Covered In Darkness


Chapter Fourteen: So It Ends

It all felt so surreal. I had waited so long – I couldn't tell if it had been days or decades since the darkness had driven me to comply with Arkenimon and Mummymon – had felt my sanity crumble amid unending pain while desperately trying to cling to hope, that to be faced with the very people my heart depended on was in fact incredibly jarring. Throughout all the torment, my friends had become only the smallest flickering hope, so tentative at times – and yet the only thing I had left to depend on – and to have that faint hope realized so suddenly, when I had just been ready to relent to the pain – it felt almost dreamlike.

I took a shuddering breath, trying my best to ignore the fierce ache in my lungs and throat, just focused on breathing. In. Out. I was alive. Breathing. My body was almost at its breaking point; the abuse it had suffered made me want to simply sleep, will the pain to disappear, cry all the hurt away. I closed my eyes and breathed, but remained conscious. It was too much. It was all too much. I simply didn't want to cope with it anymore. What could I do? I was a frail, broken child. The magnitude of my suffering began to engulf me, all that I had endured, to be faced with them. My friends. They had come.

Oddly enough, I found myself drifting through half consciousness, not dreaming, not awake, but somewhere else, somewhere outside of my body. Idly I wondered if I my body had gone into shock. But I let go of those thoughts, abandoning them as memories teased my attention. Memories of my brother. But they were not sad... nothing focused on his death, his funeral, the guilt and pain that ached when I thought about him while waking. No... these memories were... pleasant. Happy. Comforting. A time full of naïveté and youthful admiration. My dearest memory was of blowing bubbles, a time for just me and my brother; I could hear his praise, feel the warm hand on my shoulder and the sliminess of the bubble solution, see his face, smiling behind large glasses. I felt no jealousy, and no subsequent guilt and self- loathing, only the young affection for my brother.

And it made me wonder. Not regretfully, but curiously. What would Osamu say if he could see me? What would he do? Would he be able to understand everything that happened to me? It would have been nigh impossible trying to explain everything. The lure of darkness is not something easy to describe – nor is it something I readily wished to describe. But... still I wondered. Would he *try* to understand? I found myself answering the hypothetical questions. He would try. He would try because he loved me. They all loved me. I realized it then. They all loved me. Regardless of the doubts, the insecurities, the pain I caused them, they all loved me.

I did question myself then, though. Despite the realizations I had come to, I still doubted. I doubted because I was weak, still am weak. I was weak and so close to destruction, so damaged by hurt that I *had* to doubt. I didn't deserve their love. My parents, my friends, my Digimon, my brother. I had caused them all so much grief. I was selfish, cruel, and horrible for no reason other than a vicious cry for attention. I was cold to my parents, resentful of my brother, heartless to the Digimon – most of all my own – and caused my friends to become Chosen Children. My actions were the impetus for the D-3s and the new generation of Chosen Children. All of the pain they suffered in the Digital World, then, was because of *me*. I had caused them so much suffering – I didn't deserve their friendship. I didn't deserve their love.


Wormmon slept right next to me every night, to ward away the nightmares, he told me. Daisuke jogressed with me, and when he had seen what I held inside me, he didn't shy away. He shook my hand. Hikari understood the pain of the dark ocean. Iori trusted me when our Digimon didn't. Miyako slapped me to get me to care. Takeru accepted me with a smile. My parents told me every day how dearly they loved me – for me. For Ken.

Osamu... Osamu wouldn't want me to destroy myself. He would have wanted me to be strong. He... he loved me. They all loved me. No matter how horrible I had been, they loved me. They wanted to help me, protect me, teach me how to live. Not to live a lie, not to live the pain, but to surmount it, to live as simply Ken. For them... for them I would be strong. They gave so much of themselves for me; I wanted to give back, to find the courage to face the darkness and to love my friends, my family, my Digimon as fiercely as they did me.

A sharp gasp escaping my lips, my eyes flew open, and I rapidly plunged myself into consciousness. My friends hovered over me, worried, tearful, but smiling, all talking at once and laughing and crying.

"Lift me up..." I croaked; it sounded as though I hadn't used my voice for weeks. They did so, still talking, carefully, though it was impossible not to jar the wounds that covered my body – I grit my teeth and bore the pain, parceling it away for when I could cope with it, focusing only on what I had to do. I caught snippets of what my friends were saying - "Our Digimon just... just got those markings when we both thought of you... it must be a new evolution" "Ken-chan... Ken-chan..." "...don't know how we ended up..." "We just had to help you" – and there was the Kaiser, restrained by the Digimon. I met his eyes – cold, steely, but so dissimilar yet exactly the match of my own – but I knew, I just knew it would be all right. My friends supported me – I couldn't stand on my own, but they held me steady – their voices elapsing into quiet as they waited for me to respond, and slowly, I did. I met each of their eyes and smiled.

"I love every one of you."

A flash of pink light pierced through the dark abyss, obliterating the Kaiser as he screamed in agony and solidifying into a small disk in my palm – my crest. It was over. We were bathed in light.

The End