Legal Disclaimer: The characters and situations here were created by Toei Entertainment. I do not own any of them.
Title: Notice Me
Romance: Yamato x Jun
Note: This was written for the second round of the Digimon Pairings Challenge.

I just don't get it. I always thought I was smarter than that. To get fooled like I was...after thinking all the time that I just knew when someone was lying and I couldn't be tricked. Especially not how it happened. I mean, it all came out all right in the end, better than I could have imagined when it started, but I think I'll always feel just a little silly inside because of how it did start.

I'm going to back up now and tell you what happened. It all got started, at least as far as I was concerned, about three weeks after this one game my brother had. I didn't go to it. I had a lot more interesting things to do than watch him kick a ball around, even if he was playing against Ichijouji Ken, the darling of Tokyo. He'd talked about it for almost a week before it happened, and I figured he'd talk about it for another week after that.

For the first day, I was right. All he could do once he got home that night was babble about how awesome it had been, and how he'd slid right into Ken, stopping some play of his or something. I stopped listening after a while. Once you've heard one play by play of a game, you've heard them all as far as I'm concerned.

But the day after that, he came home late from school and he looked almost sad. Worse than sad, really and truly upset. But he wouldn't talk about it at all. That was okay with me; maybe that girl he'd liked had made it clear she didn't like him back or something. He'd be okay; Motomiyas bounce back like rubber.

I should know, I've bounced back a lot of times over the last couple of years. There's always been someone I liked, some guy I had my eye on, and for the most part, none of them are that interested in me. I can live with that. There's always going to be someone else after them, anyway. Lots of fish in the sea and all of that.

What I was thinking about right then was the fact Momoe had managed to get Chizuru to get permission for us to sit in on one of the rehearsals for the Teenage Wolves. Daisuke complained that my squeeing interrupted his homework. Yeah, like he ever did his homework in the first place. I wondered for the longest time what it was that he did in there. I could've sworn so many times I heard him talking to someone, and I know he doesn't have a phone of his own in there. What's really weird is that sometimes I think I've heard someone talking back to him. Isn't that creepy?

At any rate, Momoe and I were going to watch them rehearsing. It was probably the best day of my life. Or at least in the last few weeks, anyway. A lot better than when I got my history test back and there was a note that I should probably think about finding some kind of a tutor or something. I still haven't told my parents about that one.

So, there we were at the rehearsal. It was awesome, to say the least. All of them just looked so fine standing there. Didn't matter a bit that they were in their school uniforms. I think it just made them look cuter. So what if Yamato was three years younger than I am? Younger guys can be cute too. Momoe said that her other sister likes younger guys too. We're going to have to have some kind of girl talk about that someday, I bet.

There he was. Ishida Yamato. Fourteen, and probably some of the best eye candy I've ever seen wandering around Odaiba. Pretty blond hair, deep blue eyes that remind me of the sky or the sea or something really cheesily poetic like that. I bet he'd find a way to say it right, if someone he cared about had blue eyes. I don't. But I don't need them. I've got other great qualities.

The problem with it is that he hasn't seen any of them yet. I really want him to go out on a date with me. Just one, that's all I ask. I almost got him to do it once, but that kind of fell through. I'm still not sure how, but it doesn't matter. I'll get him to do it some other time.

He's really such a great guy. I don't see why he's not already dating someone. There's got to be lots of girls in his class who would be glad to do it. Chizuru says that there are, but he hasn't ever looked at any of them. Maybe that means I've got a chance. It doesn't mean I don't have one, right?

The only way we were allowed to sit and watch was if we kept quiet, and keeping quiet is probably the hardest thing I can do when I'm listening to their music. It's why I go to all their concerts, I can shriek and yell as much as I want and no one says anything, because they're all doing the exact same thing.

It wasn't all that bad, though. Seeing them up close, and having the chance to talk to them afterwards, that was worth having to be quiet for a couple of hours. More than a chance: I made sure to talk to Yamato once they'd put all the instruments away.

"You guys sound really good," I told him, drinking in the sight when I came over. "I bet you get a contract sooner or later." I've never known how the music industry works, but it sounded like the right thing to say.

He looked a little nervous when he saw me coming. I guess I do have a reputation. Well, maybe if he tried to get to know me better, I wouldn't be so scary. Guys. Such kids. "You never know," he said at last. I guess he just wanted something to say, so he wouldn't be ignoring me.

"Mind if I walk with you home?" I wondered if it was the wrong thing to say as soon as the words got out of my mouth, especially from the way he kind of jumped, like he hadn't expected that at all. I was about to pull the words back and make some kind of excuse, like realizing I had to get home for dinner, even though I'd told Mom and Dad I'd probably be late, when he startled me.

"Um...okay." He glanced over to one of the others, Akira, I think it was, and the whole group of them snickered. I had a feeling that the next practice I didn't show up at, they were going to be heckling him about me. That's what guys do. Girls do it too, only guys are worse about it, of course.

Chizuru and Momoe both grinned at me, and I couldn't help but grin back. Yamato was actually willingly spending time with me! Sure, his place wasn't all that far off, but it was five minutes that I wouldn't have had if I hadn't said something. See, being a doormat and waiting for the guy to talk first doesn't always work out!

It just seemed like a few seconds before we were walking down the street together. He held his book bag in one hand and his guitar case in the other. I guessed he'd come right over from school. There was so much I wanted to talk to him about. I couldn't think of it all at the same time. Finally something came spilling out.

"How did you meet my little brother? I wouldn't think a high schooler would want to bother with someone like him."

"He's in the same class with my little brother," Yamato told me. Oh, that was right. Daisuke had mentioned something like that. Takeru was kind of cute too. Then again, I hadn't ever met a boy who wasn't cute, unless you count my brother, which I refuse to think about in any kind of a way. "And we've kind of got some things in common."

Daisuke and Yamato, having things in common? No way. Just no way. "Really? Like what?"

He shifted around some, and I could have sworn he was looking over his shoulder, like he expected someone or something to be there. "Just stuff. It's kind of complicated."

Now I was really interested. "Come on, you can tell me! I won't say anything, really!" It had to be a secret of some kind. My imagination was already racing. Could they be involved with international spies or something like that? No, Daisuke wasn't cool enough for that. Yamato was, but not Daisuke. I wondered if it had something to do with the weird voice I heard from my brother's room once in a while or maybe with whatever it was that had kept him late a few weeks back.

"I can't, really." Yamato sounded regretful, like he really wanted to tell me and just couldn't. Darn! Whatever it was, it had to be great. I wanted to know more about it. I wanted to know everything about it.

"All right, if you can't, you can't." I decided I'd have to drill Daisuke about this when I got home. There was no way I was going to give up on this. So there were other things that I wanted to know. "So, are you busy this weekend?" Subtlety isn't my strong point. It almost never is, with a Motomiya.

Besides, seeing him come almost out of his skin at the question was sort of fun. "Um, yeah, my dad and I have some plans. Sorry." From the way his eyes were blinking and the way he didn't look at me, I knew he was lying. I'd called him on it the last time it happened. This time I let it slide. Persistence, that's the key. He said no this time, but I'll ask again later and later and sooner or later, he's going to say yes, just so I'll stop asking. After that, we'll figure out what to do. It might not get to a point where he says yes. I could find someone else I like better, or he could fall for someone else. But that's not happened yet, and what hasn't happened isn't something to worry about.

As conversations go, it wasn't the most informative that has ever happened between a guy and a girl. Any question I tried, he did his best to avoid answering. It was kind of funny to try to think of something I could say that he would answer. I almost wondered if I should ask his opinion on the weather or the color of the sky or a fire hydrant we passed, just to see what he would say. But we got to his apartment before we got that far.

"Thanks for letting us sit in on the practice," I told him politely. "And for letting me walk home with you." I grinned at him mischievously, and I hoped he understood what I really meant next. "And for letting me ask you all those things and not really answering them."

Oh, yes, he understood. He turned the most interesting shade of red I'd never seen, and that includes my own hair and a few other people's. "Jun, I..."

I just waved him off. "Don't worry about it." People don't value what isn't hard to get, and if he keeps playing hard to get, then I'm just going to value him more. "I'll see you around."

He doesn't watch me go. In fact, he dodges into his apartment as fast as he can. I stopped myself from laughing, but it wasn't easy, not by a long shot. Boys are so weird, especially the cute ones. I should know, since I've spent all this time trying to get the autograph of every cute boy I can find.

I did miss a few, though. I wished I could've gotten Ichijouji Ken's autograph. I probably should have went to that game that Daisuke had been going on about. I could've gotten it then, if Daisuke hadn't messed it up for me. Then the kid goes and vanishes right after that. Really weird.

But as I started home, I couldn't shake the odd feeling that there was someone watching me. I looked up towards Yamato's apartment, and wondered if it was him. I couldn't see anyone standing in a window or anything, and it didn't really feel like it came from up there. He hadn't ever watched me before, so why would he now? It felt like someone watched me all the way home, too. Creepy. Really creepy.

That wasn't the last time I felt someone watching me. It didn't happen every day, and it was never at the same time of day. Once in a while I got the really weird impression that someone watched me when I was asleep. That's enough to give someone nightmares, especially with how freaky the whole feeling was. Like whoever was doing it wasn't sane.

I still tried to get to see Yamato whenever I could. I didn't want to sit in on more rehearsals. Well, I did, but this nasty little thing called a 'life' kept getting in the way of it. I had to do a lot of studying. Being in the last year of high school, I wanted to be certain I got good enough grades to get into college. Maybe that was why I was also trying to find a way to get Yamato to go out with me. A little fling before I had to go into the big world.

It didn't really matter what my reasons were, since I wasn't actually getting anywhere with him anyway. Every now and then when I saw him somewhere, and I knew all the good places to see him, I would ask if he wanted to get an ice cream or a soda together or go see a movie or something. He always turned me down, but I started to think maybe he did it out of habit. It was hard to be sure, because he didn't talk to me about it that much.

Right around a week or two after we walked back to his place together, I started to really think I'd gone off the deep end. I was walking with Momoe back home, both of us talking about the last assignment we'd had and how convinced I was that I'd botched it. I saw something ahead of us, and blinked. "No way."

Maybe something isn't the right word to use. I could have sworn I saw someone. Someone who couldn't have been there. Well, he could have, but I didn't see why he would be.

"Jun?" Momoe poked at me carefully. "You all right?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah." I tried to grin, but I don't know how much she believed it. She's seen me try to brush things off too many times. "I just thought I saw someone I knew." I don't really call that lying. Everyone knew him, or knew of him.

I didn't see him anymore that day, but that night, I sat in my window and just watched people going by. I could hear Daisuke in the next room, whispering. I couldn't really hear what he was saying, but I don't think it had anything to do with his homework. And there was that voice again, the one I'd heard answering him a few times.

Then I saw it. Him. He stood right across the street, and he looked up at me as if he knew I was watching him. He smiled. It was a nice smile, kind of warm and amused, as if he knew things I didn't.

What in the heck was Ichijouji Ken doing across the street at night smiling at me, when no one knew where he'd been since he'd ran away from home?

I had to know that I was really seeing him. I didn't want this to be some kind of hallucination. I ran over into Daisuke's room, and didn't even bother knocking first. I thought I saw him knock something off of his bed, but I didn't care. There were more important things to worry about.

"Daisuke, look out the window. I think I saw something out there and I want to be sure."

He stared at me like he'd never seen me before in his life. There was some kind of squeaking going on from the other side of his bed, but I didn't really care if he were keeping pet mice or something. I had to know. "Jun, what's going on?"

"Just look outside and tell me if you see anything!" He had to have thought I was crazy. But he did lean over and check out the window. He can be well-trained when he puts his mind to it.

When he looked back at me, he looked as confused as I felt. "There's nothing out there that shouldn't be. What's going on?"

I leaned over and checked out the window myself. If I still saw the kid, but Daisuke didn't, did it mean I was the one who was crazy? And if he wasn't out there, what did it mean that I'd seen him before?

There was nothing and no one out there, except for one of our neighbors coming down the street. He didn't look as if he'd seen a child genius who had vanished from human knowledge hanging around the area. I stepped back, confused


"Nothing..." I had to come up with some kind of a lie, or he'd think I'd really lost it. I flashed him my most intense grin. "I just thought I saw Yamato going by, that's all, and I wanted to be sure in case he wanted to talk or something."

Sometimes it's easy to fool Daisuke. Sometimes it isn't. Right then, I hoped that it was going to be one of those times where it was easy. All he did was just look at me, then nodded some. "Sure. I can see if he was around here tomorrow if you want." He didn't sound all that thrilled about it. I don't think he approves of me wanting to date someone he knows.

"Great!" I managed a heartfelt squeal and started out of his room. I left the door open just the tiniest bit, though. I wanted to see if I could hear something, and I did.

"Daisuke, you didn't have to push me off like that!" The voice was small and a little squeaky, but it was a voice, and it couldn't have been Daisuke faking it. It didn't sound anything like his own, for one thing.

"Did you want Jun to see you? She'd start asking all kinds of questions, and you know we can't tell her."

This was weird. What kind of a secret could he have that I couldn't know about? I almost decided to go back in and find out, but it was getting late. A yawn caught me and bed suddenly sounded very appealing at the moment. Whatever secrets Daisuke and his little friend had, they'd still have them once I'd gotten some sleep.

I didn't look out my window again until after I was changed. If he was still out there and hiding, I didn't want him to see anything, you know? Not that I'm ashamed of how I look. But there's a pretty big difference between one of t hose shared baths and peeking into someone's window. Besides, this was Ichijouji Ken. Even though our apartment's a lot of floors up, I bet he could find a way to spy on someone from the ground if he really wanted to.

Once I was done, I checked out the window again. Nope, nothing there. I guessed he'd went back to wherever he was hiding at. I still had no idea why he'd run away from home. No one did. Daisuke had been really upset about it when it happened, but I hadn't heard him talking about it with anyone for days. Maybe he felt a little guilty, since it was right after their game that it happened.

Now that was something to think about. Had Ken ran away because he got slid into during the game? Was he hanging around, not to watch me, but maybe to watch Daisuke, and he just got the window wrong or I looked out at the wrong time or something? Yeah, that had to be it. They knew each other, kind of. I didn't know him, and there wasn't any reason he'd be coming to stare at me.

With that settled, I got into bed and pulled the covers up over myself. It felt good to have figured things out. I might've scared Daisuke a little, but he'd get over it. I was more than willing to bet that a couple of looks or smiles from Hikari would fix him in no time. I think she likes him, she just doesn't want him to know just yet. I think. I don't know her well enough to be sure.

I thought about trying to get to know her. She is kind of friends with Yamato's brother and her brother is his best friend, so that would be something to talk about, at least. Maybe I could find out what she thinks about Daisuke and let him know. Not that he'd believe any of it, but that would be half the fun. I'd have to find a way to work it around everything else I had planned. Maybe it could wait a while, until the summer break.

I was getting warm and drowsy underneath the blankets. That's always been the best part of being in bed for me. I hate getting up some mornings. It just feels so good in there. But there's always the chance I can see Yamato before he gets to his school, so I usually do get up.

Maybe if I can get to know Hikari, then she can help me figure out how to get along better with Yamato. She has to know something. There's lots of people I can ask, now that I think about it. At least I've already gotten a start on it. He didn't mind walking home with me that time. I don't know if asking if we can sit in on another session is the right way to go, but maybe this time I can get him something without him knowing, so he can't say no to it. I could bring along some extra drinks or something. I know what his favorite is. I saw him sharing a can of it with Takeru the other day. So I'll make a point of it to grab some and we can share it too.

I was certain he would be surprised when I offered it. He couldn't know that I'd watched him enough to be certain of what he likes. I could only hope it wouldn't freak him out or make him think I stalked him or something stupid like that. I just liked to know what he's doing and what he likes. It's not like I haven't done the same thing for other guys I've liked before. He wasn't anything special, not where that comes in, anyway.

But he was special in other ways. He has his gruff moments, but I've seen him with his brother and a little bit with his friends. He has a kind heart under it all, and he would do just about anything for a friend. I hoped I could be his friend one day. More than his friend would be a real bonus, but just to be able to say he knows about me and cares whether I live or die...I'd settle for that if I had to.

I just didn't want to have to.

That was only the beginning, though. I started to see Ken almost anywhere I went. He never said anything, but he was never close enough for me to hear anything even if he had. He just stood there and watched, with that weird smile. If I looked away or got too close, he'd just vanish or step out of sight, and when I got to where he was, he was gone. It was really weird. It also made me give up the notion that he was trying to get in touch with Daisuke very quickly. It was plain he wanted to talk to me. Or at least wanted me to see him. The question was why, and I didn't have a single answer on me.

Trying to find ways to hang around Yamato wasn't much easier than trying to find out what Ken wanted. Strangely enough, finding Ken got to be easier than talking to Yamato, and that was weird enough. I didn't tell anyone I was seeing him around. With the way he vanished almost at a moment's notice, no one would have believed me anyway.

I didn't make any progress finding out what, or who, it was that Daisuke was talking to in his room, either. I could still hear it once in a while, but I didn't really want to go barging in there to interrupt him. Daisuke was pretty good at hiding it, and ducking away from questions whenever I tried to ask, the little sneak.

For the week after I first saw Ken, I saw more of him than I did of Yamato, and I had tried my best to do anything I could to talk to him. To Yamato, that is. Just the two of us. Only it was never quite the two of us. Whenever he walked home, it was with Taichi or Sora or sometimes Takeru. I did miss trying to see him a few days, thanks to my homework, so I don't know if he was with them those days. He probably wasn't. That was the way my luck tended to be.

"I can help you." The words weren't in a voice I knew all that well, but I knew it anyway. Anyone who watched television, and I did, knew it. I almost dropped all my books when I heard it, and then saw Ken standing just a short distance away, right outside of the entrance to an alleyway. He still wore his gray Tamachi uniform, and his arms were folded across his chest as he looked at me, completely calm and unruffled.

"Um...what are you talking about? Do you know how many people are looking for you?" Sure, I was used to seeing him, but he'd never said anything before. I kind of wished that Momoe had walked home with me today, but she'd had to work at the store, so had to leave early. I wished she hadn't.

Ken didn't appear to think my questions were all that important. "I said, I can help you. You want Ishida to notice you. I can make sure he does."

He had to be joking. There was no way that he could pull off something like that. I'd been trying to get Yamato to notice me for weeks and all I'd managed was a few words that he fought to get out. How could this kid, my brother's age, do any better? I mean, yes, he's the great Ichijouji Ken, but he's a genius. He can't control emotions or anything like that.

"No way." I just shook my head. "I don't know what's wrong with you, but you can't do it."

A small smile twitched his lips, as if he didn't really want to smile, but found me just entertaining enough so he did anyway. "Believe me, I can do it." The words were simply spoken, but I shook with how much confidence dripped from them. "They'll all notice you, Jun. They won't be able to ignore you."

I couldn't just accept this. Something inside of me was screaming that this was wrong. It was different from the extra fluttering someone's eyes did when they were lying. He wasn't lying, or if he was, he wasn't giving it away like I was used to. But there was something else. "Why do you want to help me?" I hadn't really noticed Ken being all that eager to help people before he left. Bright guy, but not really the friendliest that ever walked the face of the Earth.

"Let's just say, your brother and Ishida did me a favor not that long ago, and I would like to repay them. Getting them to notice you, the way I plan on it, will do that."

Again, I didn't have the feeling that he was lying. Maybe he was holding something back, but he wasn't lying, and that was weird. I couldn't imagine what kind of a secret a scrawny kid like this was hiding. Boy, could I not imagine it.

"So how are you going to get them to notice me?" I was pretty sure a makeover and a blind date weren't on the menu.

"Step over this way," he said, and walked into the alley he'd been in front of. I followed him, holding onto my books tightly. There was something odd about the way he walked. I couldn't hear a sound. I know that some shoes muffle sound, but I couldn't believe what he had on were those kinds. Maybe it was something to do with the way he moved, almost like a cat slinking along.

He led me along until we were out of sight of the street, and there, placed on the top of a trash can, was a laptop. None of what was on the display looked remotely like any kind of program I'd seen before. I hadn't paid enough attention in my computer classes to really know that many, but this was just different. Maybe it was something Ken had made for himself.

"Whose is this?" It looked pretty expensive, and I didn't think anyone would just leave it laying around like this.

"Mine." He stood in front of it, and for a moment, I wondered if I really was seeing things, because I could have sworn that he went transparent. But then he was there again, just like always. "Put your hand on the screen. Then we'll get started on getting them to notice you."

I hesitated, not really certain if this was what I wanted. Sure, I wanted Yamato to notice me, but things had started to take a turn into the weird. Ken didn't have that much patience, though.

"Put your hand there." It was a flat out command, the type someone would expect an emperor or something to give. There wasn't any way that I could have refused it, not with those cold eyes glaring at me the way they were. I couldn't imagine why Daisuke liked this guy as much as he did. There were a lot nicer people in the world.

But I did what he told me to do. Mainly because I didn't know what he'd do if I didn't, and I didn't want to find out, either. I had a feeling it wouldn't be anything pleasant. I put my hand on the screen. Nothing happened, except a vague sort of uneasiness, and then Ken put his arm around me. A quick look down showed he looked roughly the way I felt when I had to clean up squashed bug bits or something. Was he looking that way because of me? I didn't have a chance to ask, because he brought something up in his other hand, facing towards the screen, and almost at once, everything around me vanished. I was vaguely aware that Ken was next to me, and that we were falling somewhere. Lights and colors flashed all around, and my stomach danced about in nausea.

Then all of that was gone, and I found myself collapsed on a floor that wasn't that of any house I knew or back alley I'd ever heard of. It was a deep shade of steel gray, as smooth as glass, and extended for several feet in front of me. I couldn't tell just yet what it ended at. It was really dark almost everywhere around here. Wherever here was.

Well, I was going to find out. I still didn't feel like standing up, but I could talk. I hoped. "Where are we?"

"My fortress." Ken's voice even sounded different. I hadn't realized until then that he wasn't holding me any longer, and probably hadn't been since we got there. Boots clicked a little distance away, and I raised my head enough to see a chair, and hints of someone in it. They didn't quite look like Ken, at least not how I was used to seeing him, but the voice was sort of his.

"Your what?"

"Shut up." Now that really wasn't the Ken I was used to! He sounded so hateful!

"Look, kid, you can't go around telling me what to do!"

The chair turned, and I got a good look at Ken as he was in this place. The outfit was weird. The hair was totally weird, but vaguely familiar in a way as well. I couldn't place it at all, but I just knew I'd seen it somewhere before. Even with the huge glasses that concealed a lot of his face, I knew it was Ken anyway. You can't mistake that arrogance once you've seen it up close. But what drew my attention the most was the whip in his hands. From the way he held it, I knew he knew how to use it. "I can do anything I want here. I am the master, you're nothing but my prisoner."

What was worst was, he smiled when he said that. Like it was something to be proud of. I wanted to smack him like I did Daisuke once in a while, just to teach him to watch his mouth. But like I couldn't refuse him when we were outside, I couldn't move now, and I knew that he knew it.

"Wormmon, take my prisoner to the cell I set aside for her. I'll be contacting those idiots in a few minutes, and they'll want to know that this time, I really do have what I said I do."

Something came crawling out of the shadows towards me, and I started to scream. It was a bug! A huge icky caterpillar thing that had to be at least a foot long, and it was coming over to me! I scrambled back as much as I could, fighting the urge to throw up from whatever wild ride I'd had and the sight of this disgusting thing approaching. Why couldn't Ken have been some kind of megalomaniac who wanted to take over the world instead of hanging out with bugs! Anything but bugs!

"If you'd come with me, please, miss?" It looked up at me with huge googly eyes. It didn't have a very big mouth, but I was sure it was just waiting for a chance to pounce on me and eat me alive, or tie me up in silk for later. That's what bugs did, and I couldn't see a big talking bug would be any different.

"I am not going anywhere with a bug! You can't make me!"

Ken looked back over, clearly annoyed. "You can go with him or you can go with them." There was some kind of a flicker in the air and then I saw two huge spiders, much much larger than this caterpillar, slobber dripping from their jaws.

Suddenly, the caterpillar didn't seem all that bad.

Ken really needed to work on his accommodations. The cell, and it was a cell, there was no getting around it, was small, just about big enough for me to take ten or fifteen steps in any given direction. The walls were made out of the same weird stuff that the floor was, without any hint of a hidden door. I guess Ken never bothered to watch all those movies where there's a secret way out in every dungeon. Or maybe he did watch them, and that's why there isn't one. The door was just big enough for me to walk through, and I don't think I could have picked the lock if I'd known how. Especially since I couldn't get to it, since it was on the other side of the door and out of my reach.

I had no idea of how long I'd been in there or where anyone else was. Anyone else being the caterpillar and the brat, of course. I didn't want to think of Ken by his name. He was just being a pain.

And I'd been an idiot. Why would I have ever thought there was a way for Yamato to notice me? The closest he had ever come was a little conversation here and there. He probably thought I was just like every other fangirl that's ever been after him, and the sad thing was, I couldn't say that he was wrong. The only thing different about me was that I actually knew him. Or had a chance to know him, since my brother was his friend.

It was a chance I'd been wasting, too. I could think of a thousand different ways I could've made a better first impression on him. All of that was gone now. I couldn't even be certain if he'd be able to get me out of here, or if anyone could. I barely even knew where 'here' was. The caterpillar had said something about a 'Digital World' and being a 'Digimon', whatever those were. I had been too busy freaking out and following it at the same time to really notice what it said.

"Jun!" I looked around; where the heck was I hearing Daisuke's voice coming from? Then I saw two squares of light floating off to the side. One of them showed Daisuke, dressed in some weird outfit I'd never seen him in before, and the other had Ken, in that same getup he'd had when we'd first gotten here, complete with large dark shades.

"Daisuke! Get me out of here!" I caught a glimpse of someone off to the side, was that really Yamato? The blond hair made me think it was, but there was also his brother...and what were those weird creatures with them? Maybe I was really dreaming all of this. It made a lot more sense thank to think it was all real.

"We're going to!" Daisuke turned a little and glared at something I couldn't see. "Let my sister go, Ken!"

This was getting stranger by the second. Ken only smirked. "You know the price that I asked, Motomiya." I didn't like the way he said that, either. "You hand yourself over to me, and you'll get your big pest of a sister back. Otherwise, she's going to be enjoying my dungeon for a very long time."

Daisuke clenched his fists and I could see a blue hand tugging at his jacket. "Don't do it, Daisuke!" It was that voice. Well, it was a little different, but it was still the same one I'd heard before, coming from Daisuke's bedroom. "It's probably not even her. Remember what he did last time?"

"Hey! You're the one Daisuke's been talking to all this time!" I blurted it out without thinking about it. "And here I thought he's been talking to himself!"

Daisuke looked back at me, and for the first time I noticed that he looked really upset. Was that because of me? Because I was being used to make him do something he didn't want to? Resolve burned in me: I was not going to let my little brother get hurt like that. Not if I could stop it. I didn't know if I could, but I was going to try my best.

"It's her," he said, and there was a world of pain in those two words. He looked at someone else, and then stepped back from the screen. Who came up next really wasn't who I expected.

"So...hey, Jun," Yamato said quietly. "Ken said you went with him because you wanted me to notice you."

I ducked my head and knew I was turning all shades of red possible. "Yeah. I was pretty stupid, wasn't I? Why would I think you'd notice me no matter what I did?" I hoped I didn't sound too stupid saying it. Just because I knew I had been didn't mean I wanted to sound like it.

"I already noticed you," he said. I kind of saw Ken rolling his eyes, but I didn't pay any attention to that. "I don't know if you're my type...but...once we get you out of there, if you want to go see a movie or something..."

I glared at him. I'm very good at glaring. Just ask Daisuke. "If you're asking me out on a pity date!" I'd take it. I'd take a dozen, just to have the chance to know him as a person and not just someone up on a stage.

"No. I mean it." I kept a watch on his eyes, and as far as I could tell, he did mean it. "I really mean it, Jun."

I was about to tell him no, that I wanted to wait a while, when Ken interrupted. "This is so sweet. I can't wait to interrupt it any longer. If you're going to pay my price, Motomiya, then just wait right there, and I'll come and get you and drop off a fangirl while I'm at it. Otherwise, get out of my world."

I didn't get to hear their answer, because both images or communications or whatever they were vanished a second later. I wanted to turn Ichijouji Ken over my knee and spank him so hard just then. How dare he do this to my brother! How dare he do this to Yamato! How dare he do this to me!

I paced all around the cell and tried to think of some way to get out of this. Maybe I could just run over to them when Ken took me there for the 'prisoner swap' or whatever he wanted to call it, and Daisuke wouldn't have to go to him at all. Right, like a genius is going to let you pull off that trick. Even an idiot wouldn't do that.

Granted, even if Daisuke did have to be a prisoner for a while, I was pretty confidant in his ability to annoy Ken to the point he just let him go. The problem was, I couldn't be certain of just what Ken wanted to do with him, and I didn't want to take any chances. That's my brother.

I had on idea of how much time had passed before I looked at the door to the cell and saw Ken out there. The door swung open and he yanked me out of there rudely. "Come on. I told you they were going to notice you, and now they will."

"This isn't what I wanted!"

"Really?" Ken smirked, and it fit on his face as if it were the missing piece of a puzzle. "I seem to have forgotten to ask you what you wanted. Of course, the fact I don't care might also factor into it. Let's go."

I didn't have a chance to ask any questions as he pushed me through the corridors. I wanted to, I had a handful and a half of things I wanted to know. As seemed to be usual with him, Ken wasn't waiting around to hear any of it.

"Don't even think about screaming." Ken hissed the words out as he pushed me onto something large and fuzzy. It didn't look like a carpet, and as I looked at it a little more, I noticed it had a face. Or a head. Or a face on a head. It was also very big, and I couldn't ignore the teeth. I gulped and settled myself the best I could as Ken stood behind me, the caterpillar beside me and at his feet, and the beast took off smoothly.

"Don't be worried," the caterpillar nudged me a little, and I bit back the yell that wanted to fly out. "You'll be all right."

Being reassured by a bug wasn't tops on my list of things to do, but options were limited just then. So I tried not to worry. I didn't do it very well.

"What in the world is going on? What is all of this?" I hoped I'd get some answers from someone. Ken didn't look as if he even heard me, but the bug kept on talking.

"A few weeks ago, your brother really embarrassed Ken, and that got Ken mad. He tried one way for revenge, but it didn't work out quite the way he wanted to, so he's trying again. And that's where you come in."

Not exactly the detailed answer I wanted. "Oh. Um. Is that what he meant when he said Daisuke and Yamato did him a favor?"

"I guess. They freed a slave of his that he really wanted to keep and beat some of his best work. That gets Ken angry every time they do it."

I couldn't be surprised. Ken had begun to strike me as the kind who would get angry if he had to wait two seconds to cross the street. "So, have you got a name?" Maybe this thing wasn't so bad, if it would talk to me. It...he...was a lot nicer than Ken. I wondered if there was spore mold that was nicer than Ken. I suspected that there might well be.

"I'm Wormmon." He started to lift a paw or a pod or whatever it was so I could shake it, I guess, then began to put it back down. I winced; I hadn't exactly treated him all that nicely when I'd first seen him.

"I'm Motomiya Jun. Nice to meet you, Wormmon." I reached out, slightly clenching my teeth, and shook his pod the best I could. I wanted to talk some more, to really figure out what was going on and all of that, but there was no more time. The creature we were on had started to go downward, and a quick glance over the side showed the ground coming up a lot faster than I was personally comfortable with.

Wormmon leaned in a little closer to me. He did have the nicest blue eyes, now that I noticed it. I wondered what such a sweet caterpillar was doing hanging around Ken. "Just do what Ken says. You'll be all right."

"Yes, but will my brother be?" I had to ask it.

Wormmon drooped his head a little. That was all the answer I got. It was also all the answer I needed. I had to find a way to put a stop to this.

Ken didn't hold me back. That was reserved for some of his other monster minions that came up as soon as we landed and he got me off that other thing. Daisuke and his friends stood a few feet away. I could see my brother, that short kid that he hangs out with, Yamato, Takeru, and Hikari, and that was it. They all had monsters of some kind with them. I had the feeling someone was missing, but I couldn't think of who. How the heck could I know who should be there and who shouldn't?

"I hope none of you are looking for him back any time soon," Ken said. He was smirking as he said it, too. I wanted so badly to knock that look off his face. "You're never going to see him again."

Daisuke just rolled his eyes. "Ken, go read up on how to be a decent villain. You keep saying the same things over and over and you just have different Digimon to back you up. Come on, send Jun over here."

"First, you lay down your D-3 and D-Terminal so you don't get any ideas about evolving that runt of yours."

I didn't recognize half of what he was talking about, but Daisuke did, as he pulled a couple of odd looking devices out of his jacket pocket and handed them over to Takeru. "Keep these for me," was all he said. Takeru nodded, and I thought I saw him looking up for a second. Wait, isn't Miyako pretty close to him too? If all of his friends are here, then shouldn't she be too?

I didn't make a move. If this was some kind of plan I'd stumbled into, I wasn't going to screw it up, not with Daisuke on the line here. Ken shoved me in the back. "Get going. You don't think I want to keep you around, do you?" He sneered. "I can't imagine why they'd want you back anyway."

"Because she's my sister," Daisuke said, and I caught a smile from him. He was right. Completely right. I was going to do anything I could to help him, because he was my brother. "Come on, Jun."

Yamato smiled a little at me as well, and my stomach jumped around at the sight. "I still think we can go see a movie once this is over with." He wasn't offering everything, and I wasn't all that sure I wanted everything. But it was a start.

"Sure. Sounds good." I started to walk over, and glanced a bit at Wormmon before I moved too far away. "Hope things get better for you some day."

He smiled a little back at me, but didn't say anything, probably because of how Ken's foot moved around a little behind him, as if he were readying himself for a kick. What a total brat.

As soon as I was close to them, Daisuke started to walk towards Ken. When he passed me, I heard him whispering quickly. "Stay out of the fight. Mom's making my favorite ramen tonight, and I am not missing it." Yeah. I should've figured they'd have some kind of a plan.

Once I was beside Yamato, I turned and looked to see where Daisuke was. I almost wished I hadn't, since he was on his knees before Ken. There was a kind of unholy pleasure in the smirk the little jerk smirked just then. I was willing to bet if I could see his eyes, they'd be the same way, extraordinarily happy at seeing someone kneel down to him.

"And now, I believe it's time for us to go! Come on, Motomiya." He laughed cruelly. "But you don't get to stand up. Just crawl onto the AirDramon." He motioned with his whip, and Daisuke started towards the thing we'd flown in on.

Then there was a shriek that sounded as if someone were yelling, "Tempest Wing!" and something struck the ground beside Ken and Daisuke, knocking them both apart. I looked up just in time to see Miyako, riding some kind of weird bird-beast thing, and grinning like a maniac.

"Hi, Jun!" She shouted down at me. "Hey, guys, come on, let's get moving!"

There was quite a bit of lights, noise, and confusion right about then, and when I could finally see what was going on, Daisuke was being dragged onto the AirDramon by Ken, and there was a small army of other Digimon, all of who had these weird black rings on them somewhere, marching towards everyone else. Everyone else in this case also meaning me. I supposed this was what Daisuke had meant by 'stay out of the fight'. Pretty good advice.

"Get back that way!" Yamato pushed me away, and I didn't mind going, either. He looked over towards one side, and I followed his gaze to see a tall black spire rising up. "Someone get rid of that thing and Gabumon and I will get Daisuke out of there!"

"Not this time, Ishida," Ken hissed, and pulled Daisuke closer to him, still trying to get onto the AirDramon. Daisuke was putting up a fight, though, struggling for all he was worth. "You gave yourself for your sister, remember, Motomiya? Give it up!"

"Hey, I never said how long I was going to be staying with you! I've had enough of this!" Daisuke shoved at Ken, who didn't so much as move, but instead shoved him back, putting a foot down on him and pulling out the whip.

I knew they'd told me to stay where I was. I knew they didn't want me to get hurt. But there was no way I was going to stay there and let my brother be hurt like that. I darted out, moving as fast as I could, convincing myself briefly that I was running to see yet another cute boy, one whose autograph I didn't want.

I don't think he even saw me coming. He was too wrapped up in what he was about to do to Daisuke. I tackled him from the side and did my best to yank the whip away from him. "You're not going to hurt Daisuke!"

There was a lot of noise going on behind me, but I paid attention only to what I was doing. I had to keep him down until Daisuke was all right. Then there was an explosion of some kind, and I heard Yamato's voice as it rose loud and clear.

"Go help her, Gabumon!"

"I think it would be better if Garurumon did it, Yamato." The voice was quiet and calm, and I knew that it had to belong to that Digimon I'd seen with him earlier. There was more lights, and explosions, and sounds from behind me. I concentrated on keeping Ken down the best that I could, even though I could hear pounding footsteps that had to be some of Ken's troops.

Ken struggled underneath me, but I had a little bit of leverage on him. That lasted almost a full minute, before he managed to shove me off and a few feet away. "Motomiyas!" The hate in the single word was almost enough to spread on toast. "You're worthless, all of you!"

"Hey, I resent that!" Daisuke had struggled to his feet and now came over to help me up. "You don't get much better than a Motomiya!"

Ken only glared in annoyance and hatred, and a quick look around the area showed that the number of his fighters had reduced dramatically. Daisuke and his friends had fought this kind of battle before, I could tell. Ken leaped for his AirDramon, and landed on it with a dramatic swirl of his cape. "This isn't over yet, Chosen idiots."

"And the award for least original parting shot by the bad guy goes to..." I muttered just loudly enough for them all to hear. Ken rolled his eyes, stamped on the beast's head, and with Wormmon by his side, lifted off and was out of sight in nothing flat.

"Are you all right, Jun?" It was Yamato asking as he and a big wolf-thing came over to me. I gulped a little at the sight, and he must have noticed. "It's okay. This is Garurumon. He's my partner, and my best friend. He won't hurt you."

"I know." I smiled at them both and brushed my hair back some. I was dirty and tired from everything that had happened, but I wanted to at least make a reasonably good impression. "A pleasure to meet you, Garurumon."

"So, I bet you've got a lot of questions, don't you?" Miyako asked as she and her own partner landed. "I know I did when I first found out about the Digital World."

"Yeah, I do. But they can wait til I've had a bath," I grinned, and they all grinned back. I looked around where we were. I couldn't see that spire anymore, but everything else seemed to be just as it had been when we got there: weird. "I wish I could see more of this place, though."

Yamato hesitated for a moment, looked at the others, and then looked back at me. "We can take you on a ride if you want. It can't be too long, but we can show you around some."

He might have, but I didn't hesitate. "Sure!" Even if this was my only time here, I wanted to make it worth remembering. I trusted Yamato would keep me safe, too. It might also be the only time he really offered to hang out with me. I wasn't going to pass it up.

Garurumon crouched down some, and we both got on him, Yamato in the front and me holding on, my arms around his waist. Yamato looked at Takeru. "We'll be back in a couple of hours."

"Take care of yourselves," was all Takeru said back, and then we were off, bounding along as free as could be. I squealed in joy; this was incredible! This was wonderful! This was scary and fantastic all at the same time! I leaned forward some, enjoying the feel of Yamato's back in front of me.

"Maybe someday you can come visit here more often," he called back to me. I smiled.

"I like the sound of that." I did, too. I really did. With all the questions I had, about why Ken was here instead of on Earth, just what were Digimon and why were they partnered to humans, and everything else that I wanted to ask, none of it seemed as important as the one I did ask. "Do you really want to see a movie with me?"

"I shouldn't say no without trying something first, should I?" He turned enough so I could see him smile, and I just knew I could fly all by myself right then.

"Then it's a date!" I held on even tighter as Garurumon leaped over a stream, and we kept on running into a deep forest. As crazy as it seemed, as weird as it might have been, I really thought I owed Ken a very small favor. After all, who knows if Yamato would have ever asked me out if he hadn't? But now he had, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

The End