This one takes place mid season, in between the episodes "Spirit Needle" (that's "Aquilamon, Knight of the Skies" to all you Japanese viewers) "United We Stand" ("Jogress Evolution, Two Hearts become One".) There's not much point to it beyond what the episode has already explored, and the writing if it is mainly cathartic on my part. I find it's better not to question my subconscious.

Reviews and constructive criticism are appreciated.

Missing Piece Syndrome.

'Okay, let me explain it this way.' Davis says while trying to stick a straw into a juice carton. The straw is winning. 'It's a little like when you get your first cell phone, yeah?'

'A... cell phone?' TK gives Davis a confused look, presuming that the other boy is actually going somewhere with this. TK doesn't see what cell phones have to do with their current situation...

'Yeah. See, when you get your first cell phone, you either wanted one really bad or you weren't interested in getting one at all. It didn't matter to you much whether you had one or not. And then once you get one, you started using it for lots of stuff, right?'

TK sighs. 'Davis, you're not making much sense here.'

Davis looks impatient. 'But you get what I mean, right?'

TK sighs. 'Yes, Davis, we get it. But Ken Ichijoji isn't a cell phone.'

'Man, you're messing with my metaphor!'

Actually TK is moderately surprised that Davis knows what the word "metaphor" means. Not that he'll say so. He's trying very hard to be reasonable about all this, because that's the kind of person he is. He's reasonable and thoughtful and tries his best not to fly off the handle for any reason. Unless that reason includes wanton cruelty to Digimon and...

...Yeah, TK isn't going to think about that right now.

Everyone else at the bus stop is just sitting there and looking at Davis in a mixture of doubt and confusion. Cody has a dry, unconvinced expression on his face, Yolei is biting her lip, and Kari is almost pointedly not looking at anyone. Nobody quite knows what to say or how to say it.

Apparently neither does Davis, but he's trying to say something anyway, and even if it's only serving o make them all the more confused, you've kind of got to admire his tenacity. He's been trying to talk them around like this for over an hour now. Davis normally doesn't even like to concentrate on one thing for that long a time.

'Look the think about cell phones, is that you don't realise how much you needed one until you got one,' Davis goes on, rubbing the glass in the front of his goggles, which make a squeaking noise as he does so. 'And then you do, and you start wondering how you ever managed without it. You realise that you kinda need a cell phone. You're like... half a person without your cell phone.'

'To repeat TK's comment, Yolei says uncertainly. 'Ken is not a cell phone, he's...' She gestures vaguely in the air, trying to think of the right word.

'A dictator,' Cody says, bluntly. 'And a killer to boot, Davis.'

'And you're making this whole thing sound just a little creepy', TK thinks, but doesn't stay aloud.

Because the fact of the matter is that none of them know that this is what Ken Ichijoji is anymore. They're not even sure they knew what he was in the first place. All they're sure of is that it's really difficult to trust a guy who's caused so much harm to so many creatures and then... what? Just had a sudden change of heart?

Okay so it wasn't sudden and unexpected, and TK knows what it feels like. He remembers the feeling of watching your best friend slip away from you into the ether. He still remembers the pain...

That part of him at least can sympathise with the Digimon Emperor. With Ken Ichijoji. Whenever he is. But what Davis is saying still sounds pretty damn crazy.

'Hey, I get that he's messed up...'

'And yet you're prepared to forgive him?' TK asks.

'I never said that,' Davis shuffles, and to be honest, TK is quite sure that it really isn't what Davis meant. 'I just...'

'Just suggested that we should team up with the same guy who's been making our lives and the lives of every Digimon he comes across a misery,' Cody says, bluntly. 'That is what you're saying, isn't it, Davis?'

'Look I get that it's weird, but he's a Digidestined, guys, no matter what he's done.'

'Does that matter?'

'Well sure it matters. I mean I think...' Davis has that look on his face. The kind he usually reserves for football matches against really tough opponents. He's got the hand which isn't clutching a carton over his heart, like there's a pain there or something. 'It has to matter.'

'You've got to admit, Davis, Yolei says quietly. 'Ken Ichijoji is supposed to be a Genius. If we can figure out that the Digital World is just as real as this one, then why couldn't he?'

'But we had people there, Ken didn't have anybody to show him what the heck the place was all about. He didn't have Tai or Izzy or any of the others.'

'He had Wormmon,' Kari says. It's the first thing that's come out of her mouth since this whole argument began, and no matter how he tries, TK just can't quite work out what she's thinking.

Had, Wormmon. Past tense. And TK doesn't think he's ever going to get used to that.

'Yeah and now he doesn't. Let's work with that, okay? You know what it's like being separated from our Digimon. You know.'

'That was horrible, I know,' Cody shakes his head. 'But I still don't see what bearing that has on anything, Davis.'

'It has a bearing on me,' Davis looks indignant, the hand over his heart clutching a little tighter. 'Ken being one of us doesn't make sense, I know, but him not being one of us makes even less. He has a crest, okay? Hardly any Digidestined have one of those. It's just us few and that means he's supposed to be one of us. That's why like a Cell Phone, guys, you don't realise that you need it until it's gone. I don't know how I know this, so don't ask me, but... I know.'

Just like Davis said before. He just... knows it. Sometimes it feels like every decision Davis ever makes is based on gut instinct and intuition rather than the logic which should be telling him that Ken Ichijoji is bad news.

TK wishes he could be that certain about all of this. That he could just rely on whatever his gut was telling him. That he could know what Ken is supposed to be. What the Crest of Kindness really means.

Nobody says anything to Davis's statement; because none of them can think of anything that will possibly make it all make sense. The drink carton sits forgotten on the bench besides them.

Things aren't the same anymore, and none of his friends seem to get it.

Honestly, Davis doesn't blame them. Because he doesn't even know how he gets it. Or what it is that he gets in the first place. All he knows is that everything is just that little bit clearer in his head now. He knows how things were, and he knows how they have to be. He doesn't see why he has to psychoanalyse things he already understands.

And what Davis Motomiya understands is that something is just wrong with all of this.

Everything this morning feels the way it does when you haven't had enough sleep the night before. Everyone seems like they're pretending to be themselves and the world is made out of the same stuff as erasers. Only he can't put it into any more coherent words than that, because he's never been good at that kind of stuff. Something is just... missing. It's something he didn't even notice until recently. Like realising how badly you need a cell phone after your first one finally breaks. Like a heartbeat which you don't realise is missing until you realise your chest hurts and you notice that you can't feel it beating anymore.

And Davis can hear a heartbeat right now; one he's not entirely sure belongs to him.

And anyway Ken Ichijoji isn't gone, right? When he was the Digimon Emperor he was gone, but Davis is pretty sure that's not the same person who he saw crying so hard he couldn't breathe right in the sands of the Digital Desert. Ken just came back. Ken's old enough and has been to the Digital World often enough to have been there the first time Kari went. He should've been one of the old schoolers.

There's a piece in the puzzle that's been missing since the beginning –and that piece is Ken Ichijoji. Davis is sure of it. They just didn't notice until now because they were too busy trying to keep the hell up with everything that was happening. Because they didn't see anything more than an enemy with scary ideas and a tendency for kicking Digimon when they're down.

And that's not who Ken is anymore, right? Right?

Davis is starting to wonder whether or not it really matters. Things are the way they are. Ken is one of them, whether the others realise it or not.