Author's Note: What? Really? A new story? I think I've surprised myself! Anyway, this is just a fun little thing that I've been working on as the ideas hit me. It came up in a discussion and refused to leave me alone. This is not, I repeat, nota one-shot. I don't know when the next chapter will be posted, but rest assured that there will be at least one or two more. I don't expect it to be very long, but who cares about length, really - especially when there are so few Impmon stories out there? The world needs more Impmon luff. Anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: The characters located herein are the property of Toei animation, and really should have gotten more airtime than they did. Especially Impmon, who deserved a whole series centered on him, rather than just a subplot. Obviously, if I could claim ownership, this would not have been the case.
Mayhem in the U.S.A
It was a box.
A box made of tan plastic, with oval holes cut along the sides, and a door made out of metal wires that latched from the outside. It was ugly, and big, and smelled of dog and flea spray. It was just the right size to hold a large dog, a small human, or the Digimon who stood a few feet away. Impmon loathed it with all of his small purple being. He looked at the box, which sat there pretending innocence as it waited to inflict its torture of confinement on its next victim, then he looked at his Tamers, who stared at him with big, pleading eyes, and then back at the box again.
"You want me to whaaat?!"
He turned to make a break for it, to get away from the dungeon in miniature, but was forcibly reminded that the twins had a firm grip on both of his arms. The two young humans started tugging him towards the box with resolute frowns on their small faces. Impmon struggled as much as he could without hurting them, shouting all the while, "Uh-uh, no way! You're not getting me in there! Let go! That thing stinks! You can't make me!" Still Ai and Makoto continued pulling him, inching ever-so-slowly towards the torture device. When they got him within inches of being inside it, however, they stopped and implored him one more time.
"Please, Impmon-chan! You have to go in!"
"Yeah, you have to! It's the only way you can come with us!"
Impmon stared into the gateway of doom; as close as he was now his nose was nearly overwhelmed by the scent of dog and flea spray emanating from it, and his eyes began to water from the strength of the odors. The small Digimon shook his head stubbornly, declaring, "No way, you two! I'm never getting in that thing!"
One look into their watery, dejected eyes, though, and the next thing he knew his resistance had caved and he had been pushed nose-over tail into the smelly, cramped prison. Scarcely believing that his Tamers had actually gotten him into such an unpleasant thing, he watched blankly as the twins latched the door, with tearful apologies and promises to let him out as soon as they could after the plane landed, that it wouldn't really be that bad and he did want to go with them, didn't he?
Five seconds later he had shaken off the shock and was doing everything in his power to break out, short of Digivolving and tearing it to shreds that way. Finally he hit upon the perfect idea, pushed himself as far as he could against the barred door and took a deep breath. When Ai and Makoto, who had gone inside for some last minute packing, came back outside to check on their partner, Impmon grinned at them from where he was standing triumphantly over the smoking remains of the box he so loathed, gloating.
"Hah! No stupid smelly box is gonna hold me!"
The twins, however, were not so pleased.
"But Impmon-chan, how are we going to get you on the plane now?"
Impmon blinked and looked at what was left of the box, and managed to look a bit ashamed – if only for a second or two. Then he shot them a confident smile.
"Don't worry, you two! I'll think of something – I'm not the greatest partner in the worlds for nothing, you know!"
Ai and Makoto had first mentioned the trip nearly two months ago. Impmon had just gotten home from spending a little time in the park scaring people – just for old times' sake, of course -, and had barely taken two steps inside the yard before he was tackled to the ground by the two bouncing children in pink and blue. The twins babbled happily at him, speaking so rapidly that he couldn't understand a word they were saying.
"Alright, alright! I get that you're excited but I can't tell what about until you slow down a little!" The twins looked a little abashed and paused for a second, then resumed babbling at a pace just barely slower than before. Still, this time the Digimon could make out words like "trip", "America", and "fun", at least until P-chan, the twins' dog, came over and took advantage of Impmon's pinned position to lick his face repeatedly. "Gyah! Ack! Cut it out! Ai, Makoto, get this furball off of me! Blech!"
The giggling twins finally let go of their partner, who jumped up and away from the happy dog, wiping his face furiously and grimacing. "Blech, that's disgusting! Keep away from me you walking drool factory!" P-chan, sensing that his fun was over for now, gave a low whine and trotted off to his doghouse, where he lay down with a thump. Impmon glared at the dog, which simply wagged his tail in response, then turned back to his Tamers, who were having trouble staying still. "Okay, you two – what's got you so excited? And say it so I can understand it this time; I'm not a patient 'mon!" Ai and Makoto needed no further prompting.
"We're going on a trip to America, Impmon-chan!"
"For the whole entire summer! America's so great an' we're gonna get to go to Disney World!"
"An' we're gonna get to see the alligators and see the whales and all the fishes too!"
Impmon blinked, the only sound escaping his mouth a small, "Oh. . ." This was something he hadn't expected; he had thought that the twins' summer vacation would be spent with him, that he'd see so much of them he'd need to get away now and then. Their going away on a trip and leaving him alone was not something he expected or wanted. But they were so excited – he couldn't let them see that this upset him in any way. He wouldn't do that to them.
So he smiled at them shakily, and tried not to let them see that his eyes were watering, just a little. "That's – that's great, you two. I'm s-sure you're gonna have a great time." Despite his efforts, his voice shook and the twins' faces darkened in concern. He turned and started walking into the house. "You two h-have fun, okay?" He had made it to the door when the twins called to him in unison, their voices as weak as his own had been.
"Don't you want to come with us, Impmon-chan?"
He turned and replied, saying quietly, "Y-yeah." Then he grinned at them, and answered in a stronger voice, "Of course I do!" The twins squealed with joy and tackled him again. Some minutes later, after getting P-chan away from him yet again, Impmon cracked an eye open and looked at his Tamers. "Ehh…. Where is this America place, anyway?" The twins exchanged horrified looks, and immediately dragged him into the house, calling for their mother. The Digimon blinked as he was pulled along. "What? What'd I say?"
Soon he found himself sitting at the table with a large picture sitting on it in front of him. Impmon thought it was one of the ugliest pictures he'd ever seen. It was mostly blue with oddly shaped colored blobs all over it; he could see words written on the blobs – not that he could make any sense out of them. Why would you draw a picture of weirdly shaped colored blobs, anyway? He stared at it in confusion, wondering why the twins demanded he look at it. He blinked as Ai slammed a finger down on a blob at the right of the picture that was much smaller than most of the other blobs.
"This is Japan," the little girl declared, and Impmon squinted at it. Nope, it just looked like a blob on a picture to him. He tilted his head and watched as Ai put another finger on a bigger blob, this one on the other end of the picture. "And this is America," she continued. "That's where we're going!"
"That's where we're going," Makoto echoed, nodding in agreement.
Impmon was immediately concerned for his Tamers' sanity. How could they go to a place that was nothing more than a blob in a picture?
". .. . You sure you two aren't getting sick or something? That's a picture, not a place – and a pretty ugly one too!"
Ai shook her head, frowning at him the way she did Makoto when he got one of their math problems wrong.
"No, no, Impmon-chan! This is a map, not a picture!"
"Sure looks like a picture to me," he scowled, getting bored with this lesson already. This was reminding him too much of last month, when the twins had decided that he needed to learn to read. That had lasted only until he got bored enough to set all the papers shoved in front of his nose on fire, and he was starting to get the urge to do the same to the picture in front of him. The twins must have recognized the look in his eyes, because Ai answered quickly,
"Impmon-chan, a map is a drawing of a place so you know where to go! This is Japan, where we live, and that's America, where we're going. It's all the way on the other side of the world!"
"Well if that's where it is, why didn't you just say so?" He asked in irritation, and then blinked as Ai and Makoto sighed in unison, before looking at each other and breaking into giggles. The next thing he knew, Impmon was in the middle of a hug sandwich, with the twins hugging him tightly on either side. As one, the twins chorused,
"We love you, Impmon-chan!"
"Alright, you two, enough of this mushy stuff! Let go, would ya?" Impmon fought valiantly to keep the embarrassed blush from spreading across his face.
He didn't succeed.
Airports, Impmon had decided, were not places he liked. Oh, sure, they looked like they'd be great for causing trouble, with masses upon masses of people milling around looking lost, ready to panic at the sight of anything out of the ordinary – and himself being quite extraordinary, he knew he was one of those things. Plus there were all the different places selling food; that was always a good thing. Still, he didn't much like them.
The first of these reasons was getting through security. At first, he and the twins had decided that he could pretend to be some sort of large plush toy – this was mostly Makoto's idea, and Impmon had only gone along with it because neither he nor Ai could think of anything better at the time. This had worked as Makoto dragged him contentedly through the parking lot and around the front of the airport, prior to the security station; Impmon had been less than pleased, though, at the amount of bruises he had gained from the experience, but had remained as still as he could – not an easy task by any means.
Of course, the promise Ai and Makoto had made that they would give him "lots and lots of candy" if he stayed still might have had something to do with it. He had even managed to keep his mouth shut when that fat lady sat on his tail, although his eyes watered terribly and he just barely resisted attacking her for the offense. Other than that incident, however, things had gone relatively smoothly until they reached the security scanners. Impmon watched as the long lines of people put everything they had brought with them on a conveyor belt, which ran through something with a lot of official police-type people looking at it.
It was then that he knew the plush plan was a no-go. He had eased himself out of Makoto's arms and promised the twins that he'd meet up with them on the other side, but that he needed to find another way to get through. They had protested, but let him go and headed through, looking back over their shoulders as he slipped away. A short time later, he made his own way through security – without going anywhere near those scanning things -, although not without creating a little minor chaos, and was now in the terminal itself.
Unfortunately, he couldn't seem to find the twins or their parents. He had been looking for nearly an hour by now, and was starting to get a bit worried; What if they had left already? He didn't think the twins would do that, but still, he worried. He was also hungry, and the tantalizing smells coming from the various restaurants and other food providers were making it very difficult for him to stay focused on finding his Tamers.
He was keeping close to the shadows, staying out of sight and watching for his Tamers, when he saw it, and all other thoughts fled his mind. It was the biggest, most chocolate-covered, sticky-sweet looking donut on the planet. It was just sitting there on the counter of the donut stand across the terminal, waiting for an opportunistic and hungry Digimon to grab it and devour it. Impmon's stomach rumbled, reminding him that he hadn't gotten to eat anything yet that day – he'd been too busy making plans with Ai and Makoto.
Well, maybe the twins wouldn't mind if he was just a little bit later in finding them . . .
Sneaking over to the donut stand, he made absolutely certain that no one could see him before darting a hand up, straining to reach that sweet piece of perfection. It was then that he noticed the problem – he was too short to reach it without being seen! Cursing to himself, he backed away from the stand again and thought about what to do.
"Excuse me, I'd like that donut, please." Impmon's eyes widened as the human running the stand wrapped his donut – his donut! – up and handed it to another human, who took it and started walking away with it – that human was going to eat his donut! His donut! It was his! Not that stupid human's! And it was the same lady who had sat on his tail earlier! Without thinking about it, Impmon gave chase, weaving expertly through the crowds and never letting the donut thief out of his sight.
Okay, so he did manage to knock over one or two suitcases and one baby carriage in his haste, but what did it matter? That lady had his donut! He saw his chance when she sat down in a waiting area and placed the donut on the seat next to her. He had almost caught up to her, sneaking into the waiting area she was sitting in, and had just ducked under the chairs in preparation to rescue his donut when she picked it back up and took the paper off. She was going to eat his donut! Throwing caution to the wind, Impmon exploded out from under the chairs and grabbed the donut before the woman could bring it fully to her mouth.
"That's my donut you crazy lady!"
Her shriek was loud enough to have that entire end of the terminal turn to look. Impmon, suddenly realizing that he had completely blown his cover, stuffed the donut in his mouth and ran for it. Security was already making their way over to the lady, who was panicking and crying about animated plush toys coming to life and stealing her food, and more than a few people were panicking. Impmon dashed around the airport looking for his Tamers, smashing a vending machine and grabbing a handful of candy bars on the way, just for the heck of it. He had already been discovered; why not get a little more food? One donut, no matter how good, wasn't going to be enough to take away his hunger pangs.
Behind him he could hear the security teams radioing one another as they discovered the smashed vending machine and he picked up his pace, running as fast as he could and trailing candy bars as he went. Just as he was about to turn a corner into another section of the terminal, he spotted the twins and their parents; knowing that he was mere feet from safety, Impmon leapt on top of a nearby cart and called to the security guards gathered around the vending machine.
"Thanks for the candy, suckers!" Then he blew them a raspberry and raced for safety, diving into the carry-on lying on the floor by the twins' father and burrowing under the items that were inside. How he managed to fit (since he was roughly as tall as his Tamers), he didn't know, but he did it. He laughed to himself as he heard the sighs of frustration from the twins and their parents, while Ai and Makoto's father zipped the carry-on nearly closed and shoved it under his chair to keep it out of sight.
In the end, their flight was delayed nearly three hours while security scoured the airport for the "kid in the costume" who had plunged the place into chaos. Eventually the search was called off, and the flights resumed, although Impmon was forced to remain in the bag the entire time, which was both boring and painful. Just because he had managed to squeeze into the thing didn't mean he was comfortable in it. What was worse was that he had to smell the food that the twins had snuck into the bag the entire time he was in it, without any way to move to get to it. It was as close to torture as the ordeal with the box of doom had been.
It was no small relief when he started to hear the calls for boarding and felt the carry-on being lifted. Time seemed to hang suspended as the Digimon was carried along, and when the bag was finally opened it was all he could do not to take a deep, gasping breath of relief – he never ever wanted to be in one of those things again! He just barely remembered to remain still as Ai and Makoto attempted to tug him out of the bag. He was so tightly squeezed into it, however, that it took their efforts combined with their mother's to free him from his unexpected hiding place.
It was only when he was free, and sandwiched between the twins' seats – Makoto had claimed the window seat for this flight - that he dared to breathe a sigh of relief. In his position between the twins, and with their mother on the aisle seat beside them, Impmon was relatively sheltered from sight and he felt safe enough to rub at the aches inflicted by the items in the bag – at least one of them had left a bruise, and he was willing to bet that it was Makoto's favorite toy robot that had been jabbing him in the side the entire time.
"Are you okay, Impmon-chan?"
"Yeah, you really scared us – we thought those guards were gonna get you!"
Impmon smirked, then winced as he touched a sore place on his right arm, whispering, "I'm fine – it was all under control!" Next to the twins, their mother bit back a laugh. Clearly she didn't agree. Impmon would have had something to say to her about that – something not nice, but he was then distracted by the flight attendant going by, since it forced him to resume his "I'm-just-a-plush" pose – something that he was quickly beginning to loathe with all of his being. Once the attendant passed, he relaxed and dared to ask the question that had been bothering him ever since he had hidden in the carry-on bag earlier. "Uh… so how long is this flight-thing gonna be, anyway?" The twins looked at each other, shrugged, and looked at their mother for help.
"It's a little under sixteen hours, as long as no delays come up."
The small Digimon just about lost it then and there.
"I'm gonna have to sit here and pretend to be a toy for that long?!" He yelped, completely ignoring the twins' efforts to shush him. It was only when a few people turned to see who had been so loud that he froze and fell back again. Once their attention had been diverted again, Impmon folded his arms and sulked, grumbling in a much quieter tone, "What the heck am I supposed to do for that long, anyway? No one told me this thing would be so boring!"
Neither the twins nor their parents had an answer to that.
Grumbling to himself, Impmon watched the people who were boarding the plane going by, occasionally daring to lean around the twins' mother and make faces at small children – only when their parents weren't looking, of course. That grew boring after just a few minutes, however, and he started fidgeting, fighting the urge to get up. Sitting still had never been a particular strong point of his. He looked at Ai, and then he looked at Makoto. Ai was happily engrossed in some kind of storybook she had brought along, and Makoto was looking out the window at. . . whatever must have been going on out there. A pile of toys that had already been dragged out of the bag – and yes, there was that toy robot Impmon just knew had left the bruise on his side – sat, unused, on his lap. Among them was a small bag of caramel popcorn, which Impmon was tempted to eat.
For once, however, boredom won out over his appetite, and he hastily grabbed the bag and opened it. Peering carefully about the plane – and watching the twins' mother carefully for any sign that she saw what he was up to – he selected his target and took aim. A moment later, a soft "Oh!" of exclamation, accompanied by a jump from the surprised woman who had just been hit with a piece of popcorn, was his reward. He snickered quietly to himself, only mildly disappointed by the mostly calm reaction, and selected another target.
This time his success was much greater, as he had selected a piece of popcorn that was covered in an unusually thick layer of caramel, and as such was a bit stickier than the others. His target was also much more suitable – it was a young woman, probably in her late teens, not that he cared, who kept darting terrified glances all around the cabin. Even though the plane hadn't begun moving yet, she had a death-grip on the arms of her seat and looked ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. When the piece of popcorn hit her, it struck her in the side of her head and got caught in her hair. She twitched, reached up to touch her head, and squealed.
"There's something in my hair! There's something in my hair! Get it out get it out get it ouuuut!" It took several minutes for her seatmate to calm her down, during which time Impmon was cackling softly. Once she stopped, he reached for the bag again, intent on finding another target, only to find it gone. He looked anxiously around him for a few seconds, before a cough caused him to look at the twins' mother, who calmly held the bag of popcorn pinched between the thumb and forefinger of her right hand. Then as he watched, she took it, and folding it closed, placed it in her purse, which she then pushed under the seat in front of her.
Impmon, his fun ruined, sulked for the next five minutes straight.
Nearly fifteen minutes after his popcorn fun had been ruined, the plane finally began taxiing away from the terminal. The twins' excitement grew as the plane drew closer to the runway, and despite how boring Impmon found the whole thing, his Tamers' excitement was infectious. He didn't even get mad when Makoto joyfully dragged him over to his seat and squished his nose into the window to see the plane moving – well, okay, he didn't get very mad.
But boy did that make his nose hurt.
The actual take off proved to be even more boring, despite the twins' excitement to see the ground fall away below them. But, really, how impressive was flying in a big metal box when you could fly yourself? He really didn't see that there was anything to get excited about - he could fly way better than this tin can! At long last, however, they were in the air, which meant only, . . . a really long time before he could get off this thing and go do something fun.
Impmon felt like destroying something.
Ai and Makoto continued clamoring all over one another and their partner for a short time after takeoff, in their attempts to see out the window and "say good-bye to Japan". Impmon, who more than once found himself with a shoe in the stomach or on his nose courtesy of a distracted child, couldn't wait for the novelty of being in the air to wear off and return the twins to some form of normalcy – he may have been the toughest Digimon in the worlds, but even his nose could only take so much abuse.
It seemed to take forever before the twins grew bored and settled back down, giving their partner some respite from their antics. Impmon breathed a sigh of relief and rubbed his aching nose. Ai saw him rubbing it and she tilted her head at him, frowning in concern.
"Are you okay, Impmon-chan?"
"Mmf," was Impmon's eloquent reply. He was a little annoyed that neither of the twins had seemed to notice they were stepping on him – but then, he hadn't been able to complain too loudly for the risk of discovery; which, as the twins' parents had insisted, was a very bad thing on an airplane. Makoto, his attention taken away from the toy robot he had been playing with for the last few moments, reached over and helped Ai tug their partner's hand away from his little black nose, which Ai then proceeded to place a kiss on.
"Better?" She asked, and Impmon, blushing furiously, could only nod. Ah, who was he kidding? He couldn't stay mad at these kids. Times like this made him wonder why he had ever run away in the first place . . . but then, he hadn't understood humans so well back then; not any more than the twins understood him. Still, maybe if he had tried a little harder . . . Then he shook his head. No use bothering with stuff already done and over with – better to leave that kind of stuff to the humans. They seemed to do really well at whining about what-ifs and stuff. He had better things to do with his time - things like figuring out something fun to do for the next sixteen hours. The small Digimon turned his attention towards trying to get back his popcorn bag, without being seen by the people on the plane – or worse, caught by Ai and Makoto's mother, who was currently engrossed in some kind of magazine.
He let himself slip to the floor of the plane – playing the plush angle again. Then, still laying on the floor and pretending immobility, he attempted to ease one arm far enough under the chairs in front of him to snag the purse with the goods. He had almost grabbed it when someone reached down and grabbed him, tugging him up and away from the floor and the purse, sitting him back between Ai and Makoto. Impmon fumed as the twins' mother "lectured" the twins in a clear voice,
"Now, now, Ai, Makoto – you know better than to let your plush toys fall to the floor. You don't know what kind of germs they could pick up down there. You wouldn't want Impmon-chan to spend his first night in America in the wash, do you?"
Instantly Impmon went as still as if he really had been a plush toy – the twins' mother's words were a code for the ultimate form of torture: a bath. Impmon shuddered at the remembrance of that horrible, fake flowery-smelling soap dripping into his eyes and trying to burn them out of his head. He still couldn't understand just what it was that the twins loved about such an awful thing. He turned to look at the twins' mother, who had the look on her face that meant that he was pushing his limits, and he had better at least try and stay out of trouble or face the bubbles of evil. If she was threatening that already, yeesh, what was he supposed to do for the whole trip?
His sulk was ended moments later when the flight attendant came by, offering drinks and snacks. The twins' mother, after a quiet exchange of words with their father, who was sitting just in front of them, purchased a bottle of water and an orange juice. Impmon watched all of this with thirsty eyes. Boy did that orange juice look good – it would be nice to have some to wash down that donut he had eaten earlier . . . but the flight attendant handed only two small plastic cups to the twins' mother, both clearly meant for Ai and Makoto. He didn't have to voice his protests, however – the twins did it for him.
"Impmon-chan needs a glass too!"
"He gets to share our orange juice!"
The flight attendant smiled that grin that adult humans got when they thought children were being cute but stupid – a smile that made Impmon want to burn her face off because his Tamers were anything but stupid – and handed over a third glass. The human woman waited a few minutes for the flight attendant to get further down the aisle before she started pouring the drinks into the miniature cups, first handing one to Ai, then one to Makoto. Impmon, distracted by watching his Tamers slurp their juice contentedly, barely noticed that it seemed to take a bit longer for the woman to pour his portion of the juice.
The purple Digimon swallowed the bright orange liquid in one gulp, before blinking, making a face and staring at the cup he still held in one hand.
"Blech . . . something's wrong with that stuff. Tastes kind of . . . fuuu . . . neee . . . " Suddenly the world tilted around him, and he felt himself getting that warm drowsy feeling that made him just want to snuggle down and go to sleep. He was dimly aware of the glass falling out of his hand, and being pulled into a lying-down position across Ai and Makoto's laps. He blinked twice, fuzzily wondering just what had been in that orange juice and why it wasn't doing anything to the twins. As his eyes closed, he heard a short conversation between the twins' parents.
"Wow, that hit him quickly. How much did you put in that stuff, anyway?"
"Oh, just enough to keep him asleep for the rest of the flight; he should wake up by the time we land."
"That's my girl."
Just before the world around him completely faded out into the abyss of sleep, Impmon vowed to get payback on the two humans for this dirty trick. Preferably the most embarrassing kind possible, maybe with some spray paint . . . and a spatula . . .
Then he knew nothing more for a long time.