The heat is stifling; August in Tokyo can be a painful experience, and Ken can find energy to do little else but remain slumped beneath the precious shade of a tree. Not that it helps much - the air is thick and hazy with the summer weather, and it cannot be escaped. Even the gentle sea breeze which is usually so cool and refreshing seems like an unpleasant caress on days like these.

Objectively, he supposes, it's a nice day. The sky is clear and the sun is shining, and the green tree above is dappling him with soft patterns of light.

But...

He shifts uncomfortably, feeling sticky and somewhat stifled. The pollution of the city and the heat do not mix well; little is more unpleasant than being stuck in the centre of Tokyo on a summer's day, choking on the hazy fumes and struggling to push through the heaving crowds.

Ken's trying to look on the positive side of things; comparatively, he admits, sitting under a tree in Odaiba Park isn't nearly so bad. But then suddenly a ball's hurtling towards him, so maybe it is.

"Ah!" he yelps slightly as he ducks, and the ball connects loudly with the tree trunk where his head had been resting. Almost immediately, he hears his name being shouted and pushes himself back up, feeling far too lethargic to put much effort into it. How does Daisuke do it?

"Ken, Ken--" Daisuke jogs over, pausing to try and catch his breath for a moment, cheeks flushed and an ashamed grin creeping onto his face, "--sorry about that! Haha, wasn't aiming for you, I promise! Though it was a great shot though, don't you think?"

Though he's really just hot and tired and insanely thirsty, Ken can't help but smile, and shakes his head.

"Daisuke, you're so careless..." a half-hearted scolding trails off as Miyako waves a hand vaguely in the air from where she lies, and a soft giggle drifts out from around the other side of the tree were Hikari sits. Daisuke just laughs, though, and scratches the back of his neck in slight embarrassment as he looks down at Ken expectantly.

"...so? Do you wanna come play yet? How can you just sit here when it's such a nice day!"

Ken just stares up at him, faintly incredulous, "w-what? I can't believe you still want to... aren't you hot?"

Daisuke just shrugs and holds out a hand expectantly, "hey, it's not that bad! Trust me. Last summer, our air conditioner broke... wow, that was painful." He flashes another smile as Ken sighs, and triumphantly grabs the hand that's held up for him in weary resignation.

Ken allows himself to be tugged upwards; Daisuke's hand is warm and a bit clammy, but strong and surprisingly soft. He glances at the other in slight surprise when the touch seems to linger, but then Daisuke's gone, running off to fetch the ball from wherever it had ended up.

"Right!"

Ken reluctantly follows an enthusiastic Daisuke out into the sun - he can feel the precise moment it hits him, beating down on Odaiba Park and its visitors relentlessly. He can smell the salty twang in the air that's so unique to the coast, though today it certainly has no refreshing quality.

"You ready?" Daisuke's irrepressibly cheerful voice was calling out, and there was something about it that never failed to help lift Ken's mood. "I mean, we haven't played soccer together since...well, you know, and I think it's about time for a rematch!"

Ken blinks, and feels his heart sink. How can he? Daisuke's bound to be disappointed. He'll be slow in the heat, stumble, and make all kinds of mistakes. After all, he'd only been so good at it before because of the Spore; because he was the Kaizer... right? He couldn't possibly give Daisuke the kind of game he was looking for now.

He feels himself shaking his head, dark hair hanging down limply in front of his eyes. "No, I don't think..."

Ken doesn't look up at Daisuke; doesn't want to see any hurt or disappointment in his face; just turns and wanders a little further on, before allowing himself to collapse down with a sigh. The grass beneath him is starting to become tinged with yellow; evidently the sprinklers haven't rescued this patch yet. He raises his head and looks out over the area; the ball is still there, rolling gently around in the breeze by itself; but Daisuke is gone.

Gone?

Ken frowns, and can't help but wish that Wormmon were here to help him think more clearly. He knows he's being stupid about this... didn't he promise to let all of that go? Shouldn't he be himself now, regardless of anything he did as the Kaizer?

But, somehow, this particular memory is a little more sensitive - a little harder to cast aside.

Daisuke.

He supposes it's because he knows Daisuke has all these expectations of him when it comes to this - will he be disappointed when he finds out Ken's really quite average?

He jumps as something cold is pressed against the back of his neck, and his confused thoughts sputter out as Daisuke steps out from behind him, smiling hopefully and holding out a bottle of ramune with one hand, while reaching up to mess up his hair with the other.

...and somehow, you always know the right thing to do.

Ken accepts the cool glass bottle gratefully, giving Daisuke a slightly embarrassed smile as the other boy sits down next to him. "…I'm sorry." He takes a sip of the ramune; the tiny ball clinks and falls down. It's sweet and refreshing, and exactly perfect.

"Aah, it's okay," Daisuke's chewing on his lower lip thoughtfully, and Ken can tell he's struggling with what to say. He grins, then, and Daisuke looks up in surprise. "What?"

Well, Ken thinks, Daisuke may not be the most eloquent boy around - but somehow he always manages to say exactly what's needed.

"Nothing," he stares at the sunlight shining through the green glass bottle for a moment, before offering the drink to Daisuke, "it's just... you know. I won't be good anymore."

Daisuke quickly takes a gulp, and then stares at Ken as if he's just said something incomprehensible. Ken leans back on his hands and looks up into the blue sky - a second later he's startled by Daisuke surging forward, and there's a heavy pressure on his hand from one of Daisuke's own; the other boy is kneeling, hands on the floor in front of him.

"Why would you ever think that was the point?" Daisuke sounds exasperated, but Ken can see there's a slight smile tugging at his lips, and a fondness in his voice that he can't quite hide. "Look... it's not like I wanted a competition or anything, just some fun! We don't…" his voice falters a little, but he continues, trying to sound confident, "...we don't - you know - do enough stuff together."

Ken's left looking into Daisuke's earnest brown eyes, not entirely sure what to say. It feels like the ground's burning beneath him, but somehow it doesn't really seem important.

"Okay?" Daisuke's leaning back now, but his hand still remains, curling ever so slightly around Ken's own.

...and somehow, you always know the right thing to say.

He nods, and moves his hand to clasp the other's. With that, Daisuke's expression suddenly lights up, and he grins, jumping up and pulling Ken awkwardly to his feet.

"Come on, then!"

Daisuke's hand is still hot and clammy, and the heat of the day is still merciless in its attack - but, somehow, as they race around after the ball together, laughing and shoving, it's just not important.

And the green glass of an empty ramune bottle sparkles in the dying afternoon sunlight.