Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. However, this is FANfiction which means I can stretch the characters the way I please (with respect of the original authors of course.) I love Digimon too much to stretch the characters out tooo much, so you should (hopefully) find this story mostly in character though.
Yaaay, Ryuki love!
(Updates) 6/17/08 - Beginning to rewrite some of the chapters. Not too much has been changed from the original, though.
I apologize for any formatting mistakes you may find. The system randomly changes some of my formatting whenever I upload the document/chapter sometimes, and I can't catch every little thing :X
CHAPTER ONE: The Challenge
It was pink. Not only that, it was covered in other undesirable objects, such as flowers, lace, and butterflies. My eyebrow twitched in annoyance as I glanced at the heavilly decorated dress to my mother's excited expression as she held the monstrosity towards me - eager for me to try it on.
I, however, had other thoughts.
"I already tried modeling for you mom, and I'd very much appreciate it if I didn't have to try again. Especially wearing something like THAT," I answered at my mother's pouty face. I think she forgot that the last time I agreed to a photo shoot I had given the camera man a black eye as a souveneir.
"Why not, Ruki, honey? I quite like it. It's a very pretty dress - and it would look ever so nice on you!" My mom gushed, waving it in my face.
"You know that I don't like pink, and yet you insist on me wearing it..." I trailed off. My mother, Rumiko Makino, was a famous model. She hoped I would follow in her career dreams. The goals I'd set up for myself were far, far, far, off in the other spectrum of modeling and dresses. Even though I'd tried my best to convince my mom to give up, she persisted on.
She paused for a second, slightly withdrawing the fluffy monster. Her lips were still puckered into a pout, and she looked down at the floor as she tried to think of something. I used the silence as an advantage.
"Look, mom, I already promised to meet up with my friends. I'll be back later. Byee," I dashed off quickly before my mom could catch me.
Ruki Makino in a pink, fluffy dress? Impossible.
I was at the Juri's house in less than ten minutes where I had promised to meet up with the Tamers to watch movies (however, on my way out I was ambushed by my mom and the said pink dress.) I saw Takato and a couple others waiting outside the door; I guess they were waiting for me to arrive.
"Sorry for getting her so late!" I called, jogging towards them.
"Alright, we can start the movie marathon!" Kazu annonced excitedly (posing without fail), and we retreated inside.
"Where's Ryo?" Takato asked. "I was hoping he would be coming with you..."
"And why would you think that?" I asked, trying to keep my voice cool, but an icy tone escaped from my lips. Akiyama Ryo had always been my rival. From digimon cards to fanclubs, he just seemed so much better than I was. It aggrivated me how little I could do compared to him.
"Well, er--" Takato looked into my eyes, frightened. Even though we'd been together for so long, I could still scare him. He turned the other way distractedly crying, "Hey Juri!" It had taken about another year before Juri and Takato finally started going out - but it happened, and it was fairly an exciting advancement between the two of them.
We watched a couple of movies, talking in between and having a good time. Hours later in the midst of our playing, we all headed home for dinner - waving each other goodbye. I walked back slowly. My mom would either be extremely super angry or extremely super depressed. Either one would have an unhappy outcome for the rest of dinner, and possible the next three weeks. It's only my mom who can beat me at sulking and rampaging, afterall.
I sighed. Now that we were no longer elementary school kiddies, we had tons of work to do. This resulted in less time hanging out. Months had passed since the days of the Digimon Tamers. I really missed those times. Especially Renamon...I wonder how she was doing. But, we were growing up. College, exams, and jobs were right around the corner and we had to prepare for our futures. We only had little time before abandoning the lifestyles of childhood and enter the workforce.
Suddenly, something from behind grabbed my shoulders - I yanked them away and turned around ready to kick the idiot who dared, but something grabbed me again and I felt a cloth press against my face...and then...nothing...
My consciousness came back to me and my eyes flew open to find myself in an unfamiliar room. I jumped up from the chair I was sitting it and examined the place - bleak wallpaper, flowery lampshades...this could only mean I was in a...hotel? Then everything fell back in place - I'd been walking home from Juri's house and I'd been...ambushed...or attacked by something. This could be something serious! Someone may be planning to throw a ransom at my mom...or try to make me...I hurried past the bed and reached the door - jiggling the doorknob, attempting to get out - it was locked, of course. Just my luck.
I looked around to see if there was anything to use to try to unlock the door, an axe would work too, then I could just hack the wood apart...as I walked back into the depths of the room the door flew open revealing a black-suited man.
"Miss Makino, you are to--"
"HIII-YAAA!" I cried, knocking him out where the sun didn't shine. I faced the hallway in a battle position when I realized something tight was tugging against my stomach - I looked down to see someone had changed my clothes into a sleek black night-gown. I would've agreed the dress looked quite nice if it weren't for the fact flowers were sprinkled at the bottom...
Then more conclusions came to me - the only person that would force me to wear flowers would be...
"Ruki, honey! Why did you knock-out my manager!" My mom exclaimed, rushing into the room.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ABOUT?!" I yelled, tugging at the dress and gesturing at our surroundings. I often disagreed with my mother, but this was pushing it waaay too far. Anger filled my veins as I glared at her - demanding answers.
"Well, after you left I called my manager to help tail you. I knew you wouldn't come unless it came to force, but I had to do it!" My mom said.
"But...WHAT THE CRAP IS GOING ON?!" I screamed, frustrated.
"Honey, don't you remember?" My mom asked, exasperated.
"WELL, OBVIOUSLY NOT!" I cried, rolling my eyes to enhance my statement.
"I arranged you a fiance last week! You wanted to go out with your friends and I said you could go as long as you did me a favor...and this was it!"
"...that doesn't count as telling me what's going on! And--" I paused, "Wait. Did you just say you set up a FIANCE for me?" New anger broiled over my old. How the hell did hanging out with my friends have to exchange with possibly getting married with a random stranger? How old fashioned. How traitorous! How...so much like my mom.
"Please Ruki, at least meet him...he's quite nice..." my mom went off talking about my mystery future husband...scratch that, my mystery future death target. Ideas formulated in my mind - if I killed the guy there would be no fiance for this fiance deal.
"Alright, I'll meet him, but that's IT. I'm not agreeing to any of this fiance stuff, or--" but my mom cut of the rest of my words with a squeal as she took my hand and dragged me to the elevators - we entered the first one going up and she jabbed the button marked with an eight.
I began planning how I would torture my new enemy and laughed to myself, my mom took this as a sign of excitement and grinned even wider.
The elevator halted at the eight floor, and we climbed out and headed left. My mother navigated through many hallways and I followed behind. The walls were filled of pictures of my mom's (modeling work, I guessed) which probably meant she was able to dine at this place for free. We entered and overly fancy restaurant, and from what I could tell from its name, it served Italian food.
"Why?" I asked suddenly, as a waiter ushered us to our table.
"Why the fiance?" I rephrased.
"Oh, well a friend of mine thought her son would make a good match for you and--"
"You're matchmaking because you FEEL like it?" I questioned, I was about to scream at her again, but we'd reached our table - and sitting down right across from me was Akiyama Ryo.
"This is total hell," I said, glaring at him, of all the people my mom could be friends with it had to be the mother of that...that...show-off!
"Hey there, wildcat," Ryo grinned. The two moms squeaked in delight - I picked up something like "just met," and "cute nicknames!"
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Words, Ruki, words..."
"What the bloody hell are you doing here?"
"Well, obviously, we're getting married in a week," he explained as if it was plain as day.
"...and you're FINE with it? You aren't going to argue? Fight back?" I asked, in disbelief that he could care less about something this important. I could hear our mothers muttering in the background - probably ordering our dinner from our waiter.
When he didn't answer my question, I slammed my fist on the table. He only smiled wider, looking at me in amusement. I started on another topic, "So you ditched watching movies with us earlier to play prettyboy?" I asked coldly.
"As you have pointed out, this wasn't my choice. Ah, look - our food has arrived, pumpkin." I groaned. I turned at my mom to protest - but when I looked at her...I couldn't. She was beaming at me, looking the happiest I've ever seen her. I admit, I don't always see face to face with my mom, but I do care about her. And, I could deal for a night. I could probably brainstorm an idea to snuff Ryo later..
I ate the rest of dinner in silence, although I didn't give up. I continued to throw Ryo dark looks when my mom wasn't looking. After the plates were tucked away my mom started on the terrible subject again as dessert was served.
"So, where should we hold the wedding?" My mom asked, in an excited voice.
My hand stopped as I reached for a spoon.
"There was a lovely church near our house I spotted the other day..." Mrs. Akiyama replied - equally excited as my mother. "You know Ruki, I've always wanted a little girl! Well, I got Ryo instead...and I guess he's fine...sort of..." she joked.
I felt a little sympathetic for her - but I couldn't let that bring me down from my objective.
"I know you guys are having fun arranging our, er-- marriage, but, really, I'm only fifteen and I need some room to breathe, and--"
"...and at fifteen you're busy deciding your future! So I thought I'd help by arranging your husband so you wouldn't have to worry about boys when you were older!"
"I can do that myself just fine!" I rolled my eyes - although this was a lie. It was true, I had to say, that I was fairly popular among the boys at school. They were all idiots, but it was something.
"But Ruki, you're always up in your room studying or out with your friends. Otherwise, you really have no social life..."
"Poor wildcat," I heard Ryo comment in the background.
"You!" I roared, "aren't you protesting against this?"
"Not really, I don't care," Ryo shrugged, but kept a smile on his face.
"Awww, how cuuute!" Impatience ticked on.
"Excuse me," I said as calmly as I could, and I made my way out the restaurant.
I walked on until I reached a door that led outdoors - gladly, I opened the door and walked out. There were a couple of tables cluttered here, and there was a balcony where you could look out and see the floors below. I leaned up against the ledge of the balcony. A breeze blew into my hair, and it calmed my thoughts a bit. I closed my eyes.
"Hey pumpkin," a taunting voice said behind me. Of course, stupid Ryo would follow me. I ignored him. "You shouldn't be mad at them, you know."
"Who said I was mad?" I questioned.
"Well, you walked out--"
"I'm FURIOUS!" I cried, throwing up my hands in frustration. He laughed, and stood next to me.
"You're cute when you're mad."
"Furious," I corrected.
"Yeah, furious. Cute," Ryo repeated.
"Thanks for the information."
We stood in silence, watching people past by below us, hearing cars buzz around. An odd comforting feeling filled me having him next to me - and, suddenly, I felt very self-conscious of him standing next to me.
"How is the Digimon King doing?" I asked, trying to break the silence.
"Reasonably well, I suppose. Didn't know you were worried."
"Curious, not worried."
Silence filled the air again.
"What?" I stood up properly and looked at him in confusion.
"Ten days," he repeated, following me and looking at me directly in the eye. He was looking so serious, I took a step back in confusion. The few times Ryo pulled on a straight face were times of ominous announcements.
"...right...I'm going to head back..." He grabbed my wrist.
"Ten days! In ten days, I, Akiyama Ryo, will make Makino Ruki fall in love with me!" I looked at him in wide-eyed shock and terror at his words, but regained my composure.
"And, I, Makino Ruki, refuse to fall in love with Akiyama Ryo in the next ten days or face unearthly torture."
"Is that a bet?" Ryo's faced cracked into a sly grin, excitement growing on his face.
And so, the challenge began.