Hey guys. Couldn't choose between pithy titles, so went with both in the end. As you can see. In the style of many very good authors, so ha!

I started writing this story when I was 13. So much has changed since then- I'm 16 now, I've grown up and grown more cynical I guess. If you saw me in real life, I doubt you'd think that I wrote this. Could you pick me out from a crowd?

But I return to my geekish roots. And with pride, may I add?

Saddish, now, that my story is drawing to a close. I've been writing it on and off for the past 3 years. I ceased to take an interest in digimon quite some time ago, but I feel like I should finish it, having come so far. I promised myself at 13 that I would. And now we're on the penultimate chapter. Or maybe the penultimate penultimate chapter? I don't know.

Maybe I'll write some other stuff afterwards. The last chapter might not appear for another 2 years, who knows? Psh. I'm being self-important now. Who even actually cares about this bloody story???

Well:

AzNAnGeL07, this will hopefully mop up any problems you've had…? Haha, well, that's what I tried to do.

SalimaLiAkiyama, did you say "well good"??? Oh, my, god. You use my colloquialisms! Well, not strictly mine. That's well fantastic!

karika88, I guess I've pretty much joined those ranks, eh? Psh, there seems to be plenty around now anyway.

CaliCallMePrincess, oops. I keep meaning to update but I never do. :D Hope you're still alive anyway, it's been so long I expect everyone's dead. Much like my story. And, er, its main cast.

Arcynic, clever new name, huh? Kasheesh, everyone's grown up since I left. Ach, you're still the same I hope, part of the official grammar police! That I've, er, just made up. I'm going to take this chance to recommend her stories to anyone who hasn't yet. Writers of 3-paragraphed chapters, take notice. Though she rather sensibly stopped writing digimon stories aaaaaaaggggesssss ago.

who wants to know?, nah, I wasn't being sarcastic. I genuinely love it when people like reading what I write. Makes the hour or so I take for each chapter worth it, ja? I'd watch that weepy autobiographical movie by the way. I look forward to its release. Oh- and write something so's I can tell you that yes, you can write. Fooool.

D'you guys ever wonder what everyone here looks like in real life? And the proportion of male:female writers? Who's going to bet that it's about 1:99? If in a review you feel like describing yourselves that would be great. Just curious is all.

And we plod on, towards the end:


Ryo had never seen anything with that degree of hate in its eyes. He recoiled, moving away from Ruki as well.

Why must my life be so eventful? It's not even my life anyway, even in death this kind of thing happens. Why? Why?? I mean, it was kind of nice with the girls, not that I'd have had any problem attracting them anyway…without the fame. I haven't had a haircut in weeks. What time is it here? It doesn't seem to have grown anyway, still as styled and silky soft as ever-

Ruki looked across at Ryo, opening her mouth to explain, but decided that this was a bad idea as he didn't seem to be upset at all. He was, in fact, feeling up his own hair and making a curious sound- mmmmm.

"Kyoko?" What do you say to someone you've killed?

Ah. I already killed Ryo. My killing count is up to 2.

"You didn't kill me."

"Oh."

"You killed her too?" Ryo spat out, incredulous. "Are you on some kind of killing spree? Who is she anyway? Why does she look like you? Wh-"

The truth was, Ruki had no clue.

"Explain to me, Kyoko, explain why we look the same. Explain why Ryo here keeps calling my Riku by accident. Explain."

There had been much silence in the time, endless time that Ruki had been there. Even with Ryo's endless yapping. There had been a sad silence, when she'd first died. There'd been lonely silences when she was alone, hugging her knees in the great expanse of grey. There'd been a guilty silence when she'd killed Ryo. There'd been awkward silences after Ryo had appeared; she'd never been good at small talk.

But the silence here was roaring into her ears, pounding at her ear drums so that they'd burst and all of her thoughts and fears and, yes, frankly, she was afraid- and her brain matter would just spill out onto the ground with a big schlop and she'd collapse and she'd wake up and this would all be a bizarre dream. Or nightmare.

"Explain to me now why purgatory is like this. Explain why I'm even here. I saved the world- we saved the world. Is that not enough to get me into heaven? I don't care that I'm atheist, agnostic, whatever. Isn't there some way to get there anyway? An exception to the rule? Explain why there aren't any other people here. Explain what's- what's happening to me. Explain to me why my emotions feel so- drained. Why I can't seem to feel anything anymore."

I'm ceasing to be human.

Ruki felt Ryo shift from foot to foot. His eyes were downcast, and she knew that he was avoiding her eyes.

Why, why isn't he more angry about me killing him?

"You murdered me, Ruki."

"I know." Oh God, murdered.

"But I'm not angry."

She faced herself away from him, bringing her nails up to her mouth, furiously picking and biting and chewing.

"Doesn't that strike you as strange?" He lifted up his head. "Well, everything here's strange. But still."

She was short of breath. Her thoughts and her brain, usually so keenly edged, were blunt and blurry now. How could she have murdered- murdered Ryo and then managed to chat to him so casually afterwards?

"Kyoko." Her voice was thickened by tears where there'd been none. "Kyoko, why?"

They stood, divided into three.

"My name is Kuri."

Eh?

Eh?

"Eh?" Ruki and Ryo chimed in unison.

"And I have no time for your pity parade. I've been here for an eternity watching you, you live my life."

Lived her life?

"You went on adventures, saved the world, made friends, argued with your mother, hugged your grandmother goodbye, had a digimon who you could call your partner, had a cereal box character made in your honour; did you know how good you had it? And all that time you were constantly whining, and bitching, and snapping. How dare you?" Kyoko- Kuri's voice dropped to a whisper dripping and oozing venom, "How dare you."

"And you met the love of my life. You stole it all from me. Snatched it from my grasp you greedy little bi-"

"What?" Ryo snapped back into reality. "What are you talking about, lady? Ruki's never stolen anything off of you."

He stole a glance at Ruki, ashen white and shaky. Her fingers were trembling and her pupils had dilated, all of the blood rushing around inside of her at the speed of river rapids, into her head, and into her ears, coming to a dead standstill as her heart pumped furiously, pushing against her lungs and her ribcage and her muscles and her tendons so that she felt like she would burst at the seams.

"She stole my life."

Kuri smiled, twisting her face so that it seemed less human than pure malignance personified.

"And now your turn is over too."

Kuri reached down to the ground and made a swooping action, and a great rip scarred the face of the grey. Hugging each other, Ruki and Ryo fell backwards as the blinding light once again filled their eyes.

And open.

With horror, Ruki looked into the gap, and saw- herself.

With horror, Ryo looked into the gap, and saw- himself.

Chatting and insulting and throwing barbs comments at each other.

"Who- who are they?"

Kuri laughed softly. "That, there, the pretty red-head, is Riku Makino, daughter of the famous supermodel. No wonder she's so pretty, with a mother that stunning. And over there, laughing and throwing back his head, full of life, is Riyo Akiyama, a good-looking boy if there ever was one. But he knows it, he really does. And there are all of their friends, going to the park again, Jenrya, Juri, Takato- the whole gang, really. Quite the charmed life they have."

"And you'll never be part of that again."

I've got to hold onto Ryo, or I'll just have to puke right here.

For not the first time in her life, Ruki was glad to have Ryo there; she could feel his warm chest rising up and down, slowly and reassuringly. His hands were cold and clammy; hers, sweaty and shaking uncontrollably.

Why are we even breathing? What's the point? We don't- need to anymore.

"I was born, Kuri Makino. Born and grew up, went through my parents' divorce, got double sets of presents at Christmas and birthdays, it was great. Didn't have that many friends, being as prickly as I was, making cutting remarks about everyone to their faces. I didn't care. Why should I? I was only- what?- 10. And then, guess what, kids?"

Kuri's face grew blacker and thunderous, and her fists clenched in a grip so tight that it tore at her skin.

"I died."

"I couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle it. I- I died in a digimon battle. Right at the beginning of my adventure, the best part of my miserable little pointless life. Then I came up here, and I watched. Watched as you took my place, a stupid little copy of me. Watched as you succeeded where I failed, didn't get eaten up by pink blobs, didn't get killed by the D-Reaper, didn't die. And then going home and seeing my- my mother, my grandmother, even my father. And my friends, and you lay on my bed, and you watched my television and you reaped my glory. A little spawn of myself."

"This couldn't go on now, could it? No. You had your turn in my perfect life. You could sit here for all eternity watching your double go on with your life and laugh and joke and pass your exams. You could sit and watch and get eaten up with hatred. You could have your life yanked away right from underneath you."

"You killed me?" Ruki interjected, incredulously. "You- you-"

Ryo held her back from jumping on Kuri, and Ruki didn't put up any resistance. She simply stood, with her teeth grinding against each other, rage coming out of every pore.

"So that's why she was attacked all the time." Less of a question, more of a statement. Ryo's voice had dropped to a monotone.

"It wasn't a coincidence, Akiyama."

"I sat and I fed on my rage. Nothing can dull that. The people who come here- the reason that there are none of them around- they walk and the cry and they beat their fists against the grey, and then they give up. They let the grey eat into them as their emotions get dulled and they cease to be. They disintegrate into the horizon. But nothing could stop me. I knew what I wanted and I never became one of them."

"And now I'm going to leave you, I'm going to leave you to stare at your lost life forever and ever and ever until everyday you cry out all of your tears. You can watch them fade into the grey. It took a while to get you, you were a wily little bitch, but even you couldn't escape the fate I had planned for you."

Ruki lunged at Kuri, hands around her neck, vaguely aware of Ryo screaming obscenities at her double. Or was it her triple? A rage filled her that she'd never felt before.

I won't I won't I won't I won't I won't…

Already she was in hell.

"How could you? How could you? How could you condemn me to this, how could you?"

Tears blurred her always tearless eyes, and they dripped off of her nose, making damp spots on her clothes and on the ground. She was crying freely now, now that there was no point in stopping. No-one would see her again, no-one. Her life would continue on without her, everyone oblivious to what had happened, to who she was. She'd not made a single dot on the map, all of those times she'd thought herself to be important, saviour of the world.

It'd turned out that she was just as replaceable as the rest.

Ryo felt cold, and hot, and cold, and hot.

I always thought that hell was hot and fiery and full of endless pain. But now I realise- hell isn't blackness and rocks and lava and a devil with devil's horns and cloven hoofs. It's this. Endless nothing, forever…

Kuri gave out a shrill cry of triumph as Ruki tackled her to the ground and reached inside of her and grabbed at nothing. There was a terrible crunch as Kuri's exoskeleton was broken, exposing only air inside.

"I- I'll make you pay, I swear to God I will…"

Ruki reached inside her pocket and drew out the string that had been entwined with Ryo's not so long before.

And she tore it with her teeth, with a savagery that made the cold and reserved Digimon Queen look like an Amazon.

Kuri's look of triumph turned into shock. The last thing she ever saw as she, too, disintegrated into the grey was Ruki's haggard face, run down with tears and blood. And Ryo's, distraught and full of worry and fear.

And once again, the silence was back.

And a shimmering light filled the void.


Happy or sad ending? Or bittersweet? It remains to be seen. In a bit of a conundrum. Please do comment, peeps.

Read, Review, Respire kiddos! Oh, how long has it been since I last wrote that? Feels good. And it'll feel even better when/ if I get some kind of response from you lot. Hurry!

Haha, loves.