Keeping watch as the other Digidestined slept, Joe Kido sat at the gaping mouth of the cave and watched the rain. It was the kind of rain that was harsh, tempestuous, but never lasted long. Summer rain. He remembered watching this kind of rain at home; it would thunder against the glass panes, each individual drip blending together to form a fantastical roar which would build, getting stronger and more frightening, into a marvellous crescendo...but then it would die as quickly as it came, nothing more than a soft patter. But just as he would start to move away from the window, the clouds would somehow roar back to life, and the storm would be back again, growling across the glass. He remembered watching it at the window, mesmerised by the strength of the noise, the madness and chaos and unpredictability of it, and he remembered that small part of him which, more than anything, wanted to be outside.
He was watching it again with the same fascination, somehow comforted by the fact that he wouldn't hear his father's voice sternly tell him to come away from the window and do something productive. Instead, all he could hear was the gentle (and not so gentle) breathing of his friends and the triumphant splash of the raindrops hitting the soft ground full force. He smiled to himself; the sound was so different to the clear clashing sound it made against glass and brick. It seemed gentler here, softer, but also omniscient, surrounding everything. He was sitting as close to the entrance as he could without getting wet, and as the rain poured down in front of the cave mouth, he marvelled at the curtain of silver it created, shining in the dim light. And just like when he was young, he felt that little compulsion, that tiny urge that he'd always ignored; a strange need to be out in the downpour, to feel the rain as well as hear it...
He sighed. As much as he wanted to, he knew he'd never do it. He was far too sensible, far too responsible...far too much of a coward for that. Why go out in such horrid conditions? He'd get soaked, his clothes would be all wet and uncomfortable the next day, making him colder and more vulnerable to illness...there was no reason behind it. He tried to tell himself that he was just fine watching it, but he knew better. Sometimes, he hated being the sensible one. But then...he looked to the almost waterfall, mere inches away, and he stretched out his hand...
"You really wanna go out, don'tcha?" the all-too-familiar voice of his partner said, breaking the spell the rain had on him. He pulled back his hand and looked to where his friend had been sleeping, nestled in his lap. Big green eyes were looking up at him expectantly, and he couldn't help but smile.
"Gomamon, how long have you been awake?" Joe asked, wishing he'd known earlier. He always liked talking to his aquatic friend, even if he was a nutcase.
"A while. I would have talked to you, but I was having too much fun watching your face," Gomamon replied, a gleeful glint in his expressive eyes. Joe touched his face instinctively, frowning.
"My face? What do you mean?" he asked, bemused. The miniature seal giggled.
"Your expression! It looked so dreamy and happy. I've never seen you look like that before. It was nice to see, ya know?"
Dreamy? Joe never thought that would be a word used for him. The idea that he'd looked "dreamy" almost made him laugh, it was nearly absurd. Gomamon grabbed his attention again with his next words.
"You do want to go outside in it, though. I can tell. Why don't you just do it?" he asked, seeming genuinely confused. Joe had to smile. Gomamon was such a free spirit, he obviously couldn't understand why everyone else wasn't as spontaneous or optimistic as he was.
"Sorry, I think I'll pass. I leave all the insane stuff to you, remember? Besides, I don't want to catch a cold and hold everyone back."
The seal digimon laughed. "Insane? I'd have thought leaping off a mountain onto the back of a flying horse was pretty nuts. What's going out in the rain compared to that?" Joe smirked wryly.
"That's different, and you know it. That may have seemed crazy at the time, but I was actually doing the responsible thing, right?" he said, reasoning his way out of doing what he really wanted to do, but couldn't. Gomamon stayed still for a moment before leaping up out of his lap.
"Fine, then. You stay here and be a stick-in-the-mud, while I go and have a good time in the rain! We've been walking far too much lately, and I haven't had a swim in ages!" And with that, he pulled himself out into the stormy rain.
Joe sighed. He knew that once he was outside, he would never be able to get him back in without going out himself. He could at least try, though.
"Gomamon, wait - !" he started to protest, but suddenly stopped when, without thinking, he reached into the night after him. The rain was freezing cold in the twilight darkness, and as it hit his bare skin, it make a small splashing sound, and his hand quickly began to drip. But as the cold seeped into his skin, he abruptly had an epiphany.
Screw being sensible, I think I'll go have some fun for once.
Splashing around, having the time of his life, Gomamon grinned like a madman when he heard the footsteps of his tall companion come towards him, making nice plishing sounds as he went. Turning to look at him, the white seal's grin deepened as he saw the look on the boys face. It was quite similar to the expression he wore in the cave, dreamy and happy, except this time he looked less dreamy and about 50 times happier. And he looked...calm, serene, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Gomamon put on a smug face to hide his brilliant joy over his friend's happiness.
"What'd I tell ya? I knew you wanted to come out here! See, I know you better than you do - !" he gloated before Joe's foot abruptly kicked through a puddle, sending a small wave flying into his face. Looking up again, completely stunned, he saw the boys expression had changed to one of pure mischief.
"Oops. I guess my foot slipped a bit there! So sorry," he said, clearly trying to suppress his laughter. Gomamon grinned.
"Oh, it is on now!" he yelled before splashing water at his shins.
"Hey, that's cold!" he complained, the smile still on his face. He leapt into a nearby puddle in an attempt at revenge.
Back in the cave, Mimi had been sleeping perfectly well when Palmon shook her awake.
"Mimi, Mimi, get up! You just have to see this!" she whispered excitedly. Mimi groaned and sat up.
"What is it, Palmon? Can't it wait until morning?" she mumbled, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"No, it can't wait! I saw it was raining and decided to stand in it rain's good for me, you know I can't describe it. You just have to see!" the flower reiterated, tugging on the brunette's arm. Mimi smiled, despite her tiredness. Trust Palmon to get so excited over something. She allowed herself to be led to the mouth of the cave, and she gasped when she saw what her partner was pointing at.
The rain was coming down harder and thicker than before, but that clearly wasn't a problem for the two figures outside. Instead of keeping watch, like he was meant to, Mimi was stunned to see Joe running around, playing with his digimon in the thunderous downpour. He looked tired, cold and soaked to the skin, but he was smiling and laughing in a way she'd never seen him do before. Gone was the overly serious, uptight boy they all knew; here he'd been replace by a boy who was having such childish fun, he looked almost delirious with it. Both he and his partner were happy, and Mimi could tell that Gomamon's joy wasn't just from playing in the rain, but it was also that special kind of happiness that you can only get from seeing someone you love smile. But as they splashed around, spraying extra droplets when they moved, Joe looked so light and carefree and alive that he looked like he was dancing. His clothes were soaked through, his hair plastered to his face...but his smile, bright as the sun itself, his blithe movements as the rain went on...Mimi herself smiled with delight. He'd never looked so happy, in all the time she'd known him, and in that moment she could only think of one word to describe him.
After standing there watching him for a few minutes, she thought, Maybe it would be best to just leave him to it. She was about to thank Palmon and go back in to sleep when Joe spotted her. Mimi blushed when he turned his brilliant grin towards her and beckoned.
"Come on out, the water's great!" he called to her, grin still in place. Palmon looked up at her, beaming, and tugged on her arm again. Mimi's own smile deepened. She didn't need telling twice.
They didn't go back inside until they realised that the rain had stopped. But as the moon broke through the clouds, they realised that the fun was over, and they needed to sleep. It was, however, with some reluctance that they walked back in towards the rest of the group. The slight disappointment wasn't enough to dampen their mood as they staggered back in, dripping wet and giggling.
Izzy, who had taken up watching duty in Joe's unexplained absence, looked up from his laptop, bemused.
"What were you two doing outside? Palmon and Gomamon benefit from rain, I know, but what about you two?" he asked, looking half annoyed, half interested. Joe shot a glance at his hazel-eyed friend and tried to suppress another giggle.
"I was, er, looking for something. And, erm, Mimi helped," he explained, still beaming. Mimi laughed again, almost setting the bluenette off also. Izzy raised an eyebrow before turning back to his laptop.
It's none of my business what they choose to get up to... he thought, losing interest. He resumed typing and pay no more attention to them as they found space next to each other to sleep. Mimi smiled.
"So, what exactly were you looking for?" she teased. He chuckled, and she was surprised at how much she loved the sound.
"My sense of humour," he replied, his happiness lingering like a weightless aura. The brunette girl giggled again, wondering why she never noticed before how cute he was.
"I suppose you found it?" He grinned again, knowingly.
"Oh, yes. Most definitely."
Her eyes were drifting closed, and she felt so warm and fuzzy, despite the wetness of her clothes, but before she could sleep, a thought suddenly occurred to her.
"...Why did you go out, anyway? It seems so unlike you..." she murmured, hoping she could stay awake long enough to hear his reply. He paused, and she could tell that he himself hadn't thought about it. But then he relaxed, and he laughed again, a gentle sound that soothed her even more.
"...Because I could. I think that's why; just because I could. Is that reason enough?" he said, looking like he was about to drop off as well. All that running around tired him more than he thought it did. She smiled sleepily and closed her eyes.
"Yes. That's a brilliant reason, Joe-sempai..."
Her slow breathing signalled to him that she was asleep, and he was about to follow her when Gomamon slid over and crawled under his arm. The little seal was even wetter than he was, but he was a heck of a lot warmer, and as he curled up into a ball, Joe couldn't help but hold his close, sharing whatever warmth he had with the small digimon. Despite them being so wildly different, he knew that he couldn't do without his friend now that they'd grown so close. It was like Gomamon was the other half of his personality, like two sides of a coin, and that together they made up a whole. He couldn't even think about what it would be like without him.
He was about to attempt sleep again when Gomamon stirred and looked up at him, emerald eyes shining in the dim light.
"You had a good time being silly for once?" he asked, still sounding very alert, despite all the energy he had expended. Joe sighed and smiled.
"Yes, very much so. Thank you," he replied.
"Told ya it'd be fun," the white ball of fluff whispered, but this time he received no answer. Looking up, Gomomon grinned. Joe had drifted to sleep with a smile on his face.
The small Digimon nestled in closer, feeling so happy at hearing his partner's laugh, at seeing him act so careless and...free. He closed his eyes and wrapped a flipper around the boys torso.
"Night, Joe. Sweet dreams," he muttered, knowing somehow that he'd been heard.
And as he fell asleep, he heard Joe's laughter still echo in his ears, and he beamed. Mission accomplished.