Rating: PG -> PG-13
Warnings: [violence] [language] [het] [shounen-ai]
Pairings: Takeru/Ken & Ruki/Legolas
Notes: I sold all my notes to buy a pony. ^-^
Disclaimer: Here, as always, is the disclaimer! I don't own Digimon or Lord Of The Rings! I'm just using the characters and places for a little while, and I don't mean to make anyone angry or anything. So if you're offended by anything in "Company" (how'd you get all the way to chapter 15 if you are?) then I apologize right now. Ja!
Chapter Fifteen: Shadows
<Two out of three digimon, and neither of them is my partner. How the hell did I manage that?>
Takeru ignored the voice that was asking that same question over and over in the back of his head, and continued running. Renamon was simply a blur in front of him now, and he guessed that she was scouting the steps and route ahead. Beside him, Wormmon was still racing, tail tucked away and ears flat against his head, panting.
He had heard Ken's plaintive screams behind him for a few seconds, but was far enough away now that his ears couldn't pick them up anymore; he was glad. His heart was aching already from hearing Ken's cries, and he wasn't sure he could have continued running if they hadn't faded away...
The Balrog's footsteps were fading behind him, which he took to mean that it wasn't following him and the digimon.
<Great,> he thought, <but all that means is that it's going after the others...>
:Takeru?: Wormmon asked, interrupting, :do you think Ken's alright?:
"Yeah." Takeru lied, gasping, "sure."
He wasn't really sure at all...
"Here!" Renamon's voice called over the low rumbling of the ground and the continuous shrieking of the Orcs in the walls of the cavern. She was standing a hundred-or-so yards away, near a crevice in the wall, "in here!"
"Ah!" Takeru skidded to a stop next to the digimon, "what is it?"
Renamon peered into the gloom beyond, "another set of caves inside these ones. They seem to lead along the sides of the pit, so we may be able to make our way along and to the other side to get out of Moria." She looked at him, and then down at Wormmon; "it will be very dark in there, though, so we may have some trouble..."
The blonde barely managed to step back before yet another Orcish arrow slammed into the rock at his feet and bounced, clattering along the stone. He glanced up quickly; now that the Balrog wasn't directly behind him, the creatures were converging again. Scrabbling noises and evil tittering heralded their approach.
Takeru had to flinch to the side again; "I'll take the dark over the damned Orcs any time!"
:Me too!: Wormmon added.
"Alright then," Renamon nodded, "agreed. Let's go."
Wormmon yelped when an arrow grazed his back, and dashed beyond Renamon into the crevice. Takeru followed quickly, stepping into the pitch-blackness, and after both the wolf and the now-Elf had vanished into the shadows she walked through after them.
"You weren't kidding, were you Renamon?"
Takeru blinked once. Twice. It was so dark in the second-cavern that whether his eyes were opened or closed made no difference. There was simply nothing... "it's bloody damn dark in here."
:It s-u-u-ure is...:
Renamon snorted. "I gave you fair warning."
"You did," Takeru agreed, "but that doesn't change the fact that I have no fucking clue how I'm supposed to walk at all with it this dark, never mind find my way through the caves and out. I think we might be screwed here, people."
"Not at all." Renamon tisked, "you may not be able to see, but I can. Besides, there isn't much to see here." She paused, and Takeru strained to hear her breathing for fear that she had vanished again. Finally, she continued; "I can help to guide you. Wormmon, you can use your nose to find your way- simply follow our scent. Takeru, you are an Elf, ne? Your eyes should adjust to the darkness faster now than were you still Human."
"Somehow I doubt-"
"Do you have a better idea?" The digimon demanded.
"...no." Takeru admitted; "fine." Another long silence, and near his feet Takeru could hear Wormmon sniffing. The former-digimon's nose seemed to be working overtime, and somehow that worried him. "Wormmon?" He asked, "what is it?"
Wormmon took a moment to respond, then; :the Orcs!: He cried, and his nails made clicking noises against the stone. He was fidgeting. :The Orcs are coming after us! They're going to come in here, and we can't see, and-:
Takeru blinked, despite the blackness. "Renamon?"
A paw rested on his shoulder, and he found himself being turned around to face in another direction, which was just as dark as the first. "Walk." Renamon commanded, and something furry brushed his hand. "Hold on to my tail to keep yourself on track until your eyes have adjusted enough for you to walk on your own."
The blonde grasped what had touched his hand. Renamon's tail. <At least now I won't get TOTALLY lost...> behind him, Wormmon's nose was working again. There were a few short seconds of shuffling noises, and then the wolf bumped into the back of his legs.
"Not a problem. You alright there, now?"
"Good." Takeru swallowed somewhat nervously; "alright, Renamon, let's move."
Renamon was silent, but she seemed to have stepped forward. Or, Takeru assumed she had started to walk; he still couldn't see a blessed thing, but her tail suddenly jerked (nearly out of his grasp) and he stumbled to keep up with her. Wormmon followed behind, nearly silent with the exception of his claws on the stone ground.
The Balrog was still moving, beyond their new route, but it's steps were even quieter now than they had been only moments before. Takeru would have been able to put it out of his mind completely, had he not been concerned for the others. If they had to go up against the Balrog, he wasn't sure any of them would make it out alive...
<What are you saying?> He chided mentally; <they'll be fine. They've got Gandalf and Aragorn...>
Blinking, Takeru attempted again to get his eyes to adjust. He wasn't comfortable in pitch-blackness; it was unnerving, and after everything he had experienced since arriving in Middle Earth, he was sure that complete darkness wasn't something to be sought after. Maybe if he was still in Rivendell it wouldn't bother him as much, but here...
<With Orcs crawling in the bloody walls themselves? I think I'd prefer the light.>
Unfortunately, Elf or not, his eyes were determined not to cooperate. He scowled pointlessly, "Renamon, I don't think I'm going to be able to GET my eyes to adjust, here! What if we get attacked, or something? Not that I'd be much good to you if we did, now that I've lost my damned bow..."
Renamon made a disgusted noise and stopped walking, causing Takeru to bump into her back and, in turn, making Wormmon bump into him with an indignant yelp. She turned swiftly, that much was clear by the way her tail ripped from his hands, and Takeru could practically feel the scathing look she was sure to be giving him.
"What?" He demanded, more than a little cautious.
"Are you through whining now, Little Boy?"
"I asked," Renamon repeated, slowly, and as if speaking to a very young child, "if you are through whining."
"Listen you," Takeru snapped angrily, "I'm not-"
There was no warning, and of course he didn't see it coming; a heavy paw slammed into the side of his head, sending him sprawling to the ground. He landed with a thump, his side bruising against the stone.
:Takeru-?: Wormmon asked worriedly.
"Uhhh..." Takeru shook his head, wincing, and carefully climbed to his feet.
"Now, are you done?" Renamon asked nonchalantly.
"You bitch!" The blonde snapped, glaring incoherently at nothingness and trying to locate Renamon by her voice. "What the hell are you-"
:You guys...: Wormmon said, trying to catch their attention, though neither Takeru nor Renamon were listening.
Another paw slammed into the blonde, this time connecting with his shoulder and making him fall flat on his face. He heard Wormmon skitter out of the way just before he landed, and assumed that the wolf had been in his path. Again, he struggled up, his whole left side and shoulder aching. "You're just like your fucking Tamer! Why the hell are you-"
Renamon clucked her tongue, "finished?"
"You attacked me, you-"
Again, Takeru found himself sprawled among the dirt and stone. Standing took more effort this third time, and he lay prone on the ground for several minutes, breathing heavily. Finally, he sat up, leaning forward. "This is pointless."
"Hm." Renamon agreed, and he felt her paw touch his shoulder. Expecting another attack, he winced involuntarily. But instead of smacking him another time, the digimon hefted him up from the ground and set him back on his feet. "Yes, that was pointless. Not to mention time-consuming." She seemed to almost-chuckle, "but, Takeru, so is whining."
"Wh-?" He blinked, then considered, and finally laughed. "You're right. I guess I needed the sense knocked into me, ne?"
Takeru raised a hand to his face and encountered something sticky. He winced again when his fingers touched a particularly sore spot on his forehead, and sighed. Lowering his arm again, he shook his head. "I'm bleeding, you know."
"Yup." The blonde nodded, wiping the blood from his fingers on to his pants. <I'm dirty anyway, right? What'll a little blood do...>
"Sorry." Renamon told him. "I suppose I used more force than was necessary."
"No, no." Takeru assured the digimon, "I deserved it."
:GUYS!: Wormmon shrieked, finally managing to catch their attention, :listen! The ORCS!:
<The-> that single word jerked Takeru into the present, "what?!"
The former-digimon brushed against his right leg, :they're at the crack in the wall! They're coming in after us!:
"And we haven't gotten very far." Renamon said flatly, "it seems we have a choice."
"We stay and fight, or we try our best to navigate the caverns and escape."
Takeru's eyes widened and a feeling akin to panic swept through him. He still couldn't see at all... and he was fairly sure that Wormmon was in the same predicament. "I can't fight like this. I still can't see."
"...perhaps it is too dark for even the eyes of Elves..."
"I think maybe."
Takeru was again snapped back to reality. <What the hell do we do now..?> Scrabbling at the rock near where he assumed they had come from, followed by the whispering and tittering of the Orcs made him frown. "Let's get out of here."
"Agreed." Renamon stated.
Her tail again connected with Takeru's hand and this time he grasped it quickly; Wormmon whined quietly, which was the only way the blonde could know where he was. The scrabbling came closer to them, and the whispering grew louder.
"I -- ah!" Takeru was jerked forward when Renamon went straight from standing still to half-racing; not nearly full-tilt for her, but she couldn't expect them to keep up with her, then. Takeru barely managed to keep his hold on her tail, and Wormmon gave a surprised yip before scrambling after them both.
"Turning!" Renamon shouted, "right!"
"Ahh!" Takeru gasped, and clutched at her tail. His arms were jerked violently as she rounded the corner, and his feet skidded on the stone. Behind him, Wormmon skittered around the corner, his nails scraping against the rock. "Renamon-!"
"Look-" Renamon responded, "ahead-"
:Light!: Wormmon shouted happily.
"Yes-" Takeru gasped, "we must be close to getting out-"
Wormmon yelped when a second arrow grazed him, this time connecting with one of his hind legs. :Takeru!:
"Are you..?" The blonde shook his head, releasing Renamon's tail. The light from ahead wasn't much, but at least it was enough that he could run on his own. The digimon paused, slowing, but Takeru waved her on; "keep going!"
She nodded and continued, disappearing around the corner ahead.
Takeru stopped, stumbling, and spun around to face where they had come from. "Wormmon-" he caught sight of the wolf a yards away. He was still moving... walking, not running... and limping on the leg that had been hit. "Wormmon!"
Writhing movement behind the wolf caught his attention, and Takeru's heart thumped when he realized that the writhing was, indeed, the Orcs that were following them. "It is so not alright!" He snapped, "come on!" Reaching for his daggers, he held them tightly and ran forward again, toward Wormmon. "Go, go!"
:Takeru, what are you doing-?!:
"I can't leave you here!"
The Orcs were closing in. Why did this feel so familiar..?
<I'd give my right eye for my bow right now!>
Wormmon limped past him, running the best he could, and Takeru faced the Orcs once again. The shrieking from the Orcs continued to get louder, and they were closer than ever... far too close for comfort... and the Child of Hope took a deep breath and readied himself for one HELL of a fight...
"Fox Leaf Arrowhead!" A flash lit the area brightly when Renamon's attack phrase was shouted, and Takeru had to wince from the light. The Orcs shrank back, hissing, and Renamon grabbed the blonde's arm. "Come on, Takeru! We've got to get out of here!"
Renamon yanked him backward just before another arrow slammed into the ground nearby. Takeru stumbled but the digimon held him on his feet and turned to drag him around the corner that Wormmon had just rounded. "Run!"
The light around the corner was too much for his eyes, and he blinked several times. "Renamon? Where are we?"
Renamon continued dragging him along, and as his eyes gradually adjusted to the new-and-bright light, he managed to figure out where they were... a bridge? Yes, a bridge. And Wormmon was standing just to the side of it, resting for a moment. <We just passed the bridge! We're back where we started! What the hell-!> But even as his mind shouted incoherently, he realized that it wasn't true. <No... this bridge is different... thinner and with less of a gap in the middle, and -- AHH!> He shrieked silently in incoherent fear when they suddenly reached the edge of the gap, and Renamon, with her grip still firm on his arm, leaped...
They landed on the opposite side with a bone-jarring whack, and Renamon released his arm, letting him slam into the ground on his own. He skidded along in the dirt for a foot or so, and then forced himself into a sitting position and then struggled up onto his feet again. Whirling, he searched frantically for the digimon... Renamon was only a foot or so away from him, staring intensely across the bridge, and Wormmon...
The wolf was standing across the bridge, facing them but sitting... and he was shaking slightly...
:Takeru...: The wolf whispered, casting a fearful glance over his shoulder. He shivered, and looked down into the pit beneath them... and then looked back up, his eyes shining oddly. :Takeru, Renamon...: He gasped, and then his fur began to glow brightly...
The light diminished, and where the wolf had been was a green-caterpillar digimon...
"Wormmon! But what-?!"
"Takeru," Renamon said softly, "your ears..."
"My-!" Takeru reached up and his mouth dropped open when his hand encountered completely human ears, and short hair. "What's going on?" His eyes landed again on Wormmon and he swore again, mentally, then; "there's no way he can get across like that-!"
"I'll take care of it." With a flash, Renamon vanished and appeared beside Wormmon. Picking the other digimon up, she blurred and appeared again next to Takeru, leaving the approaching Orc horde on the other side of the bridge. Tucking Wormmon under her arm, she looked flatly at Takeru; "let's move."
"Yeah." Sprinting the last hundred yards to the exit, they burst out into the sunlight and found themselves on a rocky platform. Takeru stopped, gaping for air, and spun to face the way they had come. "Thank God." he looked at Wormmon and then ran his fingers around the curve of his right ear again; "but... what happened?"
Wormmon looked worried.
"Hm..." Renamon frowned, "I don't know, but we don't have time to debate it. We need to get moving and find the others."
Takeru nodded and took Wormmon from Renamon. The little green digimon clutched at his shoulder. "Let's go." The blonde sighed.
Wormmon whimpered, "I hope Ken's alright."
"I'm sure he is," Takeru assured him, "don't worry."
And they followed Renamon's retreating back away from the walls of Moria and toward a forest that could be seen in the far distance...
Me: Takeru's out and safe!
Takeru: Yeah, well, except for having the crap kicked out of me by Renamon.
Renamon: You deserved it.
Takeru: I suppose I did....
Me: Heh, heh... oi minna! Only three or four more chapters to go, and then we're on to the sequel! I have some really good ideas for it, too! Anyway, keep reviewing, please, or I'm afraid I'll lose interest in this and the sequel... ja!