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No Girls Allowed (Ch. 16, Digific)

Title: No Girls Allowed
Author: Schnickledooger
Rating: T/PG-13
Genre: Romance/Humor
Summary: Jun keeps popping up in the most unexpected places. Tai is not pleased, especially when it gives his friends the wrong impression. AU Season 02 time-line and events.
Word Count: So far... 78,000+


Ch.1 Revenge

Ch.2 Backfired
Ch.3 The Way To A Man's Heart Is...
Ch.4 Love Is A Jealous Thing
Ch.5 Night Out
Ch.6 Eternal Darkness Of The Cluttered Mind
Ch.7 All The World's A Stage
Ch.8 Elementary, My Dear Jun
Ch.9 The Melancholy Of Taichi Kamiya
Ch. 10 All's Fair In Love And War
Ch.11 So Much For My Happy Ending
Interlude
Ch. 12 Accidentally In Love
Ch. 13 Just To Let You Know I Care
Ch. 14 With You
Ch. 15 Take My Hand

 

Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. Toei Animation does.

A/N: Definition of Japanese terms below after chapter.

Ch. 16 Poisoned Bond

It was a heavy weight sprawled across his chest making it slightly uncomfortable for him to breathe that awakened Tai the next morning. Blearily, he lowered his gaze and was greeted with the sight of a small, orange dinosaur lying halfway on top of him as if to make sure his partner would not disappear again.

A wave of guilt rushed over Tai. He had essentially ran off and deserted everyone yesterday. Agumon had been left at home while he "walked around the block for a bit". He hadn't returned until hours later after dark. Kari had sounded worried when he arrived home. No doubt they all had been. A small swell of irritation rippled through the pool of guilt at the thought. He should have called and let them know he was alright, but really, he deserved more credit than they were giving him. They should trust that he could take of himself and not assume he was going to injure himself any further at every passing opportunity.

A drowsy grunt tumbled from his partner's throat and Tai reached out a hand to rub the Digimon's scalp soothingly.

Jun's bracelet made a soft ching-ing sound as the music note and dice charms bumped into each other with the momentum.

Agumon's eyes snapped open at his touch, the green of his eyes blazing fiercely as he looked at him in manner that Tai wasn't sure he had ever seen or recognized before.

"Agumon…?" he asked easing up a little.

A snout was shoved firmly into his chest pushing back into his pillows. Reptilian nostrils flared wide and blew gusty, hot steam into the air as a frown-line crinkled across the dinosaur's brow.

"You smell… like her," Agumon murmured stiffly.

Heat flared in Tai's face as he realized Jun's scent of almonds still lingered on him from the night before.

"Oh, haha, t-t-that's—" he tried to laugh off nervously.

Teeth flashed white as lips curled back into a grimace, a discontented sneer. It suddenly occurred to Tai what a very sharp set of jaws his partner possessed. A trickle of unease shot throughout Tai's veins. He didn't like this feeling—this feeling of fear that his own partner posed a threat to him.

"She won't take you from me," Agumon said in a voice quite unlike his own, a low, grating tone that bordered on malice. "I won't let her. I promise."

Tai could hear the blood marching loudly in his ears in the deafening silence that followed his partner's proclamation. His heart beat erratically in his chest as he stared into narrowed, purposeful green eyes glinting with a smoldering, possessive jealousy.

This… this wasn't Agumon. It couldn't be Agumon.

The world seemed to stop spinning. There was nothing but the two of them caught frozen in this fragile, crystalline-spun plane of existence and only one wrong move would cause it to snap…

"Tai, come quick! You have to see the news!" Kari exclaimed flinging his bedroom door wide.

oOo

"It seems that Ken may be right after all about Arukeniemon and Mummymon if these Digimon appearing all over the city are anything to go by, however, I have to wonder why no Control Spires appeared anywhere this time," Izzy was speaking, his voice floating out of the phone sounding both baffled and worried. "And we can't be entirely certain that they're behind the disappearance of so many children either."

Tai listened numbly and said nothing, his brain barely registering what Izzy was saying. All he could focus on was Agumon who was staring intently at the tv which was repeating its news bulletin from earlier about the sudden disappearance of children and reappearance of more monsters like those that had been seen at Christmas.

Agumon, who he had all but shoved violently off of him when his sister had opened the door. Agumon, who didn't seem to remember a thing about what he had said earlier when Tai had demanded what he meant by that. Agumon, who was under the impression the reason his partner was acting so absurd was because he had woken up from a nightmare.

Maybe he was halfway right. But Tai hadn't woken up from a nightmare. He had woken up to a nightmare.

"Listen, we have to take care of the Digimon first before we start looking for the children," Izzy said. "T.K., Cody, and Joe are going to deal with MarineDevimon. Tell Kari to meet up with Yolei and bring down LadyDevimon. Sora and Mimi will help them—they're already on their way there. You, Matt and I will join up with Davis and Ken. I'm sure between the five of us we can manage SkullSatamon. Hey…hey, are you listening, Tai?"

"What?" Tai tried to rein in his thoughts in and concentrate solely on Izzy's voice. It was more difficult to do than he imagined. Especially since Agumon had come over to stand in front of him to better hear the conversation—Tai fought against the impulse to step back. Agumon was his partner. He felt ashamed for even thinking that the Digimon meant him harm. However, the memory of earlier that morning had planted a tiny, niggling seed of doubt in his mind.

"Maybe you should stay home and catch up on some rest instead." A worried note had slipped into Izzy's tone. "You probably over-exerted your energy yesterday running off like that and staying out for hours in the rain." Now there was disapproval mingling in as well.

"No, I told you, I'm fine."

"You just seem… distracted. Are you sure there's nothing wrong?"

Tai opened his mouth, everything ready on the tip of his tongue to come spilling forth…

He caught Agumon's eye as he did, the small dinosaur's mouth breaking out into a wide, toothy grin completely devoid of any ill intentions, filled only with warmth and love.

"No, nothing," Tai said wishing he felt as confident as he sounded. "There's nothing wrong at all."

oOo

"I'm telling you guys, I think Jun's gone crazy! I mean, she's always been crazy, but now she's gone all like yandere crazy! She was smiling at breakfast! Smiling! And she made me pancakes! And she hugged me good morning and told me what a wonderful little brother I was and you know what? She wasn't even being sarcastic!"

"I don't mean to be a downer, Davis, but… is that supposed to a bad thing?" Ken asked.

"She's completely snapped! It's freaking me out!" Davis exclaimed, holding his arms and shivering. "I don't get it! She was mean and rude as usual yesterday. What the heck happened between now and today? Alien abduction and pod-people replacement theories aside."

Tai was aware of Matt and Izzy shooting him inquisitive glances though neither of them said anything. They knew it had been Jun he had left with the evening before, but they didn't know the details. They were bound to be curious. Let them wonder. He wasn't going to divulge information on the matter any time soon. And besides… he wasn't sure that bringing up the subject of Jun and him being a couple in front of Agumon would be a good idea.

A violent explosion accompanied by sinister laughter sounded from around the corner followed by an outbreak of shrill, terrified screaming.

"I think we can discuss Jun's eccentricities at a more prone opportunity," Izzy said.

The broke into a dash rounding the building and were greeted with the sight of a Digimon whose body appeared to be made up of nothing but a skeleton, its bone structure a rusty red color except for its obsidian skull and leathery black wings sprouting from the back of its shoulder-blades. In its metal-gloved hands, it gripped a curved, clawed staff with a golden jewel embedded at one end, which was glowing ominously as the Digimon pointed it at the backs of the fleeing crowd of people.

"Not so fast!" Paildramon cried as he launched himself at the enemy, the spikes on his wrist extending into a lance in a Stinging Strike.

The skeletal Digimon emitted a diabolical cackle as it disappeared in a blur then reappeared directly behind Paildramon and dealt a wicked blow to his head with its staff that sent Paildramon smashing painfully into the concrete.

"Hey, using moves like that should get you disqualified on the field!" Davis shouted enraged.

"I hope you do realize this isn't a soccer match," Ken remarked.

"Which is a good thing otherwise this move would totally be illegal, right?" Kabuterimon yelled as he, Garurumon and Greymon attacked the opponent simultaneously in a formation of three.

Their enemy was nothing but a flashing streak of red as it laid their Digimon flat on their back with stunning blows under the chin.

"Pitiful! You are no match for SkullSatamon! I will crush whoever gets in my way!" the skeletal Digimon crowed evilly.

"Egocentric much?" Matt stated dryly.

"I think it's time to upgrade," Izzy nodded.

An excited thrill of anticipation shot through Tai. He had been told that while he was in the hospital a younger version of Gennai had arrived and had gifted the Digidestined with a Digicore from Azulongmon that enabled the older kids' Digimon to digivolve to Ultimate again. Everyone had witnessed their partners' higher form when they had traveled around the world. Everyone but him. But now he would finally be able to see MetalGreymon after so long a time.

Wait a moment. Should Greymon even being digivolving in his state?

Tai couldn't just forget about what had happened this morning. Agumon… wasn't well. The Agumon he knew would never have implied a threat like that. A threat he wasn't sure extended to him or to Jun or perhaps both of them.

He recalled a conversation with Izzy when he first got out of the hospital. Izzy had asked a question which had struck him as odd then.

"So you and Agumon have been keeping in steady touch with each other?"

"Yeah, over the phone at least. Why?"

"Has Agumon been acting… abnormally?"

"Abnormal? What do you mean?"

"You know… um, has he… not been himself or not sounded like himself?"

"Izzy, he's still kicking himself for not saving me from DarkTyrannomon any earlier. You'll have to excuse him if he's not as happy-go-lucky as usual. What's this all about?"

"O-of course, you're right. Never mind. It's probably nothing."

Izzy knew something he didn't. Or at least suspected something. He was being left in the dark on purpose.

Tai didn't like being excluded.

"Paildramon digivolve to… Imperialdramon!"

"Yeah, go knock those eighties-reject rocker pants right off that pile of walking bones!" Davis cheered his partner on enthusiastically.

"We have a verdict," Ken joined in, having apparently caught the taunting bug. "You're ugly!"

SkullSatamon seemed impressed. At least he paused his near-invisible strides for one second to do a good glance-over at his adversary's new form. "A mega Digimon? Hmm-hmm! NAIL BONE!"

A blinding beam of golden light erupted from the jewel on SkullSatamon's staff with sizzling force that rendered Imperialdramon immobile beneath a heavy veil of black mist that faded in and out sporadically.

"Unfair, unfair, unfair!" Davis howled doing a little dance of fury. "I'm so giving you a red card!"

"Not a soccer game," Ken muttered under his breath. "Move Imperialdramon!"

"He can't. That attack has some sort of energy that disrupts data and freezes its victim in place," Izzy said doing a quick search on his trusty laptop with the Digimon Analyzer.

"You hear that?" Matt shouted at Garurumon as his digivice glowed a familiar blue color that Tai hadn't seen in years. "Be careful! Try not and get by hit by it!"

"That's easer said than done," the newly evolved WereGarurumon grunted as he tried to outrun SkullSatamon. The wolf Digimon was fast—he could bounce off buildings and leap upwards just as high, but it still wasn't enough.

"NAIL BONE!"

WereGarurumon was slammed through the front windshield of an abandoned car in the middle of the street, his limbs locking up as the attack's special move wreaked havoc on his data.

"My turn!" MegaKabuterimon cried as he fired off a stream of lightning from his horn. "Horn Blaster!"

"Not even close," SkullSatamon sniggered as dodged the blast and it struck the top of the building he had been perched on sending slabs of concrete spiraling downwards.

"Hey, where'd he—?" MegaKabuterimon started, swiveling his head for any sign of the enemy.

"Too slow," SkullSatamon hissed as he slid into focus behind the insectoid Digimon. "NAIL BONE!"

The force of the attack flung MegaKabuterimon forward directly underneath the path of the falling concrete, burying the Digimon under an avalanche of debris.

"Now's my chance!" Greymon roared charging at the foe.

Tai watched as if in slow motion.

oOo

"Has Agumon been acting… abnormally?"

oOo

"She won't take you from me. I won't let her. I promise."

oOo

Narrowed, purposeful green eyes glinting with a smoldering, possessive jealousy.

oOo

Teeth flashing white as lips curled back into a discontented sneer… inches away from his exposed neck.

oOo

A malevolent whisper in his ear. "So fragile. So weak. You humans are pathetic."

oOo

What? Tai seized up at the recollection that seemed to have sprung out of nowhere. Wait, those last two incidents hadn't happened… had they?

His mind felt heavy and numb, like someone had drilled holes through it like swiss cheese and memories had leaked out and vanished.

He looked up through the sea of fog that was swamping his senses and saw Greymon charging forward, a kind of wild, savage joy emblazoned across his face.

Terror rushed up from the pits of Tai's stomach, seized him by the throat and shook him like a rag doll.

"Greymon digivolve to—what?" Greymon roared as his digivolution process failed to come to surface, astonishment overriding the senseless bloodlust that had consumed him enough to halt him in his tracks.

"NAIL BONE!" SkullSatamon cried, hammering down his attack upon the T-Rex's horned-helmet that ploughed him into the ground, the impact shooting a shower of gravel into the air like a geyser.

"Huh? What happened?" Davis questioned turning to see the digivice clenched in a death grip in his sempai's shaking hand, the digivice that was refusing to glow.

"Could it be because Tai wasn't in the room when Gennai gave us the power of the Digicore?" Matt voiced out loud.

"Impossible. Gennai assured me everyone received the energy. It must be another factor that's affecting the equation," Izzy disputed glancing at his friend in consternation. "Tai?"

Tai was partially relieved and horrified at the same time. He didn't know what would have happened if Greymon had digivolved, but it couldn't have been good if he had. For all he knew, SkullGreymon might have even appeared. A violent shudder shook him from head to toe at the thought. No, no, it was better this way.

"Tai…" a low moan issued forth from Greymon's mouth as the dinosaur struggled under the crushing weight of Nail Bone's disrupting data influence. "Whyyyyyy?"

It was the same tone from this morning. Low, grating… bordering on malice. Didn't anyone hear it? Didn't anyone else see the dinosaur's crimson eyes glaring accusingly at him?

This time Tai gave himself no qualms for taking a step backwards from his fallen partner.

It was a move that spoke volumes.

Greymon's eyes widened into slits as he stared in shocked disbelief at him. Then the T-Rex began thrashing about wildly, a tortured roaring bellowed out of his open jaws, the betrayal in it loud enough for all to hear.

"What is wrong with you?" Matt demanded, grabbing a fistful of Tai's shirt. "He's your partner!"

A piercing bird-cry split the air drawing everyone's to the source of the sound. To their left, a brigade of flying Digimon bore towards them on swift wings, Garudamon holding the female Digidestined in her claws as Lilymon, Angewomon and Aquilamon flew alongside her.

The earth shook under the stomping of Ankylomon and Zudomon's feet as they raced towards the group from the right, Angemon flying overhead.

"We're coming!" Cody shouted from his seat behind Ankylomon's shoulders, Joe and T.K. gripping the horn that jutted out of the middle of Digimon's back.

"Don't worry, the girls are here to save the day!" Yolei shrieked waving energetically from Garudamon's claws.

"Be careful, this one isn't like other Digimon!" Ken called out.

"Don't just rush in! You don't know what he's capable of!" Izzy tried to warn them but it was too late.

"NAIL BONE! NAIL BONE! NAIL BONE!"

If Tai had been paying even the most remote attention, he would have probably been amazed at how rapidly SkullSatamon disposed of his new adversaries. He would have heard the girls' frightened screams as Garudamon had to dump her precious cargo in order to avoid them from getting hit by the skeleton Digimon's attack that sapped her energy until she de-digivolved into Biyomon.

Ankylon and Zudomon went sailing across his line of vision both blasted by a now all-too familiar golden light.

The air was soon flooded with explosions, screams, and attack cries. The intersection where everyone had gathered had transformed into a private war-zone.

And Tai could see nothing before him except Greymon who had ceased his mad thrashing and pained roaring and had gone alarmingly still as if he had lost the will to keep on fighting.

Matt still had a firm grasp on his shirt. "Dammit, Tai, I don't know what's wrong, but this is no time to be having some teenage drama or crisis! Where's the guy who told me 'hopelessness is not one of our strong points'? That 'suicidally inclined' was a good term to describe how we never backed down from our enemies no matter how beat up we got? That's the guy who needs to be here now! That's the guy who wouldn't let his own partner down!"

Tai stared at him unblinking, his friends' words appearing to have hit a brick wall.

Matt gave a disgusted snort and shoved him away, racing over to Gabumon whose Ultimate form had been ripped from him when SkullSatamon's Nail Bone attack had dispersed.

Greymon gave a strangled growl as heavy weight of black disruptive energy holding him down at last relinquished its grip on him. And with a flash of orange light, it was Agumon lying in his place unmoving.

This has happened before, was the thought that came to Tai's mind suddenly.

Back when Agumon had been under the influence of the Dark Spiral. His own partner had attacked him numerous times, and yet he hadn't backed away even then. He even recalled Davis trying to hold him back from the fire line.

I knew he was being controlled. I knew what I was up against then, Tai tried to convince himself.

That was no excuse. You didn't desert people you cared about simply because you didn't understand or were scared.

oOo

"You won't lose me, Tai. I'll be here whenever you need me."

"Even when I'm old and grey?"

"Always and forever."

oOo

So he knew something was wrong with Agumon. Help him, don't abandon him. What was he doing? What was he doing?

The cold chains binding him in place with fear snapped and shattered as he rushed to his partner's side.

"Agumon!" he cried throwing himself down beside the small dinosaur and picking his battered and bruised body up in his arms.

"T-Tai," Agumon whispered, green eyes crackling open slightly. "Am I dying?"

"What do you mean?" Now a different fear was overwhelming Tai at the Digimon's question.

"I don't know what dying feels like, but it must be what I'm feeling now," Agumon said, his body quivering all over. "You d-don't … want me anymore."

"That's not true!" Tai exclaimed appalled at the idea. This was all his fault for not acting sooner. He should have told Izzy about what had happened this morning. He shouldn't have let fear guide him like a mindless puppet.

"I'm sorry… I'm not s-strong anymore, Tai," Agumon gasped as a rainbow-colored radiance seeped out of his skin.

For one heart-stopping moment, he thought Agumon was being deleted… until he watched the glittering colors merge into an arrow that sped through the air followed by several others of the same radiance by the rest of the Digidestined's Digimon all with the same mark in mind: the frozen Imperialdramon.

The mega Digimon's eyes glowed red as a new digivolution path was unlocked inside him.

"It's… all I can do," Agumon said as sagged weakly in Tai's arms. "I can't even protect you anymore."

oOo

"I've become completely useless!"

oOo

"I don't want to live without you."

oOo

A faint glimmer of understanding filtered its way through Tai's mind. It may have not solved the whole puzzle, but it was a key piece in figuring it out.

"Agumon, listen to me!" Tai cried clutching him tightly, pressing his face to the crook between the small dinosaur's neck and shoulders. "I don't know where humans go when they die! I don't know when I'm going to die, alright? But I do know you'll be with me until the end. Because you're my partner! Because I love you! Because I'll always love you no matter what happens to either of us!"

Beneath him, Agumon had gone silent and still.

"Agum—?"

"I don't… feel very good, Tai," was the oddly subdued response he received before Agumon lurched violently, his entire body convulsing into spasms as a loud, gurgling sound bubbled up from his belly, to his throat, then exploded from his mouth in the shape of what resembled writhing, oozing black tar.

Tai stared at the dark mass that was wriggling like an upturned roly-poly on the pavement before him no bigger than a small rain puddle.

Was that what had been making Agumon act strange? What in the world was it?

"GET AWAY FROM THAT!" He heard Ken shout with horrified, panicked urgency.

The writhing black mass curled outward in a vicious arc towards its two closest targets in the manner that a parasite seeks out its host to survive.

Tai felt something wrap around his legs, coil up around his waist, binding his arms that held Agumon to him close to his chest. It happened so suddenly he didn't even have time to struggle and then they were being pulled backwards, the world flashing past at a speed so dizzying Tai had to shut his eyes.

"Positron Laser!" Imperialdramon's voice rang out.

Even through his closed eyelids, the brilliance of the attack flared a searing white.

"Someone better catch theeem!" an exhausted, raspy voice cried out.

Tai crashed into what felt like a pile of bodies that softened his impact. Dazed, he opened his eyes to find himself spread out over Matt and Joe, his arms holding Agumon to his chest, and staring up at a blue sky that a towering dragon-type mecha with crimson wings was silhouetted against.

He was vaguely aware of a clamor of voices asking if he was alright, of being pushed upright and Joe gently applying pressure points to his spine in a swift check-up, of the green vines disentangling themselves from around his and Agumon's bodies and retreating back into Palmon's outstretched hands.

There was a gaping crater where he and Agumon had been scant seconds before. The writhing black mass was nowhere in sight.

Neither was SkullSatamon.

"Did it touch you?" Ken demanded as he sprinted over, pushing the others aside.

"N-no," Tai stuttered as he tried to regain control of his tongue.

"Are you sure?" Ken pressed his complexion having turned a pasty white.

"I t-think so."

"It's cool, Ken. Imperialdramon nailed that black goo just like SkullSatamon, right?" Davis said coming up behind his friend, giving a thumbs up to the dragon-type mecha in the background.

Imperialdramon in his brand new form gave a salute back to the boy with one claw before de-digivolving and separating back into Wormmon and Veemon.

"What… was that?" Tai asked, his mind still reeling in shock. "Why was it in Agumon?"

He glanced down at his partner slumped over limply in his arms. He wasn't sure if the Digimon was unconscious or resting, but he took comfort in the small movement of the dinosaur's chest rising and falling in succession as he breathed.

Above his head, the other Digidestined were talking, flinging theories around, saying things that didn't make sense whatsoever.

"It was the Virus that was inside DarkTyrannomon, wasn't it?" Izzy's voice.

"Didn't Agumon destroy it?" Kari.

"I only said that he could fight the Virus more easily, not destroy it. Usually, if the Virus is overcome, it remains in the host harmless." Gatomon.

"I see. Sort of like how humans are immunized against diseases like giving them a tiny part of it like the flu vaccine." Izzy again.

"Sometimes though, negative emotion triggers the Virus into another attempt to take over." Gatomon.

"It probably wasn't a good choice to keep him physically apart from Tai for so long." Joe.

"What are you guys talking about?" Tai asked in an all-too calm voice that reflected the complete opposite of what he was feeling at the moment.

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds before Izzy spoke up hesitantly.

"That night at Matt's concert… after you lost consciousness… there was a side effect from Agumon fighting DarkTyrannomon…"

Tai took in the whole story with tact reserve. He couldn't suppress the tremors of anger at the end though.

"You should have told me," he said thickly, finding it hard to swallow suddenly. "I had the right to know."

In his arms, Agumon stirred sluggishly. "…sorry… Tai," he murmured. "I said… horrible things…"

"No, that wasn't you. And what I did was worse," Tai remarked, his grip on his partner tightening in remembrance. "I'm sorry… for failing you like that. I'll never do it again."

"Listen…" Izzy said tentatively breaking the spell. "I know it's a bad time to mention this right now, but the reason us older kids' Digimon de-digivolved wasn't entirely from SkullSatamon's Nail Bone attack. They've been in the real world too long. They need to go back or…"

"Or what?" Tai inquired when Izzy didn't continue. "Go on and say it. Or else they'll become unstable and neurotic like Agumon, is that it?"

"Tai!" Kari gasped.

"I'm only saying what everyone is thinking: that DarkTyrannomon's Virus only sped up the process, am I right?"

"No one is thinking that, Tai!" Izzy snapped. "It's just the simple fact of the matter: they need to return to the Digital World to regain their energy."

"I won't go," Agumon stated, refusing point-blank.

"Agumon," Tai trailed off, not sure what he was about to say.

"No, no, no, no, no, no!" Agumon chanted throwing a Digimon tantrum and shaking his head in vehement denial.

"It'll only be for a few days," Izzy tried to placate him.

"No, I won't go!" Agumon repeated, his voice cracking in distress. "The gateway will lock shut and it'll be years before I see Tai again or he might even be gone by the time it re-opens!"

"You don't know if that's for sure—"

But there was no arguing with the small dinosaur.

"You can't make me!" Agumon snarled so ferociously that Izzy stumbled backwards from him in alarm.

Tai realized the truth in Izzy's words when a familiar orange-gold light enveloped the dinosaur and left a bedraggled-looking pink head in his stead.

Koromon began to cry—a miserable and unceasing wail that couldn't be reasoned with.

"Don't send me away, Tai," he sobbed, fat teardrops leaking out of his eyes and dripping down his long, dangling ears. "Don't leave me again."

Tai looked up at Izzy helplessly, not knowing what to do.

"Really," Izzy said, straightening his turtleneck collar. "There's no need for such melodrama. Look, if Tai goes back with you, would you please reconsider?"

"But what if the gateway really does lock shut again?" Kari asked.

Great. Now his sister was worried.

"Look, Gennai said nothing about the gate closing abruptly, so I highly doubt that. Plus, it didn't lock permanently last time until we had defeated the Dark Masters. We still have Arukeniemon, Mummymon as well as these new Digimon that have appeared to take care of. I think we're in the clear for a while."

"How long would it be?" Tai asked quietly.

Koromon's sobs trickled into a muffled hiccupping at his question.

"Just for the weekend at the shortest, that's all," Izzy swore.

"Tai shouldn't be going there while his back is still healing," Joe frowned, ever the doctor. "Not alone at least. I'd go with him, but I have cram school that I can't afford to miss."

"Wait, he's going a whole weekend in the Digital World without homework?" Yolei seemed aghast at the thought.

"Lucky," Davis stated enviously.

"It can't be helped then. I'll go with him," Izzy volunteered, lifting the top of his laptop up.

"What? Right now?" Tai asked. Everything was happening too fast.

"Just the other Digimon for now," Izzy said. "We'll head over to my place for supplies first."

Koromon latched his ears around Tai's neck and clung tightly to him as Gabumon, Biyomon, Tentomon, Gomamon and Palmon vanished into the screen as if he were to let go, he'd be sucked in as well.

Tai placed a hand on top of the shivering Digimon in an effort to console him, Jun's bracelet jingling as the sun glinted off the silver charms.

He watched as Davis' eyes grew impossibly round as he stared in recognition at the bracelet hanging off his sempai's wrist. He could practically hear the gears in the boy's head whirring as they made the connection between his wearing of such a girlish accessory and Jun's behavior that morning Davis had spoken of earlier.

"Well, that's that," Izzy was saying as he packed up his computer. "We'd better get a move on before it gets late since the real world and Digital World share the same time."

"One of our Digimon could fly you home," Kari offered still looking concerned.

"That's a negative," Izzy declined. "They'll need to save their energy for future battles. I take it neither of your groups defeated their opponent since they arrived here so quick?"

There was a sheepish collection of shaking heads.

"I hate that LadyDevimon!" Mimi burst out turning pink in the face with unbridled fury. "She's such an ugly witch!"

"What happened?" Joe asked curiously.

Mimi's response was to scream and stomp her foot on the ground repeatedly as if she were imaging it were LadyDevimon's face.

"LadyDevimon seems to like insulting her opponents more than fighting them," Sora whispered to him from behind her hand. "She called Lilymon a 'fat-assed sugarplum fairy' and Mimi an 'undercooked Strawberry Shortcake'."

Jun's favorite nickname for Mimi fell upon Tai's ears so familiarly, he almost looked around for her. He tried to choke down the mad laughter that threatened to flow from his throat until he was doubled over wheezing for air. It was too funny and ironic—too bad they others weren't in on the joke.

"I think it'd be best if we leave right now," Izzy said casting an apprehensive eye on him.

"Yeah, that might be a good idea," Joe agreed. "You could catch the monorail—it's closer than the subway from here."

Great. Now they all thought he was going psycho as well.

"Davis," Tai said hoarsely as everyone was departing, catching the boy as he was turning to leave so it was just the two of them alone for the moment. "Take care of your sister. And tell her… tell her I'll be back. I promise."

Davis fidgeted where he stood, his face flaming an uncharacteristic pink as he avoided his sempai's eyes.

"Davis."

"Alright, I'll tell her!" Davis shouted. "Geez, sempai, what were you thinking? You could do so much better!" the boy whirled fast on his heel and raced off, the pink in his cheeks having all but turned to red.

"That's where you're wrong," Tai whispered gazing down at Koromon in his arms who was dozing fitfully using his chest as a pillow. "I think she could do better than me."

Because he was certain if given the opportunity, Jun would never have treated her own partner like he had this day.

oOo

Tai's Haiku Corner

Falling prey to fear
Backing out when you need me
Unforgivable.

To Be Continued…

A/N: Definition of Japanese terms below:

Yandere: Japanese term for a person who is initially very loving and gentle to someone before their devotion becomes destructive in nature, often through violence.

I wanted this chapter to blow people's minds. Did it? I would lolololol, but not sure if my goal was obtained. 'Cause really, fluff and humor are yummilicious but angst puts meat on your bones, yar! So here, you underfed chickadees, have some plot. It makes you grow strong and healthy. The angsty plot cake does exists and you shall eat it, I say, muwahahahahaha! X3 Ahem, sorry, never mix soda and coffee. Not that I did. But never drink them at the same time as well either.

Some of you may have noticed some similarities with this chapter and my fic Reboot. I did steal a little bit of plotage from there. If you think the Virus here resembled a chibi Miasmamon, you're right. It wasn't Miasmamon, but it was what Miasmamon was composed up of: dark, negative energy. Miasmamon in my mind was a Digimon based on nothing but hundreds of Viruses collected into one being. I always wondered why some Virus types were so evil (i.e. Myotismon) while others surprised me when I learned they were a Virus (i.e. Wormmon). In any case, I have to assume there is a very basic form that a Virus takes without a host. I tried to portray it here. I'll go into this more next chapter. And for those who may be wondering why Daemon hasn't showed up or Ken being kidnapped yet, AUs do tend to change events a little. It'll probably happen a little later in the storyline than the show.

Songs I listened to while writing this: "Falling Down" by Oasis. "Boulevard of Flashing Lights" by Party Ben and Oasis. "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. "Planterium" (the Hana Yori Dango version) by Ai Otsuka. Oh yeah, angsty songs. Good times. I really suggest re-reading the scenes with one of those. It tears you up. The first two are good for reading the beginning and battle scenes, while the last two are good for right after Tai realizes what a giant douche he was being. (I also listened to "Poor Unfortunate Souls" the Little Mermaid version too). *bluuuuush*

Next chapter: guess who shows up? Dun, dun, duuuuuuuun!

P.S. I know people can't wait until everyone finds out bout Tai and Jun. It shall be of epic proportion, kekeke! Davis won't tell because he considers the whole thing to be downright embarrassing.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this! Please review and share your thoughts and favorite scenes. I love hearing what you liked best and it's the only reward a fanfic author gets. I like knowing what my readers think and feel. Thank you!^^

On to the next chapter Tidal Wave

 

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