Date started: June 17th, 2010
Date finished: June 17th, 2010

Summary: An unexpected guest arrives at the Matsuda's bakery.

Faulty Transmissions

It was raining, but the outdoor weather did not reflect upon Takato's mood today. He was overjoyed at having discovered the entrance to the Digital World. It had been in the most obvious location, right under Guilmon's old home. Today he was covering for his parents in the bakery – it wasn't long, he would only be watching the bakery for a little over an hour while they ran a few necessary errands, and the rain meant there likely wouldn't be any customers – but he had already told the others about his discovery.

Of course there was still the issue of eventually going into the Digital World and looking for their partners. It would be a rather difficult explanation as to why the Tamers would suddenly drop off the face of the earth for an undetermined amount of time. But that's where Yamaki came in. He was already in the process of discussing the situation with the families, and much to Takato's surprise, his parents had been quick to agree. He could only hope that the others were having similar luck.

The door chime signaled a visitor. Takato blinked open the boredom from his eyes to look at the newcomer. It was one thing to be told to watch the store, but what was he to do now that he actually had a customer? He wasn't prepared for this!

Thankfully, he was met with a rather familiar face.

"Ah, Reika-san," he greeted with a bow, mustering all the politeness that he could. "I didn't expect to see you."

She smiled down at him. "Hello, Takato-kun. I hear you're heading off on an expedition soon."

Takato lifted his head from the bow, looking up at the older woman. Despite the heavy rain outside she was clearly dry from head to toe. He peaked past her towards a black van parked near the sidewalk. And no sooner had Takato spotted it did it speed off down the street and out of his sight.

His gaze traveled back and he chuckled sheepishly. "Nothing has been determined yet."

Word traveled fast, apparently, Takato decided. Sure, he had informed Yamaki about the portal and the planned journey into the Digital World – he had to make sure that his elders and Hypnos – especially Hypnos – would be looking after them from this end, but he hadn't expected Yamaki to have already informed his subordinates. It was almost as if the head of Hypnos had already set everything in motion for the Tamers before any of them had even been made aware of it.

"I came by to deliver this," she raised a black laptop bag. Her formal dress attire indicated she had only recently left the Hypnos building. "This should allow you to keep in contact with us while in the Digital World. Megumi is delivering one to Ruki-chan, and Yamaki-san is handling Jenrya's end."

"I… I see," Takato managed, extending his hands and accepting the bag. "So Yamaki-san has everything ready for us, then? Will Hirokazu and the others need one, too?"

"We're only permitting the three of you to enter," Reika said.

"What?" Takato gaped. "Why? We're all Tamers."

She frowned. She turned away, walking around the bakery and browsing the shelves of baked goods on sale. "We don't trust in the other's experience. We think it would be overall better and safer without them. Yamaki-san agrees, this way we can avoid a second Leomon incident."

"But things are different now," Takato protested. "We are saviors of the Digital World. There won't be anything to harm us – and what about Ryo-san? He's been in the Digital World longer than any of us."

"Akiyama Ryo has already left for the Digital World," Reika grumbled. She picked up a loaf, examined it a moment, and then placed it back again. "So when you find him, bring him back, too."

"Oh," Takato chuckled. He felt around the bag, "So what's in this, then?"

Her attention turned back to him. "There's a laptop and a transmitter device. Both will act as backups for the other in case either one gets lost. I'll come by again later tonight and help you understand how to use it."

Takato blinked. He looked out at the heavy rain, and noticed the fidgeting, almost uncomfortable, atmosphere surrounding his guest. "There's time now," Takato said. He bent down to open the bag, "Perhaps you could show it to me now?"

"Don't open that!" Reika's eyes went wide. She caught herself almost immediately and presented him with a smile; it was a wide, knowing, grin. "I mean - that won't do, Takato-kun. I'm short on time as it is, and I have to be back at the office very soon."

Takato stood frozen solid in place, only now recovering from Reika's startling yell. "So I… shouldn't open it?"

"Yes, don't do anything with the bag until I come by again later tonight."

"Reika-san, if you don't mind me asking," Takato began, "If you are in such a hurry… why are you still here?"

"It's raining outside, Takato-kun," she explained. "Yamaki-san sent me here to deliver that, so I expect that he should also be very willing to come by and pick me up to make sure I don't get soaked."

It was a rather strange way she had phrased willing, and for that matter Takato couldn't imagine Yamaki willingly doing this for anyone. He shrugged off the worries, dropping the bag next to the payment counter and turned towards the nearby hallway that led upstairs to his room. "I could lend you an umbrella," Takato offered.

"No, it's fine," Reika called after him, interrupting his actions before he had even managed to take a step away. "I wouldn't want to trouble you – and there's no guarantee when I'll stop by again to give it back."

The confusion on his face was evident as Takato turned around, his frame seemingly frozen in mid-step. "Huh? But didn't you say you would come by again later tonight?"

The door chimes sounded again. "Oh, of course, Takato-kun, I'll come by later and show you the workings of the transmitter."

He blinked again at the completely controversial words the older woman was saying. He was about to ask her if he should indeed bring her an umbrella, when he noticed Yamaki collapsing one of his own in the middle of the open doorway. A strong breeze blew in, giving him a bit of difficulty.

When at last he succeeded he entered into the bakery. He eyed the laptop bag on the floor, resting against the counter, and then nodded at Takato. "I trust you've been instructed on how to send and receive transmissions?"

Before Takato could reply Reika immediately cut in. With a mocking, playful salute she gave her report, "Of course, Yamaki-shitsuchou. I've taken care of everything. Shall we go?"

She slung her arms around one of his own, leaning in against his shoulder. Without another word the pair left the bakery, exiting into the rainy weather outside.

Takato stood blinking, dumbfounded at the event that had just taken place. He stared at the retreating figures, trying to interpret Reika's actions. Nothing that came to mind made sense; he simply couldn't rationalize any of it. He sighed, kicking at the floor in mild irritation.

His eyes fell on the laptop bag. He mused aloud, "Just what was so important inside here that she didn't even want me opening it without her here?"

Without waiting for a second opinion, he knelt down and opened up the bag. It didn't take a very thorough search for him to discover what was inside.

It was another umbrella.

End Notes:
- The honorific "shitsuchou" means "chief," or "captain."