Disclaimer: Blah, blah, Digimon, blah, blah.
"I know you know the truth."
Yamato's words were heavy. Final. "He may not have told you out right, or you might not have actually seen anything, but you know him better than anyone so I know you know the truth."
Daisuke schooled his face into a look of bland tranquility, or rather, what he hoped was a look of bland tranquility. Assumed indifference was the only chance he had that his ego might remain in control, essentially overriding the hardwired urging of is id, which, as of right now, was pushing him to punch Ishida Yamato in his ever loving nose.
But be it bland, tranquil, both or neither, the blond in question did not seem to pick up on the disinterest or the aggravation on his companion's face, continuing, for what seemed like the umpteenth time, "There isn't anyone else it could be."
Daisuke crossed his arms over his chest, the universal signal for, "Enough, already," but even that didn't seem to slow his old friend cum NPA detective who only responded with a, "Don't try to stonewall me, Daisuke, you're better than that."
That was all it took. Daisuke could feel his lip twitching, breaking any hope that a calm exterior might be masking the rolling anger boiling just below the surface of his skin. Daisuke could feel what little was left of his resolve quickly evaporating into thin air. It was time to extradite himself now or risk the inevitable consequences. He didn't think Yamato would charge him with assaulting an officer, but Daisuke didn't really want to test that theory.
"I've told you, again, and again and again," Daisuke reminded the blond, purposefully keeping his voice low so the words wouldn't carry back into the apartment he shared with the dark-haired ex-Kaiser, "Ken has nothing to do with what's been going on."
"Nothing," Daisuke found himself insisting when Yamato did not respond or move to leave, "You're barking up the wrong tree." The words were short, clinched and clearly spoken in anger, but Daisuke was proud that he had not finished with a, "you damned moron." Proof, ironically, that Ken, the very man Yamato was accusing of crimes unspeakable, and his innate insistence on polite dialogue had had a positive effect on Daisuke's primary nature. "You need to leave," Daisuke informed the blond curtly.
"Daisu—" Yamato began, only to have the apartment door shut, unceremoniously, in his face.
Daisuke leaned his head against the door with a sigh. How long was this going to continue before Yamato finally took the hint? Would it ever end? How to tell the blond that he wasn't interested in his theories or his timelines or his proof.
Proof? Daisuke couldn't help the bitter chuckle that worked its way out of his chest. As if. The one thing that Yamato had never been able to even pretend to offer him was proof. That's why he kept coming around, looking, begging, trying to convince Daisuke that he was right, trying to win Daisuke to his side. For no other reason than to get Daisuke to give him his desperately wanted and even more desperately needed "proof".
Again, Daisuke thought, as if. Like he'd be willing to turn on Ken just because Yamato, never the ex-Kaiser's biggest fan, had suddenly decided that Ken was the one responsible for the series of horrific murders that had been occurring across Odaiba for the last two years. Screw what the evidence actually said, which, even Yamato could admit, wasn't much. Yamato had long since decided who the killer really was and he'd be damn sure he'd not give up until he had convinced everyone to see it his way.
And, as much as it angered Daisuke, the truth was, it was working. They might not come right out and say it, but Daisuke could easily tell that the older digidestined found themselves decidedly uncomfortable around Ken. So much so that Ken had opted to quit attending any digidestined meetings rather than have to pretend he didn't notice the way a silence always fell over any room he entered or the way the whispering started almost as soon as he had left.
Sadly, things were not much better with the younger digidestined. Takeru had been the first to pull away, not that that was surprising, given his brother's role leading the National Police Agency's Odaiba serial killer taskforce. Hikari had followed shortly, choosing to side with her older brother and Takeru over a man she now claimed to barely know.
Iori's quiet stoicism hid his judgment for a while, but ultimately, his similarly innate honesty disclosed his true opinion. It had not been favorable.
At least Miyako withheld all outward conclusions. Was she on their side, that is to say, Ken and Daisuke's? Or did she believe Ken guilty? The perennial fence-sitter that she was, there was no doubt in Daisuke's mind that Miyako would wait until she was knew exactly how the chips would fall before casting her lot for either side. It had little to do with what she believed to be true and everything to do with seeing that she came out on the right side of this all-too-social equation. Daisuke had known the girl too many years now to expect anything less.
Really then, the only one Daisuke could truly trust be Ken's advocate was himself. Funny how life had a tendency to come full circle that way. He'd almost laugh at the situation, if did not terrify him so greatly.
"Was that Yamato again?" the soft voice startled Daisuke out of his mental reckoning. He turned to see Ken standing just inside their apartment proper, sock covered toes hovering near the edge of the small half step of the genkan.
"Yeah." Daisuke answered, offering the dark haired man what he hoped was an encouraging smile. The last thing Ken needed right now was something more to worry over. As it was the continuing pressure from the police had led to him quitting work, meaning he rarely left their apartment. Add to that that he wasn't eating much and was sleeping even less and Daisuke was afraid that if this went on for even a few weeks longer, Ken would wind up in the hospital.
Daisuke tried his best not to think about the "or worses". He had enough on his plate as it was without also wondering if or when this would become more than Ken could handle. He actively refused to dwell on the fact that he had only seen Ken this depressed once before and, had Ken not reunited with Wormmon when he did...
The digital world. Daisuke guessed he finally understood what had made Ken cut all ties and run away there when they were kids. Lord knows, Daisuke would do it now, in a heartbeat, if only that were still an option. Daisuke couldn't help but smile at the idea. Him and Ken and their old partner digimon, living it up in the digital world, free from all these headaches.
But that was just a fantasy. The digital world had been closed for years now, their partner Digimon locked away from the chosen children for longer than they had been together. Who's to say the digital world of today would even resemble his old memories?
"Daisuke…" the softly spoken name jerked him back into the present and all its inherent complexities. Daisuke gave Ken what he hoped was his best smile even as he stepped up to hug Ken tight, ignoring the pained noise Ken made as Daisuke crushed his too-thin body.
"Don't worry about it," Daisuke said firmly, "There's nothing to worry about. This is all going to blow over soon." But Daisuke could not honestly say that he actually believed it would. And Ken was smart enough to know that.
But was Ken smart enough, Daisuke wondered, to know that there was a part of him, a deep, dark, carefully hidden part of him, that found itself wondering if Yamato might, just might, be right? Truth was, that what had started as only the smallest seed of doubt had started growing, making his head, and more importantly, his heart start to ask questions. Questions he didn't want to be asking.
Late at night, as he watched Ken, his Ken, sleep his light, fitful, all too rare sleep, Daisuke often found himself wondering if Ken would...
Daisuke's mind stopped short, searching within itself, trying to decide when he had stopped wondering if Ken could and instead, started wondering if Ken would…
Not surprisingly, the answer was not there.
No matter, Daisuke struggled to assure himself, even as he released Ken, taking his cold, thin hand and leading him in the direction of their kitchen, it was a moot point anyway. The result, that is, Daisuke's opinion, his decision, would always be the same, regardless.
"Come on," Daisuke promised Ken, "I'll fix you something good to eat." He tossed his best casual grin over his shoulder in Ken's direction.
"I'm not really hungry," Ken hedged, trying, gently, to tug his hand free from Daisuke's grasp.
"I didn't ask if you were," Daisuke teased in return, tightening his grip even as the ugliest parts of himself urged him to let the Kaiser go.
Ex-Kaiser, Daisuke corrected himself, Ex-Kaiser.
After all, Ken was nothing like the tyrant who had ruled the digital world with an iron fist, nothing like the monster who had mercilessly killed hundreds if not thousands of innocent digimon simply for failing to follow his commands.
No, Ken had been little more than a pawn, his own pain and misery manipulated with virtuoso skill by a truly evil Belialvamdemon out to destroy the world simply for the sake of its destruction.
Ken had been as much a victim as anyone back when they were kids. It was not fair to still hold his past against him. It just wasn't. It wasn't fair of Yamato, it wasn't fair of the other digidestined and it sure the hell wasn't fair of Daisuke, to whom Ken had only ever shown love and kindness.
No, Ken was no monster, preying, repeatedly, upon the weak of the world in some twisted attempt to fulfill a cruel and perverted fantasy.
No, Daisuke all but scoffed out loud, nothing about Ken could be further from the truth.
This Daisuke believed absolutely.
Daisuke smiled at the dark haired man, now sitting at their tiny dining room table waiting, submitting to whatever it was Daisuke chose to set before him.
Truth was, Ken could no more kill a person than pigs could fly, and Daisuke knew this for a fact.
Or so, he hoped.
AN: So yeah... I'm not really sure myself if Ken is guilty. I find it very difficult to believe that he could be because my Ken is better than that. But, yeah, I guess I just have to wait and see with the rest of you. ;)