Disclaimer: Why, yes. I do own Digimon. I also own a pink whale, purple elephant and planet Ping-Pong.

Anyway, my first Digimon fanfiction...hope you like it. Oh- by the way, Ruki's parents are divorced and I am 99.9% certain that it was said in the series when she was sitting on the roof as she thought something along the lines of how Juri had such a bad family life and how her parents were just divorced, when Juri was in the D-Reaper (phew, long sentence there). I know I heard it, and the only reason that I am not 100% certain is because no-one else has seemed to pick up on it...

It was odd.

'Well, you never really know what it's going to feel like until it happens to you.' An irritated, albeit slightly (just slightly) amused Ruki Makino stood back, admiring the cheap plastic figurine on the kitchen table, mouth set in a frown, to last for all perpetuity. At least, until she threw it into the bin. 'And did they really have to make me so discoloured?'

She had found it in a packet of nearly finished cereal that morning. Just as she was innocently reaching for the nutrition that would, as it said on the packet, give a jolt to her day, out it popped, with a small collectible card next to it.

'Ruki Makino, aged 14, is the Digimon Ice Queen™. Her partner is Renamon [collectable in all cereal boxes]!!! Ruki is well known to be cold and distant from her fans and only her close friends can talk to her properly. Rumour has it that she has a "special" relationship with the Legendary Tamer, Ryo Akiyama, 17.'

"Ugh!" When would these people learn? There was absolutely nothing going on between her and Ryo, besides insults and the occasional piece of popcorn/paper/heavy rock Ruki would throw at him. They were good friends, it was true, but nothing more. But the media insisted on giving life to so-called facts, and as a result, she couldn't even glance at Ryo without their faces being splashed across the tabloids the next day.

'You'd think the whole thing would have died down by now.'

It had begun to abate, a few months after the D-Reaper, but the whole tournament started the craze up again as Ruki and Ryo made it into the finals. Ryo had won that one, but the year after, Ruki had. It was a good feeling, knowing that you had beaten your possibly only equal, but the two had stopped the year after, deciding to keep the media frenzy to the minimum.

"Oh Ruki! That is so cute- don't throw it away! We'll keep it on a shelf as a memento. Your first piece of cereal merchandise!" Of course, her mother reveled in all of the attention- Rumiko didn't understand why her daughter wasn't more like her, didn't enjoy it all.

"Mother- it's a piece of plastic shaped to vaguely resemble me. And look- my skin is green. Green. Do I really look green?"

Rumiko did nothing, but look at her daughter as the latter gave in reluctantly, placing the model on the counter next to her. It still wasn't the ideal mother-daughter relationship, but the two were getting there. Rumiko found that she was getting Ruki to co-operate more with her, as the offers she gave her daughter to model with her were siphoned off, and Ruki found that the more she co-operated, the less her mother asked her to model (something she would do for no-one, not even Renamon). It was a win-win situation.

"By the way, your father wants you around next weekend. He said that you could take the train up to his flat. He'll pick you up at the platform." Rumiko busied herself around the kitchen, picking out various random fruit and nibbling at them. "Also, could you pick up another box of that cereal for me? I've got a full day ahead of me. Thanks, darling. Here's some money- you can spend the change."

She swept out of the room, leaving Ruki standing alone in the kitchen holding a disproportional amount of money for the cereal. She shrugged- it wasn't as if she was complaining. Pocketing the note, she walked out of the house to meet Juri, completely forgetting about breakfast.

"Hey Ruki!" Chirpy Juri greeted her. She was like the anti-Ruki, in every single way possible. There were the obvious things, like the differences in mood. Then there was the fact that Juri had been depressed, back in the D-Reaper days, because of her family problems, and never shown it, compared to Ruki, who had comparatively an easy life, but was bitter. None of this knowledge could really change Ruki drastically, but whenever she was with people, especially Juri, she tried to be less caustic.

"Hey." She greeted Juri and the two set off for town. "Where are we meeting them exactly, again?"

"At the amusement arcade! Don't you listen to us when we arrange these things?"

"Not really, no."

The walk wasn't a long one, and Juri's banter was almost interesting. They reached the arcade on time, and found Jenrya and Takato waiting at the entrance.

"Kazu and Kenta are inside already. Kenta still thinks that he can beat Kazu at- what was it?- Ultimate Street Fighters 3." Jenrya said, as soon as he saw them. His voice was dry, and his mouth was twisted into a half-smile. "Hi Ruki. Hi Juri."

Juri hugged Takato hello, squeezing the boy to death. Ruki looked away. Ever since Juri asked Takato out- it was at an arcade, like this one- she'd had to stop herself from gagging from the Public Displays of Affection that Juri thought necessary to do to prove her affection.

"What're we waiting for? We're all here."

"I can't believe you forgot about me, Pumpkin."

He was feeling exceptionally happy that morning, and it showed. His normally tan, even skin had a brightness about it, his eyes were shining, and he practically strutted down the road.

"Ah yes...what was your name again? Rimo? Geeo? Muriel?"

He laughed, and mocked anger, putting on a bad fake upper-class accent. "I'm called Ryo, not Muriel. Honestly Ruki, it's quite tiresome having one knowing one for four years and not remembering ones name."

"I don't know...Muriel suits you, I think." She responded, pensively, wholly satisfied with her new nickname. "Muriel M. Akiyama."

"What does the M. stand for?" He asked, raising an eyebrow. "Wait, no, don't tell me."

"Mooreen." Ruki replied, brusquely.

"It doesn't even sound like Ryo. Really Makino, your comebacks get worse every time. I do believe that you're slacking."

"Well, I can hardly be expected to think up amazing insults for a sub-par person, can I?"

Ryo gasped dramatically and clutched at his heart. "Harsh words, harsh words from such a beautiful lady."

"Damn straight." Ruki spat out, determined to have the last word. "Why are you so happy anyway?"

"I asked this girl, Midori out last night and she said yes." He beamed at the group. "She's so great. You won't believe the things we have in common. Oh- and she's coming out with us tomorrow."

Ruki felt slightly put out by this information, for reasons she could not discern. She snapped, faintly goaded, "What did you expect? Girls fall at your bunioned, diseased feet every day."

"Jealous, Ruki?"

"Oh yes. I'm insanely jealous of some girl I've never met before over a guy named Muriel with feet that look like walruses." She actually did feel happy for him. He deserved to have a nice girlfriend, really, after all. Ryo had had a bad track record when it came to relationships, with girls mostly after his looks and fame (or should she say "looks" and "fame"?). She just hoped that Midori was nice. At least he appeared to be happy. You could practically see the sunshine radiating out of his ass. He was the one person who stayed in the deserted Digiworld the longest, and in complete solitude most of the time, she supposed. He would be happy about any relationship. Although it might not be bad to have some solitude once in a while.

'Mental note: have some quality time with self.'

"I'm sorry Ryo. I can't come. Juri and I are going to see 'The Love Bug'." Takato gave him a rueful half-shrug.

"Yeah- it's about this disease where everyone gets bitten by this cute little animated bug, and they fall in love with their soul mate." Juri enthused, lovelorn smile on her face. "You should bring Midori to see it."

"I can't come either. Sorry Ryo." Jenrya apologized. "I have a date with Suzy and "The Munchkins". Dad's going on a business trip so I'm stuck baby-sitting all day. Although I'd love to come with you, and, uh, Nikori, I can't."

"Midori. Midori." Ryo corrected, sounding out the syllables. "Oh, but you don't know what you're missing! She's amazing. She's so understanding, so pretty, so clever, so talented..." Ryo used his fingers to count as he reeled off her numerous lovely traits. Ruki had pretty much lost herself in her thoughts by then, tuning him out, nodding every now and then. Ryo always went on and on about his girlfriends, and nearly always used the same adjectives.

"Are you free tomorrow, Ruki?"

'I wonder if they still make that yogurt I like?'

"Ruki! Ruki! Answer me!" He was slightly wounded that she wasn't listening. He valued her opinion, her being the closest friend he had in the group of Tamers. He was also ashamed to admit that he was upset because she didn't seem to react to him having a girlfriend. Not in the jealousy sense, of course. In the she's-funny-when-she-reacts way, which was kind of mean, if you thought about it.

"Yes, ok Akiyama, ok." Ruki replied, exasperated. Why could he never shut up?

"You are?" He looked hopeful, and grinned happily when she replied to the affirmative. "I'll see you guys inside."

Takato and Juri followed him, and Jenrya was about to follow when Ruki grabbed his arm. "Wait. What did I just agree to?"

"A day out with Ryo and Midori, the fledgling lovebirds." Jenrya laughed at her face. "Don't worry. It won't be as bad as you think it will. It'll be close, probably, but not exactly as bad. On the other hand, if you think that Juri and Takato are bad...'cause you know that Ryo attracts that kind of girl. Come to think about it, maybe it'll be worse than you think-"

"Ok, ok, I get it. Thanks Jen." Ruki's voice was sardonic. "You could have warned me."

"What was I supposed to have done? Jump in-between you and Ryo, yelling, 'Don't do it, it's all a trap!'? You should listen more." Jenrya's tone matched Ruki's as he patted her shoulder. "Don't worry, really. You'll have fun."

"In a third wheel kind of way." Ruki muttered under her breath, too low for Jenrya to hear.

"Anyway, you've gone through a lot worse. If you can handle the D-Reaper, then you handle another of Ryo's endless clone girlfriends." Jenrya pushed her towards the door of the arcade. "Let's watch him beat Kazu at Ultimate Street Fighters 3."

"Yeah; I can see her now. Medium-height-" Ruki said, almost unwilling to let go of the subject.

"Brunette-" Jenrya added, catching on, moving himself so that he could make a picture frame in the air in front of them.



"Younger than him, always. He is such a paedophile."

"That's horrible, Ruki." Jenrya exclaimed, and Ruki rolled her eyes in response.

"Clever, or, at least, seem to be clever. Most of them turn out to be dumb. I don't know how they hide their intense stupidity at first."

"Yeah, that is true." The two laughed together.

Ruki felt happier now. Jen always made her feel better, being one of the few people she could have a conversation with- her two closest friends being Juri, who always wanted to talk about Takato, and Ryo, who she knew she couldn't talk to on account of the limitless teasing. And she wouldn't want to harm her reputation by stopping that, would she now?

And it really wouldn't be that painful...would it?

Maybe Renamon would have an idea to get her out of this.

Don't forget- Read, Review, and Respire. Probably respire is the most important, but it would be nice if you did the other two as well. (Cloaked Fox, I'm looking for yooooouuuuuuuuu in particular, and your criticism. I am prepared for the worst, and I think that you'll help me get better at writing these things. I will probably burst out crying in an unhinged author's tantrum, and feel the need to cut off my ear and give it to a loved one to simulate Van Gogh, but do not hesitate to appraise and disapprove to your worst.)