Warnings: Shonen-ai, fluffiness. Yep, that's pretty much it. (Laughs at the horny bastards who click the back button after reading that.)
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. (Cries after reading that.)
Daisuke was over my house as usual. He always insisted that we go to my house so we wouldn't have to put up with Jun blasting Yamato's music and singing along with it. Except it was more like screaming and it was definitely off-key. Naturally, I would agree (knowing that if I didn't, he'd argue with me until I gave in anyway), but Daisuke going over my house was always an awkward business. First, we'd have to deal with my mother's ritual worshipping of Daisuke because he was my first real friend, and then I'd have to deal with the fact that we would always be in my bedroom. Alone. With the door closed.
So that day had passed like any other day. Daisuke had walked in through the door, and then my mother, decked in bright pink oven mitts and an apron, had practically harassed him with cookies. She would not let him leave the kitchen until he ate all of the cookies that she had baked specially for him. Daisuke was a big eater, though, so he finished them in a matter of minutes and escaped her motherly wrath.
And he saved me some cookies, too.
I declined, though; I never seemed to have an appetite when Daisuke was around. This puzzled me for awhile, until one day it kind of just came around and hit me in the back of my head while I was helping him with homework. That was just about the most awkward moment of my life, coming up with some pathetic excuse that I don't even remember so I could push him out the door. I had to deal with my newly-realized crush for him in peace and solitude. Well, a crush on him and other things which probably speak for themselves and that I don't need to get into.
It took a couple weeks before I could finally bring myself to look Daisuke in the eye. He was thankful for that, because he had been really worried. I told him it was pubescent mood swings. And he actually believed me. But that's Daisuke. Thankfully.
Anyway, so there was Daisuke, lying on his back on my top bunk, his legs dangling over the side. He was staring at the ceiling, fruitlessly checking his D-Terminal for email. I was sitting on my computer chair, my arms crossed, one leg balancing on the opposite knee, and my chin practically tucked into my chest. My eyes flickered up to him.
"That's the fifth time you've checked that thing in two minutes."
He practically shoved the D-Terminal to his side. "Hikari-chan promised that she'd email me about planning a party for the rest of the Chosen Children, and that was three days ago. She's probably off making-out with Takeru somewhere," he scoffed. He then sighed, taking off Taichi-san's goggles and seeming to study the intricate details of them. "I don't know why I even bother with her anymore."
I had been asking the same question in my mind for the past year. Usually, Daisuke seemed to be over Hikari-san, but every now and then, for a few days, he'd complain about how he couldn't capture her heart and how it was unfair that Takeru-san was the lucky one. Hikari-san and Takeru-san weren't officially dating or anything, but it seemed clear to everyone that they should be. I never understood why he would spontaneously bring up the subject.
"I think you need to find a new girl," I suggested, resisting the urge to add, "or guy."
"Yeah, I know," he replied, sounding as though I hadn't been the first one to visit this subject. "But there isn't another girl, that's the thing."
"Who says you need to have a girl to obsess over 24/7?" I deliberately said "girl" and not "someone" as my own little game with myself.
"'Cause life is boring without one!" he exclaimed. He seemed to be saying it humorously, though.
"Not necessarily," I opposed. "Look at me."
"Yeah, well, you're a lot more different than me. And there isn't a girl in Tokyo that's good enough for you anyway."
My neck was starting to hurt. I realized it was because I was tucking it into my chest deeper than before to hide my blush, even though Daisuke had been talking to the ceiling the entire conversation.
"You're all level-headed and stuff while I'm just downright crazy," he continued. I wasn't looking at him, but that was a cue for a classic Daisuke grin. "You get the girls but turn them all down, and I get no girls but would do anything to have a chance with one."
"Any girl?" I flashed him a cunning smile, even though he was still staring at the ceiling. The goggles were back on his head.
"Okay, okay, not any girl. But you know what I mean."
Daisuke. Always one to exaggerate.
He decided to continue pointing out our differences. "And you take things really seriously, but I look at everything like it's a game. Except when there are creepy vampires trying to take over the world. You're kickass at everything, and I suck at everything. Well, except at soccer and beating those creepy vampires."
I felt a smile uncontrollably slide onto my lips. "You still haven't managed to steal the ball from me." Now that was going to get him going.
"Hey!" he protested, finally sitting up and giving me a pouty (yet adorable) look. "I almost had it the other day! Admit it! I'm getting better!"
I allowed myself to take advantage of the moment and show off my rare laugh, which made Daisuke smirk. "See! I'm right, aren't I?"
"You are getting better, Daisuke, I was just kidding around." He was so protective of his pride, but in a cute way.
"Damn right I'm getting better." That pride was shining through his expression. "But wow, we really are different, aren't we?"
"Well, it's obviously a good thing," I commented, "Our friendship turned out well."
It was the fact that he was so different from me that drew me to him. His constant happiness, energy, and honesty were like a magnet to my past of sadness, apathy, and lies. He gave me hope, and I never felt downtrodden when I was around him. I couldn't understand how anyone could.
"Mhmm!" he agreed, nodding. "Okay, I say it's your turn to think of our differences."
I thought for a moment, stretching my neck and looking upwards as I pondered. I finally settled on, "The way we talk. You say everything in an optimistic way, and I still seem to say everything pessimistically."
He raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"Well," I began, searching for the words to describe what I was talking about, "if we're both trying to convey the same message, we'll say it in different words. You'll say it positively and I'll say it negatively. For example, you would probably say, 'Anything is possible!' while I would say, 'Nothing is impossible.' They both mean the same thing, but you would use positive words such as 'anything' and 'possible,' while I would choose the negative words such as 'nothing' and 'impossible.' Do you understand what I mean?"
He furrowed his eyebrows and slowly asked, "So...basically you're saying that you're still depressed and I'm not?"
"No!" I was definitely not depressed anymore; that I was sure of. "I think it doesn't necessarily point to our presents, but rather to our pasts. My past is dark, so I'm a naturally pessimistic person. I can't change my past, so I can't change that. And your past is just the opposite."
I don't think Daisuke had realized that this conversation was capable of going in the direction that I had taken it. That look was written all over his face. "Man, Ken, that was deep."
My chin was buried in my chest again, my hair like a curtain around my face. "I think I'm a naturally deep person, too."
"So what does that make me? Shallow? I'm not shallow!" he objected, although again, he said it almost jokingly.
I laughed once more. "It would explain the Hikari-san situation."
He raised an eyebrow again, looking more interested in what I had to say than anything else. "How so?"
"Well, describe why you like Hikari-san so much."
He looked surprised. I didn't think that anyone had ever asked him that question before. "Well, she's really nice and really pretty and...um...smart and um...caring...and..." He trailed off.
I smiled, knowing that I had the upper hand in this conversation. "I noticed that you never actually talk to Hikari-san much. You've spent plenty of time looking at her and daydreaming about her, but talking to her? Not often. Sure, she is all of those things, there's no doubt about that. But anyone can see that, Daisuke. And that's what I mean."
He had been fiddling with his gloves as he listened to me, but when I finished, he looked up and nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
I simply returned the nod in understanding. At first, it had been difficult to discuss Hikari-san with him because I had this feeling of jealousy in my gut the whole time. But it had been awhile since I had realized my feelings for him, and I had accepted the fact that he was never going to return those feelings. I simply enjoyed how happy I was when I was around him.
"So how would someone describe the person that they really liked?" he asked me curiously. "You seem to be such the expert on it."
Great, I groaned inwardly, now he's going to pry.
"I...I don't..." I swiftly gathered my composure. "I thought we established the fact that I didn't like any girls." Oh wow, that did not come out the way I had intended it.
Daisuke, naturally, didn't notice the suspicion he could incite from it. "Then how do I know that what you were saying was true?"
"You even acknowledged that I was right," I pointed out.
He was obviously trying to lead me in another direction. "Alright then, Ken, then I need an example so I know when I really like someone. You're trying to help me, aren't you?"
Now he was trying to guilt-trip me. "Daisuke, it's called common sense. I'm guessing you don't have any." I sounded a bit colder than I had intended.
Daisuke rolled his eyes, deciding to give up on being subtle (which was impossible for him anyway) and simply say what he was thinking. "Ken, you must have a crush on someone. Oh, for crying out loud, you're blushing, just give it up."
Ugh. I touched my cheek and found that it was warm. Now what am I going to do?
Daisuke's lips were curved into a smirk. "Go ahead, Ken. You don't have to tell me who it is. Just tell me why you like her."
Okay...that was easy enough. Right? I mean...I guessed that it was easier to tell him how I felt about him without him knowing that it was him that I was talking about. ...Yeah, something like that. My thoughts were become tangled into incomprehensible mush. It can be like a rehearsal of the real thing, I said to myself. Except the real thing was never going to happen.
So I took a deep breath, looked him right in the eye, and said, "I love how every moment I'm around them, I'm happy. There isn't a dull moment with them, and I can let myself laugh without anything holding me back. They always go to sleep satisfied with their daily accomplishments and wake up eager to embrace a new day. They take life in stride and can point out the good outcomes of even the worst situations. They don't judge me and know me as Ichijouji Ken, not as the past Digimon Kaiser nor as the former boy genius who mysteriously disappeared for several months. They are strong and never try to show any sign of weakness, and if they do, they try as hard as they can to fix it. Because of them, I find strength in myself. And I never cease to be in awe of how they glow – their hair, their eyes, their teeth, their skin, their smile. And I..."
I stopped. He was looking at me with so many mixed emotions: it looked as though he was dying to know who I was talking about, but he also understood how incredibly serious I was, and he respected that.
I turned my eyes away from him, shadowing them, trying to conceal any kind of weakness in them that would lead him to think that I was talking about him.
"Ken..." he finally said, half-whispering. I glanced at him. His eyes had changed. They were...different. Just different. I couldn't pinpoint what emotion they were displaying. "I just...why did you keep saying 'they' and 'their' and 'them?'"
It was my futile attempt to stay true to myself and not pretend that I was describing a girl, but also my instinct to not let him discover my secret. "I...don't know. I just...I didn't...I didn't even realize it..."
He rested his head in his palms, holding them steady by placing his elbows on his knees, and looked at me pensively. "You...can tell me anything...you know..."
Well, my cover's completely blown. There was no doubt that he was finally catching on. My lack of an appetite was replaced by a wave of nausea. "Daisuke, I..."
He jumped down from my bunk bed and stood in front of me, his head blocking out the light from the setting sun that was streaming through the sliding glass door. It made him glow even more, the light almost giving him a reddish-gold halo that matched perfectly with his cinnamon-brown hair. I was losing my breath not only from the sight, but also from the sickening feeling that I was only moments away from ruining the perfect friendship I had with Daisuke.
He simply looked at me and said, "Finish describing him."
Him. Oh, god, why did this happen to me?
Him. I was too obvious. Why did I give in so easily like that, agreeing to say all of those things?
Him. But he had said it with such a...comforting tone, as though he was telling me that it was okay. It was okay for me to feel the way I was feeling because he would accept me no matter what.
Him. That's why I loved him.
I gave a small smile and, trying to so hard not to cry, I continued, "And I am always so thankful that he's my friend, that he's there for me no matter what happens, that he's always been there for me even when I..."
That did it. Reflecting on how he had offered his friendship to me even though I had tried to kill him and his friends, enslaved and tortured Digimon, tried to destroy the Digital World... That just did it for me. I could feel the tears, cold against my warm cheeks, and I turned away from him, almost ashamed. I didn't want to put him into this awkward situation, and I was prepared to hear the "Well, I only like you as a friend" speech. Even though I hadn't directly said it, he had to know that I was talking about him.
Oh, come on, he's not that thick.
If I had been talking about any other person, boy or girl, he probably would've slapped me and told me to buck up and just go tell them. But he knew he had to deal with this gingerly.
So gingerly, he turned my face back to him.
I opened my eyes. He still had that same, understanding look on his face.
And then he hugged me.
I sat there frozen as I processed the fact that I was in his strong embrace, and brought myself to wrap my shaking arms around him. I stopped crying, and he gave me a last, encouraging squeeze as he stood back up, his gaze still not leaving me.
Words rose to my mouth. "I understand if you think it's going to be too awkward to be friends anymore."
And that's when I felt a slap across my face.
"Ken! You want to talk about common sense!? We're best friends, and nothing is going to change that. Nothing."
I looked up at him, my eyes almost completely wide, my hand lightly touching the stinging sensation on my cheek. "Daisuke, I..."
"You don't have to say anything." And then, for the first time, I saw Daisuke look down at his shoes...shyly. "If I'm going to be honest...well, and I definitely should be...the only reason I kept bringing up Hikari every once in awhile was so no one would suspect that I..." He looked up at me, and I realized that he was blushing, "...that I actually liked a guy."
My heart stopped, and my eyes were completely wide. He couldn't...no...
And then he smiled, but it was still shy. "And since you didn't have to directly say anything to get me to understand, then I guess I don't have to say directly anything either." Finally, he let a familiar grin leak onto his face. "You're the intelligent one here, anyway."
Even though that was the truth, my brain was definitely having trouble processing this.
His grin evolved into another smirk. "And the only reason I brought up Hikari this time was so I could figure out who you liked. I couldn't stand wondering. And looks like it was a good thing I did."
My brain finally gave me back the ability to speak. Quietly, I asked, "Then how would...how would you describe me?"
And he simply replied, "Here's another difference between you and me: You like to be flowery. I like to be blunt. So I'm going to be blunt." He looked me right in the eye. "You...are...amazing."
And that was all I needed to hear.
With that, he leaned down, gave me a short, light kiss on the cheek where he had slapped me and brushed past me happily. My hand rose to my burning face again, only this time it was to touch the light, airy feeling on my skin.
"Now come on! I think your mom is making more cookies! You better get over here before I have to drag you!"
I swerved my computer chair around to face Daisuke standing in the open doorway, whose whole body was surrounded by another halo, courtesy of the hallway light. Every time I looked at him, he was bright was joy, except this time, he was bright with complete and unadulterated bliss. So how could I not follow that kind of aura into the kitchen?
My friendship with Daisuke was everything I wanted it to be. I didn't need anything else. The fact that we were total opposites was what made it so complete. That was all I needed.
The benefits that came with a relationship was just icing on the cake, of course...
Or in this case, extra sugar in my mother's cookies.