A/N: Second-to-last and most troublesome (not to mention probably longest) of the challengefics for my personal journal meme. Requested by Anie. Kensuke, title: "Zion of the Heart," and line: "I thought you'd never come."

SO over the limit. XP



"Zion of the Heart"



"'Zion,'" Iori read carefully from the dictionary he held. "'1. One of the hills of Jerusalem, emblematic of the house of God and later by extension of the Jewish people and religion. 2. In Christian belief, the place where God lives and is worshipped on earth or in the kingdom of heaven.'"

"Oh." Daisuke looked back down at the crumpled note in his hands. "Well . . . that was no help at all," he said lamely.

"What did you need to know that for, anyway?" Hikari asked curiously from across the room. "It doesn't sound like a word you'd normally run into, Daisuke."

"Ken wrote it," Daisuke explained with a shrug. "He said he was writing 'stream-of-conscience' and that was what came out."

"Don't you mean 'stream-of-consciousness'?" Takeru corrected dryly from his seat beside Hikari.

"Shut up, jerk!" Daisuke shot back automatically, clutching the letter defensively. "I know what I'm talking about!"

"That's a first," Miyako said with a snicker, never lifting her eyes from the magazine she was skimming.

"Why do you have that, anyway?" Iori asked as he closed the dictionary. "Stream-of-consciousness is when you write everything you're thinking, isn't it? That's kind of a personal thing to pass around."

"He's not passing it around!" Daisuke countered stubbornly. "He only gave it to me."

"Well, let me see!" Miyako demanded, making a grab for it.

"Hey!" Daisuke yelped as she snatched it away and started to look over it. "Miyako, you jerk!"

"It's not like we wouldn't all know what was in it in five minutes anyway," Takeru said dryly. "You're not known for keeping secrets, Daisuke."

"I can so!" Daisuke shouted at him, still struggling to get the paper back from Miyako. "Give it back, Miyako!"

"Holy shit." Miyako, wide-eyed, dropped the note, and Daisuke darted forward to catch it.

"Shut up," he muttered as he clutched it tightly to himself, face red.

"What's wrong?" Hikari asked, confused.

"Ken. Note. Daisuke," Miyako squeaked, and then dropped back into her former chair, face blank. "Oh. My. GOD."

"Shut UP!" Daisuke yelled again, glaring at her. "Is it really that stupid?!"

"I didn't mean-" Miyako began weakly.

"Well?!" Daisuke demanded. "Is it?!"

"No," Miyako said softly, reddening slightly. "No, it's not. I'm sorry, Daisuke . . . I shouldn't have read it without permission."

"Huh?" The others gave the pair strange looks. This exchange did not fit into their usual repartee.

"What's going on?" Takeru asked suspiciously.

"Nothing!" Miyako and Daisuke squeaked in unison.

"That's a lot of fuss for 'nothing,'" Hikari pointed out with a sigh, holding out a hand. "Let me see it, Daisuke?"

He hesitated for a second, but finally, blushing, handed it to her. Hikari had always been a weak spot for him anyway. Hikari smoothed the now slightly tattered paper out on her lap and read from it, her expressive voice lending itself rather well to the task.

" 'I need to get everything straight in my head,'" she recited carefully. " 'Without that thing in my head, it's become rather difficult to keep it all straight. I really wish I could just be normal sometimes, like Daisuke and the others. I think, though, that the things I learned as the Kaiser aren't going away.

"I don't know why I thought they would- how can you just forget everything you know that easily?- but I hoped, at least. Stupid of me. That's Takeru's department anyway. But I did hope, because if I forgot, then I wouldn't be the Kaiser after all. But I am him. Ken is the Kaiser. I don't know why I let them all pretend we aren't the same person at the core. Maybe because it feels so good . . .

"Daisuke doesn't, though. He tells me I've redeemed myself where the others just treat me like a separate entity. He's not even afraid to talk about what I did or why I did it. He's really quite clever in that way. Without him, I really believe that I would have bottled it up forever and spent my whole life pretending that I was never really the Kaiser, that it was all the Dark Spore's influence and that none of it was me. I'm not saying that I could have stopped it, but I could have resisted, certainly. I wanted to be the Kaiser and I never regretted it at all until it hurt Wormmon- until it hurt someone that belonged to me, was loyal to me. I didn't care about anyone else's pain, just mine. How can I pretend to be a hero when I am that selfish?

"I really believe that Daisuke is the only person in the world who understands me. I don't know how he does- to my knowledge, he's not had any similar experiences to mine, nor is he very close with anyone who has. He just seems to 'get it.' Perhaps it is his crests that provide the courage that he needs to see me as I am and the friendship that lets him forgive me it anyway. Or maybe it's not that and I'm just scrabbling desperately for a handhold before I fall back into that person I used to be. Maybe I'm fooling myself believing that such a perfect person could feel anything that I have.

"He is so incredible and happy and everything I want to be like. He is the one who lives in the Zion of my heart. Why would he believe in me?

"But he does. So that, I suppose, is where this feeling comes from."

Hikari lowered the paper, a mildly surprised expression on her face. Takeru and Iori both blinked once or twice, surprised to realize that it was over. Daisuke just snatched it back, face redder than ever.

"Happy now?" he asked sulkily, but gave the paper a soft look.

"He talks like he's in love with you," Takeru mumbled dazedly a second later, and then realized what he'd just said and turned crimson.

"Ken always talks about Daisuke like that," Hikari replied with a little smile, putting a hand on Daisuke's shoulder. "Thank you for letting me read it," she told him. "I appreciate it very much."

"Well, whatever," Daisuke muttered, blush deepening. "Anyway, Ken said I could show you guys if I wanted to."

"He did?" Miyako gave him an odd look. "Why?"

"Dunno." Daisuke shrugged and looked back down at the paper, his eyes softening. "He just said I should think about it, and then he was going to ask me a question."

"He's late," Iori realized a second later. "Ken's never late."

"He's gonna meet us at the restaurant," Daisuke said quietly. "He said to come if I felt like I could, and if I couldn't, to just go do something else with you guys."

"Did he say how long he'd wait?" Takeru asked.

"Dummy." Hikari smiled at him. "This is Daisuke, and that's Ken. You know he'll wait all day. Wouldn't I wait for you?"

Takeru reddened slightly. "That's really not the same thing," he said sheepishly.

"Of course it is," Hikari said patiently, like a girl used to explaining such simple things as the intricacies of other people's lives and feelings on a regular basis. "Now, Daisuke, do you want to go find out what that question is?"

"I think I kinda already know," Daisuke mumbled.

"Then do you want to go answer it?" she prodded, giving him an encouraging smile.

She needn't have bothered. Daisuke already had his coat on.



The restaurant. It was cheap and loud and overall pleasant enough, if you didn't mind the teenagers lounging everywhere.

Ken was smiling at Daisuke.

"I thought you'd never come."

"And they call you a genius?"

There really wasn't anything else to say.



* fin *



. : i would wait forever to hear your voice : .