Chapter FIVE—Beach Trip

"I'm so excited!" Hikari jumped out of the car and ran around the side to the trunk. Mimi emerged soon after her, hopping out as well and exlaiming in agreement. "The weather is perfect." Hikari went on, "It's not too hot or humid and there's a wonderful breeze coming off the ocean!"

"A perfect day." Mimi nodded happily.

"Pray tell . . ." A voice sounded from still inside the car. It didn't sound too happy. "Why was it that I was required to attend this . . . unpleasant excursion? This wasn't part of my vacation plan."

The day before, Mimi and Palmon had taken Vamdemon through a digital gate to the digital world and, after finding another port, exited to her home in New York City. After resting for the night, she had called Hikari and told her it was safe to come. The girl did the same thing, traveled through the digital gate, and arrived early the next morning. Then her and Mimi took Vamdemon to the beach.

"Vamdemon, you know that you aren't supposed to be left alone." Hikari smiled, peering into the window at his scowling face. "And your angel lover asked me to look after you personally. I couldn't exactly deny that sort of personal request." She laughed merrily, "I told you the other day I'd see you again soon!"

Vamdemon's eyes narrowed. "Traitor." His eyes shifted from Hikari to the cloudless, clear, blue sky, then at the orb of light that shone unobstructed high above. "I hate the sun."

The girls rolled their eyes and Hikari pulled out of the trunk a cooler filled with food and drink. Mimi removed three chairs and walked to the door of the rear passenger seat, opening the door and putting a han on her hip. "Would you kindly grab the bag with the towels?" She asked the fuming figure.

"Yes, your highness." Vamdemon begrudgingly pushed himself out of the car. He squinted his eyes in response to the harsh glare of the light and grabbed up the stuffed duffel. Dejectedly, he followed the girls and began walking towards the sand bar. "It's too crowded."

"Everything is too crowded for you." Hikari said. "The mall is too crowded, the streets are too crowded, the train, the beach, and I'm sure it goes on." Vamdemon smirked slightly as she finished. "Believe me, it's not that bad. Today is a weekday, so this is nothing compared to what it could be."

There was silence for a few seconds. "It smells bad." He complained, looking to annoy her even more.

Hikari sighed, but did not answer. Mimi laughed.

When the girls reached the barrier between pavement and sand, they bent over and pulled off their shoes.

Vamdemon stared at them stupidly. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like?" Hikari replied sarcastically, not looking at him.

"Don't be smart, Brat." Vamdemon growled. "I mean why? What's the point?"

"Because I don't want the sand to get in my shoes. It's not the most pleasant feeing." She was now stripping away her socks. "Does that make sense to you or do I need to make it more clear? I suggest you do the same."

He glowered at her for a moment before caving in and kicking off the shoes on his feet. After pulling off his socks as well, he took a tentative step onto the hot, sun baked sand.

"I don't like it!" He stated quickly, dancing in place for a few seconds to create a dramatic effect, although the heat of the grains of sand was great and the expression of pain would have been warranted.

"Are you kidding?" Mimi asked, forgetting Vamdemon was trying to be annoying. "It's the best feeling in the world!" She began walking after Hikari. Vamdemon struggled to keep up with the two, not accustomed to walking on the slippery sand. They stopped a good distance away at a spot close to the sea, allowing Vamdemon to catch up. By the time he reached their position he was completely out of breath.

"Oh come on," Hikari chuckled, putting her things down, "its not that bad."

"This is . . . a new . . . sensation . . . to me. . . ." He huffed out, finally regaining some normal breathing capabilities.

"You're such a drama queen." She muttered, garnering a glare from his being. Her and Mimi exchanged a smile and put their things down on the sand and against a boat that was turned upside down to their right. Vamdemon dropped the duffel bag he had been carrying, then dropped to his knees himself, exhausted. Hikari stared at him as he panted. "Aren't you hot in that thing?"

She was referring to the hooded sweat shirt that he was wearing. It looked out of place in contrast with the rest of the beach-goers and was clearly a source of discomfort, for Vamdemon was swetaing beneath the cloth. "Of course I am." He snapped. "But I'd rather not burn up out here, thank you very much."

"You burn up. . . ." She said quietly. "Humans spend lots of time like this out in the sun and end up alright."

"Yes, perhaps humans do," He admitted, leaning back, "but that is a species I should not belong to. Furthermore, I generally did not make it a habit to cavort in the sun, and haven't been forced to endure long exposure in many, many, MANY years. Think hundreds, child. Do you see how pale I am? Do you realize just how easily I will burn? I'd be red in minutes."

"You're going to get over heated." Mimi stated worriedly, staring Vamdemon in the eyes. "If I rent you a nice big umbrella and give you sun lotion will you take off those layers?"

Vamdemon returned the stare with disbelief, mind reeling at the prospect and being so uncovered before their prying eyes. He hesitated. He was quite hot, and the last thing he neeed was for the girls to call home and tell Angemon that he had gotten himself sick. "Alright. Fine. You win. Now go get whatever it was you said you were going to get."

She gave him a stern look. "Take off that sweat shirt first."

He growled, but did so, sliding it over his head and throwing it on the sand. He quickly crossed his arms across his bare chest uncomfortably, staring downward and away from the girls. She smiled despite his displeasure and walked back towards the boardwalk.

Hikari shook her head. "Why must you always be so difficult?"

Vamdemon ignored her, still staring at the sand beneath him. His hair, now out in the open, blew gently behind him in the breeze. As people walked by—mostly girls—they turned their heads his way, staring at the golden hair and his uncovered body. Some muttered insults, but most were laughing and teasing one another about the attractive man seated on the beach. He groaned and buried his head in his arms, shrinking into himself as much as he could.

"What's wrong now?"

"I'm too exposed." He grumbled, peering up momentarily to glare at a gawking woman, who scurried away giggling. Vamdemon shuddered. "What is wrong with your species, Hikari? There is nothing amusing about this situation."

"You are so clueless." She chuckled, waving to Mimi as she approached with the umbrella. With a thrust she impaled it into the sand, twisting it a few times so that it was anchored in, then pressed a button to open the cover. As the shade draped over Vamdemon's body he relaxed slightly, uncovering his face, then uncurling his body so that he was sitting up straight.

"Open up your hands." Mimi instructed, having lowered herself onto her knees beside him.

"Why?" He demanded irritably.

"Never mind." The girl sighed. "I'll do it for you."

". . . do what?"

Mimi couldn't help but smile at the panic stricked face that stared at her. "Just sit still." She instructed and leaned towards him. After squeezing a blob of light blue cream into her hands, she placed them onto his arms and started to rub the stuff in. His muscles tensed beneath her hands when she touched his skin, but she did not relent, and after a few seconds they began to relax. Mimi wasn't going to hurt him and he felt foolish for thinking so. After she finished the first arm she moved the second, then, moving directly in front of him, she dabbed smaller dots of the cream onto his scowling face and rubbed it in gently.

". . . this is sun lotion?"

"Yep! It should keep you from getting burnt." She said with a peppy tone and shifted the tube into her mouth and between her teeth. "I don't think I'll need to do your back, what with all that hair."

Her hands moved down from his face and onto his chest. He tensed greatly as she reached the place over his heart. "Does it hurt?" She gently traced the x shaped scar tissue that was present from his first deadly battle with the chosen ones.

"Not really." He said quickly. His eyes were tightly shut. "It's the memory of it that hurts more than the scar. . . ."

"Why is it so big?" She continued to cover his body with lotion, now feeling slightly uncomfortable for having forgotten that battle all those years ago had occurred. ". . . it was just a little arrow."

"Yeah, you're right." He said quietly, with just a hint of sarcasm, "It was just an arrow that was pulsating with the energy of seven digimon and their human partners. "It pierced my skin, traveled between my ribs, through my heart, then out my back. After that, there was a stab of pain, and then the energy that had been deposited by the arrow exploded. It caused the initial wound to spread. . . ."

"I'm sorry." Hikari said, turning to him. She had just finished applying her own lotion and looked slightly blue. It had not yet completely been absorbed by her skin.

"I was trying to kill you." He said bluntly, "There is nothing to be sorry about." He pulled away from Mimi as she finally finished with her task. Passersby were staring and giggling again. Vamdemon tried glaring at them, but it only caused theirannoying behavior to increase.

"Just ignore them." Hikari said, stifling a laugh.

"He's very self conscious." Mimi said, "All that attention isn't an easy thing to ignore."

"They aren't going to hurt him." Hikari argued.

"That doesn't make it any less difficult."

"But it's been so long—"

"So what! It doesn't change what has happened to him—"

Vamdemon sighed and leaned backwards onto the sand. He closed his eyes and tried to relax by thinking about the morning before.

"Damn it." He had growled, staring out the window of the apartment. Thick rain drops splashed against the glass and the ground as they fell from the sky.

"What now?" Holyangemon called from the bed. His body was still facing the wall in show of stubborn tiredness.

"It's raining."

"What's your point?" Holyangemon fought to stifle a yawn.

Vamdemon took a few steps and collapsed back onto the bed, leaning against Holyangemon's back. "That means I'm stuck in here. I can't even shoot in this weather."

"Not that your arm is up for that."

"My arm is fine."

Holyangemon shrugged and turned over forcibly, displacing Vamdemon and causing him to fall awkwardly against the mattress. "I don't know why I try to help you anymore. You don't seem to listen to anything that I say."

"I listen. I just don't pay heed your advice."

"Obviously."

Vamdemon pulled himself up and stretched, then leaned against Holyangemon once more. He was feeling rather clingly that morning. "So what are we going to do now that the weather is bad?"

"Play one of your games. Write. Code on your laptop."

Vamdemon made a quiet, thoughtful noise, but shook his head. "I'm not in the mood for any of that."

Holyangemon laughed, anticipating Vamdemon's reaction to his next suggestion."Pack."

"Oh please."

Holyangemon watched Vamdemon's eyes roll and sighed. "You always wait until last minute to do what you need to get done. Then you curse about it afterward because you have no time management skills."

"Oh well." Vamemon didn't seem to care.

"You weren't this disorganized when you were a digimon."

"It comes with humanity I suppose."

"That is your excuse for everything that has changed about you."

"So?" Vamdemon sat up once more and shook his head slightly in an effort to clear his mind. "It's the truth."

"If you say so." Holyangemon said, sitting up as well. "I guess, at the very least, it leaves me something to look forward to when you change."

Vamdemon glanced at him with a look of contempt. "What a jerk. I'm not good enough how I am now?"

"How much do you want for your trip?" Holyangemon asked, changing the subject.

"I don't want your money." Vamdemon spat.

"If I know you, and I do quite well, you'll want souvaneirs. I can see it now—you'll want every sound track. How much do you want?"

"I already said I don't want your money." Vamdemon growled, turning away. His face looked serious and miserable.

"I'll give it to Mimi, who shall spend it for you as she sees fit."

"Great." He muttered. A smile twitched at the ends of his lips. He truly didn't want the money—he always felt guilty spending it, even if the angel didn't get a hold of it fairly—but was grateful for the motion.

"Will you pack if I help you?"

"Must I?"

"You are going to be gone for a week. That's a long time to be regretful if you happen to forget something."

"Fine!" Vandemon threw up his arms in frustration. " If it will make you happy."

"It will." Holyangemon said, pushing himself off the bed. He reached the closet and opened the door, pulling out the suitcase they had used recently when they went away for training. He unzipped the top and pushed it towards the bed.

Vamdemon grabbed an armful of clothing from a nearby desk and dropped it in the bag. "Done."

Holyangemon shook his head and, having sat down beside Vamdemon, reached forward, picking up the dropped clothing piece by piece and folding it into a smaller shape. "You're going to need more than that."

Vamdemon thrust more in the angel's direction, but this time helped fold the mess. They worked in silence for the remainder of the time. Along with the clothing, Vamdemon's laptop, music player, and embroidery was packed away.

"Now what?" Vamdemon asked, leaning against Holyangemon's shoulder. "I'm packed. There's the whole day ahead."

"Natsuko is already gone. She left for work early. Takeru and Yamato leave for school soon. We'll have the apartment to ourselves."

"So? How does that answer how this waste of a day will pass?"

"Sometimes you are very clueless, Vamdemon." Holyangemon said, putting an arm around his shoulder. Vamdemon glanced at him, momentarily angry, but the emotion passed quickly. He leaned closer into Holyangemon and shut his eyes.

"Just answer the question . . . please."

Holyangemon smiled gently. Vamdemon so rarely used that word that it always got the best of him. "We won't have to hide anything. We can do what ever we want with each other and won't have to worry about being seen." Vamdemon let out a choked noise and drew away from the angel. His eyes snapped open; they were wide. "You know I won't force you into anything." Holyangemon frowned, "I meant that we won't have to worry about hiding. Like now. . . . You would never be seen leaning against me in front of the boys."

"Not if I can help it. . . ."

"Exactly. So, based on that information, I think we should simply spend the day together—relaxing, resting. Those are the best things to do on a rainy day.

"But that's still boring."

"You can spice things up whenever you feel like it." Holyangemon said.

"Don't push me."

"I'm not." The angel said, then smiled. "I know a way. I've got a stash."

"A stash?" Vamdemon rose an eyebrow. "Of what?"

"Sugar."

". . . sugar?"

"Sugar."

"What?!"

Holyangemon laughed. "Candy, Vamdemon, candy. I've been storing it little by little just for a day like this. Do you know how hard it was to keep myself away and not eat it all?"

"How did Takeru not find it?"

"It's here in this room."

". . . how did I not find it?"

Holyangemon smirked. "You're lazy. You don't go in the draws. When you need something you always make me get it." He ignored the indignant look that was being sent his way. "So does the day look better yet? I know you like sweets."

"Yes." Vamdemon said quickly, obviously eager to get his hands on the sugary goodness. "Yes I do."

"Excellent." Holyangemon said with a smile. He pushed Vamdemon away and stood, crossing over to their dresser, and opened a draw at the bottom left. A large, white bag was withdrawn and displayed dangling in front of Vamdemon's eager face. The items could be seen through the bag. It was good stuff, not just packets from vendors on the streets. He reached forward and tried to grasp it, but it was jerked away from him.

"That's not fair! Don't tease me!"

"We won't be spoiling our breakfast. We eat something healthy first, then, when Takeru and Yamato are gone, we can feast."

A growl formed in Vamdemon's throat. "What are you waiting for then? Go make breakfast."

"I shouldn't, just to spite you." Holyangemon whispered.

In the end, of course, breakfast had been made, and as soon as Takeru and Yamato had left the two were on the couch, Vamdemon leaning against Holyangemon's side, attacking the bag and pulling out the first item, which was rich, dark chocolate with jelly filling.

Suddenly the memory of that day faded into a room Vamdemon didn't recognize.

"My lord?" Ladydevimon said, voice quiet and unsure. It came out unnaturally, as if she weren't used to the sound coming from her mouth. "Doesn't this feel . . . odd to you?"

"Why would it?" Piemon, clearly, was not worried. His eyes were focused on his arms, analyzing the pink tint of skin he wore.

"Well, it's just that . . ." She started, tripping over her words. "I mean . . . are we supposed to be ignoring them? I can hear her in the back of my mind."

"Yes, yes. Just tune her out." Piemon muttered, putting his arms to his side and glancing at Ladydevimon. "If you pay too much attention she might be able to regain control of her body. That would be quite a bother, wouldn't you agree?"

"It's hard. . . ."

"It will become easier with time, love."

"Is Simon as loud as Rachel, my Lord?"

"Naturally." Piemon stated, smiling wickedly,"You know how hot a head that boy had. His vulgarities are ringing through my ears, but I ignore him, just as you must the girl."

"My Lord?"

"What is it?" Piemon growled. The questions were starting to grate on his nerves, although this in itself surprised him. He normally didn't have such a short fuse with his mistress.

"How do we sustain these bodies while sustaining ourselves? Can humans stomach what we, or at least I, need to survive?"

Piemon blinked a few times, then grinned. "I don't know."

". . . are you serious?!" Ladydevimon said with a panicked voice. "You asked me to do this with you without knowing if I could survive? I might starve!"

"Relax," Piemon said with a laugh, brushing away her worries. "Vamdemon was obviously able to manage it, and as his name suggests he was far more vampiric than you are. I'm sure it is possible and that you will find a way."

"I hope so. I'm feeling weak and hungry from the transformation."

"Eat then." He shrugged. "We are still in the digital world, after all. We won't be traveling to Earth for a while yet. You can be healed easily if her body gets sick. You have time, so experiment."

"How am I supposed to do that, I wonder?" She said quietly. "I can't exactly hunt like this."

"Make Metalseadramon do it for you." Piemon suggested.

"Like he'll listen to me, especially like this." She said disdainfully. "He'd laugh his tail off."

Piemon rolled his eyes and sighed greatly. "I'll give him the order."

"Thank you, my Lord."

"Would you PLEASE stop with that?" Piemon grunted as they walked through the hall and out of the small lab that contained the two remaining human bodies. "I know you wouldn't like it if I constantly called you 'my lady'."

"That would be something completely different."

"Hardly."

"Completely, if just for the fact that you are the lord of all of us; our great leader. We wouldn't be where we are today if it weren't for you."

"That is all too true." Piemon admitted. She sure knew how to stroke his ego.


"We were cowards when you were not. You embraced the dark gift from Master Apocalymon after we foolishly destroyed his body in the land of darkness."

"Praise my name AFTER we conquer Earth, dear."

"Yes, my... Yes Piemon"

"Vamdemon!"

"Vamdemon?!"

"Damn it, wake up!"

"Vamdemon!"

Screams penetrated his mind, and his paralyzed dream fell away. His eyes fluttered open to look into the petrified ones above him.

"Finally!" Hikari exclaimed, a panicked look on her face.

"Get up Vamdemon, hurry!" Mimi said, voice rushed.

"What's wrong?" He asked, squinting at them in resistance of the sun.

"The beach is being evacuated. Hurry!"