This is my attempt to tell a story of how the Daikari relationship could come to be while still sticking with the canon ending of 02 (including the epilogue). It will span and jump over many years and be told exclusively through Davis and Kari's points of view. It's quite Davis heavy. I could explain this by the fact that the relationship is Davis heavy (starting off as mostly one-sided), but it's really just because I enjoy writing him more. I've stuck with the dubbed version because, who am I kidding? It's what I grew up on and why divert? I like it.
Please drop a line and review. I'm going to try to reply to everyone's comments this time around because I thoroughly enjoy chatting with you all. Hope you enjoy!
"Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun."
― Janet Fitch, White Oleander
It was the worst day of his life.
Rain poured like waterfalls from the roof of Odaiba Elementary School, obscuring the view of the playground that sat tauntingly outside the window. The sky beyond was dark with clouds. Monsoon season had just begun which meant, for at least half the month, recess would be indoors.
Davis rubbed tears from his eyes and gnawed on the pointy tip of his red crayon, splattering moist wax shavings all over his desk. His picture had started out as a soccer ball, but when his teacher said it had to be a drawing of his family, he added a stick figure with huge hair and devil horns. He got scolded when he explained it was his sister and was forced to start again. His teacher wouldn't have been so angry if she knew how evil Jun could be.
"But they keep pickin' on me," Davis had whined to Jun that morning as they walked beneath their shared umbrella to school. "Why can't you tell 'em to leave me alone?"
"You gotta stand up for yourself, kid. I won't always be around to keep people from bullying you," Jun said, adjusting her t-shirt. It adorned the faces of three blonde American brothers that looked prettier than most girls Davis knew. They were called Handsome or something stupid like that. "Plus, I'm not telling anyone you're my little brother, toothless."
Davis stuck his tongue through the hole by his right front tooth. He had lost it last night after flicking it relentlessly with his tongue for a week. "Why not?"
"Cause you're a dweeb, duh!"
Davis shoved her and lost the shelter of the umbrella when she stumbled sideways into a puddle. He was soaked in a matter of seconds. "You're the worst sister ever!"
"Then walk to school by yourself," Jun spat, speeding ahead of him.
"I will!" Davis shouted. He kicked a soda can someone left on the sidewalk and watched as it fell into the gutter and floated away on the backed up stream.
First grade sucked. And what good was having a sister in fifth grade if she wouldn't even stick up for him? Davis had arrived to school so wet that they had to call his mom to bring him a change of clothes. The boys that had been picking on him all week teased him about it every time the teacher wasn't looking. Then they threw paper airplanes at his head of frizz, trying to get them stuck. Davis had jumped up from his seat, shouting obscenities that he heard his dad say when he was trying to fix their computer. He only avoided the principal's office because his teacher thought he was 'troubled,' which she said in front of the whole class, earning him more teasing behind her back.
Jun had told Davis he was too easy a target because he was brash, whatever that meant, and overreacted all the time. What was he supposed to do when people made fun of him? He tried to ignore it, but every joke at his expense made him so angry he wanted to hit something. He had gone to the principal's office for that last week. For some reason, a black eye to one of his tormenters wasn't enough to deter the other children. Standing up for himself wasn't working at all.
"Hey, Motomiya," one of his classmate's hissed.
Davis looked up with a scowl and spit red shavings onto the floor. "What?"
"How much do you weigh?"
"I bet if I sat on you, you'd break in half."
Davis pressed his tongue through the hole in his mouth. It was starting to get sore from scratching against his teeth for so long. "Probably," he said, ignoring the jab at his small frame. He was still mistaken for a kindergartener, scrawnier and shorter than most of the boys in his class despite being one of the oldest. "'Cause you're fat!"
"Am not," the kid said back, his voice whining. "I bet I'll beat you at soccer again today. You're so little."
"You only beat me because you cheat, Fatty."
"Mr. Motomiya, if you can't speak nicely to your classmates, I'm going to have to send you to the principal's office." Their teacher had just stepped back inside the room and there was a small girl standing behind her, looking shyly at her feet.
Davis crossed his arms and pouted.
"Class," the teacher said, "This is your classmate, Kari Kamiya. She was supposed to start with you at the beginning of the school year, but she's been ill. I'm sure some of you were in her kindergarten class last year. Everyone please give her a warm welcome."
"Hi Kari," Davis droned with his classmates, looking back down at his drawing. Four stick figures looked back at him, but at least he drew Jun in red, like the demon she was.
"We're drawing pictures of our families for our history project, Ms. Kamiya. Your homework will be to complete your family tree. Please take a seat at your desk."
"Thank you, sensei," the girl's voice squeaked politely. The kids returned to their drawings and a few who must've already known Kari greeted her as she passed. The only empty desk was beside Davis. He could hear her footsteps approach him, but he didn't bother looking up. He was too busy adding extra red to Jun's eyes. "Um, hello… I'm Kari."
Davis looked at the petite girl from the corner of his eye. "I know, the teacher just said so," he grumbled.
"What's your name?" Kari asked sweetly, undeterred by his lack of interest.
"I like your picture."
"Uh… thanks," Davis said. He finally took a good look at his new neighbor. She was tiny and frail, with pale skin and brown silky hair that fell across her forehead, gathering in the middle of her eyebrows. She swept it aside as she smiled at him, but it only fell back into her face.
"You, um, have a little bit of…" Kari motioned to her own mouth, pointing at her teeth.
Davis blushed and wiped the red crayon from his teeth with the back of his hand. He returned to his drawing before she could start making fun of him for eating wax. She didn't say anything else though, just pulled out a new pack of crayons and a sheet of paper and went to work. After awhile Davis stole a peek at her drawing. She was actually trying to draw well, but her attempt at realism was so awful that it made her family members look unproportional and bloated. Beyond what must've been her parents (one looked like Mr. Potato Head and the other like a happy peanut), there were two floppy figures with smiles so large that they spilled over the sides of their faces, kicking a soccer ball. The ball was only recognizable because she had colored the oblong shape black and white. One of the figures had short hair and the other had two huge eyes on top of an enormous bush, plus another pair of eyes on what should have been its face. What kind of freak sibling did she have with four eyes?
"You play soccer?" Davis asked, deciding against pointing out her obviously deformed sibling.
"I tried," Kari said, not looking up from her drawing. Her voice had gotten very soft. "I'm not very good though. Tai is much better than I am."
"Is Tai the one who's got four eyes?"
Kari giggled. "Those are supposed to be his goggles," she explained with a smile. "I guess I'm not a very good drawer either."
Davis stared at her in disbelief. She just took the insult like he had made some kind of joke or teased her about how pretty she was. The thought made his cheeks grow hot and he quickly turned back to demon Jun, adding a little extra red in her hair.
"You seem sad."
"I'm not," Davis said a little too quickly.
"Aww, did you start crying in front of your new girlfriend?" asked the kid Davis now dubbed 'Fatty'.
"Shut up," Davis spat, "She ain't my girlfriend and I was NOT cryin'."
"Just wait 'till recess, crybaby. The teacher'll have to call your mom for more clothes because you're gonna cry all over those when I beat you."
Davis kicked the back of his tormenter's chair. "Shut up, assjack."
"Mr. Motomiya, please move your desk to the corner until you can learn to speak nicely to your classmates," their teacher said sternly.
"You can't even cuss right," Fatty snickered quietly so only Davis could hear.
Davis ground his teeth and leaned back in his chair, dragging his desk to the rear corner of the classroom without getting up. The metal legs screeched loudly on the white tiled floor, leaving black marks in their wake. When he was scolded again, he viciously scribbled over his entire family picture with red. He looked up to stare out the window at the rain and caught Kari looking back at him. She was biting her lip and her light brown eyes were full of sympathy. Davis hid behind his hand so she couldn't see his face and the tears that began to bead at the corner of his eyes.
Indoor recess sucked.
It was hot and noisy and the crowd of kids in the gymnasium made it virtually impossible for the teachers to hear what was really going on amongst their students. Davis kept prodding the hole in his row of teeth with his tongue while kicking a soccer ball back and forth with one of his old kindergarten classmates. Davis figured he was probably the only kid in the whole school who would play with him. He kept wiping green snot on his sleeve.
"You ready to get your butt kicked, Motomiya?" Fatty had hunted him down, along with his posse of jerk friends.
"I'm ain't playin' with you," Davis said. "You cheat."
"You thcared?" one of the other kids lisped. He was missing both his front teeth.
"Um, I can-" They all turned to see Kari Kamiya stepping up boldly behind them. She stammered shyly from the sudden attention. "I-I can get my brother to referee…"
Davis stared at her with his mouth partly opened.
"Who's your brother?" Fatty asked.
"Tai Kamiya," gap tooth answered. "He'th the captain of the thoccer club."
"Fine," said Fatty. "Unless you're chicken."
Davis rolled the soccer ball under his arm and made the most intimidating face he could muster, but they only laughed at him. He really wanted to roundhouse kick Fatty in the shin, but instead followed behind Kari with his eyes on the scuffed gymnasium floor.
"Tai, we were wondering if you could referee a soccer match for us," Kari said.
Davis looked up to see a fourth grader with a bush of brown hair as big as Kari's drawing grinning down at them. A pair of round goggles sat on a blue headband just above his forehead.
"One on one," Fatty said. "Me and tiny Tim."
"Davis," grumbled Davis.
"Sure!" Tai said. He waved a hand at a fourth grade girl with red hair in a knit cap. "Sorry Sora, my skills are needed elsewhere."
Sora rolled her eyes. "Thanks for inflating his ego, Kari," she said sarcastically, nudging Tai in the ribs. "Have fun."
Davis stared down at the soccer ball and did his best to channel Japan's most awesome forward, Masashi Nakayama. Davis and his dad had just watched him make Japan's first goal in the history of the World Cup. He imagined dribbling down the field with ease, faking out his opponents with a zigzag, and scoring with an all powerful punt that knocked the net clear off its post. Of course when Davis looked up, it was just him and Fatty and a couple of cones Tai had scrounged up from the gym supply closet.
"Ok," Tai said. "You guys know the rules?"
Both boys nodded.
Tai placed the soccer ball between them. "Alright, play ball!"
Fatty immediately used his weight to muscle past Davis, throwing him to the floor and scoring a goal in less than 3 seconds. A whistle blew and they both looked up to see Kari holding it in her mouth and signaling to her brother.
"You can't shove people out of the way like that," Tai told Fatty. "That's a foul. Uh, let's start over, k?"
Davis's beaten expression changed to a smirk and the two faced off again. This time Davis got the ball and easily dribbled it past his opponent, turning his body and the ball in a one-eighty and back again before he felt himself get pulled sideways by his shirt.
The whistle blew again and Davis saw Kari smile behind the metal in her mouth.
"Uh… kid, you sure you know the rules?" Tai asked.
Fatty ground his teeth and sneered at the grin on Davis's face. When they started again, Fatty got the ball and haughtily dribbled it toward his makeshift goal until Davis suddenly appeared on his right. He tackled the ball from his feet and it rolled out of bounds.
"Great tackle, Davis!" Kari cheered. Tai had her throw the ball back in for them and Davis quickly recovered it only to get kicked in the shin by his opponent. Either Fatty had hit the ball first or the Kamiya siblings didn't notice the contact because the whistle didn't blow. Fatty scored a goal with a punt that hammered into a girl who was jumping rope. She broke out in tears and both Tai and Kari ran to her side while Fatty tried to intimidate Davis by staring him down.
"One to nothing, Motomiya."
"Ain't gonna stay that way now that you can't cheat."
When the Kamiya siblings had finished attending to the crying girl, the game continued. Neither of them scored for awhile. The ball kept slipping out of bounds without teammates for them to pass to. Davis did make a pretty awesome save by diving in front of the goal. His chin hit the floor and he figured he'd have a bruise tomorrow, but it'd be worth it. Finally, Davis scored a goal with some fancy footwork, tying the game.
Davis was panting hard and sweat rolled down his forehead and onto his nose before dripping to the floor. Fatty looked a little worse for wear. He wasn't actually fat, despite Davis's nickname, but he was definitely a lot bigger than Davis and slower on his feet. He was bent over his knees.
"You guys wanna call it a game?" Tai asked.
"No way!" both boys said at the same time.
"Ok, but recess is almost over, so uh... somebody better score soon."
Davis licked his lips, tasting salt, and ignored the taunts from Fatty's friends and the words of encouragement from Kari. He could do this. He'd been playing soccer with his dad at the park since he could walk. All those other losses meant nothing now that Tai was reffing the game. Fatty couldn't use his size to his advantage anymore. This was all about skill.
The ball was his. Davis moved from side to side, using all the tricks his dad taught him, but Fatty was on him like a hawk, panting hot breath down his neck. Davis put out his hand to create some distance, but he couldn't get past him. Fatty didn't seem to have the footwork or the stamina to steal the ball either. For a few minutes they were at a standstill. Davis jammed his tongue through the hole in his teeth and, in one quick move, kicked the ball backwards and juggled it onto his knees. Fatty came puffing at him like a freight train, seeing an opportunity now that Davis was so close to the other goal. Davis kneed the ball into the air and, in what seemed like slow motion, his legs went up one over the other in a bicycle kick and the ball flew over Fatty's head. Davis landed on his back and rolled to the side in time to see Kari blow her whistle and yell, "GOAL!"
"YES!" Davis pumped his fist and collapsed on the ground, grinning like an idiot.
"You… didn't," Fatty panted, "win… yet."
As if on cue, a bell rung and the teachers called an end to recess. Fatty angrily kicked one of the orange cones and stormed off before Davis got the chance to gloat.
"That wath pretty thweet," his classmate with the two missing teeth said before taking off after his friend.
"That was great, Davis!" Kari exclaimed, appearing above him and helping him to his feet. Davis suddenly became very aware of how sweaty his palm was and wiped it on his shorts, embarrassed.
Her brother smiled down at him. "It was a pretty risky move, but you pulled it off," Tai said, clapping Davis on the back. "You should think about joining the soccer team. We could use you."
Davis blushed. "Really?"
"Yeah," Tai started running to catch up with his class, "you've got guts!"
"You were really good," Kari said when the two of them joined their line of classmates.
Davis rubbed his head sheepishly. "Uh, thanks."
"You only won because your girlfriend's brother let you cheat," Fatty spat at him from the head of the line.
"He did not," Kari said.
"Yeah," Davis wiped sweat from his brow, "shut up, Fatty. Tai ain't a liar like you."
The teacher called Fatty's real name and halted whatever retort he had in store.
"Thanks for sticking up for my brother," Kari whispered while they walked in single file down the hall.
"He's cool," Davis said. "Uh… thanks for getting him to ref for us."
"You're welcome." Kari smiled warmly and giggled when Davis returned it, revealing the gap in his mouth.
It wasn't until Fatty teased him again about his girlfriend that Davis realized he hadn't denied it. Kari just smiled and said they were friends, while he kept his mouth shut. And whenever the accusation came up in the future (which happened often since, after that day, Davis stuck to the Kamiya siblings like glue), he never bothered to correct it. Maybe that was why, when TK came onto the scene years later, Davis tried so hard to claim her.
That afternoon, when he realized Jun had left him to walk home umbrella-less in the pouring rain, Kari shared hers with him. He could barely conceal his gap-toothed grin while Tai gave him some awesome soccer tips and Kari let him share her pack of Pocky. They walked home together every day after that.
Davis came home to find his mom scolding Jun for letting him get wet that morning and leaving him behind that afternoon. He snorted as his sister visibly wilted beneath their mom's stern gaze. For being a small woman, Nori Motomiya sure could get scary.
"Davis!" she cried, pulling him into a hug as soon he kicked off his shoes. She patted his arms, astonished to find him dry. "I was worried you'd catch cold."
Jun rolled her eyes and Davis blew a raspberry at her.
Their mom attempted to smooth his poofy hair. "How was your day?"
Davis squeezed his tongue through the hole in his teeth again, thinking, and then his entire face lit up.
"It was the best day ever," he said.