Disclaimer: Apparently, I have to tell everyone that I don't own Digimon. Otherwise, Toei can sue me, because they own it. So, I don't own Digimon.
Author's Notes: Hey everyone, and welcome to my Digimon fanfic, Digital Realms. This fic is a crossover between Season 02 and Season 3 (Tamers). I've got lots of idea for this fic, and I intend to use them all. When you've finished reading, please review. We only become better writers with constant feedback. So, sit back and buckle up; you're in for a ride.
Chapter One: The First Day
/Guilmon's Hut, Shinjuku Central Park, Shinjuku, Tokyo. Monday, June 21st, 2004. 10:40 a.m./
Takato Matsuki groaned as he leaned against the wall of Guilmon's hut. The concrete wall was slightly pitted, and Takato felt the dips in the wall against his back as his bodyweight pushed him against it. Next to him, Guilmon was feasting on what the red, dinosaur Digimon called his "After Breakfast, Before Lunch, Yummy Guilmon Bread-Time Snack". The discarded plastic bag lay empty on the floor next to the carefree Digimon. Takato shook his head as his partner started to choke on a piece of Guilmon Bread that the raptor-like Digimon had neglected to chew properly.
"Guilmon, you're either going to choke and die, or eat all the bread in the bakery and leave us to starve," the exasperated Tamer said as he put a hand to his head.
Guilmon finally swallowed the bread down, his Adam's apple moving up and down in a very amusing fashion, before replying in a childish, cheery voice, "I can't help it, Takato. The bread tastes so good, and my tummy rumbles so much when I don't have bread, I just have to eat it as fast I can!"
"What good does it do you to have bread if you choke yourself on it? Dead Digimon don't eat, you know." Takato rolled his eyes as Guilmon assumed a thoughtful pose. His partner's ears were twitching as he held a claw to his chin, scratching it thoughtfully.
At last, the Digimon replied happily, "Then it's a good thing I'm not dead!" He then continued to shovel bread into his mouth, chewing loudly.
Takato sweatdropped as he watched his partner stuff his mouth. 'Well, at least I don't really have to worry about Guilmon eating everything we bake. It's a good thing Yamaki and Hypnos chip in when it comes to taking care of our Digimon. If they didn't, a couple of their 'employees' would run out of food faster than Guilmon goes through a loaf of bread!'
As Takato watched his partner eat faster than was probably healthy, he thought to himself, 'When did things actually settle into this routine? During the school year, I get up, drop Guilmon off at the park, go to school, bring bread to Guilmon afterwards, and then hang around with him or the others until dinner…and during the summer, we just hang around.'
Takato shook his head in bemusement. That was pretty much how things had been for the last three years. And yet the time seemed to pass so quickly.
'When did everything start to become so commonplace, so normal? I mean, you'd expect more things to happen around here, considering we have real, live Digimon partners living here in the Real World with us. Sure, there's the occasional wild Digimon who bio-emerges, but Yamaki just has us go take care of it when that happens. Send it back to the Digital World, find it a home here in the Real World, fight it if we don't have any other choice, whatever…but nothing else really happens. Well, except for Guilmon raiding the cafeteria right before school let out for the summer. That was bad…'
Takato winced. The school faculty had, surprisingly, turned pretty much a blind eye to the incident (excepting for a number of weary glares from Ms. Asaji, who had become a teacher at the high school where most of the Tamers went), but it was doubtful anyone at the school would ever forget it. There had been way too much food in the air for that…
'Anyway, it's just so weird. Three years, and our lives have been…well, normal. It almost doesn't feel right.'
Takato shook his head. 'I guess we just changed too much back when we were out having adventures. We got used to the action, the danger, the excitement, and now that we have nothing real to worry about or fight, we basically have to live our old lives. The only real difference is our partners and working for Hypnos now and then. It sort of feels like trying to stuff a square into a circular hole in one of those little kids' toys…'
'Ah, maybe it's just me…'
"Yeah, Guilmon?" Takato asked bemusedly, lost in his thoughts.
Takato sweatdropped as Guilmon once again began to choke on his bread. As the raptor-like Digimon hacked and coughed, Takato again returned to that age-old question: How does one administer the Heimlich Maneuver to a Digimon?
/Henry Wong's Apartment, Shinjuku. 11:25 a.m./
Henry Wong sat in front of his computer, his eyes skimming over various news reports on the web. Beside him, Terriermon was playing a video game on Henry's Playstation Two. The rabbit-dog Digimon's long ears were flopping around as he twisted the controller in his small hands this way and that, intent on keeping his character on screen alive.
"No…no, move the other way…Ah! Bad guy, bad guy! Get him, get him!"
"Terriermon, you do realize that shouting and dancing around in front of the TV isn't helping, don't you?" Henry asked, not taking his eyes from the computer screen.
Terriermon tapped a few buttons with his small fingers, still jerking around in synch with his character in the game. "Of course I realize that, Henry, but…no, not that way…it's not quite…as…fun…without…getting all…EXCITED! LOOK OUT!" With a simulated cry, Terriermon's character fell in battle, leaving Terriermon scowling and not very amused.
"Momentai, little one," Henry said with a small grin, before Terriermon could throw a fit.
The little Digimon sighed and dropped the controller. Jumping up, one of Terriermon's long ears wrapped around Henry's right shoulder as the Digimon settled on the left, hanging on like a sleeping man slung over a horse.
"Anything interesting happening lately?" Terriermon asked, reading over his partner's shoulder.
Henry shook his head. "Slow day." It was true enough. Not a single Digimon had bio-emerged in the last week, the news was currently running stories about circus animals, and Henry had run out of nifty electronic devices to upgrade his computer with.
Definitely a slow day.
Henry leaned back in his chair and yawned widely. Terriermon, who was still hanging from Henry's shoulder, lost his grip and fell to the floor of Henry's bedroom with a thud.
"Geez, Henry. Next time could you try and remember when you've got a Digimon on your shoulder?" Terriermon said as he stood up, rubbing his behind.
Henry chuckled. "Sorry, Terriermon. Next time I'll let you know when I want to stretch and yawn."
"Are you being sarcastic? You are, aren't you?"
"I learned from the best." Henry turned back to his computer, opening a new browser. Maybe there was something else interesting on the web…
"I am the best, aren't I?" Terriermon hopped up onto the desk as Henry clicked on random news articles and links. "I wonder if I could get my own show. Like as a stand-up comedian or something…"
Henry chuckled again. "When you stop eating twice your weight at the dinner table, maybe."
"Are you implying I'm fat?" Terriermon sucked in his gut, even as his cheeks puffed out with air. "Look a' me, I'm buff!" The small Digimon's voice was slightly muffled through his closed mouth, but his meaning was understandable.
Henry reached out and poked Terriermon's stomach with a finger. The rabbit-dog's breath was released as his ticklish side got the better of him. "Sure, and I'm the Prime Minister."
Terriermon frowned as he rubbed his stomach. "Well, I could be. And I'm not the Pillsbury Doughboy, alright?"
Henry just nodded absentmindedly as he turned back to his computer. Terriermon, his ego still smarting a little, jumped back down to the floor and went back to his game.
"Henwy! We're going on a picnic! Let's go, let's go!"
Although Suzie's speech had vastly improved over the last three years, and she now pronounced most of her r's properly, she still insisted on repeating her older brother's name as "Henwy". It was endearing most of the time, and it showed that the little girl, now ten, still had a streak of childishness in her that had so far refused to disappear, even in the face of her duties as a Tamer.
And now Suzie made her entrance with Lopmon, her partner. Lopmon, who looked almost exactly like Terriermon except for the extra two horns on her head and the deep, chocolate color of her fur, was the exact opposite of Terriermon personality-wise. While Terriermon was mischievous, sarcastic, and laidback, Lopmon was dutiful, polite, and proper. The contrast between the otherwise alike Digimon was rather funny, especially considering their human partners.
Now, Suzie, at age ten, had grown quite a lot in the last few years. Henry, who was slightly taller than most people in his class, had been rather dismayed one day to find that his little sister, five years younger than him, had almost reached his shoulders in height. The young girl was obviously the tallest in her class, and it seemed that it would stay that way. Terriermon had found Henry's reaction most amusing, until Henry told him, in a rather annoyed tone, that Suzie was probably still capable of the "Pwincess-Pwetty-Pants Tweatment". Terriermon had wisely shut up after that.
Now Suzie and Lopmon stood at Henry's bedroom door, the former impatiently tapping her foot like a young child. Lopmon merely stood by meekly, bemusedly watching Terriermon again enter his "twitch-dance-yell" video game routine.
Henry at last turned his head. "Picnic? When was this decided?"
Suzie sighed exasperatedly, as though she was attempting to explain something very simple to a young child who had no interest in learning what she had to teach. The image was so clear, in fact, that Henry felt a moment of vertigo as he envisioned a grown-up Suzie speaking to a young Henry.
Suzie continued, not noticing Henry's temporary unease. "Daddy's home from work early and Mama says we're going out to the park to eat. That's why!"
Henry, now over his somewhat disconcerting mental image, merely shrugged. Why not? It wasn't like he was doing anything right now, and surely Terriermon could find something more worthwhile to do in the park than…dancing in front of the TV. As he now seemed to be doing.
Henry sweatdropped at his partner, who was yelling something about being an 'uber awesome super cool king of the hill' while jumping around, holding two of his fingers in the 'V for Victory' symbol. Yes, Terriermon could definitely find something better to do.
"Fine…I'll be along in a second." Henry turned back to his computer to shut it down. But then, something caught his eye.
"Now what's this?" He asked himself aloud, and clicked on the news article. A moment later, the full article, with a picture of a red-haired girl Henry's own age, loaded onto the computer screen. Henry looked at the picture in surprise; the girl was wearing a stylish dress and what had to be loads of makeup. But even past the clothes and the rouge, Henry recognized the violet-eyed girl instantly…and winced. His eyes shifted towards the written article and began to read it aloud. Suzie, Lopmon, and Terriermon, now finished with his victory dance, crowded around him.
"'The daughter of a famous model has made her debut in the world of fashion, turning heads with her devil-may-care attitude and an icy personality. Yet it is said by many that the cold air she carries herself with hides a sensitive, warm heart overflowing with compassion and understanding. Many young suitors have already shifted their eyes towards this new beauty, who does not need her mother's influence or popularity to sway her generation…'" Henry stopped reading as his face contorted with a curious mixture of surprise, confusion, befuddlement, and above all, pity. 'She's going to kill whoever wrote this…wouldn't be surprised if it was Ryo…'
"Is that Rika?" Suzie asked in bewilderment as she looked over Henry's shoulder at the picture of the fiery girl in a dress.
The four stared at the computer screen, their eyes riveted towards the 'new beauty' of the fashion world.
Terriermon voiced all their thoughts. "Boy, she looks angry."
/Downtown Photographic Studio, Shinjuku. 12:57 p.m./
Rika Nonaka was angry. More than that, she was ready to kill the photographer who wouldn't get out of her face with his stupid flash camera. Not to mention whoever had written that ridiculous news piece…it could have been Ryo, wherever that jerk was…
Rika shot a glare towards her right, offset. Her mother, who had entered the photo studio with both Rika and high hopes, had now settled down to a saddened and uncomfortable air; it seemed she would be leaving without those high hopes…and perhaps Rika as well, if things kept up as they were.
Flash! "Look at me, baby!" Flash! Flash! "This is perfect! Keep that angry face! Oh, this is fantastic!" Flash! Flash! Flash! The photographer had obviously mistaken Rika's growing rage for something that might be vaguely artistic…in a dark, dangerous, 'I'm-Going-To-Kill-You' sort of way.
The stupid dress itched and pinched her body in uncomfortable places, the lights were hot and she couldn't stop sweating, the camera wouldn't stop flashing in her eyes (she was half-blind by this point, though she could still see the photographer, to his misfortune), and the stupid, stupid photographer would not stop talking. It seemed he thought of it as encouragement. Rika thought of it as his death sentence being repeated over and over again.
Flash! Flash! "Beautiful! Just like your mother! I'll bet you'll be just as famous as her someday!" Flash!
That did it. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. All of Rika's pent-up emotions (she really had done a good job of restraining herself so far) now poured out in one angry movement. Once, in a similar situation, Rika had pushed the camera away, and run out. No such restraint this time.
The photographer yelped in pain as Rika's fist gave the man's very expensive photographing tool the camera's equivalent of a broken nose. She had punched straight, and her knuckles smashed into the camera's lenses hard enough to break them. Of course, when objects are hit by something very hard, they have a tendency to move backwards with the motion of the object that hit them. In this case, the camera had to go back with Rika's fist…towards the photographer's face.
Hence the yelp of pain.
As Rika's mother, Rumiko Nonaka, and several other people who had been standing around watching rushed to help the poor man, Rika stormed off to the nearby dressing room. When she was inside, she reached down and tore the dress off her body. She didn't stop there, though. Once it was off her, she continued to tear it apart again and again, until only scraps of soft fabric were left. With a cry of frustration, she tossed the remains of her dress (it had undoubtedly been worth several hundred dollars before she had worn it) up into the air like confetti. Grabbing her jeans and then her t-shirt, which had the familiar blue heart in the center, she pulled on her clothes and then slammed the door open. Barely glancing at the mess of people just in front of the colored backdrop of the set, she half-ran out the doors of the studio, ignoring her mother as she cried out to her daughter. She didn't stop until she was out of the stupid building and on another street, heading south.
At this point, she finally slowed to a walk, and stuck her hands in her pockets dejectedly. She had some vague notion of going home, but immediately dismissed the idea. Perhaps the park…
"I saw that didn't go so well," Renamon said dryly as she materialized in the shadows of an alley next to Rika.
Rika gave an angry humph before continuing on. Renamon half-smiled before disappearing. At the next alley that intersected Rika's path, the fox-like Digimon appeared again. "Gatomon got your tongue?" She asked her human partner with only the slightest trace of amusement.
Rika scowled as she stopped. There weren't many people on this street at the moment, for which Rika was profoundly thankful. She turned to Renamon with a flinty glare before yelling vehemently, "I don't know why the heck I let my mother talk me into that! I knew I wouldn't like it, I knew I couldn't stand it, but did I tell her that? No! I was a softie and agreed because I thought she'd appreciate it! Shows me for doing something nice like that for her…"
"You got through the session the day before last just fine, didn't you? The one where those photos ended up in the news?" Renamon asked. Her good humor was only just showing in her voice now, but she was still chuckling mentally.
Rika groaned. "Barely. This one, though..." Rika cracked her knuckles in a very un-ladylike fashion, fixing a death glare on the nearest trashcan. It almost melted.
"Anyway, I am not doing that again! Ever!" She turned back away from the alley, fully intent on continuing her walk.
Renamon poked her head around the corner and looked both ways before determining no-one would notice if she stepped out. She did so, and walked alongside her partner silently. Rika, on her side, was glad of the silence, but a small part of her was screaming at her to go back to that building and hit the stupid man the right way, not just leave him with a broken camera and a little bruise on his face. As she thought of this, Rika brought up the hand she had punched the camera with and found it to still be clenched. It was, in fact, bleeding.
Renamon noticed this, and quietly reprimanded herself for not noticing this before. Surely she would have smelled her partner's blood; a small stream of it was slowly flowing down the teen's tight fist. "Rika, you're hurt."
Rika scowled again, and she pulled out a small shard of glass from between two of her knuckles. Definitely from the camera lens. "Yeah." The girl stopped, turned back, and hurled the small piece of glass as far away as she could. Maybe if she was lucky, that stupid photographer would step on it later. 'Now you're being ridiculous,' she told herself a moment later as she tried to regain her calm.
Unknown to Rika, however, she wasn't the stupid photographer's only difficult subject. Later that day, another enraged girl would smash his foot with the man's other very expensive camera, and then proceed to stomp on that foot repeatedly. In fact, his foot would swell up so much that the man would take his shoe off to relieve the pain, and would not be able to put it back on afterwards. The poor, unlucky photographer, who didn't understand why so many attractive young women attacked him in his workplace, would walk home with one shoe on his good foot and the other in his hand.
Glass pierces socks much more readily than it does shoes. Need I say more?
Rika let out an exasperated breath, and then turned back to her original course. As she walked, Renamon asked, "Where are we going, Rika?"
Rika considered this question as her anger slowly drained away. Where was a good place to go? The answer came a moment later.
"The park." Rika said, her voice now calm. It was a good place to think and relax. Heck, if she still needed to punch someone when they got there, Kazu might always be around.
/Outside Guilmon's Hut, Shinjuku Central Park, Shinjuku. 2:23 p.m./
Kenta Kitagawa groaned as Kazu Shioda flipped over his latest card, sealing Kenta's fifth defeat in a row. As Kenta flopped backwards onto the grass outside Guilmon's hut, his partner, MarineAngemon, flew above his head and made distressed chirruping noises. Guardromon, Kazu's large, metallic partner, elected to raise his fist in the air and said, "Huzzah!" Kazu joined in spiritedly as Takato, Guilmon, Jeri, and Calumon looked on in varying degrees of amusement.
Jeri Katou, her brown hair hanging just below her shoulder line, giggled as Calumon jumped up and joined Kazu and Guardromon in their celebrations. Takato just smiled as he watched the little Digimon, who was a regular resident at Jeri's house when he wasn't wandering about the city. Guilmon merely stared in confusion at the card Kazu had played. The subtlety of such an intricate card combo had been lost on the dinosaur. On the other hand, Kenta had no such problems comprehending how well he had been beaten.
Kazu finally settled down enough to ask Kenta, "Another game?"
Kenta just moaned, covering his glasses with his hands. MarineAngemon decided to answer for his partner by shaking his head, then went back to attempting to rouse Kenta from his miserable state.
Takato chuckled, and said, "Time to leave him alone, I think."
"Humph." Kazu picked up his cards lovingly as he shuffled them back into his deck carefully. "If you're gonna play the game, then you oughta be able to play against me and win at least once during the whole day."
"But we haven't even been playing for more than two hours!" Kenta said, sounding rather annoyed.
Kazu shrugged. "You get my point, right?"
Jeri cocked her head. "Not really," she needled her friend while concealing a sly grin.
Kazu considered this for a moment before shrugging again. "Look, Kenta hasn't beaten me for the last week. That's just the way it is."
"You're just better than Kenta. You've played the game more. In fact, I think you're obsessed."
"Am not! It's just part of being a Tamer! You've got to know how to strategize, how to outthink your opponent, how to—"
"—memorize your opponent's deck?" Takato asked with a grin.
Kazu turned to Takato with an exasperated look. "Do you want to play me, Chumley?"
Takato shook his head, still grinning. Jeri pulled out her deck of cards from her purse and asked, with a steely glint in her eyes that, surprisingly, only Rika could match, "Do you want to play me, Kazu?"
Kazu's exasperated look changed to a more nervous one. "N-no, I bet it'd be a really boring game for you. I mean, Rika's been teaching you for the past few years, after all, so I don't think…" Kazu slowly put his cards in his pocket, as though moving at a snail's pace would save him from a terrible, painful fate.
Hey, an ego bruising can be quite painful. Just ask Kazu. Rika shows him that all the time.
Guardromon chose this opportune moment to speak up. "My partner never backs down from a challenge! Prepare, milady, as Kazu unleashes his fearsome skills!"
Kazu slammed his fist against Guardromon's metal side. "Thanks buddy, but I really don't need the support right now."
"You need all the support you can get, doofus." Seven heads turned at the new voice, which turned out to be…
"Rika! Renamon! Good to see you! And I'll ignore that snide comment," Kazu added in an undertone, as he waved at the approaching pair.
Rika chose not to reply, instead sitting down next to Jeri as the other girl made room. Renamon stood behind her, just outside the circle the Tamers had formed. Calumon, with nothing else interesting to do at the moment, leapt up into the red-haired girl's lap. His ears expanded out as he smiled up at Rika. The teen girl spared a small smile for the cute In-Training Digimon before looking up.
"So, what have you been up to, Rika?" Kenta asked as he picked up his cards off the battle mat.
Rika's expression darkened perceptibly. Now it was close to what the Tamers called 'Danger Mode'. She replied curtly, "You don't want to know."
Which really meant that Rika didn't want them to know. Which, by extension, now meant that the other Tamers didn't want to know anymore. A riled Rika was something to be avoided at all cost. This was a hard lesson that Kazu neglected to remember far too often for his own good.
Fortunately, this was one of those rare occasions where he actually did remember, and the brown haired teen wisely remained silent, opting instead to watch as Kenta shuffled his cards somewhat nervously under Rika's icy regard.
The silence that followed was broken only by Calumon's contented sighs and MarineAngemon's amusing chirrups as he hovered near his partner's moving hands. When at last Takato decided to speak up, Guilmon beat him to it. The raptor-like Digimon raised his head from his claws and sniffed the air several times. Takato blinked, and was about to ask, when Guilmon spoke. "I smell Terriermon. And Lopmon, too."
Guilmon's nose was hard to fool, as Takato had learned several times while attempting to hide bread from his friend. In any case, the nose was right now. After only a few moments, Terriermon's laidback voice sounded from down the path in front of Guilmon's hut. "Hey, everybody! What's happening?"
Guilmon answered happily, in his childlike voice, "Hi, Terriermon!" and waved his clawed hand in the air above his head.
Takato and the rest of their group, Tamer and Digimon alike, turned their heads to the path. Walking towards them were Henry, Terriermon, Suzie, and Lopmon. Terriermon was hanging onto Henry's shoulders again, and he waved a small hand. Suzie copied the gesture excitedly. Being a Tamer came with several privileges. One was hanging out with the older kids.
Takato stood, and yelled down the path, "Hey, Henry! What's going on?"
As the four neared, Henry answered, "Just came from a family picnic. Terriermon said he heard you guys nearby, so we decided to drop by afterwards. Looks like we'll be here awhile."
Takato grinned as the four joined the large circle. It was a good thing none of the Digimon were any bigger than Guardromon; it would have been a little tight between Guilmon's hut and the surrounding trees.
Terriermon, who was still hanging over Henry's left shoulder, said, "Hey, Rika, guess what?"
Rika turned to the rabbit-dog with a cool look in her eyes. Terriermon, oblivious to his peril, continued, "Henry found an article about you on the computer! It was saying something about a fashion shoot and your mom, and it had a picture of you in a pretty dress and all…this…makeup…" Terriermon audibly gulped and ducked behind Henry as Rika's eyes flashed dangerously. "Please don't hurt me."
Next to Kazu, Terriermon was the single person who most often unleashed Rika's dark side.
Henry held up his hands in a pacifying gesture. "Just ignore him, Rika. He's only…well, being Terriermon." Henry scratched his head sheepishly. "I don't think I can explain it any better than that, can I?"
Rika, ignoring Henry's advice, said to Terriermon, who was peeking over Henry's shoulder, "Hey, Rabbitmon. I've got something for you to think over."
"What's that?" The Digimon asked cautiously.
Rika smiled a very cool smile indeed. "Have you ever heard the saying, 'silent as the grave'?"
Terriermon gulped again. "You've made your point, Rika."
Kazu, who was snickering quietly, clammed up immediately as Rika whipped around to him. "Don't think I've forgotten you."
"What did I do?" Kazu asked loudly in an annoyed tone.
"Don't think I don't know who left those Numemon in my room."
Kazu mimicked Terriermon's earlier actions and gulped loudly. "You, uh, knew that was me, huh?" The brown-haired teen was slowly inching his way backwards across the grass. Unfortunately, Guardromon was right behind him, so Kazu was almost literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Rika smiled yet another chilling smile. "Oh, don't worry yet. Like they say, 'revenge is best served cold'."
"That's reassuring." Kazu replied as he sweatdropped.
The group, minus Rika and Kazu, laughed at the exchange. It was almost commonplace, as were Kazu's practical jokes. Though they didn't often involve Digimon, Kazu was still well known for his outrageous pranks around the school. When it came to detention, Kazu could probably be compared to Davis Motomiya from the popular Digimon anime that still ran on TV.
Jeri, evidently deciding that it was time to put a stop to the threats (all of which had come from Rika so far), asked Henry, "Um, what have you been doing lately, Henry?"
Henry turned his attention from the glares being exchanged between Rika and Kazu (well, to be honest, the glares were coming from Rika while Kazu settled for a few nervous glances underneath his old visor). "Not much, really. There just isn't much happening these days."
Kenta nodded his head in agreement. "No Digimon have shown up in the last week, school's out for the summer, and I'm bored to tears. Plus, Kazu keeps thrashing me in the card game." With a disappointed sigh, the greenish-blue haired boy tucked his deck of cards into his pocket before folding up the card mat.
"I can help you with the game, Kenta! Rika's taught me all she can!" Jeri exclaimed happily.
Kenta shook his head. "Thanks, but if I'm going to lose to Kazu, I'd rather lose my own way."
Henry raised his eyebrows. "Meaning…?"
Kazu interrupted, "He means he'd rather lose miserably than be taught by a girl who's good at the game and then still lose miserably."
Jeri cocked her head. "Was that a compliment?"
Takato replied with a grin, "That depends. I'm pretty sure that didn't sound quite as nice to Kenta as it did to you."
"Rub it in, why don't ya?" Kenta moaned as he flopped back onto the grass again.
Another round of laughs. This time Rika joined in softly.
When at last the laughter had died, Takato asked, "What are we going to do now? Yamaki hasn't called, and we have the rest of the afternoon…not to mention the rest of the summer…"
"Tag! Tag! Let's play tag!" Suzie shouted as she jumped up and down. Terriermon joined her, his ears flopping up and down. The rest of the group, including Lopmon, sweatdropped as they watched the pair dance around and chant.
Jeri then smiled slyly. "Well, if we're going to play tag…" She sent a mischievous look around the circle. Henry, who was sitting next to Kazu, picked up on it immediately. "…then…"
"KAZU'S IT!" the group roared as one. Both Jeri and Henry reached out and pushed Kazu to the ground. Though it wasn't much of a fall, seeing as he was sitting down, the teen was still startled enough to yell "Hey!" as he fell over. The circle broke as the Tamers and their partners scattered in every direction. Kazu got to his feet as fast as he could, looked around in confusion, and wailed, "WHY DOES EVERYONE ALWAYS PICK ON ME?"
Guardromon, with his impeccable timing for sincere responses, replied cheerfully, "I believe everyone loves the fool best."
/Outside Guilmon's Hut, Shinjuku Central Park, Shinjuku. 6:47 p.m./
Takato stood in front of Guilmon's concrete hut while he and his partner waved as the last of the Tamers walked home. When they were finally lost to sight (but not sound; he could still faintly hear Rika and Kazu bickering), Takato turned to the west. Though the horizon was blocked by skyscrapers and tall buildings, he could just see the sun setting behind them. The sky was tinged a reddish hue, almost crimson. The golden light of the failing sun settled on the greenery of the park, lightening the color of the leaves. Even the clouds had taken on a golden color as they slowly rolled across the red sky.
The brown haired Tamer turned to his friend and said, "You know, Guilmon, even if we have nothing useful to do, it's nice to have great friends and a good home to enjoy it all."
The red dinosaur looked up at Takato, nodded, and smiled happily. "Uh-huh! And Guilmon Bread, too!"
Takato sweatdropped as he grinned back. 'I wonder if he's addicted…'
As Takato turned back to the golden sunset, he couldn't help but think, 'Still, it'd be nice if we could do something important again. We saved our world once, and everything since then has been alright, but I almost want to do something like that again. It makes you feel…needed. Like people really appreciate your helping them. Not that people don't feel that way about us now, but…I almost want something bigger…more meaningful.'
As he thought these things, standing in the failing light of the sun, a small piece of wisdom intruded into his mind. Be careful what you wish for, Takato Matsuki. You just might get it.
Takato considered this piece of advice for a moment. 'That's probably right. I might be asking to bite off something bigger than all of us can chew. Still…'
Standing beside his partner, Takato Matsuki watched as the setting sun dyed the sky an even deeper crimson.
'…I hope there's something more out there, waiting for us.'
The wheels of fate are rarely directed by human desires. But, sometimes, fate and desire run together; even if neither knows it at first.
Author's Notes: Well, there's the first chapter. If you have any questions, let me know.
If it sounded like I was bashing anyone (namely Kazu and Ryo), let me assure you, I wasn't. I like all the characters from Digimon; they each have something that makes them unique, and I think most of them are believable. Of course, a little teasing isn't out of the question. ;)
Anyway, Ryo makes his appearance later in the next chapter, along with a few other familiar faces who didn't get their spotlight this time around.
And speaking of the next chapter…well, that's where things really start. This was the work crew setting up the stage. Next comes the action and the plot…as well as the villains…
And don't forget to review! Till next time.