The Digital Gate: An almost complete rewrite of the previous The Way of the Children. Most of the same concept will be used, but there may be different ideas. Since it has become a habit for me, Japanese names will be used, but there will be dubbed terms and Digimon names.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.


About a year after the D-Reaper's assault on the human world, Digimon ceased to exist from humans' minds. Forgotten were the heroes who had saved the world and the world returned to its usual business.

Digimon related merchandise were taken off of shelves, the names of the Tamers were long forgotten. And so, Digimon was erased from human memory, excluding the Tamers and their parents.

Years passed. The Tamers graduated, went on to college, keeping a wary eye on the other world's events. However, Digital World showed no threat of invasion or corruption and the Tamers relaxed and ceased to venture into it.

They were wrong to do so. Soon after the Tamers turned the other way, a new evil began seeping into the Digital World, poisoning its grounds and corrupting Digimon. Worst of all, it had humans helping it.

Twenty seven years have gone by since the D-Reaper's defeat. Now the fate of the Digital World rests in a group of seven children and their Digimon partners. This is the story of seven children who, at first, were reluctant to save another world. This is the story of their battles and adventures. This is the story of friendship and trust. This is our story.


The Way of the Children:
Chapter One:
Orbs in a Bucket

(Ayame Matsuda; Matsuda Bakery, West Shinjuku, Tokyo; September 30th; 7:05 AM)

"ARI MATSUDA, GET UP RIGHT NOW!"

Ari jerked suddenly and promptly toppled out of her bed. She lay there, groaning and tangled in her sheets, as her older brother stomped back down the stairs to attend to the bakery's morning customers.

After managing to extract herself from the piles of cloth Ari straightened herself up, making a face at her rude awakening. She hated the mornings.

Mumbling curses to whoever decided that school had to be in the morning, Ari grabbed a maroon shirt and yanked it over her white long sleeve shirt. Hopping into a pair of jeans, she snatched a pair of socks out of her dresser and raced downstairs.

"Morning," her mother called cheerfully from the kitchen.

"Morning," Ari called back, pulling on her socks. "Where are Mitsu-niichan and Yu-neechan?" Mitsuru and Yuko Matsuda, twin fifteen year olds, were her older brother and sister, both of whom constantly berated her for not taking more responsibility. They attended Niikata High, right next to Kamon Junior High.

"In the bakery, serving the customers." Her father, thirty nine year old Takato Matsuda, appeared before her. On his eighteenth birthday, he inherited the Matsuda Bakery and instead of selling it like his parents thought he would, he turned it into a popular store. He held a piece of bread out to her, remarking as he did so, "You know I never knew that this bakery would become so popular."

Ari grinned as she took the loaf of bread. "Morning dad."

Takato reached out and ruffled her hair. "Morning. Brush your hair, would you?" He turned his back and headed into the bakery, where the people there were squished together.

Ari rolled her eyes and, facing the mirror in the hallway, attempted to comb her fingers through her chestnut colored hair, inherited from her father. Her eyes, brown in color, stared back at her as she gazed, frowning, into the mirror. She looked nothing like her sister or her mother; both were exceedingly pretty. Compared to them, she felt dull in comparison.

"What're you staring at?" Mitsuru's voice from behind her made Ari jump. She turned around to see her older brother, his shaggy dark brown hair falling sloppily over his amber eyes, staring at her.

"There's a crack," Ari said plaintively, pointing randomly at the mirror. As Mitsuru bent to look, she scooted around him and headed into the kitchen where her mom was waiting with her lunch.

"Shion's waiting for you," thirty nine year old Juri Matsuda told her. "And his brother Kazuo." She lowered her voice into a whisper. "I think he just wants to see Yuko though."

Ari snorted as she shoved her lunch inside her dark red backpack. Yuko and Mitsuru were the most popular twins in their grade and had their own clubs. But she doubted that was the reason why Kazuo had come; he most likely had forgotten breakfast and was trying to see if he could get some bread free.

"I'm going now," Ari said as she shouldered her backpack. "See you."

"Be careful," Juri warned.

"Wait!" Yuko dashed up to them, hurriedly untying her apron and throwing it—"Yuko," Juri sighed—into a corner. She adjusted her green and white school uniform, dusted the flour out of her long, dark brown hair, and grabbed her bag. "I'm walking with you, remember?"

"Oh, yeah," Ari grinned sheepishly as her sister's amber eyes stared accusingly at her. "Is Mitsu-niichan coming?"

"No." Yuko headed for the door. "He was staring at the mirror, muttering about how he couldn't find a crack in it or something like that."

Ari couldn't help but laugh as they headed outdoors. To her surprise, she saw only Kazuo there, leaning against a wall and looking immensely bored.

"Where's Shion?" Ari asked as soon as she and Yuko reached Kazuo.

"He went ahead about ten minutes ago," Kazuo said; he, like Yuko and Mitsuru, attended Niikata High, and wore the trademark uniform: lime green blazer and tie, black pants, and pure white dress shirt. "Something about how he wanted to get to class on time for once."

Fifteen year old Kazuo Akiyama had shoulder-length, fiery red hair that resembled his mother's, and the most violet eyes Ari had ever seen or ever thought possible. His parents were none other than forty three year old Ryou Akiyama and thirty nine year old Ruki Akiyama.

Kazuo's brother was twelve year old Shion Akiyama, who recently had his birthday. Unlike his parents, Shion's hair was bright silver, due to some lab accident that had happened when he was younger and didn't like to talk about, and had dark brown eyes.

Yuko turned to look at Ari. "I'd run if I were you," she advised. "It's"—Yuko checked her watch—"7:17."

Ari opened her mouth to speak, thought better of it, and turned and ran off as fast as she could, cramming the last of her bread into her mouth as she did so.


(Kaori Yamamoto; Yamamoto Residence, West Shinjuku, Tokyo; September 30th; 7:13 AM)

"Bye," eleven year old Kaori Yamamoto called, brushing her jet black hair out from underneath her glasses. Her dark brown eyes blinked rapidly against the sun as she stepped outside.

She wore a white shirt flecked with blue—it was part of the design—a pair of blue jeans, and a frosty blue vest. Her tan bag hung off her shoulder and she began digging in it.

"See you," her older brother, who had recently turned seventeen, Yuudai said to their parents inside the house, shutting the door after them. He wore the Niikata High's required uniform. His hair, equally as dark as Kaori's, was cropped short and he ran a hand through it absentmindedly.

"We'd better go now," he said, glancing around with his bright blue eyes, inherited from their thirty seven year old Korean father, Shuichi Yamamoto. Their mother was thirty six year old Shuichon Lee; both of them had met in Todai.

Kaori, already immersed in a book she had just bought, nodded. They began to walk silently, each minding their own business. Soon they reached the crossroad. "Later," Kaori said, turning east.

"Later," Yuudai echoed, heading west.

Five minutes later, Kaori reached Shinjida and, grumbling under her breath, began the long walk up the stairs. Halfway she met Seiichi Shiota, the son of thirty nine year old Hirokazu Shiota and the late Alice Shiota, who had died shortly after giving birth to her daughter.

Seiichi was eleven years old and had dirty blonde hair and brown eyes. His younger sister, Riiko, was seven years old, and had inherited her father's brown hair and her mother's cerulean blue eyes.

"Hi," Seiichi smiled. He wore brown cargo pants, a white shirt, and a tan short-sleeved jacket. His black backpack was slung off one shoulder and rested against his side as he leaned the other way.

Kaori nodded and smiled in return. "Hi," she answered. "How's Riiko?"

"As hyper as she'll ever be," Seiichi replied.

They rounded the fifth floor and continued to their class. A sudden streak of silver shot past them. Neither flinched, only grinned. "There goes Shion," Kaori remarked as they reached their room.

Walking in, they spied Shion in his black leather jacket, silver shirt, and black jeans and shoes, panting with his head on his desk. He raised his head momentarily. "Hi," he gasped, then dropped his head back down.

Seiichi checked his watch. "Ari should come running in about three minutes," he noted, sliding into his seat at the beginning of the third row and placing his backpack on the ground.

Kaori just nodded and headed towards her seat, at the very back of the room. Three minutes came and went. Ari shot through the door, nearly collided with the teacher's table, and hurriedly jumped over desks in order to get to her own. Kaori tried not to laugh; it happened every day, after all.

By then, Shion had recovered enough to turn around and sneer at Ari, two rows and three desks away. "Almost late again?" he taunted. Everyone sitting around them cast both an amused glance before returning to their business; Ari's and Shion's daily argument had become unimportant.

"So?" Ari shot back, slouched in her seat. "I bet you were, too."

"By four minutes, not one."

"Four, one; what's the difference?"

"Three. Duh."

"What?"

"I said, four minus one is three. And you're passing math, too. Simply amazing."

Ari was about to shoot back a retort when Seiichi, three seats behind Shion said, loudly, "The teacher's coming."

Ari's and Shion's mouths snapped shut and Shion turned to face the front of the room just as their brown haired, green eyed teacher, Umi Nada, strode in. She was carrying a thick sheaf of papers, which she promptly dropped on her desk.

"Good morning, Nada-sensei," everyone chorused.

"Good morning," the teacher replied. She indicated towards the stack of papers. "Our principal has kindly given these to me for you to take—"

"What are they?" one boy shouted.

"Math tests." At her words, almost instantly, the students all began shouting at once.

"WHAT?"

"Are you serious?"

"You're kidding me!"

"But we just took one a few days ago!"

"Our principal is an idiot, Nada-sensei! You can't possibly expect us to take it!"

Nada-sensei waited patiently, if somewhat irritably, for the commotion to die down. Then she announced loudly, "The principal has informed me if you choose not to take it, then you may not attend the annual school festival."

All remaining noises ceased and everyone, reluctantly, retrieved a pencil.

Nada-sensei went around the rows, handing out the packets. "You will have until lunch to finish these. If you finish before, stay in your seat and go over the answers. If you need to use the restroom, go now or hold it in. Any—Akiyama and Matsuda! Stop arguing this instant!"

Ari and Shion jumped and Shion whirled around in his seat as Nada-sensei advanced on them. "Argue, argue, argue, is that all you two do? If I catch you again, then you two will take over cleaning duty for a week! Am I understood?"

"Yes," Ari muttered.

"Sure," Shion grumbled.

Satisfied, Nada-sensei returned to passing out the math tests. Ari mouthed something quietly and Shion snapped back around, roaring, "I heard that!"

Nada-sensei whipped back. "Cleaning duty for a week! And if I hear another peep out of you two, detention!"

They stayed quiet for the remainder of the day.


(Shion Akiyama; Shinjida Elementary, West Shinjuku, Tokyo; September 30th; 2:45 PM)

Shion scowled as he dunked his mop into the soapy gray bucket. He swirled it around violently; water splashed over the sides and onto the blue tiled floor. "Nice going, Matsuda," he snapped.

"What do you mean?" Ari challenged, picking up a seat and placing it upside-down on its desk. "That it's my fault? You're the one that turned around right after Nada-sensei told us to stop."

"You said something about me," Shion retorted, jamming his mop into a dusty corner vigorously. "I know you did. Don't try to deny it."

Ari snorted. "And why shouldn't I?" she demanded. "You didn't see me; you wouldn't know."

"Yes, but I know you," Shion argued, "and I know that you would've said something anyway."

"I wouldn't have said anything," Ari shot back. She yanked out a cloth and a sprayer from another bucket and began cleaning the windows.

"No, you wouldn't have," Shion agreed. "You would have just screamed it out."

"Enough!" Nada-sensei stuck her head inside, causing both of them to jump and turn. Shion's mop, which he had been carrying back to the bucket, hit the side of the teacher's desk.

Nada-sensei sighed, looking exasperated. "Don't you two ever give it a rest?" she demanded.

"We'll make sure they do." Seiichi and Kaori appeared from behind their teacher; the latter gave a violent start and Shion and Ari shared an amused glance before remembering that they were mad at each other and looked away.

"Oh," Nada-sensei said, still looking faint. "You do that, Shiota, Yamamoto. Have a good day now." Kaori, Seiichi—and after a glare from Seiichi—Ari, and Shion bowed as she left the room.

Kaori wordlessly sat on top of the teacher's desk, opened a book, and began reading it. Seiichi leaned against the table, almost but not quite touching her. They seemed comfortable with their positions.

After a few silent minutes, Shion grumbled, "What, so we can't talk now?"

"You can," Seiichi said. "Just don't bicker."

"Whatever," Ari muttered. "Just as soon as I can get this done." She went to rinse the cloth and when she returned, dumped it in the bucket. "Where's the other mop?"

Shion pointed. "Over there."

Ari fetched it, dunked it in the bucket. As she withdrew it, however, the murky, bubbly water began to glow. Shion looked over. "How did you do that?" he asked, nearing the bright bucket.

"I don't know," Ari protested. "It just…"

By now Seiichi and Kaori had joined them. "That's something you don't see every day," Kaori remarked, stowing her book away and bending down to get a closer look.

"Careful," Seiichi began.

The contents inside the bucket exploded outwards as soap, water, and everything else from mopped up from within the classroom shot out. Kaori jerked back in time to avoid getting a head-on collision, but all got soaked.

As Shion picked grit out of his hair, mumbling about a practical joke that wasn't funny at all, something caught his attention. Seven orbs were floating in midair, circling continuously around each other.

Then, as if on an unspoken command, they broke apart: three soared out an open window; the four that remained shot towards Shion, Ari, Seiichi, and Kaori.

All four gave an unexpected squeak. Ari caught the one aiming for her, but slipped on the water beneath her shoes and fell to the ground. Kaori somehow managed to catch the glowing orb and stood staring at it. Seiichi's collided with his stomach and he grabbed hold of the shelf near him to keep himself upright. Unfortunately, his hand slid, as water had ended up on the shelf, and he ended up staring at the ceiling. As for Shion, he attempted to duck and the orb aiming at him crashed into his forehead and he fell to the floor, kicking over the almost-empty bucket in the process.

Seiichi, Shion, and Ari all gave a groan. Kaori looked around at them. "Why are you all on the floor?" she asked, surprise in her voice.

"Because we're all the unluckiest people in the world," Shion moaned. "And I'm the unluckiest of us all. My back, my forehead, and my right foot hurt."

"Oh, quit whining," Ari grumbled as she heaved herself to her feet. She inspected her orb, which had stopped glowing. "What is this?"

Shion took a look at his as well. It was the palest gray, trimmed and decorated with black. "Some sort of new technology?" he guessed.