Episode 27: Second Chances

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“Stop fussing.”

James grimaced, hearing Odocomon’s voice chiding him from the passenger seat of his car, but he ignored her all the same, glancing in the rear view mirror again. He had been doing so, checking his hair kind of obsessively all day, checking his reflection in mirrors and windows. To make sure nothing was out of place. Normally he wouldn’t have cared. But he was trying to make an impression and it had been a long time since he had actually put any effort into his appearance.

“Does it look okay?” He asked anxiously.

Odocomon smiled at him gently. “It looks fine. Just like when you asked me twenty minutes ago.”

James smiled sheepishly. He ran his hands around the steering wheel of his truck and glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It felt like time had slowed down intensely today, despite James’ best attempts to find something to do to occupy his time. He was waiting for Frankie’s classes to let out. He had decided to try and see if there was still... something. If he hadn’t completely blown his chance, and considering their first date had started with her telling him they were going on one, James decided to try that tactic too.

It had worked on him. Hopefully it would have the same effect on Frankie.

That is, he had felt it was a good idea up until a few hours ago. At which point butterflies had accosted his stomach and buzzed so much it made him feel physically ill. Odocomon, of course, said he was being foolish and that if he backed out he would regret it. But despite her support James had still paced a lot around his truck before getting in and driving to the college.

“Her class will be letting out soon.” Odocomon informed James, snapping him from his stupor. He had been running has hands around the wheel of his truck so much that the palms of his hands were slightly blackened.

James cursed noticing this and debating how to clean them, settling to wiping them on the driver’s seat. Odocomon laughed to herself, pausing for a moment. “Oh look, is that Hunter?” James followed her gaze.

“He’s probably here to pick up Piper.” Explained James. He paused, debating getting out and approaching the other boy. A small thought prevented him and he turned to Odocomon. “You’re okay with this, right?”

“Me?” Odocomon looked at him, quirking an eyebrow. “Why should my opinion matter?”

James sighed. “After everything that happened. I don’t want to do anything that’s going to upset you. And I know you’re not Frankie’s number one fan. Or Siberimon’s for that matter.”

“Oh,” Odocomon smiled a bit, “it’s fine. It’s not that I dislike Frankie, I suppose I was threatened. It has been you and I for so long... I felt like she was stepping into my territory without so much as a by-your-leave.”

“And now?” James eyed her seriously.

Odocomon remained quiet for a few moments, appearing to think what she was about to say over very seriously. “Now, I don’t feel that way. I have accepted that there will be other women in your life... and I am all right with that. After all, we have a slightly different bond.”

“Okay.” James rubbing her ears affectionately. “Just checking.”

“I appreciate your concern.” Odocomon replied, before James tapped a few buttons on his D-Touch and she evaporated into it with a haze of purple light.

Slipping his D-Touch into his pocket, James climbed out of the truck cab, his trainers crunching on the ground. He slammed the door, louder than he anticipated, locked it and walked the short distance around from the car park to where the quad was. Students milled about, in groups and alone, and a few sat on the grass in study groups or just catching some of the sunshine before they went home or were called to class. It was early evening, so most students had disappeared. Those that were left probably had late running classes. Frankie and Piper were both taking extra classes over the summer, to make up for what they had missed fighting Digimon all the time.

James made a mental note to pick up some information about the college and what was taught, or to pick Frankie’s brain about it. He had been putting serious thought into going back to school now that he didn’t have to work. A freedom he was enjoying, but also one he found left him without much to do anymore. He needed something to fill his time, and because he had been forced to drop out initially to help with his family, going back had been on James’ mind for a while now.

Rounding a corner which led onto a path towards the main entrance, James noticed Hunter standing, talking amiably to a couple of girls. James walked towards them, wondering whether to wave or not. After all he didn’t know Hunter that well, they’d not really spoken much and James didn’t know what Hunter’s stance on him was. Or even what he felt towards Hunter.

However, the grey haired youth spotted him and smiled, nodding his head in greeting. James got within ear shot and stuffed his hands in his pockets. The girls Hunter had been talking to wandered off a few seconds later.

“Friends of yours?” James asked, decided it was probably best to stick to lame, unobtrusive questions.

Hunter shrugged. “Nah. Some girls who were asking for directions in a lame ruse to pass on a number.”

“You’re not going to call it...?”

“No.” Hunter shook his head, and scrunched up the piece of paper in his hand. “Nice hair.” He commented. James ruffled his now much shorter hair self consciously.

“Thanks.” He grinned a little. “I felt it was time for a change.”

Hunter nodded sagely, shuffling his hands into his pockets and looking back at the main entrance door which opened occasionally to let students out. James leaned against the railing. Obviously the conversation was now over, or so he thought until Hunter cleared his throat loudly.

“You waiting for Frankie?” He asked. Nice, simple, unobtrusive questions. Just like what James was sticking to.

“Yeah, there’s a carnival in town, I thought I’d take her.” James explained.

“Huh, tell me what it’s like. I was thinking of taking Piper this weekend.” Hunter half-smiled. “Great minds.”

“You’re waiting for Piper?” Obvious question. And the answer was equally as obvious, but James felt like he should keep the conversation going, if only to fill the uneasy silence that there would have been if the two of them didn’t talk.

“Yup. She wants to cook me dinner.” Hunter laughed to himself. “Christ knows why.”

James smiled a little. “You’re kind of an outsider, right?” James asked suddenly, the question that had been sitting at the back of his mind beating at his brain to be asked.

Hunter’s expression changed, confused first and then it hardened a little. “Yes...” He replied warily.

“Well I wanted to ask... you were there when Bella... what’s your opinion? On what I did?”

Hunter shrugged. “Why does my opinion matter? You didn’t cause me any personal anguish. I thought it was pretty stupid... no one should ever enter agreements with my mother – believe me I should know – but I understand the reasons behind what you did.”

“So... you think it was the right thing to do?”

Hunter opened his mouth and then paused, as if rethinking what he initially wanted to say. “Why are you asking me?”

“Because-”

“Because it’s easier to hear this from someone you don’t know well, right?” Hunter interjected.


James went to reply but stopped himself. Hunter was right, he had believed it would be easier to hear an evaluation from Hunter, someone James had barely spoken two words to until now. Than from someone else, like Tom, or Reyez or Frankie.

Hunter sighed loudly. “Look, what I think doesn’t matter. You messed up, but you’re only human and you were trying to do what was best for your family. I can appreciate that, and so does everyone else. That doesn’t make what you did right, though.”

“I know...”

“What you did was stupid, and people are mad at you, and it will be hard to regain their trust and friendship – especially people like Reyez – but it’s not impossible.” Hunter shrugged. “Just give them some time to work it out. It may involve being yelled at, getting punched or smacked around the face a couple of times... but it’s not like you don’t deserve it.”

“I...” James trailed, what could he say? Hunter was right, after all. He would have to wait until everyone else was ready to forgive him, and just try and make amends as best as he could until that time.

Hunter nodded again, exhaled and leaned back against the wall falling silent. Obviously that was the end of their conversation so James tried his best to relax, folding his arms loosely to wait for Frankie to appear. He hated how his stomach was turning all over again, and that his palms were uncharacteristically sweaty, and that no matter how many times he wiped them on his pants, they remained damp. James muttered and cursed under his breath. Surely Frankie’s class must have let out now.

Finally James heard the bell ring from inside the building, and soon after the hammer of feet and murmur of voices growing louder. He retreated away from the steps towards where Hunter stood. James was willing to bet that Frankie would probably come out with Piper anyway.

Students milled past them in one big herd. Piper and Frankie in the midst, weaving through the moving student body to get to a safe spot so Piper could organize her bag. On seeing Frankie, James almost decided to turn tail and retreat, but was stopped when Hunter shoved him in the back forcefully as he walked towards the girls. James’ feet moved of their own accord and he was suddenly frozen a few feet in front of Frankie and Piper.

James swallowed noisily, trying to speak and finding that all he could make were incoherent noises.

“What brings you here?” Frankie started the ball rolling. James wished Piper and Hunter would leave, simply because they were just standing there watching himself and Frankie like it was some morbidly interesting sport.

It really was nothing to do with them.

“James~” Frankie waved her hand in front of his face. “Oh! Your hair!” She noticed, and had her fingers all running through it suddenly. “It’s so short!”

James finally found his voice. “Do you like it? I thought it was a little too short.”

“It looks great!” Frankie said exuberantly. “It’s just the right length. Makes you look very manly.” She teased him, dropping her fingers out of his hair and to her purse. “So what-“

“Frank,” Piper interjected, “Hunter and I are taking off.”

“Okay.” Frankie confirmed and waved. “See you later.”

James felt his spirits fall a little. “You have plans with Piper later tonight?”

“Hmm~?” Frankie turned back to him. “Oh, no. Not tonight. This weekend. I wouldn’t want to be a third wheel in that relationship.” She jerked her thumb at the departing pair. “No, tonight I am all on my lonesome.”

“Well... maybe I could rectify that.” James said, hesitating a little as Frankie’s eyebrow twitched questioningly. “What I mean is... is that... well I thought we could go on a date. Again.” Frankie’s mouth moved but no sound came out, but the tiniest glimmer of a grin was enough to give James a minor confidence boost. “There’s a carnival in town, and I know that you like that kind of thing... I thought it’d be fun. Head over there for a bit, and then once we’ve had enough to making ourselves sick on rides, we could grab some food at a restaurant. Your choice.”

“My choice?” Frankie questioned.

“Sure.”

“So... I ask to go anywhere, and you won’t complain about price?”

“That’s what ‘your choice’ means.” James clarified, grinning.

Frankie laughed to herself. “I like the sound of this plan! But first I need to head home and change, ‘kay?”

“Sure, I’ll give you a lift.”

-----------------------------

James had been to Frankie’s apartment a few times before, but not recently. She had changed things around a little. Moved the furniture in the lounge to make it seem larger, and it all seemed much neater. Her mother being around had obviously been an influence, or at least that’s what James was willing to put the changes and tidiness down to.

He had always liked Frankie’s apartment, it was cozy, and felt lived in. It had all its own little touches, little things that Frankie had done or added that made it feel like a home, rather than just as somewhere to live. There were pictures on every available surface. Some of their group, some of her with her family, some of Frankie with friends James didn’t know. A couple of just Frankie and Eva, a couple of Siberimon in various forms. It was neat too, in an organized chaos kind of way. Whatever Frankie was looking for, she could find it – even if no one else could. Which was why James made the effort not to move anything or touch anything.

He lazed in the lounge with Odocomon and a glass of water, watching the television, waiting for Frankie who had had a short shower and was now changing in her room.

Siberimon sat on Frankie’s bed glaring at her, silently judging while she flitted around her bedroom looking for clothes, holding them up to her to look at them in the mirror. Most of the clothes were tossed somewhere when she decided she didn’t like them, the few she was considering landed on the bed beside Siberimon.

“You can stop glaring. I know you don’t approve.”

“No, I don’t not approve.” Siberimon replied stonily. “I really don’t approve. Frankie, are you insane?! After everything he’s done? After what happened? How he betrayed us? Betrayed you, without any explanation?”

“Siberimon...” Frankie said wearily. She had heard this so many times from the tiger Digimon, that she could probably repeat it all word-for-word. Any time, over the past few months that she had mentioned James, Siberimon had gone into a tirade about how James wasn’t worth the brain power of thinking about, that what he had done was unforgivable and that he, Siberimon, wouldn’t be letting him off lightly for his behavior, if ever. Siberimon’s abject distain for James was becoming rather tiresome if Frankie was honest.

“I think this is a huge mistake.” Siberimon said loudly. “What would your mother say?”

Frankie rubbed her fingers across her temple. “Mom told me to give it another shot, remember? She said not to write him off. Yes, I know he betrayed us. But he came back, just like I knew he would. And he had a valid reason for changing sides as far as I’m concerned. Besides, he’s trying.”

“Not trying hard enough, if you ask me.”

“Well, no one did.” Frankie snapped, finally coming to the end of her patience. “All you have ever done, since James and I started seeing each other, is rage about how he’s not good enough for me, or how he’s bad. This, that and the other. Now normally I take your opinion on board, but I would really, really appreciate it if you could butt out of this one. I want this to work. I think it can.”

Siberimon opened and closed his mouth a few times, his ears flattening on to his head while he scrunched up his face, his expression a mixture of hurt and irritation. “Fine, I won’t give my opinion when you’re obviously more than capable of making your own choices.”

“Siberimon...”

“No, no.” The Digimon interrupted dramatically. “Please forgive me for just wanting to protect you.”

“It’s not that, Siberimon... it’s not that I don’t appreciate your input but... like I said, I want this to work. And with you constantly bitching about how James is bad for me, and about his betrayal – sticking to the past – it’s hard.”

Siberimon replied, “Hmph.” Sliding off the bed where he had been sitting. He went to the door as Frankie continued to speak to him.

“Besides I think James has beaten himself up enough.” Frankie added.

As Siberimon closed the door briskly on her, Frankie sighed and turned back to the clothes she had discarded.

Siberimon fled into the living room and then in to the kitchen, grumbling the entire time. James was engrossed, watching the news on the television, listening for reports of more Digimon attacks as had become his nightly ritual; he didn’t notice when Odocomon stood up and followed the other Digimon to the kitchen, where she found him with his face flat against the fridge door.

“That’s how Persian cats get those flat faces then, is it?” Odocomon joked, alerting Siberimon to her presence. Siberimon’s face turned towards her, sour with distaste and annoyance.

“What do you want? Come to gloat?” He asked harshly.

Odocomon twisted her head to one side. “What do I have to gloat about? Please inform me and I shall.”

Siberimon hissed. “Don’t play dumb. Why aren’t you more upset about this? I thought you hated James being with Frankie as much as I did.”

“Ah.” Odocomon breathed, understanding now why the tiger Digimon was in such a way. “I... did use to dislike the idea.” She paused thoughtfully. “Nearly dying tends to give you a little bit of a different perspective.”

“Pft.” Siberimon waved a paw at her dismissively.

Undeterred, Odocomon continued. “I had spent so much time not liking James’ growing romance with Frankie, complaining about it, and about her that I think it contributed to the bond between James and I breaking. I realized it’s not worth the fighting. He likes her, cares for her. She makes him happy... and that in turn makes me happy. And surely that’s a good thing, seeing your tamer happy? Even you wouldn’t deny Frankie that.”

“I wouldn’t deny her happiness with someone else.”

“James is a good person. Despite what he did.” Odocomon replied calmly. “I know you may not see it now, but it’s the truth.”

“You’d defend him if he robbed a bank.” Siberimon retorted.


“And you wouldn’t do the same for Frankie?” Odocomon returned. “Consider it, Siberimon. Why does it make you angry that Frankie wants to be happy with James? Is it because of what he did... or a personal grudge? Whichever it is, I think it would be prudent of you to get over it, and fast. Because I don’t think even a freight train could stop this now.”

Siberimon looked past her, into the living room where he saw James and Frankie chatting comfortably. They were waiting for him and Odocomon obviously, but it was clear in their body language that despite everything, Frankie still cared for James. And vice versa. It was too obvious to ignore. He sighed loudly, and followed the deer Digimon into the lounge.

“You two finished?” Frankie asked cheerfully. She had changed from what she wore at college that day into something more suitable for the carnival atmosphere, a pair of denim short-shorts, and a white t-shirt, cut half way that fell off one shoulder.

“We were just setting some things straight.” Odocomon explained, looking back over her shoulder at the sulking Siberimon.

“Okay.” James exchanged glances with Frankie, who shrugged. “Let’s go.”

-----------------------------

It was just gone seven thirty by the time James and Frankie arrived at the carnival, their Digimon safely stowed in their D-Touches. James had parked his truck a few blocks away in the only area he could find a space. The carnival was in full swing, with people and families bustling about talking loudly over the noises from games and rides.

The area didn’t seem to have much order to it. There was a central pathway which split the carnival area in two. Littered around were stalls with games, like hook-a-duck and shooting ranges. There were about eight rides in all, lit up by Christmas trees manned by a few people. A Ferris wheel stood in the centre of it all, towering over the rest of the carnival. Frankie had noticed as they had walked from the truck. James felt Frankie’s hand around his tighten, her expression was that of pure excitement, like a kid opening presents. She was elated.

“What do you want to do first? Couple of rides or...?” James left the question open and he noticed Frankie staring off into the distance at a shooting gallery around which there was a small crowd. She wasn’t so much staring at the gallery, more the giant Winnie the Pooh plush dangling from the canopy. James tugged her hand, leading the way, weaving expertly through the throngs of people towards the shooting gallery.

James had never shot a gun, real or fake, in his life. He was sure someone like Reyez would be better at things like this, but he decided to try it anyway. The stall handler put a box of pellets in front of James, and showed him how to load the air rifle. He informed him how the game worked. That at the other side of the stall, about ten feet away was a box with five small, tin men standing up. James had to shoot them all down to win a small prize. If he kept playing he could accumulate wins and get something larger.

“James, it’s okay. I can live without it.” Frankie explained, as James paid for his fourth round of pellets. He was doing better than he had anticipated and had already built up three wins. He had discovered, fairly quickly, that the rifle he was using veered wildly to the left.

“You want it, right?” James asked, firmly.

Frankie glanced at the Pooh Bear plush above her. “Yeah... I guess.” Frankie admitted in a small voice.

“Then let me win it for you.” Replied James. He smiled and retook aim. Five minutes later and another three wins had been accumulated. And James was now letting Frankie have a go, handing her the rifle. He leaned on the counter, watching. She hooked it into her shoulder, tilted her head to one side peering through the view.

She fired, recoiled from the force of the gun, and missed the little tin man. James grinned.

“Oh, shut up.” Frankie chided. She retook hold on the gun and aimed again.

“Can I make a suggestion?”

Frankie sent James a dry look.

“Hold your breath when you pull the trigger.” He said, and went silent, watching again. Frankie seemed to take his advice. She somewhat relaxed her grip on the barrel of the rifle, and let her wrist go limp. She breathed slowly, taking her time to line up the shot and aim. The temperature had risen for the evening, James noticed it now more than ever as a tiny bead of sweat formed on Frankie’s brown and made its way down her face and neck, followed by James’ gaze in some kind of trance.

When she finally pulled the trigger, James lost balance on the counter and smashed his jaw against the it, before he hit the ground.

“James!” Frankie squeaked, practically chucking the rifle on the counter and squatting to check he was all right. “What happened?”

James grinned foolishly. “Lost my balance.” He admitted. Frankie helped him up, and James steadied himself. “Hey! You took one down!” He pointed, and where five tin men had stood before, there were now four. Frankie cheered for herself.

A short while later, they left the shooting range, Frankie clutching an over-sized Winnie the Pooh plushie to her chest.

“I’m amazed you didn’t give up.” Frankie admitted. They had stopped for drinks. “I would have gotten so frustrated!”

James shrugged a shoulder. “It wasn’t that hard once I got into it. Kind of fun, actually. I don’t think I would be that good if the targets weren’t stationary though.”

Frankie laughed, and patted her new toy fondly. “Well, this will have to have pride of place on my bed somewhere.”

“And there’ll still be room for you?”

“Just about.” Frankie retorted.

They spent a good hour or so wandering around the attractions, taking part in some of the smaller stalls and games, and enjoying a couple of the rides on offer; the bumper cars proved entertaining as James’ car refused to go any other direction but backwards. After a short break back to the truck to deposit Frankie’s new plush, they returned, and queued for the Ferris wheel which had been the busy main attraction all evening.

Each seat could fit four people, but Frankie and James were given one to themselves, strapped in and waited for the wheel to begin turning as they moved each time someone new exited and entered. The wheel itself rose at least twenty meters into the air, revealing an impressive view over the lower Downtown.

James felt relaxed, more relaxed than he had felt for some time. He leaned back in the seat, resting his hands in his lap and watching the world go by as the wheel did turns, slowly. Frankie sat beside him, seemingly content. But she fidgeted, moved a lot, kept toying with her hair and the hem of her shirt.

“We should probably talk.” James admitted finally. It was a thing he had been trying to avoid. He had hoped that he and Frankie would go back to how things had been. To a nice comfortable, easy relationship that worked for them both. And although today, this evening had felt nice and easy, a throw back to that, a lot had changed between them and around them, which meant they needed to evaluate things, each other. Their relationship.

If there was one there.

“We don’t have to.” Frankie replied hurriedly. “I mean, why do we have to talk about it? What good is it going to do? I like you, you like me. That’s good enough right?”

“Frankie,” James spoke gently, taking Frankie’s hands in his own. “Things have happened and we haven’t really been able to talk about them. If this... if we’re going to work, we need to.”

“I don’t want to.”

James nudged her forehead. “It’ll do you good. You can say whatever you want. I won’t be offended, or mad. I’ll undoubtedly deserve everything you say. So come on, tell me. Anything.”

Frankie retreated a little bit on the seat, She kept her hands in James’, something he took as a good sign at least. But she pursed her lips and her eyebrows furrowed. She looked hardened, like she was arguing internally with what she wanted to say.

“When you...” she paused, “I was...” Frankie paused again, huffing her hair out of her face and scrunching her eyes up. “I understand why, I do. But I was still angry. I think I still am, a little.”

“I can understand that.” James admitted, leaning forward on the protective bar which kept them from falling out.

“I know your family comes first, but what made me maddest is that you didn’t talk to us. Or tell us. Or me about everything or anything.”

“Ms. Lynn had just died.”

“I know.” Frankie said quickly. “But what’s the point of a relationship if the two people in it are going to keep things from each other? I know it was just after Ms. Lynn had died, and I wasn’t very receptive or... anything, but you could have told me. I would have listened, but you didn’t. You bottled it all up again.”

“Again?”

“The Digital World? Where you exploded at everyone.”

“Oh.”

Frankie pursed her lips. “It’s hard to be with someone who keeps their cards so close to their chest. Y’know? I don’t expect, or want you to share everything, but when it’s stuff that brings you down as far as taking help from Bella Divine... then you should tell someone, and Odocomon doesn’t count.”

“Okay.”

“And I got mad at how proud you were. Not proud of changing sides, but you let your pride stop you from coming back to us originally. We knew you didn’t want to work with Rose, or Bella. It was so obvious, but you didn’t tell us, or let us know.”

“I didn’t think any of you would want anything to do with me anymore. Not if you were as disgusted with myself as I was.” James admitted. “And I wanted to talk. I wanted to tell you guys everything. To make it right somehow, but the longer I stayed away, the more it felt like nothing I could do would rectify what I’d done. I don’t really think I’ll ever repair some of the friendships I’ve damaged.”

“With time, you might.” Frankie amended. “I understand, probably because I knew more of what was going on, so it’s easier for me to forgive. But the others, you kept them in the dark. I know you’re a private person, but when a choice like that is going to affect us all – you can’t keep everything to yourself. It’s just not right.”

“So, you forgive me? Cause right now, that’s my main concern.” James explained, glancing over at Frankie.

“I’m not angry with you anymore.” Frankie said, raising a shoulder in a shrug. “So yes, I suppose, I do forgive you.”

“Well that’s one less thing for me to worry about.” James found himself smiling wryly. “One down, four to go.”

Frankie reached across and patted James’s hand lightly. “Things will work out. You’ll s-“ Frankie cut off into a scream, her hands suddenly gripping to the safety handlebar of the Ferris wheel. James replicated her hold, gritting his teeth. Below them more screams erupted from other riders and revelers enjoying the carnival.

The Ferris wheel shook again, violently as if being attacked by a terrible strong wind, though there was none. The wheel had stopped turning, James and Frankie were about half way down, and both peered over the sides of their seating to see what was happening. The ground was amass with creatures, scurrying and scuttling around and through the crowds where people ran, like scared rabbits in all directions.

“Is that...?” James’s eyes opened wider.

“They’re Knaagdimon.” Frankie answered. At least four or five were amassing people, shooting out noxious fumes from their mouths and creating more panic. There was a leader this time though. Not just the group of patchy skinned brown Knaagdimon, but a lead one. Much larger this time, with metal armor covering its front and back legs. Its front teeth protruded further from its mouth, dripping with some kind of green liquid, while from its back, and running down its tail, there were vibrant orange spikes poking out of naked skin and filthy grey fur. “This is...”

“We have to get down.” James explained.

“What?!”

“We can’t let them ruin everything and attack everyone.” James was already clambering out of his seat, looking for an easy way down.

“I’m not climbing down.” Frankie protested.

“It’s either that, or stay up here.”

“I can’t climb down.” She indicated to her high heels. James grimaced. The Ferris wheel shook as a couple of the Knaagdimon began to attempt to climb up the metal struts. Screams echoed up from the other seats. James gripped onto the safety bar. “James, get back in here!” Frankie yelled.

James decided climbing down was probably a death wish, so clambered back into the seat.

Below them, more of the Knaagdimon attacked the metal feet and formation of the Ferris wheel, spitting a corrosive substance onto the steel, making it fizzle and melt. All the while the orange spined one watched.

“That has got to be their leader, or something.” Frankie said, holding her D-Touch to try and get a reading. All she was able to discover was its name, MetalKnaagdimon, and that it was an evolved form of Knaagdimon itself. “Why is it just watching?”

“I have no idea.” James said, still looking around to find a way down, or a way to disparage the other Digimon from attacking. The Ferris wheel trembled under the strain from the Digimon. James’s D-Touch vibrated in his pocket, and Frankie’s in her hand, their Digimon appeared on the ground in flashes of light.

“Odocomon, over-clock evolve to... Rusdramon!”

“Siberimon, over-clock evolve to... Hurakamon!”

They were immediately set upon by the rodent Digimon from all sides. Hurakamon roared as two climbed on top of his back, biting through his fur and into his skin. Rusdramon reared onto her hind legs, kicking wildly with her front, knocking one of the rat Digimon away while another clambered onto her haunches.

“Snot Acid!”

“Vile Spray!”

“Look out!” Frankie shrieked.

Hurakamon bounded on his feet, throwing the two Knaagdimon from his back, managing to dodge the corrosive acid attack by mere moments. He charged towards Rusdramon. “Wind Wrecker!” he bellowed, taking the form of a giant tornado, sweeping up two of the attacking Digimon, and slamming them against the side of the Ferris wheel as they were expelled from the pillar of air.

The two Knaagdimon evaporated into data on impact. Screams came from the riders of the Ferris wheel as it creaked under the strain and toppled further over. People were beginning to climb out of their ride cars, and climb down the metal working, deterred only by three more giant rats that circled around the bottom.

“Amethyst Chains!” Rusdramon yelled, chains of light lashing forward from the glowing orbs on her antlers and wrapping around one of the rat Digimon.

Hurakamon shot past her in a blur of wind, throwing himself onto a second Digimon.

Tossing her head back, Rusdramon jerked the Knaagdimon away, tossing him aggressively back into the air. She drew her head in the sign of the cross as the Digimon catapulted to the ground. “Grand Cross!” On impact, the Knaagdimon disintegrated.

Rusdramon turned to the remaining two Knaagdimon. One was keeping Hurakamon occupied, while the other was gnawing at the weakening struts of the Ferris wheel. She lowered her head and bellowed, pawing the ground for a moment before charging.

Knaagdimon screeched. “Vile Spray!” The attack missed Rusdramon momentarily, she kept coming. Knaagdimon dodged her, climbing up the struts. Rusdramon impacted with the metal, causing it to once again creak and groan under the impact and topple to a more dramatic angle. The Knaagdimon whom she had been charging for chuckled above her, hissing and leaping down onto her back.

“Gale Meditation!” Hurakamon whisked up the tornado from his back, attacking after a fleeing Knaagdimon. The Knaagdimon was scooped up by the terrific wind, and moments later was flung from the tornado, this one impacting on the top of the carousel ride that was nearby. Hurakamon turned, hearing Rusdramon bray as she bucked and kicked back to dispose of the Digimon on her back, biting into her neck, and clinging on with claws embedded into her sides drawing blood.

Hurakamon roared, engulfed suddenly in orange light. “Hurakamon, Proxy Evolve to...” his form changed, up onto two legs, pulling his sword from its sheath. “Byakkomon!”

Byakkomon thundered across the ground, his sword low and gaze focused. He bellowed again, bringing the sword up at a sharp, unyielding angle. “Sudden Gale!” His katana expelled a single slash of fierce wind, knocking the Knaagdimon Digimon from Rusdramon’s back.

She turned swiftly, “Amethyst Chains!” The chains locked around the Knaagdimon, holding it in place thrusting it down to the ground.

Byakkomon brought his sword back, growling. “Full Moon Divide!” The razor shift winds sliced through the Knaagdimon, splitting it in two.

Both Digimon retracted as it dissolved before them. They turned towards the Ferris wheel, Byakkomon grabbing the lower base struts and Rusdramon around the other side, pushing against it, trying to right the structure which dangled precariously above the ground, ready to collapse at any moment.

James and Frankie watched from their seats, both had been trying to remain calm throughout the whole ordeal.

“Wasn’t there another one?” James asked, remembering suddenly that Frankie’s D-Touch had read the information on a sixth rodent Digimon.

“Maybe it’s gone?” Frankie said hopefully. She clung to the safety rail, hard enough that her knuckles had turned white.

James hoped she was right too, but knew it was too much to hope for.

The Ferris wheel jerked where Byakkomon had released it suddenly. Rusdramon, unable to take all the weight of it was forced to back out from the underside before it collapsed on her, just in time as Byakkomon flew back into the side of it.

The impact of the ultimate was enough to send the wheel collapsing the final few feet to the ground. Screams erupted from everywhere. Frankie grabbed onto James, eyes clenched tight and screaming. James moved over her as much as possible in an attempt to protect her from any debris and waited for the impact with the ground, only able to listen to the yells of fright and the complaining metal.

The dust settled over the Ferris wheel when it had collapsed, Rusdramon and Byakkomon exchanged looks. Opposite them both was what had been leading the Knaagdimon evidently, a larger version of themselves, Metal Knaagdimon. More hairless, with grey fur instead of brown, and a large black visor rather than bandages hiding its eyes from the lights of the fair ground. Rusdramon went to move to the collapsed metal, stopped only by the slight shake of Byakkomon’s head.

MetalKnaagdimon laughed breathlessly. Rusdramon pawed the ground irritably and with her head lowered to the ground with a unmatched glare. She was engulfed in purple light, her form changing again. “Rusdramon, Proxy Evolve to... Oisinmon!”

Standing proudly in her place, Oisinmon formed a bow of light and positioned an arrow.

MetalKnaagdimon met both the ultimate Digimon’s enraged gazes. “You think you are good enough to defeat me?”

Byakkomon clutched his katana hilt so tightly he could feel it almost about to break under his grip.

“We defeated your minions.” Oisinmon retorted. “You are alone.”

“I allowed them to be defeated by you.” MetalKnaagdimon sneered. “It gave me the opportunity to see your strengths and weaknesses up close. After all, watching you from afar can only do so much. Oh, I have been watching. I have had my children watching the two of you with great interest since that first time.” MetalKnaagdimon explained slowly. “You two are most interesting.”

“Enough!” Oisinmon ordered.

“How you do not remember yourselves, even now. How disconcerting it must be to have gaps in your memories.” MetalKnaagdimon murmured. “Or perhaps you blocked them out.”

“Silence.” Byakkomon snapped.

“How troubling it must be, not to know your past.”

“Hush.” Oisinmon ordered.

“Or perhaps you do remember… glimpses. Moments… things that have no consequence yet.” MetalKnaagdimon goaded, scurrying swiftly around the two ultimate Digimon. “Memories are precious things… it is a shame you both lost yours.”

Byakkomon growled, his fur bristling. “I have had enough, Tiger Clutch!” He charged, a second sword of wind appearing in his other hand, both raised high above his head.


“New Moon Serenade!” Oisinmon’s attack followed, the arrow shooting past Byakkomon as he brought both swords down on MetalKnaagdimon who had not moved. Not until the last moment when he dodged swiftly to one side, the swords just missing him.

The rat Digimon moved with surprising agility, twisting past Byakkomon and dodging the arrows Oisinmon shot. He retreated away from them, clambering up onto what remained of the Ferris wheel.

“Venom Shot!” MetalKnaagdimon yelled. From his mouth, in quick succession he fired darts of thick, sludgy venom at the other two Ultimate Digimon. Each one missed only a little, and pierced the ground, congealing and burning the grass where it landed.

“Corrosive.” Byakkomon pointed out, making a disgusted face. 

MetalKnaagdimon laughed. “And that’s not all! Toxic Fume!” This time expelled from his mouth was a putrid smelling green gas, that covered the area in a thick, suffocating smog. Breathing the smog was like trying to breathe tar. Almost impossible. It, too, had an essence of corrosiveness to it, that burned the nose, throat and lungs when trying to breathe. Its thickness obscured vision so much it was like trying to see through pitch black. Byakkomon could only make out Oisinmon a few feet away due to the gleaming of the orbs on her antlers.

“Having fun yet?” MetalKnaagdimon taunted through the gloom. “Venom Shot!”

Byakkomon rounded on where he felt the voice coming from and swung his sword down. “Full Moon Divide!” His sword cut through something, a power cable.

The sound of a power surge only made people panic more, Byakkomon released a single “Oops.” Before concentrating on the problem at hand.

Though he couldn’t see, it made his other senses even stronger. MetalKnaagdimon attacked swiftly with his tail but Byakkomon jumped back in time, however he swung his katana too late.

“This is fun, yes?” MetalKnaagdimon chuckled.

“He talks to much.” Byakkomon noted.

“I agree.” Oisinmon stood her ground, listening for any sound that would reveal the rat Digimon’s location. “Lunar Barrage!” Oisinmon fired arrows upward, which once divided shot straight back down, piercing through the smog , creating tiny vials of light in various locations. Oisinmon moved towards Byakkomon, bow raised and already aimed.

They stood back to back, circling on the spot, each listening for the tiniest movement, the minutest sound, straining their every sense to hear.

Byakkomon rumbled to himself, closing his eyes to the smog and keening his hearing only. His sight was failing through the gloom, despite Oisinmon’s best efforts. He put the sound of her breathing out of his mind, the sound of people groaning and yelling for each other from the collapsed rides he pushed away, trying to concentrate only on the direct areas around him.

MetalKnaagdimon moved quickly, almost silently, but not quite. His feet still rustled over the grass like anything else, and he nudged things with the spines on his back. His tail slapped against abandoned stalls as he scurried and moved. His breathing was raspy, easy to hear when it was all Byakkomon focused on.

Strengthening the grip on his sword, Byakkomon breathed, and held it. Ignoring the pain of the air as it attacked his lungs like a biting sensation. Oisinmon, beside him was also still, concentrating as he was. MetalKnaagdimon moved a quick, misguided movement and it was all Byakkomon needed.

Byakkomon smirked. He brought his sword down in a swift, quick motion. “Full Moon Divide!”  MetalKnaagdimon screeched, the sword hitting the ground, cutting through his tail, pinning the rodent Digimon to the ground. Oisinmon generated a purple light between her hands, sending it pulsating over the rodent Digimon, who yelped and snarled under the barrage.

The wind that Byakkomon produced was enough to lift up the smog now that MetalKnaagdimon wasn’t concentrating on producing it.

Oisinmon took a refreshing breath of fresh air, “Twilight Wave!”

The rodent Digimon crashed into concession stand, he quickly jumped to his feet and rushed towards the couple.

Byakkomon took up his sword again, “Sudden Gale!” The attack went flying directly into MetalKnaagdimon, knocking him back, dashing through his skin. MetalKnaagdimon made a strangled noise in response, before evaporating before them. Byakkomon brought his sword down another few times, sending gusts of strong wind ahead of himself, forcing the rest of the smog to scatter.

-----------------------------

“For the headlines tonight:

Friend or Foe? These monsters that seem to be appearing more rapidly all over the city have been a great debate amongst fellow citizens and even police officials. While some people agree that these ‘monsters’ are dangerous, others have encountered that there are quite a few that have been very helpful.

General McTyre, who has become quite popular with these situations has stated in a recent press conference that he is looking towards the Altas Corporation for further investigation on these monster appearances.

He was not able to comment on today’s attack but he has reassured us that the Military and local police officers have been working on a plan to get these attacks under control.

After the attack on the fair, and the crash of the Ferris wheel leaving 13 people seriously injured, he assured us that everything will work out in the end. 

In other news, pop star group ‘The Camden Bonnetts’ have once again charted tops beating out Lad-”

James changed the channel on the television.

The news had become his new recent obsession, especially after a Digimon attack. James lightly touched the bandage on his forehead that he received from the medic after everything had cleared. Luckily for him and Frankie, they weren’t one of the 13 people injured. Both were bruised here and there but nothing serious.

James’ headache was finally subsiding and his mind was a bit clearer now. He remembered what Odocomon had said about almost dying, and she was right… it did bring some type of clarity to his life. He no longer felt the pressure of keeping up with his family, he knew now that he still had friends, and he still had a girlfriend that stuck by his side no matter what. What more could a guy ask for after all he had done?

He felt lucky, maybe even blessed, and in due time he would simply make it up to everyone.

He shifted on the couch, Frankie’s comfortable couch. After the attack, they had came back to her place. He had taken a fresh shower and luckily had some clothes already placed over here, but instead of going back out the two decided to just spend the rest of their date indoors and get comfortable.

Odocomon and Siberimon had kept themselves entertained with ‘intellectual’ discussions on and off, discussing books and for once enjoying each other’s company. James was quite surprised at how well they were getting along, but he couldn’t help but feel there was something more to them that met the eye… maybe something that they didn’t even know about. The things MetalKnaagdimon said had shaken them, that much was clear after the battle. But they were both comfortable now, resting – and that was what was important.

“What are you mooning about?” Frankie’s voice alerted James from a his stupor and he tilted his head back. She was leaning on the door frame, her arms lightly folded, dressed in a short Chinese robe… and James was willing to guess not a lot else.

He smirked, getting up from the couch. “Not mooning. Just having a think.”

“Oh dear.” Frankie eyed him, an eyebrow tilted on her face. James’s look of confusion prompted her to continue. “You and thinking never go well together… you over think things. Especially when you’re alone.”


“I just need a distraction.” James murmured, slipping his hands smoothly across the fabric of Frankie’s robe, leaving them firmly at her hips. His mouth gazed along her jaw line, and he quickly bit the lobe of her ear, before returning to an upright position.

“A distraction, huh?” Frankie teased. “Let’s see what we can do about that…” She giggled, and whisked James towards her bedroom.

Odocomon grabbed Siberimon by the tail, her hoof firmly holding it down; he had started to get up as soon as James’ hands had started their roaming. “Don’t even think about it.” Odocomon muttered, not lifting her eyes from her book.

The latch to Frankie’s door clicked. Siberimon’s ears drooped.

-----------------------------
[WARNING: The scene within this cut contains mature content, text only. If you don't like reading moderately graphic interactions between a couple, skip ahead past the divider, you won't be missing any important plot points. If you're going to complain about a scene like this, then also skip ahead and don't read it. If you are old enough and don't mind some intimate interaction, click this paragraph, it will reveal the scene in its entirety.]
-----------------------------

Frankie laid across her bed, finding herself engrossed with a three way conversation on webcam with Eva and Piper.

Piper was discussing the actual school year starting up again, though Frankie didn’t feel they had had a break from school since they’d both been taking extra classes. And Eva was rambling on about Tom finally finding a suitable job to keep him occupied. Frankie listened to both girls’ rants and banters, laying on her arm in a bored like fashion.

“So, what are you two doing later?” Frankie chimed in as they both took a pause to breathe.

“I don’t knowww… Hunter is having a boys night with his friends so I’m stuck at home watching TV I guess.” Piper ruffled her hair, making a face at the prospect of her boring evening.

“Me and Tom are going to catch a movie when he gets home. But he needs to bring Tetris some food…”

“Which movie?”

“Action Doctor 3!”

Groans and protests amongst Piper and Frankie caused Eva to pout at her webcam. “Oh come on!”

“Girl, the sequel sucked.”

“Yeah, the first one wasn’t all that hot neither.”

“Yeah, well, whatever, I love it. Your opinions are invalid.” Eva laughed, shrugging and taking a sip of the tea she had prepared. “Oh, this is good! So, what are you doing tonight Frank?”

Frankie shrugged. “I guess I’m going to spend the day with James… we’re gonna go on another date - that hopefully won’t be ruined by a Digimon.” She paused, suddenly remembering. “Oh hey, you know those weird, uh… lodestone things?”

“Yeah?” Both girls spoke simultaneously.

“I got one.” Frankie said nonchalantly. “Last night, it literally appeared out of thin air… it was weird. And while me and James were… kissing, too.”

As if on cue, James crawled on the bed, laying behind - but over - Frankie.

“Ooohh, romantic!” Eva said in a almost mocking tone.

James smiled at the camera, planting a kiss on Frankie’s cheek.



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