So without further ado, J. Washington Irving is proud to present:
A Digimon fanfiction
Description: A look into the darker side of life. Yamato comes to rescue his little brother only to find out that his brother isn’t the one who needs rescuing. [Kensuke, Takesuke, and vague Yamasuke…and yet no one’s cheating on anyone else. Intrigued? Mwahahaha.]
Disclaimer: I do not, have never and (most likely) never will own Digimon. I would, however, consider reciprocating with sexual favors should someone decide to give it to me as a gift.
Authors Notes: Umm, wow. It has been awhile. AU, obviously, unless I missed the episode where Takeru and Daisuke hooked up with Ken’s crime consortium. Fair warning: I do not believe in wrapping things up with pretty little happy bows—life is rarely so kind.
And Ken just might be a little Kaiser-ish. Maybe. Or rather, what I imagine Ken would have been like had he found himself in the kind of environment where embracing rather than excising the "Kaiser" within would have been a bit more socially acceptable.
Chapter 1: Swimming Through Sick Lullabies
“So tell me: have you ever done something, anything you’ve regretted at a later date?
Of course you have. We all have. But then, I don’t suppose this is the same as running off to a concert late at night or trying to paint the cat. I wish I could say that I possess the moral superiority to hate everything and everyone connected with this part of my life. But I cannot. And if that is what condemns me, I've accepted it."
Yamato frowned at the cryptic words of his brother’s letter. Leave it to Takeru to be anything but obvious. When most kids wanted something from their older brothers, they just asked, didn’t they? Why then, all the verbal games?
And why did everything have to be so damn hard? Yamato sighed for what had to be the umpteenth time as he slid the letter back into its well-worn envelope, pausing only momentarily to scowl at the return address, or rather, the blank space left clean by the lack thereof, before tucking it back inside his pocket.
It wasn’t as if Yamato had not wanted to hear from Takeru. On the contrary, he had done everything he could to find the younger boy when he had disappeared more than two years earlier, all to no avail. To suddenly have a letter show up in his mail box, his name scrawled in vaguely familiar handwriting, could have easily been seen as an answer to both his prayers and those of his too-quickly aging parents.
Unfortunately, that seemed to have been the last bit of good news that Yamato might hope to receive, if he were to judge his prospects from the worn down, ratted out and thoroughly tagged part of town that he had been led to by the letter in question. To make matters worse, Yamato noticed that he had somehow managed to attract the attention of a street punk, who stood, eyeing him openly with an ugly glare from under one of the few street lights along the street that had not already lost its illumination from either a stone or worse. When the boy noticed that Yamato’s eyes were now on him as well, it only served to deepen his scowl, a hand clinching tight around the pair of well-worn goggles hanging limp around his neck.
Yamato fought the testosterone flair urging him to take the young stranger up on his unvoiced challenge. But then, getting picked up by the cops for smacking around some idiot kid was definitely not part of the plan. No, Kido had said to meet the guy in the bar and so meet the guy in the bar he would. Not that that could keep Yamato from tossing his own, slightly smirky sneer towards the boy before turning and walking into the neon-lit building.
Daisuke allowed his eyes to close for a long second, fighting the pain that was trying to build his chest. It was no small wonder that Ken had insisted that he come for this one. He pushed himself up into a straighter position, eyes rolling heavenward even as he begged for the gift of patience from a god he no longer believed existed. Now, what the blond thought he was doing was another question all together, and frankly, one that Daisuke did not really want answered. But knowing that did not seem to keep his feet from carrying him inside the dank bar, nor did it stop his eyes from searching out the blond, sitting at a booth in the far back, for a moment, the nostalgia of the situation nearly overwhelming his better senses. Thankfully, reality, bitch that she was, was more than willing to rain on that particular parade. Daisuke snaked his way to the back table.
“Seriously,” Daisuke could not keep the frustration out of his voice, “What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” Yamato had not even noticed the boy enter the bar and yet here he was, angry fist rapping against the table, causing it to rattle on its uneven footing. Not that Yamato was one to be thrown off by angry, young punks. No, on the contrary, he had been dealing with this particular mentality for years. He felt himself fall easily into the unimpressed persona he used for NPSC interrogations. The fun ones, where he got to be the bad cop.
“Look kid,” Yamato’s eyes broke away from Daisuke to glance at the person who had just entered the bar before turning back, bland in their banality, “I’m waiting on someone.” Yamato motioned Daisuke away, “So why don’t you just run along and play somewhere else.”
Even compared to all the arrogant, all the self righteous, all the dumb-blond things Daisuke had heard, or rather, been forced to listen to in his short life, this might, just might be the worst. Daisuke could feel his annoyance taking over his better senses, “Don’t—“ Mercifully, the waitress chose that moment to bring Yamato the drink he had ordered, her cheery greeting saving them both from the very real possibility that Daisuke’s head might explode.
“Oh, hey Daisuke,” she smiled, “Long time, no see.” She set the short glass in front of the blond without even acknowledging him.
“Hey ‘Kari,” Daisuke brushed her off. There was a time when such a friendly greeting from the girl would have made his day, but such childish whims had long since been relegated to a nearly forgotten past. Now, as fickle fate would have it, that which he once wanted more than anything would be the very thing that hung him.
“Daisuke?” Yamato picked up on the name all too easily, “Did she say Daisuke?” he asked, his eyes brightening as he turned to look, really look at the boy. Daisuke sighed.
“No,” he complained, “She didn’t say anything,” but he knew the blond did not actually buy it. Daisuke was never that lucky in real life. Hikari, at least, seemed to get the point, tucking the money Yamato had laid on her tray into the pocket of her apron before hurrying back to the counter without another word. Daisuke watched as she rang the till, seemingly engrossed in counting and then recounting the wad of bills she had been keeping in her pocket even as he could tell she was fighting the urge to sneak a look in their direction. Finally, Daisuke gave in, sliding into the booth next to Yamato, but not without yet another gusty sigh.
“Look,” Daisuke began slowly, his voice so low that Yamato had to lean in to even hear it, “I don’t know what you think you’re going to find,” Daisuke claimed, though his tone seemed to suggest that he knew perfectly well, “But you’re not going to find it here,” he promised, “So you need to leave. Just go.” And he might just have managed to sound convincing had he not made the mistake of glancing over, catching the bright blue eyes staring up from the head bent in his direction. Too much, it was too much. As it was, Daisuke only managed to rise each morning by first convincing himself he would not have to face those eyes, only slept each night by promising himself that he would never have to make an accounting in the face of those eyes. But here they were, quiet, questioning, wanting answers, answers that Daisuke was not sure he could give. And so Daisuke did the only thing I could. He looked away. He looked away and begged, pleaded for a reprieve.
Would that I could, kid, would that I could.
And Daisuke could understand that much, understand that all sins must be paid for at some point. So why not now? Why not here? Why not in the most painful way imaginable?
Oh please, stop being such a fucking drama queen. It’s not like this is what I wanted, either.
Yeah. Sure. Whatever. It was all Daisuke could do to keep from rolling his eyes. Dumb fucking blond. This isn’t your fault at all. Hardy-har-har-har. Fix it yourself, then. I don’t have the time or the patience to play idiot games. Daisuke pushed his way out of the booth, sparing the blond not so much as a glance over his shoulder as he headed out of the bar.
Yamato watched the younger boy, surprised at first when he broke eye contact so unexpectedly, then, strangely, even a little worried by the oddly stricken look that had come over his face and the white-knuckled clutching of the goggles hanging loose around his neck. But nothing had prepared him for the fact that the boy would suddenly push away from the table, making for the door with nary a word in Yamato’s direction.
“Whoa! Hey, whoa!” Yamato slid out from behind the table, quickly following after the red headed boy, “Come back here.” He caught up with Daisuke just as he was at the door, grabbing his shoulder and pulling him back around. “Wait as second, would you?”The younger man seemed intent on ignoring Yamato, going so far as to keep his face turned away even when Yamato shook him, frustrated. “What the hell—“
“Shut up.” Daisuke still refused to look at him, his eyes pinned on something just over his right shoulder, “Just shut up and let me think about this.”
“Huh?” Yamato was visibly confused, dropping his grip on Daisuke’s shoulders even as he took a step back, “What do you—“ Daisuke held up a hand to silence the blond, brown eyes flickering over only momentarily, sharp in their annoyance.
“Of course not,” Daisuke answered dismissively, “Don’t be a fucking idiot.” There was a short pause before he continued, “I know that. Duh. I’m not the idiot blond.”
“Hey—“ Yamato began only to snap his mouth shut as he was pinned with another ugly glare, Daisuke motioning across his mouth the not-so-subtle suggestion that Yamato should zip it.
“And you think Ichijouji’s not going to notice?” Daisuke asked, “Or what, just let him poke around? Does that seem like Ichijouji to you?”
Finally! Something Yamato understood. “Yes,” he agreed, reaching out to grip Daisuke’s shoulder, giving the boy a little shake, “Ichijouji. I want you to take me to Ichijouji-san.” It took a moment, but Yamato’s request finally seemed to work its way through to Daisuke, the boy stilling almost imperceptibly before turning to face Yamato, a look akin to disbelief coloring his face.
“You,” he demanded, drawing in a deep breath as if it were all that stood between he and total mental collapse, “Shut. Up.” Daisuke looked back to his right before grumbling, “You could have told me he was a fucking asshole.”
“Look, kid,” Yamato complained, fast coming to the end of his own rope, “I don’t know what conversation we’re having, or what conversation you think we’re having, but enough is enough already. Either take me to Ichijouji or…”
Yamato did not get to finish his thought, his body folding neatly against Daisuke’s as it crumpled forward. It never even occurred to Yamato that he had been hit before he lost consciousness. Daisuke lowered his limp form to the floor gently, setting him against the wall before walking over to the counter where Hikari stood watching the scene, no longer even attempting to hide her interest.
“Do me a favor,” he asked the short haired girl, offering her a small smile as payment, “and make sure he gets a taxi,” Daisuke nodded to where he had left Yamato propped against the far wall.
“Okay, sure,” Hikari promised, her head cocked to the side even as she studied the oddly lonely look in Daisuke’s eyes, “But where to?”
Where to, indeed. Was anywhere really safe anymore? Daisuke just shook his head, “Anywhere but here,” he sighed, “Anywhere but here.”
><> | <>< | ><> | <><
Daisuke usually liked to sit too close to the jukebox, to listen to the heavy beats with his face pressed up against the booth seat, a hand protecting his free ear, forcing the harmonic noise filter its way through ply board, foam and bone before announcing itself to the brain.
He always came to this same grubby little bar when he needed to get away, take a break. He had told Takeru that it was one of the few places where he could really think, where his mind seemed clear and any problem, whether it be some bothersome moral dilemma or something much more practical like how to go about getting into and out of a building within his self-imposed time limit, could find its own solution. Takeru had laughed, but then he had always claimed to prefer silence.
But noise was Daisuke’s natural bedfellow. It reminded him of the taiko drums at the old Shinto shrine near where he had lived as a child, of sitting on the edge of the bricked path and feeling the beat of the drums in the strangest of places as the large paper carps fluttered in the current above. Closing his eyes, he would almost swear that each heavy thrump was landing on him rather than the taut membranes mere meters away.
He had only realized that she was there when he felt the edges of her kimono brush over his splayed fingers. He was happy though, young brown eyes glancing up to grin at much older ones.
“Daisuke,” she had mouthed, cool, delicate fingers brushing through his hair in some mad attempt to control it.
Daisuke tried to picture her, as she would be now. The eyes would appear older, perhaps more tired or, maybe, sad. Or at least he hoped that they would carry with them some semblance of sadness.
He hoped that he had meant that much.
“Daisuke!” The hands were roughly shaking him out of his half-dreamlike state; sharp nails pressing into his shoulders painfully. Miyako looked scared, out of breath. “You have to go,” she begged, the pleading tone to her voice striking Daisuke as decidedly odd for one usually so exceptionally composed. He looked deep into her, his eyes asking the question his mouth refused to form. What, or rather, who?
><> | <>< | ><> | <><
Daisuke cursed himself for his body’s involuntary flinch, blushing lightly at the idea that he had been spooked by the sound of the door sliding open. He glanced, sighing, at the room’s newest occupant before returning his gaze to where it had been focused, a stone lantern in the compound’s garden only a few meters from where he currently sat on the small room’s built-in window bench.
“Mmmm?” Ken hummed softly, his languid motions easy and unhurried as he made his way over to Daisuke, reaching out, when he was close enough, to run a soft hand through Daisuke's hair with an affectionate murmur, “I must have forgotten that you had moved in here.” Ken’s gentle smile did nothing to hide his cold, almost annoyed indifference. Rather it only strengthened Daisuke’s resolve not to acknowledge Ken’s more than obvious lie.
That much, at the very least, seemed to provide Ken with some heartfelt, if all too momentary, amusement.
“To be honest, I half expected to find layers of dust and old cobwebs,” the hand moving through Daisuke’s hair gave a short tug. There were few things Ken would willingly tolerate for a shorter amount of time than being purposefully ignored, “I must say, you’ve kept it quite nicely.” What began spoken easily enough ended cold, clipped, leaving Daisuke little doubt as to Ken’s true feelings as, once again, the room lapsed into a heavy silence.
Ken’s hard, waiting stare became all but palpable. “Look at me.” The voice was low, barely even audible, but the implied threat was enough to make Daisuke turn empty eyes in Ken’s direction. Ken stared into those eyes, looking, it seemed, for something that was not there—that perhaps had never been there, the hand still tangled in Daisuke’s hair tightening further and further, painfully, before suddenly releasing its grasp. “You remember him too fondly, I’m afraid,” Ken gave Daisuke a sad, almost wistful smile, “He was never as wonderful as you imagined him to be.”Again, there was a long pause before Ken continued, his voice barely a whisper, “I wish you could see that." Daisuke could not doubt the sincerity of Ken's tone, fighting hard against the urge to look away at Ken's painfully whispered, "I really do.”
Daisuke swallowed dryly. “Ken...” he begged, his voice raspy, worn. Daisuke cleared his throat lightly, gathering his words carefully, "I--" Ken held up a long white hand, stopping Daisuke’s explanation before it had even been formed.
“It doesn’t matter now,” Ken spoke with determined assurance, “The present will always be of more concern than the past.” He allowed his hand to trail slowly down the side of Daisuke’s face before continuing, his skilled voice tuned to its most didactic tone, “How else could we ever hope to make it to the future?” Again, that sad, sad, frigidly cold smile, “I only wish that you didn’t always insist on making everything so difficult.” The hand that had come to rest along Daisuke's collar bone curled in frustration, sharply manicured nails biting into tender flesh for a long second before suddenly relaxing.
"I know," Daisuke agreed softly, fighting the innate urge to knock away Ken's hand and rub out the still lingering sting. Instead, Daisuke pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms tight around them and inadvertently giving Ken a place to sit.
The tall man smiled, his hand dropping from Daisuke's shoulder has he gracefully settled in close.
“I understand why you like it here,” Ken admitted, turning his head to gaze out on the garden, “It really is beautiful.” Ken gave a relaxed hum, leaning forward so that his weight rested against Daisuke, his head lightly pillowed on arms draped across Daisuke’s knees as he eyes continued to scan the garden.
“When I was younger—“ Ken stopped abruptly, seemingly surprised that he had even uttered the half dreamy words at all. He shook his head, a line of stiff annoyance seeming to straighten his shoulders momentarily before he relaxed against Daisuke’s knees with a sigh.
“I've been told that spring is the thing,” Ken shrugged, an ironic smile twisting his lips for only the barest of seconds, before his head turned to look up at Daisuke, “But I don’t agree,” he announced emphatically. Ken watched Daisuke closely for a response only continuing when he became certain that none was coming, “It is winter that has the true power over life and death.” Ken lay his head back on Daisuke’s knees, his eyes turning back toward the garden, “If winter never ends, spring cannot exist,” he insisted matter-of-factly, “It is really power and not silly flowers that is truly beautiful, is it not?”
Daisuke shifted uncomfortably at Ken’s words, feeling trapped in the suddenly too small alcove, but too afraid of dislodging, and thus angering the dark haired man to really attempt escape. “But winter always ends,” he reminded Ken carefully, frustrated by the way his voice too clearly scratched out his uncertainty. It was taking all of Daisuke’s willpower to school his heavy, claustrophobic breathing into something, anything that might resemble calm ease.
Ken’s short laugh was hard and completely lacking in humor, “Don’t make a mistake,” he warned, closing his eyes to block out the cold-washed landscape, “Just because something always has happened, doesn’t mean that it always will.”
Daisuke sighed, nodding his agreement, his eyes never leaving Ken’s face. Ken seemed to be content to stay draped across Daisuke for as long as it would take to test his theories first hand. He did not even seem to notice, or so Daisuke thought, the lock of his hair that had slipped from behind his ear. Without thinking, Daisuke moved to push the few loose strands back, startled to discover that Ken was suddenly sitting upright, violet blue eyes narrowed with hate, even as he held Daisuke's hand an arm's length away in a hot, painfully tight grip.
“Idiot,” Ken spat, his body slowly unfolding as he stood carefully, never losing his contact with Daisuke’s eyes even as he dropped Daisuke’s wrist with unconcealed disgust, “Why do you always insist on being such an idiot?” Ken shook his head, and for a split second, Daisuke thought that the angry eyes might almost be brimming with real tears as Ken continued to swear shortly under his breath, “Goddamned fucking idiot.” It was only after this last acerbic sentiment that Ken broke eye contact, turning his back on Daisuke with an aggravated snarl, “I’ve decided to put Ishida in here.” The statement was clipped, cold, and thoroughly unnecessary as Daisuke had long since heard of Ken’s decision through the usual channels.
Still, the fact that Ken had gone out of his way to deliver the news himself told Daisuke all he needed to know about Ken’s true motives.
“Ken…” Daisuke mouthed the name more than spoke it, not even really sure himself what it was he was hoping would come from the very nearly silent appeal.
But if Ken had heard quiet request, he did not acknowledge it, his attention instead focused on brushing at some imaginary piece of lint marring his otherwise impeccable suit. Then, having satisfied himself that any would-be blemish had been removed, Ken next set about aligning and realigning the crisp white of his shirtsleeves, his irritation with being unable to get them perfectly straight growing more and more palpable with each tensely ticking second, until finally culminating in a deep sigh of relief as he managed to get them set exactly as he preferred. It was only then that Ken turned and addressed Daisuke, straightening his back so that he now towered over the still seated boy, the crisp perfection of his black suit almost proving to be more intimidating than his displeased scowl.
“I’ve sent someone to get him,” Ken paused only momentarily before adding, “and I’m sure that they’ll be back shortly.” Daisuke did not bother to ask for clarification on the someone or the him. He would have be as big of an idiot as everyone seemed to believe him to be not to have already known, and so he just nodded. Ken glanced about the room again, no hint of honest interest in his eyes, “I would appreciate it if you had removed your belongings before then,” he ended with finality, turning on his heal and immediately moving towards the door.
“Ken!” Daisuke’s voice surprised even himself with its strained, almost insistent edge, stopping Ken were he stood, midstride, hand still reaching for the notch in the sliding door’s frame. The room plummeted into almost instantaneous silence; Ken’s narrow back ramrod straight, his entire frame to seeming to vibrate within the stilled motion. For the first time in a very long time, Daisuke found himself truly fearful of what it was that Ken would do.
“Please—“ Daisuke began carefully only to have his words cut short by his own racing heartbeat.
Ken let out a low growl, venom dripping from each and every carefully articulated word, “You will not address me so informally, Daisuke-kun,” he instructed, his lip curling in an almost feral snarl as he slid the door open with a snap, “If you give me nothing else,” Ken promised, “I will have your respect.”
Daisuke took a deep breath, his lips forming his request for forgiveness almost soundlessly even as his heart was roaring in his ears, his eyes unable to break their focus from Ken’s fisted hands. At his obvious hesitance, Ken could only sneer, turning his head away in distaste. Without another word, Ken stepped carefully over the embedded track and, not even glancing in Daisuke’s direction, he disappeared.
Daisuke allowed a full minute to pass before standing slowly, surprised by the heavy feeling of exhaustion that did not seem to want to leave his limbs even as he forced himself to walk to the still slightly ajar door. It was with trained movement and no hesitation, however, that he pulled he door shut, waiting until he heard the solid rap of wood meeting wood before giving over and allowing his body to drop with a weighty thud to the tatami below, unable to fight the crushing stream of memories that threatened to over-run his mind.
Still, from somewhere deeper in the room, a heartbroken voice refused to be silenced. It prayed.