When the Human Hybrids had slashed through Lucemon Satan Mode with the sword from Susanoomon's Zero Arms: Orochi, they thought that that was the end of it.
When they were thrown through the shrinking tunnel which signified the last link between the Human World where they were birthed and the Digital World where they were reborn, they thought that that was the finale.
When their D-Scanners faded back into the cell phones they had been as Kouichi opened his eyes again in spite of having his soul scanned, they thought that that chapter of their lives was now closed.
They were wrong.
Junpei had been the one to notice it first, the feeling deep within his bones which told of something that he couldn't quite explain, even if it was strikingly familiar. It left him disoriented in the beginning, but he eventually adjusted to the change. It became a thing that he lived with, but a secret that he kept from his friends, even Izumi, his girlfriend at the time.
He noticed, however, that Izumi, when she hit her seventeenth birthday, changed. And he could tell why, too.
She felt it as well.
He met with her, and the two talked, but they were unable to discern the source of the feeling. The pair resolved to bring it up with Takuya and the others the next time they all met.
Takuya's birthday hit afterwards, however, and the former owner of the Spirits of Flame had felt it as well.
Kouji and Kouichi's birthday came not long after that, and they both reported the same feeling, though Kouichi's wasn't nearly as strong as Kouji's.
It was confusing though, considering that it'd been years since anything special had happened to them. The only thing that they could attribute to all of them was the Digital World...
...but that was long over, wasn't it?
That was what they tried to tell themselves in the years that followed, despite the uneasiness inside of them, but it was a futile effort as Tomoki, who had grown up sharply in his teenage years and yet was quite arguably one of the most sensitive of them all, went to his boyfriend, Kouichi, not long after with his problem.
Then, for the first time in years, the ten who remembered the Digital World met. It had been difficult to gather all of them with conflicting schedules, but eventually the five Chosen of Ophanimon, the Chosen of Cherubimon, and the four who stayed despite the Throne digimon's order, Katsuharu, Teppei, Chiaki, and Teruo, met in one place.
It was then and there that things came to a head.
Katsuharu, Teppei, Chiaki, and Teruo had also felt something as their birthdays passed, and it was an even more vague feeling than Kouichi's, but Tomoki's was as sharp as the rest of them.
They managed to trace it back to the Digital World, back to the place where their paths crossed and they became friends after many trials and tribulations.
They also managed to track down Kouichi's feelings to being with the Spirits.
But the feelings of the remaining five?
Uneasily, Takuya related the tale of Susanoomon, the God Man digimon who was the Warrior of Heaven. He talked about how they killed the fallen angel digimon that was Lucemon, in all his forms.
It was Kouichi that eventually saw it.
Susanoomon was a God Man digimon and a powerful one at that. He managed to destroy Lucemon in his Perfect and Ultimate forms with barely any effort, something that the Legendary Warrior Ten, very powerful Ultimate digimon, could only achieve with his Child form, and they had perished in the aftermath.
There was no possible way, Kouichi decided, that that might could not have changed them in some way.
It was a very shocked ten that dispersed that day, spreading back through the world.
But, of the five touched by Susanoomon, none could leave Japan.
Despite the fact that every year, officially and unofficially, they checked Shibuya station for the Trailmon Terminal that had originally taken them to the Digital World with no luck, they continued to do so.
As more time passed though, Junpei discovered what exactly was the feeling that they had felt, the restlessness that had become a part of their everyday lives.
They had stopped aging.
Junpei remembered looking into the mirror one day and seeing that he hadn't changed that much from when he was seventeen. There'd been subtle changes; he'd lost weight, gained muscle, but his face still looked like a teenager.
His body was, essentially, a teenager.
He then looked at his girlfriend and saw that she hadn't changed since her birthday.
When he brought this up to his friends, it was something that caused great alarm. Had Susanoomon altered them that much?
It was not long after that revelation that the six of them checked the Trailmon Terminal beneath Shibuya station again.
This time, Trailmon Worm greeted them.
It wasn't the same Trailmon Worm that Lucemon had destroyed when he'd deleted the planet that made the Digital World as well as its three moons, but it was still a welcome sight.
The Trailmon brought them to Ophanimon's castle in the Light Area. The Throne digimon, upon seeing her children that she had chosen and seen grow throughout time, gave a joyous shout and, showing strength that belied her lithe frame, scooped them all up into a large hug.
She called into the castle and the two remaining Great Angels to meet them.
Seraphimon recognized the children who had first attempted to save him, whom he had sacrificed himself for, and then later watched over him in his Child form, and swept them into a huge hug as well.
Cherubimon was more hesitant, especially when faced with Kouichi. Before anyone knew it, the Cherub digimon was on the ground, begging forgiveness from the children he had harmed, and especially of Kouichi, to whom he had done many irrevocable things.
Surprising even himself, the former Warrior of Darkness knelt and kissed the angelic digimon's head, saying that the past was the past and that he had already forgiven him.
Cherubimon smiled widely, embracing the six of them with his long arms.
A short while after, the six Chosen were sat before the Three Great Angels, who questioned them on the visit once the initial surprise of the link between the worlds was seen.
It was Kouji who bluntly stated the facts.
Silence reigned in the meeting room.
Distressed, the Great Angels called in the reborn Legendary Warriors to seek their counsel.
After the initial shock upon meeting faded, the ten Human Hybrids focused their powers, which had grown immense over the humans' time away, and examined the six.
The results blew everyone's minds.
Susanoomon had done more to the Chosen of Ophanimon than anyone thought possible.
It gave them the blessing and curse of eternal youth... a prospect that scared the every single one of them.
The clincher was that it hadn't spread to Kouichi.
He'd merely lengthened his life by interacting with the Spirits of the Legendary Warrior Ten. He would continue aging after a certain amount of time and resume his aging as if it had never been.
The loss crushed the hearts of those assembled.
Kouichi looked into the eyes of his boyfriend and proclaimed that he would stay with them in spite of his eventual fate.
Tomoki thought otherwise.
After a point, all of them would have noticed to have stopped aging. It was a risk they simply could not take, did not want to take, not in their constantly evolving world.
Once they had taken their Spirits back and assimilated with their beings until they were one and the same, Tomoki met secretly with the other Chosen of Ophanimon, bringing with him the secret plan that... that he felt needed to be done.
Kouji had initially been against it, but Takuya looked into the eyes of their youngest member, the cyan eyes that were frozen with pain, and saw the sacrifice that the teenager, no, man was giving.
It was a sacrifice that needed to be honored.
Kouji had eventually been brought over through his boyfriend, Takuya's, persistence, and the plan was set in motion.
Tomoki spent one last bliss-filled night with his lover before the end.
The next day, using the combined powers of the twenty Spirits and their own considerable strength, the memories of Kouichi, as well as the memories of Katsuharu, Teppei, Teruo, and Chiaki, were wiped of every memory of the Digital World, of every memory of them.
Kouichi would mourn Kouji as the twin he had never known and then move on. He wouldn't remember the adventures they'd shared or the many moments he'd shared with Tomoki over the years.
Their families would think they had died at seventeen.
There was nothing more to be said.
Takuya found himself comforting his boyfriend for a long time afterward.
Junpei and Izumi attempted to help Tomoki, but the Warrior of Ice's eyes had frozen over with pain as he cradled the Spirits of Darkness within his body, the last thing he had of his lover of many years aside from one-sided memories.
Over time as the Digital World changed, continuing to be at peace under the rule of the Three Great Angels and various other affiliates, the five Chosen of Ophanimon coped with the changes that having the Spirits back brought.
Aside from a mastery of the elements that the Spirits represented as they completely merged with them, the strength of Susanoomon who killed a veritable god whose strength ranked among the highest no matter where a person may go ran through their veins.
Their power transcended the limits of the Digital World, and the group saw things that made them question things about their world.
Traveling with Encyclomon, an angelic digimon who recorded the history of the Digital World as the Perfect form of Bokomon, and Chronosmon, the Perfect form of Neamon who was the watcher of time that protected Encyclomon, they traversed the realities themselves with little effort, filled with power that outmatched the strength of most digimon.
They came across the first computer, ENIAC, from which all the Digital Worlds are birthed.
Yet they also knew of Atanasoff, the shadow computer that was the secret not to be taken lightly.
ENIAC, seeing their power and recognizing it as an irreversible anomaly that should not have been, asked if they would like to work to protect the many realities of the Digital World, figuring that a purpose was what they needed.
He also asked if they, from the shadows, would protect and provide assistance to the Legendary Tamer one he arrives.
Not knowing anything else to do, they accepted the mission.
The group of seven moved from world to world, the five who composed Susanoomon doing most of the fighting as Encyclomon recorded everything they came across and Chronosmon protected him.
However there came a time of great strife, a war that threatened the very existence of many Digital Worlds.
The War of the Four Great Dragons.
The Digital World they fought in was so weakened by the warring digimon that when Susanoomon slew Megidramon with a combination of his Yakusa no Ikazuchi and Ama no Habakiri after a long battle, much like they had done to Lucemon Satan Mode so long ago, with the unwilling-to-be-sent corpses of the lovers Holydramon and Goddramon, who sacrificed themselves against the insane viral dragon, surrounding them, the dying Qinglongmon asked them for one wish, one final plea.
He asked them to save their land, to protect it in their place.
He said that they were sorry that this end came to be.
When Qinglongmon died, the Zero Arms: Orochi broke apart and released a white blade. Using that mystical sword, their final trump card amidst all their tricks, they cleaved the Digital World into five, summoning the power of the Crests to heal the land.
They made their resting place on the fifth Digital World, the world of the Center, and watched the growth of the land they had saved.
But time had taken their toll on the minds of the five former humans and they were tired of battle.
So they went to ENIAC, asking for reprieve. The computer granted them it.
But time once again took their toll and they grew restless, but still did they not want to battle. The endless fighting exhausted their will.
So Tomoki granted them rest, rest that would let them sleep for as long as they wanted.
He froze them with his mastery of ice inside crystalline shells, laying them within each of four Digital Worlds. To the north, he put Junpei, whom he knew would rest easier with the last of his friend Goddramon in his domain. To the east, he put Kouji, who would enjoy being close to Qinglongmon, the dragon digimon he had befriended before he'd died. To the west, Tomoki sank Takuya, placing him with the Holydramon he'd come to know as a close friend. And to the south, he laid Izumi, hoping that her purity would heal the remains of Megidramon that slept there.
He retreated to the World of the Center, where he waited with Akashicmon and Tempusmon, the Ultimate forms of Encyclomon and Chronosmon respectively.
Tomoki grew lonely after a time, and the memories of Kouichi and his family, which he kept in a part of himself that remained preserved from the eternal battle, were strong, as did the love that continued to beat in his heart. He missed his friends that became his family in all senses of the word, and he missed simply being able to live.
So he asked Akashicmon and Tempusmon if they could watch over him as he slept. Going to ENIAC, the computer agreed to his request, and Tomoki stated that, if they were ever needed, they should be awoken. Akashicmon suggested that he and Tempusmon, in order to guard the five and wake them when the time comes, be turned into a single digital life form, not a digimon but something else entirely, both less and more for it. ENIAC consented, and the two became a Guardian, who eventually took the name of Gennai.
Tomoki, smiling one final time, stood in the World of the Center, raising his head to the sky. Whispering one last line, directed to Kouichi, he surrounded himself with icy winds that encased him in a crystal of ice. As he sunk himself beneath the earth with his last remaining consciousness, Gennai watched as a temple birthed from his resting place, a large digitama resting within.
Similar things had happened in each of the worlds, temples appearing over the resting spots of both the Great Dragons and the sleeping four.
Gennai watched the five as they hatched. From Tomoki's chosen spot, the hidden god Huanglongmon appeared as the beginning of the newest generation, the watcher of fate and the overseer of miracles. At the temple above where Junpei rested, Xuanwumon was born second though claimed as the first, the wise turtle who ruled with purity and sincerity. Qinglongmon from the dragons appeared again from where Kouji slept with no memory of his previous life, and the dragon brought light and hope to his lands. The fiery Suzaku, Zhuqiaomon, hatched from the place that Izumi now dreamed, burning with the passion of courage and love. Baihumon, the white tiger, rose from where Takuya lay, greeting all those who sought his knowledge with friendship.
The latter four digimon would later be known as the Four Holy Beasts.
But Huanglongmon remained an unknown presence, and he was the one that Gennai contacted, stating that he must not leave from the Digital World of the Center, lest something happen to Tomoki. And if something happened to Tomoki, they were all doomed.
The names of the five Chosen that had protected so many worlds faded from the minds of all except those who knew where they now rested.
When Akiyama Ryo fought Millenniumon in his many incarnations, he felt something aiding him in his journey, something that he could not describe.
Gennai passed along this legend to the newest children who inherited courage that he watched over, knowing that they might create a legend of their own someday...
...but they should never forget the five Chosen who gave up everything they were, that birthed the world they now stood upon...
...the five Chosen who were among the best, if not the best, that ever were and would continue to be.