Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters here unless I invented them. You probably wouldn't want her, though. Everyone else belongs to Toei Entertainment, and they get all the profits.
Title: Fashionably Late
Season/Timeline: A few years after all the D-Reaper stuff in Digimon Tamers.

School was some kind of torture invented by an insane megalomaniac bent on conquering all of mankind through the children. Makino Ruki was as certain of that as she was of her own name. Perhaps even more certain at times. She fidgeted in her seat, trying in vain to pay some kind of attention to the teacher who kept on pointing out facts that meant nothing and figures that were a blur to her mind now and would be even more of a blur once she got home and tried to study it all over again.

How much longer is this going to be? She twitched slightly, wishing she had her card deck with her. It wasn't as good as being out there in the open air, feeling her blood surging through her veins as she and Renamon faced some horrific Digimon together, but it would do. At least she could figure out some new strategies for the next time Ryou came around wanting another game. He'd beaten her the last three times, and she was quite ready to turn the tables on him. He had no idea of the new cards she'd picked up since that last game, and it was going to be bliss to mark up a few more scores on her side of the ledger.

She shifted again, then cast a quick eye around the room, in the hopes of finding something interesting enough to think about until the final bell rang. It wouldn't be that much longer, so just doing that took a few excruciating seconds off of the clock.

Unfortunately, there didn't appear to be anything fascinating enough for her attention right now. She could see the announcement board just outside the room, but she knew it by heart. It made for something halfway interesting to look at while she was waiting for class to begin in the mornings. There was never anything there that really caught her attention, but when you were bored, you read what you could get your eyes on. Or at least she did.

From the corner of one eye, she caught a glimpse of long black hair being shaken back and almost snorted out loud. Only one person in her class had hair like that. There were plenty of girls with dark brown or even black hair, but only one whose hair reached nearly to her knees. Class rumor had it that her friends took turns to brush it out for her. Ruki would rather brush out a Mammothmon's hair if the option had been given to her.

Kikuchi Kumiko. She wasn't quite the richest or the prettiest girl there was, but she was definitely the most annoying, where Ruki was concerned. And the fiery-haired Tamer was quite certain that yet another example of just how true that was would be upon them all too soon.

Two minutes after the final bell rang, she was proven right. She would have much rather have been proved wrong.

"Hey there, Makino." Kikuchi was beside her all of a sudden. She could almost be as quiet as Renamon when the mood took her. Ruki really didn't appreciate the mental comparison, even though she was the one making it. The thought of comparing her elegant partner to this pain in the neck was revolting. "Got a moment?"

"Not for you." Ruki adjusted the last of her books in her bag and turned towards the door. "I've got something important to be doing. Somewhere else." Preferably as far from this person as possible. She wondered if missions to Mars would become possible at any point in her lifetime. If they were, she was going to sign up if that was what it took to get away from this idiot. Otherwise, she was going to have to plant a fist right in her face. That did begin to sound fairly nice, the more she thought about it.

Even if they would, right now she still had to deal with Kikuchi standing there, with that insanely perfect and perky grin on her face. "Makino, I'm having a party at my place tomorrow night. Boys and girls. You do know what a boy is, don't you?"

"Yes. They're almost as annoying as you are." Ruki started for the door, hoping that the girl would get the hint. If not, Renamon might have to come explain it. The words Fox Leaf Arrowhead came to mind, as did Wisteria Punch. "What does this actually have to do with me?"

"Simple. You're being invited, as long as you come with a date." Kikuchi's grin turned into some kind of wanna-be smirk. Ruki had seen so many smirks that were so much better. Mostly on her own face, but she doubted Kikuchi would understand that, even if someone explained it to her with flow charts and photographs. "You know, I'd really rather you didn't come."

"That suits me just fine. I hate parties anyway. Especially yours." Ruki told her bluntly. Why did she keep on talking to her? Maybe it was something in the nature of a charitable contribution. "Not to mention, like I said, I've got better things to do. Why should I even want to show up to your party?" If this idiot even thought Ruki cared for one second about her opinion, she had several more million thinks coming to her.

Kikuchi's smirk was even worse now. "Oh, no reason. I knew you couldn't do it anyway. There's nothing wrong with not being able to pick up a guy, you know. Some girls just mature faster than others. You'll get around to it, one of these days. Maybe." She paused for a second, as if something had occurred to her. If it was a thought, Ruki wondered just how lonely the poor thing was, being all alone in her head. "Then again, you've got that card game or whatever. You have other things to do."

No matter how true in general what the other girl was saying was, there was no way that Ruki was going to let something like that just slide by. The card game was more than just a card game, and it was because of her and the other Tamers that someone as stupid as Kikuchi was had even lived long enough to be annoying to her right now. All of that had been on the news, after all, and there were still other Tamers being created now and then. Kikuchi knew it, too. She was just being stupid on purpose.

But she could play this game by her own rules, not the airhead's. It would be worth letting everyone else know about her love life to see the look on Kikuchi's face. "All right, Kikuchi. I'll come to your party, and I'll have a date." Her violet eyes flashed with an amusement that no one there understood. "You'd better be ready to eat your words along with some cake and punch." And if everything worked out, the punch would be right in between those slightly beetle-like eyes.

"Whatever, Makino." Kikuchi waved a hand airily, smirking even more. "I'll see you then. You know where I live, right?"

"You've only announced it over and over every time you've had one of those little festivities of yours for the last three years. I'd have to be as stupid as you think I am not to have noticed."

Ruki had had more than enough of this. She tossed her bag firmly over her shoulder and started out of the classroom. There was one last thing she couldn't help but say, though. "I'm not responsible for any loss of brain cells you just might experience when my date and I show up, though. Of course since I doubt you have any, I don't think I've got anything to worry about."

"What are you talking about?" She could feel Kikuchi's eyes on her as she headed outside, and really couldn't help the smirk that appeared on her own face. That felt so good! She was really going to have to tell the rest of the gang about that.

Almost as if her thoughts had conjured it up, the cell phone in her bag began to vibrate. Everyone else knew not to call her in class, unless the world was going to come to an end in half an hour or so, but she was used to these things coming just after she left school. She yanked it out quickly, checking the caller ID before answering it.

"This better be really good, Ryou. Unless you just wanted to set the date for the next time I tromp you."

"Something like that. Meet us up at Guilmon's place as soon as you can." Ryou didn't waste any time, and he did sound a little more serious than he usually did. As the connection ended, Ruki looked at her phone a little worriedly before shrugging and putting it away. Whatever it was, the Tamers would handle it. They always did.

"All right, what's the problem, and this had better be good. I've got things I've got to get done." Ruki leaned herself against one of the trees outside of Guilmon's hideout and checked out the rest of the group. Everyone was there, which meant this was probably more than just their usual get together to chat and figure out patrol groups and to be annoyed at whatever the government was trying to do in order to control what happened with Digimon next.

"Three new Digimon appeared last night while I was on patrol," Jenrya spoke up, a worried look in his gray eyes. There was also a long scratch across his cheek, and a bandage around his arm. Terriermon looked a bit banged up himself.

"What happened?" Takato was visibly trying not to stare that much at his friend's war wounds. "What kind of Digimon are they?"

"Two of them seemed to work for the other one. They were a Chamelemon and an Evilmon." Jenrya reported, adjusting his bandage the best he could. "The Evilmon's the one who did this to me." He touched the scratch on his face and winced a little. "I don't think it was poisoned, though."

Kenta moved over to him quickly, concern flickering across his face. "I'd better check on that." The young teen was already suiting actions to words as he got started.

"So what about the third one?" Ruki wanted to know. This could be a lot of trouble if these things were that strong. Chamelemon and Evilmon were only Adult levels, but levels didn't mean a lot sometimes. Renamon was a perfect example of that. Far too many idiots underestimated her simply because she was a Child level. Ruki was torn on how to feel about that. She liked them being surprised by her partner's skills, but at the same time, it was annoying for them not to believe in the one she had worked so hard with.

"LadyDevimon." Jenrya sighed the word out, wincing slightly as Kenta prodded and worked at the injury. "She didn't attack, but she was giving them their orders. I think she was planning something, but it was hard to figure out just what."

"Simple. Causing trouble." Hirokazu looked up from where he was looking at his miniature portable television. Ever since he'd gotten it for his last birthday, it had become as much a part of him as his visor or Guardromon. "Look."

The group leaned over, more or less as one, to check out the small screen. Takato groaned the moment he saw what was displayed there: a news report that informed everyone watching that there were Digimon tearing up the downtown district. It was getting hazardous just to live down that way. Ruki had heard that insurance rates were getting out of hand there. Takato's parents had better luck than most, though, since most of the Digimon tended to avoided their actual homes.

"Looks like we've got to get to work." Ryou stood up from where he'd been relaxing, Cyberdramon beside him. "Who wants to do what?"

"We can decide that when we get there." Takato also got up, tossing the remains of the sandwich he'd been chewing his way through to Guilmon. "We'll have to find out what's going on then, anyway. That report doesn't show any of them, so they probably won't be there when we get there."

"The sooner we get this dealt with the better. I've got some things to take care of." Ruki rolled her eyes even as she adjusted the cards in her deck. "Some idiot needs to realize I don't run my life by her approval."

Ryou glanced over at her, a faint smile hovering on the edges of his lips. "I thought they all knew that about you."

"Apparently this one missed the last orientation meeting."

"So what's the problem this time?" Ryou asked, falling into step beside her as they headed away from the park. "She convinced that you're going to jump out of your skin with a fake rubber spider?"

Ruki rolled her eyes again, then looked at the taller teen. "Do you happen to know any real rubber spiders?"

"Well, now that you ask..." He ducked her swatting hand deftly, a grin all over his face. "Come on, tell me what's bothering you. Maybe I can help."

"I doubt it. But she wants me to come to her party tomorrow night with a date. She doesn't think I can do it." A snort and a smirk followed those words. "She didn't even think I knew what a guy was. How blind is she?"

Juri laughed a little, looking back at the two of them from where she and Takato had been talking together quietly. "She's really silly. Most of the people we hang around with are guys."

"I know. I don't think it's quite sunk into her that I realize that fact."

"So what are you going to do about it?" Kenta wondered. He'd finished his work on Jenrya's arm before they'd all started away, but he stayed close to the other Tamer, to keep an eye on things. MarineAngemon hovered nearby, trilling softly over the injuries Terriermon had suffered. Ruki wasn't very surprised to see those injuries fading away with a light application of the miniature Digimon's power. Kenta and his partner kept them all in very good health. They were probably going to need that before all of this was over with.

She just shrugged in response to him. "Show up with a date, of course. It's not like I can't get one if I want one. That's just what she's expecting, though." A feral gleam flickered through her eyes, the kind of gleam that usually sent most Digimon heading away from her as swiftly as they could, for fear of what might happen next. "I don't think she's going to be expecting this, though."

Ryou's eyebrows looked as if they'd made a permanent home in his hair by now. "You know who you're going to ask already?"

"Of course I do." Ruki wished things weren't quite as serious as they were. She would've taken the time out to explain to them exactly why she wasn't bothered by the situation. "You ever known me to lie, Ryou?"

"Well, no..."

Hirokazu interrupted before the conversation got any farther. "Hey, why don't we all go along with you? That way we can see the look on her face. If it's anything like what happened the last time someone tried to bug you, it should be fun to watch!"

"I don't know..." Ruki hesitated a little, eyes flicking over to the rest of the group. "This is kind of a special situation. She's only invited me." The looks she was gathering from the rest of the Tamers were getting more and more interesting by the moment, until she just laughed. "Sure, the more the merrier. Now let's get going before this LadyDevimon and her flunkies think they want to get invited too."

Takato laughed, reaching out to rub his fingers across Guilmon's head. "Who'd want to take a LadyDevimon anywhere? They're not really the prettiest Digimon, you know."

Ruki did her best to ignore the way the conversation went after that. She had her own opinions on the matter and trying to declare "Miss Digimon" was an exercise in futility. There were other things she could think of to do to LadyDevimon, or any other female Digimon causing trouble, instead of awarding them some kind of beauty prize.

"Whoa, guys!" Takato broke off in his defense of Rosemon as the 'fairest of them all', and lessening the slightly rising annoyance in Juri's eyes at the same time, as they arrived where the news report had last mentioned the three viral Digimon to be. "This is not good."

The last time things had looked this bad in downtown Shinjuku had been when the Devas had trashed things. Buildings were damaged, the street had been half-ripped apart, and the insurance on a dozen cars was bound to be heading through the roof. There were burn marks and a few other signs of combat here and there. Or to be more precise, signs that someone with a lot of power and not much care in where it was thrown about had been through.

"Looks like what happened last time Impmon got upset cause he was stepped on!" Shuichon giggled some, looking around at all the damage. Lopmon looked as if he wanted to laugh, but with the way to the sharp-clawed Small Demon Digmon was looking at him, it wasn't exactly coming out.

"Yeah, well, LadyDevimon are pretty powerful evil Digimon," Impmon pointed out. "If this one's wanting to cause some trouble, she can cause a lot."

"To say the least." Renamon inspected some of the damage, shaking her head a little at how intense it was. "And I would say that this LadyDevimon does indeed wish to cause quite a bit of trouble."

A low demonic laugh echoed all around, sending the various Digimon into battle stances, while their Tamers pulled out cards and D-Arcs and made ready to fight.

"Up there!" Juri pointed, leaning in more closely to Takato as she did so. Everyone looked where she was motioning, just as a long shadow fell over them.

Standing on top of a building was LadyDevimon, arms folded, and a twisted smirk across her features. Huddling at her feet were Evilmon and Chamelemon, staring balefully across the distance between them and the Tamers. The Fallen Angel Digimon eyed the ones facing her.

"So you're the Digimon Tamers. I'm not impressed."

Ruki rolled her eyes. Why were they all like this? "The feeling's more than mutual, pasty-face."

"I can only imagine it is, little girl," LadyDevimon replied, her lips widening into a horrendous grin as she raised up one claw-like hand. "But I'm the one who has nothing to be impressed by. Your problem is that you don't know enough to be impressed."

"Ryou, are you sure she's not related to you?" Ruki had a card out even as she spoke. "She's got your attitude."

"I didn't say she could have it. She'd better give it back before she gets it wrinkled." Ryou grinned, reaching for his own D-arc and deck at the same time.

LadyDevimon's smirk only increased as power began to build up on her fingertips. Ruki could tell she was planning something. Someone blind and living on another planet could've figured that one out, really. It was a good thing she'd already made plans on how to take care of it.

"Darkness Wave!" A powerful blast of energy burst forth from her fingers, lashing at the Tamers and Digimon. Ruki slashed a card as quick as her fingers could move.

"Card Slash! Counter Crisis!" The energy flowed all around Renamon as she powered up her own attack, slashing back at LadyDevimon, and through the Perfection level's strike.

"Fox Leaf Arrowhead!" The attack's strength was doubled, slicing through the Darkness Wave with ease, and knocking LadyDevimon back a few paces. Renamon grinned a little, eyes twinkling as she turned her attention briefly to Ruki.

"This is gonna be a blast!" Hirokazu grinned, eyes dancing with joy. His laughter turned into a squawk a few moments later as another attack, this time from Evilmon, ripped up the pavement only a short distance form his feet. "That's not what I meant!"

LadyDevimon struck Evilmon sharply across the head, her scarlet eyes gleaming in fury. "Attack when I give the word, no sooner!"

The Digimon chittered a little, the sound meaning nothing to the Tamers, and if their partners understood, none of them wanted to translate. Ruki's quick look at Impmon's face told her that she probably didn't want to understand it, anyway. There wasn't time to wonder about it, though.

"Attack, my minions!" LadyDevimon lifted herself into the air, another attack dancing in readiness once more. "Destroy them all!"

"Why do they always want to do that?" Kenta wondered, even as the group started to separate. "I mean, don't they have something they could be doing in their world instead of coming here to bother us?"

"Unfortunately, no." Guardromon replied, getting Hirokazu situated comfortably on himself as they avoided the various blasts from the three Digimon. Renamon and Guilmon were doing their best of hold them off, but it wasn't getting any easier as they went along. Indeed, LadyDevimon's strikes were getting closer and closer with every attempt.

Hirokazu groaned deeply. "You've got to be joking. Why don't they have something better to do?"

"It's quite simple, Hirokazu. If they had something better to do, they wouldn't be here in the first place. It is quite possible that LadyDevimon is seeking to build up strength and experience and evolve to her Ultimate form before she returns to the Digital World and carves out a niche of her own." Guardromon suggested, firing up his thrusters and heading away, Ruki and Renamon, along with Kenta and MarineAngemon, not that far away.

"Well, she's not going to do it here." Ruki declared, skimming quickly through her deck. It wasn't easy for even someone as strong as Renamon to put up a fight against LadyDevimon. But she was quite certain it could be done. This was just a fight like any other.

She ducked out of the way of an extremely powerful Darkness Wave and winced. Yeah. Just like any other. She had a feeling this was going to take a while.

Kikuchi Kumiko smirked to herself as everyone whirled around her house. Everything was going just perfectly. She was almost positive some of the transfer students she'd invited had snuck in some alcohol and she intended to check with them later. After all of this, she could use a really good drink.

She looked around a little, trying to see if she could spy a familiar head of red hair. No, no sight of Makino at all. Her smirk widened as satisfaction purred all through her. There was no way that Makino could get a guy to come here with her, much less even look decent if she did.

Well, her mom's pretty loaded. She might be able to pay someone to come with her. There was still a while before the party would even think about being over, after all. There was time for Makino and whatever idiot she pulled out of a hat to get there. If she stuck with those silly friends of hers, it would probably be Kitagawa. How someone like him had ever become a partner to someone as completely adorable as MarineAngemon was beyond her. She guessed Digimon just didn't have any taste.

It was really rather easy to figure that one out, actually. If they had taste, then she would be a Tamer, and since she wasn't, whoever arranged these things was quite obviously an idiot. Not that she expected anything less. She'd heard that some silly overweight girl with glasses had wound up taming a Rosemon of all things somewhere over in America. That was probably a lie, though. Gossip got bigger with distance, after all, and what would something as beautiful as a Rosemon want with someone like that when she could have someone like her?

Really, no one had seen or heard from any of those Tamers since the previous afternoon. Kikuchi thought about checking out the news. She supposed she might have to give Makino another shot at impressing her at her next party if they'd had to save the world or something. One had to make allowances for certain guests' bad habits.

Kikuchi sauntered over to the refreshments stand and started to check out what was there. Everything looked so good, she hardly knew where to begin. Perhaps...

Glass shattered and spread everywhere, and something long and heavy fall on top of the table, sending food, punch, and everything else in every direction possible. Kikuchi shrieked, staring down at the soaked and splattered front of her newest best party dress. This couldn't be happening! This just couldn't be! Who was responsible for this?

She looked around, determined to find whoever it was who had done this, and stopped where she was. A Digimon stood on the remains of the table, a tall female kind of thing, with pale gray armor and long white hair, a cold and furious look in her eyes. From the hole in the roof a second Digimon descended. This one was much more pleasant to look on, with gold and blue armor, a definite vulpine look to her, and a staff in her hands.

"You will cause no more harm, LadyDevimon!" The creature declared, pointing the staff at the first one. "This ends here and now! Your minions have already been disposed of, and you stand alone!"

"We'll see who is finished, Sakuyamon!" LadyDevimon declared, some kind of strange energy gathering all around her. "Would you attack me while I stand here, with all of these innocent humans?"

Kikuchi blinked a little, never taking her eyes off of both of them. This was nothing she had ever expected, ever. Digimon weren't supposed to fight at her parties! They weren't even allowed at her parties!

"These humans know enough to get out of the way." The golden Sakuyamon pointed out. Kikuchi noticed, barely, that she was the only one who was actually there. The rest of her guests had vacated the moment these two had crashed through the roof.

"This one hasn't, though." Kikuchi squeaked in surprise as the gray Digimon swiftly seized her, one sharp claw hovering over her throat. "Take a step closer, and she dies!"

This was really not what was supposed to happen. Why wasn't she laughing at Makino instead of having this thing threatening her? That was what she'd been looking forward to all that night! This was her party, the things she wanted were supposed to happen!

Sakuyamon appeared almost to be indecisive about something or other. LadyDevimon pulled Kikuchi closer to her, and there was almost certainly a smirk in her voice. The human couldn't really get a good enough look at her face to be certain. "You can't do anything as long as I have her, you know. You've lost."

"That's not exactly so." The Digimon's voice seemed just a little familiar. Kikuchi couldn't place it, but she knew she'd heard it somewhere. Probably on the news. "I might not be able to do much, but you forgot something quite important."

LadyDevimon was absolutely sneering this time. Kikuchi didn't need to see her face to know it. "And that would be?"

Sakuyamon darted forward, pulling the girl away as quickly as she could, and levitating above the ruined table. "That a Tamer is never alone."

Kikuchi had just a moment to catch a glimpse of what looked like a giant knight in armor standing behind LadyDevimon, and then a lance had pierced through her body. For a moment the Digimon stood there, a look of complete shock on her face, then she broke down into small bits, fading away as if she'd never been there. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of evidence that she had been there.

"Are you all right, Sakuyamon?" The knight Digimon asked, looking at Sakuyamon as she lowered herself and Kikuchi to the floor. "You've been chasing her half the day."

"I'm aware of that. But I'm quite fine, thank you." Sakuyamon placed the girl to the side and straightened up. "I wasn't certain if you'd take her from behind, though."

"She took a hostage." The knight said it as if that explained everything. "She couldn't be trusted to fight fairly then, so the fight had to be finished."

Kikuchi watched, completely and utterly lost, then stared as Sakuyamon turned to look at her. Then, a shimmering bubble appeared around the Digimon, blinding her from sight for a few moments. When the bubble faded, Makino Ruki and her fox-like partner stood there, both looking exhausted, bedraggled, and certainly not in party-gear.

"That...that was you?" Kikuchi couldn't believe it. She owed at least part of her life to that...that...Makino! That didn't compute at all. She turned quickly to see the other Digimon also enclosed in a similar bubble, and from that was revealed a red dinosaur Digimon and a boy of about their own age, with round goggles on his head. Kikuchi vaguely recognized him as Matsuda Takato, but that didn't mean much. Makino was where her attention lay.

"Yes, that was me. Now I came to your party with a date, are you happy?" Makino practically dripped sarcasm. Kikuchi balled up her fists and glared at her at once. This was her turf!

"You did not! Unless you're dating him!" She motioned quickly at Matsuda, smirking all the while. Already the brief horror of being held in the arms of an evil Digimon was fading. This was more fun. "You are, aren't you?" Ohh, the gossip potential this held was just wonderful! This was even better than showing Makino up as a loser without a date! She was two-timing someone! Matsuda and that other girl, Katou, had been together for over a year! This was just wonderful!

Makino just looked at her, then at Renamon behind her. "No, as a matter of fact I'm not. But my date is here anyway. This isn't quite what I was planning to show you that you're an idiot, but you do that pretty nicely without me helping, anyway."

Kikuchi blinked a little; whatever could she be talking about? Makino always liked to think she was so much better than everyone, not caring about what they thought about her. That was nothing but a lie, of course. What mattered more than how other people saw you? They were going to be the ones who made certain you got the best jobs and everything else that mattered in the world. She'd always made it a point to have the very best of everything. It was what she deserved.

Makino took firm hold of Renamon's paw, and the Digimon came to stand beside her, one furry arm going around her. "Renamon is my date to your silly party, Kikuchi. We've been together about a year now. This isn't how I wanted to let my friends know, but it'll do, I guess."

"You and Renamon?" A gray-eyed boy had come up, another Digimon on his shoulder. "Can't say I'm that surprised. You two have always been really close."

Kikuchi stood in shock as various other Tamers and partners came up, wandering through the wreckage as if they owned it all. She heard a few vague offers of getting it fixed and insurance and things like that, but none of it really sank into her mind. Makino and the fox, arms around one another, looking at each other with a mixture of love, trust, passion, and compassion, things she'd only barely heard of, kept all of her attention. How could a human and a Digimon be like that with each other? Did it have something to do with being partners? It made no actual sense to her. Girls were supposed to be with boys. But despite that, Makino seemed more than happy to be right where she was. Kikuchi's head spun and she felt as if she wanted to lay down. This was not the fun night she'd been hoping for.

"I'm going to lay down." She announced it calmly and firmly, then headed through the debris to her room. This would all be a bad dream in the morning. No matter what.

The Tamers looked at each other as she passed out of sight. No one knew really who started the laughter, but within moments, they were all giggling, snorting, snickering, and guffawing. Even their Digimon joined in on it. Renamon's lips wrinkled a little in a smile at her beloved partner.

"I believe she was taken by surprise by your date, Ruki."

"I sure hope so." Ruki hugged Renamon a little, then looked at what had been an interesting party, at least once they had gotten there. "I think we should get back home and get some rest. I think I want to sleep for a week."

Takato laughed a little, his fingers wrapping around Juri's as she joined them. "Sounds like a good idea to me. Let's go."

As everyone else headed away, Renamon noticed Ruki hadn't moved. "Is something wrong?" She touched Ruki's face lightly with the tips of one claw. "You look a little disturbed."

"No, I'm fine." Ruki could never lie to Renamon these days. She smiled a little up at her, trying to relieve the tension. "I really didn't want people to find out like this. Because of someone like her." Her violet eyes gleamed briefly in amusement. "But I have to admit, the look on her face was absolutely priceless."

Renamon chuckled softly, scooping the one who meant everything to her up in her arms. "That it was." With a glimmer of power she faded away, Ruki still held close to her. Her partner's soft laugh echoed around the room.

"You know something, Renamon? I still don't like parties."

The End