Still don't own digimon. Obtaining of rights is in progress though. (yeah right)

Beyond Humanity

Chapter 22

"Are we too late?" Matt asked again. He and MetalGarurumon stood atop of a pile of rubble. "Hey Tai, what the hell are you doing down there?"

Tai managed to turn his head far enough to see Matt. Even from this distance he could see the smirk on his face, the elongated canines gleaming in the dim sunlight.

"Oh great." Machinedramon Chaos Mode said. "At least now I don't have to hunt all of you down."

The mega level stepped on the downed form of Tai, threatening to break nearly every bone in his body. "One by one." Chaosdramon said. "You will all perish!"

Machinedramon Chaos Mode began to press down on Tai, slowly crushing his bones. Tai groaned on the pressure on his chest.

"Wing Blade!"

"Hand of Fate!"

"Horn Buster!"

The three attacks struck Chaosdramon in the chest, which he was still protecting with his arm. While he was barely scratched by the trio of attacks he was forced to take a step or two back.

"Now MetalGarurumon!" Matt yelled. Metalgarurumon sprung into action, launching himself towards Machinedramon Chaos Mode's feet, where Tai was.

Dodging the massive feet of the sluggish Mega with ease MetalGarurumon was able to get close enough to grab Tai. Matt pulled the dazed skeleton onto the mecha wolf as quickly as he could.

"Do you even realize how worried we've been about you and Mimi?" Matt asked as Metalgarurumon got the hell out of there and towards the others.

"I know." Tai said.

"No you don't! Damnit Tai why the hell did you run?" Matt all but yelled. "It's still you in there, right?"

Tai just nodded, and though Matt couldn't see him he knew how he answered. "You're not getting rid off us Tai. No matter what you turn into."

Tai remained silent for a while.

"Thanks Matt." He said quietly.

"No problem." The wolf boy said, a grin on his face.

"Can you stand?" Matt asked as MetalGarurumon brought them to relative safety with the others. "Think so." Tai said, before falling off of Gabumon's evolved form.

"You sure about that?" Sora asked as she caught him before he hit the ground. "You've got some explaining to do Tai." She said with a firm voice. "But I'm glad to see you. Do you know how worried we've been?"

"No." Tai answered flatly as Metalgarurumon rushed off to fight again. Sora hit him on the head with her free hand, enjoying the hollow sound his skull made. "Idiot. We've been worried to death!"

"All of us have been." TK said. "Besides, how are we supposed to be a team without our leader?" Izzy asked.

"Hey! And what about me?" Mimi asked, offended by the fact that she received no attention at all. "Was anyone worried about me?"

"No." Izzy said. "You were with Tai all the time, so we had no reason to be worried." He smiled.

Mimi whacked him on the head. "I missed you guys."

"So did we." Angemon said. "But what's with the new look? We expected you to become some flower child, like Palmon."

"Nope, I became something else." Mimi said, looking at her blood red nails. "Better then becoming a beetle or a dog. Though I'll have to buy some hair dye when we get back home." She whirled her hair around her finger before letting it go again.

"I think it looks nice." TK said, a big smile on his face.

"You really think so?" Mimi asked.

"Yeah, it reminds me of grandma." TK said. Mimi developed a tick mark. "She has the same color as you do right now!" Mimi then proceeded to turn red.

"Now Mimi, please refrain from killing little TK." Sora said, moving a wing in between the two of them. "He's our medic after all."

Mimi calmed down again, deciding that she'd take her revenge on TK later on. He was doomed.

"Hyper Muggen Cannon!" Chaosdramon yelled, firing his cannons at the group again. Zudomon and MegaKabuterimon acted as 'human' shields, their thick hides absorbing most of the strike.

"That's going to hurt in the morning." MegaKabuterimon complained, falling to one knee as the blast dissipated.

"Why wait till tomorrow?" Zudomon asked as he checked his own back to make sure that his shell hadn't melted or something. Luckily that hadn't happened. Just a few holes burned into it.

"We've got to end this." Izzy said. "Quickly, seeing how Zudomon and MegaKabuterimon look like they're about to pass out."

"Oh no, we're fine." Zudomon said, before getting hit with another of Chaosdramon's attacks, causing him to dedigivolve and drop from the sky.

"Forget that I said that." Gomamon said as Joe caught him.

"You okay Gomamon?" Joe asked, putting the seal digimon down. "I think so." Gomamon answered. "I'm just waiting for the world to stop spinning."

"He's fine." Joe said to the others.

"Okay as I was saying." Izzy started again. "We've got to end this quickly, seeing how we're almost defenseless right now."

"And don't forget about that." Sora pointed at the sky, where rifts in time and space began to form.

"Oh right, the tears in the fabric of existence." Izzy scratched his chin in thought. "I've got an idea, that just might work…"

"Spill it, cause our digimon won't be able to keep Chaosdramon at bay for long." Tai said, seeing how the Dark Master swatted Angemon like a fly.

"This might be a strange idea but do any of you know what happens when you superheat and quickly cool down iron?" Izzy asked.

"Izzy, we're not blacksmiths." Mimi said. "How should we know?"

"You'll see, we just have to find a way to get him up to his Currie temperature and then cool him down as quickly as possible." Izzy said, pacing around a bit. "But where are we going to find a forge at a time like this?"

"Wing Blade!" Garudamon yelled, sending her fire attack at Machinedramon Chaos mode.

"Will that do?" Sora asked. Izzy sweatdropped. "Right, kind of forgot that we had a huge fire breathing bird here."

"And here I was, thinking you were a genius Izzy." Megakabuterimon laughed.

"Okay, as I was saying." Izzy ignored the remark from his fellow insect. "MetalGarurmon has to use an ice attack right afterwards to cool Chaosdramon down again. If everything goes right his armor should become rather brittle." Izzy said. "Though I'm not sure that applies to whatever material he's made off." After all, did digital iron react the same way to heat as normal iron?

Angewomon landed behind Megakabuterimon, dropping Kari off at the first opening she got.

"It's our only chance." Kari said as she had heard the plan from her spot in Angewomon's arms. "Think we can do it?" She asked, seeing the condition her brother was in.

"We haven't come this far to get beat by this tin can." Tai answered as he let go of Sora, who had been supporting to make sure he didn't fall over.

"BlackWarGreymon? You still got some fight in you?" Tai asked the mega, who nodded. "I'm your can opener today." He said, his claws shining in the faint light of the sun.

"Okay then! Let's do it!" Tai yelled, his voice full of confidence for the first time since he had started to change.

Initiate epic battle music!

Sora took to the air, flapping her wings to gain more height. She had to make her way to garudamon, to tell her the plan and help her. After all, Garudamon was still an ultimate. But their combined attacks might make the difference.

"Matt!" Tai yelled as he ran towards the battlefield. Matt jumped off of MetalGarurumon, to see what the hell was going on. "Tai, shouldn't you get out of here? You're hurt."

"I'll live but we've got a plan." Tai answered. " Tell Metalgarurumon to attack after Garudamon and Sora do so. Tell him to freeze the bastard."

"How will that help?" Matt asked. Previous ice attacks from the mega canine had proven very ineffective.

"You'll see." Tai stated. "You'll see."

Matt nodded. Tai appeared very sure about this, so who was he to question him?

Matt ran, as quickly as he could to Metalgarurumon, dodging Machinedramon Chaos Mode's melee attacks. Getting hit by a drill the size of a house would probably rip him into tiny bits of wolf meat.

Not a pleasant fate.

"Wing Blade!" Garudamon yelled from above him. He saw the blast fly at Machinedramon, followed by a smaller version. 'Must be Sora's.' He thought.

"MetalGarurumon!" He yelled, seeing how he wouldn't make it on time. "Attack… now!"

Metalgarurumon reared his head, seeing how the two attacks impacted on Chaosdramon's body. The intense heat from the attack caused the normal red steel to turn nearly white hot. But it didn't bother him all that much.

That was until he got hit by one of Metalgarurumon's missiles, which immediately cooled him down again. Superheated steel + instant cooling = not good, even in the digital world.

"Aaahh!!!" Machinedramon Chaos Mode screamed in frustration as the steel plates of his body expanded and shrunk within a few seconds. Because of the process the red-digizoid that made up nearly 97% of his body became much weaker.

"Now!" Tai yelled. "Attack!" BlackWarGreymon nodded and began spinning like a top, before launching himself at Chaosdramon. "Black Tornado!!"

Machinedramon Chaos Mode instinctively held his arm in front of his chest, to protect the weak spot the digidestined of Courage had made.

But it was no use. BlackWarGreymon had put his all in that attack, cutting through the weakened steel and through the arm. Not slowed down by the arm he plunged through Machinedramon's chest, cutting the heart inside into pieces.

BlackWarGreymon emerged from the back of the Dark Master, immediately dedigivolving as he fell to the ground. Lillymon caught him before he could hit the floor.

"Come on." Joe stared at the behemoth that was still standing there. "You think it worked?" he asked Kari and Mimi.

"It had to." Mimi said.

"Pain." Machinedramon Chaos Mode said, his voice barely audible. "So this is what it feels like." He dropped to his knees as his components began to shut down, one by one.

"Did we do it?" Koromon asked Lillymon. "I think so." She said. "He's not moving anymore." True but he hadn't disappeared yet either.

"We won, right?" TK asked. "I don't know." Matt said as he and Metalgarurumon arrived back where Megakabuterimon stood. "Is the world around us crumbling already?"

"Don't think so." Joe said, kicking against some shrapnel. "Nope, still here."

"Someone should go and see what's going on." Sora said, pointing at the still form of Machinedramon Chaos mode. "Any volunteers?"

"Oh no, no way." Joe said, stepping away from Tai. "This is just like in the movie, where the gullible quiet boy approaches the thought to be dead monster which then suddenly relives and eats him."

"Probably." Izzy said. "It's not healthy for Joe to end up as sushi."

"I'll go." Tai said. "I need to pick up Frostmourne anyway." He remembered throwing the sentient sword away somewhere in the battle but where it ended up, he didn't know.

Tai walked over to Machinedramon Chaos mode. He wasn't afraid to approach the dead behemoth. He had to be dead, seeing how the only organic parts in him where destroyed by BlackWarGreymon. Kind of ironic actually. The sole bit of him, that wasn't replaced by technology had been the death of him.

Tai, not knowing what else to do, kicked the hunk of red metal. All he got was a somewhat hollow sound coming from within the creature. He assessed the damage BlackWarGreymon had done. His entire left arm was gone and he had a huge gaping hole in his chest.

Tai stared into the empty eyes of the steel creature. In a way, he kind of felt a kinship with the monster. They may have been on different sides of border of good and bad but still. How was Machinedramon different from him? Just like Tai, he had a weak core hidden within cold materials.

"Aagh." That sound made Tai jump back as it signaled that Machinedramon was still alive. "See!" Joe yelled. "It always happens!"

"Shut it humanoid." Machinedramon Chaos Mode cursed. He had been immobilized entirely. BlackWarGreymon had torn his entire insides to bits, so he wouldn't be going anywhere soon.

"So you still live?" Tai asked as he walked around Machinedramon, looking for his sword. Though he wasn't entirely sure that he wanted it back… But it had given them an advantage in this battle, seeing how it had cut through Chaosdramon's armor. That along with Izzy's idea had weakened it enough for BlackWarGreymon to deliver the finishing blow.

"Barely." Machinedramon said, his voice sounding like it came through an old pair of speakers. "Who would have thought a bunch of half creatures like yourself could take me down?" He laughed darkly. "But it doesn't matter." He continued.

"How come?" Tai asked as he spotted Frostmourne, half buried between some ruble. He pulled the blade out, expecting it to start cursing him immediately. Strangely it didn't.

It just remained silent, as if it was waiting for something.

"All you've fought for, all your dreams, all of your hopes." Machinedramon Chaos Mode growled. "Even with my defeat, they're worthless. Piedmon, the last dark master will not fall as easily as I did."

"How come you're so sure about that?" Tai asked, pointing Frostmourne at the scrap pile.

"Digital energy." Machinedramon Chaos Mode said, revealing his ally's secrets to their enemy. Hey, he was as good as dead anyway. "Piedmon has taken its power to whole new levels!"

"We'll see about that." Tai said. Above him the skies began to twist and form into a slow moving vortex. "But you won't." Tai knew what he had to do. This was what Frostmourne had been waiting for…

Tai climbed onto Machinedramon's back, where the hole through his body was. Using his wings to descend into the cavity, he quickly found what he was looking for.

The last part of Machinedramon's heart. It was still beating, doing its best to survive. But eventually it would have died down.

But by then the universe might have collapsed upon them.

"Do it." Frostmourne ordered. "Feed me his soul."

"I'm not doing this to get you a snack." Tai said to the blade. "But if I don't delete him, his very existence would wipe out the world, you included."

Frostmourne pulsed. "True… Chaos Mode is not something to be used lightly." Even he knew that. Untamed chaos could destroy the world in days if allowed to run rampant.

"What do you think is going on in there?" Kari asked. "I don't know, but I don't like it." Matt said. "He's been in there for way to long."

"Don't worry." Mimi said. "That pig sticker of his is probably talking his ears off again."

"Talking?" Sora asked. That thing could talk?

Mimi nodded. "Damn thing has quite an attitude." She said. "Demanding respect and sacrifices all the time."

"Okay…" Izzy said, not sure if he believed that. Or if he wanted to believe that.

"Do it half creature." Machinedramon ordered. "Or are you to weak to finish me off? To kill me in cold blood?"

"To kill someone in cold blood, yes then I am too weak." Tai said. "This isn't in cold blood. This is saving my world and yours!" He slammed the sword into Machinedramon's last bit of living tissue. It almost immediately turned black , before bursting into digital dust.

"Kind of tastes like chicken." Frostmourne mentioned as the entire red carapace of Chaosdramon disappeared, as if it had never been there in the first place.

"Tai? Are you okay?" Mimi asked as she ran up to him.

"I'm fine." He lied. Tai's heart would have to been made of rock if he wasn't fazed by the death of Machinedramon by his hand. Other digimon like those Dokugumon made him feel bad too. But they appeared mindless. Machinedramon on the other hand was intelligent. He had a real face, even if it was mechanical… (Inspiration I got from a book. Only a foe that looks you in the eye as you destroy him should you feel bad about. As he is the one that remains human, even when dead is upon him.)

"You sure?" Mimi asked. "You look a bit pale." She joked.

"I could say the same thing." Tai said back.

"Tai!" Koromon yelled. "You did it! You did it!" Koromon jumped into his arms.

"No, we did it." Tai said. "All of us."

"At least now I hope you won't try to run form us anymore Tai." Matt started.

"As individuals we're worthless." Izzy continued

"But together we're invincible!" Sora finished, all three of them pumping their fists into the air.

Tai scratched his head. "Exactly how long have you been practicing that?" He asked.

"They've been doing that for about two hours." TK answered, seeing how the other three apparently didn't want to.

"Uh guys, while I hate to interrupt this whole team bonding session." Joe started.

"Then don't." Matt said to him, stating the obvious.

"Okay then I'll shut up, but please look over there!" He yelled that last bit, seeing how even he was shocked by how fast the deletion of Machinedramon's city was coming towards them.

"Not good." Tai said. "Garudamon!" Sora yelled at her partner digimon. "You still have enough energy to get us out of here?" She prayed that the answer to that question was yes…

"Watch me." Garudamon said, picking various digidestined and digimon up in her claws.

"Hey put me down!" Joe yelled as Garudamon picked him up by her talons, before taking off. Joe looked like a snake caught by an eagle. Again…

"You sure you want that?" Angewomon and Kari asked as they flew next to him. Kari smiled and pointed downwards, where the core of the digital world was visible.

Joe looked down, into the abyss and at the core, which seemed to have a stain on it from a previous casualty. "Never mind!" He yelled.

"I thought you'd say that." Garudamon laughed as she came closer to the part of spiral tower that belonged to Piedmon. "Oh cheer up Joe." Gomamon yelled down towards his partner human…digimon… combination. "It could have been worse."

"How?" Joe asked.

"Garudamon could try to eat you after we land." He said. "Now that you mention it, MegaSeadramon sushi tastes rather nice with some rice." Garudamon joked.

"Eep." Joe's red skin turned nearly entirely white at the prospect of that.

"Garudamon, stop scaring Joe." Sora said as Garudamon landed and dropped Joe off rather gently actually. After all, she had had her fun messing with him.

"Hey Tai." TK walked up to the skeleton man after they had hit terra firma again. He rummaged around in his pockets and pulled something out. "I think this is yours."

He handed Tai a bone. Not just any bone, but a finger.

"Is this?" Tai started. TK nodded. "I forgot all about that thing…" He swirled the sharp claw around, his 'new' fingers weren't half as sharp as this thing.

Tai sighed and handed it back to TK. "Keep it." He said. "Think of it as a good luck charm."

"You sure?" TK asked. "Yeah, it's not like I'd have any use for it now." He showed TK his changed hands. "See? I've got all ten fingers already." Though he didn't really want to tell TK just how that happened. Scarring little kids for life wasn't something Tai was a big fan off.

"How touching." Piedmon said from his somewhat empty room in the castle at the top of Spiral Mountain. "The little digidestined are all back together again. Whoop-dee-doo!" He exclaimed.

"What do you think of this MetalSeadramon?" He asked the empty basin, where MetalSeadramon normally emerged. "Not much, that was too be expected." Piedmon muttered to himself. "Bubble brain." He said.

"Okay then, how about you Puppetmon?" No reply, seeing how Puppetmon wasn't even there.

"Oh right, I forgot." Piedmon slapped himself on the forehead. "Puppetmon went on a vacation!" He laughed maniacally. "He went on a one way trip to the core of the digital world!" He cackled.

"Then it's just you and me." He unsheathed one of his Trump Swords. "Ain't that right Machinedramon? Or should I say Machinedramon Chaos Mode, or how about Chaosdramon?" He said that last name mockingly. "So scary you know!" He threw the Trump Sword into the wall.

"Well then." Piedmon said once he calmed down a bit. He walked up to the wall which he had hit with his sword and pulled it back out. "Looks like it's actually just the four of us left." He said to two shadows standing next to his throne.

"Three of us." One figure corrected. "We refuse to accept that other one as one of our own."

"Well I agree, he is a bit… eccentric after all." Piedmon said, his smile growing wider. "But aren't we all!?!"

Three sets of laughter filled the entire room, echoing through the near empty castle.

"Did any of you hear that?" Kari asked, huddling a bit closer to her brother. They had quickly found a cave to rest for the night, seeing how they had a lot of catching up to do.

"We did." Joe said. "And I for one didn't like the sound of it." Izzy said, wringing his four hands in discomfort.

"We'll worry about it in the morning, okay." Matt said. "For now, we've all got some explaining to do."

And so did the digidestined talk, telling each other about what they had experienced when apart from each other.

Even though you couldn't see it Tai was smiling. Life was starting to look up a bit.

But now he was starting to wonder how long it would last.

So am I… I know I promised this chapter a week earlier in AaC but life got in the way. Was sick for two days and after that I had absolutely no chance at all to write, until Friday. It then took me till today to get everything right.


PrincessJaded: yeah, my action packed chapters usually score better… and I think I'm getting the hang of fight scenes, as long as it's not too overcrowded in them. Unfortunately, this is one of those…
Frostmourne pwns!

: Well, you'll see Matt's true reaction next chapter 'evil laugh' and the others are somewhat obvious.

SilverMau: I'll do my best!

GRX3m0m: fanfiction is like a box of chocolates. Nuff said. Machinedramon Chaos Mode rules! To bad I had to kill him off…

Depthmon: You did! Get out of my mind! I know it was a bit short, think this one's rather short too…

Escape my reality: yeah I know, only noticed that error later on. Only Mimi and Izzy are elevn according to my sources. Matt, Sora and Tai are twelve, nearly thirteen and Joe's thirteen, halfway fourteen. Or something like that. And glad you liked my story, and about the whole switching forms thing… nah, I prefer my transformations somewhat permanent. Though who knows what the future will bring!