Partner no more?
Part VII
by Christian "Sid" Lang

Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Sanjay wakes up.
Just as he wants to ask something, the hand gently holds his snout.
"Shhhh. Renamon is still asleep." Lady Kioko whispers.
He nods and blinks. Kioko has lit some candles to illuminate the room only a bit.
"I'm going to prepare breakfast for... all of us."
Sanjay notices that the lady avoids speaking Ruki's name.
Good. She probably thinks that Renamon might hear her.
"That would be nice. Thank you." he whispers back.
She just smiles gently and heads upstairs.
Sanjay now looks at Renamon. The Digimon sleeps, but she is frowning.
Then he hears her whisper something.
"Ruki... I'm sorry..."

Thanking Kioko again, Sanjay takes two bowls of soup down.
He places one near Renamon's sleeping place.
Then he sits down and starts to eat out of his bowl.
The smell of food finally wakes up the sleeping fox.
The golden-furred creature blinks. Then she looks at him.
"Wha- You?" she asks in confusion.
"Eat. You almost died last night and I bet you're still weak." Sanjay mutters.
Renamon only sighs and looks down.
"You should have let me die. I have no more reason to live." she whispers.
Sanjay snarls loudly, making the fox jump.
"So tell me your story then." he finally hisses.

Renamon gulps. Should she tell him what has happened?
How would he react? Would he kill her? Did it matter to her?
"I... I have killed my Tamer." she finally whispers.
She grits her teeth and closes her eyes, waiting for his reaction.
All she hears are the sounds of Sanjay eating his soup.
She blinks and stares at the wolf.
"Are you actually listening to me?" she asks him.
"Sure. But I want to hear why you did it. And how you feel."
Doesn' he care for humans at all? How can he simply ignore the fact that i KILLED her?
Still she continues.
"I have been in love with a human. I really believed that it was the love of my life."
"Go on." he encourages her.
"I neglected Ruki more and more. In the end she got angry and told me that she hated me."
He simply looks at her now and frowns.
"It happened on a roof. I don't know why I did it, but I pushed her."
She wipes away her tears and continues.
"I-I felt s-so angry, then I threw her off the roof! I killed her! I killed her!"

Sanjay embraces the crying fox and strokes her fur.
"Please kill me. I don't deserve to live..." she whispers, but he simply holds her.
"What happened then?" he asks.
Her sobs become quiet now. Renamon looks away and bites her lower lip.
"I-I stayed with Daniel. He t-told me that he w-would take care of me..."
She clenches her fists now.
"Too late I realized that he had toyed with me. With my feelings."
He cocks his head. That part is new to him.
"He tried to kill me. Killing Digimon is his hobby. What a fool I have been!"
"And then you landed here?" Sanjay finally asks.
She nods weakly.
"Guess it was a reflex." she mutters.
Sanjay only nods. He can see that she really misses the girl.

Renamon looks up at the wolf, who only sighs.
"So you think it was a mistake killing Ruki?" he asks.
Fighting back her tears Renamon snarls.
"Didn't you listen? I'd give anything to let her live again!" she snaps.
He simply looks at her.
"Ruki has been right! But I didn't want to listen and killed her!"
She sobs briefly.
"She deserves to live. I completely failed her! I'm her Digimon, after all!"
Renamon turns away from him to hide her tears.
She flinches when she feels his large hand on her shoulder.
"I think you deserve a second chance." the wolf whispers.
Renamon faces him angrily. His words seem to mock her.
Then she sees... it.

"Th-Th-That's... that's... Is it?" she stammers, raising her trembling paw.
"The device Ruki dropped." Sanjay says and nods.
Renamon briefly touches it, as if to verify that it's real.
She looks up at him, and Sanjay can see the confusion in her eyes.
"I saw what you did during that night. Lee sent me to look after you and Ruki."
The fox carefully takes the device and holds it close to her heart.
"And I took care of Ruki after her fall." Sanjay adds.
Renamon's paws are instantly at his throat.
"She's alive?" she hisses.
Sanjay only nods.
Suddenly Renamon is hugging him with all her strength.
"Where is she?" the fox finally asks.
"Stay here. If she wants to see you, she will call you."
Renamon looks into his eyes.
Sanjay knows that she is tempted of forcing him to talk.
But in the end she only nods, understanding her situation.
Nodding, Sanjay takes the device and leaves Renamon alone with her thoughts.

On his way up, Sanjay meets Lady Kioko.
"She's asleep. But I think she really wants to talk to somebody." she whispers.
Sanjay only nods and sneaks to Ruki's door.
Like a thief, he carefully opens the door and looks into the room.
Just as Kioko has said, Ruki is asleep.
Without waking the girl, Sanjay sneaks to her bed-side table.
He opens a drawer and puts the device into it.
Then he leaves the room again.
Finally he knocks loudly, waking the girl up.
"Y-Yes?" he hears Ruki's voice.
"It's me, Sanjay. May I come in?"
"Yes." she answers after a short pause.
Slowly he opens the door and steps into the room.
He waits in the door frame so he wouldn't scare her too much.
When Ruki nods, he walks to her bed and sits on the chair standing next to it.

"How are you?" the wolf creature asks her.
Oh perfect! My Digimon probably hates me and tried to kill me. Ruki thinks.
"The pain is gone." she only says.
"Good. Then you will leave shortly." Sanjay simply says.
Ruki blinks, but nods. She would go home. Alone.
"Oh, by the way, I have news from Renamon." Sanjay mutters.
"Really?" she asks eagerly, instantly scolding herself for it.
"Yes. She told me that she has found a new Tamer."
The girl gulps and bites her lower lip.
"That man she loves?"
"No. A nice little girl." the wolf says.
"A... girl?" Ruki asks, trying not to cry.
"Yes. Renamon really likes her. Says she is so nice and cares for her."
Ruki looks down, knowing that Renamon has definately left her.
"Renamon gave her the device you dropped. I think it's a symbol for their relationship."
The wolf yawns lazily, ignoring Ruki's mood.
"She says that this girl is the perfect Tamer. They really like each other I think."
After a short pause, Sanjay stands up.
"Well, I've got to go now. Your stuff is in the bed-side table. I'd start packing now."

When Sanjay has left the room, Ruki buries her head in the pillow.
Why? Why did she leave me? she asks herself.
Then she remembers her dream. Her vision.
"They care for each other. That's the whole point."
Ruki asks herself if she had cared for Renamon.
No. She has been my fighting machine. Nothing more. she realizes.
Renamon wanted nothing more than a friend. But I didn't realize that.
She wipes away her tears.
And now she's gone. She has found somebody she really likes.
Ruki sobs, suddenly feeling very lonely.
She realizes that Renamon had always been there for her. Comforted her.
And I ignored her feelings.
The former Tamer sighs. She knows that it's over.
Shaking her head, she opens the drawer of the table.
"What the-" she mutters.
Her eyes are fixed on the single object in the drawer.
"Renamon gave her the device you dropped. I think it's a symbol for their relationship."
Holding her breath, Ruki touches the D-Arc.
Her D-Arc. Renamon's D-Arc. Their D-Arc.

Renamon can't wait any longer.
She has watched Ruki's reactions carefully.
And she knows that Ruki misses her. She can see it in the girl's eyes.
She appears next to the girl, who looks up at her.
Tears flow down her pretty face, but Renamon knows that they're tears of joy.
"R-Renamon..." Ruki whispers and smiles.
The vulpine Digimon also smiles and hugs her Tamer.
Then she realizes that Ruki might disapprove and quickly ends the hug.
Instead she kneels on the floor and takes the girl's hands.
Renamon can feel Ruki's firm grip on the D-Arc and looks up at the girl.
"Ruki. Do you want to become my Tamer?" she asks with a smile.
The girl looks into her eyes. Then, her smile slowly fades.

Ruki can see Renamon gasp.
The Digimon's grip on her hands tightens.
"N-N-No?" Renamon asks, her voice almost failing her.
"No. I don't want to become your Tamer." Ruki firmly says.
Renamon looks down at the floor.
"I want to become your friend instead." Ruki finally says.
Renamon's head jerks up and Ruki allows herself a smile again.
The fox instantly embraces her again, making Ruki gasp.
"Oh Ruki!" Renamon whispers.
For the first time ever, Ruki realizes that Renamon is a living creature.
She notices the warm breath, the soft fur, the beating of her heart.
Finally she also wraps her arms around Renamon, returning the hug.
"I'm sorry." Ruki whispers, making Renamon laugh.
"Don't be. It has been my fault. I wasn't thinking straight." Renamon answers.
Ruki smiles and gently starts stroking Renamon's fur.
She is amazed when she notices how good it feels to do that.
"Let's go home." Renamon finally suggests.
"Yes. Mom must be worried as hell."

After saying farewell to Kioko and Sanjay, Ruki walks home.
She had thanked the lady and the wolf and promised to visit them soon.
On the short way, Renamon explained what had happened.
Ruki had to stop two times to calm the Digimon down.
But finally she reaches the front gate of the house.
Fortunately, Renamon had fetched her some clothes from her room.
Her old outfit had blood stains all over it.
Ruki gulps and walks into the house, where she meets her mother.
"Oh, hello Ruki." Mikino greets her and smiles.
Isn't she worried? Ruki asks herself and frowns.
"How did you like you trip?" her mother asks her.
"Trip?" Ruki asks and blinks.
"Yes. Lady Kioko said she'd take you to a short trip to show you some herbs."
Ruki sighs and smiles. Lady Kioko had thought of everything.
"Did you at least learn something useful?" Mikino asks.
"Oh yes, Mom. I learned some very important things." Ruki answers and smiles.
Renamon, who is hiding behind Mikino, also smiles at Ruki.
"They care for each other. That's the whole point."

The End.