Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. TOEI Animations, Saban, Bandai Entertainment, FoxKids and others do.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Romance

Rating: G for now, but all in all I'd say PG-13, to be on the safe side

Couples: Rukato, Jenrya x Juri (to which from now on I will refer as LeeJuri)

Warnings: None, except possible spoiler warnings for The Runaway Digimon Express

Setting of chapter 1: The Makino residence. The day of the events from The Runaway Digimon Express. Ruki's birthday party.

Author's Note: This is my very first Long-fic in English, Aziluth. For reasons described on my profile page, I can't guarantee fast and uninterrupted updates, but I still hope you'll like it anyway. I'll mostly use Japanese names (as usual), and, not quite as usual, German chapter titles. Yes, the fic is in English, but guessing about the meaning of the titles might keep you slightly busy while I write the next chapter. The fic starts with the final scene of TRDE (The Runaway Digimon Express.)

As I mentioned on my profile page already, as much as I love the English language, I'm still Austrian, which makes my native language- surprise, surprise- German. Thus, feedback is very important to me, and I would highly appreciate R/R.

Now let's get started, people.

AZILUTH

1.) Ueberlieferung

Zutto zutto issho ni iru to

Ano yuuhi ni yakusoku shita kara

Kujikesou demo Kirei na orenji o dakishime

"Kitto kitto daijoubu da yo"

Ano yuuhi ga oshiete kureta no

Shinjite ireba

Sono kimochi wa Kanarazu todokutte

Zutto zutto issho ni iru to

Ano yuuhi ni yakusoku shita kara

Tooku ni itemo Onaji orenji o kanjite

"Kitto kitto daijoubu da yo"

Ano yuuhi wa tsunagatteru kara

Mou nakanai yo

Futari no ai Kokoro o terashiteru

Futari no ai Kokoro o terashiteru

Makino Ruki sat on the porch adjacent to the floor leading to her room, her eyes glued to the red, shiny brightness of the afterglow. She wasn't thinking about love, or hate, or passion. She wasn't thinking about her mother, her father or her friends either. She was just watching the sunset, a spectacle of nature which bore both beauty and a new hope, the hope of a new time, of a new day.

After a few minutes- or was it years? Ruki had lost her sense of time for the moment- the girl got up again and slowly made her way back towards the living room and the party crowd. While she didn't think too highly of birthdays, which to her were just ordinary days, she wasn't supposed to just sit there and let Hirokazu and Ryo spoil it all. But the few minutes of loneliness had made her cool down, and as much as she hated to admit it, watching the sun or the moon always had something comforting.

'And we can't forget that my absence earned mother some on-stage time too', Ruki thought with a slight smirk, as the last few tunes of Rumiko's performance of "My Tomorrow" reached her ears. Her face expression changed back to neutral as she re-entered the living room and sat down next to Takato and Guilmon. The latter was desperately sniffing the table in a vain attempt to find some last traces of food, but Impmon and Terriermon had done an excellent job with eating the table empty already. While Ruki's arrival was thus unnoticed by the red dinosaur, Takato certainly was greeting her- by blushing the deepest crimson of his life. Nobody had spoken a word, but Ruki wasn't stupid- it was more than obvious that Hirokazu had known about Ruki's song through Takato, and the brown-haired boy couldn't do anything but mutter a barely audible "I'm sorry..."

Ruki glanced at him, becoming aware of his blushing, and felt her gaze soften considerably. She wasn't really mad at anyone, least of all at Takato.

"It's alright gogglehead, don't lose your head over it." And with an astonishingly broad grin, she added, "Believe me, if I were mad at you, I'd make sure you'd know."

Takato looked at her in amazement, then grinned back. "I sure would. You know, we should sing a duet some time."

Ruki literally stabbed the goggle boy with a death glare. "Don't go too far." She pursed her lips and tried hard to look angry, but the look of Takato how he became smaller and smaller on his pillow and lowered his head like a frightened dog was too amusing. She just had to chuckle at that view.

Takato dared to look at her again, and was rewarded with a laughing Ruki, probably the most beautiful picture in the world. "It's nice to hear you laugh again..." he stammered.

"I was just about to say that," Rumiko responded with a bright, sugar-sweet smile, and, as she became aware of the blank table, quickly added: "Oh, should I bring some more snacks?"

All party attendants cheered at her, loudest of all Guilmon.


Later in the evening, the karaoke had finished, and the temper was cooling down, but the party was still going on. Juri had, despite Rumiko's and Seiko's protests, started to wash the dishes, and Jenrya and his sister had offered to help her with it. Kenta was the not-so-silent spectator of Ryo and Hirokazu playing battle after battle with their Digimon cards, and witnessed in awe as the visor boy actually won a few battles every now and then. Hirokazu was almost bursting with pride- he had been practising a lot lately, and now he had won three games against the Legendary Tamer, so it wasn't much of a disgrace that he had lost the other twenty-seven. Ruki's attention was needed for a totally different kind of contest: Takato, Guilmon and Impmon were literally throwing themselves at the periodically arriving helpings of new snacks, and the red-haired girl watched their lack of table manners in amusement, trying to judge who was eating the most. However, she soon lost count as Impmon stuffed two enormous pieces of cake in his mouth, rolled his eyes, coughed, choked, rolled around on the table in agony- and then cleared his throat to finish his cake at hyper speed.

With a slight smile, Ruki got up and made her way towards the kitchen to help Juri with the dishes.

"Mhwuki?" Takato asked, his mouth full of cake. "Mwhere-?" He was interrupted by a sudden ignition in front of him. Impmon had hurled a fireball at the boy, since he had taken away the last piece of cake which in Impmon's opinion was rightfully his. Takato dodged the attack with relative ease, so that it hit Guilmon, but the dino digimon didn't really notice it. He was too busy staring at the piece of pastry in Takato's hands, his eyes strongly resembling those of a depressed Saint Bernard dog. Takato couldn't resist and handed the cake over to his partner, who immediately swallowed it, as Ruki finally answered the boy's question.

"Kitchen, goggles. I need to tell Juri that there's no need to wash the dishes, as you guys will probably eat them as well anyway."

Takato's ears became redder than Guilmon's, and with an apologetic look he started to collect the empty plates and carried them towards the kitchen. Ryo and Guilmon followed, carrying some glasses and cutlery.

Inside, Juri was busy cleaning plates, while Jen dried them with a towel and Ruki put them back into the shelves. Juri's gaze was lost in the foam of the washing-up liquid, then wandered to the plate she was about to stuff into the kitchen sink. It showed a Zodiac sign, with dates and character traits: Pride, Dignity, Loyalty, Honesty. The typical Leo.

Juri's hands trembled, as she tightened her grip, causing her knuckles to turn red, then white. The girl's eyes went black, testifying suppressed memories of pain and loneliness. Jenrya, who was standing next to her, looked at her worriedly and let out a deep sigh. He got closer to her and, out of the blue, wrapped his arms around her.

Juri showed him a short, sad smile. "Thank you, Lee-kun. That happens from time to time... I can't control it."

Jen smiled back at the brown-haired girl. "I don't know where Leomon is now, Juri, but I'm sure he's proud of you and your lion heart."

Ryo, who happened to overhear the conversation, nodded in agreement. "He sure is. He's probably standing on the castellated stronghold of the Urbs Auri and waiting for the day you two see each other again."

"Urbs Auri?" Ruki inquired. "City of Gold?" Takato, Juri and Jen turned towards Ryo as well, a quizzical look in their eyes.

"Yeah, you know... never mind." Ryo stuttered. Normally, the look of Ryo feeling so obviously uneasy would have been balm to Ruki's eyes, but right now, her curiosity got the better of her.

"Of course we mind, Mr. smart aleck. Spill it already."

Ryo glanced at the crowd nervously. "It's just a stupid legend, really..."

"So?" Ruki shot back. "You're just a stupid Legendary Tamer too, and we still like you." She paused, grinning. "Well, most of us. Now bring it on."

"Alright," Ryo finally gave in. "There is an old saying in the Digital World that Urbs Auri, the Golden City, is the place where the data patterns- or souls, if that's what you want to call it- of the virtuous Digimon go after their death, waiting for their rebirth."

Silence. Everybody was staring at Ryo. Finally, Juri spoke up, almost whispering, "That's a nice legend... I like it."

"So, when should we depart for the City of Gold? I'd say tomorrow morning." Takato said. All glances went from Ryo to the gogglehead now, but the boy was totally serious. "Listen guys, this might just be a legend, but we thought that Digimon were just a game before as well, right? So what if... uh... Urbs Auri does exist? Shouldn't we try and find it? Shouldn't we try and rescue Leomon, or at least visit him? He died for us, I think we owe him one, big time. Him and Juri."

"Nobody has ever seen it, Takato," Ryo responded after a few seconds of uneasy silence. "I really shouldn't have told you..."

"But you did, so live with it," Jenrya retorted. "As for me, I'm going along with Takato. If there is the slightest chance to make Juri happy again, I'm willing to try." A slight blush crept on his cheeks, as he realized what he had just said. "You know, I mean..."

"Count me in as well!" Ruki interrupted him. "You didn't think I'd leave all the fun to the two of you, right?"

Guilmon blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then, realization hit him. "We're going back to the Digital World? Yay!"

Takato's face went pale, and he gesticulated wildly, trying to keep his partner quiet, but it was too late. As if on cue, Rumiko Makino and Seiko Hata appeared at the kitchen entrance, followed by Hirokazu and Kenta, who both had been attracted by the noise.

"You are going WHERE?" Rumiko shouted. "To the Digital World? Again?"

Seiko Hata just looked over her granddaughter.

"It's dangerous there. Of course I feel sorry for you, Juri, but I can't allow my daughter to go there again. You don't know what's waiting for you there!"

Seiko Hata just looked over her granddaughter.

"And what about the others? Do your parents even guess what you're up to? I'm sure they wouldn't be too happy either."

Seiko Hata just looked over her granddaughter. Finally, she spoke up. "You know, I'm very sure that neither threats nor pleas could change Ruki's determination, and the same goes for all the others. They have shown us wise adults more than once that they can take care of themselves, and as for their stubbornness when they have decided on something- well, I guess you should know about that yourself, Rumiko, dear. I think they should be allowed to go, as it is so important not to lose the people that you love out of your sight. Isn't it?"

Rumiko was silent. She understood her mother only too well, and she knew it was useless to object. After all, now that D-Reaper was gone, the Digital World might not be that dangerous anymore, right?

"Alright," Rumiko sighed. "Mother will talk to your parents." Seiko shot her a glare. "I mean we'll talk to your parents. But please promise not to leave before we told them." An eightfold nod followed. Jenrya noticed that his sister joined in as well, but decided it wasn't wise to tell her that she wouldn't come with them right here and now.

"Good." Rumiko was visibly relieved. "I hope you'll be safe..." She averted her gaze to look at her daughter, then smiled shyly. "No... I know you'll be safe." Grateful, almost sheepishly, Ruki returned her mother's smile.


Excitedly, Takato twisted and punched the bread dough. Another adventure with his friends, the possibility to make Juri happy again, and of course the outlook on seeing the fascinating City of Gold, a part of the Digital World not even Ryo and CyberDramon had ever explored, made him literally spray with enthusiasm and pleasant anticipation.

It had been surprisingly easy for Takato to persuade his father to let him go. Takehiro was extraordinarily proud of his son, and was rather sure that he could defend himself and his friends, now that the most dangerous threat in the Digital World, the D-Reaper, was gone. He didn't know Dukemon CM's name or attributes, but he had witnessed his power. Takato's mother, however, wasn't exactly joyous over her son's plan, and was talking to her husband about the issue, as Takato was busy with baking in the next room.

Mie Matsuda sat on a chair. Every now and then, a tear trickled down her cheek. Her husband had her hands in his and spoke softly.

"I know you don't want him to go, dear... But we can't lock him up. It's not really dangerous anymore, and Takato can take care of himself. Hey, basically it's like a holiday camp, only much cheaper."

Against her intention, Mie had to laugh. "You're a fool, you know that... That must be Takato's patrimony... But you're right, I guess, we can't lock him up, and if he really has to go there, it's better when he knows he has our blessing."

Arm in arm, Takato's parents entered the adjoining room and wordlessly pulled their son into a tight hug. Flour was dispersed all over the room in the process, but nobody seemed to care.

"Promise you'll be alright, Takato... Please..." Mie muttered. Takato gently broke free from her hug and looked at her, his own eyes shimmering with wet now just like hers.

"I promise, mum... I promise..."


to be continued...

A/N: Not the best of beginnings, but I did my best, which is not at all easy when writing in a foreign language. I hope it's acceptable. Until chapter 2, thanks to my faithful readers and special thanks to all who review. Keep your fingers crossed for me to make some progress with chapter two soon, and stay tuned.