Author's Notes: I haven't written a series type of story for quite some time now. The most I've ever accomplished was a ten chapter piece written a couple of years ago. Since rediscovering Digimon, I've been really inspired in my writing. As a result, I bring you this, which, I hope, to finish over the summer. I cannot guarantee consistent updates, but I will try and update this regularly.

The concept of this stems from various influences. I plan on incorporating elements of "The Labyrinth" (1986), "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006), mythological figures, some aspects of different poems I've read, and some "Phantom of the Opera," hopefully. Obviously, from the title, and what I've included in the influences of this story, the concept of the labyrinth plays a significant role. You'll see as you read along.

Yes, there is romance. No, this isn't fluff, nor is romance intended to be the focus of the story. Keep in mind, this mostly revolves around the supernatural, so the romance will not, exactly, serve as a part of the ordinary.

Feedback is greatly appreciated, but I'm not starving for reviews. I plan on continuing this, even if no one reads it. However, as an author, I more than welcome criticism, as long as it's relevant and constructive. Flames, on the other hand, will be pointedly ignored and deleted.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, or its characters, just as much as I don't own the concept of the labyrinth, or any of the ideals I've incorporated from the sources I've already mentioned. This was written for recreational purposes only.

The Labyrinth

The stark night seemed to cling to her, with all the determination of a lover's caress. But now was not a time to be thinking of love. Crude darkness swirled around in waves, an ocean of shadowed imminence. The moon seemed especially pallid, as though afraid. Something sinister had called her here, no doubt. There was something eerily familiar that lingered in the diluted air around her. Kari tried not to panic. Surely, she would be able to overcome the fear spreading throughout her body, like some kind of plague, and be rid of this terrible, turbulent place of trepidation.

Something or other twitched, breaking the sullen silence, and causing the young, adolescent girl to shriek in surprise. Her head flitted from left to right, hoping to find the cause of the noise, if only for the sake of her sanity. But no such luck. There was only nothingness around her. Everything, it appeared, had been painted black.

Then, she saw the wall. She gasped at its magnificence. Tall, dark, and intricate, it looked like the architecture of some medieval castle. Even in the dark, she could make out beautiful patterns, archaic as the beginning of time itself. The objects noticed ranged from the obscure to the obscene. Still, she didn't dare look away. The wall's presence compelled her.

She hadn't realized that she had been gradually making her way forward. She glanced to see that she was within reaching distance of the wall. Slowly, her hand sauntered towards the surface. She gasped as flesh impacted with what felt like stone. She couldn't define the sensation completely; all she knew was that it seemed, at once, both beautiful and frightening, like the raw power of a violent storm.

She tried to draw her hand away. In horror, she found it frozen to the wall, as though paralyzed by its hypnotic feel. She cried out instinctively, desperately clutching to a hope that she could find a way out of her current predicament.

The sonorous sound of the midnight hour intruded upon her just then. Even more terrified, the child of light quivered in the darkness. She had never before heard anything as abrasive and terrible as the blunt music now embossing itself upon her ears. Not even Myotismon's laughter was capable of sending so many shivers down her spine.

It was then that she noticed it: she was melting into the wall. For every strike of the hour, a little bit more of her disappeared, little by little, into the otherworld of what lay beyond the wall. She screamed out, begging with the unforgiving winds wrapping their wrath around her. She needed to get away, to escape back to her world of light and warmth.

She was almost completely gone by the time she'd given up on screaming. Eleven times, the clock had been struck, and now, she trembled, awaiting the final hour of her old destiny. She closed her eyes and waited.

The next thing she knew, Kari Kamiya had bolted up, tangled up inside her sheets, a cold sweat lacquered on her young body. She opened her eyes to a world warm, and familiar. Home. She breathed in deep. She was safe, at home. Out of habit, she looked around for her favorite companion, her partner digimon, Gatomon. To her dismay, she was nowhere to be found, and then, she remembered.

It had been almost a year since the defeat of MaloMyotismon. The Digiworld, once again, was restored back to harmony and tranquility, thanks in no small part to Kari and the rest of her friends, the Digidestined. She smiled, thinking about it now. It had been cause for celebration. Though peace had been restored largely on account of Oikawa's sacrifice, hardly a one of them could remain too dismal. The worlds they'd fought to protect for so long were finally free of all evil.

As a result, Gennai declared, the Digidestined could finally return home, once and for all. Every Digiport, no longer deemed necessary, had been shut down. Kari remembered the looks of relief and satisfaction plastered on all of her friends' faces. Only she, it had seemed, had been thinking of what going home had meant for their digimon partners.

"Gennai," Kari pleaded with her eyes. "what about our digimon? Will we ever get to see them again?"

He looked at her, at them all, long and hard before answering. "Never say never, my dear." His eyes twinkled with delight, as if he knew they'd be back again.

"Really?" Mimi inquired warily. The last thing she wanted was to never see Palmon again.

"Really. Although, I cannot say for how long." Gennai looked at them all sadly. "So for now, this is goodbye."

Kari felt her eyes grow slightly misty. Gatomon would've understood the helpless she now felt. Gatomon would've comforted her after her wretched nightmare. And certainly, Gatomon would've encouraged her not to go at this alone. She sighed. It had been two weeks since her nightmares had begun. At first, she thought it was merely the stress of starting the new school year. Now, since they'd proved themselves to be recurring, she was no longer sure of their origin, or purpose.

She had kept it a secret from everyone, even TK, her best friend, and Tai, her older brother. She wasn't sure whether to tell them or not. She didn't want to rile either of them up over something small and insignificant. So she remained silent, going to school with bags under her eyes, faking a kind of insomnia.

So far, no one had said anything, but Kari was positive that TK, at least, was catching on. Luckily for her, Tai had moved into the old guest room over the summer. She was grateful for the privacy. She didn't have to constantly worry over troubling him with her burdens accidentally. Still, she knew that, Tai wasn't dense, despite what others might have thought. She sighed again. He was bound to catch on sooner or later.

Caught up in her thoughts, she swung her legs over the side of the bed in frustration. There was no use going back to sleep now. Her dream had taken a lot out of her. She needed a drink, desperately. Her throat felt numb, as though she really had been screaming.

She walked out to the kitchen, dragging her feet in exhaustion. She needed sleep, but what was the use when its only purpose was to haunt her? Perhaps her past adventures had at last caught up with her, after all. She grimaced as she snatched a nearby glass, filling it with tap water. At this point, she was willing to drink straight out of the ocean, so long as it was cold enough.

Looking over at the sliding glass doors, the darkness seemed to consume her vision. She shuddered, trying to forget that wretched dream. She gulped down her water, as though she were a beggar on the verge of dying from thirst, caught out beneath the April rain. Refreshed somewhat, she turned away from the dark night, reluctantly returning to bed.

Like every other morning before it for the past two weeks, Thursday proved to be hellish and miserable. Kari dragged herself out of bed, much to her dismay, after finally falling into a dreamless sleep. For once, she'd managed to steal a few hours of sweet unconsciousness. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a victory short-lived. Hours, in all reality, seemed equated with seconds. Before she knew it, she was out the door along with her older brother.

She winced, stepping out into fierce sunlight, parting ways with quickly Tai as he headed off in another direction towards the high school. It felt like an eternity since she had last been encompassed by the light. It took her awhile to get used to it, she found, as she made her way to school.

"Hey! Kari!" She turned to face the ever-cheerful face of her best friend, TK. She smiled in greeting. Everything about him seemed so bright. It was no wonder to her that he'd been chosen as the crest of hope.

She blushed as she realized she'd been staring. "Hey, TK. How's it going?"

"Pretty well. Ready for the Lit. test today?" He asked her as they walked into school together.

Kari flinched. Crap. She'd totally forgotten about Literature. She sighed. Another fault to blame on her seemingly endless nightmares. "Unfortunately, I think I'm probably going to end up failing this one." She looked up at him ruefully, praying silently that he couldn't see right through her.

As her best friend, of course he'd noticed something was wrong. She looked haggard, weary. Worn out, to say the least. All of this, Kari, realized, TK must've known, from the way his blue eyes cornered her with concern.

"Shouldn't be too bad, I think." He shrugged, letting the matter drop for the moment, it appeared. "Besides, we've faced far worse than some measly Lit. exam."

Kari smiled feebly at him. He did have a point. She was pretty sure she'd rather fail a test than face, say, Myotismon again. "You're right. Maybe I shouldn't be so worried." Just then, she staggered. She gasped. It was becoming increasingly harder for her to breathe.

"Kari?!" TK instantly was by her side. He caught her in his arms. He must have been working out, Kari thought absentmindedly, as she lingered in his embrace. Frankly, she was in no condition to think, period. She felt as though she were fading, like an aged photograph. Tendrils of mist began nipping at her feet.

"Kari!" TK yelled again, but it was of no use. His voice now was at a distance. The mist had evolved into fog, curling around her form, clinging to her, like the fabric of a dress. She was gowned in dissipation, crowned queen of the eternal fog. She was returning to her kingdom, or so her distorted thoughts told her. A mere moment, and she was gone, as thought swept up by a raging wind.