I got the idea for this type of story from Marvel comics. They had a short run of comics called What If? Comics. Basically, they give a chance to see what would happen if something else had happened instead of what occurs in their normal comic universe. Example, what if Electra lived, what if Spider-man had a child (which lead to its own comic line), ect. I thought I could create my own version of that concept. My goal was to make the smallest change as possible to a known storyline, specifically Digimon season 3, to gain the largest change possible. I do not alter a characters personality or what they would normally choose to do in a situation, I just alter one small variable to the equation and examined what would happen. It takes a little time to set up everything, but it picks up speed after the introduction. If you like this type of story, I would be happy to write more What If? stories for other situations. Just let me know. Or you could try yourself.

What If

Time and space are so flexible. A single change, a single action, can cause reality to spiral in a new direction. A sad ending can become happy, or a victory can become a defeat. All can be altered by the tiniest events.

Following the river of what has occurred back to its source, and you can place a tiny pebble and change the flow. Here is one.

The digimon and their tamers had to be separated because the solution to defeating the D-reaper was affecting the digimon as well. Henry's father had no choice in using that solution because they were running out of time. If the D-reaper had taken more time to cross into the real world, an anti-virus more specific to the D-reaper could have been developed. The reason the D-reaper was able to cross to into the real world so quickly was because it made a deal with Jeri. The only reason she made the deal was because she was so depressed and alone after losing Leomon and no longer wished to feel anything. Leomon was gone because Beelzemon destroyed him. The reason Beelzemon destroyed him and tried to do the same to the other digimon and their tamers was because he made a deal with Chatsuramon. The deal was that in exchange for the power to digivolve, Impmon had to agree to destroy all the humans and their digimon in the digital world. Chatsuramon was able to convince Impmon to take the deal by telling him a combination of lies and half-truths and convinced Impmon his tamers, Ai and Mako, cared nothing for him. Belief in these lies leads Impmon to a path of darkness and destruction as Beelzemon.

One change, one tiny event, could undo much of the evil and pain created. An alteration to this reality at a key point could send the digimon and their tamers down a different path. It is called the Butterfly Effect. A small change creates drastic changes.

In the real world, a puppy hides from a pair of young brown-haired twins. The two had been fighting as usual, with the cries of "did not, did too" echoing through the home until the puppy had broken loose of their merciless grip and vanished from sight. After a fair amount of searching, the two gave up. Instead, they pulled out the crayons, markers, and paper.

"Mako," began the girl cautiously, unsure where to begin her thoughts.

"What," the boy asked, "are you still blaming me for losing the dog?"

"No, but," she paused, "remember why he ran away from us? We were pulling on his tail and ears, and yelling. He's hiding because we were fighting over him."

"You started it, Ai," Mako grumbled as he picked up a purple crayon.

"But we were fighting and he ran away," she explained, trying to make her point, "And this isn't the first time this has happened either."

"The puppy just likes hiding," Mako tried to rationalize, becoming uncomfortable.

"Not him. Impmon."

Mako stared in silence down at his picture. A purple figure with green eyes, red gloves and bandana, and a short tail stared back at him. These drawings had once worried their parents, because it looked like a small demon, but now they simply accepted the appearance of the twins' "imaginary friend." But he wasn't imaginary. Impmon was real. He had been their friend. But, now he was gone.

Ai continued as Mako stared at the drawing of their friend, "We always fight and he was stuck in the middle. We fought over him, just like out toys and the puppy."

Mako continued for her, in the strange way twins could finish each other's thoughts, "And while our teddy tears apart and our puppy hides, he was able to escape. Our fighting made him go away."

The pair stared in horror at the realization that they made their best friend leave. All this time missing him and hoping for him to come back, and the whole thing was entirely their fault.

"But the dog comes back, after a while. Why doesn't Impmon?" asked Mako quietly.

"We still fight. Why would he want to come back to us fighting?" she answered sadly as a small tear rolled down her cheek.

"So, we stop fighting then," Mako declared as he stood up, looking triumphant. His resolve would have looked more appropriate on a grown man about to enter battle than on the young boy standing in a messy child's room. He was determined to succeed in his brillant plan.

"What do you mean?" asked Ai as she wiped her face.

"If Impmon left because of our fighting, then if we stop fighting, he'll come back."

"But Mommy and Daddy have been trying to stop us from fighting forever."

"But they're only grownups."

And with this logical argument, Ai stood up as well. Her belief in their ability to get Impmon back mirrored her brother's. Their desire for their friend outweighed all their natural inclinations to continue their sibling rivalry. The twins would take on all challenges and no one could stand in their way.

A tiny change, a small event, and all of can reality shifts. In another reality, their plan would have a while to wait to come to fruition. However, a twist of fate can alter everything.

Ai noticed it first, an oddness in the air. It was like a clear rainbow or an invisible cloud of color hovered near a wall. It was rather pretty and very strange. Neither knew it, but a girl named Suzie had seen something just like it. Just before she vanished before her father's eyes and from this world. It was a portal to the digital world.

Ai stared at it, entranced by the oddness. "Mako, what is that?"

He came out of his dramatic pose to see what his sister was pointing to. His eyes widened at the shifting colors that stood between a tower of blocks and a teddy bear missing an arm. Most people are frightened of the unknown, but the twins were not scared at all. They felt… curious and entranced by the object's appearance. Like it was calling to them.

"I don't know," he began, "but I think we should check it out."

"I don't…" began Ai, but she remembered their promise just a moment before not to fight and she also felt drawn towards it. She did not reject the decision to investigate.

Clasping hands, and not knowing why, they walked towards the warp in the real world. They could see through it to the far wall, but it was a discolored and odd view. Mako did not notice that in his other hand he still held the crayon image of Impmon. The pair reached out to touch the swirling lights and before they realized it, they vanished.

The power, it was incredible. He was tossing around the pathetic digi-slaves like they were nothing. Beelzemon loved the power. He was no longer a weak rookie, pushed around by everyone who could digivolve. He was a mega, a destroying machine, thanks to Chatsuramon. A simple deal and he could now digivolve. Agree to destroy all the humans and their digimon and he gained the strength to never need anyone's help. Unlike these pathetic weaklings, he would not have to be bound to humans.

Humans. Ai and Mako. His friends. His partners.

He gave a quick growl to himself as he took another shot at that pineapple-head, Wargrowlmon. Forget them. They weren't real partners anyway. No D-arc, not real partners. They didn't really care about him anyway. Replaced him with a stupid dog first chance they got and forgot about him. Who needs them. Not him. He didn't need any stupid humans. None.

The other digimon were getting tired and the humans were getting upset. The fact they were getting beaten would do that to you. Beelzemon was enjoying himself when something caught his eye. Two forms, blurred by distance, had appeared on the broken landscape. As hard to make out as they were, Beelzemon could tell they were humans. Even better, they were unprotected. Grinning evilly, the dark biker-looking digimon broke off his attack in favor of even easier prey.

Takato looked up when Beelzemon suddenly changed direction. The digimon, guns in hands, had halted his assault so randomly. Takato scanned the horizon, searching for an answer. The brown-haired youth felt his heart stop when he spotted the kids. The goggle-wearing boy could tell they were young, around Suzie age or even younger, and worse, alone and vulnerable to the oncoming threat.

"Rika! Henry!" he shouted, pointing at the problem, "We've got to help them."

Rika, the female cynic of the group, pointed out, "How? We can barely take care of ourselves. Our digimon are getting the snot pounded out of them." She glanced worriedly at the battered form of Taomon, who was trying to rise after a particularly strong blow that occurred right before Beelzemon's distraction. Leomon was helping her up while Rapidmon and Wargrowlmon gained their own footing. The younger and less experienced members (Suzie, Kazu, Kenta, and their assorted digimons) of the team were withdrawing to a safer distance at Henry's urging. Jeri had a look of concern and stood in between the younger group and the main fighters, torn on where she should be and whether she would just be in the way.

Henry came up to where Takato stood, his own face etched with concern. He had to protect his little sister, Suzie, but the new children looked just as young and were in even greater danger. Beelzemon was one of the most bloodthirsty digimon they had seen. It was even worse because they could all remember when he was that annoying little Impmon, throwing fireballs in the park at all the couples.

"Takato's right. We have to do something. He'll kill them," shouted Henry at Rika. "There must be some way to stop him."

"I don't think that is going to a problem right now," stated Taomon as she turned their attention back to Beelzemon's form.

So easy. Two helpless little children, alone in the digital world. This deal is going to be so easy. Two helpless, young, brown-haired children. A boy and a girl. Who look so familiar…

Beelzemon stopped dead, shock rushing through him, pushing back his new fury and violence. Not them, please, not them. They can't be here, not them. Why them. He heard his guns hit the ground. He didn't realize he had dropped them. He couldn't move, and he couldn't stop thinking "not them." No matter how many times he tried to remind himself they did not care about him, that they never cared, and he should destroy them now, he couldn't. They may have forgotten about him, but he just couldn't forget them.

Ai and Mako stood, confused and frightened, right before him. They stood about twenty feet away now, but it might as well have been miles. In Mako's left hand was a piece of paper that the wind snatched away. It came to rest at Beelzemon's feet, and it came like a punch to the stomach. It was a drawing of him as Impmon, with Ai and Mako standing beside him. They missed him. They loved him. And he was about to try to destroy them.

He forced himself to take a step forward. It was the hardest thing he ever had to do. They took a step back. They were afraid. Of him, their friend? No, they were afraid of a monster. A monster that would have killed without thinking, without caring what he was doing. That was the price he had been willing to pay. It was too much.

"Chatsuramon, they weren't part of the deal," he screamed towards the sky. He didn't know how he knew he would be around, but he just did. The twins jerked in surprise at the sound of his voice, but it had the desired effect.

"I thought the deal was all humans in the digital world, not just most," the dog Deva chuckled as he came up beside Beelzemon. His arrival was mysterious, but that seemed to be traditional for pain in the neck powerful digimon.

"Save it, Dog-breath," growled Beelzemon in anger, "First off, they weren't here when we made the deal. Second, you lied to me, didn't you?"

The light-blue digimon glared at Beelzemon, "You work for the Sovereign. You don't focus on technicalities and believe you have enough authority to speak to your betters in such a way."

"You haven't answered my question. You lied, didn't you!"

"I only showed you the truth about humans you were too blind to see on your own, in a way even you could understand."

Beelzemon could feel his previous desire for destruction and pain rising, but he shoved it down, fearing what it could lead to for his friends. "I am not touching them, you mangy mutt."

"Very well, I will accept they were not part of the original agreement and you do not have to kill them."

Beelzemon could feel his shoulders relax until he heard the words, "So I'll destroy them myself."

The tamers stared as Beelzemon stood motionless in front of the helpless children. He dropped his guns and even took a step back. His assault had stopped before it even begun. The children were obviously terrified by him, but he was doing nothing to them.

"I don't get it. Why did he stop? Why is just… standing there?" asked Takato.

"It's the kids," Henry whispered, voicing all their thoughts out loud. "He stopped because of them. But why?"

"I think…" began Taomon slowly, "I've seen them before. I'm not sure, because of how far they are, but I think that…"

She was interrupted as Beelzemon shouted, "Chatsuramon, they weren't part of the deal." Everyone was startled by his sudden outburst, but they were even more surprised by the blue dog's appearance.

The two digimon began arguing, but the tamers could not make out the words. Beelzemon seemed especially angry while Chatsuramon looked calm and collected.

"I thought that traitorous jerk worked with dog-boy now," growled Rika.

"Doesn't look like it now," Jeri pointed out, just before Chatsuramon shot towards the two exposed children.

No warning, no chance to do anything almost. Beelzemon barely had time to acknowledge the Deva's words or even think before the attack. Fortunately, he didn't think before he acted. Not bothering to grab his guns, he shoved himself sideways into the moving digimon. They missed the frightened twins and they respectively tumbled to a stop.

"No, not them. You can't TOUCH THEM!!!" Beelzemon screamed in anger.

"You just attacked me," the Deva seemed amused more than anything, "After all the power you received, you attacked me."

"News flash," he growled, "I quit. Consider this my resignation. Darkness Claw!"

His attack flew towards Chatsuramon, but he leapt out of the way. "Go back to killing the other tamers and enjoy the strength given by the Soveriegn; I'll finish your job here for you." With that, he launched himself back at the cowering boy and girl.

Beelzemon, operating not on logic but on pure desire to protect Ai and Mako, flung himself in front of oncoming threat. A flash of pain shot through his body, and he felt all his new strength evaporating. His smaller body bounced away, battered and bruised. When he came to rest, he could feel darkness swallowing him up.

"Great, I join the pineapple-head's 'digi-slave' team and look what happens," he thought towards himself, but without real resentment. Impmon, as he lost consciousness, could hear two voices screaming his name as when he collapsed, but he was unable to offer them anymore protection or help of any kind.

Everyone was stunned by the attack, but it was even greater when Beelzemon stopped it. Only Taomon looked like it was not the most surprising event ever.

"What's going on?" Rika shouted in frustration, "Two seconds ago, he was trying to kill us and now he's playing hero." Her voice was almost drowned out by another shout by Beelzemon.

"We need to help him," whispered Jeri suddenly, "You don't get it, do you?"

"What?" Rika asked.

"He has to protect them," Taomon explained, her earlier suspicions being confirmed by his actions. "He's not going to stop."

"Are we talking about the same guy, the one who hates humans?" asked Henry.

"You don't see it?" asked Jeri.

Suddenly, their attention was snatched by a pair of horrified screams from the young children. The tamers heads snapped back to the battle. The pounded form of Impmon flew away from Chatsuramon, and landed heavily a distance away. Instead of continuing to cowering away from the two digimon, the young pair were staring at the purple imp lying motionless and yelling "Impmon!!!" Even at the distance, they were obviously crying.

"We have to do something," whispered Takato in a determined voice.

Chatsuramon glared in disgust at the fallen body of the traitorous digimon. He had so much potential, so much hate for humans. If only those two had stayed in the human world. Too bad, might as well eliminate the weakling quickly and clean up the mess he left. The dog Deva approached the unconscious rookie. When he was no more than five feet away, he felt something hit his head. He turned.

The two humans stood defiantly, tears rolling down their cheeks and rocks in hand. They threw a rock at him!? The girl repeated the attack, but he moved his head slightly and it missed.

"Leave Impmon alone," she yelled.

"Bad dog," the boy shouted, adding insult to injury, "Go away."

"I am not one of your pets," the Deva snarled at them, turning away from the helpless digimon. "I do not take orders from any human. You will pay for your insolence."

The two humans were shaking as he approached, but that did not stop them from tossing more stones in his direction. He was so focused on the disrespectful pair before him, he did not see the attack before it struck.

Wargrowlmon, Rapidmon, and Taomon combined their attacks and struck the distracted Deva in the side. They managed to knock him sideways, similar to how Beelzemon had before, but this time he did not seem amused. While Chatsuramon faced off against his newest assailants, Leomon and Jeri worked their way towards the twins.

Jeri approached the frightened duo alone, with Leomon close enough to offer assistance but far enough not to scare them more. She gently took the twins hands in hers.

"Come on, we need to get out of here" she called them, pulling gently as she did. Two brown-haired head shook stubbornly.

The girl pointed towards her friend, "We can't leave Impmon alone."

Leomon, seeing the problem, hurried to grab the battered figure from the ground and out of danger. Seeing the lion digimon moving towards Impmon, the young pair looked concern.

"Don't worry," soothed Jeri, "He's my friend. He'll take care of him." Regardless of the fact he had been a murderous monster not long ago, he was now hurt and had been hurt protecting these two kids. They had to help.

Jeri tugged the twins, leading them away from the battle and towards safety, with Leomon bringing up the rear with the purple digimon in his arms.

The battle was not going well. The trio of digimon was still worn out from their encounter with Beelzemon and Chatsuramon was not only tough, but also fresh for the fight. Various attacks shot out from all three, but they seemed to have little effect on the canine digimon. Finally, Chatsuramon used one of his own attacks, apparently bored with the battle. When he finished, Taomon, Rapidmon, and Wargrowlmon laid exhausted on the ground. Their human tamers ran to their fallen friends as Chatsuramon began speaking. He apparently was trying to explain to the digimon about the foolishness of forming attachments to humans, but the humans and digimon ignored him. All the Devas had tried similar speeches at some point.

"Wargrowlmon…" began Takato slowly, "we can't let him win, but we can't beat him."

"Takatomon," answered Wargrowlmon using the name he had called his tamer when they first met. "We can."

A bright glow surrounded them, blinding Rika, Henry, and everyone else nearby. It even interrupted Chatsuramon's speech. When the glow faded away, Takato was nowhere in sight. And neither was Wargrowlmon. Instead a tall, red figure holding a lance and a shield stood in their place. He looked like a knight right out of the Middle Ages, if that knight had characteristics similar to Guilmon's appearance.

Henry pulled out his D-arc and read "Gallantmon: Mega level, his Lightning Joust and Shield of the Just make a powerful combination."

"Is that Guilmon?" asked Rika awestruck by the sight, "then where's Takato."

"I…think that is both," gasped Taomon is shock.

"Is that even possible" wondered Henry.

"Who cares? It's happening," answered Rapidmon.

"Impossible!" shouted an outraged Chatsuramon, "How dare that digimon degrade himself to the point of combining with a human?"

Meanwhile, Takato was freaking out about how cool this was. He had always loved digimon, and now he was one. He didn't know how, but he had combined with his best friend to form Gallantmon. And Chatsuramon had a lot to answer for.

"Hey Fido," called Gallantmon, "Lightning Joust!" He flew towards his opponent with the lance before him. The Deva did not have time to respond before the blow reached him. The power behind the attack knocked the dog digimon tumbling across the landscape, in a mirror image of how Impmon had. Unfortunately, Chatsuramon was still able to fight upon impact, rising with a look of surprise and disgust.

"Stupid, traitorous digimon. You betray your own kind to side with humans?! How can a monstrosity like you even live with yourself? How dare you go against the will of the Digimon Sovereign like this? You are an insult to digimon everywhere."

"And what of you, Chatsuramon?" asked Gallantmon, "You lie and trick digimon into doing your dirty work. And when they refuse, you try to destroy them yourself. You claim you and your sovereign are working for the good of all digimon kind, but all I've seen so far is suffering. Humans and digimon can work together and we're better off as a team than we ever could be alone."

"Lies!" he shouted as he launched himself once more at the Biomerged digimon.

"Truth," answered Gallantmon back, "Shield of the Just!"

A beam of light shot of his shield and struck the enraged digimon full on. With a scream of pain outrage, the Deva dissolved into data until it was as if he never was. All the tamers and their digimon looked at Gallantmon in amazement, until Rapidmon opened his mouth.

"I call Biomerging next!"

The tamers had form into a circle once the danger had passed, so they could gather their strength and try to understand all that had transpired. The twins and the knocked-out shape of Impmon were clearly the center of attention. They stared as the two young children glanced around, their eyes nearly bugging out of their heads as they took in the varied digimon mingled with an assortment of older kids. They had positioned themselves on either side of Impmon, but whether it was in hopes of protection from him or they were planning to protect him was unclear.

Takato felt he would have to break the tension, so he knelt down beside them and asked the first question that came to mind, "So, what's your names?"

"I'm Ai and this is my brother, Mako," answered the girl, pointed towards them respectively. "Is that your digimon? He looks like a dino."

"Uh… yeah, he is. His name is Guilmon," he responded.

"He looks nice. Do all of you have digimon?"

"Not Kenta," teased Kazu, standing beside his own partner Guardromon.

"Well, you haven't had one for long either, so it's only a matter of time," shouted Kenta back at him.

"Would you to knock it off for five minutes, you losers," yelled a frustrated Rika.

"Keep it down, can't you see some digimon are trying to sleep," mumbled a surprising voice.

Ai and Mako's heads snapped around at the sound of Impmon's tired voice. They grabbed him, gently, and started crying and apologizing. His green eyes flew open and he seemed surprised as well.

"We're so sorry. We'll never fight again. Please don't go away. We love you and missed you so much. And we promise we'll be good forever and ever," they cried into his shoulders, tears rolling down their face. They were terrified he would leave again, and they would never see them.

"Cut out the water works. I don't do mushy stuff," Impmon complained, but his normal Brooklyn accent was not as sarcastic or annoyed as usual. He was glad they were safe. "Chill out already. I'm here, so what's the problem." He then noticed the audience that was watching the reunion with stunned expressions.

"The first one of you who says anything, I'll Badda-Boom you all the way back to human world. That means you, Bunny-boy." Terriermon's mouth snapped shut with an audible click.

The two young children clinging to him were still apologizing through their tears, so he turned his attention back to them. He tried to ignore the others, as hard as it was. He had spent so much time complaining to all those gathered about how much he hated humans and he didn't need them, and now he was going to have to eat those words. But somehow, it wasn't going to be as bad as he once thought.

"Ai, Mako, I promise, I'm not going anywhere. So cut out the mush already, please. I'm getting soaked."

This got a little giggle from the twin heads buried in his shoulders and they looked up at him. They seemed so relieved at this and so happy to have him back. How could he have believed for one moment that they never cared about him? Stupid Chatsuramon.

"Awwww…" called a mocking Terriermon, until he was hit by a well aimed fireball.

"So, anyone want to explain what's going on yet?" asked Kazu.

"Are you really that blind?" groaned Rika, exasperated at his stupidity.

"I've seen them before," explained Renamon, "Impmon, you were watching them outside their window once. I remember. They're your partners, aren't they?"

"Him? Who would want to be his partner?" called Terriermon, who never seemed to learn. Another fireball was launched at him.

Leomon lives and Impmon gains his partners sooner. The D-reaper must find a new way to the real world. A different solution to the D-reaper is found and the digimon remain with their friends who love them. A tiny change results in huge effects. A portal between the human world and the digital was all it took. Like ripples in a pool, a small event spreads out to affect the whole reality.

What do you think? The scene of the talk between Ai and Mako was never shown in the TV show, but later events suggest that something similar to this must have occurred. I always felt that, by following cause and effect, a lot of what occurs was Chatsuramon's fault, because of what he did with Beelzemon, so I decided to take him out. He always annoyed me as being too obsessed with hating humans, like the rest of the Devas, but tricking Impmon was going too far. Let me know if you want other What If? stories.

P.S. I own nothing.