Disclaimer: So not mine.

Author's note: Made as part of the digimonexchange lj com for BirdBoy. The prompt words were "memorial", "feather" and "blizzard".

Broken Shell

He's got snow in his eyes, despite having only a slit of skin uncovered. Takeru turns around to walk with his back to the wind. He has to get to the car. It's that way. He's pretty sure of it.

"Takeru! Where are you going and what the hell is this?" Takaishi Natsuko ask with a frown.

Takeru rolls his eyes. It's just a little escapade. And it's not like he hasn't got his driver's license.

"It's a location car, mom," he explains. "I'm taking the weekend off. I need to be alone a little."

She understands. He thinks. He hopes. Is it bad that he would want to see the place where it all began again? Like it was that day? Covered in snow?

He's covered in snow. That's more than he asked for, really. It's sticky and crusting on his clothes, making it harder to move by the minute. Takeru appreciates snow, but this is ridiculous. He just had a branch hit him in the face, too. There are no trees anywhere near the car. Damn. He feels around and find a sign. It's the one indicating the toilets, he knows. The car should be... that way.

"What are we going to do, Takeru? You know it's a boring place in winter," Patamon ponders.

"Remember what I said about our story? I need some time to myself to think about... To remember... I want to be able to capture that day as accurately as possible. I couldn't do that in summer, now, could I?" Takeru answers.

Patamon isn't sure he understands, but if that's how Takeru feels, then he'll be with him. It's also special place to the digimon. It's the first view he's had of this strange "Real World" that was apparently supposed to be more real than his own.

Takeru curses and rubs his back. He just tripped over a fallen tree covered in snow. He has to get back to the shack. It might be a little cold and they might be unable to lit a fire, but at least, there is no wind and no snow. It's slowly melting and somehow getting inside his coat. He can't feel his feet anymore already. Takeru is starting to get worried.

Patamon looks up at the ominously steel grey sky and frowns. The winds are picking up and throwing up small whirlwinds of snow.

"I have a bad feeling about this," he says.

"Don't worry," Takeru reassures him. "I've made a reservation, it should be ready to accommodate us cozily."

Patamon still doesn't look too sure.

"I promise the first thing I'm doing is to light a fire."

But the shack is all dusty and cobwebby. There are no covers or pillows, and although there is wood, starting wood is conspicuously missing. Takeru curses and whips his cell phone out to call the camp's direction. The girl at the other end of the line apologizes profusely. Looks like they had taken his reservation for the next week. Takeru curses again and throws the device on the bare mattress before dropping next to it.

"I'm so sorry Patamon," he groans. "It was supposed to be a nice, alone weekend and it's not going to happen."

The Digimon flies and lands on his head, something he hasn't done in a long time, preferring the relative security of his shoulder.

"It's okay Takeru. I understand."

"Let's go back," the young man says before getting up.

But when he opens the door, he is smacked in the face by a strong gust of wind and snow. He slams the door and curses again. Leaning against it, he considers his options. They can't go down the mountain like that. They'll get stuck on the way. Besides, the reception knows he's there, so they can come and get him unstuck as soon as the storm let go. But it's rather cold inside, and it's going to get colder. They need to lit a fire. He smiles, thinking it's a good thing he has a stack of newspaper in the car. He shouldn't worry too much.

It's cold, so freezing cold. And everything is white, so blindingly white. And Takeru is tired, so sleepy tired. And the storm rages around him like a roaring white tiger.

Takeru wants to go home. He wants to hug someone he loves in his arms. But Takeru is alone. Alone in a white desert. He smacks his face into a tree he couldn't see and falls down again.

Patamon is scared. It's been over half an hour now since Takeru disappeared in the snow. The car isn't that far. What if something happened to his partner? Patamon wants to reassure himself, to think Takeru is in the car, waiting for the storm to calm just a little, but Patamon can't. He knows something is not right, and he is not sure what he can do. He looks around, desperate for a sign, wishing he could get help.

Takeru looks around, wishing he could find something that looks like shelter. But he barely sees anything at all. He is so sleepy... He slumps down against a tree. He'll rest for a minute, maybe two...

Patamon can't wait any longer. Something is wrong, so very wrong, and he's going to find out what. Throwing the door open, he flies out in the storm, fighting a lost battle against the wind.

Takeru is floating in a dark void. It's warm and cold and soft and hard all at the same time. He kinda likes it. He snuggles around. His skin is tingling, and he doesn't know, doesn't understand why. He remember about going up the mountain with Patamon, and then... Then what? The storm. The car. And then back into something so familiar. This tingling sensation... Feathers?

He can hear someone calling his name faintly in the distance. And he remembers falling asleep against a tree. He opens his eyes. It's warm and cold being wrapped in Angemon's arms and wings, but still covered in snow. It's hard sitting on the ground and soft covered with the fabric usually wrapped around the champion's arm. Takeru wonders how Patamon evolved since he didn't have his digivice.

"You're alright," the champion's deep voice comes.

Takeru smiles.

"I am. I'll always be when I'm with you, Patamon."

And as he says this, he knows it. Angemon won't devolve anymore. Takeru is dumbstruck for a second. He knew it would happen, eventually. He just didn't think, didn't know... Didn't want?

And now he's fighting against the tears. And he's trembling in his partner's arms, and Angemon rubs him back, thinking it's the cold. And the calls are getting more panicked. Sounds like they just came up to the shack.

"An... Angemon..." Takeru finally sobs. "I'm... Sorry... So sorry..."


There is nothing Angemon can say, except what he knows in his heart. He hugs Takeru closer to himself.

"You know I haven't left you. You know I would never, do that, don't you?" he whispers "I'm still your partner. And I'll always care about you. I've changed. You've changed. But what's between us will never change. I won't allow it."

"Yes, yes I know it."

And it's true. Takeru can't feel the comforting presence of Patamon on his shoulder anymore, but that doesn't mean everything has to change. That doesn't mean he can't hug his partner anymore, or that they can't fall asleep together on the couch anymore. And finally, he realizes that doesn't have to change anything much. And he smiles weakly.

"I think we should get to the others now," Angemon suggests. "No need to scare them any longer."

And Takeru recognizes Sora's, Yamato's, Hikari's, Daisuke's and everybody else's voices. He blinks.

"How did they hear about this? I didn't even told mom where I was going."

Angemon gives him a sheepish grin just before taking off between the trees.

"You left your cell phone in the shack, and their numbers are the only ones you have on speed dial. I was confused, and worried and..."

"Shhhh" Takeru presses his finger against the digimon's lips. "Rule number one of heroic deeds: never apologize for saving people's life."

And now Takeru knows he can rest. Because Angemon is there. And he'll take care of him.