A Crumb's Worth

1: Thinking

I do not own Digimon.

A formal dance was coming up in a few weeks and Takato had his heart on asking Jeri to it.  He knew he wanted to take her somewhere special the day became friends.  They were growing closer each day.  Takato, however, felt some distance between them. As if there wasn't anything she was telling him, or anyone else.  She had a good job of hiding it whatever it was.  Still Takato thought Jeri already knew she could tell him anything.  Takato was very concerned for Jeri.  For days, he wondered how he was going to take Jeri to this special event, how he was going to ask her.  It wasn't that he was nervous or shy.  He was never nervous around Jeri.  He felt so calm, just so good when he was around her and he could tell her anything that was on his mind.  It had to be a special, creative, not just the usual, "hey, wanna go?" That would probably be Kazu or Ryo's way of asking a girl out, but not Takato.  Not when he was planning on taking Jeri--The one girl he grew closer to than anyone.  He wanted to ask her in a way that she'd remember.  He just had to, when she had been through so much.

Takato looked over at Jeri in homeroom--history.  It was the one class he had with her.  He had Henry and the other guys in his gym class.  In his math class there was Rika and Ryo, and Henry, and Kazu was in the same English class as him.  In his art class, he was alone. 

Jeri was seated far across the room.  Takato groaned.  'Stupid seating assignment,' he thought.  They weren't always separated like this.  She used to be seated right behind him.  All the time, they'd talk about anything and everything.  The teacher moved Jeri because they talked too much, too loud and not of history mostly.  Jeri also helped Takato on every assignment.  Takato found himself staring at Jeri. He just couldn't' help it.  As he was looking at her, she was doing what every student should be doing at school--working.  She had one hand over her book and she wrote down her notes into her notebook.  Here hair fell down into her eyes and Takato just wanted to push it back behind her ears.  If it weren't for the new seating arrangement, he would have.  So what if they talked too much.   She was his friend.  Aren't friends supposed to be able to talk, any time, anywhere?  He hated that someone interfered in being near her.

Jeri felt someone eyes on her and she looked over at Takato.  Of course, she didn't have to look anywhere else because she was certain it was Takato.  He was the only boy she believed would find interest in a kooky girl like her.  When Jeri's eyes met Takato's, he leaned back and waved.  She smiled faintly and continued jotting down her notes.  Takato tried to work on his own notes, but he couldn't. 

Takato had to find a cool way to ask her out.  The dance was next week and other guys already had dates. Takato wanted everything to be perfect.  Jeri deserved it.  Takato almost had an idea and then, the bell rang and the idea left his head before it even came.

'Darn!' he wanted to say as he gathered his books and put them in his backpack.  He glanced at Jeri and she was beginning to walk out of the door.  But it was strange because they always left history class together, even after the teacher moved Jeri.  He hurried to get up to her. "Jeri, wait up!"

Jeri looked over her shoulder, "Takato."

"Hey, wait for me."  He came to her side and put his arm around her shoulders.  "I'll walk to you to your next class."

"Takato, it's in a different hall than yours," she told him.  "And mine is just a few rooms down.  It's no big deal, really.  I can get to chemistry just fine."

"That never stopped me before."

"You'll be late."

"Not if we hurry," he said, grinning.  He kept his arm around her shoulders and they continued to her next class.  "So, is it okay if I stop by your family's restaurant tonight?"

"Tired of bread?" she teased.

Takato tried to hide his blushing, "well, yeah."

"I just think it's our famous sandwiches and milkshakes you like," she smiled. 

"Will you be there?" he questioned, "tonight I mean?"

"Of course," she replied.  "I'm there a lot."

"Well, good," Takato said.  "I'll see you there then."

"Sure," Jeri whispered.  "See ya."

Takato patted her shoulder as she stepped into her chemistry class.  Jeri smiled.  "You might wanna run to your PE class."

Takato waved and went to his next class.  He had just one minute until the bell rang and he needed to be dressed down before it rings.  As he got into the gym, he broke into a run to the locker room and he passed the teacher, who gave him an unhappy look.  Takato pulled off his backpack and started to do the combination to his lock.

"You're late, Takato," muttered an already dressed Henry, leaning against his locker with crossed arms.  He was never tardy for any class.

"I am not," Takato said, opening his locker and pulling off his shirt.  "The bell hasn't rung yet."  He took off his leather shoes.

"It will in just few seconds," Kenta noted.

"You have to be dressed down before it rings," Henry said and the bell rang.  A lot of the boys that were already dressed walked out into the gymnasium.

"Oh, you do?" questioned a bare-chested Kazu.  "WHOOPS!" He broke out into high laughter. 

"So, what took you, Takato?" Henry demanded.

"I walked Jeri to her next class," Takato replied as if Henry shouldn't have asked.  "I always do.

"Ah, how sweet, Takato!" Ryo teased.

Takato glared at Ryo and put on his PE shorts.

"No wonder you're always late," Kazu commented, grinned and winked.

"Kazu!" Takato gasped.  "It wasn't like that…"

"Sure…and I just walk Teresa, Bambi and all those other chicks to their class too."  He nodded, "Anything you say, Takato."

Kenta raised an eyebrow and Kazu's remark and shook his head.  "You do walk her to next class a lot.  What is it, chemistry? It's just a few rooms down from your history class."

"I know," Takato said, "but, I just like doing it.  Besides, we don't have much time to talk to each other now that Mr. Hirokei split us apart."

"Oh, no!" Kazu gasped.  "No more staring contests for you, Takato!"

"Kazu, cut it out!" Takato roared.

"I'm going out before Mr. Ishida makes me do extra pushups," Henry muttered, walking by them.

"Oh, I don't know, Henry," Kazu joked, "You can sure use 'em."

Henry made a face and walked on out to the gym.  Ryo followed, "I'll tell Mr. Ishida you guys will be out in a sec."

"Thanks," Takato said.

"I don't think you should walk her to chemistry anymore, Takato," Kenta said. 

"Why not?" Takato demanded.  "I can just hurry to PE."

"Well, I mean…you can walk out with her after history.  Her Chemistry class isn't even on the way here."

"For once, I can agree with Kenta," Kazu said, pulling on his PE shirt.

"Hey!" Kenta shouted. 

"I mean, how are you supposed to explain to Mr. Ishida that you're late all because of a girl?"

"All I did was walk Jeri to her next class!" Takato snapped, putting on the last PE articles, his tennis shoes. "Besides, I think there's something bothering Jeri."

"What do you mean?" Kenta asked.  "I never picked up on anything."

"Kenta, that's because you know nothing about girls."  Kazu said.

Kenta face-faulted.  "Wh-what?!  Well, I bet you didn't notice anything about Jeri, either!"

"Men, out now!"  Mr. Ishida ordered.  "Before I make you do extra laps!  PLACES!"

"Coming, Mr. Ishida!" Kenta shouted as he, Kazu and Takato hurried out of the locker room.  Takato stepped on his untied shoelaces and tripped.

"Ow!" he shouted.  "Dang…forgot to tie my shoes!" He got up to tie them and followed Kenta and Kazu out.  Just as Takato got out of the locker room, Mr. Ishida stepped in front of him.

"Mr. Masuta, is there a reason why you're always late to class?" he demanded.

"I always come in before the bell rings," Takato said innocently.

"That may work for your other classes," the teacher went on, "but not for gym class.  You must be dressed down before the bell rings and I don't even want to see your shoelaces untied, understood?"

"Y-yes sir."

"Now to your spot for warm ups."

"Yes sir."

Takato went to his spot, behind Henry.  Henry turned around.  "So, what Mr. Ishida want?"

"Why I'm late to class."

"Did you tell him?"

Takato shook his head. 

"For what it's worth," Henry said, turning back around, "I think Jeri will understand if you don't walk her to chemistry anymore."

"Yeah," Takato mumbled, "maybe."

"Jumping jacks!" the teacher ordered.  "1-2--"

Continuing the rest of class, Takato wondered about Jeri.  Though he was doing everything in class like he should, running, jumping jacks, pushups, hockey, it was not like he was there.  His body was, but his mind was somewhere else.  Maybe she will understand if he didn't walk her to class anymore, but he didn't want her to be alone anymore than what was needed.  Something wasn't right.  What was bothering Jeri? And why wasn't she telling Takato?

He had to wait until lunch to see her again and that was hours away.

"Whoa, what a work out!" Ryo cried, throwing his arms in the air.  "Huh?"  He smelt his armpit.  "Man…I need a shower."

"Race ya," Kazu challenged, ripping off his shirt. 

"You're on."

Kazu and Ryo made a race into who can take their clothes off the fastest. 

"What's up, Takato?" Kenta asked, sitting on a bench to take off his shoes.

"Huh?"  Takato mumbled.  "What?  Kenta, did you say something?"

"Are you okay?" Kenta questioned.

"Yeah, sure."

"Well, you have been acting like you've been somewhere else," Henry said, taking off his shirt.  "What's the matter?"

"I win!" Ryo shouted, running to the showers with a towel in hand.

"No way, you cheated!" Kazu shouted.  Takato shook his head as Kazu and Ryo went to the showers. 

"Henry, Jeri's in your math class, right?"

"Yeah.  Algebra 1."

"I hate Algebra," Kenta muttered.

"Have you, um, ever noticed something different about her?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, do you sit next to her?" Takato asked.

"No, she's in the same row as I am.  I'm in the back and she's in the front."

"So, has she said anything to you?" Takato asked, taking off his shirt to apply deoderate.  He didn't perspire enough to take a shower now and he'd just take one when he got home.  He wanted to make sure what was bothering Jeri.

"Like what?"

"Is there something bothering her?" Takato asked.  "I'm worried about her."

Henry shrugged, "well, she works hard.  And she says hi to me in every class.  So if there is something bothering her, she is doing a heck of a job covering it up."

"Jeri's in my creative writing class," Kenta said suddenly.

"She is?" Takato gasped.

"Yeah.  But like I said earlier, I haven't noticed a difference in Jeri."

"Are you sure?"

"Well," Kenta said, "we did have to write a sad poem for class and read it aloud.  Jeri's well, was very sad.  She must be a very good poet or something must really be bothering her."

"What was it about?"

"Leomon's death?" Henry suggested.

"No, I don't think anyone would understand that," Kenta said.  "Her poem was about, well, being alone, helpless and suicide."

"She wrote a suicidal poem?!" Takato shrieked.

"Or maybe it was just death."  Kenta added quickly.  "I am not exactly sure.  Her poem made me cry."

"I don't Jeri would write something so sad," Henry said, "even if she is.  She doesn't want anyone to worry about her."

"Yeah, but something's not right," Takato whispered.  "There's something she's holding back but--I thought she already knew she could tell us anything."

"If you want me to," Kenta said, "I can ask for a copy of her poem. I have her next period."

"You could?"

"Yeah, sure."

"I'll talk to her," Henry said, "maybe it's just schoolwork or something."

"WHOO!" Ryo yelled, walked out of the showers with a towel around his waist.  "That was good.

"Ryo, you wouldn't happen to have Jeri in any of your classes," Takato asked, "would you?"

"No," he replied, "why?"

"Takato thinks there's something bothering her," Henry answered for him.

"Maybe she's still not over Leomon's death," Ryo shrugged.

"Yeah," Kazu added, stepping behind Ryo.  "And being possessed with the D-Reaper.  That would leave anyone not feeling the same."  He shrugged, "but I have her in study hall and she's never told me anything."

"I'm sure Jeri's fine," Kenta said.  "If there was something wrong, she'd tell us."

"Yeah," Takato mumbled.  "Sure.  I hope so."

The bell rang for the next period and the boys left for their next classes.  Just like Kenta had told Takato, he was going to get a copy of Jeri's poem.  As soon as Jeri walked in and sat down, Kenta got up from his desk, walked to hers and squatted down. 

"Hey, Jeri," Kenta said, "remember those poems we read in class last week?"

Jeri nodded.

"Well, I thought it was very moving and I wanted to know if you can give me a copy."

Jeri raised an eyebrow then smiled.  "Um, sure, Kenta. Why not?"  She opened her folder and pulled it out.  "I have it saved on my computer anyway."

"Thanks, Jeri," Kenta said, looking it over.  It was entitled:"Better Alone"

"I think you should send it somewhere," Kenta suggested.


"Yeah, it's very good."  Kenta said.  "Maybe it can get published, you never know."

"Yeah, maybe," Jeri said, "but I don't know if I want everyone to know…"

"Know what?"

Jeri sighed, "nothing."

"Huh?" Kenta mumbled, "Jeri, is there something that happened to you that made you write this poem?"

"We had to write something sad."

"I know, but this poem, it's too sad." Kenta said.  "Is there anything wrong?"


"You sure?"


"You'll let me know if there's anything I can help, right?"


Kenta got up and went to his seat.  He read her poem over.

Better Alone

Everyone keeps disappearing on me.

Is it because I pushed them away?

Or they just wanted to be free?

What could I have done to make them stay?

Sometimes I wonder who I really am.

Am I really me, or someone else?

I feel so helpless.

So alone.

Maybe I am better off alone.

If everyone keeps disappearing.

And if it would help,

Maybe I should disappear too.

And find out where everyone went.

Kenta bit his lip and wiped his eyes.  He remembered how sorrowful the poem was now.  How was he going to show this to Takato?