He was quiet, and short, and seemingly timid, but very rarely did anyone in his class tease him or give him a hard time. They left him largely to himself. Perhaps they were nervous of him; uncomfortable with the unnaturalness of his maturity. Perhaps they knew that, despite outward appearances, he was very skilled for his age at kendo.
But I think it was probably his eyes.
Most kids at that age or younger - and many who are older - haven't developed any significant masks. Unhampered by social conventions or tact or discretion, they say what's on their mind and act passionately, careless with their emotions.
Cody wasn't like that. With him, you got the impression that everything that had ever hurt him was quietly locked away behind an impassive face. Unless you knew him well (a privilege he allowed to few) - and even if you did - it could be difficult to know what he was feeling, if indeed he was feeling anything.
But his eyes! An unusual green, of all colours. The colour of life and vivacity and warmth, yet on him, somehow restrained. Sometimes it seemed like much of his personality was hidden just behind his eyes. Most people found it difficult to look him right in the eyes for long. The eyes were startlingly large, and bold, and expressive, and they didn't seem to suit him, while at the same time fitted him perfectly.
Sometimes - rarely, you could see the real Cody if you looked into his eyes, but he allowed very few to do this. Joe was allowed, as was his grandfather, his mother, and his Digimon.
He wouldn't let Davis see him properly. He didn't like Davis, he made him a little nervous; always so easy to understand, and... aggressive in nature. Rough and boisterous and going by the heart. Cody thought that was dangerous.
Yolei was a little like Davis - she didn't hide her emotions, and she could be too loud or wild for his comfort. But she was his friend and was allowed to see him too. She was, at least, kinder, and he never felt that her occasional impatience with him implied dislike.
Kari and TK seemed nice enough, and both of them were a little more distant and cool-headed than the other two digidestined. He didn't know them well enough to let them see what he usually hid either. But he knew they were passionate too.
Cody knew quite a lot, actually. He watched things through half-closed eyes - not just looking, but seeing too.
He felt that it was strange to have friends, especially such outgoing ones. He didn't always understand their way of doing things, found their loud boldness - especially that of Davis - a little disquieting. And having Upamon was... strange. Cody liked to be alone a lot, but found few chances for that now. There was always this little ball of fluff waiting eagerly for his first steps into his room and then pouncing on him, chirping excitedly, always thrilled to see him.
Well... maybe it was less lonely this way...
He didn't like the digital world. It was not that he was afraid - curious more than anything - but he was a person very comfortable with things he knew and understood - with routine, with calm, predictable, gentle people - with outcomes one could anticipate.
He still wasn't quite sure how he became a digidestined. "Everything happens for a reason," Joe had said, and although Joe's own eyes were not nearly as naturally expressive as Cody's, the two of them understood each other perfectly then. He felt that the older boy also knew what it was like to feel left out, awkward, troubled.
Another thing that troubled him - the seeming distance between members of their team. Davis and TK always fighting, Kari getting annoyed at Davis, Yolei getting annoyed at Davis, TK getting annoyed at Davis, himself getting annoyed at Davis, Davis getting annoyed at him... fighting, disagreement and separation. (All of those equations involved Davis - wouldn't their group be better off without him?) It didn't feel like they were working as friends. If only he knew them a little better, could feel more comfortable with them, enough to speak up more...
Wait. Maybe that wasn't very fair. They were giving him every chance to get to know them. Davis could be annoying sometimes, but... he did, at least, act sincerely and was unselfish enough to let people know him, whether it ultimately hurt him or not. And despite his egotisms, his bumbling over-confidence, Cody never felt that Davis didn't care about the members of their little group.
They all had to trust each other. Cody was willing to be relied upon, and felt that he was trustworthy, but - did the others know that they could count on him? How could they, if he never let them see it? Perhaps... perhaps he was wrong to keep to himself, even if it felt safer.
Cody walked down the street, staring at the ground as he walked. Upamon was in his bag babbling about food and being hungry and wasn't Cody hungry too, and shouldn't they get something to eat and it would be good to have some food, too bad there wasn't any around, huh Cody, maybe we should stop somewhere and buy something, that'd be great right Cody?
Cody didn't seem to be listening, lost in thought. He was unconsciously walking back to the school, thinking that it might be interesting to see what the digiworld was like without the others around.
The school building was nearly empty by now. He walked quietly through the corridors and made his way to the familiar computer room. Just as he was almost there, he heard running footsteps and paused, turning. Davis came stampeding up, forgot to stop, and hurtled down the corridor, colliding with a potplant there.
Cody narrowed his eyes slightly, apprehensive. Davis leapt up again, brushing dirt out of his hair, and ran back to Cody, breathing hard.
"Hey man, you shoulda waited!"
Cody looked at him, mild surprise trespassing over his otherwise expressionless face.
Davis grinned sheepishly. "Two heads are better than one, and two Digimon are better than one, right? You were going to the Digiworld, weren't you?"
Davis slapped him on the back, laughing a little, casual and friendly and careless as usual. Cody winced, feeling irritated, although he wouldn't say anything - Davis was an upperclassman, after all. The older boy watched his face for some sort of acknowledgement, and, when finding none, sighed exaggeratedly.
"Man!" he said, "I just don't get you!"
"The feeling is mutual," said Cody quietly.
Cody remembered something and began to move away.
"Hey! Where are you going?" demanded Davis, "would it kill you to be friendly for once?"
Cody replied, without turning around, "I just remembered I ought to call my mother to tell her I'll be late home."
Davis blinked, looking a little baffled. "Man, I'd never think of that. You always play by the rules, don't you!"
Cody turned his head sharply, not sure if he was being insulted or not. But Davis' face wasn't unkind. The two locked eyes for a moment, and then Cody turned away again.
"I'll be back in a minute or two," he said, "please wait for me and we can go together."
"Sure, man," said Davis, now looking more bewildered than ever, but for a different reason, which was - he had just seen into Cody's eyes for that moment, seen him like he never had before. It was like the younger boy was showing him something valuable - himself.