A/N: Ah, finally updating this fic. -^__^- The original story is at least a year old now, so as soon as each chapter gets typed up, I have to reread the whole thing, then go over it and fix all the errors and typos- not to mention all the rewriting I have to do. XP

I made some really stupid mistakes with this thing the first time around, and I think that I'll probably have to completely scrap the original ending. Just in case you care. ^_~

Daisuke's POV.



"Glass Houses"



"That was great!" Chibimon cheers, licking his lips. "You were right, Daisuke, this place has the best sushi ever!"

"Shh! Keep it down, dummy!" I hiss at him, glancing around to make sure that no one else in the restaurant heard the "stuffed animal" in my lap talking. "Do you want to get us kicked out?"

"Sorry, Daisuke," he says sheepishly, giving me his best "I'm just an innocent lil' mascot and too cutely naïve to realize that I'm getting you in trouble" look. He's an annoyingly good actor.

"It's okay, you two, I don't think anyone saw," Ken reassures us as he slips Leafmon a piece of crab cake. How come he gets the well-behaved digimon?

"I think you're right," I agree. "So it looks like your disguise is working too, huh?"

Ken smiles happily, his eyes gentle. It's really strange to think of him as the Kaiser when he looks like this. "I'm glad," he says softly. "This way I can talk to someone I actually care for, instead of a bunch of nameless reporters."

Dammit, I'm blushing again! I quickly distract myself by giving Ken's "disguise" another once-over.

It's actually not much as disguises go- basically, we'd grabbed jeans and a white tank top from my closet and stolen the leather jacket Jun's last boyfriend had lent her and (surprise, surprise) never gotten back. Add in a pair of decent sunglasses and that extra hat I'd "borrowed" from T.G. a few weeks ago (what can I say: Motomiyas are notoriously bad at returning stuff) and Ken looks surprisingly normal. It's actually kinda creepy. I'm used to seeing him so confident and straitlaced- but now he looks much more relaxed, if a little nervous.

I pick my chopsticks up and proceed to tuck in as much of my plate as I can. "Hate to cut our little date short, but it's almost two," I explain when I notice Ken's curious expression at my speed. "And you're already a few months late to get home," I add with a slightly sheepish grin, scratching my nose.

"Oh God," he groans as he claps a hand to his forehead. "I'm such an idiot!" I let that pass without comment and he continues: "I completely forgot! Mama and Papa must be so angry with me!"

"You're kidding me, right?" I snort. "Dude, they go on the news every night practically begging for their little Ken-chan to come home."

Ken's face falls. "I'm . . . such a bastard," he hisses suddenly, clenching his fists together. "How could I do that to them?"

"It's not your fault," I tell him with a shrug, lowering my chopsticks. "You weren't thinking clearly."

"That's right, Ken, you weren't yourself," Leafmon agrees from his lap, his voice softly reassuring.

Ken lowers his head for a moment, then suddenly snaps it back up, eyes determined. "Enough of this avoiding the inevitable!" he practically spits, slamming a fist on the table and making the plates bounce. "I'm going home!" He jumps to his feet and races out of the restaurant. I snatch one last piece of sushi (mmm, salmon) and quickly follow. Well, he is my date, isn't he?

Chibimon and I catch up to Ken and Leafmon inside the subway station and barely manage to get onto the train they're riding in time.

"Man, Ken, if you wanted to leave you could've at least warned me!" I complain, clutching the stitch in my side and collapsing into a seat next to him. I am definitely not the obstacle course type, okay? Daisuke plays soccer: no likies track.

"I apologize, Daisuke," Ken says quietly. "I have been a little overly emotional as of late. I will try to restrain myself from now on."

"Whatever," I mutter, slouching in my seat. What's with this guy? First he's hot and heavy, then he's cute and shy, and now he's about as lively as a dead slug! If he'd just stop giving me all these mixed messages, maybe I could figure out how I feel about HIM!

Ken takes my hand and gives it a slight squeeze, not meeting my eyes.

Tra-la-la. Cherry blossoms drifting on the wind and harp music, everything suddenly tinted with pastels. Once again, welcome to 'I Like Ken'-land: A Nice Place To Live.

Oh yeah. That's how I feel about him.

I squeeze back and he turns to meet my eyes, expression apologetic. God, his eyes. . . They've changed so much in just two days. He looks like an actual kid for the first time since I've met him. Well, not a normal kid, of course- his eyes are still a little too old.

Even my parents' eyes don't look so old.

The train comes to a stop and I get to my feet. Ken raises an eyebrow. "You know where I live," he observes.

"Wasn't too hard to figure out," I reply with a shrug. "Well, at least not for Izzy," I amend a moment later. Ken laughs as we exit the train and I get that now-familiar warm and fuzzy rush.

I can't help myself- I want to feel like this forever, and I want Ken to feel it too. Heck, I'm practically skipping: I feel like I could start turning cartwheels any second now if something doesn't bring me back down to earth quickly.



A startled-looking Taichi and Yamato stand in front of us, blocking the station exit. Talk about your reality checks. I wanted to COME down to earth, not crash.

"Hey, guys!" I greet them "cheerfully." I have to make a serious effort to keep my voice from cracking. A tip: Mind- numbing terror and crush-induced giddiness do not mix well.

"Hi, Daisuke . . ." Yamato says slowly. Taichi is less subtle.

"Where the hell have you been?!" he demands. "We thought you'd been kidnapped! Brainwashed! KILLED! And now you just turn up in a random subway station with the Digimon Kaiser and all you have to say is 'hey guys'?!"

"Ex-Kaiser," I correct automatically. "But that's pretty much right."

To my surprise, Yamato starts to laugh at the shocked expression on Taichi's face. "I don't believe it!" he says gleefully. "Daisuke, I think you've actually stunned him into silence!"

Was Yamato always this weird, or did hanging out in the digiworld just fry his brain? Before I can think too hard on the subject (I probably wouldn't like the answer anyway), something tugs on my ankle. Looking down, I see Chibimon, looking uncharacteristically solemn. He jerks his head meaningfully behind me.

I turn immediately, coming face-to-face with Ken. For a second I almost don't understand what Demiveemon wanted me to see, but then I notice Leafmon. He's trembling like a- well, like a leaf. But it's not out of fear.

Ken's whole body is shaking, even though his face is impassive. He looks like he's about to collapse any second.

"Ken," I say softly. He jerks away from me, tightening his grip on Leafmon, who yelps in surprise.

"Oh, God, Leafmon, did I hurt you?!" Ken cries, his voice panicky. He sounds this close to hysteria, and I automatically grab his shoulder for support.

"I'm okay, Ken, you just startled me," Leafmon promises quickly. "It didn't hurt."

Taichi and Yamato blink in surprise, sharing a puzzled look.

"Leafmon?" Taichi asks curiously. "Who's that?"

"Leafmon digivolves into Wormmon," I explain, shoving my hand into my pockets. I don't like the way this is going . . .

"Was he reborn?" Yamato asks curiously, leaning forward slightly to inspect the little green digimon. "How'd you find him?"

"Uhh. . ." I wince and Yamato and Taichi are immediately glaring at me.

"You did not take the Digimon Kaiser to Primary Village," Taichi says flatly. "Please tell me you didn't, Daisuke."

"Well, how else were we supposed to get Leafmon?" I ask defensively.

"You could have borrowed Ken's digivice and left him in your room while you went," Yamato replies calmly.

Crap. That was supposed to be a rhetorical question.

"Daisuke, we know you're trying to do the right thing, but it's probably not a good idea to hang out with Ken one-on-one," he continues quietly. "Especially not in the digital world."

For a moment, that stupid little reborn digimon's words ring in my head: "He IS a genius. He could be tricking you and you'd never know it until he wanted you to."

But . . .

"I trust him," I say flatly. "I promised Ken I'd give him a second chance, and if I'm doing that for him, I'm going to do it right. No red tape or only-if's. So as far as I'm concerned, he's my friend now, like you two are, and I'm going to treat him like one."

I pull my hand out of my pocket and rest it on Ken's shoulder again, meeting Yamato and Taichi's eyes without flinching. I can't back down on this. Somehow, I know it deep in my gut: without us, Ken will fall again, little by little, until one day the ground gives way completely and that kind person he was will be dragged down into the darkness and once again replaced with a deluded puppet that only thinks he's in charge.

"He's one of ours, Yamato-senpai," I say quietly. "And the Chosen Children don't leave each other behind."

Suddenly, and admittedly unexpectedly, Taichi grins and nudges Yamato with his elbow, then whispers something into his ear. Yamato's eyes widen and he stares at Taichi in shock for a moment.

"That's not funny," he says finally, still looking slightly weirded out.

"I wasn't joking," Taichi replies cheerfully.

"I think he's right, Ken and Daisuke DO make a cute couple!" Chibimon pipes up brightly, bouncing up and down a few times to emphasize his point. I forget how good his hearing is sometimes.

"Chibimon!" I hiss, feeling myself go pale even as Ken turns bright red.

"But you DO, Daisuke!" Chibimon insists.

"And weren't you two just on a da-" Leafmon starts to add. Ken claps a hand over his digimon's mouth.

"Leafmon, I love you very much and I'm very glad that you are not dead, but if you finish that sentence, I will be forced to hurt you," he murmurs under his breath even as his blush deepens.

"Can I finish it?" Chibimon asks hopefully.

I bare my teeth at him in something that might resemble a grin. "Just try it."

Chibimon takes one look at my expression and wilts. "I'll be good."

"Excellent, then!" I reply with a real grin. "No problems!"

"Right!" Chibimon agrees eagerly. "I won't tell anyone that you're dating Ken, Daisuke, don't worry!"

There is a moment of silence; then Ken and I yell: "CHIBIMON!" at the exact same moment Taichi and Yamato shout: "DAISUKE!"

Oh, THIS is going to be fun to explain.

"Uh . . ." I begin, but Taichi interrupts.

"You could've mentioned that you were gay before, you know!" he says angrily, grabbing me by the shirt. "Is THAT why you always harass my sister? So people will think you're straight?!"

I just stare at him for a moment, too shocked by the accusation to speak.

"You do realize that she likes Takeru, don't you?" Tai continues in fury, glaring at me. "The only reason they aren't together is because she doesn't want to hurt your goddamn feelings!"

"They've both been miserable for months!" Yamato adds furiously. And cue Overprotective Onii-san #2. "And all this time you were just using her?! How COULD you, Daisuke?!"

Using . . . Hikari?

They can't be serious.

"Are you NUTS?!" I yell, yanking out of Taichi's grasp. "I'd never do something like that to Hikari!"

"Then what are you doing to Ken?" Yamato asks mildly, but his glare betrays his light tone.

Ken cringes and I say something that I probably shouldn't in my anger, in my desire to make Yamato suffer for hurting someone so fragile unprovoked: "Ever hear the saying 'the thief thinks everyone is stealing form him'?" I spit.

"What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?" Taichi asks in bewilderment.

Yamato, however, understands perfectly. I'm not quite as oblivious as the others think. I can see the way he looks at Taichi just as clearly as I can see the way Takeru looks at Hikari- but Yamato is dating Sora, not Taichi.

Gee, I wonder why.

"Ken, we'd better get going," I say quietly. I'm already sorry for what I've said, but you can't take back the truth.

Ken nods quickly and follows me towards his apartment with small, hurried steps. I glance back once and see Taichi, looking very confused and comforting a shaking Yamato.

Guilt twinges in my stomach as I turn back to Ken, and I remember what Tai said.

"You do realize that she likes Takeru, don't you?"

I think that I have a very unpleasant phone call to make.

Love you, Hikari.

Love you, Ken.



* tbc . . . *



. : love is THIS : .