Digimon Adventure and Guardian Belief

Chapter 14

Everything came back in bits and pieces, an incoherent mass of sights and sounds and sensations, that burned through Casey’s mind like a wildfire.

Thoughts scattered like the abandoned pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, she struggled to gather them up one at a time, tired and confused.

What happened…?

A starburst of pain, dark skies, slushy snow, wet blue eyes-

The girl recoiled, overwhelmed by it.

What the…?

A part of her whispered to leave it alone, that she had no real desire to know what those images meant, and it caused Casey to hesitate.

Did she really want to know?

Yes.

And so she remembered.

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Bunny sat by the redhead’s bedside, worried sick.

A yeti bustled about, checking the bandages for deep staining before monitoring her vitals and leaving the Pooka to his silent vigil.

The other Guardians were in the Globe Room with their ragtag group of Warriors and Digimon, trying to come up with some sort of plan to find the seven lost girls and their partners.

So far, that was proving as disheartening as Casey’s condition.

Running a paw through her hair, Bunny sighed at the lack of response.

The girl had not so much as breathed heavily since Wizardmon’s magic had forcibly dragged them from Jack’s lake, too battered from Leomon’s fists to stay conscious through the teleportation.

Sprawled on the teenager’s legs, Agumon nuzzled into her bruised belly, eyes closing fully as a steady heartbeat filled his ears.

The Bond was full of a disconcerting quiet, like the body beneath him was filled with cotton instead of a heart and a pulsing soul, and Agumon could not reach through without being pulled under himself.

He needed to stay awake, to protect Casey.

But how was he supposed to protect her from herself?

Leaning forward on his knees, Bunny frowned in thought, ears twitching slightly at all the noises coming from beyond the closed door.

Things could not continue on like this; without the girls and their Digimon, Devimon and Akuma could easily overpower the spirits, and Pitch would happily fill the gap with his Nightmares and terror.

North was likely behind in Christmas preparations, no matter how far off it was, and Bunny was aware that Easter was approaching faster than he liked.

Even Tooth and Sandy were not fully focused on their nightly tasks, worried as they were, and it was only luck that Jack was not needed to frost the autumn leaves for months.

There was no more time to waste.

“Agumon.”

Twitching at the call of his name, the small dinosaur raised his head, locking eyes with the determined Pooka before him.

“Bring Casey back.”

The Digimon was silent a moment, confusion and pain sparking through the Bond like small jolts of electricity…

That fire that was so familiar in Casey’s eyes filled his own.

Agumon knew what he had to do.

“I will.”

Reaching through the Bond, he met the wall that had separated them-

And pushed.

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Floating in a void, a vacuum of sound that pressed in from all sides, Casey curled into herself as a firestorm of emotion threatened to tear her apart.

Can’t just give up, can’t stop fighting

But, Evie

Everyone’s counting on me, I can’t let them down

She was crying, and scared, and I couldn’t save her

A glow invaded the dark, warming Casey’s face, and her eyes fluttered open in surprise.

“Agu?”

The Digimon flew forward at her call, concern welling up in his chest.

“Casey…”

Tears fell from her eyes, perfect little diamond spheres that hovered in the air between them as Casey pulled her Digimon into a hug.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…” She choked out, entire body trembling. “I couldn’t help you, I couldn’t save her…I’m not…”

A sob cut off the words for a moment, but Agumon felt his own tears rise as they were finally whispered to him, a painful admission.

I’m not strong enough…”

Wrapping his arms tight around her waist, the dinosaur Digimon huffed gently to displace the sniffles trying to escape.

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.” He assured softly. “We’re in this together. I’ll always be here to pick you up when you fall…”

Slowly, Casey’s grip loosened, gazes meeting through the tears hanging between them.

“Agu…”

“I’m your Digimon. I’m the rock you lean on, and the shield that protects.” Agumon insisted, firm in his belief. “Just like you are my heart.”

The Digimon nestled comfortably against his girl, content to stay there and listen to her heartbeat forever.

“My safe place…It’s right here. I wouldn’t trade you for anything.”

Shaking her head slightly, brushing aside the droplets hanging on her cheeks, Casey managed a smile as she squeezed her Digimon closer.

“I wouldn’t trade you for anything either, you overgrown reptile.”

With a happy growl, Agumon bumped her jaw with his nose.

“Are you ready to go back?”

The redhead pulled back, conflict visible in her gaze…

Until that familiar fierce determination lit her eyes back to that molten gold she was known for.

“Let’s go.”

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Coming back was like dropping into her own body, jarring every cut and scrape and bruise into blistering clarity.

With a hiss of pain, Casey aborted the reflexive urge to curl over her belly as Agumon sat up with a full-body shake.

“Casey!”

A warm paw touched her cheek, and the redhead blinked at the grey and white blob hovering over her as it began to clear.

“Bunny…?”

“It’s me, bluey.” The Pooka assured, relieved. “How’re ya feelin’?”

“Oh, fantastic.” She joked, throwing an arm over her eyes to shield them from Santoff Claussen’s bright lights. “Just got beaten up by an overgrown housecat, that’s all…”

Forcing the thoughts from her mind, Casey levered herself up, ignoring the protest of her wounds at the unadvised movement.

“Oi!” Bunny scolded, gripping the girl’s shoulders to keep her from rising further. “What do ya think yer doin’?”

“I have to find the others.” She insisted, set on her goal and determined to fulfill it. “Unless you guys are having any luck, you need me.”

Bunny scowled, but was unable to argue.

The girl was clearly injured, but not enough to justify being bedridden during such a crisis.

And wasn’t this what he wanted? For her to be awake and ready to take action?

Taking hold of his paws, Casey frowned back up at him, implacable as the rising sun.

“I have to do this.” She paused then, something vulnerable shining through the cracks. “But…I can’t do it alone.”

The implication was enough-that Casey needed, wanted him to stand by her through this-, and the Pooka nudged her cheek with an affectionate grunt.

“Don‘t worry, bluey.” He assured, purring softly. “Ya never have ta.”

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Jack stared at the Globe from his perch in the rafters, worried and frustrated beyond belief.

There were millions of lights there, twinkling like stars, but not one told him where Kim and the others were.

Honestly, they could be anywhere in the world, and the notion was daunting.

How were they supposed to find all of them in time to stop Devimon and Akuma?

Everyone was thinking the same thing, and no one had an answer.

North kept the yeti focused on making toys, though his mind was clearly elsewhere, and Tooth fluttered about, distractedly giving her little fairies instructions as she circled the Globe for the twentieth time in as many minutes.

Sandy hovered up by the skylight, sending out dreams to all the world’s children, slipping in the impressions of joyful sincerity, calm friendship, warm love, quiet knowledge, energetic steadfastness, soft light, and unwavering hope.

Jack wished he could be half as useful.

“I’m fine, Bunny! I’m injured, not paraplegic!”

All attention turned to the elevator, where Casey stormed out using Agumon as a crutch while Bunny hopped after, obviously fretting.

A new fire-patterned t-shirt and dark sweatpants covered most of the bandages, but even the visible ones did not deter from the girl’s authoritative presence at all.

Every Digimon and Warrior present was immediately at attention, like soldiers that had suddenly spotted their ranking officer, as the redhead stopped before them.

“I know things are looking kind of bleak, and I’m pretty much worse for wear right now…”

Her eyes flashed, not a single hint of unease or doubt.

“But I also know that there’s still a chance. I’m not giving up, because these bastards have crossed a line very few people have dared to smudge. They’ve hurt my friends, my family, and I’m going to make them pay.”

Her fierceness was contagious, hardening weakened resolve and restoring a sense of hope among the battered group.

“I will not stop searching, and I will not stop fighting, because they deserve every bit of pain I can give them for what they’ve done.”

Casey looked each of them in the eyes, a promise of redemption for their pain as well as victory.

“The only question is if you all will be there to see it.”

Silence fell over the room, crackling with tension…

Wizardmon stepped forward and said what his fellows were thinking.

“There is nowhere else we would rather be.”

Casey beamed, proud, before turning to the now-assembled Guardians with a smile.

“Then what are we waiting for, Easter? We’ve got friends to find!”

“Is not so easy.” North informed her, subdued in a way he had only been during the last failed Easter. “Colored lights no longer on Globe. Must be blocked by powerful magic.”

Pausing, she turned her gaze to the large Globe, unable to even locate her own orange light at the very top.

Devimon and Akuma must have done something

Shifting slightly, Agumon nudged her hip, purposely drawing her attention down towards him-

And the Digivice now clipped to her waistband.

The screen was flashing softly, barely noticeable, but it gave Casey an idea.

If these things could get rid of Black Gears…

What else could they do?

Jack hopped out of the way as she went straight for the Globe’s console, too focused on her new task to even notice her own pain as Agumon trotted on her heels.

“Bluey?”

“What is it?” Tooth agreed, curious.

“If I can just find…”

Spotting an outlet that looked just right for the Digivice to fit, she smiled, glad for her good luck.

“Bingo.”

Even North had not known the outlet was there, but seeing the teenager about to use it without knowing what it did sent a jolt through all the Guardians.

“Casey-!”

Not paying one bit of attention to their sudden spike in concern, Casey plunged her Digivice into the outlet.

The entire Workshop was instantly filled with a blinding light, like the sun had decided to take up residence there, which forced every being to shield their eyes.

Blinking spots out of her vision, Casey lifted her head-

And stared.

“Whoa…”

Jack flew up to the rotating sphere in a burst of Wind, excitement sending his heart into a fitful race.

“They’re here! This one, it’s Rocky! And that’s Evie!”

“Kimi’s over here!” Tooth added, zipping about with renewed vigor. “And here, there’s Prema! With Faye!”

Sandy waved frantically from a lower position, the image of a flower and a bee appearing over his head.

With a soft laugh, the redhead crumbled to the floor, the sudden discharge having drained from her-admittedly depleted-reserves.

“Casey!”

“Bluey!”

Grunting as he supported the brunt of her weight, Agumon snuffled nervously at her jaw as Bunny rushed over, taking her head in both paws to force her focus on him.

“Ya a’right? Ya ain’t hurt, are ya?” He fretted, a quick visual scan showing no reopened wounds.

“Why doesn’t anyone ever believe me when I say I’m fine?” Casey wondered teasingly, gently butting against the Pooka’s forehead in a sign of affection. “Just wasn’t expecting to be so tired, really. I can keep going.”

Mentally shaking away every instinct that screamed she’s interested, an interested doe, don’t let her get away, Bunny nodded, slightly hesitant.

“Can ya stand?”

The girl paused to share a look with her Digimon before nodding.

“Yeah, I can manage.”

Agumon barely let out a grunt at the added pressure on his shoulders, waiting until Casey was steady on her own feet to lean against his partner’s hip with a purr.

Taking a moment to refocus her mind on the current problem, the redhead turned slightly to study the colored lights on the Globe, figuring out who was where and what needed to be done.

Ally’s with Bee in California, close enough to find each otherMa’s in Rhode Island, and so’s Faye, so they’re alrightEvie and Rocky are in Pennsylvania, so they didn’t go farAnd there’s Kim, all the way in Alaska by herself

A battle plan took shape, she faced the others with all the influence of a general over their troops.

“Devimon and Akuma split us up to take us out one at a time, so we have to split up and reach them first. Torime, you and Unimon get to team up with North and Tooth to pick up Faye and Ma in Rhode Island.”

The massive horse nodded in agreement, pawing the ground, as Tooth smiled and North relaxed, sharing a friendly nod with the feathered woman leaning against her Digimon’s side.

“Tokage, Kuma.”

The two Warriors straightened up, Andromon and Monzaemon shifting to attention.

“You four go with Sandy to get Bee and Ally in California.”

The former wishing star grinned, floating up to high-five his new teammates.

“Me and Bunny can go get Kim on our own.”

Bunny shrugged, ears falling slightly at the thought of going somewhere so cold, while Agumon nodded once in agreement.

“So that leaves Wizardmon, Deltamon and Jack to get Evie and Rocky.”

Jerking upright, the winter spirit’s eyes widened in surprise.

But

“We’ll all group up with them in Pennsylvania, then. Any questions?”

Unable to find his voice, Jack nearly choked on his own self-doubt as the silence stretched.

“Alright, then let’s get moving. There’s no time to waste milling around.”

As the groups splintered off, quickly preparing themselves for what might turn into dangerous journeys, Jack finally regained control of his body.

“Wait!”

Casey paused in retrieving her Digivice, sending the frost-boy a curious look as she rolled it between her fingers.

“What?”

“I don’t…I mean…”

There was something familiar in his eyes, and Casey’s impatience eased, just a touch.

“You know why I’m sending you to get them?”

He shook his head, unsure.

“Because the most important person in Kim’s life? Is Rocky.” Casey informed him, firm. “And she trusts you with her, with her life. If Kim trusts you with her baby, then so can I.”

Damn it, but Jack was not about to cry…

Seeing this, the redhead smirked, clapping him soundly on the back.

“Now go and get our baby sisters back, alright?”

“Yeah…”

Jack grinned, some of his usual exuberance returning.

“Yeah, I’ll take care of them.”

Once he had flown off, already making battle plans with Wizardmon, Casey sighed, rolling her neck to get the kinks out.

“Ready to go?”

Straightening out his bracers, Bunny nodded, ears standing tall.

“Ready as I’ll e’er be.”

“Good.” She chirped, heading for a nearby closet to retrieve a jacket and boots. “Because it’s about time we picked Kim up.”

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The world was cold, and quiet, like the morning after a nighttime snowfall.

Kim felt numb-more than she forced on herself, more than was safe-, like the chill had settled beneath her skin and made a home deep in her bones.

Floating in that abyss, she wondered if there was any reason to try anymore.

Devimon and Akuma were much stronger than them, stronger than anyone they had ever faced before…

There was no way they could win.

So what was the point of ever waking up?

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Snow blanketed the ground for miles around, an empty canvas, with no sign of civilization in sight.

The only mark in the pristine surface was a deep gouge from their rough landing, revealing chipped permafrost where the dark sphere had exploded open.

Shaking the built-up fluff off, Gabumon struggled to his feet, shivering as some melted into his fur.

“K-Kim?”

When no reply came, the Digimon stumbled over the disturbed snow, concern welling up.

“Kim?”

Reaching through the Bond, he whimpered at the absolute lack of feeling, like touching the frozen surface of a lake and seeing nothing through the clear ice.

Was she…? Could she be…?

No!

Gabumon refused to even entertain the thought!

With renewed fervor, he shoved aside mounds of disturbed snow, still reaching through the Bond in an attempt to locate his girl.

“Kim!”

The teenager was half-buried in white, chest faintly rising and falling with breath despite the blue tinge of cold on her skin.

Quickly digging her free, Gabumon purred as he cradled her head.

Kim was so cold

If he didn’t warm her up soon

Cutting off that thought, the Digimon hefted the teenager onto his back with a grunt, doing his best to keep her limp form off the snow.

Once Kim was secure, Gabumon raised his head to scent the air, hoping…

Damp wood and smoke came on a chilly breeze from the west, a small town of some kind hidden in the tundra, and the furred Digimon immediately set off towards it.

He needed to get Kim warm, and keep her safe.

Like Hell he was going to let them die like this.

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All perception shifted, like a ripple through dark water, and Kim felt it in her bones.

“Gabumon?” She whispered, the numbness fading around her heart.

Kim had almost forgotten there was a world beyond the numb and cold.

There was something there now, a faint sense of light and warmth, that she had not known was there before…

But was it even worth reaching for?

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Despite his best efforts, Gabumon could only go so far.

Devimon’s earlier attack had taken a lot out of him, and carrying his partner across the wide expanse of deep snow was hard on his exhausted body.

It was honestly amazing he covered three miles of that terrain at all.

Growling softly, as if to intimidate his own weakening body, Gabumon staggered through the cold slush as the first buildings came into sight over the horizon.

“W-We’re a-almost th-there…” The Digimon assured, clenching his jaw to stop the stubborn shivering there. “J-Just a l-little longer…”

There was no response, but he hardly expected one.

Kim had been completely unresponsive since their rough landing, and the cold hardly seemed to be helping.

Gabumon stumbled on some uneven ground, hissing at the pain that shot up his abused legs as he fell.

Damn

“Josh, look!”

Twitching as a child’s voice registered in his sensitive ears, the Digimon raised his head, vision swimming.

NoKim

A blurry form approached through the white, dark hair and fuzzy colors, followed by a gasp.

“They’re hurt!”

Another shape appeared, but paused further off, and Gabumon whined pitifully.

No, don’t be scared, don’t leave, Kim needs help, please help Kim

A third shape appeared, shoving the second away after a quick moment, and the Digimon went limp as Kim was maneuvered off his back.

“Her skin’s like ice…Josh, get over here and help! We need to get them home!”

“Is that…?”

“What does it matter, so long as it doesn’t bite? Now come on!”

As he was lifted off the frigid snow, Gabumon let out a relieved breath, finally allowing himself to fall into unconsciousness.

Kim was safe, and that was all he needed to know.

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The little house stood on the outskirts of the Alaskan town, made of thick wood and sticky tar to fill in the cracks, with a stone chimney puffing smoke into the chilly air.

A barn was attached to one side, abandoned except for the snowmobile that sat, steaming, in the shade as it’s engine slowly started to cool.

Inside the three-room dwelling, a fire crackled merrily, and Josh sighed as he watched the pair laid out on a thick blanket near the hearth.

“I can’t believe it…”

“I told you!” His little sister voiced, beaming. “I told you they were real!”

“Yeah, yeah…” He grumbled, shifting as the kettle began to sputter.

An older girl stood by the stove, dark brown hair pulled up in a messy ponytail as she poured out the scalding tea.

“Now we know better, Stacy.” She assured, adding sugar and cream to each of the cups in practiced amounts. “Why don’t you go gather up some more blankets for them?”

“Okay, Danni!”

Once the seven-year-old had gone into the main bedroom, her older siblings shared a troubled glance.

“You know what this means, right?” He muttered, turning back to their guests to see if either showed signs of waking up.

“Yeah…” Danni replied softly, quietly stirring her tea. “It means everything we’ve heard from the States is true…”

“Kenny said there was a big battle last night in Pennsylvania.” Josh admitted, subdued. “…And the good guys lost.”

The girl paused, looking towards their unconscious guest and her partner in resignation.

“…I figured.”

Shaking the thought away, Danni handed her only brother a steaming cup, managing a smile.

“Doesn’t mean we’re beat yet, though.”

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The cold was interrupted by warmth, like the heart of a fire, and Kim shifted as her skin began to thaw.

Once her vision refocused, she felt something well up underneath the numbness, relief and hope and I almost thought you would leave me here, but you didn’t, I can’t believe it

“Gabumon…”

The Digimon floated over quickly at his name, worry bright in his orange eyes.

“Kim!”

Her expression did not change, the cold holding firm, and he whined at the blankness in her dark blue eyes.

“Kim…”

“I…don’t feel anything.” She admitted, monotone. “Everything is so clear now. There is no point in fighting, because there is no way to win. It’s over, Gabumon.”

With a growl, he grabbed his partner by the shoulders, blue snapping up to be caught by orange.

“It’s not over!” Gabumon insisted fiercely. “We can still fight!”

“For what?” Kim responded, apparently untroubled. “For some abstract concept of peace?”

“For our friends!”

A spark crackled in her eyes, like splintering ice, as the numbness and cold slipped.

“For our chosen family! For the Guardians!”

Gabumon shook her once more, knowing these last ones would hit home.

“For Jack, and for Rocky, too. They need us, and we can’t just give up now.”

Kim was silent, remembering all the reasons she bothered to wake up in the mornings.

The way Casey always threw herself wholeheartedly into everything she ever did…

How Ma would smile when they bothered to properly get along…

Faye’s tendency to babble about the most inane things as if they were gold…

The look in Bee’s eyes whenever they spoke about new computer programs…

Ally’s insistent bouncing whenever she became excited over something…

The way Evie would watch them, as if she could see who they really are…

North’s laughter whenever the elves tripped over each other…

How Tooth always cooed over baby teeth, saying each child’s name as if she knew them…

The look on Bunny’s face whenever he saw someone play with his eggs

The way Rocky’s bright blue eyes always lit up whenever she agreed to play, Jack’s laugh as they threw snowballs at each other

The numb and cold and there’s no point in feeling, it only hurts, why should I bother shattered.

Because they were hers; her friends, her family, her whole entire reason for living, and she would be damned if she just gave up on them.

Gabumon smiled, relieved, as the wall came down between them and he felt that deep sea of emotion once more.

Straightening up from the tight ball she had formed, Kim scowled, mind already racing along what needed to be done.

“It’s time to go back.”

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Returning to her body came with a variety of aches and pains that Kim could have done without, though she expected them.

Likely minor damage from impact, she deduced, slowly stretching out the kinks in every muscle and ligament. Bruises, nothing that should hinder fighting ability or travel.

Gabumon shifted next to her, a familiar warmth, and he sat up a full-body shake.

“Um…Hi?”

Kim’s eyes shot open, focusing on the other occupants of the room in an instant.

The boy was roughly her age, broad-shouldered and strong, with messy brown hair and a rugged face that was mildly shadowed.

Behind him was a girl closer to her twenties, brunette and tall, that seemed just as strong as what must be her brother, considering the matching hazel eyes and similar facial features.

“Hello.” Gabumon replied, polite as ever.

Nodding in greeting, Kim sat up, noting the large pile of blankets that covered her with mild surprise.

“Thank you.” She voiced, sincere despite the calm tone. “We appreciate your help.”

“It was nothing.” The woman replied, smacking her stammering brother in the arm so he shut his mouth. “It was Stacy that found you two in the snow.”

There was hardly time to wonder who Stacy was before-

“You’re awake!”

A young girl-probably no older than seven, considering her size-practically tackled Kim in a hug, smiling so wide it threatened to split her face.

“I knew you’d be okay! I told them!”

For a moment, Kim saw bright blue eyes instead of hazel, and it softened her expression.

“Thank you then, for believing in it.”

Because, as North often said, belief is the strongest form of magic.

Gabumon stood up, straightening out his fur, as the boy shifted in his seat, tea cup clenched in both hands.

“So…What exactly were you two doing out in the snow?”

Focusing on the current situation, Kim frowned.

“Our group faced a much stronger pair than in our previous encounters. We were easily beaten and separated by dark energy. I suppose this just happens to be where my Digimon and I landed.”

“Digimon?” Stacy wondered, turning to the blue-furred Digimon with curious eyes. “What’s that?”

“It’s short for Digital Monster.” He answered, smiling. “Kimi is my Warrior, or partner, and is one of the Chosen to save both our worlds.”

Kim sighed, seeing how overwhelmed the two older siblings were by this knowledge as the younger squealed and asked to pet the soft-looking pelt.

“There are eight of us.“ She informed them, matter-of-fact. “One should still be at our base, but I have no idea about the others.”

As the pins-and-needles faded from her arms and legs, Kim forced herself to stand, rolling her shoulders back.

“We should go.”

Stacy pouted as Gabumon nodded, moving towards the door along with his partner, before the woman blocked their way.

“You almost died out there only a few hours ago! What makes you think it would be any different this time?”

“Being here puts you all in danger.” Kim insisted, firm. “Devimon and Akuma did this in order to have an easier time in disposing of us. Gabumon bought time by leaving the crash site, but only so much. The sooner we leave, the safer you all will be.”

Even the boy seemed ready to argue, though he had been nervous before, before something crashed outside so heavily that the entire building shook.

Growling, Gabumon ran to the door, the scents coming through the thin barrier causing him to bristle.

“Frigimon and Mojyamon.”

Inwardly cursing at the odds, Kim joined him, pinning the trio of siblings with a glare.

“Stay inside. We’ll draw them away.”

The pair were gone before any objections could be made, Digivice shining like a beacon in the early morning light.

“Gabumon, Digivolve to…Garurumon!”

The large, yeti-like Digimon blocked his savage bite with his bone-boomerang, whipping around to toss the wolf-Digimon closer to his snow-made ally.

“Sub-Zero Ice Punch-!”

The ground rose up in a wall of melting snow, intercepting the attack and freezing solid as Garurumon leapt away from danger.

“Howling Blaster!”

The ice shattered into sharp projectiles that drove Frigimon back, and Kim dodged a swing from his accomplice’s weapon.

“Boomerang Bone!”

Dropping down to keep from losing her entire upper half, she pressurized water between her palms and fired it back.

With her new breathing room, the teenager regrouped with her Digimon, frowning at the odds as Frigimon shook off the icicles and Mojyamon stumbled back onto his feet.

We’re not strong enough to defeat them both right now, Kim realized, frown deepening as she lowered into a defensive crouch.

Garurumon loomed over her, fangs bared in a snarl and steel-strong fur bristling, as their enemies regrouped.

All we can do is get them as far away from the town as possible.

Frigimon pulled his fist back as Mojyamon raised his boomerang, ready to strike-

“Nova Blast!”

The massive fireball smacked the overgrown snowman right off his feet, and flames superheated the bone so quickly it cracked in the yeti-creature’s hands, forcing him to drop it.

Kim stared up in bewilderment as steam rose off the snow, meeting Casey’s fiery gold eyes and wicked grin.

“You didn’t think I’d let you fight alone, did you?”

A swell of emotion-I thought you wouldn’t come, I thought you would leave me, I can’t believe you came-, and Kim’s frown softened into what might have been the slightest of smiles as she accepted the other girl‘s helping hand.

“I had my doubts.”

Rolling her eyes, Casey turned back to their opponents as Bunny stopped next to them, huddling in his scarf and shivering from the cold.

“Bloody freezing…”

“Once we’re done here, I’ll warm you right up.” Casey promised, a sly sparkle in her eyes.

The Pooka’s ears fell back in embarrassment, but there was no time to reply before both teenagers had jumped back into the fray.

“Boomerang Bone!”

Snatching the weapon from midair, Garurumon crushed the brittle bone between strong jaws as a wave of snow rose up and slammed Mojyamon into the ground.

“Sub-Zero Ice Punch!”

Jerking around to keep from being frozen solid, Greymon smacked the snowman Digimon with his powerful tail, giving Casey the opening she needed.

Fist encased in flame, she landed an uppercut on Frigimon’s jaw that sent him flying back in a tumble.

Eyeing their opponent as he rose, Kim tilted her head towards Garurumon as a Black Gear became visible through the white fur.

“Don’t miss.”

Spotting the Black Gear embedded in Frigimon’s back, Casey smirked.

“Get him, Greymon.”

The two Digimon nodded, rearing up-

“Howling Blaster!”

“Nova Blast!”

Once the Black Gears disintegrated under the powerful flames, Casey rolled her shoulders back as the evolution faded, smiling as Agumon hopped through the slush to her side.

Placing a hand on Gabumon’s head as he approached, Kim pet the warm fur as he nuzzled against her hip.

“Good work.”

“Alright, time ta go.” Bunny urged, bristling against the cold. “We ain’t got time to stand ‘round.”

“Wait!”

Kim went still, turning to see Stacy standing in the house’s doorway, a cap haphazardly placed on messy brown hair and a jacket thrown over her shoulders.

“You’re leaving already?”

Blue eyes superimposed over the hazel, and she softened at the reminder of another little girl that needed her.

“Yes. We have a lot of work to do.” She answered as Frigimon and a now-shrunken Mojyamon found their footing.

Stacy frowned for a moment, before reaching inside and running up to the stony teenager with a thick blanket in hand.

“Here.” She insisted, holding the rumpled sheet out insistently. “So you’ll be warm.”

Bunny smiled, warmed by the child’s thoughtfulness, and Casey tried to hide a smile as she turned to their new Digimon allies.

Swallowing past a lump in her throat, Kim carefully accepted the gift, a beautiful little smile forming.

“Thank you.”

Her gaze rose to meet the two older siblings, nodding once in goodbye.

“Be safe.”

“What do we say? About all this?” The boy wondered, looking over the snowy battlefield in wonder.

Pausing in thought, the water-Digidestined shared a look with her partner.

“That we’re still fighting, and we’re not beaten yet.”


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