It had a few weeks since Touma and Masaru's little spat with the Coelamon. When Touma woke up next to Masaru the next day, he had stayed perfectly still so as to not disturb the spunky teen. When Masaru woke up, he thought that Touma was still asleep and stayed perfectly still as well. They stayed like this for nearly an hour, each one not wanting to be the one to disturb the peace.
This would have been fine and dandy if they had not known the other was awake. Truth was, after about 30 minutes of lying still together, they both knew the other was awake. Masaru was lying in Touma's loose embrace and Touma was pinned against the back of the couch and Masaru's body. So, for a half an hour, it was a battle of will, not tiredness that kept them on that couch. When Masaru finally sneezed, Touma let out a sigh of relief and stood up. From there they began to bicker about not setting a time to wake up, but both were relieved to no longer be so close together.
Or so they thought.
As time continued on, Touma found himself thinking more and more about the redhead. It's not like it was easy to ignore him. He was loud, brash, annoying and very energetic. Hell, Touma doubted he could ignore Masaru even if he wanted to. And then of course the whole Ikuto fiasco began and not much had happened since.
And for some reason, Touma found himself sorely disappointed.
It's not that he liked Masaru, or at least he didn't like him like that but he was concerned for him. Masaru had a tendency to jump in, ask questions later. He would do almost anything for someone or some idea that he cared about to the point of giving up his own life. His live fast and furious attitude for life was beginning to take its toll on his friend and he was about sick and tired of it.
After missions, Masaru would show up with bruises, cuts, open wounds and badly concealed bandages. He tired quickly now that digimon appeared in multitudes. He was more irritable to the point of even snapping at the captain. Touma was worried sick but his stubbornness did not allow him to betray any feeling of concern outwardly until that day.
Touma typed furiously on the computer as he tried to forget the hurt look that Masaru had on his face the day before when the loud teen thought no one was looking. Gaomon knew that Touma was concerned and he knew that Touma wouldn't stop thinking about it, but despite his small efforts to make his master talk about it he found that Touma simply did not want to acknowledge it.
"Master?" he asked softly.
"Hm?" Touma asked as he continued typing up his report.
"Master, is something wrong?" he ventured. He knew he was treading on thin ice, but something had to give and for some reason Gaomon doubted it would be Masaru. It just didn't seem likely that he would go to Touma for help rather then Touma forcing Masaru to accept his help.
Touma sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in an effort to make his mounting headache go away. "No, Gaomon, I'm fine."
"Yes, master," Gaomon said quietly and dropped the subject quickly.
A few minutes later, Masaru wandered into the room, fell into the chair next to Touma and dully tapped at the keyboard.
Without even looking at Masaru, Touma greeted him. "Hello."
Masaru replied with a noncommittal grunt and booted up the computer in order to type up his own report.
Touma turned to look at Masaru and felt his heart catch in his throat. Masaru looked terrible, to put it lightly. He looked tired, he had several burn marks on his arms that were not treated and worst of all his entire demeanor wasn't… Masaru. He had none of his usual fire or spark that normally dominated any room that he was in. Touma gritted his teeth and glared at the teen. "What in the hell happened?"
Masaru sighed and dutifully began to type out his report. "Fight," he muttered.
"With what?" Touma demanded.
"Digimon," Masaru replied simply.
Touma glanced over Masaru once more and sucked in a quick breath. He was trying his hardest not to loose his temper but he found it very difficult not to do so as he watched Masaru sit there, listlessly.
Ikuto poked his head inside the room and watched carefully. He never knew what to expect from Touma and Masaru, but if anyone was going to force Masaru to get it together, it was going to be Touma.
Finally Touma grabbed Masaru's wrist and pulled him out of his chair. Masaru's eyes widened briefly and he protested loudly as Touma literally dragged him away from the computer. "What? HEY! What do you think you're doing you jerk!" he yelled loudly.
Touma nodded at Masaru's report and Gaomon nodded in return. "Gaomon will take care of the rest of the report. We're getting you cleaned up," he growled.
"Screw that!" Masaru snapped. "I don't need it. I'm fine!"
Touma didn't reply. Instead he let go of Masaru's arm and turned to face his pissed friend. Masaru stood there, glaring at Touma, some of his old demeanor returning in his fury. Touma ignored this and grabbed Masaru's arm, pulling the shorter boy towards him and knocking him off balance. He caught Masaru by supporting his shoulders and used his other hand to squeeze the burn on Masaru's arm painfully.
Masaru yelped and wriggled, trying to get away from Touma. Touma knew that if Masaru had truly been 'all right' that the street fighter would have him on his butt faster then you could say 'stop.' However, Masaru no longer had the strength nor stamina to put Touma in his place, and after a few minutes of struggling, Masaru finally stopped and gave a defeated sigh.
"Fine?" Touma asked dangerously.
"Shut. Up." Masaru hissed.
"You're hurt," Touma continued, ignoring Masaru. "You're tired, you're in pain and my god Masaru, you're working yourself beyond help. You're going to kill yourself if you keep this up. What in the hell is so important about fighting that you can't stop for a few days and rest?"
"Because it's a man's job to keep his promises," Masaru said in a stone cold voice. "I'm not like you or Yoshino. I can't work with computers and I don't have good people skills. I can fight, and if I'm going to take this job seriously as a man, then I will fight."
"You idiot," Touma sighed and straightened Masaru up. "I don't care if you're the President of the United States. You need rest. We all need rest. And being a stubborn jackass about it won't help anyone, least of all you."
Masaru snorted. "I don't have to listen to you," he scoffed.
"Right now I'm stronger then you and I have more stamina. If need be I'll drag you to your house and make you rest," Touma warned.
Masaru glared at the ice eyed teen. "You wouldn't dare," he hissed.
"Do you want to bet on that?" Touma asked elegantly.
Masaru held Touma's gaze for a bit longer before Touma decided that enough was enough and grabbed Masaru's wrist. He literally dragged the protesting boy out of the room and down the hall much to Ikuto's amusement.
Masaru gazed out of the window sulkily and kept his back towards Touma. Touma sighed and wondered if what he had done was the right thing. Masaru was pissed, he himself wasn't in the world's best mood and now their friendship was more strained then ever. However, on the other hand, Masaru's wounds were now patched up and they were headed towards the one place that would keep him from running off. So, it was mixed, but the pros outweighed the cons in Touma's mind.
When they got to Masaru's house, Touma went inside with Masaru to make sure that he would get the attention he needed. To his dismay neither Chika nor Masaru's mother was home at the moment.
Masaru crossed his arms and shrugged. "I don't need a babysitter," he huffed.
"Yes you do," Touma muttered and waved his driver away. The man nodded and drove off, leaving Touma with Masaru.
"What did you do that for? You need to go back to DATS," Masaru pointed out.
"I need to make sure you don't kill yourself," Touma corrected him. "I need to make sure you get better, because if you're too tired to do anything then how the hell will you help anyone?"
Masaru couldn't think of something to say to that so Touma took advantage of the pause and pushed Masaru into his house. He shut the door and followed Masaru up to his room where.
It wasn't a big thing, but it was cozy. Touma liked going to Masaru's house. It had a wonderful live in feel that his own mansion did not posses. Masaru flopped onto his bed and stared at the ceiling. Not seeing any other available furniture that was not buried under schoolbooks or magazines, Touma awkwardly sat at the foot of the bed and stared at the floor. An uncomfortable silence filled the room for several minutes afterwards.
Just as Touma was about to ask something about the weather, just to make the silence stop, Masaru opened his mouth. "You know?" he asked. "I'm so worried that some day I won't be able to protect the people I care about that I actually have nightmares about it sometimes?"
Touma looked at Masaru, surprised that he had said something so intimate.
Masaru looked back and gave Touma a tiny half grin. "I'm worried," he said simply. "I want to be there to help and protect everyone, but I know I can't. I just want to make sure everyone is okay."
Touma sighed. "Working yourself beyond exhaustion isn't the way to do it," he said finally.
Masaru sat up and sat next to Touma on his bed. "Yeah, I know," he consented. "But I don't want to think about it that way."
Touma grinned. "You don't want to think."
Masaru punched Touma in the arm, but Touma could see that he was smiling. "Shut up," he growled.
There was another silence, only this time it was far more peaceful. Touma couldn't help but wonder what Masaru was thinking. If he was as happy as he was, sitting there, side by side, talking. Touma felt a small blush grace his cheeks and did his best to will it away as Masaru began to talk about his school day.
After an hour of talking, Masaru finally just drifted off to sleep. Of course he fell asleep sitting upright, which meant that he was leaning on Touma's shoulder but to his great surprise, Touma wasn't upset. He liked Masaru's odd habit of falling asleep on him. It gave him rare glimpses into the Masaru that wasn't all talk and show.
After so long, he eased Masaru's head into his lap and scooted back so that his back was against the wall. He didn't mind, and for some reason that scared him.
I'll write the third part after my brain stops hurting. I'm very tired but this was stuck in my head so I figured I may as well get it out while it's still fresh. Enjoy