"So I was wondering," Daisuke began, peering intently over at Ken, "do you think that… I don't know. I was thinking I should have a special… name for you or something now."
Ken didn't look up from his homework. "What do you mean?"
"I mean like… you know. How couples refer to each other, like calling each other 'honey' or 'dear' and stuff."
Ken raised his eyes to meet Daisuke's. "Does it really matter?"
"Well, no, I guess not, but… I don't know, I always pictured if I had a girl friend I'd want to have a pet name for her, but I'm not sure now if… you know, two guys would do the same."
There was silence, while Ken's brow knotted together, the corners of his mouth turning down in a deep frown. "I wouldn't know about that."
"Really? I mean, you're a genius and all, I thought you might… know."
"You're the first person I've ever dated, Daisuke, male or female. And it's not like I have a secret stash of homosexuals that I can just pull out and ask them about it."
Daisuke laughed, nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "That's true… I didn't mean that I thought you did." He tilted his head to the side and gave Ken a lopsided grin. "Still, do you care if I call you by a pet name or not? Or do you have a preference as to what?"
Ken shrugged and turned back to his homework. "If you want to, you can. I don't mind. I don't really have a preference."
The fell into silence while Ken proceeded with his work and Daisuke stared blankly ahead, absorbed in his own thoughts. After a few minutes, Daisuke leaned forward and looked over his own homework. He frowned. "Um… can you help me… honey?"
Ken froze. Slowly, he turned his head to look at Daisuke, eyebrows raised. "I… I can't figure out if that sounded odd because you made it sound odd or it was genuinely just an odd thing to say."
Daisuke flinched. "I… I don't think it was too odd…"
"Well," the other boy said, turning his pencil over and over in his hand, "I mean. You just. Sounded so unsure. It was like… I don't know. In a movie where two people are pretending to be together and sound so awkward when they have to be all lovey-dovey."
Daisuke chuckled, tugging anxiously at a strand of hair. "Yeah, I can see where you'd get that impression." He stopped pulling at his hair and turned towards his homework, picking up his pencil, determination written all over his face. "Honey, will you help me with my homework?"
"That was a bit better," Ken said, giving a small nod and scooting across the floor to sit next to Daisuke. "What do you need help with?"
"Oh well I already knew that. What do you need help with that I can help you with, I'm no miracle worker after all."
"Ha. Ha. So funny, Ken."
"I have my moments."
"…I'm not sure that was one of them."
"Shut up and let me help you."
Daisuke laughed again. "Nah, can we do our work later? I'm feeling energized, and there's nice weather today! Let's go out or something."
"We have a lot of work to do, Daisuke," Ken replied matter-of-factly, moving back over to his own spot to resume his work. "Or at least, I do. You can go out if you like but don't complain to me if you end up doing poorly."
"Oh, come on," Daisuke whined, following Ken and tugging impatiently at his sleeve. "We don't get to spend nearly as much time together during the school week anymore, so since it's Sunday we should do something! Something not school related." He laid his head on Ken's shoulder, pouting up at him. "Come on, baby, let's go out."
Ken dropped his pencil. "B-baby?!"
"Y-yes?!" Daisuke stuttered, moving quickly away. "Do you not like that…?!"
"I… I don't know," Ken said, staring wide-eyed at the redhead. "I mean… It didn't sound… It sounds like something you'd call a girl, not me!"
"I'm sorry," Daisuke said, quickly, raising his hands in defense. "I didn't mean it that way! I don't think you're a girl, Ken!"
"I should hope not," Ken muttered, picking up his pencil again. He took a deep breath. "I'm the one who's sorry, though. I shouldn't have… overreacted like that. You just caught me off guard."
Daisuke nodded, sliding back over to Ken, wrapping his arm around his shoulders. "'sokay," he reassured him, grinning. "But I mean it, Ken, let's go out. It's so boring just sitting here doing homework on the weekend! And we can still do it later, but it's the middle of the day! Time to go out and play soccer or something."
Ken shook his head, a smile playing at his lips. "I know, I know but… my grades have been dropping lately. I need to do better this semester."
Daisuke let out a whimper. "Come oooooooon, Ken! I want to go out with you. Are you hungry or something? I can buy you some food if you like, let's just leave this plaaaace!"
Ken sighed. "You aren't going to stop pestering me until I give into you, are you?"
"It's not like I'm asking for much, am I?" Daisuke asked, pouting again. "I just want you go out with me, darling."
They both paused. "Okay that one did sound really weird," Daisuke stated bluntly, nodding. "Noted."
"Yeah," was all Ken could manage.
"So, honey is okay under some circumstances, and baby and darling are both out. Correct?"
"I would… assume so," Ken murmured to the ground. "That sounds about right. Yeah." The teen tapped his pencil against his text book before putting it down and standing up. "Alright, you win," he said with a sigh. "But only because I am hungry, so let's go get some food."
With a smile on his face, Daisuke scrambled to his feet. "Great!" he cheered, heading towards the door.
"I'll meet you in front of the
building," Ken called, heading in the opposite direction.
"I'm going to tell Wormmon where we are in case he comes out and finds us missing or my mom gets back before we do."
"Okay!" And with that Daisuke opened the door and left the apartment.
Ken stopped before his bedroom door and frowned. He turned back and headed into the living room once more, where he bent down and gathered up his text book and papers, as well as Daisuke. There was no telling how long they'd be gone considering food was involved, and it wasn't right for Ken to leave a mess behind. He hurried back towards his room, only to find that his hands were full and he couldn't open the door. "Wormmon," he called. "Can you come open the door, please?"
There was a shuffling from the other side of the door and a moment later it opened, Wormmon holding tightly onto the knob. Ken thanked the Digimon and stepped into the room, placing the books and work on his desk. "Daisuke and I are going out for a bit, alright?"
"Where are you going?" his Digimon asked, a hint of disappointment in his voice.
"Just out to eat. We shouldn't be gone for too long but Daisuke was getting restless, so…"
"Oh. Alright," Wormmon replied, bowing his head. Ken frowned. The green creature looked so… pitiful. So sad.
"Would you like to come with us?"
Wormmon perked up immediately. "Really? Can I?"
"Of course." Ken offered his partner a smile.
Wormmon cheered and leapt eagerly into Ken's arms. Ken's smile widened at his Digimon's glee and the two proceeded out of the room. Ken made a point to stop to writer out a quick note to his mother and left it where she could find it. Once that was done, they left the apartment and headed down to the exit of the complex. Daisuke was waiting for them there just as Ken had asked him to. He turned all smiles and flushed cheeks when Ken approached. He stopped, surprise written all over his face at the sight of Wormmon. "Oh. Hey, Wormmon. You coming with us?"
Wormmon nodded. "Ken asked me if I would like to!"
Daisuke forced a smile. "Ah. Okay, that's fine. Let's go. There's a new restaurant down the road, I saw it on my way over here. Looked good, lots of sea food, you like sea food, right Ken?"
Ken nodded, frowning at Daisuke's odd behavior. "Sounds good."
A few minutes later they arrived at their destination.
"This place looks nice," Ken commented as they entered. "Looks… new."
"Really. I wonder why."
"Shut up and get us a seat."
Daisuke laughed and headed off to do as Ken had said. They were promptly seated and placed their orders and before long they had their food and proceeded to tuck in. Ken snuck Wormmon a few scraps of fish, which the Digimon appreciated. And awkward silence descended upon the table as they ate.
It was Daisuke that ultimately broke it. "So… did you guys have to take that career test? You know, the one that determines what you would be good at."
"Not yet," Ken said, thoughtfully. "But I'm pretty sure we'll have to take it soon."
"Looking forward to it?"
"I'm not sure. I mean, I guess it's interesting but I think it can also be… disheartening. I know some upperclassmen who took it last year who had their hearts set on something they wanted for a career and the test told them they weren't suited for it. It was really devastating for some of them."
"Yeah, I saw some kids freak out in my class. Actually, Miyako was one of them. She seemed pretty taken aback by her results."
"Why, what did she get?" Ken asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
"I'm not sure. Store manager or something like that, I think? Which I can understand why that would bother her. I think she's sort-of-kinda-not-really resigned to the fact that she may very well end up running her family store, but I guess she has higher hopes for herself."
"Understandably so," Ken muttered, pushing the food around his plate with a fork. "She's smart. Very bright. She could go far if she really wanted to, I think." He paused. "You should tell her that."
"Tell her what? That she's smart? I'm pretty sure she knows that, Ken."
"No, that she can go far. Those sorts of tests, they really don't mean anything, I don't think. If she wants better for herself, then she can get better. She has the brains and the means to; she just needs the will to."
Ken was staring so intently at his plate that he didn't see Daisuke's intense gaze. "What about you, Ken?"
He still didn't look up. "What about me?"
"Do you have the will to go far?"
Ken continued to look down.
"I don't know. Maybe."
"I just… I don't know. I'm sure I'd have more of the will to strive for something if I felt I had something to strive to, but I don't." He paused, before lifting his head to give Daisuke a weak smile. "But for what it's worth, I am happy now. I know I can't just not think about my future, but I'm content with what I have right now and I just want the time to appreciate that. Is that alright?"
"Of course it's alright, Ken," Daisuke replied, reaching across the table to touch Ken's arm. "But, for what it's worth, I think you'll be wonderful. At whatever you do." He smiled. "So don't give up, sweetheart."
"SWEETHEART?!" Wormmon yelled, leaping suddenly off Ken's lap and promptly banging his head on the table. He crumbled back into Ken's arms, stunned.
"W-Wormmon!" Ken said in alarm, lifting the green Digimon up to examine him. "You alright? You didn't hurt yourself too bad, did you? Speak to me!"
"K-Ken," the creature replied, dazed. "Why did he call you s-sweetheart?"
"Well," Ken started, then closed his mouth. He looked to Daisuke, who was wide eyed and surprised. "Well, I… see, Wormmon, the thing about that is-"
"We're dating," Daisuke said, his voice unnaturally high, eyes still huge, looking from Ken to Wormmon. "We're dating. We've been dating. You didn't tell him?"
"You didn't tell me?!" Wormmon demanded, looking to Ken in something akin to horror.
"Well, I just… I don't know. I didn't want you to think that I was… I don't know. I didn't want you to worry that I was going to ignore you or anything. Which you would have."
"I… wouldn't have," Wormmon muttered, not meeting Ken's gaze.
"Yes you would have. And I didn't want you to think that or to feel jealous or anything because you didn't have a need to be. And tell me, honestly, did you have any reason to suspect that that was the case? That Daisuke and I are dating, I mean. Have you felt like I've neglected you lately?"
Wormmon was quiet for a minute. "No… I guess not."
Ken tried to crack a smile. "See? I didn't tell you to keep you in the dark, I didn't tell you so that you could see, when I did tell you, that you would have no reason to think things between you and I would be any different."
The Digimon looked between the two boys, seemingly trying to sum up his feelings on the matter. "I… I guess that's alright," he said, finally. "But I still would rather you have told me, Ken…"
"I'm sorry," Ken said, pulling Wormmon to him in a tight hug. "I won't keep any secrets from you in the future. I promise."
"Um, guys?" Daisuke interjected, voice still strangely high pitched. "People are staring at us."
Ken looked up and met several pairs of eyes, looking at him and Wormmon in a mixture of awe and fear. "Oh. Um. Guess we better get going, then?" Daisuke nodded fiercely before digging into his pockets and pulling out money, which he left on the table as the two boys and the one somewhat disgruntled Digimon hurried out.
As they neared Ken's apartment building, Daisuke dared to speak again. "So," he began, shooting a small smile at Ken. "Is sweetheart out?"
Ken pondered this. "I don't know. I kind of like it. It's better than honey, at least."
"I agree completely," Daisuke said cheerfully, ignoring Wormmon's grumbles. "So sweetheart it is?"
Ken couldn't help but smile at him. "Alright. If you insist."
Daisuke gave a whoop of joy and punched the air in victory.
They walked a few more feet before suddenly Daisuke burst out laughing. Ken turned to him with a frown on his face. "What? What's so funny?"
"Oh, nothing," Daisuke replied, merriment written all over his face, his eyes twinkling with mirth. "It's just, it occurred to me that we have one obstacle down and another to tackle."
Ken peered at Daisuke, curious. "Oh? And what's that?"
"Well, we still have to figure out," Daisuke began, stopping in his tracks and turning to face Ken, his smile wide. "What are you going to call me?"