Word Count: chapter: 4,614||story: 13,997
Daisuke rolled over, then groaned as he threw up one hand to block out the sun from burning through his brain. I should try to rearrange this place or something...this is just getting...on my...nerves... His thoughts trailed off as he realized exactly what was going through his mind. His eyes snapped open, his head swivelling this way and that.
This was not where he'd been. When he'd closed his eyes, he'd been kneeling by the Kaiser's feet, his mind deeply encased in a thick, pleasant haze. But now...now, he sat up in his bed in the clear light of morning, with Chibimon making his familiar sleep-noises just a few inches away.
"Is this ever going to end?" Daisuke sagged back onto his pillows and closed his eyes. "Or at least make some kind of sense?"
"Daisuke?" Chibimon's huge eyes opened and he stared at his partner. "Is everything all right? You were making the weirdest noises all night long."
Daisuke slowly shook his head. "I was here all night?" That was not what he remembered.
"Of course you were, where else would you be?" Chibimon blinked slowly, rubbing at his grumbling stomach. "Can we have breakfast now? I'm hungry!"
"Um...sure...I guess." Daisuke sat up carefully, looking around. Yes, this really was his room. Everything was just as he'd left it. The normality of it just increased his feelings that there was something abnormal about the whole thing. Last time I kept hoping it was a dream and it wasn't...at least, I don't think it was.
He ran a hand over his forehead and started it down towards his throat before stopping. He was almost certain he felt the tight fit of that collar around his neck still. No way. Just a dream. I don't care if I feel it, I don't feel it. Not for a second.
“Daisuke?” Chibimon scratched his ear as he stared soulfully at his partner. “Is something wrong? You're acting kinda funny.”
“No, nothing's wrong.” Daisuke jumped to his feet, grinning widely. It had just been a dream. Oh, probably the Kaiser had really had something to do with it. Some wacked out plan or something, but it had failed. He was here, he wasn't there, and he wasn't ever going to go back there. Therefore he had won and if the Kaiser didn't like that, then the Kaiser could just deal with it!
He practically danced over to the window and threw it open, basking in the warm early morning rays of the sun. It was deliciously warm, just perfect for late spring. He soaked in the warmth like balm, closing his eyes and letting it wash away all the memories of the nightmare. No more thinking about the chill of the fortress and the way it crept into his bones. No more thinking about how deliciously, sinfully warm it was when he had been following Ken around like a tame puppy.
Which hadn't really been all that bad. There were much worse images he could've been subjected to. Like having to watch Hikari do all of those things. He shuddered violently; the mere idea of the brilliant Child of Light having to suffer through what he had was disgusting. Then again, I really don't think Ken even notices most of the others. He was still checking if that came under the 'disadvantage' or 'advantage' side of the ledger sheet when it came to being the leader of the team. There was a pretty strong indication that when all bets were off, it wasn't exactly the favored position he'd thought it was just a few months earlier.
“Daisuke!” A hard sharp banging echoed from the door, along with the annoyed tones of his sister. “Are you up yet? Hurry up and take your shower! I've got to get ready for school too, you know, and it takes me a lot longer than it does you!”
“Good morning, Jun!” Daisuke chirped merrily, happy enough to give his pest of an older sister a bone-crushing hug, if she hadn't been on the other side of the door. “Did you sleep well? I did, but I had this really weird dream. Nothing to worry about though, it was just...really weird.”
“All your dreams are weird, Daisuke. That's because you're weird, or didn't you know that yet? Don't think I haven't heard you talking to that stuffed blue...thing of yours. Where did you get that anyway?”
Daisuke shot a quick look over at Chibimon, who instantly assumed a button-eyed stare and a limpness that would pass him off as the stuffed animal Jun and his parents thought he was. “He was a gift from someone really special. I can't go anywhere without him.”
“You kids.” He could almost envision Jun shaking her head. “Look, hit the shower and get out of there. Yamato's got a rehearsal this afternoon, and I'm not going to look horrible when I get there!”
“What makes you think he's even going to let you in?” Daisuke bustled about his room grabbing the things he needed. “It's not like you two are dating or anything.”
“I've got connections!” Yes, that was the definite preening tone in her voice. He'd heard it several times over the last year or two. “Momoe's sister Chizuru works with the band, and she was able to talk them into letting us watch them, as long as we're quiet and don't ask for autographs or dates or anything.”
Daisuke blinked; the thought of Jun actually quietly watching her favorite band rehearse just wasn't computing properly. “And you said yes?”
“Hey, it's probably the only real chance I'll ever have to see them without having to fight for really good seats. And maybe if I get lucky, Yamato might really notice me this time.”
“Don't hold your breath.” He was positive he could feel the glower directed at him from the other side of the door. He loved mornings at his place.
“Very funny, Daisuke. Watch out, or I could show a few very specific baby pictures of you to a certain crush of yours.” Jun wasn't joking; their mother kept photographic evidence of every part of their lives in the family photo albums. Part of Jun's ritual before ever going on any date was to hide those albums where her parents couldn't find them, just on the off chance that they might decide to try and show said photographs to her prospective boyfriend.
This was playing dirty, though! “Jun, that's not fair! You wouldn't do that...would you?”
“Behave yourself and you won't have to find out. Now get going!” He heard her heading away and shook his head. There were advantages to having an older sister, he knew, but he couldn't think of any right now.
Once he heard her door closing, he headed to the bathroom, making certain not to pay any particular attention to his neck area as he put his things down and started the shower going. He also made certain not to pay particular attention to the fact he wasn't paying any particular attention there.
What could Ken be plotting that would make anything like that dream necessary? Could he even prove Ken had caused the dream and it wasn't something his own mind had screwed up and produced? I don't think I would dream something like on my own. Who'd want to be some kind of collared and leashed slave? Every particle of free spirit in him screamed in denial at the thought of that.
Heck, he still woke up on occasion having nightmares about when Ken had forced him to kneel down to him, and that had been months ago! That proved he didn't really want to be treated like that! If it had been his dream, then it would've have been the nightmare it was. Yeah, that was it. There, he'd proven it quite logically. It was all Ken's fault. So there.
So that brought him right back to what Ken might be scheming that would make this a logical move on his part. Well, getting me all upset would probably be a good thing in his books. One would've had to be blind to miss the fact Ken's primary focus was on Daisuke himself more than anyone else. The others only became targets if they did something unusual to bring his attention on them. Daisuke lived and breathed having that fiery regard on him constantly.
Not that it was so bad with him watching me up close and personal. A flash of those intense eyes in his mind's gaze shot a thrill and a chill down his spine. Kind of scary, but I can live with it. He ignored the fact that 'living with it' could have far more than one meaning. He was ignoring a lot this morning.
He leaned back in the shower, letting the warm water wash all over him just as the sun had not that long ago. Whatever and whyever he'd been dreaming, he'd done a lot of sweating that night, and he wanted it off himself. He soaped up carefully, running his fingers through his hair a little, then down closer to his neck, but not quite touching it or anything close to it. That really does feel good. No wonder I was purring. Guess it wasn't anything he was doing. If I can make myself do it, then it's just...something I do. Guess I have one of those 'hair fetishes' or whatever it is Jun called it. Maybe he'd actually have to talk to his sister about this kind of thing.
No, he didn't. There were things one just didn't mention to one's elder siblings. Having wacky dreams about your worst enemy came pretty close to the top of the list.
“Daisuke!” Jun's fist pounded on the bathroom door. “Get out of there! I told you I've got to get ready! You're wasting time! Your breakfast's on the table. Get moving or you're going to be late!”
“Fine! You sure know how to wreck a guy's morning.” Daisuke grumbled, not at all enjoying being broken out of his wonderful hot water reverie. He'd just awakened from something mindbending and Jun was being very inconsiderate by not letting him deal with it in his own way. He added the fact Jun had no idea about what he'd dreamed to his list of things he was ignoring. It didn't matter. She was supposed to know this kind of thing without being told. She knew just about everything else in his life that he didn't want her to know, with the exception of Chibimon, and there were times when he wondered if she didn't somehow know about him anyway!
He jumped out of the shower and quickly dried, yanking on his clothes as his hair dripped into his eyes. I'm going to hate getting into high school. He shuddered at the thought of having to wear one of those uniforms constantly. They looked good on Yamato or Taichi, and even Koushirou could look pretty snazzy in one, but on him...he wasn't so sure. How am I supposed to get Hikari to notice me if I look just like everyone else? Of course, she hadn't really seemed to notice him too much when he wasn't in a uniform.
There was time enough for that, though. First things first. Teach Ken a few lessons about playing with his head, then get him to stop being the Kaiser. Then teach him about how to be a good Chosen Child. There were a lot of places he had an idea Ken didn't even know existed in the Digital World, beautiful places that Taichi had told him about. Though he hadn't really seen too many of them himself, they had to be there, and sharing them with a guy who thought he knew everything would be fantastic.
I bet he'd have this cute look on his face. Kind of soft and amazed. He dreamed for a moment of seeing Ken like that, instead of hard and cruel and commanding. There was something strangely attractive about that look. He did bear the faintest resemblance to Hikari, but not so much that they could be related. I think he's better looking, though, really. Daisuke mused to himself as he ran his brush through his hair. Prettier. I bet if he were an anime character, he'd be the lead bishounen. He's got that kind of look.
He blinked slightly to himself; had he just been thinking the Kaiser was attractive? “Maybe I should stop daydreaming and get on to school. This is a really weird morning.”
The thought was pushed out of the way effortlessly as he was practically thrown out of the bathroom and Jun ran into it. “Fangirl,” he muttered briefly before devoting himself to the breakfast set out there. Jun had her faults, but she did know how to cook for her energetic brother: in large quantities.
“Daisuke!” His partner peered from his cracked open door at him. “Don't forget me!” Huge brown eyes shimmered soulfully at him, and it would take a heart a thousand times harder than Daisuke possessed to turn him down.
“I'll be right there.” The redhead gathered up breakfast and hurried to his room. His parents had talked to him a few times about leaving food in there, but he hadn't been able to convince them that there were never leftovers when he did. Chibimon had to be persuaded just to leave the plates, actually. “Here's your share.”
Daisuke settled down on the floor, leaning his back and head against the wall briefly as he started back on his own selection of food. Should I tell anyone about the dream? Iori would probably worry that something bad's going to happen. Miyako would most likely just be jealous she didn't dream it. The older girl had mostly gotten over her crush on the handsome young genius, but there were moments when she backslid. Hikari...I don't know. She'd always seemed to feel a little sorry for Ken, as if he were missing out on something that she knew he'd love.
Takeru would go nuts. He was pretty certain of that. The blond hadn't made a big deal of it, but he did not like anything evil, in any way, shape, or form. If he found it anywhere near one of his friends, he'd go halfway or three-quarters inside. Maybe more.
That kind of settled things for telling any of his closer friends among the group. But what about the others? Taichi, Yamato. Maybe them. They were older, maybe they had some kind of perspective on this freaky dream thing. For all he knew, it was something that happened regularly to the leaders. Though wouldn't Taichi have mentioned that if it were true? Oh, here are my goggles, you're the new leader, and by the way, if you happen to dream about being held in bondage by your enemy, don't sweat it. Happens all the time.
At any rate, this was still something he thought he should talk to them about. Or at least to Taichi.
“Daisuke!” Jun's screech was getting more and more impressive. Maybe she should think about joining the Teenage Wolves instead of just fangirling them. Her voice was certainly high enough for some of their songs. “Are you done eating yet? You've got to go soon!”
“Do you have to keep on nagging me?” Daisuke yelled, shovelling some food in quickly. Is she done with her shower already? I didn't think she could move that fast. “I know how late I can stay before I'm too late!”
Chibimon gulped down the last of his food, leaving the plate sparkling clean behind him. “But, Daisuke, we usually leave before now.” He pointed a paw at the clock, which reflected the fact he was almost ten minutes late leaving.
Daisuke stared at it, hardly noticing when the spoon fell from his mouth to clatter onto the floor. I am so dead. If he got a detention, he could practically see the smugness radiating off of Ken. He'd never actually mentioned his occasional punishments to the Kaiser whenever they'd had a face-off, but that didn't matter. Just as clearly as if Ken stood there, he could hear what the other would say. You're not going to be worthy to fight me if you keep on being distracted by these petty things, Motomiya. Keep yourself in line, or I'll do it for you.
He grabbed his books and his partner as fast as he could, shoving Chibimon down into his backpack after pushing the books into it. “Sorry I can't soften it up for you, buddy, but you'll be all right. Pretty soon school'll be out for a while anyway and you won't have to be stuck there all day while I'm in class.”
“Cool!” Chibimon giggled as he made himself comfortable. “Come on, let's get going! The sooner you go, the sooner we can get to the Digital World and take down some of those spires!”
Digimon. They had a one-track mind it seemed. He raced out of the apartment without bothering to say anything to Jun. The slamming of the door would be the only thing she needed to hear to know that he was out of there. It was like this most mornings, after all. The only difference today was his dream, and her actually being able to go to Yamato's rehearsal.
Why do I keep thinking about that dream? It couldn't be that important. Koushirou would probably just call it the random misfiring of some brain cells or something complicated like that. Maybe he should just stop having those heavy meals right before bed. His digestion probably affected his brain. It had been known to happen. Taichi would likely be the first to agree.
That reminded him. He yanked his D-Terminal out of his jacket and tapped off a quick e-mail as he ran. He didn't have time for it to be very fancy, but he didn't need it to be either. Just a simple request to talk after school.
“He won't be able to help you, Daisuke.” A smooth, relaxed, controlled voice came from behind him. He stopped in his tracks, but didn't turn around. If he didn't see him, then he wasn't there, and there wasn't anything that the Kaiser could do to him. He was on Earth after all. Ken wouldn't come back here. He hated this place and everyone in it.
He hit 'enter' quickly and started to put the device back in his jacket when it happened again. “You still want to deny what happened so badly. I'm not surprised. You're not ready yet. But you will be soon.” Footsteps calmly walked up to him, and he stared at the trees ahead so he wouldn't have to see a shadow stretched out beside his. It was amazing the things you could not see if you really wanted to not see them.
A familiar hand caressed through his hair, deftly avoiding the goggles perched there. Daisuke restrained himself from purring; it wasn't anything special, it was just because a hand was touching him in a way that felt nice! He'd do this no matter who was petting him! Though only Ken had ever seemed to have the idea of it in the first place. If it weren't for him, Daisuke wouldn't have any idea that this could feel so delicious. Warmth spread out from where those slender fingers made contact, reaching all the way down to his toes. He could also feel a bit of extra pressure coming from the general backpack area. Ken had to be holding it down so Chibimon wouldn't come out, and if he listened, he could hear the muffled squeaking of his very irritated partner.
“You're almost ready, Daisuke. I'll call you when you are. Once I bring you to me the next time, you won't ever leave.” His voice held not even the slightest bit of hesitation or doubt about what he was capable of doing.
“You're wrong. I'll never join you, Ken!” Daisuke hissed, abandoning the pretence of no one being there. He still didn't look beside him, though. “I'll never betray my friends!”
“You won't.” Ken seemed amused. “But they just might betray you, Daisuke. Without even knowing that's what they're doing.”
Daisuke couldn't help the derisive snort. “You're talking too much, Ken. The villain's not supposed to reveal his plan until he thinks the hero can't do anything about it.”
Ken's fingers caressed Daisuke's hair ever so gently, petting through the strands with infinite care. “But you can't do anything about it. No one can. I've been playing with you all before, but now the game has ended, and I'm the winner.”
“From where I'm sitting, you haven't even gotten halfway yet!” Daisuke flared. He was about to turn his head and look at Ken, when the fingers on his head stiffened like steel and kept him from moving an inch. Ken wasn't hurting him; he just wasn't letting him turn. “Oh, this is very fun, Ken. Do you like dictating what everyone around you does?”
“Mmm..now that you mention it, yes.” Once again the petting began. “There's no need to protest. I'm perfectly aware you're enjoying yourself. You just are too stubborn to admit it to anyone, even yourself, right now. I'll be fixing that too.”
Daisuke rolled his eyes, then tried to jerk his head around. Ken didn't let him move by so much as a hair's breadth. “Do you mind? I'm going to be late for school.”
“I'm the only teacher you have to worry about any longer, and you're quite on time for my classes, like it or not.” Ken moved his hand back even as he spoke, though. “But for the moment, I'll let you go. We'll be seeing each other again, though, Daisuke, and perhaps sooner than you think.”
Ken had an enormous sense of presence; you were aware of him being there really whether you wanted to be or not. Daisuke could feel that presence slowly fading away, and reached behind him to open his backpack flap. “Chibimon? You all right in there?”
“I'm fine!” Chibimon looked around quickly. “What was that? I thought I heard the Kaiser! But we're not in the Digital World, so how could he be here?”
“I don't know. I guess he's still got a way back, he just doesn't want to use it.” Daisuke petted his partner for a moment, then started to button down the flap again. “I'm fine, though, he didn't really hurt me.”
The small blue Digimon stuck his head back up. “What did he do? Did he threaten you? I bet he did! I'll get him!”
“No, not really. Not what you'd call threats. Just taunting me. It's hard to explain. I don't even really understand it myself.” Daisuke looked away, then looked up again at the gleaming numbers of a clock inside of a store display. “What I do understand is I am going to be late!”
He pushed Chibimon back down and started running as fast as his legs would carry him for school. They're going to kill me. I'm going to kill me. Worse, I'm going to get detention! He put on an extra burst of speed and zoomed into the schoolyard just as the first bell began to ring.
“Hey, Daisuke!” He swerved towards the sound of his name and just barely managed to pull to a stop before he plowed right into Takeru. The blond steadied him with a hand to the shoulder and grinned. “You all right? You look a little upset over something.”
Uh oh. That was probably the result of Ken's little visit. “No, I'm fine. Just had some weird dreams, that's all.” He could feel Chibimon squirming around in his backpack, and hoped the young Digimon wouldn't spill the beans. He really didn't want his friends knowing what was going on right now. Not until he had a clearer idea of it himself. That was probably going to take a while, though. “Nothing to worry about.”
“If you say so.” Takeru shrugged as they started into school. “We thought you were going to be late, though. You sure cut it pretty close.”
“Like I said, weird dreams. They've been on my mind since I woke up. But nothing to worry about.” Daisuke hurried past them to the computer room to drop off Chibimon. “I've got it all taken care of.” He could almost see them looking at each other behind his back as he opened the bag. “Don't tell anyone about what happened.” He whispered softly to Chibimon. “I'll take care of it, I promise.”
His partner looked at him reproachfully, then scuttled off to hide with the others. Daisuke turned back to his friends and smiled. “So, we've got class to get to, and then we've got some spires to take down once we're done with that.” That sounded bad. They're going to know something's up. He had to say something else. Something that would keep their minds occupied. “We're going to teach that Kaiser he can't mess around with us!”
“You're right, Daisuke,” Iori agreed with a slight smile. It was the kind of smile that tended to make Daisuke very nervous; it almost seemed to say that he knew more about anything or everything than whomever he was smiling at. Coming from a nine year old, that was freaky. “I'll see you after class.”
“I should be going, too,” Miyako took a step away, then stopped, looking more closely at Daisuke. He was almost positive she was staring at his neck somehow. “Hey, where'd you get that at? I don't remember seeing it on you before. It's kinda cool.”
Daisuke froze right where he was. “Uh, what are you talking about?” So, this was what that whole deer in the headlights thing was talking about. He'd wondered a lot. Now he had a whole new appreciation for deer.
“This.” Miyako fumbled in her purse for a few seconds, and Daisuke had the strong urge to cut and run, claiming he was going to be late for class if he didn't. He'd be right of course, but that was beside the point. He really didn't want to see what he was positive he was about to. With every passing second, he could feel it more and more clearly, and just what that meant sent his entire head spinning insanely.
She pulled out a mirror and tugged his collar down just a little, angling things so he could see his own neck. “That's what I mean, silly. It's a really pretty collar. I didn't know you were into jewellery like that. So where'd you get it from?”
Daisuke stared into the mirror, one hand creeping up to touch the silver collar fastened without any kind of latch around his neck. “Oh...just a gift from someone.” He gulped slightly as the mostly normal morning he'd been having came crashing down around his ears. “Someone with very odd tastes.” To say the least.
To Be Continued