Tangled Web
What's Done.
By the Empress of the Eclipse

Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon.
Taito bits! Again.

Matt woke in the morning, conscious of a distinct feeling of nervousness. Tai was cuddled up to him, his face very pale. For a moment, Matt was completely confused. Then the memories of the previous night came back and he shuddered.
Carefully, he slipped out of bed leaving Tai to sleep. They hadn't slept until very late. First they'd had to get home and then both of them had been so bothered that neither had wanted to lie down and sleep. They'd ended up staying up even longer and watching TV until finally they'd felt wound down enough to sleep.
Matt went into the kitchen and began making himself some breakfast, trying very hard not to think about the confrontation that they were going to have with the boys that day. He knew that it was going to be hideous. Sento and Tanoshii were not feeling kindly inclined to any of their parents and no wonder.
Matt over-poured the milk in his cereal bowl and swore. All he could think about was himself when he'd been younger, angry and bitter. How his relationships with his parents had never really recovered, particularly the relationship with his mother. And how it had made him so cynical.
Matt had always sworn that he'd never put his children through what he'd gone through. And now he was worse than his own parents. Far worse.
With another depressed sigh, Matt carried his breakfast into the living room and sat on the sofa, nibbling the cereal unhungrily, trying to decide when to wake Tai. The decision was taken from his hands when Tai emerged.
"Matt. Hi," he said, sounding drowsy "What time is it?"
"Around 8:30," Matt said "Kari said not to arrive before nine."
"I remember," Tai said "God I'm tired. I don't want to do this."
"Me neither," Matt said "You need something to eat."
"Yay."
Tai wandered into the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with another bowl of cereal. He ate his with more appetite than Matt had, then finished Matt's off while Matt showered and dressed, still desperately trying not to brood. Then Tai got readied and they headed for Kari and Davis's apartment.

* * * *

The atmosphere was tense in the Motomiya apartment. Sento, Tanoshii and Shinji were refusing to speak to Shinseru who was devastated by this. He wouldn't believe Kari's reassurances that he'd done the right thing by telling where the boys had gone. Sora and Ritsuko had already arrived and were talking quietly. Kari watched all this, then pulled Davis aside.
"Davis," she said "I want you to take Shinseru out, okay? This is not going to be pretty and I don't want him listening to all of this. And he needs cheering up. He feels so guilty."
Davis frowned.
"Are you sure you can manage?" he asked worriedly "TK's not here to help and you know what this lot've been like when they get together!"
"I can manage," Kari said firmly "And they'd better get their damn acts together! This is serious! The boys could have got in REAL trouble. We have to sort this out. It's gone too far already."
She shuddered, then smiled.
"Don't worry. Just have a nice time with Shinseru."
Davis nodded.
"Okay," he said "I promise. That's something I'm good at anyway!"
Kari laughed.
"I know," she said "Just make sure that Shinseru's happy."
Davis nodded as the doorbell rang.
"Tai and Matt," Kari said "Right - off you go."
Davis went into the living room to get Shinseru as Kari went to answer the door. Matt and Tai were standing there, looking tired and haggered. Tai gave his sister a weak smile.
"How are they?" he asked.
Kari paused.
"Quiet," she said eventually "Angry. Come on in."
They walked in. Ritsuko and Sora emerged and regarded Matt and Tai silently. The men looked back at them as Davis and Shinseru appeared.
"Right," Davis said "We'll see you later. Good luck."
He gave Kari a kiss and an encouraging smile. Kari grinned back and ruffled Shinseru's hair.
"Enjoy yourself sweetheart," she said.
Shinseru nodded, still looking unhappy. He and Davis walked out of the door. Kari sighed.
"Right," she said "Let's get this over with."
Sento, Tanoshii and Shinji were sitting in a stiff line on the couch. Sento and Tanoshii were glowering, Shinji was looking upset. He hung his head when the adults came in and sat down around them.
"Well?" Tai asked "Do you want to say anything?"
"No," Sento said defiantly, crossing his arms and scowling.
"No?" Ritsuko said, her eyebrows arching "Nothing at all? You ran away, you caused us all hours of worry, you don't even apologise, you could have been DEAD..."
Sento turned his face away and said nothing. Tanoshii bit his lip. Shinji stared at his lap.
"Why?" Sora said "Why did you run away?"
Silence. Kari sighed.
"Listen," she said "If you don't talk, nothing's going to get solved. Just say what you feel."
"You don't care what we think!" Tanoshii snapped "You never have!"
"Darling, that's not true!" Sora said.
"Course it is," Sento said "Adults don't care. They just do what they want and who cares about us."
"Sento!" Tai said, sounding shocked "We all care about you! Where have you got that idea from?"
"You I expect," Ritsuko said harshly "I TOLD you that you were neglecting him!"
Tai gave her a furious look.
"Listen Ritsuko!" he began hotly. Kari hastily cut in.
"Sento, why don't you answer your father's question?" she suggested gently.
Sento shrugged. He still wasn't looking at anyone.
"If you cared, you'd already know," he muttered.
"Caring doesn't make us mind-readers," Matt said softly "It may seem like we should be but adults aren't infallible you know."
"Isn't it obvious?" Tanoshii snapped at him.
Matt swallowed.
"You're angry because of everything that's happened recently," he said "You're angry because your mother and I have split up and because Tai and Ritsuko are fighting."
"Well if you already knew, why did you ask?" Sento said sniffily.
"Sento!" Tai said "Don't be so rude!"
Sento scowled and twisted his neck, trying to turn away even more. Shinji sniffed.
"Why do you have to fight all the time?" he whispered, sounding tearful "Why can't everyone just be friends? I want to live with Daddy again and have everyone be happy!"
"Oh Shinji," Sora said gently "I know. But that can't happen. We can be happy - but Daddy and I can't be happy together. That's why we split up."
"But you aren't happy apart!" Sento snapped.
"We will be," Matt said firmly "When we get used to things."
Sento gave another scornful laugh.
"That's it Sento!" Tai exploded "You are going to sit there and you are going to say exactly what you are thinking because I'll be damned if you're going to keep behaving like this! No one else is going to say ANYTHING until you give your opinion!"
Sento said nothing. The silence dragged on and on. Sento began wriggling slightly, the silence obviously bothering him. Eventually he looked at Kari, tears glimmering in his eyes.
"Why does everyone have to be so horrible?" he blurted "Mum and Dad...and Uncle Matt and Aunt Sora. They all hate each other. It's all because of her isn't it?"
He pointed in the direction of his bedroom where Sayo was sleeping. He saw the rapid exchange of looks that passed among the adults.
"It IS," he said, almost triumphantly "I knew it was! It's all her fault!"
There was another pause where the boys all stared accusingly at the adults. Then Matt suddenly took a deep breath.
"Boys," he said "Sayo wasn't the reason that we separated. The thing was...we just weren't very happy together. You know that I and Tai were going out with each other?"
The boys all nodded.
"Well, you aren't supposed to go out with other people when you're married. It's not allowed. When Sayo arrived...well, babies are tiring. It made Sora and I realise that we just couldn't be happy together. Not really."
He was still lying but he was dammed if he was going to tell the boys the truth. He didn't know how he'd voice it anyway. What was he going to say, that Sayo was Tai's baby? That would never work and just cause more rifts between them all. That was a lie that was going to stay in place until Sayo was grown up.
"I swear, it wasn't Sayo's fault," he said firmly.
A silence followed, a mixture of uncertainly and obstinatance. Sento glanced at them out of the corner of his eyes.
"Why are you trying to take me away from Dad?" he asked Ritsuko accusingly "Why are you trying to make me unhappy?"
Ritsuko scowled.
"He wasn't looking after you properly!" she said, her voice harsh. Sora nudged her gently.
"Your mother was worried about you," she said quietly "She was also angry. When people are angry, they do silly things."
Ritsuko looked slightly shocked. She'd obviously expected Sora to back her up. Sora gave her a slightly apologetic look.
"Your mother didn't realise how unhappy you'd be," she said "She wanted things to be the best they could be."
"But you never noticed how miserable I was!" Sento said, glaring accusingly at his mother "You didn't care that I wanted to see Dad and go home. You just got angry."
His mother sighed.
"Sometimes we don't always know what's best for each other," she said "And sometimes we don't know what's best for ourselves. I was trying to do what's best for you."
Tai snorted softly. Kari put an elbow in his side. Ritsuko ignored him completely.
"Sento, I didn't mean to hurt you," she said, nearly in tears "I only wanted to help you."
"And you?" Tanoshii asked Sora, looking at her with his hurt blue eyes "Did YOU just want what was best?"
"Yes," Sora said quietly.
"For you or for us?"
Sento nodded his agreement. Shinji nodded too and huddled closer to his brother. He was obviously scared and confused by everything. He was so young Matt reflected. He could see himself and TK so clearly in his sons that it scared him. And Sento...who was Sento? In a strange way, Sento reminded him of a mixture of Davis and Ken. He almost grinned at the idea, then pushed the thought away and focused on the boys again.
Sora was still speaking, trying to explain.
"I wanted what's best for all of us," she said. Then she looked at Matt "At least - what I thought might be best for all of us."
"How could it be best if we were all miserable?" Tanoshii shouted.
Kari quietly intervened before any one could get angry.
"I think that we've all made some mistakes," she said "But you should have told us this before boys, you know you should. Getting angry and running away doesn't help. Talking is always better."
"They wouldn't listen," Sento muttered.
"People only listen if you talk sensibly," Kari said tartly "You can't just shout and wail and hope someone will sit and translate. Talking it through maturely is what gets results."
"Are we getting punished?" Shinji asked timidly "What's going to happen?"
"We'll talk about that later," Kari said quietly "In the meanwhile, you three need to apologise for what you did."
Tai couldn't help feeling irritated that his little sister was busy sorting out his life for him. It was very, very annoying. Trust Kari to be better at all this than him.
He turned his attention to the boys. Shinji was hanging his head.
"We're sorry," he whispered.
Everyone looked at Sento and Tanoshii.
"Yeah," Sento said.
"Sorry," Tanoshii said.
Tai raised an eyebrow at Sento. He didn't count that as an apology and Sento knew it. Tai wasn't expecting a response but to his surprise, Sento's defiance suddenly seemed to ooze out of him.
"Sorry," he whispered before bursting into tears. Tai and Ritsuko both reached for him at the same time and then glared at each other.
"And we're going to apologise to you," Matt said suddenly, remembering something he'd always craved off his own parents, something he'd never got.
Sento's tears stopped abruptly and all the children gaped at him. Matt grinned.
"Well, we've hardly been the best behaved bunch," he pointed out "It's only fair. I'm sorry you three. I'll try harder."
Tai nodded, taking Matt's lead.
"Yeah," he said "I've been stupid but I'll be better. I promise."
Sora and Ritsuko mumbled their apologies, Ritsuko perhaps a trifle more reluctantly than everyone else but they were still clear. Shinji smiled hopefully. Even Tanoshii and Sento looked more hopeful.
"Now," Kari said "We're going to go and leave the adults to talk alone. They've got some things that they BADLY need to sort out. Let's go and play with Sayo. You'll see babies aren't so bad."
The boys obediently got up. Kari looked at the others.
"And don't you DARE fight," she whispered "You talk like adults and GET THIS SORTED OUT. Understand?"
They all nodded meekly and Kari led the three boys out, closing the door tight behind her.
"Will it work?" Tanoshii asked.
"If it doesn't, I'll know why," Kari said grimly.
The boys made mental notes to themselves that Auntie Kari was NOT someone to get angry.

* * * *

Inside the room, there was an awkward silence as everyone started at each other uncomfortably.
"Do you think we handled that okay?" Tai said as last, just wanting to break the silence.
"I think so," Sora said slowly "At least...I hope so. Time will tell."
"We haven't handled much else right," Matt said. He got up and walked to the window, not wanting to look at anybody "What are we going to do now?"
Another silence prevailed. Tai bit his nails absently.
"What's important are the children," Sora said, trying to sound rational "We need them happy."
"Sento was happy with me," Tai said.
Ritsuko opened her mouth but Sora laid a hand on her shoulder.
"That's true," she said "But we need to work out a compromise Tai. Ritsuko has a right to be angry about your parenting skills. You have to admit, a lot of this is your fault."
Tai opened his mouth to deny it, then realised that Sora, Matt and Ritsuko were all staring at him and sighed.
"All right," he said crossly "Yes, it's all my fault. But that didn't give you a right to accuse me of unfit parenting!"
"See it from my view!" Ritsuko said, sounding calm but slightly strained "I get a phone call and discover that you've been seeing other men and other women quite dramatically since our split, that you had managed to split up a marriage because of sleeping with both of the people in it - what was I supposed to think? And Sora told me about some of the things that you did while you were moping over Matt. You certainly didn't come across as being a good parent!"
Tai sighed.
"Couldn't you have just talked to me about it?" he said.
"That's my fault," Sora said, sounding ashamed "I was so angry with both of you that I convinced Ritsuko it was the right thing to do. It was my fault."
"We figured as much," Matt said "So what now? Will you drop the charges?"
Ritsuko sighed.
"Yes," she said eventually "What's happening is making Sento unhappy and that's not what I want. But this isn't over Taichi. I'm not happy about how you are looking after our son and I want to spend more time with him. He sees me as a stranger and I don't want that."
"Fair enough," Tai said promptly "But I'm not changing who I am Ritsuko. I don't see why I should."
Ritsuko nodded.
"Will they let you drop the allegations?" Tai asked, suddenly looking worried.
"Without my charge, they have to," Ritsuko said "They will probably keep an eye on you but they can't stop me. Just watch your step."
Tai smiled at her. Ritsuko nodded. She looked at Sora and Matt.
"What about you two?" she asked.
Sora looked at Matt. Matt sighed.
"I don't know," he said, looking at Sora "Sora, all I want is to be allowed to see my children and love whoever I want to love."
Sora nodded.
"What about Sayo?" she asked.
Silence. Matt ran his hands through his hair.
"What do you want from me Sora?" he asked, his voice sounding tired "She's not my daughter. Whenever I see her...I see you and Tai. It hurts me."
"Matt, you have to see her!" Sora said desperately "I can't just send the boys to you! It would split the family apart! What's already happened between them is bad enough! I need them to see that Sayo is their sister! She is your daughter Matt - or was. You loved her!"
"But Sora, I can't just look at her and pretend she's mine!" Matt said "She even looks like Tai! I want to love her and have her as mine but I look at her and I see Tai's betrayal!"
That stung Sora although she tried to hide it. Tai's betrayal. That was what mattered to Matt. Tai's betrayal. Not her own.
She knew then that he'd never really loved her. It bit deep and she hung her head, blinking away tears before she spoke again.
"Will you still be living with Tai?" she asked softly.
"I...I suppose so," Matt said "If he'll have me."
Sora looked at Tai. He looked at her, then hung his head.
"I'll have you Matt," he said "You know I will."
Sora nodded.
"Sayo is your daughter," she said "Both of yours. Can't you make yourself look at her and see a girl Matt? Tai's daughter. A little girl to love."
Matt sighed.
"I'll try," he said at last "I want to try Sora. I want to love her. She's a beautiful baby. But..."
He shook his head.
"It's not easy."
"It's never going to be easy," Sora said "Nothing is."
Matt gave her a small smile, looking depressed.
"I'll try," he said again.
There was another pause. Tai tried to think if there was anything else that they needed to sort out. He sighed.
"I think we're done," he said eventually "Well - we're done here. Ritsuko and I need to sort some things out. And so do you two. But..."
"That's for later," Sora said.
"Sento will have to stay with me until the charges are completely dropped," Ritsuko said "But then...I suppose he can live with you."
Tai couldn't stop the big grin that crossed his face as they walked out to tell Kari that they were done.

* * * *

That night, Matt and Tai lay curled up together in bed. It was the first time that Matt had felt really happy there for a long time.
At least, he felt mostly happy. But part of him was still troubled.
"Tai?"
"Yeah?"
"Do you think we can be properly happy together?"
Tai looked at him. Matt stared back seriously, uncertainly. Tai sighed.
"What do you mean?" he asked uncertainly.
Matt shifted his position slightly.
"Well," he said slowly "So much has happened. Our ex-wives - or soon to be ex-wife in my case - our children...Sayo."
Tai flinched. He'd known it would come back to Sayo.
"Can you manage her?" he asked softly "Are you going to be able to cope."
Matt looked at the pillows, silvered by the moonlight.
"I don't know," he said "I'm trying to think of her as yours and Ritsuko's I suppose. Like Sento. Not as mine. But she'll grow up thinking she's mine and be unhappy if I treat her any differently than Tanoshii and Shinji."
"Do you intend to treat Sento differently?" Tai asked.
"No! But there's always some difference isn't there? The way you treat your children and somebody else's. It doesn't matter how hard you try, there'll always be a difference."
"Rubbish," Tai said firmly "It's not like that at all. You're just worrying about it. Look, I know you Matt. You'll treat Sento like he's yours once you're used to living with him. And that's how it'll be with Sayo. Trust me."
Matt looked at him and Tai realised that maybe that wasn't a phrase to use for a while.
"You don't trust me?" he said in a small voice.
"I don't know," Matt said looking away "I don't know what I think. Tai, I trust you, I know that but..."
"But not 100%?" Tai guessed.
Matt sighed.
"Sorry."
"That's okay," Tai said "I hardly deserve it."
He gave Matt a kiss on the forehead.
"And I'll grow on you!"
Matt smiled.
"Like mould!"
Tai hugged him. Matt closed his eyes, his worries somewhat abated. Things would be difficult, he knew that. And his sons...he worried about how this would have affected them in the long run. But there was no point to that. Time would tell. It always did.

* * * *

"Here you are Sento," Ritsuko said "Home."
Sento scrambled out of the car.
"You don't have to drive me home Mum," he said, repeating a long recurrent argument "I am fifteen, I can walk."
His mother choose to ignore this statement, like she always did.
"Be good for your father," she said "I'll see you next week."
Sento waved the car off, then walked upstairs to the apartment, unlocking the door.
"Hey Sento!"
Sento jumped, then grinned. He'd forgotten that Tanoshii, Shinji and Sayo were coming for their week with Matt. Sayo ran to him for a hug. She was a pretty seven year old with long dark hair and a big infectious smile. He lifted her up and grinned at Tanoshii who looked almost exactly like Matt had when he was fifteen. Shinji had auburn hair and brown eyes like his mother, but his face resembled his father's more. He waved slightly. At thirteen, he was far too mature to want a hug.
"Dad?" Sento yelled "Hey Dad?"
His father appeared, grinned.
"Hello!" he said, giving Sento a quick hug "Enjoy yourself at your mothers?"
"Yeah," Sento said, grinning "She took me to the cinema and we stayed in a really posh hotel and went to loads of really swanky restaurants..."
His father swatted him. Sento always pretended that his mother spoiled him rotten while his father was evil. If he was honest, his father treated him more often than his mother did. It came from having more money.
"Oh no, here's trouble!"
Sento turned to grin at Matt as he walked through the door. Sayo leaped out of his arms and into her fathers. Matt hugged her, grinning at Sento, then put her down to hug Tanoshii and Shinji, both of whom resisted furiously to being hugged, like they always did. They were 'too old' for hugs. Matt never listened to their demands. He squeezed them both, then went to kiss Tai hello. Sento watched. It had been six years since the chaos where his mother had tried to take him away from his father. Things had changed but some things were the same. And Sento had never forgotten what had happened. He and Tanoshii sometimes discussed it together, although rarely around Shinji and never around Sayo. Both boys had reached their own conclusions about the truth of what had happened and neither had ever told anyone else. It had taken almost a year before Sento had really trusted his parents and far longer before he'd been able to talk civilly to Sora. And Matt for that matter. Sento still distrusted both Sora and Matt, although not on the surface. Superficially, he knew that nothing his parents had done had been deliberately to hurt him and that they now had put it all behind them. But further down, he often doubted it. He'd already decided never to have a family of his own. He didn't want to put anyone through the hell that he'd gone through. No one deserved that. He knew that Tanoshii had reached the same conclusions as he had, although Tanoshii wanted children. He'd already sworn that he would never separate from his wife or at least, not until the children had left home. No one knew what Shinji wanted. Shinji rarely talked about things like that. He lived in his own little world most of the time and didn't seem to want to let anyone in it. Sento knew that this worried adults but he himself understood why Shinji craved that safety and as far as he was concerned, Shinji could live in it forever if he wanted.
Sento had a tendency to be rather uncaring about others.
"Go and dump your stuff," his father ordered "Then you can get on with your chores."
"Unpaid slave labour," Sento said.
"Unpaid! You get more pocket money than I used to! Anyway, the others will help you."
"We will?" Shinji said.
"Yes," Matt said "Now shut up Sento and dump your stuff!"
Sento snorted and went into his room. Tanoshii was currently occupying the bottom bunk, his stuff piled there. Sento threw his own things onto his bed, then went out to help his father, humming to himself.

* * * *

"Sweet aren't they?" Tai said to Matt.
They were cooking the dinner, watching as Sayo laughed at her older brothers who were trying to vacuum and dust at the same time and failing pretty miserably.
"They worry me," Matt said "But yes."
Tai rolled his eyes.
"Why do they worry you?" he asked.
Matt said nothing. Tai knew why, it was a stupid question. Tai sighed and looked at the children properly. Sayo was what she looked like - a healthy, lively child. Sento...he was sweet but...cold and cynical. Tanoshii shared some of those traits, as well as a deep rooted uncertainty and mistrust. Shinji...who knew what Shinji thought or felt? His emotions were deep hidden inside.
Tai sighed. He still blamed himself for what had happened and knew that Matt, Sora and Ritsuko blamed themselves. But on the whole, it was more his fault than there's.
But he couldn't keep thinking like that. What was done, was done. And now all they could do was try to make amends.
"They'll be fine," he said "We were, weren't we?"
Matt looked at him a moment, then smiled.
"Yeah," he said "We are."
Tai gave him a hug, then kissed him lingeringly.
"I love you Matt."
"Thanks."
For a brief moment, they just smiled at each, seeing nothing but the other. Then they went back to preparing the meal for four hungry mouths.

The End.

HOORAY! I'm finished, I'm FINISHED!!!!!!! Sorry you've all had to wait so long, some fics just take ages to write!
Toshiki: Nearly a year.
Eclipse: Go away Toshiki, this isn't anything to do with you at all.
Toshiki: I'm your major muse, EVERYTHING is to do with me.
Eclipse: Sod off. Anyway, I hope you people out there enjoyed it!
Toshiki: You never know, maybe she'll write a sequel someday!
Eclipse: Bye readers, hope you had fun and enjoyed yourselves! I did (mostly!) *takes Toshiki off to bash him over the head for saying the S-word!*