Chapter Three – Fire of my Soul

Author's Note: I do not own Digimon or the "cameo characters" that will appear in this series. I do not own the .hack-ish properties this story contains, but merely inspired by it. I own the characters created just for this story.

"Go now, children! The fate of both worlds depends on you!"

As the children descend from the skies, they find the clouds close up, as if Yggdrasil's Cathedral was never there. "I never want to do that again…" Yukiko muttered, holding her stomach as Makie patted her back.

"Where are we now?" Sora asked, and Daisuke took a good look around the area. "Daisuke-san?"

"I'd say…we're in the Great Plains…" Daisuke thought a little more, and then he added, "Just before we hit the ACTUAL Great Plains."

"Ohhh, I hate that place! I always get lost there!" Hinata jumped up and down as she complained. "But the good side is the huge flower bed there!"

"Hinata-han…" As the others talked about trivial things, Ichigo looked down at the bodies of their Digimon and sighed. "So…any ideas how we wake up these sleepy heads?" He knocked on Agumon's head to see if he will react, but nothing. That's when he noticed something on Agumon's left claw. "Hey, their bodies came together when we touched 'em," he thought aloud, talking about the DigiMemories given to them by Yggdrasil, "so what if I…" With one touch, the DigiMemory flashed, and Agumon opened its eyes. "H-Hey, guys! It worked! Find your partners' DigiMem'ries an' touch 'em!"

"I don't like how you said that…" Daisuke sighed and looked at Commandramon's body. He took off the Digimon's helmet and touched the DigiMemory, watching it activate. Hinata placed her hand on Lalamon's back, where her DigiMemory was located. Sora touched Falcomon's left wing, and Yukiko lifted up Betamon and pressed on his belly. Katashi lifted Gaomon's headband and felt his forehead, watching the light activate as Makie helf Salamon's right ear.

"Hunh…you wonder where Yggdrasil would've put these," Sora commented as the Digimon came to life.

They opened their eyes and looked at the respective Tamers, each of them blinking. The children looked down at their Digimon, each with a sort of expression that hoped they would recognize them. All of a sudden, the Digimon lunged themselves at the children into hugs, each of them yelling their respective Tamers' names (except Commandramon). "Hello, and good morning!!" they all exclaimed. This sort of phrase puzzled the children.

The first of the Digimon, Commandramon, looked up at his partner, and bowed to him. "It's nice to meet you, 'sousui,'" Commandramon said, and Ichigo immediately fell as Daisuke rubbed the back of his head. Sousui meant "commander," but it also means "leader." "My name is Commandramon."

"Ah! You're really pretty!" Betamon exclaimed as he jumped into Yukiko's arms, nuzzling to her chest. "I'm Betamon!"

Makie crouched down to Salamon as she set her down. Usually, she was used to Salamon in her Adult form. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Makie! I'm Salamon, your partner!" Makie knew Salamon didn't remember her much, so she smiled and nodded.

Lalamon flew around Hinata and nuzzled against her cheek. "We'll be best friends for sure, Hinata!" she exclaimed, smiling. "I'm Lalamon, and I'm always going to protect you!" And as quickly as she could, Hinata embraced Lalamon…a little too tightly.

"Sora…" Falcomon said as he walked to his partner rather than fly to her. He nuzzled his face against Sora's jeans, and Sora immediately picked him up. "I'm Falcomon, and I'll be your partner from here on!"

Katashi didn't say much to Gaomon, but Gaomon politely bowed to his partner and said, "I am your faithful servant, Gaomon. It's great to meet you, master!" Katashi still didn't say anything, much to the disdain on Gaomon.

And the last of the Digimon, Agumon, glared up at Ichigo, who glared back. Everyone was surprised by this, as they were the closest to each other than anyone else with their respective partners. This was an unexpected development. "Let's get these things straight," Agumon stated, "I'M the one who gives the orders here!"

"What?!" Ichigo growled and knocked Agumon on the head. "Y'ungrateful lizard! Is that what'cha say t' yer 'aniki?!'"

Agumon grinned and batted Ichigo's hand away with his claw. "You mean the roles aren't reversed?" This made the two grab each other's hands/claws in an attempt to show who's stronger, but Sora broke the two up.

"Commandramon, do you know where we are?" Daisuke asked his partner.

"I believe we're in the Digital World, sousui." Commandramon looked around, then at Daisuke and the others. "Why? Is there anywhere else that we should be?"

Makie's face grew worried. "It looks like he doesn't remember anything about the game."

"What game? There's a game?" Betamon excitedly ask.

Now Yukiko grew worried about Betamon. "It looks like they really don't remember…"

"In any case, we should at least tell the Digimon what's going on." Listening to Sora's words, the others agreed, and they began to tell their Digimon about what had happened. The mission sent by Yggdrasil, the existence of a cyber plane that links to the Game World. The Digimon listened intently, except Agumon. In the end, they agreed to help the children with their journey, as they are their partners.

"Then I say we go to Pyro Sphere!" Agumon exclaimed. "I wanna go back home!"

Ichigo glared at Agumon and walked up to him, his gloved hands balled into fists. "Didn'cha hear the others? We have a mission t' do!"

"But you don't even have a place to start! Home is where we should start!" Agumon and Ichigo glared at each other, then held each other by the hands and claws to show who's stronger. "We're going to Pyro Sphere, and that's that!"

"Y'always thought 'bout only yerself!" Ichigo retorted, pushing Agumon back as the others try to break up this little quarrel. "We have somethin' important t'do, and all y'do is just go home!" With his strength, Ichigo lifted Agumon and threw him to the side. No one expected that. Ichigo took a big breath and fixed his goggles around his neck.

"Then…I'll go home by myself! I don't need some human watching over me!" With that, the orange dinosaur stormed off from the group, and Ichigo just stood there, ashamed of himself.

"Ichigo-kun…" Hinata muttered and placed her hand on Ichigo's shoulder. "Let's go…the others are beginning to leave." Ichigo grit his teeth and pulled his shoulder away from Hinata, following the group from behind.

-

As Agumon walked along the Great Plains, he muttered to himself about stupid humans. "I don't need a human partner anyway…I'm fine by myself." As he said this, he stopped and rested on a nearby rock under a tree, taking in the shade. He let out a deep breath and saw the mountains across the Great Plains. There was smoke coming out the tip of it. "I just need to go home…I don't need this stupid journey."

He then looked down at his claws. They were covered in a red belt-like brace. "What is this…" he asked himself and took his left claw, trying to take them off. But something made his head sting. It was…a memory; a blocked memory. 'I'll keep these on as long as you want me to, aniki! These are symbols of my unbeatable power!' That's what the memory said. The word "aniki" echoed in his head; it was a familiar word to him. He took his claw away from the brace. "Eh, it's probably not important anyway…"

While he said this, he heard the obnoxious laughter of a group of passing Digimon. They were a group of BlackGuilmon and a BlackGrowlmon following behind. They were dragon or dinosaur Digimon, like himself, and Agumon was glad that he wouldn't be alone on his trip home. He jumped off the rock and ran towards them. "Heeey!" he called out to the BlackGuilmon and BlackGrowlmon, but the BlackGuilmon weren't too pleased with who they were to see.

-

"Hm…Agumon has a point…" Makie stated as she followed after Daisuke with Salamon in her arms. "We don't have an idea where we're going. We just started walking, as if we knew where."

"Well, I thought about that," Daisuke replied, "and he's right. We're going 'home.'"

"Home?"

"It's geek language, Makie-san," Yukiko sighed, placing her hand on the smaller girl's shoulder. "It means the starting point of the game."

Hinata watched this exchange and looked up. "And that would be…File City, right?"

"Correcto, Hinata-chan!" Daisuke grinned and looked at Commandramon. "File City is where everyone starts off in the game, so it's natural we should start our investigation there! Commandramon, do you have an idea where we are at the moment?"

Commandramon looked around, then at Gaomon, nodding to him. "This is definitely the Great Plains, but a bit farther from that. To get to File City, we'd have to cross the Windy Mountains. Pyro Sphere would be at the very peak of the mountain."

Ichigo's ears perked when he heard Pyro Sphere. "Windy Mountain…that's th' mount'n over there, right?" He pointed to the mountain that was behind them. Everyone's jaw dropped; they were going in the opposite direction. "I'm goin'! Agumon's…Agumon's goin' there, an' I hafta be there for'im!"

Katashi looked at Ichigo and smirked a little, crossing his arms. "I've got no complaints," he stated. "Gaomon?"

"File City is just over there, so…I'll go wherever you want me to go, master!"

"Then we're going to File City," Daisuke exclaimed. "Pyro Sphere can wait, but we can catch up to Agumon that way!"

Ichigo looked at the mountain, concerned for Agumon. Sora stood behind Ichigo and reached out for his shoulder, but he ran ahead. "Ichigo-kun, wait!" she called out to him, but Ichigo was already getting farther from them.

"Damn, he's impatient…" Daisuke muttered, rubbing the back of his head. "We can't lose sight of him!"

"You can't really blame him, Daisuke-san," Hinata commented, watching Ichigo disappear from sight. "Ichigo-kun and Agumon…are inseparable, even if they fight with each other. Ichigo-kun…will do anything for Agumon."

-

As Ichigo ran toward the mountain, his goggles hitting his chest as they bounced off it, he began to remember things. The first day he met Agumon, Agumon was also like that: rebellious and taking the role of the leader. They fought a lot, but they agreed on one thing, that fighting was their soul, and it's what kept them together. "Agumon…" Ichigo muttered.

-

Agumon fell back, covered in bruises. The BlackGuilmon chuckled as they kicked Agumon around. "Heh heh heh! Get this, aniki!" said one of the three BlackGuilmon to the BlackGrowlmon. "This baby dinosaur thinks he can stop us!" They started to laugh as the head of them stepped on Agumon's head. "Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

The orange baby dinosaur tried to stand up, but the foot of the BlackGuilmon kept him down. "Get offa me!" Agumon roared in an unfamiliar dialect. Even he found that to be familiar.

"What was that?! Are you a tamed Digimon?" Now the BlackGrowlmon walked toward the Agumon. "Only a Digimon bound by the humans' games can speak in that…Kansei dialect or something!"

"Hey, aniki! He knows that we're going to raid Pyro Sphere, even after we said we're going to mingle with our fellow fire-breathing Digimon! Should we kill him now?"

Agumon's eyes widened, and with the last of his strength , he pushed the BlackGuilmon off of him. "Baby Flame!" he roared and fired a fireball at the three BlackGuilmon, who batted the flames away. Agumon gasped as he fell to his knee, panting.

"Heh heh…" BlackGuilmon B laughed as he charged up to Agumon and bat him away with his tail. "Is that all?"

As Agumon tried to get back up, the third BlackGuilmon opened its mouth, ready to unleash a purple flame from his mouth. "Pyro Grenade!"

The word "aniki" echoed in Agumon's head once again. It hurt, but for some reason, Agumon opened his mouth, and all he yelled was, "ANIKIIIII!!!"

All of a sudden, a shoed-foot stomped on the attacking BlackGuilmon and kicked him away from Agumon. As the two BlackGuilmons attacked this mysterious figure, the figure unleashed a spinning kick on the two, standing in front of Agumon. It was…"It's you!" Agumon gasped, looking up at the figure.

Ichigo looked down at Agumon and grinned. "Y'called, aibou (partner)?"

Agumon got up and growled at Ichigo. "You…I said I can handle myself! I don't need a human partner like you!"

"Y'felt it, right?" Ichigo asked, and Agumon was confused. "Our souls…just for a bit, we were connected. Th'way y'defended yerself 'gainst these punks…fightin's in yer soul too." Agumon looked at the three BlackGuilmon, who growled at Ichigo for making them look like fools in front of BlackGrowlmon. "Even if we fight…even if we disagree, we're always gonna be partners." Ichigo's words made Agumon feel something; he was right. They were connected somehow…and the word "aniki" had a meaning to him.

"Aniki…" Agumon said, tugging on Ichigo's overshirt, "I'm…Agumon, your partner."

Ichigo looked down at Agumon and smirked. "That's more like it, aibou. We're always gonna be partners…no matter what!" The DigiMemory, the Dragon Memory, began to glow on Agumon's left claw. Ichigo felt a surge of power flowing through him.

"Aniki, what is that?!" the lead BlackGuilmon exclaimed to the BlackGrowlmon.

"That's…that's a…DigiSoul!"

The orange-haired boy looked at his hands. They were covered in orange bits and pieces of data. "This is…my DigiSoul!" he exclaimed, looking at the opponents. "Let's go, Agumon!"

"Ha!"

Ichigo closed his eyes as he held his left gloved hand in front of his face, clenching it into a fist as the DigiSoul bursted in his palm. He then held out his Digivice iC in his right hand and raised his left. "DigiSoul, CHARGE!" he roared and slammed his DigiSoul onto the top of the Digivice iC, then he held it out toward Agumon.

Agumon rose in the air as he was covered in the DigiSoul. "Agumon, shinka!" he exclaimed as his body began to change. He grew into a larger, darker orange muscular dinosaur with a brown horned helmet with red stripes on it. He roared and slammed his tail on the ground. "GeoGreymon!!"

BlackGrowlmon chuckled and charged toward GeoGreymon. "Dark Blade!" he roared as the blades on his forearms slashed at the GeoGreymon, but GeoGreymon caught the blades, holding BlackGrowlmon's arms up. "What?! The power…of the DigiSoul is…so strong!"

GeoGreymon roared and slammed his tail on BlackGrowlmon's side, causing him to fall on the three BlackGuilmons. He then opened his mouth; flames shot out from all sides of his mouth as he opened it wide. "Mega Burst!" a stream of flames covered the BlackGuilmon and BlackGrowlmon, and soon they disappeared into data, their black Digi-Tama floating into the sky.

The others had finally caught up as they found GeoGreymon reverted back into Agumon. Ichigo fell back as he began to laugh , Agumon looking down at Ichigo. Sora sighed and placed her hands on her hips. "Did we miss something, Ichigo-kun?"

"Y'bet!" Ichigo exclaimed. "That…was a rush! Man, DigiSoul is…somethin' else!"

Katashi looked down at Ichigo, interested in his comment. DigiSoul…Yggdrasil mentioned it. Was it that strong? "DigiSoul…"

"Man, get up, geek-boy!" Yukiko growled and held Ichigo by his collar. "Because of you, you made me run!"

Makie giggled slightly. "I'm glad to see you and Agumon are friends again…"

Lalamon flew around Agumon and sang, "Agumon's back! Agumon's back!"

"I guess we're settled then, right?" Daisuke asked as he pat Ichigo's shoulder. "Let's all head to File City now."

"Forget that, I wanna go t'Pyro Sphere now!"

Agumon looked up at Ichigo, and a vein pulsed on his head. "What?! After all that, you wanna go to Pyro Sphere?!"

"Oh come on, if those guys were from Pyro Sphere, imagine th'powerful fighters there!" Ichigo thought about it. Pyro Sphere was the home for all fire-based Digimon, and they had to be as strong, stronger than Agumon. "Let's go! I wanna go!"

"We're going to File City, Aniki!"

"I'm th'leader, I say Pyro Sphere!"

"Since when were you the leader?!"

The others stepped back a little, beads of sweat dropping from their heads. "Not again…" they muttered as Agumon and Ichigo clamped hands, trying to push at each other to show who's stonger.