Disclaimer: Davis, Ken, their families, and various Digimon all belong to Saban. Hamlet belongs to Shakespeare. Anyone who didn't know either of those has some problems.
Shakespeare and Superman
Ken adjusted the strap on his backpack, shifting the weight of the precious cargo he carried, and reached up to ring the bell on the Motomiya's door. The chiming sound set off a scuffle within the apartment, and Ken grinned, recognizing the familiar noises. It was an ironic but familiar prelude to a relaxing afternoon.
"I'll get it!"
"No you won't - I will!"
"You will not! I want to get it!"
"Well, you won't! He's here to see me!"
"He likes me, too, and I'm bigger than you, so there!"
"Hey, leggo! Ow! Stoppit! Cut it out!"
Ken giggled, then quickly schooled his face into seriousness as the door finally opened. He was greeted by Jun Motomiya, a little breathless from the scuffle with her brother and trying to preen her hair back in order again.
"Hi!" she chirped. "Nice to see you again, Ken."
"Hey, Jun," he said. "Can I come in?"
"Hm? Oh," said Jun. She backed away a few steps, holding the door for her brother's
friend. "Is there anything I can get you?"
"No, but thanks anyway," Ken replied. "Maybe later, okay, Jun?"
Ken grinned. "Don't get so excited. I'm too young for you, anyway."
Jun threw a sofa pillow at him, but it wasn't really meant to hit him, and he dodged away laughing. He had been warned from the beginning that Daisuke's boy-hunting older sister would probably make some sort of play for him, with her fascination for handsome and famous guys, but he'd had a lot of practice deflecting that kind of attention. However, she'd won the Battle of the Doorbell for the past dozen visits running, and they had developed a kind of bantering friendship. Of course, that didn't mean that she was the one he'd come to see.
"Hey, Daisuke, where are you?" Ken called.
"I'm in my room, hiding from Junzilla. Come on in!"
"Hey, what'd you call me?" Jun shouted, shooting a murderous glance in her brother's general direction.
"I'll hide with you," Ken decided. He hurried toward Daisuke's door and ducked inside, pantomiming exaggerated fear of Jun, and shut the door quickly behind him. He dropped into Daisuke's desk chair with a sigh of mock-relief, careful not to squash his backpack in the process.
"You're in a good mood today," said Daisuke.
"It was a good day," said Ken. "No monsters. No interdimensional warpholes. No spelling tests. Pardon me while I let the caterpillar out of the bag."
Ken unzipped his knapsack, and Minomon bounced out, performing his trick of levitating a few feet above the floor before dropping down to scamper around in a more normal way.
"Minomon!" squeaked a voice, and Chibimon darted out from under Daisuke's bed to tackle his best friend in a flying hug. The two of them giggled as they tumbled around on the floor like a pair of sparring puppies.
Daisuke laughed. "You'd think they hadn't seen each other in years! Come on, Chibimon - Minomon was just here a couple days ago!"
"They've gotten really close since they learned how to Jogress Digivolve," Ken remarked. "There's something special about having a friend who knows you right down to what's inside your heart and still cares about you anyway... Anyway, I'm glad Minomon's getting to make friends and have fun. I didn't let him have much fun before. I didn't let myself have much fun. That's why I hang around you so much - you're always having a good time."
Daisuke grinned. "Fun's my middle name! Now, if I could just convince Kari of that."
"She'll figure it out, I'm sure," said Ken. "And if she doesn't, you're bound to find someone who will appreciate you."
"Yeah, I guess," said Daisuke, looking a bit embarrassed. "So, about that book I asked about - did you bring it? Did you bring it?" He was all but jumping up and down in eagerness.
"Sure I brought it! Have I ever let you down?"
Ken reached into the backpack and pulled out what was left of its contents, a thick paperback book with a tasseled plastic bookmarker stuck halfway through. The bookmark was marked all over with pictures of soccer balls, and had obviously seen much use. Daisuke grabbed the book like a long-lost friend and beamed.
"Thanks! I've been waiting to read the end of this for days!" It was clear from his tone of voice just how long "days" was if you were Daisuke Motomiya. He laughed. "Wouldn't my parents flip out if they knew you were loaning me these things?"
"No more than mine would," Ken said. His look changed from thoughtful amusement to eagerness. "Anyway, you've got something for me, too, right?"
"Sure! Let me get it. Hang on. Chibimon, get out of the way." Daisuke shoved his partner aside as he dropped onto his stomach to squirm under the bed. He emerged a short while later, slightly dusty, pulling another paperback book with him. He blew the dust off of it and rubbed its glossy cover on the front of his shirt before handing it ceremoniously to Ken.
"Here ya go!" Daisuke said. "It's supposed to be really good, if you like this sort of thing, isn't it? My dad gave it to me for Christmas last year. I dunno why; he should know I don't read this kind of stuff."
Ken grinned, looking from one book to the other. One boy held a graphic novel, a thick stack of manga books full of swashbuckling heroes. The other boy held an annotated copy of Hamlet.
"The best of great literature," Ken remarked.
"Was that my imagination, or did you just make a joke?" asked Daisuke. "I'll tell the others about this, and they won't believe it."
"They won't believe I'm borrowing books from you, anyway, or you from me."
Davis nodded; he had his doubts that his friends even knew he could read. Ken was more open minded, however. Daisuke had been willing to accept Ken with all of his faults and treat him like a part of the team - and better yet, treat him as if they'd been best friends all their lives. In return, Ken was willing to accord his newfound friend respect that others wouldn't. That was how Ken had discovered the stash of reading material in Daisuke's room. That had led to a long talk about reading and favorite books and the merits of various authors and genres. They had learned that even if their tastes differed radically, they both shared a love of the written word. This had eventually led to a book-exchange arrangement, with the two of them meeting every few days to share the contents of their bookshelves, have a talk and a snack, and just enjoy some quiet time in each other's company. Now they settled down with their selected volumes and slipped into the contented state of devoted readers who had found something worth their while, Ken kicking back at the desk, Daisuke sprawled on his bed. Minutes passed, and all was quiet except for the sounds of Chibimon and Minomon playing.
"Ha ha! Take that!" Daisuke suddenly shouted, jumping up and prancing around the room in an imitation of a sword battle.
"What do you think you're doing?" asked Ken, peering over the top of his book.
"Sorry," said Daisuke, grinning sheepishly. "I just like this part."
"You know there's more to books that just fight scenes, don't you?"
"Sure I do!" said Daisuke. "There's magic and evil uncles and beautiful damsels and dire plots - all that good stuff."
Ken laughed. "You make it so Shakespeare doesn't sound that much different than comic books."
"He's not," said Daisuke. "The comic books are just easier to read. And they have pictures."
"Shakespeare doesn't need pictures. He was a playwright. You're supposed to act him out."
"So don't get mad at me for acting," said Daisuke. He flopped back onto the bed, bouncing a few times before resettling.
"I'm not mad," Ken replied. "I told you, I like to see you having fun." He paused, considering. "You know, my dad sometimes says it takes the best kind of friends to read together. It means they're comfortable enough around each other that they don't feel like they need to do or say anything. They're just happy to be together."
"We do this all the time," said Daisuke. "I guess that makes us best friends, doesn't it?"
"Yes," said Ken, his voice quiet. "I guess it does."
"Hey, you aren't crying over there, are you?"
Ken smiled. "Sorry. Sometimes it just hits me, all at once. I just can't believe sometimes that there are people who care about me that much that I really don't have to be doing anything - that you're glad I'm here even when I'm not winning a soccer game or making the highest score."
"Well, you feel the same way about me, don't you?"
Ken nodded. They smiled at each other, a little shyly, but honestly. They went on smiling even when they continued with their stories, even when they came to the tragic parts, because that feeling of sureness in each other was too great to be lost in some transient sadness.
Eventually, the clock struck five, and the boys looked up at it with disappointment.
"Looks like it's time to go," said Ken. "Wouldn't want to be late for dinner - would we, Minomon?"
"Nope!" the caterpillar-creature replied, levitating into Ken's arms.
"Thanks for loaning me the book, Ken," said Daisuke, slipping his bookmark back into place and handing it back to his friend. "Maybe I'll even finish it next time."
"And thanks for loaning this to me," Ken replied, giving back the book Daisuke had loaned him. "It means a lot to me. Can you imagine what my parents would think if they saw me reading comic books? I still don't think they've quite worked through the idea that I might not want to behave like a genius all the time."
"And imagine what my dad would do if he caught me reading Shakespeare, and liking it!" Daisuke replied. "All that stuff they try to make me learn at school, they can keep it, but this is the really good stuff. But if dad saw me reading it, he'd try to make me into a scholar or something."
Ken shuddered. "I wouldn't wish that on anyone... Well, maybe Arukenimon."
"Yeah, that's the ticket!" Daisuke laughed. "We'll chain her to a desk and make her do fractions all day. That'll teach her to mess with us!"
The boys said their goodbyes, and Ken hurried home again with Minomon and Hamlet hidden away in his backpack. Precious cargo indeed, for the two represented the truest friends he had.