A/N: Okay. I've had this idea running around in my head for a while but I couldn't think of a way to write it until now. In this fic, you'll see more of my contemplative nature coming out to influence my writing as I try to delve a little bit into what I've seen from the show as for a moment, a brief moment, Rika thinks on things like love, and on two of those that she has felt closest to in her heart as she begins her teenage years. Or at least who she has been portrayed with in numerous fan fics down the years. Although the two people that she has been closest with has been Renamon and her mother (and early in the series she had been closest to her grandmother) I decided to focus on two of those that throughout the course of Digimon Fandom she has been paired with on a regular basis romantically. That is to say, Ryo and Takato. Before I continue there are some things that I'd like to say. First off, I intend to write what I have observed, and I will do so in a detached manner so as not to let my own personal preferences get in the way of the writing. To all Rukato fans who will want to lynch me for even entertaining the thought that Ryo and Rika would make a good couple or even having that possibility, know this; I am going by what the show showed me, and there is no denying that Rika was definitely warming up to the Legendary Tamer during the last few episodes (showed by the tone in Rika's voice during the last couple episodes and finally culminating when she gave her power to Justimon), and that the feeling seemed to be mutual on his part, though for whatever reasons he returned to the digital world and left Rika with a revived animosity (or something to that extent) towards him when he showed up during the sixth movie. To Ryuki fans, I have studied the series pretty carefully (I've watched Tamers three times on YouTube) and I've boiled some of the relationships down to this: Rika seemed to have little to no respect for Kazu and Kenta, quite a bit of respect for Henry, more respect for Takato than Kazu punctuated by odd, awkward moments between them (such as the famous 'shirt' incident down in the tunnels in episode 42, 'Reunion', or when the scene when Rika was teasing Takato about being Loverboy in episode 7, 'Now You See it, Now You Don't') and what looked (to me) like the occasional Freudian slip (like when Sakuyamon had asked Takato if he was alright in episode 39, 'Song of Sakuyamon', or all those times Takato was rescuing Rika during the sixth movie when she kept calling out to him). Had there not been a sixth movie, I would have said that Ryuki was ironclad, or at least coated with Chrome Digizoid. This is one reason why I'm a little irritated with 'Runaway Locomon'. So much left undone and never followed up on. Why make a movie that delves into a person's character if you're never going to write about them again (unless someone can tell me otherwise), and why write it like that? Another author on this site, Exiled Tamer, once wrote a translation of the Japanese version of the Runaway Locomon, and he had said that it (the movie that is) was strangely loaded with quite a bit of Rukatoness, which led him (and a few reviewers) to believe that the writer for the script (or writers. I forget which. It's been a while) may have been a supporter of that coupling (feel free to check him out. He's on my favorites list). Anyway, I'm done with my obscenely long author's note, and I'm sure that you'd much rather read this story than my thoughts on the subject. That's fine. Even I get tired of listening to me talk. So without further ado, I present to you the story, Questions of the Heart.

Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon.

Questions of the Heart

A Digimon Tamers fic by Crazyeight

Love. I've heard that it can be an amazing thing to have. The feeling of knowing that there's someone who's there for you. Who will be with you when you're at your best, and at your worst. Before I met the others, before I met Renamon, I used to live a pretty empty life. I didn't want to be like my mother. Didn't want to follow in her footsteps, so I distanced myself from her and the things that she did. Doing the opposite seemed to be the only way that I could express myself. Probably why I retreated into the Digimon card game. Besides the fact that it filled in the empty spaces of my life, it was something that I was good at. My mother laughed about it once, calling it a silly little card game, but she didn't understand. She's better about it now, but back then it was a different story. It was something that defined me. The victories came easily to me, and it seemed that I had a natural talent for the game. Why not explore it? Why not cultivate it? I had all the time in the world to decide what I wanted to be, and this was just one step up the ladder of life. Of course, the seemingly endless string of victories has a way of becoming boring real fast. There didn't seem to be an end to it. It made me feel strong…

And then I met him.

Ryo Akiyama. The Legendary Tamer, and self appointed Digimon King. The only Tamer to have ever defeated me in a match. Winning with his jokes, his calm accepting manner, and that smile that never once seemed to leave his face. How he bugged me at the time, but there was definitely something about him that drew me to him. Was it because he was the first to defeat me? The first to really win my respect? All the other kids weren't like him. They had the tendency to break down after I broke through their defenses. And some, who refused to believe that they had just been defeated, and by a girl no less, took their defeat with anger, spitting insults all the while, and cursing the day my mother ever laid eyes on my father. I felt so certain that I was going to win, going to beat them all, and once I had even said so. Doubt had never once entered my mind. Until Ryo that is.

I was shocked to say the least. Stunned that I had actually been beaten. Anger came next. I remember that quite vividly. Somehow I had managed to restrain myself from going upside the kid's head with my fist, a fact that still has a way of surprising me to no end. Afterwards, I remember thinking that this had to be some sort of test, an obstacle for me to surmount. No problem. I could prove to myself, and to him, that I was worthy, though worthy of what I don't know. Destiny perhaps? Anyway, I trained to get better. I fought to discipline myself, all in preparation to claim victory over Ryo when I saw him next. The tournament was on, and I signed up, ready to prove myself.

Only he never showed.

I claimed victory that day, and the title Digimon Queen to go along with it, but it felt hollow. The only person who could have been a challenge to me hadn't been at the tournament. I reigned, but it felt like I ruled in name only. As long as Ryo was still out there, undefeated, my title was meaningless. Legendary, but empty. I used to think that he chickened out or something. I understand his reasons now (getting stuck in the digital world is a pretty important reason), and I should have been more understanding when we met again, but my pride, as always, got in the way. Well, that and Kazu. Stupid Visor Boy and his big mouth. Renamon used to ask me why I always got upset over Ryo. Thinking back on it, I could say that he was more recognizable then me, and more respected. Did that mean I was jealous of him? That he had things that I didn't have? I'll probably never know for sure, or never allow myself to know. Pride again. That wall that always seems to get in my way. Will I never know how I really feel? It seems that I can only catch glimpses of my real feelings when my friends are in danger or about to do something stupid, which with them translates as pretty much the same thing. It's funny. At times like that, my barriers seem to break down and the real me comes out from underneath all that pride. Like when Ryo had asked me to lend him my power to try and deliver a more effective blow against D-Reaper. He knew the dangers to himself and yet he was still willing to try. Somehow, that moment seemed to define him. He was willing to do whatever it took to destroy D-Reaper, even if it cost him his life, and he asked me to help him. I can definitely say that I was less than happy with the idea because of what it could do to him, but he persisted. At that moment I couldn't help but feel my heart go to him as he did what, up until that point and even perhaps beyond, was one of the bravest, if stupidest, things I had ever seen a person do.

I still can't believe he called me Pumpkin though.

Things settled down after the day we defeated D-Reaper and lost our partners. It hurt so much not having Renamon around, and it seemed that afterwards we all started to drift apart. As though the only reason that we had for even being together, as a group were the digimon. I hadn't even seen Ryo for a while. Until he came down to my house, on the day that Henry had found a way to send our partners messages while they were in the digital world, to convince me that I should send one to Renamon. No matter how much it hurt. I had told him the same thing I told Henry and Takato when I first met them outside of Guilmon's old home and Henry had pitched the idea to us. No. I didn't want to go down that path. I didn't want to experience those emotions again, but somehow I still wound up doing it anyway. I'll never admit it, but Ryo did more for me then he'll ever know, even though I'm sure he suspects it.

When Renamon and the others came back… well, I don't think words can adequately describe what I felt. Happiness? Joy? I guess those will have to do. However you call it, it made me feel whole again. Complete, and I'll never be parted from my partner again.

The thing that still bugs me though, is why did Ryo leave the way he did? No note, no message explaining why, nothing. Granted, the digital world is famous for sucking you in and forcing you on the road of destiny at times, but I still firmly believe that you can choose your own destiny. So why? He didn't give an answer. He doesn't seem to feel that one is necessary. To him, it was enough that he returned just in time to help fight off the horde of Parasimon that invaded the real world, and attend my birthday party that the others had set up for me. Wouldn't miss it for the world, he told me after the fight was over. It was good to see him again, but why do I feel anger towards him? I wasn't at all happy knowing that he had disappeared without telling us. It reminded me of that time during the fight with D-Reaper when he had gone off to fight its agents while the rest of us slept. Didn't say a thing. Typical. He just has to go and play the hero.

All of us, even me, would like to have the chance to know him better, but that's difficult to do if he doesn't stay in one place long enough for that. For some reason, I think that he realizes this, but can't seem to help it. For whatever reasons, he holds back.

How different he is from Takato.

Speaking of Gogglehead, the team's unofficial leader, I look at him and I can't believe just how much he's changed since the day I first met him. A goofy kid who was an admirer of all the other Goggleheads from the TV show with a pet digimon. At least that was my first impression of him. Annoying, unskilled, chaotic at best when it came to maintaining his sense of balance, and more often than not, very confusing. Weird too, and I got that the second Renamon flattened his partner. What did he say to me? That he… dreamt me? Pretty hard to believe, but there was such honesty and confusion on his face that there was no way that he could have been lying. I passed it off as just a weird quirk of his until he and I met under more… how do I say it? More official terms? Or at least ones that involved no fighting. Strange coincidence that he showed up in my neighborhood when he did. I saw him around my school with that pet dragon of his, Dino Boy, doing something with his hands as he, what looked like to me, tried to describe someone to some nitwit girl. The way he had his hands displayed I almost thought that he was trying to describe me, which was why I had Renamon head him and his partner off to distract them while I got myself prepared. At first I thought that he was some freaky stalker, and when he told me about his dream it almost seemed to reinforce that idea. Him calling me his Dream Girl later didn't help his case much, but when he told me that he only wanted to know more about digimon I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I do wonder sometimes what it was that possessed me to take him down to my house. It wasn't something that I did normally, and when my grandmother saw him… Ugh. I had so wanted to take back that moment when I had called him Lover boy back in the alley. Leave it to Grandma to try and play matchmaker when she saw me with him.

But there was a tiny part of me that felt just a little bit flattered at the idea, though at the same time a little bit frightened. As time passed though I came to realize that he didn't entertain such thoughts, at least not towards me at any rate, and I find that just fine. He's just a kid after all, same as me (though I don't like to admit it), and we have our whole lives ahead of us. There are times however, where I am glad that he is around. A much more stable presence, at least when it comes to staying in one place. I find myself getting concerned for him at odd moments, but that could be because he's such a chaotic kid. Or maybe it's something deeper. I don't remember this clearly, mostly because I was a little caught up in events at the time, but I could almost swear that when Renamon and I first biomerged into Sakuyamon I felt a deep concern for Takato's well being, and I may even have asked him if he was okay, despite the fact that there were others there. Maybe it's my imagination but I can't help but wonder. I don't ask Renamon though. She might think that I liked the Gogglehead or something.

Takato always has some way of surprising me with that weird, half hazard way of his. How he fought so hard to save Jeri from D-Reaper, all those times that he was able to digivolve Guilmon despite the lack of experience that he had, depending more on wishes and faith than any battle strategy. And then, when he saved me on Locomon, I told him to let me go because I was afraid that we'd both fall if he kept holding on. That was the first time he had called me an idiot, and I had to admit, it certainly surprised me. Right up until then I had more or less seen him as the gawky Gogglehead, despite everything else that he had done before. Even when he asked me to go see the Cherry Blossoms with him to make up for his telling me about the surprise party that awaited me back home he was still Gogglehead. But at that moment when he caught me, I felt certain that no matter what he would always try to keep us together, and to keep me from giving up on myself. In a way, his mode change as Gallantmon is almost a physical manifestation of how much he's changed over time, and yet still remains the same. I remember him bringing up a similar point when we were all going off to fight the D-Reaper for the last time. What I said then applies to him as well. "Wherever you go, there you are."

I had heard Takato call my name at my birthday party, after I had left, and I sensed that Renamon stopped him. I silently thanked them both. Takato, for showing that he was worried about me, and Renamon for knowing that I wanted time to be alone. That day had been pretty stressful, even though it was my birthday. Funny. Out of everyone, Takato's the only person to have heard my song, and in the ironic position of the knight in shining armor, with me as the damsel in distress. It almost makes me want to throw up just thinking about it but that's how things turned out. Even though the fair maiden that he gets isn't me. I feel a newfound respect for the Gogglehead for what he did for me, and something else but I'm not sure what it is. I probably won't ever know either, but who knows what the future holds?

Ryo. Takato. Both friends of mine, and maybe more if certain things allow. For now though, life goes on, and as I sit here, on the porch of my home, watching the sun setting beneath the horizon I see their faces in my mind's eye. I wonder… where does my heart belong? To the King? To the Knight? Or is it neither?

No answers come to me, and only time will tell when I'll find one. Maybe with the dawn of a new day I'll get closer to finding an answer. Maybe further. One step forward, or one step back, but life goes on.

The rest they say is history.

A/N2: And that's it for my weird little drabble. Good? Bad? In between? Feel free to flame me on this fic, just so long as you don't do it to my others. A few more notes before I sign off. The scene that I describe with Ryo convincing Rika to send a message to Renamon was from the Tamers Drama CD. There's a link to an English translation on Wikipedia. It's pretty easy to find, and as for Takato asking Rika to see the cherry blossoms that came out of the Japanese version of 'Runaway Locomon'. Don't know why it got cut out but there you have it (they've cut out a lot of stuff from the Japanese versions of the show and movie, and for some pretty stupid reasons. At least in my opinion). Hope you enjoyed the fic. Later all.

-Crazyeight

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