"There is a great difference between worry and concern.
A worried person sees a problem,
and a concerned person solves a problem."
If you found this story and weren't looking for it, let me explain.
This story follows Takato as he's forced with some difficult decisions that will affect himself, Jeri, and his friends. It occurs during the same time as my other story, Crescendo, which is about Rika and Ryo.
I hope you enjoy it, and let me know what you think,
Takato wasn't even out the door when it was slammed shut. Rika's mother had literally pushed him out after the escalating argument which followed her accusation that him, Henry, and Jeri were a bad influence on Rika. Rika's grandmother usually kept Rumiko in line, but she was at the theatre that night.
Takato had always prided himself as being the kind of guy
who could like anyone.
But you're not.
He'd often wondered it, but tonight finally confirmed it. He couldn't like simply anyone. He discovered this the instant that Rumiko's accusations caused Jeri to cry. The sight of that was enough to break anyone who knew her, or how the kind of person she was. Because of her role in the D-Reaper incident, however, she certainly got the worst of Rumiko's words.
It was certainly enough to break Rika, who ran out of her own home at the sight.
Takato rubbed the part of his back the door had struck, walking to Jeri, who was sitting on the front steps of the Nonaka home. It had evidently just started raining, and Henry had apparently given Jeri his coat, as neither Jeri nor Takato had brought one.
He and Henry spent a few minutes reminding Jeri that none of them believe, even for a moment, anything that Rumiko said.
The girl's got a heart of gold. Anyone with half a brain can see it.
It took some convincing, but they eventually appeared to succeed, and the sweetest girl in the world stopped crying. He smiled at her as the three of them stood up. He knew they hadn't convinced her entirely - she just didn't want to worry them. But he accepted he couldn't make things any better by pushing, at least not right now.
She's stronger than all of us put together.
He knew he was right about that. "Think we should go track down Rika?" he suggested.
"She could be anywhere by now." Henry said. "And since she's not here, I'm guessing she doesn't want to be found right now. And if Rika doesn't want to be found, then she won't be."
"I think you're right, Henry." Jeri confirmed.
Takato stepped off the porch and into the rain, which was coming down harder now. He closed his eyes, and stretched his arms out sideways, catching as much of it as he could. He'd always admired Henry's ability to meditate. Henry even tried to teach him once, but he just couldn't sit still. Takato simply stood, then, however, feeling each individual drop land on him. He smiled inwardly at his own form of meditation.
"Where do you guys wanna go?" He asked, sacrificing his moment of peace.
"I think I'm gonna go home," Henry started. "Not feeling great. I'll talk to you guys tomorrow?"
"Count on it, buddy." Takato said with a wave.
"Good night, Henry." Jeri said cheerfully. "I hope you feel better. Oh! Here's your jacket back." She said, unzipping it.
"Nah, I'll just take Goggleboy's trademark as collateral. "Henry said, snatching them from Takato's head.
Takato reached for them but missed, and proceeded to chase Henry around Rika's yard in the rain, his protests difficult to make over everyone's laughter.
The tow continues to play-fight for a short while before Takato gave up, and Henry triumphantly crowned himself with the goggled. Takato was rarely seen without them. He once contemplates shaving a line of his hair off that would be covered by the band, just to see if anyone would notice.
He turned to Jeri after Henry had left. "Can I walk you home?"
"Sure Takato, thanks." She said with a little smile that he definitely noticed. Jeri's house was on the other side of town, so it would be a huge detour, but he didn't care. He appreciated every second he could get with her.
And it's raining, too. This is totally starting to make up for Rumiko.
The walk was anything but quiet - they talked and joked and laughed as they always did when they were together. He really enjoyed spending time with her.
When they finally got to Jrei's house he was invited in to dry off. This wasn't the first time he'd walked her home in the rain - he once made the effort to bring a change of clothes when it was expected to rain, incase the opportunity to walk her home presented itself. He'd always toss the wet clothes in the dryer and 'forget'.
It's convenient, really.
Walking Jeri home in the rain was kind of a ritual after that.
Best decision you ever made.
He stayed at Jeri's for a good while. They watched a movie, and got to talk some more about random, irrelevant things that would make little sense to anyone. And he enjoyed every minute.
It was hours before he decided he should probably get home. He gave her a kiss on the cheek, and turned to leave, but she gently pulled him back by his hand and kissed him for real before letting him go. She waved to him and closed the door, both of them still blushing.
Takato was rather surprised by the event. That wasn't their first kiss, but she had never been that forward with him. They weren't officially 'dating', though that was definitely what Takato would want if he thought he came close to deserving her. They had settled with 'seeing each other'. He knew they were exclusive, he was just nervous to pursue anything more.
He checked his watch as he headed home, not entirely surprised at how late at night/early in the morning it was. The rain had lightened up, which he was a little disappointed in, but also a little grateful, since he'd been out in it for so long.
You're so going to get trench-foot.
As he walked the downtown streets, he noticed that there was only one shop with the lights still on. He soon recognized it as the coffee shop that Ryo worked at. He peeked inside, and saw that his friend was cleaning a table, his back to the window.
Takato flopped himself against the window, pressing his face against it, making the most bizarre face he could.
Ryo wasn't looking. Takato loudly thumped his hand on the glass.
Ryo fell back almost while he spun around. It was beautiful.
Takato wasn't sure what exactly this was payback for, but the two pulled crap like this on each other often enough that he'd lost count of the 'score'.
Takato couldn't read lips, but as Ryo unlocked the door, he managed to identify four of the five words Ryo said then as curses.
"I hate you." Ryo declared.
"You're just saying that." Takato replied, entering the little shop.
"Was that for the drawings I did on your face?"
"Goldfish in the water-bottle."
Ryo snickered. "You're having to go through some extremes to get me, coming here at 5 in the morning, you know."
"Was out with Jeri. What about you? Working the Insomniac-Coffee-Addict shift?"
"Nah, was supposed to leave hours ago, but Rika showed up."
"She did? You don't look bruised..Is she okay? She had a fight with her mom earlier."
"Yeah, so she said. She's fine, she left about a half hour ago."
"That's good. Why you still here?"
"Lost my cab money."
"Well, that sucks for you, then. Hang on, let me just leave messages on Jeri and Henry's phones to let them know Rika's alright."
Takato dialed Jeri first, and was surprised to hear her answer, rather than the voicemail.
"Hey, it's me."
"Hi Takato, is everything okay?"
"Yeah, everything's fine. Just wanted to let you know that Rika's okay."
"Yeah, I know, talking to her online. Hey, incase she tells me, then tells me not to tell anyone…I mean, as long as I'm perfectly clear that this is just my specul--"
"Jeri?" he interrupted.
"Are you okay?"
"It sounds like Rika likes Ryo."
"Heh. I'm with Ryo now."
"…good night, don't tell him what I said, I'm not sure." She really sounded nervous.
"You too, and no problem."
He called Henry next, but got only the voicemail. He left a message similar to the conversation he had with Jeri, minus the gossip.
"So," Takato called to Ryo, who was busying himself by cleaning a clean table. "Need a place to sleep tonight?"
"Sure man, thanks." Ryo replied with some relief. "I was just heading over to break in and drag you outside, but this requires less effort." He quickly added. Takato knew by the quick glance at a freshly-made pot of coffee that Ryo was planning on pulling an all-nighter. He grinned at his friend. Ryo was the most experienced of the Tamers, but wasn't really 'part of the group'. Everyone liked him –
- Even Rika, apparently -
- but nobody but Takato made the effort to get to know him. He was glad he did. They teased each other to the point where a lot of people at school though that they hated each other, but it was just their thing. Ryo could be pretty stubborn sometimes, but Takato knew that he was a great guy, and was proud to have him as such a close friend. Since the coffee shop was just a few blocks from the bakery, he stopped by often, which is how they got to become such good friends. He liked to think that even if it wasn't so convenient, he still would.
Ryo grabbed his coat from the back of the store, and quickly stuffed a few small, long, shiny metal objects into a little box which he stuffed in his pocket. Takato didn't bother questioning him, and the two headed to Takato's house. They talked as they walked, sharing as much information as they could without betraying any trusts. Takato didn't quite believe that Ryo lost his cabfare; Ryo was a surprisingly organized person. He didn't push him for details, though. Takato tried to respect people's privacy.
He's probably just embarrassed about whatever he spent it on.
Takato glanced at his watch -
- Yow -
Almost 5:30. Good thing he didn't have to work tomorrow.
He wasn't particularly tired, but he knew Ryo was. So when they arrived at his place, he gave Ryo the bed, and offered to take the couch in his room. Ryo was grateful, and it was evident why when he passed out so quickly.
Takato himself knew that he wouldn't be able to sleep, so he walked to the computer and shook the mouse, squinting as the light from the screen attacked his eyes.
He signed on, with the doubtful hope that someone might be online.
He frowned a little, not surprised. He clicked on Kazu's name, then on 'send e-mail', after realizing that he hadn't talked to him in a few days. He asked him what he's been up to, and filled him in on what he himself had been doing. He left out the majority of that night's events in case of the likely event that they weren't invited to Rika's. He wrapped it up by suggesting they hang out sometime soon.
He ran the spellchecker, and proud that there were no errors, sent it and signed off. He looked around the room for something to occupy himself with. He settled on a science-fiction novel that Henry's father had given him for his birthday.
Takato liked Janyu, he always thought that he was a very good man. He'd always been supportive of all the Tamers. Things were rough between him and Henry the weeks that followed the digimon returning to their world, but Takato had been happy to learn that things had improved. He really felt bad for the choice Janyu was faced with. Takato knew sending them back was what had to be done -- even Henry knew -- he just didn't have to like it. He wondered if he'd ever be able to make a decision like that, choosing between duty and loved ones, but quickly pushed the thought to the back of his mind.
He read a few chapters before he lay down on the couch and went to sleep.
Well, I just wanted this chapter to reestablish character and foreshadow some things, more than anything else. The next one's gonna be a little dull, but it'll pick up.