Title: Answers and Questions
Timeline: About ten or eleven years after the defeat of BelialVamdemon.
Romance: Hikari x Ken, with some hints of Daisuke x Hikari, Koushirou x Miyako, and Taichi x Daisuke
Notes: This is officially a rewrite of my fic that was once called Will You Marry Me, which was a Hikari x Iori.
Summary: Hikari is curious as to a certain change and decides to ask someone who might know the answer.
Hikari admitted it to herself. She was confused. She was very confused. In all of her twenty-two years, she hadn't ever run into something like this before, and she had no idea of what to think of it. She didn't want to think of herself as a heartbreaker, someone who dangled a boy or boys on a string just for her own pleasure. It had been a little pleasant to have Daisuke doing almost anything for her, though she'd done what she could not to really hurt him. She had liked him. He was a friend. But she hadn't ever really wanted to date him. He just wasn't her type.
And apparently he'd finally figured that out and found someone a little more to his taste, who was much more willing than she was to go out with him. There was nothing at all wrong with that, of course. She missed the way he would rush up to her at a party with a drink or a snack, the way that he would hurry to give her whatever work she'd missed if she had been out sick, and all the other little things he'd done over the years, if she thought about it. But she knew she'd get used to it.
What was confusing her, really, was who Daisuke had moved onto. It wasn't supposed to be that way, or so she'd imagined for the last few years. If he'd went on to Miyako or Noriko or Keiko or even Catherine, she didn't think she would have been this confused. But who he had picked, and who had so eagerly picked him in return, that baffled her.
"See you later, Hikari!" Taichi waved a little as he headed for the door, where Daisuke stood waiting for him, bouncing a little on his heels. For all that he was grown up, Daisuke still held all the enthusiasm and eagerness of a child at times. That would never change about him.
She nodded a little, not really paying much attention to anything they said, in favor of what they were doing instead. As many times as she'd seen it, she still couldn't believe that Taichi's arm went easily around Daisuke's shoulders as the door closed behind them.
He fell for my brother. And Taichi fell right back. That just set off something wrong in her mind, and she didn't like it. Oh, the two of them together wasn't wrong. They were so happy that no one with any bit of kindness to them could have possibly thought that. But Daisuke was supposed to go to another girl, or maybe some other guy.
What was wrong with her now, but was right with her brother? She just couldn't figure it out. It didn't make any sense whatsoever.
Was there someone who could explain it to her? Koushirou likely couldn't. He was as smart as they came, but despite having been dating Miyako for nearly a year, he still wasn't as good with people as other people she knew were. For that matter, she didn't think Miyako could explain it to her, and Miyako was pretty good with this kind of thing.
Maybe Sora? Sora had always been one of the most understanding people that she'd ever met. But this was something that they hadn't ever encountered before. For that matter, this was something that concerned Daisuke. Daisuke was special. In many ways.
The more she thought about it, the more she began to realize that there was someone else who she could ask, who would have an insight into Daisuke that no one else would. She reached over to the portable phone and dialed quickly, in the hopes that he would be at home and free for long enough to talk to her.
"Hello?" The familiar quiet voice answered, and she smiled. Ken had such a nice voice. It always made her feel comfortable, no matter the situation.
"Ken, it's me, Hikari." She tried to think of just how to phrase the question, then decided it would be better to start off slowly. "Are you busy?"
He didn't answer for a moment or two. "No, not really. I just finished studying for a test. Did you need something?"
Some of the knot of tension in her stomach eased to hear that he had free time. Being in the last year of college ate into a lot of their time. She must've gotten lucky. "A little advice, that's all." She didn't really want to talk about it at his apartment, nor here. But there were places that were neutral ground. "Want to meet me at Makoto's?" The coffee shop was one of the best ones in Odaiba, and had frequently seen meetings of the Chosen who needed to plan a battle, a rescue mission, or a vacation.
"No problem. I could use some anyway. If I don't, I'm going to fall asleep where I'm sitting." Ken told her with a faint laugh. Hikari frowned at once.
"If you're that tired, it can wait." She didn't want to drag him out if he needed that much sleep.
She could almost see him shake his head. "No, it's not really that bad. I think just the fresh air will wake me up. When did you want to meet there?"
Hikari glanced at her watch and then at what she was wearing. Even for a casual chat over coffee, she wanted to look better than this. "About an hour good for you?" She didn't question why she wanted to spruce herself up some. What she wore wasn't really that bad, after all. But sometimes the inner workings of the human mind are best not examined, even by humans themselves.
"I'll see you there." Ken bid her farewell and they both hung up. Hikari held the phone for a few moments, the faintest hints of a smile playing across her lips.
I better get ready. I don't want to be late. It had been a long time since she'd spent any real time with Ken by herself, and she'd missed just hanging out with him. There was something about him that was simply different from most of the guys she knew, and it wasn't necessarily because of his past.
It wasn't his brains, either. She knew other smart guys, and she didn't think about them the way that she did about him. Ken wandered across her thoughts whenever she wasn't expecting it, and sometimes even when she was. It wasn't his looks, which were incredible, of course. There were plenty of good looking guys in Odaiba, Tamachi, and Tokyo itself. She could've found five just as good looking without even leaving her apartment building.
Perhaps it had something to do with his kind heart. Even more than any of them, he simply was his special trait. She'd heard that he spent a lot of his free time at the Village of Beginnings, and other places in the Digital World, trying to help anywhere and in any way that he could. Maybe he'd let her help out sometime.
A quick check of the clock told her that she'd already spent five minutes just thinking about Ken, and time was swiftly clicking past. She hurried up and towards her room, thinking over what she wanted to wear. It couldn't be too dressy or too plain. Why didn't they teach this kind of thing? Why hadn't she asked Mimi for help in figuring out her wardrobe when the other girl had been in town last month?
Because you didn't think that you'd be seeing Ken today, the practical side of her replied. She paid no attention to that part of her. She needed to make some quick clothing decisions.
"Tailmon?" She nudged her partner a little, and the feline Digimon yawned and uncurled a little from her sleeping nook. "Tailmon, I need a little advice."
Tailmon blinked a few times, rubbing at her eyes with a paw. "What's going on?" As much as she pretended to be sleepy, Hikari knew that she had been wide awake from the moment she herself had entered the room. Even after all this time, Tailmon just couldn't sleep that deeply when someone else came in, even when it was her partner.
"I'm going to see Ken at Makoto's, and I need to figure out what to wear." That didn't sound quite as horrible as she'd feared it had. If Taichi had been there, he might have said a few teasing things about dates and how his little sister was growing up, and she would have had to smack him around. It was a little sister's right to do so, after all.
Tailmon straightened herself up and brushed her ears back some. She didn't, thankfully, ask why Hikari was meeting Ken there. The feline knew when to keep her mouth shut. Perhaps she could guess, since Hikari had hardly been quiet to her concerning her confusion over Daisuke's choice. "What were you going to try?"
Hikari looked into her closet, pursing her lips a little in thought. Most of her clothes were perfectly serviceable for going to the Digital World or school or just hanging out with her friends. She'd scarcely given that much thought to fashion since she'd graduated high school. Mimi had insisted that her wardrobe needed an overhaul. Until now, Hikari hadn't wanted to believe her.
She pulled out a skirt and blouse combination, holding them against herself and waited for Tailmon to give her an opinion. Her partner examined it for a moment, then shook her head. Hikari didn't wait for an explanation, only tossed it back into the closet and tried again. This repeated over and over, with the pile of rejected outfits growing higher and higher as the minutes passed.
"There's got to be something!" Hikari threw up her hands. "What's wrong with me?" She knew the answer even as she asked the question: she hadn't the fashion sense of the common slug.
"Why don't you try that pink blouse and the gray skirt?" Tailmon suggested after staring at the pile and at what remained in the closet for a few seconds. "The ones that Daisuke gave you on your last birthday."
Hikari frowned; she hadn't thought about that. It was a very nice outfit, one she hadn't worn more than a few times since Daisuke had given it to her. She suspected that Mimi and Sora had helped him out in picking it, but it didn't matter all that much. It fit, it was very nice looking, and she had thirty minutes to meet Ken, which meant it was going to have to do. "All right, good idea. Thanks." She might've asked why Tailmon hadn't suggested that sooner, but she didn't have time for an argument at the moment.
She showered quickly and washed her hair, glad that it was short enough to dry before she had to leave. All this trouble for someone when all she really wanted to do was ask why his best friend had decided that her brother was a better romantic partner than she was.
It's Ken. Even just sitting in a coffee shop means I should look my best. Again her practical side spoke up. It was only true, of course. There was something about Ken that demanded those around him look their best. She hadn't specifically noted Daisuke dressing any more nicely since he and Ken had begun to hang out, but he had calmed down some from what he'd been like when they'd first met. Perhaps that was all that could be expected.
"Did you want to come along?" she asked Tailmon once she re-entered her bedroom, brushing her hair carefully. "He's probably going to bring Wormmon, so you'd have someone to talk to."
Tailmon nodded as she hopped down from the bed and smoothed her fur a little. "All right. I need to get out a little anyway. We've been stuck in here for ages, you know."
Hikari laughed a little. "Maybe we can go to the Digital World later and do some flying? I know you like that." The way Tailmon's blue eyes lit up confirmed her guess, and Hikari grinned. She liked being able to make her partner happy.
Very soon, the two of them were out of the apartment and on their way to Makoto's. One short train ride later, they stood outside of the coffee shop. As far as Hikari could tell, Ken and Wormmon weren't there yet. That wasn't surprising; Makoto's was a little farther away when someone was coming from Tamachi. Waiting inside would probably be the best bet.
"They do let Digimon in here, don't they?" Tailmon wondered as Hikari reached for the door. There were still some places that hadn't yet accepted that Digimon were something more than worrisome beasts who happened to be able to ape human speech. Luckily, those were dwindling day by day.
"Yes. Makoto doesn't have a partner, but her son does, and she's cool with Digimon." That was the kind of attitude Hikari wanted everyone have one day. She knew, somewhere in the very back of her mind, that it wasn't really the most realistic dream to have, but she wasn't going to give it up. No dream was ever achieved by not trying for it.
Inside, the coffee shop was warm and friendly, about half full of customers, and completely full of every kind of delicious scent imaginable. Hikari breathed in deeply; this was why she liked to come here so much. In all of her years, she hadn't ever been to any other place that had an aroma like this to it.
"Hey, Hikari! Tailmon" Makoto, the owner and chief server, waved at her from behind the counter. "What can I get you two today?"
"Just the usual. We're expecting company, so we'll be over at one of the tables." Hikari waved to the smaller tables where a few other college students, and some high school students, were busy bent over laptops or books or both. Makoto nodded and turned away to get started on the drinks while Hikari and Tailmon went to get their seats.
Hikari settled into the chair, having picked a table that would give her a reasonable view of the door so she'd know when Ken arrived. She wished she'd brought her own laptop along, just to keep herself occupied until then. Her fingers clenched nervously around her napkin and she noticed time and time again that she was twisting it into a solid knot, no matter how many times she tried to stop herself.
How? How could this happen? What did I do? Was it something I did in the first place? She knew that this had to be silly, sillier than anything she'd ever done before, up to and including thinking that she somehow had to copy her brother to get anywhere, but the thoughts just wouldn't get out of her mind. If she tried to date someone else, or if someone else started to like her, would the same thing happen again? She tightened her grip on the napkin, feeling it shred a little in her grip. What was wrong with her? Why wasn't she good enough? Why had he wanted her brother and not her anymore? What had she done?
"Hikari?" The gentle voice interrupted her slightly scattered thoughts. She jerked back a little to see not only her hot drink in front of her and Tailmon looking at her with a slightly confused look, but Ken and Wormmon standing there, just as confused, and slightly concerned. "Are you all right?
She flushed deeply and ducked her hand, dropping the napkin to seize hold of the cup. "Yes. I'm all right. I was just thinking."
"It must have been very important." Ken said calmly as he dropped into the seat across from her, putting Wormmon on the seat in between the two of them. "Does it have anything to do with what you wanted to talk to me about?"
"No. Yes." Hikari winced and sipped at her coffee. She couldn't remember being this flustered before. At least no one here would be able to really hear her, other than Ken and their partners, or would care if they did hear her. She'd vaguely overheard a multitude of other conversations when she'd been in other places like this doing her homework or research, and she didn't recall a single one of them.
Ken made his own coffee order as Makoto approached him, waiting until it had come and been paid for before he said anything other than the usual pleasantries. Hikari was grateful for that; it gave her the time to gather her thoughts as best that she could.
"You know who Daisuke is dating now, right?" That would be a good way to start things. Ken nodded ever so slightly, a faint frown of concern between his elegant eyebrows. "But he had that crush on me for so long. And then…and now…now, he's with…my brother." Her voice dropped a little on the last two words. Such relationships weren't as anathema as they had been a few years ago, but they were still not something most people wanted to discuss in public, not even in a place like this. She didn't want to cause Daisuke or Taichi any trouble with a careless tongue.
Ken nodded slightly as he listened. "And?"
When he put it like that, Hikari winced yet again. Her fears were so small and petty compared to that single word. "I just…why? Why did he like me so much and then not? What did I do? Was it something I did?" All the questions she'd been asking herself wanted to come bubbling out at last. "I just don't understand!"
The dark-haired man said nothing for a few more minutes, only sat there and drank his coffee, his brow furrowed ever so slightly. "I don't think you did anything. I haven't ever asked Daisuke why he made his decision." His lips twitched a little. "You asked me because we're best friends, right?" When she nodded, he kept going. "No one understands Daisuke, Hikari. Not even Daisuke himself. We all just hold on and pray a lot. But I still don't think that you did anything that 'drove' him away. If I were a psychologist, I'd consider the fact that maybe he liked Taichi all along, but because of certain things, didn't feel he dared to express it. I don't know. Like I said, I haven't asked. But it's a possibility."
Hikari closed her eyes for a moment, thinking over what he'd said. It was only a chance, as he'd said, but it made some kind of sense. Most of all, it was an answer that she could feel easier hearing, whether or not she knew it was true. Being a kind of replacement still wasn't the easiest feeling in the world, though.
"Did you want him to like you?" Ken asked quietly, so quietly that if she'd chosen, she could have claimed that she hadn't heard him in the first place. She thought about the question as much as she had about what he'd just said. Did she want Daisuke to like her the way he so obviously liked Taichi now?
Several minutes and a nearly finished cup of coffee later, she shook her head. "I think…I just got used to him liking me. I didn't think it would be any other way." She supposed she'd even thought that one day he would finally ask her out and she would say yes. Whatever might have happened from there would've happened. She hadn't expected him to just blithely move on to someone else without so much as a farewell hamburger between them.
Before she could stop him, Ken had ordered her another drink. She tried not to flush at that; he was just being polite. She could use something else, after all. She didn't really want to leave, not this soon. "Thank you," she whispered as the drink was brought to her.
"My pleasure." Ken smiled, that special, warm smile that sent shivers all the way through her. He was so good-looking, so caring, so kind. She found herself glad that Miyako and Koushirou were dating. She didn't think she could stand it if the violet-haired woman had still had her schoolgirl crush on the young man across from her.
So, what are you going to do about it? You like him. That same side of her didn't appear to be shutting up any time soon. She would have smacked it if it were possible. It always said things that made sense, but she didn't want to hear them at the same time. For that matter, what was she going to do about it? Ken wasn't dating anyone, at least not that she knew of, and they'd always gotten along reasonably well.
"Hikari, Daisuke may or may not have had a real crush on you, but he'll always be your friend. And Taichi will always be your big brother. You know that, right?" His voice was a little tentative, uncertain as to what might be going through her mind. She glanced up towards him, a slightly more confidant smile on her lips.
"I know. Even if he really did like me like that, it doesn't matter anymore. He doesn't now, and I don't think it was my fault. I'm not sure if I ever really did. I just wanted to be sure." Talking to Ken had helped her clear that up, no matter how little they'd actually said to one another. He had that effect on her. "Thank you, Ken. Thanks a lot." She brushed her hair a little away from her eyes and paid more attention to her coffee in an attempt to find something else to focus on other than his so beautiful eyes. She would have thought they were trying to pierce her soul, and doing a very good job of it at that.
"That looks good on you. That outfit, I mean." Ken ducked his own head, and she looked up in time to see a deep flush on his cheeks. "I didn't think it would look that good when I helped him pick it."
Hikari blinked a few times. "You helped him get this? I thought Sora or Mimi…"
"I knew it would look great on you the moment I saw it." Ken reached out to pet Wormmon nervously, and the caterpillar nuzzled back at him. "When he wanted to know what he should get you, that was the first thing I thought of. I wished…I wished I could've given it to you, but I thought it would be too weird." She was glad he was just as interested in his coffee cup as she was in her own. Otherwise, she was very convinced he wouldn't have been able to say what he was saying.
With every word, her own cheeks grew hotter and hotter. Ken had given her a frame for one of her photographs on that birthday. It had been bought from a store, but he'd stained it himself in a very attractive pattern. I think that was the gift I liked best, and never knew why until now.
In an attempt to figure out what to do, she quickly finished her coffee, then looked at Tailmon. The sight of her partner sparked a memory, and she hoped that this would work out. "Tailmon and I were going to go flying in the Digital World. Do you two want to come along?"
Ken looked up with a brilliant smile. "We'd love to, wouldn't we, Wormmon?"
The caterpillar looked up, eyes bright and happy. "Of course, Ken!" Hikari wasn't surprised. Wormmon took any chance he could to do anything with Ken, even after all these years. Some things just couldn't be made up for enough.
"We can use the computer back at my place," Hikari suggested. "It's closer."
As they headed back there, Hikari realized that she wasn't nearly as spaced out as she had been. Coming to the conclusions she had must have helped her focus a lot more. There was also the fact she was also talking to Ken, and that generally tended to keep her focused on the here and now.
"I should…" Ken broke off as they started into the apartment building and laughed some, rubbing the back of his head. "I was going to call my parents and let them know I was going somewhere else."
Hikari tried not to giggle too much. She'd had the same reaction a time or two herself over the last few years. Since she still lived at home, her parents did like to know where she was going once in a great while, to be certain she was alive and not abducted somewhere. She didn't know why; it had only happened two times, after all. But Ken had moved out of his parents' apartment two years earlier. "It happens." She managed to get the words out without laughing.
"Mama still likes to check up on me." Ken flushed some and looked away. "I know why, but…" He didn't finish it, but didn't have to. Everyone needed their privacy once in a while.
I don't think I'm going to tell them this time, though. She wanted to at least look somewhat mature to Ken, and after all, it was just the Digital World. There weren't too many things that could happen there that Angewomon and Stingmon wouldn't be able to handle if they cropped up.
A quick download later, the four of them stood in a broad field of grass and flowers, with a herd of Unimon and Shima Unimon grazing a short distance away. The Digimon barely looked up as the newcomers arrived. The Chosen and their partners arriving from various portals was a common enough sight in this world, after all.
Hikari pulled out her D-3 and looked at her partner. "Ready?" She could hardly wait to get into the air. Flying in Angewomon's arms or on Nefertimon's back was one of the truly most intense pleasures of her life.
The question and answer were echoed by Ken and Stingmon a moment later, and a double splash of light bore witness to the evolution. Angewomon and Stingmon stood before their partners, gleaming in the afternoon sunshine.
"Let's go!" Angewomon neatly scooped Hikari into her arms, while Stingmon did the same with Ken. Both of the Digimon took off easily into the skies, avoiding a passing flight of AirDramon, and headed for the clear air above the clouds.
Hikari held on carefully, glad that she'd never gotten to a size or weight that made this impossible. She liked to fly on Nefertimon, but there was something so special about being held in Angewomon's arms. There would always be that little girl buried in her heart who had seen the beautiful Digimon protecting her for the first time, and being awed at the fact this angel was her partner.
"This is great, isn't it?" Ken called over to her, looking as comfortable in Stingmon's arms as she was where she was. She smiled back at him, her heart soaring for more than one reason.
"I can't think of anyone I'd rather be here with!" She looked right at him, meeting his warm violet eyes, and was not surprised to see him smiling back at her.
"Neither can I." Ken replied. Hikari caught her breath slightly as Stingmon flew a little closer, and Ken caught up her hand in his. It wasn't as impressive a movement as it could have been a few years earlier, but it meant more than enough to her as they kept on flying hand in hand. It was all the answer she would ever need.