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In a world like our own, the existence of Digimon got out to the public of the modern era. The paradigm shift was rapid and dramatic, but cooler heads prevailed. The mysteries of the digital world are still vast, though. One tamer and digimon learn this when they find themselves embroiled in the struggles of another Earth after a trip to the digital world goes wrong.
I put this up some time ago, but it didn't live up to my standards and thus was taken down. With a bit more elbow grease, I think it's worth reading now.
I don't own Digimon.
"What horseshit. Those judges can kiss my ass."
With a growl of frustration, a boy sixteen years of age tears his eyes away from the almost mocking '3rd Place' medal in his hand, instead turning his eyes back to the crowd leaving the stadium like himself. A second later, a white-tipped muzzle noses his hand gently.
"We gave it our all, Kyle. Sometimes these things can't be helped…" A calm voice interjects from his left.
Kyle hisses through his teeth and quells his own temper, looking down to his side.
Keeping pace with him step for step is Dorumon, or more appropriately, his Dorumon. The curiously reptile-yet-mammal digimon stands nearly at chest height with him despite her hunched, raptor-like posture and regards him with gentle, gold-colored eyes. Her three-fingered forepaws wring the air with nervousness that betrays her calm face. "If there is any blame to be had for our loss, then it lies squarely at my feet. Please, do not be frustrated with yourself," Dorumon murmurs, looking away as she walks.
Like a deflated balloon, Kyle feels his shoulders fall as his simmering anger fades. He sighs and pulls the furry raptor at his side into a one-armed hug that she gladly leans into.
Their latest tournament run had been going great. The state-level circuit in Cincinnati was their final stop before qualifying nationally. Since the standard ruleset included file-size limits, a timer between allowed digivolutions, and disallowed mods that aren't strictly cosmetic, naturally powerful digimon like the rare Dorumon line thrived well.
They swept the first few matches, their only trouble coming from a powerful Renamon and her tactful tamer. When the first digivolution timer ran out, Dorumon digivolved and forced Renamon to do so as well, where the Renamon line's poor digivolution scaling showed itself. Kyuubimon was swiftly knocked out by Dorugamon.
Everything went well until they met a newer contender in the semifinals.
The girl tamer and her Salamon seemed like standard fare. The Salamon won mostly by kiting her foe until the first digivolution timer ran out, where she would make swift work of her opponent as a Gatomon with an impressive range of moves. Said Gatomon was definitely weaker than Dorugamon, however.
When their match came, Salamon was quickly on the defensive, but neither the digimon or tamer counted on Dorumon being faster. Salamon nearly went down after one Metal Cannon attack from Dorumon, but they played keep away long enough for the first timer to hit zero.
Then Salamon warp digivolved straight to Angewoman, bypassing Champion right to Ultimate.
A timeout was called, Angewoman was scanned, and the organizers determined that no mods were used and no filesize limits were broken. Since there was no wording in the rules saying you had to digivolve in order, the fight continued.
Dorugamon lost. Horribly.
'I know exactly why,' Kyle scowls as he recalls the recent memory. The camera crews at the edge of the arenas made themselves obvious, getting so close that a Sistermon Blanc had to sit with them to hold a Protect Wave up for them, least they take a missed attack. 'Bastards wanted the ratings a live Ult would bring.'
Then the exhausted Salamon and her now overconfident tamer suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of a mediocre tamer and his equally mediocre Elecmon in the finals. Just the thought of the wasted effort makes Kyle's blood boil once more before he pushes it away. He runs his hands through Dorumon's fur, frowning when it's not as soft as he remembered.
'Oh. Duh, dummy. All her mods are turned off.'
"It's not your fault, Doru," Kyle replies after a long moment before releasing her from the hug. "There was no way to expect that, honestly. There hasn't been any digimon who could warp digivolve in years. That was like getting hit by lightning twice in a row."
Dorumon flicks an ear in what Kyle knows is a silent scoff, but she doesn't protest.
As they walk, the crowd of people and assorted digimon around the Paul Brown Stadium holding the tournament begins to thin out as they pass the parking lot. Most of the families and people with digimon have said digimon devolve to their In-Training form to climb into their cars if Rookie is too big, while a rare few digivolve and carry their tamers away out onto the road or into the air if they have wings. Idly, Kyle wonders if he should bother with the hassle of learning to drive and buying a car when any sixteen-year-old like himself just needs a flying digimon and a free account with the FAA to get around. The easy flight that digimon gave to the common man years ago really rattled the FAA.
Kyle glances over to Dorumon. "You rested enough to fly us home?"
The digimon nods with a smile. "Of course."
Kyle reaches into his pocket for his phone as he watches a Monodramon digivolve into a large and colorful Airdramon and carry his tamer up into the air with a screech. Without even looking at the screen, Kyle opens his phone app and clicks on a saved speed dial from muscle memory alone.
The phone rings once, twice, then; "Ohio Air Control, ID please?" A woman on the other side asks, her tone tired.
"Kyle Vanduff, ID S740854," Kyle rattles off quickly.
"Destination?" The woman asks, audibly typing something on a keyboard.
The line is silent as the woman with Air Control types something else. "Alright, confirmed. Current altitude restriction is twenty thousand feet with a minimum of one thousand over populated areas. Keep clear of the Wright-Patterson base air space even with your IFF on."
"Will do ma'am," Kyle replies back. "Hope your night slows down. I know you're probably getting swamped with people leaving the tournament," he says, absently walking to an emptier part of the stadium parking lot to give Doru more room to digivolve.
She lets out a short laugh. "Indeed we are, honey. Have a nice night."
"Same to you," Kyle ends the call and clicks another app labeled "Digiflight IFF". Opening it, he flips it the virtual switch and gets a notification saying the device is transmitting. He slips his phone back in his pocket before turning to Dorumon. "Alrighty girl, do your thing."
She nods and without any other prompting begins to glow a bright white. From so close, Kyle can make out her skin peeling away to reveal a luminous green wireframe underneath with an orb of pure white, her core, hovering in the middle. The wireframe that is Dorumon quivers and expands, breaking and reshaping with dizzying speed. Nary a second later, Dorumon's frame is replaced with that of a furred dragon the size of an armored truck. Her skin reforms around the new frame and the glow fades, revealing the fearsome visage of Dorugamon to all. A few people and digimon stop to stare at the huge dragon.
Dorugamon turns a slitted eye to him. "Ready?" She asks, voice now deeper and richer.
Kyle can't help but grin at the thought of the impending flight, but stops when he notices something missing. "Shit. I still didn't turn your mods back on," he says aloud, reaching for his phone again.
Dorugamon visibly bites back a groan. "Must you? It's embarrassing."
She's ignored as her tamer scrolls through his phone for a moment in yet another app, this one labeled "DigiMod Loader." He clicks through a list labeled 'favorites' and hits 'enable all' at the top. "Read to reload, Doru?"
The digimon sighs and hangs her head as Kyle's finger falls on 'deploy mods'
Dorugamon freezes, her eyes going glassy for several seconds. Show glows white for an instant then blinks when awareness returns to her.
Where her back was bare previously, a large saddle fitted with leg restraints and a padded handlebar now sits. It's comically small on a creature her size. She glances back to it with dismay. "Kyle…"
"It's not becoming of a dragon, yes, I know," Kyle admits with his hands raised in surrender. "I'm still trying to get the invisible version working again but something about the new version just bugs out when it's in contact with the geometry of your back. It's at the top of my list. It's not like anyone can see it in the air anyway, crybaby."
Dorugamon snaps her jaws at the jab. "I do not cry about it, Kyle," she sharply retorts, but she lowers herself to the ground when Kyle approaches so he can scramble up onto her back.
He steps on her hind paw and plants his other foot on one of the saddle stirrups, alright knowing his full weight on one of her paws is barely anything to her. With a grunt, the boy lifts himself and throws his free leg over her back, seating himself in the digital leather of the saddle.
'I know it's just hard light and all, but it feels so real…' The teen runs a thumb over the crinkly leather before an impatient Doru jostles him, silently telling him to hurry up. With a roll of his eyes, he squeezes the handlebar, and as if alive, the leg restraints rise and wrap around his legs all the way from his ankles to his thighs, more leather seemingly oozing from nowhere and compressing to fit him.
In the comments of the mod page, everyone said the saddle in action looks like a cheap video game where the textures take time to load, and as the brown liquid solidifies into actual detailed leather, Kyle is inclined to agree.
With a tense of her powerful legs, Doru jumps and snaps her wings open for just a second before rising with several beats.
Kyle can't help but yell in exhilaration as his stomach seemingly drops into his toes from the sheer speed. Dorugamon twists and levels out in the air, showing him it took less than five seconds for Dorugamon to fly straight up and over the city below. In the waning light of the setting sun, the sprawl below shakes away its dirty streets and unfriendly appearance for a beautiful, twinkling visage of streetlights and tall luminous buildings.
If there is anything that will never cease to amaze Kyle, it's flying.
Dorugamon shoots northward with a roar, she and her rider little more than a blur to those below.
Dorugamon swoops down into a landing in an empty suburban street filled with humble two-story homes less than half an hour later, her enormous frame taking up the entire street from one sidewalk to the other. She touches down gently, barely even scratching the asphalt of the road with her claws. "Hurry up and get off," she urges her tamer as she lays flat to allow him off. "I want not a single soul to see that saddle." She hisses the word as if it burns her lips.
With a roll of his eyes, Kyle lets his restraints melt away and clambers down from her back, whipping out his phone as he does so. A few button presses later, and the saddle dissolves into motes of light. Shortly after that, Dorugamon herself glows and shrinks, once again becoming the more demure Dorumon.
With all her mods re-enabled, Dorumon's appearance now has a softer, thinner, more feminine feel to it. Her lush fur sways and ripples in the evening breeze as she blinks away the flash of her own digivolution. With a smile, she shakes herself and airs her fur out in the wind, looking picturesque with the setting sun at her back.
Kyle raises his phone and snaps a photo of his digimon, drawing her curious eyes to him.
"I thought for sure the thinner muzzle and fur texture mods were going to clash, geometry and retextures and all that." Kyle says, glancing at the photo before slipping his phone in his pocket. "Gunna show everyone they didn't."
Also it's going on his Insta.
Dorumon hums to herself. "It felt a little strange at first, but that faded with time."
'Her subconscious probably rewrote bits to fit better. Digimon data adaptation will never not be cool.' Kyle thinks to himself, walking to the sidewalk and to the nearest house as Dorumon falls into step with him. He throws the door to 211 Cedar Bark Lane open and shouts; "Mom! Doru and I are home!"
After a moment, a woman's voice calls back. "Welcome back, hun! How did your digimon thing go?"
Kyle kicks off his shoes by the front door as Dorumon follows and shuts the door behind him. The pair wind through the small living room to the kitchen, where a tall woman with curly auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail keeps a watchful eye on a sizzling pan and a simmering pot. 'Grilled ham and cheese with tomato soup, all made fresh.' Kyle's nose tells him, making his mouth water a little.
She turns as she hears Kyle and Dorumon approach, offering the pair a smile. "Hey you two. So, tell me how it went."
Kyle pulls the 3rd place medal from his hoodie pocket, feeling a sudden spike of bitterness that he pushes away. "Alrighty, so..."
The teen recounts the tournament to his mother, who listens with genuine interest but half-baked understanding that only a parent listening to a child can have.
The woman nods slowly, still digesting all the unfamiliar terms thrown her way. "Well, I still think 3rd place in a tournament with so many people is great, bub. Don't be so hard on yourself, you gave it your all and I'm proud of you two."
Kyle looks up when he realizes he was staring a hole into the medal in his hand.
Dorumon, on the other hand, just inclines her head. "Thank you, Mrs. Vanduff."
The woman clicks her tongue and turns back to the stove to add a slice of butter and flip the sandwiches in the pan. "Doru, hun, you can call me mom, or ma, or Nora, whicher' you like. I've told you that a billion times now."
The furred dragon bashfully turns away. "I still don't feel that it's very respectful, Mrs. Vanduff."
Kyle puts the medal pack in his pocket and feels his hand brush something else. 'Oh, I almost forgot.'
"Hey, mom. I also got this from the tourney."
Nora turns back around, instinctually reaching out and taking the envelope given to her. "What's this, hun?" She asks, opening it and taking out the little slip of paper inside to read. Her eyes widen.
It's the prize for 3rd place's win, a check for $15,000.
"Baby doll, absolutely not!" She says, thrusting the check back at Kyle, who makes no move to take it back. "Kyle Vanduff, I swear to the good lord above, you will take this back or else!" Nora almost yells, her voice taking on a slight country twang in her ire.
"I'll take a little bit of it," Kyle counters, fighting to remain unflinching in the wake of his mother's indignant anger. "The rest goes to you, mom, I know..." The boy pauses for a moment, trying to think how to best navigate the minefield he just charged into. "...that things have been a little tight recently, and that you worry. About me, about Joey, about Doru, about life I guess. I don't want you to worry so hard, ma," he finishes, looking away to Dorumon for support. The digimon nods her agreement.
Nora Vanduff's shoulders slump. She sets the envelope gently onto the counter and leans down, pulling both her son and his digimon into a tight hug. "Baby, you're growin' up too fast," she whispers. Then in one swoop, Nora straightens up with a beaming smile. "Alrighty, hun. You and Dorumon go wash for dinner, and get your brother. He's upstairs."
The sound of feet on the stairs echoes through the house, and a second later, Kyle's younger brother Joey, clad in a Gabumon onesie slides into the kitchen, right hand clutching a Greymon toy. "Dorumon!"
The nine-year-old boy rockets into Dorumon's short arms, pulling her into a hug and ignoring his brother and mother. "I saw you on the TV! That Gatomon was cheating so hard! You shoulda won!"
"That's just the way it is sometimes, Joey," Dorumon smiles, gently pulling away from the little boy. "Kyle and I still did well, I think."
Joey nods his little head rapidly. "Yeah! You beat that Kyuubimon in just two hits! It was so cool!"
"Joey, hun, don't crowd Doru. I'm sure she's tired and hungry after all that," Nora gently scoldes. "And get changed, dinner is on soon."
Kyle rubs his forehead and stares down at the laptop on his bedroom desk, turning away from a moment to let his eyes rest.
His room is small, or comfy, as mom likes to call it. Just big enough for a large-ish bed that Dorumon, now devolved into the throw-pillow sized Dorimon dozes on, his tool-covered desk, a small mountain of old computers in the corner, and a bit of exposed carpet by the closet worn down by his pacing.
...And a trophy case on the wall.
Damn that cheating, warp-digivolving Gatomon. That win belonged to him. He's never going to hear the end of it at school.
Kyle scowls when he sees the sparkling line of gold trophies and medals in the case broken up by ugly bronze. He turns back to his laptop, grumbling.
On the screen, a 3d model of Dorugamon with an outline of a saddle on her back is presented to him. Kyle moves his mouse and carefully moves the saddle lower down her back, grunting when he can't seem to find a place that doesn't return an invalid collision error in the console window next to the model. Moving it up, it then returns a disconnect from body error.
"Fuck it," he mumbles. Looking at the time on his laptop, it reads 1:22am, MON.
He's got school in the morning, and if his mom catches him up this late then not even a fully modded Dorugamon could save him.
Kyle saves Invis_ and closes his laptop, turning and falling into his bed. Dorimon barely stirs from her sleep as Kyle settles by her and throws blankets over both himself and her. Just as he settles and feels sleep begin to creep upon him, his cellphone back on the desk picks that time to let out a little 'ding!'
With a sigh and herculean effort, Kyle heaves his way back out of his bed and picks up the phone, quickly scrolling to the alerts.
He goes ramrod still at what he sees.
FROM: - DigiCom
Dear Mr. Vanduff & Ms. Dorumon.
Your application for your Digital World Passport (minor) has been approved. Enclosed in this email is the .key file required to activate your passport. Please see the download link attached or visit your cellular provider's appstore to download Digital World Passport. Your nearest Digiport is located (HERE). Please use this privilege responsibly.
Digital Commission Administrator.
"They actually gave us a passport…" Kyle whispers to himself, excitement bubbling up in his chest. A grin chases away his sleepiness. "They gave us a digital world passport!" He stops and grimaces when the yell echoes, but thankfully neither his mother or brother come to investigate. Dorimon snorts but stays firmly away from the world of the waking. The excitement comes back and Kyle struggles not to bounce in place. "Holy shit… Holy shit we must be the youngest tamer pair in town-no, the whole state to get one!"
The teen closes his phone and slides back into bed, vainly trying to find sleep.
'I know what we're doing this weekend!'
He never saw his phone screen glow a sickly purple for a second before fading.