Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
From the Heart
A Digimon Tamers fic by: Crazyeight
Prologue: Time and Memory
"…And Agumon warp digivolves tooo….MetalGreymon!" Exclaimed Takato triumphantly as he slapped down a card emblazoned with the image of a giant, orange dinosaur with massive, mechanical arm and face plate covering its head. Crimson eyes rose up to look at a pair of shocked, gray colored ones. A warm, excited smile flashed across the face of the owner of those crimson irises as he eyed the boy sitting across from him. "And that's game."
"Aw man!" Groaned Kazu Shioda as he clutched the side of his head in mock pain. "That hurt! I can't believe that you were able to pull something like that out!"
"What can I say?" Chuckled Takato Matsuki as he picked up the card he had just played and brought it to a rectangular device and ran it through a slot in the side. Numbers flashed for a second, processing the information before revealing a score of one thousand. "I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. You're dealing with a super genius."
"Yeah right," joked a dark haired boy sitting next to them. "Rika still pummels you into the ground when it comes to the card game. Super genius you're not. I'll admit though that you're getting better. At least now you don't rely on some stupid card combo to win like you used to."
The three friends laughed and Takato leaned back against the concrete wall of the dinosaur hut that had been their hangout from they had been in the first grade. Many things had changed for them in the past two years, Takato's rather 'flawless victory' notwithstanding. There had once been a time when Kazu had ruled the realm of cards…at least within their own little playgroup prior to becoming friends with the two champions, Rika Nonaka and Ryo Akiyama. The digimon card game had been the one thing that Kazu had been known at to excel in (as his grades in school certainly left something to be desired) and Takato to, well, not. This began to change when Takato received his digivice and took his first steps towards being a Tamer. It wasn't something that happened overnight, but anyone who knew him could tell that his experience both on and off the actual battlefield hadn't been wasted. That, coupled with tips from friends who had far more talent with the game then he ever did had transformed Takato into something resembling a respectable gamer, even though he could only match Kazu, Kenta, and Henry.
It's still a little kid's game, thought Takato, smiling to himself, but it's still something that we enjoy playing, even if it's only 'every now and then' nowadays. We're getting older and our interests are changing too. We all still love digimon…it's kind of hard not too considering our occupation, but the card game and show get harder and harder to stick with every year.
Even so, the familiar, Takato felt, was always good to delve into. It broke tension and brought back many a fond memory.
"So…Chumley," began Kazu as he shuffled his deck. "How's that manga you're working on doing? Did you come up with an idea for it yet?"
Takato scratched the side of his head, feeling slightly agitated. He had told his friends that he was thinking about getting into the manga business since he had something of a talent for drawing and storytelling. Some of his friends would say that his imagination could leap well into the realm of bizarre than what was good for him, but they were still encouraging nonetheless. Now he had to admit that he wished he hadn't said anything. Now it felt like everyone was expecting him to pull a proverbial rabbit out of his hat.
No pressure, Takato chuckled mentally while at the same time wondering if there actually was something in there that he could use for an idea.
"I've been writing down every idea that comes to mind but so far nothing sounds good right now."
"I'm sure you'll figure something out," grinned Kazu. "You're pretty good at winging it when your back is to the wall. Everyone here knows it. Heck, I'd say your odds of breaking into the manga business before your fifteen is better than Kenta's odds of getting used to his contact lenses within a week."
"Hey!" Exclaimed the dark haired boy, and all eyes turned towards him. Not for the first time did Takato blink at seeing how drastically different his friend looked without his glasses. He looked so…strange without them. Yet another thing that had changed.
Next to him floated MarineAngemon, who frowned at Takato and Kazu, daring them to say something that would hurt Kenta's feelings. Kazu, in stark contrast to how he would have gone about things two years ago simply smiled and clapped his friend on the back.
"Yeah, I know. 'What do I know?' right? I'm just joking with you. At least this way you have a better chance than ol' Chumley here on getting asked out on a date. All the girls we know have started taking notice of you more since you put in those things. Even Rika thinks you're not bad looking, and if she thinks that than you must be doing something good. She usually has pretty high standards about that sort of thing."
"Yeah, but I didn't get much chocolate on Valentine's Day and that was when I started wearing contacts," said Kenta with a dejected sigh. "And now I have to figure out what I'm going to get Ayaka and Miki for White Day…"
Takato raised his eyebrows at the mention of the holiday.
Oh yeah. That's right. I nearly forgot about that. Takato smiled as he thought back to Valentine's Day. It had certainly been one worth remembering though Terriermon hadn't left him alone about it ever since. He certainly had plenty of reason to as it had been the first year that Rika had handed out chocolates to anyone, never mind the rather awkward situation that she and himself found themselves in before Henry and Terriermon showed up.
Almost against his will Takato found himself blushing at the memory of Rika pressing one hand against his cheek and looking at him with a strange expression on her face. It had been almost a month since the incident and although their friendship hadn't altered in any significant way Takato felt that there had been something about it that seemed…different. He couldn't quite figure out what it was but it felt like he was noticing Rika more than usual. It seemed to be the same on her side of things to because every now and then he would catch her looking at him before looking away with the slightest touch of red to her cheeks.
Or maybe that was just his imagination. If anything else, that was the one thing he had in abundance and it always had a way of getting away from him. His mother, at times, referred to it as 'his curse.'
While the thought churned around in his mind Kazu and Kenta's conversation only drifted vaguely through his thoughts until Kazu broke through the fog of his concentration with the snap of his fingers.
Kazu shook his head at his friend.
"Jeez. Even though you don't have your goggles on today you're still not getting enough circulation to your brain. I was asking you what you got Jeri, Rika, and Miki for White Day."
"Uh…" Takato paused as he strove to remember. He knew that he had gotten Miki and Jeri chocolates; both had been homemade and Jeri's had a nice little ribbon wrapped around its box, but he couldn't remember what he had gotten for Rika.
Was it the Renamon evolution line? No, that was during her last birth…ohhh nuts!
"Ahhh, don't worry about it. I'm sure you wanna keep it a secre…"
Kazu blinked in utter bewilderment as Takato suddenly jerked and surged upwards to his feet, slamming his head into the roof of the concrete hut.
"Dude. You need to stand up slower. We're not as small as we used to be you know…"
Unfortunately for Kazu, Takato wasn't even listening as he had swiftly brushed the pain aside in his typical way that had caused one friend to label him with the nickname 'Gogglehead.' Grabbing all of his cards Takato stuffed them into his shoe box and jumped down the hole of the concrete hut, stumbling as he did so.
Like a machine gun on full automatic Takato's mouth blasted out a quick apology that neither of his friends caught right away and with that he sped off. Kazu dropped his head out of the bottom of the hut, a highly confused expression sitting on his face. Next to the entrance to the hut stood a large, rust colored, robot who watched Takato race off.
"Oookay…" Kazu drawled out. "That was weird. Hey Guardromon. Did you see any fire jetting from Takato just now?"
"No. Should there have been?"
"I'm just curious about what set him off just now."
"Well it is Takato…"
"Do you even know what I mean when I say that about Chumley? Get your own lines you lug nut!"
A/N: Found myself with a lot of extra time handy for this week, and since enough people thought my one-shot 'Giri' was good enough to warrant a sequel I thought that I'd put something out for your reading enjoyment for the week of White Day. 'Till next time then. :P