Forbidden to Love: a Knight's Sacrifice

(Working title, subject to change)

The Dance

Dedicated to Lord Pata, who basically shamed me into writing some Patamon/Gatomon and T.K./Kari fics for him. Well, I suppose that he didn't really shame me into it, technically, but I'll think of a better verb for it in the next chapter.

Overview: For the last few years, much of the Digital World has prospered under the reign of the Holy Kingdom, ruled by Seraphimon and Ophanimon (i.e. Patamon and Gatomon). The Kingdom is protected by the ten Royal Knights, but one of them, Magnamon (whom we all know as Veemon) has never stopped loving Ophanimon, and, sick of himself for being obsessed over someone he knows he'll never be able to be with, leaves suddenly and without warning. After learning about the Dark Kaisers, however, Magnamon risks life and honor in a desperate bid to defend both the woman he loves and the people he once swore to protect.

Also, Etemon will show up at one point or another.

Rating: M for occasional angst, and eventually ultra-violence.

Pairings: Patamon/Gatomon (but in the form of Seraphimon/Ophanimon), and numerous other pairings are mentioned or implied. One-sided Magnamon/Ophanimon (read: Veemon/Gatomon) but MAYBE eventual Magnamon/insert some other girl here. And just because I've set things up for Rosemon does NOT mean that she's guaranteed a spot in Magnamon's heart. I'll mostly leave Magnamon's significant other to you, the readers, but under the following conditions:

1) For the purposes of this story, Ophanimon is not valid. In almost any other Digimon fic I've written, that doesn't apply.

2) I want at least one semi-good reason why that female is a viable pairing option. Also, Zephyrmon/Kazemon and Sakuyamon are off limits, because I've paired them with Susanoomon and Gallantmon, respectively.

3) Normally I wouldn't say this, but PLEASE, don't suggest any OCs, because I really don't want to have to research them for ways to make their back-story fit in this universe, and there's just too much risk for getting them out of character (which is routine in my fics anyway, but I try to restrict that to canon main characters).

4) And please, PLEASE take the lady's size into account… This is NOT Pokémon. I don't care if you can breed them or not, there will NOT be any instances of Skitty/Wailord action in THIS author's stories! Or, for another possible size comparison that's actually relevant to Digimon (even if it is completely crack): I don't care if you give me ten thousand excellent reasons, I will NOT pair up Machinedramon with Ranamon! Suppose, for a moment, that he was biological rather than mechanical. Just looking at the plain and simple physics of the situation, there's no way he could possibly fit, if you know what I mean! While it is equally crack (or maybe even more so, since at least Ranamon is also evil), Machinedramon/Garudamon is much more likely (hey, Biyomon is clearly a girl, and I don't think Digivolution = gender change), given that they are of a much more similar size.

If you bear in mind all of this, and don't let it spoil your experience with the chapter itself, then you are more than welcome to suggest any pairing for Magnamon that you wish, and from any season of the anime (Adventure/02, Tamers, or Frontier, that is).

If there are any questions, feel free to ask me in a review, and I'll do what I can to clarify, either in a reply or in a subsequent chapter.

Having completely finished my ranting for now, I'm going to shut up at last and let you read the fic.

(Magnamon POV)

Today begins a festival in the Celestial Kingdom, to celebrate the coming marriage of Lord Seraphimon and Lady Ophanimon. The streets are packed with cheering Digimon, overjoyed by the love that our King and Queen share.

I should be happy for them as well, but I can't make myself do it. I know that my liege lord and lady love each other beyond the power of words to describe. It's a match of Hope and Light, a pairing that seems to have been arranged by ENIAC. So why can't I just enjoy the party like everyone else?

It's because I love her just as much as they love each other. Imagine it: me, a Royal Knight, among the most powerful beings in the Celestial Kingdom, and I'm virtually crippled because I love someone I know I'll never be able to have.

Thinking aloud, I absentmindedly mutter, "Am I pathetic, or what?"

"Pathetic? I think not, my valiant comrade!"

Ah, that would be Gallantmon, one of my best friends among the Royal Knights. He joined about a year after I did… we're both outcasts, in a sense: even though he's a Royal Knight, he's also a Virus Digimon, which the majority of people won't ignore, and I (not that I'm ever going to tell anyone else) suffer from forbidden love. It suddenly occurs to me that this is a bit similar to a blasted soap opera. Gallantmon comes up and asks, "Now why do you believe yourself pathetic? You are quite possibly the third strongest of the Knights, so surely you don't mean to say that you're weak."

He means that the only two Knights whom I've always lost to in practice are Alphamon and Susanoomon, while I've managed to defeat everyone else except Omnimon: I've always tied against him. Damned Omega InForce… I've beaten my cousin, UlforceVeedramon two or three times, but only through Miracles.

I don't turn to look him in the eye – I continue to face the dancing crowd as I reply, "Because I could probably have any woman I asked, and there's no one I wish to ask that I could."

Gallantmon, perceptive despite his reputation of naïveté, asks, "You say you can't ask whom you want, so who do you want to ask that you can't?"

I know I can trust him: after all, I love Ophanimon, and I'm forbidden to act on that, and Gallantmon harbors feelings for Sakuyamon, whom he has a chance with, but he's seriously afraid of rejection. We each know this, and though Gallantmon understands and can (to an extent) sympathize with my problem, he also understands that whenever two Knights are speaking, people tend to eavesdrop.

So, knowing that word is certain to get around but trying to at least save a little face, I mention the first fairly attractive woman I can lay eyes on.

"Rosemon. She is the one I would ask."

Gallantmon, who (as I've already mentioned) knows I love Ophanimon, raises an eyebrow under his helmet. Rosemon isn't whom he would've expected me to use for cover, but then he sees my intent: most would think I'd pick someone the opposite of whom I really love, but Rosemon is actually quite similar in personality to Lady Ophanimon. Perhaps I'm too paranoid about people I can't trust finding out my secret? No, when it comes to things like this, you can never be too suspicious.

I also mention Rosemon because, if any of the rumors are true (and when you're ordered to deal with as much gossip as the Royal Knights are, you know that some of it is), then I have about a sixty percent chance of her dancing with me if I asked. And with her response not based entirely on my position or my reputation.

Gallantmon, who spends a lot more time in public than I do (I am not, however, reclusive by nature) laughs good naturedly, and offers, "Well, since even Lord Alphamon seems to be enjoying himself, I propose that we'd just as well try our own luck. After all, people are more at ease when all of the Knights are dancing. So let's make a deal: if you will ask Rosemon to dance, then I shall attempt to woo Sakuyamon. And if either of us should fail, we are none the worse for having made the attempt. Well, my comrade, shall we charge headlong into the battlefields of love?"

Laughing at Gallantmon's enthusiasm and odd manner of speech, I let his aura infect me a little and reply, "Verily, my friend!"

Hell, I'm not completely certain what verily even means.

So, having made a Knight's Oath to each other, I walk further into the hall and do the one thing that can give me the Courage to ask a woman I barely even know to dance. I find the snack table, grab a slice of pizza (after all, what kind of party would it be without pizza?), and down it in three bites. Then, wiping my hands of any grease (we are, of course, expected to show exemplary hygiene), I make a quick visual sweep of the area, looking for Rosemon. Having found her, I begin moving in her direction, and absentmindedly realize that I've never had much skill when it came to dancing. Ah well, at least I had Biyomon (now Garudamon) give me some lessons a few years ago.

Rosemon is, thankfully, pretty much alone in the crowd, as I often am. Her close friend and brother-in-law, Zudomon, is nearby, dancing with his beloved Garudamon. (Yeah, implied Biyomon/Gomamon happenin' here… which also translates to Joe/Sora. Go figure, eh?)

I make a slight bow towards Rosemon as she sips her wine and I ask, "Tell me, Lady Rosemon, would you care to dance?" (Knights are supposed to always refer to people of noble standing as Lord or Lady, even if they're the same equivalent rank as oneself. Rosemon is a representative of the Misty Trees province.)

Rosemon giggled a little bit, setting her wine on the table, as she says, "What made you ask me now, Lord Magnamon? Not that I'm complaining, of course! And please, just call me Rose, or Rosemon if you insist on formalities."

When a member of nobility tells you to drop the title, it means they like you. When a woman of noble standing tells you to drop the title and the formal –mon suffix, it means they either like you as though you're a sibling, or they're smitten with you. What in the name of Ebonwumon have I gotten myself into now?

I simply say, "Well, I figured that since everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, now was as good of a time as any. And besides, Gallantmon told me he'd finally ask Sakuyamon to dance if I could show him how it's done."

In a somewhat joking tone, she replies, "Ah, that explains it then. You wanted to help your friend, and chose me as your lovely assistant."

In the back of my mind, I begin to realize that, in time, I could probably learn to love Rosemon if I can keep up the charade long enough. I lie to everyone else, so why not also to myself?

Returning the 'joke', I nod and say, "Well, I couldn't have just asked any woman to help; after all, we must play our roles, and the master's assistant is always the most stunning girl in the room."

She falls silent, blushing, as she takes my hand to dance.

I notice, in the corner of my eye, Gallantmon watching us carefully, and – is he studying notes?! After a few moments, then, he appears to have memorized the basics of what I just did, then, he walks toward VictoryGreymon, clearly intent on asking for some Courage. I laugh, saying, "Gallantmon's going to ask for Courage from VictoryGreymon. Who does he think the guy is, the Wizard of Oz?"

Rosemon giggles once again, as we waltz. She says, "I can't see VictoryGreymon as the all-knowing, all-powerful Oz, but maybe Gallantmon's the cowardly lion?"

As I twirl her around, I laugh out loud at that: the mere idea of Gallantmon walking up to the Wizard of Oz and saying, "Can I have some c-c-c-Courage?" just cracks me up, I can't help it.

But then, I lean over a bit and whisper in Rosemon's ear, "Just don't say that to his face, Rose. While there's a good chance he'll appreciate the joke and laugh himself to death, there's an equally good chance that he'll take it literally and as an insult, before he challenges you to a duel for his pride."

Rosemon giggles again, blushing because I called her Rose (just like she asked me to), and because I'm implying I actually care for her. And in a way, I suppose I do. But not as a lover, not yet. I'd be a hypocrite to say that I didn't believe in love at first sight, but I just don't really feel anything special for Rosemon, at least not right now. In later years, perhaps, but at the moment, I suppose that I only care for her in the way that a shield cares for its wielder, or if I really wanted to use metaphysical similes, like a guardian angel might care for its charge. Little or no personal attachment, simply protecting them because we're meant to, because it's the purpose behind the existence. (As you are, by now, no doubt aware, my mind often wanders when not given a certain focus… usually involving battle or Ophanimon. Yes, I can admit that with a straight face.)

Back when we were Rookies, Palmon and I were friends. Matter of fact, I was friends with Agumon and Wormmon, who are now the Royal Knights WarGreymon and Imperialdramon. I was a friend and rival of Patamon, whom I must now bend my knee to as King Seraphimon.

And when I first met my Queen Ophanimon (Hrm. I probably shouldn't say "my Queen" like that, but oh well…) as her Champion form, Gatomon, I loved her even then. I sometimes wonder whether I'd have had a better chance with her if I'd been more serious back then. Hindsight is 20/20, and foresight's blind, or so they say.

Ah well. Nothing I can do about it now, so I'd just as well try to enjoy the dance.

(Gallantmon POV)

OK, I think I've got it down, having observed the master at work, Magnamon. And even though I know that Magnamon and Rosemon were laughing at me about it, I still feel much more confident after talking with VictoryGreymon (WarGreymon was occupied dancing at the time, and I don't think that anyone can stop him when he's angry). Walk up slowly, compliment (be both subtle and obvious at the same time), and then –

"Haven't seen you in a while, Gallantmon."

I visibly jump in my armor; so much for the plan!

I turn around, and say, "Oh, Sakuyamon! You… never really get tired of sneaking up on me, do you?"

She laughs as she says, "No, but at least I've gotten nicer over the years, hm? I still remember when we were Rookies, and I was so cruel to you back then. I'm still sorry for some of the things I did."

How could I ever forget – back when she was Renamon (and I was Guilmon), her idea of a joke was to hit me in the funny bone! But this is my chance to get some points! Not that it's a game or anything, but you know what I mean, right?

"Well to be honest, my Lady Sakuyamon… I can't remember anything like that, so you're forgiven!"

Sakuyamon lets a tear fall from her eyes – was it something I said? Then, shocking me again, she suddenly hugs me, and she says, "You're lying, but you're trying to make me feel better. Thanks, Gallantmon."

Am I really that bad of a liar? It doesn't matter. Sakuyamon's crying, and I can't let it continue. I embrace her, holding her close as I inquire, "Sakuyamon, my love, would you like to dance?"

A slow song begins playing in the background as she nods in reply. The world starts to disappear: soon, there is nothing but the music, Sakuyamon, and I.

As we dance, I lead. Sakuyamon rests her head on my shoulder as she mutters, "Gallantmon, I was beginning to worry that you'd never ask me. I've never been so glad to be proven wrong."

My heart flutters as I realize that she loves me in return, and I feel confidence in my purpose once again. In the back of my mind, I wonder how Magnamon's doing, but in the end, I decide that it can wait for later.

(Seraphimon POV)

Ophanimon and I have already had the first dance, as is custom. I look at my beloved angel, and I find my soul filled with glorious light, as always.

She glances to the side, having caught me staring. My mask thankfully hides the resulting blush. I then follow her gaze, and I see what she sees: Magnamon, dancing with Rosemon. I still have trouble thinking of him as a Royal Knight, I remember Veemon so well. At the same time, though, I often can barely believe that I've become Seraphimon, ruler of the Celestial Kingdom.

Ophanimon's voice, soft as velvet, breaks through my thoughts. "I'm glad to see that he's dancing, enjoying himself. He was in terrible pain for so long; I worried that he might never heal. And yet it looks as though he will come through after all."

I nod, resting my chin in my hand – a habit I picked up as MagnaAngemon while deep in thought. Even though Magnamon appears to be doing well, I know just as well as he does that he still suffers the pain of unrequited love, just as the Digital Hazard did before tonight. Since Gallantmon and Sakuyamon have revealed their feelings for each other, I pray that he (Magnamon, that is) can learn to love someone he has a fair chance with (like Rosemon, for instance). As a matter of fact, I think that Rosemon would be particularly good for him, since her nature as Sincerity incarnate would go well with his rather blunt personality.

As long as Hope and Light are present, I feel that everything will be fine. Nearly all of my friends (all of whom except Ankylomon are either Ultimate or Mega now, but I still tend to think of as Rookies out of habit) have found a soul mate. Zudomon and Garudamon, Ophanimon and I, WarGreymon and Silphymon (1), and one day, I hope, Magnamon and Rosemon.

I laugh to myself as I realize what I've just thought. After all, I am the Angel of Hope; between myself and my Angel of Light, we can cause virtually anything to work out for the best. After all, if Reliability, Love, Hope, Light, and Courage can find happiness, it's only fair that Sincerity and Miracles should be able to do the same.

I see that Magnamon's dance with Rosemon has come to an end, and he's taking strides out of the hall. I frown behind my mask, wondering what could be the matter, but I feel as though something terrible will happen soon…

I would like nothing more than to ask what's wrong, but even I must bow to the wishes of the crowd at certain times, and this is one of those times. I note that Alphamon is, as always, the only Knight who isn't dancing, although he does appear to be in a much less somber mood than usual. He feels my glance, reads my intent, and departs. Of course people will note his absence. However, if I, Ophanimon, or any of the other Knights were to have gone after Magnamon, people would start worrying. Alphamon always arrives a moment or two late, and departs at least half an hour early. Unlike most of the other Knights, he truly is a bit of a recluse.

Notes:

1: Silphymon would normally be a hermaphrodite (both male and female because of Aquilamon and Gatomon), but for the purposes of this story, Silphymon is a female with a masculine-sounding voice, and is Hawkmon's (also a female with VERY masculine-sounding voice) natural Ultimate level. In the same vein, Armadillomon's natural Ultimate level would be Shakkomon.

Royal Knights:

Alphamon, the Master Knight (Leader)

WarGreymon and VictoryGreymon, the Knights of Courage (Brothers)

UlforceVeedramon, the Ultimate Force/the Swift Knight

Gallantmon, the Crimson Knight/Digital Hazard

Omnimon, the Blade of Infinity (because his original Japanese name is Omegamon)

Imperialdramon Fighter Mode, the Dragon Warrior Knight

Susanoomon, the God Knight

Beelzemon Blast Mode, the Knight of Darkness

Magnamon, the Radiance of Miracles (also, he and UlforceVeedramon are cousins)