Rating: PG -> PG-13
Warnings: [violence] [language] [het] [shounen-ai]
Pairings: Takeru/Ken & Ruki/Legolas (later on...)
Notes: Meep? None? *hell freezes over*
Dedication: Mikka! Who's been supportive since the beginning and has reviewed several times. Also, she's one of the people who tried to help me understand what, exactly, Gandalf is. Arigato nasai! ^_^
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon (any characters, any seasons) or Lord Of The Rings (characters, etc.) so please don't attempt to sue me. You wouldn't get much, anyway; seven bucks. Oh! And I have pet squirrels, but that's about it.
Chapter Seven: Beginning
"I think we will stop here for the night."
"Thank God!" At Gandalf's announcement, Takeru dropped to the nearest bare patch of ground heavily, and next to him Ken did the same. "I don't know how much of this damned walking I can handle."
"Hn." Ruki snorted from a few feet away, as she walked past them to find a spot that was comfortable enough for her own unique brand of disgruntled-leaning, "baby."
Takeru ignored her, instead choosing to concentrate on RESTING. They had been traveling for what seemed like forever- in reality, it had been nearly three weeks. Three weeks of walking, day in and day out. Three weeks of sleeping on the ground. Three weeks that, for Takeru, had given him enough time to seriously consider his feelings toward the blue-haired boy who was, at that moment, flopped on the ground beside him.
Ken sat up, "do you think we'll be here -- Middle Earth, I mean -- forever?"
The blonde looked at his friend, "I... don't know."
That was, in reality, something that he had pondered for some time. At first, when they were traveling with the others, he had -- at least unconsciously -- been hoping that they would wake up one morning and magically be back in their own beds. But as time wore on, and the hardships of the trek they had agreed to go on got to be more apparent, that hope became dull.
"I think," Ken told him seriously, "that maybe we're here for a reason that Gandalf hasn't told us yet. I guess once we've done what we're here to do, we'll be sent back. I guess." A sigh, "okay, so I have no idea."
Takeru chuckled, "that's alright, neither do I." He glanced around where they had stopped, and where their camp would be; a large group of rocks and boulders (as well as some shrubs and bushes), in the middle of the endless fields and plains that they were crossing. Turning his eyes upward to the sky, he quickly unstrapped his quiver and set it and his bow to the side before clasping his hands behind his head and laying back again. "We should get some sleep."
Ken's nose wrinkled, "we're kind of spread out, don't you think?"
"Look -- we're all sleeping separate from everyone else..."
"That's fine. It keeps a perimeter, or something."
"Way to look on the positive side." The bluenette looked around, "where are Wormmon and Patamon?"
"I think they're with Gimli... he took them hunting or scouting; I don't remember which."
Takeru sat back up, "they'll be fine."
"Yeah, I know."
"Then why the hell are you looking so worried?"
Ken shook his head, "I'm not worried..."
"Then what's the problem?"
Takeru was silent. Something about the way Ken kept telling him 'nothing'... he had been doing it ever since the beginning of the quest. There was something that the blue-haired boy wasn't telling him, but no matter how Takeru asked, Ken's response to his concern was always that there was 'nothing' wrong.
In the silence between them, the sound of the rest of the company settling down for the night was something comforting that they had grown familiar with. Each of the others spreading out their own thin blanket, and the Hobbits building a fire to cook with. As long as those sounds continued, both former-Chosen knew that things were as they should be.
"Come and eat," Boromir called, "and then we should all get some sleep for tomorrow."
Takeru sighed and started to get up, but Ken caught his arm, "Takeru-"
"Huh?" The blonde blinked, "what is it?"
"When I said 'nothing'..." Ken trailed off and looked down, releasing his arm.
"I..." his friend trailed off again and shook his head, "nothing. Never mind."
"Shit." Takeru snapped, "Ken, come on! I know there's something wrong, but every time I ask you what it is you tell me 'nothing'. And now, you're about to tell me what it is, and you end up telling me 'nothing' again? Just tell me already!"
"Look," a sigh and Takeru knelt down (as Ken was still sitting) to look the bluenette in his eyes, "I don't mean to yell, but it's frustrating. Hell, Ken, you're my friend. I worry about you, believe it or not, and-"
His sentence was cut off when Ken, who had been staring at him the whole time, suddenly leaned forward and kissed him.
Shocked, Takeru's eyes flew open and he froze. <What-?!>
Pulling back a few inches, Ken's gaze remained focused on the ground, his face flushed a bright red. "S-sorry..." he muttered, "um..."
"Takeru! Ken!" Gimli's voice interrupted as the Dwarf shouted for them; "come on and get some food before there's nothing left!"
Takeru jerked away from the bluenette and stood quickly. "C-coming!" Turning back to Ken, he opened his mouth to say something more, but the other boy has risen already, and brushed past him, eyes on the dirt, to head toward the fire.
His mind spinning, Takeru followed. <What... am I supposed to do... I know... I know how I feel, but I never thought that... when did this happen, anyway? Fuck! As if things weren't complicated enough already, now I've got to deal with me and... >
He didn't really remember getting to the fire and the others, or sitting with them. But food was passed around to him and he ate, staring straight ahead into flames. Not that he was hungry, but they weren't nearly done their travels and it as important to keep his strength up. Still... he didn't taste whatever-it-was they gave him, and only half-noticed when he had finished it.
"Hm?" He blinked when Patamon called his name, and looked up. The eyes of the others- excluding Ken, who was still avoiding eye contact with him- was trained on him, and there was concern evident in their gazes. "What, Patamon?"
:Um,: the wolf cocked his head to the side, :is something wrong?:
"Wrong?" He repeated, shaking his head, "no. No... nothing's wrong."
"Are you sure, lad?" Gandalf asked softly.
"Oh, sure. Yeah. Hell yes! I'm fine." He grinned, trying to prove it to them. <What would I tell them? That Ken and I...> He didn't think they were fooled by his stupid-looking smile, but they DID return to their own meals; even if it was a bit reluctantly.
Or, most of them did.
Aragorn, who was sitting across the fire from him and next to Ken himself, continued to watch him for a few moments. His gaze slid between the blue-haired boy and Takeru several times before he turned away... Takeru sighed inwardly and closed his eyes for a second; when he opened them, he noticed with some surprise that Ken had vanished. A quick (and discreet) glance behind him, however, confirmed that the bluenette had returned to where they had first sat down.
Takeru stood up. "I'm kinda' tired." He lied, "I'm -- ah -- going to get some sleep." There was a chorus of "all right" and "goodnight" from the others, and he quickly walked after his friend. Catching up was not a problem; Ken hadn't run off, or even strayed from the campsite. He was seated on the ground near his blanket, staring out across the plain in the direction they had come from. Takeru stood a few feet away, watching, before going any closer. "Ken?"
Ken turned his head slightly, still avoiding Takeru's gaze. "Hi."
"Um," the blonde shifted his feet nervously, "mind if I sit down?"
Takeru sat down next to his friend. "Look, Ken-"
"I'm sorry about earlier." The bluenette looked down again, "I should have actually thought before I did that... I know it's weird, but can we just forget that ever happened? I think if we're going to keep going with the others and traveling together that would we the best idea."
"What?" Takeru asked, blinking, "the best idea? Ken, I'm not mad."
Ken looked at him, "you're... not?"
"You kissed me." Takeru nodded, interrupting Ken (who was gaping at him). "But why would I be angry? Shit, Ken, it was one kiss... and to tell you the truth..." he cast his eyes skyward, praying that he wasn't about to screw things up even more; "if you hadn't kissed me, chances are I would have kissed you."
A sigh, "we've been friends for a long time, right?"
"Since we got to Middle Earth, I've -- noticed some things." Takeru paused, considering his next words; "I don't know if it's just being here, or... part of being an Elf -- why THAT would have anything to do with it, I don't know -- but I've noticed some-" he broke off and looked at Ken, "shit, could this be any harder?" He took a breath. "...I've noticed you, okay?"
"Oh..." Ken seemed to be at a loss for words, but he swallowed and managed; "the reason I was asking about you and Hikari... and... I asked if there was anyone you... liked... I was asking because..."
The bluenette couldn't have been any more obvious if he had tried, and Takeru had to chuckle; "it's alright, I know what you're trying to say. I was just too dense when you actually said it to understand."
"Um, yeah?" Ken turned to look at him, this time not avoiding his eyes.
Leaning over, Takeru kissed his friend lightly, making him blink in surprise. "We should get some sleep, or we won't be able to move tomorrow."
"I'm glad you're not mad."
The blonde laughed. Reaching back, he grabbed the blanket that Ken had set on the ground next to his things and dropped it into the blue-haired boy's lap. "It's going to be chilly tonight," he said, standing and heading toward where his own thing were; "make sure you cover up."
Ken flushed again and nodded. "Goodnight."
Takeru settled down on the ground a few feet away, piling the blanket under his head as a pillow; one thing he hadn't been able to get used to even yet was the lack of pillows on their trek. "Goodnight." He replied. And despite the elation he felt at that moment, he fell asleep in an instant.
Unfortunately, the night wasn't long enough for his liking; for when he woke the next morning, with the sun just cresting the horizon, he felt exhausted. But, thus was life as part of the Fellowship -- get up with the sun, walk all day and wear yourself out, take turns hunting up something for dinner, sharpen and take care of your weapons, then go to bed just to get up the next day and do exactly the same thing again.
The trip had not been very eventful so far...
<This bites.> Takeru thought muzzily, as he stood and stretched. <I liked going to school better. At least THAT didn't involve wandering a strange world all day long... although... it DOES sound a lot like when we were in the Digital World....>
His gaze wandered over to where Ken was just yawning and opening his eyes, and he couldn't help but grin. Maybe there were a few good things about their quest. The bluenette, sitting up and yawning again, caught him staring and blinked before smiling slightly and busying himself with folding his blanket to hide the blush that colored his cheeks.
Takeru laughed softly and shook his head. <For someone who used to pride himself of being the rock-strong Digimon Kaiser, he certainly blushes easily enough.>
"Aragorn knows, you know."
"Ack!" Takeru jumped at the voice and spun around to face Renamon, who was perched on the top of a large rock behind him. "Fuck!" Lowering his hand from his chest, he took a few deep breaths; "would you quit doing that! You scared the crap out of me. Again."
A slight smile graced Renamon's face. "One would think you would be used to it by now."
"Well, I'm not!" Takeru snapped, re-strapping his quiver to his back. Yanking his blanket from the ground, he balled it up and tucked it under an arm. "And what did you say?"
"I said," Renamon repeated; "Aragorn knows."
A smirk; "about you and Ken. He can see it in you, and I can see it in him."
"So, nothing." The digimon shrugged; "I just thought you might like to know. Aragorn knows, and a few of the others have their suspicions. Especially after that show last night." She paused and then added; "kudos, by the way. You managed to smile despite the fact that everyone was staring at you."
"Thanks." Takeru replied sarcastically, then looked at her. Was she tenser for some reason? "What is it?"
Renamon looked off into the distance, frowning. "Something is coming," she muttered, "can't you feel it?"
"Feel what?" Ken's voice asked, and the blue-haired boy stepped up beside Takeru, "what's going on?"
"I don't know."
"Look!" Renamon commanded, "what is that?"
In the distance, a dark shadow was skimming across the sky, lower than the clouds. Takeru looked around; everyone, including Boromir (who had been sparring with Merry and Pippin) had stopped, and was watching the approaching dark. Legolas walked a few steps past the camp, climbing up onto the rocks for a better look.
Turning his eyes back, Takeru squinted into the distance....
...and a shout from Legolas caught his attention. He didn't make out what the Elf has said, but the effect was immediate; the others scattered, collecting their things and diving for cover under rocks and brush. Takeru got the feeling he and Ken should be doing the same.
"Hide!" Renamon told them before vanishing, possibly to find Ruki.
"Come on!" Grabbing Ken's arm, he hauled the bluenette down, ducking under the nearest outcropping of rock. Ken yelped, but didn't complain. "Sorry..."
There were a few seconds of silence, and then a wind swept past. The wind itself was followed by a whole flock of screeching, squawking crows. Or, they seemed to be crows. Ravens, maybe; in any case, they were birds, they were black, and they were loud. The birds circled overhead, made a few passes, and then flew on.
Soon they had vanished over the horizon.
Takeru breathed a sigh of relief, and crawled from his hiding spot with Ken in tow. "Are you alright?"
Ken nodded, "yeah. Are you?"
"I'm fine." The blonde looked around, counting heads as everyone else came out of their own respective hiding places. "It looks like everyone else is as well-"
"It seems," Gandalf called out, looking upward; "that the pass is being watched..."
"Great." Ruki snapped as she emerged from beneath a large bush, Renamon just behind her. "This is just great. Now what do we do?"
The wizard reluctantly turned his eyes to the snow-covered peak os a nearby mountain. "I fear..." he sighed, "that we will have to take the more dangerous path..."
Takeru and Ken both looked upward at the same time, and both of them froze.
The mountain was high.
<This is going to be HARD...>
Me: Yup, so there you go! Takeru and Ken, together at last! *grin* I like it!
Takeru: Like it's any of your business.
Me: I wrote it...
Me: *roll my eyes* Yeah, yeah. Anyway, sorry this chapter is kinda short. It just ended, and I couldn't do much about it... *sweatdrop* Sorry.