A/N: This story takes place several months after the events of the fic 'Less than Human', a story that is still not finished. This story does not reveal anything that hasn't already been mentioned in 'Less than Human' but may 'hint' at some events that haven't been revealed. Make of them what you will. Hope that you all enjoy the story, and Merry Christmas everyone. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A Digimon Tamers Christmas fic by Crazyeight
A brown haired boy with storm gray colored eyes looked up at the sky, a sparkle of fascination glowing within them as he watched the flakes of snow fall from the sky. His eyes focused on one in particular as it drifted lazily through the air and he marveled at how different it looked from the others that he had been watching, just as they had been different from each other. How such a thing could arise in the world, the boy did not know, though he felt it was definitely something worth looking into. Shrugging his coat closer to his body the boy breathed outwards, a puff of air appearing in front of his face, and continued to watch the snowflake as it made its journey down to the earth and…
The boy blinked in surprise as the snowflake landed on his head. Reaching up he touched the skin where it had landed but was perplexed when he came away with nothing but a strange dampness. Frowning, he looked out towards the other flurries and watched them as they touched down on the ground and disappeared, transforming into a dark spot.
What is this? He wondered. Feeling that a closer inspection was required the boy reached out and grabbed hold of a snowflake and pulled it close to him so that he could get a better look at it. His expectations were crushed when he opened his hand and found nothing more than a speck of liquid cupped in his palm, as though an indecent child had just performed a switch on him. His eyebrows knotting even further in frustration the boy raised both hands and swept them around, grabbing hold of yet another snowflake and pulling it close, only to receive the same result. Making a noise of irritation akin to a three year old trying to understand why the universe wasn't working the way it wanted it to, the boy looked up at the sky, scowling fiercely at it.
What kind of digimon are you that could cause such a thing to happen? Wondered the boy somewhat sardonically. Of course, he knew full well that the artificial intelligence creatures that existed in the world's information and communication network, known as digimon, were not responsible for the snowflakes vanishing every time he touched them. This world obeyed different rules from the ones that he was accustomed to seeing. As such, he was curious to explore and discover how the world worked around him.
All I want is to study at least one of these things, thought the boy as he closed his eyes. If I could just find the source of this... A second later a white light wrapped itself around his body and twin pairs of angelic wings sprung forth from his back and through the winter jacket that he wore. Not even noticing the stares that he was garnering from the people around him the boy flapped his wings once and began to lift up into the air.
"LUMEN!" Shouted a loud, angry, female voice and the boy's eyes popped open in surprise as a hand grabbed his wrist roughly and pulled him back down to the ground. Whirling about the boy found himself staring into the red colored, anger filled eyes of a dark haired girl that he knew only as Noriko Nakata.
"Ah! Noriko! What…?"
"Didn't I tell you to 'wait for us?'" Noriko scolded the boy, indicating the smaller boy whose hand she was also holding onto and was watching the scene unfold with wide, curious, and slightly amused eyes. He was the girl's little brother Daisuke.
"Yes, but…" began the angel winged boy, only to be cut off by Noriko again as she continued to rail on him.
"And what did I tell you about unfurling your wings in public?!"
The boy scowled again and looked down at the ground, scuffing one booted foot against the concrete pavement. He really didn't want to have to answer that question. Unfortunately for him, Noriko wasn't going to let him off that easily.
The boy sighed mentally at the use of his actual name. In spite of his human(noid) appearance he was a digimon, and like all digimon their names tended to end with the suffix 'mon' at the end as a way of identifying them as such a creature. For the past year and a half digimon have taken up the habit of becoming partnered to humans (who in turn came to be called digimon 'Tamers') and creating powerful bonds with them. For what reason Lumemon did not know but Noriko was one such partner, and more importantly his partner. Following the events that led them to becoming a digimon and his Tamer Noriko had taken to calling him 'Lumen' rather than by his species designation as she felt that it gave him more of an identity that he could call his own. In spite of the fact that there really wasn't much of a difference between his being called 'Lumen' or 'Lumemon', he took the name with gratitude and made it his own. There was a downside to it however. Whenever the occasion came up where he did something that was against the rules or Noriko didn't like, she made it quite clear to him by switching to his original name, using it as a beacon to warn him that trouble was fast approaching.
"To not do it unless we're home, you say so, or when there's a digimon attacking," mumbled Lumemon as his wings sagged in annoyance, the feathers rumpling slightly.
"And you know why, right?"
"I know," grumbled Lumemon, folding his arms over his chest and putting on a pout. "But I don't see why I have to be this careful. The other Tamers don't have their partner's hide."
"They're more well known," said Noriko with a sigh. "And you're…not. All it would take is for someone from an anti-digimon group to cry wolf and then we'd have a problem on our hands. I know people around Shinjuku are more respecting of digimon and don't cause them any trouble, but I'd like to keep you as low profile as I can." Noriko sighed again and tilted her head, glancing at the boy's wings hanging behind his shoulders. "Even though you just blew a hole in it wide open…"
"I just wanted to see the snow," asserted Lumemon. "It kept melting when I touched it and I thought that if I flew into the sky it would stay colder longer."
Noriko placed one hand on her hip and shook her head in bemusement.
"Honestly, you can be so much like Takato it's scary."
"I came from him," commented Lumemon. "At least, half of me did anyway. Besides, it's not often that I get to see something like snow or ice as a part of a weather pattern without having a digimon throwing it at me as part of its arsenal."
"The show says otherwise," said Daisuke, now joining the conversation, trying his best to imitate his older sister's authoritative stance. It didn't work quite so well as both Noriko and Lumemon both stared at the boy with blank expressions.
"You haven't been to the Southern Quadrant," said Lumemon coldly. "Nor have you been to the digital world. Reality does not always share television's truth."
"Oh, don't act like that," said Noriko, reaching over to ruffle Lumemon's hair, causing the digimon to squirm in annoyance and blush at the treatment. "It doesn't suit you. Now come on. We've still got some more stores to check out before we have to go the Christmas party tonight."
"Hm? You didn't find the gift you're looking for yet? You said for sure that this store would have something."
"That's what I hoped for too," groaned Daisuke, shifting his feet and wincing. "But you know how she is. She just has to find the 'right gift'…"
"I do!" Exclaimed Noriko. "This is the first Christmas party that I'm having with the Tamers and I want to make a good impression!"
"You could have just bought them all packs of cards from the game shop," said Lumemon pointedly. "I'm sure the others are always in need of new ways to defeat opponents where their biomerging capabilities are inadequate. It would have saved you a lot of trouble as well."
"That's…too simple," grumbled Noriko, huffing in irritation and crossing her arms over her chest. "That's like writing off their feelings or something."
"How's that? You bought some for Kazu. Does that mean you 'wrote off his feelings'?"
Noriko gave the angelic digimon an odd look, looking honestly befuddled by his question.
"Huh?" She asked. "What are you talking about?"
"I must be misinterpreting something you said," replied Lumemon with a sigh. "And Kazu did say he wanted cards when you asked him about Christmas presents. That one is nothing but obsessed."
"That's for sure," chuckled Noriko, looking at Lumemon with an embarrassed look on her face, "but he's matured a little I think. Don't know from what really, but at least he thinks more carefully than he used to. Anyway, about this last gift…" Noriko raised one gloved hand to her mouth and pulled on the cloth with her teeth, frustrated. Lumemon watched her for a moment, taking note of the rosy color that made its way into her cheeks. He briefly wondered if it had to do with the cold or something else all together. After a moment Lumemon shrugged and glanced over to Daisuke to see if he could shed any light on the situation. The boy grinned and mouthed the word that put all the pieces together for him.
Henry, thought Lumemon with a shake of his head. It figures. Seriously, I think she's putting more effort into this then there actually needs to be. After all, it's not like he really expects anything special. He said so himself.
Hmmm… 'making a good impression', huh? But who are you really making one for? Tsk…humans…
"I still don't understand the point of this 'holiday'," said Lumemon, folding his wings back beneath his jacket and making them disappear. "Going to all of this trouble just for the sake of giving 'gifts' to people that you see every day. People who already know how you feel about them. And even when you don't like someone a gift is given out of 'obligation' for their existence."
Noriko frowned at Lumemon. "Well, tidings of comfort and joy to you too, Lumemon. I think the Americans have a cartoon character with that kind of attitude called 'the Grinch'."
"All I'm saying is I don't see the point in all of this. Why choose one day out of the year to be kind to other people when you could do the same all year 'round? And what's with this 'Santa'? He doesn't exist."
Daisuke gave Lumemon a quizzical look. "Didn't you tell me once that there was a Santamon in the digital world?"
"That's right," said Noriko with a smile and a wink. "And Henry told me about an adventure he and the others had last year around this time after they got their partners back. They met a Santamon and had to save Christmas from a bunch of abominable Fridgimon."
Lumemon hmmphed. "There really aren't any Fridgimon like that out there."
"The Tamers say otherwise. And what's with you being such a stick in the mud? You digimon have a Christmas of sorts too, right?"
"Yes," admitted Lumemon, "we do. I've just never gotten the chance to really celebrate it or understand it. I was…different, before we met, remember?"
"Oh yeah," said Noriko, her face softening a bit. "That's right."
Lumemon frowned as he felt an old, familiar sense of pride rise up within him, wanting to disavow any words of comfort that she might direct towards him. Although Lumemon didn't remember much of his early life anymore there were others, specifically Noriko and the Tamers, who knew him from before, back when he had been the digimon Lucemon. Although he had meant well upon his first arrival in the real world, desiring to protect the digital world at all costs his actions hadn't endeared him to them and as such he felt awkward just being around them.
But then, trying to delete Guilmon is not exactly something that can easily be forgiven. And that's just one crime on an already long list, as certain Warriors can attest to.
Sensing that the Christmas cheer from earlier was quickly becoming endangered by past memories Noriko reached up and patted the angelic boy on his head, ruffling his brown hair and grinning widely.
"C'mon. Take that frown and turn it upside down, Lumen. Stop working so hard to make yourself miserable, got it?"
"You've been listening to Calumon, haven't you?"
"Jeri, actually," grinned Noriko. "But she says that she got it from Calumon anyway so it works out the same. You know how she worries about you. Now come on. I want to hit at least one more store before we head to the party."
Lumemon nodded reluctantly and began to walk as she wrapped one arm around his shoulder and urged him forward. As they made their way through the crowd, ignoring the looks of any passersby's who had seen their earlier performance Lumemon did his best to shake away the sense of uncertainty that he felt building in his heart.
My first Christmas in the company of the Tamers. If only I felt like I actually deserved it.
Rika glared up at the top of the doorway, her violet eyes threatening to drill a hole through it just by their sheer intensity alone.
"What is that doing there?"
Getting down from the ladder Jeri looked over at her red haired friend and smiled.
"Well, it is a part of the usual Christmas decorations, Rika…"
"I know that, but why is it there? If I didn't know any better I'd say that it was a trap."
Jeri looked up at the mistletoe that she had just hung at the top of the entrance to the Nonaka household. As much as she hated to admit it, Rika did have a point there. Placing the mistletoe over the first place that people would enter definitely had all the, if you would pardon the pun, trappings of a trap. In the past, Rika wouldn't have cared about such a thing but recent events had given her reason to take a few moments to consider such an elaborate setup.
"Well…actually it was Ayaka's idea…"
Rika snorted. "Ahhh…I see. So Ayaka's behind this. And here I suspected that this was my Mom's mind at work. What? Is she trying to catch Kenta under the mistletoe? I still don't understand what it is that she sees in him."
"Sometimes I don't think she does either," said Jeri, raising one hand to her mouth and giggling. "She's talked to me about it enough times already. But she likes him and I know he likes her…even though he's too afraid to admit it to her."
Rika shook her head in mild amusement.
"He's able to go against giant, fire breathing dragons with nothing but a pixie but when it comes to telling the girl he likes how he feels he quakes? Real accountability there…"
"Really? Sounds like someone else we know," came the voice of Renamon as she walked into the room. One paw, stained with the various colors of food preparation, was presently being cleaned by a light blue towel; a sign of the fierce battle that she, Seiko Hata, and Takato Matsuki along with his father were waging in the kitchen as they put the finishing touches on the Christmas dinner.
Rika's face took on a light discoloration and she scowled at her golden furred partner. To her credit though Rika remained relaxed in her composure.
"Yeah…how are things going in there?"
Renamon smiled knowingly at her partner's deft change of the topic of conversation.
"Takato has managed to keep Guilmon and Calumon from eating the meal before it's finished. I believe that counts as what you'd call a 'Christmas miracle'."
"That's certainly no small task, that's for sure. I'd better go in there and check up on him though. The last thing I need is for that Gogglehead to mess something up at the crucial moment. You know how he is sometimes."
With that said Rika moved towards the direction that Renamon had come from and headed to the kitchen. Renamon and Jeri watched her go for a moment before their own eyes met.
"She's been pretty happy lately, hasn't she?" said Jeri, a smile blooming on her face. Renamon nodded.
"Yes, she has been. She still worries about where she and Takato going and what they have with each other. And you as well."
"I told her," said Jeri with a bemused shake of her head, "she shouldn't worry. I'm happy for both of them."
"I know," replied Renamon, "and so does she. But it's still not something that can be forgotten so easily, especially since there's nothing 'official' happening between them as yet…"
"After all this time?" Asked Jeri, somewhat confused. "Kazu keeps joking about getting the wedding invitations ready."
"Yes, well, it is something that still needs to be worked out. Suffice to say, for now it's enough that they know that their bond remains strong. I take that as a good sign for the future." Renamon paused a moment, her ears twitching slightly and she looked back over her shoulder towards the direction of the kitchen. "Ah. If you would excuse me, I believe Takato is in need of my assistance with Guilmon and his partner in crime just now."
"Oh. Okay," replied Jeri as the vulpine digimon gave the young girl a little bow before disappearing into thin air. Turning Jeri returned her attention to the line of mistletoe sitting atop the door, contemplating it as her mind took in the various occurrences within the Nonaka household, touching each of them with her mind and smiling at them.
Many things had changed for Jeri and her friends these past few months; some subtle and some not so subtle, or rather blatantly obvious. Looking at things as they stood now she wondered if she could recognize herself and the others if she took a step backwards through time. Kazu, Kenta, her two friends Ayaka and Miki, Henry, Takato, Guilmon, Rika, Ryo, Cyberdramon, Impmon, Noriko…the only ones who seemed to have been left untouched by the events that followed Parasimon's entry to the real world were Suzie and Impmon's Tamers.
Even I've changed, thought Jeri as she raised one hand to her chest and touched it slightly. Just a little bit, but I've still changed. And Rika and Takato…
Jeri's smile returned as she looked up at the line of mistletoe, faintly recalling Rika's words about it.
Well…Rika's right I guess. This could probably due with being put somewhere else. Somewhere a little more 'out of the way'. Ayaka's just going to have to work with it that way…
Jeri was interrupted from her thoughts as a pair of shadowy figures, one large and the other small, appeared in front of the thin, paper door in front of her and a hand rose up to knock on it lightly. Sliding the door open Jeri's amber eyes widened in surprise as they lighted on the familiar figures of Ryo Akiyama and Cyberdramon.
"Hey there," greeted Ryo with a grin, waving casually with one hand while behind him Cyberdramon grunted noncommittally. "How's it going Jeri?"
Jeri giggled lightly. "You're late."
Ryo raised an eyebrow in confusion and pulled out his cell phone to check the time.
"I am? I was pretty sure that the party wasn't starting for at least another hour or so."
"Silly. You're late telling us that you were going to be able to make it after all. Back when Rika was organizing the party you said that you weren't sure if you were going to be here."
"Heh," Ryo rubbed the back of his head with one hand, looking somewhat bashful about his unexpected appearance. "Sorry about that. I've just been dealing with my studies for school, trying to catch up with everything that I've been missing since becoming a Tamer. My dad drew a line in the sand and told me that under no uncertain terms if I didn't pull off perfect scores by this time I wouldn't be going anywhere with you guys unless the world was ending."
"It looks like you pulled it off then."
Ryo grinned. "Rika doesn't call me 'Mr. Perfect' for nothing you know. Anyway," Ryo raised his other arm and revealed the modest sized, purple wrapped package that he had been carrying, "Where do you want this to go?"
"Right this way," said Jeri, stepping aside and gesturing with one arm. Nodding Ryo took a step inside and was just about to take off his shoes when Jeri grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in close, giving the Legendary Tamer a quick peck on the cheek before stepping back and giggling, leaving the poor teenager dumbfounded.
"Mistletoe," said Jeri, pointing up at the door with a sharp blush tinting her cheeks.
Ryo blinked; the calm aura that he usually carried for once disrupted by the girl's unexpected act. Even taking the holiday traditions into account Ryo never expected such a thing from her, not even after an incident where Rika had thought they were having such a relationship. True, they had gotten closer as friends ever since she had offered to help him with his problems concerning Milleniummon but this close?
Feeling as though he had just stumbled into something wholly bizarre Ryo just chuckled and rubbed the back of his head yet again.
"Right. Mistletoe. Well then…" Ryo bowed slightly in exaggeration and held out his hand in front of him as though he were a courteous knight to a damsel of the king's court. "…After you, my lady."
"Are we there yet?"
"Suzie…for the last time the answer's 'no'. But we're almost there. We'll be at Rika's house in a few minutes."
"Boy and I thought I could be annoying…"
"What?" Cried the rabbit dog digimon from his spot on top of Henry's head. "Momentai!"
Henry sighed and leaned back to crick the small of his back, wondering just how it was that he had wound up in this situation before smiling and patting his partner on the head and pulling his little sister Suzie close to him in a light hug.
"Didn't sound like 'nothing'," said Terriermon looking at his dark haired partner with a raised eyebrow. "What? Surprised that I actually admitted that I can be annoying?"
"Only a little, but you still have trouble remembering things like 'tact' and 'rudeness'."
"Oh, Henry," giggled Suzie, and Henry, not for the first time, looked at his little sister in surprise, marveling at how she had improved in the pronunciation of her 'r's' these past few months. "You know that's just how Terriermon is." Suzie wagged a finger at him like a teacher scolding a schoolboy as she continued speaking. "It's not right to make him into something he's not."
"Wow," said Terriermon, awed at the little girl's words. "You see Henry? Why can't you be more like her? Suzie's so much more understanding than you."
"You wouldn't have said that a few months ago. Especially now," commented Henry with a knowing smile as he looked up at the rabbit dog digimon who was presently wearing a small, red coat with cotton fluff down the middle and a long, red hat atop of his head that dangled down his back like an extra ear. Looking down at Suzie, who was smiling widely at him, Terriermon shuddered.
"Point taken," said Terriermon. "I wouldn't want to be in ol' Lopmon's place though."
"Huh?" Asked Suzie, bewildered as she looked up at her partner, who was likewise sitting on top of her head, giving a strange matching quality to the two siblings despite the difference of age between them. "What do you mean? Lopmon? Don't you like the Princess Pretty Pants games?"
"Um…" Lopmon fidgeted in her place on Suzie's hair, looking obviously uncomfortable.
"See?" Said Terriermon triumphantly. "I rest my case."
"Ohhh…" moaned Suzie. "And I just had a new dress bought for her to use for her Christmas present…"
"Suzie…" began Lopmon, a panicked sound entering her tone now. Henry sighed and rapped his partner on the head.
"Nice going, Terriermon. Santamon's going to have a lump of coal ready in your stocking when we get home."
"What? Oh, come on! It was just a little joke!"
"Oh look!" Exclaimed Suzie suddenly pointing ahead of her, causing everyone to marvel at how quickly she could go from one emotion to another at the drop of a hat. "It's Daisuke, Lumemon, and Noriko!"
Before Henry could even stop her, Suzie dashed off towards the trio.
"DAISUKE! HEY!" Reaching the three at a pace that was far more rapid then her little legs would have led anyone to believe Suzie grabbed Daisuke by the arms and immediately began swinging him around in a merry-go-round fashion, much to the boy's chagrin and protests. The playful ride was soon interrupted by Suzie slipping on a patch of ice and falling into a snow bank with an explosion of snow, bringing the hapless boy down with her with a cry. With a shake of his head Henry quickly made his way over to them and chuckled wryly.
"Sorry about that," said Henry as both he and Noriko peeled the two children out of the snow bank and brushed them off, Suzie grinning at Daisuke while he glowered at her in return.
"Heh, don't worry about it," responded Noriko, attempting to stifle a laugh. "Daisuke's always happy to see little Suzie." Reaching down Noriko pinched her little brother's cheek, causing him to squawk and squirm uncomfortably. "Isn't that right, Daisuke?"
"Ack! No! Hey! Cut it out! Ow! Siiiisss!"
"He's funny when he gets all red like that," laughed Suzie.
"That he is, that's why I do this to him as much as I can. Just like you should too." Noriko grinned at Suzie who simply returned it with increasing intensity. His face paling Daisuke turned to the one person who could offer him protection from the perils of Henry Wong's little sister. Catching the younger boy's glance Lumemon sighed and stepped in, pulling the boy away and tugging him along the sidewalk while Suzie skipped behind, arms spread wide as though she were going to grab them both and wrestle them to the ground.
"Didn't expect to see you until we got to the party," said Henry as he and Noriko began to follow their fellow siblings and the two digimon that were with them.
"I'm kind of surprised myself," admitted Noriko. "We spent a lot of time looking around for last minute gifts, so I thought that we were going to end up being late." Noriko gestured with her bag of gift wrapped presents and smiled uncertainly. "But we lucked out in the end. Well…hopefully. I hope everyone likes them."
Henry was just about to say something in response when, true to form, Terriermon spoke up.
"Ah, don't worry about it. If you screw up this year, at least you'll have next year to make up for it."
"Terriermon!" Henry exclaimed, once more shocked at how little tact his partner had with people.
Honestly though. I don't know why I keep being surprised by that…
"Sorry, sorry," laughed Terriermon. "I'm just saying that. Really Noriko, you shouldn't take anything I say seriously. I only said that as a way to tell you to not worry so much. You should know by now that we're your friends."
"I know," said Noriko in a subdued voice, trying to hide her face in the scarf that she had wrapped around her neck. "I can't help but be worried anyway."
"It's just a Christmas party. Just have fun."
"Terriermon…just let it go for now, okay?"
"Fine, fine…but she should just momentai."
Henry and Noriko walked in silence for a couple minutes before Henry spoke up again.
"I see that you got Lumemon to come with you."
Noriko chuckled. "Yeah. It took some doing though. I hope that he'll settle down and enjoy himself for once. Whenever he sees you guys he gets all…um…" Noriko paused and blushed, suddenly uncertain as to how much she should talk about. Fortunately for her, Terriermon was far more direct with few, if any, concepts on subtlety.
"Lumemon gets all serious and melancholy whenever he's around us. It's like he thinks we're judging him or something."
"You mean he hasn't gotten over his attacking Guilmon and Takato when he first got here?"
"Would you, Henry?" Asked Terriermon. "I know Impmon was like that for the longest time after he deleted Leomon, even after Jeri forgave him. Guilmon only survived because of Shibumi, and then there was that business with BlackGuilmon…"
"I get it," said Henry, casting a worried look over at Lumemon as he continued to play 'keep away' with Daisuke and Suzie before looking over at Noriko. "Hopefully tonight will be like you said and he'll finally loosen up."
"Guilmon! Calumon! Out of the kitchen! Out…NOW!"
"Ohhh…but it smells sooo gooood…"
"My tummies rumbling…"
"Crusadermon! Will you stop glaring at Kenta like that? You're making him uncomfortable…"
This was the situation that Henry, Noriko, Lumemon, Lopmon, Terriermon, Suzie, and Daisuke came to upon being let inside by Jeri and Ryo. The smell of warm, freshly cooked food filled the air, and on top of it Takato's mother was storming out of the kitchen shooing two digimon out with an irate look on her face while in the kitchen a sheepish looking Takato was apologizing to an annoyed looking Rika.
"Uhhh…what's going on here?" Asked Henry.
"Took the words right out of my mouth," said Terriermon. Jeri laughed lightly and brushed a strand of hair out of her face.
"Guilmon and Calumon almost crashed the main course as it was coming out of the oven. Luckily both Takato and Rika were there to save it before that could happen so now Takato's mother is laying down the law."
"And that?" Asked Noriko, pointing over at the scene with Crusadermon, Ayaka, Rumiko Nonaka, Kenta, and MarineAngemon with the latter two cowering in front of the intimidating Royal Knight as she towered over them as her partner, Ayaka was standing in front of them trying to prevent her from sending them through the nearest wall. All the while Kazu and Guardromon were standing nearby, their heads following the course of the two partner's argument with an eerie synchronicity between them, eyes wide and still trying to grasp the situation in front of them.
Ryo chuckled as he decided to answer that one.
"Ayaka's been trying to trap Kenta under some mistletoe but it kind of…backfired when Crusadermon got in the way. One thing led to another and then Rika's mom got involved, hoping to get her in on the Christmas spirit. Now Crusadermon is under the impression that Kenta's supposed to attack her. Either that or she thinks that Kenta's cheating on Ayaka." Ryo laughed again as he recalled the story he had been told about Kenta and Ayaka's 'relationship' having kicked off 'unofficially', ironically because of Crusadermon, and he shook his head in amusement. "Just a case of 'wrong place, wrong time'. Poor Kenta."
As the group continued to watch Ayaka's face dissolved into rage as she threw her hands up, whirled around, grabbed Kenta by the shoulders and crushed her lips against his in a fierce and powerful kiss, causing the boy's eyes to grow bug wide with shock. Ayaka held the kiss for several, long, moments before turning around and glaring at Crusadermon as she folded her arms over her chest.
"That was how it was supposed to go," stated Ayaka in a tone that was meant to settle the issue right there and then. Watching Kenta from their vantage point Kazu and Guardromon exchanged a glance, and as though on some unspoken agreement they both stepped forward and Guardromon took hold of Kenta's arms at just the exact moment that the boy's eyes rolled up into his head and his legs buckled beneath him while Kazu caught his glasses as they threatened to fall to the floor.
"Ah! Kenta!" Exclaimed Ayaka fearfully as she finally noticed the sudden slack in the boy's body.
"Take it easy, take it easy," assured Kazu. "He's just had a little brain overload here. No biggie…"
"Wow," said Terriermon in awe. "And this is what you have to look forward to Henry."
"Huh?" Said Henry, flummoxed. "What?"
Terriermon tsked at his partner and glanced over at Noriko out of the corner of his eye.
"And I thought Takato was dense…"
"Speaking of which," said Noriko pointing towards the scene that was swiftly gathering quite the crowd to investigate, "there he is with Rika under the mistletoe…"
"And here I am without a camera to document it," mused Terriermon with disappointment, already anticipating the amount of time it would take for Rumiko to notice the occurrence. "Aw nuts."
The evening passed swiftly without further incident, though that was not to say that it hadn't retained any of the entertainment value as Suzie, having taken to the 'mistletoe game' kept trying to lure Noriko's little brother, Daisuke beneath it.
Precocious little girl, mused Lumemon as he stepped outside, his non-booted feet, free from the necessity of having to retain a disguise in public now that he was among the others, crunching the snow beneath their weight. Flexing his angelic wings Lumemon gazed up at the moon that hung in the sky above the Nonaka household. Or maybe she's just naïve.
Lumemon sighed in contentment and closed his eyes as he relished in the feeling of his stomach digesting the meal that he had eaten. Inside the house he could hear the laughter of the humans and their partners, sans Cyberdramon and Crusadermon who elected to take their meals to more reclusive areas away from the human chatter. He could understand them after a fashion. He wasn't one for socializing either. At least, not when it came to that crowd.
Even though a part of him yearned for that sense of connection and camaraderie.
"A yen for your thoughts?"
Turning Lumemon's gray colored eyes fell upon the figure of Renamon as she walked towards him, her feet not making a single sound as she walked on the snow.
"I have no yen to spare," replied Lumemon, offering the vulpine digimon a small smile. "But thanks for asking."
Renamon nodded to him in return and returned his smile. Coming abreast to the angelic digimon Renamon turned her eyes up towards the moon.
"So what brings you out here?" She asked
"Just a need to refresh myself. It's a nice night out."
"It certainly is," agreed Renamon as her blue eyes traced their way over the sky. "A fitting night, especially for you."
Raising an eyebrow Lumemon again looked up at Renamon. "Eh?"
"During my time in the real world I have read many stories. Last year around this time I was offered the occasion to delve into one surrounding this holiday. In it, an angel arrived on earth to bring a message of peace, love, and understanding."
Lumemon looked down at the snow covered grounds and frowned, the feathers on his wings shifting slightly against each other.
"I've heard that one before."
"In the past when you were Lucemon, yes. But that time no longer holds any bearing on you now, does it? As I recall, the story also held the promise of redemption."
Lumemon stared at Renamon for a few moments before looking away and back up at the moon.
"Is that why you came out here? To tell me that I shouldn't be isolating myself?"
"No," replied Renamon, closing her eyes. "I came out to look at the moon for a few moments before rejoining the others inside. But since you brought up the subject I feel the need to ask if that is what you're doing."
Lumemon did not answer with words, but instead continued to look down at the ground. Renamon opened her eyes and looked at the angel styled digimon.
"Well, you don't have to answer if that is your wish. But you shouldn't force yourself to be alone because of the past. You are among friends here; people who care about you. You can still laugh with them."
Lumemon could not find any words to say to the vulpine digimon and after a couple seconds of silence had passed between them Renamon turned and headed back towards the house, brushing the tip of her tail against Lumemon's cheek as she went. Pausing at the main entrance, Renamon looked back for the briefest of moments before disappearing from sight with the sound of a flue playing on the wind. Lumemon continued to stand outside, gazing at the moon before the sound of snow crunching drew his attention. Looking over his shoulder Lumemon found himself looking into a pair of all too familiar, gold colored eyes belonging to a crimson scaled dinosaur with a goofy looking smile and one arm hiding behind his back. And next to him was a brown haired boy with red eyes and yellow trimmed goggles with a smile of his own on his face.
"Hey," greeted Takato.
"Hiii!" Greeted Guilmon exuberantly with a wave of a claw.
"Sorry to bother you," began Takato. "Guilmon has something he wanted to give you for Christmas. He made it himself today."
"Yeah!" Exclaimed Guilmon happily as he removed his arm and presented Lumemon with a carefully wrapped, red and gold colored package. "I made bread that has your face! I used chocolate syrup for your hair and…"
"Guilmon…you're not supposed to tell him what you got for him until he's opened it."
"Oooh…sorry." Guilmon tilted his head to one side and looked at Lumemon with curiosity before looking back over at Takato. "He can still open it, right?"
Takato laughed heartily. "Guilmon…"
"I don't…I don't understand," said Lumemon in confusion. "Um…why?"
Takato and Guilmon both looked at Lumemon questioningly.
"Why what?" Asked Takato.
Lumemon looked at the package that Guilmon was still holding out to him confused. Why? That was indeed the question. He had attacked Guilmon and Takato, deleted him, and it was only through Shibumi's intervention and the use of the X-Antibody that he had been able to survive death. And Takato…having to live for a time with the belief that his partner was dead…
They should hate me, thought Lumemon, his gaze becoming uncertain. He should.
Yet, the part of Lumemon that had once been a part of Takato…the part that had given birth to the creature known as BlackGuilmon…knew that no matter what happened those two did not have the capability to hate no matter what wrong had been visited upon them.
"Nothing I guess," finished Lumemon finally as he carefully took the gift from Guilmon's claws into his hands.
"Aren't you going to come inside and open it?" Asked Guilmon hopefully. "We're going to be exchanging presents and Takato says that there's nothing better than opening gifts with friends. He says that it makes for fun memories, like that one time last year when Takato…"
"We'd really like it if you were there with us," interrupted Takato, giving Lumemon a friendly, but embarrassed smile from his partner's antics before his expression became serious. "I know that we haven't really been close as friends these past few months but I'd like to change that if I could. If you'll let me." Takato held out his hand to the angelic digimon before continuing. "If you'll let us."
Lumemon hesitated, looking down at the gift he held and back up at Takato and Guilmon. As he did so, Renamon's words ran through his mind.
"You are among friends here; people who care about you. You can still laugh with them."
Renamon gave me one gift tonight without me even knowing it, thought Lumemon quietly to himself. And now Takato and Guilmon offer me another one.
"There is no soul that can't have redemption or find love," came the voice of Ophanimon, breaking through the fog that concealed the memories of his past, "as long as they let others into their hearts."
As the snow began to fall upon the city of Shinjuku, Japan, a small smile graced Lumemon's features.
A/N: Originally I had intended to write a fluff oriented story, but as I began writing the story took the odd turn of focusing on Lumemon (an original character digimon who appears in the story 'Less than Human') and his own perspective of having his first Christmas with the Tamers following the events of the main story while placing the romantic angle more on the side. Funny how things work but it felt like the more proper path to take for a holiday story. Anyway; hope that you all enjoyed the fic, and Merry Christmas. :P