Categories > Anime/Manga > Digimon

The Dark Angel

by Forge 0 Reviews

A oneshot set after Digimon Tamers. This is a story of the dark Celestial, Cherubimon

Category: Digimon - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Fantasy - Characters: Other - Warnings: [!] [V] - Published: 2006/09/25 - Updated: 2006/09/25 - 11286 words - Complete

/The Dark Angel/
by
Gregory P. Wong


It has been three years since Hypnos, the Monster Makers, the Tamers, and their Digimon banished the malevolent, nihilistic electronic entity known as the D-Reaper back into a dark core of the Digital World, neutralized and a threat to no one.

The Tamers have been reunited with their Digimon, and have overcome their most recent adversary, the Parismon Invasion Swarm. They are continuing their lives, happy to be together once more.

The Digital World has been slowly recovering from the decimation caused by the D-Reaper. The Digimon Sovereigns, Azulongmon, Zhuqiaomon, Baihumon, and Ebonwumon, exhausted from their battle with the D-Reaper, had entered a state of hibernation. It is not known when they will emerge from their slumber.

Before they entered their sleep, the Four created and charged the Celestials, Royal Knights, Great Dragons, and Digiworld Wardens to safeguard the Digital World.

The Celestials, the triad of Seraphimon, Ophanimon, and Cherubimon, watch the Digital World diligently, safeguarding those they have been sworn to protect. The Angels will defend their charges with their lives.

However, something has been moving in the shadows. Something that bears a terrible hunger, a terrifying thirst for vengeance.

It is only a matter of time.



Oh, what foolishness...

Cherubimon floated above the ground of the amber plains as he watched the receding sun.

He was an angel, yes, but just not the same. He was for goodness sakes, a rabbit that was somehow angelic.

So why would Ophanimon ever even deign to...

What? Show affection? Such as desire was doomed from the very beginning.

Two years already, since the D-Reaper had been banished from this world and the one of the humans. Two years since a great power had been bestowed upon him, then a lowly Lopmon.

Two years since he had first seen the magnificent beauty of the Lady Ophanimon.

Fah, what was the use of it all? She made no notice of any of the hints he dropped. What use?

In the end... did it matter any? It did not. Perhaps it was only a distraction from his duty. Yes, that was it. It mattered not.

But why, oh why, was there this /pang/?



Another day... and yet, Ophanimon hadn't quite left his mind.

Cherubimon rubbed a hand across his chin. Hmm... something felt a bit strange about today. Just strange. Hmm...

Perhaps it would be best to divert the mind. Yes, something else to think about...

Seraphimon was the nominal leader of the Celestials, but the blue-armored angel did not care much for the authority. In fact... hmm, when had Seraphimon actually given him or Ophanimon /orders/? Hah, never.

It had been oh so long since the great Susanoomon, herald of the Digimon Sovereigns and comrade of Imperialdramon Paladin Mode, had charged him, Seraphimon, and Ophanimon with the safekeeping of the Digital World, alongside the Royal Knights, the Great Dragons, and the Digiworld Wardens. Well, on a bit of a more reflective moment, perhaps not so long. Not less than two years, if that.

So strange, to think it had been-

"Cherubimon, you seem in deep thought today," he heard a familiar, deep voice boom from behind him.

He turned around and looked at the source of the interruption. Not that it had been terribly important, mind you.

Ah, it was Seraphimon.

Perhaps one of the last people he wished to meet...

Not that there was any malice directed at Seraphimon, it was just that... Ah. Ophanimon seemed to well... have some sort of affection for the other angel. Probably it was nothing, just his own theories, but...

But nothing. Damnation, he was being a fool, and falsely-envious one at that.

"I am, Seraphimon. I've been having strange feelings, this sunrise."

Suddenly Seraphi was close at his side. "I have learned to trust your sense, Cherubimon. Your perceptions and intuitions will be far more acute than Ophanimon's or mine will ever be."

A faint smile was curling his mouth. It was true, that. Perhaps it was because he was a beast. Who knew?

"I thank you for your praise." He took a breath. "Something dark moves just beyond the horizon, Seraphimon. It's a powerful presence. I... it's very strong."

Despite the blue armored mask that concealed the other angel's face he could sense the deep concern in Lord Seraphimon's voice.

"Indeed? I shall dispatch some Angemon to reconnoiter the area."

"No, Seraphimon."

"Hmm?" Yes, there was confusion in the other angel's voice. "But-"

"I will go myself."



Was this the place where the dark emanations had seemed the strongest? It must be.

But nothing seemed out of place! This patch of green forest was as bright and lively as anything else. The sun glittered on the leaves that danced in the light breeze.

Yet...

It gave the appearances of being as it should be, but still, this /feeling/. It was as if almost the grass was writhing in agony, and that the wind was screaming...

Ah, foolish thoughts! There was nothing here. He would have long ago detected the presence of a Digimon.

He turned to go.



In one sense, Cherubimon was right. No Digimon was skulking among the trees or creeping about the underbrush.

In another sense, he was very wrong, for there was something there. It was so miniscule and so well hidden it was no wonder that even someone possessed of sharp sense, like Cherubimon, would not have even noticed it.

Yet, it was there.

Nestled in the roots of a tree, hidden among other stones, was a perfectly circular, obsidian stone with a strange symbol carved into it.

Should Cherubimon have seen it, he would have recognized the mark instantly.

It was the mark of one of the fabled Dark Crests.

It was Envy.

As Cherubimon passed by the stone, unawares, the crest glowed a sickly turqoise and extended a vaporous tendril of some dark force towards the angel. Then, in a movement that most eyes would have missed, it struck the back of Cherubimon's head,

The angel gasped and spun about, a massive hand clapping to the back of his head. But when he turned around there was nothing at all. The angel shrugged, and assumed that a leaf had fallen and brushed past him.

Still, he didn't feel satisfied with that explanation. It had felt like a sting, almost. Soon, however, the thought had left his mind. Cherubimon was again thinking of Ophanimon.

It had been a sting. The tendril had flicked so fast and so lightly that it was amazing that Cherubimon had even felt it at all. All it had left was a small splotch of darkness on Cherubimon's head, and even that faded away by the time the angel took to the air.

The black stone with its turquoise marking became docile again.

And then it dissolved into data, leaving no trace that it had ever been there.



Cherubimon descended from the air and landed on the balcony outside his room. Something was strange today. Yes, indeed it was. But it mattered not.

Ophanimon was dancing through his mind, oh my.

And, oddly enough, he was tired. Very tired. Perhaps... a little nap. Yes, a nap would be acceptable.

He walked over to his bed-it never looked so comfortable before-and collapsed on it.

Ah, so comfy.

And then off to dreamland.



Cherubimon found himself in pitch black plane.

What in the world? His body seemed illuminated, but whatever was making him glow was immediately swallowed by whatever was making this blackness.

It was supposed to be a figure of speech, but he couldn't see past his hand.

Where in the world was this place?

Oh, wait, that was an easy question to answer. He'd fallen asleep after returning from his patrol. This was just a dream.

An exceedingly strange one, come to think of it. Since when did he start thinking of endless blackness? Normally, his mind sometimes turned to... Ophanimon.

"Yes, her..." He heard a raspy voice echo around him.

"What in...!" he cried. He whirled around. Who could be here?

"No one's here... except you and I."

"Who are you?"

"In the end, my identity matters not," the voice grated. The voice seemed to be centralizing, not booming from every direction at once. "For this is not my true self."

Now the voice was coming from behind him! He whirled around.

No, no, that was impossible.

"It can't be," he spat. "Your kind has been extinct for decades!"

Dear heavens. It couldn't be real. It was damned /impossible/.

But... it was there, staring. And now the thing was /smiling/.

"It appears my kind is not," said Leviamon.



Cherubimon stared in shocked silence as the hulking, feral Demon Lord slithered around him. Impossible!

A Demon Lord! He would have long ago detected the presence of one as evil as this. Even more, his comrades would have felt that presence. This had to be some dark dream, it had to be!

"It is no dream, angel," he heard the reptilian Demon Lord rumble. "This is as real as anything you have experienced before."

Leviamon circled and gave a low laugh. "In fact, just as real as Seraphimon's feelings for Ophanimon. And far more real than any affection you hope to receive from Ophanimon."

What...!? He started at that. This had to be a dream. That last statement was just an expression of his subconscious. Yes, that was all.

Ugh, such a grim subconscious...

"If it were only as simple as that, Cherubimon."

"Get out of my head," he hissed at the apparition. "Haunt my dreams no longer."

Another laugh. "I only need to fulfill one of your wishes, then, to satisfy you. I am not in your dreams.

"But I am in your head," the massive Demon Lord cackled. "And I am not leaving."



While one Cherubimon was confronting what he still though to be a dream-albeit a very real, very horrible one, but still a dream-another Cherubimon arose from bed.

Except, it was not the same Cherubimon.

Oh, in form it was. In body it was the exact same angel who had left to investigate the forests.

In mind, though... in mind it was something entirely different. If one were to delve into that mind, one would be blinded by the soupy blackness the swirled around in chaotic patterns.

Cherubimon loped across his room and pushed open the door to his chamber. He stepped out into a large hallway.

Without thinking, he began to walk towards the main chamber, where he knew the other two Great Angels would be. Cherubimon's blank eyes registered one of his commanders, a Gryphomon, hurrying towards him.

"My lord, one of our-" the Gryphonmon began to say, but then stopped when he saw the vacant look on his lord's face. "Lord Cherubimon?"

Without warning, Cherubimon backhanded the Gryphonmon across the face. The Mega-level beast flew back, slamming into the wall of the hallway. Surprise blared across his mind, then ceased as he slumped forward, unconscious.

And, still, Cherubimon had that blank look.



"Why are you here, Demon Lord?" Cherubimon rasped at the evil other that was currently sharing his head.

"I wish to talk. In a way, you could call it... counseling."

He growled. "What guidance would I seek from /you/, Dark One?"

"Oh, you know in your heart," Leviamon rasped.

Utter rubbish. "Oh, would I?"

He heard Leviamon sigh. "Such /hostility/. One would think you would welcome a talk from a fellow outcast beast-type."

Hah! How laughable. This Demon Lord thought to manipulate him with /that/?

"No manipulation. Why would I? "

"You are a Demon Lord, a creature of evil. Your kind should not even exist! "

"Yes, indeed I am a Demon Lord. But, first and foremost, I am a beast. And we beast-types should stick together, should we not? "

Humph. What did Leviamon know of such matters?

"I deal with those same every day, angel. Of the Seven Demons, I am the only beast among them. Which is similar, if I remember correctly, to you and your two /human/-type comrades."

This meant nothing. "It does not matter. You are a-"

"A Demon Lord? What I am matters not! Do you not see? Your comrades pretend to respect you, pretend to heed your words and warnings... and for what? The patronize you, they mock you behind your back.... They hate you."

He snarled. Foul thing... "You /lie/!"

Leviamon snarled back at him. "You know I do not/! You know, deep in your darkest dreams, you wish you were one of /them/! You /envy them their kinship." The reptilian's voice dropped a few decibels. "And you envy the love that they have."

No... it was all a dark lie, meant to confuse him. It wasn't true... it couldn'/t /be true.

"You know it's true..."



The body of Cherubimon, still dazed and not controlled by its true owner, strode towards the chamber.

Coming to the door, massive arms pushed forward and shoved the double doors wide open, creating a terrific crash as wood met stone.

Seraphimon and Ophanimon, speaking with each other, turned in surprise towards the source of the loud noise.

"Cherubimon? Is something the matter?" Cherubimon heard the female angel say.

Almost. Cherubimon's mind was so muddled it would have been a miracle if he heard, let along understood, anything that was said to him.

Cherubimon stopped advancing and just stared.



Cherubimon's heart roiled with confusion and bitterness and agony. Truly, this could not be a dream. Even, in the darkest of nightmares, that thought had never surfaced.

"Cherubimon, listen. I only come to help. My master can take away this damnable hatred they bear for you. He can unite all Digimon again, as they should. No more meaningless distinction between beasts and humans!" Leviamonm rasped.

"Your 'master'. Him? A /human/-type Lucemon?"

Now a smirk was spreading across Leviamon's massive head. What was so funny?

"Lucemon Fallen Mode is merely my leader/. He is no more my master than he is yours." Leviamon gave a raucous laugh. "My /true master has power far surpassing Lucemon's, and a vision that is far broader than the fallen angel's. He has a vision for this world... a glorious one.

"Join us, and you will be welcomed and loved by all. Is that not what you desire? Love from your peers?"

No, couldn't... could he? Agree and... but if... they...

"I... I am loved by my peers..."

Huh? Now Leviamon's face was right in front of his, and he could see the anger raging in the Demon Lord's eyes.

"/Their love for you is a lie/!"



With that last sentence, Cherubimon's decision was made. Yes, he would attempt to resist, but in the end, in his heart, he knew that he wanted what Leviamon had to offer.

At last, Cherubimon nodded assent.

"Yes, I want all those things. What must I do to be accepted into the service of your master?"

As soon as the words from his mouth, the angel felt horrified. But he had no desire to change it. The choice was made.

"Kill your comrades."

Cherubimon felt grief and terror. He didn't want to do it!

"I can't do it-" the angel began to plead, but it was stamped out as Leviamon roared at him.

"You must do it."

"But... why?"

"/Look/," the reptilian Mega rasped, and pointed his snout at the patch of darkness at their feet.

Confused Cherubimon looked down.

As he looked on in surprise, the darkness melted away. An image formed... an image that took Cherubimon a few moments to comprehend.

It looked like the main chamber, and Seraphimon and Ophanimon were standing close together. He somehow knew he was looking out of his own body, through his own body.

"Can't you see? They love each other!" The Demon Lord grated.

"But... what if they do? I don't see-"

"And that love does not include you. Ophanimon's love does not include you."

It was true, so true. How much did the angel known as Cherubimon desire that love? How much?

"I... Ophanimon has the right to give her heart to whomever she chooses-"

Leviamon snarled, eyes afire with rage.

"Are /you/ /blind/?

"If you cannot have it, /no one can/!"



Seraphimon and Ophanimon knew something was wrong. Cherubimon's face was desolately blank, and something about it was ominous. /Wrong/.

"Cherubimon," the female angel said slowly. "Please, what is wrong? Are you ill?"

The two angels started as Cherubimon's head swept up to stare at them.



It was true... in a way. Why should they deserve each other's love if he couldn't enjoy his own? Why should Seraphimon even exist?

"Yessss," Leviamon hissed. "You are jealous of them. I know you are. Your thinking is correct... no one deserves something if you cannot have it!"

Yes, those words were true. They broke his heart... he would break them!

But...

"How can I hope to best them both? We are all equal in power, and the odds are sorely against me."

He saw the Demon Lord give another toothy grin. "Ah, of course. How could I forget? My master wished to bestow something upon you."

What could it be?

"Normally, whenever Keramon make incursions into the network the human's call the 'internet', they have a disturbing tendency to consume any data in sight." He saw Leviamon shrug. "No matter. Our master conditioned them to consume a massive amount of data-data that human's could easily make copies of, so it wouldn't be missed-and coalesce it into a compact little packet. It should give you more than enough energy to best them."

He watched the other Mega shudder. What...?

Ugh! With one last heave, Leviamon had just vomited up something that looked round and cloudy and black.

"Ah, just as tasty coming back up as it was coming back down," Leviamon winked at him. "Take it. Absorb it. It's full of data."

Truly?

He reached for it.

But, damnation, why did this feel all wrong...?

He grabbed the sphere... and suddenly the dark space where he and Leviamon had been talking disappeared. He was... he was now in the main chamber with the two other angels!

And this time, he felt energy welling through him.

Humph. Leviamon was right... no one deserved love!



Seraphimon and Ophanimon gasped together as Cherubimon's darkened. Cream colored fur was replaced by a dark swirl of mauve and turquoise, and his golden holy-rings disappeared from the base of his ears, which were now ragged. His kindly black eyes now shone with a golden light.

And they both sensed something malevolent about their friend and comrade.

"Cherubimon, what has-" Seraphimon began.

"/Thousand Spears/!" Cherubimon roared, his mind clouded with fury and jealousy. The flung lances of crimson energy arrowed into Seraphimon's chest plate, knocking the other angel into the wall behind him.

"Cherubimon!" Ophanimon yelped in shock and horror. "What have you-"

"/Terminal Judgment/!" he screamed, summoning dark lightning that sunk its electric fangs deep into Ophanimon.

She screamed. Oh, lovely screams! She had deigned to ignore him and go with another. She must pay!

However, Seraphimon had not bee idle. Fighting the shock of their fellow angel attacking them, the angel had quickly regained his feet before Cherubimon's Terminal Judgment attack had begun to significantly damage Ophanimon.

Seraphimon darted across the room and slammed into Cherubimon. Surely, Cherubimon was ill! Why would he attack them so?

The blue-armored angel struggled to pin his friend down. He had to talk sense into him.

Despite being wrestled down by the other angel, Cherubimon laughed to himself. This was their weakness. In keeping up their charade that they actually cared about him, they were trying to subdue him, not kill him. Fools!

He was under no such constraint.

Cherubimon savagely tossed the other angel from his back.

"Cherubimon, please! Cease this!" he heard Ophanimon call to him.

Fah, why, so they could continue to reject him?

"Why should I listen to you? If I cannot have it, you cannot either!"

The harshness in Cherubimon's tone stunned Ophanimon.

But it also spurred her to make a decision. There was something wrong with Cherubimon, something terribly wrong. As much as it pained her, she and Seraphimon had to fight and subdue him. Perhaps even seriously injure him to stop his rampage.

Ophanimon summoned her shield and javelin. Seraphimon, off to the side, had come to the same conclusion, and activated Excalibur.

Cherubimon began to chuckle.



Leviamon was thoroughly enjoying the show. Such carnage!

He couldn't wait until this was over. He and his master had such wonderful things planned for this body...



"/Strike of the Seven Stars/!"

"/Sephirot Crystals/!"

The combined attacks plowed into Cherubimon, and he felt himself fly backwards.

The battle had been going for a while now. It was exciting, yes, but he growing tired.

Cherubimon wanted this to be done. It was good, perhaps, what they would never have what he couldn't have... but it wasn't enjoyable to take it away. They were still former comrades...

With a growl he leaped into the air and rained down crimson energy spears on the other angels.

Seraphimon dodged out of the way and Ophanimon deflected the attack with her shield.

"/Strike of the Seven Stars/!" Seraphimon cried and launched another septet of energy orbs at Cherubimon.

It was lucky shot, and it hit the corrupted angel square in the face. As Cherubimon reeled, Ophanimon leveled her weapon.

"Eden'/s Javelin/!"

And then, before the dark angel knew it, he was on the ground on his back. His former comrades were standing over him, their weapons pointed at his throat.

Cherubimon laughed. "Go ahead! Do it! It's not as if you actually cared!"

Even though they both knew that their friend was desperately ill, the hatred that roiled in his voice still surprised them.

The corrupted angel saw an opening. Concentrating, he pushed forward with his mind and slammed the two angels back with a telekinetic push. Before they could regain their senses, he gestured again, and pinned the two angels to the wall.

Cherubimon was glad. It was almost over. He generated two spears in his hand, and began to advance on them.

"It ends now," he whispered.

"Why, Cherubimon?" Seraphimon asked his former comrade quietly.

"Because you have something I will never have."

"My friend, since when-" Ophanimon began.

"/Do not call me that/," the dark angel roared. "I love you, but you paid no heed to it! No. None at all! Yet you cling to a fellow human type. You damned human types. How many times have I wished to be one of you, to have what I will never have?"

The truth donned on both Seraphimon and Ophanimon.

"You envy us?" Ophanimon whispered. "You are jealous?" The answer, seen in Cherubimon's eyes, saddened her. Yet...

Cherubimon snarled and walked closer.

He watched Ophanimon struggle against his psychokinetic hold and try to reach a hand to her masked face.

Cherubimon wanted this to end. It was painful enough to hurt them... but at least that pain would prevent the worse pain of being rejected. He drew up close to them. One spear for each of them.

And then Ophanimon, having struggled valiantly against Cherubimon's hold, ripped her mask from her face.

Cherubimon's eyes widened as he looked into her beautiful face, a face with ice-blue eyes and flowing golden hair.

"Please, Cherubimon, I am sorry. I never knew. Perhaps it could have been different if I had.

"Yet I have made my decision! If you truly love me, you would not hold it against me. That is not who love works. That's how greed and coveting work! And I know that is not who you are, Cherubimon. You are a brave, selfless, good individual.

"Fight it!"

And then, suddenly, Cherubimon was no longer in residence.



"I cannot... I can't do it," Cherubimon said hoarsely.

What in the world? He was back in this featureless black space of nothingness. And... his body! It was no longer that darkened virus color. He was pure again!

"You weakling!" he heard Leviamon snarl. "Finish them!"

"No, Leviamon. Ophanimon is right. This is not who I am. I am sad that it wasn't me, but Ophanimon has made a choice, and I can't be angry for the choices she makes."

"Fool! Destroy them, as you can usher in a new era. With the Celestials removed, it will be that much easier for my master to complete his plan. Is this not what you want?"

Was it? Yes, he would want Ophanimon's love. He would like nothing more.

But /this/?

"Leviamon," he said and stared into the Demon Lord's eyes. "No, it's not what I want. It's what you want, you scheming, jealousy-ridden wretch!"

"So be it." The voice was... upsetting. Not because it sounded furious, but because it seemed to be dead to emotion. "If that is the case, I will wrest your body away from your control and /finish it myself/!"



Cherubimon saw Leviamon lunge. The angel barely got his arms up in time, latching them onto Leviamon's jaws and keeping the evil Mega from biting through his body.

He flexed and pushed away.

Leviamon snarled and swung his hefty tail, slamming it squarely into the angel's chest. Cherubimon stumbled backwards, the impact feeling like a sledgehammer.

The angel used the momentum from the hit to roll to his feet.

"/Lightning Spear/!" he yelled, and tossed a bolt of energy at the Demon Lord.

Leviamon gave a little chuckle-foolish bunny-and deflected the projectile with a careless flick of his massive snout. Then the Demon Lord lunged again.

Cherubimon cried out in pain as those massive teeth scored his arm. Moving quickly, he delivered a powerful punch to the Demon Lord's jaw. Leviamon staggered, but far less than Cherubimon would have expected for a blow he had put all his strength into.

And then Leviamon hammered his tail into Cherubimon again. Weakened, the angel was unable to regain his feet.

"Weak. You are nothing, Cherubimon."

Cherubimon shook his head to clear the stars from his vision. Then his gaze locked onto something that was sitting between him and the Demon Lord.

It was the viral data packet that Leviamon had given to him.

Leviamon saw this, and felt a bit of uneasiness. But, no matter, this just had to be handled delicately.

"Go ahead, angel, take it. Take it, and go /mad/."

Cherubimon said nothing

"Don't you see what this is, you stupid rabbit! Where we are? This is your /mind/! This 'body' is but an avatar of my will that I planted here, just as your body is an avatar of your psyche. Take the data orb! Go on, do it! It was not meant to be assimilated into the mind, and it will drive you insane."

Silence for a moment.

Then Cherubimon looked up.

"You're jealous that your master gave this to me, and not you, aren't you?"

And then Cherubimon took hold of the data orb.



It was true, the data would have driven anyone insane. The jumbled volume of the information flew across his mind, digging claws deep. It should have reduced Cherubimon to a gibbering wreck that could no more fight Leviamon than apples could resist the pull of gravity.

But it did not.

Cherubimon's will protected his mind from the terminal madness, yet, the guard was not-/could/ not-be complete. The viral data still affected his psyche.

But in a very strange way.



Oookay.. that had been a bit strange. It hadn't made him crazy, had it? He didn't feel crazy, at least.

Then again, most wackos didn't know they were crazy, did they?

Cherubimon shook his head. It seriously felt weird up there.

"No..." he heard Leviamon gasp.

Oh, goody, it wasn't uneasiness now, it was fear! Heh heh.

"You know something, Leviamon, I gotta ask you something."

Leviamon just glared.

"What in hell were those Keramon smoking when they gobbled up all this data? It's more jumbled up than the plot of /Gigli/."

Leviamon just growled and lunged at him again. He dodged.

"Whoa, there, buddy. Why the hard feelings? I mean, it's not like I insulted you. If I wanted to insult you, I'd say, I dunno, that you'd screw your mother. Well, not that you had a mother. Or anything to screw her with. Or do you? You're not a... /eunuch/... are you?"

Uh, oh, Leviamon was getting preeety mad. Time to dodge again!

"Oh, come on. That wasn't even a bad insult. It's not like I called you Paris Hilton, or Michael Jackson, or..." he gave a theatrical gasp, "/Richard Simmons/."

Leviamon wheeled around after that last lunge. Okay.

"/Storm of Judgment/!" he roared, and slashed mauve lightning at the Demon Lord. He watched Leviamon howl, tear through the attack, and come barreling for more.

"Really now. I'd never think-/Thousand Spears/!-that poking at your mother would get you all pissy. I mean, you look like the type who'd hate you mother-/Lightning Spear/!-assuming you have one, of course. I mean, you have 'Eminem Syndrome' written all over you."

"Cease your incessant /pattering/!" Leviamon roared.

"Why should I? Which philosopher said that the-/Terminal Judgment/!-pen was mightier than the sword? Well, I mean I'm not writing my pattering down, but you get the picture, right? Honestly, Leviamon, as the eminent sage Porky Pig once said-/Urk/!"

Well, Porky hadn't said "/urk/," but that was because Leviamon had managed to make contact with him.

And now he was busy trying to keep Leviamon's mouth from becoming his guillotine. Yow.

"My, what big teeth you have," he muttered. "I swear, if good ole Steve Irwin could take a vacation from heaven right now and visit the Digital World, he'd have you pinned in ten seconds flat, he was that hardcore. And..." he sniffed. Yech! "Goodness, man, haven't you heard of Listerine!? It's only one dollar at your local Walgreens... get some now!"

"Silence, silence, silence!" he heard Leviamon howl. And smelled. Yeesh, that breath was foul.

"I'm sorry," he began. Ahah, he was getting some leverage! "This model of Cherubimon does not come equipped with a mute button. Also, this Cherubimon has gone slightly insane. Please contact our sales representatives to-"

With a heave he flung Leviamon off his body.

He waited for the Demon Lord-yeah, he really did look like Steve's hobby-to get back up.

"I'll kill you! I'll you all! You, Seraphimon, your precious Ophanimon, your-"

Enough.

And then he had leaped on Leviamon, pinning the Demon Lord to the ground

And he wasn't talking anymore.

"Wrong move, Sparky," he growled to the evil Mega. "Threaten me, I don't care. Threaten my /friends/, my /comrades/, and it's on. /Lightning Spear/!"

Crackling energy appeared in one of his hands

Leviamon saw it with horrified eyes.

"Get out of my head," he growled, and drove the lance straight down into Leviamon's brain.



Cherubimon rose from the body of Leviamon's twitching body. Nailed to the floor by his spear, it couldn't do much more than that.

Then Leviamon's avatar-body began to dissolve, and the darkness around him began to clear up.

And then Cherubimon found himself back in the chamber, leveling spears at the immobilized Seraphimon and Ophanimon.



/No/!

Cherubimon drove the spears into the ground and relinquished his telekinetic hold on the two other angels. He collapsed to his knees.

No jokes now. His mind was clear for once.

"Slay me," he whispered huskily. "I've wronged you both."

He looked up at them. Seraphimon raised up his right arm...

And then Excalibur extinguished.

"No, I cannot do it."

"Nor can I," he heard Ophanimon say. She'd put her mask back on.

"But I... what I almost did..."

"It wasn't you, I know it wasn't," Ophanimon murmured. "Something had corrupted your mind, I know it."

Ophanimon was reaching for him. What...

"I can purify you, my friend."

He looked down at his hands. Viral! He was still in his viral form!

But... he'd already accepted it. No turning back now.

"No, Ophanimon, please, don't. I've chosen this."

"It doesn't have to be this way, friend," he heard Seraphimon say.

"I've already given up my Vaccine nature and a bit of my sanity for this, so hey, I'll take the whole deal. There's probably a discount, anyway."

Oh, yes, still a bit loopy.

"Jokes aside... what I almost did... it's horrible. This'll be a reminder to me. After all, I' wearing my skin all day."

Were they going to push it? No? Thank goodness.

He got to his feet.

"It looks like I'm a dark angel know," he said, then smirked. "No relationship to Jessica Alba, of course."

He grew serious again.

"I'll stay this way. I may be a virus now, but I guess it's not bad. After all, the Wardens, the Knights, the Dragons... they all represent the three digital attributes. It's only fair that there be a viral angel."

He watched Seraphimon and Ophanimon nod.

Well, one problem taken care of.

Thing was, how would the future go? He was a tiny bit insane, though probably most people would just call it "eccentric". He wasn't going to keep up false hopes for Ophanimon's love-hah, it had almost killed her,that envy had. And he was stronger than ever now... ironic, that Leviamon had made him a stronger opponent to halt the "master's" wishes.

He'd just have to adjust to this new form, the form of a dark angel.

He lifted his head and looked at his two comrades. Two friends. He walked to them.

He'd fight by their side.

For he was a Celestial.
The Golden Knight
The Dark Angel



It has been three years since Hypnos, the Monster Makers, the Tamers, and their Digimon banished the malevolent, nihilistic electronic entity known as the D-Reaper back into a dark core of the Digital World, neutralized and a threat to no one.

The Tamers have been reunited with their Digimon, and have overcome their most recent adversary, the Parismon Invasion Swarm. They are continuing their lives, happy to be together once more.

The Digital World has been slowly recovering from the decimation caused by the D-Reaper. The Digimon Sovereigns, Azulongmon, Zhuqiaomon, Baihumon, and Ebonwumon, exhausted from their battle with the D-Reaper, had entered a state of hibernation. It is not known when they will emerge from their slumber.

Before they entered their sleep, the Four created and charged the Celestials, Royal Knights, Great Dragons, and Digiworld Wardens to safeguard the Digital World.

The Celestials, the triad of Seraphimon, Ophanimon, and Cherubimon, watch the Digital World diligently, safeguarding those they have been sworn to protect. The Angels will defend their charges with their lives.

However, something has been moving in the shadows. Something that bears a terrible hunger, a terrifying thirst for vengeance.

It is only a matter of time.



Oh, what foolishness...

Cherubimon floated above the ground of the amber plains as he watched the receding sun.

He was an angel, yes, but just not the same. He was for goodness sakes, a rabbit that was somehow angelic.

So why would Ophanimon ever even deign to...

What? Show affection? Such as desire was doomed from the very beginning.

Two years already, since the D-Reaper had been banished from this world and the one of the humans. Two years since a great power had been bestowed upon him, then a lowly Lopmon.

Two years since he had first seen the magnificent beauty of the Lady Ophanimon.

Fah, what was the use of it all? She made no notice of any of the hints he dropped. What use?

In the end... did it matter any? It did not. Perhaps it was only a distraction from his duty. Yes, that was it. It mattered not.

But why, oh why, was there this /pang/?



Another day... and yet, Ophanimon hadn't quite left his mind.

Cherubimon rubbed a hand across his chin. Hmm... something felt a bit strange about today. Just strange. Hmm...

Perhaps it would be best to divert the mind. Yes, something else to think about...

Seraphimon was the nominal leader of the Celestials, but the blue-armored angel did not care much for the authority. In fact... hmm, when had Seraphimon actually given him or Ophanimon /orders/? Hah, never.

It had been oh so long since the great Susanoomon, herald of the Digimon Sovereigns and comrade of Imperialdramon Paladin Mode, had charged him, Seraphimon, and Ophanimon with the safekeeping of the Digital World, alongside the Royal Knights, the Great Dragons, and the Digiworld Wardens. Well, on a bit of a more reflective moment, perhaps not so long. Not less than two years, if that.

So strange, to think it had been--

"Cherubimon, you seem in deep thought today," he heard a familiar, deep voice boom from behind him.

He turned around and looked at the source of the interruption. Not that it had been terribly important, mind you.

Ah, it was Seraphimon.

Perhaps one of the last people he wished to meet...

Not that there was any malice directed at Seraphimon, it was just that... Ah. Ophanimon seemed to well... have some sort of affection for the other angel. Probably it was nothing, just his own theories, but...

But nothing. Damnation, he was being a fool, and falsely-envious one at that.

"I am, Seraphimon. I've been having strange feelings, this sunrise."

Suddenly Seraphi was close at his side. "I have learned to trust your sense, Cherubimon. Your perceptions and intuitions will be far more acute than Ophanimon's or mine will ever be."

A faint smile was curling his mouth. It was true, that. Perhaps it was because he was a beast. Who knew?

"I thank you for your praise." He took a breath. "Something dark moves just beyond the horizon, Seraphimon. It's a powerful presence. I... it's very strong."

Despite the blue armored mask that concealed the other angel's face he could sense the deep concern in Lord Seraphimon's voice.

"Indeed? I shall dispatch some Angemon to reconnoiter the area."

"No, Seraphimon."

"Hmm?" Yes, there was confusion in the other angel's voice. "But--"

"I will go myself."



Was this the place where the dark emanations had seemed the strongest? It must be.

But nothing seemed out of place! This patch of green forest was as bright and lively as anything else. The sun glittered on the leaves that danced in the light breeze.

Yet...

It gave the appearances of being as it should be, but still, this /feeling/. It was as if almost the grass was writhing in agony, and that the wind was screaming...

Ah, foolish thoughts! There was nothing here. He would have long ago detected the presence of a Digimon.

He turned to go.



In one sense, Cherubimon was right. No Digimon was skulking among the trees or creeping about the underbrush.

In another sense, he was very wrong, for there was something there. It was so miniscule and so well hidden it was no wonder that even someone possessed of sharp sense, like Cherubimon, would not have even noticed it.

Yet, it was there.

Nestled in the roots of a tree, hidden among other stones, was a perfectly circular, obsidian stone with a strange symbol carved into it.

Should Cherubimon have seen it, he would have recognized the mark instantly.

It was the mark of one of the fabled Dark Crests.

It was Envy.

As Cherubimon passed by the stone, unawares, the crest glowed a sickly turqoise and extended a vaporous tendril of some dark force towards the angel. Then, in a movement that most eyes would have missed, it struck the back of Cherubimon's head,

The angel gasped and spun about, a massive hand clapping to the back of his head. But when he turned around there was nothing at all. The angel shrugged, and assumed that a leaf had fallen and brushed past him.

Still, he didn't feel satisfied with that explanation. It had felt like a sting, almost. Soon, however, the thought had left his mind. Cherubimon was again thinking of Ophanimon.

It had been a sting. The tendril had flicked so fast and so lightly that it was amazing that Cherubimon had even felt it at all. All it had left was a small splotch of darkness on Cherubimon's head, and even that faded away by the time the angel took to the air.

The black stone with its turquoise marking became docile again.

And then it dissolved into data, leaving no trace that it had ever been there.



Cherubimon descended from the air and landed on the balcony outside his room. Something was strange today. Yes, indeed it was. But it mattered not.

Ophanimon was dancing through his mind, oh my.

And, oddly enough, he was tired. Very tired. Perhaps... a little nap. Yes, a nap would be acceptable.

He walked over to his bed--it never looked so comfortable before--and collapsed on it.

Ah, so comfy.

And then off to dreamland.



Cherubimon found himself in pitch black plane.

What in the world? His body seemed illuminated, but whatever was making him glow was immediately swallowed by whatever was making this blackness.

It was supposed to be a figure of speech, but he couldn't see past his hand.

Where in the world was this place?

Oh, wait, that was an easy question to answer. He'd fallen asleep after returning from his patrol. This was just a dream.

An exceedingly strange one, come to think of it. Since when did he start thinking of endless blackness? Normally, his mind sometimes turned to... Ophanimon.

"Yes, her..." He heard a raspy voice echo around him.

"What in...!" he cried. He whirled around. Who could be here?

"No one's here... except you and I."

"Who are you?"

"In the end, my identity matters not," the voice grated. The voice seemed to be centralizing, not booming from every direction at once. "For this is not my true self."

Now the voice was coming from behind him! He whirled around.

No, no, that was impossible.

"It can't be," he spat. "Your kind has been extinct for decades!"

Dear heavens. It couldn't be real. It was damned /impossible/.

But... it was there, staring. And now the thing was /smiling/.

"It appears my kind is not," said Leviamon.



Cherubimon stared in shocked silence as the hulking, feral Demon Lord slithered around him. Impossible!

A Demon Lord! He would have long ago detected the presence of one as evil as this. Even more, his comrades would have felt that presence. This had to be some dark dream, it had to be!

"It is no dream, angel," he heard the reptilian Demon Lord rumble. "This is as real as anything you have experienced before."

Leviamon circled and gave a low laugh. "In fact, just as real as Seraphimon's feelings for Ophanimon. And far more real than any affection you hope to receive from Ophanimon."

What...!? He started at that. This had to be a dream. That last statement was just an expression of his subconscious. Yes, that was all.

Ugh, such a grim subconscious...

"If it were only as simple as that, Cherubimon."

"Get out of my head," he hissed at the apparition. "Haunt my dreams no longer."

Another laugh. "I only need to fulfill one of your wishes, then, to satisfy you. I am not in your dreams.

"But I am in your head," the massive Demon Lord cackled. "And I am not leaving."



While one Cherubimon was confronting what he still though to be a dream--albeit a very real, very horrible one, but still a dream--another Cherubimon arose from bed.

Except, it was not the same Cherubimon.

Oh, in form it was. In body it was the exact same angel who had left to investigate the forests.

In mind, though... in mind it was something entirely different. If one were to delve into that mind, one would be blinded by the soupy blackness the swirled around in chaotic patterns.

Cherubimon loped across his room and pushed open the door to his chamber. He stepped out into a large hallway.

Without thinking, he began to walk towards the main chamber, where he knew the other two Great Angels would be. Cherubimon's blank eyes registered one of his commanders, a Gryphomon, hurrying towards him.

"My lord, one of our--" the Gryphonmon began to say, but then stopped when he saw the vacant look on his lord's face. "Lord Cherubimon?"

Without warning, Cherubimon backhanded the Gryphonmon across the face. The Mega-level beast flew back, slamming into the wall of the hallway. Surprise blared across his mind, then ceased as he slumped forward, unconscious.

And, still, Cherubimon had that blank look.



"Why are you here, Demon Lord?" Cherubimon rasped at the evil other that was currently sharing his head.

"I wish to talk. In a way, you could call it... counseling."

He growled. "What guidance would I seek from /you/, Dark One?"

"Oh, you know in your heart," Leviamon rasped.

Utter rubbish. "Oh, would I?"

He heard Leviamon sigh. "Such /hostility/. One would think you would welcome a talk from a fellow outcast beast-type."

Hah! How laughable. This Demon Lord thought to manipulate him with /that/?

"No manipulation. Why would I? "

"You are a Demon Lord, a creature of evil. Your kind should not even exist! "

"Yes, indeed I am a Demon Lord. But, first and foremost, I am a beast. And we beast-types should stick together, should we not? "

Humph. What did Leviamon know of such matters?

"I deal with those same every day, angel. Of the Seven Demons, I am the only beast among them. Which is similar, if I remember correctly, to you and your two /human/-type comrades."

This meant nothing. "It does not matter. You are a--"

"A Demon Lord? What I am matters not! Do you not see? Your comrades pretend to respect you, pretend to heed your words and warnings... and for what? The patronize you, they mock you behind your back.... They hate you."

He snarled. Foul thing... "You /lie/!"

Leviamon snarled back at him. "You know I do not/! You know, deep in your darkest dreams, you wish you were one of /them/! You /envy them their kinship." The reptilian's voice dropped a few decibels. "And you envy the love that they have."

No... it was all a dark lie, meant to confuse him. It wasn't true... it couldn'/t /be true.

"You know it's true..."



The body of Cherubimon, still dazed and not controlled by its true owner, strode towards the chamber.

Coming to the door, massive arms pushed forward and shoved the double doors wide open, creating a terrific crash as wood met stone.

Seraphimon and Ophanimon, speaking with each other, turned in surprise towards the source of the loud noise.

"Cherubimon? Is something the matter?" Cherubimon heard the female angel say.

Almost. Cherubimon's mind was so muddled it would have been a miracle if he heard, let along understood, anything that was said to him.

Cherubimon stopped advancing and just stared.



Cherubimon's heart roiled with confusion and bitterness and agony. Truly, this could not be a dream. Even, in the darkest of nightmares, that thought had never surfaced.

"Cherubimon, listen. I only come to help. My master can take away this damnable hatred they bear for you. He can unite all Digimon again, as they should. No more meaningless distinction between beasts and humans!" Leviamonm rasped.

"Your 'master'. Him? A /human/-type Lucemon?"

Now a smirk was spreading across Leviamon's massive head. What was so funny?

"Lucemon Fallen Mode is merely my leader/. He is no more my master than he is yours." Leviamon gave a raucous laugh. "My /true master has power far surpassing Lucemon's, and a vision that is far broader than the fallen angel's. He has a vision for this world... a glorious one.

"Join us, and you will be welcomed and loved by all. Is that not what you desire? Love from your peers?"

No, couldn't... could he? Agree and... but if... they...

"I... I am loved by my peers..."

Huh? Now Leviamon's face was right in front of his, and he could see the anger raging in the Demon Lord's eyes.

"/Their love for you is a lie/!"



With that last sentence, Cherubimon's decision was made. Yes, he would attempt to resist, but in the end, in his heart, he knew that he wanted what Leviamon had to offer.

At last, Cherubimon nodded assent.

"Yes, I want all those things. What must I do to be accepted into the service of your master?"

As soon as the words from his mouth, the angel felt horrified. But he had no desire to change it. The choice was made.

"Kill your comrades."

Cherubimon felt grief and terror. He didn't want to do it!

"I can't do it--" the angel began to plead, but it was stamped out as Leviamon roared at him.

"You must do it."

"But... why?"

"/Look/," the reptilian Mega rasped, and pointed his snout at the patch of darkness at their feet.

Confused Cherubimon looked down.

As he looked on in surprise, the darkness melted away. An image formed... an image that took Cherubimon a few moments to comprehend.

It looked like the main chamber, and Seraphimon and Ophanimon were standing close together. He somehow knew he was looking out of his own body, through his own body.

"Can't you see? They love each other!" The Demon Lord grated.

"But... what if they do? I don't see--"

"And that love does not include you. Ophanimon's love does not include you."

It was true, so true. How much did the angel known as Cherubimon desire that love? How much?

"I... Ophanimon has the right to give her heart to whomever she chooses--"

Leviamon snarled, eyes afire with rage.

"Are /you/ /blind/?

"If you cannot have it, /no one can/!"



Seraphimon and Ophanimon knew something was wrong. Cherubimon's face was desolately blank, and something about it was ominous. /Wrong/.

"Cherubimon," the female angel said slowly. "Please, what is wrong? Are you ill?"

The two angels started as Cherubimon's head swept up to stare at them.



It was true... in a way. Why should they deserve each other's love if he couldn't enjoy his own? Why should Seraphimon even exist?

"Yessss," Leviamon hissed. "You are jealous of them. I know you are. Your thinking is correct... no one deserves something if you cannot have it!"

Yes, those words were true. They broke his heart... he would break them!

But...

"How can I hope to best them both? We are all equal in power, and the odds are sorely against me."

He saw the Demon Lord give another toothy grin. "Ah, of course. How could I forget? My master wished to bestow something upon you."

What could it be?

"Normally, whenever Keramon make incursions into the network the human's call the 'internet', they have a disturbing tendency to consume any data in sight." He saw Leviamon shrug. "No matter. Our master conditioned them to consume a massive amount of data--data that human's could easily make copies of, so it wouldn't be missed--and coalesce it into a compact little packet. It should give you more than enough energy to best them."

He watched the other Mega shudder. What...?

Ugh! With one last heave, Leviamon had just vomited up something that looked round and cloudy and black.

"Ah, just as tasty coming back up as it was coming back down," Leviamon winked at him. "Take it. Absorb it. It's full of data."

Truly?

He reached for it.

But, damnation, why did this feel all wrong...?

He grabbed the sphere... and suddenly the dark space where he and Leviamon had been talking disappeared. He was... he was now in the main chamber with the two other angels!

And this time, he felt energy welling through him.

Humph. Leviamon was right... no one deserved love!



Seraphimon and Ophanimon gasped together as Cherubimon's darkened. Cream colored fur was replaced by a dark swirl of mauve and turquoise, and his golden holy-rings disappeared from the base of his ears, which were now ragged. His kindly black eyes now shone with a golden light.

And they both sensed something malevolent about their friend and comrade.

"Cherubimon, what has--" Seraphimon began.

"/Thousand Spears/!" Cherubimon roared, his mind clouded with fury and jealousy. The flung lances of crimson energy arrowed into Seraphimon's chest plate, knocking the other angel into the wall behind him.

"Cherubimon!" Ophanimon yelped in shock and horror. "What have you--"

"/Terminal Judgment/!" he screamed, summoning dark lightning that sunk its electric fangs deep into Ophanimon.

She screamed. Oh, lovely screams! She had deigned to ignore him and go with another. She must pay!

However, Seraphimon had not bee idle. Fighting the shock of their fellow angel attacking them, the angel had quickly regained his feet before Cherubimon's Terminal Judgment attack had begun to significantly damage Ophanimon.

Seraphimon darted across the room and slammed into Cherubimon. Surely, Cherubimon was ill! Why would he attack them so?

The blue-armored angel struggled to pin his friend down. He had to talk sense into him.

Despite being wrestled down by the other angel, Cherubimon laughed to himself. This was their weakness. In keeping up their charade that they actually cared about him, they were trying to subdue him, not kill him. Fools!

He was under no such constraint.

Cherubimon savagely tossed the other angel from his back.

"Cherubimon, please! Cease this!" he heard Ophanimon call to him.

Fah, why, so they could continue to reject him?

"Why should I listen to you? If I cannot have it, you cannot either!"

The harshness in Cherubimon's tone stunned Ophanimon.

But it also spurred her to make a decision. There was something wrong with Cherubimon, something terribly wrong. As much as it pained her, she and Seraphimon had to fight and subdue him. Perhaps even seriously injure him to stop his rampage.

Ophanimon summoned her shield and javelin. Seraphimon, off to the side, had come to the same conclusion, and activated Excalibur.

Cherubimon began to chuckle.



Leviamon was thoroughly enjoying the show. Such carnage!

He couldn't wait until this was over. He and his master had such wonderful things planned for this body...



"/Strike of the Seven Stars/!"

"/Sephirot Crystals/!"

The combined attacks plowed into Cherubimon, and he felt himself fly backwards.

The battle had been going for a while now. It was exciting, yes, but he growing tired.

Cherubimon wanted this to be done. It was good, perhaps, what they would never have what he couldn't have... but it wasn't enjoyable to take it away. They were still former comrades...

With a growl he leaped into the air and rained down crimson energy spears on the other angels.

Seraphimon dodged out of the way and Ophanimon deflected the attack with her shield.

"/Strike of the Seven Stars/!" Seraphimon cried and launched another septet of energy orbs at Cherubimon.

It was lucky shot, and it hit the corrupted angel square in the face. As Cherubimon reeled, Ophanimon leveled her weapon.

"Eden'/s Javelin/!"

And then, before the dark angel knew it, he was on the ground on his back. His former comrades were standing over him, their weapons pointed at his throat.

Cherubimon laughed. "Go ahead! Do it! It's not as if you actually cared!"

Even though they both knew that their friend was desperately ill, the hatred that roiled in his voice still surprised them.

The corrupted angel saw an opening. Concentrating, he pushed forward with his mind and slammed the two angels back with a telekinetic push. Before they could regain their senses, he gestured again, and pinned the two angels to the wall.

Cherubimon was glad. It was almost over. He generated two spears in his hand, and began to advance on them.

"It ends now," he whispered.

"Why, Cherubimon?" Seraphimon asked his former comrade quietly.

"Because you have something I will never have."

"My friend, since when--" Ophanimon began.

"/Do not call me that/," the dark angel roared. "I love you, but you paid no heed to it! No. None at all! Yet you cling to a fellow human type. You damned human types. How many times have I wished to be one of you, to have what I will never have?"

The truth donned on both Seraphimon and Ophanimon.

"You envy us?" Ophanimon whispered. "You are jealous?" The answer, seen in Cherubimon's eyes, saddened her. Yet...

Cherubimon snarled and walked closer.

He watched Ophanimon struggle against his psychokinetic hold and try to reach a hand to her masked face.

Cherubimon wanted this to end. It was painful enough to hurt them... but at least that pain would prevent the worse pain of being rejected. He drew up close to them. One spear for each of them.

And then Ophanimon, having struggled valiantly against Cherubimon's hold, ripped her mask from her face.

Cherubimon's eyes widened as he looked into her beautiful face, a face with ice-blue eyes and flowing golden hair.

"Please, Cherubimon, I am sorry. I never knew. Perhaps it could have been different if I had.

"Yet I have made my decision! If you truly love me, you would not hold it against me. That is not who love works. That's how greed and coveting work! And I know that is not who you are, Cherubimon. You are a brave, selfless, good individual.

"Fight it!"

And then, suddenly, Cherubimon was no longer in residence.



"I cannot... I can't do it," Cherubimon said hoarsely.

What in the world? He was back in this featureless black space of nothingness. And... his body! It was no longer that darkened virus color. He was pure again!

"You weakling!" he heard Leviamon snarl. "Finish them!"

"No, Leviamon. Ophanimon is right. This is not who I am. I am sad that it wasn't me, but Ophanimon has made a choice, and I can't be angry for the choices she makes."

"Fool! Destroy them, as you can usher in a new era. With the Celestials removed, it will be that much easier for my master to complete his plan. Is this not what you want?"

Was it? Yes, he would want Ophanimon's love. He would like nothing more.

But /this/?

"Leviamon," he said and stared into the Demon Lord's eyes. "No, it's not what I want. It's what you want, you scheming, jealousy-ridden wretch!"

"So be it." The voice was... upsetting. Not because it sounded furious, but because it seemed to be dead to emotion. "If that is the case, I will wrest your body away from your control and /finish it myself/!"



Cherubimon saw Leviamon lunge. The angel barely got his arms up in time, latching them onto Leviamon's jaws and keeping the evil Mega from biting through his body.

He flexed and pushed away.

Leviamon snarled and swung his hefty tail, slamming it squarely into the angel's chest. Cherubimon stumbled backwards, the impact feeling like a sledgehammer.

The angel used the momentum from the hit to roll to his feet.

"/Lightning Spear/!" he yelled, and tossed a bolt of energy at the Demon Lord.

Leviamon gave a little chuckle--foolish bunny--and deflected the projectile with a careless flick of his massive snout. Then the Demon Lord lunged again.

Cherubimon cried out in pain as those massive teeth scored his arm. Moving quickly, he delivered a powerful punch to the Demon Lord's jaw. Leviamon staggered, but far less than Cherubimon would have expected for a blow he had put all his strength into.

And then Leviamon hammered his tail into Cherubimon again. Weakened, the angel was unable to regain his feet.

"Weak. You are nothing, Cherubimon."

Cherubimon shook his head to clear the stars from his vision. Then his gaze locked onto something that was sitting between him and the Demon Lord.

It was the viral data packet that Leviamon had given to him.

Leviamon saw this, and felt a bit of uneasiness. But, no matter, this just had to be handled delicately.

"Go ahead, angel, take it. Take it, and go /mad/."

Cherubimon said nothing

"Don't you see what this is, you stupid rabbit! Where we are? This is your /mind/! This 'body' is but an avatar of my will that I planted here, just as your body is an avatar of your psyche. Take the data orb! Go on, do it! It was not meant to be assimilated into the mind, and it will drive you insane."

Silence for a moment.

Then Cherubimon looked up.

"You're jealous that your master gave this to me, and not you, aren't you?"

And then Cherubimon took hold of the data orb.



It was true, the data would have driven anyone insane. The jumbled volume of the information flew across his mind, digging claws deep. It should have reduced Cherubimon to a gibbering wreck that could no more fight Leviamon than apples could resist the pull of gravity.

But it did not.

Cherubimon's will protected his mind from the terminal madness, yet, the guard was not--/could/ not--be complete. The viral data still affected his psyche.

But in a very strange way.



Oookay.. that had been a bit strange. It hadn't made him crazy, had it? He didn't feel crazy, at least. He felt... more. He... knew.

Then again, most wackos didn't know they were crazy, did they?

Cherubimon shook his head. It seriously felt weird up there.

"No..." he heard Leviamon gasp.

Oh, goody, it wasn't uneasiness now, it was fear! Heh heh.

"You know something, Leviamon, I gotta ask you something."

Leviamon just glared.

"Other than Forge's plot devices and all... why the hell would those Keramon munch on this data? For hte love of God, it's more convoluted than the plot of /Gigli/."

"What are you talking about?" The Demon Lord asked dumbfoundedly.

"Oh, come on, don't you know? Forge needs this battle to happen so he can make a sequel. Or something. He keeps me in the dark with this type of stuff."

Leviamon just growled and lunged at him again. He dodged.

"Whoa, there, buddy. Why the hard feelings? I mean, it's not like I insulted you. If I wanted to insult you, I'd say, I dunno, that you'd screw your mother. Well, not that you had a mother. Or anything to screw her with. Or do you? You're not a... /eunuch/... are you? Heh. 'Eunuch' is a funny word."

Uh, oh, Leviamon was getting preeety mad. Time to dodge again!

"Oh, come on. That wasn't even a bad insult. It's not like I called you Paris Hilton, or Michael Jackson, or..." he gave a theatrical gasp, "/Richard Simmons/."

Leviamon wheeled around after that last lunge. Okay.

"/Storm of Judgment/!" he roared, and slashed mauve lightning at the Demon Lord. He watched Leviamon howl, tear through the attack, and come barreling for more.

"Really now. I'd never think--/Thousand Spears/!--that poking at your mother would get you all pissy. I mean, you look like the type who'd hate you mother--/Lightning Spear/!--assuming you have one, of course. I mean, you have 'Eminem Syndrome' written all over you."

"Cease your incessant /pattering/!" Leviamon roared.

"Why should I? Which philosopher said that the--/Terminal Judgment/!--pen was mightier than the sword? Well, I mean I'm not writing my pattering down, but you get the picture, right? Honestly, Leviamon, as the eminent sage Porky Pig once said--/Urk/!"

Well, Porky hadn't said "/urk/," but that was because Leviamon had managed to make contact with him.

And now he was busy trying to keep Leviamon's mouth from becoming his guillotine. Yow.

"My, what big teeth you have," he muttered. "I swear, if good ole Steve Irwin could come down here right now, he'd have you pinned in ten seconds flat, he was that hardcore. And..."

He sniffed. Yech! "Goodness, man, haven't you heard of Listerine!? It's only one dollar at your local Walgreens... get some now! Man, if this story doesn't get published and sold, I'm calling my agent."

"Silence, silence, silence!" he heard Leviamon howl. And smelled. Yeesh, that breath was foul.

"I'm sorry," he began. Ahah, he was getting some leverage! "I tried talking this over with Forge, but he wants me to keep on talking. He told me he thinks it might improve my ratings."

With a heave he flung Leviamon off his body.

He waited for the Demon Lord--yeah, he really did look like Steve's hobby--to get back up.

"I'll kill you! I'll you all! You, Seraphimon, your precious Ophanimon, your--"

Enough.

And then he had leaped on Leviamon, pinning the Demon Lord to the ground

And he wasn't talking anymore.

"Wrong move, Sparky," he growled to the evil Mega. "Threaten me, I don't care. Threaten my /friends/, my /comrades/, and it's on. /Lightning Spear/!"

Crackling energy appeared in one of his hands

Leviamon saw it with horrified eyes.

"Get out of my head," he growled, and drove the lance straight down into Leviamon's brain.



Cherubimon rose from the body of Leviamon's twitching body. Nailed to the floor by his spear, it couldn't do much more than that.

Then Leviamon's avatar-body began to dissolve, and the darkness around him began to clear up.

And then Cherubimon found himself back in the chamber, leveling spears at the immobilized Seraphimon and Ophanimon.



/No/!

Cherubimon drove the spears into the ground and relinquished his telekinetic hold on the two other angels. He collapsed to his knees.

No jokes now. His mind was clear for once.

"Slay me," he whispered huskily. "I've wronged you both."

He looked up at them. Seraphimon raised up his right arm...

And then Excalibur extinguished.

"No, I cannot do it."

"Nor can I," he heard Ophanimon say. She'd put her mask back on.

"But I... what I almost did..."

"It wasn't you, I know it wasn't," Ophanimon murmured. "Something had corrupted your mind, I know it."

Ophanimon was reaching for him. What...

"I can purify you, my friend."

He looked down at his hands. Viral! He was still in his viral form!

But... he'd already accepted it. No turning back now.

Plus, there were plot devices he needed to follow.

"No, Ophanimon, please, don't. I've chosen this."

"It doesn't have to be this way, friend," he heard Seraphimon say.

"I've already given up my Vaccine nature and a bit of my sanity for this, so hey, I'll take the whole deal. There's probably a discount, anyway."

Oh, yes, still a bit loopy.

"Jokes aside... what I almost did... it's horrible. This'll be a reminder to me. After all, I' wearing my skin all day."

Were they going to push it? No? Thank goodness.

He got to his feet.

"It looks like I'm a dark angel know," he said, then smirked. "No relationship to Jessica Alba, of course."

He grew serious again.

"I'll stay this way. I may be a virus now, but I guess it's not bad. After all, the Wardens, the Knights, the Dragons... they all represent the three digital attributes. It's only fair that there be a viral angel."

He watched Seraphimon and Ophanimon nod.

Well, one problem taken care of.

Thing was, how would the future go? He was a tiny bit insane, though probably most people would just call it "eccentric". He wasn't going to keep up false hopes for Ophanimon's love--hah, it had almost killed her, that envy had. And he was stronger than ever now... ironic, that Leviamon had made him a stronger opponent to halt the "master's" wishes.

He'd just have to adjust to this new form, the form of a dark angel.

He lifted his head and looked at his two comrades. Two friends. He walked to them.

He'd fight by their side.

For he was a Celestial.
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