Promise: Between Sisters
AN: Alright, I had planned this out and was going to write it one way, but then, as with most of my work, it took a life of its own. My original idea was for this to be two chapters. That obviously will not be happening. I underestimated the size of what I had planed…so…yeah. Anyways, it was going to be two chapters, now it looks like it's going to be seven, with a possible eight. This first chapter will be short, but it is mainly just to set the stage for what is to come. I can tell you right now, this is NOT going to be what most of you probably expected to see, but it's still what I originally planned, just a bit longer. There will be some humor and more than just a little bit of this and that, but it will for the most part be fairly serious. Also, I know I'm WAY behind on responding to you guys and girls reviews, but I like to take my time and personalize my responses, so they might take a little while longer, as always, I ask that you be patient with me.
So, without further adieu, I present to you, the first chapter of my new story!
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.
Promise: Vow- To assure somebody that something will certainly happen or be done.
Humming a nameless tune to herself, Riley couldn't help but smile. Even though lunch was usually a rather dull event whenever Yamaki had to work through it, she knew that today was going to be different.
After all, it wasn't too often that she had a chance to speak with any of the Tamers anymore, at least not in person. They generally preferred to avoid direct contact with Hypnos at all costs (not that she could blame them). But, she had struck a friendship with one of the Tamers, back during the D-Reaper invasion several years ago, and they had managed to maintain that friendship ever since. It wasn't anything special, just two people that happened to have a lot of common ground in life. Similar histories, similar families, similar interests, and even very similar personalities.
For Riley, it was like looking at herself from what sadly seemed to be many years ago. That is why she tried to help whenever she could, or offer little bits of advice here and there. In other words, she was an adoptive big sister.
Even though she was only two years younger than the girl's mother.
"I wonder how it went? I bet the poor kid was half scared out of his mind, but I hope everything went ok. After everything those kids have been through, they deserve a break."
Getting into the elevator, she hit the button for the cafeteria floor almost mechanically. She had done this so many times over the years that it was now as natural to her as breathing.
Hearing to the soft hum of the elevators descent, she thought back to the unexpected phone call she had received the week before, and felt her smile grow.
Generally, the last thing any person, especially someone who worked where she did wanted to hear when they got home was the phone ringing.
With an annoyed groan, Riley quickly made her way to the kitchen counter and dropped the grocery bags she had been carrying before moving towards the tiny evil that usually meant a swift death to her one day a week off.
Upon seeing the name 'Nonaka Rika' flashing across her caller ID however, her aggravation was quickly replaced with confusion.
"What on earth? Why would she be calling this late…"
While it wasn't as though they had never spoken to each other over the phone, it had been several months.
She quickly picked up the phone, and prayed that it wasn't some sort of emergency or that something terrible had happened.
"Rika? Is something wrong?" Under normal circumstances, she would have answered the phone as she always did, but given that there was a good chance that this was an emergency, she forwent the formalities and greetings.
The line was silent for a moment, but she could hear breathing, so she knew someone was there. Just when her mind was about to go into overdrive, a soft and almost unrecognizable voice spoke.
"Um… Riley…I…kind of…need your help with something…"
Her fears were once again replaced with confusion. The girl didn't sound like she was running, nor was she whispering like she was hiding, in fact, she almost sounded like she was…embarrassed?
Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, the older woman spoke.
"Uh…sure, if I can, I'll try my best. What do you need?" She asked, still more than just a little puzzled.
The line remained silent for another minute.
"I…could you…I need…sigh…I've got a…date…and I need…some help."
It took everything she had not to drop the phone right then and there.
"…Are you absolutely sure, that you wouldn't rather ask…you know…your mother, or your grandmother for help with…this sort of thing? Or maybe one of your friends? Jeri would be a good choice I think….I am happy for you, but…this is a bit out of my…well…jurisdiction," Riley replied, still somewhat out of it from being thrown through a loop.
"I…would…but…they would only be able to help with…general…stuff…I need…specific help."
Feeling her eyebrows disappearing into her hairline, Riley made sure to word her next question carefully.
"Specific, in what way?"
Again the line was silent.
"I need help…with…how to…I need to…know…what to do…with someone…that's…….dense."
It took a minute for her to figure out what Rika had meant by 'dense', then realized that she was referring to someone like Yamaki.
"How dense?" Riley asked cautiously.
She could hear a groaning sound come from the other line before a response.
"About as dense as you can get."
Moving to her couch, Riley made herself comfortable, and got ready for what she knew was going to be a very long, and very awkward conversation.
While Rika had never directly revealed the name of her mystery date, it hadn't been too difficult for her to make an educated guess.
According to Rika, he was dense, a bit skittish, kind, and they were already friends.
While the first three hadn't been of much help if figuring out who it was, when fitted with the last one, it was narrowed down to only one person.
She had of course not been blind to the way the two interacted in the past, but she had been under the impression that the Tamers young leader was already in a relationship with his long time crush Jeri.
"Well, time does have a habit of changing things doesn't it?" she thought with a chuckle as she looked down at the small gold band on her left ring finger.
The conversation had been an interesting one for sure. It had taken her several minutes just to get her head back into the game and be able to think clearly enough to offer any advice at all. Once she did however, she went into 'mission mode'.
"First of all, where are you going?" Riley asked, straight to the point by following the first law of engagement, scope out the terrain.
"We're…going…to a…pizza place…for lunch. It's the new one…a couple of blocks from the Matsuki Bakery," Rika replied somewhat bashfully.
That alone sent off warning bells in the older woman's head.
Second law of engagement, verify troop competence.
"Ok…is this your first first date, or just your first date with him?" She asked cautiously, not wanting to embarrass the girl any more than she already was but still get an idea of what she was dealing with.
The line was quiet for a few seconds.
"First….first….for me….but…I don't think it's his-"
"Rika…you're not embarrassed are you?" She was careful to keep her tone from sounding too much like a lecture or teasing, but at the same time not appear to be serious.
"You mean about not being his first date? Well…kinda…yeah."
Closing her eyes, Riley exhaled sharply. "She avoided my question completely. That's not good, if she is embarrassed about going out for pizza, then…"
In her mind, Riley could almost see the lines passing before her eyes in big bold letters.
Second law fail. Initiate corrective countermeasures. Reality check is go.
"Rika, this is very important, so please listen to me carefully ok?"
A very weak 'ok' was heard through the line.
"I know that you want this to be perfect, but I'm going to tell you right now that it won't be. All that stuff you see in movies or read in books is a farce. In all likelihood, your first date will probably be the worst one you ever have in your life."
She could hear the younger girl gulping on the other end and could almost see her face paling.
"So whatever expectations or ideas you have, it's best if you just forget about them now before you get disappointed ok?"
"…will it…really be that bad?"
Riley sighed. She hated doing this, but it was for both her and the boy's sake. If her expectations were too high, it would cause nothing but disappointment and trouble for both parties.
"Unfortunately, yes. From what you told me, whoever this is you're going out with is probably going to be a nervous wreck…and scared half stupid. If you really are embarrassed that you're just going out for pizza and not something more romantic, you'll end up knocking both his ego and his pride down a few pegs. So you need to get over that."
Riley shook her head and smiled softly.
"Just remember not to set the bar so high. Pizza's actually not bad for a first date. Mine was a fast food curry joint, so you got me beat right from the start," she added, trying to keep the picture from becoming totally bleak.
She heard a weak snort from the other end, which told her it had worked.
"Now, remember, don't act disappointed ok? That will just make him even more nervous, and it might even make him give up before it even starts."
"I…guess…I mean…it's just that…well…you know…"
"Kid, I can honestly tell you that he is going to be a lot more afraid of this than you are. Remember, you hold the high ground, you have the advantage here. He's trying to date you, not the other way around. He'll try to get your attention and prove that he's worth your time. You don't have to impress him, you already did, that's why he asked in the first place. If you can remember that, it'll make things a lot easier for you," explained halfway teasingly but still trying to keep somewhat serious.
"I don't want him to think I'm judging him or something, it's a date, not an appraisal!"
Riley smirked at the younger girl's outburst.
"Ohhh protective are we? Let me ask you this, who asked who out?"
The line remained quiet for a few moments.
"He…asked….me," Rika answered quietly.
"See, I was right. He's trying to prove himself in your eyes, just like a peacock. You already have his attention. Like I said, you hold the power in this situation, but you need to be careful with that."
"Need to be careful about what?" Rika asked softly. Though her voice was still somewhat timid, Riley could hear an undercurrent of curiosity to it as well.
Riley shook her head. This wasn't just idle advice for what to do with the boy due to a specific issue, this was a class in dating 101 itself. It was painfully obvious that the girl had zero experience, and hadn't even bothered asking anyone else for help at all.
"You need to be careful about his ego. If you hurt it, it'll bruise permanently. You need to stay in control, but without making him feel like he's under the microscope, or that you're out of his league…even if both are actually true," she added the last part somewhat hesitantly.
"So…that means…what exactly?"
Torn between telling the kid to go ask one of her legal guardians for help, or buying her a copy of 'Dating for Dummies' Riley calmed herself.
"Let's start from the top ok? You said that you needed special help because he's dense. Why?"
Third law of engagement, establish mission parameters.
"Well…he's just…not….he's not dumb, he just tends to overlook things….a lot."
Nodding to herself, Riley couldn't have said it better. She knew that the boy was completely clueless when it came to anything even remotely 'subtle', but he was far from being stupid. Stupid people didn't outsmart government organizations; earn the trust and loyalty of hackers like the Monster Makers, or world class card players and Tamers like Rika and Ryo.
"Alright, let's work from there. If he's not going to notice subtle things, you need to do what?"
Fourth law of engagement, insure troop understands limitations and proper use of 'force'.
"I…guess…I need to be…obvious?"
"Close, you need to be careful. He'll be jittery, so don't do anything too big. So that means no footsy or active flirting ok? Even passive flirting is dangerous for a first date."
She really did wish that she had a video phone right now, just to see the younger girl's expression.
"Now, you want to make sure that he knows you're interested in him, but you can't be over the top. The best way to do this is by just talking to him. So, if it's someone you've had your eye on for a while, tell him that. You'll be giving him a tiny bit of confidence and it might help him calm down. Just…make sure you don't come off as impatient or…perturbed." Riley's tone became somewhat sharper at this point, recalling just how long she had to wait for Yamaki to get a clue.
"Don't sound like you're annoyed that it took him so darn long. Even if its taken him years to….just keep your tone neutral, but if at all possible, try to sound positive or at the very least pleasant," Riley clarified, having to remember that she was trying to help the girl, not harp on her own past.
"I…think I get it…"
"Good. Now, is he cute, handsome, hot, or was it his personality that got your attention?" She asked evenly.
Fifth law of engagement, gather intelligence on enemy.
First law of friendship between females, gather information for potential gossip and/or teasing.
A loud thump on her receiver told Riley that Rika had dropped her phone.
Keeping her tone neutral, she repeated the question.
"I asked if he looked good, or if he had a nice personality. I'm not joking with you, it's actually important."
"Well…he…he…he's not…I mean…well…he's…he's not ugly or anything…he's….kinda….well…cute. But that's not what-"
"That's all I needed. If it wasn't just his personality that got your attention, then there is something else you need to be careful about," Riley cautioned.
"Don't smoke him alright? If you think he's cute, you'll try to impress him, and since this is your first date, you'll go overboard and leave him in the dust. Don't do that."
"Smoke…him?" Rika asked timidly.
"It means go all out. You're going to a pizza place, not a five star restaurant. If you come in there all dolled up he'll either keel over on the spot or get depressed."
"Ok...so…do nothing? Just go as is?"
Riley face palmed.
"As is would be an even bigger mistake. That would give the impression that you don't think he's worth the time to look nice for," Riley groaned.
"But you just said-"
"I said not to smoke him; I never said not to give him something to look at. There is a difference," Riley explained.
"Oh…well…what…should I do?"
Thinking it over carefully, Riley tried to keep everything in perspective. She was trying to help, but there was a world of difference between their circumstances. It was pretty clear that despite the girl's normally calm and bold personality, she was severely lacking in confidence with this.
"I would say…just to be safe…normal clothes, but you might want to use a little bit of lip gloss…and maybe do something different with your hair," she responded carefully. She was drawing from more than just a few years of experience when compared to her friend, but at the same time she had to keep in mind that these were teenagers, not adults who were painfully approaching turning thirty as was her case.
"I'm not letting it down," Rika replied flatly.
Riley was more than just a little caught off guard by how firm the girl's voice was.
"That's strange, why would she be so defensive about her hair? I didn't say to cut it or anything…odd…"
Chalking it up to something personal, she tried to clarify what she had meant.
"You don't have to do anything big, just something a little different than usual is all. Guy's might be pretty dumb for the most part, but they do know we spend a lot of time on our hair. So, if he see's that you changed it, even just a little for this occasion…" she left the rest hanging.
"It…would…give the impression that I'm…interested?" Rika guessed.
"Bingo kid, you just hit your first bull's-eye. It's simply, easy, and very obvious. Just don't make too big of a deal about it ok?"
"Now, just a few important ground rules then you're done ok?"
Sixth and final law of engagement, dispel rumors of anything that might work but actually doesn't.
"Ground…rules?" Rika asked almost grimacing.
"I prefer to call them rules of engagement or battle protocol myself, but for some reason they're called ground rules. Don't ask me why, I didn't name them."
"First, no constant smiling, it's not cute, it's creepy. Second, don't laugh at every little thing he does or says, odds are you'll accidently laugh at something you shouldn't have. Third, no constant touching, it just makes them more nervous. Fourth, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself, this is a date, not a funeral. Fifth, be yourself, and I don't mean that as a generalization. I mean don't act any differently that you would normally around him. If he's been your friend for a few years he'll be able to tell the difference."
"Um…about that last one…"
"…never mind, I'll work it out….is there anything else?"
"Yeah, one big one. Be honest and don't lie about anything. Be tactful if you have to, but try to be as honest as you can. That should be fairly easy for you considering your age though," Riley teased.
"I….thanks Riley…I owe you one…"
"Oh I know. Which is why you're going to be waiting for me in the cafeteria for my lunch when your little date is over. If I'm going to help you, I'm going to want to know how it went," Riley replied with a giant smirk.
"WHAT!? You can't expect me to…you can't do that!"
"I can, I will, and I am. If you don't, I'll drop by to see you on my way home. Either way you're going to spill."
She could hear the younger girl growl from her end and smirked to herself.
"My lunch break is at two thirty, I expect to see you then, bye bye," Riley said cheerily before hanging up and not giving the girl a chance to refuse.
Hearing the familiar chime of the elevator, Riley stepped out and continued humming to herself. She didn't know why, but she had a good feeling about today.
Coming around the corner, she scanned the cafeteria for the easily recognizable spiky red mop of hair that was her friend. There were never too many people present, and it was nearly unheard of to see a kid in the building, so she should have been easy to spot.
Then, her heart sank.
Sitting off to one of the corners with her head on the table was Rika.
Quickly making her way to the back of the cafeteria, she could almost feel the temperature dropping with each passing step. It didn't take finely tuned woman's intuition to sense that something was wrong.
"Rika, are you ok? What happened?" Riley asked as she pulled a chair around and next to they younger girl.
"Rika? Rika?" Reaching her arm around the teen's shoulders she gave her a few shakes to get her attention.
"Huh? Oh…hey Riley…"
Hearing the younger girl's voice almost completely void of emotion, Reilly became even more worried.
"Are…is everything alright?"
Running over everything in her head, she couldn't for the life of her figure out what could have possibly gone wrong. She knew that Takato was a good kid, and that the two were good friends, closer than she was with most of her own, but something had obviously gone very wrong.
The girl swallowed and shook her head, confirming her fears.
"Do you want to talk about it? It'll help," she offered.
At first she just continued to stare blankly into space, but then she looked directly at Riley. The older woman recognized the look, but that didn't make it any less of a shock to her. It wasn't disappointment or fear, or even hurt, it was anger.
Narrowing her eyes, Riley ran the statement over in her head several times. She still didn't know what had happened, but she had figured out that it was something either unexpected, or at the least uncontrollable.
"What happened? Did something go wrong?"
To her credit, Rika still had yet to shed a single tear. Her eyes were glassy, but she was holding herself together amazingly well.
So, imagine her surprise when the girl snorted.
"Just about everything, you name it, it happened. The only thing that could have made it worst is if my father had been there," Rika spat.
"That's odd…she's angry…but…I don't think she's angry at Takato…at least not directly."
"When you said that first dates are usually the worst ones you have, I really hope that you were telling the truth…because I don't think…"
When the younger girl pulled herself up from the table and Riley was able to get a better look at her, a few pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place right from the start.
A large dark stain marred the middle of what used to be a crisp white shirt, along with several lighter stains on the shoulders and most of the right sleeve. The next thing she noticed was that the normally spiky topknot ponytail the teen usually wore had been just a normal pullback ponytail, but it was now sprayed out and only held together by the scrunchie at the top. The last thing she noticed was that the girl seemed to be a bit damp, like she had run through some water sprinklers or something.
"Why do I get the impression that I'm not going to believe what I'm about to hear?" Riley asked with a completely deadpan tone.
Again Rika snorted.
Probably because I still don't, and I was there," she snapped.
"Ok, start from the beginning, and we'll see what we can salvage from this ok?" Riley replied as soothingly as she could.
Sighing, the young girl took a deep breath, and began to recount the day's events.
End chapter one
AN: Oh yeah, NOTHING goes easy for our favorite redhead in life does it? I know it seems like I'm focusing a lot lately on Rika, but I do have a reason for that. We already know Takato fairly well, and he's not going to change but so much from canon. Rika on the other hand is going to be changing A LOT from her canon self of the series. Not all of this story is going to be from her POV however, one of the chapters will be from Takato's. Like I said, this story will NOT be what you all expected, but rest assured, I have been planning this since I wrote 'That Night Through Our Eyes'. This story will be at least seven chapters in length, with this probably being the shortest, so don't worry about that. There will be a sneak peek of sorts for the big fic in here, and there will be a long awaited scene towards the end (take a guess what lol).
I thank you for your patience, and I hope that you all will enjoy the latest installment of my ever growing Digimon series. Don't forget to review, and yes I still accept annon reviews. You people keep me going, and help me improve. The better I get, the better story you get to enjoy reading, so let me know what you think!
Till next time, Ja Ne!