Rating: PG -> PG-13
Warnings: [language] [violence] [het] [shounen-ai]
Pairings: Takeru/Ken & Ruki/Legolas (later on...)
Notes: Please ignore the occasional OOC-ness of Takeru. ^^;; This takes place when he's around 19 years old, and he's changed a lot since the ending of the 02 Adventures. I mean, Takeru's still Takeru inside and out, but he does tend to use a lot of PG language. ^_~ Ruki & Renamon will appear in a few chapters, so please be patient, ne? ^-^
Disclaimer: Ah! Before I get sued! I don't own Digimon (any of the characters from any of the seasons, dang it ;_;) or Lord Of The Rings (any of the characters, etc. ;_;) I'm just borrowing them for my amusement and the amusement of others. Ja!
Chapter One: Changes
Takeru Takaishi knew something was wrong when he woke up in the woods.
The only other time he'd ever woken up and been surrounded by trees (when he hadn't gone to sleep surrounded by them) was when he'd been transported to the Digital World for the first time, and he could pretty much guarantee that wasn't what had happened this time.
In his nineteen years of life, he had seen quite a lot, and that was the only reason he didn't panic right away. Instead, he sat up carefully and looked around himself at the semi-dark trees. It appeared to be night time, still... <What the hell is going on-?> His mind demanded. <I'm pretty sure when I went to sleep I wasn't laying under a pine tree. So how the hell did I get here? And for that matter, where the hell AM I??>
He stood up, brushing the leaves and dirt from his clothes. Then he paused.
"I..." he frowned, muttering to himself; "I don't recall wearing clothes to bed last night."
On the contrary, he had gone to bed wearing what he normally wore; just a pair of boxers. Of course, people were known to sleepwalk, but sleep-getting-dressed? And besides that, he didn't recognize the clothes; gray pants and a long shirt that laced up in the front. It seemed that there was another layer or two underneath the shirt, but he couldn't be sure.
"And what the fuck-?!" He snapped out loud, "why am I wearing knee-high boots?!"
His mother, not to mention Hikari, would have been shocked at his language.
Unfortunately, that was the result of being friends with Daisuke Motomiya, who had what was possibly the dirtiest mouth in all of greater Tokyo city. Luckily, he lived on his own -- or rather, with his brother in their own apartment -- so he didn't have to worry about what his mother and ex-love-interest-turned-best-friend would say. Of course, living with Yamato had only increased his vulgar language, but he really didn't care at that point.
Something -- probably a pine needle -- brushed his ear and he absently reached up. His fingers touched the ridge of his left ear and he blinked. <Now what-?> His fingers followed the curve of his ear up... and up... and up... ending in a rounded point nearly an inch past where his ear should have ended. Where it had always ended! <O-o-o-kay....>
He sat down again. Heavily.
And it was in that moment of silence that he heard water. A stream, maybe? And it might have just been morbid curiosity that made him get to his feet and head toward the sound; somehow, despite the weirdness of his current situation, he just had to be able to see his own reflection. He had to know what he looked like... he knew something was different... certainly his ears were different... but...
He stumbled toward where he thought the sound was coming from, and found the trickle of water only a few yards away. Kneeling, he peered downward despite the relative gloominess of the night, inspecting his reflection in the almost-stream. And in that moment, he was accosted by a familiar-but-not-normal face. His face, but at the same time...
...really, there were only two big differences. One was his ears -- they swept back into from his face, and, as he had ascertained, ended in a semi-point. The other was his hair, which, though it was the same dusty-blonde color it had always been, was nearly five inches longer than it had been the day before. It hung down to his chin, straight, but with a single thin braid on either side of his face and running behind his newly-pointed ears.
A shuffle of leaves just behind him caught his attention and a familiar voice sighed; "you know, despite the fact that I normally frown on that kind of language, that's almost exactly what I said."
Takeru spun around. His eyes landed on the person who had spoken and his jaw dropped open; he had to consciously shut it. The young man who was standing only a handful of steps away gave a soft half-smile.
"Well," Ken said. "I guess we're in this together, then."
The blonde frowned, noticing the ears and braids that the blue-haired boy had also somehow acquired. At least for Ken, the length and cut of his hair hadn't been changed. <Although now,> Takeru mused, <it looks like I copied my hair cut from his...> He pursed his lips and nodded, indicating his friend's new features. "You too, huh?"
Ken's eyes flicked to the side and then went to Takeru's. "It seems that way, yes."
"At least you didn't swear this time, ne?"
A blink. "What?"
The bluenette shook his head, "nothing. Takeru, there's something else..."
"Besides the fucking ears, you mean?" Takeru snorted, "what now?"
Ken tisked, "that word again." A sigh, "but yes, there is... something." He turned and gestured with a hand. "Come on, you might as well come out; he's going to have to get used to this sooner or later anyway."
Takeru blinked at the very-familiar voice that spoke directly into his head. "Um...."
Two large, furred forms padded from the nearest brush and presented themselves on either side of Ken. One had beige-ish fur and the other had light green-ish fur. Both of them had bright blue eyes.
:Hello again, Takeru.: One of them said mentally; :it's been a while, ne?:
"What the hell is this?" Takeru demanded; "talking wolves now? What is going on here?!"
"You know, shouting isn't going to help, Takeru." Ken rolled his eyes and then looked down at the green-ish wolf. "Takeru Takaishi, meet the new and... well... different... Wormmon, and-" he glanced at the beige-ish wolf; "Patamon."
"Are you serious?"
Ken nodded. "Completely."
Takeru's eyes went to the beige wolf. "Patamon? You're kidding me, right?"
:I wish I was,: Patamon told him. :Unfortunately, this is me... at least, for now.:
"Well," the other boy shook his head and walked over to Takeru, then held out his hand. "I think we should try to figure out where we are. I doubt we'll be able to, but we can at least look around."
The blonde allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. "I guess you're right Ken, but I severely doubt that it'll do us any good. Judging by our ears... judging by Patamon and Wormmon, I don't think we're on Earth anymore. I mean, whoever the hell heard of green and beige wolves? "
:At least not OUR Earth.: Wormmon agreed.
"Or the Digital World," Ken added, nodding. "But that doesn't change the fact that we're here -- wherever here is -- and that we have to find someone... anyone... to at least tell us where we are. Maybe we can even find someone who can tell us how we got here."
"Yeah." A pause and Takeru looked his friend up and down; Ken was wearing an outfit similar to his own -- knee-high boots, dark colored pants, a long-sleeve shirt to match the pants and a... what was the word? He'd learned it in World History... a tunic? He was wearing one overtop of his shirt. The bluenette also had a bow -- as in bow and arrows -- strapped to his back, alongside a quiver that held a handful of arrows. There appeared to be two knives included in the strap for the quiver, both of which were butcher-knife-length and curved slightly. "Nice outfit."
Ken raised an elegant eyebrow. "You too."
"Hm." Takeru reached back, and was surprised to discover that he, too, carried a bow-and-quiver. There were no knives strapped to his own back, but upon inspecting his belt he discovered one on each hip. "Shit, Ken, I don't know what the hell is going on here but why are we both armed to the teeth?"
"I have no idea."
:Probably because this place is dangerous.: Patamon guessed, silently wandering up to stand beside them with Wormmon in tow.
:Yes,: Wormmon said, :with both of you carrying so many weapons, I think we can assume that there is a need for them.: He sat down and turned his eyes to inspect his green-furred paws. :Ken... I don't think I like having only four legs...:
"I know, my friend," Ken sighed, "but it's not as if we have a choice in the matter."
:I know, I know.:
"Well, shall we start, then?"
Takeru nodded to Ken's question. "You know what?"
He started walking and the others followed; "this whole thing makes me rethink my outlook on the Digital World adventures. At least in the Digital World there was someone to explain things to us -- thank God for Gennai -- but wherever the hell we are now... I don't think I like being on our own like this."
:And me too.:
"At least that's settled." Ken clucked his tongue and looked around. "I'm not seeing signs of any kind of civilization around here. Do you suppose this whole area is forest? If that's so, then we might be in some trouble here."
"No shit," Takeru sighed. "We've been in trouble since the minute we got here."
:Ken's right, we ARE in trouble.: Wormmon stated, his newly-developed nose twitching, :but right now, there's something else... something close by that I can... smell... but I can't... I don't know what it IS, exactly.:
Patamon took an experimental sniff. :I don't either-:
"Hm." Takeru narrowed his eyes in the direction that both former-digimon were looking. Something in the trees caught his attention; something that was moving just beyond the shadows. "Whatever it is," he said, "it doesn't feel dangerous."
"Feel?" Ken asked, "what do you mean 'feel'?"
"Just what I said." The blonde replied; "feel. As in, I don't sense any danger from whatever-it-is... it just feels... different..."
:Like digimon?: Patamon suggested.
But Takeru shook his head. "No, just different."
"Well..." Ken said slowly, "should we go and see..?"
"I think yes." Takeru told him. "But we have to be careful just in case; we should be ready to use these arsenals that we've got." He shrugged, "that is, assuming we can even use the damn things..."
"I guess you're right."
"Come on then, what are we waiting for?"
"Yeah..." Ken replied unenthusiastically, following after his more-outgoing friend, with Wormmon on his heels. <When did Takeru turn into Yamato?> He wondered, keeping his eyes on Takeru's back so he wouldn't get lost. <He's not the same as he was when we were younger. He's more outgoing and aggressive, for one, and taller.> He considered; <and he's inherited some of Yamato's looks, too... in his eyes -- they're very intense now. More so than they were when he was younger... he must have gotten the same gene Yamato did when it comes to that. He's a good combination of thin and muscular... perfect, really... you'd think he's the one that had the Dark Spore inside him... maybe genetics has to do with his build, too? Probably... genetics were certainly on his side, that's for sure...>
Takeru's voice cut his thoughts short and he jumped, flushing red when he realized just the kind of things his mind has been wandering toward. Turning his eyes skyward, Ken thanked whatever deity that existed above for the fact that he had the cover of darkness to hide the fact that he was blushing.
"Look-" Takeru dropped down to one knee and peered through the bushes, motioning for Ken to do the same. "People, Ken. There are people here; that means we're bound to find some kind of city eventually, right?"
"I suppose," Ken whispered back, "there's probably a civilization of some kind around here... somewhere..."
:But where?: Patamon wondered.
The blonde's brows knit togther. "I don't think we can follow them without them knowing."
"Agreed." Ken nodded, "we're not good enough at this traveling-in-the-forest stuff to be able to follow them quietly." He squinted into the shadows; there were five of them, he could discern. Five of them and a horse. But something was wrong... "Takeru, look... I think someone's hurt-"
"What?" Takeru blinked and looked closer, "Ken, wha-"
"Look!" The bluenette insisted, "there are five... but they're all crowded around one of them. Do you see what I'm talking about? It's dark, but I think one of them is on the ground... hurt or sick..."
"Ken, you can't possibly know-"
:Ken's right.: Wormmon stated. :I can smell the blood. One of them IS hurt.:
:I can smell it, too.: Patamon added; :I think whoever is hurt is dying, Takeru-:
"We should help them." Ken said decisively, suddenly overcome by a feeling of urgency. There was something about the people they were watching that made a very definite impression on him. They were important. Very important...
Takeru frowned, "what can we possibly do to help?
"..." He considered. "Takeru, Jou taught us some of his first-aid..."
"Are you kidding?" The other boy demanded, "he taught us very basic shit, Ken. We're not field-medics in any way, shape, or form! What do you think we could do for them? You heard Patamon! The one who's hurt is dying! We can't bring people back to life, no matter what Jou taught us!"
"Takeru, we have to-"
"Ken, come on. What you're saying is-"
Ken growled in frustration. "Look, our Crests give us some power, right? Maybe we can use the power of our Crests to help, or something-"
"Damn it, listen to me!" Takeru snapped; "Hope and Kindness aren't enough to do anything to-"
:Takeru-!: Patamon gasped, sounding hurt. :You can't feel that way about the power of your Crest!:
"I find it hard to believe," Ken said softly, "that as the Chosen of Hope you don't believe in the power of your own heart. Hikari told me you all know that you carry the strength of your Crests inside you... and Hope is one of the strongest..."
Takeru gaped. "But, how can-"
"Fine. Stay here." Ken stood up, "but I'm going."
"K-Ken, what if-"
The blue-haired boy stared down at him. "Are you coming with me or not?"
Takeru stared back.
Ken waited silently. <He won't actually stay, will he? He's always come along before... as much as Daisuke believed in me and what I MYSELF believed in, so did Takeru. He was always there for me. He'll come along... won't he?>
"Shit." Takeru shook his head and stood up, "fine. Let's go see what we can do." He gave his friend a semi-angry look. "But I don't know what you think you're going to say to them! 'Hi! We were just passing through and thought we'd heal your friend!' Yeah right-"
"Takeru-" Ken's eyes were focused on the people before them.
"What now? I'm just saying-"
Takeru's eyes flicked to Patamon and then he followed everyone's gaze to those they had been watching. Four of the five were staring straight at them. One had stood and drawn a sword from a scabbard that hung at his side; the others continued to kneel around the final person, who was still prone on the ground...
:I guess we don't have to tell them we're here.: Patamon stated unnecessarily.
"Yeah." Ken agreed.
"What's going on?" One of those who was kneeling asked, apparently directing the question to the man who was standing. "Who are they, Strider?"
The man didn't respond, but carefully sheathed his sword again and relaxed his stance.
"Don't you see their ears, Pip?" Another whispered, eyes wide; "they're elves..."
Me: And so it begins. ^-^
Takeru: Why do I get the feeling this entire thing is going to suck for us?
Ken: Try to look on the bright side.
Me: Exactly! *glomps Ken*