A/N: Here comes chapter 10. Can't say much about it, but enjoy!

Chapter 10: Make Up, Kids.

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September 28, 2003

Rika woke up to the sound of her alarm clock going off. She looked at it, then plopped her head back on the sleeping bag.

"Five more minutes."

One hour later.

"Rika! Are you going to get up or not?" A voice called out from down the hall.

"Yeah, sure," Rika groggily said. She took a glance at the clock.

7:50?

"Oh, crap," she exclaimed. She got out of her sleeping bag, took a quick shower (very quick), threw some clothes on, got her backpack, kissed her mom and grandma goodbye, and ran out of the house in the span of about 5 minutes. As she ran, she put on her makeup, which was a very hard thing for her to do.

She ran straight to Room V as soon as she reached the high school. Unfortunately for her, the tardy bell had already rung, forcing Rika to knock on the locked door leading to her algebra class.

Mrs. Woodward answered the door. "Well, well, Rika," She said, "What excuse do you have this time? You know I can't accept tardiness this late in the school year." Rika sweatdropped.

"Um.September isn't necessarily very late in the year-" she started.

"That's not the point," Mrs. Woodward snapped. "Now, go to your seat. You're delaying the class."

Rika grumbled and took her usual seat next to Henry. She smiled at him, but all his response was, "Meet me at lunch," he said to her.

Rika sighed and put rested her head on her desk.

"Alright class, let's review equations on finding slopes of lines."

**************

After not doing so bad with Henry, as she had an appointment with him at lunch, she was faced with a real test next period. No, it wasn't the test Mrs. Bryan assigned for this day, but the test of dealing with Kazu, Jeri, and especially Takato.

She took a deep breath, let it out, and opened the door. She looked around. "There's Kazu," she said to herself, while he gave her a wave, "Jeri's here, but where's Takato?" She still had to deal with Jeri.

"Jeri," she started. But Jeri put her hand up.

"No more of that talk. What's past is past, and we'll have to accept it," Jeri said, while Rika nodded.

"I see. But where's Takato?"

"Beats me. Maybe he cut school because he didn't want to talk to you," Kazu laughed.

"I'm not going to even dignify that smart-ass statement with a response," Rika said, looking away, and then to Jeri.

"Rika, I think Kazu's serious," Jeri said to her.

"What?"

"Takato doesn't want to talk to you at all, so he may be cutting all of the classes he has with you," Jeri explained.

Rika gave an eyebrow. Is he really that desperate on his word? "Boy, will I have some choice words with Takato when I see him," Rika frowned.

"I think the statement is if you see him."

*****************

After making grounds with Kenta on what happened, and after some choice words with each other, Rika trotted along to her Honors English class, where she saw Ryo and Henry.

"Hey there Rika," Ryo said to her.

"Hey." she smiled. She looked at Henry. "So what's going on?"

"Meet me after class just outside the door," was all Henry said to her. Rika shrugged and opened up her grammar book, for it was Monday.

******************

Rika walked out of the door and Henry grabbed her arm. Rika's initial reaction was to pull her arm away, but she nerved out a little.

"Let's go outside to the quad," Henry pointed out to the nearby courtyard.

"I want to get something to eat first," Rika said.

After getting her food (Shinjuku High has a charged lunch system), she and Henry met at the benches near the gym, where no one sat during lunch.

"Henry, I know you're going to kill me about this-"

"I know what happened. My question is, why?"

Rika sighed. "It just seemed like the logical thing. I'm not saying that I support it now. I mean, Takato doesn't even want to talk to me, it's obvious that he's not in any of my classes today just because he wants to avoid me. My friendship with Jeri was deeply hurt, because she refused to forgive me for what I did."

"Well, yeah, I could see why she wouldn't forgive you. She spent the next week in the hospital."

Rika gave up. She had to go to Henry for comfort. "I just need someone who can forgive me and accept me back in their friendship. Kazu, Kenta, and Ryo did it already, but I'm looking for someone.closer to me."

Henry knew where she was getting at. He was willing to a deed for a friend. "Do you need a hug?"

Rika nodded, and Henry greeted her with his welcoming arms. She gave in and started to cry.

"Thank you, Henry. Thank you for understanding," she sobbed.

"Hey, that's what friends are for," Henry said, stroking her beautiful hair.

"Hey Henry," Rika whispered to him, "don't think about coming on to me."

Henry laughed.

**************

Rika walked into the gym for P.E. when the bell rang. She still didn't feel exactly comfortable changing in front of her peers yet, so she once again got changed in the bathroom.

Rika walked out and looked for Takato, but as she expected, he was nowhere in sight. Ryo came out of the boys' locker room.

"Takato's not here, is he?" Rika queried. Ryo shook his head. "Then it is no coincidence."



***************

Rika got out of sixth period careers and headed right over to the soccer field. She had a game today against rivals Daikoyuchi Blazers. She went into the locker room and got changed in the bathroom again and came out with an orange-themed uniform jersey. She tied on her ponytail, put her shin guards and cleats on, and ran out of the locker room.

'Ready to kick some butt,' Rika thought to herself.

***************

Rika was fired up, and rightfully so, because this was an important game, and the past events only pumped her up even more. She joined the team in the huddle

"Go, Indians!" They all shouted in unison.

Rika ran out to the field, and looking up, noticed her friends Henry, Ryo, Jeri, Kazu, and Kenta. However, there was no sign of Takato. She sighed and got her head in the game.

The game was fast paced, and it suited Rika's taste. Her team was leading 1-0, but she had a rare miscue on defense. She played midfield, and as the opposing attacker approached her, she stabbed for the ball but missed. The girl on the other team took it in and blasted it right through the goalie's hands and into the net.

One of the girls on her team came up to her. "C'mon, let's not commit another silly mistake," she said to Rika, helping her up. She nodded and went back to her starting position.

Soon afterward the whistle sounded and it was halftime. Rika was tired, but tried not to show it because she did not want to be taken out of the game.

Halftime was over and the players took the field. Rika managed to stay in the game without showing signs of fatigue.

Time passed throughout and Rika started to get tired. The coach noticed it finally and substituted her out of the game. Rika was hesitant, saying things like "I'm not tired. But she succumbed and went to the bench with about 30 minutes left in the game.

"Don't worry Rika, I'll put you in fresh with about 20 minutes left for one last attack," her coach told her. Rika was filled with more confidence, but also with more pressure, as her coach relied on her to get the job done. She sat on the bench and got a quick drink of water.

*****************

A boy stepped out of his car. "Thanks, mother," he said to his mom. She nodded. "Call me after the game."

The brown haired teenager walked across the high school and to the school's soccer field, where a game between rivals Shinjuku Indians and Daikoyuchi Blazers. He made his way to the bench of the home team and approached a strawberry-haired girl. He tapped her on the shoulder.

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Rika sighed. "Almost time to go in," she said to herself. She then felt a light tap on her left shoulder. Rika turned around to see who it was. Her eyes opened in disbelief.

"Takato?! Is it you? Of course it's you!" Rika squealed, excited.

Takato seemed unmoved by her new disposition. He pointed out onto the field. "When you go back out, challenge a defender, or bring a double team to leave a teammate open. Once two defenders challenge you, dish it off to the open girl and make a break toward the goal."

Rika gave him a thumbs-up. "Will do, Takato."

"Meet me after the game," Takato told her as he walked toward the stands.

Rika suddenly was filled with newfound confidence. "Ok, Rika, get in there and make something happen." Her coach said. She got up and got ready to go in at the next dead ball.

*************

It was still tied 1-1 when she came in. Rika appeared to not do anything for the next 15 minutes. She had forgotten Takato's advice about what to do. He noticed this and called out.

"Rika! Challenge the defenders!" He yelled from the stands. Rika looked up and saw Takato yell and cheer for her. She nodded and started to really play.

There was an attacker approaching her, but the same thing didn't happen. Taking the encouragement from both her teammate and Takato, she made a right move and took the ball right from the attacker.

Rika took the ball herself into opponent territory, but soon several defenders approached her. Remembering what Takato said, she dished it off to her teammate, who was wide open. The girl took it down the sideline and got rid of it with a powerful cross that headed toward the goal.

Ten seconds left.

Rika saw the ball before everyone else and jumped up in the air. She made contact with the flying ball with her head and guided it toward the back of the net.

The strawberry-haired girl did not know what happened until she was mobbed by her team. Her ears were deaf from "You did it!"'s and "Way to go, Rika!"'s. Out of the mob, Rika couldn't help but glance at her friends, all clapping, and most especially Takato, who gave a light smile.

10 minutes, one mob, and five gallons of water poured on Rika later, she walked to the stands and located her friends.

"Good job, Rika," Ryo said.

"Always knew you had it in you," Kazu added.

"Thanks, guys," Rika responded. Everyone around her was giving her compliments, except for Takato, who stayed silent throughout the celebration.

Takato was surprisingly patient in waiting for the others to leave, with Rika alone with him.

"Rika, honey, ready to go?" Her mom called out. Rika shook her head.

"I'll be there in a minute."

******************

"So Takato," Rika began, "what brings you here to watch my game?" The two were walking around campus, which was basically deserted of people, letting them have a private conversaion.

He looked at her. "Rika, I have to apologize."

"Huh?" Rika wondered. "If anything, I should apologize to you."

Takato shook his head in doubt. "I totally yelled and criticized you and basically disowned you as a friend, and I didn't even stop to think how much your feelings had to be hurt."

"Well, I did start the whole thing by saying that about Jeri."

"Yeah, but you should apologize to her about that, not to me."

"I did, but she didn't forgive me. Remember?"

"Oh yeah." He stopped walking, which prompted Rika to also stop. "Let me just get to the point. Rika, I'm sorry for hurting your feelings like that. I should've stopped and realized what it would have been like in your shoes."

Rika looked directly at Takato's eyes. "I know I may sound susceptible, but, I do forgive you, because that is what friends are for." Takato paused.

He suddenly felt the love that he wanted her to have in the first place. The love that Takato wished Rika certainly was capable of, but was ashamed to express. Now she wasn't ashamed. Takato pulled Rika into a tight hug. "I love you Rika," he said, tears coming from his eyes.

"Can we just be friends again?" Rika asked, smiling.

"Yes, Rika, we can." The two good friends, the digimon queen, and the gogglehead, walked off, with a newfound heart in their friendship, a heart that would keep them companions for a long time.

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September 28, 2003

Wow. What a month. All I can say is, I'm glad this month is over, because I don't want to live it again.

Things with Takato and I are getting better now. We both decided it was better that we remained friends and nothing more. Besides, I think he has the hots for Jeri.

Henry has been a great friend for me. Helping me with my homework, with boys, even when I rejected him he has still stuck with me. Boy what a great friend.

Speaking of new friends, what about my new one. The one by the name of Ryo Akiyama. What he said yesterday was so sweet it shocked me. Maybe this is the real side of Ryo. Maybe not. but I guess we'll see for sure soon, right?

Kazu and Kenta. I don't know about them; they're in their own little world. One thing's for sure about them. They seem to be mediators when it comes to some fights.

And finally Jeri. I was a fool, an idiot, to assume forgiveness and mess her up in the mall. I guess I'm not a great friend to her. But she is a great friend to me and told me to forget about the whole thing. I wish I had her heart and sweetness.

This month went by eventfully it almost scared me. I hope later months aren't this stressed out.

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A/N: Well, the days of September are over, and I'm skipping up to events in December, which will be a different published story. So this is the last chapter in the Strawberry Girl. And no, this does not necessarily mean that this is a Rukato. I personally do not even like Rukato because um. Anyway, look for the next installment, unofficially titled Christmas With The Tamers, which will hover more around the Tamers as a group, as opposed to the Rika third-person in this story. You can see that this is really a light of Rika as she goes through a time of her life, rather than an event really taking place. Sorry for the misperception, but I hope it doesn't mean much. BTW, I'm starting my new story Trapped With The Queen, A semi- Henruki, so be sure to look out for that!

Till next time.