Chapter 6 - And Last
The Incorruptible (6) And Last
Ride into the sun with me
And give it all away for free
Ride into the sun with me
And I'll show you all there is to see
He stood alone in the fading light.
Twilight filled the horizon. The storms had exhausted their furies hours ago, leaving behind a ravaged, brutalized landscape of
mud and stone that glistened occasionally where water streamed over the earth. The skies had been clearing gradually, since
before Takeru had come up to watch, and now only the thinnest wisps of clouds marred the otherwise perfect emptiness that
surrounded the sun and filled his vision.
The sun was in its final stages, huge and bright and cold. The World was turning away from it, now, and soon the hemisphere
would spin out to face the blank void, and the sun would shine its light on the desolation on the other side. Then the revolution
would complete and the sun would rise again, older, colder, larger than before.
When had it happened? Time had passed...he didn't know how much. Somehow he'd lost track, in the violence of the storm,
in the darkness and the confusion, somehow time had passed, hours and hours, and the day had come to an end and the World
had crept that much closer to the hour of its destruction. A day had ended. A whole day.
He touched his throat. It wasn't fair. God, what had he allowed to happen to himself? Hikari's voice was far away now,
almost unheard. Nothing mattered. There was only emptiness.
When the sound came behind him, he didn't look around. Didn't even move. Just hugged his arms to himself and stared into the
"Are you crying?" The voice came softly in the half-darkness.
"You should be."
He bowed his head against the glass and shut his eyes.
He stayed like that for along time, until the other boy left him alone again and the silence descended around him, and when he
opened his eyes again there was only blackness. The stars shone faint and distant in the sky, and Takeru wondered suddenly if
there had always been stars. How could there be? Were there other suns, out beyond the confines of this World? When it
ended, would they end too?
He tore his gaze away from the night sky and left the deck, searching for the Kaizer.
He found him sitting once again in the black chair of the control room, his eyes closed and his chin in the palm of his hand.
When Takeru entered and stopped in the doorway he opened his eyes to regard the other boy.
"I feel old," he said quietly.
Takeru's eyes filled with tears. God, it was so hard to watch. So much pain in a single body...he crossed the room and stood
in front of the boy, unsure of what to do but wanting to do something. The Kaizer regarded him impassively for a few moments
until Takeru, in desperation, and not knowing what else to do, took his face in his hands and fell to kissing him.
The Kaizer's whole body responded. It was something only Takeru could do: breathe life into the other boy. Force him back,
if he had to. He tasted salt as he pressed his lips desperately against the dark boy's mouth, and he knew that tears were
running down his own face and staining the Kaizer's lips. He didn't care. The Kaizer reached for Takeru's hands where they
grasped his face and his fingers closed tightly over the blond boy's. The pulled apart briefly, gasping for air, and the pain
burned in Takeru's lips down his throat all the way into his belly. The Kaizer was whispering, his lips close to Takeru's chin.
"I can't cry for them," Takeru heard himself saying, "I can't, I can't. I love--I love--I need...." he trailed off as the Kaizer's
mouth found his, swallowing the rest of the sentence.
He was crying, tears streaming down his face, but he couldn't think about that now. All that mattered was the other boy. The
answer to the emptiness, the terrible loneliness. He leaned down until he was sitting across his lap, hands tangled in dark hair,
bodies pressed together. Desolation seared him, the touch wasn't enough. It would never be enough.
"I can't be like this," Takeru whispered, moving his head so that his mouth was close to the other boy's ear, "I can't be so
empty. It hurts...." He broke off, and the Kaizer ran his hands over his throat, whispering. He shivered at the touch.
"You're crying for yourself."
"No," Takeru shook his head, vehemently, hair flying. Blind. He felt blind and dizzy, he could feel himself falling. He was
infected, with whatever the Kaizer had given him. He could feel perspiration on his forehead.
"I can't cry for me. Not anyone. No-one but you...God, why do you have to hurt so much?" The Kaizer was kissing his
cheek, as though he could stop the tears somehow. The dark boy said, "I don't mean to...."
"You make the pain stop, Takeru,"
The Kaizer opened his eyes. He could see Takeru, trembling, see his eyes closed and the ecstatic pain that transfixed his face.
It was far too much to bear. He didn't want the boy to suffer so much, not on his behalf. His fingers traced the skin of his face,
the smooth slickness, the warmth where tears had fallen and stained everything with salt. He was going to start crying too, if he
"What happened? Before? I didn't mean...." he turned the boy's face, tried to make him open his eyes. To meet those
beautiful eyes. Takeru wouldn't oblige, turned and rested his head on his chest.
"You don't remember?" he asked.
"I didn't hurt you?"
"No," white hands came up to the zipper on the jumpsuit, worked it down and slipped over his shoulders. "I needed you."
"I--I remember...." I wanted you. God, I wanted you. You were so beautiful like that, your white skin flushed, trembling,
your body like a whip twisting and snapping.... "I'm sorry if I hurt you."
You were lost, so lost. It was beautiful.
"You didn't hurt me. Nothing hurts, except when you do..." hands trailed over his skin. The Kaizer tried not to breathe.
"When you hurt I bleed."
"Sorry," he whispered, "I'm sorry." Oh God, Takeru, I don't want to hurt you. Never, ever again. Not you, not you.
"But I--" he broke off before he spoke the thought aloud.
"Don't leave me here. Don't leave me here like this, alone. I'm so..." he was pulling at the Kaizer's shirt, hands on his naked
skin. What was he doing? Takeru couldn't even tell anymore. He needed the touch to make himself full, to feel real again. To
feel something. But the closer he got the farther away he felt, the more it hurt, the wider the emptiness yawned. It was
impossible--he tore himself away, away from the boy's exposed skin, his thin and trembling chest, his belly that rose and fell
with each breath.
"God...." he slid to the floor and buried his face in his hands. He was shaking all over and the tears just wouldn't stop, not for
anything. He could feel them, they flooded over his hands and dripped between his fingers. His shoulders heaved.
"Takeru, don't--" There was movement beside him and his head was forced up, lips were pressed to his own, a tongue found
its way inside his mouth. And for a moment everything stopped, really stopped, and whiteness blossomed in glory inside his
Then it was over and the whiteness faded, slowly. A strand of hair was brushed out of his face.
"Don't cry. I love you."
He opened his eyes.
"I need you," he said, a drawn-out moan of desperation. An animal sound molded forcibly into words.
The Kaizer guided him gently, down until he was lying on the floor with the boy's body on top of him, his mouth finding the
burning scarlet of his lips and throat, the wings of the cape spread out to shield them both. Takeru surrendered his entire
existence in that moment, in desperation, and arching his back he let the boy rain down kisses on his body.
We could cross a million miles
And make it through the open wide
And if it was the end of time
You could make it as a friend of mine
They gathered on the green slope and watched the leaves blow in the breeze.
"No-one can find him?" Daisuke asked after a while.
"His mother's terrified--Yamato, he didn't even want to come."
Daisuke nodded. He'd tried to get everyone together, but a few members of the team were notably absent: Hikari had
promised to come but had not shown up yet, Yamato was absent, to no-one except perhaps Taichi's surprise, and Mimi had
simply been unable to attend. The rest, Miyako, Iori, Taichi, Koushirou, Sora, Jyou, and Daisuke, had gathered together in
silence, unsure of their actions.
"We should probably try to find him," Miyako said after a while, voicing the unspoken thought of most of them. Taichi nodded,
but in a half-hearted way that bespoke hidden reservation.
"He might need us. He could be in trouble..." Iori trailed off, then drew his digivice out of his pocket and stared out it. Like all
the others, it had gone cold and dead after their return to the real world. Koushirou had been unable to activate a single gate
anywhere in the World, and they all knew that it was impossible to return.
"We can't help him now," Daisuke said quietly, looking down and scuffing his feet in the grass. "He's beyond us...if he's there, I
mean, there isn't anything we can do."
"Can he get out?" Miyako asked suddenly, raising her eyes to Koushirou. The older boy, now nearly a man, nodded.
"As far as I can tell, the gate will still open outward, into our world. For a little while at least. I can't tell what's happening,
exactly, but whatever it is doesn't bode well..."
"We can all feel it," Taichi said, "We know what's happening."
Daisuke walked a little ways away from the group. He said, "It isn't fair. It's not right. Not like this--he's a good guy. I don't
want him to be trapped there...."
"Takeru can take care of himself," Miyako said, a flicker of hope in her voice. She went on, "I'm sure whatever he's doing, he
won't put his own life in danger. I mean, I didn't really know him that well, but he always seemed like a pretty level-headed
person..." she trailed off as she met Iori's gaze. "More or less," she finished.
"Maybe not when it counts, though."
"I wonder what happened."
Daisuke looked. Taichi had sat down on the grass and interlaced his fingers, staring up into the sky.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I wonder why the sudden refusal, out of the blue? To fight to defend the Digital World."
"Oh, that's easy," Sora, who had been quiet until now, interjected. All eyes turned to her.
"He was afraid of being left alone."
You could make it as a friend of mine
And while we travel through the open wide
We could forget all that we've left behind
There was a noise.
He opened his eyes slowly, languidly. A sense of peace had invaded his body, driving away all other sensations, at least
temporarily. He could feel the comforting pressure of another body close to him, half-draped across his own, and the warmth
and heat of the body, the security of touch.
He stirred a little and found naked fingers, twined his own through them.
What had woken him? Oh yes, a sound. A noise. Something unfamiliar. What was it?
Takeru moved his head a little. It hurt to move, or think. He wanted to close his eyes again, slide back down into peaceful
oblivion. That was best. That was pleasant. It would be so easy to let go, fall away into darkness, and dream forever. There
was only one thing he wanted to dream about, one person. Nothing else mattered.
But there was the sound again. In and out, coming and going. It was familiar, in a distant way. something he hadn't heard in
years. It must have been years now. What was it? It interrupted the peace, made sleep difficult. He needed to rest, to dream,
and then the sound of voices talking would blend into the dream and become noise, just noise....
He opened his eyes.
like people talking. His eyes shifted.
The screens. A screen had flickered, somehow, into life. Barely, faintly, an image was rendered on its surface. It came and
went, fading softly into and out of existence. He saw colors, heard sounds. Green, barely, and blue, colors he'd almost
forgotten. Were they people? It couldn't be a world, land and sky were black and red, burnt and dying. Only people had
colors, he knew. That was right. Him and...the Kaizer, all the colors in the world. And sound, too. There were no other
sounds but their own voices, and the thrum of a heartbeat, a footfall, an intake of breath. There was nothing else. No world
existed, no reality extended beyond the two of them.
Yet there it was above him, for anyone to see. For Takeru's eyes. He shifted, rose up on one elbow, mouth opening. Words.
He was trying to remember words through the languid slowness inside his body. He didn't really want to watch, but there it
....do you mean...fraid...?
Someone's voice. Whose voice?
...mean...afr....that's all...he was...he lost
He sat up.
what...afr...of? His brother...
tried, they all...course, but he lost half of
what do you mean?
Lost half of himself.
It was becoming clearer now. Green grass. Blue sky. Takeru sat up, staring.
"I mean he lost his father, his brother, half of himself. How could he bear the thought of losing more people? It was
better to be cold inside....
The sound stopped, suddenly, and the screen blinked to white. Takeru scrambled to his feet and stretched out his hands.
"No, don't," he whispered, "don't go...."
The color came back.
Takeru fell back, scrambling, as the color filled all the screens, bathed the whole room, bathed his skin in blue and green and
brilliant colors, the colors of people, of life. The Chosen Children were standing on a hill. They were there, in the light of a tiny
"Is that all it was?"
"Daisuke...my God, Iori, Miyako..."
They weren't dead.
He looked down, at the still figure of the Kaizer.
"What happened?" he hissed into the darkness.
He looked up again, at the screen showing the unrelenting truth. He didn't know when it was, didn't know where it was,
realized that it could have been the past but could feel in his heart that it was the truth. The real truth, not the one he'd
imagined, or the one he'd forced into the universe.
"Do you think he knows the World is ending?"
He stared. Then he turned, and ran.
He ran until he reached the end of himself. Deep in a dark place, he stopped and stood, staring at nothing. He was out of
breath and his chest rose and fell and he could hear the sound of his own breathing, Hear it until it became the only sound, filling
all the dark corners, filling all sensation. Inhale, exhale. He didn't even hear when the boy came to him. Didn't know that he
was there, until he felt the cold hesitant touch on his cheek.
"Takeru. What's wrong?"
"You lied to me," he said, staring listlessly forward.
There was a long, long pause, during which Takeru felt his breathing slow, felt the whole world slow.
"Yes," the Kaizer said finally.
The other boy didn't respond, not verbally. Instead he stepped forward, reached up and turned Takeru's face towards his
own. Softly, he kissed the boy, pressing his lips and slowly, gently, working his mouth open. When his tongue entered Takeru
was lost; his eyes slid closed and a tiny sound escaped him. After a time the Kaizer drew back and Takeru remained where he
was, swaying slightly, lips parted and eyes closed. He heard the Kaizer's voice speaking in the darkness.
"Because you were so ready to believe."
His eyes opened, slowly, heavily, and Takeru saw the boy's face so close to his own. So close, and he could smell him and his
eyes wandered over his lips and his long black lashes and over the shape of his jaw, his smooth skin and the tiny, fine hairs on
his cheek that were barely visible.
"You lied to me," he repeated, his voice thick, the words coming with great difficulty. He could feel the heat in his body, his
belly, thighs, hips, in his throat and behind his eyes. The Kaizer's face became blurry as Takeru's eyes unfocused. The boy's
scent assailed him, and the warmth of his body.
The Kaizer said, "Yes," again, and brought his lips to touch Takeru's throat. He cried out at the touch, unashamed, and turned
his head to expose his naked throat, squeezed his eyes shut and reached blindly for the other boy. His fingertips brushed his
face and the Kaizer paused, drew back, and he could hear the dark boy breathing.
"You lied to me," Takeru whispered, again, in the exact same tone that he said the words, "I love you."
After that there was only darkness.
In the control room the screens flickered. The scene changed abruptly from the hillside where the Chosen were gathered to a
quiet, white classroom in a Japanese high school, full of computer systems. Soft afternoon light filtered through the windows
and illuminated plastic and glass and, in one place, flesh.
A girl was sitting, small and frail with brown hair, staring at the only monitor in the room that was alight. Her face registered no
emotion but her eyes flicked rapidly over the screen's surface, seeking something.
The image flickered, for a moment, then died. In the deep part of the fortress, the Kaizer shuddered.
"What is it?" Takeru asked.
The dark-haired boy shook his head. They were sitting on the floor and the Kaizer had his back to the wall. Takeru was
resting with his head in the boy's lap, but he sat up to fix him with concerned eyes.
"You can feel it?"
The blonde boy nodded. The Kaizer looked up, up, past the ceiling and the walls and decks that hung over their heads, past
the long stair and past the observation deck far above into the sky. He said, "We still have a little time. We'll arrive soon."
Takeru made a small noise and curled up on the floor again, pillowing his head on the Kaizer's leg and holding tight with one
"Not yet," he said.
You could do it as a friend for life
And if we make it through a thousand skies
Then we could forget all that we've left behind
The light flickered. In the darkness the Kaizer's eyes opened, staring up.
"Well we have to do something!" Daisuke exclaimed. "Time's running out! We've only got, what, a few hours left?"
The screens were coming to life, one by one. He sighed. Takeru, head resting on the other boy's chest, stirred and murmured
in his sleep.
"Isn't there something we can do? Some way we can get a message in there?"
"I've been trying," Koushirou said, "Actually it looks like...some data is being transmitted, somehow."
Miyako looked up.
"What data? How?"
"I don't know. It's almost as if...some things are being relayed. It's...I can't explain it."
The Kaizer sat up, carefully, trying not to disturb Takeru. He reached for his clothes.
"Un," Takeru murmured. The Kaizer looked at him and smiled.
"Almost time," he whispered.
"I'm really scared, guys," Miyako said in a low voice, "I've never, I mean, what if...what if..." she trailed off, unable to
speak the words of the icy fear that was slowly creeping into her gut. The Chosen looked at each other, each slowly
becoming aware of the words that Miyako was afraid to speak.
"I've never known anyone who died before," Iori said finally.
He stood up, pulling his clothes on. He walked towards the door but there was a sound of someone stirring behind him. He
turned. Takeru was sitting up in bed, white sheets falling around him.
"Is it time yet?" He said, voice muzzy with sleep. The Kaizer shook his head.
"No. It's close. I can feel it."
Takeru's smiled sleepily. The Kaizer hurried out of the room, upstairs. When he reached the control room he was not
surprised to see the faces of the Chosen Children splayed across the screens. They all seemed to have gathered together in
one place, save a few. The blonde boy, Yamato, was sitting alone in his room staring at his hands, eyes blank and empty. A
girl, Mimi appeared in a corner, also alone, an uncharacteristic expression of concern on her face as she sat down at a
computer. In another corner, the young girl, Hikari, was sitting alone in a computer classroom. The Kaizer watched her for a
"Hey." A soft voice. He turned.
"Are they talking about me?" Takeru came into the room. His eyes were sleepy and confused; he stared at the screens as
though he had never seen the people on them before in his entire life.
He came to stand beside the chair, watching. His eyes flicked over Yamato, briefly, and Hikari, before coming to rest on the
other Children, all of whom were now gathered around Koushirou's computer.
"They're waiting for you," the dark boy said.
Takeru looked at him, but said nothing.
"Koushirou, is there any way we can force him back?"
Takeru shut his eyes, then turned and walked away.
He found the blonde boy not far away, standing and staring down at his feet. He could hear the voices of the Chosen Children,
echoing down the corridor.
What's going to happen to him? Koushirou?
"Takeru?" He reached out.
The boy turned.
"Don't leave me," Takeru said, eyes wide, terrified. He fell into the other boy's arms and shut his eyes, buried his face against
his chest, shaking. "They can't make me go back--they'll try, they can't make me go back..." he raised his eyes, "Can they?"
"No," the dark boy whispered, stroking his face, brushing aside his hair. "No, they can't."
Takeru smiled and rested his head against the other boy's chest.
"What will it be like?" he asked, "Will it hurt?"
"I don't know, I--" he broke off, staring into the corridor. "You'll feel it inside, I think. But you won't feel it happen to you. It
will be...too sudden. Sudden...." He trailed off into silence.
"Takeru don't you want--"
"No!" he didn't raise his head, but gripped the boy more tightly. The Kaizer inhaled sharply.
"You..." the dark boy closed his eyes, held onto the other boy more tightly, and bowed his head. They stood like that for a
long time, clinging to each other, as the darkness deepened.
"The World is holding its breath," the Kaizer said after a while, and the sound was strange and sudden.
In the pasokon room Hikari sat back from the screen, then with a flick of her wrist called up a connection to
Koushirou's computer. The Chosen Children saw her face, set in grim lines.
"Hikari," Taichi said.
They went to the observation deck and waited. Takeru hung back, standing in the doorway, even as the rim of the world
became stained with a blood red light. He watched the other boy as he walked away, toward the damaged glass, and stood
alone in the light of dawn. Takeru felt it inside himself, felt his skin crawl cold and his bones tremble. Terror and awe suffused
him, filled him, he felt it coming and when the sunlight began to fill the room he ran to be beside the other boy.
"I feel it," he breathed, "It's coming."
The other boy smiled. He rested his head against the glass, as though listening, and an expression of peace stole across his face.
"I feel it too," he said distantly.
Takeru couldn't look at him, couldn't see anything. His eyes fixed on some distant point, past the boy's shoulder. He could feel
it and hear it. It was coming. The World was holding its breath.
"Hikari? What's going on?"
In the control room the screens flickered. Hikari's face blurred, became shot through with static, and her voice
reached out into the darkness and was altered almost beyond recognition.
"What's going on?"
The Chosen crowded closer to Koushirou's computer, trying hard to see. Only Miyako stood up, horror on her face,
and she threw her head back to stare up into the sky, as though it might hold some answers.
For the rest, Hikari's words were terrifying and absolute.
"Takeru's not coming back."
The World was coming. The End. The End was everything. It filled him to completeness, filled his head and his heart, burned
away everything. All the pain he'd ever felt, all the joy--nothing mattered. He was falling, or the floor was plunging upward,
the World reaching out for him, reaching to grasp hold and swallow him.
"Ah--it hurts--" he clutched his head. It wasn't pain, really, but he didn't know another word. He felt himself caught and held
but he was still falling, his body and soul hurtling toward the floor, below, beyond, toward the ground, through it and toward the
center, a body of light plunging toward absoluteness....
He raised his head.
"God..." he closed his eyes and clung to the body of the other boy, to his warmth and reality. It wasn't enough, though, it
wasn't real enough. He was still falling. Still....
Dizziness. Lightness. His eyes opened wide and he couldn't see. He was falling and floating. He was empty, and full. It was
wrong, it was all wrong, and he didn't care.
They were on the floor, Takeru twisting in the throes of destruction. The sun was just rising, just filing the sky and the land with
blood and light and fire. It pulsed, the light was unbearably bright yet it somehow failed to illuminate, everything was shadows
and reflections and auras, nothing was tangible or real. The dark-haired boy tried to calm his blonde lover, tried to draw him
into an embrace but it was impossible, the boy had dug his fingers into his scalp and was screaming silently, body vibrating with
unspoken pain. The dark boy whispered and tried to calm the other boy. As the sun rose, slowly, the blonde boy began to
He opened his eyes.
"I...." Takeru was crying. He lifted a hand to the other boy's face and touched it, barely, as though he couldn't believe what he
was seeing. "I don't want...to lose you."
"Oh..." the dark-haired boy smiled, barely. "Oh, won’t lose me." Tears filled his own eyes but he retained the barest hint of a
smile, and reaching out he took Takeru's face in his hand. "You won't lose me. Ever."
"But--" Takeru tried to pull away, shot an oblique glance at the immense swollen sun, at the horror outside.
"It's not like that. Don't you see? Takeru," he drew the boy into a fragile embrace. "Never like that. The World can destroy
itself, it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't blink out of existence."
"But we do," Takeru said," bowing his head on the boy's shoulder, letting warm tears fall on his neck.
"I don't know," the other boy said, "But I know I won't lose you."
"You can't know that."
The light was coming. Takeru could feel it, creeping across the earth, red fingers reaching for him. He clung harder to the
other boy, terrified.
"Shh," the boy said, "It'll be all right. I promise."
"You can't promise..."
"Shh. Yes I can. Look."
He raised his head.
There was a light burning in the sky. In the heart of the sun, a brighter light. A white light, a tiny star burning away everything
around it, burning brighter and brighter, even as Takeru watched, until the sky itself was growing darker, the redness turning to
brown like dried blood, then to a deeper awful purple...he stared.
"Can't you feel it?"
Whiteness, on the inside and outside. It didn't stain like the blood-red light, it burned, it lifted up, it lit the deck and set it aflame
in colorless brilliance, it washed Takeru's skin pure white, and the other boy too, and his dark hair was turning white, and his
eyes smiled on him and lost all their color and his lashes became clear and shining like tiny stars.
"What's happening?" He asked, but he already knew. He could feel it inside. It was a star burning in his head. It lifted up, it
raised him above himself...he felt his body pressed down and his soul rise up. He was dying. He was going to die.
"Don't..." someone said, from far away. He reached out.
"Kiss me." And it didn't matter who had said it.
They found each other in the light. In the pure light without pain, as the sun retracted into itself and the World exhausted all its
resources, they came together as body and soul. Whiteness washed everything and sun raced back into itself, contracted back
to its normal size, and paused, hanging in the sky, frozen for an instant in tie.
"It's not nothing, Takeru," The dark boy managed, through the brilliance burning inside his head, the last words he would ever
speak in his life, "It's not nothing, it's everything...."
And the sun exploded.
As we ride into a newborn sun...
In a white room, a girl reached out and turned off a computer.
After that there was nothing.
Lyrics: The Soundtrack of Our Lives
Album: Behind the Music
Title: Into the Next Sun
A/N: There's a philosophical theory that basically says that a real story ought to include the reader as well as the
writer as a final determinant of the outcome of that story. I like that and want to say that I think it really applies
here. This story is dedicated with all my thanks and appreciation to everyone who took the time to review it. You
made this story happen. You deserve as much credit for its creation as little ol' ainokitsune sitting at her computer
typing away. Thanks, guys.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives is really the name of the band. They're Swedish, or something. The song is ridiculously