A/N: Before you continue reading this fic (if you actually take the time to read the A/N's that is), you should know, so as to not be confused, that the events of this story take place sometime after the stories Hazard's Sorrow and Less Than Human. No spoilers, so no events are mentioned, except that which is already in the aforementioned stories themselves as they currently stand at the time of this writing. Just a little something that I felt compelled to write. As always, read, review, and most importantly, enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.


A Digimon Tamers fic by Crazyeight

The sound of birds chirping as they sung their songs filled the air, making Rika Nonaka smile softly as she bent down, bringing her body to rest on the balls of her feet. Above her, Renamon phased into view on a nearby tree branch, and Rika felt a trickle of amusement and some curiosity filter through the mental rapport that they shared. Rika stayed where she was for a moment, not giving the vulpine digimon any indication as to what she intended to do, or if she intended to do anything at all. Not that there was any need to worry about in regards to that. Things had been quiet in Shinjuku these past few weeks so any threats of imminent violence were far from the red haired girl's mind. Yamaki could tell her and the others to continue their vigil, as things with the digital world rarely stayed quiet for long, but she didn't need someone to tell her how to do her job. She was a Tamer before she met up with Hypnos, had been for the past three years since receiving her digivice, and that was what she was going to be until she was too old to slash a card. No ifs, ands, or buts about it and heaven help anyone who told her otherwise. At the moment however her job, no, her life, was beside the point. All that seemed to matter right now was the resting figure in front of her.

Getting back to her feet, Rika felt a twinge as her circulation, briefly interrupted in its journey by the position that she had been in, resumed its course. Brushing aside the loose end of her unbuttoned, short sleeved, white colored blouse away from the light blue shirt that lay underneath it Rika brought out her cell phone and looked at the time before glancing at the two resting figures with a critical eye.

It's getting late, Rika thought as she pocketed her cell phone back into her jeans, turned around and then sat down, bringing her back to rest against the rough bark of the tree that her two friends were presently sleeping against. Rika cast her gaze at them, smiling softly at the form of Guilmon as he breathed slowly and evenly, his head propped on top of Takato Matsuki's leg like a pillow. Her eyes didn't linger for long and soon enough they traced their way up to Takato's face as he slept. She didn't know precisely why these two were sleeping out in the open, though she wasn't at all surprised by it. In the three years that she had known them since their first disastrous encounter she had come to expect a lot of things from the boy that she affectionately called Gogglehead, and his oft-dopey dinosaur partner. She suspected that they had spent the whole day playing together, and knowing Guilmon's energetic nature they must have ran each other into the ground repeatedly. If the smudges of dirt that covered the two were any indication she was right in her assessment.

Rika's face softened a little and a small smile crept onto her face as she watched the boy silently, noting the peaceful, contented look that he wore as he slept. A rare moment, Rika thought to herself feeling that seeing him like this restored to him some of the childlike innocence that he had when they first met and had come to recognize him by. Time had worn on him quite a bit over the years since the battles with D-Reaper and Parasimon, and though he still maintained the vast majority of the innocence that he had then he had still changed in ways that Rika wasn't entirely sure if she liked. He was still as outgoing as ever and his smiles and laughter came as freely as before, but there were plenty of times where he seemed more thoughtful and contemplative, and still more where he could be grim, especially in battle. These last three occurred more since Lucemon had deleted Guilmon all those years ago. Even though the crimson lizard had come back Rika supposed that there were just some wounds that went too deep to fully heal from; that, and perhaps guilt.

Maybe that's why he and Jeri never… Rika put a halt to the thought before it could fully form, and for a brief moment she felt a flash of irritation at the goggle-wearing Tamer before that too was squashed. Things were what they were. No one could help how events turned out in the end. Though there was something to be said about Takato caring too much about someone, and worrying too much about how his good fortune affected others despite all assurances to the contrary.

Him and his stupid heart, thought Rika as her face softened once again, her eyes tracing over him once more. She frowned slightly as she took note of a smudge of dirt that lay on his left cheekbone.

Licking her thumb Rika reached over and attempted to remove the offending spot of dirt from the boy's face in much the same way that her mother did her when she was much, much younger. Takato made a complaining sound and shifted a little, but otherwise did not awaken from his sleep. Guilmon snorted a little from his own resting spot but likewise remained undisturbed. Rika grumbled a little as she realized that the spot of dirt wasn't going to be coming off anytime soon unless she increased her efforts, something that she wasn't all to keen on doing since that meant waking Takato up. The last thing that she wanted was to explain why she was mothering him that way. That would be awkward, especially given their own past history with each other…

Rika ceased in her ministrations as she withdrew her hand ever so slightly and then, somewhat to her own surprise, brought the backs of her fingers to Takato's face, caressing his cheek gently. It had been some time since she had been this way with him. Her mind went back two years to that moment in his bedroom after that business with Lucemon had concluded when she had gone to his home to return his goggles to him. They had both gotten more then they had bargained for from that kiss she had given him then; an impulse that she still cursed herself for regardless of whether or not it was accidental or intentional. She had no idea herself as to which it was. All she knew at the time was that she was just trying to comfort him. Not that she did much good. She had only succeeded in giving him a new set of problems to worry about, and had done the same for herself too. Nothing ruins a good friendship like romance, Rika had once heard and there were certainly times back then when she feared that the saying would come true. Things had certainly become awkward between her and Takato, and to some extent Jeri as well when she had been told about it, but in some ways they had become better friends because of what happened. It was almost funny. Their fears of losing each other's friendship only led them to struggle to keep it, and she, Takato, and Jeri became all the more closer as a result.

Rika found it strange how the world worked sometimes.

There were times though, where she wondered how things would have gone if she hadn't gone down to Takato's house that day all those years ago to give him back his goggles. Where would he and Jeri be now if things had turned out differently? In a lot of ways she held herself responsible for the changes that went on between those two and how they felt about each other, though if one wanted to place blame, one could go to Lucemon when he had appeared in the real world with his self-appointed mission to destroy Guilmon just because he had nearly destroyed the digital world by digivolving to Megidramon. She wasn't going to place any blame on him though, but she still found it hard to find any forgiveness for what had happened all those years ago. Either way, it was a moot point now. Lucemon's fate since then was rather…fitting in an odd way even though no one, not even Noriko, liked to bring it up anymore.

What's done is done, sighed Rika mentally as her hand made its way into Takato's brown hair, caressing it thoughtfully as she felt a familiar warmth fill her heart. Rika gave a small smile, recognizing that warmth for what it was. Funny how that warmth had never once left her, not even during all those months when uncertainty lay between her and Takato and how they thought about one another. She wasn't going to argue with it though. Not by a long shot. She had done enough of that in times past already and it had nearly cost her Renamon's friendship then. Almost losing another didn't much appeal to her in the here and now either.

One hand still clasped lightly in Takato's hair, Rika leaned in and gently kissed the top of his head before coming to rest on the side of it, cheek to cheek, all the while sensing Renamon's happiness as she observed her partner from her position in the tree. She smiled as she felt Takato stir beneath her.

"Hmmm? Rika?" Asked Takato as his eyes fluttered open, his voice a bit muffled and still groggy from sleep. Rika chuckled a little, not caring if he knew that she kissed him again, and wasn't about to ask either. She was simply content to let the moment stand as it was.

"Hey there, Takato," Rika said in a quiet, almost teasing voice. "Thought you two needed a wake up call. Wouldn't want you to be stuck out here all night you know. Your mom would wreck half the city trying to find you so I figured it might be best to head her off before things got out of hand."

Rika almost laughed as she felt the temperature in Takato's face increase threefold, but felt a smile curve on his face anyway, matching her own. Carefully getting one hand unstuck from beneath Guilmon's near-crushing weight Takato reached up behind his head and clasped Rika's fingers into his own. The red haired girl felt as though a live wire had just touched her but she didn't react to it.

"Thanks Rika," said Takato softly, a small smile on his face as he looked up at the darkening sky. Rika's own, violet colored eyes joined his own crimson ones as they looked skyward, as if searching the heavens for some particular sign.

"Don't mention it," said Rika as the twinkle of evening's first star appeared in the wake of the setting sun and the gentle veil of night settled across the city of Shinjuku.