A/N: This chapter's a bit longer since you mention that you'd like that. Plus it's been awhile so I thought I'd treat you. Just a reminder, this fic is sorta dark, so please don't tell me in reviews how you want me to make it lighter. The tone of my fic is entirely up to me. A big thanks to all of you who've reviewed, I really appreciate it. Thanks also goes to my beloved Neo-chan who mention me in her fic which was—beyond flattering.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon and I'm not making money off this.

Chapter 3: Books and Fights

By: CA

A few days passed after the boy introduced himself as Tai. I sat in my bed, away from the silence encompassing the empty mansion, and all I could do was think about his face. I was bored and there was nothing else to do but ponder about the asshole. TK must've been asleep because the only sound hitting my ears was the wall clock's steady tick. No sounds would be coming from my room anytime soon; I had nothing to my name, with my father believing presents to be "empowering and unnecessary costs". The silence didn't bother me anymore since I learned to tune out the weird noises houses make.

I sat upon my rough blankets on my simple bed, staring at blank walls in hopes they would pop out at me and turn into cartoons or games or something to distract me from thinking; even if half my thoughts were taken over by a certain annoying demon. I hated thinking because it always brought me to logical conclusions. Sometimes I hated being smart and being forced into getting straight A's or risk my father's wrath.

I only wanted to be an idiot; a kid with such a small intellect that any skills—including figuring this kid out—would be non-existent and I could live in a world of stupid bliss. I could count my blessings and roam through life without a cause. I had plenty to be thankful for, right? A roof over my head, food to eat, a brother to love and take care of. I had all the essentials, yes, but my idiot brain let me know easily that the essentials were not enough. I had no real purpose among the masses; I had no goals other than the day to day struggle. And even that line of thought brought me back to one conclusion…One man.

Didn't father know? Didn't it register in his statistical, business-like head that letting me go to school would only open up my resources? Would only have me understand the truths of my horrible lifestyle… or was that his point in all of it? Did he take sick pleasure in letting me peer into the world normal kids lived in? Did he want me to look so longingly at teenagers my age and know I could never have them as friends? It seemed far fetched even for him; but that was the only viable conclusion I could draw in my own mind. Putting all the blame for my suffering on him would suffice for the time being; at least long enough for me to get some sleep.

I curled over on my hard mattress, trying to find a comfortable position as lumps pressed uncomfortably into my back. My endless string of thoughts would never be broken, with nothing to distract me. Then, as quickly as my depression began, I remembered one option left; my one chance to get away from that world.

Rolling over on my stomach, I reached underneath the bed frame and dug out my backpack. Inside, among the dull textbooks and blank notebook pages sat a book, tattered and old. I smiled slyly at my secret; the guilty pleasure everyone else in English class took for granted. I would savor this book for as long as I could, with the pages as my guide to a different time, a different place—a new life away from life... if only for a few hours before I slept.

Flashback

"Alright people. Sit down and shut your yaps!" Standing before the eager English Honors class was a teacher all the students at P.S. 32 adored. He was a hiatus away from the generally lacking array of teachers. He treated the students as adults every day and even joked along with them. And in return for that little show of respect the students had no problem turning in one writing assignment after another. The class would happily discuss the themes of the creative writing and for each new assignment he would think of a topic question at random instead of following the textbook he deemed unnecessary.

Yamato liked this teacher as much as the next kid but his approval was slightly less obvious, considering he only spoke when asked a question. No one but the teacher paid any heed to Yamato as he sulked lazily in the back corner of the room, doing work by himself unless forced into a group. Today was different than most days in Mr. Springer's class, considering the news he was about to receive.

"Wow. It only took five seconds for you fools to get quiet. That's a record, bravo!" That received a few sniggers from the loudest boys in the group. "Now that I have your attention, I just want to announce that we have a student transferring over from another class today." One kid shouted and asked who it was. "How the hell should I know?" He replied. More laughter followed.

As if on cue, the heavy door swung open, revealing to the one person Yamato least expected. Maybe the Gods did enjoy fucking with him after all. Tai entered the room, receiving a few cat calls from the jokesters and preps in the group. All smiles, he walked to the front of the class right up to Mr. Springer.

"Well hello there, teach." The boy proceeded to vigorously shake the chuckling teacher's hand. Everyone in the class thought the display was funny. Yamato was hardly amused by the little shit. He wished the boy would go back to the way he was, back when everything he said was short, sweet and in a tone of voice as sensual as honey. Not some loud-mouthed annoying loser who thought he ruled the school along with all the other big-headed asses. Yamato wanted to forget he ever saw Taichi in a class setting, laughing like a buffoon along with the idiots Yamato glared at daily..

By the time he rushed out of class, ducking low and saying nothing as usual, Yamato just wanted to crawl into a corner and die. But today he didn't get very far as a firm hand rested on his shoulder, stopping him mid-stride. Turning with an icy glare his eyes met the laid back grin of his favorite teacher.

"Whoa, don't rush off so quick today. I want to talk to you for a sec, ok?" Yamato nodded promptly."I know you don't like to talk and that's fine. I just wanted to acknowledge the work you've been handing me. It always seems to be the quiet ones who have the most talent and you're no exception. C'mere for a moment, I want to give you something." Yamato nodded once more and followed him back to his now empty room. Mr. Springer reached into his desk for a moment and pulled out a book the blond had never seen before. Smiling, Mr. Springer slapped the book against Yamato's chest with an expectant grin.

"There ya go. This book is a great read and I think you'll like it. Have you read it before?" Yamato stared down at the title of the novel. Les Miserables? He'd never heard of the damn thing and immediately assumed it was French. Mr. Springer caught on to the blonde's confusion by the way he scrunched up his eyebrows in confusion. "Uhh, the book isn't French. It just takes place in France. In any case, I want you to read it and see what you think. I don't normally give this book to sophomores considering it's a junior requirement, but you seem to eat this subject up!" Yamato's lips formed a half-smile as he stared at the lengthy title in his hand. That seemed to be enough acknowledgment for the teacher, as his clapped Yamato on the back and left him alone with a pass to next period.

End Flashback

The book I held in my hands was of considerable length, ranging at least a thousand pages long. The cover was white and on it was a stylized painting of a depressed little girl. Her matted hair flowed outwards in tattered ends and her childish eyes portrayed a sadness I recognized only by looking in the mirror. Did Mr. Springer give me this book because he thought I looked like her? I hoped I wasn't that obvious. And I didn't know much about the book besides what he told me, but I was ready to give it a try. Anything half decent was better than nothing.

I knew a lot about having everything and nothing at the same time. I knew it was child abuse that I wasn't even allowed to read the book, but how the hell could I change that? Father held me on a very tight leash, and reading this book was a first step into breaking the leash.

I was a teenager, dammit! Everything about me vacillated from good to bad, from happy to unhappy. I needed some sort of outlet—anything! My father left me nothing, not a scrap of individuality. It was almost like he was breeding me to be a domestic robot; living to serve his needs and nothing more. That's why as soon as my teacher handed me the book I hurried the school clock along in my head so I could go home and test out my new entertainment source.

As I ran my hands across the battered and used surface I heard footsteps approaching my door. If it was my father, he'd kill me if he found the book. So as quickly as I could I stashed the prize underneath my mattress and laid on my bed, trying to look as bored as ever.

The recognizable footsteps stopped outside my door and as usual, my father barged right on in. His face was a mix of anger and happiness; an expression I had long learned to fear. He had that look about it him that screamed "I caught you doing something wrong, and I get to punish you now!". He smirked at me evilly and without any words briskly walked up to my shivering form and slapped me across the face. Hard.

"You damn piece of shit! I told you to dust the den today!" He sneered in a sing-song tone. "There is dirt in my house that isn't supposed to be there—and its your fault!" Now that was no excuse at all. On none of the sticky notes from today did he mention cleaning the den! Was he looking for excuses now to hit me every day? I was damn tired of it, and had the bruises to back it up. He loved to hurt me, but this was the first time he went out of his way to achieve that goal. It was just—sick.

My tired face twisted into a hateful glare and I crawled back on my bed away from the monster. His smirk faded into an enraged expression as soon as I pulled away and he lunged after me to pull me back. I was quick enough this time to jump out of the bed as he swung and missed, falling on the bed himself. I ran full speed out of the empty room into the hallway, nearly slamming into my eavesdropping brother in the process.

"TK! Get the hell out of here!" I nearly screeched while still running. He turned towards my door in time to see father barreling after me. The man slammed TK into the wall while pursuing me down the stairs and he screamed in agony.

I had had it.

It was fine if he fucked with me, hit me, whatever. But touching Takeru was unacceptable. He knew damn well of the unspoken agreement to leave Takeru alone in exchange for me. I would not let him put his disgusting mitts on my TK! Not now, not ever! So I did a foolish thing to show him I was serious.

As soon as I hit the bottom of the stairs I swirled around and shoved my right fist as hard as I could into his stomach as he reached me. He doubled back immediately in pain and almost a second after recovered with a loud growl. It didn't have the effect I was hoping for.

"YOU LITTLE BITCH! How dare you hit me! I'm going to kill you!" He screamed fiercely as he punched me down... I hit the ground—hard. My head was throbbing and the crown of my head was right against the back of the couch. I had barely enough time to recover before it continued.

TK reached the stairs and was yelling in a shrill, high pitched voice for him to stop. But he wouldn't relent. He fell down upon me and beat the living shit out of me endlessly. I honestly didn't know if I was going to be alive as fist after fist hit my already bruised and mangled face and body. I couldn't see out of my eyes anymore and everything was becoming darker and more impossible to define. The weight upon my chest was becoming unbearable and I couldn't breath or think or feel. Was I going to die? Was I dumb enough to get myself killed over a stupid little dusting job?

Then, as quickly as his hard knuckles were on me, they stopped punching. I couldn't see through my swollen, tearing eyes or trust my hearing, but I thought I heard a loud cry of pain. Next thing I knew, TK was above me, screaming for me to answer him. He yelled for me desperately, shaking my numb form. I managed to call his name softly to let him know I was alright before slipping into unconsciousness... Into sweet darkness where the throbbing pain went away.

It was all ironic, really. I never expected this to be the night for him to go too far. I always imagined a huge lead up or argument to start it all. But everything changed drastically in those few minutes... All because of one stupid chore.

XXXXXXXXXXX

I like this chapter the best so far. You're right, it is better when it's longer. And I managed to put a cliffhanger in there too! I have a knack for dong that --0. Anywho, hope you liked it, and please review.

I also recommend that you check out Beautiful Disaster by Neo-chan. It is my new love in the Taito world and I'm sure the lot of you will adore it.

See you next chapter!

Love

CA