A/N: I can't believe that this is my 25th uploading on fanfiction.net. I'm still surprised that I began to write and about the positive reviews that I've received. I just wanted to say thank you to those that have read my work and that were kind enough to bless me with their gracious reviews.

Now, on a more depressing note, this story is full of angst. After missing episode 49 of Digimon Tamers and spending five hours taking the SATs, I suppose that I'm a little depressed. I hope that Ken is properly in character and that you enjoy my story!

Disclaimer: Digimon is the property of Toei Animation and of Bandai

Vitriolic Sand

By Frozen Phoenix

The imagination of the human being is an incredible thing. It can create images, thoughts and even life itself. There are many dreams contained within the human imagination, merely waiting to be released.

There is a place, a place almost like a dream incarnate. This world is inhabited by marvelous creatures called as digimon and known only to a select group of children called the Digidestined.  

But for one such Digidestined, this world was his by right. For months, he had spent his time capturing the digimon, making them his slaves and doing everything possible to gain control of the Digital World itself.

Ken Ichijouji had never really been a normal boy, his reputation as a genius and star of the soccer team made him anything but. But it was the life that he secretly led that granted him true notoriety.

In the Digital World, he was the Digimon Kaiser. Clothed regally in blue, with his cold, sapphire eyes hidden behind his sunglasses, his whip always by his side and Evil Rings, Evil Spirals and Dark Towers at his command, he was a creature of true destruction.

Cunning and cruelty were the weapons that he wielded, and if not for the efforts of the Digidestined, the Digital World would have surely been lost.

But this salvation was not without sacrifices. With a sadistic ingenuity, Ken created a horrendous digimon named Chimeramon, from the body parts of other digimon. But it was then that Ken had made his mistake. He tainted Chimeramon with the powers of darkness, causing the creation to shatter his loyalty to his master and become not only the bane of the Digidestined, but of Ken as well.

Despite their heroic efforts, it was only when Daisuke Motomyia used the Digimental of Miracles, which allowed his blue, draconian digimon V-mon to become the golden armored digimon Magnamon that the Digidestined stood against Chimeramon.

And when Magnamon's strength was not enough, the digimon Wormmon, the Digimon Kaiser's partner digimon and his devoted friend gave his energy to Magnamon and sacrificed his life. He had wished to save Ken, who had once been gentle and kind, from his cruel fate.

It was an event that changed Ken's life, forever.

~*~

In a vast and barren desert, whose biting winds never did yield, a figure slowly trudged. His gait was slow and erratic. His footing constantly shifting, as his battered and unguarded form continued its journey.

He was still a child, but the expression of pure agony etched across his handsome face made him seem much older. His blue hair hung limply in front of his face, yet he did nothing to remove it. As he walked, bitter tears rolled down his face and created drops upon the sand, only to dry instantly under the scorching sun.

This pathetic figure seemed upon the epitome of despair, and he had good reason to be. For he was no ordinary child, he was the famous genius Ken Ichijouji in the Real World and the iniquitous Digimon Kaiser in the Digital World.

His thoughts were dulled and yet focused upon only one thing: What have I done?

Ken could remember holding him in his arms. The oversized green caterpillar digimon had seemed so weak. Wormmon, how could I have allowed this to happen to you? You died to protect me, who was a monster to you and the entire Digital World. Why? After everything that I've done, how could you think that I was worth so much?

It had happened so quickly. After giving Wormmon a severe whipping for what he had considered foolish impudence, Ken had returned his attention to the battle, where Chimeramon was in the process of crushing Magnamon like the trash he was. All of sudden, Wormmon, who still had some fight left in him, had spoken to him and then knocked Ken off the Airdramon he had been riding.

"But then you started being cruel to me. When all I wanted was for you to be that sweet boy who had once been my friend." Wormmon had told him as his tears flowed down his green skin, the whip marks still fresh on his body.

All you ever wanted was to be my friend and I did nothing but be cruel and abuse you. Rude taunts, violent kicks, Ken remembered them all too well. But you never fought back. Even when I continued to hurt you, you always came back to me. And I thought you were weak for it. Nothing but a useless digimon who was too weak to stand on his own, but who needed else someone to keep him in line.

A sudden gust of wind caused Ken to shield his eyes and wince as the dry sand mixed with the salty tears on his face. But even that pain was nothing compared to what he felt in his heart. I didn't think it was real. I thought it was all just some trivial game that I could win and everyone involved were nothing but pawns to be played. The digimon that were my soldiers meant nothing to me. They were just creatures composed of useless data, not real by any standards. Beating them, starving them, using the Evil Rings, if it bent them to my will, then nothing else mattered.

"Digimon are living creatures, just like you and me Ken!" Ken dropped his fists to his sides. And because of my ignorance, I never thought of that. This was supposed to be just a game! A game that I could reset if things weren't going the way that I planned them to go! If Chimeramon was destroyed, then I could simply bring him back and make the Digidestined suffer for his defeat!

"But I can't bring you back." Ken whispered. "You're the one who really mattered, the only person who cared about me and I can't do anything to help you!" His voice rose with inner fury. "You died in order to save me, but I was the one who should have died. I brought nothing but misery and pain to everyone around me, and yet you still cared about me. I didn't deserve it!" Ken sank down to his knees on the hot sound and bowed his head. "I didn't deserve you."

But Sam did. The thought came suddenly and unbidden. Osamu Ichijouji had been Ken's older brother, until a car accident had taken him away when Ken had been younger. If Sam had been your partner, he would have taken care of you. You would never have been hurt and he wouldn't have let you die like I did.

But that was how Sam was, perfect. And something that I'll never be. Ken felt a pang of jealousy, but pushed it aside. Wormmon, you wanted me to be gentle and kind but I can't even remember how! I've been the Digimon Kaiser for such a long time that I feel as though the darkness inside has poisoned me. And that the little boy whom you protected so long ago is gone as well, and I don't know how to bring him back either.

I watched you die in my arms, helpless to do anything to save you. And now I know who you felt watching me slowly destroy myself, unable to do anything to help me. Ken dragged his body from the sand and stood shakily.

"And now I have nothing left." Ken spat. "I destroyed the only friend that I had and made the lives of every digimon a nightmare. I'm nothing more than a monster."

"You've become worse than the monsters that you've created!"

Ken began walking once again, the blazing sun burned overhead and the stinging sand gusting in the wind. He had no idea where he was going, but continued on, as if walking through the desert winds could erase his existence.

~*~

In a vast and barren desert, whose biting winds never did yield, on the biting sand a figure did lay. His body writhed in agony beneath the desert sun; his face was twisted in pain. His blue hair was plastered to his face by the bitter tears that flowed from his dull sapphire eyes.

In front of him stood a small television set, half buried, but it's long antennae standing above the sand.

Ken Ichijouji, reached for the television, his black digi-vice clutched tightly. His eyes were half lidded and his skin felt raw. He crawled slowly towards the television, his legs aching far too much to allow him to walk any further.

As he finally reached the television, he stared blearily at the shifting static. He held his digi-vice before him and as a bright light surrounded his body, Ken felt the tears and sand on his face begin to disappear and all physical pain begin to leave him.

"Wormmon, forgive me." He whispered as his eyes closed and his body vanished from the Digital World…

~*~

In a small apartment in Tamachi, on the floor within his dark bedroom, the young genius and former Digimon Kaiser, Ken Ichijouji laid silently. His body was pristine, all injury from his desert trek had vanished, but the intense pain did still lay within him. Hidden deeply within his young heart, where only he grieved for the small green digimon that had been his savior and his true friend.

~The End~