Disclaimer: Everyone here belongs to Bandai, I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce: Baloney, Nonsense [Slang, Informal; Early 20th Century]

[iv. Dandelion: Some gifts are worth more than they seem.]

iv. Dandelion

It was shaping up to be one heck of a shindig, alright.

There were noisemakers and doggiebags, music and streamers, games, gifts, peaches and cream, and more friends and family members than a three-tiered birthday cake could handle. Rika called it "Payback." Everyone else called it a surprise party.

An elaborate conspiracy between the Tamers (who did the running around), their partners (who ran diversions, as needed), and the occasional parent (who ran handy things like restaurants, and bakeries), the whole thing had been in the works for weeks.

And, apparently, it had taken him all of maybe five seconds to ruin everything.

Renamon found him first, of course. She had a knack for finding him in various unflattering emotional states.

'What's the matter?'

Impmon had to think about the question for a minute. It had happened so fast, after all, he still wasn't sure … 'I think I made Jeri cry,' he concluded, finally.

Her tail moved once, and then stilled. The fox stared at him. '… What?'

The smaller critter shook his head. 'I didn't know it was such a big deal.' He looked down at his hands and squeezed them into fists, and then relaxed them when it did nothing to make him feel any better.

There must have been something on his face she didn't like; Renamon turned, searching the smiling faces and moving bodies milling about the Katou's living room, but the birthday girl was nowhere to be seen.

'I couldn't think of anything else,' he mumbled, helplessly. He knew it wasn't much. But he never would have expected that look, much less the glassy eyes - and the fumbling, slightly damp peck on the cheek? His fur still stood on end just thinking about it. ' … It was just a flower.'

Renamon blinked. 'A flower?' she echoed curiously. Impmon nodded, his throat oddly constricted. She eyed him for a moment, and looked over her shoulder again, just in time to see Jeri re-enter the room modeling her new terrycloth lion knapsack, a cheery yellow flower tucked behind her left ear and a wide, watery smile.

He never could figure out what Foxface found so funny about it, afterwards.

- fin -

A/N: I don't know if Jeri's (or any of the Tamers) birthdates were ever mentioned, but this little interlude is set a short while after Runaway Locomon ... hence Rika's "Payback" comment.