Digimon re:CONNECT || Something wicked this way comes.

Episode 02: The New Transmission

"'Ight. We're cutting short today," Xander said, rolling his head to loosen up his shoulders as he returned his mic to the stand. "I got a thing to do today."

The time: Saturday, around 3 PM. The place: a busted, broken garage. The reason? A busted, broken garage band.

Around him, the other members of the band mumbled their 'sure, alright's. This was around the time their band practices usually devolved away from productivity and careened headlong into unabashed screwing around, so it wasn't like they were really missing that much. Yes, they had a gig coming up in a few days, but they'd handle that like they always handled gigs.
That is to say: by panicking.

... you have your methods, they had theirs.
(There was a reason that they had been together for a couple years and hadn't really gotten out of Atlas Park, okay?)

The band had their fair number of quirks and oddities, not least of all how well they all managed to cope with Xander's perpetual plus-one. Desmon was kind of like their mascot-- a mascot they couldn't show to anyone else, of course, but a mascot nonetheless. They had grown pretty used to the sight of her, having had a couple of years to get used to her and a few death threats courtesy of Xander if they ever said a word about her.

They were also used to the sight of her helping herself to the snacks. Indeed, she currently currently sat on the couch pushed up against the wall, cheerfully munching away on a bag of cheeseballs. She complained whenever she was left alone, because she already had to wait at home alone while Xander worked, so she pretty much always tagged along when Ekko Lokation got together.

"Hey, Desmon, are there going to be any of those left when you're done?" Paul asked, picking out a few last sour notes on his guitar before he began the process of unplugging his amp.

"Juuuuust a minute," Desmon chirped, stuffing one last mouthful into her face before rolling up the top of the bag and tossing it over.

"Much obliged," the blonde guitarist said, turning his attention back to Xander as he opened the bag back up. "So, what is it you're doing, Xander?"

Xander looked back at him and raised one eyebrow. "Funny you should ask. I gotta go save the president of Nicaragua. Top secret shit, you know how it goes," he said dryly, holding his arm out horozontally like a falconer. Desmon knew her cue; she hopped off the couch and flapped over. She perched on her friend's upper arm and shoulder, resting her elbow on his hair after making sure she had maneuvered her wing behind his head.

"Which means: he has a date," Eric said from behind the drumset. He hadn't moved; this was, after all, his garage. He could lay all over his drums if he damn well pleased. "A real hot date with some chick he doesn't want us creepin' up on."

"Yeah, you got me. A hot date at 3 PM on a Saturday, and I haven't said a word about it before now." Xander's sarcasm was thick enough to cut with a knife as his eyelids slid down into an unimpressed expression. "Bite me."
The truth was, of course, that he had agreed to meet up with Natalie today-- or, rather, he had said, "meet me at the Lotus Café tomorrow," and he was expecting her to show up. Standing on a rooftop and a fire escape at 11 PM did not make for the greatest discussion venues. Moreover, he was under the impression that if he prolonged, he might piss off the people whose fire escape he had been bogarting, and while he wasn't over-burdened with concern, he didn't want to explain himself or Desmon.
And that? All of that? Not something he wanted to explain to his bandmates. Yes, they were familiar with Desmon, but this was pretty hardcore need-to-know information.

"It's none of my business," Will said, in the middle of packing his bass. "But try not to get killed until after Friday, okay? We kinda need you for that and it'd be a pain to get a new vocalist on that short'a notice."

"We'd have to like, print up fliers, and make online listings," Paul said with a mock horrified expression. "Or we could just pull some rando out of the crowd, he'd probably sound nicer than you."

Eric couldn't help but leap in. "We're not supposed to sound nice, we're supposed to sound like something you'd want to form a psycho pit to. That's basically the mood Xander is in all the time. It'd be a serious pain in the dick."

"It's nice to have such great friends," Xander deadpanned, throwing middle fingers over his shoulder as he strode out of the garage. "Fuck all you guys."

***

Xander and Desmon had been following Yasyamon the night before-- it was this pursuit that had led them, instead, to Natalie and Raumon. Xander had been visiting Will a good few streets away; an attempt to hammer out a song had turned into them standing on the balcony, yelling unkind words (read: death threats) up at Will's frat-boy upstairs neighbors and being thoroughly unheard over the thumping of their house party music.
Look, this sounds extreme, but it wasn't just house party music, it was bro country party music.

It had made them feel better in the moment, at least, even if the only real effect it had was mildly annoying some douchebgas.

It had been Desmon, staying just inside, who had seen it first-- a blurry black shape leaping from rooftop to rooftop; she had immediately wanted to follow it, having gotten 'a strange sort of feeling' from it. Xander might not have been so ready to agree if not for the fact that he wanted nothing more than to avoid the headache he had forming. It had been moving too erratically to follow by car-- and seeing as Xander didn't fancy concocting some truly fascinating excuses up to tell the cops when he careened through an alleyway, they had taken off on foot. Or, by foot and by wing, anyway.

On their way there, they didn't think twice about the rush of wind that blew through the alleyway they were ducking through-- but they had noticed the streak of light and the little blue-and-black gizmo that currently rested in Xander's pocket.
Though he had no way to prove it, Xander had the distinct feeling that he and Natalie weren't alone in this. He was right, of course, but right now, he only had one lead, and he was going to take it.

But back to the present: they were on their way to the Lotus, and Desmon was doing as Desmon do.

"It's unreal, don't you think?" Desmon chattered as they took a right at a traffic light. "Finding another digimon!"

"I'm going to guess you're not referring to the one we were chasing after," Xander said, glancing sidelong at the bat. She was sitting shotgun, with her wings folded around her like a poncho.
He knew his guess was right; that one had been a rogue. It was far more interesting that there was another person with the little... thing.

"Well, yeah," Desmon confirmed, nodding and twitching her ears. "The bird, I mean! Was it just me, or did you feel like he was kind of familiar somehow?"

"It's just you. I don't know about you and what you've done in your life, but I don't hang around with giant chickens."

***

"You're going to wait here," Xander said as they pulled into the parking lot -- which was really more of a parking strip -- behind the Café.

"Awww, whaaaat? Why?" Desmon exclaimed, indignant and furrowing her brow.

"Well, we're in a public place," Xander replied, putting the car in park. (His parking job was kind of bad, but it was inside the lines, so it still counted.) "In case you forgot."

"I don't see why we couldn't meet her somewhere where there weren't other people," the bat said, rolling her eyes in exasperation. "Like your apartment! Your apartment isn't that bad. I mean, it's small and you haven't cleaned up your socks in, like, ever, but--"

Xander cut her off. "First of all, because I don't want her to think I'm going to chloroform her and have her wake up in a basement I don't have, which is a thing that women think when you demand they come to your house a day after meeting them."

Beat.
"I see your point."

"... and secondly, and more importantly," Xander continued, "it's a long drive back to the north side, and I'm lazy." Desmon snickered, and Xander smirked. He began getting out of the driver's seat. "I'll leave my phone and keys. Try not to get anyone's attention." His windows were tinted, which helped keep Desmon low-key, but, you know, never hurt to reinforce.

"Roger-doger!" Desmon replied, giving a thumbs-up as she picked up her friend's phone to start picking out a playlist. Xander nodded, locked the doors, and looped around the front of the building to go in the front door. As he passed the window, he chanced a glance inside; it was almost entirely empty. On one hand, it meant few people to overhear; on the other, it meant very little cover.
It was going to be one or the other, though, so he wasn't about to complain.

Regardless. It did make it easy to see that in in the back corner, there was an occupied table; a red-headed girl, tapping at her phone and looking guarded, with a ceramic mug set to cool beside her.
Cool.

The tinkling of the bell attached to the door caught her attention as Xander walked in. She looked up and nodded in greeting, but didn't say anything as he crossed over to the table. Xander, for his part, raised a hand in greeting to the barista behind the counter.
"Hey," he said simply, inviting himself into the chair opposite Natalie.

"Hi," Natalie said, sitting forward a bit more. Looking at him up close, she could see things she couldn't have possibly seen last night-- namely, how many pieces of metal were in his face. He had at least five pieces of silver jewelry in various piercings, and-- okay, those were definitely contacts, because his eyes were a super unnatural, rich golden yellow.
It kind of made her uncomfortable, honestly.

"So you've got a Digimon, too," Xander said, ever one to skip right to the chase. He spoke quietly, so as not to give their conversation away, but a quick glance revealed that the one barista manning the front was slacking off and reading a magazine behind the counter.

"Yep," Natalie said, folding her arms and sitting back in her chair.

"You seen any others before last night?" Xander asked, frowning slightly.

"Not as far as I'm aware of, no."

Xander sighed through his nose and ran a hand backwards through his hair. "Then you're just as in the dark as I am. Great. Fantastic."

"This is just as new to me as it is to you, you know," Natalie said, quirking an eyebrow. "I mean, I just spent fifteen years thinking my best friend was the only thing like him in the city-- heck, the world, for all I knew!"
She paused, and sighed, and took a sip of her drink. She knew she was getting too animated. "And then in one night, I get one monster making threats on my life, I got a piece of plastic electronic crap granted to me by means of magic light, my friend shapeshifts into a different monster for all of five minutes, and then a third monster shows up that my monster thinks he knows. And then her friend grills me in a coffee shop like we're characters giving exposition in a screenplay by some kind of hack writer."

... ANYWAY.

Natalie paused again, and Xander's eyebrows shot up.

"I've had a weird day is what I'm trying to say," Natalie concluded.

"Gives me something to work with, though," Xander admitted, and he smirked a bit.
For one: fifteen years, which meant they were working on the same timeline. The second-- the magic sky-light electronics delivery service. That meant that at least on two counts, they had something in common-- but it also gave him insight into what the digivice did. He had poked at it, but when realizing he couldn't make heads or tails of it, had quickly said fuck it (both metaphorically and literally, outloud, said "fuck it") and put it back down.

Whatever. Progress was progress.

"So, fill me in. What happened last night?" Xander asked, kicking his chair back and balancing it on its back two legs, ignoring the disengaged, bored barista's mumble of four on the floor, if you don't mind.

Natalie paused for a moment and thought back. She talked about hearing the noise on top of her apartment, and of finding Yasyamon on the roof; she talked about the fight, even if she kind of glossed over the exact blow-for-blows. She explained the little device and how when it got hit and started glowing, Raumon transformed into Doctorimon. She talked about everything right up until Xander and Desmon had shown up; she felt that was a pretty good place to stop. She spoke quietly and cast occasional glances around to see if anyone was eavesdropping or giving them weird looks. Considering that the only other people in the shop were a middle-aged woman with earbuds in and the disinterested barista, she wasn't too worried.

"That's it, then?" Xander asked her.

Natalie nodded. She hadn't mentioned either her or Raumon's gut feelings from earlier in the day, or if they had anything to do with anything-- it was a mix of not totally trusting this new guy, and not being sure if she could trust this new guy.

Such as it was, Xander wasn't totally sure he could trust this new girl, either. It worked out.

"Give me your phone number," he said without preamble or lead-in. When Natalie raised her eyebrow, as he had done a number of times, he shrugged one shoulder. "If we find anything out, it'd be useful. Easier than me climbing up a fire escape again if some other digimon shows up like Yasyamon did."
He had the distinct feeling that they would.

(Yeah, that was his razor-sharp lightning brain at work; please, hold your applause.)

"Suppose I can't argue with that," Natalie said after a moment, shrugging as well with a nod. She rattled off her phone number; Xander thumbed it into his contact list and rattled his off in return.
"There's some kind of connection, yeah?" she said. "Between the gadget things and Yasyamon showing up."

"Mmm." Xander hummed, leaning back and closing his eyes; he didn't see Natalie's eyebrow twitch a little bit in annoyance.

"It made Raumon stronger. It's too unlikely that it's a coincidence that it shows up right when the first other Digimon I've ever seen--"

"So we wouldn't need them if there weren't going to be more freaks of the week," Xander said, cutting her off.
She was getting sick of this guy's attitude in record time.

"That was the point I was getting at, yes," she said coolly.

Xander nodded and let his chair clatter to the floor. He rubbed his chin in thought; there was a lot more he could say, but right now, what was certain? A rogue digimon, it had been looking for Raumon. The gadgets appeared; they were related to the digimon. More weirdos might appear, or they might not.
Plans are hard to make when the future those plans rely on a are a big, resounding question mark-- and Xander wasn't about to spend a lot of energy preparing for a total unknown.
"Good job, team," Xander said in a very sarcastic tone of voice. "Very enlightening." Behind them, the bell on the door rang gently, as a gaggle of teenagers -- five or six, at least-- was entering the shop.
That was their cue to leave.

"Nice meeting you on a place that wasn't a fire escape," Natalie said, finishing off her drink and standing up. Xander smirked as he also got to his feet. "I'm sure we're going to meet up again soon enough."

"Probably," Xander confirmed.
They didn't part ways just yet; they had both parked out back, and so both had to loop around to the back.

As they approached, Desmon rolled down the window of Xander's car. "Hi!" she chirped over the sudden blast of funk-rock that she was bumping over the car stereo. Natalie smiled, enjoying Desmon's vibe and personality somewhat more than the boy she hung around with. "If Xandie's been rude, don't mind it. He's just like that!" the bat continued, ears twitching as she beamed.

"I'll keep that in mind," Natalie said while Xander, behind her, groaned and rolled his eyes. Natalie waved goodbye as she continued down the row of cars; Xander did a half-salute as he climbed into his driver's seat.

"How'd it go?" Desmon asked, looking over at him as he started up the car.

Xander breathed oiut heavily through his nose. He didn't respond immediately, his attention on pulling out of his parking space.
"I just don't want to get stuck playing crisis reaction squad," he said, and left it at that as he turned his attention to mentally mapping his way back home.

***

Neither Natalie nor Xander had noticed the subtle, curious expression that the bored barista had cast at them as they left the café, nor the small, secret, almost hopeful smile that pulled one corner of his mouth up.

***

"... all I'm saying is, you should have got got me a muffin while you were there. Those muffins are the best."
Desmon, as was normal for her, went on at great length the entire drive back. She didn't have any particular subject; she just saw fit to share every single thought that occurred to her.

Xander had learned a long time ago that there were times that Desmon had useful things to say, and there were times that he could safely tune out without missing anything. This was one of the latter times.
Desmon, for her part, had learned when Xander was tuning her out, and amped up the ridiculousness of what she said just to watch how little Xander reacted.

It was a symbiotic relationship.

"... so, anyway," she was saying as they pulled into the parking lot of Xander's apartment complex, "I stole all your boxers and shot them at passing children, so don't be surprised if the elastic is a bit worn out."

"I'm sure I'd have asked," Xander said, casting a sidelong glance at Desmon. She grinned. Xander gathered up his belongings, and crossed to the other side of the car to let Desmon out. She looked around to make sure nobody was watching-- then, she stopped to listen. After all, if those ears couldn't hear jack, there wasn't jack to be heard.
Confident that the coast was clear, she hopped out of the car and spread her wings before she even hit the ground. A bit of frantic flapping later, and she had deftly landed on the metal railing outside their place on the second floor. She was used to this song and dance; it helped that she could hear a pin drop across a room if she wanted to, so if she needed to hide, she'd be the first to know and have ample time to get out of sight.

Point is: perched on the railing, she waved. Xander rolled his eyes, before taking off after. He took the stairs two at a time, and was quick to get the door unlocked.

Xander's place was, in a word: tiny.
In two words: tiny, and messy.
It consisted of two rooms-- the main room and the bathroom. The kitchen was relegated to one end of the room; the futon in the middle doubled as Xander's bed.
In the opposite corner from the kitchen, above the window, Xander had rigged up a mesh net, with no small number of tacks and nails ("I ain't getting the deposit back on this fuckin' dump, anyway," he had reasoned through a mouthful of nails and over the pounding of his hammer). Up in that net was a couple of small blankets and a handful of pillows.

Take a guess who that was for, and take a guess who hopped her way over and flapped up into it the moment the door was opened.

"What now?" Desmon asked, kicking back in her little nest as Xander faceplanted onto the futon.

"Nothing," Xander said, voice muffled by the throw pillow his face was currently buried in. He wasn't in the mood to do much of anything; tomorrow he had work, and he had enough to think about as it was. After a moment, though, he stood up--
But only long enough to get a soda from the fridge and turn the TV on, after which he promptly face-planted once more.

"You're sure about the freaky crow thing?"

Desmon looked over at Xander; she almost didn't hear him, between the fact that the TV was cranked up high and the fact that he was speaking into a pillow. Still, though... dem ears.
"Totally sure."

Xander paused, sitting up a bit more properly. Perhaps he was about to make some kind of thoughtful commentary or insight, or-- "Chinese sound alright for tonight?"

"I want lo mein!"

***

"How'd it go?" Raumon asked, looking up from his book, as Natalie walked into their room. She didn't respond with words, merely breathed out through her teeth and flopped onto her back onto the bed, staring at the ceiling while spread eagle.
"That well, I take it?"

"Like talking to a brick wall," Natalie said, turning to look at Raumon. "You're sure about the bat, though?"

"Not sure what, exactly," Raumon said with a nod, "but I'm sure. I've seen her before."

***

So, let's move ahead a little bit; it was the Thursday after Xander had met up with Natalie, and since then, very little had happened. No more digimon had shown up as far as Xander or Natalie knew about. Neither had made any attempt to contact each other in the interrim, and both were just fine with that.
Xander had spent his night as he had been expecting to-- rehearsing to the poing of exhaustion, because they were out of wiggle room. Tomorrow night was the gig; it was just basically opening for an opener for the band people actually cared about, but it was at the Rock Star (excuse me-- the Rock★Star), which was as good as they could hope for right now. Sure, Xander had work until just two hours before the show!
But he had priorities dammit.

It was the last moments of Thursday when they wrapped up; by the time they were clearing out of the garage, it was past midnight. Paul and Will had already said their goodbyes and cleared out, while Eric was waiting patienty -- albeit not too patiently, for Xander and Desmon to scram.

"I'll see you later," Xander said, waving vaguely at Eric, then looked over to where Desmon was still sitting on the ratty couch. "Get your ass in gear," he was in the middle of saying when his phone went off. It was just a text, because who actually called?, but he frowned regardless. He pulled his phone out of his pocket with a grumble of who the hell and better be important.

From: Natalie || 00:04
Something big and flying heading towards downtown- lights flickered and device thing lit up as it went by. raumon thinks it's a digimon

Well, that was one way to break the ice, wasn't it? He hissed through his teeth and ran a hand backwards through his hair as he swiped letters on his screen.
i'm busy. get back to me if you're sure.

Desmon gave him a quizzical look, tilting her head.
"We going?" she asked, her ears and nose twitching in curiosity.

"I've been waiting for you, pudding-brain," Xander said back, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm leaving you guys in the dark," Eric said cheerfully, walking towards the door that would lead back into his house. "Try not to steal anything. Lock the side door on your way out."

"Who was the text from?" Desmon asked, completely ignoring Eric's warning, and similarly unperturbed when the lights were killed, leaving them in the dark.
Xander, with slightly worse senses than the giant bat, had to take a moment to let his eyes readjust. They weren't totally left in the dark, as shafts of light from streetlights outside still bled through the dusty windows. He heaved a heavy sigh and contemplated whether or not he should just not tell Desmon.

She'd probably try to get into his phone later, what with her total lack of sense of privacy and incredible knack for sticking her nose where it didn't belong.

"Bird girl," he said, shrugging a shoulder as he crossed over to the side door that would lead out onto the driveway.

Even in the dark, Xander could tell that Desmon perked up with curiosity. "What'd she say?"

"Nothing importa--"

Buzz.

Fuck.

Desmon flapped up onto Xander's shoulders as he pulled his phone back out; to understand the way this felt when he wasn't braced for it, have someone drop a full sack of potatoes on your shoulders from the top of a ladder.

"Christ! Lay off the cheeseballs, you fat fuck!"

Desmon grinned so hard it was darn near audible.
(Inside the house, Eric contemplated checking back in. He contemplated for about three seconds, and then he got a soda out of the fridge.)

Xander snorted derisively as he turned his attention back to his phone.
From: Natalie || 00:06
Don't shoot the messenger, just figured you might be closer than I am

He was, of course, assuming she was at home, but that still didn't mean he wanted to run around on whims and hunches at midnight.

Xander stuffed his phone back into his pocket, but Desmon hummed faux-thoughtfully, in a way meant primarily to get his attention.

"What?" he said, but Desmon just hummed again.
Beat. Beat. Beat.
"Fine."

Desmon chittered cheerfully as Xander yet again retrieved his phone from his pocket. As he did, he finally crossed to the door leading outside, swinging it open. Desmon alighted ever-so-gently (ha) from his shoulders, flapping over to land beside his car. She turned and looked expectantly at him; his walk over was slowed by the fact that he was having to be that one weirdo who actually calls.

Natalie answered on the third ring.

"What's up?" her voice came from the other line.

"Explain to me what's going on, exactly, that's so important that you had to text me?"
He realized he was complaining about this while in the middle of calling her, but it was too late to take it back now. He unlocked the car so Desmon could climb in, but he himself remained standing.

"Look towards downtown?" She sounded like she was quickly descending a flight of stairs-- maybe she had started heading out once she got it in her head that Xander wasn't going to do anything. Admittedly, he wasn't going to, but--

"I ain't seeing jack," Xander said, before he even bothered turning to look in the direction in question, but come on. What was he supposed to be looking for? It was dark, and this was stupid--

A huge black shape soared by overhead towards the downtown district. The porch lights on a few of the houses nearby flickered for just a split second.
Well, shit.
It was dark, admittedly, but even against the black sky it was obvious that it was a giant bird of some denomination, but it seemed to flicker and shift. Desmon scrambled from out of the car and onto the roof to watch it pass. It barely beat its wings, instead soaring silently towards the lights of Atlas Park.

There was no reason for him to be seeing a singular bird flying in the night, unless the bird in question was the size of a Buick. (Spoiler alert: it was.)

"Okay, so strike that. Looks like a bird the size of a boeing flew by. I'm going to take a guess," Xander said slowly, "that that's what you were talking about?"

"It's a digimon!" Desmon exclaimed, one hundred percent sure of herself.

"Ding ding ding," Natalie said; it was hard to tell whether she was replying to Xander or Desmon's remark.

"Shit." Beat. "Fukkit, I'll tail it." He could see Desmon's ears perk up yet again.

"You want me and Raumon to go after it? You seemed so very loathe to go a second ago." Natalie asked.

"I ain't gonna stop you if you want to come spectate," Xander replied, but he felt a vague sense of indignance. Desmon leapt off of his car and flapped over, preparing to land on his shoulders again, but he stuck out an arm and clotheslined her; she recovered quickly and perched on his arm instead. "But I'll take care of this, jus' watch."

He could imagine Natalie's lip pulling back in a skeptical sort of expression, but instead of a complaint:
"If you're sure."

"Yeh, I'm sure."

Xander was extremely not sure, but he was even more extremely not willing to say as much.

***

It was a short drive, at least. Xander had been trying to keep his eyes on the birdthing, but both the sky and the bird being dark made it difficult to do that while also not crashing his car. The only blessing was that it didn't seem to be moving terribly fast, meaning that it hadn't been as though Xander had to floor it to keep up.
(The fact that it was after midnight and this meant the number of people on the road was low was also a blessing, actually.)

It was a short ways into the city, however, that Xander completely lost sight of it.

"Shit!" he spat through grit teeth, pulling off into an unoccupied metered spot on the side of a one-way street. He rolled the window down so he could crane his neck out and look to the sky. If he had been looking at the digivice, he might have found its radar function and had a much easier time, but guess what he didn't think to do?

The good news, though: he had Desmon.

The little bat's ears twitched and she frowned, humming yet again in deep thought. Then, without warning, she opened up her door and leapt out of the car, taking off into the air.
"Wh-- the hell are you doing?" Xander hissed. Even though he was asking what Desmon was doing, before he knew what he was doing he had pulled the keys out of the ignition, unbuckled, and practically flung himself out of the driver's seat as well.

"Follow me!" Desmon said, popping up from the other side of the car. Luckily for them there was nobody on the sidewalk to see her as she leapt into the air, out of the spaces lit up by streetlamps. You see, she was a bat; she had magnificent ears and a hunch. Mostly the ears.

Xander took off after her; she led down an alleyway to the street on the other side, a one-way heading in the other direction. That had been what had got them-- because they could see, circling above a parking garage on the opposite side of the street, a big circling black shape, and the lights on the parking structure going a bit on the fritz.

"Nice," Xander said, looking up at Desmon. She would have preened a bit, but there was no time; she took off flying, leaving Xander to follow on foot. He did; he bolted across the street, crosswalks be damned. The bar was down to prevent any cars from entering the structure; he leapt over it and scanned for a stairwell.

He found one; he took those stairs up, three stories, two at a time.

Thank god he was in shape or he would have been miserable right now. Ignore the fact that he had to stop to catch his breath with his hands on his knees as he reached the top; he was upright in a moment's notice, because there were far more important things at hand right now.

Desmon was perched on the concrete barrier by the hut where the stairs let out, waiting-- but her eyes were cast skyward. It was getting closer-- big, black, and totally oblivious to the pair watching it.

(Xander wondered, momentarily, how many other people were seeing this.)

"That a digimon?" he said, frowning.

"No doubt about it," Desmon confirmed.

"I'm not surprised," Xander said slowly, the corner of his mouth twitching downwards, "but I am disappointed." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the digivice that was still safely stowed there. It was on, and there were words on the screen-- Menu. Strange symbols on the side of the screen indicated one of the buttons, and ever the scientist, he pushed it.

As he pressed the button, up sprang a radar that looked like a street map in blue lines on a black background, with two shining dots almost overlapped. If he looked close, one of them was a simple white dot-- the other looked like a silhouette of Desmon's head. That would have been nice to know before.

In frustration, he pressed his thumb down on the little white dot, and three words popped up in a little window:
Saberdramon. Champion level.

"The fuck does that mean, you plastic piece of shit?" he hissed in frustration. Above him, he heard the sound of flapping wings, and his eyes were drawn upwards.
It was not the black bird approaching making that flappa flappa flappa noise-- it was Desmon, flying towards the giant black bird that was approximately an order of magnitude bigger than her.

"Come on, you giant turkey! Black Static!" Desmon yelled, opening her mouth wide. She shot a short series of -- indeed -- black and staticky concentric rings of energy from her mouth that flew skywards at her target.

The rings hit the giant bird -- Saberdramon? -- harmlessly in the breast, but it got its attention. Was this a good thing? ... good question! It turned its attention downwards, and stopped its movement to flap in place.

"Get down here, you idiot!" Xander yelled as his eyes shifted from Desmon over to Saberdramon.

Its body was covered in inky black-blue feathers, but its wings and its tail seemed to crackle with fire. It was difficult to tell where the flames started and the feathers ended. Silver talons glinted in the moonlight. Its beak was blunt and rounded, but to make up for it, it had two rows of sharp teeth poking out what might have been lips, if the phrase 'bird lips' weren't so deeply uncomfortable.

It glared, metallic gold eyes glinting with a feral ferociousness. It offered no rebuttal to Desmon, but it spread its wings wide.
"Night Roar!" it cawed, releasing a flurry of razor-sharp feathers from its wings. They burned like purple embers and shot across the dark sky like shooting stars-- and began to rain down on Desmon.
Judging by how effective Desmon's attack had been, Xander assumed that Saberdramon would have an advantage, but it was no nicer to see Desmon nearly knocked out of the sky. She grit her teeth, though, and flapped frantically to stay aloft.

Most of the feathers faded by the time they got that far, but a few stray ones collided with the roof of the parking structure, and they left ashen marks like they were actually made of fire.

"That all you got?" Desmon said with a cocky grin that Xander could hear in her voice, even if he couldn't see it above him. "Come on, birdy boy!"

"Black Saber!" Saberdramon roared, swooping down lightning-quick, its claws pulsing with the same purple energy that the rain of feathers had glowed with. Desmon yelped and dodged quickly to the side, only narrowly missing the grip of the bird's talons.

Xander was suddenly aware that even if the streets were scarcely populated, that wasn't nothing-- he could hear from street level a couple people exclaiming with confusion and alarm, and he heard a car slam on the brakes.

Crap. This one seemed more feral than the one Natalie had fought, that he and Desmon had pursued. He looked at his digivice; how did he make this thing work? Desmon didn't stand a chance as she was--

"Night Roar!"

This one actually did knock Desmon out of the air. Xander's train of thought got handily derailed as he leapt into action. Luckily, Desmon hadn't gone far-- he was able to position himself underneath her and catch her before she hit the roof.

"God, you're heavy," Xander muttered, with he smiled faintly as Desmon chuckled. Her eyes were squeezed shut; she looked like she had seen better days. Xander looked up at Saberdramon, who was starting to lower itself down to land.

The bird was here. It had an attitude. It didn't seem to have an agenda, or if it did, it sucked at it. It was causing property damage. It had hurt Desmon.
Xander's patience, already in short supply, was overdrawn.

"You ready to trash this thing?" Desmon said, cracking one eye to peer up at him.

"I'm kinda pissed."

"Good. So am I."

While they chit-chatted away, Saberdramon began to gather energy again, spreading its wings as it prepared to finish off the annoying little bat and her even-more-annoying little friend.

In his hand, the little digivice Xander held began to glow.

It swirled with blue energy, and-- you know, no amount of description of how horrible that noise was prepared Xander for the horrible screeching computerized noise that emitted from the gadget. He couldn't be happier when it died back down and the digivice flashing far-too-fast information across the screen, as the light began to swirl around it faster. Soon, Desmon followed suit.

Xander let go of her, and she was suspended in the air for a moment instead of dropping like a stone, as though the light was making her weightless.

"Desmon, drive evolve to..."

Desmon began to grow so rapidly that Xander had to take a step backwards. She kept the same physical form, with powerful hind legs and large spread wings, but her arms vanished as her wings grew more developed. Her ears grew longer and swept back, while a fluffy mane sprouted from the crown of her head and coming down around her neck. This new fluff framed a trio of silver rings that encircled her throat, while bandages wrapped around her feet framed her claws.

She grew a long, draconic tail; it was as long as her body, and the tip erupted into a stinger like a scorpion's. She looked somewhat like a wyvern crossed with a bat. She flapped her wings and snapped her tail like a whip as she settled her feet on the roof; she was almost nine feet tall, and her wingspan far greater than that.

"Corymon!"

"Hell yes!" Xander exclaimed, pumping his fist with a wolfish grin on his face.

"Finally," Saberdramon's voice rumbled as its talons crunched down on the roof. "A digimon that is not so weak."

"What do you know, it can talk," Corymon chuckled, glancing sidelong at Xander. "Where do you think you are, bub?" she said, then, looking over at the bird. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're messing up my plans for the night."

The black bird snorted, and took off into the air with a powerful kick-off. "Night Roar!"

Corymon narrowed her eyes and grinned. So be it! She kicked off as well, with much more grace than she usually did, and much gentler than the bird, at that. "Black Stinger!" she cried. Her tail curled below her and began to glow with a black aura, much like the static rings she had shot as Desmon. Almost immediately, the black energy was released in the form of arrowhead-like blasts.

They smashed into Saberdramon, five in all; quite unlike her previous form's Black Static, Saberdramon couldn't shake these off like they were nothing. It keened loudly and glared at Corymon.

She grinned.

"Pick it up!" Xander said, but was trying to be quiet. He would bet money that anyone down below would be getting cameras out, and he sure didn't want his voice to carry that far.

"I didn't think you did ska, I thought you were more of a punk rock classic kind of guy," Corymon remarked cheerfully, but her snark was cut short. (She ignored Xander yelling Not funny!.)

"Black Saber!" Saberdramon lifted higher into the air. Its talons glowed as it prepared to swoop at the bat.

"Hurricane Blitz!" Corymon cried. As if summoned by her words, the wind began to whip viciously around her; Xander could swear he could see it, streams of air tinted with blueish light swirling around her.

Corymon surged forward, like she was going to headbutt Saberdramon right in the gizzard. The sphere of wind surrounding her acted like a shield; it impacted the bird first, and exploded like a bomb. Xander was almost concerned, but just as soon as he could look, Corymon had shot backwards away from the impact, where Saberdramon was thrown backwards far less voluntarily.

The black phoenix let out an ear-shredding keen as its body began to shift and distort, pixellating and...
God, this must have been horrifying to the onlookers.

Saberdramon's cry quieted down only as it burst into pixellated motes of light.

Corymon alighted next to Xander, surprisingly light for something of her size. "We're not gonna get to your car the normal way, people are staring," she said, looking around. "Wanna try things my way? I'm preeeetty sure I can make it before I turn back."

"I'm afraid of what 'your way' entails," Xander said in deadpan, "and 'pretty sure' from you is, what, fifty-fifty?"

"Something like that!" Corymon grinned at him and kicked off into the air-- and on the way up, she grabbed Xander, almost entirely engulfing him in her big orange claws. It was simultaneously one of the coolest things he'd ever experienced, and one of the most pants-shittingly horrifying. Corymon immediately took off back the whole, like, one block over and one block up to where Xander had parked.

Xander looked down at the street below the parking garage, and saw a small smattering of people -- not a lot, maybe four or five standing on the street total. Still, four or five more than he wanted there to be.

Corymon did a great job of not letting Xander know that she could feel her form starting to get harder to maintain, but she managed; she gently set Xander down on the sidewalk and no sooner than her claws released him did she begin to glow bright white and blue.
A second later, she was Desmon again, and she dropped cheerfully into Xander's arms.

"If you dropped me," was the first thing Xander said, "I was going to flay you alive."

Desmon grinned as Xander dropped her on the groundd so he could open up his car doors.

As soon as the bat was safely tucked in the passenger seat of his car, Xander couldn't help but ring up Natalie.

"Took care of it."

EPISODE 02: CONNECTION INTERRUPTED

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