Title: Goes The Spoils
Focus: Ichijouji Ken, Motomiya Daisuke
Timeline: Late July 2002. Post Iori getting the Digimental of Faith and before Wizarmon's ghost appears at the TV station.
Summary: A challenge, a race, and to the victor...
For: Katalyna, reward fic for the Ken/Daisuke Mailing List Challenge. That was a while ago...
There were many things that the Digimon Kaiser enjoyed doing now that he'd moved permanently to the world he was claiming as his own. Among them were researching more and better ways to control Digimon, selecting just the right aspects of just the right ones for his grand project, finding ways to defeat the little insects who were trying to defeat him, and running.
There was something amazingly good about pounding through some quiet forested area, or even across a broad plain, the wind pulling at his hair and playing with his cape as if it were as alive as he was. He hadn't been called 'The Rocket' just because of his speed on the soccer field, after all. He could've just as easily been a track star, if he'd wanted to be. It was more fun to order the team around, though, and good practice for his experiences in the Digital World. Leading a group of pathetic cretins to victory was much like heading up an army of his slaves, after all.
Being by himself as he ran had many good points, enough to outweigh always being surrounded by whatever the current crop of his favorites was. It enabled him to look over his empire without interference, and without having to go up and down on top of his AirDramon's head. They were useful for swift travel, but for detail work, he had to use his own eyes. It made sense, though. The adage had been proven true time and time again. If you have to do something and want it done right, do it yourself. It had been in his mind enough that he'd ridden one here in the first place before he'd started his swift trek through the hills and woods spreading out beneath his fortress' current location.
He paused for a moment as he reached the top of a hill, wiping away a thin stream of sweat. The sun of the Digital World could be just as hot and punishing as that of Earth, and he'd been running for a while. Part of him found it a little amazing that this game-construction kept to the same schedule of seasons, days, and nights that Earth did. It must have to do with the basic programming of it. He considered trying to tap into that and see what he could work out of it. Twenty-four hours in a day were most definitely not enough.
I should probably get back to the fortress. Wormmon was probably coming out of his overprotective skin by now since he'd been gone so long. The little pest couldn't get it through his head that the Digimon Kaiser didn't need to be guarded and watched over like some kind of child. He turned back to look at the panorama spread out before him, spying a river that trickled casually through the valley beneath the hill, surrounded by thick trees and what looked like a small Gotsumon village. Not worth the effort, he decided.
It really was amazing at times how so much of this place looked like Earth, or a pastoral Earth at least. There were places that were also modern or even highly advanced cities, but right here, it looked as the Earth might have, before the dawn of civilization. The rise on which he stood was part of a long rolling chain of nearly identical hills that stretched for a long distance before flattening out into a lush plain that merged with the one that extended before him. It was a little too far away even for his perfect vision and hearing to be certain of, but he thought the Digital Ocean was in that direction. It looked nice enough, if one were into that kind of thing. I suppose whoever programmed it was into fantasy and such things. As if called up by the mere thought, a herd of Unimon and Shima Unimon trotted into view, emerging from between two of the hills a short distance away from his vantage point. They headed directly for the water, one of them keeping an eye out for trouble. Ken smirked to himself; they had no idea how close they were to real trouble.
This was the type of thing that made him so angry with Wormmon for daring to think that his master needed guidance, guarding, or any of that. It wasn't as if he couldn't handle anything that came his way, after all. He could summon an Evil Ring or Spiral anywhere, at any time, so any unenslaved Digimon that actually had the nerve to attack him would be taken care of, and he was in territory that he controlled, after all. The amount of free Digimon here was very small, and those that were around weren't capable of hurting him in the first place. Those Unimon might've had a small chance, but he was certain of his capabilities to capture them all, if it had been necessary. Though if he were being fully honest, it was entirely possible that some powerful Digimon who was traveling might have entered the area unknown and undetected, but he doubted it very much. The route he'd picked had further led to his safety, since it was within sight of the Dark Tower he'd erected in the area. Very few Digimon stayed in the area of one of those.
Just turning to the left a little gave him a perfect view of the Tower itself, actually. It stretched up about sixty feet into the air, perfect on all sides, a seamless monument to his power. If he didn't know better, he would have sworn that it had grown there naturally instead of being put in by his work crews. There wasn't even a break in the grass underneath it. He admired it briefly, then looked back to the scenery stretched out before him. His skilled eyes picked out a few other places that were likely to house Digimon who could be useful to him, and he reminded himself to come back here when he had more time to explore around.
"Tim-berrrrrr!!" The cry split the silent air so suddenly it took even him by surprise, as well as sending the Unimon herd galloping away as swiftly as their hooves could carry them. His hand fell to his whip at once, looking around for whatever was causing all of this commotion. He had a fairly good idea of what it was already, and his suspicions were confirmed when his Tower collapsed and fell, smoke rising from the holes that now marred it's perfection. The Kaiser's eyes narrowed coldly. That voice, combined with what had just happened, could mean only one thing.
Motomiya Daisuke was in the area.
He was the only one of the Chosen Children who was even worth Ken's time to fight, and the only one who made it a real challenge. Everyone else just had too many weak spots he could probe and pick at until they fell helplessly at his feet. He just hadn't had the time to do it yet. Daisuke, on the other hand, was something far different. Ken wasn't certain just what it was, but he knew when he defeated the group, Daisuke wasn't going to have any fate other than to be in his clutches for the rest of time. After all, what better trophy could the Kaiser of the Digital World have than the leader of those who had plotted and fought against him for so long?
Ken stalked a few feet back towards the destruction, intent on delivering a blistering lecture to the annoyance if nothing else. Before he got very far, a much more interesting idea sprang into his head fully formed, and he stopped in his tracks to examine it more closely. It had everything that appealed to him, in large doses. Assured triumph for him, humiliation for his enemy, in at least two different ways, and maybe even more if things went at their optimal best.
But first he had to get everything into position. He put two fingers in his mouth and whistled sharply, summoning his current AirDramon transportation. The creature hovered overhead moments later with a silent whisper of wind through feathers and over scales, and Ken gracefully leaped up to perch on top of its head in his usual traveling position. "Back to the fortress, AirDramon. I have some plans to make, and I need to hurry."
The Digimon twisted in midair, undulating through the skies until his traveling home was before him. Ken waited just until the AirDramon had landed before he leaped off. "Stay right here. I won't be long," he commanded the creature, then stalked inside, snapping out orders as soon as the door slid shut behind him. "Wormmon! I need five or ten Tyrannomon fitted with spirals immediately. I do have five in storage, correct?"
"Yes, master," His "partner" wriggled out of the shadows and stared up at him, curiosity in those annoyingly incompetent blue eyes. "You have nearly twenty, actually."
"Excellent," Ken smirked as he stalked into his throne room and took his seat. His keyboard sprang into existence in front of him and he started quickly typing, searching for his prey's exact location. It was too much to hope for that the child would stay where he'd been. "I want them all ready for a very special mission."
Wormmon tilted his head to the side, his brow furrowed. "What kind of a mission is it, Ken?"
The Kaiser's glare was visible even through his sunglasses. "Don't call me Ken! For that, I won't be taking you on this mission," He snorted quite rudely. "You might even have been useful to me for once. I'll have to work out something else, though."
Wormmon's eyes nearly started out of his head, his antenna twitching in shocked confusion. "I can help you, master? How? I'll do anything!"
His master glanced briefly down at him, an amused air about him. "Do you expect me to change my decision just because you're begging? I said no, and that's what I meant."
The caterpillar Digimon snuggled up against his leg, purring as he tried to soften his lord's displeasure. "Please, master, I'm so sorry, I'll do anything to make it up to you, really I will! I just forgot."
Several silent moments passed as the Kaiser worked, then he finally stood. "See to it the Tyrannomon are ready. Then get your lazy self to the AirDramon launching area if you want to come along." Without so much as another look to the small Digimon, the self-proclaimed master of the Digital World stalked back to where his AirDramon was waiting for him. Wormmon stared after him for a few moments, then hurried along to give the Tyrannomon their orders. He wasn't going to miss out on the chance to be with Ken for anything. And Ken knew it.
As a general rule, Motomiya Daisuke could always be heard before he could be seen. Either he was talking about something or with someone or he was laughing or any combination of the three. Right now, he was laughing as he lay with his partner beside a glistening river, splashing the small bundle of blue joy that the Digital World had seen fit to give him as a partner. After having taking down the Kaiser's tower in this area, he thought he was entitled to just a few moments of rest, and this handy place was just perfect.
Ken watched from the top of his AirDramon, eyes cold and unsmiling behind his concealing glasses. It would be too easy to take him out completely. Far too easy, which was why he wasn't going to do it. There were things far more amusing in this game than just winning.
"Now," The single word fell on Wormmon's ears like the beacon of all hope. He balanced himself quickly, then leaped off of the AirDramon's head. "Sticky Net!" He spewed out the massive silken threads, entwining V-mon and Daisuke both in the space of a few heartbeats before landing with a thump next to them. He looked back up at Ken proudly. "I did it, master!"
Ken leaped down, his feet landing firmly on the ground with the kind of air that any conqueror has. "Excellent work, Wormmon. You might actually be useful for one or two things after all," He turned his attention from the caterpillar to his new captives. "And what do we have here? A pair of trespassers in my private preserve."
"The Digital World doesn't belong to you, Ken!" Daisuke struggled against Wormmon's strong thread as hard as he could, but the caterpillar had spun it far too tightly for a normal human to break free from easily. "Let us go!"
The Kaiser's smirk was impressive, even for him. "I just might. But only if you can earn it, Motomiya." He stalked a little closer, amethyst eyes gleaming with suppressed mirth. "Do you think you stand a chance?"
Daisuke jerked forward, managing to snap a couple of smaller threads as he did so. "I can do anything you can do, and do it better!"
"Are you so sure of that?" Ken's voice was sweeter than honey and layered with poison. "Because you just might have to live up to your boasting if you keep it up."
The leader of the Chosen just struggled harder, breaking a few more threads as he did. "Yeah, I'm sure! What, you want to prove it?"
"That's exactly what I have in mind. A little test, to see which of us is the best at something," Ken jumped on the opportunity as it came so very easily. "I already know I am, of course, but I'm feeling generous enough today to let you prove it to yourself."
Daisuke stopped in his attempts to get free long enough to look incredulously at his enemy. "Just what are you saying here?"
"A race," Ken got to the point. "We race over a course I've already laid out. None of my Digimon, and none of your annoying friends, to complicate things. Just you and me, one on one," His smile held more than it's fair share of amusement and confidence. "With a prize, of course."
The redhead eyed him, showing a sudden depth of suspiciousness that Ken had never dreamed was there before. It was rather refreshing, in a way. "What kind of a prize? I won't betray my friends!"
"I never suggested that," A low chuckle slipped from between Ken's lips. "Perhaps you might want to think about doing it, however, if the thought comes so easily to you. But what I was thinking of was something much more simple. The winner can make one request of the loser, with the restriction that they cannot ask them to give up their basic nature. I won't ask that you join me, and you won't ask that I give up my empire. Understood?"
Ken could almost see the wheels churning in Daisuke's head, and waited patiently. He knew exactly what the answer was going to be; Daisuke's buttons were insanely easy to push. The goggle-wearing Chosen finally looked up at him. "So how do I know you're not going to cheat if I say yes? It wouldn't be the first time you played some sort of mind game on me, you know."
"You wouldn't be referring to that little incident with the Bakemon and Deltamon, would you?"
"Did you play some other mind game on me and I wasn't there for it?" Daisuke paused for a moment, thinking. "Then again, since this is you we're talking about, I wouldn't be surprised if you did."
The Kaiser simply shook his head. "Daisuke, I always get what I want. I wanted you humiliated, and I managed that. If I want you dead now, then I will have that, too. But what I want is for you to race with me. You even get to live and go free, whether you win or lose. It's a simple race. What do you really have to lose?" A slow smile appeared. "Except for what I plan on claiming from you once you do lose."
"Which is going to be?"
Ken had never been more amused. Things were working out precisely the way he wanted them to. Daisuke was responding to the mental script almost perfectly! If he didn't know better, he'd think that the boy was telepathic! "Oh, I won't be telling you that right now. But if you agree, we can get started, and then you can find out once you lose."
"You're really starting to get on my nerves with that attitude, you know," Daisuke growled, which Ken found rather amusing. He almost sounded as if he thought Ken should be scared of him or something!
"Of course I know. I know everything, as I believe I've told you before. Last time, Daisuke. Yes or no?"
His enemy stared at him, huge brown eyes full of fire and fury, then finally, "Yes. I'll run your stupid little race with you!"
"That was all you ever had to say," Ken got a good grip on the webbing and yanked as hard as he was capable. With a horrendous rip, the sticky stuff fell apart, leaving Daisuke free to get up. As he came to his feet, he started brushing at his jacket and shorts where a few stray tendrils still clung resiliently.
"Oh, great. I don't even know if I can wash this stuff!" Daisuke glared over at Wormmon, who cowered back quickly from the furious gaze and started to mumble about how he'd just wanted to make his Ken happy. The young leader's expression softened at once. "Hey, sorry about that. I didn't mean it, really I didn't."
The tiny caterpillar slowly peeked up at him and his beak opened into what must have been something like a smile. "It's all right. I've been yelled at before, I'm used to it."
Ken cleared his throat sharply, tapping the stock of his whip against one spandex-clad thigh. "Wormmon, no one wanted you to say anything, and to be specific I don't want you to say anything. Stay here with V-mon and my AirDramon and wait for us to return." Without waiting for any kind of a response, the Kaiser seized hold of Daisuke's arm and started to drag him along.
"Hey! Leggo! What are you doing??" Daisuke dug his heels into the soft earth underneath him and hauled back as hard as he could, refusing to go another step. "Let me go, Ken!"
The blue-haired tyrant's fingers closed more firmly around his captive's arm. "We are going to race and we're not starting it from here, you fool. I told you that I had the course already laid out so that's where we're going. Or are you going to try and go back on your word?"
Daisuke kept on tugging, but his enemy's grip was simply too firm. "No, I'm not, but you don't have to drag me along like I'm some kind of kid! Whoa!" The exclamation came because Ken stopped in his tracks, and since Daisuke was still trying to get away, that had the net result of the hyper young boy slamming right into the Kaiser.
"Now, now, there's no need to be grabby," Ken pushed him away. "If you don't think you need to be dragged, then come along and don't waste time. Or do you really think I want those little friends of yours interfering in my game any more?" He turned from Daisuke a little, an amused smile floating about his lips. "As if they actually could but why take chances?"
Something about the way he said that caught at Daisuke's attention and he glared rather warily at his enemy. "What have you done to them?"
"Nothing. I just sent them a few friends to play with. They enjoy destroying my rings and spirals so much, I sent them some to take care of," He started down the path Daisuke had followed here to the river, motioning for the other to follow him. "Of course, they did happen to be wrapped around a few Tyrannomon, so they might take a while to get rid of them."
Daisuke stared, not believing what it was he'd just heard. "You did what? I'm not playing your games anymore, Ken!" He whirled around and was about to run back to V-mon when a gloved hand landed firmly on his shoulder.
"You're going to do just what you said you would, which is play the game that I want you to play," the Kaiser yanked him around firmly as he spoke. "If you're even mildly capable of thought, which I highly doubt, realize this: you don't know where they are and I can call up any number of troops between here and there so you'll only get there if I let you. The only way you can get to them is to run my race. Win or lose, I will let you go to them. I'll even show them to you."
Without waiting to see what Daisuke was going to do this time, he turned back and started along his way once more. Daisuke watched his enemy's retreating back for a second, then started to follow him, resentment in every step he took. He was beginning to develop a severe hatred for games.
The starting point for their little race wasn't all that far from where Daisuke had been caught in the first place. Ken didn't want his opponent tired out by the travel, after all. Daisuke didn't think for a moment this was because of any sense of fair play. Ken just liked knowing that even when Daisuke was at his best, he himself was better. He understood his enemy better than many would have thought he did.
"Now, this is the race route," Ken made no special motions, but a semi-transparent hologram appeared in front of them as he spoke. Daisuke was forcibly reminded of the time when the Kaiser had created an image of himself to taunt them before appearing in person. He pulled his mind away from the past to focus on what was going on right now. Ken had already shown he didn't like having to explain things more than once.
The hologram showed the two of them standing where they were, represented by a pair of glowing dots. As Daisuke watched, a line appeared, tracing a circuitous and convoluted course through some rough terrain, and at last ending on the top of something that looked to be part mountain and part hill, a bit too low to be one and yet too high to be the other.
"You expect us to run through all of that?" Daisuke tried to figure out just what they'd be going by. It looks...well, it doesn't look easy but I've seen worse cross-country race courses.
Ken's smirk returned. Daisuke noticed absently that it never really seem to leave; it just wasn't as obvious most of the time. "What's the matter, Motomiya? Don't you think you can handle it?"
"Of course I can! I can handle anything you can!" Daisuke knew that Ken was pushing his buttons, and he shouldn't give the Kaiser what he wanted, but he just couldn't help himself. He had to do this. Besides, he'd already given his word. There wasn't anything else he could do.
"Good," The hologram faded away. "If you get lost, I'll be sure to send someone to pick you up so I can claim my prize. I really don't want to miss out on that."
Daisuke snorted. "So what is it you're going to try and get from me?"
"Oh, you'll find out," The Kaiser removed his cape and carefully folded it, leaving it hung over a convenient tree branch, then stretched a little. Daisuke tugged off his own jacket and draped it where he could come back for it later. A few stretches got him nicely warmed up as well, and the two runners fell into place beside each other.
"I'm going to run you into the ground, Ken," Daisuke liked using the Kaiser's real name. It annoyed him, and it was fun to see that cool crack even the smallest bit.
Ken didn't seem to mind so much right now, however. "We'll see about that...Daisuke," Everything seemed to fall silent in that moment, then his voice whipped out, "Go!"
The two of them leaped forward in near perfect unison, falling into a smooth, even stride. Daisuke grinned confidently to himself; Ken wasn't as fast as he'd thought he was! Heck, the spiky-haired despot had been faster when they were on the soccer field that time! Wait a second! I know he's faster than this! I've seen it! He's playing with me!
The young Chosen growled under his breath. Ken was going to pay for underestimating him. He ran even faster, catching up to the Kaiser and passing him. Ken didn't seem to notice, and just kept going on with that same graceful stride. Daisuke ran on and on, pushing himself as hard as he could, determined to win this race.
Ken chuckled to himself; perhaps he should award the child something for amusing him so much! Then again, what he planned on claiming was reward enough in itself. Letting Daisuke think he actually stood a chance of winning was just an extra spice.
Daisuke stayed out in front all the way until they had nearly reached the end of the course. He'd lost track of all the nervous glances he'd shot back at Ken as they'd ran, but the Kaiser seemed perfectly content to remain in second place. He's planning something.
Just what Ken was planning became evident as they started up the trail that led to the top of the hill that was the finish line. Daisuke paused briefly to catch his breath, wiping his sweat-soaked forehead. He half-expected Ken to do the same, then stared as the Kaiser suddenly burst past him, as fresh as if this were the start of the race, and going at a rate Daisuke knew he couldn't meet.
That didn't stop him from charging after Ken as fast as his weary legs could move, though. He ignored the blazing sun, the hot wind, the force of gravity itself against him as he made his way uphill, and the way the trail seemed to twist and turn and stones found their way under his feet causing him to stumble. Ken didn't seem to bothered by any of those, he wouldn't be either.
As much as he tried, though, he couldn't compete with Ken's longer legs and seemingly wind-like speed. All too soon, Daisuke panted his way around the final bend of the path to see the Kaiser standing there at the designated finishing spot, a cool and relaxed grin spread across his features. Two words fell from those arrogant lips. "I win."
Daisuke took a few more steps, then flopped down in his tracks. He took in great gasps of air and stared down at the ground under his feet, burning with exhaustion and the great need to punch that superior look off of Ken's face.
"You did better than I really thought you would," Ken told him, casually striding over. "You never stood a chance, but you still were...adequate."
"Oh, shut up."
Ken chuckled softly as his hands closed on Daisuke's shoulders and he pulled his enemy to his feet. "Time for me to claim my prize," he lifted Daisuke's head so the two of them were looking into each other's eyes. "Tell me, have you ever been kissed before?"
Daisuke stared at him in surprise, shaking his head before the implications of the question really sank into him. Ken smirked smugly. "Excellent."
He leaned forward, his lips fastening on Daisuke's in a deep, rich, unexpectedly wonderful kiss. Daisuke stood stiffly, not at all certain what was going on or what he was expected to do about it. At last Ken stepped back, a very satisfied look to his eyes. "Not bad at all," he leaned forward again to whisper in Daisuke's ear, "That's what I wanted from you, Motomiya. Your first kiss. No matter what happens in the future, you will always live with knowing that the first person to touch your lips was your mortal enemy. That you gave me the right to do it, and did it of your own free will. Nothing you can do will ever change that fact."
Ken licked his lips as if to savor the taste of Daisuke on them, then pointed without looking to one side. "I always keep my word, Motomiya. I said I'd show you where your friends are, and there they are," Ken chuckled softly as Daisuke turned to see the other Chosen, looking battle-weary and battle-torn, just a short distance away. It was plainly obvious that they were close enough to see the kiss that had just happened, but not hear their conversation. "Enjoy trying to explain what they just saw."
He whistled sharply, leaping up at the same moment, and landed neatly on his AirDramon, Wormmon cuddling up by his feet as he did. "See you around, worthy adversary. Work on that kissing. I might want a rematch."
The Kaiser soared away on his slave, not deigning to look below him as he did. None of that mattered to him. He was the victor, and to the victor goes the spoils.