Events of "The Messenger"  have been paraphrased. Title is from Henryís image song,"Mirai": All the tears Iíve cried, the wind that dried them / Was so cold, I closed my eyes.
Yeah, I know, the D-Reaper produced hotter than normal temperatures. ^^ Thereís also a slight discrepancy between this fic and its companion, "the grey ocean". I peg it on shaky memories.
Youíd think the air would smell different when the cityís about to be absorbed.
Instead the warm breeze ruffling Takatoís hair is fresh and clean. Actually itís cleaner than usual, since thereís no traffic but the militaryís vehicles. Maybe the smogís being absorbed too. Takatoís still in his t-shirt, leaning out the window of Asaji-senseiís classroom. I join him in watching the pink blob of the D-Reaper spilling over the familiar Shinjuku skyline. The digimon are off eating the last of the bread. Rikaís in the bathroom kitting up. The two of us really havenít had any moments alone for a while.
He looks up and gives me a weak smile. I could mark time on his face, itís so tired and worn. Again I wonder why he chose to rest here in the same classroom where he became friends with Jeri.
"So... have you talked to him lately?"
I donít react outwardly, but the mere mention of Ryo makes my palms moist. "I didnít really have time at Senseiís. He did send an e-mail when he arrived at Fukuoka, said his dad was giving him a hard time with his digimon."
"Oh. Thatís too bad."
Takato looks so different without his goggles. "Ryo said it was okay. His dadís never understood his Ďdigimon thingí, and kind of tolerates his fame."
"Thatís good, I guess."
This is the first time Takato hasnít blushed when talking about me and boys. I guess itís good he was getting used to it, but Iíd almost like it better if he did. He looks really pale.
Before I can say anything, Takato beats me to the punch. "You miss him, huh?"
"Well... yeah. We didnít really get to talk much, besides at that weird castle. And then he was busy egging Rika on." I avert my eyes from the depressing sight of the D-Reaper, and look over at the slightly less gloomy view of the empty playground. If I didnít know any better it would feel like a Saturday. "Even if we werenít in the middle of this, we wouldnít be able to meet up for a while."
Takato droops, and I almost regret confiding in him. "I hope it works out, Henry."
I smile, hoping some of Terriermonís spirit has rubbed off. "Momantai. Ryo said weíd see each other again." I have to wipe my palms on my vest now. The last time had been right before my dad and Yamaki-san sent the ark to get us. Iíd noticed he was missing an arm guard where the D-Reaperís Chaos had nicked him. I must have said it was too close a call for me. The next thing I knew, his hands were in my hair, on my cheek and neck. I remember thinking how much taller he was than me. And under the shade of Cyberdramonís wings, he promised -- Iíll come see you in Shinjuku, you can count on it -- and he kissed me.
It wasnít where and when I figured my first kiss would be. It was over much too quickly. I was so shocked I can barely remember how exactly it went. I do remember the feel of his hands ruffling my hair afterwards, rough and strong. Then Cyberdramon shifted, his body language communicating some warning to Ryo, and it was over.
I didnít think when he took off after Rika and Renamon. All I could do was scream "Be careful!" into the howling wind. Then I just held on to Suzie and prayed. And he did come back. He just couldnít leave without his wiseass ojousan. So I know Iíll see him again. Ryoís not the type to go back on his promises.
"Earth to Henry?"
I startle back to reality. "Sorry." Then I take in the sight of Takato resting his chin on sill, eyes fixed on something I canít see. "...Takato, Iím sorry."
He gets up and turns away. "I didnít get much sleep last night."
"Thinking about Jeri?"
"Sheís been through a lot. Sheíll get better." I hope.
"...you didnít see her. Itís like..." And his voice doesnít crack, and I wish it would, I wish he would cry like he always does, instead of this empty sorrow. "Somethingís broken, deep inside."
I never know what to do when stuff like this happens. I mean, I yelled at Suzie when she was trying to come with us to see the Sovereign. And Terriermonís practically the first friend Iíve had whom I donít mind touching, outside of my family. But I remember Ryo holding me close, so much taller and stronger than me, and how that felt.
"Henry...?" Heís surprised when I hug him from behind. I donít even think about it, I just do it. I guess Terriermon is rubbing off on me after all.
"Itís gonna be all right."
"Yeah. Iím just so worried about her."
I release him just as Rika enters. Takato doesnít even jump away, so I casually move to the other side of the desk. I suspect Rika saw us, but knowing her sheíd never say anything. She lets on that she knows weíve been talking about Jeri, at least.
Then Takato tells us about Jeriís ghost.
I try to talk some sense into him, but heís adamant. Itís true, she canít have traveled all the way from that part of the country in so short a time. Creepy. And with Takato so attached to her, too. It seems designed to psych us out. Sensei always tells me that life happens in patterns, and I donít like where this oneís headed. I feel like weíre back at square one, trying to put together Hypnos and blue cards and Devas with no information.
The back of my neck prickles. I turn around. "I donít remember opening that window." As though the entire situation didnít freak us out already. I remind myself to tell Renamon to keep her eyes out for weird stuff. Sheís the most perceptive of the six of us.
Rika gently tells Takato to hurry up and change into his gear. She and I exchange looks. Takato is our charismatic center, and the two of us do what we can to flank him. The faster we can figure out how to make a dent in that blob, the faster we can get him thinking positive again.
Thereís just so much city to protect, and so much D-Reaper to fight. We have no idea where to begin.
Finally we decide to head back to the bakery. I check my pockets and wait for Terriermon to stop playing with Guilmon and take his place on my shoulder. After all, I have to keep everything in order for our march into sure disaster.
"Momantai!" Terriermon says, when he notices my grim look. His ears shield the back of my neck from the morning sun. I look over at my friends, my comrades in this crazy war, and walk a little straighter. I donít know what weíll face today, I miss Ryo, Iím worried about Takato and Jeri and my dad and family, and our city is being devoured by an unstoppable blob.
Nevertheless I breathe the strangely fresh air and remember how Takatoís heartbeat calmed next to mine. If thatís what I have to do, if itís my place to be strong even when Iím scared, then Iíll do it. And somehow, Iíll find a way to get back to the people I love.
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