Despite the schedule that he had adopted through the years, Takato was thankful when his parents gave him a day off from helping at the store from time to time. His first thought was to always meet with Guilmon, and that's exactly what he did this particular autumn day.
Winter was still months off, but the days were still relatively cold in the wake of September. October was around the corner, and soon, June would come again. He'd be fifteen then, but he wasn't crossing Xs or circling dates on calendars.
Not anymore, at least.
Admittedly, Takato didn't expect everything to go back to how it was- at least, not like this. Something was missing. Something in the back of his mind nagged him about Guilmon, and what Henry said all those months ago about the Digital World's apparent destruction.
If the Digital World had been destroyed nearly a year ago, how was Guilmon able to come back?
"… Takato?" Guilmon's voice called out to him.
Shifting from the spot where he was sitting down on the knoll, he looked down at his best friend.
Guilmon looked the same as ever, but he couldn't shake the feeling that there was something more- Something that Guilmon was keeping from him. Maybe it was just his imagination?
Or was it?
"You've been really quiet."
"Oh." Takato said dumbly. After a moment, he laid back down on the knoll, and heaved a sigh. "Sorry, I'm just thinking, that's all."
"Thinking about what?" Guilmon asked with a curious voice.
The clouds are billowing and puffy, and the breeze is gently warm. It's a perfect autumn day; he and Guilmon should be enjoying it instead of just sitting around on a hillside, but aren't because of his indecision. And Takato knows it.
Guilmon's probably waiting for him to go on and say something interesting. The only problem with this, is that he has no idea what to say at this point.
"Well… everything, I guess." He mumbles, quite unsure of himself or what he's saying. He stares into the sky, ignoring the brightness of the sun in the corner of his eyes.
He doesn't want to admit it, but he knows that they're not as close as they used to be.
"Hey, Guilmon?" He finds himself calling out, and he still doesn't know why.
"Is it scary for you?"
"What would be scary?" Again, there's that innocent voice of his, but Takato can see it in his eyes- Guilmon's worried.
"The more that I think about it, I'm not so sure." Takato replied with a nostalgic look. "Then again, since when are you ever afraid? You're the one who said being afraid is pointless. 'It's like skating on sausages'." He recited.
"You remember that?" Guilmon asked, mildly surprised if anything.
Nodding, Takato went on. "Of course I do. You're the one who taught me how to be brave."
"You give me way too much credit," Guilmon murmured with a shake of his head. "Everything I learned back then was from you, Takato."
Learned. Past-tense. While Takato wondered what new things he had learned in his absence, he left the subject alone.
"But it's true," He shrugged. "You were, and still are the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"… You too, Takato."
"Now that I really think about it, there's a lot I don't know." Takato decides to continue despite how childish he must seem right now. The more he thinks about it, being honest is probably the only way he'll get answers. "I mean, if it's like that for me, I can barely imagine what you're thinking right now. Everything must really be different, right? Well, not really," He added thoughtfully. "Shinjuku's the same as ever. From the people to its sights… it's all the same."
At this, Guilmon shakes his head again. "That's not true."
"What makes you say that?"
"Is that bad?" He sits up with a anxious expression, looking to his best friend for some kind of answer.
"No," He murmurs kindly, with a maturity that Takato didn't notice before. "You're growing up, Takato."
"… You're not just saying that because I'm taller now, right?"
"Of course not, silly." Guilmon laughs, and Takato can't help but slip out a chuckle because of it.
"Well, if it counts, you've really grown up too, Guilmon." He smiles nostalgically. "I can still remember when you were just a baby." At this, he looks down, and his smile falls.
"No, it's nothing." He shakes his head, trying to give his best friend a reassuring smile. "I know I've probably said this a million times by now, but I'm just really happy that you're back, Guilmon."
But of course, that's a lie. Takato's more than just happy- he's horribly anxious because of the rift that seems to be in between them. Despite them sitting side by side, it's as if the two of them are separated by miles-
And Takato hates that.
He's always had the strangest feeling that Guilmon only came back out of obligation- that he came back because he had to, not because he wanted to. Every time Guilmon looks at the world- his world- Takato isn't so sure of what he sees. Before, he seemed to know everything that went through Guilmon's head because they were so close.
Now, he's not so sure.
For a moment, Guilmon looks at him strangely. With a puzzled expression, Takato opens his mouth to say something, just as Guilmon speaks again.
"Well, I don't think it's nothing." His best friend declares, and subsequently startles him.
"...Because it's good to be home."
Relieved, Takato pulls his best friend into a hug without another word.
Maybe, that rift was slowly, but surely closing.