DISCLAIMER

Digimon is the property of Toei Animation Co.

CHAPTER ONE – Questions Without Answers.

If there was one thing that Rika Nonaka hated, it was a mystery. This was why there was only one question on Rika's mind, despite everything that was happening in her life right now…

Who the hell is he?

Although the word 'hell' was sometimes replaced with other, more colourful alternatives, the question essentially remained the same – who was he? Every time Rika saw anyone wearing a navy blue hooded jumper and a black skullcap, she found herself asking herself that very question. Every time she saw someone wearing a pair of Aviator sunglasses, she thought about him. It had even got to the point where every time she came across either a Spiritmon or a Bakemon card, she was instantly reminded of the mystery behind the unknown Tamer.

Who was he? And why was his Digimon so much more powerful than it should be?

Bakemon, the Champion form of Spiritmon, were supposed to be easy for even a Rookie Digimon to defeat, and yet this Spiritmon was able to manhandle just about any rogue Digimon that crossed into the real world.

Even more surprising was that it wasn't often that the mysterious boy's Spiritmon needed to Digivolve – it seemed that even some Champion level Digimon were unable to match the Rookie level Ghost Digimon. Even Renamon had been unable to gain the upper hand when the two Digimon fought each other not too long ago. This, of course, only served to strengthen Rika's determination to find out who this Tamer was, as well as her drive to be the best Digimon Tamer there was.

"Renamon!" Rika suddenly called out. A few seconds later, her Digimon partner appeared right beside her.

"Yes, Rika?" said Renamon.

"Any luck?" Rika asked.

The tall yellow Fox-like Digimon shook her head. "No," she said plainly. "I haven't seen either of them."

"Damn," Rika muttered.

"I will keep looking, Rika," replied Renamon.

Rika sighed and opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted by the voice of her grandmother.

"Rika? Could you come through for a moment please?" Seiko Hata called out.

"Coming, Grandmother!" Rika responded. She turned back toward her partner. "See ya later, Renamon."

With that, Renamon nodded and once again disappeared.

xxXxx

As Renamon leaped from rooftop to rooftop, she couldn't help but ask herself the same question as her Tamer – who was he?

However, in Renamon's case, the question was directed more towards the mysterious Tamer's Digimon, Spiritmon. Although the Digimon in question simply looked like a floating, ragged, semi-transparent grey sheet, it was not to be underestimated. Using several attacks like the Spirit Wave and the Ethereal Orb, this Spiritmon had was capable of defeating even Champion level Digimon such as Vegiemon and Mojyamon, while its Champion form, Bakemon, had managed to defeat such Digimon as Drimogemon, Unimon and even a Scorpiomon at various points.

All of this confused both Renamon and her Tamer greatly – Bakemon were supposed to be relatively weak Digimon, and yet this one had managed to defeat an Ultimate.

One possible explanation for the Spiritmon's power was Digi-Modification, but no-one had ever seen the mystery Tamer use a Digimon card with his D-Power – they weren't even sure the mystery Tamer even had a D-Power – which, until proved otherwise, eliminated that option.

Another concern of Renamon's was that if Spiritmon/Bakemon was capable of defeating Digimon of a higher level, then just how powerful would its Ultimate form, Phantomon, be?

Suddenly, Renamon felt the presence of a Digimon nearby. Glancing to one side, the Kitsune Digimon caught sight of the Digimon in question.

Calumon.

For a second, Renamon hoped that the playful little Digimon wouldn't notice her, but unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

"Hi," the large-eared Digimon said cheerfully as it floated over to Renamon.

"Hello, Calumon," said Renamon, hoping that the white and purple Rookie wouldn't ask her if she wanted to play. Suddenly, an idea hit her – perhaps Calumon knew something of the mysterious Tamer and his Digimon partner as a result of roaming the city as he did so often.

"May I ask you a question, Calumon?" she asked.

"You just did, silly!" Calumon giggled.

Renamon sighed quietly to herself. "Then may I ask you a question after this one?"

"Sure," Calumon responded with a nod.

"I was wondering if you had encountered either a Spiritmon or a young boy with dark, chin-length hair at all," said Renamon. "He's a Tamer, like Rika, Takato and Henry. His partner's a Spiritmon and every time we've seen him, he's worn a dark jumper with a hood, a black hat and a pair of dark sunglasses. Have you seen anyone like this at all?"

Renamon watched as the little Digimon considered her question for a moment before replying with a shake of the head. Sighing, Renamon nodded and asked Calumon if he could keep an eye out for the person she had just described.

"Okay," Calumon smiled. "What's his name?"

Renamon resisted the urge to shake her head in exasperation. "We don't know his name," she replied as calmly as she could. "That is what I want you to find out."

"So this is a mission?" Calumon asked. Without waiting for an answer, Calumon let out a cheer. "Yay! I'm going on a mission, I'm going on a mission!" he proclaimed in a sing-song voice.

Must he be so cheerful? Renamon thought with a degree of annoyance. As much as everyone liked Calumon, there was only so much playfulness Renamon could stand, and right now, she had almost had enough. "I should go now," she said diplomatically.

"Bye, Renamon!" Calumon called out as the Fox Digimon took a running jump to the next rooftop.

xxXxx

"Henry?"

Henry Wong sighed and turned towards the long-eared Rabbit-type Digimon. "What is it, Terriermon?"

Terriermon jumped onto Henry's bed and looked at his Tamer curiously. "Whatcha thinking about?"

"Nothing," Henry replied.

"You're thinking about Mr Mystery Man again, aren't you?" Terriermon guessed.

Reluctantly, Henry nodded.

"Henry, Henry, Henry," sighed Terriermon. "Momentai."

Henry couldn't help but smile at his partner's all too predictable utterance of the Cantonese phrase for 'Take it easy'. For a split-second, Henry wondered how Terriermon could be so casual about… well, just about everything, but quickly dismissed it when his five-year-old sister came bounding into his room.

"Tewwiermon!" she exclaimed happily before rushing over to grab the 'toy' Digimon.

Looks like 'Miss Pretty-Pants' has just been invited to another tea party, Henry thought with some amusement, giving Terriermon an apologetic look as Suzie bounded out of the room, leaving Henry alone with his thoughts, which inevitably returned to 'Mr Mystery Man' as the mystery Tamer had been informally dubbed.

Who is he? Henry wondered. And what is it about that Digimon of his? Not only can his Spiritmon digivolve, but it's way more powerful than it should be. What's more is that this guy doesn't use Digimon cards to Digi-Modify his Digimon. Come to think about it, I don't think I've even seen him with a D-Arc. It's like this guy and his Digimon are all-powerful or something. Every time there's a Digimon none of us can handle, he shows up and his Digimon wipes the floor with the opposition. Even that Scorpiomon couldn't defeat Bakemon, yet in the TV show, Bakemon were about the Digimon around…

Once again, Henry was drawn from his thoughts, this time by the ringing of the phone. He got up, walked out into the hallway and picked up the phone.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Henry," the voice on the other end said. "It's Takato."

"Oh, hi Takato," Henry responded. "What's up?"

"Well, I just thought I should tell you that I've just seen Calumon…" Takato began.

"And…?" Henry prompted.

"Well, it seems that he's been given a mission," said Takato, who was obviously trying to stifle a laugh.

"A mission?" replied Henry as he too tried not a laugh. "What kind of mission?"

"Well, apparently, Renamon's told him to keep an eye out for our friend, the Mystery Man," said Takato.

At this point, both boys lost control and started laughing.

"You're kidding!" Henry laughed. "What does she expect him to do? Go up to him once he's found him, hope that the guy's Spiritmon doesn't delete him and just ask him who he is?"

"Knowing Calumon, he'll probably start by asking the Spiritmon if it wants to play," Takato responded from the other end.

"You mean like he did with that Nanimon?" said Henry, wincing at the response Calumon's query had received.

"Yeah, well at least the worst he got from that encounter was a black eye," replied Takato. "I just hope for Calumon's sake that Mr Mystery Man isn't a grouch like Rika."

"You and me both, Takato," agreed Henry. "Alright, Takato, thanks for letting me know. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure, Henry," replied Takato. "See ya then."

xxXxx

Takato Matsuki put down the phone and sighed. As was the case with his fellow Tamers, he quickly found himself distracted by the unanswered questions concerning the mystery Tamer and his Digimon such as "Who is he?" and "How is it that every time we come across a rogue Digimon we can't handle, he appears and his partner take care of things no problem?"

However, those weren't the only questions on Takato's mind. Grabbing his Digimon cards, Takato found one particular card and stared at it. As always, it stated that Spiritmon's only two attack techniques were 'Spirit Wave' and 'Ghost Punch' – there was no mention of this 'Ethereal Orb' attack that he had seen this one particular Spiritmon use numerous times. The same applied to the 'Ethereal Fireball' attack in the case of Bakemon.

There could only be two explanations for this.

The first was that all Spiritmon/Bakemon were capable of a lot more than either the cartoon or the card game gave them credit for.

The second alternative was that this Spiritmon's Tamer had somehow invented the attacks in the same way that Takato himself had created Guilmon. However, for the second option to be possible, the Tamer would have to have a D-Arc. The problem was that no-one was certain he even had one.

"Takato!" he suddenly heard his mother yell up the stairs. "Dinner's ready!"

"Coming, Mom!" Takato called back.

Taking the goggles off his forehead, Takato placed them and his cards on his bed next to his red D-Arc before leaving his room, his thoughts now turning to the prospect of food…

xxXxx

Just outside the Matsuki Bakery, a thirteen-year-old boy with untidy chin-length hair, which was mostly covered by both a black skullcap and the hood of his jumper, paused for a second and glanced at his watch.

Sighing to himself, he kept walking, knowing that he would probably be yelled at for being late for dinner. Not that he cared, firstly because he had already eaten, but secondly, because he enjoyed being a pain in the neck for his so-called 'family' – he had hated his mother since he was eight and he didn't hold the man she had cheated on his father with and then married with high regard either. Come to think of it, he had come to hate living in the Takagi household even more than he had thought he would when he had been forced to move in with them just over four months ago due to the death of his father.

He hated his mother, he hated his step-father, he hated both his step-sister and step-brother from his step-father's previous marriage and he even hated his four-year-old half-sister. He hated the house he was supposed to call 'home' as well as the school he now had to go to and he hated his so-called 'classmates'.

Most of all though, he hated the fact that everyone called him 'Takagi'.

Everyone, both at 'home' and school referred to him using the surname 'Takagi' instead of 'Yamada' – the school even had his name on record as a 'Takagi'. The boy in question, however, had a simple response to this – anyone who referred to him as 'Takagi' was simply ignored. Unfortunately, ignoring it didn't seem to do any good and had resulted in a lot of trouble for him (not that he ever bothered to turn up for any of the detentions he received).

In fact, his patience was by now finally beginning to wear thin. Every time he was called anything other than 'Yamada' was an insult to his father's memory and the next teacher to refer to him as 'Takagi' would get a lot more than a polite reminder of his real surname…

"Hi," a childish voice suddenly said from behind him. "Wanna play?"

Turning around, the boy saw that it was a Digimon that had addressed him. It was a small Digimon, mostly white with purple feet and ears, the ears of which were very long. It certainly didn't look very fierce or threatening, which is partially the reason why the boy it was addressing relaxed slightly.

"Not particularly," the boy answered in a slightly monotone voice. Upon saying this, the boy continued walking, but the little Digimon persisted.

"Aw, c'mon," it pleaded as it floated alongside him. "Just one little game. How about tag?" The Digimon quickly reached out and tapped the boy on the shoulder. "Tag! You're it!" it said before floating away slightly.

The boy simply narrowed his eyes in annoyance and kept walking. However, the little Digimon continued to follow him. After a few seconds, the boy turned around again.

"Why are you following me?" the boy snapped.

The Digimon's ears shrunk in response to the boy's raised voice. "I just wanna play…" it mumbled sadly.

"Well, why don't you 'play' with Goggle-Boy or Mr Pacifist?" the boy replied. "Surely one of their Digimon'll be in more of a mood to 'play' than I am…"

As the boy in the navy blue hoodie said this, Calumon suddenly remembered the 'mission' he had been given less than an hour beforehand – this must be the guy Renamon was talking about, Calumon realised.

"What's your name?" Calumon suddenly asked with as much subtlety as anyone who knew him would have expected.

The boy paused for a second at the rather abrupt change of topic. It was then that the boy suddenly recognised the tiny creature before him – he had seen it once before with the two 'Tamers' he had just mentioned. From this, the boy couldn't help but come to the obvious conclusion.

"They asked you to keep an eye out for me, didn't they?"

Calumon's eyes widened as the boy said this. How did he guess? he wondered frantically, oblivious to how obvious he had made it.

"Which one of them put you up to this?" the boy continued, ignoring Calumon's expression.

True to form, Calumon's response was very immature. "Not telling!" he said defiantly, folding his arms and looking away from the boy.

"Spiritmon!" the boy called out.

Suddenly, a semi-transparent grey creature faded into view just behind Calumon. As intended, the sudden appearance of Spiritmon succeeded in scaring Calumon, as did Spiritmon's actual appearance, the pitch black eyes being the most intimidating thing about the Rookie Digimon.

Letting out a squeal, Calumon shot backwards, away from Spiritmon, but right into Spiritmon's human partner, who immediately grabbed Calumon roughly by the scruff of the neck.

"Now, unless you want to end up as a stream of soon-to-be-absorbed data, you'll tell me what I want to know," the boy sneered at the terrified Digimon. "Who was it that sent you? Was it one of the 'Tamers', or is there someone else who'd be losing a partner if anything happens to you?"

Unfortunately, before the boy could get any kind of answer, a loud voice interrupted him.

"Hey, put him down!"

Recognising the voice, the boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of Aviator sunglasses.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't Goggle-Boy," he smirked as he put them on and turned around.

Sure enough, there, goggles on his forehead, stood Takato Matsuki.

"Let him go!" Takato said angrily.

"Alright, fine, seeing as you've asked so politely," the boy responded before letting go of Calumon. The second he let go, Calumon instantly floated over to Takato and hid behind him. "Now," the boy continued. "Perhaps now we can actually speak to each other face to face rather than you guys sending Digimon to stalk me."

"We didn't send Calumon after you…" said Takato.

"Then who did?" the boy interrupted.

"Why should I tell you anything?" retorted Takato. "We don't even know who you are!"

"Alright then, answer my question and I might answer a few of yours," the boy replied.

Takato paused and sighed. "Look, Calumon was just asked to keep an eye out for you, okay? He wasn't stalking you."

"If you say so," said the boy. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I should get going…"

"Hey, wait!" Takato called out. "What about those questions you said you'd answer?"

"I said I might answer some of your questions," the boy corrected. "Besides, I don't have time to talk, Takato."

"How do you know my name?" exclaimed Takato.

"How could I not?" the boy countered. "With the way you and 'Henry' yell each other's names whenever a rogue Digimon appears, I'm surprised the whole of Tokyo doesn't know who you are. Now if you'll excuse me, I really have to get going."

"Wait!" Takato called out as the boy began to walk away. "Can't you at least tell us whose side you're on?"

"Same side I've always been on – mine," the boy replied, as he walked away. "Oh, and by the way…"

"Yeah?"

Pausing and turning around one last time, the boy said one last thing before disappearing around a corner.

"The name's Hideki."

Author's Notes

Friday 2nd March 2001

Timeline – Because the exact 'Tamers' timeline is somewhat hazy at best (apparently, it's officially set in the year '200X'), I've had to take a few liberties with this story's timeline. For the purposes of this story, the year is 2001 and the story begins at the beginning of March (with references to events going back to the previous November). Each chapter will have the exact date/s at the beginning of the Author Notes (as above).

'D-Arc' or 'D-Power'?Some of you may have noticed I used both the English and Japanese terms for the Tamers version of the Digivice. The reasoning behind this is simple… Henry & Takato have come up with the former, while Rika named hers the latter (it's not like they've sat down to decide on a name for them). Hideki, in turn, has his own name for the device.

*–

EDIT

I've tweaked a few little facts here (the list of previously encountered Digimon mainly) and tidied up the odd sentence, but most of it's still the same as before – no major changes plotwise.