The Outcast

Chapter 1: Exposed

by Silver

*Not-very-standard Disclaimer: The day I own the rights to Digimon's creatures and characters is the day I can stop writing this stupid disclaimer. Til then, I'm trapped by red tape.*

            Author's Note: This story was originally intended to be a one-chapter fic for Cyber Serpent's contest, but it quickly grew into a much larger story. I'll use American names, with one or two small alterations. For example, I will spell  Japanese spelling form for Veemon's champion, XVmon, because I think ExVeemon is a silly way to spell that name. 

            Special thanks go to Megchan who supplies me with information about the Japanese school system. If anyone else has some knowledge of Japanese society, I'd appreciate some info. There are still a few aspects of Japanese society I need to be better understand.


"None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives."
-Kathleen Norris

            The peaceful bliss of sleep was rudely broken by the electronic screech of an alarm clock. Kari Kamiya moaned and brought her had down clumsily on the snooze button, silencing the tormenting buzzer. She rolled over and tried to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the sensation of being poked pulled her back to the world.

            "C'mon, Kari." Gatomon shook her partner's shoulder. "Get up."

            Kari looked at Gatomon over her shoulder. "Let me sleep. I thought cats loved to snooze."

            Gatomon gave her a dubious look. "Digimon don't snooze like cats do, and your Mom will bring the house down if you sleep through the whole day."

            Kari nodded and forced herself to get up. "Okay, okay. Party pooper." She pressed hand to her head. "Ohhh…"

            Gatomon look shifted to that of concern, "Are you okay?"

            Kari nodded, "Yeah, my head just hurts a little. I didn't get a very good sleep."

            "How come?"

            Kari rolled out of bed and walked towards her closet. "I was really restless, I'm not sure why. Something just didn't feel right." She stopped to look herself in the mirror. It had been over 7 years since the defeat of MaloMyotismon and the restoration of peace to the Digital World. Kari was now 18 years old and had just begun her third and final year of High School. She hadn't changed much from the young 11 year-old who had help to save two worlds, although some would argue that she'd grown even more attractive. While her body had grown over time, her face had remained basically the same, with the exception that she had allowed the back of her hair to grow down to just above her shoulders.

            Kari took out her school uniform, the same kind that Sora had once worn when she had been in High School. Tai, Sora, and the other older Digidestined were now off at college, as was Yolei. It felt strange to live in her family's apartment with Tai gone, but there were times when Kari enjoyed the having her parents to herself. She glanced over at her desk where she saw a picture of the older Digidestined gathered together before they all went off to college. Tai was in the middle with a goofy expression on his face. Kari hoped Tai would come visit soon.

            Returning her mind to the present, Kari quickly showered and dressed, then went into the kitchen with Gatomon. Kari's mother was already cooking breakfast. "Good morning, Kari, Gatomon."

            "Morning, Mom." Kari sat down at the table with Gatomon. One of the few good things that had resulted from MaloMyotismon's appearance was the revelation of Digimon to the families of the Digidestined. Kari had finally been able to spend time with Gatomon without having to hide her from Kari's parents. Tai had also been able to bring Agumon home to stay. After a small period of adjustment, Kari's parents had accepted both Gatomon and Agumon as members of the family. The same was true for the other families of the Digidestined. Last Kari had heard, Agumon had become the unofficial mascot for Tai's college.

            Mrs. Kamiya brought Kari a plate of eggs, and some tuna for Gatomon. "Hurry up, or you'll be late." Kari nodded and devoured her meal. She thanked her mother and picked up her schoolwork case. Gatomon jumped into Kari's arms and they headed out the door.

                        *          *          *          *                      *          *          *          *

            Kari walked along at a steady pace, enjoying the summer weather. The streets were filled to overflowing with people and cars, as usual. She heard a few voices in the crowd. "Look, that girl has a Digimon." "Oh, how cute!" "I want one too." Kari smiled. Digimon were slowly becoming a part of everyday life. Eventually, everyone would have a Digimon partner.

            The transition wasn't easy, however. Several times Kari or another Digidestined had been forced to send a rampaging Digimon back to the Digital World because he, she, or it was unable to cope with being in the real world. Kari had also heard horror stories of people abandoning unwanted Digimon, which hurt the Digimon in a way that people couldn't understand. Other humans were downright opposed to the very existence of Digimon. It would be a long, long time before true harmony would exist between humans and Digimon. Kari sometimes wondered if she'd live long enough to see that peace achieved.

            Shaking the depressing thoughts out of her mind, Kari looked towards the bay area, and stopped dead in her tracks. The bay water was pitch black. "What?" Kari blinked.

            "Hey! Kari!" Kari snapped her head to the right and saw a figure running towards her. Davis Motomiya waved as he ran up to her along with Veemon. Kari looked back at the bay area. The water had returned to his normal blue hue. I must be more tired than I thought. Kari nodded. For a moment she had feared that the Dark Ocean had returned, but it had been years since that terrible place had bothered her. She barely even thought about it since they'd sealed Daemon away. There was no reason to start worrying now.

            Kari turned toward Davis. "Good morning." Davis hadn't changed much over the years either. He was still energetic and a little reckless, and he always had the same enthusiastic look in his eyes. He'd stopped wearing Tai's goggles a while ago, yet he had held onto them as a treasured item. According to Davis, Tai's goggles were hung right on Davis' bedpost. Davis' hair was still stylized in a spiky afro. He wore his school uniform with the green jacket unbuttoned and no tie, just as Kari's brother had when he was in High School. Probably the biggest change for Davis was that he had dropped his silly crush on her long ago, and now they were just close friends.

            Kari and Davis were the only Digidestined going to school together. TK had moved away due to his mother's job. Even though Kari missed him, she felt a little comfort when she received his e-mails, which came on a weekly basis. Ken had gone to a high school closer to his home on the other side of town and Cody was still in Junior High.

            Davis frowned, "You okay? You look like you just saw a ghost."

            Kari nodded, "I'm fine. I just didn't get enough sleep last night." The two of them headed down the street, talking all the way.

            They reached their high school in no time. A few heads turned their way the instant Kari and Davis set foot on campus. Kari was one of the most popular girls in school, and Davis was a star player on the soccer team. Boys watched Kari with more than a little interest, and girls fawned over Davis. Popularity has its perks.

            Kari and Davis stopped by the stairs leading to the school roof. . Veemon and Gatomon bade them goodbye and ran up the steps. "See you at lunch."

The presence of Digimon in society had forced the school system to adopt new policies. Because teachers saw Digimon as a potential distraction, every school had adopted a "no-Digimon in the classroom" policy. However, an amendment had been added to the rule after some pushing from Digimon supporters. Since Digimon suffered from crippling loneliness when separated from their partners in the human world, the school rules clearly stated that Digimon were allowed to remain on school grounds, but could not enter the classrooms while school was in session. That meant that Digimon could wait outside the school for their partners. An unofficial rule was that Digimon couldn't hang out by the windows either, since that would also distract the students.

            "Well," Davis turned to face Kari. "Ready for another 'fun-filled day?'" He gave a slight roll of the eyes.

            Kari smiled, "You'd rather take on a horde of evil Digimon rather than face one day of school." One thing that never changed about Davis was the poor grades he received.

            Davis nodded as he held the door open for Kari, "You ain't kiddin'."

                        *          *          *          *                      *          *          *          *


            Chemistry class trudged by at its usual monotonous pace. Kari and her friends were gathered around a lab table, working on their latest assignment. Kari was reading the book to her friends while they mixed the chemicals. This was the only class that Kari didn't share with Davis, which was probably good because Kari had heard stories from people of how many times Davis had nearly blown apart the lab in an experiment. Kari still laughed at the time Davis had apparently set his hair on fire. Fortunately for Davis, his hair grew back very quickly.

            Kari read the lines carefully so as not to give confusing directions. The last thing she needed was to wind up like Yolei or Davis when they tried a lab experiment. Suddenly, the book pages began to blur slightly. Kari began to feel a little light-headed and stumbled backwards into one of her friends.

            Kari's friend, Kay Joshu, asked, "Kari? Are you okay?"

            Kari regained her footing. "Um… y-yeah, these chemicals must be getting to me." Why did her skin feel so warm? Kari went to the sink and turned it on to splash some water on her face. Pitch-black water gushed from the faucet. Kari let out a slight shriek and jumped back.

            Everyone in the classroom turned to look at her. The teacher spoke up, "Kari, is something the matter?"

            Kari looked back at the faucet. The water was crystal clear. Her skin began to feel even hotter, and the room seemed to be glowing. "Sir?" Kari looked at the teacher, "May I please go to the nurse's office?" But her teacher didn't reply. He just stared at her with a dumbfounded expression.

Kari looked around. Everyone was staring at her with wide eyes. "What? What is it?" Kari's head began to hurt even more, and her body felt like it was on fire. Somebody help me! The room began to glow all around her, but Kari's consciousness was sinking into darkness.

            *          *          *          *                      *          *          *          *

"Kari… Kari…" Kari's eyes fluttered open to reveal a darkened room. The bed she was lying on was soft and cool, but Kari's skin still burned slightly. She looked to her right and saw her parents sitting next to her. Davis was also there, standing farther back. Kari could tell that the room was pure white, even though the lights were turned off.

Kari's mother let out a relieved sigh, "Kari, I'm so glad you're awake."

Kari's mouth felt like a desert. "Mom? Dad? Where am I?" Her voice sounded like a frog.

Kari's father said, "You're in the hospital, sweetie. You passed out at school. How do you feel?"

"Hot… Thirsty…"

Kari's mother began to stand up to get a glass, but Davis had already gotten it and handed it to her. Kari's mother thanked him quietly and held the glass up to Kari's lips. Cool water cascaded down her throat as Kari sipped. Her body began to cool slightly, and her head no longer hurt. Kari looked over at the clock on the wall. Her eyes widened, "I've been out for six hours?"

Kari's mother nodded, "We were terrified. The doctors said that you'd suffered from some kind of heat stroke, but they couldn't understand why. You have a small fever, but you should be feeling better in no time."

Kari's mind drifted back to the lab. She remembered how hot she had felt, and how the room had glowed. She was at a loss as to how she had become sick so suddenly. Kari looked over at Davis. He looked like he needed to speak to her badly. Kari asked, "Mom, Dad, could I speak with Davis for a minute?"

Mr. Kamiya looked surprised, and Mrs. Kamiya looked slightly horrified. "A-alright. But not for too long; you need your rest." They stood up and walked towards the door. Mrs. Kamiya shot Davis a look that would have frightened a Bakemon. She always became overprotective whenever Kari was sick.

Kari called to her parents, "Mom, Dad, please don't tell Tai about this."

Her father stopped, "But, Kari, Tai would want to know what had happened to you. I'm sure he'd come down right away."

Kari shook her head slightly, "No. I don't want him have to leave college because of me. I'm fine, so please don't tell him." Kari's parents looked even more concerned, but nodded and exited the room.

Davis picked up a large backpack leaning against the wall and sat down next to Kari. He held her hand. "You really had a scared for a while. I'm glad you're feeling better."

Kari smiled, "Thank you. You stayed with me all this time?"

Davis nodded, "I came as soon as I got out of school. I figured you'd like to see handsome face when you woke up." He put on a proud smile.

Kari giggled. She couldn't resist teasing him on that one. "Sorry, Davis, but you're no Prince Charming." Despite the momentary lapse in his pride, Davis smiled.

"Hey, I brought someone else to see you." He placed the backpack on his lap and lifted the hood. A white head with long ears popped out and took a deep gasp of breath.

Gatomon glared at Davis, "You just had to put me in with your sweaty gym-socks, didn't you?"

Davis shrugged, "Just be glad you had some cushioning and that I didn't bring Veemon along. It's not easy to sneak a Digimon into places like this, you know." Digimon weren't allowed in hospitals because some people were afraid of new digital diseases. Separate Digimon hospitals were being built in the city, even though Digimon anatomy was still under study. Since a Digimon's body dissolved into data when they died, it was impossible to study them internally. X-Rays and CAT-scans were the only means of studying volunteer Digimon. The Digidestined knew that there was no threat of disease, however, because Kari had been the only member of the team to ever fall ill in the Digital World, and that had been a relapse of the fever that had forced her to stay at home in the real world that fateful summer. Humans were in no danger of disease from Digimon.

Kari smiled, "Gatomon."

Gatomon forgot about Davis and hopped down to Kari's side. "Kari, I'm so glad you're okay. I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you."

Kari let go of Davis' hand and scratched Gatomon behind the ear. "I'll be fine. Don't worry. I just wish I understood why I passed out in chem. today."

Davis spoke up hesitantly. "Kari, do you remember anything about what happened just before you passed out?"

Kari frowned, "My skin felt hot, and I was dizzy. The room became so bright I could have sworn the walls were glowing."

Davis' shoulders slumped. "Um… Kari?"


"I talked to Kay about what happened. She said that you started to glow."

There was a long silence. Finally, Kari found her voice. "I-I what?"

Davis repeated slowly, "You glowed. Your friends were all shocked. They said that you glowed bright white and nearly blinded them. I think they were exaggerating about the blind part." Davis tried to pass that last line off as a joke, but the worried tone in his voice foiled his efforts.

Gatomon said, "It sounds just like when we fought against Machinedramon."

Kari nodded, "Yes, but… but… H-how can my powers be starting up now? They haven't worked since we defeated the Dark Masters." No. That wasn't true. Kari's power had manifested once before, when she had been pulled into the Dark Ocean. She looked at Gatomon and Davis. "Just before I passed out, I turned on a faucet and I thought that black water came out of he nozzle."

Davis face fell. "It can't be the Dark Ocean. It can't. We sealed that place up seven years ago!"

Kari nodded, "I know, I know. But why else would I start reacting like this?" Davis was at a loss for words. Kari suddenly felt uneasy. The whole school had probably heard about her glowing by now. How are people going to react? She suddenly felt afraid.

Gatomon sensed her friend's emotions. "Don't worry, Kari. I'll protect you from the Dark Ocean. It'll never touch you."

Davis put his hand on Kari's shoulder. "Yeah, don't worry about the Dark Ocean. I'll call Ken and the others and we'll get TK to come back here and we'll handle this together. Don't worry. It'll be fine."

Kari shook her head, "It's not just the Dark Ocean. The whole school probably knows that I started glowing. How do you think people will react to that?"

Davis gave her a reassuring smile. "They'll be a little surprised, but then everyone will forget about it. It'll blow over. They'll probably think that there was something weird in the school water or something."

Kari shook her head. Ever the optimist. "I don't know. I need to go home and think this through. Davis, don't tell anyone about this."

Davis looked shocked, "But what about TK and the others? Don't you want them to know about the Dark Ocean?"

Kari said, "No, not yet. I'm not sure if it really is the Dark Ocean. I want to make sure before I disrupt everyone's lives."

Davis said, "Kari, they're our friends, they'll be happy to help."

Kari implored him, "Davis, don't tell a soul, please."

Davis sighed, "All right, all right. I won't say anything, but I think you're making a mistake." He checked his watch. "I'd better get going home. My folks will want to know what's happening, and they'll have my head if I don't do my homework. Gatomon can stay here but you gotta hide her from the staff or they'll kick her out."

Kari smiled, "Thank you, Davis. I'll see you later."

Davis nodded, "I'll be by tomorrow. Later, Kari, Gatomon." He stood up and left the room.

            *          *          *          *                      *          *          *          *

            The cool night air did nothing to calm Kari's mind and body as she lay in bed. Hospitals were difficult to stay in. She hadn't been in one since she had come down with pneumonia. Kari hadn't mentioned anything about the Dark Ocean to her parents, they wouldn't have understood anyway. She hadn't mentioned her ability to glow either. That was one of the few remaining secrets that Kari kept from her parents about her role as a Digidestined. Kari and Tai had both agreed that their parents didn't need to know about Kari's special powers.

            But now that secret might be exposed to the whole city instead of just Kari's family. Kari could already envision her classmates telling their families about how Kari had glowed in the middle of class. How would people react? Would the be frightened? Confused? Doubtful? Surely some of the parents and students would dismiss the story as fantasy; but the students who had been in the chemistry lab with Kari would not. They knew the truth.

            And what other people thought might be the least of Kari's concerns. What if the Dark Ocean really had returned? It had never stopped reaching for Kari, trying to drown her in its dark waves. She thought she'd overcome its influence when she had visited the beach with Ken and Yolei, but now she wasn't sure. Kari had never faced the Darkness directly, she'd only reacted to its intrusions into her life.

            What's going to happen to me? Kari shuddered. I don't want to leave my friends and my family. I want to stay where I am.

            "Kari?" Gatomon broke into Kari's thoughts. "Are you okay?"

            Kari faked a smile, "Yes, I'm fine."

            Gatomon's face became stern. "I know you better than that. You always try and hide what you're feeling! Come on, Kari, tell me what's bothering you."

            Kari looked a little shamed at being chided by her partner. She should have known better than to try and hide things from her Digimon partner. Kari had never stopped trying to hide her doubts and sadness from other people because she still wanted to keep others from being hurt. But that didn't always feel good. Kari sighed, "I'm scared, Gatomon. On one side I have my classmates who saw me glow today. I don't know what they'll do when they see me tomorrow. On the other side I have the Dark Ocean, which is coming to get me again… I feel like I'm going to be crushed between the two threats."

            Gatomon nestled next to Kari. "Don't be afraid, Kari. I'll protect you no-matter-what. No one's going to touch you as long as I'm here."

            Kari looped an arm around Gatomon and held her close. "Thank you, Gatomon." Feeling slightly safer, Kari closed her eyes and slipped into sleep.


Kari faces her classmates and learns who her true friends are in the next chapter of "The Outcast."

            Author's Note: Now that I have finished one chapter of "The Outcast," I'm going to switch over to "Darkness Reborn." Expect the first chapter to be out relatively soon. It's my hope that alternating between stories will keep me from losing interest in both plotlines and encourage me to write faster. In the meantime, feel free to review my latest work.