Smiling Mask

By: Flamegaruru

FG: Again, the world of fiction has another Rukato added to its base!

Ruki: Oh my gosh…

Takato: Partaaaaaaaaaaaattttyyy!

Ruki: -_____________-' *sigh*

FG: Well, I have to give a speech before I start and I have to do the disclaimer, so you two get the show on the road with a summary.

Takato: Okay. This is an angst-filled ficcie about one of the tamers and it is so twisted, it could be licorice!

Ruki: Goggle-head…

Takato: ^______^' Right. So, this is based on Serena's poem 'Smiling Mask' which, might I add is included in this story. Hee hee. There is even a smidgen of Rukato in here.

Ruki: Think of this as a tag-along companion to 'Never Again'. So this story is dedicated to…

FG: Serena. She knows it and what I said to her the other day. J What a good friend! Also this is dedicated to Shrub, Digidestined of Courage, Babyflare, Outcast Angel, Daisukefire, and War Pikamon! Woo-hoo!

Takato: *sigh* Time for the speech.

Okay. I do realize that Rukato has a very low chance of coming true. I have heard rumors that the ending is Jurato. I have my reasons for liking this couple and choosing to write about them. Keep in mind that this is a work of FICTION and it will forever stay that way. Especially since I know Toei never cuts me any slack. I ask all readers to review nicely, and no flames. As a fellow writer/reviewer, I have the utmost respect for others and if I do not like the fic, I will not review. I owe that to them. So, if you do not like Rukato or my story, I suggest that you click the back button on your browser and forget this story.

Disclaimer: I own Rika's shades! Hahahahahahahaha! And Ruki owns her olde tyme brasse knuckles. I hopefully own the plot, and my friend Serena owns the poem 'Smiling Mask'. Everything else belongs to those big powerful Japanese owners of Digimon ©.

How long must I keep this act up?

Until when can I keep my mask

And secretly shed my tears?

The night breeze nipped at my ears as I walked down the deserted path, but I did not care. Winds with mighty, powerful gusts, whipped its way across my face, strewing my hair across my eyes. I stopped and patiently brushed away the hair that impaired my vision. Then I set back on my way.

I do not know why I have come this way; silently my sneakers tread on the soft earth. Perhaps some unknown force has beckoned me here? An ominous omen? I smile wryly at the thought. I, as with my other companions, have all had our fair share of danger, malevolence, the kind like that. It would be as no surprise to me if that were the reason I was here. Yet, it was not that.

Unlike most people I know, I act on emotions. I looked up, my eyes wandering the raven black sky dotted with bright, shining stars. To others, I am the symbol of stars; hope, courage, bravery. Oh, if they only knew. There is always more to the picture. My picture. My mask.

When shall I be able to break free?

To be able to show who I really am

To know that the smiling face outside

Is just a cover for the deep pain within?

Slowly setting my mass down onto the soil, I sigh a melancholy sigh. The cool bark next to my back feels somewhat soothing. I close my eyes and wish for other worlds to engulf me, to bring me back to the good days filled with laughter, fun, danger, and…

I fervently shake my head. There is no reason to dwell on the past. What is done is done. Where was I? Oh yes, on my pitiful journey of self-despair. Oh woe is I, I almost forgot. Where did I ever pick up that sarcasm? Hmmm.

I am a relatively good kid; sure I get into trouble occasionally, but what kid doesn't from time to time? From my teachers I've heard this endless sermon being preached to other students, but not to me. No; I was the good kid, always happy and carefree. I could never have problems. My life never had any bumps. Nope. None at all.

Kids have, shall I say, issues? Yes, issues. Well they have them from time to time. These could result from parents like, divorce, abuse, negligence, alcohol, drugs, and things like that. Other times it could be from peers or friends, which is, I believe the most common. Whatever the reason, the kid should get help. Sure.

So I have problems. Why can't I? Just because I'm the ever-cheerful one, doesn't always mean that I am cheerful. Why then do I act that way? I toy with a piece of cool grass. I suppose it is because they need me to.

I try tirelessly

Hoping to find the solution

To end this lie

They wouldn't understand anyway, I think as I heave myself up and head towards the wracking sobs protruding into my guilt trip. I stuff my hands into my pockets as I get ever so nearer to the pain-filled cries of anguish.

Of course, I silently think to myself. It is Juri. She has said before that she was feeling down. I wonder if she knows that we both have that in common? I shake my head to clear away the incessant hormones and head over to the spot where her tears flow. Well now, I think to myself, time to put it on.

She looks up at me; I force a smile and sit down next to her. I console her as she leans onto my arm. Her tears are soaking my shirt, but I do not care. It has been soaked before by tears. It is nothing new.

Juri tilts her head sideways up at me so she can see my face. I suppose you don't know what it is like to have your heart torn and bleeding, do you, she asks of me. My smile turns sad. That was all the answer she needed. Her head permeates warmth onto my shoulder and after a few more moments of silence, she gets up, leaving me on the ground. She silently thanks me for a being a friend and walks off.

I am concerned about her; what kind of friend would I be if I weren't? But I continued to sit in the refreshing shade of the tree. At times like this, one needs to be alone. I can understand that.

Yet, I can't

For I shall be another one of them

Those of whose hearts are already broken and bleeding

And those who needs a smile once and then

I lean back into the tree and let my mind wander for several seconds. And I ponder. I ponder why I am this way. Why I have my smile when it is my heart that is broken inside. Why I must be the refuge for others when, in truth, I am the one actually needing them. And I stare at the stars deliriously. So pretty…like…

A few pops as I stand up. I blink. Wasn't that bone-popping thing supposed to happen to old people? I am only an adolescent; am I maturing too quickly? Doubt it. I roll my eyes at my stupidity and start walking down the path, out of the park, and onto the silent street, deserted, pray tell for a marauding cat.

Another sigh escapes my lips as I continue to tread onwards to my destination. I must be experiencing one of those moments that I have heard many a people talk about. Teen angst or something like that. Puh, I roll my eyes and continue onward. If it is teenager problems, why haven't they gone away? Or why they have even started in the first place?

I wonder as I wander. I have no inkling why I am this way. My parents are fine; they love me and I love them. My friends and peers are all great, although Hirokazu can still be annoying as a mosquito, he is still a good friend. My mind plays over all the times my friends and I have shared…then it happens upon that night…not too long ago, when I first saw…

My eyes pop as another possibility for my despair leaps into my head. Could I be having love sickness? Hah, I laugh derisively out loud. A passerby looks strangely at me, and I bow my head and blush, keeping on my way.

Me? Lovesick? That's rich. The house is within sight now.

Maybe I'm just sad because I just, am. Why does there even have to be a reason? Sure I miss my friend, but I have him in my heart…forever…

I approach the gate, and it opens, as if its resident was waiting, expecting, me…

I provide the smiles

And I brush away their tears

Whilst I quietly shed my own

Underneath this happy fool's mask

Her violet eyes bore into mine. She steps inside, a silent way of letting me inside. I follow her to the back porch where we sit down next to each other, quietly taking in the night sky. After a few seconds, she returns her gaze to me. I can feel her eyes on mine, and I feel the heat beginning to rise in my cheeks. Immature baka, I tell myself.

She stares, her gaze penetrating. Finally blinking she asks me what the problem is. I let out a soft chuckle. Am I that obvious? She continues to sit, waiting, waiting…

I'm not ready to answer her question quite yet. I tear my gaze from the iridescent stars and shift my eyes to her shirt, her heart…She follows my gaze and we look at each other for a few seconds before blushing and turning away. It seems she remembers the time in the tunnel just as clearly as I do.

I feel the heat of her hand rest on my shoulder. The redness dissipating from my cheeks, I turn to look at her. Her violet eyes staring into my own amber ones are more than I need. I lean onto her shoulder and I cry. I cry for my friend, who is gone, perhaps even forever. I cry for Juri, for her pain. I cry for her, her pain, and the broken heart she had. I cry for myself, for reasons there is none. Just for crying. And I cry, just because I need to.

Her hand strokes my shaggy hair, over and over. And I continue to cry. I wish I would stop; I am making her shirt all wet. We sit like that for a few more minutes, when my eyes finally ran dry.

It's all right, she whispers into my ears. I wonder as I tilt my head parallel to hers; I wonder if it can be all right. So I ask her, even though I know she cannot give a perfect answer.

Her rhythmic breathing continues as she contemplates. I marvel at her calmness, her serenity, and her beauty. Immediately I chide myself for those kinds of thoughts in this situation. Her eyes revert back to mine.

Sometimes we do not know why we feel bad, she begins. And sometimes we may never know exactly why. Her eyes turn soft as she continues to stare. The important thing is, we can fix our hearts, even though they may be shattered, broken and bleeding. You taught me that, she gives a little grin and I thought I caught a glimpse of a blush.

She turns me so that we are face to face. From time to time we may feel bad, and that's what the tears are for, although I won't let people see my cry; her eyes roll. What I learned from you is that life is special, every minute of it. One of her rare smiles pops up, shining brightly at my face. That's why we must try to enjoy every minute of life, and if it's not acceptable, well, she makes a fist, you make it good.

I couldn't help it; I laughed. That attitude, just like her. She smiles back at me.

" So, goggle-head, are you just going to sit there and wallow in self-pity, or are we going to talk?"

I stare at Ruki, my eyes brimming again once more. I think I'm ready to enjoy life again, for Guilmon's sacrifice would mean nothing if I just felt pity for myself. I stop smiling and stare at Ruki. Worlds, I never noticed things about her before until now. How her attitude has changed, how she smiles that beautiful smile even more, her shirt, although I spotted that one right away.

I leap up, thus startling Ruki. Her eyes become wide as I pull her up and twirl around, making our way down to the grass. She smiles broadly; I return it with one of my own. Panting, we sit down on the grass. I lie down on my back and Ruki follows suit.

Odd, I think to myself as I stole a glance at Ruki. Odd how one person can change your mood. Well, I'm glad she did.

" You know, Ruki," I say to her. Her gaze shifts to mine. " I used to feel a space in my heart, and now…I don't feel it. Why do you think that is so?"

Ruki stares at me for a few more seconds. " I suppose it is because sometimes all we need is just to talk to someone."

We continue in silence for a few moments before Ruki returns her gaze to the night sky, glittered with all those brilliant shining stars.
" Hey, goggle-head, why don't you see me more? Ever since Guilmon and the others returned to their world, I haven't seen you. Too good for me, eh?" An elegant eyebrow is raised as I blush.

" Oh, just wallowing in self pity. I really didn't have time to fit you into my schedule," I jokingly reply, while she playfully smacks my arm. " Although if you wish, your highness, I could try to fit you in."

" I think I would enjoy that, goggles."

" Me too."

As she turns her head away from mine, I continue to stare. Kami-sama, I thought as I blush, maybe I am in love!

After an hour or so of talking, I head on home. Ruki waves to me and then stops, blushing. She then makes a quick retreat into her house. I grin a bit. I think of how lucky I am to have her, and others, as my friends. Feeling much better than before, I put my hands in my pockets, swing my legs goofily in front of me and head on to home.

Unknown by no one

That I, too

Bleed from a wounded heart

Just hidden behind a smiling mask…

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Kami-sama= higher beings, gods as they may call them

Baka= fool, idiot

~Flamegaruru~