Me: Okay, people. I don't own Digimon, nor do I own Bother, by Corey Taylor. This song is on the Spider-Man soundtrack, by the way, and this is going to be a pure Rukato, with a hint of Jurato.

Rika: What?!! I'll kill you for this!!

BlackTerriermon: Hold it right there, Queenie! (Rika halts)

Me: (sighs) Can't you two act reasonable for once? This doesn't only have romance in it, but also some angst. Also, this story is dedicated to Frozen Phoenix.

BlackTerriermon: I hope you know what you're doing, buddy…

Me: As do we all... This story follows the climactic battle against the D-Reaper, people.

Wish I was too dead to cry…my self-affliction fades

Stones to throw at my creator…masochists to whom I cater

Digimon Tamers: Relieving the Pain

"I don't need you…I don't need anybody!" –Rika Nonaka, The Icemon Cometh!

"I haven't finished yet…We haven't finished yet!" –Takato Matsuki, Grow Mon, Grow

Tears trickled down Rika's face to splash onto her hands as she shivered lightly while sitting outside in the heavy rainstorm. An hour or so after the Digimon Tamers had been forced to send their Digimon back to the Digital World, this storm had cropped out of nowhere, and seemed to mimic their mood-dark and despairing, but none more so than the former Digimon Queen. Not only had she lost her partner, Renamon, but she'd also lost a chance at true love, and it had been right in front of her all this time…yet, she hadn't seen it until it was too late.

"There's no way he'd ever love me…not after the way I'd treated him and his partner by saying to him how weak he was, when it turned out he was the strongest of all of us-even the so-called Digimon King."

To those at her private school who would repeatedly tell her that she would never find a guy who would ever like her for just being herself, or that she would never find someone to break the ice around her heart, they would be somewhat surprised to find out that Rika had actually fell in love with someone, a someone who those same girls could possibly drool over themselves, but if they'd tried, she would send them to the hospital for 3 weeks, a month at the latest. That someone was known as Takato Matsuki, a former Digimon Tamer, who, like Rika, had lost his own Digimon partner, Guilmon. Unlike the other Tamers on the team, Takato had actually created Guilmon from pencil and paper, and he'd come to life when his Digivice had scanned all of Guilmon's stats and abilities; the DigiGnomes had a hand in helping Guilmon come to life, too. When the two of them had first met, Rika had been convinced that all Digimon were nothing but meaningless data that had to be deleted, and only with Takato's help was Rika able to see that Digimon were actually alive. Of course, another Tamer, Henry Wong, had his own hand in this, along with his partner Terriermon, but he hadn't tracked Rika down to her house and tried to find out more about Digimon. Eventually, disgust turned into toleration, and that turned into like, that turned into a mild crush, and by the end of their adventure, Rika had found herself head-over-heels for their unofficial leader. There was only one problem-apparently, he had already given his heart to someone else, by the name of Jeri Katou.

Chorus: You don't need to bother; I don't need to be…

I'll keep slipping further…

But once I hold on, I won't let go 'till it bleeds…

Speaking of Takato, he was trudging home as best he could after being rejected by the only girl he thought he could ever love. Only moments after he'd been forced to bid his partner a sorrowful farewell, he'd decided he should tell Jeri how he felt about her now, while he still had the chance. So, after waiting until the others had all dispersed and left-Rika had hidden behind a tree so she could watch and observe-Takato had summoned up his courage once more and told Jeri-the real Jeri-how he felt. It was at that moment that Rika's heart had shattered into pieces and that she'd run off, not even waiting to overhear Jeri's response. That response could've awoken her broken heart; it surely shattered Takato's heart. Despite the fact that Takato-as Gallantmon: Crimson Mode-had saved Jeri from the misguided D-Reaper, Jeri had found out she could never fully trust Takato in the same way as before, nor could she ever give her heart to him the same way he'd done so with her, and that reason had just left to return to the Digital World.

"I'm sorry, Takato…but I can never love you the way you want me to. Every time I look at you, I can't help but see Megidramon, and recall how innocent Guilmon was before you turned him into…into…that monster, and I can't live like that. I know you'll find someone else who loves you and who can return your love equally."

Once Jeri had left, eventually, Takato's parents had come by to see if he wanted to go home, but he said he had somewhere to go to. His mother had made sure he'd taken his jacket with him before going anywhere. (A/N: The one he'd worn throughout the remainder of the series, starting in the episode Homeward Bound.)

Wish I was too dead to care…if indeed I cared at all

Never had a voice to protest…so you fed me **** to digest

I wish I had a reason; my flaws are open season

For this, I gave up trying; one good turn deserves my dying

Through some miracle or another, during Takato's travel from the park to home, he found himself near the same alleyway in which he and Guilmon had run into Renamon, which meant he was very close to Rika's house! That was his solution-he could talk to Rika, and see if she could help cheer him up in someway. His mind set on what he had to do, Takato started running and ended up making it to her house within 3 minutes. The goggle-wearing Tamer almost expected Renamon to appear behind him, wanting to fight, but that wouldn't happen anymore, since she wasn't in their world. Fighting back tears of desperation, Takato quickly rapped on the front door of the Nonaka residence before stepping back. Seconds later, Rika's grandmother had answered it.

"Oh, hello again, ma'am! Um…I was just wondering if Rika was at home yet, or if she's still on her way-"

"Rika's here, and it's a pleasure to see you again, too. Maybe you can help be a beacon of light for my granddaughter."

Takato's eyes widened slightly. "Say what? 'A beacon of light?' Is she okay? What happened to her?"

Amazed by the relentless amount of energies Takato seemed to radiate from his body, Rika's grandmother responded to his question. "When Rika came home, she didn't seem too happy. I looked outside and could feel that her kitsune-"

"Oh! You mean Renamon, right?"

"That's right. Renamon has left, correct?"

Takato bit back his own tears. Thinking about Renamon brought back memories of Guilmon, and he didn't need to think about his own partner if he was going to help Rika. "Right. So, what's wrong with Rika?"

"I assumed she was upset because her friend had gone, but she told me that was only half the problem. Someone she had deeply cared for had just broken her heart, and she doesn't want to talk to anyone."

Takato gasped lightly. Could it have been someone on the team? Could Rika have fallen in love with one of them?

"But, if she doesn't want to talk to anyone, why would I be able to help?"

"I remember the last time you had come here, and you actually sparked something in Rika that I thought had all but died out long ago-a desire to want to know someone, to be close to that person. If anyone can get her to open up, other than her friend from that other world, you would be that person."

Takato couldn't help but nod numbly as Rika's grandmother stepped aside and allowed him to enter inside.

"Why can't I help but think I've just signed my own death warrant by coming here?"

Chorus: You don't need to bother; I don't need to be…

I'll keep slipping further…

But once I hold on, I won't let go 'till it bleeds…

(solo by Corey Taylor for 32 seconds)

After searching most of her house, Takato realized that there was only one place for Rika to be, so he headed out to her backyard, with her jacket in hand, to see one of his closest friends sitting on the steps, freezing slightly and with her arms wrapped around her waist.

"Hey, Rika. Are you okay?"

Instantly, Rika felt her face heat up slightly and knew that she was blushing-albeit lightly, but a faint shade of pink was on her cheeks.

"Why are you here, Gogglehead?"

Takato gulped as that statement was made. He hadn't yet come up with a decent explanation for his sudden arrival to her house, and even with his earlier decision about coming to see her to talk, he figured she wasn't in the mood for talking.

"Well, uh…I just thought that you could use some company-"

"You just needed a place to hang out to get out of the rain, and you saw you were near my house, and you figured I wouldn't mind, right? Well, I don't feel like company, so you can just catch the train back home, got it?"

Takato came to the sudden realization that Rika wasn't like her usual moody self. Sure, she sounded like that, but after a quick glance at her eyes, which were brimming with unshed tears, he saw that she didn't really mean it what she said.

"I would, but I might catch pneumonia on the way back. Seriously, Rika, what's troubling you? Maybe I can help."

Rika started shaking violently and Takato immediately covered her with her jacket; she mentally thanked Takato for doing so before turning to face him. (A/N: This would be the one she wore in the episode Reunion and beyond that one)

"With what? You made it perfectly clear earlier that you can't help me with this problem! No one can! Just forget it, Takato! Forget I said anything!"

Takato struggled with his warring emotions as he pulled Rika into a tight embrace, feeling her tears running down his back as her body shook repeatedly due to the racking sobs he could clearly hear.

"I would, Rika, but you need me! Tell me what's wrong so I can help-please!"

Pulling away, Rika allowed Takato to see her tears before responding.

"You want to know why I'm like this? It's because of you! You and that puppet girl getting together right after I lost Renamon! First I lose my father, then I lose my partner, then I lose my Gogglehead!"

Takato couldn't keep his tears hidden as Rika pulled him back into another tight embrace, amazed by what he'd just heard.

"Rika…loves me? When? When'd this happen?"

Wish I'd died instead of lived…a zombie hides my face

Shell forgotten with its memories…diaries left with cryptic entries

"Rika…do you love me?"

Instantly, Rika froze in surprise, that pink tinge reappearing on her cheeks like wildfire. Could she tell him the truth, and if so, how would he react? Takato sensed her worry, even if she wasn't saying it, and stroked her back gently while reassuring her.

"If you're worried about Jeri, she just told me there's no chance of the two of us ever getting together. She said there would be someone else out there for me, and I'm beginning to think she may have been right."

Feeling her heart beat again with newfound life, Rika gently kissed Takato before pulling away, the two of them looking up to see the sun break through the clouds.

"Call it women's intuition, Takato. Now, get home before I have to hurt you for getting sick because of me."

"Still the same old Digimon Queen."

"And, you're still my stupid lovable Gogglehead."

Chorus: And, you don't need to bother; I don't need to be… (I don't need to be…)

I'll keep slipping further…

But once I hold on, I won't let go 'till it bleeds…

You don't need to bother… (You don't need to bother…!)

I don't need to be…yeah! (I don't need to be…!)

I'll keep slipping further…

But once I hold on… (Once I hold on…!) I'll never live down my deceit…

(song continues on, ends on guitar riff)