Word Count: chapter: 4,541||story: 36,836
The Chosen were back in the Digital World. His lip curled at the very sight of them, traipsing around this place as if it actually belonged to them. Or worse, as if it didn't belong to the proper owners. They'd have to be taught yet another lesson.
As always, the problem lay in deciding just how to deliver said lesson. Perhaps with a few enslaved Digimon. Or just going there himself and letting them know this world was off limits to everyone but the true masters of it.
The Kaiser would be the one to make the ultimate decision on it, though. He looked up, hearing the firm measured steps that indicated his boyfriend was coming, and smiled broadly at the sight of the taller boy's finely made features.
"They're back again, Ken," he reported as the Kaiser took his seat in the throne next to him. "I was thinking we might want to remind them that this is our world. They keep forgetting."
"What do you expect? They're not on our level, Daisuke." Ken looked amused at the very thought. "They haven't been able to learn for months. Did you really think they would now?"
Daisuke shrugged a little, turning his attention back to the monitors. The Chosen were still walking around. No, they'd stopped, and they were dismantling one of the towers. Again. They never learned. "Not really." One hand drifted up to his neck, rubbing lightly at it. It felt a little odd today for some reason, as if there were something there. He couldn't imagine what it might be. He knew exactly what he was wearing: the same thing he'd worn every day since coming to the Digital World to stay with Ken.
Just to refresh his memory, he glanced back over the outfit. He'd designed it for himself, so it fit him perfectly. It was the same kind of digital fabric as Ken's, in different shades and styles. Where the Kaiser's outfit was blue and yellow, Daisuke's was in various hues of flame, reds and golds mostly. His boots were reddish-brown, and the rich gold trousers tucked into them weren't quite skin tight, as that would have seriously interfered in his soccer playing. They were the next thing to it, however. His shirt was a complementary shade of red, one that set off the highlights in his hair nicely, or so Ken told him frequently.
A cloak flowed down from his shoulders to just past his knees, fastened by a single brooch, instead of the way Ken had his, hanging from both shoulders. It was cut to resemble dragon wings instead of the insect wings that the back of Ken's outfit looked like. Though Daisuke never told Ken that was always what he was reminded of whenever he eyed him from behind. Daisuke was fairly certain the look was somehow connected to the bond they each had to V-mon and Wormmon respectively, and Ken never enjoyed being reminded about that.
That's something I still have to work on with him. V-mon had stood by him loyally from the very beginning, and that was something Daisuke treasured. Maybe later. Wormmon was just as devoted to Ken as V-mon was to him. Ken would see it, sooner or later. He just had to. He listened to just about everything else that Daisuke said.
"What are you thinking about, Daisuke?" Ken asked him that a lot, and though Daisuke couldn't comprehend fearing the Kaiser, there was something about the tone every time that hinted at things best not mentioned if Daisuke said something that wasn't quite 'right'.
"You, of course." It wasn't as if he were lying, not that he would. But everyone had to occasionally tread carefully about Ken. Daisuke knew he wasn't any different from anyone else in that respect. He just would have a different sort of punishment in store for him if he irritated the blue-haired monarch. It wouldn't really involve pain, but pleasure could get a little painful in and of itself, when done at Ken's hands. After all, those hands were the ones that could send his brain skittering off to the far corners of the cosmos with just a swift caress through his hair.
"You look as if it might be something else on your mind." Ken reached over to touch Daisuke's hand where it was still rubbing on his neck. "Are you sure it's nothing else?"
"I'm sure." Daisuke grinned back at him, reaching out to caress the top of Ken's hand with his free hand. "I don't lie to you, Ken." The mere thought of lying to Ken was silly. Ken knew everything anyway, so he'd know if he were lied to. So Daisuke didn't even bother. It didn't mean he couldn't hedge the truth sometimes, though.
Ken's lips moved slightly into a smile, and he rubbed Daisuke's hand a little. "So we have some Chosen vermin in our world." He looked back at the monitors. "Did you have anything in mind for wrecking their day? And enjoying ours?"
"A few things." Daisuke grinned, slouching down in his throne. "I was thinking we could do something old-fashioned. Classical. Some Tyrannomon and Monochromon going through the middle of them. Maybe a few things from above, just to make it fun on those fliers who think they can get away with being in the air."
"Very good. You're getting almost as good as I am at this." Ken relaxed into his own throne, eyeing the destruction being caused by the Chosen. "We'll have to put up some more towers to replace those, as well. Can't let these Digimon think they're getting away from our power, can we?"
Daisuke rubbed at his throat again, nodding slightly as he did so. "Yeah, you're right." He answered just a little absently. Something was going on, he just knew it. He could feel something around his throat that had never been there before. And yet, it felt as familiar as it could be.
They work on a level similar to my rings, spirals, and your collar. Of course, yours is a little different. The voice echoed in his head as he continued to rub his throat. It sounded a lot like Ken's, but there was something different about it, something that defied identification.
What could it mean? What collar? Ken had never needed something like that to bring him to him. He'd just realized how completely right Ken was about just about everything, and how wrong the other Chosen had been. They'd been furious when he'd made his choice, of course. He couldn't really say he'd blamed them. He'd been their friend, and with just a few words, at least in their eyes, he'd become their enemy. It wasn't like that, though.
Ken had talked to him a lot, explaining his theories and his reasonings. Daisuke had told him he was nuts at first. But with every conversation, things had seemed clearer and clearer. He couldn't remember right offhand just what Ken had said that made so much sense, but he was quite certain it had made sense.
He eyed the group on the screen again. Takeru, Miyako, Iori, and Hikari. With a flick of a switch, one of the screens froze on Hikari and he stared at her image for a while. She'd probably been his first crush. It had been sweet, even with Takeru muddying up the waters as he had for a while, but everyone had to move on. It wasn't as if she could really understand him in the first place. He needed things she couldn't begin to grasp. But someone else did.
"You're not thinking about her again, are you, Daisuke?" Ken moved a hand, and the screen rippled, catching up with the others. "I thought you'd gotten over that."
Daisuke looked over at him and smiled a touch ruefully. "Just thinking about the old days, I guess. I miss them." Uh-oh. Why had he said that? He hadn't been saying things like that since he'd first come to Ken's side! Ken had helped him with thinking before he said a word. This wasn't going to go over all that well.
"Is that so?" Ken's eyes hardened imperceptibly. "You miss being with them? You wouldn't be thinking that they're right in thinking what they're doing is right, would you? I thought we'd covered this."
"No! That's not what I meant." Damn it, why did he always seem to say the wrong thing at the wrong time? That was one of the things that had drawn him to Ken in the first place. Ken never did anything like this, and that sheer perfection was intoxicating. Even when Ken made some kind of mistake, it was a flawless work of art.
One perfectly curved eyebrow raised above Ken's glasses. "Then what did you mean, Daisuke?"
"I meant..." He had no idea what it was he'd meant. Ken had to know that. He'd dealt with Daisuke long enough to know how his mind worked most of the time. Ken just looked at him, waiting patiently for anything that could be an explanation that made a little bit of sense. "I just was thinking about how things used to be. I miss being with my friends, but I don't want to go back there." An idea flickered in, one that might possibly get him out of a jam. "Maybe we could work on convincing them that you're right? They've never really talked to you, they've just gotten started on taking down the towers or releasing a Digimon or something."
Ken's eyes never left his face, and Daisuke found himself starting to squirm under the intense glare. Finally, the Kaiser spoke. "No, Daisuke. The only one of them I ever want is you. Those four are nothing but an annoyance to me. I will dispose of them, in any way that I see fit. Understood?"
Daisuke dropped his gaze, unable to meet those eyes for another second. His hand rubbed once more around his throat, and he almost jumped when he realized he could feel something there this time. It felt a lot like...a collar.
"Daisuke?" Ken tapped one hand firmly on the arm of Daisuke's throne. "You're acting very strangely. Why do you keep touching your neck there?"
"Ken, this is really weird." Daisuke rubbed harder and faster at the unfamiliar weight around his neck. "It's like there's a collar around my neck. I don't know where it came from. It's just kind of there. Maybe it's why I've been thinking about them?" He didn't think it was true, but you just never knew sometimes. Ken couldn't have put it there; he wouldn't have, but he wasn't the only person in any world that could do something like this. Not that he knew of anyone who could do something like this, or get close enough to him so he hadn't noticed this thing until now.
Ken leaned a little closer, reaching out to touch beside Daisuke's own hand. "I don't feel anything. That's a shoddy excuse for your actions, Daisuke." He lifted one hand, laying it against the other boy's cheek for a moment. "If you want to return to them, you're always free to. I highly doubt they'd permit it, however. You've heard the things they say about you."
Daisuke flinched, but if it was at the memory or at the sudden flash of fire that encircled his neck from the collar, he wasn't all that certain. He jerked himself away, shivering all over. "Ken, I...I think something's wrong with me. I know the collar's there." He knew that sounded sad. Pathetic, even. Not at all worthy of the Kaiser's companion and consort.
The Kaiser stood up slowly, his cape swinging back with that familiar arrogant swirl. "We'll talk about this later, Daisuke. When you've had some time to think about this." Before Daisuke could utter a single word in his own defense, even if he'd been able to think of any, Ken laid a hand on his head, stroking it in that damnably familiar way. Daisuke groaned audibly, sinking back. The warm fog rose almost at once, wrapping itself around his mind and pulling his wits away in a rich coating of pleasure. Ken's hand went back and forth, back and forth, with Daisuke's shame, anger, and frustration deepening with every caress. This was the kind of thing Ken would do to a pet or a prisoner, not the one that he shared every part of his life with!
He wasn't entirely certain of when it was all over, but when his mind cleared again, he was seated on the bed in their shared bedroom. He was still in his uniform, and most of his brain cells seemed to have come back to life.
"I hate it when he does that." Daisuke groaned to himself, throwing himself backward onto the bed. "I really hate it when he does that." He knew he was talking to himself. V-mon was off somewhere with Wormmon, taking care of dinner or something in the depths of the fortress. How they cooked with stubby paws and whatever it was Wormmon had, he had no idea. But it generally came out pretty well. Ken would accept nothing but the best, and there were generally three banquets a day set before the two of them.
His hand was at his neck again without even the need for thought. The collar was there. He sat up abruptly, standing up and going over to the free-standing mirror in one corner of the room. It reflected him the way it always had: an eleven year old, with eyes somehow both older and younger than one might expect, dressed in nearly royal clothes. He leaned in closer, then tugged his cape off and tossed it onto the bed. He needed a better look at his neck.
Everything seemed normal as he stared at the image of himself. Daisuke touched where the collar was over and over. He could feel it under his fingertips, see where his fingers were stopping because of it. It was there. What could it mean? Who had put it there? The questions nagged and nagged at him, emotions he could put no names to stirring all through him as he began to yank at the collar furiously.
"Where did you come from?" Daisuke shouted, not caring if Ken heard him or of anything that the Kaiser might decide to do if he did. "What's going on? Why don't I know? Why don't I remember?"
As what he was saying sank into his brain, Daisuke stopped. What was he trying to remember? Being with the others? That hadn't been a problem. He'd gotten into trouble for it not that long ago! But it had to be something. He slammed one first furiously into the mirror, groaning as pain flashed from the point of contact all the way up his shoulder. "That was really stupid." Adding insult to injury, the mirror wasn't even cracked.
Hitting the mirror hadn't really done anything for his temper. He glared at it for a few seconds, then stomped over to the window, staring down at the ever changing scenery. He had no idea where Ken was going, but it was probably near where the Chosen were blowing up towers. They had to be punished; that was a given. He just wished Ken hadn't seen fit to punish him at the same time. He would've liked to have gotten in on the fun. Or whatever it was.
I wonder if he's still angry at me. Ken could hold a grudge like no one Daisuke had ever seen, though he usually didn't where his consort was concerned. He hadn't held it against him for all the things that he'd done when Daisuke had been his enemy. That was good, at least. Maybe I should try and talk to him.
He growled softly under his breath and whirled around, stalking up and down the room. No, he didn't want to talk to Ken. He wanted to know where this blasted collar had come from, what it meant, and whatever it was that he thought he was trying to remember was.
"I want to know!" It should've sounded petulant and childish, but it didn't. Raw fury of a kind Daisuke had never really experienced surged through him, and he threw himself back across the bed, staring up at the ceiling. He didn't really want to be throwing a tantrum, but he had the strange feeling that was exactly what he was doing. "Whatever's going on, I want to know about it!"
No matter how much he repeated it, however, the answers he wanted to find didn't seem to be very forthcoming. Daisuke closed his eyes and sighed. What was the answer? Was he going crazy? Was Ken doing something and just not letting him in on it? No, he was fairly sure that wasn't it. He trusted Ken, no matter what. This wasn't the Kaiser's style, at any rate.
It was something like a soft whisper, but too low to be heard. Just the barest hint of sound, if that were the proper way to think of it. Maybe whoever had done this was somehow sneaking back in. Ken would be furious if the fortress security had somehow been breached. Maybe it really was one of the Chosen. This might be their most current way of 'rescuing' him. I thought they gave that up, but you never know with them sometimes.
Daisuke was quite certain he hadn't moved, but somehow, he became aware he wasn't quite laying how he had been. He had been spread out over the bed, laying on it essentially sideways with his arms and legs spread out in the classic Daisuke-sprawl. Now, he felt as if he were more normally stretched out. His arms were down by his sides, and his legs were pressed together firmly.
It came again, louder this time. It was a soft murmur, close by his head. He still couldn't figure it out, nor could he really bring himself to open his eyes. They seemed so heavy all of a sudden. This was turning into what had to be the strangest day of his life.
"He's going to need another dose shortly. I hadn't expected it to wear off quite this soon. Stay here and make sure he doesn't go anywhere." That wasn't Ken. The name teased at his memory, but Daisuke couldn't place it. He could hear things a little more clearly now, but they still made no sense. Sharp, decisive footsteps sounded, fading away briefly, then a door closed, not all that far off.
This time, it was a real sigh, and he could hear it very clearly. "He's really, really losing it." It was a female voice, somewhere between being a girl and a woman. He could feel a hand touching his now. She seemed to be checking his pulse, of all things. "I hope he really does know what he's doing, or he could kill him."
Whoever she was, she didn't seem to be talking to Daisuke. It was more like she was talking about him, to herself. There didn't seem to be anyone else here, wherever 'here' was. He had to find out.
Daisuke took the deepest breath he could right now and tried with everything he had to yank his eyelids open. There was a nearly audible, at least to him, creak as he did so, and he could see a faint hint of light on the edges of his sight. It wasn't much, but it was better than he'd had a few seconds earlier.
He didn't think he'd made any kind of noise, but he must have, since the person standing next to him moved a little. "He's waking up. Mori didn't say anything about this!" She was definitely startled as he worked to get his eyes open even farther. "You're awake! I don't believe this, you're awake!"
Daisuke blinked slowly, trying to process what was going on. He'd just been in the Kaiser's fortress. Now he was...he had no idea where he was. All he could see was her face. She had dark brown hair cut somewhat close to her head, and concerned brown eyes. "Who..." His lips and tongue felt as if they hadn't been used in weeks. Maybe even longer.
"You don't really need to know." She looked around quickly, seeming to check for someone, then looked back at him. "I'm going to try and get you out of here."
Daisuke blinked again, his brain not quite processing on all cylinders at the moment. She turned slightly and called out, "Pidmon! Come in here, would you? I need some help."
A graceful white-winged Digimon that bore a remarkable resemblance to Angemon entered Daisuke's line of sight a few seconds later. The major difference between the two seemed to be that where Angemon's sash was a rich shade of blue, this one seemed to be...pink? Daisuke didn't even bother trying to comprehend it. There were other things he had a better chance of figuring out, like nuclear physics.
"Yes, Amaya?" His voice was low and husky, and she smiled warmly at him just at the sound of it, or so it seemed to Daisuke. "What is it?"
"I'm getting him out of here. Mori's really going too far with this, and he's awake now. I can't just let this go on."
Pidmon nodded slightly. "I was hoping you'd say that. I can take him back to his friends, if you can release him."
Daisuke watched, not really able to do much more than that as Amaya began to unbuckle various straps at his wrists, elbows, waist, knees, and ankles. It was starting to look as if he were on some kind of mad scientist's table. As the last of them came loose, she put one arm around him and started helping him to stand up. The first thing he was fully aware of was that things seemed farther away than he was used to: things like the floor. And why was she trying to help him like this? He knew how to walk!
"You don't have to...ohhh...." Daisuke groaned as his legs crumpled underneath him and he nearly met the floor up close and personal. "Okay, maybe you do have to..."
Amaya laughed a little, the sound strained and almost forced. "Looks like you're burning the stuff off even faster now that you're awake. You at least sound better. But it's going to take a while before you can walk again."
Daisuke started to lever himself up, and wasn't surprised when both Amaya and Pidmon put their arms under his arms and helped him stand. That in itself took enough of his attention so he didn't bother asking just who they were and where he was for right now. That kind of thing could wait for later, when they were as far from here as possible.
He'd managed to take two weak and wobbly steps before something else caught his attention: a freestanding mirror achingly similar to what had been in Ken and his room. Or was that even real? Trying to figure this out was giving him the headache from roughly nine or ten hells. He was going to buy a lot of aspirin as soon as he could. Lots and lots of aspirin.
"Daisuke, we don't have time for this. Let's go." He paid no attention to Amaya, jerking his way over to the mirror. At the last second, he overbalanced himself and fell forward, grabbing onto the frame to support himself. This is going to hurt, was the only thought going through his mind as the mirror began to tip over under his weight.
He was so convinced he was going to fall that it took a few seconds before he realized that he hadn't. Daisuke looked up slowly to see Pidmon there, one hand steadying the mirror carefully, and that amused look that any angel type of Digimon seemed to have as standard issue on what was visible of his face. "Um...thanks?" Daisuke would've rubbed the back of his head at the same time, if he'd had enough strength to get his arm back that far. But he was quite certain the sentiment was enough for now.
Pidmon's chuckle in his ears, Daisuke looked back at the mirror, caught by the desire to see what was going on with him for himself. There was definitely something different going on here. He stared into his own face, bare inches away, and couldn't stop. 'Different' didn't even begin to cover it.
It was still recognizably his face, but it was the face he might well have had in a few years, when he was done with puberty and the kind of things it inflicted on someone. It was wider and slightly longer, with something more of a finished look to it. His eyes were still his, but now they were confused, and had a hint of fuzziness that he didn't like at all. His hair was almost exactly the same, minus the goggles, and there was a small array of scars on his lower left cheek that he couldn't for the life of him remember having.
"What in the..." He reached out carefully to touch the mirror, his fingers shaking, and almost jumped when the image also reached towards him. As odd as it was, it was his reflection. He moved back a little, feeling Amaya's arms around him as he did so, and was a little surprised to find they were about the same height. She looked at least eighteen or nineteen. Surely she would've been taller than he was if that were true...
Then something else caught his eye, and he worked one hand free to check for it. Why is this thing everywhere I am? He wanted to shout the question to the stars and moon. Maybe volume would get him some kind of answer? At least he could try. He wanted to know just why that silver collar was always around his neck! Memories flickered through his mind, of kneeling beside Ken's throne in the fortress and finding it around his neck, of being in school and showing it to the others, of finding it there once again when he was the Kaiser's consort. Always, always, always that collar was there! "Why can't I get rid of this thing!?"
"I'll explain everything once we're out of here." Amaya did her best to get him moving, with Pidmon joining her in an effort to get him moving. "That's all we have time for right now."
"Going somewhere, Kondo? And with my vengeance toy? How rude of you." All three of them froze, though Daisuke's halting was more because the other two had. Footsteps sounded from behind them, and then someone was standing before them. He had hair similar to Amaya's, but slightly longer, and cold black eyes. He was dressed rather normally, in slacks and a shirt, but what drew Daisuke's eye was the syringe he was carrying in one hand.
"I hate needles..." the very confused Chosen muttered to himself. "Why isn't this nightmare ending?"
To Be Continued