Author's Notes

Notes from the previous chapter still apply.

Yami no Kokoro means 'Heart of Darkness', kokoro literally meaning heart/mind/soul, and you're probably familiar with Yami, especially if you've seen Yu Gi Oh.

Luckily this one did remain short.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or any of its characters. I do own the Desperation universe though.

Anyway, enjoy, and R&R readers and see you all next update.

Knot Too Strong

Side story to Desperation. What do you do when you find out your best friend is your worst enemy? Even worse, she's trying to kill you. How can you say she's not the person she used to be, or if there's any humanity left? Izumi's POV

Izumi O/Zoe & Kouichi K/Koichi

Rating: T

Genre/s: Drama/Friendship

Chapter 2

The first encounter with Duskmon was a strange one to be sure, from the point of view of any who had been thinking logically about the encounter. Considering the fact that she had spent weeks with us, and with me, more, she knew our weaknesses. Even without memory, an opponent's weakness is a warrior's intuition. Any visible defect, we'd pick it apart, so long as it doesn't stoop below the level of honour most warriors maintain, and sometimes, further, generally in the cases either the honour is nonexistent or the circumstances make it impossible to maintain.

Before, perhaps, I would not have understood that. But now I was a Legendary Warrior, the Warrior of Wind, and that knowledge came with the instincts that were bestowed upon me after my first evolution into Fairymon, when I first found the digimon part of me. The others understood as well, having gone through the same process, though being a martial artist, it was possible, and in fact probable, that Kouji had already been aware of that fact.

So it made sense for Cherubimon's warriors to be too. Only, their honour as a warrior did in no way compel them to fight fair, if the "holding us hostage" scene was any indication. Duskmon on the other hand, despite being well acquainted with our weaknesses, and thus in prime position to exploit them, made no obvious move to do so. In fact, she made no move to attack at all.

Which in the end turned out to be a really effective strategy. Because by either dodging or redirecting our attacks, she made us attack each other. Attacks rocketed off course, striking the ally instead of enemy, but what struck me as odd, excluding of course the way it ended, was while she refrained from attacking any of us head on till the very end, she didn't hesitate to kill and scan one of her own allies.

That alone gave me the hope that the human buried deep in the darkness still existed.

What was even stranger was when we were down, and she had the opportunity to finish us off, she didn't do so. Or at least until Takuya did the extremely idiotic thing and strike his enemy with their back turned.

The fire tsunami, to the shock of all witnesses, did nothing, simply being absorbed into the dark digimon as though it were a black hole. Takuya was, for the first time that we had known him, struck speechless, the shock readily turning into fear of his life when he discovered the crimson sword of his adversary on its downward swing, aimed right for his upper chest.

The weakest part of most digimon are their eyes, as all but those of dark habitat rely heavily on the sense of sight, but if you're looking for a quick and easy injury, it differs from person to person. For me, in Fairymon or Shutumon's form, my stomach would be the weakest, lacking armour to protect it, however for Takuya, as Vritramon, it was the middle of his back, where the two wings melded into his flesh above the spine.

His frontal area, especially the upper chest, was well guarded with the heavy armour, and yet that was the target of the attack. Perhaps the source could have pierced the armour, perhaps not, though it most certainly would not be a good idea to test that by putting someone's life on the line.

So while the counterattack was not entirely unexpected, the target was, seeing as it was essentially a hit or miss situation. She could have easily vaulted over the prone form and slashed at the back, crippling his wings, and if aimed in the right place, permanently damaging his spine or even killing him. And yet the sword was aimed at the chest, the one place, save the arms, more fortified against attack than all else. An honourable move indeed, despite the dishonour which had spurred her into action.

It was rather ironic, the enemy attacking with honour while the ally forged it.

But that didn't stop the sword's downward descent. I was frozen, and from what I could see, Takuya was too. The sword was just inches from perturbing his chest, his eyes squeezed shut as if to block out the sight of impending death, and then suddenly the eyes flew open as the shocked cries echoed.

Because the sword had struck, but not its target. Instead, it had slashed through Garrmon unprotected back.

We were all shocked, especially Takuya, though in all honesty that was to be expected. What was not to be expected however was Duskmon's reaction to the interception.

It was as though a part of my friend still remained, and was reaching out, calling out to the light.

No-one moved. Later, I wish sometimes that I had, if only to prevent things from going further out of control, but I just couldn't interfere, as if my own body turned traitor on me upon that moment of vulnerability.

Then she was gone. And I had lost the opportunity.

I wondered whether I had done the right thing later on, especially as time wore on and things became more and more complicated. The other warriors were eventually taken down, but darkness remained, and endured, always vanishing into the shadows of her own domain, even when she had many an opportunity to destroy us forever.

She never did. She always held back. And that was probably the only reason we, all of us, but especially Kouji, were still alive today.

I suppose, when knowing a human heart exists beneath the black taint, one wonders whether that humanity is still in reach. Myself, I was afraid that one day, she would be too far gone, that she wouldn't hold back, and then it'd be all over.

I'd lose my best friend for good.

And then there was her family: her mother, Kouichi was all she had left, Kouji, even if he had then not known of her existence, their father, despite his reasons, the neighbourhood kids who looked up to her like an older sister and were so close at some points that you probably could call them all family...I personally think she's left her mark in more places than she realises. Though she says the same can be said for everyone. And it's probably true; they generally are, though most of her philosophies are less than orthodox.

I thought Duskmon's near kills was the worst of it, till Cherubimon gave her the tainted beast spirit and forced a beast evolution. If Duskmon was bad, Velgemon was pure evil. While the human warrior's heart was downed in darkness, this embodiment of death itself had no heart, and whatever humanity that had still remained was banished from existence. There was no emotion, no hesitation...nothing save raw, undiluted power. Even Cherubimon himself feared that beast, and Kouji would have been bird's prey, not to mention the rest of us, if it wasn't for Ophanimon's timely intervention.

Duskmon's reign, or I should probably say Lucemon's 'behind the scenes' reign considering he was the one who had attributed in the corruption of Cherubimon, and in turn, Kouichi, eventually ended, though it left its scars in all of us, some of us more than others. Thankfully, our friendship hadn't suffered; in fact, I think it strengthened as it tested our limits at friends each time our paths crossed. And she didn't exactly mind my own orthodox ways to pound some sense into a stubborn friend once that particular chapter came to a close. And no, I didn't get physical, if that's what you're thinking.

The relationship between the two siblings took a while to gain its footing after all that had happened, but what with Kouji playing the protective twin role and protecting his sister from Cherubimon's attack to Kouichi knocking some sense into him (literally) in the Yami no Kokoro when the fragile ties holding us together were strained to the upmost, they managed to establish a pretty close bond, from which it appeared as though they had always been together.

In the end, all that served to bring us closer together, and our adventures in the Digital World are experiences that we will never forget, despite the many bittersweet memories, and some of which downright painful (now why do I seem to recall Takuya saying that?). We've all changed a lot since then, at some points to the extent that we are unrecognizable in behaviour, but still, the shadows of our pasts follow in attempts to repeat themselves.

Maybe not to the same person or in the same circumstances, but you'll always find someone, somewhere, who's nearing breaking point. Someone, who's changing, not always for the better. Someone, who's losing their humanity.

Different times, different stories...I just hope their stories, like this one, ends with a happy ending, even if it is bittersweet. After all, if it hadn't been for the pain which knitted us together, I doubt we'd be as inseparable as we are today.