Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd, and MSN Messenger is property of Microsoft

Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd, and MSN Messenger is property of Microsoft. And while we're at it, Post-it notes are property of 3M. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

"When I'm alone

And no one else is there

Waiting by the phone

To remind me I'm still here

When shadows paint the scenes

Where spotlights used to fall

And I'm left wondering

Is it really worth it at all?"

Creed: Inside Us All

Warning! Angst and character death abound!

Solstice

By Nanaki Lioness

The room was dark, scantily lit with a soft overhead spotlight. The light in the room, dull as it was, reflected the large pine, four-poster bed and small desk to one side, and a lot of empty space; other than those meager objects, the vast room was empty. The carpeting was cream colored, immaculately clean as though it had never been stepped on, and the textured ceiling porcelain white. It was all perfect, too perfect.

The single occupant of the room was lying down upon the soft peach divan, hands above his head, staring at the lacy canopy above him. Half of him wished his eyes weren't open to be seeing the lacy frills above him, and the other half wished his eyes were permanently shut.

Stop it.

He tried to snap himself from the obvious spiral of depression, but it just didn't work. He sighed, turning onto his side, curling his hands under his head in an almost protective manner. He felt tears prick his eyes, and he furiously blinked them back.

Stop it now. That isn't going to help.

He shifted again, not fully comfortable, but then again he was never comfortable in strange surroundings. And he ended up in strange surroundings every night.

Homesickness…that's all this is.

He sighed.

No, it isn't, and you know it.

He angrily silenced his thoughts, fearing they would bury him in depression, and reached into his guitar case next to his bed. He pulled a small pile of letters from it, placing them on the bed whilst he sat up cross-legged on the mattress. He slowly unfolded one of the cream sheets of paper, his eyes scouring the words written on it in spider-like scrawl. Then he closed it and closed his eyes, putting the letters away and lying back down. Sleep would not come to him though, not for many hours yet with the images described on the letters dancing in his mind.

/Think you're safe with your bodyguards and your secure locations? Well, think again. I know where you are every minute of every hour of every day, and when I find you alone, you know what I'll do to you, don't you? No? Well let me describe…/

He closed his eyes tightly shut, forcing all thoughts from his mind and trying to concentrate on sleep.

I don't think I'll get to sleep tonight, like most other nights…but I can hope though. Hope...oh god, don't start on that...

TK.

His younger brother. Chosen Child of Hope. Innocence and love, smiles and sunshine...

I miss him. I miss everyone...I just want to be home…

He heard a faint beep across the room, and he glanced up, eyes trying to adjust to the semi-darkness. There was a computer in the room, via his request, and he had asked for a chat program to be put on there. One that he could easily block people on, mind, should any fan get his e-mail address and smother him with marriage proposals and the like. He half shuddered at the thought. Fan mail was enough.

Or should the writer of these letters get my e-mail address too…

/Do you want me to paint the walls in your home, Ishida? Red's a nice color. Blood red, that is. And you know as well as me the only way to get a realistic color is to get the real thing. When's your father home next? Let me know./

He silenced his mind and forced himself to look across the room to the computer.

The program turned out to be MSN Messenger, and it was said program that had beeped at him. Curiously, he got off of the bed and walked over to it. The program was open with, he noted in surprise, his friend's e-mail addresses already programmed in. Well, those who had Hotmail accounts, which turned out to be Tai, Izzy and Joe.

The other band members must have taken it upon themselves to do it...but no TK...I don't even think he uses Hotmail though...

He realised with a start that the computer might have beeped to tell him someone was online, and he sat down in the chair in front of the computer to see if he was right.

He was; one person was being declared as online, named simply Koushiro. He grinned.

Izzy.

He double clicked his friend's name and typed a message into the box that popped up, somewhat slowly. He hadn't had much practice with a keyboard, or a computer full stop, and he was still learning where letters and the like where. He had seen Izzy typing before, and was amazed at how quickly his fingers could fly across the letters, knowing exactly where each one was without even looking.

-Hey Izzy-

There was a slight pause, and Matt saw a small message across the bottom of the box that declared 'Koushiro is typing a message'.

"Clever..." he muttered to himself as Izzy's message popped up on screen for him, in a different color and font to Matt's.

-Matt?-

-Who else?-

-It's a pleasure to talk to you, Matt. When I added your request to be authorized to my contact list, I never thought I'd actually see you online-

Matt laughed a little to himself at that, as his body forgot it was supposed to be depressed. But it soon remembered and he sighed.

This is only reminding me how much I miss them all...

-I guess. I didn't do that bit. But then again, I never do much myself anymore-

-I saw your concert earlier today. I have to say you performed exceptionally-

-You were watching?!-

That shocked Matt a little. He hadn't seen any of his friend's in the audience, and he was certain they would have come to find him afterwards.

…would they…?

-Affirmative. Tai booked it on pay for view, and we all gathered at his house to watch. We didn't want to watch any of the other performers, but we still had to pay for the whole day… *grins*-

Pay for view?! I never knew it was on there! Well, that explains it, I guess it *was* a festival with lots of acts, those things are normally televised…

…wishful thinking…they could never come out here to see you, it's too far away…

-Oh…-

-You seem surprised. Don't be-

-Actually, I'm surprised you're online so late. Or early even...-

Matt was in England, and his friend was in Japan. It was about 7pm where Matt was, and he thought there were about 11 hours difference between him and his friends. That made it about 6am in Japan.

Then again, I could be wrong.

-I stay up late a lot. And besides, I got some sleep earlier, so I'm not tired at all-

-I am...-

-You're very energetic on stage. That isn't surprising-

-I know. But...I just can't sleep. Too strange here. Too...empty, I guess. The room's so big and there's not enough stuff to fill it...-

-You seem a little depressed. Is everything all right? I know the music business can be fickle-

-No, I'm fine-

I can't tell you what's wrong. I can't.

-I'm not convinced you're telling me the truth, Matt-

Matt didn't type anything for a moment, staring at the dull light from the monitor, blue eyes narrowed in thought. He was surprised typed words could convey emotions so easily. He had been convinced that he was hidden behind a glass wall of letters. He sighed, grabbing the handles of the metal chair he was seated in, in order to shift positions, and then winced in pain as his hand caught on a sharp piece of rough filing. He yanked his hand up, looking at it in disdain as crimson started to seep from the small cut on his hand.

-Matt?-

-I'm fine Izzy, I just cut myself on a piece of metal on this damn chair. I'll be back soon, okay? Gonna find a band aid or something...-

-Sure-

He stood up, ignoring his hand completely, going over to the four-poster bed again and throwing himself down on it. He buried his head in the pillow, trying to suppress the tears that threatened to overwhelm him. Yet it was useless, and he cursed himself mentally as he sobbed gently into his pillow.

This isn't going to help! I don't know why you bother…

But he knew he couldn't help it; he had locked the tears away for a long time now, and they weren't going to be stopped this time.

He had no idea how long he stayed like that. It wasn't until the computer beeped at him that he pulled his head from the comfort of the pillow, mentally chiding himself as he noticed the white cotton of the pillowcase was now stained a little black from his make-up.

Make-up...whose dumb idea was that anyway?

He angrily swiped at his eyes with a shaking hand, smearing blood across his face from the cut. He glanced to a side and cursed again as he saw a small pool of dried blood on the side of the pillow where his injured hand had been resting. The cut had mostly dried though, and he ignored it as he mustered the will power to get off the bed and walk back over to the computer.

-Matt? It doesn't take this long to get a band aid. Where are you?-

Matt sighed, sitting back down and typing a message.

-Sorry Izzy...I got a little...I dunno. I'm not making sense, ignore me-

-Distracted?-

-That's the word-

-But doing what? You don't sound right. What's wrong?-

Matt stared at the screen, not knowing what to say or do. He slammed a fist down in frustration, knocking over a bottle of pills that were by the computer. He hadn't even realised they were there.

Picking them up, he saw a small yellow post-it attached to it, telling him not to forget to take them. Realising instantly what they were, he forcefully slammed them back down, and turned back to the screen.

-Nothing. Nothing at all-

-I don't believe you-

-Then don't believe me-

-Matt, why are you being so stubborn?!-

Matt didn't reply to Izzy's statement, his attention elsewhere. The bottle of pills.

Fluoxetine. I don't need damn Fluoxetine.

With that, he threw the bottle against the closest wall with an angry cry, staring at it blankly as it struck the wall without even shattering or cracking.

Defeated, he sunk back into the car again, ignoring the computer's beeping. He placed his arms across the desk in front of him, and then laid his head in them.

You're weak. Goddamned weak.

Almost as if his body wanted to confirm that statement, he felt the inevitable tears seeping through his closed eyelids.

He jumped suddenly when his cell phone began to ring. Fumbling in his pocket to grab it, he eventually succeeded. He didn't even bother seeing who it was as he answered it, ignoring the neon display.

"Hello?" He said, his voice scratchy. He cursed himself again for sounding so weak, and it almost sent him into another round of sobbing.

"I knew something was wrong."

"Izzy!"

"Affirmative."

"Oh god Izzy..."

Matt almost dropped the phone as he collapsed into another bout of unmerciful tears. Izzy tried to speak, but realised it was futile as his friend clearly wasn't listening.

After a minute or two, he spoke up, when Matt appeared to have calmed down.

"I want you to tell me what's wrong Matt."

"The-the letters...and the pills..."

"Pills? What pills? Matt, I hope you're not using any illegal narcotics-"

"No! Fl-Fluoxetine."

"What are you using anti-depressants for?"

"Depression obviously!" Matt snapped.

"I was merely asking. Do you want me to call Tai? Do you want to speak to him?"

"N-no! No, don't do that...I don't want to talk to Tai..."

"Then if you won't talk to Tai, then you'll have to talk to me. And I'm very persistent, and I think you might find it beneficial to talk to someone outside of show business. Like, a friend."

"I...I don't know...Izzy, it's hard..."

"Talking?"

"No...this. My career. I don't think I can do this anymore..."

"Why not?"

Matt bit his lip, fighting with himself, trying not to cry again. He mentally cursed the pills he was being forced to take; they played with his mind like a game, and made his emotions change with the wind. They could make him laugh and cry at any given moment, and he hated every minute of it.

"Matt?"

"D-don't...don't talk to me right now..." Matt said quickly, trying to suppress his pain, trying not to make it obvious to his friend just how much he was hurting. He bit his lip a little harder and took a deep, shaky breath, whilst Izzy stayed silent on the other end of the tinny conversation.

He reeled slightly as he tasted a metallic tinge in his mouth, and he put a hand to his lip, feeling it. As he pulled his finger away, it was wet with bright red blood.

"Damn..." he muttered.

"What is it?" Izzy asked. Matt had momentarily forgotten he was there, and he sighed again.

"Bleeding..."

"What do you mean?! Matt, I hope you haven't done anything stupid..."

"No! Just...my lip's bleeding..." he laughed weakly. "Guess I bit it a little too hard. Second time I've hurt myself tonight without realising…wonder whether my body's trying to tell me something…"

Izzy didn't reply for a moment, instantly picking up on what his depressed friend was saying. It worried him, but he stayed calm. "...Matt, what's wrong? I know I can't do much to help, as such, but I want to at least try."

"Izzy...I don't want this anymore...they're making me take pills because they say I'm depressed...I don't need pills! I don't need any of this! I don't want any of this!!" And I'm getting death threats and no-one evens gives a damn. That's why I'm on Prozac. Things like that can really screw with a guy's mind. But I don't need pills to make it better, I need the writer of these letters to leave me *alone*…

Despite his protests against himself, Matt soon found himself sobbing into the small mouthpiece of the cell phone again, Izzy trying his best to calm him with carefully placed words.

"B-but I worked so h-hard to get here, I d-don't wanna give up!" Matt sobbed. "I'd b-be failing again, like I-I always fail..." And I won't give in either.

Izzy was taken aback by his friend's somewhat incoherent words. "Matt, you don't fail, and you aren't a failure. There are many people who would have loved to be in your place on that stage tonight. Anybody who can make it that far certainly isn't a failure."

"I may have got there, Izzy..." Matt whispered. "But I fail at being there..."

"Nonsense. Matt, you're just homesick, which is to be expected. You performed tremendously out there tonight. And if you're depressed, then your emotions are going to be harbored-"

"No!" Matt snapped into the mouthpiece. "I'm not depressed."

"I highly doubt you would be taking Prozac if you weren't depressed."

"I'm not taking Prozac, Izzy."

"Fluoxetine is Prozac-"

"No, I know that. I mean, I'm not taking them. Full stop."

"Matt, I don't think that's a wise idea-"

"What would you know?!" Matt yelled. "You don't know anything! You're not me! You don't live in this life, day in, day out, and hate it with the passion I do!" He felt tears biting at his eyes again, and he closed them angrily. "You don't have any idea..."

"No," Izzy replied calmly, seemingly out of place in Matt's outburst. "I don't have any idea. So explain it to me. When I look at your life, I see stardom. I see people who eat, sleep and breathe you. I see people who idolize you. I see a high income. I don't see anything wrong with any of that. Tell me what's wrong with all that, Matt, so I can understand. If I understand, I can help you."

Matt almost broke down sobbing again, but caught himself deftly and sighed. "The letters…"

"Letters? Fan mail?"

"No…let me go get one and read it to you…"

Matt placed the cell phone on the desk from force of habit as he walked across the room, pulling out the pile of letters and taking them back over to the computer with him. He pulled one from the pile and unfolded it, picking the phone back up again.

"Izzy?"

"Yeah, I'm here."

"I started getting these letters a couple of months ago…" He coughed and began to read a sentence from one. "/Do you really think hiding behind the life you've been given will help you? Do you think just because you're famous doesn't mean that you won't bleed and that you can't die? Because, if you do, I can remedy that with one bullet. And don't think your family's safe either, Ishida. I've seen that brother of yours, and I'd just love to see what the color of his blood is, especially splattered up against the closest convenient wall when I blast a hole through his skull…/"

Matt tailed off, unable to read anymore, dropping the letters onto the desk and trying not to cry again.

You've been doing a lot of that lately, crying. It can't be good for you.

"Matt, you have to go to the police." Izzy's voice was firm, though a little shocked.

"I can't Izzy! Th-that stuff about TK…that's what'll happen if I go to the police or the press. M-my manager knows, and so do the other band members…that's why I got given Prozac. My manager seems to believe 'just give him anti-depressants, stick him on a cloud all day, that'll make it better.' But it doesn't…I worry all the time that TK or my parents are in danger. I worry so much sometimes I get sick! And when I get sick, they just give me more pills and expect that to make me all right again..."

/Would it be...crimson? Or perhaps cherry red? Everyone has different color blood...depends on how you slice, doesn't it? Quick, and it's bright. Slow, and it's dark. Has to do with oxygen in it, doesn't it? I wouldn't know, I'm not interested in the minor details...how would you like me to slice, Ishida? Would you like your brother's corpse with light or dark blood spots? Skull blasted with shotgun sold separately./

"Matt? You there?"

"Yeah...just thinking..."

/I think I'll get you in the most...gruesome way. I haven't decided how yet...I'm torn between slicing your throat late one night, or shooting you with my favorite shotgun. Why don't you pick? R.S.V.P./

"Matt, if you're thinking about the content of those letters, stop it right now. That won't make matters any better."

"It can't make it any worse."

"If you don't go to the police, I will."

"And TK'll be dead. Don't, Izzy."

"But-"

"Promise me!"

"…all right. I promise." Izzy sighed. "I'm going to call Tai, though, and tell him to phone you. I think he could do a better job talking to you than I can."

"That's not true, Izzy, you've helped me a lot tonight. Thank you…"

"That's what friends do. Matt, will you be all right if I go? I think I need to sleep, but I won't go unless you want me to."

"Go to sleep, Izzy. I'll be all right. I've been all right for two months now."

"Good. My cell phone is on if you want to talk. At any time, Matt."

"I know. Thank you. Talk to you again soon."

"Sure. Sleep well and take care."

"I'll try…bye…"

Matt found tears clouding his eyes again, and he blinked them away. That's pathetic. Crying 'coz your friend's hanging up? Pa-the-tic.

"Bye."

A dial tone assaulted Matt's ear, and he placed the phone down on the desk after locking the keys. He was worried about his friend's safety now; he had confessed all, and after the description he had been given about what would happen to TK if he told…

But that was if I told the press or the police. Not my friends.

His cell phone rang again, and he glanced down at the display, expecting to see Tai's name there after Izzy's comment of telling the blonde's best friend. But no, it was TK's. Surprised, he picked the phone up, and answered the call.

"Hey Teek."

A silence.

"TK?"

"Think again."

Matt's blood chilled, fear locking him as he realised the voice was most defiantly not TK's.

"Who are you?!" He demanded.

Another silence.

"Answer me!" Matt yelled, a little frantic.

Laughter. Matt growled, anger taking over fear for just a moment as he yelled into the mouthpiece.

"Answer me you son of a bitch! Else I'll come find you and-"

"And what? You forget who's in charge here. Wondering how I'm calling from your brother's number? Yes? Then shut up and quit mouthing off."

Matt stayed quiet as fear for his brother took residence.

"Where's TK?" He asked, his voice a little shaky.

"You told. I had to…keep to my promise…I had your hotel room bugged, Ishida."

That laughter again as Matt's blood chilled again, eyes widening. He almost choked on his words as he spoke again.

"You-you said if I told the police! Or the press!"

"I lied."

A sudden dial tone hit Matt like a ton of bricks, and he shakily placed the phone down on the desk again.

TK…no…

Refusing to panic, he picked up the cell again and took up on his friend's earlier comment about calling any time.

The phone rang about three times before Izzy answered, and he didn't have any time to say anything before Matt was yelling at him down the phone.

"Get to TK! Go! Please Izzy!"

"Did something happen, Matt?"

"Izzy, go, please! I'll explain later!!"

"Call Tai. He lives closer to TK than me. I'm on my way, but Tai'll get there first."

Matt hung up and acted on his friend's advice, calling Tai. The phone rang for longer this time before Tai sleepily answered.

"'lo?"

"Tai, get to TK."

"Matt?!"

"Tai! Please! Go round to TK, I think he's in trouble."

"What?!"

"Tai, don't argue!" Matt felt himself starting to panic, spiraling out of control.

/…how would you like me to slice, Ishida?…/

/…let me describe…/

/…light or dark blood spots…/

/…blood…/

"What's happening?! Matt?!"

"Tai!" Matt found himself sobbing again, from a mixture of fear and frustration. "P-please, go to T-TK…"

"You okay? Matt?"

Matt didn't reply; couldn't reply.

"Okay, explain later. I'll keep you posted."

Tai hung up and Matt sunk back into the chair, sobbing into his hands.

I knew I shouldn't have told him! Now TK…TK…

Oh god…

His cell phone rang after what seemed like an eternity, and he snatched it up anxiously, seeing Tai's name on the neon display. He shakily pushed the 'answer' button and held the phone to his ear.

"Tai?! What happened?! Is TK okay?!"

When he got no answer, Matt almost dropped the phone in fear as he realised what could have happened.

"You know what a silver Nokia 8210 looks like, don't you?"

Matt didn't reply, choking on his own breath.

"But do you know what it looks like smeared with blood? Thank you for sending me someone to compare your brother's blood with…I had a chance to be more inventive…"

As he heard the dial tone, Matt called Izzy, shaking so badly he couldn't press the buttons on his phone. His friend answered almost instantly, and Matt yelled at him to be careful, that Tai appeared in danger too, and to take care, before hanging up and dropping the phone on the desk as if it were diseased. He wasn't sure if Izzy had even made sense of his frantic message, but he had heard 'affirmative' from him before Matt had disconnected the call.

He sat in silence, the computer's soft humming the only thing keeping him company other than his thoughts. Which he didn't want plaguing him right then.

If TK...if he's hurt because I couldn't keep my mouth shut, I'll never be able to forgive myself...oh god, TK I'm so so sorry...

I was never any good at being a big brother, was I? I fail at everything, don't I? You need me and I can't be there for you. I couldn't be any further away from you, could I?

I'm always questioning myself...probably because I have nothing else I can do...not without going insane...

He stared at his cell phone, hoping it would ring, and he would hear his brother's innocence exude from the small speaker on it.

But nothing. Just that silence that he had come so adjusted to, that he was currently hating.

TK...what else can I say but sorry? If you're hurt somewhere, I know sorry won't cut it, but...but...

TK, I love you. I hope you can hear me...I hope I'm not too late...

Hope...

"I can't win!" He yelled into the silence angrily. "Everything reminds me of him!"

He slunk down into the metal chair again, turning off the monitor and being content to sit in the darkness. He crossed his arms over his chest, sighing and trying not to break down again. Only his commitments to his band were keeping him rooted, and not organising an immediate flight back to Japan.

But it's not just TK. It's Tai too. And Izzy. I haven't heard from-

He jumped as his cell phone began to ring, the neon background light alerting him to it's whereabouts. He picked it up, reading the name 'Izzy' on the screen.

I hope it's actually Izzy this time...

"Hello?" He answered, not knowing what to expect.

"Matt, it's Izzy! I'm at TK's, but I can't see him or Tai anywhere!"

Matt's blood turned to ice, and he almost dropped the small cell phone.

"...what?"

"Hang on, I think-" A pause and then- "Yes, it's Tai's cell phone. I'd know it anywhere!"

"Izzy...is it..."

/You know what a silver Nokia 8210 looks like, don't you? But do you know what it looks like smeared with blood?/

"Does it have blood on it?"

"Huh? No, it's fine. Why do you ask?"

"Never mind. Just...please, try to find them and stay out of trouble, okay? Keep me up to date...I have to know they're okay..."

"Of course. I'll talk to you when I find them. Bye."

"Bye."

Matt placed the phone back down, allowing himself a small sigh of relief.

He was bluffing about the cell phone! Maybe...maybe he was bluffing about hurting TK and Tai! Maybe...

Maybe I'm letting myself breathe too soon...

I should try to distract myself or something. Sleep, Surf the internet, even. Anything, other than just sitting here waiting for the phone to ring!

...but there's nothing else you *can* do, is there? You're here, alone, whilst those you love are in danger. All because you couldn't keep your mouth shut, and all because you just *had* to follow your dream of being a rock star...stupid, so stupid...

What happens now? What happens if TK...if he...

I just wish I could die. No, wait...

"I wish I were already dead…"

He jumped as his cell phone rang yet again, and he half wanted to ignore it. But he couldn't; curiosity overtook him, and he picked it up. The neon display red 'Izzy' but he knew that meant nothing at the moment. He didn't know who would be on the other line.

He pressed the 'answer' button and held the phone to his ear, waiting for the other to speak first. When no statement came, he spoke.

"Izzy?"

Another silence.

"Oh god…" he murmured without even thinking. "It's not Izzy, is it…?"

"You're perceptive aren't you, Ishida?"

"What did you do?!"

Laughter. Matt growled, letting his emotions rule him for a moment as he leapt out his chair and headed to the closet.

"Now you listen to me!" He snarled, pulling his suitcase out the closet with his free hand, and yanking clothes from the rack. "I'm packing right now, as we speak, to come back to Japan and kick your ass! I spoke to Izzy earlier! He said Tai's phone didn't have blood on it! I don't doubt they're in danger, but there's no blood!" He roughly slammed the clothes into the case, and pushed everything on the dresser into the case. He never carried much with him whilst he traveled, as that was all he had to pack. He clipped the case shut as best he could with one hand, still releasing his anger out on the phone. "So I don't believe you don't much apart from maybe lock them in a room or something. I don't think you've hurt them!"

"Are you done?"

Matt shut up, the voice chilling him.

"Believe what you like. Your friend's not here to tell you otherwise right now, is he? Wonder how I got his phone? Wonder no more; force is essential in this game…"

"You bastard!" Matt near-screamed at him. "What have you done to them?!"

"You didn't seem to believe I'd done anything…" The man chuckled. "And now you take my word? I don't think you deserve to know how much blood your brother's currently leaking onto the floor..."

"TK…" Matt said, dropping the suitcase on the floor and collapsing back onto the dresser. "What have you done to TK…?"

He was answered with a dial tone. Matt threw the phone to the floor, growling in frustration. The phone hit the soft carpeting with barely a sound, which only angered him more. He wanted to break it; smash it so he couldn't receive the phone calls that were tearing him apart. He stood up, almost stamping on it, but instead he collapsed to his knees and angrily dried sudden tears from his eyes. He took a moment to collect himself before picking the phone and the suitcase back up and heading to the door.

As he opened it, the phone rang again. He answered it and, even though the display read 'Izzy', he knew it wouldn't be.

"What?!" He said into it.

"Your hotel room is bugged, remember? I can't personally hear you, but the feedback I'm getting is very amusing. Close the door, else I'll take a trip round to your Daddy's house."

Matt shut the door, being careful not to make a sound verbally. He wanted to scream and to cry, but he knew that would only serve to make his tormenters laugh.

"Now. Stay there like a good little boy."

"Don't patronize me…" Matt said quietly, walking over to the bed and sitting down, feeling helpless.

"I'm in control here; I hold the lives of three people you love in my hands. Perhaps you had better learn some manners and be courteous."

Matt stayed silent, and disconnected the call. He couldn't stand to listen to that voice a moment longer, not without breaking down over the phone.

He lay down, knowing he couldn't leave or alert anyone to help. The situation was out of his hands; he was merely on onlooker to a gruesome scene. He could not help, or be of any use at all.

The phone rang again, and he ignored it. It continued to ring relentlessly, mercilessly, and he eventually picked it up and answered it without a word.

"That was the biggest mistake you have ever made," the man snarled. "You do not hang up on me. Not without punishment. And because you're not here, perhaps your little brother will want to take the consequence…"

"No!!"

Matt gasped as he heard TK's voice; shrill and frightened.

"Matt!! Matt, help me!! Please!!!!"

"TK!" Matt shouted, wishing he could be there; almost wishing he could crawl through the phone and reach his brother.

"So are you going to apologize?"

"Yes!" Matt said, sobbing from fear for his brother now. "Y-Yes, I'm sorry, just please please, don't hurt TK…"

There was no answer; all Matt could hear was his own sobbing, and TK's frightened whimpers.

"No!!" Matt heard TK shriek after a moment or two of silence. "S-stay away!!"

"Hey, leave him alone! For gods sake, not only are you hurting him, that's gotta be crucifying Matt on the other end of that phone!"

Tai. Matt mentally thanked him for being there for TK when he himself couldn't be.

"Shut up! Did I ask you to talk?! I'll do to you what I did to the red haired kid if you don't shut up!!"

Tai shut up, and Matt found himself frantically wondering what had been done to Izzy.

"Ishida, are you listening to this?"

"Y-yes…" he whispered.

"Good. I don't want you to miss out on any of the…action…"

"Oh god, oh god…" TK was whimpering. "Please, no, not that…" A shriek and then, more forcefully, "NO!"

"What are you doing to him?!" Matt demanded to know. The man simply laughed.

"I'm not telling you."

"He has a knife!!" TK yelled. "Matt, he has a knife and he keeps coming at me with it!!"

"Drop it!!" Matt yelled at the man. "You're scaring him!"

"…am I scaring you, though…?" Came the menacing reply.

"Yes!" Matt said. "I don't know what I've ever done to offend you, but don't drag TK into this!!"

"Well, I've leave you with this little snippet…"

Matt heard TK shriek again, and then a yelp of pain. He could hear Tai protesting, but Matt blocked him out, concentrating on TK's voice.

"Oh god, I'm bleeding, I'm bleeding…"

"TK!" Matt shouted, terror running through him at those words. Yet, he never got to hear any more, as the phone went dead. He pulled it away from his ear, dialing Izzy's number again. He would not let TK's attacker hang up on him.

The phone you have dialed may be switched off. Please try again later.

Matt threw the phone down in frustration, lying down and staring at the ceiling. He couldn't stand not-knowing what was happening. He hated not knowing even TK was even…

No. He's alive. He had to be.

The phone rang again, and the display rang Tai this time. Matt mentally smacked himself for not thinking to call that number too. He answered it, but didn't speak.

"He's gone."

"What…?" Matt said softly, knowing what was meant but not wanting to believe it.

"Your brother. His blood is an interesting shade of red, you know. It'll paint the walls of your Daddy's home quite nicely. But if I run out, then…well, your Daddy will have some spare, won't he?"

"No!" Matt screamed. "No! TK! Oh god oh god…"

He disconnected the conversation and turned the phone off, throwing it to the floor. It wasn't enough; he picked up the chair and used that to smash it into a pile of circuits and colored fascia. All that was registering was shock. TK, gone. Never. Couldn't happen! Hope couldn't be taken away with one swift slice of a knife!

But he has…TK…

Unable to think coherently, he resumed to realising his anger and grief another way. He pulled his guitar out of it's case and viciously slammed it onto the floor. If he had been thinking sensibly, he would have realised that it wasn't going to help him.

Yet, it did. It relieved some of the tension that was building up in him, in a way the tears that he knew would consume him soon never could.

He pulled at the strings, breaking them despite the fact they were galvanized; he had a terrible habit of plucking them too hard and breaking them, and had had some specially made. Now, though, they were in ruins.

The guitar, by the time he had finished, was no longer recognizable. It was smashed into pieces, broken beyond repair. And he felt a little better, but still not emotionally accepting TK's fate.

Then he was kneeling on the floor, sobbing harshly without even realising. His eyes strayed to the computer, but he refrained from doing anything to it. It wasn't his, and he held a strong respect for things that he did not own.

Something else caught his eye, though; the bottle of anti-depressant pills, on the floor to his left where he had thrown them.

Without thinking, he was picking them up and inspecting the bottle's label. He ignored what the set dosage was supposed to be, opening the bottle and emptying a small handful of pills into his shaking palm.

TK…TK's gone…

He closed his eyes, clenching his hand round the small pills, before tipping his head back and throwing them into his mouth. He swallowed them dry, not caring about the consequences.

And then he laughed.

"That was seven pills…" he said out loud. "Heh, can you bastards hear me?! Seven Fluoxetine tablets! That means anti-depressants, by the way, and believe me, am I depressed…!" He laughed again, silent tears twisting down his cheeks. "There's a lot left to go though!"

He tipped the pills into his hand and began counting them out, making a small pile on the floor.

"One! Two! Three! Four five six! That's enough for another handful!"

He picked them up and swallowed them, almost choking as he began to sob.

"Can you hear what you're making me do?!" He screamed. "Can you hear me?! I hope you're happy! The Ishida-Takaishi brothers do not get separated by anything!"

He stared at the pills in his hand again. "Not even death…" he muttered before closing his eyes and tipping the whole lot into his mouth. He choked and coughed, realising taking them with water would have been easier.

Choking to death would be suitable, too. I don't care.

Once he had swallowed them all, he lay down on the soft carpeting, suddenly tired. He wished he hadn't destroyed his phone; he wanted to talk to his father.

Sitting up wearily, the effects of the pills beginning to make his movements slow, he pulled his phone from underneath the wreckage of guitar parts. It was pretty badly damaged, and he didn't even bother to check it as he put it back down.

"I can't find the rhyme in all my reason…" he sang softly. "I've lost the sense of time and all seasons…I feel I've been beaten down…by the words of men who have no grounds…"

He stopped, fatigue overtaking him for a moment.

"I hope you can hear me…" he said as loudly as he could. "I hope you're happy now you've got the blood of two people's lives on your hands tonight."

The cell phone began to ring, and he stared at it in amazement from his spot lying on the floor.

"I broke you," he said softly. "Stay broken. I don't want to talk to you. I don't want to get hurt 'nymore."

The phone rang for a while, and he lay listening to the ring tone contently until it stopped. Only then did he pick it up, and dial a number he knew by heart.

The phone rang a couple of times before it was answered, and Matt spoke first.

"Hi Daddy…"

"Matt?!" His father laughed. "You getting a little confused about the time difference? I was in bed."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"That's all right."

"Dad, I'm sorry…for everything I've ever done…"

Matt could feel the inevitable breakdown coming, and he was powerless to stop it in his weakened state.

"I-I'm sorry about all the times were ever fought or I yelled…I'm sorry I never told you I love you enough…" He was sobbing now, crazily pouring his grief out into the phone as he had done with Izzy. "Because I do, I really do! I love you!"

"Matt, what's the matter?"

His father sounded concerned, and it was then Matt realised how stupid he had been. His father had just lost TK, and now he would be losing Matt too.

"Dad…I…TK…"

He didn't know how to say it. He couldn't say it.

"I've done something really stupid…it'll be all over the papers tomorrow, so you can read it there. I'm too tired to tell you now…"

"Matt?!"

"I love you, Dad…tell Mom I love her too, and all my friends…tell them all I'm sorry…"

"Matt…?"

That warning tone; the one that suggested his dad knew what Matt was hinting at.

"Bye, Dad…I'm too tired to talk anymore…"

And he disconnected the call, throwing the phone back down into the wreckage. He wanted to fully destroy it, so he wouldn't receive any more calls from TK's tormenter, but he didn't have the strength. He had turned it off, and that was enough to satisfy him for now.

Don't have the strength to do anything but lie down and die…

His eyes wanted to close, and he wanted them to stay open. He wanted to get the pills out his system, and erase the stupid, emotive mistake he had made.

But it was done now. His body was slowly shutting down, and his eyes shutting with it. It took too much energy to try and keep them open; he was still crying, yet he had no energy to sob.

He gently tugged the covers from the bed down to him; his body was cold, so cold, and he wanted to keep warm. Pulling the covers over himself, and folding his arms under his head, he let his eyes shut.

I'm just going to sleep. I'll wake up again in the morning, and this'll all be a bad dream. TK'll be alive, and so will I.

He could feel his mind beginning to wander, shutting down little by little as the pills began to get into his blood stream. His heart unwittingly pushed the chemicals round his body, poisoning him little by little. And he could do nothing to get rid of it.

Bleed…maybe if I bleed the poison out…

He reached across to the wreckage that was his guitar, and plucked one of the strings from the pile. But even as he tried to drag it across the floor to him, he felt his strength giving out, and his hand stopped where it was, string falling from his loose grip.

He could almost feel it; the chemicals slowly eating away his life force and soul, taking his energy and his pure, untainted blood. He could no longer open his eyes, and his mind was beginning to black out.

And he smiled. Through the tears and the grief, he smiled as his body gave up the fight; the pills had done their work, and as his heart stopped, so did the circulation of the substance.

It was over.

------------------------

The next morning brought with it the press publicity that Matt had predicted. Mr. Ishida walked to his local newsagents, taking Matt's word on reading a newspaper. Before he even entered the shop, the signs outside read what he feared: 'Depressed Rock Star Yamato Ishida ODs'.

Running inside the shop, he picked up the closet tabloid he could find and threw the money on the counter before running out the shop. Once out, he studied the front page carefully. A picture of Matt, taken a couple of months previous, showed him to look pale and thin. Mr. Ishida could see something wasn't quite right with him.

The headline declared 'Rock Sensation Yamato ODs', much like all the other papers had done, with small print that read 'turn to pages 4,5 6 and 7 for full story'.

Hesitantly, shock not taking over yet, Mr. Ishida turned to page 4. Another picture of Matt, with an inset of his hotel room adorned the page, with a smaller headline that read 'Rock Star Yamato Ishida Dies by ODing on Anti-Depressants'.

Oh god…Matt…that's what he meant last night…

He looked at the picture; Matt's hotel room that he had been staying in. And the scene that met his eyes confirmed his worst fears. The hotel room was trashed; the close up photo of the smashed guitar and phone parts was enough to tell him what he didn't want to know.

Reluctantly, he began to read the article.

Rock sensation Yamato Ishida was found dead in his English hotel room last night, by his manager, it has been confirmed. An empty bottle of anti-depressants pills lay amongst the debris that was Yamato's prized electric guitar and cell phone, sparking suspicions that he had overdosed on them. A toxicology result confirmed this; Yamato, better known as Matt, had taken the whole bottle. He was found in a position that suggested he was simply sleeping; he had covered himself with a duvet as though he was waiting for death to take him. His fellow band members are shocked at the events.

"It is a great loss," one of them told us. "Matt was always easy-going…I never thought he would do something like this."

The suicide appears to be related to an incident involving Matt's younger brother Takeru. It is understood that Matt had been receiving letters that threatened his family and friends for a couple of months. He was prescribed anti-depressants, and told not to let it worry him.

Yet obviously it did worry him, as it also confirmed he received phone calls on his cell phone from the writer of the letters, a native of Japan. He called from friends of Matt's phones, telling Matt he had done terrible things to them and his brother. He was in Japan, and Matt was in England, therefore there was nothing Matt could do.

Takeru, better known as TK, told police that the attacker had told Matt that he was 'gone'. Matt took this knowledge and, with his combined depression, it was enough to drive him over the edge. His hotel room is reported to have been bugged.

Mr. Ishida stopped reading; he had heard enough. Instinct told him to turn the next page, and he did. A picture of TK and Tai, being led by police to a car, assaulted his eyes. There was another headline that read 'Matt's Brother and Friends in Terrifying Incident'. They both looked tired and worn, and TK had blood on his shirt. There was an inset picture of Izzy in a hospital bed, with a caption that read 'Injured: Koushiro suffered several hard blows to the skull'.

Again, the article caught the man's eye, and he read it.

Following the news of his brother's death, TK has refused to talk to anybody. It is confirmed that Matt feared him to be dead, and it is believed that is why he took his own life.

Matt had been talking on the Internet to his friend, Koushiro, and had confided that he was depressed to his friend, and told him about the letters even though he had been told not to. He received a phone call shortly afterwards that was to change his life; TK was in danger and Matt's hotel room had been bugged. Every word he had said could be heard, and it was.

Matt telephoned Izzy and sent him round to TK's house – his mother had been away at a friend's house that night, leaving him alone – and also alerted his friend Taichi. Both of them went to TK's aid, and Matt received more calls telling him they had been injured too.

TK was cut by his attacker, but is otherwise unhurt. Koushiro suffered several hard blows to the skull, probably made with a piece of wood, and is stable in hospital. Taichi, known as Tai, was unhurt.

Tai told us how Matt had been given information such as the walls being red with blood, and blood covered cell phones. It seems as though this web of lies led to Matt taking his life.

The attacker fled the scene shortly after his last phone call with Matt. He was masked, and therefore his face couldn't be seen. Japanese police and searching the area for him; it is believed he fled to the nearby town of Kyoto.

Mr. Ishida folded the paper up and placed it into his pocket as best he could, having had enough of the article that explained his son's last night in disturbing detail, his feet walking for him as he headed for his ex-wife's house. He wondered briefly if TK would be there.

I wonder when my body is going to kick in? I feel as though I'm numb. I can't be without Matt! Matt can't be gone! He wouldn't do this to himself!

Yet he did. When they find the son of a bitch who made him do this, I'm going to rip their throat out. Whoever took my son is going to pay.

Mr. Ishida found himself at Nancy Takaishi's door, and he reluctantly knocked. This was going to be hard and, even though she probably already knew, he wanted to let her know he was there for her.

As Nancy opened the door, eyes red and bloodshot, she threw herself into her ex-husband's arms. Sobbing incoherently, she pressed herself into him, seeking comfort.

He simply held her close and tried not to weep with her at the loss of something so precious to them. Sorrow would unite them and make them bond, for TK's sake, and for their own. The bridges that they had broken down after the divorce were mended with the simple hug they were sharing.

"You've heard…" Nancy murmured.

"Yes. They're going to regret ever making our son do that."

They're going to regret the day they were born.

Author's Notes: …DON'T ask. I've left this in a really weird place, and no, I'm not planning on a sequel where Mr. Ishida actually DOES hurt the guy. It's just a standalone.

*wails* I'm sorry! I never planned on doing that! I made myself cry whilst I was writing it because I felt so bad! And I'm sorry if I made anybody else cry… . I actually planned on a somewhat happy ending, but I got listening to my Creed album, and it kinda never happened. Angst owns me, I'm afraid.

Feedback, either in the form of an e-mail to Nanaki_Lioness@hotmail.com or a fanficiton.net review below would be *fantastic*. I'm not very happy with this, overall, but I found myself not being able to edit it much when I re-read it .

Update on the Matt/Tai friendship contest; there's been one entry. There's about 3 weeks left, for anyone who wants to enter! Check out the second part of To Live, To Die, To Forgive is Divine named Virtue for details, anyone who doesn't know, I'm not going to write it all out again…^_^