This is written kinda weirdly, but I'm trying something, so bear with me.  I don't own Digimon, and never will (Birthday's far away, you know) Rika/Ryo, woohoo.  Review, please, and I'll upload the next chapter as soon as I can.

             -N

~

             Rika Nonaka walked silently though the summer night, enjoying the relaxing, continual slapping of the rain against her, trying to forget about her recent fight with her mother.  Even though it was the summer, the streets were practically deserted, with only the occasional car passing either beside her, or at an intersection ahead or behind her.  It had been a several months since the defeat of the D-Reaper, and life had changed significantly.  Her relationship with her mother had improved, but could still be classified as estranged the majority of the time.  She had transferred to the same school as the other Tamers, had been excelling academically and in Phys. Ed, and even taking up a little bit of modeling, just to have enough cash to be able to see movies with her friends, go to the mall once in a while, to live a normal life. 

             …Pfft, you know you did it so you wouldn't owe her anything if you borrowed money off her.

             Rika didn't confirm the thought, didn't deny it, but ignored it, trying to think of something else.  She didn't want to think of her mother, who had humiliated her by blaming her friends for the Digimon events, told them how they weren't good enough for her, told her best friends, Takato, Henry, and Jeri.

             And they wondered why I never invited them in when my mother was home.

             Rika was furious at her mother after it happened, and a mix of embarrassment, self-pity, and anxiousness for her friends. Would they forgive her?  Would they still be her friends?  She quickly dismissed the thought, she knew that they would, they'd been through too much together to be broken up by that woman, that-

             -that bitch.

             Even if her family life wasn't perfect, it wasn't too terrible; she had a great relationship with her grandmother. Even when her mother did something, her grandmother always would be able to convince Rika to make up with her.  Rika's life was okay, she should be happy, but-

             -but I've lost the friend I'd trade the world for alre-

             Rika mentally slapped herself there, reminding herself that Renamon left for the greater good.  Even if it sucked, it was for the best.  They both had a certainty that they'd meet again anyways, so she tried to think of them meeting again, and not how Renamon had to leave to soon, without having a real goodbye.

             She glanced at her watch, and muttered a curse when she realized that there was no display.

             Damn thing isn't waterproof.

             Rika sighed.  She hadn't bothered to grab a jacket when she left, but it had only been cloudy then.  She squeezed her good-luck 'charm' in her vest, a little more relaxed after feeling the familiar shape.  She looked around for a place that was open where she could find out the time, and maybe call a cab.  She noticed a coffee shop across the street, lights on, with one person moving about.  She headed over.

             Those annoying bells that stores attach to doors rang, causing Rika to roll her eyes, causing the brown-headed waiter to turn his head toward the customer, causing him to grin at her.

              "Hey there Firecat." Ryo said teasingly.  "Most of us just take a shower at home when we begin to smell"

              "Oh shut up!" Rika snapped, disappointed with herself for not being able to think of a better comeback.  She was a decent acquaintance with Ryo.  Jeri even told her once that he liked her her, but Rika didn't really think that way of him.  He flirted with almost every girl in their classes during school, Rika being the only one who didn't enjoy being flirted with by him.  She admitted she cared about him, only if it was to herself.  She remembered how scared she was for him during the fight with the D-Reaper, how much worry he'd put her through.  She thought he was being reckless, even if it was their best chance.  He'd decided to risk his life awful fast.

              "Why're you here?" She asked in her normal sarcastic tone.

              "Working late, was just closing up.  What about you?  Isn't it past your bed time?" he teased.  Even though he was only eight months older, he really rubbed it in.

              "Crappy night." Rika groaned.  "Do you have the time?"

             Ryo glanced at his wrist.  "12:14."

             Two and a half hours.  I've been walking two and a half damn hours.

             The thought echoed in her mind, taking several seconds to fully comprehend.  Rika let out a sigh, Ryo raising an eyebrow.

              "Something wrong?"

              "…my family sucks." She concluded flatly.  Ryo laughed and moved to a table, motioning for her to sit.

              "Sit, let me get some stuff."

             Rika nodded and complied, sitting in the padded wooden chair as Ryo disappeared into a room behind the long wooden counter to her right.  Stared at the table, in a trance until the side of her face was tickled by water running down.  She quickly and angrily wiped it away, reaching behind her head shortly thereafter to make sure her hair wasn't a complete mess.

             Ryo came out of the room with a navy sweatshirt over one arm, and a steaming cup in the other.

              "Here," he offered. "I'm not exactly asking you to take off your top, but this sweater's dry.  Unless you wanted…" he trailed off, grinning.
             Rika, appalled at the joke, was having a deficiency of comebacks, so just resorted to punching him in the arm.  The noise he made when she did that, a mix of the pain in one arm, and the surprise of the contents of the cup spilling in the other hand caused a squeal to erupt from the Legendary Tamer's throat, which was quickly followed by the two of them breaking out into laughter. 

              "I guess I deserved that." Ryo said, the grin still not fading.  "I'll get you another hot chocolate if you promise not to scald me with it."

              "Deal." Rika replied, giggling.  Ryo headed back, and she had a quick reminiscence, thinking of how much she's changed.  The girl who her old classmates had dubbed "Ice Queen" wouldn't have broken out into a giggle fit with some boy.  Another stream of water found its way down her face, and she glanced down at her soaked sweater.  It was the one Jeri had given her on her birthday, a long-sleeved, plain sky-blue shirt which read "Sent from Heaven" at the top-back, easily covered by her hair whenever she wore it down.  She quickly slipped her vest, then the gift off, her green tanktop underneath almost black from being so wet, and she reached for the sweater Ryo had left on the table.  She put it on, grateful for the warmth it provided to her shivering arms.

             Ryo put a small plate with assorted goodies and a donut in the center to her left, and a cup of hot chocolate-complete with marshmallow-to her right, and sat down across from her.  Rika blinked a few seconds, unsure of what to say.  She was really mean to him when they first met.  He was kidding, but she sure as hell wasn't.  Still, he always tried to be friendly with her, and she never knew how to handle it.

              "Thanks Akiyama." She said quietly and meant.
              "No prob.  I swear I didn't spit in it, either."

             Rika grinned at his predictably sense of humor and sipped at the cup.

              "So, you wanna tell me what happened, or am I gonna have to bug you some more?"  Ryo said in a somewhat-serious voice, leaning forward putting both elbows on the table, resting his chin in his hands, and looking at her. 

              "I guess." Rika replied softly, uncommon for her words not to be coated with sarcasm or rudeness of one form or another.  She stared into the cup as she explained, only looking up to answer the occasional question.  She told him about the night's events, her mother's unpredicted words, and inappropriate comments, the looks on Henry and Takato's faces, how she felt her heart clench when Jeri's eyes started to water.  She left out the part where she herself cried.

              "…Wow." Ryo murmured, unsure of what to say.  "What time was this?"

              "Around 9:30."

             Ryo actually winced.  "You've been walking around since then?"

              "Yup.  My damn feet hurt."

             He laughed and she felt a little better, not sure of if it was from being able to talk to someone, or that she was spending time with him and enjoying herself.  Or maybe it was just anything would make her feel better after what happened.

              "I don't think you need to worry about Takato, Henry, and Jeri."  He reassured her.  She smiled weakly, but didn't reply.  They talked more, really talked.  Rika was actually comfortable with it; Ryo was actually polite.  He wasn't pushy and didn't dig into anything she didn't want to talk about, and she could tell he was actually interested in what she had to say.  He's interesting, funny, quick-witted, kind-

             -and cute.  Very cute.

              "Do you want to call a cab?" He asked.  "You should get some rest."

              "I guess.  Is there a phone here?"  Ryo pointed to the wall behind her, and tossed her a quarter.  "Thanks."  She stood and accidentally knocked her vest off the back of the chair, hitting the ground with a loud hollow thud, and she froze, realizing her little box might be broken.  She scrambled to pick it up, sat down and involuntarily dug her now-warm fingers into the small rip on the inside of the vest, reaching through the padding to the bottom, where it was.  She pulled out the flat box, and quickly examined it.

              "What's that?" Ryo asked curiously.  Rika practically froze; she somehow forgot he was there.  They'd practically exchanged life stories that night, she decided to just tell him.
              "Don't laugh, but I carry it around for luck."  She put the box on the table and opened it.  She unwrapped the silk handkerchief, exposing a set of shiny metal lockpicks.  "They were my dad's.  He gave them to me a few months before he died."  She glanced at Ryo, who was wearing a look Rika couldn't quite identify.  It was a mix between interest and fear, as vague as that sounds.

              "Alright Firecat, I admit it, I'm totally impressed." Ryo said, sighing and smiling a little.

              "Okay, thought I might have freaked you out there."

              "Never." He winked.

              "Uh huh."

              "Do you know how to use them?"

              "Haven't tried, I just carry it for luck." Ryo looked at her. "I know you think it's dumb, I don't think it actually brings me luck, but I like having it around.  Reminds me of my dad." She smiled weakly, again.
              "I don't think it's dumb, Rika." He said, his hands in a protesting gesture.  "I hardly ever take this off."  Ryo reached to his neck and pulled a thin silver chain out of his shirt.

             Rika smiled for him trying to make her feel better, but still knowing it's weirder to carry what she does around.  "I better make that call." She said and headed to the payphone.

             They talked more until the cab arrived, and Ryo walked her out.  He opened and closed the door for her, and paid the driver before she could protest.
              "Akiyama," She began, then paused. "I owe you, Ryo, thanks.  Really."

              "25 cents and a card game, deal?" He said, giving her his trademark smile.

              "Deal." She said, smiling back, and then waved.  Ryo leaned in, and said to her in a gentle voice.  "I know you're still upset about Renamon, but don't be too upset, you're still loved, I mean it."

             It took Rika several seconds to entirely process his words.  When she did, she felt like everything that happened before that night weren't important; she never knew this side of him.
              Ryo, you're so sweet… She was unaware she had whispered this out loud, but it didn't matter; he didn't hear, because she was already down the street and around the corner.

~

I prefer to use the term "Building mood" than "Filling with crap", so keep that in mind.  Sorry this chapter was so boring, but I'll try to get something better going on next or the one after.  See ya.

             -N