Lux Aeterna Luceat Eis
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does.
*Conclusion of Lux Ab Tenebris, angst and romantic sap ahead. It's so thick with WAFFy goodness you can cut it with a knife. Don't whine and say you weren't warned. There's small bit of lime (implied sex) and violence too. Pairing is, of course, Kenkeru/Taken. There are also scenes sprinkled heavily with Hiyako and slight Taito.


Hikari sighed as she flipped through her photo album, her gaze lingering on the few photos she had of Takeru and Ken. It had hurt when she learned about them, it continued to hurt for many weeks afterwards, and it wasn't until the past couple of years that she felt she had gotten over it. With everything Ken had been through, and certainly more than he would ever admit to anyone, he very much needed someone as patient and understanding as Takeru. At least they were happy together, and she had Miyako around to cheer her up.

The tiniest of smiles crossed her face. So many people expected her and Takeru to hook up eventually that in time she honestly believed in it. Which was quite silly, come to think of it, and it wasn't until Hikari actually talked to Miyako about it that the other girl pointed out how ridiculous it was to follow other people's expectations and make none of your own. Alright, technically Miyako had to corner her and pry out the reason for her depression, but then Miyako was rather good at that and bluntness was always the purple-haired girl's forte.

As nice as Takeru was, and as much as she admired his optimism and occasional chivalrous streak, eventually it became Miyako who was more apt to bring a smile to her face than anyone else. The mutual understanding they had come to that had in turn triggered their digimons' first Jogress evolution brought them close enough to become friends. And in time they drew closer.

Gods forbid they ever tell anyone about their relationship, however. She had only ever told Takeru, and in turn Ken if only to prove to the raven-haired boy that she was not a threat to his relationship. Miyako proved to be a lot more trustworthy than she initially thought, and had told no one at all.

So many people with so many secrets that would prove quite troublesome if brought out to the open... it was rather daunting at times.

With a final sigh she closed the photo album and returned it to its hiding place underneath her mattress. In a few minutes she would have to meet Miyako and Sora at a restaurant close by before heading to school, and it just wouldn't do if she was late, now would it?

When the Child of Light rushed out of the apartment, she failed to hear as her mother called out for Taichi to gather up the bed sheets for laundry.


Five years ago he wouldn't even have considered taking up the piano as a hobby. Or any musical instrument for that matter, as Yamato was the real musician in the family. His brother's talent laid in writing music and singing in that voice that made his fans melt, and Takeru's only real musical talent was in bringing to life someone else's composition. It wasn't even all that good of a talent considering masters such as Emanuel Ax and Alicia de Larrocha.

But there was something to be said about losing oneself in the music, about the purity of emotions evoked when one played a particularly fitting piece of music. When he played it felt like he didn't need to be so happy and optimistic for other people's sake... he could be the Takeru he hid from everyone else save the two most important beings in his life. Neither of which were in the school's empty orchestra room, so he was very much alone with the instrument his fingers danced on.

The piece he played now was one of Mozart's piano concerti. Romanze from Concerto No. 20 in D minor wasn't it? It would be nice if he had the other people in his chamber group to play along, even nicer if he could bring Ken alone in here some day and play for him. After all, it was Ken who had introduced him to music other than what he was used to. And he rather liked the idea of playing the type of music his angel liked to listen to so often.

Ken. It was always the raven-haired boy that occupied his mind to the point of obsession. Supposedly that wasn't healthy, but those thoughts always brought him the kind of peace he didn't think was possible. Being loved by someone who needed him, and loving that person in return... it was very gratifying. It made him genuinely happy, which was rather different from the shallow kind of happy mood he had to be in for other people.

A slight smile surfaced on his face as he played out the last measures of the music and rose from the piano bench. Who knew he'd turn out to be such a damn romantic?

The sudden cacophonic noise of clapping intruded upon his thoughts, and he turned to meet the approving gaze of the school's orchestra teacher. With a grin plastered on his face he bowed to the old man that had taught him what he knew.

"Takaishi," the teacher began, nodding in acknowledgment to the formal gesture. "I would be very honored if you would be willing to play in a city-wide competition with a trio I will be hand-picking for this purpose."

Takeru stared, his mouth going dry at the thought of competing against anyone in something that was really just a hobby. "But... but Mr. Suzuki, I'm not really all that talented."

"Nonsense. Talent is nice and dandy on its own, but you have passion going for you too. A musician is nothing if he can't pour his heart into the music. We have high hopes for you, Takaishi."

Sighing, Takeru relented. Everyone always had expectations of him that he was sure he didn't really want to meet, and yet he tried to meet them anyway with as cheery a demeanor as he could manage. It was quite stressful. Well, maybe he could get something out of this...

"Mr. Suzuki, may I request something if I agree to this?"

"Of course, if it is within my power to grant this request. What is it?"

The teenaged boy took a deep breath before presenting his request. "Instead of practicing during lunch break I would like to come in and practice after school hours, and have a friend with me. He's kinda from another school though, but-"

"He will be most welcome," the teacher cut in, smiling. "I shall make arrangements with the janitor. Just be sure you behave yourselves."

"Certainly, sir!" Takeru spared a quick glance at the room's clock and blanched. "If you'll excuse me, I have a class to go to."

With a quick farewell he ran off, darting through the hallways and finally collapsing in his chair before the teacher for computer science showed up. Grinning nervously in response to Hikari's quizzical glance, he gathered himself and turned on the computer to check his e-mail on a telnet client before the teacher would come in and actually begin the class. And the nice thing about Hikari being the only one sitting next to him was that she knew better than to try to look over and read his personal stuff. She did have a habit of asking questions about them later, however.

There was something from Ken, which from the timestamp looked to have been sent several minutes ago. The genius was obviously very bored in the advanced programming class he was attending and took to ranting for a paragraph or so about how the teacher was only focusing on the slower members of the class and therefore left him with nothing challenging to do. So he had decided to pester Takeru in e-mail and promised to help if his pestering ended up distracting his beloved paladin from anything important the teacher might say. Also, where his mind was right now was far more entertaining... though he hoped he wouldn't be called upon any time soon.

Snickering softly at that final line, the blond waited until the teacher passed out assignments before responding to the mail. He wrote out his concerns about the competition, about how he really didn't want to compete against anyone for a silly trophy and a title, about how he would rather just like to be able to play without that kind of pressure. Oh, and would Ken like to come over to the school after hours and listen to him practice?

Takeru waited in boredom for a response, half-listening to the teacher lecture about something or another that Ken was probably far better at explaining. Ken was far better than a lot of people at explaining things, even though he would never think of going into teaching as a profession. His thoughts drifted briefly to a rather recent image of his fallen angel, amethyst eyes closed in sleep and long, silken dark hair spilled out upon the pillow. Ken rarely had nightmares nowadays, thankfully, and the peaceful beauty his face held in slumber was something Takeru treasured.

It was something he very much wanted to see again.

After roughly ten minutes had passed, a response finally came. Ken was more than willing to drop by and finally have the opportunity to listen to his boyfriend play. And since it was a Friday, perhaps they could get a hotel room for the night? School had taken up so much of their time lately that they were rarely able to visit each other.

A tender smile flitted across the blond's face at the text. As rare as this was, it was really quite nice when Ken actually felt romantically inclined... or at least admitted to feeling something. He sent off his agreement at the idea, and not long afterwards he was sent a response which included a suggestion to get a room at the Hotel Nikko Tokyo in Odaiba that offered a nice view of the bay.

Fighting down a blush at the image of what that would lead to, Takeru scribbled out a note explaining that he wouldn't be available after school and handed it to Hikari. His best friend cocked an eyebrow at him knowingly and scribbled out a reply on it. Apparently she had a few activities to take care of as well.

He sighed as he watched the clock's hands slowly tick by, wishing school would be over with already so he'd have his angel gathered up in his arms and bestow kisses upon his beloved's exquisite face. And neck. And certain other places that he really shouldn't be thinking about in a classroom.

This was going to be an excruciatingly long day.


Ken stepped from the Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station with his laptop carry satchel under one arm. He always dragged it everywhere he went in recent years, and was never really sure why. Probably for something to do, anyway. Life could be so boring and uninteresting when he didn't have Takeru around.

He paused on the way to Odaiba's high school, finally remembering that he really should have called Daisuke earlier and told the other boy that he would have to call off the study session. Well, more like 'watch Daisuke try to act silly and avoid doing homework' session, at any rate. Sometimes he wondered why he ever bothered helping Daisuke with his homework since it was so obvious that the cinnamon-haired boy was only really interested in avoiding his assignments.

Ah, right... he did so because Daisuke needed a friend that wasn't half a world away and Ken was the only one who was willing to be that friend. Well, it was nice that Daisuke was actually developing feelings for that blond kid over in the United States... Wallace, wasn't it? Hopefully it would work out, if Daisuke would ever actually get over his initial nervousness and the fear that maybe Wallace would reject him.

With the mental note made to call Daisuke later, he strode into the somewhat empty school building and asked for directions to the music room. Once he had those he trotted down several hallways until he found it. The idea of Takeru playing just for him was quite touching, actually. His paladin was really far too good for him.

The raven-haired boy cocked his head at the empty music room, briefly wondering where Takeru was hiding. Then he heard them: delicate notes that wafted through the air like cherry-blossom petals dancing on the wind, and they drifted from what looked to be a chamber practice room. As an almost impish grin painted itself across Ken's face, he strode with quiet steps up to the one soundproof practice room that had its door ajar and watched as his lover's fingers pranced upon ivory keys.

Keeping as quiet as possible, Ken regarded his golden-haired paladin serenely. Mine, he thought to himself as he listened to the music and gazed adoringly upon Takeru's face. No one, nothing will ever take him from me...

Takeru stopped before the song was supposed to end and opened his eyes to glance at the person who had intruded upon his private little sanctuary. Just the very person he had wanted to see for the past few hours.

"Missed you," he whispered, moving to rise from the piano bench before his angel motioned him to stay put and took a seat besides him on the bench instead. Refusing to waste another second, Takeru traced a line from Ken's earlobe to just under the chin, and leaned in to plant a hungry kiss upon his angel's lips.

Smirking at this, Ken allowed himself the pleasure of responding in kind for a few minutes before pulling away. He pressed a single finger lightly upon his lover's lips. "Now now, we don't want to be caught, do we? And I could have sworn you said you were going to perform something for me."

An embarrassed chuckle escaped the blond as his imagination provided a much different kind of performance he would like to give his angel. He was very much in need of that little outing Ken would be taking him on later that evening. "Ah... hey, that's right. Um, I'm gonna have to apologize in advance, though... the song I'll be playing isn't really classical, and it normally has a violin and vocal accompaniment. So I've had to embellish the piano part a bit. Hope you don't mind."

Ken merely made a silent indication of approval and closed his eyes to concentrate upon the music. It started off muted and mournful at first, then rose in a crescendo with innocent hope. The volume then settled at pianissimo before rising again to a forte and then settling once again to a mezzoforte, intricate notes weaving all the while within the varying emotions the music conveyed. It was really quite lovely, especially once the emotions clarified into a single, simple little melody and finally faded off.

It was some time before either could bring themselves to talk. Ken sighed pleasantly as he laid his head upon his lover's shoulder and wrapped his arm around the other boy's waist. "That was beautiful, Takeru... thank you," he whispered as he hugged his paladin tenderly.

Takeru's heart took wing and soared at Ken's response to the piece. He worked so long on his variation of the original composition that he feared that his beloved angel wouldn't like it. But this was nicer than he'd thought it would be, and he was quite content just to sit with Ken in his embrace.

Love is painful when the one you love doesn't love you back, it eats at your insides and occupies your mind until you find yourself pining for the person you have been cursed to love. And yet when you discover that this person develops the same love for you too and admits to it, then it becomes the most intimate and delicate emotion in the world. Few people are ever lucky enough for this to happen, however, and Takeru knew this enough to be endlessly thankful that his angel returned his feelings, and continued to do so for the past five years.

He closed his eyes and leaned his head against his angel's, lacing his fingers between Ken's and reveled in the intimacy of the moment. We will be together forever, we have to be, Takeru thought to himself. I won't let anyone or anything draw us apart.


To say that Yagami Taichi could be impulsive at times was a vast understatement. Admittedly, he had gotten better about that over the years, but he was still capable of acting before thinking. So, when he found his sister's photo album, the idea that he was intruding upon her personal things did not cross his mind.

He had meant to look at it earlier when he found it while gathering up the bed sheets for his mother's laundry chores, but he had class to attend to soon afterwards, and already had enough tardies racked up against him. Now, with Hikari over at some study session with Miyako and while waiting for Yamato to come over, he took the time to flip through the white and pink book.

Hikari was really quite good with her camera, and the stunning scenery photographs made his heart swell with pride. This was his sister's work, after all. Then came the more personal shots. In the first one Tailmon, Hawkmon, and Miyako were curled together under a cherry tree and practically beaming at the camera. The second was rather blurry and probably taken by a much less expert hand, and offered the image of Miyako making her trademark 'Bingo!' sign with one hand while the other arm was draped over Hikari's shoulder. And the one afterwards...

Was that Miyako kissing a slightly-blushing Hikari?

Taichi's mouth went dry at the evidence before him. His little sister was with someone who was not part of what Yamato liked to so lovingly call 'The Family'? But... but what about Takeru? Oh gods, after all the times Takeru would hedge when Taichi would ask why the boy and Hikari weren't going out... he really should have figured it out.

Rather numb now with shock, Taichi pressed onwards, through photos of Miyako, Miyako and Hikari, one or two of himself and Yamato, one of Jyou and Koushiro studying together, several of Daisuke strutting around or acting silly while some blond kid with a Terriermon that Taichi didn't really recognize watched on in amusement...

And, near the back, were photos of Takeru. Stand-alone photographs at first, with a few stand-alone pictures taken of Ichijouji which the former Kaiser had probably been unaware of. None of the pictures on those two pages hinted at what was on the last, however.

The first of the photos on the final page offered the image of Takeru trapped between Ichijouji and a concrete pillar, the raven-haired boy pressing Yamato's little brother against himself and practically ravishing the blond's mouth. The second portrayed the former Kaiser with his arm draped over Takeru's shoulders and glaring possessively at the camera.

Ill at the implications of those images, Taichi slammed the photo album shut and stared blankly at the white and pink cover with a single red heart in the middle. It looked so innocent, and yet turned out to be such a... what was the term? Pandora's Box?

Alright, Hikari was with Miyako, he could deal with that. Miyako could come on like a sledgehammer most of the time, but she had her moments and was rather nice and gentle once one really got to know her. But Yamato's sweet, innocent little brother? With Ichijouji of all people?

Oh gods, he couldn't get that image of Agumon wearing a dark ring out of his head. His Agumon, turned evil by that terrible conqueror. He could still hear the reports from frightened digimon of the Kaiser's abusive ways, he could still remember the wounds so many of them carried. The newer kids went on and on about how Ichijouji was good now, and Taichi had been stupid enough to believe them. From what he could see, however, they had misjudged the megalomanic boy.

Shaking his head in a resolve to rescue his boyfriend's innocent brother from the Kaiser's grasp, he opened the album again to dig out the first photograph that provided the evidence he needed to show Yamato. He'd have to save Takeru, preferably with Yamato's help.

Why did things have to go so wrong? Takeru and Hikari were supposed to be together, so Taichi and Yamato could be together too and their families wouldn't complain because Takeru and Hikari would carry on the family legacy and everything would be okay. Right?

Taichi rose from his seat on the bottom bunk at the sound of the doorbell ringing. That had to be Yamato. He rushed to the door and opened it, gazing upon the rather delicious visage of his boyfriend of the last few years. Unfortunately, what he would really like to do would have to wait until later.

Grabbing the sleeve of Yamato's leather jacket, Taichi dragged the shorter youth off to his room and closed the door behind him. Once he knew they were alone he pointed to the bottom bunk. "Yama, before I say anything it would probably be a good idea if you sat down first."

Yamato cocked his head, blinking mock-innocently at the brown-haired leaderboy as he settled upon the bed. "Now Taichi, I thought we swore that anything really kinky would have to be done in my van."

A flush painted itself across the taller youth's face as that comment brought forth a memory of a rather recent event concerning the back of Yamato's van, ice, and hot wax. Shaking his head to dispel that particular image, he dug the photograph from his pocket and pressed it into the musician's hands.

The color in Yamato's face drained at the sight, his fingers clasping the heavy paper with such force that it crinkled under pressure. "How- Taichi, Ichijouji looked so normal when I was with him in Mexico. Spoke Spanish more fluently than the actual natives did and was rather nice about it, but I never thought... Never thought he would take Takeru like that..."

"We have to find them and see just how long this has been going on and why Hikari hasn't said anything to me about it."

"Hikari took this picture?" The musician's hands went slack, leaving the photograph to drift to the floor. He stared blankly at the fallen image. His precious, innocent little brother, prey to the Kaiser. Oh gods, why didn't he notice anything happening before now?

"Yeah," Taichi muttered as he looked away, feeling rather betrayed that Hikari never told him anything about her personal life. "She's also been rather heavily involved with Inoue if those other photos are anything to go by."

"Well, so much for The Family, eh," Yamato snorted, leaning down to pick up the picture and stuff it into a pocket before rising from his seat on the bed. "All our expectations, our dreams, shattered. And we didn't even notice until now. Any idea where Takeru and Hikari are?"

"Hikari should be at the Inoue residence, and I have no idea where on earth your brother is. It really wouldn't surprise me if Hikari knew, however."

Yamato sighed, rubbing his temples in an almost calming gesture. It just wouldn't do for him to get angry, not right now. Just wait until he got his hands on Ichijouji. "Do you have Inoue's phone number anywhere?"

With a nod, the former leader of the Destined Children left the room, only to return soon afterwards with a piece of paper and the family's cordless phone. A few punched numbers later and after the necessary pleasantries were exchanged with one of Miyako's siblings, he had his sister on the phone.

It took a lot more willpower than he thought he had, but he avoided asking just how long his sister had been involved with the youngest of the Inoue siblings. "Say Squirt, do you know where Takeru is? It's really important that Yamato and I have a long talk with him."

The pause at the other end of the line was far longer than he liked. Impatiently Taichi tapped his foot against the floor. "Yagami Hikari," he ground out in his most commanding voice, hoping it would get her to tell him just where he could find Takeru and Ken, and throttle the smirking little raven-haired brat. "We believe he may be in danger, especially if he's with Ichijouji."

Hikari practically hissed into the mouthpiece. "Taichi! How dare you dig through my personal album!"

"Listen, I don't really have the patience to deal with this argument right now. Just tell me where Takeru is hiding so I don't have to drag the Tokyo Police in on this too."

"Fine, they're at one of the hotels near the bay in Odaiba, I don't know which one except it supposedly overlooks Rainbow Bridge. Nor would I tell you. I'll just leave you with this warning: it's not at all wise to come between a paladin and his angel." With that the phone was slammed down upon its cradle and the connection killed.

A sigh escaped Taichi as he lowered the phone and glanced at Yamato. "Well, they're at one of the two hotels along the beach that overlooks Rainbow Bridge, so it won't be that much of a search."

"Yeah, now we just need to figure out which one it is and what alias Ichijouji might use. Hand me that phone and find me a phonebook, will ya," the musician asked, running his fingers through his precious hair now in anxiety.

The first one they called, Le Meridien Grand Pacific Tokyo, which was probably less expensive than it sounded, had no one going by either Ichijouji or Takaishi staying that night. Making a note to check by later if the other option did not provide the answer they wanted, Yamato moved onwards. There was, however, a Takaji Masaru staying at the Hotel Nikko Tokyo and more specifically in one of the single rooms that had a harbor view. After thanking the reservationist profusedly, Yamato hung up and pointedly dragged his wild-haired boyfriend out of the apartment.

The drive wasn't all that long, and within eight minutes the teenaged youths found themselves at the single classiest hotel in all of Odaiba. They had a very hard time trying to refrain from openly gaping at the splendor of the place. In trying to find the hotel room, they got lost and had to retrace several times for roughly an hour before finally stumbling upon the right wing and room. When they knocked upon the door, however-

Ichijouji Ken stood against the doorjam, pointedly preventing them from trying to get a glimpse inside, wearing nothing but a pair of hastily thrown on blue-green slacks, a silver dove pendant, and an extremely sated smile which soon turned into an annoyed grimace as he recognized the two intruders. But it was the hair spiked by a rough drying attempt with the towel he held in one hand that caused the older boys to stare.

It looked all too familiar, and all the scene was missing now were the shades and the Kaiser's cape and jumpsuit. Cocking an eyebrow in curiosity at the unexpected visit, the raven-haired boy then smirked and purred his query. "Unless you two have decided upon jobs as hotel staff, you're here for something. What is it?"

"My brother," Yamato growled, his fists beginning to clench and unclench in suppressed anger. "Where did you hide him?"

Internally Ken swore to himself even as he outwardly retained his calm mask of a public face. How did they know? "I don't know what you're talking about, and would appreciate it if you would stop making such wild accusations."

He then stiffened as he felt his paladin's hands caress slowly up his sides and across his chest, then Takeru pressing bodily behind him. Dammit.

"Ken, hurry up and come back to be-" Takeru froze as he looked up from the neck he was intent on nibbling upon and recognized his brother and Taichi, both going pale. "Eh... ah... hey big brother, Taichi." In an almost instinctive reflex born of the presence of a potential threat, the blond hugged his angel close.

"Oh shit... Takeru, tell me you aren't actually willing to be this... this jerk's little sex toy," Yamato started, feeling increasingly ill as he watched his innocent, trusting little brother begin to glare at him with defiance and that rare protectiveness he had seen so few times in the past.

"I must say that would be somewhat hard to believe since Takeru's the one initiating most of the events which lead to sex," Ken offered dryly even as his paladin's decidedly protective gesture warmed him. It felt so nice knowing that Takeru was as possessive of him as he was of his lover.

This elicited a brief chuckle and a quick squeeze from the other boy, who then returned his attention to his brother. "Please don't call my beloved a jerk, big brother. I don't say anything about your choice in boyfriends."

"Dammit, Takeru, don't you remember what he did as the Kaiser," Taichi spat out vehemently in hopes of appealing to something... anything in Takeru that would bring the younger boy back to his senses. "He enslav-"

"Enough! I know what I did in the past, and it was the gravest error I ever made. I regret it every day of my life," the raven-haired boy growled at first, before his voice faltered. He glanced at the paint on the door, anything to avoid looking at the righteous ones. "If you'll excuse me..."

Takeru sighed as he allowed his lover to escape into the sheltering darkness of the hotel room. Dammit, he definitely didn't need this right now. Neither of them did. He closed his eyes as he stepped from the doorway, trying to suppress the rise of anger at what Taichi had done. His angel was hurt, and it took years to heal Ken... And now those wounds were ripped open by someone he considered a friend.

He swore to himself that he would protect Ken from anything that would hurt the other boy, that he would heal his wounded angel in any way possible. A knight does not deserve to call himself a paladin if his word cannot be trusted. Closing the door behind him, he opened his eyes to glare at the intruders. Ken did not need to see this.

The anger intensified and Takeru lashed out, planting a solid fist in Taichi's gut that sent the older boy falling backwards. He withdrew the fist only to glare at the other intruder. "I protect that which is mine," the paladin snarled as his fists tightened to the point where the knuckles were white with strain. "Ken is mine, I am his. Don't you dare come between us!"

Yamato and Taichi stared in utter shock at the boy who was currently seething before them. Neither had expected that, and at this point neither was sure exactly what to do. It was just so rare when Takeru lost his temper that it took some time before the other boys could gather their wits and respond.

The older of the brothers watched the younger uneasily, his mind searching wildly for anything he could use against Ichijouji before finally recalling the image revealed by that photograph. He dug into the pocket of his black leather jacket and drew out the picture that brought them so much trouble.

"Care to explain th-" Before Yamato could continue, the photograph was snatched from his fingers.

"I would like to know where the hell you got this," the younger boy snapped as he recognized the image and stuffed it into a pocket in the grey jeans he had haphazardly thrown on when he realized that it was not the room service at the door. Nevermind the fact that those jeans weren't his.

"Found it while helping Mom with chores," was the wheezing response from Yagami, who was in the process of picking himself off the floor. "Found out about Inoue too."

"Then you deserve everything Hikari throws at you when she finds out about this." Takeru sighed and folded his arms across his chest in a defensive gesture. It was turning out to be such a nice night too until now. "That picture was from the day of our fourth anniversary. We went up to Shinjuku Imperial Garden to celebrate and have a little quiet time together."

"Anniversary," Yamato practically choked on the word as his thoughts reeled. Oh gods, had it really been that deep a relationship? All this time and he didn't even realize what had been going on?

"Ken and I have been together for five years, Yamato. He has never intentionally hurt me, he's never forced me to do anything against my will. I love him, and I'm trying to heal the wounds life has inflicted upon him. It's taken me years to bring him to the point where he's getting over his depression, and thanks to you two he's relapsing. Is there anything else?"

The older boys glanced at each other, both vaguely wondering if Takeru was being earnest or if he had been told to say such things. Yet the burning embers of righteousness in Takeru's eyes that practically screamed his unwavering faith in his love for Ichijouji indicated the former. Were they wrong for interfering?

Before they could say anything, however, Takeru sighed and began with something that obviously pained him a great deal. "Neither of you could possibly imagine what I have to go through when he gets like this. Do you know how much it hurts knowing the person you love teeters on the brink of suicide and you can't do anything about it except just to be there for them and offer what support you can? He's suffered enough for what he's done. Please, just leave him be."

With that, he turned to open the door and retreat into the darkness. However, once he felt his brother's hand on his arm, he glance angrily back at the older boy. "Listen, I have to undo the damage you two have done. Don't-"

"Takeru," Yamato began, somewhat red in embarrassment at the whole ordeal. "Well, you know our parents are okay with my orientation and already know about Taichi... So, erm... when do you think you'll tell them?"

"When I feel like it," Takeru muttered as he opened the door behind him, entered the room, and shut himself and his angel into their sanctuary.

The paladin sighed as he watched the shadows under the door move away, then turned his attention to the interior of the room. Well, Ken apparently wasn't on the bed, or in the bathroom. Had to be out on the balcony then.

"...libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna..." whispered the voice of his beloved in song as he drew closer to the figure that stood looking across the bay. Hoping that Ken wouldn't mind the intrusion, he stood besides his lover and joined the other boy's gaze into the distance.

"I don't recognize that, what's it from?"

"Libera Me, from a Requiem Mass," the raven-haired boy answered, eyes never leaving the horizon. Takeru glanced over at his angel's face, mentally swearing at himself for being unable to prevent what happened, and Yamato and Taichi for interfering. The listlessness in Ken's face was very much not what he wanted to see right now.

He placed a hand on his angel's shoulder, rather surprised at how cold Ken was to the touch. That definitely wasn't good, and the windchill was worse. "I think you should come back in, it's freezing out here."

Ken relented as he was dragged back into the room and the glass door to the balcony shut behind him. It was so dark in the room, so very dark... Almost comforting, really, in a rather ironic way. Darkness enveloping darkness. How fitting.

In exhaustion the fallen angel laid back upon the bed, not the least bit surprised when he felt his paladin crawl in besides him. He wondered briefly what Takeru had to do to get rid of the older boys, but given what he knew about his lover, he had a reasonably good idea just what happened.

"You don't have to defend me," Ken began, feeling somewhat guilty that Takeru felt the need to protect him from close friends. And he did deserve what Taichi had thrown into his face.

"I'd hate myself if I didn't," was Takeru's reply as he gathered up his beloved into his arms. His angel offered no resistance as he did so, and settled willingly into the embrace. A slight smile crossed the paladin's face as he inhaled the scent of rainy days and juniper that hung within Ken's silken hair. He had no regrets about how he handled Taichi and Yamato, oddly enough. Anything for his angel.

Sighing as he laid his head upon his paladin's shoulder, Ken draped his arm across the other's chest and closed his eyes. What Takeru had done for him... everything the paladin had done for him... that was priceless. And his paladin was so warm that it was hard for him to even consider leaving the comfort of the blond's embrace.

It was so comfortable holding Ken like this, even if the dark-haired one was still colder than Takeru liked. He'd have to get his angel warmer, especially since Ken's hair was still damp and he could catch something from being outside like that.

He reached over to turn the bedside lamp on to a soft golden glow before drawing himself from his angel to rise from the bed. Ken looked incredibly appealing right now. There was only one thing wrong with the view, however.

"Say, can I have my pants back?"

The raven-haired boy blinked innocently before smirking at that question. "But I like being in your pants."

A chuckle escaped Takeru as he leaned down to lightly kiss his lover's forehead. "I like being in yours too, but I think we can do without them right now. It'd be easier to warm you once I have you naked and under the covers, now wouldn't it?"

Before Ken could reply his lips were taken up in a kiss, and far be it for him to spurn the obvious advances. His lips parted, allowing his paladin to plunge within and their tongues to meet. Part of him was vying for control, but he relinquished it. After Takeru's rather impressive show of chivalry, he was more than willing to allow his paladin whatever the golden-haired youth wished.

Time passed, eventually finding them curled together under the blankets and recovering from their exertions. Takeru purred dreamily into his angel's hair, extremely sated and very happy with what they had done. And it was really quite satisfying watching the pleasure flit across his lover's face in response to his ministrations. He was certain Ken was sleeping at the moment, until-

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis. Cum sanctis tuis in aeternum: quia pius es," the fallen angel murmured in the most peaceful voice Takeru had ever heard from his lover. The blond hugged his angel close, faintly wondering just what Ken uttered.

"You know I don't know Spanish," he muttered into his angel's hair, eliciting a chuckle from the other boy.

"It's Latin. 'Eternal rest grant them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. With your saints forever, for Thou art merciful.' Usually sung at a funeral or Requiem Mass, except..." Ken paused, suddenly at a loss for words. Only after reeling wildly about his own mind was he able to find them. "Except that I feel very much alive, and at peace with myself and who I am. Thank you for that, my knight."

A giddily happy grin spread across Takeru's face as he hugged his angel close. "You have no idea how much of a relief that is to hear."

Silence descended between them, and neither felt the need to move from the comfort and warmth of each other's arms. Secure in their love and dedication to one another, they soon drifted off into peaceful slumber.


Takaishi Natsuko paced nervously on the ground floor of the enormous monster of a building that was the Tokyo Telecom Center as she awaited the arrival of a relatively non-crowded elevator. The chamber trio from Odaiba High School would be competing against other schools in the finals, which would be held in the Center's twentieth floor. And her younger son was among the three students from Odaiba.

While she was proud of him for going so far already, she couldn't help but wonder exactly why he decided to compete at all. Takeru just wasn't the competitive type, so he must have had a good reason. And the prize money and trophy just weren't things she'd think he'd be all that interested in.

Not that he would tell her if she asked him, and it was her own fault for being too busy in recent years to be as involved in his life as she'd like to be. He never told her exactly who had given him the gold dove pendant he never took off since he got it two years ago, just like he never really told her where he spent the weekends sometimes. Her presence here was an attempt to be something of a mother, at any rate.

There was so much she wanted to know, and simply didn't feel like she had the right to ask. Rather depressing, really.

An elevator finally came, and the students within that carried instruments soon disembarked. It wouldn't be long before Odaiba was scheduled to play before a panel of judges, and she hoped she could find her son in time to wish him luck.

After the relative peacefulness of the elevator ride, the bustle on the twentieth floor was rather jarring, and it took a few moments for her to straighten out her bearings. A quick glance around offered the image of her son talking to someone draped in dark greys and blues that contrasted sharply against ivory skin. One of Takeru's friends among the Destined Children, wasn't it?

Mildly curious, she strode to the table and glimpsed at the piano score they were looking over. "Looks complicated."

The two youths looked up at her in surprise, and she cocked her head thoughtfully as she noted the silver dove pendant around the raven-haired boy's throat. It was exactly the same shape and size as the one Takeru kept hidden under his clothes, the one he said someone special gave to him. And she wondered vaguely if that someone special-

"Hey Mom, what are you doing all the way out here," Takeru asked for want of anything better to say. Not that he minded his mother being present, but Ken was here, and if Yamato said anything...

"Can't a mother wish her son good luck in such a competition," Natsuko asked innocently as her mind finally provided her with the identity of the other boy. Yes, it was one of the other Destined Children. Ken, the one Takeru would talk about every now and then with a distant look in his face. Things were starting to make sense now.

Takeru smiled up at her, partially in relief. Good, if she knew about Ken, then she wasn't pestering him about it like his brother did. "Thanks," he responded, then looked up at the clock. Four more minutes before the Odaiba trio would be called into the judging room. "Listen, I'd hate to go, but they're going to call us soon and I have to talk with Hitoshi about keeping on tempo."

A smirk painted itself across Ken's face as he regarded Takeru. "But it's the pianist that's supposed to set the tempo, not the violinist or the cellist."

"You aren't helping one bit, Ken," the blond retorted as he rose from the table. "See you two after the competition."

Once Takeru had disappeared amidst the crowds of anxious musicians, Natsuko settled on the chair her son abandoned and gazed at Ken. Very pretty young man, certainly, and quite the genius according to the rumors she heard about him. If her son was involved with the youth as she figured he was, then she could be proud of the fact that at least this one had far better tastes in men than his brother.

Learning about Yamato's orientation had provided a shock at first, but then once she thought about it, that development really wasn't all that surprising. However, she did secretly wish that Yamato would find someone that didn't look like a walking porcupine to be involved with.

But so long as both her sons were happy, she honestly didn't care who they loved so long as the objects of their affections treated them well. Hoping to confirm her theory and maybe get to know a little more about Ken, she began striking conversation.

"So, do you know what they're playing?"

"Chopin's Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano in G Minor. Complex piece, but I'm certain Takeru can pull off his share if he can just keep up with the tempo variations," Ken replied, wondering vaguely why his boyfriend's mother was asking him such a thing. Ms. Takaishi never showed interest in talking to him before...

Unless she was told by Yamato about his relationship with her son and was trying to assess the situation. He just hoped she wouldn't be stupid enough to try the same thing Yamato did, as he really didn't feel like making an enemy out of his boyfriend's mother too.

Natsuko smiled to herself. Well, Ken obviously had confidence in her son's skills, that was good, and she noticed the spark of pride in the youth's eyes when he replied. Very good. Now, about those matching pendants... "That's a lovely pendant, where did you get it?"

Rather surprised at the nature of the question, Ken absently touched the little dove that dangled from a thin silver chain around his neck. Few people ever commented on it. "Ah, I got this in a bazaar at Mérida in Mexico a couple of years back. Why do you ask?"

"My son has one just like it. Were you the one who gave it to him?"

Ken sighed and looked away, not liking where this was going to lead to in the least. He would like it if Takeru's family would accept him, but after Yamato's little display he doubted he would ever gain that acceptance. "Yes. Then you know about us, don't you?"

"I've only just figured it out today," the woman admitted, frowning slightly at the rejected look on Ken's face. Did he expect her to disapprove? When he failed to respond, Natsuko reached across the table and placed a reassuring hand on the youth's shoulder. "Takeru seems to be happy with you."

Glancing at the hand on his shoulder before returning his gaze to his boyfriend's mother, Ken was briefly surprised at the gentle smile she gave him and was at a complete loss for words. That was not what he expected at all.

Once Natsuko had Ken's attention, she continued. "You look like a nice enough boy. I'm rather glad Takeru's chosen someone who cares about him." All the phone calls, Takeru's occasional disappearances, the gifts that her son would buy for someone he refused to tell her about, the way he would daydream when he should have been doing his homework... It all made perfect sense now.

"Then... you're not upset," Ken asked, somewhat bewildered. Takeru's mother was neither angry or shocked at this discovery? But that went against everything he anticipated, surely there was something wrong that would pop up soon enough.

The woman shook her head, rather bemused at the continued surprise on the boy's face. "Not at all. Welcome to the family, Ken."

He stared, completely stunned. Takeru's mother accepting him without question... that was... that was... "I... I... Thank you, Ms. Takaishi."

That was more than he thought he would ever deserve.


Takeru sighed as he stepped out of the judging room. Goshuu the cellist had narrowly missed trashing the whole performance when his endpin almost slipped out and ended up having to hold the cello up by his knees for the rest of the piece, and Hitoshi the violinist was attacking his strings too hard. His own fingers slipped up once and he was sure that even though he moved to cover the error, the judges might have caught it. It looked more and more like they weren't going to win. Not that he minded, really, but he had plans for his share of the money. He did want to treat Ken to a nice dinner afterwards. It was the least he could do after all his angel would spend on him.

It wouldn't be until an hour later that the results would be posted, and behind him the other members of the trio were making noises about going down to one of the restaurants on the lower floors to get a quick bite to eat. Waving them off with a smile when they asked if he wanted to join them, Takeru trotted back to where he left his mother and Ken.

And he paused in surprise as they came in to view. They were actually talking to each other? And Ken seemed strangely relaxed in his mother's presence. That was rare, Ken usually tensed when it came to talking to anyone he didn't really know.

Speculating at this oddity, Takeru stepped closer to the two in hopes of catching bits of the conversation before they noticed his proximity. His eyes widened as he caught the tail-end of his mother telling Ken about some of his more... unpleasant childhood habits.

"Mom," the blond whimpered as he took an empty seat next to Ken, blushing profusedly as his mind ran circles around what his mother just revealed. "Please don't tell my friends things like that."

Natsuko smirked at her son. "No, I don't tell your friends about that. Just your significant other. You really should have told me earlier, you know."

Takeru whimpered even more as he hid his face in his hands in a feeble attempt to hide from the embarrassment and to try and reduce the amount of blood that was currently racing to his head and turning him an interesting shade of red. Damn, now he felt like he was going to faint too.

A hand reached out and gently stroked Takeru's back. He glanced out of the corner of his eyes and between fingers at his angel, who was smiling kindly at him.

"We all do things in our childhoods that we're not proud of. Besides," at this Ken grinned and leaned in to whisper into his paladin's ear. "... Now I know why you enjoy giving blowjobs."

Groaning at this, the blond felt his last threads of consciousness give way before he fainted.

Shifting her gaze from Ken to Takeru and back again, Natsuko made a sound of disapproval. "Now now, what did you say to him?"

"Nothing I thought would get that kind of reaction," Ken muttered, all of his attention on his paladin. He really didn't expect Takeru to pass out like that.

Eventually Takeru woke up, his head pillowed on something soft and warm that smelled of rainy days and juniper. Ken's sweater. With eyes still closed he listened in on his mother and his angel talking. That Mom would accept Ken so easily, and seemed to have no problem with their relationship, it was something he really didn't expect to happen. But it was nice. Very, very nice.

His mother seemed to like Ken, and Ken seemed to like her. There was no need to hide anything from her anymore. Maybe she would even let him invite Ken to sleep over every now and then? But he could always ask later. There was always later. Right now he really didn't want to disturb them.

For some reason or another the room soon resumed its crowded state, causing the blond to grumble under his breath as he pulled himself from the makeshift pillow and surveyed the masses of anxious musicians. He really didn't care about the results, but...

Somewhere from the crowds a couple of boys pushed their way through and approached the table. Oh, right, Goshuu and Hitoshi anticipated the results more than he did and were coming to let him know how they did. Plastering probably the fakest smile he ever had on his face, Takeru waved at them.

"Wemadesecondplace," the violinist exhaled excitedly, practically hopping from the energy triggered by anxiety. Goshuu wasn't doing much better.

"Didn't think we were gonna make it, y'know? After my instrument gave out like that..."

"Hey, second place is something, anyway," Takeru remarked, absently wishing they would go away so he could enjoy his family's company. "Sure, we don't get a trophy and the cash prize isn't as big, but it's the attempt that counts isn't it?"

Goshuu nodded vigorously at this. "Yeah, better than I thought. Say, you wanna go celebrate with me and Hitoshi later?"

"We're thinking of going out to Tokyo Joypolis and maybe pizza afterwards," Hitoshi added, still hopping energetically.

Takeru shook his head. He really had other plans that included Ken and a candlelit dinner, and excluded everything else. "Nah, I have other things to do. Have fun, guys."

"Alright, see ya later then," Hitoshi bubbled, completely oblivious to the 'go away' look Takeru was shooting at him. "You'll wanna talk to Mr. Suzuki to get your share of the prize. Bye!"

Sighing as the two ran off to celebrate, Takeru returned his attention to his mother and Ken. He had hoped to get first place, but second was just as good.

"Chopin's Trio in G Minor is a difficult piece," Ken stated, reaching over to squeeze Takeru's hand. "Congratulations for doing so well on it."

Natsuko smiled to herself as her son mouthed a 'thank you' to his boyfriend, absently pondering the idea of driving them both to wherever Takeru wanted to celebrate and invite Ken to stay overnight afterwards. Yes, she could see what was there between them, she knew it as well as any mother would. Takeru and Ken, one was a child of her body, the other she would welcome as a child adopted into her family.

It would be interesting to see what develops in the next few years, now wouldn't it?


Somewhere a Maiden of Light observed a paladin withdraw from a cave of darkness, supporting a limping angel that was so dirtied and torn that she had taken it briefly for a demon. But as she watched she noted the looks that passed between them, and prayed that holy light would shine upon them and wash the darkness away.

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum:
quia pius es.


Author's note: For those wondering how Yamato figured out Ken's little alias, Takaji consists of the first kanji of Takeru's surname and the last kanji of Ken's, and Masaru is another reading for the kanji for Ken's given name.
Note 2: a plotbunny came to me recently and handed me a fic egg. Expect another fic from this storyline within the next month ^_^.


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