Looking Beyond

BY : Kirishtu
Category: Digimon > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 29
Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon Universe: Applimon. I do not make any money from this story.

Rei stared over his folded arms at Haru and Yuujin, his eyes never quite leaving the latter for more than a few seconds. And those seconds were spent studying Haru, watching the smaller boy’s face and picking up subtle tells that Haru probably wasn’t aware he made. Tells that were only present when Yuujin was around. Yuujin was to Haru like Hajime was to Rei. It hadn’t taken long for the black-haired boy to figure that out. Haru went above and beyond for Yuujin, and had risked his life to save the redhead. Rei had done much the same, risking his life and Hackmon’s and Haru’s and everyone else to save Hajime. Rei had done terrible things, things that stained his already-black soul even blacker, and things that made him feel only slightly ashamed when he looked into Haru’s expressive blue eyes. Haru didn’t judge; he knew how much it meant to Rei to save his brother, and Haru had only wanted to help the entire time. With his friends - and that was still such a foreign concept to Rei, whose life had only been about Hajime and himself - Rei had saved his little brother and, through Hajime, had learned what Leviathan’s true plan was.

And while Hajime spoke of Bootmon and Leviathan’s true agenda and of his own role in it all, Rei couldn’t help but stare at Yuujin. His instincts about the redhead had gone into overdrive for some inexplicable reason, and he couldn’t justify his scrutiny based on instinct. He needed hard evidence. There was something wrong with Yuujin. Something Rei couldn’t put his finger on, but something that kept Rei from trusting Yuujin as he’d come to trust Haru and the others. How could the redhead get captured by Knight and the Ultimate Four and yet not have a scratch on him? How could Yuujin survive being in the clutches of Leviathan’s henchmen and end up unscathed? Haru and the others had been so relieved that Yuujin was alive and that he was back and safe that these questions were overlooked, and if Rei had to be honest with himself, he hadn’t asked those questions either, so focused on retrieving Hajime as he’d been.

But now that he had his brother back, and now that they had a moment to rest before they started the next leg of their quest to defeat Leviathan, Rei asked those questions, if only to himself.

So he stared at Yuujin as if the redhead was an algorithm that Rei had to crack in order to figure out what was going on. Yuujin’s attention was wholly on Haru, which it always seemed to be when the smaller boy was around, so Rei stared and puzzled without much outside interference. Even if someone did catch him staring, they’d likely assume his mind was elsewhere and he wasn’t actually scrutinizing the fifth member of the Appli Drivers like he was a big juicy steak and Rei the hungry wolf.

There was no question that Rei and Yuujin seemed to be at odds even when Rei’s aloof attitude toward the others became somewhat more tepid. Rei wasn’t above using them to achieve his goals, and it had taken him a long time to come to trust Eri, Haru, and Astra. Haru seemed to be the glue holding everyone together; Rei had figured out that the green-haired boy invested much of himself in his friends, and would lay down his life to protect them. He’d proven that recently, to save Knight Unryuuji, who had been Leviathan’s emissary and their enemy. Haru had gone out of his way to save Rei a few times as well, despite knowing Rei likely wouldn’t reciprocate the gesture or the friendship. It was Haru who got Yuujin’s back up, and Haru who seemed to be the key in all this, and Haru who Rei seemed to focus on himself. Hadn’t he tried to protect Haru in his own way? Hadn’t he tried to make sure Haru survived this fight, albeit in a rather selfish manner? Haru, who’d never given up on Rei, even when others had.

Rei realized that his stare was being returned. Haru had turned away from Yuujin to talk with Ai, and now Yuujin was staring at Rei with an unreadable expression on his face. The redhead’s green eyes were narrowed slightly, as if he were trying to puzzle out Rei’s sudden interest in him. Then Yuujin looked at Haru, back to Rei, to Haru, and then to Rei again. Those green eyes narrowed and brightened, and Rei was smart enough to recognize the jealous possessiveness that gleamed in Yuujin’s eyes.

Rei wasn’t sure how to feel about that. He wasn’t even sure if he liked Haru in that way. He wasn’t even sure he liked boys in that way. Hell, Rei wasn’t even sure he liked girls. Since his parents had died, Hajime had been his whole world. Everything revolved around his little brother, and he’d fought tooth and nail to keep Hajime with him, to rescue him, and to make sure Hajime’s life was as peaceful as it could be, considering the circumstances. He hadn’t had time to consider any other aspect to his life, and he was only fourteen. Yuujin, however, was acting like he and Haru were a thing and Rei had better step off. It occurred to Rei then that maybe Yuujin and Haru were a thing, and that was why Yuujin’s behavior was so possessive and protective.

That realization put a few things in perspective for Rei. Hajime was Rei’s whole world; Haru was Yuujin’s. Haru shared his love and friendship with everyone he met, but he gave only Yuujin his heart.

Rei wasn’t sure how to feel about that, but he knew that if Haru’s heart was broken by whatever mystery that shadowed Yuujin, Rei wouldn’t hesitate to destroy it, even if that meant destroying Yuujin. Maybe Rei didn’t deserve Haru, but Yuujin had no right to hurt Haru either.

Rei rose from his seat and stuffed his hands into his pockets. Hackmon silently trailed along behind him, glancing back toward Hajime, who was currently embroiled in a game of cards with Astra, Eri, Gatchmon, Offmon, Dokamon, and Musimon. Hajime was safe enough, and Rei figured he could step out for a minute with no one wondering where he’d gone. He caught Yuujin’s eye as he passed the redhead, canted his head to one side as if in askance, then proceeded out of the hideout. Rei hit the street and started toward the closest convenience store, walking slowly on purpose.

“Rei, are you sure about this?” Hackmon asked from his position floating by his Buddy’s shoulder. “You’re provoking him, you know?”

“I know.” Rei responded. “But I’m going to do it, for Haru’s sake.”

The hacking Appmon nodded and turned to keep track of their redheaded shadow.

Rei continued on as if he didn’t know he was being followed. He took his time in the convenience store, buying a few Choo Choo Jellies for himself, some Gatchmonaka, and some other snacks too. When he left the convenience store, Rei wasn’t surprised to find Yuujin leaning against the small guardrail, his arms crossed over his chest, and his expression carefully neutral as he regarded Rei. Haru, oddly enough, was nowhere in sight. Rei rather appreciated that, because he wasn’t sure how this was going to go down, and if it escalated, he didn’t want Haru to be witness to their fighting.

“Rei.”

“Yuujin.”

The two teenagers sized each other up for another minute before Yuujin pushed away from the rail and fell into step beside Rei. They walked in silence, and Yuujin let Rei dictate where they were going. The black-haired boy picked a rather secluded spot in a nearby park, out of the line of sight of any adult, camera, or passers-by, then set down the bag of snacks and shoved his hands deep into his coat pockets. He faced Yuujin, recognizing the distance between them, and simply stared until Yuujin began to scowl.

“This is about Haru.” Rei began bluntly. Yuujin’s eyes sparked dangerously. “I don’t know what you’re up to, but I won’t let you hurt him.”

Yuujin actually looked insulted. “I would never hurt Haru!”

“He’s already nearly killed himself once for you.”

“I know. It’s my job to protect Haru, no matter what, and no matter who I have to protect him from.”

The threat was thinly veiled. “I have no intention of letting him put himself in the line of fire just for you, Yuujin. I don’t trust you.” Rei looked up at Yuujin as the redhead came closer. “Haru is no sacrificial pawn.”

Yuujin’s hands shot out and grabbed Rei by the front of his coat, pulling the shorter boy closer. “Haru is mine, got it? I will never hurt him, and I will keep him safe. Unlike you, who put him in all sorts of danger.”

Rei scowled and gripped Yuujin’s wrists, tearing his hands away and shoving him backwards. “Haru doesn’t belong to just you. I’ve got just as much responsibility as you to keep him safe. And Eri, and Astra. I saw his face when you were taken. I don’t want to see that on his face again.”

“Since when have you protected any of them, especially Haru?” Yuujin growled. “You used them to get your brother back, and now that you have him, you’re finally looking beyond yourself. You finally give a damn. But like I said, Haru’s mine. I’m not giving him up.”

Rei clenched his fist. So did Yuujin. It was a battle of wills then, to see who would throw the first punch, if at all. Rei realized Yuujin thought Rei was trying to take Haru from him, so they were definitely a thing, but Rei wasn’t sure if he really was trying to take Haru for himself. He wasn’t sure he liked Haru that way. All he knew was that he wanted to keep Haru from becoming utterly broken, and to keep him safe.

“Stop!”

Both Rei and Yuujin turned at the sound of Haru’s voice. The green-haired boy stood only a few feet away, Gatchmon by his shoulder. An expression of utter concern was on Haru’s face, his eyes switching back from Rei to Yuujin and back again. Rei and Yuujin stepped awya from each other, ashamed that the object of their argument had caught them at it.

Haru approached, looking more hurt than he should’ve been by their actions. “You two are friends. Why are you fighting?”

Yuujin smiled, but Rei could tell it was forced. “Just a difference of opinion, Haru. It’s nothing you have to worry about.”

Rei only nodded when Haru looked at him.

Haru didn’t seem convinced. “Look, if it’s about what happened when we rescued Yuujin, I knew what I was doing. I have a responsibility to all of you, too, so I can’t just sit back and let you all fight and get hurt. And it’s only going to get harder from here, because if we can find Bootmon before Leviathan does, it’s going to come after us.”

Rei just stared at Haru and wondered just how perceptive the smaller boy was. Yuujin’s expression softened and he said, “Haru, there’s nothing you need to worry about. Rei and I were just arguing about the best way to do that and protect each other, too. Because we have to protect Hajime and Ai, too.”

Haru studied the both of them, and Rei nodded again, as if he agreed with Yuujin. And he did, mostly, but he was still suspicious of Yuujin, and that wasn’t going to stop any time soon.

“Okay,” Haru said after a moment, “but you two can’t fight anymore. We’re supposed to be on the same side, not working against each other. Rei, I know how hard it is for you to trust, and Yuujin, there’s no need for you to get so jealous. I know the both of you are doing the best with what you have, but don’t go jumping to conclusions.”

Both Rei and Yuujin looked at each other with the same expressions on their faces. Just how observant was Haru? Rei started as he felt Haru’s warm hand wrap around his own, and saw that Haru was holding Yuujin’s hand, too. He stood between them, the link in their chain, and smiled at both of them. Rei felt his heart skip a beat.

“Okay?” Haru asked. “No jumping to conclusions, and no more fighting with each other.”

Yuujin smiled. “Okay. I promise.” He looked at Rei expectantly.

Rei stared at his hand where it was joined with Haru’s, then up at Yuujin. Then he looked at Haru, and stared into the smaller boy’s bright blue eyes. Though his stoic expression didn’t change, Rei could feel his heart starting to hammer and heat suffuse his cheeks. He pulled his hand from Haru’s, curled it into a fist, and looked at Yuujin again.

Growling, and poking his finger into Yuujin’s chest with every word, Rei said, “Break his heart, and I’ll break your face.”

Then Rei shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets and stalked off, leaving both Yuujin and Haru staring after him with confused expressions on their faces.

“Yuujin?”

“Yeah, Haru?”

“What do you think Rei meant by that?”

“No idea, Haru. No idea.”

“Oh. Rei forgot his snacks.” Haru bent to pick up the plastic bag Rei had left behind. He looked up at Yuujin almost expectantly.

Yuujin sighed and gave Haru a loving smile. “Aren’t you afraid he’ll break my face?”

Haru beamed. “No. You’re taller than he is.”

Yuujin burst out laughing, unable to help himself. He wrapped his arms around Haru and kissed him before allowing Haru to take him by the hand and chase after Rei. But the moment Haru’s back was turned, Yuujin’s mirthful expression fell.

Rei, if I ever break Haru’s heart, I’m sure you’ll do worse than break my face. Because you love him too, even if you don’t realize it yet. I guess I’ll let you protect him when I can’t. But if you break his heart too, I’ll kick your ass so hard even Hajime won’t recognize you.

“Yuujin?”

“Nothing, Haru. Let’s go give Rei his snacks.”

“Ah! There’s Gatchmonaka in here!”

“Gatchmon, no!”



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