Great, Ruki thought to herself and sniffed. Just Great. This is NOT the time to be getting a cold ... She pulled her coat closer to her in a futile attempt to keep herself from shivering. Ruki Makino wasn't happy with her current condition; It was an interferance. It kept her from doing the things she wanted to, doing the things she needed to be doing.

Whatever. It won't keep me.

Ruki sighed and wiped her nose on the sleeve of her coat before continuing to walk down the sidewalk toward her home. She wasn't going to let this cold keep her from doing anything. She was stronger than that.

"Uh .. Ruki? Are you okay?" A timid, male voice asked from behind her, and she turned around to confront the one who had asked. Her stern expression had considerably softened as she saw who it was. With another sniff, she faced the front once again, grunting a bit and shoving her hands into her pockets.

"I'm fine, Gogglehead. Just going home." Takato caught up to her and remained walking next to her, a frown on his face.

"Ruki, you ... uhh .. you don't seem 'fine' to me, if you don't mind me saying .." Takato added, his voice wavering as he said it, for fear of the girl next to him pummeling him into the next century. Ruki blatantly whirled around, her face contorted in growing anger.

"I'M. FINE," She said through clenched teeth, then turned her head to the side as a fit of coughing overtook her. Takato instantly went from feeling fear to feeling concern as the girl began coughing. After a moment of her fit, he placed a hand on her back, trying to help her out of it, regardless of the fact that she was definately going to kill him once she realized.

"No," he started out, softly, "You're not. You shouldn't be out here .." Ruki gasped at the affection she heard in his voice. No, that couldn't be right .. clutching at her chest, Ruki wheezed as she tried to control herself from breaking into another coughing fit right then and there. Suddenly, though, the world seemed to be getting darker ...

What bothered her most, was that the darkness only got worse. Soon, she could think nothing more of it.

There was something hot on her forehead ... hot ... and quite damp, too. Her eyes slowly opened, her fuzzy vision soon coming into focus. When her vision was clear, she could see that she was in her room ... in her bed ..

Wait, she thought to herself, confused. Wasn't I ... walking home? Ruki tried to sit up, only to be pushed down gently by a pair of strong hands. Ruki glared up to the one who had pushed her and nearly passed out once again from the sight.

Takato grinned sheepishly, mahogany eyes showing his concern, though his face only showed the sheepishness that his grin did. Ruki reluctantly followed his unspoken order, grumbling under her breath about the "Stupid Gogglehead." It took everything Takato had not to laugh out loud at the sight. Finally, the Digimon Queen was at the mercy of a mere 'Gogglehead' like him ... in a very unexpected way, he had to admit, but still, she couldn't help but comply with his 'orders.'

Before she had the chance to ask, Takato began to explain what had happened.

"You collapsed on the sidewalk," He said, removing the now cold compress from her forehead and frowning at the split-second thought that it would have to be heated again, "I brought you home. Ruki, when your're sick, you need to be tended to .. That's the only way to get over it, you need rest, lots of fluids--"

"I know, Takato." Takato frowned.

"If you knew, why were you walking outside in this cold weather?" He whined. For a moment, Ruki thought the whiny tone he held was amusing.

"It couldn't get to me. A cold can't hold me back from my daily life."

"Ruki .." Takato sighed. "Forgive me for saying this, but you're stubborn. Really stubborn." Ruki managed a small grin.

"So I've been told." Takato crossed his arms over his chest, mirroring her grin with one of his own.

"I'll be right back, I've got to go heat this thing up again ..." With that, he stood and left the room.

If Ruki had the strength at the moment, she would have undoubtedly stood up and continued with her daily life. A pout formed on her face, along with hints of pink, as she thought about it. Takato was caring for her ... which was something she had never expected in her lifetime.

"You seem to be enjoying the attention," A feminine voice said from somewhere in the room. Ruki scowled.

"No. I'm rendered helpless, here." Renamon could only chuckle.

"Your face shows different feelings." Ruki turned her head, the pink on her cheeks worsening at that statement.

"It's just the cold," she grumbled. Renamon shook her head.

"If you say so, Ruki." With that, the fox disappeared. Takato came back into the room not long afterward, sighing with relief that Ruki had not only stayed in bed, but had returned some color to her cheeks ... okay, maybe a little more than normal. He frowned at that thought. Was she catching a fever now?

He knelt by her side and felt her forehead with his hand, causing the girl under his hand to flush even more. His frown deepened.

"Maybe I need to start with cold compresses, rather than hot ones .." He scowled to himself, trying to think straight. Having Ruki under his direct scrutiny, her face flushed so prettily like that, was really starting to make his own face become red. Ruki noticed and let out a small laugh.

"Maybe you need to cold compress yourself," she said, a tiny smirk crossing her lips as she said that. Takato grinned sheepishly as the color in his face rose a bit more. He found that he was unable to say anything to that remark .. he placed the cloth over her forehead again. It was cold now anyway. Ruki scowled again.

"Where is my Grandmother?" Ruki asked, knowing full well that it was likely her Mother wasn't here. Takato shrugged his shoulders.

"I didn't see her when I came in. You needed someone to make sure you stayed put, so I kind of took that liberty ..." Ruki smiled and closed her eyes, feeling that sleep was pulling her in deeper and deeper by the second.

"You'll never hear this again, Gogglehead ... but thanks." After all was said and done, Ruki's breathing had become softer and steadier, her eyes closed and a peaceful expression on her face.

"Oh, well .. you're welcome, I guess ..." After he had said that, though, Takato realized that Ruki was asleep. His expression became soft as he sat by the redheaded girl, watching her sleep. This was the first time he had seen her asleep, and it would probably be the only time ... an aching feeling in his chest began to arise as he thought of that.

"You're welcome .." He whispered, the feeling only growing stronger.

Why did feelings like these have to be so complicated?

AN: Well, HEY. :D I'm not new to this section of the site ... I just haven't posted anything for it in a while. Anyway, to get re-aquainted ... I'm Ai. :D The last time I posted Rukato in the Digimon section, I was young, stupid, and full of grammatical errors. So, this is my new, improved Rukato. :D I did this for a trade on DeviantArt with a friend, and we were both quite impressed with the results from the other (or at least, I hope he was impressed with this!). Thought I'd post it here, too. :D Enjoy!