Disclaimer: Digimon is copyrighted by Akiyoshi Hongo and produced by Toei Animation, Bandai, and Disney. The plot and fancharacters are all I own here, and no profit is being distributed in any way through this story.
Author's Note: In my first Savers fanfic, everything up to one specific point is canon. Then, the rest is my own innovation, my own view, and my own storyline. If you want to know where it strays away from the Savers canon, you'll have to read, for I'm not telling you straightaway.
Characterization Warning: The characterization of Masaru as a young child in this chapter can be considered very out-of-character.
It was all that was left between them. Nothing that connected their close bond remained. There was not anything to touch, to see, or to feel. It was there at one point… then it was gone. It disappeared that quickly, like a wind current on land during the summer. And, now, there was nothing left to identify, to reminisce, their relationship.
All except for one small item.
Hanging around Masaru Daimon's neck was his father's pendant – small, clear, shiny, and square. It had a very intricate design: two vertical lines parallel to each other with an octagon near the bottom. Fluttering in the light wind, it created a fantastic glow whenever reflecting the sunlight. If he wanted to utilize it at night, he could just turn on a flashlight, shine it on the pendant, and from afar came some signal, an S.O.S., for example.
When younger, anyone who had seen something such as this would usually scoff or say something… and not politely at that.
"What? You have a piece of junk around your neck?!"
"So it's a present from your dad. Big freakin' deal!"
Even today, he could hear them all, from cross mutters to mean laughter to punches into an open hand, whether they were in front of him or in the back of his head.
"WHAT?! After all these years, you still wear this thing? Why don't you do everyone a favor and toss it in the trash instead?"
"Why waste your devoted time with such 'symbolism'?"
And when threatened of the loss of his pendant—
"—Well, if you won't give it to me, then I'll take this so-called 'treasure' from you!"
A loud growl erupted, and he tightened his fists so hard that his vessels pulsed under his skin and his fingernails scraped his palms. If anyone even dared attempt to rip away of what was so special to him, then they would be just like the others who tried: being met with a meal different than what they planned. It could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, or a Sunday brunch, depending what time and what day it was.
Of course, none of them would ever understand, whether it was twenty minutes or twenty years later. They were merely naive individuals who lacked what was called a "life." He did not know them very well, but he was certain that they were pampered at home or around their parents. They would cry, swing their legs back and forth, or punch a wall (hopefully breaking a knuckle) if they did not get what they desired. If this were indeed true, then he would laugh or mutter something under his breath. Some things like, "Maybe they'll think twice about complaining to their parents," or "The world doesn't revolve around you. Open your darn eyes and look around for a change instead of being so self-pitiful." The words were not very remorseful, and they sounded a bit cruel, too, but that was what the world actually was: insensitive. These people were not the sun, a big, all-powerful, electrically conducting ball of mass at the center of a solar system. They were and would always be a part – to some, a small part – of this circle of life, not the creator of life.
"And the fact that I was one of these people, too."
He could put himself into their shoes very well… particularly when he was around ten years old. There he was at that age – rebellious, temperamental, headstrong, and violent. Wanting to be part of the "big boys." Wanting to become what was known as a street fighter – someone who constantly fought on the streets to gain supremacy, obtain territory from the weak, or survive a gang attack without any police interference. According to jailed gangsters in the bad neighborhoods of Yokohama, being a brawler was, quote, "the most efficient way for a man's survival."
"I remember very well that Mom wasn't too happy with my behavior."
A guilty chuckle. He could really reminisce the angry echoing within his hairy head.
"Masaru Daimon, I've had it up to here—" the mother of about thirty-three years old gestured her throat, "—with your attitude!"
A kid of about three-feet seven inches looked at her mother confusingly and made an "Eh?" As usual, Suguru Daimon's pendant was around his neck. "What d'ya mean? What's wrong with my attitude?"
"Masaru Daimon… You've recently got into fights with various gangs in this city! You've been arrested several times in the past five months! You nearly got yourself expelled from school! You nearly tore your own room apart when I didn't give you the toy that you wanted! And you've been abusive to me and your sister!"
Once she finished counting the sins with her fingers, Masaru scoffed and shrugged his shoulders in response.
"Well? So what?"
She tightened her fists to the point where her palms started oozing blood.
"'SO WHAT'?!! 'SO WHAT'?!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"
Masaru said nothing, but did give off a small smirk, which Sayuri noticed.
"MASARU, YOU SENT ME TO THE GODDAMN HOSPITAL AFTER YOU THREW A PAIR OF SCISSORS AT ME, FORCING ME TO GET STITCHES FOR MY FOOT!! YOU GRABBED A HOLD OF MY HAIR WHEN YOU WANTED A MEAL THAT YOU KNEW DAMN WELL WASN'T GOOD FOR YOU, AND YOU PULLED ME SO HARD THAT I CRIED FOR FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT!! LAST WEEK, YOU PUNCHED YOUR OWN SISTER, WHO CAN'T EVEN DEFEND HERSELF, SO HARD THAT SHE HER JAW NEEDED TO BE WIRED!!! AND NOW SHE'S COWERING FROM YOU AS A RESULT!!!! WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY FOR YOURSELF NOW… YOU GODDAMN MONSTER?!!?!!"
Young Masaru pumped his fist, as if glorifying it and taking her anger as a compliment. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, young bitch," he replied cockily. "A man's taught to be oneself, be the best in what he's trying to do, and fight for survival. A man controls his house and punishes those who disobey. And you think I'm giving up street fighting? It's the job to becoming a man. And I want to become one."
An evil smile crept his lips, and he punched the already closed fist into his left open palm. Suddenly, his voice suddenly became deadly, with it lowering to a sinister hiss.
"That wuss of a sister, Chika, had only a piece of my maturity, so she got lucky earlier, but BARELY! But if she ever tries that again—"
All was said no more, as he was suddenly lifted in the air and fell on his back. Hard. His spine shot with ache, and a bright red swell on his left jaw throbbed malevolently. He reached up to touch it with as much care as possible, but there was no way for him to put his filthy hands on his face: It stung so badly.
Sayuri breathed in and out loudly, her right palm smarting dangerously, and her blood staining her pinky fingers. Beads of angry sweat rolled down her face and stained the collar of her white blouse.
Never had she done such a thing as this.
Never did she raise her hand at a loved one.
Never was she violent on anyone that she worshipped the ground they walked on.
Her temper, her common sense, and her capability to think – they were all lost, vanished in a cloud of anger and frustration.
Finally, she sighed disgustedly.
"You're not Masaru Daimon. You're a complete monster that brainwashed my son."
Masaru shot to his feet immediately, ignoring the harsh pain on his left cheek and back. "No, young lady," he said, his whisper remaining. "This is the Masaru Daimon that you're seeing. Just changing and maturing into a man."
"No," retorted Sayuri calmly, shaking her head sadly. "Masaru would never act like this. He would never abuse anyone… especially his own sister, who he cared so deeply for. Masaru would never disrespect those he loves. Sure, he would be wild… but he'd never act so cruelly."
"DAMMIT, MOTHER!!!" His shriek was so loud the walls reverberated. "I AM the Masaru Daimon you see here! Here I am, flesh and blood!"
He suddenly sneered.
"Or are you just blind like the fool that you are?"
"Correction," Sayuri closed her eyes, and tears silently fell down her cheeks, "YOU are the fool."
All this made Masaru snap. Consequences he forced to forget. Pain he rid himself away with. If there was a sin to never commit, it was make Masaru Daimon lose his temper. And she felt the force when she heard him shout and felt his stomps approach. She knew she crossed the line, but she did not care. All that she wanted to say was the truth, and loving it or not, she was going to pay the price for it.
Then, the floor under her was ripped away, and all she felt was air. Still, quiet air hung all around her, and she was part of it. Like a pillow, it hugged her, and then slipped past like she was nothing.
The next thing she felt was a hard crash on the floor and a lot of pain in her left jaw. Her cheekbones were very stiff from the swelling of her skin, and she could feel the nerves compressing tightly.
When she opened her eyes again, she noticed the young Masaru eyeing down on her. His breathing was hard, his teeth bared a growl, and his red right fist shook uncontrollably.
At last, the hand collapsed, and what left his mouth was an unremorseful scoff.
"Now you realize that I really am Masaru Daimon. Because if you still don't believe me, then you only prove that I'm right. That your eyes are no more useful than being blind, after all."
Sayuri remained silent. All she could think was about the family, about Masaru. What had happened to him to where his violent characterization would not just destroy the whole noble family, but Masaru himself? Had he forgot who he was? Had he forgot what he was before the change? Why did he not realize it? Why did he not realize that he was making such egregious actions right now?
"If you are the Masaru Daimon as you say you are," she said weekly and sniffled, "then you might realize how your father must feel about you right now."
With that, she feebly got up, walked past a stunned Masaru, and dragged herself to her room, where he could hear a loud slam of her bedroom door and loud, hysterical sobbing.
Masaru of today smiled regretfully at the memory, a tear escaping his left eye and falling down his cheek.
"What she said was a real eye-opener for me," he muttered as he walked down a quiet road. "Sort of."
He reached up and wiped the tear off him.
The road seventeen-year-old Masaru Daimon walked down was really still during this spring morning. Houses lined up in rows along both sides, and gardens of grass and flowers bloomed in front, wafting softly in the wind. The asphalt looked new: Solid blocks gleamed in the sunlight, the brass curbs rubbed down to make it smooth to the touch. The streets contained many skid lines, from light gray to black. Trees in the front of many houses bloomed their fresh green foliage, the leaves shining brightly. Skyscrapers along the horizon rose from the main district in the background. Red lights from several antennae could be seen blinking from atop the towers. Beyond the land was a body of water. Crystal blue water stilled, the clear blue sky reflecting. Finally, more land flowed, undetectable to notice any machinery, until it disappeared completely. Tranquility was always beautiful, especially on a day like today.
"Eye-opener for what, Aniki?"
Masaru turned to his right, seeing a gigantic yellow dinosaur with straps on his claws. His eyes were blinking curiously.
"I was thinking, Agumon," replied the street fighter. "A memory from about seven years ago."
"What about it?" wondered Agumon.
Masaru told him the whole story, and once he concluded, Agumon's jaw literally hung just inches above the ground.
"You're joking!" he cried out. "Aniki, disrespecting your mother and hitting her and Chika!"
Masaru shook his head. "No, Agumon, I'm not joking," he replied solemnly.
"BULL RUBBISH!!" Agumon screeched.
"I agree," replied a boy's voice.
The duo turned back and noticed a familiar dark-skinned boy walking briskly down the sidewalk. He was about five feet two inches, much taller than several years ago. On his face were the familiar yellow eyes, and his head consisted of long indigo hair, bangs covering the center of his face and his right ear. He wore a dark purple T-shirt that reached to his stomach, the familiar ice blue necklace that contained the three white-and-red feathers, slick black pants with sleeves down to the ankles, and black sneakers.
"Morning, Ikuto," greeted Masaru with a smile.
"Hi, Masaru. Hi, Agumon!" called Ikuto as caught up, walked on their right, and made a short bow toward Agumon, who subsequently noticed an oversized falcon walking briskly alongside.
"Hey, Falcomon!" the dinosaur called, waving his right claw.
Falcomon returned with a "Hi" of his own.
"So, what are two doing now?" asked Masaru.
"We're heading to a store in the district to buy some beads for my collection," replied Ikuto.
"Beads?" Masaru looked and sounded puzzled.
"Mm-hmm," hummed Ikuto with a nod. "Since making the Human World a permanent home, I've begun collecting various beads and rocks, and since there's a bead shop in the main district today, I decided to head down there and buy some."
"Very coincidental for you to say that, Ikuto," quipped Agumon, "'cause Aniki and I're heading there, too."
"You are?" Falcomon squawked.
"Right!" Masaru stuck his left thumb in the air during his reply.
Ikuto suddenly looked thoughtful, although he never showed it through his posture. "Is it okay if you can ask me why?"
Masaru suddenly grew a bit weary; he looked towards the left, then right, before returning his attention to the young Saver.
"I think you were able to hear what my follower said, didn't you?" He gestured a downward index finger toward his little "employee" following the words "little follower."
The male Noguchi nodded, his bangs waving a little, and seeing there was really no way to hide it, Masaru told the story. From his change of character when he was ten, to his desire of "becoming a man," to becoming a street fighter, to his violent persona, to breaking his young sister Chika's jaw, to the reprimand from a really angry Sayuri. All of it went chronologically, and he provided some gory examples to prove his point even further. Every detail was given to Ikuto, like a very complex bill American Congressmen would issue. Falcomon and Agumon paid really close attention to what he was saying, trying as much as they could to get every bit of information – such as the story, the tones in Masaru's voice during specific events, and their own reactions – relayed to their own memories.
The minute he finished, Ikuto gasped and covered his mouth with his right hand.
"You actually did all of this?!" he half-shouted.
Masaru nodded sadly.
"And nowadays, I wonder why I actually wanted to become one of those people!"
Ikuto, Falcomon, and Agumon jumped back out of fright; the way Masaru sounded in the last two words of his sentence indicated the venomous snake had been interrupted from his sleep and was ready to strike down on those who trespassed on his her territory, and the memories felt and looked very fresh. And after seeing Masaru's expression, they knew that the terrible decisions haunted him, albeit being a "changed" Saver.
Falcomon taped a claw on his stubby beak, trying to think of a reason why. "Perhaps peer pressure got to you," he hypothesized.
"That makes sense, Falcomon," responded Masaru, but shook his head, "but, no, it wasn't that. If it was peer pressure, then I would've been forcing myself to become one. I went on my own will."
Agumon toyed with the muzzle strap wrapped around his left claw. "Weren't you watching something on T.V. and suddenly wanted to become one of them?"
Masaru pondered some more, trying to remember anything associated with his follower's logic. "Last time I remembered watching T.V. that time, I was about nine-and-a-half years old." He looked at the cloudless sky thoughtfully. "And I never really saw anything interesting, so I didn't watch T.V. that much."
"So it wasn't that?" asked Ikuto.
"Don't know," replied Masaru and leveled his head again, "but I really doubt it was the T.V., and I never read anything, either… Maybe it's because when I saw them whenever walking in the bad neighborhoods, I believed that becoming controlling was the way to becoming a man."
"Makes sense," said Falcomon, pondering.
"But, Aniki, wouldn't that could be considered peer pressure?" Agumon asked, looking up at his "boss." "I mean, you were sort of influenced by them, right?"
The street fighter's reply was more or less a lackadaisical shrug.
"Whatever the reason, though," he added, "I now know that what I did back then was really damn stupid. Perhaps even more."
"I go for the latter," quipped Ikuto.
"I'm serious, Ikuto," said Masaru crossly, causing the blue-haired Saver to mutter "Whoops" under his breath and blush embarrassingly.
"It's okay," reassured Masaru, his tone forgiving and soft. "During our fight, these words from Mom really stung me: 'If you are the Masaru Daimon as you say you are, then you might realize how your father must feel about you right now.'" A sigh followed. "It really tore me inside, more than any blow that Yggdrasil could deliver."
Agumon flinched at the analogy. "It was that bad, wasn't it, Aniki?"
"Really bad," answered Masaru and picked up his pendant with his right hand, "especially since I always idled Dad."
Ikuto was not sure, but he was certain that a tear splashed onto the pendant.
"You're still mourning the loss of your father, aren't you?" he asked sadly.
Masaru nodded, brown eyes locked on the pendant. "Still, I wonder if BantyoLe—" he stopped halfway, correcting himself, "Dad could find another way to defeat that puppet rather than sacrifice himself." He sighed. "Then again, it might be a bit selfish of me saying that."
"I know what you're feeling, Masaru," said Ikuto kindly and patted his right shoulder. "If I was you, I'd ask myself the very same question."
Masaru looked up and smiled pleasantly at him. "Thanks… I wish that I could see him again. Touch his face, hug him tightly, and cry on his shoulder."
Ikuto felt like crying himself, as he looked up at the blue sky reminiscently. "This is exactly how I feel when dreaming about Mercurimon and Yukidarumon. I desire to run up to them and burst tears on them myself."
Finally, a tear fell down his dark face.
"I miss them, and I love them very much."
Silence fell briefly, until Masaru spoke again.
"Apparently, both of us are alike in a way: we miss those we deeply care for," he said, still eyeing the pendant.
"Aniki, don't forget Tohma," added Agumon as he looked up at his partner. "His mother died when he was a kid."
"Yeah," chuckled Masaru and let the pendant dangle around his neck. "And Tohma, too."
"But he moved on with his life… didn't he?" Falcomon wondered, becoming a little uncertain while finishing his question.
"Tohma's very resilient, both physically and mentally, way more than I am," said Masaru, nodding in agreement.
A sudden flashback appeared in his mind; it was the first day he met the Austrian-Japanese star. Both of them got into a bit of a nasty (and on Masaru's side, jealous) argument in the Digital Accidental Tactic Squad's headquarters, and they soon got involved into a boxing match. The outcome was not what he… um… painfully predicted. As a result, he resisted the urge to touch his right jaw, which had long since healed. Lessons given, lessons learned, egos bruised, he thought.
"Why are you both heading to the main district?"
Masaru snapped out of his spell and turned to Falcomon.
"The reason is that I want to give both Chika and Mom some presents."
Ikuto and Falcomon eyed each other briefly.
"What for?" asked Ikuto.
Masaru handed him a small black booklet and, pointing at the thin, white ribbon in the middle, replied, "Flip to the page where the bookmark is."
Ikuto carefully turned page by page and soon arrived at the ribbon-tagged paper. On it were some notes, written in Japanese Kanji and black ink. On first glance, the male Noguchi cringed; either the characters were written in a haste or Masaru's handwriting was poorer than airplane food. Nevertheless, he read them very carefully, and when confused, Falcomon translated the description. Because of how scrambled the writing was, it took them several minutes for them to connect anything that would make some sense (to them, of course).
Then came twin gasps. Never were they expecting this. Not in a million years!
"An apology?" said Ikuto, looking up with astonishment.
"But why?" asked Ikuto.
Masaru blinked slowly, and his hands relaxed in his pants pockets.
"It's 'cause I changed my violent ways, especially to Mom and Chika, but if there's something I never did, it's apologize to them. As a result, I want to say 'sorry' to them…"
He trailed off, saying the last sentence with less and less authority as he approached the endpoint…
The next thing he knew, the sun eclipsed amidst of the terrified screams.
Author's Note: So, what do you think of the start of my first Savers fanfic? Read and review to tell me your thoughts.