Caring Hearts

Caring Hearts

Chapter 1: Tragedy

by Silver

*Standard Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, its characters, or its creatures. Because of this, I feel a terrible void in my life. (Not really!)*

Author's Note: Wow, the last story arc in the Crystal Digimon Saga. This is the arc that reveals it all story, folks, and it focuses on Kari. A warning to everyone right now, Kari's going to go through some pretty hard times in this story. It might be depressing, but I always deliver a happy ending, so no worries.

I'll be featuring Paildramon again. So, to keep the negative reviews down, let me clarify one thing. I changed the rules in "Walkabout." XVmon digivolves directly to Paildramon in this story line, no DNA digivolving. I did this before DNA/Jogress digivolving was common knowledge, and I can't go back and redo the whole saga. Besides, it's author's preference, right? I also changed his attack from Desperado Blaster to Dramon Blaster. And now, on with the story!

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Kari Kamiya sighed as she walked towards her school. She was lost in thought about the events of the last few weeks. It had been only two days since Avatar had possessed Patamon and caused a huge fight with the Digidestined. All of the children were thankful that Magnamon had been able to save Patamon and that Shinmon had destroyed Avatar.

Primary Village was recovering from the Anti-Digidestined faction's attack, and many of the faction members had volunteered to repair the damage that they had caused. It seemed that the fragile peace of the Digital World had been restored with Avatar's demise. Chibomon and Tokomon had also recovered from their ordeals and digivolved back into Demiveemon and Patamon. Davis and TK's wounds had healed, and life was back to normal. However, Kari had two lingering regrets from that battle.

The first one was sympathy for Avatar, the lost soul of Digimon babies who had been killed by the Dark Masters. He had been so sad and so hateful because of the unfair losses he had suffered. Kari could understand how Avatar must have suffered, but she also knew there wasn't anything she could have done.

The other regret was much more personal. During the last fight, Avatar, in possession of MagnaAngemon's body, had attempted to kidnap Kari and take her to his unknown master. Kari had cried for help from TK and Davis, but had been unable to do anything herself. In fact, that was how things usually went for her. That battle had forced Kari to remember her life as a Digidestined, and all the times she had needed someone to save her. All the Digidestined had fought to keep her safe from Myotismon, and Wizardmon had lost his life protecting her. Kari still felt a pang of guilt over that loss. Then, Kari had been sick in the Digital World, and Tai had nearly lost his mind with worry. Davis had had to save her from Monochromon and Kimeramon and ExPiedmon. TK had saved her from Piedmon and the dark ocean. Yolei and Cody had both bailed her out of danger as well. It seemed as if no matter how hard Kari tried to be strong, she always ended up relying on someone else to save her. When did I end up being the damsel in distress? Kari hated being that kind of a stereotype.

But what can I do about it? Kari reached her school and looked out over the playground. She instantly spotted all her friends. Yolei was talking with some cute boys near the entrance, probably using her computer knowledge to impress them. TK and Davis had organized a soccer game with the younger kids, including Cody.

Kari sighed again. All her friends had changed so much in such a short time. It wasn't obvious at first, but the changes were definitely noticeable. TK had become less distant from the newer Digidestined. At one time, he had stayed aloof with Kari, but now he had grown closer to all of them. Cody's stern demeanor had lifted slightly. He no longer worried about following the rules completely, and was beginning to develop his own opinions rather than relying on his grandfather's word. Yolei had become much stronger. She wasn't afraid of letting the team down or freezing up in battle anymore. She had left her self-doubt behind.

Ken had changed as well, even though he had decided not to have Wormmon crystal digivolve. Ken had grown closer to the group and seemed to want to become friends now. He was on a first-name basis with Yolei and Davis. Kari knew it would only be a matter of time until he became a full-time member of the group.

And as for Davis, well, miracles did happen. Davis had changed from the hotheaded, stubborn boy who was always trying to prove himself. He had become a strong leader and he had become the heart of the team. Davis had been the person to set these changes in motion with his walkabout, and everyone had benefited from the experience. Everyone except Kari. Everyone else has changed so much, as if they digivolved themselves. What about me? I haven't changed at all.

Maybe Kari couldn't change unless she forced herself to. Maybe it was time she took matters into her own hands. If I can't become stronger, then I'm only holding the team back. I don't want to do that. Kari nodded and entered the playground. She was instantly aware of eyes falling upon her. Kari knew that Davis wasn't the only boy with a crush on her, he was just the most obvious. But Kari didn't want to be with any boys right now. She wanted to give being a Digidestined her full effort.

Kari marched right up to Davis, who was cheering for Cody and the younger kids. "Davis?" The spiky-haired youth jumped a foot and spun around.

"Oh! Uh… Kari, you didn't surprise me." Kari smiled, she couldn't expect Davis to be completely perfect.

"Sorry I startled you. Davis, can I ask a favor?"

Davis' face changed to a slight shade of red. "A-a favor?"

Kari nodded, "I'd like to borrow the Digivolution Crystal."

Davis' blush vanished. "The Crystal? What for?"

Kari replied, "I'd like to see if I can get Gatomon to crystal digivolve."

Davis was hesitant. "I dunno. Gennai said we should only use the Crystal as a last resort. It's pretty dangerous."

Kari batted her eyes, "Please, Davis? For me?" She knew it wasn't right to play on Davis' crush, but this was important to her. All the others had grown stronger and that had helped their Digimon crystal digivolve. Kari figured that if she could at least hang on to the Crystal for a while, she might become stronger as well. "Davis, I promise I won't use it unless we absolutely have to. It's just that I want to try for a crystal digivolution if the need arises."

Davis, whose face was once again turning red, nodded hesitantly. "O-okay. But only if it's absolutely necessary, alright?"

Kari nodded, "I promise." Davis slid the Crystal off from around his neck and handed it to Kari. Kari smiled, "Thanks, Davis. You're the best."

Davis beamed, "The best? Really? Me?"

Kari was about the answer when the bell rang. "Oops, better get going. See you later, Davis." She spun around and ran inside, leaving Davis standing slack-jawed.

* * * * * * * *

Kari admired the beauty of the Digivolution Crystal as she walked home. Several girls had complimented her on the new accessory, but Kari didn't really think much about it. Fashion had never been high on her priority list. She wore what she thought she looked good in. Mimi might disagree, but Kari only saw makeup and fashion as a cover for who people really were. All that makeup that girls wore just was more of a mask than an accessory. They Crystal was beautiful, but the fact that Kari wore it didn't make her beautiful as well. Kari believed that beauty, true beauty, came from within. She had always looked up to Sora and Mimi, because they were such good people. They were beautiful on the inside and the outside as well. Yolei was the same. She wasn't as subtle as the other girls, but she was a kind person at heart.

Kari had felt a nagging anticipation all day as she wore the Crystal. She couldn't wait to see what kind of Digimon Gatomon would crystal digivolve into. Kari hadn't had as many experiences with Gatomon as Tai and the others had had with their Digimon. She wanted to have a special experience, to reach a new level of digivolving together. This will be great. She smiled. I know I can do this.

Kari reached her apartment and entered her home. Her brother was sitting on the sofa, watching TV in his usual lazy position. "Hi, Tai." Tai gave an unintelligible grunt in reply. "Look what I have." She dangled the Crystal in front of Tai's face.

Tai was instantly awake, "Davis gave that to you? Why?"

Kari smiled, "I asked if I could borrow it."

Tai frowned, "Kari, I'm not sure you should play around with that."

Kari's expression soured, "I'm not playing with it. I just want to see if Gatomon can Crystal Digivolve."

A sound came from Kari's backpack, "I'd digivolve into anything if it would get me outta here!" Kari took off her backpack and let Gatomon out. "Can't I just ride on your head like Demiveemon or Patamon?"

Kari smiled, "We tried that once, remember? You're claws hurt." Gatomon flushed slightly.

Just then, Kari's D3 began to beep. Kari took it out and looked at the small screen. It was flashing with a digicode distress signal. Kari frowned as she read the sender's ID. "Tai, it's Greymon! Greymon's calling for help!"

Tai frowned, "Greymon?" He took out his digivice. It wasn't blinking at all. "Are you sure?"

Kari nodded, "Yes, I'm positive." She showed Tai her D3. The signal was indeed coming from Greymon.

Tai said, "Let's get back to the school computer lab. This might be a trap, so we should have as much help as possible. Let's contact the others."

* * * * * * * *

Kari and Tai ran back to Kari's school as fast as their legs would carry them. Up ahead, Davis stood there waiting impatiently. Kari said, "Thanks for coming so fast, Davis."

Davis' face was a little red. "Hey, you know me, always ready to help out."

Tai arched an eyebrow. "And the fact that your soccer team just ended practice ten minutes ago doesn't have anything to do with your timing, right?"

Davis' expression fell. "Oh yeah, that too." He leaned in at Tai and whispered, "Thanks for nothing."

Tai grinned, "Honesty is the best policy."

Davis retorted, "Is that what you use with Sora?"

Now Tai's expression fell. "I liked you more before your walkabout." He crossed his arms and huffed. Kari giggled. TK and the others arrived two minutes later and they all went inside.

Yolei sat down at the computer and called up the digital communicator. A section of the Digital World map was flashing red. Yolei said, "This is where the signal is coming from, but it's very far away from the area that Agumon's protecting."

Tai frowned, "Why would he go so far away from his area? It's not like him."

A new window appeared on the screen. "Tai!" Agumon's face appeared on screen.

Tai rushed to the screen and bumped Yolei aside. "Agumon! Are you okay?"

Agumon nodded, "I'm fine, Tai, never better!" Everyone gathered around Tai.

Tai let out a breath. "Good. I was worried. When I got your distress signal-"

Agumon cut in, "But, Tai, that's what I called to tell you. I'm not the one who sent the distress signal. Someone else sent it."

TK blinked, "Another Greymon?"

Cody's eyes narrowed, "It's probably a trap."

Yolei said, "We should still check it out. Maybe it's this 'master' guy that Avatar was talking about."

Davis frowned, "But what if it is a trap?"

Kari remained silent. Another Greymon? Someone different from Agumon? Could it be..? Kari pulled out her D3. "I'm going in." She move past Tai. "Digiport open!"

"Kari, wait!" Tai reached out to stop his sister, but the computer swallowed her in.

TK and Davis were right behind her. "Wait for us!" They followed into the computer. Tai, Yolei, and Cody followed directly after them.

* * * * * * * *

Kari ran full speed down a forest path toward the source of the distress signal. Gatomon was right behind her. "Kari, what's going on? Why are you running so fast? Kari, are you listening to me?"

Kari only half-heard her partner. Her mind kept flashing back to a time when she was only about four or five years old. She couldn't remember everything, but she did remember the egg. The digiegg that had come out of her computer, and hatched into a Botamon. That Botamon had become a Koramon, and from there a huge Agumon. And finally, Greymon had appeared before her. She'd always wondered what had happened to that Greymon. What had happened to her first Digimon friend? What if it was the older Greymon that was calling for help? Greymon, I'm coming! Kari ran even faster.

"Kari!" Raidramon came running up beside her with Davis and Tai on his back. Tai growled, "Kari, what are you doing? Don't rush into this!"

Kari panted, "But, Tai, what if it's Greymon?"

Davis replied, "We already talked with Agumon, he's safe."

Kari shook her head, "Not Agumon, I'm talking about Greymon!"

Davis frowned, "Isn't Agumon Greymon?"

Kari said, "No, the other Greymon!"

Tai's eyes widened, "That Greymon?"

Davis remained ignorant, "What Greymon?"

Tai said, "Our Greymon."

"Your Greymon? You mean Agumon?"

"No! Greymon, the first Greymon."

Davis frowned, "How many Greymon do you have?"

Tai rolled his eyes, "Just shut up and drive. I'll explain later."

Davis nodded and looked forward. He mumbled, "Tai's lost it."

"I heard that!" Davis gave a slight "eep" in response. Pegasusmon, Halsemon, and Digmon came up behind the others. They all ran towards a clearing, where the signal seemed to emanate from. Kari went into a final sprit. She realized that she could have arrived faster if she had had Gatomon armor digivolve, but she was too worried about Greymon to think strait.

Kari's feet and heart stopped dead when she entered the clearing. A Greymon, slightly larger than Tai's Greymon, stood before her. It was wrapped in chains that seemed to spring from the ground itself. The chains covered his legs, arms, and wrapped around his mouth to prevent a Nova Blast attack. The Greymon thrashed and growled, but couldn't break free.

Kari ran forward, "Greymon!" The Digimon looked down, and its eyes widened. Kari saw the look. He recognizes me. Kari looked at the others. "We have to cut him loose!"

Halsemon reverted back to Hawkmon. "Leave that to Digmon and I."

Yolei took out her d-terminal. "Digiarmor energize!"

"Hawkmon digivolve to… Shurimon: The Samurai of Sincerity!" Shurimon and Digmon stepped forward to cut Greymon free.

"Welcome, Digidestined." A deep, resonating voice boomed out. A pool of darkness spread out directly in front of the Digidestined, and a pair of huge bat-like wings emerged. A figure appeared shortly after the wings. It was a large Digimon, about the size of WarGreymon. His blue body was thick and muscular. Red-black fur covered him down to his hands and knees, leaving only his chest bare. Where the fur cut off, spikes, almost like teeth, jutted outward. His head was small and rectangular with a long mane of black hair hanging down. His eyes were a deep, cold blue that chilled Kari to the bone. Two horns curved upward from his forehead.

Davis and the others ran up beside Shurimon and Digmon. Raidramon had transformed back into Veemon. "Who are you?"

The Digimon chuckled, causing Kari to shudder. "I am Demon. The new lord of the Digital World. It has been a long time, but I see that you Digidestined have added new members to your ranks."

TK frowned, "You… know us?"

Demon smiled, "All will be revealed, in time. But for now, child of hope, child of light," he held out one clawed hand, "come with me. I have need of your services."

TK stepped in front of Kari. "We'll never go with you, monster. I know what you are, you're a Dark Digimon."

Demon smiled, "Indeed I am, but I am not requesting your help, I demand your obedience!" He held out an arm, which lengthened to twice its length and dove in at TK and Kari.

Pegasusmon dove in front of TK. "Watch out!" The claw slammed into Pegasusmon and knocked him to the ground. Pegasusmon reverted back to Patamon.

"Veemon," Davis growled, "Let's teach this guy a lesson."

"Right! Veemon digivolve to… XVmon!" Davis took out his d-terminal and activated the Ultimate function. "XVmon digivolve to… Paildramon!"

TK looked at Patamon, "Can you hang in there?"

Patamon nodded, "You bet! Patamon digivolve to… Angemon!" The Angel Digimon took place beside Paildramon.

Tai looked at Yolei and Cody, "Shurimon and Digmon should focus on freeing Greymon."

Yolei nodded, "You heard the man, Shurimon!"

"Go to it, Digmon!" The two Armor Digimon nodded and ran forward. Demon paid them no heed.

Demon waved Paildramon and Angemon forward, "Come then. Show me your power." Paildramon and Angemon rushed him.

Paildramon lashed out with his fist while Angemon used his Angel Staff. Demon blurred out of sight and their blows swung through the air. "Where'd he go?"

"Behind you." Paildramon and Angemon turned around just in time to see Demon open his mouth. "Chaos Fire!" Flames spewed from his jaws and engulfed the two Digimon. The flames burned them, but Paildramon and Angemon flew up and out of the inferno.

Paildramon was the first to fight his way past the flames. "Dramon Blasters!" His energy cannons fired a barrage of power at Demon.

Angemon followed closely, "Hand of Fate!" The two attacks merged and struck Demon head-on. "We nailed him!" Angemon smiled.

"All right!" Paildramon punched his fist in the air.

Another chilling laugh came from the smoke. "Ho, ho. Is that all you can do?" Demon didn't have a scratch on him. "You pathetic weaklings cannot defeat a Mega."

Davis' face paled. "He's a Mega?"

Yolei groaned, "And I thought we had finished off all the evil Megas."

Meanwhile, Shurimon and Digmon were doing all they could to free Greymon from the chains. "Double Star!" Shurimon cut through several chains.

"Gold Rush!" Digmon cut a group of chains from around Greymon's mouth. They as the number of chains decreased, Greymon began to thrash even more and succeeded in breaking even more chains. Digmon jumped aside as one of Greymon's legs broke free. "Hey! Easy there, big guy!"

Greymon ignored Digmon's protests as he ripped free of the chains and thundered towards Demon. With an ear-splitting roar, Greymon took several swipes at Demon and then tried to bit down on the Mega's head.

Demon chuckled, "So, a Champion wishes to face me? How bold. Chaos Fire!" Demon sent a column of flames at Greymon. Greymon counted with a Nova Blast, but Demon's attack overwhelmed the smaller fireball and exploded right at Greymon's feet. The large Digimon shrieked in pain and fell back.

"GREYMON!" Kari ran forward with Gatomon and Tai right behind her. Kari came right up to Greymon's head and placed her hands on his bony cap. "Greymon, please be okay!"

Greymon opened his eyes and growled. He slowly got to his feet and positioned himself directly between Kari and Demon. He's protecting me. After all this time, Greymon still remembered the little girl who rode piggyback on him down Heighten View Terrace.

Demon, meanwhile, was finishing off the other Digimon. Shurimon and Digmon had joined in the fight. "Double Star!" Shurimon threw his largest shuriken. Demon batted the dart away with a blast of energy and flew in at Shurimon. He punched the Armor Digimon and sent him flying towards a nearby tree. Shurimon struck the tree dead center. He slumped to the ground and reverted back to an unconscious Hawkmon.

Digmon attacked next. "Gold Rush!" Demon dodged the barrage of drills.

"Hand of Fate!" Demon avoided Angemon's attack with ease.

"Chaos Fire!" Demon's inferno sent both Digimon to the ground and they reverted back to their rookie forms.

Paildramon was the last Digimon to attack. He decided for the close range attack and dove in with a flying kick. Demon dodged the kick, and with lightning quick speed he grabbed Paildramon by the ankle and yanked him toward the ground. Demon slammed Paildramon into the soil, then lifted him again and spun him around in a circle. Demon released Paildramon, who flew off and crash-landed against several trees. Paildramon reverted back to Demiveemon.

Demon sighed, "Such weaklings. What a disappointment." Greymon charged again with a loud roar. "And you're not even worth my time." Demon raised his hand and sent an invisible shockwave directly into Greymon. The Dinosaur Digimon went limp and fell on his side.

Gatomon looked at her partner, "Kari, use the Crystal! I need to crystal digivolve in order to beat Demon!"

Kari nodded, "R-right." Her heart was suddenly pounding faster. This was it, do or die time. Kari clasped the crystal in her hands and closed her eyes. Okay, you can do this, Kari. Everyone else did it, so you can too. Just keep it together. Her heart just wouldn't slow down.

The crystal began to glow, but something was different this time. Instead of a bright white light shinning out, the crystal shown in a dark purple energy as its surface darkened to black. "T-Tai? What's happening?" Kari began to tremble. She was doing something wrong, but what?

Tai shook his head, "I-I don't know."

A black beam of energy shot out of crystal and pierced Gatomon. "K-Kari? What's happening? This doesn't feel right. It… it hurts!" Fear filled Gatomon's eyes, then her mouth moved as if it was acting on its own power. "Gatomon dark crystal digivolve to…" Her silhouette appeared in a dark purple aura, and her form began to change. "Harpymon!"

Harpymon was a half-woman, half-bird Digimon. Her legs were covered with raven-black feathers, and her talons were pale gray. Her chest was shielded by a quartz breastplate, and quartz armbands protected her wrists. Her nails were long and black, like claws. Two raven wings protruded from her back. Her face was beautiful. She looked like Angewomon without a helmet, except that her eyes were red. But there was a cruelty to her expression. Her face was in a constant sneer of contempt, and anger burned in her eyes.

Kari took a step back. Gatomon's crystal form frightened her. Why hadn't she mentioned the emotion or trait that powered her?

Harpymon gave a low laugh and looked at Demon. With a shriek, she flew in with her hands outstretched as if to strangle the Dark Digimon. "Dark Void!" A sphere of dark energy appeared in her hands and she threw it at Demon. Demon countered with his Chaos Fire. The two attacks detonated against each other in a small mushroom cloud. Harpymon dove through the cloud and began to swipe and claw at Demon. Demon barely had time to dodge the blows as he quickly backpedaled.

Despite the fact that he was suddenly outmatched, Demon seemed to by enjoying himself. "My, my. You are quite powerful, my dear." He suddenly slowed down and dropped below Harpymon. Harpymon was going too fast to stop and pursue. She had to slow down first, which gave Demon the time he needed.

Something flashed into existence in Demon's hand. It was a bright red ruby, the kind that had been fixed to Avatar's headband. Demon stood by patiently as Harpymon flew in, shrieking like a banshee. Demon casually flicked the ruby from his hand and it tumbled end over end towards Harpymon. The ruby connected with her forehead, and Harpymon instantly grabbed her head and began to thrash about. She growled and screamed as the ruby began to glow bright red.

Suddenly, Harpymon stopped thrashing and stood up right. She floated over to Demon and bowed before him. "Lord Demon, I am your humble servant."

Demon smiled, "Arise, my dear." It was then that Kari saw what had happened. The ruby had someone fixed itself onto Harpymon's head. Is it controlling her? Kari couldn't believe what was happening.

The other Digidestined ran up beside Kari, each one carrying his or her wounded Digimon. TK demanded, "What have you done to Gatomon?"

Demon looked up and smiled, "Harpymon, as she is now called, is my newest servant. But I have more than enough room in my ranks for more." Another ruby appeared in Demon's hand. This one was smaller than the last. "Wait here." Harpymon nodded and Demon blurred out of sight.

Kari looked around. "Where did he-"

"I am here." Everyone jumped and spun around to see Demon looming over the group. Before anyone could react, Demon reached out and pressed the ruby to TK's forehead.

"AHH!" TK cried out, but he was quickly silenced as the ruby took control. TK's whole body trembled. He dropped Patamon in the process.

"TK!" Kari rushed to his side, only to see a blank look on TK's face. It was as if he was sleep walking. His eyes were open, but there was no recognition in them when he looked at her.

Demon stepped back as Kari shook TK by the shoulders. "TK, don't give in. You have to fight it! Don't leave us!"

Demon said, "You are too late. He's mine now."

Kari looked back at Demon with a venomous stare. "You're wrong!"

Demon tilted his head to one side, "Am I? TK, get the crystal"

TK lunged forward with both hands and grabbed the crystal hanging around Kari's neck. "NO!" Kari grabbed the crystal with both hands and struggled to keep hold of it.

"Kari!" Davis and the other ran up to help.

Demon cut them off. "Chaos Fire!" The others were pinned behind a wall of flames.

Kari continued to struggle against TK. His grip was like steel. "TK, please don't do this. You can't let Demon control you!" TK gave one final tug, and that crystal slipped over Kari's head. TK shoved Kari away and she stumbled onto the ground. Kari winced, "TK…" He didn't have any expression in his eyes.

Demon laughed, "Excellent work, my new servant. Come with me." He scooped TK up and flew back to Harpymon. "Harpymon, you may have some fun with them. Just don't kill the child of light. We have use for her too."

Harpymon nodded, "As you command, Lord Demon." She took the air and streaked in at the Digidestined. "Dark Void!" She hurled and sphere of black energy. The Digidestined instantly began to scatter. Tai grabbed Kari's wrist and yanked her in one direction while the others sprinted the other way.

The attack impacted against the ground and blossomed into an explosion that sent Tai and Kari flying. Tai wrapped his arms around Kari and held on tight as they fell to the ground. Tai landed on his back and absorbed most of the impact. They bounced across the ground several times before rolling to a stop. His body went limp.

"Tai? TAI!" Kari shook her brother. He moaned in response, but his eyes remained closed. Kari looked at the others. Yolei and Cody were knocked out, just like Tai. Davis was only slightly better off. He was crawling on his belly towards Demiveemon. Harpymon landed right in front of him.

"Well, well." She lifted Davis up by the scruff of his jacket. "The master didn't say I couldn't kill you. But I might spare your life if you begged me to."

Kari cried out, "Gatomon! Stop it! That's Davis, he's our friend!"

Harpymon scowled at Kari and flung Davis aside. He went limp after rolling to a stop on the ground. Harpymon called over, "I'm not Gatomon anymore. Gatomon is dead."

Kari shook her head in numb shock. "No… that can't be true. You're still Gatomon."

Harpymon brandished her claw-like hand. "Wanna bet?" She leaped toward Kari.

Suddenly, an orange blur struck Harpymon from the side and repelled her away. Harpymon tumbled through the air for a moment, but she quickly regained her flight and looked at her new opponent. Greymon was standing between Harpymon and Kari. He was bleeding and burnt, but he didn't look anywhere near giving up.

Tears welled in Kari's eyes and she screamed, "Greymon, don't!"

Greymon opened his mouth and fired a stream of flame at Harpymon. The flames engulfed her, but she dispelled them with a burst of energy. "You're not even a challenge." Harpymon swooped in an arc and collided with Greymon's head. The larger Digimon shrieked and fell to the ground. Kari tried to get up and go to Greymon, but her legs wouldn't work right. She was too weak.

Harpymon raised her hands, "Darkness…"

"GATOMON! DON'T!"

"Void!" She threw a large sphere of black energy directly at Greymon. The fallen Digimon only had time to look up at the incoming attack before it collided, and Greymon vanished in an explosion.

Kari was thrown back by the force of the blast along with Tai. She came to a stop after what seemed like an eternity of rolling. She slowly opened her eyes, trying not to wince at the pain. The world seemed to be a mixture of blurs, and one black and gray blur was steadily approaching her. The blur resolved into Harpymon. Kari's former Digimon raised one hand and flattened it into a blade.

"Stop!" Demon and TK walked up to Kari and Harpymon. Demon waved a finger, "We must not kill her yet. I have need of her power."

Kari's voice was barely above a whisper. "TK…"

Demon smiled down at Kari. "Child of light, I could easily take you with me now, but I think you should enjoy the taste of defeat a bit longer." He placed a hand on TK and Harpymon's shoulders. "You're friend and your Digimon are mine now. You have lost." A black pool appeared blow Demon, Harpymon, and TK. They began to sink into the darkness.

"No… TK… Gatomon…" Kari rolled over and reached for her friend. TK didn't make any move to take her hand. The three of them vanished. Kari rolled onto her back. Greymon was dead. There was nothing left of his body. Demon had taken the Digivolution Crystal. TK was gone, a slave to Demon. And Gatomon was now a monster in the truest sense of the word. This is all my fault. I failed. I killed Greymon and lost TK and Gatomon. "Greymon… TK… Gatomon!" Tears cascaded down Kari's face, and she wished that she would just pass out. At least then the pain in her heart would stop.

* * * * * * * *

Demon leaned back on his thrown and admired the beauty of the Digivolution Crystal. He couldn't stop smiling. This world is as good as mine. He looked at the human, TK, who was standing mutely next to him. Demon reached over and gently cupped his hand around TK's chin. He turned the boy's head towards the pit with a pair of modified control spires and an organic sack that hung from the ceiling. "Do you see that?" TK nodded. "You will help me create the most powerful Digimon in history. Does that please you?"

The child's voice was completely monotone, like a robot's. "I will serve you, Lord Demon." Demon chuckled. Revenge was so sweet.

Harpymon approached and bowed, "Lord Demon, what of the Digidestined? Shouldn't I have eliminated them?"

Demon smiled. Demon had given Harpymon more personal freedom than the Digidestined boy. Harpymon was able to speak her mind, the boy was not. "Those pathetic children are of no concern to me. The child of hope is mine and the child of light is of no use to them." He held up the Crystal. "Without the children of hope and light and this Digivolution Crystal, the Digidestined are powerless against me." Demon sighed and then laughed. This game was his.

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Well, I certainly gave Kari the runaround, didn't I? Kari is about to undergo a period of doubt and sadness, and it will take the full support of her friends to help her gain the strength to save TK and defeat Demon. Chapter 2 of "Caring Hearts" is coming soon.

Author's Note: I'm feeling a little unoriginal right now. It turns out that I'm not the only guy who thinks Demon would be a good head villain. Toei had the same idea as me. Demon is one of the main villains towards the end of 02. Go figure.

Anyway, I found out about Demon through Megchan's Digimon Sekai at www.megchan.com/digimon/. Her Digimon Dictionary is the best.

Harpymon is my own creation. Harpies are mythical women-birds who carry souls of the dead to the underworld. They also do their best to make sure that heroes fail. I can't offer any guarantees on when the next chapter will be out. In addition to schoolwork, I've also become a source for screenshots for a few websites. Digiworld Canada at http://www.geocities.com/porygon2.geo/digi.htm, and Pyromon's Digimon Page at http://www.geocities.com/pyromon1/D1/Homex.html. Pyromon has a "Digimon of the Month" feature, so I hope everyone will check both websites out.

Needless to say, I'm gonna be busy. But I promise to get the next chapter out real soon. In the meantime, please review and let me know what you like and what you think I can improve upon.