Picture Perfect
Part 3
by Rachel Lynn

Wheee… and here’s the last chapter. This is also a belated birthday fic for Kymaera-san. *sniffles* I can’t believe you’re leaving already! The summer went by ~way~ too fast. I’m so gonna miss you! And thanks for being so encouraging! ^-^

As for the rest of this A/N? Hmmmm… well, I finally found a decent title for it. Hope that doesn’t confuse people too much. And if I thought Ken was hard to write, Takeru was like a billion times worse. He always comes out with a slightly bitter flavor. X_x Oh well. Sorry this took me so long! Hope you enjoy! ^-^;;;


I'm going to be violently ill.

"Takeru? Ken?" Glancing up, I sway dizzily on my knees as Daisuke clambers into the coded circle to join us. Trying not to lose my stomach then and there, I slowly look down to see Ken lying unconscious on the floor in front of me. Lucky. I'd love to be out of it right about now.

"Takeru? You okay?" Daisuke reaches over and gives my shoulder a small shake, and I can feel the acids trying to churn their way up through my throat as I snap my attention to his face. I'd be much better if I could just pass out. Out of the corner of my shaky vision, I can see that Daisuke's other hand is brushing back Ken's dark hair.

"Outside…" I mumble, as I try to climb to my feet. I'd really rather not spew all over Gennai's nice clean cabin floor. My joints feel like they're on fire, and there are little pin pricks of pain sparking up and down all over my skin. Of course, this is nothing compared to what I felt earlier, so I grit my teeth as I stumble unsteadily. Daisuke's immediately by my side as I clumsily make my way to the edge of the coding Gennai constructed to temporarily contain the effects of the dark spore.

"…can't believe you did that! What were you thinking?!" Dully, I swing my gaze up to his and my stomach tries to tip tap it's way up my throat. What? So it's okay when he does it, but it's not when I do? I frown at him, as I step outside the circle.


There's someone jumping around in my head.

I blink. Blink again. Then rub my eyes. The sensation doesn't leave. I'd love to just stand here and not move until I get used to the way it feels, but the jumping in my head is only making me more nauseous. Pulling energy from sources I didn't realize I even had, I run for the door, fling it open, and heave onto Gennai's tulips.

"Ah man, Takeru, you should've said something. Gennai does have a bathroom, you know." I blink blearily down at the ground, trying my damnedest to get my vision to focus. It doesn't seem to be working though as the tulips do a little dance and blend into each other. Daisuke's there beside me smoothing my bangs back off my forehead and turning my face up so he can get a good look at me. If I weren't sick, I'd be amused. Like he can see if I'm going to be all right or not by just looking in my eyes.

Irritated, I rub them. The guy in my head is getting awfully damn annoying. He hasn't let up yet.

"I'll keep that in mind next time." I mutter to Daisuke, hating the foul taste in my mouth.

"Are you okay?"

"Never felt better." I give him a disgusted glare. He rolls his eyes and gives me that pained look that practically begs me to knock it off with the sarcasm. "I feel like shit." And the guy in my head just gained fifty pounds and an attitude.

"What were you thinking?! Why didn't you wait for me? I mean, this was my fault to begin with. I should have been the one to fix it. And even then, Takeru… what the hell were you thinking?!" He growls softly as he frowns at me.

Well excuse me for trying help. And what right does he have to lecture me? He's always the one that jumps in without thinking. What? Is it against the law for me to do that on occasion?

"Why don't you go check and see if Ken's okay?" I suggest through gritted teeth. He stares at me for a moment, and then zips into the house. And a part of me is unreasonably hurt by the fact that he left so fast. That and the person in my head seems to take exception to Daisuke’s departure as well. It feels like he’s reached out and is now pounding as hard as he can on the spot between my eyes.

And I can understand why. Seriously, what right could Daisuke possibly have to yell at me like that? So it's fine if he sacrifices, if he crawls out on a limb, to rescue his friend but it's not okay when I do it? Fuck that.

I can be just as good a friend to Ken as he is, and yeah, maybe I'm six years late but dammit, I did the right thing this time. Right?

I mean, this was something that had to be done. And I didn't hesitate. I didn't let my fear get the best of me like it always does. I fought it, and I did the right thing.

Up until now, I've just been lucky that everything has turned out okay. It sure wasn't because of anything I did that Patamon was reborn after defeating Devimon. And it certainly wasn't because of any action on my part that Ken was able to become part of our group all those years ago. And it definitely wasn't because of my display of faith and courage that we were able to turn the tide against Myotismon's reincarnation.

Daisuke would have done this. All he would have seen was Ken in need, and he would've jumped right in.

It's just that I've hesitated too many times in the past, and something had to be done. I couldn't just let him go back to being the Kaiser. Ken never would have forgiven himself, and I knew that. I wasn't wrong about this. I couldn't have been. If Daisuke had been the one to figure it out, he would have done the same thing I did. So why is he getting all bent out of shape because I did it? What the hell is the matter with him?!

I get up off my knees, walk back to the door, and peer in. Daisuke's sitting beside Ken in the coded circle. He's got that look on his face. The one he always gets when he's around Ken and he thinks no one's watching. He reaches out a hand and he pushes a couple of wayward strands of dark hair off of Ken's forehead, and gives an odd sort of smile.


I suppose I should have seen this coming.

Ken was never too terribly subtle about how he felt towards Daisuke, and even when he told us that he was gay -- that he didn't have any 'designs' on us -- I knew he was lying. Maybe he didn't mean to, maybe he didn't want to do anything to endanger the friendship he had with us, but I knew from the start that he was attracted to Daisuke.

And really, I guess I could have seen that for all Daisuke's protests, he liked Ken back. I never really stood a chance, and I know it. I guess… I guess that in some ways, this was just an attempt to prove to them that I could be a good friend too. That I'm not just some coward that freezes and turns indecisive when things get a bit risky. I wanted to prove to them that I could be counted on to make the difficult decision when the situation called for it. In my infinite wisdom, I thought that this would prove to them that I could be worthy of them.

But they're perfectly content to be with each other. And who am I to interrupt their happiness?

"Takeru?" Patamon whispers quietly to me as he lands on my head. I pull him off and into my arms as I turn out of the doorway and walk back outside.

"Let's go home." I say quietly.

The man in my head smirks happily in his own contemptuous way. Who needs them anyway? Daisuke and Ken? I could do much better than them. He whispers in my head, and as much as it hurts I can’t quite make myself believe that. I give my head a negative shake.

'Fuck off,' I think at him irritably.


Ken’s been knocking on the front door for about the last five minutes. I don’t understand him. Why is he here? He’s got Daisuke. What does he need with me? Rolling over, I sigh as I shove my headphones down on my ears. Quit wallowing in self-pity, Takaishi. You’ve got other friends. There’s Hikari, and my brother, and the other Chosen…

But it’s not really the same. With Ken and Daisuke, it’s more than friendship. I’m not sure if I can really explain it.

Even over the music, I can hear him pounding on the door. I don’t know why he just won’t give up. He’s already made his decision. I hope he and Daisuke are happy. And as long as I don’t have to be there seeing them together, I can be happy for them. I think. I hope.

I bury my face in my pillow. My head aches, and if I sit up too fast, black spots dance between my eyes. I can’t even play the hero right. Maybe I started believing the hype that the people at school keep spreading. Talk about stupid. Oh yeah, I’m cool, I’m smart, I’m popular, I can do no wrong.

What a bunch of shit.

I should have called Daisuke. He should have been there with me when I had Wormmon and Patamon knock Ken out, and he should have been there when Gennai developed that coded circle to contain Ken and his dark spore in until a solution could be reached. Daisuke was right. Instead of doing the right thing, I only ended up doing something rash. Not that either of them will care much now, considering that they have each other…

Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson.

“Yeouch!” I yelp suddenly as there’s a sharp sting on my arm. Flipping around, I look to see Patamon letting go of my arm. He bit me! My own digimon bit me! I scowl at him, and he glares right back. Sighing, I whip the headphones off my head. “What did you do that for?!”

“Go answer the door, Takeru.”

“No.” I snap at him and turn away to stare back at my pillow. “Ow!” I screech as he takes another nip at my arm. “Stop it!”

“He deserves an explanation, and you need to talk to him. And I’m just going to keep biting you until you quit ignoring me, Takeru!” He yells as I try to turn away from him again. Glaring, I sit up. For a few seconds, we just stare at each other. Why should I talk to Ken?

But I’ve seen that look on Patamon’s face before. He’s not going to leave this alone. Much to my disgust, I get up and answer the damn door, since it’s apparent that Ken is never going to give up knocking. My palms sting as I twist the knob.

"All right, I've opened the door. You can knock it off now, Ichijouji, the neighbors are complaining." I announce, trying my damnedest to sound like I don’t care that he’s here.

"They wouldn't have had to complain if you'd opened the door after I rang the doorbell the first time." He almost looks nervous, but that sardonic look of his makes me hesitate in that assessment. Nervous? Please, this is Ken.

He looks dark. Yeah, I know that sounds dumb. But it’s not dark in coloring, it’s just dark in, well, soul I guess. No one would mistake him for an innocent angel. Not with the brooding cynicism sitting right there on the surface for all to see.

"Yeah, well, given the choice, I wouldn't have answered at all, but Patamon made me," I all but growl as I think about it. Ken fascinates me in a way, but it’s really a bit more than that. Unlike Iori, I think he understands why my moods can swing so fast and so violently. After all, he’s afflicted with much the same condition. It’s the sort of thing that happens when you try to hold everything inside. Sometimes, despite your best intentions, the pressure’s too much and you have to blow.

"Why'd you do it, Takeru?" He asks in that low silky voice of his. Suppressing a shiver, I study the doorjamb for a second. He has no idea about how I feel for him.

"Why?" I slide a glance at him, and then roll my eyes at the solemn look on his face. He doesn’t even have a clue. "You're my best friend, why not?"

"You should have just left it alone. Left me alone. I'm sure, given the time, Gennai would have found a way to remedy things without you having to take half of… of this. What the hell were you thinking taking on a burden like this? You've been sheltered your whole damned life. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into. Trust me, I know. Damn it anyway, Takeru!" He snaps at me, his eyes flashing. Sheltered? Sheltered?!

The already dull pain between my eyes intensifies ten fold at his words. What? Is he the only fucking person on the planet who’s faced hard times? Like he’s cornered the fucking market in heartache? My brother may not be dead, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried.

The ugly truth? I hate Yamato sometimes. I hate that he doesn’t care enough for me or for our friends to at least try and get help. I resent that his depression occupies so much of our parents’ thoughts, and that what little time they spend with us away from their jobs is spent on him. I hate that he shuts me out, and I hate that somehow I’ve always been his reason to live. I resent the fact that he’s put that burden on me.

I’m angry at my parents too. If they hadn’t spilt, Yamato wouldn’t be like this. Would it have killed them to attempt civility? I can’t help but think that they just never cared enough about either me or my brother to even try. Sometimes, I’m convinced that Yamato and I are just like his and hers towels; merely possessions of a broken household to be efficiently divvied up and then never talked about again. I can’t say much for Yamato, but I know my feelings on the subject never really accounted for much with them. We can’t even spend Christmas together as a family without a third world war occurring. Sometimes it’s even hard to remind myself that I’m supposed to love them.

And my friends? Truth is I’m a real selfish bastard sometimes.

Ken’s not the only one who’s questioned the depth of darkness in his soul.

"Well I didn't fucking leave it alone so just goddamn deal with it, okay." Snarling, I glare at him. I thought I could live with just friendship, but I can’t. Competing with Daisuke? Please, I know I don’t have a prayer.

Pure, innocent, perfect Takeru would roll over like a goddamned whipped puppy and just accept facts, but that Takeru doesn’t exist.

"Takeru…" He says hesitantly. Giving into my temper, I lash out and grab him by the front of his shirt and pull him close. "Listen Takeru…" I almost manage a smirk as he looks at me a bit worried. I don’t think he’ll ever understand why I did it. Not when he has Daisuke. So what could it possibly hurt if I kiss him?

It’s sweet and tangy, and it’s perfect. In a really bittersweet-sour kind of way.

"I did it because I love you, genius." I tell his bewildered face as I shove him back angrily, and then I slam the door in his face.

For a moment, I stand in the entryway stunned, and then with my back up against the door, I slide down until I’m sitting on the floor. My head hurts so much that I’m almost afraid I’ll throw up again. What possessed me to do that? Of all the options available to me, I had to kiss him and announce my love for him? Oh yeah, that was nothing short of brilliant. Even at his absolute worst, Daisuke never would have fucked up this bad.

Groaning, I rest my head on my knees and close my eyes. At least with them closed, the world doesn’t sway so bad. I feel a thump at my side, and I look down to see Patamon slumped against me. He gives a mournful look, and I sigh as I reach down and rest my hand on his back.

“I’m sorry, Takeru.”

“No, you were right. I needed to talk to him.” I needed to see for myself that he didn’t feel that way towards me. As much as it hurts, at least I know now, right? Besides, in retrospect, this day’s been spoiling to happen for a while now. Given how close Daisuke and Ken have always been, I guess I should feel lucky that they even let me in on their friendship for the couple years that they did.

So why don’t I feel lucky? Why do I want to just corner them both and yell at them until I’m hoarse? Maybe it’s for the best then that they don’t come around anymore. Given the fact that this half spore in my blood has managed to fray my self control over my temper to bits of dust, I’ll probably say something nasty and mean hearted that I know I’ll regret later.

The ringing doorbell just about jerks me out of my own skin, and I give a strangled yelp before I think to stop myself. Patamon’s already made a beeline for the space under the end table in the living room.

“Takeru?” I hear Daisuke’s voice through the door, and grimacing bitterly; I climb to my feet and look out the peep hole. Sure enough, he’s standing out there in his not-quite-so-patient way, waiting for me to open the door. Great, just great. This, of course, is exactly what I didn’t need at this particular moment. My palm stings again as I reach out, twist the knob, and pull the door open.

“Hey you opened the door on the first ring! That’s got to be a record, huh? What, are you not face first in some encyclopedia of a book?” He bounces over the doorjamb and into the entryway, snatching my hat off my head as he pushes his way past me on route to the kitchen. Oh just what I needed. Attack of the genki Daisuke.

I’ve had it with this. He can burn down the fucking apartment for all I care. I slam the front door shut, and make my way back into my bedroom. Daisuke’s been here often enough. When he finally takes the hint, he can let himself out.

Flopping down on my bed, I bury my face once more in my pillow. Seconds later I feel the mattress shifting heavily to the side as Daisuke bounces onto it beside me.

Ignore him and he’ll go away. Daisuke… stray puppy… they are kind of the same. Then I remember seeing him make a beeline for the kitchen. Damn, I’ve inadvertently fed him. Once you feed a stray, they hang about forever. Well, to hell with it.

I roll over towards the wall, lightly resting my forehead against the bland white paint. Maybe if I feign sleep…

“This is damn good stuff, Takeru. Man, you’re so lucky sometimes. My mom refuses to buy me this stuff anymore.” He announces rather loudly in my ear. The words ‘dense as a post’ don’t even begin to describe Daisuke. I’m determined though, he’ll take the hint eventually. I’d like to think that I could just stay casual friends with him and Ken after this, but truth is… that’s asking too much. “Ah c’mon, don’t be like that.” He whines in a particularly shrill voice directly into my ear.

And just as I’ve decided that he’s finally given up, he yanks my shirt up and presses something cold and wet against my back. Yelping angrily, I sit up abruptly and turn to glare at him. He, of course, smiles back at me innocently, carton of ice cream in hand.

He’s wearing my hat. It’s crammed down on his head just about as far as it will go, and only a couple tufts of hair at his ears, and a few locks of his bangs are visible. The spoon is hanging limply from the side of his mouth and he’s got that five going on sixteen look on his face. Why is it always so hard to be angry at him? This would be so much easier if I could just be furious with him. If I could convince myself that I’m better off without him and his antics.

“Why are you here?” I ask quietly, already guessing the answer. I don’t want him to feel guilty about this. After all, I’m the one who screwed it up.

He, being Daisuke, ignores my question completely and plucks the spoon out of his mouth. He digs it into the ice cream and then holds it out to me. “You should try it. It really is good.” At his words, I look heavenward and sigh before shooting him a pained look.

His smile falters slightly, and the ice cream slides off his spoon and lands on the bed between us with a soft plop. For a moment, we both just sit there and stare dumbly at it. “So you came over to spill vanilla ice cream on my bed…” I say with another sigh, breaking the silence. Why does he have to make this so much harder than it already is?

I understand, okay. You and Ken are happy together. It’s not a matter of one of us winning or losing, it just is. You don’t have to apologize or explain. But I can’t have you around here anymore. It hurts.

“You know what this looks like?” He asks as he pulls a bit experimentally at the sheet, making the melting ice cream gloop around. I look down at it and then at him. He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively, and I just can’t seem to help myself.

I start laughing.

It’s just such a Daisuke thing to do and to say. He is such a dork. Such an incredibly adorable, pain in the ass, dork. “You know, Takeru, you really should change the sheets after you do something like that.” He mock lectures me as he wags the spoon at me. I can’t stop laughing, but I really do think that now would be a good time to quit. “So who was the lucky bastard? You didn’t… not with… I did see Ken leaving as I walked up…”

It’s almost like I can here a tiny snap inside myself at those words. I’m laughing so hard that I can feel the tears beginning to stream down my face. Except… I’m not really laughing anymore. Shit. Rolling away towards the wall again, I smother my growing sobs into my pillow. Goddammit, why won’t he just fucking go away?!


Go away, Daisuke. You’re just making this worse.

“Takeru, are you okay?”

If I say yes, will you go away?

Fuck.” He hisses softly. I can feel his hands on my shoulders, gently trying to tug me around to face him. But I don’t really want to face him, so I tense up and dig in deeper. “I’m sorry. Whatever it was that I said, I’m sorry. Fuck, just… fuck. C’mon, Takeru. I really am sorry.” And if he didn’t sound so worried and panicked I could have just kept my mouth shut. Damn.

“It’s not your fault.” I manage to hiccup out through my pillow. “I just want to be alone.” No I don’t. I hate being alone. But I don’t really want you to be here when I’m like this either. Run back to Ken, Daisuke.

“Tell me what’s wrong first and I’ll consider it.” He counters, and I feel his arms curl around my shoulders slightly as he gives up on tugging. Tell him? How in the hell do I possibly tell him without sounding like a three year old crying over a lost toy? “Does this have something to do with me and Ken?”

“I’m just feeling sorry for myself, okay?” I manage not to growl. “And it has nothing to do with you and Ken, I really am happy for the two of you.” I blatantly lie. Apparently that was enough of an answer to satisfy him, because he pulls back and just sits on the bed for a moment.

“Listen, I gotta go do something really quick. Stay here, okay?” I hear him order, and then I hear him walk out of the room, to the front door, and out of the apartment.

Wonderful. My head’s pounding to the point where I’m almost seeing double. My eyes are all puffy and scratchy. Rolling over, I didn’t see how it could get crappier than this. Until, of course, I rolled into the melted ice cream.

And damn if Daisuke doesn’t still have my hat.


I am going to rip the fucking doorbell out of the fucking wall, I decide. And now, apparently, ringing the bell simply isn’t enough. They’re both out there yelling at my front door. I’ve had three different neighbors actually call and leave rather nasty messages on the answering machine in the last three minutes. They both know I’m in here, and I’m going to have to open the door.

Irritated, I can feel my palms stinging again as I open the door. This is the third time today that I’ve reopened those scabby self inflicted wounds. It hurts dammit. Couldn’t they have just left me alone until it had a little time to heal on its own?

Daisuke doesn’t even wait for an invite, he comes bounding in excitedly, my hat right there smashed down on his head. Ken, of course, enters a bit more sedately, but fact of the matter is that they’re both intent on talking to me -- it seems -- whether I want to hear what they have to say or not.

Trying to stay calm, I shut the door, and then turn to see that they’ve already left me in favor of the living room. Sighing, I make my way over to the room. But the sight of the two of them semi-draped over each other makes me stop cold. Are they deliberately trying to rub it into my face?! No… wait… I did tell Daisuke that I was happy for them.

Uncertainly, I face them both and given them a questioning glance.

“Do you like seeing us like this, Takeru?” Daisuke asks, and he just sounds so innocently curious that I try to force the lump back down my throat.

“Don’t be dense, of course he doesn’t like seeing us like this.” Ken rolls his eyes and gives Daisuke a light, affectionate smack upside the head. And they both turn and look directly at me. Gulping, I take a step back. I am… incredibly confused.

“Of course he doesn’t! Duh, what was I thinking? Nobody would like seeing this because there is definitely something missing.” He sounds like he’s repeating rehearsed lines, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why or what exactly it is he’s talking about. They look fine to me, as much as that hurts to admit. “Yup, there’s definitely something wrong with this picture.” Daisuke announces. “And I know just how to fix it.”

He bounds up off the couch, grabs my arm and hauls me over to it, shoving me down beside Ken. I know I’m blushing by the time Daisuke gives us both a thoughtful look and then starts rearranging our positions. When we seemed to be comfortably hanging on each other enough to his satisfaction he then plops himself down on top of both of our legs.

Blinking in bewilderment, I look at his smiling face and then at Ken’s.

“Now it’s a perfect picture.” Ken says as he gives me a slight hug with his one arm. His other hand is playing with the tufts of hair that are sticking out from under my hat on Daisuke’s head.

“You get it, Takeru? Did you see what was missing?” Daisuke asks as he grabs one of my hands and threads his fingers in between mine. I manage a grin, even though I’m blushing madly.

“Yeah, I get it. Even I’m not that dense.”

“So is this arrangement more to everybody’s satisfaction?” Ken asks dryly.

“Yeah, just think of when we get to the kinky stuff!” Daisuke wiggles his eyebrows suggestively at Ken and I. Grinning like a maniac, I turn to Ken, give a slow nod. And then we both pounce on Daisuke.

Yeah, now the picture’s perfect.


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