Chapter One: Blame and Guilt
*Standard Disclaimer: Who doesn't own any rights to Digimon and its characters? That's right, ME!*
Author's Note: Following in the steps of "Walkabout," "Yolei: Rise, Learn, Grow," and "Justice" comes "Unheard Voices." This is TK's story arch. We'll see just how well things go. Sorry this took so long in getting out. I was slightly impeded by the fact that Fan Fiction.net does not work with Internet Explorer 5.0 anymore. I had to upgrade to 5.5 before I could post my stories again.
Special thanks go to ChrsDud, who helped me come up with the title for this series. As always, reviews, suggestions, and comments are always welcome. Flames are also accepted, but I've never found insight through a flame..
Takeru "TK" Takashi ran down the school hall in the late afternoon. A basketball practice scrimmage had gone into overtime, and TK was now running late. He sprinted towards the computer room and skidded to a halt in front of the door. He could hear the other Digidestined talking inside.
It had only been two days since the defeat of GrandKuwagamon and Cody's success in getting Armadillomon to crystal digivolve into Creeyamon. Spirits were high due to the fact that the Digidestined now had three Crystal Digimon on their side. Ken, who was still reluctant to permanently ally himself with the others, had clearly stated that he did not want to try and digivolve Wormmon into a Crystal Digimon. He was still getting over his period as the Digimon Emperor, and so he did not trust himself with too much power.
The Digidestined were now resuming their original plan to destroy all the control spires left over from the Digimon Emperor's reign. Their original efforts had been interrupted by Okuwamon/GrandKuwagamon's attack. Now that he was out of the way, the Digidestined were free to resume their clean up of the Digital World. However, the team was still troubled over the mysterious headband that had controlled GrandKuwagamon. They had been unable to find the headband after the battle in the Digital World, and so they could only conclude that it had somehow escaped, possibly by taking control of another Digimon.
After today's round of destroying control spires, the Digidestined planned to contact Gennai and ask him about the old man who had first appeared with the headband. TK's body trembled slightly at the memory of GrandKuwagamon destroying the old man after the headband had left him. He had acted confused and lost, as if he hadn't been in control of his own body at the time. The memory of the unknown human vanishing in a flash of red was almost as terrible as TK's memory of Angemon using up all his power to defeat Devimon. TK hoped that he'd never have to go through that again. He also hoped Gennai would know something about the old man and the headband. The last thing the Digidestined needed right now was a wild card running around causing trouble.
TK opened the door and entered the computer lab. Yolei and Poromon were sitting at the computer, surfing the net, while everyone else discussed where they should go next. Davis looked up, "Hey, long time no see, TK." He smirked.
TK grumbled, "Knock it off."
Davis held up his hands, "Hey, it was just a joke."
Kari looked at TK with a look of concern. "Are you okay?"
TK nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine." Actually, he was very annoyed with his coach for making the team stay longer than practice required. TK had no problem with playing overtime, but he had told his coach that he had been in a hurry and couldn't stay after practice, but his coach had refused to let TK go. That made TK so mad, but he didn't want to show it in front of the others. He knew it wouldn't be like his usual "kind self" to show so much anger over such a small matter.
Kari nodded to his answer, but she didn't look entirely convinced. TK asked, "So, have we decided where we're going?"
Davis shook his head, "Not yet. Kari wants to check out a mountain range, Yolei says that there's a city with an inactive spire, and Cody wants to look in a large forest."
TK arched an eyebrow, "And where do you want to go?"
Davis grinned, "Where else? The beach!" Everyone except TK groaned.
TK said, "Actually, the beach sounds nice. It would be good for us to work somewhere pleasant for a change. We've been going to some pretty hostile places lately. There was the battle in the Ancient Valley, the attack at Meadow Town, the fight with Okuwamon, and then the battle with GrandKuwagamon. We deserve an easy mission for once."
Davis smiled and looked at the others, "Hear that? TK agrees with me."
Yolei folded her arms and held her nose high, "We heard you Davis, our ears are plenty big enough to hear your huge voice."
Davis grimaced and mumbled, "Yeah, your ears are almost as big as your mouth."
In a heartbeat, Yolei was right in Davis' face, grabbing hold of the front of his shirt. There was fire in her eyes. "What was that?!"
"N-n-nothing!" Davis whimpered. TK shook his head at Davis and Yolei's argument. Yolei's scarier than any Digimon! Davis picked the wrong fight. Yolei let go and returned to the computer. Davis heaved a sigh of relief.
Kari said, "Well, I think TK's right about us deserving a break. The beach would be a nice place to go."
Cody considered. TK half-expected Cody to say no and point out that there were more immediate concerns, but, instead, Cody agreed. "I have no objections."
Davis clapped Cody on the back, "Now you're talking! Let's hit the beach!" All the Digimon cheered in agreement.
Yolei spoke up, "Um, I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but you should see this." Everyone gathered around Yolei and looked at the computer screen. The map of the Digital World was displayed before them, but every sector was displayed in pure white. All the control spires were gone.
Everyone shouted at once, "WHAT?" They all moved their faces closer to the screen, knocking Yolei to the back of the group in the process. "HEY! Watch it!"
None of the others reacted to Yolei. Kari asked, "Where could they have all gone?"
Davis said, "Ken said he once tried to delete all the spires from his home computer. Maybe he finally got rid of them all?"
Cody shook his head, "He also said that his computer didn't have the power to destroy them all. I doubt he found a way to remove all the spires in just two nights, even if he is a genius." TK noticed that Cody no longer tensed up at the mention of Ken's name.
Kari said, "Maybe the Digimon decided to get rid of the spires on their own?"
TK shook his head, "I an see that happening eventually, but not all at once. Could someone have taken all the spires?"
Yolei asked, "To where? It's not like you can hide a bunch of control spires easily. Ken could barely hide one spire from us at a time, let alone hundreds."
Demiveemon said, "Maybe Gennai knows. Let's ask him."
Davis nodded and took out his digiterminal. He keyed in Gennai's e-mail and sent a quick message. A few moments later, Gennai's old face appeared on the main computer. "Greetings, Digidestined."
Yolei blinked. She whispered, "That's Gennai? He looks like a human prune."
"YOLEI!" Davis hissed. Yolei apologized meekly.
TK asked, "Gennai, have you been keeping an eye on what's been happening in the Digital World?"
Gennai nodded, "Of course. I don't get cable and I'm living at the bottom of a lake. Watching the Digital World is the only thing keeping me from dying of boredom!"
Kari smiled, then grew serious again. "Did you see what happened to all the control spires? They've vanished."
Gennai shook his head, "I'm sorry, but I do not know what happened to them. One moment the spires were in their respective locations, then, suddenly, they were gone. I don't know how they vanished without leaving a trace, or where they could have gone. All I can say is that a very powerful force must have been involved to accomplish such a feat."
Davis' voice was dry and sarcastic, "Oh, great. I'm sure this force will be really good for us!"
Gennai nodded, "Indeed. You should all be on guard. There might be a new enemy gaining strength."
TK said, "Gennai, we saw an old man about two days ago. He was wearing some kind of strange headband that took possession over Digimon's bodies. Kari got a picture of him." Kari plugged her digital camera into the computer and e-mailed the picture to Gennai.
Gennai's face fell as he looked at the image. "Lazio!"
Cody frowned, "You know this man?"
Gennai said, "Yes. Even after all these years I recognize the old coot. Lazio was a member of the order that created the crests, tags, and digivices, just as I was. I had thought he was dead, killed in Piedmon's attack. He must have survived the attack somehow and escaped. But, why didn't he come to the storage area where my house is? That was our fallback spot in the event of the main base falling."
Kari said, "Your friend, Lazio, acted pretty confused after the headband came off him. Maybe he was being controlled by it too?"
Gennai said, "I'm not sure. I've never seen this headband before, nor have I ever heard of anything like it. It is possible that it possessed him before he could reach me, but I cannot be certain. Where is Lazio now?"
Davis spoke hesitantly, "H-he was killed by GrandKuwagamon."
Gennai's face became hard. "I see… Everyone, please be very careful. A storm is brewing. I can feel it. You'd all do well to keep your guard up."
TK nodded, "We understand." Gennai bid them goodbye, and his face vanished from the screen.
Davis asked, "So, what now?"
Cody said, "Well, we don't have any leads just yet, so there's no reason to go searching for the controls spires right now. I think we should sit tight and wait for something to happen. I'm sure we won't have to wait long."
Davis perked up, "Let's still go to the beach!"
Cody replied. "I'm all for some fun, Davis, but we still need to keep our guard up. Going to the beach in the Digital World wouldn't be the smartest thing to do right now." TK nodded. Cody had learned to loosen up a little, but he was still the most focused of the group.
TK was about to talk to Kari when Yolei spoke up. "Hey! I know! There's a sale going on at the computer store downtown. Cody, don't you want to look at the computer upgrades? And Kari, you can check out all the digital cameras they got there!"
Cody shrugged, "It's better than sitting on our hands and waiting. I'll go."
Kari nodded, "Me too." She looked at TK and Davis. "You two want to come?"
Davis shook his head, "Sorry, there's something else I want to take care of."
TK said, "Um, me too. I-I can't go right now." He had wanted to ask Kari if she wanted to go for some ice cream together, but Yolei had pretty much torpedoed that idea. He wasn't sure what to do now.
Kari said, "Okay, we'll see you later." Kari, Yolei, Cody, and their Digimon all left the computer lab. Davis sat down at the computer and keyed in a sector of the Digital World.
Patamon asked, "What are you guys doing?"
Davis replied, "Demiveemon and I are going back to Meadow Town."
TK asked, "What for?"
Davis sighed, "I didn't get a chance to talk to ExTyranomon about Blossomon and how he was being controlled by ExPiedmon when he betrayed the town. I want to clear up Blossomon's name. Okuwamon got in the way last time. Since we're not going to the beach, or destroying spires, now's as good a time as any to clear things up." Davis looked at TK. "You wanna come?"
TK was a little taken aback. It was rare for Davis to invite TK to do something with him without Kari and the others being around. TK asked, "Why me?"
Davis replied, "You looked a little lonely when Kari said she'd go with Yolei and Cody." His look was half-sympathetic, half-angry because he knew that TK had intended to ask Kari to go somewhere with just himself. TK was surprised that Davis, of all people, had noticed TK's expression.
TK considered. He didn't have too much homework, and his mother would be working late that night, just like she did every night. TK nodded, "Okay, I'll go."
Patamon jumped on top of TK's head, "Me too!"
Demiveemon smiled, "Then let's go!" Davis activated the digiport, and they all vanished into the computer.
* * * * * * * *
TK and Davis exited the digiport in the middle of a large forest. TK recognized this area as the forest just outside of Meadow Town. The two humans and their Digimon walked in silence for a long while. TK knew that he and Davis had a history of awkward silence when they were alone. When they had walked through the desert to reach Full Metal City and save Kari from Andromon, they had barely said more than two words to each other. The only real conversation had been complaints and arguments. That had been the only time they worked together in the Digital World. On Earth, TK and Davis rarely talked to each other unless they were in a group. They hadn't quarreled since Davis' walkabout, but there was still some distance between them.
There was a slight rustling in the woods. Davis jumped, "What was that?" A Numamon scurried out of the bushes and down the road. Davis visibly relaxed and TK chuckled.
"Real brave, Davis."
Davis fumed, "Hey! You'd be on edge too if you been chased through these woods by Darklizardmon too!"
TK was somewhat glad to have a conversation strike up. "Sounds like Darklizardmon was pretty scary."
Davis folded his arms, "I-I wasn't scared."
Veemon asked, "Then why were you running so fast when he was chasing us?" Davis glared at his partner.
Patamon asked, "I've never seen a Darklizardmon, what did he look like?"
Davis said, "Take Greymon (minus the horns on his head), give him a metal skull and metal claws, cover his body in black flames, and give him an attitude ten times worse than our gym teacher. That's Darklizardmon in a nutshell."
TK nodded, "With a description like that, I can see why you're a little edgy."
Davis huffed, "I am not edgy!" There was another rustling, and Davis jumped a mile into the air. Everyone else laughed. Davis had a sour expression on his face, "Ha, ha, very funny."
TK remembered that he should laugh at Davis so much. "Sorry, Davis, but you have to admit that it was just a little funny."
Davis nodded, "Yeah, I guess… HEY! LOOK OUT!" He pointed over TK's shoulder.
"What?" TK whirled around, half-expecting to see a Darklizardmon at that very moment. There was nothing but trees behind him. Davis, Veemon, and even Patamon burst out laughing. TK scowled, "Oh, good one."
Davis said, "Sorry, but now we're even. Okay?" TK nodded. They continued to walk, lapsing back into silence again. They remained silent until they reached the edge of the forest and beheld Meadow Town. The town was even larger than TK remembered. This town just keeps growing and growing. It wouldn't be too long before the town would probably be renamed Meadow City.
TK said, "What are the odds the towns-Digimon will swarm us again?"
Davis sighed, "About 99.99999%." They entered the town hesitantly. TK noticed Davis glance over at the patch of land were he had once erected a small memorial mound to Blossomon after the Digimon's death. Upon their last visit to Meadow Town, Davis had found out that the mound had been defaced and ruined, and now there was a house where the mound should have been. These Digimon just can't forgive Blossomon. I hope Davis can convince them to forgive him. It's not like he betrayed them intentionally.
"Look! Digidestined!" Here we go again! TK mentally groaned as a flock of Digimon came to greet them. Meadow Town Digimon were notorious hero-worshipers. Patamon perched himself as high on TK's head as far as he could go while Veemon hid behind Davis, and Davis hid behind TK.
Davis called from behind TK, "Could we please see ExTyrannomon?" The two Digidestined began to wade their way through the crowd of overly anxious Digimon in search of the town leader.
"Digidestined Davis! Digidestined TK! Over here!" The comical-looking ExTyrannomon waved at them frantically from inside a nearby building. TK and Davis went into a sprint through the crowd of Digimon and entered ExTyrannomon's building. He slammed the door behind them. Loud thumps could be heard even as TK, Davis, and their Digimon regained their composure. Shouts came from the outside, and the Digimon were chanting, "Digidestined, Digidestined, Digidestined…"
TK shook his head, "They don't give up, do they?"
Davis smiled and shrugged, "The price of stardom."
ExTyrannomon apologized profusely, "I'm so terribly sorry for what happened. I'm afraid the towns-Digimon are still too anxious to see you. In fact, your popularity has risen since you last saved Meadow Town from Okuwamon. But let's not dwell on such things." He provided his guests with chairs and drink, and then asked, "What brings you back to our fair town?"
Davis took a deep breath and explained their reasons for returning. He told ExTyrannomon about the battle with ExPiedmon. Davis also explained how ExPiedmon had used Darklizardmon to attack Meadow Town in order to steal Digimon energy, and how Blossomon had been a victim of ExPiedmon's mind controlling powers. "So, you see, Blossomon didn't betray the town on purpose. ExPiedmon messed with his head, and so he wasn't thinking clearly. I know that doesn't undo the damage that's been done, but can you at least explain to the towns-Digimon that it really wasn't Blossomon's fault?"
ExTyrannomon nodded grimly. "I see… I thank you, Digidestined Davis. I knew that Blossomon was incapable of betrayal on his own, and you have confirmed my faith in him. Unfortunately, I do not think my fellow Digimon will agree with you."
Davis looked crestfallen, "What? Why?"
ExTyrannomon sighed. His normally prim and proper voice was deep and serious. "After Darklizardmon's attack, many Digimon began to look for a scapegoat. Blossomon was the obvious choice for the blame to fall upon. By being able to blame someone, many Digimon feel that they have control over the situation, and that the disastrous attack of Darklizardmon was not a simple streak of bad luck. It was Blossomon's fault, and since he's gone, it can never happen again. At least, that's what the Digimon believe."
TK said, "That's not fair! How can they blame one Digimon for all that?"
ExTyrannomon said, "It's not a question of fairness. It's a question of control. Digimon do what it takes to feel as if they are in control. It is surprising and troubling just how much control one feels when they are able to blame someone else." TK bowed his head. Some humans are like that too.
Davis asked, "So, we can't tell the towns-Digimon the truth?"
ExTyrannomon replied, "We can, but I'm afraid that the truth will fall on deaf ears. But, I'm sure that Blossomon's friends, Floramon and Deramon, will be heartened to know the truth. They never stopped believing in Blossomon's goodness."
Davis smiled sadly, "I'm glad. Thanks, ExTyrannomon. Thanks for listening to us." TK watched Davis with a great deal of concern. It was very clear that Blossomon had become a good friend to Davis in a short amount of time. TK knew that Davis had sworn to clear Blossomon's name, but now that looked impossible.
TK placed a hand on Davis' shoulder. "Hey, don't worry. I'm sure the Meadow Town Digimon will cool down one day and realize what a mistake their making. They just need some time."
Davis nodded, "Thanks, TK. Let's get going." They stood up. ExTyrannomon escorted them to the door. Davis smiled, "Brace yourself." TK chuckled, thinking of the crowd of Digimon hero-worshipers on the other side. TK also realized that this was one of the few normal moments of friendship the two of them shared.
To their surprise, no Digimon rushed them when the door opened. In fact, all the Digimon were now in the middle of the street, encircled around one Digimon, a Kiwimon. TK noticed that this Kiwimon looked very strange. He had a small limp in his step, and he wore a black hood over his head. The hood covered the upper-half of his face and he could barely see out from under the hood.
Davis asked, "What the heck?"
TK strained to hear the Kiwimon speak, "My fellow Digimon! I am pleased to see so many of you assembled in one place. This makes it far easier for me to spread my message to all of you! I have come here from far away lands to open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Tell me, what do you think of the Digidestined?"
The crowd started to shout, "They're the greatest!" "They've saved our home twice now!" "They've saved the Digital World countless times!"
The Kiwimon nodded, "So, you think they are heroes, worthy of praise? Let me ask you this, why did the Digidestined save us? Was it because there was a threat to begin with, or was it because they themselves created it?" Stunned silence greeted the Kiwimon's question. He continued, "Allow me to clarify. The Digidestined have defeated many powerful Digimon, yet each time they defeat one Digimon, another more powerful threat emerges. The legend of the Digidestined says that they will appear when evil threatens the land, but is it not this prophecy that causes the threat to appear in the first place? This is what I am trying to say: It is because of the existence of the Digidestined themselves that the Digital World has come under so many threats. Had they never appeared, our lives would never have been endangered!" The crowd continued to stare in silence.
"That's bull!" Davis shouted and made his way to the center of the circle.
Something eager flashed in the Kiwimon's eyes. "How fortunate! A Digidestined is here to debate my claims!" TK joined them in the circle. "Another one! This is indeed fortunate!"
TK kept his voice calmer than Davis'. "Why do you think we caused all the evil Digimon attacks? We are the ones who stopped their evil."
Kiwimon said, "But why did the evil Digimon start attacking? Isn't it strange that the evil Digimon started attacking just after you first arrived? Devimon did not start to control File Island until you came to this world. Etemon did not start causing real trouble on Server until you arrived there. Myotismon would most likely have remained in the shadows if not for his war with you. And isn't it convenient that the Dark Masters began to attack just after you left the Digital World? So, tell me, how can these events not be linked? Isn't it true that the legend of the Digidestined caused these sorrowful events to occur?"
TK said, "We were pulled into the Digital World at first, we didn't come willingly! We didn't start all those battles, we were forced in to them!" He was beginning to get mad.
Kiwimon asked, "Oh? So you didn't fight to save our world, you fought to save yourselves? You fought hard just because you wanted to go home? I wonder, would you have sacrificed our world to return to your own?"
He asked the crowd, "Are these the guardians that you want? Do you want to rely on creatures that do not truly care about this world? Think for a moment. Did the Digidestined help to rebuild our world after the Dark Masters ruined it? Did they nurse the baby Digimon at Primary Village after so many Digimon died to help them? Did they bother to look for lost Digimon after the fighting was done? No, they did not! Once the fighting was over, the Digidestined left us! We cannot depend upon fighters who are unwilling to clean up after themselves!"
Davis growled, "We have been helping to rebuild the Digital World after the Emperor caused all that damage!"
Kiwimon smiled, "Ah, yes, the Digimon Emperor. Funny how a human came to our world and began to enslave us! If the Digidestined had never come to this world, then the Emperor would not have had a portal through which to pass and invade us! Admit it, everyone, all of the tragedies that have befallen us are because the Digidestined summon the disasters themselves! You say that the Digidestined have saved this town twice, but did the threats appear before or after they arrived? I think they started after the Digidestined arrived." TK was horrified to see many Digimon nod in agreement and begin to mutter.
Veemon stepped forward, "You'd better stop saying all those mean things! Davis and the others are the best friends a Digimon could have! There's no way they'd hurt anybody! You'd better stop badmouthing them!"
Kiwimon asked, "Or what? You'll digivolve into a Champion and squash me? I doubt you could do anything else besides resorting to violence."
"ENOUGH!" ExTyrannomon entered the circle. "Here in Meadow Town, we believe in free speech, but I will not have you inciting a riot! Leave here immediately!"
The Kiwimon nodded, "I shall go, but I extend the offer to everyone to join me and to help me convince other Digimon that the Digidestined are not needed here in the Digital World! We must build our destiny by ourselves and not rely on outsiders to do the work for us." He looked at TK and Davis, "Leave this world, now. You're no longer needed nor wanted." With that, Kiwimon spun around and left the town. Several Digimon hesitated, then followed. The rest of the crowd looked at the Digidestined with a mixture of sympathy, fear, and sorrow.
Davis growled, "What a jerk!"
TK huffed, "Never mind. Let's go home."
* * * * * * * *
"That JERK!" Davis shouted for the fifteenth time. "Just where does he get off blaming us for everything that's happened?!"
"Just… ignore him." TK's voice was distant. His thoughts didn't match his words. Was it true? Had the Digidestined caused all the fighting just by appearing in the Digital World? Had TK inadvertently forced Angemon to give his life to defeat Devimon, and was it his fault that Myotismon had attacked Japan?
Davis continued, "He's just looking to put the blame on someone else. It's just like the Meadow Town Digimon blaming Blossomon for the whole Darklizardmon thing."
TK's thoughts shifted to ExTyrannomon's words. It's not a question of fairness. It's a question of control. Digimon do what it takes to feel as if they are in control. It is surprising and troubling just how much control one feels when they are able to blame someone else. TK let out a small puff of breath as he thought back to when his parents had gotten a divorce. During that time, he had blamed himself. He had figured that he had done something wrong and forced his family to break up. That was why he had tried to act as good and cheerful as he did. I still act like that today, even though I don't really feel like it all the time. Was he blaming himself just to get a handle on the situation, or was it true because he wasn't blaming someone else? I'm so confused.
Davis was still complaining, "Well, I don't care what that Kiwimon says! We're doing the right thing and I'm not sorry I came here!"
Veemon nodded, "I'm glad you're here, Davis."
Patamon said, "Me too, TK! TK?" Everyone noticed TK's distant expression.
Davis waved his hand in front of TK's face. "Hey, TK, you okay?"
TK snapped out of his thoughts, "Uh? Yeah… I'm fine." I can't tell Davis. He wouldn't understand. I've got to keep it together. I'm the most experienced, so I have to stay in control. I have to…TK continued to walk on, ignoring Davis' concerned look and Patamon's questions. He headed towards the forests, his thoughts as dark as the night that descended upon them.
Creepy-Sounding Digimon Announcer: "What is the Kiwimon planning? And what is wrong with T-"
Silver: "QUIET YOU! I did not say you could narrate my story!"
Creepy-Sounding Digimon Announcer: "Sorry."
Silver: "You're forgiven. Anyway, folks, Chapter 2 will be out as soon as possible. Please review and let me know what's good, what's bad, and what can be improved upon. I really do think TK is not as cheery as he lets on, not all the time, anyway. Hopefully, I can explore his hidden side without twisting his character all out of shape."
"By the way, (SPOILER ALERT!) it turns out Gennai will be appearing in 02, just before Imperialdramon shows up. But get this, he's young again! He looks just like he did in the flashback where he saves the digieggs from Piedmon. I found out about this by downloading a clip from the Anime Intro Archive."