Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
A Digimon Tamers fic by: Crazyeight
Rika stood outside the gate to Guilmon's home, calmly tapping one glove covered finger against her arm as she listened to the music on her walkman, studiously ignoring the crimson reptile that watched her from within the confines of the concrete bunker.
"Um…Rika?" Guilmon prompted, hoping that the red haired girl would hear him this time. She didn't. Groaning in disappointment Guilmon plopped his massive body down on the ground, and eyed the plastic bag that lay on the ground next to the girl's red colored, steel toed shoes. A quick sniff of the air caused Guilmon's stomach to growl as he caught a whiff of its contents. It was that ever so sacred candy known as chocolate, and it was sitting right outside his doorway, almost taunting him with its delicate sweetness. If there was ever a torture out there that would do in Guilmon's indomitable spirit it would have to be this. To have food, and not just any food but chocolate, sitting outside his home just within his reach but not be able to touch it was the most pain that Guilmon had ever had to endure in his short life. And considering the kinds of things that Guilmon dealt with on a regular basis, namely city destroying monsters, this was quite the serious dilemma. A dilemma that was made even worse by the fact that it was Rika Nonoka who was guarding the goodies.
Ohhh…but I only want one…and then maybe another one. Smacking his lips with his reptilian tongue Guilmon got up and walked over to the entrance, his golden eyes flicking back and forth between Rika and the bag, checking to make sure that Rika wasn't paying any attention before he slowly, and ever so carefully reached out with his claws towards the plastic bag. Surely, surely only one piece of chocolate wouldn't hurt…
"Guilmon," came Rika's warning tone as the claws passed through the steel bars. "If you lay one hand on those chocolates I'll make you wish you were still a drawing."
Guilmon groaned in utter defeat.
"But I'm hungry," the red dinosaur whined as he withdrew his hand and patted his stomach. As though to lend its assistance in pleading his case a loud growling noise came from his abdomen. Sliding her headphones off from her ears Rika gave Guilmon a look that was without sympathy.
"Not my fault. You need to learn to control that appetite of yours; otherwise you would still have food in your lunch box over there." Raising her hand Rika pointed towards the little, brown colored box that lay strewn upon the ground, emptied of the contents that had held more pieces of bread than Rika cared to count.
"But every time I see food my brain gets all funny," Guilmon complained, blinking his big, golden eyes at the girl in the hopes of generating at least some measure of pity on his poor existence. Unfortunately for Guilmon, the red haired, self-proclaimed 'Digimon Queen' had long ago developed an immunity to all things cute and she shook her head in denial to the bottomless pit that was Guilmon's stomach. Even so, she had known him long enough where she couldn't stop a small grin from forming on her face.
"Well, then maybe you should keep your eyes closed, Guilmon. I'm sure you'll be able to think more clearly then. Besides, you know that this chocolate isn't for you. I gave you yours the minute I got here, and you ate it."
"I know," Guilmon acknowledged as he stirred one claw into the ground, drawing a circle absently in an attempt to relieve his boredom. "It smelled so good when you gave it to me that I couldn't resist." Guilmon turned his eyes back towards the bag and tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Did you make those yourself?"
"Unfortunately no," replied Rika tersely. "My mom's been diving into the kitchen far too often lately to make dinner, and since she's been staying home more often I haven't gotten much of a chance to go venturing in there."
"Oh. She doesn't want you in there cooking?" Guilmon tilted his head to one side questioningly. He wasn't exactly new to the rules of the kitchen grounds, as he tended to be something of a menace when it came to that particular area, but for as long as his existence had been acknowledged by his Tamers parents, his partner, Takato Matsuki, had never had any trouble with entering the kitchen and making something in it. Well, with a few exceptions as his mother at least wanted to have someone supervise him so that 'he didn't blow anything up.'
"It's not a question of whether or not she wants me to do any cooking," replied Rika as she pulled her winter jacket closer around her, the cold air a stark reminder that winter was far from over no matter what the warmth of the sun said, "far from it. She'd probably be thrilled. It's just that I don't want to give her the wrong impression or anything. If she saw me making chocolate for my friends she'd think that I had fallen in love with one of them or something."
"Funny. I'll bet that's the first thing Terriermon's going to think when you start handing them out."
"I'm afraid that I have to agree with Guilmon on that," said Renamon as she phased into view on top of Guilmon's shed. "He has the kind of mindset to think of the strangest things regardless of how they actually are."
"Ugh. Suddenly this is starting to sound like a bad idea."
A small smile appeared on Renamon's muzzle as she hopped down and glanced at her partner peripherally.
"You can still back out you know. The others haven't arrived yet."
Rika frowned at her partner and shifted her arms.
"You're making fun of me, aren't you?"
"Not in the least," said Renamon, though a playful tone in her voice said otherwise. "If this makes you uncomfortable then perhaps it would be a good idea to beat a hasty retreat and simply wait for another opportunity…"
Rika rolled her eyes.
"Renamon, this opportunity only comes around once a year, and I wanted to do something this year."
Guilmon looked up at Rika.
"This year? You mean you don't celebrate Valentine's Day?"
"Not normally," said Rika. "It's not that I hate it or anything, it's just that I'm indifferent towards it. Too much…I don't know how to put it exactly. Too much emphasis on the mushy stuff I guess you could say. I don't mind the holiday, but I'd rather just hang out with my friends without all the other stuff attached to it."
"Isn't that the point of your being here? To celebrate the holiday with your friends and have a good time?"
"That's the plan. The chocolate may be just obligation but I really did want to show the others that they're important to me…"
"Even Ryo, Kazu, and Kenta."
"Ugh. Don't remind me. It was hard enough for me to include Ryo in my list, never mind the dimwit duo. Great. Now I'm worried about how I'm going to give Ryo his chocolate and whether or not he's going to be stupid and make a joke about it at my expense. I can just see him now…"
As she spoke, Rika's voice dropped an octave as she proceeded to imitate the joking tone of the Legendary Tamer.
"For me, pumpkin? You shouldn't have. Next you'll be proposing to me. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" Finishing, Rika gave a disgusted sound and re-crossed her arms over her chest, this time more harshly as her imagination went its own way with her pummeling the Legendary Tamer in response to his joke. Guilmon watched her warily.
"Ah…is that a bad thing?" He asked
The answering glare that Rika gave the poor dinosaur made him want to shrink backwards in his den.
"Sorry," he whimpered, covering the top of his head with his claws. Renamon chuckled at the sight. Had she not known better Renamon would have marveled at how Guilmon could be frightened so easily by the fiery haired girl.
Not that she'd ever follow up on her threats of course, unless it was to an enemy…
Rika uncrossed her arms and breathed into her gloves, grimacing at the cold.
"Where are they?" She asked in annoyance. "Don't they get out of school before me? I would have thought that they'd all be here by now."
"I would imagine that the cold serves as a deterrent against travel to this location," commented Renamon. "Though there is no doubt that Takato will be here. Cold or not, Takato always comes here."
"Yeah," agreed Rika before looking at Guilmon. "Remind me again why you still want to live in this dump."
"Because it's my home," said Guilmon simply, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. And for him it was. Even though Takato had offered to give him a place to sleep at the bakery Guilmon had remained adamant that he stay out here. To date he never seemed bothered by any temperature extremes and he took to snow with a strange gleefulness that was reminiscent of most three year old children.
Or Gogglehead, thought Rika with a small smirk on her face, thinking of the goofy, goggle-wearing boy that was partnered to the crimson reptile. I've said it once and I'll say it again. Like Tamer like digimon.
"So what's Takato been up to lately?" Asked Rika deciding to break the silence. "It's been a while since the last biomerge, and I haven't seen him since last week."
"I don't know," answered Guilmon as he eyed the bag attentively. "Maybe some chocolate will help me remember."
"Taking Terriermon's penchant for wise cracking and annoying me into account I just might take you up on that…"
"Rika," began Renamon with a curious tone in her voice. "You almost sound eager."
"What's the harm in finding out something about how Takato's doing?" Asked Rika, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing…though you don't seem too curious to find out anything about any of the others."
"I'll be seeing them soon enough."
"Just like you'll be seeing Takato soon enough," commented Renamon smoothely.
Guilmon, who had been trying to follow the conversation simply blinked in confusion.
"Huh? I don't get it. Does Rika want to ask Takato out on a date? But I thought you turned him down when he asked you on your birthday last year."
"That…was a distraction," said Rika, feeling annoyance slip into her voice just as she felt some heat slip into her cheeks. Huffing, Rika turned away and glowered at the stairwell in front of her, trying to force away the memories from almost a year ago when she had received a call from Takato nervously asking her to go watch the cherry blossoms with him…even though they weren't in bloom yet.
Unconsciously casting an eye upwards, Rika found herself looking at the branch of a cherry blossom tree. No Sakura leaves decorated it as of yet and wouldn't for at least another month. Catching herself staring, Rika turned her eyes back down at the stairs, glaring angrily at one Takato Matsuki as he stood stock still, eyes wide in surprise at finding the scene in front of him.
It took but a moment for everything to register for the both of them and while Rika looked away furiously, her face reddening even further, Takato unconsciously fought the urge to back up, having only caught Rika's angry expression.
"Um…this is new…"
"It's about time you got here, Gogglehead," Rika fumed as she pushed her back off from the wall behind her, her posture becoming a sharp exclamation point that dared him to say something she disagreed with. Takato chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head.
"Sorry. I got held up a bit at school and then I had to go pick up Guilmon's dinner." He raised a big bag packed to the brim with the familiar bits of Guilmon bread that had become his bakery's trademark.
"Yay!" Came the excited cry of Guilmon from behind the metal bars of his gate. Immediately, and without care for anyone who might see him Guilmon immediately broke into his usual 'Guilmon Bread' song and dance, waving his arms wildly in the air. Sighing, Rika stood off to the side.
"Better get Dino-boy fed Gogglehead. Otherwise he's never going to shut up. He's been pestering me ever since I got here."
Takato laughed and did as he had been bid, walking over to the gate and unlatching it so that he could enter his partner's home.
"So…uh…why are you here?" He asked nervously. "I mean, this isn't exactly the kind of day that you'd normally hang out here in…"
"What's the matter?" Asked Rika, raising an eyebrow. "Don't want me around?"
"It's not that," placated Takato as he opened up the gate and set one of his bags down on the ground for Guilmon to sift through, "it's just…um…not usual for you to hang out here for us unless you knew for a fact that we were all going to be here."
"Which is just about every day," noted Rika.
"Well, yeah, but not as often during the winter you know." Takato scratched his hair, racking his brains for any possible and logical answer to his question. Unfortunately not even his imagination could conjure up a reason, for which Takato felt that he was quite grateful for considering how bizarre his imagination could take things.
"She was waiting for you, Takato," supplied Guilmon as he dug into his meal, gobbling it down without hesitation or concern for table manners.
"Say wha…?" Takato's eyes flew wide and his body stiffened in response. Now his imagination came in and picked up from there. Turning quickly Takato's eyes widened even further as he found Rika holding up a bag of her own that he didn't notice her having when he showed up, and a strange smile on her face.
"Not very fast on your feet are you?" She asked in a playful tone as she hefted the bag slightly, indicating whatever mysterious contents were contained within. For added emphasis, she tilted her head to one side and winked at him.
It was just then that Takato realized that he was in Guilmon's home with the only exit blocked by the girl in front of him. He was trapped.
True to his Goggleheaded form Takato, in his panic staggered backwards and tripped over his partner, sending himself falling backwards in a flurry of flying bread and squawking dinosaur while Rika looked on in dumb amazement. Takato crashed to the ground ungracefully, a chunk of rock from when Guilmon had dug up the floor upon his return from the digital world digging into the small of his back.
"Ouch…" Takato groaned, punctuating the silence that had fallen from his clumsy act.
Rika had time to note that puberty had done nothing to grace Takato with a better sense of balance since his last birthday.
Sighing, Rika shook her head and stepped into Guilmon's den. Walking over to her fallen friend Rika bent down and dug through her bag, producing a small package before she reached over and helped Takato sit back up.
"You really need to watch what you're doing and not overreact to things so much, Takato," Rika said to the boy in a serious tone.
"Yeah Takato," complained Guilmon as he got back up and began checking over his scattered bread. "That hurt."
"Sorry boy," said Takato with an apologetic smile on his face. "It just kind of came as a surprise. This isn't something that I expected to happen in a million years?"
Rika raised an eyebrow, looking rather hurt from that comment. "Is that what you think of me?" She half asked, half demanded, feeling rather insulted from her friends words. "You don't think that I can't show someone that I care for them?"
"Ah!" Exclaimed Takato, already berating himself for letting his mouth move faster than his brain. "No! It's not that! It's just…uh…"
Making a disgusted sound Rika shoved the small package that she had produced into his hands and got up to leave. "Happy Valentine's Day, Gogglehead."
"Wait! Rika!" Getting up to his feet Takato impulsively grabbed Rika by the arm, to which she responded by whirling about and glaring at him. Takato's courage faltered, but determined to right whatever wrong he had made Takato swallowed his courage and, metaphorically, moved forward.
"I'm sorry," he said carefully. "It's not that I didn't think that you wouldn't show someone that you care for them, it's just…well," Takato scratched the back of his head uncertainly, "it's just that I didn't think that you thought about me…um… 'in that way' before, not even when you teased me about being in love with you that day we met in that alley by your house."
Rika raised an eyebrow in confusion at her friend, at first wondering just what it was he was talking about before realization hit her. After a second a small chortle began to emerge from her mouth, which she attempted to stifle only to fail in that regard before breaking into full fledged laughter. Takato hand dropped from her arm in surprise as he stared at her, stunned at the sight of Rika laughing freely and without restraint. Behind them Guilmon looked more than a little alarmed and even Renamon looked somewhat startled at the sight. It was no wonder as Rika rarely laughed like this in front of anyone. In fact, the last time he had seen her like this had been at his bakery during the D-Reaper crisis when Guilmon had sneezed in the flour. That had been the first time he had seen her laugh without it being a chuckle or anything else. Free, undulated, and without a care for whoever heard or saw her. Not having the distraction of keeping any bread dough free from one of Guilmon's discharges Takato was able to hear it fully and found that the sound of Rika's laughter was actually quite beautiful to listen to. For some reason it reminded him of an angel.
"You're…" Rika fought to regain control of herself and more or less succeeded this time. "You're such a…Gogglehead!" As though the word explained everything Rika again burst into another fit of laughter before quickly forcing control back over herself. Takato waited for her to calm down, somewhat confused by what he had just been made witness to. Wiping her violet eyes of the tears that had sprung up from her laughter Rika fixed her eyes on Takato and smirked.
"You're really not all that bright, are you?" Rika indicated the bag with a nod of her head. Turning, Takato looked into it and noticed that there were more packages similar to his own. A number that approximated that of the Tamers that were her friends.
"Oh," Takato said simply, his face becoming awash with crimson as he realized his mistake. "Giri…"
"Uh-huh. That's right, Takato."
His shoulder's slumping Takato nodded as understanding fell heavily on his shoulders.
"Yup. Open mouth, insert foot."
"Better make it one of those chocolates I got you," Rika grinned. "It'll taste better and won't make you feel like a total idiot. Though I have to say that was certainly an interesting reaction. I never thought I'd frighten someone like that just because they thought I was confessing to them. Makes me wonder what would have happened if it were the real thing." Rika looked at Takato carefully, her eyes becoming thoughtful and strangely happy looking, as though she weren't in the least bit disgusted by the idea of Takato thinking that she had been in love with him.
Takato squirmed uncomfortably under her gaze.
"Stupid Gogglehead," she muttered, raising one hand to her mouth and, after pulling off the glove with her teeth, licked the thumb. "You've got dirt on your face."
Before Takato could even protest Rika mashed her thumb on his cheek, her eyes becoming focused as she strove to clean the spot of dirt that had gotten on him. While Rika scolded Takato for squirming Renamon smiled warmly at the sight before quietly fading from view, giving the two friends some measure of privacy.
Guilmon, for his part, just continued to stare in amazement.
"Rika," protested Takato, squirming under Rika's ministrations. "You really don't have to do this. C'mon. This is…wha…?"
Takato halted in his speaking as Rika ceased working and gently, almost tenderly, pressed the palm of her hand against his cheek. Feeling his face starting to heat up again Takato's crimson eyes met with Rika's violet ones. There was something in their sparkling depths that spoke to him. She looked quite serious for some reason. And the redness in her cheeks…
"Whoa!" Came the surprised voice of Terriermon from outside the gate. "Henry! Now I'm glad you made that detour! We would have totally missed this if we got here early!"
Bursting apart Takato and Rika both whirled about to see Henry and Terriermon, dangling precariously on his partner's shoulder, standing at the main entrance to Guilmon's hut.
"Huh…wha…?" Panted Takato in surprise, his mind trying to figure out just what had been going on scant seconds ago.
"Are you two on a date?" Teased Henry, a grin on his face. "I hope that I'm not interrupting anything."
"N-Nothing," replied Rika, obviously flustered and trying to cover it up as she grabbed her bag and began routing through the contents within, quickly producing two packages. "I was just…um…giving Gogglehead his Valentine's chocolate. I bought some for everyone."
"Sure looked like he was getting a lot more than Giri to me," scoffed Terriermon as he resettled on his partner's shoulder, apparently his balance had been upset by the sight that he had been made witness to.
"Terriermon…" came the expected response from Henry, but from the look on his face the half-Chinese Tamer didn't believe Rika's excuse any more than Terriermon did. Between the two of them though he was at least willing to let it fly.
"The stupid Gogglehead tripped over his own partner," said Rika. "That's why I was down there with him…"
"No one was going to ask," began Henry only to be interrupted by his partner.
"I sure was! Oh man. Henry, what are you doing not asking about this? There are people who would pay money to get the scoop on something like this…"
In what was fast becoming a routine series of interruptions, Terriermon was abruptly cut off as a flying box of chocolates hit him full in the face, finally accomplishing what the previous scene didn't and knocking the rabbit-dog digimon off his partner's shoulder. Henry chuckled as he bent down and picked his partner up.
While Rika began to rail into Terriermon about his manners and Henry's need to teach him tact and respect Takato sat fully down on the ground and exhaled air he didn't know he had been holding. Guilmon wandered on over to his partner and sniffed him carefully.
"Takato? You okay?"
"I'm fine, boy," he replied, his cheeks heating up once again. "Just feeling a little lost right now."
"You should take notes with Calumon then," chirped Guilmon happily. "He gets lost all the time."
Takato laughed lightly and patted his partner on the head.
"Somehow I don't think he'd be able to help me with this one. Thanks anyway."
As Rika's argument with Terriermon continued Takato found his gaze drawn to her, where it settled for a moment thoughtfully.
Takato shook his head in resignation. There had been far too much excitement for one day without him adding anything else to it.
A/N: For those that are curious, Giri is 'obligation chocolate' given out by girls from Japan on Valentine's Day, which is meant to be reciprocated on White Day by the boys one month after Valentine's Day and doesn't have to be taken to mean romantic interest from the giver. Anyway, hope that you enjoyed this fic, and happy Valentine's Day everyone.