(Inside the teenage mind of a boy who couldn't get out. He was stuck and needed a key… a key that had brown hair and the softest eyes.)

A/N: I don't know why I think it's necessary to write an A/N, but you guys seem to like them (considering all the crappy stories that get a lot of reviews because of funny A/Ns). This is my attempt at a realistic Taito that is unlike the cliché ones most authors write (including me)… There will be a lot of profanity and mature themes, note the rating. Being a teenager myself I know for a fact that yes, we do cuss up a storm and if you don't like the occasional cussing then don't flame based on that. This story may start off looking bleak, but I'm a balanced writer so I like to have a lot of good mixed with the bad.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon in any way, shape or form.

Prologue

By: CA

"You'll understand when you're older." My teachers said this line to me often, as if I was still a child who didn't understand. They'd look at me over the brim of their thick glasses and see a sixteen year old boy, still in the womb of society. And if my appearance alone defined me, they were dead right; I was still a child. I was a teenage boy, complete with all the clichéd features. I wore slim, black pants and T-shirts that had funny lines on them or that showed off bands I listened to. But so what? If Albert Einstein wasn't a genius, what would he look like to people? He'd look like a mental case fresh out of crazy-town. The point is my appearance always made me out to be one of the crowd. I was categorized by the sea of students as another nameless face, and for good reason too. I looked the part.

Nobody knew that I wasn't a child. How could they? I looked like a child, talked like a child, walked like a child; hell, I even joked like a child. But I wasn't one. Yamato Ishida was no child; I didn't even know what the word meant. And if the world I lived could be called a "childhood" then I deserved a refund and a full apology.

I wasn't unaware of childhood as if it didn't exit. I saw what other, more fortunate kids experienced every day and knew damn well what everyone else got in comparison to what I got. It was obvious very early on that every other kid my age was blessed and I was cursed. Period. I don't care about those positive people who say "everyone has their ups and downs". Fuck them, they have no clue. I'm sure any loser with a sob story can write a book on the "woes of mankind", but they'd be writing crap. It killed me every day to see girls crying in the hallway over divorced parents or shitty boyfriends or anything for that matter. If those stupid things were all they had to cry about then they should've been jumping for joy instead of drowning in self pity. Seeing those emotional harpies cry their fucking brains out made me angry only because I wished I could cry too. The problem was, I didn't have time for self pity or that "poor me!" bullshit. In my situation, breaking down was not an option. And I could take it all in, because I was in no way a child; and I never had been, no matter how many nights I laid awake in pain.

The best word to describe my place in life back then was "parent". I was the organizer, enforcer and distributor along with any other responsibility a parent is given. I was the parent because mine were not. My father was no more related to me than a distant cousin or uncle; he was never around to claim his title, so he doesn't deserve it. He worked around the clock, as if being a business man was the only thing in the world worth his time or patience. He would shut himself in his room and never come out leaving me to figure any problem out myself; independently. I often felt like his office was in a completely different world than the rest of the home. Like there was a paradise behind those cheery-wood doors that I wasn't good enough to see.

I lived in a house that many people would consider a mansion, yes. But I saw it as a glorified prison. My house was the best place I could be to feel safe, but also the worst because it reminded me of everything I disliked; everything that made me feel unsafe and--sterile. Family photos lined the hallway, showing off false flashy smiles that almost got me to hurl when I saw them getting nailed to the wall. There were hundreds of expensive art pieces dotted across every table and shelf; enough of it that sometimes I thought I was living in a worldly museum.

Every inch of the house was so insanely clean; it leaved even me wondering whether or not I lived there. Not a magazine or T.V. remote was out of place thanks to my cleaning schedule… Yes, I had a cleaning schedule. Every day I came home from school and was forced to do ridiculous amounts of work (including getting a better look at each art piece as I dusted them clean). I can't even stand the color yellow anymore after ripping up so many sticky notes in frustration.

Because I was the parent, I was also automatically the maid and caretaker of our "lovely home". I did the laundry, cooking, cleaning, tidying, lawn-mowing, yard work, and any other chore I was given on one of those famous Post-it notes. I swear I would have admired that house more if I wasn't the one keeping it looking so nice.

There were a lot of fun things I missed out on because of my fucking chores. I never had the chance to go to a friend's house or hang out with people my own age ever, which stopped me from making friends. There were more than a few times where I met a nice guy or girl who liked the thing I liked… Bur as soon as they asked the famous question: "D'you wanna hang out sometime?", I had to clam up and stop talking to them. After awhile, people stopped talking to me and I got used to being alone.

It was just me and my chores most of the time; and it sucked. Most teenagers got maybe two or three things off the endless list of chores to do; I did it all. I was proud of the fact that I could do it well and avoid my father's anger; but to get to that point I had to go through countless groundings and punishments for "ignoring the post-its". I even made the mistake of asking my father if we could hire a nanny to help out… About twenty belt whippings later he made it clear that I was plenty enough staff.

Parent and maid… It would've been nice if those were the only two occupations forced on me. But how could I be a "parent" without any children to raise? That's right, I was also the nanny. I have one younger brother, Takeru or TK who was enough work every day to be equivalent to two or three kids. Yeah, TK was a hand, but I was used to hard work and he loved me a hell of a lot of more than the front yard did. No one messed with my younger brother because I made it clear that he was off limits. He was too important and smart to get sucked into the toilet flush I called school and all the self-centered kids who went there. So I made it my personal goal to sacrifice my time so he could have a better life than I was having and be everything that I wasn't; happy. I wanted TK to have a childhood; I would've given anything, even my own freedom, for that to happen. And that's why as I dumped another pile of dirt into the trash I smiled and kept going… For his sake, not mine.

Dad never cared how the chores got done; just that they did. He didn't even notice when I ripped off the post-it notes addressed to TK and did the work myself; he didn't care, as long as his mansion was clean and his kids pretended to be happy. He left it all alone and went back to his sacred work in his forbidden office. He left us alone and cold.

I finished sweeping the floor easily and knew that everything was done besides making dinner. I flopped onto the leather couch to rest my over-worked eyes for a few moments. Lasagna didn't take long to prepare if it came from a freezer, so I figured ten minutes wouldn't hurt and I was damn tired…

I was wrong.

In what seemed like only fifteen minutes I opened my eyes to check the wall clock and found that I couldn't read the dial. The living room was darker than before and that meant only one thing to me; I overslept. I glanced in shock at the digital clock to my right and sure enough, I was an idiot. I knew that this day was going to be crap as soon as I woke up and I didn't have any choice but to accept it; I was going to be punished.

As quickly as my tired legs took me I rushed into the kitchen, slamming my foot into a stool in the process. I Cursed the gods who though of that joke, and tore open the freezer and found---nothing? The damn thing was empty…

"Dad's going to be home soon. You should set up the table." I turned swiftly around while grabbing my injured foot and saw TK leaning against the wall with ice cream in hand. He smiled at me and pointed to the oven. I didn't even have to look; I could smell the meat cooking… TK saved my ass. I chuckled lightly and let my foot down. He was starting to catch on.

"Thanks, bro. Go wash up and I'll have it all ready in a minute. And put that crap back before Dad sees you pigging out." TK rolled his eyes sarcastically and threw the ice cream back into the freezer and left.

I can't even begin to describe how relieved I felt while setting the table. Something is simple as not having dinner ready when dad came home was only a taste of the kind of fear I lived in. It was scary to even live there knowing that at any time I could get hurt. I never had a clue when to expect him to get angry with me; even if I thought I knew when to expect it, it always came as a surprise. Most times it was small things that set him off, like forgetting to cook dinner for example. But once my father began to vent, stopping him was like stopping a train with a toothpick. That man didn't care for me any more than he would a trophy; a trophy he hit and yelled at until it lost its luster. Yeah, life was black and white as far as "expectations" went; but even meeting those didn't stop him from coming at me; he always seemed to be pissed at something----me. His fists and my head or stomach or back always seemed to meet each other and nothing I could do would change that. I see now that I was wrong to think that I could be "good" enough for him to leave me alone; he was going to hurt me no matter what. The only thing I could do to help was take all the heat and save TK from getting hurt. That was my own and only goal.

My father would never lay a finger on him EVER.

And he knew it too. He saw TK crouching in the corner of many rooms, crying and screaming for him to stop hurting me. He smiled at me even brighter when TK would cry because he knew that I was taking one for the team. So, in light of that, he hit me harder.

He was a monster, but I don't want to paint a picture that my father was a drunken fiend, dirty and abusive. He was a prim and proper business man, with a stiff jaw and an equally as stiff upper lip. He didn't come back home drunk and beat the shit of me like any normal abusive parent. He didn't need booze to do that. And after he stopped he'd smile at me, brush off his tweed jacket and say "Yamato, learn some discipline and you will not have to face consequences." As if forgetting to say hello when he entered a room was the biggest crime on earth…

TK was 13 by that time and started realizing the situation more clearly. He understood that I was the tank that took all the crap, and he was the flower blooming behind it. I had to be the tank; who else would be? It sounds sick and twisted, but I didn't mind getting the shit kicked out of me if he could have it good. I dared that man to even lay a finger on Takeru; I dared him with my eyes each and every time and he didn't make a move and he got the message that TK was off-limits and that I was his replacement.

My life was a bowl of shit, but so what? I wasn't complaining; at least I was alive. I was happy that night as I set the table. I was never religious, but I thanked any god who could hear me for TK's help. His help came as a sign and made me happy and worried at the same time. He was starting to put everything into perspective and once he did, I couldn't shield him anymore; he was on his own and open to the world. And if TK was on his own then I had nothing left to do besides getting out myself… The flower would bloom soon and when it did the tank would have nothing to protect but himself. And I hoped even more that night in bed that I could get out of the hell. Freedom was a door just down the hall.

To open it I'd need a key…

XXXXXX

Please tell me what you think! Oh, and before I forget. I'm going to be leaving tomorrow for a week so it'll be that long before I can post the next chapter. (And if you're readings any of my other fics, it'll be that long until I can finish writing the chapters and post 'em)

Thank you

CA