Thank you Edhla and Blue. Also, the eep was meant to be comical. XD
This fic takes place before and during Happenstance. It will clear up some of the side chatter of Gennai and Gaomon for example. Please don't be scared of the OCs. They don't bite. :) Reviews will be appreciated and loved. Thank you.
One at the palm... Two at the upper lip... Three at the left side of the shoulder blade... Four at the right wrist...
Deep breaths Len. Keep counting. Don't move your fingers, just remember. If you do that, you will be okay. You will be in your body again. You will still be in the scary forest, but you will be okay.
Fifteen is at the right wrist bone, having made a nick at the carpal that sticks out. Sixteen and seventeen at the back of the head and are covered by the hair. Eighteen... nineteen... twenty... at the lobe of the left ear...
The scars are a sign of what you are. As long as you have them, you're you and you have done something right. Keep counting.
Thirty-one at the back of the right knee, given by a piece of window pane. Thirty-two at the throat, almost breached skin to the inner workings of the larynx. Thirty-three at the pinky finger, splitting at the knuckle...
They were him, the source of his soul.
They were his mistakes.
Fifty-six at the lumbar... fifty seven at the heel... fifty-eight and fifty-nine overlapping over the metatarsals of the right side...
There now... His breathing was easing out. He was starting to feel a little more in control. The boy made a strained, what was once painful smile, loosening his grip on his pajama shirt. Sixty. That was a little higher than usual. He could usually calm down before the thought of the forty-ninth at the base of his lower jaw, caused by a...
Well, it was something to keep a note of. Toshima-san would be worried that it had taken him this long, even if the plausibility of extenuating of circumstances was there.
At least it wasn't one hundred and thirteen. He didn't like thinking of that last one.
That would be a sign of relapse and failed therapies and then there would have to be something done about it... and would that not be a shame?
Oh... and there he went again, thinking so clinically. That was silly of him. He was not a doctor. He was not a medical or intelligent fellow in any way. He just liked to read. Len just liked to be out of the way until he was needed.
If he was needed.
The little boy, now fully aware of himself, of his being not where he was meant to be, looked around. He was not in his home, not in Tokyo. He was in a place full of trees and loud noises. How did I get here? He asked this question of himself with a nervous little giggle. His mind, deep in a corner of it, began to prepare to start the count again, but the boy caught himself, amusing his slowly healing fingers by twirling a lock of his strawberry-blonde hair.
Len tried to think back, tried to recall what had brought him to be curled under a tree trunk like this, now that the anxiety was, not gone exactly, but sated. However, there were only blurs and mumbles of voices, all of which were strangers. That would explain a great deal, at least to him. Len's typical communication with other people usually started with him staring at the floor and ending with him wishing he was the floor, stuttering and trying not to bawl.
The trying part got a little more difficult each time.
However, that wasn't important now. He was there and able to be seen and that was the only important thing at this moment.
Len brought himself to one knee and winced. Scar eighty-three, left kneecap, still tender from jogging in Gym and falling wrong. Stupid, don't forget that again or you'll mess something up. Gingerly, he switched knees and pushed himself to his feet. He sighed softly. Ten years old and he sounded like an old man with a cane, according to his sister. Though it was never said in jest by her, Len took it as a joke anyway. It was easier if he did.
It was easier to pretend if you were laughing about it.
"Mm... where... where do I go from here?"
He limped (always with the limping, walk straight) out of the brush. He didn't know entirely where a safe place was... but being in the middle of a bunch of trees was probably not good. Bears could show up. Len had never tried outrunning one before.
He never wanted to either.
"Where are you going, kid?"
Len jumped and wheeled around. A white dog stood at his waist level, amber eyes giving him the filthiest of glares. It made him edge, unconsciously, towards a possible exit. Glares... anger... erm... oh he had to get a hold of himself. It was just a talking dog!
He hoped it was the dog that had talked and not the nearby trees. That would be very weird.
Len looked down at it. It was... a weird creature. That ring on its neck sure was pretty though... if a little bit broken. He continued to look, despite the shaking in his legs, even as the creature waited for an answer with bared fangs. "You..." he said softly. It twitched. "You have scars too..."
It blinked before giving him a growl. "What does that have to do with where you're going?"
Len smiled. It was a reflex. Everyone stopped being ready to hurt others if you smiled. "Well... um, it doesn't. I just... I just noticed." He warily raised a hand to scratch at the side of his face.
"So what? So do you!"
Everyone does, he wanted to say. Nobody wears them with pride like you do though. Len kept these words in his mind. He doubted that would help him any. "I know," he finally said. "I just... I just have a habit of noticing scars. "
The creature sat back, looking at him with a long-bred suspicion. Suspicion of everything, of everyone. Len knew that. "You still didn't explain yourself."
The boy let his smile become sheepish. "I don't know where I'm going."
"Then why go?"
"Can't be any better to stay," Len murmured.
"It is if you're going the wrong way."
"Um... what is the right way?"
The dog sneered. "Why should I tell you that?"
The boy scratched his head. "Why not?"
It blinked then it made a whining sigh. "Come on. Better than havin' yer one-eyed butt on my conscience." Len nodded, following. "What are humans doin' here anyway? Folder ain't no place for 'em, but this is askin' fer it." The creature continued to mumble to itself, padding forward without a single glance up or sniff of the air. "What's yer name anyway, human?"
The dog snuffled. "What kinda name is that?"
"English" Len replied without thinking, smiling a little. He was calm now, unnaturally calm in the face of a talking dog. Then again, his big brother had... spoken of talking monsters too... but that had been just a dream. Yeah... his brother... he didn't remember him at all, except for pictures... "Um... what's your name?"
"Plotmon." At the silence the named creature turned. "What, Tailmon got your tongue?" Len shook his head and shrugged. "You're weird, ya know. Why do ya just say stuff?"
"It hurts less when you just say stuff."
If Plotmon didn't have his ears, he wouldn't have heard that. Regardless, his ears flickered, and he decided not to answer.
They walked in silence.
What... What's happening?
There was another scream and Len shied back, looking not at the blood, but the sword, with terror. "Plotmon, d-don't!" He wanted to scream louder but, even if he had, the Digimon would not have heard. The little creature let out a roar, racing up the opponent's blade. The dinosaur's green eyes bulged with agony, the blue tinge to its scaly skin almost luminescent with the moon (moons?) shining down on it.
"Don't tell me what to do, kid!" the creature yowled. "I've got this!" He rolled off the blade, dodging a slash and rushing forward again. Howling, he screamed so loudly into the dragon's face, it made Len clap his hands over his ears. Plotmon flipped down and skidded to a halt in the grass, barking his delight. "How d'ya like that?" The swordsman let out an unearthly wail and then sliced towards him. Len tackled Plotmon, rolling them both away from the large blade. He winced, blood spurting from the back of his ankle. Len made himself stand and run, carrying the squirming Digimon away.
"What the Dark Area are you doing?"
"Because I'm a coward." Len didn't glance up once as he said those words, but Plotmon shivered. He felt like that gaze was on him anyway: one-eyed and resigned. "You aren't a coward... but I am. And I don't want to die yet. I'm sorry."
Plotmon remained still for a moment, then he burrowed into the arms carrying him. "... I'll live, I guess." Len giggled a little, nervous laugh loud in the dark trees. "... Thanks."
Plotmon's cheeks burned and his tongue lolled out, despite any modicum of self-control. "... No one's ever saved me before."
Len gave him a quiet, disconcerting look. "... I didn't think anyone would save me until they did."
"Make a left."
Len obeyed, wincing at the twist it made on his ankle. He crashed through a bush, hearing a screeching roar only feet away. "What was that?" He almost wailed, but instead he bit his tongue and swallowed his screaming. It was better just to get it over with, just to be quiet and hope the wrath went somewhere else. Plotmon sniffed. "You okay, kid?"
"Uh-huh..." he whispered. "Just teh-tell me where to go..." Slashed the muscles layering over the metatarsal on the left... If I keep this up... I could ruin my leg...
Tears welled up in his eye and he closed it. Not again... I... I keep ruining things... I...
"If you... if only it wasn't you..."
"You've got two eyes. Maybe you'll see better if you don't."
"Don't you slow down!"
Plotmon sank tiny fangs into his left hand and Len winced. The amber eyes locked onto him, burning with a sulfuric fire. "Come on now, kid!" he growled. "Don't you get all wishy washy and half-hearted! A man doesn't live like that! You keep running, full tilt! No regrets, no hopeless crap. Just go!"
The pup leaped from his arms. "Come on, come on! Yer supposed to be strong, right? I've seen dem marks! Those ain't a coward's marks! Those are a fighter! And fighters know how to move! Go, go, go! You don't wanna die, then go!" He took off, and... despite the trembling, Len continued to run.
"All I'm good at is running..." he said to himself, pulling a leaf from the back of his blue shirt.
Plotmon snorted. "Doesn't mean that all you're good at is running away." Len stared at the back of his white, bouncing head. "Ain't nothin' wrong with runnin' cause I don't do it. Ain't nothin' wrong with fightin' cause you don't do it. You an' me... we're different." He turned and tackled Len, knocking him away into a tree. There was a sickening snapping noise, which Plotmon had to spun to face the swordsman again. The Digimon was drooling out the of the side of its mouth, milky eyes rolling to look for them.
"Yeesh, that guy's long gone," Plotmon muttered. "Too bad..." Len tried to get up but his leg didn't budge, twisted awkwardly. The boy was whimpering, holding back tears. Plotmon thought he saw a glimmer of white underneath the other's fingers and grimaced. How badly had he hit the kid?
"Stay there," he ordered the boy. Not like he could move but... "I got this."
Of course he did. He always did. He had always lived this way... always... by fighting. Anything, everything... he would tear it apart...
With his life at stake.
The dragon swung his smaller blade and the fist slammed Plotmon into the dirt. Then the creature lumbered past, raising two of its blades towards the frozen human.
"Ey'... what're you doin'?" Plotmon growled. He tried to move to his paws again. "Dat kid... what's he done to you, 'ah? Ya dumb corpse!" He went ignored and the dinosaur raised its hands.
Len screamed and blood burst like flowers in bloom.
It was strange.
His fingers... they felt so far away...
His leg wasn't hurting anymore.
Then again... nothing was hurting anymore.
Oh... that was bad, wasn't it? Maybe he should ask Plotmon. Hey Plotmon, was it bad?
Hey... Plotmon... what's the matter? You look so sad. But I'm fine. I'm not in pain...
I'm not really... anything...
Initiating long-distance set-up. Stand by.
"It's okay, I've got this for now."
Plotmon watched Len's eyes close and headbutt him. "Like Dark Area yer getting' away with that! You aren't allowed to die on me!" Even as he pressed his snout forward, Len remained still, blood sinking into his paws. "No... that's not fair. You... you saved me! That's... that's not..." That doesn't happen...
Plotmon howled and howled, turning to snarl at the Digimon. "Bastard..." he growled. "I'll kill you!" He leaped, ready to slam small paws into a large, drooling head.
Then his vision blurred and filled with... light? Gold?
"What...What the hell's goin' on?" His fur stood on end, skin below bubbling and stretching. Through the light, he could still see Len, see his fragile, still body. His eyes narrowed. "Whatever this is... is it gonna let me kill this bastard? It better!"
He roared and a dragon roared within him.
Plotmon felt the world right itself, vision slitting into a visor and he fell, slamming like a pile of bricks and crashing the dragon to the ground. "Yi-pe-kai-ay bro," he snarled, clambering off with legs that felt like trees. Metal scraped on metal and he turned, spinning on the fallen dragon. It rose clumsily, arms swinging at nothing. The blade on its back was cracked and splitting. Beneath his armored visor, Plotmon- or what was he now- smirked. "Didn't like that, did ya? Want some more?"
The creature remained silent, lunging towards him and slicing down. Plotmon spun and his newfound metal tail knocked the wrist away. "Face my claws!... Okay that sounded lame." He glanced back at Len. "Don't worry, ya stupid kid. I got yer back."
The dinosaur's' blade struck at his back, slicing into a metal wing. "Akinakes!"
"Shut up and eat lightning." Plotmon stabbed a sparking horn into the enemy's arm, blood spurting out and electricity sparkling up and down the limbs. "And for the final course I'll enjoy a nice platter made of you! Iron Press!" Raising his front legs, he pushed off and leaped. As his large body slammed onto the enemy, the blades attached to his wrists sank into Plotmon's body. He snarled in pain but did not move.
Fricken jerk... hurry up and just...
There was a loud, blank groan and the sound of cracking before the weight below his feet vanished and exploded. Plotmon strode away, moving to look down at the human. Thing looked over half-dead...
How in the hell did he survive a Lizard Dance anyway?
He didn't really think he had time to think about it. Lowering his head, he carefully picked up Len in his mouth and held him up on his back. He then flapped his wings and flew.
"...I won't letcha die."