Kintaros, Ryoutaro; fluff; training

Author's Notes: Spoiler warning for the end of Den-O

Kintaros didn't really understand why Ryoutaro wanted to be stronger. In his eyes, the boy was already quite strong. Not physically, of course. But strong in a way that neither he nor the other Imagin were. Strong in a way that nobody else was. Ryoutaro faced down Imagin day after day and put up with the four of them, sometimes more, inhabiting his body and able and willing to possess him with or without his consent at a moment's notice. Yes, he almost always came away from fight with bruises and cuts, exhausted and sometimes on the brink of collapse, but his willpower was, to Kintaros, simply amazing.

"I think...you're already strong, Ryoutaro. Physical strength isn't everything, you know."

They'd beaten Kai, and the only Imagin left were stragglers that had enough willpower to remain when other, lesser Imagin let themselves get swept away in the sands of time. The strongest Imagin had been defeated thanks to their teamwork, all was said and done. But the boy still wanted to train.

"I just want to be stronger. So that something like that doesn't happen again," the Rider replied. Kintaros knew he was talking about their near-disappearance. Yes, they had all come back. But it had still hit Ryoutaro hard, and made him realize that nothing was absolute, especially beings like Imagin. They were his dear friends, comrades, he could depend on them but only as long as they were around. Kintaros sighed. No matter how many times they told him that their near-vanishing had nothing to do with him, he still insisted that if he were stronger, it wouldn't happen again.

So they'd gone to the mountains. Because somehow (and Kintaros was fairly certain that Momotaros was the cause of this), Ryoutaro had gotten it into his head that in order to train, one had to be in the mountains. So they were in the mountains, camping, and training.

Urataros spent the entire trip fishing. He insisted that any training he could give would be in much more subtle arts than fighting. Ryuutaros tried to teach Ryoutaro how to shoot, but quickly gave up when they nearly blew up half a mountain. Instead he spent the entire vacation being his usual hyperactive self, and bugging the hell out of everyone around. Momotaros was teaching Ryoutaro how to fight with a sword. And it was up to Kintaros to teach him hand-to-hand combat.

The problem was, Kintaros only knew sumo moves, and any way you looked at it, Ryoutaro was much more suited to karate. Which was still a pretty sore subject with Kintaros. But the bear Imagin tried his best to teach Ryoutaro some sumo moves, and Hana taught him some karate moves. After a week of exhaustive and exhausting training, Ryoutaro was feeling very worn out but, contrary to most other times, very happy.

"Kintaros...the truth is, this isn't just about me wanting to be stronger," Ryoutaro admitted. He was sprawled on his back, gasping for air and sending clouds of foggy breath into the cold night. Kintaros was sitting beside him. The others were a distance away by a campfire, Urataros roasting fish while Naomi, Momo, Ryuuta and Hana roasted marshmallows.

"Eh?" Kintaros asked. Ryoutaro took a few more breaths before grinning and trying to sit up. Trying being the keyword, a sudden wave of vertigo seemed to crash over him and he flopped back down, his head landing on one of Kintaros' legs.

"The truth is, I wanted to spend more time with Kintaros-tachi. It's been a while, and I sort of...missed you guys," Ryoutaro continued. Kintaros gave the impression of smiling down at him.

"Any time, Ryoutaro," he replied, leaning back and propping himself up with his hands.