Notes: I didn't really plan upon writing anymore Digimon one-shots, mostly because I felt my inspiration waning and found some of the things happening in the Digimon section recently to be…disheartening. I'm not completely over my funk, but I've had this idea crawling around my head for a while and was anxious to complete it. I'm pretty hopeless at playing the Digimon Card Game unfortunately, which is why the battle wasn't included. This story also takes place late in the six-month period before the Digimon returned. I do hope Akiyama Ryou and Makino Ruki are somewhat in character and that you enjoy this story.
Disclaimer: Digimon is the property of Toei Animation and of Bandai.
By Frozen Phoenix
It was a clear, windless day in a tree filled area of the West Shinjuku's resident park. Numerous lollygaggers and pedestrians alike traversed the immaculate grounds, playful and carefree airs about them. But for the two children who sat on the ground amid the foliage and numerous character depicting cards, the air was ripe with tension.
One of the children, known as Akiyama Ryou, a teenager with dark eyes and spiky brown hair, sighed audibly and shook his head.
"I don't believe it."
His younger companion Makino Ruki, a girl with fiery red hair and cool, lavender eyes frowned at his statement."
"What's not to believe? It's obvious that you lost."
"I know. But I still don't believe it."
Ruki refrained from rolling her eyes at the remark. Judging by the slight grin on his face and the relaxed body language, Ryou was trying to tease her again.
It was something Ruki wasn't about to hold against him. Ryou might have had a habit of getting under her skin at times, but he was still a friend. Even if the pompous attitude he sometimes developed irritated her to no end.
Their meeting had been a matter of coincidence, for living in Kyushu usually kept Ryou from visiting the other Tamers, who resided in West Shinjuku.
With Takato, Juri, Jenrya, Hirokazu and Kenta on another one of their class camping trips that weekend and because neither Ruki nor Ryou had any special diversions in mind, the two Tamers had decided to meet, bone up on their techniques for the card game and to simply catch up with one another.
"Actually," Ruki stated with a hint of taunting. "It was almost too easy. Loosing your touch, Ryou?"
Ryou's expression became one of mock-offense. "Me? Loosing my touch? Hardly. I was probably a bit rusty, it's not like I had a lot of time to hone my card-playing skills while Cyberdramon and I were in the Digital World fighting to stay alive and going from one enemy to the next. And then D-Reaper showed up and started devouring both worlds…"
"Sure," Ruki replied coolly. "Blame the Digital World for you going soft."
"Soft?" Ryou repeated disbelievingly. "Who beat who the last time we faced each other in a card game?"
"That was two years ago. I have improved since then, in case you couldn't tell."
"I could tell." Ryou admitted. "But even at the D-1 Tamer Digimon card tournament, you almost had me. I had to work my hardest to beat you, when some of the other people I had faced beforehand didn't even cause me to break a sweat."
"It was the same thing for me at the tournament this year." Ruki admitted. "Almost all of the losers I battled against belonged there as much as Culumon would. It was pathetic."
"It's too bad I couldn't have been there." Ryou responded. "I would have given you something to really worry about if Cyberdramon hadn't…" He trailed off when he noticed Ruki staring upwards distractedly.
"Sometimes I look at the sky at night and wonder how she is and what she's doing." Ruki spoke suddenly, meeting Ryou's questioning gaze. " I know Renamon survived in the Digital World long before we met-"
"But you're still worried." Ryou interrupted. "It makes sense. Renamon and the others weren't even at Child level when they were taken back to the Digital World and we have no real idea how things are holding up with D-Reaper's destruction. I'm worried about Monodramon too, especially since he's probably eating someone out house and home as we speak."
Ruki remained silent. It didn't take a large stretch of her imagination to imagine her partner crouching beneath the Earth-filled sky, her golden fur blowing against a light wind. Truly a picture of both beauty and undeniable power.
There was no denying how greatly Ruki missed her. Their nightly conversations, the incredible feeling of unity that came with Matrix Evolution and simply the security and tranquility that came with the fact that Renamon was always watching over her.
Even though she had gotten closer to her mother, as well as Juri, Jenrya, Shuichon, Takato, Hirokazu, Kenta and Ryou, Renamon was and would always remain Ruki's best friend.
Ryou remained silent, caught in the memories of his own partner. The constant battles within the Digital World, his first true understanding of Cyberdramon that had come from becoming joining together with him as Justimon. It had almost been a new beginning, one that had been cut short by D-Reaper's destruction and the events thereafter.
"Do you think they'll come back?" Ryou queried curiously.
Ruki glanced at him sharply. "Renamon has never broken a promise to me before, I don't expect her to start now. Besides, the portal can't stay closed forever, right?"
"I'm not sure about that." Ryou replied vaguely. "But who knows? The Digimon will probably appear one day when we least expect it."
Ruki snorted derisively. "Especially since nothing like that has ever happened to us before."
"The Digimon Queen has a sense of humor? Who would've guessed?"
"I've already beaten you Ryou, don't make embarrass you on top of it."
Ryou laughed lightly. "We were broadcasted practically nude to just about all of Shinjuku back during the D-Reaper craziness, remember? I doubt even you could come up with something more embarrassing than that."
Ruki picked up her deck of cards and shuffled them absently. "We could have a rematch. I wouldn't mind having the chance to thrash you again."
Looking slightly cocky, Ryou picked up his own deck. "We'll see who thrashes who. I may have been out of it earlier, but that won't happen again."
"Right." Ruki replied disbelievingly. "Are you going to waste time or play?"
Ryou smirked. "I'm ready if you are."
The two Tamers dealt their cards, then stared at their hands intently.
"We should do this again sometime." Ruki remarked off-handedly as she placed her cards down.
"But we probably shouldn't make a habit of it." Ryou responded. "Unless you want people to think we're some kind of an item."
Ruki scowled. "Like people have nothing better to do with their time than trying to figure out if we're together. How is it their business anyway?"
"It isn't. But try telling them that."
"Point me in their direction and I will."
Ryou laughed lightly. "Sure, the first person who comes up to me about it, I'll send your way."
"Only the first?"
"You think there'll be more?"
Both Tamers raised their eyes and glanced at each other thoughtfully, before laughing uneasily. The game then continued without interruption, yet unanswered questions still lingered…