A/N: Two stories at the same time? Wow I'm really on a roll. I hope Ruki fans aren't too offended by the beginning of my story and that anti-Rukato fans know that the 6th movie is said to contain some Rukato. We're not out of the running yet! This story has some spoilers, but nothing truly mind-boggling. I hope that I kept everyone in character and that you enjoy my story. Since this is my first true Rukato, I can finally say, "RUKATO para siempre!" (RUKATO forever!)

Disclaimer: Digimon is the property of Toei Animation and Bandai


Swiftly Burning Ice

By Frozen Phoenix

She was alone. She could see ice, surrounding her, practically enveloping her in its frozen grip and nothing else. Where the heck am I? Makino Ruki wondered with confusion. A sudden crunch caused her to turn to her left. Nothing. This is just great. Where is everybody? Where's Renamon?

Ruki could feel the icy cold sinking into her. "Renamon!" She called loudly. Only silence greeted her. Wherever I am, I'm alone and I'm freezing. Can things get any worse? She wondered in annoyance.

Crack.

Ruki turned around again. Unlike most people she wasn't scared, she was actually beginning to get angry. "Why don't you just come out, instead of playing stupid games with me." She called out loudly.

Still nothing. This is ridiculous. She began walking. She didn't know where she was going; she was just trying to get out of the cold. No such luck. Everywhere she looked, there was ice. Ruki could only slightly make out jagged peaks and smaller hills amid the grayish black sky.

Ruki shivered violently as a freezing wind gusted around her. She tried to unsuccessfully remain standing, but the wind seemingly increased its force, diving her into the ground. I'm not going to die. She thought furiously. I refuse to die like this.

Ruki gritted her teeth and closed her eyes as the wind pushed down upon her. She tried forcing her legs to stand, but was unable to do so. Her whole body ached and her eyes were burning. But she still refused to admit defeat. She tried to lift her quickly freezing body one more time, and an inch of the ground, collapsed once again. So this is really how it's going to end. She thought, no longer able to speak.

Ruki tried in vain to picture the faces of her mother and her grandmother in her mind and was surprised to think of another. A cheerful, familiar face with red hair and ridiculous yellow goggles perched on the top of his head. Takato…

Ruki's entire body was frozen, from her feet up to her head. Her skin was as white as the ice that surrounded her and her lips were a pale blue. Her eyes began closing as her body finally surrendered to the still, cold death…

~*~

"Ruki, RUKI!" A familiar voiced called loudly.

Ruki's eyes snapped open as she jerked up from her bed. She looked around the room wildly trying to comprehend how she had gotten there. It was all a dream? But it seemed so…real. She could practically feel the icicles surrounding her.

She shivered for a minute, and then stopped as she heard footsteps approaching her room. Groaning inwardly, she pushed back her blankets and climbed out of her sleeping roll. The door to her bedroom opened and her grandmother Seiko Hata walked in.

"You better hurry up Ruki." She said regarding her granddaughter. "Breakfast is on the table and the last thing you want to be is late for school, especially on your first day back."

"No kidding." Ruki said sarcastically.

Seiko raised an eyebrow. Usually Ruki saved her sarcasm for her mother and the day had barely begun. "You might want to try showing a bit more respect Ruki, I'm only the messenger here."

Ruki sighed loudly. "I'm sorry Grandma, I didn't really sleep that well last night."

Her grandmother looked at her sympathetically. "You miss Renamon don't you. She was truly a kitsune. She swore, on her life to protect you and she never once broke that vow."

Ruki nodded. "She was…incredible." But to Ruki incredible wasn't the right word to describe her partner. They had been through so much, overcome several obstacles, all for what? For Ruki to beg Viximon not to leave her after the final battle with D-Reaper? It had seemed like a crock to Ruki then and it still did now.

Her intuitive Grandmother noticed the sadness in Ruki and sighed. "You'd better get going. Your mother has already left, surprisingly early." She smiled. I'll be downstairs if you need me." Seiko turned and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Ruki stood by her bed a minute, her thoughts on Renamon, rather than her nightmare. I wonder what she's doing right now? Is she training to become even stronger? She felt her stomach clench and tried to ignore it. Will I ever see her again?

~*~

School sucks. Ruki thought as she walked home that afternoon. The day had been a waste and she was grateful that it was over. Most of her teachers in the school had congratulated her, while most of the girls whispered about her as she had passed. She'd heard one of them say something like "…saw her on the computer. She was completely naked, can you believe it?"

The girl's friends began to laugh, but stopped quickly when they saw Ruki behind their gossiping friend. The girl turned to Ruki, a mocking look in her eye.

The look vanished when she saw the constrained fury on Ruki's face. "If you have something to say, why don't you try saying it to my face, instead of my back." She snarled at her. The girl nodded and Ruki brushed by her roughly and continued down the hallway.

The rest of the day had been no better. She had been ignored by her classmates during lunch and still heard muffled whispers that stopped when she came near. But she refused to let it bother her. In the long run none of her classmates really mattered. All she was trying to do was get out the school as quickly as possible.

When school ended, as if by instinct, Ruki had been drawn back to the place that she had shared several meetings with Renamon. She looked upward, into a tall tree and could perfectly picture her standing on one of its branches.

She remembered when she gave Renamon an energy drink, to give her a little boost. But it had been more than that. I wanted to show her that I cared about her. And now she's gone.

~*~

School was over for the day and Matsuda Takato couldn't have been happier. After D-Reaper had been destroyed, he was happy to have things go back to normal. Well about as happy as a boy who lost his best friend could have been. He walked through the park that had been the place where he and Guilmon were forced to say good-bye.

Guilmon. I'd be going to you hideout right now to see you and you'd almost knock me over trying to get to your Guilmon bread. Takato smiled slightly. And Terriermon would ask how Guilmon could still walk after eating so much, Lee would scold him and Terriermon would say "Moumantai ." Ruki would probably roll her eyes and ask what she was doing "with a bunch of idiots". And Renamon would appear suddenly from the shadows, giving all of us except Ruki, the surprise of our lives.

Those were the times. Now everyone, himself included, was really busy. The Tamers had missed much of their schoolwork while in the Digital World and Takato had been spending most of his time catching up on it.

He'd barely seen the other Tamers at all, except for Hirokazu, Kenta and Juri, who were in his class. He did see Henry once in a while, but almost never saw Ryo or Ruki. I guess that we all have been busy lately. I just wish that we weren't all so spread apart.

Takato continued walking through the park and stopped in surprise when he saw someone familiar. Ruki. She was standing in the grass, staring silently at nothing. She looks really upset. He hesitated to go to her. But maybe I can help cheer her up. Takato slowly began to walk over to Ruki.

"Hey, Ruki." He said trying to keep the nervousness out of his voice.

Ruki looked at him and rolled her eyes. "What do you want, goggle-head?"

Takato was surprised by her reaction. "N-nothing, you were all by yourself and I just wanted to say hi."

Ruki turned away from him. "Well you just did." She said coldly.

"Ruki, is something wrong? You look…sad today."

Her eyes narrowed. "I'm fine. Besides it's really none of your business, Takato."

Something is really wrong. Takato thought as he walked in front of her. "What do you mean "none of my business?" We're friends, of course it's my business."

"Listen Takato, I'm sure Juri could use your best friend or buddy stuff right now, but I don't need it." She said stubbornly.

"Juri? What does this have to do with Juri?" Takato asked in confusion.

"Gee, those goggles must have really cut off the circulation to your brain Takato." Ruki said with disgust.

Takato was slightly angry. "Why don't you just tell me what you're talking about?"

Ruki made a sound of derision. "I have more important things to do right now. I have to go." She began walking away from Takato, until he caught her arm. She stared at him for a moment as her anger began to rise. "Let go of me, Takato." She said in a calm and dangerous voice.

Surprise crossed his face and he immediately let go of her. But he ruined her idea of walking past him by moving in front of her again. "All I want to know is why you're being so mean. After everything we've been through together, you've changed so much, why won't you talk to me?"

"I have nothing to say to you. Why don't you go talk to Juri? I'm sure she'd be happy to share with you."

Why does she keep bringing up Juri? Takato wondered. She and Juri have gotten a lot closer after everything that's happened. But now she's acting like she's mad at her, and me too.

"Ruki, I don't understand what's wrong with you. Did Juri say something to make you upset?"

He just doesn't get it. Ruki thought in exasperation. Aloud she said, "You want to what's bothering me goggle-head? Fine, I'll tell you." Renamon's not around anymore and I'm having messed up dreams that I'm alone and someone's following me. Then I end up being frozen alive somewhere that looks like it could be Ice Devimon's new hangout." She suddenly felt furious. Why am I even telling him this?

Takato was stunned for a moment. I never knew that she felt like this. She's always seemed so strong, there was nothing that scared her or made her loose control. Takato stared into her wild lavender eyes and felt his heart beat a little faster. I knew that she missed Renamon, just like I miss Guilmon. I should have tried harder to talk to her.

"Ruki," Takato began uncertainly. "I'm sorry. I know how close you and Renamon were, I feel the same way about Guilmon. And your nightmares sound really frightening. He looked down. "After Guilmon evolved to Megidramon and we came back to the Real World, I had nightmares that Beelzebumon hadn't stopped him and he just kept destroying everything and everyone. The worst part was that I didn't even try and stop him either. I was just so angry and…"

Takato trailed off.

Ruki listened to him speak, feeling slightly surprised. She never would have guessed that Takato still blamed himself over what had happened. Then again, turning your Digimon into a monster with acid drool and the power to almost destroy the Digital World isn't something that's easily forgotten. They'd almost lost Takato that day, in more ways than one.

"But it doesn't matter what nightmares you're having Ruki, because you're not alone." Takato said vehemently. "Your mom, grandma, the rest of the Tamers and I are all here for you. And I know that Renamon, Guilmon and the other Digimon will come back to us someday and that they would say the same thing. Well, in Guilmon and Culumon's case, something like that."

Ruki listened to him and remained silent, thinking of what Takato had said. He always does this. Just when I think I have him figured out, he goes and does something to surprise me. But that wasn't always a good thing. One minute he's telling me I look nice and the next he's hugging Juri. And why shouldn't he? He did save her life and they are friends. Why shouldn't they be together? That was it. She'd had enough.

"You're not going to start crying are you goggle-head Really, what kind of a Tamer are you?" Ruki said sharply changing the subject.

Takato's eyes widened and he smiled faintly. "Just call me the Digimon King." He said jokingly.

Ruki's eyes narrowed. "Not unless you have a death wish. Mr. Perfect said the same thing to me and I told him to shove it." 0(A/N: Ryo actually said that if Ruki was the Digimon Queen, then that made him the Digimon King. Ruki then told him to be quiet. It happened in either episode 50 or 51)

"Speaking of Ryo, have you seen him lately?" Takato asked looking uncomfortable. "I mean you two seemed to know each other pretty well and-"

"Let's get one thing straight Takato." Ruki said coldly. "I don't know Ryo that well, we were in a card tournament two years ago and he beat me. A year later, I was better and ready to pay him back and he never showed. End of story."

Takato exhaled a breath that he hadn't known he was holding. Ruki stared at him and continued. "But I don't see why that really matters. Aren't you too busy with Juri to be caring about how well I know Ryo?" The last part was said with bitterness.

Takato stepped closer to her. "Ruki," He began, "Juri and I have been friends for a long time and I really liked her. But then she said that she only wanted to be friends. Well, it was actually her puppet that said it, but I got the point."

I guess I was wrong about them. Ruki thought feeling a strange relief. But that feeling was later replaced with stubbornness. Why should I care? It's not I like him like that or something. Me like Takato? The idea is so ridiculous that I don't even believe it.

Feeling angry with herself, Ruki began to walk away from Takato. "It's late and my Mom is probably having a fit right now. I better get going.

Takato watched her closely. Maybe I should tell her how I feel, but what if she doesn't like me like that? She said that she'd beat me up if I mentioned that dream to anyone, what if she still feels that way about me? But Takato remembered the times that they had been together in the Digital World. When Ruki was Sakuyamon, she asked if I was okay and when I almost missed the Ark she smiled and gave me a ride. Doesn't that mean anything? I've always admired her; there aren't many people that are as strong as she is. She usually never gets as emotional as I do, but when Viximon left, she was crying just like me, just like all of us.

Takato stepped forward. "Ruki…"

Ruki turned to him. "What is it?" She asked crossly.

"I just wanted to say that-um…" Takato stammered.

Ruki was beginning to get exasperated. "Say what? What are you trying to say Takato?" She asked warily.

I can't do this again. Takato thought desolately. "Nothing." He sighed. "Forget it."

Ruki walked closer to Takato until she was directly in front of him. If he won't tell me what he's feeling, then I'll find out how I feel once and for all. Feeling as though she were moved by strange force she leaned forward and closed her eyes.

Is she going to…Takato closed his eyes well and felt their lips meet.

It was brief, as were they in their innocence and youth. But their kiss would be an event that they would always remember.

One minute they were standing and the next they were…Ruki pulled away from Takato and ashamedly felt herself blush. Takato was wide eyed and looked away.

They stood in silence, both Tamers shocked by what had occurred.

Ruki glanced at Takato. "So what were you going to say to me goggle-head?" She finally asked.

And Takato smiled…