Well, it's been a ride.
I just finished the last 7 or so chapters within a matter of a week. I have a feeling I missed something...
Oh well, enjoy the chapter... and be sure to report any suspicious errors.
For Better or Worse
'And on Tokyo News tonight...'
Kari's eyes widened as she saw the TV cut to images observed from a helicopter. Many buildings in Odaiba lay in ruins, with entire blocks partially levelled. Thankfully, there weren't as many destroyed buildings as she had imagined. AbyssGreymon had ceased his attack the moment he had trapped the remaining digimon in the community hall, which Kari now realised passed off as the circus building in Odaiba.
Susumu shook his head, sitting right next to her. 'Absolutely terrible. The worst part is, no one can really find the real reason for this happening.' He furrowed his brow thoughtfully. Or is that the best part? No...He looked over at Kari worriedly. 'Do you think anyone will suspect the Digital world's connection to this?'
Kari frowned in thought. The coverage over the destruction included some sceptics on late talk shows. It remained unclear who were in the majority. 'Most people seem to just pass it off as some terrible accident. Though there are a few people who suspect that digimon caused it.'
Yuuko cleared her throat. 'I do hope Hiroaki will do his part to quell the rumors about the digimon's involvement. I've heard some strange things, and... Gatomon?'
Gatomon's ear perked up as she lay next to Kari. 'Yes?'
'Do you think - those people you and Agumon saved... would they tell the media?'
Gatomon sighed. 'There's no way to stop it. Those people went through a lot, and they won't be able to keep quiet about it. So there's no use worrying about it.'
Kari's eyes went back to the screen. 'Speaking of which...'
The little girl from the observation dome and her mother were being interviewed. The mother looked very troubled, but the girl seemed quite calm.
A reporter began talking to the camera with the two in the background. She was a middle aged woman with long dark hair, with piercing brown eyes.
'Just behind me are two of many claimed to have been rescued from the top of the observation tower, one of the first buildings to begin collapsing as part of the recent disaster. Architectural experts have theorised that its collapse may have sparked the beginning of a chain reaction, whether through collision with other buildings or the disruption of underground support structures when the large dome hit the ground.' She turned to the girl and her mother and smiled encouragingly. 'We've heard some amazing stories from the others who were with you two. What are your names?'
The mother spoke first. 'My name is Bunko. This is my daughter, Akane.'
'So, can you describe what happened up there? If it's too traumatic for you to recall, it's all right, just tell us if you don't want to describe it.'
Bunko shook her head, smiling. 'No, not at all. Physically, we're fine, but... I'm not sure about my mental health. The two who saved us... I still can't believe what they were... I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But the same could be said for every one of us on that tower, since they all seem to have seen the same thing.'
'What are you talking about?' Akane piped up at her mother. 'Digimon saved us. Don't you remember?'
Kari and Yuuko gaped at the TV, while Susumu gagged and spit out his coffee. Gatomon smirked. 'I told you they would.'
They returned their attention to the TV. 'Digimon, you say?' The reporter asked quizzically.
Bunko smiled nervously and patted Akane on the head. 'Like I said... I can't believe what I saw.'
'Can you describe these... digimon?'
Akane smiled brightly. 'We saw them up close! One was an Agumon... that's an orange lizard. Though this one was strange... he had blue stripes, and was almost twice as big as me - and he was very nice to everyone.'
'What about the second one?'
Akane opened her arms wide. 'It was a big angel! I don't remember what it's called, but I think it was Orphanmon, or Opinamon, or something...'
Gatomon hissed in slight annoyance. 'Ophanimon, little girl.'
Bunko continued to smile nervously. 'She knows digimon very well. I know, it's strange for a girl her age...'
'Mummy! You sound like the other girls at school!'
The reporter nodded to them appreciatively. 'This might be a bit harder to answer, but... of those still missing, are you waiting for any news on relatives?'
Bunko shook her head with relief. 'Thankfully, my brother and his family got out of the building alright before it collapsed any further. Thank goodness for the evacuation safeguards...'
Akane smiled at the camera. 'My cousin Ren was with them! I'm glad she's fine now... I was so worried...'
Bunko grinned down at her. 'Ren and her are very close.'
'Thank you both for your time. Now I should let you get home to your relatives.'
Bunko and Akane nodded at the camera and walked away off to the side of the screen. The reporter now adopted a more serious tone.
'Though their families are fine, there are many families who report several people still missing. We haven't confirmed any dead, and the families remain hopeful... but at least a hundred people are still missing, or, in the future - yet to be identified... The damage bill exceeds several billion yen, as many damaged buildings were only recently developed... we'll keep you updated as announcements are made. Michi Fujimoto, Tokyo News.'
Susumu switched off the TV and prepared to go change his shirt from the coffee-stained one. Yuuko followed him, and Kari looked over the back of the couch. 'What are you two doing?'
Yuuko's voice echoed from her room. 'We're going to the Digital City. We want to see how Agumon is... can you mind the house? We'll only be an hour or so.'
Kari was surprised at the request. 'Ooookay... but... do you need help? Have either of you been to the Digital world before?'
Susumu nodded as he came out with a new shirt. 'Tai's showed me how he does it, but I never tried to follow him. Too busy, I figured myself... if I went through I would no doubt be tempted to look around. It sure sounds interesting over there.'
'What's to stop you wandering about for this time?' Kari asked. 'You'll take much more than an hour, because you're right; it's great. But... I can mind the house anyway, but not more than a few hours.'
Yuuko looked to Susumu. 'Even though school's been postponed... we should really try to get Tai back here. He needs proper sleep in case they announce school resuming on short notice.'
Kari nodded as she joined them to help. 'By the way, I should get you to the right place first. Tai should be able to get you back if you get lost... the digimon can direct you to the hospital.'
Gatomon slowly grabbed the remote as they went into Tai's room and began flicking through the channels. I don't know why they bother... she thought. It's been almost a week since the attack, and Agumon hasn't shown any signs of waking up. That doesn't stop Tai from staying there all the time... and Biyomon too. She smiled to herself. Maybe this was a wakeup call to Agumon... not that I would use AbyssGreymon for that, ever again... that whole ordeal was terrible.
After a few minutes, Kari returned, looking slightly troubled. 'What?' Gatomon asked.
'... I'm worried.'
Gatomon concealed a small sigh. With all the worrying going around the house, and among the Digidestined, she itched to tell them off. Sitting around moping about a serious injury wasn't like any of them, but she tolerated it in Kari's case. She tried to lighten the mood. 'About what? Agumon's still out of it... is that it? Or do you think Yuuko and Susumu will get lost?'
Kari nodded. 'Both... and neither Tai or Biyomon ever get out of that hospital. I hope he'll wake up soon... we've gone every day, and it doesn't seem to make a difference. He's still just... asleep.' Her shoulders slumped. 'It doesn't feel right, Gatomon.'
'Why not? He sure snores like he used to.' Gatomon smiled. 'He'll be fine. Gabumon's actually complained about it several times. It's kind of annoying for him, since he got the bed next to Agumon's. Just see it as... Agumon's having to sleep off the stress and injuries. He'll come around soon, I promise.'
Izzy and Joe were quick to reorganise all the digimon to return to their usual positions and assisted the Datamon in repairing the extensive damage to the City walls. The owners of the buildings that were destroyed recruited enough of their own help to quickly put them back up. The observation tower was the real problem. It was going to take some time, as it had been one of the first buildings as part of the joint venture of the City's inhabitants. They eventually returned to the database for a break, where Izzy scoured the archive for any information on Chronodata and digivolution. Both of them had been itching to find out more about Agumon's new form, especially in Izzy's case when he missed the battle. The Datamon didn't have a clue when they were probed with questions, though when Joe asked Tai, Sora and Biyomon about SacredGreymon, they managed to draw an approximate picture of what SacredGreymon looked like from their descriptions. Sora was still wondering why Izzy was concerned with that information when it seemed obvious to her that Agumon's condition was more important.
Izzy just shrugged nervously when Sora asked after he got her information. 'Agumon's condition hasn't changed, but his vitals are strong, like Joe says... and I can't sit around doing nothing when there's something extraordinary to discover.'
Joe was quick to point out how similar SacredGreymon was to AbyssGreymon.
'According to Datamon's picture...' Joe began in detail. 'That digimon has similar runic markings and tiger stripes to AbyssGreymon. I wonder how those two are connected?'
Izzy scoffed slightly. 'It's not a surprise. BlackWarGreymon and WarGreymon were connected in a similar fashion; one is a corrupted form of another.'
Joe shook his head as Izzy faltered at his last statement. 'But it is a lot more complicated than that... yes, we thought BlackWarGreymon was a simple corrupted form, but he's proved us wrong there. He's more than a simple copy; he is unique, just as Agumon is unique.'
'Unique...' Izzy folded his arms. 'That is strange. I have been aware for a long time that multiple digimon of the same species appear identical physically... perhaps I haven't dug deep enough. It would make for an interesting study to see how else they could differ...'
Joe smiled with encouragement. 'I can assure you that Gomamon is unique in his own way compared to the other Gomamon I've met, most of which being his friends. And I think Tentomon is unique too... you just need to research away from the computer, Izzy. Go and talk to the digimon, instead of relying on computers so much.'
Izzy sighed reluctantly. 'You sound like Mom...' Joe did have a point. Any research he did of his own volition were directed from secondary sources, reports and information entered into the terminal in front of him. Joe, on the other hand... did exactly what he was pushing for now. 'Ugh. Fine. Since I love the digimon so much-' he grinned up at Joe. 'I guess I'll try and take your advice.'
Joe patted him on the shoulder as he got up to leave. 'You seen Agumon yet?'
Izzy nodded. 'I've visited three times. I've given up going until I get some news. How about you?'
'Yeah, I'm pretty much the same... though the Salamon and Piximon working at the hospital asked for my help in getting medical goods for them. It seems the digital world doesn't provide all the goods they need - at least for Agumon, since he's needing more than simple herbs and bandages. It's the first time they've asked for -'
Izzy turned his head with a dismissive wave of his hand. 'Yeah yeah... don't start getting medical on me.'
Joe snorted at Izzy's inverted use of "technical". 'You know you do the same when I ask about things on your computer.'
Izzy smiled to himself as Joe left.
Tai ignored the sound and tried his hardest to stay awake, but was having trouble keeping his eyes open, peering at Agumon. The sight calmed him, but scared him at the same time. He was dozing with a content look, and most of the bandages he had were off. His skin was still the same vibrant orange it always was, and he frequently recalled him muttering odd phrases such as leave me alone sarge and I hate cats. Those made him at ease, but seeing him not moving at all from his bed, made him see just how vulnerable his partner was. As if the past couple months weren't enough...
'Tai! This has gone on long enough.'
Tai felt someone nudge his shoulder repeatedly. He opened an eye to see a Salamon, the nurse on duty, peering up at him with concern from the floor.
'Tai.' she began sternly, in a voice that didn't match her stature. 'When's the last time you ate? You don't look so good.'
His stomach rumbled. He remembered leaving this morning without having any breakfast.
'Tai, you seem to forget that I'm here.' Gabumon's voice sounded from the next bed, and Tai raised his head to be greeted by Gabumon's concerned bright red eyes. 'If you're so worried about when he'll wake up, chances are I'll be here. You don't have to worry about keeping an eye on him; I'm right here.'
Tai sighed. 'Maybe you're right... I'll go get something from the food court... then I'll be right back. Watch him for me.'
Gabumon smiled. 'Like I've got anything better to do. I'm still not allowed to walk yet. And I've said it before to you and Biyomon; you don't have to come back until he shows any signs. Biyomon's having her breakfast right now; why don't you join her and Sora?'
Tai nodded. 'Good idea. Thanks, Gabumon...'
He raised an eyeridge. 'For what?'
'For doing so much for Agumon.'
Gabumon sighed with a little embarrassment. 'Yeah, yeah, but... I've been thanked enough now, Tai. Come on, get going.'
As Tai finally stepped out the door, Salamon sighed heavily. 'I thought he'd never leave. I don't want him to collapse and check in here as well.'
'I understand, though.' Gabumon looked at her thoughtfully. 'It's frustrating, not knowing how Agumon is, apart from being alive. Especially if you're his partner.' He frowned sadly, recalling a scene of darkness and snow upon File Island.
Salamon smiled reassuringly. 'His vitals indicate that he should be quite healthy by now... but that battle took a huge toll on him. More than I've ever seen... it's odd.'
'It's probably because of the Chronodata.'
Salamon looked down sadly. 'I'd heard about that... doesn't it mean he can die? From things that aren't battle...? Not that we're worried about that right now, though.'
Gabumon smiled gently. 'Any digimon can die for real. It just that most of us haven't witnessed such things ourselves... but yeah. The Chronodata seems to have done something to him... now, I'm not sure if it's a curse or a blessing. Maybe only time will tell.'
Gabumon looked up as he heard more footsteps approaching. His expression brightened when Matt came through the door.
'Hey, Gabumon.' Matt greeted him, eyeing his legs. 'Still can't walk?'
Gabumon grunted and moved his feet under the sheets, which were slightly larger than normal, wrapped in casts. 'They feel fine! But Salamon won't let me try and walk...'
Salamon frowned, her demeanour suddenly transforming. 'Agumon only needed a cast for one broken leg. Your legs still need time... the internal damage was bad enough that even with casts, it will take at least a few more days before you can even try to walk. I didn't do so much work getting you fixed up just for you to go and break something again.'
Matt smiled comfortingly. 'At least the rest of you is fine. Look at Agumon... he almost looks like a Mummymon.'
Gabumon chuckled. 'Yeah... but he lost quite a lot of blood, compared to me. It was lucky Joe was there to patch him up a little... well, a lot. He's become very good after all that study, huh?'
Salamon frowned again as she mused over a new problem, raising a paw to her chin. 'Yes... blood loss... hmm... that may be a problem for us to treat in the future. From what I've heard from Joe... humans have something called 'blood transplants' and 'blood donors'. I dread to think that we would need things like that... but I'm feeling we'll need them someday.'
Matt shook his head. 'I don't know if digimon need to worry about getting blood donations. I'm not sure half the digimon even have blood.'
Gabumon looked up at Matt. 'If you're talking about the machines and cyborgs... they still run on oil.'
Matt rolled his eyes. 'Whatever, Gabumon.'
They were all surprised when they heard groaning from Agumon's bed. Gabumon sat up with a start while Salamon and Matt rushed to Agumon's side. He slowly opened his eyes, blinking away the blinding light, turned slightly and trying to shield his eyes. After a moment, he blinked away the disorientation and quickly clutched his chest and groaned. 'Why...' he started weakly. 'Why does my whole body still hurt...'
Matt looked ecstatic. 'Agumon! Finally - everyone's been waiting for you to wake up. We've been worried about you.'
Agumon managed a smile as Matt and Salamon came closer, and tried to lie still for a moment. He put a claw on his belly, causing it to make a long horrible lurching sound, and Salamon made a sickly face.
Gabumon grinned with amusement. 'That's what I thought you'd say.'
It wasn't long before Tai, Sora and Biyomon arrived along with Matt returning after fetching them, with Tai speeding back the moment Matt uttered "awake". Everyone in the hospital jumped when he threw open the doors. Agumon was comforted by the sound of his frantic voice despite the commotion as he rushed up to his side. He raised a claw to greet Tai but was quickly cut off.
Tai grabbed Agumon around the neck and hugged him close, and all the while Agumon waved his arms in protest.
'T-Tai! I... can't breath... and it - still hurts...'
Tai let him go quickly. 'Oh. I forgot.' He smiled widely. 'You're finally awake! I almost can't believe it... but you don't look so well.' Agumon did seem thinner and paler, which only became obvious when he was sitting up.
'I only need food, Tai.' Agumon looked around. 'Speaking of which, you didn't happen to bring any, did you? I'm starving.'
Tai got his backpack out, being prepared for this for a while, and began hauling boxes and bags full of food onto the table the nurses had brought for Agumon. Biyomon smiled at them. 'The guys in the food court were pretty generous when they heard you woke up. Don't worry; help yourself.'
Wasting no time, Agumon grabbed each of the containers and gobbled the food up one container after the other, and everyone stared in amazement as the pile of empty containers next to him grew taller and taller. It wasn't long before the dozen or so containers were empty. Agumon paused in confusion when he found no more on the table.
'Huh? That's it? Aw...'
'Don't worry, Agumon... ' Sora reached forward. 'We made sure to tell everyone that's visiting to try and bring food.'
Agumon's expression brightened. 'Thanks!'
Tai sat on the end of the bed cross legged. 'So... maybe you'd like to tell us what happened? After you turned into that dragon...'
Agumon nodded as the memories of the battle flooded back, along with the strange sensations of fighting as a quadruped. '...SacredGreymon.'
Everyone raised their eyebrows at Agumon's astute correction. 'How'd you know that name?' Tai asked.
'Baihumon told me.'
Tai gaped slightly. 'You'll have to explain that one to me - '
He jerked forward with a start along with everyone else when the doors were flung open, in the same manner as Tai just did.
Yuuko and Susumu smiled brightly as they saw Agumon. 'We'd already heard you were awake,' Susumu began with an obvious edge of relief. '...but quite something else to see it. Good to see you up!'
'I imagine you must be hungry?' Yuuko clarified as Agumon nodded. She quickly threw a takeaway dinner box onto the table, engraved with a noodle box symbol. 'They were pretty surprised when I asked for a dinner box right after breakfast time.'
Tai grunted in frustration as Agumon's attention was diverted, to which Gabumon looked at him quizzically. 'I think that can wait until everyone gets here, Tai... and Agumon goes to the toilet, of course.'
Tai waited impatiently as, true to Gabumon's word, all the Digidestined soon arrived, most bringing some sort of food for Agumon. Davis brought noodles, but had to go and boil them in the small kitchen because he forgot they were dry with powder satchels, leaving Agumon waiting with a growling belly. Yolei brought some snacks from her parents' store in plastic bags, and Cody brought some of his mother's sushi. Agumon finally decided to break for the toilet using a crutch when Guilmon showed up, bringing loaves of bread, but refusing to say where he got them from. 'No time for an eating contest, Guilmon,' Agumon said as he left. 'There are others waiting for me.'
Izzy, surprisingly, was the last to show up, even though Tentomon had arrived a good hour before him, offering Agumon a large mutli-coloured plant which Agumon quickly refused.
Tai looked at Izzy dejectedly as he entered. 'Where have you been, Izzy?'
Izzy looked up at Tai, but they were dancing around as if distracted. 'I was in the middle of an important task. I was researching that new form of Agumon's, and I...'
'Uh... why?' He looked up as Agumon gave him a confused look. 'You could've just asked.'
'Well, now that we're all here...' Joe said expectantly. 'Maybe you can answer our questions now that we've been desperately holding back until everyone showed up.'
Tai nodded unflinchingly. 'My thoughts exactly, I think we've all waited long enough.'
As everyone looked at Agumon expectantly, it dawned on him just how many of them there were. Then he slowly began the description of his digivolution, battle with AbyssGreymon, and the number of things he talked with Baihumon about throughout.
Izzy nodded in fascination, and after he had finished, an idea crept into his head. 'Clearly, this "digivolution" behaves differently than it normally would. It may or may not require your partner's power or input, it morphs your body to astounding levels, and you have to control its duration yourself, otherwise you would be exposed to cellular deterioration...'
Tai quickly recognised that look in Izzy's eyes, as did Ken, who spoke up in reply. 'What are you thinking? Is there anything that can be done about it?'
Izzy shook his head quickly. 'Not off the top of my head, but... I'm inclined to label this as not digivolution, but "Chronovolution".'
Tai lowered his eyelids flatly. 'That's er... nice, Izzy, but it doesn't really change anything!'
Cody frowned as they recalled the things AbyssGreymon said. 'I wonder if all that's true... about humans experimenting on digimon. If it is, it doesn't surprise me that AbyssGreymon hates humans the way he does...'
TK looked at him thoughtfully. 'He didn't really like anyone before, though.'
'Still...' Cody shrugged. 'It might be something we could investigate in the future. Though I... wouldn't look forward to finding that out.'
Agumon suddenly looked slightly alarmed. 'I think I forgot something... where's Baihumon?'
'Baihumon?' Sora answered. 'He just up and left only a day or so after the attack. It was strange that he didn't say anything to us about you... at least we know what he said.'
Agumon sighed with relief. 'I'm glad... if it wasn't for him, I don't know what would've happened.'
Izzy tapped his chin. 'I still want to know more about SacredGreymon... the fact that you digivolved further than mega is incredible. And since it's due to the Chronodata... perhaps it is not such a terrible thing, as we were led to believe by Zhuqiaomon.'
TK frowned doubtfully. 'I don't know about that.' He quickly turned his head as he recalled Baihumon's warnings. 'Agumon, Baihumon told us that if you spent too long as SacredGreymon, you would die. Did he tell you that as well?'
All the digimon except Agumon exclaimed in surprise and alarm. 'Die!?' Guilmon protested. 'I thought we got enough of that before!'
Gomamon sighed. 'Well, I suppose there has to be a cost to awesomeness...'
Veemon studied Agumon with sudden scrutiny. 'One thing's been bugging me... whether it means anything, I can't say... but why was only Agumon affected by the Chronodata in the first place?'
Everyone became silent as they pondered the answer. Only a few got an inkling as to why, or if it was even true.
Wormmon examined his partner from his arms thoughtfully. I did wonder why Ken picked Agumon to... experiment upon... as bad as it was, the curious side of me still wondered. All I remember getting from him was that Agumon was powerful - that "he's a useful digimon". That didn't tell me much, and that was to spite my presence when I tried to convince him to experiment on me instead. I felt sorry for Agumon, as well as everyone else who suffered because of Ken... was it just because of those parts for Kimeramon? Oh, I shouldn't be thinking about this. It makes me start getting bad feelings about those terrible times, and it gets even worse if I let my mouth slip. Ken sure looks like he remembers...poor Ken.
Veemon looked over at Gabumon as they both pondered similar thoughts, with Gabumon recalling when he and Agumon arrived to try and stop BlackWarGreymon. Azulongmon deliberately gave Agumon a digi-core, even though all of us were eventually able to fully digivolve again. Azulongmon, however, purposefully gave Tai and Agumon more power at the time... was that just for stopping BlackWarGreymon? I really can't say, but... did he believe that Agumon alone could stop him? That didn't work out in the end, from what I heard...
Veemon's thoughts turned to their battle with BlackWarGreymon. It took both Imperialdramon and WarGreymon to stop him BlackWarGreymon. So it wasn't that Azulongmon believed Agumon could stop him... but he did believe he was special in some way. Why else would he give the power to him first?
What makes Agumon unique? Izzy began to analyse their list of partners in his mind, turning over their individual qualities, attributes, elements, strengths, weaknesses. All of our digimon are unique in their own ways, given that all their species, elements and forms are vastly different... but virtually none are of the virus attribute, only vaccine and data. Well, except Guilmon and Wormmon... hmm... Patamon and Gatomon both digivolve to angel type digimon... Azulongmon once said something about the crests of Light and Hope being different from the others. What did he mean to imply? Something to do with those two being the youngest of us, and joining Davis, Cody, Yolei and Ken? That doesn't make much sense though. Wait, wait... the point of this was to find why Agumon was unique. The obvious, of course, is the fact that he was the only one affected by the Chronodata incident, which then leads to his ability to digivolve to SacredGreymon. Effect, but not the cause. No. Anything before that, perhaps...? Wait, come to think of it... he was the only one to digivolve differently to what was intended for us with the tags and crests. SkullGreymon... yes, he did seem very different from all Agumon's other forms... the most obvious being out of control. I'll have to research SkullGreymon more... I might be on to something here.
Why did Baihumon leave so quickly? Agumon kept flipping over recent events in his head in frustration. Why did he come all this way just to help me? He didn't talk about defending the city, but defending the world. What do I really have to do with the digital world, that everyone else wouldn't be a part of? It doesn't make any sense, and his answer to 'why me' didn't really make sense either. It seems kinda stupid, doing something that you can't think of an answer to why you're even doing it. Argh! My brain hurts. And all this thinking is making me hungry again...
Tai tensed as he mulled over everything that has happened since Agumon received that message from BlackWarGreymon. After all we've been through, we still don't have any answers. Alphamon got the jump on us, because we thought he would help us, given that he destroyed Myotismon's data. He's unlike any other foe we've fought, because we can't figure out what he wants! Agumon dead, but why? Because he doesn't like humans? That's stupid. Why would he then hunt a digimon? How does that stop humans? We're fumbling around in the dark, and even the Sovereigns can't give us straight answers. The only other is Gennai... maybe he can answer some of our questions. That's all we've got now, and it'll be a while before Agumon and Gabumon get better. Agumon already said that Baihumon believed AbyssGreymon wouldn't be coming after Agumon any time soon, so we've got some time...
Opening his eyes and trying to smile, Tai raised his voice slightly, momentarily startling everyone. 'Well, no point wrecking our brains over thinking this,' he began as he stood up. 'There are only a few things we can do now: let Agumon and Gabumon heal, help with rebuilding Digital City, and perhaps get in contact with Gennai. He's been strangely silent throughout all of this.'
Slowly, everyone in turn, nodded their agreement. Joe suddenly yawned widely. 'This whole thing has been so tiring.' His eyes quickly widened. 'Oh no! School! It starts again soon...'
All the humans groaned - except Izzy. 'I wonder if my research into Chronodata and digimon can count for something?' He wondered out loud, somewhat excitedly.
'I thought it was postponed?' Matt asked.
'Yeah...' Joe began. 'Didn't you hear the announcement this morning? It'll start on Wednesday. The day after tomorrow! I really gotta start preparing, and all of you know you should as well.'
One by one, everyone wished Agumon and Gabumon well and started to file out of the hospital, much to Salamon's relief, who looked in as she heard people leaving. Gabumon yawned and drifted off to sleep as they continued, leaving Matt, Calumon, TK and Patamon smiling as they left as well. Tai wanted to stay, but Sora touched his shoulder gently as she gestured towards Biyomon. Tai stared at her for a few seconds, before silently nodding and following her out.
Biyomon stayed near the door until Tai and Sora left, catching a smile from Sora before she closed the door after them. Taking a deep breath, she turned and approached Agumon, who looked just as nervous as she did.
Agumon inclined his head mournfully as she sat on a chair next to the bed. 'Biyomon... I'm sorry.'
'What for, Agumon?'
Agumon couldn't look at her. 'For making you miserable for so long.'
Biyomon glanced at him solemnly. 'You're talking about that night you came back.'
'Please understand, Biyomon...' Agumon began. 'I didn't realise how much I would hurt you. I thought I was doing the right thing - that I was protecting you.'
Biyomon looked at him quizzically. 'You wanted to protect me? From what?'
Agumon hesitated as he answered. 'I'm not so sure now... I thought, maybe... if you got too close to me, it would hurt you even more.'
Biyomon stared at him incredulously. 'Surely you don't think that way now?'
Agumon turned his head to look at her. 'What do you mean?'
Biyomon smiled at him. 'You don't have to worry about dying anymore... you're strong enough to stop AbyssGreymon. Now, it doesn't seem so hopeless as it did when you left.'
'And Baihumon is helping you, too. A Sovereign!'
'There's hope for us, now. Just like before... we can stop Alphamon, and find a way to save AbyssGreymon, just like you wanted.'
Us. Agumon looked at her for a moment, and smiled back. 'Yeah. You're right. But...' he frowned as he recalled the last things AbyssGreymon said to him. 'It seems to me that AbyssGreymon doesn't want to be saved... he just wants an end. But... I could never kill him.'
Biyomon smiled at him warmly. 'You're concern for the lives of other digimon is part of the reason you're so endearing, Agumon.'
There was a few seconds of silence between them. Biyomon then sighed.
'What's wrong?' Agumon asked.
'Agumon... listen.' Biyomon gave him a serious look. 'If my... feelings, if they only make things awkward between us... then I'll try my best to bury them down. I value our friendship too much for this to ruin it...'
She turned slightly as if to leave, fear creeping up in her slightly, but stopped as Agumon touched her wing gently. 'Biyomon...' Biyomon was speechless as she stared at Agumon, who blushed as he retracted his claw. 'Sorry.'
He smiled suggestively. 'Please... don't go. I want to know...' He exhaled. 'I want you to tell me what you wanted to say at that party. If it means you'll be happy, Biyomon... I'll be happy. I won't run away this time - ' He shrugged helplessly. 'I'm stuck in a hospital bed anyway.'
Biyomon gaped at him slightly. 'Really?' Agumon nodded sincerely.
Biyomon's stomach churned as her mind went blank. What do I say? I can't think...
When Biyomon remained silent, Agumon looked away shyly. When it became obvious she wouldn't speak, he confessed quietly. 'If it'll help, Biyomon... I... wanted to thank you. You've done a lot for me, more than I deserve, especially after leaving you like that. Someone like you deserves to be happy - someone who was there for me when I needed them. I've lost hope many times now, and somehow, you made me believe in myself again. After our first encounter with AbyssGreymon, when I left... and when we were trapped in that cave. If it wasn't for you, I might not be alive... you've helped me so much - maybe more than even Baihumon. I thanked everyone else for their part in fighting for me, but you did the most. I'm... I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner.'
Biyomon continued staring as her heart beat quickened. 'What... what are you saying, Agumon?'
'That I really care about you... as a lot more than a friend.'
Biyomon couldn't help but beam widely. 'Agumon!' She cried as she lunged forward onto the bed to hug him tightly, nuzzling him lovingly. Agumon smiled as he hugged her back.
'You know... Biyomon...'
Agumon snorted in amusement. 'I heard what you said to AbyssGreymon... about me.'
Biyomon's eyes snapped open as she blushed further. 'You... you heard? What I said about you?'
'Yeah. So you don't have to worry about making a speech like I did.'
Biyomon let go of him and beamed. 'I'll still say one thing.'
'I... love you, Agumon.'
Despite expecting it, he was still gobsmacked as she said the words. Biyomon just laughed when she saw the look on his face.
'You look ridiculous!'
Shaking his head slightly, Agumon grinned. 'You should have seen the getup Tai's mom got me into.'
As they sat there smiling at each other, Agumon felt a slight surge of panic as a familiar feeling crept up through his throat. What... oh, not now. I thought I took enough of a precaution when I went to the toilet early...
He covered his mouth as the gas crept up his throat. 'Agumon?' Biyomon asked. 'What's so funny? Do I look ridiculous too?'
He shook his head, but, realising he couldn't stop it, he raised his head and let out a huge ball of flame that spread out over the ceiling as he burped loudly. Biyomon ducked as he did, then shook her head affectionately after it passed. 'How typical.'
After studying the ceiling with concern, he looked at her apologetically. 'Sorry.'
Biyomon sighed. 'That's four times, now.'
'That you've apologised.'
Agumon tried to count on one claw, but took a moment to realise he'd run out of space. They both laughed and sighed as they leant back against the large pillow.
'It feels so long since... I've had a good nap.' Agumon yawned.
'I'd imagine. After all you've been through-'
'-we've been through.' Biyomon looked at him quizzically, to which Agumon answered: 'Even in that month I was gone, you were all worried about me. That must have been hard, after hearing how Tai felt in that time.'
Biyomon looked down solemnly. 'It was.' Then she smiled back at him. 'But it's alright now - we're altogether again, safe.'
Agumon grinned as he stared out the window opposite. 'When I first left... it was because I was so afraid of hurting my friends, I thought it would be best that I leave, at least until I could figure out how to control my powers.'
'And you did.'
Agumon nodded. 'I just think it's funny that my... purpose... hasn't changed at all. It's the same as it's always been. To protect my friends and both worlds.'
Biyomon found herself gazing out the same window. 'The same goes for all of us digidestined.'
Feeling slightly bolder, Agumon slowly put his arm around Biyomon and hugged her against his side gently. Biyomon responded in kind by nuzzling him affectionately under his chin, causing Agumon to laugh softly. 'Biyomon, that tickles.' She rolled her eyes and rested her head near his shoulder.
'So...' Biyomon began. 'What's next? I mean... uh...'
Agumon grinned at her as she fumbled over her words. 'I don't know. But we don't really... have to do anything. Just take it as it comes, I guess... at least, that's what I gathered from Tai.'
Biyomon laughed. 'Tai can't teach you everything, dimwit. But... I guess you're right.'
Agumon and Biyomon sat there for a few minutes, before Agumon's eyelids began to droop as he yawned. He sank down onto his back, legs sticking out from under the sheets, as he nodded off. Biyomon smiled at his sleeping form, getting up from the bed and pulling the sheets back over him. Agumon looked so adorable to her that she couldn't resist pecking him on the cheek before leaving quietly.
Her eyes lingered on her flower she had given to him on the bedside table, and decided to take it, now knowing that Agumon believed she could take care of it better than he could. When leaving, Biyomon, who was still blushing happily, didn't notice that one of Gabumon's ears was elevated, and that he was grinning. I'm good at that. He thought to himself, before going to sleep for real.
Agumon, meanwhile, was having the first good dream in a long time.
He was flying again. SacredGreymon. But this time, he could see that he was not alone.
As he passed over villages, he heard digimon cheering. For him.
He heard Tai yelling in excitement, unusually close. Then he noticed a tiny weight between his horns. He smiled as he realised Tai was riding him.
In the distance, he discerned a dark shape, and he immediately recognised it. It was AbyssGreymon, flying off into the distance. And he was pursuing him.
'AbyssGreymon... I will keep my promise. I know now that you are still the digimon who sacrificed himself for the sake of our world. I'll make sure nobody forgets... and I will save you, old friend.'