IQman2000 here... This fic is somewhat AU (The characters fight using weapons generated from their crests, the storyline's out of whack, etc, etc.) Please enjoy my first fic (yeah, I don't know what the hell I'm doing.) Reviews would be helpful.

Italics detonate a thought or flashback.

Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. If I did, they would have made TK and Kari a canonic couple.

Chapter 1

To any ordinary bystander, a large forest in the middle of a secluded part of the States would be perfectly normal. After all, things like that existed everywhere else in the world. However, most ordinary bystanders didn't take the time to explore the unknown forest.

If they did, they might come across a large mansion, interestingly placed in the said unknown forest far from any civilization. Of course, anybody who did find probably wouldn't be leaving to tell the tale, and anyone who did would only be considered insane.

That was because if anybody came back to check, it wouldn't be there anymore.

It was a shame (and an awfully clichéd one at that) that such a heavily hidden place also housed one of the foulest beings to exist.

The said being was currently berating another person as he kneeled on the floor. Funnily enough, this was one of those few humans who came to his mansion frequently and lived to tell the tale. Not that he would if he knew what's good for him. The being, regarding the matter, thought. He raised his hand and formed a ball of pure black energy, threatening to fire it. The human flinched- he knew what was coming.

"So you're telling me that you failed to go after the Digi-destined, even though your group was completely obliterating them? Even when it was your primary objective?" the being thundered.

"With all due respect, sir, we weren't exactly 'obliterating' them. A few members on my team were actually pretty seriously hurt, and it's meaningless to go after them if it just becomes a two-on-five slugfest against us…."


The human jumped back as if stung. It was a good thing, because the being threw the ball of energy directly at where he was kneeling just half a second ago.

"It does not matter how hurt your 'team members' are! Your orders are to hunt down those pesky kids and cleanse the face of the world of them! Don't tell me you thought you were too weak to go after them just because they had an advantage in their NUMBERS! Or were you just scared?"

With that statement, there was some audible snickering heard from the shadows in the room. The human flicked an irritated glance at the shadows, before turning back to his master.

"Please, my lord. Was bringing everyone along to laugh at this spectacle really necessary? I did think it was a tactically correct move. At least the way in which we managed to protect the Dark Spires when another group attempted to topple it down was tactically correct. I think the attack was planned only to distract us."

The being returned to sitting upon his throne of pure obsidian. "You should be glad that happened so quickly. I would otherwise be dealing out some… punishments to you and your team."

"I understand."

"Aww," the shadows sighed.

"Puppetmon, Etemon, shut up," the human replied calmly.

"Why should we?"

"If you haven't seen the lord's expression by now, you should take a look instead of bickering with me." With that, the human took his leave.

The two digimon turned to look at their master. By then, the nervous expressions on their faces were perfectly understandable; the being was positively steaming from the ears.


"So, how did it go?"

The human closed the large oak door that was at the entrance of the mansion and turned to meet his comrades. "Well, I'm alive. That should tell you a lot."

The blonde boy with the ragged, gangly clothes who spoke before decided to speak again. "Jake, you have to watch where you're stepping. A lot of us seriously thought you were going to be blown to bits for this one." A couple of heads nodded, confirming the blonde's statement.

"I know, Matt. We just have to keep this up only a little longer." Jake said as his group walked away from.

"That's what you said a couple of weeks back!" a girl fumed. She flicked her head back to fling her stringy brown hair behind her shoulders before continuing her rant. "How long is 'a little longer' going to be?"

"Quiet, Lily," Jake cautioned. "We don't know who might be listening in."

Lily folded her arms. It was obvious to everyone else that she intended to continue this argument once they got somewhere safer. The others stirred nervously.

"Alright, Jake or Lily. Who do you think will win?" Another girl said. She raked her short black hair before continuing, "Well, I say the odds are pretty even, so we'll just bet money the way it is!"

Matt smacked her then.

"Stop it, Athena. You're scaring TK and Ken."

"Alright, alright," Athena grumbled. "Personally, I thought it was a good match up. I mean, our leader and his right hand…what should I say?"

"Personally, I think that saying women would be sexist, so let's go with person," Ken murmured.

"Alright, person it is. I say I listen to Ken Ichijouji, boy genius, if I know what's good for me," Athena rattled.

"Please, Athena, don't call me that."

"What? Does it remind you of the old days, Ken?" Athena grinned.

Ken's shoulders slumped.

Seeing that, Athena's smile vanished.

"…you shouldn't have said that," TK finally said.

The resemblance TK bore to Matt was striking. They had the same spiky blonde hair, the same posture, and most notably, the same devilishly handsome face. If it wasn't for Matt's relatively ragged clothes, most people would realize that they were brothers.

It was unfortunate for Athena that TK and Matt shared a fierce devotion to their friends. It pretty much guaranteed a lecture from the duo.

"You know that Ken is…sensitive about his past," TK admonished.

"I know. It sucks that Ken still wants to punish himself for what he's done during his time acting as 'Digimon Emperor.'"

"Yeah." Strangely, TK did not continue from there.

Athena wondered what was wrong with the whole group.

"Why is everyone so gloomy?"

"Not everyone is blessed with the Crest of Happiness, A," Matt said softly, attempting not to disturb Jake and Lily, who were still not saying a word to each other as they walked up ahead.

"Hm… Well, I guess I'll just have to distract everyone from these gloomy thoughts…. Hey, you haven't answered my question yet!"

"Which one?" Ken asked.

"The one about Jake versus Lily, of course! Let's see… Jake always kicked my ass when we sparred, but Lily was a pretty tough nut, too, so…" Athena rattled off. Sighing, Matt dropped back to where TK and Ken were walking side by side.

"Well, what do you think?"

"Well, Matt," Ken started, "Personally, I think Jake never showed as the full extent of his strength to us. Then again, nor have you and Lily. So I have no idea, but according to their spars with Athena, Lily has more trouble than Jake. So I say Jake."

"Really? I actually thought Lily would win, but that's only because Jake wouldn't really put up too much of a fight. He's not that type."

"That's only if they fight at all," TK stated. "I doubt they'll actually fight with everything they have against each other. They're really good friends with each other. They just don't know it."

"Hey, TK, don't go around playing matchmaker. That's my job!" Matt joked.

"Alright, you do that. I'll just go back to thinking."

"About what?"

"When we're going to reveal our hand," TK and Ken both stated.

"We have to be careful. If we aren't, our "Lord" will just blow us to smithereens," Ken replied.

"But I don't know how long we can keep this up. We're fighting against fellow digidestined and we know it. The guilt is going to eat us up sooner or later. At the very least, I know it would eat me up. I'm not sure about Athena. I don't think she really minds, as long as she has someone to compete with. I heard her begging Jake if she could take on Tai next time we fight," TK said thoughtfully.

"That's only because I dared her to. She's not dumb. She knows she doesn't stand a chance."

Matt sighed and kneeled down ever so slightly. His brother was starting to catch up with him in height, and he had to bend less and less to see him eye-to-eye. But difficulties nonetheless, he did so to look into his brother's eyes.

"TK, don't worry about it. Someday, Jake will finally go join the other digidestined in a fight against our 'Master'." Matt said, and his voice soured with disdain on the last word. "It might take a while before they get strong enough for us to consider it, but Jake's been stating that they've been getting stronger. The same way you've been getting stronger, and the way Ken and Athena have, too." He poked TK in the chest for emphasis.

"Maybe they won't accept us when it's time. Maybe they will. Don't worry about it, though. Jake, Lily, and I will take care of it." Matt stated. "Besides, I know it's going to happen, no matter how long it takes. It's destiny. It's meant to be, the same way those birthmarks we have are meant to be."

TK stared at the back of his hand at that point.

More accurately, he was staring at the faint outline on the back of it, the outline that made a picture of a tower like base with a circle surrounded by triangular rays on top of it.

His eyes were fixated upon it, even as the group walked on, even when Jake called up the portal to get them out of there.

This is the thing that makes us known to one another. He thought. Yet it's also the reason we're caught in this mess. Why must life be so cruel?

Shaking his head, TK finally stopped looking at his hand and walked into the blue portal alongside Matt and Ken. The portal closed upon them, but not before a tear fell onto the hard packed soil.

Why…why must we pretend to be enemies when we want to be friends?


Reviews would be welcome. This is my first fic, after all, and any criticism might help. Plus, they keep me motivated. :D