Tai sat up. He had a headache the size of a
mini-van but as looked over himself, he found the pale legs of a human
boy, complete with shorts, socks and shoes. He was both relieved
and disappointed with the fact that he was human again.
He remembered Gomamon running after them all. He was carrying Joe's crest of Reliability in his teeth. The chain had broken, and the little Digimon was determined to return the item to his partner. He recalled that the crests were necessary for their return to humanity. Remembering Gennai's ominous warning of having eight Digi-Destined, Tai frantically looked around him for Mr. Reliability.
He didn't find him.
Jyoumon laid on the ground, unconscious and very much a Digimon.
Tai swallowed. We've lost. We have no Digi-Destined of Reliability. Instead, we have two Digimon... Then he noticed a strange boy lying next to the Digimon that was supposed to be human. Tai was surprised. He had never seen this kid before in his life, yet there was something very familiar about him.
He was a boy of about eleven years of age with brilliant carrot-red hair. In the new kid's hand dangled the crest of Reliability.
Tai heard movement. He looked around him and saw that the others were starting to get up. He made eye contact with eyes that were still Digimon-bright. There were gasps of dismay and surprise as the others noticed Jyoumon and the new kid.
Agumon came up and helped his partner to his feet. "Are you okay, Tai?" he asked.
"Who's the new guy?" asked Matt as he made his way over to them. His eyes were still golden, but they were now human proportioned.
"I don't know," replied Tai.
"Has anyone seen Gomamon?" asked Gabumon.
"No..." began Tai, then he stopped. He turned around and looked at the new kid again. "Uh, you don't suppose...?" he was starting to ask.
Jyoumon stirred. His huge violet eyes opened and quickly looked over himself.
"Oh, no!" he wailed. "It didn't work! I'm still a Digimon!"
The new boy stirred. "Joe?" he asked in a very familiar voice. Tai did a double take. The boy was trying to sit up, his Digimon-bright sea-green eyes looking over everything around him.
"Gomamon..." said Jyoumon in a hushed voice. The new kid spun his head around to face the large Digimon, confirming his identity.
"Jyou? You're still a Digimon," he said softly. "I'm sorry." The boy reached over to try and place a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder. He stopped midway through the movement as if realising something that was amiss. He snatched his hand away and brought it up to his face in disbelief. After studying his hand, he slowly ran his gaze over the rest of his body.
Everyone held his or her breath.
"WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?!?" the boy shrieked. He huddled on the ground, shaking. Jyoumon started rubbing his partner's back with one of his huge paws in an attempt to calm him down. It didn't matter that Gomamon was one of the most light-hearted and easy-going members of the group, anyone would panic if their world went through such a huge change.
The shaking gradually stopped. The boy got to his hands and knees in an effort to get up. Jyoumon used his head to get the kid into a sitting position instead.
"Take it easy, Gomamon," he said. "One step at a time."
The other kids and Digimon crowded around the two of them to offer support.
The human Gomamon was carefully studying his hands again. They were ordinary hands --just like any that a young boy would have, except for the fingernails. They were as black as the claws of the Digimon that he used to be. He then wriggled his fingers to see how they work. He made fists and studied how the muscles were bunched together. He was calm. "I got hands Jyou," he said in wonder, as he turned them around.
"I know," sighed Jyoumon in near despair. He was the one who was supposed to have hands and he didn't.
The others waited nervously.
The new human put his hands on Jyoumon's shoulders and carefully got to his feet. Carefully, he straightened up as he tried to stand on his two legs. His partner patiently stood steadily, softly encouraging him.
The others finally got a chance to take a close look at their changed comrade.
The human boy that Gomamon had become was about the same size as Izzy. He had a round face with a slightly pointed chin and brilliant red hair. His eyes were still the brilliant hue of a Digimon, but so were the eyes of the others that had just returned to their human forms. His black fingernails brought attention to his hands. He wore a simple white tee shirt with black trimming, rather tight white shorts, simple loose white socks that bunched at the ankles and white, purple and black sneakers. He also wore purple wristbands, a yellow watch and what appeared to be a long purple scarf tied around his temples like a headband. The boy blushed under the scrutiny at first, then he grinned, revealing his still pointed canines.
Jyoumon kept still, allowing his partner to use him as support. He was miserable about not regaining his human form, but he was trying not to think about it as he concentrated on his friend.
"How are you feeling, Gomamon?" asked Biyomon in a hesitant voice.
"Not bad," replied the boy. "Just very weird. And my name isnít Gomamon anymore." The boy looked as surprised as the others as he spoke.
"It isn't?" asked T.K..
"What is it, then?" asked Sora.
The boy suddenly looked upset as if he was reluctant to tell the others his name. He looked like that if he told them, he might let a secret out that might really upset someone. He looked to his partner, whom he was still leaning on.
"Well?" asked Tentomon.
"I'm really sorry, Jyoumon," the boy said softly to his partner. Then in a louder voice, he said, "My name is Goma Kido."
Jyoumon sat on the ground in shock. Goma, who was still depending on his partner for support, fell to his backside with a thump.
"Joe?" asked the redhead as he tried to get up on his own. "Are you all right?"
The white and blue Digimon was shaking. "You're replacing me..." he said quietly.
Goma hugged his partner tightly. "No, Jyou. You got it wrong. I'm not replacing you. We've just switched jobs. Believe me, I rather be the Digimon, not the Digi-Destined..."
"Of Reliability," reminded Matt.
"You have a lot of responsibility now, Goma," said Sora.
The young boy froze as the reality of what was expected of him came crashing down on him. Responsibility? He was expected to handle a really huge responsibility of saving the world? He had trouble staying awake during his turn on the watch. But he thought about it. He had a partner that will help him out. He'll be all right.
"Okay, fine," he said to the others. "As long as you don't expect me to be a stick in the mud like Jyou, I'll do it."
"Hey!" exclaimed Jyoumon as he was startled out of his funk.
Goma chuckled and scratched his partner behind his ear. "We'll be all right, Jyou. You'll see."
But as night fell, all of the former Digimon's bravado
fell away. He hid his true feelings though. He was just starting
to get the hang on standing and walking on his own and everyone else was
starting to feel optimistic. And when everyone was getting ready
to go to bed, the new human boy found that he just couldn't. He spent
the first hour just listening to the others breathing.
Goma shivered again as a stray breeze passed over his bare skin. He wasn't just cold, but frightened. But I can't say anything, he thought. The others would think that I'm a wimp. He looked to his Digimon partner. Jyoumon appeared to be fast asleep. Goma sighed. Why are we stuck like this? What do I do now? He shivered again.
"Cold, Goma?" Jyoumon's sleep-heavy voice caught his attention.
"A little," admitted Goma. "I'm used to having fur to keep me warm."
"Are you frightened?" asked the Digimon. "I am. All the others have become human again. Except for me. And you've become human instead... I wonder what's gonna happen to us..."
"Well, if you can admit that you're a bit spooked, I guess that I can too." Goma sighed as he rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm.
"But you are cold..?" asked Jyoumon again.
Goma simply nodded.
"Hang on for a sec," said the Digimon as he got up and went over to the duffel bag that was sitting against the wall of the cave. Fortunately for him, it was opened. He stuck his muzzle into the bag and used his teeth to pull out something. He brought it over to his human partner. Goma grabbed it.
It was Joe's sweater-vest.
"Put it on," said Jyoumon. "It's not much, but it will help keep you warm."
Goma turned the article of clothing over in his hands. "How do I get it on?" he asked in near despair.
Jyoumon was very patient. "You put it over your head and put your arms through the smaller holes and your head through the big one. Then you pull on the bottom to pull it down."
It took a few attempts, but finally Goma managed to get the sweater-vest on. His arms were still bare, but now he felt warmer. He laid back down. Jyoumon lay down next to him.
"I'll stay right here and keep you warm. Okay, buddy?"
"Um, thanks Jyou..."
"No big deal. You had your turn as a pillow, now it's mine."
Goma curled up with his back against Jyoumon's fuzzy body and fell asleep.
Morning came and Goma woke up to the feel of warm
sunshine on his face. That and the giggle of the girls as they were
talking about something. He stirred as he realised that they were
talking about him.
"What are those markings on his face, Sora?" asked Biyomon.
Markings? Humans don't have markings... Do they?
"Let me see," said Palmon's voice. She giggled. "Mimi? Is that normal for humans?"
"Markings?" asked Mimi. "As far as I know, humans don't have markings."
That's what I thought.
"Well, Goma's got them."
"What do you mean by markings?" asked Sora, as she came closer. She momentarily blocked the sunlight as she kneeled down to take a closer look. "Oh! Those are freckles. Mimi! Goma's got freckles!"
Goma kept his eyes tightly closed. Freckles? What the heck are freckles?
"What are freckles, Sora?" asked Biyomon.
"I guess that they are a type of human markings. I just never thought of them as that way before. Not everybody gets them. And not very many people in Japan get them at all."
"I think that they make him look kinda cute." Goma could hear the smile in Mimi's voice.
"Come on girls!" yelled Tai from the mouth of the cave. "We gotta get breakfast going. Let the poor guy sleep!"
Goma flinched. Yeah, like the yelling helps. Nobody noticed.
"Yeah," came Matt's voice. "The poor kid had a rough day yesterday."
Goma waited until the others left the cave. He lay on the floor of the cave for a few more minutes, savouring what the girls said. I look 'cute'? Wait until Joe hears about this... I mean Jyoumon.
He sighed, and finally opened his eyes. Everything seemed to be a bit blurry, but he figured that that it was to do with all of the crying that he did the night before.
He got to his hands and knees and started towards the mouth of the cave. He didn't quite trust his sense of balance yet, so decided to play it safe by keeping down on all fours --the way he was used to. He scratched his knees in the process, but at least he didnít have to deal with the humiliation of falling down again.
He made it outside, and pulled himself up on the stone entrance of the cave. He blinked his eyes, trying to clear his vision. It didn't work. Everything was blurry.
"Hey, Goma!" called out Tai. "Good morning!"
"Tai?" questioned the boy as he looked around for the source of the greeting. He only saw a blue and brown blur. "Is that you?" he asked tentatively. He let go of the stone wall and took a few steps forward towards the blur.
"Goma? Are you alright?" asked the blur in front of him.
Goma rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand. But when he looked again, the blur was still there. "Where is everyone?" he asked.
"We're all here," said Matt's voice. "Canít you see us?"
"No." Goma was getting spooked. Was he blind?
"No?" asked Agumon. "Why not?"
"I don't know!" The boy wailed in frustration.
"Calm down, Goma," said Biyomon's voice.
"Sit down for a moment," suggested Gabumon's voice.
"What's wrong with me?" he sat down on the grass and tried to squint his eyes to get them to work. "My eyes aren't working right!"
Everyone was concerned, but confused.
"You were seeing fine last night," commented Mimi.
Matt came up and peered into Goma's eyes. "Your eyes look normal enough. The only difference is that they're human eyes now, not Digimon eyes."
"Are human eyes always broken?!?" asked Goma in frustration.
"What's wrong with them?" asked Sora.
"Everything's fuzzy," said Goma. "I can't focus on anything."
Jyoumon's head turned sharply. "Everything's fuzzy?" he asked.
"Except for the things that are really close to my face" amended the redhead.
"I think I know what's wrong." Jyoumon stood up and went back towards the duffel bag that was now sitting on the ground. Once again, he stuck his head in and began to rummage around.
"Hey!" shouted Tai. "What are you doing, Jyoumon?"
"Hang on..." Jyoumon kept poking through the contents of the bag until he pulled out something. He carried the object in his teeth as he walked back to Goma and Matt. In confusion, Matt grabbed the object from Goma's partner and looked at it.
It was a pair of glasses.
"Give these to him," suggested Jyoumon. "I have a feeling that these oughta do the trick."
"But how do you know that these are the right prescription?" asked Izzy. "An eye examination should be performed before you just start handing out glasses."
"They'll work," said Jyou. "Trust me on this."
"Okay," said Matt as he opened the arms on the glasses and carefully placed them on Goma's face. Goma kept his eyes as tightly shut as possible. He felt the unfamiliar weight settle on his nose and cheeks.
"Okay, Goma. You can open your eyes now," Jyoumon's voice was encouraging.
Goma opened his eyes to see that everyone was looking at him in concern. He could see them all, clearly.
"I can see..." he said in wonder.
"Are you sure?" asked Izzy. "Nothing is fuzzy at all?"
"Nope," replied the redhead. "Is this what glasses are for?" he asked his partner. "I've always wondered."
"My eyesight was never one hundred percent," said Jyoumon as he sat down next to him. "That's why I needed them."
"But how did you know that the prescription that you had would work for Goma?" asked Izzy.
"I think I know," commented Kari.
"You do?" asked Tai.
"It has to do with his clothes. They're different than what Joe was wearing, but they are the same articles."
"You've lost me there," said Matt in confusion.
"Maybe, but she's got it," said Jyoumon.
"Goma's wearing the same things that Joe was wearing before he became a Digimon. They might be a different colour or a different style, but from the wristbands to the socks and sneakers, they are the same articles."
"Okay, I think I see where you're coming from," said Izzy, "but how does that relate to Goma having the same eyesight as Joe?"
"All of the clothes that Goma is wearing was taken from me when I became a Digimon," Jyoumon shrugged. "The only things that were left to me were the glasses and my sweater-vest."
"Which I'm wearing now." Goma had removed the glasses to study their shape and feel.
"Besides losing my clothes, I also lost my lousy eyesight and my allergies," Jyoumon continued. "Everything that was taken from me when I became a Digimon was given to Goma when he became a human."
"Downloaded, you mean," said Izzy.
"Weird," said Tai.
Everyone else nodded.
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