Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

"So will this end?

It goes on and on

Over and over and over again

Keep spinning around

I know that it won't stop

'Til I step down from this

Sick cycle carousel.."

Lifehouse: Sick Cycle Carousel

Horses, Phobias… And a Fish?

(aka Get Me Down From Here!)

By Nanaki Lioness

"Tai… It's cold and it's late…"

Tai turned and glared at Matt, then returned to his current task- trying to pick the lock on the gates of a small amusement park.

"I thought we were told we could have this break away if we 'behaved ourselves'…" Matt continued.

Tai gave up on the lock and clamoured up the metal gates.

"Tai!" Matt hissed at him. "Get down! You'll fall!"

Tai grinned and launched himself off the top, landing deftly on the floor. Turning to Matt, his folded his arms and looked smug.

"Stop it," Matt snapped. "Get back over and let's go to the hotel."

They had opted for a small break away from the busy streets of Odiaba to the seaside town of Niigata. The one condition that had been placed on the two seventeen year-olds was to be on their best behaviour. As Tai's mother had put it- 'no mischief'.

Matt sighed as he began to scale the gates to follow his friends. If this little escapade didn't count as mischief, he didn't know what would.

Tai took off across the car park, laughing loudly. Matt mentally cursed him and climbed quicker- if he wasn't there to calm his hyperactive friend, he had a feeling that he would land himself in serious trouble.

"This counts as trespassing you know," he shouted as he reached the other side of the gates, running after Tai.

"Why, there's nobody here!" Tai protested, slowing down and walking alongside his friend.

"It's still trespassing."

"Oh, lighten up," Tai scolded. "Oooo, look!"

He ran off again, leaving Matt to trail unwillingly behind him.

"Look!" Tai called again, pointing. Matt followed where his finger was pointing and inwardly groaned.

Tai jumped on to what he was pointing at- a carousel- and beckoned to Matt.

"No!" Matt said, standing at the edge of the carousel disapprovingly. "Tai, get off and let's go!"

Tai jumped back off again and pulled Matt up with him, making him sit on the back of a white horse named 'Beauty'. He propped himself next to him on a beige horse, going by the name of 'Dancer'.

Matt, clearly looking unimpressed, folded his arms across the horse's head and leant his head in them.

"Why did I ever agree to go on a break away with you…?" He questioned rhetorically.

Tai responded by clutching the small piece of brown rope that was attached to the red moulded 'reins' of the horse, pretending to ride it- horse sounds and all.

Matt groaned and mock-sobbed, not removing his head from his arms.

Tai stopped and jumped off his horse, causing Matt to finally look up and watch him.

"What are you doing?" He asked as Tai jumped up on to another horse and began to clamber up the golden twisting pole that went through the horse's back. Its only purpose was for holding on to, though, and he soon jumped down when he realised the whole thing would probably collapse if he attempted that.

"I'm having fun," Tai stated as he jumped on to the horse in font of Matt, backwards so he could see his friend. "There's only so much sitting on the beach and volleyball you can do."

"Wouldn't have been more fun to wait until the place opened?" Matt questioned.

Tai shrugged. "We can stay here until it opens…"

"No," Matt said, shaking his head. "I'd like to go home and get some sleep."

Tai laughed. "Sleep? Why bother? We're here to have fun!"

He jumped down yet again and walked to the centre of the carousel, having spotted a lever there that could be rotated. He grabbed hold of it and turned it clockwise a few times.

When he let it go, music began to emanate from the jukebox it was attached to. Creepy and discordant, it echoed in the air in such a way Tai took three steps backwards so fast he fell over.

"I hate fairground music," he muttered as he picked himself up from the red wooden floor.

"Then why did you turn it?" Matt questioned, getting down off of his horse and walking over to inspect the lever. He tried to twist it in the other direction, but found he couldn't. Giving up, he beckoned to Tai and jumped off the carousel. Tai joined him this time, and they walked away from the music and the carousel.

"So- why are we really here?" Matt asked softly.

Tai shrugged.

"It's a change of scene."

Matt smiled slightly.

"Well, yeah. Can't disagree there. But, what I mean is, there has to be a reason why we're here. If we get caught..."

"Then we can just make something up," Tai countered, stopping abruptly and sitting down on a wooden bench attached to a table.

Matt raised an eyebrow, sitting on the other side of the table and looking at Tai knowingly.

"Like what? There aren't many excuses for jumping over the gates."

Tai didn't respond, staring down at the wooden table. Graffiti was etched into it, and he traced the lines with his fingers.

The both looked up as the faint music to the carousel finally stopped. Matt smiled as it did so- if that had been heard, they really would have been in trouble.

"When I was younger, we came to one of these places…"

He looked back to Tai, surprised at the seriousness in his voice.

"What happened?" He asked, knowing that something had immediately.

Tai shrugged. "I got dragged onto a carousel by my parents. I didn't want to get it on- the music was freaky and the horses looked evil."

Matt laughed a little. "Nothing's changed, then."

"No, it hasn't. I was hoping it had."

"So, you came to test the theory?"

Tai nodded. "And it hasn't changed. I still hate it. My parents always took Kari on them, and couldn't leave me by myself when I was younger. So, I'd have to suffer it too…"

He shivered slightly. Matt eyed him suspiciously.

"Do you hate it?" He asked. "Or are you frightened of it?"

"Don't be stupid!" Tai laughed, but it was somewhat half-hearted.

They sat in silence for a while, Tai still etching the lines of graffiti.

"Well?"

Tai didn't look up.

"I don't know…" He admitted. "It's a pretty stupid thing to be scared of."

"Lots of people are scared of stupid things," Matt reasoned. "Look at people who are frightened of spiders. They don't do anything scary. They just are to some people. TK doesn't like them, and he panics every time he sees one. I don't know why, and neither does he. It's just a reaction."

Tai shrugged.

"How did you react when you were little?"

"I told you-"

"No- you just said you hated it, and what you hated. How did you react?"

Tai thought for a moment. "It was a long time ago, I don't remember fully. I remember telling my Mom I didn't want to ride it, but Kari did, and I think Dad was off buying dinner. So, I had to go on it because Mom wouldn't leave me by myself, and Kari would get upset if she was told no. I think I walked up to the queue when the ride was still going round. I hated the horses- I had this stupid image of it going up and staying there and me getting stuck in the air or something. The ground's a long way down when you're a kid.

"I thought the horses were… Well, freaky. When we had to go on it, Mom put me down on a horse and I think I started crying or screaming or something. She told me not to be so silly, and that it wasn't a scary ride."

"Did you ever go back to a fairground?"

Tai shook his head. "This is the first time since."

Matt looked intrigued. "Why is now different?"

"Flash of courage," Tai grinned. "Besides, I knew if the ride wasn't going round, it may be easier to look at it, ya know?"

"Is it?"

Tai looked in the carousel's direction again, and nodded.

"Yeah. It doesn't seem so weird now."

"Well, maybe we should stay here and ride it in the morning," Matt suggested.

"I thought you wanted to go back to the hotel?"

Matt shrugged, getting up off the chair. "I'm too awake now, I don't want to sleep. And besides, all in a good cause, right?"

Tai grinned slightly and got up, surveying the fairground before them.

It was small and rather antiquated-looking- like all the rides needed a fresh lick of paint. It didn't look dangerous, but it was just enough to put you on your guard and realise this wasn't the establishment to takes risks.

Risks, Tai thought wryly to himself, like the time he'd stood up on a rollercoaster to wave at his parents, and they'd grounded him for a week.

"So, what time does it open?" Matt asked, picking his head up from the table and trying not to yawn.

"Eight."

"And what time is it now?"

Tai shrugged, pulling his phone out his pocket and looking at the display. "Nearly half two."

Matt put his head back on the table. "Wake me up when it gets to about seven…"

Tai sat back down, playing with his phone. He set an alarm for seven and placed it in his pocket again. Putting his head down on the table, he too attempted to sleep.

. . . . . . . . . .

"Yes! Shut up!"

Tai pulled his phone out of his pocket and slammed it down on the table repeatedly. The poor, abused phone did shut up- but only because he'd slammed it down button-first and had activated 'snooze'.

Matt woke up instantly, thanks to a mixture of the phone's ring tone and its involuntary connection with the wooden table.

"Seven already?" He asked sleepily. Tai yawned and manually turned the alarm off, putting the phone back in his pocket.

"Must be."

The world was light, now- a sure sign it was indeed seven in the morning. The park was still lifeless, though they knew it wouldn't be in about half an hour when people would start arriving for work.

"We'll have to hide," Matt said of his thoughts.

"What?"

"When it gets to half seven. Staff members walking around, remember?"

"Oh yeah…"

They stood up and stretched, both of them too aware of the uncomfortable night's sleep they had received. They sat back down again almost instantly as their bodies protested at such treatment.

"We had enough time to go back to the hotel," Matt complained. "Why didn't we?"

"You agreed."

"Well, I was stupid."

They both did a double take as noticed a family walking past a nearby ride, with two small children in tow. They were drinking from cans of drink, eating fries, and definitely inspecting the rides they were going to be using- a sure sign that there was an entrance open somewhere.

"Hungry?" Tai asked rhetorically. "Looks like something's open."

"Looks like the gates might be open," Matt answered.

They got up- slowly- and made their way around the corner of the park. There was a small coffee shop open, with a giant sign saying 'seven am opening'.

Matt contemplated slapping Tai for telling him eight, but realised in his tired state that his friend was right about the park. Neither of them had expected this.

"Let's go get some breakfast shall we?" Tai said, taking the lead and walking over to it. Matt followed him, shaking his head free of his sleepy thoughts.

The walked in to the surprisingly large coffee shop, and realised it was one of the entrances to the park. The doors were wide open, but the booths to buy tickets for the rides were closed.

A young girl smiled at them as they approached the counter, looking as tired as the two boys felt. Ordering strong coffee and the theme park's apparent staple diet- fries- they sat at a nearby table and argued over how much salt and vinegar to put on the shared portion.

"So, apart from the carousel, what are we going to ride?" Matt asked, taking a sip of his coffee.

"Rollercoasters!" Tai said empathically.

"You like rollercoasters, but not carousels?" Matt said, uncomprehending.

Tai slapped him and looked sheepish.

"Well, we're going to rectify that, aren't we, Matt?"

"Whatever."

Tai grabbed the fries and pulled them towards him as Matt put his fork down into them. The blonde leant over and stabbed his fork into one, shrugging.

"I'm too tired for games," he complained. Eating the fry, he put the fork down in the table's ashtray and stood up. Tai grinned.

"Does this mean these are all mine?"

"I'm not that hungry, Tai. Go ahead."

Tai grinned wider and continued eating. Matt picked up his empty coffee cup, walking over to a nearby bin and putting it in. He pulled a few coins out of his pocket and put them in a nearby crane machine. Tai, intrigued, went to watch over his shoulder.

Matt turned to Tai and sighed.

"Please don't munch in my ear."

Tai took a step back, frowning and looking indignant.

On his third try of four, Matt managed to net one of the toys- a strange, pink fish with giant white eyes and white stripes. He pulled it out the winning tray, eyeing it oddly.

"I guess I should be grateful I won anything," he said of it before tucking it under his arm and saying no more.

Tai stole it and ran off with it, laughing.

"Go ahead- keep it!" Matt called after him.

Seeing that was no fun, Tai bought it back to him and tried to hand it over.

Matt shook his head. "Hang on to it a minute- I'm gonna use the bathroom, and I'd rather not have that strange-looking thing watching me."

Tai shrugged, amusing himself with the fish and the rest of his now-cold fries.

. . . . . . . . . .

"So, Tai?" Matt said, eating the last of his ice cream. "We've been here about four hours now. Do you think you can try the carousel yet?"

Tai, who had long since finished his ice cream, looked up from where he was staring at the table in front of them. He thoughts about it for a moment, then nodded.

"I have the fish to keep me company," he said, stroking the already-tatty looking pink object in his arms.

Matt rolled his eyes, standing up. He tugged at the green wristband he was wearing, trying to loosen it. The attendant had put it on too tightly. The reason being, as Tai had had much pleasure in teasing him about, was that the young attendant was concentrating on Matt too much. She had asked for his number, to which Matt had reddened, stuttered something, and ran off to the sound of Tai laughing hysterically.

They'd ridden every ride over- at least twice- and Tai didn't bring up the subject of the carousel. Matt had realised, as they sat down for ice creams in the midday summer sun, that he would have to nudge him gently.

They made their way over to it, and Tai was thankful that it was loading and not already in action. He'd made sure they'd walked a wide berth around it all morning.

Showing their wristbands, they jumped onto horses next to each other. Tai clutched the fish toy, grinning at Matt. But, his friend could see the brunette's knuckles were white.

This really is some kinda phobia for him…

The ride started, to the discordant music they had heard earlier in the night. Tai closed his eyes for a moment, but appeared to relax when the horse had gone up and down a few times.

"See?" Matt said to him as it picked up speed a little. "It's not that bad."

Tai didn't respond with words- he simply nodded.

I know he's conscious of the fact it's not a 'usual' phobia. But, really, it doesn't matter what it is- he's brave for confronting it.

When the attendant had his back turned, Matt stood up and clambered across to Tai's horse. Sitting behind his friend on the two-seater horse enabled him to talk to him better.

"You okay?" He said quietly.

"Yeah…" Tai breathed. "It's not half as bad as I remember it."

"That's because you're older. You see things differently when you're young."

"I still don't like the music."

Matt laughed a little. "That's because it's creepy. I can't say I'm exactly fond of it either- I think that's the point!"

Tai laughed a little, though it still sounded a bit nervous. Matt sighed softly, wishing that he could do more for his friend.

The ride eventually slowed to a stop. As it did so, Matt jumped down. Tai waited until it had completely stopped before attempting to get down, but he still managed to trip over the stirrup and nearly fall flat on his face. He did manage to drop the fish, though.

Matt grabbed him before he could fall completely, and was shocked to feel he was shaking.

"That's why you fell," he said quietly, helping his friend down. "Because you're shaking. It's okay- it's over now."

"I feel so stupid," Tai said, rolling his eyes as he picked up the fish from the floor.

They got off of the carousel quickly, Tai taking the lead in his haste to get off of it. Once he was back on the floor, he regained some of the colour back in his cheeks.

"It's such a dumb thing to be scared of!" He declared, shaking his head a little as he watched the horses being loaded up again.

"If it frightens you, it can't be dumb," Matt reasoned. "And, I think it's great that you've had the courage to face it. If I ever put TK in a room with a spider, I think he'd die of fright."

"Keep of Courage," Tai said proudly. "I won't let anything beat me!"

They'd walked some distance away from the carousel before Tai spoke.

"Don't you have any phobias, Matt?"

Matt nodded. "Yes, I do. I think we all do."

"What's yours? I bet it isn't some dumb thing like carousels…"

"Blood."

Tai did a double take for a moment. "Really? You never said."

"You never said you were scared of carousels."

Tai thought about that for a moment. "Good point. What about that science lesson where we dissected that pig heart?"

"Don't you remember? I got sick about ten minutes before that lesson."

"Ah. So, you weren't really sick?"

"No. But, I would have been if I'd have gone to that class."

"How'd you find that out, then?"

Matt winced a little at the memory. "Because Dad came in from work one day when he'd cut his hand, and he was trying to wash and bandage it. Mom and Dad had just split up, so he didn't have her to do it for him. I went over to see what was wrong, and to offer to help, and I passed out on the floor when I saw it. Dad panicked- he laughs about it now, but at the time he was really worried."

"So, when are you going to confront your fear?"

Matt laughed. "How about 'never'? I'm not as brave as you are, Tai."

And that was all that was said on the matter.

"So, what are we going on next?" Matt asked. Tai shrugged.

"How about lunch?"

"You really fancy more fries?" Matt said, pulling a face. Tai shook his head.

"No! Just round the corner from here is a pizza restaurant. I saw it last night."

"What, when you were clambering over the gates?" Matt protested. "I swear, your Mom said 'no mischief'…"

"What Mom doesn't know won't hurt her! Come on, me and the fish are hungry!"

Matt raised an eyebrow. "You… And the fish?"

Tai nodded and grinned.

"Let's go eat then. Can't have the fish going hungry."

Tai pouted. "What about me?"

Matt smiled a little at that. "Battered fish?"

Author's Notes: Yes, it's supposed to be humour with the odd serious note here and there. I hope I pulled it off right.

Okay. The fish. This is a reference to a toy I won out of a crane machine at Namco Station, London (in the UK…). For anybody who's ever seen them, they'll know what I mean. They're weird and freaky looking and, just like Tai, my brother ran off with it- only, he  threatened to throw it in the Thames River -.-+ And then, as we walked across the bridge over the river, he held it up in the air and 'walked' it next to random people. Said random people walked away from him very fast. By the end of the night, it had become the 'Holy Fish' and had paper hat o.0^

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