I haven't posted anything in over a year on this site xD. Derp. So. Uh. This is weird.
Written as a gift for Amanda (bluucircles on dA and most other places) :3.
It must have been the comforting atmosphere and the warm smell of coffee wafting around him that caused him to blurt it out.
"I'm going to ask Yolei to marry me."
It must have been the abrupt phrase and the quick stab to his soul that caused him to be speechless for the first time in his life. Ever.
The two men sat across from each other in the tiny café, clutching steaming mugs and doing everything in their power to avoid each other's eyes, but ultimately continuing to stare at each other, from shock, from disbelief, from waiting judgment.
Past the window next to them, people in thick coats hurried home or hurried to go out. Either way, no one was walking fast. It didn't help that a near blizzard was slowly but surely settling its soft hold over the city. Life went on, but the two men in the café continued a moment that was almost in slow-motion.
"Oh." Davis repeated again, fiddling with a spoon while another hand went to scratch at the back of his burgundy-tufted head. Strange, he had never really been at a loss for words before, but now, nothing was coming out of his mouth at all. At least, nothing worth saying. He could have asked whether or not Ken had hit his head this morning, or suggested he go the nearest eye doctor, but despite popular belief, the man had found time to learn tact since his more boisterous days of grade school.
Ken was still looking at him, practically without blinking. Davis would have to stall for time. Pushing his lips into a wide grin, he chugged down the rest of his boiling coffee, choking on it and his burning tongue shortly afterward. When the coughing and tears of pain streaming down his cheeks died down, Davis finally mustered up a response.
"Well, congrats, man!" He pushed away his empty mug with a grimace and looked back to the other man with another huge smile, "Can't say she's as cute as Kari, but hey, we can't win 'em all, right?"
Ken Ichijouji turned his lips up as well, relieved and… confused. He could have sworn that Davis would make fun of him for his idea. Somehow, when he had played the scene out in his head, it had never gone this way. Davis had always been angry with him. And yet there he was, nursing a scorched tongue and trying his best to look pleased while whimpering in pain. Good old Davis, always unpredictable, even when he was … predictable.
"Are you really okay with this?"
"Yeah!" Davis Motomiya leaned back in his seat, arms crossing behind his head, "Why wouldn't I be? I'm not one to stand between love! I mean, you love her, don't you?"
"Er. Of course I do! I mean…" The genius hesitated, "I think so."
Twelve entire years had passed since the end of their Digidestined days. The entire group, from himself to Cody, had gone back to growing up together. Middle school, high school, college, it had all whizzed by. Things changed, people moved. Then again, other aspects stayed the same. Every weekend was usually spent in the Digital World. Being twenty-five was strange, in a way. Adult, but still trying to carve a proper fate into their life.
Ken was no different. He was still going through training to become a private investigator. And now, apparently, get himself married. It hadn't really been until college that Ken had found himself in constant contact with Yolei Inoue, who went to the same university as him, and ended up in more than a few of the same classes and lectures.
He didn't know how it had happened. The eye rolls from Yolei's incessant chatter and the sighs of exhaustion at the sight of the girl began dying down. It got to the point that he had actually looked forward to her arrival, and even threw in compliments on how pretty she looked from time to time, finding delight in her blushes.
It had to be love, right? Or at least piqued interest. A crush. Something. God, he wasn't good at these things. To be fair, Ken had never been educated in the language of romance, but from all that he had read up on, it was certainly looked to be some sort of… attachment. So after a few dates, a gift of roses and chocolates, and lots of girly screaming and babbling, Ken decided to stop wasting time and just get it over with.
Marriage wasn't that hard, right?
He had decided to bring it up with Davis first, before he bought any rings or made permanent promises. They were best friends, after all, and friends were the best people to go to for advice. Not that he needed his approval, he just wanted to make sure and… why would Davis have a problem with it anyway? It's not like he ever had any interest in the girl, and it wouldn't tear a rift in their friendship and goddamnit, they were all friends! This was normal! People got married all the time! And…! Just…! Ugh! Where the hell was Wormmon at a time like this?
Obviously, the issue of marriage had yet to sink in or penetrate Ken's usually logical mind. And love, in all honesty, was the farthest thing from the man's understanding. That was Yolei and Sora's job. The rest of Ken's inner monologue degraded down to some frustrated grumblings as Davis finally pulled some words together.
"Don't tell me you came all the way out to New York to ask me that, though. That's what phones and D-Terminals are for, dude." He was still trying to wrap his mind around the imminent marriage, but for now, was playing it safe. And anyway, all this time, he had been assuming that the other man had come to the States to visit, not speak about his own personal romance problems. It was a bit insulting! After all, who wouldn't want to visit him?
In turn, Ken flushed, "Well. I mean, you told me that you were here expanding on your ramen cart business, right? And… I sort of needed the vacation."
The former goggle-wearer snorted, "Yeah, way to spring that on me without telling me, Ken. Geez. You just popped up out of nowhere."
Not less than two hours ago, Davis had been eagerly spreading 'joy and deliciousness' with his cart about Time's Square, arms flailing and Veemon harassing the nearest passers-by. Thankfully, New York wasn't too different from Tokyo. After some convincing, everyone bought noodles. Truly, there was a tried method to this. It wasn't easy, the going was still tough and business was slow at times, but he figured it would be worth it eventually.
Sure, it had been a few months since he had first moved here and very few noodles had been sold so far, but… if there was one thing Davis was, it was stubborn. And pretzels and hot dogs had nothing on his awesome noodles.
"Noodles! Noodles! Come get your noodles! Aw, c'mon, ma'am, you look too thin! Pack some meat on those pretty bones and get some noodles! Sir! Sir! Put that guitar down and get some noodles, why don't ya?!"
It wasn't until the evening, though, when the snow had started to slowly fall and the business owner had begun to close up shop, muttering something about 'damn skinny Americans' that he got his first customer of the day.
"Er, I'm sorry. Am I too late to purchase some noodles?"
Davis, disappointed with the lack of business, didn't even bother looking up from where he was shoving bowls back into his cart. One could only take so many failures in a day. Veemon had gone, too, when the pair of them had earlier squabbled over whose fault it was that the one fat woman had called the police on them after, supposedly, a comment had been thrown out by one of them that she probably could use some noodles for the baby.
"Lady wasn't even pregnant, don't know what Veemon was thinking… eh? No. Sorry, I'm closed." The burgundy-haired man grumbled, offhandedly debating to himself if he wanted to try business in the Bronx the next day. Some of the businesspeople walking by had told him to try selling noodles there instead. Then again, some of them had also told him to stick his noodles up his-… well. In any case, perhaps he would have to rethink where to try again tomorrow.
"But you're right there!" The voice outside insisted, "Couldn't you possibly just squeeze out another bowl before you close up completely?"
Davis hadn't been about to pay the probing stranger any more mind beyond his previous response, but the man was quite keenly but quietly demanding his attention. He frowned, "Listen, buddy. In any other case, I totally wouldn't mind, but I had a really bad day today and I just don't have the patience to deal with anything right now."
There was a pause. "Not even an old friend?"
Davis's usually slow-grinding gears thudded to a halt at that one. "Eh?" Dropping everything, the noodle maker stuck his head out from the cart where he had been sitting. Immediately, he was taken aback by the sight of who else but Ken Ichijouji standing outside amongst the white precipitation, bundled up in a coat, white scarf, and faintly smug grin. It was almost surprising that he hadn't recognized the other's soft but characteristic voice.
"Ken!" In his shock, Davis lost his grip and fell clean out of the noodle cart.
Back in the coffee shop now, the bruise-sporting Davis shook his head, "Seriously. You could have at least warned me before sneaking up like that."
"Sorry." Ken couldn't hold back a short laughter, "My trip here was a bit short notice."
"Yeah, I'd say." Davis went to pick up his coffee mug, only to remember that he had just downed the lot. The sting on his tongue had nearly died down. "I don't even have a present for you."
The blue-haired man could only blink in confusion, "Present? What present?"
"Dude, c'mon!" A look of something near outrage spread over the man's face, "This marriage thing has you completely out of whack. It's Christmas tomorrow, Ken!"
"… I see." It was obvious that the holiday had gone completely from his mind. Ken had completely even forgotten the date, let alone Christmas. He had, needless to say, more pressing matters on his mind. He smiled sheepishly, "Then I'm afraid I don't have a gift for you, either."
"Yeah, sure you do. That bomb of information about you marrying Yolei, I think, was more than enough."
Ken watched blankly as, to his surprise, Davis abruptly stood up, throwing money on the table to pay for the both of them before grabbing his jacket and stalking out of the coffee place.
"D-Davis? Where are you going?" His voice came out much more emotionally injured than he had wanted. It didn't help that even though his mental run-throughs of this meeting hadn't forseen the beginning, they always ended, more or less, in this sort of manner. And he would constantly be left alone at the table, uncertain of just why Davis was so furious at him.
"Sorry, I have to be somewhere." Funnily enough, Davis himself wasn't entire certain why he had just blown up at his friends was now walking out the door into a developing snow storm. His mind, which had shuddered to a halt who knows when, had suddenly stirred up until the gears were cranking at too many miles per hour.
Honestly, Davis himself had no idea what was running through his head or why he had acted like that. Even as his hand grasped the door handle and he pushed his way out, face getting hit with cold, and moving to storm past the very window where Ken continued to sit, staring with a hurt expression at the exit he had just walked through.
What the hell was he doing? Even now, he couldn't stop, continuing to sulk back to the parking garage where he had stowed away the noodle cart, hands anxiously running over the D3 and D-Terminal that were nestled in his pocket.
"I'm so… stupid!" He cursed, kicking at a pile of snow. Davis already knew he wasn't the brightest of guys, but that move had been pretty high on the list of stupid things he'd done. Including … that… and those… other events that he hadn't chosen to remember. For obvious reasons.
Speaking of reasons, Davis still wasn't exactly sure why he was still walking away from Ken in an angry state. Granted, he did always act before thinking, but now that he had acted, it was time to spare a few thoughts to the matter.
Annoyed. Betrayed. Those were some of the feelings that rose to the surface. The fact that Ken's forgetting Christmas had riled him up to that point. But whatever for? He was suddenly no better than Mimi or Yolei in the emotions department. He had absolutely no reason for it. In fact, he should have been happy for Ken. His friend was going to get married, he was going to start a family and be set for life.
I have no right to be angry. The snow crunched beneath his boots. The white swirled around him, but to blind eyes. He stopped, looking around. His meandering journey, without any notice, had carried him not to the parking garage, but near the large Christmas tree by the Rockefeller center. Sounds of laughter and general presence of happy people could be heard in the distance. With a shrug, Davis made his way toward the lights.
I can't control his life.
And yet. He felt jealous. Was he envious of Ken, of his pending happiness? Not exactly. Not at all, in fact. Whatever for? As if having a nagging wife and crying babies was all that great. But… then what? Yolei? Truly, there was no reason for him to feel ill-will towards the bride-to-be unless he was a former girlfriend who considered her to be stealing away his best friend and making a bond that should have belonged between him and Ken.
… Then again, perhaps it was just finally time to admit that he loved Ken. He knew he did. But Davis really hadn't expected to confront this again, tonight, of all nights. But the idea of Ken marrying Yolei had forced him into it. He had tried to keep himself neutral, to be happy for him. But by the end, Ken's keen desire for his approval of the match had proved too much.
His eyes traveled along each of the pinpricks of light bulbs, taking in the blues and reds, the blinking greens and yellows, before looking directly back up at the sky. As if on cue to ruin the pensive mood, a fat snowflake drifted directly into his eye.
"Ack, guh, damnit-!"
Perfect timing. Spinning on his heel, grunting and rubbing at his eye the whole way, the injured Davis turned to face Ken. And there was the man of the hour, indeed, face lit up by the Christmas lights, tucked up like a Christmas gift in his thick black coat and cute knitted scarf that matched too well with his navy-colored hair. God. He was adorable. Davis's tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth at those thoughts, but Ken promptly took advantage of the silence to step forward to press a wrapped box into his hands. White mittens on his hands, too.
"Here. I…" Was that a sprinkling of color in the man's usually pale cheeks? "I'm sorry for forgetting about Christmas. I got you this to kinda make up for it, but I'll understand if you're still mad at me."
Davis could barely keep the guilt from his voice. Or the embarrassment. He had been planning on starting up the conversation, but he had already forgotten what he had wanted to say. Especially with the image of Ken framed in holiday lights and snow standing right before him.
"Ken, you really didn't have to…"
"No. I wanted to." Ken said softly, "Open it."
"I-I didn't get you anything." Davis muttered sheepishly, turning the gift over in his hands. It was small, square, a plain white thing wrapped with a thick crimson ribbon. It felt light.
In her observation, though, he missed the smile on the blue-haired man's face. "That's alright. You don't need to get me anything. Just open it."
Swallowing back nervousness, Davis silently tugged the top off of the gift box.
… "It's a hat."
Indeed, a dark blue knit hat now lay from his hand, thick and warm. Ken smiled faintly, "I figured that since you don't wear your goggles anymore, you need something else to keep on your head. It looks kinda bare without it. Merry Christmas."
"Well. Thanks! It's great!" Davis wasted no time in shoving the hat onto his head, where it clashed terribly with his hair color but almost instantly flooded him with warmth that wasn't related to the thickness or wool material of the cap. He kept the prettily decorated box in his hand.
Then it was quiet again. Davis cleared his throat, "I'm sorry for storming out on you like that. I might have overreacted a bit there."
Ken merely shrugged, "It's ok. I'm just… still not sure why you left in the first place. What did I say to make you so upset?"
"Oh. Um." A hard question, "I mean, I'm not gonna lie, Ken. I'm happy for you and all, but I don't think you should marry Yolei. That's just my opinion."
"Why not?" Ken frowned, wondering why the man had had a change of heart since his jovial acceptance of the matter back in the café. "I thought you liked the idea."
"Well, I don't."
Annoyance entered his voice, "So you lied?"
Defense. "I didn't want to hurt your feelings!"
Irritation. "So storming off is your idea of not hurting my feelings?"
Frustration, "I just don't want to see you making this big mistake!"
Anger, "So you do have a problem with the marriage?"
"Of course I do!" Davis's grip on the empty present tightened to the point that his knuckles whitened and he finally exploded, "You're not supposed to be married to Yolei! You're just not, I know it!"
Ken, shocked into silence, attempted to interrupt, but the other plowed on, glowering into the snow at his feet.
"She just doesn't get you. You two don't fit together. She hasn't been at your side since day one. She hasn't backed you up, even though no one else trusted you. She was never your rival, your equal!" His hands began to shake, the gift box rattling faintly beneath his fingers, but despite that, Davis forced himself to finally look up at Ken, brown eyes hard with determination. In true form, like a snowball going downhill, his volume increased and all his thoughts fell into succession.
"She wasn't the one who invited you to your first sleep-over. She wasn't the one who pulled him out of darkness. Yolei didn't DNA digivolve with you. She didn't feel your heart beat alongside her own." The man slammed his fist into the right side of his chest, "And you know it."
Cheers promptly went off in Davis's heard, complimenting him on his excellent choice of words and adding that he was 'the man.'
Meanwhile, unable to hide the look of being completely taken aback by the speech-worth amount of words he had just been pummeled with, Ken stared for a moment. Thankfully, he was still a bit of a genius and had a quick recovery time, not allowing his friend to have the last say for too long.
"Would that also explain why you got angry when I forgot that it was Christmas tomorrow?" A quick check of his watch, "… Today?"
This was so typical, and yet so unusual. Davis being over the top and yelling. Ken being calm and taking everything in without as much as a fluster.
Caught off guard, Davis turned practically red as his face seized up with comical anger, a faint sign of normalcy, "No! I'm angry about that because Christmas is an important holiday! It was the first holiday I ever shared with you! It's the day all of us get together to celebrate, no matter where we are. I mean, there's other stuff too, but…"
Ken raised an eyebrow, "But what?"
"Stop asking all these questions!" Davis dug a hand into his hair from frustration, "I already told you everything! About how I feel about you and… well, you know, that… that…"
"That you love me." Ken finished smoothly, wafts of exhaled breath lingering by his lips as he spoke. Davis was stopped dead in his tracks.
"Well. I didn't really want to put it that way…"
Moving to sit down on a nearby bench, Ken still refused to betray his feelings for the matter at hand, to Davis' dismay. "But that's what you mean, isn't it?"
There was no faltering now. Davis took a deep breath and shrugged, sitting beside Ken. He was calm now, emotions all squeezed out, "Yeah."
They sat wordlessly a moment, watching a couple walk past, hands clasped and giggling softly at the snow falling in their hair. Their laughter faded into echoes as they left the area around the lit-up tree, though, leaving Ken and Davis alone again.
"You love me." Ken repeated then, voice matching the blanketing softness of white around them. The words felt so strange, rolling from his tongue into the snow pile at his feet. He had never really… spoken them in the context before. Especially not in relation with Davis. "Since when?"
Davis exhaled sharply, unsure whether or not to feel relieved that Ken didn't sound angry with him… yet. "Kari's Christmas party, senior year of high school."
"That specific?" Ken glanced over at the other man in surprise. The truth of the matter was that he wasn't even reeling from Davis's confession, currently. That he had been right all along in assuming that the man wouldn't approve of the marriage. Ken was just trying to wrap his mind around why he was so calm. If Kari or TK, someone completely unexpected, had done the same thing, he would have been out of his element. And yet there he was, accepting the facts like they were normal. Like they weren't a surprise to him.
Like he had been expecting those words all along.
Davis only looked thoughtful, still unable to read Ken's own mixed expression. "It was all kinda gradual, but that was when I figured it out. Remember Tai had hung up that mistletoe just to go after Sora?"
"Yes…" Now Ken had to stop and think about it, recalling back 7 years to the Kamiya household Christmas party. "Didn't you get drunk that night?"
Davis laughed, "No. I was pretending to, stumbling under that doorway every time you came around, hoping to kinda casually kiss you and make it look like an accident. Obviously, after spending a whole night trying to plant one on you, I'd have to be really stupid not to figure something out about myself. But I've always… liked you in one way or another. Just took a while."
"Why didn't you tell me? Why keep it secret?"
A reasonable question. Now Davis was avoiding eye contact, knowing that Ken was staring him down in that penetrable way he always did. He shrugged, feeling strangely relaxed for someone who had confessed their love, "I thought it was stupid at first. And I figured you wouldn't like it much, either. Maybe I was just waiting for the right time. Although…" He shook his head ruefully, "It looks like I waited too long."
All this time, Davis had been keeping emotions to himself. Something the whole Digidestined gang could attest was almost impossible for the usually outspoken leader. Ken bit his lip, unsure of what to do. On one hand, Davis sounded sincere, and his love didn't seem too… revolting. But what about Yolei?
At Ken's silence, Davis lifted pleading eyes, "Don't marry her, Ken. Don't do it."
"Why not?" Didn't he love Yolei? What had changed with Davis's confession that would prevent him from happily taking her hand in marriage? He was losing his cool. "Why shouldn't I?"
The burgundy-haired man's voice lowered into pleading. This was the moment now, to convince him. His last chance. If this didn't work, he would lose him to Yolei. "Because you don't belong together! It's just… wrong."
"How do you know that? How would you know?" Ken bit out, irritated by his own confusion. He thought he loved Yolei. Had been confident on it. But Davis's anger, his disapproval, his confession had knocked Ken from his own pedestal and straight-forward future. "Do I belong with you, then?"
Somehow, though all the words between them, their eyes continued to swim around each other without ever meeting. They met then.
Ken wavered, but was trapped in the gaze. He felt his face heat up slightly as his pulse increased. "You waited all this time. Couldn't you have said something sooner? It's too late for this now, Davis."
"I know I'm an idiot. I know. But it's not too late. Give me a chance. I know you don't love Yolei. Let… let me prove it to you." The falter in Davis's voice seemed to split the atmosphere in two. Despite his act of confidence, the usually courageous man was just as nervous, anxious. And that made Ken even less certain about what he wanted.
Typical Davis. It took little for the man to turn things on their heads and change everything.
"How? How can you prove anything to-"
Oh. That was how.
Davis didn't know what he was doing. He didn't know any other way to convince him. So he just… did it. Sticking to his 'act first, think later' guns, Davis had inched forward and, without warning, slipped a hand into the knot of a scarf at Ken's neck, gently tugging the man into himself until their lips touched gently. It felt… real. Normal. Blissfully simple, with a soundtrack of his heart thudding in his ears.
And for a moment, there was nothing but the feeling of soft warmth, the sound of snow falling, the dry taste of shock, the sensation of sweaty palms and a stomach dropping down to the toes. The soft descent of eyelids. The slow departure, but thud of a forehead resting against his.
"Don't marry her, Ken." Whispers floated between their lips, Davis's eyes still shut tightly, "Please."
"Davis…" Gently, Ken detached the other man's fingers from his scarf and pulled back, but Davis just as quickly caught his hands in his.
"I love you." He said, firm, no longer fearing consequences. And Ken, who was already opening his mouth to respond to tell Davis that he needed to think about this, figure out something logical, heard nothing of the sort when he actually spoke. Without realizing, his vocal cords had other ideas.
Probably something about the way that Davis was now so sure of himself. The leader, what he said, in the end, they all followed. And Ken … just realized he was right. Completely, for once. About everything. It made sense. Why he had always imagined Davis reacting poorly to his marriage idea. Why he had wanted his approval. Why he had desperately looked all over for something to buy for the man as a gift to make up for his blunder. Why now, confessions done, he felt so… at ease.
Goddamnit, he loved the idiot. So he had to say something. The appropriate response, right? The unfamiliar phrase felt… foreign.
"I lo-… -ve… y-y." Ken heard himself say, as if from far away. Or, at least, try to say. Words were somehow getting stuck in his throat at the most inopportune times. He opened his eyes to see Davis staring at him.
"You sound so weird when you say that."
The Ichijouji almost chocked, "Wh-what!? What do you mean, weird? I haven't even said it yet."
He was rewarded with a wide smile from Davis, who extended a hand to ruffle the top of his head, "I know. You love me, too."
Right. That. Well, he would have to try again later. Ken frowned. "Hmph. You're impossible. If you had told me this sooner, we could have avoided this whole dilemma."
"Well, maybe if you hadn't gotten the crazy idea to marry Yolei, we wouldn't have had this problem in the first place! What made you think you wanted to do that?"
Ken's brow furrowed thoughtfully. It was a good question, to be sure. "Honestly? I don't even know anymore. I had been hanging out with her more than anyone else in the group. Maybe I had just gotten used to her. Maybe something else. But considering how quickly you made me drop the matter… I guess there was nothing substantial to it, anyway."
"Yeah, you probably just tried to use her to replace me, since you missed me so much." Davis replied airily. Ken couldn't help but roll his eyes,
"I'm glad to see your ego is unharmed, Davis."
Ken gently scooted closer to Davis until their shoulders touched. The burgundy-haired man smiled softly to himself, "Looks like I ended up giving you a present after all."
"What, preventing me from marrying Yolei?"
Trying not to look too pleased with himself, Davis had to work hard to suppress the grin, "More or less."
"No." Chuckling, Ken reached up to lazily push the other's hat harder down on his head, "I think you got me something a little better than that."
"Yeah. I know." Davis couldn't hold back the grin now, "Endless supply of tasty noodles! I'm just too nice."
Romance, exit stage left. "That and a headache."
"Aw, man, but wait 'till T.O hears about this. He's gonna be so jealous!"
Davis could no longer hid his elation. Beaming, he looped his fingers over Ken's mittened ones and pulled him to his feet, eagerly dragging him away. With a soft laugh, the blue-haired man allowed himself to get tugged, grinning as they made their way through the night-time bustle of New York. He had come here with an idea of marriage and a vacation.
And now he was going to stay, a prolonged vacation, with a man he had loved since, thinking back on it, the day that he had secretly wanted the man to kiss him while he had passed under the mistletoe multiple times on purpose. It had taken Ken 7 years, but he had gotten that kiss eventually. And it had been a good one.