Word Count: chapter: 2,938||story: 43,983
It sits there glimmering at me, like a gift from the gods. Or at least a really awesome friend who is almost like a god. I almost want to just stare at it for a few minutes, to be certain that it doesn’t vanish or run away. It’s food! Real food! Not hospital food! I only look at it for a few seconds more, then tear into it as quickly as I can, wanting it to be digesting before any doctors or nurses can come and try to take it away from me. Hikari hasn’t been gone more than ten minutes before V-mon and I finish up everything. I lean back, the most content smile I can possibly have on my face. “Wow. Thanks, Ken.”
“It was my pleasure,” he tells me with a smile. He pets Wormmon gently, and it's the weirdest thing in the world to hear a caterpillar purring. Or at least some people would think that. Helps not to be some people sometimes. After all, I have a dragon that purrs a lot, but breathing fire isn’t exactly his speciality. “Did you want to start on your homework?”
I make a face. It's a very good face, actually. I've had a lot of practice, so most of my faces are good. “Not really. But I probably should anyway.” I didn't really think the school would let me get away from homework for long anyway. I was right, too. I just didn't think they'd sink so low as to ask Hikari to bring it to me. That’s so low! It’s uncalled for! It’s just vile!
Heh, that's one of the words Ken uses. He's rubbing off on me, I think. I bet he'd agree if I asked him. Maybe I will. It could delay the homework for a few more precious seconds. I wonder if I could also pretend to have a headache. Ken would believe it. The question is if I really want to do it.
“Hey, Ken, do you think you're rubbing off on me?”
He looks back at me, eyes opening wider in surprise at the question. “I hadn't thought about it like that. I actually thought you've rubbed off on me more. Not that I object.” He smiles that little, caring, gentle smile of his, the one that I know hardly anyone else ever sees. Maybe his girlfriend does, but I know that I see it.
“Why should you?” I grin at him and poke just a little on his knee where I can reach it. I’m glad these chairs are close enough so I can do that. It was one thing to wave a finger at Takeru, but to really be a friend, you have to be able to poke once in a while. “You needed to have someone with some sense of humor rub off on you. Might as well be me, after all.”
Ken chuckles a little. “I suppose so.” He pulls everything that Hikari brought closer to him and begins to look through it with an intent look. I’ve seen him study before and that’s the look he gets every time. “This doesn't look all that hard, really.”
“Maybe not to you.” I grumble about it automatically. It's schoolwork, and I'm in the hospital. “But it doesn't make any kind of sense to me.” Even after all that studying I did last night, right now, it's all a mess of words, numbers, and pictures that I don't want to look at. I wish it could make sense, so I could go ahead and be done with it, but I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.
Ken doesn't tell me I should try to do it anyway. I'm glad of that. After all this time, he knows me better than just about anyone. He just continues to look through the pages that the teacher marked. “You could probably see if the doctor will let you delay taking the test for a few more days,” he suggests calmly. “You did hit your head pretty hard, and even without a concussion, it won't be easy for you to concentrate, especially with that shoulder.”
I guess I don’t have to pretend to have a headache after all. That’s fine with me. I wouldn’t really want to lie to Ken anyway. I think he’d know if I tried. I always know when he’s trying to lie to me, after all. I rub at my shoulder a little, wincing. He's absolutely right about that making it hard for me to think straight. I'm a little surprised I was able to concentrate on the food he brought. Oh, wait, no, I'm not. It was food. “Maybe.” I don't think the doctor will write me out of classes and tests for too long, though. It's one of those adult things; I'll have to be back at the books as soon as I can be.
“I'll see what I can do to set up a study session for you this week,” he tells me, still turning the pages. He actually looks interested in this kind of thing. I don't know how he can do it. I'm not sure if 'it' means looking at that book without getting bored to tears or studying in general the way he does, just sitting there and staring at the pages. Either way, I still don't know how he can pull it off. I couldn’t if I wanted to. I certainly can’t since I don’t want to.
“Yeah, I guess.” At least I’m sure that I’ll be all the way put back together by this weekend. I’d hate for any of this to interfere in my date. That's the one thing I'm really looking forward to. I bet Ken's looking forward to his, too. Only I got the impression that whoever he's going to be with, it's not going to be their first date. Lucky guy. He's got the big worry out of the way already.
Then something else occurs to me. “Ken, you've got your recital on Thursday. You don’t have the time to help me get through this, and you've got to be ready for that.” There's no way I'm going to let him dump that, either. He just sounds too good when he plays, like some kind of angel or something like that. Well, if angels played pianos. I've never met one, so I don't know what they'd be likely to play, other than maybe harps. I really can’t see Ken playing one of those.
Ken looks at me, and he just looks like he's about to laugh. I don't think I said anything that was really funny! It's true! Ken could go professional if he wanted to, I think. I'm not sure if he wants to, but he could. I'd be right there cheering him on the whole way, too, and I’d buy his first album and see if I could get it signed, just like Taichi did for the Teenage Wolves when they made their album.
“Daisuke, don't worry about it. I'm ready for the recital. I'm going to practice some more before then, of course, but I won't be taking away any extra time from it.” Well, I suppose. He doesn't plan out his days stuffed from one end to the other with things like he used to, but he is very organized about his time. I’ve seen both him and Iori setting out their schedules together. It’s a very weird thing to see, believe me. But I do make certain they both have a lot of free time. “And I think one good study session will get you through this test anyway. Maybe two if it turns out to be absolutely necessary.”
Blah. Why did he have to mention that thing anyway? Maybe if he stopped talking about it, it would go away and not bother me anymore. That's never worked before, but I don't believe in giving up all that easily. It's got to work like that at least one time. The right time just hasn't managed to show up yet. It will. I have no doubts about it.
Until then, I could think of a lot of things I could be doing right now, even in this hospital room, that are a thousand times more interesting than staring at a biology book. Just from where I'm sitting I can see a stack of cups, a pitcher of water, and I know I've got some change lurking in my pockets, if I can find wherever my pants are. If I can't come up with something interesting to do out of that, then my name isn't Motomiya Daisuke!
Speaking of pants, I really want to find out whoever it was that invented this kind of hospital outfit and explain to them it's not that comfortable and it's really embarassing. I'm just glad none of the others said anything while they were here. It was bad enough that Hikari even saw me in it. I guess she didn't think anything about it, though, cause she didn't even giggle or anything. That was so sweet of her. I expect nothing less. That’s just what she is, along with so much else. I could spend hours and hours describing her and never once use the same words twice. I don’t need to, but I could. That’s the important part. That it’s possible.
“So you're going to be going to practice tomorrow?” Ken asks, drawing my attention back to him instead of staring at those cups and thinking about what I can do with them. Maybe I don't need the change to do something fun with them. I might have to think about it a little, but I'm sure I could come up with something. Jun once said I could make an interesting hobby out of nothing but paperclips, twine, and dishwashing detergent.
She had no idea how right she was. That was a fun two hours, too.
“Right. Why should I stop that just because I can't do anything with them?” I hope I'm all back in one piece by the time we actually need to play. Who are they going to get my place while I'm still laid up? I bet it's going to be Hara Yuudai, he's been wanting to try out for my spot since the beginning of the year. Coach'll probably want to see how well he can do now that he's got a chance at it. Not that he'll be as good as I am, of course. It won’t be for more than a practice or two, because by the time our next game happens, I’ll be back on the field. But they’ll need someone there while I can’t be.
Ken just nods a little. “Be careful, please. Don't decide that you know better than the doctor and go running off onto the field.”
Like I'd be that stupid. Before I think about it, I've said that out loud to Ken. He chuckles at me. “Yes, and who was it that thought a valid defense of their friends was 'eat me instead'?” He's teasing about that. Good. It’s about time he got a little more relaxed about it. HEY!
“It worked, didn't it?” I grin at him; it feels good to know that he can laugh about some things in the past. I know he doesn't think they're funny, because so much of it isn't, but still, I like that he can feel like this sometimes. And really, that wasn't exactly one of my best examples of good thinking.
Not that it matters much anymore, that's over and done with, and has been for years. So we skip merrily on to other things: like how to get through this study session. I'd say try to avoid it entirely, but I know Ken better than that. Once he's made up his mind, it's made up, and that's it. Even if this is just a small one, I’m not getting out of this without doing a little bit of work.
So I do manage to do a few things. I go over some of the basic things that the biology test will cover, and I think I actually manage to remember them a little better than I did after last night. Maybe the explosion knocked some brains into me instead of out?
I’m so busy trying to remember all of this that I hardly notice when an hour has crept by, much less when dinner is served. I pick at it just enough to make it look as if I ate some before I go back to looking through the books. Even they’re more interesting than the hospital’s idea of something worth eating. I can’t think of many things that wouldn’t be more interesting. Even cleaning up Numemon slime would catch my attention faster.
“I'll fix up some notes for you that should help and drop them by your place after practice, if that's all right,” Ken says finally as he starts to get up, gathering his things. “I've got to go, though.” He doesn't look any more thrilled about it than I feel. I'm not all that sure if it's possible, but he at least looks it. He doesn't give me any of those stupid lines about getting rest and taking it easy, though. I’ve heard enough of those. “I'll drop by your place tomorrow afternoon and see how you're doing then.”
“All right.” It's great to have friends like this. I don't know how anyone else could live without them. In fact, I can't yet figure out how people can go through lives not having friends and think they're somehow better for it. The way people like to fool themselves is just amazing. Even Ken doesn't understand it, and he understands people better than I ever could, since he's been through that kind of thing. He's said I understand people differently. Maybe I do. I just don't understand that. I probably never will. I don’t even think that I want to.
If he's not here, I'm probably going to stare at the books sooner or later until I fall asleep over them, just because there's nothing else for me to do here. I'm going to be so bored. I won't understand a single word in them that I don’t now, but I'll look at them anyway. If I stare at it long enough, something might seep in. That's what I was thinking last night when I was cramming like a wild thing anyway. I don’t know what was whacked into me and what was whacked out, and I probably won’t until I actually take the test, but I can hope for enough to stick around to get me to pass.
I wave a very bored already farewell to Ken as he heads out, Wormmon curled around his neck like the wierdest scarf that ever was, and give the books he left on the chair the nastiest look I possibly can. Three more years at least til I'm out of school. Maybe more, because I'll probably have to go to business college to learn how to run that noodle cart I want. Still, it'll be worth it once I'm all done. And I won't have to learn any biology after that, either. Just all kinds of maths and probably things I haven’t figured out yet. But I should be able to work those without much of a problem. If I can’t, well, that’s what friends are there for, to help out.
Time's ticking by again, so very slowly. I didn’t really notice what time the others got here or left, because the time flew by so quickly. I didn’t have to think about it. It was fun time. Now it's just me and V-mon. He's great company, when he's awake. Which he isn't anymore. He dropped off faster than I do when Koushirou's going on about some theory of hyperspace uberwicked thingummies or whatever it is that he goes on about. That’s what he usually does once I’ve stuffed him full of food, and Ken brought enough so we could both eat our fill. Having a partner Digimon kind of ensures that you think of things like that. With more and more people having them, I wonder what the world’s going to end up like in ten or fifteen years or more. It should be interesting to see.
People keep on going by in the hallways, just like they did before my company showed up. Most of them are going the other way now, since it's getting close to the end of visiting hours. I’m glad that Mama and Dad paid for this room to be private. I’ll be out of here tomorrow, but while I’m here, I don’t have to worry about anyone being scared of V-mon or having to be too quiet because someone else is trying to sleep or other people being just a little too noisy so I can’t sleep. I bet they move at least three more people in here before I've gotten out the door good tomorrow. Private rooms are just too expensive to keep them private.
Well, at least I got to talk to my friends, and I had a really good meal that I hope the doctors aren't going to freak out about, so I won’t tell them and they won’t freak out, and tomorrow it's going to be soccer practice day! Then there will be Ken’s concert on Thursday, and there’s that mystery of who he’s seeing, and then, at last, it will be Saturday, and…
My first date with Hikari.
To Be Continued