So I don't know if this was in response to Digimon Tri coming out, or if because I wanted to write a Digimon story for a long while and finally came up with an idea. Or maybe it's because there's just a bit of a lack of (new) Wizardmon/Gatomon stories on the web. Whatever the reason, here I am, and I seem a bit excited about it. It's a little weird, honestly, but if an idea really sticks with me and doesn't easily shake off after a while (usually within a week or two), then I go for it. Probably helps I was running off ideas on a couple of people, and they were all "Alright, cool," so yeah. I feel like the story's going to feel a little different from my previous stories, but I guess we'll see if my premonition's correct.
Also keep in mind that even though Tri has been on my mind for a while now, to the point that this story basically is taking place in the exact same time-frame (2005), and its expected airdate is sometime in April (hopefully), this is not going to be my rendition of Tri whatsoever. Just want to get that out of the way. I have just as many speculations as the next Digimon fan, but they and the season have nothing to do with this story, so moving on.
The story is posted under my lilpurplebird account.
Got nothing else to say, sorry. I hope you enjoy, and I'll do my very best to keep the characters in character, as I feel that'll be my biggest challenge in this story.
Disclaimer: Digimon © Toei Animation
Rated R for – occasional language, violence, and sexual content
Digimon have been nothing more than programmed data taken form.
Yet there were those who managed to defy and transcend it with their strong bonds.
If there was ever a concept of Hell in the Digital World, Myotismon's castle was the foundation. Light and hope were snuffed out from its premises, never to be renewed. All kinds of evil were encouraged within the walls to strengthen the dark, leaving very little room for those few who latched onto their light to let it bloom. Many succumbed to the despair, giving themselves to the eternal servitude of the master, in which death was the only release. It was obvious no goodness and sanity could have survived, even if they put up a fight on the way out.
In the never-ending maze of madness, one small chamber served as a safe haven from the outside world. Designed from the inside to block out the copious evils clawing at the door and the wails of the damned, two Digimon regularly found their temporary peace, a way to recuperate from the day. Anything they wanted out of their systems, they did it there, knowing the other was supportive.
They were “friends”, so they say. In public, they put up a front in blending in with the rest of them, the concept of “friendship” unknown to them. In person, painful as it could be, they opened themselves up to each other, with varying degrees of success.
Gatomon growled from the sting, her arm jerking sharply and knocking the bottle out of Wizardmon's hand. “Don't touch me with that stuff!” she hissed, glowering at him past her bleary vision.
The Wizard Digimon picked it back up, frowning deeply at the crack on the lip. “Please don't break my medicine,” he sighed, setting it aside. “It's getting harder to come by.”
“Whatever happened to your 'magic healing' powers?” she spat out, her eyes boring into his skull.
He disparagingly glanced up, resuming his dressing of her wound. “It requires strength and good health from the healer,” he softly explained, scarcely moving his stitched lips. “Given how deep and numerous your wounds are, I am able to make them shallow before passing out.”
She “tch”ed through her teeth, flexing her claws. “It's better than nothing.”
Wizardmon pressed his thumbs on the bandage before gesturing for her to turn around. Gatomon did so, still shooting him a scowl and thumping her tail agitatedly along his torso. Clearing his throat in warning, he soaked a rag with medicine to clean the open cuts. The feline let out another brief yowl, her ears flattened against her cranium and fur bristled.
“Damn him!” she cursed, pounding on the bed. “It's all his damn fault, and he knows it! Bastard's going to pay for it!”
Shaking his head at her exclamations, the sorcerer peered at the wounds and clicked his tongue. “I'll have to seal that up.”
The feline stood at attention, glancing over her shoulder. “What're you mumbling back there?”
Excusing himself for a moment, Wizardmon picked up the only light source in the room and strolled over to his battered cabinet. After a quick skim along the shelves, he pulled out a small tube that he unscrewed between his fingers. “Straighten your back, Gatomon,” he commanded, kneeling back down. “And grab onto something for once.”
Brows knitting, she reached behind to snatch his arms, jutting her chin out when he grimaced up at her. “You weren't specific,” she coolly retorted.
Although growing impatient with her, he wasn't in the mood to argue. Shrugging back his shoulders, he guided her paws to them to allow her ballast, then laid a hand on her back, thumb and forefinger parallel to the wound. Gently squeezing out a clear, off-white gel, he began lightly applying it to the lesion, immediately biting back his own groans of pain from her clawing into his shoulders. She began to squirm and arch, forcing him to press his forehead between her shoulder blades to hold her still.
“AHH! It still burns, Wizardmon!”
“Suck it up for a minute,” he grunted, struggling to steady his hand as he began slowly pinching the wound closed.
Gatomon writhed in discomfort, kicking and swearing in between gasps. Her tail swiped at him once before he caught it in his teeth to hold it still, which only made her move more in having two places on her body stinging. Pushing it slightly away allowed him to close his lips over the appendage, a little discomforted at it being caught in the stitches, but quickly overlooked it to refocus on her back.
“I'm gonna kill him for this!” she snarled out, her arms trembling under her weight. “Batboy should be the one with these wounds, not me!”
Wizardmon ignored the small snaps of static atop of his head, letting out a hum at the halfway point. By now her screams of agony were limited to angry moans, though she wasn't settling down and her back muscles kept twitching. He eyed the thick bloody rivulet trickling down and staining her fur, feeling his own anger rise up inside.
He didn't know who to hate the most: Myotismon for his brutal methods in torturing her and savoring every moment of it; DemiDevimon for framing her to save his own skin over something he clearly caused (although he wasn't exempt from the punishment); or himself for eavesdropping, but was unable to step in before the whippings started. As temperamental as Gatomon could be at times, it was rare she ever deserved the punishment lashed out at her, and even then, it was still too inhumane to be justified. He had only been there for a few months, but oh, were those few months long and painful. All the cruelties of the world under one roof, and even more he couldn't have ever imagined, designed to break spirits and dash hopes—he couldn't believe she had endured it for as long as she did.
The moment the wound was sealed, Wizardmon dropped the medicine and released her tail with a sigh, shivering as it skimmed along his lips. Her claws loosened their grip on him, but she remained rested on him, her voice reduced to soft pants and whimpers. After blindly searching for the bandages, he skillfully wrapped them around her, her figure quivering each time his fingers grazed her front. Once he secured it in the back, he carefully leaned away to catch her and cradle her, scanning his gaze over to find tears pricking at the corners of her eyes.
Gingerly, Gatomon raised her limp hands to rest on his own, her head lolling over to lean against him. “Thanks, Wiz,” she mumbled, her eyelids fluttering shut. “Sorry for screaming like that, and making you mad.”
He lightly shook his head. “I could never be mad at you,” he whispered, more noticeably weary than earlier. “I can get irritated, but it's not the same as being angry.”
A frown creased her brows and lips. “Why do you put up with me?”
“That's what friends are for. I'll be here for you.”
Wizardmon drank in her deep eyes when she gazed up at him, adoring how they shone in the dim light. “Even when I'm at my nastiest?”
“Of course. Sometimes, you just need to release some steam.” He gently gave a single headbutt. “It's not good for your health otherwise.”
The tiniest of smiles was angelic in nature, and she bumped her nose to his cheek. “I'll make it up to you,” she breathed into his skin, “just give the word.”
He lightly scratched under her chin, watching her tilt back as a quiet purr vibrated to life in her throat. “I'll let you know.”
The flickering light of hope in their hearts rekindled, the two unlikeliest of friends remained in his room for the remainder of the night, not yet willing to let each other go like it was their last time.
As her sleep had been light, Gatomon's eyes blinked open to stare blankly at the bright sunlight still leaking through. A prickle running down her neck caused her to shiver, her claws snagging into the mattress before she quickly pulled off her gloves to pry them out. Grabbing the headboard, she pulled herself up, then covered her face when a wave of nausea hit her.
“Another one,” she moaned, thinking back to her dream that still lingered in reach; no, it was a memory. Never before had she been afflicted with snippets of memories, coming one after the other. Because of its sporadic behavior, they were at first waved off as what Kari called “fever dreams”, as she had fallen sick that night she returned for her biweekly stay in the human world—they were suspecting it was a “flu”, whatever it was. But within a few days, it became perfectly clear (or as clear as her dizzy mind would allow) that these so-called “fever dreams” were too real, too nostalgic to be such things.
Of course, when she had brought it up to her partner, Kari had a hard time believing the dreams and her sudden illness were one and the same. Not that she could blame her, since it seemed more like a coincidence than anything else. She didn't completely blow it off, though, so she had encouraged Gatomon to tell her in person, or at least write down any and all dreams she had that week. As she was currently at her school, the feline had to struggle to climb down the bed and onto the desk below where a notebook was laid open.
It was hard to grip a pen when she was both sick and had her gloves off, but she didn't want to make that journey back. Her grasp on the human writing system was basic, but she hoped she was able to convey it on paper, and be able to at least get it across normally when read. Kari had helped with the previous dreams when she was here to hear them, something she was a little grateful for.
Once she dropped the utensil, Gatomon sat back against the boards to close her eyes and breathe. “How bothersome,” she grumbled, rubbing her temples.
Her breath hitched when there came a quiet rap at the door, and Kari's mother, Yuuko, poked her head in. “Oh, you're up,” she said, then frowned down at the family cat as it pushed its way in. “I'm heading out to the mart, is there anything I can get you?”
Gatomon had always felt indifferent to the woman despite Kari saying she was considered part of the family. The existence of Digimon had been known to the public for the past couple of years, but it was still obvious the adults weren't used to them. Yuuko would at least smile in her direction to show she had no problems with having her visiting (more-so than with Agumon, anyway), but it was evident from the subtle leaning posture she wasn't quite as open to them.
Wanting to be polite, she flashed a weak smile and shook her head. “I don't want to trouble you with that, Mrs. Kamiya.”
A worried look was visible on her face before she sighed. “Well, if you insist, I'll leave out some medicine and water, then. I'll be back in about an hour or two.” She closed the door and several moments later, after listening to her arrange some items beyond the wood, Gatomon heard the front entrance snap shut, leaving her alone with the cat.
Slowly breathing through her nose, she dropped her gaze to the orange and white feline, engaging in a silent staring contest. Miko seemed to act like she was a rival when it came to the family's attention, mainly Kari's, yet was wise to keep her distance. The Vaccine Digimon figured she was too different from real-world cats to be considered a “threat”, but it was rare for Miko to get within a couple meters.
“I bet you don't ever have to put up with what I go through,” she muttered, a twinge of jealousy at the thought.
Miko still continued to stare.
Scoffing, Gatomon forced herself to climb off the desk, ears twitching when the cat let out a low, warning growl in her throat. Ignoring her, she plodded to the screen door, disappearing behind the curtain to gaze up at the sky. Not a cloud was in sight in the washed-out open space, and the glass when she rested her paw on it was very warm. So she slept in until the afternoon again, although she had a fuzzy recollection of Kari feeling her forehead.
“Poor Gatomon,” was what she had said. And indeed, she felt sorry for herself.
Waving her tail above her head, she watched the tail ring gleam with every movement. She had it for as long as she could remember, and yet it looked better off than she on a good day. Licking her paw, she smoothed out the lavender tuft, then peered at her reflection, noticing her drooping whiskers and sunken eyes when she pulled at her bottom eyelid. Her irises were dull, not a highlight to be seen even when tilting her head about. Turning to the side, she outlined her body shape, wondering if she was losing weight. Though as she thought on it more, that couldn't be true, a Digimon's appearance only changes with evolution or other circumstances. Even after being exposed to the real world for as long as she had been, not once had she gained or lost weight.
Whatever she was stricken with was taking some toll on her, second only to what she went through as Myotismon's henchman.
Gingerly making her way back, she frowned at Miko for laying in the chair and leapt up to the desk instead. Picking up the notebook, she flipped through the previous couple of pages to scan them, watching the scenes play out in her head clear as day. The more she read, the sicker she felt herself becoming, but couldn't stop.
Why? she mused to herself. Why have these past dreams been nothing but memories?
Looking at the calendar, she took notice of the month: September. A month prior was an anniversary they had reminisced on for years, though more for a different reason now than before. Anyone else would say it was coincidence, and she could believe them if it wasn't so distressing.
No... it can't be because of that...
Six years had passed, and yet it was now she has been bombarded with memories?
Gatomon didn't know how to feel as she let the notebook slip from her grasp. How could something make so much sense while still leaving her with unanswered questions? It wasn't possible.
Forcing herself to stand, she pulled her gloves through the railing and stumbled to the door, opening it with her tail. She thought about taking the medicine when she glanced up at the countertop, but with her insides churning as they were, she didn't want to bother. From behind, she heard Miko let out a quiet meow, in a language she never understood. Just as she touched the doorknob, she looked over her shoulder to watch the cat pause and sit on her haunches.
“It must be nice to have no worries,” she muttered, half at the animal and half to herself, then slipped outside.
The artificial noises of the city from the beep of a mobile to the distant honk from a car muddled with her thoughts as she made her way past crowds that rarely gave her a second look. It had to have been a mistake to go out for a walk on all fours in the late-summer heat, her large ears only did so much with her fever. She was a little grateful her being a Digimon meant she had no limits in staying cool like the real-world animals, only it didn't stop the sweat from getting in her eyes. Stopping in shade to constantly lap and rub herself clean never made it any better, and running was not an option in her condition.
Her mind drifted to how Kari had always said the Odaiba district wasn't as large as it seemed, that they could cover it all by foot non-stop in a day, with less time by train. Aside from her illness slowing her down, Gatomon could believe her if her past experience in running around the district six years ago had been more pleasant. As much as there was a special charm to the island, it was still difficult to enjoy the scenery without having to worry about flashbacks.
The short trip to the Fuji Television studios was like second nature to the Champion Digimon, she scarcely had to think on where to turn or cross the street. It overlooked the surrounding district, the metallic ball she was the most focused on blinding in the sun. The humans did a fantastic job repairing it, she had to admit. They were a rather unstoppable species, even if they were forgetful.
Ducking her head, Gatomon slinked inside, keeping a lookout for security and other workers. Though she could get Hiroaki Ishida's blessing, she didn't know where his office was, and didn't want to interrupt his busy schedule for such a trivial matter. There was also that possibility he or someone else would chaperone her to the spherical office, which her inner pride wouldn't allow. Besides, she knew her way up without having to resort to a map.
It was, in the meantime, easy to forget the television station was large with many floors. What was like a walk in the park quickly turned into running a marathon—despite speed-walking most of the time. It was tiresome to climb, her vertigo causing her to rest every other corridor in between sneaking past or hiding from the employees. Her mind screamed at her to find Ishida and get his help, but she persistently refused, wanting to approach this herself, and as soon as possible. She couldn't tell time at this point, slowly bringing herself to believe she had been there well into the afternoon. Yuuko was probably home by now, perhaps wondering about where she went, if she cared.
Gatomon noticed her pacing picked up when she turned down a familiar hallway and saw the farthest wall had a slight curve to it. Past it, she knew she'd have to climb a staircase to get to the top office, where she hoped whomever was usually working in there would be out. They may have known the DigiDestineds visited every year, still, it was always on the third of August, not any other day where they didn't have leeway without permission. But far as she knew, they weren't fond of Digimon, if they knew of their existence. A bipedal, talking cat wasn't normal, after all.
Silently cursing the lack of blinds as the sunlight burned the back of her neck, she reached the door at last, only to be discouraged to find it wouldn't open. “Damn... they're in there,” she murmured, leaning up against the wall. Sighing, she stared out at the windows, her vision slightly wavering. “It figures it wouldn't be that easy...”
Her fur stood on end as the door instantly opened, shooting out her paws to catch it and hold it in place as two people walked out without a glance, mulling over documents. She slipped in while she caught her breath, sticking to the right wall as she made her way around to the far windows. It luckily wasn't a large room, and had enough objects for quick hiding places if she needed them. Annoyed she had to still put up with glaring, she briefly turned her back in the direction of the sun while keeping the landing within her sight. She noticed wilted flowers in a vase by the desk, immediately recognizing them as the roses Kari had brought.
Somehow, it rubbed Gatomon the wrong way to see them in such a state. For one thing, they were for Wizardmon. The other shouldn't have been that surprising as it had been a month, but she couldn't understand how it was the roses were so off-color from their vibrant red despite being in water and constant sunlight. Nevertheless, they were Wizardmon's, not the office person's.
Biting her lip and putting pressure to her temple, the feline leaned up against the glass, falling to her knees. The inside of her ear was heating up, but she had stopped caring about the sun by then and focused on steadying her breathing. Why was she letting such a little thing bother her? She didn't come here to lament over the roses, even though she kind of had expected them to be in the room, preferably untouched.
But she couldn't blame the office workers. They probably didn't know the significance of the place they worked in. It was possible they took in the roses every year to find some use for them. Far as she knew, they were decent human beings, just oblivious.
“It hurts,” she breathed out, brows furrowing tight enough for her scrunched eyes to twitch. “Why... why does it hurt? I don't understand...”
Then a cloud rolled over the sun, and just like that, her aches were going away, and her muscles relaxing. She slowly lifted her head, able to gaze past her curled reflection out at the landing. Even after six years, she could still recall the scene down to the smallest of details, from Myotismon's wicked smirk as he shot his Grisly Wing at her and Kari to a horrified Tai calling for his sister. She remembered how her determination to protect Kari shattered to make room for her devastation at Wizardmon being torn apart before her eyes, and how the weight of his body reverberated through her feet and up into her core. His quiet rasp of a voice telling her he had no regrets for what he did broke her heart, him smiling through his tears only serving to hasten it.
But what did her in was the realization he thought of her. She was the last he saw before his eyes closed forever, her name carried on his dying breath. He may not have known her all of his life, but he would be damned if it ended without her.
Be that as it may, it was like he never left. And that hurt her more than watching him die.
All of her tears for him had been shed over the years, and yet Gatomon felt she still had a few drops left for him. She couldn't physically weep on a whim, however, as she knew it would slow the healing process if she gave in. She came to accept he was gone, came to terms with letting him go.
So why couldn't he?
“Wizardmon,” she quietly started with his name, “if you're here... please listen.”
It was a little odd to wait for a few moments, but within that time, the atmosphere changed. She couldn't put her claw on it if she could, though she could have sworn she felt the sensation someone, or something was intently listening. It was a peculiar notion she couldn't shake off.
With an intake of breath, she continued, “It's been six years. Kari is entering high school soon, and Tai is about to leave home when he graduates, so I was told. Myotismon is gone, and all's right with the world. I'm a big digi-cat, I can take care of myself now. So please... cross over. I promise I won't forget you and all you've done, but I have—need to live on without you.”
Gatomon had heard accounts of people feeling better after telling off their demons, anything from believing they could accomplish goals to a mind at peace. It was sometimes quick, other times a long process, but it was doable. She had always wondered what it would be like for her to be liberated from her past, to move forward in long, even strides instead of the gaits she currently had. Closing her eyes, she waited, counting to ten slowly in her head before opening them back up.
Nothing changed. The only difference was her heart being weighed down, and that wasn't the good feeling she was looking for.
Flexing her claws, she tried again, her voice tense, “Wizardmon, you can't be here forever. Please leave this world, and never look back.”
Still nothing. Maybe she needed to see him, and tell him to his face?
Hesitantly glancing over her shoulder was one of the most disappointing moments of her life, and her self-doubt gleefully chastised her for it. Just what did she expect? There was no reason for him to show himself to her even if he was in the room. One time didn't open any doors for her to see him whenever she wanted.
Flashing a smirk, she dryly chuckled. “I'm such a fool.”
It was then the people from before entered the room, startling her from her thoughts. Shit.
“Hey, where'd that cat come from?!” one exclaimed, pointing at her, papers strewing everywhere.
Gatomon bounded for the door on all fours, passing them as a blur. She sped down the stairs and out the way she came, no longer caring about being seen. The buzzing of a working environment soon droned with a furor of people shouting out there was a cat, and others stumbling in attempt to not step on her. If she caught the attention of Ishida in all the confusion, she wouldn't have known. Perhaps later if he ever approached her, or Matt brought it up in passing, she could laugh it off.
Even after clearing the front doors, she kept on running into the crowd, darting between legs before scurrying up the first tree she saw. The people below looked up at her for a moment before continuing on towards their destination, and the bustling city went back to normal. Gatomon clawed nervously at the bark as the adrenaline made its way out of her system, feeling her fur lay down flat. Her eyes steadily refocused in the shade, although she continued to squint, watching a streetlight turn colors and hearing the low melody give its signal. Not wanting to wait for the next time, she hopped down, making a few humans jump back in the process, and jogged to join the crossing, still swerving between feet. Her ear twitched at a growing grumble of the throng and strangely loud pulsing hum of the lights above, but chose to ignore it to turn at a corner.
The walk on the way home wasn't any different to the point it was irksome just how widespread it was. Somehow, everywhere she turned had someone complaining about their phone or laptop acting up, or a shopkeeper banging on their TV or radio. This wasn't the city noise she was used to, it was suspicious the more she encountered and thought on it. Typically, electronics went on the fritz each time a Digimon evolved, or was gathering energy. Yet she was the only other Digimon in the block, it was obvious she was interfering with everything—for some odd reason.
Though she could've sworn as she passed by sets of televisions something flickered past the screens. She would've stayed longer to investigate had people not started murmuring and crowding around, making her nervous. Feeling a headache coming on, she kept her head down and picked up speed for the apartments.
The moment she knew she was alone in front of the door, Gatomon stood up and swiped sweat off her brow, glancing out at the city as she entered the apartment. “That was spooky,” she muttered, resting in the doorway for a moment.
Miko's hissing as she darted out of the room caught her attention first before she heard static, and she walked in to look at the television, blinking at how the little light and digital clock were flickering. Her ears swiveled to the air conditioner as it sputtered and clicked, then for the microwave as it hummed. As the moment sunk in, she let out a quiet gasp and stumbled into the computer room to look on in awe as the screen sparked to life, and scrambled messages scrolled into view.
A chill ran up her spine, suddenly sensing a presence in the air. “A Digimon...”
The muffled beeping of a D-Terminal sounded on the other side of the apartment, and without another thought the feline ran into Kari's room. Standing on tip-toe, she yanked open the top drawer and pulled it out, her brows furrowed in anxiety. “It better be from Tai, T.K., I'll even take Davis,” she muttered darkly, the fur on the back of her neck prickling. “Just be from someone I know.”
Flipping up the cover, she pressed a couple of buttons, and then her eyes widened.
Go to the World of Dreams.
Gatomon nearly dropped it, shaking her head. “Not possible... it's been sealed off. I-I'm sure of it.” She searched for a name of the sender, the pangs of panic in her chest. “No way...”
She let out a small yelp from another alert, but quickly opened up the new message.
It's open in the Digital World.
A lump caught in her throat. “This is a joke... It's not a hop, skip, and jump away, it's another world...” Going through the inbox, she looked for any previous messages Kari may have had that would answer everything. It was so unlike of her to play a prank on her; Tai, maybe, but not Kari. If it was any of the other DigiDestined, it was rather out-of-line.
Gatomon contemplated on sending notes asking if they had received any strange e-mails, or even if any Digimon came through under their radars. It was as though she were at a loss for words, unsure how to approach it without being too suspicious. She could pass it off as her being delusional from her illness, it just seemed a bit too far-fetched, and no one would really believe it. (And upon reviewing it in her head, her friends not believing in her clearly-false delusions came off as odd.)
Growling in frustration, she moved to drop the D-Terminal back into the drawer when Kari's D-3 turned on. Upon taking it out, her ear flicked from the unmistakeable beep of the Digi-Port booting up, and she involuntarily swallowed. Fighting against her hesitation, the feline made her way across the front room, devices in hand. The electronics were still acting up, making her grow more uneasy with every passing second. Something was just off about everything.
Entering the computer room, she eyed the Digi-Port, noticing the coordinates had been set in. She couldn't recall which sector it was, as nothing looked remotely unique or even familiar about the canyon, yet she couldn't help thinking it suspicious the gate had been prepared. The longer she stared, the more apparent there was flickering, a sign that threw her off.
“That can't be good...” Grasping the D-3 in her paw, she hopped up on the chair as though she was sizing up an opponent. Thrusting it close to the screen, she called out, “Digi-Port, open!”
The message on the side blinked thrice before it turned green, and light streamed out as she was pulled inside. Flying through the data stream of runes and spheres of light, Gatomon felt her body quickly and painlessly go through a conversion in preparation for the Digital World. The transport was momentary, and any forms of physical weight were non-existent in the drift—except she knew there was another presence with her.
The end of the line upon her, once she regained her balance, the feline gazed up at the tall canyon cliffs, and it suddenly hit her. She did recognize this place, although it had been years ago, and she had been too preoccupied in her desire to destroy MaloMyotismon to take in her surroundings at the time. Gatomon cast her eyes about in a search: a rift, rippling, discoloration, anything to tip her off to the World of Dreams. Likewise in the real world, it was afternoon where she was, the sun mercifully less bright here.
Shivering from a downdraft, she moved forward just as a glow from her tail caught her eye. She gaped at her ring tilted in the breeze, watching it rhythmically pulse with white light. Mesmerized, she took another few steps and let out a gasp when it intensified. Glancing about in awe, the small cat decided to quickly backtrack as an experiment, and immediately was fascinated the moment it dimmed.
“It has to be a coincidence,” she breathed out a chuckle.
With her tail as her guide, Gatomon advanced on, Kari's devices clutched to her chest. Unsure what to look for, she let her mind wander and reflect on the past few minutes. She didn't know how to make heads or tails of it, and she had been through a number of bizarre events in her life—and she accounted it for both the digital and human worlds. Thinking on how it may have all started, she couldn't decide on her talking to Wizardmon like he was there, or her spontaneously leaving the house in her ill state. For all she knew, she was sleepwalking with an odd out-of-body experience. Or the sun fried her brain cells despite having been inside most of the week.
It suddenly dawned on her her headache was gone, and yet she still shambled on in a dreamlike state. Perhaps she was cured when she entered the Digital World? If it was that easy all along, she wouldn't have been so miserable. Or what if she had carried around a virus and it manifested itself as thus according to the real world standards? But then where would she have picked it up, and why did it take a while to stricken her?
And now her headache came back trying to piece it all together. She mentally gave herself a sarcastic pat on the back for such a feat.
Without warning, the ring flashed a bright light, bringing out a startled cry from her as she shut her eyes and curled in on herself. A vibration on her chest and shrill electronic screech caused her to drop package, peeking out beneath her lashes to see the D-3 was the source, the screen a menacing red. Gatomon waited for any other reaction from the device or her tail ring, cautiously standing and glancing around when none came.
Then she stepped around the items and the top half of her tail vanished.
Immediately pulling it back, she waited until she caught her breath to stretch her hand out and raised it up, her claws disappearing before her eyes. Shooting one more look behind her, she scooped up the D-3 and jumped into the abstract world beyond her comprehension. It was exactly how she remembered it, and yet it was still very alien to her. Turning for another glance, she found she had entered through a pixelated hole, perhaps the same one from the battle three years ago.
Grateful her ears would be spared, Gatomon noticed her ring had dulled back to normal, and she frowned. “Well... I guess I'm okay,” she assured herself, staring down at Kari's device. “Nothing bad's going to happen again, right?”
Closing her eyes and taking in a breath, she carefully recited her words in her mind, not wanting to make any mistakes. “I don't know what's going on in the slightest,” she slowly started, casting her gaze up at the endless sea of blurring colors and clashing shapes. “I never thought I'd ever come back here... I guess even in my delusions, I couldn't ignore the cryptic messages I got today. It hurts to say it—well, again—but I speak from the heart.”
Gatomon clutched the D-3 when it vibrated in her hold once more, bracing herself for it to go off again. “My dear friend, Wizardmon, can't linger in the human world any longer. I don't know how the real world's afterlife works, but he needs to cross over so he can find peace. And so can I.”
No sooner had the words come out of her mouth did a beam of pink light shoot out of the screen. Speechless, she watched with wide eyes as what appeared to be a stream of static data pulled itself out of the device and circled around her. Then she tensed in place with a gasp, suddenly growing weak in the knees as a weight was lifted from her. Immediately she was hit with fatigue, and a wave of nausea swept her up. Vision wavering, she blearily struggled to keep with the data as the two streams winded together to combine and swooped outside of the World of Dreams. Getting to her feet, the feline staggered to the exit, leaning against the edge as she fought to lift her head.
Some yards away, the pieces of data reconfigured from the feet-up, and upon peering through the fog obscuring her sight, she was able to tell the figure had its back facing her. The wind blowing through the canyon was able to flutter the tattered cloak even before it finished, the underside covered in white rune patterns. It being out of the way revealed a gloved hand clutching a crooked, wooden sun staff hanging on the side. A loose dirty-blonde ponytail came next when a large, purple hat to match obscured the rest of it.
The whole time she watched, Gatomon was able to soak in the scene, and she felt her eyes lighten up as her jaw dropped. Her grip on the D-3 lessened enough for it to fall over the edge with a clatter, the light fading away. Throat tightening up, she choked down the rising lump enough for her to breathe out the first thing on her mind.