Act II, Scene II
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei/Bandai does. Duh.
*I'm a sick puppy with a thing for blood. Wasn't this obvious in Codewalker? Here's hoping I wrote Daisuke well...


Of all the places in Tokyo, the MarineDevimon just had to pick this particular place to do demolition work. It was two in the morning, why in the world did it decide to come and destroy things at this hour? Muttering dourly at the turn of events, Daisuke took a moment to survey the damage. One of the creature's tentacles crashed through a window and the wall it was set in, rousing everyone in the immediate area. Dammit, and he was having a perfectly nice conversation with his best friend too. Shit, why couldn't they all just leave Ken alone?

Jun had yelled something about the monster ruining a perfectly good night, among other things that were far more uncouth, and was now practically bouncing off the walls with the stress of being unable to do anything about the situation. His parents were up now too, and anything they might have said about his making noise at such an hour was cut short when the full realization of just what was going on finally settled in. Just great, his mother was starting to panic now too. He'd have to figure out how to take care of this before going out to take care of the MarineDevimon.

Then an idea came to him. Once Daisuke dug out his personal phone book, he tossed it at his sister. "Jun, call all the people with stars next to their names and tell them it's an emergency. Mom and Dad, if Hikari, Miyako, and Iori aren't available, could you drive to their apartments and wake them up for me? Chibimon and I have a monster to take care of."

Too stunned by just what was going on, Jun didn't yell at him when he threw the little book at her, and his parents didn't question him. Pleased with that much at least, Daisuke turned to the small blue Chibimon that was now bouncing in anticipation. "Ready, little buddy?"

"Ready, Dais'ke," Chibimon squeaked, bouncing even more. He evolved into V-mon first. Then, once he ran out the hole left by the large virus digimon, he evolved into XV-mon and went headlong into battle.

Daisuke didn't spare a glance back into the now dubious safety of his apartment as he ran out the front door to get out of the apartment building at ground level. It would not do to become a street pizza by running out the hole in the wall as his partner digimon had done.

Once clear of the building, Daisuke looked up to watch the battle. XV-mon was only a champion and MarineDevimon had to be an ultimate. As much as he didn't like the fact, he needed Silphymon and Ankylomon's aid as soon as possible. He would very much like to have Stingmon and Ken here too, but that would have been exactly what the enemy wanted. And in Daisuke's not-so-humble opinion, you never give the enemy what he wants.

XV-mon's attacks did very little damage, but at least it kept the virus focusing on the battle at hand. Several times its tentacles had flailed around, however, and several times it did even more damage to the surrounding buildings. Daisuke cursed to himself as he just barely got out of the way of a rain of broken concrete. The calvary should have been here by now-

As if coming from out of nowhere with an abruptness that stunned him, one of the beast's tentacles thrashed out and knocked him hard against a storefront. Within the span of a millisecond, the sheer force broke the shop's glass window and threw him onto a floor strewn with glass shards. His heavy cotton shirt and jeans protected him from most of the shards, but he now had cuts in places that had been exposed. The fiery pain that pranced along his nerves wasn't too bad though, and he had far more important things to worry about.

Daisuke winced as he began to pull himself up from the floor. Alright, the surface cuts may not have hurt too much, but his ribs definitely felt bad. The moment he paused to take a breath and settle himself, however, he noticed a familiar looking female hand with the palm held upwards and under his face.

"Need some help, Daisuke," the hand's owner asked, her voice laced with concern.

Shaking his head, the goggle-boy simply declined. It was more out of disgust at himself for not being able to get on his feet fast enough than it was out of any kind of bravado. "Is Hikari nearby?"

"Outside watching Silphymon and XV-mon beat the baddie into a pulp," the purple-haired girl answered as she withdrew her hand. "Iori's mother refused to wake him up, so we'll have to do without him."

"Oh, Miyako? You now owe me one thousand yen. I just got a call from Ken that confirmed it." At this, any pain he was in was forgotten for the moment as he watched the expression on her face go from confusion, to surprise, to amusement. This was much more interesting than the nerves that were screaming at him.

Despite what was going on outside, despite the mess they were in right now, a smirk settled on her features. "So that's why those two disappeared at the same time. Well darn, I guess I'll have to bring you the money later. Now let's go and find you some bandages for those cuts, shall we?"


There had been a time once when he considered himself above stealing, but that had been years ago. Change was a part of nature, and people always changed. That didn't mean that he'd have to like how he changed. The supplies and expensive equipment he made off with now occupied one of the buildings that had been abandoned by a Tamer who was smart enough to retire long ago. Its owner had been the medic of the group, someone they could all go to in the case of physical injuries. It was only fitting that the operation be carried out there.

Personally, he would have much preferred to go to a professional, but moving Ken out of the Digital World at this stage might be hazardous and could trigger the sprouting sequence. He also could not bring an adult to the Digital World that hadn't originally been a Tamer or Chosen Child, the protective spheres of the Digital World wouldn't allow for it. So he was left with Kido Jou and the Swiss kids that had helped him with Ken's injuries a couple of years ago, and he didn't think that any of them had genuine professional experience. He was tempted to call Youji the Tamer medic for help, but then recalled that Youji ended up killing himself a couple of days after returning to a family who had refused to believe that the adult standing before them was the same kid that 'ran away' only a couple of years beforehand.

It was for that reason that Akiyama Ryo never went back home, as much as it pained him to avoid it. His parents had always been distant, but he did care for them and doubted that they'd actually believe that he was the same kid that disappeared on them. That was the problem with retiring, he'd have to build a new life with a new identity on Earth all over again.

Eh, why was he even thinking about this now? He had other things to do. The phial of blood that he had drawn from Ken while the boy was unconscious needed to be handed over to Jou and Koushiro. He was hoping Iori or one of the other kids with D-3s would escort them through a Digital Gate since he had yet to transform their digivices into D-3s. Briefly he wondered if it was wise to introduce the nanobots and their catalysts to the blood already, but then they needed as many spore-like cells as possible right now, and the bots would be busy picking them out and reproducing them. Also, Jou voiced worries about the Dark Seed's fibers, but he had mentioned that in the final stages of its growth, the Dark Seed's fibers would draw away from Ken's nervous tissue before blooming. The timing had to be precise, but it was all they had. He only knew this because one of the doctors who operated on Kageko made a tiny notation explaining that the Dark Seed's 'roots' were showing signs of withdrawing from the nervous tissue before Oikawa gave the go-ahead to rip it out.

Ryo frowned to himself as he watched the populace of Shibuya drift along to attend to their own shallow duties, wondering once again why he had agreed to meet the two Chosen at the statue of Hachiko when he could have just gone to Odaiba and gotten it over with. Perhaps it was because of what the bronze dog represented, loyalty? As Hachiko had done less than a century ago, he too waited for Osamu's presence long after the boy's death. The day of Osamu's funeral was the day they were supposed to all get together and try out the latest flavor of ice cream. Ryo was the only one who showed up at the statue, and he waited for hours until he just went back home. He repeated that action again and again, waiting for someone who was never going to come back. Vaguely he wondered if he was going to do this until the day he died, if he didn't end up getting himself killed first.

Eventually Jou showed up, sans a Koushiro. When asked about it, Jou glanced uneasily in the general direction of Odaiba.

"A MarineDevimon showed up to wreak havoc early this morning. The new kids took care of it, but Motomiya's gotten a pretty bad beating since the attack was right outside his apartment complex. He'll be okay with a little rest though, it's nothing that'll put him in the hospital. Koushiro's with them now. Not that the armorless digimon we original kids have can do much damage against the Demon Corps in case they come back." The subtle hint of bitterness in Jou's voice at not being able to do much of anything was not lost on the Tamer, oddly enough. Maybe that was because he was too used to bitterness himself now.

"Have they grabbed anyone as a hostage yet," the Tamer asked as he drew out the sealed phials he needed to hand to Jou. An attack on Earth made no sense unless Demon was making an attempt to grab bait to fish Ken out with.

Jou looked down briefly at the oddly-colored phials of what might at one time have been blood, but the hemoglobin looked lighter than normal. "Not yet. Is the discoloration a symptom of the Dark Seed's progress?"

"No, I've added the nanobots beforehand. The dilution you're seeing now is a sign of the bots' work in converting what they can to spore-like cells. The one whole-blood phial is already typed and there are extra bags of O-type blood for the operation once we get around to that. Everything you need is at the area I've isolated for this purpose, and the coordinates have been forwarded to Koushiro. Anything else?"

Frowning, Jou shook his head. He did honestly want to help Ichijouji, but he did not want the pressure of being the one to operate. To hold someone else's life in his hands like that, to know that whether another person lived or died depended entirely on him... The depth of just what that meant was overwhelmingly depressing. "I trust I'll be having help? Hopefully?"

"Two medical students from Switzerland. They're fairly fluent in English," Ryo offered helpfully. English was required learning in some schools in Japan, and he hoped that Jou's school was one of them.

"Good, so we'll be trying to communicate in heavily accented English sprinkled with Latin medical terms," Jou countered drolly. "Sounds like an entertaining venture. But what about the energy situation? I don't know if anyone will volun-"

"That'll be me. And don't worry, the transfer device is holed up with everything else."

The Child of Faith blinked as 'Gennai's' words registered in his mind. Another problem with the Dark Seed was that as it approached the sprouting stage, it ate up more and more energy provided by its host. Since the operation had to be done at just the right time, someone else would have to be willing to offer his own life energy to keep Ichijouji stable during the process. This had its own problems, as anyone who would volunteer could run the risk of his own death. "Are you sure about this?"

"Never been so sure in my life." A brief, almost serene smile flitted across the Tamer's face as he said this. He then glanced at the massive shop-front clock that had been there since he was a kid. Too much to do, not enough time. "I'll be heading off now to grovel at Qinglongmon's claws in hopes of getting another digital core to help you guys with the Demon Corps. Take care."

Before the Tamer could disappear completely, Jou reached out to grab at the other's arm. There was something he had to say out of concern, and he just wouldn't let the man go back until he made his thoughts known. "Just a suggestion: get some sleep, you look like hell."

This drew from Ryo a short, harried laugh. "That's probably because I've been in hell. And the next few days are going to be hell. Story of my life."

With that, the Tamer dematerialized into thin air.


The humid, earthy scent that all unblemished lakes and rivers had was draped like a thin veil over everything in the house under Sanctuary Lake. It was a nice change from the dry yet woodsy odor of Akiyama's cottage. The place was quaint, but forefront in Takeru's mind was the question of just where Ken had run off to. When he asked both Leafmon and Patamon, neither could give him an exact answer. Apparently Ken had woken up before any of them did and had gone somewhere without telling anyone. Akiyama apparently wasn't around either.

Takeru honestly couldn't tell whether he should be worried about that particular facet of the situation or not. He wasn't going to be a stupid twit and act jealous because of their friendship, but what if- No, no, Akiyama wouldn't take advantage of Ken, the Tamer just didn't look like that kind of person.

It was a while before he finally located the den where he found Ken slumped in an old leather chair before a very complicated-looking computer system. There was music emitting from a CD player, but he payed it only brief attention. It was some sad piano and strings piece with a male vocal singing about unrequited love. Come to think of it, it was quite pretty.

The Child of Hope sighed as he reached forward to brush away a lock of dark hair that had fallen over sleeping boy's eyes. Ken didn't deserve to have some evil sinister thing act as a parasite inside him, didn't deserve to be hunted down by everyone who wanted that parasite. Ken didn't deserve all the pain that life threw at him like it did.

The desire to drive away that pain, at least for the moment, was one that grew stronger every time he was with Ken. Who knew he would grow fond of someone who had been so drenched in darkness that, for a while, it seemed as if there was nothing to draw up from that darkness. But there was, and Takeru found himself becoming attached to the shadows and the wounded boy that was shrouded within them. After all, darkness didn't necessarily have to be evil.

Ken awoke as Takeru's touch turned into a caress, and for the moment no words were exchanged. They simply gazed into each other's eyes, so lost in the comfortable peace that neither felt the need for speech. It wasn't until the blond recalled Ken's recent fainting episode that the silence was broken.

The concerned query was just barely audible above the muted ballad playing in the background, yet even if he wouldn't be able to hear it, Ken would still be able to understand their meaning. "Are you okay?"

"Yes. Just tired, that's all. Lethargy seems to be a regular state of being for me lately," the boy replied. Absently he caught the fingers that were caressing his cheek, smirking slightly as that action drew a mock frown from Takeru. The smirk soon turned into a grin as the other boy made a halfhearted attempt to pull those fingers from his grasp. Regardless of the playful struggle, Ken brought those fingers to his lips and kissed them lightly before letting go.

"You certainly don't seem very lethargic right now." Chuckling, Takeru wrapped his hands around Ken's wrists to draw the boy up from the chair. He frowned to himself as he noticed a small amount of shaking in Ken's hands as he did so, then instantly let go. Damn, he was going to have to be more careful about doing anything that might trigger Ken's memories of the rape. "Um, sorry about that..."

After a simple shake of the head, Ken looked away. This shouldn't be happening, he shouldn't be afraid of Takeru of all people. Takeru would never hurt him like his doppelganger had, yet he had reacted the same way he would have if... No, he had to stop agonizing over what was already done. There was no point in it and it interfered with what should be a perfectly normal, intimate relationship.

His first instinct the moment afterwards was to throw on his smirking, all-knowing public face and brush it all off, but Takeru would be able to see through that. Instead, he simply sighed and rose from the chair on his own. Why was it taking so much more of his energy now to do such a simple task than it used to? Somehow he didn't think he wanted to know the answer to that. "It's not your fault, it's mine for being a simpering idiot and dwelling on something that happened over a year ago."

"No. No, no, no. I know something like that is going to leave scars, I should have remembered that beforehand," Takeru started. "You're handling it a lot better than most people would, I think. I just want to help you get over it, that's all. So will you please let me know if anything I do makes you uncomfortable?"

Some sort of weight, he couldn't quite tell what it was, lifted from his chest at Takeru's words. Somehow it made him feel better about... something he couldn't define yet. Exactly what was it he'd done to get Takeru interested in him romantically? Surely he didn't deserve someone as sweet and compassionate as Takeru was to him. With the tiniest of smiles at that, he wrapped his hands around the other boy's waist to bring Takeru closer and gave a slight hug. "Thank you."

"For what," the blond asked, curious about just what he had done to get that kind of response out of Ken.

"For being so understanding. For being there for me. That's all..." As his voice trailed off, Ken secured his statement with a feather light kiss. Maybe things weren't so bad after all.


He was tired, so damn tired. There was simply no time to sleep anymore and it was getting to the point where even the caffeine pills weren't helping in any way.

Ryo brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen over his forehead as he surveyed the area outside Piccolomon's cloaked home. He had long since sent the winged, pink little creature over to Sanctuary Lake to make sure things were going well over there. Piccolomon had been quite agreeable about it after he had promised to send some new bodies over later for training. 'Training' being, of course, the cleaning of Piccolomon's coliseum. Almost a pity it hadn't seen any real action since the D-1 Tournament.

Really, he should be going back to the lake to grab at least a couple of hours of sleep, but there was still so much to do. Transport Ken to Youji's house, figure out just where Demon was since he hadn't heard any rumors of Demon's current whereabouts. Figure out a way to explain just why he stole so much technology from other worlds this time around to aid in the operation. Well, at least the digital core problem was taken care of now, though he knew instinctively that Qinglongmon very much wanted to ask about his recent trips to other dimensions.

Qinglongmon, of all the Holy Beasts, at least had some amount of sympathy for his plight. But just how much longer could he count on the holy dragon to back him up? There would be a time when they would all get sick of his transgressions on their laws, then what would happen? Would they stick a ring on him until he was no longer useful, like they had to Akira? Oh, they had finally released Akira once Moon=Millenniumon was defeated, but the incident still disturbed him.

Why oh why wouldn't he settle for taking up Akiyama Fisheries in Hokkaido once his father would pass on? Sure it would be a boring life, but at least he'd have time to sleep. Sleep was a luxury he could rarely afford nowadays.

With a disgusted grunt at all the mistakes he made in life, the Tamer turned to walk towards his mechanorimon. Then he paused as his eyes settled on a figure he had never seen before. It was a digimon, of that he was certain, but it was of an unknown subspecies. That was what worried him about it.

The body was a snake's, sheathed in glittering black and indigo scales. The large rattling scales at the end of its tail looked to be grey with black edges. Then, from its back, sprouted three pairs of feathered wings of azure and lavender plumage. The head was that of a snake as well, yet it had a crest of spiky dark blue feathers. What was this, and why was the rising sense of danger nagging at the back of his mind about it?

"Greetings," Ryo began, settling his voice into the polite yet commanding tone that all Tamers used when requesting information from an unknown digimon. "Please state your identity, level, and type."

The feathered serpent regarded him cooly, glacial purple eyes glinting with something Ryo couldn't identify yet. After what seemed to be a few minutes, the serpent hissed its answer. "Mixcoatlmon, champion, virus. I submit to no human, Tamer. You best be on your way."

Since he preferred the dismissal more than he'd prefer to get bitten by a snake in the Digital World of all places, Ryo gave a pleasant nod and resumed walking to his transportation. All seemed to be going well until he heard the flapping of wings close behind him. As he turned, he came face to face with the feathered serpent.

Mixcoatlmon gave what might have been considered a reptilian grin as its black forked tongue flicked into the air several times. The sense of alarm Ryo felt only increased as the serpent's head and neck began undulating in what he thought might be amusement. It only got worse when he began to hear a rhythmic rattling. Snakes only rattle when they're threatening something and ready to strike. Oh shit...

"You have the smell of the Other on you," hissed the serpent. The nictitating lid flickered over its eyes once before it continued. "Lord Demon will be pleased when I bring you to him."

Ryo grimaced as the full force of the snake's words registered in his mind. So this was Demon's little pet, the one said to be capable of sniffing Ken out. It had to have been hatched only within the last year or so as well, or he would have heard about this one by now. Only very few things could create a brand new digimon, and now he was certain where this one had originated from. Oh the irony, he had never once considered that Demon would get his claws on the reformatted codewalker. Now if only he could find some hard place to beat his head against for being so stupid. "No offense, but I'm a busy Tamer. Would he like to make an appointment?"

The large black snake began to coil around him, and were it possible for the reptile's face to display emotions, he was sure the thing was smirking and pleased with itself. He should have fought against it, but he was too exhausted to do much of anything. "You don't have a choice."

With a long-suffering sigh, the Tamer succumbed to the exhaustion. Well, on the bright side he at least had the opportunity to get some sleep. Hopefully. And maybe Savali would catch wind of his capture and figure a way to spring him out. He wasn't going to hold his breath waiting for that to happen, though...


Ajora: Mixcoatl is the Aztec Cloud Serpent and hunting god. Unpleasant fellow, really. Sadly, this took me all of 5 minutes to dig up. And man, you people who were saying 'poor Ryo' before now, the next part is just going to be cruel. Seriously. Oh, and one thousand yen is roughly equal to $10.


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