The sun was shining, glinting in their eyes. A calm, cool breeze whistled through the air, tickling the hair on the back of their necks. Some shivered delightedly while others laughed. One spread her arms out wide and twirled around, an apparently snoring bundle managing to stay balanced on her head. All except for the one were standing next to bizarre, otherworldly creatures. And they were all smiling.
A bird chirped and squirrels twittered. One of the creatures, a cheerful soul, giggled, grinning at his partner while another jumped onto his own companion's shoulder. A chocolate bunny smiled, laughing lightly at her "twin's" antics. At the same time, a fourth bent down, clanking, to let his relieved passengers off. Yet another crossed her arms and began surveying their surroundings, watchful as ever.
This peculiar, yet joyful scene was topped off with a large, glimmering portal. 1s and 0s drifted from it, shining in a bluish-white light. Sunlight reflected off the portal, glinting on the children and their partner's faces
A couple of them fell to the ground, grinning, laughing; clutching at the prickly grass, digging their hands in the dirt. They stared up at the pure blue sky. Light gray clouds were scattered across it, promising of a coming storm.
One sneezed, rubbing his nose with a smirk while another searched the ground for his glasses. A miniature pink fairy floated over and handed them to him. He gratefully stood up to grab them, accidentally bumping into a much larger creature who had been so far silent. It growled, glaring at the pallid boy from behind his mask. Another, older boy laughed, patting it on the shoulder. The normally vicious creature relaxed slightly, his growling becoming half-hearted. Not even he could stay mad at a time like this. The pale boy laughed nervously, inwardly sighing in relief. A little color returned to his cheeks and he stepped back, grabbing his glasses.
A girl, who would have once glared, shared a smile with her vulpine partner. Snickering, she bent down and gave one of the boys a little kick.
"Come on Goggles, get up!"
At his aghast expression, she laughed and held out her hand. He gave a toothy grin and took it. Soon, they were all standing again, silently gazing into the portal in silence.
"The park's never looked more beautiful," One of them observed, bringing noise to the stillness.
"Dude, everything looks beautiful. I could kiss the dirt!" Another laughed.
"…It's finally over. We did it." A girl crossed her arms, head tilted backwards slightly as she stared at the glowing gate.
"Takato, I'm glad we're home," Another piped up, smiling.
"Yah... It's good to be back," The speaker looked up at one of the girls, "With the people you care about most."
The girl tilted her head, smiling warmly at a certain Goggle boy. Then she gasped, "Impmon!"
They all turned and stared. 'Foxy' couldn't hide her surprise (for once)—or happiness—and help but say, "Impmon! It's good to see you."
"Yah, well, uh…" The purple imp opened his eyes, looking up, and for once, wasn't snickering, smirking, nor glaring. He… was smiling. "I just wanted you guys to meet my Tamers," He gestured to the two open-mouthed kids behind him, "Ai and Mako."
The fox beamed, "Well, hello there."
He uncrossed his arms and stood upright, no longer leaning against the tree he was next to. He turned towards the group and hesitated, taking a few steps forward, "Jeri, I…"
He stopped and looked up, "Oh…"
"I'm so glad you're alright! You have to believe me—I never wanted anyone to get hurt!"
"Jeri, will you, um… What I mean is…" The young 'Demon' took a breath, staring straight into the partner-less girl's eyes, "Could you ever forgive me?"
She looked deep into his bright, emerald green eyes; at one time a violent, rampaging red. The park's purple menace… and their one time enemy. She thought of how hard he had tried to prove himself, and of how he deleted… Then she thought of his attempts to make amends for his sins. How he had been the closest to saving her; how his hand had been right there! …And how she hadn't taken it. How she had rejected him. What she said to him… and what happened afterwards. Him, falling from the sky… screaming her and his partners' names.
After a moment, she smiled, biting back a sob, "'Course."
His eyes widened, sparkling with unshed tears. Fists unclenched and mouth hung open, gaping. He whimpered, trying his best not to cry, finally at a loss for words.
The Virus Rookie was about to respond when a bright light suddenly engulfed him. He gasped, startled, looking down at himself.
"Huh?" "Wha..?" "Argh…!"
"Takato, what's going on? AH!"
"Guilmon! W-what's happening?!" His partner, Takato, yelled.
"…I don't know…"
"Ooooh…" The 'bundle' had awoken and was now feeling the effects, same as his friends.
"Renamon!" One of the girls exclaimed.
"I feel strange…!" The being, Renamon, responded weakly.
"Henry!" Yet another creature gasped.
"Wha-Terriermon!" The named boy cried out.
"Ryo…! I'm… fading…" Ryo gasped as his friend shrank before his eyes.
The frantic children watched helpless as their partners and friends fell to this new threat, unable to stop it.
A new voice rang out, "There you are Henwy! Lopmon! Tewwiermon! I thought I-" A sharp intake of breath, "Daddy, what's wrong? Why are they growing so small?"
A man, far older than any of the others present, stopped behind the girl with a grunt. He was staring at his shoes and seemed to have forced himself to come.
Henry turned, desperate, "Dad, help us!"
"Mr. Wong! Why are Guilmon and the others de-digivolving?!"
Henry turned to look at his friend. "…De-digivolving?" He turned, scared, shocked, and furious all at the same time, "Dad, tell us! What's going on?!"
The man looked away, unable to look his son in the eye, "Henry, I—the whole world was in danger and there was only one way out! We had to take it… even if it meant losing the digimon."
"Whaddya mean lose? Where are they going?"
"They have to return to the Digital Plain, or they'll disappear forever; like the D-Reaper. They were never meant for this world."
As he said this, the twin children from before ran over, gently kneeling to pick up the young imp who was now barely a head in height.
Tears streaming down his face, holding a red ball with wings, Takato broke down, "But Guilmon's meant to be with me! He's a part of me, I'd promised him we'd always be together, I promised!"
The girl with what was once Renamon sobbed; her stunned friend clasped desperately, "No… this can't be…! I won't let it happen!"
Henry growled out, "You knew, didn't you? You knew this would happen when you scanned Terriermon!"
The man stayed in the same position, expressionless. "I had no other choice. The fate of the world was at stake." He looked up sharply, "I couldn't let everything, and everyone we love be destroyed, Henry…" He whispered the child's name in a futile attempt to protect himself; his pathetic excuse to save his good name.
"Henwy!" A small voice sang, grabbing the boy's attention.
"Wha?" He mouthed back.
"Terriermon, no…" The boy barely whispered out as his friend floated out of reach, wrenched from his arms, "Don't go!"
Shaking, a girl strained to keep her partner, "Renamon, stay! You can fight this, can't you?"
"Rika, I know we'll see each other again one day," The small, yellow, furry little bundle tried, hoping to bring cheer to her friend as she drifted away as well.
"No Renamon! Please, I love you!"
"Guil..mon..." Takato desperately hung on, refusing to let go.
"We'll play again soon, wont we? …Takato?"
Cheeks glistening with tears, Takato forced a smile, "Yah..… Yah." He nodded, arms spread out as his friend flew towards the portal, "Uh!"
They all took turns, calling what could be called their beloved other halves names as they disappeared.
"Guardromon, I love you man!"
"-We'll miss you!"
"Thank you Calumon!"
"Lowpmon! Don't go!"
And three were able to respond back…
"Stay strong, Rika!"
"Remember Takato—you promised. You promised! Takattoooooo…!" His voice faded as the gateway slowly vanished.
"Henwy… huh! Where'd they all go? W-where's Lopmon? Huh! I want my Lopmon and Tewwiermon! I-I don't want them to goow!" One of the youngest bawled, not understanding.
"Henry…" The man spoke up again. Not bothering to hide his tears, Henry looked up, holding his little sister close, "I know it hurts now son, but in time, i-it'll get better. You'll see."
When he heard his father, Henry slowly smiled and shook his head, proving the eldest— and supposedly wisest of them all—wrong. That's when the man broke down.
"Oh! Henry, I-" Tears were streaming down his face now. "…I'm sorry!" He fell to his knees, the frail grass collapsing underneath him, unable to withstand his superior weight, much like the Digimon being forced to leave. He fell forward, arms barely supporting him as he wept, voice going up in pitch, "I'm so sorry…!"
And that's how the children stood, watching as perhaps one of the happiest moments of their lives turned into the worst.
Rika, arms crossed, standing proud and determined…
…The twins, Ai and Mako, standing with wide mouths and eyes…
…Jeri, her hands clenched together in front of her tightly as she smiled sorrowfully…
…Ryo, ever relaxed. Arms folded behind his back as he gazed into the space where there friends were taken from them…
…The goofballs, Kenta and Kazu, for once were respectful. One stood a little stiff, but with a small smile. The other's hands were placed firmly on his hips, almost as though he was ready to crack yet another joke when he obviously was not…
…Henry, his hands tenderly, yet at the same time, firmly holding his little sister's, whose name was Suzie. The young girl had stopped crying, comforted by her brother. Both looked up, numb, as they gazed along with the others…
…And Takato. Fists clenched, hanging by his sides. Feet spread out and cheeks wet, glimmering in the fading light. And yet, he was smiling.
Guilmon's voice echoed in his mind… all of the humans thinking of what their partners, their equals, had told them.
They watched solemnly for what felt like generations, tears dripping from their eyes, sparkling in that beautiful manner; one that no one can ever appreciate. Hanging suspended, falling, before slapping against the wavering grass, disturbing its peaceful rhythm.
"I promise Guilmon. Just you wait. We'll be together again soon."