Covered in Darkness
Chapter 8: Protection
by Quatre's Girl
edited by Aria and Keyanna

Not much of an author note here. Gomen. ^_^;;; Thank you's and the like are in the next chapter. ^_^ Oh, for this, I thought Wormmon needed a chapter. I still have to go through and make sure I got spellings right. Maybe when I finish the fic, I'll have a BIG editing thing where I just sit down and edit the WHOLE fic... That would be fun.


The night was peaceful and quiet. Everyone was already asleep, long done with the evening's activities and at peace in their safe slumber. Everyone except for one small, green insect, who lay fully awake and unable to sleep. It was well past midnight, and he knew that he should be asleep, but he just couldn't. How could he possibly sleep when the person he cared about most in the world was in danger somewhere, without him there to protect him?

"Oh, Ken-chan..." the caterpillar whispered into the inky blackness of the night. Silently, he slid off of the bed where the cinnamon-haired leader of the Chosen Children slept, snoring loudly, with his partner Digimon loosely tucked under one arm. The insect crawled across the floor, careful to avoid the many food wrappers and piles of junk that littered it. He maneuvered his way up to the windowsill, where he put a foreleg to the slightly frosted glass, and stared out into the night at the lightly falling snow.

Wormmon wasn't sure what had compelled him to stay at Daisuke's house. It wasn't in case Ken's parents heard him moving around in his partner's room and found out about the Digital World; no... it was deeper than that. Was it out of loneliness, perhaps? Ever since Ken's epiphany, Wormmon had never spent the night without his partner next to him, and maybe having Ken's Jogress partner with him helped fill the emptiness inside that grew without having Ken around.

All the little insect knew was that he couldn't bear to be in Ken's home. He couldn't sleep, alone, in the cold bed, in that dark room filled with nothingness. He couldn't bear hearing the muffled sobs of Ken's parents echoing in the achingly empty apartment. He couldn't stand waking up with nightmares in the night, only to realize that Ken wasn't there to reassure him.

Wormmon sighed raggedly. It had already been two days since Ken's kidnapping. Even though Daisuke assured him that they would find Ken soon, the future had looked bleak. Archnemon's tape recording had only made him more frantic. Who knew what she was doing to his partner, what horrors she was putting him through? Daisuke and the others took it as fuel for their anger towards the powers of darkness, but it only made Wormmon worry. Of course, he was enraged at Archnemon and what she was doing to his friend, but it also worried him sick. It meant Ken was alive, but for how long? He sounded like he was losing hope very quickly. How could he possibly be expected to keep up hope when he was being tortured?

Tears came to Wormmon's eyes as he leaned his head against the windowpane. Ken's voice still echoed in his mind, every frightened word, every choking sob. He just wanted to break into wherever Ken was being held prisoner, burrow close to the tormented, terrified child and protect him from anything that tried to harm him. His friend had been hurt so much, had seen his own life shatter like glass before him. Wormmon wanted to help him get his life back together, to stop Ken's tears from falling. He couldn't let anyone hurt Ken any more. His friend's life was not something people could just play around with. Seeing each crystalline tear that fell from Ken's eyes only made Wormmon want to protect him more.

However, the more he thought about protecting Ken, the more he just wanted to laugh bitterly at himself. Some protector he had been. Just standing there while his friend was being taken, was being hurt, by darkness again. Not doing anything to help the poor boy as he was kidnapped. Not even being able to shinka and help find him. Just remaining weak and helpless. The Kaiser was right; he was useless. Ken may have been cruel back then, but at least he was completely honest. Oh, Wormmon didn't think that Ken was lying to him now; he just couldn't see what Wormmon really was. A useless, weak bug.

'Ken-chan doesn't deserve someone as pathetic as me. I can't even protect him. It's my fault he was captured. If only I was stronger... then he wouldn't have to suffer because of my mistakes,' he thought angrily. The worst part was that Ken didn't blame Wormmon for any of it. He took all of the blame upon himself, let himself be hurt for his partner's sake.

The tears that had gathered in Wormmon's eyes fell, and he began sobbing softly. Why did Ken do all of that for him? He didn't deserve any of it; he didn't deserve anyone as kind and self-sacrificing as Ken was.

A noise from Daisuke's bed tore Wormmon from his thoughts. A small form appeared from out of the folds of blankets and yawned sleepily. Wormmon hurriedly dried his eyes.

"Wormmon? Are you okay?" Chibimon's tiny voice spoke in the silence of the room.

"I-I'm fine, Chibimon. I'm sorry I woke you," Wormmon quickly apologized, a habit he still hadn't broken from Ken's Kaiser days. The blue Digimon hopped off of the bed and onto the windowsill to join his Jogress partner.

"It's okay," he replied. After a moment of quiet, he added, "Couldn't sleep?"

Wormmon shook his head. Chibimon smiled slightly and patted his friend on the back.

"Don't worry. We'll find Ken soon," he assured the caterpillar. Wormmon looked out the window, not focusing on anything outside.

"Chibimon, I have a question for you." The blue Digimon looked a little puzzled.

"What is it?" Wormmon took a deep breath, as if looking for the right words to express his feelings.

"Have... have you ever seen Daisuke in pain?" he asked. Chibimon looked slightly taken aback, but then nodded solemnly.

"Yeah. It tears me up inside every time." Wormmon turned an understanding gaze back to his friend.

"Has Daisuke ever... ever gotten hurt because of something you did? Or to protect you?" he inquired further. Chibimon thought for a minute, completely serious instead of his usual mirror image of his partner's carefree manner.

"Yes." Came his short reply. Wormmon carefully picked his wording, so as to not upset the smaller Digimon.

"What... what did it feel like inside?"

"It felt... it felt like something wonderful mixed with something horrible. I was so happy that Daisuke cared so much about me, but I felt so awful and scared that he was getting hurt. I felt like... like I had to protect him and prove to him that I was supposed to be the strong one, that I was supposed to feel the pain for him. So that's what I try to do every day of my life. Protect Daisuke, even if it means getting hurt myself." Chibimon looked over at the sleeping boy in a loving, possessive way. After a minute, he turned back to Wormmon. "Why d'you want to know?"

"Oh, it's... it's nothing. Thank you, Chibimon. You can go back to sleep now; I'll come in a minute," he replied. The blue Digimon nodded and stumbled sleepily back to the bed but, before he snuggled down once more with his partner, he said, "Wormmon. We're going to find Ken."

Wormmon took the words of comfort. However, Chibimon had already comforted him enough. He knew what he had to do for Ken. He turned back to the window and spoke into the vast night, almost hoping Ken could hear his words.


"Ken-chan, you've already had enough suffering. Now it's my turn. It's my turn to be hurt for you, to take all of your pain from you. I'm going to come and protect you, even if it means sacrificing myself again. You're not going to feel any more pain. I will rescue you, Ken-chan. I will rescue you and make sure you're never hurt again."


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