Well, I don't know why I decided to look for him... okay, maybe I do. He's one of us, and I don't think he even knows that. I know he was a jerk, and I used to feel this total anger stuff whenever I thought of him, but seeing his face, the other day... I dunno, it was like, we both knew what it was like to feel lonely, so I couldn't just leave it at that, right?
And we haven't seen the Digimon Emporer since then, right? So I'll bet he has changed!
I'm hoping so, anyway... and even as I take this walk I think I'm not sure what I'm doing... I mean, nobody ever listens to me, so why should he? The digivice in my hand seems to be honing in on just him, so maybe it is the right thing to do. I just know I'm getting closer, and I don't know what he's gonna do at all.
So here I am, and I can see him just over there, with his head bowed, staring into the water. His face looks sad. That's not good, so I sort of make myself go over there and put my hand on his shoulder. He turns to face me, startled, and his expression looks totally shocked when he sees me.
"Hey! Ken!" I call easily, trying to sound normal, and I go to swing over the bench to sit next to him. But I lose my balance halfway. Aakk! Okay, this REALLY hurts! I'm kind of wedged over the seat with my stomach crunched into the back of the bench!
"Um..." he says, looking at me like I'm crazy. I can't make much reply 'cos I can't, like, BREATHE, and I struggle to right myself. If we were still enemies (and I'm hoping we're not right now!) this would be the perfect chance for him to get me. Instead, he grabs me by the shirt, and I feel the strength in his hands. He flips me onto the seat and I just have to catch my breath...
That strength... he could even beat me up, I'll bet. But he was using that strength to help me, instead. He's looking at me like I have no brain. I should say something.
"Ahahahah," I say, and it comes out weakly, I'm embarassed, "great impression to make, huh. You know I totally COULD have cleared that bench, I just sorta lost my balance for a moment."
I think I see the hint of a smile on his face, and he doesn't argue with me or make some snide comment like someone else would. Instead, he repeats "first impression?" in a soft voice that I haven't heard from him before.
"Well, you know," I say, fumbling for words. Come on Davis, just say what you feel. "First time we've met where we had the chance to be... friends... I didn't wanna mess it up or anything. I mean, I know you thought I was kind of an idiot -" he still does, most likely "-and I didn't want you to, like, hate me or anything-"
"Friends?" he repeats, and I think he's not used to having friends so I continue in a hurry. The faster I say it, the less courage I'll need.
"Yeah, like for sure! Maybe you could teach me some of those cool soccer moves or something!" Oh no, I'm babbling. "I mean, not that I couldn't master them all on my own, of course -" oh, of COURSE "-but hey, anything that'll help me cream the opposition even more won't do any harm, huh!"
He looks at me for a moment, as though thinking, and even looks right into my eyes for a second. His silence is making me nervous, but the look on his face doesn't. I used to be... scared of the Digimon Emporer. (Well, almost. Like to forget that!) But this isn't his face, or his eyes.
"Were you looking for me?" he asks, in the same soft voice. I bet my answer to this one is important.
"Actually, yeah!" I show him my D3. "See this thing? Ever since about a day ago, it started showing your signal like all the others! Isn't that cool? That proves you're supposed to be one -"
"Motomiya, a week ago I was the Digimon Emporer. Have you forgotten?"
I'm surprised he'd ask that. Or maybe not so surprised. There's something so sad about his eyes. Maybe that's, like, guilt or something. I smile at him, 'cos I've been thinking about it too and I know just how to answer - with the truth.
"Well, yeah, but that wasn't really you, right? I can tell you've changed."
His eyes widen, and for a moment I think he almost respects me. He's thinking about that, I can tell.
"So, should we call it quits?" I say finally, holding out my hand, "friends?"
He looks at it, and for a second, I think he's going to take it, but then he gets up and walks away - quickly, as though he's forcing himself to act on the spot.
I stare at the empty spot next to me, kind of stunned. It's stupid to feel hurt. You shoulda expected it, Davis. But... why are you still sitting here like an idiot?
Go after him!
I don't know why it should take guts to make that decision, but it does, but I'm worried about him so I kind of stumble to my feet and run after him.
"Hey! Ken Ichijoooouji!" I shout, and he stops when he hears me shout his name. Well, that might be a good sign...
"What do you want?" he asks, and he sounds confused.
"An answer!" I say. That's not quite true. I want a 'yes'.
"Please leave me alone," he says.
"You don't mean that!" and I can tell he doesn't.
"How would you know?"
From anyone else that question would be an insult, a kind of attack, but I think he means it seriously, he really wants to know. I dunno, I feel like I understand him okay. But if he'd need to ASK that... then, how much does he not know about being a normal person?!
"Because," I say, seriously, "what normal person wants to be alone?"
"I did," he says, not meeting my eye.
"That was the Emporer, not you. Why'd you run away from me?"
He shrugs, and for a moment I almost think he's going to cry. Oh, don't! I don't know *what* I'd do then. Ken, crying? I bet *that's* something I'm not gonna see in a hurry. But he swallows hard, almost gulps. And he looks at me, as if to make sure he can trust me or something.
"I don't... know how to be a friend."
He says it so seriously! I grin and slap him on the shoulder. "Hey, man, it's no big secret! All you gotta do to be a good friend is, like, give me some of your allowance each week, and I know you're a genius boy so you could do all my math homework for me, that would be a good way to show friendship..."
He's laughing! YES!! He's different when he laughs. I say so, and he smiles kind of sheepishly. Hard to believe this kind-faced person, who is listening to me like nobody else ever has, was the Digimon Emporer.
"Friendship's not something you learn," I say, suddenly wanting to be serious, "it's just sorta... it sorta comes to you."
"Like you did?"
"Yeah! Well, sorta... friendship doesn't usually wind itself by falling over a bench..."
He laughs again, lightly. Hmpf... I wasn't trying to make a joke that time. But, whatever works.
"Will you teach me?" he says suddenly, touching my arm, looking right at me intently, almost urgently.
"What, to fall over a bench?"
He's not joking though. "Friendship," he says simply.
"Of course!" I boast, "I know all about friendship! Why do you think I got the digiegg of Friendship, huh? Everyone wants to be friends with a guy as cool as me!"
He blinks. "You're the strangest person I've ever met."
Not *quite* the response I was looking for. But he doesn't make me feel stupid any more. I just laugh. "Yeah, well, maybe you have a totally limited acquai-whatever that word is."
"Yeah, that'll do. Seriously, you think *I'M* weird, you should meet TF. Or Cody. That kid reads encyclopedias for FUN."
"So do I..."
"Ahahhh, sorry about that... well, you should get along great, then!"
I'm not sure I should have mentioned the others. I don't really know what they think of Ken. Would they want him to join us?
"Davish! Dere you are!"
We turn in surprise to see DemiVeemon racing up to us. What's HE doing here?!
"DemiVeemon!" I squawk, "what are YOU doing here?! You should be more careful, someone could see you! Didn't I tell you to wait for me in my room?"
"But I'm hungry!"
"You're always hungry!"
"But dish time it'sh SHERIOUS!"
"Well, couldn't you have been hungry in my room?"
"Your room shmells yicky! You should clean your clothes onesh in a while!"
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with my room! What are you, a neat freak?"
"I'm not a neat freak but you're a heap freak! I can't even shtep on de floor in your room!"
"So, who needs floors?"
He 'hmpf's and then looks up at Ken. He didn't know I was going to look for Ken. I hope he doesn't say something mean.
"Hello," he says brightly, "have you got any food? Davish is SHTINGY!"
Ken shrugs apologetically.
I grab DemiVeemon's tail. "Hey man, I am not stingy, you're just greedy!"
"I'm a growing Digimon!"
"You're a shrimp. I don't understand how you can eat so much without exploding into little V-shaped pieces!"
"I have good metabolishm!"
"If you get too fat, you'll digivolve into Pigmon."
DemiVeemon starts laughing. "Pigmon! What attacksh does Pigmon have, Ken?"
Ken was looking at us as though he is thinking I'm strange again. He is startled by the question, I think. "Why are you asking me? I've never heard of a Pigmon."
"Well, you know a lot about the digital world, I bet you know way more dan Davish."
"Hey, I know more than you do, more than to know that there's no such thing as a Pigmon!"
"But you SHAID dere wash!"
I roll my eyes at Ken. "Hey Ken, is YOUR Digimon partner this stupid?!" I regret it as soon as I say it. What a stupid, STUPID thing to say! You saw his Digimon partner DIE, Davis! But, Ken doesn't *seem* upset...
"I don't think he's stupid," he says seriously, "but I haven't really gotten to know him yet. He's still a baby at the moment."
A baby... that means... how perfect things are working out!! I can't help grabbing him by the arm and pumping it up and down. "Wormmon was reborn! That's so totally excellent! Hahahaa..."
He grins back at me, and although he's more calm, I reckon he's pretty happy about that too!
"Speaking of Leafmon, he is probably waiting for me to return home."
Neither of us really knows what to say for a moment, then I say, "so will you join up with us?"
He rubs his head. "I don't think so. But... thanks for... not hating me."
While I'm standing there trying to work out how to respond to THAT, he gives me a half-wave and walks off. Maybe he looks less unhappy than he did, I think. I feel this big rush of relief as I see him trudge off, crunching through the leaves on the ground.
Well, I think that was the least comfortable or easy conversation I've ever had, but I bet it was a good idea to come out here, even if it wasn't easy! I feel good about that! I just stand here. I think things are all coming together GREAT at the moment!
The next moment there's a little tug on the bottom of my shorts, and DemiVeemon is looking up at me hopefully, giving me puppy-dog eyes. He points at his mouth, as if I didn't get the hint.
"Okay, okay. Here, let's go buy icecream."
"YESH! I love ishecream! Can I have peppermint chocolate chip?"
"If you want, but I'm only buying you ONE, okay? You're totally wiping out my wallet!"
DemiVeemon giggles and jumps onto my shoulder. "He's kind of nice after all, ishn't he?"
He gestures in the direction of Ken, who is almost out of sight now, but standing still, looking at me. When he sees me turn to look at him, he goes to leave again. And I can't help smiling again, it was good to look at him as a friend.
"Yeah," I say, "I'd say he probably is."
Then DemiVeemon and I go off together. We're walking in the opposite direction to the one Ken took, but I reckon things won't be that way for long. I've got a feeling.