Author's Note: Cheyenne and Impmon return home, and the Rookie has a few choice words with her parents. At the same time, a new enemy appears...or is she really an enemy?
Chapter 16: Home is Where the Heart Is
"It's so good to be home, Impmon…" Cheyenne sighed.
"Yeah…I can't wait fer yer mom to cook up some good grub." Impmon added.
"Say, what are we going to do about Behemoth? I don't think you could ride it as Impmon…"
"He knows all my forms, so he should let me on 'im…though I can't drive fer a while. But I ain't complainin'! It'll be nice ta be a kid again."
Cheyenne laughed. "You haven't changed a bit after almost nine years."
Cheyenne and Impmon felt better to be standing on the front porch of their home. Only a few minutes ago did they exit the gate Zhuqiaomon created for them and their friends got in their cars and went home. Hopefully the Sovereign was right in that as long as Impmon stayed as Impmon, Lucemon would leave them alone. However…she already missed him as Beelzemon. But…they could use this opportunity to start over from scratch and work to get him back to the Mega level.
"At least we're home in time for dinner. I think we're having chicken with mushrooms and peppers…and you know it's made with that good chicken stock!"
Impmon started drooling. "Oh…stop talkin' about it; yer makin' me hungry!"
The girl laughed as she opened the front door and found her parents with the table set to resemble something like a welcome home party. The chicken and vegetables was set out on a few plates along with gluten-free rolls of rice flour and a small cake for Impmon, who her parents thought was still Beelzemon. Speaking of which, her parents locked eyes in surprise onto the small Rookie.
"Welcome home, Cheyenne." Her mother announced. "Who is this? Where's Beelzemon?"
Cheyenne smiled nervously. "Mom…this IS Beelzemon. Well, just call him Impmon for now."
Her mother and father gasped and looked at each other before looking back at her. "Impmon? But…I thought Impmon was just an imaginary friend…"
Impmon suddenly remembered what Cheyenne told him of how her parents kept her from returning to the Digital World. He angrily stormed up to them and leapt up onto the table to get eye-level with them. He rose up one of his gloved hands and formed a dark red fireball on his fingertip.
"Ya thought I was an imaginary friend!? Somethin' that she needed ta forget!? I spent nine years tryin' ta find her and ya kept 'er away from me! How could ya do that!? I bet she was cryin' and cryin' fer days 'cause she couldn't come back!"
"We…we didn't mean any harm! We're sorry, Impmon!" Cheyenne's mother panicked.
"Impmon, that's enough!" Cheyenne reprimanded. "Adults will do that; they can't see things like kids can. They just thought they were protecting me… Please don't take your anger out on them…"
Impmon calmed down and got up off the table and stood by Cheyenne's side. He stared at the table and found he almost knocked the decorative candleholder off of it. He turned his head away in embarrassment and muttered, "…Sorry…"
"No Impmon…" Cheyenne's father began. "We're the ones who should apologize. You see, when Cheyenne told us she went to the Digital World…we naturally didn't believe her…because like she said, adults can't see things children can. When we told her it wasn't real, along with you, she bawled like a baby trying to convince us that everything was real. We still didn't believe her…but we couldn't account for how her bandanna disappeared or how dirt mysteriously appeared on her clothes. Despite telling her not to talk about it anymore…I think she still searched for a way to go back."
The Rookie stared at them in disbelief and stood in silence before he dashed off in the direction of Cheyenne's room. Cheyenne glanced at her parents and then followed after Impmon. She noticed that he had collapsed face-down on her bed and was quietly sobbing. Cheyenne crept inside and sat down on the bed next to him. Heh…a while back, it was the other way around as she remembered Beelzemon was in her place after they had that heated argument about his sneaking out late. The girl placed her hand on Impmon's back and caressed the violet, satin-like fur.
"…Don't cry, Impmon. I know you're upset…but please forgive my parents. You see…I don't have any brothers or sisters, so they kinda go overboard in protecting me because I'm all they have." She paused and let out a sad laugh. "I guess that makes me go overboard in trying to protect you…"
She stared at Impmon's trembling form and saw that if he was Beelzemon, he wouldn't want to be caught dead breaking down and looking pathetic. But now he was technically a child again, so he couldn't contain the emotions he so wanted to keep bottled up. She figured he was upset that when her parents told her that her entire Digital World experience wasn't real, she cried like a baby as she fought to prove to them it was. Parents naturally wanted to account their child's spoutings as nothing but make-believe.
"Impmon…it's going to be okay. You're back with me…and I'm not going to let you go…not like I was forced to do. Remember when we made that pinky-promise to be friends forever? Well…I stuck by it…and you did too."
Impmon rose his head up and stared at her with bleary eyes and flushed cheeks. "Why…why did they do that…? I still don't get why adults don't want ta believe in somethin' they can't see…"
"I know, Impmon. I'm an adult now…but I don't understand it myself. Parents…I guess just want to protect children…because the one thing they're afraid of the most is the unknown."
"Well…they do too good of a job doin' it…"
"Yeah…tell me about it." She paused and scratched his back like she would with a family dog. "Look…if you want, you can come with me to school on Monday. But…I'll have to dress you up and make you look like a kid."
"Am I gonna have to sit through yer boring classes…?" Impmon asked with a sniffle.
"No, they don't allow it. You could hang around the tennis court or library…but you need to be polite and don't be disruptive."
Cheyenne suddenly placed her hand over her mouth and wore a look of shock. Impmon wiped his nose and asked, "…What's the matter?"
"Wow…I'm starting to sound like a parent…"
The two turned their heads to the door to see Cheyenne's mother with two plates. The older woman smiled and handed them to the girl and the Rookie. "I didn't want these to get cold…so eat them up if you're still hungry."
Cheyenne raised her eyebrow and eyed her mother. "Mom…are you doing this to keep Impmon from launching fireballs at you?"
"Cheyenne…I'm sorry that we made Impmon cry. We never intended to do any harm…" She turned to Impmon. "Impmon, please forgive Charlie and me; we didn't mean to keep you two apart… We never realized the promise you two made to each other…and how important it was to you. We want to help Cheyenne help you become Beelzemon again…if that's what you want, of course."
The Rookie stared at the older human with wide eyes. He looked back and forth between the plate of food and the two humans before his lips started trembling again and his vision became bleary once more. He sat down the plate of food and hugged Cheyenne's neck before he went on to hug her mother's neck.
"Oh, how sickeningly sweet!" A voice called from outside. "It makes me just want to vomit!"
Cheyenne and Impmon ran outside to see who could be trying to ruin the loving moment. They found sitting on the telephone pole wires a girl-like imp sporting red pigtails, a leather outfit, demon wings and a forked tail. Cheyenne got out her D-Power and analyzed the apparent Digimon.
"…Etnamon, a Champion Digimon. I've never heard of this Digimon, but she looks tough. Let's watch out for her Prinnymon Rain." She paused and stared down at Impmon. "Impmon, I know your power's lower now, but you ready for a fight?"
"Yeah, let's go!"
Etnamon chuckled and hopped down onto the ground. "So that's the Rookie form of the mighty Beelzemon? You don't look so high and mighty now."
"Do ya work fer Lucemon or somethin', toots?" Impmon asked in irritancy.
"Lucemon? Oh, please! I don't need that gay excuse for a Demon Lord to order me around! I just came around because I heard you found a Tamer! Let's see if you have any power left as a Rookie!"
Cheyenne pulled out some cards and flipped through them. She found one called "Zanbamon" and decided to use it. She slid the card through the D-Power and shouted, "Digi-Modify! Zanbamon: Hunting Knife ACTIVATE!"
Etnamon stepped back and wore a look that mixed disbelief with panic. "What!? How did you get a Zanbamon card!?"
Before the female imp could say anything else, Impmon came at her with one of Zanbamon's blades and sliced at her stomach, leaving a shallow cut in her clothing and her skin. Etnamon growled at the wound and glared at Impmon and Cheyenne.
"YOU CHEATED! YOU USED A DIGI-MODIFY!"
"That's what happens when you challenge a Tamer." Cheyenne smirked. "If you want to fight Impmon without my interference…then go right ahead."
Etnamon growled and wiped blood from her laceration. "I'd like to be at full-strength to fight that weakling! Just you wait…I'll become a Mega just like he could!" She jumped up and flapped her wings frantically. "So long, butt-wipes!"
Cheyenne actually grabbed a few rocks and chucked them at the Champion in vain. Once Etnamon was gone, the girl huffed a sigh and growled out, "What a coward."
"Yeah, you said it." Impmon agreed. "Good thing ya used that Zanbamon card. Didn't she seem small and weak fer a Champion?"
"Now that you mention it…yeah. I guess Champion Digimon aren't always gigantic…" She paused and studied Impmon. "Are you going to be okay…?"
"…Ya mean with yer parents? Yeah…I'll be okay. I know they was just tryin' to protect ya…I guess that's just what GOOD parents do. I wish mine were like yers…"
"Impmon, you don't have to deal with them anymore. We're your family now…okay?"
The Rookie wore a smile and stared up at his Tamer. "Yeah…I'm glad I got a better family…"