"It's not you, it's me," the girl with the long orange hair said.
"Not that old line!" the boy sitting in front of her said. "There's someone else, isn't there?"
"No, there's nobody else, there hasn't been anyone for a long time," the girl explained.
"Fine!" the boy raged, "I've been dumped by better girls than you, Rika Nonaka!"
With that, he got to his feet, throwing the chair back, and stormed out of the restaurant. Several patrons looked over for a second before returning to their meals.
"Anything else I can get you, ma'am?" the waiter asked Rika, placing the check on the table.
"Not unless you can turn back time," she muttered.
"Never mind," Rika said, shaking her head. "No, that'll be all. Thank you."
The waiter nodded, moving on to take the drink order from another table. Rika slowly got up, leaving a couple of bills for the tip. Moving over to the cashier, she handed over some money, and walked out the door.
It was night outside as Rika walked through the streets, tears at the corners of her light purple eyes. She walked for hours, finding herself back at the park that had played such an important part in her life those many years ago.
The memories came flooding back. Seven years ago, she had met that little kid in the park, never knowing that the mostly chance encounter would change her life so drastically. It was only the start of a great adventure, one that had made her realize there were people out there who really cared about her. That was a long time ago, and the world had since then tried to forget about the Devas, that Digimon were anything more than an old children's game, long past its time. Rika herself could never forget. Nor did she wish to, despite the pain such memories brought.
Rika paused in her walk home, spotting the moon rising over the old tool shed that had once served as a hideout. She made her way over to the gate, finding the door secured with a thick lock. Pulling put one of her hairpins; she inserted it into the keyhole. After a bit of wriggling and prodding, the lock flew open as it had many times before.
Opening the gate, she stepped inside, finding a large hole in the floor that descended a couple of feet underground. Ignoring the fact that she was all dressed up for her date, she dropped down into the pit. The tunnel underneath the shed was still there, the city had decided the lock was enough to keep most people out, and that there was no need to fill it in. Pulling a lighter from her purse, she flicked it open and started to crawl down the tunnel. She held the flame in front of her, searching for the familiar strange light. It still refused to show up, just as it had refused the seemingly million other times she had tried. She left the tool shed behind her, another dead-end.
A half-hour later, Rika opened the door leading inside the house where she lived alone with her grandmother. Ever since her mom had left to be a fashion model in Tokyo, it was just the two of them.
"Rika, honey? Is that you?" her grandmother said from inside.
"Yeah, grandma, I'm home. I'm going to be in the courtyard," Rika called, walking through the house towards the koi pond. She looked out over the garden, the place where everything had changed forever. A part of her wished it had never happened, it would have spared her years of pain. A second part held tightly onto the memory, cherishing it forever.
"Don't you want to talk?" her grandmother called to her.
"Not really," Rika called back, sitting down to stare into the calm water. She picked up a pebble from the ground beside her and tossed it in, sending ripples through the water. The moonlight reflected off the surface, moving along with the slight waves. For a split second, Rika thought she saw a shadow in front of the moon.
"Is that…" she started, turning to look at the roof of the house. Once again, there was nothing there. "No, my eyes are just playing tricks on me."
Rika took off her shoes, grateful to be out of the tight fitting pumps. She dipped her feet in the pond, wriggling her toes in the cold water. A tear dropped from her eye, the ripples from it clashing with those from her feet. She buried her head in her hands as more tears came unbidden. Soon she was sobbing uncontrollably as the painful memories came rushing back.
A warm hand on her shoulder broke her out of the crying spell. Rika's eyes widened, and she reached her own hand up, placing it on top. She sighed and looked up into her grandmother's face.
"We need to talk. You're keeping too much bottled up inside, honey. Something's bothering you. Did your date not go well?" Rika's grandma asked, worried about her daughter.
"About as well as the last ten," she answered with a sniff. Her grandmother sighed.
"That badly, huh? What was wrong with this one? Too friendly? Too cute?"
"No," Rika said, "it's just that… something was missing."
"Rika, I've supported you ever since you were old enough to go on dates. I supported all of your dating choices, whether they were male or female, it didn't matter to me. I just wanted to see you happy, but nothing I did helped. What more can I do?"
"Nothing, there's nothing anybody can do. Just leave me alone, alright?" Rika snapped, shoving away her grandmother's hand and standing up in anger. Her grandmother looked into her eyes, seeing more pain than fury. She backed off, and Rika calmed down, tears starting to stream down her face again.
"If that's what you really want, honey, I'll support you in that too. Just remember, I'll always be here if you want to talk." Her grandmother walked away, leaving Rika to cry in silence.
Later that night, Rika lay under the covers tossing and turning, unable to sleep. Something felt different, there was a definite change in the air, she just couldn't tell what. Suddenly, the silence of the night was disturbed by an odd sound coming from her closet. Curiously, Rika got up from her mattress, pulling her blanket close around her body, and made her way over towards the noise. Sliding open the closet doors, she felt around in the darkness for the loose board that covered the hidden cubbyhole where she kept her most prized possessions. Removing the board, she pulled out a beautifully carved wooden box, the only remnant she had of her father, aside from some random memories. It had been his once, so her grandmother had told her. One finger pressed half of the secret latch, and another one pressed the other half on the opposite side, and the box sprung open.
Rika pulled something out of it, removing it from the handkerchief it was wrapped inside. It was a figurine in the shape of a fox, standing upright, tall and statuesque with a thick, bushy tail. Most of it was painted a golden yellow, but its chest, lower legs and the tips of its ears and tail were white, and its arms were covered in long purple gloves. Rika softly kissed the side of its muzzle, yet another tradition she had, before wrapping it back up and setting it aside. A silver locket came out next, and she snapped it open. A lock of golden hair was still sealed inside. Rika closed the necklace again, setting it next to the figurine. The beeping sounds continued, louder than before.
The box now seemed empty to the unknowing eye, but Rika levered a finger, lifting up the false bottom. From the real bottom of the box, she pulled out the source of the beeping. It was a small silver device, not much larger than the palm of her hand. The LCD screen on front of it was ringed with blue. The whole thing hung from a similarly blue strap, and it had two blue buttons on its face. A bright light lit up the screen, and the device continually beeped. Rika pressed one of the buttons, and a compass popped up, a red arrow circling around the screen.
"That's… not possible," she gasped. "Something's setting it off, but there's nothing that could cause that."
The arrow continued circling around the screen for a couple of seconds before stopping, pointing off to the northwest. Rika looked off in the direction it pointed, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. The device still beeped, but it was gradually drowned out by the sound of sirens, both police and fire engines. The sounds seemed to be heading northwest. Rika nodded to herself, placing everything carefully back into the box, save the strange device. She snapped the lid shut, placing the box back in the hole and covering it with the board. Next, she pulled some clothes out of the closet, slipping on a pair of black pants and a dark blue shirt. Then came her familiar brown trench coat, and she topped everything off by clipping the device to her belt. Tiptoeing past her grandmother's room, she sneaked out of the house into the garage. She briefly considered taking the car, but she knew her grandma would be furious. Instead, she got onto her bicycle and rode off into the night, following the odd signal.
The sirens got steadily louder, and it soon became obvious what was causing the disturbance. Still, Rika couldn't believe her eyes, it was a total impossibility. A large monster, looking like some sort of gigantic red Tyrannosaurus Rex, was walking through the city, occasionally breathing massive gouts of flame from its mouth. Several fires were blazing already, fire trucks pumping gallons of water trying to put them out. A number of buildings had been reduced to piles of rubble. A SWAT team van pulled up, and police piled out of it, firing their heavy weapons at the creature. The bullets bounced off its hard skin and the monster continued as if nothing had happened. It reacted sharply when a flash of yellow passed in front of the thing's snout and its head snapped to one side. The flash came again, plowing into the creature's side. It stumbled to one side and fell over, crushing another house.
Rika pedaled as hard as she could towards the fallen creature, trying to find out what the yellow flash had been. For a second, hope bloomed once again in her heart. The giant red monster could only be one thing, a Tyrannomon, a digimon. But that couldn't be. Three years after the final battle with D-Reaper, it was decided that all of the portals to the digital world had to be sealed off to protect both worlds from each other. All the digimon were safely in the digital world, and all the humans were securely in the real world, with only one exception. Takato was unable to be separated for Guilmon for very long, so he had to stay in the digital world with his digimon, or slowly wither and die. Rika had thought that part of her life was over, but now this Tyrannomon had shown up. If one of them could get through, then maybe…
"Stop right there, young lady!" someone called to Rika. A police officer stood in front of her, barring her way to the beast. "It's not safe to be here. You really should go home."
"Get out of my way!" she yelled, shoving the surprised man aside and running ahead. The sky suddenly shone bright, and Rika looked up to see the normal stars joined by a horde of twinkling lights. The lights flew, leaving bright streaks in the air, towards the fallen form of the beast, covering its body. Suddenly, the flares exploded outward and the Tyrannomon burst into particles. Collective gasps sounded from all the people watching the bizarre event save one. Rika stood there in silence. Her eyes and mouth were wide open as she watched the particles slowly fade into nothingness. She silently mouthed a word before running to where the Tyrannomon had once been. A ring of police officers were standing around a massive crater, guns all trained on the center of the hole. As Rika got up a few feet away, the flash of yellow streaked into the sky from the bottom of the pit and abruptly vanished.
A hand grabbed Rika's arm, and she turned to see who it was. The police officer she had shoved down earlier had a tight hold on her.
"You're going to come with me," he said. "I'm going to escort you home." Rika sighed and nodded, reluctantly allowing the officer to take her to the police car. They picked up her bike and drove up to her house. Rika in tow, the officer knocked on the door, and Rumiko answered the door in her bathrobe.
"Sorry to disturb you so late in the night, ma'am," the officer said, bowing deeply. "But I found this young lady wandering around where she shouldn't have been."
"Don't worry officer," her grandmother said, scowling. "I'll handle this from here."
The officer bowed one more time and headed back to his car. Rika watched as he drove off before stepping back into the house. Closing the door behind Rika, her grandmother put her hands on her hips and glared at Rika.
"Young lady, I don't know what you were thinking going out there, but…" she began, cutting off when she saw the look in Rika's eyes. She saw a spark there that had been missing for the past few years. "That's what you were thinking."
Rika nodded, and her grandmother closed her eyes in thought. She sighed softly and nodded back.
Rumiko said but one word, "Go." Rika bent forward and kissed her on the cheek, running out the door. Her grandmother watched her go, smiling to see the spark in her grandchild's eyes. She only hoped that it would remain after tonight. She had a strange feeling that she was going to be seeing a lot of it though.
Rika rode the bike back towards the park, deep in thought. If she was right, there was no better place to go. Rika pushed her legs to the max, going full speed and risking a nasty crash in the darkness, but she didn't care. She wanted to get there as fast as possible. A few minutes later, she arrived at her destination, the park where so many things had happened. Setting down her bike, Rika ran towards the tool shed, a place where they had met many times in the past. A black shadow briefly appeared on top of the structure, but it faded away before Rika could get too close to it.
"It's you, isn't it?" Rika called to the night air. She took a deep breath to settle her nerves before continuing. "I'd recognize you anywhere, my heart knows you. Listen to yours and please, tell me you remember who I am."
A shadow appeared in the doorway to the shed. "Rika?" it said tentatively, stepping out towards the light. "Can it really be you?"
The shadow fully emerged from the doorway, its body illuminated by the full silver moon. It was tall, slender, and statuesque, its short hair shining golden in the moonlight.
"Renamon…" Rika whispered, fainting dead away.