Author's Note: Like it says in the description, I just re-edited this. I was still very new to fanfictions and to writing in general back when I first wrote it, so – naturally, I'd say – my writing made quite an under-developed impression ^^ Furthermore, my English has become a *lot* better in these three years.

The fic is based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol".
There are hints of DaiKen in the end.

Enjoy :)

P.S.: I don't know if you need it, but "text" is normally spoken, 'text' is for thoughts and "text" is for when something is said on the screen (you'll know what 'the screen' is when it appears^^ )

=#=#=

A different Christmas Carol

=#=#=

It was dark in Ken's room; sure, it was night. The night before Christmas. But Ken's dreams were little merry. He tossed in his sleep, his breath hitching every now and then and beads of cold sweat were forming on his forehead. Until at once, he awoke with a gasp. He jerked into a sitting position and looked around his room, not quite recognizing the surroundings yet.

'Another nightmare...' he thought bitterly as he calmed down again.

True, he had forgiven himself the things he had done under the influence of the dark spore, but apparently that didn't stop his dreams from being full of images of himself in tinted glasses and imperial getup, torturing Digimon and Digidestined alike.

Ken began to cry. It was so frustrating! He had thought that, once he'd come to terms with his past, the nightmares would stop too, but they just kept returning, tracking him down and haunting his sleep almost every night.

The latest one had – yet again – been about his infection with the spore.

Tentatively touching the back of his neck with a frown, he thought 'Perhaps… Perhaps it is because it's still there that the nightmares keep coming...' He clenched his fists 'If only it wasn't there anymore! Why did I even have to be infected with the damn thing in the first place?'"I wish I had never been infected with the dark spore!"

Some heavy gusts of wind suddenly surged through the room, and before he even had the time to be shocked, a strange figure was standing beside Ken's bed.

"Who are you?" Ken asked, rather surprised than afraid. After all, this was not the first time some complete stranger wound up in his room at night.

This one was a weird being in general, however. Neither man nor woman, neither young nor old. It just… was.

"Christmas' Spirit." the stranger stated, its expression quite neutral, neither grave nor joyous.

"Christmas' Spirit... Right…" Ken raised an eyebrow. He remembered where he had heard something like this before. "You mean like that story?"

"I suppose you could say that. You made a Christmas wish. This is the reason I am here."

"A wish..?"

"There is something in your past you want to be undone. You think you would like to have been spared the infection by the dark spore?"

"Oh, that wish... Of course." Ken sunk his gaze. "Of course I do…"

"If you really think so, I can make your wish come true. Would you like that?"

Ken's eyes grew wide. He didn't know if this... being was trustworthy, or if it even existed; for all he knew it was some kind of dream or hallucination. But still, its offer was tempting. Remembering all these nights he had woken up like he had before, soaking wet with sweat and trembling, longing only for this to be finally over, Ken did not know any other answer to the question than "Yes..!"

"Come with me." The Spirit offered its hand and after a moment of reluctance, Ken accepted it.

One white flash and Ken and the Spirit were standing in the middle of a desert. 'This is not just any desert… This is…'Ken thought as he recognized it.

It was the very same place him and Ryo had defeated Milleniumon all those years ago. Where it had converted its dying data into dark spores. Where Ken had shoved his friend out of the way and had been infected himself…
Ken realised that in fact, it was that moment they had arrived to.

The Spirit, invisible to them, slowly made his way over to the battling figures and - as though without a care in the world - simply pushed the younger Ken, causing him to fall and drag Ryo with him, out of the way of the spores. Now, neither of them was infected. Simple as that.

"It's done." the Spirit said and turned to Ken.

Hardly believing what had just happened, struggling to wrap his mind around the fact that this might actually be the end to his hurting and nightmares, Ken only said "Thank you very much, Spirit. I am very grateful." and detachedly turned around to leave, without an idea where he was going.

"Wait. Not so fast." the other stated.

"What is it?" Ken whipped around again.

"Do you not even want to know what has happened in the meantime? Do you not want to see the consequences?"

"Consequences?" he blinked.

"Every change of the past has consequences, and you have to see them before you may return."

The blue-haired boy frowned, not knowing what to expect "Well, alright then..."

The Spirit took hold of Ken's hand again "Beginning with your life."

Another white flash and they were standing… nowhere. In a place beyond space and time.

The only thing in this dark nothingness was some kind of enormous screen that appeared to be attached to the darkness. It flickered on and showed a time when Ken used to be the Digimon Emperor. Instead though, the Ken on the screen was crying alone in his room.

"Without the chance to retreat to your second identity, without the chance to distance yourself from your pain for a while, you were too vulnerable." the Spirit suddenly spoke up.

The scene immediately went over to a conversation between Ken and his parents they couldn't hear. His father looked angry, his mother was crying, and Ken himself had tears in his eyes too.

"You never became a genius, but your parents still compared you with your deceased brother."

"Oh, Ken.. Why can't you be a little more like Sam..?" his mother on the screen sobbed, and Ken fled to his room, now crying.

He went over to his desk, picking up the picture of Sam.

"Why..?Why are you still haunting me!"he smashed the picture on the ground with all his strength, shattering the glass, and sunk to the floor himself, sobbing heavily.
After a while, he took a glass sherd and scratched his wrist. The scars on his arm made clear that this was not the first time he'd done that.

The next scene was a funeral.

"You committed suicide a few years later…" the Spirit stated gravely. Ken was shocked; he stared at the screen wordlessly, tears forming in his eyes.

It showed his parents at the funeral, broken and grieving.

"Your parents blamed themselves for your death, never able to forgive, and spent the rest of their lives in grief."

Two single, slow tears rolled down Ken's face. "A-And Wormmon..?" he managed to choke out.

A sad and lonely Wormmon in the Digital World was shown.

"Well, you never came back after your fight against Milleniumon. However, Wormmon never gave up on waiting for you to return."

"Oh no..!" Ken gasped out and fell on his knees.

The Spirit looked down on Ken indifferently "You see? Be careful what you wish for. But it is not over yet. What about Daisuke and the others?"

The scene went over to showing moments of the other Destined's casual lives. They looked fairly happy with their lives, but they are never together.

"Without you threatening the Digital World, Miyako, Iori and Daisuke never even became Digidestined. They never met their Digimon partners and never grew close to be friends. But of all of them, Daisuke -"

It showed a quite miserable Daisuke.

"- is hurting the most. He does not even know what it is, but something very important is missing in his life."

Ken looked up at the Spirit through his tears "You mean Veemon..?"

"You, Ken. You are missing in his life."

When he didn't seem to understand, the Spirit went on.

"You are his best friend, Ken. The second half of his heartbeat, the second half of himself; what did you expect? In this life, he never even encountered you; but he still misses you."

If anything, Ken was crying harder than before. He did not want to believe that he had caused all this to happen.

Accusingly, almost angrily, the Spirit shouted "Do you see what it brought upon you and everyone around you to have your wish come true?"

Suddenly, the big screen was all around them, showing pieces of that life Ken had chosen. Him hurting himself, the others suffering.

But just as Ken could not bear it any longer, the screen showed other things; the good and happy moments that occurred after he had stopped being the Digimon Emperor. His parents hugging him with joy. Wormmon forgiving him. Him and Daisuke hearing each other's heartbeats, the whole group standing by him through the nightmare BelialVamdemon gave him.

"Now, think of all the good things that only happened because everything happened the way it was supposed to." the Spirit suddenly spoke in a pleasant tone.

It kneeled down beside Ken, looking him in the eyes and actually smiling for the first time.

"You can never know what might have happened with or without a certain incidence. All you can do is trust. Trust that everything is alright and the way it was meant to be. There is nothing else you can do either way. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you..?"

"Yes..." Ken whispered, his eyes shut.

"And you understand the lesson I taught you as well..?"

The other nodded. The Spirit smiled wider.

"Alright. Then I have no reason to keep you here any longer. You may return to your old life. Your real life."

After a moment of shock, Ken's face lit up considerably, and he jumped up to stand.

"Really..?"

It stood up too, still smiling, and nodded "Yes, really."

"Thank you!" Ken threw his arms around the Spirit, startling it at first. It pushed him away gently, offering its hand instead.

"Come now." it smiled. "Or you will be late for Christmas."

Ken accepted it happily. One last white flash and they were back in Ken's room. The very first hints of daybreak could already be sensed through the window.

"I will leave you now. Farewell and have a merry Christmas." The Spirit turned around to leave when something crossed Ken's mind. "Wait!"

"Yes?" it turned around again.

"You never really changed the past, did you?"

"No." it laughed a little. "Even if I had wanted to, I am not authorised."

"That's all I wanted to know" Ken smiled back. "Oh, and, merry Christmas yourself…"

The Spirit looked the slightest bit taken aback. Retrospectively, Ken supposed that it might be strange to wish Christmas' Spirit a merry Christmas. Nevertheless, it appeared to be quite happy about it. It smiled "Thank you very much. Go to sleep now. Goodbye, Ken..."

With that, Christmas' Spirit was gone and Ken went back to sleep, no longer plagued by nightmares.

=#=#=

When he awoke a few hours later, Ken knew something had changed. Aside from the fact that he had actually slept peacefully for the first time in weeks, he also had the feeling that the nightmares would not return. That was when he remembered the night's events.

"Wormmon..! Wake up..!" Ken gently shook the caterpillar-like digimon.

"Hm, what is it..?" he opened an eye drowsily. He awoke completely, however, as Ken cheerfully grabbed him and lifted him into the air.

"It's Christmas, Wormmon!" Ken grinned and hugged Wormmon tightly.

"Yeah, I guess..." the other said confusedly.

Ken let him down again and looked at him with a genuine smile. "Have I ever thanked you for always believing in me..? If not, then.. Thank you so much…"

Wormmon still did not understand what this was all about, but seeing Ken so happy made the rest seem unimportant either way.

Then, Ken jumped out of bed, as fast as it is possible from a loft bed.

With a bright smile and a joyful "Merry Christmas!" on his lips, he entered the dining room, almost startling his mother who was already preparing breakfast and his father who was currently reading the newspaper.

"M-Merry Christmas, Ken." they stammered, taken aback by Ken's very unusual lightheartedness.

If anything, his grin only widened at that. He went over to them and hugged them, too. "You are great parents, you know that?"

His parents looked at each other confused, but then smiled back at him. After a while, Ken pulled away.

"Excuse me, but I would like to call Daisuke before breakfast. Is that okay..?"

"Of course, Ken."

=#=#=

When the phone rang in the Motomiya-household, none of its inhabitants were awake yet. It was actually Daisuke's sister Jun who eventually answered the phone and - few moments later - barged into her brother's room.

"Daisuke, it's for you!" she snapped at him, obviously not pleased with having been ripped out of sleep so early because of a phone call that was not even for her.

"Hmm, who is it..." the other asked sleepily and in no particularly good mood either.

"Ken! Now take it!" she urged.

"K-Ken?" Daisuke was awake immediately, sat up and grabbed the phone.

"Ken..?"

"Merry Christmas, Davis. I hope I didn't wake you."

"Uh.. no, you didn't... Merry Christmas to you too. Is something the matter, Ken..?"

"No, not at all. I just called you to tell you that I'm very happy we're friends…"

"R-Really..?" Daisuke blushed slightly. Usually he was not that easily flustered, though on the other hand, he was not used to such a display of openness by Ken, either.

"Of course I am. Uh, do you think we could hang out later, just for a while?"

"I.. well, there's no problem with me, but are you even allowed to meet others on Christmas..?"

"I think I can make time for my best friend."

"B-Best friend..? You've never called me that..." his blush spread further.

"But we are, aren't we?" Ken sounded the slightest bit unsure.

"Yeah, of course..! It's just…" Daisuke trailed off.

Ken gave a little sigh. "I know I have never been very good at expressing my feelings... But.. last night something happened that made me realize that I never want you to be miserable only because I was not there for you enough."

Silence.

"Wow… quite a mouthful for half past eight in the morning…" Daisuke eventually said.

"Yeah, I guess…" Ken laughed.

=#=#=

Author's Note: Now, how was that? ;)
The message, that thinking about what might have been is pointless, is an idea I've just been waiting for to publish ^^
Oh and, for those who might think I meant dawn when I said 'hints of daybreak', I know sunrise is quite late on Christmas. What I meant was actually, you know, the sound of an increasing number of cars on the streets and the lights of stores opening and so on.
Reviews are welcome, otherwise just have a merry Christmas all of you… :)