Salva Nos Gaiden
1: Pictures at an Exhibition
by Ajora Fravashi

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Note: This is a collection of side-stories for the universe of Salva Nos. Anyone getting into this fic is encouraged to read SN first. (And apologies to Modest Mussorgsky.)


Mrs. Akiyama, nee Khynika Zakharova, old enough to be passed over by the pandemic, kneeling at the iconostasis in a little Russian Orthodox cathedral in Hakodate, Hokkaido. The Party denounced religion, dismissed it as superstitions and lies and as the opiate of the masses, but it would have no answers to times like these. The prayer is not in Church Slavic, Latin, or Japanese, it's in the language of a youth wasted spouting the Party lines. When the world outside is dying and her husband and only child are well on their way to joining the dead, it feels like her last-ditch effort isn't going to work. One little old woman in her Soviet-era shawl and a lit voltive candle appealing to painted wooden icons and a God who no longer cares. She doesn't know how long she'd been praying in Russian, but she does notice when her son finally stops coughing and respectfully joins her before the wall of icons.

-

Tomoki, who doesn't remember his family name, sitting at an abandoned library with a book before him. It's a colder winter than he's ever lived through before, but he dares not burn the books for warmth. He can't read kanji, but he makes every effort to try because even he can understand the importance of books. They are records of past knowledge, keys to the kingdom of imagination, immortalized thoughts and theories. They are solid, real, and will last longer than he. When the ice bear spirit comes for him, he agrees even though he doesn't understand, and it's not so cold anymore afterwards. The spirit and the books will not leave him as his family had.

-

Daimon Masaru, whose father disappeared who knows how long ago, man of a household consisting only of himself and his sister. Once he liked to strut and fight with no regard for repercussions, repeating his father's words and living up to Suguru's example. A man must be prepared to defend his family at all cost, but Masaru couldn't hit something he couldn't see. It was a hard learning experience.

-

Kitagawa Kenta, beloved only son. His parents took him on a boat to set out to sea one day, and they were going to sail the entire world. His father taught him how to handle the sails the first day, and navigation the second. When he woke up the third day, his parents would not get up to teach him anything more. Lost, he spent the next two days waiting for them to awaken before finally steering the boat back to shore long enough to find gasoline and set the autopilot. Hirokazu doesn't laugh or tease him when he cries after the funeral pyre disappears beyond the horizon, and even cries for his own lost parents when Kenta starts wetting his shoulder. They have been close friends since.

-

Fujieda Yoshino, whose day started with a headache and moved on to vertigo, fatigue, muscle aches, and fever. She slumped into bed after excusing herself from work that day and answered only to Lalamon, who insisted on staying by her side. The seed-like digimon brought teas and soups for her to drink, and replaced every warm, damp cloth with one that was cool. As the disease progressed and Yoshino's very reality shifted into delirium, Lalamon wiped up what blood she could and sang softly to her. At one point, before she descended into shock and during a rare moment of clarity, she wondered at the news reports of failing computer systems and sudden appearances or disappearances of buildings. It wasn't until she woke up days later to find herself in the hospital that she thought to call her parents and sisters. By then, it was too late. Somehow, as the years passed, she considered the loss of her family hurt her more deeply than the loss of the use of her legs.

-

Izumi Koushiro was never an emotional person. Social graces forever took a back seat in his quest for knowledge until the fateful day when he and six other children were swept up into the Digital World. From them he learned how to handle what he felt, even if he would never be quite as attuned to his still-subdued emotions as the others. He would never react to anything in the extremes many other people did, but he thought then that he had been handling things fairly well. He accepted that he was adopted and that his adoptive parents loved him, yet he never knew how to react to their deaths. Over the years, he wondered if his steadfast pursuit of information on the pandemic that killed his parents was his way of coping.

-

Rieko and Rei, beautiful twin daughters raised to be perfectly trained musical dolls. Rieko, a prodigy with the violin, Rei with the viola. Rei resents frills and ribbons and having to act like an obedient little girl, and especially hated it when his mother would punish him for playing in the dirt or picking fights. When their parents died he cut his hair, smashed his viola, and took his new freedom as leeway to embrace his true gender. Rieko disapproved and they haven't talked since they parted ways. Once a blue moon, Rei plays with the idea of going to see one of his sister's concerts before dismissing it as sentimental nonsense.

-

Li Shaochung remembers very little of what came before. All she remembers of the past was happiness and contentment. She remembers, though vaguely, that her father took her to the playground area of the park at times, that her mother read her bedtime stories, that she never wanted for food, shelter, or love and attention. Sometimes, if she concentrates, she can pretend the pandemic never happened, or that her mother was still in the kitchen baking cookies, or that Jianliang couldn't lift a semi-automatic rifle (or, at least, she tried to pretend that he could have controlled it at the time and nothing bad would have happened), or that her father hadn't died in that firefight. Those memories that should be bad are blank, as if she had willed herself to forget. Somehow, her advice to her brother never seems to work. Unlike her, he can remember looking on in horror as their father collapsed under friendly fire.

-

Katou Juri remembers it all. She remembers her dead mother and the woman her father sought as a replacement. She remembers the birth of her half-brother and the conflicting emotions he brought when he came into the world. She remembers her father's suicide when he came down with the virus after her step-mother passed on, it was violent and he went through with it as stoically as could be expected from a man his age. She remembers offering her half-brother to a teenage boy, because she had no idea how to care for a child when she was still one herself. Above all, she remembers that it wasn't supposed to be like this. When she hid under the stairs as her father shot himself and a riot raged outside, she held on to the memory of Leomon and a future that will never be.

-

Alice McCoy, dead for only a year before the Apocalypse. She died in the Digital World, and with no systems installed to handle the data of dead humans, her consciousness lived on as a codewalker. Her memories of her past life are less substantial than bits of data drifting in the breeze, and her emotions were even more ephemeral. Yet, as she watched the cataclysm that was the merging and near-destruction of multiple digital worlds, she couldn't help but feel a sense of sorrow as news arrived through the net of so much death in the human world.


Note: There are other Gaiden stories planned, but they are written in an entirely different manner than this first bit and though each part stands alone, they will all be posted as chapters. Coming up when I have time: Webtapping, Hour of the Wolf, Hunter's Moon, and The Making of Henry Wong.