Stolen

Daisuke was insistent on this all week, I couldn't say "no," even if I have a test I need to study for tomorrow. It's science, though, I shouldn't have any trouble passing it anyway.

And it's…hard for me to say 'no' to Daisuke. Especially when it's obvious he really wants something.

We're in The Digital World right now, Daisuke leading me through a rather deep forest of trees. I don't quite recognize it, but that might have more to do with how "distracting" Daisuke can be. There's still plenty of light, despite the trees, at least in this part of the forest. It's like there's a thin line of sky between the top of each tree on either side of the path if you look straight up. I'm not sure if it's intentional or natural.

We came in through my computer, about half an hour ago. Daisuke wanted a "Chosen Picnic," sort of. It's just him, V-mon, Wormmon and I, though. Daisuke has a huge shopping bag full of food, both store bought (Miyako's place, where else? Not that I'm complaining) and some home made from his mother, and some things I brought, too.

…And, given what Daisuke hasn't been able to shut up about since we got here: I can see why he didn't invite the girls for this.

"…Hikari's just…beautiful, I mean, seriously ever since we met…" Uh-huh.

Yeah, Daisuke and Hikari, even when I was…a certain someone…It was obvious Daisuke had a thing for her. It was something…he…liked to taunt him about. In a certain way, at least. Gods, I still hate myself for that 'Deltamon' trap…He just had do know who Daisuke would pick: Takeru, Iori, Miyako…Or Hikari. He actually had a feeling that, if Daisuke did make 'that impossible choice,' it'd be Hikari. No question.

Thank the Gods the others showed up and told him it was a 'stupid mind game.' …It wasn't a stupid mind game, Daisuke, it was…Him at his worst. I'd ask you to forgive me but, he's beyond forgiveness. We…both are.

It's been two years since BelialVamdemon. We're all as close as ever—No, even more so, actually. I thought I'd never be on speaking terms with any of them, either, I thought I'd be 'background support' they…tolerated, at best. But, after that whole jogress thing…

…I-I was…shocked by the very idea Daisuke and I, well, bonded after that in such a way. It took me a long time to accept the very idea, though. Especially the way Daisuke told me he felt like our heartbeats were in perfect sync when it first happened. I felt that, too, but…

"…And Miyako, um, she ain't so bad, I mean, she's cute n' all but…" Daisuke, I think V-mon and Wormmon are falling asleep. Not that I could shut him up, though.

"…She asserts herself a little too much for your taste?" I ask, carefully choosing my wording so as not to insult Miyako. Even if she's not here, I don't want to insult…One of my few real friends. Friends I never thought I'd have. People I thought would forever hate me.

"Yeah, exactly! She's kinda bossy," not that Daisuke would choose his words carefully. Daisuke Motomiya, blunt as ever. "Not really my thing…Looks, though, cannot complain! Especially the past year with, well, all of em!" Daisuke gives me kind of a perverted grin…

…They're breasts, Daisuke, do we really need to obsess over them? Ugh…Mimi, especially, um…"Grew up," let's put it.

Then again, I never saw the big deal about…those things…Iori's the only other guy I haven't overheard talking about girls this way. And I know he's "at that age," Iori just finds it disrespectful to talk about them that way. That's fitting for Iori, he's…very unlike the rest of us. The youngest, yet probably the most mature.

Actually, Iori and Takeru were supposed to join us today but Takeru and Yamato made some last minute plans. I don't come between those two whenever Takeru can't do something for that reason, even if he offers to cancel…Brotherhood is…something I don't like 'coming between' for…Various reasons.

As for Iori? He's sick, actually, he caught a cold and couldn't make it, according to Daisuke. He called him on the way to my place and said, "Iori's out, too, caught a bad cold from his Grandpa." So, it's just Daisuke and I. Again, not that I'm complaining…

"…Mimi's just hot, too, I mean…DAMN! I like her hair when it's pink, though, not that natural color she does in those, um, frizzy bun things, y'know? Is that weird?" …Much.

Gods, Daisuke, I swear it's like you just reached that 'magic time' in a boy's life where he finds out girls don't have cooties and may the Gods help you if you have to stand and address your class while dwelling on that fact!

Not that I've ever had that particular problem. Not with girls, at least.

I shrug. "I don't really…pay attention to hair."

"Ooooh, I get it," Daisuke grins, I blush.

"I-I didn't mean that!" …He…He really seems to be in denial over that incident. If he's going on and on about girls like this! Not that I blame him, it was one of the worst things…he…ever did to him. I guess Daisuke blocked it out or something.

I know he kept his word to never tell the others. Both he and I are very thankful for that. Daisuke, at least, keeps his promises. He's nothing like Iori when it comes to maturity but…Neither of them ever break their word.

"Suuuuure! Boobs or asses?"

"NEITHER!" I-I hate the fact Daisuke stopped to face me as I said that, my face is bright red, I just know it…

…Especially what such a denial and blush can reveal. Not that he shouldn't know! But, well, given his…'Daisuke-ness,' we'll call it, I can easily see him convincing himself that was all a bad dream.

I know I have…

…Tried to, at least. I don't know how Daisuke managed to do it, apparently.

"C'mon, Ken, you gotta like one," Daisuke says, going back to walking. "Y'know, I heard guys are actually, statistically, more into asses than boobs. Has to do with evolution or somethin'."

I stop in my tracks, staring long and hard at Daisuke…

…Daisuke, did you just…say something…intelligent? I-I swear, that's something I would have said if I were, well, as hormonal as he was!

"…What's wrong?" Daisuke asks, turning back to me.

"Whe-Where did you…hear that?" I ask. If he says 'biology text book,' then I'll know: Vamdemon's back and he's possessed Daisuke. And is, apparently, a massive pervert.

"Oh, um, one of those guy shows. It was before they did an experiment on how much electricity a girl jumping on a trampoline could produce or somethin' like that." …MANswers, suddenly the universe makes sense!

I nod. "I see."

"What? You've never watched that show once?" Daisuke asks. "It's what all guys wanna know…" …He…really did 'block it out,' I just know it.

I shrug. "Not…really my kind of show or channel, Daisuke. I mean, you…know me, right?" Take. The. Hint. Moto. Mi. Ya.

"Yeah, just like Iori, right?" …I doubt that, though it would explain why Iori is the least hormonal boy his age I know.

"…Yeah, I guess," I say. If his next words are 'I knew it! Takeru told me Iori came out last month!' I'll be forever grateful to the universe.

"They ain't here, Ken, you can talk about girls if you wanna." …Nope, Iori's straight as an arrow. Not that I ever expected anything different. Girls may not have cooties anymore but…Guys forever shall, if you ask him, Daisuke or Takeru. I'm sure of it.

Well, not cooties, but…A perversion, I guess, would be the best way to describe it from their point of view. Daisuke's, at least.

…Daisuke, how could you be my friend, let alone forget…what…

…What that bastarddid to you…


Years ago…


Ah, just what I wanted…What I've always wanted.

A captive, goggled audience. Ha ha ha, just him, no-one else. Bad idea to go off on your own, Daisuke. V-mon might be able to bypass my Dark Towers but…Five Devidramon against one weak Fladramon? The outcome was decided before the 'battle' even began. My Bakemon's sleep attack ensured it once that annoyance devolved back to the little blue runt he is…And always shall be.

But, for your sake, Daisuke…I didn't delete him. I could've and, I won't lie, the thought definitely crossed my mind a few times. But, for you…? I didn't even enslave him like I easily could have. Oh, yes, that would have been fun but I don't want to spoil the mood. No, no, I don't want you any more spiteful of me than you already are…

…Too bad I can't throw an evil ring around your neck. Actually, I never tested those things on humans…Maybe…

…No, as a little kid I once had a…discussion about that sort of thing while watching anime with…someone…It's something I would actually hesitate to do to a human, a real living being, given that little chat during that episode of Samurai Midogame…I'm amazed by how I remember it so well, given how long ago it was.

I frown, looking out of the cell bars. I hate memories like this, but it is relevant to what I could do to solve my little problem once and for all. An evil ring…And Daisuke.

…No, I think I remember that day so well because he looked almost disappointed in me. He'd never forgive me if he knew I ever thought of going through with something like that. No matter how great of a help it would be…

"He'll be in love with her now, Niichan! They can be together all happy and stuff!"

"…Ken, that's…that's terrible. Don't think for a minute they're really happy."

"What? But…With that love potion, he'll love her forever! That's what the old lady said!"

"Yeah, but…Think about it: He hated her before, right? He didn't want anything to do with her and now…All he'll do is think about her, obsess over her…And it's not by choice, it's her that's making him do this, you know?"

"…I-I…I think so, but…"

"It's…like emotional rape, Ken. If she really loved him, she wouldn't have ever thought of something like that. It's…disgusting, when you think about it."

"…You're right, Niichan. She's…She's evil!" Ugh, and like a little kid I got all frowny and crossed my arms. Ugh…! I'm glad I grew out of the 'idiot phase' of my life. Most seem to have trouble growing out of that one, I've noticed.

"Glad you see it my way."

He smiled and ruffled my hair with a laugh...And then I laughed. Because he laughed! Why?

…Because when someone agrees with him (and, really, if you ask him: Why the hell shouldn't everyone agree with him?), it makes him happy! Ugh, it's why I hate doing so, even to this day.

Yes, yes, so we agreed on one thing. Data is data, who gives a damn what I do with data? It's a computer game, even he played games! However, Daisuke is a living, breathing, thinking and…

I glace over to the sleeping Daisuke Motomiya hanging on my wall.

…Currently unconscious, so we'll call him "conscious of himself." Therefore, I can't play with him like I play with data. I wish I could, though. And not just because that taboo he taught me about…

…I admit…HE…had some insights now and then. Decent at best but still insightful, something I couldn't forget even if I tried (and, believe me, I've tried so hard to forget more than just his occasional bouts of coherent thought). He "had his moments" now and then. Not that he was really that so-called 'genius.' But, at least, I can take notes from him. I'd just never admit to it in a million years. Ugh, the idea of giving him credit is enough to make me sick!

…But only a little nausea.

Daisuke finally begins to stir. Gods, those Bakemon…I told them to go easy on the sleeping attack, damn it! I've had him chained for a good three hours now! He's against the wall in one of my cells, his own "private room," let's call it. I did pick out one of the nicer ones, I doubt he'll notice or appreciate it, though. It's one of the bigger ones, there's a bed in the corner. A luxury I had Wormmon provide for him. Otherwise it'd be the cold, stone floor…

Ugh, being in here for so long, I never realized how must moisture collects in here…Makes me even happier I'm the Kaiser, he's the prisoner. Granted, another hour or two and I might just do so something about it. There's something dripping somewhere that's been driving me insane like that damned Chinese Water Torture! AUGH! Note to self: Add dehumidifier to cell block B.

But for Daisuke I'll…ignore it. Easily. And have Wormmon fix it. I want to keep my 'audience' for a little while, after all. I also set up a chair and some tea for myself as I waited…I waited long enough for three damned pots of the stuff! And two "breaks" in which Wormmon took over my 'Daisuke watch' for me. To alert me the second he wakes up! Not that I expected him to, and hoped he wouldn't…Waking up to a confused green worm staring at him…

…Not exactly the "mood" I want to set. Wormmon's ability to 'intimidate' is not only severely lacking but non-existent! Honestly, I think they even like him!

He starts to open his eyes, finally—DAMN IT!

He drifts back to sleep, of course! Ugh, I should have learned from the time I asked one of those Bakemon to help with some insomnia. I was out for more than a day and groggy as hell for almost another day or two. Enough to where I didn't bother with those damned cheaters, I just didn't have the energy to do more than scream at Wormmon! And even then, I didn't see the usual fear in his eyes when I did so…Probably because I left my whip in the bedroom and didn't want to bother even ordering him to get it.

Damned Bakemon!

…Maybe I should have taken that insect up on that offer to read me a bed time story instead but…Ugh, I don't even want to acknowledge his presence when he follows me around chanting 'Ken-chan! Ken-chan! Ken-chan!' I'M THE DIGIMON KAISER, YOU USELESS GREEN INSECT! I don't rely on useless things for anything.

Another fifteen minutes or so pass before Daisuke can finally keep his damned eyes open for more than two seconds. Note to self: Whip. Those. Bakemon. I'm getting very impatient.

"Wh-Where am I?"

"My base," I say, standing up from the chair I placed in the middle of the room. I admit, I did like watching him sleep…The first hour, at least. Daisuke, someone should tell you: You snore like jet engine. I could hear you during my "tea breaks," from a floor above!

…I can't believe I'm so obsessed with this idiot!

"Ke-Ken?" That's Digimon Kaiser to—Oh, who am I kidding? Ever since my little reveal, I haven't been called anything else, what chance do I have of making any of them start now? Especially him!

I admit, I enjoy it a little more than I ever let on when he mocks Wormmon and calls me 'Ken-chan.' Always a welcome part of our usual 'good vs evil' banter.

"Yes, Daisuke…?" I stand, smirking and holding my hand to my whip. Not that I plan to use it, I just want him to think I will.

"What happened? Whe-Where's V-mon?"

"Don't worry, your partner's data is still intact…For now. He's where I picked you up, safe and sound…In theory, at least. I just have you," I can't help but smile as I say that.

"What do you want? My Digivice?"

"Ha! Why would I want that useless toy?" I step closer, holding my hand to my whip.

"What? Gonna try to scare me, then? I'm not afraid of you, Ken!"

"Not yet, Daisuke…But that's what I love about you, you're a challenge."

"So, you're gonna use your big bad whip on me and make me beg for mercy?"

"If that's what you're into…" I trail off.

Daisuke just gives me a confused look…Are you honestly telling me you didn't get that? Augh, I'd think an idiot like him would've…! Why am I so…obsessed with you? I swear, I've asked that question a million times by now, a thousand times today alone! Really, it's almost embarrassing to think about sometimes…Daisuke Motomiya, of all people, I'd feel better if this was Takeru…At least he can carry on a conversation using words with more than three syllables.

"…Keep guessing," I say, flatly and resisting the urge to have Wormmon bring me the biggest bottle of aspirin in The Digital World.

"My…goggles?" …Your what?

I frown. "Why the hell would I want your goggles of all things, Daisuke?"

Daisuke does his best to shrug while he hangs from the wall. "You're the bad guy, you tell me."

I stammer, "I'm the…bad…guy…AUGH!" I groan. I can't believe how much I…

…They say opposites attract? Well, no shit!

"I don't want your goggles," I sigh, stepping up closer to Daisuke and removing my hand from my whip. Now he looks a little nervous as I approach with my 'usual evil smirk,' as I'm sure they call it. I acknowledge it: To them, I'm the bad guy in this game…And I have no problem with that at all. "You do have something. Something I greatly desire. I intend to take it from you and there is absolutely nothingyou can do about it…"

"What the hell are you—" Daisuke is cut off as I close the gap between us. The gap between our lips to be precise.

Your first kiss, Daisuke Motomiya. I wanted it, now I have it.

I savor this moment as long as I can. I hear Daisuke start to let out a pissed off growl and realize I'm in danger of being bitten.

I leap back just as Daisuke makes his move, screaming, "DUDE! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

"I'm sorry, Daisuke, were you saving that for someone else? Hikari? Miyako?" I give him my famous 'Kaiser-smirk' as I add: "...Takeru?" If onlyhe'd admit to that.

"You…!"

"Can I call you 'Dai-chan,' Daisuke? If you want, you can call me Ken-sama! Ha ha ha!" I don't care how angry he looks...If anything, I think he's cuter that way. Why else do I love nothing more than to spend a day infuriating Daisuke and his friends with my army of Digimon?

Aside from the obvious, I mean.

Wait, why is he so quiet? I'm surprised that he isn't screaming until his lungs pop out of his mouth. He just lowers his head. He also starts to look calm, like I didn't just kiss him on the lips and taunt him for stealing his first kiss.

What are you up to, now, Daisuke?

He finally speaks, starting with a laugh. "…Ken-sama? That's what I can call you? Yeah, I guess, only one person ever gets to call you 'Ken-chan.'" He lifts his head up, giving me a smirk I'm very familiar with from our usual back and forths. "Something tells me that wasn't your first kiss…Wormmon's honor, right?"

Wo-Wormmon's…Honor…?

…YOU SON OF A BITCH!

"HO-HOW DARE YOU!" I scream, reaching for my whip.

"Hey, Ken, you want to kiss me some more, I got a place for ya!" Daisuke shouts, grinning. "Two even! Left cheek or right cheek, you can pick! It's cool!" He does what little he can to'flip around,' shaking his ass…

…I should have expected at least some of this, but…!

"Do you want me to really use this, Daisuke? DO YOU?" I growl, reaching for my whip.

"Oooh! Kinky!" Daisuke says, still wearing that stupid smirk. Oh, and now you get the whip joke, Daisuke? I let out a frustrated roar.

"HOW THE HELL CAN I BE SO INFATUATED BY AN IDIOT LIKE YOU?" I finally ask aloud for once. "Honestly, Daisuke, why can't I get a complete and utter moron OUT OF MY HEAD?"

Daisuke's smirk fades as the realization of everything I just screamed sinks in. My 'demeanor' vanishes as I realize the same thing…When did I become the idiot here? "…Ken? Uh…Not to keep playin' the 'idiot card,' but…What…did you mean by all that…?" …I suppose given the sudden awkwardness of this situation, I'll let that stupid beyond all reason question slide. The answer should be obvious, Daisuke, but…Given the nature of this situation…

…Maybe not all that obvious. I'd rather not spell it out for him, though.

"What the hell do you think I meant?" I ask, going back to my chair and sitting. I do my best to maintain my composure but even I know I'm failing at that. Miserably…Damn it.

Daisuke gives me a long blank stare before finally asking, "Ya mean…You…? You're…?" …Yes.

I sigh, rubbing the sides of my head. "It's a monosyllabic word, Daisuke. I'm sure it's in your vocabulary." Just don't tell me you don't know what 'monosyllabic' means…

"…Gay?" …To be honest, I was hoping his vocabulary was that limited…I didn't want that word to be uttered during any of this, I just realize.

I do my best to keep the blood from rushing to my cheeks as he says that word…And confirms The Digimon Kaiser's…'Secret desires,' we'll call them.

…I swear, this obsession is going to end one of two ways: Either I kill him or I kill myself!

I do my best to keep my usual composure and nod with…a very forced 'evil smirk,' as I'm sure they would call it. Given the look on his face, he can tell I'm…not going to be my 'usual self' from this moment forward. And I'm just as aware of that fact.

What the hell was I thinking with any of this?

"A-And you…like me?"

"Believe me, I'm just as shocked as you are…" I sigh. "That kiss didn't give you a clue?"

"I…figured you were just, um, screwin' with me or something like you always do," Daisuke 'shrugs' the best he can.

…I'm tempted to make a crack about how to interpret those words, but…Suddenly, I'm not in the mood for our usual banter. I have a feeling starting with that crack will make him respond with a similar yet 'more offensive than usual' crack.

Wonderful, I'm going to be one big joke to you and the other idiots now, aren't I?

This obsession has to end. I need some sort of distraction. Anything!

"…No, I was just getting tired of watching you on the monitors," I reply. It's the truth, actually. I could only admire him so much.

"O-Oh…" I always wondered what it would take for Daisuke Motomiya to be at a loss for words, usually we'd be doing our usual 'back and forth,' I'm the evil genius, he's the pretty boy hero, we exchange insults and (one-sided) witty remarks or 'you're an evil bastard, we'll stop you at all costs,' business as usual…

…Now? I…should have realized how awkward this would be once he realized what was really going on. Again, when did I become the idiot here? Maybe I should have just taken those goggles. Ugh.

The long, awkward silence sets in. Daisuke glances away while I do the same, sitting in my chair with my arms crossed, one of us clears their throat now and then, I'm just waiting for Daisuke to say 'aaaaaawkwaaaaaaard' or something to that effect.

"So…Um…How long have you, um, been into guys?" …What?

"You're joking, right?" I ask. What are you up to, Motomiya?

"Just curious, I mean, um…Not every day you find out something like this, you know? Just…wanna talk?" If I didn't know Daisuke better, I'd swear he was up to something. But, no, he's not the type to talk his way out of this sort of thing. Maybe Takeru could but not Daisuke.

"…For about a year," I reply. "Most obvious 'hints' towards my preference was…Ugh…YOU of all idiots."

"…Why me?"

"I have absolutely no idea and I pray to the Gods it's just a case of temporary insanity," I sigh, rolling my eyes and throwing my arms up.

"He-Hey, I'm not that bad lookin' am I?"

I look up to Daisuke, my arms still frozen in the air and jaw down. "…Did you really just say that?"

"Guess I did," Daisuke semi-shrugs. "Hey, um, you wanted my first kiss, right?"

I nod. "Yes."

"You got it, I mean, gonna…let me go or anything?"

"And what? Let you go and tell all the others about The Digimon Kaiser's 'secret passions?'"

"N-No way!" Daisuke shakes his head.

"Why not? I assume you would all have hours of fun with this little secret," I say. "Unless you're afraid to admit to being kissed by another male, that is…" Daisuke's nature…He strikes me as homophobic enough to where he'd never admit any of this happened. No, no, that would ruin his image, even if he was chained up the whole time.

"No, not that, it's just…Um… Look, it's a personal thing, right? Nothin' to do with The Digital World or your, um, evil-ness or whatever. So, why should I tell 'em?" …He has to be lying.

"I don't believe you."

"I mean it, dude! I mean, I know if you found this out about me you'd… …Actually…" …Shit… I don't like that grin. "Is, um, this why you like to call me things like 'pretty boy hero' and all that…? C'mon…"

"…I will not confirm or deny that accusation," I groan. …Why did I think this would be a good idea? I should have just kissed him in his sleep and told him about it after I defeated him and his idiot friends! THEN I'd be in the position of power to where he wouldn't dare joke like this!

"Knew it!"

"Again, Daisuke. This is a whip," I motion to the whip at my side. "Do you know what I do with whips?"

"Uh…Not on the first date, please?"

…I can't believe I actually laugh at that. Daisuke actually does, as well. Wonderful, I'm being friendly with my arch-nemesis! …Granted, this is the same arch-nemesis I just confessed to being in love with but…

…All's fair in love and war, Daisuke. In my case, I combine the two. Don't expect my 'temporary insanity' to win you any mercy.

"I-I pro-pro—Ha ha ha!" Daisuke laughs. "I promise, I won't tell the others…The Digimon Kaiser's into Miyako."

"Why not Hikari?"

"'Cause she's mine—Actually, yeah, you're into Hikari just 'cause of that," Daisuke grins. …You're actually giving me a cover story for this? "I'll tell the others: Ken kidnapped me to toy with Hikari's heart, he knew she'd stop at nothing to rescue her one true love, Daisuke!"

"…That is the most unbelievable thing I have ever heard," I roll my eyes. "Are you sure you're denying this for my sake, not your own?"

"I, um, heard it's really hard to, um, 'realize' that kinda thing so…You got enough baggage, I figure. Something had to screw you up, right? …It's not this is it?"

"I'm not trying to conquer the Digital World because I'm gay." Joke about 'hanging purple drapes' in three…two…one…

"Figured." Seriously? No 'splash of paint' joke? I want to feng shui File Island? I'm…shocked, actually. "So, like I asked…You, um, got what you wanted and all."

"I want to keep you for a little while longer. Don't worry, like I said, V-mon is safe…For now. Your friends have probably found him already," I say, standing up. "Someone will be down to unchain you in a bit…I need to think," about how stupid all of this plan was.

"Thanks."

"…One question, though," I stop at the opening to the cell, glancing back to Daisuke with a raised finger. "Who were you saving that first kiss for…?" …There's a voice in the back of my head that hopes he says 'Takeru.' And it's not like any of this can get more awkward.

Daisuke rolls his eyes, "Hikari! Duh!"

"…I thought as much," I leave, letting out a quiet sigh.

"Ken-chan?" Oh, what do you want now?

"WHAT?" I snap, turning to Wormmon as I approach the stairs to the upper level. I'm not in the mood! Especially to be called Ken-chan after that...! AUGH! Disgusting…!

"…Wh-What are you going to do with Daisuke?"

"Unchain him, make sure he doesn't escape," I order. "And then…bring him dinner later."

"Ri-Right, Ken-ch—"

"DIGIMON KAISER!"

"Di-Digimon…Kaiser!" Wormmon runs off. …Useless insect!

I go up to my quarters, a small room with a bed and some monitors for keeping an eye on my empire. Nothing like my control room but, being here all the time now? …I like to watch over my empire at all times.

The others found V-mon, going by one of said monitors. He looks to be frantically telling them about what happened, if I could read lips I'm sure he's expressing how worried he is about Daisuke being captured.

For once, V-mon, you have nothing to worry about…

I sit on my bed, falling onto the black sheets. "…I'm so stupid…" I mutter, prepared to delete any Digimon who actually heard that.

But, given all that happened, I'm actually…impressed by Daisuke's attitude. Once I realized the obvious route he could take was (gay joke after gay joke after damned gay joke!), I won't lie: I was…concerned, let's say. My secret is out now, one I planned to keep for as long as I ruled this world. And Daisuke…

…I still think he's keeping this a secret for his own reasons. I can't imagine him telling the others 'The Kaiser's in the closet and loves me' without fearing the others judging him as having the same 'secret desires.'

Hmph, even if that idiot were gay, I'm the last choice he'd ever make in the world of 'romance.' I'm his mortal enemy, I'm the one who loves to screw with him and put him in so many traps, the one who calls him pretty boy

…The one who greatly appreciates the gesture of him keeping this a secret between us. Though, I still expect something to slip or for him to tell them anyway. Daisuke, I swear, if the next time we meet in battle I hear nothing but gay jokes…

…No. Mercy. EVER!

But until then…I want one last thing from you. Something simple, something you have to give me because it's something I can't take…

…Just some time alone. With you as Daisuke Motomiya. And I as…

…I'm the Digimon Kaiser, no-one else. But I'll play nice, let's just say. For once, I just want peace between us. Just to see what it would be like if we weren't at odds.

It's not much but I want that more than the kiss I just stole. So much more.


I stroll down the line of cells, stopping at my current favorite…Daisuke's on the floor, eating a plate of rice, some bread and curry. I made sure he actually got some of the same food I eat, not the usual stale bread and dried out rice the captured Digimon get. "Enjoying your dinner?"

"Did Wormmon make this?"

"…Actually, he did," I suppose he isn't completely useless.

"Tell him he makes awesome curry!"

"…I'll consider it," I say. "You'll be released tomorrow. I just have…one last thing I want to do with you."

"Uh…" Oh, Gods, don't give me that sort of look, Motomiya.

"…I don't condone that, Daisuke, you can relax," I roll my eyes. "I simply ask for one thing: Diplomacy."

"Diplomacy…?" …I assume he's asking why I want diplomacy and not 'what does that mean?' If it's the latter, I may keep my word on killing one us over this!

"Yes, diplomacy," I say. "It's…something else from you I want. But, unlike your first kiss, I can't take it from you. This requires your cooperation."

"Whaddya mean?"

"I want to talk to you," I say. "But not about 'business,' as we'll call it. I just want to talk to Daisuke Motomiya, no screaming, no threats, just…a chat. You and I."

"That's…it?" Daisuke asks. "Why? Does this, um, have to do with that first kiss thing?"

"…A little," I reply quietly, glancing downward. Amazingly, we actually seem to be fulfilling my request now. "I will drop you off at a 'special location' and we will talk. That's all I ask for, a friendly chat for once."

"No tricks?"

"None."

"'Kay!" Daisuke gives a quick nod and goes back to eating. I'm shocked by how trusting he is! Honestly, Daisuke, given the traps I've set for you in the past, you don't think I'm more than capable of…?

...Screw it. "Why do you trust me?"

"Huh?"

"You only asked 'no tricks' and accepted my offer, why?"

Daisuke sets his bread down. "'Cause, um, after what happened…I think you meant it."

"…You are aware of the phrase 'we hurt the ones we love,' right?" A phrase I will put into use if you do what I expect you to do with the others…

…But…

Somehow, I trust him. I don't know why but I believe he'll keep this a secret. I still think it will be more for his sake but this will, somehow, stay between us. I really hope this isn't my idiot-side shining through.

Daisuke nods. "But, I dunno, you're just…kinda different all of a sudden. And, um, I always wanted to talk to the 'real' Ken, y'know? It sounds like fun!" …You're trusting The Digimon Kaiser because…it sounds like fun?

IDIOT! I-I hold back my urge to let out an annoyed groan and put my hand to my forehead, though. Do I just have a stupidity-fetish or something? Gods, please, anything but that! ANYTHING! Please! I'll consider being good for a day!

"You are talking to the real Ken," I reply.

"The real-real Ken!"

"…You make no sense, Daisuke, you really don't."

"Isn't that what yo—Er…Never mind," Daisuke shakes his head, then looks away…awkwardly. He goes quiet. Daisuke Motomiya is being quiet for once.

I-I hate how damned awkward everything is now! Everything we say or do…AUGH!

"No, go on, I almost missed our banter." I actually want him to throw an insult my way at this point. I'll even accept a stupid gay joke, I'll figure out a good comeback or just used my damned whip, just…Stop it with this silence!

BE YOURSELF AGAIN, YOU IDIOT! That goes for you, too, Daisuke!

"Yeah, but…Eh, that one kinda came natural and…It's not cool," Daisuke says.

"What were you going to say? It's…all right. For once." I say, trying to sound as dominating as I usually do but, at this point, I think Daisuke's just humoring me. I don't know if that upsets me more or less than it would be if he wasn't.

"I was gonna say 'isn't that what you…love...about me,' I didn't wanna, um, offend ya, or somethin'." Daisuke...

"…Thank you," I'm not sure if it's more shocking he was afraid to accidentally make fun of my preference or the fact I just said those two words to him but…

…I appreciate the…support.

"…Should you need anything, alert Wormmon," I say. "Tomorrow, I'll release you."

"Thanks, Ken!"

I'm about to say either 'Call me the Digimon Kaiser' or…Gods, help me, 'you're welcome,' but…I just shake my head and let out a frustrated sigh.

Even now, it's…awkward.

I return to my quarters, groaning and running this stupid plan through my head, wondering at which point did I think stealing Daisuke's first kiss while he was conscious for itwas a good idea?

Let's see…

Step one: Capture Daisuke Motomiya.

Step two: Kiss Daisuke Motomiya.

Step three: Taunt Daisuke Motomiya.

Alternate Step Three: Daisuke Motomiya confesses his undying love for me and rules the Digital World by my side.

…What? A good tactician must be prepared for any and all potential occurrences. No matter how unlikely.

Step four: Release Daisuke Motomiya after a…friendly…chat. With no tricks.

Step Five: Business as usual. As if Daisuke would keep his mouth shut or not figure out what that stupid kiss meant! DAMN IT!

I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling with a groan as I realize just how poorly thought out all of this was from the very beginning!

I'm actually wondering if I should have gotten Wormmon's advice on this one…Ugh…

"Ken-chan?" And speak of the useless, green INSECT

"…What is it?" I groan, turning my head. The little insect is on my bed, just at the edge, staring a me with a puzzled expression.

"Um…Wha-What's going on with, um…Daisuke-san?"

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"We-Well, um, usually, when you capture him, you're really happy! A-And you were really happy until after he woke up! You were happier than ever but…After he woke up, you've been really different…" Wormmon hangs his head. "What's wrong, Ken-chan?"

…You have to be kidding me…You expect me to open up to you? YOU of all useless creatures? You want me to pour my heart out? Pick you up and hug you in tears, letting it aaallllll out? Really? Is that what you're actually trying to accomplish?

"Are you sad, Ken-chan?" Wormmon lowers his head, sadly. Gods, help me, he actually asked that exact question!

…An 'adorable' little green worm is trying to get me to open up and share my feelings with him. Wonderful, I've died and gone to the ninth circle of Hell! Which is apparently Sesame Street.

Fine, then! If that's what you so desire, Wormmon. I'll be glad to open up and share my feelings with you.

I let out an annoyed groan, turning to look back up at the ceiling. "Wormmon, allow me to tell you exactly how this conversation will go, okay?" I turn back to the little green insect to make sure he's paying attention. Wormmon just gives me a slow nod. I turn back to the ceiling, resting one hand behind my head, raising the other and holding up my index finger. "First, I will ask you 'Do you know what love is?' And then you will either say, and the former I completely expect you to say while the latter I expect, too, but not nearly as much. The first, 'No, what is it?' In which case my snappy response will be 'oxytocin' and then I'll tell you to get out of my sight! And you will proceed to do so if you know what's good for you. The second," I hold up two fingers. "Is 'it's something that makes you really, really, REALLY happy!' As you jump up and down like an idiot! Then, should we take the latter route, I will tell you," I put my other hand behind my head, saying, "'WRONG! It's a useless, stupid emotion that only rots your brain and causes you to act like a COMPLETE MORON!' You'll say, 'But it makes you happy! HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY!' Still hopping up and down, up and down, up and down LIKE AN IMBECILE! And I'll say 'Happiness is overrated.' You'll stop your hopping, tilt your head like you don't understand what I just said, which you probably won't, and say, 'Why is being happy so bad?' And I'll say 'BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU STUPID AND STUPID IS EVEN WORSE THAN DESPAIR AND LONELINESS! IT'S A MILLION TIMES WORSE BECAUSE STUPIDITY CAUSES YOU TO LOSE ALL MENTAL CAPACITY AND BE CARELESS ENOUGH TO REVEAL YOUR DEEPEST DARKEST SECRETS TO SOMEONE YOU SHOULD BY ALL LOGIC HATE WITH EVERY FIBER OF YOUR BEING BUT FOR SOME REASON A STUPID HORMONE IN YOUR HEAD WON'T LET YOU HATE HIM BECAUSE IT'S STUPID AND MAKES YOU EVEN STUPIDER THAN IT IS! THE MORE OF IT YOUR BRAIN PUMPS OUT, THE STUPIDER YOU GET! IT IS THE WORST POSSIBLE EMOTION OUT THERE BECAUSE IT CLOUDS YOUR MIND, MAKES YOU ACT LIKE A LUNATIC, DRIVES YOU TO THE EDGE OF INSANITY AND WON'T LET UP FOR AN INSTANT! IT CAUSES YOU TO OBSESS OVER A PERSON THAT BY ALL LOGIC YOU SHOULD DREAM OF TORTURING, NOT DATING!' And you'll say 'But it makes you HAPPY!' And I'll, again, make the argument that happiness is stupid unless the thing causing said happiness is the complete and utter domination of The Digital World. In which case that is the greatest form of happiness out there, but this is nothing like that! This is IDIOCY AT ITS FINEST and it frustrates me to no end that I can't get my mortal enemy out of my head! Love is one of the few things in this entire universe more useless than you! I hate it, every minute of it! And I would give anything in my empire to be rid of it! But I am at least still sane enough to know things don't work that way, unfortunately. For there is little that can be done to change this stupid, useless, insane, completely unnecessary, rotten, disgusting and, above all, AGGRAVATING emotion! AND I HATE THINGS I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER!" I take a deep breath, letting out a long sigh. "So, thank you, Wormmon, that was a very enlightening conversation. NOW GET OUT OF HERE!" I turn just my head to Wormmon, knowing the scowl on my face is more than enough to send him running right now.

As expected, he makes a quick one-eighty and leaps off my bed. "Ye-Yes, Ken-chan—"

"DIGIMON KAISER!" I snap, sitting straight up and throwing a fist down onto the sheets.

"Digi-Digimon Kaiser!" Wormmon scurries off, I just groan and lay on my side. Useless WORM! Ugh, the idea he follows me around like he does…The one Digimon I don't need an evil ring to control and it's him! He'd follow me to Hell and back, even I'm aware of this fact, and the fact it's HIM and not something remotely threatening or, for that matter, useful infuriates me almost as much as this stupid Daisuke situation!

Why must life be so difficult? Why must it contain so many idiots? So many useless wastes of space and oxygen? Why must I suffer through them? Why can't I just have what I want?

Actually, that makes me ask myself: What do I want, exactly?

…On one hand, The Digital World.

…On the other hand, the idiot in the cell two floors below me.

Which would make me happier in the end…?

…The Digital World. Obviously! Daisuke…is just a needless obsession. The Digital World is a goal, something I want more than anything. Daisuke is useless! Even if I somehow managed to 'get him,' it's not like I'd be happier with just him when I can have an entire world!

…Right?

Of course I'm right. I don't need anyone else, let alone Daisuke. Maybe I'll be lucky, this is all a case of temporary insanity…

…Wait, what did Wormmon and I just talk about? How things don't work that way? Well, guess what, Love, I'll make it work that way if I have to! I'm The Digimon Kaiser, damn it! I'm perfect! A lovestruck fool isn't perfect, he's a FOOL!

…I'll feel better once he's out of here. I just…want that one hour of 'diplomacy.' No stupid games, no traps, no 'good vs evil' banter…

…Just Daisuke and I. As…

…I don't want to say equals but…

…As 'human beings.' That fits better.

Much better.


It's that time. Time for 'diplomatic relations' between Daisuke and I. I picked a special spot for this.

I'm amazed he didn't object to the blindfold. Sorry, Daisuke, but my base and its location are top secret. Can't have you seeing either. Really, he's…such a trusting idiot. Who's to say I don't just claim this was all a ruse and push you off this Airdramon? Did that cross your mind once since we took off? And if it hasn't, why?

Like I said, we hurt the ones we love. That especially includes you, Motomiya.

…But even I know I won't do that. Time to see what Daisuke is like with a 'regular' person. The 'real-real Ken' as he put it. That would be The Digimon Kaiser, Daisuke, you've been speaking to the 'real-real Ken' this whole time. Anything else is a façade, like what I had to put on for those stupid teachers and my parents on Earth. Oh, yes, Ken Ichijouji is such a kind and gentle boy, he wouldn't hurt a fly!

…Well, Wormmon's not a fly, now, is he? Nor are Digimon. And when you swat a fly, you tend to do it fast enough to where they don't feel a thing

…You're still that fly, Daisuke. Just…not for the next hour.

"So, where are we going?" My 'guest' asks as my Airdramon soars through the skies. "I mean, um, been a while since we left…Can I take this thing off now?"

"We'll be landing shortly," I reply. "Then you can take it off." He's also bound with rope. Can't have any last minute changes of heart on his end, after all. Just my end.

…It's amazing how…Not tempting it is to just end this whole conflict with a simple push. I…

…I can't believe I'd even think such a thing to be hon—What the hell am I thinking? Ugh…Damn you, Daisuke. Get out of my head!

PLEASE!

Like I said though, if our next encounter turns into a million and one gay jokes from you and your idiot friends: IT WILL BECOME VERY TEMPTING!

…Why do I trust him not to do that, though? Great, I'm a trusting idiot, too.

The Airdramon lands. It's in a patch of grass surrounded by trees with countless blue flowers. That's the spot I picked for this 'meeting.'

I help Daisuke maintain his balance as he stands, he steps off the Airdramon with me after I remove the blindfold and ropes. "…Wow, nice place," he says, looking around. "Why'd you pick here?"

"Seclusion, it's just outside of my empire," I say, groaning mentally at how casually I'm speaking to him, but one hour with the 'real-real Ken.' I…can do this. "And it…reminds me of a fond memory on Earth."

"…Fond memory?" Daisuke asks, he sits in the grass. I do the same, sitting across from him. "Like, um, what kind?"

"Someone…I once knew," I reply. "Someone I once greatly respected." …And hated after I realized how much of an idiot he really was.

Daisuke continues staring at me, like he's expecting more.

"…Someone not here anymore," I say, quietly. Another mental groan as my eyes sting ever so slightly at those words. "It's like a part of the park in Tamachi." At least, how it used to be…

…The flowers have long since…joined him, let's say. I almost wonder if it was some form of mourning: He was just that special, the Gods sent flowers to him. I know he'd believe that, anyway…

…And our Mother. It's what she actually said once, "The flowers are gone, Ken-chan…I think the Gods sent them…to your brother." …He always liked the patch of flowers at the park, actually. It's why we went there so often and played one of our favorite soap bubble games together.

"…Sorry, dude," Daisuke lowers his head. "Didn't mean to…open a sore spot."

"I assure you, there is nothing sore about that spot," I mutter, looking away as I know my face might say otherwise. "Just a..."

"…Close, um, friend?" Daisuke cautiously asked.

"…Yeah, something like that."

"So, um, we…Got an hour, right? What do you want to…talk about?" He awkwardly changes the subject, I'm tempted to thank him for that but…

…It's not a sore spot!

It takes me longer than I want to regain my composure. Stop haunting me, damn you! I came to this world to forget you! To never feel like that ever again! I'm not about to start now! This is a world you don't exist in! A world where I should be the only human in existence, ruling over it! !

I finally, speak, softly, in my…What I prefer to call 'Earth-voice,' the one I'd use on those idiots back at home. The one everyone believes is the 'real' me, the one Daisuke will believe, too. "Do you mean what you said yesterday? About…" I trail off.

"Yeah," Daisuke nods. "I promise, they won't find out. Re-Really, I mean, even if I did tell 'em, they wouldn't believe me."

"Don't test that theory." I say, flatly.

"I-I won't!" Daisuke, to my surprise, laughs. "Se-Seriously, I won't breathe a word." He puts a hand on my shoulder, I resist both the urge to pull away and the blush coming to my cheeks. I only act on the later, the former…I welcome his...touch, let's say. "I promise, Ken."

"Thanks. I appreciate it. And…" I groan. "…I'm sorry for how…awkward…everything was." Gods, I said the S-Word. Like I told Wormmon: This pointless emotion makes you insane and stupid!

"Trust me, I'm used to sayin' and doin' things that cause awkward silences. Kinda my thing," he jokes, taking his arm away. Daisuke, I doubt 'doing things' includes kissing other males

…Though, if it did, you can tell me…

I have a feeling, though, much of this 'diplomatic' hour is going to consist of awkward silence.

"Somehow, I imagine that to be very true," I roll my eyes. Daisuke laughs. "I won't lie: I'm amazed by how…unfazed you are by…"

Daisuke shrugs. "Um, my sister's kind of a shounen-ai freak, ever since I was a little kid so, um, it's not somethin' I'm not used to hearin' about. Doesn't really bug me."

"Really?" I get the feeling that's more of a cover. "What's her favorite series then?"

"Uh, right now? I thinks it's Kaze To Kii, she got, like, the whole series from a garage sale down the street a few months ago. I found volume one in the couch cushion on day one, volume seventeen on day five, so…" …H-He's serious? "Why? You, um, a fan?"

"…No comment…" I roll my eyes again. "That day on the soccer field, by the way…You were, um, quite good. I was…impressed." And I want to talk about anything else right now.

"Re-Really? Thanks! I-I was so disappointed when you didn't show at first, I mean, I really wanted a chance to play you! Sorry again about the cut…"

"It healed," I reply. "…That Deltamon trap was low, even by my standards." Had those not been Bakemon in disguise, I would have used an entirely different plan.

"Yeah, um, I-I was pissed at the idea you were pullin' something like that, I mean, I really respected you back when you were the genius soccer star but, um…" Daisuke looks away. "Keep a secret from my friends?"

I nod. "I'm trusting you with the same thing."

"…I thought about the fact you just used Bakemon instead of my real friends that day. I mean, you just singled me out and just played, like, the world's most not cool practical joke. It was going too far but the fact it was just an illusion…I kinda wondered if you really were as 'all bad' as you claimed you were. Like, if you did capture my friends…"

"…I assure you, Daisuke, I am all bad," I reply. "I just have certain…standards, let's say."

"Standards?"

"…Digimon are data, I can do whatever the hell I want with data. Data is data, it's non-living, it's zeroes and ones, it's meant to be manipulated as I see fit. But human lives are…a little less expendable. I don't want to waste something inexpendable." …In other words, I am aware that, unlike Digimon, you and I don't have 'extra lives' in this game. Or on Earth…

…If only we did.

I look around the field for a moment or two, sighing. …It's missing the pond. It's just like the Tamachi park but without the pond…I remember the splash fights we'd get into now and then.

"Niichan, let's play in the water!"

"It is a hot day…All right, just be careful. Knee deep only, okay?"

"Okay!"

Never any deeper than that, we'd roll up our shirt sleeves and pant legs and wade in, splashing each other until we were soaked. Then we'd get ice cream or popcorn from one of the vendors and dry off on a bench…Mom hated it when we came back soaking wet but…

…He talked her out of being mad since, "I was just having fun with my little brother. It's hard to resist." …Fun with his…

…Little brother…And then there were the times when we'd just blow soap bubbles on the bench, trying to get them to land on flowers. It was our favorite game at the park, especially with all of the flowers in his favorite spot. Thousands of targets, it seemed, but even then it wasn't easy. First one to land a bubble on a flower won, one of the few things I could beat him at. He…told me it was because I was more gentle when it came to blowing bubbles, his usually popped before they even left the straw…Mind didn't. Mine…made it into the air.

That's what's missing…The pond, some benches…

…And that damned crosswalk. At least that isn't here.

There's a long silence before I hear Daisuke let out an annoyed growl. I'm sure I said something he didn't like. I turn back to him, he's frowning. "Digimon are more than just data! I mean…V-mon's my best buddy! He's real! So's that Airdramon, The Digital World, Wormmon! Y-You can't be serious! The-They're alive!" Data is non-living. Life is carbon based, data is not carbon. Nor is it an element, it's data. It's just information consisting of two numbers in varying sequences:

Zero.

One.

That's all it is. Two simple numbers.

…I'll humor him a little at least. "They have a very advanced artificial intelligence, I'll give you that." I reply, though not with the sarcasm I would have normally given.

"…Whatever, can we…drop the Kaiser stuff if you're gonna do this 'diplomacy' thing?" Daisuke mutters, looking away still with that frown.

"Fine," I nod. "I didn't mean to…bring up 'the usual business.'" …I really didn't. That was a bit careless on my part…

…And cue that expected awkward silence. Ah, I just know that's a sign of how well this is all going. Daisuke's pissed because he's got a loose definition of 'living.' Do you have a guilt trip when you play first person shooters, Motomiya? Do you pray for your fallen enemies? Does the idea of slaying that random monster in an RPG rip your heart out? Especially those cute and cuddly looking ones that are really level 99 monsters from hell that want nothing more than to dwindle your characters' HP to zero? Why does it want that?

Because that's what it's programmed to do. That's what the designers intended. The only difference here is that we're in the world's best virtual reality simulator! I say virtual because DATA IS NOT REALITY! These 'living creatures' are zeroes and ones in a solid form…

…Granted, a few…close calls with some defective evil rings have taught me one little detail about 'virtual reality.'

Zeroes and ones can hurt.

But, Daisuke? That's all a Digimon is: A random battle monster. Welcome to your real life Final Fantasy! And remember, after this hour: Business as usual, sooner or later you'll have your showdown with the Final Boss…Want me to illustrate my message further by playing One Winged Angel over my base's loudspeakers the day you and the others come swinging your swords?

Of course, this 'Final Boss' is unbeatable.This RPG has a non-linear story, you make any choice you want…And so can the bad guy. And this bad guy wants to win!

…Well, since we're on the topic…

"…Do you play video games?" I ask.

"Huh?"

"Do you play video games?"

"Is this gonna turn into some 'data' thing? 'Cause I just said…"

"No," I shake my head. …I'd rather keep this peaceful, no arguments. "I'm just curious."

"All the time! 'Specially RPGs!" Daisuke says, his smile starting to return. "What's your favorite?" Conquer the Digital World.

"…Final Fantasy VIII." …Second favorite. The one that won't annoy Daisuke. Glad to know he likes RPGs, too, it's the only genre I ever really play…He got me hooked on them, he couldn't get enoughof them. Especially my 'second favorite' game.

"Really? I thought fans hated that one," Daisuke says. "I mean, well, just what I hear online with people arguing over it. Then again, everyone loves number seven and, well, eight isn't seven, y'know?" Eight…isn't…seven…

…A BRILLIANT deduction from Daisuke Motomiya! But, tell me, what of two?

I know what he meant by that but…GODS it sounded so stupid! …Again, I hate my obsession with him…

"It has…a devoted fan base," I say. "Someone I knew preferred it out of all of them. A lot. His favorite game, he called it a 'stress reliever' whenever schoolwork was too intense for him." Which was…actually more common than he let on. They just saw it as 'fun' he saw it as 'an escape.' …I want that escape, too. I want it more than anything…Just an escape from all those insects

…And escape from that useless, miserable WORLD they call 'Earth.'

"I liked seven but eight wasn't as bad as they say," Daisuke shrugs. "Wasn't too big on the love story but…Gunblades are freakin' awesome!I mean, gun and sword? How can you go wrong?"

I smirk. "You can stab and shoot yourself in the foot."

Daisuke laughs at that, a lot for some reason…Good. Like I said…This is a peaceful discussion. "Ye-Yeah, I-I could see myself doin' that! So, you play eight a lot?"

"For a long time but, after…an incident…I had to get my own copy after the 'Playstation the Best' version came out," I reply.

"Someone steal or break it? I never lend out games unless it's someone I seriously trust!"

"…Not exactly." …I just didn't feel right playing…his copy. I needed my own. By then, they stopped printing it until it was re-released. And, even then, I had to save up to buy it. "But, my…friend had a similar policy." He'd lend out any game except that one, actually. I wasn't even allowed to take it to my room. Not…that I ever did.

"People who go through other people's things without asking are the worst kind of people," after all…Why else do I hate people playing around in my empire, Daisuke?

I continue. "But…It's fun, I actually liked that junction system everyone complained about." Gods, he knew how to max out every single stat with the best spells. He knew how to get Firaga and Ultima just before the field exam if he wanted to! He was…the absolute best at that game, like a portion of his brain was dedicated just to it. It was his…only escape, he said, and he 'escaped' every chance he got. Just as I do now, I need my escape.

Especially without him. Without him…Balamb Garden just isn't enough. Not even close. Too many memories, I need an escape that has no memories of him…

…It's not that I want to forget him, I want forget that damned wish.

"I hated it 'til I found out 'bout modding cards and getting items from them and stuff. I mean, like, first year I had that game I sucked because I had only, um, twenty of each spell to a certain stat and all, 'cause I thought you could only get them from monsters, ya know? I didn't wanna spend three hours drawing spell after spell from monsters."

I laugh, "I…did the same thing for my first week of playing. My…friend…saw what I was doing and showed me how to set GF's skills to where they learned things like 'Card Mod' and other commands. I didn't know you could do that. I thought they had to learn everything in a set order. He even admitted to doing the same at first, must've been a common misconception." One of the few times he'd ever admit to making a mistake of all things. Or laugh about it.

I miss his laugh.

"I figured it out after reading a message board post and decided to replay. Got hooked after that. Went from…One of the worst games ever to one of the best games ever, ya know?" …Sort of. He taught me so much I never considered it anything but the best. He made it the best.

I'm…glad you're a fan, too, Daisuke. I really am…It makes me…wish things were different so much more now.

"…If…things were different and you…never found out about The Digimon Kaiser," I begin, sighing. "…Care to ever play? I know RPGs aren't exactly 'two player' but…" …Osamu made them two player.

"…Sure," Daisuke nods with a smile. "Take turns, like, every other boss or something?"

"Yeah, or time it, I guess," I shrug. "I suppose I'd…really like that." I sigh. "…I can't believe I'm doing this…" I groan.

"Doing…what?"

"Chatting video games with you," I sigh. "I-I…I… …I want to forget yesterday ever happened!" It just dawned on me how…CASUAL I'm being with MY ENEMY!

"We-Well, like I said, I won't tell anyone. Not even 'bout this…Hell, they'd probably believe this less than…y'know…"

"That theory you can test," I say. "I can only imagine what your…companions…would say to you talking about Final Fantasy with The Digimon Kaiser."

"I'd tell 'em how you take notes from Sephiroth and Ultimecia," Daisuke smirks. "That make you feel better?"

"…A little."

"Just promise you won't take fashion tips from Kuja."

"…You'd like that, wouldn't you?" Di-Did I just…say that? I made the gay joke?

Daisuke laughs, "O-Only 'cause…Dude, he wears a freakin' thong-cape! You'd look ridiculous!"

I laugh, too, "Gods, help me, I would…Fine, I'll take fashion tips from Sephiroth."

"Now that would look badass! Actually, um…Can I ask somethin' 'bout that?"

"What?"

"Where'd you get the idea for your, um, outfit? I mean, me? I-I just…This is how I looked when I came here," he motions to his clothes. "Flame bomber jacket and all…I-I didn't pick out anything or get a 'character design' menu…Just happened! Same with you? I mean, no offense, your hair is…COMPLETELY different from the look on Earth! None of us got a different hairstyle!"

My outfit… "…Most of it is to look intimidating but…My…hair? …Daisuke, um…" …We're really talking hair and fashion right now? A-And it's not a gay joke? After yesterday, I'd think this topic would begin with 'Ken-chan, can you give me some fashion tips and help me with my perm?' Not this!

"Just wonderin'." Daisuke says with a smile and a shrug...Why do I like that smile so much? "I-I mean, um, I'm not pullin' that gay 'fashion and hair' thing, if that's what you're thinking. I just always wondered about it. I promise, I'm not gonna make fun of you over that! Really!" Why is it I actually believe you? That fact is beyond my comprehension, actually. I believe Daisuke Motomiya. I believe that he'll keep his word. I believe he's sincerely not makng fun of me when…

…Daisuke, I went to sleep thinking that this 'diplomatic meeting' would last all of five minutes and end with me punching you for making a crack about either liking you or…Some stupid stereotypical gay joke! Like I should take up knitting or something like that instead of my…current position, let's say.

He's really giving me what I want, that…simple request I couldn't steal from him.

Thank you.

"…The hair is based on the style of someone some might have called a 'genius' once or twice," I reply…Whether or not that was a correct assumption remains to be determined…

…But all signs point to…

…Urgh…MAYBE! Damn it…Let me…forget! PLEASE!

"Albert Einstein?" …What…?

…Well, I guess…Maybe…There's…

…Then again, I doubt Daisuke ever read up on 'The Ichijouji Genius,' even if it was something he'd be interested in, he'd have been far too young at the time to probably remember him!

…None of them do. All those articles, all those interviews, all those times he was paraded about in media…

…And not one of them ever said, "Hey…Don't you have a brother...?" ...He's…

…He's a faded memory to everyone else in the world…

…Eespecially this one! Damn it! Daisuke, if I wasn't certain you have no idea who Osamu Ichijouji is, I would beg you to drop things like this! But…

…They are just innocent questions. He wants to know the 'real-real Ken.'

But, still…ALBERT EINSTEIN? I-I'm…I'm an EVIL ALBERT EINSTEIN with this hairstyle?

GODS! Then again, I suppose Daisuke can count the number of 'real life' geniuses he can name off the top of his had with one hand (especially those with…unusual hairstyles), so who else could he possibly think of?

"…Sure, why not?" I say with a sigh and…I laugh, I actually laugh!"…The glasses, too, to a lesser extent. …Same…person."

"Einstein wore glasses?" Daisuke asks, cocking his head to one side.

…Daisuke, you suddenly remind me of the fact that popular culture and slang have managed to turn the name of one of our greatest minds into a synonym for 'moron.' Don't believe me? Read a book on sarcasm, EINSTEIN!

"…I'm sure he did at some point."

We…talk as 'human beings' for much longer than the hour I offered. I don't mind that fact at all. It was…like a chat with a friend. A friend I've routinely tried to capture and torment but for that brief time: None of that had ever happened.

I finally stand, dusting myself off. "…I think it's time we ended this."

Daisuke nods. "Right, um…Business as usual?"

"…Something like that," I say. "Starting tomorrow. Like I promised: No tricks."

"Thanks," Daisuke smiles. "And, um, one last thing about yesterday?"

"Yes?"

"Um, don't be afraid to keep up that whole 'pretty boy' taunt and all that," Daisuke says. What?

"…Why?"

"I think if you suddenly dropped if after holding me captive for a day the others might, I dunno, get suspicious about it and ask questions," Daisuke says. …He actually has a point. It is our 'usual routine.' "Just, y'know, a suggestion. It's totally up to you. You're…the bad guy n' all."

"…Yeah, I'm 'the bad guy,'" I sigh. "And you're 'the good guy,' right? Squall Leonhart to the rescue."

"And you're, ah, I know it's not the same game but…Sephiroth work?" …Yeah, I picked the wrong Final Fantasy hero to compare him to. The villain is a sorceress. "You're Sephiroth, I'm Squall. That'd…That'd be an awesomematch up!"

"Just don't stab and shoot yourself in the foot before we meet again, Squall," I smirk. Daisuke laughs.

"I won't, don't go summoning any meteors 'til after we hit the Gold Saucer, 'kay?"

"No promises, I am the bad guy, remember?" I chuckle, starting back to my Airdramon.

"…He-Hey, Ken, one…One last thing," Daisuke speaks up.

"Hm?" I turn my head.

"Um, just curious, why do you like me? I-I mean, I don't get it. You're you, I'm me. I mean, um, we're total opposites, you know? And I mean more than that 'good versus evil' thing we got goin'."

As tempting as it is to just leave him with 'opposites attract' and fly off, I think…I should answer that.

Honestly.

"…Your sincerity, the fact I actually believe you when you say you won't tell the others about this or…what happened yesterday," I say. "Your loyalty to your friends is…as admirable as I think it's stupid. And one thing about you that I am very familiar with: You NEVER GIVE UP!"I turn, shouting as I normally would as the Kaiser. Daisuke laughs it off as a joke…I suppose it's a half -joke, we are still enemies, Motomiya. "You're…Daisuke Motomiya. And there's just…something special about you. Something that I can't help but…grudgingly admire." I say with a low growl. "I don't know what it is but…I wish it wasn't there. Or I could figure it out and somehow remove it. But I don't know if it's just one thing or a dozen things…There's just something unique about you. You're completely different from anyone else I've ever met."

"Thanks, Ken." I'm amazed he smiled to any of that. He's just smiling, like…I-I don't get him. I really don't.

…I'm an idiot for all of this, thank the Gods he's also too stupid to realize that. To him, I'm just 'being nice,' not a complete moron! If this were Takeru, all HELL would have broken loose by now…

…I suppose that's something else I like about you, Daisuke. You're giving me a chance, I know all of the others would assume this was all part of some elaborate scheme. Everything I say or do is part of some cold, calculated plan. Talking about video games? I want to know how you think. Talking about fashion and hair? I'm just trying to throw you off as I plan my next move. Talking about my past traps? I want to know how I can perfect my future traps. And…

…Kissing you? I'm just trying to mess with you. What's scarier than a villain who hates you and wants to destroy you?

…A villain who loves you. Because that villain would stop at nothing to make you theirs and theirs alone. And let's not forget the classic line: 'If I can't have you, no-one can!'

But you…just wanted to talk. Like I did. I wanted some time with Daisuke Motomiya, without the usual malice between us. Just…a friendly chat. And you gave me what I wanted. You indulged a simple desire I've had for so long without so much as an argument.

Thank you for that.

I let out a quiet sigh, turning to one side and lowering my head. "…Is there anything you li—No…" I shake my head. "…Is there anything redeemable about me?"

"…After this? Lots." What?

"You're lying," I say. Even I know, if you believe the data in this world to be real living things I'd be considered a monster. I'm amazed this 'diplomatic meeting' went so peacefully!

"Hey, if things were different, we'd be chillin' at your place after a soccer game playin' Final Fantasy VIII, right?" Daisuke shrugs. "That's the Ken I wish you were…And kinda saw back there. A lot."

"The real-real Ken, you mean?" I ask. Daisuke nods. "…He doesn't exist. I'm simply holding back every urge in my body to double-cross you, capture you once more and torture you in the most unspeakableways."

"Right!" …I'll pretend he didn't laugh at that. "Well, tell the non-existent 'real-real Ken' I don't think he's that bad a guy…And tell the Kaiser he's an ass."

"Will do," I look up to the sky, shaking my head with an annoyed sigh. "The Kaiser says you're an imbecile who has no right to step foot into the world he'll soon conquer."

"We'll still get him."

"He wishes you the best of luck. You'll need it." I climb onto my Airdramon. "…Remember: Business as usual. And if any of your friends start making a million and one jokes of a…certain nature…"

"Won't happen, dude, I swear," Daisuke shakes his head. "It's a personal thing…Nothin' to do with The Digital World or The Digimon Kaiser. Just…Ken, y'know?"

"…Yes, just Ken," I reply, my Airdramon takes off back to my base.

I sit down on its head, contemplating every moment of what just happened and how Daisuke acted. Gods…I-I can't believe we…just talked like friends almost. What the hell's gotten into me?

...Memories…I picked that spot for a reason. One of the few places in The Digital World where I don't get angry. I liked that area ever since I found it while scouting for new territories. Since then it's been my 'Zen Garden,' if you will. A tranquil place I don't have to think in. None of the sterile, cold, empty feeling of my base, no memories of lost battles in fallen territories I've managed to reclaim…

…I didn't even put a Dark Tower there because I didn't want to spoil its…

…Beauty.

I'll never forget the day I realized what that spot did to me…

"Ken-chan?"

"What is it, Wormmon?"

"I-I thought you looked hungry, I have some of the food we brought. Do you want it?"

"…I suppose."

It was just some fruit, some onigiri, things like that…Nothing special—No, the onigiri…

I was never a fan of that stuff, to be honest. I'd eat it if I had to but…He loved it, the kind with the pickled plum in the center, especially. I hated the plum, he always got mine. And, of course, guess what onigiri my mother had to pack in my lunch that particular day? I was supposed to be in school but…By then, my teachers just let me do what I wanted: I showed up once a week to drop off my assignments and spend the rest of my time conquering my world…

…That day? …I wanted to relax for once.

"…Onigiri…Lovely. Even to this day, they make hisfavorite lunch…"

"…Ken-chan?"

"Here."

"What?"

"…It's a pickled plum. You can have it. I can't stand the things."

There were three onigiri, extra pickled plums in the center (three instead of just one! Ugh!) as Osamu liked them…Mother has a tendency to still make his favorite meals on occasion, even packing my lunch like it was his, with things she knows I don't like…I tolerate it more than I should.

I think it happens on days she either thinks about him more than usual or on days that hold a certain…sentimental value. …His birthday, that…That's still celebrated…Sort of.

Osamu's favorite cake, favorite foods, favorite everything.

But no-one in the mood to celebrate. No party, no presents, just sentences that start with the words "Do you remember" or "That time when." No-one dares sing 'happy birthday,' or even acknowledge what day it is. It's 'the day we have cake and cry.' Not 'Osamu's birthday.'

…So, that spot…

"…A-Are you…sure?"

"Just eat it, Wormmon…And if you don't like it, I don't blame you."

"…I-It's…It's really good, Ken-chan. Thank you."

"Just…Don't mention it…"

…Wormmon likes that place, too, obviously. He ate those, ugh, disgusting things.

...Stop it, you idiot! Stop thinking about him! And that useless worm! Don't forget why you came to this world. This is your Final Fantasy VIII, your escape…Your world.

…He doesn't exist here. He never did. He never came here, he never even knew you once came here…So stop thinking about him!

Damn it, I'd rather think about Daisuke! …I wonder if he's met up with his friends yet, actually.

…More importantly, I wonder why he was so…normal. I…I just short of—No, I did. I told him…I had feelings for him. Another. Male. Another male named Daisuke Motomiya. I stole his first kiss…

…And he told me to kiss his ass. Like it was nothing. I guess it's just girls who obsess over that stupid first kiss…Girls and me. Great, I'm gayer than I thought…I've got the mind of a girl. I guess I should take solace in the fact I did get what I really wanted: Daisuke Motomiya's first kiss.

That's probably why I've been in such a good mood, right? I got a victory over Daisuke and stole something he can never get back! Th-That's…That's a victory, isn't it? It's a small one but…Well, psychologically, it's huge! Ha ha ha! Ye-Yes, that's…That's why I was…so casual with him: I had him where I wanted him! I was still in power, I was the victor, I was releasing a defeated enemy because I had no use for him! His use was limited to 'steal a kiss' and my mission was easily accomplished! He was submissive because…I was the victor!

…Gods, I'm delusional now…Thi-This…This isn't a victory, it's me being out of my mind. I pray to the Gods he really keeps his word because…

…I wasn't The Digimon Kaiser today. I haven't been The Digimon Kaiser since that moment.

I've been Ken Ichijouji. 'The Real-Real Ken Ichijouji,' the one who shouldn't exist! Damn it! This was all a mistake, I was acting purely on emotion, not cold, calculating logic like I'm used to! Like I'm supposed to! I was acting like Daisuke! I was…Gods, I almost wish my excuse for all that was to 'try to get into his head,' to try to think like my enemy but…

…In reality…

…I just wanted one kiss. Because…

…Tomorrow it's business as usual. Today never happened. Nor did yesterday. Daisuke and I will never have that 'diplomatic' moment again. We'll never really be friends, we were just holding back our usual hatred for each other. We held our tongues, we clenched our fists but kept them at our sides, we just promised not to 'talk business.'

I'm not someone Daisuke would ever call a 'friend,' and certainly not 'lover.' Gods, of all the people…Why not some random boy at school? In my class? The moron who sits behind me and tries to cheat off my tests every chance he gets? Or the idiot infront of me, the one who gets all the wrong answers on every test in a way that makes it hard for me not to burst into a roaring fit of laughter every time I glance at his paper. Why not them? Why…

…Daisuke Motomiya?

Last night, I asked myself: What do I truly want? Or…To put things better: What would make me truly happy? Daisuke Motomiya?

Or

The Digital World?

Which of those two? Actually, the choice is obvious…

…The Digital World.

Because that is an obtainable goal. Daisuke Motomiya's heart—No, just Daisuke's smile upon seeing me. To walk up to him and wave and have him smile the way he does and wave back, saying, "Ken-kun!" …That is an impossible goal. Something that will never happen. Something I know I'll never have for real. I'll just have the illusion of today. The memory of today…

…Never anything more.

…So, from this day forward, Daisuke: Business as usual. This never happened, because I'll never have it again. I got what I wanted, the closest thing to that impossibility that I'll ever have. I got something from you that, at the very least, you can't take back. I-I'll take a little joy in that…

…Then take pleasure in ruling my empire! My world.

I came here so I can never feel the way I did on that day ever again

…And I swear to the Gods, I won't!

I need a distraction. Something to take my mind off everything! From yesterday to…THAT PLACE! THAT IDIOT! BOTH OF THOSE IDIOTS!

What's that people say? 'You need a hobby?' I need a…new mini-game. My coliseum was destroyed, after all, the day those Gotsumon escaped. I just need something new. Something in-depth…

…Hm…Final Fantasy VIII…One aspect of that game I happen to love is how easy it is to customize characters. Make them my own, make them strong or weak. Give them whatever spells or abilities or stats I want. Weapons customization could have been a little more in-depth, though…

…Oh!

Of course! Weapons customization…Ha ha ha! I know just the distraction. And, no, my weapon won't be customizable. No, no, I'll borrow a little from number seven, too…

…My WEAPON will be customizable. My WEAPON will be of my own design. My WEAPON will be the perfect WEAPON. A perfect WEAPON for a perfect ruler.

Daisuke, thank you for that little video game chat! I have the perfect distraction that will keep you out of my head. Forever!


Present day…


…That "distraction"... Gods, wha-what was I thinking at the time? I-I hate how I treated everything like a damned video game! It worked too well for him, he stopped thinking about Daisuke, he stopped thinking about Osamu, he stopped thinking about everything. That was the tipping point for The Digimon Kaiser, I guess. The day he lost his mind, the day the "Real-Real Ken" really did stop existing. At least, for as long as The Digimon Kaiser still existed.

After that meeting with Daisuke, I focused all of my attention on starting and completing…my worst ever creation. My worst scheme, the worst thing I've ever done.

The "final boss" Daisuke was destined to fight…

…Chimaeramon…

And…Wormmon sacrificed himself to help Daisuke destroy it. And I realized all I had done. Daisuke was right…They were real. They weren't "just data." There was more to them than zero and one. That wasn't 'artificial' intelligence. Carbon or no carbon…

…They were alive…

…And I killed so many of them…

…I came to the Digital World so I would never feel the way I did after Osamu died ever again. And instead I managed to feel so much worse. But I brought it all on myself. It was my reward for "getting that ending." For all the choices I made. Every choice I made was the wrong choice.

To this day, I'll never figure out how Daisuke forgave me. Because I'll never forgive myself. The Digimon Kaiser was right about one thing: I had no redeemable qualities. No matter what Daisuke says. I was a monster, I got worse after that because…I guess being so close to Daisuke set "him" off. He went back to his base, he started research on combining the data of various Digimon…

…He combined said data…

…And I never went back to "my spot" ever again. My chat with Daisuke was the last time I ever went there. He suddenly hated it because it was too much of a distraction. That's what I think, at least. He never dwelled on suddenly abandoning that spot. Instead, it was all about Chimaeramon. The perfect distraction…All because we talked about video games…

…It took almost a year before Daisuke managed to convince me to pick up a video game controller ever again. And the first game he got me to play was Final Fantasy VIII…We did what we agreed on, actually, he played until the Fire Cavern, I played through the SeeD Field Exam and so on…

…It was almost like playing with Osamu again. A-Actually, Daisuke…I-I never told him this but he used the wrong copy of the game. I didn't realize it until we switched disks but…

…We were playing Osamu's copy of the game. The one I…refused to play because it was his copy. Daisuke just assumed I had only one copy of the game, I guess. Osamu's was in the original release box, mine was in the re-release box…In a closet. It's still there, actually, I…I hope he doesn't mind but I've been playing Osamu's copy of the game ever since. There's no real difference but…

…It's Osamu's. And…That makes it better. It's the world's best version of Final Fantasy VIII. And it's one of a kind. Like Osamu, it's the one game I would never loan out to anyone. Especially as it's his copy, not mine.

"We're here!" Daisuke shouts.

I look up, we're at the edge of a clearing—…Gods…

"…Daisuke, this is…" I whisper. Wormmon stops, too, by my side in surprise. V-mon just walks past us, giving us a confused look as he steps up next to Daisuke.

"Ken? Wormmon? What's wrong?" V-mon tilts his head to one side. "You two look…really funny…"

"It's nothin', V-mon. Hey, um, why don't you and Wormmon grab some food and start eating without us. I kinda gotta talk to Ken 'bout somethin'," Daisuke says, passing the food bag to V-mon. The little blue dragon nods his head enthusiastically.

"Ke-Ken-chan…?" Wormmon looks up at me. He knows we're in…the only place in The Digital World the Digimon Kaiser was ever nice to him. Where he was ever nice to Daisuke.

I stare at Daisuke, he just…looks back at me with a grin and motions for me to come closer with one arm. "Ye-Yeah, um…Wo-Wormmon, you and V-mon go ahead. Daisuke and I…Daisuke obvi-obviously…Needs to talk…about so-so-something." I stammer. I can't control it.

"O-Okay," Wormmon gives a cautious nod. He follows after V-mon, the two take their food to the middle of the clearing. V-mon tears into everything while Wormmon is much more reserved, even though I know he's probably starving from that walk but…I think his appetite might have changed after coming here of all places.

"Daisuke…what are we doing here?" I ask. "How did you even find this place again?"

Daisuke shrugs. "The other day, Hikari n' me went riding on Nefertimon and I spotted it from above. I kinda made note of it since, um…" He looks down to the ground, putting his hands behind his back. "I-I kinda been meanin' to talk to you about something. For a long time but…I never really knew what to say or even how to start and…Hell, not even where, I mean…This is one of those, um…Everything's gotta be a certain way-type things, y'know? Gotta be just right!"

"…It's…about what he—No…What I did that…day…" I hang my head, my eyes already starting to sting. No wonder he's been talking about girls this whole time: A way to remind me, once and for all, Daisuke Motomiya is straight as an arrow…I guess he really didn't block out that incident at all. It's probably been on his mind for years, he just never brought it up because…

…Is he disgusted? Ashamed? Angry? …All of the above?

"Ki-Kinda," Daisuke says. He leans against the tree behind him, the last one before the clearing. "…It was Osamu, right?" Huh?

"What?"

"…That 'person' you kept talking about when we got here. Osamu, right? So-Sorry to bring him up, I know that's…Not something you like to talk about a lot."

"Ye-Yeah," I nod. "This place is…like the Tamachi Park, except without the pond. And not the way it is today…The flowers have been gone for years." A drought about a year after Osamu died, they all withered and died, too…I remember thinking that they went with him. It reflected how I felt at the time…The world was so much uglier without him. So much more miserable. "A-And, um, it wasn't…Einstein." I motion to my hair.

Daisuke nods. "Yeah, after I saw those pictures of him at your place, I noticed that. I-I looked him up, actually, online since you said you based 'him' on a genius n' all. I-I didn't know you had a famous brother, too."

"He…He was the greater genius, I 'had help,' he didn't," those stupid spores…I-I'm still intelligent and do well in school and sports but nothing like I used to be as The Kaiser. I'm still compared to Osamu by my family but…It's because I put just as much work as he did into my work—No, more. For Osamu, things were as easy for him as they were for the "Kaiser-Me." He was…amazing!

"Dude, you're the smartest guy I know! I-I mean, crap, you may've based your style on Osamu but…I figured you were still Einstein, ya know? Then again, somethin' tells me you two'd've, like, surpassed him or somethin'. Every generation gets smarter n' smarter, right? …What was Osamu's thing? Quantum physics or something? Just…curious. Sorry if it's…"

I shake my head. "It's okay. And believe it or not, Osamu was clueless about quantum mechanics." Re-Really, every time someone hears about my 'genius brother,' I guess they picture him doing advanced quantum physics equations on a chalkboard. If anything, Osamu hated physics. "He was into history and literature. Especially the former. Name any year and he'll tell you something significant that happened."

"Wh-Whoah! Seriously?"

"Either that or he'd make something up that sounded really believable," I reply with a smirk.

"Really?"

"Osamu had a tendency to make up the most random crap on the spot but speak in a way that made it sound like he knew what he was talking about. Let me put it this way: He could probably convince you that the first man on the moon was Thomas Edison, using a solar powered rocket ship he invented along with the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Frank Lloyd…And I don't say that because I think you're remotely that stupid, Daisuke, he was just that good at it. It worked on our parents all the time."

Daisuke laughs, "That's…awesome!"

"Osamu…was one of a kind." I say. "Is…he what you wanted to talk about? I-I mean…" I've told the others about Osamu before. Just not too much. It's more because they're afraid of opening old wounds than of me not wanting to talk about him…If anything, I like talking about him. Remembering…every fun time we ever had.

"Some of it…The other thing is," Daisuke clears his throat.

"The…incident at the Kaiser's base?" I whisper.

"Yeah, that, too," Daisuke nods. "I swear, I never told the others a thing."

I nod. "I know. I was…grateful for that, Daisuke. I mean, let's face it: Hours of fun pissing off The Kaiser with gay jokes, right?" I force a smile. "Sorry you…missed out."

"…Dude, come on…" Daisuke frowns. "You know I'd never do that."

I shrug, bowing my head. "Yeah…That's more his thing…Hell, he did do that. You're the Pretty Boy Hero and all, always…singled out for his latest scheme. Gods, I'm amazed he never tied you to any railroad tracks or anything."

Daisuke laughs. "Better me than Hikari or Miyako. Think he'd have put on one of those stupid Snidely Whiplash mustaches, too? Black cape, top hat and all that?"

I laugh a little, too, though it's obviously forced. Unlike Daisuke's. "For you? …Sure, why not?"

Daisuke laughs again. "Too bad you never got the chance…I bet I'd make a good damsel in distress."

"You're…no damsel, Daisuke," I say. "How could…even describe yourself as that?"

"What else would I be if I were tied to the railroad tracks? Hell, knowing him he'd toss me in a dress just for the fun of it!" Daisuke shouts with a huge grin, laughing.

"I-I doubt that…And I know you'd put a hell of a fight if he even suggested it." I-I laugh again, this time it's genuine…I never laugh about him but…

…Daisuke's…smiling. Like always. That makes it okay, I guess.

"Yeah but…" Daisuke chuckles. "I-I dunno…It'd be 'the usual banter' to the extreme, I guess."

"…Thanks again for…never telling anyone about…that," I whisper. "I-I'm sorry he did that, Daisuke. I really am. It was…It was terrible."

"Eh, I didn't really care," Daisuke shrugs. What? "I mean, I was savin' it for Hikari but it wasn't like I obsessed over that, y'know? First kiss, second kiss…I'd be more pissed if it was her first kiss he stole. 'Cause girls are the ones who make a big deal outta that. I'd'a been happier being her first kiss instead of her bein' mine. So, no big deal." …Daisuke, it was…a huge deal.

"But…Yo-You know…about…" I sigh. "You always have, haven't you?" That…I'm 'different.' My 'secret desires' and…Everything else he revealed that day.

"Not really." Excuse me? Did you just say that? What could you possibly mean by…?

"Not really?" I look up at Daisuke, giving him a confused look. "What do you mean? I-I…I basically confessed my…" I trail off, almost making the same mistake twice. Screaming about my love for…Daisuke Motomiya.

"Well, that's…sorta the thing," Daisuke begins, looking up at me with a serious expression. "I know he wasn't just messing with me that day, he was serious about what he said and how he felt but…Ken, you're so different from The Digimon Kaiser. You two are nothing alike, you know?"

I nod, slowly. What does he mean by that? We're the same person, Daisuke.

"So, um, after you were you again and we became friends…I wasn't sure if, well, you felt the same way he did." Huh?

"Wa-Wait, you…You mean you just thought it was just The Digimon Kaiser who…?" …I'm afraid to say loved him. I-It wasn't just The Digimon Kaiser, Daisuke. That was…both of us. Because I am 'both of us.'

Daisuke looks away. "Kinda, yeah…I-I mean, was that just what he wanted or what the 'real-real Ken' wanted, too? I-I…I don't care if it's what you wanted, too, Ken. It's okay, trust me. I never told anyone, right?" …Daisuke…

"Daisuke, all this time, you've…You haven't been sure if I was...?" I trail off, awkwardly. "I-I mean, it happened so long ago that I thought you either denied that it ever happened, blocked it out, pretended for my sake or…Were too disgusted with me to ever want to bring it up," I sigh.

Daisuke looks to me eyes wide, jaw hanging. "Disgusted? Ke-Ken! Hell no! You're my best friend, I mean, we…Our partners evolve together, right? That…That doesn't give you a clue that I don't give a shit about that? If I was grossed out by that would it still have happened? I-I don't think it would've, I mean, that was, like…I-I don't know how to really describe it but…I felt, like, closer to you than ever that day, it was the day I knew: We'd be best buds forever! If…" Daisuke trails off…Did he just…wipe his eyes? "Dude, I swear, I'd never be disgusted by Ken Ichijouji…The Digimon Kaiser pulled some sick crap but, you? …Even back then, like I told you: He could'a used the others as real bait in the 'pick who lives, who dies' trap that day but he just…pulled the world's sickest joke, you know? The Kaiser still had some limits at first, he kinda lost it near the end but…Back then? I was pissed that he'd do somethin' like that but, at the same time, the fact it was just a trick? …Like you said, human lives weren't as 'expendable.' I-I mean, Digimon can…come back, sorta, Vamdemon proved that without a doubt. But we can't…Even thinking it was all some stupid MMO or something, he knew that, too. It was still dangerous and, yeah, one of us could'a been really hurt or…worse…but, before you-know-what…He had limits. And, well, even at his worst: No-one wanted to kill him, just stop him."

"Da-Daisuke…" I stammer. I never knew he had…a speech like that in him. I don't know what to say. "...Do you…swear you won't…?" I-I don't know how to finish that or…even begin to acknowledge what he learned about me that day. He wasn't…disgusted?

Daisuke, if you weren't…I was.

"Did I tell anyone? Come on, tell me, dude. Was it just him or…?"

"…It's what we both wanted," I say with a quiet sigh. "He—No, we were obsessed with you for the longest time. There's just something special about you," I wipe my eyes. "I think it's everything he told you that day and more."

"He didn't tell me that, you did," Daisuke says. "…I don't think he was 'all there' that day. And I don't mean, like, he was 'going insane' like afterward, I mean, you two were sorta fighting for control. When I got pissed about him calling Digimon 'just data' and crap…You stopped. I think if it were 'all him' that day, he'd just kept goin' to piss me off. You kept him in check."

"…Thank you. I-I…I still…I'm sorry for what we did that day, though. At the base, I mean, after you…woke up. It was wrong, I'm sure it's the last thing you wanted—"

"That was The Kaiser's first kiss, right?" Daisuke speaks up. What?

"Excuse me?" Daisuke, you're making so much less sense than usual.

"Well, um, you know how you treat 'Ken' and 'The Digimon Kaiser' like two different people?" He asks. Ye-Yeah, that's…It's not true, though, I know we were one and the same. We weren't 'two people in the same body,' I was The Digimon Kaisier…

…I just…refer to him as 'someone else' because I wish he was someone else but…Daisuke, I know you do the same as I do but do you really believe there was a difference between 'The Digimon Kaiser' and what you called the 'Real-Real Ken?'

Hikari, Takeru, Miyako…They humor me with my habit. I can see it in Takeru and Miyako's eyes. Hikari, I think, 'pretends' a little more for me than Takeru and Miyako but…They know it's just a "coping mechanism," a way for me to try to come to terms with the fact I was a monster.

Iori…refers to The Digimon Kaiser and Ken Ichijouji as the same person. I don't think he's quite forgiven me for everything I did. And I don't blame him in the slightest. I-I played God with living creatures, I treated them like toys, like…A video game. I-I was so delusional back then…I-I…

My throat tightens, I hold back a sob, nodding. "Ye-Yeah. But—"

"Well, um, when I got kissed, The Digimon Kaiser was the one kissing me, you know what I mean?" Not…really…

I shake my head. "Wha-What do you mean?"

"Well, first…Sorry 'bout that, um, 'Wormmon's honor' crack. I-I know that really pissed him off."

I laugh a little. "It…It was a really good comeback, though. Same with, um, that 'left or right one' comeback. Yo-You nevers howed any sign of fear to…me—"

"Him." Daisuke's smile vanishes as he gives me a serious look.

"…Him," I whisper. I-I'll humor you, Daisuke. His smile comes back, despite my obvious reluctance to acknowledge my usual delusion.

I am the Digimon Kaiser, Daisuke, because…We're both as delusional as ever.

"So, um, the way I see it: Ken Ichijouji hasn't had his first kiss, right? I mean, dude, you never talk about girls or even guys," Daisuke says with a grin.

"Huh?" …Daisuke, even if we were 'two minds, same body,' that same body had the same lips. That counted for both of us. "We-Well, it's…obvious why I don't talk about girls, Daisuke. Yo-You really weren't sure about me? Even after all that?" I'm not sure if this is Daisuke 'being Daisuke' or Daisuke being a much deeper thinker than I ever realized.

"I just figured you were like Iori, it's disrespectful and all that to talk about Hikari and Miyako that way. I mean, you two are, like, the most mature among us. 'Specially compared to yours truly!" He pats his chest a couple times, still grinning. "And, with guys…I figured since, um, I knew your 'secret' back then, you wouldn't have had such a problem talkin' about it. I didn't know you thought I 'blocked it out' or something. Trust me, that's sorta hard to just 'forget,' ya know? Arch-enemy stealing your first kiss and making a huge deal out of it before it got kinda. well, awkward as hell."

"…He really didn't think that one through, did he?" I say with a short laugh, it's forced since...Even to this day, I've been kicking myself for 'that one.' But for different reasons than The Digimon Kaiser.

"Obviously," Daisuke laughs, too. "So, um, it is official…You are gay, right?"

"…If you can accept that," I nod. Daisuke's smile and attitude, I guess, gives me the confidence to say that much. I still don't like to acknowledge it, even to just myself. Not even Wormmon knows. Not that I expect Digimon have any sort of concept of homosexuality or the stigma attached to it by 'some' but…

…There are very few things I keep from Wormmon. He's one of the few people outside of my parents and I who knows as much as I do about Osamu...He asks about him a lot because, "Ken-chan smiles when he talks about Osamu-san...I want Ken-chan to smile like that always."

I hear single loud laugh from Daisuke. "What? It's conditional now? All right," Daisuke steps up to me with a smirk. "If that's the case, I gotta do somethin'. Hope you don't get pissed off."

"Pissed off?" I ask. Daisuke's just a few inches from me, he puts both hands on my shoulders. He's staring me down, almost. "Daisuke, what are you—Mmph!" …H-He…He…!

…Daisuke what the hell is wrong with you? Yo-You're KISSING ME! I-I…Yo-You…! Wh-What's…?

The kiss lasts only a few seconds, Daisuke steps back and, what may be even more shocking is…

…He's still smiling.

I stammer, my eyes feel like they'll pop out of my head any second. "Da-Dai-Daisu-Daisuke…Yo-You…Wha-What did…What just…?"

"…Digimon Kaiser stole my first kiss, I wanted to steal Ken Ichijouji's first kiss," Daisuke replies with a grin. "Fairs fair, Ken."

"Yo-You're…You're insane!" I shout. "I-I mean, you're YOU! Wha-What the hell is going on, Daisuke?"

"…I might like ya a little," Daisuke replies. "It's been driving me insane for…Too damned long! I-I mean, I wanted to talk to you about if it was just you or both of you or whoever wanted that and…Look, um, I know it ain't ever gonna happen with Hikari and me. I've known that for a long time. But that's okay with me 'cause…I had some hope with someone else I was startin' to like over the years even more. I just wanted to be sure he felt the same way, I guess."

"Bu-But the whole way, you were ranting about…EVERY FEMALE WE KNOW!" This has to be one of my weirder dreams. There is no possible way this is happening.

"And the whole way I kept thinkin' 'Is he like Iori or is he just not into girls?'" Daisuke says with a laugh.

"This isn't some…insane joke? You're…?"

"…I like both," Daisuke says. "I sorta realized it a little after BelialVamdemon and that whole jogress thing. I mean, I know Iori and Takeru or Hikari and Miyako aren't, y'know, items over it but…Dude, I told you: It felt like we were in perfect sync, right down to our heartbeats. I-I asked Iori and Takeru, they had nothing like that. Same with Hikari and Miyako. It was just us!"

"You…really…?"

"…C'mon, you tellin' me you stopped liking me after all these years?" Daisuke still hasn't lost that grin. He's completely serious. "Ken, stop it with the Kaiser-Guilt crap and tell me: Do you still…?"

"Ye-Yes, but…I never thought…Daisuke, out of all of us, even going back to Taichi and the others, I'd never suspect you as remotely interested in men!"

"Says the guy who never talks about romance." Touche. "So, we official? Or do I need to steal Ken Ichijouji's second kiss?"

"…You're free to do that," I say with a smile, Daisuke takes my hand.

"Good, 'cause I planned to, anyway," he jokes, laughing. "First, wanna get something to eat before they finish off everything?" He nods his head over to our partners and the rapidly lightening bag of foods.

"Sure." I nod. So much food, though. they can't possibly—Hold it… "Wait, is this why Takeru and Iori…?" It was a little strange that both of them cancelled so suddenly.

"Yeah, um, if Iori asks, tell him I told you I asked him to cancel, he'd freak out if he knew I lied for him," Daisuke rolls his eyes, laughing. "Still got that whole 'honesty is the best policy' thing and all. And Takeru, um, yeah, I asked him if he could cancel since I told him I had to ask you some stuff alone."

"They don't…suspect…?"

"…Dude, I'm me," Daisuke laughs. "Takeru figured it was just something between jogress partners and Iori…Hell, just said, 'All right, if it's that important to you.' No-one suspects a thing about you."

"Even all that, um, 'banter' from before? I-I've always wanted to ask…" …What did they say about it off the battlefield? I mean, I never called Takeru 'pretty boy' or anyting. Just 'insect' over and over again before he, for lack of a better term, kicked the living crap out of me. Which was wholly deserved, of course. It was right after I first released Chimaeramon for the first time.

"'Til I got confirmation, at least, everyone thought you were just being a jerk as always. No-one once said, 'I think Ken's got a thing for Daisuke' or vice-versa." Daisuke replies. "Relax. You're…Actually, Ken, you're the first person I ever told this to, so, ah, feel honored, I guess." Daisuke looks away with just the faintest of blushes.

I smile. "I am, trust me. Thanks, um…Dai-chan."

"…Anytime, Ken-sama," Daisuke jokes. Again, I laugh. "I dunno, is Wormmon the jealous type? I mean, am I gonna have to pay him royalties every time I call you 'Ken-chan?'" Ha ha ha!

"I think you'll have to ask him," I laugh. "I don't think he'll complain, though." He's happy if I'm happy…

…And I have to say I'm…very happy right now.

We go to the two Digimon, both have already eaten about a quarter of what we brought. Which is a lot, Daisuke still packed as if Iori and Takeru were coming with us – At least, without their partners. Digimon…have appetites, let's just say that. Though, I'm sure if they both came we'd have had enough for everyone.

"Ken-chan…? You're…smiling. A lot!" Wormmon speaks up, looking up to me from a gummy-drink pouch. He loves those things, especially cherry flavored.

"I got something I thought was impossible," I say. "Something…I've wanted for a long time." I look to Daisuke with a smile. "You're serious, right?" I admit, this is still hard to believe.

Daisuke gives me a playful frown. "How many kisses do I have to steal to prove it?"

"I think there's only one way to find that out, Daisuke."

"You're on!"

We sit and eat with our partners, holding off on any serious affection beyond a quick kiss on the cheek from Daisuke after we sit, while V-mon and Wormmon are distracted as they dig through the bag for more food. Which gives me a blush I can't control.

Thank you, Daisuke. Both for forgiving me and…

…Giving me the only thing that The Digimon Kaiser and I both ever wanted.

~Owari~


Ori's Notes:

And we have our SECOND Turtle Week fic! And it's a Daiken. I left the usual "HAPPY TURTLE WEEK" note off from the top of the fic since, well, anyone who just reads Adventure fics and not Tamers would be confused as all hell, I guess.

Anyway, with this fic...

…Eh…Oooy gevalt…Where to begin with this monstrosity? I mean…Shit!

I have no idea if this is a good fic or a bad fic or even a mediocre fic—Well, okay, I strongly suspect the second, but leave the third as a slight possibility. The first? Pffft, about as likely as Vamdemon being the evil mastermind behind a third Adventure Season!

The story behind this is simple: I wanted a setting where The Digimon Kaiser has a chance to steal Daisuke's first kiss. And does so. I wrote out, like, twenty first drafts and…

…All of them were the same! Ken sitting in the middle of a cell, Daisuke wakes up, Ken steals his kiss and…That's it. I had no idea how to continue it since, well…Let's face it: Once Daisuke realizes what's really going on and Ken realizes that not even Daisuke is that dense, things were going to get very awkward, very quickly…They all ended about the point where Daisuke asks Ken if he's gay with very little variation between each draft (and, yes, all of them contained the "Wormmon's honor" crack, that one was sorta hard to resist).

And one day, it hit me: RUN WITH IT! Run with the idea that things were suddenly awkward and play with Ken's Digimon Kaiser vs Regular Ken psyche. Especially since, well, I forgot how much fun it is to screw with Ken's head. Any torture device works! Especially ones named "Osamu Ichijouji" or "Daisuke Motomiya." Just play it as "Ken didn't think this one through" and see where it goes, just try it! And…This was the end result. …So, yeah, I probably screwed up royal but…DAMN IT, I WANTED TO WRITE THIS ONE SO BAD! And the whole "Ken and Daisuke chat as friends" thing…Eh, I dunno if that was a good idea or not but I figured it could be something Ken would also want on top of that first kiss, something Daisuke had to willingly give him: Just one afternoon where they aren't mortal enemies.

Anyway, this sorta wrote itself after Ken's "conversation" with Wormmon (I loved writing that, by the way: Kaiser-Ken and Wormmon are fun to work with, Wormmon is one of, like, three Non-Adventure Villain Digimon I'm decent at writing).

Whether or not the whole "Ken and the Kaiser are two different people" or "Ken and the Kaiser are the same person" character interpretation is true is up to you: I wanted Ken to bring up both possible interpretations of his character with his referral to the Kaiser in the third-person to be seen as a means of "coping" with his past or a means of treating "him" as someone else who took over his body for a while. And Daisuke's take on it is, well, Daisuke's opinion and Daisuke's alone.

And, like always, I keep my "Final Fantasy VIII is Osamu's favorite game" running gag going (I do the same thing with Li Lianjie, Jen's no-line-wonder older brother in Tamers, with the game Dynasty Warriors, I don't know why but…These are their favorite video games and I can't picture things any differently), like in Believe and My Brother. But there is sort of a plausible reason for this: FFVIII is probably the last Final Fantasy he'd ever play.

Adventure takes place in 1999, FFVIII was released in Japan in either late 1998 or early 1999 (I forget the exact date for the Japanese release, I just know 9.9.99 was the North American release day…First game I ever pre-ordered! I'll never forget walking into Toys R Us as a wee lad, hyped up for the sequel to FFVII...And all I knew about the game was the character artwork I saw online so I actually thought ZELL was gonna be a villain 'cause of his tattoos and all that...I was a stupid child and I assure you not much has changed since then) and Osamu dies some time after the events of Bokura No Wargame. So, if Osamu had a favorite Final Fantasy for the Playstation it'd be either VII or VIII…And I pick VIII because it's my favorite in the series. Can't help it, and FFVII is still one of my favorite games (and if I was really playing favorites: Suikoden II would be Osamu's favorite game – But that's a little obscure for most readers, so I stick to Final Fantasy). Also the "Playstation the Best" version Ken refers to is the Japanese extent "Greatest Hits " (the version of the game with the green side of the box instead of black) that's a re-release of popular games that are out of print. I don't know if it's the same in Japan but a "Greatest Hits" re-release requires both a certain number of copies sold (EASY for a Final Fantasy game) and the game to have been out for a certain amount of time (I think a year, might be more or less).

Also for those who don't follow Final Fantasy: When Ken refers to his WEAPON (all caps), this is a reference to a type of special boss in FFVII that's a super powerful creature. Like Chimaeramon. Ken's just adding more video game parallels to an already warped view of The Digital World as an MMO. 'Cause The Digimon Kaiser's crazy that way (which is why we love him! Or at least I do, The Digimon Kaiser's one of my Top 3 favorite Digimon Villains for all seasons - GO DIGIMON KAISER! And First-Season-Vamdemon and The Dark Masters!).

With the Osamu mentions…Eh, gotta bring up my favorite Ichijouji brother (Yeah, I like Osamu more than Ken, but Ken's my second favorite Adventure character if that counts for anything!). And a lot of The Digimon Kaiser seems to be inspired by Ken having an inferiority complex towards Osamu (same hairstyle, the glasses, the "I'm Ken Ichijouji, SUPER GENIUS" mentality! C'mon, he's an evil Clonesamu!). But I also wanted Ken to have some good memories of his brother, for when he's "less Kaiser, more Ken" at times. Which is the reason for the "video game chat" and all that.

Two lines in particular I want to mention that Ken uses a few times, too:

"I came here to never feel this way again." This is what Ken says in the original version of 02 after Wormmon dies and he has his flashback to Osamu's accident. The Digital World was seriously meant to be an escape for Ken and the "he thinks it's a video game" aspect is played up a lot more. To the point where, upon defeat (before the "I'll delete my game data and start over" thing), Ken is pounding the ground and ranting about "this game" having the "worst bad ending ever!" I kinda wish both versions played up the "He thinks it's a game" aspect even more, actually, it's my favorite way of playing with Ken. Hence all the mini-game and "escape" comments, especially with his memories of Osamu.

"People who go through other peoples' things are the worst kind of people." This is what Osamu says to Ken in the original version of the "Digivice Incident" (in the dub he rants about not being able to trust Ken). Osamu really tears Ken a new one verbally in the original, it's painful to watch, almost. Even the sound effect of Osamu smacking him is worse in the original. That scene is not Osamu's finest moment. I mean, ouch on so many levels, both physically and emotionally. Poor little Ken...Osamu, be nice and share Ken's toys, damn it!

For Daisuke…I really think Ken and Daisuke were the precursor to Hirokazu and Kenta in Tamers: They're the closest among the Jogress partners (and their Christmas duet isn't all that subtle, they keep calling each other "Baby" throughout the whole thing) and…They're just Ken and Daisuke. They make Taito look subtle at times! And after the tease in "My Brother," I felt I owed FFN (or at least Taiki) a Daiken fic that wasn't open-ended like Omoide Ga Ippai was. We needed some damned closure! And I kept getting stuck with my Omoide sequel…Augh. I suck!

Also, before I forget: Ken's "snappy answer" to Wormmon's "question" of "what is love?" Oxytocin is known as "the love hormone," (not to be confused with oxycodone or oxycontin – those are painkillers…And the same thing: The latter is the former, just time released) it's believed to be responsible for our feelings of love and affection (among other, related things).

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it enough to get to the ending at least.

And, also, for those following all the uploads so far: Happy Turtle Week!


Taiki's Notes:

WE GET A DAIKEN? YOU GAVE US A DAIKEN? YES! I officially condone the insanity that is "Turtle Week!" I've wanted you to let me post a Daiken fic for so long and Omoide Ga Ippai just was not enough!

If you're an Adventure fan who avoids Tamers fics and are wondering "What is Turtle Week?" Well, Ori's insane and is celebrating the anniversary of adopting his "lucky co-writing tortoise" with a ton of fics and I am the Editor\Account Manager who has to put up with said insanity. Ori's fics are mostly based on Digimon Tamers (both Ori and I list Tamers as our favorite season) but Ori does have a number of Digimon Adventure fics. Check them out on our profile, especially if you like Daiken, Ryou\Osamu and Taichi\Koushirou. Or Comedy, especially comedy! Ori has a healthy collection of Adventure comedies. Especially recommended for fans of the original Adventure villains (especially The Dark Masters and Vamdemon!) or The Digimon Kaiser.

I admit, I think the "awkward plan" is a unique idea: Ori told me how much the "Kaiser and a chained up Daisuke" idea had been driving him out of his mind (which is really saying something). He really wanted to get this one out and I'm glad to see it finally come into existence.

And I wish all readers a happy Turtle Week and, as always, pray that Ori's insanity is not contagious.

-Taiki Matsuki