Endless Waltz Chapter Three: Revolution

AN: Wow this is late lol. I had hoped to get this out weeks earlier, but I had a few snags here and there…and I had to go back and check on some things from the series (then rewrite sections that didn't fit with said series) and had to deal with the expected writers block that comes when you have a halfway decent story that people actually read. So, for those of you that have stuck by me, I thank you for waiting patiently, and I pray that this chapter proves to be worth the wait that you have endured. I WILL RESPOND TO YOUR REVIEWS!

Waving goodbye to her friend, Rika groaned the moment Jeri was no longer in sight.

"Great, so where do I go from here?" She thought bitterly. Her mind was at war with itself, and she had been royally shaken to the core. Right now, knowing that Jeri wouldn't try to push her into anything was about the only comforting thing she had going for her.

On the one hand, she did feel as though an enormous weight had been lifted from both her shoulders and her heart. But on the other hand, she was no longer 'blissfully ignorant'. A small part of her actually wasn't at all surprised by the revelation Jeri had shown her. In a way, she had always known that she cared for the Tamers goggle wearing leader as more than a friend. But knowing in an instinctual sense, and genuinely realizing it were two very different things. It felt like the base she had been standing on all this time had been shattered beneath her feet.

Not paying attention to where her feet were taking her, Rika settled herself for a walk, hoping to clear some of her thoughts, and come up with a 'game plan'.

"Ok….so…" Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself as best she could. Just thinking about this was difficult for her.

"Come on Rika, what's wrong with you? You can do this! You've fought enemies that would have killed you without a second thought, you've fought creatures that could destroy the entire freaking world, so why is this so hard!? He's just a boy!" She chided herself.

A pang in her chest however told her otherwise.

"No…that's…that's not…he's not just a boy…" Hanging her head limply, Rika's thoughts, though currently a swarming mass of chaos, were starting to take shape.

"He's…my friend…my first and best friend." Clinching her fists in her pockets, Rika took another deep breath. It was hard, but little by little she was able to take control of her thoughts and emotions. For years she had focused on suppressing her emotions, but as time passed that had become harder and harder to do. Right now was actually the first time she could remember not trying to completely force them down, but reel them in and control them.

Looking up, she noticed where she had wondered to.

"Ugh, great," was her only thought once she noticed the field of cherry trees surrounding her.

"Kami, how long has it been since the last time I came here? Three years?" Images of her thirteenth birthday floated across her mind, along with an unexpected flood of emotions.

Again, she recognized anger, anger from having been tricked so many times in one day, anger from having to relive her most painful memories, in front of another person at that. But aside from anger, and a touch of sadness, there were several others. Some she recognized, but she could sense a few she didn't, or at least not at first.

When she remembered how hard Takato had tried to stop Locomon, and how creative he had actually been during those attempts, she was reminded of the first few times he had 'gotten it right' back when the Tamer's had first formed. It was akin to pride, but not exactly the same. She guessed it to be respect, or perhaps even admiration. Not that he hadn't earned it from her long ago, but this was more than just the ambient respect she usually gave him, it was stronger than that.

Then there was another one she recognized but rarely felt.

Generally, she was 'content'. Not happy, but not sad either. It was neutral, but leaning slightly more towards the positive side, at least after making her first few friends. But, there were times when she felt a sense of 'happiness'. Like when Renamon digivolved for the first time, or when they rescued Calumon. Yet, every now and then she would feel the same thing because of something Takato had done. His knocking the wind out of Jupi the other day being one of those rare instances. But that day three years ago, she felt it for a different reason, one she still didn't understand to this day.

To put simply, it was because he tried. He might have slipped and 'spoiled' her surprise party, but he was going to stick with her for the rest of the day anyways. He didn't have to, she could have gone off on her own and came back when the party was supposed to start, but he suggested they go watch the cherry blossoms. The point was, he was willing to take the time, knowing full well that he would have to put up with her foul mood and temperament, all for the sake of making her happy. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Why someone trying to do something, even if they failed at it would make her happy was beyond her, but she had learned to accept it.

These she knew and had felt before, however, there were two others she felt from this flood that she never had, two that were almost as strong as her anger.

The first came from the memory of when she begged him to let go of her hand. She knew that even though it would mean her death, if he held on he would have been pulled down with her and they both would have died. But when she felt his grip suddenly tighten, almost painfully instead of letting her go, she felt something she hadn't in a very long time.

Complete and total trust.

He had acknowledged that holding on to her would mean his death, and he still hadn't let go of her. Sure, over time she had come to trust the others little by little, but in that one act, Takato had earned her absolute trust. It was a strange feeling, one she couldn't put into words, but it was there. She knew that he was her friend, and that she could trust him to never purposely do anything to hurt or anger her.

The second however, even she had to admit was more than just a little bit strange. It was almost like happiness, but it carried an undertone of something she could only describe as satisfaction. When the Parasimon invasion had begun, the Tamer's went into action just as they always had and always would. But there was something noticeably different about Takato during that short battle. Over the course of four years, she had seen Gallantmon fight many times, but she could only remember one other occasion where he had been so aggressive and fierce, and that was the day they took down the D-Reaper, more specifically, when he fought Agent Zero One. It was not an 'I have a job to do' or 'I must do this' kind of aggression. It was a 'you are doomed' aggression that promised only one of two things. Death, or a lifetime of running. She didn't know why, but to see him acting such a way for her sake made her feel special, important even.

As she reflected on the events of that day, from Takato's calling her in the morning, them working together on Locomon, the party and food afterwards, to her finding him and Renamon waiting for her well after sunset, she realized something.

"I never actually thought about it before…but…that was my first…date…"

Sitting under one of the numerous trees, Rika rested her head against the trunk, and closed her eyes, using every ounce of her will power to force down the pink tinge coloring her cheeks.

"Why can't anything in my life ever be simple? Is that really too much to ask?"

"That's not the true problem right now though is it?" 'Jeri' asked her.

"Oh great, it's you again. Why can't you just go away and leave me alone? I already admitted it," Rika 'thought' spoke.

"Admitted what?" 'Jeri' asked innocently.

"You know what I'm talking about Jeri, I already admitted it once, and I don't need to do it again."

Now inside of her mind, she could actually see Jeri shaking her head and wagging her finger.

"No, you accepted it, that's not the same as admitting it. After all, you can accept that you are wrong about something, but does that mean that you admitted it?" 'Jeri' asked pointedly.

"….So what? I know it, that's good enough isn't it?"

This time 'Jeri' face palmed.

"Oi, this is like trying to explain trigonometry to Calumon. Look, if you don't admit it to yourself, you'll never be able to confront any of the bigger issues that WILL come later down the road. This will help you, I promise."

Rika almost laughed.

"A voice inside my head is making a promise?"

"I'm not really Jeri, you know that already. You're just projecting her voice and image in place of your own. Now stop beating around the bush and say it already!" Rika's eyes blinked open in surprise at 'Jeri's' tone.

"Fine, if it will make you leave me alone. I…I like gogglehead. There, you happy now?" Rika asked with a snort.

'Jeri' rolled her eyes.

"Wow, the only better admission I've heard than that was from a second grader. Come on Rika, you're seventeen for crying out loud! You can do better than that!"

Once again, Rika could feel her face heating up.

"Now, try it again, and this time use his actual name, unless you're afraid or something," 'Jeri' prodded calmly.

Biting her lip, Rika squeezed her already shut eyes tightly. There was no way she was going to let some figment of her imagination get the better of her.


'Jeri' nodded once, and then grabbed her by the shoulders with both hands firmly.

"That was good, but I know you can still do better. You're stronger than this, I know you are. Remember when you first biomerged with Renamon? Or when you saw Gallantmon trying to climb the D-Reaper? Think hard Rika, remember that feeling, that power you felt? Try to find it again, find it and grab onto it with everything you have."

Watching the memories pass by her, Rika remembered all to well what Jeri was talking about. The day she had first biomerged, and the day she had given all of her power to Ryo had always stood out in her mind every time she and Renamon fought together. She remembered feeling something like a fire burning inside her, a fire that pushed her far beyond her normal limits. She had tried to reach it again and again, but had always come up short. It wasn't that she was weak, far from it, but she just couldn't reach that level of power. It was like comparing Gallantmon to Gallantmon Crimson Mode. Both were the same, but one was just vastly more powerful.

"I remember being…afraid…afraid that he was going to die. But then why haven't I felt that much power when protecting the others? Even though Ryo gets on my nerves all the time, I still wouldn't want him to die. So why was it only…"

In her mind, she could see thousands of white cords going in every direction. Some were thick, others were thin, but they all looked identical to one another.

"When I thought he was going to die…I just…I felt this power, this…need to protect him. It was like I had to make sure he survived…no matter what. I wasn't going to let anything, or anyone stop me from protecting him."

Remembering that Takato was going to jump into the ravine to try and save Calumon, then remembering how hard Gallantmon was fighting to hold off the swarm of Agents on his own, Rika remembered what she did, and why.

If the only way to stop Takato from jumping in was for her to do so first,

She would, and did.

If the only way to stop the D-Reaper was for her to give Ryo her power so he could destroy it,

She would, and did.

As she focused on feeling the warmth, the power she had those two times, she saw something. Tangled and buried deep within a mess of white cords laid a single, almost silk thin red thread.

"Focus on it Rika, focus on that feeling, that desire to protect him. Remember that strength you felt," 'Jeri' urged her.

Walking forward (in her mind) she reached out with one hand.

"But…it's so thin. How could this be what gave me that strength?" Rika thought, puzzled at how anything so frail looking could do anything of importance.

"It's thin because it hasn't had a chance to grow yet Rika. You locked it away and buried it deep within you, but it has still lent you its strength in your times of need. Stop fearing it, stop shunning it, let it help you."

Closing her eyes, Rika did as 'Jeri' instructed her. Reaching out, she pushed her hand into the tangled mess of cords, and wrapped her grip as tightly as she could on the single red thread. The instant she pulled on it, she felt the rush of strength she had before, recognized the warm flame spreading across her from head to toe as the same one she had felt those two times in the past.

For the first time however, she realize what it was, what the thin red thread represented.

Opening her eyes, Rika looked up at the cherry three above her, and felt a lone tear fall from her eye and run down her cheek.

"I love him," she whispered to herself as her lips pulled back into a small, but genuine smile.

Standing atop a telephone pole, Renamon closed her eyes and focused her hearing as best she could.

"Henry was not at home, so where could he be? His father said that someone had called early this morning, but he didn't say who or where he was going. The only logical possibility would be Takato…but why would he?" Snapping her eyes open, the thought that Takato might tell Henry about what had happened the previous night came to mind.

"If he tells Henry one word…no…no, he wouldn't do that. Takato promised Rika that he wouldn't tell anyone what happened, and Takato has always kept his promises to Rika."

Like her partner, Renamon was not the trusting sort. She knew people generally meant well, but she also recognized that they were imperfect and made mistakes from time to time, some more frequent than others. And even though Takato had proven to be a foremost example of making mistakes, he had proven himself to be a young man of his word. She had feared this might not be true after Kazu mentioned hearing that Rika could 'sing like a bird', but Gulimon had quickly confessed that it was he, and not Takato that had let that slip.

"But if he's not going to talk about what happened yesterday, I wonder what would have been so important that he would have called this early in the morning?"

Sifting through the various voices and noises of Shinjuku, Renamon's ears twitched when she picked up a familiar laugh.

"I never thought the day would come that I actually wanted to hear that sound," Renamon thought ruefully as she leapt from her perch and into the park.

Wiping the stray tear from her cheek, Rika's mind turned to focused on another issue, one that had been bugging her since Jeri had 'broken the news' to her earlier.

"Ok, so I know that he…come on, I can do this…I know that he…likes me…but why?" Rika's face once again turned slightly pink. Her admission might not have seemed like much, but it was a big deal for her. To acknowledge that someone, a boy, liked her as something more than just a friend was a first for her.

"I know I'm not the same person I was back then, but what did he see that made him…? Why did he put up with everything I did to him? He might…" Again feeling her cheeks heat up, Rika continued the thought. "He might have thought I was…cute back then, but that wouldn't have been enough for him to stick his neck out for me as often as he did. He knew that I wanted Renamon to upload Gulimon at the time, but he still kept coming back."

Taking a deep breath, Rika treated this like a card battle. She was facing an opponent she had never fought before, an opponent that knew everything about her, and who was running a deck full of cards she had never seen or heard of before.

In short, she was flying blind by the seat of her pants.

"Ok, he might have been attracted to me, but my attitude would have crushed that after the second time we met. He couldn't have liked me for my attitude though because he didn't get the full feel for it until after several run ins so that's out. I know he wouldn't think that dream of his was some sort of' sign' because I know he doesn't believe in fate or destiny. He couldn't have known, and probably still doesn't know that I'm more loaded than everyone thinks because my last name is Nonaka and not Hata like grandmas…So what does that leave? If it wasn't because of how I looked; acted, fate, or money, and I know 'love at first site' is nothing but drivel…what was it?"

Running out of ideas, she tried to remember if anything had ever stood out about him in the past. She might not have known until just recently that he had feelings for her, but she should have noticed anything that seemed strange or at least out of place.

"The only thing that even remotely stands out is that he seems to stare at my eyes whenever he talks to me, since the very beginning actually."

It had unnerved her a bit at first since most people avoided eye contact with her at all costs. They would be looking at her face when she spoke to them, or at something behind her, but they never looked her directly in the eye.

One opponent several years back had even compared it to looking into an icy grave, or a dark bottomless pit.

But Takato, like with everything else in life, was different. He never showed any fear of her presence, and didn't seem to be the least bit put off to look her in the eye. Sure, he might have been intimidated by her attitude from time to time, but who wasn't?

"It was almost like he could see something…or he was looking for something."

Thinking it over for several minutes, Rika shook her head.

"Does it really matter why? He's a good person, I know it. So does it really make any difference why he…liked me then? If he liked me then, and still does now, that should be enough right?"

That thought hit her hard.

"Is it enough? Is him liking me just for who I am enough to try…"

"Ok, let's do this the easy way. Pros and cons. What does Gogg…Takato have going for him? He's dense, hardheaded, naïve, runs on hopes and dreams…" In her mind, Rika saw an image of Takato's face, and felt more than just slightly ashamed for her thoughts.

Taking a deep breath, she tried again.

"He's sensitive to others feelings, loyal to a fault, hopeful, and an optimist to the very end. He never gives up on anyone…even when they deserve it. He only looks at a person for who they are…not…how they were."

Pulling her legs up to her chest, she rested her chin on her knees.

"When we first met…he wasn't…angry with me for having Renamon attack Guilmon. He was worried about his partner, but…he didn't hold a grudge, even though I had Renamon blindside him for no good reason, he didn't hold it against me…why?"

Thinking back to who she was, and how she had been, Rika shivered.

"I can't believe I used to be like that…so cold, heartless…was I even human?" Memories of her second run in with the red eyed youth caused another shudder to run through her body.

"I lead him into a trap, still only thinking about uploading Guilmon's data…but when Gargomon…" The memory of the gun toting bunny's first digivolution played across her mind. The one fleeting moment she thought was going to be the end for her, seeing the barrel raised at her face and turn with a click. She knew that there was nothing she could do.

She remembered Henry begging Terriermon to stop, but what surprised her the most was Takato ordering Guilmon to save her, to stop Gargomon, the partner of his friend who had come to save him from her in the first place.

"Even though I attacked him twice, even though I had done nothing but attack him as an enemy, he risked his partner's life to save mine." That memory had plagued her for many a night, but nowhere near as badly as a stray through from a few months ago had.

"Would I…would I have done the same thing? If our roles had been reversed, would I have risked Renamon's life to save him?" She knew that if that were to happen now, she would without a second thought; she would run in there herself to save the boy. But back then?

Her stomach twisted into a knot when she answered her own question.

"No…I wouldn't have…I would have let him…I wouldn't have done anything…"

It both pained and shamed her to admit, but it was the truth. Trust was still a very difficult thing for her. Ever since the day her father had walked out on her family, Rika stopped trusting others, not having faith in anyone's word other than her own, especially boys.

Thinking back of her other early encounters, Rika found herself becoming more and more amazed by her friend and how much he had put up with back then.

"I threatened and tried to kill his partner multiple times, but he was never once afraid of me, and he never treated me as his enemy. When Icedevimon kidnapped me, he came to my rescue…" A feeling of revulsion bubbled up in her stomach when she remembered how she treated everyone after that encounter, how she thanked them for risking their lives to save hers.

Even her own partner.

That sparked another stray though, one she had thought of from time to time but never really gave much interest to before.

"Huh…that's strange…how did Guilmon defeat IceDevimon back then? He hadn't had many battles under his belt, both were Virus types and IceDevimon was a Champion, Gulimon shouldn't have stood a chance against him."

That thought caused several other odd memories to come to light. Gulimon was not exactly your average everyday run of the mill digimon, but his track record was an impressive one. Remembering what had happened onboard Locomon however made her eyes widen.

"He defeated a Mega in one hit!"

Parasimon might have been one of the weakest Mega's in all existence, but the fact remained that he was a Mega, the final digivolution stage, the highest level of power one could reach.

"IceDevimon… Parasimon …Gulimon defeated both of them with a single hit…and the only thing those two events had in common was…me?"

The Tamer's knew that Digimon fed off of emotion, especially from their partners. That was why Renamon was only equal, and why Terriermon had been so weak compared to Gulimon in the beginning. Rika had locked her emotions away, denying Renamon a great deal of power, and Henry was a devout pacifist at first, also denying his partner the full extent of his true power.

But Takato? He went in at one hundred percent from the very beginning.

She remembered how after some time had past, when there partners were able to reach the stage of Ultimate, both she and Henry were able to feel what their partners felt. Every blow and every hit. But Takato had been able to do this for far longer than they had, even going back to when Gulimon was only able to reach his Champion stage, proving the strength of their emotional bond.

"Was Gulimon able to defeat them so easily because of Takato's emotions?" Feeling her cheeks turn an even darker shade of pink, Rika forced that thought to the back of her mind and focused back on the current issue.

"I attacked him, he saved me. I insulted and belittled him; he came to me for advice and help. I threaten him, and he tries to be my friend? How the heck did that happen?"

No matter what she did, and no matter how hard she pushed to goggle wearing boy away, he just kept coming back like a boomerang. It actually seemed like the harder she threw him away, the faster he would come back.

"I even let him inside my home?! What was I thinking!?" Remembering that day made her face turn bright red. She thought she had done a bang up job of tearing down any confidence or stand the boy had and would send him packing for good, but instead he somehow went from being outside in a back ally with her mocking him to sitting on her back porch talking to her like they were long time friends.

Then, there was that one oh so faithful comment.

"It's not every day you get to meet your dream girl."

Burying her face as hard as she could into her knees, Rika could do nothing to stop the atomic blush that was staining her cheeks.

Her act of bravado might have spooked him into keeping his mouth shut all this time, but the second he had left she turned a shade of red that would have made a tomato jealous.

Even though she was the daughter of a well known model, she certainly didn't look like one, not then, and not now in her opinion. So, while she might be a rough and tough tomboy on the outside, she was still very much a girl, and being called someone's 'dream girl' was about the same as being called pretty.

And that was one thing that no one outside of her family had called her, even down to this day.

"Oh Kami, please don't tell me that's why I went down in the storm drain to help him save Guilmon!? Was I really that…ugh!"

Thinking back, she tried to remember that day as clearly as possible. It had only been four years ago, but so much had happened since then that it was hard to remember the exact details.

She remembered blushing up a storm after he left and staring at a mirror for a good long while after she came back from threatening him, but why had she gone with him that night?

"I…remember…something…it…was more like my body was moving on its own. When he asked for my help…I was thinking about him…I was thinking about when he had Gulimon save me from Gargomon…and that he had never tried to get back at me for attacking him…then when I looked up, I was there, standing in the doorway. The only thing that snapped me out of my thoughts was when he called out to me."

"Rika! You came! That's awesome!"

Rika's eyes widened at that. A tiny piece of her conversation with Jeri flittered into her mind.

"But he was always happiest when he was talking about you…his eyes….they…they would almost shine whenever he said your name."

Forcing her mind to go through every memory she had of interacting or just being around Takato, she was stunned by the sheer number of times he had said her name.

"With the others it's always 'hey', but with me…he always calls out my name first, every time he see's me."

It did strike her as just a tad bit odd, but it was true. She had heard him call her by name far more times than anyone else, including Jeri.


Feeling a slight tug on her lips, she allowed herself a small smile.

Renamon jumped down from the tree branch and landed without making a sound. But, just as she had expected, she was already known.

"Hey Renamon," Henry greeted without even bothering to look over his shoulder.

"You do know that there are other ninja type digimon aside from me correct?" Renamon asked, slightly bristled at the boy having sensed her.

Looking over his shoulder, the teen smiled. "Yeah, but I knew it was you. I heard you land in the tree back before you jumped."

Renamon frowned slightly.

"Those sounds could have been imitated."

Henry shook his head, his smile not changing in the least.

"I would have noticed the difference. Still, what brings you to our little neck of the woods? Rika's not up for rotation this week, so it can't be guard duty. Something up?"

Eyeing him carefully, she decided to call his bluff.

"Yet your name is not on the rotation schedule for today either. So, why are you here?"

Leaning against the Hideouts wall, Henry shrugged.

"Takato called this morning and said that he needed to talk about something. Wouldn't say what it was, just that something weird had happened when he and Guilmon tried to biomerge the day before yesterday. Usually he calls me the same night or at least the morning after anything like that happens though. I wonder what could have kept him so busy all day yesterday."

Though her face was calm, Renamon was slightly nervous. She hoped that Takato was going to be careful about this. One slip and several years' worth of progress for Rika would be completely undone.

"Looks like I'll be eavesdropping in on them after I'm through," Renamon thought with a sigh.

"Now, I've answered your questions, but you still haven't answered mine. What are you doing all the way out here? I thought Rika usually slept in on Sundays?" Henry asked, still confused at her appearance.

"Well, what was it Rumiko said last week? Third times the charm?"

Remembering the possible ramifications of what she said or learned from this conversation however, she hoped that it would turn out better than the woman's last attempt at cooking.

So, taking a calming breath, she spoke.

"I have been trying to understand some of the more…irrational behaviors of humans as of late, and I had hoped that you might be able to provide me with some assistance."

Henry's face showed both his surprise and confusion, so Renamon headed off his most probable response.

"I would ask Rika for assistance with this, but…she is part of the question, so I do not think her response would be completely unbiased."

Henry nodded, seeing now why she hadn't simply asked her Tamer.

"But why couldn't you just ask her grandmother? You two spend plenty of time together, and she would-"

"You are better acquainted with the second individual than Seiko is. After taking everything into account, you are the most logical and reasonable choice," Renamon responded, cutting him off before he could finish.

Slightly stunned by having been cut off by Renamon of all...well, people, and from the mention of their being a second person involved, Henry became more than just a little nervous.

"Well, I would like to help…but it's not really my business to poke around in other people's personal lives. I wouldn't want to invade Rika's privacy…or the other person's whoever they might be," Henry replied carefully.

Renamon waved her hand, dismissing the argument.

"It is not a matter of privacy I assure you; I seek clarification, not to spread gossip."

Not having any other arguments left, Henry's shoulders slumped.

"Well, as long as it's not going to condemn me to Rika's wrath, I guess I can try to help. What's the problem?"

Hoping to get a clear answer that would actually make sense for once, Renamon closed her eyes, and spoke.

"I have been pondering over when you, Rika and Takato first started working together, when you first became a team. While I am grateful for the event, I am still confused as to why Takato was chosen to become the leader. Since meeting her, I have never known Rika to step aside and follow another, yet then, she did so without a second thought. I was hoping that you might be able to explain this to me, as you understand Takato better, and have a better understanding of humans overall than I do."

Henry blinked, and then blinked again. Thinking for about a minute, the boy spoke.

"I… honestly never actually thought about it before Renamon…it just seemed to…happen."

Seeing the slight change in the fox's eyes, Henry continued.

"You are wrong about one thing though, Takato was never chosen to be our leader, we didn't vote on it or anything."

Renamon quirked an eyebrow.

"Then why is he the leader if he was never chosen?" She asked, slightly confused at this disclosure.

Scratching his chin, Henry thought it over for a minute before grinning.

"You know, I think that might actually be the reason Rika followed him in the first place…it…knowing her, it actually makes a lot of sense."

Now even more confused, Renamon hoped that Henry wasn't becoming too much like the hackers he spent so much time with these days, muttering and rambling half thoughts while leaving everyone else around them completely in the dark. Thankfully, the boy realized what he was doing on his own…this time.

"You said yourself that Rika was never one to follow someone else right?"

Renamon nodded.

"Well, think about it. If someone is not inclined to following orders or being told what to do, what would they do if someone didn't tell them what to do?"

Thinking it over, Renamon realized where this was going.

"You're thinking that it was some form of reverse psychology?"

Henry chuckled.

"I wouldn't go that far, Takato's not the type to do that, and we didn't know Rika that well at the time, so we couldn't have planned it, but basically, yeah, that's about it. From what she told us herself, people were always trying to tell her what to do, what to wear, how to act, what kind of person she should or needed to be. But when she met Takato…well, that went out the window."

Renamon crossed her arms and leaned against the tree behind her.

"I see your point, but I don't understand how you managed to come up with that conclusion. If what you're saying is true, then why didn't she leave after the first time he tried to tell her what to do? By your reasoning she only followed him because he had yet to try doing so."

Henry smiled and shook his head.

"Not quite. Remember the first time we met each other? When you were…well…" Henry wasn't quite sure how to word the event, but was thankful when he was spared from having to do so.

"When Rika had ordered me to upload Guilmon?"

Henry nodded before continuing.

"Then there was the time after that in the parking garage. Both times Takato asked her and begged her to stop; he didn't tell her or order her. While not on purpose, it had the same effect as reverse psychology. She was being given a choice, he was giving her an option, something no one else ever had up until that point."

"But if that was the trigger, why did she continue to tolerate you two? It might have caught her attention on some subconscious level, but it still doesn't explain why she followed you into the storm drain, or why she accepts Takato as a leader now."

Henry frowned. "I was getting to that, you just didn't let me finish."

Seeing Renamon remain silent, Henry guessed that was a sign to continue.

"Anyways, Rika is a bit…well, obsessive, and more than just a little prideful. In her mind, even if she didn't realize it, she had been proven wrong about something, that being that everyone was out to control her or something like that. When Takato failed to do that, she couldn't accept being wrong, she couldn't accept that not everyone would try and control her. So, to satisfy her ego and prove that she was right, she allowed us to be around her, and even started following us just waiting for someone to try and push her into doing something, anything. That's why she flipped out when I told you and Terriermon to get away from the storm drain that day."

Renamon had to admit that the boy's argument was a sound one, and it did fit with her Tamers personality. When she wanted to prove that she was right about something, she would go to great lengths to do so.

"Still, it doesn't explain why she continued to follow them after Takato took charge…" Rather than jump the gun, Renamon waited this time before speaking.

"After that…well, it could be any number of things…" Henry alluded with a shrug and looked the other way.

"Ah, but he does have a theory at least," Renamon thought to herself smugly.

"What kind of things?" Renamon asked calmly. She was surprised to see Henry's expression redden slightly and noted him trying to cover it over with a cough.

"That depends on if you're just asking for yourself, or if you're going to be telling any of this to Rika," Henry explained.

Weighing her options, Renamon decided to go for it. She could always edit what she told Rika after all.

"It is for myself," Renamon half lied.

Quickly scanning the area with his eyes, Henry quickly met Renamon's gaze with his own, then answered.

"I think she had a crush on him."

Despite her prides best attempts, Rika had managed to admit she loved Takato, and had even accepted the possibility that he might actually like her as more than a friend. But that did not mean she was going to just roll out the welcome mat and go ask him out. This was a 'battle' in her mind, and as such, there were certain things that had to be planed out and measured before taking action. Of these, there was one in particular that worried her, one that remained as a very large roadblock for her to take such a huge risk as this.

What would change?

"If…we do…become a couple…what would happen? He already knows more about me than anyone aside from my family, and we…used to spend a lot of time together, so that would come back."

For what felt like the millionth time that morning, Rika's face heated up again.

"We….would be closer though…it would be a while…but…"

The image of her and Takato kissing came to mind, and she though she would never admit it, the image didn't bring a single sour or negative thought to mind.

"Ok, I'll file that under 'think about later'. I need to stay focused. Nothing would really change between us other than the fact we would be a bit closer and more…physical than before. We would still hang out together, more often actually, we're already fairly open about what we're thinking, so that wouldn't change either."

The more and more she thought about it, the harder it was to see negatives to this whole 'relationship' thing.

As it stood, she only had gains coming her way, no real losses. Takato was not one to borrow from others, nor was he the kind of person that asked for handouts. It was one of the things she liked most about him actually. What he had, he earned, or someone gave him, he never asked for anything from his friends other than help on occasion.

"But what if he tries to control me or something? Or even worst, what if…he leaves me?"

The one thing she hated above all else, and the one thing she feared above all else. In the bottom of her heart, Rika knew that these two conspirators were the primary cause of her loneliness, and why she had such a hard time making friends.

She was her own person; no one controlled her or told her what to do. If she did something, it was because she wanted to, not because she was told to.

As her dreams from the previous night came to mind, fuzzy as they were, she realized what they meant.

"Him rescuing me…I want…I want him to be in my life to some degree…but…I don't want him controlling me either."

Apparently, her pride was a far more insidious foe than she had first thought. It was rare for her to have 'girlish' dream, but she did on occasion. But last night was the first time she had more than one in a single night.

"Locomon…IceDevimon…and the D-Reaper…those were some of hardest fights Takato ever went through, but he still came through in the end. He didn't actually rescue me from the D-Reaper though…but…if I had been in Jeri's shoes; I know he would have tried just as hard for me as he did her."

Now that she was able to think clearly, it didn't take much for her to figure out the source of her other two dreams from this morning. Her first three dreams involved Takato 'rescuing' her, which put him above her in terms of power, even if it was only a romantic fantasy. Her pride, sensing that she was in a way placing someone higher than herself responded by putting that same idea into a different context, namely a very, very negative one.

"But has he ever done that before?"

Her pride tried to muscle its way around the barrier her newly freed emotions had formed. In her mind, she could actually see an angry version of herself slamming its fists into a wall, trying to will or force it to crumble, but it didn't budge an inch, for once allowing Rika to think without it butting in and adding its two cents.

"Takato has never once tried to make me to do anything, ever. He's asked me to help him, and has told me what to do in a fight, but he has never forced or even tried to force me to do anything. I can't even remember him ever telling me to do something outside of a fight situation, and even then he phrases it as a request."

She had it, the one thing her pride was powerless against, the truth.

Her pride could needle its way in and argue on just about any topic, but it couldn't do squat when faced with proven fact. It couldn't make her think for an instant that her mother or grandmother didn't love her, and it couldn't even suggest that Renamon would do anything less than stand by her side until one of them died.

Now there was a third fact it could not argue with.

Takato would not, at any point make her do anything, nor would he ever even try to do so.

For the first time in her life, Rika smirked when she felt her pride get stung. She watched the angry version of herself disappear in a cloud of shouting and cursing.

"Still…just because he won't try to make you do anything doesn't mean he won't…leave you," a new yet familiar voice said smoothly.

Not knowing if she felt more like groaning or cry, Rika felt her fear step in to do battle. Her pride had been beaten, but now the true 'Arena Champion' was stepping up, and that was not good. She knew for a fact that her fear was a far nastier and more powerful opponent than her pride.

Her pride pushed people away, just as it had when she first met the others.

Her fear lashed out at others, just as it had when she had been saved by IceDevimon.

While in her mind her pride took on her own image, her fear took on another.

"Hey Pumpkin, back for a rematch?"

And what could have been a more fitting form for her fear, the one thing she had never been able to completely defeat to take, than the one person she had never been able to beat.

Renamon quickly 'looked up' the word in her mental database to double check its meaning, but there was no mistake about it.

'Crush: short-lived love: a temporary romantic attraction, especially in teenagers and young people (informal) adjective'

In short, it was a possible precursor to other weightier emotions.

"You believe that Rika harbors…romantic feelings towards Takato?"

Turning slightly red, Henry slipped before catching himself.

"Ye-, it's possible that at the time, yes."

Making note of the slipup, Renamon pushed the boy for more information. Emotions operated outside of the realm of logic, she knew that all to well. And while she did have emotions, there were still differences between her own and a humans, particularly when and where her Tamer was concerned.

"Why do you think that?"

Henry remained silent for a moment, likely trying to figure out a way to word this without it coming back to haunt him.

Renamon saw him look away, and heard him mutter something before looking back towards her.

"The things you do for friends."

"I think it, because it would fit the timeframe and the persons involved," Henry stated before taking a deep breath and continuing.

"Rika was twelve, which would mean her body had already started…maturing. She might act one way in public, but she's still human, so she still has hormones, even if she denies it, they are still there. Then, like I said before, its possible that she became obsessed with proving that Takato, and myself by extension would try to make her do something. She didn't care what at the time; she was just looking for proof. But, despite her personality, Takato never once pushed her away; he treated her like a friend even before she was one," again Henry paused to allow Renamon a moment to absorb what he was saying.

"That, coupled with the fact he never once showed any fear of her might have made him a primary target outlet for her bottled up emotions and hormones. It was the perfect storm situation, physically, mentally, and emotionally, Takato just got caught in the crossfire," Henry stated confidently.

Narrowing her eyes, Renamon processed the information, and didn't like it.

"You're saying it could have just as well been anyone else? That its simple math?"

Henry's eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

"Simple math!? Are you, do you-" Stopping in mid sentence, the boy sighed before continuing.

"Renamon, if my guess is correct, what happened was about as far from simple math as you can get. The closest thing to it would be Chaos Factorial Theory. Everything had to play out perfectly; it would be the end result to a thousand unknown variables and equations."

When he saw that Renamon was actually still listening to him, attentively even, he continued.

"First, even though her hormones might have been acting up a bit, they wouldn't have picked just any unwitting target, it would have to be someone that caught her attention at first glace, someone that stood out without any effort to her. That would have been a start, but without something to fuel it, it wouldn't have been anything more than 'noticing' someone, and have died in a few days. The fuel in this case would have been her emotions. Rememeber how I said that Takato never showed any fear of her?"

Renamon nodded.

"Well, that might have been something she wanted, or was thinking about on some level. If she was used to scaring people away, then for someone to not show fear of her would have stuck out in her mind."

"So it was his lack of fear that attracted her?" Renamon asked, thinking she was getting the basics of what he was explaining.

"Sort of, since he wasn't afraid of her, and hadn't tried to make her do anything, it could have kicked in her obsessive nature. If it did, then she would have been focused on him when he was around, or thinking about him when he wasn't."

In her mind, Renamon heard something click as it all fell into place. Her eyes widened by just a fraction, but even Henry caught it.


"Renamon…I'm afraid that I can't answer your question. I wish I knew the answer myself, but I don't. Everything that I know about Rika says that there is no way that she should have, that she would have brushed him off, or she would have made herself the leader at the time. I wasn't there when they first met, so I don't know if something happened that might have influenced her decision, or if there is more to it than that."

"Are you implying that Rika made a mistake in choosing to follow Takato's lead? That her judgment was not sound at the time?"

"No, that's not what I meant, it's just that…"

"Rika…hates being told what to do. She respects strength, but at the same time she despises being weaker than someone else. The thought that she would follow or accept anyone as a leader over herself is still difficult for me to imagine. But for her to accept someone that's not at least as strong as her as leader…it just goes against everything I know about her. The only thing I can figure is that it is something more than his skill or strength as a Tamer, that it must have nothing to do with digimon at all. Sorry if that's not what you were looking for, but it's all I can think of."

Flashback end



"Well, you's see, after a while…you's get…you's get lonely ya know? Push all da people away, an they start pushing back, den you's end up bum outta luck on ya own."

"At f'irst, it aint so bad, ch'a t'hink that you's better off withoutta them all gumming up ya style. No body to tell ya what to do, no body to judge ya, and no body to hurts ya. But after a while longer, ya start getten a hu'rt in ya chest ya know? Feels like dares dis big hole, an it keep on gettin bigger and hu'rts ya mor'e and mor'e. Den, ya don't r'elly care what kinds o attention you get'n, somte'n beddar den noth'n right?"

"You're saying that…Rika was starved for attention?"

The small digimon shook his head.

"Na, not ex'actly, she wanted someone dat wont fraid o her. Getten a'ttention is easy, repeat customers, dats hard."

"And why do you think that was the case?"

Smiling sadly, Impmon looked up at the tall yellow fox with one of his rare genuine honest smiles.

"I knows toots, cause h'er eyes was da same as mine. I knows that look good, been staring at it in da water for a long time be'fo coming here and meete'n you's guys. It aint dar now, but it was den. She always had dis er um, bounce in er step round ol gogglehead ya know? Kinda made cha think she ad a lil some'm fo him."

Flashback end

"Impmon too…"

Looking up at Henry, it took every ounce of self control Renamon had to keep her shock from leaking through.

"I…thank you Henry…you have given me…much to think about."

"Hey, no problem, that's what friends are for right?" The teenage boy asked with a warm smile.

Nodding her head, Renamon's ear twitched when she heard the familiar voice of Takato approaching.

"Tell no one I was here," she threatened before disappearing from view.

The boy looked stunned for a moment, but it was quickly replaced with a look of understanding, and a nod.

The fear and utter panic.

"Oh snap! I forgot about Terriermon!" Henry shouted once he remembered that he and his partner had been playing hide and go seek while waiting for Takato. During his little chat with Renamon, he had completely forgotten that his partner was still waiting for him to find him somewhere.

Rika shuddered when she and 'Ryo' locked glares. It looked every bit like him, cocky and completely assured of himself.

"You've known Takato for what? Four years now, almost five right?"

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Rika prayed this wasn't going in the direction she thought it was.

"Five years huh? Now where does that sound familiar?" Her fear taunted her.

"No, no, no, no, no. Please, not that," Rika begged mentally.

"Isn't that how long it took for your father to get tired of you? Why yes, it IS, you were five when he left weren't you?" Her fear jested.

Unable to respond, Rika could do nothing but wait until her fear had finished tearing down everything she had built up, just as it always had when she tried to make any major changes in her life.

"Pth, and you actually think that he cares for you? You? He didn't get mad at you when you first attacked because he was too scared out of his mind."

Rika shook her head.

"Then the car port? Oh come on, how could you think he actually cared anything about you then? You had just tried to kill his partner for the second time in two days! He just didn't want for it to get out that a digimon had killed a human. If he let you die then they would have taken his partner away and that'd be the end of them."

Reaching up, Rika covered her ears and tried to block out the voice that had eaten away at her since the day her father had left her, the voice she hated with every ounce of her being.

"IceDevimon? Oh yeah, like Dino boy would pass up ANY Wild One that came through. I doubt he even knew that you were in trouble before he saw you were there, or cared when he saw you were."

She could feel the barrier staring to crack in her mind. The one thing holding back her swarm of emotions and that let her think clearly was starting to fall apart.

"Lets see, what other dribble have you set up here, OH, oh this is rich, Parasimon? Oh you have GOT to be joking! You're using the fact that he took out THAT weakling to mean something? It was probably his rage or his fear that was fueling him, you know, fear from having you try to play T-ball with his skull? Yeah, that wrench you were swinging at him really got the ol heart pumping hahaha!"

Another crack splintered down the barrier.

"I'm not even going to waste my time with most of the rest of this; it's so pathetic that it would be funny if it wasn't so sad. Oh he see's something in your eyes, yeah; it's called freakish eye color! How many people have you seen walking around with violet eyes? Ugh, I thought you were better than this Rika. You want to know why he put up with you for so long? It's because he probably had nothing better to do. I mean come on, aside form his loser friends, what else did he have going for him?"

Desperate to silence the voice before it completely undid everything, she tried to focus on positive memories, him calling her name, his compliments, the time in the storm drain.

Sadly, her fear was aware of her thoughts, and used them.

" Yeah, he thought it was awesome when you showed up to save his pet in the storm drain, awesome that someone that actually had a clue and knew what they were doing would be dumb enough to help him. Geeze, the rest of this is all hormones! He's a sixteen year old boy, what do you expect? He's no better than Kazu, he'll check out anything that wears a skirt and has a pulse."

Feeling that the barrier was about to completely fall apart, Rika choked back the cry that was trying to escape.

She hated to admit it, but she still had no solid proof, there was no way to back up anything she had thought as anything more than circumstantial and open to interpretation. Her fear could be just as right as she could. What was worst was that she knew her feelings and thoughts were true, she DID love Takato, but she had no way of knowing what was going through the boys head, or why he did what he did, she could only guess and hope.

"It's thin because it hasn't had a chance to grow yet Rika. You locked it away and buried it deep within you, but it has still lent you its strength in your times of need. Stop fearing it, stop shunning it, let it help you." she heard Jeri's voice echo.

Before her was 'Ryo' and behind her the barrier holding back her emotions collapsed releasing a torrent. She was caught between them and had nothing left to lose.

Closing her eyes (in her mind) she tried to feel for that one red thread again. Feeling it graze her finger tip, she yanked it hard, only to panic when she felt it snag on another, much thicker cord. Again she tried to pull it, but the second cord was as thick as her arm and wouldn't budge an inch. In fact, it seemed to be wrapping around the thin red thread, like some kind of vine trying to choke it out.

"Just accept it, you are what you are, and you always will be. The only thing that will ever change with you is your age, you're not worth caring for," her fear taunted, trying to rub it in one last time.

"Is…is that true?" Her absolute last and lowest of weak points had been struck. Feeling her grip on the red thread weaken, she was about to let go and give in to her fear once again, to remain as she had for so many years, but something told her not to, not this time. It started as a whisper, but it grew in strength.

"You've got to hang on!"

"I've…heard this before….but where?" Her grip didn't weaken, but it didn't tighten either.

"What's happened to you?! The Rika I know would never give up this easily!"

Tightening her grip, Rika remembered where this memory was from, she remember it very well.

"All we have to do is work together! We can make it Rika!"

Eyes snapping open, Rika looked up just in time to see the wave of her emotions wash over her and slam into her fear full force.

"I'm not WORTH caring for?!"

Turing her head, Rika surprised to see her angry copy, the one she knew represented her pride. But instead of focusing its wrath on her, it was completely focused on her fear.

It took a moment for her to realize what had happened, but when it did, Rika did nothing to stop the grin spreading across her face.

"When he said I wasn't worth caring for, he accidently struck my pride, now its fighting for me, not against me."

Rika watched as her pride and her fear exchanged barbs, and then actual blows. For a moment, it seemed like her pride was going to win, but then she remembered who the stronger opponent was.

She had defeated her pride only a few minutes ago after all.

Torn between helping and running, her decision was made for her when she saw her pride get tackled to the ground hard. Rika acted as quickly as she could, and again found the thin red cord.

"Here it goes; I just hope this doesn't mess up my head any worst than it already is."

Yanking the red cord as hard as she could, Rika watched as the punch her fear was sending towards her weakened pride's face got caught by the wrist.

By a very large, bright red and gold, armored gauntlet.

For the first time that she could ever remember, Rika saw her fear get shoved back.

Running towards her literally wounded pride, Rika helped it up and glared at her fear.

"News flash, I'm in charge here. This is my mind, and what I say goes. I don't care what you have to say, and I don't care that Takato might not…care for me as more than a friend. But I am not going to let you keep me back any longer, and I am not going to let you hurt me anymore. I've been alone because of you for twelve years, and I won't let you control me or hold me back anymore! I have friends now, friends that care about me, friends who will never abandon me!"

Trying to free itself from the larger armored figure, her fear snarled.

"Oooo scary. Go ahead and growl like the dog you are, you can't hurt me anymore!"

And just like that, it disappeared, leaving Rika alone with her pride and the red knight that had come to her aid watching her expectantly.

"I…thanks…for you help…" Rika said without looking up at the others faces.

The knight remained silent while her pride settled for crossing its arms.

"Don't mention it…seriously don't mention it to anyone. I've got a reputation to keep. Don't think that just because he stepped over the line I'm going to take this lying down," her pride snorted.

Taking a deep breath, Rika looked up to see the red knight disappear into thin air. When she looked back at her hand, she noticed that the red thread was now slightly thicker than it had been before. Not by much, but it was visible.

"So, you going to do it?" Her pride asked, almost making her jump out of her skin.

"Do it? Do what?"

Her pride cut her a knowing look.

"After all that, you had better march down to whatever little hole he's hiding in, drag him up, and ask his sorry butt out or I'll personally see to it that you'll be having nightmares of Kazu and Kenta singing American Woman until you do, you got that?" Her pride threatened.

Nodding her head slowly, Rika smirked.

"Yeah, I get it…and…again, thanks."

Rolling her eyes, Rika's pride disappeared into thin air, leaving her alone in the darkness.

"Well…I guess there's only one thing left to do huh?" She asked herself before closing her eyes in her mind, then opening them in the real world.

She blinked several times before noticing that the sun was starting to set, meaning it was already late in the afternoon.

"I can't believe it; did the day really go by that fast? What happened?"

Getting her bearings straight, she pushed herself up from the ground and groaned when she felt how stiff and sore her muscles were.

"Good grief that hurts, how do the guys sit all day playing video games? I feel like a truck ran over me or something," she thought as she stretched a bit.

Once she was able to stand and walk straight, she took a deep breath and pulled out her D-Arc.

"Well, no time like the present. I guess I should do this while I still have the nerve."

Bringing up her holographic compass, Rika searched for the familiar golden blip that she knew was Takato's signal.

"So he's at the park huh? Wait a minute, why is Henry there? He'd better not be…no, calm down, I've already been through this once today, and that's two times too many for one day. It must be about something else."

Returning her D-Arc to her belt, Rika set out at a jog for the park.

Renamon remained in her spot up in the tree just outside of the hideout. She couldn't see the two boys or their partners, but she could hear them just fine. Apparently, Takato was still thinking about the cross biomerge incident from two days ago, and had hoped that Henry would have some ideas about what had happened. She was a little bit disappointed that he hadn't stuck completely to his word that he wouldn't speak about the incident to anyone, but his concerned tone put it in a grey area of sorts.

"He's worried about something…but what? It can't be Rika going through Guilmon's memories; he knows she wouldn't have done that. But what could it be? She's biomerged with me enough over the years that he should know the process isn't dangerous…"

If there was one thing Renamon hated to admit, it was that Takato was far more complicated than people gave him credit for. He was for the most part very naïve, but he was far from stupid. Something was worrying him, worrying him enough to risk breaking his word. So far he had only infringed on his promise, he hadn't broken it exactly. But it was bugging her that something could weigh so much on his mind that he would do something like this.

Her ears twitched at hearing a familiar patter of footsteps approaching the hideout. Looking down the path, she saw a very pensive looking Rika. Her face was somewhere between a scowl and a grimace, and she could hear her muttering something to herself over and over that sounded suspiciously like 'I can do this'.

Shifting her gaze back to the boys, she saw Henry wave goodbye and leave carrying what looked like a statue replica of Terriermon.

That only left herself, Guilmon, Takato and Rika present.

"If Rika was looking for me she would have called for me by now…she must be here for something else…but what?"

Rika swallowed the lump in her throat and bit her lip. Never before had the stairs leading up to the hideout looked so long in all the years she had been coming here.

"Come on, I can do this! For Jeri, me and my pride, I have to at least try!"

Taking one last deep breath, she started up the stairs.

"Here goes…everything," she muttered to herself.

With each step she took, Rika could have sworn that the gravity was doubling. Each step was harder than the one before it.

"I…need to do this….I promised I would…"

Feeling like some unseen force was trying to crush her, Rika dug deeper and kept going.

"I…want to do this…"

While she could still feel the weight getting heavier and heavier with each step, she found that it wasn't quite as unbearable, she knew that she had the strength to keep going. It was difficult, but not impossible.

Reaching the top of the stairs, she looked inside and saw Takato sitting with his back to the wall staring at an invisible stop on the floor a few feet in front of him.

A few seconds passed, and he still didn't seem to notice her. It was almost like someone was trying to give her a chance to back out and run away, tempting her.

"No way after what I've been through am I backing down now," she thought clinching her fists.

"Hey, Gogglehead," she called out as she leaned against the concrete entrance. She hoped that he couldn't see how nervous she was and that she was able to pass as her normal calm self.

The boy looked up, not quickly but not exactly slowly either. He seemed to be in some sort of daze, like he had been thinking about something.

"Oh, hey Rika, everything alright?" Takato asked with his usual warm and friendly tone.

"If everything alright? What, does he…well…he does have a point…the only times I've ever come looking for him is when theirs a problem…I guess I need to work on that…but what do I do…how do I…how am I supposed to ask him out when I still haven't thanked him for yesterday…"

Seeing that as good of a place to start as any, she used it.

"Thanks for helping me out, I guess…I guess I owe you one," she said furrowing her brow. "Ok, that's a start, now to keep it going. I thanked him, now I…what do I do?"

"No problem, I'm just glad I could help," Takato replied with a beaming smile.

For some reason, that smile weakened her resolve. Seeing how honestly happy he was to help, she remembered the darker possibilities, the possibilities of what could happen if things went badly.

"Is it worth risking? I already have his friendship…I…I don't want to lose that…"

With a mental sigh, she made her decision.

"Same Gogglehead," she said turning to leave.

Starting down the steps, Rika felt a pang in her chest. She knew what she wanted, and she knew it could work, but the risk was just too great. She didn't want to lose what she already had just for a chance at something more.

"Hey Rika?"

"Hmm?" Stopping, but not completely trusting herself, Rika looked back over her shoulder. She was surprised to see that Takato had an extremely nervous, almost fearful expression on his face, one she had never seen before. A heartbeat later however it disappeared, covered with his usual friendly smile.

"Would you like to…hang out some time? I heard the new pizza place down the street is supposed to be pretty good."

"He wants to hang out…sure..I gue…wait a minute…pizza place? Why would he…is he asking me out!? If he is..then…"

Allowing herself a small smile, she nodded her head.

"Sure, I guess I'll see you later then…..Takato," she replied before turning away and continuing down the steps. It wouldn't do for him to see that her face was the same color as her hair after all.

From her spot up in the tree, Renamon smiled before vanishing and reappearing next to her partner once she was a short ways from the hideout.

"Rika," She greeted.

Her young Tamer looked up at her and blinked slowly.

"Oh, hey Renamon, where've you been? I haven't seen you since this morning," She asked, obviously still trying to compose herself.

"People watching," she replied casually as she shifted her gaze back towards the path ahead of them.

A few seconds of silence passed before her Tamer spoke up again.

"Did you…learn anything new?"

Looking back at her Tamer, Renamon pondered just how to respond to her question. She had learned quite a bit, but judging by what she had seen back at the hideout, and what the others had told her…

Allowing a small smirk to grace her features, Renamon looked back up before replying.

"Nothing you don't already know."

End chapter 3

End Endless Waltz of Change

AN: Whew, it's finally finished! The chapter that would not end I swear! Now, this chapter was written in three different parts, so you might notice it being a bit shaky or lacking the normal smoothness all the way through. That's what happens if I don't write out an entire chapter at one setting, I lose the mindset I had and it turns out different and a bit strange. I hope and pray that this chapter was not a let down to all of you who waited patiently for the conclusion of this story, but romance is a very difficult thing for me to write since I have ZERO experience in that department. I'm using other fics, books, movies and TV shows as a guide here, so if it seems a bit cliché in some parts, that's why. I know many of you are probably disappointed that there was no kiss, but I stated earlier that this fic would end where my first one 'A Valentines Day to Remember' did, just from a different POV. Now, I DO have a continuation of this fic in the works, it's a shorter one (only two chapters) that will cover the 'date' and the rest of the days events. After that will be some more chapters of 'Four Years Through Our Eyes' then the 'big fic'. I might do a few other one shots here and there, but I'm gearing up for the big one to try and get it out ASAP.

So, be on the look out for the fifth story in this series: 'Promise' to up in the (hopefully) near future!

So, how did I do? My first true attempt at a romance centric fic is now done. Was it good? Bad? Tolerable? You guys are my gauge! Your reviews help me improve and keep me going, so please let me know!

Till next time, Ja Ne!