Act I, Scene I
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei/Bandai does.
*Warning: Osaryo hints and budding Kenkeru shounen ai. No whining now.


It was dark and cool, the only heat in the room was radiating from a glowing monitor. He didn't mind it really, as he was comfortably bundled in warm blankets and his brother was happily tapping along at the computer they shared. It was boring being sick in bed, though.

Eventually his brother's cell phone rang, and Osamu answered it with a distracted grunt. He strained to hear what the call was about, but only his brother was audible.

"Sorry, I can't come to visit right now ... Ken's sick and our parents aren't home yet ... Nothing serious, just a flu. He'll get over it ... Are you sure? I don't want you to catch anything ... Really, you don't- ... You're impossible ... Fine, if you get sick too I'm not going to let you use that as an excuse to run off next time we're challenged to play in the PK servers ... No, I won't petition the DMs to let you acquire a class change. You're the one who wanted to be a halfling, twit. You should have gotten a wood elf or something that can undertake the bard class ... Alright, see you soon then."

Ken rubbed at his eyes and yawned as he tried to figure out what had transpired, then gave up. Osamu was talking about that game he played online. Some RPG or another. Their parents didn't like the fact that Osamu spent at least an hour or so daily playing a game, but so long as Osamu kept up with his studies, they weren't going to do anything. Besides, it was good stress relief.

Osamu rose from the computer to kneel at Ken's side. He had been laid out on a futon since the bunk was inaccessible for someone going through vertigo and prone to vomiting soon afterwards. The little boy smiled up reassuringly at the worry in his brother's face. "I'll be okay, 'Samu."

"I know," Osamu muttered, caressing his forehead with cool fingers that felt pleasant on heated skin. "A friend of mine is coming over to visit. Think you can be a good boy while he's over?"

Ken gave a slight nod as he muffled the urge to let out a huge grin that his brother would definitely not appreciate. This guy was perhaps the only person Osamu would honor with the title of 'friend' as pretty much everyone else was only interested in Osamu for that brilliant mind that made the boy famous. "Is it that Water Caltrop guy?"

"Yeah, his real name is Ryo." There was a pause following this, and Osamu's touch settled into a pattern. After awhile the elder Ichijouji spoke again, his voice carrying the tone of one who was not to be questioned. "Aren't you feeling sleepy, Ken? You should recover your strength."

The child blinked innocently at the question. He wasn't tired, really, but it looked like his brother very much wanted to be alone when Ryo would arrive. That was alright. Ryo was Osamu's best friend, and Osamu liked Ryo a lot. So it would make sense that Osamu wanted to be alone with the guy he liked. Smiling, Ken closed his eyes.

"Anything you say, big brother," he whispered, allowing himself to unleash a huge grin once he felt Osamu walk away and close the door. Pity he couldn't watch.


A desperate voice cut into the darkness like a knife, calling out to him and drawing him up from the void. His eyes fluttered open in surprise as he recognized the voice, instantly focusing upon the concern evident on Takeru's face.

He was being held in Takeru's arms, only partially aware that they were watched by crowds of curious people that surrounded them. Oddly enough he liked being in Takeru's arms. It was comfortable and he felt safe with Takeru, though right now really was not the time to think along such lines.

Ken pulled away from the blond's embrace and straightened out his uniform. Lovely, he had fainted in a train station. At least Takeru had been there to catch him and spare him any further indignities. With a self-deprecating smirk, Ken returned his attention to his friend as the crowd resumed what it had been doing beforehand. Namely: not paying attention to anything but their own affairs.

"Thanks," the raven-haired boy whispered as he picked up his book bag and shouldered it. He glanced up when there was no immediate response from Takeru, cocking his head in curiosity as the beginnings of a blush rose on the blond's cheeks.

"Ah... it's nothing," Takeru started as he felt his cheeks heat up even more under Ken's gaze. Really, he kinda... liked... holding Ken. More than a friend should. Just perfect, he was going to make an idiot of himself now. Ah well, might as well go through with it. "I'm kinda worried about you, so I- I was wondering if you would mind if I... um... head over to Tamachi with you? Y'know, if something like this happens again."

Briefly Ken wondered at the deepening color in Takeru's cheeks, then brushed it aside. Neither of them were likely to talk about anything personal unless it was necessary, and this wasn't necessary. Besides, Takeru seemed to have Hikari according to Daisuke and was probably just dabbling in inappropriate thoughts of her. But Takeru's offer to join him on the trip to Tamachi was unusual, even with all Takeru had done for him.

And he did enjoy Takeru's company regardless of whomever Takeru might be hooked up with. Daisuke was a great friend, really, but there were times he appreciated Takeru's silences more than Daisuke's ramblings. A genuine half-smile quirked at his lips as he stepped towards the boarding area for an approaching train. "No, I don't mind at all."

The ride to Shinbashi on the way to Tamachi was long and boring, but at least he had company now. When the boys did talk, it was of little things. School, friends, the antics of their digimon partners. It wasn't until later, once the Yurikamome pulled into JR Shinbashi Station and the boys boarded the Yamanote train heading for Tamachi, that Takeru asked something he had been thinking about since Ken's recent collapse.

"Ken? What happened back there?"

The raven-haired boy turned his attention from the glowing screen that showed which stops the train was approaching and glanced curiously at the Keeper of Hope. Really, why was Takeru so concerned about him? "Nothing worth worrying about."

A brief frown passed over Takeru's face at the obvious lie. "Please, Ken, I'm worried about you. You've trusted me before, haven't you?"

Ken sighed as he stared down at the train's floor. Takeru knew more about him than any of the other Chosen, had known since the day the blond saved his life in the desert and helped him recuperate from multiple wounds. It was that incident that brought them close enough for Ken to trust Takeru... just how much he wasn't sure yet.

"The Dark Seed," Takeru heard the boy whisper tentatively, as if afraid to speak of it lest the action alone would cause it to bloom. He reached over to squeeze Ken's hand in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. "It... did something and began hurting me. Takeru, it hasn't hurt since it first embedded itself into me."

Takeru's mind raced at this new revelation, and even darker thoughts pranced around like little demons on the edge of his mind. Was it going to bloom? How much longer did Ken have left? Would Ken return to being the Kaiser? How would he be able to handle it then? Ken was his friend and someone he didn't think he could bear to lose. He had lost and nearly lost too much already.

But these thoughts were going to get him nowhere, and Ken needed hope. That much, at least, was something he could give his friend. "Maybe it's just trying to get out now? That would be nice, wouldn't it?"

Ken glanced back at Takeru. Oh, he knew the attempt for what it was, and it was rather touching that Takeru was trying to make him feel better about it. But hoping what the blond said was true would be a pointless exercise in false optimism. "Never underestimate anything, especially the ability of things to turn for the worse. Murphy's law."

"Murphy's law," Takeru repeated, confused. That was certainly a new term he never heard before save from Wallace and other Westerners on occasion, and they tended to assume everyone knew what they were talking about.

A tiny smile quirked on Ken's lips. "Murphy's law states that if anything can go wrong, it will. Toast will always fall butter-side down, unless you expect it to. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire. It is fundamentally a law of paradoxes, and not to be taken too seriously."

Takeru frowned as he tried to grasp the concept. "You believe in this?"

"Only to an extent, though it's really more of an observation on life's capriciousness than a law," the raven-haired Child of Kindness smiled at his friend's confusion. Really, Takeru was adorable when he was confused.

Wait, had he just thought Takeru was adorable? Where was that coming from? It was something to ponder at another time, however, for the mechanical voice pouring forth from a loudspeaker soon announced their arrival to Tamachi Station. The two rose from where they had been seated and disembarked without commencing in further conversation.

The comfortable silence once again fell between the two as they made their way towards the apartment complex in which the Ichijouji family dwelt. Almost straight across Tokyo Bay was Odaiba, and the rainbow glow of the bridge that connected Odaiba to the heart of Tokyo shone like a showgirl's gaudy jewelry. It was always a pretty sight, and sometimes hard to believe that less than fifteen years ago Odaiba was nothing more than a giant landfill. Ken let out another sigh as he approached the entrance to the complex. The problem now was that Takeru now had to take the long ride back to Odaiba alone. Unless, of course...

"Takeru? It's a long ride back to Odaiba. Would you prefer to spend the night here?"

Takeru blinked, taken aback by the invitation. He had been over before, certainly, but never actually spent the night. That was odd, to say the least, yet Ken was right about the train rides. "I don't see why not. Mind me calling Mom once we're inside?"

After unlocking the lobby door, the raven-haired boy smiled back at his friend and gestured for Takeru to enter. "Feel free to. I apologize in advance for my mother, she tends to fawn over anyone I bring home."

A soft smile spread over Takeru's face in response to the one on Ken's. He liked it when Ken gave one of those genuine smiles, it was nice and certainly made all his efforts as a friend worth it. "Man, if you think that's bad, you should see my relatives in Shimane."

"I think I shall spare myself and refrain from visiting Shimane then," Ken quipped as they entered an elevator and he punched in his floor number.

"Good idea."

Ken fidgeted as they fell silent once again, silently swearing at himself for being so antsy around Takeru of all people. Daisuke would probably be laughing at him right now. This was the exact same way Osamu used to act around Ryo, too, right down to the darting glances and stuffing his fists into his pockets.

Whatever it was, he was going to have to figure it out soon. Either way, it was going to be a very long night.


The sound of tapping keys prevailed in the silent room. It rose above the muffled whirr of a computer's cooling fan, above the tinny and partially muted enka music playing from a local radio station, above the rhythmic breathing of the room's sole human occupant. The canned air was cool but not cold, and the one light in the room spilled out from a computer monitor.

This was Izumi Koushiro's domain, his haven. Nothing here was emotional, everything did as it was asked to do. Oh, he didn't have the same insecurities he did when he was a child or the same problems with relating to other people, but he was still happiest among his machines. There was something to be said for having more information than he'd ever need right at his fingertips.

He was flipping through page after page even now. At some point or another he had run across an old 'missing persons' post, namely about one kid who had just disappeared years ago and was never heard from since. This page occupied one window while another was even now loading a hypertext file he compiled containing rumors he had heard in the Digital World. Yet another window depicted a jpeg file of Gennai's latest appearance.

Individually, none of these windows were all that interesting. Together they presented a puzzle just perfect for him to solve. First there was the 'missing persons' post with a very low quality image of an eleven year old boy who had disappeared. There was nothing unique about this boy. Spiked brown hair, blue eyes, plain features, came from a three-member upper middle-class family with both parents working. No siblings or pets, no friends noted. Presumed to have run away from home. He remembered this boy, vaguely, from what he could recall of the D-1 Tournament. Akiyama had been something of a legend, even if there were those that hated him for his reputation. And then there was Gennai. Human or digimon, no one knew, but the young Gennai looked far too much like an adult version of the Akiyama boy that had run away long ago.

Figuring out Gennai's true identity wasn't all that hard considering what evidence he had stumbled across, but there was something odd about the timeline which nagged at the back of his head. According to all the information, Akiyama disappeared completely after Yamato's and Taichi's battle with Diablomon but had briefly run away and returned a year before. So the Akiyama boy would have been in the Digital World a year after his own group arrived. It didn't really help that he couldn't remember the last month of 1999 all that well, but that inability to remember nagged at the back of Koushiro's mind.

That wasn't the problem, however. The problem was that rumors of Gennai have been scattered around long before Akiyama's appearance, and that Gennai and Akiyama had been in each other's presence at least during the D-1 Tournament. So logic would suggest that, perhaps, there had been another Gennai. Intriguing.

The ping of one of the less obnoxious instant messaging systems penetrated the comfortably silent atmosphere, drawing his attention from his puzzles. Amusement glinted in his dark eyes as he clicked on the incoming message icon and immediately recognized its sender.

The person known as Gennai at this point in time was on a quest to find something to extract the Dark Seed from the Ichijouji boy without killing him. Koushiro never really cared to learn the specifics, but it was interesting that not even Gennai had the answer to that puzzle. It was even more interesting that, of all the kids in the world, Gennai ended up refering to him if there was something the man couldn't figure out for himself.

It wasn't all that interesting a message really, just Gennai asking if he had stumbled upon anything while cracking into several government databases that really should have had better protection. The hacker hummed to himself as he keyed up a response that the attempts proved futile and that people should learn to protect their top secret information better, but he did find something interesting that he would like to ask Gennai about. That other thing, the missing memory, he would inquire about later.

After a couple of seconds he was sent a questioning message, then at that cue typed up everything he figured out about Gennai, and then asked his questions. That took a least a minute or so, but the wait for a response took quite a bit longer. Koushiro eyed the connection warily in care asking such a thing wasn't prudent and would send Gennai offline to protect whatever secrets there were. Absently he tossed a few packets down through Gennai's ip address, not at all surprised when they were bounced back with a few extras that weren't there before. Well, at least Gennai was active enough to notice what he did and return the favor. It was common courtesy among present-day hackers to test each other's defenses, after all.

Finally the response came after what seemed like a few minutes. Since he was oh so clever, Gennai quipped, he would probably end up figuring it all out anyway. So, far be it for the man to keep secret anything that would inevitably be discovered. Gennai would tell him and it was up to his own conscience whether he chose to share that information with anyone else or not.

In the beginning, before there were Chosen Children and Tamers, there had been no humans going into the Digital World. One day, many years ago, there was a teenaged boy who stumbled into the Digital World but never found a way home. This was Gennai, the first Tamer. Gennai grew up in the Digital World, and eventually other children arrived. Why or how, Akiyama didn't know, but these children were the first Tamers. There were extreme time differences between both worlds and Gennai had been in the Digital World longer and aged faster than any of the others. Eventually Gennai died, killed in a battle he was too old to undertake.

The others had been grief-stricken. It was, after all, the first time any human died in the Digital World and it was a horrible reminder of their mortality. Then rumors sprung up around the Digital World of a phantom that wandered like a lost child, always fading away whenever anyone got close. This was termed by one of Gennai's disciples as a codewalker. None of them had any idea what to do about it. It was then that Akiyama joined the ranks of Tamers and told of what happened. It was Akiyama who knew of someone skilled enough to do something about it, and was given permission to reveal what he must to this boy.

Thus Ichijouji Osamu was told what must be done, and it was he that created the program that reconfigured the codewalker into a sort of shell program. Only other Tamers could use this program as a disguise of sorts, and only if it was necessary. Usage of it had to be rare, for it still maintained Gennai's eccentricity and that eventually rubbed off on anyone who used it for long. Over time the rumors of Gennai's death faded, replaced by rumors that he was still alive. It was not unusual to see two Tamers wandering together, one wearing the shell program for a while, then the other taking it up later on. This was the Tamers' secret.

Unfortunately, Akiyama was the last of the true Tamers, and as such had worn the shell program longer than anyone else. Fortunately, the Tamer added, he was already a nutcase long before taking up the Gennai identity.

Koushiro mulled over this story for a while. Everything made a whole lot more sense now. Satisfied that his curiosity was fed if for only the moment, the hacker thanked 'Gennai' and watched as the connection closed between them. That was one puzzle solved, at least. However, the question of just what to do about the Dark Seed remained unanswered.

Absently the red-haired boy closed the windows that presented his bits of evidence concerning Gennai's identity and opened up a new one with a chart of the Digital World laid out in a Mercator-style map. There was an answer somewhere. And it just wouldn't be him if he didn't tackle the intellectual challenge head-on.


Ajora: Shimane is the little backwater prefecture Yamato and Takeru were vacationing at in the movie Bokura no Wargame. You know, one of the three movies that were hacked up and stitched together to form the Digimon Movie known in the English-speaking world.

The D-1 Tournament is in reference to the game "D-1 Tamers", where Ryo won the tournament that was brought into being by the Holy Beasts.


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