Word Count: chapter: 4,634||story: 9,383
Dream. Vision. Illusion. Hallucination. Nightmare. Shadows. Reality.
All of those things were Ichijouji Ken's to manipulate in the Digital World. Daisuke had understood that for months now. It didn't make what was going on or what he was currently staring at any easier to deal with. All he could do was just look. And wonder.
“What's the matter, Daisuke?” Ken's voice came from behind him, but he didn't look. The leash hanging from the silver collar around Daisuke's neck knocked against his knees a little, but it didn't seem to be doing anything else, such as dragging him back to the throne or to wherever Ken was waiting for him. As far as he was concerned, that meant he didn't have to answer the Kaiser. “See something that catches your interest?” Deep amusement colored the self-styled monarch's voice.
That didn't matter to Daisuke, though. The redhead kept on stubbornly refusing to acknowledge anyone else's presence. Ken hadn't paid attention to him when he'd been going out of his skull with confusion and fear. Why should he notice the Kaiser now? Something more important had his attention. He needed to take this step, to find out what lay beyond the doorway in front of him. Was it really his own bedroom or was it some trick of Ken's? The way things had been going, it was probably some nightmare hybrid of the two.
Only one way to find out. Daisuke leaned back briefly, then threw himself through the doorway as hard as he could. As he passed it, his vision went completely dark and pure icy cold ran all through him, as if he'd somehow crossed through an arctic winter without any kind of preparation whatsoever. If that was the cost of going home, he'd pay it a thousand times over. Anything was better than kneeling at the Kaiser's feet like some kind of pet or slave.
He was certain he felt his feet moving as he crossed the threshold, and blinked several times, trying his best to clear his eyes. As things began to become visible around him, all the blood rushed away from his face, leaving him pale as a ghost. This was not happening.
He hadn't moved. He was still on the same side of the door he had been, his hands clenched with a deathgrip on both sides of the door frame. On the other side, he could still see his bedroom, just as it had been when he'd went to sleep that night, before all this nightmare had begun. The bed was even slept in. He could even see Chibimon now, and his heart ached at the sight of the adorable blue delight.
Chibimon, I hope he leaves you alone. Hey, hold on...what's that? There was something else in his bed. No, it wasn't a something else. It was something a lot more insane.
It was a someone.
To be even more precise, it was himself.
Motomiya Daisuke lay in the bed, snuggling to his partner, wrapped in his familiar blankets, completely and utterly at peace. Daisuke stared at himself, then once more threw himself bodily through the door. Again came the darkness and the cold, and once more when he could see again, he stood staring into his own room, without having budged from where he was.
“This has to be some kind of dream. I can't be watching myself!” Daisuke tried just sticking his head through the doorway. That had to do something, didn't it?
Apparently it didn't. Yet again came the chill and the shadow, and when it dissipated, everything was just as it had been before. Whatever this was, he wasn't getting any answers out of it this way. “I want to know what's going on here!”
“I'm certain you do.” Ken's voice was rich with amusement. “I can give them to you, but you'll have to pay for them.”
Daisuke might not have been a genius on the blue-haired boy's level, but he knew idiocy when he heard it. If you paid for something you were definitely not being given it. He jerked his head around to glare at the enthroned Kaiser. “I'm not falling for any of your traps, Ken!”
“I believe if you'll look around, you'll find that you already have. You are in my home, after all. You'll leave here when I permit it, and not one moment sooner.”
The other shook his head quickly. “No way. I'm dreaming. This is just a nightmare. Probably one you're making me have somehow, trying to mess with my head. That's the kind of thing you'd do.”
“Now, really, Daisuke, don't you think I'd have more interesting things to make you dream if I could?” Ken snorted ever so softly. “Why would I just have you here with me? And even let you escape my grip, if only for a few moments?”
“Because you like to play with people's heads, especially mine.” Daisuke retorted, a hundred memories of times Ken had done this surging through his mind. “Why is that, anyway? Do you get a kick out of this?”
The Kaiser leaned back in his throne, almost seeming to take the question seriously before he answered. “Yes. You have no idea how amusing it is to see little bugs squirming around as I poke them.” His lips twisted cruelly. “It's even more amusing when they think they can stop me from hurting them. You'll learn just how much fun it can be in time.”
“I'd never like anything like that!” Daisuke snapped hotly. Ken really was a psycho. Or worse. “That's just sick!”
“Perhaps to you.” Ken granted that slight bit of leniency that someone else might think differently. “But if you were half as intelligent as I am, you'd see things much differently. As it is, you'll still see things differently in good time.”
Daisuke stalked over to him, fists clenching and unclenching with every step. “What are you talking about? Give me a straight answer for once!”
“I've given you all the answers I'm planning on giving you, Daisuke.” Ken's voice almost seemed to caress his enemy's name, sending chills down the other boy's spine. “If you want more, you're going to have to pay for them. I told you that once already. You better not have thought I was joking.”
One of his gloved hands reached up and removed the glasses that concealed his face, putting them to one side. Daisuke shivered at the unveiled power in the now visible eyes, and wondered why he hadn't ever seen it before. He'd seen Ken without his glasses on the news a few times, and then there had been the moment when the Kaiser had revealed who he was to them all. But none of those times had seemed quite like this one moment here. Strength, purpose, power, unyielding commitment to what he wanted, all of those glowed in Ken's eyes for Daisuke to see.
“I don't seem to have any yen on me at the moment.” Daisuke pulled his gaze away from Ken's eyes, refusing to be drawn into them. They were very pretty eyes, though. He couldn't blame Miyako for having had a crush on Ken. It wasn't as if the arrogant jerk wasn't the walking talking vision of physical human perfection he was. “So you're going to have to take credit, I guess.”
A low, amused chuckle was the only reply before Daisuke's hand was caught firmly between Ken's fingers. “I don't take credit, Daisuke. Or yen. It's meaningless in my world.”
“What do you take, then?” Daisuke asked before his attention snagged on something else. “And the Digital World isn't your world, either.”
“We can argue politics some other time.” Ken tried to pull him closer, but Daisuke was having none of this. He dug his heels into the floor as best he could and leaned back, trying to loosen the genius' grip on his wrist even a little bit. “But what I take...perhaps I should show you.”
Daisuke couldn't begin to comprehend the levels of just how wrong that was. He set his feet more firmly and hauled back with all of his strength, hoping to at least budge the slender Kaiser if nothing else. Ken's amused smile never changed for a moment.
“Let me go!” Daisuke snarled, flailing his free arm about furiously. “Don't make me hurt you!”
“You'd hurt me for what, Daisuke? Making you dream something? Just talking to you? Giving you a pretty necklace? I didn't realize you were that vindictive towards gifts.”
Daisuke stopped for a moment, staring down at Ken. “Huh?” He'd never felt more eloquent in his life just then. “Gifts?”
The silver collar around his neck seemed to tighten just for a moment as Ken glanced at it. “A very...fitting addition to your outfit, I think. My own design, of course.” Ken tugged Daisuke's wrist once again, and this time the goggle-wearer found himself sprawled across the Kaiser, their faces only an inch or two apart. Intense as Ken's eyes were at a distance, they were ten times more so up close.
Being the recipient of such a laser-like gaze wasn't as fun or amusing as Daisuke had always thought it would be. He doesn't scare me! Daisuke declared to himself. Not one bit!
A startled squeak slipped through his lips as Ken began to run a hand through his hair, petting it once more. He wanted to pull away, but none of his muscles appeared to be in the mood to co-operate. Just like before, relaxation spread all through him from where that hand touched. More than ever he knew this was wrong, but trying to stop it was just not possible.
As his eyelids began to slide shut, Daisuke caught a glimpse of Ken's face. The last time this had happened, he'd been too busy panicking over the thought Ken might actually know he was there to even consider getting a glimpse of his enemy. He looks...happy? That wasn't something he was ever used to thinking on connection with Ken. Amused, sarcastic, angry, furious, insane, smug, taunting, gloating...all of those were things that Ken could be. Happy just hadn't made the cut.
Doing this to me makes him happy? Daisuke was finding it harder and harder to put together coherent thought the more Ken's fingers went through his hair, lightly massaging his scalp, and quite nearly caressing the nape of his neck. Waves of pleasure he'd never imagined were possible from this kind of thing swept all through him.
He was snapped out of his reverie when he heard an amused chuckle, and opened his eyes to see Ken eyeing him with purest glee. “You seem to enjoy my touch, Daisuke.” Ken hadn't stopped petting for a moment, and Daisuke fought to retain enough focus to answer him.
“It feels good.” He didn't sound like the strong, defiant leader of the Chosen Children he wanted to sound like. In fact, he almost sounded as if he were a step or two away from begging Ken to keep on petting him!
Ken's hand brushed through his hair a few more times, then slowly came about to cup Daisuke's chin carefully, bringing his head up so their eyes met once more. “It seems you can be taught to accept the inevitable. What a good boy you are.” Daisuke tried to wrench his head away, but Ken's fingers simply gripped more tightly. “Now, now, you've been doing so well. Don't make me have to punish you. I wouldn't enjoy that...very much.”
The smirk and the amused inflection to Ken's voice sent chills running down Daisuke's spine as he redoubled his escape efforts. “I wouldn't enjoy it at all! I don't even like being grounded!”
“Grounding is the least thing you have to worry about with me. If you don't enjoy punishment, then I would seriously advise you not to irritate me.” Ken warned him, the intensity going up several notches. Daisuke froze on the spot; Ken might not scare him, but there was no need to push him over the edge. Just like when he'd thought the Kaiser was holding his friends, he had to do what he didn't want to do.
As he forced himself to relax, Ken began to pet him once more, smug superiority replacing the happiness. Daisuke closed his eyes, not wanting to see that. It was nicer when he was happy. It was almost like he was a real person instead of a jerk.
“Do you still want those answers, since you've paid for them so very sweetly?” Ken asked, timing his words to coincide with each stroke of his fingers. “Or does it really make that much of a difference what's going on, Daisuke?”
Daisuke shifted around a little; this place seemed so much warmer now than it had before. There seemed to be something tugging a little at his leash; he guessed that was Ken playing with it. Well, he'd put it on him, so it was his and he could toy with it if he wanted to. For an all-powerful conquering overlord, Ken sure seemed to like to play a lot. Wait, he'd been asked something, hadn't he? It was so hard to focus with the way Ken was petting him. That really did a number of his brain cells.
“Mmm...did you say something? I thought I heard...”
A low chuckle echoed up from Ken's chest. “It's nothing important, Daisuke. You're enjoying yourself and that's what really matters. Don't be afraid to admit it.”
Daisuke nodded slowly, the warmth of the throne room lapping all around him like a cozy blanket. The more he stayed where he was, the less he could imagine wanting to be anywhere else. How could anyone be happier than he was right now? He was warm. He was extremely safe. Who would bother him, sitting with the Digimon Kaiser?
Hold on a second... There was something very wrong about that. He thought a little; why was this bothering him? Everything seemed find. Warm, content, being petted by the Kaiser. Was there something wrong with this picture or was he just crazy?
Being petted by the Kaiser. That ran through his mind over and over again. It had to mean something important. Obviously it felt good, and as long as Ken was touching him, he didn't seem quite as able to think as he knew he should be able to. That didn't really help as he tried to figure out just what was bothering him about all of this.
“Ken...could you stop petting me for a little while? I want to think about something and I can't really do that while you're doing this.” He asked without thinking, and almost at once the gentle hand stopped. “Thanks.”
“Just what is it you want to think about, Daisuke?” An edge of fire glowed in Ken's voice, hinting at displeasure. Daisuke brushed it aside mentally; Ken hadn't really been angry at him since he'd arrived here, so why would he start now? Daisuke wasn't doing anything wrong. He was just trying to think.
He fidgeted a little, doing his best to get more comfortable. “This kind of feels wrong for some reason, and I'm trying to figure out why. Any ideas?”
Ken was silent for so long that Daisuke turned to look at him, wondering what was wrong. One would think that Ken, of all people, would understand exactly what the problem was and would have some kind of answer tailor made. Instead, he met a pair of laser-like violet eyes that pierced into his soul, glimmering with fury. “You think there is something wrong about this?”
“Well, yes.” Daisuke blinked in confusion. “You're the Digimon Kaiser and there's something that just says it's wrong for me to be sitting here with you.”
“Is that so.” It was so completely not a question that a question mark wouldn't have entertained the thought of coming within thirty miles of that particular trio of words.
Daisuke squirmed around a little more, then squawked as Ken suddenly shoved him onto the floor and rose to his feet, his sunglasses making a reappearance on his face with no more than a flicker of his fingers. “Hey! Did I say something to upset you? Hey!” The second exclamation was caused when Ken seized the leash firmly in one hand and stalked to the door, dragging Daisuke behind him easily. “Hey, Ken, you can stop, I can walk, you know!”
The Digimon Kaiser didn't so much as look behind him as he strode out of his throne room. Daisuke stumbled along behind him, hurrying the best he could to avoid being choked. The collar seemed to shrink a little more whenever Ken yanked on the leash to keep him close, and it came close a time or two to cutting off all of his air.
Daisuke caught a glimpse or two of other doors opening off of the hallway outside the throne room, and seemed to remember having run by some of them before. The more time passed without Ken petting him, the more things began to rush back into his mind. I didn't want to be here! Ken kidnapped me or something...or maybe this is really a dream...never did get that straight...if it's a dream, it's the most real one I've ever had!
Ken didn't slow down for a moment as they approached a blank wall. Daisuke tried his best to haul back and get Ken to at least hesitate for a few moments, but nothing happened. Or to be precise, Ken didn't stop. Something did happen however.
The wall opened up, the hole shaping itself into an archway. Daisuke had only a moment before he remembered seeing that once before, and before he was hauled bodily through the door. On the other side, Ken turned sharply to the right and stalked down another corridor, still dragging Daisuke along.
“You know, you could at least let me walk with you!” Daisuke clawed at the leash and collar for a few seconds before having to stumble along to avoid being jerked to the floor. “I'm not that slow, Ken!”
Still, for all the answer he got, Daisuke might not have said a single word. Ken finally pulled to a halt outside of a door, throwing it open. “The meal I ordered for my guest. It had better be ready now.”
Meal? Is he finally going to feed me? Daisuke's stomach clearly remembered the scent of the delicious ramen Ken had indulged himself in earlier.
“Yes, master!” Wormmon came scuttling out of the room with a plate held up carefully in his pods. It quivered back and forth with every step he took, and Daisuke imagined if something happened so the poor caterpillar spilled it, things would go very bad for him. Even Ken's partner wasn't exempt from Ken's wrath. “It's just as you wanted it made.”
Ken nodded abruptly as he snatched the plate away and whirled around to face Daisuke. “I know you've been hungry. You haven't eaten in a while.” The Kaiser seemed to be trying to be nice, and he wasn't doing a very good job of it right now. His voice trembled as if speaking somewhat politely was actually painful to him. “I had this made especially for you.”
Daisuke looked down at the plate, and fairly well salivated where he stood. One of his favorite meals was spread out before him, sautéed mushrooms and yet more ramen. “Thanks!” He hesitated; there were still a few things missing for a decent meal.
“Here.” Ken stiffly held out a can of Daisuke's favorite soda. “Now, come along.” Hardly waiting for Daisuke to get a firm grip on things, he started off in an entirely different direction than the one they'd come from. Daisuke managed to keep hold of the plate and can, and threw out a muttered 'idiot' under his breath as he did. Didn't Ken understand the importance of not shaking one's soda can before drinking it?
Apparently he didn't, since he kept jerking Daisuke this way and that as they hurried through the myriad of corridors. Daisuke tried to keep some sort of mental map as Ken turned down some, walked down others, and in some cases appeared to completely walk in a circle for no other reason than exercise. By the time they came to a halt, however, Daisuke was thinking just a little differently.
If I can find my way back to where we were ten seconds ago, I think I'd be very, very lucky. Why's he doing all this? He could just tell all these doors not to open up and let me out. I just don't get it.
“You can eat here.” Ken pushed him down onto a padded seat in one corner of a sunlight filled room. Daisuke squawked slightly, trying not to lose hold of his food or drink, and carefully placed them down beside him. “Don't be all day about it, either. I have things to do, and I'm not waiting around for you.”
“Why don't you just leave me here and go do them, then?” Daisuke asked without thinking. He peeked up just in time to see Ken's hand coming towards him, and flinched automatically, expecting a sharp slap or hit. Instead, the gloved hand touched his cheek lightly, caressingly.
“I have my reasons. Now eat. Enjoy yourself.” Ken settled himself beside Daisuke, leaning back with a superior tilt to his head. The hand that had caressed Daisuke's cheek now slid upwards to go through his hair, once more lightly petting him. “Not many people see my personal bedroom, you know. I'm giving you a great honor.”
Daisuke tried not to listen too much to what Ken was saying as he moved his head slightly. The attempt to get away from the hand didn't do that much, however. Ken simply followed him, and there wasn't much room for him to move in the first place. The leash was looped firmly around one of Ken's wrists, and the Kaiser had already shown that he was much, much stronger than Daisuke. Right now, getting away wasn't possible. I'll figure a way out of this. No matter how long it takes. Guess it won't hurt to have dinner, though. Or whatever this is.
The mushrooms and ramen were absolutely delicious, possibly even worth being dragged through half of Ken's fortress to get them. Daisuke glanced around a little as he ate, remembering his captor had claimed this was his bedroom. There was indeed a huge bed not that far off, and various items of furniture scattered about, as well as a floor covered in rich blue rugs. A wide window let in sunlight all over the wall the two of them were seated against, and a fresh breeze slipped in through the same window.
“This really isn't what I was expecting from your room, you know,” he commented. “I was thinking something a lot barer. You know, just what you need, no frills.”
Ken chuckled softly. “I am royalty. I deserve the very best of everything.” His gaze never left Daisuke as he murmured once again, “Everything.”
Daisuke mentally shrugged; Ken's attitude could be as changeable as the wind, but it never shifted from one thing: he was the center of his own universe. He had other things to worry about than the Kaiser's delusions of grandeur, though. He chewed and swallowed, savored and enjoyed, and somewhere in there he noticed there was an odd vibration of some kind coming from his throat. It seemed to be somehow tied into Ken's unceasing petting of his head and neck. It wasn't something that had happened before, but it just felt so natural that a part of him was actually surprised that it hadn't.
He almost spat out a mushroom as he realized just what the vibration was: he was purring. Purring like some great cat in purest contentment.
“Isn't this nice, Daisuke?” Ken's velvety voice slid into his ears in time with the delicate petting as he removed the plate from Daisuke's suddenly nerveless fingers. “Just you and I here, no one to bother us, ever. The Kaiser and his favorite.”
Daisuke's eyelids were once more starting to slide shut. It seemed to be his natural reaction to what Ken was doing. So relaxing, so very nice. He didn't really need to think about a whole lot anymore. Ken wouldn't think for him; there was just nothing he needed to think about.
“F...favorite?” He was hardly aware he'd spoken the word until it fell from his lips. “Favorite what?” Why was he even asking? What did it matter? What Ken said was correct. Everything Ken said was correct.
“Just my favorite. My favorite everything. You like being that, Daisuke, I know you do. You know it too, there's no need to argue about it. That would indicate someone might be wrong about something that simple, and that's just not so. I'm never wrong, you know that as well as you know all of this.” Pet, pet, pet, his fingers went through Daisuke's hair, brushing against the scalp, down the neck, back to the top to start all over again, an unceasing hypnotic rhythm. “I am the Kaiser. You're my favorite. You enjoy it. I enjoy it. It's what's is. Fighting it would be like trying to fight the sunrise. It makes no sense and can't be done.”
Daisuke had never felt so completely and perfectly relaxed in as far back as he could remember. At this moment, however, that period extended back perhaps twenty minutes at best. Ken's voice made things even better. Not only did everything he say make the most perfect sense, but it was just a nice voice to listen to. I could listen to him forever... Just thinking about that made him want to purr again.
As a matter of fact, he realized he was purring again; he could feel the vibration as Ken's fingers ghosted briefly across his throat. The feather-light touch, combined with that purr, sent chills of raw pleasure all through him. How could anyone deny something that felt this good? It was just silly! He couldn't believe he'd ever wanted to stop this from happening. Ken might be the Kaiser, but it was right that he stay with him. He was Ken's favorite.
“Come along, Daisuke. I told you, I have things to do and they can't wait any longer.” He felt a tug at his leash, and quickly got up, following Ken through the corridors. There was no need to try and plot out where they were going. Ken knew it, and that was all he needed to know right now. He thought he spied a glimpse of Wormmon, and the scent of something delicious cooking, but it was gone too fast for him to notice. He was almost positive it was more mushrooms. I hope I'm right. Those were so good. The best I've ever had. I wonder if they were Digital World mushrooms or something Ken imported? The thought kept him occupied only for a few moments, abandoned instead for watching Ken's smooth movements as he strode along.
All too soon they were through the door that pretended to be a wall most of the day, and Ken sat himself regally upon his throne. Daisuke gracefully dropped down to his knees beside Ken, paying little attention as the other unlooped the leash from his arm and neatly fastened it to the side of the throne once more. He glanced up slightly, seeing those eyes behind the glasses once more. Contentment, happiness, peace filled them as Ken reached over and began to run his fingers through Daisuke's hair, petting him over and over.
To Be Continued