Morning Talks Between Friends

A Digimon Tamers Tale by Crazyeight

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon

The sun rose elegantly in the sky, casting a peaceful glow over the city. Birds chirped happily as they sung their morning songs, fluttering this way and that as they looked for their morning meal. It was eight O'clock in the morning, and for one boy who lay in bed, sleeping the world away, nothing could be better…

"TAKATO! GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED RIGHT NOW, MISTER! YOUR FATHER WANTS YOU TO GET THE BREAD DOUGH READY!"

Takato Matsuki was jolted awake with a cry of surprise, nearly falling out of his bed as he did so, but fortunately he caught himself at the last minute.

"Man," muttered the boy, feeling slightly cranky from the disturbance from his much needed sleep. "Mom sure knows how to make herself heard when she wants to, doesn't she?"

"TA-KATO!" His mother's voice called up again from the bakery section of his house, this time taking on a more agitated sound again. The sound of feet starting up the stairs filled his ears. Panicking, Takato all but threw himself out of bed, barely taking enough care to not slip off the ladder as he climbed down.

"I'LL BE RIGHT THERE!" Called out Takato as he landed on the floor and immediately began to frantically search for clean clothes to wear. No easy task since a large portion of the clothes that he usually wore lay scattered on the ground.

"YOU'D BETTER NOT BE STILL IN YOUR PAJAMAS, TAKATO…" Began the boy's mother, and letting out a small cry of surprise Takato tore off his shirt and grabbed the nearest thing that he had and began to tug it on. Grunting, he realized that it wasn't going on easily, and he realized that the shirt was a couple sizes too small.

I don't think that I've worn this thing since… forever, thought Takato as he threw it down on the ground and grabbed his familiar blue hoody. Makes me wonder what it's still doing here.

The click of a doorknob being turned snapped Takato out of his thoughts.

"MOM!"

It was no use. The door creaked open and Mie Matsuki stuck her head in.

"Just checking to see if you're up, dear. Now hurry along. I expect you to be in the kitchen in ten minutes." With that, Mie smiled at the boy and closed the door. The sound of her retreating footsteps echoed down the hallway. Takato, feeling more than a little bit flustered, hung his head and let out an audible sigh.

Man, how is it that she can go and act like there's a digimon attacking and the whole world is going to end if I don't wake up one minute, and then go all nice and happy the next? It's really weird. And sometimes disturbing.

Sighing once more, Takato began to get dressed, albeit a little bit more slowly this time as he began to get into the rhythm of the new day. Takato heard a sound behind him and he smiled. Sounds like Guilmon is up.

"Morning already?" Asked a tired, childish, and goofy sounding voice from down on the floor beneath Takato's bed. "Five more minutes…"

Takato chuckled as he turned to look at the large, crimson colored dinosaur that was his best friend and partner. "Take it easy boy. I've just got to help Mom and Dad down in the bakery for a little bit. I'll bring you something to eat in a little bit."

"Hmmmnnn…" Guilmon pouted and then seemed to settle back down again, and Takato raised an eyebrow. Usually the thought of food always perked Guilmon up, outdoing any alarm clock that existed or could possibly exist in the future. Including his mother, and she had made more than enough noise earlier. Well, both her and Takato.

Takato was just about to ask if anything was wrong when suddenly the light seemed to click on upstairs and Guilmon leapt at his partner with glee, knocking him over with a crash.

"YAAAAY! BREAD!"

"Gack! Guilmon! You're… heavy!" Takato was gasping desperately for air, and the red dino got off him, laughing happily before trotting over to Takato's door. From downstairs Mie yelled up at them that they better not be destroying the room up there or heads were going to roll. Guilmon laughed playfully at the mental image that brought him, and Takato glowered at him, but his face soon softened and a smile quickly appeared. No matter what, he could never stay mad at his best friend.

"Guilmon," Takato said. "First chance we get, I'm putting you on a diet."

"What's a diet Takatomon?"

Takato sweat dropped at the use of the old name. It was part of a game of theirs now. Whenever Takato brought up something involving Guilmon's eating habits, the red dino would feign ignorance and adopt some of his old mannerisms from when he had first entered the real world. Takato laughed as he pulled on a fresh pair of pants and grabbed his sneakers. Patting his friend on the head Takato opened up the bedroom door.

"You never change, you know that?"

Guilmon laughed and bounded down the stairs, heading straight for the kitchen so he could get his morning breakfast.

Guess he doesn't want breakfast in bed this time, thought Takato with a smile as he tugged on his sneakers and tied the laces. Well, at least this way Mom won't make me clean up after him. She uses times like that to get me to stay inside all day just to clean my room.

Takato put the finishing touches on his shoes and he got up and followed his partner down the stairs, closing his door as he did so.

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The next hour or so drifted slowly like a sailboat on a calm, windless day. Not that Takato was complaining. At present, he was more than happy to start things off at a slow pace. He had the whole day to do what he wanted, so a couple hours of doing some chores for his parents weren't going to hurt him. And besides, it's not like he was doing anything particularly difficult. Making batches of bread dough was actually a pretty fun job to do. And relaxing as well, even though it got messy and every now and then blew up in the oven. Takato hoped that didn't happen today, because if it did, he could kiss the rest of his day goodbye.

Cleaning out an oven full of bread dough was never a fun task.

As Takato kneaded the dough he thought back to a time back when a demented program known as D-Reaper had invaded Shinjuku, bent on deleting the world. Shortly after their first encounter with some of its agents, he, Henry, Rika, Guilmon, Terriermon, and Renamon had fled to his and Henry's school, where they spent the night. The next day they had gone over to his house so that they could get something to eat, and they wound up making bread for breakfast. Despite the trouble that was going on in the outside world, they had actually found some fun in the task.

Terriermon certainly looked pretty funny when he tied his ears up to keep them out of the dough, thought Takato with a smile. And then Guilmon sneezed in the bread dough, sending flower everywhere. And Rika and Renamon… that was the first time I had ever heard Rika laugh. For that matter, it was the first time I had ever seen Renamon actually look surprised about something. I remember that Terriermon said something about how he was now certain that the world was going to end. Pretty funny when you think about it, it certainly seemed like the world was ending.

"Knock, knock, Gogglehead."

Takato's head snapped up at the familiar voice, and his eyes widened in surprise as he saw Rika Nonaka leaning on the doorway to the kitchen, holding a piece of Guilmon bread in one hand. Takato smiled at the sight of his friend and fellow Tamer.

"Rika!" he exclaimed.

"In the flesh," said the red haired Tamer as she took off her violet shades and walked in. "What's going on?"

"Making bread dough for my parents," replied Takato as he went back to work. "What're you doing here? I mean, not that I'm not happy to see you, but you usually don't come here. The last time you were here was during the D-Reaper invasion…"

"Yeah, well, I was bored," said Rika as she approached the table counter and took a look around. "No one was around at the park so I figured that I'd stop by and see what you were up to. I noticed that Guilmon's out front giving away free samples of that bread you named after him…"

Takato laughed. "Uh… actually it was Kazu and Kenta who came up with the name… wait! Did you just say that he was giving away free samples of Guilmon bread?"

Rika nodded, smiling lightly. Takato sighed in exaspiration. "Oh man… I've told him before that we're trying to sell that. How are we supposed to make a decent living if he keeps giving it away for free? I'd better have another talk with him…"

"Don't bother," said Rika. "I already told your dad, and he reacted the same way you just did now. I last saw him outside giving Dino boy a talking too."

"Oh," said Takato in surprise. "Um… thanks Rika."

"Don't mention it." Rika took another look around the kitchen and walked over to one of the chairs, taking off an apron that was sitting on it and putting it on. Takato looked up in surprise.

"Um… what are you doing?"

"What's it look like I'm doing?" Asked Rika with a slightly annoyed look on her face as she untied the band that held back her ponytail. "I'm pitching in. Now where do you keep the hairnets? Same place as last time?"

Takato blinked. "Uh… yeah. Right over there." Takato pointed the girl to a cabinet and she went over to it, opening it up and removing a hairnet, plus one of the bandanas that were used by Takato and his parents, and put them on. Returning to the kitchen counter, Rika took a handful of fresh dough from out of the bowl and plopped it down on the counter. Takato watched this and then smiled.

"You forgot to flower the table top," he said, causing the girl to look up and blink in surprise before realizing what she had done.

Rika growled in frustration as she lifted the dough off the table, leaving a few bits and pieces of it stuck to the surface. Grabbing the flower bag she sprinkled a bit on her spot and placed the dough back down where she began to knead it again. Rika didn't say anything, but began to knead the dough just a little bit more forcefully, which was just about as close to an apology that she would give for messing up with something so simple. As was usual with the Digimon Queen, when she made a mistake on something, she attacked the problem with a gusto that could leave people feeling just slightly edgy around her.

Takato gave a light, nervous laugh. "I know that this isn't something that you do a lot of, but if it's any consolation I used to do the exact same thing…"

"Great," grumbled Rika, though a smirk graced her features. "Thanks for making me feel so much better for sinking down to your level of stupid…"

Takato rubbed the back of his head nervously, knowing that Rika had said that in jest, but not quite sure how he was supposed to respond to it. So instead he just coughed and muttered 'you're welcome' sheepishly before returning to kneading his dough. Rika looked at him funny before returning to her own batch. After a minute of silence Takato again looked up at Rika.

"Thanks," he said. Rika looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.

"For what?"

"For stopping by and lending a hand. I mean, it's not something that I'm used to, and to be honest I never really expected it."

Rika gave a small, mysterious smile. "Glad to see that I can still surprise you. At any rate, I should be the one thanking you."

Now it was Takato's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Say wha…?"

"On Locomon? When you…" Rika paused as she tried to find the right word for it. She didn't like to use the word rescued when it came to her. She still wasn't too sure what to make of the fact that Takato, of all people, literally was the gallant knight in shining armor did the duty. To be honest, she found it kind of embarrassing. Though she really was grateful, it wasn't something that she would readily admit to.

"Oh, yeah. That. Um… don't mention it," said Takato. The Parasimon invasion was only a week ago, and Hypnos was still checking the network for any possible holes that could have led to its occurance, but so far nothing had come up. "Besides, I'm pretty sure that you would have done the same thing for me."

Rika just stared at Takato blankly. She didn't have much in the way of memories when she had been possessed by Parasimon, but the way she heard it from Henry and Renamon, Takato had been in the same position she had been and she was trying to kill him. Or rather, Parasimon was making her try to, and friendship or no friendship she hadn't been able to stop herself from harming the kid. They had to rely on Guilmon to break the Parasimon's connection with her to snap her out of it, and that was something that she was even more ashamed about than having to be rescued like a fairy tale princess. Takato had counted her as being one of his closest friends and the feeling was mutual, if rather standoffish on her part. Rika knew that she shouldn't compare the life of the real world to the TV show but she couldn't help but do so. In the Digimon cartoon the friendship of the Digidestined was always triumphing over something like this, no matter what obstacles were thrown in their way. Only with her, friendship didn't stop her from trying to hurt Takato. Of course, Parasimon had used her memories of her father to manipulate her, but she had thought that her friendship with the others was stronger then that. She had been through enough with her partner to prove that. Right?

But then, I did attack Renamon also, Rika thought sadly.

Takato looked up from his dough and noticed Rika had been staring at him.

"Um… Rika? Are you all right?"

Rika blinked as her train of thought was interrupted. Realizing that she had been staring at Takato she looked away, feeling just the slightest amount of heat burn her cheeks.

"Yeah, I'm fine," muttered the girl. "Anything new happen lately?"

"Nah, not really. Though I have to say it was weird that you stopped by when you did. I had been just thinking about the last time you were down here." Takato sweat dropped as he realized the way that must have sounded. "Uh… that is… the last time you and Henry were down here…"

"Chill, Gogglehead," said Rika with an amused expression on her face. "I know what you meant. I don't really come down here often do I?"

"Well, you're usually busy…"

"Hmmph." Rika picked up her batch of bread dough and turned it over, and began kneading it again. "Like that's a good excuse. You know, I hardly ever see you or Henry outside of down at the park or when we're patrolling for any digimon attacks. You guys have hung out at my place more often than I have at yours."

"What can I say?" Asked Takato, grinning nervously. "Your place is nicer." Takato's eye twitched as he noticed his dad standing at the doorway with a raised eyebrow. "Um… not that I don't like it here, far from it. Ah… heh, heh…" Takato coughed and looked at the door, breathing a sigh of relief. Across from him, Rika cocked an eyebrow in confusion before shaking her head.

He's one weird kid. But then, he wouldn't be Gogglehead if he weren't, she thought.

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Takehiro Matsuki had just been at the door to tell his son that he should think about having a talk with Guilmon sometime soon, again, for that seemingly unbreakable habit that he had for giving away free food. As soon as he saw that the kid had company, female company at that, helping him out with the bread dough he had turned around with a mischievous grin on his face. He wasn't going to say anything about it. Well, not right away at least.

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"You know," said Rika, trying to pick up the threads of conversation again as she set the dough aside and covered it with a towel to let it rise. "Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I'm the kind of person that I am now. I mean, it was just last year that you and I first met and I was trying to load data out of Guilmon."

"Yeah. Though I gotta admit. Renamon certainly hit him pretty good. I'm not sure if it was because of Guilmon's weight, Renamon's kick, or a combination of both that flattened that fence Renamon knocked him into."

"Well, I'd like to say Renamon's kick since she's stronger than Dino boy, but with the amount of bread that I've seen you feed him I can't be sure any more."

"Oh, come on. He only had one meal before we met. That's nowhere near enough for him to… hold on. Are you saying Guilmon's fat?"

Rika laughed lightly. "He certainly looks it, Gogglehead. I'm surprised that you don't even notice. But then, he is your digimon. Sometimes I'm surprised though that it doesn't carry over to you after you and him biomerge. Must be a glitch or something."

Takato frowned. "Heyyyy…"

"Relax Gogglehead. I'm sure all that heavy armor that you wear must be keeping you in shape. Though I don't see much of any change. You're still as scrawny as ever."

"Since when did this become a conversation about how I look?"

"Eh? What? Never mind. So, are we going to put this into the oven yet, or what?"

Oookay… "Nope. We've got to wait for it to rise, which is going to take a while. While we're waiting we can get the next batch ready." Digging into the bowl of dough, Takato brought out some of the dough and quickly re-flowered the surface that he was working on before plopping it down. Rika did likewise.

"So how are things between you and Jeri going?" Asked Rika suddenly. Takato looked up, startled before returning his gaze back to the dough he was kneading.

"I'm not sure," he said quietly. "I mean, I did walk her home that one time a while after our digimon were made to return to the digital world. When we made those message recordings for our partners. It didn't exactly alter our relationship in any way different if that's what you're wondering. When I'm with her I… I get nervous. I feel awkward around her…"

Rika raised an eyebrow. "Why? It's not like you get awkward like that around me…" Rika's voice trailed off as she realized what she had just said. Takato's face snapped up in surprise, and the two Tamers blushed before looking away.

Oh, that was smooth, thought Rika as she felt the intense heat rush through her face. Rika soon realized that she was holding a death grip on the dough that she had grabbed, so she loosened her hands before taking a deep breath.

Awkward moment, thought Takato as he painfully tried to avoid Rika's eyes, but failed. Looking up he saw the spots of red that decorated Rika's cheeks. Yeah, very awkward moment. This time Matsuki, keep quiet!

"Uh… actually, I… ah…" Takato's mind was practically screaming at him to stop, but unfortunately for him his mouth had a way of operating independently of his brain. Fortunately, he had someone there with him who didn't have that problem.

"Takato? Shut up."

"Oh! Um… yeah. Probably a good idea, huh?

"You think?"

Takato thanked Rika inwardly.

"Look," said Rika after a few seconds of silence. "What's stopping you from telling Jeri how you feel? I'm hardly the expert at relationships, but you really should let Jeri know."

"Yeah, I know. It's just… I…"

"What? Are you scared? You're telling me that you can face down Beelzemon, D-Reaper, and an army of Parasimon without flinching but you can't tell the girl you like how you feel? You're one weird Tamer, Takato."

"It's… complicated though," said Takato. Rika nodded in understanding. She had dealt with similar emotions when it came to her partner Renamon, who at this moment, per her instructions, was keeping Guilmon from giving away any more freebies.

"Just remember Takato," said Rika. "That even if on the off chance that Jeri turns you down, you know that I'm here for you." Rika and Takato both blinked at each other. "Er… That is," Rika continued, so as to not make the moment any more awkward than it already was. "Me and Henry."

Takato felt a light blush coming on. He opened his mouth to thank Rika when a voice spoke up from the kitchen door way.

"Glad that somebody thought about my partner," said a certain loudmouthed, bunny dog that was currently dangling off of Henry Wong's shoulder, with a wide smirk on his face. "I tell ya Henry. If it wasn't for me leaving a lasting impression on these two, they wouldn't even remember you at all!"

"Terriermon…" began Henry for what had to be the one-thousandth time since their partnership began.

"Henry! Terriermon! Good to see you guys!"

"Good to see you too, Takato," said Henry with a smile on his face. "What were you two talking about? It certainly sounded important. Or at least, important enough for Terriermon to eavesdrop on ya."

"Hen-ry!" Said Terriermon excitedly as he hopped down onto the kitchen counter. "Maybe we should let the two love birds keep that to themselves…"

"HEY!" Shouted Rika, feeling her anger rise. Henry sweat dropped and grabbed Terriermon out of the way of Rika's hands just in time.

"Uh… anyway. I don't suppose that there's room for a couple extra helping hands is there?"

Takato smiled. "Sure thing. Hairnets are just over there, in the cupboard. Second to the left."

Henry nodded, and pretty soon, the three Tamers, plus one digimon were all helping to make dough, laughing about old times together.

A/N: Well, this is basically a one-shot fic that was meant to be more as a kind of break away from some of my other fics. Feels pretty good to write something and not have a whole saga behind it. I apologize if any of the characters seem a little OOC, but that was something that I didn't really pay too much attention to this time around. I just wanted to write something that was friendly and relaxing, and didn't involve any fighting between digimon (or humans for that matter), or any serious romance. I see this as something of an experiment as well as to branch out a little bit, and keep my brain fresh for writing. I'm not particularly proud of this fic, but like I said, I did it more as a way to relax, so I'm not going to worry about how it goes over. Hope that you enjoyed the fic. Later all!

-Crazyeight

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