Legal Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters presented here and this is done only for entertainment purposes.
Title: Back For The Day
Friendship: Ken and Wormmon
Rated: PG
Season/Timeline: Slight AU of Digimon Adventure 02. Chimeramon was never brought to full life (explanation within story) and thus at Christmas time, Ken is still the Kaiser.
Summary: Wormmon makes a special Christmas wish.

"'Tis the season to be jolly!" Wormmon sang in a surprisingly pleasant voice as he inched his way across the ceiling, a sprig of mistletoe clutched firmly in between his front pods. "Falallalalal!"

He paused once he got to the top of the arch and started to insert the small piece of greenery into a crack he'd spied up there. I hope this works. Maybe it'll help get Ken-chan into the Christmas Spirit. Wormmon would like that. The Kaiser had been grouchy and annoyed ever since his Kimeramon program had developed a computer virus and become unusable.

It had been months since that had happened, and Ken just hadn't been the same. He'd been snappish and annoyed with everything and everyone; Wormmon had felt more kicks and whipcracks than in all the months prior to that, and his attacks had become much more deadly when he and the Chosen Children clashed.

He really needs to take a nap or something, I think, Wormmon made sure the mistletoe wasn't going to fall, then carefully backed away from it and headed down to the floor, creeping inch by careful inch.

It was amazing how much brighter the fortress could look if a few simple decorations were put up. He'd been busy all day on it, ever since Ken had left that morning to go gather up a new batch of slaves. He usually took Wormmon with him, but this time he was in such a foul mood he hadn't bothered.

Not that the caterpillar creature really minded that much, not this time. He was tired of seeing Ken abuse other Digimon, but he couldn't stop him, not yet. But right now, he'd wanted the time alone to brighten up the fortress.

It had taken a while for him to get the things he needed, since most of them were hard to find in the Digital World, but he'd done his best. Wreathes of evergreen leaves had been laboriously put together and hung on every door, and even on the back of Ken's throne in the monitor room. A very special Christmas dinner was cooking in the kitchen, something that would probably take at least another day to finish, but it would be fit for a Kaiser when it was. Wormmon had even went to the trouble of getting Ken a Christmas present. That had been a lot harder than it seemed on the surface. What could you get the Kaiser who had everything?

I wish I could've gotten a Christmas tree in here. Wormmon had been studying Christmas traditions from all over the world, and the one he really liked the best was the tree. The thought of a beautiful tree with sparkling decorations all over it was absolutely wonderful. But there was no way he would be able to cut a tree down, much less get all the decorations on it properly.

Not that he really minded. What was important was that Ken liked what he'd done, and he was doing everything he could to make it all bright and cheery. I wish I knew if he liked anyone...I could get them to kiss him under the mistletoe. But as far as he knew, Ken didn't like anyone who wasn't himself. It was a little hard to pair off someone who barely enjoyed being around anyone who didn't have a five digit IQ. Whatever an IQ was.

He looked around quickly. Everything looked as if it were coming along nicely. Ken would probably be back soon, and Wormmon wiggled in delight at the thought of how his master would take his preparations. At first he'd probably be upset, of course, because Wormmon hadn't waited for orders or anything, but once he saw it all, he'd love it, Wormmon was certain of it!

The caterpillar crawled off to his small corner, where he'd put all the books that had anything to do with Christmas when he'd started his studies. I wonder if Ken-chan even knows I can read? I don't think I ever told him. But I had to learn, he needed me to help him when he was building Kimeramon. Wormmon shivered at the memory of that monstrosity. It had never come to life, but Ken's plans had been horrific. I wonder if he'll ever find out who put that virus in his works. Wormmon had no idea, but if he'd been asked to name a suspect, that redheaded Chosen Child who was so good with computers had probably done it. He looked like a tricky one to him.

Of course he wasn't going to tell his master that. Wormmon was loyal, but he wasn't stupid. Ken had far too much of a sense of vengeance to let something like that slip away unpunished.

Well, Ken wasn't ever going to know what he suspected, at least not from him. He had better things to do than gossip, anyway. He pulled one of the Christmas books over to him and started to nose it open, murmuring the first lines to himself by memory, "'Twas the night before Christmas..."


The shout echoed all throughout the fortress, and Wormmon almost jumped clean out of his skin. There was only one being who could yell like that. I guess he's back early. Wormmon scuttled out as fast as he could, bounding to the direction of the yell. Ken didn't sound upset, so maybe he really was happy at the Christmas decorations.

He skimmed to a stop before the Kaiser, who looked down at him with cold amethyst eyes glinting from behind his glasses. The self-proclaimed monarch of the Digital World did not look full of Christmas cheer in the slightest.

"D...did you want me for something, master?" Wormmon's holiday spirit began to quail under that look. He imagined the three ghosts of Christmas he'd read about in A Christmas Carol probably would have backed off from Ken right now too. That look was death.

The Kaiser motioned abruptly to the wreathes, mistletoe, and other decorations planted around. "Exactly what is all of this doing in my fortress, bug?"

"'s Christmas time, master." Wormmon tried to look cheery and jolly. "They're Christmas decorations."

"I know what time it is, insect!" Ken snapped. "I'm not a moron! I asked what they were doing here! I don't care anything about 'Christmas'! Those pathetic idiots back on Earth think it's the greatest thing ever, with family and friends and presents and all the rest of it."

Wormmon stared in disbelief. He had spent so much time preparing, so much time hoping that just once Ken would actually be like a normal eleven year old boy and be happy without hurting another living creature, that his attitude seemed revolting.

The Kaiser wasn't finished yet, though. "The only thing special about Christmas is the fact you are given things. It's all about possessions and spending time with people to make certain you get mentioned in their will." He looked around at the decorations with an expression of pure disgust on his handsome face. "I want all of this down right now!"

"But...Ken-chan..." Wormmon scuffled the floor a little with the tips of his claws. "I worked hard all day to get this up...I can't just..."

Ken glared at him harshly. "I don't think I heard you properly, worm." All the darkness in the fortress seemed to gather in those amethyst eyes that glittered so darkly at Wormmon. "I believe you said that you were going to pull down all of this...mess, didn't you?"

Wormmon cowered back, then inched a little forward. "Ken-chan, I made a special dinner for don't want me to throw it out, do you? It's a Christmas won't really be ready until tomorrow...but..."

He never got the chance to finish his sentence since Ken's booted foot got him square in the body and threw him all the way across the room.

"I don't even want to hear the word Christmas in this fortress, ever again, do you understand me?" Ken watched as Wormmon slowly got back onto his pods, his eyes downcast and humble. That was the way he liked his worm: solidly knowing who was in charge around here. "Get moving, or you won't be around to see springtime, got it?"

Without waiting for an answer, he whirled to the side and started towards his throne. He was not expecting to hear Wormmon speak anymore, and stopped in his tracks as the words sank in. He didn't even bother to think about it; his whip simply cracked out and sank into Wormmon's back deeply. "What did you say, you filthy, disease-ridden piece of useless data?"

Wormmon curled himself into a ball, his blue eyes full of pained tears. "I...I said..."

"Hurry it up." Ken growled, tapping the stock of the whip against his belt briefly. His temper had never been the best, and now it was getting even worse.

"I said that Santa Claus isn't going to come visit you because you've been so bad this year!" Wormmon almost seemed to spit the words out, then curled up, one tiny claw doing it's best to cover his head.

Of all the things Wormmon could have said, this was not one of the ones that Ken was expecting. He pulled his whip back and struck the helpless Digimon once, twice, three more times, then delivered a kick that very nearly caused Wormmon to dent the wall when he hit it. "There is no such thing as Santa Claus! He's nothing but a myth dreamed up to keep little American brats from whining too much! Not that I expected you to know any better, but how dare you insinuate I believe in that trash!?" He had never felt so insulted in his entire life. It was bad enough Wormmon was putting all this rubbish around his fortress, but now he was even being threatened with the withholding of a visit of a creature his culture didn't even believe in! It was enough to make one sick!

Wormmon lay where he fell, trembling in every segment of his body. Ken turned his back on him and stalked over to his throne, ripping the wreath off of it before he sat down. It was obvious the little bug wouldn't be moving for hours, but Ken didn't care. He had enough work to keep him occupied, and with the Chosen busy celebrating this stupid 'holiday' with their families, he was going to take the chance to get at least a dozen spires up. He'd be up until the wee hours of the morning planning it all. What better way to spend one's time?

* * *

By the time Ken finished his work and got up to head into the small bedroom he used, Wormmon still hadn't moved very far. He inched a little bit, then rested until he felt strong enough to inch a little more. The Kaiser only noticed him just enough so he didn't actually step on him as he passed by.

Wormmon closed his eyes as he heard the door shut firmly, leaving him in the chilly monitor room, and he relaxed a little, knowing Ken wouldn't hear his small cries of pain now. He shivered a little, then whispered, putting all of his soul into the words, "If there's anyone out there who can grant this...I don't care what you call yourself...just...grant me this one Christmas wish..." He shuddered more, feeling blood drip down from one of the whipcuts. "I wish...that I could have the old Ken-chan back. The one I knew when he was just a little kid. Before his brother died. Please...just for one day...I don't ask for forever...but just one day..."

The small Digimon let his eyes slide shut, and let himself slip into something that was part coma, part sleep. He hardly noticed the progression of the hours, or that his pain was slowly easing. A soft whisper ran through the room, so soft and so low that even if he'd been awake, he might not have heard it.


Behind the sealed door, Ichijouji Ken, the Digimon Kaiser, began to twitch and toss as his dreams of conquest and rule began to change. His fists clenched tightly and he thrashed about, the sheets wrapping tightly about him as he did so.

"! Osamu!! Osamu!!" He sat up sharply, violet eyes wide and staring into the darkness around him. He shuddered, the memory of the dream etched in stark relief in his mind. A nightmare. It was just a nightmare. Just a dream.

It certainly hadn't felt like a dream, though. It had felt more like a memory. Like something that had happened a long time ago and he was just now thinking about.

Ken tried not to think about the past that much, especially from two or more years earlier. He wasn't certain why. Whenever he had to think about it, his neck began to ache, and the pain quickly spread to his head. Since he preferred to give out agony, not experience it himself, he avoided too much remembering.

But for some reason, tonight the pain wasn't coming. He instinctively reached behind himself to rub at the base of his neck. I don't like not knowing things about myself. The Kaiser was a little annoyed at whatever it was that kept him in pain when he remembered. He also hated not being allowed to do anything, even something as trivial as remembering his past.

Osamu. He was in the dream. Ken turned his thoughts to what had made him wake up. His brother had been standing there in front of him, telling him something. What had it been? Ken drummed his fingers on the blankets, trying to piece together the imagery in his head. He fidgeted a little, the shirt and pants he wore to bed now quite uncomfortable and twisted from his tossing and turning.

He sighed; this wasn't working. And I'm not getting any sleep, either. Ken got up, tossing the blankets carelessly to one side, and headed out of the room to the kitchen. All of his servants were in bed at this hour, but he was certainly capable of pouring himself a glass of milk. As childish as it seemed, on those few times when he had trouble sleeping, a glass of warm milk usually helped him relax enough to slip away.

The few hours of sleep he had managed to get had relaxed him from the near murderous rage he'd been in before, and as he came back from the kitchen, glass in hand, he noticed Wormmon, out like a light on the floor still. I really hurt him. That was something else that was odd. He'd never noticed how much damage he'd done to the little worm before. They heal up so fast I never really cared. Ken paused for a moment and watched his partner. The only partner he'd ever have; Kimeramon had been infected with a virus so virulent and so aggressive that not even he had been able to get it fixed before his precious creation had vanished forever. Ken was not obsessive enough to keep trying paths that failed. He'd find another way to destroy the Chosen.

That was for the morning, though. Right now, he was looking at the small green creature that was trembling so much. Not entirely certain of why, he bent down and picked Wormmon up gently, his hands soothing when the Digimon whimpered and sniffled in his sleep. I think he's almost well again already. They do heal fast.

He carried the caterpillar into his bedroom, which was much warmer than the outer throne room as Ken always had problems sleeping in the cold, and curled them both up under the blankets. Wormmon didn't so much as twitch as he was tucked in, and Ken found himself smiling. I must look like an idiot. The Digimon Kaiser doesn't smile. He didn't stop, though. It was the privacy of his own quarters, and if he chose to smile, there was no one who dared say him nay.

As he sipped the warm milk, Ken felt himself starting to relax again already. He yawned, set the glass to one side, and closed his eyes. Maybe he would be a little less harsh on Wormmon the next day. Maybe.

And maybe you should think about him more and your precious empire a little less, little brother.

Ken sat straight up, all tiredness fleeing from him as he looked around for the source of that soundless statement. "What the...who said that?"

I did. From the darkness there appeared first an outline, then the faded image of a young boy with spiky blue hair and amethyst eyes, just like Ken's. The difference was this boy looked calmer, more collected, and definitely less insane. He wore a pair of thick glasses and his hands were casually stuck in his pockets. He eyed Ken speculatively. You've done some growing since the last time I saw you, Ken. At least on the outside. But on the inside... The newcomer shook his head. You're still the same little boy.

The Kaiser's eyes flared in anger. "Who are you? What do you want here?"

Don't you recognize me, Ken? I'm surprised. We look so much alike, after all. And after you dreamed about me and everything tonight.

Ken stared at the apparition, then all the blood seemed to drain out of his face. "O...Osamu..."

That's me. The ghost, or whatever it was, grinned. Been a while, hasn't it?

"But...but you're dead!" The words seemed to burst out of him. Ken had never been a superstitious person, so he couldn't be seeing what he was now. It had to be a trick or something. Maybe some Digimon had crept into his fortress and was manipulating him. He'd heard some of them could do that. No, he was real and they weren't, it wasn't possible.

Osamu laughed a little. That doesn't mean I can't come back to talk a little sense into you. Not much, it's for someone else to bring you back to reality the rest of the way, but Wormmon made a very special wish tonight, and I'm here to make sure he gets it.

"A wish?"

A wish. Now, let's get started. Osamu came closer, not drifting or walking, but just sort of being in one place in one moment, and somewhere else the next. Do you know why you don't believe in Christmas, Ken?

That was an easy one, no matter who it was that was really asking it. "Because it isn't real. It's a real date, December twenty-fifth, but all of the mythology behind it is fake. Stories and legends and customs, that's all."

No, that's not quite it. Ghostly violet eyes gazed into alive amethyst ones. You don't believe in it because I told you not to. And even now, you're still doing what I said.

Ken looked, and was, utterly baffled. "What are you talking about? I've never cared about Christmas."

You silly, silly boy. Osamu shook his head. I'm going to have to show you, I suppose.

His brother narrowed his eyes sharply. "This isn't going to be like that stupid Christmas Carol thing I heard about is it? I hated having to read that." He could read and speak English every bit as fluently as someone born to the culture could, but it hadn't been in school that he'd read that story. One of his cousins lived in England, and she had sent him the book as a birthday gift the previous year. His mother had insisted that he read the book out of courtesy to her, and had actually come in to check on his progress through it. He'd found it rather stupid, but when he'd written back to his cousin, he had glowingly praised how wonderful it was. He'd been so effusive and convincing in his praise that he'd momentarily considered taking up fiction writing as a sideline to world domination.

What kind of an idiot do you think I am? Osamu actually looked offended. I can do better than that. I just want to show you what I meant, and what you don't remember. He reached out to lay a hand on Ken's shoulder, and despite the fact he was insubstational, Ken still felt the grip quite firmly. This won't hurt a bit. There was a faintly ominous pause. I think.

Ken was just about to protest when the room faded around them, and they appeared to traveling through some sort of rainbow colored vortex. "What is this??"

The way back to the past. You can't remember it, but I'm going to show it to you. Osamu's touch was somehow comforting. Ken tried not to look at his brother as things shifted and twisted all around them. He hadn't really become used to the fact that Osamu was there, but for some reason, it didn't seem as terrifying or heartwrenching as it should be.

Then things cleared around them, and he was standing in a place he knew very well: his own family's living room. There were a few Christmas decorations, and something in the whole setup made Ken feel warm and happy inside. I think I'm going to be sick. "Where are we?"

Actually, the real question is when are we. Osamu grinned at him. December twenty-fourth, 1997. You're five years old, and I'm seven. I'm already the smartest kid we know. There was the faintest hint of smugness in his voice at that. And I'm about to tell you something you'll remember for the rest of your life.

"Osamu! Osamu!" Ken turned at the sound of the voice and was startled to see a miniature version of himself running across the room, holding a small wrapped gift in his hands. The younger Ken came up to the door that led to the brothers' bedroom and knocked on it. "Osamu, please open up, I want to give you something!"

The door opened, and Ichijouji Osamu looked down at his smaller brother, a sneer stamped across his face that looked completely wrong on such youthful features. "What is it, Ken? I've got studying to do!"

Ghostly Osamu shook his head sadly. If I'd only known. There was definite regret in his tone now. Together, the brothers of the future watched the past unfold.

"Here!" Small Ken held out the gift, his eyes bright and happy. "I made this just for you!"

Seven year old Osamu snorted. "Don't bother me with this stuff, Ken. I told you, I have a lot to do!"

"But don't you want to see what it is? I know Christmas isn't until tomorrow, but you don't have to study all the time, do you?" Ken looked so sad, almost as if he were about to cry. "You can come out and spend some time with us, right?"

Osamu rolled his eyes. "No, actually, I can't. Now go away and leave me alone."

One thing that hadn't changed in the years between this event and the present: Ichijouji Ken was as stubborn as a mule when there was something he really wanted. "Would you help me draw up my Christmas list for Santa? You'll make it all nice and neat, I know you will."

"Santa?" Osamu looked as if someone had just told him the apartment building was really a gateway to another dimension. "What kind of fairy stories have you been listening to?"

Ken looked quite hopeful. "It was this girl I met down the hall. She said when she lived in America, they always got presents from Santa, every year. Does Santa visit Japan, Osamu?"

"No, he doesn't, because there is no Santa." Osamu growled, looking very annoyed. "All Santa Claus is, is just something the Americans made up to keep their kids out of trouble by bribing them with gifts once a year."

His brother stared at him in disbelief. "You mean she lied to me?"

"Yes, she lied to you." Osamu rolled his eyes. "I didn't think you were that gullible, even at your age."

Elder Osamu winced and shook his head. I was a real pain. I don't see why someone didn't kick me in the butt. I could've used it.

The younger Ken looked as if he were about to cry, but younger Osamu didn't seem to care that much. "Get it into your head, Ken: there is no Santa Claus and Christmas is nothing but another day. You'll be a lot happier in your life if you just figure that out. Now, run along. If you want, we can blow some bubbles later on. It's a nice day outside, and I'm going to need to do something to clear my head."

Ken sniffled a little but left, the gift still clutched in one hand as he did so, Osamu shutting the door behind him. He wandered out of sight aimlessly, the sound of his sniffles still audible, and the merry atmosphere in the apartment seemed to have taken a serious blow.

Older Ken blinked a little as memory surged. "And after that, I never bothered to think about Santa or Christmas or any of it again. I could pretend, for my parents, just to keep them off my back, but it just didn't mean anything to me."

And now you know why. Osamu squeezed his brother's shoulder gently. I don't know how long you'll remember this, Ken, but it's time for you to go back. You should be able to recall it for about a day: the length of Wormmon's wish. After that, I don't know what's going to happen.

Ken looked at his brother and a smile tugged at his lips. "I think that should be long enough." He looked a trifle worried. "Osamu...there isn't really a Santa, is there?"

It depends on what you mean by that, Ken. I don't think there's too many people who really believe in a fat guy who comes down the chimneys, but that's not the only kind of Santa. Osamu seemed to consider things for a moment. A lot of people believe that Santa Claus is the spirit of love and generosity that is behind this time of year in many places all over the world. People call it different things and celebrate it in different ways, but when you get right down to it, friends, family, and love is what it's all about. Wormmon is your best friend, Ken, you know that, don't you?

Ken looked away for a heartbeat, and when he looked back, they were once more in his bedroom in the fortress, and he was looking directly at Wormmon. He reached out to gently touch his partner's forehead marking for a moment. "Yes. I know it."

Then get some rest, Ken. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day for you. Osamu watched as Ken slipped back into bed and closed his eyes. He brushed his fingers across his brother's forehead. Merry Christmas, little brother. Merry Christmas.

* * *

Wormmon woke up feeling warm and comfortable as he had not in quite some time. He blinked a little and looked around. I'm the throne room anymore. It took him a moment to realize where he was: in Ken's bed.

"Good morning!" The caterpillar jumped sharply at the sound of the voice, so happy and strange. It felt familiar, as if it had been a voice he'd heard a long time ago. "Are you ready for Christmas breakfast, Wormmon?"

The Digimon jumped again when he saw who was talking: Ken! But not Ken the Digimon Kaiser. Instead of the familiar blue and white jumpsuit and cape that the young boy had worn for so long, he was clad now in gray pants and a yellow shirt. His hair was no longer spiked, but lay neat and combed, framing a gently smiling face that wasn't concealed by the glasses.

Except for the age, he looked just like the Ken that Wormmon had dreamed about and missed for so long. Wormmon's heart filled with pure joy and he threw himself into Ken's arms, snuggling as tightly as he could. "Ken-chan! You're back!!"

Ken hugged his partner gently. "For a little while. At least for today. After this day...I don't know. But I'm back for today."

Wormmon cuddled more, feeling as if he could just evolve with pleasure. "Oh, Ken-chan...I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you, too, Wormmon." Ken held his partner. "Come on, I've got some surprises for you. A lot of them, really."

He carried Wormmon out of the bedroom and into the throne room, where his partner stared into a corner in shock. Rising there gracefully was a Christmas tree, decorated with all manner of things such as Wormmon had seen in his books. " that our Christmas tree?"

"It is. It wasn't that hard to manipulate the Digital World's data to make one." Ken grinned a little, one of the first gentle grins Wormmon could ever remember seeing. "Just like making an Evil Ring...or better, really." He set his partner on the floor. "Presents first, then breakfast."

Wormmon looked again, and this time noticed that the tree did indeed have two presents under it, neatly wrapped. "A...are those for me?"

"Go on, unwrap them." Ken urged, and Wormmon quickly hurried over to start tugging at the paper with his pods. The first one he unwrapped contained a soft, fuzzy blanket, and Wormmon looked up at him with startled eyes. Ken smiled. "That should help keep you warm. I know it can get chilly in your room sometimes."

His partner shivered in pleasure, then looked at the other one. How could it possibly be any better? There was only one way to find out. He started to unwrap that one, his clever pods manipulating the paper off until he could see it: a book he'd seen mentioned in some other books, but never actually seen. "A Christmas Carol."

Ken nodded and touched it lightly. "It was my copy. I never liked it very much, but I think you will." He opened it to show the inside, and Wormmon read it carefully out loud, since the Digimon's English wasn't as good as he wanted it to be.

"To Wormmon, the dearest friend I've ever had. Maybe one day I won't be such a Scrooge all the time. Signed, Ken-chan." Wormmon looked up at Ken with curiosity roused in his eyes. "What do you mean, Scrooge?"

Ken smiled as he patted Wormmon's head. "You'll find out when you read it. That should also help you with your English, too."

Wormmon rubbed his head against Ken's hand and smiled. This was the best day he'd had in quite a long time. "You said something about Christmas breakfast?"

"Yes, that's right." Ken hurried off and came back a few moments later with a meal that sent off more tasty aromas than Wormmon had thought possible. The blue-haired human carefully set up a low table and set out two plates, both heaped high with all manner of food. Wormmon looked at it as if he'd just seen a vision of heaven. The Kaiser had never really starved him, since he'd had to stay alive to serve his master, but he'd never seen a meal like this for him before!

The two of them set to it, not doing that much talking, but definitely enjoying their time together. Ken smiled and laughed every now and then, as if just being alive was all he needed to be happy, and Wormmon found himself just staring in shock sometimes. Even if it was just for a day, he wanted this day to last forever.

Once breakfast was over with, Wormmon scuffled his pods a little as something occurred to him. "Ken-chan...I...I have a present for you. I forgot about it before."

"You do?" Ken looked surprised. "What is it?" He watched as Wormmon hurried off to his room and came back holding a small wrapped package between his front claws. "Wormmon?"

The little Digimon offered it to him carefully. "This is for you." Ken took it carefully and unwrapped it, his eyes going quite wide as he realized what it was: a small statuette of the two of them, carved of white stone. "Oh,'s beautiful!" Never in his life had he seen anything quite so fair, and he had seen quite a few things that were incredible and well made. "Where did you get this?"

Wormmon blushed. "I had a friend of mine carve it for me." He almost said that he'd told them a place to hide where the Kaiser couldn't find them, ever, but he wasn't certain just what Ken would remember after this day, and he didn't want to risk the safety of the hidden valley.

"Thank you, Wormmon." Ken hugged his partner, then grinned. "I've got one more surprise for you. It should last most of the rest of the day."

"What's that?"

Ken said nothing, only picked Wormmon up and headed outside. The Digimon snuggled into him, quite content to stay like that, and watched as they headed down to the surface of the Digital World: the very snowy surface. "Where are we?" Wormmon wondered, and Ken grinned.

"Near the top of a mountain range. It's always snowy up here, so I figured it would be the perfect place to spend a white Christmas." Ken put Wormmon down on the snow-covered ground and started to scoop up some snow. "I haven't had a snowball fight in a very long time. Think you're up to it?"

Wormmon blinked, then started to quickly gather up some snow in his pods. Once he had a decent ball, he wiggled around and slammed it with his tail, sending it sailing right into Ken's chest. The young boy laughed merrily, then tossed a snowball of his own, which skimmed merrily through the air until it landed dead center on Wormmon's side, exploding into a small spray of white. Wormmon laughed, shivering at the frozen feeling, then got to work on his own next snowball. This was going to be fun!

* * *

In the years to come, Wormmon always looked back on that Christmas as the best he'd ever experienced. He and Ken laughed and played all day long, enjoying themselves in every way. Once night fell and it was too dark to see how to aim a snowball, they went back inside to get warm and to eat the dinner that had turned out perfectly. Then, Wormmon curled up under his blanket and with his new book beside Ken, relaxing until they both fell asleep.

He woke to the cold-eyed stared of the Digimon Kaiser, who snapped peremptorily, "Take that junk of yours back to your room, and get all of this Christmas mess out of here, like I told you two days ago! I'm not going to have to start repeating myself, am I?"

Wormmon blinked, then sighed a bit. The Kaiser was back. "Yes, master." He murmured, jumping up at once. The day was over, and it was back to business as usual. He hurried along to his room, his book clutched under one pod, and hoped that maybe next Christmas, he wouldn't have to say good-bye to his Ken-chan ever again.

The End