Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations I put them in. Everything else belongs to somebody else and that's just the way it's gotta be. Thanks to all my loyal readers out there, I appreciate that you stayed with this fic until the very end. Best wishes to all, I hope you've had fun.

What Could Be

Overall, Simon's plan went disgustingly well. It was utterly ludicrous really, how well it went off when so many things could and probably should have gone wrong. In the history of schemes cooked up by someone younger than twenty five, it was probably the one to move the smoothest with the least amount of backlash. Of course, to be fair, everyone else did all the work while Simon dictated, since in the end it came down to the people of Hypnos to pull the impossible off. As planned Yamaki went to the suggested meeting with the bad guys, only the bad guys suddenly found themselves and the furniture in the room unexpectedly transported to the Digital World. The fact that the hackers had to work a few days straight pulling that off and that the odds of it working had only reached sixty two percent, was something the enemy just didn't need to know. Of course said bad guys hadn't reacted well to being transported, but any thought they might have had to taking their frustrations out on Yamaki ended when they looked around them to see that they were surrounded on all sides by digimon, some only rookies right up to the Tamers themselves, who'd bio-merged with their digimon for the special occasion. Seeing well over a hundred digimon, all ready and raring to take them apart piece by piece, had convinced the bastards quite nicely to stay in their seats while Yamaki explained to them how it was all going to be.

Opening up his briefcase Yamaki took out several file folders, dumping them on the table with a smile that would have done Rika proud. They contained, he informed them, their finances and detailed information concerning their assets and strongholds. Then Yamaki explained to them, in a very pleasant manner, that if the men didn't close their connection to the Digital World and stay the hell out of it from now on, Yamaki was going to set his hackers on that data and see that it was all erased. Their bank accounts, credit cards, birth certificates, every piece of data on them and their businesses would be erased as if by magic. They would also see to it that their houses, warehouses, and places of business were promptly transported to the Digital World, where they would be dismantled at the leisure of the many digimon that surrounded them. Of course that wasn't possible, since it was a miracle that they'd been able to transport one room, but Yamaki figured what they didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Seeing from their faces that he was starting to get through to them Yamaki added the piece du resistance. The fact that they weren't leaving until he was sure they would keep their word. After that, they pretty much crumpled like a sand castle build too close to the surf. After all, smart businessmen knew when to fold and pick up somewhere else. They hadn't been in business this long to risk losing a chunk of it because of some side business they'd been hoping to set up. So a treaty of sorts was reached, with the understanding that Yamaki would make good on his threat if they ever showed up in the Digital World again. Once business was concluded, they were escorted out and the battle was won, with the victory going to Hypnos.

Of course everyone was thrilled to have it all over, majorly glad that they would no longer have to look over their shoulders and wonder if someone was going to jump out at them. They were also now able to return to the Digital World whenever they wanted, which was the best part of all. Perhaps the only one who wasn't completely thrilled with the way things had ended was not surprisingly, Rika.

"Still pouting?" Ryo asked as he walked over to take a seat beside her. They were camping out in the Digital World for the weekend and everyone else was huddled around the campfire, listening to Kazu tell his latest stupid story which was more laughable than scary. He'd seen her slip off and had followed, finding her sitting on a rock overlooking the lake.

"I'm not pouting." Pouting was such a stupid word, Rika thought darkly, hugging her knees to her chest. It should never be applied to her, under penalty of death.

"Yes, you are." He countered, bumping his body against hers with a grin. "You're all bent out of shape because you didn't get to beat the hell out of anyone."

Since that was certainly true Rika didn't have any snappy comeback. They'd mess with her friends, her digimon, and her family. Oh yeah, she wanted their blood in the worst way. If it weren't for the damn morals her grandmother had installed in her since birth, Rika would have given serious thought to putting a hit out on the bastards. As far as she was concerned, the bastards hadn't paid nearly enough for what they'd done.

Understanding her Ryo slipped an arm around her shoulder. "Look, I wanted to kick the crap out of them as much as you did. But you know, this really did end the best way possible. If it had ended in violence, it would have just become a cycle and we would have had to have a showdown to the death. You know Jeri and Suzi and Takato wouldn't have been up to dealing with that. And what about Ai and Maki? They're too young to have to deal with this sort of thing."

"Yeah but-"

"And people would have gotten hurt, Rika, on both sides. Feeling let down because we couldn't get our licks in is worth it if it means no one has to get hurt anymore."

"Well yeah but-"

"And even though it would have made you feel better to march into battle with them I would have been worried as hell and we both probably would have gotten ourselves killed, trying to protect each other rather than ourselves."

"I get that but-"


"Quit interrupting me or I'm going to hurt you!"

Knowing her well enough to know when to shut up Ryo gestured for her to continue.

Once she was sure he realized the severity of his punishment if he did try to interrupt her again Rika continued with what she'd been trying to say before. "What I've been trying to say is that I get all that and I'm not sorry that no one had to get hurt in order for all this to end. It just really pisses me off, okay, that they don't realize that what they did was wrong, that this was all just business for them when it was so much more to us. I hate that I feel like they won somehow."

"But they didn't win, Rika. They lost. And at the hands of people they probably dismissed as a bunch of snot nosed kids. Maybe they didn't pay the way they should have, but they will someday, I really believe that. What we do in this life matters, what they did, what we did matters. We were the grown ups here, trying to make things better for both our worlds. We did that, Rika, without having to resort to the violence these guys tried to use to break us. Key word there being try." He added, for a little emphasis.

"Yeah, yeah." Rolling her eyes Rika got what he was trying to get across. "Don't worry. I'll get over my bloodlust. Eventually. If it's still around by the end of the month, I can always beat up Kazu."

"There is that." Ryo agreed with a chuckle, smiling when she gave him a small smile in return. "So ready to go back and join the others?"

"We're sitting alone, in the dark, with an amazing view, and you want to go back and listen to Kazu make an idiot of himself? What kind of man are you?"

"What was I thinking?" Grinning Ryo pulled his girl close for a kiss and thought how very glad he was, that he'd risk her wrath and come over in the first place.

Five Year Later

Glaring at her textbooks Rika envisioned piling them in the middle of the lawn and setting them on fire. Sure it would break a number of city ordinances and get her one hell of a fine, but in the end, it would be so totally worth it. It truly would be, a beautiful sight. Unfortunately it wasn't an option, since if she didn't have the books she'd have nothing to study from as there was no way in hell she was giving those highway robbers disguised as the bookstore employees another cent.

"What's giving you problems now?" Ryo asked, sitting down on the couch beside his wife of two years. He knew that look on her face and could only be thankful he wasn't now nor would ever have to face his woman in the courtroom. She was already developing quite the rep among her professors and Ryo had a feeling that once she got the bar and entered the world of blood thirsty lawyers the justice system would never be the same.

Looking up from them she gave him a dirty look.

"You know some wives greet their husbands with smiles and 'How was your day, Dear.'."

"Yeah and some wives are not this wife so beat it so that I can study."

Laughing Ryo just pulled out the mail he'd retrieved from their mailbox and started flipping through them, bypassing the bills since she was already in a rotten mood which meant bringing up finances was not a good idea. Not that they had any real problems there, but they were both students and there was nothing Rika liked more than to get into a rant about how the system was out to break anyone who wanted to get an education higher than middle school. Thankfully, both of them had parents who'd thought to save for their educations, otherwise they probably would have been royally screwed and forced to live off the money Rika had made when she was a kid. Being a kept husband didn't appeal, even though his wife was pretty damn sexy when she was bossing him around, which was often. Coming to a postcard Ryo scanned the back. "Suzi, Teddy, Henry and Alice got to China all right. They say they should get to Nanking by the end of the week. Apparently they're under orders to visit some relatives first."

"The dragon grandmother probably hoping some of the relatives will join her crusade to rescue Suzi from the evil clutches of her Irishman. It's apparently too late for Henry now since 'She Who Will Not Be Named' is as against divorce as she is Alice." Smirking Rika leaned back against the couch, ignoring the books for the moment. "Speaking of never getting divorced, the Insanely Happy Couple called today. If Takato calls me one more time to describe in minute detail Jeri's last check up I'm flying down there and strangling him with Guilmon's tail."

"Now that's an interesting image you've put into my head." Trying to picture it Ryo had to grin at his wife's creativity. "Anyway, first time fathers are like that, at least according to my father."

"Between him and my mother.."

Laughing Ryo had to agree. For some reason, his father and Rumiko really liked the idea of being grandparents. "I wonder what Kei would say."

"Probably something along the lines of 'You got my little Xiao Mei pregnant. Now, if you leave her, what I threatened you with on your wedding day will seem pleasant.' Or something like that." Yeah, Kei reaction would definitely be something to see, Rika thought with a smirk. If she was really mean, she'd get Simon to deliver the message, just to mess with him. As far as she knew, Simon was still avoiding her honorary big brother like the plague and Kei was loving every minute of it. Sometimes, she wondered if Kei really was interested in Simon at all, or if he just got a thrill watching a tough guy like Simon run for the hills every time he approached. Kei was twisted enough after all.

Wincing as he recalled just what Kei had all threatened to do to him if he ever hurt Rika, Ryo thought it wise to change the subject. "You know, I never have asked you what Xiao Mei means, have I?"

"He's been calling me that for over half a decade and you're just now working up the curiosity to find out what it means?" Rolling her eyes at him again Rika answered him anyway. "Xiao Mei is sister or little sister, and Da Geh is brother in Chinese."

"Ah. Makes sense."

Lapsing into comfortable silence Rika finally made herself pick up the several sheets of paper she'd set on the coffee table and began reading them again, frowning as she got further into the report. "Damn, I'm never going to get this done." She muttered, looking up from the sheets to give Ryo a frustrated look. "Why can't I have your homework to do?" If she didn't get this done she'd have to pull an all nighter if she wanted to have the weekend free to visit with Tai. He was bringing his girlfriend with him, and Rika wanted to be in full intimidating big sister form.

"Because you'd do just as badly at mine as I would do at yours. Now what are you working on, maybe I can help."

Staring down at the sheets Rika sighed. "They're a copy of an unsolved murder case that took place in this area last year. The prof gave each of us a copy of an unsolved case and asked us to pick through the evidence and findings ourselves, see if we can find any loose ends or something the cops missed. In my case a witness put a teenage girl, Oriental, at the scene of the crime. The description isn't much, since it was dark, but I keep picturing Ice every time I read it."

"Well you never know, no one knows where she is, right?" Two years ago Henry and Suzi's grandmother had somehow convinced Ice's parents to send her off to a Buddhist monastery to find some inner peace or something. The day after she arrived the monks had sent a letter, informing Ice's parents that they had allowed her to leave for the safety of the others residing within the monastery. Putting Ice in with people who were all pacifists had not been one of the old lady's brighter ideas. Now no one knew where she was, and everyone waited to see her on the news for something.

"Oh she'll turn up someday, probably in need of my services if I ever pass the damn bar." Not wanting to imagine the horror that would be trying to defend Ice in court, Rika tried to think of something happier and less likely to make her throw up whatever she'd eaten last. With cafeteria food, you never could tell. "So how was your day anyway?"

"Tiring, but not too bad. I'll be glad when I have my Masters though and can say good bye to this mortal coil." Grinning Ryo got to his feet, stretching out his arms above his head. "Who's turn is it to make supper tonight anyway?"

"If you love me it's yours."

"Why don't we just order out then."

"Good idea." Grinning back Rika held her hand out. "Gimme the phone. I'll even call it in."

Handing her the phone Ryo watched as she dialed the nearby Chinese restaurant, not even needing to look up the number, which was a testament to their cooking skills and lack there of. Listening as she warned the person on the other end as to the damage she'd do if they didn't stop putting in so many peppers in with her sweet and sour pork Ryo mussed that in fifty years, she wasn't going to have mellowed at all. In fact, she might even be worse, using her old age as an excuse to be even meaner than normal. He just really hoped she never needed a cane or a walker, because he could easily see her hitting people, and him, with it. When she ended the conversation and handed the phone back to him, Ryo slipped it into its slot before giving her a teasing elbow to the side. "I don't think that was how chopsticks were meant to be used."

"Yeah well it's how they're going to be used if he doesn't tell that chef to quit cheating me of my meat." Was her tart response to that one. And she really would shove those chopsticks up the chef's ass, even if she had to walk all the way to the restaurant to do it. It definitely fit into her idea of time well spent.

"Too true."

"And what are you grinning about?"

"Nothing, I just like watching you chew out people other than me." Wiggling his eyebrows suggestively Ryo leaned forward to place a kiss on the side of her neck. "Not that you don't look equally hot when you're ragging my ass too."

"Well it's a good thing you enjoy it so much, cause for the next eighteen years, I'm going to be doing it even more than normal." The grin that crossed her face was definitely mischievous, alerting Ryo right away that his wildcat was up to something.

"Oh really, and what have I done to warrant being tortured for the next eighteen years?" He inquired, waiting to see just what sort of trap she was trying to lay for him.

"Well I helped but you know me, I never take the blame for anything." Was her angelic reply, the grin only getting wider.

"Unfortunately true. Okay, I'll bite, what did we do that I have to pay for?"

"Well I think it's only fair that you be made to suffer right along with me." She informed him, pleased at the timing of her little time bomb. She couldn't have scripted this better herself. "After all, I'm the one who's going to be throwing up and losing her figure and having complete strangers come up to me under the misconception that I want to talk about how fat I am and how I'm going to have to spend the next eighteen years catering to a mini me, who will no doubt pay me back for all the crap I put my grandmother and mother through. So really, me taking all my frustration out on you only seems fair."

Struck dumb Ryo just stared at her for a moment, his grin slowly widening to match his own. "Any chance I'll get off on good behavior if I promise not to up and faint on you in the delivery room?"

"I suppose that might get you probation, at least until I start losing my sleep and go insane and as a result kill you in your sleep. Seeing as I love you and all."

Pulling her into his arms, Ryo held her close, laying his head against hers. "I'm so glad I was awake when you came onto my porch."

"And I'm glad you didn't try anything when I passed out on you. Cause otherwise I would have had to kill you and missed out on years of making you miserable."

"I love you too, Wildcat."

The End

Special thanks goes out to : Forlorn Melody, Mangagirl18, Firehottie, Brosis, Sei Mong, Bex Drake and all the others who stood by me all these years. Thank You All!