This is for Broken Angel01's "Following the Footsteps of Destiny" Challenge, so I can't own the characters. If you haven't read that story, this will make absolutely no sense! And if you're reading this just because you have me on alerts, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH KINGDOM HEARTS OR THE ANNALS OF DARKNESS (Formerly The Fire in His Heart).

Setting: Ichijouji residence. Time is one week after the initial meeting at the Motomiya residence and Sam still hasn't found out about the Emperor's identity.

Summary: How will Ken react when it becomes clear that Sam really want to know about the Emperor's identity? And what does Wormmon have to say?


Truth

Ken Ichijouji was sitting down on the couch in his living room, quietly pretending to read a book while he reminisced in his mind on the adventures so far in the digital world that he had accompanied the newest group of digidestined on. The sounds of the dishwasher gently came out of the kitchen while his ears also picked up the voices of his wife and children.

"NO, NO, NO, NO!" his wife, Yolie, was yelling. He could hear his eldest, Miya, start to giggle.

"Mom," she said humourously. "It's 'Go Fish'." Ken heard her groan exasperatedly.

"It's been twenty-five years and I still haven't gotten it!" Ken struggled to keep his face neutral, despite the fact that he wasn't in the room for her to see her, but despite his efforts he still released a quick bark of laughter. He heard stomping footsteps and quickly turned his head away as it shook slightly from the restrained mirth.

"Ken!" Yolie snapped as her lavender clad head appeared in the open doorway. "Did I just hear you laugh at me?" Ken feebly shook his head and answered in forced calm while he kept his head turned away.

"No honey," he said, able to tell that he could just barely keep the hysteria out of his voice. "I wasn't laughing at you. I sneezed." He couldn't see her, but his wife stuck her nose up at him, not believing his lie for a second. The sounds of her footsteps revealed to Ken that she was retreating back into the kitchen to return to the card game being played at the table. Ken looked up and returned to looking at his book.

"You aren't very good at this are you Mom?" the voice of his oldest son, Sam, asked. Ken smiled as he imagined his wife's tired expression while the laughs of his youngest son, Nao, tickled his ears. Sometimes, he still couldn't believe just how holy the laugh of a child sounded; so full of innocence and kindness, without knowledge or care of any of the more horrendous and heinous acts that occurred throughout both the real and digital worlds between both humans and digimon.

And some of those acts didn't happen so long ago, Ken thought as he remembered the sickly bruises on the back of Daichi Motomiya, the son of his best friend Davis Motomiya, remnants of the attack that BlackWidowmon had used on him. Ken heard the sounds of the game breaking up and his daughter's victory cry while his vision remained clouded by the image of those bruises, except planted on his own son's back.

I could never forgive myself if either Wormmon or I let that happen to Sam, he thought. What kind of a father would I be then? What would Yolie say? Despite the gloomy atmosphere he had created around himself, he couldn't help letting it pop like a bubble with that thought.

She'll probably bite my head off, he began thinking humourously, knowing exactly how his wife thinks. And then she'll knock off Tai's, Matt's, T.K.'s, Izzy's, Gennai's, and Davis' heads without even thinking about it. He chuckled slightly to himself, images of his lavender-haired wife running amongst the other digidestined holding a bat shaped like Ankylomon's club-like tail just made him laugh.

"What's funny dad?" Ken looked up from his book to see his son Sam standing near him, Glimmermon in his arms. Ken smiled as he looked at the in-training digimon's beautiful violet eyes.

I still can't believe Sam is a digidestined, and just how much his partner is like mine. I wonder if our children's digimon might be the children of our digimon. He closed his eyes and kept his smile, thinking of Wormmon and Hawkmon connected with a small triangle that went to Glowmon. Other family trees with Agumon and Biyomon connected to Dovemon, and then Patamon and Gatomon down to Halomon and Celestimon started popping into his head and his smile widened. Now that would be the biggest secret that they've been keeping from us if it's the real story.

"Nothing Sam," Ken said, opening his eyes and looking at his son. "I was just thinking." Sam opened his mouth slightly and sighed slightly in understanding.

"What about?" Glimmermon asked before the younger raven-haired digidestined could turn away. Ken shifted his gaze and looked at his son's little partner.

"At just how much you resembled Wormmon," he answered. "You're a very special digimon Glimmermon, and you'll always have a place in my heart. I know you'll be able to protect my son even when Stingmon and I aren't there." A tinge of pink crept onto Glimmermon's green cheeks and the small light bulb on his antenna lit up slightly.

"You really think so?" he asked in a shy tone. Ken nodded his head.

"Definitely," he replied.

"You and Wormmon are amazing Dad," Sam said, moving forward to sit next to him as Ken shut his book and placed it on an end table next to him. Ken chuckled slightly and ruffled his son's hair.

"Someone saying how amazing Dad is?" Ken looked away from Sam and saw Miya walking towards them, her own raven hair swinging and her eyes glowing as she lightly slinked towards them. She stopped and stuck her nose up slightly at him. "Well, I wouldn't say that, given the fact that he laughed at Mom." Ken chuckled slightly and leaned closer to her, his eyes glazed slightly while he gave her a demented looking smile.

"Miya," he said quietly so he wouldn't be heard in the kitchen, "Davis, T.K., Kari, Cody, and I taught your mother how to play 'Go Fish' twenty-five years ago before digimon started entering our world from the digital world on Christmas Eve. I'm entitled to laugh a little if she still hasn't gotten it yet."

"No you aren't Ken!" Yolie's voice called from the kitchen. "You aren't because I'm your wife and it isn't funny!" Ken brought his head back and looked at the doorway to the kitchen.

"How did she hear that?" he asked, confused. Sam, Miya, and Glimmermon laughed at his expense while he sat there.

"Hey, that was when Control Spires had showed up all over the world right?" Sam asked as he got his laughter under control. Ken turned his head to look at his son and digimon partner and nodded; his emotions no longer as light as they had been a moment ago.

And I was the one who created them, he thought, keeping his darker secrets hidden from his face. I know everyone else has forgiven me, but these new digidestined still don't know. He gazed at Sam's face before still shots of Dai's, Kara's, Ryoko's, Mickey's and Matty's faces became images in the forefront of his mind.

"Where did they come from anyway?" Miya asked. Ken looked at her and the new digidestined's faces were replaced by those of his own children.

How will they deal with the knowledge? How will they react when they learn the truth? Will they hate me?

"They were made by the Digimon Emperor," Ken replied, looking down and away from the tawny eyes of his daughter, "while he was still evil." Both Sam and Miya's faces brightened in shock. Their father barely even mentioned the Digimon Emperor; he normally became tight-lipped and stony when the subject arose.

"Dad?"

Ken looked over at his raven haired son who had spoken. His blue eyes were thrown downwards and away from his father, but they kept sneaking glances back at him.

"Dad I know you told me it would be just the two of us," Sam said uncertainly. "But do you think you could tell us both about the Emperor?" Ken's eyes glistened at his son's question and he turned his head away again. He could feel his son's eyes' occasional glances boring holes into the side of his head, the inquisitiveness and raw determination that emanated from his son's deceptively placid face could even be felt.

Oh Sam, please don't hate me. I love you so much more than I ever thought possible a few short weeks ago now that I know you're going into the digital world. I don't know if you hating me for being the Emperor is worse than you getting hurt by Vampiramon's master.

"Ken?"

The raven-haired digidestined looked up and found his wife's tawny eyes as she stood in the doorway to the kitchen, holding little seven-year-old Nao's hand as he stood next to her, the only one of their children to have his mother's hair colour. Yolie's eyes were shining slightly in apprehension and anxiety as she looked at him.

"Could you come in here for a moment?" Yolie asked, her voice quivering slightly. Ken nodded and stood up. He turned to Sam and Miya, who had just sat down on the couch in the spot he vacated, and smiled.

"I'll be right back," he said. Ken turned and started moving towards his wife, lifting his arms and sidestepping out of his youngest son's way as he rushed towards his siblings. Ken chuckled slightly but the laugh died before it could leave his lips at the stern look his wife gave him. He followed Yolie obediently into the kitchen and moved past the counter to sit on his chair at the head of the table while his wife remained standing by him, her hands on her hips.

"So Ken," she began, wary of the territory she was moving into, "are we going to tell them tonight?" Ken sighed but kept his gaze shifted away. It was the same question she had posed before him every night for the past week since they had learned that their middle son was a digidestined, and every night since he had kept his answer the same.

No.

"Yolie, I'm still not sure about this," Ken said, looking up at her, communicating his fears to her through his blue eyes. "What if they hate me for it? What if they never speak to me again?" Yolie sighed and placed a hand lovingly on her husband's shoulder.

"Ken, you're a good husband, and a good father," she said sympathetically. "They love you. No matter what you did in the past, no matter what they say when they find out, they will still love you." Ken looked down again.

What kind of a father am I now? Keeping the identity of the Emperor, the one thing that has been on Sam's mind, a secret from him for so long?

Lavender hair was slipping past his vision and Ken moved his head up in surprise to see his wife's face inches from his own. Her breath was warm and moist against his face, and smelled slightly of mint. Yolie's amber eyes were dazzling him with the warmth they were displaying.

"Ken, they are going to find out eventually," she said, her hand still on his shoulder as she looked him straight in the eyes while she multi-tasked by pulling up a chair for her to sit on. "And it will be better if they find out now from you than if an evil digimon like Vampiramon, or worse, DarkAngelicmon, tells them first." Ken's eyes took a hold of fear at the mention of his name.

I had forgotten about him, he thought. Sam and Mickey will listen to anything he says. They may not believe him at first but then they'll start to think… Ken brought his eyes away and closed them while he started thinking himself what he would do if he were in his son's position in that situation. First, he would think DarkAngelicmon was lying, and then he would think back into the past. Ken snapped open his eyes and looked at his wife. Her eyes suddenly shifted into ones of anxiety as he looked at her.

"Am I that easy to figure out?" he asked quietly.

"What are you talking about Ken?" Yolie replied in a confused tone.

"Think about it Yolie," Ken said. "Every time the Emperor has been mentioned, I've stopped speaking. Every time the Emperor's identity has been questioned, one of us has always glanced at me. I've been left out of the early stories we've told the kids because I was the Emperor, and then I was put in after the Emperor's role was done." He sunk his head down and looked away.

"If you put that all together," he whispered. "It's amazing none of them have figured it out yet." Yolie sighed sympathetically at him.

"Yes it is," she said. "And it's even more amazing that it hasn't been revealed to them by a digimon yet, the number of times it's been hinted by both the good and the bad." Ken sighed and shook his head.

"I wish Wormmon were here," he said. "He'd know what to do." Yolie shook her head and giggled slightly. Ken looked up at her and she smiled.

"He'd tell you the exact same thing everyone else and I have been telling you," she said in an amused tone of voice. "Except he's the only one you would probably listen to. You're too thick-headed in this situation to even pay attention to Davis." Ken smiled and closed his eyes, and try though he might to shut it out; Wormmon's voice started shifting through his ears.

"Ken, I know you're scared, I am too. But right now you owe it to Sam to tell you what you had been and to make him see the truth. I still remember the things you did when you were the Emperor, I know you do too and the whole Digital World does, but you have to remember that you have atoned for those mistakes. Right now Sam sees the Emperor as an evil villain and you need to make him see that he was evil, but even though you were him that you weren't."

"I know you made me call you 'master' and that you didn't see me as a very good digimon partner after the dark spore got to you, and so you created Kimeramon. But you learned from your mistakes and made friends while helping the digital world to recover from the hurts it sustained, and that has proven that you are a good person. Remember you have the Crest of Kindness, and I couldn't have digivolved to JewelBeemon if you weren't a kind person. I knew that the real you existed deep down even when all the others, except maybe Davis, had given up hope for you, and I know that somehow Sam will see the same thing. It may take him a while to come around; it certainly did for Yolie right? And now look at your relationship with her, married with three beautiful children. But Sam won't hate you Ken, none of the others really did, he just may need time to wear down the shock of what you did, as you did when you realized the pain you had caused. He's a lot more like you than you give him credit for, and that's been your main cause for worry. But he also has had friends from the start Ken, so he can console and find solace in them so you don't need to worry. Good luck my friend."

Wormmon's voice stopped playing though his head and Ken felt almost as if the little digimon was speaking to him through a connection in their hearts rather than just in his head. He looked up at Yolie and she nodded her head, almost as if she understood every word that he had just heard.

"It's going to hurt for a while Ken," she said, "but Sam will come around. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but he will see the truth buried in the truth." Ken nodded and rose from his chair as Yolie did the same.

"Well," he said, a shaky note in his voice, "let's get this over with before my will breaks." Yolie placed a hand on his shoulder and they slowly maneuvered out of the kitchen, towards what they hoped would be a better future for their family and the digital world. A future where the secret of the Emperor would no longer be a secret or lied about, one where truth would reign.


Well, that's my entry. It's a bit of a different style from how I usually write, and a little short, but I hope you all like it all the same.

May the Grace of the Valar Protect You

Shire Folk