Hello, all! It's been a while (if you count a while as a three and a half year hiatus as "a while"), but I read Broken Angel01's Following the Footsteps of Destiny (all then 130ish chapters in one weekend… not a good idea when you have homework) and was immediately in love. Then, in the beginning of Jan. 08, I saw 27 Dresses, which had one especially meaty scene that I loved and was inspired by, so I kinda, sorta started to write again… and then, when I read chapter 143 (THE chapter), a.k.a. "The Dark Side of Ken", I was really inspired for the first time in a really long time, and this popped out.
Warning: if you have not read FtFoD, this will not make very much sense. And besides, I basically owe her my reborn inspiration, and her story is amazing, so go read it before you read this.
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, and I don't own FtFoD. This is my attempt at praising BA's work and bringing joy to any readers.
Background[slight AU, even deviating a little from FtFoD set right after the events of 143… Sam has come home after learning the Digimon Emperor's identity, and needless to say, he's not very happy.
What the Heart Hides: Disowning a Father
Blushing furiously, Ryoko quickly told them the story his father had recited to him the night before. When he had finished, there was a long moment of silence. Somehow Sam managed to find his voice, and when he spoke his tone was filled with shock and disbelief. "All of that stuff actually happened to...to your dad? He...he almost broke up the entire team! And for him to end up in...in that cave...in the World of Darkness..."
"So?" Ryoko snapped, glaring at Sam. "He made up for it, didn't he?"
"Yeah, but...for him to let himself become so consumed by darkness..."
Ryoko came to a dead stop, and looking absolutely furious, he turned to gaze directly into Sam's deep blue eyes. "There are other people out there who have fallen even deeper into darkness than my dad did. Are you telling me you wouldn't be able to forgive them either?"
"What? Wait! I didn't mean...it's not like that!" Sam's cheeks turned bright red and he grabbed Ryoko's arm to stop the golden-haired Digidestined from hurrying off down the street. "Ryoko, I wasn't trying to say anything bad about your dad. I just-"
"Everyone deserves a second chance! What would you do if you were in my place, disown your own father? Would you never speak to him again? Huh, Sam? Is that what you would do?"
"Following the Footsteps of Destiny" – Broken Angel01, Chapter 130: What the Heart Hides
Odaiba, Japan, Earth
The house was silent, especially as darkness blotted the night sky. Light from the street lamps filtered silently through the half-closed blinds onto the boy that lay awake and restless on the bed. He shifted slightly to roll onto his side, glancing at the glowing numbers of his digital clock.
"12:53 AM. Damn. I need to get to sleep," the boy whispered to the night, his only witness.
He tried to wrestle himself into a more comfortable position, but only proceeded to bump into the little digimon that was snoozing peacefully at his side. Awakened by the movement in the bed, Glimmermon slowly opened his eyes, his light bulb-like antennae beginning to shower both of the bed's occupants with a soft light. He peered at the boy who lay next to him.
"Sam…? I'm sorry, did I wake you up?"
"No, Glimmermon. Though I think I woke you up." The black-haired boy, Sam, smiled softly at his partner's unneeded apology. "In fact, I think that I'm the one who should be sorry for waking you up."
Glimmermon giggled slightly at the discourse that was occurring between the two, especially at such a strange time of night. However, an examination of Sam's face quickly ended the burst of laughter. Bags were beginning to form under the young boy's eyes, which had a slightly dead-looking quality to them. He could feel the tension within the youngest Digidestined's body, and the pent-up exhaustion that the little body held. Sams's eyelids drooped, but Glimmermon could almost hear the unending whirl of his partner's brain. What? Sam's not usually like this. Except lately… since he's been preoccupied with the Emperor's identity.
Small revelations dawned on the little digimon's face.
"Sam, I hope you aren't dwelling on that conversation with DarkAngelicmon today. You really need to rest!" He didn't even try to hide the worry in his voice.
In response, Sam shuffled in his bed a little, staring at the ceiling and cushioning the back of his head with his interlocked fingers. Glimmermon could see tears pooled within the boy's eyes and also the boy's unwillingness to let them fall. It seemed that Sam wouldn't allow himself to grieve over the Digimon Emperor's identity. The day had been long and taxing, with the truth of his father's past transgressions coming into light. Glimmermon had felt the fear, anguish, and disbelief rolling off his partner as he had listened to DarkAngelicmon's words.
"And so the plot thickens, as Piedmon would have said. Only a fool cannot see what lies within his own heart. You know, Sam! The truth has been in front of you this whole time, but you've been too blind to see it, little Emperor! Either that or you just haven't wanted to admit it to yourself. That's right, Sam. You talk about the truth? I'll give you the truth. The Digimon Emperor was your father, Ken Ichijouji!"
Glimmermon, of course, had to admit at that point exactly how obvious all the children's parents had been when tiptoeing around the subject of the Digimon Emperor. One mention of the tyrant and one of the older Digidestined would always happen to glance at the blue-haired former genius. True, the younger children had known Mr. Ichijouji had some connection to the Emperor, but actually being the terror was quite a different story. Truth be told, I don't even know how I feel about Sam's father anymore… That was a simple fact that Glimmermon would have to admit to himself sooner or later; the exposure of Ken's secret had completely shattered the usually happy family.
The door slammed behind the raven-haired boy, echoing throughout the house, silencing the soft murmuring that was coming from the kitchen. Startled by the noise, Yolei Ichijouji padded into the room, holding Nao's small hand in hers. Behind her, Miya was hugging their father, who looked half-relieved and half-distraught. Whatever had happened during his absence was going to seem like nothing, once he had brought the facts to light and exposed his father.
"Sam? Why do you look so angry, honey?" Yolei questioned her eldest son gently. His ferocious expression was beginning to scare her a bit.
Sam only looked past his mother, anger pervading from every bone in his body. Glimmermon even seemed to shudder away from the aura that the young boy was pushing out on the world. He strode past Yolei, unwrapping a surprised Miya's hand from his father's back and quickly pulling her away. Not once did Sam's eyes leave his father, who, like Miya and Yolei, was absolutely confused by the boy's actions.
"Sam, what are y-"
"Miya, you don't want to touch him."
Sam spat the word out like it was the worst curse he would utter in his parents' presence. His sapphire eyes were shooting daggers at his father as understanding dawned on the older man's face. Ken Ichijouji paled considerably under the fierce gaze of his son, distraught thoughts running through his mind. There had been so many chances to tell Sam the truth, but Ken had meticulously avoided every single one of them, giving feebler excuses each time. Now, Sam knew. And not by Ken's own decision. Some cruel digimon had finally relinquished the crucial piece of information and completely broken Sam's spirit.
"I know everything. All those things you did to the digimon. Enslaved them? Beat them? You were supposed to be Digidestined, but you betrayed everything you were supposed to stand for! How can you live with yourself!?"
The room was silent. Sam's accusations had brought down a blanket of unanswered questions and anger.
"Sam?" Nao's voice was the first to break the silence. His eyes were wide with apprehension over his older brother's actions. Yolei looked a little shocked that her youngest son was still present in the room, and quietly knelt beside him.
"Nao. You need to go up to you room now," she cooed softly at him.
"Am I in trouble? I didn't mean to do anything wrong!" Nao was especially scared with all the tension that was flowing between his brother and the rest of his family.
"No, sweetie, but your siblings and your parents need to talk right now. So please, can you go to your room now?"
Silently, Nao nodded and padded out of the room and up the stairs without a single glance backwards at his angry family. The four remaining members of the Ichijouji family waited until they heard the soft click of Nao's bedroom door before anyone moved. Ken moved first, standing up and walking over to his son, trying to console the boy by hugging him. However, Sam realized his father's actions and quickly slapped away Ken's hand. Suddenly, something seemed to occur to Sam, and he dropped Miya's hand, shuffling away from his family.
"Miya," Sam's eyes were confused and possibly… hurt. "Miya, how come this doesn't surprise you? Our dearly beloved father is the Digimon Emperor, but you aren't surprised?"
"He told me," she said breathlessly, gulping back the fear that was evident. "Dad told me while you were in the Digital World. He was going to tell you when you got home."
She exhaled slowly, terrified of what her younger brother was going to do.
The question was little more than a whisper, but everyone in the kitchen heard the boy's strangled voice. He turned to Ken, glaring down his father, who, despite years of withstanding Yolei's glares, quailed. Ken was visibly troubled that his son was emitting the same sort of rage that had enveloped him in his adolescent years.
"Why would you tell her, and not me? Do I mean nothing to you?"
"Sam! He only told me because I wouldn't leave him alone about the subject! Don't blame Dad for what I did!" Miya tried to stand up for her father, but the violent stare on her brother's face was slightly disconcerting.
"Please, Sam, be reasonable," Glimmermon surprised the family with his words and tear-filled eyes. Sam glanced down at the digimon cradled in his arms, looking confused, but quickly masked his emotions with anger.
"How can I be reasonable? My father was a monster! He took pleasure in hurting other creatures! Tortured them! Knowingly decided that he was better than everything else in that world, and then figured that, since he was perfect and all, that everything else should be his slave! Don't you think that is wrong?! Don't you think that the digimon deserve more than what he put them through?!"
The last angry sentences were directed at Miya; Sam had consented himself to scream at his sister and ignore his terrified parents. Yolei was in tears, and Ken looked ready to break down. He took a deep breath, and stepped forward to face his son.
"Sam," Ken started, bringing his two children out of their staring contest, "you can't blame Miya for her curiosity. It's my fault for not telling you the truth in the first place." Ken faltered for a moment. "If you just sit down, I'll explain everything as best as I can." Ken obligingly began to pull a chair out from under the kitchen table.
"I have no words for you," Sam spat. "I don't want to hear your stupid explanations. I don't want you to tell me you were going to tell me later. I don't ever want to talk to you again."
With those words, Sam left his gasping family, running up the stairs to his room, shutting himself away from the world whose only wrong was in revealing the truth.
Seeing Sam so distraught had been one of the most painful events in Glimmermon's short life. The boy had shoved himself into a corner of his bed and buried his head into his knees. He ignored Miya's pounding on his door as well as Glimmermon's own prods. The only time Sam responded to his partner was when he had hinted that the boy was crying about the Emperor's identity.
"Like hell I am!"
Glimmermon had been surprised by Sam's outburst. For a moment, he had been fooled into thinking that Sam really wasn't upset about his father's secret. Possibly, the boy was upset about hurting his sister and his mother. Possibly. But the boy's bloodshot eyes had truly answered the question. Sam's eyes had been visible to Glimmermon for the split second, and he had seen grief and anger directed not at his father, but at himself. Yes, Sam was angry that his father had been the evil Digimon Emperor. But the boy had also been angry that he hadn't been able to discover the truth at his own pace, from his own father. He was angry that he had allowed his rage to overcome common sense for the few minutes he mindlessly raged at his family. But Sam had refused to speak to his partner about his lack of discretion for those few minutes. Instead, Sam had opted to go to sleep, and Glimmermon, though slightly worried for his partner's health, had settled in next to the boy and fallen into a slightly restless sleep.
Glimmermon turned his attention back to the present, surprised to see tears running down the cheeks of his best friend.
"Sam, please talk to me. I want to make you feel better, but you're making that really difficult right now. Please… please let me help you." Glimmermon knew he was pleading with a very head-strong boy, but he tried anyways. "Sam, you have no idea how important you are to me. You being sad like this is killing me. Please…"
Sam sighed his concession. Glimmermon knew he had won; like his father, the boy could not avoid confronting his problem.
"I just…" Sam seemed to be talking to the ceiling. "What DarkAngelicmon said just seemed so wrong at first. I just said to myself: 'Don't believe him, he's a lying git. He's just trying throw you for a loop and make you doubt everything you believe in." More tears rolled down Sam's cheeks. "But, he was right. In my heart of hearts, I knew all along that dad was the one. I knew I hadn't wanted to admit it because, as my father, Dad wasn't supposed to have any faults. He was supposed to be perfect, kind, gentle… I was so upset. How could he hide that sort of thing from me? I'm supposed to be able to trust him – he's my dad and all. But I don't think I can after he kept such a secret from me, especially now that I know the truth."
Glimmermon was thoughtful for a moment. "If it makes you feel any better, I don't know if I exactly trust your dad right now. Well, I guess I can't say I don't trust him… I think I'm just a bit more uncomfortable in his presence, now that I know what he did in the past."
Sam laughed softly, smiling slightly.
"Sam, why is that funny? I wasn't aware that humans thought a lack of trust was something to laugh about."
"No, no, Glimmermon. I think that I was especially mad and mistrustful of my dad because everyone else knew the truth, but he neglected to tell me. Knowing that you feel the same way I do about my dad just makes me feel a little bit better. At least I'm not alone in this confusing mess."
"Oh, Sam, how could you ever think you were alone? I'm always here for you, even if I don't understand how you're thinking sometimes. Besides, we're partners, on the heart level. I doubt there ever will be a time where we aren't feeling and thinking along the same lines."
Sam's face cracked a small, serious smile.
"It's good to know you'll always be on my side, no matter how crazy I may get."
"Not that that hasn't already happened!" Glimmermon laughed. Sam smiled as well.
"I'm glad we had this talk, Glimmermon."
"Me too. But you need to go to sleep! It's well past one o'clock now. Just lay down and close your eyes and drift off to sleep, okay? I'll be right here next to you all night. Probably sleeping, but I'll protect you."
Sam smiled lightly. Glimmermon's presence, by itself, was soothing to the boy. Sam nodded. He grabbed Glimmermon in a quick hug and set the baby digimon under the crook of his arm. Soon, Glimmermon drifted off to sleep, his antennae light pulsing slightly as he fell into deeper sleep.
At least for tonight, Glimmermon figured, all would be well.
Well, that's the first one-shot… It's been done for a while, but I was contemplating putting this and the next chapter together for one big one-shot, but then I decided it was too long, so BANG! two one-shots for the price of one. Anyway, this thing is definitely AU because Miya, obviously, by now, didn't find out the Emperor's identity; Dai did, in the story. But that was just my guess from BA's cryptic author's note at the beginning of chapter 143 (but seriously, I should have known that it was Dai who found out… Ryoko was going to tell him earlier!) Sam does act a little OOC, but, wouldn't you be mad if you found out that your dad committed horrible war crimes against a group of people that are currently your best friends?
And yes, I stole the story name from BA's chapter name… but it just fit.
Hope you all enjoyed it!