A/N: A big thank you to everyone who reviewed! I'll put the review replies at the bottom of the chapter so you can get right to reading . This chapter is slightly shorter than the first one but I found a good place to stop so I did. And it's a bit different than you might expect, but don't worry, it's all for plot purposes. Enjoy! (Special thanks goes to this chapter's beta, Tyson Foxflame. She writes amazing Taito fanfiction that you MUST go check out. Love you Ty!)
Warnings: I dunno... A few cuss words? shrug
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. :'(
Struck a Nerve
Chapter 2: Incriminating Secrets Pt. One
While I was sleeping, I could almost feel the extra warmth of the sun hitting the side of my face. Of course, that was just my dream's fabrication. My bastard alarm clock always dragged me into consciousness well before the sun had a chance to, so maybe there was a lovely beach scene reeling through my head, I didn't know. But even as I slept I felt a strange uneasy feeling creep over me, as if I was in trouble before I even woke up.
My dream felt distant and I noticed the uneasiness moving in. As soon as I attempted to prove the feeling wrong, it crashed back with full force as I opened both my tired eyes.
The sun was up. Shit.
I looked out my window and sure enough, everything was bathed in morning sunlight. I didn't even have time to think it over, as I was already on auto-freak mode to get the hell out of bed. I turned to my alarm clock that sat smirking back at me with the "alarm" setting switched off and the digits 12:00 AM blinking monotonously. It was doing that on purpose, damnit! I cursed the blinking bastard to hell and did my best to throw on clean clothes and shoes at the same time.
TK flung open my door just as I fitted my black jeans around my waist, looking less than cheery. I stared at him, fly undone and in the most awkward position, and he stared back, just as disbelieving. We knew it. We were late. Dad was going to kill us.
TK took two steps towards me. "MATT! ALARM! What the hell?" The Ishidas were not morning people. I feebly shrugged my shoulders, resigning to the fact that we were screwed.
"You know, your's didn't go off either genius," I stated pointing to the blinking alarm clock behind me. I then added as an afterthought, "The power probably went out some time last night."
TK mocked me. "The power went out last night—I DON'T CARE! Ugh, Matt, what are we gonna do? If Dad finds out we were tardy this early on in--" I cut him off easily.
"Then we'll explain that it wasn't our fault. I'm sure the bastard can't find an excuse for a power-outage, right?" TK's tense shoudlers slumped at that.
"'suppose not," he replied normally. I smiled at him and ruffled his hair as he caught his breath, now knowing he had no reason to freak.
"You get ready. I'll call Dad and meet ya downstairs," I commanded tiredly. He nodded and left the room as quickly as he had burst in. I simply shrugged and took my time getting ready. I was already late, right? No use in rushing now.
I called Father only five minutes later to confirm what happened. He didn't take it well or not well. In fact, he sounded just as disinterested as usual with the news. But his promise to call the school and have our absences excused was enough for me, regardless of his attitude.
The clock was looming overhead as I caught the last part of first period, which luckily was a free period. The teacher was out sick and the sub didn't even care to see my pass—all of that freaking out for nothing basically. I took my usual seat in class, eyeing everyone who looked up at me from their naps and doodlings. It wouldn't have annoyed me so much, but Tai was absent today, making all the common looks I got from classmates that much more annoying. It bugged the crap out of me that he wasn't there and maybe it was just because I had a shitty morning. Any reason wasn't enough to peg why it annoyed me, but the unusual feeling lasted all day through to fourth period with Sora. She didn't help much either.
Sora caught up to me as I sulked into class and immediately noticed my "fake" brooding mood, as she put it often.
"Aww, Matty have a bad day?" she chidded over the clamourings of people getting to their seats. I half-ignored her and took a seat in the far back, scooting away from her as she followed me.
"No. Just mad for no reason," I replied darkly. She scooted closer to accommodate.
"Well that's stupid. You don't need a reason to be a dick anymore?" she asked seriously. I glanced sideways long enough to glare at her before turning my attention back to the black board and the teacher starting class.
"No. I don't."
"And a man of words. Charmed. But really Matt, you're usually at least in a neutral mood to see me, right?" she questioned, using finger-quotation marks on the word neutral. Neutral mood... What gave her reason to use that word?
"Look, whatever, Sora. I just—woke up late and everything from there was crap," I mumbled softly. She nodded and dropped the subject, turning fully around to pay attention to class.
That didn't last. A few minutes later she asked another question without even turning her head.
"It doesn't have anything to do what him does it?" she whispered. I hated when she jumped to conclusions. Especially when they were the right conclusions.
I scowled. "Oh my god, so he wasn't in first period today? Big deal... tomorrow's tomorrow," I spat. She scribbled down some notes before turning and smiling brightly, oblivious to my tone.
"Yeah. It is."
After science, I walked with Sora for the first time that year towards my locker. I don't pay attention to my expressions much so I must have been scanning around a lot, because she asked rather loudly, "Whatcha looking for?"
I shrugged and kept walking. And for no reason, instead of asking more questions, she grabbed my arm lightly and squeezed. I gathered it was some girl expression for "I'm sorry" or "good luck"? It was a nice gesture, but it didn't help. I couldn't see Tai's unruly mane of brown hair anywhere.
It was pathetic that I automatically looked for one person and all Sora had to do was exist and she waved to hundreds of them. It just wasn't fair. I hated them all, yes, but jealously knew no boundaries and I really only had him and Sora to look forward to...
He just told me his name and I was already eager to see him every day. To the point where I was in a bad mood if I didn't. Not good.
The walk home was quiet except for the usual bits of sarcasm and chides tossed between us. I didn't have anything important to talk about and I sure wasn't going to bring up Tai again, for fear of sounding clingy.
Sora didn't say as much as usual either. She just sort of looked at me and resigned to her own thoughts until we reached my house. When we got there, I threw a quick goodbye to her over my shoulder and walked into what I hoped was an empty house.
"Good afternoon, Yamato. How was your day?" Damn.
"Oh, hey Dad—er, sir. Fine," I replied meekly. I was beginning to slip on the "sir" thing and on my "manners", which he seemed to notice. His smile faltered slightly before it replaced itself.
"I have left your chore list on the refrigerator. Please complete those tasks and eat the left-overs from last night while I'm gone." At least he was going to be out tonight, but not without leaving his mark of course. The chore list was going to be annoying as usual, I could tell. His voice had an extra ring to it. Never a good thing.
"Where are you going?" I asked more out of courtesy than question. He picked up his briefcase and headed towards the door as he answered.
"Business as usual, Yamato. Be good to your brother." With that he turned and the door said goodbye for him with a simple click. He was gone—probably for the rest of the night. The good thing was, at least he didn't bring up the morning tardiness, like I was sure he would.
With a shrug and a drawn-out yawn I turned to the kitchen to check the chores list:
1. Dust the living room
2. Take out the trash
3. Watch over Takeru
4. Sweep, mop and vacuum wherever needs it
5. Tidy up your room
6. Clean the windows (My office also. You know the rules.)
I rolled my eyes out of habit even though the chore list wasn't that long this time. What did catch my eye though was the last chore listed. I rarely ever cleaned his office and I haven't even seen it more than a handful of times. Father liked his privacy, so he laid down very strict rules for me the very first time he let me clean in there. He told me to touch nothing, look at nothing, and focus on nothing besides my given chore. If I was caught snooping around it meant a severe punishment. And a severe punishment from him was really bad.
I decided, of course to start with the chore that would let me in to his office. I grabbed the Windex and some newspaper and made my way up the stairs to his office. I was curious as hell and all kinds of ideas went through my head as I approached the dark cherrywood door. His office, as I remember, is huge, so cleaning the windows was bound to take a few minutes... enough to glance around and maybe get a little peek into his profession. I had no clue what he did for a living. He told me he worked in mortage refinancing, but something told me that that was bullshit.
Next to the door was his top-of-the-line security device. It was a gelatin flat screen where whoever was trying to gain access to the room had to put their hand. Every time Father told me to clean in there, he told the computer to accept my hand-print. Obviously, this method kept TK and I out of the office at all other times. I thought it was a totally unnecessary attachment for a mortgage refinancer to have, but the guy was a little O.C.D. about everything. The few times I'd been allowed in there, he was around and watching me like a hawk.
As I thought about it, it was a little weird for him to be letting me in to the room alone and with the house to myself. But, as the Romans say: who gives a fuck? So without hesitation, I put my hand on the screen and waited until the doors unlocked only a few moments later.
I walked into the same room I had seen before. It hadn't changed much besides a few modernizations here and there. I was just surprised to be in the cold, crisp and altogether neat office again. Father must've had a major lapse of judgement if he allowed me in his private space alone—I wasn't that polite to him or that courteous enough to deserve it otherwise. But obviously in whatever panic he was in, he decided to let me in to clean. I shrugged non-commitally to my work and as I sprayed down the windows thoroughly, and I couldn't help but peek around, well aware that there was a working security camera watching my every move. It was just too tempting to not take a peek...even if I was going to get into trouble for it.
After rubbing lightly on the glass, I chanced a look around the stiffly decorated room. Mostly there were just modern art pieces and bookshelves full of... books. It seemed completely empty of any supplies he might need. I shook my head and scowled at the titles on the shelves... dictionaries... classic literature. Nothing on mortgage refinancing. Not a file or a paper in sight.
I cursed myself for possibly getting into trouble over nothing. The windows were done and the security camera was curiously aimed at me, watching my every move. I cursed again and walked quickly towards the door to get the hell out of there. Unfortunately, I was paying no attention to where I was going and I ran smack into a sculpture of Mozart. But instead of falling and crashing into a million plasture pieces it did something else. The whole portrait sculpture fell backward from my weight and stayed suspended and locked into position by a metal rod sticking into its underside. I was freaked at the moment and almost didn't hear the dull thud as the books behind me shifted. I chanced a look and turned to see what had moved, wincing in pain from slamming my knee on the sculpture. What I saw scared the crap out of me. I was definitely in deep shit now...
Straight in front of me and absurdly out of place was a small elevator with a seat for one in the middle. I had no clue where it went. I was curious though, and there seemed to be no reason not to try it, considering I'd never died in an elevator before. Out of character and comfort, I forced myself to sit in the cold metal seat for no other reason than I was bored and extremely interested. Immediately the doors closed to the compartment, making me feel even more uneasy and clastrophobic.
A voice rang out before I even registered that I was trapped.
"Good afternoon, Mister Ishida. Password please." Shit. I had no freaking idea where to begin guessing that. If Father could hide an elevator in my house, then how was I going to guess a personal password of his? What information did I have to go off of?
With nervous sweat starting to line my forehead, I spoke the first password that came to mind, hoping that the cheeky computer voice would accept it.
"Affirmative." He always liked my brother more than me. Plus, my voice sounded like a younger version of his enough to trick the computer.
Once more the voice droned on in a monotone british accent.
"Now decending to section 1. Temperature: 50 degrees faherheit. Please wear your protective gear, sir." I was beginning to hate the voice and what it asked of me, as a compartment opened in the small vessel, containing what I could only call a chemical-retardant suit. It reminded me of what Homer Simpson wore in the Simpsons intro song, which didn't comfort me much.
Without a second thought I threw on the muggy, uncomfortable suit. What would father need with one of these for? But just as I began to panic at the thought, the small vessel shot downward at angle and speed I was not ready for, efficiently cutting off any thought going through my head. I was hurled down alarmingly fast, way deeper than my house could have reached on it's original base. I hated the idea that I was probably underground and it made the whole chlostrophibic experience that much more unnerving.
Just as quickly as the little ball of terror started, it stopped. The small window at the front whipped in from black to suddenly showing a bit of scenery I was, yet again, definitely not ready to see. I was only hoping to maybe clean the windows and find an incriminating picture or something lying on his desk. But this was just... amazing.
Reaching from the floor to the ceiling, about a 30 foot span of space, were aisles upon aisles of plain gray file cabinets. It looked like the Fort Knox of libraries, complete with large-screened computers at the beginning of each aisle showing a touch-screen menu. The aisles were lit by dim blue lights except for the white light blaring from the computer screens. I would've expected an underground—whatever this was, to be dark and dank like the Bat Cave, but the whole place look unusually clear and santized. It also struck me as weird that there was only minimal light in a place with files and things to be read.
As stunned as I was to see such a huge cavity existing underneath my house, I was even more stunned when the English-accented computer voice spoke again.
"Section 1 of 2. Doors are now opening. Please step carefully, Mr. Ishida." For fear of not tricking the computer again I kept my mouth shut and stepped out of the opening door. Immediately I felt off balance as I landed onto the firm ground. I was completely terrified of the ceiling caving in at any time or the elevator not letting me back up or anything else that could go wrong in a place like this. It was painfully obvious that this was the reason Father never let me near his office, although I had no clue what hell he could be documenting that could take up dozens of aisles and rows of cabinetry.
The elevator left me off inside a small, transparent entrance room to "section 1". It looked like the only way to get into the place, so I lifted my heavily padded arm and opened the first set of doors. As soon as I passed through, they closed and locked, effectively trapping me in an even smaller chamber. Then, without warning, I heard a strange suction noise and immediately all the air started leaving my lungs, collapsing them slowly. I panicked as all the available air depleted and I began bashing into the first doorway to get the hell out of there. But just as I was about to scream futiley for help, the same voice I was growing to despise rang out clear over a loudspeaker.
"Now de-oxygenating. Please turn on your respitory device located on your right hip-buckle." I felt deliriously around my side for whatever the "right hip-buckle" was and my hand met with a small black lever. I tugged it hard, already feeling my lungs screaming for air, and the buckle eased with a fine click to the other side. My lungs filled with air.
"Could've told me that sooner, you bastard!" I wheezed at the computer while catching my breath.
The second set of doors in front of me swished open, revealing a staler and easier to walk in environment. I guessed the smaller chamber was meant to get rid of the oxygen in the file chamber. It reminded me of an old science lesson where my teacher went off on some tangent about how important files are kept in oxygen decompressed environments so as to last longer and stay preserved.
I stepped out onto the tiled floor surrounding the towering walls of drawers. Along each set of walls lay a rolling ladder to reach the higher up drawers. The only thing left to see in the simple room were the large touch-screen computers placed against the side of each set of cabinets. Tentatively, I trudged up to one of them, feeling the weight of the suit slow me down. Strangely, it wasn't hot inside the thick suit and I figured that Father put some kind of cooling system in the room or suit to not over-heat himself. A mile or two underneath the ground is no place to be passing out, especially when you're alone and no one knows you're there.
I was regretting my decision to check out the elevator with each step that I took, but as I reached the computer something new caught my eye. On the screen in plain letters it stated:
'To access files please enter your password and select the cabinet number you wish to open.'
I read it over twice, before pressing the search bar and entering the password I had shouted to the computer beforehand. As soon as I entered it this time, an error message popped up, telling me the password was wrong and to try again. I was sweating now without a clue of what another password of his could be. My brain acted for me on a whim and I typed in the next password that came to mind.
A green flash indicated that the password was correct, astonishing me. Maybe he doesn't hate me as much as I thought? Either that, or it was a convenient password to go along with 'Takeru'.
In any case, I was in. The menu consisted of hundreds of thousands of files located in folders, located in drawers, located in cabinets. There were file numbers from 1 to 798,454. I had no time to think about which one to press because I was already worried I had spent too much time down here. So I played the random game and clicked on one of the files... file number 3,022. I typed in the password one more time, anticipating what would happen.
As soon as I pressed enter, I heard a dull thud coming from an aisle not too far from me. Whatever drawer was holding the file had swung open. I quickly jogged from the computer around to the other side of the aisle, seeing one of the many drawers sticking out and with a very particular file pushed up higher than the rest.
I reached the drawer in record time and whipped out the file, trying to figure out what all the high-tech crap amounted to.
What I saw... amazed me.
Yeah, so I'm stopping there! There will be more to come soon since my muses have been pushing me to write this fic for some reason. Please scroll down to see your review reply and also, please leave a review.
Neo: blush thank you so much for the compliment! I hope people read this, but don't you think using a pitch fork is a bit much...? Aheh. Guess not --0. Thanks babe!
Ty: Good use of the word adore . Makes me feel special. And glad you noticed the cynical Yamato thing... kinda did that on purpose, you know? Thanks for the review!
Beezlee: Made you laugh? Wow, that's a great compliment! And I agree, writing the phone conversations was my favorite part too. Hope you liked this chapter!
x1-Taken-Over: I updated as quick as I could . This chapter wasn't exactly a "potential reaching" chapter, but it's there for plot purposes. Hope you liked it and thanks for the review!
Keiran: I didn't even realize you reviewed Joshie! Thank you ! And yeah... I'll get right on Cerulean Change. I'm trying to focus, but it's been hard.
Bunnymae: I really appreciate the constructive criticism. Actually, my spell checker went on the fritz, so that's why there may be be a few grammatical problems . Thank you so much for the review, I'm so happy you like it! And yes, sarcastic and real are the two things I go for in my writing. Glad it's working out.
Fez Dispenser 88: Thanks for reading this Steph! The constructive criticism makes sense and I'll work on making him less repetitive. And the sarcasm is what I was going for a lot. Love you!
Hogo-chan: Hey you! It has been a long time! I'm so glad everyone is picking up on the sarcasm thing, although this chapter was pretty cut and dry. Don't worry, the rest of the fic won't be like that. It's there for plot purposes and all that . Love you! And thanks for the review, it makes my day.