A/N: This is the last chapter for my 'Unbroken Hearts' story. Before I go on I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far (starting in alphabetical order… Hah! Just kidding).
RomanceRighter, Lord Destroyer, Saiyan X, Vriel the Black Knight, ze sleepy kitty, Gigawolf1, Ruki44, Frozen Twins, the vampire armond, thunderflare0251, D3Fan, TrialAndError1192812, ofdarknesschaos, TwinkieTUTUS, ttoad, BlueRenamon, Keyo-Red Angel of Hope, FOOl3A12, Raptorxd, Darth Nima, Gundamknight, Steelbeam, pyro-chan the dragon king, Fuuruma, cony, AegisX, red eye, Gallantmon Tamer, Master Brattan, ZeroXGundam, touya-of-ice, dbzgtfan2004, SPARTAN-275M, Rockbane, Aarik Wrath, Cereal Killer, and Dragon and Sword Master
At the time of this writing that is all the people who have reviewed. Thanks again you guys. You helped me more than you know. Now, ON WITH THE FIC!
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Unbroken Hearts: Chapter 20
Epilogue: Mending Hearts
It's been at least a week since the battle with MaliceEridramon. During that time things have gone more or less back to normal. School wound up being closed for the better part of that week due to damage that the city suffered from the fight. Not that it mattered to us though. Hypnos wound up grilling us during that time, and checking us over to make sure that there was absolutely no data remaining from either Eromon or Erimon in us, or that there were no new infections, despite Ryo's assurances that there was no reason to worry about that. I wonder how he can be so confident. I know that Rika and Yamaki aren't. Rika, I'm told, was pretty quiet when the people from Hypnos looked her over, which kind of makes me worried. Usually she's never quiet. Well, not as quiet as Henry said she was. The way he tells it, she's acting like she had lost something pretty important.
I worry about her sometimes, even if she wouldn't appreciate it.
Guilmon was pretty good. He didn't object to all the poking and prodding and scanning that the scientists put him through just to make sure that every last zero and one in his code passed inspection. Henry's dad insisted that he be kept under observation. He's still there in fact (Mr. Wong also insisted on double checking his data just in case). I visit from time to time to give him bread, if only to alleviate his appetite. I hear that he raids the vending machines and mess hall at Hypnos pretty regularly.
I was released from the hospital two days ago. After the battle I was pretty much left exhausted. Mode changing and unleashing all your power in a one shot attempt to destroy an ultra powerful digimon can really take a lot out of ya, and Yamaki wouldn't let me leave until I had fully recovered. My parents agreed with him, though I think my mother voiced it more strongly when she threatened to chain me to the hospital bed. Probably one of the few times that she said that I didn't get enough sleep. The fact that at any other time she thinks that I sleep too much happens to be when I fall asleep at school has absolutely nothing to do with that I'm sure, though I am suspicious of one thing though. School started up again just as soon as I was released.
Sometimes I think that the whole universe exists just to play a joke on me.
I look out the window, waiting as the seconds tick on by. Waiting for school to be let out, so that I can leave and go home. I see a cloud pass by, and it catches my eye. For a second I see her face in it. Rika's face. It's funny, ever since what happened between me and her I find my thoughts drifting more and more to her, and I haven't even seen her since the battle. Out of all my friends, she was the only one who didn't visit me when I was at the hospital. At least, that's what Jeri says. I was unconscious for a while there so I don't really know for sure. I should see her, if only to check up on her and see how she's doing. She went through a pretty rough time.
I sighed in relief when the bell finally rang and I got up and packed my things. Ms. Asagi has been laying off on all of us lately because of what we just went through, so I won't be expecting to be held after school for not paying attention. I expect though that next week will tell a different story.
I look out the window one more time, and I catch sight of that cloud again. I smiled sadly. I think once more that I should go see Rika.
Takato Matsuki exited the school, his face downcast. He hadn't even bothered to put his famous goggles back onto his head. He had a lot on his mind, which was why he didn't bother to notice the shadow that was coming up behind him. At least, not until an arm pulled him into a headlock while a set of knuckles ground their way across his scalp.
"OW! Ow… Hey! C'mon Kazu! Cut it out! Ouch! That hurts!"
Kazu let go of his friend and gave him a grin.
"Sheesh. You can go up against everything from D-Reaper to MaliceEridramon with hardly a complaint, but when it comes to your friends that's all we ever get from ya. I tell ya, you're one weird banana Takato."
"Hmmmnnn…" groaned Takato in slight irritation.
Kazu cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. "What's with you dude? You've been down in the dumps all day today. In fact, now that I think about it, you were down yesterday too. What's eatin' ya?"
"It's nothing Kazu," said Takato, frowning slightly.
"Doesn't sound like nothing. C'mon! Spill!"
"Kazu," said a voice approaching them. "If he doesn't want to talk about it then you shouldn't force him."
"Henry!" Exclaimed Kazu with glee. "I'm just trying to show that I'm concerned about one of my best buds." Kazu's face suddenly took a more serious look to it, and he eyed Takato carefully.
"Takato," Kazu said softly. "Are you okay? You know that you can tell us."
Takato couldn't meet Kazu's eyes. "It's nothing. Really."
"Yeah," said Kazu snorting. "And you and Rika were 'just friends' during that little adventure we had…"
Suddenly, Kazu yelped in surprise as Jeri walked up behind him and pushed her sock puppet in the boys face and let out a woof and a giggle. Takato smiled lightly at that.
Takato's friends drew up to him. Jeri smiled softly at him.
"So," she began. "You going home after school? Or are you heading down to the park?"
Takato looked down. "I don't know, Jeri. I don't think so. I've got a lot of thinking to do today…"
"I'll bet," said Terriermon from his spot on Henry's shoulder.
"And what's that mean, Terriermon?" Asked Henry.
Jeri watched Takato's reactions carefully, and she once again smiled softly at the boy. Walking up to him she took his hands carefully into her own and looked into his eyes. Takato blushed lightly.
"I'm sure that whatever it is that you need to think about is pretty important. I hope that you find an answer to your questions."
"Jeri…" Takato began, but Jeri stopped him as she reached into his right pocket and pulled out his yellow-rimmed goggles, placing them carefully into his hands.
"Just make sure," Jeri continued. "That before you find your answer, you put these on." With that, Jeri closed Takato's fingers over his goggles and stepped away, never once losing her smile. Takato stared at the girl with wide eyes. Jeri giggled.
"Well?" She asked. "What are you waiting for?"
Takato nodded numbly before he turned and slowly walked off, scratching the back of his head as though he were trying to figure out what just happened to him back there.
Henry turned to Jeri. "Um… what just happened here? Do you know what's going on with Takato?"
Jeri nodded and smiled, though she looked a little bit sad this time.
"He's a little bit confused right now. I just gave him some initiative to go and figure things out. I'm sure that he'll be all right eventually. He just needs some time."
Henry digested what Jeri said, and dawning came in his eyes.
"Oh. I see."
On his head, Terriermon giggled. "Never thought that I'd see the day where you needed something explained to you Henry."
"Terriermon…" warned Henry.
Kazu blinked as he looked back and forth between them. "Ahhh… I don't get what you guys are getting at. What could possibly have Takato this upset…?" Kazu paused suddenly as something in his brain clicked. Neurons fired and he made a connection.
A second later Kazu cupped his hands around his mouth to amplify his voice.
"GO GET HER, CHUMLEY!" He started to shout, but he didn't make it past get when Terriermon took it upon himself to leapfrog over to Jeri and use his long ears to smack Kazu upside the head.
"Terriermon…" began Henry.
"I know, I know. That wasn't very nice."
There was a pause from Henry. "No it wasn't, but that wasn't what I was going to say. I was about to say, good job."
Terriermon's jaw dropped and his eyes bulged in his head. His expression was only surpassed by the look of surprise painted on Kazu's face.
Takato made his way through the park, his thoughts drifting increasingly towards Rika as he neared the area where she lived. He wasn't sure what he was going to say to her. He knew that odds were, things were going to be awkward. He didn't want that though, but he couldn't turn back the clock and go back to the way things were. Sad, but it had the harsh grain of truth in it. The question was, what was he going to do about it? He could still turn back. Turn, and go home and never look back. But he wouldn't. He was Rika's friend, and to turn back now would be an act of cowardice, and he had already been through more than enough to have burned that trait out of him. Fear, no. But cowardice was long gone. His refusal to let go of his red haired friend back when he had saved her from falling off Locomon, despite all the risks to himself, had been the final test of that fact. Of course, calling Rika an idiot for her telling him to let go of her also could be counted as the last test. Either that or stupidity, but when you get right down to it, was there really a difference?
Of course there is, thought Takato as he continued his journey, remaining firm in his belief that he was doing the right thing. Takato glanced to the side as he passed by a blossoming Sakura tree, and Takato thought back to that day on Rika's birthday, the same day that Locomon tore through the city under the control of a Parasimon. He had asked her out that day. Well, not really. He was supposed to be distracting Rika while Jeri and Rika's family prepared the surprise party that had been planned for her, and he wound up spilling the beans to the hotheaded Tamer. She hadn't been too thrilled to hear about the surprise that was in store for her so he suggested that they go cherry blossom watching together to make up for it.
He remembered that she had pointed out that the Cherry blossoms hadn't even been blooming yet at the time. For the first time, Takato realized that they never did go Cherry Blossom watching that day, or even after that. The business with Locomon had distracted everyone from the issue, and Takato conveniently forgot about his proposal and Rika, if she ever did remember, never asked if the offer was still there. Takato wasn't sure if he should feel bad about that or not.
Finally, Takato found himself standing in front of the gate that led to the Nonaka residence. Taking a deep breath, Takato raised his hand and knocked on the door. As he waited, Takato reached his hands into his pockets and fiddled with his goggles, before he remembered Jeri's advice. Bringing them out, Takato looked at them, as though for the first time before he strapped them onto his forehead. He wondered at Jeri's advice. It was a little bit strange. Before he could pursue that line of thought, the door clicked open and Takato straightened himself out. His red eyes soon found the familiar violet ones of Rika Nonaka.
Rika's eyes, which were at first bored and uninterested looking, immediately widened as they rested on his face before softening. A pained look appeared on her face, but it disappeared just as quickly as it came into existence. Nope. Nothing wrong here. Try again later.
"Gogglehead," Rika said softly. Takato swallowed.
"Hey, Rika," said Takato nervously.
"What are you doing here?"
"Well… I… I came by to see how you were doing. I haven't seen you all week so…"
"Oh," said Rika. "Yeah, sorry about that. I've… things have been… hectic lately."
"I know," said Takato nodding in understanding. He looked into her yard. "Can I come in?"
Rika nodded and stepped aside to let him through. As Takato entered, Rika spoke.
"My Mom and Grand mom are out right now, and Renamon…" Rika looked to the side just in time to see her partner disappear into the shadows. "… Is around."
Rika gave a small smile in the direction of her partner, silently thanking her for her discretion. Together the two of them walked over to the girl's porch and sat down, facing the receding sun. Neither of them said a thing for a few minutes.
"So…" began Takato, trying to break the silence. "How're you holding up?"
Rika frowned slightly. "Fine, I guess. I'm still… adjusting you know."
"I see…" said Takato. For another minute silence reigned until Takato worked up the courage to say something else.
"I know that this may sound like a dumb question…"
"Then maybe you shouldn't say it, Gogglebrain," said Rika sarcastically. Takato decided to ignore this part.
"… But I need to know if we're okay."
Rika was silent for a second as she thought over what Takato said.
"You're right. That does sound stupid."
"I know, but I'd still like to know."
"Takato, why would you even ask such a question?"
"Well… I was worried that after what happened between… I was worried that you might try to avoid me. And I don't want that to happen."
Rika snorted. "You don't know how much I worried about that after I… well… never mind. You know." Rika looked down at the ground and blushed lightly as the memory of their 'first kiss' came to her mind. Apparently Takato was remembering the same thing, because his face was also a light shade of red.
"Yeah," said Takato as he choked out a laugh. "But seriously, are we okay?"
Rika sighed as she turned to face the boy.
"Of course we're fine. Sure, we just went through a really… um… anyway. We're still friends, and whether you believe it or not, it's… nice… having you around. But don't tell anyone I said that."
Takato smiled. "Thanks Rika."
"No problem. You've done way more embarrassing things anyway. I don't see how this would affect things between us."
Takato raised an eyebrow. "You sure? I mean, with me embarrassing things go hand in hand with breathing. You showed a side of yourself that we don't usually see at all."
Rika narrowed her eyes. "And if you talk about it ever again, you'll never see that side of me again. Got it?"
Takato sweat dropped and rubbed the back of his head nervously.
"Uh… heh, heh. Sure thing, Rika."
They sat like that for a few minutes.
"Well, I guess that I should probably get going," said Takato, but Rika stopped him.
"Gogglehead? Why don't you stay a little bit longer? We don't get a whole lot of chances to hang out together, you know? Usually, when I see you it's either with Henry, Jeri, or the dimwit duo."
Takato looked at Rika, a little bit startled. "Um… okay. What do you want to do?"
Rika shrugged. "Nothing right now. I just want to sit and think for a while. You don't have to stay you know."
"No, it's okay."
Rika gave the boy a small smile.
For a while, they sat there, not saying a word, but finding comfort in the others company while the sun traced its final arc towards the horizon until the sky glowed with a golden color. At one point, Takato and Rika's hands found their way to each other, and they clasped around each other. Feelings rose in their owner's chests, but neither one acknowledged them. All that mattered was the moment, and the feeling of the others company.
Finally, the time came for Takato to start heading home, and Rika escorted him to the gate. As Takato exited the door, he turned to face Rika.
"So… see you tomorrow?"
Rika looked as though she was contemplating this, and after a moment she gave a sly grin.
"Sure thing, Gogglehead," Rika said finally. "As I recall, you still owe me an outing to some Sakura trees. You up for it?"
Takato blinked bewilderedly as he processed what he had just heard, and then his face broke into a wide smile. Rika returned it as she took certainty in that smile of his as an answer to her question.
A promise to the setting sun.