disclaimer If I owned Digimon- giggles Sorry. Sorry. The idea of me owning Digimon is just so laughable! chortles Yeah… go ahead, you can read on now.

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There were times when Gatomon was sure she didn't deserve what she had. When she would wake in the darkest hours of the night, trembling where she was curled on Kari's stomach or stretched out at the girl's side. When half remembered night-terrors drove the feline from her Chosen's side for fear of waking the sensitive girl with either her weak trembling or the strong emotions that escaped her usually iron control and seeped down the empathic link all digimon shared with their partners. She would slink away, away from the light and heat and comfort of a fire that was mostly embers and back to the darkness… both an old friend and a loathed enemy.

And in the cloaking dark she would seek out that solitary strength that had fueled her before she had found Light, the strength that came from facing or living the basest of all emotions. These emotions were easy, both to understand and to enact, and with the easiness came a feeling of strength. If I can live in the face of wrath, and pride, and avarice, she had reasoned with herself at one point, surely I can handle anything.

Here, her returning strength would be shattered, ripped apart as easily as she, as Salamon, had been ripped apart by Myotismon. She would feel the returning walls of her heart being penetrated as easily as Myotismon's fangs had punctured the delicate necks of the women she had killed. Yes, she had killed them. She had killed them by not fighting against Myotismon as hard as she could have, by giving into his will and not stopping him sooner. This, Gatomon's mind reasoned, was why she did not deserve the eight year old sleeping back at camp, whose Light shone like a killing desert sun on the part of Gatomon that was dark, smudged, tainted. She didn't deserve any of them, the fifteen-member party resting in the woods of the Digital World. They trusted her, welcomed her despite what she had done to them and to others through her actions… or her inactions.

Gatomon would curl in a nest formed by the gnarled roots of a tree, or high in the branches, or even in patches of grass, shivering and panting despite the comfortable temperature of the midnight air. Her purple tipped tail would quiver with anxiety, her ears would fold against her head, her eyes squeezed shut, keeping both the darkness and the light from penetrating any further than her eyelids. No, no, that wasn't true. Even isolated and closed off as she would make herself, the darkness would still find a way to eat away at her… it was with her always, coating her vision in black, inky slime than ran in living globules whenever she shut her eyes. She was marked, stigmatized, and the darkness would never let her forget it.

In the morning, before the sun rose, she would slink back to camp and curl herself on Kari's stomach or along her side in the tightest ball she could manage. She would press an ear to the girl's skin, and be lulled back to sleep by her heartbeat… Gatomon's reassurance that there was still good in the world, and a cause worth fighting for.


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an I played with ending this about four different ways before decided on this. I deleted at lot, and reworked some, but I'm happy with how it turned out (despite the fact that this ending is a lot more depressing than the one I had in mind.) This story will end up being either a three-shot or a two-shot depending on what I feel I need to write to complete the story.