Legal Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters presented here and this is done only for entertainment purposes.
Title: Chores
Romance: Ken/Daisuke
Rated: PG-13
Season/Timeline: Digimon Adventure 02, plus approximately fourteen years.
Summary: Ken's coming home from a trip, and Daisuke has a few things he just needs to get done.
Note: This fanfic has a guest-starring appearance by Night, who entered the lives of Ichijouji Ken and Motomiya Daisuke in the work by the same name, written by myself and LadyDragon. As this fanfic is a birthday-fic for LadyDragon, whose special day was December 11, I mentioned the kitty, who is based off of my own cat Max.

Panic. Fear. Disorder. That might be what ended the work of some, but as far as Motomiya Daisuke was concerned, this was just the beginning. He stared at the apartment all around him, or to be more specific: at the disaster that was pretending to be an apartment around him.

I am so screwed. He dragged his eyes back over to the calender, where the day was circled in both red and blue. Red meant that it was a coming back day; when Ken returned from making the rounds at his latest architectural wonder. That would've been cause enough for panic. It was the blue that was sending the young Chosen of Friendship and Courage out of his mind.

It was also Ichijouji Ken's twenty-fifth birthday.

The worst part wasn't that he'd forgotten, something he almost never had in all the years since they'd first become friends. It wasn't even the total disaster that the apartment was right now. If he really pushed himself, he could clean all that up inside of an hour. He even had a gift ready; bought two months earlier and just waiting to be given.

The really worst part of this whole thing was that Ken wouldn't care that he'd forgotten. He'd just smile, hug and kiss him, and say it was all right. Daisuke could already see the forgiveness glowing in his lover's eyes, and Ken wasn't even there.

He knew he should get at least a little lecture for having lost track of time like this. What kind of a boyfriend was he to forget something like this? Ken's never forgotten any of my birthdays, even for a second or two.

It wasn't even as if Ken had been gone all that long, either. It had only been a week since they'd bid farewell to each other at the train station. If Daisuke thought about it, he could still remember the feel of Ken's arms around him, and taste his love's lips on his. There was just no excuse whatsoever for it.

"I have to do something," he murmured to himself, staring more and more at the piles of unwashed clothes, unwashed dishes, and general untidiness all around. "I have to do something!"

As if someone had turned a switch on inside of him, Daisuke started working. He seized all the clothes he could get his hands on and shoved them into the washer, dumped several handfuls of detergent and bleach in after them, and turned it on. I know Mom used to seperate things, but I just don't have time right now, and what harm could it do? Ken usually washed their clothes, and he did...something or other when he did, but Daisuke had no idea what it was. Besides, they were all made out of the same general fabric, so hot water and detergent would have the same effect on them. It was logical. Ken had said something about the wash before he'd left, but Daisuke couldn't remember what it was. It couldn't have been that important.

Next came the dishes. He turned the hot water on and let it pour into the sink, then followed it with the dish-soap and dishes. "They can soak until I'm ready to get to them," he decided. Soaking was good for dishes, it made them easier to clean.

Things were looking better in the apartment already. Ken had left it looking so perfect, and it was going to look even better when he got back. Daisuke could already imagine the sparkle of surprise in Ken's eyes, and the dawning tenderness as he realized Daisuke was responsible for all of this.

He checked the clock; Ken's train wasn't due for another couple of hours at least. I'm going to meet him down there, so I've got time. What else can I do...oh, yes, I know! Ken was going to be hungry when he got home, and what better way to welcome the birthday boy home than with a delicious meal?

What to make was the next question, and the knottiest. Ken tended to eating more traditionally, as did Daisuke himself, but none of what they had on hand looked even remotely appetizing. "Something special," the redhead eyed the food with a jaundiced eye. "Something that really fits for Ken." All the usual words one would use for someone of his rare coloring flickered through Daisuke's mind, and were all discarded. Ken was just Ken, one of a kind (and many were glad of that, but none more so than Daisuke himself), and worthy of all the greatest things in life.

What's that sound? Daisuke glanced a bit towards the laundry room as a strange grinding sound, coupled with something that reminded him vaguely of a river, echoed through the apartment. Oh, well, it's probably Night doing something or other. The coal-black cat that had entered their lives almost two years earlier was continually getting into things, no matter how relevant they were, or weren't, to a cat's business.

He had other things on his mind at the moment than seeing what mischief his cat was up to, however. He grabbed his wallet, train fare, and shoes and headed out as quickly as he could, making a list of what he was going to need as he did. Behind him, unnoticed, the grinding and the 'river' continued.



~*~

Half an hour later, Daisuke made his way back up to his front door, carefully carrying three bags of groceries. "Oops!" He bent one arm in a way that defied both the laws of nature and the laws of literary description to catch one of the bags before it fell. He lowered it to the floor, put the other two beside it, and grabbed for his keys, bouncing in place at the same time.

This was going to work out so fine! There was still an hour and a half, at least, until Ken got home. He could put the clothes in the dryer, wash up the dishes, and would probably be pulling dinner out of the oven before he had to go racing down to the train station. Things had looked bad before, but now they were going to be perfect.

Squish.

Squish? Daisuke looked down at the welcome mat outside the door and frowned. Did I just hear a squish? He tapped at the mat.

Squish. A very definite squish.

He looked more closely at the mat, and in the space of a single heartbeat, no one could have guessed that Motomiya Daisuke usually sported a deep tan. He was as white as the proverbial ghost.

Daisuke slammed the key into the lock and threw the door open, dashing inside and looking around as he tried to figure out where it was all coming from. Two scenes presented themselves, and his paleness somehow managed to become paler.

The washer's lid was open, with suds spurting out of it, and a few clothes hanging loose as well. Only a few feet away, the sink was full of dirty dishes, well-soaked, and water was merrily pouring over the edge and onto the floor. It had reached halfway across the room by now, with small kitty-cat prints through it that proved Night had been by.

"I. Am. Dead." Daisuke whispered softly. Ken wouldn't kill him. Ken would try to protect him. No, the landlord was going to strangle him, and Daisuke couldn't think of any logical reason why he shouldn't just let him.

He took a step, then seized the nearest table to hold onto before he went sliding. Okay, better be careful with that. Daisuke looked around a little more carefully, then nodded briefly. Things weren't all that bad. He could still salvage them. But first things first.

A quick jaunt back to the door got the groceries inside, and some fast work with a mop and the thickest, most absorbant towels he could get his hands on, provided a workable kitchen floor. He'd needed to clean that anyway, and since the water and soap were already there now, that was just a sign he should take care of that first.

Time ticked by. Daisuke pulled the clothes out of the washer and stuffed half of them in the dryer; obviously the only thing wrong there was that he'd put in too many and it had overloaded. Once that was taken care of, he cleaned up enough of the kitchen so he could get to cooking. He had spent most of his ready cash on a type of meal he and Ken had indulged in only rarely: steak, of the very best quality. It had been outrageously expensive, but Ken was worth it, and the extras he'd bought to go with it. There was even wine, of the best year he could afford.

As everything sizzled neatly there, he washed, dried, and put away as many of the dishes as he could. He kept an eye on the food, turning the steaks until they were perfectly cooked, then put them where Night wouldn't sink so much as a claw or a tooth into them while he got the vegetables and other things ready.

Daisuke was quite pleased with himself as the clock counted down the last few minutes. The laundry was taken care of, neatly folded, if somewhat spotty for some unknown reason, and put away. Every floor in the apartment gleamed, and all the trash had been disposed of. Lovely dinner aromas filled the air.

I was supposed to go pick him up, wasn't I? Daisuke stared at the clock as he finished putting dinner on the table. It would look so perfect when Ken came in and saw it, complete with candles and freshly poured wine! He's getting there now and I'm not going to be there!

He hadn't taken more than three steps towards the door when it opened, and a familiar form stood there. Ichijouji Ken smiled gently and lovingly at him. "Surprise, Daisuke. I caught an earlier train so..." As he looked around the apartment, he trailed off. "Daisuke, did you...clean?"

"Oh, just a little," the other man brushed it off lightly, his eyes dancing with joy. "I had to do something to keep occupied." He fidgeted a little, suddenly supremely aware of how fine the apartment looked: and how completely hideous he looked, with dirt and grease splattered all over his clothes, some not quite dry spots from cleaning the floors, and a few stains that were better not named or mentioned. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too," Ken came inside, putting his bag of clothes down absently. "Where are Wormmon and V-mon?"

"They're in the Digital World," Daisuke told him, trying to brush some of the hair out of his eyes. "Something about leaving us time alone together." He grinned as he twined an arm around Ken, ignoring the stains on the other's clothes that was producing. "Happy birthday, Ken."

He leaned in for a kiss, then both of them jumped apart as a loud noise came from the kitchen. Daisuke's eyes narrowed; there was only one thing that it could be. Both of them hurried in, and stood side by side staring.

"Night..." Daisuke whispered. "Oh, Night!"

The sleek black cat stood proudly in the center of the table, a mouse still wiggling between those sharp teeth. The steaks, and everything else Daisuke had so carefully prepared, were now on the floor in a heap, sent spinning there when Night had leaped onto the table in search of the small prey. Never before had a cat looked so smug as this one did right now.

"Steak?" Ken's attention was on other things than Daisuke's cat. "You made steak for my birthday, Daisuke?" He sounded absolutely awe-struck. "You know how expensive that is."

"So?" Daisuke started to clean up the mess, wincing at the grease stains across the once-pristine floor. "Doesn't matter to me, Ken." How could Ken think something like that? How could Night do something like this after all of his hard work?

The young architect touched Daisuke's arm lightly. "Why don't we go out for dinner? We can clean up the rest of this when we get back."

Daisuke blinked at him in confusion. "I'm not really dressed for going out...and you're tired..."

"Not that tired," Ken opposed him. "And all you really need to do is take a shower and change. I know you can do that fast. I really want to do something to treat you, Daisuke. I think you've had a worse day than you want to let on."

The other looked even more confused, and Ken smiled, bringing up one finger to touch his eyes. "You look almost ready to cry, Daisuke. That almost never happens with you when Night does something. So, you put a lot more into all of this than you want to say. You deserve this. This is my gift to myself: making you happy again."

Tears were indeed welling up in Daisuke's eyes, but he couldn't be certain if they were tears of joy or of sorrow. "Oh, Ken," he whispered softly, leaning closer to him. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Ken smiled, holding him. "Now go get cleaned up."

As Daisuke hurried away, Ken glanced down at himself and shook his head ruefully. His charcoal gray business suit, proper wear for the young up and coming architect checking out the site, was covered with grease and even a few black hairs now. It looked as if Daisuke wasn't the only one who would have to get cleaned up and changed.

Well, there was no real problem about that. The nice casual outfit that Sora had given him that past Christmas would be just perfect. He opened up the closet and reached for it expectantly.

"Daisuke? Did you happen to do laundry while I was gone? Because there's this very odd stain right in the middle of one of my favorite suits."

The End