Disclaimer: Toei owns Digimon, not me.

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List ten things that you are grateful for in your life. Please avoid general statements such as 'my family,' 'food,' or 'my fulfilling job.'

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Takato frowned and scratched his head absently.

'These assignments confuse me whenever I see them,' the Tamer mentally bemoaned. 'Sometimes I get the feeling that Miss Asaji hands these out just to see what we'll put down. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that she's looking for these answers herself, and that she's trying to use us to find them…'

Blinking at the unexpected conclusion which he had arrived at, Takato shook his head ruefully before he began to chuckle. "Come on, Takato; that's a bit of a leap," he said to himself, relishing his ability to do so in his otherwise silent bedroom. "I mean, I doubt she's in the middle of a midlife crisis, so…"

He then paused.

"…on the other hand… that would explain a lot."

Overcome with a sudden tide of vague sorrow, Takato pushed away from his desk roughly. Leaning back in his chair, clasping his hands behind his head, the Tamer closed his eyes and sank deeply into his thoughts.

"Nothing stays the same, does it?"

He received no answer.

"Of course not. Everything's always changing." Unaware of the fact that he was voicing these thoughts aloud in a soft voice, Takato continued wearily, "It's… tough to keep up, sometimes. And then you start thinking about the way things used to be… and…"

'…would I want to go back to some previous time in my life and live it all over again? Even if it meant leaving behind what I'm familiar with now?'

The question, for some reason, didn't sit very well with the Tamer.

Undisturbed by his Tamer's musings, Guilmon slept on soundly. His bed of sheets and dirty clothes only served to strengthen the depth of his slumber; Guilmon could sleep on the concrete sidewalk, if he cared to.

His attention attracted by the Digimon's quiet, rumbling snores, Takato took a long, contented look at his partner. In the gentle light of the late afternoon, Guilmon's reddish skin took on a golden hue; not quite the color of his eyes, though. This was more of a soft bronzy tone, and, for a moment, Takato's imagination played with the past.

How much would have been changed if he'd originally drawn Guilmon with such a color, instead of with that stock red pencil? Would anything be different? What about if he'd been blue, or silver? Black?

'…nah. Somehow, I doubt a little detail like that could have any real significance to it.'

"…on the other hand… why wouldn't it?"

After a long moment of thought, Takato smiled and clearly wrote down his first response to Miss Asaji's prompt.

"…my best friend… Guilmon…" the Tamer said aloud as his pencil finished drawing out the characters on his paper.

As though in response to his name being spoken, the Rookie shifted in his sleep. He snorted once—sending a sock flying across the floor—before deep sleep reclaimed him.

Takato chuckled to himself once more.

And then, all at once, he was hit with the urge to go for a walk.

Casting a glance at his unfinished assignment sitting on his desk, the Tamer shrugged. "I'll think it over outside. A change of pace would do me a lot of good."

Pulling on his dark windbreaker—though winter's spell had finally broken, spring was still somewhat brisk at the moment—the teenaged Tamer quietly stole down the stairs of his house. As he snuck through the back door near the kitchen, the gentle clatter of pots and pans momentarily drew his consideration to his parents' work.

And, with another smile, Takato mentally filed away something else to add to his list: the smell of fresh bread baking in the kitchen.

It was one of those days that you couldn't help but enjoy by being outside. The fresh breeze was invigorating, and the hint of cherry blossoms was caught upon its invisible wings. Takato took a deep, appreciative breath as he walked. A passive energy seemed to run in his veins, spawned by the season's new vitality.

"Hm. I'm grateful for… the hope that comes with a new season,' he murmured. Then, grinning widely, he added to himself, "Yeah. Yeah. Change isn't that bad. If nothing ever changed, I'd stop appreciating everything around me."

Feeling absurdly light—as though he could spread his arms, catch the breeze, and drift away into the air—Takato strolled down the streets. The vague idea of visiting the park eventually inserted itself into his mind, and he turned that way with little delay.

He knew the route so well that he could probably walk it in his sleep. As it was, he was very nearly slumbering—though not in body. Takato's spirit seemed to drift contentedly alongside his corporeal form, taking in the sights with a pleased, half-conscious expression.

It took no time at all for Takato to reach the verdant grove in the midst of the steel city. And when he did, he was pleasantly surprised to find that he was not alone, despite even the many families and children enjoying the waning day.

Guilmon's hideout had long been a meeting place for the Tamers; that was a given. Still, Takato hadn't expected the entire group to be there, chatting amiably and grinning at each other's jokes and stories.

And Takato's list grew that much larger, just from watching them.

The warm gleam of Jeri's amber eyes; it's like ambrosia for me. The thoughtful cheer in Henry's smile; it tells me that there's always a silver lining to look for, no matter what the circumstances. Kazu's cocky, well-meaning brashness; with him, I can never forget that there's always something more to a person than what you see on the surface. Kenta's tentative consideration and steadfast loyalty; it's great to know that your friends will look out for you, and that's Kenta's defining trait. Ryo's assured, supportive swagger; no matter what, nothing gets him down, and he makes sure you feel pretty good about things, too. The coppery highlights in Rika's hair that glint in the dying light of the sun; when I first saw her—really saw her like that—I realized that nothing material can ever compare to the people around me.

'That's nine,' Takato thought absently as he smoothly slid into the merry making. And yet, as he felt himself being swept away by all the conversations surrounding him, he added, 'But you know what, Miss Asaji? I've got one more for my list. I think you'll like this one.'

'I'm grateful for everything that has brought me and my friends so close together; even if it hasn't all been sunshine and daisies… even if there's been pain, sadness, and some fear along the way…'

The shining faces of his friends danced about him, and Takato, with a smile, let himself drift away in their company.

'…I still can't complain about the end result.'

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A/N: Like this one-shot's title, this is a little change of pace for me: a sort of experiment, if you will. Seeing as my monster chapters for DR take so long to put together, and as I can come up with these little things in a few hours, I figured I should have something new every once in a while.

Please read and review!