It had been centuries since Bunny had found a
Casey had caught his attention the moment their eyes met, like
sparks of sunshine in his chest, and now the Pooka could not get her out of his
Though every instinct in his body urged him to court her like a Pooka
doe, Bunny resisted.
She was human, and even if she did understand the
signs, who was to say she would accept?
Seemingly oblivious to his internal
struggle, Casey lay sprawled next to him on one of North’s many sofas, a
shape-shifting Rubik’s Cube twisting in her hands and Agumon lying on her
They were the only ones on this floor, since most of the others girls
and their partners had run off to the more active sections of Santoff Claussen
in search of entertainment.
The only relatively calm ones were Kim and Bee,
both of whom had gone to find quiet corners to hide away in not long ago,
leaving a very conflicted Pooka alone with the object of his affections.
stay calm, Aster, he urged himself. There’s nothing to get worked up
over. She’s just a girl. A really pretty girl, sitting right there, practically
begging me to-No!
Unbeknownst to him, Casey and Agumon had taken
notice of his growing nervousness.
Sharing a look with her Digimon, who only
shrugged in response, the redhead shifted positions purposely.
practically leaped out of his skin, staring down at the teenager sitting on his
lap in bewilderment.
“What’s got you so jumpy?” Casey wondered, bright gold
eyes curious and slightly worried.
“I’m not jumpy.” He defended, trying to stop
his legs from vibrating out of nerves.
“Sure you’re not.” She teased as
Agumon snuggled up right to the Pooka’s side with a happy little growl. “You
just look ready to have a heart attack. Nothing jumpy about that.”
huffed, but could not hold onto even the mildest of annoyance for long when her
fingers reached up and scratched gently behind one of his ears.
Oh, but it felt good…
Unable to hold in a purr as all thought of self-restraint evaporated, the Pooka nuzzled her hair, taking in Casey’s scent with a sigh.
She smelled faintly like strawberries and fresh
grass, warming him straight to his back paws.
Going still at the unexpected
affection, Casey relaxed into the soft fur with a hum.
When the teenager made
no move to pull away, Bunny relaxed, snuffling at her cheek and earning a
giggle from the ticklish feeling.
Too bad Jack had to come and ruin the
A snowball struck Casey full in the face with such force she fell
to the ground with a THUD, blinking in confusion as the winter spirit laughed
at the dumbstruck look on her face.
Kim rolled her eyes at his antics, but
there was the slightest of quirks in the corner of her mouth that showed
Then an elf struck Jack upside the head.
It was Bunny’s turn to
laugh at the flabbergasted expression on the boy’s face, and the impromptu
projectile stumbled to his feet with a dizzy twirl as Gabumon covered his mouth
to stifle a wave of giggles.
Casey smirked, clearly pleased with herself, and tossed
an elf in her hand like one would a baseball.
Returning the look with a
challenging one of his own, Jack created another snowball in his hand.
you’re asking for it, red.”
“Bring it on, Frosty.”
And then all hell broke loose.
Ma certainly earned her nickname after
lecturing the pair so thoroughly that even Jack looked properly chastised, and
sent him to clean up the mess of dazed elves and melting snow so she could fuss
over a drenched Casey properly.
Despite the redhead’s assurances of I’m fine
and Yes, I’m sure and Why don’t you ever believe me when I say I’m
fine?, she was shoved in front of the nearest fireplace with her heater of
a Digimon to warm up.
Wrapped up in the thickest blanket Ma could find, Casey
only grumbled half-heartedly as she was forcibly left to her own devices.
found the entire thing rather amusing.
Except for the part where he was
expressly forbidden to bother her, but you can’t have everything.
just outside the closed door, ears trained on the thick wood, the Pooka nearly
jumped as a ringtone pierced through.
If he listened closely, Bunny
could almost make out a voice, though words refused to be deciphered thanks to
the phone‘s static and Santoff Claussen‘s inherent soundproofing.
The voice was
soft and clearly feminine, without the slightly lower register Casey possessed
or the higher one held by Ally, and Bunny found it rather soothing.
kinda got roped into a sleepover at Faye’s.” Casey responded after a few
moments, sounding sheepish. “You know how she gets when Pat goes away for
business. I swear, there’s a ghost haunting the toilet! I need you to kill
Peeking in to spy on this little moment, Bunny saw the soft smile that
bloomed on her face as a weak little laugh escaped her phone.
“I’ll stop by
tomorrow to pick up some stuff, okay? Leave her a note and everything, I
A few more muffled words, and she laughed, smile growing.
I’ll be careful.”
Her expression shifted slightly, leaning towards concern.
“Have you been resting? Taking your medicine?”
A soft reply, and her shoulder
relaxed minutely, one hand coming up to rub Agumon’s head in reassurance.
“That’s my baby bunny.” Casey cooed, relieved.
That she used bunny instead of the more common
terms of endearment-puppy, kitten, even snowflake or angel-warmed the
Pooka’s heart like little else did.
Shifting slightly, most likely to make
Agumon more comfortable on her lap, the redhead chuckled.
I’ll sing it, but you’ve gotta go back to bed right after, okay?”
have been an affirmative followed, along with some rustling, before Casey
leaned her cheek against Agumon’s head with a sigh.
“Honestly, I don’t know why
you like this lullaby so much…I got it from a TV show, you know.”
moment, she let out another chuckle.
“Just because I changed one word for you
doesn’t mean it’s mine!”
Shaking her head at whatever explanation was given, the
redhead smiled as Agumon growled pleasantly.
“Yeah, yeah…Are you in bed yet?”
moment of silence, and then…
“Soft bunny, warm bunny, little ball of fur…”
She sang, voice low and pleasant in his ears. “Happy bunny, sleepy bunny,
purr, purr, purr.”
As Casey softly said her goodbyes, like a mother might
tuck in their child for the night, the Pooka sat back on his haunches with the
image frozen in his mind’s eye.
Dark red curls aflame with firelight, gold eyes
molten with affection, expression softened with laughter…
Bunny could admit to himself that she was beautiful like that.
Though they had only been Bonded for a short
time, Agumon felt like he had known Casey his entire existence.
He could not
even imagine his life without her smiles and jokes and warmth, like a pulse of
gentle fire through their Bond.
How had he survived so long all alone, without
someone to understand him?
How had Casey?
Growling in pleasure at a
distracted scratch under his chin, the Digimon looked up at his partner.
Bedtime had been a couple of hours ago, with all of the girls and their Digimon
being herded into guest rooms so the Guardians could have a meeting, and she had
not been able to settle for more than a few minutes at a time.
Her gaze never stayed in one place for long, scanning the shadowy
corners as if expecting an attack, though he could sense her exhaustion and
knew she needed to rest.
Hoping to soothe her nerves, Agumon wriggled out of
the blankets and flopped onto Casey’s chest, smiling up at her comfortingly.
Blinking at him in confusion, the red-haired girl eventually relaxed, a smile
growing as she placed a hand on his head to pet in tired gratitude.
minutes, Casey is fast asleep, sprawled on the bed without a care in the world.
Agumon smiles as he follows her in.
No matter where you go, there is one truth;
where there is light, there is darkness.
Pitch Black knows this, and used it to
Sliding out of the deep shadows, the dark spirit glided across
the hardwood floor, careful not to be caught in the moonlight as he approached
Casey was sprawled on top of the comforter like a sunning cat, Digimon
flopped over her stomach in a snoring mess, both completely ignorant to how
vulnerable they were.
Oh, it had been too long…
Looming over the girl, he reached forward, nightmare-sand swirling around his fingers-
With a jolt, Casey
awoke, fists flying in a blur of motion as she sat up, blinded by sleep and
Heart hammering against her ribs, she scanned the room for a threat,
slowly calming as nothing made itself known.
“Casey?” Agumon murmured, sitting
up from where her wild flailing had thrown him.
“…It was nothing.” The redhead
assured, rubbing at her eyes.
Get a hold of yourself! She thought
fiercely. It was probably just a weird noise. Nothing to panic over.
Casey no longer felt safe here, and there was no way to convince herself
So, with a resigned sigh, the golden-eyed teen gathered Agumon to
her side and stood, carrying the Digimon with one arm like one might a toddler.
Yawning wide enough to crack her jaw, Casey rubbed the exhaustion from her eyes
as she shuffled towards the door, intent on finding a room to share for the
Once in the dim hallway, with only the faint sounds of working in the
distance, the teenager realized she had no idea where anyone else was.
really ought to think these things through more, Casey grumbled internally.
As if reading her thoughts, Agumon lifted his head to scent the air for a
“That one.” He mumbled sleepily, pointing a three-clawed hand to a room
two doors down.
With her adrenaline wearing off and sleep
crawling back in, Casey stumbled to the designated door and opened it as
quietly as possible.
She took three steps in before realizing who the occupant
was, and her first impulse was to shake Agumon violently.
Why was she in
Still, it was better than Kim…
With that thought in mind,
Casey approached the bed and poked the large Pooka’s shoulder.
his long ears twitched, but when he did not wake up, she decided to up the
“Jack’s freezing the eggs!”
Bunny jackknifed out of bed, only just awake
and clearly upset.
“GET ‘WAY FROM MY GOOGIES, FROST!”
Sleep must have slowed
his brain, because it still took a few moments for the large rabbit to remember
he was still in Santoff Claussen.
Blinking the cotton from his eyes, he turned
slightly to see a small redheaded teenager staring up at him with the most
innocent expression she could muster.
With the resigned acceptance of any parent woken in the middle of the night by their young children, Bunny decided to humor her.
“What’re ya doing here, bluey?”
sleep.” Casey answered easily. “Can I stay here with you?”
thoughts tumbling over the implications, and she decided a little push was
“If it bothers you, I could always go see if Jack is still up-”
reaction was instantaneous.
Just as Casey turned to ‘leave’, a paw grabbed the
back of her shirt and hauled her onto the bed.
“Frostbite’ll freeze yer toes
off.” Bunny grumbled, tamping down on the irrational jealousy he felt.
you do care?” She teased sleepily, Agumon curling against her back as he
went back to Dream Land.
“Stuff it and sleep, ya earbash.”
Still rather pleased
with herself, the teenager hunkered down, surprising the Pooka when she pressed
into his chest with a happy little sigh.
“Like a grumpy teddy bear…”
mumbled threat, he settled, petting the wild mess of red hair as she fell
Cheeky little bugger…
Neither was aware of the figure watching from the shadows, sickly amber eyes seething in jealousy.
When Bunny woke up the next morning, he found
himself in a pretty awkward position.
Sprawled on his back, pinned by the
dead-weight of a sleeping teenager and with a-wonderfully warm-Digimon
pressed against the pads of his feet, the Pooka sincerely wondered how he got
into these situations.
The girl twitched, arms tightening around his
torso like Bunny was a giant teddy bear.
With a sigh, he reached up and lightly
shook her shoulder instead.
“Come on, bluey. Time to get up.”
Grumbling at the
disturbance, Casey buried her face in the Pooka’s fur with a mumbled plea for “Five more hours…” as she stretched out like an upset cat.
Doing his very best
not to think about all of the lithe muscles that had flexed against him under
those soft curves-and failing rather spectacularly-, Bunny almost
rejoiced when Agumon awoke and propped himself up.
“What’s going on?” The
Digimon slurred, big green eyes blinking in sleepy confusion.
greeted. “Mind helpin’ me out here?”
Taking a few moments for his mind to
reboot, Agumon nodded and practically waddled up to his partner’s head.
When his query did not seem to rouse her, he said the only thing that seemed
reasonable to his grumbling stomach.
“Don’t you want breakfast?”
should have been humanly possible, Casey was sitting up, wide awake and looking
around like a dog on high-alert for a bone.
Not seeing any
pancakes or waffles-or, as Casey called them, appetizers-, the redhead
finally noticed that she was basically straddling the Easter Bunny.
With the most innocent expression she could muster, she said the only thing that came to mind.
“We really need to stop meeting like this.”
Sunday mornings in Orias are peaceful affairs,
mainly because everyone sleeps through them.
Birds sang and squirrels scampered
across tree branches, giving the town an almost springtime feel despite the
With no children running about who might spot the three
Guardians, and no adults who would wonder about the teenagers or their Digimon,
they felt safe to split up.
Having finished collecting Bee’s things first-and
feeling rather relieved that her uncle was out cold from an all-nighter-,
Casey scribbled out a note for him and left as quickly as possible.
standing in front of her apartment door, the redhead hesitated.
bumped her shoulder, concerned.
“What’s wrong, bluey?”
Jolted from her
thoughts, Casey managed a smile in reassurance.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I just…”
mask faltered, cracking, and her gaze returned to the door as Agumon nuzzled
against her hip in concern.
“I don’t want to lie to her.”
Ears going back in
sympathy, he wrapped an arm around her waist, nuzzling the girl’s hair
“Ya don’t have ta do this. Agumon and me can get everything ya
Oh, how she wanted to let them do it, to just completely avoid
this whole situation, but…
“Doing the right thing is not always the easiest.
Sometimes, pain is necessary.”
Taking strength from her father’s words,
Casey shook her head.
“No, I…I need to do this.”
Before she could change her
mind, the red-haired teen opened the door and stepped inside the three-bedroom
apartment she called Home.
Bunny hopped in, nose twitching as he took in all of
the scents held within the faded walls.
There was Casey’s, faint from the long
hours away, and another that was fairly fresh, like vanilla and sunshine.
Agumon wasted no time following his partner down the short hallway to her
bedroom, though he paused in front of another door in confusion, sniffing.
Casey paused in her bedroom doorway, sending the same confused look
to her Digimon that Bunny was.
“Agu? What are you-?”
Something moved in her peripheral, and Casey
whipped around to face her room fully, breath catching in fear.
Forcing her heartbeat to steady, Casey relaxed when her Digimon abandoned
whatever had caught his attention to cuddle up to her like a large, scaly dog.
“I’m fine.” She assured mechanically, stepping over the
threshold warily to flip on the light.
Everything was as it should be, though
the redhead made a mental note to clean up the clothes scattered about, and she
shooed away the last of her insecurities.
It’s been ten years; why would he
come back now?
Light reflected off glass, and Casey smiled as she picked up
the goggles from her nightstand like they were precious jewels.
Bunny wondered, hiding his worry with curiosity.
“My dad’s old goggles…”
Turning, she held them out for the Pooka to see better; the rounded glass, the
weathered leather strap, and the slightly faded words ‘Love, Angela’ inked on
the inside band with permanent marker.
“He’s part of the Air Force, and my mom
gave these to him a long time ago as a good luck charm.” Casey explained, tone
fond and warm. “Dad gave these to me when I was little, after…”
For a moment,
Bunny could see a deep pain in her eyes, like guilt and mourning, before she
shut them out.
“I haven’t worn them in a long time.”
After only a few seconds
of contemplation, Casey pulled the goggles over her head, letting them hang
around her neck with a faint clink of reinforced glass.
“Can never have
too much good luck, right?”
Shaking his head with a chuckle, Bunny nodded in
Both jumped at a sudden growl, turning to Agumon in
The little yellow Digimon was practically bristling, fangs bared as
he looked around the room like a cornered animal, sparks crackling in the air
with every turn of his head.
“Agu? What’s wrong?”
“Someone’s here.” The
dinosaur-like creature warned, pupils vibrating with adrenaline and nerves.
Casey could not deny feeling uneasy, like she was in
danger, and scanned the shadows cautiously.
Ears rotating like sonar dishes and
nose twitching, Bunny hopped towards the door, growing tense.
cut through the air like an arrow from a tightly-drawn bow.
Casey had never
felt so terrified.
There was no time to think this through, no
time to hesitate.
Her baby sister was in danger.
So, without wasting
time on a second thought, Casey charged out into the hallway and into her
sister’s room like an enraged bull.
There was Pitch, amber eyes glowing eerily
in the gloom, with his shark’s grin in place as if in greeting.
And he was
holding Evie hostage.
She looked so very tiny and frail in his grasp, like
a caged bird, blue eyes brightening with hope at the sight of her savior.
Agumon growled as he got between the dark shade and his partner, the sound
promising pain, while Bunny stopped behind her, boomerangs in hand.
down, Pitch.” Casey demanded, knuckles white and pupils blown wide with
“Or you’ll what, my dear? Hit me?” He taunted, amused. “We both
know that won’t work.”
Jaw clenching in anger, she refused to acknowledge that
he was right.
She hated that about him.
“Ya don’t wanna hurt the girl,
Pitch.” Bunny warned, a glare settling on his face. “Just put her down, and no
one gets hurt.”
“And waste the opportunity?” Pitch goaded, petting the girl’s
ruffled curls in mock-affection. “Her fear tastes so sweet…Almost as good as
yours, my dear.”
Casey practically trembled with rage, gold eyes burning with
promises of torture, and Agumon seemed to bristle with the residual effect.
have many plans for this particular little girl. I’m sure you know what I
Snatches of memories bubbled up in her mind’s eye; waking up screaming
from searing pain, a woman’s bloody face staring lifelessly back at her…
on a pink baby blanket.
Yes, Casey knew exactly what he meant.
my baby, and I’ll end you.”
The shade watched her, not at all perturbed
by the violent impulses she was clearly holding back.
believed she would try.
Evie whimpered, pale with stress and fright,
gripping something tightly in her hand that no one could see.
reflection of light off a dark screen, and Bunny could have sworn…
The sonic barrage came as a shock, weakening
Pitch’s grasp, before a ball of light-colored fur attached to his arm with a
Crying out in surprised pain, the dark spirit unintentionally released
his victim, who practically leapt into her sister’s arm with tears in her eyes
as he pried his attacker off.
Agumon recognized what she was immediately, but
it was Evie who said her name in worry.
Growling and snapping her
little fangs, the puppy-like creature struggled against Pitch’s grip with
fervor that Evie was not capable of at the moment.
Casey held her
sister closer, throat tightening at the realization that Evie had a Digimon.
“Let ‘er go!” Bunny ordered, throwing his boomerang with deadly accuracy as he
recognized the dire situation they were in.
Pitch only laughed, evading the
projectiles and escaping through the window with ease, Salamon’s howl echoing
off the brick.
“Salamon!” Evie cried, as if someone had grabbed her
heart and pulled.
Bunny was already on the sill and leaping out after
his target, the little girl’s pain spurring him on.
No one hurt a child and
got away with it.
Agumon ran up to the window, looking back at his partner
“We have to follow them!”
There was no time to ask why, so Casey
pulled a shaking Evie onto her back, quietly urging her to hold on before
grabbing Agumon’s hand and pulling him out of the apartment at breakneck
The little blonde whimpered, fatigued from stress and some unknown
ache, and the sound drove Casey faster.
Her feet hit concrete, and the redhead
whipped around into the alley, where the two spirits were facing off in a
battle of wills.
Salamon whined as the grip on her neck tightened, only the
intricately-carved gold collar protecting against Pitch’s sharp fingers, and
Evie shuddered as if feeling the same pain.
The red-haired teenager carefully placed her sister on the ground, commanding Agumon with a look to guard the girl before stepping forward.
Her shout drew the spirits’ attention,
and she stood firm.
“You want me, right? The only child you couldn’t transform
into a Fearling?”
Confusion filled Bunny’s face, along with a mounting dread.
“Let Salamon go, and I’ll let you take another crack at it.”
“What? No!” The Pooka shouted. “Are ya crazy? I ain’t gonna let ya-!”
“Bunny.” She said it calmly, but there was a steel hidden in her tone and a
fierceness in her eyes that cut right through his argument.
This was not a girl
making a rash decision, or even a sister worried over her sibling; this was a
mother bear defending her cub.
If there was one thing Bunny had learned, it was
to never get between a mama bear and those she considered her own.
never seemed to take the hint.
Said Nightmare King was silent, mulling over
the offer, before a sinister smile took root on his face.
“If you insist.”
Nightmare-sand seeped up from the ground like demented weeds, wrapping around
her legs in a vice-grip.
Startled by the sudden assault, Casey lurched back, a
knee-jerk reaction to escape.
“What the-? You have to let Salamon go first!”
The teenager argued, wincing as tendrils of dark sand grabbed her wrists and
ground the bones together.
“I don’t believe you specified when, exactly, I had
to do that.” The dark spirit taunted.
“You son of a-!”
or curses she was about to say were swallowed by another wave of sand,
purposely taking on the shape of a shimmering black egg.
screamed, a spear of agony striking him through the Bond.
The dark was
Blind to everything but his partner, he reached out to her mind in desperation.
There was pain, and darkness…
But the warm pulse of her
heart, strong and unyielding, filled the Digimon with joy.
Deafened to the outside world, surrounded on all sides by
moving darkness and fear, Casey truly felt the touch of her Digimon through
It was relief and unwavering loyalty, a promise that there was
still time to fight and that he would be there…
The call of her
sister penetrated the din, steeling the girl’s resolve as light pushed back the
dark around her.
No more holding back.
A blinding light escaped Agumon’s
skin, immediately distracting the two warring spirits with it’s suddenness.
“Agumon, Digivolve to…Greymon!”
The massive Digimon roared his new
strength to the sky, intimidating in his size, but Pitch stood firm.
After all, Casey was still-
The massive egg bulged, and the crackle of crystallizing sand
reached them just before it exploded outward in a wave of fire.
shattered sand and shadowy glass was Casey, an orange tint glowing in her eyes
that was not there before.
There she was, sparks tumbling off her skin and orange light faintly coming off her skin…
Bunny was awestruck.
The threat was very real, and Pitch knew it.
Good thing he had a back-up, then.
In a tornado of uprooted concrete and asphalt,
a massive spiked shell drilled up from the ground, sprouting a large pink head
and arms with a wild mass of green tentacles for hair.
Bunny leaped to shield
Evie and Salamon from the rubble, pulling them away from what was likely going
to be a very dangerous fight.
Casey waited until they were a safe distance away
before saying anything, glare trained on the smug Nightmare King.
The large, helmeted dinosaur smiled.
“I can take him.”
“Good.” She replied
curtly, hands curling into fists. “Because this bastard’s mine.”
exploded to life on her hands, and Casey lunged forward with one fist drawn
back to nail Pitch in the face.
Evading swiftly, the spirit felt rather
unsettled when her fist smashed through a brick wall instead of his head.
Casey was far from done, going after her opponent with intent focus of a lioness
on the hunt, punching and kicking wildly so fire flew from her blows in wide
arcs. Only the swift transport of shadows saved Pitch from being badly burned.
Shellmon roared, moving in protection of his temporary master, before Greymon
slammed into him like a boulder. Baring his fangs, the large dinosaur bashed
his adversary’s head with his helmet-covered forehead. Shrieking in pain,
Shellmon reared back, taking aim.
high-pressure stream of water, Greymon opened his own maw.
Steam obscured any outside view of the battle, through Bunny’s radar-like ears
caught every impact and crackle of dying fire from his spot further down the
Evie whimpered softly, curling around Salamon, and he nuzzled her hair
in an attempt to soothe the little girl.
Come on, bluey, he urged
silently. The ankle biter won’t hold up much longer.
As if sensing this,
the teenager’s blows became more precise, grazing more often than not as she
tried to end the fight more quickly.
Greymon lurched forward, levering his horn under Shellmon’s immense grey shell and-
With a toss of the head, said Digimon
was sent flipping into the air, exposing his vulnerable underbelly.
“Nova Blast!”In an explosion of fire, Shellmon disintegrated into thin air, just like Kuwagamon and the snake-partner before him.
Seeing this, Pitch knew it was time to go.
Melding into a nearby shadow before Casey’s foot could knock his head off, the
shade appeared a distance away.
“While it was nice to see you again, my dear, I
do need to be going.”
A smirk crept across his face like poisonous mist.
“Though I must say, I do prefer your eyes this color.”
Pitch disappeared before
a fire blast could strike him full in the chest, and Casey growled in
Why did he keep getting away?
With a sigh and a burst of
light, the pair were back to normal, collapsing to the ground in exhaustion.
“Bluey? Agumon?” Bunny fretted, hopping up to them with Evie clinging to his
“’M okay…” The redhead assured, looking at him upside-down. “But you
wouldn’t happen to have something to eat, would you?”
“We’re starving…” Agumon
agreed, hugging his stomach as he rolled in exaggeration.
A chuckle escaped the
Pooka out of relief, and he smiled.
Yeah, they were fine…