Disclaimer: Digimon and all things related to the Digimon are the property of big companies like
Saban and Bandai. I'm not a big company, I'm a little college student, and I don't own Digimon.
Author's Note: Forget everything you know about Season 2. I'm starting at the very beginning
and doing it again, my way. Things are going to be very different this time, and it all starts with a
little boy and his Digivice...

By: SilvorMoon

"Can I play with the computer, Sam?" asked the little boy, standing up on his tiptoes to try
to see the screen.

The older boy barely glanced at his younger brother. "I'm in the middle of a game! Can't
you wait?"

"Sorry." Ken hung his head and scuffed his toe on the floor. "You've just been playing a
long time, and I wanted a chance to play."

"Well, you're going to have to wait," Sam replied. "I've almost beaten this level, and I'm
not going to quit now. Besides, you know what Mom and Dad would say if they caught me
playing video games instead of doing my homework."

"But when they get home, you'll need the computer to do your homework, and I still
won't get to play!" Ken protested.

"Sorry. That's the way it is, Kenny-boy," said Sam. "Maybe after I beat this boss...
Almost... Got it! Yes!"

The computer screen came alive with video graphic fires as a horrible monster met his
doom at Sam's capable hands. Then it began to flash, shimmering with a strange blue light. Sam
became quiet, and Ken stared at it with wide eyes.

"Oh, that's pretty!" he exclaimed.

His brother's reaction was somewhat less enthusiastic.

"I don't think it's supposed to do that," he said nervously. "Don't tell me the computer's
broken! It wasn't doing this yesterday. Ken, have you been messing with my computer? You
know I told you not to-"

The scolding ended abruptly as the monitor seemed to explode, and something burst out
of the screen and clattered to the floor. Then everything went back to normal, showing only a
video game on pause. The boys barely noticed. They were both more interested in the object that
had appeared.

"What is it?" asked Ken, staring at it in fascination.

"I don't know, Kenny-boy, but I'm going to find out," Sam replied. He knelt next to it and
carefully picked it up. He stared at it a moment, then picked it up and shook it. He stared at it
some more.

"Well?" Ken asked. "Have you found out yet?"

"No. It's weird - I've never seen anything quite like it," said Sam. "I guess I'll just hang
on to it a while. Maybe Dad will know what it is, or one of the science teachers at school. I never
heard of a computer doing this before, though. I don't understand how it happened."

"That must be a really good video game," said the younger boy. "Let me look at the thing,
Sam! Please? Please?"

"You don't need to look at it. You can see it just fine from where you are," Sam replied.

"No I can't! I want to hold it! Come on, Sam, I won't hurt it, I just want to look!" Ken

Sam sighed. "You're such a pest sometimes. All right, if it will make you happy, I'll let
you hold it - but only for a minute, and then you've got to give it back. All right?"

"All right!" Ken promised, putting out an eager hand for the device.

Sam handed over the object to his brother. The instant it touched Ken's hand, the
computer began to glow again, spilling out dazzling blue light that filled the whole room, and Sam
raised his arm to shield his eyes. Somewhere - it sounded distant - he thought he heard his brother
laughing in delight, and then the sound vanished entirely. The lights faded. Sam lowered his arm
and looked around the room, and was stunned to find that his little brother had disappeared.

"Ken!" he exclaimed. "Ken, where did you go? This isn't funny, Kenny-boy! Come out
right this minute, before I get mad! Ken?"

There was no answer. There was no sign of the little boy at all. Sam hung his head in

"Oh, no," he sighed. "Mom and Dad are going to kill me! Ken, come back here!


Ken found himself standing in a forest, with no idea of how he had gotten there or how he
was going to get back, and he was not afraid. On the contrary, for a little boy alone in a strange
world, he was feeling pretty comfortable. There was something about this place that felt
welcoming to him, and he wanted to take some time to explore.

"I wonder where I am?" he said aloud. "This sure doesn't look like home."

"This is the Digital World," answered a little voice. "Welcome! I've been waiting a long
time to meet you."

"Who said that?" asked Ken, spinning in a circle. He couldn't see anyone.

"I did," the voice replied. "I'm down here!"

Ken looked down. Only a few inches from his foot was a small green creature, partially
wrapped in a cocoon of some sort. It had bright black eyes, a single hair (or was it a stem?) on its
head, and a pink beak for a mouth. It was one of the funniest creatures Ken had seen in his entire
life, and he found himself smiling down at it. The creature's eyes danced with happiness.

"I like seeing you smile," it said. "My name's Minomon. I've been waiting for you."

"Minomon," Ken repeated. "Hi, Minomon! My name's Ken. Why have you been waiting
for me?"

"I don't know, exactly," Minomon answered, looking a bit embarrassed. "I only know that
since the day I was hatched, I've been waiting in this forest for someone to come and get me, and
as soon as I saw you, I knew you were the one. Pick me up, Ken!"

Ken did as he was told, lifting up the little creature so that they could see each other face
to face, his violet eyes looking straight into Minomon's bright black ones.

"I was right," the caterpillar creature replied. "I can see it in your eyes - you are
the one! Now we're going to be best friends, and we'll never have to be lonely again!"

"Wow," said Ken. "I don't really have any friends... Nobody ever paid any attention to
anyone but my brother. Are you sure you want to be my friend?"

"Forever and ever!" Minomon repeated. "We were made for each other, Ken!"

"Wow, cool! A real best friend!" Ken laughed. "Just what I always wanted. So, what kind
of a critter are you, anyway? I've never seen anything like you before."

"I'm a Minomon," answered Minomon patiently. "That's a kind of Digimon - that's short
for Digital Monster."

"Monster?" Ken repeated. "You don't look like a monster to me."

"Don't worry; I'm a nice monster," the little caterpillar assured him. "Most Digimon are."

"There are more critters like you, then?" asked Ken.

"There are lots of kinds of Digimon," Minomon replied. "Follow me, and I'll show you

"Great! I want to meet more monsters," Ken enthused. "Boy, wait until Sam hears about

He set Minomon on the ground again, and the little Digimon bounced off into the forest
with Ken close behind. Together, the two of them wandered through the woods, calling greetings
to a tribe of rocklike Gotsumon, a trio of Gazimon, and some wandering Geckomon and
Otamamon. When they grew tired, they stopped and had a snack in a Tsunomon village. The sun
was lowering in the sky by the time they left, and the forest was growing dark.

"I think it's time we went back," said Minomon, eyeing the deepening shadows. "Strange
things come out at night, and I wouldn't want you to meet one. I can get away from them, but if
one came after you, you wouldn't be able to defend yourself."

"Can't you take care of me?" asked Ken.

"Well, maybe, but-"

There was rustling in the underbrush, and both of them jumped at once, whirling to seek
the source of the sound. A dead tree that stood a short distance away didn't seem to be as dead as
it had first appeared, and was now glaring at them both with unfriendly green eyes.

"That's tree's alive!" Ken yelped. "I mean, it's staring at me!"

"That's not a tree, that's a Woodmon!" Minomon replied. "They feed off of the powers of
other Digimon... that includes me!"

"Hey, there, little bug!" growled the Woodmon. "What are you doing in my part of the
forest, huh? If you and your friend want to hang out here, you're going to have to pay the price!"

"I'm not giving you anything, you big bully!" Ken shouted. "You leave Minomon alone!
He's the only friend I've got, and I'm not going to let you pick on him!"

"You can't talk to me like that!" the talking tree snarled. "All trespassers have to be
punished, and that includes you! Come here!"

The tree began moving toward the pair, creakily but steadily, and Ken began backing away
in fright. Minomon stared at the creature defiantly.

"Leave him alone! I've been waiting a long time for him, and I'm not going to let you take
him away so soon! Minomon, digivolve to... Wormmon!"

The Woodmon jumped backwards a few paces in surprise as his opponent was briefly
obscured in green light. When they cleared, there was a large green caterpillar sitting where
Minomon had been a moment before.

"Am I supposed to be impressed?" the tree asked.

"I don't care if you are," Wormmon replied, "but I'm not letting you hurt Ken. We're
going to leave, but you can stick around a while. Sticky Net!"

The next thing the Woodmon knew, it was wrapped from branches to roots in strong,
sticky fibers. It tried to take a few steps, but its roots were firmly bound, and the effort nearly
made it fall over. While it was still trying to untangle itself, the boy and his worm hurried back
down the path and were soon lost from sight.

The pair didn't stop running until they reached the clearing where they had first met. Out
of harm's way, Ken and Wormmon stopped to catch their breath and assess the situation.

"What just happened?" asked Ken. "Who are you, and where did Minomon go?"

"I'm Minomon, sort of," the caterpillar replied. "I digivolved - transformed into something
else. I'm stronger like this, so I can protect you better. I couldn't attack when I was Minomon - at
least, not well enough to stop a Woodmon. Oh, and I have a new name now. Call me Wormmon."

Ken looked at him suspiciously. "How many times are you going to change like that?"

"Not very often, I don't think," Wormmon replied. "Only when you really need me to.
Don't worry - I think I'll stay like this most of the time."

"That's good," said Ken. He stared up at the sky. "It's getting dark. I'd better go home,
now, before my parents get back. They'll worry if I'm not there for dinner, and Sam will get mad.
I only said I'd keep this thing for a minute." He pulled the strange device out of his pocket. "I've
had it a lot longer than a minute. Sam might get mad anyway."

"Who's Sam?" Wormmon asked.

"He's my brother," said Ken. "Sometimes he yells at me. He gets mad real easy,
sometimes. He didn't want me to look at this thing."

"That's not a thing, it's a Digivice," said Wormmon. "It belongs to you."

"How do you know that?" asked Ken.

"Because I sent it to you. I was given it to keep until the day my partner found me, and
now you have, so the Digivice is yours."

"A present for me? Cool!" Ken enthused. "Thanks, Wormmon. I'll take good care of it.
I'd better go home anyway, though. Hey, do you want me to come and play again tomorrow?"

"I wish you would. I missed you while you weren't here, and I didn't even know you
then," Wormmon replied.

"In that case, I'll come back as soon as I can," Ken promised. "Wait for me here, okay?"

"I will," answered Wormmon. "Goodbye, Ken! Come back soon!"

"I will. I promise!," Ken agreed. "Goodbye, Wormmon! Don't let the Woodmon bite!"

Ken raised the Digivice and returned to the real world in a flash of blue light.


Sam, pacing the floor in agitation, was just beginning to wonder if he should call the police
when suddenly his younger brother fell out of the computer and landed on the floor.

"Ken!" he exclaimed.

"Hi, Sam!" Ken greeted cheerfully. "Did you miss me?"

"Miss you? Ken, you've been gone for hours! I've been going crazy over here? Where
have you been?" Sam demanded.

"I went to a forest," answered Ken. "There was this little talking caterpillar pinecone thing
there named Minomon who wanted to be my friend. He said he'd been waiting for me for a long
time. He took me all over the forest and showed me the other monsters. Most of them were nice,
but there was one that looked like a tree, and he wasn't nice, so Minomon turned into a different
caterpillar called Wormmon and trapped him in a net, and we ran away. Then I saw it was getting
late, so I came back."

Sam listened to this recital with blank astoundment. "You expect me to believe that?"

"It's true!" Ken insisted. "There's another world inside the computer, and I went there and
played with Wormmon!"

"You did not! You're making it up," Sam snapped. "Worlds inside computers - talking
animals - monsters! You should know better than to tell lies like that. You know there are no such
things. I don't know where you've been hiding all this time, but when Mom and Dad hear about
this, you're going to be in trouble."

"But it's all true! Sam, I really did-"

Sam slapped his brother. Ken yelped, biting off tears as he pressed a hand to his stinging

"That's what you get for telling lies," said Sam. He hit Ken again from the other direction,
adding, "and that's what you get for expecting people to believe in them. Now, give back that
thing you borrowed."

"Digivice," Ken corrected automatically.


"It's called a Digivice. Wormmon told me so."

"I don't care what it's called or who said so," Sam replied. "I just want it back. You've
gotten into too much trouble with it already, so hand it over."


"Do I have to hit you again?"


"Then give it back!"


Sam glared at his brother, who met him with a steady gaze that took him aback. He'd
never seen Ken look so solemn and certain. It looked as if the mind behind those eyes had
suddenly aged ten years.

"Why won't you give it back?" he asked finally.

"Because it's mine," Ken answered. "Wormmon's been keeping it for me. He told me it
was mine, not yours."

"Wormmon again!" exclaimed Sam, throwing up his hands in frustration. "I already told
you, I don't believe in your stupid talking caterpillars. You're making up a story, and not a very
good one, either, and I want that machine back!"

"You can't have it. It's mine," Ken insisted, "and I'm keeping it!"

"Oh, no you're not, either!"

Sam made a grab for the Digivice, but Ken jerked it away, covering it with both hands.
The older boy attempted to wrench it away. Ken cried out in pain as Sam pulled at him, but he
held on determinedly. Frustrated, Sam hit him with his fist, and the little boy gasped as his vision
was filled with spinning stars. The force was enough to make Ken relinquish his grip on the
Digivice, and it clattered to the floor. Sam snatched it up triumphantly.

"That'll teach you to try to steal my things and lie about it," he said smugly.

Ken sat in a heap on the floor, staring up at his brother with wide eyes that slowly filled
with tears. His lip trembled. Suddenly, he went into an all-out crying fit, wailing as if his world
had come to an end, tears streaming down his face. Sam remained impassive. Ken got up and
stumbled to the door, half blinded, and ran to his own room, slamming the door behind him.

"Serves him right," Sam muttered.

For a moment, he simply stood there, considering. He looked down at the Digivice,
weighing it in his hand. Then he turned to the computer and held it up.

"Well? What are you waiting for?" he said irritably. "Don't just sit there, let me in!"

Nothing happened. The computer remained still and silent - no lights, no miracles. Then,
suddenly, there was a faint whirr, and Sam held his breath in anticipation. The screen saver started
up. Sam sighed.

"Stupid kid," Sam muttered. "Next time, I'm coming with him, but for now..."

There was a drawer on his desk meant for keeping important articles, things he didn't
want anyone to see or touch, and there was a padlock hooked over the handle to keep it safe. The
tiny silver key was hidden in the cover of an old book, and Sam went to retrieve it now. He undid
the lock, dropped the Digivice into the drawer, and then locked it all up tight.

"He's not getting this thing back," he said aloud. "Not until he teaches me how to use it."


Ken was still sobbing when his parents came home. They opened the door to the
apartment and stopped short on hearing their youngest boy crying. Looking at each other
worriedly, they went and knocked on his door.

"Ken?" his mother called hesitantly. "Ken, honey, is something wrong? Can we come in?"

"Okay," Ken sniffled.

The door swung open, spilling a weak shaft of light into his dark room. The little boy was
curled up on his bed, his face buried in his pillow. He barely looked up as his parents entered.

"Hey, son, what's the matter?" his father asked.

"Sam - Sam's mad at me," said Ken. "He yelled at me and hit me, and I didn't do anything

"Now, honey, you know Sam wouldn't do anything if he didn't have a reason for it," said
his mother soothingly. "Why don't you tell us how it happened, hm?"

So Ken told them the whole story: the video game, the explosion, the trip to the other
world, Wormmon, the Woodmon, and the fight with Sam. His parents listened to it all with
matching puzzled expressions.

"Are you sure that's how it happened?" his father asked. "You wouldn't be telling us a
story, would you, now?"

"I'm not lying!" Ken shouted angrily, making his parents jump backwards a little in
surprise. "Why does everyone think I'm lying? I'm telling the truth!"

"He's lying," said a cold voice. Everyone turned to see Sam standing in the doorway.

"Why would he do a thing like that?" asked his mother.

Sam shrugged. "I have no idea why he'd expect anyone to believe a story like that. I just
got a new device today, and he wants it, so he made up that story to try to convince me he ought
to keep it. When I told him he couldn't have it, he ran away crying." His eyes were cold and flat
in the dark room. "I think he's getting a little spoiled, if you ask me."

"That's a pretty serious charge," said his father gravely. "Ken, you should know better
than that! You can't just take things from people, and lying about it makes it even worse. I'm
afraid I'm going to have to punish you. You're going to have to stay here in your room the rest of
the night, and think about what you've done."

"But-" Ken began.

"No buts," his father replied. "You can come out when you've learned better. Come on,
Sam, let's go get ready for dinner."

The family trooped out, leaving Ken alone in the dark to renew his tears.


Midnight. The Ichijouji apartment was silent, and Ken was silent with it - silent but
wakeful. His tears had finally dried, but the ache was still there, cold and heavy as stone. He sat
very still in his bed, listening to the car noises outside his window and staring down at their
moving lights. It seemed impossible that anyone should be awake in this deep, dark, cold stillness.
With shadows obscuring the drivers, Ken could almost believe that the cars drove themselves,
following routes they knew so well that they needed no directions.

"There's no one awake but me," he said, testing the silence. It held; his voice was nothing
more than a tiny whisper in the night.

The reason he was awake was that his mind would not be still - every time he closed his
eyes, he saw Wormmon looking up at him, asking him to come back soon... but how could he?
He'd lost his Digivice. He'd promised Wormmon he'd take good care of it, and that he'd return.
Now he had broken his promise and lost the Digivice, and poor little Wormmon would be left
alone to wait in the forest for the friend that would never come back. How long would he wait
before he realized Ken wasn't coming? A few hours? A day? A week? More? Something deep
inside Ken told him that the loyal little caterpillar would wait forever if he had to. The idea of his
friend - the best and only friend he had - waiting day after day for him to return threatened to start
the boy crying all over again.

"Somehow, I've got to go back," Ken said to his room. "I've got to get back my

He climbed out of bed, careful not to trip over anything in the dark, and tiptoed out of his
room, toward Sam's. Thankfully, Sam had neglected to lock his door, so the little boy could pad
inside on his slippered feet without bothering anyone. He examined the room in the weak blue
light of an outside lamp. The desk was bare of anything of homework papers, and the shelves
were filled only with books, but Ken knew where he needed to look: in the locked drawer.

"Paper clip," he muttered to himself. He tugged at the top drawer of the desk, the one
filled with pencils, rubber bands, and other supplies, and pulled out a sturdy bit of curled wire. He
carefully straightened it and slipped it into the cheap padlock. A few minutes patient work
released the catch, and the lock popped open. Ken reached for it, but his fingers fumbled in the
dark, and the lock fell to the floor with a clunk.

Instantly, Sam's eyes flew open. Wrested from an uneasy sleep, he now glared
murderously at his younger sibling, and Ken went pale in fear.

"What - are - you - doing - in - my - room?" Sam ground out.

"I... I... I..." Ken stammered.

"You're trying to steal it, aren't you?" hissed Sam. "Don't think I can't see through you -
you're trying to take it away, aren't you?"

"Please, Sam," Ken begged. "You don't understand - I need it. I made a promise that I'd
come back! I can't break my promise!"

"So you decided to break into my room instead, huh, you little thief?" Sam retorted. "I
thought you'd learned your lesson by now. I am the authority in this family, all right? What I say,
goes. I am the talented one. I am the genius. You are just a worthless little runt taking up space,
and Mom and Dad would have been better off if they'd never had you. You don't deserve that
Digivice. It belongs to me."

"It does not!"

"Quiet! Do you want our parents to hear you?" asked Sam. "If they do, do you know
what will happen? I'll tell them what you were doing, and they'll lock you up in your room
forever. Is that what you want?"

"No! I just wanted to-"

"It doesn't matter what you want. What matters is what I say. Now, go back to bed."

"No!" Ken shouted back. "I don't care what you say! The Digivice is mine, and I'm going
to keep it! I can't break my promise! I've got to go back to Wormmon! He'll wait there forever
for me if I don't come, and I can't just leave him there! I can't!"

Ken hadn't thought he could cry any more that day, but he was wrong. Frustration welled
up and spilled over, bringing with it unhappy sobs. Sam remained unmoved as his brother wailed,
and as heavy footsteps stumbled up the hall, he went to put his arms around his brother, who was
almost startled back out of his crying fit by the gesture.

"What's going on here?" muttered a sleepy voice. Mr. Ichijouji put his head through the
door to stare blearily at the situation.

"It's okay, Dad," said Sam. "Kenny here just had a nightmare, and I'm trying to calm him
down. I think he must have been watching something scary on TV - he's got monsters on the

"Is this true, son?" their father asked.

Ken nodded as he felt Sam's grip on his arm tighten - not quite enough to be painful, but
fully enough to warn him that agreeing would be the best idea. "Yeah, I watched a movie. I'm

"That's all right, son. Just don't do it again, all right?" his father replied. "Both of you go
back to sleep now. You've got school in the morning."

"Yes, Dad," the boys replied.

Mr. Ichijouji wandered back to his own room, leaving the boys alone.

"You're starting to learn," Sam told Ken thoughtfully. "Just for that, I just might be
willing to forgive you."

"Really?" asked Ken. His brother could be mean to him sometimes, but he could also be
nice to him, and he didn't like having Sam angry at him.

"Really," Sam replied. "In fact, since I can see you want it so bad, I might even let you
play with the Digivice again."

"Thanks, Sam!" said Ken, almost glowing in the dark room. "You're the best!"

"Not so fast!" Sam interjected. "I'll let you use it, but on one condition: next time you go
into that other world, you've got to take me along. I want to see it, too."

"Sure! I think I can do that," Ken replied. "I'd really like you to meet Wormmon and the
other Digimon. If I take you, will you tell Mom and Dad that I wasn't lying?"

"We'll see," said Sam. "It might be better if it was our secret, though. You know how
grownups are. They don't believe in things like monsters. In the meantime, let me put the Digivice
back in the drawer where it will be safe, all right? I'll give it back to you first thing tomorrow
afternoon, right after school. Deal?"

"Deal!" Ken agreed. He hugged his brother and scooted back to his own room, certain
that everything would be all right. He and his brother were friends again, and tomorrow he was
going back to see Wormmon! With that cheerful thought in mind, the little boy drifted off into a
deep, contented sleep.


The next afternoon, Ken raced home as fast as his feet could carry him. He knew that Sam
would be home waiting for him - he went to a fancy private school for gifted children, while Ken
went to the more ordinary school downtown, and it took Sam less time to walk home. He would
be back in his room now, starting up the computer and waiting for Ken to come so they could go
to the Digital World together. The idea of exploring a whole new world with Sam and Wormmon
was incentive enough to make the boy fly down the street, disconcerting a crossing guard in the

He clattered into the apartment, dumping all his things in a mess on the floor, spilling
pencils across the linoleum. The clatter caused a stirring deeper in the apartment, as Sam came to
see what all the noise was about. At least, that was his intention, but he didn't get any further than
opening his door before he was nearly bowled over by his younger brother.

"Hey, Kenny-boy! Slow down, before you have a wreck," he laughed.

Ken grinned up at Sam. It seemed like his brother was in a good mood today, his previous
antagonism long gone. That was the way it always was with Sam - he was a moody character, a
clown one minute and a thunderstorm the next. The same boy who had slapped Ken yesterday
was the one who blew bubbles with him on the balcony. Lately there had been more of the former
and less of the latter, as schoolwork and extracurricular activities became ever more intense, but
he could still be a good brother when he wanted to be.

"I wanted to get here as soon as I could," Ken replied, panting a bit from the run.

"Well, nothing wrong with being punctual, I guess," Sam replied. "Come on in and shut
the door. Mom and Dad are going to be late tonight - Mom's gone shopping and to the
laundromat, so she won't be back for a few hours at least, and Dad had a meeting - but we still
shouldn't take chances."

"Cool! If they're going to be late, we can stay a long time, can't we?" Ken enthused.

"We'll see. First we have to get there," answered Sam. He went to work unlocking the
drawer and took out the Digivice, tossing it to Ken. "Here you go, just like I promised."

Ken caught the device and grinned, as Sam turned on the computer. Only seconds after it
can completed booting, its screen shifted from the image of icons and conservative wallpaper to a
sea of shifting blue light. Sam looked impressed, as if he hadn't quite believed it was going to
work, but Ken never lost the delighted smile.

"All right, let's go!" he cheered.

The lights exploded again, and once more, Ken found himself being whisked off to the
Digital World. He landed in the forest glen where he had appeared yesterday. Eagerly, he looked
around for his Digimon companion.

"Wormmon! Hey, Wormmon, where'd you go?" he called.

"Ken!" a voice called back, and the caterpillar bounded out of the shrubbery to join his
friend. Ken dropped to his knees to hug him.

"I came back," said Ken, "just like I promised."

"I knew you would," Wormmon replied. "I missed you while you were gone."

"Well, I had to go to school and stuff, and my parents made me stay in my room all night,
and I got in a fight with Sam and... hey, where did Sam go?"

There was no answer. Except for Ken and Wormmon, the glen was empty.

"Oops," said Ken. "I must have left him behind. I'll have to go back and get him."

"Why would you have to do that?" Wormmon asked.

"He told me I could only play with the Digivice if I let him come here with me," Ken
explained. "I know you told me the Digivice is mine, but Sam doesn't believe me. He'll be mad if
I don't bring him along."

"But he can't come in," Wormmon protested. "The Digivice is what opens the door, and
you're the only one who can use it."

"Well, I have to try," said Ken. "Wait just a minute. I'll be right back."

Before Wormmon could protest, Ken vanished again. He returned to Sam's room to find
his older brother pacing the floor. Sam turned to glare at Ken as he entered.

"What was that all about?" he asked irritably.

"Sorry, Sam," said Ken. "It's harder than it looks. I'm going to try again, okay? Hold on
to my hand so I can't lose you."

"This is silly," Sam muttered. "How come you can get in and I can't? The Digivice won't
even work for me!"

"That's because it's not yours. It will only work for me," Ken replied.

"That's stupid. It's a machine. Machines work for whoever uses them, not just one
person," said Sam.

"Well, this one is different," said Ken stubbornly. "Wormmon told me so, and I trust him."

"There's got to be a way around it," Sam muttered, taking his brother's hand. "Well, I'll
figure it out later. Come on, Kenny-boy, let's try this again."

Once again, the lights returned, and Sam braced himself for... whatever was going to
happen. What did it feel like to enter another world? However, it seemed he wasn't going to find
out, for all he felt was Ken's hand slipping out of his. He made a grab for it, but it was like trying
to capture smoke. All he felt was a brief tingling sensation against his fingers as if he'd been given
a mild electric shock, and then... nothing. The lights went out, and he was alone in his room again.
While he was still absorbing this, the computer screen shimmered again, and Ken reappeared.

"You did it again," Sam accused.

"I'm sorry!" Ken protested. "I tried, Sam, I really did, but I just couldn't hold on! I don't
think this is going to work."

"Well, you'd better find a way to make it work," answered Sam. "We had a deal - you
don't get the Digivice unless you share it."

"I wanted to," said Ken. "It just didn't work."

"Oh, yeah? Well, that's not good enough," Sam replied. "If you aren't going to live up to
your part of the deal, then I want my Digivice back."

"It's not yours! Don't say that!" Ken shouted back.

"You can't take it back now," answered Sam. "You made a deal, remember? If you try to
take it back without holding up your half of the bargain, you're breaking your word. You
wouldn't do that to me, would you, Ken?"

"I tried! I really tried!" said Ken, pleading. "Please, Sam, just stop yelling at me! You
can't use it, and I can't help you! It just won't work, and there's nothing I can do about it!"

"You lie!" Sam shouted.

He shoved Ken roughly, throwing him to the floor, and the Digivice slipped out of his
hand and skittered across the room. The little boy whimpered as he tried to rise, but Sam pushed
him back in place with his foot.

"Don't think I don't know what's going on," he said. "You want it all to yourself, don't
you? You're trying to keep me out on purpose, just so you have something I don't have. You
can't stand it that I'm everyone's favorite, right? Well, face it - you're nothing next to me, and
you always will be!"

Ken winced a little. "You're not that great. There must be something good about me, if
Wormmon waited for me this long. Not for you. Me."

"Shut up," Sam snapped. "He had to be pretty stupid to wait for you."

"Wormmon's not stupid! He's smart - smarter than you, I'll bet!" Ken shouted. "He
knows how to work the Digivice and you don't. I bet you couldn't fight a Woodmon like he
could, either. I like him a lot better than I like you!"

"You take that back!" Sam snarled. "You take it back, or I'll make you sorry!"

"I'm not going to take it back! You yell at me all the time, and hit me and say mean things
to me, and tell lies to Mom and Dad about me! I hate you! I wish you'd leave me alone! I wish
you'd die! Then maybe someone besides Wormmon would notice me! I'm going to take the
Digivice and run away to the Digital World, so I don't have to be around you anymore!"

"Oh, no, you're not!" laughed Sam.

He made a leap for the place where the Digivice had landed and snatched it up. Ken
scrambled to take it back, but he wasn't as quick as his brother. By the time he had pulled himself
to his feet, Sam was already standing by the open window, holding the Digivice out over the
street. Several floors down, cars rolled along at reckless speeds.

"Hold it right there," said Sam. "One more move, and I drop this thing out the window. If
I do that, it'll get run over by a car and turned into scrap metal, and you'll never see your precious
Wormmon again. Is that what you want?"

"No," Ken replied, "but-"

"No buts. If I can't use this thing, it's no good to me. I'll break it if I have to. Now, are
you going to be good?"

Ken stood frozen in place, his skin going pale but eyes blazing as bright as the glow from
the computer. He was trembling visibly, but otherwise he could have been a statue. Sam, staring
into those eyes, found his will weakening, and he slowly pulled his arm back through the window.
With the most defiant look he could manage, he shoved the Digivice into his pocket. Ken
continued to stand there, watching him icily. Sam began to grow uncomfortable.

"Well?" he said irritably. "What's your problem."

"You. You're my problem."

Sam just stared. There was that look again, that stern defiance of someone much older
than Ken. It looked strange on the face of an eight year old, strange and frightening.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I hate you," said Ken softly. "You used to be my friend, but not anymore. It's over now."

And he turned and walked silently out of the room. Sam watched him, unable to think of
anything to say. Ken closed the door silently behind him and disappeared, and still Sam could not
move. He took the Digivice out of his pocket again and stared at it, as if hoping to read the
answers on that tiny screen."

"What happened to him?" he asked. "What happened to him in that place?"


Days passed, and the subject of the Digigivice whimpered and died. Nothing was spoken
of it, not even when the boys were alone. Over the dinner table, the only time they couldn't avoid
being with each other, they kept to neutral subjects and silent glares. The rest of the time, they
avoided each other. Sam spent most of his time in his room, to all appearances lost in his
homework. Little Ken walked around like a silent ghost, often spending long hours just staring
out the window, but his parents barely noticed. The boy had pulled himself into a world all his

When Sam was not involved with academics, he was participating in a wide variety of
extracurricular activities, ranging from judo to chess club. However, it was soccer that was
ultimately the undoing of the Ichijouji family... or rather, the ride home. Trying to return to the
apartment quickly, he had hitched a ride with an upperclassman who possessed a rattletrap of a
car. It was missing a few parts, and it's paint was peeling off, but it was still faster than walking.
The major disadvantage of this mode of transportation was that the seatbelt on the passenger side
no longer functioned. Sam decided to risk it anyway - he was scheduled to make an appearance
on the local news, and he needed to get home and shower. One minute, everything was fine, as his
friend played the radio and honked the horn at the friends he passed. He turned his head to admire
a young woman strolling along the sidewalk, taking his eyes off the road for just an instant. Then
there was the wail of a horn, the screech of tires, the crush of crumpling metal and shattering
glass, and a human scream as Sam went sailing through the window...

The next thing he knew, he was lying in a hospital bed, covered in bandages. His right arm
was broken in several places, and several other bones had been cracked when he had landed on
the pavement. His skin was cut from head to toe from the glass, and there were internal injuries,
but he was still alive and aware. All around him, machined bleeped as they monitored his vital
signs, as if the doctors weren't ready to admit that he wasn't going to die. And there he stayed,
day in and day out, slowly gathering strength.

Then, one day, the lady in red appeared at the front desk.

"I want to see Sam Ichijouji, if you don't mind," she said to the receptionist.

"Are you a relative?" she asked. "No one but family members are allowed in his room."

"Oh, yes, I'm his Aunt Ara," answered the lady in red smoothly. "I heard my favorite
nephew was in the hospital, so I flew in from out of town to bring him a get-well present."

The receptionist stared at the lady in red, trying to decide if she was lying or not. Sam
Ichijouji was a celebrity, and a lot of people had been trying to get in to see him. This woman
didn't look all that trustworthy. Perhaps it was the dark glasses, with their strange purple lenses
that gave her an insect-like appearance, or perhaps it was the frowning set of her lips, or her
strange silver-white hair that didn't match her young face. She didn't look like the kind of woman
who ought to be visiting a sick boy.

"I'm going to have to ask for some identification," the receptionist said.

"Oh, of course. We couldn't have anyone coming in and harming the boy," said the lady in
red. Her smile was no more comforting than her frown, and the receptionist felt a chill.

The next thing she felt was a stinging on her wrist, and she looked down to see a red
spider as big around as a quarter sitting on her hand, its jaws pressed into her skin. She had just
enough time for a shudder of horror and revulsion before she slumped into unconsciousness. The
lady in red casually picked up the spider and slipped it into her glove. Then she turned and
sauntered calmly down the hall.

A few minutes later, the door to Sam's room opened, and the lady herself stepped in. Sam
sat up as best he could and stared her.

"Who are you?" he asked. "I don't know you, do I?"

"My name is... well, Lady Arachne will do for now," she replied. "I'm something of an
admirer of yours. We can help each other."

"I don't need any help from anyone," Sam replied.

"Not even to get into the Digital World?"

Sam discovered that he could sit up straighter than he was already, bandages and all.
"How did you find out about that?"

"My dear boy, I live in the Digital World. It's my home," Lady Arachne replied.
"Recently I noticed a bit of unusual activity, so I went to investigate, and I found you and your
brother. You have not been getting along with him well as of late, have you?"

"No, not really..." said Sam.

"I didn't think so. Really, you're quite justified in being annoyed with him. The device
was meant for you, you know."

"Really?" asked Sam. "How do you know? Ken keeps saying it's his, and that Wormmon
thing said-"

"Wormmon is a weak, cowardly little creature who knows an unfortunate deal of
information," Lady Arachne replied. "A Digivice is a tool that focuses the will of the one who
holds it. If you held it, you could become the ruler of the world."

"The Digital World, or this world?" asked Sam.

The woman smiled. "Either. Both, if you like. The possibilities are only limited to what
you can bring yourself to do. In your brother's hands, the Digivice is little more than a toy, but to
you, it could become the greatest tool and the greatest weapon there ever was. The caterpillar
knows this. He's taught the boy how to lock the device the way you would lock a door, so that
only he can use it. You must become the key-seeker, and learn how to open the doors to the
Digital World to claim what is rightfully yours."

"I knew it! I knew he was lying to me!" exclaimed Sam. "Tell me, how am I going to find
this key?"

"Oh, I'm sure a young man as brilliant as yourself can find a way," Lady Arachne replied.
"I don't know, myself, how to bring a human into the Digital World, but I can help you look for

Sam's eyes narrowed. "You say you're from the Digital World... If you've come out, you
must know a way back in."

"You're a clever boy," she replied. "Only Digimon inhabit the Digital World. My true
name is Arukenimon, but I thought it would be easier for you to deal with a human name. I can
transport myself to the Digital World because I'm data myself, but transporting a human being
will be much more difficult."

"Then what am I supposed to do?" Sam asked irritably. "You're not being a whole lot of

"Then let me start being helpful," answered Lady Arachne. "Here, I brought you this.
Keep it safe, and don't let your brother know you have it."

Into Sam's good hand, she pressed a shimmering CD.

"This is the sum of my knowledge of the Digital World, and some suggestions as to where
you might start," she said. "I will guide you as best I can. Expect to hear more from me."

Sam tucked the CD under his pillow, but he still didn't look very convinced.

"I still don't know what to make of you," he said. "What are you getting out of all this?"

"I want to see the Digital World controlled by a proper ruler," she replied. "The last one
was destroyed by meddlesome people calling themselves the Digidestined, and the land has been
in chaos ever since - Digimon doing whatever they please, running around without plan or
purpose. I want to see the world put in order again. And..." She smiled her cool smile. "...I expect
to be remembered for my help when the battle is won."

"Hmm," said Sam. "I'll think about it."

"You do that," Lady Arachne replied. "Think long and hard about what's been done to
you, how you've been lied to and stolen from and betrayed by a little boy who has prevented you
from ever having the power you should rightfully have, just because he can never have it himself.
You've been crossed by your own flesh and blood, and there is no deeper crime than that. Now,
think about what you could do if you held sway over a world that ordered itself to what you
wished it would be. Think, Sam, and then act. Goodbye."

Then she was gone. Sam didn't even see her go out the door - he just blinked, felt his
brain shiver for a heartbeat or two, then he looked up and she was gone. Feeling suddenly
drained, he dropped back onto his pillow. It would be days before he got out of the hospital, and
yet more days before he was well enough to go back to school. The room was quiet and empty,
devoid of any diversions appealing to a young genius.

In short, there was nothing left to do but think.


Ken was not looking forward to having his brother come home from the hospital. When
he'd heard the news that Sam had been in an accident, he'd felt a brief twinge of guilt - hadn't he
wished that Sam would die? However, as it became increasingly apparent that Sam was not going
to die, the guilt was replaced by a feeling of joy. With Sam gone, Ken was free at last to travel to
the Digital World and stay there as long as he wanted. It had only taken him an afternoon to
dredge the Digivice out of its hiding place; it was almost if some magnetism had drawn him to it.
After that, he'd spent every free hour playing with his Digimon friends, exploring the forests
where Flormon and Mushmon played, learning to swim with the Dolphmon, and generally having
a wonderful time. He'd never been so happy in his life, and his brother's return felt like nothing
less than a calamity. He was too wrapped up in his own misery to notice that throughout Sam's
welcome home dinner, the older boy kept shooting knifelike looks at Ken.

The next day was Saturday, and that meant shopping day. Since Sam was still milking his
hero's welcome to the fullest, he had given his parents a sizeable list of things he claimed to need,
and they were only too eager to fulfill his requests. They set out first thing that morning, leaving
the boys on their own. Ken was sitting in the living room, disinterestedly looking at the cartoons
on TV, when Sam ambled into the room and dropped onto the couch.

"You been having fun while I was gone, kid?" he asked in a strangely detached voice.

"Yeah, I had fun," answered Ken guardedly.

"I bet you did. I bet you had just tons of fun without me," Sam replied. "I know how you
feel about me, after all. You hate me. I bet you were hoping I would die in that hospital."

"No! I was worried about you!" Ken protested.

"Don't lie to me anymore, kid," said Sam. "I've heard all about you. I've got a Digimon
friend, too, now. She told me the truth about what you've been up to." He saw Ken blush, and he
flashed his teeth in a villainous smile. "I thought so. You've been to the Digital World while I was
gone, haven't you?"

Ken said nothing, and Sam laughed. "Ha! You really aren't good at keeping secrets,
Kenny-boy. I'll bet you've still got the Digivice on you."

The little boy blushed again. He had really meant to put the device back where he'd found
it, but after having it with him with him day and night for weeks on end had bred in him a fierce
attachment to the thing.

"I was hoping you wouldn't notice," he said weakly.

"Well, think again," Sam replied. "I know all about what you and your little accomplice
have been up to. You've been plotting against me. Well, I'm not going to take it! No one
outsmarts Sam Ichijouji, especially not a kid and a bug!"

He aimed a kick at the boy, but Ken had come to expect that treatment and managed to
dodge. The next hit landed, however, and nearly knocked him off his feet. The shock of the blow
made him dizzy for a moment, almost numb, but then the pain hit him. He began to cry.

"Yell all you want!" Sam laughed. "Nobody's going to hear you! You're trapped here
with me."

"I'm not trapped!" Ken shouted back.

Then he did something Sam never expected: he turned and ran towards Sam,
hitting him with a flying tackle worthy of a football player. They both tumbled to the hard floor,
but Ken had something soft to land on - namely, Sam. The older boy gasped as not-quite-healed
injuries flared up, leaving him momentarily paralyzed. While he was still recovering from this, Ken
got up and sprinted away, heading for Sam's room. After a short struggle, Sam rose and
followed. He found the little boy standing in front of the computer, waiting for it to start.

"Running away again, huh?" Sam snarled. "I should have known you'd take the coward's
way out."

"I'm not a coward," said Ken quietly. That icy look was back in his eyes.

"You are so! Stay here and face me if you're so brave."

"I won't," Ken replied. "If I stayed here, you'd kill me, wouldn't you?"

For a moment, Sam's expression turned shocked, almost frightened. Then something
seemed to come over him, something that could almost be seen as a red mist falling over his face,
and it twisted into an ugly sneer.

"Maybe I would," he replied.

"That's why I'm leaving." The computer was completely on, now; it remained only for
Ken to take out the Digivice and whisk himself away.

"Then leave, if you're so smart! It won't do you any good," Sam replied. "Sooner or later,
you have to come back, and then I'll teach you a lesson."

"I'm never coming back. I'm going to the Digital World, where someone cares about me,"
answered Ken. "Goodbye, Sam."

Then there was a blue flash, and he was gone. Sam stared. He walked slowly over to the
computer and looked down at the blank screen.

"I'll get you, Ken," he said. "I'm going to get you for this. As soon as I find my way into
the Digital World, you'll be sorry you ever denied it to me."


Wormmon knew instantly that something was wrong with his partner. Ken looked badly
shaken, literally trembling so hard he could barely stand. The little boy collapsed into the grass,
and Wormmon bounded to his side. Ken picked him up and hugged him tightly.

"Ken, what's wrong?" asked Wormmon anxiously.

"My brother - he came home today," said Ken.

"Did he do something to you?"

Ken nodded. "He hit me. He - he said he was going to kill me. He's really angry at me,
and I don't know what's wrong! Wormmon, I can't go home again. If I do, he's going to hurt

"But what about your family?" asked Wormmon. "Your parents wouldn't really let him
hurt you, would they? You can't just run off and leave them."

"They don't care about me," said Ken. "They only love Sam. My family doesn't like me,
and I don't have any friends... Wormmon, you're the only one who loves me. Please, can I stay
here with you? I don't ever want to go back to that place!"

With that, Ken broke down and sobbed, and Wormmon snuggled up against him

"You know I'll always protect you, Ken," he said. "I'll always be here for you. I'll take
care of you. If you want to stay here, I'll look after you."

"Thanks, Wormmon," said Ken, still sniffling.

After a moment, he reached into his pocket and took out the Digivice.

"This is mine now, mine forever," he said. "And I'm not from Earth anymore. The
DigiWorld is my home now, and Wormmon's my family."

As he said so, the device began to glow faintly. It seemed to melt and shift to become
something new, a different kind of Digivice encased in black plastic.

"It really is mine, now," he said, and he was surprised he wasn't more surprised.

Sam could never take the Digivice away from him again. Ken would never even see Sam
again. He'd never see his parents, or his neighbors, his teachers, his schoolmates. There would be
no more ice cream, no more video games, no more TV, no more... Earth. The world as he knew it
was gone forever.

"Oh, Wormmon," he sobbed, and all the caterpillar could do was sit and let his friend hold
him until the tears ran dry.