Digimon Tamers: Nonaka Struggles (Ch 1)

Digimon Tamers: Nonaka Struggles

Hey all, finally posting a story about my favorite Digi-Girl Rika. I’ve struggled with a story for her not because of a lack of ideas, but because as my favorite I really wanted to do her character justice as well; I wanted a story where people could look at Rika from beginning to end of the Tamer series, and believe this scenario could have happened had events in the series gone a different way.

Here’s hoping you all enjoy, and here’s hoping I did her justice.

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A wave of heat swept over her body before she felt the explosion’s shockwave. Stumbling with a yell, she quickly got back to her feet and ran through the parking garage as fast as she could. Despite the volume of exploding cars around her, Rika’s ears rang with gleeful laughter, causing her heart to beat all the harder in her chest.

Rika’s breath caught in her throat as she caught a glimpse of green and white ahead of her. Veering to the side, she barely lost any momentum as she fled through a row cars. A shout behind her was followed with a volley of green bullets piercing the cars around her. Rika dived forward, a scream of fright ripping itself from her throat despite her efforts to remain silent.

Head swerving side to side Rika searched for the exit, desperate to escape the bullet happy bunny pursuing her. Her eyes lit up as she spotted it, sunlight streaming into the parking garage through it. Pushing herself to her feet, Rika bolted towards the exit, weaving through cars as bullets chased her.

Reaching the exit her shoes skid on loose grave as she shifted her body and momentum, before launching herself into the bright day light. Trying to shield her eyes from the light, several seconds passed before Rika realized something was wrong; she’d dived out the exit but had yet to hit the ground. A cry of surprise and fear escaped her lips as she fell, a brief feeling of vertigo disorienting her further

The sunset shades of yellow and orange shifted to pale moonlight and a dark blue sky as Rika fell. Spinning in the air, she let out a gasp as her back came in contact with…something rubbery? Plastic? Whatever she’d landed on seemed to stretch around and cling to her. Rika blindly reached out, trying to grab something she could use for leverage and pull herself up. She managed to grip whatever she’d fallen into with her left hand, only to find the material incredibly sticky.

A loud ‘snap’ was the only warning she’d had before she was falling again. Another yell escaped her lips as she tumbled in the air. The sticky material she’d fallen on stuck to her as she fell, and despite her efforts to try removing it, Rika found herself getting tangled in it.

Rika’s momentum came to a sudden stop as she landed belly down on what felt like the same material. Her head bobbing forward, she felt material cover her mouth and forehead with the force a slap. She instinctively cried out, only to let out a muffled sound, her lips sealed together by what she’d landed on.

The bright moonlight began to dim, allowing Rika’s sight to return. As she managed to get her first glimpse of where she’d fallen, she immediately wished she hadn’t. About two stories off the ground, Rika laid at the center of a giant spider web. Looking down her body, she found a second smaller web, sticking to her clothes and arms.

An evil cackle rang through the air, causing the color to drain from Rika’s face. Vibrations ran through the giant web’s thread, and she could feel something of great weight begin to creep slowly downwards. Fear overwhelming her, Rika struggled to free herself from the webbing around her, only for it to hold firm. She tried to scream, in fear and for help, only for the webbing over her mouth to muffle it.

Eyes clenched shut Rika continued her desperate struggle, trashing against the webbing holding her, but there was no give to it. As she was about to yell again she felt an odd sensation on the left side of her stomach. What started as a weird numbing sensation changed to a burning pain, one that quickly grew in intensity and began to spread throughout her body. Tears escaped her eyes as she continued to struggle, but she found her strength leaving her as the pain increased. Feeling the pain begin to overwhelm her, Rika inhaled through her nose before letting out the loudest scream she coul-

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“Rika! Wake up!”

The teen’s eyes shot open, purple irises full of fear. A shuddered gasp emitted from behind a gloved paw, one wrapped carefully but firmly across her mouth and jaw. Instinctively the teen’s hands had flown to the paw gripping her jaw, but as the fog of sleep slowly began to lift her own grip began to soften.

“That’s it Rika, you’re okay, you’re safe. Just breath through your nose, in and out.”

Rika did as instructed, tension slowly leaving her body as she began to calm, her heart hammering not quite as hard in her chest. Feeling furred fingers running through her hair, Rika’s eyes slid closed as she almost instinctively leaned back into the comforting motion. Several seconds passed before the paw over her mouth was lifted, allowing Rika to take a long, shuddering breath.

Feeling her head beginning to be elevated, Rika placed her palms down on both sides of her and pushed herself upright. Once she was nearly vertical, Rika felt the furry body of her partner press against her from behind, an arm wrap itself across her torso. Both of Rika’s hands shakily grasped the offered paw in front of her, getting a comforting squeeze from it and giving one in return.

“…Feeling better?” Renamon asked softly.

“Yes…and no.” Rika answered with a heavy sigh. “Why am I having these nightmares? Why won’t they stop? And why am I so scared of Terriermon? Of all people!”

“It’s not him as a person you fear.” Renamon stated softly. “It’s what he did in his Champion form, Gargomon that scares you. Just as what Dokugumon nearly-”

“Don’t say its name.” Rika whimpered softly. “Please…”

Renamon said nothing in response, only continued to stroke her partner’s head in a comforting manner. Rika’s fists, which had balled up at the spider Digimon’s name, slowly relaxed and opened as she continued her breathing exercises. Were one to look closely at her finger tips however, they’d see them tense and pressing into the futon beneath it.

Just a month ago Rika could never had imagined herself as she was now; scared out of her wits by events that had happened. Even more incredulous to the girl she’d been just a month ago was how open she was being with her partner Renamon, actively seeking and accepting comfort from her. She could imagine her past self scoffing in disgust and calling her weak, but Rika couldn’t find it in herself to care about that; with what had happened and what she was dealing with, it really wasn’t something worth dwelling on.

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Nightmares had hounded her since the battle with Dokugumon, many of the close calls she’s had over the past year and a half all coming back to her as she slept, all determined to scare her with the worst possible outcome her imagination could come up with. Restful sleep seemed a distant memory to the Digimon Queen.

While watching Renamon nearly dissolve into pixels of data and knowing her own demise would shortly follow were big factors to her current state, Rika knew the true tipping point had come just after the battle. The newly Digivolved Kyubimon had explained to her that what finally allowed her to Digivolve was Rika finally being able to show she cared about her, openly and genuinely like a true friend. Rika’s response to that:

Do me a favor…don’t tell anyone.

It happened in an instant; had Rika not been looking Kyubimon in her eyes when she’d made her request she would have missed it. Pain, sorrow, agony, and even betrayal had flashed through Kyubimon’s eyes. It had only been there for a moment, and her partner was quick to mask it, but having seen the affect her words had on Kyubimon cut Rika to the bone.

Like a dam breaking, years of suppressed emotions and memories had spilled out of Rika. Wrapping Kyubimon’s head in a hug Rika had cried, apologized, and even begged Kyubimon’s forgiveness. The sudden and drastic change in her partner had alarmed Kyubimon and left her briefly flat footed. After several minutes, Kyubimon had managed to talk Rika into climbing on her back, and taken to the roof tops. Instead of going directly home however, Kyubimon had stopped atop one of buildings next to the residential area they lived in, and the pair had had their first real heart to heart.

Rika had admitted that she was a loner by choice, but the reason why had startled Kyubimon; it was so others couldn’t keep hurting her, especially her family. She’d been quick to assure Kyubimon it wasn’t physical pain, and that she wasn’t being abused out of her partner’s sight. No, it was constantly being let down and misunderstood that hurt her the most.

Rika’s Mother, Rumiko, seemed incapable of doing anything with Rika that didn’t involve dressing up or fashion. In her younger days Rika had actually tried to go along with it, all in an effort to spend time with her Mother and have a relationship with her. That quickly soured however, when all their time together was just about clothes to wear, poses to make, and even competing against other kids in pageants and for photo shoot positions. Rumiko had hardly ever seemed interested in what Rika liked and wanted, and as she grew Rika had felt more like a doll to the woman than her daughter.

With the woman seemingly more in love with fashion and modelling than caring for her own daughter, and exposed to a lot of negativity from competitors, Rika had finally pulled out and completely stopped all activities with her Mother. It had baffled Rumiko, Rika’s sudden lack of interest in all the things they’d done together, and Rika’s inability to explain her feelings at the time had led to several shouting matches that made her heart ache just thinking about it. Even to this day Rumiko would try to get her to do some modeling, but to Rika it was just a path to more pain.

Rika’s Grandmother, Seiko, had been the best of the family in Rika’s eyes. Until she had been corrected, Rika had thought that Seiko had been her real Mother, for all the time she raised her and Rumiko had been working. A part of Rika actually wished Seiko was her birth Mother, she’d certainly cared for her and given her affection when needed.

Unfortunately, recent years had seen Seiko taking the role of mediator in the home. Rumiko’s drive to get Rika a successful and well-paying career as a model clashed against the Rika’s complete disinterest and at times outright hostility toward the idea, and lead to many arguments. It always came down to one question however; if not modeling, what career did she want to pursue. Rika could never give an appropriate answer to it, which always exasperate her Mother and Grandmother.

She’d once loved singing and writing songs, but it had been about her hopes and dreams. All the clashes she’d had with her family, as well as kids her own age who wanted to stick their noses where they didn’t belong, had just about extinguished any enthusiasm Rika had had for that path, as well as any desire to be in a spotlight. Playing the Digimon trading card game professionally had been argued but was quickly shot down, Rukimo and Seiko agreeing the series wouldn’t last many more years and therefore wouldn’t provide for Rika into adulthood.

While Rika now had the answer of being the best Tamer, she couldn’t very well say it without leaving her family horribly worried for her safety. As frustrated as she was with them Rika still loved both her Mother and Grandmother, to varying degrees, and thus with no acceptable answer to give, Seiko would often take Rumiko’s side in the arguments. That same love also held her tongue in expressing her true feelings about Rumiko and her career; now older, she could put words to her feelings, but saying them would most likely destroy all chance of having a positive relationship with her Mother, and likely damage the one she had with her Grandmother, and Rika didn’t want to imagine either of them out of her life forever.

Rika then surprised Kyubimon by talking about another member of her family, her Father. Rika barely needed both hands to count the number of times she’d spoken with the man, and she’d seen him in person even fewer times then that! The most she could say about her Father, Hisoka Mitsurah, was that he was a man of good intentions. He wanted to be a part of her life, but there were factors keeping him from her, and no one would explain what they were or why to her.

For all the good intentions the people she called family had for her, it felt like none of them were really there to support or care for her. At times it was the opposite in fact, and it hurt more than words could really describe for Rika. If these were the people she was supposed to be able to rely on for her wellbeing, what would happen if she tried to trust or care about people who had no family relation to her?

It had been fear that kept Rika from connecting with her partner, despite how long and how closely they’d worked together. Fear of being hurt on an emotional level like she had time and again by her family. Only in the face of losing her partner forever did Rika find the courage to admit and express she cared about Renamon as more than just Tamer and Digimon.

Rika had then come to a horrifying revelation; the way she’d treated her partner was little different to how her family had treated her! If anything it was worse since she was risking her partner’s life every time they went to battle, and every time she refused to use a modify card to help her! This had sent the usually proud girl into another fit of tears and apologizes; in her Champion form, Kyubimon could only nuzzle her head against Rika to comfort her.

That had been all Rika could take for the night, so Kyubimon had taken her back to their home once she’d settled down. Kyubimon would then spend the night exploring the boundaries of her Champion form; her Digivolution line allowed her the rare ability to blend into or even travel through shadows within a certain distance, which allowed her to always remain relatively close to Rika even in public places. She had been happy to find her shadow abilities had grown, even if the energy required to use them had as well.

The next morning had brought an unexpected surprise to the Nonaka household; Rika had awoken screaming from a nightmare. Kyubimon had watched from the shadows as Rika’s Mother and Grandmother tried to help her Tamer, but once calmed enough Rika’s pride caused her to push them both away before retreating to take a shower. Rumiko and Seiko would spend several minutes in Rika’s room discussing the incident, expressing their frustrations and concerns respectively, before leaving to make breakfast.

Rika’s mood would not improve any over the course of the day, it would in fact worsen anytime her Mother or Grandmother tried to bring up her nightmare. Kyubimon had tried to communicate with Rika telepathically over the course of the day, an ability neither understood how it had formed other then along with their initial bonding as Tamer and Digimon, but that skill seemed to be blocked while the Digimon was in her Champion form. In it’s place something equally peculiar had formed, however.

Where once Kyubimon could communicate with Rika, she could now sense what her Tamer felt emotionally, and over the course of the day Rika had gone through a gauntlet of them; terror, fear, shame, anger, pride, and sadness. In that one day Kyubimon had both witnessed and felt more reactions and emotions from Rika then at any other time since their bonding. Rika’s emotions also seemed to have an effect on Kyubimon’s form and power as well; shame and sadness seemed to zap her strength while fear or anger would send a surge of power through her, almost encouraging the Champion level Digimon to spring out and attack what was causing her Tamer to feel such things.

Unfortunately, these surges of power kept Kyubimon energized and thus unable to return to her Rookie level form. This had the side effect of leaving her unable to communicate with Rika nor approach her; Rika’s alarming emotional state and behavior had led her to being restricted to the house for the rest of the day and the one after, and Kyubimon dared not risk revealing her larger Champion form with both adults keeping such a close eye on her Tamer.

Rika was none to happy about her restrictions either. A second nightmare the following morning had led to another early morning wake up of screams, followed again by a torrent of emotions, rash actions, and a first hand view for Kyubimon of the type of arguments Rika had described nights prior. The constant fluctuation of energy flowing through Kyubimon had left her feeling quite drained, yet still unable to DeDigivolve. In an act of desperation, Kyubimon pushed her shadow blending abilities to the limit in an effort to drain her energy.

It would be just after dawn the next morning that the exercise worked, and Kyubimon reverted to her Rookie form Renamon. Not wasting any time, Renamon had phased into Rika’s room and carefully woke her partner, who appeared to be on the cusp of yet another nightmare. Rika was none to happy at being caught in such a state for the third time in such a short span of time, nor with the length of her partner’s absence. Renamon had been direct when she spoke to Rika.

“Our bond changed when I Digivolved; I could not communicate with you over it but I could feel every emotion you felt Rika. It was painful, my power and energy surging in ways I’ve never felt before, I came to you the moment I managed to return to this form. Rika, is this truly what you feel every day?”

Hearing the pain in her partner’s voice sent a wave of worry and concern through Rika, then shock upon seeing Renamon fall from her crouching position onto her bottom without any of her usual grace. Realization rang through Rika that her partner was not exaggerating the affects her emotions had on her, causing Rika to hug and apologize to her partner yet again. Rika tried to explain what she was feeling for Renamon’s sake, and while she did so, slowly, the pair felt their mental bond begin to shift, falling back to telepathy and less on the direct emotional connection.

When Rika had opened up to her partner those nights ago, everything little negative thought, feeling, and memory she’d bottle up over the years seemed to have come flying out, like confetti from a party popper after pulling the string. Not unlike real confetti, it was hard to clean up after and organize, and the frequent interruptions of the people she had those issues with made it all the more challenging to deal with

When Rika was done and their bond stabilized, Renamon asked Rika for a favor, the very first every in Rika’s recollection.

“We are both proud of our strength and ability to stand strong alone. But we are no longer alone, and denying our connection now hurts me on a physical level as well as a mental and emotional one. I ask that you confide with me your fears, your worries, and concerns so that I may still be able to serve as your partner. In return, I swear to you Rika I shall do my best not only in battle, but to help you find peace and balance so you do not have to suffer so much and maybe, finally, find some lasting happiness.”

Although a heartfelt and genuine plea, Rika was instinctively hesitant on being as open about herself as her partner was asking; the emotional pain she bore was made from trust and confidences broken. Still, she managed to voice this concern aloud for Renamon, who then reminded Rika that she had no one to break her confidence to. Neither cared much for the other Tamers or their Digimon, and both were smart enough not to tell secrets to Impmon or Calumon. With her biggest concern addressed, Rika hesitantly agreed to Renamon’s request.

It would take over a week of hard work and effort on both their sides, but Rika would slowly manage to reign her emotions and defensive reactions. It wasn’t easy nor without cost; Rika had to fake being sick in order to skip school for a few days, which had allowed her the time to go over many her issues with Renamon. Although she’d have a fair bit of school work to make up, and bore some guilt of worrying her family who were genuinely concerned about her health at this point, Rika managed to regain enough of a grip over her emotions to function normally during the daytime.

Nights and mornings, however, were something else altogether…

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“Are you still awake?”

Renamon’s voice drew Rika back from her reflection. “I am.” She answered softly. “I was just thinking of how much things have changed between us.”

“Do you regret trusting me?” Renamon asked.

“Regret isn’t the right word.” Rika sighed. “I hate these nightmares and what they’re doing to me, but having someone I can be open with about everything for the first time in forever…it feels really good.

“Even being held like this,” Rika continued, “While it makes me feel vulnerable and weak, it’s…it’s also comforting on so many levels. I never realized how much I missed being hugged or held before until you started doing them with me.”

“You’re trying to see if it balances out?” Renamon asked.

“No…Yes…I…GRAH!” Rika threw her arms up above her head in exasperation, now leaning fully against her partner. “Right now what I hate most of all is not being able to explain how I feel! None of the words I know fit!”

“Thinking out loud has helped you before.” Renamon suggested, giving her Tamer a reassuring squeeze.

“I just…I’ve never had nightmares like this before.” Rika started. “Part me wonders if being this…open is causing them and this other…issue.”

Renamon didn’t need to see her Tamer’s face to know it was growing red. “You mean your wetting problem?” She asked, looking past Rika to her futon.

Rika grit her teeth as she looked down at her futon, glaring at the sizeable stains adorn it. “Yes.” She hissed out. “I don’t know what or how potty related stuff works for Digimon, nor do I want to,” she hastily added, “But for humans, anyone that has issues with it are seen as incompetent or immature if it happens without something being medically wrong with their body.”

“Well that explains some of the taunts you threw at Takato and Guilmon.” Renamon said idly. “But I can see how this would frustrate you…do you think this would have never happened if we weren’t trying so hard to be open with each other?”

Rika was silent for several seconds before exhaling shakily. “Renamon,” she started, “You’ve become more than just my Digimon or partner, you’re my friend. Having this now means more to me than I ever thought possible; I usually go out of my way to try to not feel things. I’m less likely to…to be hurt if I don’t feel things.

“Even if I tried going back to the way we were, I know how much that would hurt you and that hurts me even thinking about it. And we’ve no way of knowing if the dreams or my…accidents, would stop unless we tried and…as bad and humiliating as these are to me, I can’t bring myself to even try to trade them to feel better myself.”

“I am sorry you’re still suffering.” Renamon said softly. “But hearing how much our bond means to you…it means the world to me.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Rika said, a smile briefly crossing her face. “All of this is just really stressing me out. I’m not used to feeling scared or embarrassed, and that’s what I’ve been feeling most of the time these days. I’m thirteen; I shouldn’t be wetting the bed or rushing to get to the bathroom!”

“Is there anything I can do to help your feel better?” Renamon asked.

“You’ve been amazing Renamon.” Rika answered, tilting her head back to meet her partner’s eyes. “Waking me quietly and calming me, running distractions when we’re out of the house, and even helping me with getting all this cleaned up every day. If anything, I feel like I’m just taking everything and being a burden, all while not giving back anything in return.

“While I appreciate your concern Rika, you’ve been helping me since we first became partners.” Renamon stated. “In loading so much data over the past year, I’ve reached the peak physical condition and ability my Rookie form is capable of; I cannot express just how rare a feat that is. Now that I’ve achieved my Champion form as well, I can reach even greater heights in both forms. It’s thanks to your care and efforts that I’ve reached this point Rika; if anything I feel I’ve not been doing nearly enough for you in return.”

“Probably because I was complaining you weren’t Digivolving.” Rika said with a sigh.

“That was part of it.” Renamon admitted. “But we’re past that point now.”

“That one yeah, but we both feel like we owe the other. How do we even this out? Make a list or something?”

“While a list may help numerically, I don’t think one could properly capture the depth or meaning behind each action we’ve taken.” Renamon answered. “If I may make a suggestion?”

“Go ahead.” Rika said.

“Let us focus on continuing to help one another the best we can and not worry about being indebted to each other.” Renamon suggested. “In one of your Grandmother’s books, there’s a line I feel fits what we’re trying to do.”

“What is it?”

“There is no debt between friends.” Renamon quoted.

“…I get what you mean with that.” Rika stated after turning it over in her mind a few times. “It’s easy to say, but I think it’ll be harder to actually do.”

“Maybe, but you have enough to stress and worry about without this on top of it.”

“True.” Rika sighed. “Do you know how much Mom and Grandma know about my…my accidents?”

“They know they’re happening.” Renamon answered. “They also know you’ve been having trouble during the day as well.”

“How did they find that out?!” Rika exclaimed in surprise.

Renamon gave her partner a comforting squeeze. “The stains in your underwear was what I heard. I would suggest doing laundry more to hide it but-”

“But the damage is done.” Rika stated, looking down. “I want this to stop, but I don’t know what I can do to stop it. If Mom and Grandma get involved, they’ll probably try to keep me home and some place where they’ll always be keeping an eye on me! I’d hate that and we’d end up fighting even more now!”

“Which wouldn’t help your relationships with them and could interfere with our ability to battle wild Digimon.” Renamon finished.

“Yes.” Rika said, biting her lip. “Mom has threatened to throw my cards away as a punishment before, and Grandma has grounded me knowing I hate being cooped up in one place for too long.”

“The card threat is easy enough to deal with. We can just put them in a bag and I can hold them so your Mother can’t find them.” Renamon replied. “But being kept here would prevent us from battling wild Digimon, and that could have more serious consequences.”

“They’re appearing more often now.” Rika agreed. “It’s either groups of weak ones or one really strong one these days. Destroying property is one thing, but given how people are mistaking digital fields for just freak fog banks, someone is going to get hurt!”

“We’re not alone in this.” Renamon reminded. “Takato and Guilmon are…rough around the edges, but they are stronger then they appear. It might be worth teaching them how to properly use card combinations to improve their efficiency in battles.”

“They’re willing to fight wild Digimon and they have strength, but they lack experience and we’d lack a place to show and train them.” Rika responded. “That other Tamer, Henry, is such a pacifist though, and with how Terriermon flies off the handle when he Digivolves, they could be worse than no help at all…No, we can’t rely on them to pick up our slack if I get stuck here.”

“It seems as though we may only have one option then if you do get grounded.”

“And that would be?”

“Tell your Mother and Grandmother about Digimon.” Renamon answered. “And introduce me.”

Rika shook her head. “That wouldn’t work. Mom hardly cares about what I want or think, just that I’m healthy and Grandma would get behind that part as well. If they knew how dangerous these battles are becoming, they’d probably try to get rid of you to keep me safe, saying you’re a bad influence on me or something. I…I don’t want it to come to that.”

“They wouldn’t be able to hurt me, much less keep us apart Rika.” Renamon stated.

“I know that.” Rika said softly. “What I’m…afraid of is having to actually choose between you and them. As much as they’ve hurt me and bothered me over the years a small, small part of me is hoping we can all be a happy family someday. If it comes down to making them happy by standing back and risk letting wild Digimon tear up the town…my hope will die.”

“You’re saying you’d chose Taming over your family?” Renamon questioned, surprised.

“It’s not an easy choice.” Rika started, holding her hand over her heart. “But when I think about how much more dangerous these battles are becoming…if I think of someone else in my place in my nightmares, a child or even a clueless adult…I, we have the ability to keep that from happening. I wouldn’t wish what happened with…with Dokugumon on anyone.

“Between how frustrating and strained things are between Mom and me, and how they’re growing so with Grandma now too, if it came down to them or stopping wild Digimon from hurting people…” Rika suddenly sniffled. Blinking a few times as her vision became blurry, she raised her free hand to wipe the tears from her eyes.

“I understand what you’re trying to say now Rika.” Renamon said, still rubbing her Tamer’s back soothingly. “I hope it doesn’t come to that, but for now let’s just focus on today, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.” Rika said, rubbing her eyes with her sleeve. “What time is it?”

“6:15.” Renamon answered, looking at the digital clock in the corner.

“It’s close enough that I can take a shower now.” Rika stated as she work her way up to her feet, Renamon helping her retain her balance all the while. “I hate to ask, but-”

“I’ll take care of your futon and pajamas once you’re in the shower.” Renamon interrupted. “And this time I’ll remember to leave you a change of clothes as well.”

Rika’s face flushed, recalling the incident. “Renamon!” She whined.

“I’m sorry Rika, I was trying to ‘lighten the mood’ with a joke.” Renamon explained as she started gathering up the soaked futon.

“We need to find you better books to read when you’re not fighting.” Rika grumbled softly.

“Something we can worry about later.” Renamon stated firmly as finished wrapping up the futon.

“Agreed.” Rika said as she walked to the door. She reached for the indention to pull the sliding door open when she paused before looking back at her partner. “I know I’ve said this already, but thank you Renamon. For everything.”

Renamon nodded her head once before seemingly sliding backwards into the room’s shadow and fading from view. “You are welcome Rika.”

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That’s it for chapter 1! Geeze does it feel good to finish and post something again! So I’ve put a lot of thought and work into this, and some readers have indicated they’d like to see my thought process going into this. So the next few paragraphs will be brief summary of just that; if it doesn’t interest you, well I hope you’ll at least leave a like and a review telling me what you thought of this chapter.

So I’ve rewatched about half of the Tamers season recently. The place in the timeline where this story happens is just after Renamon first Digivolves, at which point Rika had more of a “loner and harsh” personality as opposed to her more empathetic one near series end. I’ve studied Rika’s character but always wondered, “Why was Rika such a cold loner at the start of the series?” Beside the fact that it makes her seem cool of course.

Going over her family history I came up with what I believe is a plausible history that lead to the development of Rika’s cold exterior. As little kids we can be blissfully ignorant to societal norms, and can also be cruel as well. As hard as it is to imagine Rika of all people getting bullied, she did experience it at the competitive events she went to in her youth, all gone to in an effort bond with Rumiko. Not receiving the positivity or connection with Rumiko she’d hoped for, Rika eventually bailed out of the whole scene.

The experience also soured Rika to being in the spotlight, even if it was to celebrate her own success. This is seen in the episode of her origin as a Tamer, where even though she’d won a tournament and trophy she was avoiding eye contact with everyone and just spoke a few words in an obvious effort to wrap things up. It’s also evident in the episode where Rumiko talks her into a modeling shoot; the photographer is nice at first but starts giving instructions as time goes on through the shoot, which could be perceived as demanding as well. Drawing closer to her, Rika appears to feel cornered and lashes out before running from the studio, even leaving the building without changing out of the dress she wore just to get out of there as quick as possible.

The mentions of Rika singing and of her Father come from the Runaway Locomon movie. We have a scene of Rika as a three year old at a playground, happy and singing what’s implied to be a song she made up. Her Father is never named, and little is confirmed about him but it’s implied Rika is disappointed in him both for not visiting more and not keeping a promise to her, what I’m assuming is being there for her birthday in the movie.

The drastic shift Rika’s character takes in this story is in part due to personal experience actually. In the past I’ve bottled up emotions and issues until they came bursting out all at once, and it would leave me off kilter for days to even weeks. This reaction is being applied to Rika’s revelations and struggle to have a more open relationship with Renamon, with emphasis on positive things such as being physically and emotionally comforted for the first time in years.

The last thing I’ll comment on here is the rate of encountering wild Digimon. In the series it was practically back to back days with an occasional break in which Calumon or Impmon shenanigans were had. Constant battles while juggling school, home and social lives, and interrupted sleep schedules would be a struggle in the best of circumstances, that amount of stress could potentially break a person. That is part of what you’re seeing at the end of the chapter, Rika struggling to prioritize what she’s beginning to view as responsibilities as a Tamer against her diminishing relationships with her family.

That’s all for now, got any questions leave it below in a comment/review, or even Note me. Till next time all!