Jack would never understand how two very
different girls could be sisters.
Where Rocky was bright smiles and laughter
and blonde curls, Kim was neutral frowns and silence and straight black locks,
and the stark contrast was startling.
The only similarity they shared were
their blue eyes, and even then Rocky had a lighter shade than her sister.
Watching the preteen run around the Workshop, Patamon close on her heels like an excited puppy, Jack wondered why.
Glass cool against her shoulder, Kim glanced
out the window for a moment before returning to her sketchbook, the tip of her
pencil recreating the wonderland outside with soft strokes.
Gabumon, perched on
the window seat and leaning against her raised shins, smiled as Rocky and
Patamon ran by in pursuit of a strange flying toy shaped like a dragon.
relaxed, warmed by her Digimon’s pelt and expression soft as her sister’s
giggles echoed off the walls.
Turning to a fresh page, she let her pencil move
as if under it’s own power. Intricate snowflakes bloomed across the paper,
creating shapes without conscious effort.
Blinking away the trance she
had fallen into, Kim tilted her head up to see Jack literally hovering over her
shoulder, looking rather impressed as a smirk grew on his face.
anyone could capture me so well on paper.”
Expression carefully blank, the
black-haired teen looked back down and realized that the snowflakes she had
been creating formed a rather detailed picture of Jack Frost mid-flight.
she had less self-control, she would have blushed.
“I’ve had a lot of
practice.” Kim replied neutrally.
Interested, the winter spirit leaned on his
staff, still held aloft by a soft gust of wind.
“What sort of things do you
Dark blue eyes narrowed, assessing Jack for some sort of
Jack felt like she could see into his very soul at that
“…Whatever catches my attention, I suppose.” She finally said, the
intensity of her stare dying down.
Honestly, the sentiment-indirect as it
was-made Jack feel rather honored.
Out of all the Guardians, all the
amazing things she had seen in the last few hours, Kim had drawn him.
The rather sentimental moment was broken by Rocky’s sudden shout,
latching on to the winter spirit’s waist in a hug.
“You said we could go out
and make snowmen!”
“So I did.” Jack agreed, a mischievous spark in his eyes.
“But wouldn’t it be more fun if Kim came with us?”
Her face lit up at the idea,
and she turned to Kim with the most pleading expression imaginable.
want to come play with us?”
Jack was surprised when the older girl only took a
moment to reply.
“You’ll need a jacket and snow pants.”
squealed with joy, jumping to hug her sister before running to find North,
shouting her thanks gleefully as Patamon struggled to keep up.
Smiling at her
enthusiasm, the winter spirit turned back just in time to see the soft, almost
wistful expression on Kim’s face before it was hidden away.
Her eyes narrowed
at the awestruck, subdued look on Jack’s face that followed.
himself back into the present, he just grinned.
Jack soon found that, where Kim did not give
away much of anything, Gabumon was much more expressive.
The winter spirit
imagined that the Digimon was channeling the emotions his partner did not show,
making him a good key to what Kim actually thought about things.
rolled a large sphere of snow after Patamon and Rocky like an out-of-control
boulder, laughing along with them as Kim sat on the sidelines with their
half-finished snowman, Jack knew that she was having fun.
When the three were
finally exhausted, and Kim began to herd them back into Santoff Claussen, the
boy floated up to her side with a smirk.
“How do you feel about snowball fights?”
Well, that could have gone better…
whole snowball/elf war had been pretty epic, and had even got Kim to show some
amusement, being lectured by Ma had been less than ideal.
Three hundred years
old, and she had managed to make him feel like a naughty child in only a few
The worst part though?
Having to clean up the mess.
Looking up from mopping the soaked floorboards, Jack was surprised to see Kim pick up a second mop, silently joining him in drying the wooden floor.
Once the gesture
sunk in, the winter spirit smiled, turning back to the work with a tune humming
under his breath.
The slightest of smiles was hidden in the corner of her mouth as she softly followed along.
Life before had been lonely, Gabumon could
Sometimes, pressed against Kim’s side and dozing, he could almost
imagine it was all a dream, that the strong pulse of his partner had always
been there and he had never felt the sharp bite of loneliness in his soul.
Though Kim did not show her emotions, she felt them so deeply he could feel
them through the Bond as if they were his own.
Surges of concern, of happiness,
of uncertainty, of suspicion; they flared up from the jumbled core of feelings
she held deep inside, so wild that Gabumon wondered how she coped.
So much of
that tangle was built of sadness and guilt and regret, a constant hum of pain
beneath the momentary flashes of happiness and contentment and warmth.
the water out of his fur, Gabumon watched as the winter spirit chatted away
amicably, not seeming to mind that Kim did not say anything.
But Gabumon could
feel that warmth through the Bond, though there was a strange sadness tainting
it that he could not understand.
For some reason, Jack made her both happy and
And Gabumon could not figure out why.
The dark had never frightened Kim, even as a
She took comfort in the quiet it brought, taking the extra time to mull
over the day’s events and catalogue any useful information.
Lounging in an
armchair, Gabumon curled into her side, she closed her eyes with a soundless
Rocky’s soft, even breaths helped lull her into a state of calm, where
she could better organize everything that had happened.
Gabumon relaxed with a
purr, nudging her shoulder until Kim started running her fingers over the intricate
runes on his horn.
A secret smile hid in the corner of her mouth as he settled,
Everything was as it should be.
Orias is such a strange blend of suburban calm
and big city bustle that Kim often wondered if the architect was slightly
Living in one of the transition areas, an apartment building just on
the edges of suburbia and urban traffic, she felt the contrast keenly.
itself was rather modern, all sleek metal and glass, with no gardens or trees
to block the view of it.
Only the best, Kim thought with some
The apartment was spacious and open, a large living room with a
door leading to a full kitchen and a hallway that likely held the bedrooms,
closets and bathroom.
Jack found the entire place rather…sterile, like
everything had come out of a magazine and no one was allowed to touch.
live here, huh?” He wondered, floating over to a large flat screen TV as Kim
set her Digimon down. “Where are your parents? At work or something?”
work.” The black-haired teenager answered, a subdued tone to her voice catching
Jack’s attention immediately.
Gabumon looked up at her, extremely worried, but
her face was like a mask as she turned to go down the hallway.
The two boys
shared a glance, and Jack saw what he had missed in Kim’s eyes reflected in her
Digimon’s orange pair; a deep, unrelenting guilt.
What did she have to be
Following her down the dark hallway, the winter spirit paused
on the threshold, taking in what must be Rocky’s room with wide eyes.
Everything was yellow and white; ruffled bed skirts and ballet slippers hanging
from hooks near the closet, stuffed animals piled on the pillows and dolls
shoved in a corner with a detailed little house.
There were racks full of shoes
in the closet, little purses with brand names hanging just over them, and Jack
knew instinctively that Rocky had not asked for any of it.
She was such a sweet,
thoughtful child that asking for such expensive things was not in her nature.
Kim grabbed a duffel bag from under the bed, and systematically began going
through the drawers and closet for whatever clothes her sister actually wore.
Jack floated around, taking in the room, as Gabumon helped his partner
carefully fold everything away for maximum space.
Neither male said anything to
break the silence, sensing that Kim was not in the mood to talk, though they
Carefully pretending not to notice, Kim closed the duffel and stood,
dragging it into the hallway.
She could not even begin to explain the
complicated mess that was her paternal relationship, let alone about her
mother, and so she stayed quiet.
As the black-haired girl went into her own
room, Jack floated up to the last closed door in the hall, peeking inside.
was a bedroom, like he expected a parent to have; a double-bed, a nightstand,
an attached bathroom…
He got the unnerving feeling that no one had ever used
Whipping around, the winter spirit smiled sheepishly at the
slightly suspicious look Kim was leveling him with.
Kim just shook her head, but there was a spark
of affection in her eyes as she turned away that made Jack feel warm all over.
Her bedroom was dark, but not in a threatening way; the walls and ceiling were
painted like a clear night’s sky, and someone had lovingly recreated the stars
and a large, shining moon overhead that reminded Jack of his first moments of
A shelf sat to one side, holding a wide array of ribbons and
trophies for various martial arts tournaments and, just below, a few framed
pictures from her childhood years.
It was as if nothing mattered after she
Jack paused, confused, at a picture that was of Kim, Casey and Ma
sometime in kindergarten.
Since when had Casey’s eyes been blue?
going through her sketches and paintings, carefully putting them into folders,
as Gabumon tugged another bag out of the closet.
Jack picked up the packs of
special markers, pens, and pencils from the desk, placing them gingerly in the
backpack Kim had produced for her artwork, before going back to studying her
She hardly seemed to mind, if Gabumon’s disinterest was any indication,
so the winter spirit floated up to the desk once more.
The surface was
scratched and inked from long hours of work, and Jack smiled at a little
snowflake etched into the upper right corner, as intricate as his own
Blinking innocently at the call of his name-a natural
reflex-, he fumbled with the bag thrown into his arms, startled.
packed everything.” Kim said in way of explanation. “We can go.”
The winter spirit replied breezily, pulling a Snow Globe from his hoodie
pocket. “We can just send the stuff through a portal and have some fun! There’s
a pond near here, right? We can hang out there for a little while.”
blue eyes studied him intently again, suspicion narrowing them into slits, and
he wondered what had brought that sort of reaction on.
“…It’s dangerous to stay out in the open for too long.” She warned, shoulders squared and tense.
Gabumon bristled uncertainly beside her,
looking between the two in honest confusion.
“I’ll protect you.” Jack promised
Startled by the unexpected sentiment, Kim studied him, wanting so desperately to believe him and yet…
She wasn’t sure she deserved it.
“…Alright.” Kim relented, averting her gaze. “Half an hour, and not a minute
Excited, Jack wasted no time opening a portal, throwing the bags
through, and dragging Kim out of the apartment.
They only had half an hour,
Opening one of the larger windows, he hopped onto the sill, turning
to Kim and her ruffled Digimon with a grin.
She hesitated for a few
moments before picking Gabumon up and settling him on her back, hiding the old
memory behind a mask of annoyance as she nodded.
Taking the girl’s hands in his
own, Jack called the Wind, which gladly lifted the trio up and out of the
Muscles contracting in a natural response to suddenly hovering in
midair, Kim pulled herself closer to Jack instinctively, relaxing minutely when
he wrapped an anchoring arm around her hips.
The winter spirit paused at the
nagging feeling that someone else had once done the same, but shook it away,
telling the Wind their destination.
As they were whisked away, high enough not
to be accidentally seen, Gabumon pressed against his partner’s back nervously,
not at all made for flying.
The Digimon was relieved once they landed, dropping
onto the snow-covered bank with a sigh before looking around curiously.
lake was rather small, more like an oversized pond than anything, covered with
a thin layer of ice, surrounded by frosted grass and shielding trees.
rather pretty, actually.
Kim sighed, taking in the scenery with a wary sense of
White mists of laughter, numbed fingers, bright bright blue eyes-
She shoved the memories down with quite a bit of difficulty.
A snowball struck her cheek, causing Kim to stumble a step as she blinked the icy flakes from her lashes in surprise.
Jack laughed, creating another as the blue
sparkle of his magic settled around her face.
“Is that the best you’ve got?”
Calmly, the mortal teenager bent down to scoop up some snow, sculpting a
Jack yelped as it struck him in the face and sent him falling
Gabumon chuckled at the dumbfounded look on the boy’s face, showing
his partner’s amusement.
“Five years of Little League Baseball.” She explained
A smirk crossed Jack’s face as he stood, picking up his fallen
The two exchanged fire quickly after
that, Gabumon jumping to his partner’s aid with a well-aimed “Blue Blaster!”
that evened the playing field against the flying, snow-creating winter spirit.
Eventually, the joy-inducing magic of Jack’s snowballs wore at Kim’s steely
self-control, and she started to laugh.
The sound was deep and genuine,
slightly roughened from disuse, and it went right to Jack’s heart, a fogged
memory taking shape in his mind’s eye.
Distracted by the strange epiphany, he
was caught off-guard by a full-body tackle that sent the two tumbling through
Twisting, the winter spirit pinned her down, letting out a startled
breath at the relaxed, smiling expression that softened her face.
her dark blue eyes, warm with affection and laughter, the pieces clicked into
Recognition flashed in the ocean-like depths before Gabumon’s
growl snapped both of them back to reality.
“Well, isn’t this sweet?”
leapt to his feet, staff at the ready, and Kim lifted herself smoothly into a
battle-ready crouch with Gabumon at her side.
Pitch watched them from the
“A happy reunion, I assume.”
“What do you want, Pitch?”
Jack demanded, icy magic glowing in the crook of his staff.
“I need a reason?”
The shade wonder, mock-innocent. “It’s been so long, I was only wondering how
little Kimi was doing.”
Suspicions taking shape, Kim’s careful mask settled
into place like a second skin as Gabumon bared his fangs.
“We’ve never met.”
“Not personally.” He agreed. “But I knew your mother very well.”
seeped through the cracks, and Gabumon snarled blue sparks.
oblivious to the reaction he had caused, though Jack was not.
“Such a weak
will…It was all too easy to convince her that this world would be better off
without her. Oh, but she fought, kept saying she loved her little girls…”
gaze was razor-sharp, knuckles bone-white as she zeroed in on the vulnerable
points of the dark spirit’s body.
“She was soon convinced
you would be better off without her. And you are, aren’t you? Such a bright
child shouldn’t be hampered by such a worthless mother.”
“Though she was rather theatric about it. Wallowing in misery for weeks before
finally going through with it.”
“Oh, how she cried…”
Pitch disappeared into the shadows before the
heel of Kim’s palm slammed into his nose, cracking the tree bark instead.
cold fury in her eyes was enough to silence him.
“No one speaks about my
mother that way.” She rasped out, reining in her temper and deep-seated pain
with Herculean effort.
If Pitch had thought Casey’s rage only an hour before
had been intimidating, he found Kim’s almost menacing.
Her wrath was not wild
and unpredictable, but honed like a blade, wielded with a logical precision
that promised agonizing pain.
“You should be thanking me.” He claimed,
forcefully at ease. “You wouldn’t be the person you are today if I hadn’t
“And that’s a good deed in your eyes?” Kim shot back, insulted.
“To make a little girl bitter and empty by taking her mother away? Like you did
to Casey? Were you disappointed when she refused to break, so you decided to
Her voice was eerily calm despite the anger growing inside, and it
sent a foreign chill down Jack’s spine.
The little girl he had known, so very happy and bright…
Pitch had done this to her?
Caused her to shut down and shut
out the world?
Jack would never forgive him for that.
freshly reminded of his earlier failure to convert his original target.
worked, didn’t it?”
“No.” Kim responded firmly. “It didn’t.”
forward, reacting to his partner’s upset.
dodged the tinted flames quickly, melding into the shadows before a well-aimed
kick could land on his face.
Nightmares rose up around the trees, galloping
towards her in a reckless charge Kim had not been expecting.
Kim jerked back, arms raised to block the brunt of any impact-
The Nightmares shrieked as they were disintegrated under a wave of icy
magic, leaving Kim to stare in surprise.
The winter spirit turned to
her, serious and implacable as a blizzard.
“I won’t let him hurt you again.”
This declaration stunned her.
Why, when he knew how damaged and scarred
she was, would he still care?
Sizing up the opposition, Pitch
decided to pull in the big guns early.
A massive sea dragon-like
Digimon burst through the lake’s ice, roaring to the sky before turning to the
trio with bared fangs.
Gabumon bristled, stepping between his partner and the
new threat with a growl as they were boxed in by Nightmares.
“I’ll take the
creepy horses, and you take the giant sea lizard?” Jack voiced, slightly
Kim frowned, sizing up her opponent with a critical eye.
“Do I have a
Seadramon lunged with bared fangs, intent on devouring
his prey, and Gabumon jumped into action.
flames scorched the sea serpent’s face, causing him to pull back with an
annoyed glare, tail coming around in a powerful swing.
Gabumon cried out as he
was struck, tumbling head-over-claws through the slushy sand and snow into a
disoriented heap quite a few yards away.
The pain echoed through the Bond like a
physical ache, and Kim winced as it shuddered through her entire body.
Blasting a Nightmare that threatened to smash his face in, Jack
turned sharply at the rush of displaced air beside him.
teenager cried out as she was tackled to the ground and pinned down by a cold
body, eyes snapping open at his grunt of pain.
Holding himself up with great
difficulty, Jack opened one eye as the Nightmare ground into his back with both
forelegs, trying to make him buckle.
“A-Are you okay?”
“Jack…” She muttered, so
Why was he trying so hard to protect her?
“I told you
once that we were friends.” He insisted, firm. “Let me prove it to you.”
Kim had not felt such a swell of emotion since she was a child, overwhelmed and
lost, and she had no idea where to turn.
Then a presence touched her through
the Bond, sturdy and warm, and she realized it was Gabumon.
It felt like worry and protectiveness and it’s alright, I’m here, I’ll always be here for you…
was all she needed.
Light flooded from the Digivice at her hip, and both girl
and Digimon were lost from sight as the glow enveloped them.
“Gabumon, Digivolve to…Garurumon!”The massive blue wolf pounced on Seadramon’s head as the serpent went in to finish the teenager’s off, sinking his fangs into it’s neck as his opponent thrashed.
With a shriek, the Nightmare tormenting Jack was blasted to pieces by a
high-pressure blast of water, and the winter spirit toppled over in surprise.
Blinking his vision clear, he looked up at Kim, awed by the flash of
liquid-blue in her eyes and the water swirling around her body like bladed
“I won’t let anyone hurt you again.”
The liquid rippled as she raised a
hand, and came down like a tsunami on the surrounding Nightmares.
snarled as he lost his grip, landing behind his partner gracefully and baring
his blood-spattered fangs at Seadramon in warning.
Pitch cursed under his
breath, calling nightmare-sand up from the ground like tentacles as Seadramon
hissed in outrage.
Kim brought both hands around, the snow
melting and forming a dome over the trio before the attack struck, freezing it
to solid ice.
Dark shadows struck from all sides, trying to break through, but
the dome held strong under Kim’s focus.
The large wolf nodded,
crouching down and ready to move.
“Cover your head.” Kim warned, eyes narrowing
on a minute crack in her shield as Jack took her advice.
The moment her hands
fell, Garurumon busted through the suddenly-weakened ice with a snarl.
Seadramon shrieked, jerking back as his face and upper body were
badly burned by the powerful blue flames.
With a clenched fist, Kim caught the
shattered ice of her dome and threw them like daggers.
Dodging the sharp
projectiles, Pitch scowled to hide his alarm as they cut through the
Enraged, Seadramon opened his maw with a hiss.
The attacks met in midair, but Garurumon’s proved to
be the stronger of the two as it enveloped the stream of icicles and struck
Seadramon full in the face.
With one last screech, the sea serpent
disintegrated, the only sign of his existence the cracked ice and disheveled
Seeing this, Pitch knew it was time to go.
“Well, this was fun,
but I do need to be going.”
Eyes narrowed into a glare, Kim shot a
high-pressure sphere of water at the shade’s face as he melted into the
When nothing else came out to attack them, she slowly
relaxed, light flashing around the pair as they returned to normal.
the exhaustion away as Jack took hold of her arm, the girl allowed him to
support her weight.
“Tired?” The winter spirit teased, hiding his concern with
“Extremely.” She admitted, patting Gabumon’s head as he leaned into her
hip with a sigh. “Can we go now?”
Jack nodded, patting her braid down in a
“Yeah…Yeah, we can go back.”
Both knew he was talking about
something deeper than going back to Santoff Claussen.
Kim just hoped it was