Two figures sat in the kitchen around a table that has seen better days. One, a young man with messy dark hair and piercing blue eyes, was typing something into a laptop while eating a piece of toast. The other, who had violet-cobalt eyes and chestnut hair done in a messy braid, nursed a cup of coffee and looking like death warmed over. The latter figure sipped his coffee, sighed, and started to speak.
"Well, that was a strange night wasn't it Heero?"
Duo threw his arms in the air. "Come ON. First I have this weird-ass dream about meeting some guy in weird armor calling himself the Shaman in a snow-bound hut. And just when I was about to find out who the hell he is and why he contacted me when I get a whiff of Heero barbecue and wake up to the sight of a guy that looked like he stepped out of a sword and sorcery novel grabbing your arm. And you know what the weird thing is, we NEVER heard him break in, and he disappeared without a trace. You don't find that the least bit weird?"
By now Duo was walking around the kitchen floor. "Man, there are just too many unknowns here. I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what is gonna happen to us. I got a couple of theories. Wanna hear 'em?"
Heero looked up, and Duo took that as a yes. "Okay, here's my first theory. There is something about us that is attracting this group or race of entities. What is their reason? Havn't got a clue. On one hand, it could be because we are destined for something big, and I mean save-the-world big."
"On the other hand," he continued, sitting on the table. "Maybe these entities are rivals. I mean, take a look at what's happened. The Shaman was a pretty nice guy, from what I can tell, while the Warlord practically burned your arm off. Heh, wouldn't be surprised if we got chosen as gladiators for who-knows-what and we have to fight each other. Wouldn't that be freaky or what?"
Heero, who by now was fairly irritated, looked up from the computer and said. "Duo, you have a overactive imagination."
Duo shrugged. "Well, it's the one thing that's kept me sane. And besides," Duo then inched a bit closer to Heero, "I think you like what I can come up with."
But Heero was ignoring him once again.
"*sigh* Why do I even bother?", Duo said as he got off the table and slunk out of the kitchen, leaving Heero alone with his computer.
After a few moments, Heero stopped typing and looked at the brand on his arm. Much as he hated to admit it, those entities were a unknown factor. And unknown factors were always dangerous in a war.
Wufei sat on the lakeside staring out over the calm water, waiting for something that he only heard about in a dream.
'What am I doing?' he thought. 'I've been sitting here for over a hour only because some guy in my dream told me something will be happening here. Dreams can't possibly be real.'
"This war is driving me crazy.", he said. He then got up and turned to leave when he heard something from the lake, and he turned back to see what it was.
There was movement in the middle of the lake, as if someone or something was floating there. As Wufei listened, the sounds coming from there soon turned out to be someone shouting over the water.
"Hello?....... 'ey, anyone there?", the voice yelled.
Acting on intuition, Wufei waved, and the figure started to swim towards him. When the visitor got closer to the lake's edge where Wufei was, he saw that it was a young man with pale skin and red hair wearing what looked like a backpack. In a matter of moments, the stranger was close enough to simply wade out and step onto the shore, completely naked save for the backpack. The stranger turned to look at him with large green eyes, and Wufei saw the pendant around the strangers neck, a cross flanked by four triangles made out of wire in such a way that it resembled the Watcher's symbol.
"So," Wufei said, "you're the companion."
"Yep," the newcomer said with a grin on his face. "Hit the nail on the head. Name's Gomamon, nice to meet ya."
Wufei shook Gomamon's hand, then looked up and down at his body. Gomamon noticed this and smacked his forehead.
"Dang, I almost forgot how humans and Shadoworlders feel about nudity. Almost though, 'cause I packed just for this occasion."
Gomamon removed his backpack and set it on the ground. He then knelt down to open it, and started to take out various articles of clothing, talking all the while.
"Personally, I really don't get clothes. I understand that you need it when it's a bit on the cold side, but what I don't understand is the way that people here freak when they see someone that is wearing less clothing than is deemed normal for them. When I'm just about anywhere else in this reality, I can go without. Only when I get here do I have to pack some clothes. But it's no big bother really. I've gotten pretty good at choosing just the right clothes for the right occasion."
As Gomamon's words sunk in, Wufei's eyes widened. "Wait a minute, did you say you usually are naked?"
"That's right," Gomamon chirped as he pulled on a red tank top. "Does that mean even when you are around your...."
Wufei was unable to finish his sentence as his face turned beet red, various images suddenly forming in his mind. Gomamon looked up as he was pulling up his pants, and when he saw the expression on his companion's face he broke down laughing.
"Aw man! (gasp) And I thought that I (choke) was the one with the gutter brain." Gomamon then calmed down and finished putting on his pants. "First off, we never saw each other that way. In fact, I started out as his protector. Now, you tack on about a couple of centuries of training and I'd say we're about equal. And besides, I might make a few comments every now and then, but when it comes to actual desire, well, just call me asexual." Reaching for his shoes he added, "And also, this isn't what I really look like. It's the Solipsism Effect that changes me while I'm here."
Wufei tilted his head. "The Solipsism Effect?"
"It's a little hard to explain. I think I will have Jyou tell you more about it." Having finished getting dressed, Gomamon stood up and held his arms out. "So, whaddya think?"
Gomamon was wearing a red tank top, white spandex shorts, and a pale blue button-down shirt. Purple and white sneakers encased his feet, and a red baseball cap on his head completed the ensemble. Wufei looked up and down at his newfound friend.
"Gomamon," Wufei said at last, "I'm probably the last person to be asked about this, but you look pretty decent."
"Thank you." Gomamon chirped. He then added, "Of course, the cap and overshirt are when I'm relaxing and stuff. If I'm gonna be in a risky situation or we are in training, I take those off so I have the most freedom of movement."
Suddenly Wufei was struck with the strongest sense of deja vu as he envisioned Gomamon with just the tank top, shorts, and shoes. 'I guess that's what he means by choosing the right clothes.'
"Hey, why don't we head over to your place? I kinda forgot to eat this morning, and I want to see where you live."
"It's a couple of miles south of here.", Wufei replied. "We are going to have to walk, the terrain's too rough for me to use my bike."
Gomamon chucked. "A couple of miles, huh? When I first met Jyou and the others, we had to walk who knows how many miles with absolutely no clue where we were going. You think a couple of miles are gonna hurt me?" Gomamon then bowed grandly. "Lead the way, buddy."
And so they walked to the safehouse. En route, Gomamon started to regale the Chinese youth with tales of his past adventures.
'Sheesh, he's about as bad as Maxwell once he gets going', Wufei thought. 'No wonder he told me to be patient with him.'
Trowa sat on a bench in the garden at Quatre's estate, gazing at the reflecting pool. He did not really notice the beauty around him, as his mind was on the dream-yet-not-a dream he had.
'She said that she was one of eight beings charged with the protection of this "reality", and that they have taken interest in ... us because we have some sort of power within ourselves because our world is placed between two others, and as a result, the people of our world are hybrids, physically of the "Digital World" but mentally of the "original Earth".' Trowa sighed. 'But I still have more questions than answers. What kind of powers do I have as a "Shadoworlder"? Does this potential exist in everyone, of just a select few? And why did she ask about my hair?'
At the sound of that voice, he snapped out of his reverie and looked up, relaxing when he saw Quatre standing next to him. He did not know why, but the tall youth was jumpier than usual.
"I figured you would be here.", Quatre said. "Mind if I-"
Without a word, Trowa shifted on the bench, making room for the small blonde to sit next to him. Quatre took that spot then, leaning on his paramour, he sighed, causing Trowa to look at him with a mixture of curiosity and concern.
"I don't know who else to talk about this," Quatre finally said, "but lately some strange things have been happening, and I'm still not fully sure if it's all connected.
"It all started a few nights ago, when I dreamed that some stranger was in our room. The next morning, something tried to... make contact with my mind. I don't know what caused me to do this, but I somehow reached out to her."
Quatre nodded. "I didn't know it at the time. Anyways, when I connected to that force, all I can sense was... well, the best way to describe it was a sort of pure, almost holy, light. And there was a name too. Hikari...
But it suddenly subsided, but it didn't go away. I can still feel her...." Quatre shook his head.
"Last night, I had this... no, I don't think I can call it a dream. More like a visit. You see, I found myself in front of a church near a seaside cliff, and she was there, sitting next to the door. She was wearing silver armor and a cloak that seemed to be made out of light, and she seemed to be waiting for someone. It turned out that she was waiting for me."
Trowa tilted his head as he suddenly felt a sense of deja vu. "Her name?"
"Huh? Oh, right. She called herself the Priestess of Light, but I already knew her name. Hikari Yagami."
Trowa nodded, now wondering what his maiden's name really was.
"Anyways, we made our introductions, during which I surprised her by using her name. When she asked how I knew, I told her I 'followed my Space Heart'." They both chuckled at that inadvert pun.
"After that, we went into the church and I couldn't believe my eyes. The inside looked like it was made out of white marble and crystal, and it seemed to glow like her cloak. The only furnishings that I saw were a low table and some cushions, and what looked like a altar with two rods sticking out the top as if it was supposed to be some sort of frame. We sat down and talked.
"She said that she was one of eight beings charged with the protection of this reality, of which there were three parts: their birthworld, the Digital World, and ours, which is situated between the two. Because of this, elements of both worlds had a influence on what she called the Shadow World. The shape of the world and our minds are influenced by their Earth, but our bodies are influenced by the Digital World, which is home to creatures called Digimon. Every once in awhile, someone is born with some of the powers associated with the Digimon that they are based on. I believed she called them 'potentials'. She said that I and the others are probably the most powerful they've ever seen because our forms, or physiotypes, are one level higher than they should be for our age. But when I started to ask for details, the alarm went off, and I woke up. But I have a feeling that I'll be seeing her again." He then noticed that Trowa seemed deep in thought. "Trowa?"
"It seems to be all connected now. The stranger that appeared in our bedroom that night... is one of the Eight, the Seeker of Knowledge." Trowa then proceeded to tell Quatre about his encounter with the stranger, the peculiar sensation he experienced, and of the maiden in the garden and what she told him. When he finished, the small blonde shook his head and said, "Trowa, we experienced practically the same thing. We now have some strange group of entities watching us, but for what reason I can't figure out yet. I still have too many questions."
"Quatre, I have a feeling that we aren't the only ones being watched."
"What do you mean?", Quatre asked. Then his eyes widened as a thought popped into his head. "Do you think..."
"That the Eight might be watching the other pilots? It's possible."
Quatre placed his hand on his chin, deep in thought. "There are two ways to find out. Either ask the other pilots, or.... our mentors."
Trowa nodded, as it was all that they can do...