A/N: Aaand we're live, after a year and a half of teasing! Woop woop. As with most FDD projects, this is a bit of a multimedia affair, so check out the website (digirecon dot webs dot com) for supplemental material, art, the like.

To new people: this is an FDD fic, aiming to emulate a full season of Digimon, complete with its own rules, characters, and universe. Original characters, original digimon, original setup. If this turns you off, this is your chance to turn around.
To those who've read re:GENESIS, my previous project: this has no overt continuity and thus reading re:GEN is not essential, but you might notice nods along the way, because I love mythology gags.

I will be updating on a biweekly schedule, but because otherwise it will have a really slow start, I'll be updating every Monday in December. (After that, I'm moving to Seattle at the start of January, soooo, I'll have to slow down somewhat). I apologize that it's kind of a not-too-unique start, but I need to put down groundwork before I can build up the fun bits. uwu

Reviews are my lifeblood, but the show goes on with or without them.

Anyway! Awayyyy we go!

It was about nine on a Saturday night, and the city of Atlas Park was parked right in the middle of a downright picturesque mid-May evening.

A razor-thin sliver of a waning crescent moon peeked out from behind a curtain of clouds. The air was warm, tempered by a gentle breeze; lights twinkled far away, and cars passed below. In the distance, the downtown district was thriving with the night-life.

And at least one girl was having none of that.

Natalie Adams sat on the roof of her family's apartment building, her legs dangling off the side. She was a girl on the taller side, with long ginger hair tied in a ponytail, pale skin, and green eyes. As she might have described herself: a mess of recessive genes.

Her finals had wrapped up the preceding week, and soon she would have to begin scrambling to pick up hours at some mediocre summer job; these precious days to follow may well have been her only chance to unwind. Even so, she felt a creeping sense of unease in the pit of her stomach- something she couldn't quite explain away.

"You want to go down to the river?" she asked, tucking a strand of long ginger hair behind her ear as she turned to look to her right. Sitting right by her side was her best friend, though explaining that much might have proven difficult, if anyone else had seen him.

Natalie's best friend was a bird. ... well, a bird of sorts. For starters, he was approximately the size and stature of a human child. He had normal arms instead of wings, but his body was covered in inky-black feathers; his hands and feet were talons bare of feathers, though the skin was a none-too-natural-looking shade of lilac. There sat a large ruff of long, even-darker feathers around his neck and shoulders; his tail was covered in the same. Even longer feathers made up this tail, which was almost as long as his body itself, and despite its feathered nature, it seemed quite rigid and was bent obtusely in the middle.

All this was a description of what he would look like to the layman. To Natalie, all that could be boiled down to a single word.
This was Raumon.

"Sure," Raumon replied with a nod, turning his head to look up at Natalie. The bird-creature's face face was far and away the strangest thing of him (and considering he was a child-sized bipedal bird, that was quite the feat). His face was shaped rather like a bird's, with a long beak protruding... but this face was pure-white, and looked quite like a mask, complete even with a thin black strap that looped around his head and seemed to hold it on. His eyes - large and pitch-black in their entirety, looking like holes in the mask - emoted perfectly well, able to quirk a non-existent eyebrow or have his eyes go wide. Indeed, it looked more like a plague-doctor's mask than a true bird's face.

Natalie stood up and threaded her fingers together as she stretched her hands far above her head. "Let's go, then."
Night-time was the only time they - or rather, Raumon - could leave the apartment, for reasons that should have been quite apparent. Though Atlas Park never really silenced down entirely, it was still far easier to avoid prying eyes under cover of darkness.

When the pair walked in, they passed the bedrooms of Natalie's sisters- both were in their respective rooms, doors closed. When she reached the living room, Natalie peered in around the lip of the doorway; her parents were watching an overwhelmingly corny old B-movie. From the sound of it, Natalie reckoned that it was 50-Foot Squid Monsters vs. The City of Cleveland.

Truly: one of the great classics.

The pair waited for a moment; Natalie mouthed along with every line of stilted, poorly-acted dialogue, while Raumon mimed along with the actors on-screen, both knowing the film by rote.
"Raumon and I are going out to the river," Natalie said after a moment, once there was a gap in the script (of course, to keep her family from missing out on any crucial plot development). "Back in a bit."

"Duly noted," her father said, not taking his eyes off the television.

Satisfied with that answer, Natalie plucked her car keys off of the ring and the pair set out. They gingerly crept down the flights of stairs and hallways that led down five stories to the ground, not wanting to draw the ire of any of their neighbors by galumphing through at high speed.
They didn't fear being evicted - when it was said that it was her parents' apartment building, it was meant that her parents owned the building-, but if any angry neighbors came out and complained, Raumon would be a difficult pill to swallow. (They had no desire to be rude, of course, but the latter concern was more pressing than manners.)

In moments they were buckled in to Natalie's car, and Raumon seemed much more at ease once he was seated. He was short enough that, even sitting shotgun, the chances of any passersby seeing him were slim at best.

The river was in the city park, out near the western limits of Atlas Park (leading to the somewhat-amusing "Atlas Park City Park" sign); in a city that was rapidly developing every spare inch of land, the park was a green oasis. It was only a short drive, and one that they knew well enough to make blindfolded. The park was entirely empty when the pair pulled up into the parking lot; perfect, as far as they were concerned.

An old cobblestone bridge stretched across the river that ran through the park, and it was on this structure that Natalie and Raumon quickly found themselves standing. Here, they could focus on the rustle of leaves and the lazily-running water below, instead of the lights and noise of the city proper.

Two rows of tall trees - almost all that remained of an old grove that once stood near the edge of town - towered over the water's surface from either side, creating a natural ceiling and dropping stray leaves into the lazy water. On nights when the moon was fuller, it would shine beams down through the gaps; on a night like tonight, though, the only illumination came from the sparse street-lamps that had been set up on either side of the bridge and the ones that lined, in intervals, the walkways that zigzagged through the park.

The duo of bird and girl came here all the time; sometimes they came to sit and think, sometimes they merely came to get out, to pretend to be somewhere less developed and industrial for a short time. It was for the latter reason that they came out tonight. It was where they had met, so many years ago (or rather, where Natalie had found Raumon); it held a special significance to the pair.

"Feeling okay?" Natalie said, looking over to Raumon. The bird stretched his legs out and swayed his tail in response, loosening up his muscles and joints, and then nodded.

They hadn't been able to come out here that much recently. Natalie had been buried in frantic studying for weeks, and Raumon didn't feel wholly comfortable venturing out alone. He couldn't deny he was feeling a bit cooped up.
He chose to chalk up the slightly uneasy feeling in his gut to this fact - never mind that he had just been cooped up just as much a dozen times in the past few years, for various reasons, and he had never felt quite this way before.

Well. Okay, maybe that shouldn't be "never mind"ed away.
A long pause ensued, calm and quiet; it was not an awkward silence, but rather a serene one.

"I don't know," Raumon said after a long pause, tapping a claw to his beak. "I can't help but feel like something's not quite right." He spoke a bit apprehensively, not entirely sure if this was worth the bringing up; he was a bit taken aback when Natalie heaved a sigh of relief.

"Thank god, it's not just me, then," she said, miming wiping sweat off of her forehead with the back of her hand.

Raumon smiled, a thin line on the mask-like white of his face. "I should have known that you'd catch on, too," he said; his tail drifted from one side to another, almost like a dog wagging its tail.
He (the both of them, really) had felt so odd all day, a strange sense of dread, of something bad on the metaphorical horizon. It was a premonition.

But they hadn't the slightest what it was for.

"It's not just the college thing," Natalie said. She had just completed her sophomore year; for a while, she had thought that perhaps the sinking feeling had been the nagging "I should be doing something" feeling she had noticed herself getting at the end of every school year, but this felt wholly different, if she paused to think. Lost in thought, she idly began running her fingers through the part of her hair that was tied back into a ponytail.

Raumon nodded once, tapping his beak again. He suddenly furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes. He clambered up onto the wall of the bridge, peering over the side and into the darkness beyond the halo of light the street-lamps afforded them.

"What's up?" the girl asked when she noticed what her friend was doing. She picked Raumon up, hands under the armpits, and set him on top of the wall proper so that he no longer had to dangle as though trying to do a pull-up.

"I don't know," Raumon said slowly, sitting down and looking out over the water, into the trees. He craned his neck to look to his partner, shaking his head. "I thought I saw something. If I did, it's gone now."

Natalie nodded once, leaning forward on the wall. "I'm sure it was nothing," she said; she wasn't actually sure of anything, but she was hardly about to let it get to her. It was probably just a squirrel; Raumon thought the same, and didn't think further.

They stayed there in relative quiet for perhaps fifteen minutes more. They were relatively quiet, taking advantage of the still. Nothing else came up; the wind rustled the trees, the water flowed beneath them, and every now and then a bat swooped down to snap up a mosquito from near the surface of the water, but nothing that gave either of them cause for alarm showed its face.

The silence was only broken when Natalie snapped her head up. She saw a light in the distance, heard the whir of bicycle wheels- someone was out riding their bike through the park at the ripe hour of nine-thirty at night.

"Raumon, someone's coming," she said in a hushed tone and tapped the bird on the shoulder gently. She meant it to be a signal for them to go. Unfortunately, Raumon was a bit too lost in thought; the gentle tap was a bit of a rude awakening, and instead of being roused, he half-squawked, half-squeaked, and jerked forward.

This is a course of action that ended with a splash and one very wet mass of feathers.

The passing night-cyclist cast Natalie a very strange look as she peered over the lip of the bridge while trying to stifle a giggle or ten, but suspected nothing.

When Raumon's face breeched the surface of the water again, he took in a gulping gasp of air from behind his mask.
"You know," he said, and though he was very wet his tone was quite dry, "there are other ways to warn me when someone's coming." He hoisted himself out of the water and onto the riverbank, and within a few seconds he was standing astride Natalie again. Even though the air was warm, between the darkness and the chill of the water, he was shivering visibly.

"You know, you're lucky I don't care if you get the inside of my car wet," Natalie said blithely, smiling down at the soggy bird, "or I'd hang you up to dry for a few hours before we went home. Come on," she said, beginning to walk back to her car. Raumon was quick to follow, even as he threw one last look over his shoulder. Seeing nothing, he was hot on the heels of his friend.

With backs turned, they did not notice that a shape in the dark shifted and shimmered, a dark-hued something visible for just a second before it faded away.

One corner of Natalie's room, a square of space about five feet square between the foot of Natalie's bed and the wall, was designated space for Raumon. It was occupied primarily by a nest of blankets and pillows, built over a large bean-bag chair used as a base. When they had moved into and taken ownership of this apartment building, Natalie's family had offered him another space, but he had refused, insisting he was perfectly content with the arrangement he had. Most of his belongings were buried in this 'nest'- a little chest full of feathers and other trinkets, a scrapbook full of pressed flowers, books of a more conventional sort, candies, all sorts of things.

Really, while it was nominally "Natalie's room", it was "Natalie and Raumon's room" among the family. The strange bird creature had been part of the family ever since Natalie had found him fifteen years ago (though he had been quite a different creature back then); they had all long-since adjusted, and Natalie's younger sisters didn't even remember a time without him in the family. It had always made it difficult for the girls to bring friends to sleep over; this was never a problem for Natalie, but for Madison and Alexis, her younger sisters, it was usually solved by having Nat and Raumon sequester in their room as long as the younger girls' friends were over.

Luckily, they were always content to sequester themselves in their room at any rate, and that's what they did once they returned from their little jaunt to the river.

It was ten-thirty now; the awesomely bad movie on TV had come to its poorly-acted conclusion and another was starting up- 50-Foot Squid Monsters vs. The City of Omaha (it was the sequel, you see). Natalie knew this not because she had ventured out into the living room, but because she had switched on her own television, tuned into the same channel as her parents. She left it on for the background noise as she surfed the internet on her laptop, cup of tea at her side. Sitting beside her, Raumon was reading his way through Natalie's copy of Alice in Wonderland.

All in all, a very routine night.

So routine, in fact, that when it was disturbed by a loud THUNK! from the roof, Natalie just about jumped a mile. She quite obviously didn't, of course, in a literal sense, but she definitely did spill hot tea all over her front, and the scalding hot liquid soaking her shirt was literal enough to put her in a sour mood in a heartbeat.
"What on earth was that?" she blurted out, peering up to the ceiling as though she might be able to see through it.

When she asked, she heard another sound- like heavy, crunching footsteps, like someone above was stomping around.

"Curiouser and curiouser," Raumon said wryly. He paused, looking to Natalie. "Do you think we should take a look?"

At that moment, they heard Natalie's mother's voice drift through the door. "Nat, dear, could you go see what's making that noise?"

Natalie pulled one side of her mouth back, a sort of well, there's our answer. Theirs was the only apartment with roof access, but not the only one on the top level; if they didn't take care of what ever was going on, they were going to start having to field complaints. "Just a second!" she called back. "I'm changing my shirt," she explained to Raumon; the bird nodded, and pointedly looked back into his book, averting his eyes out of politeness.
The girl was changed in a flash. She looked at Raumon and nodded; he gingerly put in a bookmark to keep his place as he set his book down, hopping off of his friend's bed and to his feet.

Just as a precaution, Natalie grabbed her wooden baseball bat and hoisted it over her shoulder before she stepped out of her room.

A pair of wings beat against the air as boots clomped against the concrete, taking back-alleys and side-streets to avoid any other human life.

"I swear to god, you'd better be sure of this."

"If it isn't what I think it is, I'll eat the weird pudding you've had in the back of the fridge since last year."


"Just trust me! It might be dangerous, and we may be the only ones who stand a chance, you know?"

After all, what were the chances of there being any others?

The pair headed out into the hallway and up the stairs that led up to the roof of their building. When they opened the door that opened to the roof, they weren't quite sure what to expect.

But whatever they may have expected, it sure wasn't what they saw.

Standing in the middle of the roof, and looking like it was trying to hit its way through, was...
Well, it sure wasn't a person, that was for sure, even though it resembled one in the basic ways.

It was tall, and human-shaped - except for the large, clawed dragon feet and long ears. What skin they could see was pale powder-blue, but it admittedly wasn't much skin; it wore a white tank-top and ragged grey pants, but more importantly, its face was covered by a nearly-featureless white mask. Two long horns curved up from its forehead, and dark-purple marks were displayed under red eyes, but that was it. From under its mask, a shaggy mane of red hair grew; green belts made of thorny vine criss-crossed its chest, holding - of all things - a stuffed blue bear on its back. Gauntlets made of wood - and Natalie had to take a second look to ensure that they were in fact wood - covered its hands, and it carried one wooden sword in each hand.

And when they opened the door and looked at it, it lifted its head and stared at Natalie and Raumon unblinkingly.

"Okay, what's with the costume?" Natalie said, sounding far braver than she felt. She wielded her baseball bat as though it was a sword, rooting herself to the ground.

Raumon, just behind her, tensed up in preparation for... something. He didn't know what, exactly, but he was all but frozen to the spot, waiting. "It's a Yasyamon," he said, quiet; Natalie wasn't even sure she heard him correctly.

The human-like creature - Yasyamon? - tilted its head, and boy oh boy, did it move in a way that didn't look natural. Its body was just so slightly limp, its torso hanging back and its head rolling when it moved. Its eyes focused on Raumon; it all but looked straight through Natalie. It was disturbing in no small part.

"What are you-" the girl said, frowning slightly as Yasyamon began to move its arms. It lifted both of its wooden swords above its head. When they were both held aloft, it yelled two words:

"Double Strike!"

With a brilliant flash of light, it was no longer holding two swords, but instead one, held above its head with both hands. Its blade was no longer wooden, but wicked-sharp steel, and it glowed like a beacon in the dark night.

"What the hell!?" Natalie blurted, before she could stop herself, nearly dropping her baseball bat, but it was lucky that she didn't. In the blink of an eye, the blue creature leapt forward, bringing its sword down at Raumon. Before she knew what she was doing, Natalie held the bat out horizontally, using it to try and stop the sword.
The wooden bat was cleaved smoothly in half and Natalie stumbled backwards as she let go to avoid being sliced. Even so, Yasyamon's sword once more separated into two once it hit the wood of the bat, and Raumon took his chance.

Acting on pure instinct, the bird reared one hand back, and it was immediately engulfed in a strange purple glow. "Symptom Claw!" he yelled, slashing out at Yasyamon's legs with the glowing claw.
He struck its left leg; Raumon's attack tore two long rips in the other's pant leg, and cut into its leg proper as well. When his claws dragged through, the glow seeped out of his hand and into the flesh of Yasyamon's leg.

Yasyamon snarled and stumbled backwards, and began to wield its two swords again.

"What are you doing?" Natalie asked breathlessly, still a bit shell-shocked from her experience with being too close to a razor-sharp blade.

"I have no idea," Raumon answered truthfully; he would have cast a distressed look to his friend, had he not been too aware to turn his eyes away. "What do you want?" he said, louder, trying to sound braver, preparing his claws for another attack.

"Found you," Yasyamon said, as though that were any sort of sufficient explanation. "And I'm not leaving without you! Double Strike!" he cried again, lifting his wooden blades above his head, and once again, a flash of light replaced the twin weapons with one, and lunged forward as he swung it down.
Raumon was simply not able - no matter how prepared he was- to take a hit from Yasyamon's sword full-on. Though its blade was sharp, it had a concussive effect, sending the bird tumbling head over heels backwards into the knee-high concrete wall that bordered the roof of the building.

"Raumon!" Natalie cried out, getting to her feet, rushing to her friend's side. He was dazed; he had hit his head on the concrete. Yasyamon, with no regard to the girl in his way, began to lift his swords again.

It was at this point that something happened.
A powerful gust of wind blew past; as the air passed over them, a small orb of light appeared in Natalie's hands. It swirled, gaining mass very quickly, and took on a purple glow not unlike the glow that had engulfed Raumon's hand when he attacked Yasyamon. Within seconds, there was a small device in Natalie's hands where there had been nothing before.

It was comparable in size to a phone or an mp3 player, but beyond that, it was like no device Natalie had ever used. It wasn't quite rectangular - one end was slightly rounder and broader than the other. It was black and shiny, marked with purple and white accents, and it was bizarrely hard to tell if it it was made of metal or plastic. It had an octagonal screen that was sleek and black, and just below that, what looked like a power meter glowed with a dim yellow light. A black wrist-strap was attached to its bottom end, and a row of small grey buttons lined the right edge of the device.

"What the hell," Natalie blurted again, a bit frantic. She looked from Yasyamon - who had paused as well, curious - back down at the little device, and back again. "What is this!?"

If she had known what the thing was, she would have been relieved; but she didn't, so her panic was just intensifying. After all, all of this was happening, and she had no freaking clue what was going on.

"I don't know," Raumon groaned, as he pulled himself up to his feet with a little help from his friend.

"Hm," Yasyamon murmured, narrowing his red eyes, but he lifted his swords aloft again. "Double Strike!" Once more, the swords began to glow and become one. He swung them down, prepped to hit both Natalie and Raumon with his blade before the latter could find his bearings.

Natalie bit back a yell of panic. In a last ditch effort to protect Raumon and herself, Natalie lifted the little device above her head, trying to use the little palm-sized device as a shield.

She did not expect this to work.

But work it did- the sword hit the device, and it was like Yasyamon's combined sword was wooden and trying to strike a steel shield. It stopped cold, and a loud metallic clangk! rang out in the night. The hit resonated through the device and through Natalie, making all of her bones shake.

As Yasyamon's swords split apart once more, the device began to glow. Purple light began to swirl around it, and by extension, around Natalie's hand, as the first segment of the yellow power meter flickered out. The screen turned on; a rush of strange characters flashed across the display, far too fast and too much for Natalie to make any sense of.
Raumon looked at his hands as an identical light began to swirl around his hands- and then the rest of him. Though he had no idea what was going on, he felt no fear- he somehow knew this was good. The same could not be said of Natalie, who was frozen with shock and alarm.

As the light overcame Raumon entirely, he began to change.

"Raumon, Drive Evolve to..."
He remained bipedal as he grew, becoming more humanlike; his body elongated until he was well over a foot taller than Natalie herself. His body was covered by a long, tattered black coat, with sleeves that came down past the tips of his clawed fingertips. Long white hair replaced his head-feathers, tied into a ponytail in the back.
Tall steel-toed boots covered his feet, and a long, wide-brimmed hat lay atop his head. His beaked mask now two-toned, the left side being white and the right, black, with red streaks under each eye. It was smaller, only covering the top half of his now more human-like, grey-skinned face, but much of the lower half of his face was still hidden by the large, loose collar of fabric around his neck.

Once he had formed fully, he twirled his hand in the air and procured a staff from thin air. It was wooden, and topped with a tremendous red gem; strapped to the gem were a pair of white bird masks, one sorrowful and one angry. He slashed this new staff through the air, before spreading his arms. He spoke quietly, his voice serene and solemn.

"What the hell," Natalie yelled one more time, for good measure. This had happened once before, years ago- but not nearly so spectacularly. Raumon had been in a much smaller, more... amorphous form when she had found him. He had been called Pestimon, then, but maybe five years after they met, he simply grew to the Raumon they knew now. He had just been growing up, and he was an odd little creature- they had come to accept that.
Had he just changed for good again?

She couldn't imagine this was going to be easy to explain to the masses.

Raumon - Doctorimon - looked down at Natalie, who was still sitting flabberghasted on the roof. He tilted his head just so, so that she could see a faint, thin smile. It was reassuring, in a way.
But a moment later, he turned his attention back to Yasyamon, and then his demeanor changed- he seemed almost detached.

"I don't know what you want of us," he said, and his voice was somewhat deeper; he didn't need to speak above a whisper to sound intimidating. "But you will not have it."

"I'm not leaving without-!" Yasyamon spat, lifting his swords again. This time, though, Rau- Doctorimon was first to get his words out.

"Poison Bloom!" he said, and from inside of his tattered sleeves, his hand - still a purple-tinted talon, just like Raumon's - was now holding a strange, ethereal black rose. He did not hesitate; he swiped it down through the air, and in its wake was released a shower of razor-sharp black petals that rushed at Yasyamon like bullets.

Yasyamon snarled, and twirled his twin wooden swords. Even as the attack pushed him back, and caused him clear pain, he was still going to try and fight back. "Double Strike!" he yelled, moving almost too fast to see. He clapped his swords together one last time, combining them. He twirled his sword with a flourish, and struck out at Doctorimon.

Once more, his sword was stopped in its tracks- this time, by Doctorimon's staff. They crossed sword and staff, and locked with each other. "Had you not tried to harm my friend," Doctorimon said, calm and quiet, "this may have turned out differently for you. Face of Judgment!"
A careful observer would notice that Doctorimon carefulyl oriented his staff so that the more hostile-looking of the masks on his staff was facing towards his opponent.

This was deliberate, it seemed. The gem began to glow; it looked like red light was spilling from the eyes on the pair of masks. Under its own power, the beak on the angered mask opened. From the opened beak, a stream of black flames began to spill out, licking over Yasyamon's skin.

Yasyamon roared loudly, and something changed. Yasyamon's body shifted, becoming pixellated. Natalie half wondered if she was seeing things, as it really looked like a real-life object was becoming lower-resolution. Within seconds, Yasyamon's body burst into glowing pixels, a shower of motes of light. The specks of light - or whatever they were - swirled around each other, aimless but pretty to watch. The little device in Natalie's hands beeped quietly, and as though it was a signal, almost all of the light (some of it scattered) organized itself into a thin beam and shot into the device.
Another soft beep, and the missing segment of the power meter lit up again. A trio of words, small and faint, flashed in the bottom of the display:


And then it was quiet again except for the cars in the distant downtown.

Doctorimon turned to look to Natalie; he bowed his head, and he bowed proper, with a slight flourish of his staff.
"Raumon, you, uh," the girl said, finding her voice as she stood up. "... you look good." She spoke with a bit of irony in her voice.

"Is this gonna be permanent? Because we may have to stop going to the river if I can't drive you there without getting stared at," she continued; her voice had a tinge to it that made it unclear whether she was joking or not.

"I don't think so," Doctorimon replied, shaking his head once. This was, right on-cue, when the purple light returned. He was a bit surprised, but he stayed calm as streaks of energy began to swirl around his body again. This time, instead of making him grow and turn into something new, when he was engulfed by the light, he began to shrink.
When the light faded, he was once more small and feathered- back to Raumon.

Natalie couldn't help herself from smiling, a sense of relief washing over her. She knew, of course, that Raumon was still Raumon at the end of the day and regardless of form, but it was still a comfort to have him back in black-feathered travel size once again.

"I think that was..."


"Well, you'll see. If it is, I mean."

"Only one way to find out."

After all- after the mysterious force that brought electronic gadgets on the wind, tonight was probably just going to keep getting weirder.

About fifteen minutes passed as they tried to collect their nerves and figure out what was going on. Natalie turned the little device in her hands over and over, but she couldn't find a function to shrink her friend back to normal. In fact, she couldn't make much sense of the thing at all. She sat on the concrete wall, facing inwards, and Raumon sat alongside her, peering over at the device.

What she discovered: the buttons on the side, when pressed, all caused different things to spring up on the screen, all stark white and purple on black. There was a little tab on the bottom of the side, a little pull-away tab; it looked, in all honesty, like a port for a mini-USB. While all of this was certainly interesting, it was also wholly without context.

"So that thing was..." Natalie said slowly, after she determined she was going to get no useful information out of the little gizmo.

"A digimon," Raumon said, nodding his head once. "Like me."

Raumon had used the word before, of course; he had explained that there were a lot of them, that they came in all shapes and sizes, but he had also said that, as far as he knew, he may have been the only one here.

Natalie had asked plenty of questions over the years; she knew her fair share, but Raumon's memory had always been spotty. She had no reason to believe he was deliberately withholding information from her (as he was in fact not), so her understanding was incomplete. They didn't know why Yasyamon was here, or what he wanted, or what he meant when he had said found you.
This was just too much to work through.

"I don't understand it," Natalie said; she hated to admit as much, about anything, but there was no way around it.

"Neither do I, Natalie," Raumon said with a shake of his head.

She looked down at the electronic gadget in her hand. She turned it over in her palm; it was very lightweight, but Yasyamon's sword smashing into it at full force hadn't so much as scratched it. She breathed out, making a note to herself to examine it later as she stowed it in her pocket.

No sooner than she had done this, Natalie almost had a heart attack for the second time that night.

She was really getting sick of surprises.

"Hey," a voice said- the voice of a terribly bored young man from not far away. Natalie leapt to her feet and whipped around; Raumon ducked, even though it would have been hard to see him over the concrete wall even if he had been standing up straight.

"Hi," Natalie said, straightening herself up and doing an excellent job of pretending to be composed, even though she had no idea where she was supposed to be speaking to. She looked around, but didn't see anything until she looked onto the fire escape of the next building over. Standing on the top level and leaning forward on the railing was a young man who was hard to miss, once she set eyes on him.

He was dressed in blue camo-patterned pants and high-topped combat boots. The sides of his head were shaved, the middle stripe of hair loosely spiked and hanging in his face. His belt hung at an angle around his waist, and matching leather cuffs adorned his wrists. Underneath his black vest but atop his white tank-top, a silver dog tag glinted in the low light.

"Looks like I got here late, huh," the man said, looking up at Natalie. His voice and face were both completely impassive, impossible to read.

How much had he seen? Natalie's mind went into panic mode for a moment. "You-" she began, but before she could say another word, the boy reached into his pocket.

"Let's cut the shit. You happen to have one of these?" he asked, pulling something out and holding it up for Natalie to see. It was a device, absolutely identical to the one in Natalie's pocket, except for the colour- where hers was purple, his was blue, and the faintly-glowing power meter was orange in lieu of yellow.

Natalie nodded numbly, reaching into her own pocket and holding hers up in the same way. She would have liked it if her tight-lipped behavior had the effect of making her seem as detached as it made the boy, but she knew the chances of that were incredibly slim.

"Good," the boy said, then peered down. "Come on," he said to seemingly nothing in particular, raising his voice just enough to make it carry a bit further. It echoed in the alleyway between the buildings, and then the sound of garbage cans being knocked over echoed back up as something came out from behind them.

Something being a word that here meant an enormously huge bat.

She was the size of Raumon, at least- actually, she was probably bigger than he was. Her entire body was steel blue of various shades, except for her muzzle and a jagged ruff of white fur around her neck, which were white. The insides of her ears, her underbelly, and the membrane of her wings were all the same lighter shade; markings on her forehead and haunches were darker, as were her feet in their entirety. The edges of her wings - that is, the parts that weren't webbing - were the darker colour, as well, and at the crest of her wings, she had a pair of fingers and a thumb- some form of rudimentary hands (despite wings, strictly, speaking, already being hands).

She had big spade-shaped ears and big orange claws on her feet; her eyes were the same orange, set in black sclera. Her wings were tattered, but this didn't seem to impede her ability to fly; to complete the ragged look, a rounded notch was missing out of her left ear.

The bat flapped her way up at high speed, before landing deftly on the railing of the fire escape landing that the boy stood on.

"Howdy howdy," she chirruped, cheerful and high-pitched, with an upwards inflection at the end that made her sound like a squeaky toy for a split second.

If that wasn't another digimon, Natalie would eat her bandana. She gave a sideways glance to Raumon; his brow was furrowed, as though he were trying to puzzle something out.

"Name's Xander Neal," the young man said, and then tilted his head to indicate the bat. "This is Desmon."

Natalie paused, hesitating just a moment before returning the courtesy. "I'm Natalie," she said, "Adams. And this -"

Raumon peeked up, now, peering over the concrete wall that just moments before he had been hiding behind. "Raumon," the bird introduced himself.

Around the city, these two were hardly the only ones to receive the little devices- not by a long shot. On a young man's desk, on a young girl's bed, and almost lost, tangled in the cords of a computer setup, three more - one after the other - appeared with their own swirls of light and no explanation to speak of.