This one-shot was written over the course of a couple of days so it might be a little choppy. It's also the angstiest piece of writing I've ever written, which is probably a result of the back-to-school horror I am currently facing. Hopefully you will find some sort of humour in this emo-ness I have created.
Disclaimer on profile.
Ken hung back from the rest of the group as they hurried forward and chatted excitedly in the airport. Even Davis, who always stuck by Ken's side whenever he was unsure and nervous, completely ignored his duties as best friend and led the pack to the gate where Willis was arriving.
A week earlier, Izzy had gotten an e-mail from the Colorado resident saying he was coming in for a visit. While everyone else knew this kid, Ken had only heard tales and rumours about his accomplishments and intelligence. Izzy spoke of him in reverence and Davis droned on about how awesome they were working as a team. Ken, not normally the type to be jealous, found these comments angering and intolerable. He was the genius around here, and Davis was his DNA partner, not this foreign intruder. And Yolei's monologues of praise for Willis made Ken clench his fists in anger and wish he still had the power to crush his opponents with a single command. Of course, he immediately regretted thinking like that – those days were over, and he wasn't about to relapse into the very thing that haunted his nightmares. But Yolei had been crushing on him for over a year now, and while he still didn't have the courage to ask her out, he was going to eventually, therefore no other human had the right to replace him as far as he was concerned. This Willis guy created a lot of possible problems, all of them being solved by Ken punching his lights out.
Ken took a few deep breaths and focused on trying not to scare Wormmon with his "angry face". Wormmon always knew what Ken was thinking, just by his varied expressions, and he could easily recognize Ken's murderous appearances (what with being acquainted with them). If Wormmon found out that Ken wanted to rip somebody's eyes out, he would probably have a panic attack, which would, in due course, raise a few questions that Ken preferred not to answer.
"Look, there he is! WILLIS!" Davis shouted eagerly.
Ken's searching sight finally found the source of all his discomfort and resentment. The blond head that bobbed through the crowd made a beeline for the overlarge group of digidestined with fervour. He had two things hanging off his shoulder. They appeared to be rabbits, but rabbits were typically not chocolate brown with pink stripes. The other unidentified Digimon was an exact replica of the chocolate bunny – only white with green-ish stripes.
Ken vaguely recalled Izzy saying something about twin Digimon and he confirmed this theory when Kari said, "Oh, look! Kokomon digivolved! He looks just like Terriermon!"
Ken rolled his eyes at the obvious statement and took a few paces back. He really did not want to be part of the suffocating group hug. It just wasn't his thing. As the rest of them embraced and greeted their guest, Ken observed silently this strange outsider. He had an exceedingly large smile plastered to his joyous face and seemed to be practically bursting with joy. Ken saw this as an unusual reaction. Did this guy seriously not have any other friends? Ken flinched forcefully as he recognized the fact that his pathetic situation mirrored Willis's. His fierce expression and hardened heart softened minutely toward this stranger who had more in common with him than he originally suspected. He would have to do some intense contemplation of this severe matter before formulating his judgement on Willis. The tables had certainly turned… however, if that prat hugged Yolei one more time, there would be no analysing or discussing of the issue – not if Willis had been knocked unconscious.
The gathering of friends made their way through the streets and across the roads to the Kamiya house where somehow they squished together in the living room. It was stuffy and crowded what with all the older and younger digidestined sprawled across the room. Although Willis had never officially met Tai and the others, he chatted with them amicably and with a sense of casualness that Ken could never imagine achieving around those older guys. They discussed many things, all of which Ken had no particular interest – who cared about such trivial things like school and the weather? All Ken needed was some signal, some small gesture that indicated Willis's isolation from the rest of the world.
Just like you.
Ken grimaced. It wasn't his fault no one else accepted him and did not turn him away. He evidently did not attempt to push such possible friendships away – they just disappeared before he had a chance to latch onto them. Ken figured that was what happened when you were a local genius and superstar. He had not requested to have fame or popularity. Quite the opposite in fact. All he really craved was being normal or average. If only that's what it would take to rid himself of fan-mail and flashes of persistent cameras.
His musings were interrupted by a large brown ear brushing against his feet as it trailed behind the wandering Digimon. Ken watched the sullen Digimon he now knew as Lopmon tread towards the hallway, away from his brother and partner. Ken frowned at this latest development in perplexity. Why on Earth would this seemingly lonely Digimon want to distance itself from the festivities? Puzzled and enquiring, the young mastermind followed the source of his confusion outside the apartment.
Lopmon stared desolately at the passing traffic on the streets below. Ken approached cautiously, not wishing to scare the poor thing off. He wanted to say something; to ask what Lopmon was doing out here, instead of in there with his friends and family, but the words refused to voice themselves. He lingered mutely in hopes of a startling revelation – surely Lopmon could tell he was dying for an explanation (and relief from the migraine this mystery was causing him).
"They shouldn't want me here." the sombre Lopmon whispered. "They shouldn't be happy to see me, or look at me like I deserve to be with them. I'm not worthy of anything."
Was this creature a mind-reader? Or did it just blurt out Ken's exact thoughts by accident? Was it mere chance that caused Lopmon to say what Ken thought ninety-nine percent of the time? Could it be that he had more in common with this Digimon as opposed to Willis, as initially suspected?
"What do you mean?" Ken asked sympathetically.
"I almost destroyed them. I-I hurt them. I t-tried to- I… I shouldn't have come with Willis and Terriermon. I should have stayed home."
The heartbreaking tears slid wordlessly down Lopmon's face and caused Ken's breathing to hitch. What did Lopmon mean? The others hadn't been too detailed when they explained their history with Willis and his digital partners. Izzy had mentioned something about a virus, but what did that have to do with destroying people and causing them severe pain?
The front door banged open as a frantic Willis searched madly for his missing Digimon. He collapsed with relief against the door frame upon locating the vanished rabbit. Lopmon hastily wiped the tears away, not desiring Willis to see the evidence of his unhappiness.
"What's wrong, Willis?" Lopmon asked, concerned.
Willis, still panting from near hysteria, responded, "What's wrong? I leave you alone for five seconds and you run off… I won't lose you again, Lopmon, so stop trying to disappear."
The solemn bunny shuffled back inside, looking distraught and vaguely ashamed. Ken was bewildered with this exchange and resolved to get the full story as soon as possible. He couldn't live with this type of shrouded secrecy.
Later that day, after a feast of a dinner, the no-longer-famished children strolled outside for a jaunt. Willis, being who he was and where he came from, was still the object of everyone's conversation and therefore was the centre of attention, as it had been the entire day. Needless to say, Willis was more than ready to pretend to pass out just to escape from all the questions and talking and hugs. Ken hung back once again and calmly observed the growing embarrassment and frustration in Willis's eyes. He knew what it was like to be bombarded with trivial matters like these when one had other, more significant things on mind. As such, he did not try to intervene and create a reprieve for Willis. Alternatively, he waited. He waited, because he knew that Willis was almost at breaking point; he couldn't keep up this charade of being content much longer. Willis was not used to having a flock of friends who cared about every single tiny detail of his life. He also was irritated with Lopmon – any fool could see that. Ken knew that if Wormmon had walked out on him in front of individuals of importance, he would be terribly aggravated and worried. It was only a matter of time before Willis invented some little white lie to escape from the suffocating aroma of friendship. And Ken would be there waiting.
It took all of five minutes for Willis to say he was "getting tired". The rest of the group trudged on and slowly the blond haired digidestined fell back from the crowd, right into the web of the spider.
"Hey, Ken." Willis greeted. "I haven't gotten to talk to you a lot yet."
Ken knew this was the sole reason Willis even approached him. While Willis couldn't bear another nanosecond surrounded by more than just a few caring and generous people, he did not wish to push any single one away, in fear of retaliation from the rest, and in due course, a very lonely life.
"No, I suppose not. Sorry – I haven't been in a good mood lately." Ken apologised.
It was the absolute truth, anyways. This past week had not been blissful in any way, considering the fact that it marked the anniversary of his brother's death. Ken would have liked to imagine his friends remembering this petty fact, but apparently they had more important things to think about rather than the mental instability of one of their close acquaintances.
"So, I was kind of wondering… what exactly did Davis mean when he said Kokomon did a "Ken"?" Willis asked, frowning.
"I'm not quite sure I follow you. It might help if I knew what had happened."
"They didn't tell you?" Willis enquired incredulously.
"No." Ken replied shortly.
"Well, see, it started about eight years ago…"
Willis went on to explain to Ken every last detail of Kokomon's infection with the virus and their battle to save him. Ken absorbed all the information without question and gradually began to comprehend the significance of "doing a Ken".
"It appears that Davis was referring to being controlled by something evil." Ken concluded. "I had a run-in with something beyond my league and many people and Digimon suffered because of it."
"Hmm…" Willis mused. "You should talk to Lopmon about that. If you don't mind, I mean. He's taking all this harder than I expected, and I'd appreciate it if someone brought him to his senses. Preferably someone who knows what he's been through."
Ken agreed reluctantly with Willis's request. He wasn't opposed to the idea, but he had certainly never been good at reaching out to people and having heartfelt conversations. This would certainly be a new experience and one he would not relish.
The twin Digimon soared through the air on a gust of wind towards Ken and Willis. For the first time, Ken detected the trace of a cheerful smile on Lopmon's face. It was refreshing to know that, despite previous misdoings, there was a chance for happiness. Ken had experienced this firsthand, clearly, but he figured it was a stroke of luck at the time. This abnormal occurrence (or not so abnormal) gave him a sense of invigoration.
Taking Terriermon by the hand, Willis dragged him back into the fray of adoring psychomaniacs. Ken put a reassuring hand on Lopmon's shoulder to stop him from joining his brother.
"You know, Lopmon, I had a brother once." Ken stated matter-of-factly.
Lopmon glanced at him in surprise. He narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
"Really? Do you mean that? You're not lying, are you?"
"No," Ken said with a small grin, "I had a brother. He died a few years ago though, and since we humans don't get reborn like you Digimon, I'll never get to see him again."
Lopmon's face took on a morbid look and he said, "Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. I don't know what I'd do without Terriermon… I suppose it was a bit hard for him when I was controlled by that virus."
The saddened bunny flinched as if slapped across the face viciously. He recalled the jubilant and ecstatic faces of Willis and Terriermon when he had hatched from his egg the second time around. They hadn't even given a second thought to all the damage and anguish he had caused. For an entire week, all the three of them did was eat and talk and play. Lopmon knew it wasn't his fault that the virus attacked him, but he hadn't realised how much of Willis's and Terriermon's lives he had missed. It was tricky trying to readjust to a life he no longer knew. Those years spent trapped inside his own body were blurry and indistinguishable. It was full of pain and immense amounts of suffering. Lopmon couldn't visualize ever moving on and putting the past behind him once and for all.
"I was inhibited by an unnatural, dark force as well, you know. The others saved me, just like they rescued you. And look at me now!"
Ken spread his arms out wide for effect and grinned. Lopmon giggled at the sight of an uptight know-it-all smirking like a madman. Ken dropped his arms and took on a more sober look.
"You don't have to be so isolated and lonesome, Lopmon. I learned that after a while, and I've never been happier."
"You haven't seemed very happy lately." Lopmon pointed out wryly.
"True… I'm just having a bad week. Usually I am extremely energetic and lively."
Lopmon raised his eyebrows at that in disbelief.
"It's true!" Ken argued playfully.
"Whatever, Ken." Lopmon said, reaching out and slipping his hand in Ken's as they walked briskly to catch up with their ever-lasting friends.
I managed to whip up a sort of cheerful ending... I have another more serious fic written, and I might post it, depending on the reaction I get to this one. Let me know what you think. Reviews are appreciated. Thanks.