Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. Toei Animation does.
Summary: Jun keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Tai is not pleased, especially when it gives his friends the wrong impression.
Title: No Girls Allowed
Ch. 24 Let's Kick It Up
"So, what do you guys think?" Matt asked surreptitious eyeing Jun and Tai who were standing near the edge of the building's rooftop observing the city once the introductions were over.
"Of the Gruesome Twosome?" Davis pointed towards them and made a retching face. "Siiiiiiiiick!"
"Well, I think it's sort of sweet," Mimi said although her smile looked a little strained.
"You're just glad that Jun's with Tai now and he'll stop any more attempts of her making either of you the unwitting stars of 'Fact Or Fiction—Brave Hearts!'" Izzy assessed shrewdly.
"They do seem to get along real well, don't they?" Joe said turning his head to watch them.
"You certainly can't deny that they're perfectly in sync with each other," Sora said.
"Hey, up here, you tin can on roller skates!" Tai hollered to a Tankmon below waving his arms wildly. "You couldn't hit the broad side of Machinedramon's butt if it was staring you right in the face!"
"Yeah!" Jun whooped joining in on the taunting. "Your mother was a golf cart!"
"Good one!" Tai praised holding out the palm of his hand for a high-five which she slapped enthusiastically. "But I think I should mention now the fact that Digimon come from eggs."
"Don't rain on my parade, Saint Sayan," Jun growled poking a finger into his face intimidatingly. "I can still undercut you like Mohawk, injured ankle or not. I took five years of karate!"
"You would make the most awesome-est Power Ranger ever," Tai grinned.
"Flattery will get you everywhere!" Jun shrieked with laughter giving him a delighted slug on the arm that sent Tai reeling a couple of paces sideways with the brunt of its force. "Hey-ho, doncha know?" she belted out what sounded like cheer made up on the spot. "We got scraps of metal littered down below!"
"They ain't got no brains, ain't got no guns!" Tai chimed in doing an impression of an air-guitar rock. "They so stupid, we got them on the run!"
A chorus of enraged "HUH-HUH-HUH"s resonated from the ground up to the top of the building.
"What's that?" Jun cried holding one hand to ear and cocking her head to the side. "I'm sorry, we can't understand you… OVER THE SOUND OF HOW INCREDIBLY UGLY YOU ALL ARE!"
"That didn't even make sense!" Tai laughed.
"I know! We should totally take therapy lessons together!" Jun cried elatedly.
"Baby, they can't cure our craziness," Tai proclaimed with a heavy accent as he flung a brazen arm around her shoulders. "We were born with it!"
Their joined laughter rang out through the air, loud and exuberant, and the Tankmon didn't appear to enjoy it one bit judging by the way they took out their frustrations by aiming their missile attacks at the building and causing it to shake violently.
"Would you two stop baiting them before they take out the foundation in retaliation?" Izzy shouted in exasperation.
Still laughing, Tai turned and walked back over to his friends towing Jun along. "Sorry, sorry!" he apologized with a wide smile that didn't seem to match his words. "So, since we're late to this party, what have we missed?"
"Oh, just some more rogue digimon slipping into the real world and causing mayhem and destruction and we're left to clean up their mess," Matt declared crossing his arms. "You know the usual."
Behind him, Yolei made a strangled noise in her throat. Her hands were clutched tightly together in front of her and her eyes were scrunched shut behind her glasses. Kari placed her hands around the girl's quivering shoulders sympathetically.
Tai felt the adrenaline and excitement drain from his system. Suddenly, the situation had become much more serious. "And just what do you mean exactly by 'clean up the mess'?" he asked quietly.
Matt shot a sideways glance that had "are you for real?" written all over it. "I'd think that would be fairly obvious," he said crisply.
Tai lowered his gaze. So it had come down to this. And now the younger kids had his harsh words of their complete inadequacy at being Digidestined no doubt still echoing in their heads.
"Taichi-sempai," Davis spoke up. "I know what you said before was in anger… but it was also true. We don't understand what you all had to go through. I know compared to you older kids and what you did, we're all pretty weak—"
"No, Davis," Tai cut him off abruptly feeling disgusted at himself. "You can forgive what I said, but never forget it either. I was angry and jealous and feeling worthless, but I shouldn't have taken it out on you. You're not weak. None of you younger kids are. You have your own unique strengths and gifts. Maybe that's why the Digital Sovereigns chose you guys this time around. Maybe it's because we've all grown too accustomed to just deleting any threat in our paths to reach the finish line without thinking twice about it. Maybe they wanted new kids with a fresher outlook who would hesitate before taking an innocent life that could never be reborn."
The last statement was met with puzzled glances. It was clear no one had quite understood the significance of it. Tai locked eyes with Izzy. "You haven't told them?"
Izzy fidgeted distinctively uncomfortable. "It's just a theory," he mumbled.
"Funny, you sounded a lot more confident when you shared this 'theory' with me back in the Digital World," Tai said.
"What? What are you talking about?" Cody asked.
Opening his mouth, Tai let one word spill out, "Wizardmon."
He didn't have to explain. Slowly, one by one he saw comprehension dawn on each of his friends' faces; those of the Digidestined that hadn't already deduced this themselves before. Yolei buckled down on her knees.
Matt's grim expression hadn't wavered one bit. "That still doesn't change the fact that we need to stop these Digimon before they destroy anything else and putting them all back in the Digital World is pointless right now, you know that."
"It's—it's not like we haven't done this before," Davis tried to placate everyone. "We took out this Lord Daemon's henchmon, remember? We can do it again if necessary!"
"It's not necessary!" Yolei exclaimed, rising up off with a smoldering fury. "Those Digimon, they were evil. They were hurting innocent people and knew exactly what they were doing too! These... those down there… they're just lost and scared! We have to help them and not by needlessly deleting them!"
Matt was extremely frustrated, Tai could tell. He was barely keeping a firm lid on his temper. "Oh by all means," he snapped. "Let's just call Greenpeace then. Maybe they'll put them all in a zoo and charge tickets. I suppose that would be the safest route to go."
"There's no need for sarcasm, Matt," Mimi chided. "You're only making things worse."
"Oh, so now it's my fault she can't face the fact that sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to accomplish something for the greater good!"
"What's so good about killing off innocent lives?"
Tai heaved a weary sigh as he watched his friends engage in a heated debate that he could see no definite agreement come out of.
"Wow, you Digidestined have a lot more on your plate than you can handle," Jun confessed. "Sort of glad I'm not one of you guys after all. Too bad you can't just force the Digimon into time out and talk things over, huh?"
"What was that?" Tai asked sharply, feeling a jolt shoot through him at those last words.
"Oh, that was me just trying to make a joke—that was probably dumb, sorry," Jun amended hastily.
"No," Tai said staring at her astounded. "No, that was actually a really good idea!"
"Davis!" Tai cried, grabbing the younger boy by the arms and spinning him around to face him. Excitement was bubbling in his chest as a half-sketched plan unfolded in his head. "Try and get into touch with Paildramon on your D-3!"
"You can do that?" Davis asked, surprised by this piece of information.
"Kari and T.K. and were able to talk directly through Angemon and Angewomon through their Crests and Tags when were battling VenomMyotismon," Tai explained looking at Izzy for confirmation on this theory. "It might work with the digivices as well. We've just never tried it before."
"That's a very far-fetched hypothesis," Izzy gave his opinion on it. "But I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try whatever hare-brained scheme you've concocted. We're running in short supply of ideas here."
"Ummm… ok," Davis said holding up his D-3 near his mouth. "Er… testing, testing, one, two, three. Anyone hear me?" Absolute silence came in reply. "Yeah… nothing's happening," he said awkwardly and flushed slightly, aware that he was the center of attention.
"Don't forget, Paildramon belongs to both of us," Ken's voice spoke up. A barely-noticeable smirk was hidden in the corners of his lips as he stepped next to Davis and held up his own D-3 alongside his digivolving partner's. "Let's call him together."
"Right!" Davis cried gaining a boost of confidence. "Ready, set, go!"
"Paildramon, come to us!" Ken and Davis shouted in unison.
For a moment, it looked as if they had accomplished nothing, that the theory had been a failure. Then twin beams of light shot out from the D-3s—one blue, one green—and sliced through the air, zig-zagging between buildings before disappearing behind one in a downward spiral. A few seconds later, Paildramon had soared up into the sky and was making a beeline straight for them, the edges of blue and green light still gleaming faintly around him.
"Why didn't anyone tell me we could communicate like this? It would have saved us loads of time on tactics before," Stingmon and ExVeemon's combined voices called out sounding vaguely amused.
"Sorry, but this is news to us too!" Davis waved at his partner before turning to Tai. "So what's the plan?" he asked eagerly.
"Right," Tai coughed into his fist. "He digivolves into Imperialdramon," he pointed at Paildramon. "He rounds up all the rogue Digimon to where the rest of our partners are waiting and we keep them contained in one place… and we all go down and talk some sense into them until they agree not to destroy things anymore. Now, hurry up and start telling me how stupid and crazy that is. I can't stand waiting," he said breathlessly.
Matt let out a incredulous snort. "Any other time, and I would completely rip that strategy into shreds. But compared to the other option we're faced with…" his eyes slid towards the younger kids. "Well, it's worth a shot."
"Let's do it," Yolei said. The pasty-white color had fled from her cheeks. A determined expression had settled upon her face. "Let's at least try. If it doesn't work…" her voice wavered for a second, before hardening again. "If they refuse to listen… then we'll do it the old-fashioned way, agreed?"
One by one, the younger Digidestined nodded their consent.
"Alright, you heard the plan," Ken said turning Paildramon.
"Time to take it up a notch!" Davis exclaimed.
"On it!" Paildramon declared, spreading his arms wide and letting himself freefall backwards into empty space. Blinding white light exploded before the Digidestined's eyes, taking several seconds before the brilliance finally faded, and then Imperialdramon in his Fighter Mode could be seen skimming the streets below at swift pace, herding every Digimon in his path in the opposite direction with his Splendor Sword.
"It's Digi Round-up Time!" Imperialdramon whooped wildly. "YEE-HAW!"
"What have you been letting Veemon watch, Davis?" Ken asked raising an eyebrow.
"How come you automatically assume it's my partner that has gone all Cowboys and Indians?" Davis demanded.
"Because Wormmon only watches the Discovery Channel and National Geographics," Ken couldn't resist revealing smugly.
"I hear them in their room all time cheering and hollering at those foreign Western films on tv," Jun added to the mix. "I peeked in once and saw they had made two forts out of bed-sheets and were throwing pillows back and forth at each other."
"Lies! All lies!" Davis shrieked.
"Did you win?" Tai asked.
"Of course!" Davis proclaimed, switching gears instantly. "The Lone Goggle Ranger always wins!" His face flared red when he realized he had just unwittingly outed himself.
Tai would have laughed at his mortified expression except…
His digivice had started to go off in urgent, repetitive beeps. There was no cause for it that he could see since the other Digidestined were all gathered together in the same location. The only other time he could think of when it had acted out of the ordinary like this was earlier this year, before the new team had formed, when the Digital World's gateway had reopened again and he knew instinctively deep within him that Agumon was in jeopardy.
"Hey, look!" Jun tugged at his arm pointing. "There are people down there!"
Tai let his eyes fall to the street below that ran past the building. His heart had leaped into his throat as if already knowing what he would see. A van lay overturned on its side with the distinct figures of four humans grouped close around it as a large posse of Digimon slowly surrounded them. And a few feet away from them, placing himself in the direct path of harm, was Agumon.
Looking back on it, Tai hadn't been surprised to see his partner at all. It was almost as if he had been expecting him to arrive at some moment sooner or later. It was as if something had drawn everyone to be there that day. Call it coincidence, call it fate, but the Chosen Children and their Digimon were meant to be here this very moment on the slopes of Mt. Fuji.
No, Tai was not surprised in the slightest upon seeing Agumon. He was however, completely terrified at what might happen to him when all the Digimon attacked at once.
And he hadn't even been able to say good-bye or that he was sorry.
A paralyzing sensation seized a hold of him and he couldn't move or breathe. Gut-wrenching panic coiled itself up from the pits of his stomach and wound itself throughout his entire body choking him.
"You not only don't believe in yourself…you've given up believing in me."
The suffocating feeling ceased its ruthless grip on him as he only now began to comprehend what those words meant.
He had been afraid for so long now.
Afraid that he was no longer worthy to be a Digidestined.
Afraid that Agumon would be deleted permanently if he allowed him to fight at his full capacity.
Afraid of Agumon himself because he still had no idea to what extent the Virus had warped or rewritten his partner's data.
But he couldn't afford being afraid anymore.
Not ever again.
Not when Agumon so desperately needed his help.
The very character trait that he had been chosen for… it had been squashed and shoved back into the shadows, just like so many hopes and dreams had met their untimely end by the grim reality of life.
But those things never fully left people. They were simply forgotten about so there would be no pain for what could have been. No sorrow for the loss of something they once had, no regret for something they had never been able to achieve. Yet people still possessed the power to make their goals possible.
Fear was a necessary precaution to have.
But no one should ever let it hinder their judgment or rule their life.
I am afraid, Tai thought as this realization flooded his brain. But it shouldn't matter, doesn't matter. Because Agumon is more important.
Besides, they both had sworn to each other after all.
"You won't lose me, Tai. I'll be here whenever you need me."
"Even when I'm old and grey?"
"Always and forever."
"I'm sorry… for failing you like that. I'll never do it again."
It was time they both start living up to their promises.
It started with a tingling under skin like that of electricity. His pulse was racing unnaturally fast. He could hear his own heart-beat drumming in his ears, and then he was engulfed in a scorching wave of heat. It was insane—here it was in the middle of winter and yet he felt as if his whole body was on fire. The air was hot and heavy to breathe and felt the cold trickles of sweat break out across his brow. It was as if he was standing under the blazing rays of the summer sun.
"Taichi-sempai," he heard Davis whisper in a hushed awe.
The boy was staring transfixed at the digivice clipped to his belt.
It was glowing a steady, radiant orange.
The burning sensation shot down the base of his spine and spiraled into his chest. It exploded outward visibly: a shimmering, candescent orb of light brimming powerfully enough that the air fairly hummed with energy. The golden-orange rays of the late afternoon sky seemed to condense and solidify into one giant, rapidly-spinning, blazing tornado that anchored itself in the last spot Agumon had been seen in. Flaming tongues of red fire wove themselves around the whirling pillar of light as it transformed its shape into a burning sphere. It hovered in the air pulsating, the tongue flames still flickering in and out erratically—then without warning, it exploded in a shower of thousand, shining golden specks of light revealing the figure it had been shielding within its depths.
Tai heard startled gasps all around him. If his own breath weren't trapped in his lungs, he'd probably join them.
That form… he hadn't seen it for five years time. He had doubted he ever would again. Had doubted his own strength and worth was capable of manifesting this evolution of his partner. But there was no doubt now what his eyes were beholding.
WarGreymon turned his head towards the roof of the building the children were on. For an instant, digital green and human brown eyes locked. Then the moment passed and WarGreymon had dove down to join the melee below.
Tai rushed to the edge of the roof half-laughing, half-shouting his partner's name, a giddy, joyful release flooding his veins. WarGreymon was all but a golden blur as he knocked aside the Digimon that had been encircling the humans and the over-turned van. That task complete, he regrouped with Imperialdramon—the two Megas making quick handiwork of their quarry.
"You can do it, Imperialdramon!" Davis shouted, cupping his hands around his mouth to enlarge his voice. "Ramen Cart Charge!"
"Go, WarGreymon!" Tai cheered, feeling a wild excitement uncurl from the pits of his stomach. "Pepper Breath Shoot!"
"And don't forget—" Davis and Tai cast manic, wide grins at each other before turning to urge their partners on. "ATTACK PATTERN ALPHA!" they cried in unison.
"What… in the world—" Matt started to say.
"Don't try and decipher goggle-speech, please," Jun sighed, rubbing her temples wearily. "You'll never crack the code in a million years."
In less than two minutes, the rogue Digimon had been rounded up in one spot. Any attempts on their behalf to break away and they were soundly smacked back into place by one of the Digidestined's partners.
Quite suddenly, Tai felt the excitement and adrenaline drained from him, impatience their place. He was down there. WarGreymon was down there. He could see him: a golden figure standing amongst the dull grey of the ruined city's buildings and streets. His partner was down there and he was up here. And the last time they had been together they had both lashed out verbally in anger. There was nothing more that Tai wanted to do than to erase that hurt, and ten stories were all that separated them.
"Need a lift?" Izzy asked, seeing his anxiety and issuing to MegaKabuteriemon.
The minute Tai's feet hit solid ground, they were off and running, headed straight towards where he could see WarGreymon ringed in the midst of them. His back turned towards him and the Courage symbol on his shield was gleaming golden in the setting sun. A broad grin split out across Tai's face at the sight.
His happiness was short-lived.
"Watch out!" Izzy cried out in warning behind him.
Tai tore away his gaze from his partner in time to see a Tankmon, pinned down by Digmon, whose nozzle had been shoved into the cracked ground for non-usage raise one of its arms and take aim at him.
Staring down the cannon of the gun barrel even from this distance away, he had a second to realize his mistake. One split second to re-think that maybe he shouldn't have goaded them so much as he did before. There was no time to avoid it, he was too close, and he knew no matter which direction he ran, it wouldn't make any difference.
The bullets fired themselves out of the Tankmon's barrel-arm with machine-gun ferocity just as a shadow fell over him.
A large, black shadow with solid claws of steel that planted themselves in front of him and deflected the spray of bullets until the onslaught was over. When they pulled away, the Tankmon was being forcibly restrained Digmon, and BlackWarGreymon was staring down at him with searing, incomprehensible gaze.
"Um… thanks, I think," Tai said weakly, wondering why the Mega had chosen to save his life for the second time.
"The lengths you humans go to prove how stupid you are over and over," was all the explanation BlackWarGreymon gave before launching himself into the sky.
"Or not," Tai said, feeling his right eyebrow twitch in irritation.
Clawed feet trod the ground in front of him. Tai felt his heartbeat quicken, and as much as he wanted to he could not bring himself to look up. Golden-armored claws wrapped themselves around him, and Tai found himself lifted up with his feet dangling several inches above the ground as WarGreymon pressed him against his breastplate in a firm, yet gentle embrace, holding him as tightly as possible without putting pressure on his spine, clutching him with a subtle desperation as if he would vanish into smoke if he let go.
He must have gasped, must have tensed or something because WarGreymon started to relax his grip and lower him back down. "I am sorry," he apologized worriedly. "Did I hurt—"
Tai locked his arms around his partner's neck hastily. "No, no, I'm fine! Really." He tried to find words through the chaos of emotions swirling in his chest. "I'm the one who should be sorry, sorry that I couldn't help you digivolve before this."
"No," WarGreymon said tersely. "You aren't the only one to blame. I spoke in selfishness and ended up causing needless grief between us. Forgive me."
"So, you're saying that you're sorry that I'm sorry that you're sorry?" Tai felt a grin creeping across his face. "I think we've had this conversation before once." He swallowed trying to dislodge the knot he could feel at the base of his throat. "I missed you," he confessed, burying his face against WarGreymon's broad shoulder—the steel that covered it was oddly warm in contrast to the frigid temperature. Any tears that the wind threatened to freeze on his cheeks were soon melted by it.
"I missed you too," came his partner's quiet rumble.
"Let's neither of us never go off again without telling the other where we're going, alright?" Tai said. "No matter how bad an argument we've had before."
"Never," WarGreymon promised solemnly.
Wind whipped at his hair suddenly and tugged at his clothes. Tai lifted his head to see the other Digidestined with their partners descend from the sky. The sight of Jun in Garudamon's claws made his grin stretch wider. The girl was clutching the giant bird Digimon's front talon for dear life. Her tepid, disgruntled expression was written clearly on her face. He wondered on the significance that he knew the exact thought that was going through her mind at the moment: I can't believe my life is in the hands of Turkeymon.
"You know," WarGreymon said following his gaze, "according to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves."
"Oh my god, did you seriously just quote Plato?" Tai asked feeling the urge to half-scream, half-laugh hysterically.
"You know I could be wrong," WarGreymon said sounding very amused, "but I get the feeling you don't like him very much which is too bad, because he was really wise and gave good advice!"
"Put me down before I throw up on you."
WarGreymon complied, laughing deeply as he did. Jun scrambled down from her ride as best as she could to hurry to his side aided by her brother who didn't appear very happy about it, though he did perk up as soon as they reached the two of them.
"Taichi-sempai, wow, you were awesome!" Davis gushed enthusiastically, staring at WarGreymon's striking figure up close. "He was awesome! I mean, I saw pictures from the internet battle years ago, but this is way better!"
"Careful, you'll make your own partner jealous with all that praise," Tai chuckled, knowing it wasn't true. Imperialdramon was far more busy dealing the sizeable band of rogue Digimon they had rounded up.
"Alright, here's how it goes," the mecha dragon Digimon declared loudly, leveling his Positron Laser at them in warning as he spun around in a slow circle. "One of you stops being a barbaric dunderhead and speaks up so we all can understand you—and I know you can—and tell us why you're all so fond of smashing things or me and my friends start tanning your hides."
"That's right," WarGreymon said striding forward, pushing non-too gently through their ranks to stand by his fellow Mega's side. "Except for him," lifting one armored claw, he pointed to the dark form that was BlackWarGreymon perched on top of a nearby building over-viewing the scene like some menacing gargoyle. "He's more of a stab and destroy kind of guy. Can't promise you any compassion with him. So what'll it be?"
In the end, it was a Snimon who actually articulated coherently, although his choice of words weren't particularly eloquent.
"Sssssssssstuuuuuupiiid, disssssssssgusssssstiiiiing huuuuuumanssss," the Digimon hissed, baring his sharp, needle-like fangs at the children.
"No calling others bad names!" Imperialdramon corrected him, jutting out his free claw sharply at the Snimon in warning. "That's just rude and mean! Bully-ing is not cool!"
The Snimon retreated back into sullen silence, glaring his animosity through his beady eyes at his captors.
Another voice was quick to take his place.
"You dare call yourselves Digimon?" It was a Gigadramon that spoke up next. The length of his snake-line body was stretched out parallel to the ground and WereGarurumon was crouched on top of the base of his neck, his claws digging into the soft undersides of the Ultimate's jaw in case he got any ideas of tearing himself free. "You who serve humans like mindless cattle?"
"That's fine talk," WereGarurumon barked sharply. "We weren't the ones wrecking a deserted city until all our energy is spent up and leaving us completely helpless at the hands of humans you claim are your enemy. Why don't you think over your tactics next time?"
"Don't give them any ideas," Matt said.
WarGreymon knelt on knee so that he was eye-level with the Gigadramon. "I know of the pain you suffer from crossing the gateway. It has driven you less than stable," he said.
"What's he talking about?" Tai turned to Izzy who had come up next to him.
"I was just going to ask you that," Izzy shrugged. "But in all reason, there does have to be gateway around somewhere that transported them here. Side-effects could happen."
WarGreymon was continuing to speaking in slow, solemn tones as if to drill into the Digimons' minds the gravity of the situation they found themselves in. "I know your anger stems from the state of the Digital World right now. And I know you blame the humans for it. But destroying this world will not help restore balance to your own. The worlds are connected. Any damage you do either there or here will have repercussions for us all."
"I hope the big jerk is listening," Davis muttered, craning his head up and squinting at the inky outline of BlackWarGreymon atop the building.
"Hey, that big jerk saved our lives, twerp," Jun said, coming to the Digimon's defense quickly.
"Yes, that was an interesting twist," Izzy said side-eyeing Tai. "Any ideas on why?"
"How should I know what goes on his head?" Tai proclaimed, wondering what the sudden flash of unease in his gut meant.
"These humans are the Digidestined," WarGreymon said issuing to the children who spread out around the base of Kabuteriemon and Garudamon's feet, the sheer mass of their size and bulk putting doubts into any Digimon's mind about attacking. "They were chosen by the Digital Sovereigns for a purpose whether you agree on their decision or not. They do not wish any of you ill and seek to find a way to save your world and their own. They are not your enemies. None of us are, no matter what you think. Will you not give us chance to prove this?"
The captured Digimon were stirring uneasily as they mulled over these words. The children's partners grew restless at the tension that loomed ominously in the air. Tai really didn't want to think what would happen they had to destroy the Digimon after all. It was one thing to delete them when you were defending your life, but to systematically turn them into bits of digital data one by one in cold blood after they had already been defeated: it sounded something close to genocide. He thought perhaps that he understood a bit how Yolei felt about all this now.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Gigadramon spoke up again. "You wish us to believe that these puny, little humans are even capable of restoring order and balance to our world?"
"They are, whether you choose to believe it or not is of no concern," WarGreymon said without a shadow of a doubt. "What you can choose today is whether or not to return to your world peacefully and retain enough sense to not damage it any further than it already is. You are not without reason no matter how loudly you rage and demolish things. You are aware of the consequences your actions will unleash. These two worlds can still be saved. They can be restored to what they once were."
It was the Megadramon a few feet away, pinned to the ground under the heavy paws of Zudomon, who uttered soft and dangerously, "And if we refuse?"
WarGreymon flexed his steel claws in response, his green eyes narrowing into slits as he locked gazes with him. The Gigadramon who had been the spokesperson for the group of digimon thus far visibly flinched as he eyed the twin golden vambraces on his lower arms. They hosted Dramon Destroyers Tai remembered with a small jolt.
What seemed like an eternity passed: an eternity consisting of anxiously-pounding heartbeats for the children and low hisses and growls of the rogue digimon as they mulled their choices over; the fragile stand-still finally coming to a close when the Gigadramon gave their answer.
It was spoken with a harsh bitterness and brimming with barely concealed fury and frustration. It was evident they clearly would have liked nothing more than to continue on their rampage, however, fear of their impending deletion overweighed their urge to wreak havoc.
Imperialdramon's taunt frame relaxed at their words. He looked relieved that he did not have to execute any fellow digimon today. WarGreymon's body language betrayed nothing; his stoic expression did not waver. He glanced over to where Izzy and Tai stood and nodded curtly.
"Oh, right," Izzy fumbled with his laptop, signaling Yolei over to open the gateway with her D-3. The girl's eyes were shining brightly; worry no longer clouding her face.
The captured digimon disappeared into the screen back to the Digital World in a blurring flash of colors. Then they were gone, the gateway relocked, and there was nothing left except the Digidestined and their partners in the deserted and ruined streets of Fujiyoshida City.
"Omigosh, that was incredible!" came a shout as four other humans emerged from behind their overturned van and began making a beeline straight towards the children. "That was more amazing than the time we went to Universal Studios Japan! Way better than the Jurassic Park ride, man! Way better!"
"Who are—" Izzy said, backing away in alarm as one of the two men stretched eager fingers towards his laptop.
"The portal!" the man gushed excitedly. "It's like a mini Stargate right? How did you discover it? How did you figure a way to channel its power? Have you been to other side yet?"
"Back," MegaKabuteriemon ordered, seeing his partner's unease and placing a protective claw down in front of him.
The man squeaked and stopped in his tracks, staring up at the insectoid digimon utterly spellbound while the rest of his companions roved eager eyes glowing in admiration over the rest of the digimon present.
"Calm yourselves, they mean no harm," WarGreymon told his teammates. "Greetings, friends," he said lifting one claw.
"Wow, little dino dude isn't so little anymore!" one of the females squealed with a dreamy expression Tai found disturbing. "How'd you get so big and strong?"
"With help," WarGreymon smiled beckoning Tai to come forward which he did with slight hesitance. "He is a part of me as I am a part of him. We are nothing without each other."
The words struck a chord, sparked a cinder in his chest that flared and rose until Tai felt their warmth worm its way through every inch of his skin, into the very marrow of his bones, into the dark corners of his mind, sweeping away the shadows that lingered and threatened to draw him back into their depths.
Then it was Agumon, not WarGreymon, who was standing next to him with the flickering edges of orange light of digivolution fading around him; Agumon, who was hugging him around his waist and speaking the simple truth of their bond into the air, "Because we are partners."
And the only thing Tai found he could do or say was to kneel down and return the small dinosaur's hug just as fiercely.
A now-familiar shadow slid over them. He heard the sci-fi fanatics startled gasps and their hasty retreat, as well as the Digidestined's apprehensive shifting from behind.
"You are wise to take this form while I remain," BlackWarGreymon addressed Agumon. "But I would not have battled you until you were at full strength again. There is no true victory when my opponent is at a disadvantage."
Agumon only smiled. "What do you mean? We're not opponents, we're friends, remember?"
"I don't have friends. I do not need friends," BlackWarGreymon denied turning his gaze on Tai. "You," he said sharply pointing an armored claw at him that Tai tensing in reflex. "Take him on more camping trips now that you are reunited."
"What?" Tai blinked, not quite sure he had heard that correctly.
"Sing songs with him of buffalos and feast on pies of lemon. Do so until both your voices grow hoarse with misuse and your wretched bellies are sick of overeating. I will waste no more time of my existence listening to either of your sorrowful wailings," BlackWarGreymon declared lifting into the air. "Do not seek me out, do not get in my way, and perhaps I will rethink crossing claws with you before my end," were the Mega's final words before he departed to only he knew where.
"Well…" Tai said as he watched the Digimon's silhouette get swallowed up the sunset. "That was weird."
"I told you he wasn't really bad," Agumon said happily.
"Yeah, putting off whether to kill or us or not because he can't make up his mind right now definitely makes him a nice guy," Tai stated.
"Why do I get the feeling you've talked to him before this?" Matt asked curiously coming up next to them.
"It was only once," Tai said standing to his feet. "Well, maybe twice," he corrected thinking of how BlackWarGreymon had rescued him from the falling debris and then the Tankmon's attack. "Okay, four times if you want to get technical," he confessed to Matt's skeptical eye.
"What did you talk about?" Matt looked baffled.
"I dunno… Plato?" Tai said throwing out his arms. There hadn't really been an exact topic of conversation that he could pin-point.
"Greymon magnet," he heard Izzy mutter out of the corner of his mouth sounding vaguely amused.
"Shut up, Izzy," he snarled as the boy began snickering at his indignant expression.
"I get it! You two are like the Yang to Dino King's Yin!"
He didn't even have to look to know where that comment came from.
"Omigosh, so you're like the little dino dude's symbiotic host, right?" one of the males said gawking open-mouthed at Tai as he and the rest of the sci-fi fanatics gathered around him.
Tai glanced at Agumon and raised an eyebrow. The small dinosaur shook his head sadly as if he had given up trying to explain a long time ago.
"Tch, what are you foolish humans talking about?" Tai scoffed at them, crossing his arms over his chest. "I've merely taken on this mortal form while I reside on your plane of existence so as not to blind you all with my sheer, magnanimous radiance!"
Agumon noted that the sci-fi fanatics seemed to be having another convulsing seizure attack of sorts as they all but groveled before Tai's feet. Jun was hiding her smile behind her hand and tittering gleefully in the background.
"Oh, brother," Kari rolled her eyes.
"You dare doubt my power, mortal maiden?" Tai demanded rounding on his sister with an evil leer showing he was enjoying this deception immensely. "Shall I recount the saga of how I traversed endless galaxies, riding the tail of a comet and living solely off stardust for nigh a millennia, only halting my adventurous quest when I heard this world cry out for a savior?"
"Somebody please stop him before he actually starts believing it himself," Sora said.
"Why look yonder!" Jun gasped delightedly joining in on the fun and pointing at something on the ground a few feet away. "There is all that remains of this mighty space warrior's mode of transportation!"
Walking over to it, Tai knelt before the twisted, blackened metal that once had been Jun's moped and clapped both hands together in a solemn prayer. "Rest in peace, noble steed, for you have delivered your heroes to their destination and the battle was won. Your sacrifice was not in vain."
He heard footsteps crunch upon the ground as Jun came to stand beside him as she bowed before her moped's remains. "Long will your swiftness of speed be told throughout generations. We swear the memory of your last valiant ride will never tarnish!"
"Good grief," Izzy murmured.
"Taichi-sempai," Davis said popping up beside him and breaking the spell. "I didn't want to do this, but you leave me no choice if you insist on continuing this atrocity of a relationship you have been caught in! This is for your own good!" the boy declared solemnly, pulling up a picture on his cell phone and shoving it into his sempai's face.
It took a few seconds for Tai to realize what he was seeing was a picture of Jun. Davis must have snapped it while she was sleeping. At least he assumed she was sleeping. He couldn't see her eyes from behind their cucumber slices that went along with the green avocado mask smeared all over her face. He took the cell phone out of Davis' hand to examine it more closely.
"Hmm?" Jun said peering over Tai's shoulder curiously. The girl's face blanched a sickly, ashen grey when she saw the picture. The color in her cheeks returned as swiftly as it had vanished: an embarrassed, angry red. "You little creep, I'm gonna murder you!" she screamed as she leaped forward to grasp her brother tightly by the throat and shake him roughly.
"See what you're really dating now? These are her true colors! She's a troll!" Davis managed to get out between his sister's vicious shakes. "A hideous, mean green troll! Run while you still can, sempai!"
Tai felt the edges of his mouth turn up in a soft smile as he stared at the picture. Jun lay sprawled across the couch wearing nothing but a baggy jersey t-shirt. One bare leg dangled over the edge of the cushion while her right arm clutched a half-eaten candy bar to her chest. Her mouth was gaping wide open caught in a mighty snore and traces of chocolate lingered around her lips. It was the most adorable thing he thought he had seen.
"DON'T LOOK AT IT!" Jun shrieked noticing him still gazing at the picture. She made a wild lunge at the cell phone in his hands, only for her injured ankle to cave in under her. Tai caught as she pitched forward and drew her close in his arms.
"I'm hideous," Jun moaned pathetically.
"What, this?" Tai said waving the cell phone a little. "That's nothing. You should see the picture Kari took of me when I was younger. Our family went on vacation and I fell asleep on the beach and she thought it would be really funny to put this volleyball net over me so when I woke up, I had sunburn in checkered-shaped patterns all over my body. I had to go to school like that for a whole week!"
Jun shoulders began shaking with muffled amusement before she lifted her head and burst out laughing full-force—a melodious, tinkling sound—and swifter than he could blink, tilted her head up and caught him full on the lips with a kiss.
It lasted quite longer than all their previous ones. For a few moments, Tai forgot they had an audience and lost himself in the sweet sensation of lips pressing against his own, of stealing into his mouth every soft noise Jun made, of allowing himself to be swept away in a molten river that left him dizzy and breathless when they finally pulled away from each other.
"Wow," Armadillomon's awed voice came from somewhere behind them. "What do you humans call that?"
"I don't know," Veemon replied. "But I think I want to try it with Gatomon—ouch!" came his painful yelp as Gatomon swiped him with her claws.
In the meantime, it soon became apparent that while Davis may have given them his blessing despite his attempts to dissuade Tai's mind on the issue, that didn't necessarily mean he was okay with the sight of them kissing right in front of him. Davis' last reserve finally shattered.
"Get away from Taichi-sempai!" he howled throwing himself at his sister and yanking on her arm harshly. "Get off! Get off! Get off!"
"Quit being a third wheel, twerp," Jun sniped, grabbing hold of the boy's goggles and pulling them back a ways before letting them go where they smacked soundly into her brother's head.
"GAH!" Davis shrieked clutching his skull as he glared at her. "DO ANYTHING ELSE, BUT DON'T DISS THE GOGGLES! THEY'RE OFF-LIMITS!"
"Goggle-head freak," Jun bit out with an annoyed glower.
"No, he's right," Tai spoke up in defense. "The goggles are sacred."
"Oh, no, not you too!" Jun sighed throwing her hands in the air exasperatedly. "Why is it always the hopeless ones I find myself drawn to?"
"See, Davis," Tai grinned. "Your sister does love you!"
"I don't want that kind of love!" Davis cried in protest.
"I never meant it that way, creep!" Jun exclaimed.
At which point when it looked as if the two Motomiya siblings were about to engage in an kindergarten-ish scuffle with each other, Tai flung both his arms around their shoulders and hugged them tightly, happy laughter tearing itself free from his chest.
A car horn sounded in the distance causing everyone to pause and look for the source. A news van appeared around the corner and rolled its way towards them carefully treading its course through the damaged streets.
"Oh, it better not be those spineless twits we passed camped outside the city earlier," Jun said savagely. "They think they deserve a story after bailing out then crawling back? I'll break their camera!"
"No, it's my dad," Matt said surprised, recognizing the van as it coasted to a stop in front of them. "What are you doing here?"
"I work at a news station, son," Mr. Ishida replied through the open window. "This is how I earn the rent for the apartment, although," he claimed sweeping his eyes about the ruined streets, desolate of any forms of life except the ones in front of him. "It looks like I missed all the action. Glad both my boys are alright," he said as T.K. rushed up to join them. "Would it have killed either of you to give your old man one phone call? Having to turn on the tv to see where the latest monster battle is taking place so I know where to locate my kids is not my idea of good parenting."
Two sets of sheepish smiles were the only apologizes he received as he shook his head in exasperation before turning his head to the vehicle's interior and ordering, "Alright, everybody, your ride ends here." The news van's doors slid opened and three Fuji TV Station crewmembers piled out with non-too pleased expressions.
"This is what you planned all along, didn't you, Hiroaki," the sole woman among them said irritably. "You knew there wouldn't be anything left to film by the time we got here."
"Well, actually, there's still some over there," one of the two men said issuing to the children's digimon and lifting his video camera to get a good shot.
"No filming," Mr. Ishida barked as he stepped out himsef, placing the lens cap over the camera's focus swiftly. "We didn't come into any contact with any monsters on this trip, right?"
"Right," the two news men echoed in a single, monotone voice.
The woman remained undeterred. "You just wanted an excuse to gain access to the van so you could drive here, didn't you?"
"I know how these so-called monsters' anatomies work," Mr. Ishida proclaimed gazing at the digimon. "They don't remain that size for very long. I couldn't leave any of these kids out in the cold all night either. Their parents would be worried and this place will be swarming with military soon."
"That's alright, Dad, our Digimon still have strength left. They can carry whoever is left back home, or at least as close to it as possible," Matt said.
The younger Digidestined's partners had digivolved back to Rookie as well as most of the older team's. Only MegaKabuteriemon and Garudamon remained in their higher level forms, it seemed for this very purpose.
"Some of us need to stay behind to close the gateway up on Mt. Fuji," Izzy spoke up, reminding everyone of priorities. "Ken, Yolei, can come with me. I'll need your D-3s. We'll search until we find it."
"The van seats eight not including you," the news woman continued to press Mr. Ishida relentlessly. "Even if some do get to fly back, that still leaves seven kids plus us three to take into account."
"I can do the math, Mizuki," Mr. Ishida grinned at her. A truly, terrifying, wily grin.
In the end, it was Mr. Ishida's co-workers who had the unlucky lot of riding back to Tokyo with the sci-fi fanatics and not by their own choosing.
"I swear, Hiroaki," Mizuki hissed at her boss as she and her companions loaded their equipment into the white van now sitting upright on four tires courtesy of Garuddamon. "You're going to pay for this."
"These people were eyewitnesses to everything that happened here, Kishimoto," Mr. Ishida said clapping a friendly hand to her shoulder. "They even gave one of these 'digimon' a ride. I bet you three can uncover quite the story on a two-hour drive."
"Omigosh, are you like doing a news scoop on us?" one of the male sci-fi fanatics piped up enthusiastically. "Are we gonna be on tv? This is it gang!" he whooped to his friends, "A chance to share the truth of extraterrestrial life forms to the ignorant masses and calling out the fraudulent media on their poor attempt to cover it up! No offense," he added in an afterthought to Mizuki who looked like she wanted very badly to kick the man in his shins.
"Alright, the van seats eight, not counting me," Mr. Ishida said. "You kids decide on the seating arrangements."
"Looks like some of you already have," Gatomon spoke up, a gleeful purr lacing her words as she and Hawkmon peered into the interior of the van.
Curious, Kari wandered over. "What do you mea—oh," she squeaked, feeling her cheeks heat up.
Jun and Tai had already lay claim to the backseat and it seemed that the day's long adventure had at last taken its toll on them. The two of them sat side by side, their heads resting on the back of the seat's cushion and tilted towards each other, both their faces slack and relaxed as they slumbered peacefully. Tai's right hand was clasped limply in Jun's left, their wrists sporting the other's headband and charm bracelet were draped over Agumon who was stretched across both their laps with a contented smile on his lips.
"Give me your camera for a moment, Kari," Mimi whispered as she viewed the scene with a a kind of fiendish excitement.
Kari handed it to her wordlessly, her face still flushed in second-hand embarrassment.
A flash of light went off as Mimi took a picture, holding back what sounded like smothered giggles. "This is going straight into the Odaiba High School yearbook," she stated with relish.
"Remind me never to get on your bad side," Joe said.
To Be Continued…
A/N: Wow, I seriously didn't mean to take a five-month hiatus. I just really wanted to tie up the Fujiyoshida incident in one chapter. No more drawing it out. I'm sorry the battle scenes were lacking. I think I can write them sufficiently one-on-one but put several Digimon fighting an army? I shudder to describe that. Hopefully, the reunion and plot for future chapters made up for lack of action? And for the title, well, I couldn't think of anything else and I didn't want to waste more time racking my brain for one when I could be uploading this instead. So, because I basically listened to the Digimon movie OST on repeat while writing this, there you go!^^
Fun Facts: Not even gonna deny it. Three-fourths of the way done, and I realized I was channeling Thor for WarGreymon. Yeah… um, *scratches head* well, it just seems fitting. I think they're both similar. Strong, powerful, maybe not as sharply deep-thinking as their darker brothers (BlackWarGreymon), but certainly not dim-witted oafs either. They both know when to hold back their strength, and how to talk reason. And it's really my fault for trying to finish this chapter after reading an omnibus of Thor fics! XD
So, I have a tumblr now (same penname), so if you are wondering if I am dead when I am not updating or want to ask any questions about the fic, character or plot-wise, I'll be happy to answer. Also, I shouldn't ever slack off like this again because now I have a beta to kick my muse into high-gear when it's being lazy. Ohohohoho! Rejoice!^w^
I hope you have enjoyed reading this! Please review and share your thoughts. I love hearing what you liked best and it's the only reward a fanfic author gets. I like knowing what my readers think and feel. Thank you!^^