Word Count: chapter: 4,834||story: 41,670
Motomiya Daisuke couldn't remember a day that had been less his than the one he was going through now. In point of fact, he couldn't quite clearly remember too many days period. The mere fact he had to be at least wearing the body of an eighteen year old, despite the also mere fact he couldn't remember living through much more than eleven years, showed that something hideously wrong was happening. To put it mildly.
The fact he was standing less than two feet from someone who was eyeing him as if he were an incredibly interesting science experiment showed it even more clearly. Daisuke had no idea how or why, but he was quite certain that this person was the one responsible for everything. The few things that Kondo Amaya, or so he assumed her name was, since he had called her Kondo, and the name the Pidmon standing on one side of him had called her was Amaya, had hinted at it pretty strongly. Okay, maybe he did have an idea of why he thought it was this guy.
A low, faintly amused laugh rippled out from Mori as he folded his arms across his chest, the syringe's needle tip pointed carefully away. “Your 'nightmare', as you call it, ends when I...” He paused, then turned his gaze away from Daisuke. “Kondo, get him back on the table. I'm not going to stand here bandying words with him.”
“You could at least do him the favor of telling him why you're doing this.” Kondo Amaya jerked her head slightly at Pidmon, and the two of them began to help Daisuke along again. His feet and legs scrambled helplessly at the floor as he did his best to get some kind of balance, failing miserably with each attempt.
Daisuke caught sight of Mori's lips twitching as if he thought that was one of the more amusing ideas he might've had recently. “Aw, come on. Even Ken spilled some of his plans to us!” Couldn't he get his feet to behave themselves? This was embarrassing! At least no one he knew was here to see him barely able to stand. At least he didn't think they were. Did he know either of them? That in and of itself was lost in a kind of gray fog that seemed to lay over most of his mind. They seemed familiar, but there was absolutely no chance of him remembering where he might've met them.
I'm lucky if I can remember how to walk! And he wasn't feeling very lucky at the moment. Like so many other things, that felt far more wrong than he could really express just then.
“Kondo.” Mori's voice cut through Daisuke's thoughts, and he lifted his head to try and see what the trouble was. He'd been too busy trying to stand to really notice which way they were going, and now he saw that the woman and Pidmon hadn't been taking him to the table, as he'd halfway thought. “I believe where he belongs is that way.” One slender finger pointed to where the table sat behind them all. Daisuke haphazardly craned his head over his shoulder curiously, catching a glimpse of straps and other things to hold someone onto it.
“If it's all the same, I'd rather not go back there,” Daisuke declared, managing to get his feet under him and keeping him that way for a few seconds. “This way seems a lot more fun.” At least he hoped it would be. Maybe it would be a way out. Or to some answers. He'd take either one.
“Mori, the games have to stop. I know you're getting some kind of sick pleasure out of it, but this is...” Daisuke was almost impressed as Kondo broke off with a single frozen glare from Mori.
“Put him back there.” There was no threat. There didn't seem to be a need for one, as Pidmon and Kondo both began to carry him back there. Daisuke stared down at his feet, trying to get a little more purchase on the floor at the same time.
“This is just silly,” he muttered to himself. “I can walk. That's baby stuff! So why aren't I?”
In rather sharp contrast to most of the questions he'd been asking himself for longer than he was really aware, he got an answer. Pidmon's voice came softly to his ear. “Because you haven't for a while.” A thread of pain ran through his words, and Daisuke found himself wondering how this must hurt an angel Digimon. They were always so pure and so devoted to good, at least the ones he knew were.
“Why are you doing this?” He managed to look at Pidmon's helmet, about where the eyes were, or so he assumed. “Why are either of you helping this guy?”
“Kondo has her reasons. She knows what he does is wrong, and so do I.” Daisuke could only see the lower part of his face, but that alone was twisted in pain. “I know he's going to hurt later for this. So does Unimon.”
Daisuke blinked a little. “Unimon?” He knew what Unimon were, but why would one of them being hurt bother Pidmon? Why would it even be brought up in the first place?
“Mori's partner. Like I'm Amaya's.” Daisuke jumped slightly at that. They had partners? They were Chosen Children, like him?
No, they weren't like him. They weren't even like Ken. Ken's plans had been far-reaching and insane. Mori's seemed to be flat out wacko, and completely focused on him. At least for what he could tell. But how could they even be Chosen? Wasn't it supposed to be reserved for a few? He hated not being able to remember. Nothing made any kind of sense at all. Or it made the kind of sense he couldn't get a grip on.
Before he could really form any of the questions running around in his mind into words, Daisuke found himself once more on the table, with the straps being fastened around him. He was able to see where they'd been before on him. It had to have been a while; the marks of the strapping were red and slightly chapped looking. Where are the others? Shouldn't they have been looking for me? That was silly, not only should they have, he knew they had. Ken was probably leading the search.
Or was this some other trick of Ken's? Making him think that the Kaiser wasn't responsible for it when he really was? Putting the blame on innocent people instead of on himself where it belonged. Wouldn't that just be like him?
No. The single word formed in his mind, with a depth of conviction he reserved only for things he knew the way you knew your own name, the color of the sky or grass, or things like that. Ken wasn't like that. Not when he was the Kaiser, and not afterward. Especially not afterward.
Daisuke shook his head, trying to get some kind of sense to shake out of it. “After? What the hell am I thinking?” He didn't realize he'd said that out loud until he heard Mori chuckling.
“Your brains and memories are Swiss cheese as long as that's what I want, Motomiya.” The heels of his boots clicked lightly on the floor as Mori came over to stand beside him, Kondo finishing up the last of the straps at the same time. Light from above gleamed off of the syringe, drawing Daisuke's gaze. Whatever was inside was a sickly blue color, with small flecks of silver inside of it. It looked thick and a little sluggish, and the thought of that being inside of him sent his stomach churning. “Of course that's an improvement over your normal state.”
He placed a hand firmly on Daisuke's forehead, as if gauging him for fever or something like that. Daisuke shook his head wearily, doing his best to make the hand move. Mori never so much as twitched, his hand and arm following the movements of Daisuke's head perfectly.
“What do you think you're doing?” Daisuke hoped that the look he was trying to send was menacing. If it was, the strange Chosen, if indeed that's what he was, didn't look very menaced. Amused, yes. Menaced, not in the slightest. “What's so funny?”
“The thought that even at your best, there was nothing you could, much less can do to stop me. But you just keep on trying. You don't know how to give up.” Mori's lips curved, but Daisuke wouldn't have called the expression a smile. “I will tell you this, Motomiya. That stubbornness might've worked to your advantage before, but that's exactly what's going to work in my favor this time. Fight me all you want.” He leaned closer, dark eyes gleaming in reflected light, his breath a warm whisper in Daisuke's ear. “Fighting me only lets me win in the end.”
“Been there, done that.” The flippant words found their way out of Daisuke's mouth without him having to think about it. He was glad that part of himself still seemed to be working. It made things feel a little more normal. Maybe it even stirred up a little hope inside of himself. If he could still mouth off to his enemies, then things were just normal enough so he'd be able to beat them. It had worked before, after all. “You don't think you're the only one who's tried something like this, do you?”
Mori's not-smile became even more of a not-smile. “It doesn't matter how many times something is tried, Motomiya. What matters is who tries the time that works. That would be me.”
“That's what they all say.”
The not-smile wasn't getting any prettier as time went by. Mori didn't waste any more words, though. He raised the syringe, checking it carefully and tapping it lightly before turning back to Daisuke. “Kondo. I'm ready.”
Cold fear, the kind he was fairly certain he'd never known before, clamped firmly at the base of his spine as Kondo came over with a small sponge and began to wipe at his arm. He was reminded quite a bit of a nurse getting a patient ready to have some kind of injection. Mori wasn't exactly the kind of doctor he would have picked for himself, though. Sanity was kind of a requirement for him for a medical guy.
As she leaned over, her free hand strayed down to the straps keeping Daisuke's right hand tied to the table. His eyes flicked down just for a second, long enough to see her loosening the strap a little. He kept his arm still, not wanting to do anything that would give what she was doing away to Mori. He had no idea if he could get away, but maybe he could at least prevent this stuff from getting inside of him, whatever it was. It couldn't be good for him, he was quite certain of that.
Kondo stepped away from him, with Mori taking her place at once. He checked the syringe one more time, then started to lower it to Daisuke's arm. The needle was cold against his skin, and adrenaline replaced common sense in Daisuke's mind. This was a common phenomenon with him, and he knew just what to do now. He jerked his arm up as hard as it could, knocking the syringe away, and planting the most powerful punch he could right on Mori's nose.
Daisuke hadn't exactly been hoping that he'd be able to do the kind of damage to this guy that he'd seen happen in dozens of movies and TV shows. Things just hadn't been working out that way for him lately. This time was no different. There was a little bit of blood, but Mori showed absolutely no signs of being in agonizing pain or of having lost more than an inch or two of that annoying cool.
The syringe, however, was a slightly different story. Daisuke saw where it had fallen to the floor, and a moment later Kondo had stepped down on it as hard as she could. The liquid spilled out an instant or two later, staining the pristine surface, and she smiled ever so sweetly, all but saying with her voice 'Oops, did I do that?'
“This is getting to be tiresome.” Mori seemed more to be slightly annoyed than anything else. “Kondo, you are aware of what that was used for.”
Daisuke couldn't bring himself to care about their interplay. He was too busy picking at the other straps holding him down at the moment. Mori either didn't notice or didn't care what he was doing as he headed away from the table. Daisuke yanked one strap free and bent down to get to the ones on his feet, his fingers fumbling in his haste. I could use some help here! He almost shouted it out loud as he started to squirm off of the table.
“You can go on and run if it means that much to you.” Mori spoke quite calmly, and Daisuke's quick ear picked up the sound of typing at the same time. “It certainly won't interfere with anything I have planned. In fact, it just might help me out some. Kondo, Pidmon, if you really feel the need to help him get away, don't let me stop you.”
“I know you better than that, Mori.” Kondo sounded almost offended at the mere suggestion. “You're not going to let us out of here. None of us.”
Daisuke leaned against the table, holding himself up by it. Where was V-mon? He had no idea, nor could he think of where his D-3 or D-Terminal might be. The others had to know he was all right. If he was. Or at least that he wasn't fastened to a table by a mad scientist at the moment. If they're still there.
For a single, heart stopping moment Daisuke let himself wonder if they were still around. Unless this was yet another dream or illusion or whatever, then it had been years since he'd been a boy of eleven. Who knew what could've happened in that time. It was possible, wasn't it, that the reason he had been left here so long, however long it was, was because there wasn't anyone left to rescue him in the first place. For all he knew, V-mon himself wasn't around anymore.
Doesn't matter. Steel replaced fear in his soul. I'll find someone who can help me. He had to get out of here first, though. If Kondo couldn't or wouldn't help him out on his own, she could at least keep Mori distracted. Whatever he was planning, it couldn't work if Daisuke weren't there for it to work on.
He started to step away from the table, arms spread slightly to keep his balance as he did so. Everything around him pitched and turned, and he closed his eyes, trying to keep whatever contents his stomach might have from coming up. He took a careful step, keeping his eyes closed, and that seemed to work better than having them open. At least he couldn't see the floor dancing all around him that way.
There was nothing he could do to stop himself from hearing what they were talking about, though. Most of it made no sense whatsoever, but he could hear it anyway, and an idea slipped into his mind. As long as I can hear them, I'm not safe. So I have to get where I can't hear anything. He kept on stepping, his hands stretched out before him. Every now and then he waved them a bit, trying to feel if there were anything in front of him that he might trip over or bump into.
“You've really went over the line, Mori. I don't even know how Unimon can stand you.” Kondo snorted in contempt. “I don't know how I've stood you all this time. There's nothing left of the Mori I knew way back when.”
Typing seemed to be occupying the other's thoughts, as it sped up before he answered. “You say that as if I'm supposed to be bothered by it or something.”
“You should be! Don't you even care?”
The sound of keys being hit paused briefly. Daisuke wondered for a moment if that meant anything, then it began again. “I suppose it depends on what you're asking that I care about. If you expect me to care about him, or Motomiya, you shouldn't even bother to ask the question.”
Kondo's snort was back, and the amount of contempt quite nearly tripled this time. “Of course not. I've only known you since you were four. What if I asked you about Unimon? Care about him?”
“Yes, I do. That has nothing to do with what I'm doing. As it happens, I was planning on a ride tonight, once I've finished for the day. I could use the fresh air. This place is getting a little crowded. It's just as well Motomiya's trying to leave. Having him strapped around made the place look bad. I've been meaning to redecorate, after all.”
Daisuke almost stopped and glared, if he hadn't felt his fingertips brushing against what could only be a wall. A quick peek from one half-cracked eye showed he was right. There was a door not that far from where he was standing as well. It might even have been the door Kondo and Pidmon had been trying to lead him too earlier. He glanced over his shoulder to see Kondo standing behind Mori, who was seated in front of a computer. Pidmon was right beside her, and none of them seemed to be paying him that much attention.
Well, that was all right with him. It meant there'd be someone watching Mori. Whether they could do anything about whatever it was he had planned, he had no idea. But at least they were watching him. Maybe he won't be as nasty or whatever if he's got company. Daisuke admitted to himself that the odds on that weren't the best. But anything was better than nothing.
He slipped carefully through the door, keeping his fingers on the wall as much as he could. The feel of something solid under them was more reassuring than he'd ever really thought it could be. Their voices behind him faded away to a mild buzz, and soon not even that, as he walked down the hallway he'd found on the other side of the door.
It would be nice if I had some idea of where I'm going. The hallway stretched out ahead of him, without any kind of door on any side of it, or anything that looked like an opposite end. He glanced back over his shoulder carefully, glad that things seemed to have stopped dancing around, and just stared. “Um...where did the door go?”
He hadn't been walking all that long, he knew that without a shadow of a doubt. Two minutes, if that. And he hadn't been going that fast, either. He wasn't as unsteady as he'd been when he'd gotten off the table the first time, but still, he wasn't falling all over the place either. He should still have been able to see where he had been.
But the hallway stretched just as far in one direction as it did in the other. He stared at it for a few moments, a nagging feeling of familiarity nibbling at the back edges of his mind. He'd seen this somewhere before. Or something very like this, to the point it was so familiar he actually couldn't think about it.
All right, if things were going to play like that, he'd play along. He kept on going down the hall, the way he'd been going from the start, one hand trailing along it as he did. He noticed absently that it was warm underneath his fingers, almost as if it were some kind of living thing, instead of just a wall. I wonder if this thing's going to try and come to life and eat me or something. It would fit with the run of luck he'd been having.
Figuring out how long he'd been walking was harder than he thought after a while. Time and distance started to blend together, and the eternal sameness of the wall, a kind of grayness that dulled both his eyes and his mind, didn't help any. Finally he came to a stop and looked at both sides of the corridor. Then he turned around and stared down it. It was final. No matter which way he looked, nothing was different.
It's happening again. Somehow, in some way, whatever had been happening before he'd seen the room with Mori and Pidmon and Kondo had started happening again. He couldn't trust his eyes or ears or anything else any more. How'd he do it, though? I didn't get that stuff in me again, and he was pretty set on it...wasn't he? It only made sense that whatever it was in that syringe had been what was sending his brains on those magical mystery tours, or whatever. So shouldn't he be seeing what was real instead of what wasn't now?
He leaned against one side of the corridor, fiddling with his collar as he did. Okay, I saw that I was older in that mirror. So, that means we're not still fighting Ken. Right? It sounded believable. Surely they couldn't take forever to beat him. And he'd never beat them.
Wait, what if what he'd seen then had been what wasn't real? What if this was all some trick of Ken's, to make him think that their battle was over and he was really a nice guy? What if he were really in some lab of Ken's, and the Kaiser was laughing at how well his plan was working? That would be pretty sick and twisted.
He also couldn't bring himself to believe it. Ken just wasn't the kind of person to do something like this. He'd went to a lot of trouble dealing with his deeds as the Kaiser. Even to the point that his worst nightmare had been being killed for them.
It's happening again. Daisuke's fingers clutched at the slick wall, sweat springing into existence across his forehead. I'm remembering things that haven't...didn't...did...that I can't...I... Droplets of perspiration rolled down his cheeks and splashed on the floor. He could feel the thick gray mist sliding through his mind, nipping at little pieces of his memory here and there until he couldn't remember what he remembered, only what he thought he did or had.
“What's going on...” He slid down until he was seated on the floor, staring at nothing, and seeing even less. His hand came to rest, without asking any kind of instructions from his brain, on the collar. Earlier he'd wanted some kind of answer on why this thing never left him. Now, he clung to it. It was steady. It never abandoned him, no matter what. Just like V-mon.
Only V-mon wasn't here now. So maybe it was better? No, that wasn't right, not even close to right. V-mon was one of the best friends he'd ever had, this symbol of whatever it was didn't even come close. V-mon had stuck by him through thick and thin, even when it had hurt them both, or when it had just hurt one of them. All this thing did was make him listen to Ken's commands and occasionally hurt whoever tried to touch it.
“V-mon...” He whispered the name, wanting to see his partner so badly that it hurt. It hurt quite literally, like a stabbing pain in his heart. He could hardly recall just when he'd really seen him. Had that even been him, in anything that he could remember? Daisuke had no idea, and that in itself made it hurt all the worse.
“Daisuke?” His head snapped up at the soft utterance, just barely on the edge of his hearing, and he looked around quickly. He had heard it, he knew he had. “Daisuke?”
“V-mon?” It was his partner's voice, no mistake about it. Daisuke scrambled to his feet and looked around, trying to figure out which direction it had come from. “V-mon, where are you!?”
“Daisuke?” All other thoughts vanished from his mind. The only thing that mattered now was finding the small blue dragon. “Daisuke?”
“Stop just saying my name and tell me where you are!” Daisuke shouted, taking a few steps down the way he'd been going. “Ken, if you've got anything to do with this, I'm going to...”
A low, eerily familiar laugh echoed all around him, and he froze on the spot. No way. He's even more gone than the Kaiser. Than anything. Than...than... The laugh changed even as he recognized it, shifting almost in the middle of a second to the familiar tones of Ichijouji Ken.
“You're going to do what, Daisuke? Sit at my feet, where you belong, and watch as I do whatever I choose to do? To you. To your friends. To Earth. To the Digital World.” He sounded close, almost as if he should be in plain sight, but no matter how hard Daisuke looked, he couldn't find him.
Daisuke clenched his fists harder, resisting the urge to just wildly swing and hope he hit something, or someone. “Where's V-mon? What've you done to him?”
“Come and find me, and you'll find him. I don't promise you can do anything, but you'll have him, at least.” And I'll have you was implicit in the Kaiser's tones. Daisuke slammed a fist into the wall, staring at the unyielding surface. “That didn't accomplish much, did it? Playing by my rules is the only way for you to win, you know.”
“No, I don't know that!” Daisuke snapped as harshly as he could. Whatever Ken had in mind, he had no intentions of falling for it. He was pretty sure he'd thought that before, though. More times than he could remember. But since I can barely remember what happened last week, that's not saying too much. “Are you the one playing games with my head or is it the other guy?” Whoever the other guy was. The name escaped him, but he knew he'd known it just a little while earlier. When he'd come into this hallway, actually. But now the name drifted just out of reach, with that floaty, almost but not quite there kind of feeling that drove him out of his mind.
“Come and find out.” Ken's soft laugh echoed all around, seeming to fade into the distance. Daisuke headed down the corridor, picking up speed with each step. All of his dazedness from earlier was forgotten or just gone. He didn't know which, and it didn't matter any longer. V-mon was there somewhere, and his answers had to be with him. Even if that meant he had to be with Ken again. For all he knew, this was something Ken and the other person were doing together. Playing with his head, making him doubt his own sanity, making him think what it was they wanted him to think for whatever reasons they had. Ken's voice hadn't stopped, and actually was getting clearer the farther he went down the corridor. “Come and find out, Daisuke. Come and find me.”
If Daisuke hadn't been looking so hard for something, anything to happen, he might've missed it when something actually did. The slick walls had been lit from above all this time, though he hadn't ever actually seen anything like a light bulb up there. He wasn't looking now, either. Ahead was what mattered, not above. But now, the light was fading, and darkness was closing in all around him.
The darker it got, the more slowly he went, until at last he stood still, unable to see where he was going. “More tricks, Ken? Hiding in the dark isn't your style. There's not enough attention there for you, I think.”
“Who said I was hiding anywhere? I've got all the attention I could ever want, and all of it's coming from you. As for the darkness, if you find me, you'll have all the light you could ever need or want. Can't you do something that simple?”
Daisuke stared into the shadows, teeth grinding, then started forward again. Even if he couldn't see, the last thing he'd seen had been the corridor going on and on forever. He had a good enough memory to remember them, and his hand on the wall would make certain he didn't bump into anything. Ken wouldn't be nasty enough to put a hole or something in the middle, would he? “I'm coming, V-mon. You'd better be there.”
To Be Continued