By Niki (NeeP) Paradis

Chapter Two: Digivolutions and Theories

    Gennai was gone.  All of the Digimon looked at the now quiet communications device.
    They looked at each other.
    Then they looked at the device some more.
    Taimon scratched his head.
    "We are supposed to just sit here?!?" he asked exasperatedly.
    "What else can we do?" asked Biyomon.  "We want Gennai to find us again, right?"
    "I suppose so, but it's boring."  Taimon sulked.
    "Better bored, than dead," suggested Jyoumon.
    "But what are suppose to do in the mean time?" asked Matimon.
    "Why not just die?" asked an evil voice from above.
    As if on cue, all of the Digimon looked up.  A tall winged woman hovered over their heads, chortling evilly.
    "Who the heck is that?" asked Meimimon in a rising voice.
    "That's Lady Devimon," supplied Tentomon.  "There are many things said about her --none of them nice, though."
    The evil Digimon crossed her arms and did absolutely nothing as she listened to the panicked conversation below her.
    "Any suggestions?" asked Izimon.
    "Run?" suggested Jyoumon.
    "No!" shouted Taimon.  "We fight!"
    "Right on!" cried in Matimon.  "We can all fight her!"
    "Yeah!" chimed in the rest.
    "We can do it!"
    "WAIT!" cried out Izimon.  "We know nothing about her abilities.  Devimon was tough enough."
    "Don't you worry about me," cried out Lady Devimon.  "It's not me that you have to fight.  If I were you, I'd worry about him instead!"  She pointed to a huge figure coming out from a bunch of trees.  "Destroy them, Dark Snimon!"  She laughed evilly, then flew away.
    "Uh," commented Taimon brightly.  "Dark Snimon?"
    What came crashing through the trees was a huge insectoid Digimon.  It resembled a preying mantis from the worst of nightmares.  But instead of being green like a regular Snimon, this one was black, and its sickles were twice as large as that of a normal Snimon.  It stood five times taller than Jyoumon, who was the tallest of the group.  It turned its head towards the sixteen smaller Digimon, and started to stomp towards them.
    "Um, is it me, or does that thing look dangerous?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Where'd did he come from?" asked Tentomon.  "As far as I know, there's no such thing as a Dark Snimon."
    "I wouldn't doubt that he was created by or for Piedmon," commented Izimon.  "Perhaps, Frankenmon has had a hand in it."
    "We're in trouble, aren't we?" asked Jyoumon in a low voice.
    "You always look at the depressing side of things, don't you Jyoumon?" muttered Gomamon.
    "Quick talking and let's nail that thing!" shouted Matimon.
    "This isn't the time to be arguing guys!" agreed Soramon.  "If we don't do something we'll all be goners."
    "All right!  Let's do it!" cried out Taimon.
    Everyone lined up to attack.
    "Petite Fire!" yelled Taimon.  He spat out a ball of flame.  It singed the surface of their enemy, but otherwise had no effect.
    "Pepper Breath!" Agumon joined the attack.
    "Glowing Blaze!" shouted Matimon as he let loose with his attack.  Blue fire arched towards Dark Snimon, but did as much damage as Taimon did.
    "Blue Blaster!" cried out Gabumon, joining his partner.
    "Shocker Spray!" yelled Izimon.  Glowing needles of electricity sprayed out from his hands.
    "Electro Shocker!" Tentomon added his attack.  But the electrical attacks only seemed to irritate Dark Snimon more than anything else.
    "Stinging Nettles!" Meimimon released a barrage of sharp nettles.
    "Poison Ivy!" cried out Palmon, whipping at the huge Digimon with her vines.
    "Thunder Clap!" shouted Tiikeimon, clapping his hands and producing a sonic boom attack.
    "Boom Bubble!" belched Patamon, initiating a sonic attack of his own.
    "Howling Wind!" cried out Soramon, producing a wind attack.
    "Spiral Twister!" joined Biyomon.
    "Fountain Blast!" shouted Jyoumon as he spat out a pressurised stream of water.
    All of the attacks appeared to do minor damage to the huge monster.

    Gomamon sighed as he watched the fight from a bit of a distance.  "What I wouldn't do for a distance attack of my own..."  He was jealous of his partner for having an attack and he didn't.
    Karimon patted him on the shoulder.  "I know what you mean," she said.  "But we would probably be better off as reserves, just in case."
    "I'd rather fight now," growled Gatomon.
    "But you'd be sliced to ribbons with Dark Snimon's blades," commented Gomamon.  "It's not worth that."
    "But the other's attacks aren't doing anything," countered Gatomon.
    "Neither will trying to fight that thing hand to hand," said Karimon.  "Wait and see what happens."
    The fight was at a standstill.  None of the attacking Digimon was making any real progress in the battle.  Taimon figured out that someone had better Digivolve to even some of the odds.
    "Okay, guys!  Who ever can digivolve better do it.  Or else we're gonna be in big troubles.
    The original eight Digimon struggled to achieve the next level.
    "It's too hard," cried out Biyomon.  "I can't do it!"
    "Yes, you can, Biyomon!" cried out Soramon.  "I know you can!"
    "It's rather difficult," said Gabumon breathlessly.  "I'm sorry, Matimon."
    The other original Digimon experienced the same difficulties.
    "You can do it, Agumon," cried Taimon.  "I know you can!  C'mon!  You're the toughest, baddest, meanest Digimon that can ever squash a bug!"
    The lizard Digimon looked thoughtful.  "I am, aren't I?"
    "You are!" agreed his partner.  "So show that big bug who's boss."

    Agumon nodded.  "Gotcha!  Agumon digivolve into... Greymon!"

    Izimon noted that the transformation seemed to take a little longer than usual, and that Greymon seemed to be struggling a bit with the Digivolution.  But everything went the way it should be and it wasn't too long before Greymon stood in Agumon's place.

    "Why didn't you digivolve?" asked Matimon to his partner.
    "I really don't know," replied Gabumon.  "I just couldn't."
    "It was like there wasn't enough energy to do it," supplied Palmon.
    Izimon, who was listening in on the conversation, looked thoughtful for a moment.  Then a cheer of Taimon's interrupted him.

    The huge dinosaur Digimon headed towards his opponent.  "Nova Blast!" he shouted as he spat out a huge ball of fire at Dark Snimon.  The evil Digimon managed to dodge it.
    "Hey!" yelled Taimon.  "Is he allowed to do that?"
    "No problem, Taimon," rumbled Greymon.  "I'll just get closer."
    "Hey!  Digivolve into Metal Greymon before you do."
    "Gotcha!"  The huge Digimon nodded.

    "Greymon digivolve into... uh, Greymon?"

    Nothing happened.  Taimon pulled out his tag out from under his shirt.  He noticed that the tag and crest was dead and inert.
    "Why isn't it working?!?" he cried out.
    Izimon looked over Taimon's shoulder at the crest.
    "I think I know," he said.
    "But now what do we do?!?" asked Taimon in a panic.
    Greymon interrupted him.  "It's alright, Taimon.  I can handle Dark Snimon if I get closer."
    "Are you sure?"
    "No problem."
    "Go get him, big guy!" cheered his partner.
    The huge dinosaur Digimon went after his opponent.  The others watched him go.
    "Are you sure that this is going to work?" asked Matimon.
    "I hope so," replied Taimon.
    Greymon had just reached Dark Snimon and attacked with his Nova Blast.  Dark Snimon tried to get away but was unable to dodge it at such a close range and took damage.  He retaliated by swinging a sickle at the dinosaur Digimon.  Greymon took the full impact of the blow and was flung back.  Then he devolved back into Agumon.
    "No!" cried out Taimon.
    Then Dark Snimon stepped towards the small reptile Digimon, in an attempt to step on him.  Agumon recovered his senses enough to start running away.  But it was obvious that he wasn't going to get very far.
    "Agumon!" screamed Taimon.  He had to do something!  But what could he do?  He watched as Dark Snimon gained on the smaller Digimon.  He ran towards his friend, even though he had no idea what he was going to do.
    The huge foot was starting to come down on Agumon.
    Then something snapped within Taimon.  New strength flowed into his body, initiating a change.

    "Taimon digivolve into... Taichimon!"

    Where Taimon once stood, a lizard-man Digimon, the size of an adult human male, stood in his place.   He was tall and muscular.  He had yellow-orange skin, a long tail and long feet.  He stood balanced on his toes, as he assumed a battle-stance.  He had pale blue armour and a head guard, which allowed his large poof of hair to remain unconfined.  His goggles were worn over the head guard.  He bore no weapons, but his huge four fingered hands bore huge sharp claws that seemed capable of tearing into anything.

    Taichimon dashed towards Dark Snimon, scooped Agumon out of harms way, just as the foot hit the ground.  He ran a ways before setting his partner down.
    "Are you okay?" he asked.
    The little lizard Digimon rubbed his head.  "Sure..."  He looked at his partner in awe.  "Tai..?" he started.
"It's Taichimon, buddy.  You had your fun.  Just take five, okay?"
    "Okay."  Agumon was still a little woozy from his encounter.
    "Good."  Taichimon turned away to face Dark Snimon.  "It's my turn, bug-face," he growled.
    The champion Digimon turned to face the dark ultimate Digimon charging towards him.
    They crashed head on.  Taichimon was struggling, holding the huge sickles away from his face.  He was using his feet and tail to land powerful blows on Dark Snimon's chest and legs.  Dark Snimon was struggling to break free.
    Suddenly, Taichimon let go of one of the arms.  Dark Snimon swung his free sickle at the other Digimon's head, but Taichimon ducked, landing a blow on his opponent's chest as he did so.  Fluid leaked from the deep gash.  Dark Snimon let out a yell, and pushed Taichimon away.
    Taichimon let go of his opponent's other sickle and went with the momentum of the push.  As soon as he had enough distance, he summoned up his attack.
    "Mega Flame!" he shouted as he spat out a stream of fire.
    The attack caught Dark Snimon in the chest --right where the gash was.  It screamed in agony.
    All of the other Digimon waited with baited breath.
    The Dark Digimon vanished in a burst of dispersing pixels.  Taichimon let out a victory yell as he realised that he had actually won.  He wanted to crow, to brag, and to boast.  Oh, yeah, he was the Mon!
    But as the others came towards him offering victory, he felt the energy leave him.  He felt the changes coming on as he began to devolve to his pre-champion state.

    "That went rather well," commented Karimon.
    "But we didn't do anything," grumbled Gatomon.  "I wanted to fight."
    "There is a time and place for everything," said Karimon philosophically.  "It just wasn't our turn."
    "Maybe next time," soothed Gomamon.  Then he went over to join his partner in congratulating Taichimon.
    Both Karimon and Gatomon followed.

    Agumon reached his partner first.  The Digimon, that once was Tai, was cheering and bouncing up and down.
    "Did you see that, Agu?  I got him good!" he cried out in a slightly squeaky voice.  Then he realised that he was looking up to his partner in order to talk to him.  He blinked and stopped bouncing.  Then he looked around at his friends.
    Everyone was staring at him in a startled, yet bemused way.
    "Uh, what happened?" he asked.
    "You're so CUTE!" cried out Meimimon.
    Everyone chuckled as they stared at the small yellow creature with the huge brown hair.  Not much bigger than a basketball, this new in-training Digimon was a bouncing bundle of energy.  Large blue eyes were situated over a small mouth with fangs.  His goggles kept the hair out of his face when he bounced up and down on tiny clawed paws.
    "Cute?" asked the tiny Digimon.
    "You're in your 'in-training' form," supplied Biyomon.
    "My 'in-training' form?"
    "What are you called?" asked Gabumon.
    The little Digimon looked thoughtful for a moment, then replied in a slightly defeated tone.  "'Tainimon'."
    Matimon walked over to him and picked him up.  He chuckled as he held the small Digimon up to his face.  "Heh.  Tiny-mon is right."
    "Hey!" cried out the Digimon in question.  "Put me down!!!"
    Matimon obliged.  Tainimon bounded over to Agumon and leaped into the small lizard Digimon's arms.  He glared at Matimon from the protective safety that his partner provided.
    "So, now what do we do?" asked Soramon.
    "Gennai wants us to stay here," supplied Biyomon.
    "But it is obvious that this is not a safe place," commented Izimon.
    "Yeah," agreed Matimon.  "And it is obvious that Piedmon and the others know where we are too."
    "So, maybe we should be on our way," suggested Tainimon from Agumon's arms.
    "But what about Gennai?" asked Palmon.
    "Yes," supplied Meimimon.  "If we move on, how will Gennai contact us?"
    "Can we carry the device?" asked Matimon.
    "Not if we want to move quickly," suggested Jyoumon.  "That thing is huge.  It would slow us down."
    "Gennai could find us if he has to," agreed Soramon.  "It's probably a good idea to get moving."
    "I'm sure that Gennai would understand," said Palmon.
    "I think you're right," agreed Meimimon.
    The others agreed.
    "Let's get going!" shouted Tainimon.

    Lady Devimon watched the scene from a distance.  She was a little disappointed that her plan to destroy the Digimon-Destined failed.  Oh well, it isn't like it's a total loss, she thought to herself.  It wasn't as if she failed to follow an order.  It was only a diversion.
    Maybe later, I will try again, she thought to herself as she flew away.  I'll get them for sure then.

    The Digimon travelled north, following the river downstream.  For the most part, they were making steady progress, despite having just finished a battle.
    "I think I figured out the reason why Piedmon would have us become Digimon," commented Izimon.
    "You mean, instead of just trying to kill us?" asked Matimon, re-adjusting the strap of Jyoumon's bag.  He volunteered to carry it since Jyoumon appeared to be having trouble carrying it now.  Apparently, the tall Digimon was having trouble with his two large feet to have to carry the bag as well.
    "What do you mean, Izimon?" asked Tainimon.  He was sitting on Agumon's head.
    "Tell us, Izimon," chimed in Tentomon.
    "Well, our Digimon --I mean our partners have always relied on our energy to Digivolve.  Apparently, human energy is more effective.  The energy that our Digimon forms provide isn't the same nor as effective."
    "And our crests?" asked Tainimon.
    "Our crests rely on us being the Digi-Destined or, rather, being human.  We're not human or Digi-Destined anymore, so our crests won't work."
    "So that's what Gennai meant when he said that he had eliminated us from the prophecy," said Soramon softly.
    "But why are we like this?" asked Tiikeimon.
    "Like what?" asked Meimimon.
    "Like this?  We're Digimon, but we still look the way we always do --sorta."
    "I think he means: Why are we new Digimon still human-like, and not in the forms of already existing Digimon?" translated Matimon.
    "I can give you the answer to that," replied Jyoumon from the rear of the group.  "It's so that we're recognisable.  That way, Piedmon and Frankenmon can finish us off later."
    "That's the most depressing thing that I have ever heard, Jyoumon," muttered Gomamon.
    "Shut up," growled Matimon.
    They continued on.
    Jyoumon dragged behind the others as they went on their way.  Gomamon was the only one hanging back to keep him company.
    "Hey, Jyoumon!" shouted Tainimon, from his perch on Agumon's head.  "You gotta keep up!"
    "Easy for you to say," shouted Jyoumon back.  "You got a ride!  This body's just not made for walking."
    "Then why not swim?" asked Gomamon to his partner.  "The river's going the same way we are."
    "I can't swim, remember?"
    "No, that not true," countered the little Digimon.  "Joe can't swim.  Jyoumon was made to swim.  Remember that little swim that we took this morning?"
    The two of them stopped walking.
    "I wasn't really swimming," replied the nervous Digimon.  "Besides the water was shallow back there."
    "Look at the river Jyoumon," said Gomamon patiently.  "There's nothing there that can hurt you."
    Jyoumon walked over to the ledge and looked down.  "But I don't see bottom there.  Who knows what's lurking in there."  He stared nervously at the surface, imagining all sorts of nasty things.
    "Sorry, Jyoumon..." murmured Gomamon behind him.
    Gomamon leaped onto the back of his partner, knocking him into the water.  They both hit the surface with a splash.  Jyoumon came to the surface sputtering, and glared at his partner.
    "Why did you do that?!?  I told you that I can't swim!"
    "Oh, really?" countered Gomamon with a smirk.  "And what are you doing now?  I don't see you drowning."
    "I'm... uh..."  Jyoumon noticed that he was treading water with ease.  His huge hands and feet had no problem keeping him afloat.  He stopped for a moment, startled.  The he started to paddle again once he started to sink.  "How am I doing this?" he asked.
    "I told ya!  You were made for swimming.  Your body knows what to do."
    "But you didn't have to knock me in!" yelled Jyoumon as he splashed his partner.
    "You were being a wimp!" countered Gomamon, splashing back.
    They glared at each other for several minutes.  The others stopped at the sound of the confusion and looked to the river.  They watched as the two Digimon confronted each other.  Things got a little tense...
    Then the two started to laugh.
    "Water Fight!" cried out Gomamon.
    The sound of laughing and splashing could be heard as the two tried to overwhelm the other with water.
    "Hey!  Knock it off, you two!" shouted Matimon.
    "We have to get going!"  Tainimon started to bounce on Agumon's head.
    "Hey!" cried out the yellow-orange Digimon.  "Watch what you're doing, Tainimon!"
    "We really don't want to be caught off guard again," commented Gabumon.
    "Okay, okay, we're moving," called out Jyoumon as he started to paddle downstream.
    "Jyoumon just needed a break," called out Gomamon as he followed him.
    "This IS easier than walking!"  Jyoumon seemed surprised.
    "Told ya so!" replied his partner.

    The group continued on for the better part of the afternoon.
    "I'm getting hungry..." murmured Meimimon.
    "Again?" asked Palmon.
    "Why should YOU be hungry?" asked Tainimon.  "You didn't digivolve."
    "But I did fight.  And we've been walking forever."
    "Maybe someone should scout ahead for a good place to stay the night," suggested Soramon.
    "I can do it!" volunteered Tiikeimon.
    "No," replied Matimon.  "Not you, it's too dangerous."
    "Why do you treat me like a little kid all the time?!?" protested the smaller Digimon.
    "I just don't want you hurt..."
    "I am NOT a little kid, you know.  I'm a Digimon.  I can take care of myself."
    "I'll go with him," suggested Tentomon, trying to mollify both of the brothers.
    "I don't need a baby-sitter," Tiikeimon was offended.
    "It's not that," put in Tainimon.  "It's just that right now, it would be safer to scout in pairs."
    "A lone Digimon would be an easy target," imputed Izimon.
    Matimon appeared to be satisfied.  "Okay.  Just be careful, Tiikeimon."
    "I will.  Don't worry about me."  The smaller Digimon flew off with Tentomon.
    Matimon watched them go.  He sighed in worry.  "I hope nothing happens to him..."
    "You should give Tiikeimon a chance," piped up an angry voice.  Matimon turned to look at Patamon, who voiced the comment.
    "What do you mean?" he asked.  He stopped to let the little winged Digimon catch up to him.  Patamon flew up to meet the other's eye level.
    "Tiikeimon is old enough to take care of himself.  He has to learn to do things on his own."
Matimon sighed.  "But he is my little brother..."
    "You can't protect him forever."
    "But..."  Tears were starting to come to Matimon's eyes.
    "Matimon," said Soramon softly.  "No one is doubting your love for T.K. --Tiikeimon, but you have to let him grow up sometime..."
    "I will do whatever I can to protect Karimon," said Tainimon.  "But I know that she can do things that I can't.  Heck.  Most times she acts older than I do."
    The others looked at the little Digimon.
    "What?" he asked.
    "Everyone has their talents," commented Karimon softly.
    "Anyway," continued Patamon.  "If you just let him, Tiikeimon will probably surprise you with the things that he can do."
    "If you say so," replied Matimon in a subdued voice.
    It wasn't long before the scouts returned.  Tiikeimon was excited.
    "We found a great spot," he said to his older brother.
    Tentomon appeared to be pleased.  "It is a cave large enough to hold us all."
    "It is just along the river, so we can fish!" said Tiikeimon.  "And there are plants that we can eat.  And we can defend it easily."
    "Sounds good," replied Matimon, surprised that his brother had thought about the things he did.  "Lead us to it."
    "Right, Matimon."  Tiikeimon pointed down the river.  "It isn't far, you'll see."
    The Digimon started off again.  But as they rounded a bend in the river, they came across a huge Digimon, caught in the middle of eating.  It stared at them, then started to growl.  The group came to an immediate halt.
    "Is that a Monochromon?" asked Biyomon.
    "Yep," replied Tentomon.  "But like I keep saying, they are supposed to be mild mannered Digimon."
    "Then why do we always seem to be running into the grumpy ones?" asked Meimimon.
    "Luck?" asked Palmon.
    "You know something?" asked Izimon.  "It seems to be exhibiting the same behaviour as the first two we encountered."
    "You think that it thinks that we are after its territory?" asked Gabumon.
    The huge Digimon charged at the group.
    Tainimon leaped off of Agumon's head towards the monster.  "Leave them alone, you big bully!" he yelled.
    "Tainimon!" yelled Agumon.  "What are you doing?!?"

    "Tainimon digivolve into... Taimon!"

    Taimon faced the charging Digimon.  "Petite Fire!" he yelled as he spat out his attack.  The ball of fire landed right into the Monochromon's metal mask, momentarily blinding it.  It yelled in pain as it shook its head.
    "Don't just stand there, guys!" he yelled to the others.  "Run past him!"

    The group charged by the huge distracted monster.  When it came to its senses, it found that its opponents had all vanished.  With a mental shrug, the Digimon went back to eating.

    The Digimon, some of who were formally kids and the ones that had been Digimon all of their existence, ran on until they were certain they were safe.  Then they slowed and stopped to catch their breath.
    "I thought you were all goners!" called Jyoumon from the river.
    "And of course you were safe in the river," retorted Matimon.
    "It's not like we could have climbed out," said Gomamon as he waved a paw at the steep bank.
    "You're gonna have to, soon," replied Tentomon.  "We're almost at the campsite."

    The cave that Tiikeimon and Tentomon found was quite large.  There was a clear opening at the mouth of it where the Digimon set a fire, to warm up by and by which to cook.  Lush plants grew around the clearing, and the river was close by.  Food detail was quickly taken care of, and it wasn't long before everyone was sitting around the fire, eating dinner.
    "Hey, Gomamon?" asked Soramon in between bites of her fish.
    "Hmmm?" responded the Digimon with his mouth full.
    "Why is it that half the time, you scare off the fish, and the other half of the time, you help us catch them?"
    Gomamon swallowed before answering.  "Well," he said, "some fish are smarter than others.  Like the ones that make up the Fish Net, are really a kind of Digi-fish, and I consider them my friends.  You don't eat your friends, right?  The others are just ordinary fish, and they are the kind that everyone eats."
    "Okay..." replied Soramon.  "I never thought of it that way."

    In the middle of the fourth and fifth helpings of fish, the image of Gennai appeared overhead.  He looked at the sixteen Digimon who looked back at him expectantly.
    "I kind of figured that I would find you all here," he exclaimed.  "You all disappeared so suddenly..."
    "We had no choice!" exclaimed Meimimon.  "We were attacked!"
    "We couldn't just stay where Frankenmon, Piedmon and the others could find us," supplied Palmon.
    "So we did the sensible thing," said Gabumon.
    "Yes you did," replied Gennai.  "You all did well."
    "Did you find any way for us to be cured?" asked Jyoumon.
    "Do we have to be cured right away?" asked Taimon.
    Question poured forth from the Digimon who used to be children.  Gennai tried to listen to them all, but finally, he had to put his hands up.
    "Settle down, youngsters.  I have some news for you all."
    Silence came over the group.  Gennai cleared his throat.
    "I looked into your situation, and I have found that there is a remote chance that you can return to being human."
    Expectant faces looked towards the old man.
    "It is possible that Frankenmon has a cure for your condition hidden in his lab.  He is a scientist, so it is most likely that he would have a way to reverse the process, just to see if it could be done."
    "He just MIGHT have a cure?!?" Jyoumon's voice rose as he posed his question.  "There is no way of knowing for certain?"
    "No, I'm sorry Joe --Jyoumon.  That is the best that I can do at the moment."
    "It won't hurt to go check it out," mused Izimon.  "What have we to lose?"
    "I'm in no hurry to be human again," said Taimon.  "I think it's cool to be a Digimon."
    "But you keep forgetting that our Digimon partners can't digivolve to their Ultimate levels unless we ARE human," countered Izimon.  "We have to become human again, or else Piedmon has won."
    "That's it," muttered Jyoumon.  "I'm doomed to be a Digimon for the rest of my life.  How am I gonna explain this to my family?  My mother is gonna freak."
    "Chill, Jyoumon," grumbled Gomamon.
    Matimon whispered to Taimon.  "I think that Good Ol' Reliable Jyoumon is starting to freak out himself."
    "Where is Frankenmon's lab?" asked Karimon.
    Gennai pointed to a smaller dark shadow that could be seen in the distance.  It was in a different direction than Spiral Mountain.  The mountain was a huge dark, evil shadow and the lab was a small one.
    "In that direction, on the other side of the desert, you will find Frankenmon's laboratory."
    "Desert?" asked Tentomon.  "I'm going to get sand in my wings again, I just know it."
    "I will let you all know if I can find any more information.  So take care, all of you."  Gennai's image vanished.
    Everyone returned to his or her dinner.  Jyoumon moped.

    Soon it was nightfall, and the watch was being scheduled.  As usual there was some differences over who should go first.  Apparently, some things never change, but this time there was a twist.
    "Agumon and me are goin' first!" exclaimed Taimon.
    Matimon stood up to him.  "No way, it's always you and Agumon.  Tonight, Gabumon and I are gonna take the first watch!"
    Soramon walked over to Izimon.  "They're still at it, huh?" she asked.
    Izimon simply nodded.
    "They actually seem to enjoy fighting with each other," commented Tentomon.
    "I think it's an odd hobby of theirs," nodded Biyomon.
    "I'm going first!" yelled Taimon.
    "No!  I am!" retorted Matimon.
    "In your dreams, fur-face!"
    "No, yours!"
    "Wanna make something about..." Taimon started to challenge his friend and rival when Matimon snarled at him.  The wolf-like Digimon grabbed the shirt of the lizard-boy Digimon and continued to growl.
    "Okay!  Okay.  You win Matimon.  You go first."  Taimon was sweating a bit, and figure that it would be easier to get Matimon's claws out of his shirt than out of his skin.
    "Good."  Matimon let go.
    "Now that's a unique way to finish an argument," commented Izimon.  Biyomon, Soramon and Tentomon all nodded in agreement.

    So Matimon took the first watch.  He sat on a rock, just a little way away from the cave.  He sighed as he contemplated his first day as a Digimon.  He had acquired keen eyesight, an excellent sense of smell, an acute sense of hearing and an unbelievable manicure.  But it cost him something for all that he gained.  His humanity.

    He thought back to a time when he was young, and his mother went away for a few days.  He thought it was because he had been misbehaving.
    But his parents did come back from the hospital.  They brought home a squalling wriggling bundle, and he recalled that he didn't like the way his parents fussed over it.

    His mother sat down on the couch and patted the empty spot beside her.  She was holding the noisy thing wrapped up in blankets.
    "Come sit down, Matt.  I want to show you something," she said.
    Matt did not want to get near the strange thing.  But his mother asked, and he knew that his mother wouldn't do anything to hurt him.  So, he went over to the couch, climbed up and sat down.  He kept a wary eye on the bundle.
    "I want you to meet someone," said his mother, as she carefully unwrapped the strange creature that she was holding.  Bright blue eyes looked at him under a fuzz of blonde hair.  It was a baby.
    His mother brought home a baby.
    "This is your new brother, Takeru.  But you can call him T.K.."
    Matt was confused.
    "Is he going to take my place?" he asked his mother, in a soft voice.  "Don't you like me anymore?"
    His mother looked startled.  "No!  No, Matt.  T.K. is not going to take your place.  No one can take your place.  I love you and nothing is going to change that."
    Matt went thoughtful.  It sounded too good to be true.
    "What if I was to turn into a monster?" he asked.  "Would you not love me anymore?"
    "You're not going to turn into a monster, Matt," his mother said patiently.  "And if you did, I'm positive that you would be a cute monster, and I would love you anyway."
    She ruffled her oldest son's hair, then her face went serious.
    "But I want you to protect T.K., okay Matt?  He's little and he is your brother.  Can you do that?"
    Matt looked at his baby brother, then at his mother, and then he nodded his head seriously.
    "I can do that, Mom.  I promise that I will take care of T.K.."

    Matimon sighed.  That was a long time ago.  His parents have divorced since then, and he went to live with their father, and T.K. went to live with their mother.
    Now that he was a Digital Monster, he wondered if his mother would remember what she said to him long ago.  He may not be the cutest monster, but he wasn't ugly.

    Gabumon came back after investigating the shadows around the perimeter.  He was satisfied that the shadows were only those --shadows.  He saw Matimon sitting on the rock, the nighttime illumination glowing off of his white fur.  The blue coated Digimon had noticed that Matt --Matimon has been getting moodier since their return to the Digi-World, and he was getting concerned.
    "Matimon?" he asked.
    "Hmmm?" asked his partner.  "What is it, Gabu?"
    "Are feeling all right?  Do you want to talk about it?"
    "I was just thinking about the past," said Matimon.  "I was thinking about the day my parents brought T.K. home from the hospital.  He looked so helpless and small.  I promised my Mom that I'd always take care of T.K..  But now it seems that T.K. doesn't really need me to take care of him anymore."
    "He does seem to be able to take care of himself," agreed Gabumon.  "But that doesn't mean that you should stop looking out for him.  He does the same for you."
    "I dunno..."  Matimon features went soft as he tried to think about it.  But a splash and the sound of yelling interrupted his thoughts.
    "We better check that out," said Gabumon as he took off towards the river at a dash.
    Matimon pulled himself out of his dark thoughts as he went after his partner to help out.
    The two of them reached the river just as they saw Gomamon's head breaking the surface with something in his mouth.  The water Digimon swam for the bank.
    "Jyoumon!" Gomamon yelled.  "What do you think you're doing?!?"  The small Digimon climbed out of the river and dragged the white and blue sweater-vest back onto shore.
    "I'm a Digimon now," replied his partner sullenly.  "I don't need these things anymore."
    Matimon noticed that Jyoumon was now wearing nothing, save for his fur.  The moon-like illumination shone off of the white fur, contrasting severely with the previously hidden markings on his back .
    "Joe!  You shouldn't give up hope!  You'll be human again!"
    "No, I don't think so," sighed Jyoumon.  He then proceeded to heft his glasses to throw them into the river too.  But the glasses were snatched from his hand before he could throw them.
    "What are you doing?!?" asked Matimon.  "You'll need those later."
    "I doubt it," responded Jyoumon, turning around and scrambling to regain the glasses.  "You heard what Gennai said.  The chances of us becoming human again are slim to none."
    Matimon did his best to keep the glasses out of the other Digimon's reach.
    "You're sounding pessimistic.  You don't think we have a chance?"
    "You're starting to sound like Taimon.  Just because we're the good guys does not necessarily mean that we will definitely win."  Jyoumon managed to snatch the glasses back.  "What's the point in carrying momentos of what we used to be?"
    "Shut up, Jyoumon!" snarled Gomamon.
    "Joe." Mumbled Jyoumon.
    "That's better...  Wait a sec!"
    "What?!?"  Gomamon glared at his partner, daring him to challenge the compromise.
    "You're being ridiculous Jyoumon!" exclaimed Gabumon.  "I don't think that you have the right to throw away your own hope, just because you don't believe in to return to what you were.  Everyone else is keeping their hope.  I believe that we have a good chance."
    "But across a desert?!?  With Piedmon after us?!?  And that creepy Frankenmon?!?"  Jyoumon's voice was rising.
    Matimon punched him.  Jyoumon hit the ground.
    "Matimon!" gasped Gabumon.
    "Hey!" yelled Gomamon.  "What did you do that for?!?"
    "It's all right, Gomamon," sighed Jyoumon, rubbing the bruise on his face.  "He just knocked some sense into me.  I've been over reacting.  This not being human is a shock to my system."
    Gomamon, Gabumon and Matimon sighed in relief.
    "Sorry to worry you guys..." Jyoumon sounded sheepish.  He handed his glasses back to Matimon.  "Can you keep these for me?  I can't wear my sweater until it dries.  Um, and can you put these in the bag too?"  Jyoumon picked up something from the ground and handed them to Matimon.  It was his Digivice and crest.
    "Why do you want me to hang onto these?" asked Matimon in a confused voice.
    "Got no pockets," was Jyoumon's simple reply.
    "Let's go to bed, Jyou," suggested Gomamon.  "I'd love to sleep before it's our turn to keep watch."
    "Good idea.  'Night, Matimon, Gabumon."  The two water mammals went back to the cave.
    Matimon looked at his partner.  "Let's go wake Taimon for his turn," he suggested.  "After all that, I am ready to sleep too."
    "That was very tiring, wasn't it?" agreed the fur-wearing Digimon.

    Taimon stumbled out of the cave, rubbing his eyes.  Agumon came stumbling after him.  Neither was really aware of their surroundings until Taimon walked nosefirst into a tree.  He stumbled backwards and almost stepped on the smaller Digimon.
    "Hey! Watch it!" yipped Agumon.
    "This is exactly why I hate having anything but the first shift," yawned the bigger Digimon to his partner.  "I can never really wake up."
    "I know what you mean, Taimon.  But it's our turn, so we better wake up."
    "You're right.  We better."  Taimon walked to the river, knelt on the bank and splashed cold water onto his face.  He did a quick walk-around the perimeter of the clearing, checking out all of the shadowed places.  He didn't find anything though.  He walked back to the cave and sat on the rock that was still warm from when Matimon sat on it earlier.  His face went thoughtful, yet he smiled.
    "What are you thinking about, Taimon?" asked his partner.
    "Hmmm?  Oh.  I was thinking about how I digivolved earlier.  That was really awesome!  Is it like that everytime?"
    "I guess so," mused Agumon.  "I'm more used to it, I guess.  It was your first time, so I guess it would be a big thing to you."
    "Oh come on, Agu!" snorted Taimon.  "Don't you get all High and Mighty on me!  That's Matimon's job, not yours."
    "If you say so, Taimon.  You did save me today as Taichimon.  I never did get to thank you for that."
    "Don't worry about it, I got a long way to go before I pay back all of the times that you saved me."
    "Then, you have about um, forty-six more times to rescue me before we're even."
    Taimon was startled.  "You counted?"
    "Nah!  It's just a number that I picked.  Gotcha good though, didn't I?"
    Taimon pushed his jaw up into a normal position.  "YOU think you got ME?"  He chuckled, then reached down to tickle his partner.  "I'll show you 'got'!"
    They started laughing and yelling.  But it didn't last for long.  There were complaints coming from the cave.
    "Hey!  Be quiet out there!  Some of us are trying to sleep!"
    "Let us rest, already!"
    The two lizard Digimon stopped laughing.
    "Sorry!" called Taimon to his friends.
    Embarrassed, Taimon settled back down on the rock.  "Anyway, like I was saying, I never felt anything like when I Digivolved.  It was like there was pure energy flowing into me.  I felt like I could have done ANYTHING as Taichimon."
    "You really kicked Dark Snimon's butt at any rate," agreed Agumon.
    "But the energy doesn't stay," mused Taimon.  "And I used so much energy in my attacked that I devolved into Tainimon.  I felt rather helpless."
    Agumon shrugged.  "We all want to be strong enough to protect our partners.  It's the way we are."
    "I guess.  I just don't want to see you hurt."
    "I feel the same way about you Taimon..." said the smaller Digimon.
    "Thanks, pal."
    They sat together silently until their shift was up.

    Gomamon woke up.
    "Uh...  Where am I?" he asked himself.  Then he shook his head to clear it.  He was supposed to be on guard duty with Jyoumon.  Theirs was the last shift of the night, and he promised his partner that he would stay awake all through out the shift.
    "I can't believe that I fell asleep again," he muttered to himself.  "Jyoumon's gonna bug me again over it."
    He looked around the clearing for his partner.  But he couldn't see him anywhere.
    "Jyoumon?" he called out --not too loudly though.  He didn't want to wake the others.  "Jyou?"
    But there was no response.  No one poked his head out and teased him for sleeping in.  Oh, no... thought the little white and purple Digimon.  He took off, didn't he?  He got up and walked around the clearing and a little way into the bush, but still, he couldn't find his partner.  He continued to look around, just in case he missed something.  He went to the cave, hoping that his partner was inside.  But what he found was a note scratched into the dirt in front of the entrance.

Don't worry about me.
I didn't want to bring everyone down, so I went off to think for a while.
I'll catch up as soon as I can, so nobody panic, okay?

--Jyoumon (Joe)

    Gomamon looked at the note, then swallowed.  I can't believe that he did this --again! he thought.  When I catch up to him, I am gonna give him a piece of my mind.  He's supposed to be the responsible one!
    Gomamon sighed.  He wanted to go after his partner right away, but he had a responsibility to the others first.  He had to let the others know that Jyoumon was gone.
    He went into the cave to wake everyone up.

Chapter Three

Back to the Den
Back to the Fanfiction Page
Back to the Library
Back to Otaku Village