Covered in Darkness
Chapter 3: Promises
by Quatre's Girl
edited by Aria

Hi! Here's QG again with part 3! ^_^ I really hope you like it, and it's longer than usual. Oh, and I decided to span out my writing style and have this story contain some parts from the focal character's point of view, but have some other parts that have the other characters' thoughts. ^_^ I really hope you all like it! Well, enjoy!


"What are we going to do?" Miyako asked. The Chosen Children sat in the school's computer lab, pondering the situation. They had run to Koushiro as soon as the van with Ken, Archnemon, and Mummymon in it had driven back into the Digital World. Takeru sat with his arm around Hikari's waist and her head on his shoulder, while Tailmon and Patamon sat nearby. Daisuke stood looking out the window, pensive, and V-mon stood next to him. Iori sat on the floor with Upaamon in his lap, face also deep in thought. Miyako was pacing around the room and Hawkmon stood near Daisuke, watching her. Koushiro sat with his back to the computers, with a tearful Wormmon in his lap. Daisuke turned to face the group when Miyako spoke.

"What do you think we're going to do? We're going into the Digital World to look for Ken, what else would we be doing?" he replied forcefully.

"Well, I was just wondering if that was such a good idea. I mean, you all saw how he just went along with Archnemon. Do you really think we can trust him, Daisuke?" she asked.

"How can you say that, Miyako? He's our friend! Hasn't he shown you anything in the past month? I know he isn't evil!" Daisuke exclaimed.

"I was just saying that he might be! He was the Digimon Kaiser not one month ago, in case you forgot!" she yelled back. Hikari spoke up.

"I agree with Daisuke. We might not be able to trust him, but he is still our friend. He's tried so hard to become friends with us, to change his ways, that we have to give him a chance. I know just how hard it is to fight the forces of darkness sometimes," she said. Iori looked up.

"Yes, but that's the thing. What if the pull of darkness was too much for Ken to handle? What if he gave in? We could be walking into a trap if we go to look for him," he reasoned.

"That is true. We have to keep every possibility open. If manipulating Ken towards evil is Archnemon's goal, we'll have to remain very cautious if we go to find him. He has been evil before, so it may be easier for Archnemon to manipulate him than it would be for her to control one of us. Even if he hasn't turned evil yet, he could still be broken by Archnemon and Mummymon," Koushiro said. Wormmon tensed up in anger.

"Ken-chan would never give in! I know he was evil at one point, but he's changed his ways! He's the kindest boy I know and he has the strongest will of anyone! I can't believe we're even having this conversation! You're all wasting time doubting him instead of going to look for him! And you dare to call yourselves his friends!" he exploded before breaking down into muffled sobs. The Chosen Children looked at him in surprise.

"I-I'm sorry Wormmon. You know I have a problem with judging people, and I just want to be extra careful when we're dealing with Ken. I mean, we still don't know that much about him. He's already been evil once before, so I figure, what's to keep him from turning evil again?" she asked. Takeru spoke up for the first time since Ken had been taken.

"I think... I think we should tell his parents. They'll realize sooner or later that he isn't coming home, and then they'll think he ran away again. After we tell them about Ken, then we should go look for him. He is one of us, after all, and we can't just abandon him, even if he has turned evil again. We need to prove our friendship with him," he said. The others nodded.

"So, who wants to tell his parents?" Iori asked.

"I will. I've been over there a couple of times, so his parents know me better," Daisuke suggested.

"Okay, try to break it to them gently. Wormmon, would you mind staying with me until we look for Ken?" Koushiro asked. Wormmon had to control his tears before he could answer.

"I think Ken-chan would trust you to take good care of me," he said and began crying again, his shoulders shaking. Koushiro patted his trembling body comfortingly.

"I suggest the rest of us go home. Daisuke can send us each an email after he's told Ken's parents the news. Then we can all meet back here to go into the Digital World," Iori proposed.

"Right. I'll try to be as kind as possible when I tell them. Oh, and Koushiro, will you watch over V-mon while I talk to Ken's parents? He would just draw unnecessary attention to me," Daisuke told him.

"Of course," Koushiro replied. V-mon gave Daisuke a reassuring hug goodbye and stood by Koushiro.

"Well, I'll see you all later," Daisuke said and walked out.

"I'm going to stay here until you all get back. In the meantime, try to take your minds off of the situation. I'll use the computers to try and pinpoint his location, or at least the area he might be in," Koushiro said. The others nodded. Iori, Takeru, and Miyako decided to leave together, as they lived in the same building. Takeru gave Hikari a comforting hug before he left the room with Miyako, Iori, and their Digimon. Hikari turned to Koushiro.

"Good luck," she said. He smiled slightly.

"I'll do my best to locate him," he replied. Scooping Tailmon up in her arms, Hikari left the room to go home, her head bowed in thought. V-mon looked out the window as Daisuke had done earlier, thinking. Koushiro booted up the computer.

"I just hope we can find him in time," he said softly. Wormmon lifted his tear-stained face to stare up at him.

"We will find him! Ken-chan must be so scared without me to protect him! I have to make sure he isn't hurt!" he exclaimed. Koushiro stared at the black and white map of the Digital World. It was a complete labyrinth; there were millions of possible places where Ken could be kept prisoner. Koushiro began systematically checking each area with dark towers as he kept one hand on Wormmon's back, to console the little Digimon.

"Ken, please be all right," he whispered.

*      *      *

Daisuke walked alone towards Ken's apartment building slowly. He recalled when he had first come to that apartment, after Ken had run away from home. He had only been looking to confront his adversary, and wasn't concerned about him at all. He had only cared that Ken was conquering the Digital World while he sat there, doing nothing. Now he was trying to think of some way to break the news of Ken's kidnapping to his parents gently. None came to mind. How could you be kind when you were telling someone that his or her loved one was probably being tortured at that moment?

Just the thought of Ken being tortured made Daisuke's blood boil. Ken really was a very kind and gentle boy, once the dark influence had left him. He had felt so terrible about the things he had done as the Digimon Kaiser, and tried to repay everyone with kindness. He never lashed out at anyone like Miyako could, and showed the Digimon and his fellow Chosen Children nothing but compassion. Even Iori, who he hadn't gotten along with at first, had been starting to become friends with him. Daisuke smiled faintly.

"He really does deserve the Crest of Kindness," he mused. He also knew that Ken was very fragile emotionally and mentally, even mentioning the powers of darkness seemed to affect him. He would always get quieter, and always got a distant look on his face. Several times, when they had been close to areas emitting massive amounts of black energy, the pull of darkness at him had been so strong that Ken would clutch his head and begin screaming, like he was fighting an internal battle. Daisuke really admired Ken for his ability to withstand the evil forces that constantly tried to take hold of him.

As the apartment building came into view, Daisuke began to get nervous. He still wasn't sure what he was going to say to Ken's parents. He entered the drab, gray building, his footsteps echoing in the silent halls. It was almost as if everyone was already anticipating the news with heavy hearts. Daisuke climbed the stairs to the top floor. Taking a deep breath to calm his distressed nerves, he reached up and knocked on the door.

*      *      *

Takeru lay on his bed, thinking. Patamon lay next to him, and he put an arm around his Digimon. Patamon moved closer, silently comforting him. He thought about how terrible it would be for Ken, without anyone to console him when he needed it most. Takeru fought a wave of fury as he thought about what was happening to Ken. The forces of darkness were always there, always trying to make life miserable for someone.

'Why can't they leave us alone?' he thought. It wasn't fair. Ken just wanted to live a normal life, with friends that he could trust, and then evil imprisoned him again. He didn't want to be hurt, he didn't want to be alone and friendless, but no one seemed to care what Ken wanted. They wanted to make Ken feel abandoned, like no one in the world would care about him. Takeru knew that they wanted to hurt Ken, but for what purpose he had no clue. What he did know was that he had to stop them. He couldn't abandon Ken, not after they had become friends. Of course, he had hated Ken when he was the Digimon Kaiser, but he had turned his life around. He had joined up with them and proved that he was the kindest boy they had ever met. He had earned each Chosen child's respect and friendship. If the powers of darkness were trying to rob him of that, Takeru wouldn't stand for it. Even if darkness once again gained control over him, Takeru would be there, trying to convince him that he treasured his friendship with him. He wouldn't trade it for the world.

Just then, Takeru's door opened. A voice from the doorway asked, "Takeru?" He turned around and started. Yamato was standing there, looking slightly puzzled and curious.

"Mom called me. She said you seemed depressed and wanted me to come over. Is there something wrong?" he asked. Takeru rolled over so his back was to his brother.

"No, it's nothing. I'm fine," he replied, his voice shaking slightly.

"Are you sure? You know, Takeru, you can tell me anything. I'm your brother and I care for you. So, if there ever is anything wrong, you know you can talk to me about it, right?" Yamato asked.

"Yes. I know," he said. By now his voice was shaking more than just slightly. Yamato didn't say anything about it though, and turned to go. Takeru sat up.

"Y-Yamato?" he asked softly. His brother turned around and his eyes widened slightly in surprise. Tears were falling from Takeru's eyes, sliding down his cheeks. Yamato walked over and sat down on the bed next to him, pulling his brother into a hug. Takeru began crying softly into his brother's shoulder.

"What is it Takeru?" he asked quietly.

"It's Ken. Ken's been kidnapped. Yamato, no one should have to suffer as much as he does. It-it just isn't fair," he whispered. Yamato tensed slightly at the news.

"Kidnapped?" he asked, concerned.

"They're going to hurt him. I just know that Archnemon is going to do something terrible to him! I don't think he can hold out against them for much longer." Yamato understood what Takeru meant. He remembered when darkness had tried to take hold of him. He knew how painful it was, how he felt so alone and abandoned. He pulled his brother tighter to him, comforting him as he let tears of his own fall down his face.

*      *      *

Iori and Miyako sat in his room in silence. The food his mother had given them was left untouched. Neither was hungry. Hawkmon stood next to Miyako, leaning his head against her shoulder. Upaamon was lying in Iori's arms. After a long moment of quiet, Iori looked into Miyako's eyes.

"Do you think Daisuke has told Ken's parents yet?" he asked her. She put her arm around Hawkmon and pulled him close to her.

"Oh, I don't know. I just hope he broke it to them gently. Knowing Daisuke, he probably..." she trailed off and suddenly burst into tears. Iori stood quickly and knelt by her.

"Miyako, did I say something to upset you?" he asked, worriedly. She shook her head and continued sobbing into her hands. Upaamon jumped from Iori's arms into Miyako's lap.

"Then what's wrong?" he questioned. She looked up at him, tears still streaming down her face.

"Oh, Iori. It's just- Ken. Daisuke and Takeru and everyone are going to look for him without questioning anything. All I did was sit there and refuse to trust him! I'm sure he's going to hate me for not believing in him! I didn't even think of how horrible this must be for him!" she cried. Iori held her shoulders, looking into her eyes.

"Miyako, listen to me. You were right to question him. We don't know if he has given in or not, and, like Koushiro said, we have to keep all of the possibilities open. I know I'm not going to trust him until we have this whole ordeal sorted out. But, we'll never find out if he's really turned evil again until we find him," he told her. Miyako pulled him into a hug.

"Thank you Iori. I just hope we can find him."

"So do I, Miyako. So do I."

*      *      *

"Why, hello Daisuke! What a pleasant surprise!"

"H-hello, Mrs. Ichijouji. How are you?"

"I'm fine, thank you. Daisuke, dear, wasn't Ken with you earlier?" Daisuke squirmed a little.

"Yes. Yes, he was." A small frown graced the woman's normally cheerful features.

"Well, where is he?" Daisuke squirmed again.

"Is your husband home?"

"Yes... but what has that got to do with Ken?" There was confusion in her voice.

"Could I come inside? I have to tell you both something. It's about Ken." Her face changed from puzzled to frightened.

"He wasn't hurt was he?!" she exclaimed, a definite edge of fear in her voice.

"I don't know. Please, could you get Mr. Ichijouji?" Daisuke asked, a little desperate. She nodded, and let him inside. He sat in a chair in the living room of the apartment. She went into another room and came out with Mr. Ichijouji. They both looked very worried and a little scared as they sat on a couch opposite him.

"Daisuke, tell us what happened to Ken," Mr. Ichijouji ordered, trying to hide the fear in his voice.

"Ken... well... he..." Daisuke said, searching for some way to gently say what he needed to.

"Daisuke, what?! Where is Ken?!" Mrs. Ichijouji exclaimed.

"Ken was... kidnapped," he said quietly. Mrs. Ichijouji slowly put a hand to her mouth as tears began falling from her eyes.

"No," she whispered, then louder, "No, NO! Daisuke he wasn't! Tell me he wasn't!" she cried. Mr. Ichijouji stood up and walked over to Daisuke, leaning in close to him, his eyes and voice threatening.

"If this is some kind of sick joke..." he began.

"I swear it isn't a joke! We-we tried to stop them but-but..." Daisuke whispered as tears fell down his face. Mrs. Ichijouji walked over to him, wrapping her arms around him. They stayed like that for a minute, tears spilling freely from their eyes. When she pulled away and leaned into her husband, he wrapped his arms around her, while tears of his own ran down his face.

"What'll we do?! Ken is out there alone and frightened! Who knows what they'll do to him!" she cried. Daisuke stood up, his face determined.

"I promise you we'll find him before anything happens to him! We're going to go look for him right away!" he said.

"Daisuke, I think the police would be better suited for-"

"No! I know what it seems like, but trust me, we're the only ones who can find your son! I promise we'll bring him back safely!" he said. Mrs. Ichijouji looked down at him.

"Please find him," she whispered. He nodded.

"I will." And with that, Daisuke ran out of the building and began running towards the school, where the Digital World and Ken waited for him.

*      *      *

Hikari sat in her room, staring out the window. She was thinking. Ken was imprisoned. Those three words kept repeating in her mind. She kept telling herself that he was going to be all right, that he wouldn't be broken. But was it true? She knew how hard it was to resist the darkness. Several times the dark ocean had surrounded her, and every time it had gotten harder and harder to fight it. She guessed that that was what it was like for Ken as well. She shuddered. It was so terrible, the feelings of emptiness and nothingness. The dark water surrounding her, drowning her.

Was it too much for Ken? Did he break under the dark influence? Koushiro had said that it would be easier for Ken to be manipulated, he had been evil before... but Hikari pictured the Ken she knew. Not the cold, heartless Digimon Kaiser, but the kind, somewhat shy boy she had come to know as a friend. The boy who was always gentle, who treated his Digimon with so much love and compassion. To see him tormented and hurt was almost unbearable. Hikari vowed to never let that happen. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if Ken was hurt by evil. She had to protect their friendship; she had to make sure the Ken she knew was never destroyed.

"Ken, I will protect you," she whispered into the winter air.

*      *      *

"Did you find him?" Wormmon asked. Koushiro shook his head. Wormmon sat back, looking like he was about to cry again.

"Hey, don't be so sad. I haven't found his exact location yet, but by communicating with Tentomon and the others, I was able to pinpoint an area of about 25 kilometers, and I'm almost positive that he's somewhere in there. Now we only have to wait for the others to come, and we can start looking for him," he told the Digimon. Wormmon's expression brightened drastically.

"Daisuke!" V-mon cried, just as he burst through the door. He was completely out of breath and his face was wet from crying. V-mon ran to him.

"Did... you... find... anything... Koushiro?" Daisuke asked between heavy breaths. Koushiro nodded.

"I found the general area he's in," he replied. Daisuke sighed in relief.

"We should tell the others to come now," V-mon said to Daisuke. He gave his Digimon a quick nod and emailed the others using his D-Terminal. The message read: Come to the computer room. We can start looking for Ken. -Daisuke.

After a half an hour, Takeru, Yamato, Hikari, Iori, and Miyako had all joined them along with their Digimon. Everyone looked as though they had been crying, but also appeared determined to find their friend. Miyako turned to Daisuke.

"How did Ken's parents take the news?" she asked.

"How would you expect them to take it?" he replied. She gave his shoulder a small, reassuring squeeze.

"I know we'll find him," she said. Koushiro faced the group.

"Takeru and Hikari, you're one group, and you'll take this area," he said, pointing to an area on the map of the Digital World. They nodded.

"Daisuke and Miyako, you're another group. You're going to look here," he told them, pointing to another area. Daisuke's gaze was fixed on the computer, obviously anxious to look for Ken.

"Yamato, are you going to help us look for Ken?" Koushiro asked him.

"I'm his friend too, right?" Yamato asked. Koushiro nodded.

"Then you and Iori are the last group. You'll look in the remaining section," he said, showing them where to go. "Do you all know where you're going?"

"Yes," they all said.

"Yamato, could you take Wormmon to look with you? I need to stay back here and monitor your progress, while trying to narrow down the area for all of you. And Wormmon wants to search for him with you."

"Of course he can come with me. I'd be glad to take him," Yamato replied. Wormmon jumped down from the table to stand by him. Koushiro stepped back from the computer and Daisuke stood in front of it.

"Digital Gate open!" he said, holding up his D-3. The Digital Gate blinked open to their destination.

Before entering, Daisuke thought, 'Ken, just hold on. We're coming!'


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