NOTE: Beware inaccuracies! This fanfic lies! Remember: The Digidestined kids do not really have sleeping bags in the Digiworld. Tai does not really have a compass. Digimon do not really bleed. Kae Ti does not really have much common sense. Having cleared that up, I hope you like the fic!
*Disclaimer* - I don't own the characters, never have done, never will do. Sueing me will earn you all of $5.36 and if you're really that desperate for cash then you can start saving money by getting the hell off the internet. Unless you have a completely free server of course. In which case I envy you greatly. Anyway, on with the fic...
A Love Born of Hate (Part One)
It Boils Beneath the Surface
I didn't like Taichi right from the start. I knew he was no good the minute I laid eyes on him in Summer Camp, 'cause all of Takeru's little friends were talking to him. See, I had to look after Takeru but I thought he should make some friends of his own age too, so I hung about with all the little kids. They all thought I was great. Then Tai turned up.
He was smart and funny and wild and all the things I wasn't, and they all just loved him. Even Takeru liked him. Well, I didn't care. I was used to being on my own - the original loner, me. I don't like depending on anyone else, and I especially don't like having anyone else depending on me. Except Takeru, of course.
I just stayed out of his way. But of course he was the sort of guy who loved to be loved by everybody, so he came ambling right on up to make friends. No doubt thinking he was so cool. "Konnichiwa! My name's Taichi, or Tai for short. Who are you?"
I nearly gritted my teeth as I spoke, but I didn't want to betray how I felt. I never do - it's a kind of rule. *Never trust anyone* is my first rule of survival, and I don't give away anything personal about myself without very good reason. Least of all how I'm feeling. "Ishida Yamato."
"Well, pleased to meet you. You wanna play tag with the little kids?"
"No, thank you," I replied stiffly. He could run about looking stupid with a bunch of seven year olds if he liked - I have my pride and my dignity. Both happen to be joint second most important things in the world to me. First, of course, is Takeru.
Tai shrugged indifferently. "Your loss." He went back to his little fan club, and I scowled at his retreating back.
* * * * *
It could have stayed like that. I would quite happily have hated him all Summer and never made any friends. I never wanted any friends anyway, just so long as little Takeru was happy. But no. We had to enter the Digiworld. And suddenly I was one of seven people destined to save two worlds, and that meant teamwork.
I hate teamwork.
The rest of the guys weren't so bad, I suppose. Tai got the Crest of Courage, of course. I can be brave when I need to be. And also, due to his everlasting popularity, he also fell nicely into the place of leader. True, I didn't even want to be leader - but I would have quite happily filled the post to cheat Tai out of taking the place. Of course, I never let anyone know this. Don't you just hate those kind of people who go around baring their souls to the world, peeling back every layer of themselves to show everyone exactly who they really are? I do. They cry all over you when they're upset and they jump around squealing when they're happy, and they want everyone to *know* them so well. I couldn't live like that, I really couldn't. Who I am is my business and my business alone. Then again, I guess Takeru is a bit like one of those people, but that's just because he's little. He'll grow out of it.
So I pretty much ignored everyone else and devoted myself to looking after Takeru. Oh, and did I mention that I got the Crest of *Friendship*? How dumb is that?! I am, like, the least friendly person the whole world - both worlds, infact. Then I even got paired up with a dumb little digtal monster. Tsunomon, his name is. Actually he's not half bad, he's got a fair bit of spunk in him. I just wish I could sick him onto Tai.
Takeru really liked Tai, though, and it took me a while to forgive him for that. Oh, I didn't get frosty with him or anything, I couldn't do that to Takeru - but inside I felt betrayed. It wasn't just that he liked Taichi, but that he was such a good judge of character that I knew he must be right, and that meant that Tai actually was a really nice person. So I was just being mean. I guessed at the time that what I was feeling was probably partly jealousy, and once I thought about it a bit I realised that I was, infact, massively jealous. Which was weird, 'cause I've known loads of kids as popular as him and I never got jealous before in my life. I wondered if it meant something, but just put it down to growing up.
I stayed jealous, for a long time. I hid it so well - I pride myself on hiding what I'm feeling. But time went by, and situations changed, and I began to respect Taichi. I stayed mum about it. Although I hadn't said anything, my silence had spoken for itself and everyone was pretty aware of how I resented Tai. If I started to like him now, everyone would think I was just being like a little kid who sulks for a while and then gets over it. Fickle. Well, I wasn't going to take a blow like that to my pride, admit I had been wrong about him. I don't do the humility and apology thing, I make my mind up and stick to it, because that makes me look strong - be strong. Changing your mind makes you look weak. But I knew inside that, while I stayed fiercely jealous, it wasn't really jealousy of *Tai* that I was feeling anymore. It was jealousy of everyone else for being such good friends with him.
I never got jealous before Tai, never ever. I used to look down on people who got jealous easily and sneer, because they were letting their emotions control their actions. I ruled my feelings, not the other way around. But now all that was slipping, because I never realised how bad I was getting until it was too late. It was okay when I was just jealous of Tai, because I was jealous of his friendship with people who I didn't particularly want as my friends anyway. So I don't know why I was even jealous - maybe because he had something I thought I couldn't have even if I tried. And then that gradually turned to wanting Tai for a friend and being jealous of the others, which meant I actually *wanted* something and I couldn't have it. I could have, I suppose, just by acting friendly, but... Out of the question, totally out of the question. I couldn't go back on my word and say I liked him after all now. So I just got meaner and more morose, and snapped at everybody. I fought with Tai on every little thing he said, because in a way I still hated him - hated him for making me like him, for making me not be able to get what I wanted without sacrificing my pride. Often I won the fight, but mostly Tai got his way anyway. Everyone else would back Tai up and leave me on my own, the loser of the argument, I *hate* being a loser. I do not lose well. I started to dig the loner thing more and more, sometimes going for walks at night when everyone else was asleep. And still I couldn't understand why I was getting so worked up over it all. And I *HATE* not understanding things.
Then, one day, we were all walking along through a forest. Tai was leading (surprise!) and I was trailing at the back, scowling and kicking leaves. Takeru was talking to Patamon - I think he was trying not to make me mad. Poor little guy. He's the only person I'll apologise and admit that I'm wrong to. He's my brother and I love him. It's that simple. So I pulled him gently back and knelt down before him, looking into his anxious eyes. Not only was I scaring him a little, I was worrying him too. What right did I have to put my own hate before my little brother's feelings? I was being so selfish, and as far as everyone else was concerned I didn't care, but I wanted to make it up to Takeru.
"Look, I've been a jerk lately," I started. Takeru began to look relieved as he sensed a confession coming up. "I've had a lot on my mind, which is no excuse, but from now on I promise I'll start trying to be nicer, especially to you, Takeru. I didn't mean to be so moody and I'm sorry."
"That's okay," said Takeru happily. "I'm just glad you're all right. I was beginning to think there might be something really wrong."
"Nah, I'm okay," I reassured him. "Don't worry!"
We began walking again, quickly to catch up with the others. As they came into view, I could just see Tai climbing up the side of a little hillock. He reached the top, turned around and grinned at all of us cheekily as though he had made a mammoth achievement. His hands were on his hips and his legs were slightly apart, his fringe was dangling over those goggles he always wore and the rest of his hair was just all over the place, and my brain churned out a thought. No feeling attached, just the most unexpected thought I've ever had in my life.
*He looks kinda cute when he does that.*
I squashed that thought fast. I didn't even take the time to ask where it had come from or what it was doing inside my *male* head, I just squashed it quick and hoped and prayed that I would never think it again. Then I concentrated all my efforts on trying to forget I had ever thought it. I avoided looking at Tai and kept walking. It was just a fluke. Guys weren't supposed to think things like that about other guys! But I hadn't - it hadn't happened. So just chill, Matt, and keep walking.
For the rest of the day, I concentrated on anything and everything that wasn't Tai. At night, when I had nothing else to think about, it was more difficult to ignore what had happened earlier that day. Sleep, not surprisingly, was elusive, and although it was a fairly cool night I felt almost feverish. It was happening all over again...
It was a couple of years back, and Yamato was camping in a tent in his best friend's yard for the night. They were chatting, as friends do, but their eyes were dancing in a way that hinted at more than just friendship. It was an unspoken love between the two - both knew about it and had come to terms with it seperately, only waiting now for the right time to confess to eachother. Yamato especially had been bewildered by his feeling this way for another boy, but he had gradually become used to the idea that he might be gay. They talked and laughed, then suddenly fell silent and just looked at eachother. Yamato finally spoke up.
"What? Am I growing a third head?"
Bikiro laughed softly, but Yamato's blunt humor had not dispelled the atmosphere that had been gradually building inside the canvas walls. "No, of course not. It's just that... well, I think I might... um..." His voice trailed away and he hung his head in embarrassment. "Never mind." An electric silence filled the tent, it was now or never, Yamato realised. If he didn't have the guts to speak his mind now, when everything felt so right, then he would never be able to. He cleared his throat.
"It's okay. I think I know what you were going to say."
Bikiro looked up nervously. "You do? What?"
Yamato's insides tensed. "If I've got this wrong, then I'm never going to be able to look you in the face again."
"Then I think you probably are thinking along the same lines as me."
Yamato swallowed and took a deep breath. "Dammit, Bik, I love you."
Bikiro buried his head inside his sleeping bag shyly, but Yamato mistook it for shock. "Oh God, that wasn't what you were going to say, was it? Listen, Bikiro, I'm really sorry, and -"
"No." Bikiro raised his head and smiled nervously. "You were right, Matt. That was exactly what I wanted to say." The two boys grinned at eachother, a great weight lifted off each of their shoulders. Not sure what to do or say next, they sat staring at eachother. Should they hug? Should they kiss? In the end, Bikiro spoke up again. "So... how long have *you* felt like this?"
I smiled grimly as I remembered what I had tried to forget for so long. It never really worked out with Bikiro, we never even kissed once, although we would hug often. It was the first time either of us had felt this way about anyone, let alone another guy, and we were just scared. We stayed together for a few months, and then we broke friendship. I still don't know why we split, we just grew apart in the way that friends sometimes do. After it was over, I tried to forget it had happened at all. It was just a youthful experiment, a mistake, the result of hormones let loose. I didn't ever quite forget what happened, I just chose not to remember it. Not to think about it. Whenever a memory did enter my head, I pushed it further away, repressing the experience. I became scared to feel anything for anybody; I drew away from my friends and closed myself off to human contact with all but Takeru - my lifeline to the real world. Emotions were dangerous, the emotions I had felt were *bad*, I was sure of it. Best to keep emotions under lock and key, to hide my personality and be anything but what I really was. Because I didn't know what I really was anymore, and it scared me. After hearing this story, can you begin to understand my hatred for friendship and feelings?
I couldn't have feelings for Tai. I didn't have feelings for Tai! Lying in the dark, I felt absolutely nothing for Tai. I hadn't felt anything for him when he had stood atop that hillock, I had just thought a random thought with no sentiment attached. I didn't love Tai. Heck, I didn't even like Tai! But I knew in my heart that I did like Tai, and I was terrified that I might start to like him even more - too much. Best to hate him, and to make him hate me. I argued with him all the more. The rest of the group really gave me stick about my attitude sometimes, but I didn't care. All I cared about was hating Tai, and yet I couldn't. We would stand toe to toe, spitting and snarling at eachother, and I would glare into his dark flashing eyes and grow to like him that little bit more. By the end of the month, I couldn't hide it from myself anymore.
I was falling in love with Tai.
I hated every moment of it, because I knew he would never feel the same way for me. I was just making myself miserable, but it isn't as easy to fall out of love as it is to fall into it. With Bikiro - I forced myself to think about it - there had been this *something*, I dunno what, an instinct telling me he liked me too. With Tai it just wasn't there. He thought I hated him, we never did anything but argue. Sometimes after a really bad argument, when everyone had gone to sleep, I would cry. I was ashamed of it, but I had to let it out somehow. I would then fall asleep and dream about Tai kissing me and telling me he loved me. That just made me even more worried, because I sometimes talk in my sleep.
Whenever we needed firewood, or food, or anything like that, Tai would get up and say, "Right, I'm going to get some firewood/food/whatever and I need someone to help me. Who's going to volunteer?"
Koushiro would just carry on tapping away at his laptop, and Takeru would stay with me. Everyone else would cry "Me, me! No, you went with him last time! It's *my* turn! Tai, please!"
I would watch them with disgust as they squabbled for the fearless leader's attention. Sooner or later he would pick one of them, and he was always fair. Sometimes he would even convince Koushiro to go with him. But he never asked me once. He assumed I wouldn't want to. By then I wanted so much just to be his friend, but I was also terrified that if I started to like him now then everyone else would suspect my motives. So I suffered in silence.
There were times, though...
We were all sat in camp, getting ready to go to sleep. Takeru had already dozed off. Suddenly a low chuckling came from between the trees, and we were alert. "Good work for once, DemiDevimon," growled the voice of Myotismon. "You have found Megastatumon. He will rid us of the Digidestined!" We looked at eachother - Megastatumon? Who the hell was that?
Our silent question was answered as a low cry of "Freeziwind!" issued forth from the trees, and a blast of icy air ripped through the clearing. I, the mean and moody loner, had already crawled into my sleeping bag, and I ducked into it for shelter from Megastatumon's attack, rolling over to cover Takeru as well. When I resurfaced, I found I had not made it to him in time. My little brother and all my friends had been frozen as still as statues. I waved my hand in front of Takeru's face and he didn't move. I shook his shoulders and he stayed rigid, never even flinching. I began to panic as I heard Myotismon approaching, but Gabumon snapped me out of it. He had been hiding just behind me.
"Come on, Matt, Myotismon is coming! We have to hide before he realises we dodged Megastatumon's attack!" He was right, but I couldn't just leave Takeru like that... I grabbed my brother and dragged him into the bushes at the side, just as Myotismon, DemiDevimon and a huge white digimon who I assumed must be Megastatumon entered.
"Very good, very good indeed," Myotismon purred. Then his voice roughened again. "Where are the rest of them?" I held my breath as he counted my friends. "The lanky blond and his little brother are gone... and so is the goggled kid. Find them, now!"
The goggled kid... Tai? Taichi had escaped too? I sighed my relief - not that I didn't care about the others, but I wouldn't worry about them as much as I would about Tai or Takeru. Then I realised that DemiDevimon was approaching, and I held my breath. He walked straight past our bush and called out "No digidestined here!" Myotismon snarled.
"They must have run away into the forest. Well, we have their friends. Take them to the castle! So long as the others know their friends are alive, they'll be back." I watched dazedly as they carried away Jyou and Gomamon, Koushiro and Tentomon, Mimi and Palmon, and Sora and Biyomon. All was silent. Then I became aware of a voice whispering my name.
"Yamato! Yamato? Takeru! Are you guys still there?" I crawled out of my bush and Tai and Agumon came rushing over. "Yamato! Is Takeru okay?"
I really wish he'd call me Matt like everyone else does - except when they're mad at me, that is. I guess Tai must be permanently mad at me, not that I blame him. "Takeru got frozen by that blast from Megastatumon, but I think he'll recover. Gabumon is okay, at least."
"Yeah... where's Patamon? Myotismon didn't take him."
I thought for a moment, then pulled a shaking Patamon out from the very bottom of Takeru's sleeping bag. "It's okay, little guy," I reassured him. "Takeru is right here, and he's going to be okay." Patamon went over to examine Takeru's condition, while I looked Tai squarely in the eye. "We're going to have to work together, aren't we?" My voice sounded neutral, which was an improvement on loathing I supposed, but it didn't do the fluttering feeling in my chest justice. I was going to be working alone with Tai!
"Yes it does, so we don't need you starting up on everything I say. We can't afford it." I opened my mouth to retort - and closed it again. Tai looked surprised. It was the first time I had backed down from an argument with him, and I don't think he was quite sure of what that meant. Anyhow, we got planning. "Myotismon will have taken them back to his castle, but he'll expect us to follow and he'll be on his guard. We need a really good plan to get them back. Yamato, you know how long this Freeziwind attack will last before Takeru snaps out of it?"
"No idea," I replied worriedly, looking down at my little brother. Please, Takeru, please be okay...
"He'll be okay, man," said Taichi, punching my arm gently. I almost laughed - mild violence, the Taichi and Yamato way of supporting eachother! I bit my lower lip and screwed up my fists, thinking of Myotismon. Nobody hurts my little bro and gets away with it. Then I realised Tai was saying stuff again. "...til morning," he was saying. "Then we can start off if Takeru's better. If not... we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." I nodded, not really listening. Curling up next to Takeru, I dozed on and off through the night.
The next morning, Takeru was no different. I looked across at Tai, but he was asleep... oh God, he looked so sweet. I felt my chest do one of those funny little hops it always does when I see Tai looking absolutely gorgeous, and I felt my eyes fill with tears because I wanted to be able to hold him so much. But then he stretched and started to wake up, so I quickly wiped my eyes and pretended I wasn't looking at him. "Hey, Yamato." It's Matt! I wanted to scream. Please, my friends call me Matt! "How's Takeru doing?"
"The same," I mumbled, looking at the floor. Taichi sighed.
"I think we're gonna have to try to rescue the others without him," he said quietly. I leaped to my feet.
"No WAY! Takeru's my little brother, I can't just leave him somewhere while I go off and do someting else! He's only eight, Tai, how -"
"He'll have Patamon to look after him, and we can leave Agumon and Gabumon too. He won't be alone. Please, Yamato - the others need our help and I can't do this on my own."
I snorted incredulously. "YOU are asking for MY help?" That'd shut him up.
"Yes," he replied steadily. "I am."
I sat there gawking at him, dumbfounded. My *God*! I thought. My *GOD*! "Okay then," I fianally answered him. "I'll help you. Let's kill the motherfucker who hurt my brother."
* * * * *
"There it is. That's Myotismon's castle. We need a decoy..." Tai pondered, and I watched him in fascination. After a minute or so, he turned to see what I was staring at. I slid my eyes to the floor in embarrassment. *Stupid little boy,* I cursed myself. *You'll give yourself away!* Tai snapped his fingers suddenly, making me jump. "I've got it!" he cried quietly. "Yamato, you be a distraction. You can make them think that you're me as well by wearing my shirt." He pulled it off over his head and handed it to me, saying "Put it on." I obeyed nervously, taking off my green turtleneck with my back to Tai. "Great!" he enthused. "Doesn't suit you, but if Myotismon's guards just see a blue tee-shirt running through the trees then they'll assume you're me. Perfect!"
I felt giddy, I was drunk on the scent of Tai woven into the fabric of the shirt I was wearing. "Uh-huh. Sheer genius!"
Tai gave me a funny look. "Are you feeling okay?"
"What? Yeah! What I meant was, well, I was being sarcastic. Top-swapping - pff. Anyone could think of that."
"I would've!" I yelled angrily. "What, are you calling me thick?"
"Give it a rest, Yamato. We've got more important things to worry about, you can fight me later." Truth was, though, I loved fighting with Tai. Not the actual fighting, I hated him hating me, but it was the only time I got physical contact with him. I could wrestle with Tai all day. "Now go on - make yourself seen! I'll try to sneak in and find the others. Follow me in if you can. Good luck!" He thumped me on the arm again and scuttled off. I breathed in a great big lungful of heavenly tee-shirt and got moving.
"There! Get him!" I yelped - they weren't supposed to have seen me yet! I streaked off through the trees at top speed, trying to shake the digimon, but they were hot on my tail and I could see I wasn't gonna lose them now. The most I could do was to give Tai as much time as possible. I was doing this for Tai. The thought gave me a new burst of speed and I accelerated through the trees, zigzagging around stumps and throwing myself over ditches. But the flying digimon easily caught up, and the others followed, throwing stones to bring me down. I leapt over a ditch that must have been at least seven feet deep, and DemiDevimon swerved, crashing right into me. I yelped and stretched out to grab the opposite side, but I was twisting, falling...
I landed heavily on my back, and my head smashed down into a conveniently placed rock. My sight fuzzed over and I
groggily raised myself onto my elbows, gazing up at all the distorted-looking digimon above. A bright shaft of sunlight shone down from a gap in the treetops high above me, and I could see the dark shape of DemiDevimon silhouetted against it. He seemed to swim closer and further, up and down, side to side...
"Nighty night," he chuckled softly. He disappeared entirely from my vision as the strength flowed out of my arms and
I fell back senseless to the floor.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lookin for feedback here, people. If you like it, I'll write part two, if I don't get any feedback I'll assume it's crap and you don't get any more of it. Which may be for the best anyways, but... Hey. Feedback is welcome and appreciated. :) -Kae Ti xx