Rating: PG -> PG-13
Warnings: [violence] [language] [het] [shounen-ai]
Pairings: Takeru/Ken, Ruki/Legolas, Daisuke/Juri, Lee/Takato, Ryo/Hikari & Iori/Shuichon
Notes: Wow... there's like, no notes at the beginning of this chapter. Huh. I'm just in shock here. How did this happen? I guess... okay, I really don't know how it happened. Anyway, sorry again that it's taken me so long to get back into "Digital". You all forgive me, right?
Disclaimer: Much as I can wish, I just don't own Digimon or Lord Of The Rings. Shimatta, ne?
Chapter Three: Tsudoi (Gathering)
Running for their lives was something both Takeru and Ken had hoped to have left behind when they came back from Middle Earth. Unfortunately things hadn't worked out quite the way the two of them had wished... running from Orcs was bad enough in Middle Earth when they were trying to destroy the Ring, but in the middle of Tokyo City?
And what was Ruki doing there?
That was something that no one could hope to explain... yet...
<Where are we, anyway?> Ken chanced to raise his head, dragging his eyes from the pavement to glance back over his shoulder. He was worried about Takeru and Ruki. He need not have, though, the two -- though some distance behind himself and the others -- were managing to outrun the Orcs by at least... well, by far enough to keep from being slaughtered, which was the important thing. Next to him, Daisuke and Iori were racing at top speeds; Taichi was ahead with Hikari and Miyako. And Takeru and Ruki... <How did Ruki GET here-?!>
He pushed those thoughts aside, unimportant as they were.
<I should be thanking Ruki and Renamon for saving Takeru. If they hadn't shown up->
He didn't want to think about it.
"Ken, what the hell are those things?"
The bluenette glanced at Daisuke, still running as fast as he could. "Orcs."
"Trust me, you don't want to know-"
"I don't know about Dai," Iori panted, "but I know that I don't want to!"
"Good call, Iori!"
"Where are we going-?"
"I have no idea! Keep running!" Ken waved them on.
Ahead, Hikari was beginning to slow. She had always been the weakest of the Chosen, physically speaking. A sickly girl, if they were honest. Of course she couldn't keep up with them like that. Ken's mind raced, trying to think of something -- anything -- they could do to get away from the horde behind them.
He came up with nothing.
No weapons, no digimon... well, they had Renamon, but still...
"-shit! 'Kari!" Daisuke shouted, "Taichi! Hikari's down!"
Her brother began to stop and turn, but Ken interrupted; "keep going, I've got her!"
There was a general feeling of surprise.
"You? Ken, you can't-"
<Oh no? Watch me.>
He reached the spot where Hikari was sprawled on the concrete and paused for only a split second; long enough to reach down, haul the girl to her feet, make sure she was alright, and then throw her over his shoulder before continuing to run. It was something no one expected from the somewhat frail boy. Of course, he was still wearing the hat that Takeru had insisted he put on, so they didn't know he had been... well, changed.
He hadn't stopped for long. Not long, but long enough that Takeru and Ruki had nearly caught up with him. Daisuke and Iori were ahead now, along with Taichi and Miyako. There was an odd felling of deja vu as he fell into step with the other former-members of the Fellowship. The biggest difference was that in the past he hadn't had Hikari slung over his shoulder.
"Fox Leaf Arrowhead!"
Renamon was still behind them, attempting to keep the throng os Orcs at bay. She ran alongside her Tamer... then every minute or two she stopped long enough to deliver another 'Fox Leaf Arrowhead' attack before blurring into motion once again.
Giving them an extra foot or two each time.
"No, really?" Ruki glared at the blonde boy who was running beside her, sarcastic as always. "I hadn't noticed." Raising her voice several notches, she called ahead for everyone to hear; "turn left at the next corner!"
"Where the fuck are you taking us?"
The girl's eyes flicked to the side at Takeru. "Trust me."
"Trust-? Trust you-?! Are you goddamn kidding me?!"
"Takeru!" Ken snapped, "just do what she says!"
"Um," Hikari spoke, tapping the bluenette's back. "Ken-?"
"Not now, Hikari! Sorry, but not now!"
Taichi hadn't bothered to question Ruki's orders, simply dashing around the corner as she'd told him to. The older Chosen's hand was locked around Miyako's wrist, dragging her with him; Daisuke and Iori followed closely behind. Takeru and Ken didn't say anything else, choosing to simply pick up their pace. The problem Ken was having was with carrying Hikari as well, not that he intended to stop to put her down at that point...
"When we get to the corner," Ruki began, pausing halfway through her sentence to take a handful of breaths. She, like Takeru and Ken, sported the Elven ears and physique, but running full-out for so long and so far was draining even them. "...when we get around the corner, get out of the way!"
<Get out of the way-? What-?>
Ken skidded around the corner after Takeru and Ruki, still holding on to Hikari tightly. His feet slipped against the pavement and he nearly stumbled, barely managing to catch his balance before both he and the girl he was carrying slammed into ground; but he was going to fast to stop, and there was a building. Twisting, he attempted to get Hikari out of the way. If he slammed into the wall, that was fine, but he didn't want his friend to get hurt-
"Whoa!" A hand grabbed his arm, stopping him before he could fall; "gotcha'!"
"Uh..." Ken straightened up slowly, setting Hikari back onto her feet, and looked at the person who had 'saved' him.
A few surprised blinks only confirmed what his eyes were telling him.
He had no idea who the boy was.
"Ken! 'Kazu, you idiot!" Ruki's voice screamed, "get down!"
"Whoops, I pissed her off." A pause and then the boy added; "again." He winced and, not releasing Ken's arm, latched his hand onto Hikari's wrist as well and dragged both the Child of Kindness and the Child of Light down to the ground. "But in this case I'd do what she says- say, I'd cover my head if I were you."
And with that he proceeded to take his own advice.
Ken just stared. <Who is THIS?>
But the snarling of the Orcs was drawing nearer...
Tucking his head down, he covered it with his arms.
"What the hell are we doing?" Takeru's voice demanded from a few feet away, "this is fucking ridiculous! Are you trying to get us killed? Well? Ruki? Ruki! Damn it! You know how dangerous they-" a frustrated growl; "we can't just sit and wait-!"
Silently, Ken echoed Takeru's sentiments; they knew first-hand how murderous an Orc horde could be, and they were just sitting here... but then again, Ruki knew how dangerous they were as well. She must have had a plan, or she wouldn't have had them duck-and-cover. What could she possibly be planning-?
All their questions were answered a moment later when the screeching Orcs rounded the corner after them.
<This is it. We're all dead.>
"Renamon! Everyone!" Ruki shouted. "Now!"
"Fox Leaf Arrowhead!"
<What's going on-?!>
Still shielding his head, Ken listened as three simultaneous explosions sounded from the walls of the building just behind them. The ground shook as if an earthquake was in the process of tearing half the city down, and debris cascaded around them. Ken -- as well as everyone else -- could feel the dust and cement particles fall from the sky and litter the ground; he began to cough when the dust cloud became more than his lungs could bear.
It was silence that followed.
The ground stopped shaking, though the dust continued to fall.
Silence? The sounds of the Orcs had vanished, even to Ken and Takeru's sensitive ears.
<Nothing... I wonder...>
Tentatively raising his head and at the same time lowering his arms, the bluenette glanced around himself; the others were all doing basically the same thing. "Hikari-?" He turned to look at her through the debris and diminishing dust, still concerned for her safety. "Are you alright?"
"Uh..." a groan, followed by a tentative nod. Reaching up, Hikari rubbed her head, then shook it to get some of the dust out of her hair. A cloud puffed up at the motion and she coughed violently, then; "...yeah. I think I'm okay."
"I'm alive." Takeru's reply came. The blonde was in the process of climbing out of the rubble. "Holy hell, Ruki. What did you do?"
"Don't question it." Ruki snapped from a few feet away. "We saved your ass. Focus on that." A pause and she called; "Renamon! You're fine, right?"
"Hm." The digimon appeared at her side. "We all are."
<All-?> Ken blinked watering eyes, trying to rid them of grit. Whatever Ruki'd had Renamon do, it had been something big. <And who does she keep talking to? Who else is here? And who was that guy who-> he turned to look at the person who had grabbed him and Hikari before; blonde-ish hair spiked from beneath a kind of visor. "Hey-" he caught the boy's attention. "Um, thanks for that. You know, before."
"No problem." A grin. "I'd do it for anyone... except maybe Ruki... hn. That girl's still got a screw loose."
<So he's friends with Ruki?> Another blink, then, <although maybe 'friends' is too strong a word.>
At Daisuke's muttered curse, everyone turned to look at him; he was standing -- dust covered and bleeding from a scrape on his elbow, his goggles in disarray but somehow unbroken -- and staring back the way they had come. The look of utter shock on his face was something they were used to, but somehow it was different now... Ken quickly turned, following his surprised eyes.
The corner... the road... was gone.
No, not gone, really... it was buried.
The rubble that blocked the street off had probably buried most, if not all of the Orc horde, crushing them beneath tons of cement and steel. Cement and steel which had come, incidently, from the wall of a nearby building; half of the wall was gone...
<That's what Ruki had Renamon do.>
"Yeah! How's that for kicking butt-? Score one for us! Ne, Ruki... what were those, anyway?"
Another unfamiliar voice...
"I told you before, Takato! Orcs!"
"And those would be-?"
Ken sighed and looked at Ruki. The girl's eyebrow was on the verge of twitching. "Ruki?"
"He probably wants to know who the hell they all are." Takeru spoke up, crossing his arms and glancing around; besides the boy that had helped Ken out, there was one with black hair and glasses who reminded the Chosen of Jou. Another, who was wearing a vest and had a Chinese look about him. A familiar-looking little white and green digimon was perched on his shoulder. A fourth who bore a suspicious resemblance to Taichi -- or was it Daisuke? -- right down to the goggles. Next to him stood a large red and black dinosaur-dragon-type digimon. Beside him was a girl with reddish-brown hair and a shy appearance. Finally, and the only other girl there, was a younger girl -- around Iori's age -- with dark purple-red hair, which was pulled into half hazard pigtails. "So..." the Child of Hope pursed his lips. "Ruki-?"
Ken watched her scowl at him.
"I told you about the Tamers, right?" Her scowl became a simple glare. "So here they are. Now, I suggest we get out of here before those things figure out a way to dig themselves out of there! Get it?"
"God! You're just as bitchy as I remember y-"
"Takeru," Ken interrupted, "not now, okay?"
The blonde stared at him for a moment, then nodded curtly and contented himself with grumbling under his breath. Ruki's eyes flicked to Ken in a silent and almost impossible-to-read 'thank you' and then glanced around. Taichi and Daisuke had their confused-by-the-last-run-of-events looks on their faces. Iori was frowning, thoughtful as always. Miyako's eyes were glued on one of the newcomers. Ken got the feeling that the Tamer with the white-and-green digimon was in for a good stalking in the future. Hikari was rubbing her arms as if she had a chill -- her slight empathy was working, still.
"Let's get out of here." Takeru waved his hand and started walking.
It was a very rare occasion when the Child of Hope took the lead and both Daisuke and Taichi followed in silent bafflement.
If the situation had been any different, Ken could have found humor in it.
<Because laughing isn't appropriate when we could be slaughtered any minute.>
The silence between the members of their somewhat odd group was a little unnerving. The Tamers were walking in silence, seemingly watching the Chosen intently. Why? Then again, if what Ruki had told them before was right, then they were watching TV-characters-come-real...
<And that HAS to be strange.>
As for the Chosen themselves, they were more focused on Takeru and Ken than anything else. All were curious about the girl who had saved Takeru -- who both the Chosen of Hope and the Chosen of Kindness seemed to know very well -- and concern was obvious in the way they moved. In some cases, paranoia was close to setting in; Miyako, at least, was looking around worriedly as they went. Possibly for Orcs.
Probably for Orcs.
Ken knew how she felt.
They walked quickly -- almost sprinting but not quite -- to put distance between themselves and the downed Orcs; whether the creatures were dead or not was still unknown, and no one wanted to take the chance that they were still alive.
"Man!" The white-and-green digimon exclaimed finally, after they had managed to make it about six blocks from the rubble. "You'd think someone'd died! We won, people! Momentai already! I mean jeez!"
"Terriermon-" his Tamer warned.
"I'm just saying-"
"Terriermon, huh?" Daisuke spoke, "Wallace's digimon was a Terriermon. Except he had Lopmon, too. You've just got him?"
The Tamer blinked. "Yeah, but Shuichon has-"
"Lopmon's my partner!" The youngest girl told them.
Shuichon? That must have been her name. Ken made a mental note of that and stored it alongside Ruki and Renamon. He also was fairly sure that the boy wearing goggles was Takato, but he didn't want to jump to conclusions-
"Look," Taichi said, sighing, "we're far enough away now that we should have time to stop and make introductions, right? This is frustrating."
Ruki looked at him flatly. "No distance is far enough when you're dealing with Orcs."
"Too true." Ken agreed with a nod. "But when we were dealing with them before they weren't buried under a building."
"Hn. Fine." Crossing her arms, Ruki rolled her eyes. "It's your funeral." Glancing around, she continued before anyone could respond; "Takato is the one with goggles, and that's Guilmon. Lee's the one with Terriermon, Juri's the one in the dress, Shuichon is the squirt, Kenta's got the glasses and Hirokazu-"
"-is the one who won't stop interrupting me, damn it!!"
Kazu snickered to himself, then; "her royal highness there is Ruki, and then you've got Renamon."
"Kazu..." Ruki growled.
"Man, you're so touchy."
"Anyway!" Takeru interrupted, one eyebrow raised, "now we know you. So I'm-"
"Takeru Takaishi," Takato repeated excitedly. "Chosen Child of Hope! You're digimon is Patamon and he evolves into Angemon and then into Holy Angemon. Oh, except when you use the digimental of Hope and then he evolves into Pegusmon because-"
He continued, rambling off all of Patamon's evolutions as the Chosen stared blankly.
"I think I'm freaked out." Daisuke muttered.
"-and you're Daisuke Motomiya!"
"-Taichi and Hikari Yagami, Iori Hida and Miyako Inoue! And Ken Ichijouji!" Takato finished naming them all and looked around; "I can't believe this! Ruki, you told us and I just didn't believe -- I mean, how could you have-?"
"Breath, Takato." Lee chuckled.
"You're overdoing it Chumly," Kazu added. "Although... it is very cool."
"Takeru, what's going on?" Hikari wondered softly.
"Is it just me," Iori asked the other Chosen, "or are they all crazy?"
"It's not just you." Taichi assured him.
"Definitely not just you." Miyako shook her head. "...completely bonkers..."
"..." Daisuke rubbed his head. "I have no idea what the hell is going on."
"What else is new?"
In the past, Takeru would have winced at the look he got from Daisuke. But being in Middle Earth had taught him many things, not the least of which was to stand up for himself. He simply stared right back.
"Well?" Ken pressed his lips into a thin line; "what do we do now?"
For a long moment, no one said anything.
"First," Takeru spoke, heaving a sigh. "We find some place where we can all fit -- a restaurant or something -- and we sit down. I may be an Elf, but I'm fucking tired from-"
"What the hell?!" Daisuke demanded; "what do you mean an Elf?!"
Takeru ignored him and continued; "then everyone stays there while you-" he nodded toward Ken, "-Ruki, Renamon and I go to the school. We have some things to discuss along the way, too."
"Um, the school?"
"What are you talking about, Takaishi?"
"You two may not have noticed," the blonde cast a glance back down the road; "but we were royally screwed back there with no weapons."
"-and that has to do with our school how-?"
"We have an archery club, don't we?"
"So I doubt anyone'll mind if we borrow some equipment."
"Are you kidding?"
Takeru looked at Ken seriously. "I never kid about deadly weapons."
Me: Kind of a short chapter. Sorry.
Ken: It wasn't that short, really.
Legolas: When are we going to get there?
Me & Ken: *blink, blink*
Me: How'd you get here?
Legolas: I just-
Me: You can't comment until you're in the story, damnit! Go!
Legolas: *stares blankly* O-o-o-kay...
Me: Go! *kicks him out*
Takeru: Back to the point?
Me: Point... um, was there a point?
Ken: ...I don't think so...
Me: ...neither do I...