Hello! Oh God, where has the year gone? I am SOOOO sorry that I have failed to update in all that time. But hey! Bright side! Today marks 15 years of Digimon (anime) from 1999-2014! YAY! And you know what that's always meant! SUPER MASSIVE DIGIMON FAN FIC UPDATE! So I hope you can forgive me for the year long hiatus and enjoy new chapters for Ultimate Gathering, Parent Worries, and Drowning Memories! Ok, enough of that, you've waited a YEAR, so go ahead and read! Enjoy and review!


Chapter 27: Four Spirits of Darkness

The moment LadyDevimon was destroyed the Dokugumon started to turn on each other, fighting themselves as well as the DigiDestined, just as Koichi had said they would. Without their mistress, the Dokugumon were without direction and mindless in their destruction.

"This needs to end," Lobomon said grimly.

"Agreed," Beetlemon grunted. "Time to bring out the heavy artillery."

"Will you fit in here as MetalKabutarimon?" Lobomon asked.

"I should so long as I don't stand up to full height. The ceiling is high enough, so it shouldn't be too big of a problem," Beetlemon shrugged. "It's Beast Spirits like Korikakumon, and Yutaka's that won't be of much use in here. They're too big and won't be able to move around too much. Of course I'll be too big too, so once I shift spirits, my mobility is shot to zero."

"Understood," Lobomon nodded. "Yutaka! Tommy! Davis! Jun!"

Kumamon, Ishimon, Ningyomon and Tetsukomon looked up from where they'd driven back a wave of Dokugumon and hurried over to their friends. Kazemon made sure that the way was clear and that the Dokugumon were too preoccupied with themselves or by the Odaiba DigiDestined's Digimon before following as well.

"Yutaka, Tommy," Lobomon said as soon as they were in hearing range, "JP is going to change into MetalKabuterimon, but he's not going to be able to move much once he does. I want you two to keep any Dokugumon that manage to get close away from him. Davis, how big is your Beast Spirit? Will he fit in here?"

Tetsukomon shook his head. "Technically he could, but his movements would be severely restricted."

"Right," Lobomon nodded in understanding. "Then I want you and Jun to get the others back. MetalKabutarimon's canons are powerful and I don't want them within the blast zone."

"What about us, Koji?" Kazemon asked.

"You and I should switch over to our Beast Spirits as well," he told her. "We'll be able to provide a lot more cover and protection for the others' retreat and supply MetalKabuterimon with back up."

"Got it."

With a plan in place, Beetlemon got busy finding an ideal position for him to be in once he was MetalKabuterimon. Kumamon and Ishimon stuck close, keeping any stray Dokugumon at bay while Lobomon, Kazemon, Tetsukomon, and Ningyomon rejoined the others.

"Pull back!" Lobomon ordered. "We have a plan."

"Just trust him!" Tetsukomon barked when he saw a few of his Odaiba friends about to protest.

Tai nodded, and repeated the order; having his group fall back and retreat, while Lobomon and Kazemon remained behind.

Once Lobomon deemed that the Odaiba group was back far enough, he signaled his team and he, Kazemon, and Beetlemon slid into KendoGarurumon, Zephyrmon, and MetalKabuterimon.

"Whoa!" Tai breathed when he saw the size of JP's Beast Spirit and the heavy weaponry he was sporting. "I can see why you had us pull back."

"Yeah, MetalKabuterimon's canons pack quite the punch," Tetsukomon grinned.

"MetalKabuterimon," Izzi repeated in surprise.

"Yup," the Warrior of Steel nodded. "And Koji's now KendoGarurumon."

Matt hummed, nodding his head, seeing the resemblance between Koji's Beast Spirit and his own Digimon Partner's DigiVolution line.

"And what's the name of Zoe's Beast Spirit?" Ningyomon asked.


"Prodigious," Izzi mused, watching as MetalKabuterimon began to hum, his head canon charging up. Kumamon, Ishimon, KendoGarurumon and Zephyrmon were all preoccupied with holding off any stray Dokugumon while their friend readied his attack.

"Guys, get back!" MetalKabuterimon suddenly roared, his friends retreating behind him without hesitation. "ELECTRON CANON!"

The massive energy blast plowed through the remaining Dokugumon and disintegrated everything it encountered yet allowed the ruins to remain intact. It even cleared away all the webs and dust. The building's structure did quake with the impact, though, but it did eventually resettle without collapsing on top of them all.

MetalKabuterimon let out a sigh of relief before allowing himself to break the spirit evolution, splitting back into JP and Zapamon.

The others did the same. Koji and Zoe picked up their partners who'd been reduced back to their In-Training forms like JP's had. Tommy and Yutaka's partners were still Rookies, however.

"Holy crap," TK breathed as he watched the Warrior DigiDestined rejoin them. Davis and Jun changed back too.

"That was exhausting," Jun groaned as she picked her now In-Training level partner.

"Well two nearly back to back Spirit Evolutions will do that to ya," Davis grinned at his sister.

"Not bad for your first time," Koji smiled as his group joined them. "You too, Yutaka. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that you'd been fighting with us for years."

"That's because Taka is a first dan rank in Tai Kwan Do," Tommy informed them all with pride.

"First dan?" Mimi repeated.

"It means that Yutaka is essentially the equivalent of a first degree black belt Karate fighter," Izzi said.

"Oh!" Mimi said. "So he's really good."

"Very," Tommy grinned up at his older brother with pride.

"You guys sure kicked some ass out there," Matt mused, looking out at the now empty and cleared way ahead of them.

"You lot weren't so bad yourself," Zoe smiled.

"Where is Koichi?" Koji frowned.

The group looked around and realized that the Warrior of Light was right.

"Flamemon is missing as well," Davis said, feeling a tendril of dread.

"Joe and Gomamon too," Sora said worriedly.

"Izzi, see if you can detect their digivice signals," Tai said.

"Already on it," Izzi said, typing away at his laptop. "I can't detect Koichi's D-Tector – my systems are unfamiliar with its signal, but I do have a faint trace on Joe's digivice…"

"I've got a bad feeling about this, Joe," Gomamon complained.

"I do too, which is why we couldn't let him go alone," Joe frowned, watching the DigiDestined of Darkness walk ahead of them with Flamemon.

"We should have told someone," Gomamon continued to nag.

"Who?" Joe countered. "Everyone else was engaged in the fight with the Dokugumon and LadyDevimon. There wasn't time to alert anyone else."

Gomamon sighed, but knew that his partner was right. Even those who hadn't been fighting, like Mimi, Palmon, Michael, and Betamon, had been so engrossed in the fight that they hadn't noticed Koichi go into the trance and start to walk away. No one had been paying any attention to Koichi after Kari started talking about how she could hear the Dokugumon's cries of pain. The only reason Joe had noticed was because he'd heard how the boy's last statement had trailed off and saw his eyes dim. There hadn't been any time to grab anyone else's attention because Koichi had been on the move, somehow finding an opening in a nearby wall and slipped away virtually unnoticed. Flamemon had taken the task Davis had assigned him seriously, however, and had been on the boy's heels from the start. Not wanting to loose the two, Joe had grabbed Gomamon and followed.

Now they were traveling downwards, deeper and deeper underground and into the dark with only Flamemon's fire to light the way. But the deeper they went, the dimmer the flames' light seemed to become, the darkness becoming an almost overwhelming physical force. It was becoming harder see and to keep up with Koichi without slowing down and avoiding any precarious footing. Joe had already stumbled five times within the last ten minutes.

Finally the ground leveled out and the decline they'd been transversing had stopped. It wasn't the only thing to stop either. Koichi had frozen in his tracks and Joe nearly ran into him.


"They're here," Koichi murmured. "You three should wait here. You won't be allowed to go any further. Flamemon's fire will go out if you do and you'll be at the mercy of the shadows otherwise."

Joe and Gomamon gulped. He didn't want the boy (a young man, really, when you considered how old he was supposed to be) to go off on his own, but knew that every Warrior DigiDestined had had to confront their spirit partners alone.

"…All right. We'll wait here," Joe informed him.

Koichi nodded, continuing on without another word and was swallowed by the darkness almost instantly. Looking down at the ground, the three left noticed that the light case from Flamemon's fire stopped abruptly as if a wall or barrier of darkness of some kind was preventing any light from going any further. Joe sighed, taking a few steps back and sat down on the ground to wait. Flamemon did the same after suspending several more fireballs in the air around them, their brilliance was returning now that Koichi was gone, but never past that wall, providing them with a clear boundary line. He never took his eyes off the stretch of darkness in front of them, however.

Koichi had no problem "seeing" in the dark. Koji had asked once to describe what it was like. It wasn't so much seeing as it was sensing. He had no vision, like one did with night vision goggles, or infrared. It was hard to describe how he could see, but the best way to describe it was to compare what he could "see" to blueprints. Everything was still pitch black, but there were distinct boundaries for objects and people, white outlines made from their spirit energies providing him with a sketchy looking outline. The more spirit energy, like those in living people and animals and Digimon, the more defined the sketch-like impression was.

Right now everything was a vague outline of the passageways, but they were getting clearer and more defined the further he went. Finally he came upon a space that was so saturated with spirit energies that he might as well be in a black and white movie. Everything was clear in many bright shades of greys. He saw Löwemon and JägerLöwemon waiting for him, but Duskmon and Velgamon were there too.

"'Bout time you showed up," JägerLöwemon growled. "These two were getting on our last nerve."

Duskmon looked amused, but Velgamon just looked restless. Löwemon let out a put-upon sounding sigh, shaking his head.

"You know what is required of you, I trust?" The purified Human Spirit of Darkness asked.

"I have to accept all aspects of Darkness," Koichi nodded. "The bad as well as the good. I've known this for a while now, I think. I cannot erase my sins for the actions I committed as Duskmon and Velgamon in the past, but I can make up for them."

"You can't always play martyr and hero, kid," Duskmon said, eyes narrowed. "You'll have to dirty your hands this time too. You can't hold back. Even if the ends result in a positive for good, the means may have to be questionable. Can you accept that you'll have to use us to commit actions that your friends may frown upon?"

"Yes," Koichi said, eyes shining with conviction. "I am aware of all of this. Lets just get this over with. I have an overprotective brother and worried friends to get back to."

"Not one for small talk, huh?" Duskmon chuckled. "Very well. Lets begin."

The other three spirits nodded, and they all spread out and around Koichi. Löwemon stood in front of him, Duskmon behind, JägerLöwemon on his left, and Velgamon on his right. Koichi pulled his D-Tector out and faced it towards Löwemon. Löwemon nodded, raising his hand, palm out towards the digivice and a black beam shot out at it. Everything around Koichi began to dim until there was nothing but the darkness. The air around him started to grow cold, however, and all at once he felt his partner's energies slam together inside of him, the purified goodness of Löwemon and JägerLöwemon clashing with the evil taint of Duskmon and Velgamon. Hot and cold, ice and fire, beating winds and crushing earth all seemed to bombard him with feeling, overwhelming him until he felt as if he were being torn in so many directions and ways he was falling apart.

Just as the pain reached it's unbearable peek, the goodness in his purified spirits began to dim, and the vile evil in the tainted spirits began to mellow and brighten until everything was numb and neutral. Good and evil no longer existed so one-sided in either of the spirits anymore.

Koichi gasped as he regained awareness of his surroundings and his "vision" returned.

"So it's been done."

Koichi knew that voice! He looked up and not only saw his new spirit partner – a double of Strabimon, but one that would undoubtedly be black and white instead of blue-grey and white – but Agunimon was there as well.

Back at the bottom of the staircase, Joe, Gomamon and Flamemon were still waiting. It had been a long time since Koichi had stepped into the shadows, but so far nothing had happened. The tunnels had shaken earlier, but that had come from above, not ahead, so Joe could only assume that things had some sort of high point (for good or bad) with their friends in their fight against Lady Devimon and the Dokugumon. Half an hour had past since then.


Startled, Joe jumped to his feet and whirled around in time to spot Tai and the others.

"Hey!" Joe smiled in relief. "I take it you took care of the Dokugumon infestation?"

"Yeah, no thanks to you," Mimi joked. "You really worried us, disappearing like that, Joe."

"Sorry about that guys, but Koichi was on the move and I didn't think it wise to let him and Flamemon wander off by themselves."

"Thank you," Koji said, sincerely grateful that the older boy had taken it upon himself to watch out for Koichi.

"Good thing you had," Izzi said. "We couldn't get a signal from Koichi's D-Tector, so we tracked yours hoping that you two were together."

"Well we were until he told us to wait here outside of what I assume is the boundary to where ever his spirit partners have been residing," Joe said, pointing out the spot where all light suddenly halted.

"How long has he been gone?" Koji asked.

"About forty, forty-five minutes, give or take?" Joe mused, looking at his digivice for the time.

"I hope he's alright," Zoe murmured. "Unlike the rest of us, he has to face four spirit partners, two of which…"

No one wanted to talk after that grim reminder. They all hunkered down to wait and after fifteen minutes Davis noticed something.

"Hey guys! That boundary line is gone!"

It was true. Light no longer stopped in a line, but kept going until it petered out in the shadows.

"What does it mean?" Kari asked.

"It means Koichi's accepted his spirits," Koji said grimly, standing back up from where he'd been resting. "It's over."

"Funny, I was expecting an explosion or an earthquake of some kind to announce that little occasion," JP snickered. "This kinda seems a little anticlimactic after what happened with Jun and Yutaka."

"Be careful what you wish for." A cultured voice cackled from the shadows.

"It can't be," Tai gasped, jumping to his feet.

"What?" Koji asked.

Everyone was edging back, mixed looks of shock, fear and anger flashing across the original eight Odaiba DigiDestined's faces.

"…Piedmon," Matt growled as the clown mega Digimon himself sauntered out of the shadows.

"I'm back boys and girls! And oh goody," Piedmon grinned. "Just who I wanted to see. It seems that the little kiddies have grown up and have brought new brats along to join their little club. You'd better start running, children, because I am not in the mood for games this time. I'll even give you a head start!"

"Run!" Tai yelped as the clown drew out his swords.


The swords missed them all, but that seems to be the evil clown Digimon's intent because it got them all running back up to the surface.

"What about Koichi!" Koji asked, Matt dragging the reluctant Warrior of Light along.

"Where ever he is, he's a lot safe than us at the moment!" Sora reassured him.

"Is he following us?" Kari asked.

"No, I think he was serious about giving us a head start," TK panted. "He may have said that he's not in the mood for games, but he's still messing around with us."

"It's no fun if the prey is all in one spot and off guard," JP said grimly. "This guy seems to enjoy the chase."

"Pretty much!" Tai laughed. "But when he catches you, he really catches you! He turned those of us that he caught into key chains last time."

"Tai! This is not the time for jokes!" Izzi snapped. "What are we going to do?! It took all of us at our strongest to defeat him last time and without our crests, none of our Digimon can digivolve beyond the Champion level. Agumon and Gabumon can't even Warp-Digivolve into WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon without Azulongmon's help."

"If we can get outside, we might be able to do something," Koji huffed. "Outside, we can change into our Beast Spirits."

"But will that be enough?" Zoe asked. "Our Best Spirits are the equivalent of powerful Ultimate level Digimon and low powered Megas. From what we've been told about this Piedmon guy, he's a really strong Mega. Not to mention DemiVilamon, Koinumon, Tamamon, and Zapamon are in no condition to fight! That leaves only Davis, Yutaka and Tommy."

"You got any better ideas?" Koji demanded. "Without Koichi; Davis, Jun, and JP can't lend me their spirits so that I can become MagnaGarurumon. And even if he was here, and half of our Digimon weren't worn out already, we don't even know how that works now that we've got partner Digimon."

"It doesn't," Koinumon said grimly. "But we may be able to at least become Beowolfmon. It'll be tricky though. It's not a regular evolution, but it'd at least give us a boost up into the mega level."

"So how do we do that?" Koji asked.

"I'd have to Digivolve into Lobomon on my own before we fuse, and you'd have to call up KendoGarurumon's data on your D3-T to get the right sequence of Fractal Code, but even if I had the energy right now to digivolve twice, I've never digivolved into Lobomon independently before. I'm still so new to all of this," the Rookie said. "I am about a week old, you know. I don't have the experience you do."

"If it's experience we need, then why can Jun and Yutaka just Spirit Evolve as easily as the rest of us?" JP asked.

"As fascinating as this all is, save the explanations for later!" Izzi scowled. "Less talking more run- AH!"

"Yoo Hoo~!" Piedmon's voice sing-sang as another of his swords hit the wall ahead of them. "My, how slow you are! This isn't going to be fun at all if I can catch you so easily. Where's the power you troublesome maggots had last time?"

No one was sure how, but finally found themselves outside.

"Come on guys! Stay strong!" Tai shouted, pulling out his digivice.

"Well at least you've kept your fighting spirit," Piedmon mused as he stepped out into the clearing in front of his lair's ruins.

The Odaiba DigiDestined were quick to have their Digimon digivolve to their highest levels. Greymon, Garurumon, Birdramon, Ikkakumon, Togemon, and Kabuterimon looked impressive next to the small humanoid Digimon, but they all knew that Piedmon was stronger than them all combined. Davis and Ken, Kari and Yolei, and TK and Cody had their Digimon digivolve to the necessary levels to DNA Digivolve into Paildramon, Silphymon, and Shakkoumon. Davis then Spirit Evolved with his other partner to become Ginryumon, and Yutaka and Tommy Spirit Evolved with their partners to become Futanmon and Korikakumon. Everyone else stepped back and prayed that it would be enough.

It wasn't.

Piedmon downed the poor Champion level Digimon in seconds and though he struggled for a bit against the DNA fusion Digimon, Shakkoumon was too big and easy for the smaller Mega to avoid and dance around. Paildramon and Silphymon had better luck, but weren't as capable as the demented clown when it came to hand-to-hand combat, their main attacks being long range types. Futanmon had the size issue that Shakkoumon had, but he found that he could pound the evil mega into the ground when he got a lucky shot in with his powerful tail. Ginryumon and Korikakumon took advantage of the hit and blasted away until there was nothing but a smoking crater.

"Where is he?" Korikakumon asked.

"Looking for me?" came Piedmon's cheerful voice before Korikakumon as impaled with a Trump Sword attack that ended the Spirit Evolution. Futanmon was quick to cover his fallen brother, lashing out angrily at the clown Digimon, but that left him open and Piedmon got in another devastating blast that ended his evolution too.

"And then there was one," Piedmon smiled maliciously before hitting Ginryumon with a barrage of attacks.

The poor Warrior of Steel didn't stand a chance.

"DAVIS!" Jun screamed when her brother's Spirit Evolution broke and he and Silver DemiVeemon were sent flying back, landing feet away from her and the others.

"You know, this is kind of disappointing," Piedmon sighed. "I've spent years plotting my revenge against you brats and this is the fight I get? Talk about a let down. Oh well. Revenge is revenge I suppose. I'll enjoy ending you all, either way. And won't the Malicious One be so please when I bring him the head of the Miracles brat."

"The Malicious One?" Tai repeated.

"The one who saved me from that blasted void you lot cast me into during our last battle!" Piedmon informed them. "I believe you'd know him better as Millenniummon. He granted me the power to return here and seek vengeance on you lot. He's coming you know, and what will this world and the human one do when it's protectors are gone?" The clown cackled manically. "Oh well. What do you care? You're not going to be around to see it happen anyway. TRUMP SWORD!"

Jun flinched, crouching over her brother in an effort to protect him when something darted in front of her and knocked the swords away. Everyone gasped at the new Digimon standing before them, but Koji, Zoe, JP, and Tommy were all focused on the Warrior's symbol for Wood etched into the Digimon's wooden-armor belt.

It was humanoid – obviously the Human Spirit form – in wood plated armor looking like one of the lost boy's from Hook. The Digimon-child had shaggy long dark mahogany red-brown hair that stuck out beneath a beaten looking brown leather cap that was pulled sideways on his head at a cocky angle. His eyes were a bright bronze color that glittered mischievously within his long rounded face. It was marked with three brown slash-like streak markings on each cheek. The boy's whole body was long, slim and willowy, but it was also lean and vibrating with energy as it's limbs hinted at his flexibility. He was wearing deep green leggings tucked within pointed-toed leather boots, a black tunic and a brown leather vest could seen beneath the wooden armor he wore with wooden arm guards, and matching gloves. A recurve bow and a quiver of arrows (same as the one shot at LadyDevimon earlier Koji and Gatomon noted) was slung over his shoulder hanging across his back while a small hunting knife was belted around his waist within reach of his hands that where currently occupied with a quarterstaff.

"I thought you guys could use some help," the Digimon Warrior said grimly.

"Oh? And who do we have here?" Piedmon sneered. "Had another friend hiding away, did you? Oh well, it matters not. I'll just have to kill him too."

"You can try," the Warrior of Wood said, loosening his grip on his quarterstaff, stomping an end into the ground so that he could use it as a support to lean casually on. "But fortunately for me and unfortunately for you, I'm not your opponent."

"Oh?" Piedmon mused, cocking an eyebrow. "Then who is?"

"I am."

Piedmon whirled around and out of the ruins came Koichi with Flamemon and a black and white version of Strabimon. Davis looked around and realized that Flamemon hadn't been with them since before Piedmon had appeared. The Rookie Warrior of Flame must have snuck off the moment the barrier had lifted.

"Oh? And who are you?" Piedmon sneered.

"The one who's going to stop you," Koichi announced, pulling out his new D3-T and pointed it at his partner Digimon. "Fractal Code Digitize! … SPIRIT EVOLUTION!"

While Koichi was doing that, Flamemon darted around the battle zone and came to a rest next to Davis just as Koichi reemerged as Löwemon.

"Here," Flamemon spoke – actually spoke – and held up the physical manifestation of the Human Spirit of Fire: Agunimon's spirit statue.

Davis quickly drew out Takuya's D3-T and accepted the spirit. The two grinned at each other for a moment, before refocusing on the fight taking place.

Löwemon was strong, knocking Piedmon back with the first attack, but Piedmon was an experienced combat fighter and dodged any attacks made with Löwemon's spear. Then Löwemon was suddenly cocooned by data before bursting forth as Duskmon, making everyone's blood run cold upon seeing the fearsome dark Digimon Warrior's form again. Even Piedmon looked worried as they clashed swords, but managed to keep the other fighter back and at bay. He even gained the upper hand and was about to let loose another Trump Swords attack when Koichi shifted once again and emerged as JägerLöwemon and blasted away the swords with his Dark Master attack.

The Beast Spirit roared before charging at Piedmon, chasing him around the clearing before delivering a stunning blow that sent the Piedmon crashing into the ruins.

"You vile beast!" Piedmon screamed launching another Trump Sword attack that merely deflected off of JägerLöwemon's hide armor. None of the clown's cheery mockery was present anymore.

"Oh, you want to see the beast?" JägerLöwemon growled. "Here comes the beast!"

He shifted once again and Velgamon took to the skies, dive-bombing Piedmon before lifting him up and throwing him to the ground. As Piedmon rose to his feet, Velgamon landed behind him before sliding back into Löwemon again who ran Piedmon through with his spear.

"You're through," Löwemon said, yanking his spear free from Piedmon's body before shifting into Duskmon and reducing him into data bits with a slash of his Lunar Plasma blades.

Duskmon pulled out his D3-T and scanned Piedmon's data, saying, "Fractal Code, Digitize! Be purified by the Night."

A clean and shining strip of data raveled into a Digiegg and flew off, undoubtedly to Primary Village to be reborn. That task complete, Duskmon broke his Sprit Evolution and separated back into Koichi and his partner, who looked more fox-like than wolf-like, now that everyone could see the partner Digimon better.

"Koichi?" Koji called out after the long still silence that had descended after Piedmon had been defeated.

Koichi looked up at his twin, and Koji felt a cold shiver run down his spine when he saw the lack of emotion on his twin's face.

"Koichi?" he repeated as he approached.

Koichi said nothing, but the In-Training form of his partner looked a little wary. Of what, Koji didn't know. Didn't care. His brother was his only concern right now.

"Koichi," Koji said again once he reached him, placing a hand on Koichi's shoulder.

Koichi's eyes regained a light that had been missing and a growing look of fear and horror washed over the older twin's feature.

"Oh my God," Koichi whispered, trembling, eyes filling with tears. "I just…"

Koji pulled his brother to him as he broke down into sobs. The others slowly approached as well, but kept their distance. Whether that was to give the brothers space, or out of fear of Koichi, it was unclear.

"I didn't feel anything," Koichi was gasping between sobs. "Everything was so… so… neutral. I only had an objective… All I could think of was stopping him… To end him… There was no anger… no fear… nothing. Not even pride or satisfaction when I… I…"

Koji shushed him and he felt Koichi dissolve into hysterics.

"None of them felt any different from the other," Koichi whispered after he regained some calm, a numbness spreading through him. "Duskmon and Löwemon… JägerLöwemon and Velgamon… there was only Human and Beast. No good… but no evil either… True neutrals, neither caring what was done or how it was done so long as the objective was obtained."

"A true neutral," a small voice spoke up – Koichi's new partner. "It's how darkness should be to remain uninfluenced. Emotion clouds everything, so it is taken out of the equation in a Warrior's fight. I'm sorry, Koichi. I'm so sorry. Emotion is what makes you humans human, and when we join together to fight, it will be suppressed, effectively sealing off what makes you human. What makes you able to choose good over bad, or bad over good."

"Why?" Koji growled. "Why must it be like that?"

"Darkness has been ruled by those who would abuse its power for their own purposes," the little fox head said. "What good that can come from darkness is overwhelmed by the passionate emotions that come from would-be wielders that warp its power into something twisted and evil, even if it's wielded for good purposes. The ends never can justify the means, so that variable needs to be removed from its Warrior Champion in order to remain a true neutral force. …I understand if you resent me for this, Koichi."

Koichi shook his head, pulling back from his brother now that he'd regained his composure. He knelt in front of his tiny partner and stroked his head softly.

"I do not resent you for this," Koichi sighed. "Such a failsafe is necessary to keep the element in balance with the others. I suppose I'll get used to it in time."

"Koichi!" Koji protested.

"Think about it, Koji," Koichi huffed, looking up at everyone with red-rimmed eyes. "As he said, I could have the greatest intentions for my actions, but if my emotions were allowed to overtake my common sense in the heat of battle, I could do some serious damage and end up hurting one of you. Sure, the rush of emotion afterwards will be a little overwhelming like it was just now, but I can deal with it. I knew what I was getting into when I said yes to all four spirits. I don't particularly like knowing that I'll be an emotionless drone when I Spirit Evolve, but if it means not being overtaken and possessed by a flood of Darkness that emotion lets in and warps, I can deal with it. I'd rather still be myself at the end of the day than changed into someone I'm not."

Koji sighed, but saw where his twin was coming from. He didn't like it, hadn't liked anything much since this whole mess had started again, but resolved that now more than ever before to stay by his twin's side and make sure that he didn't loose him.

"So what's your name?" Koichi asked his new partner, after seeing that Koji had accepted the situation.

"…Kokitsumon," the Digimon said. "When we met, I was Kurokitsumon."

"Well, Kokitsumon, it's nice to meet you," Koichi smiled. "I hope we make a good team."

"Well since the forces of evil seem to be emerging and outweighing the forces of good at the moment, with Millenniummon's impending return and all, I think the natural forces of the universe can deal with us leaning more towards the side of good for a little while." Kokitsumon nodded, smiling for the first time.

Koichi and a few others laughed at the snarky statement. It was then that Koichi noticed the Digimon Warrior of Wood.

"I'm sorry, but who are you?"

And we thought Davis and Takuya had problems. Who is the new Warrior of Wood? I guess you'll just have to find out next time on Digimon: Digital Monsters!

Again, really sorry for the long wait you guys. I don't know where the year has gone. I'll try to be better about updating this and Parent Worries. I can't promise that I won't be distracted by my other projects, but I promise to try my best to post a new chapter for this and/or Parent Worries at least once a month.

Anyway, while rereading this fic so that I could be better prepared to write this chapter, I went back and edited and posted all current chapters of this story on my account on Archive of Our Own, so now that version is all caught up with this one, so if you prefer that site over this one these days (like I do), feel free to read it there instead. :) Hopefully I'll get around to posting the revised and edited versions of the DM chapters here soon too.

Also, I've gotten a Tumblr account now (I'm digidetective-shararaizel and my page is called Fandom Crossover Mania) and it's F***ing addictive! Feel free to follow me, though I gotta warn you that half the crap I reblog these days is Supernatural, and 1/4 is Marvel's Avengers and things, but when i do complete my artworks for any of my fics, I post them there. I'm reposting a whole bunch of my digimon stuff today, so go check it out! :)

Thanks for reading! Please review to let me know what you think!