I have seen with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar
And when the boys asked her, "what do you want?"
She answered, "I want to die."

Petronius, Satyricon


do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by it?

I do.

I am not king, not emperor, not rajah. I am neither principality nor power. I am a boy. Only a boy, only that.

And I do. I reject the glamour of evil.

I refuse to be mastered by it.

Even if… sometimes… I think I am that darkness. I think I am that darkness. I think I am.

Sometimes I reject myself.




[One. The Transference to Men]


eighteen months later…


"I abstain! I strenuously abstain!"

"Too late," Miyako crowed. "The rules are precise and inviolate. Matt versus... your dad!"

Takeru looked like he was about to eat his own hat and then throw himself of the edge of a large cliff, and that's just for starters. Unfortunately, all he had was the gentle slope of the high hill in an all-too-familiar public park, and he had given up the sailor hat a long time ago. Not to be deterred, Takeru lay down in the sweet grass and clover, and began to roll down the hill slowly, feigning death.

"Get him!" Miyako ordered, gesturing towards Daisuke.

Daisuke was lying on the grass as well. "You want me to roll after him?"

"No, you lazy fuck! I want you to... damn!" Miyako got up and dusted off the little remnants of nature clinging to her dress, and charged off down the hill, obviously intending to take care of this herself.

Daisuke settled into the rough grass, snuggling against the warm ground in a manner that had become quite familiar to him over the past few months. No longer walking about with random girlfriends, he had more leisure time for the Hill and its crazy conversations led by Miyako "the General" Inoue. Iori sometimes joined them, but more often then not the serious younger boy was busy in extracurriculars. Daisuke exhaled warmly, his moist breath melting into the errant breezes on the hill in a most delicious manner. What a gorgeous day....

Examining the azure sky with a jeweler's precision, Daisuke noted all sorts of wonderful drifts and collisions as new fluffs of cloud would generate themselves only to dissipate soon thereafter.

Nothing is static if you really look.

"Say it! Say it!" Miyako trilled, her voice sounding curiously far away.

Daisuke could hear the sounds of Takeru's helpless gales of laughter, and it seemed very likely that Miyako was getting along splendidly with her tickle torture. A lock of his own port-colored hair fell before his eyes, looking like glazed enamel as the sun’s light struck it. Hair that sparkles like a particularly pimped-out detailing job, as Ken had once described it in a fit of whimsy. Daisuke closed his eyes.

Their voices seeming faint and unimportant, Daisuke drowsed as his friends kicked up a terrific row over the issue of theoretical incest. Takeru should have known better, Daisuke mused… when asked a similar question regarding Jun and his mother, Daisuke had simply shrugged and picked Jun because she was "younger." He described no moral objections because Miyako wouldn’t hear of it, and so it was that she contentedly accepted his answer without comments and then moved on to her more intractable victim.

Miyako’s style was always to push the envelope, to assess the boundaries held by others because they helped to define her own. Usually Takeru knew better then to fall into one of her traps, and would refuse to spoon-feed Miyako pat outrage over incredible (if sometimes sordid) scenarios. But even he had his weaknesses, and apparently the subject of incest was a touchy one. I guess it would be, with a brother like Matt, Daisuke thought wickedly, even as he yawned.

Daisuke soon fell asleep. He knew that Takeru wasn’t in any danger of becoming a strange pervert, nor was Miyako attempting to facilitate such a conversion. In the end, Miyako just liked to see Takeru squirm. And no matter how interesting that could be sometimes, today it just seemed boring and old.

Dreaming was better, melting away all inconsequence….


Daisuke missed the resolution of the quarrel…

Sexy, sexy boy! Mmm…

Daisuke missed the desultory conversation that followed…

Not sexy enough, unless I can taste… oh, THAT’S better…


Daisuke missed it when Miyako began rifling through his backpack…


Daisuke missed the way that Takeru and Miyako started going through his Trapper Keeper (vintage)…

…delicious…. like.. like… fuck. Delicious like fuck. Hmm..heh. Myymmm….

Daisuke missed (or rather, failed to note) the sounds of Takeru and Miyako crawling up right next to him, one on either side, each looking mysterious (and Takeru smiling slightly) as they reached down simultaneously…

Ken.. MY Ken….

.. and shook Daisuke by his flushed shoulders and warm summer-scented chest, bare against the world. Daisuke startled, and confusion met him about halfway between consciousness and Ken. "Wha…?"

All involved should praise God that Daisuke’s current dream did not incarnate into any obviously physical signs. It really shouldn’t have, seeing has how Daisuke’s lusts had been quite recently sated (just the night before, actually. Grr!). Nonetheless, Daisuke had been indulging in a pretty intense dream, and let’s just say he’s lucky, is all. The cost of embarrassment spared?


"Explain!" Miyako said, her normally dulcet tones screeching into the highest register as she fanned several sheets of paper in front of Daisuke’s face, nearly giving him a papercut on his eyebrows.

It took Daisuke a few seconds to focus, but it didn’t take long for him to catch up to Miyako’s outrage and outpace it. "Hey! What are you doing, looking through my private papers? I should have you shot!" He attempted to sit up but Takeru had him pinned, an action which earned the blonde a mournful look.

"Et tu, Takeru?"

Daisuke was not above a little humorous rhyme, even in the throes or righteous indignation.

"Yeah, ‘and me!’" Takeru Grinned With Intent. "What’s does a holdout care about betrayal, anyway? Spill!"

Daisuke sighed, outrage ebbing. "You know what those are, obviously…." He should have expected that Miyako would look… Poor Impulse Control was a trait that he and she had always shared. It would hardly be fair for him to hold her to a standard that he himself could not keep.

"UCLA!" Miyako shrieked.

The papers that Miyako wielded recklessly were none other then college admissions applications.

"You should have told us you were thinking about going so far away," Takeru added with a slight shake of his head that was part amusement, and part genuine bewilderment.

Daisuke scratched his head. "Hey, I just picked them up today! It was something that Ken and I talked about last night, and so…"

"UCLA! And Ken?!!" Miyako interrupted, shaking Daisuke’s shoulders and not seeming to care about listening to whatever explanation that she had just now demanded. "You’re dragging Ken to fucking UCLA?!!" Daisuke stopped talking and just stared at her. Had Miyako lost it? She glared right back at him, glaring and glaring and then… suddenly… she grinned, all evidence of rage annihilated abruptly.

"Okay, I’m over it. Bygones."

An eyebrow was raised. "Oh, really?"

And then, unexpectedly (or perhaps not), Miyako began playing with Daisuke’s hair, brushing it first away from his brow, and then back over it again. Back and forth, the rough-cut hair slid. Daisuke squirmed a bit, but also enjoyed it. It was like getting a massage.

"Tell us how the two of you came to that conclusion," she said sweetly, with a trace of apology in her tone.

Takeru, although still kneeling next to Daisuke, didn’t seem inclined to manhandle the warmly olive-skinned boy in any similar fashion. Instead, he crossed his arms in front of his chest in a very thoughtful manner. "Ken’s idea, I bet."

Daisuke’s eyes darted towards Takeru even as he accepted the routine, almost clinical tenderness that Miyako administered. "Yeah. We decided that we wanted to try go to a university together somewhere, and so we brainstormed for ideas and came up with several universities on the west coast of America. Ken had lots of good reasons, which were…"

Again, Miyako cut him off. "No no no! We must guess the reasons. More fun that way!"

Before Daisuke could protest, Takeru exchanged a glinting glance with Miyako, nodding decisively. "Yes! Wonder Twin powers, Activate!" He held out a fist, knuckles first, right over Daisuke’s prone (and terminally confused) body.

Miyako stopped stroking Daisuke’s hair to punch Takeru’s knuckles with her own in a theatrical manner. "Form of… Inquizinators!"

Oh geez… Daisuke sighed as both of his arms were shoved aside so that both Takeru and Miyako could flip over onto their back, each resting their head on Daisuke’s chest as if it were a pillow. "Hey, we want to look at the sky too," Takeru said casually as Daisuke made vanishingly small sounds of protest. Daisuke gave up all thought of struggling, and simply propped his hands under his head, curling his fingers together to make a far inferior pillow then his friends were enjoying. He was used to being used as a prop by his friends… at this point even Iori did it, sometimes. Often. But still… sometimes he wanted to be the one who got to lean. It just didn't seem fair!

"Inquizinators, go!" Daisuke said brightly, attempting to get into the spirit of the thing.

Miyako practically purred. "Number one reason: sex."

Takeru, whose head was closer to Daisuke’s chin, laughed… and Daisuke felt the vibrations through his chest wall as he breathed. "Passionate! Soul Searing! It must happen every day."

Miyako curved her arm up to caress the edge of Daisuke’s dry lips, a brief touch before she moved her hand down to pet Takeru’s head. "Such stringent requirements! I agree. Because of this, not even close-proximity schools would suffice."

Daisuke felt himself blushing, and wondered if the two of them could feel the heat of his body rise. "Sort of…."

"Sort of? Exactly so." Miyako pinched Daisuke's lip, not painfully. "You want his body. You think he's sexy..." She started to sing the teasing song that went along with those words.

"Admit it. You two are shameless." Takeru, blithely.


"You are probably right," Daisuke admitted generously, hiding his nervous recollection of his steamy dream.

"I am," Takeru said with contentment. "That shamelessness is your guys' most endearing trait."

"Um, thanks...I think."

Miyako was still singing. "You want his body... you think he's sexy...."

Daisuke groaned. "There's more to Ken then just porcelain skin and bedroom eyes, you know."

"Oh, we know. There's the minor fact of his genius, which we will consider presently..." Takeru said, taking the opportunity to make a tiny little spit bubble. "Boom bubble!" Takeru deployed his master weapon.

"Ooh, ooh! Send that my way!" Miyako sat up, vainly attempting to intercept the floating saliva.

"You two are disgusting," Daisuke said fondly.

"Damn, missed!" The bubble popped just above Daisuke's head, and Miyako lowered herself back down onto Daisuke's chest. "So where were we?"

"Ken: more then a pretty face," Daisuke prompted.

"Hmm… what does Ken want to be when he grows up?" Takeru questioned rhetorically. "Unknown. It will possibly fall somewhere between the Hikari and the Miyako in terms of virtuousness. Above all it must be brainy. I’m guessing something high-tech. Silicon Valley?"

"Computers are passé," Miyako sighed. "International ecoterrorism is the way to go."

"For you… but don’t forget, this is Ken we are talking about. Daisuke?" Takeru turned his head up towards Daisuke’s honey- coloured neck, soliciting his friend’s more informed opinion. No response for a few seconds, so… "Hey!… cleaned your ears lately, Dizzy D?"

"…Shut up! I was just thinking. I’m not really sure what Ken wants to do yet. He’s not sure. But you may be right…"

"Interesting!" Miyako supplied, cutting Daisuke off for the third time that day. She didn’t even notice that she did things like that anymore. "An undecided Ichijouji. So this rules in all sorts of general university settings with a good liberal arts curriculum, where he can piddle around as a poet for a few years until his genius gets the better of him and he takes his rightful place as belle of the Physics department. Very neat."

"Shouldn’t that be beau?" Takeru knew his French.

"Not for someone as pretty as all that." Miyako knew her hotties.

"He really is something spectacular," Daisuke enthused. He knew his Ken.

Takeru coughed, and began a mock-protest. He raised one hand. "Non-gay boy here! This continual talk of Ken’s beauty oppresses my ego as a manly man."

Miyako giggled. "Don’t give me that. We could bounce rocks off your ego!"

"Oh yeah. Do continue."

"Umm… so we’ve got Ken, who is wide open for anything, so long as it is multi-disciplinary and highly reputable. A school fit for a genius. And then we’ve got Daisuke… who has Different Needs."

"Are you suggesting Mismatch?" Takeru asked. "I don't know... is it really that bad?"

"Let's just say that Daisuke isn't going to be giving the Copaiba High valedictorian speech anytime soon, or any valedictorian speech for that matter."

Daisuke craned his neck, and jiggled the leg nearest to Miyako, rattling her gently. "Hey! Don’t beat around the bush. Ken’s GPA is separate from mine as a matter of integers, and his IQ eclipses mine by a factor of tens! Ten tens! At least!"

"One hundred point differential?" Miyako was impressed. "And you are no dummy…" She paused, taking a completely non-ironic deep breath. "…holy fucking whoa!"

All were silent for a few minutes. It was not unlike the kind of awed silence when the Shroud of Turin is unveiled.

"Crikey!" Takeru whistled at last. "That’s some serious shit. Um, Daisuke? Can I date your boyfriend now?"

Daisuke’s blush was clearly palpable this time. Hot…so hot! Damn.

"No more of this talk," Miyako said briskly. "It is improper for us all to have orgasms over Ken’s genius when we must continue to discuss the UCLA dilemma."

"True. Besides, I think I could cook eggs on Daisuke’s ribs right now," Takeru observed blandly. "I’ve heard of the full body blush before, but this is ridiculous!"

"Go on," Daisuke said in a flustered tone. "You were onto something earlier, Miyako…"

"No comments from the peanut gallery! You mustn't spoil the hunt for Truth by going ahead and blurting it out like that." Miyako sounded disgruntled, but her tone lightened as she picked up the thread of her musings from earlier. "Daisuke’s Special Needs. We all now know that this punk-ass squirt is angling to be a comic book artist…oh and by the way, thanks for sharing your secret dream from the start, Dais…" A punch and a brief scuffle, and then Miyako resumed. "And so, even if his grades and everything were in line with Ken’s, the fact that he has actual ambition prohibits him from just going along with Ken to any old school in the universe."

"But why California?" Takeru wondered, pretending to be bewildered. "It’s totally fun and somewhat gay friendly. And I'm pretty sure Daisuke could get into any school there, even the brainy ones; he'll fool 'em with his Japanese pedigree. I’m just not seeing the draw…"

Daisuke started to giggle. "Fun could never be a factor is such serious deliberations," he said with such unconvincing sobriety that he might as well have added "I lie."

Miyako pouted. Takeru had wrapped up the game a little too quickly, and ran to the punchline without any sense of style. "Okay. Well. I guess we know why UCLA then," she mumbled ungraciously.

Looking up at the clouds, Takeru decided that he didn’t want to cater to Miyako’s display of touchiness. Sure, she could be an absolute brick most of the time, but she had her own personal quirky flaws, just like everyone else (self-absorbed megalomania was a big part of it). He changed the subject after a few moments of silence punctuated by Daisuke’s giggles. "So begins the great diaspora," Takeru said with the kind of seriousness that was his natural birthright when he wasn’t being a silly-fool.

Miyako felt the silent rebuke, and took it gracefully enough. "Yeah," she said slowly and thoughtfully.

Daisuke wished that Miyako had prevailed, or at least persisted, in maintaining the lighthearted tone of their conversations. His emotions lived so close to the surface, bubbling over with transparent ease. Of all the Digidestined, he was the one with the most remarkable capacity to empathize… the trait of his that Ken most adored. He didn’t like to think of what would eventually happen after graduation day… a Black day that was soon approaching. "I miss Tai!" he wailed, seemingly out of the blue.

Of all of the older Digidestined, Tai had been Daisuke’s mentor, and closest friend. Seeing him off to university in Kyoto had been one of the more painful days in his life. But not the most painful.

"Aww…" Miyako said comfortingly. "Hold my hand," she commanded.

Daisuke snaked a small brown hand down to grab hers, and then tugged on Takeru’s hair with the other until the blond offered up one of his own sweaty palms. "I love you guys," Daisuke sniffed loudly, his nose running a little as he heroically held back tears. "I wish Iori were here."

"I’m not sure if he could handle the melodrama," Takeru said, a little choked up himself but trying to be manly about it. Nothing unmanly about squeezing a friend’s hand though: Takeru did just that.

"I’d make him stand it," Miyako said fiercely.

"He’s just trying to make a life for himself without us. He’s the one who gets to be left, and all alone too. Can’t be pleasant." A new voice... Hikari. The slight, waifish girl blocked a chunk of the sky as she stepped into view, after having apparently sneaked up the hill with amazing stealth. "Hi."

Another head peered down over the three children, each of whom was a postcard of incalculable sadness. "Well, well. If it isn’t the Trifecta of Doom." Ken.

Tamachi had arrived at last.


Only the young are allowed to suffer

openly. Adults go to a punishment room...

Craig Raine




There is a war within. With whom will this battle be fought?

My nature is to fight.

My nature... my curses... my dharma.... my obligation.

I fight myself.

I reject the glamour of evil within, and fight against it. It is a choice. It is a terrible choice.

I fight.

Don’t I?



[Two. Come and Sleep]


"I require Condolence Sex."

"...mmm. I see. That bad?"

"It could have been worse. But there was a lot of yelling and crying involved." Daisuke kicked a stone, and then looked around warily.

They were in the Digital World.

The Digital gate had re-opened in Tokyo recently, but even so it wasn't exactly common for Ken and Daisuke to meet there these days. It was so vast, so wild... sex there tended to be the same way. They loved it, but it frightened them too... it was like switching Digimon for the night. Weird. Unpredictable.

They were beginning to see why grown-ups were never called to the Digital World, as they felt it reformat around them.

"I might be willing to offer you an upgrade. My confession wasn't exactly incident-free either. Wanna rate it as Sympathy Sex instead?" Unlike Daisuke, Ken wasn't looking around, instead calmly focusing on the boy walking beside him. He pretended not to notice the bright, dappled sky, or the severe, unwelcoming desert. Probably the Viruses would be coming soon; they didn't have much time.

And then suddenly, the two boys both stopped.

"Where's Wormmon?"

"Where's Veemon?"

They sounded panicked.

As they grew older, the Digital World had become more and more menacing. It had been subtle at first, minor problems with the program, small foci of perturbance. Not anymore. Not today. Not for a while now, actually... it had become almost universally disturbing. Because of this they brought their Digimon today, even though it was a trip solely for the sake of intercourse, even though there were other risks to consider. Veemon and Wormmon were not queasy about having to be near, or even having to watch. And the boys had learned not to be anxious and shy performing even these intimacies around their partners. It was only sex, and in the end, sex is nothing more or less then a bond.

Digimon understood bonds.

"We're here...." a faint voice, to the eastern-seeming horizon. "We lost you... again."

Very soon, they'd have to make a choice, and the choice would be bitter. Wormmon and Veemon... all of the Digidestined Digimon, in fact... were facing the same dilemma. The bond that tamed both beast and man was breaking down, a function of fading innocence. It was risky to come here, and not just because of the external threats. The choice might be taken from them.

The choice: The Digimon must decide whether to live forever in the human world, never to return to this one... or to remain in the Digital World even after their human partners had been shut out. If they did try to return after the children had been completely grown up, they themselves would be reformatted. The bond, shattered.

Neither Ken nor Daisuke would be making the choice. This was a decision for the Digimon alone...

...and it hurt....

"Wormmon!" Ken said, his normally buoyant voice weighed down with worry and relief. Where he had been holding Daisuke's hand, now he released it, and ran towards that voice. Daisuke followed, silently but quickly.

There was a time when Ken had been drawn into a dark shadow of the Digital World with Hikari and Miyako... it had been a forest dungeon that time, with ancient cypress trees and an utter lack of innervated life. A barren world. This was where the Digital World had taken the Digimon today, tormenting both partner and child with unpredictable loss, reminding them that a decision needed to be made, and soon. "We're coming!" Ken called.

It was very far to run.

It was a rocky desert, unremarkable. Here and there a cactus could be seen, or even a Joshua tree, but the major feature of the landscape was the red, igneous rock underfoot. The rock was smooth... in some places, smoother then glass. Ken soon found a stretch that seemed like a path and angled towards it, because it seemed to be pointing to where he could hear Wormmon... and Veemon... crying out, again and again.



Daisuke said nothing. The tears trailing down his face spoke eloquently for him. So did his pace... soon he was besting Ken, on fire like only a sprinter can be.

The desert was changing, and with that the boys slowed at last. It was dangerous to step between programs, but after some consideration Ken motioned for Daisuke to continue on. It was still desert, just more sandy and pale. The evidence of life retreated behind them as they advanced further and deeper into the desert, under an emptiness of sky. Overhead, the sun watched cheerlessly.

It was because the Digital World loved them that it was rejecting them now. This was what Gennai kept saying, but that seemed like a questionable fact and brought little comfort in any case.

They were not old enough yet to understand this kind of love.

Daisuke was the first one to trip, but Ken followed... they tumbled gracelessly into the featureless sand, mere yards from where the Digimon were. Wormmon hopped over to Ken, and Veemon pounced onto Daisuke.

"Daisuke! Daisuke! Daisuke! Daisuke!"

Veemon would never grow up.

Daisuke just held Veemon tight, squeezing him harder and harder. "I'm so sorry, we were so selfish... I'm sorry, I'm sorry...." He broke down.

Ken knelt next to Wormmon. "Don't feel bad. You needed this day, right Ken-chan?" Ken made a miniscule nod, and then picked Wormmon up as carefully as if he were made of china. Relaxing into it, Ken began to cuddle his partner as if he were made of sapphires. Utterly precious.

"I thought we did... but maybe it was wrong anyway. We don't want to lose you..."

"You won't. Today was the day that you talked to your parents, so... Ken-chan? We decided to talk to you too. We decided..."

Ken froze. So did Daisuke. It was time for a violent wish.

"...we want to stay with you. On earth. But we wanted to come here to tell you, because we needed to see it again," Wormmon said, with all the innocence and logic of a child. "One more time. So don't feel bad."

Ken's face distorted, even as Daisuke's tears dried up. The two boys reacted to the news in such different ways. Ken fell back, spent. Daisuke sprang up, rejuvenated.

"Yes! Oh, Veemon, you totally won't regret it! You'll get to come to California with us, with the beaches and great food and everything! It will be amazing, you and me living together with Ken and Wormmon. Amazing, amazing, amazing!"

Veemon hugged Daisuke back. "It'll be cool! I made the decision in like, 60 seconds. But..." He stopped, realizing that what he was going to say next was not exactly called for, and completely untactful.

Ken gazed at Wormmon silently, and said nothing. He understood what that "but..." meant, and struggled hard against the bile and pain wrenching at his throat. But it took Wormmon a lot longer... It must be true. Wormmon looked so guilty.

Ken didn't plan on demanding an explanation, but Wormmon offered it anyway, because he saw that Ken was blaming himself. "It's true, Ken-chan...." he whispered. "But not for why you think. I just... wasn't sure you'd want me, for the rest of your life. I hope... you don't mind... that I would rather be with you."

"Want you?" Ken whispered back. "Mind? I need you. As much... as much as I need Daisuke."

Ken rubbed his pale cheek against Wormmon's rosy one.

Daisuke and Veemon were looking around casually, pretending to ignore the scene of emotions playing before them, when Daisuke suddenly narrowed his eyes and whistled. "Check that out. Is that what I think it is?"

About 20 meters from where he stood, Daisuke saw the edge of black metal protruding from the sand, and by the gods, it looked familiar....

"So we get to spend our last day in the Digital World on top of Ken's fortress... that's pretty cool, huh? I betcha no Virus Digimon will dare come bother us here..." Veemon chattered, even as Ken got up to stand next to Daisuke, a slight breeze lifting up his hair.

"I see..." said Ken, former Digimon Kaizer. The sunlight became very cold.


i sometimes think that there never blows so red

the Rose as where some buried Caesar bled

Frazer, The Golden Bough


For a warrior, nothing is higher than a war against evil. The warrior confronted with such a war should be pleased.

Am I pleased?

Is there honor in such pleasure, or only caprice?

It doesn't matter. I'm not happy.

My fight is too long, too difficult, and there is no conquest in sight. I treat with my demons, that is all. We parlay and negotiate terms, and for a time there is peace.

There is peace only in compromise. And it is only in peace that I am pleased.

Forgive me, Daisuke.

Is it only peace that I crave?

Could I truly be that weak?




[Three. Qing Ming. Pure Brightness.]


"What do you think of me, Hikari?"

Hikari was in the process of fastening the straps to her pink bicycle helmet (her own, which she had finally been seduced into purchasing), and so she didn't quite hear the question properly. Ken was already on his bike, and he had voiced his concerned inquiry in quiet tones. "What?"

"Um... I was just wondering what you thought of me, that's all."

Hikari blinked, and then frowned. "You are a good friend, and I'm really glad I have you on my side when it comes to homework and sports advice. I think you are pretty cool, Ken. Why do you ask?" She released the lock on her bicycle, and then took her seat. The kickstand was disengaged, and they were off.

It took Ken a little bit to answer Hikari's question, but he kept giving her little glances to let her know that he was trying to think of the best way to phrase it. They paced together up the hill next to their school, taking the direct route to the park for this week's Digidestined meeting. At the top of the hill, Ken spoke.

"Are you mad anymore that I kissed you? I mean, even the slightest bit? I'm so sorry I used you that way, but I was so confused at the time, and..."

"Oh, hush. Is that all? Ken, up until that day of my life I had been a total player, and it worked because there were never any consequences to my actions, at least not that I felt. I flirted but never followed through, and I think I hurt a lot of people. Those were consequences, but I was so pious and righteous, I let myself be fooled into thinking that the pain of others was not my problem. Getting a little bit of my own back... let's just say it was refreshing."

Ken nodded. This answer was acceptable, and eased several of his lingering doubts.

Hikari rang the bell on her bike, warning a couple of pedestrians of their approach. *brring, brring* The couple dutifully stepped to the left, and they passed. "I've been meaning to tell you this, Ken... I'm glad you brought up the kiss since I've been a little shy to... but that kiss was good. I just was scared."

Ken sat up straight, and looked straight ahead with a smallish grin. He pedaled a little slower. "I've practiced since then, so I'm even better now. One of these days maybe I'll show you what I've learned... if you ask really nice." Ken felt comfortable saying things like this to Hikari, because there would be no misunderstanding or hurt feelings.

"Lucky!" Hikari pulled down one eyelid with her index finger, making a face.

Ken began to laugh. His laughter was no longer such a rare thing anymore. "Seriously, if you ever want pointers, go to Daisuke. He's the master."

"Ha! I'm sure you'd beat up any girl who touched Daisuke in an inappropriate way, including me. Too risky." Hikari was also laughing, although in her it was more of a typical girlish giggle. *brrring, brrring* They passed some more pedestrians, a group of elementary school students this time.

Seeing the children made Ken become somber. "I have some good news... add Veemon and Wormmon to the tally of Digimon who will stay here, with us. We found out last night."

Hikari looked genuinely excited. Gatomon had made a similar decision not too long ago. "Oh, if we were walking I'd so hug you! Here, squeeze my hand!" She pulled up alongside Ken, and the two slowed down so that they could share a moment of bittersweet happiness. She knew that this meant that Ken and Daisuke were not going to be going to the Digital World anymore. Neither mentioned this fact. It was understood.

"Now its only Upamon and Patamon who need to decide. Well, Patamon before Upamon, presumably."

Hikari joined Ken in looking somber, and thoughtful. "Poor Takeru. Patamon wants to stay here, I know, but he keeps taking crazy risks because he loves the Digital World so much. He even goes to the Digital World without Takeru sometimes, and that... that's hard."

"I think he's just saying goodbye," Ken said hopefully. "I don't think he'll end up like Gomamon."

Gomamon had not elected to stay in the real world.

"Poor Jyou. It was medicine that did it. The long hours..." Hikari sighed. That parting had been painful, because the love between Jyou and his Digimon had not diminished over the years. Better then anyone, Jyou understood the way the Digital World... and his Digimon... loved him.

"They still can chat through the internet, so I guess it's not so bad. But if Wormmon had chosen otherwise...."

Ken stopped. He was not prepared to say, at this time, exactly what his plan would have been should that have occurred.

Hikari did not hear the hint of Intent in Ken's voice, so she latched on to the one thing she did get: "I know! I would have been devastated if Gatomon decided to stay there, separate from me. But for her at least, there wasn't much of a choice. Her memories of the Digital World aren't always very pleasant, you know."

Ken and Hikari broke grip to circle around a lamppost. "Neither are Wormmon's, I imagine."

"Oh...? Mm...oh...." Hikari fell silent.

"What? Oh, it's okay. I don't mind talking about it." I want to talk about it.

"Isn't it still weird for you? Does it feel like that was a whole different life, or what?" Hikari took both her hands off the handlebars, taking advantage of the flat decline to rearrange her hair clips.

Ken lifted one hand himself, to tilt his black bicycle helmet into a better position over his brow. "Mmm... 'or what.' Mostly it feels like it all happened only yesterday. My memories... are rather vivid."

"I wonder...."


"...never mind." *brrring, brring*

Ken had changed sufficiently over the years not to let that slide, as he would have in the past. "You can't do that. What?" Curiosity was a weakness, a sign of caring and interest. Growing up had taken away some of Ken's certainties, and replaced them with a small measure of clumsy neediness...

...Which in this case, was exactly what Hikari wanted to hear. "I was just wondering... you know how both you and I are close to each other, in terms of when we were Chosen and when we first saw the Digital World? Yeah, you know that. So... when I volunteered to go over to Myotismon, to save Yamato and Sora... would I have been given the same choices you were? We both are bound to the darkness, after all."

"The dark spore..."

"You got it because of your kindness, right? Because you pushed that boy out of the way... "


"Right. Self- sacrifice is our weakness, Ken. We take too much upon ourselves.... and maybe that's why we were so vulnerable even though we had significant power...."

"Maybe." Ken nodded.

"...I have a question for you, Ken. But..." Hikari shook her head, and her barrette clips slipped. "It's hard."

"I think I can handle just about anything. I'm not as fragile as I look, you know."

"That's true. So... when you were the Kaizer. What would you have done if you had succeeded?" She began to fidget with her hair again.

"Oh...that question." Ken sighed, closing his eyes briefly. "Daisuke asked me that, a long time ago. I'm not sure I have a very good answer for you, but I'll try...."

They had come to a place where the sidewalk met the curb in a particularly harsh fashion, and so both Ken and Hikari lifted their bottoms off the bicycle seats, allowing their legs to absorb mush of the shock as their bicycles dropped. "Ugh," Hikari said as they took the next sidewalk across the street.

"No kidding. So, as I was saying... what would I have done, if I had conquered everything. Hmm... I think I might have become bored with making the Digimon fight each other... god, I hope so. Probably I would have made more Digimon like Kimeramon, but then, that would have become boring too." Ken shrugged, but the look in his eyes was anything but indifferent. "I would have come home to my parents, eventually. And I think I would have set forth to take over this world, without the benefit of Digimon. It would have been... an interesting challenge. And without friends, without Wormmon... I really wouldn't have concerned myself with consequences that much."

Hikari boggled. "No way! Would you really have tried to become the emperor of this world? Don't you think that might have struck you as...unrealistic?"

"I was a child at the time, but no. I didn't want to be emperor. I simply wanted to pull the strings, however that might have been accomplished. It would have been complicated, but then that would have kept me occupied for years." Ken suddenly grabbed at a signpost, and then did a quick-style revolution around it with his bike before proceeding. "Still think I'm like you? Tell me how you would have ruled the Digital World."

"If I thought it was just a game, like you did?"


"Just like you. I would have made them fight; I would have made them fight for me."

Ken looked surprised. He didn't expect Hikari to be so blunt. "You're wrong. You think that's what you'd do, but the game would have felt real, even if you didn't believe it to be. I think you would have been too soft-hearted for that kind of ruthlessness." Ken's voice was tinted with skepticism.

"Like how soft-hearted I was with Takeru, or Daisuke?" Hikari was relentless. "Just because I knew they were real, it didn't change anything, not really. I... I enjoyed the attention. I needed it, for validation."

"That's different. You didn't enslave anyone."

"Oh really? Love is a bond, Ken."

Love is a bond. Yes, that's certainly true. A bond.

But Hikari? You are wrong otherwise.

You’re nothing like me.

You are wrong.


..rather then be less

he cared not to be at all...

Milton, Paradise Lost


Wo weilest du? Where are you lingering?

I wondered where your calm came from, Daisuke.

I have no clarity, even now. Where did you get off, having no fears?

But I desired you from the start, because of this.

Where are you?

Was I invented, simply to make you great?

I love my peace… my compromises… but for you….

Can I fight?

For you?



[Four. The Rose Plum]


"…I see."

Almost unconsciously, Ken slipped his hand into Daisuke’s, gripping it limply. The sudden pain was lancinating.

There is a last day for everything, and especially there is a final ending for every sort of love. Some of these losses are public, and ritualized… graduation is a good example. Some of these losses are private. Each Digidestined faced his own private Rubicon, and in a way had known about it from the day each had been chosen. No perfect thing lasts forever, not even the callings of Fate.

But in Ken’s case, things were complicated. He had been called, to be both Good and Evil. He embraced each calling eagerly, although it was the fact of his arduous love for his role as the Digimon Kaizer that he never liked to face.

The things we refuse to face will find a way to tear apart the soul. It’s true.

"Maybe we should go," Daisuke said, but he couldn’t hide the disappointment in his voice. Today was the day they told their parents about everything, and now the two boys could not reasonably expect to sleep under the same roof until they found a place of their own. They had suspected that they wouldn’t be able to come to the Digital World again either, and now this was confirmed. It had been an important day, and Daisuke felt he needed to appreciate Ken in a physical fashion. But he would do anything that Ken requested.

"No." Ken shook his head, and then turned over to Wormmon and Veemon, who were standing nearby, and addressed them both. "What does this mean?"

Veemon blinked. Once he had spent the night with Ken, as an experiment. Ken had been sort of quiet, not nearly as fun as Daisuke, but he had fed him lots of candy. Never… never… had Ken deigned to ask his opinion regarding anything related to the Digital World.

Veemon felt suddenly shy. "Um, mmm… I think it means that we have some things to work out while we are here, before we are shut out of the Digital World forever." Wormmon nodded in agreement.

I thought so. Damn. Ken wanted to kick something.

"I’m not digging up any relics like that stupid fortress," Daisuke said crossly. "Ken is over all that Kaizer stuff. He is."

"No, Veemon’s right," Ken said.

Veemon blushed. Those were two words which, combined together and offered by the Ichijouji boy, he never expected to hear. Well, maybe an alternate-dimension Veemon would, but never did this one aspire to anything so grand, so wonderful, so…so…. Veemon fell over.

Daisuke frowned, and for a moment, he resembled… shockingly… Koushiro. Like Koushiro as he would puzzle over some vexing problem with Diablomon… Daisuke was doing some deep thinking. "I don’t understand," he said at last.

Wormmon hopped over. "Dake-chan?"

Wormmon had found a lot more success then Veemon in bonding with the boyfriend of his Digital Partner.

"Yeah, buddy?" Daisuke picked up Wormmon and began scritching around his antennae.

"I’m not good at explaining things… but it seems like this would be a good place for talking to Ken-chan about things like…like what you said."

"The Kaizer shit?"

Wormmon looked up at Daisuke very earnestly, his big enormous eyes transmitting sincerity with X-Ray intensity. "Yeah, that."

Ken was looking down, shamefaced. He made no move towards the fallen Veemon, but his eyes drifted that way, often. He hadn’t fully understood why it felt so taboo to form a bond with his lover’s Digimon… but maybe Veemon had hit at the heart of the matter. Veemon’s like a familiar, a sort of reflection of Daisuke. Will he always be a stranger to me, if I can never come to terms with my Kaizer past?

If I can’t win over Veemon, will I lose Daisuke as well?

"I honestly don't know what to say," said Daisuke, sounding innocent and very young. He didn't understand why Ken was being so shy around him... they had shared everything, hadn't they?

"Tell him that you love him! And give him some candy!" Veemon announced, feeling very generous. He figured there was nothing that couldn't be solved with a little butterscotch or the occasional mint.

"Candy is for kissing," Wormmon scolded. He felt that he had a much deeper understanding of human dynamics then Veemon. Dake-chan and Ken-chan never seemed to like to eat candy unless it was right before they pressed lips. Didn't Veemon know that?

"And you don't think they should kiss right now? Huh, huh?" Veemon refused to back down. He was feeling righteous.

"Kissing hides things, sometimes." Wormmon said wisely.

Ken looked at Wormmon in astonishment. Of course! How often had he used Daisuke's touch as a way to temporarily paralyze the pain of existing, a pain that had only ever been eased otherwise by the Kaizer? By being that boy? By liking it?

Daisuke put down Wormmon and approached Ken, slowly. Carefully. "Is that true?"

Ken looked at Veemon with a sideways glance, and chewed on the edge of his lip. "Maybe. But I didn't mean it to be that way....honest...."

"Why would you hide anything from me, Ken?" I don't hide anything from you. Daisuke felt inadequate. I don't HAVE anything to hide from you.

"Because it hurts."

"What hurts?" Daisuke whispered, wanting to touch. But if that would break the spell... Daisuke would not.


"....being what?"

Ken lifted his hand and held it out, and then suddenly... a whip was there. "Just being," he said sadly.



lovely and opposite

that fit precisely

your hunger

Thomas Lynch


Do you take this man, til death you do part?

I do.

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments....."

I don't admit impediments, though.

I create them

I have fears, and I don't know how to fight.

Why, Daisuke?

I ignore my burdens when I'm with you... but is that fair?

Have I become... poisonous? A sting, perhaps?

Do you....

...take me?



[Five. Of Evil.]

Ken turned the whip in his hands. Somehow he knew it would come back to him, how to create the instruments of imperial rule. "Sometimes... I want to die."

"How....how did you do that?" Daisuke asked in a sick whisper.

Ken held up the whip, and slipped the length of the leather cord through his fingers as he examined it right in front of his eyes. "Such ugliness. And yet I cared for it. Maybe I still do." Ken appeared hollow.

"I... I don't know you at all!"


Wormmon and Veemon crowded closely together.

"... you are too good to understand me," Ken continued, his eyes pale blue and his pupils constricted under the sun. Such brightness... it would be so easy to create shade, to make glasses that would shield him from the light.

"I don't like this talk." Daisuke was shaking his head, violently. "Wormmon, I don't like this talk! Make it stop. Make him stop!"

"Dake-chan, don't you understand? I am him..." Wormmon said in heartbreaking tones. "I can't."

Veemon piped in. "You should make him stop, Daisuke-Da. But maybe not with kisses, or with candy, because Wormmon is being so unreasonable..." Veemon nudged his Jogress partner, who looked too miserable to reply in kind. "Stop him with words. That's Ken's thing, right?"

Ken looked over at Veemon, and smiled slightly. "I couldn't ring you, you know. I couldn't do it. Why was I so ruthless and yet too weak to touch you?" His smile was crooked. His lips pressed each other thinly, and he closed his eyes.

Veemon wasn't sure he liked it when Ken talked to him-- so he didn't say anything, just shuffled his feet. He would let Daisuke answer for him.

"I can't believe you aren't over this, Ken!" Daisuke reached down, and sifted some sand through his fingers. Maybe he could create things, too. If he concentrated.

No warning. Ken cracked the whip, opposite from the Digimon, and away from Daisuke. The air clapped loudly in response. "Really?"

What was Ken doing? Daisuke wanted to cry, but instead he tried to think.

The Koushiro look was back, but this time he didn't waver.

"Okay. Whip me."

Ken, who seemed to be falling into some light stupor, suddenly snapped to attention. "What did you say?"

Daisuke twisted, so that his side faced Ken. His eyes were still focused on the boy that he loved and admired most above anyone in the world. "Don't be coy. You heard me. Whip me."

"That's... that's.... No." Ken narrowed his eyes. "Is this a game?"

It was like piecing together a puzzle. Feeling the grit of sand still playing at his fingertips, Daisuke tried to create something within his own mind.

"You don't want to hurt me, do you? Only yourself."

Ken turned away, and for a moment there was the ghost of a cape twirling. Oh, no you don't....

Daisuke was about the reach out and grab Ken, but he felt constrained by what Wormmon had said. Maybe he touches me and kisses me as a way to avoid those sad feelings. He exchanged a helpless glance with Wormmon, who looked as empty and as desperate as he felt.

And yet... Ken needed to be touched. Intimately.

But how.....?

It came to Daisuke like a deluge of broken dreams. "Veemon? Take him." He's yours....

What's yours is mine.

Veemon snapped to attention, but still he balked as Ken huddled like a child. The look that he gave Daisuke was nothing less then appalled. He had never attacked a human before, never. And for it to be Ken, Daisuke's deepest and only love? "I....I can't."

"Do it, or you stay here." Daisuke made this sound as cold and as convincing as he could.

It nearly destroyed him.

Now Wormmon looked appalled. But for Veemon, there were no more doubts. He would never allow for anything to separate him from Daisuke. Never. They were two halves of the same soul.

"Veeeeeeee...." It was like winding up for a pitch. "..eeee...Head butt!"

Veemon tried to be as gentle as he could, but that didn't stop Ken from toppling over like an frost-killed flower. Veemon's rookie attack was quite powerful, as such things go.

For a human, there was no defense.

Daisuke began to cry. He wanted to touch Ken, he did, he did so much. But he had just ordered the unthinkable, and he knew that Ken needed... Ken needed to come to him.

At the impact, Veemon had tried to put a little roll in his attack, hoping to blunt Ken's pain. But he knew as soon as he flipped up to face Ken that the boy had been hurt, hurt atrociously. Ken was breathing hard, clutching at the whip with both hands, and he moaned in that sad way that humans have that makes them sound so helpless. "Ooh...oh... oh...oh..."

Veemon had always been in awe of Ken. It didn't matter that Daisuke loved him and seemed to be able to boss him around sometimes... there had never been a time that he hadn't felt anything but inadequate when around Wormmon's Digimon partner. Wormmon was different, approachable, a true friend. But Ken....

Ken was weeping. Choking as he wept. Hiccupping.

Veemon crawled over towards Ken. His head didn't feel too good....

He placed a tiny blue paw over the whip, and then leaned his forehead onto Ken, which seemed to steady him. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm sorry...." Veemon wasn't very good at being serious. But for Ken... the boy that Daisuke loved and whom he had just pounded, with a blow little short of mortal.... Veemon would try.

Ken couldn't talk. The wind had been knocked out of him and he was struggling to regain his spirit.

Many tense minutes passed. No-one said anything. No-one moved.

Ken's breathing slowed to a more acceptable pace, but it was still a bit rattling and hesitant. Without warning, he opened his arms to close them, around Veemon in a tight embrace. "Thanks."

Veemon suffered this gladly. "Oh, maybe I was wrong about the candy, and the kisses... but Daisuke needs you. He does. Don't go crazy, it's...it's... not very useful."

Ken flickered a glance over the where Daisuke was, looking particularly tense and frightened. "Oh, you." That was all he said, but there was a bit of a smile.

Wormmon bumped his head into Daisuke. "That was scary, but I think it worked!"

Ken struggled to sit up, but he refused to release his hug on Veemon. "Ooh....ouch! Fuck."

Daisuke was willing to give up Veemon to reach me. Ken had always suspected that the Digimon were fragments of the soul. But he had never held the soul of another person in his arms before. It was... to use a Daisuke word... awesome.

Daisuke was willing to give up his soul.

Some people hide their soul away inside inanimate objects, like jewels or rocks... anything hard and unbreakable, as a way to give themselves the illusion of preciousness. And some people would hold onto their souls too tight, never transferring them to anything, or anyone. And some people.... like Jyou, perhaps... send their soul away in the vain hope that it will not be hurt.

But some people have souls that need to be cuddled.

These are the only people who are capable of taking risks, of making real sacrifice.

These are the only ones.

Ken looked at the whip. It was still there... he had conjured it, and it wasn't going anywhere soon.

"Take this," Ken offered, holding out the whip to Daisuke as steadily as he dared. He wanted to hold it close...hide it away. It was his shame.

Daisuke almost tripped over himself in his sudden rush to follow Ken's command. "Sure, Ken. Umm.. so what should I do with it?"

Ken thought about it. It would be so easy to ask Daisuke to throw it away, but that would not be the way to destroy it. "Just keep it for me. You can do that, right?"

"I can." Daisuke leaned down, and kissed Ken full on the lips.

Without candy.


You also are Psyche.

C. S. Lewis


do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by it?

I do.

It's not easy... but this kind of thing never is, right?

I hold future in my hands. It is mine to conquer.

Pain is pain.

My mistake was in thinking that mine was remarkable, when all it really was...

... was memorable.

I will never forget the wounds in my past, or the innate weakness of my character.

But perhaps it is NOT compromise to say...

I don't have to forget.




[Six. A New Beginning]

"Well, well. If it isn’t the Trifecta of Doom."


"Shut up you! We are busy having deep, deep emotions." Miyako turned, her cheek grazing Daisuke’s brown belly so that she could frown at Ken.

"We listened," Hikari admitted somewhat guiltily. "We know."

Miyako sat up, still clutching Daisuke's hand with one of her own, held out her spare towards Hikari. "Darling! I'm so glad you are here!" Her smile towards Hikari was genuine, kind... Miyako rarely joked about her affection for her Jogress partner. "Join me starboard?"

"I'm not a boat!" Daisuke protested weakly, but his attention was already wavering towards Ken. Too many bodies were piled over him for him to really move, but Daisuke craned his neck so that he could catch a glimpse of Ken, who was standing at his feet. "Ken..... hey."

"Where do =I= get to sit?" Ken asked of Takeru, wrinkling his eyes as he attempted a small, lopsided grin.

"We have taken over your Daisuke for the afternoon." Takeru joked. He held out both of his hands to Ken with a smile. "You've got to camp out next to me."

"Ooh, sexy boy." Ken bit his lip, restraining a laugh. He took Takeru's hands in a stately manner, but was wrenched to the ground in a manner that was anything but. He landed practically on top of the blonde, whose lungs snapped empty with a whoosh. Ken straddled Takeru somewhat rudely, on accident of course. Daisuke looked amused, and as Ken prepared to slide himself off of Takeru, he spoke up.

"No, stay there. This'll fuel my fantasy life for weeks," Daisuke enthused.

"..." Said Ken.

"..." Said Takeru.

"....eerk..." Said Hikari.

Miyako got right on it, however, releasing all grips so that she could turn and look at Ken, observe his predictable blush and note with pleasure the way he seemed to be frozen in place. "Daisuke, you perv!" She leaned over Daisuke to press her lips on his chin. "Talk dirty some more, its turning me on."

After the initial shock, Ken smiled broadly, to Takeru's immense discomfit. He intended to be exactly obedient to Daisuke's casual request... and besides... it was fun!

"Okay, Dake-chan. Whatever you say."

Hikari sat up, and after sweeping a lock of hair out of the way, turned so that she could crowd against Miyako. Her attention was locked on the still dumbstruck Takeru. "Hey, Takeru. I think you look really cute all covered in Ken like that. How does it feel? He's really pretty, you know." She looked extremely innocent. Too innocent. Takeru began to sweat.

It can be safely said that Miyako's degenerate ways had a habit of brushing off on everyone. Everyone.

Takeru looked a little panicked. He was being hounded from all sides; Daisuke with his outrageous pronouncement, Miyako simply egging him on, and Hikari... Hikari!... being so wicked. And of course there was Ken right there, smashed against his groin and looking defiantly up at Daisuke... and licking... his... lips. It was too much for even a frankly sexually liberated young heterosexual to bear.

He groaned pitifully.

Ken blinked, and then looked down at Takeru with a slow smile. "Have you ever heard the phrase bi-curious?" He suggestively bounced, and Takeru just smothered his face to the side, whipping his head up seconds later when he realized that retreating from Ken's gaze meant mauling Daisuke's flank. No escape!

Hikari started to giggle. Miyako started to whoop. The lavender-haired hentai hugged Hikari, totally beside herself in delight. Such a spectacle, and it had just...happened! No orchestration involved.

"Now that's what I'm talking about!" Daisuke said, with a satisfied smirk.

But Ken was inclined to show mercy. Of a sort. After leaning over Takeru slowly and appearing to consider a kiss, he fell back after exchanging a knowing grin with Hikari. "You think I'm pretty?"

Hikari nodded with a very un-Hikari-like blush. "Yeah."

"Oh, good. But I'm only pretty draped all over Takeru, right?"

"Mmm...well, not reaallly....."

"You flatter. My prettiness is solely proportional to my proximity to him. It's a mathematical fact." Ken winked. "I might look nice, but it's the pure Takeruness that is the limiting reagent in all this, isn't that true?" Takeru narrowed his eyes, but Ken saw where that was headed. He placed a hand over Takeru's mouth. "No Boom Bubbles out of you."

"Mmm..mm..mmmm...mmm..." Takeru tried to speak around Ken's fingers, but it was a hopeless endeavor.

"Miyako, help me out here..." Ken waved his free hand towards the lavender haired tormentress.

Nothing could bring Miyako more pleasure. "Takeru Takashi haunts the dreams of all boys and girls. His angel-type Digimon is the most powerful Champion there is, but his true appeal lies in the fantasy of his lust-coloured eyes."

"Lust-coloured?" Ken raised an eyebrow.

"You know... like hotter then hell."

"I see."

"But what about Hikari?" Daisuke asked, not wanting to be forgotten in all this banter. "Doesn't she have a story as well?"

"Indeed." Miyako touched Hikari's petal-smooth face. "She's Hikari. She's light. Who wouldn't want her?"

No one missed the wistfulness in Miyako's tone. Miyako made it a policy to indulge in at least three impossible loves at a time. It kept her sharp, honed.

Hikari leaned forward and kissed Miyako on the cheek. Okay, so she didn't swing that way. But there was love there nonetheless. And if the thing with Ken had taught her anything, it was never to turn her back on the connections of the heart.

"But what does Hikari think of Takeru?" Daisuke asked slyly. He was loving this... Ken was still all over Takeru! The Hikari thing was nice too, but that was more of a sidebar.

"She thinks he's nice!" Ken said, in mock-scandalized tones. "Nice!"

"It's a tragedy." Miyako nodded.

"Maybe if we make Takeru swear an oath, that will change..." Ken looked down. "Raise your right hand, sexy boy."

Takeru frowned.

"I'll let you speak if you do," Ken promised.

Takeru nodded, and raised his hand. Ken picked up his finger tips, then leaned over to press them on Daisuke's lips. "Look, a present."

Miyako rolled, snorting as she laughed. "Woo-hoo! My turn..." She pushed Ken out of the way, and then pulled herself over Daisuke so that she could take the seat on Takeru's groi...er, chest. "Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god?"

Takeru felt helpless. "Sure."

"What do you think of KiKari?" Pet names spread like viral memes among the Digidestined.


"Aw...fuck! This proves you were destined for each other! Kiss the bride!" With that, Miyako grabbed Hikari's head and dunked her towards the increasingly unstabilized Takeru.

"Ow!" Their noses smashed before their lips could mash.

"A match made in heaven!" Miyako said, pretending oblivion.

"The angels of light and hope, together at last!" Daisuke stuck out his tongue.

"Maybe we could try that again?" Hikari said shyly.

Takeru's eyes blazed.

"I'm done." Miyako said. "Let the honeymoon commence!"

Takeru sat up like a shot, and then turned to look at Hikari with narrowed eyes. "You cheat! Your job is to be sweet and nice!"

Hikari just whistled slowly. ("This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine....")

"I'm going to get you! Tickle Torture of Rage!" Takeru announced in menacing tones. Hikari took the cue, and ran off like a shot, smiling and laughing. It felt nice to be flirting with Takeru again.

"Hey Daisuke? I think that we may have unwittingly fueled Hikari's fantasy life as well," Miyako said, like a satisfied cat who has had her fill of nourishing gossip.

"Good, I was beginning to think she didn't have one," Daisuke said, also satisfied but for different reasons. The image of Ken draped all over Takeru was burned into his brain.

Ken flicked his fingers against the side of Daisuke's face; a miniscule slap, a tiny rebuke. "Of course she does. She's just shy."

"She keeps an awful lot inside," Miyako said cheerfully. "But Hikari's changed. She won't slap that bitch if he kisses her!" Hikari had made it down to a small grove of trees at the base of this hill, but got no further as she was taken down in Takeru's relentless pursuit.

"I guess not!" The squeals of laughter sounded promising enough.

The three sat in silence for a bit, Ken not feeling the need to make any further comments on the State of Hikari, and Miyako with other things on her mind. After a few minutes, she coughed and then began to speak. "So, Ken? UCLA."

Ken cocked his head a little to observe Miyako closely. "Yeah. It's a good school."

"Pretty far, though..." Miyako said thoughtfully, and then scootched up to where she was sitting next to Ken. Daisuke didn't move or speak, but it was clear he was paying profound attention, his eyes darting to follow whomever was speaking.

Almost unconsciously, Ken dropped his hand onto Daisuke's face, tracing the side of his cheek and jaw in slow, drifting touches. "We both can learn there. And it will be such a relief, to be open about all of this. And of course..." Ken's look was immensely unsubtle, "...there will be all the big sex!"

Miyako crossed her legs, touching Ken at the middle angle, and then took a deep breath. She had an agenda, which always destroyed her confidence a little. "Making decisions together is a pretty big step. You guys can't get married or be engaged, so I don't have the regular clues for seriousness. Help a girl out a little..." Miyako leaned in, and then smiled with all of her most fulsome charm.

It worked. Ken relaxed, and Daisuke released a small breath that he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Daisuke never interfered with Miyako's investigations into Ken, respecting her need for establishing closure by this ruse of expansive curiosity. Screams in the distance indicated that Hikari and Takeru might not be returning for a while... "We intend to live together," Ken confirmed.

Daisuke felt all sexy inside when Ken took the lead. He spared a gentle kiss for Ken's mobile fingers, his lips warm and vibrant. His kiss was accompanied by a slightly helpless glance to Miyako, as if to say: he speaks for me, so what can I do?

"Mmmm..." Miyako leaned forward even further. "Interesting. I want to know more."

"We told our parents... last night, as a matter of fact."

"Do they like it?"

Ken laughed, richly and passionately. "Don't be silly. They hate it. But my parents are petrified of losing me, and Daisuke's pretty much let him do whatever he wants, so it works out."

"Kind of," Daisuke piped in.

"Kind of," Ken agreed. "Daisuke has to pay his own way through college. That's his 'punishment.' But we both will work and I'll help him pay off his loans... his debts are mine, now." Ken gazed at Miyako, the smile that warmed his features whenever he considered Life With Daisuke cooling towards the end of his pronouncement. "Does that satisfy you regarding our seriousness?"

"It does." Miyako nodded decisively. "I need to talk to Daisuke alone now."

Both Ken and Daisuke frowned. This was not where they expected Miyako to take this line of questioning at all.

"It wasn't for idle curiosity that I asked," Miyako said quietly, and for a wonder, a blush stained her cheeks. Miyako the Shameless, blushing? "Please, Ken?"

Ken blinked. "Um, okay..." He stood up. "I guess I'll go stand..." Ken looked around, and spied a willow tree that appeared nice and shady. "...over there." He pointed. Looking slightly perplexed and abstracted, he slowly began walking towards the indicated position... and then turned around. "Ummm..."

"I'll be nice. Trust me!" Miyako said cheerfully. The hard part was done. Anything involving Ken was mired in complications.

Ken walked away.

Before Daisuke could say anything, Miyako waved for him to sit up. "I have a proposal," she said, as he began propping himself up so that he could gaze at her levelly.

"Should I be scared?" Daisuke asked jokingly, but was warded off from further snide commentary by the sober look in Miyako's eyes. No, it was not a joke.

"It's like this," she began hesitantly. "You know I like you two. A lot. And you know that I think Ken is... well, hotter then fuck." Never dropping her gaze, she gestured for silence as she collected her thoughts. "I will never be normal, or even if I am, I don't know if I'll ever really want kids." Now she looked down. "Or maybe I will. God, I just don't know..." Struggling within herself, she continued to hesitate and pause. "It doesn't matter. I want to offer... er, I think you might like it if.... Damn. What I'm trying to say it that I will have a baby for you two. If you want. In the future, like after college...." She trailed off.


Miyako looked up eagerly. "It's true. I wanted to tell you and not Ken, because I think I needed it to be clear that this wasn't a silly little fantasy just so that I could think that maybe someday I'll have sex with him. That's not it at all. I just... you are Digidestined. And I love you both. And my future... I'm not the 'mom' type. I want to do exciting, dangerous things. I can't be domestic... but maybe...maybe you can."

Daisuke took one of her hands. "Are you serious?" He had never thought that far ahead in the future, but a little bit of Ken's style had seeped into his psyche, and dreams unhoped-for started blooming in his imagination. "A baby... for us?"

"Yes." Miyako smiled, and a tear rolled down her cheek, then another. She was crying. "Maybe you don't even want that. It's still so early, to think about things like that. But I thought you deserved.... What I was thinking, I needed to know..." She broke down.

Not surprisingly, Daisuke found himself choked up as well. "It's too much. We couldn't..."

Sniffling, Miyako negated this swiftly, interrupting Daisuke for... well, no one was keeping count anymore. "You can! And I could visit sometime... it would be neat, all of the fun of a kid with none of the responsibility... it would be..."

"Wonderful." Daisuke bit his lips, and now the tears were flowing freely. "If we wanted to do this... oh God, Miyako, what are you doing? What is this for?"

"You've met my family. I just... I need to be a part of something bigger then myself, even if I can't seem to find it within myself to make that work the traditional way. But even... let's say I can... let's say I marry some guy like Koushiro or something and we have a nice picket fence family and all of that... would it hurt for me to share a little bit of that with you? That's more love, not less. Would it hurt for you, to include me in your life like that, no matter how tangentially...?" Miyako appeared immensely sad for a moment, and then gave a coughing little laugh. "You want to know something funny?"


"I'm doing this more for you then for Ken. Weird, huh? You'd think that since I think he's so sexy, it would be all about him. But... when I'm being honest... the one I'm afraid to lose is you."

"Oh, Miyako."

"We all feel this way. Takeru, Hikari, Iori... we all love you. We love Ken too, but you... you hold us together. You made us a team... being Digidestined changed my life, and without you..."

Daisuke sobbed, and clutched at Miyako's hand even tighter, until it was white.

"I have to give something back. I can do this for you. It would be an honor..." And she drooped down, and might have collapsed if it weren't for the giant hug she found herself entrapped by.

"You don't need to do this to stay in my... in our life, you know."

"I think...yeah, I know. All the same, I'm not taking any chances. It's...it's not okay... to be gay... in this world. You need a few people on your side."

"But you don't need..."

"I know, damn it! I know..."


"Oh, just thank me already! You'll have plenty of time to hash this out with Ken in the future. It's not like I'm saying I want to breed tomorrow, so..." Miyako sneezed, then sniffled. "Thank me! You aren't going to think of any question that I haven't already asked myself, a dozen times."

Daisuke buried his head into Miyako's shoulder. "You are the queen of questions, after all..."

"That's right!"

She never saw it, but Daisuke smiled, and for a moment he was far more beautiful then Ken. "I think you might be amazing... who knew?"

"Well, I will get some nice threesome sex out of the whole thing, if I'm really lucky... so don't crown me Mother Theresa just yet..."

Daisuke just sighed, surprised and wrought and kind of suffused, and his tears and her tears flowed freely as they both absorbed the enormity of what she was offering, making it real in the silence. They were quiet like that for quite a long while, not even noticing that Hikari and Takeru (after finishing with the Tickles of Rage) were now camped out with Ken, busy in speculation.

"Me or him?" Daisuke asked at last.

"It doesn't matter."





Herongale, 2001. All rights reserved.