Never again

By: Flamegaruru

Hey, there! Taking a break from the "Goggle-head" series, here I am with another Rukato fic! Of course. So, this is a Ruki story, and kind of angsty. Sorry, I'm not imaginative about Ruki's part! Disclaimer: I don't own anything of Digimon, except for a pair of sunglasses that are exactly like Ruki's, but that is it.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Ruki's POV ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I look down at the ground as I viciously kick a stone. What do all these people think they're doing? Trying to be friends? Puh. Friends are nothing. Just people who get in your way. Besides, I thought as I started walking by the park, they just end up hurting you.

My father wasn't a nice man. He beat my mother and every once in a while he'd slap me across the face, too. I knew that he drank like life was a never-ending party. I'm not like him. I know that life is not an ever-lasting party. People die. Needless to say, I was very glad when the police took him to jail. That was the last time I was happy.

Mother. Now if there's one person that I truly despise, it's her. She is so weak, what with her obsession with modeling. Grandmother saw my father hit her daughter across the face and that's when she called the police. So what if my mother is famous? Fame gets you nothing. You expect people to do everything for you, and when they can't do something for you, you can't do it either because you are already too weak.

My mother wants me to be a model, like her. Now that's an idea that makes me want to retch. What is the point of standing there in an uncomfortable dress while people take pictures of you? Pointless. She shows no affection towards me. It's not that I want affection, but I always thought mothers were supposed to be the ones to take care of you when you're sick. My mother does none of that. She just goes to photo shoots and talks to people on the phone. Besides, she is weak and I am strong. That's why we don't match. Come to think of it, that is why I do not get along with the other Tamers.

Ah, the sounds of weakness, I sarcastically thought as I turn to see Takato laughing with Hirokazu and Kenta. Another person who will not get close to me. I hear them talking about Guilmon and that reminds me of someone else. I stop by a bench.

Renamon. The only person or should I say, creature to gain my trust, perhaps even evoke some emotion from me. Even though she is gone now, I still think about her every now and then. I do not fully understand how she came to be my friend. Maybe it's because she saved me from enemies. I am not quite sure.

Human emotion. That's such a complicated thing. Why am I being so philosophical today, I pondered as I started walking again. You can never understand what's going on inside. Sometimes you feel the complete opposite of what you are truly feeling. Emotion does nothing for you anyway. All it does is hurt you. I feel a small pang in my heart. I wonder why it hurts, to think about emotion. I've heard that other people's personalities drastically change due to other people, like their parents. I've always been this way. Ever since I could remember, I've been hardened, not feeling emotion. That way no one can hurt or confuse me. Confusion is weakness.

I do not fully understand my obsession with strength and weakness. I stuffed my hands into my pockets. Could it be that because my mother didn't take care of my father right away that I classified her as weak? Or is it because she always cried when he hit her? I never cried. He kept hitting me, telling me to cry, but I never allowed him the satisfaction. I wasn't like my mother; I was strong. I never cried.

Sometimes I can feel anger boiling up inside my heart, wanting to come through and destroy everything that is weak. Perhaps that's why I let it show. If I show other emotions, I will be weakened and then people will hurt me. My eyes avert from the sidewalk to the grass. I do not know why I am afraid that other people will hurt me. The fear could come from physical fear, like my abusive father. Or maybe it could come from emotional pain, like losing the people I care about. Then again, I have no one to care about, and no one cares about me, so it all works out evenly, I guess.

I am so wrapped up in my thoughts I do not notice when I crash into someone. It is the goggle-boy. I ask him what he wants, harshly. He seems offended by my demanding question. Why should he not be? He has not known harshness, coldness, cruelty, pain…all he knows is love and friendship, hope, weak junk like that.

He said that he was worried about me. I do not believe him and tell him so. He blinks skeptically at me and stares me straight in the eye. I see this as a challenge and stare right back. When I ask him if he wants a fight, he breaks the stare. No, he replied, he did not want a fight. Why then, I ask, did you stare at me?

Amber eyes swivel around the terrain as he thought about an answer. I grow impatient with him. My foot taps loudly. You're wasting my time, I stated and started to go, when he grabbed my arm. Surprised, I shook him off. I demanded to know why he did that. Because I want to talk, he said. Yeah, sure. Like I want to talk to you. But I keep my mouth shut, hoping that he will go away when he sees my glare. He doesn't.

Why, he asked, did I not want to be friends with him and Jenrya? Obviously, I snapped, that I didn't need that. He frowned. You can't go on living life alone, he argued. I can too, I yelled. Then he asks a most unexpected question: What happened to me when I was young? I stare at him. How did he know, I ordered an answer. It's in your eyes, your attitude, your soul, was his meaningful reply. I was knocked speechless. How did this weak, little goggle-boy know so much and so little at the same time, I wondered.

He must have noticed through his dense fog that I was upset by his answer so he decided to explain it. When he met me, he started, that it was in a dream, he was fascinated. When he met me in person, he was scared, he reluctantly admitted. He did not want me to hurt his friend. He did not want to fight. I stopped him, perplexed. Why would anyone not want to fight, I said. Because there are ways to solve problems other than fighting, was his explanation. That comment struck home. That was exactly what my father did, hitting people, making fights because he did not understand things.

I did not understand things. For once in my life, I was confused. The point of this confusion was from the boy, and this angered me. I yelled at him, calling him things that were not to be said to people that you cared about. So what, I said to myself. It's not like you care about him anyway. I could tell that those comments hurt him, I saw it in his eyes, but he just wouldn't go away. So I went away instead.

Wandering around aimlessly for a few hours, I noticed it was getting dark. I started to head home when I heard a noise coming from a dark alley. This is stupid, you little Pandora, I told myself as I started to go into the alley to investigate. There stood the pathetic goggle-weakling, being beat up by some bully. I turned to go. Then I looked back. My conscience nagged at me. I can't believe myself; I rolled my eyes in exasperation as I went back to the alley. Takato looked at me and fearfully told me to go. The bully made threats. Empty threats, I scoffed. I advanced. The bully threw Takato upon the ground. I could see why. The bully was six feet tall. Takato seemed a bit concerned for me. It was either that or it was dark. I chose the darkness.

The mammoth boy cracked his knuckles, grinning maliciously. I gave him a cynical look. He rushed at me, throwing lame insults my way. I simply moved out of the way and tripped him up. So it is true, I thought. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. True indeed. The guy fell with a sickening crack. He warily got up and waddled out of the alley.

I cast a sidelong glare at Takato. That, I told him, is why I'm strong and you are weak. I seemed to hit a nerve in him, for before I could leave, he exploded. You may have physical strength, he yelled, but I have emotional strength! I cocked an eyebrow at him. Emotional strength gets you nowhere in life, I argued. Yes it does, he replied, walking up to me. You get physical strength from emotional, was his stupid comment. There is no such thing, I said. I do not need emotional strength and I am still strong.

Takato did something absolutely out of his character. He slapped me across the face. I was about to slap him back, but he caught my hands in his. Don't you see, he pleaded, that you will get nowhere from physical strength. You will just grow up to be a sad, lonely soul. I couldn't understand him. Who did he think he was, telling me what to do with my life? I struggled to be released from his grasp, but he surprisingly showed great strength and kept me there.

Ruki, he cried, don't you see that you're hurting yourself and others? He started to cry. Oddly, my heart started to hurt, but I was not about to let it show. I'm not hurting myself, I said, I'm protecting myself. I'll never love. Never again, I stubbornly told him. He looked at me with huge puppy dog eyes, and did something I could never pin him of having the courage for; he hugged me.

I was confused yet again by this boy, with his arms wrapped around me. I could feel the warmth they emitted. Why, I thought, does he care? I did not bother pondering this question anymore, so I asked him. Not releasing me, Takato sniffed back an answer. Because I love you.

I stood, paralyzed. Why would he love me? I'm not capable of love, I whispered. But you are, he said and his arms tightened. How, I asked, if I was hurt and did not know how to? He moved his head back so we could be eye to eye. It's in your eyes. You want to love and don't know how to. I glared at him. How did he know what was gong through my mind and my heart when I did not understand myself?

Takato looked at me for a long time before replying. I don't. You do, and you express it through your actions. When you constantly fought, he said, it was showing that I needed someone to help me, that I needed someone. I scoffed at that remark.

I did not understand myself. I was scared, perhaps. I looked over at Takato, whose tears were soaking my shirt. Should I give him a chance, I wondered. Should I try to feel love? I don't want to be hurt.

Unfortunately for me, I whispered my last thought out loud. Takato put his face right next to my ear and whispered, I would never hurt you.

Maybe I could learn to love, I thought as I shakily put my arms around Takato for a few moments. Perhaps it is not so bad to feel emotions. It might be possible that I could care for people again. I pulled away from Takato and gave him a sad smile. It felt so strange, smiling. Maybe someday I will learn to love, I murmured. When you do, I'll be waiting, Takato said. I looked into his amber eyes. Truth, I concluded. I gave him a small kiss on the cheek, a move that surprised both of us.

I looked back at Takato one last time before heading home. I would think about friendship, of smiling, of feeling happy, of love.

~Ruki Makino~

Written by Flamegaruru.