Author's note: Ryo and Hikari are my star-crossed lovers. I suggest, if you think I've lost my mind, you read Ryo's Wiki page or outright Google information about his character. Pay particular attention to the information about the games released in Japan. I suppose you could say this is game-verse…crack. This is based off a drabble I wrote on my Tumblr, but I removed the Tamers cast. I haven't written them enough (translation: at all) to be able to incorporate them throughout an entire story without butchering it. So I removed them.

What Digimon is attacking Hikari? That's a great question. I was too lazy to do my digital research. Go me! If it helps, I imagined a pterodactyl. Why? I'm not sure. But I did.


Hikari ran, but the Digimon circling overhead let out a bone-chilling screech that sent a fireball careening towards her. She screamed and dove to the ground. She felt the heat against her back and the wind ruffle her clothes and hair as it passed over her, crashing into the ground mere feet from her head. She rolled over to see her assailant in time to see it opening its beak wide as it prepared another fireball.

Ryo froze.

"Do you hear that, Cyberdramon?"

Cyberdramon didn't answer, per say, but he made a menacing noise in the back of his throat and bared his teeth. Ryo nodded grimly.

"Let's go. Quickly," he ordered. Cyberdramon lifted Ryo into his arms, and they ran. The sensation had alarmed Ryo once, the very first time, but that had been a long time ago in a time he had long forgotten. It was as familiar to him as running, as though it had been with him all his life. For all he knew, it had been.

"Hurry!" he cried. They were going fast – far faster than Ryo could run on his own two feet – but it still felt as though they were going far too slow. They wouldn't be in time, he feared, to help whatever Digimon was in danger. And that was he did: he protected the Digimon who needed it, helped keep the order, because if he was going to live somewhere then he ought to be an active part of it and try to make it better somehow. Cyberdramon pushed himself to obey his Tamer's will and go faster.

Cyberdramon only slowed when they reached the edge of the cliff when Ryo barked out the command. He trusted Cyberdramon to survive the landing – and to keep him safe while doing so – but he wanted to survey the threat. Ryo jumped out of Cyberdramon's arms. He could see the flying Digimon perfectly from the cliff. But where was its target? He squinted his eyes, looking for the victimized Digimon.

And saw a human girl.

"Cyberdramon!"

His partner leapt away from him, attacking the flying Digimon before it could finish forming its attack. He didn't need Ryo's encouragement; it was his instinct, what he was born to do. It was all Ryo could ever do to reel Cyberdramon in before he got carried away. But he did not reel him in now. He watched for the briefest of moments as his Digimon's first attack made contact and the flier screeched in outrage. Then he began climbing down the cliff; it wasn't very difficult, or at least he'd handled worse. The battle was still raging overhead as he reached the bottom and sprinted towards the girl, who had sat up by now, and was staring up at the fight with numb horror.

"Are you alright," he demanded, kneeling beside her. He smiled encouragingly, despite his harsh tone. It was the effect of battle. She ignored him.

"They're going to kill each other," she said in a small voice. "It's my fault, and they're going to kill each other."

"Your fault," Ryo echoed, clearly confused. Tears made her hazel eyes oddly bright, but she was too strong to let them fall. She smiled weakly at him, though she was still watching the battle out of the corner of her eyes. It was the train wreck you couldn't turn away from.

"I… I got lost," she said, a bit lamely. "And I must have stumbled into its territory, threatened its babies… I saw others. They must be its family, and it thought I was going to hurt them," she insisted, as though she desperately needed him to believe her, to understand. She was looking for forgiveness. "Call him off. Tell him to stop. Your partner. That's your Digimion, right?"

"He is," Ryo said gravely, looking up. "But he won't listen to me when he gets like this. The moment you screamed, it was over for that Digimon."

"That can't be," she insisted, grabbing his arm. "You just have to try! Please! It's just protecting its family, its home!"

"I know, but…" Ryo looked up, and for the first time in a long time, he felt helpless, and confused, and a little… wrong. He was the one who told Cyberdramon to go – to attack. "If we hadn't come, you might have died."

"No, not once I was far enough away, I think."

"How did outrunning it go," Ryo asked curiously, his eyebrows raised at her. He was rewarded with her blushing.

"Not… not well," she admitted in a murmur.

"Exactly." He frowned sympathetically. "I'm sorry, but—"

"He won't attack the rest, right," she asked. "Its family?"

"I won't let him," Ryo promised. "I can stop that."

The girl nodded, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. She took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. She looked up. "At least it doesn't die. Not really."

"Huh?"

"Digimon. They turn into eggs, right? So it'll be able to live again." She seemed content with this. She looked a little less panicked, although she still looked up with a sad expression that he wished he could wipe away. She was too pretty a girl to look that sad. But she had to be confused.

"Digimon don't turn into eggs," he frowned. "They turn into data."

She looked at him sharply. "What?"

"They turn into data," he repeated, a little more slowly. "Usually other Digimon scan their data after they've been defeated—"

"Why would they do that," she asked sharply, interrupting him.

He raised an eyebrow, but answered calmly, "To get stronger, of course."

"Of course," she echoed, like she didn't really believe it. She looked back up. "What's your name?"

"My name? Ryo," he said, thrown off by the sudden change in topic. "My partner is Cyberdramon."

"Ryo?" She looked at him strangely – the way you look at someone you recognize but can't quite place – before looking back at the Digimon. It was only Cyberdramon now, coming back to the ground, his lips drawn back in a snarl. "My name is Hikari."

"That's a pretty name," he said calmly, reaching into his pants pocket for his digivice.

"My partner is Tailmon," she added.

"Where's your partner at?"

"I told you, I got lost."

"Without your partner?"

Hikari glared at him. "I was careless. I know that."

"Sorry. Hold on a second," he asked. He got to his feet, taking a few steps towards Cyberdramon. "That's enough!"

Cyberdramon ignored him.

"Cyberdramon! There's no more!"

A growl seemed to rattle the ground beneath their feet. Hikari watched with wide eyes.

"It's done! The enemy you're looking for, you won't find them here," Ryo yelled. He raised his digivice and threw his arm forward, as though he was going to release the digivice like a ball. Instead – and Hikari's eyes grew, if possible, wider at this – a whip of data streamed forth, wrapping itself around Cyberdramon's arm. "Enough!"

"He really doesn't listen," Hikari murmured, getting to her feet to stand beside Ryo. "Like a wild one."

"I told you," Ryo said. "Cyberdramon!"

Although Hikari couldn't see it, Cyberdramon's body relaxed only slightly. He turned back towards Ryo, the snarl gone. Ryo smiled, releasing the whip.

"So, you were saying," Ryo asked her.

"I was saying, I was careless," Hikari said, and although she tried to keep her voice strong with her former indignation, there was a waiver that she couldn't disguise. "And I think…"

"You alright," he asked, frowning. Her lip quivered until she bit down on it to make it stop.

"I think I'm a lot more lost than I thought," she admitted in a voice that made her sound very small.

"I got that," Ryo said with a sigh. He ran his hands through his hair before giving her a lopsided grin. "Well then, I guess it's my job to get you home, huh?"

They didn't climb the cliff again, but they made a wide birth around where Hikari thought the Digimon's family had been roosting. She sighed mournfully as she stared in their direction, then smiled at Ryo. He blinked and smiled back reassuringly. Then night fell.

It literally fell. One moment, it was warm and bright, and the next they were struggling to see more than a few feet before them. Ryo, who was used to the digital darkness, was unphased, but Hikari appeared spooked.

"It's eerie, isn't it," she asked, and he could just make out her silhouette as she looked up at the sky. "There aren't even stars here."

"You get used to it," Ryo assured her.

She smiled ruefully. She didn't say it, but Ryo knew she hoped she wasn't here long enough for that to become true.

"This looks like as good a place as any to camp for the night," he said. "We won't get much farther like this."

"You're probably right," Hikari agreed. They were relatively out in the open, but Cyberdramon would sense any enemies nearby. Before long, they had a fire started. It was small – there weren't many brush materials in this part of the digital world – but it was sufficient for the two of them.

Hikari was hugging her knees to her chest as she stared into the flames. Ryo sat down beside her, but she didn't seem to notice. Only when he spoke did she look over at him before sighing and returning her chin to her bare knees.

"Alright," he asked. She nodded. "You don't look it."

She sighed. "Oniisan's probably worrying. Takeru too. They'll have noticed I'm gone by now."

"Maybe not," he said. "Time passes differently in every world."

"Not there. We fixed that."

"How?"

"I don't know. But it changed. When I was little."

"So how did you get here?"

Hikari straightened up to give him a proper, withering stare. "I already told you, I don't know." She sounded frustrated and hopeless, and he didn't blame her in the slightest. He remembered that feeling. But at least she still had her memories to help her find her way home.

"Where were you before I found you?"

"A field. Kind of near Factorial Town." Hikari rubbed her eyes, and Ryo had a sinking feeling that she was trying hard not to cry. She didn't though. She was stronger than she looked. "I wandered farther than I thought… but everyone was doing their own thing," she added helplessly, as though trying to justify to both Ryo and herself that she hadn't been doing anything wrong. "And suddenly, nothing looked familiar. And it got dark." She rubbed her arms.

"And cold," he added.

"It's nothing," she said, but was betrayed by her teeth chattering.

"Come here," Ryo said, holding his arm up. When she continued to stare at him, he said, "Come here. I'll keep you warm."

"What?" Her eyes widened and she inched away from him a fraction, her face as red as the heart of their fire. "No, I'm okay, I'm—"

"Freezing," he supplemented bluntly. She pressed her lips together. "It's no big deal. Body warmth. I don't have a sweatshirt to offer you."

She looked down at her hands, but she didn't stop him from putting his arm around her and pulling her a little closer.

"Better?"

Hikari nodded mutely, still staring at her hands. Her cheeks were burning, and he had to stifle a grin. After a moment, she asked tentatively, "Ryo? Do you really think you can get me home?"

"Well, you managed to get here," he said reasonably. "So there's a way. We've just got to find it."

"The way I got here… It reminded me of something," she admitted. "This ocean. I've gotten there before on accident. But the others couldn't see me. A world within a world. Do you think this is the same?"

"It could be," Ryo allowed, glancing at her warily. He didn't want to lead her on, making her think he knew more than he really did. He knew a lot, but he didn't think he'd ever know everything there was to know about any world, no matter how immersed in it he was. "I don't know that digital world as well as this one."

"You don't?"

"No. I've only found my way there a few times. This one needs me more."

Hikari sighed. "I see."

He knocked his shoulder against hers, and she blinked. "We'll get you back to your brother and your friends," he said gently. "That's a promise."

She smiled, but it was weak and didn't reach her eyes. "It seems you're always saving me. Thank you, Ryo." She looked over at Cyberdramon too and her smile softened; she had a warm spot in her heart for Digimon of any world, he realized. "And you too, Cyberdramon. "Thank you."

Hikari reached out a hand to touch Cyberdramon's arm. Ryo tensed, waiting for his partner's growl to frighten her. But to his surprise, Cyberdramon allowed her to touch him, and didn't even pull his lips back in a snarl. She beamed. Ryo frowned at her as she returned her attention to the fire.

"What do you mean," he asked in a low voice after a while.

"Huh?"

"What do you mean, 'always saving me'," Ryo asked, mimicking her words. "I've never met you before…right?"

Hikari frowned. "You don't recognize me?"

"Should I?"

Hikari smiled; was it his imagination that she looked a little sad? She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. "Maybe not. Maybe it doesn't really matter."

"It matters," Ryo said resolutely. She opened her eyes. She looked tired. Maybe it really didn't matter. But he was afraid – afraid that this girl might know more about him than he did.

"I'm sorry," she said, but she didn't explain, and Ryo was loathe to admit that he was a bit relieved that she didn't.