DISCLAIMER: Digimon Savers is the property of Toei Animation, Bandai, and Akiyoshi Hongo. Used without permission, strictly for entertainment purposes. Original characters and concepts are my own.
Yoshino sat wide eyed at her desk as the sounds of Chika's battle poured into the operations room of DATS. Everything had been going so routinely, until the moment that he appeared. Everything was a blur until one question brought her mind to a screeching halt.
"WHERE IS DAIMON MASARU?!"
It wasn't even that the question was being asked. It was who was asking it, and the ferocity with which it was being put forth. Even as the sound blaring from the speakers became distorted from the chaos of battle resuming, Yoshino just sat there until a voice caught her attention.
"Yoshino?" Lalamon asked, floating back into the room and coming back up behind the woman. "That voice... is it..."
Focusing back on the here and now, Yoshino nodded lightly. "Kouki. Our sources pointed to him potentially being the leader of this gang, but... actually hearing it is another matter."
Yoshino turned her head, and behind Lalamon there were two other humans that had followed her in. One was a young girl with short brown hair, a small Plotmon held in her arms. The other was a thin teenager with dark green hair, and long bangs covering part of his face. Standing beside him was a ladybug-like digimon, Tentomon, his head turned curiously to the side.
"We'll be right there, then!" the girl, Noguchi Yuka, said quickly, a look of strong determination on her face.
"No," Yoshino said, somewhat sharply, looking back ahead.
There was a stunned pause, and Yoshino heard Yuka taking a step towards her. "But-!"
Yoshino's brow furrowed, not looking at her. "No."
Lalamon reeled back in the air a bit, clearly surprised at the tone of voice. Naoyuki, Mariko, and their partners were looking back at them curiously, as well. There was a moment of quiet surprise, before the green haired teenager, Yamaguchi Haruki, took a step up next to the desk.
"Captain, with all due respect... might I ask why?"
Yoshino attempted to keep an even expression. Truly, she wondered how Satsuma had done it all those years ago with such apparent ease. She had learned since coming into this position that such a task was anything but easy.
"We can handle this punk!" Yuka suddenly shouted, all but shoving Haruki out of the way as she came into Yoshino's field of vision. Plotmon looked more than a little alarmed. "What's so speci-"
"Mariko!" Yoshino snapped, interrupting Yuka and causing the redheaded operator to literally jump in her seat. "Signal Ikuto, he needs to regroup with Chika and Relena immediately!"
Naoyuki raised an eyebrow, exchanging a brief glance with PicoDevimon, before looking back at his superior officer. "Captain Fujieda, the Sakurai boy he's facing down..."
"He isn't important," Yoshino said, sternly. "Not compared to Kouki."
Yoshino's eyes went back to Yuka, who was standing there with a perturbed look written all over her face. "Haruki. Yuka. You are to stay here. There is nothing to argue on this; it's an order."
Haruki gave a couple blinks, but otherwise nodded. "If you say so, ma'am-"
Yuka, however, was a different story altogether.
"You don't think we can handle it?" Yuka asked, frustration as evident in her voice as it was on her face. "If Niisan can-!"
"Yuka," Lalamon said, "I don't think you understand what it is we're dealing with..."
"Of course I do! I know who this guy is! If he's supposed to be anywhere near as strong as Niisan said he was, then-!"
Yoshino shot the girl a hard look which stopped her words cold. "Yuka. I am only giving these orders for everyone's benefit. I am not putting people's lives in danger when they don't have the experience necessary to handle a situation like this."
Yuka's mouth opened, but no words came out. Instead, she gave her Captain an irritated look, before turning around and running out of the room, nearly knocking over Tentomon in the process. Haruki started to look as if he was going to chase after her, but stopped himself and looked warily at Yoshino as he stood back at attention.
"Ah, Captain Fujieda, should I...?"
Yoshino finally released a long sigh, slumping over in her seat a bit. No, she never really appreciated how difficult it was to have Satsuma's job until she had it. "Leave her be," Yoshino murmured, eyes turning back up to watch the monitors. "She won't go anywhere. She just needs to blow off some steam. We have bigger things to worry about, in the meanwhile..."
The woman narrowed her eyes. "Kouki was one of the most dangerous weapons employed by Kurata Akihiro. I thought by us bringing some of the Black Dragons in, we could figure out how to flush him out. I didn't expect him to just step right up and invite us to hit him in the face..."
"Even though I suppose we should have," Lalamon added, absently.
Yoshino closed her eyes, sighing again. "Yeah..."
"If I might, Ma'am," Haruki said. "I understand we don't have the same type of experience as Noguchi-sempai, but..."
"There's only one type of thing that Kouki understands," Yoshino said, opening her eyes and turning back to him. "And only one type of power that stands any chance of stopping him."
The woman clenched a fist in frustration, but hid it under her desk. Haruki just stared at her a bit blankly. Lalamon, on the other hand, whirled around in the air to face the boy.
"The only kind of person who can really beat someone like Kouki has to be someone who can match the person who beat him the first time."
Haruki reached up to rub his chin, turning back towards the monitors. "Daimon Masaru...?"
Yoshino looked away from the young man, lowering her head. She placed a hand over her shaking fist and squeezed it. She started to open her mouth, when another voice interjected.
"That would be correct, young man!"
All eyes in the room turned to the door, and Yoshino almost stood straight up from her seat. Entering the doorway was an old man, casually shuffling his way inside with his hands behind his back, and a turtle digimon at his side.
"C- Commander Yushima!" Yoshino blurted out. Any attempt at retaining the same hard tone she remembered from Satsuma quickly left her at the sight of this man.
"Oh, come now, Captain," Yushima said, smiling brightly. "I'm retired."
Yoshino was simply left speechless as the old man walked ahead of her desk, craning his head up to take in the situation on the monitors above them. "Yes, indeed. It takes a certain sort of power to extinguish a fire like this Kouki fellow."
Yushima grinned, looking back at Haruki. "Don't take it too personally, my boy. It all comes in time..."
Digimon Savers: LEGACY
Episode Two – "Explosive Clash! Where Is Daimon Masaru?!"
By Mugen no Ken
"You want us to what?" Ikuto asked, holding one hand up to the communications device. His other hand? Was occupied as he had Sakurai Tetsuya pinned up against a sidewalk railing with his boomerang. The younger man struggled, but it was to little avail, as Ikuto had more than enough strength in that one arm to keep him at bay.
"Someone else has appeared to help Sakurai Hana, Noguchi-san," Mariko's voice came on the other end of the communicator. "Captain Fujieda labeled it as a higher priority than Sakurai Tetsuya... It's their apparent gang leader, Kou-"
Mariko didn't even have to finish. "Kouki...!"
Peckmon heard this, and gave his partner a sharp glance a moment before he flipped over the charging Grizzmon. The bear digimon slammed heardfirst into an empty truck, and Peckmon brandished several kunai in his feathers, taking aim even as he was upside down in the air.
The blades streaked out, but they didn't hit Grizzmon. Instead, they implaneted themselves into the vehicle he was pulling himself out of. The kunai promptly exploded, as did the truck, sending Grizzmon flying and tumbling across the street. When Peckmon landed, he was beside Ikuto.
Despite the position he was in, Tetsuya gave a grin. "Ha! If the Boss is here, then-"
That was all he got out, as Ikuto's fist struck the side of Tetsuya's head. The young man slumped into unconsciousness, while Ikuto pulled his boomerang back, hefting it over his shoulder. "What a light weight."
A pained groan indicated that Grizzmon, however, was not yet out for the count. He wasn't on his feet, either, instead stretching a paw out in their direction. "You bastards... this fight ain't over yet!"
"Afraid so," Ikuto said, taking a single, long leap onto Peckmon's back. He actually smiled, though, looking back at Grizzmon and giving him a small salute. "Next time, eh?"
Grizzmon glared at the both of them, before letting his paw drop as his body glowed. He shrunk back into Bearmon and coughed, before rolling onto his back. "Gonna... hold you jerks to that..."
"Enough talk!" Peckmon shouted, spreading his wings and leaping into the air.
Ikuto just nodded, holding tight to his partner's back. He knew Chika could handle herself, but if they were really dealing with Kouki, none of them could afford to leave anything to chance.
"DAIMON!" Kouki's voice rang out wildy across the construction yard. His fists swung ferociously, but seemingly aimlessly, as Chika was doing a fairly good job of dodging each swing that came her way, falling back further and further across the length of the yard, and making Kouki effectively chase her. "You're going to answer me, dammit!"
"Kouki, you moron!" Thunderbirmon yelled. He was still on the ground, having just picked himself up from where Kouki's Digi-Soul explosion blew him, Hana, and Revolmon around like ragdolls. "Get ahold of yourself, or these assholes are going to-!"
As if on cue, Aquilamon's shadow fell over Thunderbirmon. The blue-feathered digimon gave a quick curse, shooting up into the air, just as energized rings fell towards his former position.
Thunderbirmon easily cleared it by flying straight up, an explosion from the attack's impact erupting beneath him. He stopped when he was even with Aquilamon in the air. "You're screwing with the wrong guy, dude!" Thunderbirmon spat, and flapped his wings forward. "Thunder Storm!"
Aquilamon rolled in the air, avoiding the lightning charged cyclones that were flung his way. He then flew straight at Thunderbirmon as the attack subsided, ramming into his adversary and sending the both of them crashing into half-built roof of the structure that was under construction there.
This, then, was out of Relena's view as she and Kotemon stood opposite Hana and Revolmon. The black-haired girl just looked disgruntled (not that she had looked anything else since Relena first laid eyes upon her.)
"Aw man, the Boss has totally flipped," Revolmon said, reaching up to tip his hat down as if he just didn't want to watch this. Chika was still hopping around, dodging Kouki's strikes and not yet hitting back. This was only serving to infuriate him further.
Relena frowned, looking to Hana. "Sakurai-san..."
"If you're going to say for me to give myself up again, I swear..." Hana growled, glaring at Relena. "I'm taking Revolmon's guns and shooting you myself!"
"Over my dead body, you ruffians!" Kotemon said, pointing his boken at them threateningly.
"Oh, we can arrange that!" Hana shouted, and starting to grab for one of Revolmon's weapons.
"Dammit, Hana, no!" Revolmon shouted, jerking his pistol away from her. "Last time, you nearly blew Bearmon's head off!"
"Better shot than you! At least I can hit something!"
"ONLY IF YOU'RE AIMING AT SOMETHING ELSE!"
This argument was interupted as a shout of pain brought everyone's attention back to Chika and Kouki. The movement of both had come to a complete halt, as Chika stood with her fist squarely in Kouki's gut.
"Don't think just because you know my name, you can take me so lightly!" Chika said. That deadly look which made Relena so nervous was still very evident in her eyes.
The look on Kouki's face was one of rage, as if her words hurt his pride more than her fist hurt his body. He gave a yell of anger, and snatched his hand out, grabbing a handful of her loose, flowing hair. Chika's eyes then went wide with surprise as he swung her around by her hair, slamming her into the ground.
"Don't mock me, dammit!" he yelled, blue Digi-Soul flaring around his fist again as he sent it smashing down for her face. Unfortunately for him, this didn't turn out too well. The grounded Chika's leg shot out, knocking one of Kouki's out from under him. Balance completely shot, Kouki fell to the side of her, his energized fist smashing into and through the ground.
Chika was rolling back to her feet by the time Kouki freed his hand. She was already rushing up to him as he tried to jump back to his feet, throwing another punch to his chest. Only on his knees, this time Kouki caught it with his hand, grinning at Chika's surprised look.
"Your first mistake, girl," Kouki snarled, cocking his other arm back. "Daimon Masaru always aimed for my face!"
There was a shockwave of blue power as Kouki's fist impacted this time, and Chika went flying back. She didn't stop until she slammed into the construction yard's fence, which only slowed her down as she went through it and tumbled onto the sidewalk bordering the grounds.
An explosion of electrical power could be heard above them, before a piece of the partially constructed building's roof also exploded. Relena looked up as she heard Aquilamon's scream and saw him plummet into the ground, landing in a heap and groaning in pain. Thunderbirmon gave a hearty laugh, swooping down and landing beside Kouki as the bleached blond dusted his pants off, rising to his feet.
"Heh," the man chuckled, cracking his knuckles. "A name doesn't mean shit if you can't back it up."
"You tell her, Boss!" Hana shouted, prompting a small cheer from Revolmon as well.
Kouki swung around, now staring at Relena. Kotemon growled and leaped in front of her. "Now, you on the other hand," Kouki said, taking a few steps towards her, rolling his shoulders. "What's a cute thing like you doing here, especially if you're just gonna stand around, eh?"
Relena gulped, fingers tightening around her Digivice. "You know, it's ... improper for a man to hit a woman like that..."
She instnatly winced a bit inwardly. That was the first thing that came to her mind in a situation like this? Relena was suddenly seeing her priorities were a bit skewed.
"A fighter's a fighter!" Kouki said, holding up a fist. "Anyone wants to get up in my face like that, I'm gonna give 'em the same treatment!"
"Don't you dare take another step, you scoundrel!" Kotemon barked. "Touch one hair on Relena-sama's head, and I will cut you down where you stand!"
Kouki stopped cold, but continued grinning like the madman he appeared to be. He took a glance back at Thunderbirmon, who gave a barely stifled chuckle. Kouki looked back to Kotemon, and just shrugging casually, he took another step.
Kotemon's body visibly twitched. He did not, however, do anything else. Kouki slapped one of his knees, and bent over as he gave a long laugh.
"Aw, hell guys," Kouki said, pulling himself back up. "DATS' standards suck ass nowadays, don't they?" He held a hand out, and pointed to Relena. "Now, I don't expect after all that you're gonna do anything stupid. So tell me, sweet cheeks..."
Kotemon's body was now visibly shaking. Kouki's expression changed, then. All humor left his face, and it was replaced with what Relena could only describe as a cold, murderous intent.
"You gonna answer my question?"
Relena gazed at him for several moments. She knew she was surrounded, and she didn't know when she could count on Chika or Aquilamon to be back on their feet. She couldn't run, but... She also had no intention of running.
"You're a horrible person," she replied, softly.
Kouki's eyes narrowed, and he began to stride forward. "Not the question, baby!"
"No, it wasn't," Relena said, looking surprisingly calm given the situation. Her arm shot out to the side, and she snapped her fingers. Light flickered around her hand as Digi-Soul swirled around it. It was blue, but different in tint from Kouki's own power. At the sight of this, Kouki again stopped cold. "I cannot say I desire to engage you in polite conversation!"
Kouki scowled. "That Digi-Soul..."
Relena observed him evenly. "You have a good eye for that sort of thing, I will give you that. It is the only thing I shall, however!"
"Norstein!" Kouki spat, and began to dash straight at her.
"Relena Norstein!" she shot back at him, before slapping her palm onto the top of her Digivice, light shining out onto Kotemon. "Digi-Soul Charge!"
"Kotemon, evolve!" the digimon shouted, power bursting out from his body. What formed in his place was a round, but short, knight digimon clad in armor and wielding two rapiers. He was hardly the size of most Adult digimon, as he still remained shorter than any of the humans present. "Gladimon!"
Kouki's fist flew out for the digimon, and he blocked it by crossing both blades before him. He was pushed back a few inches, but held his ground as Relena stood calmly behind him. "I am Relena-sama's blade and shield!" Gladimon proclaimed, and slashed his swords forward. "Such brutish tactics are an insult to my lady's presence!"
The man had to pull his arm away and leap back, so as he didn't his hand cut off at the wrist. He gave a bit of a snarl, and took another, long jump away from them, landing next to Thunderbirmon. "Screw it! Thunderbirmon, Revolmon!" the bleached blond commanded, and his partner was already starting to rise up in response. "Wreck his shit! But leave the girl in one piece! I want my goddamned answer!"
Before Hana could voice her inevitable objection, Revolmon threw his arms up and unleashed a blast from his chest. "Justice Bullet!"
"NO, you idiot-!" Hana started, but trailed off as the oversized bullet went streaking towards Gladimon from the side. "...oh, hey, you actually aimed righ-"
A lightning fast flick from Gladimon's wrist, and the bullet was deflected... right at Thunderbirmon.
"Oh, for the love of crap!" shrieked Hana, as she just fell to her knees and began to pull at her hair.
Thunderbirmon cursed, diving to the side and rolling out of the way to narrowly miss having his head blown off. The bird digimon quickly picked himself back up and shook his head vigorously. "Not bad, Tin Man!"
Gladimon pointed one rapier at Thunderbirmon, and the other at Revolmon. "Come at me, heathens!"
Kouki's growl was audible even from the distance between him and Relena. Thunderbirmon spread his wings, starting to take back to the air. "Gladly!" the bird digimon spat. He surely would have followed through with it, too, if not for the rain of knives that then fell towards him, each one exploding on impact.
Thunderbirmon whirled around wildly, attempting to discern the source of his attacker, while another voice cried out as shadows fell over the digimon and his partner.
The man in question turned and looked up. Not making a sound, he threw his hand up just as Noguchi Ikuto fell down towards him, swinging his boomerang for Kouki's head. He caught the weapon, brief flashes of his and Ikuto's Digi-Souls flickering against each other. Ikuto bared his teeth and yanked his weapon away as he jumped back.
"Heh! Whaddaya know, if it ain't the pipsqueak!" Kouki snapped. Ikuto said nothing in response, merely holding his weapon up, obviously looking to strike again. "...damn, you guys are shitty conversationalists..."
Meanwhile, Thunderbirmon had taken to wrapping his wings tightly around his body, to shield himself from the majority of the Kunai Bane's impact. As it subsided, he looked up into the sky to find Peckmon above him. Snarling wildly, he started to spread his wings and take off...
Aquilamon, having recovered in the time that Kouki and his gang had been distracted, was back on his feet. The rings of energy surged out from his maw, right into the unsuspecting Thunderbirmon. Not having any opportunity to defend himself, nor expecting the strike in the least, the Adult digimon went careening back into the construction site. He smashed into a wall, his weight and momentum sending it tumbling over as he bounced off of it. Landing face first in the dirt, his body glowed brightly, shrinking down into a smaller form. Now a child-sized dragon digimon decked out in commando gear, the digimon gave a pained groan, but made no moves to get back up.
"Commandramon!" Kouki yelled, swinging around to glare at Aquilamon as his partner went down. "What was that about 'cheap shots,' you assholes?!"
"You're certainly not one to talk, Kouki..."
Relena and Ikuto both shot looks to the demolished fence to see Chika walking back into the construction yard, slowly, holding her side. She obviously was in some amount of pain, and looking no less angry than before. Despite the hit Kouki had laid on her though, she was still standing. Relena couldn't help but find that impresisve.
For several moments, there was nothing said. Kouki only stood there, fists clenched with his body trembling in obvious rage.
"Give it up," Peckmon said, landing beside Ikuto. "There's no sense in us fighting like this, is there?"
Aquilamon's eyes narrowed. "Your partner's down. Unless you think your friends can hold us back... you're surrounded."
"Bastards!" Hana yelled. "I already said, I'll take all of you-!"
"Hana!" Kouki suddenly yelled, but didn't look at her or anyone in particular. "Get the hell out of here!"
Those words were enough to give everyone pause, from DATS to the younger girl he was speaking to.
"C- come again?!" Hana exclaimed. "Boss, what the hell is wrong with you? Have you flipped?!"
"Get Commandramon, and go!"
Peckmon started to step towards him. "Like we'd let you-"
Kouki didn't give him a response, nor was there an opportunity. The ground literally exploded beneath Kouki's feet, chunks of earth flying as he went running straight for Peckmon. The digimon had no chance to defend himself before Kouki was up in the air beside him, throwing a kick out into the Adult digimon's head. Peckmon went flying over Ikuto, and the blue-haired young main gave a yell of anger as he lunged for Kouki. As the boomerang was swung for his head, Kouki smacked the weapon off its course and threw his fist at Ikuto's face before he even hit the ground. Ikuto was knocked onto his back and went sliding across the dirt for several feet.
The moment Kouki was on the ground, there was a flash of orange power as Chika came running across the battleground for the man. Kouki just grinned wildly when her fist came flying for him... and he side-stepped in the blink of an eye, his leg snapping up to knee her in the gut.
"You guys just don't get it, do you?" the man asked as Chika sunk down to her knees, clutching her stomach.
"Chika!" Aquilamon roared, and went soaring across the distance, his horns glowing brightly. "Grand Horn!"
"Nah, I guess you don't," the man scoffed, throwing his hands out, burning with Digi-Soul, as Aquilamon bore down on him. When the bird digimon attempted to slam into him, Kouki grabbed both of the energized horns, bringing Aquilamon to a dead stop, while Kouki only slid back a couple inches.
"I ain't just any thug," Kouki snarled, while Aquilamon stared at him in shock. "Or any other human"
Kouki flipped Aquilamon over him then, chucking the Adult digimon halfway across the construction yard. Before Aquilamon even hit the ground, Kouki was casually walking away, and towards Relena and Gladimon. Gladimon tensed, holding his rapiers up defensively, while Relena found herself unconsciously walking backwards a few steps.
A quick look around showed that, in the midst of the chaos of Kouki's rampage, Hana, Revolmon, and Commandramon were all gone. Chika attempted to get up, but ended up wincing heavily, still clutching where she'd bene struck. Ikuto was groggily attempting to push himself up with his boomerang, while both Peckmon and Aquilamon were still reeling as well.
Relena gulped. She didn't understand how things had been turned in his favor so quickly.
Gladimon yelled, rushing up as Kouki just walked up towards them like he didn't have a care in the world. "I will not allow harm to befall Relena-sama! Sword Dancer!"
Gladimon's blades lashed out as he jumped at the man, while Kouki ducked and doged to the side quicker than the digimon could strike him. Another flash of Digi-Soul around his fist, and Kouki slammed it into the side of the digimon's armor. Gladimon went flying like a rocket, before he hit the ground and began to bounce and roll across the yard uncontrollably, yelling angrily and incohrently the whole trip.
Relena gasped, and found herself shaking a bit as Kouki then turned to face her. He grinned, and that was enough to send a shiver down her spine.
"You people probably thought I was some idiot, eh?" he asked, striding up to her. "You can't really have thought I was gonna show you everything I was capable of right off, did you? Only a dumbass does that. I could take each and every one of you apart if I wanted!"
Then his fist shot out, and Relena clenched her eyes shut. However, moments passed, and nothing happened. The young woman opened her eyes, and gave another little gasp as she saw his fist had stopped only an inch from her.
"...but that wouldn't get me anywhere," he said, still smirking wildly. He pulled his fist back, and walked away from her, throwing his head back and laughing. "No, I've got something more important now than dismantling you guys... for now..."
To everyone's surprise, Kouki then sat down in the middle of the construction yard. He made sure to make eye contact with everyone as his eyes scanned around the area, before he held up both of his hands.
"I... beg your pardon?" Relena asked, blinking rapidly.
"Heh, what's the matter?" Kouki asked. "That's what you guys wanted anyway, isn't it?"
The man looked over at Chika. The woman said nothing, but it was incredibly obvious than she was angier now than she was even earlier.
"What's the matter, babe?" Kouki asked, his amusement evident. "Not how you wanted it?"
Chika started to rise back up, but was stopped as Ikuto's hand fell to her shoulder. She looked almost like she was about to throw it off for a second, before she just sighed and looked down, dejectedly. Ikuto just gazed at the bleached blond man intently.
"Just what do you want out of this, then?"
Kouki's laughed sharply. "Just an answer."
"So, he just gave up?"
Chiba Mariko's question fell to a momentary dead silence in the DATS control room. Ikuto and Falcomon were leaning against a console to the side, the man sipping a bottle of water as he massaged the side of his head. Relena sat off to his side, though she was distracted trying to console Kotemon, who was currently groveling for her forgiveness. Haruki and Tentomon stood by the Captain's desk, which Lalamon was seated on the edge of, while Naoyuki and PicoDevimon seemed to be trying their best to work and ignore the others. Everyone else, Chika, Yuka, their partners, and Yoshino were absent.
All Ikuto knew was that his head was still ringing from where he'd been punched earlier.
"Yeah," Ikuto finally said, lowering the water bottle. "It's not something I would have expected out of Kouki."
"Especially since he could have taken all of us, even without his Partner," Falcomon muttered, his bitterness evident. "That strength he displayed, it wasn't simply Digi-Soul... It was the same as it was when we fought him trying to protect ElDoradimon."
"He is secured though, is he not?" Relena asked, looking up from her partner at Ikuto.
Ikuto closed his eyes and crossed his arms. "As well as we can. It looks like he has a lot of the same power as when he was a Bio-Hybrid. No matter how much we shackle him, there's not a lot here that can hold him." He opened his eyes back, and observed those present. "We're going to have to keep someone here at all times in order to make sure we're covered if the worst happens..."
"Don't worry about it!" Tentomon suddenly spoke up gruffly, raising an arm into the air. "We'll beat his ass down if he dares step foot out his cell! Ain't that right, Haruki?!"
The dark-green haired boy laughed nervously, tugging at his collar. "Ah, Tentomon, I don't believe that's what Noguchi-sempai meant."
Ikuto's eyes snapped open, and he pushed off the console. "It's not. When I say 'someone,' I mean Chika, the Captain, or myself. Understand this – holding Kouki, right now, is like trying to tie down an Ultimate digimon. There's only so many Agents capable of even scratching the surface of that sort of power."
"Of course," Naoyuki suddenly spoke up, albeit a bit absently, "there is the fact that the remainder of the Black Dragons escaped. Assuredly, the people that make up their membership are going to be displeased at the disappearance of their leader."
"But we do have their leader," Relena noted, holding up a finger. "Perhaps without leadership, they will not be able to hold themselves together?"
"How idealistic," Naoyuki said, still not looking up at anyone and continuing to type away at his station. Relena just frowned.
"Though Naoyuki could learn better ways to put it..." Lalamon said, and let her sentence trail off for a moment. Naoyuki actually stopped cold in his typing for a moment, his body stiffening. He then lightly coughed and resumed his work. Lalamon continued, "He does make a good point. Just as easily as they could split off without a leader, they could also cause a lot more trouble without one, as well."
"Either way," Ikuto said, "we're going to have to be on our toes."
"Noguchi-sempai, may I ask a question?" Haruki asked, albeit a bit timidly. "Do we have any idea just what this Kouki might want? Given all I've read, he doesn't seem like the type to do something like this without wanting something in return."
Ikuto sighed, casting a quick glance to Relena. She just nodded quietly, going back to pat Kotemon's head.
"Yeah," the blue-haired man said. "He wants an answer. One we don't have."
Lalamon looked down. Though not much emotion typically showed on her face, there was a certain gravity to the way she looked which told Ikuto she understood everything he meant. "So we're just going to have to hope we can get some information out of him while we can."
"Pretty much," Ikuto muttered, and then looked at the empty Captain's seat. "You said Yoshino was in a meeting?"
"Oh, yes!" Lalamon said, floating off the desk towards the young man. "We got a special visitor today while you were all out!"
Ikuto squinted at her. "Special visitor...?"
As if on cue, the door to the control room slid open. In walked a turtle digimon, carrying a tray with a tea pot and cups. Kamemon and Ikuto stared at each other for several seconds, before the turtle bowed his head slightly in greeting. The man whirled around at Lalamon.
"Yushima came back?!"
"My goodness, it has been a long time since I set foot in this office," Yushima said, looking around the room he and Yoshino stood in. The woman was merely leaning against the edge of her desk while he looked around. "I suppose not too much has changed..."
"You mean besides the fact that Commander Satsuma didn't exactly have anything in here except his work," Yoshino said with mild, but feigned amusement as Yushima admired pictures adorning the walls. "But, I don't think you wanted to talk about the addition of a feminine touch to the decorations, Yushima-san."
Yushima had been stroking his chin, but as she spoke, he slowly lowered his hand and put it in one jacket pocket. His bemused expression slowly faded, and Yoshino found herself gripping the edge of her desk tightly.
"No. No, I suppose not, Yoshino..."
Yoshino cast her eyes downward. Seeing that sort of look on Yushima's face was troubling, to say the very least. "It's been years. After all this time, I was almost beginning to wonder if..."
"If I too disappeared in the wind?" the old man said, finishing her thought. She looked up to find him standing directly in front of her, a solemn look on his face.
She bit her lip. Any sign of trying to maintain that demeanor of confidence and authority in front of her agents was quickly slipping away, and she knew it. It was because she knew why Yushima had been in the Digital World this whole time. Despite that, he had appeared here with only Kamemon in tow...
"Yushima-san, please... Please, be honest with me... You found something, didn't you...?"
The old man shook his head quietly, his hand still fumbling with something in his pocket. "No, I did not. There were signs, certainly, that they had been there. That he had been there. Stories and accounts that would border on the sort of reverence one might have for a legend, a hero..." he said, and then paused to smile sadly. "Those are all things I doubt I have to tell anyone here, however. Yet, I never found anything solid. Not since that gateway opened back up. Not since that battle we think triggered it..."
Yoshino felt a chill dancing up and down her spine, but she nodded. Only slightly, however, as she realized upon attempting to move her body had gotten very tense.
"I was not the only one searching, however," Yushima went on. "Craniummon has been just as busy as Kamemon and I over the years. In the debris of that battle where we last knew they were, he ... found something."
Yushima pulled his hand out of his pocket, and retrieved a small object. It was a simple object; a silver, rectangular pendent, with a necklace through it. Even after all these years, Yoshino recognized it immediately. It was the very same pendent that Daimon Masaru wore around his neck every day that she had known him.
Immediately, the potential implications of this object, of where it had been found, with so much time having passed began to hit her like a sack of bricks. She was glad she was leaning against the desk, as she started to feel a bit weak in the knees. Her chest felt tight, and she looked at the old man in disbelief. Such an implication shouldn't have been surprising.
"Yoshino," he said, reaching out and taking her hand. "It is not a certainty. You know that as well as anyone."
"Yet you came back," she murmured, and she found her vision blurring. Despite best attempts otherwise, tears were welling up in her eyes. "I know you, Yushima-san. After so long, you wouldn't have unless..."
"Do you think I've given up hope then?" he asked. She wanted to avert her eyes, but couldn't bring herself to. He just smiled sadly. "Don't take me so lightly, my dear. Hope is something I can never lose, not with everything all you young people have shown me. It was important I come back here, if just for this, though."
He turned her palm up, and laid the pendent in her hand. Her eyes widened and she stared at it as tears started to drip down her cheeks. She was so stunned, still, she made no attempt to even wipe them away.
"This was something precious to Suguru, and to ever Masaru is now, he would want me to bring this back here."
"But, it was Suguru-san's, he-"
Yushima just smiled some more, closing her fingers around the pendent. "I know Suguru. I'll talk with him and Satsuma, but... I know well enough Suguru would have the same thought. You know where this belongs, Yoshino."
Yoshino's hand tightened around the pendent, and she held it to her chest, tears still flowing freely. "It's hard, sometimes, Yushima-san... keeping that hope you're talking about... He's been gone longer than Suguru-san ever was, now... I don't know what I'd even do if he suddenly walked through the door one day. I just wish he would. Not even for my sake, but..."
She looked down, opening her hand to look at the pendent. She couldn't find anything more to say. She didn't know what to say...
Yushima put a hand on her shoulder. "Do what you think is right, Yoshino. You know and understand what that is better than anyone. Satsuma wouldn't have trusted you in that uniform otherwise."
Yoshino continued not to say anything. Instead, she flung her arms around the old man, hugging him tightly. He just accepted it, patting her on the back. Yoshino knew she wouldn't be able to show this weakness anywhere else, or to anyone else. Everywhere else, she had to remain strong. For just a moment, though, she wasn't worried about that.
It was a minute or so later before she pulled back, wiping her eyes on the sleeve of her jacket. "Yushima-san, I..." she began, and sighed, shaking her head. "Thank you, sir..."
He waved a hand. "You needn't do that, Yoshino," he said, and began to turn around, smiling back at her. "I'll take care of what needs to be taken care of in this world. But don't think I am done with the other one... The Digital World is a strange place that doesn't play by the rules. If just for that... I can never lose hope."
Yoshino just nodded, glancing back down at the pendent. She didn't know what to think, nor where her own hope lay. However, if nothing else, Yushima's hope was enough for the moment.
It would have to be.
Yuka sat on the highest point of DATS Headquarters' rooftop that one could feasibly get to, feet dangling off the edge. She liked to come up here when she wanted to think, or she just wanted to be alone, as not many others frequented this area. She could see both a great view of the ocean and the lay of the city from here, something which had a calming effect on her.
The girl looked behind her to see Chika coming out of the stairwell. The woman smiled a bit, putting a hand on her hip. "There you are! I was looking all over for you."
Yuka just turned her head back to stare out at the city. "Hi, Chika-neechan."
The girl heard a heavy sigh behind her, and footsteps, before Chika took a seat next to her. "Where's Plotmon?"
Yuka gave a slight shrug. "He's scared of heights, so he sort of took off somewhere else in the base... That's fine, really..." She then looked up at the woman, and blinked. "Chika-neechan, you look a bit..."
"Like I've gotten by butt handed to me?" Chika asked in a sardonic tone, and smirked. "Yeah. I guess you could say that."
The younger of the two sighed lightly. "I guess I really wouldn't have been much help, would I?"
"Is that what you're so upset about?" Chika asked, leaning over a bit so that she was in Yuka's field of vision. "Yuka-chan, we could barely handle that guy. You're fine, really. You've just got a lot to learn."
"Niisan didn't have a lot to learn when he was my age."
"Ikuto was trained by great digimon warriors since he was like, five," Chika noted. "Believe me, Yuka-chan, it's not a bad thing to have started later. Besides! You have better than that to teach you here."
The woman leaned back, placing her hands on the roof behind her to brace herself. Yuka's vision followed her, and she raised an eyebrow. "You mean Niisan?"
"Well, yeah," Chika said, and smirked at the girl. "But I mainly mean me."
Yuka stared for a moment longer, before snorting and giggling despite herself.
Chika sat back up, poking Yuka in the cheek, prompting the girl to laugh some more. "See? You can never get away with acting like that around me!"
Yuka attempted to compose herself, and looked to the sky. "Thanks, Chika-neechan, it's just... catching up to him seems so hard, sometimes..."
Chika's smirk faded, and she too looked up. The woman sighed, and put an arm around Yuka. "Yeah, I know. I know exactly how that feels."
"Dammit!" Hana yelled, kicking a trash can. It turned out to be empty, thus prompting it to bounce down the length of the darkening alleyway she, Psychemon, Tetsuya, Bearmon, and Commandramon were presently in.
"Do you wanna keep it down?" Commandramon snapped. He was leaned up against one wall, holding his side, and obviously still recovering from the damage Aquilamon had dealt him. "The last thing we need is more of those DATS losers or the cops knowin' where we are after we barely got away."
"He's got a point, Sis," Tetsuya said, reaching to place a hand on his younger sister's shoulder before she promptly shrugged it off.
She huffed and crossed her arms. "This is bullshit."
Bearmon yawned and sat down beside Commandramon, pulling his baseball cap around and over his eyes. "Yeah, but, what're ya gonna do? Raid DATS HQ? Ehhhh. Boss Kouki's a big boy, right?"
"Plus, did you see what he did to those losers back there?!" Psychemon exclaimed. "It was awesome!"
"You mean when we were running with our tails between our legs?" Hana muttered.
"Yeah!" Pyschemon said, a little too enthusiastically. Realizing what he said, he backed up and chuckled, while Hana looked like she was about to hit him. "Uh, I mean..."
"So, what the hell is this?" a new voice suddenly interjected. All five sets of eyes turned further into the alley, as another figure emerged from the shadows. Two figures, in fact. One was a young man near Hana's age in a white t-shirt, black vest, and torn jeans. A green bandana adorned his head, with auburn hair peeking out from beneath it. Beside him was a blue scaled dragon digimon.
"Ryuji. Dracomon," Hana hissed, and started to stomp over in his direction befoe Tetsuya grabbed her by the arm. "Lemme go! I wanna beat his skull against the pavement!"
"Wow," the younger man said with a short laugh. "Did I touch a nerve or something?"
"You were late for the job, asshole!" Tetsuya snapped. "And we ran into DATS! And-"
"Kouki got himself arrested, eh?" Ryuji asked, and gave a half-hearted shrug. "Wow! Sure as hell sucks to be him, don't it?"
Hana growled. "Let me go, Oniisan!" she shouted, trying to shake Tetsuya's hand away from her arm. Instead, she opted to just point at Ryuji. "Asshole! You're part of this gang, too, aren't you?!"
Ryuji snorted. "Don't get your panties in a twist, Hana. Yeah, we missed out on today's job – not like I knew those DATS guys were gonna show up. Just give us a chance at 'em, next time," he said this pointing to both himself and Dracomon, who puffed up his chest in response. "We'll show those jackasses who they're dealing with when they cross the Black Dragons."
Tetsuysa scowled. "And what about the Boss?"
"Yeah, jerkass," Commandramon sneered. He may not have been able to get up, but he bared his fangs as he spoke. "Just what about Kouki?
"Well, s'like Bearmon said, isn't it?" Ryuji asked, with a grin. "Kouki can surely take care of himself. And if not, heh, well... guess he just couldn't keep up. Survival of the strongest, right?"
Hana gave a loud snarl, but said nothing else, for the moment. Commandramon just gave him a heavy glare.
Ryuji chuckled. "Don't get too mad, guys. After all..." He clenched a fist, blue Digi-Soul swirling around it. "There can only be one Number One."
It was night time before Yoshino could even attempt to return home. It was even later, still, when she actually got there. Despite debating with Ikuto and Chika over who would get to stay overnight and watch over Kouki, Yoshino found herself outvoted by her subordinates – and Lalamon – and thus sent on her way home. Somehow, she didn't think that was how it was supposed to work, but went along with it all the same.
As she set foot inside her apartment, undoing and hanging up her jacket as she passed through the opening hallway, there was very little noise. In fact, the only thing was the dull sound of a TV blaring in the living room. That, too, was the only place there was any real light.
"Come on, now," she spoke audibly as she walked into said living room. "You better have been doing your homework and not watching cartoons and hero shows all-"
The woman came to a stop as she came around to the sofa. Sprawled out across it was a young boy, eleven years of age, with short, brown hair, snoring rather loudly. Scattered across the coffee table in front of him was a pile of half-finished homework, as well as a plate that had been scraped clean which she knew had been left in the refridgerator for the boy early that morning.
For a second, Yoshino was about to speak again, but her voice was caught in her throat. Instead, she turned into another room, and quickly returned with a blanket. After laying it over the sleeping boy, she reached out and stroked his hair.
"Sleep well, Katsuro," she murmured, before leaning in to kiss his forehead.
As she pulled back, the light of the television glinted off the silver pendent now hanging around her neck as it dangled between the two of them, and she frowned. She sighed and sat back on the floor, holding up the pendent to look at it. She couldn't bear to wake this boy up for this. She wasn't sure would she would be able to bear to show him this...
"I'm sorry..." she whispered, though she knew she was the only one who could hear it. "Mama's sorry, Katsuro..."
-To Be Continued
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Insert me whistling innocently... about here.
Hi again. With this chapter, there's a lot more groundwork being laid. Including some things I am certain some folks won't like, but hey, whatever. I'm enjoying myself, dammit.
There's really not a lot I can say here without giving many things away, so I'll just ask: Is it obvious enough, yet?
Thanks again to Razorsaw for allowing me to bounce ideas off him, and trying to watch out for my grammar when I bust out eight thousand words in a day or so's time.