Akemi Homura sat in the dark of her empty house, staring at the ribbon and toy in her hands, the last remnants of a world that could never be, now. The rules of the universe itself had changed from the beginning of time, and there were no one who could ever know. She remembered the smiling face, tinged with something she couldn't identify at the time. Resolution? Acceptance?

"It's all right, Homura-chan. Sometimes, sacrifices have to be made. A good person taught me that. Now I can see everything in both the past and the future. The worlds that might have existed, and the worlds that might come to exist. All of them. I can see them. So much darkness… and so much light. So beautiful and terrible…"


"So I understand everything now. I understand why things had to be like that. How much you struggled in all those timelines for my sake. You cried so many times… You were hurt so many times… For my sake…" Madoka held her tight. "I'm sorry I didn't realize… I'm sorry… "

Homura just held her tight and wept.

"I had to change like this before I finally got to know the real you. To think I had another great friend all this time… I wish you two could have met…Homura-chan… Thank you… You're one of my best friends!"

Homura stared at her, unable to hold back the tears. "But you won't have any home to return to, you can't se your loved ones anymore, and you'll be alone in this place for eternity!"

And Madoka had laughed, as if she'd said the silliest thing. "I'm not alone. I've always had you by my side. And from now on, I will always be everywhere. I will be by everyone's side. Even though you won't really see or here me, I'll be with you, Homura-chan."

Homura stared at her. "I don't want to forget you…" she cried. It was a such a selfish, selfish thing to want, but she didn't.

Madoka just shook her head. "It's too early to give up. You came all the way here with me, so maybe you won't forget me when you return to our world." She rushed up and tugged off her ribbons, but when she placed them in Homura's hands, there was something else among them. Homura stared at the little purple plastic toy, digital numbers flashing on its crude digital screen as it counted time in a place where it had no meaning. "Everything is going to be all right. I know it is. Believe in me."

"Madoka…" Homura breathed.

And always, that beautiful, sad smile. "We can fulfill our hopes and dreams. We can get a second chance. Finally, this is mine." Her hands drifted away from Homura's, and she began to move away. "Darkness is coming Homura-chan, but I'm not afraid. This time… I can see it."

"Madoka, don't go!"

But she just kept drifting away, dissolving into light. "Sorry, but I have to go meet everyone. I'm sure we'll meet again too…until then, just wait a little longer… and please… take care of my little Witch when she comes…" And then she was gone, and Homura found herself in a new world.

Homura had wondered about those strange last words. The wording was ominous, but the tone had been fond, if a tad regretful. And now, she'd never get to ask her.

Homura remembered the first time she had met Madoka. The girl had possessed a pleasant smile that seemed a tad brittle at the edges, each Witch bringing a hurt look to her eyes, like their existence was a very painful, personal offense. The smile seemed to fade more in every world, but the hurt had been the same. Something about Witches had caused Madoka pain, completely unrelated to the things they'd done.

She stared at the little toy in particular. Madoka had always had it with her as well. At first, she'd thought it was a favorite toy, but Madoka had never played with it, and in her ends, she'd clutched at like a lifeline, calling out to someone for help. When she'd dared ask, back when she'd been more timid, Madoka had only held it sadly and said it was something from a dead friend. Mami hadn't known what she'd been talking about either.

Still, despite the pain, it had– was– obviously important to Madoka. She laid it aside gently as she took the ribbons and began to work them into her hair…


Digimon: The Final World

by Shadow Crystal Mage

Chapter 1: Reunion

Disclaimer: Digimon, Negima, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Magic Knight Rayearth, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Stay Night and Escaflowne do not belong to me. I make no money off this. This is parody and protected speech.


"Fuura Kafuka?"

"Present, Pink Supervisor!" CLINK!

"Kitsu Chiri?"

"Properly accounted for, sensei!"

"Kobushi Abiru?"


"Komori Kiri, present in school. Tsunetsuki Matoi?"


"She left a note!" Kafuka said, plucking a piece of paper from Matoi's seat. "'Gone to pursue True Love'. Aww, that's so romantic!"

"What an improper way to cut class!" Chiri said. "Shall we pursue her, sensei?"

"No, the author is going to have enough problems as it is. Hito Nami?"

"I am the pirate queen!"

"What a normal cracky response," Kafuka chirped.


"And such a normal gag too!"


Somewhere, Matoi sat on a train, one finger twiddling with the keychain ring of her ridiculously orange and plasticized digivice, smiling in anticipation of her destined reunion.


The days returned to normal, or as close as they had before. Rin, somehow, never moved out of his house, and Saber had likewise stayed as well. While Taiga made perfunctory noises about how it was all indecent and such, she enjoyed the free food too much to make waves. Sakura stopped coming entirely, and Shiro wondered if Shinji had ever been able to explain away what had happened to him. The sudden return to 'normalcy' was as abrupt to him as it had been seven years ago, and he wondered if it was just him. It was so strange to think that his town had been the sight of life and death battles only a few weeks ago…

Rin had grudgingly begun training him, mainly streamlining what he already knew so that he wouldn't, in her words, "kill himself with his sloppy, half-assed execution". Taiga-sensei seemed to have forgotten about being held hostage by Caster. He wasn't sure if that was a result of magic or if she was just in denial and suppressing the memory. Still, for now all was well in Fuyuki.

Yet he found himself mulling over Archer's words over and over again in his spare moments, staring at his little pink digivice.

Maybe you'll be able to save the digital world after all…


The Necropolis was under siege.

Once, the city had been a dark, quiet place. Adult and stronger Digimon walked solemnly to and from their duties while Child Digimon who found themselves here, mostly PicoDevimons, hung upside down from every available roost, waiting to evolve and become more than just messengers. Those on break spoke quietly over cups of blood and coffee, discussing boring things like projections, quotas and other businesslike details a they got on with the very important business of death, which had usurped taxes– which didn't exist here– as the sure thing that comes more than once.

Now, all that had changed.

Refugees crammed its walls, and once carefully-regulated machinery, used for the tracking and reclaiming of the souls of Digimon so that not much data was corrupted between reformats was left to run haphazardly. The needs of war changed priorities, and right now, making sure everyone continued living had to take precedence over taking care of them when they were dead. Outside its walls, refugee camps extended for miles, full o mewling Child Digimon, and those too small, too weak or too cowardly to fight.

Beyond them were the battlefields.

Flying Digimon patrolled the skies, watchful against the enemy, while ranks of Digimon organized by size and combat optimization patrolled the grounds. The lands of the digital world, not exactly a beauty spot this close to the Necropolis were ravaged nearly flat, and yet this brought no advantage. The landscape contained plenty of folds and ravines to hide things from sight, and they'd already been ambushed more than once.

NeoVamdemon, the Lord of Death and ruler of the Necropolis and its environs sat in his office, facing a bank of screens. Once, he'd rarely be speaking to all his peers at the same time, and even now, it was rare, but these were extreme circumstances. Seraphimon, the Lord of Judgment, was obviously on the battlefield, looking impatient, as much as the stoic warrior ever looked impatient, to get back into the thick of fighting. His usually immaculate armor was kicked and covered by the decaying corrupted data that the enemy bled.

On the screen next to him, Venusmon and Culumon shared a screen. So, the Lord of Evolution was in the territories of the Lady of Life today. The seemingly insignificant little Lord had taken to leaving his territory to wander the battlefields, evolving their forces should he meet them to help them survive. NeoVamdemon was surprised he was with Venusmon. She hadn't approved of how he had tried to evolve her Hatcheries to turn the all the Child and younger Digimon into fighting shape– her 'disapproval' had been seen for miles– but apparently he'd been closest to her when NeoVamdemon had sent his call for a conference, and they were professional enough to tolerate each other's existence in the face of what was happening.

Only Sakuyamon, the Lady of Fate, was absent, her position taken by her trusted proxy, Valkyrimon. Doubtless she was once more trying to contact the Goddess Aura. Of them, she believed the most strongly that this situation could be resolved if the y could but contact the goddess. Personally, NeoVamdemon felt it was time they learned to be self-sufficient.

"I will not mince words," the imposing Lord of Death said in his smooth, erudite accent that the Chosen Children had once remarked sounded Australian. "We have found more breaks between worlds, one in the Necropolis itself. It also appears Sakuyamon's deduction that the enemy is actively searching for such breaks has been confirmed. While my troops were able to secure the breaks so that the Wizarmons and Fantomons could seal them, many in the outlying regions were attacked by heavier than normal concentrations of enemy forces. We managed to repulse most of them, but one outpost near the Philes Necros Lovehotel was momentarily overrun. Several of the enemy managed to cross the border.

Culumon swore, vehemently and at great length.

"About there," NeoVamdemon agreed as Venusmon glared at the little Lord's language. "I suppose we can pray that they will be unable to survive in the next world beyond the Primordial Chaos, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. The enemy has entered the world of the Chosen Children."



Chisame blinked, looking up from the book she'd been reading while Haruna, the other librarians, Asuna, Setsuna and Chachamaru had chatted around her outside Starbooks Coffee in time to see some random girl pounce on her. The impact knocked her out her seat, and she barely managed to catch herself so she wouldn't hit the ground so hard, her attacker latched onto her. Chisame gave out a cry and tried to push her attacker away, but it was no good. Her arms were locked at her sides, and she couldn't bring her kicks into play. And her so-called friends were just standing there watching as…


As some random girl she didn't know squeeeee'd loudly and hugged her as they both lay on the ground. "Chisame-sama!" the girl was crying out. "Oh, Chisame-sama, it really IS you! Chisame-sama I've been looking for you for so long! Now we'll be together, just like we promised! Oh, Chisame-sama, I'm so happy!"

"Get offa me!" Chisame cried. "A little help here?"

Haruna just grinned widely. "And ruin such a cute scene of what I assume is a reunion?"

"I don't even know this girl!-!-!-!-!-!" Chisame roared, making more people stare in their general direction. This being Mahora, people started taking pictures and commenting they were a cute couple.

"Eh? Chisame-sama, it's me," the girl said, letting Chisame go and reaching for something in her pockets. Chisame took the opportunity to scramble away from the loony and duck behind Chachamaru– who for once wasn't needed to help Negi with something or other– and if the robot didn't protect her, she'd yank her antennae off.

The girl drew something form her pocket, brandishing it at Chisame like an ID card. "See, see, Chisame-sama? It's me, Matoi-chan!"

The words meant nothing to Chisame at first, and all she saw in the girl's hand was a little plastic orange thing. And then she saw what it was the girl was holding and she paled, stumbling back in horror. "No…" she breathed. "No, that never happened. It never happened!"

The girl blinked, looking more confused than anything else, as if not understanding why Chisame wasn't sharing in her excitement. "Chisame-sama? Are you all right?" She took a concerned step forward.

With a cry of utter panic and denial, Chisame shoved a surprised Chachamaru at the girl, who toppled under the gynoid's enormous weight as Chisame turned and tried to run from her past.

"Ah! Chisame-sama, wait!" To Chachamaru's surprise, the girl pushed her off like she weighed nothing, scrambling to her feet and leaving the little gym bag she'd been carrying behind as she raced after Chisame.

Ala Alba stared at each other for a brief moment, trying to process what had just happened.

"After them!" Haruna cried, pointing, and raced after them. The others followed suit, Asuna asking what the heck as going on as Chachamaru took a moment to pick up the girls bag to bring with them.

Behind them, the red LED display that ran a scrolling display of the time, date and temperature flickered, its display changing.

Aura: Chisame? Where are you? You're in danger…


Hitomi always found Shibuya to be unreasonably crowded compared to Kamakura. She walked behind amongst a group of her friends from school, listening to the conversation but not joining in. Gaia was gibbous in the sky, and she found herself wondering what the weather was like up there. Was it summer in Fanelia? Winter? Spring? It was so hard to tell, since she wasn't sure where exactly it was. It wasn't like she'd ever seen a globe of Gaia before she'd left. Her digivice hung from her purse, cheerfully flashing the time, its cyan casing plopping on the side of the bag with every step.

She really shouldn't have been looking up when she was walking.

One moment she was musing, the next she slammed into someone, the impact knocking both her and the other person the ground.

"Ah! Hikaru-chan, are you all right?"

"Hey, why don't you watch where you're going?"

As her friends stopped and turned back to see what the matter was– had she really lagged so far behind?– Hitomi saw she'd run into a short redheaded girl. The girl's friends were behind her, one helping the girl up, the other glaring at Hitomi like this was all her fault.

"No, it's all right Umi-chan," the girl was saying, waving away her tall, glowering bluenette friend. "I really should have run ahead like that. Are you all right, miss?"

The girl turned inquiring eyes at Hitomi, holding out a hand to help her up, and she was struck by the sadness in them. They had a haunted, self-loathing look she'd once seen in the mirror, masked but still there. She wondered if this as a psychic vision or something, since on a second blink the girl looked entirely normal, just a cheerful stranger asking about the well-being of someone she'd run into.

"I'm fine," Hitomi said, hesitantly accepting the girl's hand up as Hitomi's friends made their way towards her. "Sorry for running into you."

"That's okay!" the girl said cheerfully. "I really should have been watching where I was going. You're not hurt, are you?"

"Just my pride," Hitomi assured her.

The altercation over, they made their apologies and bowed, turning to go off their separate ways. They hadn't even exchanged names.

From her purse, Hitomi's digivice began to beep, a loud, warning sound of distress. From close by, there was a second, identical sound.

As Hitomi fumbled at her purse in surprise, learned reflexes coming to the fore, she heard one of the stranger's friends asking her if she was all right. Hitomi shut her eyes, trying to 'feel' the flow of events as she'd learned so long ago and relearned on Gaia, so feel a little ways into the future to know where a threat was coming from…

And became aware of a familiar, fiery presence.

On instinct, one hand came up and grabbed behind her, catching the stranger's shoulder as Hitomi whirled to face her, suddenly realizing what she was seeing. The girl turned to face her in surprise, clutching a small lime-green toy– no, a small lime-green digivice– in her hands.

Hitomi saw it clearly now. The guilt, the self-loathing, the horror and pain, the same as when she'd seen it in her own mirror for seven years, masked behind it own wall of denial. "Hikaru-chan?"

"Hitomi-chan…" Hikaru said quietly, eyes wide in surprise and panic and fear and… was that joy?

That was when the screaming started.


"What the hell is this thing?" Kyoko demanded as she leapt out of the way, her spear flashing defensively. "Some new kind of demon?"

Homura was in full agreement with Kyoko. Demons so far had basically been cut from the same mold, identical in appearance and ability. This thing, however, looked like a familiar, possibly one making the transition to Witch. But there were no more Witches, and familiars with them. It was vaguely equine in shape, but four enormous armored, vaguely insectile arms sprouted from its back, giving it a vaguely arachnid appearance. Delicate-seeming, apparently vestigial wings flapped next tot the arms, and a black horn sprouted from what Homura assumed was its head. Worse of all, it had materialized in the real world, not within a barrier, and they were all exposed.

"Ah!" Yuma cried from the very back as Mami shot at it with her muskets. "Evil unicorn spider!"

"I suppose that's an accurate way of putting it," Mami said as Homura took aim with her bow, sighting on the creature's eyes, eight crimson slashes on its head that glowed with crimson light. A purple shaft of energy lashed out, striking one of the eyes. The creature's head snapped back, the eye shattered, and it roared, turning to face Homura.

"Unholy Shot!" it cried as it spat out a ball of dark energy at Homura, She dodged, drawing her bow back for another shot.

Above Homura, Kyubey sat easily, its tail wagging back and forth. "Interesting. Demons have never spoken before…"

The thing roared again, charging at Homura and ignoring the head of Kyoko's spear as she shot it at the thing, its arms tearing apart the roof of the department store they were on as it came at her, heedless of the others. Yuma slammed her staff onto the ground, the magical shockwaves rumbling through the surface but not breaking it, and the thing stumbled, giving Homura more time to leap out of the way, firing more arrows at it.

Mami's ribbons and Kyoko's spear wrapped around the thing, flinging it into the air.

"Tiro Finale!" Mami cried as she drew what looked like a battleship canon out of her hat, it's three barrels each letting out an explosive surge of energy that struck the thing in midair. It exploded into a black mist, and Homura felt conscious of some sort of black sludge landing on her. She wiped it off her cheek, and stared as it seemed to evaporate before her eyes.

"Oh, gross," Kyoko complained, trying to get it out of her hair. "All that effort and we don't even get any Grief Seeds. What a rip."

"I don't think that creature was a demon," Kyubey said. "It shared none of their characteristics."

"Well, we beat it anyway!" Kyoko boasted, letting her spear dissolve.

In the office building across from them, there was a sudden crash as every window for five floors across from them suddenly exploded, letting them hear the screams of office workers as dozens of dark creatures– some shaped like the one they had just destroyed, others most definitely not– leapt at them, all letting out sudden blasts of energy.

Kyoko yelped, calling up a wall of spears as Mami scooped up Yuma and ran, Homura covering their retreat. Purple energy gathered around her little shield, expanding into a wide protective wall behind them. They leapt off the roof of the department store, kicking off the wall and leaping up in streams of their own respective colors as they used magic to boost themselves out of the way. Quite handy, magic.

As the dark creatures leapt after the Mitakihara Puella Magi, Kyubey became aware of a presence behind him.

"Hi!" the presence said cheerfully as Kyubey turned around. "Can you help me? I'm looking for my friend? She's about this high–" the presence made an attempt at conveying a height and failed utterly, falling on its back, "– oof, uh, has pink hair? She used to be a Madoka, but she might have evolved by now…"

"I'm sorry, but I don't know anyone by that name," Kyubey said.

"Oh! Well, it was nice to meet a fellow Digimon here. I guess you're one of NeoVamdemon's soldiers. Oh, sorry, silly me. What's your name?"

"I am called Kyubey."

"Nice to meet you, Kyubeymon!"

"My name is not Kyubeymon. It is merely Kyubey, short for Incubator."

"Huh. You guys have really weird names here. I thought it was just Madoka-chan. Oh well. I have to go look for Madoka-chan, Kyubey. See you around. I think I can feel her this way…"

The presence flew off, and Kyubey watched it head in the direction the Puella Magi had taken. "Curious entity. I wonder if I can form a contract with it…?"

He had quotas to fill, after all…


Shiro ran, hearing the creatures behind him closing in through the trees. His guess had been right after all: for some reason, they were after him. well, at least they were away from the school. Shiro ran through the woods in the back of the school, hearing the crashes behind him as trees were demolished. Occasionally, there were barely intelligible words that were followed by an explosion. Attacks, Shiro realized. They were calling out attacks.

From between the trees Saber charged, Excalibur glowing in her hands, Rin behind her. Saber crashed into the front line of creatures, her holy sword cleaving through them easily as she caught them by surprised. Shiro turned in time too see the leading creatures Saber had attacked disappearing into black mist– no, into data– as she moved on to the others.

"Gah!" Rin cried, shooting her Gandr spell, which slammed into the things behind and slowed them down. "What are these things?"

"Digimon…" Shiro breathed, almost to himself as he felt the realization come over him. His hand went to his pocket. His digivice was vibrating slightly under his hand, exuding a gentle warmth.

He flashed back to seven years ago. Alone, helpless to protect anyone, needing to be protected. Even his partner hadn't been much help… until the end.

He wasn't waiting for the end anymore.

"Trace, ON!"


They'd found Chisame barricaded in her room, the girl who'd effortlessly womanhandled Chachamaru knocking at her door, pleading with her to open it. "Chisame-sama! What's the matter, Chisame-sama? Come on, talk to me! It's me, Matoi-chan!"

"Hey!" Asuna cried as she and the others arrived at the door and pointed dramatically at the girl. "Just who are you, anyway? Why are you bothering Chisame-chan?"

The girl stopped knocking on the door to glare at them. "Who are you?" she demanded.

"Hey, we asked first!" Asuna shot back.

The girl glowered, but drew herself up. "I'm Tsunetsuki Matoi, Chisame-sama's bride!" With that declaration, she turned back to the door, trying to get Chisame to come out. "Chisame-sama! Come talk to me!"

Yue and Nodoka blanched. "B-bride?" Yue stuttered.

Asuna stared, blinked, and tried to recover herself. "Bwah?" she articulated.

A crash rose inside the room.

"Chisame-sama?" Matoi called.

Chisame screamed.


Asuna was already gathering the magic and ki to use her kanka to break the door down, but before she did, Matoi pushed the door open, ripping the hinges off the frame and rushing into the room inside.

Haruna blinked. "I thought Setsuna and Konoka were the only ones with super-powered lesbian stalkers?"

Setsuna, thankfully for her, didn't seem to hear, rushing in with Asuna and Chachamaru into Chisame's room. Chisame was sprawled on the ground as if she'd been crawling backwards, Matoi standing in front of her brandishing the door as a weapon, facing the open door of Chisame's computer room. As they rushed in, a tall, dark figure lumbered out of Chisame's computer room, its horns scarping against the ceiling. It's arms opened, two of them arcing upward and scraping the ceiling, the middle pair clutching at a dark-stained staff, and the third flexing its sharp metal talons. Its ribcage-like chest heaving around a dark sphere, it swung its staff down, cleaving Matoi door in half and making her stumble back. Before it could attack again, Asuna was charging forward, slamming her fist into its chest. The creature stumbled back, and Setsuna was there, one of her Pactio Cards changing into a short sword before she swung it into a wide arc, cutting off the hands holding the staff.

As the thing chittered, possibly in pain, Chachamaru ducked down and swept its feet out from under it. It fell back, but managed to catch itself on its other arms. Chisame screamed and made a break for it, slipping past Yue and Nodoka at the door. Matoi hesitated a moment to throw the pieces of the door she was holding at the thing before turning and running after her, calling out at her to slow down. Setsuna moved in for the kill, but the thing swept its arms at her, and she barely managed to duck back from the heavy metal forearms. In a flash, it had pushed itself up to its feet, and small, black, tattered wings swept open. It blasted past those at the door, who barely managed to duck in time as it eviscerated the door frame with its claws, black streams of mist streaming from its dismembered hands.

"What the hell was that thing?-!" Haruna cried, clutching at her Artifact as heads peaked out of doors, an uproar rising.

Chachamaru, who'd interposed herself between the thing and the other librarians when it had taken flight, snapped up her head, her sensors scanning. "Whatever it is, it seems to be chasing after Chisame-san and her bride."

Asakura appeared as if summoned by her Card, staring at Chachamaru intently, open notepad and pen in hand. "Chisame's bride, you say?" she said eagerly.

From the other rooms, screams rose, girls stumbling back as dark figures materialized out of nothing, opening their wings and taking flight.

"I don't think we can use the excuse of a shooting game this time," Asuna mused as panic began to erupt.

"We need to do something!" Setsuna cried, even as she made sure Konoka was okay.

Asuna was about to respond, but something tapped her ankle. She looked down.

"Excuse me," the little puppy-like thing asked pleasantly. "But have you seen my friend? She's about this tall– " the puppy-thing tried to make a gesture to indicate how tall something was, didn't reach the desired height, overcompensated and cutely fell on it's back, "– um, has big pieces of glass on her face? She used to be a Chisame, but she might have evolved by now…?"

An identical little puppy-thing rolled her eyes and began to push the other one upright. "Oh, will you stop messing around and get a move on?" it snarled. "Out of the way, saviors of the world coming through!"

Ala Alba stared at the little puppy thing as it rushed out the door in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Scrappy Doo.

The other puppy thing turned to them and bowed politely. "Well, thank you for your help," it said, before straightening and rushing on after the other one. "Sis, wait up!"

The girls stared on after them.

"I think things just got weird again," Asuna said.

"Where's Negi when you need him?" Yue asked.

"Mars," Chachamaru said helpfully.


"You know," Hitomi said nonchalantly as she, Hikaru and their various friends took a breather inside a lingerie store, "People have always kept saying about how monsters are going to attack Tokyo… I never thought it would actually happen."

"This also sadly proves there are no such things as Magical Girls," Hikaru agreed. "They've had plenty of time to show up by now."

"Hitomi-chan, what's happening?" Yukari asked, clutching at Amano.

Hitomi opened her mouth to reassure her, but her gaze suddenly became distant, and her head snapped up in the direction of the street.

Hikaru reacted on seven year old instinct, grabbing a nearby fire extinguisher and throwing it in the direction Hitomi had looked. One of the dark things burst through the window, only to get slammed in the face by the fire extinguisher as Hitomi and Hikaru grabbed their friends and ran, rushing towards the emergency exit at the back. Fuu and Umi needed little urging, following Hikaru's lead and not bothering to ask questions. Amano, Yukari and Hitomi's other friends were a bit less cooperative, alternatively running, screaming and asking what the heck was going on.

Hitomi led, eyes half-closed as she tried to dowse what was up ahead, Hikaru behind her clutching a mannequin leg she'd liberated on the way out. She turned a corner, and Hikaru followed without reservation. One of Hitomi's friends was about to protest, only for dark figures to appear in the path ahead of them. That stifled the protest.

Beyond them, they could hear screams and occasional crashes. Cars, they supposed.

Hitomi found herself jumping before she realized what she was doing, even though the ground in front of her was perfectly level. Only Hikaru followed her lead, which kept her from being caught when the ground over which she'd leapt over suddenly cracked, a giant drill breaking through the cement.

"D-drimogemon?" Hikaru gasped in surprise as she landed next to Hitomi. A dark mass pushed itself out of the ground behind the drill, and for a moment, she thought it was a Drimogemon covered in soot. Then she saw the four extra arms sticking out of its torso, long and lanky, the forearms armored and the long fingers topped with drills, the mandibles where the mouth should be, the eight slashes of crimson that were the eyes.

Hitomi understood. "Oh my god… it's a Drimogemon! It's been… corrupted somehow."

"They must all be…" Hikaru said, backing away as it ignored their friends, pulling itself towards them.

"Hikaru-chan!" Fuu cried.

"Hitomi-san!" Amano called.

Hitomi and Hikaru exchanged glances. "I think it's just after us…" Hitomi said, backing away.

"Then let's get it away from people," Hikaru said.

"We're bait again?" Hitomi said, mildly annoyed.

"Well, Shiro-san isn't here to volunteer," Hikaru said.

Hitomi grabbed her and pulled her back a heartbeat before the corrupted Drimogemon lunged forward, its drill nails raking at them as the two girls turned and ran. They made it into a major street, barreling into the people there. Hitomi took the lead, somehow finding the path of least resistance as Hikaru followed behind her. The going got a bit easier as the Drimogemon crashed behind them and people dove out of its way.

There was a screech from above, and Hitomi snapped up her gaze in time to see a corrupted Digimon– some kind of winged quadruped. A Unimon?– diving down at them, eight metal talons poised to rake at them. It was only a split second before Hitomi, acting with more than just sight, pushed her away, covering Hikaru with her body.

"Van…" she heard Hitomi say, almost in prayer…


Flame slammed into the corrupted Digimon from the side, sending it reeling.

"Hikaru! Hitomi!"

Hikaru couldn't see Hitomi's face, but judging by what she could see of her leg, the short-haired girl's face had just paled. Still, she felt a rush of surprise and glee as she looked up to see what looked like an anthropomorphized candle and a small purple dragon with re and gold marks. "Candmon!"

"Monodramon…" Hitomi breathed, trying to fight down the turmoil that tried to rise up and overwhelm her.

Hikaru's hand snapped to her pocket, her lime-green digivice snapping into the air. "Candmon! Power up!"

Light began to gather around the Digimon. "Candmon, evolve!"

Candmon seemed to spin, her body changing into a red-clad wizard with a flame-like hat, a match-like wand with a red tip in one hand, another one with a blue tip hanging from her hip. "Fire Cloud!" she cast, sending a blast of fire at the Drimogemon. The fireball slammed into it, making it stumble. It caught itself on it multiple arms.

Around them, more corrupted Digimon began to appear. Some were identifiable as Drimogemon, Garurumon, and Unimon. Others were less easy to identify, but were definitely nasty looking.

"Hitomi, I need to evolve too!" Monodramon cried as it landed next to her, while Flawizarmon placed herself between Hikaru and the corrupted.

Hitomi took a deep breath, suppressing her feelings as she grabbed her digivice. They didn't have time to indulge her guilt. "Monodramon! Power up!" she cried as power poured from her own digivice.

"Monodramon, evolve!" Monodramon cried, its body dissolving into light as well. "Dinohumon! Dinohumon, super-evolve! Dinobeemon!"

A bizarre combination of insect and dragon stepped into the light, reptilian arms and tail contrasting the chitinous armor and delicate-seeming dragonfly wings. Crimson compound eyes glittered on its green face, it eyed all the dark forms before it. Wings blurred with speed, and it launched itself forward with a cry of "Hell Masquerade!". It blurred, leaving afterimages in its speed, slashing viciously at the corrupted before it.

"Time to leave!" Flawizarmon chirped, pulling Hikaru up to her heat. "Dinobeemon, catch up with us!"

There was an acknowledging roar as Flawizarmon grabbed Hitomi and Hikaru and leapt upwards. She caught the lip of a window, launching herself and the girls higher and higher until they reached a roof. Hitomi found herself giggling as she stumbled away, the whirlwind of emotions she'd gone through coming to a head. When Dinobeemon rose up and landed to fly them away, Hitomi was laughing uncontrollably…


- To be continued...


A/N: Homura has never waited past Walpurgisnacht, so she doesn't know what happens.

Not as high quality as I would like, but perhaps the vagueness about the Digital World will help me. I can always try to define it later.

Also, the thought of Culumon being a potty-mouth amuses me.

Yes, Homura still has her shield along with her bow. I like the shield, darn it. Besides, it still has all her guns inside it.

I'm going with the little cube things also being called Grief Seeds, because anything with the word 'cube' in it just sounds stupid to me.

Yes, I am seriously considering Digimon Puella Magi…

There will be no Kyubey bashing, so don't bother asking. After all, if Homuhomu can be civil and even almost friendly to Kyubey when he's not trying to contract Madoka, you guys can too.

This is set in the 5 months before Asuna goes to sleep…

Matoi has super strength. This is SZS canon. Has anyone seen her wield a telephone pole as a weapon?

Please review, C&C welcome.

Until next time, this is Shadow, signing off.