't warn you…it'll be dangerous."

"Excuse me?" T.K. narrowed his eyes. "I've been going there and back since I was eight. If anyone should be lecturing on the danger there, it should be me."

Yusuke stifled a laugh. He kinda liked this kid, overprotective as he may have been. "Alright then." he clapped the younger boy on the shoulder. "We'll have to get going ASAP. Think you'll be ready tomorrow…T.K., wasn't it?"

"Takeru." the blonde muttered sourly, brushing his hand away. "It's Takeru. Only my…friends…call me T.K."

Kari groaned a bit, shifting uncertainly. The stone she was lying on was rough and cold, it felt slick to her touch. The familiar sub-feeling of electricity in the air told her that she was in the Digital World.

Wait a second…Digital World?!

She sat up suddenly, looking around. She was apparently in the middle of a small, featureless room with no door, window, or any kind of entrance. The only light she could see what a small orb, hanging like a bulb, just above her head.

What had…? Who had…? Where did…?

Her brain felt scrambled and shaken. She closed her eyes a moment to try and calm herself, but it didn't work, and she opened them again.

The café. She had been at the café with Kurama…Then that explosion…Kurama had covered her from the attack…Then those Digimon, and…and T.K.…and…

A slight noise from beside her got her attention. She looked over just as another girl, dressed in a powder-blue-and-yellow uniform she recognized from Sarayashiki Jr. High, sat up with a slight groan. Her hair was about shoulder-length and brown, messy as it fell into dark brown eyes.

"Ooh…My head…" she muttered, messaging her temples. "What was that thing…?"

She looked up and locked eyes with Kari. The two girls stared at each other a moment, then the one in blue sat back. "Who're you?"

"Uh…Kari Kamiya." The younger one blinked. "And…you are…?"

"Keiko Yukimura." she glanced around the small room, taking in her own set of details. "Any idea where we are?"

"Not really, no." Kari shifted a bit uncomfortably. Something about this whole situation made her a bit nervous.

"…Somehow I bet Yusuke's involved in this." Keiko muttered under her breath, eyes shifting to look at the ceiling. "If he would just warn me about this kinda thing, we could probably…"

"Who's Yusuke?" Kari interrupted, blinking curiously.

Keiko looked back at her blankly, then sighed and shook her head. "Oh…just my boyfriend…" she sighed, looking around. "I wonder how we can get out of here…If Kuwabara or Kurama was around we could probably just break out."

"Yeah…Or Gatomon or Digmon would be nice…" Kari suddenly did a double-take. "Wait a sec, you know Kurama?!"

Keiko stared blankly. "You mean you know Kurama?" she gaped. "Not just… Shuichi? Minamino-san? But Kurama?"

"Yes." Kari leaned forward. "What's so strange about that?"

"You have no idea…" Keiko shifted so that she could lean against the wall. "Well…if we're gonna get out of here, I suppose you really should know what we're up against…"

Kari shifted as well. She didn't exactly know who the girl was, or why they were there, or who had brought them there in the first place, but she did know that melding their ideas was going to take quite a while…

TBC…

Okay…I'm not exactly happy with the ending, but I got another chapter done! Yeah for me!! It'll probably take a while for the next chapter…unless I get some good ideas…

Until next time…

GS