'The Dark Champion'

Disclaimer- I don't own Digimon. Toei and Bandai do. Nor do I own any of the other trademarks I might happen to use. This is non profit making fanfiction. If you see anything that belongs to someone else, assume that I do not own it. If you see anything that is yours, sorry. I don't want to offend anyone. This is my first fanfic.

****

"For into Darkness fell his star,

In Mordor where the shadows are"

JRR Tolkein 'The Lord of the Rings'

The van screeched as it took another corner at insane speed. A bang and swoosh could be heard as yet another hydrant was sent flying.

Inside the van, all Ken could see was the cadaverous face with its black eyes boring into his. All he could feel was the agony as Oikawa's bar-code reader lookalike burned through his flesh. It drained him, drained the dark spore, from which energy came when his despair was greatest. The power that had temporarily made him Emperor of the Digital world had left him some time ago, but the spore remained.

Oikawa's smile widened as the device in his hand beeped its report. The process was complete. He slid the device into a pocket of his long coat and turned his attention to Ken, who sat slumped on the floor, shivering, his eyes glazed but still moving.

"I have what I need, former Emperor, and I now have little use for you."

He gestured at two of the children, who got up and moved to the doors. Oikawa straightened up, insofar as he could in the cramped space, and grinned again as the two each placed a hand on a door handle.

Ken was desperate, he had to do something, he could let this happen to them.

"You don't want to be what I was. Nothing is worth that."

"Goodbye, former Emperor."

Oikawa nodded. The doors were opened. Oikawa brought back his foot and landed a kick in Ken's side. He slid across the floor and through the doors. With another nod, the doors were closed. Oikawa turned and moved to the front of the van to flirt with Arukennimon some more.

Ken lay in the road, barely conscious. All he could see was the van racing away from him. He could hear the sound of a car approaching at high speed, but he couldn't move. His hands were still tied and his muscles were going limp.

He watched as all of a sudden the van came to a halt. He could hear a screech of tires as it tried to reverse. Reverse from what?

As Ken's vision blurred, the van was being drawn inexorably forward. He heard a car pull up suddenly behind him, voices shouting his name, running footsteps.

Nothing.

****

The room was filled with view screens and control panels, flashing lights and diagnostic displays. Catlike Gatomon moved between displays and panels. The door slid open, and a pair of armoured Reborn stepped through and halted either side of the door. Another figure, clad in black robes stepped through. The Gatomon formed a semicircle, folded their arms and bowed. A child, clad in a black suit, knelt with his right fist over his heart, as only someone of his status could do. The robed figure strode into the centre of the semicircle, facing the kneeling boy.

"Conrad, Master Scientist, give me your report" the figure said imperiously.

"Excellency," Conrad replied, looking his master in his hooded face. "I have analysed the children and the results are unfortunate. They have no partners and are too young and sickly to be of any other use."

"Very well, wipe their memories and prepare them to be returned. Now what of Oikawa?"

"Return to your duties" Conrad said curtly to the Gatomon. They bowed and continued as they had before. Conrad rose to his feet and fell in beside his master as they moved towards another door at the opposite end of the room.

"We have Oikawa and his two followers subdued, Excellency. They will not be a problem but I'm afraid Oikawa is proving somewhat intractable. The entity has resisted our coaxing and will have to be removed by force. I'm not certain Oikawa will survive."

Once they were beyond the doorway, the Master turned to Conrad and lowered his hood, revealing a pale, heavily built face, topped with white blond hair. The master was unusually well built as twelve-year-olds went, but his dark eyes and his regal bearing were truly beyond his few years. Those eyes looked into Conrad's green eyes, gazed into his very soul. He could not help but shiver. The master only removed his hood when he wanted to be clear.

"Conrad," the Master said levelly. "What I ask of you is difficult, but must be done nevertheless. The entity known as Myotismon must be removed from Oikawa or else he may regain physical form and restore his powers. This cannot be allowed to happen. You will begin the removal process immediately."

The Master turned and left the room. Conrad's heart sank. The Master was asking him to run the most terrible of risks. If Oikawa died, then that death would be on his conscience.

Then he remembered what the Master had said, that if Myotismon were to return, then innocent people and digimon would suffer and the Master's plans for the world would be thwarted. One life was worth losing to save others, and to bring about the future the Master intended.

His mind set, his conscience clear, Conrad turned to the control panel set in the wall of the narrow anteroom. A large panel slid aside in the wall above the controls, giving him a view into the chamber below. In the chamber stood a diagnostic table, such as might be found in an operating theatre, but with an armature hanging from the ceiling over it.

He tapped his right cheek piece, and a small microphone slid into place over his mouth.

"Bring in Oikawa. We begin at once."

As he watched Oikawa being brought in, he heard a little voice from the floor beside him.

"Conrad, are we to do it now?"

"Yes Psymon," Conrad replied.

"I heard you talking to his Excellency, is this really the only way?"

Conrad knelt to look into the tiny creature's face. It looked back, cherubic and innocent looking as always. Conrad smiled and picked Psymon up.

"It's the only way that'll work. He might die, but I suppose it's better than living with Myotismon inside him. We can't let him come back. But…"

Conrad trailed off, his smile faltered. Down there was a human being, a human being who would die or be cursed to eternity as host to a demon if he made one little mistake. The pressure weighed on him, like a millstone around his neck. Fail and be pushed in the river.

His cheeks felt warm, and he returned from his reverie to see that Psymon had enfolded his head in his over-sized ears, a childish attempt to soothe his pain. But with warmth and comfort came fear and desperation.

"Why does he always make me do things like this Psymon?" he asked, his voice cracking, tears rolling down his face.

"Because you're the only one here who can," Psymon fixed him with a green-eyed stare. He believes in you, I believe in you."

Conrad fought back the torrent, wiped the tears from his face, placed Psymon gently on the control panel and stood up.

"You're right Psymon, I have to do it." He brightened suddenly, "want to help me out?"

"Sure!" The little creature began to dance about the control panel, pressing buttons with his ears. Feeling much better for knowing his partner was with him, Conrad turned to the window. A pair of gazumon slid the stretcher on which Oikawa was strapped off the trolley and onto the operating table. Psymon hit some more switches and the armature moved into position above Oikawa's head. The gazumon quickly retreated, taking the trolley with them. Once the doors were secured, Conrad took a deep breath and turned to his partner.

"Ready Mr Psymon? ", he said with a grin.

"Ready when you are, Mr Conrad! " saluting him with one ear, enjoying the joke.

"Okay, begin with 50 percent power."

****

(Odaiba, 1 month later)

"Where's Miyako?" Daisuke grizzled, "if we wait any longer we'll be waiting till next Christmas."

"Don't worry!" said Takeru cheerily. "She's probably just stopped to pick up some diapers." Daisuke fumed, remembering their early days in the digital world, when he accidentally let slip his most embarrassing secret, mistakenly believing his sister to have blabbed already.

The Chosen had once again made the computer lab their meeting place, the detentions having been moved to bleaker climes. It was the end of the first day back at school, and the team would be able to visit the digital world more regularly since the computer lab could be accessed easily. But despite Daisuke's grumbling, everyone had a reason to be excited.

Ken had sent them all a message asking them to meet him in the digital world this afternoon. This had been the first word they had heard from him since December. After they had found him lying unconscious in the road that cold night shortly before Christmas, Ken had not been the same. His physical injuries were not a problem, but he was damaged, deep down.

Ken had spent the rest of the holidays in a 'psycho ward', as Daisuke had so eloquently put it, receiving therapy. Everyone had been worried; Miyako in particular, but everything seemed all right now. The message had been quite cheerful.

And the one thing keeping them from finding out was Miyako's tardiness.

Then finally, a familiar voice came from the door.

"Hi guys! Sorry I'm late!" And there was Miyako, standing grinning in the doorway, but there was a nervous edge to her sunny disposition.

"What took you so long!" Daisuke almost yelled.

Miyako looked slightly embarrassed as she emptied the bag of snacks onto the floor for the digimon.

"I had to make a quick," she paused, "stopover! Yeah a stopover."

There was a longer pause.

"Miyako?" said Iori, sniffing the air. "Are you wearing perfume?"

Miyako exploded. "ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT I'M LATE BECAUSE I WAS GETTING READY! ARE YOU SATISFIED?"

Her face went livid and seemed to swell up with unleashed tension and anger. Iori looked very, very, scared. Hikari quickly stepped between them.

"Okay, okay, calm down Miyako!" she said, half laughing.

Miyako's face returned to normal, she folded her arms and humphed loudly.

"I don't see what's so wrong with wearing something special, since they've finally let my beloved Ken-chan out of that awful psycho ward."

"There's nothing wrong with it at all" Hikari insisted in her sensitive voice, rubbing Miyako's shoulders and shooting warning glances at the others.

"Can we go now please?" Takeru said in exasperation.

(My first chapter. How was it? Please review so that I can avoid wasting time and effort on a fanfic that nobody wants to read. Also please report any abuses so that I can remove them.)