Author's Notes: This is a challenge from the Digi-challenge forum, as part of a gift-fic. This one is written for Agubiyolover. I'll reveal more things about the story process later, but anyway, here were her specifications:

Likes: Drama, adventure and romance. Pairings I like are Taiora, Agubiyo, Mimou, PataGato, Takari and Daiyako or Kenyako.
Preferred protagonists: Well Sora and Tai because I know their characters the best and write them the best. But Agumon and Biyomon are fine as well.
Dislikes: Any type of bashing a little comic relief is fine but Davis going to commit suicide because Kari rejected please no.
Plot points: Well I like lots of twists and turns and another adventure is always nice and this might sound sick I swear I'm not a serial killer but I love a little blood and death or trauma in stories.
Cliches you can't stand: I hate the whole love at first sight thing it annoys me and its kind of unrealistic oh and let's not forget Sorato and GabuBiyo hate them too. And Michi no offence to any Michi fans

Wings of Dawn

Where am I?

She felt... weightless. As if she was in space, or... underwater. Yes, she was underwater. But why was she able to breathe? Because you aren't breathing, another part of her said. She started to panic at this thought, but the other part of her told her to simply relax. There was no point in resisting, in struggling. Better to sit here and enjoy this place.

I'm sitting?

She then noticed she was, in fact, sitting, and not lying down as she previously thought. She stared at her shoes. Black, with a red stripe across the middle. Black... just like this place. She could barely make out anything.

Am I dead?

The thought passed by her mind; fleeting, but she caught it and examined it. Dead... yes, she could be dead. Not that she knew how death felt like. Near death, yes. From the first day Kuwagamon attacked the rookie Chosen, she had known near-death. Pure luck and loyal friends were the only things that kept near-death and death separate. But how did death feel?

A bit on the frosty side...

She laughed at the thought. Only it wasn't a real laugh, for she could move neither her mouth, nor her diaphragm. Besides, she felt no inclination to really laugh anyway. After all, was there anything worth laughing about? Was anything so funny, so happy? No, she realized. There was nothing funny, nothing happy. Only a cold despair that seemed to seep from the depths of her soul, stroking every muscle and organ and tendon, reaching out to bathe her skin in some other-worldly chill.

She then realized that she was actually cold. Physically cold. She drew her legs inward, wrapping her arms around them in a futile effort to keep warm. She rested her head on her arms, and sighed. Where was she?

He ran. He had no clue where he was running, but he knew it was this way. One might call it intuition, another a psychic link between him and the girl at his destination, but he didn't care. He needed to be there. Of course, it didn't hurt that a pink bird was flying beside him, guiding him towards his destination. An orange dinosaur ran beside him at his other side.

Fear threatened to overcome him. Fear for the girl. But he quashed it. Fear was not something befitting the bearer of courage. He had to believe. In her. In himself. In something.

Why are you running?

She frowned at the question, even as she sprinted for her life. How she was able to move her limbs when she couldn't move her mouth, she wasn't sure. Besides, why was she running? It obviously wasn't warming her up; the cold seemed to follow her wherever she ran. But she had to run. She had to; she ran as soon as she heard him. Or it. She wasn't fully sure.

A piercing cry broke the silence. She looked up, eyes widening as she saw a legion of hellish demons soar past her. Black dragons, leathery wings flapping, they launched themselves towards a destination known only to them.

She stopped for a second, studying the beasts, before turning and running once more. She had to go.

He stopped, and listened. A faint sound reached his ears. Sounds of death and destruction, cries for blood and battle. He glanced at the dinosaur beside him, and the two shared a nod. Raising a small device, he commanded his partner to evolve.

In a flash of light, the small dinosaur disappeared, replaced by a humanoid warrior. Thick plates of armour adorned his entire body, and the new warrior was armed with a matching set of razor sharp claws. The boy had no time to study his ally, however, as overhead approached fliers akin to a swarm of locusts. Only instead of small insects, the horde was comprised of large demons.

"Go," the boy said tersely. The dragon-man warrior shot up to the sky and met the demonic host head on.

Three creatures fell in the blink of an eye before the warrior's initial charge, but the others shrieked and flew to surround him. Flying quickly, the warrior spun and sliced through another two, turning to block an attack from vicious enemy claws. Weaving between individual demons, the warrior fearlessly cut through leather wings and black bodies. Despite their strength in numbers, the fell army could do nothing against this holy warrior.

From the ground, the boy watched the battle. Logic dictated that they would lose, but the boy had no faith in logic. They would win this battle. The dark powers were no match against his courage, and his partner's strength.

"Finish this!" the boy shouted.

The airborne warrior nodded once before disappearing in a flash. Robbed of their foe, the demonic army turned their attention to the two on the ground. They grinned. A boy and a small bird. It would not even be a fight. They dove for the kill.

The boy said nothing, hands held calmly at his side as he defiantly faced the onslaught. Dark eyes met glowing red ones. And then the red eyes disappeared.

A ball of pure energy ripped through the ranks of demons, slaughtering them to the last beast. As the inferno died down, the boy saw his partner stand triumphantly behind the dying army. He grinned, and raised two fingers, signifying victory.

And they continued to run.

She paused to look behind her. A flash of crimson lit the sky behind her, just over the horizon. For a moment, her shivering body was bathed on warm light, and her strained muscles relaxed. Just like my shoes, she thought wryly to herself. A flash of red on a landscape of black. As if dawn was breaking.

Then the moment passed, and winter's chill flooded her body again. She turned and ran. There would be no dawn for her.

He dodged yet another wave of bats. Twisting sharply to his side, the boy just barely managed to escape a gruesome death at the hands of another demon. Only this time, she was female, and she was alone. But she was definitely stronger than the legion who assaulted the boy and his party before.

His partner, now taking on the form of a larger dinosaur with blue stripes, was tiring from the exchange. Already his body bled from several scratches where the succubus had managed to wound him. Try as he might, he could not catch his faster opponent. He roared, sending fireballs spewing everywhere, but the lithe demoness dodged them all. Appearing suddenly behind him, she grinned, and drew four new grooves across his back. Flocks of bats nipped at his legs, forcing him to yield.

The boy knew that his partner wouldn't last much longer like this. She was far out of his league. He looked around for something, anything he could use to help his partner. His eyes settled on a thick branch nearby. Without a second thought he dove for it, rolling dramatically before standing up and flourishing his new weapon with a grin. And then he charged.

Surprised by his aggressive stance, the demoness fell back. But she had underestimated his fury, and received a sharp blow to her hip for her foolishness. It sent her flying several feet. Landing, and stunned by the supposedly-weak human's strength, she looked up to find herself staring into the dinosaur's eyes. The eyes disappeared as he opened his mouth.

She barely had any time to scream before she was engulfed in flames.

She was out of the water. No longer floating, her feet pounded against the dry ground. She stumbled on some rocks, but paid no heed to the scratches on her knees and continued to run. She couldn't allow herself to be caught.

Where are you?

At that, she stopped. She looked around. And she saw nothing but the dark. Her eyes widened, and she searched frantically for anything – anything – that she could use to stabilize herself with. But her grasping hands found only thin air, and she groped about as if blind.

Maybe you are.

Maybe I am.

And the black fog continued to swirl around her.

It had become strangely dark, the boy observed. They had been running when a strange fog came from their front and surrounded the group. Since then, they had slowed down to a stealthy walk in an attempt to navigate the endless prison.

It could be worse, he thought. They could all be unable to see. And they would be too, if it weren't for the orange glow that emanated from the boy's chest and surrounded the group, bathing them in a halo of light and warmth. It was the light of a boy's belief, and his refusal to give in to fear.

Being afraid of the dark is for little kids after all.

He laughed at that. It was a rich boisterous laugh that shook the landscape. He laughed at his thought, he laughed at the fog, and he laughed at fear itself. He faced the dark swirls of fear floating around him and challenged its supremacy with a bark of laughter.

The fog retreated before his courage. The light was too bright for it.

She stopped now. There was no point in running anymore. No point to anything. She bent her knees and sat down on the rough ground, pulling her knees to her chest once again and wrapping her hands around her. The darkness around her grinned in victory, and moved in to claim its newest victim.

And it then shrank at the sudden peal of laughter. The darkness stopped. Who was this that dared to resist its power?

She too looked up. She knew the voice. That laughter... how many times had she heard it when they wrestled in the mud? How many times had she heard it when they played in the playground? How many times had they…

Who is 'they'? It's just you.

That's right, she realized. There is no 'us'. Just—.

Flaming darts rained around her, chasing the darkness away. Looking up, she saw the majestic phoenix rise from the east. Four shining wings lit up the landscape. And against the light, two smaller silhouettes emerged. One was a small dinosaur. It looked weak, but determined. And the other... was him.

No, she thought. There is 'us'. 'Us' is me and him. And me and her.

She rose as he approached, if somewhat shakily. She had been running from him, she realized. The thought alone filled her with shame, and she hung her head as he ran towards her, expecting to be rebuked. But he threw his arms around her and held her close.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled. But he silenced her.

"Don't run away from me ever again," he begged. "Don't try to do everything by yourself, okay?"

She nodded, tears falling down her cheeks.

And as their respective partners drew near, they held each other, refusing to part again.


Author's Notes: I started on this story this morning (after procrastinating for two months on this) while on the bus. FOr some reason, buses are a great source of inspiration for me (see Nighttime Musings for more information...). I was listening to Akatsuki no Kuruma from Gundam SEED, which at that time I thought was "Wings of Dawn". It really is "Wheels of Dawn", according to wikipedia.

This is an out of continuity fic, so while it does borrow heavily from the main timeline (most prominently the dark cave seen twice near the end of season 1), it's not in either season 1 or 2 or epilogue.

And to those who review... I interested in knowing how literally you took this story. Was it mostly imaginary for you (i.e. all in Sora or Tai's mind), or did you think that everything was happening in real life?

Thanks for reading!