Author's Notes

Another discussion-focused chapter (with a bit of action towards the end); you'll see a few more of these as the Digidestined sit down after a day and try to work things out. Less so when the days start melting into each other, but this is still very early in the story (they only have two crests so far!) so it'll take a while before we get to that stage. In the meantime, everyone will be coming up with theories, and it'll be up to you to guess what's the truth. :D

Also, there's a time skip at the end of this chapter, hence why it's a little shorter than the others. More wrapping up this day so we can start on a fresh page next time, relatively speaking.

I'm sorry for the lateness. This was supposed to be done by the seventh, but I started my medical degree and I have less free time than I anticipated. It's just easier to work on drabbling than full length chapters, particularly when there are possible continuity errors I'm trying to work out with Aiko's help. Hopefully the next chapter will be done on time – hoping to get back to once a month updates.

Last thing…this fic almost has 100 reviews! When I started, I never imagined this would be so popular, and I'm flattered and grateful to all of you who've been reading and following this story. Thank you everyone! And enjoy the next chapter.

Crests of Origin

Chapter 12 – A Perk from Parrotmon

Izzy wasn't sure how Kari and Ken could sleep through the noise Koromon was making, but the two of them had collapsed in the Computer Lab and had only made incoherent mumbles since. Tai wasn't thrilled when he found out; while giving his sister a piggy-back ride solidifyied the fact that she was safe and sound, he couldn't ask her for an explanation or a reassurance.

TK and Yolei supported the unconscious form of Ken, and they managed. After TK's growth spurt, the pair of them were about the same height, something that came in handy not only in basketball from TK's end, but also in supporting somebody else.

Fortunately, Davis' home wasn't too far from Tai's so they didn't get too many odd looks along the way. Still, it was a relief to be away from the public once indoors; the Digimon still attracted looks from adults, the novelty they were, and no-one wanted or needed their already bizarre reputation to be associated with anything else. If word got out that Digidestined Digimon were assaulting other humans – which they weren't, but who knew how it looked to the general public – they'd have a problem on their hands.

'Although, the Digimon were all in my bag,' Cody explained, once those who were awake had spread themselves on the floor of Davis' bedroom. The Koromon had managed to knock the basket down, but Izzy had set it to do a math problem and the in-training was currently bouncing, literally, his way through the sums. 'It doesn't help that most adults are still scared of the Digimon though.'

'Hmm…' was all Izzy managed before Tai interrupted.

'That's all very interesting, but we've got more important things to talk about.'

'Err…right.' Izzy rubbed his head. 'How'd the crest-hunt go?'

'Kari found her crest,' TK said with a frown. 'We've got no idea how, but we think it was the Dark Ocean. Ken disappeared for a while too, and they were soaking wet when they reappeared.'

Their clothes had dried out and become crisp by the time they'd been carried to the Motomiya residence.

'That stinking ocean,' Davis muttered. 'I thought those two were done with that place. What is it anyway?'

Yolei frowned as well. 'You remember after MaloMyotismon was defeated,' she said. 'Ken said the Dark Ocean was a place that made people's bad thoughts come to life. But something doesn't quite click with that theory. How was TK able to go there? Why was Ken pulled in from the forest so suddenly? It wasn't like there was anything special that happened there that hadn't happened anywhere – '

'Yolei,' Hawkmon interrupted. 'I think we get the point.'

'No, continue,' Izzy said with interest. 'This could be important.'

Yolei blushed a bit, but continued her theory. 'We know Matt wound up in a Dark Cave that's similar to the Dark Ocean, but he'd been wandering around for quite a bit beforehand with the same thoughts stewing before got stuck there, right?'

'Right,' Tai nodded. Truthfully, he was a little impatient, but the Dark Ocean was a mystery they all wanted to get to the bottom of.

'I'm thinking the Dark Ocean isn't opened from our dark thoughts, but exists parallel to the Digital World.' She rushed on before anyone thought to interrupt, afraid she'd lose her train of thought. 'If the connection between the worlds already exists, it's possible that it's simply stronger in certain places at certain times, and can therefore attract varying degrees of…negative energy? Can we call it that?'

No-one answered her question; there were more concerned with the rest of what she'd said. 'It makes sense,' Izzy said thoughtfully. 'With the worlds being constantly connected, it is much easier for someone to move from one to the other. If the dark feelings open the gate, then the concentration of negative energy, as Yolei called it,' Yolei beamed, 'would be measurable.' He bit his lip lightly. 'Though Ken did open the gate on his own from this world at least once: that incident with Daemon. Possibly twice, since no-one really knows how Ken got to the Dark Ocean the first time.'

'Not even Ken.' Yolei pursed her lips. 'It's a bit annoying, really. We're missing crucial information and there's simply no easy way to get it.'

They all sat silently for a moment, before Cody spoke up. 'Isn't it possible that the Dark Ocean exists parallel to only the Digital World? Maybe you need to go through gates from the human one?'

'That would counter my original theory of the Digimon and Human Worlds being parallel,' Izzy pointed out. 'Hmm, it's a shame Joe isn't here. He'd love this.'

'Sure,' Tai said sarcastically. 'And the rest of us absolutely hate hearing you ramble on about stuff that could potentially save our necks.'

'The Dark Ocean is no laughing matter,' Izzy said seriously.

'We haven't tried,' Davis said, causing everyone to stare at him. 'What? We haven't.'

'Haven't tried…what exactly?' TK asked.

'Laughing in the Dark Ocean,' Davis replied, as though it was a no-brainer.

It took the rest of them a moment to recollect themselves, though Tai in particular found the idea growing on him. 'I wonder if anything would really happen,' he said thoughtfully. 'It'd disprove the idea of it being entirely bad anyway.'

'I think the Crest of Light being there already disproved it,' TK pointed out, before rubbing his head. 'And that brings us in a big fat circle.'

'Not necessarily,' Yolei countered. 'Going back to what Cody said, if the Real World is parallel to the Digital World, and the Digital World is parallel to the Dark Ocean, couldn't they exist in some sort of…I dunno, triangle formation? Either that, or there's some way the worlds are tied together that we can't understand. Something beyond parallels and simple gates opening up. In three dimensions, it seems impossible, but maybe…no, that won't work.'

'What won't?' Tai asked, having lost the explanation at the triangle part. 'If triangles don't work, what's wrong with squares?'

'We're talking about dimensions,' Izzy said, 'not sides. The dimension that comes after the third dimension is said to be time, and that doesn't work because we know the Human and Digital World times aren't in perfect synchronicity. In fact, there's no stable relation between them, otherwise Tai wouldn't have lived the same hour out three times, the time Ken was a Digidestined while we were back on earth never would have happened, and Ken and Kari would have been missing for far longer now…relative to the Digital World anyway. As for a fifth dimension…that's mostly theoretical.'

'Could we go back to two dimensions?' Yolei asked, before frowning further. 'No, that wouldn't work either. All the worlds would have to be overlayed, which automatically turns it into at least three dimensions.'

'Of course there's at least three,' Davis said, looking confused. 'There's our world, the Digital World, this Dark Ocean, and that Wishing World. And didn't Gennai mention a bunch others?'

'He did,' Cody realised. 'But that may have nothing to do with how many dimensions we're talking about in a mathematical sense.'

'We simply don't have enough information to figure it out.' Izzy looked disappointed at the declaration, but it had to be made. 'We've come up with interesting theories, but unless Ken and Kari can tell us anything new, I think we've reached a dead end. More importantly, Kari's crest.'

'Not much we can do about that either,' Tai pointed out. 'We can't test it out until a situation presents itself, and you remember what could happen if we try to force it.'

Even the younger Digidestined had heard of that story.

'I know,' Izzy said, 'but that wasn't what I meant. 'If we knew where Kari's crest originally was in the Digital World, maybe we could have worked out where the other crests are likely to be. Unfortunately, TK's crest wasn't in the desert area we expected, so the theory of them being where we originally found them has a hole in it.'

'Don't you mean it's fallen through?'

'Not necessarily. Someone else could have removed the crest, like Datamon removed Sora's.'

That would be another problematic one to find.

Tai rubbed his head. 'Why does this have to be so damn complicated?' he cursed. 'What happened to the days where we fought with our fists and Digimon instead of our brains?'

'We have no choice this time,' Izzy said, glancing at the tired and worried faces of the other Digidestined. 'They can't defend themselves without crests, now that they can't DNA Digivolve or Armor Digivolve. And we still don't know why the Digieggs have lost power, or why that strange Digivice was in the Digital World, or why the Digital World has suddenly been split into territorial wars.'

'It can't be sudden.' Cody stared at a spot on the Motomiya's carpet as he tried to focus his thoughts. 'Something must have set those Digimon off; that mountain has never been attacked by the dragon Digimon before; dragons don't even like the cold. There must be something…' It hit him suddenly. 'There was a Royal Knight there! It must have been him.'

'Let's not be hasty,' Izzy said in some surprise; he was usually more hasty than Cody was, and yet here the young boy was, getting excited over an assumption with little basis of fact. 'It's true that Dynasmon was there, and Crusadermon appeared afterwards, but Impaildramon and Magnamon are also Royal Knights. While we have some evidence implying Crusadermon is an enemy, we know nothing about Dynasmon.'

'Except that he turned Parrotmon into a Digi-Egg,' TK pointed out, looking over at the bouncing Koromon – who suddenly came upon the answer to Izzy's little math problem and rushed at top speed towards them. 'Hey!'

There was a mad scramble as they tried to catch the Koromon and not knock over anything – a bit of a juggling act, but TK managed to grab the in-training digimon and Yolei managed to stop him from turning Cody into a pancake.

She almost let go of him though when Koromon suddenly turned green and began to retch. And TK wouldn't have blamed her; he had almost let go of the little Digimon too, but something had glued his hands. Izzy and Tai were looking on in interest, Izzy's slightly more clinical than Tai's, and Davis was fluttering about in a panic, probably concerned about the cleanup he'd be left with if the Digimon did throw up.

He did throw up, but not some alien-looking equivalent of bile and grounded food as they'd expected. Instead, it was a little rectangular glow – a pale green glow to be exact, and it looked familiar.

TK shifted Koromon to one hand and reached out with the other. The glow landed on his palm and faded, revealing his Crest of Hope.

'That's kinda gross,' Tai remarked. 'But convenient.'

'Sure,' TK said, plopping back down and realising his feet were starting to ache. 'After we searched the entire Digital World desert.'

It was a bit of an overstatement, but no-one bothered to correct him. Yes, they had three crests now, but they were all tired and confused and there was no pressing danger overhead to fire them up.

'I wonder how Koromon got that crest.' Izzy looked pointedly at the in-training Digimon, who'd fallen asleep as soon he'd expelled his burden. 'Hmmph; that figures.'

When nobody else made to say anytihng more, Cody spoke up. 'Maybe we should all go home and get some rest?' he suggested. 'We're all exhausted, the world's not about to be destroyed this minute, and I doubt' we'll get anywhere else the way we are now.'

'I'm all for that,' Yolei agreed. 'We do need Kari and Ken as well…and our Digimon,' she added, seeing they'd fallen asleep on the sofa as well. 'And I don't know about you guys, but I've still got homework to do.'

'The pleasures of middle school.' TK stifled a yawn. 'Though I don't fancy falling asleep in class and being yelled at. I guess we all should go home.'

'Take the Koromon with you,' Davis pleaded. 'My parents will kill me if they see the house like this, and I can't clean up with that thing.'

TK was sure he'd regret it afterwards, but he agreed. He was more focused in the crest in his hand at the time anyway, the way its familiar weight sat on his palm, and the little flutter in his chest that made it more likely his partner would stay safe.

He slipped the crest into a pocket and carefully picked up Patamon. The little bat-digimon shifted in his sleep and mumbled something, and TK smiled.