For previous readers: As you'll be able to tell, I've changed this story immensely. My poor writing style back then was far too embarrassing to not do anything about it.
For new readers: I wrote this back in March 2003, and it is rather terrible. I have tried to make amends in this new edition, but this is essentially a story that I don't like but keep up because I know there were readers who once enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend my other stories over this one.
Rated T for cursing. AU, OOC. Takari & Ryuki.
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Chapter 1: I Hate You
"Here you go, Kari. You like chocolate, right?"
It was a beautiful summer day. Hot yet breezy, it was the kind of day perfect for eating ice cream at the park. No school, no worries—nothing but nature and a sweet cone of soft serve.
Eight-year-old Takeru Takaishi handed his best friend an ice cream cone, a cute grin illuminating his young face. She happily nodded in response to his question and accepted the treat. "Yes! Thank you!"
His smile widened, and he sat down beside her on the dry grass. "You do know vanilla is better, right?"
The warming sun, a refreshing breeze, her best friend and her favourite dessert.
Days like these were blissful and—
"My live is a living hell."
Suddenly, it was eight years later. Kari Kamiya refocused her mind to the present, tucking past memories away once again. Before responding to the intruding comment, she glanced over to where he was.
A few metres away was her former best friend. He was taller, older and a completely different person. Ever since he made the school basketball team in Year Eight, he had changed. Everybody wanted to be his friend. Every girl wanted to have him. Every guy wanted to be like him. And he, naïve enough to get sucked into this newfound popularity, fell for it—hard. Rapidly, they began to drift apart. From being inseparable to having occasional conversations to waving polite greetings, they finally concluded in no longer acknowledging each other. Even his name was different; he went by TK now.
But that was the past, and this was the present. Presently, she was seated in the school cafeteria, her homemade lunch sprawled on a semi-empty table.
A tray landed beside her, and a redheaded girl sat down, grumbling beneath her breath.
It was her new best friend, Rika Makino. She had transferred over to Odaiba High School from Shinjuku around the same time Kari had stopped talking to TK, and under their individual friendless situations, they had became friends.
Unlike how TK and she had been, Kari and Rika were very different people. Rika was easily irritated—especially by people. She didn't pause to speak her mind about others, often leading her into trouble. Kari, on the other hand, was fairly quiet and kept to herself.
Regardless of their personality differences, they maintained a close friendship.
"Is everything all right?"
"Perfect," Rika muttered, indicating that everything was not perfect.
Kari had learned long ago not to further pursue Rika to reveal anything she didn't say the first time. As outspoken as Rika was, she was fairly private.
Instead, she changed the topic. "How do you think you did on that Calculus test?"
From Rika's reaction, Kari concluded Rika's source of irritation came from said Calculus test.
"Are you girls talking about the Calculus test?" From the table beside them—TK's table—one girl turned around to face them. She flipped back her long brunette locks and purred, "It was so easy. Don't you agree, Rika?"
Hina Itou was the epitome of perfection. Gifted with gorgeous physical features, as well as intellectual capability and social skills, Hina easily got everything she wanted.
For that, Rika despised her. From the moment they had met, she had made it clear. Hina, not used to people disliking her, was automatically offended. In a sense, their hatred was Rika's fault, but they had both passed a point of no return, and it really didn't matter who had started the disagreements.
Kari personally did not have a problem with Hina anymore. Being TK's first girlfriend, she had been one of the chief causes of TK's and her estranged friendship. Still, Hina never showed Kari the same amount of animosity as she did Rika. Simply, Hina left her alone, and Kari left Hina alone.
"Why are you listening to our conversation?" Rika asked icily.
"Why are you avoiding my question?" Hina retaliated, her golden amber eyes just as frosty. She gave her a fake smile. "Actions speak louder than words, honey, and by the look on your face, I already know the answer. Better luck next time then, hm?"
She turned around again, giggling with her friends.
Kari looked at Rika piteously. "I'm sure you'll do better next time."
"You'd think she has better things to do than harass me," Rika muttered, dully poking at her food.
Rika had approximately forty seconds to make it to her class on time.
It wasn't going to happen.
Panicking, she furiously ran up a flight of stairs, mentally screaming at her accursed locker for never opening on the first try.
Another tardy meant another day in after-school detention. That was the last thing she needed right now.
Finally reaching the top step, she sprinted down the hallway, made a sharp left turn—and crashed. As if she had run into a mirror, she and another being knocked into each other and onto the floor in the same fashion. Both their bags opened, their contents scattering randomly.
Rika let out a frustrated groan before snapping, "Watch where you're going!"
At the same time, the other person exclaimed, "I'm so sorry!"
His apologetic expression changed in hearing her response to the impact.
"Excuse me?" he asked, clearly offended.
Rika looked up to see herself face-to-face with Ryo Akiyama, self-proclaimed king of the school. She didn't actually know him personally, but she did know of him. From Kari, she knew he was TK Takaishi's best friend and Hina Itou's ex-boyfriend. From everybody else, she heard nothing but praise. Tall, handsome, charming…
She didn't like him much. He sounded like the male equivalent of Hina Itou—and a real dumbass to have dated someone like her.
The bell rang.
Rika let out another groan. "Great job! Now I'm late!"
Clearly, the incident was her fault. She had been making a turn, running; he had been walking in a straight line. He knew it. She knew it.
She didn't care.
"I don't know what you're talking about, but this is your fault," he said, standing up. He reached an arm to assist her.
Out of anger, she slapped it away. "I know how to stand up by myself. Piss off!"
His eyes narrowed, but, instead of saying anything, he dropped back to the floor and began to pick up his things. She followed suit. He picked up a book of hers and handed it to her.
She seized it and hissed, "I just said I don't need your help. That extends to picking up my stuff!"
Ryo looked ready to kill her. "I'm trying to be nice."
"Stop trying then." As she was picking up pens and pencils, she came across a pen that wasn't hers. Annoyed, she tossed it aside.
"What are you doing?" he shouted. "Stop throwing my stuff around!"
She didn't respond, not bothering to even look up to see his expression. She could easily guess it without doing so.
Once again, she didn't care that she was being uncooperative. The thought of another day's worth of detention was far too frustrating.
For the remainder of the moments they spent picking up their respective belongings, they worked in silence.
She finished first and stood up. "Watch where you're going next time."
Without waiting for a response, she stormed away.
She had walked approximately four steps before she felt a hard jerk pull her back.
Her eyes met his. They were narrowed, flashing cerulean rays of hatred at her.
"I'd watch who you say such threats to," he said coldly.
Rika looked straight back at him, not intimidated. "Likewise."
He gave her another glare before letting her go abruptly, muttering under his breath as he too walked away. Rika watched him, annoyed, before she remembered her tardiness and sprinted once again towards her class.
Kari nearly gasped as she turned around to match eyes with who had just tapped her on the shoulder.
TK Takaishi was looking at her, a slightly troubled look on his usually flawless face.
"Take—TK," Kari stuttered awkwardly. "How…how are you?"
This was the first time either of them had acknowledged the existence of the other in years. Kari couldn't help but feel a little stupefied.
"I'm all right," he answered.
"How are you?" he added.
Another painful pause.
TK cleared his throat. "My mum told me this morning that she invited your family to my house for dinner tonight."
"Oh," Kari replied, not knowing what else to say. "That's… good to know."
He glanced behind her, and she could tell he was feeling just as awkward as she was.
"This is kind of weird to say…" he started, fumbling with the strap of his backpack.
"What is it?" she asked gently, trying unsuccessfully to ease the tension.
"Look, I don't really mind that you and your family are coming over, but I actually have a really important game coming up. We're holding a late-night practice around the same time, and as captain of the basketball team, I'm expected to be there." TK paused, as if waiting for Kari to allow all of this information to sink in. "If there's any way you can try to leave a little early…"
Kari frowned. "What?"
"Well, er, it isn't like we're friends, so we really don't have anything to say to each other." TK shrugged. "I'm sure you don't want to be forced to reminisce or catch up either, so let's both try to get out as quickly as possible. You probably have better things to do too."
Kari felt herself get angrier. "I'll try my hardest."
He didn't reply for a while, but he finally gave a small, satisfied smile. "So I guess I'll see you tonight then."
"Goodbye," Kari said quickly, wanting him to leave. He took the hint and turned around, but after a few steps faced her again.
"Oh, I forgot to ask for another favour."
"What," Kari asked rather rudely.
"I don't want our parents to think badly of us, so let's try to be as amiable as we can." TK's expression showed no sign of compassion. "Let them think we're still good friends."
Kari didn't reply, even more offended.
He looked at her, looking a little uncomfortable.
"Well then, bye," he said finally. With that, he jogged away to his friends. His true smile and comfort returned as he began conversing with him.
Kari felt her lips twist into a frown.
Yes, he had definitely changed.
"Higher, boys. I can't see you through the window."
Ryo angrily raised his school briefcase higher over his head, prompting his teacher to head back into the classroom.
Having been late for class, he was now on his knees in the hallway, holding his heavy briefcase in the air.
"This sucks," muttered his classmate, Kenta Kitagawa. He too had been late to class. "My arms are about to fall off."
"Stop complaining. It's your fault, after all," responded Kenta's best mate, Kazu Shiota.
"How is this my fault? You're the one who made me stand in line with you because you just had to have a biscuit!"
"You should have told me we would be late!"
"You should have told me you were serious!"
"Could both of you be quiet? We're going to get in even more trouble!" Ryo snapped, sounding angrier than he had intended. After the incident in the hallway, he was not in the best of moods.
They immediately silenced themselves. Kazu and Kenta—especially Kazu—worshipped Ryo. They did anything he asked.
They sat in tense silence for a few seconds before Kenta finally said, almost whispering, "Why were you late, Ryo?"
Ryo didn't answer, not wanting to think about the unbelievable girl he had run into.
"Shut up, Kenta," Kazu immediately scolded. "Obviously, he doesn't want to talk to you." Kazu turned to face Ryo, smiling, and changed the subject. "So Ryo, where are you planning to go for the winter holiday? Probably out of the country."
"Yes, where?" Kenta added, now facing Ryo as well. "Somewhere in the southern hemisphere to get away from this weather?"
As annoying as they could be, Ryo felt bad they liked him a lot more than he liked them. "I think I'm just staying in Odaiba."
They looked shocked.
They immediately shut their mouths and scrambled to their positions as they heard the classroom door open once again.
Ryo, Kazu and Kenta all relaxed once they saw Hina Itou walk out.
"Hi Hina," Kazu greeted, staring at her lovingly.
She disregarded him and squat beside them to hide her head from the teacher. "Ryo, you're never late. What happened?"
"Where are you going?" he answered.
"Toilet," she responded. Adamantly, she asked again, "Why were you late?"
"No reason," he avoided, trying hard to relieve his arms of the weight of the bag without the teacher noticing.
Hina furrowed her brows. "Why are you being so secretive?"
"I'm not," Ryo said irritably.
Everybody faced Kazu, who had been the source of the flirtatious greeting.
Then they changed their shifts to the person he had greeted.
"Ew," muttered Hina.
"You!" Ryo exclaimed, a little too loudly.
Hina jolted her head to Ryo's direction before shooting a glare at the being walking closer to them.
The redheaded girl from before slowed down a little as she saw them.
"Hello," Kazu greeted again, a wide grin on his face.
Hina gave him a disgusted look before turning to the girl. "Rika, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in class?"
"Why do you care?" Rika asked, just as rudely.
Ryo noted the animosity, and he was somewhat glad that Hina didn't seem to like this Rika girl either. He could relieve his agitation to her later.
Evidently, Kazu didn't. "Are you guys friends? Hina, you never introduced me to your beautiful friend!"
"She is not my friend!" Hina said loudly, looking very much distraught at Kazu's comment. "You stupid oaf!"
"You're the reason I'm out here!" Ryo added loudly, trying to get her attention.
"Shh!" Kenta hissed. "You both are going to get us into more trouble!"
The girl looked at Ryo for a brief second.
"You know her?" Hina asked incredulously.
"Erm…" Kenta said quietly. "Rika, did you say it is? Will you please squat so our teacher doesn't see you?"
Rika gave Kenta a weird look before walking away, not saying another word.
"She's disgusting," Hina muttered.
"She's hot," Kazu disagreed.
"Ryo, don't you think she's disgusting?" Hina asked, tugging at his blazer lapel.
Ryo simply glared at the direction she had headed. So Rika was her name…
He would remember that.
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