Lux Ab Tenebris
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does.
*This sequel to Paladin's Wings does actually have an explicit sex scene, severe angst, and romantic sap. Don't whine and say you weren't warned. Pairing is, of course, Kenkeru/Taken. There are also hints of Hiyako and Taito.
*What has been previously established: In Paladin's Wings, Takeru admits his feelings to Ken, and later saves Ken from killing himself. During this fiasco Takeru gets a hint at how much he really feels for Ken, and Ken realizes that he does indeed care for Takeru. How deep those feelings run, however, has yet to be discovered.


"Geesh, where on earth is he," a boy clad in a cream-colored shirt, green-blue jacket and darker slacks that might have been a little too long asked of no one in particular. He scanned the crowds in the JR Shinbashi Station of mainland Tokyo, wondering if his boyfriend was even going to make it. Four years after they had started dating they decided to have a little picnic in the Shinjuku Imperial Garden as a sort of anniversary celebration. Now he wondered if the date was even going to happen.

The train from Tamachi had already come and gone several minutes ago, and Takeru wondered faintly if his boyfriend was caught up in something. Ken was usually so punctual, so something had to have happened...

A light hand fell on his shoulder, and he turned to look into the calm brown eyes of a childhood friend. "Maybe he's just stuck somewhere. Why don't you just sit down and wait with me?"

He merely consented as Hikari guided him over to one of the benches, too worried about whether or not Ken had decided to stand him up to protest. He couldn't even think straight right now.

Hikari had come along to cover for him in case one of the other Destined Children started asking questions, and in hopes to actually get a picture of Ken and Takeru together. For her personal collection, she said, though Takeru was never sure if she meant that or if anyone else was going to see it. It wasn't that he didn't trust her, it was just that he didn't trust other people not to find the photo.

As it was, she was the only one who knew of their relationship, and only because she had pressured Takeru about why he wasn't talking to her so much anymore. He liked being able to share his thoughts about his relationship with Ken to her, and knowing that she would never tell anyone else. It was also nice knowing that she was so supportive of it too.

Takaishi Takeru sighed and leaned back to gaze up at the ceiling. Reeling around in his mind like leaves in a wind-stirred pond were worries and ponderings that all centered around Ken. Why didn't Ken page him, or tell him ahead of time?

An hour passed and not a word was exchanged between himself and Hikari. It was strange, once he'd talk about anything and everything to her. Maybe she was right, maybe Ken had changed him.

He really should stop thinking like this so much.


Ken sighed in relief as he stepped from the train from Tamachi and into JR Shinbashi Station, one arm draped over the laptop carry satchel slung over his shoulder. His parents had caught him at the last minute and drilled him on where he was going and when he was coming back. Apparently they still hadn't forgotten his running away exploit four years ago. He hated lying about his plans with Takeru, but he had to anyway. He was the only son left of the Ichijouji line, there were... expectations... of him that he was sure he didn't want to meet. If only Osamu was alive-

He shook his head at that thought and moved on to a less painful subject. It just wouldn't do to live in the past like that. Look at where it had gotten him.

The scars of his past would always haunt him, but he had his paladin to shine a little light into that darkness. Somehow that thought always comforted him. As nice as having Daisuke for a friend was, the cinnamon-haired boy just couldn't understand what Ken was going through. Takeru understood everything, and if he didn't he'd just wait patiently until he could figure it all out. Daisuke just didn't have that kind of patience.

A quick glance around the station offered the image of his golden- haired paladin seated next to someone he couldn't identify yet, and Ken found himself striding over as quickly as possible to bask in Hope's glow.

When the girl seated next to his paladin turned to call out to Ken in recognition he felt his heart freeze over. No. Takeru couldn't. Not with her-

As easily as it had done so long ago, an invisible wall erected itself around Ken and a mask shielded his face from the world. He nodded in stony acknowledgement to Hikari, and barely cracked a small smile when Takeru trotted up to him and dragged him over to the bench. All feeling or emotion he would have had closed up on itself and refused to come out.

Takeru gazed in concern at the lack of expression on his angel's face. This was strange, Ken hadn't looked like this around him for years. He reached up to brush away a lock of black hair that had fallen into Ken's face, finally realizing what had happened when Ken visibly flinched at his touch.

He couldn't believe it, his angel was actually threatened by Hikari's presence.

"Ken, Hikari came along because she wants to take a picture of us together. She's going to send us copies when she develops the film later tonight," Takeru offered as reassuringly as possible without looking like he was being condescending. The last thing he wanted was for his angel to be jealous of his best friend.

"And after I get pictures of you two I'm going to meet Miyako at Tokyo Tower for some scenery shots of that and maybe a little quiet time at the Atago Jinja shrine nearby."

The raven-haired boy blinked at this information even as relief trickled in to weaken his defenses. Miyako and Hikari? That was quite unexpected. "I hadn't heard that you two had gotten so close."

Hikari gave a gentle smile, grateful that her comment derailed any misgivings Ken may have had about her presence. She wagged a finger in front of his face and winked. "You and Takeru aren't the only ones keeping secrets, you know."


Light's keeper bounced to her feet and pointed to a quieter part of the station. "So, can I snap off a couple of pictures of you two before the train to Kanda Station gets here to whisk you off?"

A frown finally crossed Ken's face at the implications of the existence of something that could be used as blackmail. "These photos, they won't be used for more... unsavory purposes, will they?"

"Come on, Ken, this is Hikari," Takeru said, grinning as he grabbed his angel's hand to pull the taller boy towards the quieter part of the station. "She's got principles that would make most people balk. We can trust her. Besides, she's never betrayed me before, she's not going to start any time soon."

Ken's frown lightened at this. If Takeru trusted Hikari, then he really should come to trust her too. But then there was still the issue of those photos and whether anyone else would get ahold of them, intentionally or not.

The displeasure Ken felt dissolved completely when Takeru leaned against a concrete column with arms crossed and giving a very definite 'come hither' look. Taking it as he was meant to, a predatory grin flashed across Ken's face as he strode forward to plant one hand just centimeters from Takeru's face on the concrete and another on the shorter boy's hip to draw the blond closer. Takeru smirked as he stepped up, threw his arms around his angel's neck while pressing the length of his body against Ken's, and placed an ardent kiss on his boyfriend's lips. All thoughts of Hikari's presence were completely and utterly forgotten in the heat of the moment.

At least, it was until they heard the distinctive click of a camera's shutter. Hikari gave a huge grin as they broke off and glared daggers at her for watching.

"Oh, stop looking at me like that, it made for such a wonderful photo opportunity that I simply couldn't resist it," the Child of Light stated, smiling as sweetly innocent as she knew how. "I don't suppose you two would pose for a few more shots, would you?"

Despite Ken's misgivings about the whole photography fiasco, he shrugged and draped one arm in a decidedly possessive manner across Takeru's shoulders as he faced Hikari. A very rare and genuinely heartfelt smile tugged at his lips when Takeru's arm encircled his waist. Somehow it was always these little things that seemed to lighten his mood, and he could never figure out why.

A few more pictures were taken before the train to Kanda Station pulled into the stop and its arrival announced. After hasty farewell bows to Hikari, the two boarded the train and found a relatively isolated seat together once the fare was paid.

"So, why were you late," the blond asked out of gnawing curiosity after the train had left the station and was well underway. He watched as Ken pulled out a CD player and tiny earbud-style headphones from the satchel before looking up at him.

"My parents caught me on the way out and interrogated me, so I had to explain in length that I was due over to help Daisuke with his homework. And given that they know of him and his still-infamous crush on Hikari, they would not be likely to realize where I'll be or what I'll really be doing."

Takeru's brows knitted together in a slight frown. "I thought Hikari had finally rubbed a clue into him years ago."

"Oh, she has," the raven-haired boy smirked as he loaded a compact disc into the player and offered one of the buds. "However, my parents don't realize that, nor do they realize that I've been spending much more time with you. Feel like listening to opera with me?"

"Sure," Takeru murmured, taking the offered bud and pressing it into one ear. Ken had the most unusual musical tastes in the group apparently... but it was rather nice, especially when his angel was narrating or summarizing for him. The music his boyfriend introduced him to always seemed to have a complexity, beauty, and invariably a tragic theme that often reflected Ken's own soul. "Which one is this?"

"'Tristan und Isolde', by Richard Wagner. A maiden named Isolde was captured in war and has been chosen as the conquering king's bride, and the one bringing her to the king was an enemy she healed. As it turns out, she had a deep and unrequited love for this knight Tristan, but hated herself and him for this unwanted emotion."

"That's silly," the blond commented as he laid a hand on Ken's under the satchel and laced his fingers between the other's. Blue topaz and amethyst eyes closed as the boys focused on the music and each other's presence. Takeru listened intently as Ken explained how Isolde tried to poison Tristan and herself, but the handmaid mistakenly switched the poison for a love potion. The two finally realized their love for each other, but were doomed when the king's lackey plotted to entrap them during a night's rendezvous.

Halfway through, the mechanical voice announcing the train's arrival at Kanda Station intruded upon the boys' privacy. Dazed at the sudden reality check and subsequent pause of the music halfway through a passionate aria, Takeru allowed himself to be led off the train and towards one of the many stations of the Toei Shinjuku subway line.

It wasn't long before they were able to catch a subway train and find a reasonably quiet corner for themselves. The music and Ken's softly whispered narration resumed. The lovers were caught by the king's lackey, and Tristan challenged to a fight. Grievously wounded from this battle, he was dragged away by his friend to his castle, and would soon die from heartbreak and infection of the wounds. Isolde heard of the news of his declining health and rushed to his side. She was however too late, and Tristan died in her arms. Isolde, unable to bear the pain, joined him in death soon after.

The blond sighed heavily as the last strains died away. These operas always got depressing, and they always gave Ken's eyes such a distant, sad look afterwards. Takeru squeezed his boyfriend's hand lightly, bringing Ken's attention back to reality.

"Are you okay," he whispered, gazing in concern at the older boy. Ken merely nodded as he pulled the buds out of their ears and stuck the CD player back in his satchel.

Silence descended between them as the subway train sped along its way. Takeru knew better than to disturb Ken during one of his quiet moments, but he wished his boyfriend would at least give him a glimpse of what the raven-haired boy was thinking or going through. But he always held on to the hope that some day his angel would learn to confide in him.

Pity it was taking so damn long to get Ken to open up just a little bit... although it was getting a little bit easier to figure out what was going on in Ken's mind. And right now Takeru had a pretty good idea what his angel was thinking.

The train's entry into Shinjuku-sanchome Station disrupted Takeru's line of thoughts, and this time he was the one having to snap his boyfriend back to reality. In the span of several minutes they had exited the subway station and walked up to the Shinjuku Imperial Garden.

Stepping into the Garden was like stepping into another world. The bustle and noise of city life were shed completely in the tranquility of Tokyo's most beautiful park. Two boys more deeply in love than they knew strolled though it in silence before finding an area free of prying eyes. It was there that they settled upon the grass under the sheltering low branches of a gingko tree and gazed into each other's eyes.

Takeru brushed his thumb lightly against his angel's cheek before leaning in to plant a tiny kiss on Ken's forehead. "You're not going to lose me, if that's what you're worried about."

"I hope not," Ken muttered as he leaned back to lay upon the grass, closing cloudy amethyst eyes to the leaf-filtered sunlight. "I've lost so much that I don't think I could bear the idea of losing you."

"Mmm," the blond responded as he laid besides his boyfriend and stared up into the canopy of the tree in thought. Best to distract Ken from darker thoughts as much as possible. "It's nice when we get time like this alone, isn't it?"

"Yeah. Thanks for agreeing to come with me."

"How could I resist," he whispered as he curled up on his side and settled his head on his boyfriend's left shoulder, smiling warmly when Ken's arm encircled his shoulders. It was going to be a very nice anniversary date after all.


It was really too bad that everything had to take such a horrible turn when the park closed, however. In an attempt to find a reasonably cheap place to eat, they had inadvertently walked into Kabukicho, Shinjuku's seedy red-light district. Despite Takeru's misgivings, Ken was unfazed by the apparent underworld dealings around them and had found a decently priced Chinese restaurant. Dinner was great, of course, but it had given them a false sense of security.

Which in turn made them the perfect target for a pickpocket who decided that the contents of Ken's satchel would be well worth the snatching attempt. Enraged that someone would dare take something of his, the former Kaiser left his boyfriend's side and ran the teen down a dark alley. What Ken did to the teenaged Yakuza brat, the blond did not ask, nor did he want to know. The bruises on the older boy's knuckles and the apparent safe return of the bag with the CD player and laptop still within was all the answer Takeru needed.

Once they had finally made it back to Shinjuku-sanchome Station, the train they had meant to take in hopes of getting home had already come and gone, and would be the last train out that would not leave them stranded in Shinbashi. Disenheartened by this, Ken and Takeru exited the station to look around for a place to stay overnight.

In time they found themselves at Hotel Tateshina. The hotel was a mere five minute walk from the station, though notably lacking in cheap vacant rooms. However, after some sort of argument Ken put the person at the reservations desk through that Takeru did not want to be a part of, they finally wrangled out a deal for a single-bed room in the hotel's annex building.

Takeru sighed and leaned back into the soft, full-sized Western-style bed that took up most of the space in the hotel room. He closed his eyes wearily as he heard his boyfriend pace where he could in an attempt to figure out what to do now. Ken was smart, he'd figure out how to get them out of this predicament.

Not that he didn't like the idea of staying overnight in a hotel room that was, at eleven thousand yen, considerably more expensive than he thought. They could have gotten one of the smaller and less expensive rooms, but Ken just wouldn't change his mind. Yet the thing that stuck like a burr in Takeru's mind was how exactly they were going to explain this to their parents.

When the pacing stopped and a shadow rose to block light spilled by the fixture above, he found himself gazing up at a very triumphant- looking Ken.

"Since we seem to be stuck here," Ken stated, a faint edge of silent humor in his voice. "I suggest we do something to enjoy the stay."

"Oh, does the genius have a plot to get us out of hot water with our parents," Takeru smirked as his raven-haired fallen angel loomed over him on the bed. He reached up to caress his angel's cheek, smiling softly as those beautiful amethyst eyes closed to focus on that touch.

"Yes, I do. However, I think it can wait another hour or so. Don't you," Ken asked, his voice carrying just the tiniest quaver as Takeru's fingers trailed from his cheek and down his throat to release the first few buttons of the white silk shirt from their holes. "Takeru, what-"

"We've both been wanting this since we went steady," the blond-haired boy answered as he brushed his fingers against the skin that was now exposed to his view. "And we're legal, right? At least in this country anyway. What's to stop us?"

Ken shrugged, settled with his elbows propped up on the bed and took his boyfriend's lips in a kiss. His paladin's lips parted, allowing him to press in and draw Takeru's tongue out into a well-practiced dance. As they kissed, Takeru released the rest of the buttons and pulled his boyfriend's shirt free of its confines under a black leather belt. His hands trailed up under the shirt and over the smooth skin of his angel's back to take Ken into an embrace.

It was when Takeru's fingers caressed back down to Ken's waist and began working at his boyfriend's chrome buckle that Ken pulled away. A smirk played across raven-haired boy's face at the speed with which his paladin was trying to push them.

"Now now, going a little fast aren't we," Ken pointed out even as his smirk turned into a huge grin of delight at the frustration evident in Takeru's eyes. "Then, until you figure out how to take it slower, it looks like I'm going to be in charge."

Takeru stared at his angel, recognizing a glint of the dominance in those beautiful amethyst eyes. The Kaiser wore it so many times in the past that the connection sent a cold shiver of dread down the golden- haired boy's spine. He thought he could accept a revisitation of that particular aspect of Ken's personality when the time came, but now he wasn't so sure.

And yet deep down inside he liked the fact that Ken was so possessive and in control. It actually made him feel wanted. So he shrugged and gave his boyfriend a bemused smile. "If that's the way you want to play, fine."

He was rewarded with a small kiss as Ken leaned over him once again. Much to his surprise his boyfriend pulled his wrists up and over his head, gathered in one strong hand. The gaze he gave his angel was questioning.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you. Just taking the necessary measure to ensure you won't get ahead of the game."

With that Ken's thumb lightly caressed across his paladin's lips, then the free hand trailed slowly down Takeru's cheek and neck, resting at the top button of the cream-colored shirt. "Mine," the former Kaiser uttered silently as he gracefully worked the first button free. He leaned in to nibble lightly at the other boy's throat and was satisfied with the muffled moan it elicited.

As much as he hated himself for it, he liked making Takeru moan like that... it gave him a sense of control he secretly longed for since he fell from his position as Kaiser. But this was entirely different from the kind of control the Kaiser would use. He hoped.

And he really should be focusing more on the task at hand than his emotional issues.

Ever so slowly each button was released and the bared flesh touched with gentle caresses. Takeru squirmed impatiently at this treatment once Ken had reached his navel and leaned down to nip lightly at one of the exposed nipples.

It wasn't painful, but the way Ken's tongue teased the sensitive tissue made Takeru feel really good. And he really wished he could do something about the situation, like try something he had heard his brother talk to Taichi about when Yamato thought he wasn't listening. Something he wanted to do to Ken for ages. But right now what Ken was doing to him did feel nice...

And right now this was not going at an acceptable pace, as pleasant as it was. Takeru squirmed out of his boyfriend's grasp and clamped his hands down on Ken's. Before Ken could so much as protest the change, Takeru pressed a finger to his lips.

"I want to try something, if you don't mind. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it though."

"Oh? Dare I ask," Ken muttered, raising an eyebrow at this sudden twist of events. Much to his surprise, his boyfriend rose from the bed and shrugged off the shirt. With a smirk Ken sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. "So, what is it?"

Intent on his task, he failed to answer, and instead Takeru knelt before his angel and parted Ken's knees. His hands caressed up Ken's inner thighs, eyes fixated on a point just below the raven-haired boy's buckle. Quick fingers unbuckled the belt and pulled it free. With that out of the way, the blond paused to look up at Ken.

"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this," Takeru whispered as the fingers of one hand traced light patterns on his boyfriend's midriff before trailing back down to unbutton and unzip Ken's slacks.

Ken stared down at the mop of golden hair. He wasn't stupid, he knew well enough what Takeru planned to do to him, but he never thought his paladin would consider doing anything like that. Not that he didn't like the idea, but this was quite unexpected.

The raven-haired boy squirmed a bit as Takeru's hands pulled out his rising heat and stroked it gently. His paladin looked up, smirking.

"You know, watching you squirm is so delicious," the blond-haired boy said as he licked his lips hungrily and grinned at the expression on his angel's face. He leaned forward to kiss Ken's stomach before taking his boyfriend's erection into his mouth.

A hiss of pleasure escaped Ken's lips at the new sensation. He gathered the bed's blankets within white-knuckled fists as the play of Takeru's tongue on his hardness drove his passion higher and higher. Any thoughts he had were gone, his mind so hazy with what his paladin was doing to him that he didn't notice his control over the situation had slipped away completely.

One single thought rose amidst the haze, almost as if on reflex. Control... he hated not being in control, even if this did feel incredibly good. Despite his body's need for release, Ken steeled himself and pressed his paladin away.

A hurt expression crossed Takeru's face as his angel pushed him away. He was so certain that Ken was enjoying it, but-

"As pleasant as this is," Ken purred as he ran his fingers through his paladin's golden hair. "I think it's time for us to... consummate... our relationship, don't you?"

Relief spread across Takeru's face as he rose up to kiss his angel, only to pull away when he realized that Ken was moving to pull off his slacks. Takeru eagerly aided the dark-haired boy and removed the rest of his own clothes. With everything out of the way, he pulled his boyfriend into his embrace and captured Ken's lips in a passionate kiss.

Minutes passed before they pulled apart and gazed into each other's lust-filled eyes. A smirk flashed across Ken's face as he gently pressed his boyfriend onto the bed and flat on his back.

"Wait right there," the raven-haired boy ordered as he knelt at the bedside and rummaged through his clothing. Within a few moments he pulled out a tube of lubricant and grinned. "Knew this would come in handy someday..."

Takeru stared in surprise. "You've been planning this?"

"I didn't plan for us to get stranded out here, but I have been hoping for this to happen eventually. Tonight is as good as any, right?"

"And we're not likely to get caught by anyone who knows us," the blond muttered, following Ken's logic. Made sense, certainly. And right now he wasn't about to complain.

Ken nodded in agreement as he unscrewed the cap on the tube of lubricant and squeezed a generous amount onto his palm. He joined his paladin on the bed, slicking his own hardness with the gel with just enough left for other purposes.

With a fingers made slippery by the lubricant, Ken reached down to press into Takeru's tight hole. The blond gritted his teeth at the initial dull pain as his muscles tightened against the invasion. Yet his fallen one pressed onward, stroking the flesh within and making it slippery in the process. Ken pressed further in and upwards against a spot he knew would make the discomfort worth it.

Takeru bit back a cry in response to the unexpected flash of pleasure, his muscles tightening further before all resistance was shed away. Satisfied with the blond's response, Ken withdrew his fingers and settled his boyfriend's hips into position.

He locked eyes with Takeru before taking the plunge, watching carefully for any change in expression. "It's going to hurt at first-"

"I know," the blond whispered, smiling as he reached up to caress his angel's cheek. "Do me already."

This elicited a chuckle from the raven-haired boy. Ken leaned down to kiss his paladin before slowly pressing into Takeru's depths. A gasp of pain escaped the blond in response to the invasion, causing a look of consternation to cross Ken's face. Briefly he toyed with the thought of withdrawing, but that was not what either of them would have wanted right now. He steeled himself to press further in and upwards.

The younger of the two shuddered at the wave of pleasure that overtook him and drowned out the pain as his angel stroked that one spot inside that made all the discomfort worth it. Having gotten the response he wanted, Ken withdrew only to thrust in again.

Being able to control Takeru like that appealed to something dark within Ken, but right now he didn't care. The feeling of his boyfriend's muscles encasing him like that, the feeling of power in being able to draw out exactly the kind of responses he wanted from Takeru... that was all he wanted and that was all that mattered.

Takeru groaned softly as each thrust pushed him closer to his peak and each stroke against that spot that flooded his nerves with pleasure he never thought was possible. He gazed up through passion-clouded eyes at his angel, seeing and accepting the look of possessive dominance. Once it would have bugged him, but now he trusted his angel without a second thought. Dark side or not.

As he felt Takeru's muscles clamp tightly around him, Ken quickened his pace, unconsciously becoming rougher in the process. It wasn't long before he faintly heard a harsh cry penetrate the dark fog of his mind and the muscles around him clamp up even further as Takeru reached his climax. The raven-haired boy reached his own peak soon afterwards, and slumped forward in exhaustion as his seed emptied into his boyfriend's depths.

Ken sighed a couple of minutes later and withdrew from his paladin to lie at the boy's side. His eyes closed as he thought over what he had done. The enjoyment he felt at dominating Takeru like that, at being rougher than he should have been, at being completely and utterly in control... it was as if the Kaiser had come back to take charge of the situation. Except he was the Kaiser, the Kaiser was him, and it was stupid and weak of him to consider his darker side a separate personality entirely. And if what had just happened was any proof, he could probably do a lot more damage to his paladin unconsciously than he dared imagine.

He had hoped that it would be more... intimate, perhaps? Then he had to go and ruin it by letting his darker desires take over. One of the most basic of human instincts, and he couldn't even get that right. A shift in the bed's mass alerted him to Takeru's motions, and soon afterwards he felt a gentle caress on his face.

"Something bothering you," Takeru whispered, concerned at the dejected expression on his angel's face. He quite enjoyed what they had done, and was certain he would crave it even more in the future. But with the look Ken was wearing, something must have gone wrong somewhere along the line and Takeru was more than willing to find out what the problem was and amend it. "What is it?"

"Nothing you should concern yourself with," Ken sighed as he looked up at his paladin. Takeru was sweet, precious, and deserved far, far better than what Ken could ever give him. As much as he enjoyed the blond's presence, it probably would be better if the relationship was broken off. Yet each time Ken had thought such a thing he remembered the tortured look that his paladin gave him the two times he made an attempt on his life, and each time he resolved never to put Takeru through that kind of pain again.

It was a delicate situation, and one he couldn't find a gentle solution for no matter how much he thought about it. And he liked Takeru a lot more than he thought, to the point where he actually felt threatened by Hikari's presence. There was something he felt for his boyfriend of the last four years that he was never able to fully define. Was it really love or something else? Why couldn't he figure it out?

The raven-haired boy pulled away from his paladin's touch and rose from the bed. He'd need a little time alone to think, and this problem concerning their parents had to be resolved.

"Call Hikari, ask her if she's willing to play along. We'll need Hikari as an alibi, and if she's willing then call your mother and tell her that you're staying at a slumber party with Daisuke and the rest at Hikari's. I'll call my parents after I take a shower."

Takeru stared after Ken as his angel retreated to the bathroom. Lie? To Mom? And get Hikari involved in this lie? But then again it was necessary, wasn't it? His relationship with Ken was something he would never want to break off, and if their parents found out they could ruin everything.

A sigh escaped him as he reached over to the telephone and dialed up his friend's number. Personally he would love to forget all this completely and join Ken in the shower, but this needed to be taken care of first and he knew better than to bug Ken during the beginnings of one of his silent states.

"Good evening, Mrs. Yagami, is Hikari there," Takeru asked of the older woman who picked up the phone after a second ring, marginally grateful that it wasn't Taichi. As much as he liked Taichi as a friend, he really didn't want to answer another question about why he and Hikari were still on a friends-only basis.

"Oh, Takeru! Of course, just a minute please... she's busy scanning something."

While he waited for his friend to pick up the phone, his mind wandered briefly to Ken. Tall, dark, beautiful, flawed Ichijouji Ken. His fallen angel who would forever be marred by the darkness. But if he could shine a little light into that darkness maybe he could help his beloved. Wait, beloved? He did love Ken, right?

Before he could get any further into his thoughts he heard Hikari's voice greet him warmly and ask why he called.

"Hikari, Ken and I are in a bit of a jam right now. We're stuck in Shinjuku and the train to Odaiba doesn't run this late."

"Oh? What happened?"

"Run-in with some punk Yakuza wannabe. Ken handled him but we missed the train out and by the next one came we would have been stuck in Shinbashi Station since the Yurikamome train would have already done its last round of the night. So right now we're in a hotel in Shinjuku for an overnight stay."

There was a pause at the other end of the line before Hikari managed to respond. "And judging by that odd tone of voice you have right now I'm assuming that you two have already had sex?"

Takeru began to feel faint as his face heated up in a huge blush. It was alright when Hikari became a little more open about herself thanks to Miyako's influence, but he never thought he'd see the day when she would pick up on her girlfriend's bluntness. It was awhile before he could bring himself to speak again.

"Erm... yeah. It was great. Anyway, we really don't want to be asked about our whereabouts by our parents, so Ken and I were hoping you'd be willing to act as an alibi."

"No problem. What's the plan," Hikari quipped in a distinctly distant voice which made Takeru wonder what she was doing when he interrupted her.

"Ah, well... we're going to tell our parents we're attending a slumber party at your place if that's okay."

"Sure it's okay Takeru, you know you can count on me. Oh, I'm going to e-mail you and Ken some scans of the photos in a bit. Would you like a couple of them in hardcopy," the keeper of Light asked cheerfully as the sudden sounds of typing on a keyboard filtered through the phone- line.

A smile crossed Takeru's face at this. Having something as substantial as a photograph to remind him of his angel and how he felt about Ken would be nice. Very nice indeed. "Yeah, sure. Thanks for everything, Hikari. I really owe you a lot."

"I'll think of repayment methods later. You two have a good time now, okay?"

Once the conversation ended and Hikari hung up, Takeru dialed up his home number to tell his mother that he was attending to a slumber party with his friends at the Yagami residence. She accepted it easily and without question, thankfully. The last factor was Ken's parents, and Ken would have to be the one to deal with them.

The blond sighed as he put the phone back on the hook and rose from the bed. He still ached a little but that was something that would pass eventually. At the moment he was worried about his angel and just what made Ken so aloof this time.

The bathroom door was slightly ajar and the sounds of running water emerged from within. Takeru leaned against the doorjam, watching the taller figure silhouetted against a shower curtain. The idea of joining Ken in there was very, very appealing right now, but he had other things to deal with that did not include his raging hormones.

"I'm here if you want to talk about it," he voiced in concern when he realized the figure wasn't moving, wondering vaguely if Ken had gone into one of his depressive modes again.

"Thanks," a soft, almost timid voice rose from behind the curtain after a minute of silence. The blond closed his eyes in moderate apprehension. He was never sure how to help Ken with these particular problems, and it distressed him that he had no real idea of how to aid his angel. And what hurt most of all that he wanted so desperately to relieve Ken of the pain of his past.

"Mind if I join you? I kinda have this mess on me I want to wash off."

This elicited a small chuckle. "Oh, fine. Come in."

A smile of relief painted itself across Takeru's face. If his angel was actually responding to him then Ken was through the worst of it. But it was far from over and would not be over for awhile. He stepped into the shower and gathered the raven-haired boy into his arms.

There was just something indescribably special and timeless about holding his beloved angel like this... The feeling of Ken in his embrace and of skin against skin, nothing between them except for the silence... It was perfect. Deep down he wished it would never end. Any doubts he ever had about themselves and their future were washed away in the peace of that moment.

Moments that seemed to stretch on forever passed before Ken moved to pull away. Judging from the expression on his angel's face it probably wouldn't be appropriate to ask right now what had been bothering Ken, so that would have to wait.

Ken reached forward with a foamy washcloth to swipe it across Takeru's stomach. "I believe you came in to clean that off, right," the raven- haired boy asked, snickering slightly when a blush rose on Takeru's cheeks.

"Ah, yeah... among other things," Takeru muttered. Well, at least his boyfriend was getting some kind of enjoyment from needling him, though that particular stage never lasted long. He pulled the washcloth from Ken's grasp. "I was wondering if you'd want a little help."

"Maybe another time." A shadow of a smile crept across Ken's face. "But first I need to call my parents. I expect you'll be out of here by the time I'm done?"

The golden-haired boy nodded, covering up some of the disappointment he was feeling as Ken retreated from the shower stall and grabbed a towel. Damn, he was looking forward to doing... things... with his beloved angel. He sighed as he mentally smacked himself for his rampaging hormones and began scrubbing himself clean.

The entire process didn't take long at all, and when he was done he stepped out to dry off and join Ken.

Even now his angel was curled up on the bed with eyes unfocused and gazing into something Takeru could only guess at. Probably memories so dark Ken would never share them, or reflecting masochistically on his inner torment, or festering within the darkness in his own soul. Takeru doubted he would ever know fully what the Digital World and everything involved with it had done to Ken, nor did he think he could ever smooth over the scars of Ken's past. But he could at least try. Right? ...It was all really very depressing.

Takeru sighed as he crawled onto the bed to lay besides Ken and gaze into those deep amethyst eyes. No one ever deserves the kind of torture Ken went through in his childhood, especially not at such a young age. They both had been through so much for the sake of the Digital World, though Ken went through significantly more. Few were the times he asked this question, yet it arose once again.

"What did we do to deserve it," the blond whispered as he reached out to caress his angel's cheek. The responsibilities, the anguish, the fear of being killed and of failing... was it really worth it?

Those beautiful violet eyes finally focused as the question registered in Ken's mind. There was something so infinitely sad in them, laced with the shadows of the fallen one's sins. "I deserved what I got," was Ken's toneless answer. "I have the blood of so many innocents on my hands. I am the cause of my own brother's death. I can't escape my own darkness, as tonight has proven."

The blond shook his head as he scooted closer to draw his angel into his arms, leaning in to kiss the older boy's forehead as he did so. "None of that is really your fault, and you really have to stop beating yourself over the past." He gazed deeply into his angel's eyes as he prepared to say what had been on his mind for awhile. "I love you, no matter what you did in the past. And no matter what happens I swear I'll do everything I can to make sure you'll never be hurt again. Even if you do still have the Kaiser's shadow in you, I still love you. Nothing you do will ever change that."

Ken sighed and looked away. "You're just saying that to make me feel better."

"I am not," the blond muttered as he nudged Ken's face back to look into his eyes. "And don't you dare tell me you don't deserve anyone." Before the raven-haired boy could so much as protest, Takeru took his lover's lips in the most heartfelt kiss he ever bestowed upon his angel.

Takeru could not guess at how long he had kissed his beloved, or when the kiss was returned. The way the raven-haired boy melted into the kiss, the way it all felt just so right... it was perfect and had affirmed everything he felt for Ken.

When they parted at last, Ken looked up at him with eyes softened by emotion. They gazed in into each other's eyes in silence for some time before any words were spoken.

"Thank you," the raven-haired boy whispered, reaching up to touch his paladin's lips and smiling slightly when they parted to nibble a bit on his fingertips before he withdrew them.

"What are you thanking me for," Takeru asked as he grabbed the fingers he had nibbled on and threaded his own between them. Ken just looked so beautiful lying in front of him that he couldn't help but lovingly caress the older boy's cheek with his free hand.

"For being there for me whenever I needed you, for accepting who I am. For everything."

A smile crossed Takeru's face as he pressed his angel onto his back and leaned over to share another passionate kiss before nuzzling the older boy's neck. "I love you, Ken."

Ken sighed, closing his eyes and running his fingers through his paladin's hair as the younger boy's nuzzling turned into light nibbles at his neck. Somehow Takeru's confession lifted a fog of darkness that had hovered over his heart. Knowing that someone cared for him like that, someone who accepted the darkness of his soul and still loved him... it was something he never dared think he'd deserve.

He murmured something under his breath as Takeru's lips trailed down to brush across one of his nipples, which drew the blond's attention from the task and asked him to repeat it.

In the silence of the chill spring night a soft, intimate voice rose. "I... Takeru, I love you too."


Once upon a time, a paladin that hid his despair under a suit of armor made of the light of hope stumbled upon a cave. Within this cave laid a figure with broken wings so dirtied that they looked black and hands caked with the blood of others. The paladin offered his hand to the fallen angel, drawing it from a black lake of sins. When the fallen one stood, the paladin knelt before it and took a blood-encrusted hand between his own.

And he swore with eyes locked upon the angel's that he would forever protect the fallen one and one day hope to draw it up from its own darkness and pain. A glimmer of a smile crossed the angel's face as it set one hand upon the paladin's golden hair, nodding its acceptance.


Ajora: Yes, there is going to be a part II (Lux Aeterna Luceat Eis), hopefully in a week or so. We'll see. Needless to say, one photograph is going to get these two in a LOT of trouble :). Special thanks to Toki Takatsuki for the Latin help.


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