"In each timeline, there is a crux point, a single event in the past that caused all things after it to change. The more different the world, the earlier the crux point occurs.
"Choices, to go left or right. When who dies and who lives is a split second decision, the world can be changed in an instant…"
-Karla, "Digital City Diaries" Universe, by the Diaries Guild

"Of all the hatreds, the ones between families are the cruelest."
-Flint, Dragons of Winter Night

Recommended Music:
Prologue and Scene 1: "Oreta Tsubasa de/With Broken Wings," Digimon Frontier
Scene 2: "Say Goodbye," Witch Hunter Robin
Scene 3: "Fly to Me," Chihiro Onitsuka
Scene 4: "The World," extra version, .hack/SIGN
Scene 5, part one: "Say Goodbye," .hack/SIGN
Scene 5, part two through Scene 7: "My Last Breath," Evanescence
Scene 8: "Sakura 4," gentle strings version, Xenosaga II

Black Wings
She cringed as the young slave fell to the sand from the blow of the weighted whip upon his back. Never once did he show his pain, but it was obvious that he could barely remain conscious, let alone walk back to the base. And so much seemed to be wrong with him—cuts and bruises all over his arms, a left arm slightly shorter than the right due to old fractures, and—oh, God, were those white scars on his wrists from suicide attempts? Normally, she hated the concept, but with what he'd been through, she wouldn't blame him if he had tried to kill himself.

"Do you know who this is?" the Kaiser demanded of her, his words acidic and burning. Did he have to keep doing this? Did he have to keep showing her his own eyes, so identical to her savior's?

All she could do was shake her head in the hope of being able to avoid those eyes.

"Good," he continued, "a slave who knows her place, unlike this piece of trash here!" He whistled loudly, summoning an Airdramon before kicking the boy in the ribs. "Get on the Airdramon!" He kicked him again and dealt another blow with the whip, and then lifted him by the back of his shirt and threw him onto the Digimon. "Something tells me you won't be sharing his fate," the Kaiser commented to her. He kept one foot on the injured slave and slowly added pressure as they flew toward base. She merely removed the young man's defuser from her mouth, spitting out sand, and wrapped the cord around her wrist. In her arms was his jacket. It was so wrong…so wrong that someone had to be beaten like that just because he was Wolfmon and Garmmon.

"Sakiko! Sakiko!" called her cellmates, Kotemon and Koemon, as they ran to her.

"We have to help Kouji!" Kotemon declared.

"His name is Kouji?" Koemon asked. "The Kaiser's brother is named Kouji?"

"I can't…" she managed to say.

"Sakiko?" Koemon questioned.

"Sakiko, please, you have to help!" Kotemon pleaded, but her shocked expression affirmed his dashed hopes. He grabbed Koemon's hand in his free one and announced, "Fine then. We'll do it ourselves."

They didn't even make it to base. With their slow running pace, they were caught immediately and taken to Reiyama, who killed them on the spot for learning that boy's identity. Other slaves scavenged the abandoned food and blanket, which were unable to reach their destination.

A young man with spiky black hair and gold-framed glasses stepped up to her. He was neither a Resistance slave nor an Imperial flunkey. He was merely a stranger who had taken it upon himself to watch over things.

"He saved your life," he commented, but she didn't react. "Kouji Minamoto saved your life, and this is how your repay him?" She couldn't say anything; she was still frozen by the horror that was Kouichi Kimura, the Digimon Kaiser. Disappointed, the young man turned and left in desperation.

She was Sakiko Ayamisa, formerly one of the best Yokohama's Resistance force had to offer, the daughter of assassinated human rights activist Nari Ayamisa.

He was Osamu Ichijouji, former child prodigy up until his death at age eleven, the older brother of the last Kaiser, Ken Ichijouji.

And he was going to do whatever he could in order to stop this.

Chapter One: "Broken"

Osamu ran through cell after cell in his invisible and intangible spirit form. He didn't care if he stepped through anyone—just as long as he got to Cell 24.

Finally, he made it—no more than fifteen seconds after Kouichi left. Kouji, his twin brother and not even twelve years old, hung limply on the wall, suspended by black electronic shackles and concealed by a thick layer of darkness. No, that wasn't quite right. Yes, Kouji was very young and in this awful situation, but Kouichi's actions thus far had made it obvious that they were no longer brothers. All ties bonding them had been savagely hacked, like Kouji's scarred wrists.

Burning guilt hit Osamu then, and he would have cried if this form allowed him tears. How many years ago had he hit his own younger brother just for heeding Destiny's call? Three? Maybe four? He wasn't sure. Little Ken had been so afraid and devastated, just as Kouji was and would soon be again if things didn't change.

A sense of purpose flooded him and caused the Light Seed in his wrist to start beating as a heart would. Osamu's form solidified into an eleven-year-old body with a glowing left hand. He heard Kouji's father demand to know who he was, but he refused to acknowledge it. With the intense light in his palm, he burned away at the dark veil, creating a single shine of white amongst the gray shadows of Cell 24.

The infamous fury of Osamu Ichijouji lived again as he tore the shackles off the captive's wrists and ankles, throwing them to the floor as he carried Kouji to his family.

"We have to go now," he insisted. "Kouichi is going to kill you tonight. I can help get you out of here."

"Kouji's too badly injured to make it," Tomoko Kimura informed. "There's no way we'd make it without being caught." Osamu glanced at the limp, unresponsive body he held. He didn't want to admit it, but the woman was right.

"We could leave him for now, and I can come back for him later." He said those words, but even he couldn't believe they'd come from his mouth.

"We can't," Satomi Minamoto replied. "This family needs to stay together—all of us." Osamu looked at her baby, Kouri, who seemed to say the same.

"Whatever happens, we won't leave my brothers," her eyes affirmed.

The final dismissal came from Kousei Minamoto, who put his hands on Osamu's shoulders in an attempt to comfort him. "I know you mean well, but this isn't the right time or place for an escape. Whether you succeed in saving us or not, no one will hold you accountable for this. We all have choices to make. This is ours."

Osamu nodded reluctantly and left the family for the last time. It was sunset already. He had a little more than an hour and a half to act. To him, destiny meant nothing and fate didn't exist. That gave him the perfect excuse to defy them. Vowing to fulfill his unspoken pledge to protect the Minamoto boy and his family, he headed toward Mt. Fuji.


Perhaps an even sadder drama played out in Osamu's home world, where a boy not even ten years old sat almost all alone in his room in the psychiatric ward of a hospital near his hometown of Odaiba. His only companion was a Baby II level Digimon called Upamon. In fact, he was the only friend Iori Hida had left. Everyone else had either died or left.

Shin Kido, an apprentice doctor and the eldest of three brothers, watched the painful scene unfold. He didn't know Iori very well, but he knew that his younger brothers Shuu and Jyou did. Jyou and Iori had been comrades-in-arms while Shuu had unofficially joined only recently.

On his breaks, he would often come to check up on the boy only to find him in the same mood. His morose behavior was enough to depress Shin, and he usually found himself desiring to throttle his youngest brother for the disbanding of the union of friends that Iori used to depend on. But it wasn't Jyou's fault. Blame went to Ken Ichijouji, Hikari Yagami, Miyako Inoue, Takeru Takaishi, and especially to Daisuke Motomiya. While the others had caused the break-up, Motomiya had given up on trying to bring them back together. But even with that simple enough answer of who was at faults, there were still further shares of guilt to distribute. Perhaps even Shin himself was at fault a little too.

He sighed. He wasn't a psychiatrist, just an intern MD. There was nothing he could do for the severely depressed child.

His break was over. Dinner had been finished, and his father appeared to put him back to work. And inside the white walls, the hymns of death played over and over again in young Hida's head, like in an old broken music box.

Broken.


Three children sat at computers in the Digital World abode of a man named Gennai. A fourth, the youngest at nine, ferried papers in and out of the room. This child, a pretty little Mexican girl by the name of Chichos García, wasn't particularly talented with computers, but she had still wanted to help with this task. Gennai had assigned her to this.

"Here you go, Ken," she informed in what sounded like perfect Japanese. A translation program recently installed in all Chosen's digivices broke the language barriers among them.

"Thank you, Chichos," the former Digimon Kaiser replied, taking the papers. His blue eyes scanned the findings carefully while a red-haired Japanese boy and a blonde American watched in eager anticipation.

"Anything?" Koushiro Izumi asked.

"Some. Gennai's isolated the warp hole that sent out the Kaiser's spirit. It's closed now, and it looks like the Parisian team has it under control." The other three Chosen nodded, promising to thank Catherine Ducharme the next time they ran into her.

"Well, that's one crisis averted," Koushiro commented in relief. He turned to the young man on his left. "What do you have?"

"Not a whole lot," Michael Godwin confessed. "But the rift left behind by Hikari's trip to the other world is beginning to close, although I think whatever's hacking Gennai's system is coming through from there." Automatically, they all glanced with pity in the direction of the room where Gennai was working, unable to tear his eyes away from the system for even a minute out of the fear of what someone could do to his precious files on the Chosen Children.

"I think he's doing better though," Chichos alerted. "He finally read through some of the papers I left."

"You'll have to modify the dimensional key," Ken informed. "Just look at how much trouble that came with even the smallest hole left behind."

"I know, I know," Koushiro responded. "Chichos, if Gotsumon, Betamon, Wormmon, or Tentomon isn't too busy, can you ask one of them to get us something to eat? It's going to be a long night for Ken and me at least. And thanks again, you two, for coming so early in the morning."

Michael shrugged. "Insomnia. It happens all the time."

"Don't worry about me breaking curfew," Chichos informed. "Mexico's got a reputation in José's domain as being rule breakers anyway." As she walked off, Ken watched her with guilt.

"What's wrong?" Michael checked. "You're not giving into her crush, are you?"

"No. It's just… She's so young, fighting this war alongside us. And at least in Odaiba, the youngest Chosen had the most problems. Takeru's avoiding everyone and can't stand hearing about the other world. Hikari's changed so drastically it's hard to recognize her. And Iori's… Michael, your team is lucky that Maria and Sam turned out okay."

"Maria learned to grow with it," Michael explained, "and Sam wasn't that young when we were chosen; he's just small for his age. But it never held him back."

"Besides, Chichos's entire team is pretty young when you get down to it," Koushiro added, looking up as he tried to remember the Mexican Chosen's names and ages. "Reina and Diego are eleven, and Elena's twelve." He stopped in surprise. Since when had eleven and twelve been young for him? "Now that I think of it, we were all very young when we went."

"That's my point," Ken answered, "and it's the hardest on the youngest of us." He got up. "I need to take care of something, a responsibility I've avoided. Please take over for me until I come back." With that, he walked directly past Chichos and the Digimon and headed for the gate home.

He's going to visit Iori, Chichos predicted. But even I know that he won't like what he finds.


There were times in his life that Chideta Miyagami asked himself how on Earth he'd let Reiji Takamoto talk him into joining the Resistance. It was the right thing to do, his conscience reasoned. This was the only way to stop the evil that had claimed his parents and schoolmates. But there were times when he was forced to redefine the meaning of "evil" in his mind, and it scared him to no end with these new findings.

Some days ago, Reiji had made his own biological weapon. And he was hell-bent on using it.

"Do you really think they'll approve, Reiji?" Miyagami asked for the hundredth or so time. His devil-may-care side was gone, probably killed by the same bacterium that filled those bullets in Takamoto's gun.

"Of course they will. The Chosen have had to deal with the Kaiser for too long. It's time for some kind of revenge. I mean, the guy murdered their friend, so they're bound to want justice."

"But Kage doesn't want…"

"Forget about what Kage wants, Chideta. Think about what we all want. The needs of all, remember? They outweigh the needs of one. We need to get rid of the Kaiser and his lackeys, and this little baby is way to do it." He patted his gun with extreme pride, pride that Miyagami couldn't share.

"You do know that Kage's creating something of his own."

"I know, but with his pace, that thing won't be finished till Christmas. And this is already completed."

"Dr. Akagami almost caught you with that bacterium. I don't trust that guy. He's up to something. He knows what we're up to. Notice that the pharmacies all stocked up on penicillin? I think he knows what you're creating—he might give it to the Kaiser."

"Let him try," Takamoto challenged in the voice of one whose pride was to ultimately bring about his downfall. "I'll take care of all his guards, and then I'll take care of him the same way he got the First Three."

Of all subjects pertaining to the war, this was the worst for all Resistance fighters. The First Three was the common term in the freedom-fighting underworld for the first three major assassinations by the Kaiser's Imperial Guard. First was his unnamed twin brother who was apparently a dear friend of the Chosen Children. Next was a human rights activist named Nari Ayamisa, and the last was Dr. Tadaaki Tenshi, the father of the Mt. Fuji team's leader, Kage.

Leaves crunched under someone's foot nearby. Takamoto and Miyagami turned immediately to see the figure of a young person darting quickly through the woods. Takamoto could not be more pleased; no doubt, the gods were on his side.

"My first target," he whispered.

"Reiji!"

Takamoto signaled for his friend to be silent before screwing the silencer onto his gun. He raised it, fired, and…

The target stopped and turned his head, as if hearing them. The bullet containing the bacterium hit him—there was no doubt about that—but he never once showed any sign of illness or pain. He was completely healthy.

"The hell?" Takamoto questioned, immediately shooting more. Bullets continued to hit the figure, but he calmly walked over to them. Takamoto kept shooting until he emptied his clip, the despairing hollow clicks sounding far louder than Miyagami's horrified shouts.

The former target finally reached them, revealing himself to be an eleven-year-old boy with spiky black hair and gold-rimmed glasses. Not a single wound was present on his skin, and his body seemed to give off the slightest of glows.

"You're wasting my time," he commented in a deliberately calm voice. "Right now, a group of people is about to die, and Kage's giving the order to attack the Kaiser's base. I have to alert the Chosen, the only ones other than me who can get there fast enough, and you are keeping me from getting there."

"We'll go back to Kage," Miyagami promised, his voice hoarse from yelling at Takamoto to stop shooting.

"Good. And let him know what your idiot friend did. He's lucky I'm not really alive."

Miyagami didn't wait to find out what the mysterious young man was talking about. He grabbed Takamoto's arm and ran desperately toward base at the Underground Railroad. In the meantime, the young man Osamu gave only a brief explanation of what was about to happen. The alert was clear and simple:

"Hurry to the Kaiser's base at the Yokohama beach. Kouji's family is about to die."


In the cold, damp darkness of Cell 24, a condemned family ate their last meal together. The father broke apart pieces of hard, stale bread and passed it around while the stepmother ladled out soup. The mother watched the son carefully as he held the baby. All was silent.

"Here you go, Satomi," the son, Kouji Minamoto, informed. Gently, he handed the baby Kouri to his stepmother.

"Kouji, I want you to try to eat more tonight," his father, Kousei Minamoto, warned. "You need your strength."

Kouji eyed him with suspicion. That was an unexpected subject. True, he was injured and spiritually declining, but the Spirits of Light helped his body heal and regenerate a lot faster than his immune system could. And he had been beaten worse before, the time his wrists had been slashed, for example. He momentarily looked at the white scars on his wrists, all the while wondering if his father's words were an augury of things to come. Did it have something to do with—

"Kouji, are you all right?" his mother, Tomoko Kimura, checked.

"—the visitor?" he finished his own thoughts.

All activity paused at the sound of his voice. His parents and stepmother looked at him in surprise and fear.

"What are you talking about?" Satomi asked.

"Earlier, someone came in and talked to you—someone I don't know. I couldn't make out what he said, but I know it has to be important if Kouichi let someone other than Reiyama and Renamon in."

Expressions of fear softened into pity. He didn't know of what was to happen that night. Tomoko hugged him and placed a hand in his long, free hair.

"Do you want me to cut your hair before summer starts?" she offered, trying to keep the tears from her voice. He nodded, knowing that his long hair would be a nuisance in the heat if he could no longer tie it back.

Upon finishing their dinner of bland soup and stale bread, Tomoko took Kouji aside and removed a Fox Leaf Arrowhead from a nearby lantern. Then she gently used it to saw away at his long locks, leaving him with a short and neat haircut that would keep him cool in the summer sun. He retied his bandanna over his head, adding a touch of familiarity to his otherwise foreign appearance. Kousei watched silently the entire time, feeling the need to say something without knowing what. His wife touched his arm tenderly and gazed into his glasses-framed dark eyes.

"It's not too late," she whispered. "But you must tell him now or not at all." He nodded solemnly before walking over to his son.

"Kouji…" He stopped short, unable to speak.

"Dad, is something wrong?" There was a definite note of concern in his voice, heightened by the memory of the visitor and the sudden emergence of several Imperial Guardsmen. "What's going on?"

Kousei merely embraced him tightly, unaware of the terrified tears that streamed down his son's face. "We'll always be with you, remember that." A gasp caught in Kouji's throat when he heard his atheistic father admit this slightly religious comment. "We love you, Kouji." Finally, two guards seized his father and took him away. The rest of the family faced the same fate, and their faces all expressed the same message of "Goodbye, I love you."

"Dad?" Kouji called as Reiyama grabbed the back of his neck. "Mom?" The grip tightened, and he instinctively struggled to get free. "Satomi?" Renamon came up to him, nearly obstructing his view of his baby sister being taking with them. "Kouri?"

Renamon jabbed her sharp nails into his abdomen, forcing him to keel over while the intense grip on his neck threatened to either strangle him or break his spine. But the physical pain did not usher the cries that came from him. Only the heart could produce such anguish.


"How much father do we have to go?" Fairymon question Osamu as the Warrior flew their exodus to Yokohama. Ichijouji was on Blitzmon's back, barely a burden for the Hybrid who also ferried Chakmon. They flew at the front, just ahead of Ardhamon.

"Not much," he answered. His voice was far from a shout, but it carried easily in the wind. "We just have to worry about being in time."

"Do you want me to go on ahead?" Ardhamon checked. As an equal to the Ultimate level, he was faster than his companions.

"Yes, so long as one of us gets there."

The desperation in his voice encouraged them all to surpass their highest speeds. They needed to get there in time. They couldn't afford to mess this one up.


All the slaves were called out of their new quarters later that night, when twilight settled into dusk. At least, that was how Sakiko described it. Twilight implied light, hope, life, and it's beauty. Dusk was dark, nearing to night. Twilight was partial light. Dusk was incomplete darkness.

She was the only one who knew what this was about; everyone else whispered in fear. She shrank back as if trying not to be seen, but soon cold wet fur grabbed her arm and pulled her to the front of the crowd. She chanced a look at her captor and saw a Renamon she'd often seen assisting the Kaiser and Reiyama torment the prisoners. But why was her paw so wet?

Renamon threw Sakiko into place, nearly knocking over another slave. Sakiko pulled herself up and began to apologize when she saw whom she'd crashed into: a boy in a tattered and bloody yellow T-shirt and gray pants and a red-striped blue bandanna. His hair underneath had been cut short, but there was still no mistaking him, especially with the Black Ring around his neck. His family stood in the center of a semicircle with guns trained on him, yet he stood perfectly still, as if in a daze. He had to have some idea of what was going on, so why was he so calm? And, God, what was his name? Kouji, right?

"Kouji," she whispered, trying to wake him up. "Kouji, you probably don't remember me, but I'm the slave you helped earlier. I'm sorry I didn't do anything in return. But listen, the Kaiser's going to kill your family. Help me and we can all get out of here." Why didn't he react? Why wasn't he listening? "Please," she begged. This time, she glanced down and noticed a fresh wound in his stomach in the telltale design of a Renamon's paw. Then she looked up to see tears streaming down his face, tears that were not invoked by his physical wounds. He knew what was coming and understood why.

Just after this stab, Renamon had washed the blood from her paws. Would the Kaiser wash his hands clean of this murder's blood?

A strong wind blew overhead, inciting Sakiko to look up. In the air was a Digimon with great fire-gold wings. The Kaiser also looked up as he stood with Kouji's family—his family—just a few feet away from the two slaves.

"Now," he instructed. His mercenaries and soldiers took aim at the same time as the Digimon in the skies.

Bullets flew everywhere, and all the slaves dropped to the sand, covering their heads. All save Kouji, though. He stood alone to watch the bloodshed as his one-time best friend shot as many Guardsmen as he could. Most lived with the smell of burned flesh forever searing their nostrils. Other luckier ones died in the firestorm. The incomplete darkness was dashed with the orange twilight flames that streaked everywhere, melting the sand to glass at Kouji's feet. But Ardhamon might as well have not been there for all it mattered to him. His eyes were focused ahead, where flame bullets were afraid to shoot. The miniature explosions from the guns nearly deafened him as poorly aimed shots fired at his family. An exasperated Reiyama pushed his way forward and shot, hitting Kouri. She cried even louder in pain before another bullet silenced her forever. And it was all Kouji needed to break free from the Black Ring.

An unearthly scream exited his lungs as he tried to fight his way to his parents. But Renamon was on him in an instant, holding his body tightly while gripping the hair on the back of his head. He still fought, still screamed, still resisted her. But he was helpless to stop the massacre of his family at Reiyama's hand. He hand to watch, scream, and cry as the man killed them and continued to shoot just for the sick pleasure of mutilating their already desecrated bodies.

"Enough, Reiyama," the Kaiser ordered, but the colonel refused to stop ravaging the bodies. "I said enough!"

Ardhamon shot a well-aimed fire bullet at Reiyama's neck, forcing him to back away and clap his hand over the burn. Ardhamon held his flame guns pointed at the Kaiser as he growled, "Leave now, Kouichi. Leave them to us."

"All right," he answered a little too smoothly. "Renamon, get Kouji back to his cell first. I wouldn't want him to have to see any more of this."

Ardhamon's breath caught in his throat. He turned his head slightly to the left to see the friend he'd thought was dead. Kouji looked exactly as he remembered him, albeit thinner, with short hair, beaten, and crying. In the year Takuya had known him, he'd never seen Kouji cry like this. He gasped for air like there was nothing in his lungs, and the tears from his eyes could not cease. The inhuman shouts he'd released had left his voice raw and hoarse, muting most of the sound from him. His struggles to breathe, however, were louder than anything.

"Let him go," Ardhamon commanded in a feral voice as the others arrived.

"You know I can't do that," Kouichi replied. "Ototo-chan is the only bargaining tool I have left against you."

"You'll let him go," another voice insisted, one from Kouichi's borrowed memory. Ignoring all else, Osamu Ichijouji leapt to the sand from Blitzmon's back. "You'll let him go, or all hell will break loose on you."

Kouichi stared at him with fear-widened eyes. "How are you alive?"

"I'm not. A Light Seed gives me this form."

His eyes narrowed in spite. "Then you know that Qinglongmon and Gennai have restrictions on you. You can't do anything to me."

"But they can," Osamu corrected, gesturing to the others. "And there are no restrictions on my helping them."

"This isn't over."

"Whoever said it was?"

Kouichi glowered at him and turned to leave, Renamon still holding Kouji menacingly. He paused and warned, "If you try anything, she will kill him. As you can see, I find nothing wrong with killing family members."

"Bastard," Blitzmon swore. Kouichi shrugged it off.

"I still hold all the cards, as you can see. Just take the bodies and leave before there's another massacre."

Ardhamon gritted his teeth and carefully carried out to Kousei's and Satomi's bodies. Blitzmon left Chakmon with Fairymon while he took Tomoko. Osamu, in the meantime, gently cradled Kouri and closed her sightless eyes. He looked up for a moment to see the spirits of these people, spirits only he could see.

We'll give your bodies the respect you deserve, he silently promised. They nodded in gratitude.

"Come on," Ardhamon urged. "Let's tell Kage."

The Legendary Warriors and Osamu turned and walked away in defeat. Some distance farther, they took flight with Osamu once gain upon Blitzmon's back. It was a night that would live on in their minds forever, one that was often compared to the Holocaust and Kristallnacht.

But Kristallnacht had been the Night of Broken Glass. This was just the Broken Night.


It was later that night when Osamu returned to Cell 24 to find Kouji sitting in his usual dry corner, crying still. It was painful to watch.

"I guess it won't help to tell you that they're a lot better where they are than where they'd been," Osamu mused. "It meant nothing to my brother, so I guess it'll mean nothing to you." Kouji took in a breath as more tears fell. "My…my name is Osamu Ichijouji. I've been working hard to protect you and your family. Tonight I failed." He picked up one of the shackles he'd pulled off of the wall and turned it over in his hand. Kousei's words echoed in his head as the man's spirit stood next to him: "Whether you succeed in saving us or not, no one will hold you accountable for this." Sighing, he ran his finger over the cuff, soon coming in contact with a soft material that stung his finger dreadfully.

"Ouch!" he declared in surprise, staring at the ring. Momentarily, he placed his finger in his mouth to soothe the burning, utterly confounded as to how that was possible. Finally, he removed his finger from his mouth and, holding up his right hand, he let a small glow form, allowing him to see a mushy gray substance.

He placed the cuff with its strange stucco in his pocket before he pinched his wrist to expose the Light Seed and all its roots in his form. His entire upper torso, arms, and head remained corporal while the rest of him was transparent. It wouldn't be long before those roots spread all throughout him. He hid the Seed again and sighed as he kept vigil over his charge. And in a completely different world, his brother Ken watched the broken Iori try to get through some of his first homework of the new school year as the boy pushed away the water from his eyes.

Translation notes:
Ototo-chan: Japanese for "little brother"

Because I am the weirdo that puts everything in the footnote, here is the disclaimer: I do not own Digimon in any way, shape or form. I am, however, the intellectual owner of the original characters and circumstances of the fanfiction piece "With Broken Wings." This is an alternate version of "With Broken Wings," explored in a chapter of "Cruel Angel's Thesis," which is part of the "Doppelgangland" and "With Broken Wings" universes. This is more of an Evangelion approach, I suppose, giving a darker view into the "what ifs." In this case, the question is "What if Sakiko had been too afraid to go with Kotemon and Koemon to try and save Kouji?"

The idea of the drastic changes brought about by different choices came from "Digital City Diaries," an alternate universe of "Red Digivice Diaries" and its universe. In that, one choice made by each team changes the course of the timeline. Some Diaries references are present, such as Michael Godwin (my "Survival Diaries"), Chichos García and her team (Elena, Diego, Reina—all four from my "Southern Cross Diaries"), and Catherine Ducharme ("Rose Diaries" by Lady Iapetus). However, in this, the 02 "With Broken Wings" world will not be altered in any way until contact between them and the Frontier world is established in 2006. Up until that point, everything that occurs in the Adventure/02 world is canon for the "Broken Wings" timeline. Characterizations will be different and deaths will be different. Some will live, and some will die. You just have to wait to see who.

A little note on the comment of "Takamoto could not be more pleased; no doubt, the gods were on his side": Takamoto is Shinto (not really discussed too much), so he believes in multiple gods. There are some minor religious discussions, but nothing huge. I'm not going to start preaching here or pushing one religion.

Chapter Two: "Dusk"
Some wounds never heal. Some souls cannot be saved, no matter how hard you try. After the battle is over, who is the true victor? Night is falling. Dusk is rising, the incomplete darkness.