Ch. 6 Crest of Innocence

Gatomon was staring into the night again. Kari has gone out, like she'd been doing so for the last two weeks. As long as she came back OK, Gatomon was happy, but each time her friend went out without an explanation, more doubt made its way to her mind.

She supposed she trusted Kari. Of course she did. If she could trust anyone, it's Kari, but...

She had lost Wizardmon, a true friend if she ever knew one. Without him, no matter how great her other friends were, there was a void in her heart that couldn't be filled. She had loved him and she was willing to admit that. But it's a little too late, isn't it? All she had ever wanted was another chance to tell him she loved him.

Tonight, there was no one home. Tonight, there was no one but her, sitting by the window and looking at the stars. Under the bed laid the roses the had given her over a year ago during what was most likely their final encounter, dry but still beautiful to her. Tonight, she missed him the most.

The front door creaked open and she didn't need to turn around to know it was Kari, returning from one of her mysterious trips.

"Gatomon?" she heard her friend's voice. "Are you here? Is anyone else home?"

"No, Kari," Gatomon replied without turning around. "No one else is home."

"Good," there was a clink of the door been shut, and footsteps... more than one?... "I have a surprise for you."

The cat digimon spun around and looked toward the door unenthusiastically. Kari appeared a minute later, a mischievous look on her face.

"Are you ready?" her friend asked.

"What are you up to, Kari?"

Kari didn't answer, instead, she stepped aside, and Gatomon saw a shorter figure behind her. One that held a sun staff in his hand, and wore a pointy hat...

"Wizardmon?" Gatomon whispered hopefully, as if in a dream.

"I'm back, Gatomon." It was his voice! It really was him! But even though she spent hours and hours, even days and weeks dreaming of this moment, it seemed to freeze. Gatomon stood there, looking at her friend, waiting to wake up, but the seconds dragged on, then moments, and her friend was still there. "Are you going to say hi?"

She broke out of her trance and raced toward him. He felt so real in her arms that she forced herself to accept the truth: he was back.

"Wizardmon..." she croaked through joyous tears. "How..." She looked around. "Kari? How?"

"It's a long story, Gatomon." Kari was smiling. "Why don't you two get acquainted and I'll tell you in a little while?" She turned and left the room.

Gatomon looked into her old friend's eyes. Then, slowly, carefully, she pulled down his high collar and kissed his cheek. "I'm glad you're back," she said softly. "I don't care how."

Wizardmon smiled. "Don't get all gushy on me, kitty," he said.

"Shut up." She kissed him again, this time on the lips.

~*~

"So that's why you wanted to know about Rya," Gatomon said, leaning on Wizardmon. Kari sat in a chair across from them.

"Yes. That's it. He said I looked like her."

"I don't see it, but you do have the same color hair. Why didn't you tell me Myotismon was back, Kari? Why didn't you tell me earlier?"

Kari looked her straight in the face. "If I had," she said. "Would you have accepted it? Tell me honestly. Would you have accepted his presence here? Or would you yell at me for going to see him in the first place then try to stage another fight?"

Gatomon lowered her eyes. "I guess you're right."

"That's how the other digidestined feel," Kari continued. "But I know that if we bring Wizardmon back here successfully, it will prove once and for all that he HAS changed, and everything will be easier from here."

"I suppose," Gatomon said uncertainly. Wizardmon put his arm around her shoulder reassuringly, and she nodded. "If he cares enough to bring Wizardmon back, then I guess we can try to make something work."

Kari smiled. "Good to hear you say that," she said, "I'm going to email the others tonight so we can have a meeting tomorrow."

As Kari went to her computer and got to work, Gatomon and Wizardmon sat in silence, contemplating a new beginning, for everyone.

~*~

"Amazing," Matt whispered.

They were in Izzy's room. It took some time, but everyone was here. First there were the new digidestined: Yolei, Cody, and Davis. T.K. arrived a little late with Matt and Sora. Joe got there soon after, followed by Tai. Even Mimi came, traveling through the digital world to Japan to see what the big emergency was. With all their digimon, the room was quite crowded, but no one cared when Kari and Ken arrived with Wizardmon.

After the shocked looks and cries died down, the story was told.

There was silence for a while, then Izzy turned to his computer and began typing.

"What are you doing?" asked Tentomon.

"I'm calling Genni," Izzy replied without looking up from the keyboard. "He should hear about this."

"That's good," Kari said. "I need him here. I have something to show him." She reached into her pocket and pulled out the tag and crest.

"Is that..." Mimi stammered after everyone gazed at the objects for a very long time.

"Tag and crest, I think," Kari placed the objects on the floor in the middle of the group. "It belonged to Rya, but I can't figure out how she could have gotten it."

"But if she has a tag and crest," Sora said thoughtfully, "Doesn't that mean she's one of us? The first group of digidestined?"

"Wait a minute, guys!" Tai said. "We don't even know if this is real or not. I mean, how do we know that it's not just a piece of plastic? It could just be a toy Myotismon made for his kid to play with, right?"

"It's real," Gatomon said flatly, leaving no room for argument. "When you've working on Myotismon's tricks and schemes as long as I have, you learn to recognize a fake crest."

No one said anything for a while. All the digimon were studying the crest tentatively. The humans, all except Izzy who was still tapping away on his computer, were looking at each other, unsure of what to make of the situation. Davis, however, was watching Kari and Ken and thinking how close next to each other they were sitting.

"Stand back," Izzy suddenly announced. He stepped to the side and the digiport on his computer glowed. A minute late, Genni, young as he was during their world tour, stepped out from the light.

"Hi kids," he said cheerily. Cody and Joe mumbled greetings while the others have already turned their attention back to the tag and crest on the floor. "...what's so exciting?"

Kari looking up and greeted him, then she went to him and told him the whole story while the other listened, dumbfounded. Finally, she showed him the tag and crest.

Genni wasn't certain what to say when the object was placed in his hand. He took it and examined it closely. It was definitely a tag and crest. The stone side was perfectly shaped and very smooth. On its surface was a symbol that resembled a small flame with a diamond shape in its center. It looked very much like the one from...

"It is," he whispered to himself. "It is. After all these years, I thought..."

"What is it?" It was Kari's voice. Genni looked at her hopeful face.

"This is a tag and crest in the same set as your own."

"But how is that possible?" asked Cody. "If this is the same kind the original digidestined had, how come Myotismon had it?"

"This doesn't fit together," Joe said. "Nothing does."

"I'm going to speak with Myotismon," Genni said suddenly. "Izzy, I want you to come with me and do a little research for me. I'm sure I can straighten this all out. I'll call you all as soon as it's done."

~*~

Digital world.

Was she in the digital world? Kari wasn't sure. She knew that she's lost, and there's darkness all around her. But she wasn't scared. The dark for comfortable, inviting. The shapes around her resembled the trees of Server, although she knew she wasn't in Server.

The ground beneath her felt strange, and when she looked down she saw that her feet were completely covered by a violet fog that swirled around her ankles. Above her, shadows outlined several unrecognizable forms, floating in the air purposefully, as if playing with each other.

Kari walked forward, even though she felt like she couldn't tell the front from the back, or up from down. It was like been in water, drifting, drifting...

A sound came. She tried to pinpoint its direction but couldn't. It felt like it came from all directions at once. She kept moving, trying to find whatever, or whoever, it was that caused. It came again, this time nearer and directly in front of her. It sounded like a voice, a shrill laugh of a child.

The fog disappeared, as did the trees. Kari found herself alone, facing a figure smaller than she. As it approached her, she found herself staring into her own face.

The child from the darkness was an almost exact replica of herself, at age eight, when she first entered the digital world. It was a girl with short brown hair and a slightly crooked smile. She wore a black dress and floppy sandals. The two looked at each other in silence.

"Have you seen my daddy?" the shadow child asked.

Kari couldn't reply. The child took a step closer and repeated the question.

"Who are you?"

"My name is Rya," the little girl said proudly. "I'm from the digi world."

"I'm Kari."

"I know who you are," the girl tilted her head to one side. "You have my locket. My daddy gave it to you."

"I don't have it anymore. Genni has it. How did you get it?"

"It's mine. I just have it. Can you tell Genni to give it back?"

"How do I do that?"

"Put it on my bedpost. That's where I keep it. Have you seen my daddy?"

Kari wasn't particularly sure how to answer that question anymore. "Yes I have," she said.

"Goody, can you tell him I love him?"

"Of course."

"Thanks! I'm gonna go away now. Bye Kari..." The child went to Kari and hugged her, but the moment they touched, she started to disappear, dispersing into the returning fog like bits of data right before Kari's eyes.

Kari sat up in her bed. An odd chill ran through her like an icicle. She looked out the window and saw no light or moon or stars.

The heavy fog surrounded Odeiba all night.

~*~

The digidestined and their digimon stood stiffly. Across from them stood Myotismon, in his human getup. A thousand thoughts raced through everyone's mind, but mainly the question, "what now?"

Genni entered the castle's meeting room and gave everyone an odd look. "Why isn't anyone sitting?" he asked.

Myotismon relaxed a little and gestured for the others to sit around the table in the center of the room. They did, but still keeping their eyes trailed on the digimon's movement.

"This is weird," Joe said. "Been in castles make me nervous."

"Everything makes you nervous," Gomamon said. A good-natured laughter rose from the room and the ice was broken.

The digidestined tried their best to be friendly and open-minded toward their former enemy, which they soon found was surprisingly easy to do. Whatever the darkness had done to the virus type the effects were totally gone. They sat around, chatting like friends with Myotismon, asking questions and expression sympathy toward the loss of Rya. Even Demidevimon seemed to be getting along well with the others. Only Davis wasn't' paying attention, who was watching Ken and Kari.

Izzy walked into the room carrying him computer. The others quieted down and looked at him as he placed it on the table and announced, "we have found the lost digidestined."

Genni held up the tag and crest and began.

"Many years ago, the tags and crests were manufactured by me and my associates to help the digidestined and their digimon. The first digiegg ever created for the digidestined, however, was a mistake. It turned out to be a virus type. Since the first of the digidestined digimon were supposed to be vaccine, this egg was placed in primary village to be hatched and treated like any other digimon. The crest created for it, the Crest of Innocence, was discarded and never thought of again. Until now." He motioned to Izzy, who turned on his laptop and brought up an image. It was a newspaper article with a picture of a girl with a boyish-cut haircut, about three years old. The others crowded to get a closer look.

"Hey, that looks like you, Kari," someone said.

"Reanna Hamada," Izzy said. "Reported missing on the day of the so-called 'terrorist attack', but was actually transported into the digital world through the void. Even though no digivice was ever made for her, she was still a digidestined. Somehow she found her crest and met up with her partner—Myotismon, who was a Demidevimon at the time."

Many eyes turned to the addressed digimon.

"So you're one of us," said Biyomon. "That's great!" The others nodded.

Izzy continued as he shut off his laptop. "Myotismon has told me that when they met, they weren't sure of their relationship, but their bond drew them together, and that same bond gave him the power to digivolve to ultimate in a very short time. Since Reanna couldn't pronounce her name correctly at three, she was called Rya by everyone and no one knew her real name.

"When Rya died, it was because a computer virus has entered her body, which had been exposed to the digital world for too long. And been human, she didn't have the programming to eliminate it, so eventually it weakened her to the point of death.

"The darkness, which is likely the source of all evil, took the advantage to turn Myotismon evil, since he was strong and had the passion to get the work done. It's very much the same thing with Ken."

Genni took over when Izzy took a breath. "Now the crest has been found again," he said excitedly. "It's too bad that we didn't get to know Rya. She would have been a powerful ally and a good friend." He looked from one person to another, finally at Myotismon. "But it's good to have you back on the team."

~*~

Kari and Myotismon were alone in Rya's old room, the same one that she was placed in when she was first brought into the castle. Neither of them spoke as Myotismon placed the tag and crest on Rya's bedpost.

"She wanted you to know she loved you," Kari said quietly.

"I know she did," Myotismon replied. "I'm never going to forget her. Perhaps one day I'll be able to bring her back."

"I'm sorry I never got to meet her."

"But you did. She spoke to you because she trusted you, wherever she is."

"She's here. She's with us, and so are you now."

"Hard to believe, isn't it? Me, a digidestined digimon."

Kari smiled. "Not that hard."

They cast one last look at the tag and crest before they went out.

~*~

The End

Kari's Point of View

~*~

It's Friday night and Digitamamon's having a party.

I'm sitting in a booth in the new club Digitamamon has opened in the digital world. Since the restaurant business has been a little boring, he has decided to try the nightclub. So far it's been going well.

Arukenimon is the manager and drink mixer at the bar, although they don't serve alcohol, she makes a pretty nice fruit smoothie. Myotismon has manged to bring her and Mummymon back with Ken's old program. She's pretty content in her life, except for the fact that Mummymon's still bugging her for a date.

Mimi's on stage again, singing her heart out with her own group of Floramon dancers. Her shows have become pretty popular in the digital world and she's having her fantasy of been a superstar fulfilled early.

On the dance floor, Matt is dancing with Sora. I think Tai's a little jealous, but I'm not going to ask. Many of the other digidestined are dancing, chatting, or eating at the bar, swaying to the tune of the music.

I think Davis still has that crush on me, even though I've told him numerous times I don't feel the same way. Sometimes I'm starting to think that he likes me just so he'll have something to do.

Mimi is switching to a slow song now. Oh look, Gatomon's dancing with Wizardmon again, no surprise. I think that's Veemon and Demidevimon in the nearby booth looking a little green with envy.

Sitting at the bar chatting with Cody is Yukio. Yep, Yukio Oikawa. To this day I can't believe Myotismon thought of a way to bring him back. He's using his twelve-year-old body. Perhaps he chose to because it was the time when he loved digimon and everything was simple and happy. It's only going to last three more hours, however, making human bodies are much harder than digimon bodies. He'll want a new one if he's to hang with us tomorrow.

Speaking of Myotismon, he's standing near the Christmas tree in the corner, turning on the charm to Lillymon, who apparently has forgiven him for the "meddlesome flower child" remark from four years ago. Myotismon's been out of his uniform for month and personally, I prefer him this way. He's currently working on brining Black Wargraymon back, but it may take a little while since his data is located at the intersection between the real world and the digital world.

I take another sip of my smoothie. It tastes good. My throat is parched from all the dancing.

Rya came to me again the night after we placed the crest back in her room. She said thank you and not much more. I still haven't figured out whether it was a dream or a real presence. All I know is that the next day, the tag and crest were gone.

Ken's asking me to dance and I accept. The music sounds extra sweet the week before Christmas. I put my head on his should and feel his arms tighten around me.

Life is good.