Act I, Scene III
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei/Bandai does.
*For those who care, this is written in a standard opera-style format. Which means three scenes for three acts, with a prelude and finale. Therefore, this Scene signifies the end of this Act. And guess what, things get shot to hell in the next Acts. Woo?


The cosmos themselves were probably having a great deal of fun at his expense. Something out there must be laughing at him even now. Somewhere, perhaps from outside of whatever had shattered within him, he could hear the laughter. It was strained, edged with insanity.

It only took a moment for him to realize that it was himself. Oh, how utterly stupid he was to think he ever had a chance. The laughter was a reflex, and so was the unduly flippant comment he made soon after. What was it? Something like: "You kids have fun now, I have to work on something. Please clean up after yourselves when you're done." And he turned to retreat as fast as possible into his study, slamming the door behind him. The latch fell in place with the force of the door's impact with the doorjamb.

Ryo slumped into the swiveling chair at his desk the moment his knees gave out. He certainly hadn't thought this would happen, but he really should have known better. Hating the Motomiya boy for forming a Jogress bond with his Jogress partner had been futile and never changed anything, though he was still jealous and would probably remain that way for a long time. It was so hard letting go. And then he walked in on Ken quite obviously making out with Takeru. His little Ken was his no longer, and probably never had been.

What a fool he had been to let go. He had had a chance with Osamu, but had blown that off by flirting with Kageko whom he could understand much better. Osamu was never one for speaking about emotions, and given his own cluelessness when it came to people, he had never once thought that Osamu had been interested in him in such a way until it was too late. Kageko had been more verbose, and he did like her a lot, but she was dead too. He adored Ken, but never thought that adoration would turn into something more when he realized that Ken had grown up. Perhaps, if he had disobeyed the Holy Beasts, he would be the one in Takeru's place right now.

But it was too late. It was always too late. He would never have a chance again.

With a sigh, the Tamer dug through his desk's drawers until he found what he was looking for. The bottle of scotch weighed heavily in his hands, as he never dipped too deeply into the alcohol stash, but in this instance it would be light and empty before too long. Once a glass would have been dug up before he opened the bottle, but now he didn't care for such things.

The liquor burned as it went down, but it was welcome and distracted from the sounds of a desperate fist upon his study's door. Best of all, it was a welcome distraction from the heartache.


Ken pounded upon the locked door of his friend's study. He knew too well that the half-crazed laughter from Ryo before the Tamer retreated was a call for help, he had heard it so few times before but always knew what it meant. Soon enough that laughter would turn into sobs, and he had always been there for Ryo when that happened. Except now.

He didn't even know what he was doing with Takeru would hurt Ryo until he heard that tortured whimper. How long had Ryo felt that way about him? Why didn't his friend tell him anything? Why didn't he notice anything until now?

Takeru stepped up to him then and placed a hand upon his shoulder, as quiet as always. The raven-haired boy sighed as he let the fist drop. Why hadn't he been aware of things before now? Surely he had noticed that Ryo was a lot more reserved than when they were traipsing around for the first time in the Digital World, but then they had both grown since then and growth brought change. That much was to be expected. But this...

"I didn't know," Ken murmured, staring at the grains in the wooden door before him. He could almost feel the confusion radiating from Takeru and wondered faintly just how he was going to explain this to the other boy. After all, Ryo's reaction wasn't that of a normal person, and he really didn't want to burden the blond with the full knowledge of Ryo's feelings towards him. If they were what he thought they were, at any rate.

This of course meant that he could not act on his attraction to Takeru while Ryo was around and likely to walk in on them again. The idea of refraining from displaying affection did not bother him; after all, he was not all that demonstrative to begin with. But he just did not want to live with this kind of tension looming over them.

A slight frown creased Takeru's features as he played back the recent scenario in his head. He just didn't know Akiyama nearly as well as Ken did, but there was nothing sane about the strained laughter coming from the Tamer after Akiyama saw them kissing. He wondered just what was going on, since Ken had peeled off of him the moment Akiyama ran off and looked to be very distressed. Then, ushered by the gravity of the situation, came the memories of those first few days he spent in Akiyama's cottage. How Akiyama looked when Takeru first appeared at the cottage with a severely wounded Ken draped across Pegasumon's back, the sheer rage on the Tamer's face at whomever had raped Ken the night Akiyama's foreign technology revealed lacerations in places they shouldn't have been. He had just brushed it off as a sort of elder brother complex then; hell, Yamato would probably react the same way. Now he wondered if it wasn't something more.

Dammit, why did things have to be so complicated? In a perfect world he should have been able to tell Ken how he felt, Ken would feel the same way, and that was it. No one would be hurt by it, and their friends might even fully support their relationship. He hadn't even taken the others into account. Oh great, what would Daisuke think? He knew Daisuke had formed a crush on Hikari, but that eventually died out after a while and he wondered if the goggle-boy redirected that attention from Hikari to Ken. How foolish he had been not to even consider any of this beforehand.

Sighing, Takeru took Ken into a hug even as the other boy leaned back into his arms. Well, at least since Akiyama didn't look like he was going to come out soon, they had at least some time for this. In light of all the new complications arising from his recent realizations, holding Ken was very comforting at the moment. Ken must have been as distressed as himself, and he wasn't quite sure what to do about it. However, just moments later the silence was disturbed by the sound of desperate scratching at the front door.

After mouthing an unvoiced thanks to whatever it was out there that interrupted his unpleasant train of thought, Ken pulled away to open the door and allowed a certain virus digimon into the cottage.

Savali darted in, golden eyes glancing around frantically for any sign of Ryo. When his survey failed to procure an indication of the Tamer's presence, the tsukaimon returned his attention to the two boys who seemed out of sorts for some reason he doubted he could fully fathom. Something was very wrong and he did not have the time to sort this out at the moment.

"Where's Ryo," asked Savali, his voice edged with impatience. There was news he had to announce and he would only ever report to the Tamer. The two humans looked at each other in regret laced with something else he couldn't quite figure out, then at the closed door of Ryo's study. The way that blond kid hovered over Ken reminded him of how that pissy little Elecmon at Primary Village hovered over all those annoying little hatchlings, except there was something substantially different about it and he then recalled the look that passed over Ryo's face when the Tamer had talked to him about Ken for the first time. Oh, of all the stupid things...

"He locked himself in the study," Ken murmured as guilt passed over that pale face, and that look confirmed Savali's suspicions. If the current situation in the Demon Corps wasn't as dire as it was now, he would have actually been amused by this. But now was not the time to laugh at the stupidity of humans and their silly emotions.

Once he bit down a scathing comment he would very much like to utter about how in the world Ken could be oblivious to Ryo's feelings, the tsukaimon rolled his eyes in disgust and fluttered back to the front door. "You two, go pack supplies. Ryo must have a loose pane somewhere in his study's window and I'm going to find it."

The two looked at him in surprise before one of them spoke up. "Pack? What for?"

With a grunt of annoyance, Savali pinned Ken under a golden-eyed glare. Damned if he was going to be the one to dig their own graves just because he would normally refuse to answer Ryo's darling little Jogress partner. "The boogiemen are coming for you, little boy. It just so happens that Demon's having his troops do a sweep of every sector of the Digital World. Starting with that lovely little desert that's oh so close by. And Demon's seems to have acquired a pet that's capable of sniffing you out, so the cloaking perimeter would be useless."

He did not stick around to see the stunned expression on Ken's face, or the panic that was rising in Takeru's. Savali winged towards the front of the cottage and settled before the window of Ryo's study. The cottage was too well built, and there just weren't any imperfections in the window's glass or in the material that bound it. But he refused to be hindered by this.

Savali clawed and pounded upon the glass, and screeched at the figure inside. This was beginning to prove futile. Ryo was simply too caught up in his own self-pity to notice the furious tsukaimon. Then, as if driven by a miracle, the window pane loosened within its constraints. Grateful for this new occurrence, Savali pounded against it even more until it finally gave way and he barreled inside with the force of his own attacks.

Angered by the situation and by the fact that this had taken far longer than he liked, the tsukaimon was not in the frame of mind to cater to Ryo's selfish moods right now. He smacked the half-empty bottle of alcohol out of the Tamer's hands and raked a claw down his plaything's cheek in hopes of snapping Ryo out of whatever trance he was in. Unfortunately, that action didn't seem to have much effect on the Tamer's sluggishness.

"Wake up, you fool! They're coming for your precious little Ken and they'll be here soon," hissed Savali, his anger mounting as the weight of his warning didn't seem to fully register in the Tamer's mind.

"It's too late, don't you see," Ryo whispered, blue eyes clouded and distant under the alcohol's influence. The tsukaimon growled at the notes in the Tamer's voice that suggested that Ryo wasn't even really there anymore. Ryo had been in the Digital World too long, the insanity that all Tamers eventually succumbed to must have finally caught up with him. What lovely timing, Savali thought dourly.

He clawed at the Tamer again, this time raking across Ryo's chest. No, he was not going to lose his plaything, not like this. And not now. "While he's still alive you'll always have your chance. Don't be an idiot, don't let Demon take that away!"

Something seemed to shift within Ryo, and clarity slowly returned to the Tamer's eyes. Breathing a sigh of relief at this, Savali fluttered up to eye-level and repeated what he told Ken, adding in a more detailed field report. Once done, the tsukaimon settled on the desk before Ryo and waited for some sign of what to do next.

Ryo leaned back into his chair, rubbing his temples in what was probably meant to distract from the birth of an alcohol-induced headache. "This pet that you mentioned Demon has, what is it?"

"Don't know, no one knew much about it." Savali then groused under his breath about the uselessness of certain champion digimon who wouldn't be nice and tell him anything. "All I know is that it's capable of 'sniffing out its own', whatever that means. We can't keep Ken here. I've told him to pack all the supplies he can."

"Good, we'll have to relocate to Sanctuary Lake. It's a bit far, but it's just far enough out of the way for the moment." The act of rising from his chair was slow, but at least it offset the vertigo Ryo would probably be going into were he not familiar with the more unpleasant aspects of alcohol's effect on his system. And a bigger crisis like this at least provided distraction from the heartache.

Savali's mood lightened considerably as his plaything picked him up off the desk and held him close. Normally he didn't like being held like a kid's stuffed toy, but Ryo was going through so much now and needed the comfort that the action would bring. That much, at least, was worth the minor annoyance.

The two exited the study, and much to Savali's relief he noticed that the boys indirectly responsible for Ryo's recent emotional state were not in the immediate vicinity. They must be somewhere on the second floor, where the bedrooms were located. He hissed to himself as he then heard the thud of footsteps descending down the stairs, which caused Ryo to squeeze him closer. Stupid humans. Some day, when this crisis would be over, he would make sure to torment them as mercilessly as he did to Ryo.

Ken paused halfway between the living room and the study, taken aback by the vicious glare that Ryo's tsukaimon pinned him under. But, to be honest, he believed he deserved it for making out with someone under his former Jogress partner's own roof. The Tamer wasn't even looking at him now. Sighing, he shouldered an old yellow bag that had Ryo's name stitched on the carry strap. It had been all he could find that was large enough to pack things into and he just couldn't bear to look around in Kageko's room for another bag. All his questions about D-1 would have to wait until later.

"Where do we go?"

Ryo blinked at the question, allowing himself to lapse back to the strictly-business young Gennai personality he had built up based on his first teacher in the Digital World, Oshiro. It was much less painful. "Oh, we should head to Sanctuary Lake. I doubt you remember it. We were visiting back before Oshiro died and left it to Akira. I think Takeru remembers it, though. Right?"

With an uneasy nod, Takeru shifted from where he had been standing behind Ken. He really didn't know how to act around the Tamer now that he figured out what Ryo was probably going through. "Yeah, we hid out there once or twice."

"Good, then you can probably find it," Ryo began as he strode to the security panel beside the front door and began fiddling with it. "You two, grab your partners and get a head start. I have to secure the place."

Another silent look passed between the two boys as Ryo idly toyed with the panel's keys, and he heard them move towards the playroom to retrieve their digimon. Once done, they exited the cottage and left him alone with Savali.

A self-deprecating smirk flashed across his face at that. Alone. He would always be alone. That was just the way things were. He was the last true Tamer, after all. No wonder they all eventually went mad, what with how little contact they had with the outside world and other humans. Alone. All alone. Alone, alone, alone.

Savali looked up as he felt something wet splatter on his head, frowning when he noticed the expression on the Tamer's face. Humans were so weak when they were governed by emotions. With something that might have been either a grunt of disgust or a noise of acceptance, he allowed his plaything to cry into his fur.


Blue eyes scanned the horizon for any threats that should approach them. Nothing, yet. Somehow that worried the Child of Hope. Things had just turned for the worse, and usually when that happened Gennai was there with the answer. Of course, 'Gennai' now seemed to have a one-sided infatuation with the same boy he was interested in. What was there to do? Surely if he had known about the Tamer's feelings, he would not have been so bold as to approach Ken like he did. It just wasn't something he would do given his own insecurities about romantic relationships in general. After all, he still remembered his parents' divorce far too well to ever want to go through something similar himself.

What was he to do now? He liked Ken a lot, and part of his reasoning for approaching the Child of Kindness like he did was because he wanted to be the one to heal and hopefully protect Ken. He had also thought that there wouldn't be anyone else who felt the same way. Obviously he was wrong.

Sighing, he briefly squeezed his arms around the boy seated before him on Pegasumon's back. Ken had been tense at first about the position, but had eventually been convinced that it was for best in case the Dark Seed would begin to act up again. Besides, it was quite nice having his arms around Ken, even if his hands were full with Pegasumon's mane. Leafmon was cradled in Ken's embrace, which meant that Ken's arms weren't free and Pegasumon's flight would have to be as smooth as possible so that they wouldn't all go falling off if something happened to upset the flight.

The approaching noise of something mechanical drew his attention, and Takeru glanced back only to recognize the mechanorimon that Ryo used as transport. Well, at least they had company now, though he still wasn't sure what to think of the Tamer now that he was made aware of the other's feelings. But this was Ken's childhood friend, so he just assumed he was to be as civil as always. What else was there to do?

Takeru returned his attention to Ken as he felt an alarming shudder in the body before him. His eyes widened in astonishment as he watched the skin in the back of Ken's neck move as a muscle underneath it twitched with a violence that couldn't be natural. Then, as quickly as it began, the twitching stopped and Ken slumped forward in a faint.

Leafmon squeaked in panic underneath the Child of Kindness, which only served to heighten Takeru's sense of despair. It couldn't be happening now. Not so soon. In what could only be reflex, he clamped his knees against Pegasumon's ribs to ground himself and better hold the unconscious boy while he freed a hand to wave desperately at the mechanorimon's pilot. For the moment his mind relapsed to the memories of a child who trusted everything anyone told him. Gennai knew everything, Gennai would know what to do now.

The mechanorimon steered closer, and the person who went under the alias of 'Gennai' opened up the glass hemisphere to get a better look at them. Takeru couldn't hear the sharp intake of breath over the winds, but what followed was more than enough to worry him.

"I thought I had more time..."


Ajora: From here on out, expect this to live up to the 'R' rating ^_^. I apologize for the amount of time it took me to write this, but, erm, I've been spending a good portion of my free time doing medical and physics research (along with playing Tag Tamers/Anode Tamer and being stunned by how close I've gotten to Ryo's personality {eee, he's adorable when he's depressed}, and drawing up the floorplans for Ryo's cottage which I can scan if anyone's actually interested). Sorry.


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