Ryo looked out upon the city of West Shinjuku from his view point on top of Hypnos' abandoned headquarters, staring a it as the sun set overhead in the distance, Cyberdramon beside him. "They look like ants, don't they Cyberdramon?" he whispered almost hypnotically, Kagemon's mark burning on the back of his neck. "Ants going about their business just waiting to die."

"Finally accepting our view of the world, ne?" a cold voice purred into his ear. He knew it was Takato's nobody, so he didn't turn around. "Does that mean you're going to join us in our goal for absolute oblivion?"

"If I do, I get what I want, right?" he asked, licking his lips a little. "I get Ruki Makino, right?"

The nobody smiled viciously as he nestled his head on Ryo's shoulder, running a hand lightly through the other boy's brown hair. "In any way you can imagine," he cooed, nipping softly at Ryo's ear. "You could break her fiery spirit into a million tiny pieces and rearrange her, use her as a plaything if you wanted." His smile became ruthless – humans were so much fun to toy with.

Ryo finally turned, looking at him with dead sapphire eyes. "I accept then,' he said in a soft but dangerous voice, reaching to take the other brunet's hand offering.

The nobody grinned in glee. "Welcome to Lord Kagemon's army. You may call me Mordred." Mordred ran his fingers almost gently through Ryo's hair, ignoring the warning growls from Cyberdramon. "Welcome home, Lieutenant Ryo Akiyama."

They both and Ryo's partner disappeared in black flashes of digital data, Mordred's wicked laughter echoing through the night.

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The Dark Guardians
Chapter IX

Written by Takato Metallium
Disclaimer: I disclaim all rights to Digimon Tamers. It belongs to Akiyoshi Hongo and other such people. I only own the fic, the idea, some Digimon you haven't seen before and not much else.
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Somehow or other, BlackTerriermon remained as DarkSageGargomon. None of them could figure out why or how, and when Janyuu offered to take him to the Hypnos labs to run some tests, the feral Digimon would snarl and hiss and disappear for an hour or two. He eventually stopped offering, although they could all sense the hostility in the shaggy-haired monster, like it was taking everything he had to keep himself from ripping out their throats and feasting on their bodies.

Jenrya had not moved from the balcony doorway since they had gotten back to the Lee's apartment building, leaning against it and staring out across West Shinjuku, nor had he said a word, not even when Shuichon had wrapped her arms around her guardian and told him it was going to be alright, that they would retrieve Takato's true form, given time. He eventually moved into a sitting position, but remained leaning on the doorframe, as though lost in thought, his monster of a partner looming over him like a lost shadow mourning its light.

Ruki took the cup of tea Mayumi had set out before the individual Tamers, watching the bluenet with concerned eyes. She figured he was either moping or brooding, which didn't really have much of a difference. Silence had drifted in and out between the group like a ghost. They hadn't seen Ryo since yesterday, so it was only the core group plus Jenrya.

It was Impmon who finally got tired of the quietness, and the purple Digimon hopped down from where he sat on the couch next to Lopmon and their partners, his hands clenching into fists. "Damnit, what the Hell are we all waiting for?! All we have to do is go to the Dejitarusekai, crash Kagemon's lair and get Takato back, don't we?!"

"There is no 'we'." Jenrya's voice was so quiet that they almost didn't hear it. He didn't turn his head away from the glass door as DarkSageGargomon growled softly beside him. "I'm the only one who shall be going to the Dejitarusekai to look for Takato's body."

"That's suicide and you know it," Ruki snapped at him from where she was seated.

"I'm also the only one who stands a chance against Kagemon!" Jenrya snapped back, his body hunched a little. He sighed and pushed himself away from his seat, standing and making his way over, DarkSageGargomon lumbering behind him silently. Dark green eyes looked at the group, showing their scarred, hollow self. "Takato is my responsibility," he began explaining, voice soft again but strained. "Six years ago, I promised I'd always be there for him." The Tamers looked at each other guiltily. "I've let him down, and the only way I can keep that promise is by freeing him from Kagemon's hold."

He looked at them seriously, then let his eyes fall on Shuichon. "I'll be taking Shuichon with me and delivering her to the Sovereigns so I won't be failing my duty. They'll take care of her. She needs to live so she can bring about the resurrection of the Dejitarusekai when the time is right. Taking her with me all the way would be like handing victory to Kagemon, and that I won't do."

"Dude, that's way too much for just one guy and his 'mon to handle," Hirokazu spoke up from his seat for the first time that evening, leaning back with his arm wrapped around Kenta. "At least let us protect Shuichon."

"He's right," Juri said, nodding in agreement. "We want to make it up to Takato for abandoning him."

Jenrya shook his head in protest. "I'd be leading all of you to your deaths…!"

"Oh, be quiet an' pipe down," Impmon said, hands on his hips. "We're comin' an' that's final!"

"Except for Makoto." Kenta looked at the younger teenager laying down on the couch, his head wrapped in bandages. "He should stay here and rest."

Makoto gave a weak smile and a thumbs up before speaking. "Give 'em Hell for me, Ai." His twin nodded at him.

Jenrya sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "If you're sure…" He closed his eyes and concentrated, then opened them again. "The closest portal to the Dejitarusekai is on top of the old Hypnos building."

Ruki stood up from where she was sitting next to Renamon. "Then what are we doing standing around here for?" she said with a bit of a huff, smacking her fist into her palm. "What's the plan?"

"We go to the Sovereigns first," the dark guardian said, quickly taking charge. "I can concentrate on the portal and make it change its drop off point." He looked at his little sister. "Shuichon will be safe with there in their territory." He returned his gaze to the rest of the Tamers. "You guys will go in groups to take down the rest of the Daevas. Leave Takato's nobody and Kagemon to me." They all nodded. "Get some sleep then. We leave tomorrow morning, first light."

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Somewhere deep in Kagemon's castle, a cryo stasis tube suddenly shattered, sending glass and fluid everywhere as a brunet boy almost identical to Mordred shakily picked himself up from the floor, ignoring the glass that cut into his skin and caused blood to trickle.

"Jenrya," he said, his voice raw from barely any use and throat sore. His body still suffered the burn marks from five years ago, covering at least sixty percent of his body. He shivered as he stood in the cold room. "Jenrya," he repeated, his silver-crimson eyes blank as he disappeared from the chambers in a flourish of black data.

Jenrya was sitting in his room, unable to sleep due to thoughts plaguing his mind, looking out the window at the full moon as DarkSageGargomon snored softly on the floor nearby, curled up like a large guard dog.

"Jenrya…"

He nearly jumped at the voice he heard through his link with Takato, almost certain he'd been imagining things until arms wrapped around him from behind and a body pressed up against his back. "T-Takato?" he whispered, sure as anything he was dreaming, but when a hand slipped up his shirt, he knew it was real. Turning a little in his spot, he nearly cried when he saw Takato's naked form behind him on his hands and knees, eyes flickering to the burn marks covering his body, the cuts caused by the glass of the cryo tube healed over.

"Jen," the brunet managed to whisper, light coming back into his eyes as tears rolled down his cheeks. "I missed you…I missed you so much…"

"Takato…" Reaching up, Jenrya grasped both sides of his face. "You're real…aren't you?"

"I…I want to ask if this is a dream," he sobbed, lightly touching Jenrya's scarred face. "Is…is this another of Mordred's horrible nightmares? Where I can see you but I can't touch you? Where he's in control?"

The blue-haired teenager pulled him closer for a fierce, desperate kiss and Takato very nearly melted in his arms. Jenrya tasted like a thousand suns he'd never seen, like the moon and the earth and the sky he'd missed so much. Takato tried desperately to deepen the kiss, but after five years of laying in unmovable stasis he found his body would take time to respond, and so just collapsed into Jenrya's arms, continuous tears rolling down his cheeks as he cried.

Jenrya caught him willingly, holding him close as he allowed the other guardian to cry into his chest.

"It's…" Takato's breath hitched in his throat as he hiccupped. "It's all my fault…Kagemon's a part of me…it's my fault the Dejitarusekai is suffering…" He turned his teary eyes up at Jenrya, sniffling. "Remember…remember our very first mission as dark guardians?"

He nodded. "The one where we protected that village and killed Pajiramon and Vajiramon?"

Takato's entire body shook, his hands clutching Jenrya's shirt. "I…I wandered off after because I felt sick…Mordred…Mordred jumped me, and the next thing I knew I woke up in Kagemon's…"

"Shhh…" Jenrya threaded his fingers through Takato's soggy brown hair. "Rest, please. We'll talk more in the morning."

As he cried himself to sleep, Jenrya silently sat there holding him, thanking whatever God was watching out for them that Takato was back where he belonged – safe by his side and in his arms.

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BlackGillmon's winged ears perked up and he lifted his head, blinking as he thought he heard someone crying. "Takato…?" he murmured, the dull shade beginning to fade from his golden eyes.

"Hm…?" Mordred looked at the Digimon by his side with cold eyes. He shrugged it off a nothing and continued walking. 'Digimon are such filthy creatures…'

"You're not Takato." The louder voice made him stop and turn again to look at the saurian monster who was glaring at him.

"Give the dog a biscuit, he figured it out," he sneered, rolling his eyes as he faced BlackGillmon directly. "Of course I'm not, you fool. That moron could never be capable enough to wield darkness such as I do."

BlackGillmon snarled viciously as his eyes became cat-like slits of gold.

"Oh, be quiet and do as I say." Mordred turned with a flourish of his coat. "Otherwise you'll never see him again. He's trapped under lock and key, unable to escape…"

"Liar," the black reptile breathed. "Liar! He's free! He's in the Real World! I can feel him call out to me!"

"What?!" Mordred turned around again, but all that was left of BlackGillmon was flicks of black data.

– End of chapter nine –