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"Hmmm..." Shiro seemed to be thinking seriously about the question, for once. "Kai's been really weird lately! Like, he won't even take me to the Digital World anymore!" Shiro complained. He hated this new boring Kai! He wanted the old Kai back! "I don't know what happened! He didn't get like this after.. Well..." It was a bad memory for Shiro. "After... I messed up... and he nearly died..."
For an endless font of energy, Shiro seemed suddenly subdued. It was clear he hadn't ever gotten over the events of that day.
Best not. I'm a terrible cook." Kai confided in the younger boy. It was true. He'd never gotten around to learning. It was the one school club he had not yet joined. Even he wasn't quite sure why. "Come on, best get there and back before Shiro starves to death.
Gryz listened to Shiro attentively. Apparently Kai was different before... he came to Digital World and go on an adventure together? For some reason he stopped... and that reason... apparently made Shiro really depressed. Gryz suddenly offered him a fish, a medium sized one. "Savor it up for now, mate," he told him before requesting "Can you please tell me more about it? If you don't want to, that's fine and cool, mate."
If what Shiro said is the truth, then this is probably a phobia. However, he doesn't really get that vibe from him... Something seem oddly missing here, like you're still only looking for the edges for the puzzle. Well, with any help, he can probably help Kai... but... only if he want to of course.
"A terrible cook, huh?" Tetsu parroted. However, it's seem that he decided that if they're going to have fish, then best eat more food. He takes sausage, ketchup, chili sauce and several other related food. All in all, it's going to be a nice one for five people.
"I think if we gonna go for it, just go for it and have a blast."
"Nnnnn..." Shiro looks uncomfortable. And yet... As if hopeful that Gryz can help, he begins to speak. "Well... We were going to see a friend of Kai's friend... I don't really get why, or all that... Well..." Shiro paused, to collect his thoughts. If Kai were here, he'd be wondering who this was, and what he had done with Shiro. That's how out of character this mood is.
"Some... Digimon appeared. I had just hit champion for the first time... I took down one on my own... The... the other" Shiro burst out crying. "Kai... he..." The white Digimon choked up. It was hard for him to talk. "He... To save Scout's friend... He... While I was... Taking too long... He..." Talking became too hard. The best Shiro could do was provide a visual demonstration. Tears streaming down his face, he lifted his paw to his mouth, and bit down hard.
Meanwhile, in a happier place, Kai was watching Tetsu shop with trepidation. "Is this really okay? Will this be edible? No... He was the one who suggested this. Surely he knows how to cook. Why am I doing this again, anyways!? This is illegal! But... Shiro will be so happy. Guess I don't have a choice, huh." Ignorant of his partner's current feelings, Kai continued to wait for Tetsu to shop.
Certainly, between the shopping and the travel, Shiro and Gryz will have plenty of room to finish their discussion.
Hmmm, so from what he got, they're about to meet with a friend of the human, then something bad happened. Shiro turned into his adult stage for the first time, he seem to manage quite well to take one himself. However, all thing just go south when... when Kai tried to help his friend and somehow... even his fur cannot hide Gryz's shock. His eyes widened in shock. The boy was... bitten? A sharp gasp escaped from the small bear's mouth.
"...I... I'm sorry to hear that, Shiro..." he pat the poor cat in caring manner. "...I can't say much... I... I think this might be a trauma... one that caused from close encounter with death... it might made him fear unfriendly digimon and case like this happened again..."
however, the bear stopped midway to think. "But he doesn't react when he saw me, so it might be... another reason altogether. Why don't you... later talk to him about it? I'm just an outsider, I'm not sure if he's willing to tell me what's wrong exactly... but... All I can say is you're not at fault. He's not blaming you at all, so... if you're really regretting it, all you can do is to get stronger... but for now, good lad, you should eat more... wipe that tears, and eat, because by eating, you'll be stronger!"
...probably the worst cheering attempt he did, but he really want this new friend of his to smile again... He can tell that this is not supposed to be his usual character.
On the other place, all the shopping comes down to whooping 15000 yen, which would probably make people question what sort of thing this kid is carrying around. Not only that, despite the obvious size and weight, the boy just carried it like it's slightly heavy for him. Normally a kid that age would be having problem already.
Shiro forced himself to calm down. "That... That's not it... Even after... After that... He was fine... He even would go to the Digital World... Adventure, battle... Have fun... But... Recently... He won't do that anymore!" Shiro was starting to calm down.He needed to be on track! This was his best chance to fix Kai! He needed Gryz to understand the problem!
"It was after our last visit... There was a battle... After it... Kai was strangely quiet. Then he just took us home... And we haven't been back since. Kuro says he's just worried for our safety, but that can't be it! Kai knows that I would never lose! He just... Just... I... Don't... Know..." Shiro finally admitted. He didn't understand. Why didn't Kai trust him! Why didn't Kai listen to him! Why... Why was Kai broken!
Kai had apparently gotten too deep in thought. "Ah... We don't have enough fish for that much sauce, you know! Let's not be wasteful!" He paused for a moment, then asked, "Ah, also... Do you want any help carrying that? It looks heavy."
Gryz looked at Shiro silently for a moment. Hm? So that wasn't the case? His paw keeps rubbing the poor cat's back, but his eyes still focused at him, trying to gather all the information he's given. So suddenly... suddenly he just stopped? That doesn't quite makes sense to him. There was a battle on their last visit and apparently the boy just... brought the two back home. What happened? He need to know more if he want to help!
"...Is there is anything... anything that seems different that day when that happened? Like, why he suddenly stopped and all?" he tried to give the white cat a clue. There might be something... something that can serve as a key. He's not sure if the older boy would appreciate it if he start to be intrusive, though... The other group might would return soon, so he need to be quick with it.
Tetsu tilted his head, looking at Kai who lectured him to not be wasteful with the sauce. "...Well, I can bring it home?" he asked back. "Grandpops love sauces. 'dere also maid-neechan and worker-niichan in 'da house, so ma'be 'dey gonna use 'em too anyway. No need to worry about dis, I'm strong!" Tetsu flexed his arm. While it's not as impressive as many child bodybuilders that often make headlines on international TV, it's still defined enough to be called impressive for a kid. "Dis is light."
"I don't know!" Shiro whined. "I just... Don't know..." The white Digimon seemed drooped. The ray of hope, combined with the guilt and frustration had taken all the energy out of him. "I... I think... I'll just rest until Kai gets back..." So saying, Shiro promptly curled up into a ball. Every so often, a faint sob sounded from him, but such things would have stopped long before his human partner learned of it.
"If you want... Then I guess it's fine. Just a lot easier to buy more later than it is to return what you don't need." Maids and butlers? This kid was accustomed to a lifestyle Kai would never know. "We'd better get back. Shiro's probably gnawing on his own paw right about now!"
"It's alright, buddy, it's alright," Gryz tried to cheer him up, stroking his curled up body. "...I'll try to help you guys, i promise it. However, I need both yours and your sister's cooperation if I want to ask him privately..." Gryz muttered. Hmmm, well, it's something that he have to wait for anyway. He's not sure anymore how to do this, but he already promised to the cat Digimon that he'll absolutely help... or at least try to.
Tetsu nodded in agreement to what Kai said, but honestly he doesn't even think that much. He just want to eat with friends, he guessed? If a cat gnawing at his hand already, then the cat must be really hungry. He immediately paid for it and walked back to the forest.
"Well, c'mon then, Kai-nii!" he called out the older boy.
Kai sighed at the wanton and wasteful display. All the money that went to this small barbecue... Imagine what he could have bought with that! But then, it wasn't his money. He didn't have the right to tell Tetsu how to spend it. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" Kai called as he followed Tetsu back to the forest, and his eternally hungry partner.
Shiro perked up as he saw his partner approaching. "Kai!" the white Digimon called as he jumped up. "What's in the bag!? Is it for me!? Is it... Food!?" the Digimon chirped excitedly, his earlier depression completely gone.
Shiro apparently already looking quite happy enough, so this is good. Tetsu nodded at his question about what inside. "Yep, food," he answered, taking out some veggies... but definitely there are meats too. Oh, let's not forget that he also get those kiddy made knife, one that can be used easily by kids but not enough to harm them. Afterall, how else are they going to cut these veggies and meat if not like that? Tetsu began the seasoning, marinating the meat on some sauce. it's very basic, but basic is good for simple thing.
"Kai," suddenly Gryz called out. "...Can I have a bit of your time?" he looked at Shiro, trying to tell him that he will try now.
Meanwhile, Tetsu skillfully did his best to prepare the barbecue. Ah, there are no iron stakes for them, though, so he would just use the wood ones. It's the same anyway... or so to his understanding. He also skillfully gut the fishes... how can he do it? Well, he guess that Gryz taught him how.
Kai was surprised to be called out by Gryz. What was this about? Had Shiro done something while Kai was gone? "Oh, uh, sure." he responded, walking over to the bear. Shiro didn't notice Gryz's look, he was too busy staring hungrily at the fish. Shiro may have just been depressed, but even his own inner demons couldn't keep Shiro down for long.
"May I ask what this is about?" The boy inquired of the bear. He was quite curious what this was about. In Kai's bag, Kuro was easily as curious... She was just less visible.
"...Well..." he walked slightly deeper to the forest. When he's there, he turned around to him and leaned himself on a tree. "See, I... I sensed that something was bothering you... really bothering, like, it showed slightly on you. I dunno how to put it, but I'm worried see... It's sorta my second nature. I understand if you don't want me to meddle, but at the same time, I've considered you a friend... I've taken some liberty to ask Shiro, I'm sorry. So anyway... um... mind telling me what's in your mind?"
On the other side, Tetsu already starting the fire and putting the sausage first as appetizers. Hopefully they gonna love it.
Kai was caught completely off guard, as would be the natural reaction to such a statement. Something bothering him? Lots of things bothered him! Which specific one was Gryz talking about...? Kai had no choice but to think back to before he had left. Actually thinking about it, there was, in fact, one very obvious thing that had been bothering him.
"Oh. Uh. I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was being so obvious. It's just... When you talk about how Tetsu-kun is your 'brother,' it makes me think of, well... Of my own brother. Rather than a friend and a role model... He was always this unattainable figure. A genius to whom everything came easily, no matter how little effort he put in. And then there's me, who... Well, even when I try my hardest... It's just not quite good enough. Don't get me wrong, I love my brother dearly... But... Seeing you two... I guess it makes me a bit jealous?"
It was a very introspective piece that didn't even come close to noticing what Shiro had felt was off about Kai. Did he himself even see how off he was acting? Of course not. Meanwhile, Kuro was wondering if this was a conversation she should really be privy to.
Oh, and Shiro reached for a sausage, only to pull back when burned by the flames.
"...Hm," Gryz assumed a thinking posture. This is not quite what he thought at all, is his brother also a partnered human? "...To begin with, comparing someone to another one is unfair. There are... various factors, such as basic spec, how one study and such... However, that's how competition is, I guess... Then again, why do you need to compare yourself to your brother? Has anyone has? And even if you need to compare, why don't you compare objectively rather than subjectively? Me, I'm bigger than most Bearmon, but I'm also slower. If I entered a competition of speed, I'd probably end up dead last among most Bearmons. But if I enter strength competition, I'm sure I can go far.
Still, it's not that I don't understand, but... are you close with your brother? If yes, why don't you talk about small problems that bothering you? At times if you look closer, you probably can see that what you think as perfect is actually not perfect the slightest. Genius is just an excuse made by people who either want to glorify about someone or their status..." or an excuse someone made if they're too jealous of something and refused to acknowledge that even geniuses need to practice. He doesn't let the last part came out of his mouth though.
Tetsu worriedly checked Shiro if there was something wrong. After he made sure that nothing is wrong, he put the sausages on the plate, then let it cool off a bit.
Kai's response would likely leave something to be desired. "I know that, I really do. But even though I know that... It doesn't make me feel any better. Jealousy isn't logical, I suppose." It was clear that Gryz's words were not getting through to the boy. Furthermore, the problem Kai acknowledged was not the same one Shiro had asked Gryz to fix. In all likelihood, Kai didn't even realize that people thought he was acting strange. And even if he did, his immediate sense of kinship with Gryz would not be enough to get him to spill his heart any more than he already had.
"Anyways, it seems the food is done. We'd best get back. Thank you for your concern, and I'm sorry if I worried you." So saying, Kai returned to the fire. In his bag, Kuro silently mulled over his words- But what she got from them, none can say but herself.
I'm fine! Shiro protested as Tetsu attempted to check him for injury. He sat ruffled for a bit, but the sight of sausages on a plate had him nearly leaping with excitement!