He remembered everything and nothing...the shadows of black wings, and bright teeth, the shredding of both cape and cowl and flesh, the claws, ringed with his blood and the chatter of those befurred demons as they swirled away from him. The world tilting, and the searing pain as his legs gave way, and he found himself sprawled and staring skyward. The breath in his lungs choked him, as he heaved in anguish, and twisted his head in desperate effort. Did he save her?
Did she still live? He tried to rise, but winced and teared when the broken wounds screamed in protest. He didn't even have the strength to raise his head from the concrete. "Please.."

A silent prayer rose from his trembling lips..."Spare her...take me if You must, but spare her...

I give You myself, but please..."

And he saw her, rising over him. A white pearl emerging from the depths of the darkness that swirled amok in his vision. A star piercing the black. Gentling arms cradling his broken form,

and tears dribbling crystaline jewels across his scarred cheek, as he found himself held.

He choked down a cry. It was love and anguish, bittersweet sorrow...

His dying moments, swathed in the arms of heaven's own, as she peered over him, ears lowered,

regret twisting her beloved face, a grief too deep for mere words clouding her eyes.

"Gatomon..." his voice still held that soft lilt, but it sounded harsh when heaved out from his stitched mouth, "Are you alright?"

It hurt to speak, but not as much to see her cry.

"You saved me" her sob-ridden answer. "I'm sorry!"

His eyes...somewhere between the shade of leaves in the sun and harsh emrald had already taken on the look of heaven.

He was leaving her.

"For what?" Confusion marred his features, as he winced.

"Sorry for getting you into all this." Remorse and love wrenched out between her shuddering lips, as he raised a trembling hand...

A thousand thoughts, and fears, and memories, that ran too deep and had no words to convey them. A thousand risings of the sun that he marked with indifference, and dark nights filled with futility and desperate loneliness, and hopeless wondering. A life at the time he would have cast away without a thought, out of boredom, or even despair.

She gave him meaning...redemption. And if he had the choice to live a thousand more lives without knowing the depth and the truth of both, or the fleeting moments cradled in her arms, he would have considered the trade too poor.

He drew a breath, spoke in a voice that was weak, and soft, but gentle in its sweet cadence,

"Don't be sorry. I have no regrets. If I hadn't have met you, my life would have had no meaning.

I'm glad...that you and I are friends."

He met her eyes-eyes that were full of fire and light, and joy, even as his breath grew weaker, and his limbs trembled. Eyes that would shine brighter than the jewels of heaven's night, and lend her comfort on the many lonely nights when all she had were the memories and her promise..

"That's forever." Her own eyes, saffire bright with tears, and understanding, and sorrow was the last thing he saw, the last thing he wanted to see..

"Thank you for everything. Gatomon." He breathed her name with the reverence of a prayer, as the smile of peace settled gently on his scarred mouth, the last laurels for the dying hero.

His soul, finally free from the burdens of his mortal shackles relaxed.She held his limp body, in the bittersweet revelation that he had used his last breath to speak her name.