Oh if only I had a Guilmon
What a happy girl I'd be
With a D-Arc, and some digicards
To walk all over people who annoy me
But alas, alas, I don't own anything
That ain't the way the dice fall
So please don't sue, I have nothing for you
Bandai (and others) own it all
Who would have thought that, years after they'd defeated the D-Reaper, Takato Matsuda and Ruki Makino would end up being best friends? Certainly not Ruki herself – she actually never referred to him that way, preferring the titles 'Gogglehead', 'Him' and (the most recently-added to the list) 'Baka goggles'.
The fact remained, however, that Ruki and Takato spent most of their free time together – gave each other Christmas presents – talked on the phone – emailed each other – argued about the latest movies, technology and of course developments in Digimon – and visited each others' houses so often that they never bothered to knock anymore. In short, they do as best friends do.
But although Ruki was Takato's best friend some things never changed. Namely, Ruki's fierce competitive drive and her liking for beating opponents into the ground. Since Takato was the one she was around with most of the time, he ended up being the 'beaten-into-the-ground opponent' a lot.
Digimon card battles; foot-races; games on the Playstation2; arm-wrestling (until Takato began coming into his growth spurt and thus into his full strength – Ruki stopped challenging him after that). Even winning something as minor as a thumb-wrestling match could bring a smile – alright, a smirk – to Ruki's face.
Takato accepted all of Ruki's challenges – and his subsequent losses – with a cheerful amiability that brought some puzzlement to others. I mean, really, who likes to be thrashed again and again and again? But Takato never seemed to mind. And Ruki? The thought that Takato might not like to lose never entered her mind.
This was the state of things for years. And then, one day – exactly five years, to the day, that Takato had first seen Ruki in a dream – all that changed.
They were in the park. Ruki was playing a hapless Kenta in a Digimon card battle, and was about to wipe out his only remaining Rookie with the same card she'd started with. Renamon watched quietly from above, on a tree-branch. Takato, Hirokazu, Juri and Jenrya were engaged in a noisy, riotous game of tag, not caring that as fifteen-year-olds they should have been above such things by now. Terriermon, Calumon and Guilmon ran about with their trainers, playing as well. (though Terriermon tended to escape from being tagged by leaping onto people's heads)
Jeri was 'It' and running after Jenrya, who was hampered by Terriermon clinging to his face and impeding his line of sight. Suddenly she did an abrupt turn and started chasing after Takato. Laughing, he ran backwards, sticking his tongue out at Jeri – until his foot hooked over a slightly upraised tree root. He lost his balance, letting out a startled cry as he toppled backwards, windmilling his arms in a frantic attempt to regain his balance. "AAAAGH!"
Ruki looked up, just as she had laid down a winning card, and saw what had happened. She jumped to her feet and ran to the fallen boy, joining the crowd of kids. Guilmon was snuffling anxiously at his Tamer's side, golden eyes looking the farthest thing from feral. Jeri was looking a little teary-eyed. "I'm sorry…I didn't mean to…"
"Never mind it," Ruki said, in a voice that was just a bit too loud. "Takato's alright. C'mon, gogglehead, get up."
Jenrya glared a little. "He just hit his head on a rock! I don't think that qualifies him as alright…"
Takato sat up, which quite interrupted Jenrya's speech. "Oww…" he groaned, rubbing his head.
Ruki shot the Chinese boy a triumphant look. She then knelt beside Takato. "Hey, goggles," she said in a voice gentler than before, "Are you…"
"Takatomoooon!" Ruki was knocked to the side as Guilmon barreled into his Tamer, incidentally knocking the boy to the ground again.
"GUILMON!!" This was from Ruki. Renamon phased to her Tamer's side, holding her back from physically attacking the small red dragon.
Jenrya ground his hand into his forehead. "Here we go again…"
Later that night, Takato called Ruki up at her house.
"Hey, Ruki. Tomorrow they're premiering that American movie, Daredevil. Wanna go see?"
"Sure, why not?" Ruki agreed. Though to other girls this might have constituted a date, to Ruki it was nothing of the sort – just her and a friend agreeing to watch a movie that they would both have enjoyed. Romance, attraction, and teenage hormones had nothing to do with it.
"Okay. Meet you in front of the Cineplex tomorrow at ten…no, at eleven. I forgot, I have to bake Guilmon some bread. I promised him."
"Alright, eleven it is. If you want, I'll ask Renamon to hang out with dino-boy tomorrow, while we're at the movies."
"Thanks, Ruki. See you tomorrow."
Ruki frowned thoughtfully. "Hey, goggles…are you alright?"
"Huh? Oh, you mean my bump. Yeah, it's okay. Why do you ask?"
"You sound a little…odd."
"I'm fine, Ruki. Really. More than fine. See you tomorrow."
"…right. See you tomorrow." Ruki hung up and went to bed.
Somewhere else in Shinjuku, a certain goggle-wearing boy did the same. Only a most uncharacteristic smirk was on his face as he did so.
They returned home at around six-thirty, just in time to see the sunset. Takato was walking with Ruki to her house – it lay on the way to his bakery. The two fifteen-year-olds walked in companiable silence, content (though Ruki might not have used the word) with the sunset, the food they'd just eaten, and each other's company.
Until Takato stopped dead in his tracks and turned to Ruki. "Hey, Ruki."
Ruki turned her head, not stopping. "What is it, gogglehead?"
"I know something I can beat you in."
That got her attention. She whirled around and glared. "Stop talking nonsense, baka, you couldn't beat me if I let you."
"Care to put it to the test?" Takato challenged her, smirking as he stepped closer to her, facing off. Ruki was about to snap back at him when she caught sight of a strange, unfamiliar glint in Takato's pale brown eyes. She felt suddenly uncertain, and took a step backwards. There was something…strange about Takato…
The glint in Takato's eyes grew brighter, and he took one step closer to Ruki.
Takato kissed her.
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