Thank you to all the reviewers who have clung on all these years and still manage to see this.

Yes, it's been a long time. Over 10 years. I've added quite a few more OTPs to my list of things that make me happy since then, yet Tohma/Masaru remain at the very top. That's of course due to how much time I've had the opportunity to spend creating with them, and all the lovely inspiration I've gotten from them. There's so much to unravel, and I'm just getting started...

I really don't recommend reading this if you haven't (re)read Cycle in its entirety recently because the entire thing rides on the mood carried on from there, along with all the usual spoiler warnings and whatnot. By "recently", I suppose within a year works? In fact, one year later works just right (immediately after is also of course fine). But really, if you want to show any respect, please don't go reading this without having read Cycle within that time range. (plug to read it at tomato_pmsinfirm_org [change _ to periods] as the formatting for the fic in most other places is whacked!) In fact, go ahead and rewatch all of Savers itself if it's been a few years too. I am, and I'm loving every moment all over again~

I'll be honest; this is very likely the last time I'll be writing a full R-18 scene, at least this graphically... There are a lot of small reasons for it, but the main gist is that I'd rather be focusing on other aspects with my ever-diminishing time. This certainly doesn't mean I'm personally averse to R-18 content of any sort when it comes to my OTPs (quite the opposite...), it's just that what I want to focus on for my OWN works isn't that. And... Ahaha despite all this, my next piece may or may not have hints of R-18 in it. It won't be to this "detail" regardless because there's a lot of extra tension going on in that next piece.

Honestly, about 65% of this was done in the first year after I put out the original Cycle. The remaining 35% really took another 9 years to finish. I'm a slow as heck writer, but this is a new record for me lol.

We're all on the clock, but I do most genuinely hope that you enjoy the time spent here reading this. If you are still here for these two, Tohma and Masaru, thank you.

Cycle Sequel

A little over a year ago, when I was still researching the Digital Code, I'd been near seconds close to giving up the project altogether. I'd been working on it non-stop for almost a month and had been starting to despair on the fact that I had no real leads on developing it. There was a huge gap that had to be bridged in order to find the connection between humans and Digimon, and I had no means to even begin figuring out what that gap was... I might as well have been trying to discover a cure for cancer without microscope technology.

I was reaching the edge of hopelessness... until BanchouLeomon approached me with a tip. It was an unforgettable moment. On that day, something had looked different about him, as if something else significant had happened that had led him towards his decision to tell me.

He told me to come to the Digital World with him, and Minervamon tagged along. And of all things I was wondering he'd lead me to, it was a computer... An old-looking computer just like the one we had found in the upside-down mansion during a previous expedition in Wanderer's Cape. But this one had been hidden away in the depths of the valley where Gaomon and I had defeated MetalPhantomon.

Right then and there, I turned the computer on. The familiar DGOS logo popped onto the screen.

...And it had also come with a login password.

BanchouLeomon stood silently as I proceeded to hack out the password. It wasn't that he didn't know it, he wouldn't TELL me it; I could tell from the way he watched me work at cracking it that he already knew what it was. But I wasn't about to let him know that I had realized that either. It wasn't to doubt him, but it was because I had doubts myself. Back then, I had asked myself, 'How come he knows about this computer? How come he won't tell me what the password is?'

The reasons were all too clear to me now, but they had been nothing more than a near plague to my mind back then, along with everything else that had been occupying me. The foremost of those occupations was the Digital Code, then came all the other implications beyond it. Finding a cure for Relena, bringing harmony between humans and Digimon... I knew the research I was doing was connected to these broader goals of mine. And of course, there was the more immediate goal of dealing with the Demon Lords. I knew the situation with BanchouLeomon would have to be addressed one day, but I had thought back then that it would've been okay to not deal with it until the more dire situation cleared up.

Except I hadn't known that by the time I was able to address it, it was too late.

Masaru never got a chance.

This one weighed down on me on top of everything that I had done against him already. I had already resigned myself to never realizing the relationship I had desired with Masaru, but that would never mean I would let him suffer the way I had in the past. I couldn't let that happen. He meant too much to me to lose any of the fire that lit my inspiration.

He needed someone by his side who would understand, and not just sympathize, but actually empathize. I'd been through enough pity in my own past. I knew Masaru didn't need any of it. He only needed someone who understood by his side.

But in the end, he'd always be the one to save me. I remember the times when he said he wouldn't be where he was without me, but I could only say the same thing right back. I would be so lost without his fire.


Masaru was out on a relatively light mission towards the end of the work day, while most of the other DATS staff had already left, leaving only Yoshino and me in the main headquarters room. The two of us were wrapping up our shift as well, just sorting out some paperwork.



"Back when... BanchouLeomon passed away and we had found out about him..."

Yoshino blinked a few times as she continued watching me. She was probably wondering why I was bringing it up out of the blue. It'd been nearly a full year since then. Not to mention that she wasn't actually present when BanchouLeomon gave his last words...


Yoshino gave me a raised eyebrow before turning back to her papers. She was right about done for the day.

I wasn't even sure what I was trying to ask. A lot of things had been on my mind lately, but I was still in the midst of sorting out my thoughts.

"You sure do that a lot lately, Tohma," Yoshino started again as she got ready to head out.

"Do what?"

"There's obviously a lot going on in your head, but you don't indulge the rest of us about what's going on in there if you can help it at all. Instead, you just throw out hints here and there and leave us all hanging. It gets pretty awkward sometimes, you know?"


"Well, I don't know what you were trying to ask, and maybe you don't know yourself, with the way things sound..."

Hmm, she was right on the mark, to be frank.

"But I do know that it's probably not something to worry about, even though you're thinking about it sooo much," she continued. "Or maybe it IS something to worry about, and you were just this much closer to using me as a practice audience for your confessions."


"Yoshino's been reading a lot of psychology books on men specifically these days. This sounds like something she-"


As Yoshino chased after Lalamon, I could only continue attempting to put my thoughts together.

A minute or so later, I felt a hard tap on my shoulder. Turning around, Yoshino thrust a finely decorated envelope in front of me.

"It's your birthday tomorrow, over the weekend, right? Here, a birthday present."

I gazed down at the envelope, a little surprised that even Yoshino had remembered and gotten me something. I had never brought up my birthdate in any of our conversations, yet most of the familiar staff at DATS seemed to know about it now... Thanks to a certain loudmouth fighter and his Digimon.

"Oh... Thank you."

"They're voucher meals for a local restaurant I thought you should try sometime. They're for two people, so bring Masaru with you."


I could quickly feel the heat rising to my cheeks, but I tried to ignore it.

Yoshino only smirked. "See you next week."

For the next full minute after she was out of sight, I just stared at the handcrafted decorations on the envelope. The new hobby she picked up recently was a sure sign of peace.


But even in times of peace, there are some things that just can't be calculated. And whenever Masaru is around, the only thing I can calculate is that he'll do something incalculable.

Even on this day...

For this one day, every year, one would be entitled to the freedoms that one normally wouldn't try to impress on others. For this single day, once a year, one would be expected to say all the things he or she had been selfishly wanting to say, to do...

Yet this was the first time in over ten years that I would truly be able to do this, to celebrate my birthday...

The last time I remembered celebrating it was when my mother was still alive. Ever since then, I had always made it an intent to keep quiet about my birthday. No one needed to know. And certainly, my father hadn't cared... until recently.

And I was grateful for it.


The daytime had passed rather smoothly. My father and Relena had spent the week previous visiting, so after our morning greetings, I went off to commence my own birthday plans. I had fully intended to spend my day with Masaru, enjoying the night festival for what it naturally was, just like I did the earlier year for a late Tanabata. It was a simple desire. That, I was fully aware of. After all, although we regularly spent time together at DATS, we only had opportunities to spend time ALONE on the weekends, if even that. With my schedule, it was more like every other weekend at best.

But today, I was fortunate enough to reserve the whole night with Masaru. He was even okay with having Agumon stay at home while the two of us went on our own to the festival. Our Digimon had gone with us to the festival in the year previous (in our Digivices), and Gaomon had already graciously declined any interest in going again. He actually had more interest in hanging out with the Daimons and... watching over Agumon, who I assume always acted pretty loose without his boss around.

Lunch went well with the other Daimons, and we spent an easygoing afternoon around the Daimon residence, playing some games with the Digimon and simply relaxing. As the sun started descending down the other side of the house, we made our evening preparations...

My butler drove us quite a distance from the actual festival site, dropping us off with a reminder to contact him when we needed to be picked back up. To avoid a commotion, he had parked the limousine a few blocks away, leaving me to stroll with Masaru through the emptier streets to reach our destination.

We had new yukatas this year. Mine was green, Masaru's was purple. At first, I wasn't too sure about the bright, complementing colors we were wearing this time. Compared to what men usually wore, we certainly would stand out, which was the last thing I wanted us to be doing. Masaru said he preferred brighter colors though, and he didn't care so much about what was customary for these events. I had to sigh, but I grew accustomed to the colors rather quickly. Besides... Masaru looked really nice in his yukata.

When I first saw him in it, I couldn't even bring myself to say anything... which he was okay with, as he seemed to be more concerned with other things.

And as we walked down the nightly streets together, Masaru had his eyes on me practically the whole time... which I found quite embarrassing, as I knew quite clearly I wanted to be staring back at him that whole time as well. And for the most part, I did let myself stare back. It was a rather sudden come on when the night was just starting...

Before I was really aware of it, we had crossed into the start of the festival crowd.

Which brought me to this eye-opening moment. Of all absolute megrims...

Even though it was already a warm night, the warmth of his hand on mine was intense enough to keep my attention from possibly going anywhere else.

His hand... "M-Masaru, people are..."

I saw the look on his face and didn't bother finishing my sentence.

That bold flare in his eyes told me he neither noticed nor cared that there were people around us. It was almost as if their presence was all the more reason for him to hold my hand. As I read his intentions in that sliver of a dangerous look, my chest stirred.

I wasn't expecting this at all.

Not that I didn't LIKE it; of course I liked it, but my conscious kept pressing against me, telling me that things weren't as simple as liking it or not.

But after throwing me that enrapturing look, he only smirked and tugged me towards the crowds. "Come on, the festival's not going to wait for us forever! We've only got one night, man!"

No one was actually looking.

Perhaps... it really didn't matter after all.

"...Ah..." It was all I could bring myself to say.

I let him lead the way into the city streets, his hand firmly over mine.

We had gone to a different festival during the previous year, a late Tanabata festival that took place in August instead of July. It was Masaru who suggested that we go to a festival for my birthday this year, and although I told him that there weren't likely to be any festivals on that day, he somehow managed to find one. He even insisted on taking care of all the plans for the night, not even letting me know the exact location of the festival. Even riding in my own limousine, he insisted on keeping the windows shutters up to keep the location a surprise.

Maybe it was because I was so insistent in handling all of our usual outings that he'd gotten so worked up to do this one himself. Our date schedulings had been mostly one-sided on my part. I suppose Masaru wanted to prove that he was just as capable of making the plans. There had to be some balance in there... or at least an effort to obtain it.

But something here really was strange...

No one in the crowds seemed to notice two people in brightly-colored, male yukata intimately holding hands even as we came out into more open areas, passing down the street. It wasn't even as if our existence was completely ignored. People knew we were there... there were simply no major reactions. No outraged or surprised looks, simply... normal glances. As if we were just another couple of strangers...

As we passed through the entrance displays, Masaru spoke up. "Oh, I forgot to mention it before, but tonight's festival is still Tanabata-themed."

That much I could readily tell, looking up at all of the bright and colorful paper-streaming lanterns lighting up the evening streets. Some of them were so big that they covered entire walls of buildings. The entrance displays--mountains of drinks surrounded by more paper mâché-- also indicated the fact that the festival was Tanabata-themed.

Masaru continued. "So let's make wishes again, like we did last year."

Wishes... That comment alone brought up a giant pool of memories from the festival last year.

I wasn't given much time to think through those memories yet, however. Masaru had already stopped us at the first stall that took his interest, a vendor making old-fashioned grilled squid on sticks.

......Squid? I didn't remember coming across one of those stalls last year. Sure, there was takoyaki, but...

Masaru shoved a clear, plastic tin in my hands, warm with the massive squid piece and sauce inside, the stick poking out of the container.

He already had another squid stick in his other hand, the top part already missing. "Fresh batch! Eat up while it's still hot!"

At least he came with a ready stomach. It took a few awkward bites for me to get used to the texture, but I managed to finish mine after a while, much to Masaru's encouragement. He then proceeded to get a drink and a good serving of yakisoba for the two of us to share at the dining area.

He seemed to have some keen interest in making sure I was having a good time tonight... Quite a mutual interest, at least.

After eating, we came across the area designated for games... of course, it was more like Masaru had bee-lined towards it while we finished our drinks. I suppose it was only natural that he didn't take any interest in any of the store stalls selling pictures of idols and other commercial trinkets.

"All right, let's make it a contest again this year! Even if it's your birthday, I won't go easy on you!"

I sighed... it was that competitive streak again.

"Kouki's not going to show up this time, is he?"


I could sense my shoulders tensing up at the mere thought.

During that previous year, he had been running one of the game stalls with some other friends when we had stumbled across him. Naturally, I tried to give the impression that we had no idea who he was, but...

He was wearing a green yukata with light autumn leaf patterns on it, which I regret to say looked decent with his dirt-blond appearance. Kouki made eye contact with me and pointed a very conspicuous finger at us, the sleeve of his yukata flying with his sudden motion.

"YOU GUYS...!"

I almost pulled out my Digivice in response back then, fearing that he remembered his time as a BioHybrid for some reason beyond likelihood.

"I've seen you on TV!"

My shoulders loosened up slightly upon hearing that, but I wasn't able to relax quite yet. The both of us had styled our hair differently that year to prevent people from recognizing us... combined with the male yukata and blending in with everyone else, I thought it would have been enough... and up to that point, it had. Yet Kouki recognized us... Perhaps our image was riding in his subconsciousness higher above the other "strangers".

And that Kouki was scratching his chin. "Hmm, but what TV show was it? I can't quite put my finger on it..."

I knew I had to get the two of us away as soon as possible, and I would have assumed Masaru knew that too... But to my shock, the idiot already had a fist lifted up in a challenging pose.

"Who cares about that? We're here to prove our manliness no matter what comes at us! So you've got a shooting game over here, eh?"

Kouki switched his gaze to focus on Masaru.

"Yuh huh, hardest one there ever is. And NOT RIGGED like some other assholes make it, of course. Bet you can't even shoot down one in five!"

At some distance behind Kouki, there were three hollow-looking statues on the stand, planted as B.B. gun shooting targets. Their size obviously indicated that they were the grand prizes.

"Peh! I can shoot down all three of those big ones in five. Just watch!"

"Nuh-uh, nuh-uh. That still doesn't beat me, man. I can do ALL THREE with THREE!"

"Haa? But this is your own stand!"

"I'm just filling in for my friends while they're checking out other stuff in the festival. I didn't make this game, pal!"

"Well, not like it makes a difference anyway. You can't beat me even if your life depended on it!"

"Oh yeah?!"

"Yeah, I'll make your whole family cry about how much of a loser you are!"

"Not before I make all of your ancestors cry!"

"All your future relatives will know you as the ultimate shame in the family!"

"Ha, you think I care about that?!"

"I'll make your mom disOWN you!"

"My mom's ALREADY disOWNed me!"

All I could do back then was stare in silly awe, even with the bad feeling in my gut...

"Hey, if I win this... if I can shoot down all three objects there with three shots, then... you'll have to buy me one of every kind of food from the stalls here!"

"You're on!!"

Before I knew it, Masaru had lost the bet and ended up emptying his wallet from buying food for Kouki (I made a mental note to indirectly help replace his losses later, and probably not just his monetary ones). Afterwards, Kouki's friends came back to run the stall, which somehow resulted in Kouki tagging along with US wherever we went...

Masaru was the one insisting on being the host during that festival too. Yet he seemed to be fine with Kouki tagging along... To be honest, I was pretty concerned about it back then. Not out of envy, of course, and not even because it was KOUKI... but... wasn't it supposed to be just the two of us that night?

I suppose Kouki was fortunate enough that one of his friends came to take him away eventually... right before hitting the point when I might have lost my cool control and forced my way to lose him, even if things had to get dramatic. Thinking back on it, though, maybe I would've been overreacting. It wasn't even a very long fiasco, and it made the night more lively, if anything.

More lively...

But I still didn't want to see him again. I knew it was just me, too... Masaru probably wouldn't have minded either way. That's just the way he is.

Either way... Masaru was smiling at me right here, right now. That was all I cared about.

"I can guarantee every bit of the manliness in my muscles that he won't be showing up tonight. Now let's hurry up and start!"

"Ah..." I was going to say something along the lines of "Hey, slow down," until his movements stole my attention again.

Again, he was pulling me with his hand over mine. And again, there didn't seem to be any spectacular reactions from our surroundings.


He'd kill me if I told him this, but the possibility that everyone else was thinking he was a girl couldn't escape my mind at that moment. There actually weren't that many other guys wearing yukata in this festival, let alone guys with long hair and ponytails swishing side to side as they walked. Swinging like a pendulum, always coming back to the center...

He really did look beautiful in that yukata though.

He was leading me towards the basketball shot games when I stopped him and released my hand from his grip briefly. He blinked back at me in wonder, then stared with the slightest blush creeping up his cheeks as I intertwined the fingers of my hand with his. I wanted to tease him somehow, but there was another element at hand.

There was still no significant reaction from the crowd.

Something was definitely going on here.

"Masaru, why aren't-"

"Tohma, two minutes, basketball shots! GO!"

As I flipped my gaze to the direction Masaru was pointing to, I suddenly found myself in front of a net and hoop set for a basketball shooting game. By the time I realized it, he'd already stuffed coins into two of the machines and grabbed one of the basketballs that had tumbled out.

"If I win, you'll have to do everything I command when my next birthday comes, no objections!"


It came so suddenly that I lost the game by a good six shots.


In the end, I managed to stretch it out to best four out of seven games.

...Yet Masaru still won. I never even got the chance to lay out the conditions if I had been the winner. Not that it mattered...

"GAaaaahahahahaha! Victory!!"

...I'd let my guard down.

I watched Masaru hand out our massive lot of stuffed animal prizes to random kids who had been watching our games. We'd broken all the high scores... Quite a crowd had gathered around us by the time we had finished.

"Hmph, good luck remembering all this by the time your next birthday actually comes," I muttered, noting that his birthday wasn't for another ten months.

We started walking down one of the less crowded areas of the games section.

"No way I'll be forgetting something like this. But I'm sure YOU'll forget it, so just leave it to me!" Masaru thumped his chest with his fist.

"Sure thing," I replied with a quick eyebrow lift.

I honestly had no idea if he would remember or not. I suppose I would just have to wait for the unpredictable, but somehow I didn't mind that right now... as long as he was enjoying his time here.

With me...

Even if it was my birthday and he was doing everything in order to keep me entertained for that purpose, there wouldn't be any point if he himself wasn't enjoying it, after all. So just this once, I let myself be a little more naive with him.

And I let him hold my hand as we walked through the crowded streets.

I'd never admit it out loud, but it really paid off to just go along with his whims sometimes.

"Oh hey, they're scooping goldfish over there."

Satiated with his victory, Masaru took his good and healthy time to slowly coax me over to where a group of kids were toiling over large tubs full of small fish. Ah... this is what I wanted to do. Last year in the other festival, there had been too many people around the area and I hadn't wanted to waste the night waiting for a chance at it. This time, there were still plenty of open spots in the stall right in front of us.

Masaru and I crouched down at one of the vacant tubs, and the clerk approached us.

"Are you here for fishing?"

"Yep!" Masaru nodded.

"You can take home whatever you catch if you'd like. Here's a set for both of ya. Have at 'em!"

In moments, both of us had a scoop and water bowl in hand. Masaru stared at me after inspecting the goods.

"All right, this time, the winner gets to command the other for the rest of the night. Let's see how many you can get without breaking the scoop!"


'It's my own birthday, I still have to compete for something like that?' I almost said out loud, but I quickly smashed that thought as I saw Masaru's fiery stare.


Well, although I was already getting chauffeured around quite a bit, I certainly wasn't going to let him boss me around tonight on top of that.

"You aren't going to win this time," I told him with a straight face before turning to the water full of fish.

Unlike the basketball game, there was no time limit for this competition. As long as the scoop paper remained intact, there was a chance for victory. It was a match of patience and skill, and there was no way Masaru would be winning this one.


My first realization happened just a few weeks after we'd settled down as a "duo" team at DATS. It was our second overnight mission, involving unusual circumstances that had us sleeping over in the Digital World to complete our task. There were designated camp spots in caves that DATS had created in the Digital World where we could set a bonfire, lay out our sleeping bags next to each other, and get a safe night of rest.

On this second night, I had woken up in the middle of my sleep to an object lying on top of me. It was Masaru's arm; he had unknowingly swung it over me in his sleep as he faced me and gave off mild snores. I ended up staring long into his face in my sleepy stupor, trying to get back to sleep but at the same time a bit mesmerized. In our previous overnight mission, I had fallen asleep before Masaru and woken up afterwards, so I had never seen him sleeping until that night. I hadn't even seen him with his hair down before that, which made the impact all the stronger. I was... comfortable with his arm on me.

I couldn't get him out of my head. I ended up keeping myself awake for a good portion of that night, going along lines of thinking of his family, his missing father, and everything else I had come to learn about him in recent days. My life in general had felt like such a roller coaster ever since he came into the scene, and staying up in the middle of the night like this, him next to me... touching me... was the first (forced?) chance that I'd gotten to mull over the meaning of it all.

Going through it all, I came to the conclusion that we were bickering over stupid things, when in reality we were truly quite similar in a lot of ways--we just went about dealing with them in our own manners. When I put those manners aside, seeing Masaru just for who he was, I found myself having trouble taking my eyes off.

It was then that I realized I was attracted to him, not just psychologically as I had initially known ever since we first clashed, but physically as well...


A year ago, Masaru had mentioned that all I did was think about my research and him. In an overall sense, it was true.

Masaru was always brash in everything he did. No matter the situation, he wouldn't hesitate to leap into battle and throw his fist against the opponent. Even above dangerous obstacles, even through risky surroundings.

And in those situations, I'd always find myself shouting out for him.

At first, I was just shouting out in outrage. It was always something along the lines of "How can you be such an idiot to charge right into it without a second thought?! You completely ruined my plan!" when we first went out on missions together.

Not long after, I would find that his spur-of-the-moment actions weren't always trouble, however. From that point, I started to have more faith in our combination. And more faith in him...

Just not when he was diving fist-first towards a vicious Digimon.

There would be times when I would still want to yell out, asking why the heck he would charge in without a second thought, but instead of complaining about him ruining my plans, I was more worried about HIM...

Brash, cocky, simple-headed, a complete failure with machines, stubborn... There were so many things about him that would have normally driven me over the edge. Yet those same qualities have saved me more often than he would probably ever know. I had no room to deny it.

For a long time, I wasn't even sure why I was so concerned in the first place. I was a genius; I should've been able to predict when he would jump in so that I could maneuver around him. Yet he always deterred from my expectations...

Also in the first place, I'd been working with the mindset that I was simply on a DATS mission. It was my job, it was my duty. My duty was to protect both the real world and Digital World. Masaru was supposed to just be a teammate, someone there to help me complete my mission.

Yet I couldn't get Masaru out of my mind no matter how much I tried. He'd taken over my consciousness, my subconsciousness...

At first, I thought that it was simply impossible. Everything I'd been doing up until that point was within my research. It was for Relena and the Digimon. That's what I had believed for all that time. I wasn't about to quietly accept that I'd been obsessing over some guy who had randomly walked into my life one day. Sure, I had long accepted that I was physically attracted to him, but no one had to know that as long as I had anything to do with it.

And then Kurata appeared.

It didn't hit me very hard back then. He was a suspicious character from the start, but I had assumed that was only because he was just a difficult personality to get along with. The spiral of events one after another following his entrance showed otherwise, especially when he took Mercurimon down...

His actions were a definite wakeup call to me. We weren't just on a mission anymore... This time was entirely different, as the fate of all the Digimon and likely humankind as well were at stake. Kurata wasn't a man to be lightly dealt with.

To add to it all, there were the BioHybrids...

They were my second wakeup call. Back when we had to hide from them, back when I had to hold back Masaru since our Digivices had been broken, the larger picture had become crystal clear for me.

Kurata wanted any opposition to him dead, and he had the capable power in his hands to make it happen.

The BioHybrids' strength made me realize how much of a life and death situation we had gotten into, how much stronger I needed to be to not lose those precious to me. How much I couldn't afford to lose Masaru...

Never again did I want to lose someone precious to me like that solemn day.

That realization was probably what fueled my determination to obtain the Burst Digivice from the dojo BanchouLeomon guided us to. Back then was also when I started to suspect BanchouLeomon's background...

How ironic that Masaru's father came back into the picture not long after our encounter with BanchouLeomon. How Masaru's father was the messiah at ElDoradimon, how Masaru's father's Digisoul proved his very essence... and as his son, Masaru was entitled to total authority of the entire holy capital.

Masaru, Masaru. Everything was about Masaru...

My mind had been preoccupied with so many struggles as it was already. ElDoradimon, the BioHybrids, Kurata, the entire Digital World... yet everything seemed to come back to Masaru one way or another.

Masaru was who he was, and he wasn't about to change just for the likes of me. And I was okay with that. I respected him for that. I needed him for that. But even as I argued with him in ElDoradimon, something in the back of my mind was wanting me to reach out to him, go as far as to implore him not to give in to Kurata's trap. It wasn't just about the mission and helping Digimon anymore; our very own lives were at stake. It had me worried... worried that I would lose the mission, lose... him...

Impossible... I had Relena. As long as I protected her, I had family. I had a home. I had a place where I felt I belonged. I didn't need others, I had thought.

But this feeling... It was admiration, adoration, and every other emotion I never thought I would feel towards another person, let alone someone like Masaru. And there was more to it... infatuation, an infallible lust...

It was then when I confirmed for myself... Beyond just a physical attraction, how much closer I wanted to be with him...


"Ahhh, crap. Well, there goes my scoop. I got a lot of fish though... I see you're taking your mighty fine time doing this. Hurry it up!"

Masaru settled his chin on my shoulder. Fortunately, I didn't have anything in my scoop at the time, otherwise I would have well torn it. I didn't bother shrugging him off though...

I was still focused with my eyes on the pool as he shuffled his bowl closer, counting his fish. "2, 4, 6..."

He had two more fish than I did, which meant I only needed to get three more to win the bet.

Three more... not a problem.

Masaru stared down into the pool with me as I went for my next fish.


In an almost convenient turn of events, Nanami tested me against everything I'd been mulling over. After fighting her, I realized it. Or more like I was forced to realize it... I had to resolve my feelings for Masaru one way or another.

So when Kurata appeared before me, holding Relena hostage with his dirty tricks, forcing me to decide between her and everyone else, I made that resolution.

Kurata may have tried to force me to decide between two things as black and white, but I knew there were more options. Still, nothing would come without sacrifice.

Regardless of my own feelings, Masaru was the one I knew I had to set straight for my plan to work.

No matter how much it hurt... for Masaru, for myself...

I was fully prepared for him to never fully forgive me for my actions. That was part of my plan, after all. I was sacrificing my selfish wishes for a greater cause, and I thought that would be the end of it.

Even after clearing up the reason for my betrayal, I thought he would never be able to see me as any more than another comrade in arms because I had forced it in that direction. Or at least I tried to, when I asked him to forget the events that had transpired at ElDoradimon, our last moments of vague intimacy before I betrayed him...

I had tried to force it again, to get him to move on past me, after nearly choking him to death. Even if that incident wasn't under my own will, it still stood as a representation of how undeserving I felt.

Even comforting him when he had learned about his father was simply a result of me trying to atone for all I had done against him. I never expected anything in return, only that he would stay his beautiful self and not fall into despair. Only one of us should ever have to deal with it, and I never wanted him to be the one if I could do anything about it.

But Masaru wouldn't leave it that way. He forced his own way onto me, pulling me out of the ditch of despair and back into a world where I could seek all my dreams and desires. Desires, including him. In the end, he saved me, yet again.

And look at where we are now...


Afterwards, a small part in the back of my mind had the feeling that Masaru had purposely lost the bet for me. I had no way of telling for sure, of course. After all, he WAS well ahead of me when he had broken the scoop.

The clerk at the stand insisted on letting us take some of our fish with us, but Masaru politely refused, telling the man that he had more than enough animals to take care of at home, including one very large frog. Instead, he just grabbed my hand again and moved us on until we were clear of the games area.

"All right, grats. A man keeps his word. The rest of the night's yours."

I nodded in response... and then Masaru held back a laugh.

"You're so obedient for being the birthday boy, it's so weird," he said between chuckles. "Normally, it should be the other way around, shouldn't it? But it's too late now... just remember that whatever you make me do tonight, I'm paying back in multifolds when it's my turn!"

He teasingly stuck his tongue out at me. I almost wanted to call his behavior immature right then, but I couldn't bring myself to do so since... he had a point. I was almost surprised at myself for how much I was putting up with Masaru's antics. I'd gotten long used to them, yes, but even to this day, I couldn't completely explain this phenomenon of our relationship...

That didn't matter, though. I had long resigned myself to the fact that Masaru was an important part of my life.

"So what do you have in mind?" he asked through my thoughts.

I had resigned... surrendered...

To myself... to him.

And he too had surrendered. We accepted each other for what we were.

Yet I still wondered... was it worth it?

Somewhere down the line, where I hadn't noticed... Had I only lost something important to me again?

Nanami's last words to me in her defeat rang through me again.

"It wasn't your own strength you used against me, it was Daimon Masaru's."

She had one misconception about everything, however. And it was the very reason I was able to defeat her, and everything else that came in our way afterwards...

Masaru brought up both of his hands to toyingly play with my hand as he held it, patiently waiting for me.

I hadn't lost anything important. There was nothing but gain here.

My gaze fell upon the steps of the plaza nearby. There were mostly families around the area-- fathers and mothers taking their children to the various bamboo poles placed in the area to make wishes together...

Masaru and I had done the same thing last year. I had wished for my family's health... and Masaru had wished for his own family's health. It was by pure coincidence, yet the reasons were all too clear.

Thinking back on it, those wishes did hold out. Relena wasn't cured yet, but I was making definite progress in finding a cure for her. My father and I were still on edge with each other at times, but we've slowly started speaking to each other more like the family I've longed for. Even though Mother would never return...

Masaru's family seemed to be doing fine as well. Maybe it was because the father figure had already been missing for those ten long years that there didn't seem to be much of a change in the way the Daimons ran their family. Sayuri Daimon had been raising her children on her own for ten years, and it had only continued...

My pessimistic side wanted to compare to see whose situation was more lonely, but I quickly squished the thought.

As much as I could picture my mother and my younger self at the bamboo poles, hanging up our tanzaku papers with our wishes written on them, I could now also see Masaru and myself from the year previous.

"Let's make wishes again."

Masaru followed my gaze, and after a short but thoughtful pause, said, "Right on."

We went up to give our attention to one of the more isolated poles that lacked the slips of tanzaku paper hanging on it. Perhaps just no one noticed it since it was tucked away in a far corner, but there was an untouched pile of paper slips and pens in a basket by its side. Masaru and I picked our own sets up.

"Hey Tohma. You gotta make your wish completely for yourself this year, got it?"

"Hm? What, why are you telling me to-"

"Because it's your birthday. In turn, I'll make my wish completely for myself too. For my own birthday next year, of course."

I looked at him as he already started writing down his wish on the bench nearby. I didn't really have a reason to object anyway...

Hmph, even though he'd just told me moments before that the rest of the night was mine, he was still trying to order me around. I had to sigh.

Well, whatever's mutual...

I contemplated for a while, wondering what I should write. I had a feeling Masaru was going to pry a look at it even if I told him not to, in which case I figured I should put down something he wouldn't object to.

Or I could do just the opposite... I was curious to see how he'd react.

After my bout of consideration, I wrote down my wish and hung it up on the stalk as normal, even before Masaru finished writing his. Whatever he was writing, he must have mulled over it quite a bit...

And to my surprise, he hung up his tanzaku without taking so much as a peek at mine. It was as if the thought hadn't even come across him.


"You're... not going to ask about what I wrote?"

He looked at me with an unreadable expression for a while. "Tell me at the end of the day."

I peered at him with subdued surprise. Again, I couldn't tell what he was thinking under the surface of that request. "All right..."

Having calmed down from the hustle and bustle of the festival, we sat on the bench for a while, idly staring at the crowds as they passed by in the short distance. I could assume that the wishes we had written down were still lingering in our minds.

And lo and behold, our hands made brief contact on the bench. Masaru jerked his away at first, but eventually it crawled back to touch mine, just on the side.

Strange. Something was definitely strange.

I still couldn't read his expression either. He wouldn't look directly at me, but I had a feeling he wanted to. It'd been almost a year since we'd started getting intimate, and I could read this much into his behavior, but there were still plenty of mysteries about him. Plenty of mysteries I'd likely never solve, but that's what made being with him all the more worthwhile.

"Are there going to be any fireworks tonight?"

Masaru's eyes abruptly smiled. "Yep, right at the riverbank. Wanna go?"

"Eh? It's a bit early..."

"Not to worry, we'll find something to do on the way."

"On the way?"

I started following his lead back into the crowded lines of people in the main festival area.


There were plenty of distractions along the way, including another stand with delicious appetizer takoyaki. Masaru got us a tray of six along with another drink.

We watched some dancers while we ate our takoyaki. Their Bon odori was quite impressive. I'd never gotten a chance to learn it myself, but it was enjoyable enough just watching it for tonight.

We also passed by a stand selling full face masks, the ones that usually have the tengu and oni faces of tradition, and nowadays plenty of popular modern TV references as well. For some reason, the masks here looked an awful lot like Digimon I'd seen before... Masaru pushed me to carry on before I could get a longer look at the wares, however.

Not too far from the riverbank, there was a shrine which had been decorated with more tanabata wishing bamboo poles. Tonight, the shrine was glowing brightly with festival lights, shining down on those colorful poles.

After a bathroom break, I started looking for a spot at the riverbank for us to sit down, when Masaru started leading me away from the festival crowds altogether.

"What about the fireworks?" I said with some concern. "We're moving away from the festival."

"Don't worry, I know a better spot to see them... The best spot you'll ever get. And it's private."

We were moving away from the lights, but I could still see that Masaru was flushing red more than usual.

A private spot, huh...

After a few minutes of silent walking, we came to an empty area of the riverbank where the giant moon of the night reflected on the river to provide all the illumination across the area. There were no buildings in clear sight, not a single artificial light around. It was a rather surreal scene, especially in contrast to the heavy glow of the lights at the shrine just earlier.

I stared down at the grass and at the long line of rocks near the river. It was so spacious, simple and empty... I found it difficult to believe there were still spots like this for a festival night. I had easily noticed there were fewer and fewer people as we had come down the path, and now there was not a single trace of anyone else's presence in the area. Neither by sound nor sight... so surreal.

"Wow, this place is... How did you..."

Masaru just grinned at me as he set down a giant beach towel he had bought just earlier for us to sit on. And maybe he was about to answer, but a loud popping noise in the distance caught our attention at that moment. The fireworks had started.

He was right. There couldn't have been a better spot for the fireworks.

We watched the fireworks for a solid five minutes or so without saying as much as a word to each other. The crackling noises and bright colors all through the vast skies in clear view were enough to keep our senses occupied. I barely even noticed when his shoulder touched mine as we sat back on the towel. I did notice when his hand slipped its way around my back and waist area, and I went to do the same in return.

The fireworks escalated after those five minutes, indicating that they were heading towards the end.

A comfortable silence fell upon us after the last of the fireworks tapered off into the distance. The cicadae were still chirping in the background, although at quite an easily tolerable level.

"This was a good birthday present. Thanks, Masaru."

"Pfft, it was troublesome enough coming up with something up to YOUR level. And I still gotta wonder if it really was up to it."

I didn't respond to that; I knew it was his usual mocking and he didn't actually mean anything deep with it. A simple eyebrow raise later, I scooted my position to face him. I finally had a chance to look at his yukata without distractions from the rest of the festival. A very good chance...


He blinked at me a few times. And that was it. He could read me just as well. After a warm look, he let himself fall back onto the towel, arms spread out. It was a clear invitation. Which brought the thought to me...

"There's seriously no one else around... why?"

Masaru paused before answering. "I had it arranged this way."

I waited for more explanation, but it wasn't coming.

"Don't think too much about it. I'll just swear on my manliness that there's nothing to interrupt us here. Absolutely nothing."

"Regardless of what happens?"

"Yup. You could shout out your ultimate, secret plan for world dominance right here and I'd be the only other one to know. Or other things."

"Other things..."

I was already staring at him at that point, but now the skepticism was starting to take over my admiration... But he was telling the truth. I could tell that much at least.

It really was just the two of us...

"Hey Tohma... I had a lot of fun today."

"Fun... Hey, that's my line. Thank you for everything."

"...What are you talking about? Isn't it natural... for your birthday... As a man, I don't back down for anyone, unless they're important to me. And you're definitely important."

That straightforwardness, it was a sign of his pure kindness that I had come to love.

I felt like this that day I learned about Masaru's feelings, and I still felt the same. It was almost unbelievable somehow, yet I knew there was nothing to doubt about it. His feelings... were right there with me, right now. Nothing could compare to that.

"I'm glad to hear... Even with everything else that happened, I'm really glad we got to go again this year..." he said as he leaned over ever so slightly, just enough to catch my attention. "You know I'd only do all this for you, and it's definitely been worth it."

Hey now... If he keeps saying things like that... I won't be able to hold back anymore.

"Well... The fun's just getting started," I said.


Quickly but gently, I leaned over, wrapping an arm around the back of his yukata, and locked Masaru in a deep kiss. Masaru muttered in surprise before returning the motion. Our tongues met and danced, and I couldn't help but give a coo at the sensation.

After the exchange, I watched as he lied back down on the grass. There was a very... enticing showing of his chest under one of the folds of his yukata.

I reached out with one hand. My hand rested on his chest as Masaru looked up at me. He was calm, even if I could feel his heart thumping heavily against my touch.

He was ready... I was sure that's what he was telling me. I had to get a confirmation first, of course.

"Are you ready?"

"Ready for what?"

His calm expression remained unchanged.

"To go all the way."

Straight to the point, just in the way he preferred.

"Yeah, I am," he replied, just as straight to the point. But he continued, "I know I said that nothing's gonna interrupt us here... But are you okay with it... here?"

"Here... is okay?"

"I have condoms." He tapped near his waist, where his yukata had a pocket on the inside.

I blinked several times. I had no idea he was that prepared.

We had already experimented with condoms before, with that had happened not long ago. I could still remember the utter embarrassment on his face when I gave him one of the bulk packs afterwards, asking him to keep it at his place. I also teased the possibility with him that I was interested in such an... event sometime after my birthday, but here Masaru had already been far ahead of me.

"I did personally imagine a first time being indoors..." I said, feeling the heat creep up my cheeks with all the thoughts that were going through my head, "But you seem really confident that this spot is just as... private."

He kept his gaze without faltering in the slightest. "It is."

My heart had been pounding for a while now, but now it felt like the sound of it was taking over the quiet mood. I needed to move.


Masaru's hair had been growing out more than usual recently. He always had his on and off periods where he'd grow his hair to go just past his shoulders and then trim it off, but at the moment it was probably the longest it had ever been. That wasn't saying much though, as it meant his hair reached just past his shoulder blades rather than the top of his shoulder. Even with just that subtle difference, it was enough for me to notice, being the one closest to him.

I reached behind and tugged at Masaru's hair tie. He reached back as well for the assist, pulling the hair tie out in one swift movement and putting it in his inside pocket. His ponytail split and fell to his shoulders, adding more volume to his already thick hair. I would never get tired of seeing that, and it was all the better when Masaru looked at me while it was happening.

Masaru's hands next went to the obi, the cloth around my waist.

"Getting right to it, are we..." I noted.

"It's gonna get hot real quick otherwise, I'm sure." He gave me a sultry look, a rarity in its own level. I imagined how much more of it I was about to see, and the thoughts sent signals straight down to one obvious area...


I found myself working on his obi at the same time as we faced each other, knees on the towel below. Within moments, the strips of cloth were removed and tossed aside. The rest of the yukata slipped off easily, leaving us in only our undergarments.

We relished in the feel of each other's skin under the night sky, the occasional mild breeze sending the slightest of shivers through us. Everything felt different in the outdoor environment, with so much space around us in such an open area. Masaru's skin felt even silkier than usual, exposed in the moonlight to give each sensation when I touched him a daring note.

"Tohma... Your briefs..." he trailed off as he occupied his lips on my neck and shoulder.

Masaru's trunks were simpler to remove compared to my briefs, and it certainly wasn't new for him to indirectly complain about them. As he closed in on the space between us, I helped myself to remove them for his access. Just as I removed them, leaving both of our bodies completely naked, Masaru put his weight on me. I leaned back a bit, and he proceeded to push me down onto the towel.


I was usually the one leading when it came to these moments, so I wasn't sure how far Masaru intended to go with this...

"Just for a bit..." he answered without me asking directly, "You always start things off for us, so I wanted to try it in reverse for a change..."

Before I could object, if I had actually wanted to, he was already spreading my legs and going down on me.


I tried to hold back a gasp, though it didn't work very well.

True, I was always the one getting things started. After almost a year of being intimate but being the main initiator, I habitually didn't expect anything in return, so to have him start out this way was a bit intense for me...

His tongue traced down from my navel to my nether regions, and soon he was working his way to the tip of my erection. Once he was there, he started drawing circles with his lips and tongue all around it... Starting from the tip, moving to other areas and gradually increasing surface area coverage...

Ah... I had certainly gone down on him before, so he was mirroring what I had done. So this was... what it felt like...

I managed to pick myself up a bit from having collapsed on the towel, to raise my upper half with my arms. But Masaru continued on with my bottom half, holding my legs in place and doing a mixture of licking and sucking.

Every circle with his tongue quickly drove me closer to peaking. I wouldn't last very long at this rate...

"Wait, Masaru... Wait, wait..."

He paused midway with most of my erection in his mouth, only to mutter "Whann?" which made me shudder again from the vibration and movements.

"Mmg... That's enough. What about you? We can switch..."

He freed me for a moment. "That's it? I just got started." But soon he was back in place. "Just a bit more for you..."


And he kept going. Slurp, slurp. Stronger than before, even. I wasn't... trying to provoke him, but maybe I did...

I lied back down on the towel and reached over to touch his hair, hoping to distract myself a bit with anything in reach. I stared up into the sky... The vast unending skies illuminating our view from the moon and stars. Masaru was... sucking on me in this wide open space with no one to interrupt us.

I could feel myself getting harder with each stroke of his tongue. For a moment, I let myself enjoy the feeling, gently holding his head as he buried my penis in his mouth.

"Ah... Aah..."

When at last he took a break, I could see a stream of saliva connecting his lips to my tip, and I shuddered again. He stared at the tip.

"Look who's wet... Right here..." He poked the tip with a finger where his saliva was still connected, and that's when I realized it wasn't just his saliva... It was my pre-cum.

I wasn't going to tell him, but damn he did a good tease, whether he knew it or not. Instead, I pouted a bit and shifted over to reverse our positions. He didn't put up much resistance.

It was my turn to look at his erection, and to my pleasant observation, his was glistening under the moonlight just the same. In fact, having gone unchecked, it was about to drip...

An idea arose at that instant.

I lifted his right leg with my left hand, and used my other hand to take that drip and go for a certain area further down...


I attempted to nudge a drip covered finger in, but it didn't go as smoothly as I thought. "Not sure if this will be enough... you're really tight down here."

"I have lube too..."

He reached over to his yukata that had long been abandoned to the side, pulling out a couple condoms and a small tube of lube. Okay, now that I hadn't expected, at all. He had to have gotten that on his own somewhere.

I looked over at him as he settled back into his previous position, this time with the lube at his side. His hair was a bit disheveled from me holding his head earlier, but he still looked gorgeous as always.

"I... I tried it out before tonight. Pretty sure it should work..."

I was at a loss for words for a moment. He really never failed to surprise me.

"It should work, you say... To what capacity did you 'try it out'?" I asked him.

"Uh... It takes a while to stretch out, but I was fine with three fingers... eventually... I think we'll need to stretch it out again though."

Imagining Masaru trying out the lube on his own was quite the mind fodder. I went on the move again so that he wouldn't see the effect it had on me.

I took the lube bottle and saw it was the push-to-open type, then arranged a decent amount on my fingertips. Masaru waited as I approached again. With the lube, a single finger went in relatively smoothly.

Ah... Yes, this was definitely workable. Still, it was pretty tight even with just one finger. I tried adding a second finger, and it was quickly met with a great deal of resistance.

Masaru grunted, looking a bit uncomfortable. "Slowly now..."


"It's fine. Keep going."

I pressed on by his command, taking care to open him up gradually. Once the second finger had made it about as far as the first, Masaru took a deep breath. All the while, I could feel a pulsing tightening and loosening sensation on my fingers. It was so active down in there, even when I wasn't moving otherwise...

I tried moving my fingers back out and then back in, causing Masaru to jerk reactively.


"You okay, Masaru?"

"Y...Yeah... Just keep going..."

So I did, moving my two fingers in and out some more, letting the slippery lube coat its way inside him. All the while, I could feel him loosening up and not clamping down as much with each push.

I noticed he was breathing harder, and he was closing his eyes more often, although at least not in wincing.

"Does it feel good?"

"D-Don't ask me that, just keep going... Third finger should be okay now, if you use more lube..."

Following his advice, I applied more lube and pried with the third finger this time. It was met with even more resistance than the second finger, though. I still pressed on.

He placed an arm over his forehead, nearly covering his eyes in the process. His other hand was gripping the towel beneath us. Was he really okay?

"Keep going... Slowly..."

I took note and pushed even slower than before with the third finger. At that point, it felt like I wouldn't even be able to fit it unless I really forced it in, which only elevated my concern for him... But he kept telling me to keep going.

I finally managed to get the third just about as far as the others had gone, and I started moving them all in and out slowly. I called his name out softly, checking to see his condition.

Under the moonlight, with an arm over his forehead, I could still see that he was flush red and breathing hard.

"How does it feel?" I asked him.

"It's... weird. But only for now."

As I worked my fingers in and out of him, I arranged myself so that I could lean forward and kiss him by his side. Perhaps it took him by surprise, as he gasped at the contact of our lips.

"Tohma..." he called as I pulled back. He removed his arm from his forehead, and his hand went to cup one of my cheeks instead. "I think that's good enough. Let's do it."

His hand was so warm... There was plenty of heat on my cheeks already though.

In almost a flurry, I removed my fingers, wiping them on the towel. I opened a condom pack and put it on as Masaru watched intently... The condom was lightly lubed already, but it probably needed some more. Masaru nodded without another word as I lifted the bottle for his view.

I was still awed that he was so prepared for this... All of this. Masaru did it for us...

"This position is probably the most comfortable for you, so we can stick to this... With our first time and all," I said to him as I applied the lube.

"Yep," he replied, making one last sigh before spreading himself out and grinning at me. "Ready whenever you are."

I paused briefly, letting the moment and view in front of me sink into my memory. Masaru was completely exposed in front of me, heat packed in his expression and beckoning me in. We stared back at each other, anticipating with heavy breaths for what was to come.

A light breeze passed by to push me out of my stupor and soon I found myself positioned over him. My condom-covered erection made contact with the opening I had just stretched out. Despite all that stretching, it still felt so tight at the entrance...

I used one hand to steady myself in while the other held onto his thigh. Masaru closed his eyes tightly as I pushed in. It felt like his body was actively trying to keep me out.

"You okay, Masaru?"

"I'm fine... It's just... really weird at first. It'll get better if you keep going..."

I wanted to keep going, but I didn't want to overdo it right away, either. I wanted him to enjoy this with me...

I tried moving in gradually past the resistance his body was giving me. Slowly, but surely I could sense him giving way.

"Mmph..." Masaru nearly sounded off a whimper. Suddenly, his legs wrapped around my sides and pushed me in with one fell swoop.

We both inhaled sharply from the impact, and a surge of warmth crawled all through the rest of my body. I was pretty much all the way in... completely surrounded with Masaru's being.

"Well, that's one way to do it," I commented. "You feel amazing."

Masaru lifted his eyebrows and gave a sly smile as he narrowed his eyes. "Good."

"I imagine it's not much for you unless I start moving, huh."

His narrowed eyes went even narrower and he drifted his view away from me. "Just glad we got through the hard part."

"The hard part... Penetration?"

"You don't have to say it out loud like that!! Just get moving already, Tonma."

That nostalgic nickname... Nowadays, I knew he only used it when he was embarrassed enough to need something to hide it.

Well, there was no hiding here.

I placed my arms at the sides of his head, pulled back a bit, and pushed in...

"Aah..." Masaru's eyes widened from the movement.

It was certainly much easier than it had been at the entrance. The lube had spread more evenly and let everything slide rather smoothly as well.

I tried it a few more times, gradually changing up the angle where I could. Masaru closed his eyes and looked to be holding back his gasps.

He didn't need to hold back...

Everything was amazing for me already, but I wanted him to feel it too. I needed a good spot to hit... Further in... Deeper...

Masaru lifted his arms to place his hands around my shoulders, drawing us closer.

"How is it?... Is it... feeling good... yet?" I huffed between thrusts.

He didn't answer, instead just continuing to grunt as he held back his gasps with each of my pushes.

"It's so good inside you... Masaru..."

His grunts gradually grew more laborious as I continued adjusting my angle against him. At one point, with both of his legs wrapped around me, a raw gasp finally came through, past his clenched mouth.

"Aah! T-Tohma...!"

I was onto something, so I kept pushing at that angle. Masaru tightened his arms around me, and his bottom half tightened up as well... I had to pause for a bit. It felt too good...

We were both breathing heavily, pressed up against each other so closely that I could almost lick the tear that had formed at the edge of his eye... I kissed the high end of his cheek near it instead.

"Why'd you stop?" he said between breaths.

"So I can enjoy it longer." In other words, I was quite close to peak already. But Masaru...

As if on cue, the tear that had formed at the edge of his eye trickled down the high end of his cheek where I had kissed him. I kissed him again in the same spot.

"That's... Fine... Take as much time as you need..."

"I want you to feel it too though."


I took yet another new angle, this time looping one of my arms around his back.

"Ah..... Ahh!!"

That sounded more like it.

"Aah, right there!"

Music to my ears.

I kept going.

"Masaru... Masaru..." I repeated his name, as if I were in a trance and he was all I could think about.

Well, he really was all I could think about here.

"Tohma... Aaahh... Aaaun... Tohma...! I'm gonna..."

Despite implying he was going to climax soon, I wouldn't let it happen just yet.

My body wanted release desperately, but all my desires wanted to hear Masaru's cries of pleasure endlessly. Within this conundrum, my thrusting erratically went back and forth from intense to slow paced, keeping myself from breaking past peak.

Masaru took it all in, his moaning gradually becoming more and more audible with each wave of thrusts. An absolute symphony.

"Ah... Aah... More..."

I had a limit to reach too, though... And Masaru felt so much better than I could have ever imagined. The way his fists clenched my shoulders, the way his legs drifted up and down from my back with each movement, the way he intently stared into me as he took on everything I had for him...

" Please..."

In a fleeting moment, his expression beckoned me for a kiss, and I gave it to him. A fierce one, driving my tongue inside to invade him even more. It muffled his moans briefly, and when I released his mouth, the moans only grew even more intense.

"Give it to me... Now...!"

I couldn't hold back any longer. I went all in, thrusting deep inside him at feverish speed. Invading him, more and more.


Both of our voices raised to their peaks, letting the open air of the riverbank carry them into distant nothingness. A glimpse of Masaru's erection caught my eye as I looked down at him, and I gave into the urge to stroke it with my hand. After just a few strokes, Masaru's body suddenly clamped down onto my penis harder than ever before as his own penis ejaculated. I followed no sooner, releasing everything into him.


After what felt like a ten-minute nap pressed against each other, the both of us cleaned up and went back to lying on the towel together, just to relax.

Even just cleaning up came with an interesting outcome, however. When I came to, Masaru had suggested that we wash up at the river itself. I had expressed concerns about using river water in general, but he just insisted that I do it.

So I approached the river, flowing steadily this whole time, and took a closer look. I hadn't noticed before since everything was more difficult to see with only the moonlight to guide me, but this was no ordinary river.

"You haven't figured it out yet, Tohma? I thought you were a genius."

Thinking back on it, there were subtle hints here and there. But I never would have assumed... "This is... the Digital World."

"Oh, so you did figure it out."

"But... I don't remember going through a Digital gate..."

"We did. Right in the limousine. You wouldn't have noticed anyway with the tinted windows."

"But what about the people at the festival? HOW can they be there?"

"Well... they kind of aren't there for real."


"Jijimon tried to explain it to me, but I didn't really get it. The main point is they aren't there for real. We can ask him about it later."


"I got the help from an old Digimon couple called Jijimon and Babamon. They have some pretty powerful magic to work up these kinds of fun things."


Jijimon and Babamon? Since when did he get time to interact with Digimon in the Digital World and arrange something like this without me knowing? And they had to be rather powerful to pull off something as extensive as this. This was definitely an Ultimate level power..

"What about the fireworks?"

"They did those too."


Masaru walked right up to me and sealed my lips with his own before he proceeded to clean himself. "Hey, don't sweat the small details. What matters is that you had a good time, right? No harm done."


"We can stay here as long as you like. It's your birthday."

"Oh really? So... Forever is an option?"


"No, I know I have people to attend to eventually, of course... And you as well."

"Of course."

"But... Tonight, I just want it to be you."

"That's what I'm here for." He smiled.


Masaru placed himself on top of my shoulder, pressing his face to my neck as we settled back down on the towel. I wasn't used to him being this affectionate with me when we were just casually hanging out, even if we were alone like this... But there was a certain glow to him now. A glow I no doubt gave him...

"Tohma... have you heard about what happened with Kurata?"

My mind browsed over what it had taken from the news into memory lately, and I couldn't help but remember something unsettling. Captain Satsuma had made it very clear with the government that Kurata should have no contact with DATS in any regard. Yet this kind of news about him would still reach the gossip amongst the lady workers at our DATS HQ... AKA my mansion.

Kurata had recently been moved out of having to do janitorial services for probation. In less than two years, that man had been put back on the government workforce. I knew the government was reluctant to let go of his scientific talent despite all he had committed, but I thought it was still a little too soon. At least he still lived under government custody and was under constant surveillance; he was practically a government slave for research now. His memories had likely been altered to a certain extent as well, although I never found out any details regarding that. Regardless, he would never again have anywhere near the amount of authority he once had. Heck, he would never have the authority to put ANYONE in harm's way in ANY matter, and that was enough... hopefully.

It wasn't a very pleasant thought to mull over... and I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about it.

"...Well, yeah," was all I mustered up. Under everyday circumstances, I probably would have elaborated on my thoughts, but that wasn't going to happen here.

Masaru gave me a quiet stare, as if waiting for me to make a bigger reaction. It wasn't coming.

"Might come as a surprise to you, but I still think about the struggle we had against him just about every day," he said softly, seeming a little hesitant to admit it.

Now, this angle of the subject, I was better with... At least much more compared to how I was a bit over a year ago. So much has changed in my way of reflecting over those events, thanks to Masaru.

"Not a surprise, even coming from you. I do too."

"'Even coming from you,' was a bit unnecessary... But yeah, I figured." He pouted shortly.

Another silence fell between us.

Everything that had gone through my mind, reflecting on how we got to where we are today... I hadn't even gone past the surface of explaining it to him. There was so much more I could have told him, but definitely not in the state I was in at the time. I had depleted a good amount of energy and my body was ready to go back to sleep for now, regardless of how much my mind was still teasing Masaru.

"Hey Tohma... what are the Seven Deadly Sins?"

My body made a lazy rattle at the sudden shift of subject. Although in a way, it wasn't so sudden... It was solely because of a certain someone that the Seven Deadly Sins became so relevant to us in the first place. "...Why ask now?"

"Well... each of the Demon Lords represented one of the Seven Deadly Sins, right? Since we sealed them all up, shouldn't that have some kind of effect on the rest of us?"


"Because... I still..." He moved up closer to me, placing a long kiss against my cheek and brushing his hands across my frontal areas. "I think this one was... Lust..."

I was too tired to reciprocate the gesture, but I let him have his way. "All of them exist in us. As long as we acknowledge them in appropriate moderation, we'll be fine."

"Appropriate moderation..." Masaru repeated the words as if he wasn't convinced in the slightest. He started kissing my neck.

"Masaru, are you actually up for another round or something?"

"Well........ Not tonight."

I blinked at him as he continued running his hand on me.

"But definitely tomorrow."


I kept blinking at him, unsure of what else to say.

"Change of subject again," he said, doing the job for me. "So what did you wish for?"


He suddenly stopped brushing me around and turned to lie on his stomach, propping his head up with his arms.

"The tanzaku. Your wish."

"Oh, right. I wished... for the happiness of those important to me."

He shook his head in some form of disbelief. "Iiiiiidiot, I told you to write a wish completely for YOURSELF."

To that, I just gave him a wry smile. "I did."

He went silent and then made a deep sigh. "Haa, I should've known."

"What about you?" I asked in return.

"Secret. Won't tell."

"According to your bet, you have to do whatever I order you to do. The night isn't over yet."


Masaru clearly hesitated for a while, but eventually gave a sigh in surrender.

"...I wrote the damn same thing."

I could only imagine how smug I looked to him.

"So... Are you happy?" I asked him.

"Of course I'm happy," he answered almost immediately. However, in the tiniest of mutterings, as he turned his face away from my sight, I thought I heard, "...I'm so happy I could cry..."

And before I knew it, completely ignoring how tired I was, I leaned forward and gathered him in my arms.


"I'm TOHma."


Well, names aside, just the fact that he was melting in my hold was enough for me.

I honestly did wish the night could have lasted forever, but the luxury of my birthday was only one day of the year. Soon, it'd be back to the daily grind, continuing my research during the day and seeing Masaru when it came time to report into DATS. No doubt, he'd be back to his usual "too manly to let you overshadow me" attitude while in the presence of the familiar faces of everyone at DATS.

On the surface, it seemed our everyday lives hadn't changed much compared to our regular days at DATS before Kurata tried his way with us. Digimon appearances were much less frequent, fortunately, and with Masaru no longer having to attend school, he was spending more time in the mansion... more time with me. Although much of that time involved getting him to be a properly contributing member of the job. Countless hours of explaining how to file paperwork and use the machines without breaking them, trying to get through that manly attitude of his...

Still, it was a world's difference knowing that by just holding onto his hand and showing him my affection, that one-track attitude could be completely flipped over, just for me. I would never grow tired of that beautiful sight.


Every time we repeat this cycle of emotion, my heart and soul brim with life.

Masaru, you're amazing. You mean everything to me. There are many things I haven't told you yet about why I feel this way, but I'm sure you're just the same, and we're both okay with that. To say it in your own words, we let our fists do the talking. And in my fists, it's you... In my hands, it's you... In my embrace, it's you...

Even if I never get the chance to tell you everything, there's one set of words I'll still want you to hear and always remember.

"I love you, Masaru."

"I love you too, Tohma."



The bright-colored yukata might as well be the ones here:

Some random Digimon lore: Jijimon and Babamon used to be Seraphimon and Rosemon.
^ I wrote that note to myself 10 years ago?? Yep.

Another thing I need to be honest about... It was so hard to finish this for various petty reasons. I think the biggest part was that the entire thing is almost literally just the two of them and no one else, save for Yoshino shortly in the early part and a certain flashback appearance ahem. After involving so many characters in Cycle, having to focus solely on these two for so long, particularly in Tohma's POV, had me constantly wondering if this was okay in the end. It felt like I was tipping away at the fine balance I had in the original, even though that was the intent of this sequel in the first place... to finish cooking and serve the tomatoes. Thankfully, my next piece brings back some of that classic Digimon Savers balance. Still not to the level that I put in for Cycle, but it's a step back into it. Maybe... maybe not, since it's mostly just the two of them again, aaah. Does it matter? But uh yeah, another petty reason was because I kept going back and forth with ideas for my next piece, so... focus was an issue. Well, at least for now I think I can focus on the next piece, and that is well on its way already.

So yes, I still have more ToMaTo content I want to put out in the future. For example, a decently large piece I had started off as a "full-color doujinshi"... I'm leaning towards finishing it as a fic first (from start to finish of course) and putting out whatever I had drawn in tandem with it when it's finally ready. If I ever have the time after, I'd love to finish the doujin part too... (Which I guess I could still do in full color, with all the wonderful cheat tools people have developed for digital art in recent years) But as it currently stands, there's a lot more I can potentially flesh out in fic format anyway. I just need to find a good amount of time to myself to get it all out~ It's kind of hard to say for sure at this point, as I'm still getting spouts of wanting to draw versus write at various times. I'm personally still betting on the fic version first. We'll just have to see... I'm even replaying the Savers PS2 game and such for it, and that itself might inspire other fics afterwards...

Well, until next time! Please keep the inspiration coming. I'm very determined for there to be a next time. If my determination can take me through these 10 years in which just about every big pre-mid-life "crisis" event happened, then I'm sure I can carry through this next one too. I'm in it for the love of it.