A/N: Takeru plots, and Daiken and Taito hints run rampant. I absolutely refuse to believe that Takeru is as all-knowing and clever at matchmaking as many authors would have us believe (too many people mix him up with his so-called girlfriend), so let's see what happens when it all blows up in his face, eh?

"The House of Cards"

There are four unbreakable laws of life, the universe, and everything: One, you can always digivolve again. Two, Yamato and Taichi always fight- always, even during the Apocalypse. Three, Ken and Daisuke never fight- never, not even during the Apocalypse. And four, no one knows the question of life, though they do know that the answer is forty-two.

Takeru was not exactly aware that three of four rules of the universe were directly associated with his brother, the ex- Kaiser, and his past and present leaders, nor that the fourth was Ken's life goal to solve, but were he to discover it, he would not have been surprised. Everything else seemed to revolve around those four anyway, why not the universe as well?

But the amount of romantic tension they were involved with was seriously pushing it. Thusly Takeru's evil, evil plan was born, and he decided to lock the lot of 'em in a closet, fittingly enough.

Well, two closets actually, since it's hard to confess your undying love for someone when not two feet away, there is another burgeoning couple trying to do the same. This way, Yamato and Taichi could make out to their simultaneously beating hearts' content, and Daisuke and Ken could hold hands.

. . . or something.

Takeru actually wasn't sure if he wanted to dwell on what Ken might do if locked in a closet with the object of his affection for too long. This was the boy who'd developed spandex and whip fetishes at the age of twelve, after all. Not to mention that little "seeing you squirm is SO delicious" crack. Good God, but that had been wrong on SO many levels.

Unfortunately for Takeru's slaved-over plot, the twits had gone into the closets under the fragile pretense of helping him find his mislaid hat (never mind that he had a half-dozen extras) with the WRONG people and somehow gotten rather idiotically stuck in there without benefit of the locks' assistance. So Yamato had been trapped in a closet with Daisuke, and Taichi with Ken, which not only totally screwed up Takeru's plans, but also might lead to them subconsciously deciding, "hey, this person reminds me a lot of that guy I never could confess my feelings to; maybe I'll just jump HIM instead and unknowingly sabotage my chances with my true love!"

Takeru was SO grateful to be straight at times like these. Especially with Hikari around, as she read like she had practically been designed to be his perfect match. Or vice versa. Actually, sometimes he worried about how perfect they were together.

Oh, screw it, she was cute and didn't scream as much as Miyako. And it was a hell of a lot better than competing for Ken or Daisuke's attentions . . . well, there was always Iori, he supposed. Hm, that might not be-

Stop, rewind, ERASE last line of thought.

But back to the disaster at hand. Ken + Taichi = unlikely, but possible if he couldn't get that damn door open. Yamato + Daisuke = a LOT more likely given Daisuke's remarkable resemblance to Tai and annoyingly adorable nature, which was why he was trying to break the knob off their door first. That, and the fact he was pretty sure that since this was the bathroom closet, they'd be able to find lubrication way too easily.

Then his mother had found him about to smash her closet door in with a hammer and dragged him off by the hair, at which point he had been forced to explain and everyone felt quite silly when Natsuo turned the doorknobs the other way and got them all out in less than two seconds; then complained to Takeru about the location of her closets' keys, which left Takeru running for his life from the other four as soon as they figured out he'd WANTED them locked in- though fortunately none of them bothered to decipher why, else he'd really have been in for it.

But he would not surrender! The great Takeru Takaishi was no pushover! And the others could only be so stupid for so long anyway!

Theoretically, at least. There was, after all, the matter of just how abysmally stupid all four of them had proven themselves to be in the past. Daisuke perhaps had made less of an idiot of himself than the others, which was odd since he was usually considered the most idiotic of the bunch. Of course, he'd never actively tried to conquer the Digiworld or kill any of the others, nor forced V-mon into a corrupt digivolution or betrayed his friends or played God or tried to run from a crucial battle . . . well, the list went on from wrist to elbow, to be frank. The stupidest thing Daisuke had ever done was get a little jealous over Hikari and pick fights with Takeru. Otherwise . . .

Takeru frowned slightly at the implications of that line of thought even as he just barely dodged a barrage of pillows from his hacked-off matchmaking victims. That would suggest that Daisuke Motomiya, of all people, had handled himself better than even his own iceman of a brother, the invincible original leader of the Chosen Children, and the genius child Ichijouji upon becoming a Chosen Child.

It was a disturbing thought, that Daisuke held such a track record when people that Takeru had always seen as so much better than anyone else could sin so horribly that it might take the rest of their lives to redeem themselves. It made him wonder what Daisuke would become when he reached the others' ages. For a moment, he had that same old vision of Taichi with shorter hair- then Daisuke suddenly stepped out in front of him with a truly wicked grin and tripped him.

Nope, not gonna be like Tai. Not even gonna LIVE to be like Tai.

A victorious crow from Daisuke, and Takeru was simultaneously tackled by Yamato and Taichi. The more resigned Ken held back, settling for repeatedly beating the blonde with a cushion. Takeru glanced up, unable to repress his laughter, and saw Daisuke grinning at him- not that one odd way he and Taichi both had made a habit of, with closed eyes and bared teeth, that was half-challenge and half-hiding the truth. It was impossibly open and laughing and wild, and at that moment, Takeru would've died to be able to smile that way and happily marched to Hell as long as Daisuke was leading the way.

All the same, it was startling to discover what he thought of his be-goggled "leader." It wasn't as if he suddenly respected the others any less, but he was suddenly terrified for Daisuke and wondering- if the others had already had their great failures, when would Daisuke finally have his?

Somehow, he knew- if Daisuke Motomiya, the only one on this or any world who could hold both Courage and Friendship at once and still never falter at anything . . . if he fell, everything would come down with him faster than a house of cards in a typhoon.

Yet at the same time . . .

Mock-scowling, Takeru jumped up and pushed Daisuke backward. The boy yelped and overbalanced, falling over immediately.

. . . if he ever DID fall . . .

Ken jumped forward and grabbed him.

. . . it wasn't like there wouldn't be anyone there to catch him before he got too far.

And Daisuke smiled at Ken, and anyone who cared to look could see his soul.

* ende *

. : review and do that voodoo that you do : .