Peer Pressure
A 'Kenkeru' Digimon 02 Shonen Ai
by Meimi


Standard disclaimers apply.

SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for 02 (that's season 2 for the uninitiated) up to and including the episodes involving the first appearance of the Crest of Kindness.

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.

Please read my other fanfics 'What You Want' and 'The Words Left Unsaid' (in that order) before reading this one. That way you'll know what's going on.


Motomiya Daisuke liked to think of himself as a man of action. Someone who didn't wait on the sidelines for things to come to them, but instead ventured forth to make things happen. And one way or another he was going to get Ken Ichijouji on his team. That team, of course, being the chosen children of the Digital world. He had waited a few weeks to approach Ken about it, just to let Ken get his head on straight about everything that had happened, certainly not because Daisuke was hesitant about what Ken's reaction to him might be. And so, being a man of action and all, Daisuke had skipped out on school and was now patiently waiting for Ken's school to get out.

Daisuke grumbled in annoyance from his perch up in one of the trees skirting the outer wall of Ken's school. He had climbed up into it after having one too many close calls with a passerby. He certainly didn't want to get caught and ruin all the planning he had put into this. Though, he would feel a lot better about it if he had had the guts to bring Chibimon along. But he hadn't wanted to risk the chance of Chibimon talking him out of it. This was just too important. Sighing heavily, he leaned back against the trunk of the tree and dangled his left leg off of the branch. This was getting to be a really boring wait.

Tapping his fingers rhythmically against the hall windowpane, Ken frowned ever so slightly in thought. He had discovered Motomiya's perch purely by accident. During lunch he had bent down to retrieve a fluttering napkin from the ground and had noticed a glint of reflected sunlight coming from a tree over by the school wall. An odd occurrence to say the least since there shouldn't have been anything reflective up in the tree. A more detailed examination of it from a secluded spot on the school grounds had shown it to be the sunlight reflecting off of a pair of goggles. The goggles that were quite familiar and he would have instantly recognized the even if they hadn't been in their usual spot on top of Motomiya's head.

Motomiya must be there to see Ken about something. There was nothing else of interest at Ken's school to draw the holder of courage and friendship to it, much less to skip his own school. The question was, just what Motomiya wanted and whether it was worth risking a confrontation to find out.

Ken shook his head, deciding against it and continued on down the hallway. He didn't want to risk getting involved with any of the other chosen children. To do so would put Takeru in a precarious position whether things turned out well or not. On one hand, if things turned out exceptionally bad it would likely force Takeru into the position of having to choose between him or the other children, Takeru's friends. On the other hand, if things turned out well and it resulted in more contact with the other children it would put their 'relationship' in jeopardy of being found out. Both options would most likely result in bad reactions from the other children one way or another and it would end up hurting Takeru a great deal. So, in conclusion it would be best for everyone involved if he just kept a good bit of distance between himself and the others.

Really though, it was such a shame. Motomiya went to all that trouble for nothing. It was rather amusing actually, in a twisted sort of way. Ken smirked in good cheer as he made his way back to class.

A few hours later, Ken quietly put his books away as the other students clamored around his desk to get out of the classroom as fast as possible. They had gotten the hint quite some time ago that he didn't want anything to do with them and that they should leave him alone if they knew what was best for them. He was never unpleasant about it, of course. He did have an image to maintain, but intimidation in any form did wonders, and it hadn't been hard at all to convince the teachers that certain individuals might be bugging him. The other students knew better than to risk the wrath of the adults.

He was quite undisturbed by the general student body as he languidly made his way to the back of the school. Motomiya must be getting somewhat frantic by now, what with Ken showing neither hide nor hair through the front entrance. It was enough to bring a smirk of pure sadistic glee to Ken's lips as he sauntered out the back entrance.

It was a pretty amusing ending to a rather dull day of school. Or at least, it would have been if the teenager leaning up against the rear gate hadn't been quite so recognizable. What did Ishida want now? Ken resisted the urge to reach up and rub the fading bruises on his neck, products of their last encounter, and simply stopped dead in his tracks. He eyed the blonde warily and waited impatiently for whatever was coming.

"Figured you'd show up back here," Yamato smirked humorlessly as he raked Ken from head to toe with an appraising glance. "What with Daisuke camped out in the front." His eyes narrowed dangerously as the former Digimon Kaiser, who had been taking advantage of his little brother for the past couple of weeks, stared back at him stonily.

What the hell? Daisuke snarled silently as he dropped down out of his tree. Where was Ken? Ken had been at school today, he had seen the other boy in the yard during lunch break. So where was Ken now? Ken had most certainly not come out the front door, otherwise Daisuke would have seen him instantly. His eyes had practically been glued on the entrance watching and waiting for Ken to show.

Wait a minute, was there a back door? "Aw crap," Daisuke muttered to himself as he zoomed off, dodging in between curious students as he headed towards the back. He stopped short of the rear gate, hiding behind another tree as he peered over at the scene about to play itself out before him. What the hell did Taichi's boyfriend want with Ken? And why did they both look like they were literally about to pound each other into the ground and then some?

"Is there something in particular you want Ishida?" Ken asked sardonically. Feigning innocence, he tilted his head to the side and smiled oh so sweetly before continuing, "Or were you just bored with Yagami and decided to try your luck with me?"

"Just watch it Ichijouji," Yamato snarled out as he stalked up to Ken. Grabbing fistfuls of the younger boy's uniform, he forcefully dragged a smirking Ken menacingly close. "You're in enough trouble now thanks to your messing with my little brother. Don't you even dare to bring Taichi into this."

Widening his eyes in vast amusement, Ken dropped his book satchel down off to the side. "Listen carefully Ishida, because I will only say this once. Remove your hands from my person before I do it myself. If you do not, I can assure you, I will be most unpleasant about it and Takeru isn't here to save your ass this time," Ken stated icily, a current of deadly calm lacing itself into each and every syllable.

"Really now," Yamato drawled in believed superiority. "Looks to me like I have the upper hand here." Judging the threat to be a rather hollow one, he gave Ken a swift jerk and scowled darkly. "And don't call him by his given name. You have no right to."

"Suit yourself," Ken murmured, his eyes narrowing into mere slits as he delivered a quick jab to the older boy's solar plexus, instantly following it up with a rough sweep of his arms knocking Yamato's grip on his uniform loose. Stepping back slightly, Ken smiled pleasantly as he kicked Yamato's feet out from under him and skillfully threw the older boy over his shoulder.

It took several moments for Yamato to catch his breath, several more before the spots stopped dancing in front of his eyes. When he finally did come back to himself, he gulped unconsciously at the poised weight pushing down on his throat and gazed up uncertainly into amethyst eyes that seemed to glow from within with cruel amusement at this turn of events.

"Now where were we?" Ken purred silkily as he pushed ever so slightly down on the foot he had planted over Yamato's throat. Smiling in delight as the older boy's eyes widened in what must be growing fear at their position, Ken continued, "Oh yes, we were discussing my relationship with Takeru. Don't you think Takeru should decide that for himself?" Scowling, he pressed down a little bit harder and added, "Just nod your agreement."

Satisfied when Yamato managed to give him a jerky nod, Ken propped his elbow on his knee and smiled once more. "Well with that out of the way, I think we both have come to an understanding. For Takeru's sake let's not do this again." Frowning sadly, he said softly, "Older brothers are very important and they shouldn't make their little brothers worry about them. It's not a very nice thing to do."

Daisuke had watched the entire thing in dumfounded silence. He was shocked beyond belief to say the least. Daisuke frowned thoughtfully as he watched Ken quietly gather his book satchel and hastily walk away. It was several more minutes before Yamato managed to peel himself up off of the ground and leave as well. Who would have ever thought those two would end up coming to blows over something. And from what Daisuke could figure out, it had been about Takeru. Now what would Takeru have to do with Ken? And what could it possibly be for Yamato to come threaten Ken about? Frowning in growing suspicion, Daisuke headed off for his own school. Knowing basketball practice, Takeru would just be getting off when Daisuke arrived. And what better way to get information than from the source?


Toweling his hair dry, Takeru strolled out of the locker room and waved goodbye to his teammates before heading off to his school locker. He would have taken his books into the locker room during practice but Hikari had said she was going to be there late developing some film to show off in art class. And since his best friend was going to be there he might as well drop by and say hi to her. It would be the nice thing to do since he hadn't really been available to go out and do stuff of late.

He felt a bit guilty about not spending as much time as usual with Hikari. And even worse, the fact that he couldn't really tell her why he was being so out of touch. As much of a friend that she was, telling anybody about Ken would be a bad idea. Just his brother finding out about it by accident was bad enough, god only knows what Miyako or Daisuke would think or do. Takeru grimaced at that particular thought. No, letting anybody else know anything, no matter how vague, about his relationship with Ken right now would be very bad.

"Hey Takaishi!" Takeru turned around in wide eyed surprise as Daisuke skidded into the hallway, obviously out of breath from running from somewhere. Daisuke pointed an accusatory finger at Takeru and stalked the rest of the way towards him. "You and me need to have a few words."

"Uh... hi, Daisuke," Takeru blinked in confusion as he tried to think of what could have possibly set Daisuke off this time. It couldn't possibly be the jealousy over Hikari and he being best friends since he hadn't really seen much of her in the last couple of weeks. A fact that he was sure had Daisuke jumping for joy for a good while now. Unless... nah, Hikari wouldn't talk to Daisuke about them. She had much more sense than that. So what in the world could Daisuke be upset about now? "Is something wrong?" he hesitantly ventured, hoping to get some clue as to what this was all about.

"Is something wrong, he asks," Daisuke muttered darkly as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Why yes, I do believe that something is wrong because of you." Narrowing his eyes, Daisuke eyed Takeru suspiciously. "I just happened to overhear the most 'interesting' conversation, erm... fight, just a little while ago. And guess who it was about? You."

"Me?" Takeru frowned as Daisuke's words just managed to confuse him even further. Who would possibly be fighting over him? Nevermind the fact that it was rude of Daisuke to eavesdrop, but telling that to Daisuke would be like telling Mimi that pink wasn't her color. "I take it you're going to tell me all about it?" Takeru sighed in exasperation, crossing his own arms and settling in for the duration.

"Of course," Daisuke jutted his chin out defiantly before continuing. "And you know the best part of it? It was your brother and Ken who were fighting. You know Ken, as in Ichijouji Ken, the Kaiser?!" Daisuke gritted his teeth and flailed his arms wildly to emphasize his point.

"What?" Takeru blanched at that particular bit of information. Yamato had been fighting with Ken over him? Oh great. They'd both deny it when asked, but if Daisuke had seen it it must have happened. Why couldn't Yamato just trust him to handle himself? It was frustrating.

"Not denying anything huh?" Daisuke murmured quietly to himself. Cocking an eyebrow, he glared angrily at Takeru and asked, "So, mind telling me just exactly what it is you've been doing with Ken lately?"

"What?!" Both Takeru and Daisuke jerked around in shock at the familiar outburst. They both grimaced and looked away as Hikari ran up to them with a worried expression. "What's this about Ken?"

Daisuke tilted his head towards Takeru as he glared sourly at the other boy, "Why don't you ask Takeru over there? He knows more about it than I do."

"Takeru?" Hikari prompted as she looked up worriedly at her best friend.

"Uhm... well," Takeru managed weakly as he frantically tried to think of something to say that would soothe their worries and appease their curiosity. He wasn't coming up with anything fast. This was exactly the type of disaster he had wanted to avoid. Count on Daisuke to screw everything up without even trying hard. He looked down guiltily at his feet as Hikari watched him expectantly. He was such an idiot. It didn't matter what he ended up saying, somebody was going to get hurt because of it.

"Mister tongue tied over there has been 'seeing' Ken for awhile now," Daisuke supplied when it became obvious that no answer was forthcoming out of Takeru. He rolled his eyes in aggravation as Takeru shot him a death glare worthy of the Kaiser in question. "I don't know for how long or why though. They didn't mention it."

"Seeing Ken?" Hikari whispered unbelieving at what she was hearing. Her eyes widened as Takeru's odd behavior of late began to connect with 'other' things in her mind now. "How long? No wait, don't answer that. I don't want to know." Furious at herself for not figuring things out sooner and at Takeru for not telling her anything, she laid into her best friend, "Are you insane? Do you even know what you're doing? You could get hurt or... or worse! Not only that, but you're endangering the rest of us with your idiocy as well!"

Daisuke blinked numbly at what Hikari was spouting off at Takeru. Now wait a minute, sure they were both angry about it, but wasn't that going a little bit too far? He didn't like Takeru all that much, but geez, even he knew Takeru wouldn't risk any of them for anything. "Uh... Hikari, don'tcha think~"

"Shut up, Daisuke," Hikari growled out before turning the full force of her anger back on Takeru. "Well? Mind explaining what you've been doing with Ken, our enemy, without telling the rest of us?"

Takeru sighed wearily. This entire scenario was ridiculous. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you what's been going on. But I just can't talk about it right now~" He was instantly cut off as Hikari's hand impacted with his cheek.

Hikari stood frozen, staring up at where she had just slapped Takeru. Why had she done that? She didn't know why. Shaking her head at the tears she felt forming in her eyes, she hesitantly called out to him in the smallest voice she had ever heard, "Takeru?"

Takeru rubbed his cheek angrily as he bit out, "Well, I guess there's nothing more to say then." Refusing to even look at her, he turned around and stalked off.

"Takeru? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to... I'm sorry... don't go..." Hikari trailed off in defeat as she sank down to the floor. Hanging her head in shame, she let the tears she had been holding back cascade down across her cheeks.

Daisuke looked back and forth at Takeru's retreating form and Hikari crying on the floor. That shouldn't have happened, and it was all his fault, dammit. Well, immediate problem first. Sinking down next to Hikari, he rubbed her back gently and waited for the tears to end. She was probably going to beat the living crap out of him when she was finished, but well, he deserved it this time. He could go out and find Takeru later. Better to get beat by Hikari first before he let Takeru kicks his ass for sticking his nose where it didn't belong.

Up on top of the main building of the school, Patamon stretched his wings and yawned tiredly. What was taking Takeru so long? He was usually out by now. Grumbling impatiently, the little digimon climbed to his feet and flapped off to see if he could find out what was going on.

A quick glance at the basketball court showed that everybody was already inside, so Takeru must be inside too, somewhere. But what was taking so long? Hearing familiar voices, Patamon stopped and hovered just above the doors opening up to the first floor hallway and listened.

"I didn't mean to do it." That was Hikari. But why was she sniffling so much? "I was just scared and angry at him for not realizing how dangerous what he's doing is."

"Well come on Hikari, it's Takeru." That was Daisuke. But why would Hikari be talking to Daisuke about Takeru? "He's not stupid. I'm sure he knows what he's doing. Even if it is him." Him? Patamon hoped they weren't talking about who he thought they were.

"But we don't know what all Ken is capable of!" Hikari burst out before sniffling sadly again. Ken. Uhoh, that wasn't good. They weren't supposed to know about Ken and Takeru. "Oh, I'm being an idiot. I'm sure you're right. But I'm... scared. What if something happens to him?"

"Come on Hikari! This is Takeru. If Ken does anything to him Patamon will wail on his ass!" Patamon beamed at that. It was nice of somebody to say that, even if it was Daisuke.

Hikari laughed. "Okay okay, you're right. I should go find him and apologize." Apologize? What did Hikari need to apologize for?

"Well, he's probably still gonna be ticked. Here, I'll go with you. We'll let him kick my ass for being a jerk to get rid of all that anger and then you can apologize. Problem solved." Oh no, if Takeru was upset Patamon really needed to find him before they did. It was Patamon job to take care of Takeru after all, and Takeru wouldn't forgive himself if he said something bad to them while he was still upset.

Patamon hurriedly flapped off, having heard enough. A quick search of the school failed to produce Takeru though. That meant Takeru wasn't there anymore. But where did he go? Patamon didn't know. Takeru wasn't the type of person who got angry very much at all. In fact, it was very rare. So where would Takeru go when he was mad? Patamon didn't know that either.

He needed to find Takeru before Hikari or Daisuke did. But how? None of the others would know where he had gone. And asking Koushiro for help on finding Takeru would bring up too many questions that he wasn't willing to betray Takeru to answer.

Maybe... maybe Ken would know. Ken was smart, he could figure out where Takeru had gone. Patamon hesitated for a moment in indecision before purposefully flapping off towards the Ichijouji's apartment building. If Takeru trusted Ken then he would too.


Yanking the chair out from under his desk, Ken slumped down into it and pressed his forehead down against the cool surface of the desktop. Everything had been fine, he had gotten through that confrontation with Ishida without doing anything bad. He had managed to get away without a problem and managed to get back home with no worries. But the instant he had closed the front door of the apartment behind him he had started shivering ever so slightly and it had gotten exponentially worse as the seconds had ticked by until he had been quite sure he was having a full blown panic attack.

Thankfully, his mother had been in the kitchen busy preparing dinner, so at least he hadn't had to explain the problem he was having. Most of the shaking had stopped the instant he had gotten to his bedroom and closed the door, but he felt absolutely worn out now and there were slight shivers still evident in his hands.

It was certainly a delayed reaction. But why? Ishida was nowhere near being the type of person Ken would feel threatened by, far from it in fact. Ishida was only slightly above average intelligence wise, quick to anger and easy to manipulate with a minimum of effort. Ishida hadn't even been worth his time in the Digital World. And yet, here he was now just getting over from having a panic attack because of Ishida.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Catching himself just as he started to bang his forehead against the desk, Ken leaned back in the chair and stared thoughtfully up at the ceiling. In truth, Ishida could become a serious threat to his and Takeru's relationship. It wouldn't take all that much to ruin things, a word or two to the others, a talk with either of their parents, a rumor or a slip of the tongue. It wouldn't take much at all.

Ishida wouldn't want to see Takeru hurt though, so most of those options were easily brushed aside. He wasn't that dense and he was Takeru's older brother, which was most likely the actual problem.

Ishida Yamato was Takaishi Takeru's older brother and the same age that Osamu would have been now. Older brothers... older brothers were definitely not a subject Ken had ever wanted to deal with again. But with Takeru there would always be Ishida and if he continued to be with Takeru he would have to deal with that particular subject again and again and again.

It was terrifying.

He could feel them now, the forgotten thoughts and emotions, terrible things that he had buried away in his mind from that time. He had ignored them as the Digimon Kaiser, he had had better things to do than listen to his own sniveling. But now they wanted out again, and each encounter he had with Ishida, each reminder that Takeru had an older brother and that he didn't anymore made Ken remember they were there, waiting to come out. He was frightened of what would happen when they did, what they might do to him, what he might do because of them.

Ken blinked blankly as he started to hear a slight scraping noise coming from somewhere behind him. Narrowing his eyes, Ken tilted his head off to the right and focused his hearing to find out where it was coming from. The window, it was coming from the window and it was getting louder and more... frantic. Yes, frantic was the word for it. Humming in curiosity, Ken rose up from the chair and made his way across his room. There was very little that could reach his bedroom window. It had to either be a bird of some sort or a digimon. Though, what a digimon would be doing in the real world was a mystery, unless it was one of the other children's.

Ken frowned at the tan bat wings he saw flapping outside his window. That would be Patamon, and Patamon was Takeru's digimon. Sighing, he reluctantly reached up and unlocked the latch. The others he could have easily ignored, but Takeru's partner he couldn't, not now. Eyeing Patamon warily, Ken pulled his window open wide enough for the little digimon to enter and cautiously asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I need your help," Patamon stated plainly as he wearily flapped into Ken's bedroom. It had been a rather long flight, but he had gotten there as fast as he could. Now, if he could just get Ken to help him.

"What?" Ken asked instantly in surprise. What could Patamon possibly need his help for? Unless there was something wrong with Takeru. But wouldn't one of the others be better suited to go to for aid? They were certainly more dependable than him. Weren't they? "What do you mean?"

"I was waiting for Takeru after school, but he never showed up so I went looking for him." Patamon looked down mournfully at the floor. "I overheard Daisuke and Hikari talking about getting into a fight with Takeru and Takeru running off mad. I don't know where he is, but they're both looking for him now and I really need to find him first." Looking hopefully up at Ken, Patamon hesitantly asked, "Can you help me find him?"

Ken blinked curiously at the request. Now this was certainly odd. "Well, I can track other D3s with my own," Ken trailed off as he walked over to his desk and dug out his black digivice. Turning around, digivice in hand, he stared at Patamon suspiciously. "But why did you come here?"

Patamon blinked innocently as he answered, "Because Takeru trusts you."

Ken froze solid at that. Takeru trusted him? Surely not. He certainly wasn't the most trustworthy of people and his track record definitely proved that point beyond a shadow of a doubt. But Takeru did say that he... liked him. That was something, wasn't it? Shaking his head at his whirling thoughts, Ken pushed them back out of the way for later introspection. Right now, there were more important things to worry about. "Do you know what they were fighting about?" Ken asked while he set his D3 up for tracking, not really expecting an answer.

"You," Patamon gulped as Ken looked over at him in shock. "They were fighting about you."

"Me?" Ken frowned when Patamon nodded silently in confirmation. The others had been fighting with Takeru about him? Surely they didn't know about his and Takeru's relationship. The only ways they could have found out would have been from Takeru himself, Ishida or Patamon and none of those options were likely. However, one of the others might have seen them visiting each other's apartment. It seemed unlikely, but not impossible. If the others had been fighting with Takeru about him, then perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. "If that's true, I doubt very much that he'll want to see me."

"What? Of course he'll want to see you." Patamon flew up in front of Ken's face as he desperately babbled, "Takeru always wants to see you. He's not mad at you. He's mad at the others for being mad at you. Come on, we really need to find him before the others do. If he says something mean to them right now, he'll never forgive himself. Please?"

Ken froze yet again at what Patamon was telling him. Takeru always wanted to see him? Ridiculous, surely.. Shaking his head once more to stop himself from going too far with those particular thoughts, Ken muttered flatly, "Fine then, let's go."


"Hikari!" Daisuke called out breathlessly as he raced after the frantic girl. "Hey, hold on a sec!" He skidded to a stop beside her, bent over with his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath. After a moment, he looked up at her and smiled weakly. "The store clerk back there," he pointed haphazardly down the street from whence they had come, "said they didn't see anybody who looked like Takeru go by."

"Where could he have gone?" Hikari bit her bottom lip worriedly as she looked around. "I didn't mean to upset him so much. Where could he be?"

"Well, he has to be here somewhere," Daisuke explained matter of factly in hopes that it would relieve some of Hikari's worries. He wasn't quite sure actually, but surely Takeru was around here somewhere. "He wouldn't have just left Odaiba, so he has to be here somewhere," he trailed off as he looked around for something, anything that might help them find their missing friend.

"I don't know. I just don't know," Hikari shook her head slowly. This just wasn't right and it was all her fault. Sensing Daisuke's attention focusing on something else, she looked up at him curiously and asked, "What is it?"

"Tell me I'm seeing things," Daisuke murmured quietly before grabbing Hikari's shoulders and turning her around to look at what he was staring at. "Tell me I'm not seeing that."

Hikari blinked and gasped as she too saw something rather unbelievable. Seeing Ichijouji Ken hurrying off towards Rainbow Bridge with a rather unresisting Patamon held in one arm and a blinking digivice in his other hand certainly was up there near the top on the 'You're Seeing Things' scale. But she was seeing it and he was about to head out of view. "Come on," she said forcefully as she grabbed Daisuke's arm and dragged him off in pursuit of Ken. If Patamon was with Ken, then it was likely that they were headed towards Takeru.

Ken frowned impatiently as he waited for the street light to change before he could cross. Getting out of the apartment had been a lot easier than he had thought it would be. In fact, his mother had been quite agreeable after the mention of Takeru's name. It was something odd to ponder upon later, as if he didn't have enough things to think about as is. There was always something, his past, his feelings for Takeru, whatever they might be, Takeru's feelings for him and so many other things. It was getting to be a challenge to keep up with it all.

Checking to make sure the way was clear after the light had changed, Ken hurried across the intersection. He looked down at his D3 to make sure that he was still going in the right direction. The indicator was pointing off to somewhere just beyond Rainbow Bridge. Takeru must be somewhere on the beach. Interesting.

His frown deepened as he looked down at the ever silent Patamon. Shortly after leaving his apartment, he'd had to grab the little digimon to avoid getting caught by a suspicious passerby. Someone seeing a flying batpig hovering around him wouldn't have been a good thing to happen, most definitely not. Strangely enough, he didn't mind holding the little guy. It almost felt comforting for some odd reason. He didn't really want to think about the why of it though, he wasn't sure whether he'd like the answer or not.

Patamon knew he shouldn't be quite so quiet, but Patamon didn't really know what to say. Ken was proving to be a lot different from what Patamon had ever thought he would be, even with what Takeru had been saying about him ever since... then. Sure, Ken had been a bit commanding in their search for Takeru, but not overtly so. In fact, everything Ken had done since they had left seemed to be fueled by their mutual concern for Takeru. And when Ken had grabbed Patamon to keep Patamon from being spotted fluttering around by another human, he had even been gentle about it.

Even though Patamon had doubted Takeru somewhat about who the real Ken might be and all, he couldn't really think that now because, well, Ken seemed rather nice.

Ken finally parted from the city lights as he crossed the last street separating everything from the beach. He glanced briefly up at the multicolored lights covering the Rainbow Bridge as it arched high over the bay in the distance before turning his attention back to the beach. Hastily taking the closest set of cement stairs down to the shadow shrouded sand, Ken smiled in triumph as he saw a familiar figure huddled near the incoming surf. Takeru.

Patamon gleefully squirmed out of Ken's grasp. "Takeru!" he crowed cheerfully as he quickly flapped over to his human partner. He had been right to go to Ken for help!

Takeru whipped his head around in surprise at the unexpected outburst. What was Patamon doing here? He blinked dumfoundedly as he glanced past Patamon and saw Ken slowly walking across the sand towards him. Ken was here? With Patamon? What in the world was going on? He reached up to catch Patamon as the little digimon dived towards him. "Hi," he ventured as he looked down at the bundle of happy fur snuggling up against him. Scratching Patamon behind the ears, Takeru looked up shyly at Ken as the other boy gazed down at him with an unreadable expression.

After spending a few moments trying to gauge Takeru's reaction to his being there, and failing, Ken settled down onto the sand next to the blonde. He hugged his knees to his chest as he looked over at Takeru questioningly. He was unsure of what to say or do. Asking if Takeru was all right seemed a bit ridiculous considering who it would be coming from. But he was concerned, even in the inky shadows he could make out the telltale tracks of tears that had dried on Takeru's cheeks.

It was Patamon who finally broke the silence between them, exuberantly darting out of Takeru's arms to flap circles around them both. "I knew Ken would find you! He's very smart, you know. Are you all right Takeru? You're not hurt are you? Ken is here so I'm sure he can make it better if anything's wrong!" Patamon babbled on happily as he settled into the sand in front of Ken's feet, unaware of the twin blushes he was producing on both of the boys' cheeks. Stopping to catch his breath, Patamon frowned worriedly up at his partner and asked again, "Are you okay Takeru?"

Takeru smiled weakly and chuckled, "I'm fine, really. It's all right now." Reaching down to scratch Patamon behind the ears once more, he hesitantly looked over at Ken and smiled warmly. "I do appreciate the concern though, a great deal." He couldn't put into words what he was feeling right now knowing that Ken had obviously helped Patamon find him. It was a warm feeling that comforted him but also ached terribly trying to guess at how Ken must have felt dealing with another digimon so soon after everything. Grief wasn't something that stopped hurting after just a few weeks, sometimes it even lasted a lifetime.

Shrugging ever so slightly, Ken smiled in return. Takeru seemed to be over whatever it was that had happened earlier, but still. "Would you like to talk about it?" he asked softly, not knowing what else he could possibly do to help but offer an ear to rant at.

"No," Takeru answered as he shook his head and gazed back out towards the water. He felt elated that Ken actually cared enough to ask, but he didn't want to burden his friend with a problem that would most likely upset him. No, it was better to just let the whole thing lie. "It was just something silly, an overreaction really," Takeru trailed off wearily as he leaned his head down on Ken's shoulder and closed his eyes. "I'm glad you're here though."

Ken smiled at Takeru's whispered words. He couldn't help it really, it was just wonderfully comforting right now. Sighing contentedly, he gently leaned his head down against Takeru's and laced his fingers together with the ones Takeru had trailed up his leg after petting on Patamon. This was nice. No, it was better than nice. It was indescribable.

Patamon smiled cheerfully up at his two humans. He had been right to go to Ken just like Takeru had been right all along. So now he had two children to take care of. Oh dear, that was a rather daunting prospect. Patamon frowned slightly as he started adding up all the variable on this particular undertaking. Takeru was good at getting himself into trouble all by his lonesome and Patamon doubted very much that Ken was any different in that respect. Oh my, if he wasn't careful they would both end up turning his fur white from worry in no time flat.

Hikari sighed heavily before turning around and walking away from the scene she had just witnessed. She had been wrong, terribly, terribly wrong and now she was going to have to figure out how to fix it. Oh well, all she needed to do right now was get home. She could think about everything later. Smirking, Hikari looked down at Daisuke whom she was dragging along with her, one hand firmly placed over his mouth. She just couldn't let him disturb those two, even if she was just as curious as he was.

Daisuke glared up at Hikari sullenly. He didn't understand why she didn't want him going down there to talk to those two. It was the perfect set up, he could apologize to them both, possibly get his ass kicked by them both and everything would have been fine after that. But no, she wouldn't let him do that. Why not? Man, he just didn't get chicks sometimes. Mentally smacking himself at using the dreaded chicks word, that would get him smacked by just about anybody, he squirmed out of Hikari's grasp when they stopped at the crosswalk. "Why didn't you let me go down there and apologize? That's the reason we were looking for Takeru in the first place," Daisuke asked gruffly, hoping for something, anything to explain Hikari's odd behavior.

"You don't disturb something like that, Daisuke," Hikari answered simply as she waited for the light to change.

"Why not?" Daisuke fired back impatiently.

"You just don't," Hikari answered back in slight annoyance. She did not want to have to explain things to Daisuke, not now and most likely not ever. "We can apologize to Takeru at school in the morning."

"Fine," Daisuke grumbled, recognizing a brick wall for what it was. So Hikari didn't want to explain anything to him. Fine, he could figure it out on his own... maybe. Scowling as the light turned, Daisuke stalked across the street and resigned himself to walking a silent Hikari home for the night.


Takeru's steps were lighter on his way to school in the morning, far lighter than they had been in a long time. He was genuinely happy, almost to the point where he was feeling euphoric about it. Yesterday might have been pretty awful, but last night had been very different. Ken had truly seemed concerned about him. And Patamon had acted completely comfortable around Ken. It was enough to make him want to jump for joy. But he still had that problem with Hikari and Daisuke, not to mention his brother.

Shaking his head at his own misgivings, Takeru hurried into the main school building and headed towards the locker room. One thing at a time, that was about the only way to handle these type of situations. Takeru stopped cold at the locker room doorway. Hikari stood leaning up against the lockers waiting for somebody, him most likely. Well, there wasn't much use in waiting. Steeling himself for another fight, Takeru slowly walked into the locker room.

Hikari watched out of the corner of her eye as Takeru stopped short of the doorway. It hurt, him having to think about whether he wanted to see her or not. But, she deserved it for her irrational behavior yesterday. Now, if he could just forgive her. Gulping nervously, Hikari pushed herself off the lockers as Takeru slowly walked into the room. "Good morning," she quietly ventured, testing the waters of a sorts.

"Morning," Takeru softly returned as he turned towards his locker and opened the door. Well, at least she hadn't yelled at him yet. Maybe he could get out of here with his skin intact, then again he could walk out with a matching bruise on the other side of his face too. Looking over at Hikari as unobtrusively as he could manage, Takeru tried to figure out what she was going to do next.

Hikari stared down guiltily at her feet as she scuffed her heel on the floor. Okay, Takeru didn't seem like he was still angry about yesterday, but he was being far too quiet. She was going to have to be the first one to say something. Telling herself that she could do this, Hikari looked up at Takeru decisively and started, "About yesterday... I was acting like an idiot. I didn't mean what I said to you. I'm sorry," she finished in a small voice, looking hopefully up at Takeru.

Takeru blinked in surprise, he had been expecting anything but that. She truly seemed apologetic about it. But why? He had pretty much been keeping things from her. In the end, she had a right to be angry with him about it. Though, slapping him for it had been a bit much. "It~it's okay," he managed after a few moments.

"No, it's not!" Hikari burst out, angry at herself for this entire thing and angry at him again for not being angry at her. "I shouldn't have done that to you or said those things! I'm your best friend for god's sakes. I should know better." Stopping for a second to catch her breath, she continued on more calmly, "I do trust you to do the right thing Takeru, even if some of the things you do worry me. So, I was wrong and I'm very sorry about it. And I hope it doesn't mess anything up with you," Hikari smiled, hoping Takeru caught the silent 'and Ken' that should've been added on to the end there.

Takeru found himself having to fight down a blush at that last bit. Did she know everything about him and Ken? Hopefully not, he wasn't quite sure he could deal with someone else knowing about that just yet. Smiling to show his acceptance of her apology and that they were all right now, he told her, "Really Hikari, it's okay. Everything's fine."

Hikari lit up with a brilliant smile. That was taken care of now, thank god. "Okay, I need to go to the dark room to pick up some stuff so I'll see you later." Her smiled widened in relief as she gave him a quick hug before scampering off. She slowed down slightly as she exited the locker room and gave Daisuke the best 'good luck' expression she could muster before heading off down the hallway.

Daisuke carefully peered around the doorjamb to get a good impression of what he was about to walk in on. Okay, Takaishi seemed to be in a good mood thanks to Hikari, so here goes. Bracing himself for what was to come, Daisuke walked stiltedly into the locker room and called out, "Hey Takeru."

Takeru looked over at Daisuke suspiciously. What could Daisuke possibly want now? Sighing in annoyance and a want to get this over with as quickly and painlessly as possible, Takeru asked, "What do you want Daisuke?"

"Erm, well... about yesterday," Daisuke started off, taking Hikari's lead as well as he could manage, "Look, I'm sorry. I was acting like a jerk. Okay?"

Takeru frowned at this unexpected turn of events, more suspicious now than ever. "Why are you apologizing to me? It's no secret that you don't like me. So why apologize?" He crossed his arms and scowled, waiting for whatever answer Daisuke might actually produce.

Whirling around with his back to Takeru, Daisuke growled quietly and crossed his arms defensively. "Okay, so we all know I'm an impulsive idiot. I've never denied it." Sighing in defeat, he threw his arms up in the air and turned around to stare Takeru straight in the eyes. "I'm jealous okay? I've always been jealous. You're a nice guy and everybody likes you and you never screw up. Not like me." Drooping mournfully at the weight of his confession, Daisuke continued, "So I screwed up again. I am sorry. That's worth something, isn't it?"

Takeru blinked dazedly in absolute shock. That, he had not been expecting either. Who knew Daisuke had it in him. Wow, people could really surprise you at times. Coming back to the here and now as Daisuke rolled his eyes and started turning away dejectedly, Takeru softly said, "Thank you. Apology accepted."

"Cool!" Daisuke yelled out cheerfully as he jumped up and down with his usual excessive energy. "So we're cool now? That's cool!" Daisuke babbled gleefully, not waiting for any further answers from Takeru. "So anyway, I gotta go now. See ya later!" Daisuke managed to get out before he zoomed off to inform Hikari that everything was kosher now.

Takeru shook his head in bemusement as he watched the dust settle from Daisuke's hasty exit. That had been odd, but he was pretty happy now that that was out of the way. At least now he knew Daisuke and Hikari weren't adverse to him being around Ken. Of course, there was still his brother, but that would have to be handled later, much later. Smiling softly, Takeru gathered up his things for the day while wondering what Ken would think about these turn of events.

It was certainly an interesting and rather pleasant start to the day.


Wow, a whole fic without any sex in it, a definite accomplishment for me. And well, from the end we can all see that I'm going to be continuing with this storyline for awhile yet. Right? Yamato still has to pay up for his unwelcome protective streak. The poor dear, I'm being so mean to him. Ohohoho!