Summary: Everything was different the moment he returned home. The connection between Earth and the digital world is stronger now, the law says that digimon need a Tamer in order to live on the real world, and Takuya is forced to face the truth. He must find a Tamer, or leave his home forever.
Disclaimer: Digimon does not belong to me.
Warning: This story will have mature content to come in the future, including some violence in the form of fighting/action and some sexual content. That is why I have rated it M just to be safe. Please read with discretion. Thank you.
Takuya watched, his mouth hanging ajar with a sensation of awe and triumph as Kouji embraced his twin, crying. They had won, defeated Lucemon for good, and rescued both worlds from utter destruction. And then they had come and rescued Kouichi. It was so…right. Emotion swelled within him, and instantly, he remembered his family.
It was still Shinya's birthday. He could make it in time for the party.
Turning as though the world were in slow motion, he bolted from the hospital emergency room, leaving his friends behind, and ran. He ran like everything depended on it.
By the time he reached home, only two hours had passed since he left. Huh. Strange how time in the digital world worked.
"Takuya, where did you run off to?" his mother scolded as soon as he burst through the door. "Your father will be here any second, and then it will be time for the party!"
He wasted no time, throwing his arms around her in a fierce hug. "I love you!" he said strongly, fighting tears. "You know that, right?"
"Of course! I-I love you too, Takuya," she blurted, bewildered. "Where did that come from?"
Takuya pulled back, a little sheepishly, and grinned at her. "Doesn't matter," he waved his hand. "I just realized I haven't really told you that very many times, and I should. So…there you go." Awkward, he hurriedly turned and focused his attention on his littler brother, and tackled him roughly. "Hey birthday boy!" he cried out, tickling Shinya and then picking him up to spin him in the air. "Who's the coolest, most amazing, smart, and greatest brother of all time?"
"Takuya, stop it!" Shinya giggled, trying to act annoyed.
"You are," Takuya answered with a grin, then set his brother down and rubbed his head affectionately. "Happy birthday, buddy!"
"Yeah, happy birthday to me," Shinya taunted proudly. "Dad's gonna get me a forklift!"
"Oh really? That'd be cool, but I don't think it will fit in our house very well," Takuya chuckled.
"We could keep it outside…"
"Might get stolen," Takuya pointed out.
"Stop being mean! I wanna forklift!" the now eight-year-old jumped up and down angrily, throwing his arms out and striking Takuya with them. Their mother winced silently, knowing that moments like these always broke into a fight that she'd have to separate, and stepped forward with the intention of doing just that. Imagine her surprise when, instead of getting mad, Takuya made a show of pretending like he'd been hit by a super martial artist, and fell dramatically to the floor.
"You win!" he cried theatrically. "I'm dead."
Shinya blinked down at him a minute, watching his older brother pretend to be dead—and quite poorly, too—before giggling and striking a pose proudly. "Yeah that's right!" he mocked. "I'm totally awesome, that's why!"
"You are totally awesome," Takuya agreed, still speaking like he was pretending to be dead.
"And I'm the birthday boy!"
"So you should have to do what I say for the whole day!"
Takuya was silent for a second, lying on the ground staring up at the ceiling. He thought about everything he'd been through, and how much he'd wanted to get back to his family just so that he could do these kinds of things. Yeah... this was everything he wanted. After a short moment, he grinned. "Okay," he said, then rose from the ground. "You got it, birthday boy. What do you want me to do?"
Shinya stared at him, astounded, his mouth hanging open for a second. But his loss of speech did not last long. Grinning ear to ear, he instantly put his brother to work. "Put me on your shoulders!" he ordered. "And spin me! Spin real fast! Now run up the stairs…"
Mrs. Kanbara watched with an expression of shock and disbelief as her sons dashed through the house, giggling and whooping and having the time of their lives. She could hardly believe that they were really her boys.
Oh well. She smiled with relief and went back to preparing dinner. She'd take any break she could get.
The party was fun, and thoroughly exhausted, Takuya had practically crawled up the stairs and into his room for bed. He had a vague feeling like something was wrong with him, but was too tired to figure out what. Yawning and throwing aside his hat, goggles, gloves and jacket, he threw himself on his bed and fell asleep.
All through the night he tossed and turned in pain, stuck somewhere between awareness and a light sleep. His dreams were vague, full of memories of the digital world, fighting for survival, and the feeling of spirit evolution. That part was the most dominant, as though it really hadn't affected him all those times until this moment. He could feel his cells being stripped down, shredded to pieces, and disintegrating, as streams of data took their place, and he felt like screaming in agony. How had he spirit evolved so many times and not noticed? How could he have gone through the transformation without realizing what it was doing to his body? Over and over his mind screamed at him, berating him for being so stupid.
But then suddenly, morning came upon him, and his eyes snapped open with relief. He was lying in his bed, drenched in sweat, with every inch of his body feeling weak and pained. It feels like I'm going to fall apart, he thought desperately. Like I'm not even real anymore.
Hours seemed to pass with every minute, and he listened to his heart beating in his chest evenly. It became comforting to him. At least his heart had not been shredded away.
What happened to me? He thought, sighing in despair. What did spirit evolution do to my body? I feel like my DNA was destroyed bit by bit until nothing is left. How am I even alive?
That thought struck an even greater fear in him, and holding his breath, he wondered desperately if maybe he had died in the digital world. And if that was the case, what was he now? But then he had to breathe again, and the need for air and the beating heart in his chest reassured him. He was still alive.
"I'm not the same though," he said quietly. And finding himself no longer crippled by fear, he sat up in bed and looked down at his hands. They were still his hands, his body was still his body, but they looked strange to him. A thrum of energy ran through his body, and he could sense it in a way he had never been able to before. "I've felt like this before," he frowned. "When I was Agunimon."
Standing slowly, he walked to the bathroom and closed the door, staring at himself in the mirror. His face looked pale, he thought, and his eyes held a strange gleam to them that was not quite human. Had they changed color? Leaning forward, he scowled, finding that they had shifted from the chocolate brown that they'd used to be, and had become more reddish orange. Again, he thought of Agunimon.
"What happened to me?" he repeated in a whisper. "What did I do, when I changed into a digimon that many times?" He bit his lip, feeling he knew the answer and did not want to admit it. No, he was afraid to even think it.
But it was there, gnawing at him from inside.
"I destroyed myself," he said. His voice was too quiet to hear, even for himself. "Every time I became a digimon, I destroyed myself. In saving the digital world, in saving my world, I lost my human body. Didn't I?"
He didn't need anyone to confirm it. It was the truth, an undeniable fact that he felt in the core of his being. Takuya Kanbara the human had been stripped away, and in order to keep on living, he had been rebuilt with data.
Takuya Kanbara was a digimon.
The revelation was not one that could simply be shared with his family. For one, he didn't think they'd believe him, and for another, not much had changed. He was still Takuya, and he could go on living his life like a normal kid. Or so he thought.
But that very morning, as he trudged down the stairs feeling very surreal, he was suddenly struck with the strangest sensation he'd ever felt. It happened when his brother Shinya ran past him into the kitchen and flung himself into a chair, eating a bowl of rice their mother had left for him. As his eyes fell upon his brother, Takuya suddenly felt like he was staring at a bright light, a beacon of strength and power. Strange thoughts filled his head, and he found himself thinking that he wanted Shinya for himself—not as a brother, but as dog wanted an owner; he wanted him for a trainer that could make him strong.
He had to fight to shake those feelings, and made his way to the table uneasily.
"Are you sick?" Shinya asked.
Takuya blinked, staring at him with excitement just because he was being spoken to. What's wrong with me? It's just Shinya, right? Why do I want him to make me stronger? It doesn't make sense. "What?" he finally asked.
Shinya sighed, as though frustrated, and shook his head. "Takuya, you need to wake up already. Don't fall asleep walking, you crazy head."
Takuya forced a smile, also taking a bowl of ride and scooping it into his mouth with his chopsticks. He did not answer. It was too weird, feeling like he was both an outsider in his own house, and a lesser being next to his brother. He's human, he though helplessly. And he's got the hidden power of a digimon trainer. That must be it. Maybe that's why I want him so much. I just want him to make me stronger.
But then those thoughts made him frustrated too. What kind of person thinks those kinds of things? I really have become a digimon! He thought, distressed. I even think like one!
Shinya got up to go to watch TV before school, and without thinking, Takuya followed him, content to watch whatever his brother wanted. The now 8-year-old boy was not just your typical kid who likes to watch cartoons and car races, and all the things that the rest of the kids his age were into. He had this weird fascination with watching the news, and then talking about it later to his friends and teachers. They were always impressed with how much he knew about what was going on in the world, and he liked it. So it was no surprise that he turned there this morning, happily listening to the stories of the day.
"I like this news lady," he said absently. Since Takuya was not fighting with him for the remote like usual, he felt extremely confident and talkative. "She looks nice, and she doesn't speak as formally as the other guy."
Takuya nodded once. "She's strong too," he murmured, admiring the strength of personality and the potential power he could sense in her. Looking at people now was a strange sensation for him, like he was looking at giant, living, power plants that could make him stronger if he chose the right one.
"Strong?" Shinya asked, frowning. After a moment, he shrugged. "I guess so. She doesn't flinch when she talks about the hard stories, if that's what you meant. One time, when she was talking about the city being destroyed and all the deaths, she was very strong."
Takuya frowned, remembering something about that vaguely. "That was a year ago," he said. "Wasn't it? What happened back then? Mom and Dad took us to Okinawa during all that so I don't really remember it."
Sucking in a breath with pride, Shinya prepared himself for his talk. He thoroughly enjoyed being the one who knew everything. "How could you forget?" he scoffed. "It was the biggest thing to ever happen, Mom said. The world was being attached by a rogue computer program that had evolved into a monster! There was a giant red dome that had covered part of Tokyo and was destroying the buildings inside it. A lot of people had to evacuate."
"I think I remember that," Takuya perked up. "They said it was some Reaper thing, right?"
"It was called the D-Reaper, and Mom and Dad tried to keep us from hearing much about it," Shinya nodded. "But I watch the news, so I know." He paused, becoming interested in the current news story about a possible lightning storm this evening, and then continued. "Best part is, it was a bunch of kids who managed to defeat it. Kids your age, I think. They had these digimon partners that helped them fight, and after they won, they had to send their digimon back to the digital world, or something like that. No one even knew an alternate world like that existed until then!"
Takuya's mouth dropped open wider and wider, until he felt like he was going to choke. Finally, he managed to close it. "Digimon!?" he blurted. "Are you telling the truth?"
"Of course!" Shinya snapped, growing angry. "I wouldn't lie about this! I know everything about them! Everyone at school is really into them right now."
"How could I have not made the connection?" Takuya whispered. He stood, pacing back and forth, unaware of his brother watching him with a confused scowl. "I vaguely remember something about it…"
Sighing and rolling his eyes, Shinya turned up the TV.
"…current news," the lady was saying, "there's been a new development between human and digimon relations."
Takuya stopped pacing, frozen in place as he turned to stare at the screen.
"Because the link between our worlds has gotten stronger, more and more digimon have been sighted throughout the city. Many people have concerns about this, whether it is safe to have them here, or if we should ban them from having access to our world. After yesterday's meeting with HYPNOS and varying world governments, new laws have been passed to protect both digimon and human alike."
"Well that's good," Shinya said firmly. "Digimon aren't badguys."
Takuya glanced at him, feeling relief growing inside him. But instead of speaking, he waited to hear more of the story.
"Everyone remembers how it was because of the digimon and their partners, the Tamers, that the rogue program was able to be defeated," the lady said. "Therefore, it has been decreed that digimon may be able to live on our planet only so long as they have a legitimate Tamer that has been tested and approved by HYPNOS. President Yamaki assures that this is the safest way to preserve peace between our worlds, and ensure that we are prepared for any threats that may come to either one of us. In other news…"
"Time to go to school!" Mts. Kanbara ordered, using her master remote to turn off the TV. She stared at them from the kitchen with arms crossed. "Hurry up, you two."
As they scrambled for the door and headed for their school, Takuya's head spun wildly, and unable to think coherent thoughts, he walked to school as though he were sleep walking.
Takuya lifted his head, looking around to see who had called out to him, and found himself face to face with one of his friends. "Oh," he said blankly. "Hi Suzuki. What's up?"
Suzuki had been in the same class as him for three years, and the two of them often played soccer together. So he knew that something was wrong even without asking. "What's wrong?" he demanded with a worried frown. "You've been out of it all day, and you keep staring at people like you've never seen them before—it's really weird. Are you sick? You look kind of pale."
"I'm…" Takuya grimaced, not sure exactly how to respond. How could he tell his friend what had happened? It wasn't as easy as saying "Well I was called to the digital world to save both our worlds from an evil digimon called Lucemon, and ended up destroying my DNA until all that was left was data. Then I came home as a digimon." There was no way he could say all that! Instead, he let out a long drawn out sigh, wishing for the hundredth time that day that he could run away and hang out with Kouji, Zoe and the others for the rest of his life. They at least knew what he was going through.
"Seriously man, what's wrong?" Suzuki complained. His face was covered with genuine worry. "You can tell me."
"I don't know," Takuya lied tiredly. "It's just weird. I feel weird. Everything is changing."
"Are you sure you aren't sick?" Suzuki scowled. He grabbed Takuya's hand, sending a jolt of energy through him. Just the single touch of a human hand gave Takuya strength, and he found himself wishing for more. "Come on, let's go to the nurse. You don't look well." Dragging his distracted friend through the school, Suzuki fell into determined silence. If Takuya was acting out of it, then something must be wrong!
Shaking off the weird feeling of desiring power, Takuya lifted his head and glanced at the students that they passed on their way. It baffled him how every single person was different to him now. Everyone had their own unique energy and strengths, and he could tell just by looking at them which ones would make him powerful and which ones would not. He could see the kids who had no child-like faith, and they stood out as dead and gray to him, almost like they were lifeless. They were too "grown-up" to believe, and it made him sad. It was becoming clearer to him as he watched people that those he knew better—the ones who were closer to him as friends—had a greater potential for giving him strength. But no one stood out as a "Tamer."
It was weird to have had no knowledge of Tamers before the TV report this morning, but now that he had heard the word he felt inside him that he knew. A Tamer was not just a person who could give a digimon strength through friendship and support. They were chosen by the digital world because of the inner strength within them. When the world would be crashing down, these people would be strong and support the rest. They were leaders, trainers, friends and servant-minded. Thinking of others before themselves. These were the people that he wanted the most.
As of yet, he had not met one.
I wish I had a Tamer, he thought helplessly, and then shook his head to clear the thought from his mind. What am I thinking? I am Takuya! Sure I am made of data now, but I'm still me. Once upon a time, I was the chosen digidestined, the Tamer. Why does that have to change now?
"Life just doesn't make sense now," Takuya complained tiredly. In front of him, Suzuki glanced back in concern and frustration, but said nothing.
They arrived at the nurse's office, and Suzuki pushed him onto a bed. "Take a nap!" he ordered. "I'll see you later, k? Feel better so we can play soccer."
"You got it," Takuya sighed. He stared at the ceiling numbly until he was left alone in the room, and the bell rang out for class. Ignoring it, he closed his eyes and drifted into a light sleep. "I wish Kouji was here," he murmured in distress. "He would know what to do…"
The world around him was on fire, twisting from reality into purple fragments of light that swirled closer and closer. He tried to sort out what was real and what was digital, but in the end, all he could see was Lucemon flying through the tunnel toward Earth, while he was lying on the ground, too weak to fight.
Fury and despair clutched at him. "I wont give up!" he cried, tears streaming down his cheeks. "I can't! I can't!" And he pushed against the elevator as hard as he could. His mind reasoned with him. You've already failed, it said. Lucemon won. You're just a weak human. What can you do?
You're not weak, a voice said. A surge of strength filled him from within, and the elevator fell forward as another pair of hands helped him push. Slowly he lifted his head and looked up.
"I remember this," he said. "I remember, you taught us a new evolution. We turned into Susanoomon and defeated Lucemon, didn't we?"
Standing above him, Agunimon smiled, nodding his head. You did, he replied. So why do you dream of being defeated? You're Takuya. Nothing can defeat you.
"It's not the same anymore," Takuya sighed. He hung his head, staring at his hands and watching as tears slipped down and dampened his gloves. "Nothing is the same. I'm not the same."
You are the same. You are still Takuya.
"But I'm not human! I'm a digimon!" Takuya stood, whirling around to stare at the Legendary Warrior with accusing eyes. "I'm a digimon now!" he repeated. "Aren't I?"
Regret passed over the Warrior of Fire's face. Yes, he said, his mouth never moving, but his words audible in Takuya's mind. It was the only way to save you, Takuya.
Clenching his hands into fists, Takuya shook his head. "I don't understand," he said angrily. "Why was it the only way?"
Sighing, Agunimon turned and pointed upward. Look up, he said gently, and Takuya did. They could see the sky, the stars, and the three moons above them. Would you believe me if I told you that the sky and the moons you see are not space, but simply a barrier between this world and the next digital layer?
Scowling in confusion, Takuya tried to make sense of it all. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Digital layer?"
The digital world that you know is but the very center of a massive digital plane, Agunimon said. There are hundreds of levels, going further and further up, until you reach the real world. At the highest level, you can actually see Earth floating above you.
"Really?" Takuya gaped. How could that be possible? He looked as hard as he could, but only saw the night sky. "How do you get there?"
There is always one way to get to a higher or lower level, Agunimon began to walk, and as he went, the world around them changed. Suddenly they were standing in front of a bizarre rock riddled with holes like pumice, towering above them. This is the home of the Legendary Warriors, and it guards the way to the next level up.
"What about the way down?" Takuya asked. He felt excited at seeing this place, wishing he could go in, but too afraid to ask. He forgot completely that he was dreaming.
There is no way down. This is the lowest and deepest level, the oldest most ancient part of the digital plane. Every year the digital plane grows, and another layer comes into existence. Last year when the D-Reaper tried to destroy both our worlds, the resolution created another layer, and now passage into your world has become much easier. Agunimon paused, and then knelt beside Takuya, looking directly into his eyes. It is why Lucemon was able to get so close, even though we locked him up down in here, and it is why the Tamers are so necessary. Without them, digimon will run rampant on your world.
"What about me, though?" Takuya frowned. "How was my becoming a digimon the only way to save me?"
It became the only way when you had to biomerge with another human in order to save the world, Agunimon's face held a pained expression. A human may biomerge with a digimon and still be okay, but when two humans need to combine together, they must become data. Humans cannot be combined. Only digimon can.
"So I could have gone home as a human, even after all that spirit evolution, if we had never digivolved into Susanoomon?" Takuya groaned. "But that was the only way!"
Yes, it was.
"Everyone would have died, not just me."
That is true.
"But what about the Tamers? Couldn't they have stopped Lucemon?"
Perhaps, but we could not reach them. Only you could have saved us. You sacrificed everything, even giving up your lives. Agunimon dropped his head, and to Takuya's surprise, a tear slipped out of his eyes and fell to the ground silently. You died to save us…to save everyone. And I died to bring you back.
"What do you mean you died?" Takuya blurted. "You're alive right now, aren't you?"
It's different than a human's death, Agunimon sighed. Digimon can come back if their base data—their DNA, if you want to call it something—is preserved as a digi egg. I died and gave my date to you so that you could become a digimon and return home to your family, and then I was reborn. I am weaker now, but someday I will become strong again. That is what we do. And now, that is what you do.
"If I get killed, I can come back as a digi egg?" Takuya whispered. The idea made him shiver with a weird feeling, but it also gave him a weird sense of hope. "That's good at least…I guess…"
Takuya, I'm telling you this so that you wont be discouraged. I'm sorry that things will never be the same for you. The Warrior of Fire stood, placing a hand upon the boy's head fondly. But I am glad, glad that because of this, we can see each other again. You carried my spirit with honor and strength, and I am changed forever because of it. Thank you.
"Thank you to you too," Takuya smirked. "I was so miserable…I didn't know what to think or how to handle all this. It's so…weird for me. I mean, there's even a law now that says that digimon can't live on our world without a certified Tamer. Does that apply to me too now?"
Probably. It is a good law. It means that digimon have something to hope for, something to fight for, and a chance to forever be kept from turning evil. If only there were as many Tamers as there were digimon.
"But I was born on my world. Don't I have rights as a human being? Or, well," Takuya grinned awkwardly. "A digital human being?"
Perhaps you do. Only you can find out.
"I wish you were with me. I wouldn't mind it so much if you were."
I wish that too. But you cannot be my Tamer, and I am needed as a guardian for our world.
"So what am I supposed to do?"
Slowly, the dream began to fade, and Agunimon smiled gently as he disappeared. Find a Tamer, he chuckled.
Then he was gone, and the dream ended.
"Takuya can you hear me? Wake up already!"
Takuya opened his eyes reluctantly, looking up to meet the eyes of the friend who had dropped him off at the nurse's office. "Hey Suzuki," he sighed. Already he missed the dream, and he missed talking with Agunimon. "What's up?"
"You're looking a little better," his friend commented. "Come on, school is out. Let's go play soccer."
"I'm coming," Takuya said. He sat up, watching as Suzuki ran out to tell their other friends that were waiting outside that Takuya would come with them, and then slipped off the bed. As he grabbed his back and prepared to leave, the nurse stopped him by placing a hand on his shoulder. The touch left a spark of energy that flowed into him.
"Kanbara," she said gently, concern on her face. "Are you sure you're alright?"
He blinked, nodding and trying to not get distracted by the pleasant aura of energy she emitted. "I'm fine," he assured her. "Thanks."
Her expression showed she was not sure. "You were crying in your sleep," she whispered, attempting to keep some discretion between them so that no one else overheard. Her hand squeezed tighter on his shoulder. "You can tell me if something is wrong, you know. I'll be here for you."
Overcome by her genuine concern, Takuya struggled to keep his eyes from growing moist. He smiled gratefully at her. "Thank you," he said quietly. "I'm doing fine now, I'm just having trouble adjusting to how life changes so fast, you know? That's all."
She nodded, not quite understanding, and let him go.
He went out to his friends, throwing on his typical charismatic smile and throwing a fist in the air. "Let's play some soccer!" he cried.
Excitedly, they all rushed out the school with him, glad to have their friend return to normal.
Thank you for reading my first chapter of a new story! Sometimes it is so hard to have ideas and stories whirling around in my head without being able to handle them. But now, I have finally gotten this one written down. It's an idea I've had for a while now, and I wish that I could tell it better, but as they say, storytelling improves with practice and criticism.
So please, review and tell me what you think! I appreciate any kind of response, and any review, whether positive or negative, encourages me as a writer to continue forward and share my ideas with everyone. Even one short sentence will make a difference to me.
Thanks, and see you next chapter!