Friday, May 23, 2008

Edit: Saturday, May 15, 2010

Disclaimer: Don't own Digimon. I didn't five years ago and unfortunately, I still don't. Life sucks, sometimes, you know?

All-American Girl

By ebacusta

Chapter 1:

The Ice Queen

Three knocks alerted the brunette to presence of someone outside her door. "Kari! Wake up. You'll be late for your first day," Hikari's mom, Ritsuko, called through the wood. Both actions aimed at waking the teenager were unnecessary. Hikari was already up. She had been for over an hour, sitting at her desk, typing away at her laptop. She was talking to someone.

SurferBabeXOXO: Are you nervous?

Kari laughed and quickly tapped out a response to the best friend she'd left behind two weeks earlier.

ShoeBunny91: Are you blonde?

Less than a month ago, Hikari's parents revealed to her that they were moving back to Japan after living in California for nine years. Within two weeks, they'd sold their house and most of the furniture. Five days later, Hikari was spending her last night in the U.S. enjoying an awesome surprise Farewell party at her best friend, Angela's, house. She turned her head and stared at the picture framed on her desk. It was taken at that party right after they'd cut the cake. Hikari stood in the middle. Her hair, long and wavy, draped over her shoulders. Her first day in Japan, she'd cut eight inches off, leaving her hair chin length. To her left stood Miranda. Her black hair, shoulder length, was straight and sharply contrasted with her blue eyes. Miranda enjoyed playing with her hair and makeup. Taking advantage of the contrast between her hair and eyes, she tried all kinds of styles in all kinds of colors. To her right stood Angela. Her blonde hair was long. Her bright green eyes glinted with happiness. Together, the three of them made up the inseparable team of Triple Threat, known and feared throughout their high school. When she'd left, Angela had been talking about cutting her hair. It got in the way of her surfing. Hikari and Miranda talked her out of it. Hikari smiled and inclined her head back to the screen as a message popped up.

SurferBabeXOXO: You'll do fine. The people at your new school will love you.

ShoeBunny91: I hope so.

"KARI! COME ON SO YOU'LL HAVE TIME TO EAT!" Ritsuko screamed up the stairs.

ShoeBunny91: I gotta go. Mom's calling.

SurferBabeXOXO: Yeah. You don't want to be late to your first day of school. I'll talk to you later.

Hikari bid her farewell and signed off. "Coming!" she called. She grabbed her uniform and dashed into her bathroom. A quick shower later, she zipped up the green plaid skirt and studied herself in the full length mirror. Long, navy blue socks that stopped at her knee. Bare leg, then thighs hidden beneath her green plaid skirt. A white blouse tucked in to the waistband of her skirt with a black bowtie thread around her neck beneath the collar of her shirt. A green long-sleeved jacket completed the whole outfit. Hikari smiled and brushed her hair before clipping her bangs back out of her eyes. Because this was a special occasion, she dug into the drawer by the sink and carefully drew a thin black line on the edge of her eyelid and raked a mascara brush through her long eyelashes. She gave her face another once over. Satisfied, she screwed the mascara container shut, put it away, and left her room for the kitchen. Her mother was waiting.

"What took you so long? Eat. Eat! If you don't hurry, you'll be late."

"Actually, Mom," Hikari said as she rushed passed the woman standing by the counter, "I'm not hungry. Thanks, anyway. I'll see you this afternoon."

"Yagami Hikari, you stop and come in here and eat right now! I know how you get—never wanting to eat when you're nervous. Last time I let you get away with that, you fainted. I won't have any of that this time." She picked up a plate from the stove and laid it on the island in front of a chair. "Now." Sheepishly, Hikari smiled and shuffled back into the room. She seated herself and reluctantly picked up her knife and fork.

It was true. Nervous on the first day of her sophomore year, Hikari left the house without eating. She passed out halfway through first period and had to be carried to the nurse's office. Hikari had a hard time eating when she was nervous. And Hikari was always nervous for the first day of school, but this time more so than usual. She had not felt the feeling in the pit of her stomach which could only be likened to sheer panic, since she'd started the third grade nine years ago. It caused knots and twangs of pain. This was her first year back in Japan since she'd completed her second grade year.

Hikari began to eat. She had no intention of repeating the fainting incident from last year. She'd been hoping this year would be her chance to redeem herself, but now, she would forever be known as "The Fainting Girl" at St. Claire's Preparatory School. She sighed.

"Hikari, things aren't going to change much here. You'll have the same rules and guidelines. We'll expect the same things from you. You'll readjust to life in Japan in no time. Meanwhile, it might be best if you kept the same routine."

Hikari pondered her mother's words carefully. It took a moment for it to click. "Is this your way of telling me to get a job?"

Her mother hesitated a moment and then caved. "It teaches you the importance of money management. Besides, you value things more when you buy it with your own money."

Hikari chuckled and shook her head. "Fine, I'll look for a job."

Her mom smiled warmly. "That's all I could ask for."

"Have you heard from Tai recently?"

"I talked to him last night. He said he'll be by soon." At 20, Tai was already re-acclimated to life in Japan. He'd left America over a year ago to come to school in Japan. It had been difficult for Hikari to give up her partner-in-crime, but with Angela's help, she'd gotten used to it. How was she going to get through a whole school year without Angela? Angela was always there for her. They'd been best friends since the blonde had set her lunch tray down at Hikari's table. They had braved middle school and the first half of high school together. Hikari had counted on walking across the stage to receive her diploma with Angela beaming from her seat, hers already in hand.

Hikari shoved the last bite of eggs she could muster into her mouth and pushed her plate back, standing at the same time. She turned to go back to her room.

"Where are you going?" her mother asked curiously.

"Put my shoes on."

"Hikari." The girl turned to face her mother who quickly indicated the front door. Kari cocked an eyebrow. Her mother arched her right eyebrow in response.

A pause. "Oooh, right." The teen turned on her heel, grabbed her bag and headed to the door.

"I thought you said things wouldn't be different," Hikari called from the front room, where she was sliding on a pair of black three-inch heels.

"Shoe placement doesn't count!" her mother returned.

Hikari chuckled, rising to her feet. "I'm off! See you later, mom!"

"Goodbye, dear! Have a wonderful first day!" came the cheery response.

Takeru Takaishi, known among his peers as TK, got about as much enjoyment out of school as the next person. It was time consuming and, more often than not, boring. His passions, English, Japanese (particularly compositions), and basketball, seemed lost—practically non-existent—in the sea of "must-do's" and "completed-by's." That said he was not a bad student. He simply felt there were other, better things he could do with his time. Things like writing or practicing his three-point shot. Regardless, when his alarm clock rang, he dutifully dragged himself from bed and dressed for school.

He shuffled out into the kitchen, where he shared a few words with his mother before she rushed out to work. He sat alone munching on a piece of toast. He chewed slowly, hoping that the day would wait for him to finish breakfast. But as he already knew, time waited for no one. With as much enthusiasm as he could muster, he put his plate in the sink and dragged himself from the apartment.

"Hey man!"

Takeru turned to see his best friend, Ryuji, his fellow guard on the basketball team, standing behind him, hand raised in preparation for their usual greeting. "Hey," Takeru replied, grinning slightly as he raised his hand and clasped Ryuji's. They pulled toward each other and bumped shoulders. Satisfied, they pulled away.

"I gotta say that the end-of-summer party Miyuki threw was the bomb."

Takeru nodded. Miyuki was his girlfriend of five months. "She'll be glad to hear that. She worked really hard to out do Yumi's party." As soon as the words were out of his mouth, dread began to seep into the pit of his stomach. "But don't tell her I told you that," he added, quickly. "Miyu wanted it to seem effortless."

Ryuji shrugged. "A party's a party, man. But I won't tell."

"Thanks," Takeru said, breathing a sigh of relief. Fighting with Miyuki was like repeatedly stabbing himself with a knife, painful and unwanted.

The two friends strolled down the hall to their classroom, 2-A. Upon arriving, they were greeted by Akari, another member of the basketball team. His black hair was spiked into a faux hawk. It was against school regulations, but of course, Akari didn't care; he'd never had much of an affinity for rules, never had and never would. Daisuke Motimiya, star player of the soccer team, bounded up behind him, his hair out of control and big enough to hide a beehive as usual. "Have you heard the rumors?" Daisuke demanded.

"What rumors?" Takeru asked, frowning. He hoped it wasn't something that would cause problems with Miyuki. He slowly pushed his way into the room and headed towards his desk, Daisuki, Akari, and Ryuji following him.

"There's a new girl coming," Akari explained, shrugging.

"From America," Daisuke added, leaning over Akari's shoulder. He continued with a grin, "Toshi said he saw her when she was coming in this morning. I hope she's cute," Daisuke grinned.

"Toshi didn't say?" Takeru asked, curiously.

"Nah, he only saw her from a distance," Daisuke responded.

"What class is she transferring to?" he asked. Daisuke shrugged. Takeru shook his head. He couldn't help but feel sorry for the girl. He and his classmates had mostly been together since childhood. They were already set in their ways and comfortable with their groups. A quick glance around the room filled with the bubble of excited speech confirmed his worry that the girl might have a hard time finding her niche. They were all busy catching up on what summer vacation had brought to each of them—whether it had been a new boyfriend, a tan, or shiny, new locks of hair.

The door at the front of the classroom slid open and Miss Kinoki, their homeroom teacher, walked in. "Take your seats, please." The clusters of friends quickly dispersed, but Takeru could tell the room was still abuzz with news of summer and the rumor.

After the whole class was seated, Miss Kinoki launched into announcements. A customary welcome back speech. A reminder that swim team tryouts were on September 3rd and basketball tryouts were September 3rd and 4th. With a sly smile, she mentioned that auditions for the all-school play in December would be coming up soon (these were not in the official announcements, but as the drama teacher, she felt compelled to mention it anyway). And then finally, the news the class seemed to be holding its breath to hear.

"As I'm sure you're aware, we have a new student joining us today. She hails from America and is simply delightful. Why don't you come in and introduce yourself?"

All eyes turned to the door as it slid open. Mouths dropped and lips pursed as she walked to the center of the room. Takeru glanced around the room and noticed he was one of two boys not drooling. The girl was of average height, slim with slender legs, and short brown hair. Her red eyes were shining with what everyone perceived to be happiness based on the big (gorgeous) smile on her face.

"Good morning," she said in flawless Japanese. "I'm Yagami Hikari. Though I am transferring from the United States, I was born here and lived in Odaiba for eight years before moving to Los Angeles, California. I just moved back to Japan with my family two weeks ago, so I'm still trying to reacclimatize to life here. If I make a mistake or offend you in anyway, please let me know. It's nice to meet you all of you. Thank you very much." She bowed slightly and glanced at the teacher.

"Are there any questions for Miss Yagami?" Miss Kinoki asked, looking around the room. Everywhere, hands shot into the air.

The teacher nodded to a girl with long, lightly curled brown hair that lay softly on her shoulders and bounced whenever she moved. The girl was smiling warmly. "Miyuki," the teacher said, indicating the girl with a nod of her head.

"What do you like to do?"

"I like shopping, cooking, and hanging out with friends." Satisfied with the answer, Miyuki crossed her arms and leaned back, smiling even wider.


The outgoing male, who had been impatiently waving his hand back and forwarded, eagerly launched into his burning question, "Are you single or seeing someone?"

Hikari was caught off guard. She blinked at him a moment and then threw her head back and laughed. Half the class silently sighed. She had a good sense of humor. "Single," she replied, smiling. Twice as many hands rose to ask the next question but Miss Kinoki saved her new student from the onslaught by jumping up and motioning for the students to lower their hands.

"We'll have plenty of time to get to know Hikari better during our breaks. Let's see…" she paused and looked around the room. "Why don't you sit…"

"There's an empty chair by me, Miss Kinoki," Aoichi exclaimed, pointing.

"There's an open seat beside me as well," Daisuke piped up.

"Hmm… Why don't you take the available seat by Takeru? Takeru, would you raise your hand, please?" Takeru did as he was told, regarding the girl with mild interest. Carefully, she picked her way over to the seat and sat down slowly, as if she was unsure of herself. She took a deep breath and sighed softly. She looked a little pale. Catching sight of her shaking hand, Takeru looked away, inexplicably embarrassed as if he'd been privy to some private internal battle, and instead focused on Daisuke, who was waving and grinning at her, trying to get her attention.

"Motimiya Daisuke, face the front and pay attention," Miss Kinoki commanded sharply without turning from the blackboard. Daisuke jumped and quickly turned around, his face flushing. The class tittered with laughter. Hikari smiled briefly and sighed again. Takeru couldn't help but sneak another glance.

'She must be nervous,' he concluded and looked back down at his textbook.

At break, Hikari only seemed a little better. While some color had returned to her face, most had not, and what little was there drained when half the class stampeded towards her.

"So you're from California?" Akari asked. Hikari nodded, suppressing the urge to gulp. "What was that like?"

"It was, um… really sunny and, uh… warm," she said.

"Were the people there nice?" Rita, a dark haired girl with glasses, asked.

"Not more so than anywhere else. There were nice people and there were rude people."

"Did you have a boyfriend in California?" another voice piped.

Hikari looked startled. "What?"

Meanwhile, Miyuki sidled coyly up to Takeru and leaned on his shoulder. "Hey there, you," she said softly, looking up at him through long, thick eyelashes. Takeru felt his heart pump a little faster. His girlfriend was gorgeous. She was often told she could be a model and Takeru believed it with every fiber in his being.

"Hey," he replied in like manner. "Ryuji loved your party the other night."

She smiled, brightly. She'd been getting lot of compliments on her party. "Really?" she asked, glancing over at Yumi, who happened to be looking back at her. Yumi was standing with Ayame and Keiko, her two best friends, having what appeared to be a very serious conversation. Miyuki smiled triumphantly at the taller, raven-haired Yumi. The girl turned away sharply with a "hmph."

"Yeah. He said it was the 'bomb.'"

"The bomb?" she asked. "Isn't that one of those crazy American expressions?"

"Who knows," Takeru shrugged.

"Maybe our new American gem knows," Miyuki cooed with a small close lipped smile. Takeru returned it as he reached out to gently touch her face. "You look so pretty today, Miyu, you know that?"

She bristled happily at the compliment. "Thanks, TK. You look pretty hot yourself, though you could've combed your hair a bit more."

Takeru laughed. "Sorry."

The crowd next to the lovey-dovey couple seemed to be growing bigger and bigger by the minute. Hikari was feeling a little overwhelmed. And they kept asking awkward questions. "Have you ever been kissed?"

"Um… I don't know… what that has to do with my favorite song…" Hikari replied hesitantly. The room seemed to be getting a little fuzzy. She couldn't think straight anymore. However, no one seemed to notice.

"You like to shop? What's your favorite article of clothing?" a girl asked.

"Uh… I… I'm not… sure. Shoes?"

"Do you like ice cream?"


"What's your favorite flavor?"

"I don't know," she whispered.

"Hey, are you okay?" a new, unexpected voice. She looked up and saw the blond boy the teacher had referred to as Takeru, standing with the girl called Miyuki. He looked slightly concerned.

"Yeah, I think I just need some air," she said and stood up. The crowd parted to allow her a way to get to the door, but instead of walking, she wobbled and swayed dangerously.

"Hey!" Takeru yelped, jumping forward, holding out his arms to steady her. "Are you sure you're feeling all right?"

"Positive…" she whispered as the world spiraled into oblivion and her knees buckled.

"HEY!" he yelled as she fainted. Effortlessly, he caught her, and swept her up into his arms. "We have to get her to the nurse's office."

"Is she going to be okay?" Miyuki asked, clinging to his arm.

"Yeah, I think so," he replied. "The pressure and anxiety from meeting so many new people at once probably just caught up with her. She'll be fine with rest."

"TK, come on!" Akari shouted from the hallway. "Hurry up!"

"Be right back, Miyu," he replied and sprinted from the room, the unconscious girl hanging limply in his arms.

When Hikari awoke, she found herself instantly blinded by a fluorescent light hanging from overhead. Soft sheets enclosed her still trembling body. She opened her eyes again, slowly this time so that they could adjust to the light. Carefully, she sat up and pushed the covers back looking around. She was in a bed, which was closed off from the rest of the room with impeccably clean white curtains. Was she at the hospital? She thought a moment and shook her head. No, this had to be the nurse's office. Pushing the sheets off her body, she slid off the bed and shivered slightly as her feet made contact with the cold tile floor.

"If you'll check on Miss Yagami, I will look after Goro," a voice said suddenly. Hikari jumped.

"Gotcha, Miss Yatsukichi," another voice, closer, responded. Before Hikari had a chance to react, the curtains were thrown aside and she was greeted by a girl with long, lilac hair and brown eyes, framed by perfectly rounded glasses. Hikari blinked, fixing her stare on the hair. 'Is that her natural color?' she wondered.

The bespectacled girl recovered first. "Good, you're awake. You shouldn't try to get out of bed just yet," she said, entering Hikari's sanctuary and pulling the curtain closed behind her. "You're likely still unsteady," she explained. Hikari allowed the girl to push her back into the bed and cover her up again. Had she been paying attention, Hikari might have been reminded of her childhood, back when she was still small enough to warrant a bedtime story and kiss from her mother after being tucked in. The girl busied herself with making sure everything was still in order in the room, but stopped upon realizing that her charge had not spoken a word. She turned, concern etched across her face. "Are you all right?"

Hikari was still focused on her hair and did not respond. The girl frowned slightly, but her face brightened after a minute of reflection. "Ah! Please excuse my poor manners. My name is Inoue Miyako. It's a pleasure to meet you." As an afterthought, she added with a giggle, "And yes, this is my natural hair color."

At the mention of her 'hair color,' Hikari jumped and flushed scarlet. She'd been so rude! Picking out the most unusual trait of the girl, she had honed in on it and completely ignored everything else the girl did. People probably made all sorts of cracks about Miyako's hair, both behind her back and to her face. She was doing it again, she realized suddenly. 'Speak, Hikari. SPEAK.'

"A-Ah!" Hikari cried out as Miyako started back for the curtain. Miyako turned, looking like she was trying to suppress a giggle. "Ah, uh… Sorry," Hikari started, but from the puzzled look she was getting, she had the awkward feeling that Miyako did not understand her. "What?" Hikari asked. "Is there something on my face?" Her hands flew to her face, still flushed with embarrassment and started to feel it, frantically.

"Um…Is something wrong?" Miyako asked. Hikari was confused. She dropped her hands and shook her head. "Ah. You speak English so well. Have you been to America?"

English? She'd been speaking in English! In her flustered state, without thinking, she picked the language she'd been most familiar with using the past couple years and launched into an apology that probably sounded like little more than gibberish to the girl resting her hand softly against the curtain. She started again, speaking slowly, making sure she was speaking in Japanese. "I apologize. Yes, I lived in America until two weeks ago."

"Really?" Miyako asked, stepping away from the curtain and coming back towards Hikari. "What was it like?"

"It was fun. I liked it a lot," Hikari replied.

Miyako nodded. "Oh, so then you're new here. I thought I hadn't seen you around before."

Hikari nodded. "Yeah, it's my first day. I guess I got a little nervous, and uh… passed out."

Miyako laughed. "That's perfectly understandable. Going to a new school is bad enough by itself, but a new school in a new country? I can't even imagine. Have you eaten at all today?"

"Yeah, I ate breakfast so this wouldn't happen, but lotta good that did, huh?" Hikari replied with a little chuckle.

Miyako joined her, good-naturedly. "No worries. A little anxiety never hurt anybody. You should be fine with a little rest." Hikari nodded, smiling. She felt at ease with this girl. Her classmates, for whatever reason, petrified her, but in Miyako, she sensed the makings of her first new friend. Miyako stood, "I have to go on to class now. I really just popped in for a band-aid, but Miss Yatsukichi tricked me in to helping her. I would like to get to know you better, though. Hmm, say, you want to go shopping with me after school?"

Hikari's eyes lit up. Shopping? "Sure! I love to!" she replied, eagerly.

"Great. We can meet on the steps after last bell," she smiled. "Can't wait. See ya then!" She pushed through the curtain, and with a wave let it fall closed after her. Hikari leaned back against her pillows and smiled. Shopping with Miyako and missing class. The day was looking up after all.

SurferBabeXOXO: So you made a new friend? That's great!

ShoeBunny91: Yeah. She's really cool. Her name is Miyako. I met her in the nurse's office this morning. We went shopping together after school and I got the cutest pair of shoes.

SurferBabeXOXO: That's wonderful, Kari, but what were you doing in the nurse's office on your first day of school?

'Uh oh.' Hikari didn't reply.

SurferBabeXOXO: Hikari…

Unsure of what to do, Hikari quickly ticked through her options:

1.) Lie

2.) Play it off

3.) Change the subject

4.) Flee

5.) Tell the truth

Angela had been her best friend practically since she stepped foot in California. They had always told each other everything, and Hikari, personally, wanted it to stay that way forever. Therefore, lying to Angela was out of the question. She could try to change the subject, but Angela was stubborn and would not let the situation drop until she got a satisfactory answer so talking about her new pair of shoes or trying to play it off as if she had been in the office by mere coincidence would do little good. Signing off was akin to lying. In some strange way, Hikari felt that leaving abruptly would drive a wedge between her friend and her, something Hikari would rather die than do. Angela truly meant the world to her. That left her only one choice: tell the truth.

SurferBabeXOXO: Hikari.

ShoeBunny91: …I fainted this morning, okay?

SurferBabeXOXO: Again? No, that's not okay! You did eat this morning, didn't you?

ShoeBunny91: Yes I did. It's not like I wanted a repeat of last year, Angela. I just got really nervous is all. The people are friendly enough. Maybe a little too friendly, at times…

SurferBabeXOXO: Too friendly? What do you mean?

ShoeBunny91: They ask strange questions for a first meeting. I have never been asked about my love life so many times in one day in my life.

SurferBabeXOXO: Hahaha. They like you. I don't blame them, you're cute.

ShoeBunny91: Still. It was awkward.

SurferBabeXOXO: I can imagine. But just relax. I gotta go. Time for school. Chase is waiting.

ShoeBunny91: Kay.

ShoeBunny91: How is school?

SurferBabeXOXO: Terrible without you here. I miss you a lot. And Chase is still trying to pretend like he's not at a loss of what to do without Taichi. And by that I mean, he doesn't know what trouble to get into and what to stay out of.

ShoeBunny91: Haha. I miss you too. School is just not the same without you. Anyway, get going. Wouldn't want you to be late.

SurferBabeXOXO: Kay. Talk to you when I get back. Sleep well, Kari. Sweet dreams.

ShoeBunny91: Have a good day at school.

Angela signed off. With a sigh, Hikari did the same and closed her laptop. She glanced at the picture on her desk a moment for getting up and wandering into her bathroom for a bath. Life just wasn't the same without Angela.

"Daisuke, give it up. The girl's an ice queen," Toshi said, leaning against the windowsill and glancing over his shoulder at the brunette walking slowly across the courtyard by herself.

Takeru watched her as well. Akari, Ryuji, and Daisuke stood beside him, all looking with varying degrees of interest. "Why do you say that?" Takeru asked. He hadn't paid much attention to her since she fainted two days ago. He tried to have as much of his time as possible revolve around Miyuki.

"Dude, she's frigid," Toshi supplied. "She never says anything, never looks at anybody, and doesn't answer any questions."

"I bet she thinks she's better than us. Being from California and all. Americans are pretty self-centered. They think they can police the world," Ryuji added.

"Hey, cut her some slack. It's hard going to a new place," Takeru said, turning away from the window. "And you guys come on way too strong anyway. You wonder why she won't answer your questions? You're asking really personal stuff. 'Have you ever been kissed'? Why don't you just ask what time she goes to bed and if she leaves the window open at night?"

"No way, that's way over the line, Takeru. Gross," Akari exclaimed, recoiling, though Takeru could tell from the smirk on his face that he was joking.

"We're just trying to get to know her," Toshi frowned.

Takeru smiled, "Most people start with simpler questions. Like, 'What's your favorite color?'"

"She's still hot," Daisuke piped up, finally. "I bet I can get her to warm up a bit."

Toshi snorted. "Whatever, she's frozen solid."

Daisuke turned from the window as well, a grin plastered on his face. "Now, now, it's common knowledge that queens of ice prefer to play with kings of fire. And it just so happens, that I'm the perfect King for the job."

Takeru, Toshi, and Akari all stared at Daisuke and then exchanged glances among them selves. Simultaneously, they all burst into laughter.

In, out. In, out. It was a familiar pattern to her, and Hikari took comfort in it. Her feet hit the ground rhythmically. She took comfort in that pattern as well. In a world where everything was changing, the pattern of her breathing and the way her feet hit the pavement always remained the same whenever she ran. She had forgotten how soothing working up a sweat was. Unfortunately, she did not have time to revel in the cleansing powers of running. She did not have time to focus on the way everyone's attitudes towards her seemed to be changing from how they'd been when she first arrived. They still crowded her, but she heard the whispers. They called her an 'Ice Queen' and claimed her heart was frozen solid. She was scared to tell the truth, she'd never been in a relationship, lest people realize that she couldn't feel emotions. The latter accusations she found ridiculous. Of course she'd been in relationships before, but they were none of those people's business. She didn't know anything about them, and they, obviously, knew nothing about her. But she didn't have time to reflect on any of that. She was late.

Regardless of her tardiness, her run was more of a jog than a sprint. Her bag bounced on her shoulder, but it was rhythm was jerkier than that of her feet. In California, she'd been on the swim team since eighth grade. She longed for the adrenaline swim meets brought and the exhilaration of victory. She wanted to be in control again. From the minute her parents told her they were moving back to Japan, her life seemed to explode into chaos and disorder. Nothing was like it used to be.

She was so wrapped into her thoughts that she did not notice the blond boy running towards her. He too seemed distracted as he stared at his wrist watch. He was late to the basketball tryouts. As one of the stars of the team, it was his duty to help pick the members that would form the new team. He would get in trouble for being late. He'd stayed with Miyuki after school just a little too long. He looked up, preparing to put on a burst of speed, but instead ran headlong into another hurrying classmate.



They bounced off each other. While he merely stumbled, the person he bumped into was lighter than him and was falling. Quickly, his hands shot out to catch him. Or rather, her. It was Hikari, breathing quickly, eyes swimming with an emotion that looked like fear or sadness. Perhaps both, he couldn't tell with just a quick glance. Her eyes. They were pretty eyes. Deep, warm, and insightful.

'An ice queen?'

She was mesmerized by his eyes as well. They were warm and reminded her of the ocean. The ocean she'd left behind in America. She instantly felt at home. It didn't matter that she was only twelve inches off the ground, or that a boy she knew next to nothing about was the one keeping her suspended. She didn't care that she was breathing like a baboon or that he was sweating. It felt right. She half expected to see Angela grinning beside him. She flickered her eyes to see if it was so. The split second in which they lost eye contact was all that was needed to break the spell. Angela wasn't there and she wasn't staring at the ocean. She was no longer in California.

It took a second, but the awkwardness of the situation they were in dawned on them suddenly and instantly, they both freaked as their faces turned cherry. Helping her back to her feet, Takeru shot backwards as soon as she was steady, apologizing like mad. She was doing the same thing, bowing and thanking him for helping her. "I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going, and I really should have been paying attention. I hope you're not hurt and—" They stopped. They'd been saying the same thing at the same time. Neither of them said another word, but both were visibly uncomfortable.

"So you're not hurt then?" Takeru asked after a long space of awkward silence.

"Um, no," Hikari replied. "Thank you for catching me. Sorry I wasn't paying attention. I should have been."

"No. Don't worry about it. It was my fault as much as yours," Takeru added. Hikari nodded and they stood in silence once more.

"I should get going. I'm late for the swim team tryouts," Hikari spoke, jerking her thumb down the hall.

"Yeah. I've got basketball," Takeru agreed nervously.

"Well… good luck," Hikari said.

"You too," Takeru responded, quietly.

She smiled. A small, awkward, but genuine smile. "See ya later," she waved, before turning and jogging on down the hall.

"You… too…" Takeru whispered, watching her retreating form until he could no longer see her. 'An ice queen?' He couldn't believe it to be so.


Welcome to my new Digimon fanfiction. This is my triumphant return to fanfiction. I decided that I wanted to try something new; I've never written a normal high school romance before, so this is the product of that desire. The story was inspired by the song "All-American Girl" by Carrie Underwood if that gives you any indication of where this story might be going. The storyline of All-American Girl is something I've been pondering and mulling over since I first heard the song in January, though the plot only recently took to a solid shape.

The title should be spelled with the hyphen in it, but unfortunately, the site wouldn't let me put it there, so instead there's just a space…. It bothers me, because now everything's not all uniform, but, whatever. My favorite line in this chapter ("Queens of ice prefer to play with kings of fire") was not of my own originality. Ice Queen of Keiichi Anime Forever Forums let me borrow it from her, so for that, I am eternally grateful. Everything else around that line is mine though.

As always, your feedback will be invaluable to me, especially as I trod out into the unknown, so please drop a review! I'd love to hear what you have to say and if you've got any ideas, don't hesitate to send 'em my way.

Preview of chapter 2: Hikari makes the acquaintance of her grade's two most popular ladies. Though both seem pleasant, a word of caution from Miyako leaves Hikari unsure of how to take her new classmates. Meanwhile, Takeru continues to enjoy the company of his girlfriend and friends.

Thanks for reading!