Kindness Won't Get You Anywhere
Epilogue - Later
Standard disclaimers apply.
SHONEN AI WARNING: This is a shonen ai fic and contains within it
romantic themes and hints of an intimate relationship between two
male characters. If this disturbs you in any way PLEASE do not
continue reading. And yes, I am sick and twisted, thanks for asking.
"Stop hovering, Taichi!"
Takeru looked up from where he sat at the dining table and smiled at
the scene playing out over on the couch. Hikari had collapsed onto it
after stumbling out of the bathroom. They had all returned to the
Yagami apartment to clean up to the point where they looked somewhat
respectable. Hikari had been the first one ushered into the bathroom
when it appeared she was strong enough to walk on her own again.
Taichi had waved Takeru in next when Hikari was through. The older
boy was far more intent upon making sure his sister was okay than to
pay attention to his own comfort. Takeru had been a little hesitant
to leave Ken alone with them for any length of time, but figured that
Taichi wouldn't really care about anything else but hovering over
Hikari. Still, Taichi had had the sense of mind to get out some of
his clothes for both of the younger boys to dress in while their
clothes were being washed.
It was all a bit bewildering.
Now, Ken was the one in the bathroom and Takeru was left alone at the
table with his thoughts. Though admittedly, he was using Taichi and
Hikari to avoid thinking about pretty much everything at the moment.
Hikari had finally gotten fed up with her brother's mildly smothering
"I just have a headache, Taichi. That's all," Hikari grumbled as she
shifted on the couch, throwing her right arm across her eyes to keep
out the light. "It will go away a lot faster if you will just leave
"Fine fine. I'm just trying to help," Taichi muttered, scowling as he
turned to walk away. Stopping in mid-stride, he looked back and asked
one more time, "Are you sure you don't need anything?"
Hikari growled in supreme annoyance as she imperiously pointed her
brother away from the couch and away from her, "Go. Away. Now!"
Taichi shrugged in defeat and shuffled over towards the dining table.
He gave Takeru a weak smile as he yanked a chair out and plopped down
in it. "So how're you doing, Takeru?" he asked cautiously after a few
moments of watching the blonde stare down at the tabletop.
"I'm fine," Takeru answered flatly, still staring blankly down at the
table. He knew Taichi was going to have questions, difficult
questions. What he didn't know was how he would be able to answer
them without saying too much. Because if he said too much and Taichi
found out the truth of his relationship with Ken... well, he doubted
the others would approve. They'd probably do anything they could to
keep them both apart. He didn't want to have to fight about it. He
just wanted to be with Ken.
"Uhuh." Taichi leaned back, lacing his fingers together. Curious, he
cocked his head to the side and watched Takeru with hooded eyes.
Never in the time that he had known the boy had Takeru been quite so
withdrawn, quite so hesitant. Takeru had always been open about
things, or at least had seemed that way. Back during their first time
in the digital world, whether the boy had been peevish or upset about
something, he had never seemed to hide himself like he was doing now.
Then again, now that Taichi thought about it, maybe he was finally
seeing something that had always been there. That was a disturbing
thought. It had never crossed his mind that Takeru wasn't as happy as
he always seemed to be. Had they all been missing something? Shaking
his head, Taichi carefully asked, "So Ken's the reason you haven't
been around much. Isn't he?"
Takeru let his head drop at that innocent seeming question. Oh, it
wasn't quite as bad as he had feared it would be, but it would
swiftly lead to others, no doubt. He would have been better off
trying to figure out his feelings on the day's events than having
this little conversation. Sighing soundlessly, he closed his eyes and
answered, "Something like that."
"Oh," Taichi said simply as he watched Takeru's reactions. Takeru
just really didn't look like he wanted to talk about this. And Taichi
wasn't sure whether pushing the matter might do more harm than good.
If something was wrong, Takeru or Hikari or somebody would say
something. Wouldn't they? This was so confusing. Shrugging to
himself, Taichi finally decided to just let it lie for awhile. He
could always keep a closer eye on Takeru, just in case after all.
That way he wouldn't have to force Takeru into talking about
something he obviously felt uncomfortable about.
"You don't have to talk about it if you don't want to Takeru,"
Taichi murmured softly as he stood up, placing a reassuring hand on
Takeru's shoulder. He smiled gently when the blonde looked up at him
with wide, surprised eyes. "But you don't have to hide from us
Takeru nodded numbly. He hadn't expected that. Who would have? Taichi
hadn't ever been considered the most understanding of people. It just
didn't gel with his personality. So this was a bit of a shock all
things considered. Takeru was extremely relieved though. He hadn't
wanted to lie about it or to veil things in half-truths. The extent
of his relationship with Ken was just something the others really
didn't need to know right now, if ever.
Content that that had been settled, sort of, Taichi reached up and
scratched the back of his head. "I'm gonna go see if Ken's out of the
shower yet. The hair is starting to itch like mad," he explained
before turning around and heading down the hallway.
Ken stared blankly at a strand of hair hanging down across his face.
It was ink-black in color, still wet from just getting out of the
shower. The light glimmered against the water droplets clinging to
his hair. There was something... something... something about the
color, the play of light was familiar somehow. He couldn't place it
though. It was only another memory that just wasn't there anymore.
Scowling in annoyance, Ken brushed the hair back and twined it behind
his ear. He buttoned up the oversized, light blue pajama top Taichi
had let him borrow, he already had the pants on, and silently berated
himself for the fallacy of his own memories. He had been a fool to
ever consider himself to be perfect. He had less of a handle on his
life than most people on the planet. That wasn't exactly the symptoms
of a perfect person, now was it?
Upon finishing his task, he quietly opened the bathroom door and
padded out into the hallway. He glanced towards the living room and
grimaced, Taichi looked to be having a 'talk' with Takeru. Not good.
Oh, he was half tempted to go join in on the fun, but him joining
in would probably cause more harm than good. Sighing, he walked into
the bedroom across the hallway instead and settled down on the bed.
Someone would come looking for him after the 'talk', surely.
Ken sat there in the silence for several seconds trying not to think.
He wasn't successful. Inevitably, his gaze was drawn down to his
wrists as if his pupils were metal filings to a magnet. He slowly
drew the sleeves back and again viewed unblemished skin.
What had happened to him?
Why was he remembering something while he couldn't remember why he
would have done it? And why didn't he have any physical reminders of
something like that? Had it really happened? Or was his mind coming
up with it to try and rationalize everything he had done?
Ken ran his thumb down the center of his forearm, where there should
have been a very evident scar. He studied the images of that memory
in his mind, turning it over and over again as if doing so would
discern something he had yet to figure out. There was something about
them, something that felt too real for him to brush them off as
illusions. But that didn't explain why they were there, why they had
happened. What had happened? He just didn't know.
The sound of someone clearing their throat drew his attention away,
interrupting the flow of unending questions that were popping up in
his mind. Ken dropped his arms down onto his knees, letting the
sleeves fall back down, at the sight of Taichi leaning up against the
doorjamb. He waited patiently, allowing the older boy to make the
Taichi reached up and scratched uncomfortably at his hair again as he
stared over at Ken. Ken, not Ichijouji, strange how in the space of
an hour he could change his mind about something. Part of his mind
was screaming at him not to be such an idiot, about how Ken can't be
trusted ever. Another part was remembering a lonely boat ride
through gray, misty waters. It was remembering all of the mistakes he
could have made, all the mistakes he did make. It wouldn't have
taken all that much for things to have gone badly back then.
Pushing off from the doorway, Taichi strolled forward into the
bedroom. He pointed briefly at the pajamas Ken was wearing before
asking, "So, they worked out okay?"
"Ah yes, they're fine." Ken blinked and looked down at himself. A
moment passed before he looked back up and said, "Thank you, Yagami."
"That's good," Taichi murmured as he tilted his head to the side.
Well this was certainly a loaded situation. With his insides knotted
up so much, it almost felt like those first couple of confrontations
he had had with Yamato way back when. Almost. "You can just call me
Taichi, by the way."
Ken's eyes widened in shock. This was not happening. This was all
wrong. He was the evil dictator. The boy who had kicked puppies for
fun. He was the evil to be shunned after being defeated. He wasn't
somebody the former leader told to call him by his given name.
Finding his voice after the shock had set in, but nearly choking on
the question, Ken asked, "Why?"
Taichi shrugged self-consciously. Now there was an interesting
question he was even asking himself. He didn't really have an answer.
It just seemed like the right thing to do. Placing his right hand
gently ontop of Ken's head, Taichi repeated the words he had spoken
to Hikari in hopes that that would be enough of an explanation, "We
all make mistakes."
Ken just blinked and stared up at the older boy. There really wasn't
anything he could say to that. It was the truth, no matter which way
he looked at it. It was hard to accept though. His guilt was well
deserved. Of that, at least, he had always been certain.
Takeru quietly tapped his fingers against the tabletop, his mind
skirting around the issues at hand as he listened to hushed voices
coming from behind him in the kitchen. Patamon, Tailmon and Koimon
were discussing the merits of human cuisine. He would have laughed at
it if there weren't other things floating around in his mind.
If Hikari hadn't figured out how to open up that portal to the dark
ocean, he would have lost Ken... probably forever. Just thinking
about it now made him ache terribly inside and it made it so hard
to breathe. His feelings were so heavy.
He'd been so useless. If Hikari hadn't been there he would have
fallen apart. He wouldn't have been able to think of anything to
help. She had even done most of the work: programming her D3, opening
up the portal and keeping it open, even to the point where she had
been hurting herself to do so.
He was so useless.
Sighing helplessly, Takeru buried his face in his hands. He was going
to start crying if he kept this up. That wouldn't be good. Letting
this reduce him to tears would be silly. He could handle this. It
hadn't been the end of the world, even if it had seemed that way for
Feeling that he had himself under control again, Takeru crossed his
arms and frowned as he studied his feelings further. It had
physically hurt him when he had thought Ken was gone for good. In
fact, the only time his feelings had ever come close to that had been
after the Devimon battle on File Island. In those few moments when he
had thought Angemon had died permanently had literally shattered his
world. And while he had gotten Patamon back, it had still been a
pretty terrible experience. He had never felt anything like that
since until today. He hadn't even felt like that with all the times
he and Yamato had parted in the digital world.
It felt like... It felt like... What did it feel like?
Sensing that he had almost figured out the answer, Takeru rose from
the table and walked down the hallway in search of the subject of his
feelings. He found Ken sitting alone in the bedroom across from the
bathroom. Strangely enough, the raven-haired boy was staring down
blankly at his wrists.
Ken looked up at the sound of shuffling footsteps entering the
bedroom and smiled weakly at Takeru. He dropped his arms again as he
had before speaking to Taichi, allowing the sleeves to slip back down
over his forearms.
"Taichi in the shower?" Takeru asked before sitting down on the bed
beside Ken. He tilted his head to the side in curiosity as Ken
nervously twined his fingers together in his lap. Taichi hadn't said
anything stupid on the way to the bathroom, had he?
"Yes," Ken answered simply. He wasn't sure what he wanted to tell
Takeru yet. Then again, it wasn't like he could make any sense of
anything yet. It was just all so confusing.
"He... didn't say anything stupid did he?" Takeru asked cautiously.
He knew there were countless feelings of guilt lurking beneath the
surface of his friend... Friend? Friend didn't seem to be the correct
word for their relationship anymore. But he wasn't sure what was
just yet. At any rate, no matter what guilt Ken might be feeling,
he'd give Taichi hell if the older boy had said anything upsetting.
"No no no," Ken replied instantly. He didn't want Takeru getting
protective for some perceived slight. Turning his head finally so
that he could look directly over at Takeru, he tried to explain,
"Well, he said something that's a bit baffling. I really need to
think about it for awhile yet. It wasn't anything bad though."
"Oh. Okay then," Takeru said absently as he reached up to run his
fingers through Ken's hair, still wet from the shower. He smiled
gently when Ken unconsciously leaned back into the caress, accepting
what comfort he could from the gesture.
Now that Takeru was with Ken, he allowed himself to think further
upon his feelings. He wanted to protect Ken, but now he knew he
wouldn't always be able to do that. He wasn't an all powerful paladin
or even the gallant white knight. And he now realized that it was all
right that he wasn't perfect. He wouldn't always know what to do. He
wouldn't always be able to save the day every day. But as long as
he could be with Ken like this, then everything would be fine.
He liked... no, loved this. Takeru's smile widened in pure delight
as he finally figured out what he had probably been feeling for
awhile now. "I love you," he whispered.
"What?" Ken whipped his head around, more shocked than he had been
with Taichi's behavior. Takeru did not just say what he thought he
did. Did he? Surely not.
"I love you," Takeru repeated with an indulgent smirk. He hastily put
silencing fingers over Ken's lips when the other boy shook his head
and seemed about ready to go into denial. "Don't," he admonished
softly. "It has nothing to do with whether you deserve it or not. I
Shaking his own head when Ken's eyebrows drew together in confusion,
Takeru wrapped his arms around the reluctant boy. Leaning back
slightly, he tucked Ken's head under his chin. "Do you remember what
I told you before?" Ken shook his head, indicating that he had no
idea what Takeru was talking about, and the blonde continued, "I told
you that you didn't have to say anything or do anything. Well, you
don't. It's okay. I do love you though. A great deal. That's all."
Ken closed his eyes, not trusting himself to speak, to not say
something utterly wrong. That's all, indeed. He was trapped now. He
could break it off, but he didn't want to, couldn't even really
accept the possibility. He needed to be with Takeru too much now for
that. He wanted it, craved it. Was it really a trap when he walked
into it willingly, wanting everything the other had to offer and
more? Truly, he was fool and Takeru was the gilded cage he refused to
let go of.
Damn him to every conceivable hell ever created in the fearful
imaginations of the human species. He liked this. Maybe he even
loved it too.
Aw, aren't they cute? And yes, Kindness is finished. Ken has such a
bleak outlook on life doesn't he? Poor boy, it's just gonna get worse
before it gets better. ::ahem:: This entire mess has been for the
benefit of having Takeru speak those three little words. ::hee-hee::
And I really left some things hanging didn't I? ::cackles:: I told
you I would. And yes, the title is contradictory on purpose. It's
what Ken has believed this whole time and he gets proved dead wrong.
I've got at least two more epics planned for this particular universe
and probably a few one-shots. I'm gonna be so busy. Darkness (and no,
that's not its full title either) will be next in this series, though
I do have a vampire AU to get out first. I have to get that
particular plot bunny out before it drives me up the freaking wall.
Anyway, hope you liked. Let me know what you think... unless, of
course, you don't want to. Your choice. I don't whine. No no, not me,
never... well maybe, but just to friends who have to put up with me