Me: (sighs) Finally-I get some time to myself! I don't own Digimon, or "Weathered" by Creed. BlackTerriermon, on the other hand, would be mine-so, those who would like to borrow him can do so at their leisure.

BlackTerriermon: Hey! Are you nuts?! Next thing I know, I'd be trapped with Terriermon in a chibi Rika's deathgrip!

Me: (laughs) That's the beauty of it-if you're over there, I can actually eat some food for once!

BlackTerriermon: That's stretchin' the envelope, buddy...!

Rika: Say what?

Me: Oh, nothing. Before I forget, this would be the final part of this little AU.

Takato/Rika: What?!!

BlackTerriermon: Momentai-DC'll find a way to peruse back to it one day, so don't go bald!

Me: (sighs) Thanks for the support! Anyway, be on the lookout for my next story-"Three Worlds Collide," where the Tamers and Ash, Misty and Brock-from Pokemon-have to team up with myself, BlackTerriermon, and some other authors in order to save all 3 of our worlds from a certain Digimon.

BlackTerriermon: I live with this guy, so I can tell ya who we're gonna face! It's-

Me: (grabs BlackTerriermon, covers his mouth) Don't even think about it! Also, to any other author who would like to be in this latest story-whether you're a Tamer or a normal civilian-respond in a review, and I'll try to work you into this.

BlackTerriermon: (pulls out a bullhorn and turns it up to maximum) TO ALL AUTHORS/TAMERS-TELL MY TAMER ABOUT YOUR DIGIMON'S STATS, HIGHER LEVELS, AND WHAT SPECIFIC ATTACKS!! ALSO, BRING ME SOME FOOD-IT GETS BORING TRYING TO HUNT DOWN ANY SWEETS IN THIS PLACE-

Me: (laughs nervously; grabs bullhorn from BlackTerriermon) Any level higher than Rookie would be Champion-Mega; you know that! And-don't do that again!

Rika: TIME FOR A RABBIT PUREE!! (leaps forward; Takato grabs her) What author would bring you food, anyway? You may look cute and all, and similar to another lop-eared Digimon I know, but for all your hijinks-

Takato: Ignore her. She's just really cranky since you left us in that position so long ago!

Me: I didn't think it was that long, but I guess I was wrong.

BlackTerriermon: (giggles) You just did a rhyme, DC!

Me: (grins) I know. Now-on we go to "Trust Issues!"







Digimon Tamers: To Fight, or not To Fight: A Rukato

Part II-Trust Issues







"All right, then-I really want to fight with Guilmon!" -Takato Matsuki, "Give a Little Bit"

"We can choose our own destiny, right? Then, I choose...to stay and fight with you!" -Rika Nonaka, "Song of Sakuyamon"









Talk about a complex problem! Takato and his created Digimon partner Guilmon are forced to do battle with Rika Nonaka, the Digimon Queen, and her own partner, Renamon! At first, it looked like Takato would lose the duel, but after some quick thinking on his part, he was able to lure Rika and Renamon into a trap. After finding his deck of Modify cards, that's when he started to gain the upper hand, but lo and behold, another Tamer enters the fray! Henry and Terriermon, in their own unique way, advise that fighting isn't the only way to solve everything. Eventually, Takato reveals that, in the last tournament, he had come sooooooo close to beating Rika, but ended up losing when one card would've won him the game. That alone earned him the role of Digimon Knight! Finally, when he and Guilmon are cornered by Rika and Renamon in a parking garage, Takato just loses it and forces Guilmon to Digivolve into Growlmon! Then, Takato uses his special WarGreymon card on his partner, and now Renamon's facing down the barrel of a pretty powerful Terra Force attack! Aw, man! Tell me when it's over!







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

"Renamon..."

Grunting, Renamon called on the last of her strength and leaped up into the air as high as she could go. It was pretty high, but not high enough to avoid the full brunt of the attack as it collided with her feet and knocked her off course! Instantly, Renamon was flung back and landed onto some cars.

WHAM!!! The explosion that was heard-and seen-by the other Tamers was magnificent and horrifying at the same time! Takato suddenly gasped as he seemed to regain control of himself and looked down at his WarGreymon card.

"I did this...I killed her partner when Guilmon and I could've just walked away...! What kind of a Tamer am I?"

As for Rika, she was in shock. Renamon hadn't emerged from the smoke! Was it possible that she had been...?

"It can't be...I can't lose her...! She's more than just my partner, more than just data...she's my friend! RENAMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!"

At that precise second, Rika's Digivice glowed brightly, and the triangle on Calumon's head started glowing once again. Takato, Henry and Terriermon were in awe of what was happening!

Digivolution!

"Renamon Digivolve to...KYUBIMON!!!"

Still in his viral tendencies, Growlmon paced around as the smoke started to dissipate, waiting for whatever was in there to emerge.

"DRAGON WHEEL!!!"

The Virus-type Digimon was hit hard by a full-scale attack and was forced back a few feet as Kyubimon revealed herself, fully restored and whole.

"Kyubimon-a Data-type Digimon. Champion level! Her Dragon Wheel and Foxtail Inferno attacks are hard to beat!"

Takato was amazed as he lowered his Digivice. He had seen Guilmon Digivolve, not because of his increasing anger, but because, like Rika with Renamon, he hadn't wanted to lose him in this particular battle. And, now, two Champion Digimon were ready for action!

Rika was equally amazed. "You Digivolved...but, why?"

Kyubimon could've responded, but Growlmon had recovered from her initial attack and was now making his way back toward her, that viral intent in his eyes.

"Stop it! Stop it right now!" Henry suddenly demanded angrily, stepping in between Growlmon and Kyubimon. Immediately, Growlmon's eyes returned to normal.

"How can the two of you call yourselves Tamers after what I've seen here? Takato, you are one of the best, and it doesn't matter whether you can beat Rika or not. But, you have to control that anger of yours. I saw it, and so did Rika. As for you, 'Digimon Queen,' it doesn't matter if you're the best, or if Takato's the best, or even if that other kid Ryo is-you still need to learn that Digimon are more than just data, and you have to trust somebody else, other than your partner."

"Call me crazy, Henry, but I think she just learned the hard way that Digimon are more than just mere data-"

"Terriermon!" Sighing, Henry stepped forward to where Rika was, and, without warning, snatched up her entire deck of cards!

"So, until you two actually sit down and talk-" Henry had walked back over to his partner, making sure to grab Takato's deck of cards, the WarGreymon card included. "-I'll be hanging onto these for a while."

After Henry and Terriermon left, silence ensued for a while until Takato looked up at Rika, who had her eyes closed, and she appeared to be shaking.

"I'm sorry, Rika...!"

"Huh?" Confused, Rika opened her eyes and focused her violet irises onto Takato's brown ones. That's when she saw that he was truly being sincere. But, why would he be apologizing to her when she had come here with the intent to delete his partner?

"I shouldn't have let my emotions get the better of me...but, you did try and delete my partner-"

"I'm sorry, Takato..."

"What?" Now, Takato was confused, but pleased. This was the first time Rika had actually called him by his real name!

"You heard me." Realizing that what she said may have come off as harsh, Rika quickly turned away and responded again. "I'm sorry. I should've listened to you in the first place."

"Really?" Takato smiled gently as a tiny blush crossed his cheeks. "Thanks..."

"Don't mention it, Gogglehead." Rika laughed quietly while motioning for Kyubimon to leave. Takato's smile grew as he motioned for Growlmon to leave as well. When the four of them came to the entrance, they saw Henry, Terriermon and their decks waiting for them!

"Like I just told Terriermon-all you had to do was talk, and I would be waiting." Henry replied, a smile on his own face.







I lie awake on a long, dark night...I can't seem to tame my mind!

Slings and arrows are killing me inside

Maybe I can't accept the life that's mine

No!

Maybe I can't accept the life that's mine...

Simple living is my desperate cry...been trading love with indifference, yeah, it suits me just fine

I try to hold on, but I'm calloused to the bone

Maybe that's why I feel alone-yeah, maybe that's why I feel so alone...







As the day dwindled onward into night, Rika and Kyubimon were making their way back home, a question nagging at Rika's mind ever since that near-climactic battle had ended.

"Kyubimon, you Digivolved earlier...and, I just wanted to know why-?"

"The reason I Digivolved is because you cared for me, Rika." The Champion Digimon explained as they made it to downtown Shinjuku in record time. "Maybe those other Tamers don't have stronger Digimon, but they have heart. When you showed your concern for me, you unlocked that part of yourself deep inside that cared, and that's why I Digivolved."

"Maybe so...just don't tell 'em I said that, especially Gogglehead."







Chorus: 'Cause me, I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal!

'Cause me, I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal...

No! It just won't heal, no, no...







"You sure this'll change him back into Guilmon?"

"It's got to."

"Yeah! Besides, you've done everything else-you tried jumping jacks, exercise, running in place-which was funny, come to think of it-heck, you even used that wishing well, and nothing works!"

"Terriermon, that doesn't help!"

Takato sighed as he looked forlornly at Growlmon, who was struggling to stay up on his hands as best he could.

"Takato, all the blood is rushing to my head!"

"Maybe that'll help you to deDigivolve quicker!" Takato cracked, but he secretly hoped that would be a way for his partner to change back into his Rookie form. Sighing again, Takato got up and walked off, pulling out one of his Modify cards and stared at it, a wistful look in his eyes as he watched the sun slowly setting.

"A yen for your thoughts?"

Gasping, Takato turned to see Henry, a knowing look in his eyes. Feeling his cheeks change color yet again, the Digimon Knight held up his WarGreymon card and saw a look of understanding cross his friend's face.

"I don't understand why I feel this way about her...I could understand if it was for Jeri, but it isn't. Rika just...brings out the fighter inside of me."

"You feel like you can do anything, huh?" Henry asked calmly.

"Mm-hmm. If I wanted to, I could just summon her face up right now by just looking at this card." To prove his point, Takato simply stared at the card and, in place of WarGreymon, Rika's face appeared, a smile on it for once instead of the usual scowl.

"You're in love with her, aren't you? That's the only way I can explain it in a way you could understand it. It could be the exact same way I feel about Jeri." Henry noted.

Takato nodded, feeling his blush fade away as he carefully put his WarGreymon card with the others. "But, it's a hopeless cause. There's no chance she could ever feel that way for me."

"Hold on a second! This can't be the same Tamer, who, just hours ago, was ready to fight to the death to protect his partner! The same Tamer, who, a year or so ago, won 3rd place in that Digimon tournament! The same Tamer, who, a day or so ago, received his own Digimon partner! You're just gonna give up before you even try? Come on, Takatomon-go for the gold and win the Queen's heart!"







The sun shines and I can't avoid the light-I think I'm holding on to life too tight

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust

Sometimes I feel like giving up, yeah!

I said, sometimes I feel like giving up!









Takato could only stare at Terriermon for what seemed like a long time before he nodded and got back up to his feet in time to hear his partner calling him.

"Takatomon, look! Can we go get something to eat now? Fighting all day made me really hungry."

Takato laughed as he pulled Guilmon into a much-needed hug. "Sometimes, boy, I think you must run on empty, 'cause you talk all day about food-"

A second later, Guilmon's eyes dilated as he sensed a presence that wasn't supposed to be there, and it seemed to be getting closer.

"Our food will have to wait, Takato. There's a Digimon nearby, and it's very close."

"Well, then, let's go before Rika decides to eliminate it!" Henry insisted.

Takato started forward, but had his doubts about what Rika planned to do with this particular Digimon should she arrive.

"Rika may show up, but after what just happened earlier, I don't think she would just mercilessly slaughter another Digimon so quickly."

"Sure, Takatomon-keep dreamin'."

"Terriermon!"









The instant Takato, Henry, Guilmon and Terriermon entered inside the fog barrier, they saw Rika and Renamon, deDigivolved from Kyubimon, already waiting, the former with a half-smile on her face.

"What took you? And you guys call yourselves a team."

"What are you doing here?!" Henry demanded irritably, taking up a defensive position. "We won't let you or your partner cold-heartedly erase anymore Digimon!"

Rika scoffed at that statement, but that half-smile was still on her face when she responded back. "Like you could do anything to stop me if I wanted to. Besides, I'm not here for that. I thought you guys could use...an experienced Tamer to teach you 'rookies' the ropes."

"Gee, if we wanted that, we could go to Takato for advice, 'cause-"

Whatever Terriermon was going to say next was interrupted as the Digimon finally revealed himself!

"Gargoylemon, a Champion level Digimon. He's also a Virus-type. Ouch! His Freezing Wing attack of his is as cold as an icicle, and you shouldn't underestimate his Statue Bomber attack!"

"Really? And I thought he was going to make us snow cones for dessert." Rika retorted while pulling out a Modify card. "This shouldn't take us that long to puree him. And, I'm not gonna have Renamon load his data, so no need to worry yourself, Einstein."

The Champion Digimon roared as he took to the skies, but Rika was already one step ahead of him.

Digimodify!

"Digimodify!" Rika yelled out while slashing the card through with ease. "Hyper Speed, activate!"

Within seconds, Renamon leaped up into the air with an added boost of energy, prepared to engage the enemy. "Power Paw!!"

The only problem was that Gargoylemon was one step ahead of the Tamers and their own Digimon! "Statue Bomber!!"

WHAM!!! Renamon grunted as she was hit hard on the side and hurtled helplessly to the ground! To make matters even worse, once she did hit the ground, she had been turned into a statue!

"Renamon!" Rika held back her tears while running up to her partner, a worried look on her face. Takato felt his eyes narrow slightly while he pulled out two Modify cards.

"Don't worry, Rika...I'll avenge Renamon for you! Guilmon-go for it!"

"Ready, Takato!"

Takato knew that using the same combo against various enemies wouldn't work all the time, so in this case, he would have to improvise.

"Digimodify! Dramon Destroyers, activate!"

Instantly, WarGreymon's Dramon Destroyers appeared onto Guilmon's arms. The Virus type roared as he felt a Mega Digimon's power coursing through him once more.

"Digimodify! Hyper Wing, activate!"

Once again, the same pair of wings appeared onto Guilmon's back as he took to the skies, the Dramon Destroyers prepared for action.

"Freezing Wing!!" As Gargoylemon flapped his wings, two gigantic beams of ice flew downward and were headed for Guilmon.

"Mega Claw!!" Using the Dramon Destroyers, Guilmon spun around and around as he split the two attacks in four different pieces, all of them heading in different places, but turning into slush when they actually got there.

"Statue Bomber!!"

"Guilmon, LOOK OUT!!!" Takato screamed worriedly as the attack headed his partner's way!

"Don't worry, Takato-this'll be over soon, and Renamon will be back to normal! Mega Claw!!"

"Wait!" Henry warned, but it was too late. Guilmon had already started spinning around and once the Dramon Destroyers made contact, they-along with Guilmon's arms, but not the rest of his body-were turned to stone like Renamon had, and within seconds, Guilmon landed next to Rika and Renamon!

"Guilmon!" Takato gasped as he ran up to Guilmon, who was trying to move, but couldn't!

"I'm sorry, Takato."

"It wasn't your fault, boy. You tried your best."

"It's up to us...You ready, Terriermon?"

"Mm-hmm! Don't worry, guys-you can count on me!" Terriermon declared bravely as he puffed up his cheeks before stepping forward to engage the enemy in battle.







Chorus: 'Cause me, I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal!

I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal...it just won't heal, no...









As Terriermon ran up to engage Gargoylemon in battle, Henry was reminded of how he first received his partner-through the game his father had bought for him. He had wanted someone who was powerful, but wouldn't pose as much of a threat in the first place. Enter Terriermon! At first, against a Gorillamon, the Rookie Digimon didn't stand much of a chance until Henry used some Modify cards to help his partner out-Power, Agility, Targeting and Stamina. The Stamina card had given Terriermon the ability to Digivolve straight to his Champion form of Gargomon! That had given him an increase in power, and had given him the needed artillery to beat his adversary. But, as it turned out, Gargomon was like the other Digimon-just wanting to absorb data. And, when he'd lost all his energy and reverted back to Terriermon, Henry had used a Blue card to help him out, and ended up bringing him into the Real World! Since then, Henry had vowed he wouldn't let Terriermon fight again, but in this case, there was no other choice.

"Yo-tall, stinky and extremely ugly-ya wanna piece of me?! Come on-give me your best shot! Bunny Blast!!"

Henry was snapped out of his memories as Terriermon tried firing his attack straight up into the air, but Gargoylemon dodged it and flew overhead, teasing him!

"Come on, brainiac-help him out, and try to make him Digivolve!" Rika spat out, while momentarily looking away from Renamon's inert form.

"I can't...he's not ready for that firepower yet! There's no way he can handle it!"

"Well, you have to do something, or Gargoylemon'll take him out for sure!" Takato warned frantically while trying to help Guilmon to stand up.

Unbeknownst to any of the Tamers, Calumon had wandered inside the fog barrier and watched the battle with interest.

"Ooh...what kind of game is this? Can I join in?"

Gargoylemon, tired of prolonging the battle, swooped down in an arc, and aimed his attack directly at Terriermon's body!

"STATUE BOMBER!!!"

"NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Henry screamed frantically, but his partner took the full brunt of the attack and slowly turned into stone! Near the breaking point, Henry flipped through his cards until he found one that might help.

"Here goes..."

Digimodify!

"Digimodify! Alias, activate!"

Instantly, Terriermon reappeared outside of his stone body, nearly drained of energy, but okay. Henry sighed in relief as he ran over to his partner, that worried look not fading away.







The day reminds me of you, the night hides your truth

The Earth is a voice speaking to you

Take all this pride and leave it behind, 'cause one day it ends

One day we die-believe what you will, that is your right, but I choose to win, I choose to fight...to fight!









"Terriermon...Are you okay?" Tears were streaking down Henry's face and hit the side of Terriermon's face. It reminded the Rookie Digimon about what had happened the first time he'd appeared in the Real World-the same thing had happened.

"Henry, don't cry. I'm fine, see? Momentai..."

"This isn't the time for that...I nearly lost you again!"

Terriermon struggled to get to his feet, a determined look coming to his face. "Henry, you have to send me back in there! I can take him, if you let me Digivolve. I can handle the power now-I promise!"

Henry smiled gently as Terriermon wiped his tears away with one of his long ears before responding. "But, will you deDigivolve back into Terriermon right after?"

"Sure, if you want me to."

"Okay, then. Let's save the others!" Henry gripped his Digivice tightly as it started glowing brightly, the triangle on Calumon's head also glowing.

Digivolution!

"Terriermon Digivolve to...GARGOMON!!!"







Chorus: 'Cause me, I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal!

I'm rusted and weathered, barely holding together!

I'm covered with skin that peels, and it just won't....

Covered with skin that peels, and it just won't...

Covered with skin that peels, and it just won't heal...! (song fades out, ends on a chord)







Takato, Rika and Guilmon looked up to see Terriermon's latest form-Gargomon, armed to the teeth, and ready for anything!

"Gargomon, Terriermon's Champion level-what a difference, huh, Takato? His attack's Gargo Laser. Good thing he's on our side!"

Rika pulled her Digivice down as Gargomon launched himself up into the air with ease, like he'd been doing it all his life!

"Yo, statue boy-you turned my pals into stone tablets and tried to do the same to me! That ain't gonna happen! Bunny Pummel!!"

WHAM!!! Gargoylemon screamed as he was caught off guard by the attack and sent spiraling down to the ground. Gargomon cocked his Gatling arms and fired full force!

"And now-the piece de resistance! GARGO LASERS!!!"

Gargoylemon wailed as he was hit directly in the chest by numerous bullets before bursting into bits of data, Gargomon safely landing to the ground and instantly deDigivolving back into Terriermon as Renamon and Guilmon's arms returned to normal, the Dramon Destroyers disappearing as well.

"Terriermon, stop! Don't load up his data."

"Aw...can I at least do my victory dance, Henry? Huh, can I?"







"Thanks for coming to help us out, Rika."

Rika eyed Takato with a cynical look before saying anything. "I didn't do that much. Besides, Einstein here did all the work, and you tried to stop him when Renamon was turned to stone-"

"Of course you did! You had Renamon lead the first wave of attack! That's just as important. This could be the start of a beautiful partnership between us, Rika." Takato replied, unaware that Rika had leaned forward and was closing her eyes. A second later, she kissed him on the cheek, blushing lightly the second Takato's own cheeks turned crimson a moment later.

"Or maybe, something more. See you later, Gogglehead..."

Takato could only stare dreamily as Rika and Renamon headed off toward home, until Terriermon made catcalls and whistled loudly.

"Way to go, Takatomon! See? I told ya it would work! Henry, he should listen to me more often, like you do."

"Very funny, Terriermon."

"Takatomon, I'm still hungry. And, why is your face all red like me?"

"Guilmon, two things: one, I'm not a 'mon!' Two, my face is not all red like you are!"