Me: Okay, guys and gals-time to venture back in time, back to when the Tamers were just starting out as a team, and learning about each other-in their own ways. I don't own Digimon.

Rika: So, how far back are we talking about?

Takato: Let's see-the time with the Devas, the D-Reaper, or-

Me: No, no, and no! Back to the beginning...

BlackTerriermon: Whoa! Methinks my partner went back to the first movie instead!

Me: Har-de-har-har. Anyway, what if Takato actually knew about Modify cards during his battle with Rika? What if Takato had actually played at one of the tournaments and had almost succeeded? What if Takato was...one of the Legendary Tamers?

Takato/Rika: (eyes bulge out in shock)

Rika: You mean...Gogglehead? My Gogglehead-Legendary?!!

Me: Uh...yeah. You'll see what I mean as this develops. Oh, and by the way, this is a Rukato AU. I'm not sure how to work LeeJuri in yet, but I'll figure something out. Also, in this case, Terriermon won't be the first one to Digivolve. Who will? You'll see...







To Fight, or not To Fight: A Rukato

Part I-The Knight meets the Queen







"You cannot lose-I won't allow it!!" -Takato Matsuki, Lionheart

"You only think you're alone, Rika..." -Renamon, To Fight, or not To Fight







Takato Matsuki had just gone through, at least, one of the most exhilirating experiences of his life! For one thing, a Blue card had just appeared out of nowhere and, when he slashed it through his card reader, it transformed into a Digivice! That Digivice had also scanned the drawings and stats on a drawing he had made of a Digimon that was even stronger than Agumon, known as Guilmon. Unlike Agumon, Guilmon was a Virus-type Digimon; like Agumon, Guilmon was at the Rookie level, but as was mentioned before, even stronger. The next day, the Digi-Egg that had been inside Takato's Digivice had hatched and, by this time, his Digimon had Bioemerged into the Real World. A day had passed with Guilmon running amok through the school and, now he and Takato were scouring Shinjuku Park, looking for a place for Guilmon to stay, according to Takato.

"But why can't I chase squirrels? It's fun to chase squirrels."

"You may think so, Guilmon, but what if someone were to see you? Next thing I know, you'd be carted off to Roswell, New Mexico in the States! That's why we have to find you a place to hide you at during the day. Meanwhile, I'll be thinking up some combos for me to use."

Normally, if someone gave Takato a first-look over, people would assume he didn't know much about the Digimon card game. They would be dead wrong, because a year ago, Takato had been one of the top three competitors in the Digimon tournament, beating everyone there, except for someone who, at the time, he'd considered extremely talented, beautiful and radiant-Rika Nonaka, who, after a lengthy battle in which neither one could outdo the other, was able to win by using a SkullMammothmon to wipe out his Karatenmon, when one extra card would have won him the game. However, that one win wasn't enough to keep Rika from losing to Ryo Akiyama, who, after a second lengthy battle, was able to win against her by using some nifty combos that eventually cost her the game. The three of them were known as the Digimon King, the Digimon Queen and the Digimon Knight since then. For about a while, until Rika had moved downtown, she and Takato had formed a sort of bond, improving their decks and winning victory after victory against each other. Sadly enough, all good things must come to an end, and when Rika had moved away, that had crushed Takato's spirit, as well as her own. Eventually, the tournament came around again, but Takato hadn't been able to sign up for one simple reason-on that day, he'd forgotten his entire deck at home! Rika, on the other hand, was able to sign up and was awaiting both Takato and Ryo's arrival. Neither had shown up-Takato, we know his reason; Ryo-he wasn't even in the Real World!-and Rika had dominated the tournament. That was also the day in which Rika had obtained Renamon for a partner. Both Takato and Rika had forgotten about each other as time went on, and now, that brings us back to the present day.

"Combos? What's that? Is it something good we can eat-ahh!"

"Huh? Guilmon? What was that?!"

Takato's eyes narrowed slightly as a Fox-like Digimon gracefully flipped away from where she had ambushed Guilmon and over to a red-haired girl, who wore a shirt with a broken heart symbol on it.

"That would be your Digimon about to take a dirt nap."

That's when Takato recognized her-Rika, the girl who, just over a night ago, he'd seen in a dream, and before then, he hadn't seen since the day she'd moved!

"I remember you...I saw you in a dream...No way! You can't be the same girl."

"In other words, you're a lousy Tamer, and you're demented. Now, beat it-unless you can play in the big leagues, little boy."

That alone got Takato riled up. "Hey! I am not either a lousy Tamer, and what do you mean 'little boy?' We're both the same age! Besides, it's been a while since I've done this."

"Humph. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were just a goofy Gogglehead with a pet for a Digimon! What did you think Digimon were made for?!" Rika demanded irritably, preparing to grab a Modify card if need be.

"Uh...Mostly, to eat. But, if you want to try and take on me and Guilmon, you're gonna regret it!"

Roaring loudly, Guilmon crouched up from his position on the ground and prepared to attack. "PyroSphere!!"

Noticing it, Renamon was able to swiftly dodge the attack while launching her own. "Diamond Storm!!"

Guilmon grunted lightly as the attack hit, but because of his reptilian skin, it didn't do any damage!

"Who is this guy?" Renamon asked herself, narrowing her eyes as she loomed even closer to her target.

"Sometime this decade...! Why doesn't it have any data on Petmon?" Rika griped impatiently while trying to scan Guilmon with her Digivice before lowering it in disgust. "This thing's a piece of junk!"

Takato, on the other hand, had seen what Rika had done, and copied her movement, successfully scanning Renamon.

"Ah-ha! There we go: Renamon, a Data-type Digimon. She's also at the Rookie level! Her Diamond Storm and Power Paw attacks get the point across for her adversaries."

Roaring once again, Guilmon tackled Renamon to the ground, both of them struggling to gain the upper hand.

"That's what a weak Rookie Digimon would do, Renamon! Time to get serious!" Rika smirked while finally pulling out a Modify card.

"Uh-oh!" Takato knew what was going to happen, and he didn't like it.

Digimodify!

"Digimodify!" Rika yelled while slashing the card through her Digivice. "Armor, activate!"

"Oh, no!" Takato gasped as he saw a cybernetic weapon appear on Renamon's paw before she pointed it directly at Guilmon.

"Guilmon! Run away, I'm begging you!" Takato cried while frantically searching his pockets before remembering he'd left his Modify cards back at the hideout. "Aw, nuts!"

"That's more like it!" Rika's smirk grew as Renamon started to gain the upper hand.

"How can I get Guilmon back to the hideout so I can win this? Ah! I've got it! Guilmon-it's time to play!"

"Huh?" The viral tendencies vanished at that second as Guilmon's eyes returned to normal. "Takatomon?"

"Come on-let's play hide-and-seek! Tag that Digimon and let's get moving." Takato advised, a grin on his face.

Both Rika and Renamon were confused. Why would this Tamer suddenly decide to play a game at this point in time?

"Okey-dokey! Rock Breaker!!"

WHAM!! Renamon was caught off guard and dropped to the ground as Guilmon ran towards Takato while yelling out, "Tag! You're 'it!'"

Takato eyed Rika, the smile on his face growing as he and Guilmon left, but not before yelling out, "If you wanna beat us, you have to find us first!"

Rika started forward, a scowl on her face, but Takato and Guilmon had vanished by the time Renamon had gotten to her feet. Slowly, a tiny grin made its way across Rika's face as the two of them continued onward.

"Gogglehead, you are just full of surprises today..."







Takato panted as he and Guilmon ran as fast as they could go, Takato already trying to figure out a plan of action.

"If that girl and her Digimon are as fast as I think they are, Guilmon, they'll be on us in no time flat! We've gotta get back to this one place I know about, and soon-that way, we'll have the advantage."

Takato grunted as he pushed aside branches, bushes and what-not, and, within minutes, he and Guilmon had finally reached their destination. The only problem was that they still needed to get to it, so they started running even faster, seeing the gate loom even closer, and closer, and closer...

"Diamond Storm!!"

"Look out, Takatomon!" Guilmon warned, already sensing Renamon's unprovoked attack before she launched it! With a loud grunt, he pushed his Tamer inside the gate, ignoring him yell back, "Guilmon, I'm not a 'mon!'"

"Looks like we win the game. Renamon?"

Rika pointed directly at Guilmon and motioned for Renamon to finish the job. Unbeknownst to the two of them, Takato had managed to grab hold of two Modify cards before running back out, and he hoped they would be the two that he needed.

Digimodify!

"Digimodify!" Takato screamed while slashing a card through his Digivice. "Speed, activate!"

"Raaaah!!" Guilmon sped up and, before Renamon knew it, had fired a quick blast of fire that actually stunned her momentarily! "PyroSphere!!"

Eyeing each other, Takato and Rika both glared heatedly at the other before they both slashed one last card.

"Digimodify!" Takato and Rika chorused as one.

"Hyper Wing, activate!" Takato yelled out.

"Hyper Speed, activate!" Rika yelled out.

While Guilmon grew a number of wings on his back, Renamon's speed was increased a bit, but it soon became obvious that Guilmon now had the upper hand.

"Great work, boy! Now, we'll show her what it feels like to lose a Digimon! Take her out!" Takato suddenly demanded, pointing at Renamon at that second. Roaring once more, Guilmon dived as fast as he could while Renamon leaped as high as she could, and then, just as they were about to collide...

"Hold on a minute!"

Guilmon and Renamon instantly landed onto the ground, as they-and Takato and Rika-all turned upward at the hill to see a young boy about their age with an orange-colored vest on and a lop-eared Digimon-known to all as Terriermon-running down the hill.

"It's you!" Takato exclaimed in shock, remembering that he'd run into those two before finding Guilmon on top of the roof the previous day.

"It's me! It's him! Aren't you happy to see us?" Terriermon giggled as he finally approached Guilmon and Renamon. Rika just stood there in amazement.

"A Digimon? This is getting too weird. Now, they're popping up here, there-everywhere!"

"You both looked pretty good there at the end-you, flying through the air, and her, ready to spring into action-but didn't you both feel silly earlier, rolling around in the dirt?" Terriermon asked while the wings on Guilmon's back disappeared.

"It's not nice to mouth off to someone bigger than you-especially if both combatants are bigger than you!"

"Henry...Momentai!" Terriermon protested.

"Take it easy." Choosing this moment to eye Takato and Rika, Henry Wong asked, "What are your Digimon fighting about, anyway?"

"That's a stupid question. What else are Digimon supposed to do?" Rika responded calmly.

"Anything they want! They're not fighting machines, slaves or pets. They just want to be our friends and do what we do." Henry explained as Terriermon climbed up onto his shoulder.

"Renamon wants to fight, and for that matter, so do I." Rika swiftly turned and left, Renamon vanishing at that moment.

"She's harsh." Henry noted. Takato, watching Rika depart, thought differently.

"She has a gentle side...I just know it! I've seen it, once before, but now, everything's different..."







"So, you're Takato? I remember you trying to find your partner yesterday...?"

"Yeah, that's me-Digimon Knight extraordinaire. And you're Henry."

"Naturally." Takato and Henry were both watching Guilmon and Terriermon play inside the hideout now known-to the two of them-as Guilmon's hut.

"Look at them! Why would that girl think they're just here to fight?"

"Rika has some...issues concerning Digimon, but I never bothered to ask what they were about." Takato replied. A wicked grin made its way across Henry's face at that statement.

"Sounds like you know our rebellious Tamer a little more than you let on."

Takato felt a blush cross his cheeks before rapidly shaking his head. "It's not like that! The only other time I saw her was before she moved somewhere downtown, and before that, last year's tournament-or was it the one before that?"

"Oh, yeah. I remember hearing about that-The Duel of the Monarchs and the Knight, the TV's called it. What did you win, anyway?"

"Well..." Takato pulled out a rare card from his deck-one that was holographic-and showed it to Henry, his eyes widening as he took a first glance at it. "I didn't actually get this card from the tournament people-that was this one-" Takato quickly pulled out another rare card and showed it before continuing on. "-but, I got this one from our 'rebellious Tamer' immediately after the tournament was over..."







Flashback: Two years ago...

"Hold on there, Digital Knight!"

While holding onto his new MetalGarurumon card in amazement, Takato quickly turned to see Rika approaching him, a tiny smile on her face.

"That's 'Digimon Knight' for one thing. For another..."

"I'll take that." Rika quickly yanked Takato's deck out of his other hand before flipping over the top card. "You haven't shuffled this thing since after I whomped you, right?"

"Uh, to be honest...no, I haven't. Why?"

Rika's grin grew a bit while revealing to Takato his Golden Shield card. "'Cause if you'd used this card on me, you would've won. Still, you deserve an 'A' for effort. You did give me a run for my money there."

Takato gaped in astonishment as Rika handed him back his cards, but not before she pulled out another card and put it on top of his deck.

"Really? Thanks..."

"Until next time..."

Takato unconsciously felt a heavy blush appear on his face as Rika departed, then quickly turned his new card over and gasped in shock.

"Why would she give this card to me...? This is the only one I needed to complete my set, and now, I have it..."

End flashback







"So, you won this MetalGarurumon card from the tournament, and after its over, she gives you this one? Sounds like she has the hots for ya."

"Terriermon!"

"I know, I know-that wasn't very nice to butt in on you guys, but I'm hungry."

"No, it wasn't, but at least you caught on to what I was going to say." Henry grinned at seeing Takato's blush return full force before picking Terriermon up. "All right-time for dinner."

"Takatomon, I'm hungry too." Guilmon added as Takato turned to see his new friends out. Takato had to laugh.

"Great. See what you started? Hey, I was meaning to ask-what does 'Momentai' mean?"

Turning back around to face Takato, Terriermon quipped, "For a Digimon Knight, you don't know that much about stuff, huh? It means 'take it easy.'"







Nighttime had fallen, and Renamon was keeping an eye on her Tamer as she walked through the streets of Shinjuku, lost in her own thoughts.

"I wish...forget it!" At that moment, Rika suddenly remembered Takato, and what he'd done earlier that day, with the combo.

"Digimodify! Speed, activate! Hyper Wing, activate!"

Unbeknownst to even herself, Rika felt a light blush across her face before coming to a full stop. "Renamon!"

"Yes, Rika?"

Instantly turning to face her partner, Rika went straight to the point, pushing all thoughts of Takato out of her mind. "If I'm this good, why haven't you Digivolved?"

"I don't know."

Narrowing her eyes, Rika responded, "It must be your fault! You should try harder. It can't be me-I'm the best Tamer around!"

"And you are. I never said you weren't."

"And don't you forget it! I'm the best, and I won't settle for less than that out of you."

Time resumed its natural course as Rika turned and walked off, Renamon vanishing once again. "You don't always have to be alone, Rika. Maybe this new Tamer can help you out with what you seek..."







"Guilmon, I'm back with your dinner!" Takato yelled as he returned with some bread in hand. "I even brought you peanut bu-aaaaaah! What did you do to this place?!"

Guilmon revealed himself from inside a hole which he had dug up, a tired expression on his face. "I made it bigger. Now, I'm really small."

"I think you mean, 'sleepy,' boy."

Takato gulped as Guilmon managed to get up and walk over to him before closing his eyes. "Guilmon, wait!"

Too late. Within seconds, Takato was trapped under Guilmon, who was sleeping as hard as a rock!

"No more peanut butter for you! Hopefully, he doesn't sleep as much as he eats..."







Morning had come and gone, and now Takato found himself during lunchtime-at school-hanging out with Kazu and Kenta, introducing them to Henry. Terriermon was hanging onto Henry's shoulder, acting out as a plush toy.

"I think I'm a cinch to win the tournament this year." Kazu stated, a smug look on his face.

"You'll have to get past me to do it!" Takato retorted, determined to reenter the tournament and reclaim his good name-at least, ever since he'd run into Rika.

"You're not even in their league, Kazu! Besides, you'd never get past the Digimon Queen."

"I think we all know someone who could give her a good match." Henry whispered to Takato, who struggled to hide his blush.

"Trust me, Chumly-she's just never met her match. Well, unless you can add that Digimon Knight. He nearly trounced her two years ago-"

"I've gotta find her!" Takato suddenly demanded, feeling a strong need to protect her, but he didn't know why.

"What?"

"Where is she?! I need her!"

Kazu was astounded and stated it in that manner. "Dude, I can't believe you. Did you just say you need a girl?"

Henry chuckled lightly while responding, "And you say you don't feel anything for her..."

"Takato needs a girl? Will I do?"

Henry felt his own cheeks grow hot as he and Takato turned to see Jeri Katou appear by their side, wearing the usual sock puppet on her hand.

"Wow...! She looks amazing!"

"Not really, but thanks for the invite, Jeri!"

"Ruff! Jeri's always here if you guys need to talk."

Takato sweatdropped and laughed nervously as Jeri turned and left.

"Who was she?" Henry asked while Kazu and Kenta had left a moment later.

"Just someone I know. We're good friends, that's all."

"Sounds like someone else has the hots for someone, hmm, Henry?" a tiny voice whispered into his ear.

"Terriermon!" Henry grimaced as the blush on his cheeks grew steadily hotter, Takato unable to hide a laugh.







Later on that day, Takato was taking a risk and walking through Shinjuku with Guilmon by his side, a plan of how not to get Guilmon noticed.

"Now, remember, Guilmon-you're a guy in a suit!"

"Okay, Takato."

For a while, that plan seemed to work, and people didn't really notice Guilmon, until...

"Hey, Mom, look! It's a Digimon!"

"Uh, it's a costume. You know, for Halloween?" Takato offered calmly to the younger boy, who looked Guilmon up and down before replying again.

"Really? I've never seen that Digimon before."

"That's 'cause I created him myself. His name's Guilmon."

"Wow! What a great costume, huh, Mom?"

Takato grimaced as the boy was pulled away by his mother, who responded, "You're going as a scarecrow, and you're going to like it!"

"Goodbye, Guilmon!"

"Bye-bye."

Takato was amazed. "I can't believe it. It actually worked!"

That's when Takato's Digivice started beeping, so he went to look at it. A second later, Guilmon's eyes dilated as he went viral and ran off!

"Guilmon, where are you going? Wait-come back!"

Takato groaned while running after his partner, thankful that, for once, he hadn't forgotten his cards like he had two days ago. Eventually, he and Guilmon ended up in a parking garage, big enough to hold some monster trucks!

"It's you!" Takato exclaimed as he found himself staring at Rika once again.

"Nothing gets past you, Sherlock. Are you ready to give me a real fight?" Rika asked mockingly. "Is your little dinosaur out of diapers yet?"

Takato glared angrily at Rika before responding. "What has Guilmon done to your Digimon? Absolutely nothing! Us fighting like this is pointless. We should work together as a team-you, me and Henry, to stop any other Digimon."

"Please! Like I want to spend half my day working with a Gogglehead and his brainiac friend. But, that is what Digimon do-they fight; when they fight, they get stronger; when they get stronger, they Digivolve!"

Takato narrowed his eyes before motioning for Guilmon to attack, knowing he had no other choice. "You'll regret this when Guilmon wipes the floor with her!"

"I'm not the one who has a tendency to forget."

"PyroSphere!!" Guilmon roared while firing a powerful blast of fire, one which Renamon avoided yet again.

Takato pulled out his cards and flipped through them, looking for that one card that could give him an edge. "Come on! Where is it?"

Renamon was, at this time, toying with Guilmon as he warily watched her every move, trying to calculate where she would go to next. "Come and get it, big boy."

"Raaah! Rock Breaker!!"

Guilmon launched himself forward, extending his claws out as fire appeared around them before preparing to attack. Renamon quickly phased out, and reappeared behind Guilmon, firing her own attack.

"Power Paw!!"

Guilmon grunted as he was caught off guard and sent sprawling to the ground.

"Guilmon! Hold on, boy-I've got just the thing."

Digimodify!

"Digimodify!" Takato screamed while swiping his card through. "WarGreymon's Brave Shield, activate!"

"Diamond Storm!!"

Instantly, a golden shield appeared in Guilmon's claws, and this time, he was able to reflect the attack right back at Renamon, who quickly phased out in order to avoid her own attack!

Rika's eyes narrowed in suspicion, then widened in amazement as a thought came to her mind. "No way...It couldn't be! After all this time, I run into him now?!"

Roaring loudly, Guilmon turned around and threw the shield like a frisbee, catching Renamon off guard and forcing her to hit the ground hard!

"What's going on here?"

Takato and Rika looked up once again to see Henry and Terriermon, the latter prepared to help out his friend.

"Please! You think that puny little rabbit can stand up to Renamon? Even Dinoboy here could give him a challenge."

"Hey! Who are you calling 'puny?' Henry, I think that qualifies as rude." Terriermon grumbled irritably.

"Yeah, that seems to be going around these days, Terriermon. True, on the Net, Digimon are born to fight, but they don't have to fight here. Don't you guys get it? They came here for something they can't get over there! What is it?"

Rolling her eyes, Rika retorted, "When you figure it out, Socrates, let me know. Until then, Renamon-you know what I expect."

"No!" Takato screamed angrily as Renamon prepared to fire her attack once again.

"Diamond Storm!!"

"I won't let you take him away from me...! I'D RATHER DIE FIRST!!!" Takato pulled out his Digivice and held it up to the sky, watching it glow a dangerous color of crimson, not even noticing that he was also glowing that same color.

Digivolution!

"Guilmon Digivolve to...GROWLMON!!!"

When things cleared up, it was evident that Guilmon had survived Renamon's attack, but only because he now took up over half the parking garage!

Feeling his own eyes turn viral, Takato instantly scanned his partner, who had achieved the Champion level after only a few days.

"Growlmon, a Virus-type Digimon! Champion level. His PyroBlaster and Dragon Slash attacks are as deadly as Godzilla's own radioactive breath!"

"Raaaah! Dragon Slash!!"

This time, Renamon wasn't as fast as before, and she was hit by Growlmon's attack, already beginning to show signs of exhaustion.

Rika gritted her teeth in impatience, not believing what had just happened!

"Champion or not, that dinosaur's going down! Renamon?"

Getting back up, Renamon started phasing in and out again while leaping around. "We've taken on Champions with more experience than you. What makes you think you have a chance?"

Growling low, the Virus-type replied, "Because Takato gives me his strength, and his energy...that's why we'll win today, and forever!"

Calumon, a certain In-Training Digimon who'd just happened to hop by at the precise moment when Guilmon had Digivolved, felt his ears retract and the triangle slowly stopped glowing, moaned, "Doesn't he know he shouldn't act like this?"

"Okay, Growlmon-time to show our 'Digimon Queen' why she shouldn't mess with the Digimon Knight! Take her partner out!!" Takato growled angrily while pulling out a holographic card and preparing to swipe it. Henry's eyes widened as he recognized it instantly from the other day.

"Takato, no! Don't do it-that's too much power!!"

Once she'd gotten a good look at the card Takato held, Rika gasped in surprise as a tiny shade of pink appeared on her cheeks.

"It is him...But, why would he come back after all this time?"

"PyroBlaster!!" Growlmon roared as he fired his main attack at Renamon, one which she couldn't avoid, and when it hit, she was flung back a few feet!

"Now, I'll show you why you shouldn't mess with me...!"

Digimodify!

"Digimodify!" Takato yelled while slashing the card through the Digivice. "WarGreymon, activate!!"

A holographic image of WarGreymon appeared behind Growlmon before it vanished. Growlmon roared excitedly as he felt even more power surging through him...the power of a Mega Digimon!

A look of concern and worry appeared on Rika's face as Growlmon looked down at Renamon, who'd just barely gotten up.

"Finish her, Growlmon! Do it! TEAR HER APART!"

A powerful orange ball of energy appeared in Growlmon's hands before he lifted it over his head and prepared to throw it.

"Takato, don't do this!"

"Momentai!!"

"TERRA FORCE!!!" Growlmon roared while he finally launched one of the most powerful attacks ever directly at Renamon!

"Renamon...no!"

Aw, man! The first one to have his partner Digivolve, and Takato wants Growlmon to show up Rika! Will Renamon be deleted on the spot, or will Rika finally see the light? Find out next time on Digimon: Digital Monsters!