Last chapter! Love me!

Shattered

Chapter Eight: Shattered Spore

The digidestined were thrown back into the cell that they had just recently escaped. The Gisamon slammed the cell door shut and took up posts along the corridor.

As soon as Tai had righted himself, he lunged at Ken. "Where were we?" he asked before punching Ken in the face. Ken fell backwards. He grunted in pain as Tai pulled him back to his feet. He made no attempt to try to stop the brunette as he took another hit. "What? Aren't you going to fight back? You thought you were so tough a moment ago!"

"No, go ahead. I deserve this."

Tai was taken aback by Ken's remark. He figured that Ken was just trying to mess with his mind and set up to punch him in the stomach. Someone grabbed him from behind, though. Ken fell back again with no one holding him up.

"Tai, what species of idiot are you?" Izzy asked. "Stop trying to beat on Ken when we should be focusing on getting Kari back." Izzy extended his hand out to Ken.

Ken took Izzy's hand to help him stand up. "You don't need to defend me. I'm getting what I deserve."

"Maybe so, but right now we need to work together to get Kari back. I need to know exactly what happened, how there were two of you."

Ken sighed deeply. How am I supposed to explain? They aren't going to believe me, I wouldn't believe me. What could I say to them?

"Ken!" Ken turned his head as a small green digimon leapt between the cell bars. Wormmon jumped into Ken's open arms. "Ken!" he cried, nuzzling his face into Ken's shoulder, "I'm so glad to have you back!"

"It's good to be back," he said with a weak smile. Izzy coughed impatiently. I guess I have to tell them then. "Okay, I don't know how to explain without sounding crazy, but the Kaiser isn't actually a real person, or at least he wasn't. He was a manifestation of dark energy that lived inside of me. Over the years he developed his own personality and influenced my actions. I was too weak and afraid to do anything but listen to him. I'm not sure how it happened, but I pushed the Kaiser out of me. The dark energy should have dissipated into the air but I guess that the dark energy had become strong enough where he didn't need a host body to survive."

"Yep, he's crazy," Davis said dryly.

"I think it makes perfect sense," Izzy stated. "And I think that we might be looking at the chosen digidestined of Kindness."

"How do you figure?" Tk spat out. He didn't like the idea at all. If Ken was in fact the bearer of Kindness, than he would have the same connection to Kari as he did. The thought did not settle well with him at all.

"Well, maybe I read this wrong, but it looked to me like the Kaiser was, um, kicked out of Ken's body after Kari's light hit him. If Ken is in fact the bearer of Kindness, then Kari's strength would have given him strength enough to remove the dark energy. Am I right?"

Ken nodded solemnly. "I was locked away in the back of my mind when I felt Kari's light. It helped me get free." Why am I putting all the blame on the Kaiser? I'm just as much to blame for what's happened to Kari as he is. I'm so pathetic.

Tai grabbed Ken by his shirt collar. "I don't particularly care what happened to you. As soon as I get Kari back I'm going to finish you off."

Ken remained silent. He was perfectly okay with Tai killing him once Kari was safe. At least that way I won't have to face everyone. What could I say to my parents, my friends, to Kari? Letting Tai kill him would be the easy way out, but Ken didn't care.

Ken suddenly had an idea; a possible way to beat the Kaiser. "Wormmon, I need you to go and get a knife or anything sharp." Wormmon looked puzzled but nonetheless squeezed through the bars and took off down the hall.

Looking slightly irritated, Ken searched for the name of the blue haired teen. "Joe!" he exclaimed, happy to remember.

"Uh, that's me. Why?"

"You're training to be a doctor aren't you?"

"Yes, but how'd you know-" Joe jumped as Wormmon sped back down the hallway.

Wormmon concealed the weapon as he pushed himself through the bars once more. "I really need to go on a diet," he groaned. "I found a butcher knife."

Ken took the knife, patting Wormmon on the head to thank him. He handed the knife to Joe. "You up for some on the job training?"

"I, uh, I don't know what you want me to do…"

"There's this thing, in the back of my neck, a dark spore. It's where the Kaiser came from. Maybe if you can remove it, it will stop the Kaiser."

Joe stared blankly. "You aren't serious, are you?"

"I can't cut it out myself!"

"I don't have the necessary supplies; I'd need some gloves, something to make you numb, antibiotics, gauze to clean it, a needle and thread to sew it up, I can't just cut your neck open without knowing exactly where to locate it, either."

"We don't have time for any of that! Please, I can have it cleaned or whatever later. Right now this the only way I can think of to stop the Kaiser."

Joe agreed reluctantly. He had ken get on his knees and bow his head, holding his hair out of the way. "Here goes nothing…" he said as the knife sank down into Ken's skin.

(0)

The air held an eerie silence. A hushed scream sliced through the air. The whip retracted, fresh blood covering it. The Kaiser circled around Kari, watching her intently. She glared at him, still biting her lip to stifle the scream that fought to echo through the halls.

Chains were bound around her wrists, raising her arms above her head. She could barely reach the ground, having to support herself on the balls of her feet. Cuts were many and most were deep, covering her back, shoulders, upper arms, and sides.

"You think I'm enjoying this, don't you?" the Kaiser asked the injured girl.

"How could I not?" she spat back.

"All you have to do is say that you'll be mine, and this whole nightmare will be behind us. Become my Kaiserin."

"I'd rather you just kill me."

The Kaiser frowned deeply. How is she still resisting me? This can't be bearable, I'll conquer her soon enough. A fresh lashing cut into her skin, between her shoulder blades.

Returning to face her, the Kaiser stepped closer. He put his hands on her cheeks, still holding the whip, and kissed her fiercely. He pulled at her lower lip seductively. "Say it" he commanded.

"Why don't you just save us both some time and give it up. I will NEVER be yours."

"But you see, you already are. I hold all the cards. I control the digimon, I have you in my grasp, I have your friends and Ken down in the dungeon waiting for my to hand them their fates."

"You wouldn't…"

"What? Use them against you to convince you to become my Kaiserin? No, I wouldn't, I'm going to kill them either way. Naturally, I'm going to get rid of Ken first."

"No, you're going to lose in the end. Ken's going to stop you."

"Again with this? You thought he was going to beat me before, remember? And look, I'm still going strong."

"He got rid of you. You claimed that he didn't have the strength to do that."

"Yeah, he gave me my own body; I doubt that's what he expected to do." Wait… "You like him, don't you?"

"…I don't know…" Kari shrieked as the whip cut across her side. Dammit, what does Ken have that I don't? I'm ten times the man Ken is!

The Kaiser circled around Kari. A lashing, a kiss, a lashing, a kiss, a lashing, a kiss. He was enjoying himself a little too much. He was a sadist, he'd admit, and the entire scene was very…erotic to him; a beautiful young girl in chains, unable to stop his advances. She was no longer able to stop herself from letting out a cry of pain as the whipping continued. I can't wait to make her mine, officially. I'll make her scream, for sure.

"Stop…" she whispered, her voice weak and cracked.

"Are you ready to surrender?" The Kaiser ran his finger over one of the open cuts. She winced, jerking her body forward and putting more strain on her shoulders as she fought to keep her feet on the ground. The Kaiser wrapped his arms around her from behind, putting his hands on her lower abdomen. He pressed his front against her, staining his white shirt. "Well?"

"No," Kari whispered. "But if you kiss me one more time, I'm going to hurl. I'd rather be whipped than have your filthy hands on me!" Kari quickly regretted her words. The Kaiser complied, removing his arms from around her and unleashing a fresh wave of hits. New slashes stained her already red a skin.

After ten or so more lashes, Kari ceased to move. The Kaiser walked around her, finding that she had passed out. "Pity," he said to himself. He pulled a key out of his pocket and undid the chains that held her arms up. She fell, only to be caught by the Kaiser. He stroked her cheek; the blood on his gloves smeared on her face.

What to do now…? So many choices. The Kaiser's body twitched suddenly. "He wouldn't," he hissed. Another spasm circulated through him. He dropped Kari, whose head hit the hard ground. The Kaiser took off down the hall, heading towards the dungeon.

(0)

"How you doing?" Joe asked his patient.

"I'll be alright," Ken replied.

The knife wasn't very useful when it came to dissecting a person. Joe had cut an 'x' through the back of Ken's neck, trying to open up the sides. "This might've been easier with a scalpel or anything smaller."

"Sorry," Wormmon whispered.

"You…" Tai growled, gazing at the newcomer on the other side of the cell.

The Kaiser sneered. "…Me" he responded. The cell door opened and the Kaiser welcomed himself in. "Now, now, what could be going on?" The digidestined took small steps backwards as the Kaiser walked further into the cell. In a sudden swoop, he had knocked Joe to the ground, causing the knife to fall to the ground. The Kaiser kicked it out of the cell. "Get up, Kenny."

Ken rose with some difficulty. Is that blood on his shirt? Oh God, Kari! "What have you done!"

The Kaiser looked down at his blood stained shirt. "I was in the middle of something, until you decided to act like an idiot. I'm going to take care of you quickly, there's a pretty girl waiting for me upstairs."

He must have felt me trying to remove the dark spore! There must still be a connection between them after all. "If you kill me now, what will happen to the spore?"

The Kaiser laughed. He spun around and kicked Ken's legs out from under him. Ken landed with a grunt. Being pulled back onto his feet, Ken was slammed into the wall. He went down, having no intention of getting up.

Tai tackled the Kaiser from behind. Possessing a physical strength that put everyone else to shame, the Kaiser quickly brought Tai down. His head snapped towards Tk. The self-proclaimed hero, hmm. The Kaiser dove at Tk, mercilessly attacking him. Tk's face was soon covered in blood, and Matt, when he tried to pull the Kaiser away from his brother, was punched in the stomach and badly winded.

Ken watched in horror as the Kaiser beat on Tk. He's going to kill him… Ken forced apart the skin on his neck with his thumb and forefinger. Digging underneath his flesh, he searched for the spore. Finally, he found it. Ripping it out, Ken found that the spore had crystallized into a smooth and solid sphere.

The Kaiser shivered again. He whipped around, leaving Tk and advancing towards Ken. "Give that to me," he warned.

Ken looked at the Kaiser intently. He looks afraid. Ken slammed the dark spore onto the ground with all the strength he could muster. The spore shattered into an infinite number of pieces before dissolving into the atmosphere. The Kaiser fell forward, grabbing Ken's shoulders. "This isn't over," he whispered into Ken's ear. "I'll be back to get what's mine." The Kaiser's body broke up into pieces of data, much like a digimon's would have.

Ken slowly raised himself to his feet. He took off in a run. "Where are you going!" Tai shouted.

"To find Kari," he yelled over his shoulder.

Matt helped his brother to his feet and followed Ken along with the others. Ken dashed through winding hallways, running until he could no longer catch his breath. He stood outside of Kari's room; afraid of what he would find when he opened the door.

The stench of blood wafted through the air when the door was opened. Ken ran forward and sank to his knees in front of a body that was deathly still. Blood was inching across the ground around Kari, soaking into the stone and staining it a dark crimson. Ken leaned forward and listened for breathing. He saw the chains attached to the ceiling above her and his hands clenched into fists.

"Should she look that pale?" Davis asked, horrified by her condition. "She isn't, you know-"

"No, she's alive. But we need to get to a hospital now." You're going to be okay, I'll make sure of it. He scooped her up into his arms and nodded towards the door. Izzy, the one nearest the exit, used his navigation skills to faultlessly lead them towards the control room.

Ken began to falter. He looked around him; Matt was the nearest to him. "Matt," he whispered, "take Kari." As soon as he had successfully placed Kari into Matt's strong arms, Ken lost consciousness.

Tk stopped running when he heard Ken fall. "Leave him," he muttered viciously.

"You seem to forget that if it weren't for him, you'd probably still be at the mercy of the Kaiser's fist and Kari would still be laying in that room, dieing!" Matt glared at his little brother. Tk was supposed to be the sensitive one!

Tai sighed loudly. "We don't have time for this," he growled hauling Ken over his shoulder. "Izzy, you can find the control room right?"

The redhead gave Tai a nod. They followed Izzy into the control room. Yolie found her digivice in her shoe once more. "Digiport Open!"

Matt fought to keep on his feet when he made it through to the other side. "Where are we?" he asked to the general audience. The group stood in a dank and dirty alleyway, a busted computer against the wall. The morning light had barely begun to lighten up the small corridor.

"I wonder how we could go through a broken computer," Izzy mused. "We are…Oh! Of course, we're in the city; the hospital isn't far from here."

"Lead the way," Tai dictated.

(0)

"In our top story this evening, both Ken Ichijoji, and Kari Kamiya, two teens who have been missing, were brought into Odiaba Community Hospital early this morning. The nine teens involved in finding the two, Kari's older brother, Tai Kamyia included, all did not return home last night. Suspiciously, the teens cannot disclose their location during the night, and they fail to be able to point out where they found young Kamiya and Ichijoji. Both were brought in unconscious. Ken suffers from a severe infection that was brought on by a deep cut in the back of his neck, but doctors expect him to wake up within the next few hours. Kari Kamiya is in worse condition. She has an undistinguishable number of what appear to be 'whippings' and a nasty concussion. She has lost a large amount of blood. Doctors are unsure of what will happen. Police can only logically deduce that the same person, or persons, was behind the kidnappings. JPN News Network will keep you posted, I'm Kow Shippton, and have a good day."

"Shut that crap off!" Tai ordered.

This is a wonderful way to start the day; a nice hospital bed to make your back stiff. Ken stretched his arms out above his head Ken gingerly put his hand over the back of his neck. Gauze had been put over it, no doubt. I should probably let them know I'm awake…

A voice was heard through the other side of the door. Ken couldn't be sure, but it sounded like: "Well than call security, I'd love to meet more members of your incompetent staff. Maybe we could do lunch. But right now, I'm going in there and you aren't stopping me!"

Ken had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. Sure enough, the door was thrown open. "You're awake," the owner of the voice was the same as the one Ken had heard yelling outside the door, Tai.

"Yeah," Ken said softly.

"How long you been awake?"

"Just a few minutes." There was an awkward silence for a moment as Tai closed the door behind him. "So, how'd I get here anyway?"

"I carried you from the base."

"You did? Why didn't you just leave me there?"

"I would have, but Matt had to be all compassionate."

"So…when am I going to be arrested? Or do you want to finish me off yourself?"

"We told the cops that we don't know anything. You're going to tell them that you don't remember anything. And as for finishing you off myself, it's tempting, but if it weren't for you, we probably wouldn't have gotten to Kari in time. Besides, there's a woman in hysterics out there over you. She's almost as worked up as my mother is."

"My mom's here?"

"Well of course!"

Ken swallowed, overcome by emotion. I can't face her, what could I tell her? I'm sorry I ran away mom, but I hated you and everyone else on the face of the Earth. "How's Kari?"

"Do you want the truth or the buttered down version Joe tried to tell me?"

"The truth, I guess."

Tai took a seat at the end of the bed. He ran his hands through his untamed hair before starting. "Well, it's not good. Some of the, uh, whippings, had to be sewn up, and she has a concussion. She's lost a lot of blood. Frankly, the doctors don't know if she's going to wake up."

Ken lowered his head. This is all my fault… How did he get away with just one cut, while Kari was lying in the hospital somewhere, dieing? "Can I see her?"

"No," Tai said flatly. "They won't let anyone see her, not even my parents or me." Tai stood up. "Speaking of parents, I'm going to send yours in."

Before Ken could protest, Tai had already left the room. He could hear his mother's hysterics, even before she was in his range of vision.

"Ken!" Mrs. Ichijoji hugged her son tightly, a fresh wave of tears flowing from her eyes. Even Mr. Ichijoji was crying silently, trying to hide it. "I'm so glad you're alright! You can't believe how worried I was. I'm just glad you're safe!"

They do care…how could I have missed that? "Mom?" he whispered in a shaky voice. "I'm sorry I worried you, I really am." Mrs. Ichijoji was too emotional to speak, so she just hugged her son until he turned blue from lack of breathing.

(0)

Three days later, Ken was almost ready to be released. The doctors wanted to keep him one more night, since he had another day of taking antibiotics. "Hey, Ken? Get up!" Ken stared at the intruder. Tai, for the umpteenth time in the past few days, was standing in the doorframe.

"Why?" Ken asked.

"Because Kari is awake and she wants to speak to you."

Ken's heart skipped a beat. She's awake! He jumped out of the bed and followed Tai down the hall. He was grateful that he had been allowed to wear normal clothes again, for he would have felt very foolish running around in just the hospital gown.

Tk was in the room when Ken arrived. The young blonde gave Ken a satanic glare as he left the room. He had a black eye and a swollen lip from the Kaiser's attack. Ken walked in slowly, afraid to face the girl he had put through so much turmoil.

"How are you?" Kari asked, her voice softer than usual.

"Shouldn't I be asking you that?"

"You can't answer a question with a question. Answer, then you may ask."

"I'm alright," he said, taking another step into the room. "I should be getting out of here tonight. How are you holding up?"

She shrugged. "I could lie and tell you I'm great, but I don't like lying. I've been better, but I've been worse, too." She sent him a soft smile. "The worst part is having all these needles in my skin."

"Kari? Why aren't you yelling at me or cursing me out or at least openly loathing me?"

"Why would I be?"

Ken threw his hands into the air. "Because of everything I did! Because it's my fault your even here!"

"You didn't put me here, the Kaiser did."

"But I let the Kaiser control me!"

"You beat him in the end."

"I couldn't have if it weren't for you…" I don't deserve to even be breathing the same air as you, how do you not hate me?

Her smile lit up the room. "It just goes to show that we can't do everything on our own. Even you need help once in a while."

Ken's eyes dropped to the floor. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. I'd better get going; I'm sure Tai wants to speak with you."

"Hey Ken?"

Ken turned, his hand gently gripping the doorknob. "Yeah?"

"Don't be a stranger. You're one of us; we have to fix the Digital World together."

Together, I kind of like that idea. "Sure thing," he said, before shutting the door behind him.

(0)

It feels good to say fin.

Okay, some mindless rambling is needed just because it's at the bottom of every chapter.

This fic obviously didn't end a definite Kenkari. But, that is where the beauty of sequels comes in. For fear of repercussions, mainly me not wanting to get shot (coughKaiser'sluvercough), there will be a sequel.

Set in the next spring (fic ends late July/early August) in May. Ken and Kari ARE a couple! Um, teasers don't give too much away, so I'm going to be very vague. The Kaiser has reformed his body, and wants only two things: Revenge and Kari. Kari is kidnapped…what's this? An evil Kari? A Kaiserin? She's sick? The digidestined can't leave the Digital World? There's a new way to generate dark energy other than a dark spore?

Confused? Well those were some chapter subjects. If there's anything you'd like to see, put it in the review A-SAP. More ideas mean a longer fic! I was hoping that this would be longer than eight chapters, and I want to make the sequel longer, or have longer chapters, at least. So, send me your muses!

The Yakari that becomes a Kenkari has won. (Idea number one) Since I'm not going to have any free time from now until after spring break (I'm going to Europe during spring break, I'll try to write up some chapters while I'm chilling in the hotels) don't be surprised if I don't post anything until after then. I want to at least get chapter 2 out for Adventures of the Tainted, maybe chapter one of the sequel. It depends on how much homework I have during the week.

If you've come this far into the fic and never reviewed, you bothered to read the whole thing, why not leave at least a final comment? It's proven to make your heart healthier, just like Cheerios (Did I really just type that? I did stay up late to get this done…)

Ah yes, once more, the fin.

Jillie062