Title: DIGIMON 02: Parallels

Description: In a time of need and desperation, two rival digimon fused together to create a being so powerful, it was "never meant to exist". Because it was never meant to exist, it must steal the hearts of humans and world-hop to survive: a plan that entwines Hikari Yagami and the other 02 generation with a plot where they must once again face The Digimon Kaiser, fangirls/fanboys, and their greatest fears.

Rating: T

Genre: Action/Adventure, Epic, Drama, Romance; small splash of Humor (especially in the second arc) and Mystery.

Disclaimer: I do not own digimon, nor any of the characters used in this fic, except a few later on. XD No infringement intended.

Chapters: I'm hoping for 12, but might be a little more. It's looking like that. Oops.

Author's Note: Sorry for the not-so-fast update this time, haha. School stopped me from updating quickly. My apologies!
To reply to reviewer Lord Pata, yeah, not a fan of bashing, myself. I love both Daisuke and Takeru, and while Daisuke is a bit more high on my favorite list, Takeru is up there, too. :) I'm not sure if V-mon or Patamon gets bashed more, but I do know that Davis gets bashed way more often than TK, which makes Glory sad and speak in third-person. Needless to say, I try to treat both of them fairly in the fic, since I wouldn't want people to come at me with pitchforks since both characters have some pretty rabid fans, haha.

As for Dawn and Dusk, I haven't played the games, but I do know which digimon you're talking about and... ;) Haha. No spoilers for you!

NOTE: You may notice that I switch off between dubbed and Japanese names. This is intentional, 'cause... I just like to switch off, since I don't really view the characters as two people. They're lovely names, both dubbed and Japanese, so that's that. :) Usually I use the dubbed names as a kind of friendly way to address each other between friends, so I hope it's not too confusing. If anyone's confused on who is who, please feel free to ask. I'd love to answer.

-\/-

Digimon 02: Parallels

Chapter Two
Keeper of Hearts

It was easy.

So... so easy.

The creature was crouched over a well, palms clasped against its gray sandy stones, a pail filled with green-hued water swinging at the top of the wooden apparatus connected to the well. He stared deep into his reflection, staring, gazing, watching those eyes of his that gleamed such a bright... What color were his eyes? He swore he saw them just a second ago staring back at him in the water, but with a simple ripple in the well, he was left with nothing but a blank memory.

What color were his eyes?

All he could see was darkness behind his helmet.

Only darkness behind the white shell encasing him.

Who... who am I?

((...Heartless...))

((...Three Heartless Souls...))

((...That is what you are...))

Three Souls... whose souls?

((It all began with that man...))

((That man years ago...))

That man...?

((He needs hearts))

((He needs hearts so badly...))

((To keep us alive, to keep us thriving...))

((Stay with us))

((Stay alive with us))

((Help us thrive))

Alive... thrive...?

He rested a hand on his chest, where the gentle thudding of a heart beat against his palm, so soft that he could hardly feel it – he wouldn't have been able to if he hadn't been trying to. He felt that heart. Felt it beat, felt its warmth, felt its light.

Stealing Hikari's heart was easy.

Keeping it was another story.

-\/-

"Hikari..."

The voice sounded distant... muffled as reality began to sink back. No longer frozen, Gatomon was shaking her. Was holding her. Was... warm.

"Hikari!"

She looked toward the cat digimon, expression blank as she tilted her head to the side. "I have... a long journey to travel... And I can't bring anything with me but those closest to my heart."

"What? Hikari, you're psycho-babbling!" Gatomon's eyes narrowed. She still clutched her partner by the shoulders, unable to understand what Hikari was talking about. But Hikari knew what she was talking about. Oh yes, she certainly did.

"No, it's true, Gatomon," she whispered, finally tearing her gaze away from reality and back toward Gatomon – Gatomon's eyes – Gatomon's paws – the burning determination in her digimon's gaze. "I must travel light into the unknown, bringing with me barely anything at all and... those closest to my heart."

Hikari nodded toward the portal.

Gatomon paled – paled as much as a cat with white fur could pale – and stared deep into that endless creature labeled vortex. Its soft blue light illuminated her face, glowed in her eyes, reflected there a fear she wished she didn't have.

"A journey... into the portal?"

Gatomon stood, drops of sweat dotting her brow, claws shining against the blues and greens.

"A journey into the unknown," Hikari whispered. "I made a foolish decision and gave away my heart so willingly. I'm such an idiot, Gatomon..."

Her hands were shaking.

Trembling.

Hikari could feel the cool breeze from the portal sweep around her, tugging at her hair, her clothing, as she clutched her sides and ducked her head, biting back not tears but anger; a dark, sort of sad anger.

Then, from the silence erupting around them:

"Don't say that."

Hikari's eyes widened.

She looked up.

"Don't ever say that," Gatomon repeated.

Her grip loosened on Hikari's shoulders.

She released them.

Then, giving Hikari one of her rare and warm smiles, the cat digimon continued, "Hikari, of all the humans I know, you are the least idiotic of all. You can be an idiot sometimes, like when you risked your life to save me so many times, even though you knew I'd rather die than let you get hurt... Yeah, alright, I'll admit it because only a real friend would: You can be a real idiot, but..."

Gatomon's teeth clenched and Hikari's muscles tensed.

The vortex hummed with electricity, stirring, stirring, stirring.

"It's because you care, Hikari!" Gatomon said. "That's the kind of person you are! And that's not idiotic, that's – that's what's right, Kari!"

"Gatomon..." Hikari bit her bottom lip. How could she reply to that? She didn't have a heart anymore!

Before Gatomon could say anything more, Hikari took her by the paw and pressed it against her chest, looking up at her partner with hopeful eyes.

Would she understand where words failed Hikari?

Hikari watched as Gatomon stared with narrowed, questioning eyes at the action, trying to see what Hikari meant by it, why she was doing this, but ultimately, the cat digimon soon realized what was happening.

"Hikari..."

"I'm so cold, Gatomon..." Hikari whispered. "Tell me, do you feel it beating? Do you feel something that I don't? Hear something I don't?"

"Hikari... your heart..." Gatomon's eyes widened.

"Am I alive?" She was shivering. So cold. "Am I alive, Gatomon, or am I dead? Am I just a ghost now? Why can't I feel my heart? Why am I so cold?"

"I... don't know." Gatomon's brow furrowed and she took away her paw, suddenly looking toward the kitchen. "I'm going to gather the others. We'll straighten this out."

"But what if they think I'm an idiot?" Hikari reached forward to gently clasp Gatomon's wrist. "What if they..."

Gatomon didn't hesitate for a second.

"Hikari, it's you," she said with a smile, reaching forward to ruffle Hikari's hair. "They'll know your intentions. And they would fight to protect the honor of those intentions, no matter the result – and I'm not just talking about Daisuke and Takeru, here."

The two stared, then, slowly, Hikari released Gatomon's wrist, and the two nodded at each other. So this was it.

This was the understanding.

And soon, it would be the take-off.

-\/-

"How come we didn't know about this sooner?!" Taichi hissed, standing from his spot against Hikari's bunk bed, standing beside Daisuke, who was laying in her bottom bunk, blinking rapidly.

"He stole your what...?" Daisuke muttered, glancing to Hikari.

Taichi's brown eyes glistened angrily, yet more out of anger for Hikari's situation than the cause. "What is the DEAL?"

"It just happened," Gatomon said, head bowed, eyes half-lidded. "Less than a half-hour ago, I woke up after being frozen in time – at least, according to Hikari. Naturally, because I was frozen, I had absolutely no idea. One second I was reaching for her hand and the next she was gone, her bedroom door wide open and papers flying everywhere."

"We don't know where the portal goes to," Hikari said abruptly. She tore her gaze to the wide vortex and its churning cool colors, and the way those colors shimmered against the walls of her bedroom – the way they reflected against the once-shadowy corners it touched. "It could lead anywhere... absolutely... anywhere."

"I don't like this," said Takeru, folding his arms as he sat in a chair. "You can't go alone."

"Yeah, I'm coming with you," Taichi said. "I'm not letting my sister face this alone – this guy took your heart and you need it back. I'm not going to let him keep it from you."

"No, Tai," Hikari said quietly. She swallowed, eyes narrowed. "Only the newer generation can go with me."

"What?!" Taichi's eyes narrowed and he took a step forward. Agumon, beside him, cringed, yet Taichi continued, "No, that's dumb! I've never left your side! You're my sister! My sister, Hikari! We're - Yagamis!"

"You have to!" Hikari said back, just as firmly. Once Taichi fell silent, just as the others had, she calmed and looked away from his leering gaze. Such a frustrated expression her brother held. Yet, pausing only briefly to gather her thoughts, Hikari continued, "I don't know why, but I just – know – that this is something only Daisuke, Takeru, Ken, Miyako, Iori, and I can complete. Besides, a smaller group would be less suspicious. We don't know where we're going, it could be anywhere."

"That's why we – the first Destined (well, okay, technically the second Destined) – should go, too," mumbled Taichi. "What if you go to a place and can't turn back? What if it's an extremely dark world with really powerful and evil monsters?"

"I know we'll be back," Hikari said back, eyes flashing. "All journeys must end where they begin, and mine began here."

Her gaze wandered to the window, looking out toward the rest of Odaiba. Such a big yet small city. Such an adventurous wild house of unknown features, yet it was her home, her home, and it was indeed the place where everything began. Even her destiny as a Chosen began here, in this big yet small place.

"Hikari..." Taichi's eyes widened slightly, his head tilted to the side, hands fisting and de-fisting, fisting and de-fisting, fisting and... "Hikari, I – want to protect you."

The two locked gazes, Taichi standing a few feet away, arms limp at his sides, as Hikari sat in a chair before a computer desk. Then, sadly, Hikari turned away from him.

"You... can't protect me forever," she whispered.

"It's alright, Tai," Daisuke said, sitting up from the bed. He grinned cockily, yet his expression showed one of true blue confidence; a confidence that made everyone look up at their new leader. This was the man whom Taichi's torch was passed to. "She's got us to back her up. If Miyako and Iori and Ken weren't enough, you know me and TP will go crazy trying to protect her."

"That's right," Takeru said with his own confident grin. Patamon fluttered beside his shoulder, grinning as his baby blue eyes filled with the confidence only his partner's grin described. "And my name's TK. I still can't believe you haven't gotten that yet."

"Huh? TJ? What?" Daisuke blinked and looked at the blond-haired boy, who sighed irritably and shook his head. When Takeru didn't respond, Daisuke blinked one final time and looked back to Taichi, who didn't look impressed.

"I'm entrusting my sister to a guy who can't even spell TK right..." Taichi muttered.

"Hey," Daisuke said firmly. "Spelling TZ wrong is my style. Besides..."

Taichi and Daisuke locked gazes. Daisuke tilted his head to the side, a lock of his reddish-brunette hair falling across his eyes. Then, without wavering, the 16-year-old Motomiya Daisuke gave his best lop-sided grin and continued, "...Hikari's a lot stronger than you know."

Taichi blinked.

Hikari smiled.

"Davis..."

Daisuke turned to her and winked. "Smooth?"

"Smooth..." she replied with a tearful smile and nod. "You dork!"

"Heh, heh!" He grinned and turned back to Taichi, who was eyeing him suspiciously. Daisuke only nodded. "Trust me, and believe in Hikari. If she says we'll be back, I believe her, and I will be willing to cross any realm to steal back her heart."

He again winked.

Hikari nervously laughed. "Okay, stop now."

"But there's so many puns to be had..." Daisuke said.

She glared. "No, seriously, stop it, you."

"Ah, fine," Daisuke sighed.

"No, Davis is right," Takeru said, standing. "I'd be willing to join him in that journey. Something dear to Hikari was taken from her, and even though it was her choice then, if she feels she needs it back, then I will aid her in getting it back. Hikari's my best friend. I'd do anything to protect her."

"Takeru!" Hikari smiled big. "Thank you."

Takeru grinned back and nodded. Daisuke sighed and put his fists on his hips, but in the end, it was Ken and Miyako and Iori who stood up and ran to Hikari, quick to rush forward and embrace her.

"Don't think we'd let you go alone!" Miyako said.

"Please, Hikari, you were there for me when Demon wanted to take me to the World of Darkness," Ken said. "I won't let you say no to me coming!"

"We're teammates," Iori said. "We faced MaloMyotismon together, and I won't let that teamwork break now!"

"Ack!" Daisuke said. "Wait, I was supposed to be the first to hug Hikari!"

"Eh..." Takeru scratched the back of his head. "So much for that?"

"You two..." Hikari said with a tearful laugh. She reached forward and grabbed both of their hands, pulling them into the group hug. "Thank you – all of you – for understanding."

"Of course we'd understand, Hikari," Miyako snorted, releasing her just brief enough to clasp both Hikari's hands with her own and smile big. "You're like a sister to me! Ever since we slapped each other, we were tighter than tight!"

Hikari laughed and nodded, and as the others began to pull away, Hikari's gaze went to Taichi.

Taichi was hesitant, gaze on his sister and only his sister.

However, seeing that determination burning brightly in her eyes, he smiled, sighed, and joined their hug, holding her tightly.

"You better get your ass back over here soon," Taichi whispered. "I love you, sis."

"I love you, too, Tai," she whispered back, smiling warmly. "And don't worry – I will return."

Nodding, they let the silence overcome them, and the sweet sound of the vortex's humming wash over them, as if it were the waterfall, and they were the rocks, standing firmly without breaking against the fierce falling water.

Memories...

That's what this all would be someday...

Just... memories.

-\/-

Brave was a gruff man, with hair once mahogany-colored but now a thick, luscious red, dyed by the blood of not only his victims, but the victims of his comrades and enemies. Blood was not uncommon in his world, because, in his world, there was a great evil.

This evil would not be tampered with.

At Brave's side there was a digimon, blue-skinned with a silver V written across his white chest. The digimon stared ahead with his own resolve, not willing to wait any longer. Neither of them – man nor mon – was going to wait for the evil's answer.

It was waiting which had gotten them in this situation in the first place.

So, staring that blue-haired man straight in the eye, Brave pulled back a clenched fist, flung it forward, and watched as a smoke bomb hit the ground at the blue-haired man's feet. Grinning, smoke veiled the evil in gray, and when the smoke vanished, so had he, but Brave was not upset.

After all, they had a mutual understanding. A... connection, you could say.

They had only one thing in common – and that was the fact that they'd both killed someone they cared very deeply about.

Her blood was the blood which tainted his hair red, and tainted the other man's soul black.

Silence was the only gift she'd given them.

-\/-

A while went by. Whether that while was a long one or a short one, none of the Destined completely knew. They at first thought it was long until they'd decided their fate, things gathered and ready, the portal churning before them like a foreign creature they'd never gazed into before. No, a "while" was not long at all, or perhaps it just wasn't long enough.

When things calmed, they were sprawled out on the floor, all of them in their own thoughts. Were things really going to go down like this? From the original eight Destined, only Taichi, Takeru, and Hikari knew what was going to happen tonight – none of the others (Yamato, Sora, Koushiro, and so on and so forth) could make it. What would they say tomorrow if none of the second generation were there? What would they say if they weren't there in a week – a month – in a year?

Could it really take a year? Over a year? Over ten years, or twenty? Would they return with their skin in wrinkles and their bones aching, their spirits old and worn?

No.

They couldn't talk like that.

The second generation were told by Gatomon to gather their things and tell everyone goodbye before they came to the Yagami residence. They didn't know what was happening, but they did know that whatever it was, it was big.

The only ones who didn't know were the Yagami parents. The two were gone, an unfortunate event that had left Hikari stressed out more than she already was. Just – gone – on a business trip for a week. They were supposed to return tomorrow. Hikari was so excited for it because she'd gotten a gift for them, but it was a gift she felt would have to wait until she returned. She wouldn't give it to them and not witness their expressions when they unwrapped their presents.

Besides, holding that gift until she was able to personally give it to her parents almost put it in concrete: She were going to return, so that Hikari could give that present to her parents.

"Tai..." she said suddenly. A few Destined looked up from their places, but only Taichi brought his gaze fully to her. "Tell Mom and Dad the truth. They'll understand. Eventually."

Taichi nodded, taking a few steps forward to grab Hikari's hands. "They understood before when we had to return to the DigiWorld to defeat the Dark Masters. They can understand again. They knew they had special kids, and because of that, they also know they have to accept the responsibilities of letting us go when we need to."

"Right," Hikari said with a sad nod.

They stood quiet for a few more seconds, then, without hesitation, they embraced.

"Go get 'em, Kari. Show 'em what you're made of," Taichi said, determined. "I won't doubt you, so don't doubt yourself."

"I'll remember that," Hikari said with a sad smile. "Goodbye, Tai."

"Goodbye."

Again, silence. Then, standing from the bunk bed, Daisuke stood next to the portal and looked over the others.

"Let's go," he said gently. "As Hikari said, we've got a long journey ahead of us."

"Just like the old days," Takeru said with a nod toward Hikari. "Right?"

"Yeah," Hikari said with a grin. "If we could survive that sojourn, we can definitely survive this."

"Yeah."

So, with that, the Destined all stood and stared deep into the portal and its many blues; watched as it crackled, as it sparked, as the cool listless breeze such a creation made swept aside loose papers and bits of clothing. Constantly moving, constantly shifting.

This was it.

This was their entering a whole new realm. And how many other realms after that?

Hikari took a few steps forward. Her foot stopped right before the green mist pouring from the vortex's surface, a mist that curled and coiled around her, feeling cool yet warm, strangely similar to something else, something she couldn't quite remember, but still strikingly similar. Déjà vu? No. Not déjà vu.

She'd find out what she was feeling soon enough.

So, taking a deep breath, she stepped into the portal.

—Into the becoming.—

—Into her becoming.—