That night, through my eyes

Her Dilemma

AN: Well it's me again, the guy who wrote that horrible Valentine's day story last month with the cross biomerging. I hope that this story is better…received and just all around better. I've gone back and made some corrections to 'A Valentine's Day to Remember' so it's more reader friendly (though it still has the underlined parts). Now, this story will be four chapters long, each telling the events of the night Rika stayed over at Takato's, and what happened, (hence the title) Now, please bare with me, as this is only my second attempt at writing a Digimon fic, and my second, possibly third (depending on your point of view) attempt at something with fluff of any sort. I have some plans for what happened the day after, as well as the 'date' that followed. Also, I intend to clear up some other things (the cross biomerging and Hazard flash) in the last one to make for a better story overall. Now, with that out of the way, onwards to the story! Oh, and before I forget, I have a poll set up on my profile, if those of you who read this would be as so kind to vote it would help with a…disagreement with a fellow fan of the Digimon series greatly. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon, I own a DVD set of it now (03, the best season ever) but that's it. Digimon and its characters are the property of Bandi Namco Entertainment.

"Matsuki family bakery," Rika read the sign under her breath.

It was a place she found herself becoming increasingly familiar with as of late. Though it was not the smallest of the Tamer's dwellings (that was Henry's) it was a close second. Yet, it was here that the Tamer's would meet up most frequently, aside from the park hideout of course.

A little over an hour ago, she and one of her fellow Tamer's had dealt with three bioemergences, and a rather…unique situation. Due to a freak accident, she had biomerged with Guilmon, while her partner had merged with Takato Matsuki, her friend, and in this case, her only hope of 'escape'. The experience had been mostly an annoyance, but it had provided her with some insight into the goggle wearing teen.

She had hoped to learn a bit more from Renamon, but the vulpine warrior had been fairly tightlipped on the subject, only responding with a silent stare, or replying 'Nothing important'.

"Ugh, where is he? Don't tell me he got lost just trying to get to his own house," Rika groaned, but with noticeably less venom than she would have a few years earlier.

"He is getting close Rika, I can hear him now."

Rika looked up at her partner with a quirked brow.

"Gallantmon's armor is not exactly suited for stealth, nor was it designed with speed in mind."

Rika's eyebrow rose slightly higher, and was now accompanied by a small smirk. "Renamon, was that a joke?"

The yellow fox was about to reply when a series of heavy clunking footfalls cut her off.

"Ok, here is good," Gallantmon said stepping around the corner and nearly knocking Rika to the ground.

"Hey! Watch it Gogglehead!"

"Huh? Oh, sorry Rika!"

A bright red flash filled the area for a brief second before fading into nothingness, leaving behind a somewhat confused red dinosaur and a very frightened teen in its place.

"What took you so long? We've been waiting out here for almost ten minutes!" Rika Hissed.

"S-sorry Rika, but we, we got a little turned around. It's not like I could just run down the sidewalk or across the street." Takato defended.

"I hate to admit it, but he's right. If normal people saw Gallantmon running around the streets they'd be terrified, and if any of the others saw him, it would be a little hard to explain…."

"How'd you get here so fast anyway? Renamon poof you the whole way?"

At this the yellow fox stepped forward.

"No, I have not used Kohenkyo since before the battle with the MetalMamamon. Rika ran on her own, while I used the roof tops to avoid drawing attention to myself."

Takato's face showed genuine shock.

"You mean you ran the entire way? All the way from the park, to my place?"

Rika nodded smugly.

"And you're perfectly fine? You don't feel like, dropping dead or coughing up a lung?" Takao asked suspiciously.

Rika's face, while at first smirking, quickly switched to her usual mask of annoyance, with just a touch of hurt.

"What? You don't think I could do it just because I'm a girl?" She asked accusingly.

Takato raised his hands in defense.

"No! No! Nothing like that! I was just surprised, that's all….You're in really good shape."

Turning on her heel to hide the subtle tint on her cheeks, Rika faced the bakery before responding.

"So how do we explain this to your parents? It can't be too often that you have company stay overnight," Rika asked/stated to change the subject as she walked towards the small business.

"Hey! That's not true. Henry's been here a couple of times, and me Kazu and Kenta had a few video game tournaments that lasted through till morning. Even Jeri stayed over the night after we took down the D-Reaper."

Rika stopped in her tracks and spun to face the boy with a glare.

"Oh? And let me guess, Mr. Perfect spends every weekend here too right?

A small part of her enjoyed seeing the Tamer's unofficial 'leader' jump then squirm under her gaze, but another part felt guilty, while a third part felt slightly hurt for some reason.

"I..uh…no. Ryo's never even been here before. At least I don't think he has. You two are the only ones that haven't….well, unless you count Suzi, Ai and Marko, they haven't either, but they have stopped by to pick up bread with their parents a few times in the," Rika, knowing that she had forced him to mode change into 'Takatomon babble mode' as Terriermon called it, cut him off.

"Look, I'm really, really tired. I haven't eaten anything since lunch, and I just want to call it a night. So, could you please cut the useless chit chat and get this over with?"

Since she was pinching her nose at the time, Rika missed the hurt expression that flashed across the boys face. When she opened her eyes all she saw was his usual goofy smile and him scratching the back of his head nervously.

"Sorry about that. I guess I got a bit carried away." Looking over at Renamon, he scratched his chin.

"Can you…uhh…can you pretend that you were hurt? Or that you're tired?"

Renamon was about to reply when Rika cut in.

"Just act like you would after being around Terriermon all day."

The effect was immediate. The yellow fox's shoulders slumped and her face became so devoid of emotion that it was hard to tell if she was sleep walking, or just very tired. Also, while he wasn't sure due to the lack of light, Takato could have sworn that her fur actually changed from its usual glossy yellow to a dull bland shade.

"That good enough?"

Takato snickered before nodding. "Yeah, she looks like she went ten rounds with Beezlemon."

"Uh, Gogglehead, we just got back from a big battle remember? Can you act at least a little tired?"

Stopping for a moment, Takato slumped his shoulders and ruffled his hair a bit. He also made sure to rumple his clothes a little to make it look like he had just come out of a fight.

"Huh, he's actually pretty good at this. I wonder where…,"

"Just don't tell my mom we were in any danger ok? She gets a bit…well, you remember how she is," Takato said frowning slightly before turning back towards his home.

"You coming or what?" He called out over his shoulder.

"Come on Renamon," Rika said before feeling a paw come to rest on her shoulder.

"Something wrong?"

Renamon shook her head. "No, nothing is wrong Rika, but you might want to give him….a little break. He did open up his home to us for the night, and has offered you safe haven from tomorrow, has he not?"

"Safe haven? Renamon, it's not like I'm being hunted or anything. Besides, you heard him yourself. Everyone else has already spent the night here before, and I've been here plenty of times before. It's no big deal."

"Maybe, maybe not. Just remember, he offered, and you accepted. What you said about being here before is true, but keep in mind that this is the first time you were ever invited."

"What is she talking about? I haven't been that rude. Sure, I snapped at him a little back there, but it's not like I meant anything of it, he knows that right?"

Shrugging, Rika and Renamon walked to the bakery.

"Really? Then where is she? If what you're saying is true then why are you by yourself? I told you that dinner is at eight o'clock unless there is an emergency!"

"Mom! I'm telling you, it's true!"

"Excuse me, Miss Matsuki?"

Said woman looked up and was surprised to see Rika and a very worn out Renamon standing in her doorway.

"Rika? So then…it was true?"

Doing a complete one eighty, the woman quickly moved towards the young girl with a worried expression on her face.

"Are you ok? We have a first aid kit in the back," Rika shook her head slowly before letting out a tired yawn (on cue).

"I'm fine Mrs. Matsuki. Just a bit tired…." Her stomach decided to make its presence known at this time with a weak, but still audible growl.

Cheeks tinting slightly pink, the girl clutched her stomach.

"And a little hungry."

The older woman smiled warmly before turning to the girl's partner.

"What about you? Are you ok?"

Renamon nodded her head slowly before speaking.

"I am…fine. I just need to rest for a little while."

"I understand, how long do you need, and hour? Two?"

"Great, so much for getting out of tomorrow. Thanks a lot Gogglehead. I was almost home, then I ran all the way here, now I have to go back home after wasting an hour just to cover for him. Ugh, I'll be lucky to get an hour of sleep tonight."

Imagine her surprise when she saw Renamon lifting her arm to shake in dismissal, only to sway for a moment before leaning heavily against the counter, even to the point of gripping it with both arms to prop herself up.

"I..am…sorry, but I think that…I think that I might need a bit longer than that."

"Since when did Renamon become such a good actor?"

"Mom, me and Guilmon found them a few blocks from here. During the fight she was dedigivolved, I saw it with my own eyes. The only time that happens is if they're caught off guard, or if they're completely exhausted."

"Hmm, not bad Takato. Throwing out little bits of what happened with random facts, while not telling the whole story. It's not lying, but it's still pretty sneaky. Who knew he had it in him?"

"Well….we don't have much room Takato, you know that," his mother said casting a sideways glace at Rika, one that the girl didn't like, but chose to ignore for now.

"It's ok mom. I can sleep on the couch, and I bet our carpet is softer than the hideouts concrete floor," Takato offered, hinting at Guilmon.

As Rika watched the exchange between mother and son, she couldn't help but feel some animosity being sent her way, but she wasn't sure why. Before anything serious could happen however, someone upstairs decided to take mercy on her.

"Takato, why don't you give me a hand in helping your friend upstairs? She looks like she's about to pass out."

Rika stepped aside as Takato and his father each took a side, and helped her 'exhausted' partner upstairs, leaving her alone with the boys mother.

"Ok, tell me exactly what happened. My son has told me plenty about you, and between what he's said and what I know for myself, you're not exactly the type to run away from a fight, even if you should."

Rika, though caught off guard by the woman's ability to switch moods on the fly, kept her cool as she responded.

"There was a bioemergence, me and Renamon went to take care of it. The fight got ugly, but we won. Then some Mega comes out of nowhere making me and Renamon run until we could come up with a plan. I guess we were lucky that Takato found us," Rika said with a shrug.

"And what exactly happened to this, Mega?"

Rika's face went from passive to a small smile. "Takato and Guilmon made it go away."

The older woman narrowed here eyes suspiciously, causing Rika to throw up a distraction to get the woman off her case.

"Look, past aside, I'm not going to do anything that would put me or any of my friends in danger. I will run if I have to. I know my limits, and I know what Renamon is capable of. Ask Takato if you don't believe me, even he wouldn't let Guilmon fight a full power Mega if he just got finished with a fight, no matter how small it was."

The woman, while skeptical knew that what the girl was saying was true, so she had no other choice than to accept it.

Deciding to try and change the subject, while at the same time take care of something else Rika asked the question she had been dreading since this whole plan had been put into motion.

"Excuse me, but if it's not too much trouble, could I use your phone to call my Grandmother? She's probably worried about me, and I need to let her know that I'll be staying here tonight. That is, if it's ok with you."

"Of course, the phone is over there. I'll see if I can find anything for to eat," the older woman said as she returned to the kitchen.

Rika let out a sigh of relief when the woman left, and picked up the phone off the wall.

Dialing her home number, Rika waited as the phone rang once, twice, three times before it was finally answered.

"Hello, Takato, is that you? Have you seen Rika?"

Rika blinked for a moment before remembering that they had a caller ID, so of course her grandmother would know where she was calling form.

"Um, actually Grandma, it's me."

"Rika?! Do you have any idea how worried I've been? I was just about to call the police!"

Rika took a deep breath to calm herself. If she wanted this to work she had to keep her cool.

"I know, I'm sorry Grandma, I'm really sorry, but something came up and I couldn't call you until just now."

"What happened? Rika, are you ok? You're not hurt are you?"

Rika did feel pretty bad about worrying her Grandmother, but at the same time she knew that she would agree with her later. For now though, she had to make her act sell.

"No grandma, I'm fine, just a little tired, and a bit shook up. There was a group of bioemergences that came though all at once, then after dealing with them we came across a Mega, but everything's ok now, Takato showed up and helped take care of it."

"Well that's a relief; I know that you're strong dear, but I still worry about you. It's very dangerous what you're out there doing."

"I know grandma, but…this is my job. I have to help out, besides, the others are always there right?" Rika said, trying to steer the conversation into more cheerful waters.

"Yes, you have strong friends Rika, something I am very thankful for…but why are you calling from the Matsuki's? Rika, you know that your mother's flight is due soon, and you need to be here."

Rika bit her tongue before she vented any. Now was not the time.

"Yeah….about that. See, after everything settled down I kind of ended up on the other side of town, and Renamon's too tired to make it back tonight."

"I see, and as late as it is now, it wouldn't be a very good idea for you to walk back home on your own. Where are you planning on staying the night?"

Rika took a deep breath.

"Ok Rika, its show time."

"Well, about that, Takato's parents said I could stay here tonight, but only if I got your permission first, sooo," Rika left the sentence hanging.

"I guess its ok for you to stay there, as long as it's ok with his parents. But you need to be here pretty early tomorrow. Your mother wants you to meet," for the first time she could remember in her life, Rika cut her grandmother off.

"I can't."

Silence

"Rika, you know how important this is to your mother."

Shutting her eyes tightly, Rika's grip on the phone tightened until her knuckles turned white.

"Please, please don't make me. It's always the same, every time. What is this? The fourth one?" Rika's voice was borderline peeved, but there was a desperate undertone as well that she knew her Grandmother would pick up on.

"You know your mother is just trying to look out for you. She wants to make sure you don't."

"Make the same mistakes she did, I know. But I don't need her help, especially not with that. If I ever make that choice, it will be mine and not hers." Rika hissed.

"You can't keep putting it off. You know how your mother is."

Chuckling, Rika shook her head ruefully.

"I know, but right now that's the last thing I want to think about. Please, just, just tell her that Renamon needs to rest. We'll be back as soon as she's recovered."

"Which will be around mid Sunday, isn't that right?"

"What? Yes, I mean, no!"

"I messed up! Come on, if anyone can hear this up there, someone please give me a break, just for once in my life!" Rika pleaded mentally.

"Young lady, it might have been quite a few years ago, but I was your age at one time."

"I.."

"So don't worry. I will explain it to your mother when she arrives."

"Thanks Grandma," Rika was surprised when she was cut off by the older woman.

"Oh don't thank me; I intend to collect on this in the future young lady. But if you really want your mother to stop looking for you, you need to look for yourself. In fact, while you're there with that nice young lad."

Rika, now redder than her own hair sputtered.

"GRANDMA!"

The older Nonaka chuckled before saying goodbye and hanging up.

"Uh, Rika, are you ok?"

Jumping at feeling someone touch her shoulder, Rika spun around quickly to face whoever it was.

"Yes!" Seeing the boy's worried face, and remembering Renamon's advice, she sighed before speaking again.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Grandma just has a way of bringing up certain things…at bad times," Rika said lamely.

"Man, I'll say. You're as red as Guilmon. Whatever she said must have upset you pretty bad."

Silently thanking her ancestors or whatever higher beings existed for Takato denseness, Rika sighed again to cover her relief.

"It's ok; she said I can stay for the night."

"Oh, well that's good right? Mission accomplished," Takato said smiling nervously.

"Looks like it," Rika replied before noticing the way her friend was acting. "Are you ok?"

For the first time since nearly running her over, Rika got a good look at the boys face. Though his expression was mostly happy, she could see a just a little bit of fear flashing across his eyes as well as a hint of red on his cheeks.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say that he was…blushing?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah I'm fine. Dad was just giving me a hard time, that's all."

"Your dad was teasing you? Why?" Rika asked, confused at why the man would have teased his son, since the two always seemed to get along so well.

At this the boys face turned an even deeper shade of red.

"It's not important….just….don't worry about it. If he says anything, just ignore it."

"Kids! Dinner!"

Both Takato and Rika's stomachs growled, as if to remind them that it had been close to nine hours since they ate.

"Coming mom!" Takato shouted, running towards the kitchen area with a confused Rika in tow.

Rika ate the dinner (which had obviously been reheated) in silence. Takato's mother had left after putting the plates down, and his father soon followed, but not until after whispering something to his son causing him to turn bright red and almost choke on his dinner.

"Ok, something's up. I've only seen him turn that red twice since we met."

Still not moving from her seat, Rika raised an eyebrow as she lowered her chopsticks.

"Are you ok?"

Still sputtering, Takato tried to respond as he continued choking. A powerful slap, courtesy of Guilmon (which caused a small chunk of noodle to fly across the table and almost land on her plate) ended the sputtering.

"Sorry! I just."

"Almost choked to death on a piece of old noodle? Yeah, I can see that," Rika teased.

The boy tinged pink and looked away, but Rika still caught his expression.

"For god's sakes Gogglehead, what's wrong with you? You're acting like Ryo every time Kazu's around. Why are you so jittery?" (1)

"I..uh…just..nothing, don't worry about it."

Creasing her brow, Rika forced in another mouthful of lukewarm noodles as she tried to sort what was happening.

"Something's wrong with him, but what is it? He's been off all day actually….ARGH! I'm no good with this kind of thing! Where's Jeri when you need her! She always knows what's wrong with him…no! No Jeri! I'm his friend; I've known him just as long as she has, so I should be able to figure this out."

Taking another few mouthfuls, she ran over what she knew.

"Ok, he was fidgety all day, especially at lunch, then when I was going to go home he came up with the first plan, then we dealt with the MetalMamamon, then he came up with this plan, he goes with his dad and comes back acting even weirder, then his dad said something to make him almost choke to death….GAGAAAAAAA! I'm a fighter not a psychologist!"

"Rika? Is the food alright? I know my mom makes the stuff a little hot sometimes, but I didn't think you had a problem with spicy food?"

Pulled out of her thoughts Rika looked across the table.

"What?"

"Your face was all scrunched up; I thought maybe you didn't like spicy food or something."

"Crud he's on to me! Quick Rika, think of something, anything!" Not able to come up with anything decent, she threw out the first thing that came to mind.

"No it's fine. I was just…thinking about…today…"

Takato's face seemed to darken slightly as he responded. "Oh….yeah, I guess that would make you pretty upset."

After several minutes of extremely uncomfortable silence, Takato tried to speak up.

"So, uh…you…want any seconds? I think we still got some more if you're still hungry."

Setting her chopsticks down, Rika shook her head. "I'm fine, I just want to take a…" Rika groaned before slamming her head on the table.

"Rika! Are you ok?!" Takato shouted as he ran around to her side of the table.

With a groan Rika looked up at the boy, clearly irritated.

"A shower," she said deadpan.

"What?!"

"A shower Gogglehead. I've been wearing these clothes all day, and between running around the park, then all the way back here…." Rika let out another long groan as she dropped her head onto the table.

"We-we well, uh…you…you could, I mean, we have extra towels and stuff, so," Takato's sputtering was brought to a quick halt by a pair of angry violet orbs.

"Aren't you forgetting something? Something important!?"

Seeing the boy's blank look, Rika groaned again.

"Geeze how can anyone be that dense! It isn't rocket science!" Rika thought as she trembled slightly out of irritation.

"Clothes! Clothes Gogglehead! What am I supposed to wear? I'm not going to take a shower just so I can put these back on to sleep in!"

Takato blinked, then turned fire engine red before stuttering.

"You-well, there is-I mean, you could-if you, wanted that is, I mean."

Rika's shoulders slumped as she lowered her head to the table and gently taped it several times.

"This whole day has been nothing but one punch to the gut after another. Curse you Jeri! I knew I shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning!"

In a rare moment of weakness, the girl let out a shuddered breath. Not quite crying, but it was as close as you could get without actually tears.

"Why? Why does everything have to be so freaking hard? I don't ask for much, so why do I always get even less?" She asked softly.

Hearing movement behind her, Rika flinched when she heard Takato clearing his throat, and looked up with tired, weakened eyes.

"As long as you don't have a problem with it, I've got a spare gym uniform you could wear, and..well…Jeri left some spare clothes here in case she had another….well, you know."

Rika's exhausted mind caught bits and pieces of what he was saying and tried to put it together as best it could. Unfortunately she only picked up on a few key words.

"Jeri left spare cloths here? Why?" Rika felt a mix of anger and relief at the same time.

Sighing, Rika got up and took her plate to the sink. "It can't be any worse than wearing these to sleep. Come on."

"Huh? Me? Where?"

"I'm not digging through your closet," Rika explained as she dragged the boy upstairs to where she knew his room to be.

Opening the door, Rika was surprised by what she saw.

The room was just as small as she remembered it, but that was the only thing that was the same as it had been all those years ago.

Renamon looked up from the bottom bunk on the right side of the room, but there was not enough light for Rika to read her expression. The left side of the room was a large closet, and in the middle, right under the room's only window, was a desk with a computer.

That was all the same.

What was different was the walls.

Before they had been mostly blank, aside from one or two posters, but now there was hardly an empty space to be found.

Various drawings and a handful of posters now covered the walls, and even the ceiling much to her disbelief.

Stepping forward, Rika examined a large poster sized drawing of Beelzemon in his Hyper Mode.

"Where'd you find this? It must have cost you a year's worth of allowance," Rika joked.

"Huh? Oh that old thing? I did it last year. I showed it to everyone, remember?" Takato asked looking up from the pile of clothes he was digging through.

Rika thought back, but couldn't for the life of her recall ever seeing it before.

"You and Ryo were going at it again…like always." Takato muttered the last part, but she still caught it and was surprised by the tone he spat it with.

"You did this? You?" Rika asked with a surprised tone.

Takato laughed as he went back to digging through his closet. "Yeah, well, I know my first couple of drawings were a bit rough."

Rika snorted

"But I figured that if I really wanted to get into the illustrating business, you know, designing Digimon cards or maybe even work on the show if it's still running when I finish school, that I'd need to get better."

"So you decided to practice?" Rika asked as she turned to see some of the other drawings.

"Yeah, I practice my butt off! I've been going through notebooks faster than my mom could buy me new ones. I did all of these." Takato said proudly as he gestured towards his walls and ceiling with one arm, while his other continued searching.

As Takato's search through his closet continued, Rika decided to look around a bit at some of his other drawings.

Most were held in place by tacks, so that they could be removed without ripping them, but something caught her attention.

A single picture frame on the opposite wall reflected light across the room, almost as if it were drawing her to it.

When she reached it, she almost chuckled at what it held.

Two pieces of lined paper from a pocket notebook. On the left was Guilmon, the first Guilmon picture to be exact. She remembered that the first time he showed it to her, it had taken everything she had not to burst out laughing. Though the only expression she showed was a raised eyebrow, on the inside she was trying to figure out how Guilmon turned out looking as normal as he did.

"I guess the D-Arc's tweak things a bit. If it went by just this thing Guilmon would have turned out looking like ToyAgumon at best."

The second picture however, made her shudder.

It, like the other was a first picture. It was the first picture of Growlmon.

Now Rika had seen many things in her young life. Far more than the average sixteen year old. After everything she had been through, after everything she had seen, not much was able to scare her. She could watch the entire Friday the 13th series while eating a steak dinner cooked rare without flinching.

But Growlmon still got to her on occasion.

There was just something wrong about him. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but it was there. WarGrowlmon was actually not quite as bad for some reason, and Gallantmon was even less threatening than Guilmon in her mind. His presence actually comforted her for some strange reason.

She would never forget the day Guilmon first digivolved. The roar that made her spine shiver, the eyes that to this day she could remember with crystal clarity, or the heartless, almost cruel savagery he attacked with.

She told herself it was stupid over and over. Growlmon had never attacked her, or anyone else. He had actually saved her a few times, and there was the added fact that she and Renamon had fought beside him for years. But she just couldn't shake the memories of that night he fought Devidramon from her mind.

"Ah ha! Found you!"

Rika jumped at the boy's cheerful exclamation and turned to glare.

"I found them! They haven't been worn in a while, but at least they're clean, I promise," Takato said holding out the clothes for Rika to examine.

Rika eyed the blue shorts and white shirt carefully. They were, as she had predicted, quite a bit larger than anything she would ever wear, but the shorts did have a draw string, and as Takato had pointed out, they were clean.

"Oh, and uh, about the…uh..…you know, just go through here and take whatever you need, I don't think Jeri would mind," Takato said as he pulled a small backpack from under his bed.

Eyeing the boy carefully, Rika unzipped the backpack and looked inside.

The first thing she saw was a familiar green dress.

"Why do you have a backpack full of Jeri's clothes in your room? Under your bed?" Rika asked with narrowed eyes.

Takato sighed as he sat on his bed, just missing Renamon's tail (which she moved without a word, letting Rika know that she was in fact awake).

"Rika…what I'm about to tell you can never leave this room ok?"

Rika was stunned by the weight of the boys tone, but nodded to signal that she understood.

"After we beat the D-Reaper, Jeri…Jeri went through a lot, you know that right?"

Only due to the severity of the subject did Rika not roll her eyes, but again nodded, this time slowly before replying.

"Yeah, she lost her partner, then was used as a container to bring the D-Reaper to our world, then got used as a puppet after it took over. But we got her out of there, well, you did," Rika answered matter of factly.

"Mostly true, but she was still messed up Rika. Her mind just….it almost slipped, even after everything turned out ok. She needed someone to keep her going; she needed someone to just…be there for her."

"And that was you. Yeah, yeah, I know. You think I-we didn't notice her clinging to your arm every day since then?" Rika replied with a small amount of annoyance.

"Rika, you have no idea what it was like for her. She almost...she almost gave up, several times after that. The reason she stuck so close to me was she had lost her will to keep going. She used it up when she broke free from the D-Reaper. Since then she's spent the night here every now and then, but she's been getting better."

"So what, you're going out now, big whoop. Damsel in distress gets her gallant knight in shining armor, end of story."

Takato looked up at Rika with an expression of pure confusion.

"Going out? What are you talking about? She's like a sister to me."

Rika shot him a deadpan look.

"Ok, so maybe I did…kind of have a crush on her, and maybe she had…a small one on me."

"Small? Yeah, maybe if your idea of small is MegaGargomon," Rika thought to herself.

"We just got too close you know. There's a point when you just know too much about someone, you know them too well, and I guess….I guess we crossed it while I was trying to help her pull herself back together," Takato said glumly.

Rika was lost, completely and utterly lost. She had no experience in helping others with this sort of problem, heck, she herself dealt with it either by bottling it up, or taking it out on others, usually Takato or Terriermon, (which ever she could get a hold of easier at the time.)

"I…uh..." Rika tried to find the words to say, but nothing came to mind.

"Forget about it. It's in the past right?" Takato said tiredly.

Rika just nodded before digging into the backpack, praying to find a pair of under clothes.

"Success!" She thought as she found what she was looking for. Smirking at the thought of a hot shower, she got up quickly and reached for the hem of her shirt when her brain kicked in to remind her about something,

Something kind of important.

"Uh, Takato, could you…uh," Rika asked clearing her throat.

The frozen teen jumpstarted to life, shaking his head before replying. "Oh, yeah, uh, I'll be down stairs…umm…goodnight," Takato said quickly before turning to leave.

"Hey I still need a towel! And a."

"Way ahead of you, I grabbed that on the way up," Takato said pointing at a fluffy white towel on the top bunk before continuing. "Just check the closet across from the shower, that's where we keep everything else."

With that the boy left the room, closing the door behind him.

Rika let out what seemed to be the millionth sigh of the day as she closed the window blinds then changed out before wrapping the towel closely around herself. She then walked out of the room and closed the door behind her.

Had she paid closer attention, she would have noticed a small 'click' as she did so.

The wash room was just across the hall from Takato's room, she knew that. The only other door on the upper floor was his parent's room, which was at the end of the hall. She could make out some muffled noise coming from it, but decided against snooping, especially since she was just a guest.

Rika was surprised that nothing happened while she was in the shower, having half expected the water to drop below freezing, or for one of his parents to come in, though she knew Takato himself wouldn't, either out of fear or respect she wasn't sure though.

Drying off, she quickly wrapped the towel around herself before sticking her head out of the door.

"Looks like the coast is clear, good."

Moving across the hallway as fast as she could, she reached out with her free hand to open the door.

Rika's eyes widened.

"No…no…no there is no way my luck is that bad!"

Twisting the knob again, this time with a bit more force, Rika's face went from annoyed, to angered, until it finally became desperate.

"I can't believe this!" Rika wasn't sure if she felt like screaming, crying, or doing both at the same time.

No matter how much she tried to twist the knob, it remained still.

Locked

Making sure that her towel was secure, Rika lowered herself so that she was eye level with the door knob.

It didn't have a key hole, but there was a small hole of some sort in the center.

"Uh, stupid western style doors. How do people live with these things?"

Rising back up quickly, Rika weighed her options.

"I could probably kick the door in…but then Gogglehead would come running to see what was going on…and his parents would too and we'd both be in hot water. I know Renamon can't open it because her paws are too big….I could go get his parents….yeah, I'm sure that'd go over great, a half soaked girl wrapped in a bath towel asking for help getting inside their sixteen year old son's room. If I'm lucky they'll just kill me and won't call my home. The only other thing I can do is…get…"

Rika bit her lip before swallowing the lump in her throat.

"Why does life hate me? What did I ever do to deserve this?" Looking down, Rika tried to decide if she should pull the towel higher or lower, either way left her showing a little too much for her taste. Gathering her courage, Rika made her way down the stairs, making sure to check behind her for Takato's parents. This was one problem she did not want to have to explain her way out of.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she listened for any possible sound, trying to pinpoint where the boy was.

Snore

Rika's eyes widened. "He's asleep already? I was only up there for ten minutes." Knowing that she was only stalling the issue at hand, Rika moved as quietly as she could into the living room.

Sure enough, there on the couch, under a pile of blankets she was able to make out a shock of brown hair sticking out at one end. Sprawled out across the ground under the couch was an equally peaceful Guilmon.

Moving quickly, Rika reached the side of the couch where she could see Takato's head, and lowered herself behind the armrest, so that only her head was visible.

"Takato, hey, Takato!" Rika hissed.

The sleeping boy stirred slightly, only to turn and face the other way.

"Na…Jer…Rik…I'm….wit…snore."

Rika's eyebrow twitched.

"He even dreams about her? Over his crush my hide," Rika thought as she balled her free hand into a fist.

"Gogglehead…wake…up…now," Rika hissed before her anger seemed to just evaporate, allowing her desperation to peak through her normally controlled self.

"Please….I…need help," Rika said, lowering her head in shame.

The boy's breath seemed to hitch for a brief moment before his head moved upwards towards her face.

Blinking slowly, Takato's light red eyes focused on the girl hovering above him.

"Is…this….another dream?" He asked groggily.

Blushing down to her neck, Rika cleared her throat.

"I…there's a problem."

Takato tried to move up but Rika wanted to keep him put if at all possible.

"Don't move!" She hissed before continuing. "Look, there….is…is there any way to open your door if it's locked from the inside?" Rika asked in a hushed tone, though there was a panicky edge to it.

"Wha…why? Did you lock yourself out or something?"

Rika nodded in response, but averted her eyes.

"Oh…no big…I'll get yawn it for you, just give me a sec."

Eyes wide, Rika rose and pushed the boy back down with her free arm.

"Just tell me how to do it! Please,…don't get up," she pleaded.

Takato's brow creased in confusion and worry as he saw the girl's expression.

"Rika, are you ok? What happened?"

"How did he go from being asleep to wide awake that fast? Normally he's as bad as Guilmon."

"Look, I just…I need to know how. I can't tell you why, but you just have to trust me."

Takato opened his mouth to speak, when it happened.

"Takato? Are you down there?"

Rika's eyes widened as her pupils shrank to the size of pinheads and her mouth formed a gaping O of horror at the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs.

"Rika? What's going on?" Takato asked with a worried tone.

Head drooping, Rika felt almost every fiber she had left break.

"I'm done for...this is it. I might as well stand my ground. No way am I going down like a coward," Rika thought as she rose up off her knees and took a step forward.

"Rika? Why are you?" Takato asked in confusion at seeing her current state.

Head down in shame, Rika was about to try and explain as quickly as she could before the boy's mother reached them when she felt his hand clamp down on her arm.

Looking up in surprise, Rika was about to demand that he let go if he wanted to be able to walk for the next month when she found herself looking directly into Takato's eyes.

"What on earth? His eyes...what is that look?"

Before she could give it a second thought she found herself being pushed back onto the couch with surprising force.

"Takato?! What are you?!"

"Shissh! Keep quiet, and whatever you do don't move!" Takato said with his 'charge into battle' voice before pushing her further against the back of the couch, then dropping down with his back facing her and quickly pulling the blankets up over them both.

"WHAT DOES HE THINK HE'S DOING?!" Rika demanded in her mind as she got ready to remind the boy just who he was dealing with.

"Takato? Are you in here?"

She froze.

"Yeah mom?" Takato asked with a groggy voice before yawning.

Rika heard a pair of footsteps enter the living room, and felt her insides twist into knots.

"I was just checking on you. I tried to open your door but it was locked from the inside, you're not hiding anything are you?"

Rika swallowed as she tried to shrink herself out of existence.

"I can't believe this. I'm hiding under a blanket, wrapped in a towel, behind TAKATO of all people, with his parents less than ten feet away interrogating him. Is this normal? Does this happen to everyone or is it just me?" Rika thought ruefully.

"MOM!"

"Mie, honey, leave the boy alone. He's had a long day, and I doubt his friend would have gone through the trouble of staying here just to,"

"DAD!"

Despite the severity of the situation, Rika found herself in somewhat higher spirits.

"I should have known better. What was I worried about; this is Takato, thickheaded, acts before he thinks Takato, not some hormonal teenage boy."

"Can't you just let me sleep in peace? I've got a ton of homework due Monday, and I told you already that I'm not missing the Digimon marathon Sunday," Takato said with an annoyed tone.

Rika heard something that sounded like chuckling, which she assumed to be from Takehiro.

"Come on dear, let the boy sleep. He's got the morning shift tomorrow too after all."

Listening closely, Rika was able to hear the two sets of footsteps grow softer and further away, until eventually she heard a door close somewhere upstairs.

Letting out a sigh of relief, Rika was about to tell Takato to move when he did so on his own.

"Sorry about shoving you like that. I just didn't want you getting in trouble," Takato said looking away.

Rika was confused by this until she remembered her current state of dress.

Or rather, her lack thereof.

"Ye-yeah, quick thinking there Tak-Gogglehead," Rika caught herself just in time. She didn't know why she almost called him by his given name, she only did that when things were generally ok, which now was not the case.

"Come on, let's get you back upstairs before mom comes back, or dad gets the midnight munchies."

"He…he really is trying isn't he?" Rika couldn't help but smile. It wasn't even close in size to one of her annoyed smirks, but it was a genuine smile.

The two made their way up the stairs cautiously. With Takato in the front checking around each corner before signiling her that the coast was clear.

Reaching his room, Takato stood on the tips of his toes so that he could reach the top of the door frame. A second later he brought back his hands holding what looked like a paper clip.

"Is that a?"

Without looking behind him, Takato replied.

"Yeah, it's a paper clip. I've locked myself out a couple of times in the past, and I didn't want to have to come down stairs looking for one every time it happened," he said as he pushed the thin end inside the small hole and twisted it until a 'pop' sound was heard.

Twisting the door knob, Takato opened the door before turning to face down the hall towards his parents room.

"Go on, get in, I'll put this back after your inside," Takato said nervously.

Stepping inside the room, Rika felt a little bad for some reason. She didn't know why she did it, she just did.

"Gogglehead?"

"Hmm? Something wrong?" Takato asked, still looking towards his parents room.

"Gogglehead, look at me when I'm talking to you," Rika said, slightly annoyed at both how he was acting, and the odd 'bad' feeling in her stomach.

Ever so slowly the boy turned his head towards her. Rika was a bit surprised (and pleased) that his head remained leveled and that he only looked at her face, focusing on her eyes.

"I'm not very good at this, but…thanks."

Takato blinked.

"That's it?"

Rika's eyebrow rose in a warning manner.

"Yes, why? Were you expecting someth," before she could finish, the boy cut in.

"No! Absolutely not!"

"I can't let this go without doing something. He's just too easy," Rika thought as she felt that she was in control of things for once since the day had started.

Smirking, Rika watched the worried, and dare she say it, hopeful expression on his face.

"There is something else actually."

Takato gulped.

"Th-there is?"

Rika nodded. "Yeah, something I almost forgot," she said before leaning a bit closer to him.

"If you tell anyone about what happened here tonight, you'll find out firsthand just how I earned the title of Digimon Queen. Kapesh?" Rika threatened.

Takato gulped again before answering. "Ka-ka-kapesh."

Rika seemed to consider this for a moment before adding one list thought.

"Oh, and Takato, you need to take a shower. You stink," she said before closing the door with a smirk.

End chapter 1

AN: Ok, so how was it? I hope it was better than my first attempt. I've spent close to two weeks working on this chapter, trying to get it to flow smoothly. This was my first attempt at anything…more than normal humor, and I hope I didn't butcher it to pieces. There will be three more chapters to follow this one, but I'll leave it to you guys and girls to guess whose points they're from. Liked it, hated it, let me know please!

How would you act in his shoes with a rabid fanboy buzzing all around you?

Till next time, Ja Ne!