Drive Me Crazy Chapter 21: Catalyst
Beta Readers: Ine-capa and Vertorm
Author's Note: Sorry to everyone who got an email a while ago saying I updated! While I was waiting for my beta to get back to me on this chapter I decided to re-upload chapter 2 with better grammar, except that I accidentally posted it as a new chapter instead... Sorry for the false alarm. I'm also sorry for taking so long to update. My life had a sudden drama explosion, then I moved back to my hometown, got a new job, had to do a ton of training, started school, my seven year relationship ended, and now I'm moving out with my best friend. To say the least, I really haven't had any time to write until now.
Chapter Notes: People drive on the left side of the street in Japan and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car (most of the time). Also, I feel that I may have given some of you the wrong impression. The purpose of this story was not to re-write the rest of the series, but to give it a new perspective. Aside from the epilogue, what happens after the Kaiser's fall in the canon story is still what happens in this one, it's just that Daisuke's reasoning for trusting Ken immediately is different; it has a deeper, more romantic meaning now. This chapter is skipping all of that though and jumping ahead to a point after the series, because like I already said, I'm not doing a re-write.
Ken opened the passenger door of the car and stepped outside, shielding his eyes from the sun's brilliant light. A cool breeze drifted by and played with his hair, gently lifting it up. The warmth of summer filled the air, and with such pleasant winds, it felt surprisingly comfortable. Ken smiled up at the clear blue sky, not a single cloud staining its perfection above the grassy park beneath it.
The Chosen were holding their annual reunion in the same location as ever, which was a small park in Odaiba. It had a patch of thin woods with a clearing in the middle that they would set up a picnic in. That same clearing was where the older Chosen had told the stories of their adventures to the younger generation many years ago, apparently while Ken had still been evil.
As he turned to close the vehicle door, Ken felt a shiver run down his spine at the thought of the Kaiser. He squashed it immediately though, refusing to let his day be ruined with such tired negativity. It wasn't that his past still haunted him, or that he hadn't forgiven himself; he truly had moved on from all of that now and he knew that he was a good person. The problem was that for some reason, when he thought about that period of his life, it always felt like there were blank spots in his memories. Most of his past felt that way, even three years after BelialVamdemon's defeat, but there was something different about the Kaiser incidents.
"Did you grab the food?" Ken asked quickly, but not before Daisuke had already shut and locked up the car. With a sigh, Daisuke unlocked the right back-seat door, behind the driver's side, and reached in to grab the forgotten paper bag. Then he quickly locked everything back up and the two of them proceeded down the familiar dirt path.
"You're sure you won't get in trouble?" Ken asked after they'd begun their trek toward the well-known spot in the sparse woods. He turned his head to cough into the inside of his elbow and a slight pain crept up his throat. He'd been doing that all day for some reason...
Daisuke laughed and looked over at his friend. "Are you still worried about that? It's okay Ken, my boss isn't going to care even if he finds out."
"No buts, it's true," Daisuke quickly cut him off before Ken could repeat his concerns. "And I know what you're going to say; I mean we've only gone over it like, a thousand times already. It's fine."
"Alright, alright..." Ken sighed and conceded the point. He knew how firm Daisuke's catering boss was about employees not using the company car for personal matters. So of course here was Daisuke, doing exactly that and driving both of them to a friendly reunion with that very car. Apparently his boss really only cared about the wasted gas and mileage, and wouldn't mind that he'd picked Ken up in this case. Daisuke had already gotten permission to drive it to the reunion, so what did the extra ten minutes it took to get to Ken's school matter? Ken... supposed it wasn't a big deal; his school was a negligible distance away.
Ken currently attended Tokyo University full time where he was majoring in Forensic Science. His campus was conveniently close to the Tokyo Culinary School, where Daisuke attended classes and worked with the school's catering company. Yoshino's Catering was the name, and Daisuke's job was to drive the ordered food to parties and events, and then host them. Honestly, Ken was pretty sure that Daisuke's favorite part about the job was getting to use the car for fun if his boss was in a good mood, rather than the job itself.
Sadly, their schedules had become pretty packed this year and both of them were finding very little free time in it. When they did find some space in their calendars though, they always hung out at Daisuke's place.
Both of them lived in their own dorm rooms, but Daisuke's was significantly bigger. It had a separated living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, whereas Ken's dorm was just one large room with a curtain to close off the area with the toilet. If he needed a kitchen then he had to use the shared space in the school's common room or walk a few blocks over to Daisuke's dorm and use his. Ken frequently chose the latter, as they both had keys to each other's rooms anyway.
"Hey," Daisuke's voice was strangely quiet as he spoke. "You really did like the food, right? You weren't just saying that to make me happy?"
It was Ken's turn to laugh now, his eyes rolling upward. "Everything you cook is good, Daisuke."
"Hmm..." Daisuke trailed off, not seeming entirely sure. It was funny how self conscious he was about his food now that he was in school. Before college, he would have just whipped up whatever food he felt like and to hell if it was perfect or not. Nowadays it was like he wanted to prove himself, and he could get awfully nervous about it sometimes. It was just about the only thing that Ken had ever seen him get nervous over. It was endearing though, to finally see him care so much about the outcome of his education.
Suddenly Daisuke's entire demeanor changed, and he flashed a big gin. "Okay!" His voice was genuinely happy, and just like that he had his confidence back. Ken couldn't help feeling jealous; if only he could get over his own self doubts that easily.
"Hey!" Miyako's voice cut across the field and reached them from roughly a yard away, the others already sitting beside her on a yellow blanket.
"Hey guys!" Daisuke called back and waved, Ken choosing to simply smile. It seemed that everyone else was already there, making them the last arrivals. The others knew they would be late though, due to Daisuke's job and Ken's late class schedule that week.
"I was starting to think you two weren't showing up!" Taichi laughed and got some flower printed paper plates out of a green picnic basket. "We got super hungry and decided to just start, so you better hurry and grab something!"
"Gah, you jerks!" Daisuke lunged down onto the blanket and snatched his plate out of Taichi's hand, quickly accosting whatever food he could find. Ken was much more gentle with his plate, and-
Ken quickly turned away and covered his mouth with the inside of his elbow, coughing roughly into his long sleeve. Right when he thought it was done it came back, and he had to re-cover his mouth. Each expulsion of air came out rough and scratchy, pain crawling up his throat once again.
"Here, drink this," Takeru said and handed a bottle of water over to him. Ken took it and, after giving him a nod of appreciation, drank nearly all of the contents at once.
"You okay?" Hikari asked, concern filling her features. "You're not sick are you?"
"No, no," Ken said as he shook his head and cleared his throat. "It's just a cough, I've had it for a few days now. It's nothing serious."
"You sure?" Daisuke asked as his attention miraculously left the display of food and instead focused on Ken. "You coughed a lot on the drive here, too..."
"Really, it's fine." Ken reached forward and grabbed a few sushi rolls to place upon his plate, not feeling hungry enough to eat more than that yet. For some reason he hadn't been able to eat much since the previous night, though he didn't want to admit that to anyone. Whenever he tried to eat a normal amount he got nauseous... But he wasn't sick. He just had an upset stomach, that's all.
No one else questioned him about his health or eating habits after that, the group instead choosing to descend into small-talk. Ken couldn't help laughing at the way Taichi and Yamato were ganging up on Koushiro in good-natured teasing, or how irritated Jyou was getting at the rice in his sushi roll that was falling apart. Iori seemed to be trying to help him put it back together, but the attempts had yet to be successful. Takeru and Hikari were whispering about something nearby while Sora and Mimi giggled over 'private girl matters.' Daisuke had finally finished hunting down all the food he wanted, and was now heading over to sit down next to-
"Hey Ken!" Miyako smiled as she sat down next to Ken, effectively stealing the spot that Daisuke had been just about to take. Immediately he stomped over to the other side of Ken and flopped down, not even attempting to hide the piercing glare that he shot at Miyako. Ken could feel the almost tangible irritation from his left side, where his best friend currently brooded from. Nothing about this situation was new or surprising though.
Daisuke always got like this when a girl flirted with him, but especially when it was Miyako. And considering that nowadays Miyako seemed to go out of her way to flirt with him as much as possible... well, it hadn't helped her and Daisuke's already thinly tolerated friendship. Now, why Daisuke reacted in such a way was an entirely different matter.
At first Ken had thought he was just jealous because a lot of girls found him attractive and flirted with him, and maybe he secretly liked some of them. That was starting to make less and less sense as time went on though; even when a girl that Daisuke had no interest in whatsoever tried to steal Ken's attention, like Miyako, he got just as emotional about it as any other time. And of course when Ken confronted him about it, he would just shrug it off, deny everything and act like it didn't matter. On better days, Daisuke would explain that he felt the girl was wrong for Ken, and that he just wanted someone better for his best friend.
It was all ridiculous anyway, because not once had Ken even responded to the advances. Not because they weren't nice girls, but because... well... Daisuke was actually spot on; none of them felt quite... right. They didn't feel 'wrong,' exactly, but not 'right' either. Not that he even knew what he was looking for in the first place...
"Hey," Ken replied to Miyako finally, trying to ignore the anger seeping through his clothes and into his soul from his left side, where Daisuke pulsed with frustration. "How are you?"
"Oh I'm great!" Miyako smiled and ate a small bite of her food. "I finished my extra credit assignment finally, for my computer class! I got full points on it."
"That's great Miyako!" Ken was genuinely happy for her and he let his enthusiasm show.
"I know!" Miyako smiled even larger than before. "It's really nice because that means I'll have more free time now."
"Your parents are actually letting you have free time?" Ken laughed a bit, knowing how firm the Inoues were about their kids helping to run the family business.
"Well, they do pressure me a lot," Miyako said with a roll of her eyes and a sigh. "And I do give in sometimes, but I think I finally got them to see how serious I am about computers and doing my own thing. They have my siblings anyway. At least they enjoy working at the convenience store! So it makes more sense for them to help than me."
"Ah, well I'm glad you worked that out."
"Yeah, and I mean... you know..." Miyako trailed off and Ken felt his chest tense up at the change in her tone of voice. He'd been at the receiving end of it many times, and he had a pretty good idea of where this was about to go... "If you have free time too, we could, you know, hang out sometime. Get together, maybe. Just the two of us. I was thinking-"
Miyako cut herself off with a gasp as a piece of sushi hit her in the side of the face. Immediately sparks of rage flew from her eyes as they locked with Daisuke's, who merely rolled his upward at the sky in mock innocence. A pointless gesture, as mere seconds later some of her own sushi had smacked roughly against Daisuke's shoulder, splattering rice all over him.
Ken sighed as food sailed over and around him. He figured it was best not to move, that way Daisuke and Miyako would already know where he was when they were throwing-
A sharp gasp was sucked into Ken's throat when a piece of Daisuke's tomato splattered against his left cheek. He winced and stiffened, frustration filling his chest. It hadn't hurt or anything, but he was incredibly annoyed at-
Déjà vu and dizziness overwhelmed him. A strange thought was there... He wasn't sure what it was, but something was just at the tip of his mind. Maybe a memory? It was something involving... fruit? He could almost see it... Tomatoes and Daisuke, and... himself, as the Kaiser. It was something important, something he desperately wanted to recall...
And then it was gone entirely. All of the images vanished, along with the memory of what he'd even seen in the first place. Only the knowledge that he'd apparently had déjà vu remained.
"Ken? Hey... Ken?" Daisuke's voice floated through the mental haze.
"H-Huh?" Ken blinked, realizing that the tomato had been removed from his face already, but not by his own hand; Daisuke was directly in front of him, holding a stained napkin.
"You alright?" Daisuke raised an eyebrow. "I meant to get Miyako, not you..."
"I know, it's okay," Ken sighed as he wiped the remaining tomato juice from his cheek with his sleeve. "I'm not mad."
"You sure...?" Daisuke trailed off nervously, his eyes sheepish and apologetic. "You got all stiff and just cringed for a while... like you were really pissed off..."
"I..." Ken tried to find a way to reply, but everything he thought of only made him feel more confused. "I just had really intense déjà vu, that's all. It was disorienting..." He paused and then smirked. "And yes, your tomato to my face was quite irritating."
Quickly, before Daisuke could register what he was doing, Ken picked up the last piece of sushi from his plate and firmly smeared it over his friend's face. Daisuke winced but didn't protest, clearly deciding that he deserved it. Which he did! Very much so, in fact.
There was a chuckle between the two of them at first, which was quickly followed by giggles, and ended in a roar of laughter. Miyako blinked and shrugged, going back to her own food and seemingly giving up on the whole ordeal entirely.
"So..." Daisuke trailed off as he cleaned his own face with a napkin this time. "Déjà vu?" His voice was suddenly very serious and hushed so that only Ken could hear him. "What did you think of?"
Ken couldn't place the look that Daisuke was giving him. It was so much deeper than anything he was used to seeing on his best friend's face. Not that he normally looked stupid or something, it was just that he seemed to be waiting for Ken to say something very specific, and Ken didn't know what that 'something' was.
"Well I don't remember any of it now," Ken admitted and was even more confused to see the look of disappointment on Daisuke's face that immediately followed his words. "It's just déjà vu," Ken said to try and lighten the mood. "It doesn't mean anythi-"
"Guys!" Taichi's voice interrupted their uncomfortable conversation. "There's a big clearing over there, we should go play soccer for old time's sake! There's even trees we can use as goals!"
And just like that, Daisuke seemed to forget the previous issue as he leapt to his feet and raced off with Taichi, pulling Ken along the way. The sudden yank on his arm ached and he cringed a bit. Normally that wouldn't have hurt him, but his joints had been sore for some time now.
One smirking sentence from Taichi was all that was needed to begin the game; "I bet I can beat the two of you combined!" That line alone had probably been enough to indicate an 'all's fair' rule set, but Ken supposed it was even more firmly established when Daisuke kicked the ball out from under Taichi's feet before the game had even begun. With a curse, Taichi chased after him and Ken followed quickly behind.
Far too soon Ken found his body slowing down, already winded. He normally had much more stamina than this...
Daisuke had nearly scored between the two trees when Taichi stole the ball and rushed back down the field. Ken felt his energy plunge as he tried to rush headlong at his opponent, his body slowing down even more. Taichi passed him easily and Daisuke raced after him instead, managing to get the ball back just in time.
"Ken!" Daisuke hollered at him and kicked the ball hard between Taichi's attacking legs, toward Ken in the center of the field. It was a flawless pass, aimed perfectly at Ken, who somehow managed to stumble on the ball. He got his bearings back quickly though and ran as hard as he could down the rest of the field, toward the goal of trees.
Taichi was on his heels much sooner than he'd expected. Ken tried to use his ankles to kick the ball upward and over Taichi's head, effectively passing the ball to Daisuke on the other side, when he felt something hot burst from within his chest.
An overwhelming wave of coughing struck him hard, Ken barely managing to get the back of his right hand over his mouth in time. His throat burned horribly as he doubled over, landing painfully on his left forearm and both knees. His strength seemed to drain more and more with each wheezing bout, which forced their way out between desperate gasps of breath.
"Shit!" Daisuke gasped and was immediately at Ken's left side with both hands on his shoulders. Ken could hear footsteps running hastily away from them, which had to be Taichi. He tried to look up and see where he was going, but the coughing came back and he was once again doubled over.
"B-Breathe slowly," Daisuke urged with a shaky voice, the fear quite noticeable. "J-Just take slow, deep breaths... It's okay..."
Ken tried his best to do as he was told, but he was coughing too violently to get any air in. As if things weren't bad enough already, his throat was now so dry that it felt like it was closing up. He could gasp at times, but that was about it. Fear was beginning to creep into his skull and resonate within his chest when the footsteps finally returned, and a bottle of water was pushed into the hand covering his mouth.
"Drink that," Taichi said with forced calmness and opened the cap for him, tilting the bottle up toward his mouth. Ken drank the entire contents of the bottle at once, throwing it away from himself when he was done. He was back on his hands at knees, but finally he was able to breathe steadily. He took the air in slowly as Daisuke had told him to do, until his heart calmed down.
The déjà vu was back. More images, memories... whatever it was. He got a feeling of weakness and of Daisuke being near him. He was... in a hospital bed? Daisuke was panicking nearby, and his neck burned-
And just like before, it was suddenly gone. He'd... just had déjà vu... right?
"... that, and don't you dare try telling me you aren't sick!" Daisuke's passionate voice filtered in suddenly. Had he been talking to him? Ken's blank expression must have made it obvious that he'd heard very little of what was just said. Daisuke sighed. "I said we're going back to my place! I'm not letting you stay outside after all that; you're clearly sick!"
"I..." Ken began but trailed off, deciding not to argue anymore. Daisuke was probably right. He was clearly not well and the longer he stayed outside and used his energy, the worse it would get.
It was then that Ken realized the others were all around him, not just Taichi and Daisuke. He hadn't even seen them come over... He really must have been out of it. In any case though, it made him happy. Sometimes he forgot how close he was to the others now, and that any of them would stop whatever they were doing to help him, just as he'd do for them.
The rest was a bit of a blur, his mind foggy as everyone helped him gather the few things he'd brought. Daisuke walked beside him to the car with a hand on his shoulder, just in case. Ken couldn't help noticing that his friend's hand was still shivering. In fact, Daisuke seemed uncharacteristically solemn as they made their way back to the catering car.
Once Ken was in the passenger seat he said goodbye to the others through the open window, who all promised to eat all of the food they'd brought in their absence. He promised to rest and get better, but his thoughts were distracted; as they pulled out of the parking spot and made their way back onto the road, Ken's eyes moved back toward Daisuke's hands. They were gripping the steering wheel firmly, to the point where his knuckles were white, and they had yet to stop shaking.
Daisuke sighed and flopped down in a chair, looking down at his finally-stilled hands. It had taken quite a bit of effort to get them calm, and even more effort to relax his heart. Seeing Ken fall like that... No, he didn't want to think about any of that now. He'd already thought way too much. He was just overreacting anyway; Ken's collapse on the field was nowhere near as life threatening as what happened in the base. This situation was totally different.
And yet... so much of it had been a reminder. The moment he saw Ken hit the ground he'd thought of when he'd gone limp in his arms, and all the bad emotions came rushing back. Not that they'd ever fully gone away. He was constantly being overprotective of Ken and he knew his best friend had taken notice over the last year. He'd never been fully confronted on it, but careful questions had been asked. Daisuke's answers were intentionally vague and unsatisfying, leaving Ken confused until he simply dropped the subject entirely.
Daisuke leaned forward, placing his elbows down on his knees and his forehead into his palms. He should have already told Ken everything by now: that he loved him, and about what happened between them in the base. But he couldn't... He just couldn't do it. Every time he tried, he'd see Ken's body back on that hospital bed, shaking uncontrollably. What if he told Ken everything and the spore reactivated and tried to hurt him again? Ken said it was deactivated, but had anyone ever truly confirmed that?
It was strange to be so afraid of something that he couldn't bring himself to act. It was an uncomfortable, foreign feeling and it went against his very nature. That only made it all the more difficult to deal with. He could lunge headfirst into any other kind of danger; a Digimon attack, a bully, an argument with someone, whatever. But when it came to this, he was left shaken and unable to move.
"Heh..." Daisuke chuckled sullenly; his hands were shivering again.
With a groan he stood up and shook himself from head to toe, rubbing his face roughly. He needed to chill out and stop thinking about all this crap. He was getting all worked up over nothing; Ken was totally fine. Nothing bad was going to-
Ken gave a soft sigh in his sleep from the couch and rolled over, Daisuke able to see his face now. Ken's hair was damp from the shower he'd taken a little while ago and he was wearing Daisuke's green pajamas. They were really old, given to him by his grandmother for Christmas a few years ago. The smooth, cold, silky material bugged the crap out of him, and on top of that they were a bit too small even back then. Now he simply couldn't get his shoulders into the shirt even if he wanted to. They seemed to fit Ken's thinner frame alright though.
Daisuke smiled softly and felt a large amount of stress finally leave his chest. See? Nothing was wrong. Ken had fallen asleep just a few minutes ago, Daisuke having made sure to put a warm blanket over him after he'd passed out. It was probably due to side effects from the medicine he'd taken, but whatever. He clearly needed the sleep and was fine, so there was no reason to overreact.
Making sure to lower the volume, Daisuke turned on the TV and got up to sit on the couch next to Ken's curled up legs. After flipping through the channels for a while he settled on a soccer game. It wasn't between any teams he cared about, but there wasn't anything better on. He just needed to take his mind off of all this; better to relax and focus on the game instead.
It didn't take long before Ken adjusted again, straightening his legs. Daisuke glanced down at the calves that were now lying over his lap with a raised eyebrow. He felt the urge to tickle the feet attached to them, but managed to resist. As fun as that would be, Ken needed to rest and not be rudely woken up when he was sick.
Damn it Ken... why had he gone to the reunion if he wasn't feeling well?! Seriously, what the heck was wrong with him? He wouldn't have collapsed and possibly made his condition worse if he'd just rested at home! No one would have been upset if he needed to take it easy, they would have understood completely! But then again, Ken had always had a problem with worrying too much over what other people thought before considering his own needs.
Daisuke let his eyes wander over to Ken's sleeping face, his damp hair sticking to his cheeks. He felt a rough sigh escape his throat and his chest tighten as many unwanted memories of Ken in the base with wet hair passed through his mind. Times at the beach in the digital world, of them trying to fix the leaking sink, of the food fight... of too many things.
His eyes traveled further still and rested on Ken's thighs, wrapped tightly in silk pajamas which-
He forced his eyes back onto the TV, before he was tempted to look at other places he shouldn't. Except that Ken kept stretching and adjusting, clearly not able to get comfortable on the couch... In the corner of his eye, Daisuke noticed the way the silky pajamas clutched at Ken's ass and-
With a long, drawn out sigh, Daisuke stood and picked Ken up off the couch as gently as he could. Then he walked down the hall and into his bedroom, setting him down on the bed. He ignored the urge to cuddle next to him and pulled the blanket up over Ken's shoulders. He'd just sleep on the couch tonight, or maybe set up a bed on the floor. He really didn't need to ask for more trouble by sleeping next to Ken in bed when he already felt this way...
"Mmm..." Ken smiled in his sleep and nuzzled into the pillow, seeming much more comfortable now. Daisuke smiled as well, letting his fingers run gently through Ken's hair. He lightly caressed his friend's head as he traveled down toward his neck, Ken shivering under the touch. If only he could kiss Ken... he was asleep, he wouldn't even notice... he could just-
Daisuke pulled his hand away from Ken and turned toward the doorway. He needed to leave before he did something stupid-
"Dai..." Ken's voice was so quiet that Daisuke had almost missed it. He stopped just as he was about to turn the corner into the hallway, and instead faced Ken. Had he woken up?
"Ken...?" Daisuke asked softly, just in case he was still sleeping.
"Mmm..." Ken hummed again and turned onto his back. "I love you..."
Ken sat upon a sandy beach, his eyes locked on the water that was crashing against the shore just a few feet away. It made his stomach knot up to watch the way it pulled back toward the ocean, only to collide with the coast again just a few seconds later.
Something moved in the corner of his eye; a black, shadowy figure shaped like a human with no visible features was walking along the waterfront. It had short, spiked hair, and its head was turned toward the water. A few seconds later it turned to face him instead.
The figure ran toward Ken, but he wasn't scared. He stood up and smiled as it approached, somehow knowing that it wouldn't hurt him even though he had no reason to assume such safety.
Ken hugged the strange, somewhat taller figure and felt it hug him back with strong, physical arms. He could see through it as thought it were incorporeal, and yet he could feel it. Why that was he wasn't sure, but he also didn't find himself caring enough to find out. Instead he looked up at it, and it looked back down at him.
The figure pulled back and held out a perfect sea shell with its right hand, as though offering it as a gift. Ken looked down at it and felt a sickness quickly fill his chest. He felt like he had forgotten something important, and whatever it was had something to do with that sea shell...
Ken reached out and took it, the smooth exterior sliding against his fingertips as he turned it about, noticing every detail. The shell seemed to become more in focus than the rest of his surroundings as the water, shore and figure became faded and warped.
"Wait!" Ken called out and reached for the figure before it disappeared, grasping onto its arm with both of his hands. The shell dropped down beside his foot. It was dirty now, the sand filling its interior and muting its beautiful colors.
"Ken?" the figure spoke for the first time, its voice so familiar that Ken found himself staring as it spoke a second time. "You forgot, didn't you?"
"Forgot?" Ken asked, not understanding the question.
"Where you put the shell," came the figure's simple, yet confusing answer. "You forgot."
"But it's right there," Ken pointed down at the sea shell that he'd dropped into the sand, just beside his shoe. Its colors were gone now, almost entirely grayscale against the bright, tan sand.
"No," the figure shook its head and colors began to creep into its form. Suddenly its hair was a warm burgundy, its shirt was light blue and its shorts were khaki. It had orange shoes and tan skin, and its eyes were the most familiar shade of brown. He knew this figure... No, this person. It was Daisuke.
"That shell isn't real, Ken," Daisuke smiled kindly and placed his hands around Ken's. "You forgot, didn't you? Here, let me help you..."
Suddenly Daisuke's lips were pressed against his own, and his arms were wrapped around his body. The scene changed, warped and spun, and suddenly Ken was lying on a bed with Daisuke above him. The lights were dim and their clothes were scattered about the floor.
Daisuke's hands and lips were on his skin, sweat coating Ken's body. He took in gasps of air and let his pants echo around the bedroom they were in. He laced his fingers through Daisuke's hair and gripped hard, pulling his head downward along-
Ken gasped and sat up with a start, dizziness causing his body to sway. His heart was racing and he looked around the room with wide eyes, disoriented and confused. Where was he?! He'd been... There was a beach and... Daisuke, and it... it was...!
Just a dream... It was just a dream...
With a deep, slow breath, Ken put a hand over his chest and closed his eyes to try and think. Usually that helped him after any terrifying or confusing event, but this time it didn't. He felt lost and weak, but he also had a strangely familiar sensation in his chest.
He gasped when a sleepy voice drifted into his ears from his left side; someone else was in the bed with him. Or more accurately, he was in someone else's bed with them.
"D-Daisuke?" Ken felt himself freeze up and his eyes widen again. The dream flashed through his memories quickly, all of it there but passing by as quickly as lightning. His felt his face get hot and his eyes quickly turn away. He wasn't upset with Daisuke though.
Why had he dreamt something like that?! Dreams never made sense and many people would say that they weren't supposed to, but something about that one hadn't been normal. He didn't know why, but he knew it meant something.
"Um..." a shirtless Daisuke trailed off and sat up fully. Ken could tell that he wearing pajama pants but even so, enough of his chest was showing that he refused to lift his gaze off the blanket around his legs. "Are you okay?" Daisuke questioned. "Did you have a bad dream?"
"I-I..." Ken's voice cracked and he didn't get the rest of his words out. To be honest, he couldn't remember what he wanted to say anymore, or if he'd ever known at all.
Feelings similar to déjà vu passed over him again, but it wasn't quite the same; while he did feel like there was something familiar about this that he couldn't quite place, the feeling wasn't shaking like it normally did. It stuck to him like glue, only making the confusion stronger and everlasting.
"Hey," Daisuke's voice was firm and Ken looked up, drawn to the strong voice. "What's wrong?"
Ken opened his mouth to speak but when his eyes met with Daisuke's, he couldn't get any sound out. He was frozen and overwhelmed with images. A dream... Had it been a dream? This felt like something else. He didn't know what, but it wasn't the same. So what was it then?
Daisuke scooted closer and Ken felt his body automatically back away. It wasn't that he didn't want to be near him. It was that he was... scared? Was that the right word?
"Ken?" Daisuke's voice was confused and sad, and Ken knew it was because he'd moved away. Why had he even done that? Seriously, what was wrong with him?!
Ken put his face in his hands and took more deep breaths. He was overreacting. This was just ridiculous, he needed to calm down and stop thinking about stupid things.
"I just had a dream, that's all," Ken finally managed to give an answer, though his voice was muffled through his fingers. "It was just... really confusing, sorry. Don't worry about me, I'm fine."
Suddenly he wanted to cry, and it took all of his willpower not to. Frustration combined with unexplainable heartache, and the confusion of it all made it hard to keep the strange, overwhelming emotions in check.
"A dream?" Daisuke's voice held a strange tone that Ken didn't understand, and part of him was too afraid to try and figure it out. Daisuke's tone softened a bit when he next spoke though; "What did you dream about?"
"I... I don't know," Ken gave an honest answer. He had no idea what was going on, what he'd dreamt about, or why he was still freaking out this much about it. "I don't know what... it was just... you were in it, and... I..." He wouldn't cry, he just wouldn't let himself. That was not going to help at all! Don't cry...
"Ken, listen..." Daisuke's voice went lower, down to the tone he used when he was about to get really serious. It wasn't a sound that Ken often heard, but when he did, it drew in all of his attention. While Ken didn't look up at him, curling his knees up to his chest, he did listen and wait attentively as he'd been asked to do. Daisuke continued. "Last night..."
Oh god... What had he said in his sleep? After that dream, the way it had gone at the end... had he done or said something embarrassing? He hadn't... moaned out Daisuke's name or something, had he?! This was bad, there was no way it wasn't. Not when Daisuke was talking with that tone of voice!
What should he do? Should he just apologize to Daisuke and tell him he'd had a really weird dream and to not take any of it seriously? But would that even be true? What did it mean, and why couldn't he remember anything?!
Remember... Was there something to remember? It felt like there was. This was how he always felt whenever he dreamed about Daisuke or his time as the Kaiser, but especially when it involved both. Not that any of the previous times had ever been this extreme, which was why it was so confusing; it left him feeling like he'd forgotten something. He would try to remember but his mind would just go blank, completely and utterly blank. There had always been lost patches in his memories because of the spore, but they were all related to his time before becoming the Kaiser.
Ken's desire to cry was finally gone and replaced with anger and hatred instead. If it weren't for that fucking spore, he'd know everything about himself! He just... he just...! He just wanted to scream, and-!
"... just let me know."
Ken looked up at his friend. He'd been talking to him, hadn't he?
Ken was about to ask him to repeat himself when Daisuke placed a gentle hand upon his shoulder. It was a simple gesture, most likely intended to help him calm down and feel comforted. Or maybe it was related to whatever Daisuke had said just a few seconds ago that he'd missed. In either case, it did more than it was intended to.
Ken flinched and pulled away, images of Daisuke's hands on him overwhelming his mind. They were similar to what he'd already dreamt about, but much more detailed than before. Much, much more detailed... too many details.
Seeing himself and Daisuke like this, doing these things... It was too much.
"I-I need to go," Ken stood up quickly and grabbed his clothes off the floor. Then he made his way toward the bathroom as fast as he could and changed. He tossed Daisuke's pajamas into the laundry basket on his way to the living room once he was done.
Daisuke never left the bedroom or said a word, and Ken felt a tightness in his chest because of it. But he needed to get away from here and walk, think... anything but feel Daisuke touch him. Not because he didn't like it, but because of how much he did.