Paladin's Wings
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does.
*This fic has some serious Takeru and Ken mental torture going on, laced with shounen ai and all that good angsty stuff. Shounen ai, for the uninitiated, means boys in love with each other, which makes this a Taken/Kenkeru fic. Back out now lest this isn't your cup of tea. While the fic itself is merely shounen ai and therefore non-explicit, I may be tempted to make a yaoi sequel :>.
*This fic is a little Valentine's Day story inspired by a discussion with Meimi, fellow Taken/Kenkeru fan and really nifty person. Also, I might as well make this an entry for Ishida Takeru's Kenkeru contest, so enjoy ;).


It's impressive, isn't it? One moment you find yourself fighting a powerful enemy whom you had considered absolute evil beyond redemption, then the next you see him as he is: more human than the self-styled paladins who fought him. Flawed, fallen, ripped apart by the force of his own mistakes.

The paladin watched his vanquished enemy, his heart tugging in sympathy at the pain the fallen demon was going through. No one deserved to have their partner die in their arms like that, not even one who had been as evil as Ichijouji Ken.

Ichijouji was supposed to be one of them, but it was beyond the paladin why someone with their mission would fall to such dark depths. The paladin's leader had called out to Ichijouji once the demon had gathered the dignity to rise from the ground and walk away, and the rest of the party had done nothing.

Nothing at all, even when they could all see the tears in those beautiful blue-violet eyes.

The events of that day had stunned them all. Chimeramon destroying every town in his path, killing so many innocent digimon. Takeru, so enraged by the Kaiser's attempts at tapping into the truly evil powers of the digital world, found himself fighting the Kaiser one on one with no help from anything else but his own fists. Daisuke finding the Digimental of Kindness and V-mon evolving into Magnamon. Magnamon, nearly killed by Chimeramon, had been saved at the last minute by Wormmon's only stance against his master's crimes. Wormmon dying in Ichijouji's arms after expending all his energy to give Magnamon the power to defeat Chimeramon.

In the end it wasn't the Destined Children who defeated the Kaiser, it was Wormmon's death that struck home the horrible reality of what Ichijouji had done.

Takaishi Takeru laid awake, staring into the darkness of a sleepless night. The images of the past week reeled through his mind and refused to allow him sleep, even when it was now long past midnight. The memory of the raven-haired demon fallen and staring in horrified shock at the space where Wormmon had died ate at his guts. He didn't know why, really.

There used to be such a definitive line between good and evil in Takeru's life. In his heart he liked to think of himself a paladin who battled evil for the sake of a greater good, that evil should be vanquished and that was the way of things.

Simple, right? Then why didn't he feel triumphant for the fall of the Digimon Kaiser? Why did he feel in his heart that he had plucked the wings from a broken angel? Why did he feel like he had to apologize to the former Kaiser?

Why was he even worrying about this?

The golden-haired Keeper of Hope sighed and rolled to his side, his eyes falling upon the bold aqua numerals on the digital clock on a table by his bedside. Two in the morning already, and it didn't look like he was going to be able to sleep anytime soon.

A sigh escaped his lips and he pulled himself out of bed as quietly as he could so as not to disturb his sleeping digimon partner. No point in lying in bed doing nothing.

Takeru pulled the blinds up and revealing an unhindered view of the world outside. The moon hung like a pendant in the sky, pale and brilliant even in the visual pollution of the city's lights. As he gazed up at it his mind once again began revolving around the Kaiser's fall. Why on earth could he not get that out of his head?


The day after had come and gone. Daisuke had raced all over the school to talk them all into accepting Ichijouji into the fold, possibly deliberately avoiding talking to Takeru in the rush. Miyako, Hikari, and Iori had all given him a very firm 'no'.

But Ken was supposed to be a Destined Child too. He, like Takeru, had watched his digimon die before his eyes and had felt the same pain. Daisuke couldn't possibly understand what it felt to lose one's partner like Takeru had, he couldn't possibly understand what it was like to watch the disintegration and feel one's world shatter in the process.

It was only Daisuke who had the courage to approach the former dictator. Takeru merely watched from afar, hanging onto the hope that Daisuke would be able to convince Ken.

After all, when it came right down to it, Hope was all he had.

Daisuke had failed, even when he had come so close, and even if he wasn't aware of the other's presence, both he and Takeru had watched Ken walk off into the sunset. It had taken so much thinking to come to this conclusion, but...

"He deserves a second chance," the blond whispered to Patamon, who was settled in the crook of his arm as the image of Ken slowly drifted out of view. The little digimon merely gave a small sound that could be taken as anything. What he didn't mention, however, was the hope he had that Ken would join them and if the others weren't going to accept the fallen one, he would support Ken the best he knew how.

Takeru strolled without direction, eventually finding himself in the Seaside Park overlooking Rainbow Bridge. The lights of the bridge that linked Odaiba to the central Tokyo waterfront glowed like multicolored jewels in the twilight. He pondered again, as he had for so many times, what it would have been like if Ken had been good from the start and what kind of friend he would be.

Then a thought crept upon the self-styled paladin. Why was he suddenly calling Ken by his birth name? He didn't even really know the boy personally, but it seemed so right...

"What's wrong, Takeru," a tiny voice queried from its perch in the crook of his arm. His eyes came back into focus as he gazed down at his partner, wondering how long he had been lost in thought.

"Just thinking."

"You sound distant. What are you thinking about?"

Takeru absently scratched behind one of the digimon's orange wings, his eyes returning to the bridge. "I'm not even really sure, Patamon."

Silence fell between them as the seaside wind caressed them and tousled the paladin's golden hair. After long moments Takeru spoke again.

"Do you know how much it hurt me when you died in the battle with Devimon, how helpless I felt when I couldn't do anything for you? If your egg hadn't appeared in that pile of Angemon's feathers after the battle, I... I-" Takeru choked as he remembered crying out to Angemon, unable to do anything as both Angemon and Devimon disintegrated during that fated battle. He had only been what? Six, seven years old at that time? And the loss still hurt, even five years afterwards. Even knowing that Patamon would be reborn hadn't truly helped.

But there had been no egg appearing where Wormmon died. It was possible that he would be reborn in Primary Village, but it was also likely that Wormmon would never be reborn. Ken needed someone who understood, and the only one who could would be Takeru.

The little digimon rubbed up against his ribs reassuringly. "I know, and I said I'd come back."

"Yeah, you did," the boy agreed quietly. "But I don't know if Wormmon is going to come back or not. If the digimon doesn't and if Ken doesn't forgive himself I'm afraid he'll will do something drastic."

"That's not all you're worried about," the little digimon stated simply with innocent blue eyes that hinted at an underlying understanding of the situation his human partner seemed to be stuck in. "There's something else. Like the fact that you refer to Ichijouji so informally."

This brought forth a sigh. "I don't know why I'm thinking about him so much. I mean, well, I usually think about Hikari and all, but she's not going through what Ken is right now. It's strange, Patamon, normally I'd say he deserved everything he got, but I can't help but want to help him."

"You're not a cruel person, Takeru. It's in your nature to want to help, you can't avoid it."

With that the orange and cream digimon squirmed from his partner's arms and flew out half a meter in front of him, pointedly looking at a figure seated on the sands several meters from where the keeper of Hope was standing. "I'll fly up ahead and catch you at home."

Patamon caught an updraft and winged off to the general direction of the Takaishi apartment, leaving Takeru alone on the white sands of Tokyo Bay.

Sighing, Hope's keeper gathered what courage he had and tentatively approached the dark-haired boy who seemed to be watching as the Yurikamome train line speed across Rainbow Bridge. Courage had never been his strong point, as he left that for people like Daisuke and Taichi, but he had to do what he had to do.

The one who had once been the terror of the Digital World looked up at Takeru with the eyes of one conquered. Nothing of the Kaiser's arrogance was left, at least not visibly. Then those violet eyes grew cold and defensive as they gazed into Takeru's.

"You want something. What is it?"

"Mind if I sit first," the blond boy asked as politely as he knew how, hoping that he wouldn't be pushed away. Although after the little fight in Ken's base he did feel like he deserved it.

Ken merely shrugged, his gaze returning to the bridge. "Do as you like."

Taking the invitation as boldly as he dared, the keeper of Hope sat on the sand next to Ken. Yet he was wary of intruding on the raven-haired boy's thoughts and joined Ken's gaze at the Rainbow Bridge. They sat in awkward silence, oblivious to the sand flies and the occasional barking dog. It was broken when Takeru took in a deep breath to prepare for what he planned to say.

"Ken, I just want you to know that I know what it's like to lose a digimon partner."

This brought an icy glance from the former Kaiser. "Oh?"

"Yeah, I lost mine during the battle with Devimon. He was reborn, but every time I think about it, it still hurts."

"Get to the point."

Takeru blinked at the sharpness in Ken's voice, pausing in nervousness before going on. "I- Well, I wanted to know if you've been to Primary Village to see if Wormmon's been reborn yet. If you haven't maybe I can go with you. You know, as support and stuff."

The fallen one sighed and drew back to lie against the sand with his head nested in his hands, all iciness leaving his voice. "I've already been there and retrieved Leafmon. But I still can't join you."

"I'm not asking you to join us," Takeru whispered as he gazed down at the fallen demon. No, not demon, he's too beautiful to be a demon. Angel, then. Fallen angel.

Wait, did he just think that Ken was beautiful...? Where on earth did that come from? He would have mulled over it, but-

"Then what are you asking for? What do you want?"

Takeru fell silent and gazed across the water. He wasn't even really sure himself, his emotions were so mixed up right now. Was it possible that he might actually like Ken the way he used to like Hikari before Light and Hope had settled on just being best friends?

"Sorry for hitting you like that in the base," he muttered awkwardly, pulling off his hat to run his fingers through his hair in nervousness.

"I deserved it."

The blond boy returned to gaze at Ken, who was looking silently into the darkness of the sky above. There was pain in those eyes, and acceptance of that pain. "Ken, no one deserves what you've been through, not even with what you did. Even if no one else forgives you, I do."

The fallen angel rose from the sands, brushing grains of it free from his clothing. The look in his eyes were unreadable, but Takeru hoped that there was something indicating that the ice had melted, if even just a little.

"My parents are probably worrying about where I am. Later, Takaishi."

"Yeah, later I guess. And Ken, if you need a friend I'll always be available."

Silence, again. Ken's expression softened at this, and seconds passed before he nodded in acceptance. "Thank you."

He then turned and walked in the direction of the Yurikamome train stop which would take him to the JR Shinbashi station and then home, leaving Takeru alone on the white sands. And the paladin only watched as Ken disappeared into the distance, wondering and hoping.

Under all his uncertainties and inhibitions, Takeru had genuinely felt like he was beginning to feel for Ken. He just hoped that he would be able to get the older boy to feel the same way.


Days and then weeks passed, and at last Ken had joined the group of Destined Children. However, Takeru found himself becoming increasingly jealous of the fact that Ken's Stingmon could jogress evolve with Daisuke's XV-Mon. While he realized that Ken needed Daisuke as a friend, the situation still grated on the blond's nerves.

It was tolerable when it had just been a crush and Takeru didn't really know Ken all that well, but the blond had come to terms with himself and his feelings, and now he felt he couldn't rest until he let the raven-haired boy know that Takeru was in love with him.

If only he could get up the courage to peel Daisuke off Ken and actually talk to Ken without extra interference.

Strangely enough it wasn't even the fact that Ken was one of them that appealed to him, and he wondered if he'd feel the same way if Ken was still the Kaiser. But he tried his best not to think about that, and so far it seemed to work.

The keeper of Kindness was beautiful, intelligent, polite, kind, self- sacrificing... and yet he could still be short-tempered, ruthless, egocentric, and dangerous on occasion. Hikari had been perfect, but Ken was perhaps more flawed, more human and therefore more interesting than the entire team. It was that which attracted the boy who used to call himself a paladin.

Rather odd, however, Takeru thought as he strolled down the Odaiba Seaside Park in the sunset. Before he met Ken he had thought that all evil should be vanquished and that was that. Now he wasn't so sure. Iori used to admire his merciless righteousness, but Takeru hadn't exactly been open about how much he changed since he met Ken. Only Hikari ever really knew, and that was because Hikari was his best friend. Well, other than Patamon anyway. Patamon was visiting with Tailmon now, and left Takeru alone for the time he needed to think about things.

Rainbow Bridge glowed not too far away, and the wind from its direction carried with it the remote sounds of traffic and the smells of sea salt. To his surprise he saw a familiar figure in the distance watching the glowing bridge, and trotted over to the boy's side.

A fallen angel that sought redemption looked up to see the light of hope, and a small smile quirked at his lips. "We have to stop meeting like this."

"Oh, I dunno, I like it out here. Mind if I sit?" At Ken's gesture Takeru took a seat by his side, and joined his gaze at the bridge. Sunset gave way to twilight, then night, and not a word passed between them. The silence this time was comfortable, but it was broken at last when Takeru found the courage to ask what had been bothering him for awhile.

"Where's Daisuke? He's usually latched to you."

This merely brought a shrug and an indifferent answer. "I don't know, probably at home mooning over Hikari. It's not like he's my boyfriend or anything. Why do you ask?"

Takeru's eyes drifted from the view of the bridge to Ken's hand, which was settled in the sand. His own drifted down to clasp it, drawing the older boy's attention from the multicolored lights beyond. When those sharp amethyst eyes fell on him, Takeru felt his cheeks heat up in a blush.

"Erm, well, I... Ken, did you know my brother has been going out with Taichi for the past few years?"

"Yes, what about it," Ken asked, an eyebrow arched in query and voice too neutral for Takeru to pick anything out from it. "It's pretty common knowledge."

"I was wondering if you would mind going out with me," the golden- haired boy got out in a rush, his blush deepening. "If you don't want to that's okay, I'll understand."

The expression that Ken gave him was one of slight surprise mixed with something Takeru still couldn't figure out. The raven-haired boy pursed his lips tightly before at last uttering what was on his mind. "You do realize that once an angel becomes involved with the darkness, he falls from grace? I may be the Kaiser no longer, but I am still touched by darkness. Do you really want that kind of corruption, paladin?"

Ken started as Takeru's hand squeezed his, wondering if the younger boy really was going to have the courage to go through with it. He had liked the blond as a friend, but there was always the issue of the one girl everyone except Daisuke thought Takeru should be paired with. But if Takeru was asking him out then it seemed that Light and Hope were not as close as everyone had thought. Intriguing.

After taking a deep breath to settle his nerves, Takeru pressed his fallen angel back against the sand and brushed his lips against the other's with feathery lightness. He had seen Taichi do it with Yamato often enough and it seemed like a very good idea at the time.

The boy under him stiffened at first, then relaxed as Takeru pressed harder against his lips before pulling away. "That's my answer."

Much to Takeru's surprise the raven-haired keeper of Kindness pushed him off and onto his back, a mischievous grin on that pale face. Before the keeper of Hope could say anything, Ken brushed his own lips against his paladin's and slipped his tongue out to tease open Takeru's lips and press within.

A muffled moan escaped the blond as Ken toyed with his tongue and sent thrills down his spin in the process. Somewhere in the haze his mind had become Takeru wondered where on earth his fallen angel learned to kiss like that, but right now he wasn't all that concerned. He eagerly embraced the raven-haired boy leaning over him, bringing Ken's weight to lie on top of him. And it was anything but unpleasant.

The older boy stiffened at the contact, unused to such intimate contact with anyone. He had dared to dream once, before he had become Kaiser, but never actually thought he'd find himself in this kind of position. Especially not with a person everyone else considered too much a goody-goody to be interesting or too fragile to touch. But the golden-haired boy had actually made an effort to see past Ken's shell, however subtle it had been compared to Daisuke's and Miyako's sledgehammer approach.

Ken parted from the kiss and propped up part of his weight on his elbows, his forehead resting against Takeru's. Odd, he had felt different when he and Daisuke had heard each other's hearts. When Stingmon and XV-mon jogress evolved there had just been a deep friendship bond sealed between Ken and Daisuke. This was... different. More intimate and intense. It felt so right.

"I don't care anymore what you did in the past," Takeru whispered, running fingers through Ken's sand-sprinkled hair. "I doubt very much that I'd care if you do the same thing in the future if it meant not seeing you again. I've thought about it a lot and I think maybe I might actually love you or something."

"That's nice to know."

Takeru opened his eyes to look into Ken's, losing himself in their depth. It was awhile before he could find the right words, and those that came sounded so unduly awkward. "So, would you go on a date with me to the Museum of Maritime Science? I think it might be fun. And DECKS Tokyo Beach is within a ten minute walk if that gets boring."

This elicited a chuckle from the older boy. "I'd like to avoid the crowds though... think you can get away from Hikari and the rest on Saturday at 17:00? I think we could avoid the crowds at the museum for awhile and hit DECKS for supper. There's this nice Italian restaurant I think I might like to take you to."

The younger boy pressed his lips lightly against Ken's before responding. "Sounds perfect."

Ken pulled away and rose, offering to help Takeru up from the sand. "You know, next time we should really bring a towel. Our parents are going to wonder about the sand."


A thousand times these thoughts wheeled around Ken's mind, and a thousand times he couldn't make them go away. Three years passed since Takeru had first asked him out, and since then the outings they kept secret from everyone else were one of the few things that drew him out of his depression. Time and again he told himself that he wasn't worth anyone's attention, that he should just be left to suffer for everything he ever did in his life, that he should just be killed in battle and get it all over with.

But the last time he had plunged headlong into a battle he knew would kill him, Daisuke had dragged him back and slapped sense into him. It had been before Takeru asked him out, but he remembered all too well the tortured look in those sky blue eyes.

Oh, over time Ken found himself developing feelings for his paladin too, but never said anything about it. Most of the time he dared not admit to it, for he knew all too well how much he ended up hurting those that loved him. He had wished for his brother's death and the wish was granted. Ryou was gone, who knew where - even when Ken did take a dark seed for him. Wormmon he had beaten, whipped, kicked, insulted and yelled at; and still the creature loved him. His own parents he had held in contempt for the way they pushed him to excel at everything, yet they had been hurt when he disappeared to the Digital World and learned the error of their ways.

He knew he wasn't worth the attention Takeru bestowed upon him as a boyfriend and Daisuke offered as a best friend. It would be better for everyone in the long run if he just didn't exist anymore. Right? Even the pain Takeru would go through would be nothing compared to what Ken could do to him.

Rainbow Bridge loomed in the distance, the image of it becoming larger as he walked with the airs of someone with a single purpose in mind. It was night, no one could stop him. The farewell e-mail to the other Destined Children wouldn't be sent until the evening after. The one Ken had written for Takeru's eyes only had already reached him but since Takeru was asleep by now he wouldn't see it until the morning.

It was such a pathetic way to die, but after second set of Japanese Destined Children weren't needed any longer he couldn't find anything better.

Pathetic ending for a pathetic excuse of a Destined Child. It was perfect.

He sighed wearily as he strode up the pedestrian walkway with an invisible cloud of dark thoughts trailing him. At the vantage point he could see Tokyo Tower poking up from the skyscrapers of central Tokyo, made visible by the illumination of lamps below. Nice view, but he wasn't here for that. With one last farewell to the world he proceeded to climb up on the guardrail.


The voice that penetrated his depression was small, fearful. It was his paladin of Hope gazing at him as if he had killed Takeru himself. Such a hurt and betrayed look in those trusting blue eyes.

I am such a damn bastard, Ken muttered to himself as he settled back down on the walkway and stood before Takeru. "You probably hate me now. Like everyone else does."

"I don't think I can ever bring myself to hate you," was the soft response. Takeru steeled himself and stepped forward. Back when they were battling Archnemon and Mummymon they had found quickly that the best way to bring Ken back from his selfish depressive bouts was to slap him. But Takeru had never raised a hand to his fallen angel since the fistfight at the Kaiser's base, he was not going to do so now.

"You're supposed to be asleep, Takaishi. What brought you out here?"

Takeru winced at the use of his surname. While Ken never used Takeru's given name in public, he always did so in private once they had the relationship fully established. It was one of the few hints Takeru had that suggested Ken did indeed care for him.

"Couldn't sleep. Then I found that e-mail. Dammit, Ken, how could you be so damn selfish! Have you any idea what that would do to me? Or your parents and Wormmon? I thought you knew better than that," Takeru shouted, then paled as he realized just what he had done. He rarely ever lost his temper, and now-

"How can I," Ken snapped, a shadow of his former self seeping coldly into his voice. "Simple! Remember what I did as the Kaiser? I enslaved, tortured, and killed countless innocent digimon, and I enjoyed it! I enjoyed inflicting that pain because it made the pain I lived with easier to bear. And while some of my actions had been controlled, the worst part of what I did was that I not only accepted that, I went along for the ride. And even did a lot of my atrocities on my own. Takeru, I'm a monster. It's better for everyone if I was dead..."

The older boys voice trailed off and he gazed out into the distant skyline. Takeru looked at him helplessly, unsure of what to do, until-

"You deserve someone far better than me," Ken finally added quietly before moving to walk away.

In a moment of panic at the idea of losing his boyfriend, Takeru grabbed the older boy's wrist and yanked Ken sharply back against him. He held the raven-haired boy tightly against him and began shuddering violently despite himself.

"I've lost Angemon before, it ripped a hole in my heart. If I lost you I can't imagine what would happen... Ken, stay, at least for me."

Much to Ken's surprise he felt his paladin actually crying. That was wrong- Takeru never cried, not since after the battle with Apocalymon anyway. At least, that was what Hikari said. He rebuked himself once again for his stupidity before he returned Takeru's embrace.

Several minutes passed before the blond boy slumped into his arms with exhaustion and whispered something Ken couldn't quite hear. He sighed and brought the younger boy's face up from his shoulder to ask his paladin to repeat what he said.

"Ken," Takeru got out with not a little bit of strain, rubbing the tears from his eyes before continuing. "I love you. Don't do that to me ever again."

Ken froze at this admittance. He had always thought Takeru was just doing it out of kindness, but... but... But that didn't change the fact that he actually enjoyed Takeru's company more than he thought he would at first, or that he had developed some sort of feeling for the golden-haired boy he never actually had before.

He swore to himself. Once he had become the Kaiser to escape emotions, he considered himself above them. And now he was enslaved by them. If Takeru was going to be hurt by his death, then he just wasn't going to kill himself. Despite how deeply he had fallen long ago, his paladin didn't deserve to be hurt. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again..."

This brought forth a shaky laugh as Takeru pulled away and wiped his other cheek free of tears. "Great, thanks."

"You know, the Yurikamome line doesn't run this late," Ken suggested, smirking a bit now that the tension was alleviated a bit. "It looks like I'll just end up having to stay at your place since it's so much closer."

"Oh my," Takeru gasped in mock horror. "You couldn't possibly be thinking of ravishing me, would you?"

"Now there's an idea," the raven-haired boy grinned menacingly, laughing as his paladin's expression grew even more wide-eyed and shocked at the very concept. It was all out of humor, of course, as Takeru's hormones were getting the best of him lately and Ken wasn't doing much better. Pity they haven't done anything about it. Yet.

They walked back hand in hand to the Odaiba side of Rainbow Bridge. Takeru always had the annoying ability to lighten Ken's mood, even if he didn't want it to. It wasn't until they were approaching the Fuji television station near the Takaishi apartment that the silence between them was broken by a soft, thoughtful voice.

"Takeru, I... I think I might love you too."


Ajora: Whew, I'm actually finished with this now, at last :). So it had no plot, but I liked writing it.


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