First things first. For those of you who had this fic on alert, my apologies for reposting that last chapter. I meant to put this one up, but somehow deleted the other by accident, then realised it was another chapter for another fic I'd completed and this one still wasn't quite over and done with. And it took a while to finish up. My bad there…and it was an accident mind you. Sometimes I repost them because the chapter isn't showing up properly.
On another note, truth be told, I was rather disappointed with the reception of the last chapter, or really on the majority of my digimon fics, particularly multichaptered, of late. As far as I can tell, my writing and plot and character working has improved over the years, however I feel like I'm getting far less appreciation for my efforts. With some fics specifically I wonder if it's worth spending all that time working with plots and plans and actual chapters if only one or two people out of hundreds are going to appreciate it? Or even say anything other than just flicking through the chapter. If you're an author, you should understand how it feels to have people comment and reflect on your work. It's the thing that really makes it worthwhile, otherwise I'm just writing for me, in which case I'm not obliged to ever put it down on paper (or MS word in this case) if I can essentially read the entire story in my mind. Can you guys understand that?
Sorry for the monologue, but the lack of feedback recently does really have me down. And I know for a fact it's not just me. But I am starting to wonder whether or not it's time to retire my account.
Back to the fic. We're back to Takuya and Agumon, and more Chosen and their partners are introduced this chapter. It is partially based off episode 2 of Digimon Tamers…very loosely in fact. Mostly hiding Agumon from family, school fiascos…but they differ too. This is an AU after all. This was supposed to be quite a humorous chapter, but it's still important in the scheme of things, particularly in introducing new characters. This chapter sets up several things, provided I get it up some time this year.
AU. It started off as a card game. But it became so much more as spirits long since sealed emerged, and with them, chaos. Frontier, pseudo-crossover with tamers.
Chapter 3 – A Digimon Tea Party
'Dammit,' Takuya cursed. 'Can't you stay out of trouble?'
Agumon's green eyes blinked at him innocently as he poked one his three long ebony claws into his mouth, much like a toddler did when they wanted something to suck.
'Takuya,' his mother yelled from downstairs, and he froze. 'What are you doing having a shower this early in the morning?'
'Uh…' He said the first thing that popped into his mind. Once the words were out of his mouth however, he would have done anything to retract them. 'I kind of wet my bed!' he yelled at the top of his lungs.
There was a laugh outside the bathroom. His little brother's.
'You're still wetting your bed,' he chortled.
'Dammit Shinya, if you ever mention this to anybody else…'
He sincerely hoped the threat had not fallen on deaf ears as it so appeared, otherwise he'd have a time showing his face out the door.
'Oh dear.' Oh great. His mother had come up too. 'Are you feeling sick or something? Did you have a nightmare? You know you can come to your father and I?'
'I'll bet it was a nightmare,' Shinya chortled. 'You were making all these weird noises all night long.'
Those weird noises were actually Agumon not knowing how to sit still. But he couldn't exactly tell his family that. As it was, he had lucked out when he popped the digimon in the attic temporarily. The entrance was in his bedroom, and the roof was compartmentalised…which meant the Child couldn't go thumping further than the four corners that limited his space. Shinya would have heard him though. And he would bring it up now.
Although he had, perhaps unknowingly, given him a good excuse.
'Shinya, go downstairs and finish your breakfast.'
'Yeah, nightmare,' he answered through the closed door, clamping his hands around the digimon's jaw so he didn't say something. 'Watched too many horror fics last night.'
There was a pause, then a sigh. 'Are you sure there's nothing wrong?'
'Oh yeah 'kaa-san.' His brain was thinking furiously to explain away the "wetting bed" part. Preferably something that didn't involve…well, everyone knew that. 'I…' Some water splashed onto the side and he quickly turned off the taps.
He blinked at the water, than at their personalised water cups, just in case they got thirsty during the night.
It gave him an idea.
'I woke up afterwards and was thirsty so I got a glass of water but was so sleepy I fell asleep before finishing.' He gave an awkward laugh to puncture the statement. 'Kinda spilt when I fell asleep.'
There was a sigh on the other side. 'You know the rules,' Kanbara Yuriko said severely. 'No taking food or drink into the bedroom.'
'Hai 'kaa-san,' Takuya mumbled, trying to sound ashamed. He was lucky the door was in the way. It was a lot harder to lie to mothers when they were looking you in the eye. 'I'll try not to do it again.'
'Now hurry up and get ready for school. And don't even think about playing that thermometer trick on your father again.'
'Hai 'kaa-san,' he said again.
There was the sound of footsteps after that, indicating his mother had gone back downstairs.
He breathed a sigh of relief. 'Thank goodness.'
Agumon blinked at him.
'Oh, don't look at me like that,' Takuya grumbled. 'How the heck am I supposed to keep you hidden all the time?'
The lizard took his claw out of his mouth, and then yawned. 'It's boring,' he whined.
Well…he could understand that. But what the heck could he do about it?
'Don't forget.' His mother suddenly appeared at the door again, causing him to jump and clamp his hands over his partner's jaw again. 'You're running errands for your grandmother after school today.'
'Don't worry 'kaa-san,' he yelled back. 'I'll remember.'
He breathed another sigh of relief, sincerely thanking both Lady Luck and his grandparents. Both of them were rather…absent-minded. Chances were they wouldn't notice an orange lizard. And if they did…well, he'd just say it was a watch-dog. They'll forget soon anyway. It made shopping for them a little difficult though. His record was twelve trips.
They were getting old. It was understandable. He wouldn't trade his grandparents for the world though. They told the best stories.
'Are we going somewhere?' Agumon blinked again.
'I am going to school,' the brunette replied. 'You are-' He paused. He couldn't well leave Agumon alone in the house. It'd turn into a hurricane site.
'We're going somewhere,' the reptile cheered, dancing around in an odd sort of jig.
'Don't get so excited,' Takuya cautioned. 'School isn't all that great.'
What am I going to do with him? Then he grinned. Ah, what the heck. It's the coolest thing since the card game. I've got my very own Digimon.
'Takuya, are you done with the bathroom? I'd like to shave some time before this afternoon.'
'Shush,' he hissed, hurriedly to his digimon, soaking himself. After all, he'd have to look like he had a bath at the very least. 'Nearly done.'
Junpei shuffled his deck again.
'C'mon,' he muttered to it. 'One more time.'
He drew a card, looking at the Kunemon image it on it.
'Ladies and gentlemen,' he said to his empty room. 'Boys and girls, here I have here…' He flourished the card. 'Kunemon! Lightning covers his body with electric blue and stunning yellow. He's one of the smallest Child Digimon in the game, but his Electric Thread packs a powerful wallop. But let's watch him get even stronger.'
He spun the card, swapping it rapidly in his hands before slipping it discreetly up his sleeve and swapping it for the second card he had put there earlier.
'Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the K-a blue card?'
He stared at the card. He was sure he had put Kabuterimon up his sleeve. Heck, he was sure he didn't even have a blue card.
He tossed it on his desk and quickly wafted through his deck, searching for Kabuterimon. Part of him was annoyed the trick had failed again. And it should have been a simple trick by all accounts.
He found it eventually, only because it fell out of his sleeve in the shuffling. But Kunemon had disappeared off the face of his bedroom. He'd even checked under the bed to be sure.
'But I just had it in my hand,' he mumbled in confusion, staring at the blue one once more. 'What the heck is this thing anyway?'
He shuffled around for his scanner, finally withdrawing it from under his jumpsuit.
'Let's see what you're made of.'
The card neatly swiped through, and zeroes and ones filled the screen. He tried to follow them for a moment, but then the reader began to overheat.
'Oh no,' he muttered, dropping it to the carpet where it spat and smoked. 'Those things cost a fortu-'
Right before his eyes, the blue plastic was morphing and changing shape in a wave of light. Once it was done, a navy blue and yellow device blinked up at him, screen flashing merrily.
He knelt down and hesitantly touched, jerking his hand back immediately before realising he had felt no burn as he had expected. In fact, the plastic was very cool to his touch.
He reached for it again, and the screen stopped blinking, turning to a dark grey. The blue card he had dropped however began to fade away into pixels, and once the teen blinked and stared again, it was back to being Kunemon.
He touched his favourite card with the other hand, then fell backwards in shock as both card and device shot out from under his hands, coming together.
The next moment, a yellow wasp grub was slinking its way towards him, the new device in hand, before depositing it in his lap.
'Are you my friend?' he asked.
Junpei just stared.
'I'm Kunemon.' He tilted his head slightly. Without hands, or eyes for that matter (unless he could see from the lightning designs that decorated his face), there wasn't much more he could do. 'You're my friend, aren't you?'
'Err…I guess so.'
He reared on his two hind-most legs, hugging him with the four at the front. 'Oh thank you! Thank you! Thank you!'
Junpei awkwardly patted him with a finger.
And then his alarm went off, totally ruining the moment.
'Darn it,' he exclaimed as the insectoid jumped. 'Sorry 'bout that, forgot to turn it off.'
The lightning designs on his face were suddenly leaking tears.
'No-one's ever said sorry to me before,' he sniffed.
'Don't get over-emotional!'
'Um…Takuya? Are you okay?'
Teruo looked up from the cards he had been sorting through, watching Takuya drag in his heavy bag.
The other brunette grunted an incomprehensible reply and collapsed face-down.
'Hey you two.' Junpei poked his head in, finding Takuya on the floor. 'What's with you?'
'Please don't ask,' he groaned, wriggling out from under the bag and plopping down on his usual pillow. 'Oww, I'm going to have osteposis by the time I'm thirty.'
'Osteposis?' Teruo repeated. 'Don't you mean osteoporosis?'
'Yeah, that.' Then he grinned a little cheesily. 'Why are we talking about old grandpa's anyway? Let's play a few rounds.'
Junpei and Teruo exchanged glances and the former shrugged.
'Attention span of a gnat,' he whispered under his breath, before nearly jumping out of his skin at a snort of laughter. 'what the heck?'
Teruo just shook his head. Takuya apparently hadn't even heard them.
'Seriously guys, what are you…oh oh.'
He had just realised he didn't have his scanner, due to the simple fact that it had turned into some sort of digivice.
'I-er…' He rubbed a mat at the back of his head. 'I forgot my scanner at home.'
'Me too,' Junpei said, a little more honestly. He actually had left the scanner-turned-digivice under the bed…just for safe-keeping.
Ever the studious one, the third member of their trio pulled out a pen and loose scrap of paper. 'We can keep score here,' he said, putting them both in the middle before picking up his loose cards, quickly shuffling them (and unlike Junpei, not losing any in the process) before laying them face-down.
Three minutes later, Takuya managed to withdraw his, but by that time the pair had already started a match.
'No fair,' he exclaimed.
Junpei shrugged. 'Be more organised next time,' he said flatly, calling Tentomon out to his front line. 'You can score keep if you want.'
'Gee, thanks,' the other said sarcastically. 'There's nothing I like more than score-keeping.'
Teruo deliberated over his cards a moment, ignoring his two bickering friends. He always seemed to do that, plotting out viable strategies in his head even before he had drawn a card. The result was that many a time the drawn card was either complementary to the strategy or not, in which case it was totally useless and he didn't even give it a backwards glance till the start of the next turn.
Junpei only had Tentomon on his field. It was true the game was young, but he liked to get in an advantage quick. Once you lost ground, it was very difficult to get it back. And he wasn't one to believe in miracles.
He had the cards to summon out Piedmon right in his hand. Perhaps not his favourite card, but it certainly packed a powerful punch. To be honest, it was just the clown face that got to him, but it did complement his deck rather nicely. Damage was decreased by 20% when hit with a close range attack, it had wind protection when facing long range attacks, and its long distance attacks were quite powerful as well. The card game had simplified rules when compared to its video-game counterpart, but it could not be denied that with an attack of 620, it came in handy. Of course, its effect wasn't nearly as valuable, but it was a useful start. Especially since it would last, at the very least, a few turns. And that should be enough for him to draw The Activation of the Holy Sword Summoning Formation to call out Alphamon and deal an extremely crucial blow.
One thing he rather disliked about the game was the amount of raw power it relied on. He was by far a fan of the video archive, where digimon could use tricks and cheats to battle their way through the arenas and plains. It was a world where a dreamer like Tapirmon could use its joys and woes to change others to his advantage, where he could equip him with Piedmon's swords to give him a both a long range and a short advantage. Where he could use Alphamon's one turn kill to wipe out the opposition in a spectator's finale…and only needing to use it once because his targets had tied themselves together, lost and confused in nightmares while seeking dreams.
There was a lot more in it. The cards were just paper. Though they did have their advantages. One was a human opponent, though he would have liked there to be more variety with the possible plays. The latest winner of the Digimon Grand Prix had pretty much exploited every trick in the book.
'Are you going to take your turn Teruo?' Takuya asked, having scrawled a barely readable "zero" on each half of the page.
He shrugged and drew a card, before blinking and tossing it away. Blue cards. Someone had probably been playing a prank on him. It wouldn't be the first time either, but the look on Takuya's face told him it wasn't the brunette who was responsible this time.
The card landed by his scanner, and starting glowing unnoticed. It was only when the device shrieked that he turned in mid-play.
'What the heck?' The boy, who normally thought it rather unbecoming to curse, did exactly that, blinking as his green device changed into a smaller one, loosing several shades of colour and adding silver to the décor.
The new digivice shot into his hands, and the moment he touched it, his deck exploded in a flurry of activity. Somehow, in the chaos, a Tapirmon card found itself scanned, and with another brilliant flash of light, a life-sized Child digimon was blinking dreamily up at him.
Teruo's mouth fell open in shock, and if it wasn't held to the rest of his face by its hinges, it would have probably crashed to the ground as Agumon exploded out of Takuya's backpack and sniffed the air.
'I smell a digimon,' he said, sniffing again, before blinking at the dream taper. 'Ooh, is he another friend? Is he Takuyamon?'
'It's Takuya, not Takuyamon,' the brunette muttered standing up and burying a fist into the other's head, ignoring the yelp of pain. 'And I already told you, no speaking, coming out of my backpack or causing any sort of trouble.'
'There's no trouble here,' the new digimon said serenely. 'And it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Bakumon.'
'I'm…Teruo,' Teruo blinked, before rubbing his eyes. 'I'm dreaming, aren't I?'
'Life is a dream,' Bakumon replied.
Teruo blinked again. 'You said your name was…Bakumon?'
'Is there something wrong with my name?' The taper tilted his head, looking rather adorable.
No-one noticed the wasp larvae crawl out of Junpei's bag and onto his shoulder.
'Right. Bakumon, not Tapirmon.' He closed his eyes, before opening them again and staring as his two friends. 'I'm definitely hallucinating. Is there any reason why you two aren't-' He cut himself off as Agumon suddenly stared into his face, snout a mere inch from his nose.
To his credit, he didn't shriek and jump back. He just closed his eyes, shook his head, and blindly shoved the orange lizard aside as he gathered up his things, taking the pen from Takuya.
'I'm outta here,' he muttered, turning to go.
'But-' Takuya began, only to be stopped by Junpei.
'Leave him,' the elder brunette explained. 'It is rather shocking seeing a digimon pop out of no-where like that.'
Takuya didn't really get it. 'That's no reason to just run off and leave the other guy behind.' He pointed to the pair, the hyperactive lizard nudging the sleepy taper.
'You dream of winning,' he said suddenly, looking straight into the brown eyes.
'Huh?' Takuya blinked for a moment, before shrugging. 'Well, yeah. I guess. I do love to win, so…I guess so.'
'I smell another digimon,' Agumon said suddenly, staring at the other, before suddenly charging.
Junpei yelped before a string of electricity shot past his ear, striking the lizard. All it did was make the other slow down slightly. 'Are we fighting?' he blinked, before opening his mouth.
'A misunderstanding,' Bakumon said before anyone else could answer, easily adapting into the role of peacekeeper. 'Smiles show a sharing of dreams.'
'Err…right. That makes no sense whatsoever.' Takuya shrugged it off. 'What was that electric worm anyway?'
'He's not a worm,' Junpei said automatically. 'His name's Kunemon. He's my partner.'
Agumon sniffed the other who scurried.
'Partner huh? Does yours cause trouble and can't sit still?'
'Now why does that remind me of you 'kuya?' Junpei asked rhetorically, before blinking as he heard a bell in the distance. 'Oh no, we're late.'
'So why are we running there?' Takuya panted as they both took up at a sprint, the former yelling at the three digimon to stay in their little hideout and stay out of trouble. 'It's not like it'll make a difference.'
'We could at least try to make it before they close the doors,' the other panted right back.
It wasn't till fifth period that things really started going crazy.
Takuya had art at that point in time, and he was busy scribbling illegible digimon in a scrap-book when there was a sort of commotion outside, then a high pitched scream.
'Monster!' someone shrieked.
'Monster?' Takuya repeated. Neat. I wonder if it's another digimon.
But when he snuck out of class (under the pretence of going to the toilet), he found himself face to face with Agumon.
'I told you to stay,' he scolded, before shrugging. 'I guess you were bored.'
Kunemon crawled up at that point. 'He wouldn't listen,' he said apologetically.
'Never mind. I take it you were bored too.'
The electric digimon shook his head. 'No, not bored. I'm tired of running.'
Takuya blinked at that, but Agumon at that point sniffed the air. 'I smell food.'
'I don't know how you can even stand the smell of the cafeteria food,' Takuya muttered. 'I'd much rather fight my way through the soccer team.'
'Ooh, a fight.' Agumon sniffed the air again, before running off.
'Electric thread.' But the spike of thunder fell too short as the orange lizard vanished from view.
A few minutes later, there was another shriek.
'Ah, drat.' He paused, then hollered: 'Agu-'
Someone covered his mouth.
'Are you that much of an idiot to go out yelling digimon about?' Teruo's voice hissed in his ear. 'How are you going to explain it when someone hears.'
'Erm, to be honest, I didn't really think about that.'
Teruo removed his hand as the other scratched the back of his head. It would be a miracle if he still had hair there by the time he turned twenty.
'If we tell people digimon suddenly showed up, we'll probably get locked up in an asylum…or they'll get taken to some lab and experimented on.'
The look in his silvery eyes was so intense that even the happy-go-lucky brunette backed up. 'Alright,' he said in slight alarm. 'But then we better catch them.'
Then he blinked again. 'Hold on, I thought you were in denial.'
Teruo just shrugged, holding out his other arm, and the taper that swirled around it, suddenly blinking into view and then disappearing again. 'This is rather indisputable evidence.'
He sprinted off down the corridor. Lucky, it had just been a first grader, and they'd managed to convince her it was a classmate playing a prank.
'Now get back to the hideout and stay there,' Takuya ordered Agumon. 'I'll pick you up when we're going to grandpa's.'
'But I smell a digimon,' Agumon whined.
'I smell anger,' Bakemon added, appearing again. 'And loneliness.'