Rating: PG -> PG-13

Warnings: [violence] [language] [het] [shounen-ai]

Pairings: Takeru/Ken, Ruki/Legolas, Daisuke/Juri, Lee/Takato, Ryo/Hikari & Iori/Shiuchon

Notes: Just FYI: Chapters won't be coming out every day, but I'll try to get them out at least semi-regularly. ^-^

Disclaimer: And still? I don't own Digimon 02 or Tamers, and I don't own Lord Of The Rings.

Chapter Two: Kaeri (Return)
by Senashenta

"Okay, so what the hell is going on?"

Takeru and Ken both looked up at Daisuke's voice; the other boy stood a few feet away, hands on his hips and an annoyed expression on his face. When they didn't immediately respond to his question, he sighed and flopped onto the park bench next to Ken, resting his arms on the back. Takeru watched from where he was leaning on the side of the slide. He had expected Daisuke to be more upset when he and Ken didn't tell him what the problem was... but they intended to wait for the others to arrive before saying anything.

"Um, Ken?"

"Yes?" Ken glanced to the side at Daisuke.

The redhead regarded him with a questioning look. "So... what's up with the hat?"

"Huh?" The bluenette's hand went to his head. "Oh yeah. Um... nothing. I just felt like wearing it, that's all."

"O-o-o-kay." Daisuke's eyes went to Takeru. "And you?"

Takeru shrugged. "I can't wear one of my old hats anymore?"

"I thought you'd outgrown them."

"I had."


"Things change."

"Um, 'kay." And after a long silence, during which Ken and Takeru simply stared into space and thought, Daisuke heaved a violent sigh and slammed his hands onto the bench seat. "Damn it! You call me on the D-Terminal, tell me that there's an emergency and that I have to meet you here, and then when I get here you don't say a fucking thing? What the hell?!"

"Calm, Dai." Ken rested a hand on his friend's shoulder. "We have to wait for everyone else."


Takeru looked at Daisuke, leveling a flat gaze on him. "Daisuke, when you were walking here, did you see anyone else?"

"Huh?" Daisuke frowned, adjusting his goggles. "No."

"No one at all?"

"No." He repeated. "Why?"

"Neither did we..."


The blonde ignored him in favor of worried thinking; Ken was doing much the same. The problem -- that was making them both very concerned- was just what Takeru had said to Daisuke. After getting dressed and heading out to meet the other Chosen Children, they had walked through a lot of neighborhoods to reach the park. And they had seen no one on the way.

Granted, it was relatively early in the morning, but it was a weekday.

There should have been people out on the streets, going to work or setting up shop for the day.



No one.

There had been no one.

<So where the bloody hell IS everyone?! I mean, shit! There's NO ONE... Tokyo's a damned Ghost Town.>

Not a soul in the streets?

Not a good sign.

Besides that, there was something odd... Takeru could feel it. Something in the air that had his skin on the verge of crawling. Thinking about the deserted city almost made him break out into goose bumps. He was sure that Ken was feeling the same way... although... the feeling was much akin to that he had felt when in the presence of the One Ring in Middle Earth, and the bluenette had never had the same reaction to the Ring as he had.

On the contrary, Ken's reaction had been-

<Frightening to say the least. I NEVER want to see that gleam in his eyes again.>


A blink and Takeru looked up as the other Chosen Children -- those they had been able to contact, at least -- presented themselves at the edge of the playground. Taichi waved, but the normally lighthearted elder of the Chosen didn't have his usual grin on his face. The others were looking particularly grim as well. It seemed that Daisuke was the only one that hadn't noticed the oddities in the empty city.

<It figures.>

"I tried to get a hold of Yamato," Taichi said, crossing his arms, "but I couldn't reach him."

"Hm." Iori agreed with a nod, "I couldn't contact Koushirou on the D-Terminal either."

Iori had grown a lot since the Digital World adventures, it was obvious; he had been eight or so at the time, and was sixteen now. While still quiet and contemplative, he had outgrown his shyness about the same time as his first real growth spurt. He now towered over his previous height, rivaling Taichi's five-feet-nine-inches. Though that wasn't terribly tall, it was about the norm for the male Chosen Children. With the exception of Jou, that is, who's last growing phase had put him well over the six foot mark.

"The Terminals seem to be working," Miyako observed, pushing her glasses up on her nose and brushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear, "or we wouldn't be here, ne? So..."

"Maybe the fact that we can't reach them has something to do with the fact that there's no one in Tokyo right now." Hikari suggested.

"I agree." Takeru looked toward Hikari. The girl was frowning, concern evident in her features. "In fact, I'm fairly sure that's part of what the problem is. That," he pressed his lips together, "or the D-Terminals aren't functioning because they're all farther away than you guys were when we tried to mail you."

"I guess it's possible."




"Jeez." Miyako's hands went to her hips. "You mind telling us just what's going on?"

"Finally!" Daisuke threw his own hands into the air, rolling his eyes skyward in exasperation at Miyako's demanding question. "I tried to ask them when I got here, but Ken wouldn't tell me and Takeru just mumbled something about his hats!"

"Um, hats?"

"Yeah, what's with the hats, anyway?"

Ken sighed. "It's a long story."

"Really?" Taichi gave them a half hazard grin. "Well since practically the whole city's gone, we have lots of time." With that, he flopped onto the ground and crossed his legs, propping himself into a 'listening' position. "Please, entertain me."

Takeru almost scowled. <Gee, how did I guess about this happening?>


"Takeru?" Ken glanced at him.

"Huh? Why me?"

"Well, I just thought-"

The blonde heaved a sigh and nodded. "Fine." A pause. "I guess it all started the day that me and Ken vanished from the face of the Earth."

"Whoa!" Daisuke exclaimed; "you mean you're actually going to tell us what happened when you two fucking disappeared for six months?! You wouldn't even say squat about it! What the hell changes things now?"

"Ladies and gentlemen," Ken muttered, "we may have a crisis on our hands."

"A crisis? Is that why-?"

"Look, do you want to hear this or not?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Sorry, sorry."

"I'll be quiet."

"Please, continue."

Takeru rubbed a temple. His head was beginning to ache... and he waited until everyone was settled into a relatively comfortable position; Ken and Daisuke still on the bench, Taichi seated on the ground beside them. Miyako perched on the edge of the bench next to Dai, Hikari standing beside her. Iori considered before going to lean against another piece of playground equipment, opposite Takeru.

"So we'll begin with Middle Earth-"

"Middle Earth?"

"Is that a movie?"

"Nah! I think it's a video game-"

"Really? I've never heard of it before, where'd you-"

"Guys!" Takeru's temper flared and he shouted at Daisuke and Miyako, who's rambling wasn't allowing him to continue his story. "Do you fucking mind?!"

"Jeez, sorry."

"Man, you're so tense."

"This is important." Ken told them sternly, "please pay attention and don't interrupt."

Daisuke and Miyako both sat back, silently brooding. The two both had tempers that were hard to describe, and neither of them was particularly pleased to have their talk cut short. But that Takeru and Ken had to tell them was very important, and things may have been more complicated than any of the other Chosen Children could have imagined.

The Child of Hope massaged the bridge of his nose, eyes closed as he took several deep, calming breaths. "Alright," he managed finally. "Middle Earth." Another long pause, and the others waited for him to continue. "Middle Earth is another dimension; much like the World Of Wishes or the Dark Ocean dimension. From what we could tell, Middle Earth is an in-between of our world and the Digital World. A combination. Some creatures there were digimon, and some weren't."

"Is that possible?"

"Evidently." Ken nodded to Hikari's question.

"That," Takeru glanced around, gauging their reactions. "Is where Ken and I -- as well as Patamon and Wormmon -- were all that time a year ago."

"In Middle Earth?"

"How the hell did you get there?" This was from Daisuke, who was staring at them in disbelief. "Like another break in dimensions? The same way we got into the World Of Wishes or something?"

A shrug. "We're not exactly sure, actually. We just woke up there one day and couldn't get home."

"That sucks."




"Anyway," Ken said, looking at Takeru (who seemed ready to snap at any moment) and taking it upon himself to continue the tale. "Long story short, we got stuck there and, in the process of trying to find a way home, got sucked into a journey that -- at least at first -- seemed like something out of a fantasy novel."

"Um, huh?"

The bluenette smiled softly, "Takeru, our digimon and I, as well as several others, set out across the land of Middle Earth. Our purpose was to destroy a ring. The One Ring, they called it; something of magnificent and evil power. And so we were to be rid of it."

"And you two went why?"

Takeru raised an eyebrow. "Ken volunteered us."

"He what?"

"Yes, well," Ken chuckled nervously and then addressed Takeru; "I told you before. There was something about Frodo and the others-"

"-I know, I know."


"Shit, will you two please stop talking about things we don't know about?"

"You know Daisuke," Takeru shot a look at the redhead. "If you would be quiet we could get through this story and to the point."

"Thanks a lot, Takaishi."

"No problem, Motomiya." Shaking his head, Takeru wrinkled his nose. "In any case, the time we were missing was spent traveling with the Fellowship-" and before anyone could interrupt to ask about that; "-the others who took on the task of destroying the One Ring, and right until the end we were with them."

"What happened?"

"Did you manage to get rid of the Ring thingy?"

"We don't know." Ken admitted. "We got dragged back right in the middle of... well, a pretty bad battle. We don't even know if the others made it out alive. I mean, we hope they did, but we can't be sure. They were out friends, too."

A long silence.

<We can hope, though...> Takeru shook his head. "Now, Ken and I think that the -- problems -- with Tokyo may have something to do with Middle Earth and what we went through a year ago. We thought you all should know what happened."

"But," Taichi frowned, "what makes you think that Tokyo has anything to do with this Middle Earth?"

Both Takeru and Ken hesitated. They knew that the only way to explain their assumptions was to show off their re-acquired Elf ears, but they still weren't sure that it was such a good idea... but what to tell the other Chosen? That they'd had a collective psychic vision about it? No, probably not a good idea...

"There are... reasons..."

"Like what?"

"A feeling." Ken responded. "It's hard to describe."


"...a kind of overwhelming dread. The same kind that everyone felt in the presence of the Ring when we were journeying..."

Takeru tuned out the rest, not needing to hear it, and looked around. The other Chosen Children were listening to Ken's description intently; Taichi was frowning, worried. His 'leader' persona would soon come out, Takeru was sure. Daisuke and Miyako were both still looking somewhat disbelieving. Iori was thoughtful as always, his expression neutral as he contemplated what he was being told. Hikari, of all the Chosen, was taking the story the most seriously. As Ken explained the feeling of the One Ring she began to almost-shiver; Hikari had always had a slight touch of empathy, the ability to feel pain or other extreme emotions from others, and it seemed that her 'gift' was working overtime.

Takeru was surprised, really, by how well they were all taking their bizarre explanation. He and Ken had both expected them to think they were completely insane, which was the reason they hadn't told anyone about Middle Earth earlier. Of course, they should have known better after their friends adventures in the Digital World...

<I have to wonder how the other digimon took it if and when Patamon and Wormmon told THEM.>

...and the feeling that Ken was currently describing made Takeru's stomach clench. The feelings were very familiar... almost... almost like what he had been feeling since walking through the deserted Tokyo streets earlier...


His voice was very soft and no one really noticed.


Hikari looked up, noticing his attempt to interrupt.

The odd feeling was stronger now, and very familiar...


Almost like...

<Oh please, no! Are you kidding me? This is TOKYO for God's sake!>

Almost like...

<We can't do this! Not here, not now!>

The feeling was almost like...

Almost like...

<When we first fought the Orcs!> Orcs? Orcs! The realization made him practically catapult from the side of the slide, even as the tightening in his chest became more than he could bear and his over-sensitive ears picked up something that no Human ears could have possibly noticed. "Ken!"

The bluenette looked up sharply when Takeru shoved away from the slide. "Takeru-?"

"Ken, listen!"



"But-" at Takeru's desperate look, his mouth snapped shut and he concentrated, straining his ears. After a long moment, his eyes widened and he stood up quickly. "Takeru, that's not-!" He shook his head, panicked, "it can't be-!"

"But it sounds like-"

"I know, but it can't be-"

"Hey!" Daisuke interrupted, standing after Ken. "What's going on? What can't it be?"

Takeru shook his head, not bothering to answer Daisuke's questions. "No time, Dai! We have to get out of here!"

"But why-?"

"Just go!"


"Go! Now!"

More of the frustrating hesitation.

"Damn it, would you all just fucking run?!"


An arrow slammed into the dirt at Daisuke's feet, making the redhead jump back. His eyes widened considerably and his mouth dropped open in shock. Seeming unable to speak, he simply looked back over Takeru's shoulder in the direction the arrow had come from.

"Shit! Too late!" Takeru whirled to face what he knew was there. "Fuck!"

The Orcs that he had expected were there... a whole horde of them... tittering... arrows and swords ready... teeth bared... they were advancing... both Takeru and Ken remembered this very well. The Orcs were the same. How had they gotten there-?! It didn't matter. None of it did. What mattered was that they were almost upon the Chosen Children, and those same Chosen had nothing to defend themselves with.

At least in Middle Earth there had been weapons...

"Takeru, come on! We have to go!"

"Yeah! Shit. Shit! Go! Go!" Spinning, the Child of Hope started forward. "Go-!"

Taichi had managed to scramble up and was already backing away, though not quickly enough; Miyako had leaped to her feet from the bench and was following the Child of Courage away from the oncoming Orcs; the horror on Hikari's face was echoed by Ken, who was tugging at Daisuke. And Daisuke seemed to be frozen, staring blankly at the arrow that was imbedded in the ground at his feet.

"Come on!" Iori grabbed Daisuke's arm on the way past and physically dragged the older boy from where he was standing. "Don't just stand there! Let's go!"


Reaching Ken, Takeru paused for a split second. "Ken, we have to-"


"Wh-" the blonde broke off when a hand grasped his arm and yanked him backward. "Ah!"


Struggling desperately, Takeru turned his head to look at his captor- and wished he hadn't. The sneer on the face of the Orc that held him was garish to say the least. It was amazing how time seemed to slow down when danger was imminent...

<How the HELL did they get so close without me knowing?>

He already knew the answer. He had been so concerned with the other Chosen that he hadn't paid enough attention to the Orc horde.

<I'm so screwed! Shit!>

"Takeru!" Ken shrieked, unable to do anything; "oh God-! Takeru!"

The Orc's grip on his arm tightened, and the creature drew back an arm, raising the crude almost-sword high. The blonde's terrified breath caught in his throat and his struggling continued. The hat he was wearing fell from his head with his fighting and he ignored it... <I can't go out like this! Are you kidding? I made it through the Orcs before... the Balrog... no!>

The sword swung down, and-

"Fox Leaf Arrowhead!"

A blinding flash of light and the Orc released him with a scream. Landing on the ground with a muffled thump that forced the air from his lungs, Takeru rolled out of the way and began to scramble to his feet. "What was that-?!"

"Well," a voice told him as a hand reached down to haul him up. "I guess you owe us another one now."


Ruki smirked and turned to her digimon; "Renamon! Again! Make them run with their tails between their legs!"

"Of course." The fox-digimon nodded and leapt into the air again, delivering another bright attack; "Fox Leaf Arrowhead!"

-the light drove the Orcs back.

"Now," Ruki told him flatly. "I suggest we run before they can regroup."

"Good call." Turning quickly, Takeru looked for the others. They were still standing only a few yards away, gaping. "Go! What the hell are you waiting for? Run, damn it!"

"But-" Daisuke said stupidly, continuing to stare at Takeru and Ruki even as the others turned to flee. His eyes went from the now-hatless blonde to the red-haired Tamer and back again. "Who the hell is this? And what the flying fuck happened to your ears?!"


Me: Ah! Sorry it took so long for this chapter to come out, but I got sidetracked.

Takeru: You said that in your intro notes.

Me: I know, but I felt the need to apologize again. *bows* Gomen nasai!

Takeru: Well, now that we're right in the middle of a bigass fight you can't leave us hanging forever, right?!

Me: Heh, heh.... *sweatdrops* I DO plan on working on this more now. I got inspired again, so...

Ken: *curiously* By what?

Me: I was chatting with one of my brother's friends and got to talking about Legolas-

Ken: I... see...

Me: Don't ask...^.^;;


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