Disclaimer: I do not own anything from the Digimon franchise, nor anything Lovecraftian. I do however own this particular interpretation of post-02 events and the Dark Ocean.

A/N: Ahaha! I finally started it!

A few words:

As this story is a sequel to a previous story of mine, "The Survival of Hope", it is strongly suggested that that story be read first. This story is written with the assumption that the reader has already read that story and is familiar with what happened, but the basics are told in the course of this story.

Secondly, as all of my Digimon stories are connected to the Zenkyoshi canon in some manner or form, there will be quiet references to it all over the place. Survival and this story were planned and written as standalone from that, but there is that notification. To those interested though, the war referenced is the Crystal War, which as of now is unwritten, but will hopefully be written in the future.

N.B.

Third... because I'm trying to focus on Disconnect as of writing this (12.29.2011), this story will be updated rather infrequently. Hopefully it won't take me six years to write though. XD

Thanks so much, and enjoy!


The Will of Light


Resolve

The ocean was many things – life, death, change. The constant ebb and flow, a vast source of energy and strength, fickle and destructive, it had existed in force as both the beginning and the end.

For Kari, it was where everything started, and she was determined to finish it.

She sat in the warm sand, gazing out over the serene blue waves. She could feel the salty breeze brush past her skin and through her light brown hair, the gentle roar echoing in her ears, the warm sun basking her body in light.

We're close… we're so close…

She had visited this same beach at night, trying to take in the differences, the absence of light from above, the chilled wind that reminded her of the other world. Despite knowing of the barrier, those first few visits alone had frightened her. She had kept coming because she knew she had to move past that fear.

The memories, the nightmares, the images that danced before her eyes. She remembered the mist circling around, soaking through her clothes and clinging to her skin. The salty, humid air, the thick, musty scent, the acrid taste of the corrupted darkness in her mouth, the ocean water as it roared in huge waves, trying to drown those that dared trespass.

It had once been her burden. Now, it also rested on another.

She dug her hand into the sand and tilted her head back, letting her face bask in the light.

We promised. We promised that we'd finish this. It feels like so long ago now…

The days and nights of constant training, all the sweat, blood, tears, frustration, the moments where everything seemed to fit – and now their goal was near.

They had been eleven back then when the Dark Ocean came for them. Now they were fourteen. They were older now, wiser, stronger… they had made certain they would be prepared. Their barrier that kept the other realm separate remained strong, keeping the world of light safe… but there was no way of knowing how long it would last. The conflict had only been delayed, not resolved.

"Kari? Is everything all right?"

She glanced over at her partner, smiling.

"Yes. More than," she replied, seeing Gatomon's familiar white furred face as it almost shone in the bright sun. "Just… thinking…"

Gatomon turned back to gaze at the sea.

"Everything is almost set," she spoke, eyes distant yet focused. "We're… we're really doing this, aren't we."

Kari just nodded emphatically back. "Yes. We are."

It felt insane, and they knew it. After all, the one they were challenging was essentially the god of his realm, powerful beyond measure, whose influence stretched wherever his corrupted darkness touched.

Kari remembered the battle too well, as though mere days had passed instead of years. The Dark Ocean had taken someone precious to her, someone she could not imagine her life without. The ensuing struggle to take him back – the field, the tower, the runes, the sweat, blood, water, all of it – the memories spurred her on harder every time she watched him practice or saw the marks on his wrists.

She glanced down at her D3 sitting in the sand. He's supposed to be here soon…

Gatomon noticed her gaze and tipped her head. "Guess TK's really being thorough, huh," she commented.

Kari shrugged. "I'm sure he wants to check everything and make sure we haven't missed some important detail."

Gatomon let out a short laugh. "As if he hasn't gone over those memories thousands of times by now."

Kari leaned back a little, feeling the weight of the metal section links coiled by her waist. Present and ready for immediate action, forged by digimon and made for her, an extension of herself just as much as the powers of light within her. She closed her eyes, letting her mind relax as the sense of balance settled, light and darkness interwoven into the fabric of the world in perfect harmony.

In this realm, light was dominant, with the darkness as a support. Their goal was to return the Dark Ocean to the way it had once been, the two forces in balance but with what held true for the realm of darkness. To do that though, they had to attack the source.

It unnerved her. She had seen the unholy god being only through viewing the single memory, yet it filled with her with the dread and despair of every encounter with that otherworld.

She leaped to her feet. Gatomon glanced up, tilting her head quizzically. "Kari?"

"I'm going to warm up while we wait," she replied, feeling the sand shift beneath her shoes as she moved to a more empty spot.

"All right."

Kari unhooked the sectioned chain whip from her belt, uncoiling it while running her callused hands over the individual links. She let her fingers rest briefly on the weighted tip at the end, before grabbing firm hold of the handle. She knew this weapon well, a friend in the many battles fought over the past years.

Then she let the whip fly, the metal whistling through the air as it glittered brilliantly in the sun's glow.

The light within her flowed gently as she performed basic warm-ups and a couple forms, giving her encouragement and a sense of confidence in her chest. There was the potential for anything if she so desired, but she alone said whether or not the light manifested in the physical world before her. She knew that this light was her.

With a moment of daring, she let the whip wrap around her own body in another form, but it just gave the momentum she wanted to launch the tip away before returning the entire length to the air. Her mind was clear and focused, aware of every movement surrounding her, from the crashing waves to Gatomon's twitching ears.

As she let the whip fall limp to her hands, she thought to herself of all the other skills they knew and the preparations they had made.

I can't think of a better time than now. After everything – battles, missions, the war – if we don't go now, then when will we? We're ready. I feel ready. But anything could happen.

The salty air swept over her body, cool against the light sweat on her skin. She felt alive, strong, empowered.

The Dark Ocean had once called to them, beckoning them towards its waters, dragging them into it when they resisted. This time, it was their turn. The Dark Ocean might still take them, but that would be its downfall.