A/N: Just a simple fic that I felt that I needed to write. Partly to relax, and partly to oil the gears of creativity. The barrel's been feeling kind of dry lately so I felt that the need to refresh myself before going back to my other fics. Sometimes, you can only take so much writing of any one plot before it starts to feel stale, and lately, writing in general has started to feel more like work rather then fun, which is not a good feeling to have in the creative process. Besides, I've also been feeling the need to write a semi-fluffy Rukato fic without any long-range plans around it. I'd also like to dedicate this story to Keyo, Red-Angel of Hope, who has been a good friend and listening ear for me since he decided to put up with me. Thanks dude. Now, on with the fic:)

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon

Beneath a Sakura Tree

A Digimon Tamers fic by Crazyeight

She didn't know where it had come from. The question that is. She wasn't prepared for it herself. She had gotten up that morning, no real intentions in mind for how she was to conduct the day, where to go, what to do, and to be honest she really didn't care. She wasn't one to worry about things of that nature, preferring to take things as they come and just go with the flow. Unless that is, she was involved in a battle with giant, city destroying monsters from an alternate plane of existence, but that was another matter all together.

Looking up, Rika Nonaka took a moment to admire the pink petals of the Sakura leaves as they blossomed, a symbol of the impermanence of life, it's briefness in the material world, and yet also its beauty. A lesson was in there Rika supposed, about the importance of treasuring things that don't last. She hated the thought though, that nothing lasts forever, but lacking a way to change the way that the world worked in the matters of the fragility of life, she could only accept it, but that didn't mean that she had to like it.

Frowning, Rika turned her lavender eyes down to her legs, gazing at the jeans that she wore but not really seeing them. She really didn't want to be here. Watching Sakura trees blossom was stupid. She had said so herself, and to the person who had asked her about…

Rika's mind paused at the memory, reminded once more that that had been the reason that she was here now, and she still wasn't sure what had possessed her to ask about it, and to him of all people! Okay, he had posted the question to her quite some time ago, weeks ago if her calendar, and her memory were right, and as she recalled she hadn't really given an answer. Besides, it was just a cover, a distraction made to keep her away from home until the surprise birthday party that had been in the planning stages, right under her very nose, finally came to fruition. It's not like it mattered anyway, and the attack from an army of Mega level digimon known as Parasimon had served as more then enough of a distraction anyway for everything to be readied, though it had been presented a little late as well (and by that point was no longer a surprise either), and the question that her friend had asked her, was no longer needed and had been forgotten. So… why did she ask about it?

Thinking back on the day as it stood so far, she guessed that she shouldn't be so surprised. She hadn't thought all that much about what she was going to do when she woke up, concerned more with getting something to eat, and getting dressed before exiting her home and taking a moment in the front yard of her families home to think before the question of what to do finally came to her. Not so much in words but more as a sense of need to do something, though the importance of what it was didn't feel as though it mattered much. Even something as simple as walking would more then suffice for getting the day rolling. Telling her mom and grandmother where she was going, the park seeming to be a good place to start things off, Rika left the confines of her home, shadowed by the unseen form of the kitsune digimon that was both her partner, friend, and confident in all the ways that mattered, and more.

As she had made her way through the park, her thoughts inevitably drifted towards the group that she had come to call friends during her time as a Tamer. Rather strange now that she thought of it, just as she did almost every time that her thoughts drifted towards the other Tamers, about how she had made friends with them despite her initial encounters with each of them, and despite her own personality. Given a choice she was sure that some of them, namely Kazu and Kenta, wouldn't hang out with her, and the feeling was mutual on her part as well, but she realized that that feeling became less and less as time went on, being replaced by a sense of camaraderie, though she had yet to admit it, and perhaps wouldn't for a good long while, at least to them, but she herself was another story. Before the only reason that she had for being around those two numbskulls that she called her friends, was because they were the friends of those who were close friends of hers as well, and her relationship with those two much closer friends, Henry Wong and Takato Matsuki (the stupid Gogglehead, she thinks of the latter, but this thought is now more of a habit from their earlier acquaintanceship then one that actually has any vindictiveness to it). They had started off on rather bad terms before the three of them had become friends. Well, rather she had started off on bad terms with them, attacking Takato and his partner, Guilmon, insulting everything about them and refusing to find any common ground with or even work with the two Tamers. Things had changed since then, events having forced her to realize the bond that she had with her partner, the one that she had refused to recognize until it was almost to late to do anything about it. Fortunately it wasn't too late and she had slowly grown to accept and respect the two Tamers that resided in the same city that she lived in, and this acceptance and growth allowed her to do the same once more when the others, Jeri Katou, Kazu Shioda, and Kenta Kitagawa joined their ranks, and had allowed her to move past her bitterness over another Tamer, and rival, Ryo Akiyama and even accept him as a friend.

She had changed much. They all had, and Rika was grateful for that change, and for the friends that her adventures had given her. If she had to answer honestly whether or not she would trade them for anything in the world, her answer would be no. And that included Kazu, no matter how much the boy annoyed her.

Her realization that the time that she had chosen to wake up was rather early for her friends, and that the likelihood of her seeing any of them right away was low. Not that it mattered of course. As much as she treasured her friends, she didn't feel that their presence was all together necessary in every second and every minute of her life. She also liked the calm, peacefulness of the park in the morning, before the people showed up and began to fill the air with their noise as they went about their lives. Sometimes she thought that the real world was filled with far too much activity for her liking, and that people didn't quite realize what they had, and how special the small moments were. Small moments such as now, but she supposed that life did that to people. What the real world did to people.

Sighing under her breath, and catching the attention of the boy that sat next to her on the bench beneath the blossoming Sakura tree, Rika continued to think about the day's events as they had proceeded from her walk in Shinjuku Park. Thoughts of her friends had brought to mind one friend in particular, and with nothing else really important to do in the day, for now at least, she had decided to go and see this friend. He had to be awake by that time, she reasoned. His families business, the bakery that served as the center of that business as well as their home, demanded that he at least be up at a decent time to help out with all the bread that they made and sold. Especially with the way that his partner ate…

A small smile decorated Rika's face at the thought of the crimson dinosaur's eating habits, and its appearance seemed to calm the boy next to her, though he was still looking fairly agitated. Well he should be. This wasn't exactly something that he had expected to happen, not in this lifetime at least. Of course, neither had she. Perhaps their friendship, such as it was, hadn't permitted them to think of each other in any way different. That was fine she supposed. It's not like they had to be more then friends anyway. This was just something for them to do while they waited for the rest of the world to wake up. A little time to themselves as well. They didn't get many chances to hang out, just the two of them as individuals rather then as they were used to acting in a group. Who knows? Maybe they'd learn a thing or two about each other as well. The boy that sat next to her had surprised her on more then one occasion after all. She had once thought of him as being weak and unworthy of being a Tamer, little more then an immature fan boy with a pet digimon, but bit by bit, as they went through the course of their adventures, he had shown feats of inner strength, of heart that belied how he usually acted, culminating with his relentless struggle to rescue their friend, Jeri Katou from the clutches of the merciless program known as D-Reaper. He had given everything that he was in each of those battles and he won. Not bad for someone who was always tripping over his own shadow.

Still, their circumstances, and the question that she had asked, made her wonder. Why? Why were they here? Well, she did ask him, but perhaps the real question was why did she ask him? Or rather, reiterate the question that he had asked her all those weeks ago on her birthday? The day of the surprise party, the day that the Parasimon army invaded and nearly ruined it. The thought hadn't been there when she made her way down the familiar paths that led to his home, and it hadn't been there when she had entered the bakery, took off her shoes, and asked if Takato was around. The thought hadn't even entered her mind when she found the normally goggle-wearing boy in the kitchen, up to his elbows in bread dough with his crimson-scaled partner all but drooling in front of the oven, and it still hadn't entered her mind when he smiled upon seeing her. She had simply smiled back with her usual, small smile before entering the kitchen and engaging him in conversation. As they had talked, all that was on her mind was the feeling of trust that she had for the often chaotic boy that she called her friend. She supposed that she had trusted him for a while now. How long was it now? Almost a year, though it felt longer. Back when they first met she had attacked him, and almost barely a few weeks later they found themselves fighting side by side, neither questioning the others presence or the need for the other to be there, just as they didn't question the need for the others to be there. And their bond was put to the ultimate test when she had nearly fallen to her death from the top of the rampaging train digimon, Locomon. Once she wouldn't have lifted a finger to help the boy, and then she found herself fearing that the boy who had saved her would go down with her, and in desperation she had asked him to let go of her, only to be surprised a second later when he called her an idiot (the first time he had ever dared do so) and stated his refusal to just let her drop.

She had always known that he would be there, would refuse to let down a friend no matter what the situation, having proven that fact before when he had fought to rescue Jeri, but that time seemed to be the final proof of that fact. And she had to admit, it was good to know.

She supposed that feeling of trust was the reason why she had put the question to him, both reminding him of his question and asking if the opportunity was still there. Not as a date, she had claimed, but as friends. After much blushing on the boy's part, accompanied by enough stammering and stuttering to nearly irritate her to the point of calling off the whole idea, Takato had accepted, though whether or not it was because he was afraid of hurting her feelings she didn't know and wasn't about to ask. She was just happy enough to get a coherent answer out of him. A time was set, fairly early Takato had thought, especially since it was on such short notice, but he wasn't about to argue with the red haired girl, renown as she was for her rather short and fiery temper.

And now, here they sat. Two friends, one of them a goofy looking kid wearing a blue hoody and a pair of yellow-rimmed goggles that had earned him his namesake strapped to his forehead. Rika turned her face to look at the boy, her violet eyes tracing over him, looking him over and gauging his reaction. Nervous. Typical, but that was to be expected. He wasn't comfortable with pressure, though why he was acting like she was putting him under pressure she didn't know. After all, like she had said; it wasn't like they were dating. But then, wasn't watching the Sakura trees blossom tantamount to the same thing? Of all the things that she could have done, she had chosen this.

Once more the question begged, why?

Rika frowned inwardly, a strange feeling accompanying the trust that she felt for the boy pervading her heart.

Did that have something to do with it? And if so, what did it mean?

Rika's face softened as she decided to let the question die and just continue to go with the flow. Things were complicated enough without adding anything else to the situation.

Takato once more nervously looked at Rika, his crimson eyes searching her violet ones for… what? Some sign that she wasn't bored? That he wasn't being a total letdown? Rika practically scoffed at the latter idea.

Sure, he may stumble a lot, but I don't think that he'd be a total embarrassment…

Reaching over, Rika took one of his hands into her own, and gave it a soft squeeze, eliciting a rather deep blush from his face. Rika smiled at the boy before getting up from off the bench and pulling him up with her.

"C'mon Gogglehead," she said, a light, teasing note in her voice. "The Cherry blossoms aren't just going to watch themselves you know."

Hand and hand, Rika and Takato made their way through the Sakura trees, smiles on their faces as the sun continued to climb in the sky.