A/N: Written over a period of exactly three years, Covered In Darkness began as a misinterpretation of a Digimon clip, and evolved into the completed story here before you. Thank you everyone for reading and supporting me this entire time. Now! To those reading this for the first time, CID is a Ken-centric angst fic without couples. I hope you enjoy it!

Covered In Darkness

By QG

Editor: Aria

Chapter One: Capture

It was mid-December. Snow was lightly falling, powdering the ground with white. It was midday and the half-obscured sun was casting shadows on everything. What you could see of the sun illuminated the snow, making it appear to sparkle. This breathtaking effect was lost on me, though; I walked along the sidewalk with my head down, face hard with thought. I was thinking of everything that had happened over the past two months. I had been defeated as the Digimon Kaiser. Wormmon was lost to me in the battle, only to come back and give me a second chance to redeem myself. The five people who had beaten me turned around and became my allies. I had helped them to destroy dark towers left over in the Digital World. I had also helped them find and defeat Black War Greymon, who was trying to destroy the holy stones. And now, the dark towers and evil Digimon had entered our world. A sudden cold whistle of wind interrupted my thoughts and I shuddered, cursing the thin material of my uniform and regretting not wearing my sweater. I sighed. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. My Digimon looked up at me.

"Is there something bothering you, Ken-chan?" he asked. My gaze softened as I looked to him.

"No, Wormmon. I'm fine, just a little cold. Thanks for asking," I responded.

"Well, that's what I'm here for. To help you when you need me," he said and nuzzled my leg. I smiled and picked him up before I continued down the street. Suddenly, I heard two familiar voices behind me.

"Look Arkenimon! It's one of those Chosen brats!" Mummymon. I spun around, looking for them, panic rising in my chest. They were standing next to a large silver truck and smiled when I noticed them. I took a step away and Wormmon jumped out of my arms, ready to attack.

"What's wrong?" Arkenimon sneered. "Are you frightened of us?" I turned to my Digimon.

"Wormmon, shinka!" I yelled, holding up my D-3. He nodded, but when he tried to, nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing.

"He's not going to evolve no matter how many times you try," Arkenimon said. She gestured towards a newly created dark tower. I cursed silently.

"I'm really sorry Ken-chan," Wormmon apologized. There was a time when I would have kicked him for less, but I only smiled.

"It's alright. You gave it your best shot," I replied. Mummymon, meanwhile, was talking to Arkenimon.

"My darling Arkenimon, I know that you haven't taken any of my affections for you seriously yet. And I know you're never going to believe me until I can prove myself and my love to you. I'll prove I'm worthy of your love by killing this Chosen Child and his Digimon!" he exclaimed. I froze, my blood running cold. Killing me? Mummymon morphed into his Digimon form and advanced on me, a giant monster covered in bandages, wielding a huge gun. I began to back up in fear.

"There's none of your fellow Chosen Children around to save you," he said menacingly. I took another step back. Suddenly, he threw yards of bandages at me. They entwined themselves around me, imprisoning my arms. I cried out as he fired electric shocks from his gun into my helpless body. Wormmon ran up to Mummymon, butting him with his head.

"Stop hurting Ken-chan!" he cried. Mummymon only laughed and violently kicked my Digimon aside.

"Wormmon!" I yelled before the bandages tightened their hold. They were squeezing my body; I felt my lungs being pressed in. I gasped desperately for air and Mummymon laughed acidicly.

"What's wrong? Can't breathe?" he taunted me. I again struggled to breathe but found it impossible. My head felt light as everything began fading out around me...when, suddenly, I heard a familiar call of "Fire Rocket!" and felt the bandages restraining me disintegrate. I fell to my knees and began coughing as I gasped for breath.

"Ken, are you okay?!" I heard Daisuke yell. I caught my breath and looked up. All five of the Chosen Children were there, looking immensely worried.

"Yes, I'm fine. Thank you for saving me," I said. Iori helped me to my feet. Wormmon, who had recovered from being kicked, ran to my side, extremely relieved to see that I was okay. We six Chosen Children turned to face Arkenimon and a shocked-looking Mummymon.

"You guys are going down!" Daisuke shouted.

"Putting up those dark towers is one thing, but nearly killing Ken is unforgivable!" Hikari yelled. They started forward, but Arkenimon held up a hand.

"Wait! I have to ask Ken something," she said.

"You almost killed him!" Takeru yelled angrily. She smirked.

"That was Mummymon's idiocy, not my doing. Now, I need to ask Ken a question," she said again. I stepped forward.

"It's okay. What do you want to ask me?" I said with contempt.

"Why are you wasting your time with them?" she asked. That statement threw me.

"What are you talking about?" I asked. She gestured to the other five Chosen Children.

"Them. Why are you wasting your time with them?" I cast a glance back at the five children who I now considered allies or possibly even friends.

"T-they're my friends..." I replied softly. She flicked her hair.

"Ha. What has friendship ever done for you? What power has it given you? Think about it. How do you even know they're really your friends? They could be using you for your Digimon..." she said. I gasped. That couldn't be true. They had stood by me, forgiven me, even befriended me after I had done such horrible things to them as the Digimon Kaiser. They wouldn't be using me...would they?

"Don't believe her, Ken!" Daisuke shouted. I trusted him. He was the first friend I had gotten ever since the forces of darkness had lost their power over me. But...a seed of doubt was still there. What if...what if he really didn't want to have me as a friend? What if none of them did? The thought of my only friends turning on me frightened me on a strange and fundamental level. They would leave me though, if I turned back to evil again, I just knew they would. I could picture their faces, as they would look if they turned on me. If I gave into evil, they would abandon me, leave me alone in a sea of darkness. And that was something I wouldn't be able to bear...

"Ken, you don't truly believe that they are friends with you, do you? That they actually care about you? Do you think you belong with them?" she asked. I glanced back at them again, this time hesitating. Of course, I would say that I was friends with them, that I did belong with the other Chosen Children, but did I really? I had been covered in darkness for so long; was I worthy to be with ones so much more pure than I? Arkenimon noticed the flicker of doubt.

"Yes. You understand it, don't you? You really belong with us. Just give in to the darkness, become one with it. You'll see who your true friends are," she said. My mind flashed back to a nightmare I had had the previous night. In it, I had reverted to being the Digimon Kaiser. I had forced the Chosen Children to their knees; they begged me to spare their lives. I had showed no mercy as I slowly tortured each one...

I shuddered at the memory of how it had felt. How it felt to once again embrace evil, to cause pain and suffering. I remembered the feeling of power I had when I really was the Digimon Kaiser, when I slowly began to conquer the Digital World and turn everyone into mindless slaves. But I also knew the pain, the pain inside my mind of the overwhelming abyss, the horrible cold that had taken hold over me. I couldn't let it happen again, I couldn't hurt anyone. But were my friends really who they said they were? Did they really care about me? Or was it just a lie, designed to bring me down? Was my true purpose that of evil? Then I could feel it, it was there in the chillingly cold air, its presence turning my insides to ice, that oppressing darkness surrounding me, pressing on my will, twisting my thoughts. I was losing control...

"Ken, will you join us once again?" Arkenimon asked, her eyes narrowing wickedly.

"Ken-chan, don't listen to her!" I heard Wormmon cry. Midnight was engulfing me; I had to fight it...

"Ken we need you!" Miyako yelled.

"Well, what is your answer Ken? Will you join us?" Arkenimon questioned. I tried to resist it, tried to keep myself from answering. I felt myself being overpowered, felt the cold, frightened, alone feeling grow inside of me. Dark began to surround me, cover me, just as it had done before...

"Yes," I whispered looking down in defeat.

"No!" Daisuke cried. I let Arkenimon lead me to the back of a truck parked nearby. Without looking at the Chosen Children, I got in and sat down. I heard the door shut and Arkenimon got into the truck with Mummymon. I never looked up. As we drove off, I heard Daisuke shouting my name, over and over, trying to reach me. His shouts fell on deaf ears, drowned out by the sound of nothingness. I felt cold, uncaring.

Inwardly, I fought to gain control of myself and for a second, I did, and realized what I was doing. I was cooperating with the enemy, letting the evil in my body take me over, forcing me to revert to what I had been. My eyes widened with horror at myself. I stood and began pounding my fists against the door in back of the truck in a desperate attempt to break it open.

"Daisuke!" I yelled. He was running after the truck, and kept yelling my name. Suddenly, I felt a stab of pain in my skull, like it was being split open. I clutched my head as I sank to the floor of the truck, screaming in pain. The darkness was trying to take control of me again, trying to force me into submission. I felt my muscles tense as I tried to fight it. I was not going to be taken over, was not going to succumb to what I had been. I continued to scream as memories flashed through my mind. Everything I had done as the Digimon Kaiser, all of the people and Digimon I had hurt, I had killed. But most of all, I felt the consuming nothingness, the feelings of evil. I could not let myself become that again, could not let it happen. I could not hurt the people I considered friends. I screamed in utter agony as the horrid blackness pulled at me, tried to imprison me in its shapeless void. I screamed until I felt something hard hit the back of my head and my vision dissolved into darkness.