A/N: Yup, I'm starting yet another fic. *twitches* Honestly, sometimes I think I have ADD.

I like Daikari. *watches majority of audience flee* But no, this isn't really a Daikari fic. It's all one-sided. *watches remainder of audience flee* Le sigh.

There will be romantic-ish stuff later, but it's not solely a romantic story and won't be Daikari. I happen to think that Daisuke and Hikari can get along as "just friends," and I wanted to explore that a bit. It just seems to be an untouched topic in most stories. Plus, you know, this is a kind of fic that I've never really seen done, so I thought it'd be worth a try.

Warnings: mentions of sex, slight angst, and also shounen ai, yaoi, het, and possibly slight yuri. I'm planning to be dealing with some pretty serious topics here, people, and I intend to do the best that I can to not candy-coat them while still not drowning the storyline in misery and woe. I'm not condoning any of it, but I'm not condemning it either.

And here's something you really better keep in mind: no one is at their given age in 02. Daisuke, Hikari, and Takeru are currently fifteen. Thusly, Miyako and Ken are sixteen, Iori is twelve, Taichi and Yamato are eighteen, and all other ages are relative from there.

And before I get flamed for this by any amateur speakers of Japanese, some teachers call both their male AND female students by the '-kun' suffix. No, I'm not fluent, but I know that much, so no complaints unless you can show me some very convincing evidence to the contrary.

Daisuke's POV. God, I hate this formatting.

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"The You, the Me, and the Now"

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." ~ Charles Schultz

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"Daisuke," Hikari whispers urgently. I glance back over my shoulder just in time to get hit in the face by the note she's flicked at me. A few seats over, Takeru muffles a chuckle. Bastard.

I huff in annoyance and scoop up the paper, unfolding it with one hand. The message is simple enough, if not that specific: 'Daisuke- You. Me. Hall.'

Meanwhile, Hikari's asked to be excused to the bathroom. I watch her go, and then automatically raise my own hand, not bothering to hide the note. "Can I go get a drink?" I ask.

"No accosting Yagami-kun," the teacher warns me; then acquiesces to the request on the grounds of "innocent until caught on camera."

I decide that it doesn't really count if Hikari is the one accosting me and trot out the door. Sure enough, the girl's waiting a few feet down the hall, looking slightly worried.

"Walk with me," she says softly, and of course I follow.

"So, what's up, Kari-chan?" I ask brightly as I fall in step next to her.

"Just felt like talking," Hikari replies, shrugging a little. "Preferably to someone discreet."

"I'm discreet?" I blink at her. Funny, I could've sworn that word meant something like "subtle, quiet, and everything that is not a Motomiya."

"Actually, yes, in a really weird way," she admits. "I mean, you talk a lot, but you never actually SAY anything. And you don't really talk about other people, unless you're giving your personal opinion on them. Even then, you try not to say bad things. So yeah, you are discreet- just not in the way that most people think of it."

"Cool," I say appreciatively. True, I hadn't exactly understood all of that, but I'm pretty good at getting the general meaning from most things- it comes from hanging out with Koushiro for extended periods of time. I know what she meant, though I didn't really understand the explanation: Hikari has a secret, and she wants to get it off her chest. I'm not supposed to tell once she does. It was simple enough; why she couldn't just come out and say it is beyond me.

"I've been seeing Takeru," Hikari tells me after a few minutes. "I love him. The scary way," she adds. "The 'I'll do anything for you' way. Like, it's all I can do to say 'daisuki da' instead of 'aishiteru' half the time. You know what I mean?"

"Oh, only kinda," I tell her, unable to keep myself from rolling my eyes. How long have I been mooning after her again? And I know damn well that I never did that "discreetly." So why would she be coming to me with this, acting like I'm one of her girlfriends and the sort of person who'd get all shrieky and excited and be happy for her?

"I love him," Hikari repeats, and then she starts to cry. "I really do, Daisuke!" She throws herself at me, and I catch her in a quick embrace, knowing that something worse than a secret romance is going on.

"It's okay, baby, I know you do," I try to soothe her. But I have an unequalled talent for sticking my foot in my mouth, and she just starts crying harder at my words.

" 'Baby'!" she gasps past her sobbing. " 'Baby'!"

I'm not a paranoid person, but the way she said that word . . .

"You always wanted to be my hero, right?" Hikari whispers bitterly into my shirt. "Can you save me now?"

I remember, when I was younger, I used to pretend that Hikari was a princess in a tower and I was a knight. Of course, I was more realistic than most people thought, so I was usually a pretty disliked and annoying knight whose armor could've stood a spit and polish, but I always saved her in the end anyway and got a nice big kiss and tin of wax for my troubles. What can I say- I'm an optimist, okay?

To be honest, though, I don't think it helps much. I'm older now, too. A line like that is scary in real life.

People who end up being cast as the heroes usually don't mean to be. And it's never what they expected in the end.

But I still say, "Okay."

She's Hikari, after all. Why would I say no?

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* tbc . . . *

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. : knight in tarnished armor : .