Okay, before I get into the stuff about how I'm getting slightly bi-polar, I have to, once again, thank a single person: Salamon2. You guys have NO idea how much help it is to have someone like this…lighting a fire under my writer's-block butt and practically writing part of this last chapter!! (I rewrote it mercilessly…) Words cannot express my gratitude!
Now, for your regularly scheduled author's note:
I'm sorry I took so long, guys…The truth is…I'm not having a very good time writing lately. Mom says I may be depressed, so she's trying to get a doctor check me out, but my pedestrian just died, the others won't take all his students, an nobody else will take me until I'm eighteen…Please bear with me…When I'm like that, I'm just…not in the mood for writing…And then I feel guilty because I should be updating, and then I get more depressed…
Once Was Blind, and Healer's Touch will most definitely be completed. A Feudal Fairy Tale, Digimon Hakusho and House Mates will be updated very, very slowly, and may someday be taken down. Lost is still on hiatus, but will be finished…someday. I promise.
Disclaimer:I don't own Digimon, never have and never will.
The Grass Is Greener…
Chapter 8: Normal
The crowd of Digimon faced their enemy, all eyes narrowed with glaring rage. Jumon smiled at them, grinning with dark malice. "So…" he grinned. "All of you together? Well, this should be fun…"
He gripped the strings in his right hand and pulled, shooting them out. The ground they were trapped under blew upwards as the strings rustled towards the Digimon. The ones who could take flight took flight, and the rest jumped out of the way.
The strings leapt out of the ground, snapping in two different directions. One half wrapped around Gururumon's neck, yanking him to the ground, and the other tied around Birdmon's feet, pulling her down.
Matt rolled away and was on his feet in an instant. Sora didn't get so lucky, bouncing twice and then landed with a short cry. Matt ran over to her, helping her to her feet and pulling her out of the way of the next line of attacks.
Jumon laughed, sending strings flying everywhere. The Digimon rolled and dodged, leaving their partners to hide behind rocks and trees to get out of the way.
"You'll learn now! You can't escape me!!!" Jumon shouted in an almost maniacal laugh. He yanked on the strings and a sharp sound echoed through the area.
Togemon moved back a few steps, only to leap forward suddenly, shouting in pain. There were long, red cuts across the back of the cactus. "What the…?" Tai gasped.
"We're surrounded!" Izzy warned, glancing around. "The strings are tied in the tress, blocking all exits!"
"So we don't run!" Davis exclaimed, holding Chibimon in his hands. "There has to be something we can do against this guy…"
T.K. hovered above the group a moment, contemplating the situation. They had 12 Digimon. 2 were Baby-level, useless against the strength of the Mega-leveled Jumon. One Champion injured, unable to fight. And of the remaining nine, two had been previously injured and one was not a Digimon and growing weaker by the second. The situation was not looking good…
"Damn it…" he thought in his mind, clutching his hands into fists. "If we just had a bit more power…just a little more…"
Jumon laughed his maniacal laugh, pulling on his strings. The trees directly behind where the DigiDestined were hiding toppled over. The kids started to scatter.
T.K. dove down, snatching Gatomon, Patamon, and Yolei out of the way (damn, that sounded weird…) Kabutarimon grabbed Joe and Izzy just as the trees crashed onto the rocks, splitting into pieces.
"Everybody in one piece?" he called, landing to put his friends down.
"…Yeah, I think so." muttered Tai, who'd leapt bodily over the rocks to avoid the crash.
"What're we supposed to do?" Yolei asked, as T.K. set her back on her feet. "He's so strong…what now?"
T.K. glared up at Jumon, then suddenly lunged forward. Angemon's staff twirled in his hand as he took flight, lifting the glowing sacred object above Jumon. "Angel Staff!"
The puppet-master Digimon was ready, swiping his strings in his direction. T.K. blocked best he could with the staff, then soared upward to hover high over the battle. "You can't get away from me!" Jumon chortled. "You think that body will protect you from this?!"
Two bunches of strings shot from the trees, each wrapping around one of T.K.'s wrists. He let out a cry and struggled to get free, but they held fast. Jumon grinned at him and yanked at his strings, sending a mighty wave of them flying at the boy-turned-Digimon.
"No, T.K.!" Patamon shouted, unable to do anything to help.
"Oh, I can't watch!" Gatomon gasped, covering her eyes with the hand that wasn't holding Kari.
T.K. strained against his bonds as the bright strings grew closer, reflecting oddly in the dim light of the moon. He himself couldn't watch, closing his eyes. "This can't be the end…Something'll happen…It has to!"
"DIE!" Jumon laughed, throwing them at him.
A light suddenly flashed from below. The light raged upwards, blinding everyone who stood there…
He opened his eyes. The strings had frozen in front of him, not moving an inch. For that matter, everything around him…was frozen, as though someone had pressed the 'pause' button.
"T.K.…" the voice whispered again, and this time he could figure out the source.
He blinked. Then he did it again, rubbing his eyes in disbelief. Finally, he dared himself to speak. "…Kari?!"
Er…well, sort've. She looked like the normal Kari…tall, brown hair, deep brown eyes…but she was covered in the hair, and there were two little kitty cat ears still out of the top of her head. Even her hands were more like paws…it was an interesting sight…
"T.K.…" she came close to him. "I know you can do it T.K.…You can…You're the only one who can…"
She took his hand. For a moment his skin tingled under her touch, then she set something in his palm, gently folding his fingers around it. "Take this…as a gift…I'll be fine."
He stared at her. She smiled gently, pulling away from him. "I know you can…" she whispered, and the thing she had given him started to glow with pink light…
The crowded humans were suddenly thrown back by a rush of energy. The Digimon dove to protect their partners. Gatomon clung tight to the unconscious cat-like Kari, gazing up next to a desperate Patamon. "Where's T.K.?!" he shouted above the rush.
"What is this?!" Jumon screamed, throwing his arms up to defend himself. "Where is it coming from?!"
There was another serge and the light shout outward, covering the grove of trees where they hid…
Out of it stepped a tall, powerful, white-and-purple-robed figure, golden ribbons wrapped around his body. Mouths dropped open in surprise as he walked forward, eight wings wrapped around him modestly. Golden hair came from under the helmet, shaggy and disordered…
It was MagnaAngemon, but at the same time, it was T.K.
"Holy cow…" Davis gasped, eyes the size of saucers.
"It…I mean, he's…gorgeous…" Yolei whispered. "I've never seen anything like it…"
"I can't believe that's my little brother…" Matt gulped in shock.
"I can't believe how cool that actually looks from the outside…" Patamon blinked in surprise. Gatomon glared at him, elbowing him in the shoulder.
Jumon, however, was not impressed. "You think just 'cause you Digivolved you can stop me?" he snickered. "I'm still a level above you! No one can beat me!!"
On the last word he sent a wave of strings flying at T.K. The ultimate angel Digimon didn't move, he just lifted the sword in his hand and slashed down at them as they came for him. Another swipe cut the rest of the Digimon free, most of whom plopped face-down in the dirt.
Jumon growled, lifting his hands again. "So, you think you're pretty smart, huh?!" he sneared, suddenly throwing himself forward, held up by his strings. His hands grew into long claws. "THINK AGAIN!!"
T.K. side-stepped the assault, bringing the sword down as he passed. Jumon, now nearly cut in half, crashed into the ground.
He pulled himself up, spitting out mud. "Why you…" he growled. "You'll pay for this…"
There was an impact as someone stomped down in front of him. He looked up to be faced with Greymon, the other Digimon around him. "I don't think so…" the dinosaur grinned under his mask, and…
Jumon went flying, literally. As he hung in the air, Ankylomon gave him a bit of a 'hand' taking off. "Tail Hammer!"
T.K. raised the sword into the air, the instincts of the Digimon in him taking over. He turned it in a full circle, swiping down to create the familiar doorway. "Gate of Destiny!"
Jumon struggled to regain himself, pulling desperately at the tops of the trees. "No…no…this is not possible!!" he screamed, being yanked backwards. "I swear, I'll get you…I'll get for this!!"
With that, the door closed and he was gone.
One by one, then Digimon changed back to their usual forms. T.K. was the last one to do so, sleepily shifting back to the odd blonde Digimon and dropping lazily into Patamon's arms. "How'd we do?" he asked, sounding disoriented.
"We're alive, he's not." Patamon nodded, patting him on the head. "I'd say a pretty bang-up job."
Then from out of the forest came a figure. "Gennai!" exclaimed Mimi, attracting the attention of the others.
"Hello, hello!" the man had a wide grin stretched across his features. "Wonderful! I found you just in time!"
"In time for what?" Tai asked. "Jumon's gone."
"Yes, yes precisely my point!" he held out a small, glowing orb of energy. "I wouldn't want to catch you in the middle of a fight…"
"Is that what I think it is?" Gatomon gasped, eyes lighting up.
"Indeed." Gennai grinned, motioning. "You two first. Put Kari and T.K. down for now."
Under the excitedly watching eyes of the others, the two Digimon-turned-humans did as he said, Gatomon handing Kari to Tai as T.K. took flight. Gennai stepped up to them. "Okay…now just hold very still."
"Wait a sec." Gatomon held up one gloved hand. "Can I do something first?"
"Something you can't do in a Digimon body?" Gennai asked, raising his eyebrow. Gatomon nodded. "Alright then…make it quick."
"Naturally." Gatomon said coolly, turning.
Patamon blinked at her a moment, wondering what on Earth she could do in the few minutes they had. Very suddenly, she reached up and grabbed him by the collar, yanking his head down to hers. His eyes bulged as she pressed her lips to his.
Most of the people watching let their mouths drop open. T.K. burst out laughing, and Yolei, Mimi and Sora dropped into a fit of giggles.
Gatomon released his collar, letting him pop back up with an unsteady blush crossing his cheeks. She grinned at Gennai. "Okay, I'm ready."
"Y-Yeah…ready…" Patamon gulped, still beat-red.
Gennai grinned, holding in a bit of laughter, then placed his hands over each of their foreheads. The ball disappeared into his hand, both of which started to glow. The light spread over the two figures' heads, drifting down their bodies until they were covered from head to foot.
They started slowly to shrink. Hands became paws, short claws began to grow. Gatomon's hair diminished in length and slipped into fur, Patamon's ears grew back to their normal size.
Finally, they sat there, in their normal bodies. Gatomon bared her claws with an excited his and Patamon took to the air. The kids around them cheered.
"All right!" Tai laughed. "Now for Kari and T.K., right?"
"…I'm afraid I have some bad news about that." the happiness that had ballooned in their chests deflated suddenly. "You see…of the energy that was able to spare, there is not enough left to change both of you back…There is only enough for one."
"What?!" Gatomon and Patamon were suddenly in his face. "Why didn't you tell us that before?! You could've used it on them instead!"
"Even if I hadn't, there still would not be enough." Gennai sighed, sounded genuinely sorry. "It takes more energy to change a Digimon into a human, rather than a human into a Digimon. Because of the relative size, data must be created…in the opposite, it is deleted, a much simpler process. The energy for two of them simply… cannot be spared. And if we do it any later, it will be impossible…"
T.K. hovered just above Tai's shoulder, looking down at Kari with a depressed look on his face. She was breathing evenly, but so weak…she was still out cold…
He knew what he had to do.
"Use it on Kari."
Everyone snapped around to stare at him, even Tai, who nearly knocked him out of the sky. Matt blinked at him in shock. "What did you say?!"
"You heard me." T.K. flew up to face Gennai. "Use it to change Kari back. I'll stay like this."
"…Are you certain?" Gennai asked calmly. "There will be no way to reverse it."
"Yes." T.K. whispered, landing on a large rock. "I'm certain…"
Gennai sighed. "Very well then." he glanced at Tai. "Set her down. We don't want any of the energy getting on you."
He did as the wiseman said, letting her down on a soft bed of grass. Gennai knelt, putting both his hands over her, and transferred the energy.
T.K. smiled as he watched her change back to her normal self. Then he closed his eyes and flopped over, as though in the deepest of deep sleeps. "T.K.!" Matt gasped, rushing forward to catch him.
"Don't worry." Gennai stood. Kari looked the same as she had when Sorceressmon had attacked, except for the fact that she was missing her shoes and gloves. "The last of his memories should be disappearing now…as with most programs, it must be booted down for new information to take effect. He'll wake up a wild Digimon…"
Kari let out a small sound, somewhere between a groan and a whimper. Dark brown eyes slowly opened in a hesitant nature. Gatomon, Tai, and the others were leaning over her. "Welcome back." Yolei smiled.
Kari sat up very suddenly, taking in a small gasp of surprise. She lifted her hands in front of her eyes to see hands…her own, familiar, long-fingered human hands! She nearly let out a squeal of joy at the sight.
"We're…we're back to normal!" she cheered, picking Gatomon up and cuddling her lovingly. "I can't believe it…this is so great!"
"You're right…" there was a bit of melancholy in Ken's voice. "It is."
She looked around, suddenly realizing the damped mood that was hanging around them. Then she suddenly noticed someone important was missing.
"…Where's T.K.?" she finally asked.
Most of those gathered bit their lips. Izzy turned out and managed to thumb at something behind them. Kari looked, and let out a strangled gasp.
"Oh, T.K.!" she cried, scooping him up. He didn't respond, simply lay in her arms, unfeeling. "What's wrong with him? Why didn't he change back? T.K.!!"
"Kari…" Gennai put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm afraid you're going to have to leave him here."
She turned to his, eyes filling with tears. He calmly turned to the others, a sad look on his face. "It will only be painful…for all of you…to see him like this. He will not remember anything of his life as a human. Patamon and the others could stay and give him a few lessons…what survival instincts cannot teach…but I'm afraid the rest of you would be better off…forgetting him…"
The stunned group was unable to say anything. It wouldn't have mattered if they did.
~ * ~ * ~
Afterward, the DigiDestined went two weeks without going back to the Digital World. Not having the heart to tell Nancy just yet what had happened to her son, they only said that he had 'left' and 'would be back soon'. Matt planned on telling her tonight.
It took Kari a full three days to recover…not from injuries, but from the emotional pain. She lay crying until there were no tears left…and the others allowed her to do so. They all had their own ways, and he was someone they needed to morn.
However, Kari couldn't just take it like that. She didn't want to forget him, as Gennai had told her too. She just…couldn't.
So she went back.
Two weeks after the defeat of Jumon, just before the start of the new school year, she went back on her own. Gatomon met her there, and led her in the direction of a small grove T.K. had been seen in.
He was curled warmly on a bed of moss, day dreaming and watching the leaves fall to the ground in patterns. He seamed to be enjoying himself, but at the same time he looked…forlorn.
He turned as she entered the grove, ears perking up. He frowned when he saw her, taking flight. "Who're you?" he asked, hovering over to her. "Do I…know you?"
She bit her lip, not trusting herself to say anything just yet. But tears began to babble gently out of her eyes, trailing down her cheeks. He looked at her strangely. "Why're you crying?"
Kari finally took in a stuttered sob, grabbing him out of mid-air to pull him to her chest. He blinked up at her, confused, but then allowed her to hold him close, cuddling into her warmth.
Watching from the trees, Patamon picked Gatomon up around the waist, flying her several feet away. "Let's give them a moment alone…" he whispered, and dropped her onto the branch of a tree.
Kari sat in the shade of an old oak, tears still drifting wistfully down her face. But she was smiling through them, as the creature that had been her dearest friend took flight. He looked at her in a bit of concern, hovering close.
"Are you sure you're alright?" he finally asked.
She smiled at him. "Yes…" she whispered. "Yes, T.K., I'm fine…"
"T…K…?" the blonde creature blinked at her, as though the word had sparked something deep inside. He drifted a bit closer to her, bobbing up and down in an attempt to look into her eyes.
She held him a moment in mid-air, then leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss where his lips would have been, had he been in his true form.
Quite suddenly, there was an odd glow of light. Kari's hands flew up to cover her eyes as it spread around them, covering her vision and heat nearly burning her skin…
Then an old voice seamed to call to her, as though waking from a dream. "Kari…"
She let her hands drop from her eyes and looked into familiar, crystal-blue orbs. She stared at him a moment, not noticing that he was practically lying on top of her, and then she dared to speak. "T…T.K.?"
He smiled, that same, half-joking, loving smile he'd always worn. And she threw her arms around him, laughing joyfully, and letting warm arms wrap around her, holding her close. They didn't need to know how. They didn't need to know why. They knew all they needed.
They were happy.
Well…there ya go. I hope the ending was satisfactory to you all, and I do hope you all enjoyed this crazy idea of mine. It's been a ball writing it, even if it did take a year and a half…
I suppose now all that's left to say is…Ja ne…See you again…