Title: Random Raindrops
Season/Timeline: About five years after Digimon Frontier.
Summary: Junpei gets some fresh air and finds himself at the start of a fresh relationship.
For: SilvorMoon: 2525 kiriban at the Snowfields.
Summer showers were usually light, airy things that passed in a matter of moments, depositing just enough water to moisten the ground, and usually leaving brilliant rainbows in their wake. Junpei liked to think about them as being 'Izumi-showers'. They came and went like the wind, but if you caught them at the right angle, they could change your life, if only for a few heartbeats.
He'd never said anything to her like that, though. The moment had ever really been right, and though most of the time he'd happily blurted out anything that had come to mind to compliment her when she was around, this was something he'd kept to himself. In five years she hadn't ever really said she liked him on any kind of level more than what she felt for Takuya, Kouji, Kouichi, or Tomoki. He'd seen her looking at him a little more than the others, but that's all he'd caught. Looks.
Well, that in and of itself was rather like a summer shower, once he thought about it. They never came when you were looking for them, and if you looked at them, you missed other things. But they always came back...and Izumi had never actually dated anyone herself, but had always come back around smiling at him. Hope was a very good thing to have, and Junpei enjoyed every moment of his.
He glanced down briefly at the books he was supposed to be studying for his next practice test, and reluctantly pulled one over to him for a moment. I really need to do this, I just don't want to. It was summer, the weather was clearing up beautifully, and the whole park had that 'just showered' fresh scent. I suppose I won't fail if I skip just a few hours. I could probably stand the break anyway.
Once the books were tucked firmly away where they belonged, Junpei got to his feet and looked around. Any direction was as good as any other right now. He slung his bag over one shoulder and started off. I wonder what Izumi's doing right now? Knowing her, she was probably off doing something free-spirited and wild. Maybe learning how to hang-glide. She'd mentioned something about that the last time he'd seen her.
It would be great to see her doing that. Almost like seeing Fairymon again, or Shutumon. He'd wondered on occasion what Izumi would look like if she dyed her hair to look more like her Digimon forms, but he'd never dared to bring it up to her. Maybe I could try to draw her like that. He'd never drawn Izumi very often. Just his memories of how wonderful she was kept him awake frequently at night, having something tangible to remind him in living color would be...well, he wasn't certain what it would be, but it would wreck his sleeping, he knew that.
Junpei didn't really pay that much attention to where his feet were going as he wandered through the park. There were a few more people wandering around now as the day stretched into afternoon and began the long trek towards evening, but he didn't pay much attention to them either. It was simply too much fun to just walk here and there, enjoying the fresh clean air and the unusually non-crowded park.
"Junpei! Hey, Junpei!" His head came up at the sound of his name, and a wide smile broke across his face as he saw who was calling him. Orimoto Izumi herself was hurrying up the street to him, long blonde hair bouncing in the breeze, and green eyes sparkling. "What are you doing around here?"
"I was just doing a little studying in the park, and decided to get some fresh air." Junpei glanced around, realizing only then that his wandering feet had taken him out of the park and halfway through the district to the residential streets. Well, isn't that just brilliant of me...I don't even pay attention where I'm going and I wind up in front of her!
Izumi laughed softly as she came to a stop in front of him. "That's a lot of fresh air if you wound up all the way here. But I was kind of thinking about you anyway, so I guess it's a good thing you're here."
Now that was something he hadn't really been expecting. "You were thinking about me?"
"Sure." Were her cheeks a little pink? As if she were blushing? It was a little hard to tell, but he was almost certain they were. She couldn't be blushing because of him. He was always the one who went red and couldn't think of anything to say around girls; they didn't have that reaction to him. So this was what they meant by being off-balance. He'd always kind of wondered. "You don't mind if I think about you or something, do you? That would be a first."
Yup, there it came. His cheeks started to burn and he tried not to stammer. It wasn't every day your crush of five years told you that she'd been thinking about you. "No, of course I don't mind! Why would I? Um...just why were you thinking about me, though?"
"Well, it was raining earlier, and I was watching it from my place." She waved a hand back a little towards her apartment building, and his eyes were drawn at once to the balcony that he knew came from her bedroom. "And it kind of reminded me of you."
Junpei really couldn't believe his ears right now. "That's weird. I was watching it rain and I was thinking about how much it reminded me of you."
"That's kinda cool." Izumi smiled. "But it makes sense, you know. We are the Warriors of Thunder and Wind, and you get both of those with most rain, more than anything else."
Oh. So that was why. It wasn't anything really special, just their Digimon spirits. "Yeah, I suppose that's right."
"Junpei?" Izumi touched the side of his face worriedly, her fingertips feeling so soft and warm against his skin. "Are you all right? You look kind of upset."
"Well, you said you were thinking about me, but then it was just because of my Spirits. I was kind of hoping you were thinking about me because you wanted to." Well, there went the theory he'd been learning not to blurt things out in front of her.
Izumi pulled her hand back briefly, staring at him. "Junpei, I did want to think about you. I mean, Takuya might be the Warrior of Flame, but I don't think about him every time I see a candle!"
"You really want to think about me?" Junpei lit up. "Really? Um...would it be wrong to ask what you were thinking about?"
"A lot of things. How nice it is to spend time with you. How much I like being around you." With everything she said, Junpei grew redder and redder. Izumi hadn't ever said anything like this to him, and it was kind of embarrassing!
"Uh...hey, would you maybe like to get an ice cream with me or something?" The words rushed out of him before he had a chance to stop them or to think about just how much money he had on him. Taking Izumi out could be a very expensive procedure, for multiple reasons.
Green eyes met his for a few quiet moments, as if she were searching for something in his. Whatever it was, they seemed to find it, as she smiled brilliantly and nodded. "I'd like that a lot, Junpei. I know this great place just a few streets away. It's been having this awesome sale on vanilla fudge ripple, and I've been dying for some!"
Junpei grinned wildly as Izumi seized his hand and started to tug him up the street. This was the Izumi he knew so very well. "Well, if you're that ready for it, let's go!" He hurried along a few steps behind her, letting her show him the way. He knew the area around his own house fairly well, but her neighborhood was a relative stranger to him. Side effect of only coming here to see her, I guess. It was fun to see her on her natural stomping grounds, though. She didn't even have to look to see which way she was going before she took any kind of turn, and dodged the people coming towards them as if she could hear or smell them coming.
"So what else have you been doing lately?" Izumi asked, tossing her hair back over one shoulder as they stopped to let a particularly large group of people by. "I haven't seen you in a while."
"Just studying a lot. I'm trying to get ready for some early university entrance exams." He shivered just at the memory of all the work he'd been doing. He liked studying, but the amount of strain it put him under was staggering. It'll be worth it in the end, though. I know it. That sounded amazingly like his father. He was going to have to stop that. Instead, he focused on the delicious aroma coming from Izumi's gleaming gold hair. That was a lot better to think about than anything else.
Izumi started forward again, not having released his hand for a moment. For a change he tried not to think about that. Even in this modern day and age, holding hands in public was something girls and boys who weren't dating very seldom did, and he could see a few of the older people in the neighborhood giving them sidelong glances. "I'm glad I don't have to worry about those for at least another year. I've heard some kids still suicide if they don't get into the schools they want."
"I've heard that too." Junpei had an old uncle who had spent most of one weekend regaling him with the stories of all the classmates he'd had who had flunked out or failed to get into a decent enough school and had killed themselves over it. "I know I feel like dying after studying all day, but I don't think I'd really want to."
"Neither would I. We came close to it enough times already." A heartfelt shudder ran all through her, one he matched easily enough. His ribs twinged even now in memory of some of their battles.
All of that was forgotten when Izumi finally tugged him inside the ice cream shop. Places like this had been making a comeback recently, providing not only good food but also places where kids could gather and chat and do all the other things kids wanted to do. Even now he saw a few over at the internet hook-ups in the back, probably chatting with people from all over the world.
"What do you want to eat?" Izumi motioned him towards the large sign with the various prices and items for sale up there. Junpei mentally gulped; it had been a while since he'd seen something with this many options. His eating had been confined lately to whatever he could get out of a can and heat up in the microwave.
"I think I'll just have a soda. I'm not all that hungry right now." He was lying; he was practically ready to chew through the countertop. He just couldn't seem to focus enough to make an intelligent decision, or any kind of decision right now. The bewildering display wasn't the problem; trying to think coherently around Izumi today was.
"Come on, you have to eat something! I know you, you've probably been starving yourself while you study!" Izumi shot a glowering sort of look at him. "Not to mention, you invited me here! So we're both going to have to eat something. It doesn't have to be ice cream, this place has a lot more than that. Now pick something!"
There was no way he could put up a fight against that. "Um, I guess I'll have some beef curry then." It wasn't the biggest meal in the world, but it would do. Izumi shot another look at him, but didn't say anything else as she put in her own order for the vanilla fudge ripple she'd raved about. He had the feeling he was in for a lecture about his eating habits whenever he got the opportunity.
Once they were settled down at a table with their food in front of them, Junpei felt his brains starting to relax a little. This wasn't so bad. It kind of felt a little like a date.
"Yeah, it does, doesn't it?" His head shot up as he realized he'd actually said that. Izumi was smiling at him, and didn't look inclined to leave or anything. "It does feel like a date, doesn't it?"
"Uh...yeah...I wasn't really planning on saying that out loud, you know." Junpei rubbed the back of his head shamefacedly. "It just kind of came out."
"There's nothing wrong about it." Izumi nibbled on some of her sushi. "I like the idea of being on a date with you."
Junpei nearly choked on his curry. "You do?" Had he fallen asleep under the trees back in the park and was he having some kind of extremely realistic dream? That made the only kind of sense he could see about this.
"I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it!" There was that Izumi temper again, flashing on and off like lightning in a summer storm. "You know that!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know, I just wasn't expecting it!" He tried to defend himself, burying his attention in the curry. "I mean, five years, and you haven't...we haven't...I'm saying this all wrong, I think."
Izumi laughed a little, shaking her head. Junpei tried even harder not to look at her, refusing to show even a bit of what he was feeling right now. Why did she have to be so ...so Izumi?
"Junpei, I'm sorry." She reached over to touch his arm with the tips of her fingers. "I've just been thinking about you a lot, and now we're here, together, and I guess my mouth just kind of ran away with me."
He didn't even bother to look up. The curry was absolutely fascinating, after all. So hot and...curry-like. "So it's not really a date, then?"
"I didn't say that either. I wasn't really thinking, but if you want this to be our first date, I'm fine with that. If you don't, you don't."
Once she was finished, the silence dragged on between them, just mildly broken by the soft sounds of the two of them eating. Junpei cleaned his plate, more out of habit than anything else, then looked outside. "It's clouding up again. Looks like we're in for more rain." Izumi said what he was thinking before he had a chance to open his mouth.
"Looks that way. The weatherman did say something about scattered showers." Junpei pushed his napkin around a little, then looked over at her. "If you don't mind getting a little wet, would you like to go for a walk with me?" He was quite proud of himself; he'd gotten the question out without stuttering and had actually met her eyes the whole time. New record for me where she's concerned. He grinned to himself; this wasn't so bad!
"Where to? The park's probably not going to be the best place right now." A certain kind of dreaminess touched her eyes for a brief moment. "Though after it rains, it'll be glorious there. A kind of ..thick greenness over everything..."
"And the air's always so fresh right after a shower, like every bit of it got a nice scrubbing..." Junpei added, countless afternoons spent in post-rain parks passing through his mind. "But I bet the beach would be really fun to go to right now. Watching the rain falling into the ocean would just be awesome!"
Izumi's eyes lit with emerald fire. "Junpei, you've got some of the best ideas I've ever heard of!" She leaped to her feet, starting to reach for him again before he got to his feet.
"I know where the beach is, Izumi!" He grinned teasingly at her. "You don't have to drag me there."
"Then let's go!" She tossed her hair, and Junpei caught a whiff of the delicious scent of her hair again. It reminded him of wind and water both, bringing up even more storm imagery in his mind. Maybe that's because this is the kind of relationship we have. She changes so fast, but that's fine with me. I like watching her go around like that. It's just her. Part of her also reminded him of the way raindrops kept on falling randomly, with no rhyme or reason or order to them. She just spun in a kind of half-controlled hurricane from wonderful thing to wonderful thing, and he just marvelled in the glory of the storm.
From the ice cream shop to the beach wasn't a very long walk, but it could've been twenty miles, and it wouldn't have quite been long enough as far as Junpei was concerned. Spending time with Izumi was always fun, but something had changed over the last hour or so. There was no way he could think of to identify it, but it was there anyway.
Though only a few clouds had been visible when they'd left, by the time they got the long stretch of sand and surf, spatters of rain had already begun to drip down. Shimmering beams of sunlight shafted down through the clouds, reflecting off of a few raindrops that had come to rest on various plants. Most people had already left the beach, just to be safe, so it was virtually open to the two young people.
"This looks so beautiful." Izumi whispered, taking in the display as if nature had crafted it simply for their own viewing pleasure. "It's..."
"It's perfect." Junpei closed his hand around hers nervously, watching for any sign that she didn't want this. All that happened was that her hand closed more tightly around his, and they started to walk along the edge of the sand, where the crashing waves came in to tickle at their toes.
Side by side they walked through the rain, by the edge of the sea and the edge of the sand, at the edge of the day. Raindrops dripped all over them, but Junpei knew he didn't care, and Izumi just wiped her face when it got to be a little too wet.
"Remember that resort in the Digital World? The one run by the Toucanmon?" Junpei thought back to one of the more interesting adventures they'd had in that other world. Something about all the sand and sun and surf reminded him of those crazy Digimon.
"Like I could forget!" Izumi shook her head, lips curving softly in amusement. "I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life. You guys all needed me to protect you for once. I'd just gotten my Spirit back in the first place, and then I was the only one who had one." She shivered in memory, rubbing her arms. "Going up against Ranamon wasn't something I'd like to repeat if I had to. I'm glad I don't."
Junpei could see the goosepimples covering her flesh, and realized only then that it was starting to get cold. He didn't feel it as badly as she did, but he berated himself for not having thought about it ahead of them. This time I can do something for her. He pulled off the jacket he'd been wearing and wrapped it around her before she could protest. "That'll keep you warm until we can get back to your place, at least."
"Thanks, Junpei," Izumi smiled softly at him, and he was entirely positive in that moment he could've flown, with or without the spirit of Blitzmon. "This is really nice."
"I'm glad you like it. At least this time I was able to do something for you." He caught the questioning look in her eyes as she glanced at him, and wondered if she'd never noticed it when it happened. "Well, when we were hunting down our D-Scans, remember we had to go through that one section that was colder than January? And you needed a jacket then, too?" She nodded slowly, then lit up in dawning comprehension.
"You weren't jealous of Kouji, were you? Because he had a jacket he could lend me?"
That was something that had never really occurred to him. "I don't think I was. I was just upset he could help you and I couldn't. I mean, I was the one who was following you everywhere and doing everything I could think of to get you to notice me and then..." He trailed off, not really certain of just how to finish that. He really wasn't jealous of Kouji; not where Izumi was concerned at least. It was something he hadn't even thought of until right now.
Izumi took his hand in hers again. "Well, I'm glad you were there then, and I'm glad you're here now. Come on, let's get under some cover before we start getting pneumonia."
"Good idea." Junpei nodded briskly, even as the rain began to thin out and more sunlight started to peer through the clouds. "You've always got the best ideas, Izumi."
She shook her head, amusement and some disturbance warring all over her pretty face. "Would you agree with me even if I said the sky was...orange with purple spots? You've agreed with just about everything else I've ever said since we first met!"
Junpei looked at her, then looked to the west quietly. Izumi blinked for a few moments, then looked that way. The sun was sinking towards the horizon, the clouds dyed in its fading light with brilliant shades of orange and purple. Izumi shook her head and just smiled. "Junpei, I don't know how you do it, but you're...incredible."
"Thanks. That means a lot to me, you know." Both of them were sporting matching flaming red cheeks right now, for different and yet so very similar reasons. "I'm not sure if you know just how much."
"I don't think I know either. But I'm really looking forward to finding out." Izumi squeezed his hand for a moment, then together, they headed away.