The Plan had been perfect.
Shockingly, the execution of the plan was equally as perfect, though admittedly it was pretty anticlimactic (or maybe Daisuke just had an overactive imagination.) But it was just one of those rare occasions when everything just happened to go the right way. From the moment Daisuke left school on a Wednesday afternoon to when he got home that night, everything had gone according to The Plan.
The Plan had gone thusly:
Step one; leave school and take a train to Tamachi.
Step two; get off the train and bolt across town to Ken's high school and make it there just in time for the end of Ken's after-school-activities (he was part of some club reserved for the top kids in his school, or… something. He complained about it often but Daisuke only had half an idea what he was ever talking about.)
Step three; wait for Ken outside the building.
Step four; when Ken came out of the building, attack.
Well, okay, not attack. Not really. Figure of speech and all that. The metaphorical attack consisted of Daisuke walking casually up to Ken as he left the building (which would surprise Ken but make him happy, and he'd smile and Daisuke would melt inside.) The two would proceed to walk to Ken's apartment together, on the way making small talk, typical conversation ("So how was school today?" "Oh. The usual.") As Ken's apartment building came into view, Daisuke would, casually, ask if Ken was busy that Saturday night, and when Ken said, "No, I'm not doing anything," Daisuke would, casually still, suggest they do something together.
"Maybe. I don't know. We could, you know, go out together?"
"You mean… on a date?"
"Well… yeah. I mean, if you want to."
And Ken would suddenly break out into a huge smile, stop in his tracks, and grab Daisuke's hands and gaze into Daisuke's eyes and say, "Yes, yes, yes, my love, you don't know how long I have waited for you to speak those sweet words to me, yes!" And Daisuke would swoop Ken up into his manly arms and there would be sparkles and glitter and glorious sunsets.
All would be well.
As it turned out, Ken did accept Daisuke's invitation, but it wasn't quite as sensational as Daisuke's fantasy depicted it. Nowhere near it, actually. Ken had just given Daisuke a small smile and said, "Yeah. That'd be nice." And that had been that.
But that was enough for Daisuke. In fact, that was more than enough. Ken agreed to go on a date with him. The Plan was a success and life was good.
Until he got home and told Chibimon of his aforementioned success and Chibimon raised the question, "So where are you gonna take him, huh? I thought you spent your last bit of money on video games!"
And that was where The Plan failed because, as it was, Chibimon was right.
Daisuke was completely broke.
But he couldn't very well tell Ken they had to cancel. That was poor form, and there was no guarantee that Ken would say yes again. And he couldn't ask Ken to pay, that was even worse form.
Daisuke was in luck, however. Jun had moved out earlier in the year, so she wasn't an obstacle. And as fate would have it, Daisuke's parents were going to be out of town that weekend to visit his grandparents. That only left…
"Listen," Daisuke said, plopping down on his bed next to Chibimon. "Don't think I'm trying to get rid of you or anything, but it would be really helpful if you could just, um. Not be here on Saturday."
There was a pause as the little blue Digimon peered up at him. "You are tryin' to get rid of me!" he accused, pointing at his human partner.
"Well, okay, yes I am," Daisuke replied sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. "But it's for a good reason! I'm gonna make dinner for me and Ken so we can have our date here and it would be weird if you were… here."
Chibimon tilted his head and thought about it for a moment before saying, "Yeah. I can see how that would be weird. But what am I supposed to do for the day, Daisuke?"
"Well, I was thinking I'd send you to the Digital World and you could hang out with Agumon and the others there. I'm sure they wouldn't mind."
Chibimon clapped his tiny hands (or were they paws? Daisuke had never really thought about this much). Excited, he replied, "Yeah, that sounds like fun!"
"Excellent," Daisuke said with a grin, and with that he was set. Everyone would be out of the apartment. It would be just him and Ken. Ken and him. Alone. In his small apartment. On a real date.
Life was glorious.But Daisuke really should have known better. It was usually the case with him that if a series of events occurred and went perfectly, they were usually followed by a series of events in which everything that could go wrong did. Because the day of the date came and yes, Ken had agreed to a date in Daisuke's apartment. And yes, Jun was still gone, Daisuke's parents were conveniently out of town, and Chibimon was safely in the Digital World. And yes, everything was perfectly set up. A table set for two, dimmed lights, and Daisuke had spent all afternoon making the best meal he could (fish, for once. No noodles in sight.)
It was perfect.
And then there was a knock on the door.
Daisuke frowned but headed over to the door, thinking it was Ken but that he was just early, which was fine but a bit weird for Ken. And hey, it was their first date. That was a good thing. A very, very good thing. So with a goofy grin on his face, Daisuke opened the door and found himself face to face with Miyako.
Before she could say anything, Daisuke yelled, "MIYAKO!" in surprise and slammed the door in her face.
Then there was a pause.
Daisuke took a deep breath and reopened the door to find Miyako still standing there with her mouth slightly open, staring at him in complete shock. "Hey, Miyako," Daisuke said, casually. "What are you doing here?"
Miyako narrowed her eyes at him. "I was just dropping by to give you your history book back. We have our test on Monday and I thought you might actually want to study for once in your life."
"Oh," Daisuke said, blankly. "Oh. Okay. Um, thanks."
"Am I allowed to come in, Daisuke?" Miyako asked, staring at him pointedly. "I promise I won't spread my 'girl-cooties.'"
"One time," Daisuke exclaimed in his defense! "One time I said that and we were just… just little kids, why do you have to hold that over my head now?"
"Because it was horrifying, Daisuke, that at fourteen years old, you-"
"Okay, okay," Daisuke cut her off, pouting. "I get it. And yes, you can come in, but only for a little while."
"Why, are you doing something important?" Miyako asked as Daisuke moved aside to let her pass and she stepped in.
"Uh, kinda…" he muttered, nervously. It wasn't that he was ashamed or anything, but he wasn't sure he was ready to have his friends know about tonight. At least not until tonight was over and he could know, for sure, if there would be any more nights like this. Because it really wouldn't work to tell his friends he was dating his best male friend when it was really only one date and then no more. Therefore it was definitely better to wait and tell them all later.
Or at least that's what Daisuke liked to tell himself.
"Oh?" Miyako asked, her lip curling upward in a grin. "What kind of important, eh, Daisuke?"
Daisuke shook his head, his face heating up. "Nothing that concerns you, Miyako," he said, backing away from her.
"Now why would you say something like that?" she questioned, placing her hands on her hips and quirking an eyebrow. "You know that's just going to make me more interested."
"Please, Miyako? Just give me the book and go. I'll tell you about it later, but right now… right now I really need you to leave."
"So it's a date," Miyako concluded, folding her arms over her chest and grinning in triumph.
Daisuke's face got redder. "H-how do you figure?!"
"What other reason would you have for wanting me to leave? Clearly someone else is coming over!"
"Okay, so," Daisuke said, trying not to panic. "Let's say it is a date. Do you really want to mess that up for me, Miyako?"
Her eyes widened at that and her face fell. "No, I guess not. I like to tease you but I'm not that mean," she said, reaching into her backpack and pulling out Daisuke's book. "But you are going to have to tell me everything later," she declared as she handed over the book. "Don't even try to avoid it, Daisuke."
He gulped. "Yeah, I won't," he lied. Obviously. She shot him a threatening look and he turned away. "Thanks for the book, Miyako."
With a sigh, Miyako turned and headed to the door. "No problem. See you in school. Oh, and Daisuke?"
He dared to look up at her, nervous. "Yeah?"
Slowly, he smiled, appreciative. "Thanks."
And with that she left, and Daisuke bolted into the kitchen to check the time. Seven. Wonderful. Ken should arrive soon.
As if on cue, the doorbell rang and Daisuke's grin returned as he hurried back over to door and pulled it open.
And found himself face-to-face with a grinning Takeru.
Upon seeing him Daisuke yelled, "DAMNIT!" and immediately shut the door. He breathed deeply once more but did not open the door again. "Takeru," he called through the door. "What do you want?"
There was a long pause. And then...
"Daisuke!" Takeru's voice was loud and clear even through the metal. "What the hell was that about?"
"I'm not allowed… to have guests while my parents are away!" Daisuke called back, his fists clenched against the cold door. Why? Why?
"Don't even try that, Daisuke. We all come over and hang out at your place every time your parents leave town."
Daisuke cursed to himself and then laughed. "Ahaha, yeaaaaaah. Well, they don't want me doing that anymore! So you can't come over right now. Bye, Takeru!"
"I just passed Miyako. She was leaving here. Why can she come in and not me?"
"Because," Daisuke groaned, leaning his forehead against the door. "She only came over to give me a book and then she left! What do you want?"
"I was just in the neighborhood," Takeru replied, sounding very smug. "Thought I'd drop by and see how my friend Daisuke was doing."
"PLEASE. You were probably hoping to come irritate me, weren't you?"
"Now why on Earth would you think that?"
Daisuke rolled his eyes. Takeru seemed to magically tell what Daisuke was doing because he laughed, loudly. "Come on, Daisuke, what's really up?"
"…Daisuke I saw you earlier today at school. You aren't sick."
"I got food poisoning."
Takeru groaned. He was clearly not amused. "Come on, Daisuke, this is ridiculous. At least open the door and talk to me face-to-face."
"Because I'm busy!"
"Busy doing wha- Oh! Hey, Ken!"
Without thinking, Daisuke yanked the door open, eyes wide. "Ken! You're here, I-…!"
Only Takeru was standing there, with an amused smirk on his face. "What was that, Daisuke?" he said in a sing-song voice. "You're busy? Busy for everyone but your best friend, it seems."
"I really hate you sometimes," Daisuke said, completely deadpan.
Takeru laughed. "Oh relax," he said, highly amused. "What's the big deal?"
"Alright, listen," Daisuke said with a sigh. "I have a date. Okay? That's why I don't want you over right now. So can you please leave? You can come bother me all you want tomorrow."
Takeru's eyebrows rose dramatically. "A date, huh? You finally gave into that girl from first period?"
"You know, that girl who's been following you around all year. The shy one who blushes every time you so much as glance in her general direction."
Daisuke blinked again. "There's a girl that likes me?"
"I'm guessing it's not her, then?" Takeru said, frowning. "Who else would actually agree to go on a date with you…?"
"Hey!" Daisuke stammered, glaring at Takeru. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Take it easy," the blond boy said, raising his hands in defense. "Just a joke."
"I already promised Miyako I'd tell her later," Daisuke said, sighing. "I'll tell you, too, if you really care that much. But please? This is really important to me and I need you all to just not… be here."
"I understand," Takeru said, nodding. "I won't ask you for any more info, though, unless you want to tell me for some reason. It's not really my business and I'm not one for gossip. At least not that kind. So I'll just leave you to it, but I'm holding you to that promise and I'll be here tomorrow to bother you for a few hours."
"Okay, fine," Daisuke groaned in defeat. "Bye."
"Yeah, I'll see ya," Takeru said, shaking his head and turning to walk away. As Daisuke started to close the door he heard Takeru's voice say, "Oh, hey Ken!"
Not one to fall for that trick twice, Daisuke continued to shut the door until he heard Ken's voice reply, "Takeru! What are you doing here?"
Immediately Daisuke swung the door open and stepped out, just in time to hear Takeru say, "I was gonna go hang out at Daisuke's for awhile but apparently he's got a date! So you might want to steer clear of this place for the night, Ken. You can come hang out with me and Iori, if you want, since you did come all the way down here…"
Daisuke's eyes widened and he turned to find Takeru standing beside a slightly amused looking Ken. Ken glanced up and caught Daisuke's eye and smiled at him. "No, it's fine," he said to Takeru. "Daisuke called me and asked me to come over to help him prepare for his date."
"What?!" Takeru exclaimed, shooting a glare in Daisuke's direction. "He wanted your help and not mine? But you've never been on a date!"
"Neither have you, Takeru," Ken pointed out, offering him a sympathetic smile.
"Yeah, but… I feel I would be a better choice for this than you. No offense," he added, quickly.
"None taken," Ken said with a nod. "But you have to remember, Takeru, that I am Daisuke's best friend, so it would make sense if he's more comfortable with me here than you."
"I guess," Takeru said with a sigh. "But Daisuke!" he called over his shoulder at the red-head. "Next time? Call both of us. Seriously, I can help you with this. Big time."
"I'll… keep that in mind," Daisuke said, nodding. "Bye, Takeru."
"Yeah, see you guys later," Takeru muttered, walking past Ken and shaking his head in dismay as he went.
"Bye," Ken called after him, seemingly trying to fight back a laugh. Once Takeru was safely out of sight, Ken turned to face Daisuke, a smirk playing at his lips. "Well that was a fun adventure."
"Oh Hell no," Daisuke said, shaking his head. "Miyako was here before him. They both just suddenly decided to show up or something. I was half expecting Hikari and Iori to show up next."
"No," Ken said, smiling. "Just me. I promise."
"Good." Daisuke ran a hand through his hair, his face starting to go red, his lips turned up in a smile. "Yeah. Good. Um, so, yeah, come on in…?"
Ken nodded and followed Daisuke into the apartment, closing the door behind them. "So how did you manage to get Chibimon out for the night?" he asked, glancing around as if he half expected the blue creature to pop out of no where (which all things considering was entirely likely).
"He's in the Digital World," Daisuke said, shuffling into the kitchen. "I sent him there to hang out with Agumon an- shit."
"What?" Ken asked, peering around the doorway into the kitchen.
"Food's cold," the other boy explained, quickly gathering up the plates and putting them in the microwave.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"Yeah, I do it all the time for left-overs. It's quicker than putting it in the oven or something and gets the same job done."
"I've never really been good with food," Ken commented with a frown. "It's tragically one of the many talents I lack."
Daisuke grinned at him, slyly. "Yeah, well, at least you have me to make up for it, right?"
Ken laughed. "That is true."
After a few minutes there was a 'ding!' as the food finished heating up. Daisuke quickly put on oven mitts and removed them, carrying them out of the kitchen and into the small family room, with the lights dimmed, and placed them on the table he'd set up for the two of them. "Alright," he said, nervously, taking off the mitts. "I guess we can officially start now?"
"That sounds like a good idea," Ken said, walking over to his seat. An imaginary light bulb went off in Daisuke's head and he hurried past Ken, suddenly, and pulled out the other boy's chair for him. Ken's eyebrows rose at this but he took the offer anyway and sat down. "Thank you? You really didn't have to do that, Daisuke."
"I know," said Daisuke, walking over to his own seat, blushing like mad. "But I was talking to Taichi one time and he said the best way to keep a girl interested in you is to be an absolute gentleman when on dates and stuff. And, I mean, I know you're not a girl or anything, don't think I'm saying that, but the principle still stands, right?"
Ken chuckled, nodding. "I suppose it does, yes. That's sweet of you."
This puzzled Daisuke greatly, and he tilted his head to peer at Ken curiously. "Really?"
"Well, yes," said Ken, nodding as he picked up his fork. "But then I've always thought you were really a sweet person. I mean, everyone always made you out to be a jerk but I never thought you were. You got jealous and angry sometimes, but what kid doesn't? Your heart was always in the right place. And you were sweet to Hikari, even if you were a bit… how do I say it? Over-bearing with it at times."
Daisuke blinked. "…This is a good thing, right?"
Ken laughed again. "Yes, Daisuke, it's a good thing. I think you're sweet, is that bad?"
"No!" Daisuke exclaimed, shaking his head. "No, just… wanted to… So how's the food?"
"I'll tell you in a minute," Ken said, grinning, before popping a bit of food into his mouth. Daisuke watched, holding his breath, as Ken chewed and swallowed. Ken paused, thoughtful. "I like it a lot, Daisuke."
"Really?!" the red-head said, eyes widening in surprise. "You do? You're not just saying that, are you?"
Ken shook his head. "No, it really is good. Not the greatest thing ever created, certainly, but you're well on your way to becoming a great chef. I think, anyway."
Excited, Daisuke took a bite himself. His expression turned serious (which earned a chuckle from Ken) as he contemplated the fish in his mouth. After he swallowed, he said, "Yeah, I see what you mean. Definitely one of my best works. But it could use improvement. I'll have to look into a variety of seasonings and see what I can find…" He noticed the wide grin on Ken's face and froze. "What?"
"Oh, nothing," Ken said, his grin unwavering. "It's just, I'm happy that you've finally expanded your horizons. I always told you that you could do so much more than just noodles but you never believed me. But now you've started to try new things and you're really good at it. I'm just… I'm really proud of you, Daisuke."
Daisuke was positive his face couldn't get any redder. "Tha… thank you."
They continued to eat and lapsed into a slightly awkward silence. Daisuke kept shooting glances at Ken, who always seemed to look up at the same time, and their eyes would meet and they'd both quickly look away, embarrassed. Because really, going on your first date was always awkward. Doubly so when it was with your best friend.
The fact that this particular pair of best friends on their first date were both naturally very awkward individuals did not help the matter. At all.
"I am sorry about this," Daisuke said, suddenly.
Ken looked up in surprise. "Sorry about what?"
"This," he said, indicating the table and home-cooked meal. "I really did want to take you out, but it just… didn't work that way. You deserved a lot better than this."
He glanced at Ken and was surprised to find the dark-haired boy shaking his head. "No," said Ken, softly. "I like this much better, to be perfectly honest."
Daisuke blinked. "Really? Why?"
"Well, it's just… it would have been a bit… weird no matter what. It's a first date, I imagine that's unavoidable, but… It makes me feel much better being here, just with you, than out in public amongst a whole crowd of strangers. I don't really do well around a lot of people anyway," Ken added. "This just feels a lot more personal. Private." He smiled shyly. "And I've been to this place so many times before just to hang out, play video games, watch movies, anything and everything we do, we usually do it here or at my place. So having our first date here seems… appropriate. Because being here in this place, with you, it feels like… it feels like home." He scratched his head, turning his head away to hide his blush. "So I like it. A lot."
Daisuke stared at Ken in silence, mouth slightly agape. A few seconds passed and he was suddenly smiling a goofy smile, face flushed with joy. "I'm glad." He ran his hands through his spiky hair, seemingly trying to decide what to say. "You… you feel like home to me, too."
Now it was Ken's turn to smile. "I'm glad."
Another silence fell between them, this one much more comfortable than the last, and with that new understanding between them, they continued their date.
When asked about it later, Daisuke would say that it was perfect, and with a smile he'd claim that he'd planned it that way all along.